Hamburg, Germany's Repertoire Records is quickly gaining a worldwide reputation among record collectors for their quality remastered Cd's of classic rock and other speciality music that would normally be long out of print or unavailable in many cases. Some of the albums, like Canned Heat's 1970 album, FUTURE BLUES, pictured here are great counterculture gem classics.
The controversial cover of the FUTURE BLUES album also made a strong counterculture protest statement as well by using a flag distress signal in space. It was a clever protest message that no doubt horrified some Nixonites at the time. The cover as well as the music pretty well represented the political nature of Canned Heat.
The Repertoire version of this classic hippie age blues/rock album not only includes all of the classic tracks such as Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson's cool SKAT and LONDON BLUES, as well as Bob "The Bear" Hite's great reworking of the old Wilbert Harrison classic, LET'S WORK TOGETHER, but includes bonus mono 45rpm single versions of SKAT and LET'S WORK TOGETHER as well. More cool bonus tracks such as their CHRISTMAS BLUES, or their novelty piece with Alvin & The Chipmunks, THE CHIPMUNK SONG, and their great remake of Sam The Sham & The Pharaoh's' WOOLY BULLY are included. Canned Heat were a great skillful counter culture blues/rock act and it's great to see FUTURE BLUES back again, although a French label did reissue the same FUTURE BLUES album a few years back with a few different bonus songs. THE CHIPMUNK SONG is great fun because Bob Hite calls the Chipmunks "mice", and scolds them that this is not "1958, it's 1968". It's real classic 60's hippie culture stuff.
Besides some Canned Heat classics, Repertoire has many other real gems that really stand out. Included in their catalogue is the album CRAZY ELEPHANT that includes both GIMME GIMME GOOD LOVIN' as well as the far less successful followup single SUNSHINE, RED WINE. There are plenty of bonus tracks on this album as well. Crazy Elephant were essentially a one hit act, but had a great aggressive driving power-pop sound.
There is a BEST OF THE 1910 FRUITGUM COMPANY Cd that includes 28 songs, including all of their popular singles. This was once a great fun bubblegum music act. And even more bubble gum is a greatest hits album by The Archies album which includes the big hit SUGAR SUGAR. Maybe this isn't real great music here, but these songs sure seemed like fun at the time to 10-15 year olds in the late 60's.
The catalogue also includes the Dave Edmunds album with I HEAR YOU KNOCKING, and includes both the album as well as 45rpm mixes of this great song that was #1 in the UK for 11 weeks.
There are a number of Alvin Lee solo albums included in the Repertoire catalogue, including the great ROCKET FUEL, which managed to capture much of the Ten Years After sound. There are probably more Alvin Lee titles in the Repertoire catalogue than any other artist, and every album features some of the most skillful guitar work you'll ever hear. Alvin Lee has always ranked right up there with Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and other guitar supermen.
Other notable acts in the Repertoire catalogue include Roy Wood's Wizzard, CCS, The Zombies, Gary Wright, Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings, Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter, West, Bruce & Laing, Rick Derringer, Vanity Fair, UFO, Frijid Pink and The Troggs. The Troggs were cool because they were sort of like one of the first punk rock acts ever. Their music was raunchy and outrageous and only mellowed out as the group aged. But it was great primitive sounding stuff with highly sexualized lyrics for the time. Their sound was crude and stone-age sounding. Little doubt later raunchy punk rock acts like The Stranglers were somehow influenced by The Troggs. The Stranglers sound also seemed largely like a punk version of The Doors with their heavy lurching keyboard sound and Hugh Cornwell's rough vocal style. Many late 70's punkers were no doubt influenced by the simple and crude style of inspirational acts like The Troggs. The simple and garage oriented sound seemed to influence a musical rebellion from the years of overproduction as groups like The Beatles kept raising the bar with more and more complex recordings.
Some late 60's early 70's acts like Frijid Pink almost pioneered the "heavy metal" sound with their thunderous and loud rendition of HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN. These guys really knew how to turn their guitar amps way up. They managed a few singles at the time, and none of them very mellow either.
Roy Wood's Wizzard was also a strange player in the glitter rock scene with his heavily bearded as well overly face painted look. It was strange 70's music for sure.
CCS is an act largely unknown in the states. But they were famous for great instrumental remakes of WHOLE LOTTA LOVE and other classic rock standards back in the 70's.
Johnny Winter was always one the best bluesmen around. SECOND WINTER was originally released as a three sided LP. It's great to see this classic album again. The searing guitar version of Dylan's HIGHWAY 61 REVISTED is a real blues rock gem.
Spirit was a pretty talented act with some great gems that stand out such as I GOT A LINE ON YOU and MORNING WILL COME. This is good stuff.
What is probably best about Repertoire is that many of the recordings they market may not be the very best albums ever recorded. Yet they are real classics in their own right that deserve new life because they are significant in their own way for the new musical ground that they once broke at the time. This Hamburg record label has become something like the American Rhino Records label, for building up an authoritative catalogue of recordings for people who know music. Tasty stuff indeed. Thanks so much for your contributions to record collecting, Repertoire Records.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!