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Todd Tamanend Clark
Allan Clarke
Classics


Annabelle Chvostek  (Canada)  see: Samples etc.

Cibelle  (Brazil)

Cibelle, 'Cibelle'

Cibelle  (2003,  57.27)  **½/T½

Deixa
Só Sei Viver No Samba
Hate
Luisas
Waiting
No Prego
I'll Be
Train
Inútil Paisagem
Um Só Segundo
Pequeno Olhos
Cibelle, 'The Shine of Dried Electric Leaves'

The Shine of Dried Electric Leaves  (2006,  70.14)  **½/T

Green Grass
Instante de Dois
Phoenix
London, London
City People
Minha Neguinha

Mad Man Song
Por Toda a Minha Vida
Flying High
Arrete la, Menina
Esplendor
Train Station
Lembra
Cajuina

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

Cibelle (Cavalli) is a modern Brazilian electronica artist who takes her inspiration from many genres, including traditional Brazilian music, Tropicalia, various dance sub-genres and even metal. Whether the end result is to your personal liking is another matter, of course... She'd settled in London by the time she finished recording her eponymous debut, making me wonder how much of it might've been recorded over here; it sounds nothing like the city, but then, she's Brazilian - why should it? I'm afraid I can't personally connect with this music at all, though, and the album gets a relatively low rating for its boredom factor; why produce an hour of music when you don't have to? Enthusiasm, I suppose. Anyway, Brazilian electronica dude A9 (a.k.a. Apollo 9, a.k.a. Apollo Nove) adds all manner of synths and keys, newer and older, including real, poorly-maintained Mellotron, with a really cranky-sounding string part on Waiting, plus flutes, with more strings on Inútil Paisagem.

Cibelle followed up with 2006's oddly-titled The Shine of Dried Electric Leaves, a far more acoustic album than its predecessor, although, sadly, no more interesting to those not into her Brazilian thing, which isn't to denigrate it musically, only to say it isn't my bag. At seventy minutes, though, it's far too long for its relatively repetitive content and is marked down accordingly. Nove on Mellotron again, with string chords on City People and flutes and strings on Minha Neguinha, although it's impossible to tell if various other stringlike noises on the album are Mellotronically-produced or not.

So; not one for your average prog lover, but if you hang out in 'funky' coffee bars, you'll not only probably like these, but almost certainly already own copies. As for the rest of us...

MySpace

See: Apollo Nove | Freezone

Cibo Matto  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Ciccada  (Greece)  see: Samples etc.

José Cid  (Portugal)  see:

José Cid

Cinema Recorded Music Library  (UK)

Cinema Recorded Music Library, 'Before the Dark'

Before the Dark  (2002,  49.30)  ***½/TT½

Before the Dark
Pendulum

Reflections
Almost There
After Dark
Lost
Coming Up for Air

Undercurrent
Head Spin
Crash and Burn
The Dawn

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Cinema Recorded Music Library's schtick is to recreate that '70s library music vibe, which they do with aplomb on 2002's Before the Dark. Every track has a different feel to it, as you'd expect from the real thing; this actually reminds me of Sundae Club, or (more 'authentically'), Harmonic 33, in its dedication to recreation of a lost art. Best tracks? More like best moments, actually: Pendulum nicks the descending Rhodes line from The Doors' Riders On The Storm, while the 'police car siren' synth on Head Spin almost convinces. The band (actually a duo) actually rock out a little on the latter half of Crash And Burn ('Burn', I suppose), although they splatter what sounds like a Solina all over the track, along with half of the rest of the album.

Mellotron flutes are proudly displayed on the opening title track, Pendulum, Lost, Coming Up For Air and closer The Dawn, although the one on After Dark sounds real. No idea who plays it (presumably either Crawford Tait or Gregor Reid), or whether it's real, although it sounds a lot more authentic than many other similar examples I can think of. Overall, this does exactly what it says on the tin and does it well. If you're after that vaguely 'Gallic film music' thing, this will almost certainly hit the spot. Recommended.

Cinerama  (UK)

Cinerama, 'John Peel Sessions'

John Peel Sessions  (2001, recorded 1998-99,  40.41)  **½/T

Comedienne
Maniac
You Turn Me on
Honey Rider
Pacific (acoustic)
Dance, Girl, Dance (acoustic)
146 Degrees
Reel 2, Dialogue 2
Film
Elenore
Kerry Kerry (live)
Hard, Fast and Beautiful (live)

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

The Wedding Present's David Gedge and his then-partner, Sally Murrell, formed Cinerama in 1998, quickly becoming a firm favourite of 'Saint' John Peel (R.I.P.), recording no fewer than eleven sessions for his radio programme. John Peel Sessions collects the first two, along with other relevant recordings, although be warned: you need a fairly high tolerance for faux-early '60s pop to survive even forty minutes of this. Suffice to say, the lyrics are mostly more interesting than the music.

Although I've thrown Season 2 straight into samples, one track here's made me sit up and cock a quizzical eyebrow at my speakers. Reel 2, Dialogue 2 features what sounds like separate male and female Mellotron voices, presumably played by either Gedge or Murrell; I'm really not sure there were good enough samples of these sounds at the time to pass muster, so this stays here unless I get more (negative) information.

Official Cinerama/Wedding Present site

See: Samples etc. | The Wedding Present

Cioccolata  (Japan)

Cioccolata, 'Cioccolata'

Cioccolata  (1985,  38.19)  ***/½

Pa•Chi•La
Il Cielo Lontano
Sandwichman
Danza
Birthday
Nina From the Dark Moon
La Mia Mano
The Dancing Cat
Tiss Tiss
Addio

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

I can't tell you an awful lot about Cioccolata, due to not only the usual language-related issues, but the three decades-plus that have elapsed since the release of their eponymous (debut?) album in 1985. Fronted by Cano Caoli (a.k.a. Kano Kaoli), the only band member with any obvious history (admittedly, according to Discogs) is guitarist Toru Terashi. Cioccolata is a strange, offbeat pop album, choppy rhythms interacting with new wave-derived melodies and more obviously Japanese influences, possibly at its best on crazed massed-vocal opener Pa•Chi•La, the funky Sandwichman, the sax-driven Tiss Tiss and closer Addio.

Amongst the ubiquitous synths, Fuquiko "Yuko" Watanabe plays background Mellotron flutes and strings on Danza, although that would appear to be our lot. Bored with production-line Japanese pop? Try Cioccolata. Intriguingly different.

Circadian Rhythm  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Circle  (Finland)  see: Samples etc.

Circulatory System  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Circus  (Netherlands)

Circus, 'Circus'

Circus  (2011, recorded 1968,  27.51)  ***½/T

Fairy Tales of Truth
Mother Sundance
Change of Scene
Voluntary Peacemaker
Medusa

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Circus (not to be confused with any other band of the same name, including alternate spellings) were formed by vocalist/guitarist Frank Nuyens and drummer/lyricist Jay Baar after noted Dutch psychsters Q65 split in 1968; although Herman Brood (ex-Cuby & the Blizzards, later of solo fame) and Henk Smitskamp (ex-Motions) were approached, the duo ended up recruiting Frank Verhoef on bass/vocals and keyboard player Mark Klein. Using a different singer on each of the few tracks the nascent band recorded (finally released in 2011 as the barely-over-EP-length Circus), their emphasis was more on instrumental work, in true freakout fashion, highlights including trippy opener Fairy Tales Of Truth, rhythmic psychfest Mother Sundance (originally Mother Motha's Sundance, I believe) and the more traditionally songlike Change Of Scene. Sadly, the comedown came all too soon: unable to secure a deal, the quartet splintered, most of their demos being reused/re-recorded for Q65's 'comeback' contractural-obligation effort, 1969's Revival, Fairy Tales Of Truth and Voluntary Peacemaker surviving intact, while Mother Sundance was truncated to Sundance and Change Of Scene became Ridin' On A Slow Train.

Paul Natte plays Mellotron on the original recordings, with strings on Fairy Tales Of Truth, possibly from Phonogram Studios' M300, although the vibes part on Q65's Voluntary Peacemaker is inaudible/missing. Possibly the most amazing thing about these recordings is that they were ever considered even remotely 'commercial', particularly the two lengthy(ish) tracks that make up side one of the currently vinyl-only issue, which says more about the era than I ever could. Worth hearing for side one, then, not to mention one good Mellotron track.

See: Q65

Cirkus  (UK)

Cirkus, 'One'

One  (1971,  41.45)  ***/T½

You Are
Seasons
April '73
Song for Tavish
A Prayer
Brotherly Love
Those Were the Days
Jenny
Title Track
  Breach
  Ad Infinitum

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Not to be confused with any other Cirkus/Circus, I believe this was Cirkus' only album, at least under that name, although they reappeared considerably later in the decade as Future Shock. Despite usually being labelled a progressive rarity, One is more a (very) late-period psych album, with ten average-length tracks of relatively simple construction. It's not a bad album, by any means, but there's something of a shortage of great material, although Brotherly Love stands out. There's a string section on most tracks, so it's frequently very difficult to work out where Derek G. Miller's Mellotron is actually being used, although the aforementioned Brotherly Love has some quite obvious strings and flutes, and Song For Tavish has an unaccompanied Mellotron strings coda.

Psych fans may well lap this up, but I reckon it falls rather short of greatness, and the Mellotron use is at best average. Even my vinyl reissue's quite rare now, but I believe this is available on CD. Buy at your discretion.

See: Future Shock

Città Frontale  (Italy)

Città Frontale, '"El Tor"'

"El Tor"  (1975,  44.14)  ****/T½

Alba di Una Città
Solo Uniti...
El Tor
Duro Lavoro

Mutazione
La Casa del Mercante "Sun"
Milioni di Persone
Equilibrio Divino?

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

There seems to have been quite a bit of movement between bands in the Italian '70s progressive scene; two of Città Frontale had, only a year earlier, been members of Osanna, including vocalist and sometime Mellotron player Lino Vairetti. "El Tor" definitely has echoes of the Osanna sound on it, but the band pretty much had their own voice, partially characterised by Enzo Avitabile's sax playing, giving the music a fusiony edge in places, particularly on Solo Uniti... and the excellent Mutazione.

The Mellotron parts, also played by regular keyboard man Paolo Raffone, are extremely tasteful and restrained, with often only a few chords or a short orchestrated flute part (aside from Avitabile's real flutes) before disappearing again. A classic example of their restraint is in the album's longest track, Duro Lavoro, where they refrain from using the oh-so obvious strings during the first time through a grandiose chord sequence, only bringing them in second time round. 'Tension and release', as I believe it's known. Strangely enough, they only use it on tracks 1-4, so there's probably less than a minute of Mellotron on the whole album; it's a very tasteful minute, though.

So; a good album, while not really approaching 'classic' status. In other words, I wouldn't put it on your 'A' list of Italian 'must-haves', but it should certainly be on your 'B' list, along with Osanna's Landscape of Life, amongst many others. Nor is it a Mellotron classic, but what there is to be heard is tasteful in the extreme. Worth the effort.

See: Osanna

Chiara Civello  (Italy)  see: Samples etc.

Clairvoyants  (US)

Clairvoyants, 'Your New Boundaries'

Your New Boundaries  (2001,  44.09)  **½/T

To Reassure
Camera on a Truck
After the Accident
For Granted
You Will Miss the Autumn
Interlude
How is Your Memory?
Yes, I Waited a Year...
New Name
The Hungry Ghosts
Song Against Suicide
Surface of the Water
To Harm
Your New Boundaries

Current availability:

Chamberlin used:

Brian Dunn's Clairvoyants picked up some less-than-ecstatic reviews upon the release of 2001's Your New Boundaries, the kindest of which called them 'slowcore'. Yes, their distinctly downbeat music is that, although I'd argue that there's a place for this kind of music, although it probably isn't 'at the front of my collection'.

Colin Rhinesmith is credited with Chamberlin and, for once, we may well be listening to a genuine machine, tapes'n'all. Not much of it mind; all I can hear is strings (and one of the woodwind family?) all over the brief Interlude, but it's better than nothing. To quote one of those reviews, "Is your record collection lacking 'decent background music?' Is this a gap you need to fill?" Harsh - probably too harsh, but at least slightly accurate.

Eric Clapton  (UK)  see: Samples etc.

Clarika  (France)  see: Samples etc.

Alain Clark  (Netherlands)  see: Samples etc.

Gene Clark  (US)

Gene Clark, 'White Light'

White Light  (1971,  34.55)  ***½/½

The Virgin
With Tomorrow
White Light
Because of You
One in a Hundred
For a Spanish Guitar
Where My Love Lies Asleep
Tears of Rage
1975

Current availability:

Mellotron (Chamberlin?) used:

Gene Clark really shouldn't need any introduction: a founding member of The Byrds, he was actually their main songwriter during their first two years, later supplanted by Jim/Roger McGuinn and David Crosby. He left the band in early '66 (he rejoined briefly in '67 and '73), working his way through Phoenix and Dillard & Clark, before releasing the acclaimed, yet poorly-selling White Light in 1971. Essentially a country album, several of its tracks (Because Of You, For A Spanish Guitar, 1975) might've worked well in a pre-country Byrds setting, but are perfectly acceptable here, as long as you don't object too strongly to the style.

An uncredited musician (organist Mike Utley?) plays background Mellotron, or, more likely, Chamberlin strings on Where My Love Lies Asleep (well spotted, Reid), although you'd be forgiven for missing it entirely. Anyone hoping for a lost slice of Turn! Turn! Turn!-era Byrds should probably look elsewhere, but if you've ever found yourself captivated by Clark's writing, you could do worse than to hear a copy. Sadly, Clark was the first Byrd to die, still in his forties, after years of sustained alcohol abuse, living just long enough to participate in his old band's induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.

Official site

Jeffrey Clark  (US)

Jeffrey Clark, 'Sheer Golden Hooks'

Sheer Golden Hooks  (1996,  55.29)  **½/T

Sheer Golden Hooks
Exploded View
Storyville
Marianne Faithfull
Cakewalk
Los Angeles Times
Poor King Crow
A Taste of Scorpion
Joyce's House of Glamour
No Stone Unturned
The Hanged Man
The Map

Current availability:

Chamberlin used:

Shiva Burlesque's Jeffrey Clark's solo debut fails to live up to the powerpop promise of its title, the end result being a kind of uncommercial pop, which strikes me as a contradiction in terms. It's easily at its best on eight-minute closer The Map, Clark narrating over sparse, bluesy acoustic guitar, a world away from the rest of the album.

Patrick Warren's Chamberlin gets a decent outing on The Hanged Man, with distant, reverbed-to-hell flutes, Warren playing about with the drivewheel, creating hiccoughing pitchbend effects. I wanted to like this more than I actually do, although, at least, the tape-replay work's worth hearing.

Todd Tamanend Clark  (US)

Todd Clark Group, 'We're Not Safe!'

We're Not Safe!  [as Todd Clark Group]  (1979,  32.55)  ***½/T

We're Not Safe!
Hungry
Rumor Has it
Mathematics Don't Mean a Thing
X-ray X-tasy
I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night
The Grim Rider
Todd Tamanend Clark, 'Nova Psychedelia'

Nova Psychedelia  (2005, recorded 1975-85,  132.12)  ***/½

March of the Legion
Flame Over Africa
Two Thousand Light Years
  From Home
Deathguard
Dream Intro/The Loner
Origin
Visions of My World
Strange Forces
Core
Phosphorescence is the
  Chamber
Within the Zodiac Zone
Last Day as a Whole Person
A Dozen Eggs
Brain and Spinal Column
  (Including Animalism)
We're Not Safe!
Hungry
Rumor Has it
Mathematics Don't Mean
  a Thing
X-ray X-tasy
I Had Too Much to Dream
  Last Night

The Grim Rider
Secret Sinema
Nightlife of the New Gods
National Anthem/Nova Theme
Another Climate
Stars in Heat
Unknown Syndromes
Death Hovers
X-rated X-tasy
Brain and Spinal Column (#2)
Into the Vision
Flame Over Philadelphia
Oceans of She

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Todd Tamanend Clark (his middle name has been added fairly recently to acknowledge his Native American heritage) released several albums and singles in the 1975-85 period, pressed in small runs and near-impossible to find in their original incarnations these days. As a result, those wonderful Anopheles people have reissued his entire oeuvre from the period on a two-CD set, Nova Psychedelia, showcasing Clark's mad, psychedelic electronic vision in its entirety, originally released under several different names, some only on 8-track (!). It takes us on a journey through his psyche (be warned: this is not for the faint-hearted), from 1975's seriously out-there March Of The Legion (written for a costume competition at a comics convention, would'ja believe), through to the abrasive new wave of 1985's Flame Over Philadelphia, taking in three full albums en route.

The second of these is 1979's 300 copies-only We're Not Safe!, a punk/psych monster to rival The Damned's Machine Gun Etiquette (well, nearly), featuring Todd's takes on Paul Revere & the Raiders' Hungry and The Electric Prunes' seminal I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night, not to mention the brilliant, fourteen-minute prog epic The Grim Rider. Even if this had been pressed in sensible quantities, somehow I can't imagine it would've done particularly well in 1979, or any other year, due to its deeply eccentric approach. Charlie Godart plays Mellotron strings and choir on I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night, not only the only Mellotron on the We're Not Safe!, but on the whole of Nova Psychedelia.

Unless you're a fanatical collector, there's little point in trying to source an original We're Not Safe!, so I'm sure you'll be content with Nova Psychedelia, four times the length and a fraction of the price. Todd's almost non-voice takes a little getting used to, but he utilises it carefully (having an American accent always helps when intoning, I find) and for every nutsoid, nigh-on unlistenable experimental track, there are several worth-hearing selections from a man almost lost to obscurity. Clark's still releasing albums to this day, in a rather more available manner than previously. God bless the Internet.

MySpace

Allan Clarke  (UK)

Allan Clarke, 'Allan Clarke'

Allan Clarke  (1974,  34.13)  ***/TT

Don't Let Me Down Again
Can't Get on
I'll Be Home
I Wanna Sail Into Your Life
Side Show

If I Were the Priest
New Americans
Love, Love, Love
Send Me Some Lovin'

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

By 1974, Allan Clarke had left and rejoined the band with whom his name is synonymous, The Hollies, and was in the process of recording their last huge hit, the irritatingly memorable The Air That I Breathe. Allan Clarke was his third solo album and, in all honesty, there's little about it to distinguish it from a thousand other mainstream pop/rock albums of the era; its recent reissue can only be due to his Hollies connection. It's perfectly competently written and played, but it totally fails to excite, not even containing anything of the quality of The Air That I Breathe. Mind you, if it had, I'm sure it would've been siphoned off for The Hollies' use... Interestingly, Clarke covers an early Springsteen song (this was still a year before Born to Run, note), If I Were The Priest, going on to encourage The Hollies to do the same.

The credits contain several familiar names, including Herbie Flowers and Johnny Gustafson on bass, Mike Moran on keys and the ubiquitous B.J. Cole on steel guitar, with Tony Hymas (here spelt Hymass) on Mellotron. Surprisingly, maybe, it's on several tracks, with varying levels of strings, presumably standing in for an overly-expensive string section, but let's not look the proverbial gift horse, eh? Clarke finally retired from the Hollies in 2000, only to have his successor, Carl Wayne (once of The Move), die of cancer in 2004. To my knowledge, Clarke hasn't gone back on his pledge; in fairness, he's in his sixties, and the touring lifestyle has finished off many a younger man. While Allan Clarke is a perfectly good album of its type, it's desperately unexciting and, despite several Mellotron tracks, it's all pretty much background use, to be honest. File under 'that was then'.

See: The Hollies

Gilby Clarke  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Kelly Clarkson  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Classics  (Netherlands)

Classics, 'Yellow Sun of Ecuador'

Yellow Sun of Ecuador & Other Topsongs  (1974,  36.58)  *½/TT

Yellow Sun of Ecuador
Bury My Heart
If You Come to San Francisco
I'm Gonna Loose You
Take This Hammer

I Like to Be Free
My Lady of Spain
In Yucatan
Gimme That Horse
Together

The One-Armed Bandit
Dance in the Sunlight

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Classics were a scarily mainstream Dutch pop group whose career stretched over fifteen years, from the late '60s to the early '80s. Despite having released a slew of singles by that point, 1974's Yellow Sun of Ecuador & Other Topsongs appears to be their first album, most of its contents being the blandest kind of Euro-country-pop, that, for some reason, the Dutch seemed to do so 'well', about the only deviations from the formula being the amusingly glam-rock guitar riff on Bury My Heart and the rock'n'roll-lite of I Like To Be Free.

I presume it's vocalist/keys man Jan Dirkx on Mellotron, with pseudo-orchestral strings on all highlighted tracks above, plus flutes on I'm Gonna Loose You (sic) and cellos on Together, although the strings on My Lady of Spain and The One-Armed Bandit are real. Frankly, this is terrible. I mean, properly painful. Sorry, but you can't even pass it off as 'kitsch'. It may contain several Mellotron tracks, but none of them are worth hearing.


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