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

Plain and Fancy

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


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

AUM - Bluesvibes (1969 us, power west coast heavy blues psych rock)



One of the great lesser-known San Francisco bands, AUM was a classic rock power trio, inspired by the likes of the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream, and led by the talented multi-instrumentalist and singer Wayne Ceballos. The band was first brought to the attention of Bill Graham by San Francisco's premier photographer, Jim Marshall.

Initially signed by the London-affiliated Sire label, as one would expect from the title, the group's 1969's "Bluesvibes" found them working in a distinctively blues-vein. Reflecting the band's live act, the Richard Gotthrer produced debut featured a series of seven extended jams, (the shortest song clocking in at 4 minutes). 

With Ceballos writing the majority of the material, in spite of period excesses (e.g. aimless soloing), originals such as "Mississippi Mud" and "Chilli Woman" weren't half bad. Moreover, Ceballos proved a decent singer, injecting considerable energy into his performances. Among the few missteps, the band's ponderous cover of John Loudermilk's "Tobacco Road" would've been suitable for Vanilla Fudge. Commercially the set proved a non-entity; quickly vanishing into cutout bins.


Tracks
1. Tobacco Road (John Loundermilk) - 6:54
2. Mississippi Mud - 4:03
3. My Bridge Blues - 5:41
4. Chilli Woman - 4:34
5. Little Help from You - 6:54
6. Movin' Man - 7:48
7. You Can't Hide - 7:24
All songs by Wayne the Harp Ceballos unless as else stated

AUM
*Wayne Ceballos - Guitar, Organ, Lead Vocals, Harmonica
*Ken Newell - Bass, Vocals
*Larry Martin - Drums, Vocals

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Various Artists - Feeling High The Psychedelic Sound Of Memphis (1967-69 us, incredible garage psych, 2012 Big Beat release)


This post is dedicated to Cor by Jim the Greek 


Memphis is well known as the birthplace of the blues, the fount of southern soul and the locale that begat rock’n’roll. My colleagues and I have been digging deep in various Memphian vaults over the past decade, but the focus up until now has largely been soul and R&B. Lest we forget, the city boasted a healthy rock scene well into the 1960s and 1970s, but few retrospectives have documented Memphis music in the psychedelic era when, as a major recording centre, it was the nexus not just for local freaks, but those from neighbouring Arkansas, Mississippi and beyond. Big Beat’s “Feeling High – The Psychedelic Sound Of Memphis” shines a welcome light on this long-neglected area, focusing on the years 1967-1969 and principally on the work of two renowned Memphis mavericks.

With a decades-long career as an iconoclastic musical polymath, Jim Dickinson needs little introduction. However, his rarely-discussed apprenticeship as a producer-engineer at Ardent Studios in the late 1960s made Dickinson responsible for many of the wildest and wackiest sessions ever held in Memphis. Some excerpts slipped out at the time on obscure singles on Stax and elsewhere, such as the absurd version of ‘For Your Love’ by Honey Jug. “Whenever anybody came into Ardent, it was obvious who was going to do the crazy stuff, ”Dickinson recounted to me several years ago. The bands he produced there include the pyjama-wearing Kinks-ish Wallabys of Jackson, Mississippi and psychedelic hillbillies Knowbody Else, later to become famous as Black Oak Arkansas.

In contrast, James Parks was a young wet-behind-the-ears punk who took over the control room at uncle Stan Kesler’s Sounds Of Memphis studio in 1968, bringing in his freak friends from counterculture hotspots such as the Bitter Lemon. Parks’ production work included Changin’ Tymes, Mother Roses and Triple X, featuring future country star Gus Hardin, as well as crazoid studio-only experiments such as ‘Rubber Rapper’ and ‘Shoo Shoo Shoo Fly’. There is a palpable air of chaos about much of what Parks produced, which explains why he was unable to place a lot of it at the time – but in hindsight it’s a remarkable cache of work.

Dickinson and Parks represent the outer edge of the Memphis music scene in those years. While the vast majority of tracks on “Feeling High” have not been issued before, their inspired lunacy and a shared willingness to push the envelope make the recorded evidence very special indeed. Local notables such as the Poor Little Rich Kids, 1st Century and Goatdancers share the tracklisting, the sound quality is excellent, and the detailed liner notes spill the beans on this fascinating tributary of the city’s musical legacy. 
by Alec Palao


Artists - Tracks
1. Sealing Smoke - Rubber Rapper - 4:30
2. The Honey Jug - For Your Love - 2:49
3. The Changin' Tymes - Blue Music Box - 2:09
4. The Knowbody Else - Secret Storm - 3:06
5. Triple X - Spare Me - 3:37
6. The Wallabies - Holy Days - 2:28
7. Greg McCarley - Shoo Shoo Shoo Fly - 4:11
8. The Changin' Tymes - Hark the Child - 5:32
9. Poor Little Rich Kids - Come on Along and Dream - 3:02
10.The Goatdancers - Eat Me Alive - 2:33
11.Greg McCarley - Crazy Man's Woman - 3:49
12.Judy Bramlett - Deja Vu - 2:48
13.The Knowbody Else - Free Singer's Island - 2:18
14.The Wallabies - Feeling High - 3:16
15.Triple X - Rockin' in the Same Old Boat - 4:25
16.Poor Little Rich Kids - I Need Love - 2:37
17.Mother Roses - Ticket to Ride - 4:46
18.David Mitchell - Ogden - 2:55
19.Greg McCarley - If You're Thinking - 2:09
20.The Wallabies - Old Man of Time - 2:27
21.The Goatdancers - We're in Town - 2:54
22.1st Century - Dancing Girl - 2:11
23.The Knowbody Else - Flying Horse of Louisiana (Live) - 6:05
24.The Goatdancers Advert - 1:03

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Headstone Circus - Headstone Circus (1968-70 us, substantial smokey acid west coast influenced bluesy folk psych, Shadoks release)



"Around 1966, Nick Bonis, Mike Johnstone, Randy Pope, and I formed a psychedelic band. On Halloween night we went to an old cemetery, dropped acid, and spent a very strange night among the tombstones. The tombstones appeared to be melting and taking on animal shapes. Some of us saw spirits, and I'm not sure what I saw, but it was disturbing. Afterwards, we referred to that night as the 'Headstone Circus.' It seemed appropriate to call ourselves Headstone Circus as a band so we did." 
by Glenn Faria

The band plays a (rather) West Coast style while recorded on the east coast, with a certain Crosby, Stills, Nash ‘n’ Young / Buffalo Springfield or Neil Young -Crazy Horse period- influence, but additionally with a more bluesy side-effect, and with some portions on certain tracks, where a smoky dark bluesy feeling is improvised calmly upon. This is of course the acid bluesy side associated with something of the east coast that gives this slightly smokey feeling. The lead vocals have a warm attractive effect and fit well with the West Coast feeling. 

Several of the more song orientated tracks are more acoustic. The last four, and also more simple,  I guess are more like rough demo versions. I am sure that if they would have had a chance with a big studio production and treatment on some tracks, these could have been better, (-a few tracks also suffered from a few worn-tape errors)-, while most of it for me is already great as it is, and makes it, almost essential to check it out, especially when you like the CSNY. 

A track like “Summer’s Gone” could have easily been a Neil Young track, and still is one of my favorite songs. After a while, singer/composer Glenn Faria left the group only because he was offered a solo contract. This solo album was reissued by World In Sound some years ago. Here, the Neil Young influence still is noticeable, but for me this solo album isn’t so rewarding as the previous Headstone Circus, but it also features a nice redo of the already mentioned “Summer’s Gone” song.


Tracks
1. I'm Goin' Down - 4:38
2. You Don't Know - 6:52
3. Summers Gone - 4:44
4. I'm Crazy - 5:57
5. Healer - 4:09
6. Arms Of God - 3:31
7. Born In Georgia - 3:56
8. Reason To Live - 3:16
9. Reach Out - 2:45
10.I Hear The Thunder - 3:43
11.I Love The Wind - 4:11
12.Bear Down - 5:18
All compositions by Glenn Faria

Headstone Circus
*Glenn Faria - Lead Vocals, Guitar
*Mike Johnstone - Guitar
*Randy Ray Pope - Drums, Vocals
*Nick Bonis - Bass

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dave Mason - Headkeeper (1972 uk, amazing classic rock with psych blues and folk tinges, japan SHM-CD 2010 remaster)



Tommy Li Puma, Dave Mason's coproducer at Blue Thumb, has notified by mail various radio stations and record distributors across the country to go ahead and promote Headkeeper, in spite of the fact that Mason has brought a lawsuit against the label. For those of you who do not boycott the album, Headkeeper has plenty of moments to justify your purchase, and yet leaves you feeling that it is an incomplete, unfinished album.

Each of all the five songs on side two is a live recording of material Mason had recorded elsewhere. "Pearly Queen," a song that here is attributed to Mason and on the Traffic album is credited to Winwood and Capaldi, got itself a better treatment the first time around, simply because Winwood's vocal was funkier, grittier, more edged with irony. 

The song itself has enough propulsion in it that it doesn't need the extra added bit of soul that Winwood gives it, but then why not? Mason's interpretation here of "Feelin' Alright" is different from the one he delivered on Traffic. Then he sang with a whimpering, quaveringly insecure voice which, when joining the chorus, instantly picked up sarcastic strength. The change was always sudden and dramatic as Clark Kent leaping out of a broom closet dressed as Superman. 

In the present version, latin jazz rhythms open the song and right from the beginning all the way through, Mason sings with extroversion and authority. Now he even takes a supposedly humbled line like "Well, boy, you sure took me for one big ride," and turns it inside out to read like a gorgeous put-down. Whatever Chris Wood offered in the way of bluesy saxophone on the first version, Mark Jordan matches well with his jazz electric piano on this. 

Maybe if Headkeeper had had two sides of new material rather than just one, Mason as an artist to our view would have been standing less like "a mist upon the shore." He never has been an easy one to figure out, in his public life or in his music. With Headkeeper he by no means has painted his masterpiece, but instead has left us with some fine sketches and life studies.
by David Lubin, Rolling Stone, 4-13-72.


Tracks
1. To Be Free  - 3:19
2. In My Mind  - 3:19
3. Here We Go Again  (Solomon Burke, Cass Elliot, Bryan Garo, Jerry Gray)- 1:56
4. A Heartache, A Shadow, A Lifetime - 3:35
5. Headkeeper - 4:39
6. Pearly Queen (Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood) - 3:32
7. Just A Song - 3:01
8. World In Changes - 4:47
9. Can't Stop Worrying, Can't Stop Loving - 3:04
10.Feelin' Alright - 5:40
All titles by Dave Mason, except where noted.

Musicians
*Dave Mason - Electric, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Mark Jordan - Piano, Keyboards
*Lonnie Turner - Bass
*"Dr." Rick Jaeger - Drums
*Felix Falcon aka "Flaco" - Conga, Percussion
Special thanks to:
*Rita Coolidge - Vocals
*Spencer Davis - Vocals
*Graham Nash - Vocals
*Kathi McDonald - Vocals

1970  Dave Mason - Alone Together (1st album, Japan edition) 

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Elliott Randall - Randall's Island (1970 us, fantastic rock vibes blended with experimental jazzy blues funky beats, from the Steely Dan fame, 2011 J 'n' S edition)



Elliott Randall’s illustrious career has encompassed a wide and varied cross-section of World Musical forms. These include: record production, composition, electronic research and development, lectures and teaching, and of course, a legendary contribution to popular guitar performance and recording.His guitar solos on Steely Dan’s “Reelin’ In The Years” and “Fame” (the motion picture) have entered Rock history annals.

What a strange and interesting crew this was in this debut Randall's Island album! Paul Fleisher and I played together beginning in the early-mid 60′s in NYC niteclubs including Trude Heller’s, The Peppermint Lounge, and The Metropole. He and I co-authored the entire record. I’d known Allen Herman & Bob Piazza for quite a while too – before they joined The Island, they were members of Genya Ravan’s R&B supergroup Ten Wheel Drive. Phillip Namanworth had been playing with Dave Van Ronk & The Hudson Dusters, and brought with him a boogie-thing that was just too contagious! Terry Adams of NRBQ guested on Hammond B-3. 

George Andrews handled the string arrangements; he used to lead a big-band in NYC, which was well… quite an education. Through the ranks of this band came Steve Gadd, The Brecker Brothers, David Sanborn, Lou Soloff, Chuck Rainey, and most of the Island crew. (Like I said – an education.) Andy Muson also guested on 2 tracks; killer jazzer, also played with Albert King for a spell before moving on to a hugely successful studio career in LA. Finally, the legendary Eddie Kramer, engineer/producer extraordinaire – for most of the Jimi Hendrix records, as well as Led Zeppelin, Traffic, and a host of others. 


Tracks
1. Sour Flower (E. Randall) - 6:29
2. Life in Botanical Gardens (Oh Yes) (E. Randall, P. Fleisher) - 4:06
3. Take Out the Dog and Bark the Cat (E. Randall, P. Fleisher) - 3:47
4. Mumblin' to Myself (E. Randall, P. Fleisher) - 3:29
5. Brother People (E. Randall, B. Piazza, A. Herman) - 3:00
6. Jolly Green Giant and the Statue of Liberty (E. Randall, P. Fleisher) - 2:50
7. Bustin' My Brains (E. Randall, P. Fleisher) - 4:14
8. All I Am (E. Randall, P. Fleisher) - 7:35

Musicians
*Elliott Randall - Guitars , Vocals
*Paul Fleisher - Sax, Flute
*Phillip Namanworth - Piano
*Terry Adams - Organ, Moog, Piano
*Allen Herman - Drums
*Bob Piazza - Bass, Vocals
*Andy Muson - Bass
*George Andrews - Piano
*Pot - Piano, Organ
*Richard Boch - Cello

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Colours / Christian – Voluptuous Doom / Good vs. Evil (1968-70 us, slpendid psychedelia, 2009 Frantic release)



Thank's to Frantic Records for unearthing more forgotten gems of California's rich musical heritage. Having languished in the vaults for close to 40 years, the Colours and Christian tapes finally make their way to CD for the very first time after the fickle hand of fate conspired to deny them the success they so obviously deserved. 

If everything had gone according to plan then I'm positive that Colours would be as well known and regarded today as any of the big name Californian groups and that they would have achieved legendary status amongst devotees j& sixties rock. 

Their blend of West Coast psychedelia and fey British pop stylings set them apart from many of their peers, the intricate arrangements and lush production coupled with delicate orchestra and beautiful harmonies contrast dramatically with  the loose improvisational jamming that was typical of many of their Bay Area counterparts. 

Amid all vibrancy of the Northern California music scene, The   Colours stand out as something special. It's fascinating to hear the transition from Colours' baroque grandeur to the stripped down Rock of Christian. Electric and Acoustic Guitars have replaced the orchestration and ornate  keyboards, indicating the influence of groups such as Moby Grape and Buffalo Springfield, while the British pop leanings are perhaps even more overt evidenced by covers of Hollies and Beatles material. 

Listening to these recordings is akin to hearing! a microcosm of the progression of late sixties rock music. That they have remained hidden away for so long is a crime, to be able to hear them now is a wonder. It's time to welcome Christian in to your life. Prepare to experience Colours you! Never dreamed existed.
by Gray Newell


Tracks
Disc 1 - Colours
1. Picture Windows - 4:35
2. Dreams - 3:49
3. Voluptuous Doom - 2:44 
4. Thoughts Of Love - 5:08
5. Who’s Been Sleeping - 2:41
6. Memories - 3:34
7. Ferdinand Smash-Me-Toe - 3:29
8. Candy Coloured Lover - 8:06
9. Communicate - 3:45
10.Are You Free - 5:16
11.Candy Coloured Lover (instrumental) - 13:41
12.Wood For Sale (live) - 3:46
13.Candy Coloured Lover (live) - 10:50
14.Wood For Sale (instrumental) - 4:03
15.Alan Lau Introduction - 3:22


Disc 2 - Christian
1 Mary The Wither - 3:11
2 Charlie And Fred (Alan Clarke, G. Nash) - 3:29
3 Don’t Worry - 4:15
4 Are You Free - 5:35
5 American ’69 - 3:21
6 Good Vs. Evil - 5:25
7 Hope That You Survive - 2:28
8 Stand Naked - 3:56
9 Another Day (Marc Kellett) - 1:55
10 With A Little Help From My Friends (J. Lennon, P. McCartney) - 7:28
All songs by Bob Brien and Mark Cipolla, except where noted.

Musicians
*Chuck Edwards - Vocals, Guitars
*Bob Brien - Guitar, Vocals
*John Healy - Drums
*Mark Cipolla - Bass, Keyboards, Vocals
*Ed Seymour - Keyboards

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Blues Train - The Blues Train (1970 canada, great psych blues rock, Gear Fab issue)



The Blues Train, like the Crazy People, are unknown artists that released some great sounds in the late 60's and early 70's. While little is known about them, we do know they were Canadian and recorded "The Blues Train" on the Burnaby, British Columbia-based Condor label in 1970. 

Condor has gone down in history as a Canadian exploit label and they were indeed riding the crest of the different crazes that were going on during these times. Condor released quite a diversified line of music during the late 60's: everything ranging from the weirdness of The Crazy People to Latin Holiday to the very highly-rated Blues Train, The Surf Riders, and The Jimmy Cole Unlimited. As with The Crazy People, there are several rumors circulating as to actually who The Blues Train were. 

The most plausible theory shared by both Clark Faville and myself is that one of its members was Johnny Kitchen, who has songwriting credits on both this LP and on other Condor release "The World With The Trio Of Tyme (#2459) and "The Crazy People (#2457). It is a known fact that he was in Canada at this time and obviously associated with the label. Kitchen ended up in Los Angeles in 1969, making records beginning with " The Victims Of Chance" on the Crestview label. 

As arcane as this might seem to the casual reader, his name is synonymous with at least a dozen weird underground records released on various private labels in the U.S.A. and still nothing is known about them. To date, Johnny Kitchen has over 200 songs copyrighted through BMI We also know there is a connection with Johnny Kitchen to Wild Man Fischer. His 1969 LP "Life Brand New", has the chorus "My life is all brand new", which is the same voice and words appearing on "Parade At The Funny Farm" and "Let's Split" of The Crazy People LP. 

However, other Blues Train song writing credits that never appeared on the original Condor release do not match any others from Crazy People. The inclusion of only one by Kitchen himself implies his involvement on Blues Train, unlike that of The Crazy People, may have been minimal. 

Although all performers are uncredited, there has also been some speculation that a prominent Vancouver "personality" (and local TV. weatherman) was involved in putting together the "Rock" oriented exploit efforts on this label, and it is e likely that some of the musicians involved also appear o Blues Train, Jimmy Cole Unlimited, and other Condor e Jack Millman, who has songwriting and production credits on Crazy People, also is shown as involved with Condor release #2460 "And I Love Her": Jack Millman and The Tempo Orchestra. In addition, Jack Millman, along with Jean Daniel Productions, produced The Blues Train. 
by Roger Maglio


Tracks
1. Ride The Train (Eric Llord) - 3:57
2. Missin'You (Joe Sanchez) - 4:35
3. Pain In My Head (Johnny Kitchen) - 3:25
4. Some Body To Love (Joe Sanchez) - 2:18
5. Hootchie Kootchie Man (Hoyt Axton) - 3:05
6. Busted In Chicago (Billy Wolfe) - 3:28
7. A & R Man (Joe Sanchez) - 2:41
8. Coast To Coast (Joe Sanchez) - 2:08
9. Whole Lot O1 Blues (Paul Wayne, Delmar Williams) - 2:29
10.Got My Eyes On You (Ralph Morris) - 2:06
11.Mojo (McKinley Morganfield) - 2:25

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Nigel Mazlyn Jones - Sentinel / The Fools Of The Finest Degree (1976-78 uk, beautiful folk rock with some acid drops, 2008 Kissing Spell remaster)



Nigel Mazlyn Jones has released 10 albums since 1976. The first two albums ‘Ship to Shore’ and ‘Sentinel’ are sought by collectors and have now been re-released by Kissing Spell with extra tracks and sleeve notes. TV and radio collaborations and a growing audience in the dance/chill out festival scene have widened his traditional long standing folk / roots / progressive following yet critics often state he deserves wider acclaim and recognition. 

Nigel creates a unique sound combining 6 and 12 string acoustic guitar sounds with electric textures and also plays Indian santor and clay pot. Much of his writing is influenced by the land, sea and sky of the south west of Britain where he lives yet some of his song writing also cuts to the core of human life. At live gigs he often combines the music with powerful and evocative visuals.

He was born in 1950 in the industrial Midlands and started playing guitar and writing songs and poetry at an early age. In his youth he worked part time with animals eventually moving to the Channel Islands in the seventies to work with the great apes for the conservationist and writer Gerald Durrell. Studying animal behaviour and that of the onlookers he realised that true conservation required a shift in human attitudes and following his love for the natural landscape, he eventually settled near the north coast of Cornwall where he still lives.


Tracks
1. All In The Name Of Love - 5:54
2. Sentinel -5:47
3. Flying - 3:52
4. Roll Away - 5:37
5. Water Road - 3:32
6. All In All - 4:31
7. Fools - 8:23
8. The Wheel - 6:07
9. Takes Two To Make It - 3:00
10.The Hills Of Celt - 5:23
11.Baby This Time - 3:16
12.All My Friends - 4:56
13.Which Way To The Sea? - 3:43
14.It Was All In The Name Of Love (Instrumental) - 2:45
All tracks composed by Nigel Mazlyn Jones

Musicians
*Nigel Mazlyn Jones - Guitars, Vocals
*Mick Candler - Drums, Percussion
*Steve Hutt - Bass
*Pete Bimbo Acock - Sax
*Dik Cadbury - Guitar, Vocals
*Johnny Coppin - Piano
*Rob Lloyd - Guitar
*Phil Beer - Violin, Vocals
*Chris Kerridge - Bass, Guitar
*Dave Titley - Guitar, Vocals
*Paul Anastasi - Synthesiser

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Imagine - Images, Clear Skies And Rainbows (1975 us, elegant progressive rock, korean bonus tracks edition)


"Images, Clear Skies and Rainbows" was an impressive venture into prog-rock teetering on the edge of progressive by a group called Imagine.

An exceptionally solid effort from start to finish. The first side shows the group in more of a progressive vein with several good but abbreviated guitar runs, giving you a taste of what direction the group could actually go in when they decided to. On the second side they bear down and let you see their true colors by stretching out the guitar interludes into longer segments in each song. 

The best song on the entire LP is "Tomorrow." The bass and guitar team up to give you a tour de force of rock and roll. The flute adds another dimension to the taken as a whole sound, giving it that decidedly progressive edge. Judging from the sound and vocal style. This LP is remarkably good considering I have never heard of them and cannot seem to find any history of the group anywhere. 
by Keith Hannaleck


Tracks
1. Come Alive - 5:33
2. City Lights - 5:06
3. Rock And Roll Man - 4:37
4. Superstar - 5:31
5. Images Clear Skies And Rainbows - 5:34
6. Tomorrow - 5:26
7. My Golden Lady - 4:33
8. Castles Of Sand - 5:31
9. Just A Dream (Bonus) (Jeffery Levy) - 5:06
10.Flight 491 To Nowhere (Bonus) (J. Levy, E. Slaski) - 4:30
All songs by Ted and Mike Kieta, except where noted.

Musicians
*Mike Kieta - Bass Lead Vocal
*Ted Kieta - Guitar, Vocals
*Bob Rowland - Acoustic Percussion
*Mike Prichard - Flute, Lead Vocal
*Todd William - Lead Guitar
*Ray Smith - Lead Guitar
*Keith Dickerson - Saxophone
*M.H. Dickson - Keyboards
*Nancy Black, Karen Smith and Carol Dickerson - Backing Vocals

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Keith Cross, Peter Ross - Bored Civilians (1971-72 uk, magnificent folk rock with jazzy drops, 2010 J 'n' S issue)



Keith Cross first band was Bulldog Breed and one year later he joined T2. Keith was hailed as the new Eric Clapton when T2 released their album It'll All Work Out in Boomland. He left T2 after a few months and 2 years later Keith Cross joined a partnership with Peter Ross. 

Peter sung and played harp for Hookfoot, he also worked with Richard Thompson. The duo separated after their album Bored Civilians was released.

Their one and only effort is a fascinating trip, unlike the title of the album you won’t be bored for a moment. It starts with mild melodic ballads and their duet magic voices , continues with more free forms, like jazz nuances. 

Acoustic folk is always the element from which stems each separate inspiration, amazing vocals and great range of top musicians, offer an unforgettable journey which you hope it will never comes to end.


Tracks
1. The Last Ocean Rider (Peter Ross) - 6:56
2. Bored Civilians (Keith Cross) - 2:34
3. Peace In The End (Trevor Lucas, Sandy Denny) - 3:27
4. Story To A Friend (Keith Cross) - 11:06
5. Loving You Takes So Long (Peter Ross) - 4:20
6. Pastels (Keith Cross) - 4:07
7. The Dead Salute (Peter Ross) - 3:35
8. Bo Radley (Keith Cross) - 2:28
9. Fly Home (Keith Cross, Peter Ross) - 7:02
10.Can You Believe It – 2:53
11.Blind Willie Johnson – 3:41

Musicians
*Keith Cross - Guitar, Vocals
*Peter Ross - Guitar, Vocals
*Peter Arnesen - Keyboards
*Tony Carr - Percussion
*Steve Chapman - Drums
*Brian Cole - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Sid Gardner - Bass
*Jimmy Hastings - Wind
*Nick Lowe - Guitar
*Jenny Mason - Vocals
*Dee Murray - Bass
*Lea Nicholson - Vocals
*Tony Sharp - Voices
*Chris Stewart - Bass

Related Acts
1967-69  Bulldog Breed - Made In England
1970  T2 - It'll All Work Out in Boomland

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Domingo "Sam" Samudio - Hard And Heavy (1971 us, exciting classic rock melted with r 'n' b vibes, 2013 Real Gone issue)



Sam the Sham pulled the plug on the Pharoahs toward the end of the '60s and set out playing blues on his own, grinding away to little notice until Atlantic head honcho Ahmet Ertegun decided to give him a shot in 1971. 

Unlike many of the acts Ertegun signed at the time, Sam the Sham had a reputation as a novelty singer -- and rightly so, given the silliness that fueled "Wooly Bully" and "Ju Ju Hand" -- so he might not have seemed an easy fit for Atlantic, but Sam, who began using his last name Samudio at the time of the 1971 release of Hard and Heavy, possessed a forceful, bluesy growl, and the garage stomp of the Pharoahs wasn't too far removed from the Tex-Mex rock & roll of the Sir Douglas Quintet. 

Clearly, Ertegun heard the promise that lay within Samudio and he poured a lot of energy into Hard and Heavy, hiring producer Tom Dowd -- who was riding high on the success of his work with the Allman Brothers and Derek & the Dominos -- and bringing in the Dixie Flyers (featuring Jim Dickinson) and the Memphis Horns, while finding a guest spot for Duane Allman. Half the record consisted of originals, half of covers of classic blues, rock & roll, and Randy Newman, all comprising a wide-ranging vision of American music. 

At times, the Memphis Horns are a bit too splashy -- their refrains on "Homework" recall Blood, Sweat & Tears -- and sometimes the grooves are a little too densely packed, leaving very little room for anybody to breathe, but there's also an appeal in how Hard and Heavy is overstuffed. The ridiculous number of musicians does indeed give the album a hard, heavy feel, something that gives such driving workouts as "Relativity" or Tex-Mex two-steps as "Don't Put Me On" some real grit. 

Throughout it all, Samudio displays some impressive vocal chops -- it's not a surprise that he can belt out "Lonely Avenue," but he digs into the marrow of Newman's "Let's Burn Down the Cornfield" -- and the unwieldy supergroup is always impressive, kicking out this earthy rock & roll with guts and no small amount of pizzazz. 

All in all, Hard and Heavy holds its own with its early-'70s peers -- the aforementioned Dowd-produced Allman and Clapton LPs, the pair of records Doug Sahm cut for Atlantic a few years later -- so why isn't it better known? Well, there was no promotion for it, and after it faded away, Samudio returned to novelties and then retired from active rock & roll duty. 

The 2013 Real Gone reissue -- the first time the album has appeared on CD, also includes a non-LP single of "Me and Bobby McGee" featuring Duane Allman on guitar -- allows this little-heard gem the opportunity to finally get some overdue attention. 
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine


Tracks
1. Homework (Otis Rush, Al Perkins, D. Clark) - 2:21
2. Relativity (Domingo Samudio) - 3:16
3. Lonely Avenue (Doc Pomus) - 2:50
4. I Know It's Too Late (traditional, arr. by D. Samudio) / Starchild (D. Samudio) - 6:22
5. Let's Burn Down The Cornfield (Randy Newman) - 2:48
6. Sweet Release (W.R. Scaggs, Barry Beckett) - 4:51
7. Key To The Highway (Charles Segar, Willie Broonzy) - 2:10
8. Don't Put Me On (Domingo Samudio) - 2:32
9. 15 Degrees Capricorn Asc (Domingo Samudio) - 4:39
10.Goin' Upstairs (John Lee Hooker) - 5:10
11.Me and Bobby McGee (Fred Foster, Kris Kristofferson) - 3:36

Musicians
*Sam Samudio - Vocals, Guitar, Mouth Harp
*Freddy Hester - Acoustic Bass
*Jim Dickinson - Piano, Guitar
*Mike Utley - Organ
*Charlie Freeman - Guitar
*Tommy McClure - Bass
*Sammy Creason - Drums
*Wayne Jackson - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
*Andrew Love - Tenor Sax, Flute
*Ed Logan - Tenor Sax
*James Mitchell - Baritone Sax
*Roger Hopps - Trumpet
*Jack Hale - Trombone
*The Sweet Inspirations - Background Vocals
*Duane Allman - Dobro, Guitar

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Alan Bown Set - Emergency 999 (1965-67 uk, effective soul drenched mod beat psych)



Alan Bown is most known -- certainly in the United States -- for his late '60s recordings as leader of a group (actually called the Alan Bown) that played psychedelic pop. 

The trumpeter had already been recording since 1965, however, with a group called the Alan Bown Set from 1965-1967 in a far more soul-influenced style. This compilation gathers both sides of all five singles the Alan Bown Set released on Pye in the U.K. during that time, along with the seven live songs from the London Swings: Live at the Marquee Club LP they shared with Jimmy James & the Vagabonds, and the French-only single "Jeu De Massacre (The Killing Game)," from the soundtrack of the French film of the same name. 

The group were in the same general territory as other British combiners of soul, jazz, and blues from the period, such as Georgie Fame and Zoot Money. However, they were more soul-oriented than either Fame or Money (and not nearly as good as Fame), though they too employed a brass section. 

This collection is fair but workmanlike British blue-eyed soul, with the horns and organ differentiating it from many other British bands of the day. But it's short on really good material, whether group originals or cover interpretations. Jess Roden, who handles most of the vocals, sounds quite a bit like Steve Marriott, though he's not as good or powerful. 

Those cuts with Jeff Bannister on lead suffer from his thin, uncertain vocals, though one of these, their 1965 debut single "I Can't Let Her Go," was the best tune they did, with its nicely melancholy melody and well-arranged blend of brass, organ, and backup harmonies. 
by Richie Unterberger


Tracks
1. Can't Let Her Go (Leese) - 2:48
2. I'm The One (Mayfield) - 2:13
3. Baby Don't Push Me (Townsrow) - 2:15
4. Everything's Gonna Be Alright (Mitchell) - 2:21
5. Headline News (Hamilton, Morris, Hatcher) - 2:36
6. Mr Pleasure (Creighton, Stafford) - 2:12
7. Emergency 999 (Korda) - 2:30
8. Settle Down (Bown, Bannister) - 2:29
9. Gonna Fix You Good (Everytime You're Bad) (Randazzo, Pike) - 2:42
10.I Really, Really Care (Bown) - 2:42
11.Jeu De Massacre (The Killing Game) (J. Loussier, A. Jessua) - 4:19
12.Love Me (Unknown) - 2:47
13.Mr Job (Catchpole, Bown, Bannister) - 2:25
14.Gonna Fix You Good (Everytime You're Bad) (Demo Version) (Randazzo, Pike) - 2:47
15.It's Growing (Robinson Moore) - 3:12
16.Emergency 999 (Korda) - 2:39
17.I Need You (Mayfield) - 3:00
18.Sunny (Hebb) - 3:22
19.Headline News (Hamilton, Morris, Hatcher) - 2:35
20.Down In The Valley (Burke, Berns) - 2:47
21.The Boomerang (Ott, Covay) - 3:31
Tracks from 15-21 Live versions

The Alan Bown Set
*Alan Bown - Trumpet
*Dave Green - Saxophone, Flute
*Jeff Bannister - Organ, Vocals
*Stan Haldane - Bass
*Vic Sweeney - Drums
*Pete Burgess - Guitar
*Jess Roden - Vocals
*John Anthony Helliwell - Saxes

more Alan Bown 
1969  The Alan Bown! (2010 Esoteric remaster)
1970  Listen (2010 Esoteric remaster)
1971  Stretching Out (2010 Esoteric remaster)

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Stud - Stud (1971 ireland, gentle moods with jazzy undertow and harder proggy overtones, 2008 Esoteric remaster)



Stud began as a trio with Jim Cregan (ex Blossom Toes) (vocals, guitar), Richard McCracken (bass) and John Wilson (drums), the latter pair having split with Rory Gallagher's Taste on 31st December 1970. They were signed by Deram Records. 

Ex Family violinist John Weider joined the band in June 1971, in time to appear on the debut LP which was released to little acclaim. While the musicianship on show is top notch, some of the material lacks distinction and meanders too often. The LP sold poorly and Deram declined the option of a second LP. 

The band had more success in Germany, where Polydor had released the debut in different cover artwork.The album was recorded for Decca's Deram label and was an amalgam of rock and jazz and was an outstanding progressive album of its time. 

The sessions also featured guest appearances by Poli Palmer (of Family) and John Weider (ex-Eric Burdon & The Animals and Family). Although Stud never achieved the acclaim they deserved, their debut album remains highly sought after by aficionados of Progressive Rock.  


Tracks
1. Sail On - 4:12
2. Turn Over the Pages - 4:17
3. 1112235 - 12:20
4. Harpo's Head - 7:35
5. Horizon - 11:07
.i. Here
.ii.There
6. Song - 2:33
All songs by The Stud

Stud
*Jim Cregan - Guitars, Vocals
*Richard McCracken - Bass, Acoustic Guitar
*John Wilson - Drums
Guest Musicians
*John Weider - Violin
*Polli Palmer - Vibraphone

Related Acts
1968  Blossom Toes - We Are Ever So Clean (Japan remaster)
1970  Taste - On The Boards (Japan SHM remaster)
1971  Taste - Live At Isle Of Wight

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

A.B. Skhy - A.B. Skhy (1969 us, magnificent psych blues brass rock)



The group, with a sad history, founded in Milwaukee in Wisconsin,little known exponents of the late-1960s psychedelic-blues genre. Originally known as The New Blues, drummer Terry Andersen, guitarist Dennis Geyer, bassist Jim Marcotte and keyboard player Howard Wales had the common sense to move themselves to San Francisco.

Working in a psych-blues vein, the quartet found a ready audience and steady work on the city's club circuit. Recorded two albums, the first was called 'AB Skhy' and left in the same 1969, and the second 'Rumblin On' was born in 1970, after which the group disbanded. Signed by MGM, the quartet's 1969 self-titled debut teamed them with producer Richard Delvy. Unlike the majority of their San Francisco brethren, "A.B. Skhy" found the band focusing on a mixture of Blood, Sweat and Tears-styled horn rock.

Both of album were written in the style of blues-rock with great influence of jazz, which is reflected in the construction of tracks and sound - a large part of the track is playing a horn section. The horns are this album were arranged by Dave Roberts, and it's evident that he knows what he's doing.

From the first blast, until the last note, they hit you and hold you. Jim Marcotte's walking bass underlies some brass riffs that'll knock your socks off. Dennis Geyer's guitar makes you want to get up an dance. Terry Anderson's drum work is solid and lays a great foundation for the rest of the band. Howard Wales makes the Hammond sing, and combines with the rest of the group to make you wish every song was longer,and it belongs in the collection of every fan of good jazz, blues  or rock.

Best of the lot were the bluesy "Understand" and the pseudo-jazzy "Of All Sad Words." Not bad performed a cover BB KING'a , completely jazz sounds which opens the album, 'You Upset Me Baby' . In the middle of a powerful sounds great jazz-rock instrumental "Camel Back",on the track even attended Dave Roberts with his copper pipes, as well as the beautiful ballad "Of All Sad Words" with a flute.

In the past, when I was much younger, I was prejudiced against wind instruments, believed that the more "horns" - the worse. Now, I realize that, it was the strongest wind instruments, that touches the heart of each man.
by Adamus67


Tracks
1. You Upset Me Baby - 7:10
2. Just What I Need - 3:30
3. It's Love Baby, 24 Hours A Day - 2:31
4. Camel Back - 5:05
5. Understand - 5:37
6. Love Isn't - 4:10
7. Of All Sad Words - 3:10
8. Love May Cure That - 5:10

A.B. Shky
*Dennis Geyer - Guitar, Vocals
*Jim Marcotte - Bass
*Terry Anderson - Drums, Vocals
*Howard Wales - Keyboards
Additional Musicians
*Russell Dashiell - Guitar
*Otis Hale - Flute
*Jim Liban - Harmonica
*Phillip Pruden - Tenor Saxophone
*Jim Horn - Baritone Saxophone
*Marvin Brown , Laroon Holt, Bud Brisbois - Trumpet
*David Thomas Roberts - Trombone
*Donald Waldrop - Bass Trombone

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Infinity - Collected Works (1969-70 uk, splendid garage beat psych, 2009 issue)



Legendary UK psych outfit Infinity formed in 1969 from the ashes of "Chocolate Soup" psych faves the Flies and Cymbaline. The mission: to develop a heavy psychedelic/pop sound, and express it through complex original songs. Thanks to some funky Hammond organ, punchy guitars, and the band’s unique harmonies, Infinity were no run of the mill outfit. 

Upon their return to mainland England from a residency in Jersey, they joined the high-profile NEMS agency, alongside heavy hitters like Pink Floyd, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Soft Machine, and Pretty Things. In late 1969 and early 1970, following support slots with The Searchers and Marmalade, Infinity recorded original material for a proposed album, which was meant to explore "time, space, matter, energy and chicken phal, said in some circles to be so hot in a culinary sense that it's temperature approached infinity," or so they have said, with tongue-in-cheek, we have to believe. 

Sadly, they broke up soon after the sessions. The good news is that the band left behind the recordings presented on this disc, which can now be enjoyed in the digital format after the passage of more than four decades! Comes with a 24-page booklet which includes band history, photos, and more, printed on FSC recycled, chlorine-free, 100% post-consumer fiber paper manufactured using biogas energy.


Tracks
1. Time Keeper - 4:02
2. Venetian Glass - 1:53
3. Space Shanty - 5:41
4. Taxman (George Harrison) - 2:59
5. (I'm In Love With) A Girl Like You - 2:28  
6. Same Girl - 3:02
7. Pattern People (Jim Webb) -  2:35
8. Venetian Glass (Instrumental) - 1:54  
9.  I've Got You Under My Skin (Instrumental) (Cole Porter) - 2:34
10.(I'm In Love With) A Girl Like You (Mono) - 2:27
11.I've Got You Under My Skin (Cole Porter) - 3:33
12.Taxman (Instrumental) (George Harrison) - 2:59
All songs written by The Infinity except where indicated.

Infinity
*Ian Baldwin - Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Phil Chesterton - Drums, Vocals
*Brian Gill - Guitar, Vocals
*John Da Costa - Organ, Vocals
*Stu Calver - Guitar, Vocals

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Terry Manning - Home Sweet Home (1970 us, woderful mix of psych dirty hard blues rock with soul feeling, 2006 Sunbeam remaster)



If you recognize Terry Manning's name, its likely a result of his work as an engineer and producer, including numerous projects for the Memphis-based Ardent Records were he worked with the likes of Alex Chilton and Big Star. With the exception of true hard core collector's, most folks probably don't know that Manning actually recorded an early-1970s solo LP.

By the early 1970s Manning was a fixture at Stax having engineered many of their recording sessions.  While he wasn't known for his performing talents, a one off demo of a song intended for The Box Tops caught Stax VP Al Bell's attention and served to get Manning signed to the Stax affiliated Enterprise label.  Manning subsequently made his solo debut with 1970's "Home Sweet Home".  

A true solo effort, Manning produced, engineered and save drums, handled most of the instrumentation (Big Star's Chris Bell provided lead guitar on a couple of tracks).  In terms of the music, anyone into the Big Star/Alex Chilton scene will find this album irresistible. Besides, how can you not like an album that starts out with an extended, fuzz-filled cover of George Harrison's 'Savoy Truffle'.  

Manning's voice certainly didn't have Chilton's depth and breadth, but he used his limited talents well, turning in a uniformly impressive set that effortlessly blended blue eyed soul, R&B and garage rock moves. Simply a blast from start to finish, it was hard to pick out favorites, though 'Trashy Dog' (The B-52s could've had a hit with it), 'I Ain't Got You' and a fuzz guitar and harmonica propelled cover of The Beatles' 'I Wanna Be Your Man' were all worthy highlights. (Okay, I'll admit the Elvis-wannabe 'Wild Wild Rocker' was forgettable.)  Sadly, the LP vanished without a trace, making it a sought after collectable. 


Tracks
1. Savoy Truffle (George Harrison) - 10:08
2. Guess Thing Happen That Way (Jack Clements) - 3:24
3. Trashy Dog (Terry Manning) - 3:01
4. Wild Wild Rocker (Terry Manning) - 2:29
5. Train (Fritts, Hinton) - 4:40
6. I Ain't Got You (Clarence Carter) - 4:16
7. Sour Mash (Instrumental) (T. Manning, R. Rosebrough) - 4:00
8. I Wanna Be Your Man   (J. Lennon - P. McCartney) - 5:02
9. Talk Talk (Sean Boniwell) - 2:28
10.One After 909 (J. Lennon - P. McCartney) - 3:04
11.I Can't Stand The Rain (Live) (Bryant, Miller) - 5:00

Musicians
*Chris Bell - Guitar
*Terry Manning - Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Percussion
*Steve Rhea - Drums
*Richard Rosebrough - Drums

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Monday, April 15, 2013

The Kitchen Cinq - Everything But (1967 us, exciting garage folk psych, 2010 O Music edition)



When buying albums by '60s rock bands, ground zero is 1966. If I'm hesitant to spend the cash, proximity to that year makes a difference in whether I end up springing for something or not. One of the better discs I've ponied up for in the past year is Everything But ... The Kitchen Cinq, the only album by a fairly obscure band with origins in Texas. From what I can tell, it actually came out in early- to mid-1967, but I'd bet it was recorded in '66, which would place it right in the magic 8-ball of my unscientific theory. Unfortunately, the mono copy I scored online is pretty beat up, but the music more than justified the cost of finally obtaining a copy.

Information about the band is scarce, but Mike Dugo of 60sgaragebands.com has come to the rescue once again with his excellent interview of guitarist Jim Parker, the best place to learn the Kitchen Cinq's story. To summarize briefly, the band was active as early as 1961 as The Illusions. They first had their name changed to the Y'Alls by impresario Ray Ruff for a single in '66, and again modified their moniker after moving to Los Angeles and getting involved with more famous impresario Lee Hazlewood. They released an album and several non-LP singles, before a lineup change and yet another name change, to Armageddon (not to be confused with the later Keith Relf band).

The music on Everything But... is a winning blend of harmony-drenched, poppy folk-rockers with the occasional fuzztone flip-out, such as band originals "Determination" and "Please Come Back to Me." Also excellent is the stop-start "You'll Be Sorry Some Day," not written by the band but a song probably first recorded by them, judging by the publishing credits.

The band proves very adept at integrating covers into their own sound, including managing to create a somewhat different spin than usual for Buffy Sainte-Marie's oft-recorded "Codine." They also take shots at Neil Diamond, the Beau Brummels, the Hollies (brave), Gene Pitney (extremely brave) and one song by Hazlewood. Luckily, it mostly all comes out sounding like the Kitchen Cinq.

Their album ended up being the first released on Hazlewood's LHI Records, an imprint best remembered today as the original home for Gram Parsons' International Submarine Band and Hazlewood's own cult classics. Everything But... was produced by Hazlewood flame/pre-Nancy Sinatra duet partner Suzi Jane Hokom, who gave it a bright and reverb-y, typically '60s production. In fact, the mysterious Ms. Hokom can be seen in the collage of band pictures on the back cover, surrounded by the band. There's also pics of the band surrounding Bill Cosby and Dick Van Dyke, apparently included to drive home a "we're in Los Angeles" message to the record-buying public.

These days, records on LHI rarely turn up, and this one is no different. Perhaps compounding its rarity is the fact that LHI's first distribution deal, with Decca, apparently lasted less than a year. After the label's first few albums the catalog numbers were reused for new LPs under a different distribution deal!

So, the Kitchen Cinq album was likely only available for a very short time originally. Like most of the LHI catalog (aside from the ISB album and Hazlewood's own work), it's never been given a proper reissue, but it can be tracked down from fellow collectors with a bit of internet searching, if one can't turn up an original LP. Now, if I could just find the Honey Ltd. and Eve LPs... (LHI, 1967).
by Bob Koch


Tracks
1. You'll Be Sorry Some Day (Bob Corso) - 2:34
2. Solitary Man (Neil Diamond) - 2:27
3. Determination (Stark, Creamer) - 2:00
4. Please Come Back To Me (Stark, Creamer) - 2:26
5. Codine (Buffy St. Marie) - 2:44
6. Young Boy (Parker, James Ervan) - 2:27
7. Last Chance To Turn Around (Milrose, Bruno, Elgin) - 3:07
8. Still In Love With You Baby (Ronald Elliot) - 2:32
9. If You Think (Danks, Taylor) - 2:05
10.I Can't Let Go (Taylor, Gorgoni) - 2:25
11.Need All The Help I Can Get (Lee Hazlewood) - 2:44

The Kitchen Cinq
*Mark Creamer - Guitar, Vocals
*Dale Gardner - Bass, Vocals
*Jim Parker - Guitar, Vocals
*Dallas Smith - Guitar
*Johnny Stark - Drums

Related Acts
1971  Them - Them In Reality 

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mighty Baby - Live In The Attic (1970 uk, marvelous experimental blues, folk, jazz and psych rock, Sunbeam release)



Mighty Baby was the short-lived band that followed the Action, one of the finest and most unheralded outfits of the ‘60s British rock/pop explosion. Upon finding no label willing to support them while making what is now known as Rolled Gold, a seamless fusion of Sunset Strip folk-pop and Northern soul, the band imploded, with the bulk of the members finding identity in the hippie subculture. 

As Mighty Baby, they came as close as England would to having its own version of the Grateful Dead, in terms of the musical journeys this group would take. Live in the Attic represents material from the two years in between their albums, and for fans, it’s a great opportunity to hear how this band developed. 

The first three tracks come from a live recording in 1970, where the band was opening for Love at Lanchester University, and represent the altogether loose, free, vibrant style of on-the-spot improvisation of which these seasoned musicians were capable. The lengthy “Now You See It” builds to a satisfying peak, and is followed by three-minute rockers “Stone Unhenged” and “Sweet Mandarin.” The remainder of the disc comes from a live allnighter in Olympic Studios. 

Two tracks are represented here: “Now You Don’t,” split into four parts, and the slightly melancholy “Winter Passes.” Of these selections, the former represents a big step for Mighty Baby, as they allow free-form rock jamming to coalesce into a big, bright, groovin’ machine, particularly as it reaches the third section.

The set comes complete with sleevenotes, rare photographs and an introduction from their bassist, Michael Evans, making it simply essential for all fans of the band. 


Tracks
1.Now You See It - 14:59
2.Stone Unhenged - 3:11
3.Sweet Mandarin - 4:16
4.Now You Don’t (Part 1) - 11:31
5.Now You Don’t (Part 2) - 8:50
6.Now You Don’t (Part 3) - 6:52
7.Now You Don’t (Part 4) - 10:23
8.Winter Passes - 3:12
All compositions by Mighty Baby

Mighty Baby
*Mike Evans - Bass
*Alan King - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Vocals
*Roger Powell - Drums, Percussion
*Martin Stone - Acoustic, Electric Guitar
*Ian Whiteman - Flute, Keyboards, Saxophone, Vocals

1971  Reg King

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sutherland Brothers And Quiver - The Very Best Of (1971-79 uk, brilliant sentimental folkish rock)



It was 1971......two guitars, two voices singing songs of anqst, lust, spirit and the sea. Scottish Folk, English Beat, American Country Blues all in the pot via Stoke and W14 and Reebop played the congas Then full steam ahead with the "Lifeboat Band" - Steve Winwood, 'Rabbit' Bundrick, Dave Mattacks et al then Christmas 72 at the Marquee with Quiver - Tim's soaring guitar, Will's thundering tubs, Pete Wood's sparkling piano and Hammond. Colleges and; Faces gigs then Summer 73 round the U.S. opening for Elton - Crazy Nights, Starship Flights and You Got Me Anyway irgthe charts.

It was !974......grindinq out Euro gigs - Dreamkids on a mad trail - falling out and breaking down. Then a light shone down the valley r Summer 75 and everyone was Sailing Reach for the Skies guys! Then it was touring in the Slipstream, mixing in Miami, miming on the box and Down to Earth at Abbey Road. It was 1978..L.L.A. sessions and winter mixes in Paris.; Hoitte in 79 - one last tour - a few.ifor the road - the night comes down - Easy Come and Easy Go? the story is in the songs. 

Thanks along the way to Wayne Bardell, Paul Hartley, Colin Waters, Nick Blackburn, Pete Smith, Rici, Murray, Alex Lawrie, Mauri|e Oberstein, Muff Winwood, Dave Gilmour and all the great musicians and studio engineers we've worked with. Thanks also to Steve Chapman. Respect and good fortune to The Everly Brothers, Rod Stewart, Maggie Bell, John Travolta, Merle Haggard, Paul Young, Boyzone and all the other lovely people who did us the honour of singing our songs.
Gavin & Iain Sutherland

It's difficult to write much about the Sutherland Brothers as people. Of the fact that they were a great band, there is absolutely no doubt. They wrote some of the great songs of the seventies and their music was a soundtrack to a generation of rock fans. To hear them play live was an experience to relish. Their songwriting consisted of clever wordplays, wonderful expressions of emotion and a fusion of the folk idiom with rock music. However, the group tended to let the music speak for them; they were not self-publicists and apart from an occasional photograph on an album cover, there was little information made available about them.

Iain Sutherland (17.11.1948, Ellon) and Gavin (6.10.1951, Peterhead) enjoyed their early years in the north-east of Scotland, where their father was a musician in a dance band called The Melody Makers. Various other family members were musical too, so they were brought up to sing, play instruments and listen to American jazz and traditional Scottish folk or religious music. Then in the mid fifties the family moved down to Stoke-on-Trent, where the tastes of friends and the pop input of Radio Luxembourg added to the variety of their musical influences.

Initially, Iain, who had been writing songs while in his teens, had formed a group called the Mysteries in the early sixties, before he and Gavin teamed up to go off to London to seek their fortune in 1970. There, their manager decided they would be called A New Generation, much against the band's better judgement. The group featured Iain on guitar, Gavin on bass, Christopher Kemp on keyboards and John Wright on drums. They recorded three singles for the Spark label (one, Heartbreaker, under the name The Baby) and also did a few sessions at the Maida Vale studios for John Peel's programme. Smokey Blues Away turned into a minor hit in the UK and was released on Imperial in the United States.

 In the meantime, Quiver was a group that had produced a couple of albums for Warner Brothers, but appeared to be going nowhere, mainly because they lacked good songs and a distinctive vocalist. They had the distinction of being the first group ever to perform at the Rainbow, Finsbury Park, where they supported The Who. However, they needed to look at how they could develop their undoubted musical skills using decent material.

Thus, in 1973, was the marriage of the two groups set up. SB&Q was formed and five great albums followed. An outstanding touring band, they worked hard to produce a good live sound that had audiences on their feet. They spent a number of years on the road, both in Europe and the United States, where You Got Me Anyway was a top twenty hit.

Chart success in their own country was harder to come by and although Dream Kid got plenty of radio play, it didn't get the sales it deserved. Album sales, however, remained respectable amongst the group of fans who acknowledged the talent that was bursting to be recognised. Then along came Rod Stewart. He had followed their songwriting skills for some time and wanted to record Sailing (taken from their first LP). As with his many other (mis)interpretations of people's songs (q.v. Van Morrison's Have I Told You Lately and Tom Waits' Tom Traubert's Blues), he went for the simplistic, but the result was a massive hit. In 1975, it made number one and stayed 11 weeks in the charts. A year later, on the strength of its use over the titles of a TV documentary on the Ark Royal aircraft carrier, it re-charted, making number three and staying in the charts for 20 weeks.

In the meantime, the group were heading towards something of a dead end. Their deal with Island Records had reached an end, with their fourth album not even getting a US release and singles foundering just outside the charts. They were seriously considering winding up the group on the basis that more money could be earned from songwriting and session work than from being in a single unit. A new manager changed everything. Nick Blackburn brought both enormous encouragement and a deal with CBS. This resulted in a less intellectually inspired album, but with a major hit. The Arms of Mary reached number 5 in the UK charts and has remained a favourite for MOR audiences ever since, appearing on compilation albums and ensuring a guaranteed royalties payment that's as good as a pension fund. The song was also recorded by the Canadian group Chilliwack in 1978.

After one major tour to back up the hit single, things started to fall apart. Perhaps it was because the hit single had attracted an audience that was at odds with the spirit of the group's music or perhaps there just wasn't a genuine prospect of maintaining the impetus of further hits. Either way, the follow-up album resulted in a number of singles being released, but without success. The ascent of punk meant the death of this fine group. Two more great albums, under the Sutherland Brothers name followed, but thereafter, it was the end


Tracks
1. The Pie - 5:42
2. I Was In Chains - 2:35
3. Real Love - 4:45
4. Sailing - 2:35
5. You Got Me Anyway - 3:00
6. Lifeboat (G. Sutherland) - 2:55
7. Dream Kid (G. Sutherland, I. Sutherland) - 2:47
8. Champion The Underdog - 4:75
9. Beat Of The Street (G. Sutherland) - 3:53
10.Laid Back In Anger - 3:20
11.When The Train Comes - 3:57
12.Arms Of Mary (Single Version) - 2:35
13.Dr. Dancer (G. Sutherland) - 4:45
14.Love On The Moon (G. Sutherland) - 4:17
I5.Moonlight Lady - 3:03
16.Slipstream - 2:31
17 Secrets - 3:09
I8.Something's Burning (G. Sutherland) - 3:56
19.When The Night Comes Down (G. Sutherland) - 3:53
20.Easy Come, Easy GO (Single Version) - 3:35
All songs witten by Iain Sutherland except where noted
From 9-18 with the Quiver

Musicians
*Gavin Sutherland - Guitars Vocals
*Iain Sutherland - Vocals, Guitars
*Tim Renwick - Guitar
*Bruce Thomas - Bass
*John 'Willie' Wilson - Drums
*Peter Wood - Keyboards

1971  Quiver - Quiver

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Nick Gravenites - My Labors (1969 us, awesome blues rock, 2010 Retro edition)



Singer and songwriter, bandleader and producer, raconteur and poet of the blues; Nick Gravenites is one of those seminal sixties figures whose contributions to American music cannot be measured solely by his discography. Although often overshadowed by such famous friends as Janis Joplin and Michael Bloomfield, Gravenites' 40 year career links the folk revival of the fifties with the Chicago blues scene of the early sixties and the post- 1965 West Coast psychedelic rock explosion.

He has worked with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Janis Joplin and Big Brother and The Holding Company, Mike Bloomfield and the Electric Flag, and John Cipolina and Quicksilver Messenger Service. He has written songs and produced records for a host of Chicago blues legends including Otis Rush, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, James Cotton and Buddy Guy. But My Labors is the only Nick Gravenites solo album ever issued by a major label (in 1969, as US Columbia 9899).

To quote one of his best-known songs, Nick Gravenites was "Born In Chicago" in 1938. The son of Greek-American immigrants, he grew up in the city's Brighton Park section, where his father George was a candy maker. Nick described his childhood in this ethnic "white ghetto" in a fascinating memoir of his early years, first published in Blues Revue (1995-96). In addition to the pop tunes on the radio, he heard records of Greek string bands and - after the death of George Gravenites in 1949 - listened to his mother "sing and cry her pain in the sad, melismatic style we Greeks call metaloyia... music I will never forget."  

By early 1967, Gravenites had relocated to the Bay Area and become a vital participant in the burgeoning San Francisco scene. With Mike Bloomfield and Barry Goldberg, he co-founded a new horn-powered band called the Electric Flag. Which made its stage debut in June '67 at the Monterey Pop Festival. With Buddy Miles on drums and Harvey Brooks on bass, this group - although never effectively captured on record - was for a too brief time one of the most exciting and accomplished stage bands in American rock. As the Flag's front man, Gravenites conveyed a tough, bluecollar charisma.

A mostly-live a l b u m . My Labors had its genesis in the studio, and three songs from those sessions were included on the original LP. But in January and February 1969, Nick Gravenites participated in a series of live recordings at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, portions of which were issued the following October as Live At Bill Graham's Fillmore West.
by Andy Schwartz, April 2001


Tracks
1. Killing My Love - 5:19
2. Gypsy Good Time - 4:30
3. Holy Moly - 3:55
4. Moon Tune - 8:55
5. My Labors - 2:55
6. Throw Your Dog A Bone - 2:57
7. As Good As You've Been To This World - 2:41
8. Wintry Countryside - 13:12
9. It Takes Time (Otis Rush) - 4:14
10.Blues On A Westside - 15:32
11.It's About Time - 7:02
All Songs written by Nick Gravenites except Track 9.

Musicians
*Michael Bloomfield - Lead Guitar
*Mark Naftalin - Piano
*Ira Kamin - Organ
*John Kahn - Bass
*Bob Jones - Drums
*Dino Andino Conga
*Noel Jewkis - Tenor Sax
*Gerald Oshita - Baritone Sax
*Snooky Flowers Baritone sax
*John Wilmeth – Trumpet
*Nick Gravenites – Vocals, Guitar

1967  Electric Flag - The Trip
196?-7? The Electric Flag - Live
1968-69  An American Music Band / A Long Time Comin'
1969  Michael Bloomfield with Nick Gravenites & Friends - Live At Bill Graham's Fillmore West
1970-71  Big Brother And The Holding Company - Be A Brother / How Hard It Is 

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