Friday, September 26, 2008


When the album "Rathbone Hotel" was released in 1976, three years had passed since the release of its predecessor "Catch a Singing Bird on the Road" (LHC 009). The band had not been idle in the meantime, quite the opposite; they provided music for television, stage productions and, most importantly for Improved Sound Limited, film music. Long Hair Music will re-release the remaining recordings step-by-step: film soundtracks, including music for Erwin Keusch’s "“Das Brot des Bäckers" and Wim Wender’s "Kings of the Road" (aka "Im Lauf der Zeit"), on CD 4, and television music and singles on CD 5 "The Rest of the Story".

Following the release of "Catch a Singing Bird on the Road" the band did not comply with their record company CBS’s request to act as a support band to larger acts for a year. Not because they weren’t prepared to do some hard work, but because they wanted to use the time more effectively, produce new material in the studio, travel, write songs and, of course, to further their studies.

This made more sense to the band than getting burned out in the expectations of possible success as a support band, night for night playing their songs to death to an audience focused on the music of the main band, only really interested in their favourite band playing their hits.

The album "Rathbone Hotel", available for the first time on CD, originally should have been recorded a year earlier. The new songs were written, arranged and some had even been recorded in CBS’s demo studio in Frankfurt. Following the death of Dieter Eberle, the A&R man responsible for Improved Sound Limited, they waited until his successor, the later Senior Vice President GSA and Managing Director of Sony Music, Jochen Leuschner, got things moving again. He played the demos to British producer David Hitchcock (Genesis, Nazareth, Camel, Caravan). He too was interested, contact was made, mutual sympathy and musical understanding established. So it came to pass that Improved Sound Limited worked for the first time with a producer who introduced his own ideas:

The band should go back to their roots, be less literary, eclectically complicated and "arty", find their strengths in simplicity and functionality, basically be more striking, pithy or simply catchier. The original idea of a concept album was ditched, however relicts or rudiments of it cannot be missed (e.g. in "Bound for Spain" and "Little Sue"), where they serve as acoustic brackets.

To increase the back-to-the-roots feeling technical gimmicks were avoided. They used "classic" instrument-amp combinations, e.g. Les Paul and Vox AC 30 (with the "muddy" sounding Celestion speakers), Telecaster and (the brilliant clanking) Twin Reverb, Fender Jazz Bass und Marshall stack, Hammond B-3 and original Leslies (with exotic wood bodies). After all, one mixes a Tequila Sunrise with classic ingredients and brand name spirits.

The Rathbone Hotel really exists. It is in London and the band lodged there in March 1976 while recording the LP in CBS Studios in Whitfield Street. Why is the building on the front of the cover not the Rathbone? Because the "Rathbone Hotel" should be a "Pars pro Toto", the gene-ric hotel that comes along for musicians and traveling salesmen to stay in...

It is no secret that the band was not too pleased about their renaming as "Condor" on CBS’s advice. The record company argued that in Anglo-American markets Improved Sound Limited would be mistaken as music publishers and not a rock formation. And why shouldn’t an artist perform under a pseudonym? Be that as it may, at least they narrowly managed to avoid the even worse name of "Colt...".

For the re-release of the album on CD it was the band’s explicit wish that this be done under their old "brand name". After all they haven’t changed personnel and even a guest musician from "Catch a Singing Bird on the Road" is here: Frank Baum, the pedal steel guitarist with the "Gran Ole Opry" experience. On "Old Mexico" there is a new guest, the viola player Geoffrey Richardson who has since played with, amongst others, the Penguin Café Orchestra, Rupert Hine, Murray Head, Paul Brady, Bob Geldof and in France with Elsa and Renaud.

Tracks :

1. Number One
2. Tularosa
3. Till 9 A.M.
4. If I Could Read Her Mind
5. Stray Cat
6. Old Mexico
7. Nothing´s Worrying Me No More
8. Little Sue
9. Suicide Road
10. Mortgage
11. Bound For Spain
12. Sonora

Link :

Ripped by : evermore blues
Artwork Included


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