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

Plain and Fancy

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


Monday, March 31, 2014

Lou Reed, John Cale And Nico - Live At Bataclan Paris (1972 de / uk / us, superb pioneer rock, 2013 remaster edition)



Lou Reed and John Cale formed the Velvet Underground in late 1965, recording their influential debut with Nico the following year. She was never regarded as a full member of the band, however, and ceased to work with them in mid-1967. Cale quit in the fall of 1968, leaving Reed to lead the quartet until his own departure in August 1970..There after a version of the band led by Cale's replacement Doug Yule (with Maureen Tucker the only original member) continued to perform, though by all accounts they were a pale imitation of the band's former self.

It therefore delighted their still small coterie of loyal fans when rumors began to circulate in January 1972 that Reed, Cale and Nico were planning to perform together again. At the time all three participants were in London - Reed was there making his solo debut, Cale was recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and Nico had flown in from Paris (where she was living with the filmmaker Philippe (Jarrel.) to work on an abortive fourth solo album, supposedly to be produced by Cale. 

She was also under the impression that the trio would be performing together in the city mid-month, the putative show being promoted by rock journalist Geoffrey Cannon (one of the Velvet Underground's few champions in the British press). In fact, Cale was due to play a gig at the Bataclan club in Rue Voltaire, Paris on Saturday 29th, and it was there that the former collaborators publicly reunited.

A rehearsal tape likely to date from mid-January finds Nico a little rusty on the songs she used to perform with the band - All Tomorrow's Parties, Femme Fatale and I'll Be Your Mirror - and not much better on three songs from her  own debut album, Chelsea Girl (which ended up being performed at the gig).

Another tape apparently finds Reed and Cale rehearsing for the reunion, and runs contrary to the received wisdom that they struggled to be civil to each other. On it they seem relaxed and friendly, and Reed even divulges his delight at having had an album signed for him by Jerry Lee Lewis. They run through Pale Blue Eyes and Candy Says (the originals of which post-dated Cale's tenure with the band, and which did not end up being played at Bataclan,, though they're included here as bonus tracks), as well as Heroin and Black Angel's Death Song (which were performed at Bataclan).

The concert itself, played in front of about 1000 people (with, according to Melody Maker at the time, twice that number unable to get in), was a triumph. Performed acoustically, unlike the vast majority of the Velvet Underground's material, the trio conjured a sparse yet warm sound, well captured by the soundboard recording. Cale played viola and piano over Reed's acoustic guitar, while Nico contributed harmonium. The bulk of the material dates from the VU days, but Reed also contributed his lesser-known gem Wild Child and an unusually lugubrious rendition of Berlin, which he later described as "a real nightclub torch thing... kind of a Billie Holliday trip." 

Cale, meanwhile, offered Ghost Story from his Vintage Violence album, as well as a strange tune called The Biggest, Loudest, Hairiest Group Of All (no studio version of which was ever released). Most surprisingly, he also played Empty Bottles/which he'd written for Jennifer Warnes (whose solo debut he produced soon afterwards).

Nico's harmonium is prominent on three tracks from her albums The Marble Index and Desert shore (No One Is There, Janitor Of Lunacy and Frozen Warnings), but inevitably it's the Velvet Underground material on which all three originally appeared that received the most enthusiastic response – Femme Fatale/I'll Be Your Mirror and the encore. of All Tomorrow's Parties. Clearly all three musicians enjoyed the experience, but a report in Melody Mater that a further performance by them was to take place in London in February was sadly mistaken, and the closest most people came to seeing them was via a partial film of the Bataclan show (offering Berlin, I'm Waiting For The Man, Heroin, Ghost Story and Femme Fatale that was screened on the French TV show Pop Deux on June 10th 1972.
CD Liner-notes


Tracks
1.I'm Waiting For The Man - 5:46
2.Berlin - 5:33
3.Black Angel's Death Song (L. Reed, J. Cale) - 4:42
4.Wild Child - 5:43
5.Heroin - 7:38
6.Ghost Story (J. Cale) - 3:24
7.The Biggest, Loudest, Hairiest Group Of All (J. Cale) - 4:09
8.Empty Bottles (J. Cale) - 3:18
9.Femme Fatale - 3:23
10.No One Is There (Nico) - 6:24
11.Frozen Warnings (Nico) - 5:25
12.Janitor Of Lunacy (Nico) - 5:12
13.I'll Be Your Mirror - 4:06
14.All Tomorrow's Parties - 3:12
15.Pale Blue Eyes - 2:06
16.Candy Says - 1:44
All songs by Lou Reed except where noted.
Bonus Tracks 15-16

Musicians
*Nico - Harmonium, Vocals
*John Cale - Viola, Violin, Piano, Vocals, Guitar
*Lou Reed - Vocals, Guitar

The Velvet Underground
1967-69  Another View (Japan SHM remaster)
1968-69  VU (Japan SHM remaster)
Lou
1978  Lou Reed - Street Hassle (Japan remaster)
John
1971  John Cale And Terry Riley - Church Of Anthrax
1973  Paris 1919 (2006 Remaster and Expanded)
1974  Fear (Remaster and Expanded)
1975  Helen of Troy
1975  Slow Dazzle

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Michael Fennelly - Love Can Change Everything (1967-72 us, remarkable psych folk rock, 2013 release)



Recently, though, the handful of labels specializing in reissues have taken to if not letting the artists compile their music, allowing people who know the music intimately put albums together. The result? Compilations both historically and musically viable, meaning if you like the music (and you should, in the case of Fennelly), you're more than likely going to love the history. 

If you have never heard Fennelly, well, perhaps you have and don't realize it. Fennelly was one of seven artists who formed The Millennium, a band in the late sixties who, in retrospect, have become somewhat of a musical legend. There is more than a little of the Pop infusion which made The Left Banke and The Merry-Go-Round successes, melody and harmony and a step into a little folk/psych keeping things light and airy and oh, so pretty. 

When it came time to exit The Millennium, Fennelly seamlessly slid into Crabby Appleton and immediately scored with Go Back, a tune which made it all the way to #36 on the Billboard charts but which got airplay in my home state of Oregon way beyond that. Not only was I surprised that it topped out at #36 in Billboard Nation, I was a bit miffed. According to radio here, Go Back was Top Ten, easily. I never gave a shit about Billboard, anyway.

While Go Back gave Crabby air beneath their wings, there was no real followup (at least, as far as radio was concerned), more than likely due to AM radio's fall into the grasp of the devil (that would be Drake-Chenault, sports fans, which single-handedly disarmed radio by instituting the Top Forty format and turning it into the pariah of real music lovers everywhere). Fennelly would go on, but that pretty much covers the years covered in Love Can Change Everything, an album strictly dedicated to that period.

So what do you get, you ask? Outtakes from The Millennium? Crabby Appleton's cutting room floor leftovers? Not at all. What you get is a collection of Fennelly-penned demos which, while recorded during the lives of those two bands, are pure Fennelly. True, many of the tracks utilize members of those two bands and probably more than one was recorded in hopes of being included in band releases, but none are, in essence, completed. Not in terms of release by those musical entities. And yet they are.

I find myself shaking my head over the quality of these recordings, which have spent decades in solitary confinement waiting just for this moment. Songs excluded from The Millennium recordings only due to the number of songs available (there were many songwriters, and damn good ones, in that venerable band). Songs which might have made the cut for either of the Crabby Appleton albums had it not been for the progress of the band and their music. Just because a song gets left behind does not mean it is unworthy. Sometimes there is just not enough space. This album proves it in spades. The more I hear this, the more I love it.
by Frank O. Gutch Jr.


Tracks
1. I've Been Found Out - 3:20
2. I Don't Think That I'll See That Time Again - 1:56
3. I Couldn't Find The Words - 3:10
4. Try To Understand - 2:28
5. Dancing Dandelions (Michael Fennelly, Craig Steffanides) - 2:12
6. Breakdown - 2:23
7. Iris Please - 3:38
8. Love Can Change Everything - 2:48
9. Leanna - 3:45
10.I Don't Need A Map - 2:13
11.Under The Trees And Moonlight - 2:13
12.Hunger For Love - 3:45
13.The Other Side - 2:45
14.Some Madness - 2:26
15.Peace By Peace - 3:31
16.How Long Will It Take - 2:16
17.Can't Live My Life Without You - 2:23
18.Never Met A Girl - 2:27
19.Go Back - 3:23
20.Try - 2:20
21.Over My Dead Body - 2:33
22.You're A Good Girl - 2:40
23.Dark Night - 2:49
24.Flyer - 2:47
All songs by Michael Fennelly except as else stated

Personnel
*Michael Fennelly - Vocals, 12 String Guitar
*Doug Rhodes - Keyboards
*Lee Malory - Guitar
*Keith Olsen - Bass
*Ron Edgar - Drums
*Flaco Falcon - Percussio
*Murray Planta - Guitar
*Casey Foutz - Moog

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Sleepy Hollow - Sleepy Hollow (1972 us, lovely pop harmonies, Vinyl edition)



Slapping an album with a Beatles comparison is usually the equivalent of an artistic and commercial kiss of death.  Luckily, this was one of those rare cases where the comparison actually had some basis.

Recorded at Philadelphia International's Philly-based Sigma Studios, 1972's "Sleepy Hollow" was co-produced by John Madara and the late Tom Sellers (of Assembled Multitude fame).  The limited liner notes indicated Sleepy Hollow was a trio featuring the talents of singer/guitarist Richard Billay, bass player Richie Bremen and drummer Joe Zucca.  

With Billay responsible for all nine tracks, material like 'One Time' and 'Lay It On the Line' did have a late-inning Beatles flavor, though to my ears a better overall comparison would be Badfinger ('Take Me Back'), Emmit Rhodes ('Love Minus You'), or perhaps even a mid-1970s Lennon solo album ('Lady'). The trio's sound wasn't particularly original, but Billay had an impressive chameleon-like voice that managed to recall both Lennon's tougher sound ('Sincerely Yours' would not have been out of place on "Walls and Bridges") and McCartney's more pop-oriented material ('One Time' complete with great backing vocals).  Artistically this may not have been a major statement, but made for one fun album and was simply miles ahead of most of the Beatlesque competition.  


Tracks
1. Sincerely Yours - 3:01
2. One Time - 2:05
3. Take Me Back - 3:53
4. Talking Out Of Turn - 2:48
5. Lay It On The Line - 2:43
6. Love Minus You - 2:30
7. Lady - 2:40
8. Roller Coaster Man - 2:58
9. Hades - 6:16
All songs by Richard Billay

Sleepy Hollow
*Richard Billay - Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Richie Bremen - Bass
*Joe Zucca - Drums

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mantis - Turn On To Music (1973 fiji, pleasant hard funky boogie, 2013 edition)



This psychedelic funk classic is firmly established as one of the most collectable albums of all time. Recorded by a quartet from Fiji, it was only released in New Zealand, where it appeared in tiny quantities on the legendary Vertigo label in 1973. An irresistible blend of originals (notably the epic “Island Suite”) and covers (including material by Mountain, The Wackers, and Jo Jo Gunne), original copies have sold for well into four figures.


Tracks
1. Day And Night (Segarini, Bishop, Lanzon) - 3:10
2. In The Midnight Hour (Cropper, Pickett) - 3:14
3. You Don’t Love Me - 3:22
4. Mississippi Queen (West, Laing, Papalardi, Rea) - 2:56
5. Shake That Fat (Ferguson, Andes) - 4:04
6. Turn Onto Music (James, King) - 2:33
7. Island Suite (Mantis) - 22:31
.a.Firewalker
.b.Back At The Village
.c.Hurricane Bebe

Mantis
*Joe Heritage – Bass, Vocals
*Ronnie Sammuel - Keyboards
*Paul Stephen - Drums
*Waisea Vatuwaga – Guitar, Vocals
*Reuben Davui – Guitar, Vocals

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ernie Graham - Ernie Graham (1971 ireland, remarkable folk pub rock, 2014 japan remaster)



Singer Guitarist Ernie Graham was an active part of the British pub rock scene during the first half of the '70s, shuffling between several bands and also recording solo. Graham started out in Belfast during the mid-'60s in professional music when he joined Tony & the Telstars, a local band, as their rhythm guitarist, working as an apprentice auto mechanic during the day. Eventually, Graham and two other members of the band decided to leave Belfast for England, and potentially bigger rewards. It was there that he met guitarist Henry McCullough and the two, on returning to Ireland, began putting together their own band, which was initially known as the People. They saw some serious success in the swinging London music scene of the second half of the 1960s, enough that they were persuaded to change their name to Eire Apparent in a bid for major stardom. That didn't quite happen, but they came close, the psychedelic-flavored band touring with Jimi Hendrix, who also played on their only album, Sunrise (1969).

McCullough left the group -- to form the Grease Band -- and Eire Apparent later dissolved, Graham signed with UA/Liberty as a solo artist, just at the time that the British arm of the label had begun building a new, bold roster of acts representing a new generation of performers. It was all a happy coincidence that brought Graham into the studio backed by no less an act than Brinsley Schwarz, and the result, coupled with Graham's exceptional singing and songs, was one of the finest albums of the entire decade. Ernie Graham failed to sell, however, and soon after, he joined Help Yourself as a guitarist, entering the studio for their second album, Strange Affair, but departing the group before the record was completed. 

This is one of the most hauntingly beautiful solo albums to come out of the whole English pub rock scene, and references to Bob Dylan and the Band are appropriate because the rootsy/folk-like intersections with their work are here. It's also a rival to the best work of Brinsley Schwarz, Ducks Deluxe, Eggs Over Easy, et al. (and no surprise -- the Brinsleys played on this album). Opening with the gorgeous, Dylanesque "Sebastian," built on a lyrical acoustic guitar part, Graham reveals himself a songwriter and player of extraordinary sensitivity -- he might easily have been another Alan Hull, or even bigger than that, had he been able to join a band with legs or hold his own career together. 

As it is, from that Dylan-like start, he and the Brinsleys deliver a brace of full electric numbers that rival the classic sound of the Band, starting with "So Lonely" -- the roots rock sound here is so authentically American that it will fool lots of listeners about its origins and source. For this album, "The Girl That Turned the Lever" and "For a Little While" are two of the finest working-class/folk-style compositions this side of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," and "Blues to Snowy" takes Graham into Lynyrd Skynyrd territory. "Belfast" finally takes listeners to Graham's real roots, in a bracing, fiddle-driven folk-based piece from that side of the Atlantic. 
by Bruce Eder 


Tracks
1. Sebastian - 5:34
2. So Lonely - 3:30
3. Sea Fever - 4:54
4. The Girl That Turned The Lever - 6:16
5. For A Little While 6:36
6. Blues To Snowy - 4:01
7. Don´t Want Me Round You - 4:32
8. Belfast - 5:13
Words and Music by Ernie Graham

Musicians
*Ernie Graham - Guitar, Vocals
*Bob Andrews - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Dave Charles - Drums, Vocals
*C. Cunningham - Fiddle, Violin
*J. Eichler - Vocals
*Ian Gomm - Guitar, Vocals
*Nick Lowe - Bass, Vocals
*Malcolm Morley - Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Billy Rankin - Drums
*Brinsley Schwarz - Guitar
*Richard Treece - Guitar
*Ken Whaley - Bass

Related Act
1969  Eire Apparent - Sunrise (Flawed Gems remaster)

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Monday, March 24, 2014

The Legend - The Legend (1969 us, splendid beat psych, Fallout issue)



The Legend, also loosely later known as Dragonfly, was originally from Colorado, but bounced back and forth between there and L.A. to record and issue records. Members included Jack Duncan (bass), Barry Davis (drums, background vocals), Gerry Jimerfield (guitar, lead vocals), Randy Russ (guitar, background vocals) and Ernie McElwaine (keyboards).

The band's origins can be traced to El Paso, TX where in 1965 Duncan and Davis met each other and became fast friends while playing in a group called the Pawns. Getting word that the Pawns were going to be playing a gig in Farmington, NM, Coloradoans Jimerfield and McElwaine took a road trip down south to check them out and were very impressed. At 26, Jimerfield was a bit more seasoned and had already played the L.A. scene, appearing on the show 'Hullabaloo' as well as more recently fronting his own band called the Lords Of London back in Colorado. Citing his L.A. connections, Jimerfield soon convinced Duncan and Davis to quit the Pawns and relocate to Durango, CO where they could stay at his parents' motel and form a new ensemble. The band rehearsed there for a couple of months and soon decided they needed to add a second guitar player. Duncan and Davis suggested Russ, who they knew from their El Paso days. The group was completed when Russ agreed to move up to Durango and join up.

In early 1967, the band, now calling themselves the Lords Of London, moved to the Denver area where they played a lot of clubs and eventually became a frequent opening act at Chet Helms' Family Dog theatre. Getting restless in Colorado, they then bounced out to L.A. for a brief stint where they changed their name to the Jimerfield Legend, but soon moved back to good old Colorado in time for the 1967 Summer of Love.

By 1968, they had moved back to L.A., shortened their name to the Legend and signed with the local label Megaphone, releasing three 45s and a full length, self-titled LP. The album contains mostly pre-psychedelic covers, and according to Duncan, the instrumentation was mostly played by non-group session musicians. However, the second 45 released as the Legend, contains two excellent non-LP originals ('Portrait Of Youth' b/w 'Enjoy Yourself'), which were later significantly redone and appear again on the 'Dragonfly' LP. Unfortunately all of the records fell flat in sales and the band again moved back to Colorado, where they continued to remain a well received live act. At around this time, McElwaine left the group and was not replaced.

In 1969, the same executives who represented the Legend recordings, saw the band playing at their old haunt, the Denver Family Dog, and were now further amazed by their originality and musicianship. This time, the record execs promised to allow the band to cut an LP of original material, so they packed up again for L.A. and recorded what was to become the 'Dragonfly' LP at Amigo and I.D. Studios in North Hollywood. This album is absolutely amazing and includes several outstanding, harder psychedelic originals, most of which are played on TWOS and credited to the Dragonfly moniker. At the time of release, the record did get some modest airplay on L.A. radio, but unfortunately it didn't sell well and the group broke up soon after its release. Jimerfield has since passed away, but Duncan, Davis and Russ are still active musicians to this day.


Tracks
1. With A Girl Like You (R. Presley) - 2:22
2. The Sky That Is Blue (B. Corso) - 3:03
3. Zeppelin's Good Friday (E. Brooks, S. Romans) - 2:48
4. Where On Where Is Mother? (B. Corso) - 3:08
5. Yesterdays Child (B. Corso) - 2:37
6. Eyes Of The World (D. Mcginnis) - 2:30
7. The Kids Are Alright (P. Townshend) - 2:58
8. Cold Wind In August (B. Page) - 2:34
9. Sunny Day (E. Brooks, S. Romans) - 2:13
10.You'll Be Sorry Someday (B. Corso) - 2:13
11.Gigi (Lerner, Loewe) - 2:20
12.Baby Blue (B. Dylan) - 6:11
13.Portrait Of Youth (G. Jimerfield) - 2:44
14.Enjoy Yourself (R. Russ, B. Davis) - 2:51
15.I Love The Little Girls (M. Kelly, G. Jimmerfield, Radcliff) - 2:15
16.I Know (B. George) - 2:11
Bonus tracks 13-16

The Legend
*Jack Duncan - Bass
*Barry Davis - Drums, Backing Vocals
*Gerry Jimerfield - Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Randy Russ - Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Ernie McElwaine - Keyboards

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Wayne Talbert - Houston Nickel Kicks (1970 us, magnificent funky r 'n' b, 2013 korean remaster)



Wayne Talbert's Houston Nickel Kicks (Mercury) was released in 1970. Before cutting this record, Talbert, who looks like a fat, freaky ex-Marine, played piano for Mother Earth and the Sir Douglas Quintet, worked with Dr. John the Night Tripper, did the arrangements for Jimmy Cotton's best album ( Cut You Loose ), made two mediocre solo albums, and wrote a song entitled "Schizophrenic Susan Minnick," all of which should entitle him to some small fame, surely. This, his latest album, was a blatant attempt to get Talbert a hit single, which attempt, unfortunately, failed.

The record was produced by the great Huey P. Meaux, who is responsible for the Peggy Scott and Jo Jo Benson hits, "Lover's Holiday," "Soulshake," and "Pickin Wild Mountain Berries." Meaux kept almost all the cuts simple, melodic, and less than three minutes long. The best of them are the amazingly pompous and melodramatic "I Can't Take Another Heartache" and "Put It On Me." Talbert pulls off with his fantastic voice, which falls just a little short of Screaming Jay Hawkins.

In addition to this, Houston Nickel Kicks is also worth owning for the truly tough cover picture of Talbert leaning against a Williams' Apollo pinball machine, which pinball connoisseurs will recognize as a classic. 
by Andy Klein


Tracks
1. I Can't Take Another Heartache (Thomas, McRee, Thomas) - 2:32
2. Wish You Were Here (Huey P. Meaux) - 2:01
3. Summertime Love (R. Thibodeaux) - 2:39
4. Lonely Weekends (Charlie Rich) - 2:12
5. Put It On Me (Leo Louviere, R. Thibodeaux) - 2:56
6. Sufferin City (McRee, Thomas, Thomas) - 2:08
7. Your Tears Leave Me Cold (Mark Sherman) - 3:32
8. Hello Maryanne (Ray Charles) - 2:40
9. Lover To A Friend (McRee, Thomas, Thomas) - 1:57
10.Nobody Loves Me (Nobody Cares) (Z. Clements) - 2:28

*Wayne Talbert - Vocals, Keyboards

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Spider - Labyrinths (1972 us, incredible swamp psych folk rock, 2013 korean remaster)



Short live US band, release their only album "Labyrinths" in 1972. A great example of swamp psych rock melted with spiritual folk country and classic rock tunes, with male / female stunning vocals, also need to mention the plethora of excellent guest musicians.  


Tracks
1. May 16th (Dan Moore) - 3:03
2. Alice In Wonderland (Hoyt Axton) - 2:28
3. It's Alright (Alan Parker) - 2:58
4. Little Love Song (Michael Deasy) - 1:55
5. Tell Me That You Love Me (Michael Clough) - 4:16
6. Southwind (Jeff Thomas) - 3:48
7. Pass It On (Michael Clough) - 3:32
8. Can't Let You Go (Alan Parker) - 3:55
9. Puppets (Michael Deasy) - 2:45
10.Revival (Jeff Thomas) - 3:34
11.Burnin' (L. Knechtel, M. Deasy) - 3:05

Spider
*Karen Brian - Vocals
*Michael Clough - Vocals
*Rusty Cope - Bass
*Michael Crowley - Piano, Vocals
Additional Musicians
*Jim Keltner - Drums
*Lee Sklar - Bass
*Max Bennett - Bass
*Carl Radle - Bass
*Jim Gordon - Drums
*Mike Deasy - Guitar
*Alan Parker - Guitar
*Red Rhodes - Steel Guitar
*Larry Knechtel - Keyboards
*Allan Beutler - Sax
*Jim Horn - Sax, Horn Arrangements
*Jack Kelson - Sax
*Chuck Findley - Trumpet
*Ollie Mitchell - Trumpet
*Dick “Slyde” Hyde - Trombone
*Gary Coleman - Percussion
*King Errisson - Congas
*Rita Jean Bodine - Background Vocals
*Kathy Deasy - Background Vocals
*Venetta Fields - Background Vocals
*Gwen Johnson - Background Vocals
*Clydie King - Background Vocals
*Dee Barton - String Arrangements

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Jack's Angels - Our Fantasy's Kingdom (1967 austria / canada, sensational folk rock, Vinyl issue)



Jack  Grunsky was born in Austria and raised in Canada. After completing high school in Toronto in 1964, Jack moved to Austria, where he attended the Academy of Arts in Vienna. Interestingly, it was during his years as an art student that Jack's music began to flourish. For the next ten years he became popular in the European music scene as a singer-songwriter. In 1966 he formed the folk singing group, Jack's Angels, who recorded four albums for Amadeo Records of Vienna. They were hugely successful, but the group lasted only a few years.

After the group disbanded, Jack continued recording and made three more solo albums for Amadeo Records: The Way I Want To Live, My Ship and Toronto, which was produced by Alexis Korner in London, England and featured tracks with Mick Taylor of the Rolling Stones on slide guitar. A number of singles reached the top of the European charts. Eckart Rahn, a music publisher took a keen interest in Jack and brought him on board the progressive German label, Kuckuck Records in Munich, where Jack produced three more albums: Buffalo Brian, Newborn Man and the self-titled, Jack Grunsky. 


Tracks
1. It Takes So Long (Jordon arr Grunsky) - 1:57
2. The Early Riser - 3:41
3. Good Night Sweet Dream - 3:23
4. Purple Kangaroo - 2:47
5. The Last Thing On My Mind (Paxton arr. Grunsky) - 3:09
6. Rich Man's Spiritual (Lightfoot arr. Grunsky) - 2:51
7. Frankie And Johnny (Traditional arr. Grunsky) - 2:16
8. Fare Thee Well (Gude arr. Grunsky) - 2:39
9. Flight 4 Explore - 2:30
10.Here I Am (Oberhuber, Grunsky) - 2:41
11.Settle Down (Settle arr. Grunsky) - 2:30
12.My Fantasy's Kingdom - 4:56
All Compositions by Jack Grunsky except where stated

Personnel
*Claudia Pohl - Vocals
*Jack Grunsky - Vocals, Guitar
*Berni Prock - Drums
*Christopher Oberhuber - Banjo, Bass

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Various Artists - Ears Of Stone (60's us, wondrous weave of folk country and ochestrated psych, 2010 release)



A peculiar package in more ways than one, Ears of Stone has 20 Nashville-issued tracks from the 1960s that cover such a wide range as to be nearly unclassifiable. At least the strange "Ears of Stone" title was chosen for a reason, as it's the name of one of the songs here (by the Network). Not much else about this compilation can be explained away as easily, since the liner notes, unbelievably, actually belong to an entirely different compilation on the T-Bird label, Early Country and Western from Bullet Records Nashville, which consists of country music from the late '40s and early '50s. 

It's hard to believe this got past quality control, especially as the illustrations in the notes actually feature some of the '60s artist's and singles on the Ears of Stone compilation, but there you have it. At least it can be inferred from those illustrations that the CD contains tracks from obscure Nashville independent labels, particularly Spar and Bullet, whose releases have been spotlighted on numerous other compilations on the T-Bird label. Not one of the artists on Ears of Stone has any degree of fame, even among collectors, and without inclusion of the proper liner notes, it's hard to even cite anything specific about their origins.

Yet for all the strikes this has against it even before you've played the disc, it's a more worthwhile and listenable anthology than you might expect, even if its appeal is limited to diehards. There's pretty fair country-pop from Bobby & Bergen, and decent, rustic, underproduced folk-rock from Him & Her, whose "Too Much Too Soon" sounds like a garage Sonny & Cher. Also in an undernourished, yet charming, mid-'60s folk-rock vein, is the Mad Tea Party's "Keep It in Your Mind," which brings to mind a poppier Beau Brummels. 

The Seventh Plane's "Time to Realize" is engaging, tentative sunshine pop; the Network's "Ears of Stone" seems like it could have been done by the same group, with its pleasing male-female vocal harmonies, but it takes a more psychedelic tack, with enchanting bittersweet melodies buttressed by a subdued fuzz guitar. Christopher Jordan comes off like a rawer, more folk-rock inclined Neil Diamond on his self-penned "When It's Over"; the mysterious Tres (a trio, natch) offer confident, stripped-down country-rock. Several covers of pop/rock and country hits don't in any way challenge or redefine the familiar versions, but the Now Generation's cover of the Byrds/Turtles' "You Showed Me" is nonetheless entertaining, if in a soundalike sort of way. 

Truth be told, almost all of these tracks sound like underfunded demos, yet that's part of their charm and appeal. Lacking the budget and time to come up with something slicker, the artists do the best with what they've got and create some good, unaffected music unbeholden to a set formula, reflecting a modestly creative underbelly of the Nashville scene that's escaped the history books. Now if only this could be redone with the real liner notes.
by Richie Unterberger


Artists - Tracks 
1. Bertha, Buddy, Woody - Don't Think Twice (Bob Dylan) - 2:35
2. Bergen, Bobby - The Way You Treated Me for Years (White) - 2:27
3. Bergen, Bobby - It's Another World (Statler) - 1:58
4. Freda Burrell - There Goes My Everything (Frazier) - 3:07
5. Freda Burrell - A Woman Who Has Love (Burrell) - 2:15
6. Him And Her - Every Day I Have to Cry (Alexander) - 2:15
7. Him And Her - Too Much Too Soon (Wood) - 1:59
8. Unky, Phoebe And Fatty Ann - Big Windy City (Russell, White) - 2:51
9. Ricky Page  - Ode to Billie Joe (Gentry) - 4:11
10.The Now Generation - You Showed Me (Clark, Hillman) - 2:37
11.Johnny Elgin - My Hometown (Elgin) - 2:35
12.The Mad Tea Party - Keep It in Your Mind (Godknecht) - 3:11
13.The Seventh Plane - Time to Realize (Romans) - 2:18
14.The Network - Ears of Stone (Romans, Sullivan) - 2:47
15.Christopher Jordan - When It's Over (Jordan) - 2:52
16.Christopher Jordan - Don't Ever Tell Me (Jordan) - 2:54
17.Aardvark - The Kiss That Touches Me (Cohen, Cohen) - 2:26
18.Jim Hsieh - I Need a Ride (Rutherford) - 2:21
19.Tres - Bittersweet Tears (Montgomery) - 3:29
20.Tres - I Can't Hold On (Montgomery) - 1:45

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Rascals - See (1969 us, wonderful r 'n' b psychedelia, 2012 japan remaster)



In their first three years or so as recording artists, the Rascals had achieved almost as much success as was humanly possible for any rock band not named the Beatles in the mid-to-late 1960s. There had been about a dozen hit singles, three of them #1 smashes. There were major television shows, tours across the US and Europe, and Top Ten albums. There was relentless musical originality and invention, which found them expanding from the blue-eyed soul base that had made "Good Lovin'" a 1966 #1 single to psychedelia that brought in horn and string arrangements, as well as lyrics that incorporated both spiritual growth and social commentary. It all peaked with the liberation anthem "People Got to Be Free," which took over the #1 position for five weeks in the summer of 1968, and was part of their ambitious 1969 double album Freedom Suite (also issued on CD by Collectors' Choice Music).

With so little left to prove, the Rascals turned increasing attention toward business and social agendas that were not strictly tied to songwriting and recordmaking. Even as far back as 1967, organist and singer Felix Cavaliere had told Melody Maker, "We'd really like to go on a world tour in Japan, Turkey, Europe and even the USSR to spread a message of peace. It would be a world peace tour. The message won't be simple pacifism, it'll go deeper than that. It's lack of communication that leads to ignorance and war. On our travels we have found already that young people are really groovy all over the world. Although we're not fighters or anything, we would like to do our bit to get them together."

Though the Rascals didn't pull off such a global venture, they did something about as significant by announcing that their shows would feature half white acts, and half black acts—an important statement in a decade in which campaigning for civil rights was so vital, and all the more so coming from one of the few white acts with a sizable following among black audiences. "All our major concerts will be half black, half white, or we stay home," Cavaliere told Rolling Stone in 1969. "We can't control the audience, guaranteeing it will be integrated—and you better believe they're still segregated, if only by psychological forces that exist. But we can control the show. So from now on, half the performers will be black, half will be white. It was this way at the Martin Luther King Memorial we did recently at Madison Square Garden, and it was great." The group would also do benefits for UNICEF, Cesar Chavez, and the Long Island Tenant Farmers' Union.

While the Rascals' stage presentations had became more musically ambitious as well—including a performance with the American Symphony Orchestra at the Garden State Arts Center in New Jersey—they'd also be more selective in those. "We're limiting our engagements starting the first of January," Cavaliere informed Rolling Stone, shortly after the group had canceled an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. "We got tired of seeing producers approach good groups and say, 'Give us a fast three minutes, then split.' We figured we were at the end of the road. Television has let the musician down. The last strike showed that. So we aren't going to them any more. 

There are things more important than money. We've turned down or canceled other shows, too." In the same Rolling Stone article, Cavaliere announced plans to start a label for ghetto youth, Ki Records, adding, "I was asked once on a black radio station what a young Harlem kid could do to make it. I couldn't answer that question. Now I'm going to try. There must be dozens of brilliant young musicians in Harlem, in Watts, but how do they get out? Who is going to give them a chance?" On top of all this, Cavaliere was studying Eastern mysticism with Swami Satchinanda, described in Billboard as "a non-profit prophet who is helping the singer-songwriter by tranquilizing his lyrics."

Yet around the same time, the Rascals, or at least their management, were entertaining ever-widening commercial and business ambitions as well. In September 1968, Variety reported that manager Sid Bernstein had "agreements with two major filmeries for a picture in which the combo would act and perform pending his finding the right script. He has nixed three to date." Observed Bernstein in the same piece, "Sound of film can reach millions of people. If we did a soundtrack, we could double our annual gross, and if we appeared in the film, the figure would triple." Summarized Variety, "Bernstein is priming his act for everybody's ultimate goal, to be the 'American Beatles'...Bernstein feels that all that is preventing his act from reaching the summit of success is the attitude of the important 'underground' press who, according to Bernstein, regard 'the Rascals as teenyboppers.'"

Of course, to be the American Beatles—or to carry off such ambitious business/social plans, as the Beatles were themselves trying to do with Apple at the same time—has to be funded by the capital generated by hit records. And sadly, in 1969, those were in shorter supply in the Rascals camp than big ideas. None of their three singles that year made the Top Twenty, though the final pair, "See" and "Carry Me Back," came close. Both were included on the album released at the end of the year, See, but that likewise was a disappointment, peaking at #45. Nor did it expand the group's musical vision as markedly as each of the band's albums had since their 1966 debut The Young Rascals, retreating from the sprawling experimentalism of Freedom Suite to songs of mostly fairly conventional length and structure.

Guitarist Gene Cornish had told Melody Maker in the late 1960s that "it seems to be a new direction each time we do a record," but on See, it seems the band, like so many of their peers at the end of the 1960s, were embracing a simpler sound more in touch with their roots. It was also apparent that Eddie Brigati's role in the group was diminishing; though he'd written most of the band's material with Cavaliere at their peak, and taken almost as many lead vocals as Felix, on See he doesn't have any leads at all, and his songwriting contributions are limited to just one co-write ("I'm Blue") with Cavaliere.

Viewed several decades later without the sky-high expectations listeners might have brought to a new Rascals LP in 1969, however, See reveals itself to have its share of solid tunes that play to the group's basic soul-rock strengths. "See" has a bubbling organ, pummeling rhythm, and train-whistle harmonies that would do the Five Americans proud; "I'm Blue" taps their skill at delivering a credibly Ray Charles-like number, something at which Cavaliere was especially adept at singing; "Carry Me Back" combined the gospel feel heard in several late-period Rascals singles with what was, for the group, an unusually country tinge; and "Real Thing" was a fine gospel-rock tune that perhaps would have made a better choice as a 45. And while the group had placed just one cover on their three previous albums, they dipped back into their most blue-eyed soul-soaked past with a cover of the Knight Brothers' 1965 hit ballad "Temptation's 'Bout to Get Me," with a dual Cavaliere/Brigati lead vocal.
by Richie Unterberger


Tracks
1. See - 5:04
2. I'd Like To Take You Home - 2:38
3. Remember Me (Gene Cornish) - 2:12
4. I'm Blue (Felix Cavaliere, Eddie Brigati) - 3:52
5. Stop And Think - 4:10
6. Temptation's 'Bout To Get Me (Jeff Diggs) - 3:31
7. Nubia - 3:44
8. Carry Me Back - 2:54
9. Away Away (G. Cornish) - 3:26
10.Real Thing - 2:45
11.Death's Reply - 4:20
12.Hold On - 3:36
All songs are written by Felix Cavaliere unless as else indicated.

The Rascals
*Felix Cavaliere - Organ, Piano, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
*Eddie Brigati - Percussion, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
*Gene Cornish - Guitar, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
*Dino Danelli - Drums
Additional Musicians
*Chuck Rainey - Bass
*Ron Carter - Bass
*Hubert Laws - Flute
*Danny Labbate - Soprano Sax
*Joe Bushkin - Piano

1968  The Rascals - Once Upon a Dream (Japan remaster)
1971  The Rascals - Peaceful World (Japan remaster)
1972  The Rascals - Island Of Real (Sundazed remaster)

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Fugs - Electromagnetic Steamboat (1967-70 us, superb freak folk psych experimental rock, three disc box set)



Electromagnetic Steamboat: The Reprise Recordings gathers "every unique master recording of the Fugs that was delivered to and survives in the Reprise [Records] archives." This includes not only the four long-players: Tenderness Junction, It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest, The Belle of Avenue A, and Golden Filth, but also an additional 40 minutes of material that never made it onto a standard commercial release. 

The Fugs first gained notoriety with their cerebral marriage of Lower East Side beatnik philosophies to electric folk music in 1964. This culminated in a series of definitive underground recordings on the New York City based ESP label. It was after a somewhat acrimonious split that the Fugs signed with the decidedly West Coast Reprise Records. The band's revolving door personnel features a few familiar session musicians during this era.

 Among the more notable names are Danny Kortchmar (guitar), Charles Larkey (bass), Bob Mason (drums), Richard Tee (organ), jazz legend Julius Watkins (French horn), and Ken Pine (guitar). Remaining at the inventive center of the Fugs are Tuli Kupferberg (vocals), Ed Saunders (vocals), and Ken Weaver (vocals/drums). Even with the lack of stability in the lineup, the nature of the band remained pure. In light of the political and social situations that the world faced in the late '60s, The Fugs' single-minded resonance of a Dionysian reality seemed practically surreal. 

The multi-dimensional "War Song" -- originally issued on Tenderness Junction -- acknowledges the duality of base gratification during wartime. Golden Filth is conspicuous as the only live album in the lot. Recorded at Bill Graham's Fillmore East, the set includes "I Want to Know," in addition to tracks from their ESP days -- including "Coca Cola Douche," which is titled "CCD" for obvious legal reasons. The original album art from Cal Schenkel is also reproduced within the memorabilia-laden liner notes. 

The bonus material includes a monophonic mix of "Tenderness Junction," as well as a unique edit of the "Divine Toe" medley, which was previously available on The 1969 Warner/Reprise Songbook -- a mail order-only promotional album offered from the record label. Additionally there is the "promo album version" of "Crystal Liaison" that was issued exclusively on the Some of Our Best Friends Are disc. Finally, the infamous five-track demo reel delivered -- but never issued -- to Atlantic Records is released here for the first time in its entirety. Electromagnetic Steamboat: The Reprise Recordings is limited to an edition of 5,000 and available exclusively through the Rhino HandMade. 
by Lindsay Planer


Tracks
Disc 1 
Tenderness Junction 1967
1. Turn On / Tune In / Drop Out (T. Leary, K. Weaver) - 4:39
2. Knock Knock - 4:15
3. The Garden Is Open (Tuli Kupferberg) - 6:02
4. Wet Dream - 3:16
5. Hare Krishna (Zeus, A. Ginsberg) - 3:19
6. Exorcising The Evil Spirits From The Pentagon October 21, 1967 - 3:13
7. War Song (K. Pine, K. Weaver) - 5:18
8. Dover Beach (T. Kupferberg, M. Arnold) - 3:56
9. Fingers Of The Sun (Warren Smith) - 2:18
10.Aphrodite Mass (In 5 Sections) (Gary Elton, Sapho) - 8:20 
.I...Litany Of The Street Grope
.II..Genuflection At The Temple Of Squack
.III.Petals In The Sea
.IV..Sappho's Hymn To Aphrodite
.V...Homage To Throb Thrills
It Crawled into My Hand, Honest 1968
11.Crystal Liaison (E. Sanders, K. Pine, K. Weaver) - 3:07
12.Ramses II Is Dead, My Love - 2:45
13.Burial Waltz (E. Sanders, Warren Smith) - 2:24
14.Wide Wide River (T. Kupferberg, Lionel Lewis Goldbart) - 2:47
15.Life Is Strange (T. Kupferberg) - 2:32
16.Johnny Pissoff Meets The Red Angel - 4:32
17.Marijuana (Bob Dorough, E. Sanders, T. Kupferberg) - 1:38
18.Leprechaun (K. Weaver) - 0:10
19.When The Mode Of Music Changes (T. Kupferberg) - 3:51
20.Whimpers From The Jello - 0:20
21.The Divine Toe (Part I) - 0:38
22.We're Both Dead Now, Alice (E. Sanders, K. Weaver) - 0:16
23.Life Is Funny (T. Kupferberg) - 0:14
24.Grope Need (Part I) - 0:18
25.Tuli, Visited By The Ghost Of Plontinus / More Grope Need (Grope Need-Part II) - 0:18
26.Robinson Crusoe (K. Weaver) - 0:17
27.Claude Pelieu And J.J. Lebel Discuss The Early Verlaine Bread Crust Fragments - 4:30
28.The National Haiku Contest (E. Sanders, K. Weaver) - 0:25
29.The Divine Toe (Part II) - 0:46
30.Irene - 1:10
All songs written by Ed Sanders except where indicated.


Disc 2 
1. The Divine Toe (Parts I-II) - 3:02
Golden Filth 1970
2. Bum's Song (T. Kupferberg) - 3:02
3. Dust Devil - 3:15
4. Chicago - 2:11
5. Four Minutes To Twelve - 5:37
6. Mr. Mack - 3:49
7. The Belle Of Avenue A - 5:40
8. Queen Of The Nile - 2:44
9. Flower Children (T. Kupferberg) - 4:22
10.Yodeling Yippie - 2:16
11.Children Of The Dream (T. Kupferberg) - 5:55
12.Slum Goddess (Ken Weaver) - 3:11
13.CCD (T. Kupferberg) - 2:53
14.How Sweet I Roamed (Lyrics William Blake) - 3:24
15.I Couldn't Get High (Ken Weaver) - 4:09
16.Saran Wrap - 3:46
17.I Want To Know (Olson, Ed Sanders) - 2:37
18.Homemade - 5:18
19.Nothing (T. Kupferberg) - 4:55
20.Supergirl (T. Kupferberg) - 2:43
All songs written by Ed Sanders except where noted.


Disc 3
1. Knock Knock - 4:41
2. Wet Dream - 15:06
3. Carpe Diem (T. Kupferberg) - 4:00
4. Nameless Voices Crying For Kindness - 2:58
10.Aphrodite Mass (In 5 Sections, Mono Version) (Gary Elton, Sapho) - 9:52
.I...Litany Of The Street Grope
.II..Genuflection At The Temple Of Squack
.III.Petals In The Sea
.IV..Sappho's Hymn To Aphrodite
.V...Homage To Throb Thrills
6. Turn On / Tune In / Drop Out (Mono Album Version) (T. Leary, K. Weaver) - 4:39
7. Knock Knock (Mono Album Version) - 4:15
8. The Garden Is Open (Mono Album Version) (T. Kupferberg) - 6:02
9. Wet Dream (Mono Album Version) - 3:16
10.Hare Krishna (Mono Album Version) (Zeus, A. Ginsberg) - 3:19
11.Exorcising The Evil Spirits From The Pentagon October 21, 1967 - 3:13
12.War Song (Mono Album Version) (K. Pine, K. Weaver) - 5:18
13.Dover Beach (Mono Album Version)  (T. Kupferberg, M. Arnold) - 3:56
14.Fingers Of The Sun (Mono Album Version) (Warren Smith) - 2:18
15.Crystal Liaison (Promo Album Version) (E. Sanders, K. Pine, K. Weaver) - 3:34
All songs written by Ed Sanders except where stated

The Fugs
*Tuli Kupferberg - Vocals
*Ed Sanders - Vocals
*Ken Weaver - Drums, Vocals
*Ken Pine - Guitar, Vocals
*Danny Kootch - Guitar, Violin
*Charles Larkey - Bass

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Bill Wilson ‎– Ever Changing Minstrel (1973 us, outstandind folk rock, 2012 remaster edition)


)

Damned if this isn’t the story that rock ’n’ roll dreams are almost made of. In 1973, Wilson, an unknown 26-year-old Indiana native, had a batch of songs he’d written and wanted to record. Being a Dylan fan, he decided to knock on the door of Bob Johnston, producer of several Dylan albums as well as seminal Leonard Cohen and Johnny Cash albums, and ask him to make a record. 

Although having no idea who Wilson was, Johnston put common sense aside and asked Wilson to play one of his songs on the spot; that same evening, Bill Wilson was in Ray Stevens Sound Lab Studio in Nashville, and Johnston producing his first album! There with him was a selection of Johnston’s “go to” Nashville session players – Kenny Buttrey (drums), Charlie Daniels and Jerry Reed (guitars), Charlie McCoy (harmonica), Mac Gayden (slide), Pete Drake (pedal steel), singer Cissy Houston, and Bob Wilson on piano. It has the makings of a fairy tale of Disney proportions.

What is beyond argument is that Bill Wilson was an extraordinarily gifted songwriter and recording artist just waiting for the “big break.” Although recorded in Nashville, the 11 songs are more steeped in the influences of Austin’s outlaw country with a faint Southern tinge; there are echoes of Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Mickey Newbury, and even Mike Nesmith’s 1st National Band (check out the exhilarating opener ‘Rainy Day Resolution’). 

As is usual, the lyrics are about the themes that generally run through the genre – heartbreak, social commentary, tales of drifters and lost love (the abject pain in ‘Long Gone Lady’ is palpable). There’s even some country gospel thrown in for good measure, Cissy Houston harmonising gloriously on ‘Following My Lord’ and ‘Father Let Your Light Shine Down’. Gayden’s slide playing is sublime throughout, particularly on ‘Ballad Of Cody’ and ‘Pay Day Give Away’; neither would be out of place on an Allman Brothers album. All that’s needed is the “happily ever after” flashing neon and the fairy tale is complete.

Sadly, that never transpired. Wilson took his album to Columbia where it sank almost without trace; Wilson himself struggled to actually find a copy of his own album. As he somewhat prophetically sings in the title track: “another crazy dream had come undone.” Josh Rosenthal (Tompkins Square founder) stumbled across the album in a vinyl bargain bin at a San Francisco record fair in January and bought it for 25 cents, purely on the strength of the producer’s name. 

When contacted by Rosenthal, Johnston recalled that he never saw or spoke with Wilson again after the recording session, but “the fucker could really write.” Bill Wilson died from a heart attack in 1993, aged 46, having made less than $100 from his record and never seeing its resurrection. Not all fairy tales have happy endings.
by Trevor J. Leeden 


Tracks
1. Rainy Day Resolution - 3:33
2. Pay Day Give Away - 4:00
3. To Rebecca - 5:54
4. Black Cat Blues - 5:13
5. Father Let Your Light Shine Down - 2:58
6. Long Gone Lady - 3:33
7. Following My Lord - 4:13
8. Ballad Of Cody - 4:27
9. The Good Ship Society - 2:59
10.Ever Changing Minstrel - 3:06
11.Monday Morning Strangers - 3:50
Words and Music by Bill Wilson

Musicians
*Bill Wilson - Vocals Guitar
*Mac Gayden - Slide Guitar
*Charlie Daniels - Guitar
*Bob Wilson - Piano
*Charlie McCoy - Harmonica
*Kenny Buttrey - Drums
*Jerry Reed - Guitar
*Pete Drake - Steel Guitar
*Cissy Houston - Vocals

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Coast Road Drive ‎- Delicious And Refreshing (1974 uk, marvelous rural southern rock, 2013 korean remaster)


)

A short lived British band strongly inspired by American rural southern rock bands. The album illustrates excellent examples of swamp and British rock backed up by nice electric guitar. 

Coast Road Drive s brief glimpse of success transpired with Delicious and Refreshing released on Decca s progressive arm, Deram, in 1974. The band itself boasted an impressive cast of musicians most of whom had already enjoyed a varied musical career in the late Sixties revealing a depth of musical prowess that had come together from psychedelic acts such as Methuselah, Distant Jim, Ray Owen s Moon, Quintessence and Judas Jump. Delicious and Refreshing finally receives its deserved retrospective re issue with analytical liners detailing the band s brief existence and the musical pedigree behind it. 


Tracks
1. Sail Away (L. Nicol, S. Chapman, S. Krieger) - 3:35
2. Coal Black Night - 4:38
3. It's All So Easy - 5:02
4. Take My Time - 3:20
5. Jason - 3:33
6. This Time Around (Cox) - 4:26
7. Hard To Handle (Charlie Harrison) - 3:13
8. If You Ain't Got The Key (Cox) - 4:25
9. Keep On (Les Nicol) - 3:13
10.Over The Mountain - 4:55
All songs by Steve Krieger except where stated

Coast Road Drive
Craig Austin - Vocals
Steve Chapman - Drums, Vocals
Charlie Harrison - Guitar, Bass, Vocals
Les Nicol - Guitar, Vocals
Steve Krieger - Guitar, Vocals
With
Henry Lowther - Trumpet
Chris Mercer - Sax
Mick Weaver - Keyboards
Nicky Hopkins - Piano

Related Act
1970  Judas Jump - Scorch
1971  Ray Owen's Moon - Moon

This post is Dedicated to Laurent, 
I hope you're doing well, Be Strong my Friend

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band - Stories / Rock Drill (1976/78 uk, great hard rock with experimental mood, double disc issue)



Completing the two-fer reissues of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band's 1970s LP catalog, this final package brings together the band's final, dying breaths. Cut less than a year after "Delilah" finally broke the band into the U.K. pop mainstream, SAHB Stories is the strongest of the pair; indeed, at its greatest, it shines alongside the very best of the band's past. The closing "Dogs of War," is a bombastically overwrought examination of the mercenary mindset, while the twisted history of "Boston Tea Party" -- quite likely the only U.K. hit to mention George Washington's wooden teeth -- is set to a pounding tomahawk guitar riff, and an extraordinarily contagious chorus. 

A positively spellbinding interpretation of Jerry Reed's "Amos Moses," meanwhile, drops the listener head first into the Louisiana bayou, hunting alligators and police chiefs alike. Rock Drill, on the other hand, was recorded almost two years later, with the band's career and momentum alike having been irreparably hamstrung first by Harvey's illness and "retirement"; then by the rise of punk rock, to file the group firmly into the box marked "has-beens." It was precisely the kind of challenge Harvey ordinarily relished, but he was tired and still unwell; the comeback came a few months too soon, and the songwriting came slowly. "Mrs Blackhouse," cut as a single during 1977. 

The odd "Water Beastie," truly hinted at the deranged variety and complexity that had hallmarked past SAHB albums and it's revealing that, 25 years on, Harvey's Considering the Situation anthology considered that song alone worth excerpting from Rock Drill. In truth, the album is not quite that dispensable. But it does come close. 
by Dave Thompson


Tracks
Disc 1 "Stories" 1976
1. Dance To Your Daddy (D. Batchelor, A. Cleminson, C. Glen, A. Harvey, H. McKenna) - 5:45
2. Amos Moses (Jerry Reed) - 5:18
3. Jungle Rub Out (D. Batchelor, A. Cleminson, C. Glen, A. Harvey, H. McKenna) - 4:27
4. Sirocco (Hugh McKenna) - 6:51
5. Boston Tea Party (Alistair Cleminson, Alex Harvey, Hugh McKenna) - 4:36
6. Sultan's Choice (Alistair Cleminson, Alex Harvey) - 4:06
7. $25 For A Massage (Alistair Cleminson, Chris Glen, Alex Harvey) - 3:18
8. Dogs Of War (Alistair Cleminson, Alex Harvey, Hugh McKenna) - 6:13


Disc 2 "Rock Drill" 1978
1. Rock Drill (Alex Harvey, Tommy Eyre) - 6:24
2. The Dolphins (A. Harvey, A. Zal Cleminson, C. Glen, H. McKenna) - 6:09
3. Rock 'N' Roll (Alex Harvey, Alistair Cleminson, Hugh McKenna) - 3:39
4. King Kong (Max Steiner) - 3:16
5. Booids (Traditional Arr. By A. Harvey, A. Cleminson, C. Glen, E. McKenna, T.Eyre) - 1:38
6. Who Murdered Sex? (A. Harvey, A. Cleminson, T. Eyre) - 5:17
7. Nightmare City (Alex Harvey) - 3:48
8. Water Beastie (Alex Harvey, Chris Glen, Hugh McKenna) - 4:51
9. Mrs. Blackhouse (Alex Harvey) - 3:36

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band
*Alex Harvey - Lead Vocals, Guitar
*Zal Cleminson - Guitar
*Chris Glen - Bass Guitar
*Hugh McKenna - Keyboards, Synthesizer
*Ted McKenna - Drums

The Senstational Alex Harvey Band
1972-73  Framed / Next 
1974-75  The Impossible Dream / Tomorrow Belongs to Me
1975-76  Live / The Penthouse Tapes
Related Act
1970  Tear Gas - Piggy Go Getter (Vinyl edition)
1971  Tear Gas - Tear Gas

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Agnes Strange - Strange Flavour (1976 uk, fantastic hard rockin' boogie, 2007 Rev Ola remaster edition)



Sometimes, albums become far more interesting because of their back story. Case in point: Agnes Strange. This heavy trio from Southampton, England, led by singer-guitarist John Westwood, somehow didn't make a splash on the early '70s boogie circuit despite their obvious similarities to beloved acts like the Groundhogs, Budgie and Status Quo. 

Despite some heavy names in their corner, including management company DJM (led by Dick James, who had made a mint off the Beatles' publishing) and A&R folks at Pye Records, some bad luck and inexplicable business decisions led them off course. Foremost among these was a fundamental misunderstanding of the term "pub rock," which led Pye to release Strange Flavour on a one-off label called Birdsnest, which was affiliated with a chain of theme pubs of the same name, owned by the beer manufacturer Watney's. 

The existing heavy rock audience at the time reacted much as straight-edge punks would if McDonald's and Sony BMG joined forced to release a hardcore album available only at fast food restaurants, and Strange Flavour disappeared without trace, as did Agnes Strange.Funny thing, though: it turns out that Strange Flavour is actually pretty good. Produced by Dave Travis, whose remarkably cheesy country albums from the '60s are much beloved by Anglo-kitsch collectors, and engineered by Colin Thurston, who was about a half decade away from his heyday as a name post-punk and new romantic producer, Strange Flavour is comfortably pitched between the old and the new, or at least the new iterations of the old.

 "Clever Fool" is a basic bluesy shuffle that would sound right at home on one of Dave Edmunds' Rockpile-era albums, while "Motorway Rebel" is tailor-made for the Foghat crowd, with its faux bluesy riffage and a hackneyed opening line "Well, I been to New York City/You know I been to L.A." delivered in a voice that screams that its owner has never been further west than Liverpool. On side two, things get a lot spacier, culminating in the epic freak-out "Children of the Absurd," complete with Pink Floyd-style sonar guitar pings and rampant wah-wah abuse. 

Westwood and his compatriots, bassist Alan Green and drummer Dave Rodwell, may not have been able to solidify a trademark Agnes Strange sound, but the "see if it works" variety and generally tasteful playing makes Strange Flavour an interesting listen for rock obscurantists and old boogie fans alike. This reissue features remastered sound, full liner notes of the whole odd story and four bonus tracks including the punchier 45 single mix of the anthemic opening track "Give Yourself a Chance." 
by Stewart Mason


Tracks
1. Give Yourself A Chance (J. Westwood, A. Green) - 3:30
2. Clever Fool (J. Westwood) - 3:23
3. Travelling (J. Westwood) - 2:53
4. Alberta (D. Travis) - 5:44
5. Loved One (A. Green) - 6:00
6. Failure (D. Rodwell) - 5:19
7. Children Of The Absurd (D. Rodwell, A. Green, D. Barber) - 7:47
8. Odd Man Out (J. Westwood) - 3:53
9. Highway Blues (J. Westwood) - 5:31
10.Granny Don't Like Rock 'N' Roll (J. Westwood) - 5:21
11.Interference (D. Travis) - 1:44
12.Give Yourself A Chance (J. Westwood, A. Green) - 3:28
13.Motorway Rebel (J. Westwood) - 4:04
14.Strange Flavour (J. Westwood, A. Green, D. Rodwell) - 3:56
Track 12 Single Version
Tracks 13-14 Album Outtakes
   
Agnes Strange
*Dave Rodwell - Vocals, Drums
*Alan Green - Vocals, Bass
*John Westwood - Vocals, Guitar

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Priscilla - Gypsy Queen (1970 us, amazing r 'n' b phychedelia, 2013 korean remaster)



Booker T. Jones exited Stax Records before it came to a complete crash and married singer Priscilla Coolidge, Rita's sister, and the two hooked-up musically as well. Great things were expected from this project. Jones led his namesake, Booker T. & the MG's, to some success at Stax. The four-pieces also served as the label's most prominent house band, and, in addition, Jones shared co-writer credit on some great songs. Coolidge, like her sister, sang with an abundance of soul. Rita recorded for A&M, and the label had issued a solo album on Priscilla, which originally came out on Sussex Records. Few people will tell you this is a bad album, cause it's not. The lovebirds are all over the place theme-wise -- love, social problems, ethnic issues, and other twists and spins on a multitude of subjects.
by Andrew Hamilton


Tracks
1. On The Road - 3:55
2. Let It Shine - 3:08
3. Gypsy King - 3:39
4. Come On Sweet - 2:59
5. Salty Haze 2:58
6. T My T - 2:07
7. Good Morning Freedom (Roger Cook, Roger Greenaway, Albert Hammond) - 4:02
8. Now The Children Remind You (Weiss, Unobsky) - 2:48
9. Long Rivers Flow (Ray Stinnett) - 3:18
10.Spring Rain (Ray Stinnett) - 2:26
11.Hummingbird (Leon Russell) - 6:00
All songs by Priscilla Coolidge except where stated.

Musicians
*Priscilla Coolidge - Vocals
*Booker T. Jones - Organ, Piano, Harmonica
*Joel Scott Hill - Guitar
*Herb Ellis - Guitar
*Ray Stinnett - Guitar
*Ray Brown - Bass
*Chris Ethridge - Bass
*Earl Palmer - Drums
*Jim Gordon - Drums
*Sam Watson - Drums
*Rita Coolidge - Vocals
*Donna Weiss - Vocals

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