Gabor Szabo and Bobby Womack – High Contrast

Submitted by UAR-mwfree on Mar 29

Gabor Szabo and Bobby Womack – High Contrast (1971):  The album cover for High Contrast identifies the recording artist only as Gabor Szabo, but the record labels list both him and Bobby Womack.  Allmusic describes High Contrast as “a truly wonderful early exercise in highly polished, funky jazz”.  I didn’t know who Gabor Szabo was when I got this album, but I was somewhat familiar with Bobby Womack, so I went for it.

Swing Out Sister – It’s Better to Travel

Submitted by UAR-mwfree on Mar 29

Swing Out Sister – It’s Better to Travel (1986):  Swing Out Sister is one of several sophisticated pop/rock bands and artists that arrived on the British music scene in the early to mid-1980’s.  Probably the best known is Sade; others include Simply Red, the Style Council, Basia, and Everything but the Girl.  I remember a review of one of Sade’s albums in the Village Voice years ago which said that the album sounds like music that you would have heard before, but you actually haven’t.  That remark would apply to It’s Better to Travel also.

The Sweet – The Sweet

Submitted by UAR-mwfree on Mar 29

The Sweet – The Sweet (1973):  There are several “firsts” here:  The Sweet – just Sweet appeared on their albums after this one, The Sweet – is generally regarded as the first glam rock band and also one of the most popular, glam rock being a high-energy form of rock music that is like a tamer cousin of heavy metal.  Other glam rock recording artists in this time period include Mott the Hoople, Gary Glitter, T. Rex, Queen, and, early on, David Bowie.

Supertramp – Supertramp

Submitted by UAR-mwfree on Mar 29

Supertramp – Supertramp (1970):  The English rock band Supertramp struggled on the record charts with their first few albums, until they really hit pay dirt with their #1 album Breakfast in America (1979).  Their debut album Supertramp is quite different from their later albums and is an early gem in the progressive rock genre – what I would call the first progressive rock album, In the Court of the Crimson King by King Crimson, came out the previous year.

The Super Hits, Vol. 4 (Various Artists)

Submitted by UAR-mwfree on Mar 29

The Super Hits, Vol. 4 (Various Artists) (1969):  This album from Atlantic Records has a generic name but is a fine collection of great songs from the late 1960’s, including “I Can’t Stop Dancing” by Archie Bell and the Drells, “Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield, and the last of the big Beatles singles, “Hey Jude” as recorded by Wilson Pickett.  Most of the recording artists on this album have one song, but Aretha Franklin and Clarence Carter each have two, as they should.

Sugarloaf – Sugarloaf

Submitted by UAR-mwfree on Mar 29

Sugarloaf – Sugarloaf (1970):  Sugarloaf had two hit songs in the 1970’s; “Green Eyed Lady” was a #3 hit that I simply loved back in my college days.  There is the “long version” on their album Sugarloaf; and three different versions of “Green Eyed Lady” came out on 45’s, ranging in length from 2:58 to 5:58 – the album version is 6:49.  Sugarloaf was organized in 1969 after their predecessor band the Moonrakers broke up; that band had a song on Pebbles, Volume 10, “You’ll Come Back”, and they evidently released an album also.

Stiff Records – Live Stiffs

Submitted by UAR-mwfree on Mar 28

Stiff Records – Live Stiffs (1978):  “Stiff” is recording industry slang for an especially unsuccessful release, and the independent and irreverent label Stiff Records used their name cleverly in their promotion activities.  Besides the name of this album Live Stiffs, a nicely done oxymoron (the album was originally released under the name Live Stiffs Live), another of their compilation albums is called Hits Greatest Stiffs (1977).  The motto of Stiff Records is, “If they’re dead, we’ll sign them”; and they call themselves “Undertakers to the Industry”.

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