65 BRIAN CADD — BRIAN CADD
There may well be a sidebar post on 1972 Australian albums at some point, but this first album by all-rounder Brian Cadd deserves a special mention. He appeared here recently as a contributor to the fabulous soundtrack Morning Of The Earth (there may be a special ’72 soundtrack post as well, sometime) and although I referred to Cadd as the Aussie Leon Russell, I didn’t mention his history as a member of 60s pop hitmakers Axiom nor his stint playing in The Flying Burrito Brothers in the 80s. In fact, Cadd’s story is so rich and varied it would need an entire essay to outline just the major features, so perhaps we’ll just reference this self-titled solo debut. Boasting some excellent piano/keyboard work, neat orchestral flourishes, and Cadd’s distinctive voice, this LP is full of well-crafted songs that swing and occasionally soar. Astonishingly for a paid up card carrying atheist, the LP also includes one of two Christian themed songs I still enjoy. (“Show me the way”, since you asked.) Highlights: “Ginger Man”; “Silver City Birthday Celebration Day”. [Released November 1972]
64 DEUTER — AUM
Last year we featured Georg Deuter’s interesting and exploratory debut, D, which came in at #48 on the 71 From ’71 list. His second LP, Aum, is less experimental but just as interesting. With the electro-acoustic approach being refined and enhanced by sitar and 42-string guitar (which must have taken some practice!), there is a meditative approach flowing through the suites of pieces yet enough is happening musically to hold the attention. The trend towards New Age is clear, but not something to chafe against; this is probably my favourite Deuter album, reminding me pleasantly of Popol Vuh. In passing, the trippy inner sleeve has lots of text (in German) but the album is instrumental other than some subdued chanting. I haven’t translated much of the written material, but the notes to “Phönix” may say, “Focus on the music, notice its’ vibrations, and you will have a peaceful, dream-free mind.” After Aum Herr Deuter took a break from recording to follow his spiritual path; when he returned to the studio in 1976 (Celebration) composition and performance were credited to Chaitanya Hari Deuter and the music was clearly in an Eastern influenced New Age style. Highlight: side one has greater rhythmic assertiveness than the more dreamy second side. [Month of release unknown]
63 BELLETTO DI BRONZO — YS
Ys is the only official original album by Italian band The Bronze Ballet. It’s a dense and exciting progressive rock album with moments that sound like a gothic Mahavishnu Orchestra and others evoking a baroque Van Der Graaf Generator. When I first heard this I wondered who the female vocalist was and why they weren’t listed on the cover, but later realised my mistake; the singer is keyboard player (organ, piano, mellotron, mood, spinet, celeste) Gianni Leone. I’ve come to really enjoy Il Balletto di Bronzo and have no hesitation in recommending it to those who enjoy the occasional slab of heavy prog, with flourishes. Highlights: “Introduzione”; “Terzo incontro”. [Month of release unknown]
62 CURVED AIR — PHANTASMAGORIA
Curved Air’s third album is considered by many to be their best. Certainly the songs are well-crafted, thoughtfully arranged and played with skill and energy. Sonja Kristina’s vocals are a focus, of course, while the violin of Darryl Way continues to add a unique texture to their progressive rock pieces. Francis Monkman reworks “Vivaldi” from the debut album, which kind of seems a bit desperate, but overall this is the most satisfying Curved Air album in their catalogue. Bonus points for the wonderful cover but penalties for the muddy sound. Highlights: “Marie Antoinette”; “Over and Above”. [Released April 1972]
61 BUFFALO — DEAD FOREVER…
First encountered at my friend Rod Amberton’s house booming out of his massive 15 watt stereo, Buffalo’s Dead Forever… captivated us teenage boys. How could a band from Sydney sound as heavy as Led Zeppelin? As mysterious as Black Sabbath? As scary as Alice Cooper? Due to it being on the Vertigo (swirl) label, in fact, their first Australian signing, the LP commands absurd prices these days so I don’t have an original (though I live in hope) and have had to settle for the dodgy Arkarma re-issue. Admittedly, the unauthorised copy does come in a suitably weighty cardboard sleeve, matching the heaviosity of the music, but it still feels like cheating. There is, however, an excellent Aztec Music re-issue on CD.
It’s not easy to tell you about the music. As soon as I load Dead Forever into any system, I’m transported back to 1972 and can’t manage much more than ‘Wow’, or ‘Shit-aye!’. There’s a reason not many album reviews are written by teenagers. Still, I’ll take a crack.
Dead Forever begins innocently enough, with some strummed guitar and vocal Ahhhs, but then the riff thumps in, accompanied by an echo-laden vocal. You turn it up a notch, to feel the noise, and then a bit more. Suddenly it changes pace for a John Baxter guitar drenched interlude, with Dave Tice wailing over the top, building to a climax and stomp-on-the-brakes ending. After this heavy Sabbath opening, “Suzie Sunshine” comes across as almost poppy—a catchy melody over a bouncing riff—but it’s pop for a universe where Blue Cheer were The Beatles. The other two side one songs are both blues based grooves (with extras: “Pay My Dues” has a brilliant bad acid intro and “I’m a mover” does Free proud across a sprawling ten minutes) and are solid rather than exceptional. Which is OK because side two is as shiny as tin and heavy as lead.
Dead Forever punches well above its weight in the heavy rock division (early Seventies chapter), having knuckle bruising attitude, great riffs, and even the mandatory ballad (a strangely touching “Forest Rain”). Buffalo embodied the mischievousness of a Bon Scott grin—part Fagin, part Satyr. They played their heavy rock songs very loudly, and chose cover art of ludicrous bad taste; they were, in fact, true denim clad Aussie larrikins. If you gravitate to the heavy end of the rock periodic table, you need this album (or the one after it).