Summer 2001
CD Reviews



Nuggets II

Listen to RealAudio sample: I Wish I Was Five By John Kongos & Skrugg

Back in the Summer of 1967, British rock legends Pink Floyd released their now classic worldwide smash, "See Emily Play", and in the afterglow further paved the way for a flourishing cottage industry of late ‘60s psychedelic U.K. pop bands ready, willing and able to give it a try. The pinnacle of the British psychedelic pop revolution, 1966-70 - the golden age of The Beatles and swinging London town - is given a new makeover on a recent four CD box set from the reissue masters at Rhino. While Rhino’s first Nuggets box (compiled from Elektra’s famous 1972 double Lp) featured highlights of the U.S. psychedelic pop boom of the late ‘60s, Nuggets II, subtitled Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969, takes a different approach entirely. Having auditioned well over a thousand songs for their box set, the A&R gurus at Rhino finally settled on just over one hundred tracks to consummate Nuggets II. In addition to trendsetting tracks from British paisley-pop pioneers like The Move (with Roy Wood), Tomorrow (with Steve Howe), The Pretty Things, The Small Faces, The Idle Race (with Jeff Lynne), David Bowie (recording here as Davy Jones), early music by the criminally overlooked John Kongos (a ‘68 cut with the group Skrugg), The Sorrows, The Troggs, Them and The Downliners Sect, Nuggets II also blends in cuts from numerous pop bands from Australia, Brazil, Spain, Sweden, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Japan and Denmark (where’s Finland?). A dazzling 100 page, four color, in depth booklet gives an overwhelming sense of cohesion to the entire project. The coming of age of the post-Revolver world of ‘60s pop is given a comprehensive reexamination on the totally essential Nuggets II. 


Magic Time
The Blue Marble

For pop fans in the know, the name Curt Boettcher is still highly regarded. Discovered by famed Columbia Records producer and Brian Wilson collaborator Gary Usher, Boettcher, with Usher, received national recognition with the band Sagittarius and their 1967 pop chestnut "My World Fell Down". Light years beyond most ‘60s pop music, Sagittarius nevertheless quickly peaked after their brilliant debut. Much the same could be said about Boettcher’s other classic albums with The Ballroom and The Millennium. Thanks to Sundazed, pop fans can now get the full story behind the genius of the late, great Curt Boettcher and much of the brilliant music he made between 1965-68. Boettcher may have been the glue holding The Millennium together, but the band also featured six other gifted musicians including Joey Stec, Sandy Salisbury and Michael Fennelly, the latter of the early ‘70s pop group Crabby Appleton. The seven member Millennium created some dazzling pop music, often evoking Beach Boys-style flights of musical fancy, bubble-gum music and baroque pop. After hearing the sixty two tracks on this superbly designed three CD Millennium retrospective, it’s obvious that their music rates as highly as any produced by Usher during the heyday of late ‘60s psychedelia. Sundazed pulls the whole project off with absolute finesse adding in a 24 page booklet with impressive liner notes from pop maven David Bash. 

Unbeknownst to many ‘60s pop fans, Sagittarius did record a follow up to their classic first album Present Tense. U.K.-based Poptones have scored a real coup with their 2001 reissue of The Blue Marble. It might not be as great as the first Sagittarius album, yet The Blue Marble is nevertheless filled with a similar high degree of pop genius that marked Present Tense. While the album was only available as a limited release on the short lived Together Records label, The Blue Marble offers more proof that Sagittarius founders Gary Usher and (Millennium founder) Curt Boettcher were clearly one of the great pop pairings of the late ‘60s. Usher’s early work with Brian Wilson is reflected in the album’s lead off track, a stellar cover of the Wilson-Usher classic "In My Room" featuring Boettcher’s golden voiced lead vocals. Five bonus tracks are also added in including a Sagittarius cover of the Harry Nilsson classic "I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City". Proof that Sagittarius did move mountains after their first album, The Blue Marble, complete with elegant cover art and cryptic notes from Usher, is one helluva reissue collectible. 


Polydor Records have been busily adding to the CD catalog of The Who with three recently upgraded movie soundtracks featuring music from the legendary U.K. rock quartet. The soundtrack album from the group’s most famous movie, 1979’s Quadrophenia, was reissued once again, this time fitting all the music from the original double LP set onto one nearly 80 minute CD. In addition to alternate versions of tracks from the The Who’s 1973 album Quadrophenia, the Quad movie soundtrack boasted several early Who tunes like "I’m The Face" and "Zoot Suit" recorded when they were still known as The High Numbers. Other Quadrophenia highlights include several Who period piece rarities and various pop classics from icons like James Brown, Booker T. & The MG’s and The Cascades, all songs which were heard in the movie. Polydor also reintroduces a CD upgrade of the 1975 film soundtrack of Tommy complete with now classic performances from The Who, Elton John, Ann Margret and Tina Turner. Added to the 2000 Tommy CD soundtrack is a rarely heard orchestral rendition of the "Overture From Tommy" performed entirely by Townsend. Rounding out these recent Who CD soundtrack upgrades is the 1979 soundtrack to the Who rockumentary The Kids Are Alright, highlighting 17 killer live Who performances recorded at Woodstock, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Shindig and German TV’s Beat Club show. All three soundtracks were newly remastered by The Who’s long time mastering engineer Jon Astley. The most obvious improvement in sound quality can be heard on the CD upgrade for Quadrophenia, so long time Who fans are advised to start there, however all three Who soundtracks feature original album art and informative track data. 

Head First
Say No More
Without You
(Frances Glover Books)

The music they made as a band is still some of the finest pop ever recorded, but the way they ended up in death and destruction remains one of the horrors of the music business. Discovered by The Beatles and signed to Apple Records way back during the heyday of the late ‘60s, Badfinger featured four supremely talented individuals who could write music, sing, perform and basically hold their own with the best of them. It’s still harrowing to think that the group’s best singer-songwriters, Pete Ham and Tom Evans, each took their own lives following years of turmoil and financial pressures. Badfinger albums such as No Dice and Straight Up are still revered by pop fans worldwide and during their prime the band was incredibly prolific. That aspect of the Badfinger legacy really comes to new light thanks to the reissue of two never before released Badfinger studio albums and a book which includes a full length CD. Just months before Pete Ham took his own life, Badfinger completed their Head First album in December, ‘74. The album was supposed to come out on Warner Bros, but long story short, a court suit resulted in Warners dropping the group crushing the band as a result. Released on U.K.-based Snapper Music, the golden Head First can finally be heard in all it’s glory complete with a bonus disc of vital demo tracks retrofitted with detailed liner notes by Badfinger expert Dan Matovina. Despite the loss of Ham, Badfinger carried on and in 1980 reformed for their final album Say No More, recorded in Florida. Evans and Joey Molland teamed with keyboard wiz Tony Kaye for the Say No More sessions. Filled with an early ‘80s music vibe, the album is not Badfinger at their best, but long time fans will enjoy the group’s renewed sense of spirit and solid pop edge. Once again Matovina supplies the revealing liner notes for Say No More. The liner notes of both Head First and Say No More reexamine the group’s final chapters as a living legend, but for the full story, Badfinger fans will have to check out Matovina’s 444 page expose on the entire Badfinger saga entitled Without You: The Tragic Story Of Badfinger. In addition to a superbly written epic of the Badfinger legend, Matovina has reloaded the book with a 19 track CD filled with unreleased Badfinger demo tracks, BBC cuts and taped phone calls which could only be described as harrowing. The revised 2000 edition of Without You, complete with the CD and updated info, is clearly the one for fans to pick up. While much has been and will probably continue to be written about how bad Badfinger ended up, their music is still the stuff rock legends are made of. 

The Anthology
Clonakilty Cowboys / Blowin’
(One Way)

After he left his post as bass player with The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Noel Redding formed Fat Mattress, this time as the group’s guitarist. The group’s self-titled debut album, first released in the U.S. on Atlantic Records, was a hit with fans of Redding’s work with Hendrix. Catchy, pastoral rock infused with just the right amount of folk and psychedelic tinges, the Fat Mattress album was one of the most underrated debut albums from 1969. Following a disastrous tour of the U.S., Redding split the band leaving it in the hands of band mates Jim Leverton and Neil Landon. With Redding gone, Landon and Leverton recorded one more FM album, although much of the magic of the group’s first album was gone. For their nicely packaged double CD Fat Mattress Anthology, subtitled The Black Sheep Of The Family, U.K.-based Castle Records compiles tracks from both FM albums adding in several other rarities topped off by detailed liner notes. 

Noel Redding fans will also want to check out a recent 20 track two-fer CD released by Florida-based One Way Records. One Way’s recent CD by The Noel Redding Band pairs a couple mid ‘70s efforts by Redding & company. Clonakilty Cowboys (1975) and Blowin’ (1976) finds Redding supported by a solid backing band including guitarist Eric Bell, drummer LT Sampson and vocalist David Clarke. In addition, Clonakilty Cowboys is enhanced by fine production work from Muff Winwood. A lack of liner notes on the One Way release doesn’t give much information, but the music still holds up quite nicely. Overall, The Noel Redding Band two-fer is a solid 20 track compilation that compliments Redding’s late ‘60s work with Fat Mattress. 


The Peter Green Collection
(Fuel 2000)

Guitar legend Peter Green is still revered for his early work with blues icon John Mayall and of course for the fine albums he made as the leader of the original Fleetwood Mac. After he abruptly left Fleetwood Mac in 1970, Green went into seclusion but was coaxed back into recording by the end of the ‘70s. The era that found Green trying to regain his stature is well documented on The Peter Green Collection, issued on the L.A.-based Fuel 2000 Records. Featuring a number of excellent musicians, like keyboardist Peter Bardens and guitarist Snowy White, Green’s late ‘70s and early ‘80s albums were also punctuated by kindred songwriting contributions from Green’s brother Michael Green. A fitting testimony to one of the most underrated U.K. guitar icons, the 16 track Peter Green Collection offers a long overdue reassessment of the guitar great while also adding in informative liner notes by noted author Greg Russo. 

(Image Entertainment - DVD)

When rock superstar Brian Wilson released his ‘98 album Imagination, the CD was welcomed by most long time Beach Boys fans, including younger artists like Peter Buck and Sean Lennon. The making of Imagination is well documented on this recent Image Entertainment DVD, which spotlights interviews with legends like Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello, Sean Lennon and others. However, the centerpiece of the 55 minute DVD is the concert videos and behind the scenes footage from Wilson’s fabled St.Charles, Illinois concert from late ‘98. Wilson & Company (including Bruce Johnston, Joe Thomas, Timothy B. Schmit and others) serve up classics from Imagination as well as Beach Boys’ favorites like "California Girls" and "In My Room". All in all, the Imagination DVD makes a fitting companion piece to the album of the same name. In other Imagination news, DTS Entertainment has just released the first ever digital surround sound audio version of Imagination. However, you’ll need a DTS-capable 5.1 surround sound DVD audio system to play the album, which was remixed for what DTS claims is the ‘ultimate entertainment experience’ ( Also on Image Entertainment are two more Beach Boys-related DVD video titles including The Beach Boys - The Lost Concert (an incredible 22 minute, nine track live show from a 1964 Beach Boys concert with Brian) and Nashville Sounds, a 57 minute documentary focusing on the making of The Beach Boys’ 1996 Stars And Stripes album, complete with guest spots from country music legends like Willie Nelson, Junior Brown and Ricky van Shelton). 

The Honeys Collection
(Collector’s Choice)

When she was just fifteen, Marilyn Rovell met Brian Wilson while The Beach Boys were preforming at a teen club in Hollywood. By the start of ‘63, Marilyn, her sister Diane Rovell and their cousin Sandy Glantz (later to change her name to Ginger Blake) were already planning, with Brian as producer and mentor, the formation of the first all girl surf music group which they eventually named The Honeys. The group became Brian’s pet project outside the Beach Boys, and with Marilyn soon to become Mrs. Brian Wilson at age 16, The Honeys took on a special meaning for Brian. Wilson’s masterful studio approach to pop production can be heard all over this 26 track Honeys’ compilation recently reissued by Collectors’ Choice. Wilson was introduced to The Honeys through his associate Gary Usher, who also used the girls as backup singers on his 1964 solo single, the Wilson-Usher classic "Sacramento", also featured here. Another highlight of this fine period-piece CD of ‘60s West Coast pop is Brian’s song "Guess I’m Dumb", a song written to feature The Honeys backing the lead vocals of Glen Campbell, sort of a parting trophy for Campbell after his brief stint standing in for Brian in The Beach Boys. In addition to several Honeys’ originals and the songs Brian wrote for the girls, the CD also features songs written for them by aspiring songwriting teams like Boyce-Hart and Sloan-Barri. Even Brian’s dad, the late, great Murry Wilson took The Honeys into the studio, later in the ‘60s, to record some of his own songs. Brian used only the best musicians to back The Honeys in the studio and, in addition to stalwarts like Hal Blaine on drums and Leon Russell on keyboards, Wilson employed the guitar sounds of ace pickers like Glen Campbell, Tommy Tedesco, Billy Strange and Jerry Cole. The CD sports new liner notes from Stephen J. McParland and there’s even a cool 2000 photo of Brian and The Honeys. With so much early ‘60s West Coast music history on The Honey’s Collection, no self-respecting Beach Boys fans will want to miss it. 

In Season
Off Seasons

Songs like "Walk Like A Man" and "Big Girls Don’t Cry" and other classics from The 4 Seasons provided a clear link between late ‘50s American rock and roll and the coming sounds of The British Invasion spearheaded by The Beatles. Back in early 1963, months before the Fab Four’s arrival at JFK, pop fans kept their little transistor radios on alert for the next chart topper from Frankie Valli and his mates in The 4 Seasons. Valli’s instantly recognizable falsetto-tinged lead vocals were the lynchpin in the 4 Seasons sound. Having the incredible songwriting team of Bob Crewe (the group’s producer) and Bob Gaudio (the group’s keyboardist and vocalist) writing hit after hit for the band didn’t exactly hurt either. The early 4 Seasons lineup was rounded out by Tommy DeVito (lead guitar, vocals) and Nick Massi (bass, vocals). Subtitled, The Frankie Valli & The 4 Seasons Anthology, In Season compiles fifty one 4 Seasons classics spread over two CDs. A 150 minute double disc set, In Season takes in all the group’s top forty hits from the ‘60s along with rarities and singles and even touches upon the group’s underrated 1969 art-pop concept album, Genuine Imitation Life Gazette. Also featured are a variety of ‘70s tracks that Frankie Valli took to the top of the charts as a solo artist. While In Season focuses on the songs The 4 Seasons rode to the top of the charts, Off Seasons (subtitled Criminally Ignored Sides From Frankie Valli & The 4 Seasons) compiles 20 unheralded tracks from a cross-section of 4 Seasons’ studio albums and assorted b-sides from the ‘60s. Indispensable for those looking to find out more about one of the most prominent groups in early ‘60s pop music history, both In Season and Off Seasons are rounded out by detailed liner notes, session data and a complete list of all the group members and various session players. 

The Best Of Jeffrey Foskett
(New Surf)

An indispensable member of the current Brian Wilson group line-up, guitarist and singer-songwriter Jeff Foskett has recorded some excellent pop tracks over the past several years. The best of his many fine songs are now represented on a recently released Foskett compilation on the up and coming California-based New Surf North label. The liner notes for Foskett’s 21 track Best Of CD are written by Brian Wilson himself who adds, "I think you’re gonna like this CD. It’s his great voice on a whole bunch of cool tunes that he wrote." The tracks are taken from four different Foskett solo efforts recorded between ‘96 and 2000 including his most recent Twelve And Twelve album. Back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s Foskett was a key member of The Beach Boys, his smooth vocals helping create the aura that Brian and Carl were still in the band. Beach Boys and Brian Wilson fans will get a real kick out of Foskett’s Best Of, which features a fine band along with key contributions from pop greats Brian Wilson, Marshall Crenshaw, Robert Lamm, Gerry Beckley, and the list goes on and on. Suffice to say, if you enjoy California pop in the best spirit of The Beach Boys, you really should check out The Best Of Jeffrey Foskett. Also reissued on New Surf North is Foskett’s mid ‘90s album Thru’ My Window. Considered by some to be Foskett’s best of seven solo albums to date, Thru’ My Window features fourteen vintage pop gems including a cool cover of The Sunrays’ "I Live For The Sun" and the dazzling title track, all topped off by a complete lyric sheet. 

Adventures Of Superman
(Varese Sarabande)

Millions of baby boomers grew up watching the original Superman series as it aired on TV each week and later each day back in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Beginning the series with the fabled two part November 1951 Superman and the Mole Men episode, the Superman phenomenon continued into the ‘60s with a run of 104 episodes. The stark and dramatic orchestral music woven through each show was so popular that it was actually recycled in other ‘60s action-drama B&W TV shows like Sky King and Racket Squad. The brainchild of ‘50s low-rent film scores king David Chudnow, the music for the original Superman TV series was amazingly generated without publisher attachments, but presumably NYC-based Jack Shaindlin is credited with the Promethean "Superman Theme". Tracks reworked from film scores of B movies and newsreels released through various French film companies were later reorchestrated in Hollywood and reperformed in France. Much more atmospheric and almost progressive sounding than mere canned background music, these orchestral tracks were incredibly effective at enhancing the action scenes throughout the long Superman run. Anyone looking to find out more about the entire Superman music story can find it on The Adventures Of Superman - The Original 1950’s Television Series released by the fabulous kings of soundtracks Varese Sarabande. You can’t miss it with it’s original Superman logo and the liner notes, by Paul Mandell, are reason enough to check out this vital reissue. 

Hats Off
(The Right Stuff)

He released his first solo album, The Sophisticated Beggar, way back in 1966 and since then U.K. music legend, singer-songwriter Roy Harper has gone onto record over thirty solo albums. It’s a well-known fact that Harper has never received his just acclaim in the U.S. Now, in a stroke of luck best described as ‘better late than never’, The Right Stuff helps to set the record straight with a useful compilation displaying some of the electrifying folk-rock great’s most dazzling moments. With it’s title borrowed from the Led Zeppelin song "Hats Off To Harper", the 14 track, 70+ minute Hats Off is highlighted by a 29 page CD booklet featuring in-depth liner notes and lyrics as well as photos of Roy performing with some of the rock legends who’ve appeared on his albums through the years. A sampling of the who’s who of musicians appearing on Hats Off includes Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Keith Moon, Ian Anderson, Alvin Lee, Bill Bruford, Chris Spedding, David Gilmour, Paul & Linda McCartney and Roy’s son Nick Harper. Harper, whose music could be best described as a prophetic musical mix of Neil Young and Jethro Tull’s more reflective moments, fittingly describes himself as "The longest running underground act in the world; underground rather than world music or electric folk." Harper is easily all this and more on Hats Off, his long awaited retrospective aimed directly the U.S. market. Without a doubt, Hats Off makes it’s quite clear that Harper’s music remains as vital now as it did 25 years ago. 

Blues Breakers

Before albums like Fresh Cream, Blues From Laurel Canyon and English Rose, the sound and vision of British blues-rock was ready to roll with John Mayall’s June 1966 album Blues Breakers. Back then, Mayall had just been cut off from his record company but the addition of guitar god Clapton to the ranks brought new life into Mayall’s band. Clapton had just quit The Yardbirds, and with the addition of John McVie (soon to join Fleetwood Mac) and drummer Hughie Flint, The Blues Breakers were set to take center stage. Part of the UMG Blues Classics - Remastered & Revisited series, the original Blues Breakers CD (originally on Deram Records) is newly upgraded with original artwork and liner notes, rare period piece photos, two bonus tracks and insightful new liner notes by Paul Trynka and John Mayall. Anyone looking to find out just how Clapton formulated his dynamite guitar sound simply must hear the first Blues Breakers album, an album which paved the way for both Cream and Fleetwood Mac while also reviving the Mayall sound for the coming albums the U.K. bandleader would soon create. Another Mayall album given the Remastered & Revisited treatment is Mayall’s April 1971 double album Back To The Roots, an album which gathered together a wide range of former Blues Breakers members. Not nearly as trendsetting as the first Blues Breakers album, Back To The Roots (originally released on Polydor Records) was a spirited reunion of Mayall guitar ‘graduates’ including Clapton (fresh from his work with Cream and Blind Faith), Mick Taylor, Harvey Mandel and Larry Taylor. The double CD set Back To The Roots is further fleshed out with original artwork and liner notes, new liner notes from Mayall along with a number of remixed bonus cuts from the original session tapes. For blues fans it doesn’t get any better than these vital reissue CD upgrades. 

Ricky / Ricky Nelson
(Imperial / Capitol)

The entire output of music the late, great rock and roll legend Ricky Nelson recorded for Imperial Records between 1957-62 was recently reissued on four new two-fer CDs. Released on CD is Ricky / Ricky Nelson (1957 / 1958 - 31 tracks with 7 bonus tracks), Ricky Sings Again / Songs By Ricky (both 1959 - 31 tracks with 8 bonus tracks), More Songs By Ricky / Rick Is 21 (1960 / 1961 - 32 tracks with 8 bonus tracks), Album Seven By Rick / Ricky Sings Spirituals (1962 / 1960 with 24 tracks). In addition to these early album reissues, Imperial / Capitol have also revived Nelson’s 1980 album Playing To Win, Rick’s return to Capitol Records after years of being on numerous other labels. Nelson’s final album of all new material, featuring covers of John Fogerty, Ry Cooder and John Hiatt, Playing To Win (now reissued with six bonus tracks) was produced by the late great Jack Nitzsche. In addition to the original album artwork and period piece photos, each of these CD reissues benefits from upgraded sound quality (remastered from once presumed lost master tapes) and insightful essays by James Ritz, a noted musicologist and long time acquaintance of Nelson. Capitol Records scored high marks for last year’s Rick Nelson Legacy box set. The reissue of these five valuable rock relics sets the record straight with respect to Rick Nelson’s Imperial / Capitol recordings from the late ‘50s, early ‘60s and 1980.

(RCA Victor)

The first major World Music icon, Ravi Shankar’s legacy is sealed forever for turning The Beatles on to the joys of Indian sitar music. Subtitled The Best Of Ravi Shankar, Bridges samples tracks from Shankar’s ‘80s releases on Private Music. Fab Four guitar ace George Harrison, who worked extensively with Shankar in the ‘60s and later at The Concert For Bangla Desh, is featured here, somewhat unobtrusively, on auto harp and synths on Shankar’s 1987 New Age/Worldbeat album Tana Mana, an album which features a number of fine Indian musicians jamming with George along with New Age artist Patrick O’Hearn (bass) and rock legend Al Kooper (guitar). Other tracks are culled from Inside The Kremlin (1988) and Passages (1990 featuring Philip Glass). Now at age 81, Shankar can surely reflect back on his highly creative legacy. A good portrait of Ravi’s Private Music albums, Bridges demonstrates the enduring genius and transformational qualities of Shankar’s sitar mastery.

Digital Moonscapes
(East Side Digital)

The avant gard trendsetting pioneer of electronic music, Wendy Carlos is to the synthesizer what Segovia is to the classical guitar. Her early groundbreaking work with Robert Moog on the late ‘60s opus Switched-On-Bach is still the stuff legends are made of. East Side Digital, working closely with Ms. Carlos on the restoration of her entire back catalog, has received numerous kudos for recent remasters of Carlos classics like Sonic Seasonings and Wendy Carlos’ Clockwork Orange. The latter, from 1972, is regarded as the most important e-music soundtrack ever recorded. ESD also released her late ‘90s comeback album Tales Of Heaven And Hell as well as a Switched-On Boxed Set, featuring four early Carlos classics including Switched-On Bach and The Well-Tempered Synthesizer. Two recent remasters from Ms. Carlos on ESD are Digital Moonscapes (originally released on CBS/Sony in 1984) and Beauty In The Beast (released on Audion in 1986 which Ms. Carlos adds "is my most important album"). Both CDs have been sonically upgraded with 20 bit remastering and now feature an enormous amount of session data, in-depth profiling of each album and new information in the way of recent liner notes by Ms. Carlos. Both titles also feature Enhanced CD bonus material as well. Regarding the recently remastered Digital Moonscapes, Ms. Carlos happily adds, "Candidly, I’m quite tickled at the opportunity to put things right this time around, and I hope you’ll agree that the new artwork fits the music and album concept far better than the originals ever did."

Nicolas II

Back in the mid to late ‘70s, the jazz-rock craze was booming both in Europe and the U.S. One group that combined the adventurous spirit of John McLaughlin and Weather Report, Potemkine was one of the best fusion groups to come out of France back then. Recorded and released in 1978, Nicolas II was a favorite among imported jazz-rock disciples back then. Featuring three brothers, guitarist Charles Goubin, Michel Goubin (keyboards), Philippe Goubin (drums) and Doudou Dubuisson (bass), Nicolas II was the last and perhaps best of the three Potemkine albums. In the spirit of avant gard Euro fusion groups like Magma and Zamla, Nicolas II contained more than it’s share of melodic instrumental passages underscored by an exotic and often breathtaking musical presence. Reissued by the French label Soleil, this first ever 2001 CD reissue of Nicolas II features superb remastering, liner notes in French and English, rare photos and bonus tracks. Another 2001 reissue on Soleil is Potemkine’s 1977 album Triton, here with five bonus tracks and detailed liner notes in English. 

The Group
(Warner Bros.)

Back in 1978, Finland’s progressive jazz-rock bass great and gifted composer Pekka Pohjola co-founded The Group. Also featuring guitarist Seppo Tyni, drummer Vesa Aaltonen and keyboardist Olli Ahvenlahti, The Group album picked up where Pohjola’s 1976 album, Keesojen Lehto, recorded with and produced by Mike Oldfield, left off. Brilliant, soaring instrumental music, blending the best of ‘70s jazz-rock with sterling, neoclassical progressive fusion music, The Group was sadly, a short lived phenomenon, yet the one album they made together remains more than a fond memory for Pohjola’s fans. Reissued with the original album art and original liner notes by Finnlevy, through Warner Music Finland, The Group album sounds better than ever thanks to some high end 24 bit remastering. After splitting up The Group, Pohjola went on to record his 1979 masterpiece Visitation, yet The Group album still remains one of the most stylish and tastefully recorded instrumental albums from the late ‘70s. For more info contact: 

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