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Fiddler’s Dram (UK): To See The Play (Dingle’s DIN-304, 1978)
Folk
Cathy Lesurf (lead vocals, percussion)
Fiddler’s Dram later became the Oyster Band and Cathy Lesurf later became the celebrated vocalist for the Albion Band, but on this pleasant debut they sound uncannily like Spriguns Of Tolgus. Most of the material is traditional, but this includes the original acoustic version of the irritating (despite some poignant lyrics) ‘Day Trip To Bangor’, which later gave them a huge hit single. GRADE: C+.
Fiddler’s Dram (UK): Fiddler’s Dram (Dingle’s DID 711, 1980)
Folk/Rock
Cathy Lesurf (principal vocals)
Adding electric guitar, synthesisers and drums, the band’s second and final album under their original name saw them moving from folk to full-blooded folk/rock with a few Brechtian edges. Overall it’s a solid example of the genre, peaking on the stunning ‘The Bad Girl’; on the downside, ‘Fedora’ takes them into cabaret territory, whilst ‘Day Trip To Bangor’ puts in a second appearance, this time in its hit single version. GRADE: C+.
See also Albion Band, Cathy Lesurf, Oyster Ceilidh Band

Fiedel Michel (West Germany): Nr 4 (Autogram ALLP-199, with booklet, 1975)
Folk
Elke Herold (occasional vocals, violin, flute, dulcimer), Monika Hawel (guitar)
This long-running band had already released an album and two EPs, but these were their first recordings with female musicians. Betraying few hints of their origins (aside from the German language vocals) it’s similar to the better releases on labels like Folk Heritage, offering some lovely, haunting folk ballads and instrumentals, with all-traditional material. GRADE: C+.
Fiedel Michel (West Germany): Der Teutsche Michel (Autogram ALLP 224, with booklet, 1976)
Folk
Elke Herold (occasional vocals, violin, flute)
In the same vein as its predecessor, this features some deft playing and emotional singing, meaning that both the songs and instrumentals work very well. GRADE: C+.
Fiedel Michel (West Germany): Live (Stockfisch SF 5008, with insert, 1976)
Folk
Elke Herold, Monika Hawel
This is easily their best album to date, with some beautiful ballads and a much higher proportion of female vocals. In fact, with a little more complexity and a few rock elements, it could have been a minor classic. GRADE: C+.
Fiedel Michel (West Germany): Von Zeit Zu Zeit (Stockfisch SF 5016, with insert, 1978)
Folk
Elke Herold, Monika Hawel
Despite the continued presence of two female members, this reverts to mostly male vocals. That’s a pity: the singing is perfectly good, but this never comes close to equalling the better moments from the live LP. GRADE: C+.
Fiedel Michel (West Germany): Fiedel Michel (Nature 0060.278, with inner, 1980)
Folk
Monika Marie Domin (occasional vocals, dulcimer, flute)
By this time, Fiedel Michel had acquired a new female singer and most of the members had started operating in parallel in side-project Falckenstein. Featuring six instrumentals and four songs, it marks a slight change to their usual modus operandi, and showcases some fairly intricate music. However, as usual, there are no rock elements, and the whole thing is rather short on excitement. GRADE: C+.
Fiedel Michel (West Germany): Kennst Du Das Land… (Nature 0060.376, with inner, 1981)
Folk
Monika Marie Domin (occasional vocals, guitar, dulcimer)
Their last album is in a similar style to its predecessor, again with a fairly even mix of songs and instrumentals, but is better all round. The songs are in more of a singer/songwriter direction and suitably wistful, whilst the instrumentals vary between the beautiful and the lively, with the excellent ‘In Senden Der Löwe Los’ taking them close to folk/rock. As a footnote, this was recorded in Dublin, with members of the Dubliners helping out. GRADE: C+.
See also Falckenstein

Fielded (USA): The Lord Reigns, Let The People Tremble (Catholic Tapes, cassette, 2009)
Progressive/Avant-Garde
Lindsay Powell
As the album title and label name make clear, this project by Ga’an leader Lindsay Powell has a definite liturgical feel. Quite different from Ga’an, it’s a hard LP to describe: minimalist, electronic and rather eerie, with some out-of-tune choirs but also a certain melodic sensibility, almost like Ligeti through an indie-pop prism. It’s all very lo-fi too, with a rather inconsequential feel, but it’s certainly interesting.

GRADE: C+
Fielded (USA): Terrageist (Catholic Tapes CTLP-001, with insert, 2010)
Progressive/Avant-Garde
Lindsay Powell
Pressed on marbled vinyl in a run of 300 copies, the second Fielded album builds on the sounds of their debut. Blending influences from new wave, experimental pop, folk and the avant-garde, with a few hints of zeuhl, the end result is minimalist and quite stark electronic music with some lush vocal textures. GRADE: C+.
Fielded (USA): Fielded And Alex Barnett (Nihilist Nihil 73, with insert, 2011)
Pop/New Wave/Progressive/Avant-Garde
Lindsay Powell
This split LP (with the second side going to Alex Barnett, who offers rather good instrumental synthesiser music) features three songs. The new wave and pop influences underpinning Fielded’s style become far more obvious here, with the lengthy ‘Horse’ sounding like a low-budget Kate Bush at one point. Whilst well done, this is probably less interesting than the previous two releases. GRADE: C+.
Fielded (USA): Ninety Thirty Thirty (Captcha HSBP-2X-043, CD, with digipak, 2012)
Pop/New Wave/Jazz/Progressive/Avant-Garde
Lindsay Powell (lead vocals, bass)
This is possibly the best of the Fielded albums, offering a broad range of material encompassing wide-ranging influences; the end results recall both Laurie Anderson and Kate Bush, without closely resembling either of them. GRADE: C+.
See also Cake Bake Betty, Festival, Ga’an

Fields & Shipley (USA): Fields And Shipley (Tiger Lily TL 14056 DJ, 1976)
Rock
Ellen Shipley
Like the Gordon album on Vertigo, this is rare and collectable because of its label more than its music. That’s not to say it’s bad: Steve Fields and Ellen Shipley deliver a pleasant set of mid-seventies pop/rock with a bit of a singer/songwriter feel. There’s even quite a bit of Mellotron on the opening ‘Hello Darkness’ and an unexpected folk number to close with a slight mediaeval flavour. GRADE: C+.
See also Ellen Shipley

Fife Reivers (UK): The Fife Reivers (Columbia SCX 6371, 1969)
Folk
Maureen Laing (joint lead vocals, percussion)
The combination of the band name and album sleeve made me expect some kind of horribly kitsch MOR Scottish folk excursion, and after picking up a copy cheaply I didn’t play it for years. How wrong I was. Admittedly, some of the songs fronted by Maureen Laing do have a slight MOR edge, but for the most part this is a lovely, understated folk/rock LP consisting mainly of very well-written songs by her husband Jim. However, the band’s real claim to fame was that the third member, son Russell, was only twelve when he played the lead guitar, banjo and mandolin parts and handled the arrangements for much of the album. Even at that age, he was a masterful musician, and it’s surprising that he didn’t go on to become another Bert Jansch or John Renbourn. GRADE: C+.

Fifty Foot Hose (USA): Cauldron (Limelight 86062, with inner, 1969)
Psychedelic/Avant-Garde
Nancy Blossom (principal vocals)
Fifty Foot Hose are usually mentioned in the same breath as United States Of America and White Noise, as all three were pioneers of electronic rock music. In reality, however, all were quite different: White Noise were basically electronic engineers and composers experimenting with musical textures, United States was an early progressive rock band using primitive synthesisers as a lead instrument, and Fifty Foot Hose were at heart a conventional heavy psychedelic rock band who added electronic screams and howls onto their songs (which often seem to have nothing to do with the rest of the music). If this makes them sound straighter and less interesting than their contemporaries, the opposite is true in practice: for me, the weird and unsettling Cauldron is top of the heap for both acid-rock and sixties avant-gardism. Highpoints include the eerie ‘If Not This Time’, with its forlorn multi-layered vocals, a strange reworking of ‘God Bless The Child’, the ten-minute freakout ‘Fantasy’ and the closing title track, a piece of pure experimentation that presages the work of bands like Throbbing Gristle and Nurse With Wound. Whilst this album certainly isn’t for everyone, those with adventurous ears should agree it’s one of the best releases from late sixties America. GRADE: A.
50 Foot Hose (USA): ……Live And Unreleased (Captain Trip CTCD-052, CD, Japan, 1995)
Psychedelic/Avant-Garde
Elizabeth Perry (lead vocals)
This isn’t really a reunion effort, as it features band leader Cork Marcheschi alongside a new line-up of musicians, but it’s amazingly faithful to the group’s original intentions. Mixing Cauldron numbers with new material, the set is occasionally a bit ponderous but frequently astounding, even if Elizabeth Perry’s harsher vocal style is no match for Nancy Blossom’s eerier tones. However, this is very definitely worth hearing. GRADE: B.
Fifty Foot Hose (USA): Sing Like Scaffold (Weasel Disc WD-19456, CD, 1999)
Avant-Garde
Elizabeth Perry (principal vocals)
Fifty Foot Hose’s second studio album builds on the sound of Cauldron’s title track, rather than the acid-rock or jazzy material to be found elsewhere. Largely instrumental, the disc combines burbling electronics with elements of musique concrète and a few twisted songs to create a genuinely unsettling sound. In its own way, this is every bit as original and challenging as their first, which is little short of amazing. GRADE: B.

Pauline Filby (UK): Show Me A Rainbow (Herald LLR 567, 1969)
Singer/Songwriter/Folk
Pauline Filby (lead vocals)
Anyone expecting a precursor to Filby’s excellent progressive folk album with Narnia is going to get an unpleasant surprise: this is coffee-house singer/songwriter fare, sounding a few years earlier than its release date. Blending elements of folk, jazz and (occasionally) blues, the songs are well-enough composed and performed but it’s all a bit detached and lukewarm, and Filby’s ringing, earnest vocals all too often put me in mind of Judith Durham of The Seekers. On the plus side, the four songs recorded with Gordon Giltrap are in a different league. GRADE: C.
See also Narnia

Fin-Int (West Germany): Fin-Int (Colorit 1 C 062-41 009, 1973)
Folk
Eva Maria Wessels (principal vocals)
With mainly self-penned material, this German band’s sole album consists of pleasant contemporary folk with backing from dual acoustic guitars and electric bass. Sometimes relaxed and sometimes lively, it’s a varied enough set and benefits significantly from a major label recording budget, but lacks the X-factor to make it really special. In fact, the best number is an instrumental with the addition of flute and what sounds like viola. GRADE: C+.

Final Fantasy (Japan): Vocal Collections I – Pray (Squaresoft PSCN-5006, CD, with obi, 1994)
Folk/Progressive
Hiroko Nagai (lead vocals)
Somewhat different from Nagai’s previous projects, this was the soundtrack to a computer game turned multimedia franchise. The musical style is best described as symphonic folk with something of a stage musical feel; very much the kind of music one could imagine Annie Haslam performing. With lyrics in a mixture of Japanese, English, French and Portuguese, the disc serves as an excellent showcase for Nagai’s beautiful voice. GRADE: C+.
Final Fantasy (Japan): Vocal Collections II – Love Will Grow (Squaresoft PSCN-5041, CD, with obi, 1995)
Folk/Progressive
Ikuko Noguchi (joint lead vocals), Hiroko Nagai (joint lead vocals)
This is not dissimilar from its predecessor and again closely resembles Annie Haslam. However there’s a more nostalgic feel to several tracks (most notably ‘Have You Ever Seen Me?’) which puts me very much in mind of Julverne’s Emballade. GRADE: C+.
See also Mr Sirius, Pageant

Heather Findlay (UK): The Phoenix Suite (Black Sand CDBSAND1, CD, 2011)
Rock
Heather Findlay (lead vocals, percussion)
Despite the lofty title, hinting at both an artistic renaissance and an ambitious concept album, Findlay’s solo debut is merely a 24-minute EP comprising five bluesy hard rock songs. With a slight alternative edge, the material is pretty good, but it’s hard to see why she felt the need to leave Mostly Autumn in order to issue this. A limited edition of 100 copies came with a cut-up section of Findlay’s original painting of the cover artwork. GRADE: C+.
Heather Findlay & Chris Johnson (UK): Live At The Café 68 (No label NAUTCD005, CD, 2012)
Folk
Heather Findlay (principal vocals, percussion)
Mixing new and familiar material, this sees Findlay performing live to an invited audience as half of an acoustic folk duo. It’s a pleasant and suitably intimate set, with the between-songs banter being as enjoyable as the music, but like its predecessor is ultimately pretty inconsequential. Attendees at the gig had access to a download with additional tracks. GRADE: C+.

Heather Findlay Band (UK): Songs From The Old Kitchen (Black Sand CDBSAND2, CD, 2012)

Folk/Rock

Heather Findlay (lead vocals, percussion), Angela Goldthorpe (harmonium, flute, clarinet)

This album features mainly acoustic re-recordings of old material, indicating that Findlay had learned much from her old band about making a few songs go a long way. It’s a lovely set with fine musicianship, but one wonders when she plans to issue a full album of new songs as a soloist. GRADE: C+.

Heather Findlay Band (UK): I Am Snow (Black Sand CDBSAND4, CD, with digipak, 2016)
Folk/Rock
Heather Findlay (lead vocals, guitar, percussion, recorder, whistle), Sarah Dean (keyboards, harp, recorder, backing vocals), Angela Goldthorpe (piano, flute, recorder, whistle, backing vocals)
This arrived in the post with an album from Anneke van Giersbergen, making me consider the parallels between the two artists. Both were major creative forces behind bands that had produced some fine music, yet since going solo neither had delivered anything of any significance. Here Findlay breaks the mould: with its crystalline acoustic guitars, harp, hand percussion and woodwind this is genuinely lovely stuff, blowing away the rather vague and dull album she made with Mantra Vega. Admittedly, not everything here is new – there are re-recordings of old Mostly Autumn songs plus an excellent cover of Sandy Denny’s ‘Winter Winds’ – but the album’s sheer quality is hard to deny. GRADE: B–.

Heather Findlay Trio (UK): Aces And Eights – A Night In The Saloon Bar (Black Sand DVDBSAND1, DVD, with digipak and booklet, 2018)
Folk
Heather Findlay (principal vocals, guitar, recorder, whistle), Sarah Dean (shaker, harp, recorder, backing vocals)
This isn’t quite Heather Findlay unplugged: her collaborator Martin Ledger plays electric guitar throughout. However, without a rhythm section, and performed without stage effects or dramatic lighting, it’s an intimate and fairly static performance. As such, it’s not the most thrilling performance visually, but at its best – ‘I Am Snow’ and three Mostly Autumn warhorses (‘Bitterness Burnt’, ‘Caught In A Fold’ and ‘Evergeen’) – the music is stunning and sometimes reminds me of Pererin. The other eleven songs aren’t in the same league, however. GRADE: C+.
Heather Findlay (UK): Wild White Horses (Black Sand CDBSAND006, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2019)
Singer/Songwriter/Folk/Country/Rock
Heather Findlay (principal vocals)
The big surprise with I Am Snow was that it was Findlay’s first really good release since leaving Mostly Autumn; the big surprise on hearing the first two songs here is that she’s gone country/rock, sounding like Stevie Nicks backed by the Heartbreakers. The rest is more varied, ranging from delicate folk to singer/songwriter stuff, though again with a more transatlantic flavour, and it’s all very well done. But the big question is: does this rank alongside I Am Snow or the better work by her former band? The simple answer is no. GRADE: C+.

Heather Findlay (UK): Live White Horses (Black Sand CDBSAND007, double CD, with gatefold minisleeve, 2020)
Rock
Heather Findlay (principal vocals, guitar, percussion, whistle)
Her cover of ‘Gold Dust Woman’ emphasises Stevie Nicks’s influence on her most recent album, which – as the title suggests – dominates this live set. However, whilst Findlay has achieved a powerful, swampy Nicks-like sound, her material isn’t in the same league: ‘Gold Dust Woman’ and a powerful ‘Caught Out In A Fold’ are the highpoints to a degree that can only be described as exponential. Nonetheless, this is a fine performance by any standard, and the second disc of oddities (bootleg-standard recordings of other gigs, acoustic versions and so on) provides a nice bonus. GRADE: C+.
See also Mostly Autumn, Odin Dragonfly

Fine Art (USA): Fine Art (Good 101578, 1978)
Rock/Metal/New Wave/Psychedelic
Kay Maxwell (joint lead vocals), Terri Paul (joint lead vocals)
Betwixt hard rock, new wave and acid-rock, this unusual band’s sole album at times reminds of everyone from Obelisk to Black Sabbath to Siouxsie & The Banshees. Most songs are notable for their growling fuzz guitar riffs, piercing leads and eloquent bass playing, and the band was unusually fronted by two female singers, one of whom reminds me of Anna Meek from Catapilla. Whilst there’s little or no variety here, it’s fascinating stuff, and far too interesting to be dismissed (as it often is) as mere ‘punk’. GRADE: B–.

Finisterre (Italy): In Limine (Mellow MMP 291, CD, 1996)
Progressive
Francesca Biagini (flute, backing vocals)
Individually, the elements of this symphonic prog album work quite well: some bombastic rock passages, a piano solo, a classical bit with strings and clarinet, some folky moments reminding me of Ithaca. But thrown together with jarring (rather than thrilling) shifts of mood and tempo and bolstered by a thin and unflattering production, it adds up to a great deal less than the sum of its parts. GRADE: C+.

See also Höstsonaten

Thomas Fink Trio & Beate Krause (West Germany): A Waltz For Bill (Workshop 081, 1985)
Jazz
Beate Krause (lead vocals)
One could never accuse Beate Krause’s short musical CV of being predictable: first Carol Of Harvest, then mainstream rock outfit Joker, and finally this trad jazz effort. This is pretty good for what it is, but there’s nothing here that Carol Of Harvest fans need to hear. GRADE: C+.
See also Carol Of Harvest, Joker

Finn MacCuill (UK): Sink Ye Swim Ye (REL 460, 1978)
Folk
Madelaine Taylor (joint lead vocals, guitar, percussion)
This atmospheric Scottish folk album reminds me more than a little of Spriguns Of Tolgus, though it’s more acoustic, using electric bass on most cuts and some heavy electric guitar chords on the opening ‘Birnie Bouzle’. The result is a delicate and intricate LP with a haunting and desolate feel. As a footnote, whilst this is frequently described as a private pressing, it is nothing of the kind: REL was the record label of Radio Edinburgh. GRADE: C+.

Finnegan’s Wake (Tasmania/UK): Van Dieman’s Land (Candle CFPS-091, Australia, 1978?)
Folk
Caroline Bushby (joint lead vocals, percussion, melodeon, whistle)
As the band name and album title suggest, this release attempts to unify Irish and Tasmanian folk music. With acoustic and sometimes electric backing, it’s similar to British bands like Finn MacCuill and Spriguns Of Tolgus, and is of a high standard throughout. For most listeners, the highpoint will be ‘Bedlam Boys’, which adds some heavy fuzz guitar for a psychedelic folk/rock feel missing elsewhere. Another standout is the eerie, haunting ‘Winter’s Coming’, making one regret that it’s the only original composition. As a footnote, the band consisted of two English expatriates and two native Tasmanians; the album is now extremely rare. GRADE: C+.

Finneus Gauge (USA): More Once More (Cyclops CYCL 055, CD, UK, 1997)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Laura Martin (lead vocals)
This jazzy prog album offers some virtuosic, complex music with fine riffs and hooks to boot. It easily stands among the upper echelon of American progressive albums from the nineties. GRADE: B–.
Finneus Gauge (USA): One Inch Of The Fall (Cyclops CYCL 077, CD, UK, 1999)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Laura Martin (lead vocals)
This is perhaps a tiny notch below their first, though still a fine album. Once again, it’s clear what an odd songwriting style they have, with dissonant hooks popping up at the most unexpected moments. The album was simultaneously released in Canada (Train TR79603): the standard edition omitted the three live tracks (all from More Once More) included as bonuses on the Cyclops issue but a limited double disc version added four completely different live numbers (which were also released as a CDR sold during the band's 1999 tour).

GRADE: B–.

Fireball Ministry (USA): Où Est La Rock? (Bong Load BL 42, CD, 1999)
Metal
Emily J Burton
No prizes for guessing from the label name that this is stoner rock: in this case, good-natured, mid-paced stuff with some great melodies and riffs. There’s not much variety on offer, and they clearly weren’t trying to make great art, but as unpretentious guitar rock with a Southern flavour goes, this is a very good LP. GRADE: C+.
Fireball Ministry (USA): FMEP (Small Stone SS-023, CD, 2001)
Metal
Emily J Burton (guitar)
Although billed as an EP, this is of album length, featuring three original songs (all of which would reappear on The Second Great Awakening) plus five cover versions. For no obvious reason, the last three cuts are described as ‘bonus tracks’, although I’m not aware of a pressing without them. On the back cover, they describe themselves as ‘the first church of rock ’n’ roll’; whilst this is too unambitious and simplistic to be divinely inspired, it’s fantastic heavy rock that will answer any stoner fan’s prayers. GRADE: B–.
Fireball Ministry (USA): The Second Great Awakening (Nuclear Blast 37361 11822, sunshine yellow CD, with slipcase, Germany, 2003)
Metal
Emily J Burton (guitar), Janis Tanaka (bass, backing vocals)
For their second album proper, the band added Janis Tanaka (formerly of L7 and later of Hammers Of Misfortune) to the line-up (though most tracks were actually recorded before she joined). Fulfilling the promise shown by FMEP, this is an absolutely great album of sludgy Southern metal, often sounding like a heavier, meaner ZZ Top. GRADE: B–.
Fireball Ministry (USA): Their Rock Is Not Our Rock (Century Media 77474-2, CD, 2005)
Metal
Emily J Burton (guitar, backing vocals)
This is perhaps a notch down from their last couple of releases, as it doesn’t have quite the same easy swagger (and nor does it break much new ground). Nonetheless, it’s frequently very good and occasionally sees the band testing the limits of their style (with one cut having some faint progressive edges). GRADE: C+.
Fireball Ministry (USA): Fireball Ministry (Restricted Releases RES-004CD, CD, 2010)
Metal
Emily J Burton (guitar, backing vocals)
The band’s final album is slightly more varied and accomplished than its predecessor, containing some fine riffs and grooves. Listening to this disc, it finally struck me who James A Rota II’s laconic, drawling vocals recall – it’s Bob Welch of Fleetwood Mac. GRADE: C+.

Fireball Ministry (USA): Remember The Story (Cleopatra CLO 0666, CD, 2017)
Metal
Emily J Burton (guitar, backing vocals)
This doesn’t add much to the impression left by previous albums – Fireball Ministry are not the kind of band for whom artistic development is crucial. Nonetheless, there are mild experiments here, with an effective instrumental and the dramatic semi-acoustic closer ‘I Don’t Believe A Word’. There are also plenty of crushing riffs and sludgy hard rock grooves, making for another fine album. GRADE: C+.
See also Hammers Of Misfortune

Firebird (UK): The Game (Rola R009, 1981)
Country/Folk/Rock
Rose Morris (principal vocals, keyboards)
Since multi-instrumentalist Phil Beer (later of the Albion Band) was in the line-up, I expected this to be folk. Side two largely is, but side one is mostly country/rock, which isn’t one of my preferred genres. A few cuts are closer to mainstream rock, but the folkiest material is the best on offer; the finest track of all is ‘Put It All Off Till Tomorrow’, on which Rose Morris sounds uncannily like Cathy Lesurf. GRADE: C.

Firkin The Fox (UK): Behind Bars (Woodworm WR 005, 1984)
Folk/Rock
Nicci Berry (principal vocals, keyboards, bodhrán)
This obscure album was issued on Fairport Convention’s vanity label, and Dave Pegg contributes bass to the closing cover of ‘White Dress’. Unsurprisingly, the band sounds heavily influenced by Fairport, although the music is generally more acoustic, more traditional and more Celtic. With mostly self-penned material, this is a very pleasant set. GRADE: C+.

First Change (West Germany): Fairy Dance (Z ZR 2003, 1981)
Progressive
Sabine Reitz (joint lead vocals)
This very rare album offers low-budget folky progressive rock with some strongly psychedelic guitar work in parts. The album mixes shorter and longer cuts, with most of the second side given over to an elegant keyboard-dominated suite, and is musically accomplished and impressive without breaking any new ground. GRADE: B–.

First International Sex Opera Band (Holland): Anita (Sexclusief SQ-20.010, with insert, 1969?)
Avant-Garde/Psychedelic
Kathy Njam Njam (joint lead vocals), Ann Essex (joint lead vocals)
This truly bizarre album was apparently sold only in Dutch sex shops, but don’t imagine it to be softcore loungy erotica. The music is experimental, and seemingly improvised, psychedelia with free jazz edges, offering two side-long suites topped off with wild shrieks (supposedly of a woman in the throes of orgasm, although she sounds more like she’s being tortured), bellows and howls. Most of the first side is covered with amplifier buzzing that’s presumably intended to sound like a vibrator, whilst the second is overlaid with Neanderthal grunting and chanting. The overall effect sounds like a cross between Amon Düül and Yoko Ono, with everyone stoned to the max throughout the record. The disc comes with an insert that is actually a sticker; on many copies, the image (of a naked woman with her genitals on fire) has been removed and pasted on the front cover. Why this record was made and who it was aimed at (certainly not perverts; making love to this would be nightmarish) is a mystery, but it’s a fascinating piece by any standard. GRADE: B–.

First Revelation (USA): This Side Of Eternity (Revelation D5051, 1973?)
Folk/Rock/Psychedelic
Lynda Kimer (principal vocals, keyboards)
The husband-and-wife duo formerly known as Danny & Lynda teamed up with a full-time drummer and adopted a band identity for their second album. Much of this is rather MOR, with syrupy string synthesiser, but on the best cuts Danny lets loose with some impressive fuzz guitar work to add a strongly psychedelic edge. The closing version of ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’, played on banjo and synthesiser, is so unintentionally odd that it almost takes the album into ‘incredibly strange music’ realms. Two different recordings of the same material were issued, with identical catalogue numbers and sleeves; I’ve only heard the second version, with Bob Argiro on drums. GRADE: C+.
First Revelation (USA): Upon This Rock (Revelation D6736, 1975?)
Folk/Rock/Psychedelic
Lynda Kimer (principal vocals, keyboards)
Once again, there’s a gulf in quality between the more gospelish material and the heavier cuts where Danny’s guitar work is to the fore. By far the finest track is the hard rocking ‘Morning Sun’, which has more than a hint of Jefferson Airplane and is among the best recordings the Kimers ever made. GRADE: C+.
See also Danny & Lynda

Dona Fischer Band (USA): The Dona Fischer Band (No label, one-sided unreleased acetate, 1977)
Rock/Metal
Dona Fischer
Only one copy is known of this unreleased acetate, which features four songs clearly recorded in a high quality studio and presumably intended for release on a major label. The band’s style is AOR with strong hard rock tinges, fronted by a vocalist who often resembles Ann Wilson; sometimes this sounds rather like Heart without the folk/rock and prog leanings. Some sources suggest that another acetate exists for the other side of the abandoned LP, but I have not been able to confirm this. GRADE: C+.

Veronika Fischer & Band (East Germany): Veronika Fischer Und Band (Amiga 8 55 459, 1975)
Pop/Rock
Veronika Fischer (principal vocals)
The Panta Rhei vocalist’s first album with her own band is nothing like her former group: this is slick pop, covering various strands of mid-seventies music with a high level of professionalism but a low level of inspiration. GRADE: C.
Veronika Fischer & Band (East Germany): Veronika Fischer Und Band (Amiga 8 55 459, 1975)
Pop/Rock
Veronika Fischer (principal vocals)
In the mid-to-late seventies, the former Panta Rhei vocalist was one of East Germany’s biggest pop stars: this album alone generated three top ten singles; two of them, including the number one ‘In Jener Nacht’, were (unusually) co-written by Fischer herself. That says more about the lack of competition in a communist country than her music here, however: this is a competent but uninspired trawl through mid-seventies pop styles, from singer/songwriter-style ballads to light rockers. At its best, the music here could probably be compared to a very poor man’s Véronique Sanson, though the melodies are nowhere near as good. GRADE: C.
Veronika Fischer & Band (East Germany): Veronika Fischer Und Band (Amiga 8 55 514, 1977)
Pop/Rock
Veronika Fischer (principal vocals)
This isn’t exactly thrilling, but its procession of orchestrated ballads and soulful, mildly funky pop songs is a marked improvement. The best moments are at the end – the baroque, spacy ‘Sie Sassen Auf Dem Standesamt’ and ‘Klar, Werd Ich Warten’ and the closing piano solo ‘Nachspiel’, all of which add a progressive edge to the proceedings. GRADE: C+.
Veronika Fischer & Band (East Germany): Aufstehn (Amiga 8 55 592, 1978)
Pop/Rock
Veronika Fischer (lead vocals)
The departure of Fischer’s keyboardist and principal composer Franz Bartsch hasn’t changed her sound significantly. This is pleasant mid-seventies pop – somewhere between Olivia Newton-John and Lynsey de Paul – that’s well composed, arranged, played and produced, and it even has some pleasingly quirky touches. I just can’t imagine it figuring among anyone’s all-time favourites, even if they love Olivia Newton-John and Lynsey de Paul. GRADE: C+.

Veronika Fischer & Band (East Germany): Goldene Brücken (Amiga 8 55 731, 1980)
Pop/Rock/Progressive
Veronika Fischer (principal vocals)
The opening ‘Ouvertüre’ makes you think Fischer’s gone prog, and progressive motifs recur through the album courtesy of the returning Franz Bartsch – notably on the seven-minute ‘Niemals Mehr’ and the closing instrumental ‘Nachspiel’. It all adds up to probably her best post-Panta-Rhei album to date; it was also the first to be released in West Germany (Pool 6.24368, with a completely different sleeve) to which she defected shortly afterwards, though she never attained the same commercial heights again. GRADE: C+.
Veronika Fischer (East Germany): Staunen (WEA 58391, with inner, 1981)
Pop/Rock
Veronika Fischer (lead vocals)
Fischer’s first solo album and post-defection recording doesn’t represent much of a step forward, mainly because Franz Bartsch writes and composes almost everything. It’s perhaps a touch slicker and a mite less pop-oriented, mixing soft rock and AOR with some relatively heavy riffs. It’s all very professionally done, with hooks in all the right places, but with Fischer herself writing nothing this isn’t an album with a strong identity. GRADE: C+.
Veronika Fischer (East Germany): Unendlich Weit (WEA 24 0120-1, with inner, 1983)
Pop/Rock
Veronika Fischer (lead vocals)
She’s changed her songwriting and production team, but this is still pretty similar to Staunen, though a little less rock-oriented, a little more eighties in the production, a little slighter – and ultimately not quite as good. GRADE: C+.
Veronika Fischer (East Germany): Sehnsucht Nach Wärme (WEA 240 377-1, with insert, 1984)
Pop/Rock
Veronika Fischer (lead vocals)
Musically, this is a slight step up, though her eighties albums are very much of a piece. Conceptually, it’s mildly different: most of the songs are again by producers Achim Oppermann and Thomas Woitkewitsch, but she also writes one herself and offers German-language covers of Carly Simon’s ‘You Know What To Do’, Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ and a Bryan Adams song I can’t identify. That all these numbers blend seamlessly with the rest of the material certainly says something about the album, but whether it’s complimentary or detrimental is harder to say. GRADE: C+.
Veronika Fischer (East Germany): Spiegelbilder (WEA 242 197-2, CD, 1987)
Pop/Rock
Veronika Fischer (lead vocals)
This isn’t hugely different from her last few albums, but with its funky basslines, synthesisers and occasional programmed drums it is more quintessentially eighties. For that alone, it deserves a downgrade to a C – and it only escaped for the fine singing and professional arrangements, not because the songs are anything to write home about. She’s also getting a bit too whimsical for her own good here and there, though the self-penned ‘Fremde’ is a decent lightweight hard-rocker in a sub-Pat Benatar way – or at least it  would have been with real drums  GRADE: C.
Veronika Fischer (East Germany): Veronika Fischer (WEA 242 964-2, CD, 1987)
Pop/Rock
Veronika Fischer (lead vocals)
This is even more quintessentially eighties than its predecessor, but on the plus side the songs are a bit stronger. I can’t imagine this – or indeed any of her solo work – figuring among anyone’s all-time favourites, but as eighties pop goes it’s decent enough. GRADE: C+.

Veronika Fischer (Germany): Was Ist Dabei (Polydor 517 978-2, CD, 1993)
Pop/Rock
Veronika Fischer (lead vocals)
This is notably softer than her last few albums, though otherwise there aren’t any significant changes. She doesn’t bring much to her German-language cover of ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’, but the original songs are nice enough. GRADE: C+.

Veronika Fischer (Germany): Träumer (Polydor 527 235-2, CD, 1995)
Pop/Rock
Veronika Fischer (lead vocals)
According to the credits, half the songs were recorded with one producer and team of musicians and the other half with another, but you’d never guess this from listening. If a single word sums up Fischer’s output – both from song to song and album to album – it’s homogeneity: a steady stream of mellow rockers and delicate ballads that are uniformly well crafted, beautifully sung and superbly produced, whilst lacking much in the way of p-personality. GRADE: C+.
Veronika Fischer (Germany): Das Kind Und Der Kater (Polydor 533 480-2, CD, 1997)
Pop/Rock
Veronika Fischer (joint lead vocals)
From the artwork and liner notes, this was clearly the soundtrack to a musical for children, so it’s not just another Veronika Fischer album. On the plus side, it’s nowhere near as arch or irritating as such a project could have been, but it’s still intermittently arch and irritating – if the occasional jaunty moments and children’s choir don’t get on your nerves, you still have reams of German narration to get through. GRADE: C.

Veronika Fischer (Germany): Mehr In Sicht (Polydor 539 219-2, CD, Germany, 1997)
Pop/Rock
Veronika Fischer (lead vocals)
Fischer’s albums are very much of a piece, but that isn’t to say they’re all equal. This one is a touch weaker than most – the level of craft is high as per normal (as is the level of anonymity), but she’s a little too whimsical in parts and brings very little to her German-language cover of ‘Killing Me Softly’. GRADE: C.
Veronika Fischer (Germany): Tief In Sommer (BuschFunk 00182, CD, Germany, 2001)
Pop
Veronika Fischer (lead vocals)
This is a little softer than her previous work, and a bit more keyboard-based for the most part. It’s also slightly better than Mehr In Sicht, but it’s still pretty short on good hooks – and for music this unambitious, hooks are pretty crucial. GRADE: C.
See also Panta Rhei

Veronika Fischer (Germany): Das Jubiläumskonzert – Live In Berlin (BuschFunk 11922, double CD, 2002)
Pop/Rock
Veronika Fischer (principal vocals)
This is a solid enough live set, with guest appearances from Holger Biege (whoever he is), pop/rock band Silly and Fischer’s former collaborator Franz Bartsch. However, over the course of an hour and three quarters the lack of variety and daring in her material becomes obvious, and the two instrumentals and the Biege-sung number simply sound like filler. GRADE: C.
Veronika Fischer (Germany): Dünnes Eis (SPV SPV 085-70082, CD, 2004)
Pop/Folk/Rock
Veronika Fischer (lead vocals)
I never imagined using the words ‘Veronika Fischer’ and ‘change of direction’ in the same sentence, but there you go: this marks a move towards a much more spare semi-acoustic style. At heart it’s still melodic pop, but the shift in emphasis away from the AOR and mildly soulful stylings of her earlier albums suits her, really allowing her lovely voice room to breathe. GRADE: C+.
Veronika Fischer (Germany): Unterwegs Zu Mir (DA 827064-2, CD, 2008)
Pop/Rock
Veronika Fischer (lead vocals)
This marks a return to a more AOR-oriented style, but it’s a classy album, hinting towards recent Véronique Sanson. The closing ‘Blues’, on which she’s accompanied solely by electric guitar, represents a complete diversion from anything she’s done before, and the experiment works extremely well. GRADE: C+.

Veronika Fischer (Germany): Woher Wohin (TELAMO 405380431100, CD, 2018)

Pop/Rock

Veronika Fischer (lead vocals)

Fischer’s most recent album (there was also a 2011 release, Zeitreise, that I haven’t heard, consisting of re-recordings of old numbers) doesn’t take her music anywhere she hasn’t been before. This collection of folky melodic rock songs with ample hooks isn’t going to change anyone’s life, or probably figure among anyone’s all-time favourites – but it’s undeniably classy, and rather lovely too. GRADE: C+.

Fishbaugh, Fishbaugh & Zorn (USA): Fishbaugh, Fishbaugh And Zorn (CBS 64783, UK, 1972)
Singer/Songwriter/Folk/Rock
Paula Fishbaugh (joint lead vocals, piano, percussion)
Although this trio (a husband-and-wife pair of singer/songwriters, plus a multi-instrumentalist friend) were American, their album was recorded in London with British musicians, and – so far as I know – not released back home. It’s a pleasant and unassuming set, ranging from upbeat progressive pop to relaxed folk/rock. Pete Zorn went on to become a prolific session player before recently joining Steeleye Span. GRADE: C+.

Fit & Limo (West Germany): Hände Hoch (Servil, cassette, 1982)
Pop
Petra Lienemann (joint lead vocals, keyboards, percussion, drum programmes, melodica, violin)
Before adopting the Incredible String Band-influenced style for which they are known, the husband-and-wife duo of Stefan ‘Limo’ and Petra ‘Fit’ Lienemann issued several cassettes, of which this was the first. Essentially this is casiopop, with a lo-fi style, wide-ranging instrumentation and a scrappy bric-à-brac style recalling French experimentalists such as Toupidek Limonade. Lightweight and throwaway, yet fun and engaging, it’s an enjoyable if uncharacteristic debut. GRADE: C+.
Fit & Limo (West Germany): Golden Trash (Servil, cassette, 1984)

Garage/Psychedelic

Petra Lienemann

Album number three (I haven’t heard 1982’s Internazionale) sees them moving in the direction of low budget, Velvet Underground-influenced garage rock. Mainly recorded with electric guitars, a primitive rhythm box and what sounds like occasional backing vocals from a couple of children, this an enjoyably lo-fi set with punky edges; a cover of the Velvet Underground’s ‘Sunday Morning’ works well too. GRADE: C+

Fit & Limo (West Germany): Im Blickpunkt (IRRE, cassette, 1984)
Pop/Garage
Petra Lieneman
This is certainly the least significant entry in Fit & Limo’s discography: the first side is given over to a different outfit (Stratis, a sort of low-budget Kraftwerk), whilst the Fit & Limo side features tinny electronic backing, dreadful sound quality and at least one song available elsewhere. GRADE: C.
Fit & Limo (West Germany): Put On The Flipside (Servil, cassette, 1985)

Garage/Psychedelic

Petra Lienemann (joint lead vocals, bass, organ, violin, autoharp, harmonica, jew’s harp)

Recorded with a real drummer and a wider range of instruments, their fifth album (following on from the split cassette Im Blickpunkt) has a heavier and trippier sound but is even more lo-fi in parts. As song titles like ‘Daddy’s Stroboscope’, ‘Tripping Mind’ and ‘Dear Monster Tentacles’ make clear, this is a classic slice of eighties garage psych, and thoroughly enjoyable. GRADE: C+.
Fit & Limo (West Germany): Revisited (Bouncing Corporation BOUNCING HEAD 10, 1989)
Garage/Psychedelic/Avant-Garde
Petra Lienemann (joint lead vocals, guitar, bass, organ, glockenspiel, strings, flute, jew’s harp)
Fit & Limo’s first vinyl LP is a touch more sophisticated than their cassettes, incorporating stronger influences from folk and the avant-garde (inevitably the weirder end of the Velvet Underground) into their sound. Side one has six short tracks covering a wide range of territory, whilst side two is given over to the twenty-two-minute ‘Bed Peace Revisited’. Like many long jams, it meanders occasionally, but it’s frequently superb, incorporating strong influences from modern jazz and some touches of Indian music. GRADE: C+.
Fit & Limo (Germany): That Totally Tore My Head Off (Hurdy Gurdy Beat HGB 21015, CD, 1991)
Psychedelic
Petra Lienemann (principal vocals, bass, organ, percussion, strings, autoharp, jew’s harp, kazoo)
This is easily their best album to date, offering some trippy and sometimes quite weird psychedelia and culminating in a powerful live version of ‘Bed Peace Revisited’. Although not everything works well, when the LP is good it is really excellent, at times recalling everyone from early Pink Floyd to Ash Ra Tempel. GRADE: B–.
Fit & Limo (Germany): Angel Gopher (Kick-Side KS 03, coloured vinyl, with insert, 1993)
Folk/Psychedelic
Petra Lienemann (joint lead vocals, bass, organ, percussion, violin, melodica, recorder, jew’s harp, kazoo)
At some point in the early nineties, Fit & Limo must have discovered the Incredible String Band, as their influence is all over this LP. Totally different from any of their previous work, this abandons Velvet Underground-influenced garage rock and borderline Krautrock in favour of whimsical, slightly eerie psychedelic folk with wide-ranging acoustic instrumentation, including lots of sitar. Like the ISB, it can be a bit fragmentary, with seventeen short tracks including several instrumentals, but for the most part this is superb, atmospheric stuff. The same year, they actually issued an EP of ISB covers (This Moment – Fit & Limo Play Incredible String Band, Ruhra Pente RP 001). GRADE: B–.
Fit & Limo (Germany): Folly Is An Endless Maze (Strange Ways LC 7147/WAY 107, double CD, 1995)
Folk/Psychedelic
Petra Lienemann (joint lead vocals, bass, keyboards, percussion, strings, melodica, autoharp, kazoo)
This rather odd release couples Angel Gopher and This Moment on the first disc, with a complete new album Autre Monde on the second. The new LP is in the same vein as its predecessor, though a bit patchier, with some of the songs being a touch arch. Nonetheless it contains some excellent moments, with the instrumentals ‘Old Hob’ and ‘Introducing The Colours’ being quite delightful. GRADE: B–.
Fit & Limo (Germany): The Serpent Unrolled (September Gurls SGCD 20, CD, 1998)
Folk/Psychedelic
Petra Lienemann (joint lead vocals, bass, keyboards, percussion, autoharp, violin, gopichand, whistle, jew’s harp, kazoo)
Easily their best release so far, this continues their trippy ISB-influenced style but has a spacier, eerier feel recalling the seventies Krautfolk underground. In particular, their beautiful and unexpected cover of the Grateful Dead’s ‘Dark Star’ works remarkably well, but this is stunning stuff throughout. GRADE: B.
Fit & Limo (Germany): As Above So Below (September Gurls SGCD26, CD, 2000)
Folk/Psychedelic/Progressive
Petra Lienemann (joint lead vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion, mandolin, autoharp, banjo, violin, dulcimer, sitar, bouzouki, recorder, shenai, whistle, jew’s harp, kazoo, effects)
Like its predecessor, this draws as much from Krautfolk as the Incredible String Band and the results are very inventive and superbly trippy. The thirteen-minute opener ‘Owsley Blues’ is certainly the key cut, but the ten-minute ‘Glockenspiel’ isn’t far behind, and most of the shorter pieces are very impressive too. GRADE: B.
Fit & Limo (Germany): Ginnistan (September Gurls SGCD 28, CD, 2002)
Folk/Psychedelic/Progressive
Petra Lienemann (joint lead vocals, keyboards, percussion, autoharp, violin, recorder, melodica, gopichand, whistle, jew’s harp, effects)
Following a slightly different format, Ginnistan features fourteen relatively short pieces before culminating in the twenty-one-minute ‘Upper And Lower Ginnistan’. The shorter songs and instrumentals are somewhat disjointed, with a more English sound than the last couple of albums, though they can be cosmic and spacy too (the aptly titled ‘Der Kosmische Pfad’). Finally, the long piece is partly a folky free-jazz improvisation that’s quite different from the duo’s usual work. Overall this is a patchy record and a significant step down from their last two, but it is interesting and creative, and they’re still breaking new ground. GRADE: B–.
Fit & Limo (Germany): Terra Incognita (September Gurls SGCD 31, CD, 2004)
Folk/Psychedelic
Petra Lienemann (joint lead vocals, keyboards, percussion, accordion, autoharp, jew’s harp, effects)
The guest list is intriguing, to say the least: Miriam Goldberg and Jeffrey Alexander from Black Forest/Black Sea, Bernd Witthüser from Witthüser & Westrupp and Timothy Renner from Stone Breath. Musically, this is rather more cosmic than its predecessor and both very varied and very accomplished, whilst not quite equalling the duo’s very best work. GRADE: B–.

Fit & Limo (Germany): Indian Moon Worm (Hand/Eye h/e-moon13, 3" CDR, with digipak and insert, USA, 2006)
Folk/Psychedelic
Petra Lieneman  (joint lead vocals, keyboards, glockenspiel, violin, whistle)
This intriguing mini-album – which offers three songs totalling just over 20 minutes – sees Fit & Limo at their most tripped-out and cosmic. It’s truly wonderful stuff, casting them as the spiritual successors to Krautfolk giants like Bröselmaschine, Emtidi and Hölderlin. GRADE: B.
Fit & Limo (Germany): Astralis (September Gurls SGCD33, CD, 2007)
Folk/Psychedelic
Petra Lienemann (joint lead vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, percussion, mandolin, sitar, clarinet, recorder, whistle, melodica, bouzouki, dulcimer, autoharp, kazoo, gopichand, music box)
Slightly different from their earlier recordings, their final studio LP blends traditional English folk into their usual ISB-meets-Hölderlin sound. The three traditional songs work especially well, with a genuinely eerie flavour, but this is another excellent and highly accomplished album throughout. GRADE: B.
Fit & Limo (Germany): A Garland Of Flowers/A Bunch Of Herbs (September Gurls SGLP37/SGLP37, LP plus CD, with insert and book minisleeve, 2006, recorded 1992-2006)
Folk/Psychedelic
Petra Lienemann (joint lead vocals, bass, keyboards, percussion, autoharp, violin, flute, recorder, melodica, gopichand, whistle, jew’s harp, kazoo, effects)
Limited to 318 copies, this unusual release combines two separate compilations: the LP A Garland Of Flowers features previously released mid-nineties songs from This Moment, Angel Gopher and Autre Monde, whilst the CD A Bunch Of Herbs blends material from singles and compilations with one alternate mix, one alternate take and five new songs. Featuring some of the duo’s most beatific material, it’s a lovely set. GRADE: B.

Primordial Undermind & Fit & Limo (USA/Austria/Germany): Loss Of Affect Redux EP (No label, download, 2013, recorded 2006)
Psychedelic

Petra Lienemann
This odd addendum to Fit & Limo’s discography has a curious backstory: when Primordial Undermind recorded their album Loss Of Affect, their label suggested that the material should be overdubbed by Fit & Limo for the vinyl version. However, the band rejected the final recordings, eventually releasing this EP of the most significantly altered tracks seven years later. The resulting instrumental jams, complete with ethnic embellishments by Fit & Limo, are lively and enjoyable, making one wish they’d chosen to release the entire project. GRADE: C+.

Five Fifteen (Finland): Progressive Hardrock Beyond The Mainstream (Bluelight BLR 3319 CD, CD, with poster booklet, 1994)
Rock/Metal
Marika Liuski (occasional vocals, percussion)
As the title suggests, this is a loving and fairly accurate pastiche of early seventies hard rock, complete with lots of Hammond organ. The songwriting isn’t especially outstanding and there are no particular highpoints, but as retro-rock goes this is a thoroughly enjoyable set. GRADE: C+.
Five Fifteen (Finland): Armageddon Jam Session Number Four (Bluelight BLR 3324 2, CD, 1995)
Rock
Marika Liuski (joint lead vocals, percussion)
Despite the title, this certainly isn’t apocalyptic jamming heavy rock; in fact, it’s lighter than their debut, with slight jazzy and proggy edges. Otherwise, it’s pretty much business as usual, with Marika Liuski taking a much higher vocal and songwriting profile this time around. GRADE: C+.
Five Fifteen (Finland): Psychedelic Singalongs For Stadiums (Blastic Heaven BHR 3343-2, CD, with poster booklet, 1997)
Rock/Metal/Progressive
Marika Liuski (joint lead vocals, guitar, piano, percussion)
Again belying its title, this is only occasionally psychedelic (on the sitar-laden ‘Emotional Playground’ and the middle section of ‘Wayward Children, Cannonballs And Skydogs’). It is, however, a bit of a step forward for the band, being more progressive than their first two albums and adding in influences from everything from the Beatles to folk music. In fact, the disc is consistently excellent, but it’s also consistently derivative, with each cut sounding like a pastiche of a different sixties or seventies band. GRADE: B–.
Five Fifteen (Finland): Six Dimensions Of The Electric Camembert (Record Heaven RHCD 015, CD, 1998)
Rock/Metal
Marika Liuski
Why the Gong allusion in the title, I have no idea; this isn’t jazzy or psychedelic in any way, offering a mixture of Who-like hard rockers and gentle folky ballads. With high quality songwriting, it’s a good album throughout, but a definite step down from its more eclectic predecessor. A long bonus suite entitled ‘Destination Las Vegas’ consists of dull folky and jazzy noodling around, seemingly intended to be humorous. GRADE: C+.

Five Fifteen (Finland): No Sleep ’Til Blue Room (Bluelight/Blastic Heaven BHR 3354 0, CD, 1998)
Rock/Metal
Marika Liuski
This live album, packaged as a bonus with the first run of Six Dimensions…, is vastly better than the studio set. Anybody enjoying high-octane hard rock is likely to enjoy this from start to finish, and the setlist spans the band’s own highlights and covers of the Beatles and the Who. GRADE: B–.

Five Fifteen (Finland): Death Of A Clown (Record Heaven RHCD49, CD, 2001)
Rock
Hanna Wendelin (occasional vocals), Marika Liuski (backing vocals)
Recorded with a new female singer (although Marika Liuski is credited as a guest on most tracks), this is slightly better than Six Dimensions…. All the usual sonic elements are in play, but this sounds a little more Scandinavian than usual (sometimes recalling Ruphus’s first album) and has quite a few Beatles touches. With a little more variety and a couple of killer cuts, this would have rivalled Psychedelic Singalongs… for their best album. GRADE: C+.
Five Fifteen (Finland): The Sensational Five Fifteen (Sweden Rock SRR-010, CD, Sweden, 2003)
Rock/Metal
Saana Koskinen (occasional vocals, flute)
Among their heavier LPs, this offers their usual effective early seventies rock. As the title suggests, the cover parodies that for The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. GRADE: C+.
Five Fifteen (Finland): Alcohol (Sweden Rock SW2, CD, Sweden, 2007)
Rock
Marika Liuski (occasional vocals)
With Marika Liuski returning (though she needn’t have bothered, since she barely does anything), Five Fifteen’s final album is folkier than most. Several tracks are acoustic, but mostly they offer the usual retro pastiches, peaking on the excellent atmospheric rocker ‘Old Hairy Dogs Almost Dead’. GRADE: C+.
See also Rekku Rechardt & Snakecharm

Five-Storey Ensemble (Belarus): Not That City (Altrock ALT-033, CD, Italy, 2013)
Classical/Rock/Avant-Garde
Olga Podhaiskaja (joint lead vocals, keyboards), Anastasia Popova (violin), Olga Polakova (flute), Natalja Malashkova (oboe)
This excellent chamber-rock band’s influences clearly run from Julverne and Flairck to Univers Zéro, with most ot their material being at the more melodic end of the spectrum. Nonetheless, they play with an intensity that means their compositions are never too dainty, and whilst rock elements are used sparingly they also add a welcome edginess to the proceedings. Overall, this is an impressive addition to the RIO and neoclassical canon. GRADE: B–.
Five-Storey Ensemble (Belarus): Night En Face (Altrock ALT-053, CD, Italy, 2017)
Classical 
Olga Podhaiskaja (piano), Anastasiya Mosse (violin), Olga Polakova (flute), Ilona Ies (cello)
The band has slimmed down from an eleven-piece to a sextet, and they’ve slimmed down their musical ambitions too – the vocals are gone, as are the rock edges, leaving about 39 minutes of dainty, austere, delicate instrumentals. Whilst this is undoubtedly good chamber music, it’s also undeniably good background music, with relatively little to draw attention. GRADE: B–.

Five-Storey Ensemble (Belarus): Not That City (Altrock ALT-033, CD, Italy, 2013)
Classical/Rock/Avant-Garde
Olga Podhaiskaja (joint lead vocals, keyboards), Anastasia Popova (violin), Olga Polakova (flute), Natalja Malashkova (oboe)
This excellent chamber-rock band’s influences clearly run from Julverne and Flairck to Univers Zéro, with most ot their material being at the more melodic end of the spectrum. Nonetheless, they play with an intensity that means their compositions are never too dainty, and whilst rock elements are used sparingly they also add a welcome edginess to the proceedings. Overall, this is an impressive addition to the RIO and neoclassical canon. GRADE: B–.

Fivepenny Piece (UK): The Fivepenny Piece (EMI Columbia EMC 3077, 1972)
Folk/Pop
Lynda Meeks (joint lead vocals)
This prolific band’s albums are mainstays of bargain bins in every second-hand record shop; I’d be surprised if anyone has ever shelled out more than a fiver for one of their LPs. That’s partly because the covers tend to make them look like a novelty cabaret act; in fact, side one features rather MOR but also rather lovely folk/pop numbers, with beautiful vocals from Lynda Meeks, sometimes recalling Faraway Folk circa Time And Tide. Side two showcases the male singers and ups the novelty quotient with pronounced Lancashire accents; this material is not so good, but not as bad as the description suggests. Every song is self-penned, and the band are more than competent writers, so whilst I can’t imagine this figuring among anyone’s all-time favourite albums, it’s musically more enjoyable than several LPs that fetch a hundred times its price. GRADE: C.
Fivepenny Piece (UK): Makin’ Tracks (EMI Columbia SCX 6536, 1973)
Folk/Pop
Lynda Meeks (joint lead vocals)
Song titles like ‘Land Of The Musical Telephone’ and ‘The Journeys Of My Mind’ might make you expect popsike, but this is business as usual. This time round, they reduce the Northern humour considerably, resulting in a sweet and mellow folk/pop LP containing some delightful melodies and excellent singing. However, two consecutive tracks on side two, ‘A Gradely Prayer’ and ‘The Passing Of Today’, indicate why their albums have never been taken seriously by collectors: the former is a ridiculous schmaltzy novelty, and the latter a stunningly beautiful piece of folk/rock that shouldn’t have to share vinyl with it. GRADE: C.
Fivepenny Piece (UK): Songs We Like To Sing (EMI Columbia SCX 6554, 1973)
Folk/Pop
Lynda Meeks (occasional vocals)
They may like singing them, but you almost certainly won’t enjoy listening to them. For no apparent reason, the excellent Lynda Meeks has a low profile here, and the male members sing, as usual, with exaggerated Northern accents, presumably for comic effect. In fact, it’s not until the tenth track, ‘He Came To Me’, that Meeks gets a lead vocal – and, infuriatingly, the song is lovely. A truly dreadful album that isn’t even worth the fifty pence it would cost you to obtain a copy. GRADE: E+.
Fivepenny Piece (UK): On Stage (One Up 2050, 1974)
Folk/Pop
Lynda Meeks (joint lead vocals)
Rather strangely, this live album duplicates no material whatever from their studio LPs, and consists mainly of new original songs. As usual, the band can’t decide whether they’re musicians or comedians, and the LP includes a couple of monologues, plus the usual Lancashire-themed novelty songs and lots of between-numbers banter. But their warmth shines through, and a couple of tracks are pretty good (the haunting ‘Brown Photographs’ and a pleasant cover of ‘If I Were A Carpenter’). GRADE: C.