1974 was a year of colorfully animated sound cards, with the vaudevillian hijinx of Sparks, Stackridge, Sailor, 10cc, Cockney Rebel and Brian Protheroe packing barrels of camp, craft and comedy.
Musically myriad was the UK, where epic rockers dazzled with filigree (Camel, Empire, Greenslade, Quicksand, Refugee) and fire (Baker Gurvitz Army, Be Bop Deluxe, Pinnacle, Queen, Tempest); instrumentalists mined asymmetry (Hatfield & the North, Isotope, Riff Raff, Wolf, Zzebra) and subtlety (Gryphon, Jade Warrior, David Bedford, The Long Hello, Robert John Godfrey); popsters charmed the ballrooms (Hudson-Ford, Kiki Dee, Leo Sayer, Pilot, Velvet Glove) as well as the boondocks (Chilli Willi & the Red Hot Peppers, Starry Eyed & Laughing, Taggett, Unicorn, Wally); hybridists hit the groove (Average White Band, Gonzalez, Hanson, Olympic Runners, Ross) and raked the grain (Alice Island Band, Jack the Lad, Oliver, Spud, Stone Angel); while Robert’s Palmer and Wyatt triumphed with singular vocal charisma.
Italian momentum continued with classics by Acqua Fragile, Arti & Mestieri, Biglietto per L’inferno, Cherry Five, Ibis, Il Volo, Murple, Opus Avantra, Procession, Quella Vecchia Locanda, Saint Just and Samadhi; whilst the Baltic Sea was encircled with treasures from Germany (Altona, Cobraa, Demon Thor, Emergency, Harmonia, Kunstkopfindianer, Metropolis, Satin Whale, Spektakel, Tortilla Flat), Sweden (Ablution, Energy, Lotus, Neon Rose, Pandora, Saga, Samla Mammas Manna, Trettioariga Kriget), Norway (Crossbreeze, Folque, Høst, Karin Krog, Ruphus), Finland (Kaseva, Nimbus, Wigwam, Juice Leskinen, Jukka Tolonen), Denmark (Dr. Dopo Jam, Mads Vinding Group, Ramasjang, Secret Oyster) and Poland (Czeslaw Niemen, Halina Frąckowiak, Michal Urbaniak). The French were jagged (Albert Marcoeur, Heldon, Laurence Vanay, Nemo, Speed Limit, Visitors) and the Belgians jazzy (Cos, Kandahar, Open Sky Unit, Placebo), whilst Spaniards anticipated their big springtime (Canarios, Eduardo Bort, Fusioon, Cánovas Rodrigo Adolfo y Guzmán).
The North American muse ranged from lavish (David Werner, Gino Vannelli, James Newton Howard, Phoebe Snow, Rupert Holmes) to legato (Atmospheres, Birthright, Eleventh House, John Abercrombie, Viola Crayola); vivacious (Carmen, Brett Smiley, Jobriath, Orchestra Luna, The Spirit of Christmas) to virtuosic (Atlantis Philharmonic, Dillinger, Kansas, Lift, Utopia); seismic (Axcraft, Bloody Mary, Hydra, Primevil, Starfire) to serene (Gift, Kevin Vicalvi, Pete Fine, Ptarmigan, Window). Tunesmiths filled the head (Hall & Oates, Peter Ivers, Robert Lamm, Steely Dan, Tim Moore), funksters shook the body (The Blackbyrds, B.T. Express, Graham Central Station, Ohio Players, The Round Robin Monopoly) and divas freed the soul (Labelle, Syreeta, Gloria Scott, Millie Jackson, Minnie Riperton).
The Southern hemisphere sizzled, from below the Amazon (A Barca do Sol, Arnaldo Baptista, Assim Assado, Flora Purim, Jaime Alem & Nair Cândia, Moto Perpétuo, Secos e Molhados, Som Nosso De Cada Dia) to beyond the outback (Ayers Rock, Chris Neal, Kush, Mackenzie Theory, Madder Lake, Paul Gaffey, Sherbet, Snakes Alive).
And Quebec ultimately rose upon the map with the astounding world-class talents of Aut’chose, Beau Dommage, Caramel Mou, Contraction, Harmonium, Le Match, Mahogany Rush, Morse Code, Octobre, Offenbach, Toubabou and Ville Emard Blues Band.
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