Welcome to the first music round-up of the new decade. Sorry I missed last weekend, but I did want the albums of the year and the decade to sit with people for awhile. However, the result is now that I have a ton of albums to review and a ton more that I'm dying to listen to. Since I've spent most of the last few months focusing only on new releases, I've decided to slip into the past for this Roundup and put together a collection of albums from '70s that I've been rocking out to lately. Lots of glam and hard rock on here. Enjoy.
Brett Smiley - Sunset Tower: This 2019 Record Store Day release was limited to 1000 copies, 200 random red vinyl mixed with 800 black, with no way to know which you have...I got red. The hype sticker says that Brett was handed $200,000 in 1973 to make a glam rock epic. He succeeded, but sadly the album was never released (until 2003). Some of these recordings are from that album, others pre-date it. This is long last gem of the glam rock era. "Space Ace," "Queen of Hearts," and "Lying in the Sun" are my personal favorites.
Budgie - Squawk: The second album from hard rocking Welsh band was released in '72 is one of the pioneering albums of heavy rock. I was turned onto this band early last year and I can't for the life of me figure out why they were never as big as Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath. While the first album, the self-titled release from the prior year, was solid, this album is blistering. Definitely belongs in the collection of anyone into '70s heavy rock.
T. Rex - T. Rex: The 1970 album sees Marc Bolan transforming from the folkish Tyrannosaurus Rex moniker to the better known glam name of T.Rex. This is one of the earliest glam albums and it's pretty killer. As with Bowie's early glam albums, there's still the folk style holdover, but the mixture with glam guitar is something that at the time was new and special. Over the past few years, I've been converted to the genius of Marc Bolan and this was an album that had been missing from my collection.
Ian Hunter - You're Never Alone With a Schizophrenic: Released in 1979, this is the fourth solo album from the Mott the Hoople singer. This album also features Mick Ronson on guitar, John Cale on piano, and Max Wienberg on drums. It's a brilliant record that perfectly mixes his glam roots with the emerging New Wave sound. It definitely has a E-Street Band feel, but fronted by Bowie instead of the Boss. "Just Another Night," "Cleveland Rocks," "When the Daylight Comes," "Life After Death," and "Bastard" are brilliant tracks...but basically, every track is kind of brilliant.
Stories - About Us: Released in '73, this is the second album from NYC pop rock band. This has the '70s groovy jangle sound that was the upbeat side of rock at a time when rock was growing darker. It's a continuation of the late 60's hippie sound and quite good. They are definitely a glam-lite band, existing in a lesser realm than Mott the Hoople and T.Rex. "Hey France," "Changes Have Begun," "Top of the City," and "Brother Louie" are stand-outs.
Silverhead - 16 and Savaged: The second and final album from the London glam rock band was released in 1973. They play blues rock influenced clearly by the Stones, but have more of the bar sound of The Faces. There is definitely a glam sound that shows through mostly on the guitar work, with blues based rhythms and vocals. A real nice find for a few dollars. "Hello New York," "Heavy Hammer," "Cartoon Princess," "This Ain't a Parody," and the title track are standouts.
Bad Company - Straight Shooter: The London hard rock band's second LP was released in 1975 on Led Zeppelin's Swan Song label. Despite being British, there is something incredibly American about this band's hard blues rock sound. It reminds me a lot of Lynyrd Skynyrd minus the obvious Southern connection. This is solid 70's rock and roll with lots of quality tunes on it.