Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Desert Island Survival Kit

I would do very well living on a desert island providing that I had a makeshift turntable and a local spider monkey to turn the crank to my portable generator! It would also help out immensely if I had an endless food supply, plenty of fire wood and a beautiful local native girl that whispered naughty things in my ear in a strange and exotic dialect! She also would be required to peel grapes!

In theory if all of these necessities were in place I would now only need my top 40 favorite albums and my world would be in balance! Let's take a peek at these vinyl gemstones and let me explain why they are paramount to my survival!

The Rolling Stones - 12x5

Brian Jones on the Ed Sullivan Show 1964

# 1 - "12 X 5 " THE ROLLING STONES

"12x5" The Rolling Stones - 1964 This was The Rolling Stones' 2nd LP on London Records.
The album kicks off with the down and dirty "Around And Around" which has one of the best drum sounds recorded for that time. The band is extremely tight and professional sounding. It's no wonder they captured the world's attention especially after the hard rock masterpiece "It's All Over Now" and from what I understand it is Brian Jones not Keith Richards playing the descending power chords that made this one famous! This is the album that started it all! Raw and tight!

#2 - " REVOLUTION" Q65

Another killer of a record and way beyond it's time is "Revolution" by Holland's Q65! These guys were virtually unknown in America during the British Invasion years but apparently their fame preceded them in Europe in the mid 1960's. Sounding very much like a total mixture of The Rolling Stones , The Yardbirds and The Kinks, Q65 steamrolled over all the competition with their brand of high volume teen angst! They went on to be a heavy rock band in the late 1960's and early 1970's without losing their identity or song writing style it just got louder and heavier!


As I've mentioned in another entry, Blue Cheer's first two LP's were the turning point for things to come! Their incredible debut album "Vincebus Eruptum" was a true unanticipated shocker to the music industry when bands like the Archies were spewing bubble gum hits on the radio!

Their rendition of the Eddie Cochran tune "Summertime Blues" was a nation wide top 10 hit! Another song on the album, "Doctor Please" was an 8 1/2 minute barrage of feedback moaning SG guitar and pounding jungle drums topped with Dickie Peterson's nails on a chalk board cries for help!
I'm sure their has been more than one career launched off of their formula but it is rarely admitted by the bands that ripped them off!

"Outside Inside'' was the even heavier follow up album with the heaviest song ever recorded, "Just A Little Bit"! This album also has much more variety than the first and by this time they were also more experienced in the studio.

"Vincebus Eruptum" is the album that defined the formula for heavy metal for all time!

Early article in "Disco Scene Magazine" with a most uncomplimentary view of "Vincebus Eruptum"! This shows the narrow mindedness of the times! All things great in music and art often begin as heresy! CLICK on photos to enlarge!

"Outside Inside" Blue Cheer 1968 A classic heavy album that deserves many listens!

Rare articles from various rock magazines on the making of "Outside Inside" Just CLICK on photos to enlarge!


MC5's "Kick Out The Jams" was the most radical call to arms ever recorded by a band until the punk rock era! Just the opening speech alone is worth the price of admission! This record was recorded live at Deroit's Grande Ballroom. The recording is very clear and powerful for it's time!
You can just here the teenage anxiety of living in a country embroiled in a war that was never ment to be won channeling through these 5 futurists called the MC5 and out the speakers in to your living room!

I doubt if the world will ever hear a record like this again! The title track is awesome along with the ultra-heavy Troggs cover "I want you Right Now" and the world's first space rock song "Star Ship" a cover by Sun Ra!

Kick Out The Jams Mother F**kers!!!

The late, great Rob Tyner.

The wild and woolly "Brother" Wayne Kramer"!!!

Dennis Thompson

"The Motor City Five"!!!!

MC5's Debut album, "Kick Out The Jams" was a teenager's war cry in 1969! The record was so contriversioul that the later pressings were edited with the words Mother F**ker removed from the beginning of the title track!


Mountain, featuring guitarist Leslie West had their day like all of the rest of these bands and played it loud, raw and heavy! The first release is simply called, "Leslie West Mountain" as to suggest it might be a solo project. Leslie is joined by ex-Cream producer Felix Pappalardi and N.D. Smart II . They appeared at Woodstock and later hired Canadian skin basher Corky Laing.

Their 2nd release "Climbing " features the hit "Mississippi Queen" and also contains the heavy hits, "Sittin' On A Rainbow" with the world's first thrash metal bass drum pattern and "Never In My Life" a heavy chunk of blues rock played in half time!

1971 saw the release of the epic, "Nantucket Sleighride" that was filled with goodies for our heavy needs like my personal favorite, "Don't Look Around"!

Also in 1971 "Flowers of Evil" was released with live material on side B. The live segment of "Dreams Of Milk And Honey" is completely over the top with a long kick ass jam that proves their superior musicianship!


The Who made their mark early in the 1960's with "My Generation" but came of age around the time they recorded this slice of blasting riff-o-rama! From beginning to end the Who plow through their pop hits like a runaway freight train with spontaneous prowess and million watt blunders that are so dear to our hearts!!

I always preferred hearing Townsend playing a Gibson SG as I did Eric Clapton! On this album it's being utilized to it's over-driven Hiwatt
limits! When Pete kicks in the fuzz all hell breaks loose like a fight between Godzilla and Rodan!

Keith Moon's drumming defies description as he beats the living crap out of everything in sight and sometimes even plays the drums! John Entwistle redefines bass playing for eternity and Roger Daltry proves himself as one of rock's greatest vocalists!

My favorite cut from this record is "My Generation" and it's segued barrel of hits! Also everyone's favorite, "Shakin' All Over"! The entire show is now available on a double CD which is even better! "Live At Leeds" is the perfect blueprint for any band deciding that they want to be an arena act!

Nowadays The Who are not thought of much as being a heavy rock band as they have been embraced by the middle of the road VH1 crowd who mostly follow U2 and Phil Collins but for those of us who saw them in the post Woodstock era they are remembered as one of the heaviest bands in the world! They had a bigger hand in developing what we know today as being heavy metal than they are given credit for! We all owe them a huge debt of gratitude for that!


In the 1960's The Move may have been one of England's all time greatest pop bands but in 1970 they released the ultra heavy rock masterpiece "Shazam"! I first heard them on an A&M compilation album called "Friends" that had a picture of a guy in an ape suit shagging a guy in a chicken outfit!

The featured song was the heavy rocker "Hello Susie" with swelling twelve string electric guitar accompanied by a pounding rhythm section in Bev Bevan and Rick Price all backing the extremely harsh brummy voice of the mad scientist himself, Roy Wood!

At 13 years old I was mighty impressed! So much so that I soon after bought the album and the following year I bought "Looking On". This album continued the heavy legacy they started with "Shazam" with the impossibly massive "Turkish Tram Conductor Blues" and the equally heavy, "Brontosaurus"! This platter also went deeper into Roy Wood's obsession with oboes , horns and Bassoons, all instruments that don't belong in rock & roll, or do they?

Then came their final album "Message From The Country" and the departure of their highly underrated bassist, Rick Price. Roy Wood was now playing bass among a million other instruments but still keeping the signature heavy undertow that The Move relied on!

This classic album includes the morbid doomer, "It Wasn't My Idea To Dance" which featured oboes performing what would normally be guitar parts all driven by that monstrously foreboding bass line! Also The title track delivers some beautiful Sgt. Pepper like musical landscapes that would make The Beatles blush!

These three albums by The Move fit into no real category as they are written and performed by true musical geniuses!

The Move in the studio recording "Shazam" . I'm sure they were taking a big risk on this one but it paid off in a whole new direction for the band that they would follow to the end and beyond with Roy Wood's "Wizard" and E.L.O.!

The Move's "Looking On" ushered in a new line up with Jeff Lynn and a sound leaning more towards the Beatles. This didn't deter them from keeping it heavy though! Jeff's voice matched beautifully with Roy's and a new depth of sound and color was being achieved!

"Message From The Country" arrived on the scene with yet another line up change. Rick Price was gone and now Roy Wood was the bassist among other instrument duties on this album! Roy's bass playing duplicated the earlier albums and also went further by almost being the entire center piece of the album" as he demonstrates so well along side the many woodwinds and chorusing vocals!


Groundhogs are some what of an enigma in the heavy rock world as they were once John Lee Hooker's backing band in the 1960's. Their first 2 albums carry some of that vibe with them but in 1969 they released "Thank Christ For The Bomb", a classic heavy rock album with some of the oddest guitar and bass counterpoint riffs ever devised by man!

This band has no comparisons anywhere on this lonely planet! There is a constant sense of dread in T.S. McPhee's bluesy voice singing the laments of a dying society along with tales of love gone bad!

Their 3rd installment "Split" is equally if not more depressing for art's sake with the perfectly disjointed "Junk Man" and the loud rocking "Cherry Red"! Guitarist Tony McPhee serves up healthy portions of Tycho Brahe Wah Wah solos that mimic a fleet of plumbers clearing out blocked service lines from your house! He also indulges in manipulating white noise from his many stomp boxes and dragging us all into a ring modulated hell! Brilliant!!!

The band later changed line ups with the departure of "Powerful" Ken Pustelnik on the drums.
He was replaced by Clive Brooks ex-Egg drummer and 2 albums were recorded, "Hogwash" & "Solid" both being masterpieces that propelled them into the mid 1970's with a slightly more futuristic sound employing Mellotron! I like both versions of the band as all their albums were equal ground breaking efforts!

Groundhogs paved the way for doom metal decades before it became a genre of music with the classic album's "Thank Christ For The Bomb" and "Split"!

Groundhogs broke new ground in 1972 with "Hogwash" and added progressive rock elements with the introduction of Mellotron and many new effect units. The same goes for "Solid" which also showcases tremendous song writing geared with the future in mind!


Let's talk about WILD! Sir Lord Baltimore was Brooklyn, New York's answer to Grand Funk Railroad and Black Sabbath although they were doing it around the same time as the aforementioned bands.

This band started out as a 3 piece with John Garner- drums and vocals, Gary Justin - bass and Lou Dambra - guitar. they later became a 4 piece adding Lou's brother Joey on 2nd guitar.
Their first release on Mercury was "Kingdom Come", a very heavy but sometimes out of control
album with lots of pounding drums and furious guitar riffs accompanied by John Garner's straight shooting vocals! A very ambitious album indeed!

There 2nd and self titled album with the trademark patchwork cover is very close to being a concept record with "Man From Manhattan" This album has some of rock music's heaviest recorded riffs present! Just check out "Woman Tamer"!

Sir Lord Baltimore was only around for a couple of years but made 2 iconic albums and toured with Black Sabbath!


Alice Cooper originally was one of Frank Zappa's orphaned bands in his stable of art rock crazies. I originally heard about them from a Frank Zappa Compilation album called "Zapped" but in
1971 Bob Ezrin got a hold of these guys and turned them into an arena favorite! The band has always taken that view as well.

"Love It To Death" was their 3rd album but still appeared on Zappa's "Straight Records" a subsidiary of Warner Brothers. This album and tour was an absolute trend setter which later gave birth to the rise of British Glam Rock!

"Love it to Death" is a "10" from start to finish! They also reproduced these songs perfectly at their shows where Alice would sit in the electric chair in their usual finisher Black Ju Ju. "Second Coming" and "The Ballad Of Dwight Fry" segued perfectly on this album. Other hits like "Eighteen " and "Caught In A Dream " were also very strong! This album is a one of a kind!

"Killer" was Alice Cooper's 4th album and probably the one that pushed them firmly into super stardom! Bob Ezrin went all out for this one with plenty of sound effects and other ear candy. Although this was a stab at the commercial market "Killer" still has some heavy and morbid classics on board such as the masterpiece of middle eastern persuasion "Halo Of Flies" and who could forget the warning to all dead beat parents, "Dead Babies"? "You Drive Me Nervous" is another rocker classic along with "Be My Lover". This album sounds as fresh today as it did then!

"Love It To Death" brought the Alice Cooper band out of the experimental and in to the mainstream! This album is timeless!

Neal Smith had the largest drum kit in rock in 1971!

Bodies need rest...We all need our rest...Sleep an easy sleep...Rest ...Rest!

"Killer" was the unbelievable follow up to "Love It To Death" Just when you thought it couldn't be any better!

Cover of the "Killer" tour program from 1972

Alice Cooper's "Love It To Death & "Killer " set the the tone for everything that was to come! These albums will always be classic and can never be duplicated! When I want to listen to Alice Cooper I usually don't look any further than these 2 masterpieces of shock rock!

# 22 - "BANG" BANG #23 - "MOTHER" BANG

Alice Cooper opened the door for a lot of bands with similar writing styles and one of these was Bang!

Bang came on the scene in 1971 with their self titled album. From the very first I heard Alice and Sabbath influences in their sound which was AOK with me! There was the mega heavy "Future Shock" and "Lions Christians" along with many others equally heavy! I once owned it on 8 Track tape and just let it play over and over in one big loop!

Their 2nd release "Mother"was a vast improvement on the 1st and this time they got a real drummer as their manager and co-writer barely plays drums on the 1st LP. Songs like "Idealist Realist" lay down some heavy riffs while the opus composition "Mother" really gives the listener pause to think! This is also an incredible album by the band!
Bang from 1971 "Bang" and from 1972"Mother" both albums are classics!


Black Sabbath introduced the world to a darker and harder edged sound with lyrics that delved into heavier subjects. They were to Led Zeppelin what The Stones were to the Beatles! I didn't listen to Led Zeppelin or The Beatles!

When "Master Of Reality" was released no one knew what to think as Black Sabbath had walked into the world of the ultra-heavy with songs like "Death Mask/In To The Void", "After Forever" and "Sweet Leaf"! They had found a new and etherial sound that unfortunately would only appear on this record and "Vol. 4"! They never ventured back into that phase of their writing style again. This was my favorite era of Sabbath.

"Vol. 4" also sported some classics like "Supernaut", Tomorrow's Dream" and "Snowblind"!
They were definitely digging deeper into the subconscious than other bands of that time. Don't get me wrong, I love all of the Sabs albums! They are the most consistent band in history but these 2 releases have that magic touch that squarely puts them in the doom hall of fame making them an instant desert island delight!
Black Sabbath's "Master Of Reality" marked a new direction in their sound from "Paranoid" with lower tuning and over driven guitars!

Black Sabbath brought out the big guns on this ,their 4th release "Vol.4 . Very heavy like "Master Of Reality" but even more experimental!

Black Sabbath Live in Concert in Australia!


Trapeze's "Medusa" was the first album to fuse down town funk with out and out heavy metal!
"Touch My Life", "Medusa" and the doom metal lament, "Jury" are the heavies on this platter along with hard rock classic "Black Cloud"! A very honest album free of over production!

"You Are The Music , We're Just The Band" is back to more funk and soul but songs like "Way Back To The Bone" and "Loser" prove this album to be their all time heaviest! Unfortunately not too long after it's release we saw the departure of Glen Hughes to Deep Purple. Guitarist Mel Galley carried on though and managed to keep the band's integrity!
"Medusa" was the metamorphosis of Trapeze from a lounge act to a formidable heavy rock band!

Trapeze's "You Are The Music We're Just The Band" is a heavy rock masterpiece!


Budgie, discovered by Roger Bain and Tony Iommi, this 3 piece from Cardiff played the heaviest simplistic music of all time! It's a no-brainer to listen to their early albums but that doesn't mean they aren't flat out masterpieces! They most certainly are, if you love it heavy for the sake of heavy ! If so, your in for a treat especially their debut album on Kapp Records!
How can you go wrong with titles like "Nude Disentigrating Parachutist Woman" a title that is as long as the song is heavy! Oddly the American Version on Kapp records features and extra track called "Crash Course In Brain Surgery" that also appears 3 years later on "In For The Kill"!

"Squawk" is Budgie's 2nd album and includes the heavy cruncher "Whiskey River" and the metal sludger "Stranded" among others!

"Never Turn Your Back On a Friend" again shows that Budgie stick to what works for them with the ultra powerful "Bread Fan" and advanced metalergist's "In the Grip Of The Tyre Fitter's Hand"!

All of Budgie's albums could be included here but remember this is a desert Island and we may have to cut some ballast!"In For The Kill" is really the other super heavy one of the bunch and the title track will floor you! "Hammer and Tongs is another blues out sludger that starts with a mist filled dream sequence with fading in and out guitars, swelling bass and tribal like sporatic drum hits!

"In For The Kill" was a great surprise in 1974 to the ailing rock scene. It brought back all those post woodstock musical values we all loved and greatly missed! The title track is a ripper!

# 32 - "What A Bunch Of Sweeties" The Pink Fairies, # 33 - "Pink Fairies" Pink Fairies (Greatest Hits, Polydor)

The infamous Pink Fairies were born out of members of England's most bizzare band "The Deviants" who later recorded "Think Pink" with ex-Pretty Things drummer, Twink that in time became The Pink Fairies with their single "The Snake" and debut album "Never Never Land" in 1970!

After Twink's departure from the group they became a power trio and learned to boogie with the best of them!
Their 1972 release "What A Bunch Of Sweeties" was received very well and it looked as though the Fairies had a bright future until vocalist and guitarist Paul Rudolph split from the group which made them fall back into relative obscurity!

The album features the wildest rendition of the Ventures "Walk Don't Run" in existance!
And other classics like "Portebello Shuffle" rival the great ZZ Top on the hard rock & boogie richter scale! This album isn't a "10" as some of the tracks sound unfinished but the over all feel is dynamite making it a must have!

Long after the Pink Fairies disbanded, Polydor records squeezed out a greatest hits record that has to be included as it features the rare single "The Snake" and is The Pink Fairies rockingest song ever! The album also includes the best tracks from "Never Never Land" and "Kings Of Oblivion" with Larry Wallace on guitar! Rarest of all is the single "Well, Well, Well" that appeared right after "What A Bunch Of Sweeties" but unfortunately without Paul Rudolph!

This album contains the best of both worlds and is a classic anthology!

This Polydor release documented the long journey and many line up changes of the Pink Fairies from 1970 to 1973

Pink Fairies performing at the Glastonbury Fair 1970

The Pink Faireies perform in Bath at one of their many free concerts in 1970!

Pink Fairies circa 1973 with Larry Wallace ! He brought a new flavor to the band's sound!

Larry Wallis

Russell Hunter, a great out of control drummer with a heavy sound!

Duncan Sanderson of the Pink Fairies! A most underrated bassist who took on half of the vocal duties on 1973's "Kings Of Oblivion"!

#34 - "Bulletproof" Hard Stuff

Hard Stuff was at one time called Daimen but for what ever reason by the time we got their debut offering thr name had been changed to Hard Stuff and aptly so! The band has heavy credits to it's name with John DuCann of "Andromeda" and "Atomic Rooster", Paul Hammond also from "Atomic Rooster" and John Gustoffson of "Colliseum II" and who later went on to be in "Roxy Music"!

This is a heavy hitting piece of vinyl on par with "Blue Cheer" or "Budgie"!
My personal favorites are "Sinister Minister", "Am No Witch At All" and the mammoth "Time Gambler"! The vinyl is now very hard to find with all it's awesome photos of the band live and in the studio and iconic cover!

"Bulletproof" is a heavy duty power trio album comparible with "Budgie" or "Blue Cheer"!

Back cover of "Daimen" aka "Hard Stuff"showing the line up with extra percussionist!

Hard Stuff L - R , John DuCann, Paul Hammond, John Gustoffson


Stray Dog's debut on Emerson , Lake and Palmer's Manticore Records is a classic heavy rock album featuring the untouchable power trio led by guitarist extraordinaire Snuffy Walden!

Every cut on this album is a tasty morsel of heavy rock history played with the utmost finesse and class! Prime cuts on this album are 2 cover songs , one being ZZ Top's "Chevrolet" and Bloodrock's "Crazy" which blow away the originals!

Stray Dog are tight and heavy for your listening pleasure!


Captain Beyond"s debut self titled album needs no introduction if you know your rock history!
It is still to this day considered a masterpiece among record collectors and is a fantastic concept album with phenomenal playing throughout!

Ex- Deep Purple front man Rod Evans gives the album a touch of class with his vocal style as Lee Dorman and Bobby Caldwell lay down an awesome fast paced rhythm section while Rhino's heavy Hendrix style guitar work sends this platter in to outer space!

Captain Beyond - Montreux 1972 first show!

Rod Evans - Bickershall Festival U.K. 1972

"Rhino" Rhineheart - lead guitar at the Hollywood Bowl 1972

Rod Evans - Paris 1972

#37- "Mournin'" Night Sun

I remember the first time I heard this album, it was 1974 and it just throttled me!
Night Sun's "Mournin'" is an eclectic mix of large doses of Black Sabbath with early Deep Purple Leslie driven Hammond organ and Richie Blackmore style stratocaster!
"Living With The Dying" is the real hit on this album along with "I've Got A Bone Of My Own" which has the first sax accompaniment on a heavy rock album! The whole album is a killer start to finish and does not disappoint!
This apparently was a one off album by some German studio musicians as it was recorded in Essen in 1972! That's about all I know of them outside their music!
This album stands alone and seriously outdoes other Gothic German bands of the time like Nosferatu and Lucifer's Friend!

Germany's Night Sun outdid themselves in 1972 with their classic album "Mournin'"! This album is a must for fans of Black Sabbath , old Deep Purple and Uriah Heep!

# 38 - " The Inner Mounting Flame" Mahavishnu Orchestra, # 39 - "Birds Of Fire" Mahavishnu Orchestra

These 2 classic albums by John McGlaughlin and super group featuring Billy Cobham (ex-"Weather Report"drums), Jerry Goodman (ex-"Flock" electric violinist), Jan Hammer (keyboards) and Rick Laird (bass) were the catalyst that started the fusion jazz momvement and created a new genre of music for the mainstream!

The performances on these albums are stellar and at times untouchable with impossible time changes overlapping with equally as challenging counterpoint!

I saw these guys live in their brief run and was stunned by their performance! Brilliant!

Mahavishnu Orchestra set the bar so high that most musicians and record companies alike couln't keep up, ultimately killing a legitimate genre within the mainstream!

#40 - "Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy" Chick Corea & Return To Forever

Chick Corea's "Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy" is the other great jazz fusion album among listeners to this genre! This album is dynamic and superb from beginning to end!

Bill Conners guitar work is decidedly heavy and emotional and stirs up a potent cocktail of progressive rock as the rest of the band, Stanley Clarke, Lenny White and Chick Corea journey through the artier realms of funk jazz!

All of this packs a powerful punch that leaves the listener drained but also invites multiple listenings! A true classic!

These are the albums I love best! These are the most consistent through and through! There are hundreds more that I would love to add that epitomise heavy rock but these I've listed I just couldn't do without! My collection is very extensive and it was very hard to narrow my choices down to 40 of these classics but I think these that I have chosen had the greatest impact on my playing and my rock & roll spirit! Maybe in the future I will do the "B" list which hardly deserves that title! Many of those records have only a few heavy classics mixed in with some fluff to appeal to a more diverse audience.

Thank you for taking the time to read the dreaded Desert Island List and if you haven't heard some of these, I suggest you do! Now if you will excuse me, I'll get back to the business of being a metal castaway on my beach of decibels and my island woman who is now about to peel my grapes! Aloha!!!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cool list! Several I have never heard of (q'65!) Especially agree with your comment on the vibe those 2 Sabbath albums give. I always felt they were the "Spaciest" & go along great next to classic Hawkwind.