Monday, May 28, 2007

Nektar

Bruce Eder @ All Music
Formed in Germany in 1969, Nektar was a quartet of Englishmen who met in Germany and, for a little while in the early to mid-'70s, seemed like they might take American rock by storm. It was mostly hype, and by 1975 their big moment had already passed, although they lingered on until the end of the decade.

Allan Freeman (keyboards, vocals), Ray Albrighton (guitar, vocals), Derek Moore (bass, Mellotron, vocals), and Ron Howden (drums) all came to Hamburg from England in 1965 as members of different bands. They met in 1968 at the Star Club, where they discovered some common ground in the Beatles as well as early rock & roll, but were drawn to the more experimental sounds just beginning to emerge on the rock scene. A year later they formed Nektar and began working at combining these influences into an effective whole. By 1970, with a light show (designed and operated by unofficial fifth member Mick Brockett) added to their stage act, they began attracting a growing following in Germany.

They were signed to the Bellaphon label in 1971 and released their debut album, Journey to the Center of the Eye, a year later. Their second album, A Tab in the Ocean, followed later the same year, and achieved a cult following as a direct import. Their extended songs, usually involving extensive variations on the same theme, found a growing audience in an era dominated by the sounds of Emerson Lake & Palmer and Yes. Nektar's sound, built around guitar, electronic keyboards, and bass, was far more gothic, with dense textures that didn't always reproduce well on stage -- the fans didn't seem to notice. On radio, however, their music filled in large patches of time and attracted listeners ready to graduate from Iron Butterfly and Vanilla Fudge, and seeking a recreation of the drug experience in progressive rock.

Their third album, Remember the Future, released in Germany in 1973, was the group's breakthrough record. The title track, broken into two side-length halves, took up the entire record, and became a favorite of FM radio in 1974. The album was followed later in 1973 by Sounds Like This, which was made up of shorter, simpler songs, but it was eclipsed in the United States by the American release of Remember the Future on the Passport label, their first U.S. release. When the group made their New York debut at the Academy of Music on September 28, 1974, Remember the Future was still the only one of their albums available officially in the United States. An indication of their stage presence and the nature of their act can be gleaned from the fact that between the wattage of their instruments and their light show, they blew the power at the Academy of Music upon taking the stage.

Their next album, Down to Earth (1974), featured ten support musicians and singers, among them P. P. (Pat) Arnold, but it didn't attract nearly the radio play of Remember the Future. Their next album, Live at the Roundhouse (1974), was cut live at the London venue, and didn't include "Remember the Future" among its tracks. They maintained a devoted and significant cult following in America as well as Germany, and their German label later released two double live albums from concerts in New York (which, between them, included two versions of "Remember the Future Part I" and two versions of "Part 2"). Ironically, Passport Records never released either album in the United States.

Albrighton was gone by Magic Is a Child (which featured one of the worst punning titles ever, "Eerie Lackawanna"), replaced on guitar by Dave Nelson, and synthesizer virtuoso Larry Fast joined the line-up for this album. The release of a double-LP best-of anthology in 1978 heralded the end of the group's run of success, although they did get one subsequent release, Man in the Moon, with David Prater on drums, issued in 1980. =>>>>>>>>>>>

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@ Wiki

Nektar is a 1970s English progressive rock band based in Germany.

History
The band formed in Hamburg, Germany in 1969, members included Englishmen Roye Albrighton on guitars and vocals, Allan "Taff" Freeman on keyboards, Derek "Mo" Moore on Rickenbacker bass, Ron Howden on drums, and Mick Brockett on lights, special effects and other miscellania. Songwriting was always considered a group effort.

The band's early albums such as Journey to the Centre of the Eye, Sounds Like This and A Tab in the Ocean were obscure psychedelic rock albums that won the band a small but growing cult following, based largely on word of mouth. The last of those albums was the first Nektar album to be released in the U.S., on the small Passport Records label.

It was Nektar's second U.S. release, Remember the Future (1974), that propelled the band briefly into mass popularity. A concept album about a blind boy who communicates with an extraterrestrial being, the music was a big leap forward for the band with a much more melodic sound than on previous albums. It shot into the Top 20 album charts in the U.S. The follow up album, Down to Earth (1975), was another concept album with a circus theme; it also sold well, breaking into the Top 40 album charts and included Nektar's only song to chart on the Billboard singles charts, "Astral Man." The next album, Recycled (1976), was stylistically close to bands like Gentle Giant and is considered by many fans to be Nektar's finest moment. Nektar's first major-label release, Magic is a Child (1977) was more eclectic, although with shorter songs and fairly straightforward rhythms many fans thought it was too pop-oriented; lyrically the album covered a wide range of subjects from Norse mythology and magic to more down to earth subjects like railroads, truck drivers, and an anti-drug song. Overall, fans considered the album a misfire and it proved to be the end of Nektar's brief popularity, although a few more albums were released, mostly live albums and compilations.

When the Nektar back catalog was first released on compact disc in the early 1990s, the wrong master was used for the Bellaphon CD release of "Remember The Future", infuriating many fans. The master used for that CD release contained a very different mix than the original vinyl release of the album did, one that practically buried Roye Albrighton's lead guitar. Although this was corrected in later CD releases, those looking for Nektar's music on CD should be aware of this if buying used CDs.

Nektar regrouped in 2002 and released their first album of new material since the 1970s, "The Prodigal Son". They followed this release up in 2004 with "Evolution". Recent members of Nektar have included Randy Dembo on bass, and Tom Hughes on Hammond organ alongside original members Albrighton and Howden. Dembo and Hughes left in August, 2006 citing communication problems, money issues, and personality issues. All of Nektar's back catalogue has either been remastered and re-released or is in the process of being so. This includes "A Tab In The Ocean" which now features the original 1972 German mix, as well as an alternate 1976 "American" mix, "Remember The Future" with two bonus tracks in the form of two radio promo singles. The re-issue of "Recycled" features the original album release mix, and an alternate mix by Beatles Engineer Geoff Emerick, something many fans found akin to hearing the music for the first time all over again. Nektar's re-issue of "Down To Earth" contains seven bonus tracks, including hilarious out-takes by Robert Calvert. The re-issue of "Magic Is A Child" (an album which did not feature founding member Roye Albrighton) features amazing clear sound, and four bonus tracks including a live-from-the radio version of "Midnight Light".

In 2006, the band found new management to replace The Eclectic Records staff, playing "Prog fests" around the globe on a part-time basis, and occasionally appearing in some of their old haunts in the New Jersey/New York area.

The band also embarked on the production of a new album (Book of Days) although not yet released (March 2007). A new release date of April 10,2007 had been announced, but by early that month, seemed in doubt as debts mounted and rumors that the album had not been completed circulated.

A planned 2007 tour of The USA was canceled when promised record label funding never materialized. Due to financial commitments made and promotional funds expended in advance of the tour, some fans never received product or show tickets and no funds were immediately available for refunds. In early to mid 2007 these debts remained un-repaid causing a major split in the fan base, with a some fans voicing their displeasure, and calling for new band management.

In mid 2007 a solo tour by lead singer Roye Albrighton to be followed by a full band tour of Europe (primarily Germany) was scheduled by a European-based promoter. =>>>>>>>>>>>

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@ Regent Theatre

A very special evening with Nektar
Friday, September 10, 7:30pm

Reserved Seats: $21.50 advance, $25.50 day of show

Nektar
“Take a trip back in time – Evolution”

The scene is the Liver transplant centre at a hospital in Birmingham, England. With only weeks to live, following a potentially fatal liver infection, guitarist and Nektar front man Roye Albrighton is given the precious gift of life when a suitable liver donor is found. The situation was touch and go for a while, but thanks to the expertise of medical staff he pulls through.

Determined to live life to the full, Roye Albrighton resurrects the band that made him a household name in Germany and America. That band is Nektar and a new album; “The Prodigal Son” is released by Bellaphon records. So opened a new chapter for Albrighton and also for the Nektar legacy. It is a chapter that has led to the triumphant reformation of the original line-up of this legendary band with Roye Albrighton joining once more with Mo Moore, Taff Freeman and Ron Howden, accompanied by Mick Brockett’s light show.

The story of Nektar is a remarkable one. A British rock band that found stardom and success in Germany and the USA, yet failed to make the significant breakthrough in their own country. With three gold albums under their belt (“Remember the Future”, “Down to Earth” and “Recycled”), Nektar produced some of the most original work of the seventies.

In virtuoso guitarist Roye Albrighton Nektar had a charismatic front man who had shared a stage with Jimi Hendrix, in Allan “Taff” Freeman a unique keyboard player, in Derek “Mo” Moore a bass playing powerhouse and in Ron Howden a fluidity rarely found in a drummer. Fifth member Mick Brockett was not a musician, but was responsible for one of the most stunning light and visual shows ever to grace the rock stage.

The roots of Nektar lay in Hamburg in 1970. The band Prophecy, (featuring Freeman, Moore and Howden), were performing in the legendary Star Club. It was here that Prophecy met an extremely talented guitarist Roye Albrighton, also playing the German club circuit. Disillusioned with his own outfit, Albrighton was approached by Prophecy to join them as a guitar player. Light technician Mick Brockett (who had worked with Pink Floyd in the late sixties), had been providing visual backdrops for Prophecy in Germany and was invited to become a permanent fixture in the new band. Opting for a name change, Nektar was born.

Signing to German label Bellaphon later that year, Nektar quickly made an impact with their space rock classic “Journey to the Centre of the Eye”. This was followed in 1972 by the conceptual album, “A Tab in the Ocean” which featured the songs “Desolation Valley” and “King of Twilight”, (later covered in 1984 by Iron Maiden), all of which were to become staples of Nektar’s live show over the next few years. 1973 saw the release of the double album “Sounds Like This”. Recorded “live” in the recording studio, (and described by Elton John as “an extraordinary album”), the set became the bands first release in Britain and resulted in two appearances on “The Old Grey Whistle Test” TV show. It was with “Remember the Future” that Nektar’s real breakthrough came. Another concept, the album became Nektar’s first American release and entered the Billboard album chart, attaining Gold status without the band having ever visiting the USA. An American tour was swiftly booked, with Nektar becoming a major concert attraction. For 1974’s “Down to Earth” the band enlisted the services of Hawkwind poet Robert Calvert to provide humorous links between songs for their Circus-style concept, earning another Gold disc.
“Recycled”, released in 1975, was recorded in France and London and was engineered by ex-Beatles technician Geoff Emerick. The album featured a full choir and the guest appearance of American synthesiser wizz-kid Larry Fast, (from the group Synergy and later a member of Peter Gabriel’s band), and earned yet another Gold disc in Germany and the USA.

By now Nektar concentrated on America, undertaking a rigorous touring schedule, with the most impressive show yet staged, necessitating in the hiring of a Jumbo jet to transport the bands lighting and sound equipment. Touring took its toll, leading to the departure of Roye Albrighton in December 1976. He was replaced by American Dave Nelson, who recorded “Magic is a Child” (featuring a young Brooke Shields on the sleeve), with the band in 1977.

This line-up soon disintegrated leaving a gap of two years before Nektar regrouped with Roye Albrighton and Taff Freeman at the helm. With musicians Carmine Rojas and David Prater the superb “Man in the Moon” (soon to be released on CD for the first time by Voiceprint Records) was released in Europe only, with the band touring to great acclaim.
By now Freeman opted to remain in the USA and Albrighton formed Grand Alliance with ex-Climax Blues Band member Derek Holt. The Nektar story appeared to be over.

In 1999, following a potentially fatal liver infection, guitarist and Nektar front man Roye Albrighton was given only weeks to live. At the last minute he is given the precious gift of life when a suitable liver donor is found. The situation was touch and go for a while, but thanks to the expertise of medical staff he pulls through. Determined to live life to the full, Roye Albrighton resurrects the band that made him a household name in Germany and America. That band is Nektar and a new album; “The Prodigal Son” is released by Bellaphon records. So opened a new chapter for Albrighton and also for the Nektar legacy. It is a chapter that led to the triumphant reformation of this legendary band with Roye Albrighton.

In 2000, following Albrighton’s health scare, Bellaphon records approached Albrighton to record a new Nektar album. Enlisting the services of Taff Freeman and drummer Ray Hardwick, “The Prodigal Son” (Bellaphon 9729520) was recorded in a matter of weeks. A worthy successor to the previous Nektar catalogue, TPS has received five star reviews in German and American magazines and heralds a new dawn for Nektar.

2002 saw the remastering of the Nektar classic album “Remember the Future” and the release of the entire London Roundhouse Concert from 1973 with previously unreleased bonus material, and amazingly, a full reunion of Albrighton, Freeman, Moore and Howden, along with Mick Brockett’s light show for a concert at the annual NearFest event at The Patriot’s Theater, Trenton, New Jersey on June 29th with guest musician Larry Fast, and a further triumphant live show at The Town Hall in New York City in October 2002 and two US shows in late May and early June 2003. This was followed in July 2003 by the first Nektar concert in London since 1976 and two German concerts (at the Herzberg Festival and at The Centralstation in Darmstadt). These European concerts were unqualified successes.

In October 2003 Nektar negotiated full rights for their back catalogue outside of Germany and have begun a full remastering campaign on their entire catalogue. April 2004 will see the release of the classic albums “Journey to the Centre of the Eye”, “A Tab in the Ocean”, and “Recycled” (all with previously unreleased bonus material). Also released that month will be a special remixed CD Boxed set of the bands entire concert at The Academy of Music in New York City recorded in August 1974 on the bands own “Dream Nebula” imprint, part of UK label Eclectic Discs. All releases will include previously unreleased bonus material and will be remastered to the highest standard from the original tapes.

Also in October, original bass player Derek “Mo” Moore announced his intention to leave Nektar. Citing other commitments, unable to tour on a large scale and generously not wishing to impede a revitalised Nektar, Mo stepped aside for his replacement, fellow Rickenbacker user Randy Dembo. A fan of Nektar since the 70’s, Randy has proved a worthy successor to Mo Moore. His joining the ranks of Nektar was an amicable affair and is approved by all, including Mo Moore. =>>>>>>>>>>>

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Discography
Journey To The Centre Of The Eye - 1971
A Tab in the Ocean - 1972
Sounds Like This - 1973
Remember the Future - 1974
Down to Earth - 1974
Sunday Night at London Roundhouse - 1974
Recycled - 1975
Nektar - 1976
Magic is a Child - 1977
Nektar - Live in New York - 1977
More Live Nektar in New York - 1978
Thru The Ears - 1978
Man in the Moon - 1980
Highlights - The Best OIf Nektar - 1994
The Dream Nebula: The Best Of 1971-1975 - 1998
The Prodigal Son - 2001
Unidentified Flying Abstract - Live At Chipping Norton 1974 - 2002
Nearfest 2002 (Studio M Recording) - 2002
Greatest Hits Live - 2002
Live - 2002
Sunday Night At The London Roundhouse (1974) - 2002
Evolution - 2004
Door To The Future - 2005
Pure: Live In Germany 2005 - 2005
Book Of Days - 2007



Nektar - Cryin in the Dark/King of Twilight 1

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3 comments:

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tentang blog said...

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