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Plain and Fancy

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

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Rose Garden - A Trip Through The Garden (1967-68 us, amazing sunny folk psych, 2018 bonus tracks remaster)

A Trip Through The Garden, a first-time Rose Garden anthology, is a companion piece to the Clark release and, as such, it illuminates the relationship and tells the band’s story.

A Trip Through The Garden includes the ten tracks from The Rose Garden, the band’s non-album A- and B-sides, previously unheard studio recordings, demos, live tracks and a band rehearsal of “Till Today” which was, extraordinarily, taped in Noreen’s bedroom with Gene Clark.

In the liner notes, The Rose Garden is described as “steeped in jingle-jangle Byrdsy folk rock (done well but arguably passé by 1968) and lush folk-inspired vocal harmonies” which nails it. The band were not writers – though they took arrangement credits for the folk songs “Flower Town” (their rewrite of “Portland Town”) and “Rider”.

The Rose Garden hangs together and is a prime example of West Coast pop of the period. Nonetheless it was, indeed, a little behind the times. A fair guess for a release date made after hearing the album for the first time would be Summer 1967: an assumption supported by the very 1967 song title “Flower Town” and the cover of The Giant Sunflower’s April 1967 single “February Sunshine”. Even so, five decades on it remains a fresh, winning album.

What led up to it being recorded, the deal with Greene and Stone and the contract with ATCO (also The Buffalo Springfield and Sonny & Cher’s label) is detailed. The roots of The Rose Garden lay in the suburbs outside Los Angeles (not West Virginia as has been said elsewhere) and in a band variously named The Marauders, The PF Flyers and the magnificently handled The Blokes: the latter after a line in Herman’s Hermits’ “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter”. Initially, The Beatles were the inspiration, especially the Rickenbacker guitar sound permeating the A Hard Day’s Night album.

Then, The Byrds arrived on the scene and swiftly became The Blokes’ prime influence. A Trip Through The Garden’s live tracks include fine versions of “She Don’t Care About Time” and “So You Want To Be A Rock ’N’ Roll Star”. Playing a late 1966 afternoon show at the Ash Grove venue, they saw the by-then former Byrd Gene Clark at the bar. They did a few Byrds covers, he applauded and was duly invited onto the stage where they ran-through “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better” and “‘Eight Miles High” with him. The relationship with Clark did not end there and, ultimately, the band recorded a pair of his post-Byrds songs.

Following their initial encounter with Clark, the all-male, mostly teenage band added singer Diana De Rose, attracted Green and Stone’s attention and changed their name from The Blokes to The Rose Garden. Despite the infrastructure now surrounding them, they had just the one hit. Clark joining them in the studio to help record his compositions, play tambourine and offer advice did not help. Neither did the presence of Neil Young, also there  when they recorded the album (he is not on it). Their strong version of Young’s then-unreleased “Down To The Wire” is heard here for the first time. The end came soon after ATCO divisively credited one of their singles to “The Rose Garden Featuring Diana De Rose.”

Listening to this fine band raises the what-if of whether they might have evolved into a self-determining unit: could they have begun generating their own songs? But the question is moot. The Rose Garden were what they were, and the music they left behind is uniformly great. And, as the hugely enjoyable A Trip Through The Garden amply demonstrates, they were about much more than “Next Plane To London”.
by Kieron Tyler, Sunday, 17 June 2018

1. Next Plane To London (Kenny Gist Jr.) - 2:32
2. I'm Only Second (Charles W. Higgins, Pat Vegas) - 3:14
3. February Sunshine (Pat Vegas, Val Geary) - 2:39
4. Coins Of Fun (Leonard A. Metzger, Pat Vegas) - 3:01
5. Rider (Traditional) - 2:59
6. She Belongs To Me (Bob Dylan) - 3:57
7. Flower Town (Bruce Bowdin, Diana DeRose, James Groshong, John Noreen, William Fleming) - 3:19
8. Till Today (Gene Clark) - 3:16
9. Look What You've Done (Bob Johnston, Wes Farrell) - 3:08
10.Long Time (Gene Clark) - 2:02
11.If My World Falls Through (Kenny O'Dell) - 2:41
12.Here's Today (John Noreen, Phil Vickery) - 2:33
13.Down To The Wire (Neil Young) - 2:38
14.Charlie The Fer De Lance (Dann Lottermoser, Donald Lewis Dunn, Tony McCashen) - 3:00
15.The World Is A Great Big Playground (Al Kooper, Bob Crewe, Irwin Levine) - 3:50
16.Here's Today (John Noreen, Phil Vickery) - 2:42
17.If My World Fall's Through (Kenny O'Dell) - 3:28
18.Dead Men Never Die (Take 2) (Leon Rosselson) - 2:58
19.I'm Only Second (Acetate Version) (Charles W. Higgins, Pat Vegas) - 3:10
20.Till Today (Rehearsel) (Gene Clark) - 3:21
21.Till Today (Acetate Version) (Gene Clark) - 3:16
22.Next Plane To London (Kenny Gist Jr.) - 2:35
23.So You Want To Be A Rock N Roll Star (Chris Hillman, Roger McGuinn) - 2:25
24.She Don't Care About Time (Gene Clark) - 2:38
25.It's The Little Things (Sonny Bono) - 3:00
26.You Don't Love Me (Bo Diddley, Willie Cobbs) - 4:01
Tracks 11-12 Mono Single Version
Tracks 16-17 Stereo Mix
TYracks 22-26 Live recordings

The Rose Garden
*Diana De Rose - Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
*John Noreen - Lead 12 String Guitar, Vocals
*James Groshong - Lead Vocals, Guitar
*William Fleming - Bass
*Bruce Bowdin - Drums
*Gene Clark - Vocals

Related Acts
1967  Gene Clark - Sings For You (2018 digipak with unreleased material)
1964-90  Gene Clark - Flying High
1964-82  Gene Clark ‎- The Lost Studio Sessions (2016 audiophile double Vinyl set) 
1967  Gene Clark - Echoes
1968-69  Dillard And Clark - Fantastic Expedition / Through The Morning, Through The Night
1971  Gene Clark - White Light
1972  Gene Clark - Roadmaster  (2011 Edition)
1979  McGuinn, Clark And Hillman (2014 Japan SHM Remaster)
1964  The Byrds - Preflyte (2012 Edition)
1973  Byrds - Byrds (2004 issue)

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Ron Davies - UFO (1973 us, fantastic soulful jazzy folk rock, 2013 japan Mini LP remaster)

This is an outstanding collection of contemporary folk-style art-songs by the late great arpeggio-style finger picking guitarist and songwriter Ron Davies...Those who appreciate classics from artists like Donovan, James Taylor, Paul Simon, Bert Jansch, and Don McLean, will find in UFO a rare glimpse of a unique American artist-the Louisiana born Ron Davies.
by Charles Anderson

1. I Wonder - 3:42
2. Long Hard Climb - 3:12
3. Flapjack - 3:22
4. Misty Roses - 2:54
5. It's A Lie - 3:53
6. Can I Count On You - 3:24
7. It Ain't Easy - 4:17
8. Lay Down Your Burden - 3:03
9. Shadows - 5:37
All compositions by Ron Davies except Track #4 by Tim Hardin

*Ron Davies - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
*Jules Chaiken - Horn
*Carolyne Cook - Vocals
*Harry "Sweets" Edison - Horn
*Wilton Felder - Bass
*Milt Holland - Percussion
*Claudia Lennear - Vocals
*Maxayn Lewis - Vocals
*Clarence McDonald - Clavinet, Piano
*Don Menza - Horn
*Andy Newmark - Drums
*Jack Nimitz - Horn
*Billy Preston - Organ
*Jerome Richardson - Horn
*D.J. Rogers - Vocals
*David Spinozza - Electric Guitar

1970  Ron Davies - Silent Song Through The Land (2013 japan mini LP remaster)
1978  Ron Davies ‎– I Don't Believe It (2010 korean remaster) 

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Friday, February 8, 2019

Canned Heat - Boogie With Canned Heat (1968 us, classic psych blues rock, 2017 SHM remaster and expanded)

In 1967 Canned Heat signed to Liberty Records after appearing at the Monterey Pop Festival. In July 1967, they released a self-titled album that made No.76 on the album chart, following it with Boogie With Canned Heat on 21 January 1968, which spent over a year on the Billboard chart, peaking at No.16.

Whereas their debut album was largely made up of covers, including the almost obligatory, for a blues band, take on Dust My Broom’, their second album was largely self-written and remains a firm favourite with just about everyone who loves the blues. A significant reason for its success is because it included the magnificent, ‘On the Road Again’ which made No.16 on the Hot 100 in the late summer of 1968.

Chicago bluesman Floyd Jones recorded a song entitled ‘On the Road Again’ in 1953, itself a remake of another of his songs from two years earlier called, Dark Road’. Both these songs are based on Tommy Johnson’s 1928 ‘Big Road Blues’. ‘On the Road Again’ was recorded as a demo by Canned Heat in April 1967 at the RCA Studios in Chicago with original drummer Frank Cook. This version was over 7 minutes long, with added harp and guitar solos.

During the recording of Boogie With Canned Heat they recorded it again, this time with new drummer Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra at the Liberty Records studio in Los Angeles In September 1967. Blind Owl Wilson used verses from Floyd Jones’ ‘On the Road Again’ and ‘Dark Road’, as well as adding some of his own lyrics; ‘On the Road Again’ went to No.8 in the UK.

‘On the Road Again’ uses a one-chord boogie riff inspired by John Lee Hooker’s 1949 hit ‘Boogie Chillen’ that is made so distinctive by Wilson’s best Skip James-inspired falsetto vocal”, and his fabulous harp playing.

Other stand out cuts include ‘World in a Jug’, the B-side of ‘On the Road Again’, ‘Amphetamine Annie’ and the 11 minute plus, ‘Fried Hockey Boogie’ that the band reworked as ‘Woodstock Boogie’ when they played the festival in August 1969.

Besides five man band the album also features a cameo from pianist, Sunnyland Slim on ‘Turpentine Moan’. Dr John also plays piano on the album and did the horn arrangements; his own debut album, Gris Gris was released the same day in 1968, 21 January.
by Richard Havers, January 21, 2019

1. Evil Woman (Larry Weiss) - 3:00
2. My Crime (Bob Hite, Alan Wilson, Henry Vestine, Larry Taylor, Adolfo de la Parra) - 4:01
3. On The Road Again (Floyd Jones, Alan Wilson) - 4:58
4. World In A Jug (Bob Hite, Alan Wilson, Henry Vestine, Larry Taylor, Adolfo de la Parra) - 3:27
5. Turpentine Woman (Bob Hite, Alan Wilson, Henry Vestine, Larry Taylor, Adolfo de la Parra) - 2:58
6. Whiskey Headed Woman No. 2 (Bob Hite) - 2:56
7. Amphetamine Annie (Bob Hite, Alan Wilson, Henry Vestine, Larry Taylor, Adolfo de la Parra) - 3:37
8. An Owl Song (Alan Wilson) - 2:47
9. Marie Laveau (Henry Vestine) - 5:15
10.Fried Hockey Boogie (Larry Taylor) - 11:11
11.The Hunter (Carl Wells, Steve Cropper, Al Jackson, Jr., Booker T. Jones, Donald Dunn) - 3:39
12.Whiskey And Wommen' (John Lee Hooker) - 4:01
13.Shake, Rattle And Roll (Charles E. Calhoun) - 2:44
14.Mean Old World (Marion "Little Walter" Jacobs) - 3:27
15.Fannie Mae (Buster Brown, Clarence Lewis, Bobby Robinson) - 3:07
16.Gotta Boogie (The World Boogie) (John Lee Hooker) - 9:57

Canned Heat
*Bob Hite - Vocals
*Alan Wilson - Slide Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica
*Henry Vestine - Lead Guitar
*Larry Taylor - Bass
*Adolfo De La Parra - Drums
Additional Personnel
*Dr. John - Horn Arrangements, Piano
*Sunnyland Slim - Piano On

1967-73  Canned Heat - The Very Best Of
1968  Canned Heat - Livin The Blues (Akarma edition)
1969  Canned Heat - Hallelujah (remaster and expanded)
1970 Canned Heat - Future Blues (Remaster and Expanded)
1970-73  Memphis Slim Canned Heat Memphis Horns - Memphis Heat
1971  John Lee Hooker And Canned Heat - Hooker 'N' Heat
1971-72  Canned Heat - Historical Figures And Ancient Heads
1973  Canned Heat - One More River To Cross
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Friday, February 1, 2019

Savoy Brown - A Step Further (1969 uk, stunning hard blues rock, 2017 japan SHM remaster)

With Kim Simmonds and Chris Youlden combining their talents in Savoy Brown's strongest configuration, 1969's A Step Further kept the band in the blues-rock spotlight after the release of their successful Blue Matter album. While A Step Further may not be as strong as the band's former release, all five tracks do a good job at maintaining their spirited blues shuffle. Plenty of horn work snuggles up to Simmonds' guitar playing and Youlden's singing is especially hearty on "Made up My Mind" and "I'm Tired." 

The first four tracks are bona fide Brown movers, but they can't compete with the 20-plus minutes of "Savoy Brown Boogie," one of the group's best examples of their guitar playing prowess and a wonderful finale to the album. This lineup saw the release of Raw Sienna before Lonesome Dave Peverett stepped up to the microphone for Looking In upon the departure of Youlden, but the new arrangement was short lived, as not long after three other members exited to form Foghat. As part of Savoy Brown's Chris Youlden days, A Step Further should be heard alongside Getting to the Point, Blue Matter, and Raw Sienna, as it's an integral part of the band's formative boogie blues years. 
by Mike DeGagne

1. Made Up My Mind (Chris Youlden) - 2:57
2. Waiting In The Bamboo Grove (Kim Simmonds) - 3:38
3. Life's One Act Play (Chris Youlden) - 6:31
4. I'm Tired-Where Am I  (Chris Youlden, Harry Simmonds) - 5:05
5. Savoy Brown Boogie (Kim Simmonds, Chris Youlden) - 22:06
`Feel So Good (Chuck Willis)
`Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On (David Williams)
`Little Queenie (Chuck Berry)
`Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix)
`Hernando’s Hideaway (Richard Adler, Jerry Ross)

Savoy Brown
*Chris Youlden - Vocals
*Kim Simmonds - Guitar
*Bob Hall - Piano
*Lonesome Dave Peverett - Guitar
*Roger Earl - Drums
*Tone Stevens - Bass

1967-68  Savoy Brown - Shake Down / Getting To The Point
1969  Savoy Brown - Blue Matter (2004 remaster and expanded)
1969-70  Savoy Brown - Raw Sienna / Looking In
1971-72  Savoy Brown - Street Corner Talking / Hellbound Train (2006 remaster)
1974  Savoy Brown - Boogie Brothers
Related Act
1972  Foghat - Foghat (Japan Remaster)
1973  Foghat - Rock And Roll (Japan Remaster)
1974  Foghat - Energized (Japan Remaster)
1974  Foghat - Rock And Roll Outlaws (Japan remaster)
1975  Foghat - Fool For The City (2008 ultradisc MFSL)
1976  Foghat - Night Shift (Japan remaster with extra track)
1973  Chris Youlden - Nowhere Road
1974  Chris Youlden - Citychild

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Big Brother And The Holding Company - Sex, Dope and Cheap Thrills (1968 us, fantastic blues psych rock, alternate takes and rehearsals, 2018 double disc remaster)

Janis Joplin’s time in the San Francisco blues crew Big Brother and the Holding Co. was relatively short, only a couple of years — just long enough to record two albums and become an era-defining flashpoint at the Monterey Pop Festival. Their second album, 1968’s Cheap Thrills, became an acid-rock landmark thanks to the barnburner “Piece of My Heart,” a sultry cover of “Summertime” and the crushing, epic cover of Big Mama Thornton’s “Ball and Chain.” It went to Number One and was certified gold and within a few months of its release, Joplin quit to become a solo star.

The new compilation, Sex, Dope & Cheap Thrills, takes its title from the band’s original pitch for the name of the LP (the squares at the record label weren’t having it) and contains nearly two-and-a-half hours of alternate takes and live recordings from the Cheap Thrills era. Most of them are previously unreleased. The live recording of “Ball and Chain” sports a heavier beat and Joplin’s double-fried vocals — a stunning performance — followed by unreasonably polite applause. The three alternate takes of “Piece of My Heart” have a similar energy to the more familiar version, but show just how vibrant Joplin was at the sessions. And the second disc’s first take of “Summertime” captures a brilliant performance that would have been a thing of legend if the band hadn’t fallen apart at the end.

Other standouts include the foot-stomping “How Many Times Blues Jam,” an extended, wailing take on “I Need a Man to Love” and a charging, soulful take of “Combination of the Two.” There’s also studio banter, like Joplin cackling gloriously and saying, “I knew it was gonna take us all night,” before the ninth take of the oddball “Harry” and three takes of “Turtle Blues” on which Joplin talks out the feel of the song.

Also notable are the liner notes. The Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick remembers Joplin as a vivacious, joyful force and the Big Brother band as having a “down home” vibe. Meanwhile, drummer Dave Getz offers lively accounts of making the album and working with illustrator Robert Crumb on its problematic, iconic cover – and how the latter was stolen only to be sold at auction for a quarter of a million dollars. It’s the Janis Joplin bonus content you never knew you wanted.
by Kory Grow

Disc 1
1. Combination Of The Two (Take 3) (Sam Andrew) - 5:33
2. I Need A Man To Love (Take 4) (Janis Joplin, Sam Andrew) - 8:06
3. Summertime (Take 2) (Dorothy Heyward, George Gershwin) - 4:11
4. Piece Of My Heart (Take 6) (Bert Berns, Jerry Ragovoy) - 4:56
5. Harry (Take 10) (Dave Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew) - 1:12
6. Turtle Blues (Take 4) (Janis Joplin) - 4:47
7. Oh, Sweet Mary (Janis Joplin) - 4:24
8. Ball And Chain (Live) (Big Mama Thornton) -  (7:29
9. Roadblock (Peter Albin, Janis Joplin) - 5:43
10.Catch Me Daddy (Take 1) (Dave Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew) - 5:34
11.It's A Deal (Take 1) (Dave Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew) - 2:42
12.Easy Once You Know How (Take 1) (Dave Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew) - 4:35
13.How Many Times Blues Jam (Dave Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew) - 5:27
14.Farewell Song (Take 7) (Sam Andrew) - 5:03

Disc 2
1. Flower In The Sun (Take 3) (Sam Andrew) - 3:14
2. Oh Sweet Mary (Janis Joplin) - 6:55
3. Summertime (Take 1) (Dorothy Heyward, George Gershwin) - 3:14
4. Piece Of My Heart (Take 4) (Bert Berns, Jerry Ragovoy) - 4:07
5. Catch Me Daddy (Take 9) (Dave Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew) - 3:16
6. Catch Me Daddy (Take 10) (Dave Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew) - 4:22
7. I Need A Man To Love (Take 3) (Janis Joplin, Sam Andrew) - 7:09
8. Harry (Take 9) (Dave Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew) - 1:11
9. Farewell Song (Take 4) (Sam Andrew) - 4:28
10.Misery'n (Takes 2, 3) (Dave Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew) - 3:58
11.Misery'n (Take 4) (Dave Getz, James Gurley, Janis Joplin, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew) - 4:58
12.Magic Of Love (Take 1) (Mark Spoelstra) - 3:19
13.Turtle Blues (Take 9) (Janis Joplin) - 4:00
14.Turtle Blues (Last Verse Takes 1, 3) (Janis Joplin) - 4:35
15.Piece Of My Heart (Take 3) (Bert Berns, Jerry Ragovoy) - 4:32
16.Farewell Song (Take 5) (Sam Andrew) - 5:13

Big Brother And Holding Company 
*Peter Albin- Bass, Vocals
*Sam Andrew - Guitar, Vocals
*David Getz - Drums
*James Gurley - Guitar, Vocals
*Janis Joplin - Vocals

1968/70  Janis Joplin - Joplin In Concert (2007 japan blu spec hard paper sleeve two discs set remaster)
1970-71  Big Brother And The Holding Company - Be A Brother / How Hard It Is (2008 acadia reissue) 

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Sandra Rhodes - Where's Your Love Been (1973 us, miraculous soulful country rock, 2014 extra tracks remaster)

Sandra Rhodes was a country girl who landed in Memphis rather than Nashville, which means she ended up singing a lot more than just country music. Rhodes, along with her sister Donna Rhodes and husband Charlie Chalmers, did session work with some of the biggest names in both soul and country music, from Conway Twitty to Al Green, and as a singer and songwriter she walked a tightrope between the two sides of Southern music through the '60s and '70s (which were never as different as people liked to believe). Rhodes' love of both country and soul is evident on her first and only solo album to date, 1973's Where's Your Love Been, which was cut at the Sam Phillips Recording Studio in Memphis; while this music is clearly informed by country music, with pedal steel guitar, lonesome harmonicas, and massed vocal choruses playing into the arrangements, there's a deeply soulful note in Rhodes' vocals and melodies that suggests the average C&W radio station wasn't going to play this stuff, no matter how much "No Such Thing as Love" and "No One Else Could Love You More" sound like great country singles.

When Rhodes felt like showing off her soulful side, she did it right; "The Best Thing You Ever Had" and the title track cut a top-notch groove, suggesting classic Hi Records sides, and the gospel feel that permeates "Never Grow Old" is clearly not of the bluegrass variety. If Rhodes didn't easily fall into a generic category, this record sounds like Memphis through and through, with its easy fusion of styles and potent yet comfortable grooves delivered by a crack session band. Where's Your Love Been isn't quite a lost classic, but it shows Sandra Rhodes was a gifted vocalist who could have had a great solo career with better breaks and a more supportive label, and it's a pure product of a city where soul comes as easily as breathing. [In 2014, Omnivore Records gave Where's Your Love Been an expanded and remastered reissue, with seven excellent outtakes from the original sessions included as bonus tracks, and fine liner notes from Bill Dahl. Fans of country-soul will clearly enjoy this set, and it's a splendid tribute to an overlooked talent.
by Mark Deming

While Sandra Rhodes made a name for herself singing behind Al Green on his classic Hi Records sides and writing songs including Conway Twitty’s #1 single, “The Clown,” her best work missed the public eye. And ear.

Where’s Your Love Been was Sandra’s 1972 album, recorded at Sam Phillips Recording Studio in Memphis and originally released on Fantasy Records. Just as her backing vocals (usually performed with sister Donna and then husband Charlie Chalmers) appeared on recordings of every genre, Where’s Your Love Been moved from Country to sweet Memphis Soul. The same reason her songs have been recorded by artists as diverse as Skeeter Davis to Isaac Hayes.

Co-Produced by Sandra and Chalmers, the ten tracks on Where’s Your Love Been include originals like the title cut to a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” To make this album’s CD debut even more special, seven bonus tracks from the sessions have been unearthed—all previously unissued!

With liner notes from Bill Dahl in a full color booklet, Where’s Your Love Been is ready for the audience that missed out on it over four decades ago. Like many other great “unheard” albums, Omnivore Recordings is proud to tell everyone that the question of Where’s Your Love Been has finally been answered.

1. No One Else Could Love You More (Sandra Rhodes, Charles Chalmers) - 4:01
2. I Think I Love You Again (Irwin Levine, Toni Wine) - 2:41
3. No Such Thing As Love (Sandra Rhodes, Charles Chalmers) - 3:08
4. Sho' Is Rainin' (Sandra Rhodes, Charles Chalmers) - 4:12
5. It's Up To You (Sandra Rhodes) - 2:45
6. Where's Your Love Been (Sandra Rhodes, Donna Rhodes) - 4:28
7. You Can't Always Get What You Want (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 4:17
8. Never Grow Old (Sandra Rhodes, Donna Rhodes) - 3:11
9. The Best Thing You Ever Had (George Jackson) - 3:13
10.Sowed Love And Reaped The Heartache (Dickey Lee, Allen Reynolds) - 3:10
11.Double Dealing Woman (Sandra Rhodes, Charles Chalmers, Morris Tarrant) - 2:20
12.Someday Sweet Baby (Donna Rhodes) - 3:23
13.Baby Don't Go (Sonny Bono) - 3:50
14.I'd Rather Hurt You Now (Sandra Rhodes, Charles Chalmers) - 3:03
15.Linda Was A Lady (Sandra Rhodes, Charles Chalmers) - 3:37
16.Jingo (Sandra Rhodes, Donna Rhodes, James Brown) - 4:04
17.I Don't Play The Game (Sandra Rhodes) - 3:09

*Sandra Rhodes - Vocals, Acoustic, Electric Guitar
*Donna Rhodes -  - Congas, Maracas, Tambourine
*James Brown - Organ, Piano
*Butch Johnson - Guitar
*Ben Cauley - Trumpet
*Charles Chalmers - Tenor Sax
*Steve Holt - Drums
*The Joint Ventures - Choir
*Leo La Blanc - Steel Guitar
*James Mitchell - Baritone Sax
*Roland Robinson - Bass
*Sylvester Sample - Bass

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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Glass Harp - Synergy (1971 us, amazing guitar bluesy psych rock, 2015 remaster)

Synergy opens with two of Keaggy’s heaviest guitar statements on record: ‘One Day At A Time’ (which begins as a baroque acoustic melody before transitioning into hard rock), followed by the blistering Pecchio track ‘Never Is A Long Time’. ‘Special Friends’ and ‘Dawn Of A New Day’ also have convincing rock-and-roll energy. Some of Keaggy’s best songwriting is featured here, including the moody textured classic rocker ‘Song Of Hope’ (strongly propelled by Pecchio’s bass), the bright acoustic ‘The Answer’ (again revealing classical influences) and the lighthearted ‘Mountains’. The latter is one of the few Keaggy compositions that didn’t make it onto the later Song In The Air compilation.

Keaggy’s guitar drifts into dreamy spaced soft-psych realms on the beautiful mesmerizing Sferra ballad ‘Just Always’. Also on the quieter side is Pecchio’s ‘Child Of The Universe’. Very little outside help listed in the credits for this effort – and as the title suggests the album truly does capture the “synergy” of three members at their best. Comes in a very attractive gate-fold cover with lyrics and photo of the band in concert on the inside. 
by Ken Scott

1. One Day At A Time (Phil Keaggy) - 3:39
2. Never Is A Long Time (Daniel Pecchio) - 3:26
3. Just Always (John Sferra) - 5:02
4. Special Friends (Daniel Pecchio, John Sferra, Phil Keaggy) - 2:43
5. Coming Home (Daniel Pecchio, John Sferra) - 3:32
6. Song Of Hope (Phil Keaggy) - 4:23
7. Child Of The Universe (Daniel Pecchio) - 3:01
8. Mountains (Phil Keaggy) - 4:01
9. The Answer (Phil Keaggy) - 2:40
10.Dawn Of A New Day (Daniel Pecchio, Phil Keaggy) - 2:58
11.Look In The Sky (Dan Pecchio, John Sferra, Phil Keaggy) - 10:34
12.Never Is A Long Time (Daniel Pecchio) - 3:39
13.Do Lord (Phil Keaggy, Daniel Pecchio, John Sferra) - 4:19
14.Changes (John Sferra) - 6:23
15.Let The Bells Ring (John Sferra) - 6:47
Bonus Tracks 11-14 Live 1971
Bonus Track 15 Demo recording

The Glass Harp
*Phil Keaggy - Guitars, Vocals
*John Sferra - Drums, Vocals, Guitars, Tambourine
*Daniel Pecchio - Bass, Vocals, Flute
*Ralph MacDonald - Percussion,  Congas, Bells, Triangle
*Mary Smith - Vocals

1970  Glass Harp - Glass Harp (2014 remaster) 
1971  Glass Harp - Live! At Carnegie Hall
1972  Glass Harp - It Makes Me Glad (2005 remaster)

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Salloom Sinclair - Salloom Sinclair (1969 us, magnificent folkish bluesy psych rock, 2013 korean remaster)

The second great album from the duo of Roger Salloom and Robin Sinclair – issued by Chess Records like the first one, but much more of the kind of album you'd expect to hear coming from the south – on labels like Capricorn, Ardent, or Enterprise! Like some of the best on those, the approach here is a mixture of rock and roots, served up with plenty of soul – recorded down in Tennessee with some great help from Charlie McCoy – whose harmonic and strong basslines really help shape the sound of the record, and who also produced the whole thing too. 

There's a few currents of psych around the edges, and the mixture of the two singers is great – on titles that include "Violence Blam Blam I'm Sorry", "Lesson At The Delicatessen", "Motorcycle", "One More Try", "I'm Comin Home Again", "Sleep", "Faith Has Been Given", and "Animal".

1. Lesson At The Delicatessen - 2:39
2. Motorcycle - 3:47
3. One More Try - 3:42
4. I`m Comin Home Again - 3:02
5. Violence, Blam Blam, I`m Sorry - 4:03
6. Animal - 5:22
7. Faith Has Been Given - 3:24
8. Let`s Be Right - 4:06
9. Exhaustion - 2:06
10.Sleep - 2:21
All songs by Roger Salloom except track #9 by Robin Sinclair

*Robin Sinclair - Guitar, Vocals
*Roger Sinclair - Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
*David Briggs - Piano
*Kenny Buttrey - Drums
*Mac Gayden - Electric Guitar
*Jim Isbell - Percussion
*Charlie McCoy - Bass, Guitar, Harp, Mellophonium, Percussion, Producer
*Wayne Moss - Engineer
*Iodine Muscatel - Tambourine
*Weldon Myrick - Steel  Guitar
*Norbert Putnam - Bass
*David Satterfield - Vocals
*Buddy Spicher - Cello, Viola
*Bob Wilson - Organ

1968  Salloom Sinclair And The Mother Bear - Salloom Sinclair And The Mother Bear (2014 korean remaster) 

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Sunday, January 13, 2019

Merkin Manor - Music From Merkin Manor (1973 us, fabulous west coast psych rock, with fuzzed out jangly guitars and melodic, floating harmony vocals)

Provo, Utah in March 1967 was not like the many other American towns during this period. While the air was a buzz elsewhere with new sounds of garage, psychedelic, and hard rock music and long hair was becoming the norm amongst rebellious youth, the small town of Orem remained staunchly Mormon and Conservative. Rocky Baum and Ralph Hemingway were buddies in High School and from time to time, Ralph would vocalize tunes to Rocky's accompaniment. But there was something missing; They sorely needed a beat and other instruments to complete their sound. By the summer of 1969, they enlisted the services of Alan Newell on drums, Kent Balog on bass, and Doug Hinkins on lead guitar. And they needed a name: Rocky tells me this came from flipping through countless pages of an unabridged dictionary until the name “Merkin” jumped out at the band; Rod conveys quite a different story; the name was derived from an obscure offbeat movie,"Can Huronyomous Merkin Succeed with Mercy Hump?".

As in the case in any developing band, someone's parents house became the rehearsal hall for the band; in this instance it was Doug's living room. Despite all the antics that teenagers would go through (like a friend sticking his head in the bass drum to hear better), it wasn't long before they realized playing original music was much more exciting than copying the popular songs of the day. It was soon after this that their high school friend Rod Olsen assumed the part of manager, getting them jobs at the local schools, colleges, bowling alleys, etc. He also got the band more structured by providing them business cards, posters, flyers, promo tapes, and all the other things to promote a band.

It was obvious as things progressed that Ralph was the consummate entertainer. As lead vocalist, he became the conduit between the band and the audience. His rapport with the audience was outstanding and engaging. He had an uncanny ability to entertain(and shocking with the ad lib song about Mary Ellen walking under a bridge at a Halloween dance). Ralph would swing the mic over his head wildly never losing control.One time he had himself auctioned off as a door prize and dressed up inside a wrapped box wearing leotards and big lips!!

In 1970, Al was replaced by Kent's twin brother Gary to continue on as their drummer and Doug was replaced by Robert Barney as their lead guitarist. They then added a sixth member, Richard Leavitt, on keyboards through a want ad. Merkin was now emerging with a new and fuller sound, and the close bond between the Balog twins gave them a stronger foundation. It was becoming evident that Robert, though youngest & smallest, was the best musician and Richard had been trained as a classical pianist. It was at this time the bonus and previously unreleased tracks "Maybe Someday" and "Cry On My Shoulder" were recorded at Brigham Young University Recording Operations Department on a 4 Track system.

By 1971,Rod felt it was time to get them more exposure, and soon after embarked on a project to record them live, and send out tapes to potential producers and record companies. In late January that year, they were contacted by gay Young of Kommittee Productions and were on their way to Los Angeles for a recording session at Walden Sound Recorders in Redondo Beach. It was an exciting experience tor them; all the instruments, recording gear, and talented engineers, etc. Rocky recalls an engineer by the name of Rolf who did an outstanding job on special effects. The sessions were completed in just 4 days and the band did their best to minimize the drug intake. The first documented airing of the LP came soon after in San Francisco. Sundaze Music arranged a tour of Colorado which included stops in Vail,and Leadville.

New Year's Eve 1972 was the crowning moment of their trip;20 below outside, bikers, local, tourists, and even a few friends from Utah showed up-the place was packed! Rocky thinks someone may have slipped something into the kegs of beer, as everyone was dancing wildly and the girls were climbing onstage to dance with the band. The band returned to Utah and began playing the ski areas (Snowbird), local colleges and clubs. In February 1973 the Merkin Manor album was finally released. When the band reviewed the song writing credits, it became apparent that the other members were upset that Rocky was solely given this credit. 

To this day, Rocky believes he did nothing wrong; he had written the lyrics and melodies but never intended the other members to be left out. However the band's feelings were could not be changed, and Rocky was asked to leave the band. Rocky's pending prediction of this sentiment can be heard on Track 9 "We're all here together., through all this bad weather". The band played on for a few years under the name Merkin but broke up in 1974. Ralph, Kent and Gary started a new band, Robert started his own group. Rocky went back to school, Robert returned to the church, and Rod became a ski bum at a local ski resort. The final track on this record, "A Father's Song" was written by Rocky during the recording sessions but not included on the LP. Rocky recorded this in 1983 with "The Rocky Baum Project". It is a stunning recollection of his relationship with his father. Rocky put it very eloquently "A Father's Song" exemplifies some of the emotions that arose between fathers and their hippie sons during that very difficult time of social realignment.(i.e., long hair, loud music, differing political views, and recreational drugs).
by Roger Maglio, December 1997

1. Ruby - 3:39
2. Take Some Time - 3:52
3. Todaze - 3:48
4. Sweet Country - 3:54
5. Goodbye - 4:59
6. Watching You - 4:00
7. Kind Of Down - 4:00
8. The Right One - 3:22
9. Here Together - 3:37
10.Walkin' - 3:45
11.Maybe Somebody (Kent Balog, Gary Balog, Richard Leavitt, Robert Barney, Ralph Hemingway, Rocky Baum) - 6:43
12.Cry On My Shoulder (Kent Balog, Gary Balog, Richard Leavitt, Robert Barney, Ralph Hemingway, Rocky Baum) - 5:10
13.A Father's Song - 2:48
All compositions by Rocky Baum except where indicated

The Merkin Manor
*Kent Balog - Bass
*Gary Balog - Drums, Percussion
*Richard Leavitt - Keyboards
*Robert Barney – Lead Guitar
*Ralph Hemingway – Lead Vocals
*Rocky Baum – Rhythm Guitar, Vocals

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Sunday, January 6, 2019

Accolade - Accolade (1970 uk, splendid folk jazzy psych with prog shades, 2016 korean remaster)

Accolade were one of those short-lived late-'60s / early-'70s English bands that attempted to expand musical boundaries, completely eschewing electric instruments to mix traditional English folk with rock influences. They recorded two albums and one single before going their separate ways, but Gordon Giltrap remained for only this one album.

In one respect the band (bassist Eden Abba, woodwind player Brian Cresswell, singer / guitarist Gordon Giltrap, drummer Ian Hoyle and guitarist Don Partridge) was quite different from many of their contemporaries - namely they were brimming with talent.

Prior to their collaboration in Accolade, both Giltrap and Partridge had enjoyed some solo recognition. Giltrap had released a pair of critically praised solo albums, while Partridge (who was actually working as a busker ) enjoyed a fluke UK hit with the song "Rosie".

Unfortunately, Accolade's pastoral stylings guaranteed instant obscurity in the States. In fact, it's somewhat of a mystery how they even got their 1968 debut released by Capitol (a label hardly renown for its willingness to take a chance on cutting edge sounds). Produced by Don Paul, 1969's cleverly-titled "Accolade" is hard to accurately describe. Recorded with former Artwoods bassist Malcolm Pool replacing Eden Abba, the collection exhibits a smooth and calming sound throughout. Largely acoustic (though you don't really realize it), material such as "Maiden Flight Eliza" (featuring some weird Mamas and Papas-styled harmonies ), "Prelude To a Dawn", the bluesy "Nature Boy", the surprisingly hard rocking "Gospel Song" and "Never Ending Solitude" wasn't exactly mainstream rock, nor did it fall under the banner of Fairport Convention-styled English folk.

Imagine well crafted cocktail jazz with the addition of a touch of English folk and you'll get a feel for the LP. While that doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement, the result is actually a fascinating album. 

1. Maiden Flight Eliza - 2:44
2. Starting All Over (Gordon Giltrap) - 4:48
3. Prelude To A Dawn (Instrumental) (Brian Cresswell) - 3:14
4. Never Ending Solitude (Gordon Giltrap) - 2:37
5. Nature Boy (Eden Abba) - 9:40
6. Gospel Song (Gordon Giltrap) - 3:35
7. Calico - 3:08
8. Ulysses - 12:38
9. Go On Home - 2:41
All songs by Don Partridge except where indicated

*Eden Abba - Double-Bass
*Brian Cresswell - Saxophone, Flute
*Gordon Giltrap - Guitar, Vocals
*Ian Hoyle - Drums
*Don Partridge - Guitar, Vocals, Vibraphone

1971  Accolade - Accolade 2

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