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After their debut album's release, careful manipulation from Tony Stratton-Smith released Peter Hammill from his contract with Mercury Records, allowing Van Der Graaf Generator into the Charisma stable. The band reformed permanently (enough): Guy Evans brought bassist Nic Potter from their interim gig in The Misunderstood, but with the arrival of sax player David Jackson, previously with Chris Judge Smith in Heebalob, all the pieces were in place. Thus, VDGG began in earnest with their second album.
Artist: Deep Purple , Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Catalog#: WS 1860
Country: United States
Strawberry Bricks Entry:
In 1968, Deep Purple scored some success in America with a cover of Joe South's "Hush", but their three albums for comedian Bill Cosby's Tetragrammaton label were patchy at best. Although the musicianship was high - Jon Lord's classically inspired organ breaks and Ritchie Blackmore's fast guitar runs - they had one awful vocalist in Rod Evans. Rocking-out Colosseum style, the instrumental "Hard Road (Wring That Neck)" from Book of Taliesyn was probably the best nugget from that period.
The core of Colosseum first appeared together (according to rock cartographer Pete Frame) as Blues Breakers #89, on John Mayall's Bare Wires album. After Mayall broke up that short-lived line-up, drummer John Hiseman reunited with bassist Tony Reeves, organist Dave Greenslade and saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith, and guitarist/singer James Litherland was recruited after an extensive search. Reconstituted as Colosseum, Hiseman had assembled one of London's first and finest jazz-rock hybrids. Their loud and powerful debut is an absolute stunner.
After ending 1968 with the rockin’ single “Second Generation Woman” (again without chart success), Family enlisted IBC producer Glyn Johns for their next album, Entertainment. Best known for his work with the Rolling Stones, Johns striped back the production, bringing the rhythm section and Charlie Whitney’s guitar work to the fore. The record is still primarily an acoustic affair, but with a substantially greater rock-n-roll feel.
Following their second 1968 US tour supporting Jimi Hendrix Experience Soft Machine effectively broke up. Robert Wyatt stayed in the US (where he would record his first solo album), while Mike Ratledge and Kevin Ayers returned to London; the latter sold his bass and departed for Ibiza, from where he would eventually launch a moderately successful solo career. But a recording commitment to Probe Records prompted new sessions for the band, this time at London's Olympic Studios. Wyatt and Ratledge invited roadie Hugh Hopper to join up.
Led by the indefatigable Peter Hammill here begins the musical quest of Van Der Graaf Generator. Over the next decade, he would divide his time between leading VDGG and a prolific solo career; though where those lines separate would at times be difficult to identify. The band had already been through iteration or two by the time it got around to recording The Aerosol Grey Machine. Hammill and co-conspirator Chris Judge Smith formed the band with organist Nick Pearne in 1968 while still at Manchester University.
By the time Jethro Tull got around to releasing their strong second effort, Martin Barre had joined on guitar, as Mick Abrahams was off to start Blodwyn Pig. Barre's addition was substantial in the evolution of the band, his guitar style being more sympathetic to their burgeoning progressive style. Written by Ian Anderson to appease management's desire for a single, they released "Living In The Past" in May. It soared right up the UK charts, reaching No. 3. The album followed with even greater results.
The painfully documented history of King Crimson informs us of their birth on January 13th, 1969 at the basement of the Fulham Palace Café, London. With the arrival of Ian McDonald, the trio of Giles, Giles and Fripp had expanded a year earlier. Lyricist Peter Sinfield, McDonald's songwriting partner, became the band's fifth member; this included the duties of road manager, light artist, resident hippie etc. Yet at Robert Fripp's persistence, fellow Bournemouth guitarist Greg Lake joined on bass and vocals, replacing Peter Giles.
Released after the varied (but commercially successful) soundtrack More, Ummagumma was intended to be a tour de force for Pink Floyd. The two-record set is half-live and half-studio, and the first release on EMI's new Harvest sub-label. The first disc was culled from a series of concerts recorded earlier in the summer, offering the first live document of Pink Floyd. Here, "Careful With That Axe, Eugene", the archetype of their slow-building space rock, makes its first appearance.
After his split from Soft Machine, manager Peter Jenner and a contract from Harvest coaxed Kevin Ayers away from Majorca. Back in the UK he quickly assembled his old Softs cohorts at Abbey Road to record his debut solo album, Joy of a Toy. New to the fold is David Bedford, a classical composer by trade, offering his arrangement skills and doubling on keyboards. The album jumps off with the classic (if dated) psychedelia of "Joy of A Toy Continued". Bedford's arrangement augments "Town Feeling", but it's really all Ayers.