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Friday, December 30, 2016

Jimmy Campbell - Half Baked (1970-71 uk, magnificent folk rock with baroque psych and classic rock shades, 2009 extra track remaster)



1970's Half Baked (released on Philips' subsidiary Vertigo), is an upbeat and somewhat raucous album. It has more of a 'band' feel than "Son of Anastasia" which is the benefit of using musicians that Jimmy knew - Merseybeats members Tony Crane, Billy Kinsley and drummer Pete Clarke. Another Merseybeats drummer, Phil Chittick, appeared on some of the tracks too and there were lush orchestral arrangements by Nick Ryan and Donald Fraser.

The countrified opener 'Green Eyed American Actress' highlighted words that Campbell would have been justified to repeat in years to come after commercial success had eluded him. The lyrics "I could have made it easily, why I didn't - well I really don't know" were, in hindsight, quite poignant. In reality, Campbell's reluctance to spend more time away from home ultimately prevented him making a real breakthrough - Billy Kinsley states in the sleevenotes that "I think Jimmy would have preferred just being a songwriter and not having to be bothered by a solo career".

Elsewhere on "Half Baked, the sonically superb tour-de-force 'So Lonely Without You' is comfortably on a par with anything recorded by the Plastic Ono Band - it boasts a Phil Spector-esque production and one of Jimmy's strongest ever vocals. It's testament to the strength and diversity of the album that it can veer from a track like this, and the epic piano-led rocker 'That's Right, That's Me', to the plaintive and reflective nature of songs such as 'In My Room', 'I Will Not Mind' and 'Closing Down The Shop'.

Other highlights are the brooding title track, which explodes into a driving monster of a chorus that features Badfinger's Joey Molland on guitar, and the melodramatic and impressively orchestrated single 'Don't Leave Me Now'.

There's a bonus track in the form of the stomping 'Lonely Norman' that uses a similar groove to Nilsson's 'Jump Into The Fire' and features some wild guitar playing by Eddie Grant from The Equals. This song originally appeared on the Vertigo sampler "Heads Together, First Round". Compared to Repertoire's "Half Baked" CD reissue of a few years ago, Esoteric's version sounds vastly superior and is probably the best entry point to Campbell's work for a newcomer.
by Jim Henderson


Tracks
1. Green Eyed American Actress - 2:47
2. Loving You Is All I Do - 3:17
3. So Lonely Without You - 2:56
4. In My Room - 4:22
5. That's Right That's Me - 3:51
6. I Will Not Mind - 3:22
7. Dulcie - It's December - 2:49
8. Forever Grateful - 2:35
9. Half Baked - 4:38
10.Closing Down the Shop - 2:41
11.Don't Leave Me Now - 5:55
12.Lonely Norman - 3:23
Words and Music by Jimmy Campbell

Musicians
*Jimmy Campbell - Guitar, Vocals
*Pete Clarke - Drums
*Tony Crane  - Guitar
*Billy Kinsley - Bass
*Phil Chittick - Drums
*Nick Ryan - Orchestral Arrangements
*Donald Fraser - Orchestral Arrangements

1965-67  The 23rd Turnoff - The Dream Of Michaelangelo (2004 remaster)
1969  Jimmy Campbell - Son Of Anastasia (2009 remaster bonus track issue)
1972  Jimmy Campbell - Jimmy Campbell's Album (2009 remaster)

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Year 2000 - A Musical Odyssey (1969 us, awesome groovy soulful psych rock, 2013 remaster)



Florida-based band Year 2000 released a full length album in 1969 called, A Musical Odyssey which had small regional success with their tune “Pop Goes The Weasel”. They dissolved later that same year. “Spooky” is a serious slow-burner that drags one foot in soul, the other in pop. The deep haunting organ swirls effectively around a simple beat and scratchy guitar.

The sound is similar to the Long Island groups of the era (Vanilla Fudge, Hassles, Rascals etc.) heavy on the Hammond organ, soulful vocals, with a touch of psychedelia.


Tracks
1. Working So Hard (Artie Alice) - 2:44
2. Spooky (Ron Hirsch) - 4:05
3. Love Love Love (Artie Alice) - 2:52
4. Something About You (Artie Alice) - 2:28
5. Midnight Hour (Wilson Pickett, Steve Cropper) - 4:09
6. Walking In Dry Rain - 3:11
7. Perfect Love (John Lacentra) - 3:21
8. Get Ready (William "Smokey" Robinson) - 3:26
9. Tell Nobody (Alex Bradford) - 2:31
10.Of Hallowed Minds (Mike Hilliker) - 3:06
11.Life In Confusing (Mike Hilliker) - 4:14
12.Cheetah (Gonzalo Vazquez) - 4:20
13.Little Child - 2:53
14.La Bamba (Traditional) - 2:42
15.Pop Goes The Weasel - 2:17

The Year 2000
*Artie Alice - Drums
*Billy Adams - Bass
*Mickey ? - Lead Guitar
*Michael ? - Hammond Organ
*? - Vocals
*Little Guy ? - Guitar

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Bleu Forest - A Thousand Trees Deep (1968 us, tremendous garage psychedelia, 2016 reissue)



In late 1965, drummer Jack Caviness was recruited by guitarists and vocalists Michael Cullen and Gary Heuer. All were from the same small town, Moorpark, CA. The three of us worked on original songs written by Michael for 6 months. At that point we added Ed Steele on bass guitar and spent time bringing him into the fold.

When ready we began playing small gigs around Moor parkand surrounding areas and received a good reception on the original music. Then we were booked into 'an open mic night at the Troubadour in Hollywood. That is where we were discovered by future music icon Jimmy Haskell. Mr. Haskell immediately scheduled us to record a demo at his home studio which we did. We could never have believed what happened next.

Both Gary and Michael were drafted were drafted into the armed service as Vietnam war was going strong. Both evacuated themselves to Canada, they were there several months prior to Gary's return. We then reformed the original members less Michael, added Larry Wiseman on keyboards and Rohn Barkley on le guitar and vocals. With Michael's blessing we used the original music written by him and added more original songs to our set. We were now off and running as the Bleu Forest heard on this album. That's when Jimmy Haskell called.

He had scheduled us to go into Valley Recording Studios in North Hollywood, CA. to record what you are hearing on this album, A Thousand. Trees Deep. Upon arriving there we met our engineer, Freddie Piro, another future icon of the LA recording industry. Freddie had produced The Grassroots previously and would go on to work with Ambrosia and many others. We spent over six months recording the album and another month was spent mastering.

This album was recorded on a very  but new for the time period Ampex 8 track 2" recorder. At that time, it was state of the art. I don't recall the brand of mixer used, but it did take up quite a great deal of space at the engineer’s console.  When we first came in to begin recording, we attempted to play at the volume we used live and the engineer freaked out and demanded we lower the volume. This was very confusing to us because it altered our sound dramatically. That is where the fuzz tone came into play. Our live sound was based more on very loud overloaded amplifiers for distortion rather than on devices. In a live environment, the fuzz was only used as an overdrive, not as a fuzz tone. The actual studio was only one room, 20' x 30', with one isolation booth at the rear. The booth was only used for overdubs (I wanted to isolate the drums but to no avail).

They used one mic per amplifier with no baffles between and three mics on my drums. I played a state of the art set of Ludwig "Super Hollywood" drums with a Rogers dyna-sound snare and all Zildgen cymbals. They were awesome sounding live but are not as pronounced on the recordings insofar none of the cymbals were individually miked.

To expand a bit on the abrupt beginning on the opening track: During the time period in which this was done, engineers and producers were trying many things that make no sense today. For instance, tracks played in reverse and recorded were very popular such as the one heard on Bitter Sweet, which, by the way, was entirely rearranged from the live version. They did not like all of the stops and starts from the live version which added greatly, in my opinion, to the dynamics of the song. 

When I really think back on the recording process one thing comes to mind: The entire six month process was completely paid for by both Freddie Piro and Jimmy Haskell because of their belief that the band could become something far more than a "garage band". They believed enough in us to really go on and hit the big time. They personal accepted all of the costs themselves. This is why we simply went along with what we were told would work or not work in the studio. The abrupt ' ginning to track one was simply something that had not been done before and they believed it would be accepted as different and unique.

There was much interest from various major companies  in Hollywood. We had a tentative deal with Tower Records pending some remastering. Several months passed during this period and Rohn left the group for personal reasons. Without our vocalist, we had no record deal. Although there were some creative ideas brought forth to a few of the songs during mastering, I believe that these tracts give a general idea of our sound, although our live sound was much heavier as it was performed much louder. I hope everyone enjoys this as much as I enjoyed performing it.
by Jack Caviness


Tracks
1. A Thousand Trees Deep (Lorrainene Lopez) - 2:01
2. Look At Me Girl (Michael Cullen) - 3:32
3. Bitter Street (Michael Cullen) - 2:41
4. Story Of A Sort (Michael Cullen) - 3:43
5. That’s When Happiness Began (Rohn Barkley) - 2:24
6. Words In My Mind (Jack Caviness) - 2:59
7. Through With You (Rohn Barkley) - 2:43
8. She Said She’s Leaving (Michael Cullen) - 4:00
9. Knock Knock (Rohn Barkley) - 2:46
10.Trouble (Rohn Barkley) - 2:40

The Bleu Forest
*Mike Cullen - Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Jack Caviness - Drums
*Rohn Barkley - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Gary Heuer - Guitar, Vocals
*Ed Steele - Bass
*Larry Wiseman - Keyboards

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Elephant's Memory - Songs From Midnight Cowboy (1969 uk, fantastic psych rock with jazz and folk shades, 2006 remaster)



After original vocalist Carly Simon left Elephant's Memory for her own fame and fortune, the band recorded their self-titled Buddah debut, Elephant's Memory, with Michal Shapiro handling the female lead. That disc is not their John Lennon/Yoko Ono/David Peel Apple Records debut from 1972, which was also named after this ensemble. When two Elephant's Memory songs from the 1969 Buddah Records album appeared in the Capitol Records soundtrack to the film Midnight Cowboy, Buddah vice president Neil Bogart revamped and re-released the original LP, most likely and understandably, to cash in on the attention the band was getting from the hit film. "Old Man Willow" and "Jungle Gym at the Zoo" from the first LP appeared in Midnight Cowboy, and they show up again on side one of this disc along with a different spin on the Nilsson hit "Everybody's Talkin'."

Here Michal Shapiro gives a woman's take on the classic Fred Neil composition over a poppy/folksy Wes Farrell production. There's a strange instrumental version of John Barry's theme to "Midnight Cowboy," jazzy rock with a female vocal, most likely Michal, adding a nice eerie resonance to the spirited and jumpy rendition, a far cry from the version that contained Vinny Bell's elegant guitar, the Top Ten hit for Ferrante & Teicher in 1969. The two new titles as well as the Elephant's Memory material from the movie make up side one. Side two contains seven more titles from the first LP, including the singles that were released from that disc, "Crossroads of the Stepping Stones" and "Don't Put Me on Trial," two excellent slices of '60s pop. Over 40 minutes of music graces Songs From Midnight Cowboy Plus Their Hit Singles, the two new titles plus everything from the Buddah debut minus the songs "Band of Love" and "Hot Dog Man" (which was the flip of the 45 rpm "Jungle Gym at the Zoo"). 

The album could have been even more interesting had their 45 rpm "Keep Free, Pts. 1 & 2" from November 1968 found its way onboard rather than the reissue of "Yogurt Song," a composition from keyboardist Richard Sussman and drummer Rick Frank which sounds like a Frank Zappa nightmare. Other than that, the album actually is quite consistent and is lots of fun. Later releases Take It to the Streets and Angels Forever don't have the pop meets psychedelia underground feel of this neo-bubblegum period piece. 
by Joe Viglione


Tracks
1. Everybody's Talkin (Fred Neil) - 3:50
2. Old Man Willow (Richard Sussman, Michal Shapiro, Myron Yules, Stan Bronstein) - 7:07
3. Midnight Cowboy (John Barry) - 2:58
4. Jungle Gym At The Zoo (Richard Sussman, Rick Frank, Stan Bronstein) - 2:15
5. Crossroads Of The Stepping Stones (Michal Shapiro, Stan Bronstein) - 2:56
6. Don't Put Me On Trial No More (Richard Sussman, Rick Frank) - 2:52
7. Super Heep (Siegrid Visconti, Stan Bronstein) - 5:32
8. R.I.P (Stan Bronstein, Richard Sussman) - 1:43
9. Yogurt Song (Richard Sussman, Rick Frank) - 2:58
10.Band Of Love (Myron Yules, Stan Bronstein, Tony Visconti, Siegrid Visconti) - 4:11
11.Takin' A Walk (Richard Sussman, Rick Frank, Michal Shapiro, Stan Bronstein) - 3:49
12.Hot Dog Man (Tony Visconti, Siegrid Visconti) - 3:34
13.Brief Encounter (Richard Sussman) - 4:38

Elephant's Memory
*Michal Shapiro - Vocals
*Stan Bronstein - Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, Vocals
*Rick Frank - Drums
*John Ward - Bass
*Chester Ayers - Guitar
*Myron Yules - Bass, Trombone
*Richard Sussman - Piano, Organ
*Leonard Allcock - Harmonica
*Guy Peritore - Guitar, Vocals
*David Cohen - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals

1969  Elephant's Memory - Elephant's Memory
1972  Elephant's Memory - Elephant's Memory

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Marvin Gardens - Marvin Gardens (1968 us, magical psych folk rock, 2016 release)



A phenomonal anthology of rare demos, studio and live recordings from late-60s, second-wave, San Francisco, Electric-Folk pioneers Marvin Gardens. All live tracks recorded by Peter Abram (Velvet Underground The Matrix Tapes) at the legendary Matrix Club in San Francisco. 1968 includes virtually every note Marvin Gardens recorded, and provides a tantalizing glimpse at a uniquely wonderful group. With a powerful female lead singer, Carol Duke, on par with Janis Joplin and Grace Slick, and a versatile and mesmerizing band that goes from playful folk to Latin-tinged jazz vamps to searing, guitar-fuelled garage rave-ups, Marvin Gardens could have been a major artist if the stars had been aligned.

“Had the Charlatans been joined by Country Joe’s keyboard player and fronted by an earthy female singer, they might’ve sounded like Marvin Gardens…”  
by Mike Stax


Tracks
1. Down The Line (Bob Dylan) - 3:08
2. Titanic (Huddie Ledbetter) - 2:08
3. Close The Door Lightly (Eric Andersen) - 3:45
4. Duncan And Brady (Traditional) - 3:03
5. 97 Men (Buffy Sainte-Marie) - 3:29
6. Whips And Leathers (Dave Ray Costuros, Carol Duke, Tim Hazen, Michael Lindner, Fred Waxler) - 3:29
7. Down The Line (Bob Dylan) - 3:23
8. Larry Welz Dedication- 0:32
9. Gloryland (Traditional) - 5:00
10.I Know You Rider (Traditional) - 4:32
11.Baltimore Oriole (Hoagy Carmichael, Paul Francis Webster) - 6:47
12.Titanic (Huddie Ledbetter) - 2:53
13.Richland Woman Blues (Mississippi John Hurt) - 5:17
14.Duncan And Brady (Traditional) - 3:39
15.The Whisper Song (Cliff Friend) - 2:39
16.Ananias (Buffy Sainte-Marie) - 6:39
17.97 Men (Buffy Sainte-Marie) - 3:55
18.Have A Drink On Me (Peter Buchanan, Lonnie Donegan, Huddie Ledbetter, Alan Lomax, John A. Lomax) - 4:22
19.Good Night Ladies (Edwin Christy) - 2:15

The Marvin Gardens
*Dave Ray Costuros - Drums, Vocals, Trumpet
*Carol Duke - Vocals, Guitar
*Tim Hazen - Farfisa, Hammond Organ, Piano, Guitars, Vocals, Mandolin
*Michael Lindner - Bass
*Fred Waxler - Guitars, Clarinet

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Friday, December 9, 2016

Lighthouse - Good Day (1974 canada, brilliant prog rock, 2016 remaster)



Having been named "Vocal/Instrumental Group of the Year" for the third time at Canada's prestigious Juno Awards in 1973, Lighthouse entered Thunder Sound in Toronto the following year to record their final album. Downplaying the horn-heavy sound that had previously defined them, it's a taut set of progressive rock with prominent synth and it sees founder member and drummer Skip Prokop switching to lead guitar. 

Vocalist Bob McBride curiously failed to show up to the studio where Lighthouse was recording its 1973 album Can You Feel It, Skip Prokop and Ralph Cole shared singing duties for the band’s ninth studio album. Still, 1974’s Good Day featured “Wide Eyed Lady" a psychedelic ballad co-penned by McBride. Good Day rocks noticeably harder than most preceding Lighthouse albums. This is softened by the pillowy layers of backing vocals and the band’s propensity to infuse orchestral string arrangements (as heard in the opening epic, “White Buffalo”). 


Tracks
1. White Buffalo (Skip Prokop) - 5:46
2. Wide Eyed Lady (Skip Prokop, Don Dinovo, Bob Mcbride) - 5:12
3. Got A Feeling (Ralph Cole) - 3:50
4. Be Here Now (Sam See, L. J. Reid) - 3:29
5. Good Day (Ralph Cole) - 4:46
6. Man, Woman, Child (Skip Prokop) - 3:20
7. Mighty Waters (Ralph Cole) - 5:06
8. Going Downtown (Skip Prokop) - 6:40
9. Reincarnate Nation (Skip Prokop) - 7:09

The Lighthouse
*Skip Prokop - Guitar, Vocals
*Ralph Cole - Guitar, Vocals
*Terry Wilkens - Bass, Vocals
*Sam See - Keyboards
*Billy King - Drums
*Don Dinovo - Violina
*Dick Armin - Cello
*Dale Hillary - Saxophones, Flute
*Rick Stepton – Trombone

Lighthouse
1969  Lighthouse (2012 extra tracks edition)
1969  Lighthouse - Suite Feeling (2010 Korean remaster)
1970  Peacing It All Together (2010 korean remaster)
1971  One Fine Morning
1971  Thoughts Of Movin' On (2016 edition)
1972  Sunny Days (2008 RDI issue)
1973  Can You Feel It?  (2008 RDI issue)
Related Acts
1967  The Paupers - Magic People
1968  The Paupers · Ellis Island  (2008 remaster)
1969  The Live Adventures Of Mike Bloomfield And Al Kooper
1969  Michael Bloomfield with Nick Gravenites And Friends - Live At Bill Graham's Fillmore West (2009 remaster and expanded) 
 
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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Pugma Ho! - Pugma Ho! (1969-2004 uk, rough downer rock with experimental mood, 2004 release)



It started in 1968 as a Jo Wright Art School band the Incas with Chris Camm guitar and Dave Coxon bass joined eventually by Keith Gotheridge on drums and Cliffe Simms on keyboards playing pop around the local pubs and clubs.  As the band moved towards the rock influences we decided to recruit vocalist Bev Staley who promised to be a good front man.  Bevs arrival was soon followed by Cliff's departure as the bands influences started to change.  With original material and a heavier rock sound it was decided a name change was called for, Pugma-Ho (kiss my arse, in Gaelic)  was born.  

We started to establish ourselves on the rock circuit, playing the top London gigs like The Marquee Club, The Temple, The Roundhouse and The Greyhound.  We also played several gigs at the Liverpool Cavern rock nights, usually followed by gigs at Liverpools Mardi Gras.  In 1972  we were the midlands representatives for the MELODY MAKER National Rock Contest, playing in the finals at the Roundhouse.  By the mid 70,s the music was changing towards punk.  Athough the band continued with changes in personel and music styles, we decided to call it a day.

In 2003 Pugma-Ho got together again for the hell of it, minus Bev,  who now resides in Australia.  Steve Curzon's, Bevs replacement, immediately became part of the band, and we are once again building a reputation for playing classic rock, the way it used to be played.

Clive Wellings took over drumming duties, after Keith retired from the band and did a sterling job for a year. The band was moving away from its original style so we recuited Tim Cox who's technique was more in line with the bands aims.

February 15th, 2013, Tim made his debut at the New Inn, Ilkeston, playing drums with Pugma Ho and now has played several gigs with the lads.

Before joining the band, his love of music took him on a vocational course by being a roadie and a pyrotechnic technician, using his creative skills at events and festivals.

Being an accomplished drummer, in 2008 he joined the post - punk rock band Wicker Sunday, providing the group with powerful, solid drums. It was in this band where he met Dave who was guesting on bass for some time.
Pugma-Ho


Tracks
1. Intro...Alert ! - 1:02
2. Life Is Crazy - 7:23
3. Who Will You See - 9:31
4. Blinding Lights - 7:58
5. Only A Fool - 4:06
6. You Know - 7:14
7. What's Your Desire - 3:08
8. Outro...All Clear - 0:48
9. German Love Song - 8:08
10.The Way I Feel - 9:53
11.War And Hate - 2:45
12.Alone In A Dream - 2:57
13.221 - 4:40
14.Junior's Wailing - 3:47
15.Highway 101 - 3:26
Tracks 2-7 recorded 1973
Track 9 recorded 1975
Tracks 10-12 recorded 1969 as The Incas
Tracks 13-15 recorded 2003-04

The Pugma Ho!
*Chris Camm - Guitar (1971)
*Dave Coxon - Bass (1971-72)
*Keith Gotheridge - Drums (1971-75)
*Pete Greaves - Guitar, Vocals
*Mel Levis - Bass
*Bev Staley - Vocals
*Spike Miller - Bass (1971)
*Sam Samways - Bass
*Richopino Ricardo - Bass
*Chinese Charly - Bass
*Neil Wright - Bass
*Gordon Reaney - Vocals
*Margo Buchanan Reid - Vocals
*Sam Kenny - Keyboards (1975)
*Geoff Meakin - Drums (1975)
*Steve Curzon - Vocals (2003)

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Friday, December 2, 2016

Horse - For Twisted Minds Only (1970-71 uk, outstanding heavy psych rock, 2016 remaster and expanded)



Horse was formed in South London during the late sixties. They created occult influenced progressive hard rock that was ahead of its time. Guitarist Rod Roach had briefly played in an incarnation of British psych-rock legends Andromeda before forming Horse with other key member, vocalist Adrian Hawkins. Alongside bassist Colin Standring, the band also featured legendary drummer Ric Parnell, later of Atomic Rooster (amongst many others) and future star of This is Spinal Tap (aka Mick Shrimpton)! The obscure rockers have been a favorite among collectors for many years. For Twisted Minds Only is an album long overdue for an official reissue. 

Recorded in 1969, originally released in 1970 and bootlegged countless times from scratchy vinyl transfers, Rise Above Relics is now finally presenting this detailed release mastered and cut directly from the original master tapes. Featuring a treasure trove of previously unheard/unreleased material, For Twisted Minds Only is certain to have connoisseurs and collectors of the period frothing at the bit. This long classic gallops out of the gate with the psychedelic “The Sacrifice” that could feel at home on a Jefferson Airplane album from the era. With its bloody chorus and the equally creepy second track “See The People Creeping Round” we can see how this Horse might be an acquired taste.
by Rich and Laura Lynch


Tracks
1. The Sacrifice - 6:17
2. See The People Creeping Round - 4:25
3. And I Have Loved You - 3:13
4. Freedom Rider - 3:20
5. Lost Control - 2:26
6. To Greet The Sun - 4:06
7. The Journey - 3:56
8. Heat Of The Summer - 4:04
9. Gypsy Queen - 2:54
10.Step Out Of Line - 4:24
11.Autumn - 3:52
12.Winchester Town-Dreams Turn To Ashes - 4:15
13.Born To Be Wild - 6:48
14.Picture Of Innocence - 2:53
15.She Brings Peace - Original Version - 5:44
16.Anthems Of The Sea - 3:28
All songs by Adrian Hawkins, Road Roach

The Horse
*Rod Roach - Guitar
*Adrian Hawkins - Vocals
*Colin Standring - Bass
*Ric Parnell - Drums
With
*Jess Liddiard - Drums (Tracks 13,14)
*Steve Holley - Drums(Tracks 15,16)

1971  Horse - Horse (Buy Or Die edition)

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

SRC - SRC / Milestones / Traveler's Tale (1968-70 us, astonishing heavy garage psych, 2012 double disc box set remaster)



Much was expected of SRC, and for good reason. Aside from being exceptional songwriters and musicians, the Ann Arbor, Michigan band had the support of both the public and a major label. Bursting with potential, they were clearly primed for global domination.

Signed to Capitol Records, SRC (short for the Scot Richard Case) waxed a trio of full-length albums for the imprint that have now been brought together as a double-disc package by Beat Goes On Records. Sad to say, the band never conquered the world, which was no fault of their own, as their efforts weren’t as widely distributed and promoted as all hoped they would be. But they remained tremendously popular locally and continued to be held in high regard in later years by those exposed to their material.

Released in 1968, the band’s debut album, SRC, crackles and crunches to the tune of a heavy beat. Grinding Hammond organ passages producing feelings of gloom and doom share space with squealing acid-stained riffs, while the drumming is tribal and toxic. Self-possessed vocals, alternating between light and dark, complete the sessions.

A thoroughly eerie environment envelopes the moody “Black Sheep,” and songs like “Daystar,” “Exile” and “Paragon Council” are grafted of science-fiction visages. Imaginative and freaky, SRC often resembles a grungier version of the Doors.

The band’s next album, Milestones, which appeared in 1969, proved to be quite different than its predecessor. Gone was the jagged edge, replaced by bright singing, intricate melody lines and sophisticated structures dripping with smoothness.

Clocking in at over eight minutes in length, “The Angel Song” breathes in and out to a lush terrain of progressive movements, where “Show Me” and “I Remember Your Face” are glistening ballads.

But by no means had SRC turned soft, as clarified by “Up All Night,” “No Secret Destination” and “Eye Of The Storm,” which pulsate steadily with zippy frequencies. As well, an ambitious cover of “In The Hall Of The Mountain King” exhibits the band’s incredible improvisational skills.

SRC’s final album, Traveler’s Tale hit the decks in 1970 and was stuffed and buffed with hard rocking razzle dazzle. Blazing guitars, plucked with polish and precision, augmented by rows of inventive tempo changes propel cuts such as the bluesy “Midnight Fever,” the whammy jammy “Across The Land Of Light” and the sweeping swirls of “By Way Of You” to stratospheric heights.

Loaded with lashing licks, aided by super-size harmonies, majestic keyboard excursions and burning hooks, “A New Crusader” steps forward as another winner included on Traveler’s Tale, and then there’s the haunting psychedelic-soaked vibe of “Street Without A Name,” the gospel styled “The Offering” and “Diana,” which crosses neo-Latin flavored rhythms with jazzy indentations.

As strongly indicated by these recordings, SRC was ambitious and adventurous. Pouring their hearts and souls into their music, they created tunes smacking of artistic integrity. Those attracted to the enterprising musings of the Pretty Things, Deep Purple, Procol Harum and Yes will certainly appreciate the equally exciting sounds of SRC. 
by Beverly Paterson


Tracks
SRC-Milestones 1968-69
1. Black Sheep - 4:51
2. Daystar - 4:30
3. Exile - 4:23
4. Marionette - 4:01
5. Onesimpletask - 5:36
6. Paragon Council - 4:00
7. Refugeve - 3:40
8. Interval - 5:14
9. No Secret Destination - 4:21
10.Show Me - 3:42
11.Eye Of The Storm - 4:55
12.I Remember Your Face - 1:41
13.In The Hall Of The Mountain King-Bolero (Edvard Grieg, Jimmy Page ) - 6:10
14.Checkmate - 3:47
15.Our Little Secret - 2:43
16.Turn Into Love - 3:03
17.Up All Night - 3:10
18.The Angel Song - 8:15
All songs by Scott Richardson, Gary Quackenbush, Elmer George Clawson, Glenn Quackenbush, Steve Lyman, Robin Dale(Tracks 1-8), Al Wilmot(Tracks 9-18)  except where Stated


Disc 2 Traveler's Tale 1970
1. A New Crusader (Scott Richardson, Glenn Quackenbush, Ray Goodman) - 7:07
2. Street Without A Name (Glenn Quackenbush, Scott Richardson) - 5:13
3. Midnight Fever (Scott Richardson, Ray Goodman) - 3:53
4. Never Before Now (Glenn Quackenbush, Scott Richardson) - 3:57
5. By The Way Of You (Scott Richardson, Elmer George Clawson, Glenn Quackenbush, Ray Goodman, Al Wilmot) - 3:18
6. Diana (Glenn Quackenbush, Scott Richardson) - 4:37
7. Across The Land Of Light (Scott Richardson, Glenn Quackenbush, Ray Goodman, Elmer George Clawson, Al Wilmot) - 6:54
8. The Offering (Scott Richardson, Glenn Quackenbush) - 6:12
9. My Fortunes Coming True (Bonus Track) (Ray Goodman, Scott Richardson) - 3:19

SRC
*Steve Lyman - Second Guitar, Vocal
*Glenn Quackenbush - Hammond Organ
*Scott Richardson - Lead Vocal
*E.G. Clawson - Drums
*Gary Quackenbush - Lead Guitar
*Robin Dale - Bass, Vocal (Disc 1 Tracks 1-8)
*Al Wilmot - Bass Vocals (Disc 1 Tracks 9-18, Disc 2)

1968  SRC - SRC (2010 Micro Werks edition)
1970-72  SRC - Lost Masters

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Golden Earring - Golden Earring (1970 holland, exceptional hard classic rock with psych and prog shades, 2001 reissue)



Golden Earring found the titular Dutch quartet forging the unique style that would later pay off in successful albums like Moontan and Cut. At this point, the group's sound is best described as post-psychedelic FM rock with a pronounced hard rock element (strong, gutsy guitar riffs about on this record -- just check out "The Loner" or "Back Home"). A lot of the songs have the atmosphere and elaborate arrangements associated with prog rock, but the group keeps the arrangements and the running times tight (the album's lengthiest song is just a little over six minutes). 

The most overtly artsy track on the album is "Big Tree, Blue Sea," an energetic and complex rock tune that includes Jethro Tull-style flute and packs a dizzying array of tempo and stylistic changes into a tune only half as long as the average prog tune. Other highlights on Golden Earring include "This Is the Time of the Year," a song whose effect arrangement juxtaposes quiet verses with spare instrumentation with dramatic chorus powered by a powerful guitar riff and "Back Home," a solid example of the kind of good-time rocker that would dominate Golden Earring's late-'70s albums. 

The strong music and the band's tight musicianship makes a tuneful effort that is well worth a listen. 
by Donald A. Guarisco


Tracks
1. Yellow And Blue - 3:45
2. The Loner - 3:29
3. This Is The Time Of The Year - 3:33
4. Big Tree Blue Sea (George Kooymans, Barry Hay) - 6:12
5. The Wall Of Dolls (George Kooymans, Barry Hay) - 3:33
6. Back Home - 3:52
7. See See (Barry Hay) - 3:13
8. I'm Going To Send My Pigeons To The Sky - 5:59
9. As Long As The Wind Blows - 5:17
All songs by George Kooymans except where noted

The Golden Earring
*Rinus Gerritsen - Bass, Keyboard
*Barry Hay - Flute, Vocals
*George Kooymans - Guitar, Vocals
*Cesar Zuiderwijk - Drums

The Golden Earring 
1965 Just Ear Rings (2009 extra tracks edition)
1966  Winter-Harvest (2009 extra tracks issue)
1968-69  Miracle Mirror (2009 bonus tracks edition)
1969  On The Double
1969/71 Eight Miles High / Seven Tears
1972  Together
1973  Moontan
1977  Live (Double Disc)

1971  George Kooymans - Jojo
1972  Barry Hay - Only Parrots, Frogs And Angels

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Marc Brierley - Hello (1969-70 uk, marvelous diverse folk rock, 2014 bonus tracks remaster)



A minor player on the late-'60s British folk-rock scene, guitarist and singer/songwriter Marc Brierley made a couple of albums in the late '60s that were somewhat in line with the folk-pop-rock Donovan was making around the same time, though they were milder and far less distinctive. Brierley made his recording debut in 1966 with a five-song acoustic EP for Transatlantic Records that was similar in nature to the early acoustic recordings of Donovan and Bert Jansch. 
by Richie Unterberger

Hello might be described as a bit more ambitious than the first LP, and certainly more commercial. The arrangements are a lot bigger, with the string section from the London Symphony Orchestra hired to play on a couple of tracks and a lot of well-placed Hammond organ. There's a lot more stylistic variety from one song to the next, the tongue-in-cheek, honky-tonk shuffle of "O Honey" (featuring Dudley Moore, Arthur himself, on the piano!) transitioning into "A Presence (I Am Seeking)" with sparse acoustic guitar, flute, and Eastern hand percussion. The poppier songs on Hello remind me a little bit of some of the stuff on Cat Stevens' first two records, although nothing Brierley wrote is nearly as infectious as "Here Comes My Baby." If anything comes close, its his hugely uplifting final single "Be My Brother," which sounds to me like it should've been a massive hit. The other single, "Stay A Little Longer Merry Ann," is pretty damn good, too, and is notable for its now infamous producer and arranger: a teenage Andrew Lloyd Webber, believe it or not.

Brierley, today a freelance photographer and journalist, wrote the reissue's great liner notes, in which he reminisces about the minutia of his career. He talks about having a terrible cold the week he was in the studio for Welcome To The Citadel and about the tremendous difficulty he had with recording his vocals and guitar parts separately. He also has a word or two to say about his influences and about the ideas behind some of his songs. His thoughtful and charming remarks are merely the icing on the cake of this near-perfect package, a long overdue introduction to a unique and remarkable artist whose music is more than worthy of a prime spot in the folk-rock canon.
by Rob Hatch-Miller


Tracks
1. Sunny Weather - 2:44
2. Lady Of The Light - 2:52
3. Today I Feel Like Leaving You - 2:22
4. O Honey - 3:42
5. A Presence (I Am Seeking) - 6:46
6. The Room - 7:42
7. Byrd Lives - 1:28
8. Hello - 2:48
9. Lookin' Around The Room - 3:23
10.When Martha Comes - 4:33
11.Be My Brother - 3:26
12.If You Took The Bandage Off Your Head You Wouldn't Be So Blind - 3:29
13.The Best Part Of The Night - 3:29
14.In This Hour Of Love - 2:52
15.One Fine Morning (You Will Wake Up) - 3:01
16.Screaming Schizophrenia Blues - 3:02
17.Abide With You - 3:36
18.Brown Ships - 4:45
19.For People Who Are Parted - 4:45
20.Sweet Summer - 2:25
21.Be My Brother - 3:15
Words and Music by Marc Brierley
Original Album Tracks 1-10
CBS Singles Tracks 11-12
Island Records Demos Tracks 13-20
Rehearsal Demo Track 21

Musicians
*Marc Brierley - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Harold McNair - Flute
*Dudley Moore - Piano
*Graham Todd - Organ
*Mox - Mouth Harp
*John Fiddie - Bass
*Tony Carr - Percussion
*Dougie Wright - Drums
*Billy Butler - Guitar, Vocals
*Andy Bown - Piano
*London Symphony Orchestra - Strings

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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Cold Blood ‎- Lydia (1974 us, delicate groovy jazzy funk rock, 2004 remaster)



Cold Blood is one of the original R'n'B horn bands from the late 60's/ early 70's that exemplified the "East Bay Grease" melding of funk & rock with blues and jazz elements. Lydia Pense has been compared to Janis Joplin, but is a true original and a pioneer in the women's rock movement. Lydia Pense and Cold Blood packed the San Francisco Ballrooms in their heyday, but that was then and this is now. In the now, Lydia Pense and Cold Blood still fill halls with cheering, dancing, foot-stomping fans. Far from fading over the years, Cold Blood has flourished. 

In 1974 their 5th released simply called "Lydia", legendary Stax guitarist Steve Cropper produced and and played on three cuts. A soulful approach with the band playing a blue-eyed funk crossbred. Lydia Pense is in fine form as always. 


Tracks
1. Ready To Live (Lonnie Hewitt, Paul Edward Smith) - 5:24
2. Simple Love Life (Paul Edward Smith, R. Smith) - 3:18
3. Under Pressure (Fred Gowdy, Larry Wilkins) - 3:30
4. When My Love Hand Comes Down (Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer) - 4:23
5. When It's Over (A. Wayne) - 2:33
6. Consideration (Steve Cropper) - 3:36
7. I Only Wanted Someone To Hear Me (Allan Rush, Dee Presley) - 3:54
8. You're Free Lovin' Me (Carl Marsh, Steve Cropper) - 3:51
9. Come Back Into My Life Again (B. R. Charles) - 3:40
10.Just Like Sunshine (Paul Edward Smith, Raul Matute) - 4:38

Musicians
*Lydia Pense - Vocals
*Michael Sasaki - Guitar
*Paul Cannon - Guitar
*Steve Cropper - Guitar
*Joe Williams - Drums
*Tommy Cathey - Bass
*Rod Elliott - Bass
*Raul Matute - Keyboards
*David Luell - Alto, Tenor, Baritone Saxophones
*Max Haskett - Trumpet
*Jack Walrath - Trumpet
*Gaylord Birch - Drums
*Danny Kootch - Guitar
*Bobbye Hall - Congas, Percussion
*Chuck Bennett - Trombone
*Paul Hubinon - Trumpet
*Chuck Findley - Trumpet
*Bobby Shew - Trumpet
*Jim Horn - Tenor Saxophone, Flute
*Don Menza - Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Piccolo
*Peter Christlieb - Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Piccolo
*The Memphis Horns

1969-70  Cold Blood - Cold Blood / Sisyphus
1972  Cold Blood - First Taste Of Sin
1973  Cold Blood - Thriller
1973  Cold Blood - Vintage Blood Live

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Various Artists - Riot On Sunset Strip / Rarities: The Standells (1967 us, exciting garage psych beat folk rock, 2009 bonus tracks remaster)



The riots on Los Angeles' Sunset Strip took place in the summer and fall of 1966. As riots go, they were a far cry from those that afflicted the city during either Watts or those inspired by the Rodney King beating in 1991. Hundreds of teenagers began peacefully hanging out on the Strip on weekends, creating a traffic problem (though little else) while waiting for the latest phenomenon of the '60s - the 'Happening'.

The LA police over-reacted, imposing a curfew on under-21 year olds and heavy-handedly breaking up the crowds that continued to gather. These rather one-sided violent affairs were magnified by the popular press of the time into The Riots On Sunset Strip. The Stephen Stills/ Neil Young band Buffalo Springfield documented the affair in the song For What It's Worth, which charted nationally putting the civil rights issues involved once more on view from Coast to Coast. Sam Katzman (the man behind the movie Rock Around The Clock) rushed out a cash-in film Riot On Sunset Strip. 

All the hallmarks of the teenage movie were there - hokey plot, wooden acting and cheap sets - but the film has survived as a firm cult favourite, mainly for the night-club scenes featuring (amongst others) The Standells and The Chocolate Watchband. The original soundtrack album reissued here includes The Chocolate Watchband's Don't Need Your Lovin' and Sitting There Standing, two of their wildest performances and reportedly close to the raw feel the band generated in-person. The Standells' appearance in the movie further fuelled their punk notoriety. As an added bonus for their fans, Rarities contains 11 rare and unissued tracks including the early (1965) recording It's All In Your Mind, recorded at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood. The CD booklet also contains many rare photographs.


Artists - Tracks
1. The Standells - Riot On Sunset Strip (Tony Valentino, John Flack) - 2:25
2. The Mugwumps - Sunset Sally (Vincent Malamed) - 2:20
3. The Sidewalk Sounds - The Sunset Theme (Mike Curb) - 2:25
4. Debra Travis - Old Country (Debra Travis) - 2:02
5. The Chocolate Watchband - Don't Need Your Lovin' (David Aguilar) - 2:39
6. The Mom's Boys - Children Of The Night (The Mom's Boys) - 2:29
7. The Sidewalk Sounds - Make The Music Pretty (Guy Hemric, Jerry Styner) - 1:41
8. The Standells - Get Away From Here (Larry Tamblyn) - 2:09
9. Drew - Like My Baby (Mike Curb, Drew Bennett, Davie Allen) - 2:02
10.The Chocolate Watchband - Sitting There Standing (David Aguilar, Gary Andrijasevich, Bill Flores, Mark Loomis, Sean Tolby) - 2:23
11.The Standells - Love Me (Dick Dodd, Tony Valentine) - 2:46
12.The Standells - Batman (Neal Hefti) - 3:06
13.The Standells - Our Candidate (Mike Smith) - 4:12
14.The Standells - The Boy Who Is Lost (Larry Tamblyn) - 2:34
15.The Standells - It's All In Your Mind - 2:42
16.The Standells - School Girl (Graham Gouldman) - 2:17
17.The Standells - I Hate To Leave You (Tony Valentino, Dick Dodd) - 2:33
18.The Standells - Looking At Tomorrow (Barry Mann, Cynthia Well) - 2:18
19.The Standells - Don't, Say Nothing At All (D. Washington) - 2:32
20.The Standells - Try It (Joseph Levine) - 2:50
21.The Standells - Rari (Ed Cobb) - 5:33

Related Acts
1966  The Standells - Dirty Water
1966  The Standells - Why Pick On Me
1966-67  The Standells - Try It
1966-67  The Standells - The Hot Ones (rare out of print issue)
1965-67  The Chocolate Watchband - Melts In Your Brain...Not On Your Wrist / The Complete Recordings
1967  The Chocolate Watch Band - No Way Out
1968  The Chocolate Watch Band - The Inner Mystique
1969  The Chocolate Watchband - One Step Beyond
1966-68  The Chocolate Watchband - Forty Four

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Saturday, November 5, 2016

Taste - What's Going On Isle Of Wight Festival (1970 ireland, spectacular classic hard blues rock, 2015 extra tracks remaster)



TASTE - THE ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL, August 28, 1970
The 1970 Isle Of Wight festival is remembered for several reasons: it would prove to be the largest rock festival yet held - attracting, it is estimated, up to 600,000 people and so leading to a ban on music festivals on the IOW for the next 32 years. While a ticketed festival, the huge numbers of people heading to the island meant it quickly became a free festival (with much rhetoric being spouted alongside several stage invasions by self-proclaimed "hippie activists"). Alongside leading rock, soul and |azz musicians the IOW hosted what would turn out to be the final UK performances of both Jimi Hendrix and The Doors. The IOW also featured a particularly ferocious set by Taste.

Taste were formed in the city of Cork. Ireland, by 18-year old Rory Gallagher in 1966. By then Gallagher was a veteran of the showband circuit, had toured much of Europe and played a residency in Hamburg. With Taste he mixed original material with blues covers, the band's raw, dynamic sound quickly establishing them In Belfast then London. Just before Taste signed with Polydor Records the band's management insisted on replacing the Cork rhythm section with drummer John Wilson and bassist Richard McCracken, both veteran Belfast musicians (Wilson had played in Them). Taste's exciting live performances set attendance records at London's Marquee Club and they gained wide European popularity with their eponymous 1969 debut album.

1970 should have been Taste's year: they released their sophomore album 'On The Boards' on January 1st. 1970, to rave reviews across Europe and the US. The band's work effort and inspired live performances had established Taste truly as a "people's" band. Praise for the band - and, especially, Rory Gallagher - came from many noted musicians: John Lennon championed Taste while Jimi Hendrix, when asked how it felt to be the world's greatest guitarist, replied that he had no idea and the question should be redirected to Rory. Yet, internally. Taste were bitterly divided due to differences between Gallagher and the rhythm section over management, money and status.

A break-in to the band's van (only drum pedals were stolen) the night before they headed to IOW brought tensions to a head with Rory emphasising that if management had provided Taste with a superior vehicle (as long requested) the theft wouldn't have occurred. If tensions were simmering in the van the Southampton ferry crossing on Friday morning provided a sense of exhilaration - they could feel the excitement building as thousands of rock fans gathered for the festival. Unfortunately, the huge numbers of people arriving on the IOW (population 100,000) meant Taste struggled to get on site in time for their late afternoon set. Things only got worse once there as they became aware the festival was being filmed: their manager threatened to cancel Taste's performance.

But perform they did: taking the stage in perfect conditions. Taste tore into 'What's Going On'. The huge audience, until then somewhat subdued in response to the afternoon's bands, rose to their feet. The ten thousand hours Kory had put in playing live over the past six years ignited a truly explosive performance. Perhaps the inter-band tension also fuelled Taste as the trio played superbly, giving their absolute all. each member listening and responding so creating music alive with excitement and possibility. Electricity was in the air and the audience screamed for an encore. Taste obliged but the audience refused to let them go. One - two - three - encores! Right then everyone bearing witness agreed: Taste were the most exciting live band in the world.

Backstage Taste were charged with adrenalin and aware they had achieved something special. This is what it's all about - playing rock and roll like your very life depended on it! But the ill feeling remained and. when photographer John Minihan requested that Taste gather for a portrait, the trio were reluctant. Finally, bassist McCracken said, "come on guys, even if it is the last one" and grabbed Gallagher and Wilson for the photo. Photo taken, Rory and his brother Donal then went off to watch Tony Joe White play. Rory was so impressed he would later include White's 'As The Crow Flies' in his live set. Taste might have had the adulation of an adoring public ringing in their ears but their IOW performance did not heal the band's divisions and they would confirm that they were to split a few days later. As Taste were contractually committed to a European tour they continued until a final Belfast concert on New Year's Eve, 1970. In that tumultuous year their Isle Of Wight performance sealed Taste as more a legend than a band.
by Garth Cartwright


Tracks
1. What's Going On - 5:31
2. Sugar Mama (Traditional) - 10:47
3. Morning Sun - 4:37
4. Gambling Blues (Traditional) - 4:52
5. Sinner Boy - 5:41
6. I'll Remember - 8:29
7. I Feel So Good (Big Bill Broonzy) - 10:26
8. Catfish Blues (Traditional) - 14:14
9. Same Old Story - 6:54
10.Blister On The Moon - 7:46
All songs by Rory Gallagher except where stated

The Taste
*Rory Gallagher - Guitars, vocals
*Richard McCracken - Bass
*John Wilson - Drums

1970  On The Boards (Japan SHM edition)
1971  Live Taste
1971  Rory Gallagher (Japan Mini Lp replica)
1971  Deuce (Japan Mini Lp replica)
1972  Live In Europe
1973  Blueprint (Japan Mini Lp replica)
1973  Tattoo (2012 promo copy)
1974  Irish Tour (Japan Mini LP replica)
1975  Against The Grain (Japan Mini LP replica)

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Unspoken Word - Tuesday April 19th (1968 us, wonderful melodic distillation of folk baroque psych rock, 2007 extra tracks release)



The first album from this Long Island-based ensemble was a tuneful and ambitious collection of psychedelic folk-rock tricked out with polished harmonies and arrangements featuring elaborate horn and string charts. If anything, Tuesday, April 19 often sounds a bit too elaborate for its own good; the arrangements certainly reflect the trippy, philosophic bent of Gene Stashuk's lyrics (which also suggest a Christian undertow), but fairly often they also tend to overpower them, and on these sessions the Unspoken Word sound more like a studio project than an organic group with a personality of its own. 

The irony is this has a great deal to do with the precision with which the Unspoken Word play their music; Angus MacMaster's keyboard work is especially impressive, with a striking dynamic sense, and vocalist Dede Puma would have done any number of Broadway musicals proud with her rich, expertly modulated instrument.

On tunes like "After the Before," the Unspoken Word sound a bit like the Free Design after an acid trip and a couple semesters of philosophy class, and while that might sound like damning the Unspoken Word with faint praise, the truth is few bands embraced the psychedelic philosophy while maintaining a composer's fine control over their music the way the Unspoken Word did on Tuesday, April 19. If the two sides don't always mesh perfectly, fans of oddities of the psychedelic era will doubtless find this to be intriguing stuff. 
by Mark Deming


Tracks
1. Anniversary Of My Mind - 2:37
2. For The World - 1:48
3. Waking Up (Gene Stashuk, B. Barrette, Denise Puma) - 3:22
4. Moving Day - 2:13
5. After The Before (Gene Stashuk, Denise Puma) - 3:45
6. Distant, Oh So Far - 3:04
7. Rossby (Gene Stashuk, Angus MacMaster, Les Singer) - 2:42
8. Flock Of Birds (Gene Stashuk, Angus MacMaster) - 2:28
9. Sunday Suit of Clothes - 2:27
10.We're Growing - 2:58
11.Boy - 2:06
12.Nobody's Nothing - 2:19
13.On A Beautiful Day - 2:31
14.And It's Gone (Gene Stashuk, Denise Puma) - 1:53
All songs by Gene Stashuk except where noted.

The Unspoken Word
*Angus MacMaster - Keyboards
*Denise "Dede" Puma - Vocals
*Gene Stashuk - Lead, Rhythm Guitars, Vocals
*Greg Buis - Bass, Vocals
*Les Singer - Drums

1970  The Unspoken Word

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Friday, October 28, 2016

Holy Mackerel - Holy Mackerel (1972 uk, spectacular guitar rock with some prog traces, 2015 reissue)



Singer Terry Clarke, guitarist Derek Smallcombe and drummer Roger 'Spodge' Siggery had all played in UK psych legends Jason Crest. Following their collapse in 1969, Clark joined short-lived UK rockers Hunter, whose sole LP was released in America only under the band name Orang Utan, while his former bandmates played with High Broom, best-known for releasing a version of Dancing In The Moonlight on Island in 1970.  Smallcombe then played a stint with progressive rockers Samuel Prody, whose sole LP was released in Germany only, before rejoining Clark and Siggery in 1972 to form the quintet Holy Mackerel, along with new recruits Chris Ware (guitar) and Tony Wood (bass). 

Having relocated from their native Kent to rural Lancashire, they devised a set that drew on progressive, pop and country influences before starting to gig. According to their LP's sleevenotes, they 'took the Northern college circuit by storm, experimenting and refining their music until they were ready for their album'. Having come to the attention of producers Roger Easterby and Des Champ (best-known for making hits with pop artists including Vanity Fare, Deep Feeling, Dr Marigold's Prescription and Chicory Tip), they were signed to CBS and entered the studio. A single coupling Rock-A-Bye and New Black Shoes was issued in late October 1972, preceding the appearance of their self-titled LP in November. 

Unfortunately, as 1973 came around the market for such records was fast shrinking, and it sold poorly despite an enthusiastic endorsement from John Peel ('A group to watch and, of course, a good one to listen to as well') and 45 releases in Germany, Turkey and elsewhere. They appeared on Peel's show in November, performing Waterfall, Spanish Attraction, Oh! and Trie Boy & The Mekon, but it made little difference to their success. They did go on to record a follow-up album, entitled Closer To Heaven, but CBS didn't release it and it languished until finally appearing in 1993. 

Having departed CBS, the band remained with Easterby and Champ for three further singles that appeared on the producers' own Santa Ponsa label (a subsidiary of Pye), but none of those charted, so they finally called it quits in mid-1974.
CD Liner-Notes


Tracks
1. Going To The Country (Steve Miller, Ben Sidran) - 3:05
2. Virginia Water (Derek Smallcombe) - 3:49
3. Spanish Attraction (Terry Clark) - 7:38
4. Rock-A-Bye (Barry Ian Green, Ron Roker) - 2:36
5. Oh! (Derek Smallcombe) - 5:19
6. Were You At All (Chris Ware) - 2:59
7. New Black Shoes (Terry Clark, Roger "Spodge" Siggery, Chris Ware, Derek Smallcombe, A. Wood) - 3:49
8. The Boy And The Mekon (Terry Clark) - 5:50

The Holy Mackerel
*Terry 'Nobby' Clark - Vocals
*Derek 'Mort' Smallcombe - Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
*Chris Ware - Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
*Tony Wood - Bass
*Roger 'Spodge' Siggery - Drums

Related Acts
1965-71  The Herd - The Complete Herd (2005 remaster, digi pack two disc set)  
1967-68  Jason Crest - The Collected Works 
1971  Samuel Prody - Samuel Prody (2011 Edition)  

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Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Pandamonium - The Unreleased Album (1969 uk, outstanding psych folk rock, 2004 release)



Singers/guitarists Martin Curtis and Bob Poton started their professional musical careers in 1963 as members of the beat band The Pandas.  By 1966 they'd expanded their line up to include Kent Mick Glass and drummer Steve Chapman.  They'd also opted for a name change, dropping The Pandas for the hipper Pandamonium.

Produced by Shel Talmy and Hugh Murphy, the collection found the duo supported by members of Fairport Convention/Fotheringay (Jerry Donahue, Gerry Conway and Tim Donaldson) and Heads, Hands and Feet (Albert Lee and Chas Hodges).  Musically the album was quite different from the earlier "Thoughts & Words" release.  Whereas the former sported a distinctive reflective folk feel, material like 'I Know You', the Badfinger-ish 'Sunrise' and 'Sit and Watch the Sunshine' showcased a far more commercial and up-tempo pop feel.  

Showcasing all original material, the pair had a clear knack for crafting the kind of melodies that crawled into your head and wouldn't let go - I dare you to shake 'I Believe In You' out of your memory.  Curiously, as lead singers neither Curtis nor Ponton had great voices, but when they were paired together they somehow managed to turn in some truly stunning harmony work (the country-tinged 'If I Could Be With You').   

Even more interesting were a couple of psych-influenced numbers.  'I Am What I Am' sported another mesmerizing melody, couple with one of the best fuzz and backward guitar solo sections I've ever heard.  Yeah, there were a couple of duds - 'Baby I'll Be Yours' was a forgettable country-influenced number, 'Who Knows What We May Find' was a fey ballad, and 'Waiting for Summer' was a strange Latin-flavored piece that wouldn't have sounded out of place on an Everything But the Girl album.  Still, one of my favorite recent discoveries the big mystery being why Liberty would have shelved an album with so much commercial potential ...


Tracks
1. I Know You - 3:18
2. It´s A Long Time - 3:14
3. I Am What I Am - 3:54
4. Sunrise - 4:10
5. If I Could Be With You - 2:15
6. Sit And Watch The Sunshine - 3:11
7. Baby I´ll Be Yours - 3:52
8. Send Out A Smile - 3:04
9. Who Knows What We May Find - 3:15
10.Waiting For The Summer - 2:30
11.I Believe In You - 3:57
All songs by Bob Ponton, Martin Curtis

Personnel
*Bob Ponton - Lead, Acoustic Guitars, Vocals (Tracks 1-11)
*Martin Curtis - Rhythm Guitar (Tracks 1-11)
*Albert Lee - Lead, Rhythm Guitars (Tracks 3-5, 8, 10, 11)
*Pete Gavin - Drums (Tracks 3, 8)
*Chas Hodges - Bass (Tracks 3, 8)
*Clem Cattini - Drums (Tracks 4, 5, 10, 11)
*Gerry Conway - Drums (Tracks 1, 2, 7, 9)
*Jerry Donahue - Lead, Rhythm Guitars, Vocals (Tracks 1, 2, 7, 9)
*Pat Donaldson - Bass (Tracks 1, 2, 7, 9)
*Tom Parker - Piano (Tracks 1, 2, 4. 5, 7, 9-11)
*Val Cope - Baking Vocals (Tracks 1, 2, 4. 5, 7, 9, 11)

1969  Thoughts And Words - Thoughts And Words (2005 reissue)  

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Solution - Divergence (1972 hollamd, astonishing prog rock, 2012 remaster)



For the band's second album, Divergence, Peter van der Sande was replaced by Guus Willemse. The new line-up seemed to gel better, and this line-up would stay the same (although with various guests such as Jan Akkerman joining in) until the band's demise in 1983. Divergence was less energetic and more ruggedly powerful than its predecessor, containing more structured pieces than before.

Ironically, the band reveal in the second line of Second Line that English is not their native tongue: 'Well here I am/Look me into my face.' In fact, the first half of Second Line consists of an astonishingly beautiful piano ballad, in the style of Elton John perhaps. Barlage's sax solo is incredibly moving. The production makes everything sound like a dream. This is the sort of song that needs lyrics you can shout at the top of your lungs, and yet whenever Willemse is not mumbling his lines, they don't make any sense, a shame indeed. The second half of the song consists of a Soft Machine-y jazz fusion instrumental, which has nothing to do with the first half, and seems a little out of place.

This album is most famous for its title track that was covered by Focus in their epic suite Eruption from the Moving Waves album. Oddly enough, Moving Waves had come out the previous year, which lead to many people believing Solution had just stolen a track from Focus. This track is really a chance for Barlage to show just how he can hold a saxophone. He gets to repeat the same monumental sax solo a total of three times throughout the track's six minute length. On the other hand, the rest of the instrumental is very straightforward, and I found that I pretty much worked out how it pieced together after three listens. Interestingly, a drum pattern from Koan reappears, and is very similar to another pattern heard on the title track from Supersister's Pudding en Gisteren.

One throwaway piece later, and we get to Concentration, probably the finest track of the lot. Once again, we can split this song into two halves, the first a smooth laid-back blues piece with lyrics, the second a speedy 7/8 instrumental in the style of Soft Machine's Esther's Nose Job. The instrumental in the first half of the song contains a subtle hint of the proggy goodness that's in store. The lyrical section is a perfect blend of jazz and blues. Willemse's lyrics aren't always audible, but he delivers them with gusto. Afterwards, the brisk 7/8 instrumental section leads us on a roller-coaster of themes and riffs, keeping the listener hooked throughout. A masterpiece track if I ever heard one.

Yet another throwaway track later and we finish on New Dimension. The use of organ on this track is simply mesmerising, and the riff and chord sequences used are subtle but also darkly powerful, playing with the mind on a subconscious level. Before I knew it, I was coming back for repeated listens of this bizarre piece.

Esoteric have done a wonderful job with these albums. Both booklets contain similar well-written essays by Wouter Bessels. I did spot a minor mistake however, because it appears that the track Theme from Divergence was sampled in Erykah Badu's track Soldier, not in Victory as the notes suggested. Nevertheless, these notes tell you all you need to know about the band. The artwork reproduction (back and front) is spot on, no less than what the paying customer deserves. The remastering is also brilliant, with everything sounding crystal clear, and the bass coming through especially nicely. Sadly, there are no bonus tracks appended to the albums, but this is not necessarily Esoteric's fault.

Solution may not have all the skill and songwriting ability as some of their contemporaries *cough* Supersister *cough*, but they certainly have enough to keep this prog fan satisfied. With only a few minor weaknesses, the band's first two albums are gems of the jazz-prog genre, and have yet again convinced me of the quality of Dutch progressive rock. Even if you aren't so keen on jazz, you may be pleasantly surprised by what you hear. 
by Basil Francis


Tracks
1. Second Line - 8:48
2. Divergence - 6:00
3. Fever - 4:27
4. Concentrantion - 12:31
5. Theme - 0:42
6. New Dimension - 6:26
All compositions by Hans Waterman, Tom Barlage, Guus Willemse, Willem Ennes

Solution
*Tom Barlage - Saxophone, Flute
*Willem Ennes - Keyboards
*Guus Willemse - Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Hans Waterman - Drums

1971  Solution - Solution (2012 Esoteric remaster)
1975  Solution - Cordon Bleu

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