Kraan – Wiederhören (1977)

Kraan_Wiederhören4 out of 5 Stars!

A wildly terrific German band that started in the ’70s and released a slew of funky, skillful, and adventurous Jazz-inspired Prog-Rock albums in its first decade of existence. Indeed, some of the band’s material reminds me of the Canterbury Prog-Rock scene in Britain…only sinfully manic, and on some damned-good acid.

Any of the group’s ’70s albums—including Wiederhören, the band’s fifth release—are highly recommended for lovers of the genres of Progressive Rock, Krautrock, Jazz-Fusion or Jazz-Rock. Seriously, the musicianship on display here (from the guitars and keys, to the sax, to the rhythm section) is unequivocally awesome…especially jaw-dropping on the tracks “Vollgas Ahoi,” “Let’s Take a Ride,” “Rund um die Uhr,” and “Rendezvous in Blue.”

The only area where Kraan “lacked” as a group (and where I lowered the rating by half a star) was in the vocal department, but since much of the band’s material is instrumental, and the vocals are “passable” overall, they are hardly a huge deterrent when it comes to savoring the outstanding musicianship and creativity on display.

And please hold the nasty comments and hate mail regarding my age, since I already know I’m going to sound like an “old fogey” by saying the following: “Today’s newfangled whippersnapper bands just don’t make music like this anymore…”  🙂

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Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson – Thick as a Brick 2: Whatever Happened to Gerald Bostock? (2012)

JethroTull_ThickBrick24.5 out of 5 Stars!

How can a band/musician follow up a masterpiece of an album? And would a band/musician even dare to attempt such a chore? Well, many have indeed tried, and sadly, a large majority have failed.

But as for this “sequel” to Thick as a Brick, well, it’s not a failure in the least. Indeed, it’s quite excellent overall, and Ian Anderson (main-man of Jethro Tull) was not only courageous in his attempt, but should be enthusiastically commended for his efforts.

Now, the big question…is the sequel as wonderful as the original?

No, unfortunately not, no 5-Star release. How could one reasonably expect this sequel to be as fantastic? Nevertheless, this collection of tracks is certainly a well-above-average release in the world of Prog-Rock, at least a 4.5 Star album, and even though the rest of the Jethro Tull band (especially Martin Barre) is not included on this release, Ian comes damned close in duplicating the “original band sound,” nearly replicating the style/tones and even the production of the masterpiece album in question.

It’s been too damned long for a new Tull album, especially one reminiscent of the sound/style of the band during its “classic period,” so this Ian Anderson solo release was a welcome addition to my collection of “Tull albums,” despite the different name credited on the cover, and it could very well fit into the band’s back catalogue.

Bravo!

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