album list
The Blue Van
Blues Image
Blues Project
Phillip Boa & the Voodooclub
Bob & Maxine
Wolfgang Bock
Boeing Duveen & the Beautiful Soup
Curt Boettcher
Jim Boggia
Tommy Bolin
Bollenberg Experience
Bombs of Hades
Vlassis Bonatsos
Tracy Bonham

The Blue Van  (Denmark)

The Blue Van, 'The Art of Rolling'

The Art of Rolling  (2005,  39.36)  ***½/T½

Word From the Bird
Product of DK
I Remember the Days
I Want You
The Remains of Sir Maison
Baby, I've Got Time
The Bluverture
Revelation of Love
Mob Rule
What the Young People Want
Couer de Lion
New Slough

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

The Blue Van are only the third Danish band to be featured on this site and one of the others (Etcetera) only uses Mellotron samples, assuming, that is, that these guys are using the Real Deal... For such a young band, they're quite astonishing, clearly refusing to acknowledge any influences later than the '60s, many years before any of them were born. It seems they grew up in quite an isolated part of the country and had few, if any contemporaries to pull them into line, thankfully, with the end result being a joyfully authentic garage band, or what the Americans would call 'British Invasion', I suppose. The Art of Rolling is their debut, following an EP or two; average track length is under three minutes, although New Slough bucks the system, being a fantastic jammed-out eight-minute effort, making full use of Steffen Westmark's vocal tics and Per M. Jørgensen's Keith Moonalike drumming, forever teetering on the edge of collapse, but never quite attaining it.

I don't seem to be the only online reviewer who thinks that Søren V. Christensen's keyboards define the band's sound, with lashings of Vox, Hammond and Wurlitzer all over the shop, plus just a dash of Mellotron, of course. Saying that, short instrumental The Bluverture starts with Mellotron flutes and ends up smothered in the thing, strings and doubtless unintentionally inauthentic cellos blasting away, with more flutes on the more typical What The Young People Want, although that's your lot. So; if raw, '60s-inspired pre-psych rock is your thang, you can't go too far wrong with The Art of Rolling, although originality isn't really part of the equation. One great Mellotron track, too, so try to hear it, if not the entire album.

Official site

Blueberry  (US)

Blueberry, 'Twilight'

Twilight  (1999,  38.11)  ***/T

Bellbottom Bike Accident
Remember Heaven
Love and Protection
False Alarm
Pocketbook of Love
Out of This World
Only When I Do
Blueberry, 'Have Another Pillow'

Have Another Pillow  (2003,  54.45)  ***/T½

Miss Understood
Dragon Hill
Idol Hands
Le Mat (The Fool)
Honey Bee
Off With My Head
White Flag Lullaby
Flaming Tendrils
Elevate Her
Brother Love
Chosen Land
Blueberry, 'Organika'

Organika  (2007,  48.04)  ***/T

The Little Ones
Wanna Be There
I Adore You
Buy O Life
Love Full on
Karmic Disguise
By the Roadside
Given Up
Grubby Wire
Blueberry, 'Tempest in a Teacup'

Tempest in a Teacup  (2019,  42.40)  ***½/T

Dream My Life
Been Awake
Land of Sound
Weeping Willow
Dare Me
Keep on

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

Before playing these albums, I made two assumptions about Blueberry (the duo of vocalist/keyswoman Gwen Snyder (Siegal) and guitarist Kenny Siegal), both entirely wrong, proving the old saw about the meaning of 'assume'. Instead of being wishy-washy indie stuff, they're surprisingly full-on soul/funk releases and, rather than the expected sample use, both feature real Mellotron.

Twilight is the more upfront of these, possibly at its best on non-slushy piano ballad Only When I Do. Snyder plays skronky string and flute parts on Love And Protection and flutes on Pocketbook Of Love. Have Another Pillow backs off slightly, featuring several tracks that move away from the dancefloor template, not least Honey Bee, the balladic White Flag Lullaby, the vaguely psychedelic Flaming Tendrils and Brother Love. Snyder on Mellotron again, with strings and cellos on Off With My Head and Chosen Land (particularly obviously at the end of the latter) and a flute part on Flaming Tendrils. It might even be elsewhere, buried in the mix, not helped by the album's real strings.

2007's Organika (reissued, oddly, a year later, as Blueberry) carries on the good work, possibly at its best on Wanna Be There, the curiously-named Buy O Life and By The Roadside. It seemed as if the album would be Mellotron-free, until Snyder's chordal strings part cropped up on closer Curiosity. A twelve-year gap followed, before 2019's Tempest in a Teacup, which takes a complete stylistic left turn, being more in the indie pop/rock line, at its best on Wisherman, Dare Me, Keep On and beautiful closer Elephants. Mellotronically speaking, we get Snyder's background strings on Keep On and upfront ones on full-on Mellotron-fest Elephants (thanks for the info, Gwen).

Official site

Blues Image  (US)

Blues Image, 'Open'

Open  (1970,  36.42)  ***/½

Love is the Answer
Running the Water
Clean Love
La Bamba
Ride Captain Ride
Pay My Dues
Fugue U
Parchman Farm
Wrath of Daisey
Take Me

Current availability:

Chamberlin used:

Blues Image were a Florida-based late '60s band, who seemed to cover quite a bit of musical ground, certainly going by their second album (of three), 1970's Open. An odd record, it shifts style pretty much every track, from the hard(-ish) rock of opener Love Is The Answer, through Clean Love's blues jam, their Latin-lite version of Ritchie Valens' La Bamba... The end result is a rather unfocussed record, albeit one with its moments, not least the excellent jam in lengthy closer Take Me.

Keyboard player Frank "Skip" Conte (subsequently of Three Dog Night) played Chamberlin (possibly the impossibly rare four-manual M4 he used with that band), although it's barely audible, providing the woodwind (oboe?) on major pop hit Ride Captain Ride. Overall, a rather average effort, with the benefit of hindsight, although it's far from offensive. 'Also-rans', I think, despite their brief prominence.

Blues Project  (US)

Blues Project, 'Reunion in Central Park'

Reunion in Central Park  (1973,  58.47)  ***½/TT

Louisiana Blues
Steves Song
I Can't Keep From Cryin' Sometimes
You Can't Catch Me
Fly Away
Caress Me Baby
Catch the Wind
Wake Me, Shake Me
Two Trains Running

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

The Blues Project could only have been named in the mid-'60s - any later and the name would've been considered too clichéd, or plain too old-fashioned. Consisting of a mixture of session guys and other seasoned musos including guitarists Danny Kalb and Steve Katz, they were joined soon after their formation by session wunderkind, multi-instrumentalist Al Kooper on keys. Kooper left after three albums, only one of which was a proper studio effort, going on to Blood, Sweat & Tears, more session work and a solo career, before rejoining the band (as 'The Original Blues Project') for a one-off live album, Reunion in Central Park. Before you envisage crowds of hundreds of thousands, the gatefold shows a seated crowd of a few thousand, which was probably the setup for most gigs in the park (see: King Crimson the following year).

The album's a good document of what must've been a burning live band in their day; they ain't so bad here, as it happens. While there is some straight blues (chiefly You Can't Catch Me) to be found here, the band were always far more eclectic than that and manage pretty much a different style on every track. Side three's cover of Donovan's Catch The Wind shows the band's folkier side, although it's almost jazz in places and while side four's lengthy jam Two Trains Running is a blues, it goes way beyond most older blues acts' comfort zones.

Blues Project, Mellotron to left

Kooper brought a good-sized keyboard rig along; a B3 topped with a MiniMoog, a Clavinet that he strangely left standing on its own, demoting his M400 to his far right (why not put it on top of the Mellotron?). This pic is from the inside gatefold and has been reversed to get it 'right', as the original is a reflection from an above-stage mirror. The Mellotron actually gets a mention in the tracklisting, with a 'Mellotron - Al' credit after Steves Song [sic.], where he lays down some decent flutes, shifting between them and strings. However, Catch The Wind is the album's standout Mellotron track, absolutely smothered in strings, played in a pleasingly orchestral manner, with the odd bit of flute thrown in for good measure.

This band's influence is clearly considerable; Lynyrd Skynyrd (funnily enough, a recent Kooper production) seemingly copped their entire sound from opener Louisiana Blues and I spotted a bit 'borrowed' by the Blue Öyster Cult somewhere, too. So; if you want to hear where Al Kooper came from, this isn't a bad place to start, though it is essentially (surprise, surprise) a blues album. Anyway, two decent Mellotron tracks, right up in the mix; not bad for a lives blues album, eh? Incidentally, I suspect the double album is the whole set, as it's pretty short and could easily have another twenty minutes spread across its four sides.

Official Al Kooper site

Bluetones  (UK)  see: Samples etc.

Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers  (US)  see: Samples etc.

James Blunt  (UK)  see: Samples etc.

Blur  (UK)

Blur, 'Parklife'

Parklife  (1994,  52.55)  ***½/½

Girls & Boys
Tracy Jacks
End of a Century
Bank Holiday
The Debt Collector
Far Out
To the End
London Loves
Trouble in the Message Centre
Clover Over Dover
Magic America
This is a Low
Lot 105

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Blur's third album, Parklife, was the one that broke it wide open for them, although it's slightly strange in retrospect to think that for a few short months they were neck-and-neck with Oasis, before the monobrowed ones leapt ahead, at least commercially. Parklife does sound a little of its time now and hasn't dated as well as, say, Pulp, but it's still a musical microcosm of early-'90s Britain, full of characters like The Debt Collector, or the layabout narrated by Phil Daniels in the title track. The album actually covers quite a lot of ground, musically, stepping far outside Oasis' narrow boundaries, taking in music hall and various other indigenous styles (you mean we have some?), although Damon Albarn's faux-cockernee vocals just irritate, especially when you know he's a nice middle-class boy from Essex.

An online interview alerted me to the fact that the band used a real, gen-u-wine Mellotron on one track, although it was barely worth it for the few seconds of strings we get on Badhead, presumably played by Graham Coxon. So; a good album, defining 'Britpop' better than most of their contemporaries, although absolutely not worth it for the Mellotron.

Official site

Der Blutharsch & the Infinite Church of the Leading Hand  (Austria)  see: Samples etc.

Bluvertigo  (Italy)  see: Samples etc.

Phillip Boa & the Voodooclub  (Germany)

Phillip Boa & the Voodooclub, 'Hair'

Hair  (1988,  40.16)  **½/T

Container Love
You Sent All My Letters
Primitive Man
Tragic Mastery of Stock Hausen
Happy Spider
Morlocks in England
They Say Hurray
Albert is a Headbanger
Fine Art in Silver
I Wanna Be Your Hoover
I Go Down to the Sea
Phillip Boa & the Voodooclub, 'Hispañola'

Hispañola  (1990,  40.09/77.40)  **½/T (T½)

This is Michael
I Don't Need Your Summer
The Day I Lost My Sleep
Jules Verne
König Hedon
They Paint the Silence
Don't Kill Me Slaughter
Ernest Statue
Eva in the Froggarden
[2006 version adds:
29th Love Affair
I'm So Phisticated
Boa Diddley
This is Michael (original)
The Day I Lost My Sleep (original)
Blood on the Wind (demo)
Solid Gold Easy Action
Sex Mission (demo)
Don't Tell Me Why (demo)
This is Michael (Westbam Remix)]

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

Ernst Ulrich "Phillip Boa" Figgen is a German new wave type who has released albums regularly since the mid-'80s, 1988's Hair being his fourth. It consists of a range of new wave-inspired pop/rock styles, better examples including Morlocks In England, the faux-metal of Albert Is A Headbanger and Boleria, Boa's take on Ravel's Boléro, unfortunately all rather spoiled by Boa's non-voice. Thomas Kässens plays Mellotron, the album actually opening with a brief Mellotron flute solo, Hurray, with more of the same on Boleria, although all oboe parts are real.

Boa followed up in 1990 with Hispañola, a similar album to its predecessor, discepancies including the folky mandolin on opener This Is Michael, the accordion on I Don't Need Your Summer and the electro feel on several tracks. The original release has been almost doubled in length by a 2006 reissue, although only fans of the man have any need to get excited about this development. Kässens on Mellotron again, with instantly-recognisable background strings on Rocshee and De-Generators on the original release, plus more upfront strings on the Blood On The Wind demo on the expanded edition.

Official site

See: Samples etc.

Kip Boardman  (US)  see: Samples etc.

BOaT  (Japan)  see: Samples etc.

Bob & Maxine  (US)

Bob & Maxine, 'The Fellowship of the Mystery'

The Fellowship of the Mystery  (1975,  31.17)  **½/TT½

Spread Your Wings
As Ye Know
Gotta' Give a Little
Centurion's Song
Love is
Reach for the Light
We Come and Go
Lucas McGraw
A Special Kind of Beautiful
Pave the Way

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Bob and Maxine Johnson's The Fellowship of the Mystery, awkwardly credited to Bob & Maxine (with David [Rowe]) sits, to my surprise, at the better end of '70s Jesus Rock, at its best on its slower material, not least As Ye Know and Centurion's Song, although country hoedown Lucas McGraw is good fun, in a clean-living kind of way. That shouldn't be taken as a recommendation, however; this is, after all, still its era's CCM. Lyrics aside (their awfulness goes without saying), the album has one fatal flaw: Bob sings consistently flat, in a 'sets your teeth on edge' kind of way, although Maxine's got a perfectly tuneful (if slightly anodyne) voice. Still, Bob loves Jesus, so I'm sure that makes it OK.

Mitch Humphries plays (studio?) Mellotron, with strings and cellos on As Ye Know, Centurion's Song, We Come And Go and A Special Kind Of Beautiful, the last-named sans cello. As Christian music goes, I've heard so much worse, which isn't to say that I advise you to track this down.

Robbert Bobbert & the Bubble Machine  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Bob3 Rocks  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Wolfgang Bock  (Germany)

Wolfgang Bock, 'Cycles'

Cycles  (1980,  42.22)  ***½/TT

Robsai Part 1
Robsai Part 2
Stop the World

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

German synthesist Wolfgang Bock's debut album, 1980's Cycles, was produced by Klaus Schulze, so it should come as no great surprise to hear that the end result resembles his work more than what, even then, was probably considered electronic music's standard. Opening with the side-long title track, the piece is defined by washes of string synth, drums kicking in around the seven-minute mark, unusual for the genre, albeit less so for Schulze's work, while side two's shorter tracks all work well, at their best on ten-minute closer Stop The World.

Bock plays Mellotron male choirs on the opening title track and Changes, leaving a full-on, unaccompanied section in Stop The World as the album's Mellotronic highlight. Are those bells on the last-named sourced from the Mellotron? It seems doubtful, as they last for a minute or more, slowing down towards the album's conclusion, but it's difficult to know when production tricks might have been employed. Why has this never been reissued? Who knows? Far more worthy than many I could name.

See: Klaus Schulze

Tomas Bodin  (Sweden)  see: Samples etc.

Boeing Duveen & the Beautiful Soup  (UK)

Boeing Duveen & the Beautiful Soup, 'Jabberwock' 7"  ( 1968)  ***½/T½


Which Dreamed it

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

The mysterious Boeing Duveen was finally outed a while back as 'rock doctor' Sam Hutt, better known as Brit-country legend Hank Wangford. He, along with The Beautiful Soup, produced just the one single, the fab psych effort Jabberwock (complete with obligatory period sound effects), basically Lewis Carroll's poem set to music, backed with the raga-rock of Which Dreamed It. Both sides of the single are available on various psych-era compilations, official and otherwise, unlike many gems from the time.

Someone plays MkII Mellotron on the a-side, with a restrained flute part and almost-distorted strings, sounding like the machine was routed through an amp. I wouldn't actually recommend spending loads of money to get hold of this, but if you're thinking of buying Bam Caruso's Waxworks Vol. 1 anyway, this will come as a nice bonus.

Hanne Boel  (Denmark)  see: Samples etc.

Curt Boettcher  (US)

Curt Boettcher, 'Chicken Little Was Right'

Chicken Little Was Right  (2004, recorded 1973,  30.07)  ***½/T

I Call You My Rainbow
Out of the Dark of the Night
Astral Cowboy
Rest in Peace
Sunrise Mango
Sunsets Falling
We're Dying (Angel City)
You Make Me Feel So High
I've Been Wrong
She's Got the Power

Current availability:

Chamberlin used:

Curt Boettcher is best-known for his work with The Association and The Millennium, although his career spanned twenty years, only curtailed by his untimely death in 1987. His unreleased recordings from 1973 first appeared in 2004, titled Chicken Little Was Right, reissued in truncated form as disc five of Sony's eight-disc Millennium-and-associated set, At Last, the version reviewed here. In some ways, it's an album out of time, having more in common with Boettcher's spiritual home, the late '60s, than anything from 1973, although much of it could easily pass for what it actually is, an early '70s West Coast singer-songwriter record. Highlights? Opener I Call You My Rainbow, the light-as-air (in a good way) Louise, Out Of The Dark Of The Night and 'bonus' track She's Got The Power, not on the 2004 version.

Frank "Skip" Conte (soon to be of Three Dog Night) plays Chamberlin, with flutes and strings all over I Call You My Rainbow, although that would seem to be our lot. Not the heaviest use ever, then, but worth hearing, as is the album as a whole for anyone who ever liked The Millennium.

See: The Millennium | Michael Fennelly

Jim Boggia  (US)

Jim Boggia, 'Safe in Sound'

Safe in Sound  (2005,  57.11)  ***½/T½

Live the Proof
Show My Face Around
Where's the Party

Made Me So Happy
Talk About the Weather
Let Me Believe This Lie
Final Word
Super Girl
Rainy Day in Manayunk

Current availability:

Mellotron/Chamberlin used:

Jim Boggia's Safe in Sound, while a good album in a kind-of powerpop vein, fails to match 2001's Fidelity is the Enemy for quality, which isn't to knock it. Highlights include the joyous Live The Proof, the raucous Underground, Made Me So Happy and the lengthy, atmospheric Slowly, although losing a handful of lesser tracks would have both brought the record down to a sensible length and tightened it up in one fell swoop.

Three credited tape-replay players, Mike Frank and Boggia on Mellotron, Boggia also playing Chamberlin, along with Julian Coryell. Are they real? As so often, very hard to tell, but, in this instance, I think so. Definite sightings include strings on Where's The Party and Once, plus upfront flutes on Talk About The Weather, but is that a flute part on Show My Face Around? Other 'possibles' here and there, but I'm sticking with these three, I think.

Official site

See: Samples etc.

Bogmen  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Tommy Bolin  (US)

Tommy Bolin, 'Whips & Roses II'

Whips & Roses II  (2006, recorded 1975,  74.33)  **/T

The Grind
Crazed Fandango
People People
Homeward Strut
Sooner or Later
Bagitblues Deluxe
Spacey Noodles
Journey 2
Bolins Boogie
Tommy's Got Da Blues
Some People Call Me

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Tommy Bolin (1951-1976) is, along with the similarly ill-fated Paul Kossoff, frequently lauded as one of the great lost guitar talents of his generation. In fairness, it's an opinion based on ten albums released during his short lifetime, including significant guest spots, given that Randy Rhoads (rightly) gets more acclaim in certain circles for the mere two studio releases that anyone's heard. Given that Bolin was the proud possessor of a good studio tan, the vultures descended on the storage rooms of a host of Midwest studios the moment he died, making 2006's Whips & Roses II something like his fifteenth posthumous studio release (with a similar number of live sets), most of them seemingly padded out with aimless jams. Sad to say, this album is no exception, switching between not-especially-good songs (opener The Grind, People People) and the aforementioned aimless jams (Crazed Fandango, the interminable Bagitblues Deluxe), the two 'bonus tracks' stuck on the end presumably being labelled as such due to their lower quality, both sound and music.

An unknown player, quite possibly Jan Hammer, given that he a) played at the sessions and b) had just used one on his own The First Seven Days, adds Mellotron strings to the relatively brief Spacey Noodles in a most pleasing fashion, with less of the same on Journey 2. This is a thoroughly cynical release, akin to the landfills of guff that crept out into the daylight, blinking, after Hendrix's death. Pointless.

See: Deep Purple

Bollenberg Experience  (Belgium)

Bollenberg Experience, 'If Only Stones Could Speak'

If Only Stones Could Speak  (2002,  57.26)  ***½/TT½

If Only Stones Could Speak
Holy Blood

Ursus Bruggia
Café Vlissinghe
No Words
Anna From the Well
The Story of Three
The Goodnight Knight

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

The Bollenberg in question is Belgian music journalist John "Bo Bo" Bollenberg, active on the European progressive scene for many years now. These days, he tends to write mainly for ProgressiveWorld.net, although he's written for various magazines in the past, not least US mag Progression. Apparently, he also sang in prog band Ouies in his pre-journalism days; suffice to say, although we don't always agree on who's hot and who's not, he knows what he's talking about when it comes to prog. If Only Stones Could Speak is John's first album, although he has guested on other artists' records, not least the New Grove Project's Brill. Subtitled 'A Musical Journey Through Myths and Legends of Medieval Brugge', the album has a decidedly medieval flavour to many of the tracks, although John's slightly characterless vocals sound uncomfortable with the subject matter in places. The concept, such as it is, deals with, unsurprisingly, the history of Brugge and what stories the stones could tell, which beats the hell out of the usual rubbish peddled by many modern bands in the name of the 'concept album'.

John's years in 'the biz' have paid off handsomely, as the album's stuffed with his famous friends, including Pär Lindh, Rick Wakeman (!), Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings), Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) and members of inexplicably popular current UK dullards Mostly Autumn. Unfortunately, the end result of so many guests is a slightly uncohesive sound, though far from an unpleasant one; medieval beats neo- any day round these parts. Compositionally (most of the music being written by Bollenberg's collaborator Björn Johansson), the more medieval-sounding pieces tend to work better, at least to my ears, the straightforward rock drumming (also from Lindh, surprisingly) and William Kopecky's 5-string bass sounding rather out of place and unnecessary. Given that Lindh's forté is keyboards, maybe a more inventive progressive drummer should've been found for the project.

Both Lindh and Johansson play Mellotron, with male voice choir and flutes on the opening title track, background 8-voice on Holy Blood and upfront flute and string parts on Ursus Bruggia, with more of the same on Anna From The Well, with a string part near the end of The Goodnight Knight to round things off nicely. A real twenty-piece choir is also present, so I'm hoping I haven't confused the two anywhere. So; do you? Well, given that many people are going to turn their noses up at an album made by 'a journalist' (hardly the first), this is actually rather good, although not every track convinces.

See: New Grove Project | Pär Lindh Project

Bolywool  (Sweden)  see: Samples etc.

Bombs of Hades  (Sweden)

Bombs of Hades, 'Chambers of Abominations'

Chambers of Abominations  (2010,  31.24)  ***/T

Corpse Holocaust
Bombs of Hades
Infernal Return
The Storm is Coming
Chambers of Abominations
  Master Builder
  The Horror of Insanity
  One With Hell
Bombs of Hades, 'Into the Eternal Pit of Fire'

Into the Eternal Pit of Fire  (2011,  10.25)  ***/TT

Prologue (the Ecstacy of Blood)
Into the Eternal Pit of Fire
The Day Man Lost

Bombs of Hades, 'Atomic Temples'

Atomic Temples  (2014,  38.21)  ***/TT

And Your Flesh Still Burns
Palace of Decay
Crawling Wind/The Tyrant Embryo
Atomic Temples
  The Dream Death Nebula
  Worm Holes/Black Holes
  Opium Gods
  Worm Holes/Black Holes (Reprise)

Through the Pandemonium
The Last Gateway

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

Chances are you've already worked out in which genre Bombs of Hades operate: yup, death metal. Although they formed back in 2002, it took them until 2010 to release Chambers of Abominations, which is... a death metal album. I struggle to differentiate between bands in the genre, let alone albums, but it seems to do what it does efficiently. Vocalist/guitarist Jonas Stålhammar plays what sounds like real Mellotron on the four-part title track, with choirs on Master Builder, a cacophony of strings, sounding exactly like someone leaning on the keyboard, on The Horror Of Insanity, followed, in deliberate contrast, by an affecting flute melody, with literally one choir chord on One With Hell.

The following year's Into the Eternal Pit of Fire is their second EP, alternating full-on metal with surprisingly tuneful sections, making it an uneasy listen for those unattuned to its level of heaviosity. Incidentally, the two sides of the vinyl-only disc are subtitled Side Atomic Holocaust and Side Brutal Mutilation. Now, stop it, lads, it's neither big nor clever and you know it. Stålhammar, this time quite accurately credited with screams and guitar, doubles (triples?) on Mellotron, with strings on the title track and The Day Man Lost (a Carnage cover, apparently), particularly upfront on the latter. Is it real? I've no idea; there are quite a few genuine machines in Sweden, but whether or not one found its way to Västerås' Sutare Studios in the April of 2011 remains an unknown.

2014's Atomic Temples shows a band who've worked on their art (no, seriously) and produced a more cohesive, if not exactly mature work, at its best on Cadaverborn and the eleven-minute, six-part title track. Yes, it's still fucking heavy, yes, Stålhammar's vocal style can still best be described as 'roaring', but the sensibly-lengthed record hangs together well, the band channelling their influences in the right direction. Stålhammar plays Mellotron again, with a brief string line opening Palace Of Decay, distant, atonal strings and choirs (sounding pretty damn' authentic, actually) on Crawling Wind/The Tyrant Embryo, choirs and strings on part one of the title track, a flute line and choirs on the acoustic part four and strings on part six and, finally, background strings on closer The Last Gateway.


See: Samples etc.

Haley Bonar  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Vlassis Bonatsos  (Greece)

Vlassis Bonatsos, 'Oso ki an Psachno' 7"  (1975)  **½/T½

Oso ki an Psachno

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

It seems that Greek entertainer Vlassis Bonatsos (Βλάσσης Μπονάτσος, 1949-2004) is better-known for his film and TV work than his music, although he released several singles and albums over a ten-plus-year period. An early release (his first?) is a 1975 single, Oso Ki An Psachno (Οσο κι αν Ψάχνω). Having not heard it, I can't really comment, but the flip, Kyriaki (Κυριακή), is a pretty typical ballad for its time and place, making it a less-than-fully-essential listen today.

An unknown musician plays Mellotron strings on the 'B', to reasonable effect, although finding a download of the 'A' doesn't seem to be an option at the moment. The flip's on YouTube, though, for those who just can't get enough Mellotronic Greek balladry.

Graham Bond (Organization)  (UK)  see:

Graham Bond (Organization)

Pierre Bondu  (France)  see: Samples etc.

Tracy Bonham  (UK)

Tracy Bonham, 'Down Here'

Down Here  (2000,  42.03)  ***/½

Behind Every Good Woman
You Don't Know Me
Fake it
Cold Day in Hell
Jumping Bean
Oasis Hotel
Second Wind
You Can't Always Not Get What You Don't Want
Give Us Something
Tracy Bonham, 'Blink the Brightest'

Blink the Brightest  (2005,  45.44)  ***/½

Something Beautiful
I Was Born Without You
And the World Has the Nerve to Keep Turning
Take Your Love Out on Me
Whether You Fall
Dumbo Sun
All Thumbs
Wilting Flower
Did I Sleep Through it All?

Current availability:

Mellotron/Chamberlin used:

Tracy Bonham (no relation to a certain now deceased drummer) plays a kind of rock/pop/singer-songwriter hybrid that manages to be reasonably challenging in places without actually being obscure. Saying that, much of the material on her second album, 2000's Down Here is pretty mainstream pop/rock, though likeable enough, all things considered. One of the album's several producers, Mark Endert, also plays Mellotron strings on opener Freed, although you'd be hard-pushed to spot them under Bonham's violin, though not as hard-pushed as to spot whatever Mitchell Froom plays on Cold Day In Hell, which is completely inaudible.

Bonham worked with The Blue Man Group in the early '00s, presumably one of the reasons for her five-year gap between solo releases. 2005 brought Blink the Brightest, which, while not a bad record, is closer to the mainstream than its predecessor. As with so many (effectively) singer-songwriter efforts, the album's power is in the lyrics, And The World Has The Nerve To Keep Turning being a particularly strong example. If Greg Collins' Chamberlin contribution wasn't credited, you'd have absolutely no idea it was there; the few seconds of Chamby clarinet could be almost anything, up to and including a real one, though at least we get to (briefly) hear an unusual Chamberlin sound.


See: The Blue Man Group

previous pagenext page