The sounds of psychedelia’s peak from 1967 and going into 1968 have been well documented. Whether delving into the classics of the era or digging for obscurities, there are a wealth of great tunes to be found within an eighteen month period. By 1969, the musical tide was very much turning; British whimsy and three minute pop gems about myriad cups of tea and talking gnomes had largely been pushed aside for harder rock sounds. Various bands clung on for dear life, of course, and even well into 1969 there were bands across Britain knocking out various 7” pieces of plastic for the psychedelic cause. In another volume of musical history, Grapefruit Records have dug deep to bring three discs of interesting cuts from the year. The results are quite often less gaudily coloured, but you’ll still find a few bands sticking to familiar formulae. While at least half of the material gathered here is more of the well-honed pop/rock variety than flat out psych, the journey is one that’s still more than worth taking. Covering over seventy tracks in all, such a box set could seem daunting, but the curators have included at least ten familiar names, which actually adds to the commercial appeal without detracting from the potential obscurities and rarities.
For melodic rock fans, REO Speedwagon are a much-loved band. Their massive 80s hits ‘Keep On Loving You’, ‘Take It On The Run’ and ‘Can’t Fight This Feeling’ are genre classics…and for good reason. As bigger fans know, there’s always been more to the band than the 80s sheen of their career peak.
In the 70s, the band released a string of albums containing rockier material which, despite shifting band line ups, is every bit as entertaining as their better known material. Those earlier albums were host to more than their share of REO classics and tracks like ‘Ridin’ The Storm Out’ and ‘Time For Me To Fly’ have remained part of the live set for decades.
There’s a school of thought that says Molly Hatchet never bettered their first two albums. Whilst those records were home to many of the classics – tunes which set the blueprint for their future works – the best of band’s 80s output was arguably just as strong in many ways…and even saw the southern rock heroes stretching out their considerable talents. It’s those 80s albums which are the focus of the 2018 box set ‘Fall of The Peacemakers: 1980-1985’, an excellent package that brings together three studio albums, a classic double live set, a hard to find promo featuring extra live tracks and also a handful of other nuggets.
Back in 2012, Cherry Red Records issued a lavish 3CD package of The House of Love’s UK debut album.
‘House of Love’, or as it is informally referred ‘The Black Jumpers Album’ turns 30 by the end of June and to celebrate, Cherry Red have dug into the vaults once more to expand the much-loved disc a second time. For the thirtieth anniversary reissue, the album will be released as a fully comprehensive five disc set.
1992 and 1993 were bumper years for the NME reader. For those less interested in the Transatlantic grunge wave led by the globe conquering ‘Nevermind’, there was a whole world of other music to explore. So much, that in fact, this period could certainly be seen as a genuine musical landmark. In 1992, Carter USM reached the top spot on the album chart with their third long player, ‘1992: The Love Album’ and The Orb achieved a similarly unlikely feat with ‘UFOrb’ barely two months later, surely to the dismay of the omnipresent Mick Hucknall. The Wonder Stuff were riding high off the back of some great singles and Manic Street Preachers released ‘Generation Terrorists’, a hugely grand double platter of a debut. They’d always said it was to be their only LP; you have to wonder how things would have panned out had the Blackwood boys stuck to their word. In ’93, Carter made a headline appearance at the Glastonbury Festival and upset Michael Eavis, appeared at the Smash Hits Poll Winner’s Party and upset Phillip Schofield and still found time to record a new album. Suede ushered in a new era of Bripop with their debut album and some great singles, Radiohead hit the charts for the first time, while Senser made waves with a crossover mix of rap, rock and electronica.