Saturday, March 11, 2017
Jane - Together. 1972 Germany
LP reissues: 1974 Brain; 1976 Brain; 1977 Brain (Japan); 1980 Brain; 1981 Brain (Japan); 2010 Back to Black/Brain
CD reissues: 1988 Brain; 1990 Brain;
When the Hamburg based Brain first launched their famous green label, they reached a bit south to Hanover for the two bands they thought were ready to make it to the big time: Scorpions and Jane. They proved to be right on both. Jane enjoyed popularity back home and in Europe, while the Scorpions slowly built up an international audience, especially in the US and Japan. The Scorps began to distance themselves in the late 70s, and then became global superstars in the 80s. Jane meanwhile kept slumbering along, forgotten by everyone except within the comforts of Germany.
But in 1972, both bands were completely different than where they ended up. Lonesome Crow is one of the finest of the Krautrock works, an album that still manages to stick out amongst the crowded genre. Jane's entry is a bit more typical of the 1972 landscape. More blues based, with heavy organ (the one key era instrument the Scorpions somehow managed to avoid), guitars, and lost desperate vocals in English. The album is broken up into two styles across its length: Short blues tracks juxtaposed against longer, more traditional jam based Krautrock. It's the latter element that shines, and a style that Jane more or less abandoned altogether afterward (once again, similar to the Scorpions). For my tastes, Together is Jane's finest moment, even though I enjoy all of their albums through 1977 or so.
If you're a Krautrock fan, and the albums of Jane have left you disappointed, then be sure to listen to Together before giving up on them.
Together was one of the Brain albums that remained in print throughout the original label life cycle. I first purchased this album in the mid 1980s. It was the black Brain label version, which is a single sleeve with a loud advertisement in the upper right corner. Eventually I secured the gatefold green label second press from 1974, which is exactly like the original except it does not have "Metronome" on the label. I'll eventually rectify that. All the CDs come from the parent label (not even Repertoire), and are very basic, with no care given to the sound either. Even though 1990 is the last date I have listed, I believe the CD is basically "in production". Humorously they misspell the title track as 'Togehter' which I imagine is its phonetic spelling. Hopefully a label with a history of caring about the legacy of the era and sound quality will come along and improve the situation.
Jane - Daytime / Hangman. 1973 Brain