Category a) Sixties and earlier [0 – 1969]

YOUNG AND FRESH

First albums by bands are always interesting, though not necessarily essential. Sometimes the artist is feeling their way, often the vision is a work-in-progress, occasionally it’s “All Change!” after the first effort. The two 1968 debuts we’re looking at in this post cover most of the bases mentioned above. Both are worthy of attention; both […]

DADDY, WHERE DID PROG COME FROM?

Released in November 1968, Ars Longa Vita Brevis was the second album by The Nice. Their first, 1967’s The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack, has some classic psychedelic songs (“Flower King of Flies” is a personal fave) and clear progressive characteristics, exemplified by Keith Emerson’s keyboard work on “Rondo”, but you could not call it a […]

LIFE IS SHORT, ART IS LONG

“When did prog rock begin?” is a question that gets trotted out periodically and always invites a storm of opinion, most of it generating more heat than light. A big part of the problem is a lack of shared understanding around the terms. What is prog? Is it different from progressive music? And what constitutes […]

THREE 68 BEES

One of the best albums of the 60s was released in January 1968. It garnished folk-rock, psychedelic, country and pop tunes with flourishes of Eastern tonalities, smatterings of jazz and a knowing awareness of what four chaps from Liverpool were doing over in the UK. We are talking about The Notorious Byrd Brothers, behind whose […]

DON’T NEED NO TICKET

After a breakthrough year in 1967, Aretha Franklin surged into 1968 with Lady Soul, a flat-out classic that hit the shelves in January of that year. Aretha had a way of making a song her own. Didn’t matter who wrote it—male/female, black/white, pop/R&B—made no difference to the Queen of Soul. When Aretha sang a song […]

TOOTH TRAFFIC

Last year I bit off more than I could chew. A brave, but ultimately foolhardy attempt was made to cover all the 1967 albums stored in the Vinyl Connection larder. A couple of dozen LPs made it to the fifty-year table; a very modest selection from the potential number of courses. Some sense of failure […]

VERTICAL OVERLOAD

The last instalment* of the series on gatefold album covers that open vertically. Enjoy. * Keef Hartley Band – Halfbreed  [Deram 1969] May Blitz – May Blitz  [Vertigo 1970] The Peddlers – Birthday  [CBS 1969] Muddy Waters & Howlin’ Wolf – London Revisited  [Chess 1974] Queen – News Of The World  [Elektra (US) / EMI […]