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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Huckle - Wild Blue Yonder (1976 canada, exceptional psych folk harmonies with southern rock airstream, 2012 korean remaster)



The singer-songwriter known as Huckle was born in 1954 and grew up in Montreal and Toronto Huckle moved west to Gabriola Island in 1973 and helped organize two western tours by Perth County Conspiracy (dne), performing the warmup act for some of the shows. 

In spring 1974  on the first of the tours a live recording was made of eleven original Huckle songs with Gary McKeehan engineering. Nine songs were recorded live after soundcheck for Perth County's Vancouver concert at Pender Auditorium March 1974 The band included: Huckle (vocals, guitar, mandolin) with Richard Keelan (guitar) Michael Butler (bass) George Koumantaros (congas) from Perth County, as well as Paul Gellman (vocals, fiddle, guitar) and Wende Sinclair (vocals, bamboo flute).

Two more songs performed by Huckle and Paul were recorded live on stage at Gabriola Hall the next night. These tracks became Huckle's first album release "Upon a Once Time" 500 copies were pressed and mostly sold off the stage at concerts. One of the very first "indie"  records, it has now become rare vinyl and sells for a lot more than it did when it was new ($3) if you can find one.

In summer 1974 Huckle moved to Salt Spring Island and joined the wildly popular local band Sodbusters. They threw boogies at community halls on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the mainland. They also had a grant to tour and perform in BC prisons and work camps. That fall they recorded an album with Si Garber in Vancouver, now also rare vinyl

After wintering in Central America, a summer 1975 tour in eastern Canada included performances by Huckle at many folk festivals (Home County, Northern Lights) and folk coffeehouses (Black Swan, Yellow Door). Paul Gellman and Huckle did a caravan cross Canada tour that fall, with Laura, Cathy, Sam and Jeremy, and Sally Sunshine along, and landed back on Gabriola Island. Huckle and Paul formed a band, Wild Blue Yonder, with Wende Sinclair, Tom Agostino, and Straw. They did a western Canada tour in spring 1976 including a live radio show at the Hovel in Edmonton with Holger Petersen.

A third tour in fall of 1976 as a duo with Tom Agostino introduced the second Huckle album "Wild Blue Yonder", now, you guessed it, rare vinyl. Recorded live and in the studio,   300 copies were pressed Also that year Huckle performed on the national CBC radio show Touch the Earth with Sylvia Tyson and Bill Garrett. In 1977 Huckle moved back to Salt Spring Island and began performing solo again, mostly in Victoria. This led to the formation of Real Fantasy Band. He teamed up with some jazz fusion players (including Hugh Fraser), and played festivals and shows with them for three years.

His third album "Real Fantasy" had band recordings on side one and acoustic solo tracks recorded at Michael Grieve's Keye Studio in Victoria on side two, released on cassette only.


Tracks
1. Wild Blue Yonder - 4:14
2. Rolling River - 4:41
3. I Surrender - 3:33
4. Flower To The Sun - 6:18
5. She's Coming Home - 3:28
6. Beautiful You Are - 4:27
7. High For Sky - 1:16
8. Gather The Children - 3:42
9. Wild Night - 4:08
All songs written by Huckle

Band
*Huckle - Vocals, Acoustic, Electric Guitars, Flute, Piano
*Paul Gellman - Vocals, Fiddle, Guitar, Piano
*Wende Sinclair - Vocals
*Tom Agostino - Vocals, Bass
*Straw - Wooden Drums
*Bob Walshaw - Drums

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Lovin' Spoonful - Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful (1966 us, delightful psych folk, blues country rock, japan extra tracks issue)



Writing about The Lovin' Spoonful can drive a guy nuts. As you dig into the group's music, the lingering questions become increasingly perplexing:  Why have they never received their due as musicians? Why was their role as the earliest innovators of "country-rock" music swept under the rug? 

Why don't their terrific albums top the lists of the best records of the 1960s? Maybe it was because they appeared to be having way too much fun.  Their "Good Time Music" branding, teenybopper appeal and singles band image gave the group its share of identity problems.  And until recently, their catalog was largely unavailable. But still...

The Spoonful was one of the best bands in the land in a golden age of pop music. Bassist Steve Boone and drummer Joe Butler formed a rocking,  lilting rhythm section. John Sebastian, ranked highly among the era's best songwriters, sang lead, played rhythm guitar, harmonica and autoharp, underscoring the folk leanings of the group. Zal Yanovsky, an uncommonly original guitarist, was their secret weapon. 

On his electric Thunderbird he conjured Floyd Cramer piano slip notes, pedal steel licks, French horn sounds and unbridled rock'n'roll mayhem. Instead of wearing their musicianship on their sleeves, The Lovin' Spoonful were unshakably unpretentious and exuded an air of impossible coolness.

The record that could and should have earned the Spoonful their rightful place on the short list of exalted rock royalty is Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful, considered by many to be their best album.  Like their first two long-players, it glistens with chart-toppers and vital tracks. 

Amazingly, it was crafted in catch-as-catch-can sessions, in the throes of constant touring, at a time when the fabric of the band began to unravel in the aftermath of a demoralizing drug bust. While the high standard established on their earliest recordings left scant room for quantum artistic leaps between releases, Hums marks a refinement of the band's immediately identifiable groove. Their folk, blues, country and jug band roots meet an intensified focus on production value and experimentation to yield a fabulous sounding record. 

It's also their first LP comprised fully of original compositions. Along with Revolver, Pet Sounds, Face To Face and dozens others, Hums Of The Levin' Spoonful is one of the great mindblasts of the pre-flower era. With a dearth of feedback, deep introspection or acid-tinged twinges, The Spoonful staked a turf wholly their own in the pop landscape. Notwithstanding a few cuts that pack the wallop of the clobber of an old comfortable shoe, the acoustic-driven Hums virtually kills the listener with kindness. Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful, titled as a reference to Winnie The Pooh, was released on the MGM subsidiary Kama Sutra in late 1966, in time for the year's Christmas market. 

The band had been on a mind-numbing roll, commercially and creatively, since the release of their first single "Do You Believe In Magic" in the summer of 1965.  The promise evidenced on their debut album (bearing the same title as their first 45} blossomed on the Top Ten Daydream, their second LP, in the spring of '66, and a potential career-crushing sophomore slump was avoided. 

Later that year they were tapped to score Woody Allen's spy-spoof flick What's Up, Tiger Lily?  By January of '67, their streak of consecutive Top Ten singles would number seven.  Three of them, including the Number One smash "Summer In the City," formed the core of Hums. The control room team for Hums was Erik Jacobsen, the band's producer beginning with "Magic," and Daydream engineer Roy Halee,  noted for his work with Simon & Garfunkel and Bob Dylan. While many of the sessions were held at Columbia's 7tn Avenue facility and Bell Sound in midtown NYC, some recording was done on the West Coast. Hums kicks off with a tune conceived and committed to tape in L.A. 

"Lovin' You" stemmed from John and Zally's riffing on a Mississippi John Hurt feel.  The old-timey shuffle steps into the '60s pop realm with an electric 12-string guitar and the Hohner tubon (or "Phabulous Phallon," as Zal dubbed it),  an inexpensive, cylindrical keyboard instrument.  Bobby Darin covered the song during his folk-rock period and enjoyed a Top 40 hit in early '67.

Musically, the blueprint for "Best Friends" is Ma Rainey and the bedrock of the track sports John's antique harmonium. The '20s authenticity is rendered by a vintage trap kit with a 30 inch bass drum and sock cymbal, banjo, and Steve's upright bass.

More than a year after Hums hit the streets, tongues were wagging about Dylan's John Wesley Harding leading the pack "back to the roots. " These guys had already been there, done that, and then some. After all is said and done, the "whys" and "firsts" are interesting and all,  but who really gives a darn? The music is all that matters. The Spoonful had the goods. They played "clean as country water" and "wild as mountain dew." The great news is that Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful is back off the shelf. Strike the harp and join the chorus!
by Dennis Diken January 2003 


Tracks
1. Lovin' You - 2:29
2. Bes' Friends - 1:54
3. Voodoo In My Basement - 2:29
4. Darlin' Companion - 2:22
5. Henry Thomas - 1:43
6. Full Measure" (Steve Boone, John Sebastian) - 2:42
7. Rain On The Roof - 2:13
8. Coconut Grove (Sebastian, Zal Yanovsky) - 2:43
9. Nashville Cats - 2:35
10.4 Eyes - 2:53
11.Summer in the City (Steve Boone, John Sebastian, Mark Sebastian) - 2:45
12.Darlin' Companion (John Sebastian Solo Demo) - 2:23
13.Rain On The Roof (Instrumental Version) - 2:17
14.4 Eyes (Alternate Vocal, Extended Version) - 3:41
15.Full Measure (Instrumental Version) - 2:43
16.Voodoo In My Basement (Instrumental) - 2:40
17.Darlin' Companion (Alternate Vocal, Alternate Mix) - 2:25
All songs by John Sebastian unless otherwise noted.

The Lovin' Spoonful
*John Sebastian - Lead Vocals, Guitar, 12-string Guitar, Autoharp, Piano, Organ, Ocarina, Pedal Steel Guitar, Irish Harp
*Steve Boone - Electric & Double Bass, Piano, Organ, Percussion
*Joe Butler - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
*Zal Yanovsky - Electric, Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Vocals, Slide Whistle
Guest Musicians
*Henry Diltz - Clarinet
*Artie Schroeck - Electric Piano
*Larry Hankin - "Jews" Harp

 The Lovin' Spoonful
1965  Do You Believe In Magic (2016 Blu Spec Bonus Tracks Edition)
1966  Daydream  (2016 Blu Spec Bonus Tracks Edition)
1966 The Lovin' Spoonful - What's Up, Tiger Lily (2008 japan remaster) 
1967-68  You're A Big Boy Now / Everything Playing (2011 edition and 2016 Blu Spec Bonus Tracks Edition)
1969  Revelation: Revolution '69
Related Acts
1969-76  John Sebastian - Faithful Virtue, The Reprise Recordings 
1969  Judy Henske And Jerry Yester - Farewell Aldebaran 

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Chicken Shack - 100 Ton Chicken (1969 uk, awesome blues rock, 2013 expanded edition)



The amusingly titled "100 Ton Chicken' represents Chicken Shacks third album on the Blue Horizon label. Released in late Spring '69 it heralded a shift in the band's recorded output brought about mainly as a result of the departure of Christine Perfect, who had handled not only the keyboard chores bust also a substantial part of the vocal work with the hand (it was her vocal on the reworking of Etta .lames' "I'd Rather Go Blind" that gave the Shack their top ten single success) left to persue a solo career. 

Organist Paul Raymond was recruited immediately and thrown as it were, into the deep end. The decision had been taken to get to work on a new studio album as quickley as possible. Stan in particular was keen to get away from the sound associated with the first two albums. We thought it a good idea to look for a new venue and come April of 1969 we found ourselves at Barry Morgan's Studios in North London. 

Apart from recordings that had been made on location abroad , this was to be the first time any Blue Horizon act had recorded anywhere other than CBS Studios. Bond Street. The results sounded quite different and gave The Shack what they were looking for - a "heavier" sound. Now you know how the title "100 Ton Chicken" was coined !

Far more care was taken will the choice of material for this project. Stan took to writing new material with a s ightly more commercial appeal to it. We ' rere all acutely aware of the need to ;ome up with a follow-up to "I'd Rather Go Blind" and we knew to a man it wouldn‘t be easy. In fact "Tears In The Wind" prc 'ved to be something of a success when one considers that many media people expected the follow-up to feature the dulcet tones of Christine. 

Stan also penned a couple of fine instrumentals of his own (in the Freddie King mould of course) and got another opportunity to make ise of some Cockney rhyming slang ("Horse & Cart"). We covered a Clarence Carte  tune ("Weekend Love"): took a nood once again in the direction of the great Freddie King by covering "Look Ma, I'm Cryin' " and cut versions of Lowell Fulson's "Reconsider Baby" and Gatemouth Brown's "Midnight Hour". 

Stan even expertly handled a rendition i if Davy Grahams erstwhile instrumental "Anji". More time was also spent pulling this set together than had been taken by their predecessors. Whereas in the past we had tended to rush in. book two days and complete the job we made several visits spanning almost four weeks. This gave everyone the chance to regroup and analyse what had gone before and then re-record it : if we felt it necessary. 

We also recorded a I number of other titles that in fact have never been released. Now this may be because they were never finshed or just ; weren't good enough. No attempt has been made to discover whether these multitracks (16 tracks as I recall) still exist or not, so who's to say.

Further potential points of interest in relation to this release? Well, Morgan Sound still exists today except that the name has changed. It's still in the same place - although its expanded to both sides of the street. Look for Power Plant and Battery Studios. Our engineer on those dates was Roy Baker - nowadays better known as Producer Roy Thomas Baker (Queen. etc...) 

The album artwork was as bizarre as always - Terence Ibbott in charge. For those of you who may still have the original vinyl release (with gatefold sleeve) particular note should be taken of the exceptional photographic work. The basic theme for these sessions was jointly planned by Stan and Terence. Quite where they got the idea from heaven knows ! You can however have fun with sticky pieces of paper and your own "bubble" quotes .

Personally. I think we were all mad. But at least its made people stop and look and hopefully, listen. But - despite all our efforts. "100 Ton Chicken" was not. regretfully, the success we had all hoped for. It did not make the album charts as the two earlier efforts had done - but then you win some and lose some. The Chicken Shack continued to work the college and club circuit, here and throughout Europe increasing their already substantial fan base. One thing that Stan and his band members have never been are quitters. More power to the Parson's Nose I say.
by Mike Vernon , 1994


Tracks
1. The Road Of Love (C. Carter) - 3:31
2. Look Ma, I'm Crying' (R. Toomba, J Harris) - 3:25
3. Evelyn (S. Webb) - 4:17
4. Reconsider Baby (L. Fulson) - 3:25
5. Weekend Love (C. Carter) - 2:14
6. Midnight Hour (C. Brown) - 2:55
7. Tears In The Wind (S. Webb) - 2:45
8. Horse And Cart (S. Webb) - 3:38
9. The Way It Is (S. Webb) - 4:29
10.Still Worried About My Woman (S. Webb) - 3:12
11.Anji (D. Graham) - 1:38
12.The Things You Put Me Through (S Webb) - 3:56
13.Night Life (P. Buskirk, W Breeland, W Nelson) - 5:23

Chicken Shack
*Stan Webb – Guitar, Vocals
*Paul Raymond – Keyboards, Vocals
*Andy Sylvester – Bass Guitar
*Dave Bidwell – Drums, Congas, Cowbell
With
*Mike Vernon – Finger Cymbals

Chicken Shack
1968  40 Blue Fingers, Freshly Packed And Ready To Serve (2013 reissue)
1970  Accept (japan remaster and expanded)
1972  Imagination Lady
1973  Unlucky Boy (2013 reissue)
1974  Go Live "Goodbye Chicken Shack" 

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Siegel-Schwall Band - Sleepy Hollow (1972 us, solid chicago blues rock)


The Siegel-Schwall Band's 1972 album "Sleepy Hollow" was the progressive Chicago blues hand's second of five early '70s albums for the RCA-distributed Wooden Nickel label also the early home of Styx following four discs for Vanguard. 

It followed the quartet's 1971 self-titled album, which mixed studio and live tracks in essentially the same blues rock format of the preceding final Vanguard entry, "Siegel-Schwall "70."

But "Sleepy Hollow " was all studio and showed the increasing experimentation within the blues format that would mark the band's final few years though it should be notted that Siegel-Schwall continues to reunite periodically for concert appearances, with the great Sam Lay replacing the late Shelly Plotkin on drums.

The title track, then, seems to bear little resemblance to the Chicago blues form that the Vanguard Siegel-Selm all releases typified. Written and sung by Siegel, a piano and harmonica virtuoso of  remarkable invention and wit. The mellow tune was an appropriately lazy take on a relaxed rustic homestead  the complete opposite of the band's urban reality.

Other Siegel tunes included the fast-back "Somethin's Wrong," characterized by Siegel as a "blues polka": "Always Thinkin’ Of You Darlin'." Which offered a poppy slant on a standard blues shuffle; and "Hey. Billy Jean," written with Chicago Folkie Jim Post (formerly of Friend And Lover and "Reach Out Of The Darkness" fame) and demonstrating Siegel's "hoe-down blues" harmonica mastery.

Schwall. who met up with Siegel in 1964 when both were music students at Roosevelt t'niversity in Chicago, was also a unique blues stylist, with an electrified (Gibson B-25) acoustic guitar. Here he's represented by some of his most memorable songwriting. Especially the immortal "Sick To My Stomach." which delightfully documented the nausea the singer experienced when jealously imagining his girl being with someone else.

"Blues For A Lady" showcased his guitar prowess in the slow Blues format, while the shuffle of "You Don't Love Me Like That" juxtaposed Sehwall’s guitar work and Siegel's blues-harp play. Bassist Hollow Radford. who went on to play with Sun Ra, was ever the band's crowd-pleaser, thanks to his unrestrained soul on numbers like his lead track "I Wanna Love Ya."

But the most telling track of the set was Siegel's "His (Good Time Band." The tribute to an exemplary musician who just didn't care to compete commercially, but was content enough to sit back and play his music solely for the love of it. surely spoke for Siegel-Sehwall—which in the late ‘60s and early '70s virtually owned the Midwest, yet disbanded at the height of its popularity to pursue other interests.

Five of the nine tracks on "Sleepy Hollow" resurfaced last year on Varese Vintage's "The Very Best Of The Siegel-Schwall Band The Wooden Nickel Years (1971-74)." Subsequently, the entire Wooden Nickel Siegel-Schwall catalog was reissued by Wounded Bird Records. 

There are also two Vanguard label compilations of previous Siegel-Schwall recordings, including the comprehensive “ . . . Where We Walked 1966-70”
by Jim Bessman


Tracks
1. I Wanna Love Ya (Rollo Radford) – 04:01
2. Somethin's Wrong (Corky Siegel) – 04:12
3. Sleepy Hollow (Siegel) – 3:33
4. Blues For A Lady (Jim Schwall) – 8:35
5. His Good Time Band (Siegel) – 3:59
6. You Don't Love Me Like That (Schwall) – 3:31
7. Sick To My Stomach (Schwall) – 2:23
8. Always Thinkin' Of You, Darlin' (Siegel) – 3:30
9. Hey, Billie Jean (Jim Post, Siegel) – 6:06

The Band
*Corky Siegel – Piano, Harmonica, Vocals
*Jim Schwall – Guitar, Vocals
*Rollo Radford – Bass, Vocals
*Shelly Plotkin – Drums

1971  The Siegel-Schwall Band

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Chris Farlowe - Out of Time The Immediate Anthology (1965-69 uk, fabulous mod r'n'b, two disc set)



In his own time on Immediate Records, British soul shouter Chris Farlowe's output was sliced and diced and re-compiled so many times that no one even remembers the names of his original albums for the label (not that those were any better or more coherent -- Immediate founder Andrew Oldham was always so busy trying to exploit Farlowe any way he could, as one of the two or three best-selling talents on his label). 

Out of Time, subtitled "The Immediate Anthology," is the solution, its 49 songs drawn equally from Farlowe's singles, B-sides, EPs, and LP tracks, with the quality of the performances the only real deciding factor. The first half-dozen songs here could sell even the skeptics on Farlowe's talent, his renditions of "In the Midnight Hour," "Mr. Pitiful" and "Treat Her Right" are among the most convincing white soul you're ever likely to hear from either side of the Atlantic, and they also explain precisely how Farlowe was able to share a stage with Otis Redding (the equivalent of visiting royalty) on Ready, Steady Go (when Farlowe covered his first Stones' song, "Satisfaction," he used an arrangement that made it sound more like Otis than like the Stones). 

The only disadvantage is that the hits are, of necessity, spread out to two platters, but if it were solely the hits one were concerned with, then one would be getting one of those compilations, instead of this jewel, the next-best thing to a Chris Farlowe box set. The sound is never less than excellent -- and good and loud -- and the annotation is very thorough. 
by Bruce Eder


Tracks
Disc 1
1. The Fool (Naomi Ford, Lee Hazlewood) - 3:02
2. Treat Her Good (Deighton) - 1:58
3. In the Midnight Hour (Steve Cropper, Wilson Pickett) - 2:19
4. Mr. Pitiful (Steve Cropper, Otis Redding) - 2:33
5. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 2:28
6. Who Can I Turn To? (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley) - 2:31
7. Think (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 3:37
8. Don't Just Look at Me (Andrew Loog Oldham) - 2:44
9. My Colouring Book (Fred Ebb, John Kander) - 3:01
10.Lipstick Traces (Naomi Neville) - 3:18
11.Summertime (G. Gershwin, I. Gershwin, DuBose Heyward) - 4:37
12.That's No Big Thing (Dixon, Emerson) - 3:29
13.Don't Play That Song (Ahmet Ertegun, Betty Nelson) - 3:30
14.Looking for You (Doctor Ragavoy, Jerry Ragovoy) - 2:24
15.It's All over Now, Baby Blue (Bob Dylan) - 3:39
16.I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself (B. Bacharach, H. David) - 2:32
17.Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu (H. "Piano" Smith, J. Vincent) - 2:30 
18.Why Don't You Change Your Ways (Lutcher) - 3:28
19.My Girl Josephine (Fats Domino) - 2:13
20.Yesterday (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 2:30
21.Out of Time (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 3:14
22.Baby Make It Soon (Andrew Loog Oldham, Eric Woolfson) - 2:17
23.Ride on Baby (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 2:55
24.Headlines (Greenslade, Andrew Loog Oldham) - 3:25
25.What Becomes of the Broken Hearted (James Dean, Paul Riser, William Weatherspoon) - 2:40


Disc 2
1. We're Doing Fine (Horace Ott) - 2:38
2. Life Is But Nothing (A. Rose, Donald Ross Skinner) - 4:06
3. Paint It Black (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 3:00
4. Cuttin' In (Johnny "Guitar" Watson) - 2:59
5. Open the Door to Your Heart (Darrell Banks) - 2:34
6. North South East West (Farlowe, Lee) - 3:55
7. You're So Good for Me (W. Bell, A. Loog Oldham, A. Rose) - 2:15
8. It Was Easier to Hurt Her (J. Ragovoy, C. Richard, B. Russell) - 3:08
9. I'm Free (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 2:23
10.I've Been Loving You Too Long (Jerry Butler, Otis Redding) - 2:57
11.Reach Out (I'll Be There) (Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland) - 3:15
12.My Way of Giving (Ronnie Lane, Steve Marriott) - 2:34
13.Yesterday's Papers (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 2:38
14.Moanin' (Jon Hendricks, Bobby Timmons) - 2:33
15.What Have I Been Doing (Vincent Crane) - 3:53
16.Handbags and Gladrags (Michael d'Abo) - 3:58
17.Everyone Makes a Mistake (Vincent Crane) - 2:03
18.The Last Goodbye (Michael d'Abo) - 2:52
19.Paperman Fly in the Sky (Vincent Crane) - 2:47
20.I Just Need Your Lovin' (Vincent Crane) - 3:13
21.Dawn (Hammond, Waddell) - 3:49
22.April Was the Month (Vincent Crane) - 3:54
23.Moanin' (Jon Hendricks, Bobby Timmons) - 2:30
24.Paint It Black (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 3:35

*Chris Farlowe - Vocals

1970  Chris Farlowe With The Hill - From Here To Mama Rosa

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Various Artists - Raw Blues (1967 uk / us, classic blues)



From this modest beginning Mike Vernon was eventually able to lure several 'name' Stateside blues men to 'The Supreme Record Company's' then head offices on London's Albert Embankment, for the purpose of inking a recording contract, and thereafter driving them to West Hampstead — Decca's studio complex. Simultaneously, his was the influence which convinced some of Britain's finest home-grown exponents of the genre to follow a similar course.

This package, aptly titled Raw Blues, was assembled by Mike and issued on Decca's subsidiary 'Ace Of Clubs' label in January 1967 (ACL (Mono)/SCL (Stereo) 1220). An intriguing collection of artifacts, its wetter of big name participants may now be appreciated through the sophisticated medium of sound which is a compact disc. The technology may be smoother these days, but the blues remain as raw as ever...

A few details about the contents and its protagonists wouldn't go amiss: Bom Jackson, Mississippi, on 21 st March 1930, Otis Spann shared his parents affections with two brothers and two sisters. Product of a musically inclined family, his father Frank Euston Spann played piano and mother Josephine was formerly a guitarist with Memphis Minnie, a top vocalist who knew a good picker when she heard one, having married another Jackson six-string resident, Joe McCoy (Kansas Joe). Mot surprisingly, Otis took to music like a duck to water, adopting piano as his chosen Instrument Largely self-taught, in later life he always acknowledged the influence Big Maceo Merriweather had upon his style. Gaining confidence as a result of forming a small band with some other local juveniles, when he heard about a neighbourhood talent competition happening at the Alamo Theatre he entered and won — as a singer — performing Coot Davis' Four O'clock Blues. 

With the passing years he pursued medical studies at Jackson's Campbell College in the hope of becoming a doctor. When not buried in textbooks, he displayed a sporting prowess at boxing and football, briefly even turning professional at the latter. Between 1946 and '51 the U.S. Army called upon his time, but after discharge he relinquished all thoughts of any other occupation than music and moved to Chicago. The rest of the family had domiciled themselves there two years earlier, when mother died. Swiftly contacted by Muddy Waters, Otis joined the great guitarist/vocalist and stayed with his outfit for many years thereafter, although between 1952 and the time of this recording he'd also supplied studio accompaniment for such legends as Chuck Berry, Howlin' Wolf, Bo Diddley and Lowell Fulson. 

Visiting Britain in May 1964 for a tour, our subject recorded an acclaimed Decca LP: The Blues Of Otis Spann (LK 4615). Included here are the four additional cuts from that London session of May 4th: Pretty Girls Everywhere (a), My Home In The Desert and the McKinley Morganfield (alias Muddy Waters) duo Country Boy and You're Gonna Need My Help. Personnel: Otis Spann (Vocal, Piano); 'Brother' (Guitar); Ransom K nowli ng (Bass); Little Willie Smith (Drums); add Eric Clapton (Gtr.) on (a) only. Further south in New Orleans, seaport metropolis of Louisiana, on Independence Day 1910, was bom William Thomas 'Champion Jack' Dupree. His father was French, while mother was a descendant of the Cherokee Indian tribe. 

Tragically, both were killed when the family home burnt down during his seventh year. After spending the next seven cooped up in an institution he ran away, but not before he'd mastered the basics of singing and playing piano. Thereafter he maintained his existence by thumping the untuned pianos of seedy dubs and houses of ill-repute, acquiring the technique known as' Barrelhouse' playing thanks to prominent exponent of the art Willie Hall, otherwise billed as Drive 'em Down. 

The Depression found our subject attempting to make ends meet by taking up boxing—whence 'Champion Jack' — but by the mid-Thirties he'd joined forces with Cotton Club keyboarder Leroy Carr. Upon the tatter's early death Jack was offered the unfortunate vacancy, which he accepted. In 1940 the Okeh label added him to their roster; it was the first of a multitude of labels great and small to do so over the next thirty years, including King — where he notched a big hit on the R ' n' B charts, Walkingthe Blues, in 1955-and Atlantic. 

As blues music gained European popularity through the Fifties, many big names were lured from America to tour and occasionally record as a bonus. Big Bill Broonzy was instrumental in persuading Dupree to take the plunge, and he liked it so much that by 1960 he'd married an English giri half his age and settled in Zurich, Switzerland.  From here he was able to commute around Europe, finding appreciative audiences for his set which at that time still included some dance routines — early in his career he'd worked in vaudeville performing the tap variety.

By 1965 he was living in and working out of Denmark's capital, and the following February Mike Vernon signed him to a three album deal for Decca. The first of these, From New Orleans To Chicago (LK 4747), hit the shops in April, and included here are the two tracks from those sessions which were omitted through lack of space: Calcutta Blues (a) and the Eddie Boyd penned 24 Hours. Backed by an all-star British group, Now deservedly billed as 'The Father Of British Blues', John Mayall is rightly predominant on this collection. As one of the handful of pioneers responsible for popularizing the style in the U.K., his contribution cannot be overstated. 

The Bluesbreakers became a veritable 'nursery' for so many future stars in their formative years, and amongst the home grown contingent on display here are some of the finest. Of his two solo billings, the impassioned Burn Out Your Blind Eyes and Milkman Strut, this second title prevailed, according to Vernon's original album sleeve note, when the daily delivery to the studios saw the dairy employee wander in midway through a 'take', deposit his crate, and nonchalantly walk out slamming the door behind him...

Of John's pairing with organist Steve Anglo, it may now be revealed that for Anglo read Winwood. Owing to contractual obligations elsewhere he could not appear under his true identity when the album was published. Rhythm section duties on Long Night belonged to then Bluesbreakers' members John McVie (Bass) and drummer Aynsley Dunbar.

The Mayall and Clapton liaisons here, John's Lonely Years and Eric's instrumental Bernard Jenkins, were cut at Mike's instigation and originally issued as a back-to-back limited edition 45 on his own Purdah label. Dating from the period between the players' joint collaborations under contract to firstly Andrew Oldhams Immediate company and then Decca, (Bluesbreakers era), both were committed through a single microphone in the middle of the capital's Wessex Studios in Soho, hence the unusual sound.

At the time of its taping, Peter Green had recently been recruited to the Mayall ranks as Eric's axe wielding replacement. On his own composition, Evil Woman Blues, he displayed a mature prowess at both playing and singing despite his relative lack of experience. In time, of course, he formed Fleetwood Mac, but that's another story... Legendary purveyors of the blues from both sides of the Atlantic are gathered together in this one historical little collocation. We all owe grateful thanks to Mike Vernon for making it possible. Why wait? Just play on...
by John Tracy, London, 1987


Tracks
1. Otis Spann - Pretty Girls Everywhere (Church, Williams) - 2:57
2. John Mayall - Burn Out Your Blind Eyes (Mayall) - 3:00
3. Champion Jack Dupree - Calcutta Blues (Unknown) - 4:00
4. John Mayall And Steve Anglo - Long Night (Mayall, Anglo) - 2:04
5. Otis Spann - Country Boy (Morganfiled) - 3:34
6. Curtis Jones - You Got Good Business (Jones) - 3:23
7. John Mayall And Eric Clapton - Lonely Years (Mayall) - 3:21
8. Peter Green And John Mayall - Evil Woman Blues (Green) - 4:04
9. Otis Spann - My Home In The Desert (Unknown) - 4:20
10.John Mayall - Milkman Strut (Mayall) - 2:26
11.Champion Jack Dupree - 24 Hours (Boyd) - 4:07
12.Curtis Jones - Roll Me Over (Jones) - 2:38
13.John Mayall And Eric Clapton - Bernard Jenkins (Clapton) - 3:50
14.Otis Spann - You Gonna Need My Help (Morganfield) - 3:25

Musicians
*Champion Jack Dupree - Piano, Vocals
*Alexis Korner - Guitar
*Aynsley Dunbar - Drums
*John Mayall - Guitar, Harmonica, Piano, Vocals
*Peter Green - Guitar, Vocals
*Eric Clapton - Guitar, Vocals
*Curtis Jones - Piano, Vocals
*Eddie Taylor - Drums
*Otis Spann - Piano, Vocals
*Steve Anglo - Organ
*Tony Mcphee - Guitar
*Jack Fallon - Bass
*Keef Hartley - Drums
*Malcolm Pool - Bass
*Ransom Knowling - Bass
*John Mcvie - Bass
*Little Willie Smith - Drums

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Bloomfield, Hammond, Dr.John - Triumvirate (1973 us, marvelous funky blues rock, japan expanded edition)



Bringing together three strong musical personalities like John Hammond, Mike Bloomfield and Dr. John is no easy task. The least of the problems, to begin with, is finding o solid month and a half when each of them is free from studio and performing obligations. With that accomplished, you still have the problem of discovering a common musical ground for three strong-willed musicians, excellent instrumentalists, producers and stars in their own right, each of whom has definite opinions about how music should be played. 

Before playing a single note in the studio, Mike, John and Dr. John, as well as producer Thomas Jefferson Kaye, were all aware that one of two things could happen: (1) Egos would conflict, and about all we would hear would be three individuals showing us how good they can play, or (2) There would be positive chemistry among John, Mike and Dr. John, as each would direct himself towards the collective musical goals of the band, and that by working together each of the musicians would be able to do what they do best. 

During the first two weeks together, everyone involved—including Mssrs. Hammond, Bloomfield and Kaye, and Dr. John—was certain that the chemistry just wasn't there. Everything pointed to musical chaos. 'It was like hell/' said John, "We could have killed each other." At one point, practically everyone threatened to leave. Dr. John actually packed up and went back home; Mike, for his part, left one night in the middle of a session, telling his dumbfounded musical colleagues, ''I quit. I am going home, and I am going to watch Flip Wilson." 

Then, suddenly, one brisk day in fate February, everything began to click. Dr. John had been convinced to return to San Francisco from Los Angeles, and with him were a new drummer, Fred Staehle, who had played with him in New Orleans, and bassist, Chris Etheridge, a mainstay of the studio scene All of a sudden, everyone realized that the chemistry had, indeed, always been there. Fred and Chris were immediately tuned into the music, and from that point on, all was flow. 

While the recording sessions accomplished a great many things musically (among other things, it satisfied Dr. John's first rule of rock and roll: "ya gottu dance to it"), Mike, Dr. John and John all came out strongly as individual musical personalities without getting in each other's way. 'As a matter of fact," said John, "we really went over our heads. Each of us reached a much higher state together than we imagined we could when we began." It is that rare brand of music where everyone listens as much as they play—and because of it, every piece fits perfectly into place. In the end, this musical collective expression has made John Hammond, Mike Bloomfield and Dr. John, indeed, a Triumvirate.
by Robert Hurwitz


Tracks
1. Cha-Dooky-Doo (M. Vince) - 3:45
2. Last Night (W.Jacobs) - 2:56
3. I Yi Yi (L. Rebennack) - 3:50
4. Just To Be With You (B. Roth) - 4:14
5. Baby Let Me Kiss You (K. Floyd) - 3:03
6. Sho Bout To Drive Me Wild (M. Rebennack, J. Hill, A. Robinson, K. Floyd) - 3:31
7. It Hurts Me Too (M. London) - 3:48
8. Rock Me Baby (J. Josea, B. B. King) - 3:40
9. Ground Hog Blues (J. L. Hooker) - 3:31
10.Pretty Thing (W. Dixon) - 4:46
11.I Yi Yi (Bonus Track, Single Version) (L. Rebennack) - 2:32
12.The Trip (Bonus Track) (M. Rebennack) - 4:00

Musicians
*John Hammond - Lead Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
*Mike Bloomfield - Lead Guitar
*Dr. John (Mac Rebennack) - Piano, Organ, Guitar, Banjo, Percussion
*Fred Staehle - Drums
*Chris Ethridge - Bass
*Thomas Jefferson Kaye - Guitar, Background Vocals
*John Bourdreaux - Percussion
*Bennie Parks - Percussion
*Richard "Blue" Mitchell - Trumpet
*George Bohanon - Trombone
*Baritone Saxophone - James Gordon
*Jerome Jumonville - Tenor & Alto Sax
*Robbie Montgomery - Background Vocals
*Jessie Smith - Background Vocals
*Lorraine Rebennack - Background Vocals

Related Acts
1966-68  The Paul Butterfield Blues Band - Strawberry Jam
1967  Electric Flag - The Trip
1968-69  Electric Flag - An American Music Band / A Long Time Comin'  
196?-7?  The Electric Flag - Live
1969  Mike Bloomfield And Al Kooper - The Live Adventures
1969  Michael Bloomfield with Nick Gravenites & Friends - Live At Bill Graham's Fillmore West
1969  Nick Gravenites - My Labors
1976  KGB - KGB
1976-77  Michael Bloomfield - Live at the Old Waldorf

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Kinetic - Suddenly Tomorrow EP / Live Your Life LP (1966-67 uk, cool mod rhythm 'n' blues)



The Kinetic were Andy Mowbray (vocals), Bob Weston (lead guitar), Geoffrey Capper (bass), John Christopher Sze (drums), and Michael Humby (organ). They issued a 10 cut album for Disques Vogue, which is reproduced here, (all self-penned compositions) in 1967, seven of the cuts from which were issued as two EPs. Magic have already reissued these as CD EPs in original sleeves, so if you own those, you don't really need to go here as well.

The Kinetic may be known to readers from their two contributions to compilations, 'The Train', a rollicking R'n'B blues-harp wailing instro and their standout track, the pop-siker 'Suddenly Tomorrow'. The latter title is indeed a cool sike moment featuring big chords, minor scales and a nice '67 feel. It stands head and shoulders above the rest of the album's contents. 

More generally, The Kinetic come across at times like a sub-Action. They certainly employ the crisp soul / pop-beat of the times in 'Live Your Life', 'Letter To Rosetta' and 'Sunny Cloud' (think Timebox, Zoot Money, The Cam-Pact etc). They also do a reasonable line in pop whimsy ('Child's Song') and acoustic led balladry (Hall of the Viking', 'Time Of Season' - no, not the Zombies!). Then there's the R'n'B of 'The Train' and 'Willy 'D' Fixer'. The last cut 'Jam Around' is exactly that a banal and mandatory (for the times) slow blues filler instro with interchangeable guitar and keys lead breaks. 
Shindig-mag 


LP Tracks
1. Live Your Life (Weston, Capper) - 2:22
2. Hall Of The Viking (Weston, Mowbray) - 3:41
3. Letter To Rosetta (Weston, Mowbray) - 2:11
4. Childs Song (Weston, Capper) - 1:58
5. Suddenly Tomorrow (Weston, Mowbray, Capper) - 4:23
6. Sunny Cloud (Capper) - 1:58
7. Willy 'D' Fixer (Weston, Capper) - 2:24
8. Time Of Season (Weston, Mowbray) - 2:20
9. The Train (Weston, Capper) - 3:11
10.Jam Around (Weston) - 4:36

EP Tracks
1. Suddenly Tomorrow (Weston, Mowbray, Capper) - 4:23
2. Letter To Rosetta (Weston, Mowbray) - 2:12
3. Time Of Season (Weston, Mowbray) - 2:21

The Kinetic
*Andy Mowbray - Vocals
*Bob Weston - Lead Guitar
*Geoffrey Capper - Bass
*John Christopher Sze - Drums
*Michael Humby - Organ

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Hobbits - Men And Doors (1968 us, enjoyable sunny psych folk, original Vinyl issue)



Between 1967 and 1969 Jimmy Curtiss worked with a group called The Hobbits in New York. This was presumably more a studio project than a performing live band. Despite the band's name, apparently taken from the universe of Middle Earth, which was very popular in hippie circles at the time, Tolkien's creatures never appear in the songs of The Hobbits, even though the first album is called "Down To Middle Earth" and the last "Back From Middle Earth". 

There are three LPs and two singles by the Hobbits. "Strawberry Children"/bw "Pretty Young Thing" even appeared as a licence release on Festival Records in New Zealand and Australia. The third album was probably never released officially. At least I only know of copies bearing the imprint "promotional copy". The first two albums, released on Decca in New York in 1967 and 1968 respectively, offer a mixture of sunshine pop and soft psychedelia. Not unlike the music bands such as The Cowsills or Jay & The Americans. 

There are excellent vocal harmonies, especially on the second album "Men And Doors" (1968). Two female studio singers and a flamenco guitar player were added to the usual line up of bass, drums, guitars, and keyboards, resulting in a special flavour all over the whole recordings.The Hobbits 2.LPBoth most outstanding psych pop songs written by Jimmy Curtiss are included here as well: "The Journey" and "Strawberry Children". 

Listening to the first album (1967) of the Hobbits I get the impression, that musicians and arrangers are operating in a field they're not really familiar with. Obviously they tried to jump the psychedelic bandwagon in the summer of love, which had already passed it's zenith and was approaching a deadend street. So all efforts of Jimmy Curtiss and his partners Jerry Vance and Terry Philips came too late to gain reasonable success. In the end these efforts were supposedly too tame and evidently made up. 


Tracks
1. Men And Doors (Jimmy Curtiss, Terry Phillips) - 2:28
2. España Baby (Jimmy Curtiss, Terry Phillips) - 2:28
3. Let Me Make My Own Mistakes (Jimmy Curtiss) - 2:24
4. Feeling (Jimmy Curtiss) - 2:30
5. Words Get In The Way (Jimmy Curtiss) - 2:45
6. The Journey (Jimmy Curtiss, Howie Sell) - 2:32
7. Will You Be Ready For Tomorrow (Jimmy Curtiss) - 2:28
8. Love Is (Jimmy Curtiss, Terry Phillips) - 2:36
9. Strawberry Children (Jimmy Curtiss) - 3:20
10.University Of The Street (Jimmy Curtiss, Kay Daniels) - 2:36
11.Artificial Face (Jimmy Curtiss) - 2:28

The Hobbits
*Gini Eastwood
*Heather Hewitt
*Jimmy Curtiss
*Tony Luizza
*Zok Russo

The Hobbits
1967  Down To Middle Earth
Related Act
1969  Jimmy Curtiss - Life

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Foghat - Rock And Roll (1973 uk, groovy hard rockin' blues, japan remaster)



Foghat's second album finds the group working its way towards the fusion of blues and hard rock that would make them an arena rock favorite. They were not yet the stadium kings they would soon become, but Rock and Roll benefits from a muscular production that gives the band a muscular sound worthy of their impressive live act. 

A good example is the powerful album opener "Ride, Ride, Ride": Lonesome Dave Peverett wails over a boogie beat fortified by rumbling power chords as gospel-style backup vocalists cheer him on at the chorus. "Road Fever" is another choice rocker, a song about the rock & roll touring life (a recurrent Foghat song subject) that spices up its fuzz guitar rock with a rubbery bassline and a attractive but non-intrusive horn section.  

The band manages to pull off a few surprises here and there that show they were looking forward: "Helping Hand" crossbreeds the band's boogie sound with acoustic country-rock touches to create a tune that sounds like the Eagles on steroids, and the power ballad "It's Too Late" succeeds despite its cliche lost-love lyrics, thanks to a sharp arrangement that shows off the sharp guitar interplay between Peverett and Rod Price. Any Foghat enthusiast will find plenty to enjoy on this disc. 
by Donald A. Guarisco


Tracks
1. Ride, Ride, Ride - 4:24
2. Feel So Bad (Willis) - 5:09
3. Long Way To Go (Price, Peverett, Stevens) - 5:07
4. It's Too Late - 3:52
5. What A Shame - 3:57
6. Helpin' Hand (Price, Peverett, Stevens) - 4:41
7. Road Fever - 4:22
8. She's Gone - 3:12
9. Couldn't Make Her Stay (Peverett) - 1:57
All songs by Rod Price and Dave Peverett except where stated.

Foghat
*Dave Peverett - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Rod Price - Lead Guitar, Slide Guitar
*Tony Stevens - Bass
*Roger Earl - Drum

Foghat
1972  Foghat (1st Album, Japan remaster)
Related Acts
1967-68  Savoy Brown - Shake Down / Getting To The Point
1969-70  Savoy Brown - Raw Sienna / Looking In

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Life - Spring (1971 germany, rough 'n' hard rock)



"The story of Life and their only album 'spring' began sometime early 1971 after Christian Burchard from Embryo visited composer, musician, producer, sound engineer and artist Julius Schittenhelm in his Munich studio. In his forthcoming autobiography Julius Schittenhelm writes about the beginning of Life, the difficulties of the LP production and the abrupt end of the band.

'Once again Christian Burchard came to my studio romancing about an American Trio called 'The Wedge' that wanted to make a record in Germany. When I met them they were only a duo - the bass player had gone back to America. The band leader, originally the drummer and lead singer, was called Linus, he spoke German with a strange Frankfurt accent was now a rhythm guitar player. He was of average build like myself, had a scarred face, large nose and a tough look. The second man was called Jason and was half Red Indian. He played lead guitar, sang backing and sometimes lead vocals. They soon found a drummer, Marcel Mohr, and a bassist, Gernot Pilz who both came from the Munich area. Gernot was also a press photographer. 

An opera singing couple from the Munich suburb of Schwabing had set up a studio and practice rooms in their cellar in Martiusstrasse which they rented out at affordable prices. This is where the band practiced. The music was Rock 'n' Roll with slight Country influences, not exactly my sort of music but fashionable and on the up.

Most of the songs were written by Linus, three were from Jason and one from Gernot. Linus was a perfectionist and thus the band needed a few months for the precision he found was required for a record production.

At the beginning of July the Rock 'n' Roll musicians were in perfect harmony with each other so we could start recording. This took place in two of the Martiusstrasse practice rooms. I used 2 Revox machines switched on simultaneously to record four channels at once.

An electrician I met by chance built me a circuit board with which I could synchronise the Revoxes using a remote control. Until then I had been operating the two machines using two fingers and for the third one I needed help with some 'one-two-threes' and was happy when it worked. The third machine was for the mix.
It took a whole hot summer month until all the tracks were in the can. 

After all the tapes were carefully numbered and catalogued we started mixing and at the end of July the master tape was finally finished. Linus, who had a way with words, started dealing with CBS. To look good we rented a big Mercedes. Bandleader Linus and myself as Producer, Sound Engineer and Chauffeur drove to Hamburg.

Once we got to CBS we didn't have to wait long and played the demo tape straight away. The manager responsible for Rock 'n' Roll seemed to like it and also Linus. Anyway a contract was signed, luckily without me. There was a substantial advance and from this I was paid for my work. The band was named 'Life' and the LP 'spring' was released. An extensive promo tour followed. I have no idea how many or even if any records were sold. Mohr had done his work and left.

Through the summer we had further recording sessions for the second LP. On New Year's Eve 1971/72 the CBS manager drove under a lorry and was killed. His successor didn't like the music or the band and stopped the project. In February 1972 the band broke up during an Italian tour. There must have been some pretty hefty arguments going on as they arrived back separately. Linus packed up his stuff and apparently disappeared to Sweden. The first I heard from him since then was in June 2002 when we were planning this CD. He is still a musician and he told me that Jason was living in the States'.

During the research into this album Julius Schittenhelm discovered tapes, believed lost, that he produced with the other recordings in the Munich cellar. From these recordings we have chosen 3 as bonus tracks for this CD and the others will appear on future releases."
by Manfred Steinheuer


Tracks
1. Tantalizing Sensation - 3:49
2. Laverne's (Jason) - 1:49
3. Dream Machine - 6:17
4. Mean Woman (Jason) - 3:19
5. Hawaiian Jack - 6:18
6. Honeydrippin' Boogie Woogie (Linus, Gernot) - 3:09
7. Then I Am, Pt. 1 - 2:56
8. Then I Am, Pt. 2 - 1:31
9. My Discovery (Jason) - 4:11
10.Talkin' Bouta Woman - 6:06
11.The Last Song (Gernot) - 3:08
12.Headhunter Blues (Life) - 7:24
13.I Don't Want To Be Your Fool Anymore - 4:07
14.Where Are You Headed? - 5:07
All songs by Linus except where noted

Life
*Jason - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Linus - Drums, Vocals
*Gernot Pilz - Bass
*Marcel Mohr - Drums

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Dust - Hard Attack / Dust (1971-72 us, superb hard rock pioneer metal, 2013 edition)



Bassist Kenny Aaronson was one of the finest in the entire world of rock. He went on to perform with the likes of Hall and Gates, Bob Dylan, Billy Idol, Rick Derringer and Joan Jett. Aaronson wrote the driving instrumental, "Loose Goose" and co-wrote "Learning To Die" with mes His bass weighed about as much as he did, but when it came time to plug in, he stood head and shoulders above all other performers.

Guitarist Richie Wise was my co-producer and songwriting partner. To be honest, he was quite mad. There was just no telling what he would do. Kiss bassist Gene Simmons remembers Richie for always contorting his face when he played and so, Simmons borrowed some facial expressions from the Master. When Richie was on his game, audiences would do well to stand back from the stages Often, he would launch his guitar like a rocket through his Marshall speaker cabinets just for the fuck of it. He
was wild and intense. And unpredictable.

When I first met him, he was Mare Bell and I couldn't believe that anyone could beat a drum so damn hard or fast. It was as if he were fighting for his life. There was no limit to how fast and how hard Bell could play. I always loved watching him solo because I never knew what he would come up with nexts He was explosive. Marc Bell was a group all by himself! Y'all know him as Marky Ramone nowbut to me, he's that same kid from Brooklyn-only he's been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

The band went on to headline in all of the major rock cities like St. Louis, Cleveland, Detroit and even opened for the legendary Alice Cooper and King Crimson. Their album blew every other rock album out of the water! Their second LP, Hard Attack with Frank Frazetta's Snow Giants for a cover, charted on Cash Box and Billboard. But the band was not on a rock label so they never became the Supergroup they were destined to become. 

As for myself, I'm really the lucky one. I got to manage Dust, co-write and co-produce their records, discover Kiss, co-produce about a dozen gold and platinum CDs and still be active in the music business 45 years later. Looking back over my incredible career, I can say with all honesty, that Kenny Aaronson, Marc Bell and Richie Wise were three of the most talented and original rock musicians I ever worked with. And now you get to hear what they were all about.

Fast. Furious. Driving. Pulsating. Like "Love Me Hard" or "Suicide" or "Stone Woman." Wild. Intense. Hammering. Violent. Like "From A Dry Camel" or "Loose Goose." That's what Dust was/is all about. So fasten your seatbelts and play this fuckin' thing loud. Or don't play it at all!
by Kenny Kerner 2013


Tracks
1. Pull Away/So Many Times - 5:02
2. Walk In The Soft Rain - 4:25
3. Thusly Spoken - 4:27
4. Learning To Die (K. Kerner, K. Aaronson) - 6:27
5. All In All - 4:06
6. I Been Thinkin' - 2:12
7. Ivory - 2:42
8. How Many Horses - 4:18
9. Suicide - 4:53
10.Entrance - 0:19
11.Stone Woman - 4:03
12.Chasin' Ladies - 3:39
13.Goin' Easy - 4:30
14.Love Me Hard - 5:30
15.From A Dry Camel - 9:52
16.Often Shadows Felt - 5:12
17.Loose Goose (Kenny Aaronson) - 3:49
All songs by Richie Wise and Kenny Kerner except where noted.

Dust
*Richie Wise - Electric, Acoustic Guitars, Vocals
*Marc Bell - Drums
*Kenny Aaronson - Bass, Pedal, Steel, Dobro, Bottleneck Guitars

Related Act
1973  Estus - Estus

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Siegel-Schwall Band - Siegel-Schwall (1971 us, excellent chicago blues rock)


Along with the first-wave British Invasion bands like The Rolling Stones, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, and stateside groups like The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, The Siegel-Schwall Band were instrumental in The Great Blues Revival of the 1960's. Like Paul Butterfield, Siegel-Schwall were Chicago-based, serving as the house band at the famed Pepper's Lounge. They earned their spurs backing greats like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter and Willie Dixon.

From 1966 until they disbanded in 1974, they ranked among the most important forces in reaching the baby boomer audience that sustains the blues to this day. The Siegel-Schwall Band also pioneered the cross-fertilization of the blues with other forms, performing Bill Russo's "Three Pieces For Blues Band and Symphony Orchestra" in 1968 with the San Francisco Symphony and The Boston Pops. Corky Siegel has continued this expansion of the blues with his project, Chamber Blues.

The current band includes two other genuine notables, bassist Rollo Radford and drummer Sam Lay. Radford's resume stretches from Martha & The Vandellas to Sun Ra, giving him the artistic range to follow wherever Siegel and Schwall want to take the blues. Lay's credentials are awesome. His stellar work with Muddy Waters, Little Walter and The Paul Butterfield earned him entry in both The Blues and The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

"The word 'legendary' gets thrown around a lot these days, but it seems appropriate to apply to The Siegel-Schwall Band." - Triple Door, Seattle 


Tracks
1. (Wish I Was On A) Country Road (Jim Post, Corky Siegel) – 3:19
2. Devil (C. Siegel) – 5:10
3. Leavin' (Jim Schwall) – 3:10
4. Corrina (Traditional) – 6:05
5. I Won't Hold My Breath (C. Siegel) – 4:01
6. Next To You (J. Schwall) – 4:20
7. Hush Hush (Jimmy Reed) – 11:06

The Siegel-Schwall Band
*Corky Siegel – Piano, Harmonica, Vocals
*Jim Schwall – Guitar, Vocals
*Rollo Radford – Bass, Vocals
*Shelly Plotkin – Drums

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The Hobbits - Down To Middle Earth (1967 us, smart sunny folk psych, original Vinyl issue)



Folk-rock outfit the Hobbits was the studio project of Queens, New York-born singer/songwriter Jimmy Curtiss, who ranks as one of the more interesting footnotes in the history of rock & roll -- the rare would-be teen idol who actually wrote his own material (and did so admirably), he later expanded his reach into psychedelia and harmony-laden folk-rock, but while the subject of a small cult following, none of his records ever made a commercial dent. 

Curtiss first surfaced in 1959 as a member of the doo wop combo the Enjays and issued his solo debut, "Without You," on United Artists in 1961 -- the label attempted to position him as a teen crooner in the mold of Bobby Vee or Paul Anka, but he failed to make a commercial impact. After a period working as a songwriter he dropped out of music to pursue a career in advertising before resurfacing in 1967 with the bubblegum cult classic "Psychedelic Situation," a major hit in Germany that attracted little attention at home. 

Curtiss then signed to Decca, collaborating with producers Jerry Vance and Terry Phillips and songwriter Marcia Hillman on the Hobbits -- despite borrowing their name from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings novels and titling their 1967 debut Down to Middle Earth, the Hobbits turned out relatively straightforward sunshine pop, and the album is much sought-after by soft-psych aficionados. The follow-up, Men and Doors: The Hobbits Communicate, appeared in 1968 -- like its predecessor, the record didn't sell, and Decca terminated the contract. 

Curtiss then formed his own label and production company, both dubbed Perception, and helmed an LP and three singles by the psychedelic soul act the Bag, members of which reportedly worked on the Hobbits project as well. Speaking of which, after rechristening the group the New Hobbits, Curtiss released 1969's Back From Middle Earth, essentially a solo effort. According to the liner notes in the second volume of the Soft Sounds for Gentle People series, he eventually ended up in San Francisco, going solely by the initials J.C. -- his current activities and whereabouts are unknown. 
by Jason Ankeny


Tracks
1. Down To Middle Earth (Alan Bernstein, Jerry Vance, Terry Philips) - 2:52
2. I'm Just A Young Man (Jimmy Curtiss) - 2:53
3. Daffodil Days (The Affection Song) (A. Bernstein, J. Vance, T. Philips) - 3:17
4. Break Away (J. Curtiss, L. Zerato) - 2:53
5. Treatsb (J. Vance, T. Philips) - 2:42
6. Hands And Knees  (J. Curtiss, T. Faranda) - 2:48
7. Let Me Run My Fingers Through Your Mind (Buy Me Flowers) (A. Bernstein, J. Vance, T. Philips) - 2:48
8. Out Of My Mind (J. Curtiss) - 2:39
9. Clap Hands Til Daddy Comes Home (J. Curtiss, T. Philips) - 2:28
10.Sunny Day Girl (Jimmy Curtiss) - 2:32

*Jimmy Curtiss - Vocals

Related Act
1969  Jimmy Curtiss - Life

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Friday, July 19, 2013

The Lovin' Spoonful - Do You Believe In Magic(1965 us, wonderful psychedelic popsike blended with folk and rhythm 'n' blues, 2016 Blu Spec bonus tracks edition)



The Lovin' Spoonful. Once dubbed America's answer to the Beatles... "I think that was a fair comment," says bassist Steve Boone. "The Beatles started out as a skiffle band, whereas we were initially a jug band. The styles were very similar. From there, the Beatles became very diverse, as indeed did we. I can see why people put us in the same category as them, and it's ahuge honour."

The New Yorkers very nearly became The Monkees as well... "The producers of the TV show wanted us as their first choice for the role. We even had a presentation made to us about what they were planning. But by this time, the Spoonful had already a hit of our own, and if we'd gone along with the idea, it would have meant a name change to The Monkees.

We weren't prepared to do it, and so the offer was turned down. But I wonder if that was a mistake!" The Lovin' Spoonful, the band whom many now regard as being among the most influential musicians of their time, a band whose first seven singles all hit the Top Ten in the US - remarkable indeed. As is Boone's own story, of how serendipity turned him from his expected career path and into a rock star.

"In 1964 I played in my brother Skip's band out in Long Island; it was nothing grand - merely some fun. I was expecting to go to college to study engineering. I took time out, though, in September of that year to go travel with a friend around Europe, the idea being to get into studying in January 1965.

So, we came to England, got a couple of bikes and hit the road. In the strange way that life happens, we met a couple of Canadian girls just outside of Barcelona, and spent two weeks or so with them. I mention this, because in January 2008, The Lovin' Spoonful toured Canada - and they came along to one of the shows!

It was the first time I'd seen them in 43 years!" By December 1964, Boone was back home - and found I that his brother was now living in Greenwich Village, a thriving musical and creative 'colony' within New York, and it was Skip Boone who encouraged Steve to meet two young men with whom he would change the musical landscape.

"He told me that I should meet these guys John Sebastian and Zal Yanovsky, reckoning they were really cool. So, I went along, took my bass, and we jammed for ages on songs the three of us knew by the likes of Chuck Berry. Now, John and Zal were in the process of starting a band.

They already had a producer (Erik Jacobsen) and management, but were looking for a bassist. They offered me the job. Although I was ready to go back and study, I decided to take a one semester break, and give this a go. I told them, 'OK, I'll give it six months. If we haven't had any success by then, I'm giving it up'."

Boone also brought with him drummer Jan Kotner, an old friend. Now called The Lovin' Spoonful (a name inspired by a line in the song 'Coffee Blues' by Mississippi John Hurt; the idea was suggested to the four by jug band master Fritz Richmond), the band made their live debut in January 1965 at the famed Night Owl Cafe in the village. It was a...disaster!

"I have to admit we were terrible. Joe Merra, the owner, suggested we should go away and rehearse a lot more, and we took that opportunity to make one line-up change. To be honest, Jan never quite fitted what we were doing. He was three or four years older than the rest of us, and I don't think his attitude suited either. My brother recommended this guy with whom he'd been working, which is how Joe Butler joined us in February 1965."

At this juncture, the Spoonful were rehearsing at the Hotel Albert in Greenwich Village, an exotically named establishment that was no more than a skid row flophouse (to use the vernacular). Bands rehearsed and lived there; The Lovin' Spoonful shared space with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and one or two talents who ended up in the Mamas & The Papas (Yanovsky had previously been in a band called The Mugwumps with Cass Elliot).

"The hotel was just eight blocks from the Night Owl. But we were so poor that, when we played there for the first time with the new line-up, we couldn't afford the cab fare. So we borrowed a barrow and wheeled our equipment down the road." The second debut at the venue was a much bigger success. The band were on their way, and now began to gain a loyal and regular following.

"There were also a lot of music business types who'd come along to check us out, including Phil Spector. Now, we were all big fans of the man, and he was definitely interested in working with us, which was very exciting. But in the end we decided against taking up his offer. The reason? Our management wondered whether Spector's approach would suit us. We loved his famous "Wall Of Sound" production, but we didn't need anything so elaborate. A shoestring of sound suited us better!"

Erik Jacobsen, who had previously been the banjo player in the oddly-named band The Knob Licker Upper 10,000 (they released two albums), was now making a name for himself as a hot producer on the Greenwich Village scene. He already knew Yanovsky from Mugwumps days, and now put the Spoonful into the studio to do a demo, the aim being to get record deal sorted out. But the process was far from painless.

"We cut four songs with Erik, but every label turned us down! The trouble was that at the time radio stations in America were only interested in playing British bands. If you didn't have that sort of accent, then you weren't expected to sell records. So, like the Beatles in their early days, we couldn't get anyone to pick us up."

Eventually, it was one song, 'Do You Believe In Magic' (written by Sebastian), that tipped the balance. Kama Sutra Records, which had only just been launched, took the plunge and signed the band - one of the first artists on their roster.

Inevitably, Jacobsen produced the debut album, 'Do You Believe In Magic', which was to prove something of a watershed release. Not only did it propel the band to significant status commercially - reaching Number 32 in the States, as well as delivering the band's first hit singles - but also gave momentum to a process which altered the very nature of the way everyone perceived albums.."Until then, everyone saw albums no more than two or three singles, plus a lot of covers thrown together," says Boone.

"Not much thought ever went into them, because labels were too busy promoting singles. But then the Beatles put out 'Rubber Soul' and people's attitudes began to shift. Now, everyone saw that album could have a life and credibility of their own. I suppose it was the 'Sgt. Pepper..,' album in 1967 that most see as the real turning point in this respect.

But I'd mark out 'Rubber Soul' two years earlier as the beginnings of the process." The'.. .Magic' record you have here also played its part, because the four refused to be formulaic. The key lies in the diversity of the songs and music. While one can certainly hear the Spoonful's jug band origins, there's an excellent sense of pacing, and the roots of the folk rock stylings they helped to pioneer are definitely in evidence.

"What makes us stand out for me are two important things: firstly there's John's mouth harp playing, which gave the music an extra dimension, and Zal had a really odd, expressive manner on guitar. It was so unusual that, at times, he made it sound like a piano. Put these two together, and it's no wonder we stood apart from so many others."

The Lovin' Spoonful also refused to go along with the usual practices of the day. A lot of artists back then didn't play on their own records, with producers and labels preferring to use the more practised approach of top class session stars, in order to make the records as slick and professional as possible. But that was never going to be the case here.

"It was a very different world back in the '60s," agrees Boone. "Producers were kings, and the record companies were the kingmakers. So a lot of what was recorded then would be about the producer, and the artists were almost irrelevant. We insisted not only on playing on our albums, but also in arranging the songs and having a hands-on input. That did make us stand apart, but also ensured what you heard was what we really sounded like.

"The other thing that made us different was that we never fitted our songs into a pattern. When you had a big hit single, the labels wanted you to repeat, repeat, repeat. It's still the same today, but we refused to do that. So The Lovin' Spoonful were a band who grew all the time."

From a distance of more than four decades, how does Boone think 'Do You Believe In Magic' has weathered? "I still listen to what we did, and marvel at the music. Not in an arrogant fashion, but it brings home the point that we were four musicians who came from such diverse backgrounds in terms of influence, yet we gelled. Each one of us brought our own musical passions into the mix, but we had respect for one another and what we could achieve together.

"I think the album had a big effect on music. Nowadays when we tour (the band split in 1968; their induction into the Rock 'N' Roll Hall Of Fame in 2000 led to a re-union, albeit without Sebastian and Yanovsky - the tatter died in 2002), we come across loads of musicians who say that they were inspired by us in the '60s. Unfortunately, what we've never gotten was critical approval. This band were, and are, not media darlings."

For those who've heard 'Do You Believe In Magic' before, this is a chance to re-visit an old friend, and perhaps discover depths and breadths which have never been obvious before. To those who haven't heard the album yet, you're about to embark on one of the truty great musical journeys of the 1960s - in fact, of all time 
by Malcolm Dome


Tracks
1. Do You Believe In Magic (John Sebastian) - 2:07
2. Blues in the Bottle (Traditional) - 2:12
3. Sportin' Life (Traditional) - 4:04
4. My Gal (Traditional) - 2:38
5. You Baby (Barry Mann, Phil Spector, Cynthia Weil) - 2:56
6. Fishin' Blues (Traditional) - 2:02
7. Did You Ever Have to Make up Your Mind? (Sebastian) - 1:59
8. Wild About My Lovin' (Traditional) - 2:36
9. Other Side of This Life (Fred Neil) - 2:30
10.Younger Girl (Sebastian) - 2:20
11.On the Road Again (Sebastian) - 1:51
12.Night Owl Blues (Steve Boone, Joe Butler, Sebastian, Zal Yanovsky) - 3:05
13.Alley Oop (Dallas Frazier) - 2:17
14.Younger Girl (Sebastian) - 2:39
15.Blues in the Bottle (Traditional) - 3:02
16.Wild About My Lovin' (Traditional) - 2:36
17.Other Side of This Life (Neil) - 2:31

The Lovin' Spoonful
*John Sebastian - Vocals, Guitar, Autoharp
*Steve Boone - Bass, Vocals
*Joe Butler - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
*Zal Yanovsky - Electric and Acoustic Guitar, Vocals

1966  Daydream (2016 Blu Spec Bonus Tracks Edition)
1966  Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful (2016 Blu Spec Bonus Tracks Edition)
1966 The Lovin' Spoonful - What's Up, Tiger Lily (2008 japan remaster) 
1967-68  You're A Big Boy Now / Everything Playing (2011 edition and 2016 Blu Spec Bonus Tracks Edition)
1969  Revelation: Revolution '69
Related Acts
1969-76  John Sebastian - Faithful Virtue, The Reprise Recordings 
1969 Judy Henske And Jerry Yester - Farewell Aldebaran 

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