Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Music Box - Songs Of Sunshine (1972 uk, tastily folk psych, Radioactive issue)



Echoes of the mid '60s folk rock boom, and whimsical lyrics with a twist of Dylan (his "Tom Thumb's Blues" is the only non-original song on the album) were perhaps at odds with the sounds of that era. Whatever the reasoning, the album quickly disappeared... shame. Here is an album about a more intimate, predominantly acoustic music. Flutes, chimes, and gentle organ sounds. It spins tales of faraway lands, sand, sea, castles, kings, queens and even Peter Pan.

Bet you thought only Donovan made 'em like that? Songs of Sunshine is incense & innocence, folk rock 'n' flowers! Well played, tastily arranged... and overlooked. But that was then, and things change.... we're now probably far enough away for the mid '60s to be the early '70s anyway, and if you can remember those times, well, you weren't there, as the saying goes...or something like that.

Rob Armstrong, the leader of the group, became a renowned luthier after the short-lived Music Box project, and you can hear the care and love of the acoustic guitar in the music.

The lyrics combine whimsy and fantastical stuff, basically pedestrian but the key is the feel of the tunes,(very pretty version of a traditional tune, "Leezie Lindsey.") the album also has tasteful bass playing and organ and glockenspiel and such things. 
by Adamus67
Tracks
1. Songs Of Sunshine - 4:18
2. Caillavie - 3:53
3. Harmonium Joe - 3:21
4. Leezie Lindsey (Traditional arr. by Rob Armstrong) - 5:29
5. Calico Shoeshine Boy - 2:45
6. The Happy King - 4:58
7. The Magic Cloak - 2:34
8. Seaside Sunshine (Colin Armstrong) - 2:58
9. Tom Thumbs Blues (Bob Dylan) - 6:34
10.Downstairs On The Floor - 3:24
All titles by Rob Armstrong unless as else stated.

Music Box
*Rob Armstrong - Six, Twelve String Guitars, Vocals
*Colin Armstrong - Six String, Electric Guitar, Vocals
*Pip - Glockenspiel, Recorder, Organ, Percussion, Vocals

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Pete Ham - 7 Park Avenue (1970-74 uk, wonderful testament of soft pop rock, Rykodisc release)



Only two of these 18 tracks ("No Matter What" and "Matted Spam") were recorded by Badfinger. But the rest of these solo studio demos are quite up to scratch with Badfinger's usual standards: it's not nearly as good as Paul McCartney's late Beatles tracks, for instance, but it's actually better than McCartney's typical early solo material. 

Pete Ham is a thinking listener's rock romantic, offering emotional, wistful words and melodies without sounding sappy. Purists should be aware that, although Ham played most of the instruments here, some overdubs were added in the '90s by other musicians, for the purpose of giving the tracks a fuller, more balanced sound. 

It's difficult to judge whether this decision was justified without hearing the original versions, though one wonders whether die-hard Badfinger fans (the primary audience for this release) would really care that much about any sonic imperfections in the originals. In any case, the end result sounds pretty tasteful, without any obvious concessions to dressing up the essential sounds in modern technology. 
by Richie Unterberger
Tracks
1. Catherine Cares - 3:01
2. Coppertone Blues - 3:56
3. It Doesn't Really Matter - 2:58
4. Live Love All of Your Days - 2:16
5. Would You Deny - 1:23
6. Dear Father - 2:03
7. Matted Spam - 3:24
8. No Matter What - 2:24
9. Leaving on a Midnight Train - 2:41
10.Weep Baby - 2:26
11.Hand in Hand - 2:38
12.Sille Veb - 3:38
13.I Know That You Should - 3:28
14.Island - 2:27
15.Just Look Inside the Cover - 3:29
16.Just How Lucky We Are - 2:29
17.No More - 2:55
18.Ringside - 2:46
All titles by Pete Ham

*Pete Ham - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, Drums, Percussion

Ham's activities 
1968-75 Pete Ham - Golders Green
1969  Iveys - Maybe Tomorrow
1970  Badfinger - Magic Christian Music (Japan issue)
1970  Badfinger - No Dice (24karat Gold disc)
1971  Badfinger - Straight Up (24karat gold disc)

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