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Plain and Fancy

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Terry Dolan - Terry Dolan (1972 us, amazing classic rock with psych country and blues flavours, 2016 remaster and expanded)

On April 24, 1971, the San Francisco Examiner ran a piece titled “The Hit That Isn't a Record.” It was about an unsigned local musician named Terry Dolan who was “doing the impossible – having a hit without making a record.” A demo tape Dolan had cut with Rolling Stones' piano man Nicky Hopkins had found its way into heavy rotation on two FM underground stations, and one of the songs, Inlaws and Outlaws, was lighting up the phones. The article would prove strangely prescient, because after the demo helped land him a deal with Warner Brothers, Dolan made a record that never became a record. At least not until forty-four years later.

Music history is peppered with lost albums, those vinyl equivalents of Atlantis – from The Beach Boys' Smile to Prince's Black Album. But what if not only a landmark album went missing in time, but along with it an artist and the potential of an entire career?

“Who knows what would've happened with Terry's career had it come out in 1972?” says Mike Somavilla. “Who knows what his next album for Warner Brothers would've sounded like?”

Somavilla, a resident San Francisco music expert and fan, spent twenty-seven years, on and off, considering these questions as he worked to get Dolan's lost album released. “I made it my life's ambition,” he says. “A long time ago, Terry gave me a cassette of it, then when I moved out to the Bay Area in 1987, he gave me one of the original test pressings. It was like getting one of the lost pieces of San Francisco's music scene, the holy grail.”

That holy grail, co-produced by Nicky Hopkins and Pete Sears (a multi-instrumentalist featured on Rod Stewart's early work), included a stellar cast of 70s-era west coast musicians including Greg Douglass, Prairie Prince, John Cipollina and Neal Schon. Heard today, the album brings to mind classics from that year like Leon Russell's Carney and Elton John's Honky Chateau - a soulful singer-songwriter collection given rock and gospel muscle through energetic arrangements and Dolan's powerful tenor voice.

Born and raised in Connecticut, Terry Dolan picked up a guitar at age 14, soaking up songs by Hank Williams and Leadbelly. Inspired by the burgeoning folk scene of the early '60s, he dropped out of college to pursue a career. In 1965, he moved to San Francisco, quickly finding a place strumming in the city's Haight-Ashbury and North Beach coffee houses. As he sang in Inlaws and Outlaws: “When I came, I came along for the ride / yeah, we were coming into ‘Frisco, I believe so good to be alive…”

In the mid-1960s, San Francisco was briefly nicknamed “Liverpool of the West” because of the burgeoning music scene. KSOL radio disc jockey Sylvester “Sly” Stone was moonlighting as a producer for bands like The Mojo Men and The Beau Brummels. Experimental author Ken Kesey was throwing the first of his infamous “acid tests” at the Fillmore, with psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane supplying the fuzzed-out soundtrack. And at the hippie church known as the The Avalon, the first trippy light show projected pulsing liquid blobs across the laid-back country rock epics of the Grateful Dead.

London-born Pete Sears, who'd end being a co-producer on Dolan's record, and moved to San Francisco in 1968, says, “It felt like a new frontier. The scene was like folk music plugged in. There was a freedom, a character. Being next to the bay, having all these clubs that were open late at night, a community of musicians. It was an anything goes atmosphere, with bands everywhere.”

Dolan sometimes joked that he was “too hard for folk, too soft for hard rock,” but by 1970, he'd found his niche in clubs like Matrix and Keystone Korner, mixing his east coast coffee house ballad sensibility with a more energetic, jam-friendly west coast sound.

Greg Douglass, guitarist for psych-rock band Country Weather, (and later Steve Miller Band) says of Dolan, “He had balls for days, getting up in front of our audience, armed with only his voice, guitar, and a fiery, Irish inner-flame goading him.”

Douglass was a key player in the demo session with Hopkins that led to the record deal with Warners. But he recalls that there were problems right out of the gate. “Things became bogged down due to Nicky's schedule,” he says. “Everybody wanted his time and talent, and the Rolling Stones were a tad higher on the food chain than Terry. Finally, Terry tearfully appealed to Nicky, and time was scheduled.”

With a band that included John Cipollina, Prairie Prince, Lonnie Turner, and The Pointer Sisters, the first side of Dolan's album went to tape at Wally Heider's studio in January 1972. Expectations were high. But the momentum was soon halted, as Hopkins was called away for overdubs on the Stones' Exile on Main Street, then a US tour. Warner Brothers hedged on the budget to finish. “Terry had lost not only his producer, but also one of the chief bargaining chips that got him his deal in the first place,” says Douglass. “Terry's album was the first thing Nicky had ever produced, and Terry became a victim of the fact that Mr. Hopkins was now the hottest keyboard player in rock. Terry was beyond distraught. The label was pissed.”

Enter Pete Sears. “There'd been a really long gap,” he says. “It was August when I came in to do side two. The label was running out of money, and there something going on with Warners. I think Terry's A & R guy had left the label, and the relationship had deteriorated.”

Sears called in favours to get a good deal at Pacific Recorders and recruited guitarists Greg Douglass and Neal Schon, and David Weber on drums. “I played bass, piano and organ,” he says. “It's hard to remember the details. We did the entire side in three and a half days. It was just another session, in some regards. But it was good fun, and Terry was a great singer.”

With the master tapes, artwork and photos by Herb Greene in hand, Warner Brothers slated the record for February 1973. But two months before, they canceled the release and dropped Dolan from the label.

Sears says, “It's a very common story in the music business. An artist gets signed, everyone's excited, then the champion at the label gets fired or leaves, and it's like turning off a tap.”

Douglass adds, “Without Nicky's complete participation, Warners deemed the album not commercially viable and decided not to release it. Terry was inconsolable and I didn't hear from him for a very long time.”

Somavilla says, “He eventually moved on and got over the disappointment, and kept making music.” His band Terry and The Pirates, including Greg Douglass and John Cipollina, were beloved mainstays of the San Francisco scene through the 1980s, releasing several indie albums. By 1989, Somavilla had befriended Dolan and told him he intended to get the rights back to his lost album.

“Terry said, 'Good luck, have fun,'” Somavilla says. “When I contacted Warners the first time, they ignored me. As time went by, I couldn't live with no answer, so I tried again, and was told that the master belonged to them in perpetuity. I still didn't like that answer. More time went by. Then George Wallace from High Noon Records was out here looking for lost music, and I played him the test pressing. From the first notes, he fell in love. We got a lawyer down in LA. The pieces finally came together, and my dream came true. And Terry's too.”

Unfortunately, Dolan didn't live to see the release (he died of heart failure in 2012). But his wife Angie and several of the session musicians have joined Somavilla in celebrating the lost album, which came out in November 2016.

Sears says, “Terry's record really captures the Marin County scene that was going on in the early 1970s. It was a moment in time. There's a rawness about it. All this collision of folk and rock and gospel, this interplay between the musicians. We did what we felt like doing. There wasn't much thought about whether it was commercial, but there are some songs on there that could've been radio hits.”

Somavilla says, “I've done forty-three record deals for different artists since 1992 and I'm proud of each and every one, but this is the high bar. Terry gave me my start in the business and to bring this out for the public, with it looking so sharp and sounding so good, it's really gratifying.”

He adds with a laugh, “Now I'm just waiting it for it to go gold.”
by Bill DeMain

1. See What Your Love Can Do - 3:20
2. Angie - 5:33
3. Rainbow - 5:01
4. Inlaws And Outlaws - 5:21
5. Purple An Blonde...? - 4:54
6. Burgundy Blues - 5:36
7. Magnolia - 7:26
8. To Be For You - 1:16
9. Inlaws and Outlaws - Take 18 - 6:08
10.See What Your Love Can Do - Take 14 - 3:21
11.Angie - Take 12 - 5:22
12.Rainbow - Take 2 - 6:13
13.See What Your Love Can Do - Take 12 - 3:24
14.Inlaws And Outlaws - Dirt Leg Mix - 6:08
All songs by Terry Dolan except Track #7 by J.J. Cale and Track #8 co-written with Pete Sears

*Terry Dolan - Guitar, Vocals
*John Cipollina - Guitar, Slide Guitar
*Angie Dolan - Handclapping
*Greg Douglass - Guitar, Soloist
*Spencer Dryden - Percussion
*Mic Gillette - French Horn
*Nicky Hopkins - Arranger, Piano
*Kathi Mcdonald - Vocals
*The Pointer Sisters - Vocals
*Prairie Prince - Drums
*Neal Schon - Guitar, Soloist
*Pete Sears - Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Piano
*Lonnie Turner - Bass, Wind Chimes
*David Weber - Drums
*Dallas Williams - Vocals

1973  Copperhead - Copperhead

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Mortimer - On Our Way Home (1969 us, wondrous baroque folk country light psych rock, 2017 release)

I can remember seeing a while back an old reprint of advertisement for the Beatles Apple label, showing a one man band who in the ad copy signed to the Fabs label and subsequently made enough to run a Bentley. Looking back now, it seems very much the only people who actually struck gold via Apple were the lawyers. New Yorker trio Mortimer certainly didn’t. They did however manage to get their eponymous debut released on Phillips in 1968, but despite the personal intervention of George Harrison to get the band on board at Apple, the follow up recorded for the label was left to languish unloved for nearly 50 years until its release now. Originally intended to be released after the Iveys album (the future Badfinger got stiffed in the same way too) in the summer of 1969, this record was produced by Peter Asher (Macca’s the girlfriend Jane’s brother), but for reasons we will go into later never managed to reach the pressing plant.

Mortimer had their roots in Garage quintet the Teddy Boys, who cut four well-received singles for Cameo Parkway in 1966. On the back of that they offered the chance to record an album which was duly completed, but Cameo were taken over by Abkco (the company of one Allen Klein, who will loom large in the Mortimer story unfortunately) and the record was junked. The Teddy Boys were aghast at this setback after their hard work, but slimming down to a three piece they threw themselves into work on the New York Folk circuit (even though they were hardly a folk band at all). This got them noticed by manager Danny Secunda (brother of The Move’s handler Tony), who after organising their debut album with Phillips, decided that they would be able to make more impact in the UK.

Details are sketchy but as to why “On Our Way Home” was not released at the time, but a key element seems to have been the arrival of Allen Klein (lightning did strike twice for Mortimer unfortunately) at Apple replacing their fervent backer Ron Kass. One might have thought Klein was nurturing some sort of grudge against the Mortimer boys and drummer Guy Masson was unceremoniously escorted out of Apple by Klein’s “business associates” when he tried to find out if that was the case. Whatever the reasons, in the can the LP remained ever since.

Which is a great shame, because the majority of the LP is jolly good, in fact a bit of a masterclass in late 60s Soft Pop Sike. Mortimer came on like an acoustic Beach Boys/Bee Gees mix up, lots of tight harmony singing with fans of the Lovin’ Spoonful finding much to enjoy here I would think too. Though Mortimer specialised in lazy, hazy sunny day Pop occasionally they did produce the odd tougher offering – “You Do Too” is faster, harder hitting and there is some stinging fuzz guitar, perhaps as a look back to their Teddy Boys days. Singer Tom Smith’s voice is a little reminiscent at times of Mickey Dolenz, no bad thing of course and this song does recall one of the Monkees’ more “out-there” efforts. “Don’t Want To See You Anymore” is a sparsely accompanied beauty and “I Don’t Know” seems in a mad rush to cover as many Pop modes as possible, with orchestral strings jostling with MOR/Easy Listening and Beat to dazzling effect.

Of the bonus tracks “Christine Tildsley” is a very pretty Harmony Pop character portrait, “Last Of The H” starts with an atypical chant/bongo combination and “Ingenue’s Theme” is a lovely piece of John Sebastian/Paul Simon-style slowly drifting Folk Rock. The title track here was given to them by Paul McCartney (later cut by the Fabs as “Two Of Us”)”, but otherwise the entire record was all self-penned by the three band members, showing such a sure talent for composition that Macca’s effort doesn’t over-shadow the other writing here at all.

Sadly the set-back from Apple HQ was the final straw for the band as Mortimer split and though Smith and bass player Tony Van Benschoten stayed in the UK (mindful of possibly being drafted to ‘Nam on their return home), Guy Masson did go back to the Big Apple to play on the Van Morrison LP “Moondance”. It’s a real shame as that was the last time any of the trio recorded, as they were clearly a talented bunch, thwarted by business concerns rather than any fault on their part. “On Our Way Home” stands up in 2017 as a gentle but alluring 60s Pop album of no small charm and merit.
by Ian Canty

1. On Our Way Home (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 3:06
2. I Didn't Know - 3:38
3. You Do Too - 3:12
4. Dolly - 4:43
5. People Who Are Different - 5:41
6. You Don't Say You Love Me - 3:03
7. Miles Apart - 3:12
8. Don't Want to See You Anymore - 3:58
9. No Business Being Here - 3:06
10.In Memory Of Her - 3:15
11.Pick Up Your Heart - 4:50
12.Christine Tildsley - 3:39
13.Last Of The "H" - 4:22
14.Laugh Children Laugh - 2:46
15.Ingenue's Theme - 2:24
All compositions by Guy Masson, Tom Smith, Tony Van Benschoten

*Guy Masson - Vocals, Drums, Percussion
*Tom Smith - Vocals, Guitar
*Tony Van Benschoten - Vocals, Bass, Guitar
Richard Hewson - Piano, Arrangements

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Timber - Bring America Home (1971 us, great rural psych rock with funky vibes, 2009 extra tracks issue)

A curious mix of white-boy boogie-funk and more rural material, reminiscent of Leon Russell and Little Feat, with Wayne Berry apparently the more versatile songwriter: he contributes a couple of the more effective funk-pop tunes, as well as some twangier, more acoustic material, such as the overtly country "Canada" and the softer, folkie ballad, "Don't Underestimate Your Friends." I'd say Clinton got into heavier, deeper grooves, though I like Berry's songs better. 

Several tracks also feature a third vocalist, Judy Elliott, a more folk-oriented singer who recorded with Timber on both their albums, and later did some work with Hoyt Axton... I find her a little distracting because she seems stylistically out of sync with the blues-rock vocals of the guys, but she helps create a funky feel in their choruses.

Also worth noting is the album's political content - the opening tracks are about social decay and the draft-dodging of the Vietnam War era, while the rest fo the songs are more oblique and veiled, fuzzy ruminations about life and spirituality that are pretty typical of the era. 

1. Bring America Home (George Clinton) - 3:01
2. Canada - 2:25
3. Pipe Dream - 3:30
4. Remember (George Clinton) - 4:25
5. Don't Underestimate Your Friends - 3:22
6. Witch Hunt - 2:26
7. The Spirit Song - 2:47
8. Caught In The Middle - 3:54
9. Same Ole Story (George Clinton) - 4:00
10.From The Time I Rise - 6:20
11.Outlaw - 4:42
12.Song For Two Signs - 3:23
13.Splinters From Timber - 6:01
All compositions by Wayne Berry unless as else stated

The Timber
*Wayne Berry - Vocals, Bass, Guitar
*George Clinton - Vocals, Keyboards, Woodwinds, Autoharp
*Warner Charles Davis - Drums, Percussion
*Judy Elliott - Vocals
*Roger Johnson - Lead Guitar, Vocals

1970  Part Of What You Hear (Vinyl Edition)  

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Zakary Thaks - It's The End The Definitive Collection (1966-69 us, magnificent tight garage rock, 2015 remaster)

Although our hometown Corpus Christi is somewhat isolated on the Texas coast, in the 1960s it had a very active local music scene, which turned out to be the proving ground for the Zakary Thaks to develop a unique style and sound. From the outset, we were hell-bent on growing a reputation of being one of the rowdiest yet tightest bands around.

It’s hard to imagine it has been almost 50 years since the nucleus of the Zakary Thaks was formed. What is equally notable is in that time we have seen over a half-dozen compilations of our vintage recordings. Still, there were a number of tracks which had never been sourced from the original master tapes. When we briefly reunited in 2005 and found ourselves back in Sugarhill Studios inHouston, chief engineer Andy Bradley played us a song we had totally forgotten about recording – ‘A Passage To India’. We were shocked!

Even more exciting was the news Alec Palao had unearthed several more lost Thaks masters, in addition to those missing tape reels. With their discovery, Alec felt the time had come to put out a definitive anthology of our material – and we couldn’t agree more! It feels as though new life has been breathed into our songs, now that they’ve been professionally presented from the original sources.

We have never been more proud than with the release of this collection. The new discoveries, the title track, ‘It’s The End’, along with ‘She’s Got You’, have elevated the Thaks brand to the next level, and hopefully cemented our legacy in the annals of garage rock. The Zakary Thaks raison d’etre was and always will be making unabashed yet well-executed music. And now finally, Ace Records has captured that.
by Chris Gerniottis

1. She's Got You (Chris Gerniottis, John Lopez, Pete Stinson, Rex Gregory, Stan Moore) - 2:18
2. Bad Girl (Chris Gerniottis, John Lopez, Pete Stinson, Rex Gregory, Stan Moore) - 2:08
3. Face To Face (Chris Gerniottis, John Lopez) - 2:45
4. Won't Come Back (Chris Gerniottis, John Lopez) - 2:46
5. It's The End (Chris Gerniottis, John Lopez, Pete Stinson, Rex Gregory, Stan Moore) - 2:58
6. I Need You (Ray Davies) - 2:28
7. Please (Mike Taylor) - 2:06
8. A Passage To India (Chris Gerniottis, Pete Stinson) - 2:34
9. Mirror Of Yesterday (Mike Taylor, Rex Gregory) - 2:57
10.My Door (John Lopez, Rex Gregory, Stan Moore) - 3:33
11.Can You Hear Your Daddy's Footsteps (Mike Taylor) - 2:33
12.Green Crystal Ties (John Lopez, Rex Gregory, Stan Moore) - 3:30
13.Outprint (Chris Gerniottis, John Lopez, Rex Gregory, Stan Moore) - 2:12
14.Weekday Blues (Chris Gerniottis, Dennis Rasmussen, John Lopez, Stan Moore) - 3:01
15.Everybody Wants To Be Somebody (Chris Gerniottis, John Lopez, Rex Gregory, Stan Moore) - 2:55
16.Face To Face (Alternate Version Take 12) (Chris Gerniottis, John Lopez) - 3:04
17.Please (Alternate Stero Mix) (Mike Taylor) - 2:10
18.Mirror Of Yesterday (Alternate Stereo Mix) (Mike Taylor, Rex Gregory) - 3:07
19.Can You Hear Your Daddy's Footsteps (Alternate Stero Version) (Mike Taylor) - 2:39
20.I'd Only Laugh (Alternate Version) (Mike Taylor) - 3:05
21.People Sec. IV (Mike Taylor) - 3:01
22.Gotta Make My Heart Turn Away (Lofton Kline, Mike Taylor) - 2:42

The Zakary Thaks
*Mike Taylor - Vocals
*Rex Gregory - Bass, Keyboards, Vocals
*Stan Moore - Drums
*John Lopez - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Chris Gerniottis - Lead Vocals (Tracks 1 - 9, 11, 13 - 19)
*Pete Stinson - Rhythm Guitar (Tracks 1 - 9, 11, 13 - 19)

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

We The People - Too Much Noise (1966 us, awesome garage beat, 2008 reissue)

Although they were blessed with two excellent in-house songwriters (Wayne Proctor and Tommy Talton) and produced several above-the-mill garage band singles in the mid-'60s, Florida's We the People never captured any kind of national attention, which is hard to believe given the vitality, quality, and proto-punk punch of the band's material. After releasing a debut single for Florida label Hotline Records in early 1966, the group signed with West coast-based Challenge Records, eventually issuing three excellent singles with them in 1966 before jumping to RCA Victor in 1967. This set collects both sides of those three singles and adds in a host of previously unreleased tracks from the group's stay at Challenge, essentially creating, some 40 years later, the album We the People never had the opportunity to make for the label.

Consisting entirely of original material written by either Proctor or Talton, the first thing that strikes home is how cohesive this set is. It sounds like an actual album and not just a collection of odds and ends, and songs like the garage band anthem "Too Much Noise," the striking surf-raga "In the Past," the impressive and kinetically psychedelic "Mirror of Your Mind," the delightfully punky bossa nova "(You Are) The Color of Love," and the lovely, string-laden "St. John's Shop" are all top-notch tracks, usually delivered with a punk intensity and sneering vocals that are all the more striking because they are actually based around fully realized melodies.

In a fair world, We the People should have been a widely lauded and celebrated band, but time doles out fate, and the band remains an obscure cult treasure. Too Much Noise does a good job of showcasing the band's brief stay at Challenge. Collectables' Declaration of Independence release presents a stripped down survey of the band's best singles and Sundazed's two-disc Mirror of Our Minds covers the whole arc of their recording career, and both are worth checking out as well. 
by Steve Leggett

1. You Burn Me Up And Down - 2:24
2. My Brother The Man (Wayne Proctor) - 2:09
3. By The Rule - 2:07
4. Mirror Of Your Mind - 2:46
5. Declaration Of Independence (Wayne Proctor) - 2:20
6. Free Information - 2:27
7. Too Much Noise - 2:27
8. In The Past (Wayne Proctor) - 2:36
9. Half Of Wednesday (Wayne Proctor) - 2:18
10.(You Are) The Color Of Love - 2:29
11.Beginning Of The End (Wayne Proctor) - 1:57
12.He Doesn't Go About It Right - 2:30
13.Alfred, What Kind Of Man Are You? (Wayne Proctor) - 2:28
14.St. John's Shop (Wayne Proctor) - 2:26
All songs by Tommy Talton except where indicated

We The People
*Tommy Talton - Vocals, Guitar
*Wayne Proctor - Guitar
*Lee Ferguson - Drums
*Randy Boyte - Keyboards
*David Duff - Bass

1964-67  We The People - Mirror Of Our Minds (2 Disc Set)

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Audience - Lunch (1972 uk, sublime electric folk prog rock, 2015 bonus tracks remaster)

Audience rose from the ashes of a semi-professional soul band named Lloyd Alexander Real Estate, which had included all the Audience members with the exception of Connor, who had unsuccessfully auditioned for the earlier band when John Richardson left to form The Rubettes. However, when Werth, Williams, and Gemmell decided to form their new band, it was Connor who came to mind as the right man to complete the line-up.

Audience recorded three albums with Charisma, the members producing and designing the first Friends Friends Friend themselves before bringing in legendary producer Gus Dudgeon and top record sleeve designers Hipgnosis to get the best from their follow-up albums House on the Hill and Lunch.

Their first two albums were not issued in the U.S. Elektra signed them (around the time Elektra signed Lindisfarne, another Charisma group), and their final two albums were issued in the U.S.

Dudgeon's first 45rpm production for the band, "Indian Summer", took the band into the lower reaches of the U.S. charts, but by this time they were exhausted and fractious, having worked virtually non-stop for three years. A U.S. tour with Rod Stewart and The Faces, although successful, brought things to a head, resulting in Gemmell leaving the band.

The unfinished Lunch album was completed with the help of The Rolling Stones and Mad Dogs and Englishmen brass section, Jim Price and Bobby Keys, following which they went straight back on the road with new members Pat Charles Neuberg, from Joyce Bond Revue, on alto and soprano sax and ex-B B Blunder Nick Judd on electric piano.

The new line-up never really worked well together, and Williams, the band's main lyricist, resigned eight months later. When Nick Judd received an offer to join Juicy Lucy, the band folded. Judd later went on to join Alan Bown, The Andy Fraser Band, Brian Eno, Frankie Miller and Sharks, most recently emerging in a Madness spin-off band.

Soon after Howard Werth released his first solo album, still with Charisma and produced by Dudgeon. Called King Brilliant, his band, containing members of Hookfoot and with Mike Moran on keyboards, was dubbed Howard Werth and The Moonbeams, and came close to having a major hit with Lucinda. However, it wasn't to be, and when he was headhunted by The Doors (Audience stable-mates on the U.S. Elektra record label) to replace Jim Morrison, Werth left for the USA. In any event, The Doors did not reform, and Werth found himself engaged in numerous short term projects with Doors' keyboard man Ray Manzarek and musicians from Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band before returning to the UK in the early 1980s. Although appearing live only occasionally, Werth subsequently recorded two more solo albums, 6 of 1 and Half a Dozen of the Other on Demon Records and The Evolution Myth Explodes for his own Luminous Music label.

1. Stand by the Door (Howard Werth) - 3:57
2. Seven Sore Bruises - 2:38
3. Hula Girl (Howard Werth, Keith Gemmell) - 2:41
4. Ain't the Man You Need - 3:20
5. In Accord (Tony Connor, Trevor Williams) - 4:56
6. Barracuda Dan - 2:20
7. Thunder and Lightning (Howard Werth) - 3:37
8. Party Games - 3:19
9. Trombone Gulch - 2:42
10.Buy Me an Island (Howard Werth) - 5:13
11.Grief And Disbelief - 4:05
12.Hard Cruel World - 3:38
13.Elixir Of Youth - 3:20
All songs by Howard Werth, Trevor Williams unless otherwise written.

*Howard Werth - Guitar, Vocals
*Tony Connor - Drums, Marimba, Vibraphone
*Gus Dudgeon - Percussion
*Keith Gemmell - Clarinet, Flute, Wind
*Nick Judd - Piano, Keyboards
*Bobby Keys - Saxophone
*Jim Price - Trombone, Trumpet, Horn
*Trevor Williams - Bass, Keyboards, Vocals

1969 Audience (2002 remaster edition)
1970  Friends, Friends, Friend 
1971  House On The Hill (2015 Remaster and Expanded)
1975  Howard Werth And The Moonbeams - King Brilliant  

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Audience - House On The Hill (1971 uk, impressive prog rock, 2015 remaster and expanded)

"The House on the Hill"  is maybe Audience's strongest effort, made up of simple, elegantly arranged songs, focusing around Howard Werth's "electric classical" guitar and Keith Gemmel's tenor sax and clarinet. "Jackdaw" has Werth showing off his vocal range by hollering out the chorus in full force.

"Raviole" is an instrumental piece painted with lovely acoustic guitar and is one of the real gems on the album. There's not a lot of meat on each of the songs, but the use of flute and vibraphone give this album a unique feel and is deemed interesting mainly for that purpose.

The overall atmosphere is quite comfortable, and the hypnotizing effect aroused from the woodwind instruments creates an absorbing mood one might not expect to find here. Snippets of jazz fusion make up the title track, overlapped with some rich saxophone playing. After a few listens, this band slowly rises from being heard to being enjoyable.
by Mike DeGagne

1. Jackdaw (Howard Werth, Keith Gemmell) - 7:30
2. You're Not Smiling (Howard Werth, Keith Gemmell) - 5:21
3. I Had a Dream - 4:18
4. Raviole - 3:41
5. Nancy - 4:15
6. Eye to Eye - 2:32
7. I Put a Spell on You (Screaming Jay Hawkins) - 4:09
8. The House on the Hill - 7:32
9. You're Not Smiling (Single Mix) (Howard Werth, Keith Gemmell) - 4:18
10.Indian Summer (Single Edition) - 3:17
11.You're Not Smiling (Promotional Radio Version) (Howard Werth, Keith Gemmell) - 4:17
All compositions by Howard Werth, Trevor Williams except where stated

*Howard Werth - Electric Guitar, Vocals
*Tony Connor - Percussion, Drums, Vocals, Vibraphone
*Gus Dudgeon - Percussion
*Keith Gemmell - Clarinet, Flute, Saxophone
*Trevor Williams - Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Andy Armstrong - Before I Forget (1979 australia, beautiful folk rock, vinyl edition)

Before I Forget… was recorded at Pepper Studios, The first side of the album contains five songs. The opener is a marvellous effort; the gentle, personal “My Song” which features some beautiful singing and a layered vocal fade out that would do Brian Wilson proud.

The next two tracks are upbeat – “Strangers’ Names” comes first; a song about the difficulties of reconciling your inner self with the externally presented veneer. It features some top-quality backing vocals, scored and arranged by Andy. This is followed by the gentle boogie of “Half the World”, which postulates the notion of escaping from the seemingly universal propensity for conflict; “Half the world is crazy, picking on the other half”. Ex-Fraternity member “Uncle” John Ayers’ accomplished harmonica augments the bluesy feel of the song. To my mind these two songs come rather too early in the piece, creating a musical feel that isn’t typical of the rest of the record. Perhaps they could have been separated.

Track four is the sublime “Lullaby” – a haunting, beautiful song about love, protection and the fear of loss – “Who’s going to sing you to sleep if not me?”. This song is one of the highlights of the album. The inspired use of a string quartet, arranged by 19 year-old Tim Sexton, lifts what is already a very impressive piece.

The last song is the traditional ballad “Willy of Winsbury”, the only non-original on side one, and it treads familiar folk territory while featuring some interesting chording. Andy was inspired to record this after seeing it performed by folk band British folk band Pentangle some years before.

Side two opens with “Mountain”, seemingly a song about reaching an impasse and struggling to achieve your goals. The track immediately reminds me of Crosby Stills Nash & Young’s “Teach Your Children”. It features an impressive wah-guitar solo, reputedly done in one-take in the studio. All very pleasant.

From there we go into “Spiritual”, the second of this record’s real treats. A lone piano (reminiscent of “Hallelujah”) is joined by Andy’s passionate vocals and the song builds gradually, but purposefully, to create the most powerful moment of “Before I Forget…”.

This second-half of the record continues to showcase Andy’s songwriting talents, the only exception being the inclusion of another traditional number. “Lord Franklin”, the story of Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated discovery of the Northwest Passage in 1845 is the album’s penultimate song. Mandolin is supplied by Jock (John) Munro, who joins the band for the last two tracks. Ron Pearce also joins the band on accordion for this song.

The album finishes with the cosmic overload of “Seabird” and, although not as powerful as “Spiritual”, is an ideal closer and a good song to boot. Musical imagery abounds in the lyrics of this tale of arrival at what is, perhaps, the Promised Land. At least, that’s my interpretation. Andy tells me that the inspiration for this song was rooted in the natural world, although no less wondrous.

And, as “Seabird” disappears into silence, we are done.

Most of the songs on this album were written a few years before its release – more like 1972 than 1979 – and, upon listening, that makes sense.

1. My Song - 2:18
2. Strangers' Names - 4:06
3. Half The World - 3:44
4. Lullaby - 3:52
5. Willy Of Winsbury (Traditional) - 6:21
6. Mountain - 4:41
7. Spiritual - 3:38
8. Lord Franklin (Traditional) - 3:01
9. Seabird - 6:45
Lyrics and Music by Andy Armstrong unless as else stated

*Andy Armstrong - Vocals, Guitars
*Phil Cunneen - Keyboards
*Dean Birbeck - Drums, Percussion
*Graham Conlen - Acoustic, Electric Guitars
*Geoff Kluke - Acoustic, Electric Bass
*John Ayers - Harp
*Maggie Russell - Vocals
*Sue Van Cott - Vocals
*Naomi Cundell - Vocals
*Jock Munro - Mandolin
*Ron Pearce - Acordion
*Tim Sexton - String Quartet Arrangements

1967  Andy Armstrong - At Last (2011 korean issue)
1972  Andy Armstrong - Perspective Works (2011 korean remaster)

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Friday, March 31, 2017

Sweet Stavin Chain - Sweet Stavin Chain (1970 us, sensational psych blues brass roots 'n' roll, 2016 korean remaster)

Geez, its amazing how many horn bands seemed to have been given a chance to record in the wake of Blood, Sweat and Tears late- 1960s commercial breakthrough. An eight man outfit, Sweet Stavin Chain were one of Philadelphia's contributions to the wave of late- 1960s/early 1970s horn-bands.

Signed by Atlantic's newly formed Cotillion subsidiary, the band's 1970 debut "Sweet Stavin Chain" was recorded in New York. Produced by Shel Kagan the set's professional, but not exactly boldly original. A mix or originals and cover material, tracks such as Take a Minute' (featuring a kind of cool meltdown guitar fade out), 'I Need Love' and 'I'm Tore Down' are more bluesoriented than BS’n’T, Chicago or other horn band contemporaries.

Lead guitarist Danny Starobin kicks in a couple of nice solos (check out the stinging run on 'I Need Love'), but lead singer John Bussell has a tendency to sing flat. It I had to pick a standout track, then it would probably be their 11 minute plus 'cover of T-Bone Walker's 'Stormy Monday Blues (Call It Stormy Monday'. The song also features a sax solo from King Curtis.

Lee Ving (born Lee James Capallero; April 10,1950) is an American musician most known for his role as lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the Los Angeles-based punk rock band Fear, and as an actor. Lee James Capallero was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the late 1960s, under the name Lee Ving, he joined Sweet Stavin Chain Blues Band in Philadelphia, playing with Michael Brecker and Eugene Busnar; they played shows with B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Cream among others. Later, Ving moved to New York and formed the band Daybreak. In the mid-1970s, he moved to Los Angeles and in 1977 formed Fear.

Ving has also sung for the band MD.45, which also featured Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and Jimmy DeGrasso of Suicidal Tendencies. However, the 2004 re-release/ remastered record replaced his vocals with Dave Mustaine's. Ving has also sung country music in the outlaw country genre with the band Range War. Prior to Fear, Ving played in a six piece blues act named Easy Love.

Ving and his band Fear appeared in the 1981 rotoscope animated film American Pop, directed by Ralph Bakshi, lead singer Ving acted under the name Lee James Jude. Ving played a lead role ("Missoula") in Penelope Spheeris' 1987 film Dudes. As part of Fear he was featured in Spheeris' 1980 documentary on punk The Decline of Western Civilization.

Furthermore, he played the strip club owner in Flashdance (1983), Mr. Boddy in Clue (1985), and a small role in Streets of Fire (1984), among other roles in film and television. In 1983 he selfdeprecatingly played the over-thetop punk singer named 'Piggy' in the rock-and-roll comedy Get Crazy. In the Who's the Boss episode titled "Walk on the Mild Side", he played Jake Maguire. He also appeared in an episode of the short-lived Three's Company spin-off Three's a Crowd as a criminal in a police lineup.
CD Liner notes

1. Danny's Rock Song: Intro (Danny Starobin) - 0:47
2. Are You Lonely For Me Baby (Bert Berns) - 4:14
3. Take A Minute (Danny Starobin, John Bussell, Sheldon Ginsburg) - 6:57
4. I Need Love (Lawrence Williams) - 7:12
5. I'm Tore Down (Sonny Thompson) - 3:36
6. Stormy Monday Blues (Call It Stormy Monday) (T-Bone Walker) - 11:10
7. Teddy Bear's Picnic (Jimmy Kennedy, John W. Bratton) - 3:55
8. Danny's Rock Song: Finale (Danny Starobin) - 0:52

The Sweet Stavin Chain
*Mike McCarthy - Bass
*Bobby Blumenthal - Drums
*Greg Scott - Horns
*John Brunner - Horns
*Sheldon Ginsburg - Keyboards, Horns
*Steve Bernstein - Horns
*Dave Maxwell - Keyboards
*Vic Rose - Keyboards
*Danny Starobin - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*John Bussell - Lead Vocals, Guitar
*Steve Sykes - Rhythm Guitar
*King Curtis - Tenor Sax

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Ashton Gardner Dyke And Co - What A Bloody Long Day It's Been (1972 uk, extraordinary heavy prog jazz brass rock)

Though chiefly remembered for their UK No.3 hit, "Resurrection Shuffle", the careers of Ashton, Gardner & Dyke stretched back a long way before they achieved that sole international smash in 1971.

Bassist Kim Gardner (born 27 Jan 1946, Dulwich, London) began his musical adventures in 1961 in the Middlesex based R&B outfit The Birds along with future Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, vocalist Alistair McKenzie, guitarist Tony Monroe and drummer Pele McDaniels.  They made three singles for Decca between 1964 and 1965, "You're On My Mind"/"You Don't Love Me", "Leaving Here"/ "Next In Line" and "No Good Without You Baby"/"How Can It Be" and also appeared in the horror movie, "The Deadly Bees" (as well as having a legal battle with the American Byrds) before splitting in late 1966 (though a further single, "Say These Magic Words"/"Daddy Daddy", was released, credited to Birds, by Reaction at the same time).  

Gardner then teamed up with guitarist Eddie Phillips, vocalist Kenny Pickett and drummer Jack Jones in The Creation and scored minor chart success with the singles "Making Time"/"Try And Stop Me" (Planet 116, No.49 July '66) and "Painterman"/"Biff Bang Pow" (Planet 119, No. 36 November '66) though their further singles, "If I Stay Too Long"/"Nightmares" (Polydor 56177) and "Life Is Just Beginning"/"Through My Eyes" (Polydor 56207), both failed to chart as did two other singles, featuring Gardner's old Birds colleague Ronnie Wood who'd replaced Phillips, "How Does It Feel"/"Tom Tom" (Polydor 56220) and "Midway Down"/"Girls Are Naked" (Polydor 56246).  With the band splitting in mid-'68, Gardner, along with Wood, Twink and Jon Lord recorded as Santa Barbara Machine Head before teaming up with Ashton and Dyke.

Organist/vocalist Tony Ashton (born 1 March 1946, Blackburn) began his career in North West England beat group The Executives, who, whilst he was with them, released two singles, "March Of The Mods"/"Why Why Why" (Columbia DB 7323) and "Strictly For The Beat"/"No Room For Squares" (DB 7393).  He was also briefly a member of The Collage Boys and The Mastersounds before, in March 1965, accepting an offer from Liverpool group Remo Four.  

The band's drummer was Roy Dyke (born 13 February 1945, Liverpool) who'd been with the group since 1961 and had released two singles prior to the arrival of Ashton, "I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate"/"Peter Gunn" (Picadilly 7N 35186).  Together with bassist Phil Rogers and guitarist Colin Manley they played in Hamburg for almost two years and also released a single "Live Like A Lady"/"Sing Hallelujah" (Fontana TF 787) before splitting in early 1968, by which time Ashton and Dyke had met up with Gardner and the trio decided to form their own outfit.

Their first job was to provide backing on one of P.P.Arnold's tours after which, in late '68, they secured a deal with Polydor Records who released the single "Maiden Voyage"/"See The Sun In My Eyes" (BM 56306) plus the threesome's self-titled debut LP (583081) which included the single's A-side.  A heavy touring schedule throughout most of 1970 paved the way for their second album, "The Worst Of…", by which time they'd signed to Capitol Records (EST 563), which featured contributions from guests like George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Stan Webb and P.P.Arnold.   

Later in the same year, they released the single "Resurrection Shuffle"/"Hymn to Everyone" (CL 15665) which promptly shot to No.3 in the UK charts, spending over three months in the Top 75, as well as hitting No.22 in Germany and No.40 in America.  However, this proved to be their only UK hit as the follow-up, "Can You Get It"/"Delirium" (CL15684) failed to register (though it did hit No.44 in Germany). Likewise, their third album, "What A Bloody Long Day It's Been" (EAST 563) also failed to chart and so, after providing the soundtrack, alongside Jon Lord, for the U.S. movie, "The Last Rebel" (Capitol 062 80964), the trio disbanded in early 1973.

Tony Ashton had also worked with Green Bullfrog, Mike Hurst, Third World War, Tucky Buzzard and Jon Lord, whilst with Gardner and Dyke and he continued session work by helping out the likes of Family, Chris Barber, Jerry Lee Lewis and Longdancer.   His first solo single "You, Me And A Friend Of Mine"/"I'm Dying For You" (CL 15702), taken from "The Last Rebel" LP, had come out in early 1972 and he followed it in 1973 with "Celebration"/"Sloeback" (Purple PUR 109).  He also continued working with Jon Lord appearing on the single, "We're Gonna Make It"/"Band Of The Salvation Army Band" (PUR 121) and LP, "The First Of The Big Bands" (3507).  

He also released two further solo singles, "Resurrection Shuffle"/"Ballad Of Mr. Giver" (Oyster OYR 101) and "The Crezz"/"Somethin' Something" (Handkerchief Hanky 14) as well as working with Chicken Shack, John Entwhistle and Medicine Head before forming PAL with Lord and Ian Paice, releasing the 1977 LP, "Malice In Wonderland" (Oyster 2391269), and taking part in the Wizards Convention project.   Since then he's concentrated on producing though he did appear at the all-star Concert For Kampuchea in 1979.  Roy Dyke joined Badger and appeared on their LPs, "One Live Badger" and "White Lady".   He also worked with Chris Barber, Family and Medicine Head, as well as Pat Travers, and continued as a leading session drummer.  Kim Gardner joined Badger for their second LP and then worked with the likes of Mike Hugg, Chris Barber and Dwight Twilley before becoming a permanent member of Billy Burnette's backing group.
by Mark Brennan

1. It's Gonna Be High Tonight - 2:49
2. It's A Drag, I'm A Drag - 3:19
3. Still Got A Long Way To Go (Tony Ashton, Kim Gardner, Roy Dyke, Mick Liber) - 3:06
4. The Falling Song - 9:58
5. Ballad Of The Remo Four - 3:52
6. (The Old) Rock And Roll Boogie Woogie (Tony Ashton, Kim Gardner, Roy Dyke, Mick Liber) - 6:02
7. Got To Get Back To You - 3:44
8. What A Bloody Long Day It's Been - 4:08
9. Im Going To A Place - 4:00
All compositions by Tony Ashton except where indicated

*Edward Anthony Ashton - Keyboards, Vocals
*Kim Gardner - Bass
*Roy Dyke - Drums
*Mick Liber - Guitar
*Lyle Jenkins - Saxophone, Flute
*Dave Caswell - Trumpet, Horns
*John Mumford - Trombone, Percussion

1969  Ashton Gardner And Dyke - Ashton Gardner And Dyke
1970  Ashton, Gardner And Dyke - The Worst Of
1971  Ashton, Gardner and Dyke - Let It Roll / Live
Related Acts
1967-68  Remo Four - Smile
1964-66  The Creation - How Does It Feel To Feel  
1964-66  The Birds - Collectors' Guide To Rare British Birds

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Tim Hardin - The Millennium Collection (1966-68 us, outstanding folk psych, 2002 issue)

Hardin's best-known compositions -- "If I Were a Carpenter," "Reason to Believe," and "Lady Came From Baltimore" -- are all included. Hardin recorded for Verve Records, now part of the Universal catalog, in the 1960s, and seven tracks are drawn from his debut album, Tim Hardin/1, plus four from Tim Hardin/2 and one from the concert album Tim Hardin/3. 

There is nothing at all from Tim Hardin/4, an album of cover material, or from Hardin's later albums on Columbia and Antilles. The economics of song publishing probably limit albums in the series to 12 tracks, and in this case, since Hardin's recordings tend to be brief, that results in a running time of less than half an hour, which is skimpy for a CD, even a lower-priced one. But the collection presents the popular highlights of Hardin's career as a songwriter and gives a sense of him as a performer. 
by William Ruhlmann

1. Don't Make Promises - 2:27
2. Green Rocky Road - 2:19
3. Reason To Believe - 2:00
4. Smugglin' Man - 1:58
5. Misty Roses - 2:00
6. How Can We Hang On To A Dream - 2:04
7. It'll Never Happen Again - 2:37
8. If I Were A Carpenter - 2:44
9. Red Balloon - 2:36
10.Black Sheep Boy - 1:56
11.Lady Came From Baltimore - 1:51
12.You Upset The Grace Of Living When You Lie (Live) - 4:18
Words and Music by Tim Hardin

*Tim Hardin - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
*Gary Burton - Vibraphone
*Bob Bushnell - Bass
*Earl Palmer - Drums
*Buddy Salzman - Drums
*Jon Wilcox - Drums
*John Sebastian - Harmonica
*Phil Kraus - Background Vocals
*Walter Yost - Bass
*Artie Butler - String Arrangements
*Eddie Gómez - Bass
*Warren Bernhardt - Piano, Clavinet
*Daniel Hankin - Guitar
*Mike Mainieri - Vibraphone
*Donald McDonald - Drums

1969-70  Tim Hardin - Suite For Susan Moore / Bird On The Wire
1972  Tim Hardin - Painted Head (2007 japan remaster)

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Fusion Farm - Rush Job (1971-74 uk, astonishing rough 'n' roll, 2016 release)

We have heard about Fusion Farm for the first time from a well-known French collector who sent us the music. It took many years to locate the band and by coincidence the daughter of one of the band members found us via social media. So we could set up a deal. The album was originally released very limited on the S.R.T label (Grannie) with a hand-sprayed cover (very much like the original Tony Caro & John). Originals are very very rare and fetching high prices on the collectors market. This reissue also includes the tracks from the rare single "Fat Judy/Gypsy Mountain Woman".

They got radio plays and played a lot of shows in London and the surrounding cities before heading off to Europe and gigging constantly - Germany became a second home, in particular Frankfurt and Munich and they found favor playing at many US Army air bases.

They also played the 15000 capacity Frankfurt Festhalle supporting Bad Company and Black Oak Arkansas, who never showed up and a riot ensued and the venue was trashed! The band changed personnel several times but the core of the band and song writing team of Bob Bett and Normal Ley remained constant. The band split in 1979 to pursue other projects.

Great Psych tracks with snotty "Stooges" like songs, great guitars, drums, cool vocals and bass, some tracks are dreamy and some are very powerful British Underground tunes.

1. Loona Doona (Robert Bett, Nigel Hall) - 2:33
2. Mrs Speed (Robert Bett, Nigel Hall) - 3:27
3. Thursday 6th January (Norman Ley) - 2:58
4. Mean Moody Mable (Robert Bett, Nigel Hall) - 4:20
5. Fat Judy (Robert Bett, Norman Ley) - 3:08
6. Winter Sun (Robert Bett, Nigel Hall) - 3:51
7. Brick Shapes In The Sky (Robert Bett, Nigel Hall) - 4:07
8. Hollis Brown (Bob Dylan) - 7:28
9. Gypsy Mountain Woman (Robert Bett, Norman Ley) - 2:53

The Fusion Farm
*Norman Ley - Guitar, Vocals
*Robert Bett - Vocals
*Mick Hurst - Drums, Vocals
*Graham Thatcher - Bass
*Nigel Hall - Guitar, Vocals
*Alan Davies - Guitar, Vocals
*Dick Gardner - Drums

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Wayne Kramer And The Pink Fairies - Cocaine Blues (1974-78 us / uk, tough edged street rock, 2016 edition)

This album features elements of two of the greatest revolutionary rock bands of all time. Wayne Kramer came to prominence as a teenager in 1967 as a co-founder of the Detroit rock group MC5 (Motor City 5), a group known for their powerful live performances and radical left-wing political stance. The MC5 broke up amid personality conflicts, drug abuse, and personal problems, which, for Kramer, led to several fallow years, as he battled drug addiction before returning to an active recording and performing schedule in the 1990s.

The Pink Fairies - on the other hand - are an English rock band initially active in the London (Ladbroke Grove) underground and psychedelic scene of the early 1970s. They promoted free music, drug taking and anarchy and often performed impromptu gigs and other agitprop stunts, such as playing for free outside the gates at the Bath and Isle of Wight pop festivals in 1970, as well as appearing at Phun City, the first Glastonbury and many other free festivals including Windsor and Trentishoe.

The first four songs were recorded live at Dingwall's in London in 1978, with Kramer, only recently out of jail, fronting the Pink Fairies. In imperfect but listenable fidelity, Kramer runs through Mose Allison's "If You're Going to the City," Bob Seger's "Heavy Music" (into which he wittily inserts a bit from James Brown's "There Was a Time," adapting the lyrics to refer to Detroit), the nine-minute "Cocaine Blues" (an interesting, autobiographical, mostly spoken account of the events leading to his mid-'70s prison term), and "Kick Out the Jams." 

Next are four run-of-the-mill hard rock studio tracks, also done in London in 1978, including covers of "Do You Love Me" and Jimmy Cliff's "The Harder They Come," along with a couple of originals (one co-written with Mick Farren). Paul Carrack, presumably that Paul Carrack from Squeeze/Ace/Mike & the Mechanics/Roxy Music, is on piano. Finishing the disc off are two 1974 studio cuts, done in Detroit: "Get Some" is another Farren/Kramer collaboration (with lumpy, boxy bottom-end sound), and "Ramblin' Rose" was of course first done by Kramer with the MC5. 
by Richie Unterberger

1. If You're Goin' To The City (Mose Allison) - 3:13
2. Heavy Music (Bob Seger) - 5:47
3. Cocaine Blues (Traditional) - 9:33
4. Kick Out The Jams (Michael Davis, Wayne Kramer, Fred "Sonic" Smith, Dennis Thompson, Rob Tyner) - 6:02
5. Do You Love Me (Berry Gordy, Jr) - 3:26
6. East Side Girl (Wayne Kramer) - 4:17
7. The Harder They Come (Jimmy Cliff) - 3:09
8. Too Late (Mick Farren, Wayne Kramer) - 3:24
9. Get Some (Mick Farren, Wayne Kramer) - 3:38
10.Ramblin' Rose (Fred Burch, Marijohn Wilkin) - 4:06

*Wayne Kramer - Vocals, Guitar
*Larry Wallis - Guitar
*Andy Colquhoun - Bass
*Dr. George Butler - Drums
*Paul Carrack - Piano, Vocals
*Melvin Davis - Drums
*Tim Shafe - Bass
*Alan Spenner - Bass

Related Acts
1969  MC5 - Kick Out The Jams (Japan SHM)
1970  MC5 - Back In The USA (Japan SHM)
1971  MC5 - High Time (2013 Japan SHM)
1971  Pink Fairies - Never Never Land (2002 extra tracks issue)

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Marc Brierley - Welcome To The Citadel (1966-69 uk, superb folk rock, 2014 remaster and expanded)

Life is lived in phases and periods. This CD package contains approximately three of the phases of my period as a recording and performing singer /songwriter, which spanned from 1965 to 1973... 

By the autumn of 1965, I had the beginnings of some personal songs which Austin John Marshall, music producer, film maker, graphic artist and husband of folk legend, Shirley Collins, felt were worth putting in front of Nat Joseph, the founder of Transatlantic Records and the guiding force of many aspects of the early 1960s British Folk/Blues revival.

Nat thought I had talent worth developing, and after two or three months of weekly live auditions of new material at his office, he suggested we record an initial F.P. Time For Love', 'Dragonfly', 'Arctic City', 'Rel's Song' and 'If You Leave Me Now' are the five tracks that resulted from that recording, which was carried out in a single live solo session in a large, bare room - not a studio - somewhere near Oxford Street, London, in June 1966.

Within months of completing this, however, my ears were ringing afresh with a whole raft of sounds from West Coast USA, brought to me by my friend Robin Lent. Lovin' Spoonful, Jefferson Airplane, Mamas and Papas, Grateful Dead, Mothers Of Invention, to name the essentials, had the effect of reorienting all aspects of my psyche, from more than the mere musical perspective.

Welcome To The Citadel was written, then, at a time when Flower Power, paisley patterns in the sky, golden haired girls tripping through sunlit cornfields, was the standard state of every day wakefulnes — or so it seemed. There was also a strong undercurrent of spiritual awakening in the air, which became muddled with drug culture, mythology and - yes — the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Thus, we have 'The Answer Is', a Zen/transcendental/Sufi sort of expression; 'Matchbox Men', a directly Tolkien-inspired fiction; 'Sunlight Sleepers* Song', Shakespeare's Puck, Peas Blossom "whispering soft, is love her name?" in the summer night's dream, or Ariel among the sights and sounds of the Tempest's enchanted isle.

And 'Welcome To The Citadel' itself, an epiphany of first experiences of altered consciousness. "Hand in hand we sat upon the docks to watch the tide come in..." - the embarkation on this first journey into the mind as flickering perceptions in the candlelight flood in and envelop us. Signals in silent assent — "communications tower" — speech as the means of thought transfer, no longer necessary.

Other  songs they were more self referral, in the way that Altman made movies about the movie industry. For , example, 'Autograph Of Time' is about the song writer and song writing under pressure {autograph of time = time signature), hence "the chorus well thought out, the line must alter...". I was constantly being pressurized to "write something more commercial". If only! "Even sacred pens must have to falter."

But even in the penury of writing and waiting through the winter of 1967/8, with a stream of failed promises about pending record deals or gigs, "Time itself is fun, you reply." And so we move on in time — skipping the beat where Hello, my second album recorded for CBS in 1969, should come  and picking up a couple of years later \n I had decamped to the fine City of Birmingham, home of some great musicians and bands, and some great friends. 'Don't Let The Bugs Bite' was demoed in London with my friend, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Billy Butler in a basement studio.

The remaining four songs on this set are part of a collection of previously unreleased material by Brierley Cross, written between 1970 and 1973 and / performed with my lifetime friend, maestro guitarist / Steve Cross. We rehearsed standing in front of our microphone "tree" in my living room, recording • into the Revox and playing it back at volume all throughout the long hot summer, with the windows  wide open onto the street below, until one day, the neighbours complained. These are the recordings, so if they seem a bit rough, blame the neighbours.
by Marc Brierley

The Transatlantic EP is the most dark and stripped-down of all the material on this collection, featuring just Marc Brierley's voice and an acoustic guitar. At times he sounds a bit like Jackson C. Frank, an artist with whom Brierley might very well have been familiar. Donovan's early recordings must have been a big influence as well. The EP is very much in the vein of the Transatlantic label's more well-known releases by the likes of Bert Jansch and includes Brierley's only instrumental guitar piece.

Two years after the release of his EP, Brierley's music had begun to drift in a pretty different direction. From the first song "The Answer Is," Welcome To The Citadel has a much lighter feeling. Brierley still sings and plays an acoustic guitar and is accompanied on the album by a full band, including a drummer and a bass player. Many of the songs are augmented by trumpet, violin or cello. The songs are a little more sophisticated and Brierley seems to have discovered his own voice as a writer and as a singer. His vocals have a lot more range, and on the reverby "Symphony" and the closing track "Thoughts And Sounds" he sounds a lot like Tim Buckley circa Goodbye And Hello. Lyrically, Brierley's penchant for absurdity becomes a bit more apparent on Welcome To The Citadel, with track titles like "Hold On, Hold On, The Garden Sure Looks Good Spread On The Floor." 
by Rob Hatch-Miller

1. The Answer Is - 2:23
2. Vagabond Of Sleep - 4:17
3. Matchbox Men - 3:25
4. Over The Hills - 2:05
5. Symphony - 2:51
6. Take Me For A Ride On Your Aeroplane - 2:04
7. Welcome To The Citadel - 4:34
8. Hold On, Hold On, The Garden Sure Looks Good Spread Out On The Floor - 3:38
9. Autograph Of Time - After All The Heat Was Hung - 1:35
10.Sunlight Sleepers Song - 1:26
11.Making Love - 1:22
12.Time Itself - 2:34
13.And Who Would But Think - 2:04
14.Thoughts And Sounds - 6:11
15.A Time For Love - 3:15
16.Dragonfly - 2:20
17.Arctic City - 1:45
18.Rel's Song - 4:20
19.If You Leave Me Now - 3:01
20.Stay A Little Longer Merry Ann - 2:49
21.Flaxen Hair - 2:58
22.Godspeed - 4:34
23.Phoenix - 3:16
24.Powers Of Glory - 5:14
25.Hear Me Calling - 2:21
26.Don't Let The Bugs Bite - 2:47
All Music and Lyrics by Marc Brierley except track #14 co-written with Terry Hiscock

*Marc Brierley - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Clare Lowther - Cello
*Mike Travis - Drums, Percussion
*Tony Reeves - Electric Bass
*Henry Lowther - Trumpet, Violin

1969-70  Marc Brierley - Hello (2014 bonus tracks remaster)

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Julie Felix - First, Second And Third-The Complete Three Decca LPs (1964-66 us, tremendous acoustic folk, 2008 double disc edition)

Although California-born, Julie Felix found herself in Britain smack dab in the middle of the folk revival in the mid-'60s, and with her serviceable voice and exotic good looks, she was soon a poster girl for the U.K. scene itself, releasing an album a year for Decca Records between 1964 and 1966, all three of which are collected here in this two-disc set. Felix wasn't Joan Baez or Judy Collins, however tempting it might be to make those comparisons, and her albums sound a bit like live sets tracked in the studio, with little embellishment, giving them at times a kind of a those-were-the-days documentary feel. Felix's faintly husky voice sounds fine but gets a bit generic, and the same could be said of her guitar playing, and she sounded pretty much like a thousand other female folk singers on the scene at the time trying their hand at "The Riddle Song."

But what Felix did have was a fine ear for recognizing a good contemporary folk song, and these three LPs are full of songs by the likes of Bob Dylan, Ian Tyson, Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs, Donovan, and Bert Jansch, among others, as well as several selections from the Woody Guthrie songbook. Nothing here really sets the world on fire, but Felix rises well above the ordinary on versions of Jansch's "Needle of Death," Tyson's "Someday Soon," and a jaunty take on Donovan's "To Try for the Sun," and she's never less than pleasant on more traditional fare like "The Maid of Constant Sorrow" or "The Riddle Song." In the end, though, she's more of a flashback to a particular time and place than she is an enduring folk icon, which doesn't diminish what's here, but it hardly makes it essential, unless, of course, you really want to hear "The Riddle Song" one more time. A timepiece. 
by Steve Leggett

Sequenced back to back across this double-disc set are the self-titled solo debut and the imaginatively-titled The Second Album and The Third Album, which first introduced and, then, consolidated Julie Felix as a permanent feature on the British folk scene from the mid-60s onwards.

Recorded with pared-down production while Felix essentially lived in exile in the UK, these three Decca albums mostly showcase her as an interpreter of originals by the likes of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Phil Ochs, Donovan, Leadbelly and Peggy Seeger. As such, they reflect the sprit, sentiments and aspirations of the Civil Rights movement transplanted to mid-60s Britain. Though The Third Album was little more than a collection of outtakes from the first two, compiled by producer Hugh Mendl, it did include her hit version of Tom Paxton’s Going To The Zoo, arguably still her most recognisable song.

Following her sojourn with Decca, Felix moved to Fontana and, later, to RAK with Mickie Most. It’s these three albums that remain her most essential recordings.
by Grahame Bent

Disc 1 Julie Felix 1964 
1. Masters Of War (Bob Dylan) - 3:10
2. The Old Maid's Song (Harry Robinson, Julie Felix) - 2:38
3. Hey Nelly Nelly (Jim Friedman, Sheldon Alan Silverstein) - 2:35
4. Cu-Cu-Ru-Cu (Harry Robinson, Julie Felix) - 3:19
5. Tarry Town (John Allison) - 2:38
6. Aunt Rhodie (Harry Robinson, Julie Felix) - 1:34
7. Pastures Of Plenty (Woody Guthrie) - 2:46
8. Tell Old Bill (Harry Robinson, Julie Felix) - 3:12
9. Ship In The Sky (Woody Guthrie) - 2:07
10.Buttermilk Hill (Ronnie Gilbert) - 2:46
11.Sally Don't You Grieve (Malvina Reynolds, Woody Guthrie) - 1:44
12.Don't Think Twice It's Alright (Bob Dylan) - 3:37
13.The Riddle Song (Harry Robinson, Julie Felix) - 1:43
14.Plane Crash At Los Gatos (Woody Guthrie) - 4:42
The Second Album 1965
15.Someday Soon (Ian Tyson) - 3:00
16.Needle Of Death (Bert Jansch) - 3:33
17.The Young Ones Move (Dave Mudge, John Remsbury) - 2:37
18.Guantanamera (José Martí, Pete Seeger) - 2:46
19.The Road Makers (Dave Evans) - 1:58
20.I've Got Nothing But Time (Tom Paxton) - 2:46
21.Days Of Decision (Phil Ochs) - 2:34

Disc 2 The Second Album 1965
1. A Rumbling In The Land (Bob Dylan) - 2:32
2. You Won I Lost (Ian Tyson) - 2:36
3. When The Ship Comes In (Bob Dylan) - 3:08
4. Port Mahon (Sydney Carter) - 2:56
5. Space Girl (Peggy Seeger) - 2:37
6. Judge Jeffries - 1:58
7. The Last Thing On My Mind (Tom Paxton) - 2:29
The Third Album 1966
8. To Try For The Sun (Donovan Leitch) - 3:06
9. John Reilly (Bob Gibson, Ricky Neff) - 3:18
10.The Fox And The Goose (Traditional) - 1:57
11.What Did You Learn In School Today? (Tom Paxton) - 1:39
12.The Maid Of Constant Sorrow - 2:42
13.The Gallows Pole (Alan Lomax, Huddie Ledbetter, John A. Lomax) - 2:00
14.My True Love - 3:09
15.One Man's Hands (Alex Comfort, Pete Seeger) - 1:55
16.Going To The Zoo (Tom Paxton) - 2:30
17.The Spring Hill Disaster (Ballad Of Spring Hill) (Ewan MacColl, Pete Seeger) - 3:00
18.Mound Of Your Grave (Woody Guthrie) - 2:08
19.Come On Billy Home - 1:45
20.I Travelled All Over This World (Julie Felix) - 2:30

*Julie Felix - Vocals, Guitar

1966  Julie Felix - Changes (Vinyl issue)
1967  Julie Felix - Flowers (Vinyl release)
1972  Julie Felix - Clotho's Web (2009 remaster and expanded)

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