Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Can You Live This Fantasy Life?

As of late I've been searching for some lost classic rock songs I remember from my youth, and some of them I have found. Enough of this stuff, and some more recent discoveries, are in the pipeline that I will need two posts to get it all in. Part one as follows:

Aldo Nova - Fantasy

First up is Canadian rocker Aldo Nova, with the modest hit single 'Fantasy'. Interesting way of breaking that door down in the video. The song comes from Aldo Nova's self-titled debut album, released in 1980. The band would not see success bigger than that which accompanied this song.

I remember hearing 'Fantasy' on Channel 97, WRRK Braddock-Pittsburgh, when I was a kid. Early in their existence (which was also early in my existence) Channel 97 was the modern rock station, but by the time I really got into new music they had become a classic rock station with a massive library on account of getting all the new releases. Once a year, later in their existence, they would haul out this entire friggin' library of about 7,000 songs, if i remember correctly, and play the whole thing in alphabetical order. It damn near took them a month to do it, but it was epic. Most of the stuff in this list is either from the A To Z Playback, or got airplay on Channel 97 at some point.

The Hooters - And We Danced

Another Channel 97 memory, 'And We Danced' ended up in the early stages of an A To Z after Donnie Iris. Nervous Night was the album that gave us this gem, and Hooters, who hail from Philadelphia, had a long career, if mostly under the radar domestically, or more popularly in Europe.

Coney Hatch - Monkey Bars

If you ever wanted to know what Van Halen would be like if they were from Canada, this band, Coney Hatch, comes very close. Of Toronto, Ontario, and named for a mental asylum in nearby London, this hard rock quartet issued three albums over their career, with most attention going to this song, 'Monkey Bars'. 

I actually put in a request to Channel 97 for this song once, while I was under the impression that the band's name (or solo artist as it sounded) was Cody Hatch. Eh, I was ten or so.

Gamma - Thunder And Lightning

Previously discussed on this blog, Gamma was a late '70s AOR hard rock band fronted by the prolific, if largely under the radar, Ronnie Montrose.  I did not get a sleeve with my copy; it came free from a local record store, disc only. That is one whacked-out piece of cover art. Whacked. Out.

John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band - On The Dark Side

John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band could have easily been mistaken for Bruce and the E Street Band by those not familiar with either. Somehow, in creating the music for the movie Eddie & The Cruisers, Cafferty wrote and, along with his band, performed with a Boss-like sound - for a movie set in 1963. 'On The Dark Side' hit number one after the release of the movie in 1983, but that was as far as the group would go, despite getting a track on the Rocky IV soundtrack.

Spring - Hendre Mews

In 1971, an early progressive rock band released a single album, which did little, and broke up before completing a second effort. This was the band called Spring, who came to the attention of producer Kingsley Ward, owner of Rockfield Studios, when their van broke down in the village of Rockfield.

One of the main sound features of the record was rumored to be three Mellotrons, which the band apparently had available, but three of the pioneering keyboards never appear together on any of the tracks. After the breakup, drummer Pick Withers would go on to play with Dire Straits for the first four albums.

UFO - Too Hot To Handle
UFO were a British hard rock and heavy metal band that found better fame in Germany and Japan than their native Britain or the US. The 1977 album Lights Out contributes the gem 'Too Hot To Handle' to our roundup today. Lineup on this track has Phil Mogg on vocals, Paul Raymond on keyboards, Pete Way on bass, Andy Parker on drums, and Michael Schenker on lead guitar. Schenker, being the younger brother of Scorpions guitarist Rudolf Schenker and himself a brief member of the Scorpions early on, would leave for a solo career with his own group in 1980.

Neil Young (Stray Gators) - L.A.

So why did I include Neil Young on a list of favorite obscure rockers? The reason is that the album in question is obscure in Neil's catalog. Time Fades Away was recorded live over the course of a '73 tour Neil did that turned into a disaster. Neil broke up Crazy Horse after the heroin overdose death of guitarist Danny Whitten; formed a new band made up of session musicians not all of whom had even been on the road before or worked with Neil; sprung brand new, dark, semi-autobiographical songs on his unsuspecting audiences; and recorded the whole affair with a severely problematic digital mixer that bypassed the typical 2-track master tape stage. 

The whole album's 16-track configuration would have to be reassembled with extreme difficulty in order to remaster it for reissue; however, copies on vinyl and a preview of a cancelled HDCD issue are both circulating. That said, it's likely that TFA will not be officially re-released because of how disastrous the tour was and how many bad memories Neil still has of the experience.

1 comment:

Drew Mackie said...

Dude, thanks for these. I picked up some decent tracks I'd never heard before!