Jethro Tull – Songs from the wood (Epic 2017 #122)

The Epic 2017 Project #122: 170502

Jethro Tull – Songs from the wood (1977)

Songs from the Wood is the tenth studio album by British progressive rock band Jethro Tull, released February 1977. The album signalled a new direction for the band, who turned to celebrating British pagan folklore and the countryside life in a wide-ranging folk rock style which combined traditional instruments and melodies with hard rock drums and electric guitars.

The album is considered to be the first of a trio of folk rock albums: Songs from the Wood, Heavy Horses (1978) and Stormwatch (1979). On the album cover appears an extended title line: “Jethro Tull – with kitchen prose, gutter rhymes and divers – Songs from the Wood”. The title track of the album contain two of these phrases in its lyrics.

The UK music-paper adverts read: “Jethro Tull present ‘Songs From The Wood’. A new album of Old Magic. Songs From The Wood. It’s inspired by the thought that perhaps nature isn’t as gentle as we’d like to believe. And it takes as its theme the natural and supernatural inhabitants of the woodlands of old England. Warm and friendly, harsh and bitter by turns, it includes ‘Ring Out Solstice Bells’ as well as Tull’s new single ‘The Whistler’ and seven other songs. Find a quiet spot and listen to it soon.”

Steve Hillage – L ( Epic 2017 #113)

The Epic 2017 Project #113: 170423

Steve Hillage – L (1976)

L was Steve Hillage’s second studio  album, released in June 1976.

It was recorded primarily in New York, at the Secret Sound, Woodstock, N.Y., and was produced and engineered by Todd Rundgren, using musicians from Todd Rundgren’s band Utopia and others.

According to liner notes supplied with the US pressing, Rundgren had only just become aware of Hillage, and following a letter from Hillage to Rundgren, and a reply from Rundgren, Hillage travelled to New York to meet, and the agreement to work together flowed from that.

Unusually for Hillage, half the songs on this album are covers. “Hurdy Gurdy Man” was written by Donovan, “Om Nama Shivaya” is based on a traditional Hindu mantra, and “It’s All Too Much” was written by George Harrison, and originally appeared on the 1969 Beatles album, Yellow Submarine

Focus – Focus II (Moving Waves) (Epic 2017 #089)

The Epic 2017 Project #089: 170330

Focus – Focus II (Moving Waves) (1971)

Focus II (better known as its international title Moving Waves) is the second studio album from the Dutch rock band Focus, released in October 1971 on Imperial Records. Following the departure of Martin Dresden and Hans Cleuver in 1970, the band recruited Cyril Havermans on bass and Pierre van der Linden on drums and proceeded to work on new material. The album includes “Hocus Pocus”, the group’s most successful single, and “Eruption”, a 22-minute track based on the opera Euridice by Jacopo Peri.

Focus II was released to a mostly positive response. It remains one of the band’s most commercially successful albums, reaching No. 2 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 8 on the US Billboard 200. “Hocus Pocus” was released as a single in 1971, but did not chart until 1973 when it reached No. 9 in the US and No. 20 in the UK. The album is certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales in excess of 500,000 copies.

Focus II was also the first album I purchased on cassette tape. I’ve still got it and it still plays!

Camel – Rajaz (Epic 2017 #030)

The Epic 2017 Project #030: 170130

Camel – Rajaz (1999)

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I’m not going to say anything more about this album other than the word ‘Sahara’. Heard this on a Capital FM show late one night. Loved it but had no idea what it was or who it was by. Frustrating! Then they played it again a week later and this time told me. The album was snapped up the very next day.

‘Sahara’ is one of those tracks that quite simply does it for me. Every time. Can’t really put my finger on what that is. But when the guitar solo kicks in at towards the end, it hits something deep in my stomach and tears come almost event time. It is everything an instrumental need to be. And in absolutely every way. It quite simply is!

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.

Curved Air – Back Street Luv (Leaping Ahead #272)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #272: 160928

[Song from 28.9.71]

Formed in 1970 by musicians from mixed artistic backgrounds, including classical, folk, and electronic, the resulting sound of the band was a mixture of progressive rock, folk rock, and fusion with classical elements. Along with High Tide and East of Eden, Curved Air were one of the first rock bands after It’s a Beautiful Day and the United States of America to feature a violin. They released eight studio albums, the first three of which broke the UK Top 20, and had a hit single with “Back Street Luv” which reached number 4 in the UK Singles Chart.