Saturday, December 20, 2008

Updated Wishlist!

Finally just added some titles that I'd forgotten about. If you or anyone you know has any of these titles in a digital format, I'd be grateful for their contributions! Thanks!!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hero - Hero (1977)

Continuing on from my previous Hero post, this is the band's self-titled debut issued by Mercury Records in 1977. Backed by Michael Lloyd's credentials and solid promotion, the band issued two singles from the album, but ultimately american radio wasn't biting. The band subsequently lost their label deal, only to find a new home with 20th Century Records. A stronger followup, "Boys Will Be Boys", came the following year but whatever momentum the band had built before was essentially gone. The band fractured in 1980 with members working both in and out of the business. Guitarist Neil Citron resurrected the band in the mid-80's to no avail.

Unlike the muscular "Boys Will Be Boys", this album was closer to harmless pop than robust hard rock. Listening to this gem, one can't help but notice the almost childlike innocence that lies within most of the tracks. There are plenty of standouts like the hook driven "Taxi Driver", "I'm the King, I'm the Star" and "You Are the People". Conversely, there is alot of filler here as well. Tracks like "I Love the Way You Rock & Roll", "Smile", "Runaway" and "You Cheat" aren't necessarily short on hooks, but certainly lacking any real substance or staying power. Regardless, this album is worthy of modest praise and deserves a place in any 70's pop fanatic's collection. Dig this sweet vinyl transfer and pop till you drop :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Re Upped: Baby - Baby (1975)

Texas hard rockers, Baby, came together in late 1968 as a quintet playing mostly regional high schools. In 1969, the band began stretching out to clubs in the midwest and found themselves gaining quite a following in the process. Within the next year, the quintet underwent a lineup change, bringing hot shot axeslinger Johnny Lee Schell onboard to handle vocals and songwriting. This marked a new beginning for the band, who by this time had adopted a heavier sound. Over the next few years, Baby reigned supreme over the club circuits in the midwest. In 1974, the band financed their own recording and issued their self-titled debut on their own label, Lone Starr Records.

Radio success in the region continued and soon Mercury had licensed the album for national release. Though the material was strong, Baby were unable to break into other markets and soon the album sank without a trace. The following year, Mercury pushed the band back into the studio for another album, "Where Did All the Money Go?". Though the album had its share of decent material, it fared no better and the band were dropped. While in LA on a press junket for the album, the band called it a day and everyone went their separate ways.

Members went on to work with acts like Phantom Blues Band, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, John Fogerty, Buddy Guy and Melissa Etheridge. Schell also produces acts at his own recording studio and writes film soundtracks. Bassist, Stephen Crane issued a solo album on MCA in 1984.

The album is a pretty solid batch of crunchy Texas boogie, much like early ZZ Top, but with an emphasis on hard rock. Schell's guitar work and vocals are the centerpiece here and rightfully so. The clear standout is "Long Legged Woman", which should've been a huge single for the band. Raunchy, filled with swagger and brimming with energy, the track just rocks from start to finish. The rest of the album is a mix of hard rock and smooth jams, at times bordering on mediocrity but always retaining the band's consistent style and sound. I recommend digging into this one, as it's a mostly satisfying slab of Texas 70's hard rock. Check out this improved vinyl transfer, courtesy of me. Snap it up!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Taggett - Taggett (1974)

Taggett were a british based studio project assembled by fairly well-known players from other british bands. Comprised of Peter Arnesen (If, Daddy Longlegs), Colin Horton-Jennings (Greatest Show on Earth), Terry Fogg (Sounds Incorporated) and Tim Wheatley (Gracious), the band hired Tony Hicks (Hollies) and Alan Parsons to produce and engineer their debut. Landing a short-term contract with EMI Records, their self-titled album was finally issued in the UK in early 1974. The album tanked and the members soon split, but two years later, United Artists had issued the album in the US. Expecting to have the band launch a promotional tour for the album, execs were surprised to find the members working on other projects instead. That was essentially the last that was ever heard from Taggett. Members went on to work in various acts like Ian Hunter, Hollies and The Rubettes.

The album is a rather indistinct batch of songs, though there's nothing particularly bad about it either. With a vibe that veers from pub rock to country rock to folk rock, there's really no cohesive sound present. Arnesen's vocals make some of the tracks feel disjointed at times, but there are some highlights here as well. "Lonely Nights, Lonely Days" is hooky enough and "I'll Be You Anchor Man" has a charming cockney approach that's hard not to like. "Time" is also another strong track that has some creative and subtle time signature changes in places. Aside from these tracks, the remainder is predominantly very laid back and unassuming. Perhaps that's the problem. There's just no strong character in much of this album.

In any case, there's certainly an audience for this kind of thing. It's all a matter of taste, folks. Check out this sweet vinyl rip and judge for yourself...


I've had quite a few inquiries asking where I've run off to. Just dropping in to let everyone know that I'm still around. Honestly, I've been struggling with a number of setbacks as of late which have inhibited my productivity here. I've been getting visits from a few trolls who are trying to use legal harrassment to stifle my posts. I don't know why I've been targeted, but I've seen many of my favorite bloggers close shop because of this kind of thing. On top of that, I am currently using a very faulty DSL connection which makes uploading an absolute nightmare. The first several months of my blogging last year were done using a fantastic cable connection, but things are a little different at the moment. Until I have acquired a better internet connection, my posts will be a bit hit or miss. It's frustrating, but I'm making due until I have better options to work with.

I have quite a few new uploads I want to do, courtesy of a few cool readers and I promise I'll work dilligently to get them up ASAP. I appreciate any contributions some of you have made and continue to make. I WILL get those contributions posted here as quickly as possible. You have my word. Some things you can expect to see here shortly are: Roadmaster, Taggett, Gypsy, Shabby Tiger, Private Eye, Turbo, Trillion, Rox and some really cool super mega rarities that I'd rather leave a surprise for now.

Anyway, that's it for now. I'll see you all soon. I hope the FM repost made a few of you happy, as I know it's been the most requested repost of them all here. Talk to you all very shortly :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Re-upped: FM - City of Fear (1980)

Unless you're from Canada or just a geek for obscure prog, the name FM will probably not ring a bell. Not to be confused with the UK artists of the same name, this band was formed in Ottawa in the early 70's and went on to release a string of critically acclaimed albums before splitting numerous times in the 80's and 90's. The earliest and most widely recognized lineup featured Cameron Hawkins (vocals/bass/synths), Martin Deller (drums/percussion) and renaissance weirdo Nash the Slash (viola/electric mandolin). This lineup recorded the excellent "Black Noise" album in 1977 only to find Nash embarking on a solo career the following year. In his absence, the now famous songwriter Ben Mink was drafted as his replacement.

Like the previous FM entry here, this also featured Ben Mink. In fact, this was to be his last recording with the band before the return of Nash the Slash a few years later. Personally, I consider this to be the band's finest album. Though it is noticeably more commercial, the excess has been stripped away, resulting in an album full of compact hook driven neo progressive rock. Cameron Hawkins puts in his finest vocal performance ever laid to tape and Mink's sinewy electric mandolin playing brings a very dissonant vibe to the proceedings. The album as a whole is very dark, which compliments the bands sound very well.

Like most of the band's repertoire, this has never been issued on CD. A fire at Passport Records' storage vault destroyed everything within, including the masters to "City of Fear". Considering that this album will likely never see digital conversion, this particular download will be a pleasant surprise for fans. Ripped from pristine vinyl, here it is...."City of Fear".

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Private Lightning - Private Lightning (1980)

Boston's Private Lightning came together in the mid 70's, under the direction of brother/sister musicians, Paul and Patty Van Ness. The band built a respectable following along the east coast and soon the band's manager, Fred Heller, had facilitated a contract for the band with A&M Records. The band were jetted off to Monserrat where they spent the next month crafting their debut. It was a short time later before the band were finally able to hear the finished product, which took place at their record release party. The members were horrified to hear that the rough mix and final mix were completely different, as most of the dynamics were muted and the overall production too brittle and trebly.

The band soldiered on and toured the New England region relentlessly, but A&M had usurped most of the band's promotional budget on many of their more established artists, leaving very little to keep the band on the road. The band began work on demos for their followup album, but things finally came to a halt in 1981. Paul now works in film/video production, Patty is a renowned medieval instrumentalist and the remaining members have worked with The Souls and Hank Decken as well as various roles in production/engineering.

The album is a curious blend of art rock, new wave, power pop and AOR. With fluid violin work permeating each of the tracks, there's a unique vibe happening throughout. I hear similarities to late period FM and even Spy to some extent. There's nothing here that leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but the hooks are average to these ears. No doubt, there's an audience for this album and thanks to Steven, we have a sweet vinyl transfer up for grabs. Take a listen already, eh?

320kbps @

Monday, July 14, 2008

Doc Rockit - Doc Rockit (1979)

Spokane, Washington's Doc Rockit came together in 1974. The power trio spent several years in the club scene before finally issuing their self-titled album in 1979 on the Primo Sound label. Despite a clearly impressive effort, the limited pressing fell by the wayside and the band parted ways in 1981. It wasn't until 1989 that the lineup would reunite for their followup album, "Azugi". Though clearly more mainstream, the album failed to gain attention outside of their cult following and Doc Rockit once again dissolved. Fast forward to 2002, when the band regrouped and issued "Tomorrow Child" on their own label. Nothing has been heard from the band since then, though guitarist/vocalist Martin Bond has worked with several area bands and issued a number of recordings with them.

This is powerful guitar driven hard rock that actually sounds like it could've been recorded in the early 70's. Solid songwriting, fluid playing and capable singing all highlight this visceral pounding release, justifying the accolades it has received decades after its initial release. I highly recommend everyone to get a taste of this ultra-obscure hard rock gem. You'll be glad you did. This one comes courtesy of Brian...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Schloss - Schloss (1975)

Schloss were a shortlived german hard rock power trio comprised of Klaus Luley, Roger Kaeschner and ex-My Solid Ground drummer Willy Waid. Early into their career, they were signed to Germany's Oasis Records, which had recently joined up with Casablanca Records for distribution in the states. In 1975, the band's self-titled debut was released in the US but went virtually unnoticed. The band fizzled by the next year, with Luley later reappearing in Tokyo, Craaft and Douglas. The post-split activities of Kaeschner and Waid are unknown.

This album can best be described as straightforward journeyman hard rock. The music often sounds very american, though Luley's accent is detectable in places throughout. Despite a few titles in their native language, all of the lyrics are sung in english. A slight southern rock vibe permeates much of the album, which seems at odds with the european heritage of the band.

In any case, this one is recommended for curious fans of obscure 70's hard rock. Check out this contribution courtesy of Nils and enjoy!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Charmer - Your Presence Requested (1977)

This mysterious act sprang from FL in the early 70's, essentially as a studio project led by keyboardist Duane Hitchings (ex-Cactus) and his cohort, Mike Pinera (ex-Blues Image). It's believed that this album, comprised of recordings were never intended for release, but Pinera had other plans. The recordings surfaced under the guise of "Charmer" and issued in 1977 on the infamous Illusion Records, a label which was later found to be a cloak for illegal tax activities.

Sporting a sound that blends elements of hard rock and soul, "Your Presence Is Requested" is a fairly decent collection of material, though there's an overabundance of monotonous instrumental jamming sprinkled throughout. If you can get past that, you'll find plenty to enjoy here. Obscurity seekers are encouraged to find their follow up LP, "Do It To It". For now, enjoy the one and only, Charmer.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Azurite - Azurite (1979)

Azurite are a perfect example of why blogging has become such an important resource for serious music aficionados and rarity seekers. Very little is known about this interesting act, though they did form somewhere along the west coast in the mid 70's. The album (of which there are only 500 copies) is believed to have been the band's only recorded output.

Musically speaking, Azurite take equal measures of AOR, hard rock and prog to create a sound that is distinctly their own. Somehow though, much of this record falls short on cohesive creativity leaving the listener with a handful of rather unremarkable songs highlighted by some fierce guitar and decent harmonies. If you enjoyed the self-titled LPs by Gran Max or Karroll Brothers, you might find more to love here than I do. Nonetheless, here it is (courtesy of Olias) in full digital glory!

Awakenings and more...

Ok, so's been quite awhile since I popped in here for an update. I hope many of you are still out there! Anyway, so after a few months away I've decided to start paying more visits here as I slowly work my way towards fully functional. I have some ideas that will improve your experience here and I do believe that in due time, RFR will benefit greatly from them. It's a work-in-progress, folks.

I'll be posting some new music ASAP, so I recommend subscribing to this feed thru your newsreaders so you can stay on top of activity as it happens. I'm still a ways from daily posts, but at the very least I'm hoping for a weekly post. I hope that will suffice for the time being.

I'll be seeing you all in a flash! Till then...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Not Dead Yet

Just wanted to drop in and let everyone know that RFR is still alive. Due to unforeseen attacks on this site and others, I've had to keep a low profile and rethink exactly how to keep this blog pushing forward in the future. There is a possibility that we'll be securing our own dedicated server to avoid further deletions down the line. I've also been reviewing other file hosts who offer better protection. Additionally, I've been in the midst of a career change, working as a realtor. Between classes, testing & negotiating a contract with a reputable firm, I've been short on time since early January.

Rest assured that RFR will not go down without a fight. I have lots of unfinished business to take care of here and no one will deter me. Please add RFR to your newsreader feeds and standby for forthcoming updates. I'm not dead yet! Thanks for checking in and leaving comments of encouragement. It's crucial to the survival of this site :) See you all soon!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Two Steps Back

Well, I was preparing to lay down some great posts this week when it came to my attention that many of my recent uploads have been deleted. Apparently there is another blogger or unsatisfied reader who feels that sabotaging my work here is a lot of fun. Though I do foresee a hiatus for a short while to re-up everything I've lost, I will resume posting as I have for almost the last year. There's too much overlooked music waiting to be shared, so please bear with my as I take a sabbatical to reconstruct what has been removed. If anyone cares to contribute new links for the rapidshare uploads I did from Nov-Dec, please contact my email addy listed at the bottom of this blog. I'll repost as they arrive. Thanks again and rock forth.