Hallelujah are sometimes thought of as a German band but although they were based in Germany they were in fact British. The band centred around the duo of Paul Vincent Gunia (guitar and vocals) and Keith Forsay (drums). They returned to England to record and release their one and only album, "Hallelujah Babe" in 1971 with the help of session musicians Pete Wood (keyboards) and Rick Kemp (bass). Kemp may be known to folk fans for later becoming a member of Steeleye Span. To add to the confusion the album was to receive its original release only in Germany. Musically the band played heavy rock with a progressive edge with psychedelic and folk touches. Forsay later went on to become an in demand session drummer as well as producer in Germany.
Formed from the remnants of big Rock band Dada, Vinegar Joe were brought together by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell. With Elkie Brooks on vocals, Robert Palmer on guitar and vocals, Pete Gage (guitars, piano) and Steve York (bass, harmonica) at the core of the group, and numerous musicians on drums and keyboards the band recorded three albums between 1971 and 1973. Six Star General was originally released in 1973 and this re-release has been digitally remastered and contains all the original sleeve notes and track line up. Vinegar Joe quickly established themselves as a popular live act, with their forthright and gutsy performances they attracted rave reviews!
Fame was a film directed by Alan Parker, a serious auteur (some would say overly serious, especially in light of the work that came later) who designed the film for posterity, and the same attitude carried over the music. Yes, the production techniques often do sound dated – the over-reliance on state-of-the-art synthesizer ironically now sounds helplessly tied to the year of its creation – but the music by Michael Gore is dynamic, varied, and alive, sung with real passion and vigor, and it still retains its essential spark 23 years after it was a pop culture phenomenon. Sure, it's glitzy and glossy, sounding like show tunes, but that's the tradition of this music, and it was done better than most Broadway tunes and movie soundtracks of the '80s. Years later, this still has the spark and vitality of kids trying to make their big break, no matter the kind of music they're singing, and that's one of the main reasons (along with Gore's fine compositions) Fame retains its power and entertainment value years later.
Vinegar Joe's second album was workmanlike, early-'70s mainstream British rock, though with more of a soul and rock & roll influence than the usual such band of the era, due to the one-two punch of lead vocalists Robert Palmer and Elkie Brooks. It's fair but not astounding stuff, Palmer and Brooks both singing together and taking individual leads of their own. The original material tends toward the commonplace good-time rock & roll vibe, though it gets a bit more interesting on Palmer's two original compositions, "Falling" (which clearly points toward the reggae-funk of his early solo career) and "Forgive Us" (which is a decent facsimile of rootsy southern Californian country-folk-rock). As for the three covers, it's doubtful anyone needed a version of Jerry Lee Lewis' classic "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On." But they showed better taste on Jimi Hendrix's "Angel" (Brooks' most impressive vocal on the record) and the obscure American folk-rock tune "Rock & Roll Gypsies," originally done by the Gypsy Trips and Hearts & Flowers in the 1960s.