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

Plain and Fancy

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


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Seatrain - Seatrain / Marblehead Messenger (1970-71 us, splendid blend of country folk blues and classic rock, double disc set)



Seatrain is the second album by the band Seatrain, recorded in 1970 and adding Peter Rowan on guitar and lead vocals. It was the first record produced by George Martin after his work with The Beatles. The most successful song on this album is "13 Questions", which reached #49 in the Billboard charts.

More of the same, in this case, doesn't mean more hits. Marblehead Messenger, while better played and sung, didn't have the appeal that their previous effort seemed to. But it is much more of a band effort, and the tunes are well worth seeking out and enjoying. A forgotten jewel of its time. 
by James Chrispell


Tracks
Disc 1 Seatrain 1970
1. I'm Willin' (Lowell George) - 3:41
2. Song Of Job (Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 6:15
3. Broken Morning (Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 3:11
4. Home To You (Peter Rowan) - 3:31
5. Out Where The Hills (Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 5:59
6. Waiting For Elijah (Peter Rowan) - 3:47
7. 13 Questions (Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 3:05
8. Oh My Love (Peter Rowan) - 2:48
9. Sally Goodin' (Richard Greene) - 2:19
10.Creepin' Midnight (Carole King, Gerry Goffin) - 5:32
11.Orange Blossom Special (Ervin T. Rouse) - 5:17


Disc 2 Marblehead Messenger 1971
1. Gramercy (Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 3:01
2. The State Of Georgia's Mind (Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 4:03
3. Protestant Preacher (Peter Rowan) - 5:25
4. Lonely's Not The Only Way To Go (Lloyd Baskin) - 2:27
5. How Sweet Thy Song (Peter Rowan) - 5:00
6. Marblehead Messenger (Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 2:40
7. London Song (Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 4:24
8. Mississippi Moon (Peter Rowan) - 3:16
9. Losing All The Years (Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 4:38
10.Despair Tire (Richard Greene, Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 5:31

The Seatrain
*Larry Atamanuik - Percussion, Drums
*Lloyd Baskin - Keyboards, Lead Vocals
*Richard Greene - Violin, Viola, Keyboards, Vocals
*Andy Kulberg - Bass, Flute, Vocals
*Peter Rowan - Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Jim Roberts - Lyricist, Vocals

1969  Sea Train - SeaTrain 

Relatd Acts
The Blues Project
1966  Live At The Cafe Au Go Go
1966  Projections
1967  Live At Town Hall
1968  Planned Obsolescence
1973  Reunion in Central Park

1972  Rowan Brothers - Rowan Brothers
1975  Rowans - The Rowans
1976-77  The Rowans - Sibling Rivalry / Jubilation  

1968  Earth Opera - Earth Opera
1969  Earth Opera - The Great American Eagle Tragedy

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Zalman Yanovsky - Alive And Well In Argentina (1968 canada / us, bright genius colorful psychedelia, 2010 remaster and expanded)



I know at least one of his fellow supposedly-lovin' Spoonfuls resents the situation to this day, but whenever Zal Yanovsky appeared on stage alongside John Sebastian, Joe Butler, and Steve Boone during their halcyon daze in the mid-swinging Sixties, some poor girl in the audience would inevitably capsize the entire proceedings by screeching out a heartfelt, lung-felt, 16-year-old cry of "ZALLY!" at precisely the most inopportune of moments (i.e.; just as Sebastian would sensually lean into his mic to softly croon how he didn't want to have to do it). And then, like some completely-wound-up playtoy suddenly let free to dash across the nursery floor, Zally would take this as his cue to mug wildly into the nearest camera, bouncing up and down on one or more legs, before capping it all with a toss of his trademark ten-gallon sheriff's hat high up into the lighting rig, with often quite disastrous results.

All such strategically-enacted cartoon antics aside however, those who weren't lucky enough to be a part of a Lovin' Spoonful audience circa 1966, nor even care to obsess today over video footage of the band easily rivaling the circus atmosphere of a typical Ed Sullivan Show, can still marvel at the cockamamie genius that was Yanovsky by listening to the guitar breaks illuminating any of the four-dozen-or-so Spoonful songs Zal contributed his peculiar, fleet-fingered artistry to. Personally speaking, five notes into that "Do You Believe In Magic" solo made ME a disciple for life, yet an absolute wealth of such four-bar flashes of quicksilver, Music City grit exist throughout the Spoonful's loving canon of good-time rock. Mr. Sebastian has frequently gone on record over how his trusty right-hand guitarist could sound like Elmore James one moment, Floyd Cramer the next, then play just like Chuck Berry a-ringin' a bell -- sometimes all simultaneously! -- and all at the drop of a single ten-gallon hat. In fact, the deliciously crazed six-string acrobatics Zally laid all over the "What's Up, Tiger Lily?" score was only one of many reasons that very first Woody Allen movie remains, at least to these eyes and ears, the myopic li'l director's absolute best.

More magnificent still was the equally cinematic vision Zal brought to his first and sorrowfully lone solo album, "Alive And Well In Argentina." This thoroughly bent 1968 concoction kicked off with a decaying rendition of the Canadian National Anthem superimposed over a chorus of croaking tree frogs (oh, Canada indeed!) then dove headfirst into a near hour's worth of true, Yanovskized dementia (classic maul-overs of "Little Bitty Pretty One" and "You Talk Too Much," plus a six-minute-plus tone poem entitled " Lt. Schtinckhausen" complete with, true to the album's theme, stereophonic storm-troopers). A 1971 re-release of this monumental long-player also included Zal's non-hit single from the Summer of Love, "As Long As You're Here," written by that ace songwriting duo hot off a couple of Turtles chart-toppers, Gary Bonner and Alan Gordon. One of the era's sillier seven-inch single slices of surrealism, the original vinyl disc included the entire A-side re-spooled BACKWARDS on the flip (sure, Napoleon XIV might've done it first with "!Aaah-ah Yawa Em Ekat Ot Gnimoc Er'Yeht," but Zally always was the living, strumming embodiment of any Top Forty funny-farm you'd care to inhabit). "Is it a hiiiiiit, or a misssssss?" a chorus-from-hell wailed over and over as the song faded but, well, both single and album WERE unmitigated misses it's tragic to recall. Still smarting over his recent drug-bust-induced departure from the Spoonful (both Zal and Steve were popped holding the goods, the Feds threatened to deport the former if he didn't identify his dealer, Zally snitched but was sent packin' straight back to the Great Wide North irregardless, and a Rolling Stone Magazine-sanctioned boycott of all things S-ful ensued) our hero was obliged to pen his very OWN review of "--Argentina" for the Toronto Daily Star newspaper. But alas, despite Sebastian swathing himself head-to-toe in tie-dye at the Woodstock fest, the band's hip(py) factor was irrevocably doomed and Yanovsky's name especially remained Bay Area mud for the remainder of that flowered era.

So no longer a Lovin' anything ("the band was like a marriage with four people in it," he later recalled. "As I look back, I opened the door and they kicked me out"), yet characteristically nonplussed following a couple of projects spent next with Tim Buckley and Kris Kristofferson, Zal unceremoniously hung up his guitar almost for good and by the Seventies found himself BEHIND the lens for a change, producing a Canadian afternoon court-TV (quel irony!) semi-reality series called "Magistrate's Court" before appearing as the petulantly potty-mouthed voice-of-reason alongside Alice Cooper and Mick Jagger in the scathing 1975 documentary "Rock-A-Bye" (in which, among several other things, Zally brought serial swearing to prime time a full quarter century before those Osbournes).

But if there's one thing a musician doesn't just love to do besides playing, it's eating, and of course Zal went even that vice one better by opening up his very own restaurant inside a landmark Kingston, Ontario livery stable. Chez Piggy, along with its sidekick bakery Pan Chancho, kept Zally literally cookin' throughout the final chapters of his tumultuous life, and I'm proud to claim that whilst on the road with the Dave Rave Conspiracy combo I had the pleasure of lunching within the fabled walls of Chez Piggy myself. In fact, it's rumored that our guitarist at the time had once actually dated Zal's daughter Zoe, so armed with this information -- and pledging my undying love of "Alive And Well In Argentina" -- we relayed a request for the man himself back to the kitchen as dessert was served. Unfortunately Zally never did bless our table personally, and I had to wait nearly another decade to spot the man again on late-night Canadian TV, hawking his cookbook whilst most indiscriminately dumping wine all over a shrimp platter-in-progress. I am happy to report however that this fleeting appearance demonstrated the man had not lost one single inch of his Ed Sullivision-era zaniness.

More recently, Zal rejoined his former bandmates for their 2000 induction into the so-called Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ("a big media event that's over in two seconds," he so aptly put it upon arriving back home in Kingston) and then almost accompanied John Sebastian on a brief tour of England shortly thereafter. Twas not to be, however, as Zal succumbed to an attack of the heart on his farm on, wouldn't you just know it, Friday the 13th of December, 2002. It was certainly a dark, dark day for lovers of good-times AND music the world over.

"There was not any book anywhere that he followed," eulogized his fellow Canadian and fellow former Mugwump Denny Doherty, "and he is gone too soon." But in reality the magical mayhem of Zal Yanovsky will live on, wherever and whenever one might hear a lightning-brilliant burst of electric guitar in the middle of some three-minute jug-pop oldie --or see an over-sized cowboy hat flying high out of the frame at exactly the wrong moment. In his memory then, let's just let the boy Rock and Roll. 
by Gary "Pig" Gold, July 12, 2017 


Tracks
1. Raven In A Cage (Zalman Yanovsky, Jerry Yester) - 2:50
2. You Talk Too Much (Roy Smeck, Coleman Kamile) - 2:33
3. Last Date (Floyd Cramer Jr) - 3:03
4. Little Bitty Pretty One (Robert Byrd) - 2:53
5. Alive And Well In Argentina (Rappaport De Boeuf, Zalman Yanovsky) - 3:26
6. Brown To Blue (Virginia Franks, George Jones, Johnny Mathis) - 2:25
7. Priscilla Millionaira (John Sebastian) - 2:18
8. I Almost Lost My Mind (Ivory Joe Hunter) - 3:06
9. Hip Toad (Judy Henske, Jerry Yester) - 2:04
10.Lt. Schtinckhausen (Zalman Yanovsky, Jerry Yester) - 6:05
11.As Long As You're Here (Garry Bonner, Alan Gordon) - 2:21
12.Ereh Er'ouy Sa Gnol Sa (Garry Bonner, Alan Gordon) - 2:19

*Zal Yanovsky - Vocals, Guitar
*Jerry Yester - Orchestral Arrangements

 The Lovin' Spoonful
1965  Do You Believe In Magic (2016 Blu Spec Bonus Tracks Edition)
1966  Daydream  (2016 Blu Spec Bonus Tracks Edition)
1966  Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful  (2016 Blu Spec Bonus Tracks Edition)
1966 The Lovin' Spoonful - What's Up, Tiger Lily (2008 japan remaster) 
1967-68  You're A Big Boy Now / Everything Playing (2011 edition and 2016 Blu Spec Bonus Tracks Edition)
1969  Revelation: Revolution '69
Related Acts
1969-76  John Sebastian - Faithful Virtue, The Reprise Recordings 
1969  Judy Henske And Jerry Yester - Farewell Aldebaran 

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Bob Brown - The Wall I Built Myself (1970 us, beautiful tender jazzy folk poetic ruminations, Richie Havens production, 2016 remaster)



Spontaneity drifts through The Wall I Built Myself, Bob Brown’s 1970 debut album. The D.C. folk artist’s distinctive chord changes animate his music. And, although these lilting, gorgeous songs were recorded decades ago, it feels like Brown is sitting next to you playing live. Iconic Woodstock opener Richie Havens captured Brown’s intimate performance and free-flowing dreamy style when he produced the LP, which he released on his MGM label, Stormy Forest.

Brown met Havens in the summer of ’66 when he saw the ascendant folk hero at the Newport Folk Festival. It was Brown’s second trek to the illustrious musical communion. He returned after a life-changing experience the summer before when Bob Dylan beguiled thousands playing “Maggie’s Farm” atop a wooden box in a field. “The feeling in the air was mystifying,” says Brown. And after discovering the three musicians he considers his mentors—Tim Harden, Eric Anderson, and Havens—Brown was inspired to pursue his music career.

Havens would help Brown achieve that goal, and it started back at Newport in ’66. “I stood a couple feet away from Richie and had a funny feeling,” says Brown. About a month later they connected in Provincetown. Brown was hitchhiking through the Northeast to play music, and he caught Havens at the famous Blues Bag coffeehouse. “I was blown away by Richie,” says Brown. The next day, the pair sat on the beach and exchanged songs.

Years later, while at the University of Maryland, Brown called Havens for legal advice regarding a deal with Mercury Records. Havens convinced Brown to join Stormy Forest. “I got up to the Big Apple and was young and nervous,” says Brown. “We met on one of the top floors of the MGM building and ironed out my contract.” Brown signed on for two albums, The Wall and its follow-up, 1971’s Willoughby’s Lament. Although they received positive praise, Brown’s LPs eventually went out of print.

Brown grew up in Clinton, Maryland. His grandmother, Celeste, was a major musical influence. “I used to sit under her grand piano listening to Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Chopin, and Beethoven,” says Brown. “A lot of sensitivity around classical music and chord changes came from her.” Brown started on piano at age five and gravitated to folk music in junior high. He’d travel 30 minutes north to D.C. for concerts, learning from musicians like Judy Collins, Tom Paxton, and Peter, Paul & Mary. As a high school sophomore, Brown had already taken the stage at D.C.’s seminal folk coffeehouses—Through the Gates, Crow’s Toe, and the Iguana.

Brown’s exquisite but tough sound took shape while studying creative writing at the University of Maryland. He lived in a dorm called Garrett Hall, where he met Orin Smith, who played guitar upside-down and left-handed. Smith’s ingenuity fascinated Brown, and they teamed up. Smith introduced Brown to Joe Clark, a Peabody and Julliard trained pianist and saxophonist, whose classical background reminded Brown of his grandmother. Brown calls Clark his musical soul mate, and their mystical chemistry pushed Brown’s music toward a blend of folk, jazz, and rock. “This approach let us play off each other so that no two performances sounded the same,” Brown says. Clark later became the founder of The Entourage Music and Theater Ensemble.  

Other influences came into Brown’s life during college. That’s when Brown met his first love and muse, Pamela. And Rudd Fleming, head of the university’s creative writing program, encouraged Brown to write both songs and poetry for class and pushed the young musician creatively. “Fleming helped me find my voice,” says Brown. The emotive work of Tim Hardin also affected Brown’s passionate singing and playing.

Davis Franks, a groundbreaking conceptual artist and poet, was another guide. Franks is well-known for his composition performed with tugboat whistles and sneaking into the Social Security Headquarters to Xerox his naked body. After meeting at Through the Gates coffeehouse, the pair collaborated on three songs for The Wall I Built Myself, including the startling opener “It Takes the World to Make a Feather Fall.” “David and I were competitive brothers,” says Brown. “He pushed me to be more hard-edged, and I pushed him to be softer.”

The Wall I Built Myself took shape against a backdrop of peace and free love of the ’60s counterculture movement. Brown’s solemn, lilting acoustic guitar and intense dynamic shifts on the album hint at the tense social and political climate of the era. Brown, Clark, and Smith recorded the album’s demo at the Cellar Door, the historic Georgetown club that elevated the careers of luminaries like Neil Young, James Taylor, and Jackson Browne. Brown, a regular, opened for some of the finest musicians who performed there—Tim Harden, Eric Anderson, and Neil Young.

After playing around the D.C. area, Brown and his collaborators perfected their musical chemistry. The interplay of Smith’s unusual electric guitar, Clark’s shape-shifting piano, and Brown’s tender acoustic guitar and mysterious, powerful vocals gelled into a compelling sound tapestry. Brown and his band mates recorded The Wall I Built Myself live, lending the album its powerful sense of immediacy. The trio brought a few other musicians into the sessions, including bass player Marshall Hawkins.

Hawkins, who has collaborated with Miles Davis, Donny Hathaway, and Roberta Flack, connected with Brown on a spiritual level. “Bob was very gentle, so we became good friends almost instantly,” says Hawkins. “Marshall’s style of playing was impressive to me and fit our musical style,” Brown says.

Brown and his collaborators recorded The Wall I Built Myself at Mira Sound Studios on West 57th Street in New York, with sessions running from noon to midnight. Amtrak carried Brown and his band back and forth between D.C. and New York, where Brown stayed at the famous Chelsea Hotel. When the sessions ended, Brown and his muse listened to the final mix in a sleeper car on a snowy train ride back to D.C.

The Wall I Built Myself offered a proper, engaging introduction to Brown. Producer Mark Greenhouse, who met Brown through the Iguana coffeehouse, says the record “nailed him.” “Bob Brown’s music is important both intellectually and artistically,” says Greenhouse. “I’m amazed by its power, beauty, and spontaneity.”

As Brown’s music career faded, he found his way into the service industry. He’s since become a consultant, trainer, and keynote speaker, which takes him around the world and led him to his wife, Judith. But Brown’s musical legacy never faded. Even though his two LPs went out of print, they are collectors’ items cherished by refined crate-diggers.

Tompkins Square has rescued The Wall I Built Myself and Willoughby’s Lament from oblivion with these official reissues. More than 40 years have passed, but the albums retain the spark that made Brown’s work so irresistible. The records also carry the spirit of Brown’s close collaborators who have passed—Joe Clark, Orin Smith, David Franks, and Richie Havens.

Together they bring the work of Bob Brown to life and let the world continue to experience his special brand of magic. “Bob is a pure and simple artist, who creates something powerful from nothing,” Greenhouse says.  
by Leor Galil


Tracks
1. It Takes The World To Make A Feather Fall (Bob Brown, David Franks) - 6:35
2. Quiet Waterfall - 3:37
3. Monday Virus (Bob Brown, David Franks) - 3:07
4. First Light - 7:31
5. Winds Of Change (Bob Brown, David Franks) - 3:30
6. Selina - 4:12
7. Seek The Sun - 5:13
8. Icarus - 6:54
Music and Lyrics by Bob Brown except where indicated

Personnel
*Bob Brown - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Joe Clark - Organ, Piano
*Marshall Hawkins - Bass
*Roland Henderson - Violin
*Bill Lavorgna - Drums
*Orin Smith - Guitar

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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Bobby Whitlock - Rock Your Sox Off (1976 us, awesome southern groovy boogie rock, 2016 SHM remaster)



Featuring many of the same musicians as his previous, One Of A Kind, Rock Your Sox Off mines similar sonic landscapes. The nucleus of the project was Kenny Tibbets on bass, Jerome Thomas on drums, Bobby on keys, and to start out with Les Dudek on guitar. In the early stages of recording, Les left the project and Jimmy Nalls came aboard. That was the basic lineup for the record. Everyone else was added as guest spots, after the fact. This became common practice for the records we were doing then. Everyone's album was sort of a family reunion. All the Southern musicians enjoyed a comrade together. 

The album is a mix of bluesy rockers and gritty soul, elevated above the ordinary by Whitlock's heartfelt vocals. Sweet Mother's Fun adds a little diversity, with mexican trumpets giving it a cantina blues sound. Also of note is a song he previously did with Eric Clapton's Derek and the Dominoes, Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad, here slower and more groove-oriented. In addition, the album features the top-notch production of Paul Hornsby and the gutsy guitar of relative unknown Jimmy Nalls. 
by Rob Caldwell


Tracks
1. Why Does Love Got To Be So Bad - 6:44
2. If You Only Knew Me - 4:17
3. Sweet Mother’s Fun - 3:17
4. The Second Time Around - 5:02
5. Brand New Song - 4:21
6. Bottom Of The Bottle - 4:01
7. t’s Been a Long Long Time - 5:41
8. Make It Through The Night - 5:02
All songs written by Bobby Whitlock except track #1 co-written with Eric Clapton

Musicians
*Bobby Whitlock - Organ, Piano, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Kenny Tibbetts - Bass
*Jerome Thomas - Drums, Congas
*Jimmy Nalls - Guitar, Dobro
*Dru Lumbar - Guitar
*Larry Howard - Guitars
*Ricky Hirsch - Slide Guitar
*Les Dudek - Electric Guitar
*Jimmy Hall - Alto Sax
*Paul Hornsby - Tambourine
*Larry Howard - Guitar
*Leo Labranche - Trumpet
*Skip Lane - Baritone Sax
*Chuck Leavell - Piano

1972  Bobby Whitlock - Where There's a Will There's a Way (2013 remaster)
1975  Bobby Whitlock - One Of A Kind (2016 japan SHM remaster)
1970  Derek And The Dominos - Layla (2013 platinum SHM edition)
 
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Friday, July 7, 2017

The Free Spirits - Out Of Sight And Sound (1966 us, superb jazz psych rock, 2006 remaster)



The Free Spirits emerged from that NYC stew in 1965, jazz players with drop-dead chops playing on the rock beat, psychedelic lyrics infused with whatever there needed to be on the date, in the moment, rebelling against the Top 40 mentality at all times, surging always pushing always looking always searching, “I’m gonna be free…for the rest of my days”… they sang, meaning it literally, the direction they were heading was THAT way….

The Free Spirits was a quintet: Larry Coryell, Ra-Kalam Bob Moses, Chris Hills, Columbus Chip Baker and Jim Pepper the members of the band, a collaboration that lasted from 1965 to 1967. In the same year that The Beatles released Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Jimi Hendrix came out of nowhere with Are You Experienced?, The Free Spirits released Out of Sight and Sound, their only LP, and the first of its kind in the history of music.
After The Free Spirits broke up, Jim Pepper, multi-instrumentalist Chris Hills and Columbus Chip Baker formed  a band called Everything is Everything, adding Lee Reinoehl, John Waller and Jim Zitro to the lineup, and on their LP and 45 RPM single was the first expression of Jim Pepper’s seminal, everlasting, transformational composition, Witchi Tai To, and Jim Pepper’s phenomenal, absolutely unique rendering of John Coltrane’s Naima, both songs seeded from ancient traditions emerging from different continents through this medium, this young man with a tenor saxophone he pretty much taught himself to play, Jim and his father Gilbert Pepper and grandfather Ralph Pepper, the Old Souls behind the Fingers….

Well-established as a jazz, rock and blues musician with fabulous improvisational skills and an unforgettable sound, Jim Pepper went in a new direction when he recorded his first LP under his own name in 1971, Pepper’s Powwow, a statement of 12 songs and chants of Native American music, another American masterpiece, told in jazz, free jazz, rock, blues, traditional Native and country idioms, and a more mature Jim Pepper’s Witchi Tai To, with one of the most magnificent solos ever recorded in the middle, a song and a reading with the power to change a person’s life, make you feel glad that you’re not dead….

Jim Pepper put the Pepper’s Powwow recording band together in 1971 in New York City, another seminal lineup with Larry Coryell on guitar, Portland’s Tom Grant on piano, Ravie Pepper on flute, Chuck Rainey and Jerry Jemmot on bass, Billy Cobham and Spider Rice on drums. His father Gilbert Pepper told the story of the Senecas in Peter LaFarge’s words and on the other side of the country out in the middle of San Francisco Bay, members of the American Indian Movement occupied Alcatraz, John Trudell their spokesman and poet warrior.


Tracks
1. Don't Look Now (But Your Head Is Turned Around) - 2:19
2. I'm Gonna Be Free - 3:31
3. LBOD (Larry Coryell, Bob Moses) - 3:06
4. Sunday Telephone (Larry Coryell, Columbus Baker) - 2:57
5. Blue Water Mother (Larry Coryell, Columbus Baker) - 2:47
6. Girl Out Of The Mountain (Larry Coryell, Columbus Baker) - 2:42
7. Cosmic Daddy Dancer (Larry Coryell, Columbus Baker) - 2:37
8. Bad News Cat - 3:27
9. Storm - 2:15
10.Early Mornin' Fear (Larry Coryell, Nick Hyams) - 2:40
11.Angels Can't Be True - 2:44
12.Tatoo Man (Larry Coryell, Columbus Baker) - 3:00
13.I Feel A Song - 2:36
All compositions by Larry Coryell except where indicated

The Free Spirits
*Columbus Baker - Guitar, Vocals
*Larry Coryell - Vocal, Guitar, Sitar
*Chris Hill - Bass, Vocals
*Bob Moses - Drums
*Jim Pepper - Tenor Sax, Flute

1967  The Free Spirits - Live At The Scene (2011 release)
1969  Larry Coryell - Coryell

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Free Spirits - Live At The Scene (1967 us, jazz psych rock, 2011 release)



Before earning world renown as one of the most electrifying guitarists in American bop, Larry Coryell was a member of a local NYC group called The Free Spirits who is widely considered to be the very first act to fuse rock and jazz into a cohesive unit of expression.

Their sound was one that brought the psyched-out, organ-heavy vibe of such Metro area heroes as The Vagrants, The Hassles and Vanilla Fudge to the improvisational landscape of the Village Vanguard circuit, rafting a primitive version of a style that would reach a fever pitch in the 1970s with acts like Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever and Weather Report. 

This 10 song live set, unearthed by the UK archive imprint Sunbeam Records, catches the group at their youngest and most savage during an early 1967 performance at Steve Paul’s mythical Midtown nightclub The Scene. Though the fidelity of the recording is a B- audience capture at best, this dynamic document serves as a potent glimpse into the uncanny prowess of The Free Spirits at the peak of their game in a way their eponymous studio debut from 1966 could never fully convey, augmented by impressive guest turns from such fellow future jazz leaders as Randy Brecker, Joe Beck and Dave Liebman.

Regardless of its fidelity, Live At The Scene is nevertheless a worthwhile slice of New York rock history that any educated fan of fusion needs to check out.
by Stephen Judge


Tracks
1. "LBOD" (Larry Coryell, Bob Moses) - 2:48
2. I Feel A Song (Larry Coryell) - 5:10
3. Earth Girl (Columbus "Chip" Baker) - 5:03
4. Sunday Telephone (Columbus "Chip" Baker, Larry Coryell) - 5:57
5. Cosmic Daddy Dancer (Columbus "Chip" Baker, Larry Coryell) - 4:49
6. Storm (Columbus "Chip" Baker, Larry Coryell) - 2:39
7. Blue Water Mother (Columbus "Chip" Baker, Larry Coryell) - 2:53
8. Peyote Song-Girl Of The Mountain (Columbus "Chip" Baker, Larry Coryell, Jim Pepper) - 3:48
9. I'm Gonna Be Free (Larry Coryell) - 9:33
10.Night In Tunisia (Dizzy Gillespie) - 12:32

The Free Spirits
*Columbus "Chip" Baker - Guitar, Vocals
*Larry Coryell - Guitar, Vocals
*Chris Hills - Bass, Vocals
*Bob Moses - Drums
*Jim Pepper - Flute, Vocals
With
*Randy Brecker - Trumpet
*Joe Beck - Guitar
*David Liebman - Tenor Sax

1969  Larry Coryell - Coryell

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Marian Henderson - Cameo (1964-70 australia, divine folk jazzy silk rock, 2016 double disc edition)



Marian Henderson was the queen of the Australian folk revival during the 1960s. With her distinctive, pure alto voice, beautiful face and long hair, she was the epitome of the new folk style. She gave life to old songs such as the convict ballad Van Diemen's Land, and The Streets of Forbes, about bushranger Ben Hall, which she recorded for the Australian cultural history series The Restless Years in 1967.

Alongside jazz and folk club gigs, she toured extensively. Red Cross tours took her island-hopping in light planes around remote New Guinea and Fiji, and to the Cork festival where she "cajoled old Irish tunes into the present". She later featured on ABC television in Jazz Meets Folk, and hosted the music show Sit Yourself Down.

Henderson's looks and talent attracted much attention from promoters, who invariably wanted to change her music and image but she was always her own woman, and turned down an offer from Harry M. Miller to take over her career: she had no desire to become a pop princess. Integrity to herself and to the music was everything: anything else is degrading to the songwriter and the audience, she said.

Largely self-taught, Henderson would speak lyrics to pull out the drama of a song, and then give it her musical interpretation. Her enunciation was always precise: she hated sloppy lyrics, from be-bop to opera.

Marian Grossman was born in Melbourne on April 16, 1937, the only child of Flight Lieutenant Ernest Grossman and his wife, Amelia (nee Martin). Amelia was a country girl from Porepunkah near Bright, and Ernest also had a rural background. He grew up on a farm at Bowser, near Wangaratta. He learnt the piano and cornet, and often played accompaniment for silent pictures at theatres in the town.

Like many entertainers, Marian had a peripatetic childhood as the air force moved Ernest from place to place. She went to 13 schools, from city to country and back again, before finishing her education at Essendon High School. Tall and athletic, she excelled at running, high jump, swimming and tennis. Then, in her early teens, Henderson found music – or perhaps music found her. Ernest played cornet in the military band, and she would accompany him at home on the piano, playing by ear as she never learnt to read music. Throughout her subsequent career most of the arrangements she made were committed to memory and rarely written down, unless by someone else.

Essendon High was significant for another reason: fellow student Don Henderson, whom Marian would later marry. At first she "couldn't stand him" but they became an item after a school dance, where he was the only boy who asked her to dance who was taller than her. "So I said yes." Like many girls at that time, Marian left school at 15 to learn shorthand, typing and "how to be elegant no matter what the situation" at business college.

Although her parents did not particularly approve of boyfriend Don, Ernest did make him a present of an Hawaiian guitar, which he adapted for rock 'n' roll. Don and Marian formed a band, The Thunderbirds, but Marian soon lost interest and turned to jazz. She was playing piano with a band, and one evening the vocalist failed to appear. Marian stepped up to the microphone, and at 18 her career as a singer began. She was hired as a rock 'n' roll singer for big bands playing dances at suburban town halls, but would persuade them to also incorporate jazz standards, sung her way.

The '60s was a fertile time for musicians of many styles, and Henderson soon came across some folkies. Although she had never heard of folk music, she quickly learnt five-string banjo, adapted some to guitar and began singing the style for which she was best known.

She and Don had a white wedding "under sufferance" when she was 21 and, gathering their courage, moved to Sydney to escape her parents, whom she described as tyrannical. Don encouraged Marian, writing her poetry and songs, however they divorced, regretfully but amicably, in 1962.

Some time before, Marian and Don had met Tom Baker on Glebe Bridge. Driving across it one day they saw a Bugatti, which was a rare sight, so they turned around and chased it and met its owner. They all became very good friends; after the divorce she and Baker were married, but Marian kept the surname Henderson for performing as she was already known by it. Their only child, Ben, was born in 1967. However, in 1970 Baker fell ill and died, and Marian's life changed.

She told fellow musician and historian Alex Hood, in recordings he made in 2002, now archived at the NLA, "working as a single mother to put shoes on my son, pay off mortgage, [I] put up with a lot." Sexual discrimination, and advancement via the casting couch, were rife in the industry (Now, she told Hood, "I could sue the bastards.")

But Henderson was a fighter, determined to carry on, and do things her way. For the next decade she worked in television, made recordings, including the Cameo album (which disappointed her – it was in at lunchtime and out by dinner, she remembered, with no time for revision) and many hundreds of live performances.

The second act of Henderson's life began in the late 1970s, with a move away from Sydney to laid-back Lismore. Her son was nine, and she effectively retired from music. Her final big tour was for the (then) Arts Council, driving the length and breadth of NSW by herself in her Ford Escort.

Mother and son settled into a quieter way of life, but Henderson was deeply artistic and soon was studying visual arts, costume design, and then teaching painting and music. After eight years she moved to Nimbin, to have more space. The little town's art scene was an attraction, and she knew many people there.

Henderson remained a modest and very private person, with some inherent contradictions. According to Ben she didn't really enjoy the company of large numbers of people at the same time … but she came alive on stage: "If she could have got away with just being a recording star she may have done that, although I also know she enjoyed revving up a crowd."

In her later years Henderson lived independently, and had a great circle of friends. She loved camping, the beach, and her gardens were renowned. Music remained her passion, and she would "try out" all types of contemporary music, even if it was not to her taste.

Three years before she died, Marian Henderson was diagnosed with cancer. She declined surgery, in order to live the best life she could for as long as possible. In her final six months she lived with Ben and his wife Madonna at Mt Mee, inland from Caboolture.

After her death, a large group of friends gathered at her beloved Brunswick Heads, to celebrate her life and music, and to scatter her ashes onto the sea.
by Rosalie Higson


Tracks
Disc 1
1. Antique Annies Magic Lantern Show (Jimmy Stewart, Doug Ashdown) - 3:32
2. Miss Otis Regrets (Cole Porter) - 2:48
3. Stranger Song (Leonard Cohen) - 5:38
4. Lady Of Carlisle - 3:23
5. Fotheringay - 2:24
6. Streets Of Forbes - 2:52
7. First Boy I Loved (Robin Williamson) - 6:52
8. Country Girl - 5:03
9. Guess Who I Saw Today (Murray Grand, Elisse Boyd) - 2:40
10.Bald Mountain - 3:48
11.Convict Maid - 2:03
12.Sprig Of Thyme - 3:00


Disc 2
1. Streets of Forbes - 2:42
2. Look Out Below - 3:52
3. Moreton Bay - 3:21
4. Old Black Alice - 1:16
5. I Know Where I'm Going - 1:58
6. Black Is the Colour of My True Love's Hair - 4:26
7. Kum Bay Ya - 3:41
8. Swing Low Sweet Chariot - 3:05
9. Waltzing Matilda - 2:51
10.Jim Jones of Botnay Bay - 3:42
11.Euabalong Ball - 3:06
12.Van Dieman's Land - 3:30
13.Botany Bay - 3:15
14.Springtime It Brings on the Shearing - 3:04
15.The Old Bark Hut - 2:34
16.Peter Clarke - 4:19

Musicians
*Marian Henderson - Vocals, Guitar
*Doug Ashdown - Guitars
*John Jackson - Guitars
*Ed Gaston - Bass
*Don Burrows - Clarinet, Flute
*Lyn Christie - Bass

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Mick Softley - Any Mother Doesn't Grumble (1972 uk, magnificent folk jazzy prog rock, 2016 reissue)



After many years lurking in a musical hinterland, Mick Softley's quite wonderful 'Any Mother Doesn't Grumble' has been released into the wild once again and it is quite clearly the work of an untamed and erratic free spirit who refused to conform to any record company's desire to crank out another Bob Dylan clone. On this album, Softley mixed a heady brew of folk, jazz, blues, country and rock together and sprinkled his idiosyncratic lyrics throughout the creation to craft the most powerful work of a three-album deal with CBS Records between 1970-73. It is a masterclass from a time when creative freedom in the studio was often not only accepted but encouraged however the road to its release was tempestuous and twisting.

From an early age it was apparent the Michael 'Mick' Softley was not going to accept the stifling grip of post-war conformity. Born to Irish parents in 1941, he was raised in South Woodford close to Epping Forest. Although he received a religious education at a Jesuit College in North London the priesthood was not a calling and, at the age of eighteen, Mick had already kissed his factor)' job goodbye and embarked on a motorcycle trip to Spain followed by a period of hitch-hiking in France, While residing above a bookshop in Paris, Mick was living the beatnik dream in the presence of writers such as William Burroughs and Gregory Corso but it was the ex-pat music community that really drew his attention and where he heard music from the likes of Sandy Denny and Ramblin' Jack Elliott first hand. It was on the streets of France's capital city that Mick served his musical apprenticeship busking with Raymond 'Wizz' Jones and Clive Palmer (Incredible String Band / C.O.B.).

On returning to England in the early 1960s as a fully-fledged and well travelled bohemian, Mick started a folk club in the tiny basement of The Spinning Wheel restaurant in Old Town, Hemel Hempstead. It was a rowdy but creative space (Mick coaxed a youthful but very shy Maddy Prior into action here, long before her days in Steeleye Span) but also a health and safety nightmare with no fire escape and the police eventually closed it down.

Mick began playing at The Cock in St Albans, a legendary hangout for beatniks, hippies and musicians looking for a break from the big smoke. It was here that he began teaching cross-picking guitar techniques to a youthful Donovan Leitch before the Glaswegian singer / songwriter was snapped up by Pye Records. Donovan would later cover Mick's songs 'The War Drags On' and 'Goldwatch Blues' and it was through his connections that led Mick to the release of his first single with Immediate Records, 'I'm So Confused / She's My Girl' (1965), and then his debut alburn 'Songs For Swingin' Survivors' (1965) for Columbia Records. Neither seemed to bring Mick much joy and his first dealings with the record 'biz' were bruising' encounters that left him fighting an uphill battle to regain the copyright to many of his songs.

Mick then shot off in a more Psychedelic Rock direction as Mick Softley and the Summer Suns, a group who produced one single for CBS Records, 'Am I The Red One / That's Not My Kind Of Love' (1966). Soon he was back on the road without a record deal and once again indulging in a nomadic lifestyle. In between travelling Mick formed a band called Soft Cloud Loud Earth with Donovan sidekick Keith 'Mac' Macleod. The band soon disintegrated into simply Mick and Mac as the duo Soft Cloud and as the 1970s appeared on the horizon Mick was off on a solo trip once again thanks to a new record deal with CBS.

The first fruits of this deal were the albums 'Sunrise' (1970) followed by 'Street Singer' (1971). On both albums Mick moved well away from the straightforward folk delivery that he had employed on his debut album and gleefully threw everything into the mix. The Eastern influence of tabla and sitar nestled alongside evangelical choruses, tantric chants, acid-tinged folk and more mainstream singer-songwriter compositions. Both albums were widely diverse and this theme was to continue across Mick's third album for CBS.

The recording of 'Any Mother Doesn't Grumble' took place at Richard Branson's residential studio The Manor in Oxfordshire and at Sound Techniques - a recording facility built within an old dairy in Chelsea and a popular creative hub for folk royalty such as Steeleye Span, Pentangle and John Martyn. In the studio once again with Mick was a hugely talented line-up. American guitarist Jerry Donahue was one of the key players who put the rock in 'folk rock' and he had already worked with Fotheringay and just become a recent addition to Fairport Convention. Alongside Jerry were his Fotheringay bandmates Gerry Conway on drums and bassist Pat Donaldson. Added to this exotic mix was percussionist Barry De Souza (Curved Air) and Lyn Dobson (Manfred Mann / Soft Machine) on saxophone, flute and harmonica.

In the producer's chair and tasked with blending together this experienced and eclectic bunch was Tony Cox, a talented keyboard player who had played with Sandy Denny and Mike Heron and produced albums for Caravan and cult acid-folkies Trees. Cox had also lent his talents to Softley's previous two CBS albums so they were almost three years into a solid working partnership.

Right from the start it is apparent that Any Mother Doesn't Grumble' will be a wild ride as the first track, the gentle ballad 'The Song That I Sing,' blends seamlessly into a hypnotic crescendo of sleazy sax and wailing guitar before drawing to a gentle close. The windswept acoustic theme continues on 'Hello Little Flower' but there are a number of different avenues that the album wanders down - wrong-footing musical travellers who think they know what to expect next. 'I'm So Confused' is a protest anthem throwback to Mick's early days, 'From The Land of the Crab' has a rootsy, country feel and each new track offers something different and original. It's hard to say whether CBS execs of the time would have been settling back with a warm, satisfied glow at being part of the creation of this rich tapestry or were tearing their hair out wondering how to market an album of such musical diversity.

The whole package places the artist centre stage and all of the songs were Softley originals. His lyrics even got unusual prominence on both the front and back of the album cover which also featured illustrations from Ian Beck - the talented artist who created the artwork for Elton John's 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' album. This decision to feature lyrics so prominently was an unusual one and particularly bold considering the words to 'Magdalene's Song' deal fairly heavily with drug abuse, whores and factory 'hell holes'.

CBS played on Mick's travelling roots with press ads that stated "20,000 miles of tyres and a lot of bootwear went into this album" and they gave the album a final push into the public arena. By the time of the album's release Mick had already appeared on two CBS sampler albums, 'Together' (1971) and 'Rock Buster' (1972), and a promo single featuring two tracks from the album, 'Lady Willow' / 'From The Land Of The Crab', was also released. Despite gigs, festivals and TV appearances across Europe, including support slots on tours with Steve Miller and Mott The Hoople, 'Any Mother Doesn't Grumble' failed to capture a mainstream audience and Softley drifted off into the roving lifestyle once again. At one point he was living in a van purchased with his CBS advance money and the vehicle even featured on the front cover artwork of his 'Sunrise' album.

While drifting across Europe he released two further LPs on the' Zurich-based independent label Doll Records, 'Capital' (1976) and 'Mensa' (1978), and his final creation was a cassette only album 'War Memorials' (1985). Back in the UK in the early 1980s, Mick fell victim to new laws targeting 'New Age' travellers and he settled in Northern Ireland in 1984 where he continued to make sporadic appearances at the Belfast Folk Festival. Now living in Enniskillen it would be wonderful if this album could provide a retrospective resurge in interest for an artist who has wilfully worn his own trail through the British musical landscape. Way back in 1972, Disc and Music Echo Magazine probably captured the essence of this unique recording most succinctly when they reviewed the album and stated: "Listening to it, one almost feels an intruder into the man's soul".
by Craig Brackenridge, 2016


Tracks
1. The Song That I Sing - 4:49
2. Hello Little Flower - 2:05
3. Sing While You Can - 3:18
4. The Minstrel Song - 2:32
5. Magdalene's Song - 1:40
6. Traveller's Song - 2:33
7. From The Land Of The Crab - 3:15
8. Lady Willow - 3:22
9. Great Wall Of Cathay - 2:59
10.If Wishes Were Horses - 4:21
11.Have You Ever Really Seen The Stars - 7:17
12.I'm So Confused - 3:07
All songs by Mick Softley

Personnel
*Mick Softley - Vocals, Guitar
*Jerry Donahue - Guitar
*Pat Donaldson - Bass
*Gerry Conway - Drums, Percussion
*Barry de Souza - Percussion
*Lyn Dobson - Tenor, Soprano Saxophones, Flute, Harmonica
*Tony Cox - Keyboards

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Ides Of March - Last Band Standing The Definitive 50 Year Anniversary Collection (1965-2015 us, amazing colorful blend of music, 2015 four discs box set)



“Beware the ides of March,” goes the famous admonition.  Thankfully, Jim Peterik, Larry Millas, Bob Bergland and Mike Borch didn’t heed the warning.  Formed in Berwyn, Illinois in 1965 as the Shon-Dels, The Ides of March are still going strong 50 years later with their brassy blend of good-time rock and roll, R&B, pop and soul epitomized on the 1970 hit single “Vehicle.”  These rock and roll survivors and local legends around the Chicago scene have recently assembled a definitive box set tracing their career from the spring of 1965 to the present day.  The aptly-titled Last Band Standing, released on the group’s own Ides of March Records label, features four CDs and one DVD in a numbered, 500-unit limited edition slipcase signed by the band members.  This set packs a powerful punch, and should let everybody else in on the secret that Chicago’s known for years: that The Ides of March is one hell of a great band!

From their early days playing sock hops and clubs around Chicago, Peterik (lead vocals/lead guitar), Millas (keyboards/guitar/bass/vocals), Borch (drums/percussion/vocals) and Bergland (bass/saxophone/vocals) developed the Ides’ sound from roots in Hollies and Kinks-inspired white R&B.  During the crucial years leading to the group’s major-label signing with Warner Bros., Peterik was finding his own voice as a songwriter, too, honed from years of performing covers of songs by James Brown, The Beatles, Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, and later, Traffic and the Buffalo Springfield.

After kicking off with three high-octane new songs in tasty retro-modern arrangements (including the title track, featuring guitar from guest Steve Cropper), the first disc of Last Band Standing jets back to the mid-sixties with all of the Ides’ singles for Epitome (their own label), Parrot and Kapp Records.  Even more excitingly, the disc presents eight previously unreleased tracks from this formative period before the group adopted its horn section.  Including the strong ballad “I Put It Out of My Head” (with Larry Millas on lead vocal) and covers of Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio’s “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” and Johnny Cash’s “Train of Love,” these varied songs are remarkably polished – and filled with youthful energy, tight and jangly arrangements, vivid harmonies, catchy melodies, and a sure grasp on the various styles on pop radio circa 1966-1967.  Not only are the unreleased tracks as strong as the released singles, but it’s nearly impossible to believe that they’ve been on the shelf for nearly 50 years!  There are also assorted other rarities, like a new stereo mix of the bright Monkees-esque B-side “Girls Don’t Grow on Trees.”

With the addition of Ray Herr (guitar/bass/vocals), John Larson (trumpet/flugelhorn) and Chuck Soumar (trumpet/vocals) to the line-up, the band began to clearly define its muscular signature sound rooted in melodic rock.  The Ides entered Chicago’s Columbia Studios to record an album of both originals and time-tested covers that had worked well onstage and fit into the “heavier” sound the band was cultivating. “One Woman Man” was released prior to Vehicle, the album, and was the Ides of March’s first single. It remains a mystery why the band didn’t catch fire with such a strong melody. Melding the rich harmonies of The Association with the Ides’ developing horn sound (and a memorable trumpet riff), it closes the first disc of Last Band Standing along with its soaring B-side “High on a Hillside.”

The second disc features selections from the Vehicle album (recently reissued on CD by Real Gone Music), its follow-up, 1971’s Common Bond, and related Warner Bros. singles.  The song destined to become the Ides of March’s calling card, “Vehicle” itself gets two airings – once in its album version and once in its mono single mix.  With crack support from Millas’ organ, Borch’s drums, and the three horns, Peterik channeled Blood, Sweat and Tears’ David Clayton-Thomas on “Vehicle,” tearing into its over-the-top, erotically-charged lyrics and earning the Ides a No. 2 smash on the pop chart. In addition to album cuts like the beautiful, Neil Diamond-meets-The-Righteous-Brothers ballad “Home” and the psychedelic jam “Symphony for Eleanor (Eleanor Rigby),” this disc is peppered with other rare tracks including the band’s reverent, harmony-filled rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” a Pepsi commercial set to “Vehicle,” and the previously unreleased “Reunion,” a hard-driving rock track sans brass that pointed the way for the next phase of the band’s stylistic evolution.

At RCA, The Ides of March largely stripped down their sound, abandoning their horns in the process.  Bob Bergland hung up his sax.  Chuck Soumar remained on vocals and percussion, and John Larson departed.  (Ray Herr had already left the group between Vehicle and Common Bond.)  The third disc of Last Band Standing samples the never-on-CD albums World Woven (1972) and Midnight Oil (1973), featuring six tracks from the former and four from the latter.  On World Woven, the band tried on blue-eyed soul, country and even bubblegum rock; if the last term there seems an oxymoron, just listen to the catchy sing-along choruses of “Mother America” and “All Join Hands.”  (Peterik’s knack for crafting anthems would serve him well when he founded Survivor!)  The shifting, shimmering “Children” recalled the group’s funky, extended jams, and “Flipside” allowed Soumar a triumphant moment back on the trumpet.  Midnight Oil featured further changes.  Rather than adding flourishes on the organ, Larry Millas contributed guitar, bass, and flute.  Dave Arellano, who also played on World Woven, handled keyboards.  Rusty Young of Poco dropped in to add pedal steel and dobro to Oil, the Ides’ most countrified album.  On both the ballads (“Lay Back,” “Roadie Ode”) and the uptempo tracks (the southern rock-inflected “Hot Water,” “Quicksilver”), the Ides hardly sound like the band of “Vehicle” and “One Woman Man.”

Live tracks spanning 1972 to 2008 round out this disc.  This lengthy period spans both the original group’s breakup (in November 1973) and their reunion (in 1990).  Highlights include a ten-minute take on The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer in the City” recalling the likes of ‘Symphony for Eleanor,” as well as the buoyant, brash “Gotta Share This Feeling” from a 1972 date at Michigan Tech which recalls the best of early Chicago.  (How was this hit single-in-the-making not recorded in the studio?) This disc also has one of the Ides’ career highlights with “Finally Next Year,” the song released in summer 1999 to commemorate the Chicago Cubs’ season and included on a Cubs CD sold at the ballpark.

The fourth and final CD in the set brings the Ides of March’s story up to date, with tracks recorded between 1997 and 2010 and primarily released on the band’s own, independent label.  1991’s “Spirit of Chicago,” like the other tracks from 1991’s Ideology, bridges the sonic gap between The Ides of March and Survivor.  The anthemic power ballad even features Peterik’s Survivor collaborator and sparring partner, Frankie Sullivan, as well as Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen.  The cheeky “One Hit Wonder,” from 2000, taps into the Ides’ own history with “Vehicle” and pays tribute to the band’s one-hit wonder brethren, wrapping the fun, nostalgic trip in an “Oh, Pretty Woman” riff.  There’s more musical autobiography on the 2010 track “Still Nineteen.”  Peterik and Millas even play Lennon and McCartney as they return to the Beatles songbook with a 2010 recording of “A Day in the Life.”  A DVD wraps the Ides’ story up (for now!) with a live concert recorded at Chicago’s House of Blues on May 31, 2014.  This program includes the Ides’ rendition of Peterik’s Survivor hits “Eye of the Tiger” and “The Search is Over” and “Caught Up in You” and “Hold On Loosely,” both of which he wrote for 38 Special.  Bonus features include a music video for “Last Band Standing,” a From the Vaults segment with archival footage dating back to the band’s early days, and a performance of “Vehicle” with Buddy Guy.

Last Band Standing is accompanied by a booklet featuring notes from the current Ides lineup of Peterik, Millas, Borch, Bergland, Scott May, Dave Stahlberg, Tim Bales and Steve Eisen.  Photographs, credits and a discography are also provided.  Larry Millas has remastered each track on these four CDs which are housed in jewel cases within the autographed slipcase.  In addition, the booklet notes that a portion of the proceeds from the set will go to the Ides of March Scholarship Fund.

For a longtime fan of the Ides of March (or Survivor, for that matter!) or an Ides newbie, Last Band Standing is a vibrant, nostalgic and captivating audiovisual journey with a band that’s far more than just “Vehicle.”  It makes a perfect companion, too, to Jim Peterik’s new album Risk Everything, a collaboration with Marc Scherer.  As for his partnership with Larry Millas, it’s alive and well, too.  The pair co-wrote “Sail Away” on Brian Wilson’s new No Pier Pressure.  One of that album’s standout tracks, it features both Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin.  The Ides of March may be the last band standing, but it sure looks like they’ll be standing and rocking with their positive and upbeat brand of rock and roll for more years to come.
by Joe Marchese


Tracks
Disc 1
1. Last Band Standing (Jim Peterik, Mike Borch) - 5:42
2. Who I Am - 3:35
3. Too Far To Turn Around - 4:18
4. Like It Or Lump It (Jim Peterik, Larry Millas, Mike Borch) - 3:28
5. No Two Ways About It (Jim Peterik, Larry Millas, Mike Borch) - 2:16
6. You Wouldn't Listen (Jim Peterik, Larry Millas, Mike Borch) - 2:32
7. I'll Keep Searching (Jim Peterik, Larry Millas, Mike Borch) - 2:24
8. I'll Take You Back - 2:05
9. Please Don't Tell Me Lies - 2:39
10.Train Of Love (Johnny Cash) - 2:48
11.Don't Cry To Me - 2:45
12.You Tell Me Why (Ronald Elliot) - 3:28
13.I Put It Out Of My Head - 3:07
14.The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore (Bob Crewe, Bob Gaudio) - 2:13
15.Roller Coaster - 2:32
16.Things Aren't Always What They Seem - 2:28
17.My Foolish Pride - 2:18
18.Give Your Mind Wings (Jeff Mine) - 2:55
19.Hole In My Soul - 2:53
20.Girls Don't Grow On Trees - 2:56
21.I'm Gonna Say My Prayers - 3:00
22.You Need Love - 2:47
23.Sha La La La Lee (Mort Shuman, Kenny Lynch) - 2:57
24.Nobody Loves Me - 2:40
25.Strawberry Sunday - 2:52
26.One Woman Man - 3:16
27.High On A Hillside - 2:52


Disc 2
1. Vehicle (Mono Hit Single Mix) - 2:56
2. Lead Me Home Gently - 2:58
3. Aire Of Good Feeling - 3:14
4. Symphony For Eleanor-Eleanor Rigby (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Jim Peterik) - 9:44
5. Bald Medusa (Jim Peterik, Mike Borch) - 3:02
6. Home - 3:37
7. Wooden Ships (Dharma For One) (Stephen Stills, Paul Kantner, Ian Anderson, Clive Bunker) - 7:15
8. Superman (Stereo Album Mix) - 3:00
9. L.A. Goodbye - 2:52
10.Hymn For Her - 4:03
11.Tie Dye Princess - 11:39
12.We Are Pillows (Prelude To Freedom) - 3:42
13.Freedom Sweet - 3:30
14.Giddy Up Ride Me - 2:59
15.Melody - 2:48
16.Reunion (Jim Peterik, Mike Borch) - 3:47
17.Pepsi (Vehicle Commercial) - 1:02
18.Vehicle (Stereo Album Mix) - 2:55
19.The Star Spangled Banner (Francis Scott Key) - 1:39


Disc 3
1. Mother America - 3:50
2. All Join Hands - 3:13
3. Colorado Morrow - 2:54
4. Diamond Fire - 4:38
5. Flipside - 3:45
6. Children - 6:58
7. Hot Water (Jim Peterik, Mike Borch, Dave Arrellano) - 4:07
8. Lay Back - 4:09
9. Quicksilver - 3:33
10.Roadie Ode - 4:23
11.Gotta Share This Feeling - 4:15
12.American Express - 5:08
13.Rag For A Vagabond Lady - 4:58
14.Love's Got The Power (Jim Peterik, Anthony Gomes) - 6:25
15.Summer In The City (John Sebastian, Steve Boone, Mark Sebastian) - 9:50
16.Don't Fight The Feeling - 3:48
17.Finally Next Year (Jim Peterik, Scott May) - 3:24


Disc 4
1. Friendly Stranger (Vehicle Overture) - 4:29
2. Spirit Of Chicago (Jim Peterik, Dick Eastman) - 4:44
3. I'd Love Her Anyway - 4:17
4. Love Don't Choose - 5:18
5. Age Before Beauty - 3:37
6. Moon Out Of Phase - 3:58
7. One Hit Wonder - 4:52
8. Come Dancing - 4:22
9. A Day In The Life (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 7:28
10.The Forgotten Oldie - 3:58
11.Pepperhead - 2:45
12.Secrets Of A Woman - 4:15
13.Soul To Soul (Jim Peterik, Bob Bergland) - 4:57
14.For One Moment - 4:01
15.Still 19 - 6:45
16.Live Life - 4:39
17.Keep Rocking - 5:07
All songs written by Jim Peterik except where indicated

The Ides Of March
*Jim Peterik - Lead Guitar, Lead Vocal
*Larry Millas - Rhythm Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocal
*Bob Bergland - Bass, Saxophone, Backing Vocals
*Ray Herr - Bass, Backing Vocals
*Michael Borch - Drums, Percussion
*John Larson - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
*Jim Larson - Trumpet, Backing Vocal
*Chuck Soumar - Trumpet, Vocals, Odds, Ends
*Scott May - Vocals, B3 Organ, Keyboards
*David Stahlberg - Trombone
*Tim Bales - Trumpet
*Steve Eisen - Sax, All Reeds, Percusion
*Dave Arellano - Keyboards
*Steve Daniels - Trumpet
*Conrad Prybe - Trombone
*Dave Southern - Trombone

1965-68  The Ides Of March - Ideology (sundazed remaster edition)
1970  The Ides Of March - Vehicle (2014 remaster and expanded)
1971  The Ides Of March - Common Bond (extra tracks issue)

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Carp - Carp (1970 us, heavenly psych folk country rock with spiritual references, 2017 korean remaster)



Carp is known not so much for its music as it is for being the launching pad for the career of fledgling actor Gary Busey. Singer/drummer Busey formed the group in the spring of 1966 with fellow Oklahoma State University students Ron Getman on guitar, John Crowder on bass, and Glen Mitchell on piano. After relocating to Los Angeles, Carp signed with Epic to record a self-titled 1969 album rooted equally in rock, blues, and country -- two singles () - "Save the Delta Queen" and "Page 258" were released to little commercial notice, and the band soon dissolved. 

While Getman, Crowder, and Mitchell continued collaborating as session musicians behind Loudon Wainwright III and Janis Ian, Busey pursued a career as an actor, although he continued playing drums under the alias Teddy Jack Eddy, backing artists including Kris Kristofferson and Leon Russell. In 1975, he also contributed his original song "Since You've Gone Away" to Robert Altman's film masterpiece Nashville.

Busey's music career was, ultimately, the determining factor in landing the role that made him famous: As the ill-fated title character in 1978's The Buddy Holly Story, he performed his own renditions of the rock & roll legend's biggest hits, and earned an Academy Award nomination for his efforts. 
by Jason Ankeny


Tracks
1. Drink To The Queen Of The May (Gary Busey, Ron Getman) - 2:33
2. Circuit Preacher Brown (Gary Busey, Ron Getman) - 2:40
3. He's Comin' Back To Check On What You've Done (Gary Busey, Glen Mitchell, Ron Getman) - 2:36
4. Pine Creek Bridge (Gary Busey, John Crowder, Ron Getman) - 3:46
5. Rosabelle Bovine (Gary Busey, Glen Mitchell, Ron Getman) - 2:17
6. Page 258 (Gary Busey, Ron Getman) - 2:37
7. Jotham Clay, Mississippi (Gary Busey, Ron Getman) - 2:49
8. The Great Kansas Hymn (Michael McGinnis) - 5:25
9. Mammoth Mountain Blues (Gary Busey, John Crowder, Glen Mitchell, Ron Getman) - 2:46
10.There Goes The Band (Gary Busey, John Crowder, Ron Getman) - 3:00
11.Jesus Is The Mountain (Gary Busey, Ron Getman) - 3:48
12.The Firehouse Dog (Gary Busey) - 1:04

The Carp
*Gary Busey - Drums, Vocals
*John Crowder - Bass, Vocals
*Ron Getman - Guitar, Vocals
*Glen Mitchell - Keyboards, Vocals
With
*Sneaky Pete - Steel Guitar
*Bouncin'Bobby Bruce - Fiddle

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Leon Russell And Marc Benno - Asylum Choir II (1971 us, outstanding psych protest bluesy rock with experimental mood, japan SHM 2016 remaster)



1971's "Asylum Choir II" was originally intended as a follow-up to 1968's "Looking Inside the Asylum Choir".  Unfortunately Smash Records executives shelved the set where it sat for the next three years.  The collection was ultimately rescued in 1971 when Leon Russell (enjoying stardom as a solo act), bought the tapes and released the collection on his newly formed Shelter imprint. Ironically, by the time the sophomore album saw the light of day, Russell and singer/multi-instrumentalist Marc Benno had dissolved their musical partnership. 

Musically the set wasn't a major change from the debut, though there were a couple of marked differences.  While the debut was very much a collaboration, this time around the focus was clearly on Russell.  That may have something to do with the fact Russell was responsible for the collection's release.  As on the debut, Benno was credited with co-writing most of the material (there were three tracks credited to Russell alone), but Benno's other contributions were far and few between.  He handled backing vocals on a couple of tracks, but elsewhere was largely absent.

While full of engaging melodies, lyrically the album was a topical timepiece - though I've always found it an engaging reflection of the times.  There were a couple of nifty anti-war tracks ('Down On the Base' and 'Ballad for a Soldier') and some dated social/political commentary ('Sweet Home Chicago' with it's not-to-subtle commentary on 1968's Democratic National Convention and 'Straight Brother'). 

Speaking of dated, amazing how time impacts language ...  "when you're bass player's flat and your drummer drags, don't you wish you had a fag"  Anyone under 30 probably doesn't realize he was talking about cigarettes, not lifestyles.  Bottom line is that it was a good effort, though largely a Russell solo effort and simply not on a par with the debut.


Tracks
1. Sweet Home Chicago - 3:22
2. Down On The Base - 2:17)
3. Hello Little Friend (Leon Russell) - 2:52
4. Salty Candy - 2:27
5. Tryin' To Stay 'Live - 2:50
6. ...Intro To Rita... - 2:07
7. Straight Brother - 3:07
8. Learn How To Boogie - 2:45
9. Ballad For A Soldier (Leon Russell) - 4:25
10.When You Wish Upon A Fag (Leon Russell) - 4:09
11.Lady In Waiting (Leon Russell) - 3:38
All songs by Leon Russell, Marc Benno except where stated.

Musicians
*Marc Benno - Guitars, Vocals
*Leon Russell - Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Piano, Vocals
*Jesse Ed Davis - Guitars
*Chuck Blackwell - Drums
*Carl Radle - Bass
*"Donald Duck" Dunn - Bass

1968  The Asylum Choir - Look Inside (2007 remaster)
1972  Leon Russell - Carney
1970  Marc Benno - Marc Benno (2012 korean remaster)
1973  Marc Benno And The Nightcrawlers - Crawlin (with young Stevie Ray Vaughan, 2006 release) 

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