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...