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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hot Poop - Does Their Own Stuff (1971 us, great experimantal acid psych)



The band hailed from California whose moniker was inspired by a Zappa tune, and this was their sole output in Jan 1971, an edition of 500 copies (with orange paper lyric insert) on their own label (HPS 3072). The band had 5 members however the forces behind this project were Thomas Burke and Lawrence Praissman.

“Hot Poop Does Their Own Stuff. Why? Cause nobody else would dare! This private pressing is so brain numbingly strange that its almost impossible not to like it! Frenzied falsetto vocals, omnipresent fuzz, and deranged subject matter (with such songs as "Wing Wang", "Screamin", "I Always Play With My Food", and the eerie, slow last dance "My Babys Dead") make for an album that cannot be comprehended by a sober mind! This is what happens when hippies forsake LSD for nitrous oxide!”

This album is famous for its cover. The front shows the band in a barn, with three of them shooting up, one passed out (or dead), and another taking a dump. On the back theyre all nude, except that the woman has a dick and the guys dont. Unsurprisingly, the lyrics are mostly about sex and cars. The music is more like a combination of surf and bluesy rock. A falsetto vocal on a couple of songs sends it into novelty territory (anyone remember the Goons?).

As a result this album has, in the past, received some bad press musically, however this mainly undeserved. There are hints of the Deep and Capt. Beefheart and there is enough in here for both garage and psyche fans. Almost every track drips with fuzz guitar and despite the sometimes dodgy lyrics musically it works as a whole.


Tracks
1. Let Me Loose - 4:01
2. Cruisin Ford - 3:28
3. Hard Rock - 4:55
4. Wing Wang - 3:46
5. Fast Cars And Chicks - 2:24
6. Dance To The War - 2:58
7. Get It In - 3:56
8. A Always Play With My Food - 2:50
9. Screamin - 2:34
10.My Babys Dead - 3:58
All songs by Tom Burke, Larry Praissman

Hot Poop
*Gwendolyn Glopenstein (Lisa Hebbard) - Keyboards
*Flash Hammer (Bruce Lyson) - Drums, Percussion
*Larry Honyock (Lawrence Praissman) - Guitars, Vocals
*Gabor Kovats (Jim Anderson) - Bass, Vocals
*Johnny Rockaway (Thomas Burke) - Vocals, Guitars

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Harumi - Harumi (1968 japan, acid psych folk masterpiece produced by Tom Wilson)



Recorded by Tom Wilson (who else?) for Verve in 1967 and 1968 in New York, this set originally appeared on a double LP (which has been reissued on both vinyl and CD by Fallout). This is one of the wildest and most unbelievably ambitious recordings to come from the psychedelic era. Harumi (a mystery man who recorded one more album before vanishing into the ether) could write pop songs and sing them.

He also sounds like he did a lot of acid. Harumi (who sings and speaks in English), Wilson, arrangers Harvey Vinson and Larry Fallon, and engineer Gary Kellegren assembled a tripped-out collection of pop, Eastern folk, and experimental music and production techniques, with sounds, textures, and atmospheres that incorporated everything from strings and horns to Japanese folk instruments to vibraphones and (of course) plenty of guitars and drums and organ. Of the 13 cuts here, 11 are of conventional length and are utterly seductive in their hypnotic power and pop brilliance.

The last two, "Twice Told Tales of the Pomegranate Forest" and "Samurai Memories," are 24 minutes and 18 minutes long, respectively. These two have plenty of cosmic spoken word by Wilson (Rosko) and Harumi, and on the past by his parents and his sister. The first of these, the longer one, is a bit difficult to take with its slow pace, minimal orchestration, and nearly nonsensical story (that's what the remote is for). The second one, with its discotheque go-go boots beat and orchestration, phased sounds, and Japanese language, is an exotic masterpiece.

It grooves throughout, especially when the electric guitars and strings play counterpoint to one another. Simply put, there is nothing at all like this record in the known universe. It has been compared to the adventurousness of the Mothers of Invention, but only insofar as its wide range. The music here, while a huge compendium of sources, is unlike anything you have ever heard when it is put together. Harumi's self-titled album is simply a classic from the underground brought back into the light.
by Thom Jurek



Tracks
1. Talk About It - 4:10
2. First Impressions - 3:10
3. Don't Know What I'm Gonna Do - 3:09
4. Hello - 4:02
5. Sugar In Your Tea - 3:22
6. Caravan - 3:05
7. Hunters Of Heaven - 2:52
8. Hurry Up Now - 3:51
9. What A Day For Me - 2:47
10.We Love - 2:17
11.Fire By The River - 3:35
12.Twice Told Tales Of The Pomegranate Forest - 24:00
13.Samurai Memories - 19:15
All songs written by Harumi

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fifth Order - Bonfire! The Return Of (1966-67 us, awesome garage psych)




Their 1966 garage classic Goin' Too Far b/w Walkin' Away was a tremendous regional success, at the time becoming the biggest selling seven-incher from Columbus, Ohio. Their second local hit, A Thousand Devils (Are Chasing Me) b/w Today I Got A Letter, was picked up by Laurie for national release. These two records have long been recognized as sterling examples of Ohio's vibrant mid-60s garage rock scene. But the story of the Fifth Order has remained untold, until now. Digging into the band's history, a few welcome surprises emerged: a third 45 that collectors were not aware of, and - even better - a cache of unreleased recordings of exceptional quality.

"I'm truly amazed and flattered that anybody is still interested in the Fifth Order after all these years," says Bill Carroll, lead singer of the band from its beginning to the end. Bill now lives in California, as a regular, anonymous middle-aged guy and enjoys his life as a husband and father. He reminisces about the old days: "I had the greatest adolescence that a guy could have. My own car, money in my pockets, everybody knew who I was and I had more girls than any guy should have in a lifetime. It was a major blast!"

Jim Hilditch, the Fifth Order's lead guitarist, describes the heyday of the band in a similar way. "Life at that point was great. What a way to go through high school! Needless to say we had more girls than we could handle and it was surprising to figure out that you can make money too." As with most local '60s bands, the Fifth Order got started mostly for kicks. Billy Carrol, an aspiring drummer, met guitar player Jim Hilditch in 1963. Both were 14 or 15 years old and went to the same junior high. There was no real talk about putting a band together until February 7th, 1964, when the two saw the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. "After that, all hell broke loose," says Bill of this defining moment for a generation of teens. "We knew we wanted to do what those guys were doing."

Bill and Jim found two guys from another junior high with similar ideas, and the first incarnation of the band was in place: Jim Hilditch (lead guitar), Mike Berand (bass guitar/vocals), Gary Steger (rhythm guitar/vocals) and Billy Carroll (drums/lead vocals). They named themselves the Electras, after the popular Buick sedan of the period.

The four started practising, alternately in Billy's living room or Jim's basement, where they quickly graduated from no-frills instrumental workouts to British Invasion-style vocal tunes. They improved rapidly, and in short order were ready to play out. The young band appeared at school events, weekend dances and private parties. The kids dug their sound, so the band kept rehearsing, and played as many gigs as they could. It wasn't long before they cultivated a loyal following.

It got to the point where they found themselves performing weekend engagements all over the state - "Much to the consternation of our parents", laughs Bill. Word about the new group spread, popularity grew and the first manager, Mike Leonard, came - and went. But before getting fired, Leonard introduced the band to Dick Murgatroyd and Jack Sender.

Dick was the producer and director of the popular local TV show Dance Party; Jack, a 22-year-old college student and songwriter, worked for the same program as a floor director. "I met the band at WLW-C TV4 in Columbus for the first time," he remembers. "Mike and Dick Murgatroyd got me involved. Dick was always trying to help everyone." While Dick became the Electra's manager, Jack Sender turned out to be the perfect songwriter for the band, coming up with a number of tailor-made songs for the boys.

Around this time the Electras had to reorganize themselves into a new band. "I always felt a little restricted being behind the drums and trying to do almost all of the singing. So we decided to bring me out front full time," says Bill. Mike Berand left, because his parents felt the band was taking too much time away from his schoolwork.

Jeff Johnson, another school chum, came in to play bass and Mike "Muff" Comfort replaced Billy on the drums. Jack Sender has another reason why Billy should have been featured more as a vocalist, "On stage Billy was an animal that the girls loved - the crowds went nuts for him and the band." It was also Jack who suggested the name Fifth Order to the band - car names like "the Electras" were considered old hat.

The Fifth Order became regulars on the Saturday afternoon TV show Dance Party, hosted by Jerry Rasor. This led to more popularity, more gigs - and the first record. In late 1966, the band travelled to a studio in Louisville, Kentucky and recorded two Jack Sender compositions: Goin' Too Far and Walkin' Away. Dick Murgatroyd placed the master tapes with a Cincinnati label named Counterpart, run by Shad O'Shay. Upon release, the record exceeded all expectations - it made it to No. 1 in Columbus where it sat for about four weeks, and charted all over Ohio and the Midwest. Bob Harrington, the top DJ for local radio station WCOL, told Jack that the 18,000 copies the band sold on Goin' Too Far made it the biggest selling local single ever in Columbus.

Diamond Records licensed it for national release, giving the band airplay in other states, but they turned out to be the wrong partner for a national break. Another problem was the lack of promotional effort the band could provide. "We were all still in high school at that time," explains Bill. "There was no way our upper-middle-class parents were going to let us quit school at 16 and 17 to wander around on the road all the time. This made it difficult to go out and push a record. So we really banged it only during the vacation breaks."

Shortly after the release of the record another line-up change occurred. Gary Steger left and Jeff Fenholt came in. "Billy and I saw Jeff play at a gig one night and flipped over his voice", recollects Jim Hilditch. "We approached Jeff and asked him to join the Fifth Order and, after a couple of days, he agreed. Jeff played guitar better than Gary and had a killer voice." Bill confirms this point of view. "Gary was a good guy, but Jeff really took the band to another level. He and I harmonized really well." The band now played the Dance Party show every three weeks and was busy working the local and regional live circuit with other local groups like the Dantes or the Grayps.

In the spring of 1967, it was time to release another 45. The group went again to Ray Allen's studio in Louisville and recorded a total of five Jack Sender songs: Bonfire, I Was A Fool, The Moment I Saw You, Today I Got A Letter and A Thousand Devils. The latter two were chosen as having the most hit-potential for the second single - although it has to be said that they are all terrific examples of mid-60s folk-rock, and any of the others would probably have served just as well.

Upon hearing the final product, Jack found that the recordings had been… "tweaked" somewhat. "The original version of Today I Got A Letter we recorded is 2:17 in length, the 45 version instead runs 2:30, and begins with a chorus instead of a guitar opener." How's that? Jack believes that it was done by Ray Allen in conjunction with the label. Something similar happened to The Moment I Saw You, which features a mysterious harmonica that wasn't part of the

In any event, the 45 did extremely well throughout the region as before, hitting the top spot on most of the local charts. While Bill says that it sold as strongly as the first 45 locally, Jim Hilditch thinks it sold even more; but no one's really sure. "There was so much about the business dealings that I was not privy to or wouldn't have understood if I was," explains Bill, "You have to remember that this whole thing started as a group of young guys just looking for fun and girls. All that arcane stuff and minutiae I never paid real attention to. It might have gotten in the way of my good time!"

This time, the influential Laurie label picked up the single for national release. Unluckily, it only managed to reach "bubbling under" status. Bill believes that Laurie didn't put much promotional effort into the release.
"I think their attitude was 'it's a regional hit, let's pick it up cheap and see what happens. If it hits, it hits. If it doesn't, we're not out much. No harm, no foul'". The record's success certainly did boost the band's local reputation and bankability.

As Jim reflects, "We didn't play with any national acts until after the second record. Then we played with the Four Tops, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Neil Diamond and Question Mark & The Mysterians. We played gigs as far as Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Maryland. Also TV shows in Chicago and Baltimore. Later we appeared on Upbeat in Cleveland, a nationally broadcasted show."

There was talk about doing another single for Laurie Records, but by then it seemed the band had pretty much run its course. Bill puts it this way: "The less serious of us wanted to chuck it in and go off to college. I was pretty hardcore and wanted to keep going. Anyway, the band kinda faded away in late '67, early '68". Jim agrees. "At one point we simply let it go. I wanted to have people remember the band the way it had been, instead of trying to keep it going with different players. There was a certain chemistry with all the guys in the Fifth Order. We clicked; we had our own style and sound. By changing one person, that would have changed the band."

In 1968 Counterpart Records came out with a third, now very rare and virtually unknown 45 of two earlier recordings: I Was A Fool b/w The Moment I Saw You. This happened after the Fifth Order had already split and without anybody's knowledge. Very few copies were pressed. And like the band, they quietly disappeared.

The ex-members went their separate ways. Billy and Jeff Fenholt were the only ones to continue in the rock business as musicians. Due to serious vocal chord problems that didn't clear up, Billy returned to the drums. He moved to California where he played in a number of rock bands until the '80s. Today he lives with his family in Los Angeles. Jeff Fenholt moved to Broadway and performed in the title role in Jesus Christ Superstar; he subsequently joined a later incarnation of Black Sabbath.

Today he runs a Christian TV show on TBS. Jim Hilditch went to college and returned to the music business as a manufacturers' representative, first for Gibson Guitar Co., then for Akai Musical Instruments. He's currently with the Fender Guitar Co. The traces of all other members are lost in the ether. But the Fifth Order were never entirely forgotten, and today we celebrate them for their brilliant songs and superb performances - gathered together for the first time!


Tracks
1. Goin? Too Far - 2:44
2. Walkin? Away - 2:48
3. A Thousand Devils (Are Chasin` Me) - 2:15
4. Today (I Got A Letter) - 2:33
5. I Was A Fool - 2:30
6. The Moment I Saw You - 2:16
7. Today I Got A Letter - 2:18
8. Bon Fire - 2:12
9. Follow Like The Wind - 2:37
10.Little Black Egg (Chuck Conlon) - 2:43
11.Walkin? Away (Demo version) - 3:01
12.I Was A Fool (Demo version) - 2:35
13.Medley: Hit The Road Jack/Sixteen Tons (Merle Travis, Percy Mayfield) - 6:56
All songs written by Jack Sender except where indicated

The Fifth Order
*Jim Hilditch - Lead Guitar 
*Jeff Johnson - Bass Guitar, Vocals 
*Gary Steger - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals (Tracks 1-2)
*Billy Carroll - Lead Vocals 
*Jeff Fenholt - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals (Tracks 3-13)
*Mike "Muff" Comfort - Drums

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Barbarians - Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl (1965 us, cool garage rock with one-handed drummer!)




Formed in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in 1963, The Barbarians got their big break in 1964, when they scored a slot on the T.A.M.I. Show. The band's barbaric, nonconformist image was a big part of their appeal. They grew their hair longer than most of their contemporaries and wore leather sandals instead of Beatle boots. And then there was their drummer Moulty, who had a hook for a left hand.

Deciding to capitalize on Moulty's disability, The Barbarians' producer, Doug Morris, talked our hook handed hero into recording this "autobiographical" soliloquy in early '66 using Dylan's group, The Hawks (aka The Band), as accompanists. The song's simple message - never give up no matter what the odds - was sincere enough, and it tugged enough heart strings to become a minor hit. But the single was an embarrassment for the group. Moulty was so furious when he found out that the track had been released that he flew straight to New York and chased the president of Laurie Records around his office, breaking copies of the single over his head. Not surprisingly, the band parted company with the label soon afterwards.
--Richard Patterson

The song "Moulty" from the 1966 Barbarians single "Moulty"/"I'll Keep On Seeing You" (Laurie 3326) was added to the songs from the original LP on the CD re-release of this Barbarians album. In interviews with members of the Barbarians, they claim that the Hawks (minus the departed Levon Helm) played on the track "Moulty". This has later been confirmed by the Barbarians' one-handed drummer Victor "Moulty" Moulton, through his friend, artist and producer Joe Viglione (who in 1998 released the compilation Boston Rock and Roll Anthology #20 on his own label Varulven Records, with two previously unreleased tracks credited to Moulty & the Barbarians.)

 Tracks
1. Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl - (Morris, Morris) 2:17
2. Mr. Tambourine Man - (Dylan) 2:12
3. House of the Rising Sun 2:48
4. Maria Elena - (Russell-Barcheleta) 2:23
5. Bo Diddley - (McDaniel) 3:11
6. Memphis - (Berry) 2:31
7. What the New Breed Say - (D. Morris) 2:13
8. Take It or Leave It - (Clark, Morris) 2:45
9. I'll Keep on Seeing You - (Marecsa, Morris) 2:29
10.Linguica 1:34
11.Susie-Q - (Broadwater, Hawkins, Lewis) 1:47
12I've Got a Woman - (Charles) 3:16
13.Moulty - (Greenberg-Morris-Baer-Schwartz) 2:33
14.Hey Little Bird - (Kaye) 2:24
15.You've Got to Understand - (Goehring-Kuntz) 2:08

The Barbarians
* Bruce Benson - Guitar, Vocals
* Jerry Causi - Lead Vocals, Bass
* Victor Moulton - Drums, Vocals
* Jeff Morris - Guitar, Vocals

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Iggy and The Stooges - Raw Power (1973 us, 2010 legacy edition, double disc with ureleased material)


To even hear the rhythm section on co-producer David Bowie's 1973 mix of Raw Power, you need to crank the volume until it feels like James Williamson's reckless guitar leads are piercing your skull. That's the vicious beauty of it. A 1997 reissue of the album experimented with a thicker, less dynamic mix; this new version reinstates Bowie's trebly, off-kilter production while adding clarity and heft the original LP lacked. Finally, the third and most brutal album from these Detroit legends gets both the rawness and the power it deserves.

Iggy Pop delivers these desperate anthems as if he's lived every self-mythologizing line. "I'm a runaway son of the nuclear A-bomb," he rants in "Search and Destroy," embodying glam rock's theatricality while dumping its affectations. New band member Williamson, along with bassist Ron Asheton and drummer brother Scott Asheton, flail in a synchronized wallop that almost single-handedly invented punk. This new deluxe edition adds an equally unhinged 1973 Atlanta performance with confrontational banter and previously unreleased spasms like "Cock in My Pocket".  Every addition adds insight to a band literally addicted to danger.
by Barry Walters



Disc One
1. Search And Destroy
2. Gimme Danger
3. Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell
4. Penetration
5. Raw Power
6. I Need Somebody
7. Shake Appeal
8. Death Trip


Disc Two
1. Introduction (Live At Richards, Atlanta, GA – October 1973)
2. Raw Power (Live At Richards, Atlanta, GA – October 1973)
3. Head On (Live At Richards, Atlanta, GA – October 1973)
4. Gimme Danger (Live At Richards, Atlanta, GA – October 1973)
5. Search And Destroy (Live At Richards, Atlanta, GA – October 1973)
6. I Need Somebody (Live At Richards, Atlanta, GA – October 1973)
7. Heavy Liquid (Live At Richards, Atlanta, GA – October 1973)
8. Cock In My Pocket (Live At Richards, Atlanta, GA – October 1973)
9. Open Up And Bleed (Live At Richards, Atlanta, GA – October 1973)
10. Doojiman (Outtake from the session for \’Raw Power\’)
11. Head On (Rehearsal Performance from CBS Studios rehearsal tape)

The Stooges
*Iggy Pop - Vocals
*James Williamson - Guitars
*Ron Asheton - Bass, Backing Vocals
*Scott Asheton - Drums

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Stooges - Fun House (1970 us, Rhino original packing remaster)


With Fun House, Iggy created the perfect rock album. Writing songs around Ron Asheton's amazing riffs, The Stooges assembled the live set that would become Fun House. Balancing their love of John Cage, Sun Ra, John Coltrane and Harry Partch with dumb rock, they fine tuned their performances with military precision. Appropriately, the label assigned Don Galluci, organist on The Kingsmen's "Louie Louie" to attempt to get the live sound on tape.

At first he didn't think it could be done. But he stripped the L.A. studio of its carpet and drapes, hotwired Iggy's vocals live, and let rip a song a day, in the order they'd appear on the album. It's fascinating to hear some of the early mixes on disc two. Despite being on various substances, the band was incredibly focused. It's amazing to hear how they went from the rough takes to the perfect cuts used on the album within a single day.

The predatory bass-and-drums riff of 'Down On The Street' gives the impression of a coiled panther ready to pounce, while 'Loose' breaks the damn and lets the floods roar, reaching its first peak in the maelstrom that is 'T.V. Eye,' which is much more successful at an orgiastic money shot than 'Whole Lotta Love.' 'Dirt' slows down to roll about in gutter poetry, and damn if it isn't sensual. '1970,' a classic covered by the likes of The Damned and Mission of Burma, brings the energy level back to mayhem, while 'Fun House' is the aqueous portal to the album's heart of darkness.

It's an even more hedonistic 'Sister Ray,' pretzel-knotted with ecstatic jazz and primal screams. 'L.A. Blues' takes it to even further, ridiculous extremes. Which is what great rock 'n' roll should do ' push beyond the comfort level, astound with its audacity and insanity, leaving you exhausted and purged.


Tracks
1. Down on the Street - 3:43
2. Loose - 3:34
3. T.V. Eye - 4:17
4. Dirt - 7:03
5. 1970 - 5:15 (also known as "I Feel Alright")
6. Fun House - 7:47
7. L.A. Blues - 4:57

The Stooges
*Iggy Pop- Vocals
*Ron Asheton- Guitar
*Dave Alexander- Bass
*Scott Asheton- Drums
*Steven Mackay- Tenor Saxophone

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Stooges - The Stooges (1969 us, double cd edition with previously unissued material, remastered for maximun impact)


Above all reviews and one of the best albums in Rock 'n' Roll history, the Stooges debut album marked all generations (past, present and future), rough, raw and sharp melodic, emerged in the dawn of a new era. Thank you mr Osterberg, mr Dave, mr Ron, mr Scott and mr John.


Disc 1
1. 1969 - 4:07
2. I Wanna Be Your Dog - 3:12
3. We Will Fall - 10:16
4. No Fun - 5:18
5. Real Cool Time - 2:32
6. Ann - 3:00
7. Not Right - 2:51
8. Little Doll - 3:23


Disc 2
1. No Fun (Original John Cale Mix) - 4:42
2. 1969 (Original John Cale Mix) - 2:44
3. I Wanna Be Your Dog (Original John Cale Mix) - 3:25
4. Little Doll (Original John Cale Mix) - 2:48
5. 1969 (Alternate Vocal) - 4:47
6. I Wanna Be Your Dog (Alternate Vocal) - 3:28
7. Not Right (Alternate Vocal) - 3:11
8. Real Cool Time (Alternate Mix) - 3:22
9. Ann (Full Version) - 7:51
10.No Fun (Full Version) - 6:49

The Stooges
* Iggy Pop - Vocals
* Ron Asheton - Guitar, Vocals
* Scott Asheton - Drums
* Dave Alexander  - Bass
* John Cale - Piano, Sleighbell on "I Wanna Be Your Dog", Viola on "We Will Fall"

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Axis - Axis (1973 greece, progressive experimental rock recorded in paris france, 2013 remaster)



The second album by this Greek band who lived in France. It's incredible diverse and features almost everything: heavy progressive, trad/free-form jazz, Crimson-like passages, experimental and atmospheric Tangerine Dream-like Mellotron-parts, Canterbury-like jazzy progressive and grandiose, symphonic parts with church-organ and choir.

The only thing that doesn't do much for me is the most far out free jazz on "Asymphonia". But the rest is GREAT! The opening track "Waiting a Long Time" is a great heavy-progressive track, and at the end the track suddenly turns into a part where it's played by a trad-jazz arrangement. And the album just continues to surprise the listener with unexcepted turns. "Sewers Down Inside" features Tangerine Dream-like flute-Mellotron and creates some great atmosphere.

"Materializing the Unlimited" sounds like a good Crimson-instrumental with great Mellotron. "Suspended Recipe", "Roads" and "The Planet Vavoura" are all more in a Canterbury progressive vein. Jazzy, but the band managed to give it a sound of their own by using the Mellotron on these passages (not very common in jazz-influenced progressive).

A great and VERY progressive album, but be aware that I've also seen this album listed as "Sewers Down Inside" and that their third (and non-progressive) album also was called "Axis".


Tracks
1. Waiting A Long Time - 4:27
2. Sewers Down Inside - 6:19
3. Materializing The Unlimited - 5:03
4. Asymphonia I - 5:06
5. Suspended Precipice - 1:49
6. Roads - 5:05
7. Asymphonia II - 2:50
8. Dancing Percussion - 2:39
9. Pa Vu Ga Di - 3:45
10.The Planet Vavoura - 4:00

Axis
*Demis Visvikis - Electric Piano, Piano, Mellotron, Organ, Percussion, Vocals
*George Hadjiathanassiou - Drums, Percussion
*Alexandros Fantis - Electric Bass, Bass, Percussion
*Chris Stassinopoulos - Drums, Percussion

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Back Door - 8th Street Nites (1973 uk, fantastic jazz blues rock)




Back when giant carnivorous bass players ruled the Earth, Back Door were the hungriest of them all. They formed in 1971 as a jazz-rock trio, with Colin Hodgkinson (bass, vocals), Ron Aspery (keyboards, sax), and Tony Hicks (drums). Later Adrian Tilbrook took over on drums. What sets Back Door apart is the bass playing. While a few bassists -- such as Chris Squire, John Entwistle, and Jack Bruce -- have tried exploiting the bass' potential as a lead instrument, they were confined by bands where the guitar or keyboards were the usual lead. Not Colin Hodgkinson; he dispenses with these instruments altogether, allowing the bass to be the sole lead instrument. He strums chords on it the way you'd expect someone to with a six-string. Later bands like Ruins and Sadhappy have taken up this challenge, but many of Back Door's achievements remain unsurpassed.

After releasing four albums on Warner between 1973 and 1976, and touring with Emerson, Lake & Palmer -- drummer Carl Palmer produced their last album, Activate (1976) -- they broke up in 1977. Hodgkinson went on to play with Jan Hammer, Alexis Korner, and the Spencer Davis Group. He even had his moment of crotch-grabbing fame as the bassist on the U.K. version of Whitesnake's massive-selling album Slide It In. After a move to Germany, he recorded for the Inakustik label, with the Electric Blues Duo and with the Spencer Davis Group.

8th Street Nites is more bass-driven brilliance, produced by the late Felix Pappalardi, former producer of Cream. Though the album is less cohesive than their debut, it soars to even greater heights with its stand-out covers of Leadbelly and Robert Johnson. These blues numbers are largely played as unaccompanied bass and vocal pieces. There's something to this unadorned combination -- the inherent grittiness of the bass matched against his voice hearkens back to the raw power of Delta blues, where it's just a guy and his crappy old guitar. On "32-20 Blues," Hodgkinson sings an old Robert Johnson number while throttling away at the bass; on the opening "Laying Track," the whole band takes on Leadbelly in a sort of restrained funkiness, with the constant thrashing of a tambourine underlining the rhythm section's punches on the downbeat.
by Paul Collins


Tracks
1. Linin' Track (Huddie Ledbetter) - 4:01
2. Forget Me Daisy - 2:14
3. His Old Boots (Sein Alter Stiefel) - 3:21
4. Blue Country Blues - 2:47
5. Dancin' In The Van - 1:52
6. 32-20 Blues (Robert Johnson) - 2:25
7. Roberta (Huddie Ledbetter) - 2:50
8. It's Nice When It's Up - 2:25
9. One Day You're Down, The Next Day You're Down - 3:33
10.Walkin' Blues (Robert Johnson) - 3:15
11.The Bed Cracks Louder - 2:21
12.Adolphus Beal - 3:53
All compositions by Ron Aspery, Colin Hodgkinson except where stated

The Back Door
*Colin Hodgkinson - Vocals, Fender Bass Guitar
*Ron Aspery -  Alto Soprano Saxophones, Flute, Electric Piano
*Tony Hicks - Drums
Guest Musician
Felix Papalardi - Electric Piano, Tambourine, Percussion

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

9.30 Fly - 9.30 Fly (1972 uk, wonderful psychedelic folk rock with prog aroma)



Uk group with the curious name recorded at the beginning in 1972 a disc folk-rock namesake of a psico-progressive packing, 9:30 Fly. All the songs are dominated from the harmony of the voices of Michael and his wife Barbara Wainwright.

In November the group act together with Velvet Underground in Malver Winter Gardens. Shortly after the Fly vanished without any trace. So this record on the highly collectable Ember label is nowadays a dificult to find rarity.


Tracks
1. Life And Times - 05:11
2. Summerdays - 05:46
3. September - 02:39
4. Unhinged - 06:29
5. Mr. 509 - 07:21
6. Brooklyn Thoughts - 03:39
7. Time of War - 08:37

9:30 Fly
*Michael Wainwright – Lead Vocals
*Barbara Wainwright – Vocals, Electric Piano
*Lyn Oakey - Guitar
*Gary Charman - Bass
*Mike Clark - Drums

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Black Cat Bones - Barbed Wires (1969 uk, essential heavy blues rock, with pre Foghat members, 2010 remaster)




The right place at the wrong time. That could be the epitaph on the gravestone of Black Cat Bones. Having acted as unofficial house band for a number of visiting US artists during the British Blues Boom of the mid to late Sixties, and survived a potentially fatal line-up change into the bargain, they finally made it to vinyl rather late in the day. This, their first and only album, reached the racks in the last months of the Sixties, just as progressive rock was in the ascendancy.

Such imperfect timing may have adversely affected their chances of commercial success and consequently their number of column inches in the history of popular music, but in no way diminishes the excellence of this disc - now available again a full quarter-century after release.

That Black Cat Bones remains a known name is due to two musicians whose names remain stubbornly absent from the credits. Celebrated guitarist Paul Kossoff would go on to superstar status as a founder member of Free, but started his musical career in earnest in these ranks. And though neither he nor drummer Simon Kirke appear here, Koss's featured replacement is Rod Price, a player of no mean ability who would later take his axe-wielding skills to Stateside fame and fortune with Foghat.

But let's backtrack now to the events that led up to November 1969, when "Barbed Wire Sandwich", was released on Decca's 'progressive' Nova label. Though retaining semi-professional status for some time, Black Cat Bones had enough going for them to catch the eye of legendary blues producer Mike Vernon. His patronage brought them their first recording session, backing Champion Jack Dupree for a Blue Horizon album, 'When You Feel The Feeling You Was Feeling'; meanwhile, they made a reputation in their own right touring Germany and Scandinavia.

Kossoff and Kirke jumped ship, in 1968 after seeing singer Paul Rodgers fronting the similarly unrecorded Brown Sugar; hence by the time Black Cat Bones entered Tangerine and Decca Studios the following year with recording stardom in mind, the existing nucleus of brothers Derek and Stu Brooks on rhythm guitar and bass respectively and vocalist Brian Short had been augmented by Phil Lenoir (drums) and Rod Price (lead guitar).

The music kicks off with 'Chauffeur', - a dead ringer in both pace and chord sequence for Free's 'Walk In My Shadow', from their debut, released mere months before. And the well-worn blues metaphor of riding, (Free rode ponies, Black Cat Bones a car - such is progress) indicates the overtly sexual inclinations both shared. Elsewhere, there's a welcome touch of acousticity (on 'Four Women') to leaven the mixture - owners of well-worn originals will thank heavens for the non-clicky CD! - but overall, the album very much reflected the electric blues of the stage set, as you'd expect from a band that played live so often.

It was left to producer David Hitchcock, who later guided the careers of Caravan, Camel, Genesis (circa 'Foxtrot') and more, to supply the studio expertise they needed to give "Barbed Wire Sandwich", that touch of the unexpected. 'Please Tell Me Baby' stands out in this respect, the band fading in and out around the barrelhouse piano of Robin Sylvester. This would have been impossible live, since BKB's line-up didn't feature keyboards (Sylvester was the sound engineer at Tangerine), so was clearly an attempt to diversify and use the studio to greatest advantage. Steve Milliner lent further ivory-tickling skills to 'Feelin' Good'. And, don't forget, Free eventually added the keyboard talents of John 'Rabbit' Bundrick to give them a route to progress.

Talking of progression, the middle section of 'Save My Love For You', along with other dramatic mood and/or tempo changes throughout the album, suggests that the growth of progressive rock had not passed them by. Rod Price was quite different in approach to Kossoff, his fast, fluid style contrasting with the howling sustain of his predecessor - but he was clearly no slouch either, as he proved on the final track. The self-penned 'Good Lookin' Woman' is the one song on which Price tackled lead vocal. More importantly, it's a guitar tour-de-force, fading out prematurely and leaving the listener wondering exactly what would have happened next.

Leaving the audience wanting more was just one of the lessons learned on the boards, so it's hardly surprising that those who saw BKB live retain approving memories. One such spectator was Stuart Booth, now a publisher, who caught a show at London's Marquee Club as the album was readied for release. 'They were a good live band who missed the boat', he recalls. 'The album came out long after other British blues bands had sunk without a trace, so no one was interested. I was pleasantly surprised to see people still playing that sort of thing. I thought it would all come around again - and, of course, it did…!'

Many years after witnessing Black Cat Bones at the Marquee, Booth had the pleasure of publishing 'Blues - The British Connection', a definitive rundown of the scene by one Bob Brunning (to be reissued by Blandford as 'Blues In Britain: The History 1960s-1990s' in February 1995). Brunning, as blues scholars may recall, was the original bass player with Fleetwood Mac, the man who deputized for John McVie until he could secure his release from John Mayall's Bluesbreakers.

He enters the Black Cat Bones story, albeit tangentially, at this point - because when the album flopped and the band threatened to fall apart, it was a couple of renegades from the Brunning Sunflower Blues Band, Pete French and Mick Halls, who were drafted in to make up the numbers after Price, Short and Lenoir left the ranks. (Short, incidentally, cut a hard-to-find solo album, 'Anything For A Laugh', for Transatlantic in 1971). With a new drummer, Black Cat Bones metamorphosed into Leaf Hound, Zeppelin-esque heavy rockers who, like their predecessors, produced one excellent album before disbanding.

So there endeth the story of Black Cat Bones, a band whose mere footnote in the annals of British rock seems a mite ungenerous, given their musical legacy. Even Bob Brunning only rated them a couple of sentences - but as 'Barbed Wire Sandwich', will prove, music often speaks louder than words.
by Mick St. Michael



Tracks
1. Chauffeur (Andy Stroud) – 5:15
2. Death Valley Blues (Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup) – 3:52
3. Feelin' Good (Anthony Newley, Leslie Bricusse) – 4:58
4. Please Tell Me Baby (Harrison D. Nelson, Jr.) – 3:10
5. Coming Back (Rod Price) – 2:32
6. Save My Love (Black Cat Bones) – 4:50
7. Four Women (Nina Simone) – 5:09
8. Sylvester's Blues (Rod Price) – 3:45
9. Good Lookin' Woman (Rod Price) – 7:16

The Black Cat Bones 
Brian Short - Vocals
Rod Price - Guitar
Phil Lenoir - Drums
Stuart Brookes - Bass Guitar
Derek Brookes Rhythm Guitar

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hungry Wolf - Hungry Wolf (1970 uk, great jazz rock, with psych groovie funk flashes)



Originally released on Philips, Hungry Wolf’s sole album is a primarily instrumental pop rock affair, with some heavy Hammond organ to hold interest (courtesy of the Mohawks’ Alan Hawkshaw).

A work of session musicians including future members of Rumplestiltskin and Ugly Custard. swirling freaking organs and various wood instruments accompany guitarist Alan Parker.The album is now very rare.

It featured vocals by Peter Lee Stirling who had a couple of pop hits in the early seventies as Daniel Boone; as well as Alan Parker (Blue Mink, David Bowie, CCS, Elton John, Gerry Rafferty) and Alan Hawkshaw (Cliff Richard, Shadows, Madeline Bell, Donovan, Family Dogg).


Tracks
1. Melanie - 3:05
2. Watching And Waiting - 3:24
3. Custards Last Stand - 2:49
4. Country Wild - 4:40
5. Waiting For The Morning Sun - 3:02
6. Like Now - 2:48
7. Hole In My Shoe - 5:24
8. Sleepy - 5:11
9. The Drifter (Alan Hawkshaw, Alan Parker, John Cameron) - 3:23
10.Revolution??? (Alan Hawkshaw, Alan Parker, John Cameron) - 2:56
All songs by Alan Hawkshaw, Alan Parker except where stated

Hungrt Wolf
*Alan Hawkshaw - Keyboards
*Alan Parker - Guitar
*Clem Cattini - Drums
*Peter Lee Stirling - Vocals
*Herbie Flowers - Bass
With
*John Edwards - Trombone
*Tony Fisher - Trumpet
*Ken Gouldie - Trombone
*Cliff Hardy - Trombone
*Bobby Haughey - Trumpet
*Derek Watkins - Trumpet

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Delivery - Fools Meeting (1970 uk, canterbury masterpiece with female vocals)



First of all one must add that the sole Delivery album, Fool's Meeting was released by Cuneiform Records together with several bonus tracks. However one must also state that unfortunately much of what this band had recorded, has unfortunately been lost. Master tapes of this album have been lost as have also been the recordings of the band live at various concerts such ss the BBC Top Gear Sessions. Notwithstanding all this the label have managed to include two "bonus" tracks from the same recording session of the album, including the single release Harry Lucky that was unavailable on the vinyl edition, together with two live tracks and the track One For You from the Lol Coxhill/Steve Miller album sessions.

The album opens with the track Blind To Your Light, which with its running bass line conjures up a definite bluesy atmosphere thus confirming the record label's aspirations for Grimes' contention as a vocal ist to rival Janis Joplin and Grace Slick. However the saxophone playing of Coxhill together with Steve Miller's piano helps add spice to the atmosphere giving it a jazz touch alongside the likes of bands such as Colosseum. The live version of this track is played in an incredibly much slower pace with the guitar coming to the fore of the band's playing, something that was not too conspicuous on the studio version. The absence of Lol Coxhill on saxophone is probably the most plausible reason for this and it is up to bass and guitar to fill in his shoes. The slow bluesy touch is maintained on Miserable Man, though the pace is slowed down considerably (in comparison to the studio version of Blind To Your Light) and the overall sound of the track has its roots in the sixties psychedelic rock scene, with Jefferson Airplane a strong contender for inspiration.

On Home Made Ruin one can start to fell the progressive rock slowly creeping into the band's music. The first track that had Phil Miller as sole composer, the music sees the guitar coming to the fore to reply to the jazzy keyboard solo, though the striking factor of this track is the strong ever increasing rhythm and power with which it is played out. The alternate take of this track features a completely different overall structure with some delightful interplay between piano and guitar. With Is It Really The Same, the band start to take on the sounds that were pervading the British rock scene, namely via bands like King Crimson. Coxhill manages to infuse a raw energy into the band's performance giving them a much more raw rock sound, rather than the polished feel that many progressive and Canterbury bands would tend to follow. The live version has Phil Miller's distorted guitar carrying the load of the saxophone, though one must admit that there is a lack of broadness and harshness when the track is executed live.

Once again it takes a Phil Miller composition to bring out a more obvious progressive feel to the music of Delivery. We Were Satisfied is just one such track with a mixture of prog and psychedelia while tracks like The Wrong Time and Figuring It out sound more like a jazzed up version of The Grateful Dead with elements of R&B surfacing occasionally. The last track that was originally on the vinyl album was the title track, Fool's Meeting, which is a true bluesy number that once again re-evokes the Grace Slick/Janis Joplin comparisons with Carol Grimes' powerful vocals.

Harry Lucky was originally omitted from the vinyl version, but was released as a single to promote the release of the album. Of the tracks on the album it is probably the weakest of the lot featuring little of note, unlike the final track on this album, One For You. Written after the official demise of the band it was recorded during the Coxhill/Miller recording sessions in Autumn, 1971 ad could be considered to be more of a jam session than anything else. However it shows how the involved musicians had matured over the short period since their last official recording. The music had evolved from a broad blues style to a more improvisational jazzy approach, a sure feature of most Canterbury bands.

It is indeed a pity that both the album and the band have become mere footnotes in the history of Canterbury music. The album should prove of interest to all those who want to see (or hear!) how much of the British progressive rock scene evolved from the British blues sixties boom. This album is an important stepping stone for such bands standing somewhere in the middle of both genres.
by Nigel Camilleri


Tracks
1. Blind to Your Light 5:05
2. Miserable Man 8:28
3. Home Made Ruin 3:23
4. Is It Really the Same? 5:44
5. We Were Satisfied 4:02
6. The Wrong Time 7:50
7. Fighting It Out 5:48
8. Fools Meeting 5:27
9. Harry Lucky 3:41
10. Home Made Ruin [alternate take] 2:56
11. Is It Really the Same? [live] 5:19
12. Blind to Your Light [live] 5:29
13. One for You 7:43

Delivery
*Steve Miller - Piano
*Phil Miller - Guitar
*Roy Babbington - Bass, String Bass
*Pip Pyle - Drums
*Carol Grimes - Vocals, Percussion
Guest Musicians
*Lol Coxhill - Soprano-Tenor Saxophone
*Roddy Skeaping - Violin on "Miserable Man"
*Richard Sinclair - Bass on "One for You"

Related Act
1972  Uncle Dog - Old Hat (Japan remaster)

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Canned Heat - Livin The Blues (1968 us, classic blues rock, akarma edition)


The mammoth Double-LP featuring the first release of “Going Up The Country”, The experimental “Parthenogenesis”, and the 42-minute “Refried Boogie”. Arguably this record was the most influential release of Canned Heat’s career on the pop charts.

Bob switches between about a dozen different vocal Blues style during the course of this double-record. It is experimental and volatile in nature; taking Charley Patton and Floyd Jones tunes and transmogrifying them with LSD; updating the sound for a hipper, younger audience. “Sandy’s Blues” is probably the most relevant and concisely recorded shuffle of The Summer Of Love generation, and “One Kind Favor” will show you who helped pioneer the headbang. (Thank you for your buzzing, Mr. Vestine)

A 10-point masterpiece from front to back.



Track listing
Disc-1
1. Pony Blues (Charley Patton) – 3:48
2. My Mistake (Alan Wilson) – 3:22
3. Sandy's Blues (Bob Hite) – 6:46
4. Going Up the Country (Wilson) – 2:50
5. Walking by Myself (Jimmy Rogers) – 2:29
6. Boogie Music (L.T. Tatman III) – 3:19
7. One Kind Favor (Tatman) – 4:43
8. Parthenogenesis (Medley) (Canned Heat) – 19:57
a) Nebulosity
b) Rollin' and Tumblin
c) Five Owls
e) Bear Wires
f) Snooky Flowers
g) Sunflower Power
h) Raga Kafi
i) Icebag
j) Childhood's End

Disc-2
1. Refried Boogie (Parts 1 & 2) (Canned Heat) – 40:51

Canned Heat
*Bob Hite – vocals
*Alan Wilson – Slide Guitar, vocals, Harmonica
*Henry Vestine– Lead guitar
*Larry Taylor – Electric Bass
*Fito de la Parra – drums

Guest Musicians
*Dr. John Creaux - Horn Arrangements, Piano (Boogie Music)
*Miles Grayson - Horn Arrangements (Sandy's Blues)
*Joe Sample - Piano (Sandy's Blues)

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Audience - Friends, Friends, Friend (1970 uk, fantastic post-psych progressive rock)


Friends, Friends, Friend starts off with three fine ditties written mainly by Howard Werth with assistance from Trevor Williams. ‘Nothing You Do’ is a perfect opener a song of hatred that really musically slams you up against the wall from the outset, coming as quite a shock with Werth’s snarled vocals and bitter chorus. The rhythm section is rock solid as Keith Gemmell makes his saxophone pace alongside the vocals until slowing everything down mid song for a solo, before closing out the song on the flute. A startling introduction.

This is followed by ‘Belladonna Moonshine’ with Howard Werth showing off some mandolin playing. Why this song was not released as a single at the time is beyond me. ‘It Brings A Tear’ is a classy early seventies ballad. Then everything is musically sat up on its head with the first jamming jazz rave up, the nearly nine wonderful minutes of ‘Raid’. This is where ‘Audience’ shows off their musical muscle. With Werth’s vocals pitched in a very aggressive manner, ‘Raid’ takes off at a gallop, as the lyrics rant about the Vikings, but this is really just an excuse for Keith Gemmell to puff out his cheeks and give at a good old fashioned rip up on the saxophone. Mid section the band’s jazz influences are given full reign in a freefall improvisation which allows each member of the band to let their freak flag fly. It does take a bit of getting used to, but once you get there it is well worth the journey.

‘Right On Their Side’ is another stomping protest song, really quite stirring stuff. Completely changing the tone, you are next treated to an instrumental A’ la Audience, as everything including I should think the kitchen sink is rattled or hit or shaken as the band obviously has the time of their lives giving out this very jovial turn round the pots and pans with Keith Gemmell given scope to play solos over the top of it all. You cannot help but tap along with a smile on your face.

The band then roars into ‘Priestess’, the centre piece of their live set at the time; another tale of daring do, with a very up-tempo beat. Keith Gemmell introduces the saxophone to the world of hard rock. ‘Priestess’ is how Black Sabbath would have sounded if Toni Iommi had played the Saxophone, not the electric guitar. The title track is a beautiful song about life, which has the splendid lyric “I had a friend, who had a friend who knew a man, who didn’t look unlike Toulouse Lautrec...” They just do not write lyrics like that anymore.
Mott the Dog


Tracks
1. Nothing You Do - 4:38
2. Belladonna Moonshine - 2:40
3. It Brings a Tear - 2:55
4. Raid - 8:44
5. Rigth on Their Side - 5:24
6. Ebony Variations - 5:29
7. Priestess - 6:14
8. Friends, Friends, Friend - 3:28
9. The Big Spell - 3:03

Audience
*Howard Werth - Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Vocals
*Tony Connor - Percussion, Piano, Drums
*Keith Gemmell - Saxophone, Wind, Woodwind
*Trevor Williams - Bass Guitar, Vocals

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Frost - Through The Eyes Of Love (1970 us, superb detroit rock 'n' roll)


Frost’s final and, in Dick Wagner’s opinion, best album, “Through The Eyes Of Love”, was released in 1970. The album contained seven great songs including two, Wagner’s “Black As Night” and Donny Hartman’s “Fifteen Hundred Miles (Through The Eye Of A Beatle)”, that had been originally recorded at the Grande Ballroom but left off of “Rock and Roll Music”. Despite the overall quality of “Through The Eyes Of Love”, the Frost again fell victim to Vanguard’s lack of support and the album sold poorly.

Wagner related in an interview in 2003 that when the Frost went out to San Francisco to open for B.B. King at the Fillmore West in support of their new album, the crowds loved them but everywhere they went their records were nowhere to be found. Vanguard had sent no representatives to support them, so without vital label promotion no one in the cities they were playing in knew anything about the Frost. Band members felt that their record label had let them down and that they were basically on their own. This in turn resulted in resentment and a loss of group morale.

According to Wagner, the end came when drummer Bobby Riggs became upset that the band wasn’t getting the adulation on the road that it routinely received in Michigan. At the start of a tour of Canada, Riggs decided he no longer wanted to continue, and he left the rest of the group in Toronto and flew home. Wagner had to cancel the remaining shows, and that signaled the demise of the original Frost. Hartman and Riggs later tried to rekindle the Frost in 1971 and 1972 with new bassist Rick Bozzo and keyboardist Robin Robbins, but without Wagner and Garris, the band was only a pale shadow of its former self.

After the Frost break-up, Dick Wagner traveled to New York where his manager pitched him the idea of joining a band he was putting together called Ursa Major.

Originally, Billy Joel was to be the keyboardist in the trio. Joel at that time, however, was undergoing some severe emotional problems and had to drop out of the project. Wagner recruited bassist and keyboardist Greg Arama from Michigan’s Amboy Dukes to fill the void. Dick Wagner then took over leadership in the band and wrote all seven songs for the band’s self-titled debut album, “Ursa Major”, produced by Bob Ezrin.

Although the album received positive reviews and Ursa Major toured as an opening act for both Alice Cooper and Beck, Bogart & Appice, the album didn’t sell and the band dissolved. Wagner was then called by producer Bob Ezrin to play guitar on some Alice Cooper sessions. Dick played uncredited on the “School’s Out”, “Billion Dollar Babies” and “Muscle Of Love” albums and established a close friendship with Alice.

The connection with producer Ezrin led to Wagner’s next gig, playing guitar on Lou Reed’s “Berlin” album. Dick and fellow Michigander Steve Hunter, who also played on “Berlin”, then joined Reed’s touring band. This resulted in 1974’s highly acclaimed “Rock ‘N’ Roll Animal” live album on which the twin guitars of Wagner and Hunter overshadowed Lou Reed’s performance.

After the break-up of the original Alice Cooper band, Cooper decided to go solo and Wagner was brought in to help Alice write a ‘concept’ album. The two went to Nassau in the Bahamas and eventually came up with ideas and songs for the “Welcome To My Nightmare” album. Wagner and Cooper settled into a songwriting partnership in which Dick would compose the music and Alice would come up with the lyrics. The album’s big hit single was a ballad called “Only Women Bleed”. Cooper changed the words to a song Dick had written back in 1968 called “I’m Moving On”. Released as “Only Women”, the single was a huge hit and it helped propel the ‘Welcome To My Nightmare Tour’ into one of the biggest and most successful rock productions of the 1970’s. The tour’s elaborate stage show, which featured both Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter on guitars, set the standard for Rock and Roll theatrics.

The songwriting partnership between Cooper and Wagner flourished for the next few albums before Alice’s alcoholism got the best of him. The pair collaborated on three more hit big singles in the late 70’s, “I Never Cry”, “You And Me”, and “How You Gonna See Me Now”, before Cooper was institutionalized for his drinking problems.

Since that time, Dick has done some solo projects, wrote hit material for Air Supply, worked off and on with Alice Cooper, and joined John Bradshaw in the Remember The Child project. He returned to Saginaw in the 1990’s and opened his own recording studio. While in Saginaw, Wagner performed his Remember The Child music with John Bradhaw, the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra, and a gospel choir during a memorable outdoor concert on the Campus of Saginaw Valley State University.

Donny Hartman lives in Northern Michigan and performs and records with the Donny Hartman Band. Bobby Riggs has played with Wagner and Hartman in several Frost reunions, and he recorded the CD single, “This Band Can Rock And Roll Forever/In The Middle Of The Night” with them in 1999 as part of the Frost 30th Anniversary Tour. After the Frost, Gordy Garris played in Whipeye and then in the Gordy Garris Band. He continues to be involved in music as a songwriter, but he has not participated in the Frost reunions.

In 2005, Dick Wagner closed his Saginaw recording studio and moved permanently to Phoenix, Arizona. In 2007, he suffered a major heart attack. Happily, Dick is on the road to recovery, and he is playing guitar again and producing a new artist called Wensday for his independent label Desert Dreams Records. Wagner has recently been working with his old guitar partner Steve Hunter, and there is a possibility that Dick and Alice Cooper may write together again in the near future.

Frost was voted into Michigan Rock and Roll Legends in 2008. "Mystery Man" was voted a Legendary Michigan Song in 2010.


Tracks
1. Black as Night 7:36
2. Fifteen Hundred Miles (Through the Eyes of a Beatle) 3:39
3. Through the Eyes of Love (God Helps Us Please) 6:15
4. Maybe Tomorrow 2:53
5. It's So Hard 4:51
6. A Long Way from Home 3:52
7. Big Time Spender 4:32

The Frost
*Dick Wagner - Lead. Guitar, Vocals
*Donny Hartman - Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica
*Gordy Garris - Bass, Vocals
*Bobby Rigg - Drums, Vocals

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Frost - Rock and Roll Music (1969 us, detroit rough rock 'n' roll)


The band was at the peak of its popularity in Michigan during 1969, and Frost served as an opening act for many major artists playing in Detroit including Blind Faith, John Mayall, and Three Dog Night. Unfortunately, when they played outside of Michigan they found that they were getting virtually no promotion from Vanguard, and that the label was not doing a very good job of getting their album into record stores.

The realization that they had made a mistake in signing with Vanguard may have contributed to Frost’s rather schizophrenic 2nd album, “Rock and Roll Music”. Following in the footsteps of the MC5, whose “Kick Out The Jams” live album had reached # 30 on Billboard’s Pop Album Chart earlier in 1969, Frost also recorded a set at the Grande Ballroom for a live album. The resulting LP, however, hedged its bet by combining some of the live performances with some new studio cuts.

The result neither captured the excitement of a Frost concert, nor did it showcase the high quality Frost songs that were the strength of their first album as well as their live show. The great title cut, “Rock And Roll Music”, did become the Frost’s only Billboard charting single, however, peaking at # 105 in December of 1969. In recent years, Vanguard has released the entire original Grande Ballroom set on a CD with the misleading title of “The Best Of The Frost”.

By the start of the new decade, some of the best Detroit-area bands including the MC5, the Rationals, SRC, and the Amboy Dukes had failed to live up to their promise as recording acts. Somewhat surprisingly, the Michigan bands that made it biggest in 1970’s were a pair of latecomers to the scene, Grand Funk Railroad and Alice Cooper.


 Tracks 
1. Rock and Roll Music - 2:46
2. Sweet Lady Love - 3:00
3. Linda - 3:03
4. Black Train - 2:40
5. Help Me Baby - 6:41
6. Donny's Blues - 7:47
7. We Got to Get Out of This Place - 12:08

The Frost
*Dick Wagner - Lead. Guitar, Vocals
*Donny Hartman - Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica
*Gordy Garris - Bass, Vocals
*Bobby Rigg - Drums, Vocals

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Frost - Frost Music (1969 us, great detroit rock 'n roll band)



Frost was one of the most popular Michigan bands of the late 1960’s. Led by guitarist, singer, and songwriter extraordinaire, Dick Wagner, the group seemed poised to achieve national recognition with a collection of songs that were both heavy and tuneful. But they were saddled with a record company that undercut the band’s recordings with inadequate distribution and a lack of promotion that, as a result, severely hampered the band’s attempts to break big outside of Michigan.

Dick Wagner was born in the state of Iowa in 1942. After his family moved to Michigan, Dick grew up in the musical hotbed of Southeastern Michigan. Like many teens in the 50’s, he was turned on by the new sound of Rock and Roll. His love of Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, and other early greats inspired him to pick up the guitar.

Completely self-taught, Wagner first played guitar in a Waterford, Michigan band called the Eldorados from 1962 to 1964. The band had a sax player as well as a keyboardist named Warren Keith; and they played early Motown, Rock and Roll, and Blues covers.

1964 would turn out to be a pivotal year for Dick Wagner. First, he and Warren Keith left the Eldorados and moved to Saginaw, Michigan. There, they joined forces with drummer Pete Woodman and bassist Lanny Roenicke and formed a new band called the Playboys. Covering the hits of the day, the Playboys quickly became Saginaw’s hottest band with their regular gigs at a popular club on the Saginaw River called the Village Pump.

Secondly, Wagner first heard the Beatles early in 1964 on his car radio in Saginaw. The Playboys quickly learned the Beatles’ singles and album cuts and incorporated them into their sets. Next, inspired by the songwriting of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Dick started to write some original material. His first effort was called “Lonely & Crying Over You”. According to a 2003 interview in Review Magazine, Del Shannon’s manager expressed interest in his song, and invited Wagner to New York City for a Shannon recording session. Unfortunately, Dick’s song was not released, but it did give him the impetus to continue to write for the band.

After changing the band name to the Bossmen, the group recorded and distributed their first single, “Take A Look (My Friend)” on their own record label. The catchy Beatles-inspired song was played regularly on Saginaw-area stations like WSAM and WKNX, and became a local hit.

As a result of their recording and appearances on the emerging teen club circuit, the Bossmen began to rapidly develop a fan base around the state. Dick did most of the songwriting for the Bossmen, and he produced a batch of popular radio-friendly singles including, “Here’s Congratulations”, “Help Me Baby”, “Bad Girl” “Wait And See”, and “On The Road” during the next three years on a variety of self-owned labels including Soft, Dicto and M 'n' L.

Wagner pioneered do-it-yourself techniques in other areas as well. He commonly booked the Bossmen in local Armory Halls around the state, renting the halls for an evening and then charging admission at the door. The Bossmen also became adept at promoting themselves at local radio stations by doing on-air interviews and participating in skits with the local deejays.

In the late summer of 1966, the Bossmen became a quintet with the addition of Mark Farner. Farner, who had recently left Terry Knight & The Pack, played rhythm guitar and sang backing vocals on the biggest Bossmen single, “Baby Boy”. Farner also developed his guitar-playing skills and songwriting talents in his brief stint under Wagner’s wing. Mark wrote and performed his first song, “Heartbreaker”, while in the Bossmen, and he learned some lead guitar techniques from Dick Wagner that he put to good use when he returned to the Pack in 1967, and later with Grand Funk Railroad.

According to Wagner in the Review Magazine interview, the Bossmen broke up early in 1967 over a scandal involving drummer Pete Woodman being busted for smoking marijuana. At the time it seemed like a big deal, and the band got a lot of negative publicity that resulted in Wagner dismissing the popular drummer from the band. Things fell apart quickly after that, and Wagner looked to form a new group by joining forces with a band hailing from Alpena, Michigan, called Bobby Riggs and The Chevelles.

The band, now comprised of Wagner, drummer Riggs, bassist Jack Smolinski, and guitarist Donny Hartman, was billed as the New Bossmen at an April 15, 1967, gig at Bay City’s Band Canyon. They also performed as Dick Wagner & The Bossmen and then as Dick Wagner & The Frosts at venues throughout Michigan. This rendition of the band recorded a pair of terrific singles on the Date label in 1967, “Rainy Day” and “Sunshine”. Both were good indications as to what was to come as the band evolved into the Frost.

Dick Wagner also became involved with a number of Michigan bands at this time in the dual roles of both songwriter and producer. Wagner served as both for Saginaw’s Bells Of Rhymny on the single “She’ll Be Back/Wicked Old Witch” released on Wagner’s Dicto label in 1965. After the group had changed its name to the Cherry Slush, Wagner provided the band with its only nationally charting single when “I Cannot Stop You” reached # 119 on Billboard’s Bubbling Under The Hot 100 in 1968.

He also wrote and produced singles for two more Saginaw bands, Elation Fields and the Paupers. In addition, Wagner wrote and produced “Anytime You Want Some Lovin’/Easy Way Out”, the 2nd single by Grand Ledge’s Tonto & The Renegades. A certified Rock and Roll workaholic, Dick further managed to find the time to write “I’ve Got News For You” and “Wide Trackin’” for Mark Farner’s band, the Fabulous Pack. Several of these songs had originally been recorded by the Bossmen on Hugh “Jeep” Holland’s A-Square label out of Ann Arbor but were not released.

After failing an audition as guitarist for Blood, Sweat, And Tears in 1968, Wagner refocused on the Frost. He replaced Smolinski on bass with Gordy Garris, who had been playing in a Lansing-area band called the Beaux Jens, and the band began writing new songs.

The first big splash for the Frost in the Detroit area came at an outdoor concert in front of a crowd of over 10,000 at the Meadowbrook Theatre. The concert also featured the MC5 and the Stooges but the Frost stole the show with their combination of heavy guitars, melodic songs, and great vocals.

The Frost quickly became the talk of the Motor City and became regular performers at Detroit’s most prestigious rock venues, the Grande Ballroom and the Eastown Theater.

In the late 60’s, Michigan was a hotbed for Rock and Roll bands, and there were opportunities for the best of these groups to be signed by major recording companies. The Frost was being pursued by both Clive Davis of Columbia Records and Sam Charters at Vanguard Records. According to Wagner, Charters paid a great deal of attention to the Frost, flying in each week and wining and dining the group. Although Vanguard was mainly a Folk label, they spent the most time and effort in wooing the band, and Charters signed the Frost to his label in 1969.

The Frost went immediately into the studio and recorded the original songs they had been playing live for the last year. The resulting album was called “Frost Music” and it quickly became the # 1 LP in Michigan, selling over 50,000 units in a matter of months. Although it suffered from Sam Charters’ thin production, “Frost Music” was chock full of great guitar-driven songs and was listed among the Top 3 LPs for five consecutive weeks on Detroit’s powerful AM station WKNR. The album’s centerpiece, a combination of “Take My Hand/Mystery Man”, was a staple on Detroit’s FM stations for months.


Tracks
1. Jennie Lee - 3:02
2. The Family - 3:00
3. A Long Way Down from Mobile - 3:05
4. Take My Hand - 4:22
5. Mystery Man - 4:24
6. Baby Once You Got It - 2:36
7. Stand in the Shadows - 8:00
8. Little Susie Singer (Music to Chew Gum By) - 2:42
9. First Day of May - 3:27
10.Who Are You? - 5:18

The Frost
*Dick Wagner - Lead. Guitar, Vocals
*Donny Hartman - Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica
*Gordy Garris - Bass, Vocals
*Bobby Rigg - Drums, Vocals

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rare Earth - Fill Your Head (1969-1974 us, amazing classic rock with groovy psychedelic vibes, three cds box set, five studio albums plus outtakes and alternative versions)


This 2008 compilation puts Rare Earth's early Motown catalog back into print in one fell swoop with a three-disc package featuring remastered sound, new liner notes with full credits, and exact reproductions of the album's original art. Unfortunately, that means you have to spring for the whole set to get access to any one of the five for a physical copy, but there is always selective downloading.

While Rare Earth was never an A-list contender even during its salad days, the group, led by singing drummer Pete Rivera (nee Hoorelbeke) had many fine moments, not all of them collected on the various best-of sets already in print. As Motown's first foray into white rock, Rare Earth also became the name of the company's subsidiary label that they, along with a handful of mostly forgotten other acts (Toe Fat anyone?), recorded for.

Notes writer Scott Schinder's five-page recap of the Earth's 1969-1974 run, which also includes an interview with Rivera, provides excellent background information along with anecdotes and reminiscences from its founding member and featured voice. Nine difficult-to-find bonus tracks (edited singles, non-album A- and B-sides) are somewhat incongruously tacked onto the end of disc one (which also includes the Get Ready debut) instead of being sequenced next to the album they are associated with. Otherwise, this set, with its rounded tombstone packaging that mimics the unique shape of many of the first Rare Earth label releases, is a straightforward presentation of the five records, along with liner notes and even inner record sleeve reproductions.

These records established Rare Earth as rugged, working semi-stars. They persevered through hard touring, a few top-notch songs such as One World's "I Just Want to Celebrate" (written for them by Nick Zesses and Dino Fekaris), and imaginatively rearranged rock and R&B covers, to attain at least a footnote in pop music history. At its best, generally on the Norman Whitfield productions of his own compositions such as Ecology's "(I Know) I'm Losing You" and the Ma album, Rare Earth personified a style of blue-eyed, jammy psychedelic soul that, while dated, still holds up as unique enough to have resulted in more hits than the group actually achieved. Since its most recognizable music is well represented on Motown's impressive two-disc Anthology:

The Best of Rare Earth and other discs, this is for collectors who need everything from Rare Earth's most commercially and artistically successful years. As such it is a classy presentation of a band whose finest moments remain impressive, even occasionally innovative, but just short of influential.
by Hal Horowitz



Tracks
CD-1
Get Ready 1969
1. Magic Key 4:01
2. Tobacco Road 7:17
3. Feelin' Alright 5:10
4. In Bed 3:08
5. Train To Nowhere 3:27
6. Get Ready 21:35
Bonus Tracks Rare (Earth) Singles
7. Generation (Light Up The Sky) 2:47
8. Get Ready (Single Version) 2:50
9. (I Know) I'm Losing You (Single Version) 3:42
10.When Joanie Smiles 2:57
11.Here Comes The Night 3:29
12.Hey Big Brother 4:47
13.Love Shines Down 3:41
14.Chained 3:36
15.Fresh From The Can 5:18


CD-2
Ecology 1970
1. Born To Wander 3:24
2. Long Time Leavin' 4:54
3. (I Know) I'm Losing You 10:58
4. Satisfaction Guaranteed 4:38
5. Nice Place To Visit 4:01
6. No. 1 Man 4:55
7. Eleanor Rigby 6:44
One World 1971
8. What'd I Say 7:17
9. If I Die 3:33
10.The Seed 3:35
11.I Just Want To Celebrate 3:44
12.Someone To Love 3:49
13.Any Man Can Be A Fool 3:38
14.The Road 3:38
15.Under God's Light 4:51


CD-3
Willie Remembers 1972
1. Good Time Sally 2:55
2. Every Now And Then We Get To Go On Down To Miami 3:14
3. Think Of The Children 5:39
4. Gotta Get Myself Back Home 3:03
5. Come With Your Lady 5:49
6. Would You Like To Come Along 2:51
7. We're Gonna Have A Good Time 3:28
8. I Couldn't Believe What Happened Last Night 12:38
Ma 1973
9. Ma 17:22
10.Big John Is My Name 4:25
11.Smiling Faces Sometimes 6:03
12.Hum Along And Dance 5:18
13.Come With Me 4:46


Rare Earth
Get Ready 1969
* John Parrish - Trombone, Bass Guitar, Vocals
* Gil Bridges - Sax, Tambourine, Vocals
* Kenny James - Organ, Electric Piano, Vocals
* Rod Richards - Guitar, Vocals
* Pete Rivera - Drums, Vocals

Ecology 1970
* Gil Bridges - Flute, Saxophone, Tabla, Vocals
* Eddie Guzman - Conga
* Kenny James - Organ, Keyboards
* John Persh - Bass, Tambourine, Vocals
* Rod Richards - Guitar, Vocals
* Pete Rivera - Drums, Vocals

One World 1971
* Pete Rivera - Drums, Lead Vocal, Percussion
* John Parsh - Bass, Vocal
* Gil Bridges - Woodwinds, Vocal, Percussion, Flute
* Ray Monette - Guitars, Vocal
* Mark Olson - Keyboards, Vocal
* Ed Guzman - Conga, Percussion

Willie Remembers 1972
* Pete Hoorelbeke - Drums, Percussion, Lead Vocal
* Gil Bridges - Woodwinds, Percussion, Vocal
* Mike Urso - Bass Guitar, Vocal
* Ray Monette - Lead Guitar
* Mark Olson - Keyboard, Vocal
* Ed Guzman - Congas, Percussion

Ma 1973
* Gil Bridges - Flute, Saxophone, Vocals
* Peter Hoorelbeke - Drums, Percussion, Lead Vocals
* Ray Monette - Lead Guitar, Vocals
* Mark Olson - Keyboards, Vocals
* Mike Urso - Bass, Vocals
* Edwin Guzman - Congas, Timbales

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