Function – Play It Maestro

Play It Maestro
1982 Lion & Lamb Records (LLC1068)

Lars Ludwigson – Vocals, Fender Rhodes, Micromoog, Yamaha CP 70, piano, Minimoog, Hammond B3
Claes Hilliges – Hammond B3, clavinet, Minimoog, Yamaha CP 70, piano
Per Furberg – Guitar
Sam Bengtsson – Bass guitar
Stefan Wågsjö – Drums, violin, piccolo trumpet

Side 1:

  1. Queen of Nothing
  2. Unborn Child
  3. Bigcityblues
  4. Play It Maestro

Side 2:

  1. Life is Not a Passing Dream
  2. The Old Man’s Word
  3. The Beast and the King
  4. I Was Walking Through the Gardens of the Night
  5. The King is Alive

Interesting mix of Jazz and Prog Rock from this Swedish band that sings in English. Sometimes it feels like they are a bit mellow, but then they hit a nice progressive influence and they pull back from veering into elevator music land. Apparently, their attempt at fusing jazz and prog didn’t go over well with public at the time, as there are reports that multiple copies were left unsold in many bookstores. However, those same reports are people that have come to love it later. Gotta say, I’m not necessarily a huge fan of the two styles they mix here, but I do enjoy this tape. Also released on vinyl back in the day.

Talking Drums – Courage EP

Talking Drums
Courage EP
1982 Sticky Music (GUM 005)
2018 Dark Entries Records
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Carol Moore – Lead vocals, percussion
Charlie Irvine – Lead guitar, backing vocals
Dot Irvine – Keyboards, backing vocals, maracas
Stewart McEwan – Bass
Derek Clark – Drums
Malcolm ‘Hyper’ Duffin – Congas

Produced Steve Butler

  1. Courage
  2. Parasuicide
  3. Descartes Lives
  4. Lost in the 20th Century

This is not a tape I have, but one of the members of the band commented that this ep was recently released – so I had to track it down. I believe that at least one or more of the tracks on here were only released on this ep. I listened to this on Spotify, but Dark Entries Records have re-issued it on vinyl or digital versions elsewhere. The title track is an extended mix of “Courage” with horns and congas added. The sound here is alternative rock/new wave/indie pop from the early 80s. The bonus track is from their 1982 demo Fighting to the Finish, but I don’t know if the other tracks are or not. A cool piece of history that turned up finally – now if we could just get that 1982 demo out there as well 🙂

Timigen – Demo

1982 (no label)

  1. Song for Timigen
  2. Birth of Venus
  3. REO Speedwagon – High Infidelity
  4. Birth of Venus – reprise
  5. Song of Summer
  6. Chariots of Fire – Vangelis
  7. Inward Thoughts Displayed
  8. Coke (It’s the Real Thing)
  9. Keyboard Playtime
  10. Banshee (Hear the Cry)
  11. Running (007 Type)
  12. Mundane Joy
  13. Brothers of the Spirit

This is an interesting piece of underground music history – it is basically someone playing the piano for several songs, but that someone is also Scott, who was the person behind Dethdoor. He sent in a couple of tapes that were released in the underground (Dethdoor and Erin Peacechild), as well as several tapes of unreleased music. This is the first one in chronological order. It might not appeal to many people, but if you ever took piano lessons (like I did), you probably had some practice sessions like this. You would play through some songs that you knew, sometimes tinkering with them, sometimes making up some free-form notes that you ended up calling a song because you liked how it sounded. Makes me wish I had recorded some of my old practice sessions. So we will see where the progression goes from here – Dethdoor is very different from this 🙂 But due to my background with piano practice, I enjoy music like this.

Hank Laake – In the Spirit of the King

Hank Laake
In the Spirit of the King
1982 Tunesmith (C-6008)
Bellingham, Washington, USA

Hank Laake – Vocals, guitars, drums
Dan Brown – Guitars
Brian McVey – Guitars
Terry Fitzsimmons – Guitars, vocals
Carl Gauger – Bass
Phil Bair – Synthesizer
Joannie Larson – Synthesizer
Dean Stokka – Harmonica, Vocals
Diane Stokka – Maracas

Side 1: Enter… An Invitation

  1. Questions of the Seeker
  2. Check It Out
  3. Rock & Roll Away My Stone
  4. The Man Behind the Name
  5. Tonight’s the Night

Side 2: Abide… An Admonition

  1. In the Spirit of the King
  2. All I Want is You
  3. Return
  4. Serve to Lead

No offense to Hank, but his picture on the cover gives the impression of a “hip” youth leader from 1982 trying to do rock but recording mostly cheesy hymns. The music tells another story – this is the same hard rock that many other Tunesmith bands are known for. Push it more in a few directions and we would call it heavy metal today. Some of these songs would have been metal in 1982 (like the title track). But others are firmly in the rock camp, even by 1982 standards. I think maybe he went metal on at least one future release? This is not really a demo, but a full label release (at least, what counted as one in 1982 CCM circles). The tape I transferred had almost no information on it, so I pulled most of the details above off the inter-webs.

Scepter – The Scepter Tapes and Other Rarities​

The Scepter Tapes and Other Rarities​
2004 Hapi Skratch Records
Colorado, USA

Dave Beegle
Keith Rosenhagen
Fred Babich
Bob Burgett
Jim Iltis
Jeff Seaton
Jo Ellen Faruch

  1. Scepter Intro/Tuning Up
  2. Eye for Eye
  3. In a World
  4. Last Chance
  5. Straight From My Heart
  6. Meet Me There
  7. Against the Reds
  8. Memories of Love
  9. Falling Down
  10. Song About Television and Dogs
  11. Andy G. and Sadie D.
  12. Apocalypse When
  13. Bass Solo
  14. Flight of the Bumble Beegle
  15. The Classical Song
  16. Take It All the Way
  17. Memories

This was an interesting collection I found  on BandCamp while searching for Fourth Estate information. There are other bands called Sceptre and Holy Scepter that are not related to this band. This is the band where the members of Fourth Estate met. It seems they went their separate ways for a bit after Scepter, and then three of them came back together to form Fourth Estate. This is a collection of tracks from Scepter and various other recording sources in the mid-80s. The sound is more metal than Fourth Estate, and with vocals. A picture in the liner notes indicated this band opened for Stryper at one time, and you can see why. I still prefer Fourth Estate, but this is an interesting look at their beginnings. Of course, you can listen to the whole thing on BandCamp (embedded below). You can also find the complete liner notes and band story scanned on Discogs, but here are a few notes about the songs:

  • Tracks 1-9 are “The Scepter Tapes” (tracks 1-4 are listed as 1983, 7-9 are 1984)
  • Tracks 10-17 are “And Other Rarities”
  • Tracks 10-12 were written and performed by Jim Iltis in 1986
  • Track 13 was written and performed by Fred Babich in 1986
  • Track 14 was arranged and performed by Dave Beegle in 1981: “This was the piece that got Dave an audition with Kiss when Ace got the boot from the band”
  • Track 15 was written and performed by Dave Beegle in 1981
  • Tracks 16-17 were written and performed by Dave Beegle and JoEllen Faruch in 1982

Rescue – Jesus is the Truth / Get Right

Jesus is the Truth / Get Right (7″)
1982 Maranatha Multimedia
Detroit, Michigan, USA

Rick Craven – Lead vocals, guitar, synthesizer
Andy Howard – Bass

Other possible members:
Fred Covyeau – Guitar
Vince Covyeau – Drums
Mark Spaulding – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Jesus Is the Truth

Side 2:

  1. Get Right

This mysterious band popped up on an eBay auction and then disappeared just as quickly. Very little information about them out there, and the single had very little on it other than who wrote the two songs (Rick on both, Andy joining him on the second). Only those two members were mentioned on this single, but a 6 song ep from the next year (called 2000 Years Later) might have had some of the same players (so they are listed above as “possible”). The first track is punk rock heavily influenced by early Misfits. It’s fast, punkish, and in your face. The vocalist is doing a very credible early Glen Danzig crooner punk style. The songwriting is a bit less heavy than you will find by the Misfits, but still pretty close (Walk Among Us being the closest comparison). The second track is less punk and more hard rock. The guitars are still there, but the song is slower/definitely less punk than the first, and the vocalist sounds less like early Glenn Danzig and more like a hard rocker. But the song is still pretty heavy by 1982 Christian rock standards. Overall, a very impressive release that hardly anyone has heard. I would also doubt that the “Maranatha” in the music label is related to THE Maranatha music label of about the same time.

Missing Information: Who played what on this.