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3.8 out of 5 stars6
3.8 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 1 June 2006
MAY BLITZ, briefly an integral part of the UK heavy underground live music scene, were formed by ex-Jeff Beck Group member Tony Newman (drums), who recruited Canadians James Black (lead guitar, vocals) and Reid Hudson (bass and vocals) in 1969. There were many such "power trios" around at the time most famously Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, Groundhogs and Bakerloo. Their debut album "May Blitz" was released on Vertigo (6360 007) in 1970 but despite containing some excellent original heavy music sold moderately. The album has very good sound quality and production, the distinctive cover was designed by NME cartoonist Tony Benyon. I managed to get hold of an original copy some years ago and in recent years this album and the follow-up "2nd of May" have each been reissued by Akarma on vinyl and both albums together on a "Beat Goes On" cd BGOCD153.

The first track "Smokin' the Day Away" , a smoke in the country away from the "smoke" starts slowly, almost ponderously, and develops into a jam before returning to the main theme, my favourite song, it is very effective i can almost "smell" that stuff! It also contains some fine drum work and unusual metallic sounding guitar effects. "I Don't Know" , which has another "back to the country" theme is a lazy bluesey number which contains some fine guitar work which snakes its way along. "Dreaming", as the title suggests, is a slow dreamy song with acoustic guitar and shimmering cymbals, then momentarily speeds up into a frenzy of screaming "Arthur Brown" style half-sung vocals, fast tom toms and slide guitar. "Squeet" ("squeet all over the wall?...what could they possibly be talking about??) is an unusual song which develops into a boogie-style jam, "Tomorrow May Come", a dream of a better world, is a slow and ethereal song with echoed vocals, drums and guitar, this mood changes into the fast-paced "Fire Queen" with screaming vocals and thundering drums. Waves lapping introduce the last track "Virgin Waters", a beautiful song about first love, containing some lovely effects, whispered vocals, brilliant drumming and echoey acoustic guitar which build to a heavy climax.

Overall a brilliant group and an amazing album, definitely more "gem" than "lost", an essential addition to any progressive Psych/Space Rock collection!

The 1971 follow-up to "May Blitz", "The 2nd of May" featured similarly grotesque artwork on the cover and contained eight excellent tracks, but sold poorly, probably due to lack of air play.

The album kicks off with "For Mad Men Only", with a heavy fuzzy power chord guitar and driving beat, it contains some great riffs and solos, certainly a sign of things to come as they are similar to bands such as Black Sabbath. This track also reminds me of the typical heavy sound from UK underground Psyche/Space rock band "Stray". The style of vocals in "Snakes and Ladders" sounds reminiscent of Hendrix, has a strong bass line, fuzz power chords which sound very Black Sabbath indeed. There are echoed backing vocals and "space" effects swirling around, now we're in Hawkwind territory! "The 25th of December" as you'd guess is a Christmas song which swings along beautifully, occasionally leading into whispered vocals and a jazzy style rhythm and bluesy guitar. "In Part" is a jazzy style number which has a flute playing in the background, funny thing the vocals are half sung half spoken, almost rap-like, which leads into a fine drum solo. I don't care what anyone says, i love 'em!! The next track on the cd is called "8 Mad Grim Nits", not sure who they refer to but it is a crazy fast jazzy jam featuring very fast drum and bass playing and some wild fuzzy, phased over- amped lead guitar, really sounds like they had a lot of fun doing this one! Here's another group i would have loved to have seen live. "High Beech" is a beautiful folky song overlaid with watery acoustic guitars and nice lyrics, "shadows spring to life", "today is the beginning of the rest of our lives". "Honey Coloured Time" is another beautiful song about our hypocritical world with hushed vocals, which includes some fine jazz style guitar and bass and a Hendrix style ending, talk about mixing styles. "Just Thinking" is a ponderous, dreamy love song, very laid back, and features some interesting echoed "squeaky" guitar effects.

I enjoy listening to this album very much and it's a shame May Blitz didn't do more after they were dropped from Vertigo. James Black and Reid Hudson returned to Canada and Tony Newman went on to work with such artists as Three Man Army, Marc Bolan, David Bowie & Mick Ronson, Chris Spedding and David Coverdale's Whitesnake. IMO an essential addition to any Prog/Space/Psyche collection.
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on 30 January 2007
I gave this 5 stars for the content and 1 star for BGO's edition. The two albums are definitely worth buying,... but separately. This version by BGO has the songs edited in order to fit onto one CD. I bought the first album by itself (Repertoire label from Germany) and then this British 2fer version in order to get the 2nd of May at a decent price. Comparing the first album on both CDs, the BGO version fades out the songs early! Not being sure that they did the same with the second album, I immediately returned the BGO version and bought the unedited (albeit expensive) German import of 2nd of May. Yer pays yer money, yer takes yer chances...
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on 14 November 2006
I know that may blitz 1st album on vertigo is reachin up to a grand , so after gettin a copy where the two are on one disc, is a cheaper way to get introduced! the 1st album I found poor in material and production but Im still tryin to dig it!. the 2nd is far superiour and havin listened only 3 times it really is full of good songs ,playin and well produced. could hold its head up high against these new (rock) groups!!
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on 18 July 2013
These CDs are faithfully reproduced and are amongst my favourites and played regularly to save wear on my precious vinyl copies. Delivered quickly and at a decent price. Many thanks!
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on 4 March 2016
A good album good value
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on 2 November 2014
dont purchase this b.g.o. edition as it is edited to get both albums on one cd.this is unfortunate but seems to be the thing today with most of these two on one cds.beware!
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