fantastic voyage Archive

2010 Odds and Ends (Capsule Reviews)

Even if one is (for example) a reviewer of measured fame and notoriety, one still ends up with a ton of unsolicited and semi-solicited audio material arriving via post. (The latter is sort of, “May I send you my CD?” “Yes, but I can’t promise a review.”) Because I stumble across so much excellent music,

Album Review: Blue Beard (self-titled)

Way back in 1971 a self-titled album was released by a group calling itself Blue Beard. Recorded and released (only) in Italy, the disc went on to become a collectors’ item. Fantastic Voyage ended up with the rights to the masters, and has re-released the album on vinyl only. Then as now, Blue Beard was

Holiday Roundup 2010

Every year around this time, various artists and labels take a shot at getting their piece of the holiday shopper’s dollar. Some efforts are more successful than others, and sometimes good collections fly under the radar. Today we’ll take a look at four titles aimed at the 2010 holiday season. Christmas With the O’Jays is

Album Review: Various – Summer Turns to Autumn

Fantastic Voyage has the rights to the catalog of 1960s UK indie label Amber, and is deep into reissuing that material across a wide array of albums. Some of these are single-artist sets; many more are thematic compilations. Summer Turns to Autumn is a followup to Looking Towards the Sky; both are (ostensibly) aimed at

Album Review: Esquerita – Wildcat Shakeout

The accepted and/or conventional wisdom holds that Little Richard (Penniman) was mightily influenced by a character known as Esquerita. As quoted in the liner note to Fantastic Voyage’s expanded reissue of the UK Speciality LP Wildcat Shakeout, Little Richard says, “I was taught how to play piano by Esquerita…He was one of the greatest pianists

Album Review: Big Sound – Ember Soundtracks & Themes

The first thing you’re likely to notice when you pick up a copy of the Fantastic Voyage compilation Big Sound: Ember Soundtracks & Themes is the cover artwork. An amalgam of clip-art silhouettes, the duotone artwork depicts tuxedoed spies firing their pistols (Walther PPKs with a silencer, perhaps?); miniskirted gals doing the frug; kickboxers; trenchcoats

Album Review: Blonde on Blonde – Rebirth

The liner notes stole my word. Fantastic Voyage’s new reissue of the 1970 LP Rebirth by Blonde on Blonde includes well-researched liners that provide context about this British (Welsh, really) progressive outfit. And lead vocalist Gareth Johnson has a unique style that the liner notes succinctly peg as “declamatory.” Sadly there’s no suitably accurate synonym,

Album Review: After Tonight: Ember Beat Vol. 3 (1966-67)

The third and final in Fantastic Voyage’s survey of UK beat music, After Tonight takes a look at singles from beat (and beat-related) artists on the indie Ember label in 1966 and 1967. Like its two predecessors (Tell Me and Done Me Wrong), After Tonight compiles a- and b-sides that haven’t shown up on other

Album Review: Done Me Wrong: Ember Beat Vol. 2 (1965-66)

Surveying the 1965-66 brand of beat era music from UK indie label Ember, Fantastic Voyage’s compilation Done Me Wrong serves up some two dozen examples of the genre. Like Tell Me, the first entry in the series, this disc mostly features obscure numbers by unknown artists. It also features a bunch of Chad & Jeremy

Album Review: Tell Me: Ember Beat Vol. 1 (1962-1964)

For fans of beat era music (more on that term presently), it’s a jaw-dropping experience to discover the three discs in Fantastic Voyages’ Ember Beat series. Three CDs (packaged and sold separately) survey the beat-oriented sides from the British indie label’s heyday. A quick word on terminology for the uninitiated. While in the USA we