In The Land of Free, we still keep on Rockin'

Plain and Fancy

"I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I am free"


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Melanie - Born To Be / Affectionately Melanie (1968-69 us, sweet soft folk country pop, debut and 2nd album)



No talent who came out of Woodstock and who continued actively performing more than a quarter century later remained as closely associated with the 1960s and "flower power" than Melanie. Born Melanie Safka in Astoria, Queens, in 1947, she made her first public appearance at age four on a radio show, later studying at the New York Academy of Fine Arts. After mounting a singing career while in college, she later sang in clubs in Greenwich Village, and was signed to a publishing contract in 1967. She recorded her first single, "Beautiful People," for Columbia Records that same year. Her relationship with the record company was short-lived, however, and after one more single she left the label.

In 1969, she chanced to meet producer Peter Schekeryk, and after a hastily arranged audition, he took charge of her career. Her first album, Born to Be, was recorded and released by Buddah later that same year. On August 16, Melanie took the stage at the Woodstock Music & Art Festival in Bethel, New York; her song "Birthday of the Sun" was later released on the Woodstock 2 album, and 20 years later it was released on video as part of Woodstock: The Lost Performances, alongside the work of Janis Joplin, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and the Who.

Soon afterward, she cut her second album, Affectionately, which did slightly better than her first; however, her commercial breakthrough came 11 months after Woodstock, when she released the song "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)," recorded with the Edwin Hawkins Singers. The song, written as a tribute to the audience at Woodstock and displaying the feel of a gospel hymn, rose to number six on the U.S. charts, while the accompanying LP, entitled Candles in the Rain, reached the Top 20.

After 1970's Leftover Wine, a live album recorded at a Carnegie Hall concert, she issued a plaintive version of the Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday." In January of 1971, Melanie's own version of "What Have They Done to My Song, Ma," a recent smash for the New Seekers, got to number 39 in Britain, where she emerged as a major star. In March, however, her new release, The Good Book, peaked on the U.S. charts at just number 80, despite the presence of several impressive tracks, among them a hauntingly beautiful cover of Phil Ochs' prophetic, doom-laden self-eulogy, "Chords of Fame."

At around this time, Melanie rebelled against her contract with Buddah, which required her to supply albums more or less on demand -- she'd had four LPs released in half as many years, and wanted more control over her work and career. With help from Schekeryk, whom she had married, she organized her own label, Neighborhood Records, during the summer of 1971. Her first subsequent single, "Brand New Key" hit number one on the U.S. charts while on its way to becoming a million seller; thanks to its not-so-subtle sexual undertones, the song became a kind of "in" dirty joke in some circles, and was even censored on some radio stations, but it also made Melanie one of the top-selling artists of the year 1971.

The accompanying album, Gather Me, was the best produced long-player she had ever released, and reached a chart position of number 15, earning a gold record in the process. This huge success prompted Buddah to release Garden in the City, consisting of previously unreleased outtakes. At the same time that 1971's Gather Me spawned the single "Ring the Living Bell," Buddah decided to capitalize more directly on Melanie's catalog and released "The Nickel Song"; the presence of two singles in release simultaneously from two different labels and distributors -- each competing for radio play and listener dollars -- damaged both releases, and they effectively canceled each other out.

Garden in the City rose to number 19, but her next new album on Neighborhood, Stoneground Words, only got to number 70 late in 1972. In June of 1973, her double-concert album, At Carnegie Hall, recorded the previous year, didn't even make the Top 100. By this time, Melanie had withdrawn from the stage, and was devoting her time to more personal and domestic concerns, having the first of three children in as many years. She re-emerged in 1974 for a short series of concerts, but her new album of that period, Madrugada, barely made it on to the charts, and her subsequent two LPs, As I See It Now and Sunset and Other Beginnings, released in 1975, barely sold. Neighborhood Records was later closed down.

A year later, Photograph was released to lackluster sales on Atlantic; the follow-up, Phonogenic, also failed to chart, and her last album for the next five years, Ballroom Streets, appeared on the Tomato label in 1977. In 1982, Melanie cut a comeback album, Arabesque, for RCA; a year later, her single "Every Breath of the Way" scraped the middle of the British charts and led to a series of concerts in England. Neighborhood was soon reactivated just long enough for Melanie to release one last album, Seventh Wave.

At the end of the 1980s, she re-emerged once again with her theme music for the popular television series Beauty and the Beast. By that time, Woodstock nostalgia was beginning to be stoked by the media and concert promoters, and Melanie appeared at one of the 20th anniversary events. She continued to periodically perform at clubs in the United States and larger festivals in Europe, where her association with the 1960s made her a major draw, and every so often released an album of new songs or re-recordings of her classic numbers.
by Bruce Eder


Tracks
1968  Born To Be
1. In The Hour - 3:07
2. I’m Back In Town - 2:18
3. Bo Bo’s Party - 3:52
4. Mr Tambourine Man (Bob Dylan) - 4:24
5. Momma, Momma - 3:44
6. I Really Love Harold - 4:10
7. Animal Crackers - 2:13
8. Christopher Robin (Is Saying His Prayers) (H. Fraser Simpson, A.A. Milne, Melanie Safka) - 2:34
9. Close To It All - 3:20
10. Merry Christmas - 2:49

1969  Affectionately Melanie
11. I’m Back In Town - 0:13
12. Tuning My Guitar - 4:01
13. Soul Sister Annie - 3:30
14. Any Guy - 2:12
15. Uptown And Down - 2:11
16. Again - 3:18
17. Beautiful People - 3:35
18. Johnny Boy - 2:41
19. Baby Guitar - 3:27
20. Deep Down Low - 3:21
21. For My Father 2:28
22. Take Me Home - 2:23
All songs by Melanie Safka except otherwise.

Melanie Safka - Vocals, Guitar

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Paupers - Magic People (1967 canada, superb psychedelic rock with west coast aura, original vinyl issue)




In 1967 the great band from the North released their debut record. The Paupers, along with the Guess Who, were one of the first Canadian bands to capitalize on the British Invasion. They started releasing singles in 1965 with a lineup consisting of Denny Gerrard (Bass), Skip Prokop (Drums), Bill Marion (Guitars) and Chuck Beal (Guitars). Prokop and Marion handled all the songwriting chores on their first clutch of singles.

Their early sound was a classy mixture of roots music, blues and folk-rock (think early Byrds or Lovin’ Spoonful crossed with the Blues Project circa 1965). The band began rehearsing 14 hours a day, honing their setlist and evolving into one of the tightest bands around. They hit the hip Yorkville District of Canada, playing to packed out venues daily and in return this gained them immense popularity.

Rumor has it that the Paupers blew the mighty Jefferson Airplane off stage one night. In 1966/1967, Bill Marion exited the band for reasons unknown, prompting the Paupers to recruit Adam Mitchell. Mitchell (guitar and vocals) proved to be an excellent songwriting partner for Prokop, and at this point the band set out to create their debut lp.

Magic People has a good mid 60’s sound and is anchored by the band’s folk-rock leanings. There are a trio of good psychedelic sunshine pop fuzz rockers on the record. These songs, Magic People, It’s Your Mind and Think I Care, are highlighted by Prokop’s distinct drum patterns, special guitar effects, and great raga soloing. The only dud on the album is One Rainy Day, which is a jaunty good time Lovin’ Spoonful rocker. The remaining six songs are good to great folk-rockers, that recall the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and the Beau Brummels.

The catchy You and Me feels like a throw back to a 1965 Byrds or Brummels folk-rock sound. Tudor Impressions is excellent, reflective, and abstract, including horns, sparkling accoustic guitars and a Beach Boys-like harmony pop ending. Black Thank You Package and My Love Hides From Your View have a great outsider feel. Black Thank You Package has a distinct, exciting intro and a catchy chorus while My Love Hides is an absolute haunting masterpiece of acid-folk.

Later on in the year the band would play at the seminal Monterey Pop Festival. Everything that could go wrong for them did. Band members took doses of acid that were way too strong and had equipment/sound check problems. Thus, it was the beginning of the end for the Paupers, a group of individuals who had began with so much promise. In 1968, beneath all the internal turmoil, the Paupers were able to squeeze one more lp out. Ellis Island is a little mini psychedelic gem and fans are strongly urged to check this great album out as well.


Tracks
1. Magic People - 2:43
2. It's Your Mind - 5:20
3. Black Thank You Package - 3:12
4. Let Me Be - 3:10
5. Think I Care - 3:55
6. One Rainy Day - 2:20
7. Tudor Impressions - 4:13
8. Simple Deed - 2:43
9. My Love Hides Your View - 3:20
10. You and Me - 2:40
All songs by Adam Mitchell and Skip Prokop.

The Paupers
*Dennis Gerrard - Bass
*Skip Prokop - Drums, Bass Guitar
*Adam Mitchell - Rhythm Guitar, Drums
*Chuck Beal - Lead Guitar

Monday, November 28, 2011

T2 - It'll All Work Out in Boomland (1970 uk, stunning power heavy progressive rock)



T2 was formed in early 1970 when Peter Dunton (drums, lead vocals and songs) left the Gun to join up with Keith Cross (guitar and keyboards) and Bernard Jinks (bass), both from Bulldog Breed. They soon found a strong musical rapport and, after less than a week of rehearsals, they started a residency at a club in London's West End.

By their third gig, the club was packed, and the producers from four major record companies and three TV and Radio programmes were there to check them out. This led to a recording deal with Decca Records, the release of "It'll All Work Out In Boomland" and several TV and radio appearances later in the year.

Their rise continued throughout the year, with appearances at several important open-air festivals, including the Isle of Wight and Plumpton. They headlined a series of residencies at the Marquee Club, and appeared at virtually every major rock venue in the London area before branching out onto the university circuit. They were constantly in the music press - indeed Keith, still only seventeen, was being hailed as the new Eric Clapton! In the end, the pressures grew too great and first Keith and then Bernard left the band.

After a short break, Peter put the band back on the road with new musicians, and T2 toured the UK continuously throughout 1971 and 1972. Finally, a settled line-up was achieved - including Mike Foster, who had been a friend of the band since the early lays. However, the UK music scene had changed considerably by then. The band found that to resume their recording career, they would have to compromise their musical policy. Rather than do this, they decided to stop altogether.

Essentially, T2 were an exceptional live band with a unique blend of musical styles. The three musicians played as one, with great emotional intensity, and sounded like no one else. Their music went through constant changes of light and shade, from wistful acoustic whispers to thunderous roars of anger, creating great musical tension on the way. Their concerts were not just a series of favourite songs, they were emotional experiences, which somehow triggered feelings and memories in their audiences. In some ways it was fitting that they should end too soon - a promise unfulfilled, a question unanswered. But the dream did not die.


Tracks
1. In Circles - 8:34
2. J.L.T. - 5:44
3. No More White Horses - 8:35
4. Morning - 21:14
Bonus tracks:
5. Questions And Answers - 5:17
6. CD - 7:01
7. In Circles - 9:07

T2
*Keith Cross - Guitars, Keyboards, Harmony Vocals
*Peter Dunton - Drums, Lead Vocals
*Bernard Jinks - Bass Guitar, Harmony Vocals

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Canned Heat - The Very Best Of (1967-73 us, classic psych blues rock, 2005 issue with previous unreleased track)



With the glut of Canned Heat compilations available, what makes this 19-song Capitol/EMI release better than the rest? For starters, the previously unreleased track "Henry's Shuffle," featuring guitarist Henry Vestine and recorded in 1968, which was undoubtedly the zenith year for the band; the inclusion of "Low Down (And High Up)"; the rare Liberty B-side "Time Was," and the rollicking 1970 date with Little Richard, "Rockin' With the King."

Also included are several tracks that both the novice and die-hard fan alike would find essential -- three live cuts from the Monterey Pop Festival, a nod to the 1971 collaborative effort with John Lee Hooker on "Whiskey and Wimmen'," and two Woodstock era classics culled from the Boogie with Canned Heat album, "Amphetamine Annie" and "Fried Hockey Boogie."

And, of course, what would a Canned Heat compilation be without the bona fide hippie hits: "On the Road Again," "Goin' Up the Country" and "Let's Work Together." These are the original versions, digitally remastered and sounding great, so ignore the glut, this really is the Very Best of Canned Heat.
by Al Campbell




Tracks
1. On the Road Again (Jones, Wilson) - 4:56
2. Goin' Up the Country (Wilson) - 2:51
3. Amphetamine Annie (Canned Heat) - 3:32
4. Rollin' and Tumblin' Live (Morganfield) - 4:14
5. Dust My Broom Live (James) - 4:58
6. Bullfrog Blues Live (Cook, Hite, Taylor, Vestine, Wilson) - 3:08
7. Henry's Shuffle (Previously Unreleased) (Vestine) - 4:52
8. Fried Hockey Boogie (Taylor) - 11:02
9. Same All Over (De La Parra, Hite, Taylor, Vestine) - 2:52
10.Time Was (Wilson) - 3:23
11.Low Down (And High Up) (De La Parra, Hite, Taylor, Vestine, Wilson) - 2:52
12.Poor Moon (Wilson) - 3:26
13.Let's Work Together (Harrison) - 3:13
14.Future Blues (De La Parra, Hite, Taylor, Mandel, Wilson) - 2:58
15.Human Condition (Canned Heat) - 5:25
16.Whiskey and Wimmen' (Hooker) - 4:37
17.Long Way from L.A. (Baker) - 3:07
18.Rockin' With the King / Little Richard (Penniman, Taylor) - 3:17
19.Rock & Roll (Hite) - 2:27

Musicians
*Al Wilson - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
*Bob "The Bear" Hite - Vocals, Harmonica
*Henry Vestine, Joel Scott Hill, James Shane - Guitar
*Ed Beyer - Keyboards
*Larry "The Mole" Taylor, Tony De La Barreda, Richard Hite - Bass Guitar
*"Fito" De La Parra, Frank Cook - Drums
*Little Richard - Vocals, Piano
*John Lee Hooker - Vocals
*Harvey Mandel - Guitar

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More Canned Heat releases, here:
1968 Living The Blues (Akarma Edition)
1971 Hooker 'N' Heat with Johnny Lee Hooker (MFSL ultra disc)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Bevis Frond - Sprawl (1994 uk, great heavy acid psych rock revival)



1994 and Nick is back in Golddust Studios, this time with a whole bunch of mates, including Canterbury Scene stalwart Jimmy Hastings on Flute, and the immensely talented Andy Ward, ex-Camel, on Drums.

The album is restored to its original vinyl running order, spread, or sprawled maybe, over two discs. You can burn it as two CDs, with the second disc starting with Right On (Your Hippie Dream).

Nick is really on form here, and its difficult to single out particular tracks. Right On is a long jam featuring Current 93's David Tibet's intoning vocal, and everyone else throws something into the pot. The Puller and Oh Gideon are incredibly well observed songs, lyrically and musically beautiful.

Anodyne is great, and the speeded up live version always went down a storm - Bari Watts did a really good cover of it on his solo album, for all you Outskirts of Infinity fans. The album really benefits from the original running order.

Nick was touring a fair amount at this time, and the touring band was based around Andy Ward on drums and Adrian Shaw on Bass.
Bevis Frond-bandcamp


Tracks
1. I Know We're Going - 6:12
2. Awake! - 11:45
3. Love You More - 4:25
4. The Puller - 8:52
5. Oh Gideon - 6:47
6. Right On (Hippie Dream) - 21:00
7. I Bought My Love A Lapdog - 7:02
8. New Alexandria - 4:31
9. Anodyne / See You - 6:16

The Bevis Frond
*Nick Saloman - All Instruments, Vocals
*Andy Ward - Drums
*Jumi Hastings - Flute
*Tony Aldridge - Violin
*David Tibet, Ade Shaw, Dean Carter, Mick Donovan - Vocals

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Friday, November 25, 2011

The Golden Earrings - Just Ear Rings (1965 holland, smart beat 'n' roll, 2009 extra tracks edition)



When Golden Earring scored a massive worldwide hit with  Radar Love in 1973/4, few of their new fans knew  they'd formed in the early '6os and already had an unbroken string of Dutch hits.  Early on, they were The Golden Earrings -  the name change came in 1969, the year they struck out on their first American tour.  Before then, they'd remained Holland's secret. 

This special reissue of their debut album, 1965  Just Earrings, finally means the secrecy is over. Also out on RPM International are their second and third albums:  1967's Winter Harvest and 1968's Miracle Mirror.  It's about time, the Golden Earrings had their own voice from  the beginning.  They were always melodic, always focused, always immediate,  their music combined the tough chunkiness of The Who and  The Kinks with the minor- key, brooding melodies of The Zombies.  They had arrived on record fully formed.  Where bands like the rough-hewn Outsiders defined the edgy sound of Amsterdam, the more polished Golden Earrings  defined the sound of The Hague.

This - the first-ever CD release of Just Earrings outside The Netherlands - supplements the album with all the single-only  tracks that bookended the album. From the raving freakbeat  of Chunk Of Steel, the B-side of their first single,  to the wonderful That Day,  the top side of their second 45,  it's obvious The Golden Earrings were developing at an  incredible pace.  Just Earrings was issued between those first two singles,  and stands as one of Europe's best beat-era albums. and that includes the UK. 

Beyond displaying a top-drawer songwriting talent,  the album included only one cover version.  Who else was that confident in 1965? The Golden Earrings were amongst Holland's first home-grown  beat era stars: before Q65 and The Outsiders.  Please Go, their first single hit the Dutch charts  in September 1965 and began a career that still thrives. Just Earrings is the foundation of that career.

The roots of The Golden Earrings lie in The Tornados,  a band formed by 13-year-old George Kooymans  and 15-year-old Marinus Gerritsen in 1962. George had arrived at Rinus - as Marinus is known  to all - house in the south of The Hague to give older brother  Rob Gerritsen a Guitarlesson.  But Rob soon passed his guitar to younger brother Rinus,  who quickly formed a band with George. 

For influences, Rinus has said that 'Little Richard,  Lloyd Price, Fats Domino and Elvis: those are the first names that come to mind when I think back to those days' Settling as Rinus Gerritsen (bass), Hans van Herwerden (guitar), Freddie van der Hilst (drums) and George Kooymans (guitar),  the band became The Tornados. An instrumental outfit,  their repertoire included Shadows and Ventures numbers.

At the time, and it wasn't unusual for teenagers to start combos in The Hague. The city was stuffed with rock 'n1 roll bands and  competition was tough. The scene took off around 1957/8 when  The Room Rockers, The Black Dynamites, The Hot Jumpers  and The Rhythm Stars began playing live. Uniquely,  this boom was fuelled by bands made up from Indonesian immigrants Indo-Rock had been born.  The Netherlands' home-grown rock 'n1 roll scene owes  its existence to the Indo-Rockers. Ultimately,  Breda's Tielman Brothers would become Holland's kings of Indo-Rock.

With a live circuit and primed audiences, The Tornados - due  to their youth - started out playing school parties.  By then end of the year though, they'd begun playing clubs. After the British Tornados' Telstar became a Dutch hit  in late 1962, a name change was inevitable. In early 1963  the band chose The Golden Earrings, from the standard that  Peggy Lee had a hit with in 1948.

Another change came when Hans van Herwerden was replaced by Peter de Ronde. Then, by the end of 1963, it became clear  that the shifting musical climate meant the band would have  to incorporate vocals. Frans Krassenburg became their singer in early 1964. Now fit for Beat Boom purpose, the five-piece Golden Earrings  were up against stiff competition. Fellow Hague band The Motions  - with future Shocking Blue leader Robbie van Leeuwan -  were also moving fast.  So fast they scored the coveted support slot at The Rolling Stones' one-off Dutch date at Scheveningen's Kurhaus on  8 August 1964 (Scheveningen is the beach resort that borders  on The Hague).

The Dutch bands were well aware of the desire for beat music  that was on their doorstep. Pirate radio station Veronica  was broadcasting from a ship moored off the Dutch coast  (its programmes were recorded in a Hilversum studio).  The 7000 tickets sold for The Beatles' only Dutch date at Blokker on 6 June 1964 was already proof enough of that.  The seat smashing which kicked off the moment The Stones  took the stage at the Kurhaus meant that beat music could  even score some headlines.

Before The Golden Earrings could grab attention they adjusted  their line up again. By the end of 1964 drummer Jaap Eggermont  had joined from local outfit The Pirates. The recording line up  had finally arrived: Jaap Eggermont (drums),  Rinus Gerritsen (bass), George Kooymans (guitar),  Frans Krassenburg (vocals) and Peter de Ronde (rhythm guitar). Pirates' manager Jacques Senf also came on board. As the band entered 1965, the local music scene was beginning to exert  its identity. The Motions had recorded their first tracks in January,  and entered the Dutch charts in April with their debut single  It's Gone.  Home-grown bands could now compete.  The Golden Earrings had the chance to grab the brass ring.

The break came in July 1965 after they had appeared at a so-band showcase that climaxed with a Kinks' performance.  Shortly afterwards, Freddy Haayen saw the band at their  regular venue Club 192 (run by Senf, their manger).  Haayen said he worked for Polydor Records and that he wanted  to record them.  Actually, he was an architecture student who also worked as a trainee at Polydor's warehouse. 

The Golden Earrings didn't know this and duly turned up  at Hilversum's Phonogram Studio on the afternoon  of 8 August to record four tracks: Please Go,  Chunk Of Steel, Lonely Everyday and Not To Find.  Haayen had made good on his bluff and scored a deal with Polydor.  Released in September, Please Go immediately started  climbing the Dutch charts, reaching number 10 after TV  appearances  and special shows arranged for the press. 

Despite being a recording debut, this stunningly mature song had a note-perfect arrangement. As momentum built, The Golden Earrings were billed with visiting British bands to represent what Holland could do.  In September they played with The Who;  November saw them teamed up with The Kinks. The only thing that jarred was Frans Krassenburg's short hair,  the result of a brush with National Service. In the wake of the debut hit, the band completed their first  album, Just Earrings.  Released November 1965,  the album showcased the band's supreme confidence. 

The 12 tracks included just one cover version, Sticks And Stones. From the opening chords of Nobody But You,  it's instantly clear that melody was the band's forte  - even when balanced against those slabs of Who- derived guitar dissonance heard a minute in. The band was hurtling forwards. So much so, that a second single of album track Lonely Everyday was shelved. Lonely Everyday  and its planned B-side Not To Find were also recorded at  that first session in August.  Licensing restrictions prevent the inclusion of Not To Find - a great raving number - on this collection.  The sleeve of this rarity is illustrated anyway.

The next year began with a trip to London to record their  second single proper. Both That Day and its B-side  The Words I Need were recorded at Pye Studios on 5 January,  with Pirates' guitarist Aat den Dulk on piano. The session was followed by a single live date, at a club in south-east London's Forest Hill. The journey to London  was made by boat, because there was no money to go by plane, ' remembered Rinus Gerritsen.  "Everyone was seasick, but that was soon forgotten when we stuffed our instruments into a couple of London taxis  and drove to Pye Studios' The Golden Earrings were the first  Dutch band to record in England.  Their rivals The Motions followed suit in February,  also recording at Pye.  The Golden Earrings were setting the agenda now.

Another hit, That Day confirmed that The Golden Earrings  were a major force. But that was still true for Holland only:  the February 1966 British release of the single by Polydor  went nowhere. There was enormous pressure on us to produce a sequel to  That Day,1 recalled Rinus Gerritsen. ' So we tried to write a song in the same style.' That sequel, If You Leave Me, was also recorded in London  and issued in May 1966.  Although another consummate performance and another hit, the band weren't satisfied with the quality  of the production and dispatched Freddie Haayen back to London  to remaster the single. Established as one of The Netherlands'  top bands, The Golden Earrings would continue consolidating  their position while always progressing. Their next album, igGy's Winter Harvest, was another landmark. Which is where the story continues.
by Kieron Tyler,  March 2009


Tracks
1. Nobody But You - 2:18
2. I Hate Saying These Words - 2:17
3. She May Be (G.Kooymans) - 1:47
4. Holy Witness (G.Kooymans) - 2:47
5. No Need To Worry (M.Gerritsen) - 2:04
6. Please Go - 2:56
7. Sticks and Stones (T.Turner) - 1:41
8. I Am A Fool (M.Gerritsen) - 2:06
9. Don't Stay Away - 2:10
10.Lonely Everyday - 1:42
11.When People Talk - 2:47
12.Now I Have (G.Kooymans) - 1:38
13.Chunk Of Steel (G.Kooymans, M.Gerritsen, P.de Ronde) - 2:25
14.That Day -  2:30
15.The Words I Need - 2:15
16.If You Leave Me - 2:17
17.Waiting For You - 2:27
All tracks by Rinus Gerritsen, George Kooymans excepr where stated

The Golden Earrings
*George Kooymans - Guitar, Vocals
*Jaap Eggermont - Drums
*Rinus Gerritsen - Bass, Keyboard
*Frans Krassenburg - Vocals
*Peter De Ronde - Rhythm Guitar

The Golden Earring 
1968-69  Miracle Mirror (2009 bonus tracks edition)
1966  Winter-Harvest (2009 extra tracks issue)
1969  On The Double
1969/71 Eight Miles High / Seven Tears
1972  Together
1973  Moontan

1971  George Kooymans - Jojo
1972  Barry Hay - Only Parrots, Frogs And Angels

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Blues Image - Blues Image / Red White and Blues Image (1969-70 us, exciting blues rock with latin jazz shades)



The Blues Image formed in Tampa, FL, in 1966 by Michael Pinera (b. September 29, 1948, Tampa, FL) (guitar, vocals), Manuel Bertematti (b. 1946, Tampa, FL) (percussion), and Joe Lala (b. Tampa, FL) (drums). Malcolm Jones (b. Cardiff, Wales) (bass) joined in 1966, followed in 1968 by Frank "Skip" Konte (b. Canyon City, OK) (keyboards).

The band moved to New York City in 1968 and managed a club called the Image. Then they moved to Los Angeles, where they signed to Atlantic Records' Atco division in February 1969, and released their self-titled debut album. This was followed by Open (1970), which featured "Ride Captain Ride." But the Blues Image never followed their hit. Pinera left, replaced by Kent Henry (guitar) and Dennis Correll (vocals).

Then the Blues Image broke up. A third album, Red White & Blues Image, was compiled from outtakes. Skip Konte joined Three Dog Night, while some other band members reformed as Manna. Pinera later was a member of Iron Butterfly, then Ramatam, and, with Bertematti, the New Cactus Band.  He also formed a band called Thee Image and worked as a solo artist. Lala became a Los Angeles session player and worked with Joe Walsh and the various manifestations of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, among others.
by William Ruhlmann




Tracks
1969 Blues Image
1. Take Me to the Sunrise - 4:14
2. Leaving My Troubles Behind - 3:49
3. Outside Was Night - 3:56
4. In Front Behind You - 3:13
5. Lay Your Sweet Love on Me - 2:14
6. (Do You Have) Somethin' to Say - 3:58
7. Lazy Day Blues - 4:50
8. Yesterday Could Be Today - 2:10
9. Reality Does Not Inspire - 9:09
All songs witten by The Blues Image.

1970 Red, White and Blues Image

10.Rise Up (Correll, Jones, Konte) - 4:16
11.Behind Every Man (Correll, Konte) - 3:17
12.Gas Lamps and Clay (Correll, Konte) - 2:39
13.Take Me Back (Correll, Konte) - 3:33
14.It Happens All the Time (Henry, Jones) - 4:01
15.Good Life (Correll, Konte) - 3:35
16.It's the Truth (Jones) - 3:42
17.Let's Take a Ride (Konte) - 2:52
18.Ain't No Rules in California (Jones) - 7:50

Blues Image

*Mike Pinera - Vocals, Guitar (1969)
*Frank "Skip" Konte - Vocals, Piano, Organ
*Joe Lala - Vocals, Drums, Percussion, Congas
*Manuel Bertematti - Drums, Congas, Tumba
*Malcom Jones - Bass
*Dennis Correll - Vocals (1970)
*Kent Henry - Guitar (1970)




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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tin House - Tin House (1971 us, excellent heavy blues rock)



Tin House was formed in 1969 by original members Floyd Radford - Guitar, Mike Logan - Drums and Jeff Cole - Lead Vocal and Bass. They were one of the first progressive rock bands to be signed to a major label out of the Central Florida area. Their debut album entitled Tin House was released on Epic Records in 1970. The album produced by Rick Derringer went on to win international acclaim.

The opening chords of "I Want Your Body," the opening track on Tin House, gives you a very good idea of what to expect from the rest of the album. The brash, energetic guitar might remind you of Edgar Winter Group, which would be entirely appropriate because guitarist Floyd Radford left this group to join that band just after this album was made.

Edgar Winter himself has a cameo, playing a one-finger organ solo, and his longtime compatriot, Rick Derringer, produced the album. Interesting as it may be to pick through influences, Tin House had their own sound, composed of blues and progressive hard rock with poppy harmony vocals. The progressive side comes to the fore with the slightly pompous duo of "Endamus Finallamus" and "Lady of the Silent Opera," which are redeemed by several catchy and inventive instrumental passages.

Tin House was a hot band with some good ideas, and though the players went on to greater success in other groups, this album is worth a listen.
by Richard Foss


Tracks
1. I Want Your Body (F. Radford, M. Logan) - 1:45
2. 30 Weight Blues (F. Radford, M. Logan, J. Cole) - 2:19
3. Be Good and Be Kind (F. Radford, M. Logan, J. Cole) - 2:36
4. You've Gone Too Far (F. Radford, J. Cole) - 3:45
5. Silver Star (F. Radford, M. Logan) - 4:01
6. Personal Gain (F. Radford, M. Logan, J. Cole) - 4:25
7. Jezebel, Give Me Your Lovin' (J. Cole) - 2:41
8. Tomorrow (F. Radford) - 2:55
9. Endamus Finallamus (F. Radford, M. Logan, J. Cole) - 3:49
10.Lady of the Silent Opera (F. Radford, J. Cole) - 3:35

Tin House
*Floyd Radford - Guitar, Vocals
*Mike Logan - Drums, Vocals
*Jeff Cole - Bass, Vocals

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

East Of Eden - Mercator Projected (1969 uk, fascinating heavy progressive rock, eclectic extra tracks issue)



East of Eden was a British band that existed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and released a handful of albums. 1969's Mercator Projected is their first offering, and also regarded as their best. This album was originally released on Deram Records, the same label that gave us the Moody Blues.

The band didn't have a steady lineup, but on this album, the group consisted of violinist and flutist Dave Arbus, saxist Ron Caines, guitarist and vocalist Geoff Richardson, bassist Steve York and drummer Dave LaFont. Dave Arbus happened to be the same guy who played violin on The Who's classic "Baba O'Reilly" (aka "Teenage Wasteland"), by the way.

The album varies from hard rocking numbers like "Northern Hemisphere" to moody atmospheric numbers like "Bathers", "Waterways", and "Moth". There's also a bluesy number called "Centaur Woman" (sung by Ron Caines), but this is the only weak number on this album, as there's just too much bass noodling from Steve York.

The whole album is a fascinating combination of psych, Middle Eastern influences, early prog rock, and jazz rock. Odd electronic effects are included from time to time, odd use of phasing not unlike the Beatles' "I Am the Walrus", and some jams that sound like they belong on a Soft Machine album.

The old LP features photos of the band members all dressed in Egyptian garb and makeup on the back. The album had been reissued on CD on Repertoire Records in Germany, Si-Wan Records in Korea, and some Japenese reissues as well, so if you can't find the LP or you no longer have a turntable, then you can find the CD reissue online or at your finer record stores that carries better imports (that is, the record stores ran by music enthusiasts, which are becoming quite rare these days, at least in America).
 by Ben Miler


Tracks
1. Northern Hemisphere - 5:03
2. Isadora - 4:19
3. Waterways - 7:00
4. Centaur Woman - 7:09
5. Bathers - 4:57
6. Communion - 4:02
7. Moth - 4:03
8. In The Stable Of The Sphinx - 8:20
9. Waterways (Bonus Track, Demo) - 6:40
10.In the Stable of the Sphinx (Bonus Track) - 11:10.
11.Eight Miles High (Bonus Track) - 6:51
All compositions by East Of Eden, except track 11 by G. Clark, D. Crosby, R. McGuinn.
Track 10 Demo recorded in July 1968
Track 11 recorded at Tangerine Stusios, London 3rd September 1969


East Of Eden
*Geoff Nicholson - Guitars, Vocals
*Dave Arbus - Electric Violin, Flute, Bagpipe, Recorders, Two Saxophones
*Ron Caines - Soprano, Alto Saxophones, Organ, Vocals
*Dave Dufont - Percussions
*Steve York - Bass Guitar, Harmonica, Piano

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Power Of Zeus - The Gospel According To Zeus (1970 us, detroit based, pioneer heavy psych rock band)



Power of Zeus was formed in 1968 by Detroit vocalist / guitarist Joe Periano shortly after his release from the Marine Corps. Joe was joined by bassist/vocalist Bill Jones, drummer Bob Michalski & Hammond organist Dennie Webber. Initially going by the name of Gangrene, the Cream/Zeppelin/Sabbath inspired heavy rock quartet became the unofficial house band at the Wooden Nickel club, where they were eventually spotted by a local manager.

Motown psyche-oriented subsidiary Rare Earth signed the band on the condition they find a new name. Having decided upon Power of Zeus they began work on what would become their sole release, 1970's The Gospel According to Zeus LP. The relationship between band and label was strained, with the former claiming that the latter had no experience of recording a heavy rock act, and that the Motown producers had failed to nail their crunchier live sound on tape.

Certainly the LP is pretty far removed from the distorto-trash rock of fellow Detroit rockers The MC5 and The Stooges, but what it lacks in grime it makes up for in Super Heavy Funkiness - hammond, bass & drums are to the fore, with production as fat & full as you would expect from the Motown studios. The LP was pretty much a flop at the time, but has since become a highly sought after item, attaining genuine legendary status amongst record collectors - especially those of a hip-hop / breaks orientation, for whom the incredible 'The Sorcerer of Isis (Ritual Of The Mole)' drum & bass break is like manna from Zeus himself. The definition of The Super Heavy Psychedelic Funk Rock Sound.


Tracks
1. It Couldn't Be Me (Jones, Weber) - 3:52
2. In the Night (Periano) - 3:53
3. Green Grass & Clover (Jones) - 3:08
4. I Lost My Love (Periano) - 2:08
5. The Death Trip (Periano) - 7:37
6. No Time (Robinson) - 3:26
7. Uncertain Destination (Jones, Periano) - 4:50
8. Realization (Jones) - 2:47
9. Hard Working Man (Michalski) - 2:12
10.The Sorcerer of Isis (The Ritualof the Mole) (Jones, Michalski, Periano) - 5:43

Power Of Zeus
*Joe Periano - Vocals, Guitar
*Bill Jones - Bass, Vocals
*Bob Michalski - Drums, Backing Vocals
*Dennie Webber - Hammond Organ, Harpsichord, Piano

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Highway Robbery - Highway Robbery (1972 us, superb heavy psych rock)



After a stint with The Boston Tea Party lead guitarist Michael Stevens began looking for another project. Perhaps inspired by Capitol Records' success with a power trio (e.g. Grand Funk Railroad), Stevens decided to build a hard rock trio. He eventually ended up with a line up consisting of singer/drummer Don Francisco who had previously been a member of the California-based Atlee and Crowfoot and bassist John Livingston Tunison IV had been in an outfit by the name of Manitoba Hugger (?).

Stevens and company attracted the attention of managers Robert Cavallo and Joseph Rufallo who'd turned acts like Little Feat and The Weather Report into big names. The pair signed Highway Robbery to their management roster and quickly approached Bill Halverson about producing the band's debut album. Signed by RCA Victor and teamed with Halverson in the production role, all hyperbole aside, these guys managed to write and record one of the great and overlooked hard rock albums of the 1970s.

At least to my ears 1972's "For Love or Money" is a impressive on a number of fronts. With Stevens credited with writing all eight songs, the LP wasn't particularly original, but the band had good taste when it came to appropriating sounds. In this case their recipe borrowed liberally from bands like early Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer, Free, Led Zep and even a little Grand Funk bombast. Those ingredients were then mixed into something that managed to combine hard rock punch with a commercial sheen that was derivative, but still quite attractive.

With the exception of a pair of radio ready power ballads which were supposedly tacked on the album when RCA executives threatened to shelve the set for lack of commercial potential, this album simply didn't let up. Propelled by Francisco's shrieking voice and Stevens' hyperactive guitar, tracks like 'Mystery Rider', 'Fifteen' and 'Lazy Woman' (the latter one of two songs with Tunison handling lead vocals), were simply killer slices of early-1970s metal that match up well with any of the band's better known competition.

Even more impressive, these songs were tuneful and occasionally even boasted lyrics that rose above the typical 'need-my-woman-now' standard you'd expect from long haired freaks. At some risk to my rock credibility (big laugh), I'll even readily admit that the two commercial numbers 'All I Need (To Have Is You)' and 'Bells' were both actually pretty good.

For love or money, Highway Robbery hereby dedicates itself to roar, to drive, to sensitive joy and, above all, the emission of the highest levels of energy rock. Let it be known that Michael Stevens – lead guitarist, vocalist, writer of all material contained herein, child of a gypsy commune – carries out this pledge in the true manner of his forebears.

Further be it known that he is in allegiance with Don Francisco – drummer, lead singer and a New York native whose main influences have been traditional New Orleans-based bands such as Robert Parker & the Royals and Deacon John & the Ivories; and with John Livingston Tunison IV – bassman, vocalist and painter, whose first sound memories are of Muddy Waters and B.B. King. FOR LOVE OR MONEY: signed, sealed and created by the aforementioned Highway Robbery, in this age, on this day, in the name of storming, beautiful rock and roll.
Bad-Cat


Tracks
1. Mystery Rider - 3:01
2. Fifteen - 2:56
3. All I Need (to Have Is You) - 4:16
4. Lazy Woman - 5:39
5. Bells - 3:24
6. Ain't Gonna Take No More - 3:56
7. I'll Do It All Again - 4:12
8. Promotion Man - 5:59
All songs by Michael Stevens.

Highway Robbery
*Michael "Mike" Stevens - Guitar, Back Vocals
*John Livingston Tunison IV - Bass, Back Vocals
*Don Francisco - Vocals, Drums

Related Acts
1968 - The Boston Tea Party
1970 - Atlee - Flying Ahead



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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Velvett Fogg - Velvett Fogg (1968 uk, amazing hard progressive and psychedelic rock, remaster edition with bonus track)



Velvett Fogg was formed in 1968 out of a respectable Brum band called Gravy Train. They were fronted by soul singer Ernie Handy and the guitarist at that time was Bob Hewitt. The other band members were drummer Graham Mullett, bass guitarist Mick Pollard, and Londoner Frank Wilson who played Hammond organ. The band were soon off to Germany where they spent most of the year playing at army bases and clubs. Their exciting stage act included a light show and a go-go dancer (who later married Ernie).

Upon returning to Birmingham, the band, now managed by an agency called Inter City Artists, was given a record deal by Jack Dorsey of Pye Records. At this time it seemed that the more unusual or controversial a band was, then the greater chance there would be for success in the record business. The record label was looking to sign unusual "underground" acts and Velvett Fogg were told to, in Jack Dorsey's words, "develop an image that would make people think you would piss on the pope"!

The initial line-up of Velvett Fogg featured guitarist Tony Iommi (later to make the big time with Black Sabbath). Tony stayed in the band for only one gig before leaving to be replaced temporarily by Ian Leighton - described as "a great blues guitarist" by his friend Frank Wilson. It was during this time that Pye Records arranged a photo-shoot of the group for the cover of their proposed first album (more about that later).
Material for the Velvett Fogg album would be supplied by local songwriter/guitarist Keith Law who became a friend of the band.

Keith was a veteran of the West Midlands music scene having played in "The Williamsons", "Love and Understanding" and Paint (Jardine). Keith takes up the story; "I was in the Rum Runner one night, when someone told me that Velvett Fogg were looking for new material, and they introduced me to them. I arranged to meet them at their rehearsal place, Langley Baths. I went along the next day, and went through the following songs with them: Yellow Cave Woman, Once Among The Trees, and Within' The Night and that was it! The next couple of days, they were in London recording".

Before recording could begin in late 1968, Ian Leighton departed Velvett Fogg and was replaced by guitarist/vocalist Paul Eastment (a cousin of the band's previous guitarist Tony Iommi). Paul Eastment was also to contribute original compositions for the album along with Frank Wilson, Graham Mullet and Mick Pollard.

Velvett Fogg recorded the tracks for their debut album under direction of Pye producer Jack Dorsey. Apparently, Dorsey aimed to get the band onto the then-popular "progressive" band wagon. "I was a classically trained pianist but we all had to play way below our capabilities" says Frank Wilson. The band were also allowed to record covers of a few songs they liked and these included psychedelic-sounding versions of New York Mining Disaster 1941 by The Bee Gees, and Tim Rose's version of "Come Away Melinda".

Velvett Fogg's self-titled album was released on the Pye label in January of 1969. Despite what some may have thought, the album stands up as a fine example of late 1960s British psychedelia. As well as the previously mentioned covers, original compositions such as Yellow Cave Woman and Once Among The Trees are both hypnotic if not compelling. By contrast, other tracks like Lady Caroline and Plastic Man had both homicidal and political overtones respectively.

By far the most controversial feature of the Velvett Fogg album was the record cover. It displayed the pre-Paul Eastment line-up of the band wearing garish make-up/body-paint and costume but also included two well-endowed young women wearing nothing but strategically applied body paint! This politically-incorrect package was accompanied by a typically obscure sleevenote by the influential U.K. disc jockey John Peel who commented "There is a lot of good music on this record. Remember Velvett Fogg - you will hear the name again."

Along with the Velvett Fogg album, Pye Records also released a single by the group. It was a cover of the Tornado's classic instrumental Telstar and was recorded by the band as requested by Jack Dorsey who hoped to cash in on the publicity surrounding the American moon landings taking place at that time. While receiving some radio play, the record did not sell enough copies to chart and a big advertising campaign planned by the record company to promote the album never materialised.

The band did a bit of touring after the single came out. Perhaps discouraged by poor sales of the Velvett Fogg album, Pye seemed to lose interest and withdrew their backing. In the autumn of 1969 the group disbanded with the members going their seperate ways. Frank Wilson says "I personally thought the first line-up in Germany was the best and most satisfying." He returned to London and joined Riot Squad and then "The Rumble Band" before following in Rick Wakeman's footsteps to join Warhorse in 1970.

Paul Eastment started a Brum band called "Holy Ghost" - later to become Ghost with whom he recorded a couple of albums. He later fronted another group called Resurrection as well as recording with local folk singer Shirley Kent. Keith Law stayed in the music business, is still writing songs, and is now a successful entertainer in the South-West of England.

During the years since Velvett Fogg's demise, demand amongst collectors for copies of their (now very rare) album has increased considerably. Original albums have changed hands for high prices with bootleg copies also known to be in circulation. Fortunately, in 2002 the Sanctuary Records Group Ltd. re-issued the album officially for the first time on CD (CMRCD619) and it is strongly recommended for those who are fans of the British psychedelic or early progressive sounds of the late 1960s. Keith Law and Frank Wilson are back together writing and recording for a proposed new Velvett Fogg album. Word has it that an Italian record company is already showing a lot of interest in the project.

Appearing in 1968, and disappearing just as quickly, Velvett Fogg's only LP is a truly great, lost classic of British psychedelic music. At it's best it features some imaginative guitar and organ workouts combined with quirky and unusual lyrics and the band's covers of 'New York Mining Disaster' and 'Come Away Melinda' add an eerie tone missing from the originals. Fogg's own originals include the childlike 'Wizard of Gobsolod', the haunting and somewhat dislocated 'Lady Caroline' and the jazzy workout of 'Owed to the Dip' but the tone of the album is set by the powerfully doom-laden opener, 'Yellow Cave Woman'. It's a great record and it's rounded off with the inclusion of the band's only single, a 68-style, special effect laden version of 'Telstar' - the sleevenotes, by John Peel, are a remarkable 1968 artifact in their own right.
Brum-Beat


Tracks
1. Yellow Cave Woman (K. Law) - 6:57
2. New York Mining Disaster 1941 (R. Gibb, B. Gibb, M. Gibb) - 2:55
3. Wizard Of Gobsolod (P. Eastment) - 2:56
4. Once Among The Trees (K. Law) - 5:38
5. Lady Caroline (P. Eastment) - 2:23
6. Come Away Melinda (Fran Minkoff, Fred Hellerman) - 5:52
7. Owded To The Dip (G. Mullett, M. Pollard, P. Eastment) - 6:09
8. Within The Night (K. Law) - 4:45
9. Plastic Man (Frank Wilson, Graham Mullett) - 4:45
10.Telstar '69 (Bonus Track) (K. Law) - 2:46

Velvett Fogg
*Keith Law - (Songwriter)
*Frank Wilson - Hammond Organ, Vocal
*Paul Eastment - Guitar, Vocal
*Graham Mullett - Drums
*Mick Pollard - Bass Guitar

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The Finchley Boys - Everlasting Tributes (1972 us, remarkable psych blues rock, EVA bonus tracks edition)



Chicago, the capital of the state and of the Urban Blues. It is with the greatest ease that in January 1968, Garrett Oostdyk (guitars), George Faber (vocals, harmonica), Tabe (eight string bass) and J. Michael Powers (percussions), four local youngsters share their bluesman apprentice's talent and form the Finchley Boys But in 1968, psychedelic fever has spread in all the recesses of the American territory sprinkling madness in the most proven structures, making them explode accompanied by a great many fuzz, distortion and various other rummage about The Finchley Boys were not spared the epidemic and will transfigure their basic blues to a furious lyrical epic et transfigureront leur blues basique en une furieuse epopee lyrique under the impulse of a remarkable guitarist-producer, Garrett Oostdyk. For this last task, he finds the help of Genevra Shirley, also featuring in the backing vocals.

Their album "Everlasting “Tributes” unique concrete trace of their existence, is released in 1972 on Golden Throat Records, a Californian label (?) and is already presented as a posthumous work. It gathers together recordings carried out in specific places, the Chess studios (in Chicago) and the Golden Voice studios (in California ?) at various periods : the first in September 1968 ("Hooked"), the second in February 1969 ("Outcast") and the last in May ("Who's Been Talkin'" "I'm Not Like Everybody Else") and June 1969 ("Swelling Waters", "Once I Was A Boy", "It All Ends". "Restrictions").

We also assume that (at least for the first ones), these tracks were actually demo tapes destined to get the attention of the major companies s managers, up to that moment not much inclined to hang around in the lost clubs of the Middlewest in order to discover talents yet unknown. Despite this unexpected and cahotic gestation, unlike most compilations "Everlasting Tributes" bears a unity in the tone, a great attraction force and a puzzling ensemble sound.

Garrett Oostdyk's guitar in particuliar does wonders here and astonishes us in solos staggering with virtuosity and feeling not only in classic blues songs like "Who's Been Talkin'", signed Chester «Howlin' Wolf» Burnett but also in great covers such as the Kinks' "I'm Not Like Everybody Else" (a fetish song for a great number a Amercian psychedelic bands)or in wonderful psychedelic original compositions such as "Swelling Waters", "Hooked", Vnce I Was A Boy" et le great "It All Ends". I hope that the release of this compact disc will also give you the opportunity to share my enthousiasm for a formation that remained anonymous for a long time and for an album that has become very hard to find.

EVA Records released "Practice Sessions" which offered four tracks of the existing album qui proposait quatre litres de I'album existent plus cinq autres (among which the famous "Finchley Boys Blues") taken from an unreleased tape probably dating from the same periods (from September 1968 to June 1969). Eva records can offer us  the entire Finchley Boys' recordings and even if the previously unrealeased tracks may not be of the most irreproachable quality of sound and of in inspiration topping pieces like "It All Ends", we will listen to them with interest and with the rares pleasure of discovery only bitterly regretting that Garrett Oostdyk did not carry out the carreer that his talent deserved.
by P. Thieyre
Auteur du «Rock Psychedelique American! 1966/1973»
Editions Librairie Parallels 1991/1993


Tracks
1.Outcast - 2:33
2.Echoes Remain - 2:58
3.Deep Throat Blues - 2:53
4.Restrictions - 3:32
5.Suffering Servants - 3:49
6.I’m Not Like Everybody Else - 4:39
7.Finchley Boys Blues - 6:11
8.Bad When The Teardrops Falls - 2:35
9.It All Ends - 3:54
10.Who’s Been Talkin - 4:28
11.Swelling Water - 4:51
12.Hooked - 4:10
13.Once I Was A Boy - 4:29
14. In The Morning (Bonus track) - 2:17
15. Rock On Baby (Bonus track) - 3:38
16. Colour Of My Head (Bonus track) - 3:08
All songs by The Finchley Boys

Finchley Boys
*George Faber - Vocal, Harp
*Garret Oostdyk - Guitar
*J.Michael Powers - Drums, Percussion
*Tabe - Bass

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Purple Overdose - Exit #4 (1988 greece, psychedelic rock revival)



The beauty of psychedelic music lies in its potential for genuine magic to occur. And if you focus your mantra in the direction of Athens, Greece you will find something very magical indeed. Purple Overdose is a band who unabashedly wear their passion for 1960's/70's era psychedelia on their shirtsleeves, creating some of the most beautiful and passionate progressive influenced psychedelia of the last several years.

Formed in 1987 by guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Costas Constantinou, Purple Overdose have released five studio albums and one live album of cosmic sounds that recall the glory of days gone by, while retaining a freshness and excitement that shrugs off any accusations of being "retro".

Purple Overdose's debut album - Exit #4 - was released in 1988 on Pegasus Records. At this time a quartet, the band consisted of Costas Constantinou on guitars and lead vocals, Christophoros Triantaphilopoulos on drums & percussion (George Nikas is the drummer on 5 tracks), "Sugar" George Papageorgiades on bass and backing vocals, and Michalis Vasiliou on organ, piano and backing vocals.

On this release we hear a rawer version of Purple Overdose though the seeds of exciting things to come are firmly planted. The songs reveal the bands passion for 60's era psychedelia combining elements of Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, and go-go flower power psych. The San Francisco sound really comes out on songs like "Are You There". "Yellow Mole" and "Roobie Go Round" feature classic 60's psych styled organ and keys.

Listening to "Yellow Mole" conjures up visions of go-go- girls grooving high above the dance floor. "Orange Journey" is the most Doors flavored song of the set and we're treated to the band taking off into jam territory (dig those Ray Manzarek keyboards!). "Holes" combines a Jefferson Airplane sound with Costas Constantinou's unmistakable vocals. "When You Talk About Me" is one of the heavier and intense songs on the album though the verses are classic 60's psychedelia. And "Blue Torture" is a cool trippy Blues tune. An impressive debut.
by Jerry Kranitz



Tracks
1. Exit #4 (Intro) - 1:37
2. Are You There? - 3:16
3. Yellow Mole - 4:48
4. Holes - 5:46
5. When You Talk About Me - 5:00
6. Rooby Go Round - 4:28
7. Elevation - 4:13
8. Blue Torture - 5:06
9. Orange Journey - 5:53
10.Exit #4 (Outro) - 1:35
All songs by Purple Overdose.

Purple Overdose
*Costas Constantinou - Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Christophoros Triantafilopoulos - Drums, Percussion
*George Papageorgiades - Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Michalis Vassiliou - Organ, Piano, Backing Vocals
*George Nikas - Drums (on tracks 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lee Clayton - Border Affair/The Capitol Years (1978-79/81 us, excellent classic rock, with country folk rock blend, 2007 acadia double disc edition, including three albums)



Introducing an artist such as Clayton is an excuse for the lazy sleeve note writer to trot out such hackneyed adjectives as 'enigmatic', or 'obscure', but not 'million-selling'. In a recording career that spans over thirty years, his album output doesn't even run into double figures, so one epithet that cannot be used in conjunction with Clayton's name is 'prolific'.

However, I'll take qualify over quantity any day, and if Clayton needs to take his time over albums as consistently strong as the three contained here - Border Affair, Naked Chid and The Dream Goes On, well, so be it. So, here's the point at which I shade in a bit of the Clayton background detail for yet.

According to the few music encyclopaedia entries on him, he was born in Alabama on October 29th, 1942, and was raised in Oak Ridge, Tennessee from the age of four. He told the UK fanzine Omaha Rainbow that "I've always known that music was important - when my dad knew he'd got uptight, and the world got too much for him, he would break out his bourbon and play Red Foley and Jimmie Rodgers records, and tell war stories and drink whisky.

I can remember trying to figure out what was going on; why everybody would sit there and get drunk and cry. I figured anything that could evoke that kind of emotion had to be pretty strong." Clayton's father was keen for him to learn a musical instrument, and gave him the choice of accordion or Guitar. He choose the latter of course, but it appears that his father purchased a steel guitar (maybe even a dobro) and also arranged for young Lee to have lessons. After a couple of years, Clayton expressed the opinion tha he preferred learning the instrument by ear, as opposed the formal lessons, his father promptly sold the guitar.

He didn't return to music until his teens. Music remaind one of numbered interests that he maintained during his student days at the University of Tennessee, wherein he eventually earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Managment, after which he got a job. He was doing ok, but in the mid '60's he was married had a Porsche sports car, and yet feld strangely unfulfilled. As well as music, he yearned to fly aeroplanes and despite being married, had the ol "roving eye" when it comes to the ladies.

According to Clayton "one day something went click and i turned around and went back home, quit the job and started trying to get in to the Air Force. He was to spend three years in USAF getting the pilot to March 2nd McDonnell BF101 Voodoo Fighter, which was most known amongst fly boys as "The Widowmaker", owing to a design fault that led to it behave unpredictably during certain manoeuvres.

In fact that experience inspired the song "Old Number NIne" from his album Border Affair. Having crossed off the desire to fly from his "to do" , on quitting the force, Clayton decamped to Nashville with the aim of pursuing a career of singer-songwritter. During his period with the services, Clayton has honed his skills as singer-songwritter, working on his Guitar playing and lyrical skills. There was clearly more than a grain of talent there, but in Nashville he was one of the zillion aspirant singer-songwriters trying to shine up the greasy pole.

" I was living in Luisville Kentucky, and spend three or four days of week in Nashville... people would say to me -what are you doing? - I'd say I'm a poet and songwriter. With in six months my money started to go and they took my credit cards away from me and I was on the street. Sols my Porsche and I had and old beat-up VW. I went from then until I got some money from the record company when i signed the deal in early '73. Before that was out on the street , sleeping in the floor time".

The record company referred to hear is MCA, who signed Clayton in 1973, following the succes he had enjoyed when Wylon Jennings had covered his song "Ladies Love the Outlaws". Clayton's excellent self-titled debut album is also available and is well worth checking out. However, Clayton spoked with somewhat mixed feelings of the year 1973 and released his debut long player. "The start of '73 I had no money, got some money made a record, spend a lot of money, end of '73, broke off the label, back on the streets again, all in one year.

I lived in motel room in California most of '74 - out in the Mojave Desert and lived there with this woman. Didn't do a whole lot, the truth is, just sat around and looked at things. Watched a whole lot of sun downs and sunrises, thought a lot, climbed the mountain, and one day figured it was time for me to go at it again". A considerable factor in the re-energising of Clayton's muse was his meeting and befriending Philip Donnelly, a fine Irish guitar player who was then a part of Donovan's touring band. In Donnelly, Clayton found an incisive and inspired guitarist, who helped supply a razor-sharp cutting edge to Clayton's recordings, lifting the music out of the Nashville standard, into something slightly more rock-orientated and contemporary.

This was Outlaw country, I guess. Clayton landed a new record deal with EMI / Capitol, and cut the three albums that you're hopefully enjoying. Border Affair was released in 1978, and enjoyed positive critical notices, and Willie Nelson loved the track If You Can Touch Her At All enough to cover the track himself. Cashbox magazine nominated Clayton for New Male Vocalist of the year. It's follow-up, Naked Child had a more difficult gestation - Clayton had crises of confidence over the production sound and the way recordings were progressing - however, he hauled it together, and its release in May 1979 again saw it well-received, critically.

Although Clayton had made little impression sales-wise in his native USA, the album did sell well in continental Europe, and Clayton, with an impressive band, toured the continent supporting label mates Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark and Chris Hillman. His European fan base has proved loyal; Clayton still enjoys a reputation on the Continent, years after the release of his final Capitol album, The Dream Goes On.

Lee Clayton has only intermittently returned to the recording and gigging fray in the twenty odd years since the early 80's; Bono of U2 has claimed Clayton as an influence, bizarrely enough, but Clayton's story is ultimately one of potential largely unfulfilled. Mind you, if one book-ends his debut with the three albums contained here, you have a quartet of some fine Outlaw Country music that no self-respecting fan should be without
by Alan Robinson, November 2007


Tracks
CD 1
1978 - Border Affair
1. Silver Stallion - 4:48
2. If You Can Touch Her At All - 4:35
3. Back Home In Tennessee - 4:33
4. Border Affair - 3:47
5. Old Number Nine - 3:07
6. Like A Diamond - 4:36
7. My Women My Love - 5:02
8. Tequila Is Addictive - 4:32
9. My True Love - 4:36
10. Rainbow In The Sky (L. Calyton, P. Donnelly) - 3:33

1979 - Naked Child
11. Saturday Night Special - 3:11
12. I Ride Alone - 5:14
13. 10,000 Light Years / Sexual Moon - 6:23
14. Wind And Rain - 2:40

CD 2
1. I Love You - 5:06
2. Jaded Virgin - 4:14
3. A Little Cocaine - 5:26
4. If I Can Do It (So Can You) - 4:44

1981 - The Dream Goes On
5. What's A Mother Gonna Do - 2:54
6. Industry - 7:27
7. Wont You Give Me One More Chance - 3:22
8. Draggin' Them Chains - 3:31
9. Where Is The Justice - 4:48
10. Whatcha Gonna Do - 4:06
11. Oh How Lucky I Am - 3:41
12. The Dream Goes On - 4:47
All songs by Lee Clayton except where indicated.


Musicians
1978 - Border Affair
*Colin Cameron - Bass
*Lee Clayton - Guitar, Harp, Lead Vocals
*Jimmy Day - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Phillip - Lead Guitar, Vocal Harmony
*Danny Lane - Drums
*Andy McMahon - Keyboards
*Wayne Jackson - Trumpet
*Andrew Love - Sax

1979 - Naked Child and 1981 - The Dream Goes On
*Clay Caire - Drums
*Lee Clayton - Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Phillip Donnelly - Guitar
*Tim Krekel - Lead Guitar
*Steve Marshall - Bass
*Tony Newman - Drums tracks 8,12
*Bobby Ogdin - Keyboards
*Rachel Peer - Bass track 12
*Glenn Rieuf - Pedal Steel
*Vickie Hampton, Donna McElroy, Deborah Allen - Backing Vocals
*Sweet Honey Bees (Children's Voices) - Backing Vocals
*Thomas Cain & The Corinthian Church Choir (Big Children's Voices) - Backing Vocals

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Birmingham Sunday - A Message From Birmingham Sunday (1968 us, sweet psychedelic folk rock, sunshine pop)



Birmingham Sunday was formed in September 1966, and they were named after the Sunday concerts that took place in Birmingham, England. The original lineup of Birmingham Sunday featured bassist John Kvam, drummer Monty Johns, guitarist (and Monty's brother) Ward Johns, organ/sax player Phil Gustafson and guitarist Joe LaChew.

Monty and Ward Johns had been in The Contrasts, who covered popular Beatles and Beach Boys tunes. John Kvam was a guitarist in the folk rock group The Scroachers, and learned bass after joining Birmingham Sunday. Phil Gustafson was the keyboardist and sax player for the rock band The Kensingtons. Gustafson was trained as a pianist and sang in the church choir, and he played sax in his high school band. Even though Phil's voice could easily handle the demands of opera, he preferred to sing background harmony with Birmingham Sunday. Joe LaChew was the guitarist and vocalist for the group The Freedom Five, who covered the blues-based output of British bands like The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Animals. At the age of 15, LaChew earned his stripes as a songwriter when he wrote a campaign song for the Nevada governor at the time, Grant Sawyer. The Freedom Five recorded a single of Joe's song and sold it at various campaign sites throughout the state.

Birmingham Sunday started to play teen dances throughout northern Nevada. Their biggest crowds were at the Civic Auditorium in Carson City and at Genoa Town Hall. The group put on dances and rented halls in Carson City, Genoa, Minden and Reno to cover their increasing fan base.

In 1967, Birmingham Sunday was poised for their breakthrough. Joe LaChew and Monty Johns were attending the University of Nevada in Reno, and their band had a much greater following – especially since the university dorms and fraternities now had their own party band!

That summer season, Birmingham Sunday landed a house band gig at American Legion Hall in South Lake Tahoe, California. This involved playing five days a week at the hall, plus performing as the opening act for each weekend's entertainment. The venue was filled every summer night with Californians from the Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area. Weekend shows were extravaganzas, as well-known San Franciscan acts like The Grateful Dead and Sly And The Family Stone were frequently brought in with local favorites The Family Tree and Jim Burgett.

The American Legion Hall's weekend festival on July 28-29, 1967 was headlined by The Grateful Dead and Jim Burgett, with Birmingham Sunday, The Justice Five and Velvet Chain on the bill. This festival is where Birmingham Sunday first heard Debbie Parke sing. Debbie was performing a guest spot with The Justice Five at the shows.

A few months later, Debbie Parks joined Birmingham Sunday, adding her strong voice to the mix. She was only 15 and a sophomore in high school. Even though Debbie's voice was overpowering, she did not try to dominate the band. Instead, her voice blended well with the rest of the singers in the band. Birmingham Sunday was now playing more originals as part of their sets. They began attracting interest from numerous managers and record company scouts.

Phil Gustafson left for the summer to attend National Guard camp, and he was replaced by his younger brother Dave. Dave Gustafson was a child prodigy that could play any style from Beethoven and Bach to Jimmy Smith. In addition, Dave could read and copy nearly everything he heard. His great playing impressed crowds with a note-for-note rendition of The Doors' "Light My Fire."

Birmingham Sunday's success carried them into 1968. Everyone's favorite hipster, Pat Boone (!), co-sponsored a "Teen Scene" local battle of the bands with promoter Bruce Blaylock. This two-day event was held at Reno’s Centennial Coliseum, where groups like The Kinks, Buffalo Springfield, The Zombies, The Beach Boys and many others had played. The judges were the members of The Sunshine Company, who had recently enjoyed some success. The Sunshine Company had a similar approach and appreciated Birmingham Sunday's vocal tapestry.

Birmingham Sunday was chosen with the top bands to travel to Las Vegas for the finals. The Las Vegas judges were Strawberry Alarm Clock and their manager/producer Bill Holmes. The Las Vegas band London Fogg won the battle, but Bill Holmes greatly preferred Birmingham Sunday's original songs and he was very impressed by their vocals.

Birmingham Sunday was invited by promoter Bruce Blaylock to do some recordings in Hollywood. Blaylock was shopping the band to Nitty Gritty Dirt Band manager Bill McEuen as well as a representative of that group's label, Liberty Records. Birmingham Sunday did an audition and received a record deal from Liberty. The record label had a song that they wanted Birmingham Sunday to record – the "Love Theme From Romeo & Juliet," also known as "A Time For Us." It was later recorded by Henry Mancini, Andy Williams and Johnny Mathis.

After hearing the demos, Bill Holmes took on Birmingham Sunday as their producer and manager. Holmes turned down the Liberty deal, which proved to be a big mistake when Henry Mancini's recording became a big pop hit. Instead, Birmingham Sunday was signed to Bill Holmes' All-American label.

Meanwhile, the band had changed. Monty Wards left after the "Teen Scene" contest for a rigorous, pre-med schedule at the University of Nevada. Birmingham Sunday auditioned singing drummers, but no one materialized. With concert bookings to be fulfilled and not much time to prepare, Joe LaChew took over as the drummer. Monty had been teaching Joe all the drum parts for their original songs, so LaChew had no problem in this transition period. Since Joe gave up his guitar to play drums, the group had to find another guitarist who could sing well. They found Jean Heim, who played rhythm guitar and a little lead guitar. Heim could also sing lead with his pure, light tenor tone.

The group perfected ten original songs and recorded them in December 1968 with Bill Holmes producing at Original Sound Recording Studios. The studio was located on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, and it was owned by multiple award winning DJ and promoter Art Laboe. The legendary Paul Buff, who previously ran Pal Recording Studio before selling it to his recording partner Frank Zappa, was Original Sound's engineer. The album "A Message From Birmingham Sunday" was recorded in five days using Buff's own ten-track studio equipment. Paul Buff also played a Chamberlin keyboard, the American precursor to the mellotron, on the entire album. Buff's string arrangements on the Chamberlin were essential parts of each song.

All-American selected "Prevalent Visionaries" and "Egocentric Solitude" as the respective A- and B-sides of a single released in early September 1969. The album was released the same month. Before the album was released, Bill Holmes sent a tape of the single to radio stations in Nevada.

"Egocentric Solitude" was first tracked for the week ending August 16, 1969 by Reno, Nevada radio station KIST. It reached the Top 10 in Reno that September 10, and it was #5 on KCBN. Although the single did not receive wide distribution, it did well in Sacramento, Chicago, Seattle, and especially Santa Barbara, where it made #1! The lack of distribution made the album extremely rare, even at the time. About 10 to 20 copies of the original LP are known to exist today.

Many of Bill Holmes' All-American acts played concerts on July 18-19, 1969 at Kings Beach on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. On the first day, Birmingham Sunday was the opening act. However, the popularity of the band enabled Birmingham Sunday to close the second night's show. Holmes had lost control of Strawberry Alarm Clock, so he had the replacement group Strawberry SAC play instead. Gary Solomon, the lyric writer of "Egocentric Solitude," was in that band. Birmingham Sunday ruled the weekend event!

Birmingham Sunday played concerts throughout 1969, but they split up in 1970 due to a number of forces pulling band members in different directions. Joe LaChew and Monty Johns stayed in college to continue their education. Both Joe and Monty formed the college rock band Brother Rock with Ward Johns. This nine-piece horn band opened for concerts at the college, including shows by Cold Blood, Tower Of Power, The Sons Of Champlin, and most notably, Derek And The Dominoes.

Brother Rock did a recording for the Mercury label in San Francisco, but the tracks have been lost. While influenced by Chicago and The Sons Of Champlin, Brother Rock played original songs by Monty Johns and Joe LaChew.

Debbie Parke, Jean Heim, John Kvam and the Gustafson brothers joined well-known Nevada casino lounge singer Frankie Fanelli. They recorded an album with Fanelli before splitting with him in August 1970. The band members went into different directions:

Joe LaChew continued playing guitar with The Drifters, The Coasters, Billy Preston, The Righteous Brothers, Rose and Joe Maphis, Merle Travis, Dorsey Burnett, Jimmy Dickens, Zella Lehr (an RCA artist), Kathy O'Shea (for MCA) and comedian Rich Little. Joe is now a music teacher in Nevada and still plays shows in the Reno and Lake Tahoe areas. He still enjoys writing music and has done commercials, film music and solo albums. Joe still writes songs for the more recent Birmingham Sunday reunions. Two of those tracks, "Raw Rhythm" and "C'Est La Vie Blues," are included here for the first time. The famous Birmingham Sunday parties continue to this day!

Debbie Parke became an elementary school teacher and counselor in Lewiston, Idaho. She is now retired. Phil Gustafson retired from the Nevada National Guard. John Kvam was a bartender and journeyman cabinet maker before his retirement. Jean Heim became a country musician and has also retired. Monty Johns is a doctor in West Virginia. Ward Johns was the Vice President of Missile Records. He passed away from compilations due to a stroke in December 2009. Dave Gustafson became a successful musician and very wealthy real estate agent. He passed in January 2010.
by Joe LaChew (Birmingham Sunday)


Tracks
1. Egocentrick Solitude - 3:17
2. Wondering What to Feel - 2:36
3. Prevalent Visionaries - 2:51
4. You're Out of Line - 2:55
5. Medieval Journey - 2:36
6. Mr. Waters (The Judge) - 2:52
7. Fate and the Magician - 1:58
8. Peter Pan Revisted - 2:15
9. Time to Land - 3:03
10. Don't Turn Around - 2:41

Birmingham Sunday
*Ward Johns - Guitar
*Debbie Parks - Vocals
*John Kvam - Bass
*Jean Heim - Rhythm Guitar
*Joe LaChew - Drums, Guitar
*Phil Gustafson - Keyboards, Saxes
*Monty Johns - Drums

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