UFO “The Chrysalis Years (1973-1979)”

 

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (# 553 in the Series) is UFO, The Chrysalis Years, (1973-1979).

I am going to delay with the normal album review inroduction and substitute it with: IT’S ALL HERE! ALL YOU COULD WANT FROM THIS SEMINAL 1970’S HARD ROCK JUGGERNAUT. AND IT COSTS LESS THAN NINETEEN DOLLARS ON LINE!

Now that I have that out of my system…… UFO was a great heavy rock band that my friends and I worshipped as teenagers in suburban Chicago. My first show was UFO at the Aragon Ballroom on October 10, 1975. This group had everything.

UFO possessed the piledriving rhythm section of Peter Way (bass) and Andy Parker (drums). They featured serviceable short term members in Danny Peyronel (keyboards) and Paul Raymond (guitar and keyboards). But to hard core UFO fanatics, UFO has always been about Phil Mogg (vocals) and the great Michael Schenker (guitar). This band had it all and everything from this period is included in this 5 disc collection.

The  typical UFO tune was pretty easy to figure out. It was a solid song with an “Oh my God, did he really play that fast and brilliantly?” guitar solo from Schenker.

UFO was formed in 1969 or 1968, depending what source you believe. Early line ups included Mick Bolton, Bernie Marsden (future Whitesnake axeman), and Larry Wallis (future member of Motorhead and the Pink Fairies). UFO’s fortunes turned in 1973 with the addition of eighteen year old Michael Schenker. Michael had been in the Scorpions with his older brother Rudolf. The rest, as they say is history.

The Chrysalis Years starts out with a rarely heard, at least in the States, single (“Give Her the Gun” and “Sweet Little Thing”). This is one of the bargain additions to this box set. Other bonuses include a 3 song Bob Harris radio session from 1974, UFO live at Atlanta’s Electric Ballroom in 1974, and a 1977 John Peel radio session. The Peel Sessions are especially stunning because it shows the band at its finest without all of the big budget studio frills from their normal studio lp’s. The 3 songs from Peel (“Try Me”, “Too Hot to Handle”, and “Lights Out”) make the band sound like a hungry garage band. This format works on every level.

The meat and potatoes of The Chrysalis Years is the inclusion of the five Schenker UFO studio albums and the live killer, Strangers in the Night. 1974’s Phenemenon shows them as  up and coming second on the bill future superstars. Several of Phenomenon‘s songs are classics (“Oh My”, “Doctor Doctor”, and  “Queen of the Deep”), but my all time favorite comes from Phenonmenon. “Rock Bottom” is what sold me on these lads and to this day it stops me in my tracks. The song contains an “Did he just play that?” two minute guitar lead from Schenker that screams “Guitar hero!”

1975’s Force It continued the upward trend with “Let It Roll” , “Shoot Shoot”and other chesnuts. No Heavy Petting (1976) is unfairly slagged as a down UFO album. This is heresy! Listen to “Natural Thing”, “Can You Roll Her”, and “Highway Lady” and see if you can agree with these poor reviews. You cannot.

Lights Out is the band’s most popular studio release (1977). This displays the group at its most commercial. “Love to Love”, “Electric Phase”, “Too Hot To Handle”, and the title track show a group that is perfecting their sound. This is a band that should have conquered the world.

Obsession and the live Strangers in the Night continued UFO’s steady stream of radio friendly blistering tunes. Like all good things, though, this period had to end. Michael Schenker disappeared from the band in 1977 and was never a consistent and regular member of the band again. Did Michael leave for religious reasons as was rumored? Drink/drugs? Artistic differences? Who knows (and at this point, who cares)? There have been a few reunion albums and tours with Schenker, but nothing on a  continual basis. The power house line up would never be the same. Various incarnations of UFO (all with Phil Mogg at the helm) have soldiered on but the satisfaction levels have never come close to the Chrysalis Years.

So here it is fans. 5 discs, 81 songs, studio greatness, live explosiveness, singles (A-sides and B-sides), radio sessions, etc…. It’s all here! And did I mention that you can pick it up for less than $19? Long live UFO!

– Jim McCabe, Lena, Illinois, USA

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Phenomenon

Tack listing

Side one

  1. “Too Young to Know” (Pete Way, Phil Mogg) – 3:10
  2. “Crystal Light” (Michael Schenker, Mogg) – 3:47
  3. “Doctor Doctor” (Schenker, Mogg) – 4:10
  4. “Space Child” (Schenker, Mogg) – 4:01
  5. “Rock Bottom” (Schenker, Mogg) – 6:32

Side two

  1. “Oh My” (Schenker, Mogg, Way, Andy Parker) – 2:28
  2. “Time on My Hands” (Schenker, Mogg) – 4:10
  3. “Built for Comfort” (Willie Dixon) – 3:01
  4. “Lipstick Traces” (Schenker) – 2:20 (instrumental)
  5. “Queen of the Deep” (Schenker, Mogg) – 5:49

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Force It

Track listing

Side one

  1. “Let It Roll” (Michael Schenker, Phil Mogg) – 3:57
  2. “Shoot Shoot” (Schenker, Mogg, Pete Way, Andy Parker) – 3:40
  3. “High Flyer” (Schenker, Mogg) – 4:08
  4. “Love Lost Love” (Schenker, Mogg) – 3:21
  5. “Out in the Street” (Way, Mogg) – 5:18

Side two

  1. “Mother Mary” (Schenker, Mogg, Way, Parker) – 3:49
  2. “Too Much of Nothing” (Way) – 4:02
  3. “Dance Your Life Away” (Schenker, Mogg) – 3:35
  4. “This Kid’s including Between the Walls” (Schenker, Mogg) – 6:13

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No Heavy Petting

Track listing

Side one

  1. “Natural Thing” (Michael Schenker, Phil Mogg, Pete Way) – 4:01
  2. “I’m a Loser” (Schenker, Mogg) – 3:55
  3. “Can You Roll Her” (Danny Peyronel, Mogg, Andy Parker) – 2:58
  4. “Belladonna” (Schenker, Mogg) – 4:32
  5. “Reasons Love” (Schenker, Mogg) – 3:17

Side two

  1. “Highway Lady” (Peyronel) – 3:49
  2. “On with the Action” (Schenker, Mogg, Peyronel) – 5:03
  3. “A Fool in Love” (Frankie Miller, Andy Fraser) – 2:50
  4. “Martian Landscape” (Peyronel, Mogg, Parker) – 5:11

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Lights Out

Track listing

Side one

  1. “Too Hot to Handle” (Pete Way, Phil Mogg) – 3:37
  2. “Just Another Suicide” (Mogg) – 4:58
  3. “Try Me” (Michael Schenker, Mogg) – 4:49
  4. “Lights Out” (Schenker, Mogg, Andy Parker, Way) – 4:33

Side two

  1. “Gettin’ Ready” (Schenker, Mogg) – 3:46
  2. “Alone Again Or” (Bryan MacLean) – 3:00
  3. “Electric Phase” (Way, Mogg, Schenker) – 4:20
  4. “Love to Love” (Schenker, Mogg) – 7:38

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Obsession

Track listing

Side One

  1. “Only You Can Rock Me” (P Way, M Schenker, P Mogg) – 4:08
  2. “Pack It Up (And Go)” (Way, Schenker, Mogg) – 3:14
  3. “Arbory Hill” (Schenker) – 1:11
  4. “Ain’t No Baby” (Mogg, Paul Raymond – originally Way, Mogg) – 3:58
  5. “Lookin’ Out for No. 1” (Mogg, Raymond – originally Way, Mogg) – 4:34

Side Two

  1. “Hot ‘n’ Ready” (Schenker, Mogg) – 3:16
  2. “Cherry” (Way, Mogg) – 3:34
  3. “You Don’t Fool Me” (Raymond, Andy Parker, Mogg – originally Way, Parker, Mogg) – 3:23
  4. “Lookin’ Out for No. 1 (Reprise)” (Schenker, Raymond) – 1:14
  5. “One More for the Rodeo” (Way, Mogg) – 3:45
  6. “Born to Lose” (Schenker, Mogg, Raymond – originally Schenker, Way, Mogg) – 3:31

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Strangers in the Night

Side One

  1. “Natural Thing” (Schenker/Mogg/Way) – 3:57
  2. “Out in the Street” (Way/Mogg) – 5:07
  3. “Only You Can Rock Me” (Way/Schenker/Mogg) – 4:08
  4. “Doctor Doctor” (Schenker/Mogg) – 4:42

Side Two

  1. “Mother Mary” (Schenker/Mogg/Way/Parker) – 3:25
  2. “This Kid’s” (Schenker/Mogg) – 5:11
  3. “Love to Love” (Schenker/Mogg) – 7:58

Side Three

  1. “Lights Out” (Schenker/Mogg/Parker/Way) – 5:23
  2. “Rock Bottom” (Schenker/Mogg) – 11:08

Side Four

  1. “Too Hot to Handle” (Way/Mogg) – 4:26
  2. “I’m a Loser” (Schenker/Mogg) – 4:13
  3. “Let It Roll” (Schenker/Mogg) – 4:48
  4. “Shoot Shoot” (Schenker/Mogg/Way/Parker) – 4:07

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Personnel 

  • Phil Mogg – vocals
  • Michael Schenker – guitar, flute
  • Pete Way – bass
  • Andy Parker – drums
  • Paul Raymond – rhythm guitar, keyboards, vocals (beginning with Lights Out)

Links

 View hightlights from albums included in this great box set.


Posted by Larry Carta

1 Comment

  1. Bill (17 Nov 2011, 11:48)
    Reply

    Yes, an absolutely stunning band from the hard rock genre that was much, much better than whatever accolades they received (or failed to receive) over the course of their (ongoing) career. While I agree that the Chrysalis years represented here are their absolute best, the first two post Schenker releases (“No Place To Run” and “The Wild, The Willing And The Innocent”) are equally up to par featuring Paul Chapman almost filling those awfully big Schenker shoes. Unfortunately, after that the scale of expectation and the band’s level of quality began to drop. For those that liked Chapman’s playing I highly, highly recommend searching out “Firing On All Six” by his previous band, Lone Star (No, not that cheesey, modern country/pop band!). But getting back to this boxset, if I didn’t already own 2 copies (U.S and Japanese versions) of all the Chrysalis era albums (CD’s), plus even more live recorded soundboard bootlegs & rarities than are included in this boxset, I’d certainly buy it because it IS quite the bargain!
    Yeah…I love UFO. Always have. Always will…



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