In the early 1970's record prices in the UK were pretty much fixed. If you wanted to buy a full priced LP, you knew exactly how much you would have to pay. It was therefore very tempting to buy anything which was priced substantially below full price, regardless of whether or not you had even heard of the band. Bands such as Can, Gong, Faust, ELP, Pink Floyd, etc. all released budget priced albums around this time. Usually these were either live albums, or studio recordings which were not deemed to be worthy of inclusion on "proper" albums. The budget priced releases were intended both to satisfy existing fans and to tempt others to try out the band. Unfortunately, the questionable quality of many of these albums ("The Faust Tapes" being a prime example) meant that in a number of cases, casual listeners were actually put off the bands. ("Faust 4" was subsequently marketed with the slogan "very commercial" in an effort to redress some of the damage done by "The Faust tapes"!) Not all were bad, in the case of ELP and Pink Floyd for example, those releases are of course now classics.
"Live in London" by Amon Duul II was a budget priced album released in 1973, and costing less than a pound (full priced albums around then were about 3 pounds). Unlike a lot of the others, "Live in London" was actually good. The recording quality is not that great, but the quality of the music does come through well. Starting with the blistering "Archangels Thunderbird", reminiscent of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant song", the casual listener's attention is immediately caught. Renate Knaup-Krotenschwanz's (love the name!) vocals are something of an acquired taste, sounding a bit like Jon Anderson on helium, but instrumentally the band are tight, and entertaining. The vibrato effect is overdone at times, and can become a bit irritating. I suspect some of the audience at the gig must have had tinnitus for days afterwards.
"Improvisation", which closes side one, finds the band suddenly in full Tangerine Dream mode. Presumably the rest of the band had a comfort break while Falk-U Rogner (is that his real name!?) dabbled with his keyboard effects.
The track titles on side 2 are as entertaining as the music. "A short stop at the Transylvanian brain surgery" and "Dehypnotised toothpaste" give an idea of numerous titles to chose from (13 in all!). The final track, "Race from here to your ears" is a lovely, almost ballad track which builds to a storming climax reminiscent of Uriah Heep's live "Circle of hands" ending, and complementing beautifully the opening "Archangels thunderbird".
The album sold well in the UK almost due entirely to the price, but those who bought it must have been impressed by the musicianship and originality on show. Perhaps however the music was not quite accessible enough to tempt the new and inquisitive audience to buy the band's subsequent releases in any great numbers. An album very much of it's time, but enjoyable anyway. AMON DÜÜL II Live in London music reviews and MP3
Songs / Tracks Listing 1. Archangels Thunderbird (3:07)
2. Eye Shaking King (6:24)
3. Soap Shop Rock (7:42)
4. Improvisation (3:40)
5. Syntelman's March Of The Roaring Seventies (8:08)
- a. Pull Down Your Mask
- b. Prayer To The Silence
- c. Telephonecomplex
6. Restless Skylight-Transistor Child (8:42)
- a. Landing In A Ditch
- b. Dehypnotized Toothpaste
- c. A Short Stop At The Transylvanian Brain Surgery
7. Race From Here To Your Ears (5:06)
- a. Little Tornados
- b. Riding On A Cloud
- c. Paralized Paradise
Total Time: 42:49
Line-up / Musicians - John Weinzierl / guitars, vocals
- Lothar Meid / bass and vocals
- Chris Karrer / guitar, violin, soprano sax
- Falk-U. Rogner / organ, synthesizer
- Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz / vocals
- Daniel Fichelscher / drums
- Peter Leopold / drums
Amon Düül II - Race from here to your ears (Live in London 1973)
Amon Düül II - Archangels Thunderbird (Live in London 1973)