"We're not trying to start a revolution
With words we may say,
We're not trying to practise prostitution
With music that we play--
We just enjoy what we do,
Hope you enjoy it too--"
This is the forward to the record written by the band. Great, huh?
Some time ago we shared the second album from this huge german band (Children of Tomorrow), the highlights of which were the Stravinsky homage, Sacrewinsky, and the Colony Suite. This is their debut effort, less adventurous and more soul-rock. Most songs are written by the amazing Bernhard Jobski, although the band has about a dozen members. Note that this is the same man who is responsible for the masterpiece one-off symphonic record Einstein in Eden from 1981.
A good point of comparison for this record would be Morse Code from Canada, in their earlier days, or Dr. Music. The simplicity of the songs is surprising considering the education of Jobski. Vocals are by Antonia Maas, who sounds sometimes like a german Mary Hopkin. To me, it's a bit annoying and distracting that a cover version of Stevie Wonder's All is fair in love appears as the first song on side 2. The next song Ballerina is my definition of a throwaway song with no redeeming qualities. If this was a person, it would be a dangerous offender on death row that lost all his appeals and is due to be electrocuted tomorrow and hopefully, the chair will malfunction and there will be hours of smoke. Subsequently "Actions" demonstrates a few progressive soul moves. Note the unfortunate title "Gang bang" (another Jobski composition, a bluesy rocker), and listen carefully to the lyrics, "Being the only girl in a rocknroll band... she never wants a f---ing gang bang." No kidding?
The last track is recorded live in Berlin at the "Treibhaus", very reminiscent of Chicago, standard american horn-rock.
Otherwise, the songs are pretty accessible and enjoyable.
What led them to abandon the fm-radio tunes for a full-out progressive album their next time round? I'm guessing the 'time was right' in Germany, the late seventies were without a doubt a heyday for prog in that country although it had been abandoned elsewhere. How sad that this heyday only lasted a few short years before being swept away by synthesizers, new wave and punk. Yet in that brief shining moment we have uncountable treasures still to explore... So stay tuned in the next couple of weeks...
Antonia Maas (lead vocals), Joe Körner (trombone, [tenor horn] saxhorn, vocals), Peter Förster (soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, clarinet, flute), Bernhard Jobski (trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo, backing vocals), Thomas "Doc" Neviger (trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion, vocals), Peter Tüllmann (trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion, backing vocals), Nono (keyboards, backing vocals), Michael Gechter (guitar, violin, vocals), Thomas "Keule" Schiedel (bass, piano, 12-string guitar), Olaf "Vicking" Gustafsson (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Stefan Holm Jr. (percussion, congas), Erling Jensen (vocals), Jürgen Scheele (trumpet, flugelhorn), Thomas Glanz (keyboards), Earl Stanley Bostic (bass), Frank Lüdeke (woodwinds)