School's Out ($5 Special)

SKU: 2623-2
Label:
Warner Bros
Category:
Hard Rock
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"School's Out catapulted Alice Cooper into the hard rock stratosphere, largely due to its timeless, all-time classic title track. But while the song became Alice's highest-charting single ever (reaching number seven on the U.S. charts) and recalled the brash, three-and-a-half-minute garage rock of yore, the majority of the album signaled a more complex compositional directional for the band. Unlike Cooper's previous releases (Love It to Death, Killer), which contained several instantly identifiable hard rock classics, School's Out appears to be a concept album, and aside from the aforementioned title track anthem, few of the other tracks have ever popped up in concert. That's not to say they weren't still strong and memorable; while such cuts as "Gutter Cat vs. the Jets," "Street Fight," "My Stars," and "Grande Finale" came off like mini-epics with a slightly progressive edge, Alice Cooper still managed to maintain their raw, unrefined punk edges, regardless. Other highlights included the rowdy "Public Animal #9," the mid-paced "Luney Tune," and the sinister, cabaret-esque "Blue Turk."" - Allmusic

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  • "If you listened to the Mahavishnu Orchestra in the 1970s you are familiar with his keyboard wizardry. If you’re a fan of the Indiana Jones movies you have heard his piano. You might also have come across his works by watching US documentary films or TV series. Indeed, this man has “more than one iron in the fire”, as the saying goes. Since the 1980s Stu Goldberg is a highly requested soundtrack composer and session musician for Jerry Goldsmith, Lalo Schifrin and the like. Yet in recent years he began recording as a jazz musician again, and by doing so, resumed his early career which was exceptional in every way.Having caused a sensation at the Monterey Jazz Festival, when he was merely 17, Goldberg became a member of John McLaughlins Mahavishnu Orchestra, toured the world and played with Al Di Meola, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, Billy Cobham, Jack Bruce and Alphonse Mouzon from the 1970s on. But it was the teamwork with the latter who finally set the ball rolling for Goldbergs solo career. And Joachim Ernst Berendt, of course, on who you can put the blame for many gems in the MPS vault. Since it was Berendt who produced Stu’s first LP “Solos – Duos - Trios” (1978) which already revealed Goldberg’s open-minded, organic and at the same time experimental philosophy, as he paired his piano and synthesizer with the guitar by one Larry Coryell and the Indian violin of L Subramaniam. Encouraged by label owner Brunner-Schwer, Goldberg created another three contributions to the MPS catalogue on his own, culminating in the album you now have in hand, which was long out-of-print and now is available on CD. It certainly ranks as the most elaborate and best thought-out work in Goldberg’s solo discography.Recorded and mixed in Hollywood in the August of 1981 “Eye Of The Beholder” holds many surprises: The title track is a rollicking opener which shows Stu in a virtuoso mood developing his solo parts in a very organic way. Teaming up is his brother Ken on sax whose recording debut we can witness here. “New Love” is a lavishly orchestrated piece with piano and strings under the lead of violinist Doug Cameron creating rich colours – it also features a tremendous bass solo by Jim Lacefield and plainly points at Goldberg’s cinematic capacity. This is also the case with “Song Burst”: Energetic and equally lyrical it unites a burning band with the driving pulse of drummer Dave Crigger (whom Goldberg knew through their common work in Don Ellis’ band) and quartet interludes of a nearly baroque character. “Daybreak, Sunbeam” and the following “Daybreak” must be seen as a suite, revealing a wide range of influences from the romantic period of Chopin and Rachmaninoff to daring modern jazz improvisation along its course, the two Goldberg brothers often playing side by side before Stu recaptures the first part with a splendid solo. “Montreal” once again shows all the qualities of this album, displaying a fine interaction between jazz band and strings with space for solo highlights, notably Ken on flute this time, and conga player Lee Pastora adding his skills to the Latin touch of the final section."
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  • "As suggested by its title, 'II' is the second album by multi-national band Corvus Stone. They continue with their merry blend of various musical influences, for an explosive cocktail of colours and sounds. Drummer Robert Wolff is now an official member of the band, while vocal duties were shared between several recording artists of Nick Katona's label, Melodic Revolution Records (later shortened in MRR). Sonia Mota, the biggest David Bowie fan on earth, was involved again for the artwork, as enchanting as on the first album.As announced in preamble of this review, this album is a festival of musical sounds, as diverse as the origin of the musicians involved. While music in general is in the field of progressive rock, it's easy to notice that the band doesn't care about labels. Progressive rock is a means to sublimate their influences rather than an end in itself. Therefore, you will hear pop (the baroque echoes of the harpsicord in the opener with beatlesque vocal harmonies, the pastoral accents of "Eternal universe"). Other popular forms of music are also represented. Let's start with blues-rock. First with the cover of Murky Red's "Boots for hire", where the virile voice is provided by none other than Murky Red's frontman, Stef Flaming, yet in a context slightly different from the original version, through its spacey keys and arabesques. Then, the blues influence is also obvious in the languid "Mystery man", with its eerie keys and reminiscences of The Beatles' "I want you (she's so heavy)" in the closing section. Rock'n'roll is there as well with the hellish "Purple stone" and a short wink to Deep Purple's "Highway star". Folk music, highlighted by the use of finnish in the lyrics ("Campfire"), has also its place in this monumental album. On the other hand, "Uncle Schunkle" with its groovy rhythms and its vintage hammond, recalls the golden age of jazz-funk. And obviously, since Corvus Stone are regarded as a progressive rock act, the instrumental "A stoned crow meets the rusty Wolff" is a piece that goes in this direction, with many rhythm changes and colourful keys. The title of the song is a pun on the drummer's name but might also be a reference to Happy The Man's humorous piece "Stumpy Meets the Firecracker in Stencil Forest". Besides those influences, some dances are honoured throughout the record: salsa ("Scandinavians in Mexico"), cha cha cha ("Mr Cha Cha"), waltz ("Early morning call" with echoes of Stranglers' "Golden Brown"), bolero ("Camelus bactrianus"), flamenco (Colin's guitar opening to some tracks). Moreover, some neo-classical interludes intersperse the album, be it in a mozartian way ("Lisa has a cigar"), or romantic fashion ("Dark Tower"). More surprising is the pastoral symphony in four movements "Moaning Lisa" (two movements in the tradition of british songs of the elisabethan era, separated by a mouth organ-lead boiling instrumental movement, and a final waltz closing the symphony).Besides the lack of interest for any specific label, the band deals with a lot of humour, never grotesque, always delivered with profesionalism. This is made possible thanks to a wide range of keyboard sounds and versatile guitar soloing, among other factors. In fact, keyboard sounds are very diverse, ubiquitous and tasty. While guitar gently weeps with touching short spastic licks, it can also turn aerial, fiery or even delve in a classical spanish realm as seen before. The presence of drummer Robert Wolff on all tracks is an improvement over the previous album. In fact, his play blends the elegance of Barriemore Barlow and the punch of John Bonham, and is instrumental in the support of the music's humorous and eclectic flavours. Vocals are diverse this time, as singers from several MRR acts were invited for the project. Blake Carpenter's high-pitch and sense of derision is tempered by more seriously delivered vocals from his mates of MRR, the whole adding to the versatility of the work.Corvus Stone are a band that don't take themselves seriously, and this aspect should be taken into account when reviewing their works. Thanks to their experience in music, a great musicianship and a sense of humour, they deliver a music that is heartfelt, not dictated by any trend of the moment, and that will put a smile on your face and certainly make your day." - ProgArchives
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  • "I was first exposed to Cardiacs’ oddly compelling world when the video to ‘Tarred And Feathered’ aired on The Tube on April 17 1987. Six musicians wearing old-fashioned vaguely military-style uniforms, covered in badly applied make-up and cranking out the most eccentric music I had ever heard broadcast on TV, against a backdrop that looked as though it had been stolen from a 70s children’s show. I had no idea what to make of it but it certainly made an impression. A friend of mine said he liked it, until he realised that the seemingly chaotic nature of the tune was in fact scripted mayhem, written down as notes and not improvised at all. This had the opposite effect on me. I wondered how someone could write such music and what on earth their influences could be.When I briefly moved to Cambridge aged 18, my best friend there was a Cardiacs obsessive who used to terrorise his poor live-in-landlord by constantly screening their Seaside Treats video at full-throttle volume. There was something about those films - the childish petulance of the musician’s behaviour, the industrial surrealism of Eraserhead transposed instead to the garish English seaside - that I found irritating. But after a few listens, splinters of melodies had embedded themselves in my brain (abetted no doubt by the eruption of electronic mayhem that follows the command "take it Sarah" on ‘To Go Off And Things’) and resistance was no longer an option. I went out into the city centre and bought my first Cardiacs album, A Little Man And A House And The Whole World Window. Although subsequent releases by the band would mean I was forever revising which was my favourite, it was to mark the beginning of a lifelong love of their music.Perhaps their best known recording, ALM&AH&TWWW was Cardiacs’ fourth album and the first to be recorded in a proper studio - The Workhouse in the Old Kent Road in London, which was gutted by a fire soon after. Three cassette only albums, The Obvious Identity, Toy World and The Seaside, had preceded it, along with the Big Ship mini-LP. The classic line up of brothers Tim and Jim Smith on lead vocals/guitar and bass/vocals respectively, Sarah Smith on saxophones and clarinet, William D. Drake on keyboards and vocals, Tim Quay on marimba and percussion, and Dominic Luckman on drums, was expanded to include strings and a brass section. Ashley Slater added tenor and bass trombone, Phil Cesar brought trumpet and flugelhorn, while Elaine Herman completed the picture on violin. The band’s main creative force Tim Smith produced the album, which contained the nearest thing they ever had to a hit single, ‘Is This The Life?’ Tim once told me that demand for the single far outstripped stock from the initial pressing and although he tried to get more pressed up as quickly as possible, the plant where they were being made was also pressing copies of Kylie Minogue’s ‘I Should Be So Lucky,’ and was already at maximum capacity cranking out copies of her massive breakthrough hit. A quick look at the timeframe suggests the story could have been true, but as this was exactly the kind of self-penned apocryphal tale that Tim could never resist indulging in, I’m still unsure as to whether I believe it or not." - The Quietus
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