Jon Anderson – Olias of Sonhillow (Epic 2017 #008)

The Epic 2017 Project #008: 170108

Jon Anderson – Olias of Sonhillow (1976)

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Olias of Sunhillow was Jon Anderson’s first studio album as a solo artist. It tells the story of an alien race and their journey to a new world due to a volcanic catastrophe. Olias is the chosen architect of the glider Moorglade Mover which will be used to fly his people to their new home. Ranyart is the navigator for the glider, and Qoquaq (pronounced ‘ko-quake’) is the leader who unites the four tribes of Sunhillow to partake in the exodus.

The album represented eight months of physical work, but it took two years from conception to release. Anderson used more than a hundred tracks in putting the album together, overdubbing strings, organ, harp and percussion

The triple gatefold sleeve on the original vinyl pressing for Atlantic Records, inspired by the work of Roger Dean, was designed and illustrated by Dave Fairbrother Roe RA.

Admiral Fallow – Boots met my face (Epic 2017 #002)

The Epic 2017 project #002: 170102

Admiral Fallow – Boots met my Face (2011)

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Originally formed in 2007 by singer-songwriter Louis Abbott under the name ‘The Brother Louis Collective’, Admiral Fallow are based in Glasgow.

‘Boots Met My Face’ was recorded in July 2009

All of the songs document the first chapter of my life, be it memories from school or kicking a ball about with my childhood chums. All are taken from real life events. There’s no fiction. I’m not into making up stories or characters for the sake of trying to stir emotions. They are songs about friends and family as well as a fair bit of self-evaluation”. [Louis Abbot (2010)]

Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar (Leaping Ahead #233)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #233: 160820

[Song from a band beginning with R]

The opening track from the Stones’ 11th studio album ‘Sticky Fingers’ released in April 1971. The controversial album cover wasn’t exactly banned in the UK – but it was covered up in some places; certainly in my local Woolworths! But the main culprit – the zipper – had more to give. Because later that year, after retailers complained that the the zipper was causing damage to the vinyl because of the way albums were stacked for shipping, later pressings had it moved it to ‘half-mast’ first.That just made things worse of course! Mary Whitehouse had a field-day!

Free (A-Z #44)

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Although All Right Now is undoubtably the starting point into the Free story for those still discovering them some 44 years after their main split early in 1971, it was in fact the last track they recorded for the album it would eventually close – the ground-breaking ‘Fire and Water. The album itself was released in June 1970, just as the single was being kept from the Number 1 spot by Mungo Jerry’s ‘In the summertime’

Fire and Water was actually the band’s third album but they’d been together for just 18 months when they recorded it over two separate sessions at the beginning of 1970. However, it also marked the beginning of their demise thanks, in no small part, to the brilliance of ‘All Right Now’.

This was quite possibly the first truly post-modern song in rock, its memorable song-along lyrics and the stuff of myriad post-millenium karaoke sessions an admission of pragmatism to the ‘love is freedom’ mantra of the late 60s coupled with one of the greatest rock guitar riffs of all time. ‘All Right Now’ reached Number 1 in over 20 countries world-wide after which it would go on to receive upwards of three and a half million airplays over the succeeding forty-four years.

So it’s sadly ironic that the success of ‘All Right Now’ robbed Free of the musical freedom they had built up in the 18 months leading up to the release of ‘Fire and Water’. All Right Now became bigger than all of them; they couldn’t follow it with anything that came close and, despite a number of post-album landmark gigs in several countries, Free split early in 1971. There was a brief reformation a year later and two more albums – but the spark had gone and, as the glitter years took hold, Free disbanded for good.

Fire and Water lives on though. It’s a timeless classic and is as much about now (2015) as it was about then (1970). It’s got that timeless something that grabs you by the unmentionables and shouts into your soul. Just seven tracks from the opening magic of the title track through to the closing thunder of ‘All Right Now’, but seven tracks of heaven that assure Free of Classic Rock band status and the album as one of the best of our times.

to make way for the massive success

Artful albums #9: Roger Dean – Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973)

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Roger Dean (b.1944), a graduate of the Royal College of Art, together with Storm Thorgerson (more about him later) is credited with the transformation of the album cover from perfunctory packaging to the status of art form in its own right. This example is the gatefold cover for the 1973 Yes album ‘Tales from Topographic Oceans’. But you really should check out his website and have a look at the other stuff he’s done over the years – http://www.rogerdean.com

Artful albums #8: Debbie Hall – Rainbow’s ‘Long live rock n roll’ (1978)

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Debbie Hall is the illustrator of the front cover of Rainbow’s 1978 album ‘Long Live Rock n Roll’. A deep ochre coloured gatefold when originally released on Polydor, the first pressings came with an inner lyric sheet. The inner sleeve features a double page photo depicting what the listener might reasonably be expected to believe as being a huge crowd at a live Rainbow gig. However, it is in fact a picture of the crowd at a ‘Rush’ gig with the slogan on the banner airbrushed over to display the fiction of the album title and the fans’ ‘Rush’ t-shirts blacked out.

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