Kansas' third album, Masque, is a lyrically dark effort courtesy of guitarist/keyboardist Kerry Livgren's brooding songwriting. Musically, Masque foreshadows the tight melodies and instrumental interplay on the next two albums, Leftoverture and Point of Know Return, which together serve as the peak of Kansas' vision. The band deserves more respect than it gets for incorporating British hard rock and progressive rock to become the only U.S. progressive rock band of note during the genre's 1970s heyday. Robbie Steinhardt's violin work certainly helped give Kansas a distinctive sound. The liner notes indicate Masque is a "concept album" thanks to the title's definition: "A disguise of reality created through a theatrical or musical performance." Vocalist/keyboardist Steve Walsh's "It Takes a Woman's Love (To Make a Man)" is the leadoff track, and it's atypical of the rest of the album. The song is a fairly basic yet groovy pop/rock tune about musicians' loneliness on the road, but it is spiced up with some saxophone lines.
Recorded while the band was evolving slowly into the Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, Trying to Burn the Sun is the third and final release from Elf, the band that finally earned Ronnie James Dio the attention he had been seeking since the late '50s. After writing and recording a few singles for Blackmore, Dio and Elf were solidly moving in a heavier musical direction, no doubt influenced by Deep Purple and the British supergroup's lead guitarist. Standout cuts include "Wonderworld" and "Streetwalker," two cuts that were somehow placed at the tail end of the record, despite their strong melodies and musicianship…
"The Carpenters" (originally released as "Horizon") is the sixth consecutive platinum-certified album by American musical duo Carpenters. It was particularly successful in the United Kingdom and Japan, topping the charts and becoming one of the best-selling albums of 1975 in those countries. Horizon also reached no. 3 in New Zealand, no. 4 in Canada and no. 5 in Norway. An American duo consisting of sister Karen Carpenter and brother Richard Carpenter. Carpenters were the #1 selling American music act of the 1970s. Though often referred to as "The Carpenters", their name on official releases and press materials was "Carpenters".
Two years after the first installment comes Buck 'Em!: The Music of Buck Owens, Vol. 2, a double-disc set chronicling the eight years when Buck Owens was a crossover superstar thanks to his prominent role as a co-host of Hee Haw. Buck started to slide into a rut toward the end of this run – a process accelerated by the tragic death of his right-hand man Don Rich in 1974, a loss from which Owens never fully recovered – but producer Patrick Milligan slyly disguises this trend by nestling deep cuts, live tracks, and outtakes among the best of his hits, thereby painting a portrait of Buck Owens as a musician nearly as adventurous as he was during the purple patch of the '50s and early '60s.
Singer Demis Roussos, known for his dramatic, operatic vocal stylings, was born Artemios Ventouris Roussos in Alexandria, Egypt, on June 15, 1946, to Greek expatriate parents. In the early '60s, however, the family decided to return to their homeland, and once there, the young Roussos (who had studied trumpet and sung in the church choir in Egypt) began playing in local bands. One of these was Aphrodite's Child, which also featured Vangelis Papatanassiou and Lucas Sideras. A huge hit in Europe, especially France, the band released a handful of albums before breaking up in 1971. With his label contacts in place, however, Roussos was able to secure a deal as a solo recording artist, and later that same year issued the single "We Shall Dance," also included on the album On the Greek Side of My Mind. The 1970s were a prolific time for Roussos, and he released a number of singles and albums that charted highly on the European and Latin American charts. In 1978 the singer decided to retire, and moved to Malibu Beach, where he kept a lower profile.