When I was a Teenager… stop smirking… We had Singles and Albums. None of this new-fangled cd, dvd and mp3 junk! Ok, I use the term junk only to highlight that times were different. In fact, I can remember the time when cd’s appeared and various sections of the Hi-Fi world took a stance. The classical side in the shape of The Gramphone magazine leapt behind the new format whilst magazines claiming to represent real Hi-Fi pushed the continued use of LP’s for serious music! What they really meant was ‘serious jazz / blues’. Some artists in those areas found themselves new followings as a direct result of the internicene war between the different factions. The likes of Grover Washington suddenly found a new market along other ‘unknowns’who were thrust into the spotlight to highlight why LP was superior to CD.

Sitting in the middle were the ordinary music fans who just go with the radio plays that guide their purchases and the Heavy Metal fans who nobody was batting for at the time. As a HM fan I stayed with the LP – or Album. Through the 1970’s to the late 1980’s I bought some classics and I also bought a top end Hi-Fi to expose every possible quality of each album.

In the early years it was poor fare – the music was good but the recordings were lacking in the punch that the best Modern Jazz recordings had. Except, that is for a few bands. I’m fortunate to have been a Budgie fan for a very long time. They were signed to the A&M label by no less a person than Herb Alpert and the quality of their recordings was far above the norm for Heavy Metal at the time. They were, however, a fringe band because they walked the true blues line rather than the pure power approach of many contemporaries. Their music was, in my opinion, every bit as good as anything that Led Zeppelin did and I suspect that Burke Shelley may be one of the greatest Bass guitarists out there.

Ok – I’m waffling in the pains of the past… Lets talk about Albums. These were the things you saved up for when I was a teenager. An album had that great single and lots of other tracks by your favourite band as well. But… some Albums, whilst having great artwork (something else that is lost with CD’s and MP3’s) presented you with a good single and a good ‘B’ side but showed up the deficiencies of the band who had cut it. Other Albums were really something special and remained favourites for years. Any Album that you could put on the record deck and play.. then turn over and play the other side was a fantastic Album. Here, in no particular order, are some of those special ones for me: –

Altogther Now by Argent
Split by The Groundhogs
Impeckable by Budgie
Dark Side of The Moon by Pink Floyd
Wheels of Steel by Saxon
Can’t buy a Thrill by Steely Dan
Bridge of Sighs by Robin Trower
All about Eve by All About Eve
Power in the Darkness by Tom Robinson Band
Heartbreaker by Free
Foxgloves and Steel Strings by Walter Wray

I’m sure there are a couple more but hopefully you get the idea – Albums where the music was that good that you had to play them all the way through in one hit!

Must add a photo when I get the time 😉

But will play you out with some Tom Robinson…

…Lets hope it will be a long hot summer but of the sunny kind 🙂

From My Archive I Choose…

Z is for Ziggurat…

… an ancient building style used by the peoples of the Middle-East in pre-biblical times to construct temples to their gods. Not unlike the early stepped pyramids, Ziggurats were often rectangular in shape rather than square and of terraced construction with each subsequent level being smaller than the previous one. Sometimes the upper levels of the the building were offset from the centre of the rectangle. Fuller details of Ziggurats can be found on Wikipedia. Modern architecture sometimes draws on the ancient designs for deliberate visual effect. However, the example I have chosen is clearly a set of offices that have been converted to apartments and additional levels have been added in Ziggurat fashion above. The building has even been named Ziggurat!Ziggurat_01Ziggurat_02