Saturday, May 31, 2014

40 Year Itch: Those We Missed from May'74

  More rocking than Preservation Act 1, this sequel is part of that period Ray Davies says he should never have been allowed to put any records out. Preservation Act 2 is an even more inconsistent rock musical, broken up by "Announcements", guest vocalists, Davies's  Marc Bolan impressions, and a dearth of actual songs. As such,  it is one of the most disappointing albums of 1974. Only because it may make you smile, check out Ray Davies's update of "Village Green Preservation Society": the virtually unlistenable "Shepherds of the Nation".

Recorded in early July of 1973 in Japan, Lotus is a three record set that was not only Santana's first official live album but also available only as a costly import. It captures the band at a time when Carlos Santana was leaving behind his Latin Rock sounds to explore the world of  jazz fusion

   But when you're playing in front of a paying audience that came to hear the classics, you better play them. So we get Santana's new band playing tunes from the early albums. The new band arguably features better musicians and a better singer in Leon Thomas. And what they do with the older songs is interesting.

The band truly excels on the tunes they recorded -- like the ones from the platinum album Caravanserai and the gold album Welcome. Still three discs is a lot of music. Overwhelming to these ears.

Interestingly, Rolling Stone's most recent record guide gives Lotus the ultimate 5 star rating while Music Hound gives the album its "woof!" rating, the lowest possible.

If by classic rock, you really mean rock influenced by classic music, then only Emerson Lake and Palmer could rival Renaissance. Turn of The Cards and its predecessor Ashes Are Burning are considered the classic albums. Upon listening you may be either be swooning over soprano Annie Haslam's vocals or realizing why punk rock HAD to happen.

The UK's most successful boogie band could never break into the US market despite heavy touring here. This follow-up to Hello! rocks harder than most and  is considered a lost classic by fans. Album closer "Slow Train" is a three-section boogie monstrosity with drummer John Coghlan having fits!

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