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Rohmer

Romantic Warriors
Robi Rosa


Brisa Roché  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Rock'n'Roll Worship Circus  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Rockabye Baby!  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Rocket Scientists  (US)  see:

Rocket Scientists

Rocket Summer  (US)

Rocket Summer, 'Do You Feel'

Do You Feel  (2007,  47.17)  *½/T

Break it Out
So Much Love
Do You Feel
Save
All I Have
High Life Scenery
A Song is Not a Business Plan
Taken Aback
Colors
Run to You
Hold it Up
Waiting
So, in This Hour...

Current availability:

Chamberlin used:

The Rocket Summer are effectively (Stephen) Bryce Avary's solo project, whom, going by his/their third album, 2007's Do You Feel (wot, no question mark?), do that horrible 'modern rock'/singer-songwriter thing, as typified by opener Break It Out or A Song Is Not A Business Plan, with Avary's whiny voice (Kurt Kobain wannabee, no idea how) ruining everything it touches. Actually, you can't tell from the music, but it seems Avary is a full-blown God-botherer, too, so that's another reason to dislike this crummy album.

Patrick Warren's on Chamberlin again, with strings on Run To You and closer So, In This Hour..., with cellos towards the end of the latter, just scraping a single T. So; a modern rock/CCM hybrid, with minimal tape-replay: run for the hills.

Official site

Rockfour  (Israel)

Rockfour, 'Supermarket'

Supermarket  (2000,  42.37)  ****½/TTT½

Government
Forest Woods
Superman
Wild Animals

Powers (it All Comes to an End...)
Route 66
Supermarket
Oranges
She's Full of Fears
Rockfour, 'One Fantastic Day'

One Fantastic Day  (2001,  44.38)  ****/TTT

In a Blink
Seatbelts
Flowers

Smell of Sweets
One Fantastic Day
Where the Byrds Fly
President of Me
Funny Paper/Money Maker
Astronauts
Automatic Man
Rockfour, 'Memories of the Never Happened'

Memories of the Never Happened  (2007,  53.33)  ****/TTT½

Glued
Half & Half
Because of Damaging Words
No Worries

Old Village House
Dear Truth
Goes Around
It Ain't Easy (When You're Gone)
Young Believer
Corridors
Lady Jette
Rockfour, 'Haolam Hamufla'

Haolam Hamufla  [a.k.a. The Wonderful World]  (2010,  53.56)  ***½/TTT½

Haolam Hamufla
Seret Zar
Ein Lach Elohim

Gaviya Kadosh
Degel
Sheva Dakot
Malaach
Bayom Hahu
Beilum Shem
Manat Yeter
Horef Israeli

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

I must admit I thought 'Rockfour' was a clever-clever pun on rocquefort, with their slightly cheesy late-'60s sound, but I'm reliably informed it means 'four people who play rock music', which is slightly less interesting. Oh well. They're that rarest of things, an Israeli psych-prog outfit (!) who released three Hebrew-language albums before switching to English for 2000's Supermarket and the following year's One Fantastic Day, with a compilation with one extra track, Another Beginning, available worldwide. Although the band don't own a Mellotron, they've used Zohar Cohen's M400 and ex-Pink Floyd black MkII.

Rockfour, 'Another Beginning'

Supermarket is absolutely excellent; great songwriting, with a sort-of updated early Floyd sound with other stuff thrown in. It's rare to hear any psych-influenced stuff these days that doesn't sound like pure pastiche, but Rockfour get the right balance between tribute and innovation, with a gift for memorable melodies that many (most?) bands would kill for. Of course, the instrumentation's spot-on, too, with a raft of Rickenbackers and various vintage guitars. And the Mellotrons. Noam Rapaport slaps female choirs and strings all over Government, with upfront flutes and strings on Superman and Wild Animals, while MkII brass mixed with M400 choirs boosts the title track, with heavily layered strings on closer She's Full Of Fears. Superb.

Their follow-up, One Fantastic Day, is almost as good as its predecessor, and may well prove to be its equal given enough plays. Rapaport sticks plenty of 'Tron on again, with considerable quantities of strings and choir on several tracks, President Of Me being the album's Mellotronic highlight, closely followed by Automatic Man, although all highlighted tracks have enough to make them worth a listen. What am I saying? The whole album's excellent, 'Tron or no 'Tron. A compilation released worldwide, Another Beginning, is pretty good, although as with any similar release, good stuff's going to get left off. The title track is exclusive to the album, and keeps up the quality, even if it's 'Tron-free.

I haven't heard 2003's odds'n'sods effort For Fans Only (one 'Tron track, apparently), and the following year's Nationwide is 'Tron-free, so we've had to wait until 2007 for another Rockfour 'Tron-fest. Memories of the Never Happened is as bloody brilliant as ever; how do they do it? Simply having the intelligence and taste not to follow trends isn't enough; I suppose it's that magic X-factor (not the appalling TV 'talent show', you fool). Listening to this really is like stumbling across a lost late-'60s gem, only with better production and less whimsy - OK, not that much less... Opener Glued is an atypical droning guitar piece, although the Mellotrons kick in quickly enough on Half & Half, with some very cool pitchbends that I suspect are from that Mark II again. 'Trons are played by Yaki Gani and Noa Hegesh, mainly strings, with a particularly overt part at the end of Because Of Damaging Words, and some flutes on Young Believer.

2010's Haolam Hamufla [a.k.a. The Wonderful World) is either an album deliberately aimed at the band's domestic market, or a retreat into it; hopefully the former. Sung entirely in Hebrew, its songs work perfectly well, although those who insist on understanding the words may have a little trouble. Rockfour seem to have moved away from the bright psych/powerpop blend of their previous albums, to a rather more downbeat approach, better tracks including Degel and closer Horef Israeli, although the overall combination of darkish psych and indie doesn't seem to work as well as their previous style, at least to my ears. Plenty of Mellotron, presumably from Yaki Gani, with strings and choir all over the title track, strings on Seret Zar and Ein Lecha Elohim, choirs on Degel, flutes on Sheva Dakot, strings and choir on Malaach, choir on Bayom Hahu, strings and choir on Manat Yeter and choir on Horef Israeli, with other string and brass parts sounding like something more modern.

I'm keen to hear the Hebrew albums, too (which translate as The Man Who Saw it All, Return to the Snail and Rockfour Live), although I get the impression that none of them have any 'Tron content. As for their English-language efforts, I can wholeheartedly recommend Supermarket, One Fantastic Day and Memories of the Never Happened, although you don't really need Another Beginning.

Official site

Tommy Roe  (US)

Tommy Roe, 'It's Now Winters Day'

It's Now Winters Day  (1967,  37.40)  **½/½

Leave Her
Moontalk
Aggravation
Golden Girl
Misty Eyes
Have Pity on Me
Sing Along With Me
Long Live Love
Nightime
Cry on Crying Eyes
Sweet Sounds
It's Now Winters Day
[CD adds:
Kick Me, Charlie]

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Tommy Roe is best known as an occasional hitmaker, notably for 1962's Sheila and '69's Dizzy, making It's Now Winters Day something of a minor obscurity. To be honest, its '60s pop feel had become distinctly outdated by 1967, although I've seen the record described as Roe's nod to psychedelia, chiefly due to being a Curt Boettcher (Millennium, Sagittarius) production, thus automatically falling into the same category as his other projects. It isn't a bad album as such, just a rather dull and dated one, although I can already hear Boettcher fans howling their disapproval...

Someone (probably Boettcher) plays Chamberlin flutes on the title track, although not so's you'd particularly notice. So; Boettcher fans will want this, ditto lightweight '60s pop types, but the rest of us are probably better off steering clear, I think.

Official site

Roedelius  (Germany)

Roedelius, 'Lustwandel'

Lustwandel  (1981,  38.14)  ***½/T½

Lustwandel
Legende
Ansinnen
Betrachtung
Draussen Vorbel
Harlekin
Von Ferne Her
Vom Fliegen
Wilkommen
Pirouette
Dein Antlitz
Langer Atem
Die Andere Blume

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Hans-Joachim Roedelius was born in 1934, making him getting on for forty when he released his first albums with Cluster, then Harmonia, putting him at the pulsating heart of what became known as Krautrock. His first solo album came in 1978, 1981's Lustwandel being his sixth, startlingly (he released no fewer than three the following year). Unlike the sinister, fake-cheery fairground feel of his second effort, '79's Jardin au Fou, Lustwandel sounds how I'd expect a Roedelius album to sound: gentle and reflective without going anywhere near New Age. Many of its tracks are effectively piano pieces, with or without embellishment, although Draussen Vorbel is all Clavinet over sequenced synths, Von Ferne Her is more percussion than anything, while Wilkommen is a twisted Mediæval jig, played out on some early form of wind instrument.

Although it isn't credited, Roedelius seems to be playing a Mellotron (producer Peter Baumann's?) on a handful of tracks, with strings, flutes and cellos on the opening title track, while Ansinnen is effectively an overdubbed 'Tron strings solo piece, with far more distant strings on Dein Antlitz. There are other 'is it/isn't it' moments, not least the cellos in Von Ferne Her, but despite a lack of any credit, they sound more real than anything. So; an intriguing album, in a class of its own, really, but one that should appeal to Krautrock enthusiasts looking for something a little gentler, or relaxation types trying to up the BPM a bit. Or, of course, anyone interested in hearing an accomplished record by a master craftsman, although don't go too far out of your way for its Mellotronic input.

Official site

Cliff & Linda Rogers  (US)

Cliff & Linda Rogers, 'Lost in His Love'

Lost in His Love  (197?,  31.38)  */TT½

Lost in His Love
I'm Yours
The Next Time I See You
More Than Conquerors
He's Alive

The Gospel Truth
I've Been Blessed
Steeple Song
More of You
Medley: What Will Ya Do/Come Unto Jesus

Current availability:

Chamberlin used:

Ah, Mark Medley's latest Christian horror... I've no idea whether the husband/wife team of Cliff & Linda Rogers made any more records - we can only hope not - but the undated Lost in His Love (sometime between the late '70s and early '80s would be my guess, going by Cliff's suit and the haircuts) is, rather predictably, the most hideous thing I've heard since, well, the last Christian horror Mark sent me. There are, of course, no high points, although the album's least unpleasant track is probably the 'funky' The Gospel Truth, while the happy-clappy opening title track and I'm Yours are at least mildly amusing. Most of the rest consists of the expected slushy, God-bothering balladry (particularly nasty examples: He's Alive and closer Medley: What Will Ya Do/Come Unto Jesus), but the record reaches its nadir on The Next Time I See You, 'sung' by the Rogers' two little girls (Amy, 4 and April, 3, pictured on the rear sleeve), an event that might just possibly redefine the word 'schmaltz'. Putrid.

Our old Pal Larry Benson (Gateway Singers) plays his Chamberlin on half the album, with vibes and strings on More Than Conquerors, strings (and real brass) on He's Alive, strings on Steeple Song and More Of You and strings and flutes on Medley: What Will Ya Do/Come Unto Jesus, although the backing vocals on several tracks sound real. Well, I've heard some stinkers, but The Next Time I See You is right up there with the best/worst of 'em, the rest of the album paling into insignificance in comparison. All I can say, somewhat appropriately, is: Jesus. Fucking. Christ.

Edward Rogers  (UK)

Edward Rogers, 'Sparkle Lane'

Sparkle Lane  (2010,  42.32)  ***/T

Symbols 'n Mascots
Passing the Sunshine
Sparkle Lane
Unknown Until Today
Last of the Artful Dodgers
Land of the Free
Guy Fawkes Nite
Little Angel
Boys in Grey
Slow World
Sometimes You Win
Whatever You've Been Told
Walk Under the Clouds
Original Excess Boy

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

After sustaining life-changing injuries in the '80s, British-born New York resident Edward Rogers wasted no time in getting back to playing and writing music, releasing his solo debut in 2004. 2010's Sparkle Lane is his third album, a strangely naïve work, material such as Unknown Until Today and Boys In Grey having a very British 'kitchen sink' kind of vocal delivery, reminding me, weirdly, of early Marillion in places, at least vocally. To be honest, a little of Rogers' half-spoken delivery goes a long way, but the title track and Boys In Grey, amongst others, make this worth hearing.

Joe McGinty plays Mellotron, with a real-sounding string line on Last Of The Artful Dodgers, although all other string parts seem to be either generic samples or real.

Official site

Rod Rogers  (US)

Rodd Keith, 'John F. Kennedy' 7"  [as Rod Rogers & the Film City Orchestra]  (1965)  **/TTT

John F. Kennedy
The 678th

Current availability:

Chamberlin used:

John F. Kennedy b/w The 678th is just one of presumably many, many 'song-poem' singles released by Rodd Keith (once again, many thanks to Mark Medley for this), this one under the pseudonym Rod Rogers & the Film City Orchestra, Film City being the two-bit label on which this drivel appeared. The lyrics on both sides are hysterically bad, as you might expect, literal to the point of autism, while the rhyming dictionary takes a good hammering in true 'total amateur' style.

It sounds like the entire arrangements on both sides were played on Keith's Chamberlin, with military snare, various brass, woodwind and string instruments, not least a trumpet (?) solo on the 'A' and are those overdubbed Chamby voices? Hard to tell. Only worth tracking down for the dedicated masochist.

See: Rodd Keith

Rogue Element  (UK)  see:

Rogue Element

Rohmer  (Italy)

Rohmer, 'Rohmer'

Rohmer  (2008,  61.26)  ***/TT

Angolo 1
Ecran Magique
Lhz
V. (Moda Reale)
Wittgenstein Mon Amour 2.12

Cifra3
Angolo Due
Metodiche Di Salvezza
Elimini-Enne

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Rohmer are essentially a Finisterre reformation, although I wasn't aware they'd split, involving that outfit's Fabio Zuffanti, Boris Valle and Agostino Macor. They've only released one, eponymous album to date, a mostly instrumental, relaxed, kind-of post-rock/prog crossover effort, although the band seem keen to be classified as jazz. Gentle piano cadences interact with flute, distant trumpet, viola and sax at different points, ambient, 22-minute closer Elimini-Enne being the album's centrepiece.

Agostino Macor (Maschera di Cera) plays Mellotron, with strings on opener Angolo 1 and Lhz, flutes and strings on V. (Moda Reale) and choirs on Wittgenstein Mon Amour 2.12, all to decent effect, without ever being overbearing. I'm not at all sure Rohmer is going to appeal to many prog fans, but, like Zuffanti's eponymous effort from the following year, post-rock types may wish to apply.

MySpace

See: Fabio Zuffanti | Finisterre | Maschera di Cera

Paul Roland  (UK)  see: Samples etc.

Rolling Stones  (UK)  see:

Rolling Stones

Lawson Rollins  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Roman Candle  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Romantic Warriors  (Italy)

Romantic Warriors, 'Battlefield'

Battlefield  (1993,  58.33)  **½/TT

In Progress
The Dreambreaker
Open the Gates
Ode to Romantic Warriors
Battlefield

You're My Life
Coloured Shades of a Rainbow
Montmartre
Spread Your Wings
Song to John

March of the Heartknights
Beyond the Landmarks

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Romantic Warriors (named for Chick Corea's classic fusion LP, of course) appear to have been a one-off project instigated by the Italian Vinyl Magic label's mastermind, Beppe Crovella, ex-Arti e Mestieri. The cover of Batttlefield is a hoot, especially if it's not supposed to be funny, which it quite clearly isn't. Note the oxen-drawn cart carrying the B3 and Leslie, not to mention the leading knight's strap-on synth controller (oo-er missus). I'm afraid the music isn't that great, either; the analogue and digital keys sit uncomfortably together, with plenty of Hammond, overlaid with cheesy digital brass and orchestral stabs. Current progressive bands seem to've learnt to mix the two with more subtlety.

That fantastic sleeve in full. Shocking, innit?

Much of the album is faux-ELP (Emerson obviously being Crovella's chief influence), crossed with a rather dodgy Euro-neo-prog feel, giving rise to bad pseudo-AOR stuff like The Dreambreaker. A fair chunk of the album's instrumental, which at least spares us the female chorus, but gives Crovella full rein with the brass samples. Swings and roundabouts, I suppose. The Mellotron can be heard on a few tracks; mostly strings with the occasional flute part (chiefly on the cringeworthy Song To John), swelling above whatever else is going on at the time, at least detracting slightly from the cheap digital-ness of the rest of the album. None of the use is exactly groundbreaking and is invariably mixed with sampled strings or brass, but at least it's there. Strangely, the album's best track is kept till last, with Beyond The Landmarks being the most successful of Crovella's old/new fusion attempts (pun intended), but, sadly, he resists the temptation to put any Mellotron on the track.

Batttlefield is another of those albums I haven't played in a while that has deeply disappointed me upon my return; I'm afraid to say it's far cheesier than I remember it, its only real saving graces being the playing and a few (a very few!) of the keyboard sounds. Oh, and the cover. Don't go too far out of your way.

Official Beppe Crovella site

See: Beppe Crovella | Arti e Mestieri | Cantina Sociale | Secret Cinema | Tower

Romantics  (US)  see: Samples etc.

The Rooks  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Alexandra Roos  (France)  see: Samples etc.

Robi (Draco) Rosa  (US)

Robi Draco Rosa, 'Mad Love'

Mad Love  (2004,  70.54)  **½/T

Dancing in the Rain
Lie Without a Lover
Crash Push
My Eyes Adore You
Como Me Acuerdo
Heaven Can Wait
This Time
California
Try Me
Solitary Man
Never Know the Truth
Do You Remember
Mad Love
Commitment
Mas y Mas (Crash Push)
Noche Fria (Dancing in the Rain)

Current availability:

Mellotrons/Chamberlin used:

Robi Rosa, a.k.a. Dräco Rosa, Robby Rosa, Robi Draco Rosa, Draco Cornelius Rosa, Draco and Tommy Leaman, amongst others (!), is one of two ex-members of infamous Puerto Rican boyband Menudo to have significant solo success, the other being the better-known Ricky Martin. Menudo? Probably the ultimate boyband, in that members leave at the age of sixteen, meaning the band have worked their through around thirty members in twenty years, although, given that most of their releases have been for the Latin market, you're forgiven for not having heard of them.

2004's Mad Love (as Robi Draco Rosa) is more varied than his early work, though I'd be hard-pushed to say it's a better listen, with schlocky ballads like California and Solitary Man vying with the more Latin stuff for which is likely to bore the average listener the most. Best track? The 'hidden' one, strangely, Commitment, which has a bit of a psychedelic bent to it, sounding completely unlike the rest of the album. The ubiquitous Patrick Warren (and bloody good luck to him) plays Chamberlin on the album, with what sounds like Chamby flutes on My Eyes Adore You and more definite ones on Solitary Man. It's quite possible that some of the album's strings are Chamby, too, but it's so hard to tell that I've had to leave them out.

Official site

See: Samples etc.


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