Vocalist Chris Thompson’s last album with Manfred
Mann’s Earth Band is dressed up in Mann’s beautiful keyboards. Angel
Station has some key moments — “You Angel You,” a Bob Dylan tune that
sounds nothing like Dylan, and not the way their Top Ten version of
“Quinn the Eskimo”/”The Mighty Quinn” was reinvented. “You Angel You”
has a strong hook with topnotch Anthony Moore production work, and it
melts into the title track of Harriet Schock’s landmark Hollywood Town
album, the source of Helen Reddy’s “Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady.” The
Manfred Mann version is interesting, and explores the possibilities of
the composition, though Schock’s version is perfect country-pop and hard
to top. It is nice to see a rock band with such good taste. “Angelz at
My Gate,” co-written by Manfred Mann, leads off side two and is another
dreamy “angel” tune. It sounds mysteriously like “Games Without
Frontiers,” the Peter Gabriel radio hit from his 1980 third self-titled
solo album. Now since this was released the year before, do you think
Gabriel found inspiration from the grooves of Angel Station? While
artists like Gary Wright and Jordan Rudess overwhelm you with the
keyboards, Manfred Mann’s are indeed the lead instrument, but he uses
them to augment the vocals, not to overpower. The John Shaw-photographed
album cover looks innocent enough until you turn it upside down —
there a female dark angel, in open black cape, exposes her breasts. So
blatant, but upside down it probably went right by many retailers, and
with no hit single, it probably didn’t cause too much of a stir. It’s
interesting that, like Gary Wright, the Earth Band recorded for Warner
Bros., yet both acts only eked out a couple of hit singles. As with
Wright’s Headin’ Home LP, this 1979 album has more than its share of
good material, both keyboard players being intuitive artists with
credentials and past chart success. Despite good performances on Heron’s
“Don’t Kill It Carol” and a simply wonderful cover of Billy Falcon’s
1978 release, “Waiting for the Rain,” this is yet another album that
deserved a better fate. The rendition of the Falcon tune may be the best
performance of one of that singer’s compositions ever. The two Manfred
Mann songs on side two are excellent: “You Are – I Am” is good and
pleasant while “Resurrection” has lyrics that display clever sarcasm and
religious — or sacrilegious — overtones. Angel Station is
well-crafted music by an industry veteran.
We have been swindled by a scurrilous individual and have countersued for Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars. Pleae help with our legal bills.
Varulven Records is “Boston’s Original Rock Label” ™ In 2018 an individual contacted us about purchasing the “ephemera,” paper goods. He started taking master tapes, dozens of Varulven Magazine #1 that he was not entitled to, he ransacked the Varulven storage units, and then sued the small but vibrant independent label for $5,000.00 out in North Adams, Massachusetts so that the elder owner of the label had to trek out to Western Massachusetts on multiple occasions. The label filed a countersuit for $25,000.00 which is being heard in court as you read this. Varulven needs to hire a good, strong attorney to fight the malicious activities of the malicious person who took our property and then sued. Clearly, he was trying to get the label to default to abscond with the copyrights as well. Varulven Records is an important independent label with over 30 compilation albums which have chronicled the history of Boston Music since 1976, and we intend to release many more with rare and exciting finds in our vaults. For donations over $30.00 you will get Richard Nolan’s “Track Dog” 45 RPM and a copy of the new, critically acclaimed Boston Rock and Roll Anthology #21. The person who took our items without cataloguing them as promised and without the honor to work with the president of the label claims to have “… taught American studies, American history and the history of religion at leading institutions such as Williams College, Bennington College, and Emerson College. He (claims to have) held research fellowships at the Warburg Institute, and the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. Bennington College.” We trusted that individual because of his alleged credentials. His malicious suit has cost us time and money that could be spent on future projects. This is a real heartbreaker and our important indie label needs your help. We have documented the New England Music Scene for decades and that scurrilous individual has broken our momentum, broken our spirit, and interfered in our important work. Do NOT let Varulven be swindled by a selfish individual attempting to hijack and defame our legacy. This suit is also important so that other record labels and historians are not taken advantage of by a smooth-talking swindler who wants your intellectual property and who will sue you after he breaches contract and reneges on the deal. This is an important case which can prevent further historians from being abused by a petty street hustler. Judge Judy wanted the case and would have settled it, but the violent man would rather threaten an elder person in a storage unit than settle. His objective is to hijack our precious materials. He is a snake oil salesman, not a historian and we need your help to hire legal counsel to protect our valuables. We so appreciate any donations and will send you a gift of a recording for helping out this righteous cause. Thanks!
Feedback is one of the strangest happenings in rock,
more dramatic than Michael MacDonald taking over the Doobie Brothers,
but more successful artistically than it was financially, and a chapter
of the group that is sadly forgotten. The original band was produced by
Lou Adler and built around guitar prodigy Randy California, and a bit of
history is in order to understand this hybrid project. David Briggs,
producer of Kathi MacDonald, Alice Cooper’s Easy Action, and Neil Young,
helped the band forge their classic Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus and
was retained for this follow-up. William Ruhlmann’s liner notes to
Spirit’s Time Circle Epic/Legacy release notes that Randy California
resigned from the group at this point. Mark Andes and Jay Ferguson
formed Jo Jo Gunne with Curly Smith, and Smith’s friends, the Staehely
Brothers, joined Cassidy and company. What Ed Cassidy and keyboard
player John Locke created with producer David Briggs was a phenomenal
reinvention of Spirit, which worked, sometimes better than the original
group. Bassist/vocalist Al Staehely wrote the music, with guitar chores
and backing vocals by his brother J. Christian Staehely. “Witch,” the
final track on the disc, is typical of this new Spirit sound, a fusion
of pop/jazz/rock with a dab of country. It would have been a perfect
blend for Randy California to step back into, though his ego might have
been the stumbling block here. In concert, this version of Spirit was
serious and precise, playing with a cool efficiency. David Briggs was
the perfect guy to oversee this project, allowing the musicians their
space and developing a true counterpart to The Twelve Dreams of Dr.
Sardonicus, considered by many to be the band’s highpoint. The cover is
in eerie aqua blue with the faces looking like spirits peering out of a
distorted television. The gatefold contains a band photo and a smart
evolutionary image for this eclectic and underrated West Coast band.
Here’s the clincher: musically, some of the best work on Feedback are
the two instrumentals by keyboard player John Locke, “Puesta Del Scam”
and “Trancas Fog-Out,” fragments of the original “Spirit” performed by
this new quartet. The stuff is brilliant, and that it was excised from
Time Circle is a pity. It was this writer who put Epic/Legacy in touch
with Randy California in the development of 1991’s Time Circle
compilation project, and certainly the elegant “Darkness,” the third
John Locke title, deserved to be included on that double disc, and some
representation of this remarkable work would have been appropriate
rather than nine whopping cuts from The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus.
Jo Jo Gunne guitarist Matthew Andes (brother of Spirit’s Mark Andes)
co-wrote “Mellow Morning” with Al Staehely, and it, along with “Right on
Time” and “Ripe and Ready,” all display the Spirit vibe, even hinting
at some Jo Jo Gunne, as strange as that may seem. The
Cassidy/Locke/Staehely/Staehely combo added enough jazz to Spirit to
temper the all out assault that was Jo Jo Gunne, and therein lies the
difference. This is not David Bowie’s ex-drummer and bassist forming the
Spiders From Mars; keep in mind that Ed Cassidy was not only the band’s
insignia with his Yul Brynner look, he was this group’s spiritual
leader. As Randy California’s step-dad, it’s a shame he didn’t get more
firm with the boy and demand they all be “the family that plays
together.” Had the Staehely brothers and John Locke stayed on board for
Cassidy and Randy California’s next project, the erratic Potatoland disc
may have mutated into something totally brilliant. The best of Al
Staehely, John Locke, and Randy California would have been truly
something. Feedback is a solid performance and remarkable album which
deserves its place in the Spirit catalog, and not the status of bastard
son. It is a legitimate Spirit project and it is very, very good.
AllMusic Review by Joe Viglione [-]Released in Europe on Castle Communications and distributed in the U.S. on Domino Entertainment, a label founded by producer Rob Fraboni, the album’s tracks were all shuffled into a different order except for “A Little Bit of Love,” “It Don’t Come Easy,” and “Use That Power.” An oddity, but you could put the CD in your player on the shuffle setting and it would remain one of journeyman Alvin Lee’s finest statements. The stellar track here is “Real Life Blues,” which hit in spots around the states, notably in Texas and in Massachusetts. It was a Top 30 hit on the Billboard charts in Boston when the regional papers published such tracking. The track featured the unmistakable sound of George Harrison on slide guitar and Deep Purple keyboard player Jon Lord. This is a wiser, slower, more methodical sentiment than we once heard Lee make on “I’d Love to Change the World.” A 16 page booklet accompanies the cover photo (the bull’s eye on Lee’s guitar), it’s the other side of the flash guitar Lee’s been known for. “A Little Bit of Love” is Ten Years After meets Power Station with thunderous drums and very smooth production. Steve Gould and Deena Payne’s backing vocals chirp over Alan Young’s boom-boom drumbeat on “The Price of Love,” a bonafide dance tune that cries for the kind of production that the band Chic made famous — dance blues. “Moving the Blues” is a fun, Delaney & Bonnie type rocker with Clarence Clemons on tenor sax. Clemons appears on four tracks, including “Use That Power,” “Jenny, Jenny” — a Little Richard meets Mitch Ryder by way of Chuck Berry fun stomper — and the funky “Wake Up Moma” which has that trademark Jon Lord keyboard filling in nicely. The instrumental “Lost in Love” is very tasteful. This is a major ’60s/’70s figure making music on his own terms and it is very satisfying. https://www.allmusic.com/album/zoom-mw0000617874
The upcoming Spiderman film looks like fun. Doctor Octopus, Doctor Strange chock full of docs….https://thedirect.com/article/spider-man-3-no-way-home-trailer-official-sony-movies I started writing reviews at the age of 15 in 1969 for my fan publication Varulven Magazine. 52 years later I have developed my own “writer’s voice” giving insight quite different from other critics. My theory is, why do a regular mainstream review that you can find online from any publication? With a film out worldwide Marty Balin Live on the Esplanade – Rock n Roll Hall of Fame artist directed by Joe Viglione, the first solo Marty Balin (of Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship) disc full of surprises, and a number of new films already in the planning stages, you get ideas inside my reviews from behind the camera and from the front row of the theater.
From Joe V, the director: This Marty Balin DVD is the “ultimate fan package”…meaning, rather than allow unauthorized tapes to flourish we got footage together from both professionals and people who are long-time Balin supporters who wanted to run cameras at the June 14, 2008 concert in Boston. The spirit of the recording was to document a rare Balin gig a la Cracker & Camper Van Beethoven’s “The First Annual Camp Out Live at Pappy and Harriet’s P”. It’s a 9 camera shoot utilizing 7 of the cameras in the edit. Don’t expect a multi-million dollar production – this disc is a labor of love spanning 14 years beginning with an interview from 1995. As the 1995 concert footage that accompanied the original television broadcast interview was Jefferson Starship material we decided to film a new concert with Marty’s band. Balin was originally scheduled to open for Johnny Rivers in 2007 but due to a prior commitment with Jefferson Starship in New York the date got moved to June of 2008 – a gig with the group/duo America at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade (same venue Rivers played the year before).
The cover photo is not from this America/Balin concert…that’s a picture that former Jefferson Starship lead singer Darby Gould took from the stage when Marty was in the latter-day J.S….and we thank her for such a beautiful and mysterious shot. Marco Centola and Rob Fraboni remastered the two-track soundboard audio…D.J. Eli Polonsky at WMBR in Cambridge/Boston played “Somebody To Love” on the air and it sounded great coming over the radio. Marty Balin was interviewed by Polonsky on Tuesday, November 24, 2009 and when the DJ noted that singer Didi Stewart is a legendary Boston figure Marty said immediately “She’s a great singer!” As producer/director I would love to see an extended version of this DVD a few years from now…and maybe an audio CD mixed from both the soundboard and the multiple cameras. The August 1976 hit “With Your Love” was performed in the studio practice at Newbury Media on 6-13-08 the day before the show and is probably up somewhere on the web as a trailer for this project, though that classic wasn’t performed the next night at the show. Those songs were digitally recorded, multi-track, at the world class facility which has gold and platinum for Marky Mark, New Kids on The Block and other major recording artists. Three of the Newbury Media rehearsal sessions are on this DVD – Essra Mohawk’s “Shaping The Night”, a second version of the Jesse Barish classic “Count On Me” and Balin’s own “Somehow The Tired Reach Home”. The audio on those three bonus tracks was mixed by Ken Kanavos at the studio and the quality is superb.
It is my hope that everyone gets to see the genius of Marty Balin 39 years after he performed at Woodstock and enjoys this presentation that we put a lot of time and love into, released on the 40th Anniversary of the Woodstock event. Four of the songs the Jefferson Airplane performed at Woodstock appear on this disc recorded 4 decades after the Summer of Love.
As noted above I’m the producer/director of this document. The 5 star rating I give it is for Marty Balin’s performance and the performances of singer Didi Stewart, keyboard player Gordon G.G. Gebert (of a latter day version of the group Angel), bassist Dave Trupia (also on Marty’s upcoming CD) and the extraordinary Donny Baldwin, drummer with Elvin Bishop Group and the latter day Starship (the Mickey Thomas version of the band after Marty Balin went solo). It was an absolute honor to work with these talents and it is my hope that the public enjoys this recording for what it is: an historical record of a rock & roll hall of famer with no frills and lots of bonus material including interviews with Signe Anderson, Jeff Tamarkin and Marty Balin himself.
February 27, 1983, I opened for the legendary Johnny Thunders in Paradise with my friends The Daughters. They backed Johnny up. WERS student wanted to interview Johnny, but Thunders said “I will only let Joe Viglione interview me.” So I interviewed Johnny and it purportedly was played on 88.1 FM WERS, Emerson College. Would love to get a copy of that. Never heard the interview. These are Terry Brenner’s Ticket Stubs
Can’t Wait To See You Smile Revisionist History Retrospective
1)Reflect Love, 2)Can’t Wait to See You Smile without intro 3)The Salt Water Summers 4)Up In Maine 5)Lejandami 6)Wave Descends 7)Mystical Eye II 8)Touch Me Marnie, M’Love 9)Dear Erica 10)Dreamin’ Of 11)Riding Around Nowhere 12Transporter (Folk Version)
Massachusetts native Chris Evans returns to Marvel Comics’ “House of Ideas” as Steve Rogers – Captain America, with a much different look than exhibited in the two films where he appeared as The Fantastic Four’s Johnny Storm. This important component of the Avengers collection, the final “prequel”, if you will, has to be at least as effective as Kenneth Branagh’s Thor: The God Of Thunder, and that it is.
Director Joe Johnston has had plenty of experience with Science
Fiction, from 1989’s Honey I Shrunk the Kids to Jurassic Park III. He
does an elegant job of blending cliche after cliche in Captain America:
The First Avenger, a forumla that has become a quite necessary
merry-go-round of sorts for the variety of D.C. and Marvel superheroes
launching out of the big screen. These are the spawn of the James Bond
blockbuster pictures when Goldfinger was identifiable to the mainstream
as Dr. Doom was to comic book fans in the pages of the Fantastic Four.
Captain America sports the film texture from Kerry Conran’s Sky
Captain and the World of Tomorrow with a bit of Josef Rusnak’s The
Thirteenth Floor enhanced with a darker (and so obligatory nowadays) 3D.
Let’s face it, the choice of director for these high stakes films is
made with mathematical precision and Johnston doesn’t disappoint. The
estimated budget of $140 million is in the ballpark for these Marvel
epics, a rather daunting figure when The Matrix pulled in four hundred
million more than the sixty-three million invested to start that series.
Hugo Weaving is recycled yet again, and his vision for The Red Skull
is most satisfying. Said to have been pulled, in part, from a James Bond
villain, Maximilian Largo (if we are to believe Wikipedia), actor Klaus
Maria Brandauer’s psychotic madman is a good study for Red Skull.
Weaving’s malevolence far outpaces his Agent Smith from the Matrix…the
calculating machine mind replaced by megalomania and a penchant for
Norse mythology and the occult. He certainly uses his previous three
movie stint as the computer virus as a foundation for this, and his
hatred is far more believable here.
Back in the 1960s comics were for kids along with bubble gum cards
and Monkees records. Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee had a vision of adults
walking down the street with his comic magazines, not in brown paper
bags or hidden in their suit jackets, but consumers proudly holding his
creations for all to see. Decades after achieving that initial goal –
establishing the colorful stories as legitimate literature, the
successful author is as revered to his massive following as Alfred
Hitchcock was to his, both icons making important cameos as a kind of
on-camera signature, to the audience’s delight. The expensive action
does get a bit hokey, my recollection of the 1960s Captain America
didn’t have him this amped up. The film version gives the hero bonafide
super powers that were not as evident in the comic book. This motion
picture takes the liberty of giving Cap some of Daredevil’s instinct,
Hulk’s strength and Spiderman’s gymnastics, probably to cope with the
fact that he’s the most vulnerable super hero of the bunch. Think
Superman with a bit of Kryptonite following him about 300 yards away.
As Johnny Storm the producers used Chris Evans for eye candy (though
his acting skills rose above the scripts he was handed in both FF
adventures).It’s not a stretch to see an actor go from one superhero to
another as Marvel made it a habit to switch their comic book creations
around…just as Medusa from The Frightful Four became Medusa of The
Inhumans (two of the more underrated teams in Marvel history). Here he
gets to transform his cerebral approach to Steve Rogers in the same way
his body is morphed from stringbean to …well, Wolverine or Incredible
Hulk…take your pick. These “origins” are very similar and the trick is
to do it as flashy as possible. Marvel is well aware that the film
going public has tired of the origin of Superamn, or how Batman came to
be is told time and again. Having to address that for a figure unkown
to the mainstream means keeping it brief, and adding a little
contemporary terrorism to keep things modern and different.
To spice things up the audience is treated to a little Bride of
Frankenstein mad scientist laboratory, a little dash of the early Batman
serials from the 1940s and some military madness from the 1950s sci-fi
film stampede. And while you’re at it, make it a World War II saga to
boot. The two hours contain all of it and do it with enough action to
make it the roller coaster ride it is supposed to be.
Captain America: The First Avenger has to follow the last Harry Potter film. That’s probably a good thing as the fantasy audience that is devouring Potter magic will, no doubt, want to get right back to the theaters. It’s no Deathly Hallows II, but it is pretty much what comic book fans want. The packed house in Boston waited to see if an Avenger’s trailer would follow the credits. Their disappointment that it did not only shows how devoted the audience for this genre still is. http://joeviglione.com/?page_id=258