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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wimple Winch - Tales From The Sinking Ship (1964-68 uk, marvelous blend of mod freakbeat and psych, 2009 remaster)



Liverpool's Wimple Winch are best known to obsessive collectors of U.K. freakbeat for a handful of rare but potent singles, such as the malevolent "Save My Soul and "Rumble on Mersey Square South," a mini-rock opera that feels like a more compact contemporary to the Who's "A Quick One While He's Away."

But Tales from the Sinking Ship, which collects Wimple Winch's singles for Fontana along with recordings that came from earlier and later incarnations of the band serves best as an object lesson in how radically the British music scene would change between 1964 and 1968. The set opens with a dozen sides recorded when

Dee Christopholus (vocals and guitar), John Kelman (lead guitar), and Larry King (aka Lawrence Arendes, drums) were members of the beat combo the Four Just Men (who briefly became the Just Four Men), who start out playing pleasant but unremarkable instrumentals not unlike what the Shadows were doing and eventually moved on to pop vocal sides that make them sound like competent but unremarkable also-rans on the Merseybeat scene. 

They improved as they went along, and the last of the Four Just Men sides here are the best, the moody but dramatic "In the Shelter of Your Arms" and a solid cover of the Bacharach/David classic "Trains and Boats and Planes." However, when bassist Stuart Sirrett left at the end of 1965 and Barry Ashall took over in early 1966, something kicked in with this band, which adopted the new name Wimple Winch and embraced a far more aggressive and compelling sound, with a crispness that suggested the mod sound that was coming into vogue, along with shades of psychedelia creeping into "Atmospheres" and a dash of Ray Davies-style wit informing "Typical British Workmanship."

None of the Wimple Winch singles were hits, and this collection closes out with eight demos that confirm the group was continuing to evolve and innovate even after it was dropped by Fontana, with the psychedelic influences moving comfortably to the forefront and pop-minded pastoral accents coloring the melodies.

Phil Smee's richly detailed liner notes tell more about Wimple Winch's story than most fans will ever need to know, and a family tree makes it easy to follow the many personnel shifts in the group; this is fascinating stuff for those enamored of the point where beat music fell under the lysergic influence, and reveals just how weird a seemingly ordinary, clean-cut band could get during the first era of acid.
by Mark Deming 


Tracks
1. Ad-Ventures (Theme From Friday Night) (Unknown) - 1:00
2. Half Past Five  (Christopholus, Kelman) - 1:58
3. Aggravatin' (Unknown) - 2:43
4. Colours (Unknown) - 2:38
5. Four Just Men Theme (Aka Laura Norder) (Unknown) - 2:16
6. Sorry Girl (Unknown) - 2:23
7. Don't Come Any Closer (Demo Version)  (Christopholus) - 2:17
8. I Just Can't Make Up My Mind  (Christopholus, Kelman, King) - 1:45
9. Woman Needs A Man  (Christopholus, Kelman, King) - 2:04
10.I Still Care (Unknown) - 2:06
11.Thinking About Your Love  (Christopholus, Kelman, King) - 2:24
12.Tomorrow  (Christopholus, Kelman, King) - 2:45
13.In The Shelter Of You Arms  (Jerry Samuels) - 2:32
14.Trains And Boats And Planes  (Bacharach, David) - 2:25
15.What's Been Done  (Ashall, Christopholus) - 2:44
16.I Really Love You  (Arends, Christopholus) - 3:41
17.Save My Soul  (Christopholus) - 3:06
18.Everybody's Worried 'Bout Tomorrow  (Ashall, Christopher, Kelman) - 2:34
19.Rumble On Mersey Square South  (Christopholus) - 4:31
20.Atmospheres  (Christopholus) - 4:27
21.Typical British Workmanship  (Ashall, Christopholus) - 2:59
22.Bluebell Wood (Demo Version)  (Christopholus) - 3:32
23.Lollipop Minds  (Christopholus) - 3:10
24.Marmalade Hair  (Christopholus) - 3:00
25.Coloured Glass  (Ashall, Christopholus) - 2:17
26.Those Who Wait  (Ashall, Christopholus) - 2:29
27.Three Little Teddy Bears  (Ashall, Christopholus) - 2:45
28.Sagittarius  (Christopholus) - 2:47
29.The Last Hooray  (Ashall, Christopholus) - 3:18

Wimple Winch
*Dee Christopholous - Vocals, Guitar
*John Kelman -  Lead Guitar
*Barrie Ashall -  Bass Guitar  
*Larry King (Arendes) -  Drums

Related Act
1970  Pacific Drift - Feelin' Free

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Various Artists - The Dutch Woodstock (1970 us/uk/nl, psych blues folk prog rock, classic documentary, two CD plus DVD box set)


Woodstock and Altamont pretty much covered what can go right and what can go wrong at a large rock festival in America. Meanwhile, over in Europe, music festivals began cropping up left and right, with varying degrees of success. The Isle of Wight, Bath and Lincoln festivals in 1969 and 1970 brought together some of the biggest names of the day. And then there was the 1970 Kralingen Music Festival in Rotterdam. Amongst the range of popular British and American artists were some wildly eclectic acts, many shrouded in obscurity that belied their talents. The three-day festival, infused with marijuana and optional clothing, was alternately know as the Holland Pop Festival and Stamping Ground (!). Now with highlights captured on a double-CD, single DVD set, you might as well just call it The Dutch Woodstock.

From America, you had Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat, Santana and Country Joe — all original Woodstock veterans — along with the Byrds, It's A Beautiful Day, Dr. John and the Flock. The British artists included Pink Floyd, T-Rex, Al Stewart, Soft Machine, East of Eden, Quintessence and Family. So, there was this mix of psychedelic blues and progressive rock for the 120,000 people to groove on. The two CDs feature what is apparently the best of what they could put together, seemingly from numerous sources and locations. Three rough and ready blues acts — Cuby & The Blizzards, Canned Heat and Livin' Blues — start it off before Al Stewart steps up and plucks out "Zero She Flies" before an audience of what sounds like three or four. Maybe six.

The whirlwind prog of Quintessence and East of Eden (or maybe it would be Family's Roger Chapman and his piercing vocals on "Drowned In Wine") could make your head spin in either ecstasy or muckiness, depending on how weird and out-there you want to get. One can only imagine the audience's reaction to Soft Machine's "Esther's Nose Job." Then again, when you have Pink Floyd headlining — and they were brewing up their own batch of quirkiness with "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" and "A Saucerful Of Secrets" — you have to pepper the bill with similar groups. Which, of course, does nothing to explain the addition of the San Francisco groups.

At this point in time, Santana was on fire, and their blast through "Gumbo" is most definitely on par with their "Soul Sacrifice" performance at Woodstock. It's A Beautiful Day, known mostly for their breezy hit, "White Bird," unleash a fiery psychedelic jam on "Wasted Union Blues" (singer Patti Santos was just as alluring as Grace Slick). Country Joe plays it safe on the acoustic "Freedom" (no "Fixin' To Die" for this crowd), while Jefferson Airplane soars on "White Rabbit" and "The Ballad Of You And Me And Pooneil." All in all, it's easy to see that each of these artists, since Woodstock, had become a little more weathered and professional.

The best part about this set is the DVD, a 97-minute film that vividly captures the event in all its psychedelic glory. The close-ups on Santana, Pink Floyd and Soft Machine, among others, are intense and as well edited as the Woodstock film. However, watching Al Stewart strumming away on "Zero She Flies" (yes, there are more than six people in the audience) or seeing It's A Beautiful Day jam out on "Wasted Union Blues" in the midst of a windy rain storm certainly gives one a better sense of the festival and its surroundings. Well that, and the numerous non-musical interludes that portray the concert as the idyllic, hedonistic utopia of the early 70s. Without seeing everything, you're almost led to believe The Dutch Woodstock is everything the original Woodstock set out to be and more. Oh, what heady days they were.
by Shawn Perry


Video DVD
1. Santana - Gumbo
2. Al Stewart - Zero She Flies
3. Canned Heat - Human Condition
4. The World's in Tango/So Sad
5. Quintessence - Giants
6. Jefferson Airplane - Won't You Try Saturday Afternoon
7. It's A Beautiful Day - Bulgaria
8. T.Rex - By The Light of the Magical Moon
9. The Byrds - Old Blue
10.The Flock - Big Bird
11.Soft Machine - Esther's Nose Job
12.Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit/The Ballad of You and Me and Pooniel
13.Santana - Savor/Jingo
14.Pink Floyd - A Saucerful of Secrets


Tracks 
Disc 1
1. Cuby And The Blizzards - Dust My Blues - 4:45
2. Canned Heat - Human Condition - 3:08
3. Canned Heat - So Sad - 5:31
4. Livin' Blues - Big Road Blues - 2:41
5. Al Stewart - Zero She Flies - 2:19
6. Quintessence - Giants - 2:38
7. East of Eden - The Sun of East - 15:49
8. East of Eden - Irish Theme - 3:19
9. Country Joe - Freedom - 3:54
10.Dr John - Mardis Gras Day - 4:31
11.Family - Drowned in Wine - 4:28


Disc 2
1. Santana - Gumbo - 3:57
2. Santana - Savor - 4:28
3. Santana - Jingo - 4:28
4. Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit - 2:18
5. Jefferson Airplance - The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil - 3:02
6. It's a Beautiful Day - Wasted Union Blues - 7:23
7. It's a Beautiful Day - Bulgaria - 4:01
8. T.Rex - By The Light of the Magical Moon - 3:18
9. The Byrds - Old Blue - 3:35
10. The Flock - Big Bird - 4:49
11. Soft Machine - Esther's Nose Job - 6:03
12. Pink Floyd - Set The Controls For The Heart of the Sun - 3:42
13. Pink Floyd - A Saucerful of Secrets - 6:21

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Fat Mattress - Fat Mattress (1969 uk, essential psych folk rock, 2009 remastered and expanded)



Fat Mattress were basically a Rock'n'Roll group from Folkestone in Kent. The nucleus of Fat Mattress came from three local bands based in South East England in the early sixties. Noel Redding was the guitar player for The Lonely Ones from Folkestone. Also in their line up was drummer Pete Kircher. The Lonely Ones were one of the most popular bands around the South, at that time. Neil Landon a vocalist from Ashford in Kent had his own group called the Cheetah's. In those days. Neil was known as Pat Barlow. I was playing bass guitar with an outfit from Dover. Kent called The Big Beats.

By the mid sixties these three groups disbanded to form one group namely Neil Landon and The Burnettes. The new band worked extensively in the UK and Europe, including the German night club scene, which was a breeding ground for up and coming groups such as The Beatles and others. In 1966 Neil Landon decided to pursue a solo career, so The Burnettes broke up. Noel, Pete and I stayed together and brought in Derek Knight a great singer, to replace Neil as front man and vocalist. We reemerged with a new name. The Lovin' Kind and signed a management deal with Gordon Mills, Gordon also handled Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck.

The Lovin' Kind made three singles for the Pye / Piccadilly label. None of these records made any impression on the Top Twenty charts. Noel, feeling nothing was happening with the group, went back to Folkestone. A few weeks later Noel answered an ad in one of the music papers advertising a job playing guitar with Eric Burdon's Animals. But when Noel arrived for the audition he was told that the job had already gone. However that day Noel met an American guitarist - Jimi Hendrix - and he asked Noel to play bass with a new group he was forming with Mitch Mitchell. The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Meanwhile Lovin’ Kind drummer Pete Kircher moved on to join the band Honeybus who made the hit song "I Can't Let Maggie Go". Singer Derek Knight also followed a solo career and made a couple of records before becoming disillusioned. He also went back home to Folkestone. As for me, I was doing freelance work as a bass player doing sessions and live performances with artists such as The Walker Brothers, Cat Stevens and even Engelbert Humperdinck. It was at this time I first met Eric Dillon who was playing the drums for Engelbert. Eric would eventually become the drummer with Fat Mattress. 

In 1968 Noel Redding reappeared in London. Noel had been spending most of his time in America with Jimi Hendrix and being in between tours Noel had decided to do some recording with his old mates from Folkestone. He and Neil Landon had been writing songs together, although there was not enough material for an album. Also Noel had to return to America for another tour with Jimi Hendrix, so Neil Landon and myself got together and came up with the other songs when Noel got back to London in late 1968, we were nearly ready to go into the studio and record our first album.

The only problem was that Pete Kircher was unavailable for the sessions as he was tied up with Honeybus. So the three of us asked Eric Dillon to step in for Pete on so that was it, we had a band, we had the songs and now we had a name and the rest was up to us. As I remember, the first song we did was "All Night Drinker" written by Neil and myself, the track featured Mitch Mitchell on percussion and Chris Wood from Traffic playing flute. "All Night Drinker" set the tone for the record and other songs quickly followed and after ten nights in the studio the album was finished. At this point Chas Chandler offered his services to the group becoming our manager and future record producer. Chas was very confident he could get the band a major record deal.

In the spring of 1969,The Jimi Hendrix Experience were to undertake a ten week tour of North America and Fat Mattress were invited to open the show on some of the dates, so waving Englebert goodbye we set off on our new adventure. It was amazing! To suddenly find yourself in the places we'd only ever seen in the movies. New York. San Francisco even Hawaii. When the group came home in June 1969, Chas Chandler true to his word had secured a major record deal with Polydor Records. We signed a deal that summer and Fat Mattress were paid one of the biggest advances ever given at the time. 

Later that summer we were booked to play The Isle of Wight Festival with Bob Dylan topping the bill. After a series of onenighters and a tour of Germany Fat Mattress went back to America in their own right as headliners. It was during that tour the group imploded on itself and Noel Redding left the group. We were contracted to do another record for Polydor and Chas Chandler insisted that he produce the album "Fat Mattress II". Chas also suggested a replacement for Noel, and thus Canadian guitarist Steve Hammond joined the group. We also recruited the keyboard playing prowess of Mick Weaver also known as Wynder K. Frog and entered the studio to work on our second album.
by Jim Leverton, Whitstable. 2009


Tracks
1. All Night Drinker (Neil Landon, Jim Leverton) - 3:18
2. I Don't Mind (Neil Landon, Noel Redding) - 3:51
3. Bright New Day (Neil Landon, Jim Leverton) - 3:48
4. Petrol Pump Assistant (Neil Landon, Noel Redding) - 3:01
5. Mr. Moonshine (Neil Landon, Noel Redding) - 4:04
6. Magic Forest (Neil Landon, Jim Leverton) - 3:05
7. She Came in the Morning (Neil Landon) - 3:47
8. Everything's Blue (Noel Redding) - 2:50
9. Walking Through a Garden (Noel Redding) - 4:20
10.How Can I Live (Neil Landon, Noel Redding) - 4:26
11.Naturally (Neil Landon, Jim Leverton) - 3:02
12.Iridescent Butterfly (Neil Landon) - 3:42
13.Magic Forest (mono single version) (Neil Landon, Jim Leverton) - 2:57
14.Little Girl in White (Noel Redding) - 4:08
15.Eric the Red (Neil Landon, Jim Leverton, Noel Redding) - 2:57
16.Black Sheep of the Family (Steve Hammond) - 4:29
17.Hall of Kings (Neil Landon) - 5:34
18.Jim Leverton - Which Way to Go (Jim Leverton) - 3:34

Fat Mattress
*Noel Redding - Electric,  Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Hammond Organ, Vocals
*Neil Landon - Vocals, Percussion
*Jim Leverton - Bass, Electric guitar, Hammond Organ, Harpsichord, Vocals
*Eric Dillon - Drums,Tuned Percussion
Additional Musicians
*Mitch Mitchell - Percussion
*Chris Wood - Flute
*Jimi Hendrix - Percussion

1970  Fat Mattress - Fat Mattress II
Related Act
1967  Flower Pot Men - Let's Go To San Francisco
1972  Road - Road

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

LOU REED (March 2, 1942 – October 27, 2013)





Lou Reed, Velvet Underground Leader 
and Rock Pioneer, Dead at 71

Lou Reed, a massively influential songwriter and guitarist who helped shape nearly fifty years of rock music, died today. The cause of his death has not yet been released, but Reed underwent a liver transplant in May.

With the Velvet Underground in the late Sixties, Reed fused street-level urgency with elements of European avant-garde music, marrying beauty and noise, while bringing a whole new lyrical honesty to rock & roll poetry. As a restlessly inventive solo artist, from the Seventies into the 2010s, he was chameleonic, thorny and unpredictable, challenging his fans at every turn. Glam, punk and alternative rock are all unthinkable without his revelatory example. "One chord is fine," he once said, alluding to his bare-bones guitar style. "Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you're into jazz."

Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed was born in Brooklyn, in 1942. A fan of doo-wop and early rock & roll (he movingly inducted Dion into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989), Reed also took formative inspiration during his studies at Syracuse University with the poet Delmore Schwartz. After college, he worked as a staff songwriter for the novelty label Pickwick Records (where he had a minor hit in 1964 with a dance-song parody called "The Ostrich"). In the mid-Sixties, Reed befriended Welsh musician John Cale, a classically trained violist who had performed with groundbreaking minimalist composer La Monte Young. Reed and Cale formed a band called the Primitives, then changed their name to the Warlocks. After meeting guitarist Sterling Morrison and drummer Maureen Tucker, they became the Velvet Underground. With a stark sound and ominous look, the band caught the attention of Andy Warhol, who incorporated the Velvets into his Exploding Plastic Inevitable. "Andy would show his movies on us," Reed said. "We wore black so you could see the movie. But we were all wearing black anyway."

"Produced" by Warhol and met with total commercial indifference when it was released in early 1967, VU’s debut The Velvet Underground & Nico stands as a landmark on par with the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Bob Dylan's Blonde On Blonde. Reed's matter-of-fact descriptions of New York’s bohemian demimonde, rife with allusions to drugs and S&M, pushed beyond even the Rolling Stones’ darkest moments, while the heavy doses of distortion and noise for its own sake revolutionized rock guitar. The band’s three subsequent albums – 1968’s even more corrosive sounding White Light/White Heat, 1969’s fragile, folk-toned The Velvet Underground and 1970’s Loaded, which despite being recorded while he was leaving the group, contained two Reed standards, “Rock & Roll” and “Sweet Jane,” were similarly ignored. But they’d be embraced by future generations, cementing the Velvet Underground’s status as the most influential American rock band of all time.   
by Jon Dolan, October 27, 2013

Road - Road (1972 uk / us, stunning hard psych rock, with Noel Redding)



Formed in March 1972 by former Jimi Hendrix Experience bassist Noel Redding, in the aftermath of a debilitating fall at Frank Zappa’s home, this short-lived power trio also featured former Rare Earth guitarist Rod Richards and Redding’s Fat Mattress bandmate Leslie Sampson on drums. 

Their sole album is a crunching hard rock collection that was praised on release that July – but the band split soon afterwards, making it a lost piece of the jigsaw for Hendrix fans, and a must-hear for all lovers of proto-metal.


Tracks
1. I'm Trying (Rod Richards) - 6:33
2. I'm Going Down To The Country (Noel Redding) - 2:42
3. Mushroom Man (Rod Richards, Leslie Sampson) - 4:08
4. Man Dressed In Red (Noel Redding) - 7:00
5. Spaceship Earth (Rod Richards) - 3:28
6. My Friends (Noel Redding) - 6:17
7. Road (Rod Richards) - 9:29

Road
*Noel Redding - Bass, Vocals, Production
*Rod Richards - Guitar, Vocals
*Leslie Sampson - Drums, Vocals, Percussion

Related Act
1969-74  Rare Earth - Fill Your Head

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Fleetwood Mac - Then Play On (1969 uk, blues rock masterpiece, deluxe expanded 2013 edition)



A peculiar news bulletin appeared in the July 12th, 1969, edition of Rolling Stone: Two members of the British blues band Fleetwood Mac were  going to "put Christ on wax," as the headline put it. Singer-guitarists Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer planned to write and produce an "orchestral-choral LP" about the life of Jesus. "The record will be in addition to an album by the full band and a solo LP by Spencer," the report said, then quoted Spencer: "We believe in God, and this is a serious venture."

The Jesus LP was never made. But those few lines in Rolling Stone caught, in eerie miniature, the searching energies and mounting crisis — musical, spiritual, psychological — that soon shattered the classic bluespower Fleetwood Mac that created this record and the vital singles included in this reissue: Green, Spencer, singer-guitarist Danny Kirwan, bassist John McVie, and drummer Mick Fleetwood.

Then Play On was Fleetwood Mac's third studio album — and the only LP made in that lineup's supernova lifetime. Recorded in the late spring and summer of 1969, Then Play On was released in Britain and America that fall. A few months later, in May 1970, Green — Fleetwood Mac's founder and leader — left the band, citing religious convictions. "I want to lead a freer and more selfless life along Christian principles," he told Rolling Stone at the time. 

The guitarist, who was born Jewish, had also suffered traumatic experiences with LSD and was showing ominous signs of an illness eventually diagnosed as schizophrenia. Spencer and Kirwan were soon gone as well, the former to a Christian commune in Los Angeles in February, 1971. Kirwan, who was only 18 when he joined Fleetwood Mac in mid-1968, was fired in August, 1972, when his drinking and manic behavior became too much to bear. 

Fleetwood and McVie survived the chaos and ensuing personnel changes, carrying the band that Green named after them to a spectacular, multi-platinum rebirth, still going today.  "But the outcome of this album is not what we dreamed of," Fleetwood says now concerning the devastation that followed Then Play On. "I had no idea at the time of the hidden textures, the indicators that Peter was reaching out in songs like 'Before The Beginning' — that he was questioning what and who he was."

Born Peter Greenbaum in East London in 1946, Green was only 20 when he became Eric Clapton's successor in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. He quickly earned acclaim for his dynamic, melodically incisive approach to Chicago blues guitar, showcased on Mayall's 1967 album, A Hard Road. Green started Fleetwood Mac that summer. McVie also came from the Bluesbreakers. Fleetwood had played in white R’n’B groups, such as The Cheynes and Shotgun Express. And Spencer was a hot, teenaged slide guitarist with a special passion for Mississippi bluesman Elmore James.

By late 1968, Fleetwood Mac had two British hit albums, Fleetwood Mac and Mr. Wonderful, made before Kirwan joined. An early '69 single, Green's dreamy instrumental, "Albatross," went to Number One there. "You're going, 'How on earth did this happen?'" Fleetwood marvels. "We were having hits playing Elmore James. People are drinking their tea in the suburbs of Manchester, watching us on these pop TV shows, and they didn't know we were just doing the same music we played in the pubs."

Still just 23, Green quit Fleetwood Mac in the wake of astonishing work — arguably his best on record, given the troubles looming around the bend. Then Play On, the '69 two-part hit single "Oh Well," and the thrilling, tormented 1970 45 "The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown)" all capture the first-era Fleetwood Mac at their exploratory peak: blessed with protean guitar talent and inventing a highly personal, matured psychedelia while still grounded in Chicago and Mississippi blues. 

The album is also marked by a striking, whispered majesty — part day-glo country, part anguished prayer — in Green and Kirwan's delicately triggered ballads. Then Play On, issued in different, confusing U.K. and U.S. track sequences. The cover and title of Then Play On now come with more pathos than Green and Fleetwood intended. They named the record after the opening line in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, a prescription for healing, joy, and amorous comfort: "If music be the food of love, play on." The image spread across the gatefold sleeve — a naked young man riding a white horse — was an Art Nouveau mural by the English painter Maxwell Armfield, originally commissioned for the dining room of a London mansion.

The sessions for Then Play On began that April in London. Fleetwood Mac — an early pillar of the British blues revival imprint Blue Horizon — had a new major-label deal with Warner Bros., and were producing themselves. The engineer was Martin Birch, who continued to work with the band through the early '70s. (Birch was also about to start a long studio relationship with Deep Purple.) But the evolution out of the purism on Fleetwood Mac and Mr. Wonderful had been going on — and moving fast — since the summer of 1968, when the four-piece Mac toured the U.S. for the first time, appearing in psychedelic dancehalls like San Francisco's Carousel Ballroom and mixing with fellow travellers, in blues and roots, such as the Grateful Dead, The Byrds, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. 

The Fleetwood Mac that made this album did not survive its creation. But the dreams, drive, and truths in these songs, in the guitars — they play on, as Green intended. "Truly, as a musician, he was ready to move on," Fleetwood says. "The sad part is he didn't feel he could take us. But even when he formed Fleetwood Mac, there was this incredible focus, like making sure it was not his name on there: 'No, I want this to be your band.' I'm not so sure that Peter didn't have a vision that one day, when he left, he didn't want this thing to collapse.

"This was a man," Fleetwood says of his old friend, "who saw things that we could not imagine." And this was his gift, before saying goodbye.
by David Fricke, R. S.  June, 2013


Tracks
1. Coming Your Way (Danny Kirwan) - 3:44
2. Closing My Eyes - 4:50
3. Fighting For Madge (Mick Fleetwood) - 2:42
4. When You Say (Danny Kirwan) - 4:31
5. Showbiz Blues - 3:50
6. Underway - 3:04
7. One Sunny Day (Danny Kirwan) - 3:13
8. Although The Sun Is Shining (Danny Kirwan) - 2:25
9. Rattlesnake Shake - 3:29
10.Without You (Danny Kirwan) - 4:35
11.Searching For Madge (John Mcvie) - 6:55
12.My Dream (Danny Kirwan) - 3:31
13.Like Crying (Danny Kirwan) - 2:25
14.Before The Beginning - 3:29
15.Oh Well, Part 1 (Mono Single) - 3:22
16.Oh Well, Part 2 (Mono Single) - 5:39
17.The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown) (Single) - 4:36
18.World In Harmony (Single) (Danny Kirwan) - 3:26
All songs by Peter Green except where noted

Fleetwood Mac
*Peter Green - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica, Six String Bass, Violoncello
*Danny Kirwan - Vocals, Guitar
*John Mcvie - Bass Guitar
*Mick Fleetwood - Drums, Percussion
*Jeremy Spencer - Piano
Additional Personnel
*Christine Perfect - Piano
*Big Walter Horton - Harmonica

1967-71  Live At The BBC
1968-70  Show Biz Blues
1968-71  The Best Of Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac
1969  Shrine '69

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Plain Jane - Plain Jane (1969 us, fabulous country folk rock with sunny psych tinges)



Recorded at Hollywood's I.D. Sound Studios with Les Brown Jr. handling the production duties, 1969's "Plain Jane" was nothing short of fabulous.  Featuring ten original tracks with all four members contributing material, the album showcased a mesmerizing blend of late-1960s country-rock, pop, and psych influences. Full of killer songs and breath-taking, slightly stoned vocals, this overlooked gem spent weeks on my CD carousel.  

Hard to pick standouts since all ten tracks were worth hearing, but the opener 'Who's Drivin' This Train' sounded like Arlo Gurthrie and the Grateful Dead having graduated from the John Philips top-40 songwriting academy, while 'Not the Sam' combined CSN&Y vocal harmonies with some ballistic drumming and a cool psych feel.   If I had any complaints, it was that these guys lacked a distinctive sound of their own, though in borrowing bits and pieces from other groups they came up with a wonderful aural stew. 

They also created one of those albums that was a blast to crank up and play spot-the-influences. Okay, I'll add that 'Num-Bird' was too country-flavored for my tastes.   'You Can't Make It Alone' was what post-Monkees Michael Nesmith always yearned to sound like.  'That's How Much' sported an odd mock-English feel - hum, kinda' what Davy Jones always wanted to sound like ...  'Short Fairy Tale' added some tasty jazzy guitar licks to the mix.  And that was just side one.    All hyperbole aside this is a classic lost album just waiting to be discovered !!!  


Tracks
1. Who's Drivin' This Train? (Ray) - 2:57
2. You Can't Make It Alone (J. Schoenfeld) - 4:10
3. That's How Much (Gleicher) - 2:10
4. Short Fairy Tale (Gleicher) - 2:12
5. Not The Same (Schoenfeld) - 4:21
6. Num-Bird (Ray) - 2:58
7. What Can You Do? (Schoenfeld) - 2:35
8. Fire Hydrant (Ray) - 3:26
9. Silence (Gleicher) - 2:37
10. Mrs. Que (Ray) - 3:37

Plain Jane
*Barry Ray – Guitar, Vocals
*Don Gleicher – Guitar, Vocals
*David Schoenfeld – Drums
*Jerry Schoenfeld – Bass, Piano, Vocals

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Matching Mole - Matching Mole (1972 uk, marvelous prog rock, canterbury scene, japan remaster issue)



Robert Wyatt left Soft Machine in 1971 because of creative differences (he didn't want the band to completely abandon vocals) and decided to make a solo album. Wyatt was contractually obligated to Soft Machine's label (CBS) as a solo artist, and it was at the behest of CBS that Matching Mole was formed: CBS insisted that a band be created to support the solo album with a tour. Wyatt ended up making the band a permanent entity and thus Matching Mole (a play on machine molle, the French translation for "soft machine") was birthed. Given the genesis of the project, it should be no surprise that most of the music is Wyatt-penned.

The album is minor practically by definition — it's a disjointed, uneven mixture of experimental jazz improvisation and graceful, Beatles-esque melodic passages — but I think it is nevertheless quite successful. Most of the songs flow together and the first three have a suite-like unity. "O Caroline" is a beautiful Mellotron and piano piece that has an almost-convincing sincerity, although lyrics like "If you call this sentimental crap you'll make me mad / because you know that I would not sing about / some passing fad" reveal an obvious self-awareness. 

"Caroline" then morphs into the trippy "Instant Pussy," in which Wyatt's wordless vocals echo and float above a gentle, catchy bass riff. Groovy. Structure returns with "Signed Curtain," another fragile vocal tune where Wyatt's lyrics irreverently do nothing more than designate what part of the song he's singing: "This is the first verse... this is the chorus / or perhaps it's a bridge," and so on. I find it charming in Wyatt's singularly weird sort of way, though I'm sure it sounded more daring at the time than it does now.

Then we're off to experimental jazz fusion territory, albeit with an occasionally psychedelic bent that I suppose harks back to Wyatt's U.F.O Club days in Soft Machine when they shared the bill with Pink Floyd. "Part of the Dance" is Phil Miller's, and it shows — the piece is very proto-Hatfield and the North. It's probably my favorite of the instrumental jams. "Instant Kitten" and "Dedicated to Hugh, But You Weren't Listening" (a pun on an early Soft Machine song) are Wyatt compositions with psychedelic auras: the drones that make up the opening segment of "Dedicated To Hugh" are more Pink Floyd than Soft Machine.

Up until this point, I'd say that the album flirts with excellence. The final two tracks drag it down a bit, though. "Beer as Braindeer" and "Immediate Curtain" are free-form explorations of sound textures. In some respects, they resemble the similarly-minded material on the Can album Tago Mago (except here the impact is sweetened by Mellotron). This stuff isn't bad, but sequenced this way the flow of the album is disrupted. Tailing off as it does, Matching Mole is like a trip that I'm not sure really goes anywhere, even if the ride is often interesting.
by Matt P. 


Tracks
1. O Caroline (Sinclair, Wyatt) - 5:05
2. Instant Pussy - 2:59
3. Signed Curtain - 3:06
4. Part of the Dance (Miller) - 9:16
5. Instant Kitten - 4:58
6. Dedicated to Hugh, But You Weren't Listening - 4:39
7. Beer as in Braindeer - 4:02
8. Immediate Curtain - 5:57
All compositions by Robert Wyatt except where noted

Matching Mole
*Phil Miller - Guitar
*David Sinclair - Piano, Organ
*Bill Maccormick - Bass
*Robert Wyatt - Drums, Voice, Mellotron, Piano
Additional Musician
*Dave MacRae - Electric Piano

Related Acts
1968  Caravan - Caravan (Japan SHM remaster)  
1970  Caravan - If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You (Japan SHM remaster)
1971  Caravan - In The Land Of Grey And Pink (Japan SHM remaster)
1973  Caravan - For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night (Japan SHM remaster)
1974  Caravan - Caravan And The New Symphonia (Japan SHM remaster)
1975  Caravan - Cunning Stunts (Japan remaster)

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Terry Smith - Fall Out (1968 uk, superb jazz rock)


Terry Smith's rare late-'60s LP was an accomplished set that showcased his fluid, modern bop-influenced jazz guitar in both big band and small combo settings. Smith plays much in the style of American guitarists working in similar territory during the period, such as Wes Montgomery and Grant Green. The arrangements and playing by the backing musicians on this album, recorded in London, are a little stiffer than what you'll hear on most U.S. sessions, but they get the job done tastefully enough. 

The vibe gets a little more uninhibited on the two tracks featuring just Smith, organist Bob Stuckley, and drummer Chris Karen. As those two tracks ("Fall Out" and "Early Morning Groove") are the only two Smith originals, one suspects that this is the kind of material that was closest to his heart at the time. Otherwise most of the record is given to interpretations of standards, including "My Man's Gone Now," Cole Porter's "I Love You," and the Bacharach-David compositions "The Look of Love" and "Windows of the World." 

While pop star Scott Walker produced, there's no strong resemblance between this and the music Walker was recording at the time, though Walker did make suggestions regarding the material. 
by Richie Unterberger


Tracks
1. Morning Minor (Deuchar) - 6:00
2. The Look Of Love (Bacharach, David) - 4:48
3. Early Morning Groove (Smith) - 3:54
4. My Man's Gone Now (Gershwin, Hayward) - 4:54
5. I Love You (Porter) - 1:59
6. Windows Of The World (Bacharach, David) - 4:49
7. Fall Out (Smith) - 4:07
8. Harry's Theme (South) - 4:07

Musicians
*Terry Smith - Guitar
*Gordon Beck - Piano
*Greg Bowen - Trumpet
*Les Condon - Trumpet
*Tony Fisher - Trumpet
*Chris Karen - Drums
*Jim Lawless - Marimba, Soloist, Vibraphone
*Don Lusher - Trombone
*Ron Mathewson - Bass
*Ronnie Ross - Baritone Sax
*Ronny Stephenson - Drums
*Bob Stuckley - Organ
*Ray Warleigh - Flute, Alto Sax
*Derek Watkins - Trumpet
*Kenny Wheeler - Flugelhorn, Trumpet
*Roy Willox - Flute, Alto Sax
*Bob Effort - Tenor Sax
*Deniz Lopez - Percussion
*Peter Ahern - Percussion

Related Act
1974  Zzebra - Zzebra

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Monday, October 21, 2013

America - America (1971-72 us, brilliant country folk rock with gorgeous vocal harmonies, Hybrid SACD 2013 edition)



America's debut album is a folk-pop classic, a stellar collection of memorable songs that would prove influential on such acts as the Eagles and Dan Fogelberg. Crosby, Stills & Nash are the group's obvious stylistic touchstone here, especially in the vocal harmonies used (compare the thick chordal singing of "Sandman" and "Children" to CS&N's "You Don't Have to Cry" and "Guinevere") and the prominent use of active strummed acoustic guitar arrangements (contrast "Riverside" to CS&N's "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes"). 

America's intricate interplay of acoustic guitar textures is more ambitious than that of their influences, however. Performance quality is usually good, though on occasion sloppily executed or out of tune (especially on the openings to "Donkey Jaw" and "I Never Found the Time"). Lengthy instrumental introductions ("Donkey Jaw"), middle improvisatory interludes ("Here"), and closings ("Clarice") are frequently encountered. Most of these selections boast highly unusual and inventive chord progressions that work well without drawing undue attention to themselves.

 Lyrics are sometimes trite ("I need you/Like the flower needs the rain") or obscure ("He flies the sky/Like an eagle in the eye/Of a hurricane that's abandoned"), but the music more than makes up for any verse problems; only the odd "Pigeon Song" seems an unsalvageable misstep. Sound quality here has a covered, intimate feel that lends a ghostly aura to this release. 

Chart hits from this album include the spectrally loping "A Horse with No Name," the squarishly tuneful "I Need You," and the nervously dour "Sandman." Other highlights include the buoyantly charming "Three Roses," the yearningly lovely "Rainy Day," and the quietly ringing "Clarice." In spite of its flaws, this platter is very highly recommended. 
by David Cleary


Tracks
1. Riverside (Dewey Bunnell) - 3:03
2. Sandman (Bunnell) - 4:08
3. Three Roses (Bunnell) - 3:54
4. Children (Bunnell) - 3:07
5. A Horse With No Name (Bunnell) - 4:10
6. Here (Gerry Beckley) - 5:30
7. I Need You (Beckley) - 3:05
8. Rainy Day (Dan Peek) - 2:55
9. Never Found The Time (Peek) - 3:50
10.Clarice (Beckley) - 4:01
11.Donkey Jaw (Peek) - 5:17
12.Pigeon Song (Bunnell) - 2:18

Musicians
*Gerry Beckley – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Chimes, Piano
*Dewey Bunnell – Vocals, Guitars
*Dan Peek – Vocals, Guitars, Piano, Bass
*Dave Atwood – Drums
*Ray Cooper – Percussion
*Kim Haworth – Drums
*David Lindley – Electric Guitar

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Triangle - Now How Blue Cow (1969 us, fascinating blue collar cream western blues rock, 2012 issue)



The Triangle  came together in El Paso, Texas and fused a good sound. Good enough to take to LA so they brought it with them when they came. They brought it to the Galaxy on the Sunset Stnp.

I was the guitar player/vocalist on the Triangle album and it was a remarkable outing. It got a five star rating in Billboard in June 1969 (Neil Young got four and a half), but was never supported with quantities or promotion.

I spelled my name at the time Carelli for simplicity. The drummer, Ty Grimes went on to play for Ricky Nelson and left the group right before the plane crash that killed all members.

The bass player went on to engineer/produce many hits including "Freebird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Leo Sayer hits. The Triangle album was also co-produced by Chris Huston, an Englishman who produced some Led Zeppelin albums."
by Michael Carelli 


Tracks
1. Music Music (T. Grimes) - 2:48
2. 99 1/2 (Picket, Cropper, Flody) - 2:54
3. Torn  Down (T. Grimes) - 3:41
4. Now She's Gone (Daniels, Fuller) - 2:24
5. Short Stuff (T. Grimes) - 1:59
6. Stop Leading Me On (T. Grimes) - 3:18
7. Magic Touch (T. Daryll) - 3:01
8. Lucille (Penniman, Colllins) - 2:22
9. Love Me Thru The Night (T. Grimes) - 4.48
10.Try Harder (T. Grimes) - 2:34
11.Rolling Stone (T. Grimes) - 2:51

The Triangle
*Michael “Chick” Carelli – Vocals,  Guitar
*Ty Grimes - Drums
*Howard J. Steel II - Bass

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Foxx - The Revolt of Emily Young (1970 us, beautiful sunny melodic psych)



By the late-1960s Buzz Cason was quite a powerhouse in the music industry. He'd been a founding member of Nashville's The Casuals, recorded as a member of The Statues, and enjoyed solo success under the pseudonym 'Garry Miles'.

Together with Bobby Russell he was a prolific writer, ran a publishing company (Russell-Cason Music) and headed a record company (Rising Sons). He also enjoyed success as a back up singer, and as the owner and operator of Creative Workshop recording studios. Against that backdrop Cason further stretched his horizons via 1970's "The Revolt of Emily Young A Rock Novella By Buzz Cason and Pepper Martin."

A concept album co-written by singer/guitarist Pepper Martin, the collection was produced by Cason and credited to the studio band Foxx (consisting of bassist Butch Bourque, former Livin' End drummer Little Joe Martin, singer/rhythm guitarist Martin, and well known studio pro Al Perkins on lead guitar). This is one of those early-197s albums that's been largely lost to audiences. Judging by the number of reviews you'll find, it's even escaped notice from hardcore collectors with the few on-line reviews tending to be brief and somewhat critical.

That's unfortunate since the set was actually quite enjoyable and innovative in its own way.. Yeah, it was clearly a product of a certain timeframe and parts of the set haven't aged all that well (other than wine, few things do), but it's one of those albums that grows on you the more you listen to it. Like many concept pieces, the plotline to this one was a little vague to my ears, but seemed to follow the birth, childhood, and brief life of namesake Emily Young (along with her impact on family and friends). Songs got you from birth through early adulthood where Emily left home in order to hitchhike across the country.

Following Emily's spiritual search ('Opus Epyllion (The Age Of Light)'), downfall ('Flight Termination'), and death ('Just Another Village Incident'). Kind of a bummer ending ... Still, musically the set was quite good. Pepper had one of those chameleon-like voices that was equally at home on country-tinged material ('Into Something Real'), hard rock ('Rock Jock Bobby Sloan'), pop (the Beach Boys-styled harmony rich 'Rebecca's Prayer'), and even sunshine psych flourishes ('Sunshine Children').

Though never a flashy player, Perkins turned in nice leads when required - check out his solo on 'Flight Termination'. All-in-all quite enjoyable and something that sunshine pop fans would certainly clamor to hear. Even better, it's still quite affordable.


Tracks
1. New Bethel Awakening - 3:32
2. Rebecca's Prayer - 2:15
3. Doctor John - 2:13
4. Sunshine Children - 2:38
5. Rock Jock Bobby Sloan - 0:28
6. In the Garden - 3:04
7. Syndrome of Change - 3:19
8. Highway Children - 4:30
9. Into Something Real - 3:28
10.Opus Epyllion (The Age of Light)  - 3:20
11.Flight Termination  - 3:53
12.Just Another Village Incident - 3:54
13.Last Words - 2:29
14.New Bethel Awakening II - 2:15
15.The Revolt of Emily Young - 1:14
All compositions by Buzz Cason and Little Joe Martin

Foxx
*Pepper Martin - Guitar, Vocals
*Al Perkins - Guitar, Vocals
*Butch Bourque - Bass, Vocals
*Little Joe Martin - Drums, Vocals
Supporting Musician
*Buzz Cason (aka James Cason) - Keyboards

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Earth Island - We Must Survive (1970 us, wonderful psychedelia, 2012 Aurora issue)



Hello, my name is Billy Gene Liska and I was surprised to discover my album on so many web. sites for sale. I played lead guitar and vocals and co wrote the songs. We were not a canadian band, we were from hollywood california and bassist Skip Battin did not play on the album. The album was recorded at “Larabee Studios” in hollywood in the coarse of two weeks. That was our first time in a recording studio,1969. I haven’t been in touch with the other guys in many years. Richard Vanderwoerdt passed away in 1974. Richard and I were renting a house in Long Beach California and one day he was out on his bike and was killed. Richard wrote shortly before his death called “I See Love In Your Eyes”. It can be heard at, search Grey Beard Bandit. 
Cheers, Billy Gene Liska

Originally issued in June 1970,pressing Philips (PHS 600-340) - US, at a time when rock music was beginning to embrace ecological themes,sole album was produced by Kim Fowley. Touching on rock, psychedelia and sunshine pop, it boasts fine vocal harmonies throughout, and makes is (by some estimates ) genuine pearl period of dawn psychedelic rock . The sounds of tracks on the album, reproduced perfectly and clearly bring to mind the best moments of creative collaboration such classics as Curt Boettcher psychedelia ( especially his voice) and Gary Usher . 

Main Earth People's Park , with its symphonic moments of the rhythm , like the heartbeat , a bit like Brian Wilson's performance , as well as some more complex Ride The Universe. Also noteworthy strong and smooth vocals, often even in choral singing , visible in most songs and fundamental intertwining harmonies that not all the performers at the time managed to get so easily . In addition to these songs on the album yet to be noted and This Island Earth, which, together with them is the main theme of full length , one might even say , a certain concept . In general , if someone prefer to enjoy the music of the psychedelic light style 60 - ies of the last century, with hints of early pop music and progressive,that this album should be strongly recommended .

As any good album should do, the opening tracks are winners. "Earth People's Park" takes a little of Brian Wilson's pocket symphony idea to heart with it's multiple sections, as does the somewhat harder rocking "Ride the Universe." Forsaking straight up lead vocals, most of the songs rely on a weave of harmonies that compare favorably with just about anyone else. The first bump in the road is probably with "This Island Earth," where the band unfortunately takes on the opportunity to sing the title in a ludicrously rising chorus. It might just be that images of the wonderfully cheesy movie of the same name are filtering through my head. Things get back on track with the ever-so-slightly morose "Doomsday Afternoon" (I'd expect something a little more hardcore with that title). Highlights later on the disc include the entertaining hippie nightmare, "Mother Earth Is a Beautiful Lover," which spins through both waltz time and a chilled version of a garage rock . Earth Island manages that tinge of melancholy that really takes the music to a higher level.
by Adamus67


Tracks
1. Earth People's Park (W. Liska, Richard Vanderwoerdt) - 3:22
2. Civilization, I Can't Hear A Word (W. Liska) - 2:15
3. Ride The Universe (Nicholas Rush, W. Liska, Richard Vanderwoerdt) - 3:52
4. Seasons Of Our Lives (Richard Vanderwoerdt,  C. B. Doshier, S. Vanderwoerdt) - 2:45
5. This Island Earth (W. Liska, Richard Vanderwoerdt) - 2:30
6. Doomsday Afternoon (J. Poults) - 2:03
7. Ashes, Ashes All Fall Down (R. Tyson) - 3:06
8. Greatest Adventure Of Our Lives (N. Rush) - 3:15
9. Peace And Understanding, Toronto 1970 (N. Rush) - 2:39
10.Mother Earth Is A Beautiful Lover (W. Liska) - 3:47
11.The Hungry Planet (Skip Battin, Kim Fowley) - 1:48
12.Save Our World, We Must Survive (Skip Battin, Kim Fowley) - 1:37

Earth Island
*Bruce Doshier - Lead Guitar, Flute, Vocals
*Bill Liska - Guitar, Vocals
*Richard Vanderwoerdt - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Nicholas Rush - Drums, Vocals

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tee And Cara - As They Are (1968 us, lovely orchestrated sunny folk, 2009 remaster)



Tee and Cara were a boy/girl duo whose light flickered brilliantly for this album before fading altogether. They were innocent of the workings of the music industry and, apparently, greatly disliked the instrumentation that was added to this album without their involvement.

The duo were probably right considering that the string arrangements do intrude too much in places, though the woodwinds add pleasing texture and depth. Despite this, though, Tee & Cara’s own songs emerge triumphantly, building through the album to a very fine four-track culmination in Waiting List, I Don’t Think I Know Her, Just Thinkin’ and Nothing To You.

This 1968 New York recording, then, is truly worthy of the oft-misused “buried treasure” tag, defying exact characterisation other than resting in an early folkish singersongwriter vein. Delicate covers of A Hard Day’s Night and I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’ add well to the whole absolutely delightful package.
by Kingsley Abbott


Tracks
1. Don't Ask Me Why - 2:48
2. Keeping Track (C. Beckenstein) - 4:59
3. Steppin' In Time (C. Beckenstein) - 2:26
4. A Hard Day's Night (Lennon, McCartney) - 3:08
5. Fragment - 1:37
6. I Got Plenty Of Nuttin' (I. Gershwin, G. Gershwin, D. Hayward) - 2:12
7. Waiting List - 2:55
8. I Don't Think I Know Her (T. Sapoff, C. Beckenstein) - 2:47
9. Just Thinkin' - 3:45
10.Nothing To You - 3:56
All songs by Tee Sapoff except where indicated.

Musicians
*Cara Beckenstein - Vocals, Piano, Guitar
*Tee Sappof - Vocals, Guitar

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Monday, October 14, 2013

MC5 - Kick Out The Jams (1969 us, superb classic raw 'n' roll, 2013 japan SHM remaster)



There is no way to get at the music without taking the whole context of the music too - there is no separation. We say the MC5 is the solution to the problem of separation, because they are so together. The MC5 is totally committed to the revolution, as the revolution is totally committed to driving people out of their separate shells and into each other's arms.

I'm talking about unity, brothers and sisters, because we have to get it together. We are the solution to the problem, if we will be just that. If we can feel it, LeRoi Jones said, 'feeling predicts intelligence." The MC5 will make you feel it, or leave the room. The MC5 will drive you crazy out of your head into your body. The MC5 is rock and roll. Rock and roll is the music of our bodies, or our whole lives - the resensifier, Rob Tyner calls it. We have to come together people, "Build to a gathering," or else. Or else you are dead, and gone.

The MC5 will bring you back to your senses from wherever you have been taken to hide. They are bad. Their whole lives are totally given to this music. They are a whole thing. They are a working model of the new paleocybernetic culture in action. There is no separation. They love together to work together, they eat together, fuck together, get high together, walk down the street and through the world together. There is no separation. Just as their music will bring you together like that, if you hear it. If you will live it. And we will make sure you hear it; because we know you need it as bad as we do. We have to have it.

The music is the source and effect of our spirit flesh. The MC5 is the source and effect of the music, just as you are. Just as I am. Just to hear the music and have it be our selves, is what we want. What we need. We are a lonely desperate people, pulled apart be the killer forces of capitalism and competition, and we need the music to hold us together. Separation is doom. We are free men, and we demand a free music, a free high energy source that will drive us wild into the streets of America yelling and screaming and tearing down everything that would keep people slaves.

The MC5 is that force. The MC5 is the revolution, in all its applications. There is no separation. Everything is everything. There is no thing to fear. The music will make you strong, as it is strong, and there is no way it can be stopped now. All power to the people! The MC5 is here now for you to hear and see and feel now! Give it up - come together - get down, brothers and sisters, it's time to testify, and what you have here in your hands is a living testimonial to the absolute power and strength of these men. Go wild! The word is yours! Take it now, and be one with it! Kick out the jams, motherfucker!

And stay alive with the MC5!
by John Sinclair, from original album notes, Friday, December 13th 1968. 


Tracks
1. Ramblin' Rose (Fred Burch, Marijohn Wilkin) - 4:15
2. Kick Out The Jams - 2:52
3. Come Together - 4:29
4. Rocket Reducer No. 62 (Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa) - 5:41
5. Borderline - 2:45
6. Motor City Is Burning  (Al Smith) - 6:04
7. I Want You Right Now (Colin Frechter, Larry Page) - 5:31
8. Starship (MC5, Sun Ra) - 8:15
All songs written and composed by MC5 except as stated.

MC5
*Rob Tyner – Lead Vocals
*Wayne Kramer – Lead, Rhythm Guitar, Lead Vocals (Ramblin' Rose)
*Fred "Sonic" Smith – Rhythm,  Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Michael Davis – Bass, Backing Vocals
*Dennis Thompson – Drums

1970  Back In The USA (Japan SHM)
1971  High Time (2013 Japan SHM)

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Question Mark And The Mysterians - The Best Of (1966-67 us, magnificent garage psych rhythm 'n' beat, 2005 remaster)



Like so many rock 'n' roll classics -"Satisfaction," "Layla," "Whole Lotta Love," "Purple Haze," "Johnny B. Goode"- ? and the Mysterians' 1966 smasheroo "96 Tears" begins with a riff that drills into your cranium and, once implanted, never, ever leaves. And why would you want it to? It's the perfect riff for the perfect three-minute, badass lock 'n' roll song.

But "96 Tears" isn't like those other riff-o-matics. For starters, the guitar sits this one out; this tadically radiant riff is dispensed via that most soulful of seemingly long-lost instruments, the venerable organ. And that opening burst of austere insanity- a staccato sputter of eighth notes, all two of them tepeated ad infinitum- is only the beginning. No sooner has it stunned you into instantaneous acceptance of its immortality than it morphs into another unbearably mind-numbing riff of equal enormity. The song could end right there and you'd die happier for having heard it.

Then comes that voice:
"Too many teardrops for one heart to be cryin'/Too many teardrops for one heart to catry on." Whoa. This guy sounds desperate, vulnerable. He's hurting like hell since she left him; she's even laughing at him! You feel his pain and you're hooked. You've got to stay tuned to see if he's gonna crack.

Nope, he's tough, defiant; he's got himself together now—he's not so much singing as sneering He may be down but soon things will be different: "And when the sun comes up/I'll be on top/You'll be way down there/Lookin' up." Is that a threat or a mere prediction? No matter; she's gonna be the one bawling before this is all over, you just watch and see: "Ninety-six tears, c'mon and lemme hear you cry, now/Ninety-six rears (whoo!)/I wanna hear you cry/Night and day, yeah, all night long."

What is this? Who is this? "96 Tears"? What an odd name for a song, you're thinking. And the gtoup singing it is called—huh?—? and the Mysterians ? The singer is a punctuation mark ? You've gotta be kidding me. Is he a strange visitor from another planet or somethin' ? Well, since you asked...  The man who calls himself?, you see, was born on Mars. He's been around since the dinosaurs and regularly has conversations with The People From The Future. He's been famous for several lifetimes and his band, he once said, "came together out of the clear blue sky."

Not buying it? Try this earthly version then: He may or may not have been born Rudy Martinez circa 1945, in Texas. And he probably did his growing up in the Saginaw, Michigan area where the band -most of them transplanted Chicano Texans- really formed.

There are two sides to every story, after all. But ? -and yes, that's his legal name- ain't giving anything away. That's part of the mystique, like the perma-shades that blot out the King of Attitude's eyes. If he told you more about himself, he wouldn't be much of a question mark, now, would he?

So we'll be the designated bean-spillers. The nucleus of the original band –bassist Larry Borjas, drummer Robert Martinez and guitarist Bobby Balderrama- took up rockin' circa 1962. Keyboard player Frank Rodriguez was soon added and before long the band was cranking out tunes by the Ventures and the like.

They named themselves after a 1957 Japanese sci-fi movie in which alien Mysterians from the planet Mysteroid land on Earth looking to mate with our women. That's where ? comes in. Around '64, he just appeared, a dancing, snarling enigma, declaring himself the Mysterians' new vocalist and suggesting that the others take names like X, Y and Z to maintain their inscrutability (they passed on the offer). By then Robert (spies swear he's ?'s brother) and Larry had found new lives in the military, replaced by Eddie Serrato (?'s brother-in-law) on drums and Frank Lugo on bass.

The now-solid lineup cut a couple of records that went nowhere. Then came "96 Tears," which began its ascension to garage band eminence one day when Rodriguez began noodling on his keyboard. (And get this, trivia fans: Contrary to long-standing assumptions, Frank played the omnipotent riff on a Thomas organ, not a Farfisa, as is so often assumed.) ? once told this writer how the song materialized from the depths of his subconscious: "As soon as Frank hit the first chord, I said, 'We can't use that because I've heard it before.' We were all trying to figure out where we'd heard it. Then I realized that I wrote the song a long time ago." ? had called his composition, which he'd penned as much as four years earlier, "Too Many Teardrops."

Guitarist Bobby Balderrama picks up the story: "? started singing it, and then Eddie said, 'We should give it a number, like how many teardrops?' He said, 'Let's call it "69 Tears.'" I was only 15 at the time, but I knew what that meant. So he said, 'Let's turn the numbers around.' And so we went with that." In March of 1966, ? and the Mysterians shuffled into a makeshift studio in Bay City, Michigan, and cut "96 Tears" and its B-side, "Midnight Hour." The band's manager, Lilly Gonzales, issued approximately 750 copies on her own Pa-Go-Go Records label, and ? himself began promoting it, calling radio stations and visiting record shops all over Michigan.

After several months the single had stirred enough local buzz that Cameo-Parkway Records, a label that had logged dozens of hits by the likes of Bobby Rydell, Dee Dee Sharp and Chubby Checker earlier in the '60s, picked up the distribution, re-releasing the single on its Cameo imprint. (? claims he went with Cameo because the label was orange, his favorite color. More probably, Neil Bogart, then vice president of the company, cut a deal with Gonzales.)

Long story short: By the end of October, the quintet had laid claim to the number one single in America. Not to mention a bona fide rock 'n' roll anthem that forever raised the bar for rock 'n' roll anthems. "96 Tears" marked the last major hit for Cameo Parkway, certainly its last chart topper. It's also the only song that most people associate with ? and the Mysterians.

But that wasn't all, folks, and now, finally, all of the group's amazing slabs of pure teenage Tex-Mex bliss can be found in one place. What you've got here are 27 pristine examples of unadorned, unadulterated dementia: the entire contents of the two albums ? and the Mysterians spewed out for Cameo, 96 Tears and Action, the non-LP single "Do Something To Me'V'Love Me Baby (Cherry July)," and two previously unreleased tracks, an early, slower and bluesier take of "96 Tears" and an outtake of "Midnight Hour"—both in glamorous stereo!

? and the Mysterians did manage to place another three singles on the charts in '66-'67. "I Need Somebody," which led off that debut album and now christens our collection, made it to number 22 in Billboard. It's another cocky garageland masterwork, inexplicably inserted "Mary Had A Little Lamb" funky organ lick and all. "We weren't too far from Motown," says Balderrama of the song, "and I think we were trying to get that funky style."

Following the opener, the group immediately struts its versatility, rolling through a set of incessantly hyper tunes like the boss "8 Teen" (no relation to the later Alice Cooper hit), "You're Telling Me Lies" and "Why Me" (with Tony Orlando singing background!). We're talking classic lusty, R&B-driven snot-nosed punk all the way here, yet there's an undetlying tenderness in ?'s vocals, belying his crusty demeanor.  He's that kinda guy.

By the time the Mysterians recorded their second album, rock had grown fuzzier - heavier, as they said back then. ? was in the vanguard, as amply demonstrated in "Girl (You Captivate Me)," the early '67 single that hinted at a proto-Detroit rock sound that would shortly be taken to extremes by the likes of the Stooges and the MC5. There's more upfront bass; louder, more depraved guitar;  ?'s vocal is chewier- things are getting more mind-blowing by the minute. "Can't Get Enough Of You, Baby," which preceded "Girl" by a few months, was virtually a "96 Tears" clone, although  ?'s vocals swim in a sea of reverb. 

There are nods to the soul and pop sounds of the day. "Got To" borrows a page from the Otis Redding soul book, while the band's cover of the Isley Brothers' "Shout" rivals any of the hundreds of other versions recorded back then. "Do Something To Me" borders on bubblegum and preceded Tommy James' hit version by a year. ? and the Mysterians didn't hold on for long. Cameo-Parkway soon scaled back operations and although the band recorded for other labels in various guises, by 1968 they were through. Some of the musicians stayed active through the years but it wasn't until the late 1990s that the original members of? and the Mysterians returned to conquer the world for a second time, making new recordings and performing killer live shows. 

The lucky ones who witnessed them reported that the band was every bit as nutso as it was in '66. It was, they said, enough to make a believer cry -cry, cry, cry. Whoo!- 96 tears.
by Jeff Tamarkin, 2005


Tracks
1. I Need Somebody - 2:15
2. Stormy Monday (B. Eckstine, E. Hines, R. Crowder) - 2:27
3. You're Telling Me Lies (B. Balderrama, E. Serrato, F. Lugo,  F. Rodriguez, R. Martinez) - 2:31
4. Ten O'Clock (B. Balderrama, E. Serrato, F. Lugo,  F. Rodriguez, R. Martinez) - 2:13
5. Set Aside (B. Balderrama, E. Serrato, F. Lugo,  F. Rodriguez, R. Martinez) - 3:03
6. Up Side (B. Balderrama, E. Serrato, F. Lugo,  F. Rodriguez, R. Martinez) - 2:53
7. '8' Teen (B. Balderrama, E. Serrato, F. Lugo,  F. Rodriguez, R. Martinez) - 2:48
8. Don't Tease Me (B. Balderrama, E. Serrato, F. Lugo,  F. Rodriguez, R. Martinez) - 1:41
9. Don't Break This Heart Of Mine (B. Balderrama, E. Serrato, F. Lugo,  F. Rodriguez, R. Martinez) - 1:55
10.Why Me (B. Balderrama, E. Serrato, F. Lugo,  F. Rodriguez, R. Martinez) - 1:38
11.Midnight Hour - 2:38
12.96 Tears - 2:58
13.Girl (You Captivate Me) (A. Dischel, J. Di Francesca) - 2:17
14.Can't Get Enough Of You, Baby (D. Randell, S. Linzer) - 1:57
15.Got To - 2:22
16.I'll Be Back - 2:02
17.Shout (Part 1 and 2) (Isley Brothers) - 5:31
18.Hangin' On A String (Gloria Shane, J. Darrow) - 2:15
19.Smokes - 1:52
20.It's Not Easy - 2:43
21.Don't Hold It Against Me (B. Ross, L. Crane) - 1:57
22.Just Like A Rose (Jason Darrow) - 2:10
23.Do You Feel It - 2:25
24.Do Something To Me (J. Calvert, N. Marzano, P. Naumann) - 2:37
25.Love Me Baby (Cherry July) (B. Balderrama, F. Lugo,  F. Rodriguez, R. Martinez) - 3:03
26.Midnight Hour (Unreleased Version) - 2:30
27.96 Tears (Unreleased Version) - 3:03
All songs by Rudy Martinez except where stated.

? And The Mysterians
*Question Mark - Lead Vocal
*Bobby Balderrama - Guitar
*Frank Lugo - Bass (except Tracks 11, 12, 26 - 27)
*Frank Rodriguez - Organ
*Eddie Serrato – Drums
With
*Tony Orlando On Harmony Vocal (Track 10)
*Fernando Aguilar - Bass (Tracks 11 - 12)

Free Text