Sunday, February 13, 2011

Michael Fremer Album Review

Time and a Word


Atlantic/Friday Music FRM8273 180g LP
Produced by: Tony Colton
Engineered by: Eddie Offord
Mixed by: Eddie Offord
Mastered by: Ron McMaster and Capitol Studios



1970 Sophomore Effort Reissued With Original Artwork
by Michael Fremer
January 01, 2011

The second Yes album begins with a strutting cover of Richie Havens' "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed."

It opens with a pretentious organ/synth fanfare and descends into ripping off the familiar and exhilarating theme to the Western "The Big Country." It's as if the boys didn't know what to do first other than to play in the studio.

The song itself is one of those self-examination tunes "Take a look at yourself, take a good look at yourself" that lead singer Jon Anderson would himself later specialize in writing. He got real busy after this record exhorting listeners to sit down, stand up, look around, and so on.

While Yes is best known as a "prog-rock" outfit, the accent here is on jazz, a genre this instrumentally talented bunch could easily play. Bill Bruford is a jazz drummer after all. The cover of Stephen Stills' brilliant "Everydays" is a standout and "Sweet Dreams," Anderson's collaboration with David Foster shows compositional sophistication and playing to match.

Anderson's high pitched, delicate vibrato surely influenced Sting. In fact, unlikely as it may at first seem, I'd say the entire instrumental palette affected him and The Police. I could be hallucinating.

The players and their musical personalities are so strong, that even on the first album the group had developed a unique sound that's only enforced here, particularly the rhythm section of Bruford and Chris Squire. Original guitarist Peter Banks didn't have Steve Howe's chops, but he more than made up for it with excellent taste.

The group was still in its developmental stage here, moving slowly from its jazz phase to one that was "heavier," but if any band could be said to have invented "prog rock" it would be Yes. Could they be precious and pretentious? You betcha! But listening to songs like "The Prophet" is to listen to the birth of a decade long musical movement and that makes for exciting listening, even if the added orchestration may today sound like a bit much.

Recording engineer Eddie Offord would be there for later Yes masterpieces like the big leap the group took with its next record The Yes Album. Offord's production took a big leap there too. Here, he's developing the sound but it's not quite complete. There's plenty of compression applied and the presentation lacks the subtlety of later productions. That's not surprising considering the time: at the end of rock's first great era.

So the sound on the original is somewhat hard and spatially flat and closed in, though part of that may have been Atlantic's choice, so that the record produced more "noise." The reissue is a bit brighter and spatially flatter than the original, and it has less bottom end weight, but it's also more dynamic and far cleaner overall (at least compared to the one original pressing I have). Neither version is the sonic spectacular that later Yes albums would be.

Friday Music chose to reproduced the original UK cover art that Atlantic probably felt was too "racy" for America and it chose the green/blue label that Atlantic used on earlier releases. By the time this album came out in 1970 Atlantic had switched to the familiar green and red label.

This is the first Friday Music album reviewed here and overall I think they've done a good job with this album.

Thanks to Michael over at  for the exclusive rights to reprint this material. Stop by for more reviews and features.

©2010 & Michael Fremer - - All rights reserved

Reprinted by Permission

Vinyl Record News & Notes, Did You Know?

Vinyl records still in demand at music store

By RYAN BERLIN Sun Staff Writer

Rorik Brooks and Brent Fisher are trying to restore the smooth sound of vinyl.

Justice Records, located at 617 N. Mission St. in Mt. Pleasant, specializes in the now niche market of selling vinyl records.

"Vinyl never stopped being produced," co-owner Rorik Brooks said. "More so in the underground punk, hardcore, and metal community."

Jazz and reggae also have never stopped producing vinyl, according to Brooks.

Read more HERE


Atmosphere's 'The Family Sign' Album Cover Art

Atmosphere has revealed the art for what is being called "Atmosphere's most personal and intimate album yet."

Here's some more information from the label:

The Family Sign comes from a place well refined and firmly planted, from a universal perspective. It's about being okay with losing friends and strengthening your bonds with others, celebrating the person who's been the most positive in your life, your kids, your homies, leaving the people you need to behind, and bringing the ones you love with you. It's about your family, your time and the time you have with them. It's about living and dying. It's the truth about family, that it comes from loyalty as much as biology. It's about breaking down your perceptions of family and really appreciating the people who've made you who you are and continue doing so.


Painstaking effort went into album's artwork


“The People's Key” has been months in the making.

Not the music. The artwork.

Sure, the tracks on the album took awhile to record and mix, but the album artwork went through quite a process as well.

Zack Nipper, a graphic designer for Saddle Creek Records, created the fiery art for the album.

Nipper's last artistic effort for Bright Eyes, the art for “Cassadaga,” earned him a Grammy Award for best recording package.

Read the rest of this interesting article HERE


vinyl alive and well in Kenya!

The vinyl record still alive in many Kenyans’ living rooms

Mr Jimmy Muragami with a record player at his record shop at Kenyatta market in Nairobi. The old technology of vinyl records is still alive and kicking in many homes in Kenya.

By John Makeni

Standing by the counter of his music shop, Jimmy Muragami meticulously places an LP on the record player. He looks like a DJ, complete with a leather godfather hat.

But he is not a DJ, and this is not a disco. Mr Muragami is in his music shop in Nairobi’s Kenyatta Market. The shop specialises in old style music records that date as far back as the 1930s.

While the world has moved on to CDs and Web-based digital music formats, Mr Muragami is stuck on his old vinyl records.

His passion for music began while growing up in Murang’a. Though his father had a radio cassette, the young Muragami was fascinated by his brother’s turntable. That is where he spent time listening to Kikuyu country music and jazz.

Read the rest HERE


Ian Axel

Got a note about a musician from CROWD SURF..... his name is Ian Axel and you may have seen his live performance on Rachael Ray or be one of the close to 800,000 visitors to YouTube to watch his video 'This Is the New Year' - if not, take a look at it here:

“This is the New Year,” hits iTunes on February 15. Infectious song, I like it and look forward to hearing more!


and a quick look at what's selling at Grimey's, the world famous record store:

Spin magazine has ranked Grimey’s as one of the top indie record shops in the nation, calling it “A stalwart of indie cool in a town that’s known for a very different kind of music scene.”

Grimey’s Top 20 Selling Vinyl Albums (Jan. 31-Feb. 6)

1. The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow
2. Iron & Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean
3. The Decemberists - The King Is Dead
4. Todd Snider - Live: The Storyteller
5. Wanda Jackson - The Party Ain't Over
6. The Black Keys - Brothers
7. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
8. Metallica - Live At Grimey's
9. Social Distortion - Hard Times & Nursery Rhymes
10. Charles Bradley w/ Menahan Street Band - No Time For Dreaming
11. Destroyer - Kaputt
12. Robert Pollard - Space City Kicks
13. Deerhoof - Deerhoof vs. Evil
14. Pearl Jam - Live On Ten Legs
15. Carolina Chocolate Drops - Carolina Chocolate Drops / Luminescent Orchestrii
16. The Go! Team - Rolling Blackouts
17. David Lowery - Palace Guards
18. Cake - Showroom Of Compassion
19. Bobby Long - Winter Tale
20. Amos Lee - Mission Bell


The Grammy's are tonight, here's a preview of the music and the show:


Adam Levine Also Set to Perform with Eminem

Zac Brown, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Clay Matthews, Matthew Morrison, Ryan Seacrest, Jason Segel, Keith Urban, and Added as Presenters to the Superstar Lineup for the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards®

All Five Album Of The Year Nominees and All Five Best New Artist Nominees Set to Perform on This Year's Telecast

The Music Industry's Premier Event Airs Live Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011, 8 P.M. ET/PT, Only on CBS

 — Ten-time GRAMMY® winner and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Bob Dylan will perform with current GRAMMY® nominee Mumford & Sons and folk-rock band the Avett Brothers in a special salute to acoustic music; and six-time GRAMMY winner and current nominee Dr. Dre — in his first live television performance in more than a decade — will grace the GRAMMY stage for the first time joining current 10-time nominee Eminem for a historic collaboration, along with Maroon 5 front man and current GRAMMY nominee Adam Levine, at the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards®. GRAMMY winner and current four-time nominee Zac Brown, actor Eva Longoria, actor/singer Jennifer Lopez, GRAMMY and three-time Latin GRAMMY® winner Ricky Martin, Super Bowl XLV champion Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, actor/singer and current nominee Matthew Morrison, television and radio host Ryan Seacrest, actor Jason Segel, three-time GRAMMY winner and current nominee Keith Urban, and seven-time GRAMMY winner, have been added as presenters to the music industry's premier event. The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards will take place live on Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011, at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and will be broadcast in high definition and 5.1 surround sound on the CBS Television Network from 8 – 11:30 p.m. (ET/PT). The show also will be supported on radio worldwide via Westwood One, and covered online at and, and on YouTube at Additional performers, presenters and special segments will be announced soon. For GRAMMY coverage, updates and breaking news, please visit The Recording Academy®'s social networks on Twitter and Facebook: , .

Avett Brothers, Dr. Dre., Dylan, Levine, and Mumford & Sons join previously announced performers and nominees Arcade Fire, Eminem, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga, Miranda Lambert, Muse, Katy Perry, and Barbra Streisand; Yolanda Adams, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Martina McBride and current nominee Florence Welch in a special Aretha Franklin segment; nominees Justin Bieber and Usher, with Jaden Smith; nominees B.o.B, Bruno Mars, and Janelle Monáe; nominees Drake and Rihanna; nominee Cee Lo Green, with Gwyneth Paltrow and the Jim Henson Company Puppets; Mick Jagger with Raphael Saadiq; and Esperanza Spalding performing with members of the GRAMMY Jazz Ensembles and GRAMMY Camp. Previously announced presenters include two-time GRAMMY and three-time Latin GRAMMY winner Marc Anthony, current three-time GRAMMY nominee Dierks Bentley, pop singer/actor Miley Cyrus, GRAMMY and Academy Award® winner Jamie Foxx, singer/actor Selena Gomez, two-time Emmy® winner Neil Patrick Harris, current nominee Jewel, nine-time GRAMMY winner and current nominee Norah Jones, three-time GRAMMY winner Kris Kristofferson (who will introduce Streisand's performance), six-time GRAMMY winner and current nominee John Legend, two-time GRAMMY winner and actor LL COOL J, seven-time GRAMMY winner and current nominee John Mayer, current nominee Nicki Minaj, current nominee Paramore, actor Pauley Perrette, actor Seth Rogen, current nominee Blake Shelton, and actor/singer Donnie Wahlberg.

Arcade Fire, Avett Brothers, Bieber, B.o.B, Dr. Dre, Jagger, Lambert, Mars, Monáe, Mumford & Sons, Muse, Paltrow, Smith, Spalding, and Welch will be performing on the GRAMMY telecast for the first time. All five Album Of The Year nominees are set to perform on Music's Biggest Night: Arcade Fire, Eminem, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga, and Perry, as well as all five of the Best New Artist nominees: Bieber, Drake, Mumford & Sons, Spalding, and Welch.

Mumford & Sons have two nominations: Best New Artist and Best Rock Song for "Little Lion Man."

Dr. Dre and Levine each have one nod: Dr. Dre for Album Of The Year (as a producer on Eminem's Recovery); and Levine for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals for "Misery" (as a member of Maroon 5).

Additionally, the 53rd Annual GRAMMYAwards Pre-Telecast Ceremony will take place from 1 – 4 p.m. PT at the Los Angeles Convention Center and will be streamed live internationally on and on beginning at 1 p.m. PT. Well-attended by nominees and industry VIPs, current GRAMMYnominees Bobby McFerrin and Esperanza Spalding will co-host the star-studded ceremony, which will feature performances by current nominees including Afro-Colombian hip-hop trio and Latin GRAMMY® winner ChocQuibTown; blues musician and five-time GRAMMY winner Buddy Guy; singer/songwriter and GRAMMY winner Cyndi Lauper; American roots musician Maria Muldaur; contemporary blues artist Kenny Wayne Shepherd; trombone and trumpet player Trombone Shorty; legendary gospel and soul singer Mavis Staples; jazz musician Kirk Whalum; and R&B singer/songwriter and GRAMMY winner Betty Wright.Presenting the first GRAMMY Awards of the night in approximately 98 categories will be current nominees performance artist Laurie Anderson, pop singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles, electronic/dance music artist and remixer BT, actor/comedian Kathy Griffin, and Latin Jazz musician Wayne Wallace. The live stream of the Pre-Telecast will remain on as video on demand for 30 days following the event.

The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards are produced by John Cossette Productions and AEG Ehrlich Ventures for The Recording Academy. Ken Ehrlich and John Cossette are executive producers, Louis J. Horvitz is director, and David Wild and Ken Ehrlich are the writers.

Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards — the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music — The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture. For more information about The Academy, please visit For breaking news and exclusive content, join the organization's social networks as a Twitter follower at , a Facebook fan at, and aYouTube channel subscriber at


Did You Know?

more stuff everybody should know...

Cheryl Ladd (of Charlie's Angels fame) played the voice, both talking and singing, of Josie in the 70s Saturday morning cartoon "Josie and the Pussycats."

Chop-suey is not a native Chinese dish, it was created in California by Chinese immigrants.

Flying from London to New York by Concord, due to the time zones crossed, you can arrive 2 hours before you leave.

Human birth control pills work on gorillas.

If you put a raisin in a glass of champagne, it will keep floating to the top and sinking to the bottom.

Lorne Greene had one of his nipples bitten off by an alligator while he was host of "Lorne Greene's Wild Kingdom."

Rhythm and "syzygy" are the longest English words without vowels.

Iguanas, koalas and Komodo dragons all have two penises.

and on that bit of trivia, on to today's music history lesson:

In 1914 - The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (known as ASCAP) was formed in New York City. The society was founded to protect the copyrighted musical compositions of its members.

Gene Autrey recorded the immortal "Back in the Saddle Again" back in 1946.

Frank Sinatra launched Reprise Records in 1961.

Gary Lewis recorded "Count Me In" in 1965.

The Beatles released "Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane" in 1967.

Black Sabbath's debut album was released in 1970.

In 1972 - Led Zeppelin cancelled a Singapore appearance after officials wouldn't let them off their plane, objecting to their long hair.

In 1976 - Genesis released A Trick of the Tail, their first album after the departure of Peter Gabriel.

In 1981 - Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon became the longest running album in Billboard chart history (402 weeks).

Waylon Jennings passed away in 2002 from complications of diabetes.

In 2003 - Album art and reel-to-reel tapes from the Beatles' White Album and Abbey Road sessions were found by Australian police during a raid.

In 2010, we lost Doug Fieger of the Knack (from cancer).

and birthday wishes to Peter Gabriel (61)