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".