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Thread: Arista favorites

  1. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by bRETT View Post
    The Church-- Priest/Aura
    Dammit! How could I forget the Church? BTW, the actual title is Priest=Aura. The band had an amazingly good run on Arista, especially given their displeasure over the circumstances that Starfish and Gold Afternoon Fix were done (i.e. recorded in LA, with label chosen producers, and in the case of the latter, specifically, the label refusing to let them work with John Paul Jones because somehow they didn't think they'd be able to market "Aussie rockers, with a US top hit under their belts, works with ex-Zeppelin bassist"). The fourth album Arista issued, Somewhere Anytime, was decent too, though the loss of Peter Koppes could be felt just a bit.

    And Arista had the decency to reissue their first four albums and a couple EP's (though they punked out on the majority of the non-album stuff), for the new American fans who had to play catch up in the wake of the success of Under The Milky Way.

    Thompson Twins-- Into the Gap
    I'd add Quick Step And Side Kick, also.


    Dishonorable mention for the two worst albums by the Allman Brothers Band.
    Reach For The Sky was...not bad, it had some good songs, but some dumb production decisions (really?! Synthesizers?! On an Allman Brothers record?!). Brothers Of The Road, that one I never actually heard. Dickey Betts said once that "We made two albums for Clive Davis. The first one was alright, but the other one wasn't worth a...ya know". I was gonna point out that out of all the times I saw the Allman Brothesr Band (something like 8 or 9 times), I never saw them do anything off Brothers From The Road or Reach For The Sky. For that matter, they never played anything off the first reunion album, Enlightened Rogues, either. It was always songs from the six albums, or the Epic era records (and I guess those last couple times, there were things off Hittin' The Note, also).

  2. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by bRETT View Post
    Monty Python-- Matching Tie & Handkerchief (US only)
    With the fun double grooved side.

  3. #28
    Ya know, I forgot The Outlaws were on Arista too. Certainly the first album, and Bring It Back Alive (the only two of their albums I really know) are bona fide classics.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by interbellum View Post
    David Sancious & Tone: Dance Of The Age Of Enlightenment
    I thought that was never officially released?
    Great album, btw, the epitome of symphonic fusion.

  5. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    That Szobel release is simply astounding!

    Thx to Ken Golden for reissuing this sucker on CD; certainly one of the most genuinely eccentric yet virtuosic US progressive/fusion albums from the latter half of the 70s.
    Personally I fail to see itís greatness. Perhaps because Iím not that fond of guitar driven fusion. Of course hear itís quirkier than most standard fusion but I still have a hard time finding anything that really catches my attention.

  6. #31
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by interbellum View Post
    Based on the Yacht-rock thread, in which the Arista-label was mentioned, I thought it would be nice to see what peoples favorites of this label are.
    The owner Clive Davis created Arista when he got fired/removed from Columbia/CBS's jazz label, so I would never doubt his talent to produce jazz and fusion so stuff like Brecker, Sancious, Dregs, Gil Scott-Heron, 11th House, Waldron, Shepp, etc... so the jazz section should be out of bonds.

    My comment in the thread was about the rock/pop domain, and having a quick look down the RYM list, the clear (but rare) artistic success would be Patti Smith (had no idea, actually) and to a lesser extent HTM, but it's almost as they didn't believe in that band, since they didn't promote them.

    I still think that Arista (rock/pop) should be considered as one of the worse offender and purveyor of soft/yacht rock and other easy-listening crap.

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    I've got the two Camel albums that were released on Arista,
    I have one Caravan album they released, Blind Dog At St Dunstan's,
    Most of the Grateful Dead studio albums they put out had their moments. Go To Heaven is really the only one I'd flush.
    The Dead's Terrapin Station is indeed on Arista (their first on that label), but I'd like to think they were still on a roll and inertia from the Flood/Allah streak, which were on GD/UA. They would sink deep with Shakedown Street and Go To Heaven, which are a lot more "Arista-sounding" to my ears

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    Only in Europe. The original U.S. releases were on Arista.
    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    These albums were first released on vinyl, and Arista was one of the labels.

    Hope this helps clear up the confusion.
    https://www.discogs.com/Camel-Breathless/master/33629
    https://www.discogs.com/Camel-I-Can-...e/master/33644
    To be fair, one should look at albums that were produced by Arista, not just distributed by them through a business deal.

    I'm not an expert, but I don't think the afore-mentionned Camel albums and the St Dunstan were produced by Arista (RYM says BTM, though Better By Far would be by Arista), but just pressed & distributed statesides.

    What I meant about the "Arista-effect" is exactly what happened to Caravan with the atrocious BBF album.
    Last edited by Trane; 2 Days Ago at 09:24 AM.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  7. #32

  8. #33
    Originally Posted by interbellum View Post
    David Sancious & Tone: Dance Of The Age Of Enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by Gravedigger View Post
    I thought that was never officially released?
    Great album, btw, the epitome of symphonic fusion.
    You're right. It had a catalogue number I believe (Arista AL 4130 (1977)) and just before it was about to released Arista wanted something more commercial. This nice article on this (and other Sancious-albums) explains this:
    https://dereksmusicblog.com/2019/08/...ght-have-been/
    The liner notes of the BGO-compilation of Ture Stories and Just As I Thought from 2016 also tells this story.
    The CD was eventually released by the Tachika-label.
    In a recent interview with iO Pages Sancious told he might consider a remastered version of the album in the future.

  9. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by pepetriano View Post
    Personally I fail to see it’s greatness. Perhaps because I’m not that fond of guitar driven fusion. Of course hear it’s quirkier than most standard fusion but I still have a hard time finding anything that really catches my attention.
    No guitar on the Szobel album, any chance you're thinking of something else?

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    The owner Clive Davis created Arista when he got fired/removed from Columbia/CBS's jazz label, so I would never doubt his talent to produce jazz and fusion so stuff like Brecker, Gil Scott-Heron, 11th House, Waldron, Shepp, etc... so the jazz section should be out of bonds.

    My comment in the thread was about the rock/pop domain, and having a quick look down the RYM list, the clear (but rare) artistic success would be Patty Smith (had no idea, actually) and to a lesser extent HTM, but it's almost as they didn't beliebve in that band, since they didn't promote them.

    I still think that Arista (rock/pop) should be considered as one of the worse offender and purveyor of soft/yacht rock and other easy-listening crap.



    The Dead's Terrapin Station is indeed on Arista (their first on that label), but I'd like to think they were still on a roll and inertia from the Flood/Allah streak, which were on GD/UA. They would sink deep with Shakedown Street and Go To Heaven, which are a lot more "Arista-sounding" to my ears





    To be fair, one should look at albums that were produced by Arista, not just distributed by them through a business deal.

    I'm not an expert, but I don't think the afore-mentionned Camel albums and the St Dunstan were produced by Arista (RYM says BTM, though Better By Far would be by Arista), but just pressed & distributed statesides.

    What I meant about the "Arista-effect" is exactly what happened to Caravan with the atrocious BBF album.
    I was just having fun doing a search of what bands albums were on Arista, not the definitive nor final answer I guess.
    I went on Disogs and checked the labels which the vinyl was listed on and Arista was listed.
    So, I'm not really concerned if it's fair or not. I think I should still get an A in the course. lol
    Soundcloud page: Richard Hermans, musical meanderings https://soundcloud.com/precipice Bandcamp: https://richardhermans.bandcamp.comYouTube: https://youtu.be/F34jl6fQVmA

  11. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post

    My comment in the thread was about the rock/pop domain, and having a quick look down the RYM list, the clear (but rare) artistic success would be Patty Smith (had no idea, actually) and to a lesser extent HTM, but it's almost as they didn't beliebve in that band, since they didn't promote them.

    I still think that Arista (rock/pop) should be considered as one of the worse offender and purveyor of soft/yacht rock and other easy-listening crap. .

    They were all over the map. Barry Manilow was their first signing (actually inherited from Bell when Clive Davis bought it), but Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Patti Smith came soon after. And R&B was one of their main calling cards too.

    But heck, I like the Bay City Rollers.

  12. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    My comment in the thread was about the rock/pop domain, and having a quick look down the RYM list, the clear (but rare) artistic success would be Patty Smith (had no idea, actually) and to a lesser extent HTM, but it's almost as they didn't beliebve in that band, since they didn't promote them.
    I believe, the last time I brought up that "I can't believe Happy The Man were on Arista", the explanation given was that one of the A&R guys working for Clive at the time had an interesting in getting them to do sci-fi movie soundtracks. That actually sort of makes sense. There were a lot of low budget sci-fi and horror type flicks in the 70's that used rock music or synth based scores, so I can sort of someone saying "Hey, this band's music would work really well in a low budget movie". Too bad that never got developed, they could have been on the vanguard of the "rock music movie soundtrack" trend (as exemplified by pictures like Flash Gordon, Heavy Metal, and Rock & Rule).
    I still think that Arista (rock/pop) should be considered as one of the worse offender and purveyor of soft/yacht rock and other easy-listening crap.
    All the major labels churned that stuff out, though. It's not like Clive Davis was sort of Josef Mengele of music or something. Truth is, that was the stuff that sold the best, so it makes sense they'd go in the MOR "not too hard, not too soft" direction.

    The thing about Arista was, and maybe this is was another thing all those labels did, was trying to take veteran artists and repackage them for "today's audience". So you had producers who had worked with Fleetwood Mac and Foreigner trying to squeeze that hit single out of the Grateful Dead (I guess we should be thankful Clive didn't make 'em work with Roy Thomas Baker or Mutt Lange), you had synthesizers on Allman Brothers Band records, and making the Church record in L.A. (at least that actually generated a hit single).

    The Dead's Terrapin Station is indeed on Arista (their first on that label), but I'd like to think they were still on a roll and inertia from the Flood/Allah streak, which were on GD/UA. They would sink deep with Shakedown Street and Go To Heaven, which are a lot more "Arista-sounding" to my ears
    I've lately been given to believe that some of the stories that have been told about Terrapin Station might have been exaggerated or in fact not even true. For instance, I have it on good authority that Keith Olsen did not erase Mickey Hart's timbale solo on Terrapin Flyer, regardless of what Mickey said. It's a good record, particularly side two and Sunrise. The rest of the album sounded better live, though. And they really should have swapped out that version of Dancing In The Street in favor of Equinox.

    Shakedown Street is good, you got a little more of the disco thing on Shakedown Street itself, and there's a couple other good songs on there.

    Go To Heaven is the one I really never really bother with. That was a mistake.

    Then you got the two live albums. I've always reckoned Dead Set was a real debacle. You're making a Dead live album, it's been 6 years since the last Dead live album was recorded, there's a whole long list of songs that should be on this record but aren't (including, but not limited to, Terrapin Station, Estimated Prophet, Scarlet Begonias, Let It Grow, Lazy Lightning/Supplication, and Shakedown Street itself). But I've also heard the suggestion that maybe, once again, Clive (or one of his henchmen) was perhaps hoping to pull a Kiss Alive or Frampton Comes Alive sized hit off by pushing the big epic jamming numbers (really, the whole point of a Grateful Dead live album) in favor of a bunch of shorter tunes.

    Reckoning is considered a classic by a lot of fans, but I don't like it. It's good if you like 'Grateful Dead as a jug band" (and yes, I know they started as a jug band), but that's about it. As usual, too many damn covers. The original songs sound great, it's too bad they couldn't do more original material, or include more of the original stuff that was played during those shows (some of which got a belatedly release on the bonus disc that came with the deluxe version of the album).

    Then comes what I think were the two best Arista era Dead albums, In The Dark and Built To Last. The band finally talked Clive into letting to make an album "their way", and lo and behold, the top 10 hit appears! Clive likes to talk about how millions of units he sold with the Dead, but he doesn't tell you all that unit shifting when he finally got out of the way and let the man make a record without worrying about that dren.
    Last edited by GuitarGeek; 2 Days Ago at 01:46 PM.

  13. #38
    Member StarThrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by interbellum View Post
    Dixie Dregs: Dregs Of The Earth
    Unsung Heroes, Industry Standard, all three re-issued on a BGO 2 CD set.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    That Szobel release is simply astounding!

    Thx to Ken Golden for reissuing this sucker on CD; certainly one of the most genuinely eccentric yet virtuosic US progressive/fusion albums from the latter half of the 70s.
    Thanks! The process of doing the reissue was different than any other project I worked on. For one thing the artist was not available for input. Michael J. Viseglia was kind enough to write liner notes. He had direct insight into the recording and Szobel. There were some juicy bits we had to leave out. If I ever write my book I’ll include them.

    Supposedly Hermann Szobel is still alive and moving around parts of Europe and the Middle East. Perhaps he will resurface one day.

  15. #40
    The Outlaws' first run of albums. All excellent - Hurry Sundown being my favourite.

  16. #41
    Re: Happy The Man

    In Abbey Road To Ziggy Stardust producer Ken Scott writes the following (p. 291):
    I had first met and befriended Roger Birnbaum when he was an A&R guy at A&M, but when the company started to lose its family feel he moved to Arista. He called me one day and said, "I think I have a band that would be perfect for you." I trusted his judgement and so had the label fly me over to a small town in Viriginia to see a band play live at a hole-in-the-wall called The Cellar Door, and I fell in love with them. They were Happy The Man. The band was fascinating in that they were American but had a very English sound. While Supertramp has sometimes been described as a "prog-rock" band (a tag that I've never quite understood), HTM was probably as prog-rock as they came. Their influences were all English bands, although they were all instrumental except for one vocal track, by no means my favourite track. (...) Of course Arista had no idea how to market a band like HTM, so the first album (called Happy the Man didn't sell very much. They liked what we did enough to take a chance on a second album though. (...) HTM and I did a couple of albums together and they unfortunately both died completely in the marketplace because, as previously stated, Arista just didn't know how to handle that type of music. Why they signed them in the first place, I'll never know, but they were an amazing band and it's just such a shame that most people have never heard of them.

  17. #42
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bRETT View Post
    They were all over the map. Barry Manilow was their first signing (actually inherited from Bell when Clive Davis bought it), but Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Patti Smith came soon after. And R&B was one of their main calling cards too.
    I'd dissociate Patti from Lou & Iggy... Patti started on Arista, whereas the other two were transfuges and Arista +/- fucked them up with weak albums (ok, not totally the label's fault either). I mean outside the double live album, the rest of Lou's album are not exactly up to the waist of his earlier solo album. Ditto for Iggy's early 80's albums.

    With Patti, it was an all-different thing, IMHO. Almost inexplicacably they "made" Patti Smith. Even the label is probably not sure how they managed that.

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    The thing about Arista was, and maybe this is was another thing all those labels did, was trying to take veteran artists and repackage them for "today's audience". So you had producers who had worked with Fleetwood Mac and Foreigner trying to squeeze that hit single out of the Grateful Dead (I guess we should be thankful Clive didn't make 'em work with Roy Thomas Baker or Mutt Lange).
    yup, thanx for bringing that up

    Quote Originally Posted by the ferret View Post
    The Outlaws' first run of albums. All excellent - Hurry Sundown being my favourite.
    their countryish-southern rock was not my thing (just two songs I liked: Green Grass and Ghost Rider), but yeah, I can see it as a non Yacht/AOR "Arista success"

    But then again, The Outlaws don't really fit the Arista image, IMHO.

    Quote Originally Posted by interbellum View Post
    Re: Happy The Man

    In Abbey Road To Ziggy Stardust producer Ken Scott writes the following (p. 291):

    HTM and I did a couple of albums together and they unfortunately both died completely in the marketplace because, as previously stated, Arista just didn't know how to handle that type of music. Why they signed them in the first place, I'll never know,
    I'm really not surprised (as I mentionned in my first post)... at all. They don't fit the Arista roster.
    Yes, I give Arista the credit to find them, but also the discredit of "killing" them, by not doing what needed to be done.
    It's all the more incomprehensible that they had plenty of jazzy acts on the other side of the label (Brecker, Sancious, Dregs, 11th House) - though arguably, none achieved a huge success, either. But if HTM had reached those act's level, it might've changed my view of them.
    Last edited by Trane; 2 Days Ago at 10:03 AM.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  18. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    I'd dissociate Patti from Lou & Iggy... Patti started on Arista, whereas the other two were transfuges and Arista +/- fucked them up with weak albums (ok, not totally the label's fault either). I mean outside the double live album, the rest of Lou's album are not exactly up to the waist of his earlier solo album. Ditto for Iggy's early 80's albums.
    .
    A spotty era for Lou to be sure, but I think lots of fans would call "Street Hassle" a career peak. (And according to the DeCurtis bio, it's the only one Clive Davis was really happy with). Iggy only did three fr Arista, also spotty but New Values and Soldier are enormous fun. (And in a sort-of prog connection, the latter has a member of XTC on it).

  19. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    they had plenty of jazzy acts on the other side of the label (Brecker, Sancious, Dregs, 11th House) - though arguably, none achieved a huge success, either. But if HTM had reached those act's level, it might've changed my view of them.
    It's wort noting that the reason The Dregs ended up on Arista was because Arista apparently bought out Capricorn Records when it was floundering, and as such, "inherited" everyone who was still signed to Capricorn. This is why the Allmans, Dregs, and Sea Level all ended up releasing albums on Arista in the early 80's. I don't know Sea Level at all, but in the case of the Allmans and The Dregs, there was an effort to "modernize" their sound, or at least move them more toward the middle of the road. In the case of the Dregs, that meant shortening the band's name from Dixie Dregs to simply The Dregs, and adding a vocalist on a couple songs on the last album they did for Arista.

  20. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    It's all the more incomprehensible that they had plenty of jazzy acts on the other side of the label (Brecker, Sancious, Dregs, 11th House) - though arguably, none achieved a huge success, either. But if HTM had reached those act's level, it might've changed my view of them.
    FWIW, those four acts had some level of fame due to records or sideman work on other labels.

  21. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    It's all the more incomprehensible that they had plenty of jazzy acts on the other side of the label (Brecker, Sancious, Dregs, 11th House) - though arguably, none achieved a huge success, either. But if HTM had reached those act's level, it might've changed my view of them.
    Read that line a couple of time, but still not sure what to make of it. Maybe Arista didn't do a good job on the promotional side, but they hired Ken Scott, who produced two fine albums of high standard. For me HTM reached the same artistic level as Sancious.

  22. #47
    I think he meant only commercial success.

  23. #48
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    FWIW, those four acts had some level of fame due to records or sideman work on other labels.
    granted



    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by interbellum View Post
    Read that line a couple of time, but still not sure what to make of it. Maybe Arista didn't do a good job on the promotional side, but they hired Ken Scott, who produced two fine albums of high standard. For me HTM reached the same artistic level as Sancious.
    I think he meant only commercial success.
    absolutely
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  24. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    granted





    absolutely
    Okť, thanks.

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