Kostas Tournas (Κώστας Τουρνάς) born on September 23, 1949, Tripoli, Greece. Aside Mariza Koch andDionysis Savvopoulos, he’s certainly one of the greatest solo artists from its country, with dozens of albums, international recognition, passing through rock, pop, glam, disco, and many other influences; we’ll stick to its foremost concept gem by now. Still active, he’s also a member of the center-right political party New Democracy (sic). A dedicated post for Poll and his other solo classic Astroneirawill appear throughout our galaxy, don’t miss it!
Let’s go to his history:
As a child Kostas enjoyed singing popular Greek melodies of the era, due to financial difficulties, his family eventually moved to Kypseli, Athens, in 1959. He managed to finish high school and in its spare time, he used to study the guitar which he received as a present from his mother. At age 13 he joined his first band. Largely self-educated he took up guitar lessons in 1965, pursuing a more serious musical career, shortly after, he was with a garage band called The Teenagers.
In Athens, Kostas worked at various music clubs, playing melodramatic Italian and French songs which he didn’t enjoy very much. He was a Beatles fan to the point of having watched A Hard Day’s Night seven times in a single day. (!)
He started to write original Greek material at the end of the ’60s in collaboration with his childhood friend Robert Williams. After returning from the army (69/70), Kostas founded Poll, one of the first rock groups of Greece, along with Robert Williams and Stavros Logarides. They started appearing at the popular Athens music club Kyttaro presenting folk-rock songs influenced by the hippie culture.
A second album featured the anti-war song Anthrope Agapa, allegedly the first protest rock-song in Greece. They only existed for two years and managed to release two albums (1971 and 1972). Their easy-listening ballad style made them very popular with Greek audiences. After Poll disbanded, Kostas pursued a solo career.
Let’s go to our album:
In 1972 he released the album Απέραντα Χωράφια(Infinite Fields) based on songs he wrote with Poll but then blown up into a 35-minute (!) psychedelic pop-rock symphonic work which he presented with the group Ruth. This Magnusopus, much influenced by Beethoven, had no distinction into separate tracks, Kostas wrote and arranged it for a symphonic orchestra and provided vocals, guitars, and keyboards himself, as an autobiographical concept album. (!)
With a beautiful resemblance to David Axelrod’s work, Kostas managed to create multiple layers and passages along with the record. Brilliantly played and recorded, it helps us to enter into the greek rock scene, although it hasn’t much folklore or traditional instruments on it, this western rock-opera deserves your full attention!
Our usual highlights become one single track that flows into a rock combo with some fuzz, folk-ballads, sound effects, grand orchestra, and superb outcome. Goeie Reis!
A1 Απέραντα Χωράφια
B1 Απέραντα Χωράφια
Recorded At: Polysound Studio
Record Company: PolyGram
Phonographic Copyright (p): PolyGram Records S.A. (Greece)
Argentina. Today’s album got a minor size text, compared to previous posts, because our friends from Cabeza de Moog already made a dossier about Alma y Vida, don’t forget to check it, as the whole blog as well!
On mid’s ’60s, Carlos Mellino had been, along with Alejandro Medina, future bassist from Manal, a member from The Seasons, one of the first beat bands from Argentina. Gradually, he was contacting with jazz musicians, meeting the trumpeter, Salvador, and the guitarist Barrueco. Soon after, as an arranger and musician, he was leading the band for Leonardo Favio, a national star. Bernardo Baraj recalls his entrance on the future band as a so-called millionaire football transference:
‘I was playing with Sandro and the rivalry at the time between Sandro / Favio, was like Boca / River; actually, its was a change, Ricardo Lew went with Sandro and I passed to Favio’s group. I remember when Leonardo finished singing, we always kept it playing, a non-stop thing, you know? The band sounded so tuned that when Favio really quite, we became an independent group. Thus was born Alma y Vida‘.
Let’s go to their history:
In 1970, Leonardo Favio told them he would stop singing for a while, instead of separating they choose to build your own project, beginning to play under its own name, under a jazz-rock influence. Their first public performances took place in the cycle of Opera Theatre of Buenos Aires, sharing the stage with no less than Manal, Arco Iris, and Vox Dei, on every-Sunday mornings. (!)
Salvador: ‘We always were the first ones to play and people used to whistle, we actually heard some buzz in the very beginning, because see and hear a saxophone and a trumpet at the time was very rare. However, amidst the whistles, some part of the audience stood up and yelled to another, Shut up, deaf!’
Mellino: ‘Imposing a formation with so many kinds and totally different styles, adapting it to our reality was a terrible challenge. We were out of the acoustic or drums, bass, guitar formula, add it that we behave well and were good professionals.’
The impact of these performances leads them to record a single with the legendary short-lived label Mandioca (we’ll have a dedicated post for it), with the songs Niño Color Cariño and He Comprendido. The participations on the mega festival B.A. Rock prompted them to record the first plate in 1971 for RCA Argentina. Shortly before, Mario Salvador left the group and was replaced by Gustavo Moretto. In its first studio album, classics like Mujer, Gracias Por Tu Llanto and Hace Tiempo achieved regular success. With Moretto’s entry, Alma y Vida found their best form among all audiences, not only Argentine Rock gigs and crowds. Thereby establishing itself as a regular entertainer in the mythical La Cueva on Pueyrredón Avenue.
Based on a solid live performance and creativity for hits, such as, Hoy Te Queremos Cantar and later Del Gemido de un Gorrion present on their second (Volumen II), and third (Del Gemido…) albums (respectively), the band reaches its pinnacle on musical charts, playing throughout the country, Uruguai and TV appearances.
In late 1974, Gustavo Moretto leaves the band to move into more complex music, he founds the prog trio, Alas. His departure accelerated a process of internal crisis, that not even the entrance of Osvaldo Lacunza couldn’t save. In 1975 Alma y Vida recorded its fifth and last Lp (Vol. 5), after a year the group finally broke up.
Let’s go to our album:
This is without any doubt an underestimated band, practically unknown outside Argentina, this superb super-group became certainly one of my personal faves, aside Spinetta, Serú Girán, Arco Iris, Fito Páez, etc. Firstly, there is no comparison to any other rock acts in the ’70s, compared to Argentina and Brazil, for instance, their spectacular jazzy sound, outstanding (!!) Mellino’s voice and lyrics that alternate on beautiful poetic love themes or social/political criticism, are a welcomed surprise.
The band completely leaves the commonplace psych-folk, prog or blues that was being made at the time, such as La Pesada, Pappo’s Blues, Sui Generis, Manal, Color Humano, Los Gatos, etc. Although Alma y Vida had never been an instrumental jazz band only! Inspired by Blood, Sweat and Tears and Chicago, the had the vision to introduce new aesthetics, solos, and colors to Argentine Rock.
Mellino: ‘We had a very large range because all came from different extractions, Bernardo and Juan were jazzists, Carlos a rock musician, Mario a scholar one, and I a Beatlemaniac. A mixed salad that made Alma y Vida a well-defined group.’
The ‘IM’ highlights are Mujer Gracias Por Tu Llanto, a ravishing sentimental ballad with melodic horn, smooth pace, reeds and some outstanding dramatic vocals from Carlos Mellino, creating a unique atmosphere. A statement about love and solitude for any woman! And: Realidad de Sentir, with a crazy drum solo intro, this jazzy uptempo, invites us to enter in another reality, with metaphysical lyrics about our human senses, god, nature and the universe. There are some woodwind attacks and this exciting melodic vein that are responsible for an album hard-to-describe.
A truly original approach, you do not want to miss this journey, Buen Viaje!
A1 Mujer Gracias Por Tu Llanto (Bernardo Baraj, Carlos Mellino, Ricardo Lew)
A2 Me Siento Dueño del Mundo (Bernardo Baraj, Carlos Mellino, Juan Barrueco)
A3 Hace Tiempo (Bernardo Baraj, Carlos Mellino)
A4 Realidad de Sentir (Bernardo Baraj, Carlos Mellino)
Seattle, 1988. Before the worldwide mass exposure created on the so-called grunge scene and its characters, a genre that suddenly was self-proclaimed the soundtrack of Generation X (sic), there was a short-lived band who certainly opened the gates of stardom to all, this band was Mother Love Bone!
The first one to draw national media attention to the region, a contract with a major record company (PolyGram), putting the early Seattle scene definitely on the map. Alongside with Soundgarden, Melvins, Mudhoney, Nirvana and Alice in Chains, this prominent quintet had only a two-year living, with a full length (posthumous) album and an Ep. With no more than 20 shows held, one west-side mini-tour, two videoclips and a lot of hype around them, MLB was a comet of love.
Led by a flamboyant Andrew Patrick Wood(January 8, 1966 – March 19th, 1990), who previously created with its first band Malfunkshun, an alter-ego stage persona called, L’andrew the Love Child, a response to the Satan worship metal cliché, Love Rock 333 (their sound) was the title that Andy glimpse, much based on its personal rock faves: Kiss, Queen, Elton John, and Marc Bolan. Andy’s exuberant personality, outlandish clothes, and funny lyrics helped bring attention to the band.
But the path the band was predestined to follow was subtly interrupted by Andy’s od on March 19th, 1990. He had historical problems with cocaine and heroin since 1985(its first rehab), after the tour opening for The Dogs D’Amour, on mid’s 89, he checked himself into rehab and passed the last four months of the year sober. Their full-length album was recorded during this time. With the turn of the decade, high expectations on Apple began to arise, as its three remixes and a certain pressure.
A righteous future was broken when its fiancée Xana la Fuente, found him on a comatose state lying on the bed of their apartment. After three days in Harborview Hospital, living on life support, Andy was diagnosed with hemorrhage aneurysm; together with it’s family and band members, with A Night At The Opera playing, holding hands around the bed, they decided to plug out the life support and let him go.
Six months later the basis for Pearl Jam was formed and started to rehearse. Temple of The Dog was recorded on the end of the year, with two songs made directly to Andy (Say Hello 2 Heaven and Reach Down) it was Chris Cornell’s last homage to his friend, they also lived together for six months. Both Ten and TOTD releases happened in early 1991 and hits the musical charts in different ways, yet Seattle’s scene had already been paved by Andy, the love child. (RIP)
Let’s go to their history:
We will let Malfunkshun and Andy’s complete story to a dedicated post on the future, however, there is a very nice documentary about them directed by Scot Barbour.
By 1987, Andrew was living in Seattle and hanging out with Jeff Ament(bass) and Stone Gossard(guitar), members of Green River. It wasn’t long before the three of them were writing together, and as time went by they became closer. In late 87, early 88, Lords of the Wasteland started playing occasional shows, with the inclusion of Bruce Fairweather(guitar), though the repertoire was composed of covers.
By the time of their last show, Andy, anxious for success, left Malfunkshun and started to dedicate all his time for the new band. Stupid names like Dum Dum Boys or Daddy Long Legs were suggested, but it was from Andy’s mind that the band would be recognized: Mother Love Bone.
Regan Hagar (Malfunkshun’s drummer) was replaced by Greg Gilmore(10 Minute Warning) and the band changed their name, after a week of persuasion. They got into the studio as soon as possible and recorded 10 songs including, Holly Roller, Stargazer, Lady Godiva Blues and Capricorn Sister. The demo was received by Kelly Curtis (later the manager of Pearl Jam). Kelly made it possible for the band to record another demo, this one was sent to Geffen records who paid for them to make a third demo. With songs like Bone China, Crown of Thorns and Captain Hi-Top.
The demos made it out to a bunch of different companies, so the band waited through the summer and it paid off; they got a lot of calls from labels that heard the demo and they finally decided to signed with Polygram. They even got there on label on the company, Stardog Label. This process took place during February / August 1988.
They returned home and signed Kelly Curtis as their manager. In early 1989 starts the process to their debut album Shine.The band went on tour for the album and then took a few months to break, by September they were recording their next album.
In 1990 they had played around Seattle and gained much respect from local bands like Soundgarden and Melvins. The band had finished making their upcoming album Apple when Andy checked himself into a rehab program to deal with his addiction.
They were set to make their debut, when Wood died of a heroin od on March 16th.
Temple of the Dog was formed in Andy’s memory. The band included Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Soundgarden’sMatt Cameron, and Chris Cornell, and the new guyEddie Vedder! After Temple of the Dog, Stone and Jeff got together with Eddie, Mike McCready, and Dave Krusen to form Pearl Jam. Bruce Fairweather joined Love Battery and Greg played with Blind Horse and Endino’s Earthworm.
Let’s go to our record:
Andy Wood, Jeff Ament, and Stone Gossard passed through the early’80s in Seattle with punk, hard, glam, arena rock bands, gigs, friends, shows and a whole scene of musicians. They’re one of the founders from the so-called grunge scene and it’s here that this record gets something special and reveals us another side. It doesn’t resemble anything from the heaviness or angst-filled lyrics and moods like Soundgarden, Melvins, Mudhoney, NirvanaorAlice in Chains.
With a heavy-tenor(like Robert Plant) sung by Andy, its lyrics, persona and a sharp band, they got all bases from the American Hard / Glam, with some mellow ballads on piano and funky uptempo. These ego imaginary dreamy lyrics ruled the short production of the band, yet they made also some mordacious, happy humor criticism, especially about catholicism, freedom of love, and the myth of commercial rockstar.
This is a small 5-track release, there are some proto-grunge, hard rock, funk, an epic ballad, and a blues. The ‘IM’ highlights are for: Crown of Thorns, their most famous song, much covered by Pearl Jam, got an 8-minute piece, here with Chloe Dancerintroduction, the touching preamble reveals us some brute biographical lyrics based on choices, love, death, and addiction. An almost forgot classic from a modern rock!
Cameron Crowe’s film about love on the early ’90s, Singles, was set in Seattle. On the very beginning of the film, we’re shown to a wall with Mother Love Bone name’s on it, still, Andy’s death interrupted any chance of a sequel or international recognition.
And Capricorn Sister: One of the first made, a nice blues with an over the top performance by Andy, remembering us those old blues singers from the South. This song also appears on Apple, but Shine’s version is much better, on the very final there’s a little funny hidden-track, Zanzibar, check it!
The Ep was recorded in November 1988, during ten days (or five?). Lastly, there is a revealing excerpt of Scot Barbour’s interview about Andy’s final moments:
Scot: ‘Andy was allergic to everything, well not everything. But a lot of different prescription drugs & foods. In fact, that’s the REAL theory of how Andy REALLY died. Andy actually survived the heroin overdose and it looked like he was going to pull it off and live. When he was in a coma he was given a few different drugs to help him come back from the coma. The back of his brain swelled up so badly that the top his spinal cord actually protruded his brain causing him to be brain dead.
That is when they decided to take him off Life Support. The belief is that his brain swelling was the result of an allergic reaction to at least one of the drugs that were administered to him during that time. Coincidentally, the patient records for the last 24 hours of Andy’s life are missing and have yet to be located. And Virginia Mason (?) Hospital in downtown Seattle has made no statement. (!)
He wasn’t into drugs as much as people are lead to believe. Andy had just gotten out of rehab recently. And the heroin dose he overdosed on was extremely small. Another very coincidental thing was the Hospital had reported four other heroin od’s that evening Andy was brought to the hospital, it was definitely a ‘bad batch’ that had hit the streets and wound up in Andy’s arm.’ (!) Drum Bun!
1 Thru Fade Away
2 Mindshaker Meltdown
3 Half Ass Monkey Boy
4 Chloe Dancer / Crown of Thorns
5 Capricorn Sister / Zanzibar
Released: March 20, 1989
Bass: Jeff Ament
Drums: Greg Gilmore
Guitar: Bruce Fairweather, Stone Gossard
Photography: Charles Peterson
Producer: Mark Dearnley
Vocals, Piano, Lyrics: Andrew Wood
Recorded at London Bridge Studios, Seattle. //// Mixed at London Bridge Studio, Seattle.
Brazil, 1969. After the infamous AI-5 (institutional act #5), the dictatorship that was ruling entered in a new phase, seeing its 5th birthday, with an urban guerrilla and a mass wave of protests throughout the country. The most reactionary group made a coup inside the coup. From that moment the previous censorship was installed on every layer of the society, no civil guaranties at all, any manifestation was a subversive act, elections/congress suspended, as the unions and student leadership.
The terror against anyone contrary to the order was real. Many people were persecuted, arrested, tortured, killed and buried as indigents under the iron tutelage of the State, and the connivance from big entrepreneurs, media groups, multinational companies, industrial bourgeoisie and CIA (Torture expertise). (!)
The only thing that this tropical, multicultural and joyful society could vote and participate, was the emblematic Festivais (music festivals), liberated by the junta. Created in 1965, aired and transmitted live by multiple broadcasters, always held by the end of the year, it was the greatest musical event from the time; eagerly awaited, with mass media coverage, the crowds could boo and cheered to death in a collective catharsis, revealing new national superstars or villains!
Renowned artist like Elis Regina, Geraldo Vandré, Edu Lobo, Nara Leão, Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Tom Zé, and many others was revealed there. However, due to the turbulent development in 1968 festival, the dictatorship decided to prune and systematize the spectacle. There was a strict preoccupation to show an ordained happily country to the world, the festival would be transmitted on early January to Europe, via Rede Globo (sic), in a 3-hour special.
At the end of the year, most mentioned artists were exiled by solidarity or not, Tropicalism was dead, Marighella too; inside this turbulent musical void, Os Novos Bahianos (first graphed with H, after without) emerged and caused a fuss.
Let’s go to their history:
It all started at Vila Velha theater (Salvador, Bahia) with the show ‘O Desembarque dos Bichos Depois do Dilúvio Universal’. The members: Luiz Dias Galvão, agronomist, poet, musician, cinema and dramatics enthusiast, 32 years; Antônio Carlos de Morais Pires, 21 years of fiery musical essay at Turiassu, interior of Bahia; Paulo Roberto de Figueiredo, ex-crooner from Orquestra Avanço, 23 years, nicknamed Paulinho Boca de Cantor; Bernadete Dinorah de Carvalho (Baby), from Niterói (Rio de Janeiro), newcomer to Salvador, which commemorate his seventeen years living under the bridge (!); lastly, Jorginho, Carlinhos, Lico e Pedro Anibal de Oliveira Gomes (Pepeu) that formed the backing band, Os Leif’s. With the exception of Bernadette, they were all from Bahia, unheard, strange, radicals and young.
It was the beginning of Novos Baianos, at the tropical chaos of 1969.
Baby, carioca problem-girl, dreamed, like many in its age, being an artist, a singer, the one who deserves posters with your initials. Her baptism name didn’t help too. In an impetus of boredom and freedom, she goes with her friend, Ediane, to Salvador, there she meets Galvão and Moraes at Brasa’s, a unique bar from there. Paulinho(boca de cantor) also met the triad and joins them at Dona Maritóboarding house. The only one with previous musical experience (live shows and recording), were Pepeu (guitar), owner of an unmistakable style, genuinely Brazilian, crossing Hendrix with Choro. (!!)
In the beginning, only a quartet: Moraes, Galvão, Paulinho e Baby (whose new name was born and celebrated from a movie character) which was accompanied by Leif’s. Galvão was the poet and mentor, Moraes the main composer, Galvão’s partner, with a subtle acoustic guitar. Paulinho was the rascal, Lúcifer, and mellow singer. Pepeu the guitar hero. Baby the stoned singer. All, with a Tropicalia pinch in 1969/70.
After the racket from Dilúvioin Salvador, they went to São Paulo, were performed in numerous TV shows always exceeding the expected number of songs and staging absurd expedients. The first manager was Marcos Lázaro, through João Araújo(manager of Gil, Caetano, Gal) they signed with RGE and release their first single:
Yet in 1969: De Vera /// Colégio de Aplicação.
Then in 1970, a caustic, sardonic, threatening Lp (Ferro Na Boneca – RGE) which included tracks from the compact, a cornucopia of styles/titles. They also participate as actors and on the soundtrack from two Underground (Marginal) films of the era: Meteorango Kid e Caveira My Friend. Still, they released a double compact without Baby, who was trying her first steps on a solo foray.
These early albums will have dedicated posts in the near future!
Let’s go to our record:
Today’s album is an incredible double compact, never re-released on Cd, forgotten and hated by the band due to technical aspects. It was the one and only attempt on Phillips, at the time directed by the mightyNelson Motta. One thing that must be said, was the radical transformation that the band went through after meeting with João Gilberto, he also lived with them for a short period at the infamous apartment in Botafogo. The roots, that were until then based in various styles, such as, rock, baião, soul, tango, turned into samba and chorostrictly.
This little revolution happened in late 1971, and it’s well counted in the documentary Filhos de João. So this is their last release without the sound that would be recognized and praised not only in Brazil but worldwide!
We go from hippy folk to a Latin brass experience (even sung in Spanish!), passing through some sambas and harsh fuzz rocks sang in an over the top registry by Baby! Special mention lyrics go for Dê um Rolê, a counterculture hymn, that became very (very!) famous on the interpretation of Gal Costa, the song preaches love from head to toe, going completely against the terror that was represented by the military.
Please enjoy this little gem and Jó Utat!
Novos Bahianos + Baby Consuelo – No Final do Juízo (1971)
A1 Dê Um Rolê (Moraes Moreira / Galvão) ~ Paulinho Boca de Cantor
A2 Você Me Dá Um Disco? (Moraes Moreira / Pepeu Gomes / Galvão) ~ Baby do Brasil
B1 Caminho de Pedro (Moraes Moreira / Galvão) ~ Moraes Moreira
B2 Risque (Moraes Moreira / Galvão) ~ Moraes Moreira e Baby do Brasil
Israel. Jaffa in the late ’60s and early ’70s had an exciting and exotic sound to offer, where folk musicians performed live at its taverns seven nights a week. It was far from the mainstream hit-parade of swinging Tel-Aviv but close enough geographically to attract listeners from across the Tel-Aviv / Jaffametropolis. The scene got bigger and wilder, as it embraced the Middle Eastern celebration style known as Hafla, involving heavy drinking, local food, and music of course.
Standing at the center of old Jaffa and its vibrant music scene was the record store and label, Koliphone Records. Owned by the Azoulay brothers, Koliphone tirelessly recorded these artists and sold their records to the growing masses. At first, they released mostly Greek and Turkish music, shortly followed by Yemenite, Moroccan and Hebrew records, showcasing the cultural melting pot of this ancient town.
The biggest and most influential artist of the time was Aris San. A singer and guitar virtuoso, San created the Israeli-Greek style and introduced the drums-bass-guitar rock combo to folk audiences. His fans thought they were listening to traditional bouzouki melodies, but in fact, San’s music was a lot heavier, strongly influenced by American surf, verging on the psychedelic. San’s huge popularity attracted many other artists to record the new style he had pioneered. Artists such as Trifonas, Levitros, Nino Nikolaidis and many more began to appear on Jaffa’s record stands. Among them was a young girl who sang in Turkish. Her name was Grazia Peretz (גרציה פרץ)!
Grazia was a wonder kid in the early ’70s. She started singing at the age of nine, performing at Turkish weddings and Mediterranean nightclubs, sharing a stage with Aris San and Trifonas. Soon, she became an in-demand act for events up and down the country, landing herself a weekly TV spot on the Channel 1 music segment!
Let’s go to our record:
For her 16th birthday, her father sent her to record a full-length Hafla style album at the Koliphone Studios. Marko Bachar, who was the label’s in-house producer, arranger, and keyboard player, was in charge of the project. Bachar had just sold his organ and bought a monophonic Moog synthesizer. Grazia wanted to break free from the conformities of Greek and Turkish folk music and introduce the early sounds of disco she and her peers were getting so much into.
When the album finally hit the shops it sold… nothing! Hard funk drums, pounding bass coupled with synth blips and psychedelic Turkish guitars, well… it was all a bit too much for the unsuspecting folk audience. At the age of 18, disheartened by the music industry and the undue touring environment she had to endure at such an early age, she stopped singing and never returned to the studio or the stage.
The ‘IM’ highlights unfold us a distinctive tinge from the east, beautifully sang in Turkish, with utmostmoogs: Soyle Beni, with an eerie sci-fi feel, this Israeli disco prog shows us the kind of sound that people used to dance, back on Jaffa nightclubs. And Rampi Rampi, an upbeat with broken pace, key winds solos, luscious chorus and the usual Arab/oriental scales with its minor harmonics. A Rocky feel at its best!