Sunday, April 22, 2007

Hudson Brothers - Ba-Fa

Ba-Fa was the band's fourth album and the last truly worthy entry in their repertoire. Bearing shades of the Beach Boys and Beatles, the material does sometimes tend to come across schizophrenic. In spite of its identity crisis, "Ba-Fa" is generally regarded as one of the band's classic recordings. If you've never heard the album, then enjoy this clean vinyl transfer. Check it!

The Rollers - Ricochet

As mentioned in my previous blog, The Rollers recorded three albums in a grasp towards artistic legitimacy between 1978 and 1981. The plan failed and within a few years, the original lineup reunited to the delight of their massive japanese following. "Ricochet", The Rollers' final offering is, at best, a lukewarm affair. Aside from a handful of strong tracks, the album is relatively forgettable. However, its omission from any reissue campaign over the years warrants its appearance here. Download this excellent vinyl rip and judge for yourself.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Hudson Brothers - Hollywood Situation

As promised, their 3rd LP "Hollywood Situation" from Casablanca Records in 1974. Having established some success on television, the band works in songs culled from their variety show as well as a pointless Chucky Margolis skit. The material is mostly strong, though there appears to be a lack of focus here. Nonetheless, fans should eat this one up. Enjoy!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Hudson Brothers - Totally Out of Control

If there ever was a band who personified both teenage idol fluff AND true artistic merit, it is the Hudson Brothers. Long before David Cassidy, Leif Garrett, Bay City Rollers and other teen icons sprang upon the scene, the Hudsons were hard at work in the pacific northwest under the name, The New Yorkers. Several years on the scene finally landed them a label deal with Playboy Records and a name change. Their self-titled debut, "Hudson", was issued in 1972 but sales were slow and the album vanished quickly. Luckily, their new friend Elton John signed them to his Rocket Records label and Hudson mania quickly set in.

This album, entitled "Totally Out of Control", was their first under the direction of Elton John and partner Bernie Taupin. It's a brilliant power pop album oozing with hook filled melodies, soaring harmonies and loads of conviction. Another album and hit single later, they were bona fide rock stars. In 1974, Hudson mania reached its peak and the boys became the hosts of their own variety show, "The Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show". Gracing the covers of practically every teen magazine during this time period ensured their celebrity, but also stripped them of the respectability they eagerly sought.

Despite that they had 'sold out', their music was as solid as ever and there was no denying their writing and performing talents. Sadly, as with most 70's teen icons, their fame was brief and by 1977, the backslide into banality had begun. Two albums followed and by the early 80's, they were all but forgotten. Luckily, each of them have gracefully transitioned into other areas of showbiz and have maintained successful careers ever since. Mark, the mustachioed middle brother has toured in Ringo Starr's All-Stars Band for years and has written huge singles for Hanson, Aerosmith and Celine Dion. Brett and Bill have moved into film and television production.

Apart from a late 90's retrospective release, the Hudsons have never seen CD reissue. This classic album, along with "Hollywood Situation" and "Ba-Fa" have been circulating in file trading circles for a few years now. This trifecta of golden power pop will be featured here in the coming days, beginning now with "Totally Out of Control". Download this clean vinyl rip and enjoy the goodness of the Hudson Brothers!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Naked City: A Tribute to Kiss

Like the "Gretain", "Kiss My Dick" and "Larger Than Life" series of tribute albums, the aim of this collection I've put together is to compile oddball cover versions of classic Kiss material that have not appeared on any official tribute album. Rather than spending a lifetime tracking down the EPs, singles and albums on which these Kiss covers originally appeared, I've put them all in one place. To my knowledge, none of these tracks have ever appeared on any of the aforementioned collections. Download and enjoy!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Wrathchild - Stackheel Strutt

Wrathchild were one of those bands who seemed poised for massive success, only to end up strangled by legalities and label hassles. In retrospect, I suppose there was nothing extremely mindblowing about the band's music or image, but their timing couldn't have been more perfect. The band were the first to coin the term 'Glam Metal' and are arguably at the forefront of the movement that swept through Europe and the United States during the early to mid eighties. A curious cross between NWOBHM and the New York Dolls, Wrathchild were a brash and uncompromising quartet with a highly visual stage show and look. Over the years they would temper their look to fit the times, but the earliest stages of their career saw the band draped in spikes, studs, nails, black leather and mile high hair.

This EP, "Stackheel Strutt", represents that era of the band's career. Aside from a poorly recorded demo released the previous year, this was Wrathchild's introduction to the world. People took notice and for several years, the band were gracing the pages of reputable music magazines all over the UK. It all went south within a few years, but this is some of the band's best material. Never pressed to CD, "Stackheel Strutt" is here for your downloading pleasure. For inquiring minds, this will be a pleasant surprise. Dig in!

Friday, April 13, 2007

City Boy - It's Personal

Birmingham's City Boy were one of those bands who were almost too clever for their own good. With two frontmen, intelligent writing, sardonic lyrics and mind boggling musicianship, it would seem they were tailored for major success. However, the band were almost too pop to be considered "progressive" and too complex to be considered "mainstream". Taking cues from fellow brits, 10cc, they wrote strange little pop songs about unusual topics and I guess people just didn't get them.

Mercury Records signed the band and released a string of wonderful albums between 1975-1978. By 1979, they had moved to the states and signed with Atlantic Records. Their first effort, "The Day the Earth Caught Fire", with the new label flopped and this eventually precipitated the departure of vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Steve Broughton, and bassist Chris Dunn. This was the beginning of the end for City Boy. Atlantic soon became apathetic and did little to promote their next effort, "Heads Are Rolling". City Boy, now a quartet, took one last gasp for air and recorded "It's Personal". The label didn't even bother releasing the album in the states or Europe. By 1982, it was all over. Members would later go on to marginal success with acts like The Maisonettes and Streets.

In actuality, "It's Personal" is a fantastic recording. Though the band had clearly abandoned the complexities of their earlier material, the new more compact pop hooks shone through clearly on this album. In retrospect, Atlantic's apathy was misplaced. With proper promotion, the album stood a great chance of mainstream success. To my knowledge, this album was only released in the Scandinavian region and has become extremely difficult to locate. Though Renaissance Records & Bear Tracks Music have both released most of the City Boy catalog, this missing link has never seen CD release. Instead, download this HQ rip direct from clean vinyl and see what Europe and America missed out on the first time in 1981. You'll be amazed.

320kbps @

The Rollers - Voxx

I can think of dozens of bands/artists who made their fortune playing fluff only to later shed their image and shoot for legitimacy. More often than not, it failed miserably. Such is the case of The Rollers. After Les McKeown's unfortunate bust in Japan in 1978, BCR left him in the dust to search for a new voice for the band. Enter one Duncan Faure, South African poster boy and former member of Trevor Rabin's Rabbitt. In retrospect, some question whether this was a bad career move. While sales figures would certainly indicate so, Faure's writing and vocal talent DID lend a bit of credibility to the band. His first outing with the band, "Elevator", turned out to be an incredible collection of finely tuned power pop. At the time, audiences failed to take notice. Realizing that they needed to move quickly on another album, outtakes from the "Elevator" sessions were salvaged, embellished and eventually used for the bulk of their follow up, "Voxx".

To their credit, despite the hurried manner in which the album was assembled, there is much to love about this record. Overall, perhaps it's just an average record but there are enough gems here worth noting. If anything, the biggest mistake about the album was that Arista chose not to release it in the states or in the UK. Presuming that since BCR's biggest fanbase was in Japan, the Asian market was their natural target. As a result, many years later, this album was only ever reissued in Japan as part of an exhaustive box set anthology. Due to the pricey cost and waning demand for the box set, it quickly went out-of-print.

Easily considered the most elusive of the band's releases, it is posted here for the curious fans who missed their opportunity to hear it in 1980. There will be more obscurities coming from The Rollers in the coming days. For now, dig into this and hear an interesting chapter in the band's history.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Head East - Onward & Upward

Head East was an interesting anomaly of the 70's. They recorded what is surely considered one of the most familiar classic singles of their era, "Never Been Any Reason", yet they remained virtually unknown. I remember when the band was highly active and prolific, they still never appeared in the relevant magazines or television programs that most of their contemporaries did. AOR radio ate them up, but their records barely sold. It still puzzles me, as their writing was strong, their musicianship was top-notch and they had A&M Records going to bat for them.

In any case, a few of the members got wise and jumped ship in 1980 when they realized they were flogging a dead horse. Band stalwarts, Roger Boyd and Steve Huston, decided to carry on with a new lineup. A&M stuck it out with the band for one more album, "U.S. 1" before even they threw in the towel. Refusing to go quietly, the band moved to a small midwestern label and recorded this album, "Onward & Upward". Predictably, the album flopped and Head East went into semi-retirement.

So, is the album all that great? Truthfully, no, but it's not terrible either. The fact that it represents a rather grey area in the band's evolution somewhat merits its inclusion here. Like many of the other albums I have posted and will continue to post here, it deserves reconsideration because it fell between the cracks before anyone had a chance to understand it. Like many of the albums in the band's repertoire, this was never pressed to CD. So, for your scrutiny, here it is..."Onward & Upward".

Brownsville Station - Brownsville Station

Thanks to Terry Wachtsmuth and the fine folks at Wounded Bird Records, Detroit's Brownsville Station have finally been given the digital treatment. This terribly underrated hard rock act had a few hits in the early 70's and spent the rest of their career trying to top them. Sadly, it never happened, though there's no denying that alot of their later releases were more solid and aggressive than their early singles. In 1977, the band changed labels (Private Stock) and expanded their lineup by adding touring guitarist, Bruce Nazarian, to the fold. Bruce not only possessed formidable guitar chops, he was also an extremely powerful singer. "Lady" is a perfect example. This album also features the 7+ minute historic "Martian Boogie" which did manage to net some airplay in the midwest despite its long running time.

When it came time to reissue the band's back catalogue, Private Stock's licensing prevented this album from being included in the campaign. For those who are missing out on this fabulous album, download this FANTASTIC prime slab of hard rock courtesy of Brownsville Station. It's one of their finest moments and the quality is fabulous. Eat this...

Mother's Finest - Mother's Finest

I pride myself on my knowledge of musical obscurities, especially those that relate to my favorite bands. This one, however, slipped by me until this past year. I almost fainted when I came across this album. Most people, myself included, believed that MF's debut album was the self-titled record in 1977 on Epic Records. WRONG! The band actually cut an album several years prior with RCA and believe it or not, it WAS released. So how did it stay invivisible all these years? That's a good question. Thanks to the internet age, it is now something we can share amongst ourselves easily. To my knowledge, it's the exact same lineup from the mid 70's, but it does sound vastly different. Rooted more firmly in soul, "Mother's Finest" is low on heavy rock and high on smooth jams. Download and make your own judgement. I normally do not post anything under 192kbps, but since this is the best I have, I'll post it anyway. Check it!

Mother's Finest - Not a Bootleg

Mother's Finest fans will agree that the band has struggled quite a bit over the last two decades to reassert their name on the forefront of the modern rock scene. From 1976-1981, the band enjoyed many high profile tours and album releases. Since the departure of drummer, BB Queen and the termination of their contract with Atlantic Records in early 1982, it's been an uphill climb. Undaunted, this multi-racial funk/rock outfit continued touring the states and overseas for years, sporadically releasing albums that either would go out of print almost immediately or were only available in Europe.

In 1996, the band recorded a self-financed album called, "Not a Bootleg", which was only made available at their live performances. A few years later they recorded an EP, "UMEUSWE", which was also self-financed and sold at shows. When 2003 rolled around, they were finally able to release a proper full-length entitled "Meta-Funk-n-Physical". This album culled all the material from their EP, as well as a portion of "Not a Bootleg". However, there were leftovers that were unique to this release. The entire "Not a Bootleg" album is available here for the first time since 1996. Download, enjoy and tell your friends about this fantastic band.

Pucker Up - A Canadian Motor City Tribute to Kiss

Over the last decade or so, there have been literally hundreds of Kiss tribute albums flooding the market. Many of them, released on tiny independent labels, have vanished from sight. One such album is "Pucker Up". This was released in extremely limited quantities (500) in 1996 and has since become one of the most difficult to find. Luckily, one of the bands who participated in this tribute were kind enough to burn a copy of their disc for me. Realizing that it would be a crime not to share it with other Kiss fans, I am posting it here for your enjoyment. Like all other tributes, some of the performances are less than stellar but there are quite a few highlights as well. If you enjoyed Lee McCormack's interpretation of "Speedin' Back to My Baby" from the "Return of the Comet" tribute, you'll love his rendition of "Getaway" here. Snap this one up, folks. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sparks - Introducing...

How can you accurately summarize a band like Sparks? Just when we thought they were an avant garde act they changed gears and became a new wave band instead. Years later they'd evolve into an electronica group and remain so for over a decade. Now it seems the Mael brothers are exploring new territories as their last two albums experiment with choral and orchestral themes. Somewhere in their evolution this bastard child known as "Introducing..." popped out...well, in 1977 to be precise. Most Sparks fans don't regard this as a masterwork simply because this is an album that plays it safe. Pop arrangements, session players running amok and even Russell's voice seems tempered. Now, that isn't to say this is a bad album. It's chock full of hooks and Ron's clever wordplay.

So what warrants its inclusion here? Well, this is the only Sparks album to have never been given the digital treatment. Columbia Records has ignored the fans and so it languishes in the vaults. In the interim, while Columbia figures out what to do with this record, take a listen and enjoy this often ignored piece of Sparks history. If it's Sparks, it definitely isn't bad.

Millard Powers - Solo Works

I'm sure to many of you, the name Millard Powers is an unfamiliar one. To give you a little background, Millard was a member of Ben Folds' old band Majosha. He also later recorded an elusive album with Semantics. Semantics featured Zak Starkey and Will Owsley as well. Millard later went on to write, record and tour for Ben's solo album, "Rockin' the Suburbs". He has also toured with Amy Grant, as well as engineering a number of mainstream albums for other artists. In the middle of all this activity, Millard did manage to record some of his own material and for a while had it available for download at That was years ago and since then, those tracks have slipped into virtual obscurity...until now.

If you're a fan of Owsley or Ben Folds, you'll find much to enjoy here. Snag these while you can, as these tracks are impossible to find.

Slave Raider - Bigger, Badder, Bolder

Ah, now here's a relatively obscure relic from the past. Slave Raider, the much maligned glam metal quintet from Minneapolis, were one of the many acts who seemed poised for breakthru success only to find apathy at every turn. With a campy pirate schtick & major-label backing, how did it all fizzle out? Well, I think timing is everything and Slave Raider just came along a little too late to really cash in on the hair metal craze of the late 80's. By the time these boys (and girl) stomped their way onto the scene, it was already saturated by copycat acts and kitschy wannabees all jockeying for airtime and exposure.

To their credit, the band wrote infectious and hooky hard rock. Chainsaw Caine's vocal chops were exceptional and there's no denying their image was attention getting. Both of their major label releases, "Take the World By Storm" and "What Do You Know About Rock & Roll?", were impressive. Jive Records apparently didn't think so and dropped the band. Subsequently, several members jumped ship and Slave Raider entered the studio to record a self-financed album in 1990.

This is that album, "Bigger, Badder, Bolder". The title says it all, folks. This is heavier, ballsier and rowdier than anything else the band ever recorded. Is it better? Well, download this obscure album and judge for yourself. Considering this album pulls $100+ on eBay, this HQ rip might save you a little money and time. Enjoy.

FM - Headroom (Direct to Disc)

The first release for the Ben Mink era of FM was an interesting project funded and endorsed by the CBC. This project was called, "Headroom". Essentially, this involved recording two loosely improvised songs, each occupying an entire side of the album. What makes this all the more unique is that the album was recorded direct-to-disc, meaning that it was recorded in one take with no overdubs and no master acetate...quite an amazing feat when you hear the depth and complexity of these tracks. Only 200 copies of this album were pressed, easily making this the crown jewel of the band's repertoire.

Sadly, the master tapes were destroyed in a fire, making the the possibility of CD reissue a rather moot point. Luckily, collectors have taken the proactive route and made their own reissues on the trading circuit. Ripped from a pristine copy of the album, I present "Headroom" for your listening pleasure. Dig it!

Roy Wood - On the Road Again

Roy Wood, England's eccentric jack-of-all-trades, has had one seriously spotty career since leaving his two previous creations, 'The Move' and 'Electric Light Orchestra'. There was 'Wizzard', his brass driven ensemble which borrowed liberally from glam and 50's doowop. Then there was his 'Wizzo Band', which took the brass concept to even wilder jazz-based extremes. Adding more guitar, he launched 'Helicopters' in the early 80's. Staying much in the same vein, he later fronted his all-female 'Big Band', which later evolved into an augmented lineup under the guise of 'Roy Wood's Army'. Whew... Remember, that all the while, he was sporadically releasing solo albums on various different labels. Some were scaled back low budget affairs and others were excessive and eclectic Spectoresque experiments.

No matter your preference, there is no denying his influence or prolificity over the last four decades of the British music scene. Trying to amass his entire recorded output would be akin to capturing lightning in a bottle, as there are not only out-of-print vinyl only album releases, but scattered singles and EP's floating around everywhere. One such obscure release is "On the Road Again". Recorded for Warner Brothers in 1979, this album featured John Bonham on drums, while Roy tackled virtually every other instrument himself. Much like his "Mustard" album from 1974, it is a melange of many different styles. Certainly not his creative peak, it is nonetheless one of the crown jewels of his repertoire simply because it has been somewhat difficult to find.

Well, fret no more! Ripped from clean vinyl and spruced up a bit, here is "On the Road Again" in full digitial glory. Love it or hate it, you can't help but appreciate Wood's conviction here. It's infectious...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Kiss - Nashville 01/11/84

I can't think of a better way to open this blog than by posting a HQ live concert by my favorite band...Kiss. Until recently, this radio broadcast from 1984 had only been aired in truncated form. Now feast your ears on this complete show from early in the "Lick It Up" tour. Throw away those old bootlegs and download this fierce performance from the hottest band in the world!

All Systems Go

Welcome to "Robots For Ronnie". Building this blog into something remarkable will be an ongoing process that won't reach full steam until I have plenty of goodness to share here. Be patient & come back soon, as I'll be dumping all sorts of curiosities here in the next week!