Nick Saloman of the Bevis Frond once again invites us to join him in the obscure pleasures of little-known pop, R&B, and jazz instrumental sides of the '60s and '70s with this collection. A number of the selections featured on Return of the Instro-Hipsters are so obscure that even Saloman isn't sure just who is responsible for them (though he offers some educated guesses on the artists behind such names as Sharks, Oliver Bone, and the Masked Phantom), but there are a good share of solid grooves and kicky melodies to be found here from a number of gifted little-knowns. If you went to the movies in the '70s, "Soul Thing" by Tony Newman will sound familiar, while flautist Harold McNair solos over a Dave Brubeck-influenced piano groove on "The Hipster," Jerry Allen demonstrates new uses for game calls on "Fuzzy Duck," Thunder Road's synthesized version of "Peter Gunn" beats Art of Noise's variation on the theme by more than 15 years, "The Brooke Bond Beat" by Cliff Adams may be the most swingin' tea commercial ever, and the Outer Limits serve up some tough, moody rock, appropriately titled "Black Boots".
Lesley Duncan’s debut album was a modestly engaging slice of early-’70s singer/songwriter rock, though not distinctive enough amidst a rapidly crowding field to command attention. Somewhat like Elton John, she blended parts of folk-rock, the emerging singer/songwriter movement, pop (though less pop than John), and bits of the Band’s gospel-rock flavor. Indeed, the record is best known for Duncan’s own version of her composition “Love Song,” covered by Elton John on Tumbleweed Connection (and way back in 1969 by a pre-“Space Oddity” David Bowie on a home demo that’s since been bootlegged).
Essential: a masterpiece of celtic-folk music.
Christy Moore, Andy Irvine, Liam O'Flynn, and Dónal Lunny formed Planxty, a slang version of the Irish word "Slainte" meaning "good health," in 1973 after collaborating on the Christy Moore record Prosperous.
With the departure of vocalist John Foxx and guitarist Robin Simon behind them, Vienna kicked off Ultravox's second phase with former Rich Kids vocalist Midge Ure at the helm. Trading Foxx's glam rock stance for Ure's aristocratic delivery, Vienna recasts the band as a melodramatic synth pop chamber ensemble with most of the group doubling on traditional string quartet instruments and the synthesizers often serving to emulate an orchestra. It was a bold move that took awhile to pay off (the first two singles, "Sleepwalk" and "Passing Strangers," went unnoticed), but when the monolithic title track was released, the Ure lineup became the band's most identifiable one almost overnight.
Wax was a 1980s pop rock group consisting of Andrew Gold and 10cc guitarist/bassist Graham Gouldman. In the US, they were listed as Wax UK. The band is best known for the hit singles "Right Between the Eyes" and "Bridge to Your Heart".
Five friends who grew up together in Dublin, called the Thrills, have produced a remarkably neat debut album. At the heart of their sound is a professed love for the tunes of the American West Coast of the '60s and '70s. Set to a backdrop of Al Green, Carole King, and the Band, they quickly pieced together tracks for their debut album, So Much for the City, during a four-month holiday on a beach in San Diego…