Fuchsia — Fuchsia, Mahagonny & Other Gems (1975-1978)
(Night Wings NWRCD 04, 1978/2005, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2014-06-23This is a collection of odds and ends from 1970 – 1978 compiled after the demise of Fuchsia. The first two songs are unreleased demos recorded on a primitive ¼ track about nine months after the release of Fuchsia: “Ragtime Brahms” and “The Band,” which happens to be the track Me and My Kites elected to cover on FdM. The third track, “Ring of Red Roses,” is from the original Fuchsia demo acetate and consequently the sound quality is not up to par. In 1975 Tony Durant began work on the “Mahagonny” project that was his interpretation of Berchtolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s music. This project combined the themes from both The Threepenny Opera and The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. Tony recorded five demo songs, which are included on this disc. The music is quite a bit different from that on Fuchsia, but you can trace it back. If you are familiar with Brecht and Weill’s music you will know that it is dark and edgy. In fact their music has been covered many times, the most notable being the Doors’ version of the “Alabama Song.” By contrast, Tony’s interpretations are upbeat and melodic songs with some progressive jazz elements thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately, despite the quality of these songs, timing was everything. In 1976, progressive music started to tank and be replaced by punk rock. After the Mahagonny demos are a couple of great songs by Bob Chudley, who co-wrote “Another Nail” from the Fuchsia album. These demos were Bob’s last attempt at serious songwriting. The disc closes with a wonderful folk rock song “I’ll Remember Her Face” that was recorded in 1978 and sung by John Tams who was currently in the Albion band along with Fuchsia’s drummer Michael Gregory. This song was composed for a film production titled The Golden Medallion. And for those of you unfamiliar with John Tams, he has received numerous BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards over the years, as well as writing the theme song for and acting in the Sharpe TV series. John has a unique voice and hearing him on this disc was quite a surprise. Though not quite up to the quality of Fuchsia, this companion disc of extra material demonstrates that the band could have done well if they had been better managed.
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more