Sab-Sal

 

Sàbba (USA): Pentacle (No label, download, 2019)
Metal
Valerie Russo (lead vocals)
No prizes for guessing the musical style from the band name and album title (hint: it’s not sunshine pop). You either like this slow, spare, crushingly heavy style of doom metal – three tracks in around 24 minutes – or you don’t, and I do. I can hear hints of both Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard and (even more so) Windhand here, which is high praise indeed, and anyone who loves those bands is likely to cherish this too. GRADE: B–.

Sabbath Assembly (USA): Restored To One (The Ajna Offensive FLAME 58, CD, 2010)
Rock
Jex Thoth (lead vocals)
Oddly, this band grew out of a religious cult called the Process Church, and it’s hard to tell from the lyrics whether they’re Christians, occultists or some strange mixture of the two. The music is equally unusual and hard to classify – not quite psychedelic, not exactly progressive, not really hard rock (let alone metal) but blending elements of all those styles into melodic rock songs that recall both the late sixties and early seventies. It’s all rather good too, with some excellent melodies and riffs. GRADE: C+.
Sabbath Assembly (USA): Ye Are Gods (Svart/The Anje Offensive SVR149CD/FLAME74, CD, Finland, 2012)
Folk/Rock/Progressive
Jamie Myers (joint lead vocals)
With Jex Thoth replaced by Jamie Myers (also of Hammers Of Misfortune), their second is a quite different affair. The style this time round is folk/rock, with some lovely melodic songs, some good electric guitar leads and some nice progressive moments. On the downside, the frequent spoken word vocals – by Genesis P Orridge, no less – rather break the flow. GRADE: C+.

Sabbath Assembly (USA): Quaternity (Svart SVR272CDCD, Finland, 2014)
Folk/Rock/Progressive
Jamie Myers (principal vocals)
The progressive elements underpinning their sound are more obvious here, with the album climaxing in an 18½-minute piece. But whilst their sound remains crystalline and captivating, their material still hasn’t made the jump from good to great, and even the long piece is packed with lyrics and doesn’t really go anywhere. In fact, this reminds me of much old-school Christian folk and rock inasmuch as the message seems to have received more attention than the melodies. GRADE: C+. 
Sabbath Assembly (USA): Eno Ot Derotser (Svart SVR290, cassette, Finland, 2014, recorded 2009)
Folk/Rock/Progressive
Jex Thoth (principal vocals)
Although this short album was their fourth release, it comprises their very first recordings from 2009. It’s fascinating to hear these songs, destined for Restored To One, performed in the same style as Ye Are Gods or Quaternity, referencing the early seventies in a completely different way from the final album, whilst making their progressive undertones more obvious. Given my taste for the folky and the mysterious, I prefer these versions – in parts this is genuinely delightful. GRADE: B–.

Sabbath Assembly (USA): Sabbath Assembly (Svart SVR394CD, Finland, 2015)
Metal
Jamie Myers (lead vocals)
In sharp contrast to their earlier works, this is mainstream metal – whilst folky elements creep back in on the last three songs, this mostly consists of pummelling riffs and downtuned guitars. The latter aspect is the biggest problem: this is all pretty tuneless, adding up to their weakest album to date. GRADE: C+.
Sabbath Assembly (USA): Rites Of Passage (Svart SVR0964CD, Finland, with digipak, 2016)
Metal
Jamie Myers (lead vocals)
This is a slight improvement on its predecessor, but whilst it’s powerful enough, with riffs galore, they’re not great riffs and hooks are conspicuous only in their absence. GRADE: C+.
Sabbath Assembly (USA): A Letter Of Red (Svart SVR194CD, with digipak, Finland, 2019)
Metal
Jamie Myers (lead vocals)
Probably the best of their albums in a metal mode, this has a few welcome progressive diversions, especially on the very effective closing cut. However, as their final testament it ultimately confirms that they were a workmanlike rather than exceptional band, notwithstanding the occasional outstanding moment. GRADE: C+.

Sacred Child (USA): Sacred Child (Target TE 1351, 1987)
Metal
Astrid Young (lead vocals, keyboards)
Like a lot of eighties metal albums, this is rather clichéd, and I’m not keen on Astrid Young’s throaty singing or the occasional football chant-like backing vocals. Nonetheless, the guitar-dominated backing is suitably minimalist and punchy and there are some good riffs and hooks here. As a footnote, Astrid Young was apparently Neil Young’s sister. GRADE: C+.

Sacred Few (USA): Beyond The Iron Walls (No label 503024X, with inner, 1985)
Metal
Sandy Rago (lead vocals)
From the back cover photograph, this obscure outfit look like they play doom metal in the Black Sabbath mould, but despite some definite doom influences here and there this is mostly mainstream eighties metal of a reasonable quality. GRADE: C+.

Sacred Heart Choir (UK): Go Tell Everyone (Avant Garde AV-113, 1969)

Folk/Rock

Eileen Greaves, Kathleen Store, Beryl Burns, Eilish Miller, Kathleen King, Margaret Smith, Sheila Sculler, Joan McCrimmon, Marie Foy, Joyce Wilkinson, Lilian Chambers, Joan Raynor, Stella Dawson, Geraldine Store, Jane Richards, Jean Daniels, Betty Wallen, Antonietta Dimambro, Patricia Meads, Ann Miller, Bernadette King

Don’t be fooled by the label name: Avant Garde specialised in Christian music, rather than anything wild and experimental. As the group name suggests, this is choral Christian fare with acoustic or light electric backing: all rather precious and hymnal but undeniably quite beautiful too. GRADE: C+.

Sacred Heart Choir With Eileen Greaves (UK): When The Mood Of The Music Changes The Walls Of The City Shake (Galliard GAL 4003, 1969)

Folk/Rock

Eileen Greaves (joint lead vocals), Beryl Burns (joint lead vocals), Lilian Chambers (joint lead vocals), Stella Dawson (joint lead vocals), Antonietta Dimambro (joint lead vocals), Marie Foy (joint lead vocals), Bernadette King (joint lead vocals), Kathleen King (joint lead vocals), Elizabeth Lee (joint lead vocals), Patricia Meads (joint lead vocals), Anne Miller (joint lead vocals), Eilish Miller (joint lead vocals), Jane Richards (joint lead vocals), Sheila Sculler (joint lead vocals), Margaret Smith (joint lead vocals), Betty Wallen (joint lead vocals), Joyce Wilkinson (joint lead vocals)

Much rarer than their first, this is in the same basic style, and is sweet and rather winsome in a Sunday School kind of way, with occasional use of glockenspiel adding a nice toytown edge. GRADE: C+.

Sacred Music-Drama Society (UK): Three Mediaeval Music-Dramas For Easter (No label SMDS 1, 1974)
Classical
Housed in a spooky paste-on cover, this album features three contemporary cantatas. It’s pure classical music, with no rock or folk references, though parts of it could appeal to early music aficionados. It also has a slightly eerie and sepulchral mood, though sadly it’s never as gothic as the cover implies. GRADE: C+.

Sacriversum (Poland): Beckettia (Serenades CD 5.2023.20.561, CD, Germany, 2000)
Metal
Kate (joint lead vocals)
Melodic and rather middle-of-the-road symphonic metal with progressive and gothic touches and some use of death growls. GRADE: C+.

Saddhu Brand (USA): Whole Earth Rhythm (Anna Chakraborty’s Musical Sewing Machine Records MSM101, 1970)
World Music
Heidi Boerger (joint lead vocals), Marybeth Boerger (joint lead vocals), Pam Crane (joint lead vocals), Jeanne Ehrhart (joint lead vocals), Diana Evans (joint lead vocals), Ann Harrison (joint lead vocals), Pam West (joint lead vocals), Carol Newton (joint lead vocals), Laurel Stein (joint lead vocals)
Recorded by Peter van Gelder (formerly of The Great Society) and friends following a sojourn to India, this is a delicate and slightly surreal album of mystical Eastern music. Avoiding the trap of endless repetitive ragas, it offers seven well-structured musical pieces played on traditional ethnic instruments, often resembling the British Magic Carpet LP. Initially issued as an obscure private pressing, the album received a major label release in October 1971, in a completely different sleeve (Uni 73116). The original is extremely rare. GRADE: C+.

Wendy Saddington & The Copperwine (Australia): Live (Infinity SINL-934255, 1971)
Blues/Rock
Wendy Saddington was effectively the Australian equivalent of Janis Joplin and Maggie Bell; another fair comparison would be her countrywoman Carol Lloyd. Whilst her musical career stretched over decades (and included contributions to a Hare Krishna LP and a split album with Jeannie Lewis, among others) this was the only full album she ever released. Recorded live, the set features three cover versions on the first side (‘Backlash Blues’, ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues’ and ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’) and two band originals on the flip; musically it’s excellent early seventies jamming blues/rock with lashings of period atmosphere. The album was reissued in 1977 as Looking Through A Window with the addition of the single of the same name. GRADE: B–.

Sadistic Mika Band (Japan): Sadistic Mika Band (Doughnut DTP-9074, with bonus 7" single, 1973)
Rock
Mika Katoh (occasional vocals)
This long-running band’s debut album mostly comprises good-natured light garagy guitar rock with a late fifties or sixties influence. However, ‘Arienu Republic’ is a remarkably faithful Rolling Stones pastiche and the highlight ‘Silver Child’ is great psychedelic pop, combining a Led Zeppelin-like drumbeat, acid guitar, stoned laughter and an irresistibly catchy chorus. Quite why Mika Katoh gets star billing in the band’s name isn’t clear, as her husband Kazuhiko takes the bulk of the lead vocals as well as playing guitar and writing the material. Initial copies came with a bonus single featuring an eleventh song ‘Cycling Boogie’. GRADE: C+.
Sadistic Mika Band (Japan): Kurofune (Doughnut DTP-72003, with inner and poster, 1974)
Rock/Progressive
Mika Katoh (occasional vocals)
Album number two is their magnum opus – a complex, constantly unpredictable record that mixes catchy glam-tinged pop/rock (the singles ‘Time Machine’ and ‘Typhoon’), haunting symphonic ballads, intricate jazzy instrumentals, funky diversions and much more, always doing what one least expects. The whole thing is so varied and so eccentric that some listeners may love certain parts and hate others, but I adore it from start to finish. Once again, Mika Katoh does very little on the LP. GRADE: B.
Sadistic Mika Band (Japan): Hot! Menu (Doughnut DTP-72099, with poster, 1975)
Pop/Rock/Progressive
Mika Katoh (joint lead vocals)
Album number three is an odd, scrappy little record that reprises many of the styles from Kurofune but has none of that LP’s majesty or cohesion, instead sounding like a compilation of cuts from single and B-sides. Opening with two complicated funky jazz-fusion instrumentals, the disc continues with a procession of catchy, likeable, rather cheesy pop songs. Overall it simply confirms what an odd band they really were. GRADE: C+.
Sadistic Mika Band (Japan): Mika Band Live In London (Doughnut DTP-72185, with booklet and insert, 1976)
Rock/Progressive
Mika Katoh (joint lead vocals)
The cover photograph of Kazuhiko Katoh on his own isn’t accidental: Mika left him during their UK tour to stay in England and marry Chris Thomas, marking the end of the band’s first incarnation. Recorded during a support slot with Roxy Music, this offers a fine cross-section of Kurofone and Hot! Menu material with excellent (if not quite studio) sound quality, making a fitting end to the group’s seventies career. GRADE: B–.
Sadistic Mica Band (Japan): Sadistic Mica Band (Eastworld CT32-5432, CD, 1989)
Pop
Karen Kirishima (joint lead vocals)
This comeback album (with a different female singer and a different spelling of the band name) bears no resemblance whatsoever to their seventies work. Instead it’s rather cheesy eighties pop with a dated, funky feel and a few minor rock and symphonic edges. It’s nice enough for what it is, and slightly better than most such music, but it’s still shallow, calculated and utterly disposable. In any case, the intense closer ‘7 Days, At Last!’ is the best thing on offer. GRADE: C.
Sadistic Mica Band (Japan): Seiten – Live In Tokyo 1989 (Eastworld CT32-5508, CD, 1989)
Pop/Rock
Karen Kirishima (joint lead vocals)
This live album mixes material from the new LP with their seventies hits. It’s patchy, and very low on progressive moments, but the band and audience sound like they’re having fun. GRADE: C+.
Sadistic Mica Band (Japan): Live In Tokyo 1989 (EMI TOBF-5659, DVD, with poster booklet, 2009, recorded 1989)
Pop/Rock
Karen Kirishima (joint lead vocals)
The DVD version of the Seiten album (which omits a couple of the better cuts) demonstrates Sadistic Mica Band to have been a lively and competent outfit onstage. However, the intermittently spectacular visuals and Karen Kirishima’s occasional costume changes do not succeed in overcoming the frequently mediocre material. GRADE: C+.
Sadistic Mikaela Band (Japan): Narkissos (Columbia COCP-33931, CD, 2006)
Rock
Kaela Kimura (joint lead vocals)
Another slight name change, another new female vocalist and yet another comeback for the former Sadistic Mika Band. Much better than the 1989 effort, this is a solid pop/rock album with some bubblegum hard rock leanings, a bluesy edge to several cuts and even a vaguely proggy feel on the unusual ‘Sockernos’ (with the lyrics half in English and half in Swedish). Adding a couple of further backwards glances, the album ends with a pleasant instrumental and then a remake of ‘Time Machine’ from Kurofune. In fact, this frequently sounds like a logical follow-up to their very first LP from 1973. GRADE: C+.
Sadistic Mica Band (Japan): Live In Tokyo (Columbia COCP-34374-76, triple CD, with digipak, booklet and poster, 2007)
Rock/Progressive
Kaela Kimura (joint lead vocals), Mika Katoh (occasional vocals)
Oddly, they’re back to being the ‘Sadistic Mica Band’, despite still featuring Kaela Kimura, for this live double CD (plus a bonus disc recorded in 1975 with Mika Katoh). The 2007 show opens promisingly with a brace of material from Kurofune, including the instrumental suite and a rather subdued ‘Typhoon’ (significantly transposed downwards as Kazuhiko Katoh can clearly no longer hit the high notes). The new material works pretty well too, with the band having rediscovered some of its prog roots, making for a set that’s much superior to Seiten. Meanwhile, the shorter 1975 set has bootleg sound quality but superb performances and a great tracklisting, completing an excellent live overview. GRADE: B–.
Sadistic Mica Band (Japan): A Film By Kengo Takimoto (Geneon GNBD-1468, double DVD, with book sleeve, 2008)
Rock
Kaela Kimura
This lavish double DVD provided a fitting end to the band’s career, with Kazuhiko Katoh, who had long suffered from depression, committing suicide the following year. The first DVD consists of backstage footage, rehearsals and interviews, whilst the second intersperses concert clips with more interviews. Naturally, all the dialogue is in Japanese, making this rather heavy going for non-Japanese speakers; it’s a pity they didn’t include the full, unedited concert footage. GRADE: C+.

See also Mika, Torvikollektiivi

Grupa Organowa Krzysztofa Sadowskiego (Poland): Na Kosmodromie (Pronit SXL / XL 0748, 1972)
Jazz/Progressive
Liliana Urbańska (lead vocals, flute)
This is definitely jazz rather than jazz/rock, but on the mainly instrumental side-long title suite it’s definitively progressive, though Krzysztof Sadowski’s definition of ‘cosmic’ clearly differs from mine. Whilst you won’t anything truly spacy in the suite, you will find some excellent and complex musicianship, with sections showcasing organ, horns, drums and Liliana Urbańska’s wordless vocals. The four shorter instrumentals and solitary scat piece on the B-side are a good crop too, making this an accomplished album, although you’ll have to be reasonably tolerant of mainstream jazz to like it. GRADE: B–.

Krzysztof Sadowski & His Group  (Poland): Three Thousands Points (Muza SX 1277, 1975)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Liliana Urbańska (lead vocals, flute)
This is definitely jazz/rock and jazz-fusion rather than jazz, indicating the way in which the Polish scene was changing. Obvious influences range from Weather Report to countrymen Michał Urbaniak and Urszula Dudziak, and the whole thing sounds much more modern than its predecessor. Once again, the music is mostly instrumental (though there is some scatting by Urbańska, in one passage resembling Gong’s Gilli Smyth) and the level of energy and inspiration remains high throughout. GRADE: B–.
See also Liliana Urbańska

Saens (France): Escaping From The Hands Of God (Cyclops CYCL 110, CD, UK, 2001)
Progressive
Marine Campedel (occasional vocals, cello)
The record company hype surrounding this album made me expect something special, as did the presence of five (out of six) songs over 10 minutes. However, I don’t find Saens’ songwriting particularly inspired: the material here is firmly rooted in AOR, with plodding rock passages linked by instrumental sections to create music that is ambitious but never complex, garnished with an unsympathetic modern production. The album probably peaks on ‘Ayanda’ and ‘Requiem’, on which Marine Campedel’s quasi-classical vocals lift the mood, though once again the neoprogressive elements intrude and the musicianship is again rather heavy-handed. In contrast, the closing instrumental epilogue drops the rock elements and blends guitars, flute and cello to lovely effect, but it’s less than four minutes long. Their second album Prophet In A Statistical World/Dodecamania (Cyclops 141D, double CD, UK, 2004), recorded with an all-male line-up, was even more ambitious, with cuts of up to 24 minutes and a total running time of over two hours; the music is slightly more accomplished, but once again rather average neoprogressive. Multi-instrumentalist Vynce Leff subsequently formed Sensitive To Light and later Whyzdom. GRADE: C.

Saffron (UK): Saffron (EMI Columbia SCX 6570, 1974)
Pop/MOR
Karen Chapman (joint lead vocals, recorder)
Don’t be fooled by the band name: this isn’t hippie music of any kind. In fact, it’s of that showtune-edged MOR pop typified by the New Seekers or the very worst moments of Blue Mink. In fact, the opening ‘Same Old Way’ was so execrable that it made me want to snap the record in half, but the disc improves after that. There’s still a fair quotient of crap, but there are a few nice ballads with folkish edges, though I wish Karen Chapman had taken a slightly less formal approach in her vocals. GRADE: C–.

Saga (Portugal): Homo Sapiens (Movieplay MOV.7002, 1976)
Progressive/Jazz/Lounge
Dulce Neves (occasional vocals), Clara (occasional vocals)
I have seen this compared to Magma, but whilst there’s a vague conceptual similarity – jazzy prog fronted by a large vocal ensemble – the mood is totally different. Instead, this has a mellow vibe and strong MOR edges, with the vocals reminding one of the sort of acts that were omnipresent on seventies variety shows. Throw in frequent narration and a concept about nuclear war – or so I assume from the cover – and the end result is an odd melding of different musical worlds, though it works effectively enough on its own terms. GRADE: C+.

Sahara (USA): The Seventh House (Dream Circle DCD 9414, CD, 1994)
Metal
Elizabeth Vandall (lead vocals), Diane Arens (keyboards, backing vocals)
Offering progressive-tinged metal, this album is quite commercial, with a strong seventies tinge, yet also powerful and compelling. The original songs, mainly written by Arens and Vandall, are mostly of a high standard, but it’s their surprising and effective reworking of ‘Aquarius’ from ‘Hair’ that really sticks in the mind. GRADE: C+.

Sailor (USA): Sailor (700 West 761130, with inner, 1976)
Rock
Penny Hooker (occasional vocals, keyboards

It’s no accident that the closing cut is titled ‘Stealin’ Dan’: Steely Dan is clearly the biggest influence here, making this quite unusual for a private pressing. Thankfully, they take most of their influences from the Dan’s first era, with only a few hints of their later, slicker, jazzier direction. But whilst the album offers an agreeable mix of mellow rockers and more rural numbers, their smooth instrumental chops aren’t matched by their songwriting prowess, with only the aforementioned closing cut and its predecessor ‘I Never Believed In College’ (the album’s best number by some margin) really standing out. GRADE: C.

Saint (USA): Original Sin (Heaven LKE-123, 1982)
Rock/Metal
Karen Sotomayor (lead vocals, guitar, percussion)
This six-track mini-album is basic bonehead hard rock, so don’t expect any kind of inventive cross-genre fusion. But it’s rather good basic bonehead hard rock – stripped-down, energetic and lively – so it’s worth a listen if, like me, you’re fond of the style. GRADE: C+.
Saint (USA): 79-80 (7 Arcos Recordings ARC 008, CDR, with minisleeve, 2004, recorded 1978-1980)
Rock/Metal
Karen Sotomayor
Comprising early recordings from between 1978 (despite the title) and 1980, this 22-minute CDR offers music that’s somewhat heavier than their 1982 EP. In fact, the stripped-down hard rock here is good enough that I wish there was twice as much of it, even though variety isn’t exactly their strong suit. GRADE: C+.
Saint (USA): Live! (7 Arcos Recordings ARC 009, CDR, with minisleeve, 2004, recorded 1982)
Rock/Metal
Karen Sotomayor
This more substantial release features an hour-long live performance from August 1982 to mark the release of the band’s mini-album. It doesn’t add much to the impression created by earlier releases, but it does confirm that Saint were a fine hard rock act who deserved considerably more commercial success. GRADE: C+.

Saint (USA): A Blast From The Past (7 Arcos Recordings ARC 001, CDR, with minisleeve, 2004, recorded 1982)
Rock/Metal
Karen Sotomayor
Gathering six recordings from late 1982 (probably the last the band committed to tape), this 23-minute EP doesn’t really add much to the impression created by their other releases. Nonetheless, it’s damn good high-octane hard rock, making one wish their career had lasted longer. GRADE: C+.

Saint Just (Italy): Saint Just (EMI 3C 064-18780, 1973)
Progressive
Jenny Sorrenti (principal vocals)
The most obvious comparison for this short-lived Italian band would be Renaissance, but whilst there are strong similarities there are also notable differences. Aside from sounding distinctly Italian, Saint Just display stronger influences from jazz, mediaeval music and the avant-garde, with some moments being quite weird. In addition, Jenny Sorrenti has a radically different voice from Annie Haslam: very high-pitched, rather nervous and significantly folkier. This is a striking and creative album that repays repeated listening, but the longer songs can also feel disjointed and fragmentary. GRADE: B–.
Saint Just (Italy): La Casa Del Lago (EMI, 1974)
Progressive
Jenny Sorrenti (principal vocals, guitar, tambourine)
Album number two is somewhat different, with much more guitar-dominated arrangements and a spacy, rather psychedelic feel. It’s quite varied too, with the same jazz undertones as their first, one cut that sounds like a trippy jam based around a blues theme, and a haunting folk number to close. By any standards, this is an outstanding piece of Italian prog. GRADE: B.
Saint Just Again (Italy): Prog Explosion (Raro! RR6, 2011)
Progressive
Jenny Sorrenti (lead vocals, keyboards)
This isn’t really a Saint Just reunion, since none of the other original members are in the band; however, it does represent a logical step forward from La Casa Del Lago whilst eschewing the folky elements of Sorrenti’s solo work. Although a good album, this isn’t really in the same league as the seventies Saint Just LPs. A total of 1000 numbered copies were pressed: 250 on orange vinyl and 750 on black vinyl. GRADE: C+.
See also Curva Di Lesmo, Jenny Sorrenti, Arturo Stàlteri

Saoirse (UK): My Country Folk Vol. 1 (Cúchulainn CCHS.1004, Ireland, 1973)
Folk
When I bought this, I imagined it to be a solo album by a female singer in the vein of Geraldine McKeever. However, the label credits them as ‘the Saoirse Folk of Derry’ and judging from the cover they were a mixed-sex five-piece band. All the vocals are male, however, and the music offers lively traditional folk and borderline folk/rock backing; well-played and beautifully recorded, it’s one of the best albums of its type that I’ve heard. They issued several other albums that I have never encountered. GRADE: C+.

Salad (UK/Holland): Singles Bar (Island CIRM 1000/524 057-2, CD, 1995)

Rock

Marijne van der Vlugt (lead vocals, keyboards)

Salad were unlucky enough to be lumped in with the Britpop movement, but thankfully there’s no blue-collar Oasis-like swagger here (though they do hint towards the sound of female-fronted acts like Elastica). Instead, fronted by the talented Dutch vocalist Marijne van der Vlugt, they’re more in a garage-rock mould, with hints of both psychedelia and early post-punk. In some ways, their hard-edged pop could be viewed as being in the Dutch tradition of bands like Shocking Blue, though there’s little musical resemblance. Ultimately, their biggest downfall is a lack of truly great songs, though this is mostly enjoyable and occasionally excellent when everything aligns (the opening ‘Kent’). GRADE: C+.

Salad (UK/Holland): Drink Me (Island CIRDX 1002 524 118-2, CD, with booklet and box, UK, 1997)

Rock

Marijne van der Vlugt (lead vocals, keyboards)

The first thing that struck me as odd about Drink Me was the sequencing. Salad wrote two true classics in ‘Motorbike To Heaven’ and ‘Drink The Elixir’ – both among the best songs of the 1990s – and they’re the first two cuts here. The third song is the other single ‘Granite Statue’, which is the next best thing on the album, followed by eleven markedly inferior variations on their style. The second odd thing is the lyrics: as on their earlier singles, they mostly seem to comprise vivid images that add up to non-sequiturs. GRADE: C+.
Salad (UK/Holland): Ice Cream (Island CID8056 524370-2, CD, UK, 1997)
Rock
Marijne van der Vlugt (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards)
By any standard, this is good garage pop, with the band continuing to develop: their sound has become more atmospheric and their use of keyboards adds an occasional slight progressive edge to the proceedings. However, without another ‘Drink The Elixir’ or ‘Motorbike To Heaven’ it isn’t great garage pop, which is probably why they never recorded again. GRADE: C+.

Salada De Frutas (Portugal): Sem Açúcar (Rossil ROSSLP 12021, with insert, 1980)
Rock/Progressive
Lena d’Agua (principal vocals, percussion)
Light pop-edged progressive with occasional similarities to some eighties South American bands (Enfasis and to a lesser extent Equilibrio Vital) as well as contemporary Genesis. Some tracks add slight jazz/funk touches, whilst ‘Como Se Eu Fosse Tua’, which was the single, is not dissimilar to Abba and ‘Shuy The Shock’ sounds like Suzi Quatro singing in Portuguese. There’s nothing here you won’t have heard before, but this is thoroughly pleasant early eighties soft rock with a high standard of songwriting and arrangement. GRADE: C+.

Salloom-Sinclair & The Mother Bear (USA): Salloom-Sinclair And The Mother Bear (Cadet Concept LPS 316, 1968)
Blues/Rock
Robin Sinclair (joint lead vocals)
Powerful bluesy rock with strong organ and lead guitar work, and some dramatic singing from Robin Sinclair (who sounds like a cross between Janis Joplin and Grace Slick). On the heavier tracks they sound like a more disciplined Big Brother & The Holding Company, whilst there are also a couple of lighter and more relaxed cuts. GRADE: C+.
Salloom-Sinclair (USA): Salloom-Sinclair (Cadet Concept LPS 327, 1969)
Blues/Rock
Robin Sinclair (joint lead vocals, guitar)
Once again Roger Salloom writes just about everything, but they’ve dropped the backing band and replaced them with top session players from country music backgrounds. Not surprisingly, a few cuts have a rural feel, though others are in a similar, though generally more restrained, blues/rock style to their debut. This is more consistent and less self-indulgent than its predecessor, but I do find myself missing the acid guitar and organ orgies. After this, Robin Sinclair went on to join Gold. GRADE: C+.
See also Gold

Sallyangie (UK): Children Of The Sun (Transatlantic TRA 176, 1968)
Folk
Sally Oldfield (joint lead vocals, guitar)
This charming hippie folk artefact gives few clues that Mike Oldfield would go on to become a superstar (or indeed that sister Sally would cut an album as adventurous as her 1978 solo debut, Waterbearer). Sounding rather twee and impossibly naïve today, it’s still beautiful and haunting, and a perfect document of a particular time and frame of mind. GRADE: C+.
See also Mike Oldfield, Sally Oldfield

Saloma (Argentina): Canciones De Buenos Aires (Tennessee LP 5006, 1978)
Folk/Rock
Cristina Ghione (joint lead vocals, flute)
This trio offer a lovely collection of delicate self-penned songs, mostly written by the group’s leader and multi-instrumentalist Alejandro del Prado. With restrained semi-electric backing, including some drums, and superb three-part harmonies, this is a charming album with a very gentle and beatific vibe. GRADE: C+.

Salt Water Taffy (USA): Salt Water Taffy (Buddah BDS 5021, 1968)
Pop
Janie Brennan, Kathy Weinberg
Like many other releases on Buddah, this is rather cheesy MOR sunshine pop with definite bubblegum edges (more pronounced on the post-LP single ‘Loop De Loop’). Whilst it’s all winsome enough, it’s terribly twee and the lyrics (sample line: ‘I just can’t conceal this feeling I feel’) are dreadful even by the standards of sixties pop. GRADE: C.

Salvation (USA): This City (JTO JTO-7-25-79, 1979)
Rock
Betty Harmon (occasional vocals)
As the cover makes clear, this is unpretentious blue collar rock, displaying a certain Bruce Springsteen influence but without the associated pomp and myth-making. With solid songwriting and decent instrumental performances, this is an enjoyable LP though not an enormously memorable one. Although credited as a full band member and pictured on the sleeve, Betty Harmon appears on only two of the nine tracks. As a footnote, this has no religious content despite the band name. GRADE: C+.

Same People (USA): Horizons (No label TSP 001, 1976?)
Folk
Denise Stahl (joint lead vocals)
This obscure private pressing offers pleasant, mellow folk with male and female vocals backed by acoustic guitars and bass. The covers reflect a definite interest in country music (‘Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue’, ‘Take Me Home Country Roads’, ‘Desperado’) but the music is never cloying and ‘Locomotive Breath’ is a bold and original choice. GRADE: C+.

Sammelsurium (Germany): Palam (No label RA 100.002, Germany, CD, 1997)
Progressive
Vio de Galgóczy (lead vocals, percussion)
According to the liner notes, the band had been active since 1972, but this 1997 private pressing was their only release. For all that, their music is firmly rooted in neoprogressive, though with tracks of up to 16 minutes they’re a little more ambitious than most. In fact, this covers quite a range of ground and remains consistently interesting, though some diversions work better than others. Oddly, the last two cuts, ‘Different Faces’ and ‘Corno Finale’, are jazz-fusion, representing a complete side-swerve from the symphonic prog preceding them. GRADE: C+.

Sampaguita (Philippines): Sampaguita (Blackgold BA-5017, with poster, 1978)
Rock/Metal
Sampaguita (lead vocals)
The opening ‘Bonggahan’ (apparently one of the biggest-ever hit singles in the Philippines) is rather underwhelming, bearing more than a passing resemblance to Suzi Quatro. However, most of the rest is excellent melodic hard rock, with some very good guitar leads.GRADE: C+.
Sampaguita (Philippines): Sampaguita Vol. 2 (Polydor PDA-002, 1980)
Rock
Sampaguita (lead vocals)
This partly continues the hard rock style of her first, but it’s much wider-ranging, from pop to soul, disco and hints of folk. The end result is another enjoyable album, although this doesn’t quite equal the best moments of its predecessor. GRADE: C+.