Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Weed - Weed...! (1971 outstanding German hard guitar driven blaster feat. Ken Hensley, 2008 reissue - MP3 320K and FLAC)

The only album by the act, Weed, plays a special role among the more obscure releases by German rock acts from the seventies.

The unconventional music produced by this short-lived project has to be seen within the context of the German music scene of that time, still looking for its own identity, experimenting with a diversity of curious stylistic directions.

The emphatic press release published by the group's record company, Phonogram, in Hamburg in spring 1971 sounds as enigmatic from today's point of view as the music on Weed.

Under the heading of "Weed - German Pop Group with Unconventional Sound", Phonogram released the following message: "Although German bands are increasingly sought-after, it's still an exception for records by German pop musicians to become an international success.

The Witch accomplished this feat. The drummer on this recording was Peet Becker (these days drummer with Weed), and seeing that it has earned gold in the meantime it is no surprise that Peet Becker is referred to as "the drummer with the golden arm."

Which is why each recording by the new band, Weed, deserves our attention: Peet Becker is the rhythmic backbone of this act, and wherever Peet Becker mans the drumkit ...! Watch out for the LP, Weed (Philips 6305 096)!!

Yet the record company left out the most illustrious member of the project. Consciously or unsuspectingly - impossible to say in hindsight. Neither drummer Peet Becker nor the Virus members Reinhold Spiegelfeld, Bernd Hohmann and Werner Monka were the stars of the recordings, but Ken Hensley, frontman and one of the main songwriters with Uriah Heep.

Hensley not only contributed the vocals, but also keyboards and guitars to an album that was referred as a mix "Guru Guru and Status Quo" by the British music press, mentioned in the same breath with acts such as Spermüll, Reaction and Tiger B. Smith - all of them German acts who proved to be part of a Krautrock division specialising mainly in British influences.

A little earlier, Hensley had headed a similarly unusual undertaking, the album Orgasm (1969) by his equally short-lived project, The Head Machine, using the time between the two Uriah Heep recordings Salisbury (1970) and Look At Yourself (1971) to refill his permanently empty bank account.

"Both projects, The Head Machine as well as Weed, were simply songs for money," Hensley was to confess later. "People I knew needed songs, and I needed money. There was little, if any, emotional involvement from my side. But it helped to pay the rent, and i learned a lot this way. I wouldn't call them the crowning moments of my career, but somehow they have become valuable in their own right."

Collectors of this rare LP agree. Weed were a short-lived phenomenon, even if Phonogram showered the offering with premature praise: "One day, the Weed LP will have pop-historical value because it documents how a group of talented musicians found common ground, delivering in their first recording a very promising production with its very own sound", the press officer enthused.

"It's obvious that we can expect a wealth of new impulses from them. Slowin' Down is a heavy rock number; Before I Die is marked mainly by its rhythmic presence; Sweet Morning Light proves that Weed are also experts at slow, heavy numbers; Lonely Ship focuses on the acoustic guitar; and My Dream incorporates classical influences (special praise for the piano!).

Then there's the track Weed, an instrumental through and through. It was conceived in a session, almost on a whim, but already shows the course that the group is likely to embark on. Which means that they have an ace up their sleeve already."

Although short (only about 33 minutes), it features some of his finest songwriting, vocals, guitar wizardry and keyboard playing. If you can find it, get it!

Weed - Slowin' Down:

Tracks list:
01. Sweet Morning Light (05':50")
02. Lonely Ship (03':16")
03. My Dream (06':34")
04. Slowin' Down (04':34")
05. Before I Die (03':47")
06. Weed (07':14")

*Peet Becker - drums
*Reinhold Spiegelfeld - bass
*Bernd Hohman - flute, vocals
*Werner Monka - guitar
*Reiner Schnelle - keyboards
*Ken Hensley - vocals, guitar, keyboards

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