I love Hair.
What follows are some of my favourite Hair tracks. I hope to add more tracks to this chart every couple of weeks.
Updated 8 February 2011. Tracks 103 and 104 added
Peter Nero - Hits From Hair To Hollywood (Columbia)
You may encounter this LP with an identical sleeve but a different title - Midnight Cowboy...
Side 1 is surprisingly good.
Lashings of moog goodness on The Windmills Of Your Mind while the opening medley from Schlesinger's masterpiece moves from forlorn to frisky in barely two and a half minutes. The remaining trio are heavy man - on the strings, on the ivory and on the heart.
Now to Hair.
On this record we get a frenzied take on the title track while Aquarius and Let The Sunshine In are fuzzily dramatic with plenty of energy.
01 Peter Nero - Hair
02 Peter Nero - Let The Sunshine In
Robert Byrne - Electric Hair (Evolution)
A moog triumph.
Sparkling versions of Hair and Let The Sunshine In coupled with a head-down almost krautrock edge to Three-Five-Zero-Zero make this a most enjoyable interpretation.
Walking In Space is nicely expansive too.
03 Robert Byrne - Three-Five-Zero-Zero
04 Robert Byrne - Walking In Space
05 Robert Byrne - Let The Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures)
Bobby Bryant - The Jazz Excusion Into Hair (Pacific Jazz)
Big band arrangements work surprisingly well for this selection of Hair tunes.
Be-In (Hare Krishna) has fancy flutework and a funky bridge while the jazzy horn blasts on Let The Sunshine In make for a powerful rendition.
Elsewhere the title track is extended into a frenzied workout as the band play it straight - repetitive style.
Side 2's high point is Colored Spade.
06 Bobby Bryant - Be-In (Hare Krishna)
07 Bobby Bryant - Let The Sunshine In
08 Bobby Bryant - Hair
09 Bobby Bryant - Colored Spade
Tom Scott Quartet - Hair Into Jazz (Flying Dutchman)
Early LP from the long-serving jazzman Tom Scott.
This suite of Hair tracks are moody and sparsely arranged.
Aquarius and Where Do I Go? benefit from a drawn-out, almost blissful groove as they effortlessly glide along.
Let The Sunshine In is a more straight-up bop take which contrasts nicely with the remainder of the LP's languid vibe.
10 Tom Scott Quartet - Aquarius
11 Tom Scott Quartet - Where Do I Go
Zen - Hair (Philips)
Despite the title, just two tracks from this album are from Hair. Punchy Nederbeat with effective vocal stylings. Nice flutes on the version of Aquarius while the title track seems to play through in no time at all.
12 Zen - Hair
13 Zen - Aquarius
The Boston - Hair Dance Selections (Cornet Special)
Another day, another Hair LP.
The Boston were a young beat combo hailing from a variety of different places - England, Ireland (yay! - Dublin and Dungarvan to be exact), Egypt and Sweden.
They play a energetic style of freakbeat best illustrated on I Got Life with its staccato wordplay and Walking In Space where Berkeley Wright drums with passionate naivety.
The take of Be-In is one of the more hypnotic versions out there. Out there being appropriate while 3500 gets a welcome airing - suitably dramatic with a psych edge.
The Swedish teenager Eva takes the vocals for Frank Mills and gives the song a more melancholy air than usual.
Overall, a most enjoyable entry in the Hair canon.
14 The Boston - Be-In
15 The Boston - I Got Life
16 The Boston - 3500
17 The Boston - Walking In Space
The Broadway Matadors - Hair: The American Rockin' And Shockin' Musical (English Version) (Metronome)
A couple of tracks from this LP - Polymax version - posted already by LDJB.
It appears that The Broadway Matadors were crack Czech beat group, The Matadors with some additional assistance coming from the original German cast members.
Their version of the Hair musical is one of the tightest and finest interpretations around and well worth hunting down. Practically no filler and some expert instrumentation especially the flute on What A Piece Of Work Is Man.
The Hare Krishna / Where Do I Go medley is positively hypnotic with great percussion while the mantra in I Got Life is delivered with steely conviction. Side 1 closer, Walking In Space, becomes a most enjoyable dirge.
Their take on Good Morning Starshine is probably my favourite from all the Hair LPs while both Aquarius and Let The Sunshine In benefit from strong vocal stylings and a beat heavy slant. Finally there's much fuzz to enjoy on the title track, a storming dancefloor-friendly album opener.
The version of Aquarius on this is about 90 seconds shorter than LDJB's one. Not as good in edited form but worth hearing nonetheless.
18 The Broadway Matadors - Hair
19 The Broadway Matadors - Aquarius
20 The Broadway Matadors - Walking In Space
21 The Broadway Matadors - Hare Krishna / Where Do I Go
22 The Broadway Matadors - Let The Sunshine In
L. Bailly - Hair: The American Tribal Love~Rock Musical (Concert Hall)
Another worthwhile entry in the everlasting Hair canon.
This one is credited to L. Bailly. If anyone has any more information on this person, please pass it on.
Aquarius starts slowly with a subdued intro but works up a decent head of steam before the final chords. Hair is reasonably spirited with a well-sung vocal and a prominent backing chorus.
A female lead takes Easy To Be Hard but doesn't really add anything unique - a strangely plodding version.
Things liven up with Coloured Spade and its jerky rhythms while the double whammy of Ain't Go No...Got Life works particularly well. Real defiance in the performance. Side 1 closes with a slow burning Hare Krishna.
Where Do I Go is nice and laidback with Frank Mills exuding more heart-wringing pathos than usual. The real meat in the sandwich comes with the last third of the LP - a fiery Donna while the version of Black Boys, White Boys is one of the funkiest I have encountered so far. Things come to a conclusion with a super-melodic Good Morning Starshine that leads into an unnamed blast of an excerpt from Let The Sunshine In.
23 L. Bailly - Coloured Spade
24 L. Bailly - Ain't Got No...Got Life
25 L. Bailly - Donna
26 L. Bailly - Black Boys, White Boys
27 L. Bailly - Good Morning Starshine
The Graham Walker Sound - Hair (Saga)
A Hair album with a difference.
Two of the biggies are absent from The Graham Walker Sound's effort - Good Morning Starshine and Let The Sunshine In. The reasons are unclear but perhaps they wanted to let the lesser known tracks have their moment in the spotlight.
We start with some fuzzy guitars and manic drums - probably one of the most frenzied takes on Aquarius I have ever heard. A well-performed Air is followed by our plaintive Sodomy before a beaty title track kicks in. So far - great.
Easy To Be Hard makes us take a breather before an organ-fuelled Where Do I Go brings the curtain down on the first half. Take a bow, Alan Hawkshaw!
More fuzz kicks off side two - a cracking version of Donna that screams 'psych mod dancer'. As if wasn't enough, a storming Black Boys, White Boys comes next with super vocal interplay and beaty instrumention.
The thoughful My Conviction is a wordless piece of organ goodness which goes well with the earnest delivery of Frank Mills. Now for the centerpiece - the mammoth funky groove that is Coloured Spade. Probably the best version out there with the Hawk playing a blinder. Super drums too.
The LP concludes with the one-two punch of Ain't Got No and I Got Life. The former is gloriously despondent with some fantastic keyboard play while I Got Life's defiant message is once again to the fore in this supremely frantic version.
In summary - as Vinyl Vulture said in their Long Hair primer - "you know you've struck Hair Gold".
28 The Graham Walker Sound - Aquarius
29 The Graham Walker Sound - Where Do I Go
30 The Graham Walker Sound - Donna
31 The Graham Walker Sound - Black Boys, White Boys
32 The Graham Walker Sound - Coloured Spade
33 The Graham Walker Sound - Ain't Got No
34 The Graham Walker Sound - I Got Life
Tully feat. +4 - Hair: Australian Cast Recording (Spin)
Hair reached Australia on 5 June 1969 by way of dynamic impressario Harry M Miller.
This cast LP was released some months later on the Spin label.
It differs from other Hair interpretations in the sense that tracks are grouped together by theme rather than going solo - with one exception, the maudlin Lament section which just has Easy To Be Hard.
It starts aptly with Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out. After two minutes of bells, wails, fuzz and feedback the vocals kick in on Aquarius. Strident versions of Hare Krishna and Where Do I Go? complete this opening act.
Celebrate is next. A vibrant Donna slides into the explicit yearning of Sodomy with a spirited Manchester, England and Going Down keeping the groove flowing.
A benefit of this medley / themed style is that some lesser-known tracks get their chance to shine. General Grant's March, Sheila Franklin and Initials all form part of Side 1 closer Yip-In with the defiance of I Got Life nicely bringing the curtain down for the interval.
Hang-Ups is next - a storming Black Boys / White Boys face-off with the comedown being one of the best Frank Mills I've heard.
Trip Out follows - my favourite section. 14 minutes of mind-melting goodness. Free-jazzed Walking In Space, some nice spoken word and drums in Abie Baby -"the draft is white people..." etc. Three-Five-Zero is surreal with its blind mice refrain and schlocky "ripped open by metal explosions" chants with a solemn What A Piece Of Work Is Man providing the icing on a heady cake.
Claudenams is the last movement; this includes the beaty title track and a somewhat unremarkable Flesh Failures / Let The Sunshine In completes the performance.
At 55 minutes duration, there's plenty bang for your buck on this one.
Another wonderful stop-off on the endless Hair trip.
35 Tune In, Drop In, Drop Out
(a) Aquarius (b) Hare Krishna (c) Where Do I Go?
(a) Donna (b) Sodomy (c) Manchester, England (d) Going Down
(a) Black Boys (b) White Boys (c) Frank Mills
38 Trip Out
(a) Walking In Space (b) Abie Baby (c) Three-Five-Zero (d) What A Piece Of Work Is Man
"Hair" Rave-Up - Live From The Shaftesbury Theatre, London (Pye)
Back in 1969 the musical Hair was running at London's Shaftesbury Theatre. After the final curtain each night the audience were then treated to a performance from the pit band in a type of 'anything goes' scenario. Or rave up, if you prefer.
Alex Harvey was a member of house band and this outstanding LP, produced by Cyril Stapleton, manages to capture the after-party mood as a memorable and energetic jamboree.
Just two numbers from Hair are included - after all, the punters had been listening to them all evening so it was time for some other swinging treats. The album opens with a raucous version of the title track - one of the best I've heard - with Alex in fine vocal form. An extended workout of that old r'n'b chestnut El Pussy follows with a groovy Royal International Love-In up next. The latter is a joint Harvey and Steve Stevenson number and is a sweaty piece of beat-driven rhythm. Another Harvey track comes next; the hip'n'shakin' Bond Street Baby. The first half concludes with the feedback squall of Hare Krishna. Wicked!
More goodies on the flip - an energetic and driving All Along The Watchtower segues nicely into the Fab Four's Birthday. Ubiquitous session man Derek Wadsworth contributes two instrumental cuts - the moody Keep Out and the wild'n'ravin' Movin' In The Right Direction. Sandwiched between this pair is a lighter Harvey track called Candy. The menacing mod sound of I Know Where You Are brings the curtain down in fine style.
'All good things gotta have an end...'
39 "Hair" Rave-Up - Hair
40 "Hair" Rave-Up - Hare Krishna
The Ray Bloch Singers - Hair (Ambassador)
Ray Bloch was born in 1902 and died in 1982.
I know very little about him aside from the fact that he had a long career in music, both as an orchestra leader and as a composer for a variety of television shows. His label, Ambassador, made several attempts to cash in on the hip'n'swinging vibe of the peace and love era with Ray tackling the Hits of 1969 in a languid West Coast style.
His Hair LP is a curious record, chock-full of goodness (plenty hammond organ, nice brass) while on the debit side, some off-key singing and hokey guitar rhythms.
Aquarius sets the scene with plenty of swing. Donna is up next, a sax-fuelled masterpiece. Frank Mills sounds fuller than usual - no bad thing - while Good Morning Starshine is plain weird. Out-of-tune sax and a lazy chorus make for a less than compelling take. Ain't Got No is fun - a chorus effect and a spiralling organ sound. Groovy!
Hair and Where Do I Go don't quite come off. The singing just doesn't do it for me although some people seem to rate the harmonious effect of many voices. Easy To Be Hard has a botched rhythm section but manages to stay on course with the organ once again stealing the show on a beaty Air.
Finally it's the jewel in the crown - Let The Sunshine In. Fantastic version and worth the admission price. Stab that hammond baby! The chorus are on top form and the guitar effects rock. Nice drum / almost spoken word action in the final minute too.
41 The Ray Bloch Singers - Donna
42 The Ray Bloch Singers - Air
43 The Ray Bloch Singers - Let The Sunshine In
The Terminal Barbershop - Hair Styles (Atco)
The Terminal Barbershop's interpretation of Hair is a refreshing listen. It's imbued with a baroque vibe which extends to a string quartet and a variety of instruments like the oboe, harpsichord and flute.
It opens slowly with classical strings as Let The Sunshine In gradually unfolds. The drums and guitar introduce themselves before the track builds up into a psychedelic crescendo. Straight into Air which benefits from plenty of horn play with Where Do I Go finds itself being played in a complicated jazzy style which only reveals itself upon further listens. Good Morning Starshine has a beaty feel with a funky drum sound while Easy To Be Hard is pretty straight. A strange intermission fills out a couple of minutes before we turn the record over.
Aquarius is slightly slower than normal but has some great hornplay - as does the title track which then manages to break down into rock-grit territory halfway through. Great! Walking In Space has some cool background sounds and a psych edge while Frank Mills sounding particularly gorgeous with the string overload. Finally it's a reprise of Let The Sunshine In with the chorus getting a chance to exercise their lungs.
Catch this one if you can.
44 The Terminal Barbershop - Let The Sunshine In
45 The Terminal Barbershop - Where Do I Go
46 The Terminal Barbershop - Good Morning Starshine
47 The Terminal Barbershop - Walking In Space
48 The Terminal Barbershop - Frank Mills
Galt MacDermot's First Natural Hair Band - Hair (United Artists)
Peace. I am Idris Muhammad. Born and raised in New Orleans. I thank God for my life and for giving me my health and strength to play my spiritual drums. I thank you. Allah and Peace to you, Mr Galt MacDermot. And bless you too, Mr Jim Rado and Gerry Ragni.
So is the unity of the band as proclaimed on the reverse sleeve of this record.
And what a band it is - featuring musicians who all played in the New York stage production of Hair since its launch in 1967. The composer Galt MacDermot plays piano and organ to perfection.
It starts with the jazzy edginess of On To A Pot-O-Max before a straight organ-fuelled version of Sodomy. Just instrumental bliss with a glorious melding of electric bass and trumpets. Black Boys / White Boys has a swinging hammond feel before slipping into a freeform conclusion.
Hold on to your seats - we are now being Ripped Open By Metal Explosions. Described as a frightening interlude to halluncinations, this is the bomb, a slow-burning dirge of molten epic wah-wah that sounds like nothing on earth - and you won't hear it on any other Hair albums either.
The rest of side one plays out with two lesser-known tracks - the upbeat grind of The Bed and the swinging funk of Don't Put It Down.
Walking In Space is a unholy trip, a white-knuckled ride through spacious grooves which is followed by a revved-up Colored Spade. Next up is the rocky Donna / Hashish medley - a most enjoyable piece. Freakout comes after this - a newly introduced track that takes some time to grow but works well. Finally we finish with a brief rendition of Air. Complete with storming brass.
This is one of the greatest Hair records out there and is played by a band on top of their game. Don't miss out.
49 Galt MacDermot's First Natural Hair Band - Sodomy
50 Galt MacDermot's First Natural Hair Band - Black Boys / White Boys
51 Galt MacDermot's First Natural Hair Band - Ripped Open By Metal Explosions
52 Galt MacDermot's First Natural Hair Band - Don't Put It Down
53 Galt MacDermot's First Natural Hair Band - Walking In Space
54 Galt MacDermot's First Natural Hair Band - Colored Spade
55 Galt MacDermot's First Natural Hair Band - Donna / Hashish
Edmundo Ros And His Orchestra - Hair Goes Latin (London Phase 4 Stereo)
King of the cha-cha and Latin shuffle, Edmundo Ros, made a beeline for Hair in 1969.
The end result is surprisingly groovy despite the LP being a mostly instrumental affair.
Good Morning Starshine sets the scene with a faithful continental rendition. This is followed by frantic versions of Ain't Got No, I Got Life and Where Do I Go. Edmundo decides to unleash some vocals on the swinging Be-In and they give the track a great fillip. A storming Aquarius concludes the first side.
There's more of the same when you flip over the LP. The title track is bouncy and frenetic with plenty of oomph while Easy To Be Hard has an air of '40s jazz standard' that puzzlingly doesn't detract. A wistful Frank Mills comes after a jaunty Manchester, England before giving way to a percussive Let The Sunshine In. Edmundo sings a bit on this one too. Finally it's the jazzy stomp of Donna to bid us goodnight.
Short but very sweet.
56 Edmundo Ros And His Orchestra - Ain't Got No
57 Edmundo Ros And His Orchestra - Be-In (Hare Krishna)
58 Edmundo Ros And His Orchestra - Aquarius
59 Edmundo Ros And His Orchestra - Let The Sunshine In
Geoff Love - The Music And Songs From Hair (Maxi)
Geoff Love was ably assisted by Peter Bown and Alyn Ainsworth on this fine interpretation of Hair which was recorded shortly after the musical opened in London. It was released on the Ace of Clubs label in the UK - my version is the French pressing on Maxi.
It starts with a dirge. Aquarius grinds out slowly before gathering a little pace but is definitely a lukewarm opening with the warbling vocal an acquired taste. Things immediately pick up with the beat-fest that is Donna and the frenzied party rhythms of Colored Spade. Great stuff! The next five tracks all speed past in under two minutes each. A competent Manchester, England gives way to a 40 second Ain't Got No before decent stabs at Air and I Got Life. An understated Frank Mills is sung with deep melancholy before a crashing title track rounds off the first half.
There's more goodness on side two with some fantastic arrangements on Where Do I Go? and Be-In (Hare Krishna). Black Boys, White Boys is energetic with some rocking guitars while Easy To Be Hard seems more sparse than usual - which surprisingly works to its advantage. After a reasonably-sung What A Piece Of Work Is Man the album finishes on a high note with the powerful heavyweights that are Good Morning Starshine and The Flesh Failures; the latter building into a uplifting vocal and instrumental crescendo.
60 Geoff Love - Donna
61 Geoff Love - Colored Spade
62 Geoff Love - Hair
63 Geoff Love - Be-In (Hare Krishna)
64 Geoff Love - Where Do I Go?
65 Geoff Love - The Flesh Failures (Let The Sunshine In)
Various - Hair: Original Japanese Cast Recording (RCA)
This interpretation of Hair has had a number of critics over the years with many commentators simply drawing the conclusion that 'The Japanese didn't get it'. One reason for this was the crude language translations which were criticised for "not making sense" by some reviewers. Is it a coincidence that Dead End - as sampled by Nas - is one of only two tracks here to feature English language lyrics? Its gritty funk is certainly a highlight for me and a dancefloor burner. The other track with an English vocal is Aquarius (first verse and chorus only) and it sounds rather clumsy and laboured. Donna can always be relied on to light a spark and this remains no exception with a call and response type beginning moving swiftly into a tight band arrangement.
The blog Neojapanisme makes two salient points:
'The staging of Hair still retains a historical significance for two reasons. One, it signals the inclusion of Japan within currents of international youth culture as an equal.
Two, Hair demonstrates the most important function of imported counterculture in Japan — it was not a vessel of ideology but a nexus where future talent met and stars demonstrated the potential of “anti-social” culture to the commercial complex".
Nevertheless the commonly-held Japanese belief that 'imports are always preferable' cannot be discounted and sometimes one feels that their consumption was almost forced - like doing something for the sake of it. At times this record falls into this territory; a kind of going through the motions exercise but there are glimmers of genuine inspiration. I Got Life is passionate and poppy while the title track is jerky, rhythmic and spirited. A kind of communal joy or when it works, it really works. Be-In (Hare Krishna) is beefy with a tight drum arrangement and contains elements of Where Do I Go? before fading out.
Electric Blues is performed with a refreshing looseness before the frantic fast pace of its second half. Going Down is a welcome 90 seconds of fun before the heavyweight finale of tracks kicks in. Walking In Space is an acquired taste here, the Japanese vocal a much trickier proposition. Three-Five-Zero-Zero / What A Piece Of Work Is Man works better but still falls somewhat short of the standard. Good Morning Starshine is rather light but pleasant in tone while the lengthy closer The Flesh Failures (Let The Sunshine In) remains bombastic to the end with foot-stomping cast, some overwrought vocals and finally, a fiery chorus.
66 Original Japanese Cast - Dead End
67 Original Japanese Cast - Hair
68 Original Japanese Cast - Electric Blues
69 Original Japanese Cast - Going Down
Mort Garson - Electronic Hair Pieces (A&M)
Mort Garson's Electronic Hair Pieces has divided many listeners over the years. It has described as "clinical, sparse and lacking in warmth" (Vinyl Vulture - Long Hair) which is certainly a valid interpretation and accurate for the most point. However the attractiveness of this record lies in its freeform electronic mayhem which at times sounds like it could have been recorded in the mid 1990s rather than 1969.
Aquarius is first, an unholy collision of skittering beats and synth stabs that reminds me of drum'n'bass's golden era of 1994 / 1995. Frank Mills and Good Morning Starshine are both pleasant but unremarkable with Be-In (Hare Krishna) improving the hit rate as it evolves from moody moog to robotic AFX workout via an early Human League studio party.
Side One's piece de resistance is undoubtedly Three-Five-Zero-Zero with spooky minimalism giving way to pummelling melodies and stuttering effects before the freeform noise workout kicks in.
The title track is probably the best play-out track with its hypnotic and sparse keys gradually moving towards a energetic climax. Easy To Be Hard and Where Do I Go drift by in unmemorable fashion while the sinister Walking In Space rescues the LP from oblivion with fractured moog effects paving a shuffling path for a frenzied head-banging climax. All that's left is a typically clunky version of Let The Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures) to warp us back to earth with a bang.
So there you have it. Electronic Hair Pieces is a real mixed bag but when it hits the heights it does so in style. I wouldn't be without it.
70 Mort Garson - Aquarius
71 Mort Garson - Three-Five-Zero-Zero
72 Mort Garson - Hair
73 Mort Garson - Walking In Space
74 Mort Garson - Let The Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures)
The Aquarian Age - Hair (Itco)
The Aquarian Age were a Texan ten-piece who cashed in on the Hair experience at the end of 1969. The album has a rock feel from the outset with a no-nonsense version of Aquarius kicking things off. Donna, I Got Life and the title track are competently played while Sodomy comes joined with the unlisted Colored Spade in medley format. The slower tracks work better on this one. Easy To Be Hard is stark with a subdued Frank Mills adding giving the album a more claustrophic feel.
Side 2: Electric Blues is throwaway but fun while Black Boys And White Boys has a gospel thing going on. Not really sure if that's effective but it makes for an interesting listen. Abie Baby comes with that jugband vibe before mellowing out into the bummer arena. 3-5-0-0 has some interesting riffage and a powerful chorus which is one of LP's highpoints. To finish up we're treated to s a brief run through Good Morning Starshine before a slowburning Let The Sunshine In brings things to a close.
75 The Aquarian Age - Frank Mills
76 The Aquarian Age - Electric Blues
77 The Aquarian Age - Abie Baby
78 The Aquarian Age - 3-5-0-0
James Last - Hair (Polydor)
James Last's version of Hair is one of his few LPs that's universally regarded as hip. It forms part of the holy trinity along with Well Kept Secret and Voodoo Party - the three Hansi LPs that feature in many a crate-digger's collection. Hardcore fans like me thinks that there is so much more to the man's music but Hair occupies a special place - a genuinely innovative and groovy interpretation.
Every track is a winner with at least eight of them vying for platinum status. Aquarius starts with a swirling drum and organ sound before settling into quirky shuffle mode complete with phased effects. A downbeat Frank Mills segues into a slow-burning Colored Spade which is in turn followed by a funked-up Ain't Got No that's both jazzy and groovy in equal measures. Good Morning Starshine is almost doubled in length, slowed-down and shimmering with blissed-out instrumental vibes. This top-drawer home run concludes with a chugging version of Hare Krishna.
We've just time to draw breath before Let The Sunshine In starts off the second side. This sounds like two orchestras playing parallel sets which works a treat. Walking In Space is a chilled-out masterpiece that you could listen to on a continuous loop and still find something new in it. Easy To Be Hard and Where Do I Go see the orchestra step down into auto-pilot before a storming and jerky title track brings the show full circle.
79 James Last - Aquarius
80 James Last - Colored Spade
81 James Last - Ain't Got No
82 James Last - Good Morning Starshine
83 James Last - Hare Krishna
84 James Last - Let The Sunshine In
85 James Last - Walking In Space
86 James Last - Hair
Original Amsterdam Cast - Hair (Polydor)
Focus fans will be interested in this LP, the Original Amsterdam Cast performing Hair. Hans Cleuver, Thijs Van Leer and Jan Akkerman all form part of the orchestra which gives the musical a more rockier twist than usual.
Donna / Hashish is where things really kick off with a raucous take before a stirring (but brief) I'm Black / Ain't Got No complete with stirring guitar playing. Dead End and Going Down are always welcome and these versions don't disappoint with some choppy rhythms and soaring vocals. An energetic title track is prime dancer material while Hare Krishna eventually wakes up after a first half dirge into a splendid turn from the chorus.
Sue Chaloner gives us a very pleasant rendition of Frank Mills that just occasionally goes out of tune. Nice spoken word vocal snippet too. Oh Great God Of Power leads us into a wailing, intense version of Walking In Space that explodes into life with some deadly brass. A breathless 3-5-0-0 is next with the lyrics almost whispered early on. Then a spiralling organ pounds its way in and we're off into a singalong finale with a storming Flesh Failures / Eyes Look Your Last.
87 Original Amsterdam Cast - I'm Black / Ain't Got No
88 Original Amsterdam Cast - Dead End
89 Original Amsterdam Cast - Hair
90 Original Amsterdam Cast - Frank Mills
91 Original Amsterdam Cast - Flesh Failures / Eyes Look Your Last
Various Cast Members - DisinHAIRited (RCA)
DisinHAIRited features 19 tracks that, for one reason or another, failed to make the original cast recording of Hair. It's a mixed bag that has some moments of genuine inspiration and is rarely dull.
First track is the driving and rhythmic One Thousand Year-Old Man described as a chilling sequel to The Flesh Failures as told by Claude via his hallucinations. More bad trips follow with the grim So Sing The Children On The Avenue. Manhattan Beggar has a stoned vibe while Washing The World is a positive tale of rebirth. Exanaplanatooch is an other-wordly message delivered in solemn, awed tones. Mr Berger and I'm Hung are light-hearted in tone while the introspective Climax has a psychedelic mod sound that's super to groove to.
A sprawling version of Electric Blues kicks off part two. That's swiftly followed by the pacy Going Down which is in turn a prelude to the surreal pair of Bed tracks. Mess O'Dirt is a swinging number while Dead End is soulful and heartfelt. The LP concludes with the one-two punch of Oh Great God Of Power (solemn and reverent) and Eyes Look Your Last / Sentimental Ending (likeable downbeat dirge).
92 Various Cast Members - One Thousand Year-Old Man
93 Various Cast Members - Climax
94 Various Cast Members - Dead End
95 Various Cast Members - Eyes Look Your Last / Sentimental Ending
John Sangster - Ahead Of Hair (Festival)
Good news: It's John Sangster's Ahead Of Hair.
Bad news: The quality / condition of this LP leaves quite a lot to be desired. The quiet tracks (01 and 08) suffer from serious surface noise and a few skips. The rest of the LP is just ok with plenty of crackle. Essentially this is a makeweight copy which will have to do until I find a better quality pressing.
To the music then...
This is the greatest Hair album of them all. Its great reputation is wholly justified.
As the review said
'John Sangster plays every percussion instrument known to man....and some known only to Sangster!'
Vibraphone, marimba, violin, recorder, Indian bells, glockenspeil, conga drums, theramin, gongs, tambourine, tubular bells, bongos, voice, cencerro, guiro, chocollo, timbales, claves, whistle, castanets, quijada and African thumb-piano.
The other players on this LP deserve to be praised. Here we go.
Bob McIvor - trombone.
Ken Herron - trombone and tuba.
Lennie Hutchinson - bass.
Derek Fairbrass - drums.
Col Nolan - organ.
Ben Turpin - moon-voice.
We start with silence. Or in this case, lots of crackle. Tune-In takes a while to get going, a sedate electronic piece thats lasts for over six minutes before a jumpy Aquarius (with the sound of crickets) comes to life. Donna on a vibraphone. Percussive genius while the brief Hashish slides by on a cacaphony of brass and busy background sounds. The title track never sounded as edgy with I Got Life pop-popping along like Frank Barber on acid. Wonderfully beautiful trombone blast here. Frank Mills benefits from no vocals - just as wistful without. Hare Krishna swings out side one with blinding intensity and glockenspiel goodness.
Electronic piece #2 Turn-On starts off the second side. Doesn't sound good here while Walking In Space is wonderfully mournful - but as noted above, marred by the sizzle and energetic stylus. Drop-Out is ugly and industrial-sounding but Three-Five-Zero-Zero is a blast as it speeds up out of control and back again. The real heat comes with the utterly wonderful and other-wordly cosmic jazz that is What A Piece Of Work Is Man. Amazing. The two heavy-hitters Good Morning Starshine and The Flesh Failures / Let The Sunshine In see us out in suitably groovy style.
This is one record that really needs a decent remaster given its scarcity in both quantity and quality (How many were sold? Where are they now? Why is it so hard to get an EX copy or better?)
Until those questions can be answered it's a case of Tune-In, Turn-On and Drop-Out.
96 John Sangster - Donna
97 John Sangster - Hair
98 John Sangster - I Got Life
99 John Sangster - Frank Mills
100 John Sangster - What A Piece Of Work Is Man
101 John Sangster - (a) Turn-On Part 2 (b) Good Morning Starshine
102 John Sangster - (a) The Flesh Failures (b) Let The Sunshine In
Original London Cast - Hair (Polydor)
The Original London Cast LP of Hair was produced by Norrie Paramor under the musical direction of Derek Wadsworth. It's one of the most common Hair LPs out there and is distinctly average with few truly thrilling moments. The cast includes Marsha Hunt, Vince Edward, Paul Nicholas, Oliver Tobias and Michael Feast.
Oh, and Alex Harvey is on guitar.
The album emerged on Polydor during late 1968 and was also picked up by Reader's Digest and released in a 'lady afro' sleeve. The 1990s CD reissue is incomplete with tracks from the (better) follow-up Fresh Hair included..
The highlights are as follows:
Hair - a spirited rendition with decent rock flourishes.
Where Do I Go? - sung with convinction by Paul Nicholas.
Three-Five-Zero-Zero - nice dirge.
Let The Sunshine In - thoughtful with nice spoken word parts. Builds into a decent climax.
103 Original London Cast - Where Do I Go
104 Original London Cast - Let The Sunshine In