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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Kensington Market - Avenue Road (1968 canada, excellent baroque psychedelia with r 'n b touches)



Kensington Market (named after a street market in the city’s west side) was formed initially to promote the song writing talents of English-born Keith McKie (b. 20 November 1947, St Albans).

McKie’s musical abilities first came to prominence after his family had emigrated to Sault Ste. Marie in northwest Ontario in 1953 when he began singing in local church choirs. Learning the guitar in his teens, he formed his first band, the Shades, with fellow guitarist Bobby Yukich.

When the Shades broke up, McKie and Yukich next pieced together the Vendettas with three members of rival group, Ronnie Lee and the Five Sharps - sax player John Derbyshire, drummer Bob Yeomans and bass player Alfred Johns, who soon made way for Alex Darou (b. 6 January 1943, Sault Ste. Marie), a former student at the Oscar Peterson School in Toronto.

Several years older than the others, Darou had recently come off the road with a jazz trio helmed by Geordie MacDonald, later drummer with Neil Young’s short-lived group Four To Go. Darou’s intellect and musical abilities had a profound influence on the rest of the band and Keith McKie in particular. “Alex taught us a lot about feels and jazz and kinda got us really aware of time,” says McKie about his future Kensington Market band mate.

In the summer of 1965, the Vendettas accepted an invitation to audition for singer Ronnie Hawkins, who’d been passed the group’s tapes by Mary Jane Punch, a female fan studying in Toronto. The promise of a deal with the singer’s Hawk Records never materialised but the band did get to play some dates on the local bar circuit. By this point, John Derbyshire had made way for Toronto University music graduate, Scott Cushnie. An accomplished pianist, Cushnie ended up playing with Aerosmith’s road band during the 1970s. Towards the end of the year, Bob Yeomans also moved on to join the A-Men, and was replaced by a 15-year-old drummer from Thunder Bay named Ted Sherrill.

Returning to Toronto the following spring, the band gigged regularly at Boris’ Red Gas Room and during June 1966 recorded two McKie-Yukich songs - ‘Hurt’ c/w ‘You Don’t Care Now’ for a prospective single. For some reason, however, the single never materialised, prompting Alex Darou’s departure for New York to work with David Clayton-Thomas. The group never really recovered from losing its inspirational bass player, and although Wayne Cardinal from Satan and the D-Men came to the rescue, McKie’s thoughts turned towards forging a new musical path, one where he could promote his increasingly introspective and anecdotal songs.

Such an opportunity arose in the spring of 1967 when aspiring rock manager Bernie Finkelstein approached McKie and offered to build a group around him. Finkelstein was on the look out to launch a new, progressive band after selling his interests in the Paupers to Bob Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman. In fact, it had been Paupers’ guitarist and lead singer, Adam Mitchell, who’d first told him about Keith McKie and encouraged him to check out the talented singer/songwriter.

“At one point I was living with Steve Gervais, who was later a successful actor, in a station wagon and he wanted to be my manager,” says McKie. “But it seemed like Bernie was the better deal. In retrospect, and in spite of the fact that Bernie was really good, I probably should have stayed with the guy I was with at the time because it would have been more fun in the long run and more organic. Bernie had a lot of experience and that was probably a smart move to make if you were being a business person.”

First on the list for the new band was Gene Martynec (b. 28 March 1947, Coburg, Germany), a brilliant guitarist with a Polish/Ukrainian background, who’d recently quit local folk/rock band, Bobby Kris & the Imperials after two singles for Columbia Records.
by Nick Warburton


Tracks
1. I Would Be The One (Keith McKie) - 2:37
2. Speaking Of Dreams (Luke Gibson) - 2:26
3. Colour Her Sunshine (Keith McKie)  - 3:00
4. Phoebe (Gene Martynec) - 3:38
5. Aunt Violet's Knee (Keith McKie)  - 4:21
6. Coming Home Soon (Keith McKie) - 2:45
7. Presenting Myself Lightly (Gene Martynec)  - 2:15
8. Looking Glass (Keith McKie) - 3:21
9. Beatrice (Gene Martynec) - 2:20
10.Girl Is Young  (Keith McKie) - 3:08

Kensington Market
*Alex Darou - Bass
*Keith McKie - Guitar, Vocals
*Jimmy Watson - Drums, Sitar
*Gene Martynec - Guitar, Piano, Vocals,
*Luke Gibson - Vocals, Guitar

1969  Kensington Market - Aardvark (2nd album)

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Tim Hardin - Painted Head (1972 us, elegant passionate psych folk, japan remaster)



A gentle, soulful singer who owed as much to blues and jazz as folk, Tim Hardin produced an impressive body of work in the late '60s without ever approaching either mass success or the artistic heights of the best singer/songwriters. 

When future Lovin' Spoonful producer Erik Jacobsen arranged for Hardin's first recordings in the mid-'60s, Hardin was no more than an above-average white blues singer, in the mold of many fellow folkys working the East Coast circuit. By the time of his 1966 debut, however, he was writing confessional folk-rock songs of considerable grace and emotion. The first album's impact was slightly diluted by incompatible string overdubs (against Hardin's wishes), but by the time of his second and best LP, he'd achieved a satisfactory balance between acoustic guitar-based arrangements and subtle string accompaniment. 

It was the lot of Hardin's work to achieve greater recognition through covers from other singers, such as Rod Stewart (who did "Reason to Believe"), Nico (who covered "Eulogy to Lenny Bruce" on her first album), Scott Walker (who sang "Lady Came From Baltimore"), Fred Neil ("Green Rocky Road" has been credited to both him and Hardin), and especially Bobby Darin, who took "If I Were a Carpenter" into the Top Ten in 1966. 

Beleaguered by a heroin habit since early in his career, Hardin's drug problems became grave in the late '60s; his commercial prospects grew dimmer, and his albums more erratic, although he did manage to appear at Woodstock. 

In 1973 he released a totaly different album, one of his rarest and most interesting recordings.  For such an accomplished songwriter to record an album of all covers always makes for a compelling project.  Hardin doesn’t disappoint on this 1973 album.  The covers are esoteric and show his various influences from Randy Newman to Jesse Winchester with nods along the way to Willie Dixon and Badfinger.  It looks strange on paper, but he makes it work. 
 
His end was not a pretty one: due to accumulated drug and health problems, as well as a scarcity of new material, he didn't complete any albums after 1973, dying of a drug overdose in 1980. 
by Richie Unterberger


Tracks
1. You Can't Judge a Book by the Cover (Willie Dixon) - 4:12
2. Midnight Caller (Pete Ham) -3:09
3. Yankee Lady  (Jesse Winchester) - 4:27
4. Lonesome Valley (Traditional) - 4:29
5. Sweet Lady (Ralph Dino, John Sembello) - 3:47
6. Do the Do (Willie Dixon) - 4:20
7. Perfection (Pete Ham) - 3:03
8. Till We Meet Again (Neil Sheppard) - 3:13
9. I'll Be Home (Randy Newman) - 5:43
10.Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out (Jimmy Cox) - 6:38

Musicians
*Tim Hardin – Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
*Peter Frampton – Guitar
*Don Brooks – Harmonica
*Rebop Kwaku Baah – Percussion, Conga
*Tony Carr – Percussion
*Alun Davies – Guitar
*Tristan Fry – Vibraphone, Background Vocals
*Cissy Houston – Background Vocals
*Liza Strike – Background Vocals
*Bobbie Whitaker – Background Vocals
*Dennis Lopez – Percussion
*Tony Meehan – Organ, Piano, Percussion, Chimes, Drums, Vibraphone, String, Horn, Choir, Woodwind*Rod Murfield – Percussion
*Larry Packer – Fiddle
*Alan Ross – Guitar, Mandolin
*Jean Roussel – Organ, Piano, Keyboards
*Bruce Rowland – Drums
*Jeff Schwartz – Pedal Steel Guitar
*Neil Shepherd – Piano, Harmonium
*Chris Stewart – Bass
*Twenty-First Century Singers – Choir

1969-70  Suite For Susan Moore / Bird On The Wire

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