Monday, May 18, 2009


Greetings & felicitations children of technology, i'm pleased to be able to present another sterling selection of sonic stupendousness for your aural delectation.
As i've been a little light on the NWOBHM posts of late, i thought i'd bring my A game tonight to slake the thirst of those of you who have been jonesing for some of that flavoursome full bodied style.
Up first, a Birmingham based Heavy Metal band formed as far back as 1974, QUARTZ were originally known as BANDYLEGS, under which name they signed to Jet Records in 1976 and supported BLACK SABBATH and AC/DC. Guitarist Mike Hopkins had previously played with WAY OF LIFE (a band that featured a pre-LED ZEPPELIN John Bonham) and IDLE RACE, whilst keyboardist / guitarist Geoff Nicholls had been in WORLD OF OZ - a Psych influenced Pop Rock outfit with which he had recorded three singles and an album in the late 60's. Following a single release as BANDYLEGS on Jet Records the band adopted a new manager in Black Sabbath tour manager Albert Chapman and changed their name to QUARTZ. The debut 1977 album was produced by Sabbath guitarist TONY IOMMI, and famously featured an uncredited OZZY OSBOURNE on backing vocals. Quartz, not surprisingly, toured as support to Black Sabbath promoting its release. QUEEN guitarist BRIAN MAY also guested on one track, 'Circles'. This track was not originally included on the album and was only released much later as theB side to the 'Stoking The Fires Of Hell' single. Over their career Quartz toured heavily, playing the Reading Festival three times ('76, ''77 and '80), and touring as support to the likes of UFO, IRON MAIDEN, SAXON, GILLAN and RUSH. In 1979 the West Midlands based Reddington Rare Records released Quartz's cover version of the MOUNTAIN classic 'Nantucket Sleighride', a song well known to UK audiences from it's use as the theme music to TV's "Weekend World". The band also contributed the track 'Back In The Band' to the EMI compilation EP 'Muthas Pride'. This song also had Black Sabbath connections, being written about Ozzy Osbourne's return to the group for their 'Never Say Die' opus. CRYER keyboard player Mike Billingham contributed parts to the ensuing live album ('Live Quartz...Dracula And Other Love Songs'). Seeing Quartz's rising popularity Jet reissued the debut album using the new handle of 'Deleted' and repackaged in a brown paper bag! Heavy Metal Records released a new Quartz album, "Against All Odds", in 1983 after the group had briefly been associated with MCA Records for 1980's 'Stand Up And Fight' and the record boasted new vocalist Geoff Bate and ex-EAZIE RYDER bassist Stephen McLoughlin. Quartz's music occasionally drew comparisons to the Black Sabbath sound and, ironically, Geoff Nicholls ended up joining Iommi's outfit in 1979, although he did not become an official member until 1986, maintaining his position as Tony Iommi's right hand man for over two decades and contributing heavily on keyboards and songwriting to all of BLACK SABBATH's albums from 1980's 'Heaven And Hell' onwards, as well as playing on Tony's solo IOMMI albums and solo work by ex-Sabs singer TONY MARTIN. Although his main role with Sabbath has been on the keyboards, Nicholls also played some rhythm guitar on the reunion tours, notably during Iommi's solo in "Snowblind" Drummer Malcolm Cope also joined the roll call of Quartz band members with Sabbath ties, working on pre-production demos for the 'Born Again' album, whilst Sabs sticksman BILL WARD sought treatment for his alcohol dependency. The Quartz name resurfaced in 1996 with the release of the live/odds'n'sods collection "Resurrection", on the Neat Metal Records label. Geoff Nicholls donated two of his compositions, 'Facing Hell' and 'Black Illusion', to Ozzy's 2001 album release 'Down To Earth'. In 2004 the US Doom act ORODRUIN covered 'Stand Up And Fight' on their album 'Claw Tower'. That same year Sanctuary Records released the 2-CD Quartz compilation 'Satan's Serenade', spanning the years from 1977 to 1980. The anthology comprised their debut album and their 1980 live album, but also included many rare B-sides, previously unreleased out-takes and several previously unheard chunks of Quartz in concert. The live disc also includes cover versions of songs by RARE BIRD, Mountain, CHUCK BERRY & WISHBONE ASH. For reasons unspecified, Nicholls' involvement with Black Sabbath is currently on hiatus at best, as ADAM WAKEMAN (a member of Ozzy Osbourne's solo band and son of RICK WAKEMAN from YES) was chosen to play keyboards during Sabbath's 2004 and 2005 tours and Scott Warren (DIO) handled the keyboard duties on the 2007 HEAVEN & HELL trek.

QUARTZ - Satan's Serenade : The Quartz Anthology (2-CD) (1977-80) UK



NWOBHM quartet HELLANBACH were formed in 1979 and came to the fore with their debut four track EP ''Out To Get You'', in 1980 on Guardian Records. The buzz surrounding the EP secured them a deal with Wallsend based Neat Records and a track, 'All Systems Go', on the 'One Take No Dubs' compilation EP in 1982. The band's critically acclaimed debut album ,'Now Hear This', released in 1983, featured an inspired cover of 'Everybody Wants To Be A Cat' , a song first featured in its original form on the soundtrack for the Disney animated movie 'The Aristocats'! All in all it's a great album - up there with the likes of the first Raven album as one of Neat's finest releases. Drummer Steve Walker was replaced by MYTHRA's Barry Hopper following the release of the album and whilst a second album surfaced in 1984, 'The Big H', it wasn't as well received and the group subsequently disappeared. Guitarist Dave Patton was discovered to have joined GLENN HUGHES touring band in 1995. Bassist Kev Charlton subsequently worked with PHASSLAYNE frontman Micheal Maughan. Charlton joined the FIST reunion line-up in 2000.
Barry Hopper reunited with Maurice Bates of MYTHRA in Rockabilly band THE BUCKETS.
During 2002 Essential Records issued a 2 CD retrospective entitled 'The Big H: The Hellanbach Anthology'.

HELLANBACH - Now Hear This (1983) UK

CRUCIFIXION were a NWOBHM quartet formed in Essex back in 1979, by the Morgan brothers and ex-BOULEVARD drummer Geoff Ford. Completing the band's line up before the recording of their debut 7" was bassist Paul Drinkwater. Chris Mann was originally the bands sound engineer, but he eventually replaced Drinkwater on bass after the 1980 "The Fox" 7".
The band then appeared on the "All Hell Let Loose" compilation from 1982 with the track "The Fox" which is a different recording than the single release. Signing with Neat Records, their next release was the "Take It Or Leave It" 7" that same year. In '83 they recorded a new two song demo, and followed that with the release of the 3 song "Green Eyes" EP before the band sadly split. What we've got right here is all three releases by CRUCIFIXION, 1980's "The Fox" 7", 1982's "Take It Or Leave It" 7", and 1984's "Green Eyes" EP. Classic raw NWOBHM from one of the best unsung bands that the genre had to offer. These same 7 tracks were also collected for the "Complete Crucifixion", bootleg cd on Iron Hawk Records. Enjoy!

CRUCIFIXION - Complete Crucifixion (1980-84) UK

TRAITOR were a four piece traditional Heavy Metal band formed in Long Beach California in 1984. Their sole release was to be the now highly prized, five song "Shot Down" Mini LP, released in 1985 on the small Erika Records label. Verging on Power Metal at times, the five song collection didn't exactly set the world on fire back in the day, but has attracted many admirers in the intervening years, particularly due to Tim Karr's soaring vocals. TRAITOR frontman TIM KARR would subsequently go solo with a Rick Neigher produced 1989 record 'Rubbin' Me The Right Way'. Karr returned in 2005 with the more Hard Rock orientated band TRIGGER DADDY and their debut album 'Stereosonic Meltdown'. TRIGGER DADDY sees Karr recording with former GUNS N' ROSES guitarist GILBY CLARKE, and ex-members of L.A. GUNS, KISS, FASTER PUSSYCAT and the ALICE COOPER band.

TRAITOR - Shot Down Mini LP (1985) USA

Seattle quartet ALICE IN CHAINS originally formed as ALICE 'N' CHAINS with an overtly Glam image, but would find huge commercial success as the very epitome of Grunge. Alice 'N' Chains originally featured former SLEZE member Layne "Candy" Staley on vocals, Nick Pollock on guitar, Johnny "Yanni" Bacolas on bass, and James Bergstrom on drums. In 1986, they went to the famed London Bridge Studios and recorded their first 3-song demo tape, "Alice 'n' Chains". This version of the band should be placed in the hard rock context and not in the post-punk or grunge one, and as such, obviously this demo sounds nothing like their later recordings. Just listen to Staley attempting to ape Vince Neil on "Over The Edge"! Shortly thereafter, Staley teamed up with DIAMOND LIE, featuring guitarist Jerry Cantrell and erstwhile SATO and GYPSY ROSE bassist Mike Starr. This trio eventually formed ALICE IN CHAINS with the addition of drummer Sean Kinney who had previously played with his Grandfather's band THE CROSSCUTS. Gradually shedding their glammy image and forging a heavier more individual sound over several demo recordings, ALICE IN CHAINS signed with major label Columbia in 1989.

ALICE 'N' CHAINS - Alice 'n' Chains Demo (1987) USA

So that's tonight's post, hope there's something amongst that little lot to make your day.
As a postscript to my last post, there was one item which got killed rather quickly, (you know the one i mean), so i've reposted it, but rather than place the link on the front page where it'll just get blocked again, you'll find the fresh link in the comments section. Grab it quick though folks!
Thanks for all the comments last time, glad this stuff i put up here is still finding favour with you all. I don't always find the time to reply, but i always read the comments, so please feel free to share your thoughts and requests people, if i can help out with requests i'll do so.
Have a great week people, i'll see y'all back here real soon okay?
Until then take care o' yerselves and live free. ;)

Monday, May 04, 2009


Hello again people, sorry (yet again) for the lengthy wait between posts, i've been suffering from some pc problems lately which have left me unable to bring you the obscure rawkin' sounds you love so much.
A hearty round of applause to my mate and uber-geek Billy-Bobby for taking the old girl to bits and (so far so good, touch wood), fixing her for me. It's very much appreciated.
I've got some great stuff for you this week which i hope will make up for the delay in getting new old music to you.
Up first, THE AMBOY DUKES were an American rock band of the late 1960s and early 1970s from Detroit, Michigan, best remembered for their 1968 hit single "Journey To The Center Of The Mind", and for launching the career of TED NUGENT. The band's name came from the title of a book by Irving Shulman about a real Jewish street gang in Brownsville who were the precursors of Murder Incorporated, the Jewish hit mob employed by the Mafia for its most violent executions. The band released 4 studio and one live album before slimming down to a three piece, steering their musical style in a much harder direction and changing their name to TED NUGENT & THE AMBOY DUKES. Signing with FRANK ZAPPA's Discreet Records, the band released two excellent barn burning Hard Rock Records, showing the musical direction which Ted would soon take on his solo career. The first, "Call Of The Wild", was released in 1973, and it's successor, "Tooth, Fang & Claw" from 1974, featured Nugent live staples "Hibernation" and "Great White Buffalo". A live album "Live 1974", recorded between the two studio records at Richard's Nightclub in Atlanta, Georgia, was retrospectively issued on a small label in 1999. Following the release of "Tooth, Fang & Claw", Nugent retained the services of bassist Rob Grange, and recruited new drummer Cliff Davies and singer/guitarist Derek St. Holmes. Dropping the "Amboy Dukes" name, this was to be the beginning of Ted's solo career proper, with his self titled debut album appearing soon after, carrying on the Heavy Rocking style of the Discreet albums, but adding more polish. 12 studio albums, 4 live albums and 35 years later, Ted has yet to look back. Yeah, i know he's an asshole, but back when this was recorded Ted let his Gibson Byrdland do most of his talking, something which serves him much better than his mouth ever did.


Another very special item for you next, this time courtesy of Rudi and Spellbound, my humble thanks guys! In August 1969 BLACK SABBATH's manager Jim Simpson suggested that the band record 'The Rebel', a song written by Norman Haines (of the NORMAN HAINES BAND & LOCOMOTIVE). The session for "The Rebel", took place at Trident Studios in London. Haines also took part in this session, playing organ and piano. Two months later, the band recorded yet another Haines composition called 'When I Came Down'. "When I Came Down" was recorded at Zella Studios in Birmingham in October. The song is short but boasts strong vocals. It begins with a bluesy, pentatonic riff and although the guitar gets rather lost in the mix, the overall feel approximates to a slower take on "Evil Woman". According to Iommi, "We didn't write those songs. They were written by a chap named Norman Haines. At the time we were managed by Jim Simpson, who was a local Birmingham guy. He insisted that we record these songs. We just wanted to play, so we recorded them. We wanted to write our own songs and make our own record, but this was just an initial effort. We had never been in a recording studio in our lives before that." The third song here is a lengthy jazz influenced instrumental called "Thomas James", which features Simpson on trumpet, trading licks with Iommi, which eventually slows into a trademark SABBATH doom-laden rifftastic finale. It is unknown exactly when and where this was recorded, but it's likely that it's an outtake from one of the two known 1969 sessions.
Final song, "Early One Morning Blues", sounds like it comes from a rehearsal tape rather than an official demo session, and as the title suggests it's a blues romp with lashings of fine fret mangling courtesy of Iommi. These songs represent the birth of BLACK SABBATH, the secret first steps, enjoy this peek into the murky past.

BLACK SABBATH - 1969 Demo Acetates (1969) UK

Next, ACE were a French Heavy Rock quartet formed in 1985 in Cannes on the Cote D'Azur. They debuted the following year with their "Ballroom Blitz" EP, and followed this with the full length "Bad Boys" album. A further release, the "Holding On" 7" appeared at the years end, but this was to be the end of the road for Ace. In recent years their "Ballroom Blitz" EP has often been mistakenly identified as a NWOBHM release driving it's price up amongst collectors. All their releases now command a high price tag, a pity for Ace that their records weren't as sought after during their lifetime.

ACE - Bad Boys (1986) France

"Kill 'Em and Eat 'Em" is the 1987 album by UK underground group PINK FAIRIES. This is a reformed Pink Fairies, prompted by an offer from Jake Riviera, head of Demon Records. These Brit psychedelic rock'n'roll madmen don't disappoint in the least. It's the most familiar Fairies lineup (Larry Wallis, Duncan Sanderson, and Russell Hunter), along with original Fairies vocalist/skinsman Twink and ex-WARSAW PAKT stringbender Andy Colqhoun, and they go kicking and screaming into the night blasting away with the same kind of garagey acid-laced greasy proto-metal that made them hippie-era cult icons. With occasional neo-beat lyrical barrages from writer/performer/ex-DEVIANT Mick Farren, this is simply heap big fun all the way. After the album's release the band toured before once again splitting up. An archive live album from this tour, "Chinese Cowboys: Live 1987", was issued in Japan in 2005 on Captain Trip Records.

PINK FAIRIES - Kill 'em And Eat 'em (1987) UK

Don't worry NWOBHM fans, i haven't forgotten about you either! Stevenage NWoBHM band GROUND ATTACK, founded during late 1979, released a 7" single 'Red Lion' in 1981 featuring a line up of frontman Tom 'Katz' Atkinson, bassist Mel Collins and drummer Tab Hunter. The band had actually recorded previous to this, laying down the tracks 'Watch Me', 'Motorbike Song', 'Mighty Fine Year' and 'Flying Time' at The Crypt Studios in 1980, known as the "Lost Tapes" demo. The 'Red Lion' single, now valued at over $100 on the NWoBHM collectors market, was cut at Wopalong Studios in Luton. The band folded the following year but Atkinson forged HEAVY DUTY in 1989 with bassist Lee Birmingham and drummer Chas Stutley. GROUND ATTACK reformed in 2003, drafting a fresh rhythm section of Corrie Shiells on bass and Matt Alan on drums, The result is Ground Attack's first full-length album, "Sectioned", containing new versions of most of the old-time hits along with a few brand new tracks. After more than 20 years, Ground Attack's style remains basically the same, a no-frills, anthemic, overdriven heavy rock where Tom Katz's raw guitar plays the main role, backed up by a steady rhythm section providing the perfect hard beat. "Sectioned" keeps the freshness and energy of the 80s, and doesn't try to portray an "updated" version of the band. Ground Attack keep doing what they do best, playing all-out punchy metal music to bang your heads, guzzle your pints and rev your big twins to.Atkinson is also a member of 70s Glam-Pop act HELLO. The band also included a previously unreleased 1979 track, entitled 'Motorbike Song', to the 2004 'Total Metal Attack' NWoBHM era compilation album issued through Old School Records. Sorry about the tiny artwork for this one, i couldn't find anything bigger anywhere.

GROUND ATTACK - Sectioned (2004) UK

So that's that for another post. Thanks to all of you who shared their opinions, thoughts and requests through the comments section, as always it's very much appreciated. Hopefully, i'll be able now to get back to regularly bringing you the great, the obscure and the bizarre from the dusty corners of Rawk's attic on the regular basis you've all become accustomed to.
Keep yer fingers crossed for me so's that the ole computer keeps on working, coz i was mighty close to flinging the god-damned thing out the window at several points over the last few weeks.
Also please keep making use of the comments section please, it can be hard going typing and posting and ripping this stuff, and believe me, unlike some other blogs, there's no financial remuneration for us here, so it's the high praise and damning criticism that keeps things happening at this end when all's said and done. Let's hear from you. Til next time, Shalom.