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

your pass in heaven is xara.

Plain and Fancy

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

Nikos Kazantzakis

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Byrds - Sweetheart Of The Rodeo (1968 us, masterpiece, two disc set remaster and expanded)

Recorded in Nashville, Sweetheart of the Rodeo was indeed a huge bust for the once-massively popular band, peaking at a dismal Number 77 on the album charts, and yielding not one hit single. A classic example of a timeless album that nobody appreciated at first, the record is a real treasure. Every track, save for Parsons’s two compositions, is a cover of either a contemporary song or an arrangement of a traditional country piece. 

The Byrds had always been known by some as Bob Dylan’s unofficial cover band (they recorded 12 Dylan songs between 1965 and 1968), and although Dylan was holed up in Woodstock, New York, recording his now-legendary Basement Tapes with The Band, he made two demos from those sessions available to McGuinn and Hillman, and they rank as some of the greatest covers of Dylan’s material ever recorded. Featuring some incredible pedal steel guitar by session musician Lloyd Green, “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” has a deceptively sunny feel, as it masks some of Dylan’s most foreboding lyrics to date: “Strap yourself/To the tree with roots/You ain’t goin’ nowhere.” Meanwhile, the equally dark “Nothing was Delivered” features a tiny hint of rock in its stirring, 4/4 chorus, as it bursts to life with those vocal harmonies The Byrds were known for.

The cover of The Louvin Brothers’ “The Christian Life” is beautifully done, its lyrics incredibly square for a Sixties rock star to sing, but it’s delivered with full sincerity (“Others find pleasure in things I despise/I like the Christian life”). McGuinn goes on to sing terrific renditions of “You Don’t Miss Your Water”, Merle Haggard’s “Life in Prison”, and Woody Guthrie’s ballad “Pretty Boy Floyd”, while Hillman sings on “Blue Canadian Rockies” and the traditional hymn “I Am a Pilgrim”, but it’s Parsons who steals the show. Parsons’s smooth country croon, injecting a heaping dose of heartbreak into “You’re Still on My Mind”. However, it’s his own songs, “One Hundred Years From Now” (sung by McGuinn and Hillman), and especially the gorgeous “Hickory Wind”, that stand out the most, the latter a stunningly beautiful look back at his own childhood in the South.

Of course, with this edition, it’s all about the bonus tracks, and this album is loaded with them. Aside from the McGuinn/Hillman arrangement of the traditional folk song “Pretty Polly” and some previously unreleased takes of “All I Have are Memories” and “Blue Canadian Rockies”, the focus of the tracks for the most of the set is on Parsons. On the first disc, after the album portion, it’s rounded out by a helping of non-album tracks that were originally unearthed on the 1991 Byrds box set: the more rock-oriented J.T. Hardin song “Reputation”, which Parsons had been performing solo since 1966, as well as Parsons’s original vocal takes of the propulsive “Lazy Days” (a Parsons original that didn’t make the album), a terrific version of “The Christian Life”, “You Don’t Miss Your Water”, and “One Hundred Years From Now”.

Disc Two starts off with selections from Parsons’s International Submarine Band, including the straight-ahead rock songs “Sum Up Broke” and “One Day Week”, from their 1966 debut single for Columbia, and the country road song “Truck Drivin’ Man”, released the same year by Ascot records, which artfully swipes the melody from “Act Naturally”. Three of Parsons’s best songs from the ISB’s 1967 album Safe at Home are included: the sprightly country tunes “Blue Eyes” and “Strong Boy”, as well as the stupendous “Luxury Liner”, a flawless blend of rock and country that was years ahead of its time. The rest of the tracks on the second disc are all previously unreleased demos and outtakes, and while it gets a bit repetitive, as several takes of the same songs are included, there are some real revelations, the best of them all being an alternate take of “Hickory Wind”, which features just Parsons’s voice, and no harmony vocals, making it all the more spare and emotional.

By the time Sweetheart of the Rodeo came out in August 1968, Parsons had already left The Byrds, angry about a scheduled tour of South Africa, not to mention his bitterness at having most of his lead vocals taken off the album. By the end of that year, Hillman would leave the band as well, going on to form the Flying Burrito Brothers with Parsons. In 1973, after two classic albums with the Flying Burrito Brothers and two more phenomenal solo albums, Parsons overdosed on morphine and Tequila, passing away at the age of 26. 

He might have only been in the Byrds for an incredibly short time, but the importance of what Gram Parsons accomplished with that band is still felt today, as Sweetheart of the Rodeo had a direct influence on countless artists, including The Eagles, R.E.M., and Wilco, not to mention the entire alt-country community from the past decade. It’s never too late for new listeners to discover Parsons’s work for themselves, and this exhaustive edition of the classic album gives both longtime fans and curious newcomers a detailed, rewarding look at one of the most important albums in rock history.
by Adrien Begrand 

Disc 1
1. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (B. Dylan) - 2:38
2. I Am A Pilgrim (Traditional) - 3:42
3. The Christian Life (Charlie Louvin, Ira Louvin) - 2:33
4. You Don't Miss Your Water (William Bell) - 3:51
5. You're Still On My Mind (Luke Mc Daniel) - 2:26
6. Pretty Boy Floyd (Woody Guthrie) - 2:37
7. Hickory Wind (Bob Buchanan, Gram Parsons) - 3:34
8. One Hundred Years From Now (Gram Parsons) - 2:43
9. Blue Canadian Rockies (Cindy Walker) - 2:05
10.Life In Prison (Jelly Sanders, Merle Haggard) - 2:47
11.Nothing Was Delivered (Bob Dylan) - 3:24
12.All I Have Are Memories (Kevin Kelley) - 2:48
13.Reputation (Tim Hardin) - 3:09
14.Pretty Polly (Chris Hillman, Roger McGuinn) - 2:55
15.Lazy Days (Gram Parsons) - 3:28
16.The Christian Life (Charlie Louvin, Ira Louvin) - 2:29
17.You Don't Miss Your Water (William Bell) - 3:49
18.One Hundred Years From Now (Gram Parsons) - 3:01
19.Radio Spot: Sweetheart Of The Rodeo Album - 0:58

Disc 2
1. Sum Up Broke (Gram Parsons, John Nuese) - 2:13
2. One Day Week (Gram Parsons) - 2:16
3. Truck Drivin' Man (Terry Fell) - 2:34
4. Blue Eyes (Gram Parsons) - 2:47
5. Luxury Liner (Gram Parsons) - 2:53
6. Strong Boy (Gram Parsons) -  2:01
7. Lazy Days (Alternative Version) (Gram Parsons) - 3:18
8. Pretty Polly (Alternative Version) (Chris Hillman, Roger McGuinn) - 3:37
9. Hickory Wind (Alternative Version Take 8) (Bob Buchanan, Gram Parsons) - 3:40
10.The Christian Life (Rehearsal Take 7) (Charlie Louvin, Ira Louvin) - 3:26
11.The Christian Life (Rehearsal Take 8) (Charlie Louvin, Ira Louvin) - 3:05
12.Life In Prison (Rehearsal Takes 1, 2) (Jelly Sanders, Merle Haggard) - 3:16
13.Life In Prison (Rehearsal Takes 3, 4) (Jelly Sanders, Merle Haggard) - 3:16
14.One Hundred Years From Now (Rehearsal Takes 12, 13) (Gram Parsons) - 3:58
15.One Hundred Years From Now (Rehearsal Takes 14, 15) (Gram Parsons) - 3:59
16.You're Still On My Mind (Rehearsal Take 13) (Luke Mc Daniel) - 2:53
17.You're Still On My Mind (Rehearsal Take 48) (Luke Mc Daniel) - 2:38
18.All I Have Are Memories (Instrumental Take 17) (Kevin Kelley) - 3:13
19.All I Have Are Memories (Instrumental Take 21) (Kevin Kelley) - 3:07
20.Blue Canadian Rockies (Rehearsal Take 14) (Cindy Walker) - 2:59
Tracks 1-6 performed by The International Submarine Band

The Byrds
*Roger McGuinn - Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Vocals
*Chris Hillman - Electric Bass, Mandolin, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Gram Parsons - Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Organ, Vocals
*Kevin Kelley - Drums
Additional Personnel
*Lloyd Green - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Clarence White - Electric Guitar
*John Hartford - Banjo, Fiddle, Acoustic Guitar
*Roy Husky - Double Bass
*Earl P. Ball - Piano
*Barry Goldberg - Keyboards
*Jay Dee Maness - Pedal Steel Guitar

1964  The Byrds - Preflyte (2012 Edition)
1971  The Byrds - Live At Royal Albert Hall
1973  Byrds - Byrds
1973  Roger McGuinn - Roger McGuinn (2013 Edition) 

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Shiloh - Shiloh (1969 us, amazing country folk rock with "the Eagles" Don Henley, 2014 korean remaster)

In the  mid sixties Richard Bowden, Don Henley, Jerry Surratt and Freddie Neese formed a band called the Four Spreeds. Freddy Neese replaced by Joey Brown and they change their name to Felicity around 1965, In 1969 Joey Brown left Felicity and Richard Bowden took over the guitar duties from him. Mike Bowden, the cousin of Richard Bowden came in to play the bass.

Later the same year Felicity wanted to augment their line-up by adding another guitarist. When they attended a concert by a group called Foxx they found the musician they were looking for: The guitarist of Foxx was a guy who also played a pedal steel guitar. This was exactly the person they were looking for, so they asked that musician, he was a certain Al Perkins, whether he was interested in joining Felicity. Perkins came over to jam a little bit with the group and he really liked the group's approach to music. So he decided to join. Now Felicity changed their name to Shiloh.

Shiloh had been formed at a time, when the members were still at college. When they were out of college they were in the lucky situation that the popularity of their group already was big enough to earn a living out of music. They were able to concentrate on writing and performing. In 1969 they met Kenny Rogers, who encouraged them to go to Los Angeles. There they recorded an album, which was produced by Kenny Rogers. Out of the recording sessions they released two singles. The first single, presenting two tracks that were not included on the later album, was a regional hit but the album and the second single were unnoticed by the record buying public.

In April 1971 Shiloh disbanded. Don Henley explained the reasons for the break up: We had no work, we had a bad management and the record company didn't do anything for us. Al Perkins replaced Sneaky Pete Kleinow in the Flying Burrito Brothers and Jim Ed Norman became a producer. Soon after the Shiloh break up, Richard Bowden, his cousin Mike Bowden and Don Henley together with Glenn Frey from the Longbranch Pennywhistle formed the Linda Ronstadt Band.

1. Simple Little Down Home Rock 'N' Roll Love Song For Rosie (Michael McGinnis) - 3:30
2. I'm Gone (Don Henley) - 4:55
3. Left My Gal In The Mountains (Traditional) - 3:08
4. It's About Time (Richard Bowden) - 2:06
5. Swamp River Country (Jim Norman) - 5:13
6. Railroad Song (Traditional) - 4:02
7. Same Old Story (Don Henley) - 2:41
8. Du Raison (Jim Norman) - 3:13
9. Down On The Farm (Richard Bowden) - 2:25
10.God Is Where You Find Him (Don Henley) - 5:55

*Richard Bowden - Guitar, Vocals
*Don Henley - Drums, Vocals
*Michael Bowden - Bass
*Jim Ed Norman - Keyboards
*Al Perkins - Pedal Steel Guitar

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Nick Garrie Hamilton - The Lost Songs (1968-2002 uk, wonderful baroque folk psychedelia, 2006 remaster)

Nick Garrie is renowned in psychedelic collectors' circles for his 1970 debut, The Nightmare of J.B. Stanislas, a Baroque pop masterpiece effectively buried by nonexistent distribution and promotion. Born June 22, 1949, in Yorkshire, England, to a Russian father and Scottish mother, Garrie spent the majority of his adolescence at a French boarding school. He began writing songs while attending Warwick University, but his interests primarily lay in surrealist literature and poetry and he did mount a performing career until 1968, playing bars and restaurants while backpacking through the south of France.

After playing several high-profile Amsterdam gigs, Garrie returned to St. Tropez, where he signed to cut an LP in Brussels. The project remains unreleased, and in late summer of 1969 he finally returned to Warwick to resume his studies. A few months later a friend of his mother arranged for Garrie to meet with the Paris-based label DiscAZ, which extended a contract offer. After recording the never-released single "Queen of Spades" with American-born producer Mickey Baker (of "Love Is Strange" fame), he teamed with producer Eddie Vartan to begin work on The Nightmare of J.B. Stanislas. Against Garrie's wishes, Vartan hired a 56-piece symphony for the sessions, and the artist (if not the record's admirers) later bemoaned the detrimental effects of such lush orchestration on his delicate, uncommonly literate songs. Far more damaging, DiscAZ president Lucien Morisse committed suicide within days of releasing The Nightmare of J.B. Stanislas, guaranteeing the album never even left the starting blocks.

A crestfallen Garrie returned to school, abandoning the music business for several years. Under the alias Nick Hamilton (a nod to his mother's maiden name), he resurfaced in 1976 with "Un Instant de Vie," a collaboration with Francis Lai, but again retired from performing to manage a ski resort in the Swiss Alps. Oblivious to the growing notoriety of The Nightmare of J.B. Stanislas, he retained the Nick Hamilton name for his 1984 comeback effort, Suitcase Man, recorded with former Cat Stevens sidemen Alun Davies and Gerry Conway. The album topped the Spanish pop charts, and earned its creator an opening slot on Leonard Cohen's Spanish tour later that year.

When the Stanislas track "Wheel of Fortune" appeared on Phil Smee's influential psychedelic pop obscurities compilation Circus Days, the legend of Nick Garrie grew, and with so little concrete information on his career the fanzine 117 published a fabricated biography as a prank. However, the gag was lost on many and the bio was accepted as fact in many quarters, further muddying the waters. While operating a ballooning company, he released a second Nick Hamilton LP, 1994's The Playing Fields, and in 2002 -- after returning to France to teach at a comprehensive school -- released Twelve Old Songs. Finally, in late 2005 the British reissue label Rev-Ola released The Nightmare of J.B. Stanislas to much critical acclaim, adding the "Queen of Spades" single as well as several unreleased Belgian demos for good measure. 
by Jason Ankeny

1. Cambridge Town - 2:26
2. Stone And Silk - 3:19
3. Close Your Eyes - 2:49
4. The Nightmare Of J. B Stanislas - 5:01
5. Can I Stay With You - 2:38
6. Wheel Of Fortune - 3:44
7. The Street Musician - 3:29
8. Back In 1930 - 3:13
9. Little Prince - 3:09
10.Smile (N. Garrie, Francis Lai) - 3:10
11.Freda M Garrie - 2:15
12.All Of The Time - 3:29
13.Chateau D'Oex Blues - 3:11
14.I'm On Your Side (N. Garrie, Peter John Vettese) - 5:02
15.Deeper Tones Of Blue - 2:59
16.Wild Wild Hair - 2:45
17.Love In My Eyes (N. Garrie, Francis Lai) - 3:25
18.Bungles Tours - 2:54
19.When The Cold Wind Blows - 4:21
20.I Dream Of Africa - 2:29
All songs by Nick Garrie Hamilton except where noted

*Nick Garrie Hamilton - Vocals

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wally Tax - Love In (1967 dutch, fabulous orchestrated jazzy folk tunes, 2012 edition)

Wally has sung. Wally has sung very well, with his whole personality. Mysteriously, he hits something deep within. Bert Paige has written the arrangements. Bert has written very well. He feels exactly what it's all about, as though he were no more than 18. And what an expert! Albert Kos has engineered. Albert has engineered very well. He knows the technical possibilities and uses them. You look and he has done it already, precisely in the right mood. It's terrific to work with such men. Thanks, lads!' – 
by Tony Vos, producer

In the summer of 1967, at the height of The Outsiders' success in Holland, Wally Tax decided to record a solo album. Far from containing the heavy R’n’ B that his band specialized in. Love In showcased a softer side to the singer, consisting of string-laden ballads with birdsong between the tracks. Its title was inspired by an American-inspired Love-In that had taken place in Amsterdam's Vondelpark earlier in the year, attracting 40,000 people, and it was produced by saxophonist Tony Vos, who also worked with Cuby and The Buzzards, Ekseption and other local acts.  Tax later commented: "I am a romantic, and I love the orchestra; I loved recording those romantic songs." 

The LP was released in Holland that September, and on the 30th the American trade publication Billboard announced: 'Phonogram has released an LP by Wally Tax, the lead singer with The Outsiders, who signed for Philips last year. The album is selling well in Holland and Belgium and a single from the LP, Let's Forget What I Said, entered the Dutch Top 20 this week. The album will be released in Germany by Philips.' The German issue, which appeared in October, had some slight differences to the Dutch issue: its sleeve was laminated, Tax's name on the front was in purple and not red, and the notes on the back cover were by the writer Heike Doutine, and not TV producer Rob Touber (whose contribution to the Dutch issue Tax was unhappy with). 

Sales were mediocre, but Tax - who passed away in 2005 - stood by the album in subsequent years, stating in 1987 "I loved doing these songs. They had been in my heart for such a long time when Philips said "You can do 'em". I loved it (still proud of 'em). The other Outsiders were opposed, but since I never let somebody tell me what to do, I told them to play with me or go f*ck themselves."
CD Liner-notes

1. You Don't Have to Say You Love Me - 2:33
2. Let's Forget What I Said - 3:33
3. The Dream - 2:38
4. I'M Not Important to You - 2:22
5. Last Night - 2:03
6. You Didn't Call Me - 2:48
7. I'Ve Been Too Good to You - 2:53
8. Feeling So Fine - 2:26
9. I'M Not to Blame - 2:59
10.Standing at the Crossroads - 2:41
11.Can't Forget About You - 2:56
12.The Games We Play - 2:37
All songs by Wally Tax

*Wally Tax - Vocals, Guitar

With The Outsiders
1965-68  The Outsiders - Thinking About Today Their Complete Works (2013 remaster)
1965-69  The Outsiders - Strange Things Are Happening The Complete Singles 
1966-67  The Outsiders - The Outsiders
1968  The Outsiders - CQ (remaster and expanded)
1967-94 The Outsiders - Singles A's And B's
With Tax Free
1970  Tax Free - Tax Free

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Dr Feelgood - Malpractice (1975 uk, superb boogie 'n' roll, 2014 japan SHM remaster and expanded)

Dr. Feelgood's second album and their American debut, Malpractice was represented a major step forward for the group -- for starters, it was in stereo. Add to that the fact that the quartet had refined its sound, so that it was a match for what the Rolling Stones had generated on their debut album, and you had the makings of a classic; Lee Brilleaux's lead vocals and his and Wilko Johnson's guitars crunch and slash their way through 11 songs, starting with a Bo Diddley number; they turn "Rollin' and Tumblin'" into a rock & roll piece, and also turn in a brace of memorable originals, most notably "You Shouldn't Call the Doctor (If You Can't Afford the Bills" and "Don't Let Your Daddy Know," both by Johnson. 
by Bruce Eder

1. I Can Tell (Ellas Mcdaniel, Samuel F. Smith) -  2:46
2. Going Back Home (Mick Green, Wilko Johnson) -  4:00
3. Back In The Nigh -  3:18
4. Another Man -  2:55
5. Rolling And Tumbling (McKinley Morganfield) -  3:12
6. Don't Let Your Daddy Know -  2:57
7. Watch Your Step (Bobby Parker) -  3:23
8. Don't You Just Know It (Huey Piano Smith, Johnny Vincent) -  3:49
9. Riot In Cell Block No. 9 (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) -  3:40
10.Because You're Mine (Wilko Johnson, Nick Lowe, Sparks) -  4:54
11.You Shouldn't Call The Doctor (If You Can't Afford The Bills) -  2:36
12.She Does It Right (Stereo Version) - 3:25
13.Boom Boom (Stereo Version) (John Lee Hooker) - 2:47
14.The More I Give (Alternative Stereo Version) - 3:29
15.Roxette (Stereo Version) - 3:00
16.One Weekend (Stereo Version) - 2:19
17.That Ain't The Way To Behave (Stereo Version) - 3:56
18.I Don't Mind (Alternative Stereo Version) - 2:38
19.Twenty Yards Behind (Alternative Stereo Version) - 2:16
20.Malamut (Wilko Johnson, Mick Green) - 4:34
21.Casting My Spell On You (Alvin Johnson, Edwin Johnson) - 2:30
22.Comin' Home Baby (Ben Tucker, Bob Dorough) - 2:24
23.Dr. Feelgood (Harry Smith) - 2:22
24.I'm A Hog For You Baby (Olympic Studio, January 6th 1976) (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) - 3:10
All songs by Wilko Johnson except where noted

Dr Feelgood
*Lee Brilleaux - Guitar, Harmonica, Lead Vocals
*Wilko Johnson - Guitar, Backing Vocals
*The Big Figure - Drums
*John B. Sparks - Bass
*Bob Andrews - Piano, Keyboards, Saxophone

1974  Down By The Jetty (2014 Japan SHM edition)
1976  Dr Feelgood - Stupidity (2014 Japan SHM edition)

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Outsiders - Thinking About Today Their Complete Works (1965-68 dutch, pioneer raw garage psych, 2013 remaster double disc digi pack gatefold sleeve)

The Outsiders’ recording career lasted merely three years, but in that time they recorded and released close to fifty songs, every one of them an original composition; few other groups during that era could lay claim to such a track record. It’s a body of work that has only grown in stature. Created largely without the filter of commercialism, without the intervention of producers and publicists, the Outsiders’ music was pure and uncompromising. It was the authentic sound of five teenage kids from East Amsterdam striving for a sound of their own, thinking about today, without a passing care for yesterday or tomorrow.

Thinking About Today includes every track released by the group during their original lifespan, from their raucous ’65 introduction, You Mistreat Me, to their violent but unfailingly catchy swansong, 1969’s Do You Feel Alright. Along with all their hit singles and B-sides, the set also features their self-titled album and the legendary CQ in its entirety, along with some rare mono and stereo mixes. Dynamically remastered from the original tapes, and packaged with previously unseen photos and full liner notes by Mike Stax, Thinking About Today is the definitive document on one of the era’s greatest unsung bands.

Chapter 1
1. You Mistreat Me - 1:58
2. Sun’s Going Down - 2:39
3. Felt Like I Wanted To Cry - 2:50
4. I Love Her Still, I Always Will - 3:27
5. Lying All The Time - 3:14 
6. Thinking About Today - 2:45
7. Keep On Trying - 2:57 
8. That’s Your Problem - 2:35 
9. Touch - 3:12 
10.Ballad Of John B. - 5:55 
11.Monkey On Your Back - 3:44 
12.What’s Wrong With You - 3:18
13.Story 16 - 6:30
14.Tears Are Falling From My Eyes - 3:29
15.Ain’t Gonna Miss You - 1:54
16.I Wish I Could - 4:01
17.Afraid Of The Dark - 3:18
18.Teach Me To Forget You - 3:12
19.Filthy Rich - 2:40
20.I Would Love You - 2:47
21.Don’t You Cry - 2:21
22.Won’t You Listen - 2:49
23.If You Don’t Treat Me Right - 2:10
24.Summer Is Here - 3:25
All compositions by Ronnie Splinter, Wally Tax 

Chapter 2
1. I’ve Been Loving You So Long - 3:21
2. I’m Only Trying To Prove To Myself That I’m Not Like Everybody Else - 2:30
3. Don’t You Worry About Me - 3:25
4. Bird In A Cage - 3:03
5. Cup Of Hot Coffee - 3:18
6. Strange Things Are Happening (Frank Beek, Wally Tax) - 2:33
7. I Don’t Care (R. Splinter, W. Tax, F. Beek, L. Bush) - 2:41
8. You Remind Me (R. Splinter, W. Tax, F. Beek, L. Bush) - 2:45
9. Misfit (R. Splinter, W. Tax, F. Beek, L. Bush) - 3:03
10.Zsarrahh (R. Splinter, W. Tax, F. Beek, L. Bush) - 3:25
11.C.Q. (R. Splinter, W. Tax, F. Beek, L. Bush) - 3:27
12.Daddy Died On Saturday (R. Splinter, W. Tax, F. Beek, L. Bush) - 3:01
13.It Seems Like Nothing’s Gonna Come My Way Today (R. Splinter, W. Tax, F. Beek, L. Bush) - 1:50
14.Doctor (R. Splinter, W. Tax, F. Beek, L. Bush) - 4:42
15.The Man On The Dune (R. Splinter, W. Tax, F. Beek, L. Bush) - 2:06
16.The Bear (R. Splinter, W. Tax, F. Beek, L. Bush) - 1:03
17.Happyville (R. Splinter, W. Tax, F. Beek, L. Bush) - 2:26
18.You’re Everything On Earth (R. Splinter, W. Tax, F. Beek, L. Bush) - 3:06
19.Wish You Were Here With Me Today (R. Splinter, W. Tax, F. Beek, L. Bush) - 1:54
20.I Love You No. 2 (R. Splinter, W. Tax, F. Beek, L. Bush) - 3:13
21.Prison Song (R. Splinter, W. Tax, F. Beek, L. Bush) - 5:37
22.Do You Feel Alright (R. Splinter, W. Tax, F. Beek, L. Bush) - 3:26
23.Daddy Died On Saturday (R. Splinter, W. Tax, F. Beek, L. Bush) - 3:01
24.Touch (R. Splinter, W. Tax, F. Beek, L. Bush) - 3:12
25.Bird In A Cage (R. Splinter, W. Tax, F. Beek, L. Bush) - 3:05
26.Wally’s Answering Machine (R. Splinter, W. Tax, F. Beek, L. Bush) - 0:16
All compositions by Ronnie Splinter, Wally Tax unless as else indicated

The Outsiders
*Wally Tax - Vocals, Guitar, Balalaika, Flute, Harmonica
*Ronnie Splinter - Lead, Rhythm, 12String Guitars, Bass, Vocals
*Appie Rammers - Bass
*Tom Krabbendam - Rhythm Guitar
*Leendert "Buzz" Busch - Drums
*Frank Beek - Bass

1965-69  The Outsiders - Strange Things Are Happening The Complete Singles 
1966-67  The Outsiders - The Outsiders
1968  The Outsiders - CQ (remaster and expanded)
1967-94 The Outsiders - Singles A's And B's
Related Act
1970  Tax Free - Tax Free

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Judee Sill - Judee Sill (1971 us, beautiful tender baroque folk, 2013 japan remaster)

Judee Sill’s self-titled debut hit the shelves in 1971, the first release on David Geffen’s Asylum Records. Unjustly lost amongst the sands of time, and out of print for many years until it’s reissue a few years ago, Judee Sill is one-of-a-kind, an essential album, a defining example of West Coast canyon country, a hauntingly beautiful record by an extremely delicate soul and one of the 70’s most talented singer-songwriters.

Sill had been playing musical instruments of various kinds since her troubled childhood on the West Coast, which she spent dreaming of being a singer, a songwriter, and a star. An even more troubled young adulthood spent dabbling in hard drugs, armed robbery, and prostitution had landed her stints in reform schools and jail cells. After a near fatal overdose and a brush with the law that left her kicking heroin in a county jail cell, as well as the death of her brother and mother, Sill–who was increasingly drawn to metaphysical topics and occult, religious imagery–began taking her songwriting seriously. 

Her first big break came after landing a gig writing songs for Blimp Productions in Los Angeles when The Turtles decided to record a version of her song “Lady-O.” It was immediately clear to those around her that Sill had developed a lyrical style as distinctive as her achingly beautiful crystal-clear-as-a-mountain-stream singing voice. The time was ripe for Sill to make her “country-cult-baroque” vision a reality.

Opening with Judee’s fingerpicked guitar and a lone French horn, “Crayon Angels” is a beautifully evocative song, an honest prayer for heavenly hands matched with a gently breezy pastoral vibe perfectly suited to Judee’s delicate voice. Next up, “The Phantom Cowboy” lets Judee’s dirt road roots show through a little more while introducing the archetype of a traveling mystic ridge rider that appears frequently throughout Judee’s body of work. “The Archetypal Man” has even more of a laid-back Topanga-folk vibe with weeping pedal steel combined with baroque orchestral flourishes. “The Lamb Ran Away With The Crown” is an absolutely beautiful tune that kicks off with just Judee’s softly reassuring voice and lilting guitar, perfectly expressing Judee’s belief in the possibility of goodness in the world. 

The lushly orchestrated “Lady-O” goes miles beyond The Turtles recording of the song, showing just how unassumingly evocative Judee’s vocal delivery can be. Similarly, Judee’s performance of “Jesus Was A Cross Maker” is the definitive version of the song, which is perfectly suited to her crystalline vocalizations and the gospel piano inflections that she learned while leading the church choir as a teenager in reform school. Produced by Graham Nash, the song was a last minute addition to the album, obviously in high hopes of a hit.

“Ridge Rider” further fleshes out Judee’s vision of a bohemian saint who rides the rough road to salvation despite its perils, complete with tasty pedal steel and the sound of hoof beats carrying along the chorus. “My Man On Love” is an enchanting folk song full of Christian imagery. “Lopin’ Along Through the Cosmos” plods along at a pace just a bit slower than the rest of the album as Judee again pleads for the gift of peace. “Enchanted Sky Machines”, a song about salvation by UFO, quickly picks up the pace, beginning with another groovy gospel piano part that’s soon accompanied by brassy horns and upbeat drums. The beautifully orchestrated “Abracadabra” closes the album on a tender note and a major key.

Despite it all, Judee Sill didn’t sell as well as the troubadour and her friends had hoped. Nevertheless, she soldiered on to record and release 1973’s Heart Food, an equally outstanding album, which made even greater use of both her gospel influenced keyboard playing and her talent for orchestral composition. Sadly, Heart Food sold even fewer copies than the first album and Judee’s life began to gradually deteriorate. After a handful of auto-accidents in the late seventies Judee once again began turning to codeine, cocaine, and heroine in an attempt to numb the pain she suffered from so greatly.  Judee’s life was cut tragically short the day after Thanksgiving 1973 1979, when she died after overdosing on codeine and cocaine. She was 35 years old.

Who knows what heights Judee and her music may have reached had she lived long enough for more people to pick up on her gentle genius? Both Judee Sill and Heart Food rank right up there with the best from giants like Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro, Sandy Denny, and Carole King, as well as releases by other unsung souls like Collie Ryan, Karen Beth, and Vashti Bunyan. Forty years later there still isn’t anything than can truly compare.
by D.A. Glasebrook

1. Crayon Angels - 2:35
2. The Phantom Cowboy - 1:40
3. The Archetypal Man - 3:35
4. The Lamb Ran Away With The Crown - 3:10
5. Lady-O - 3:10
6. Jesus Was A Cross Maker - 3:20
7. Ridge Rider - 4:28
8. My Man On Love - 3:23
9. Lopin' Along Thru The Cosmos - 3:00
10.Enchanted Sky Machines - 2:40
11.Abracadabra - 1:54
Words and Music by Judee Sill

*Judee Sill - Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Clydie King, Rita Coolidge, Venetta Fields - Background Vocals
*Don Bagley, Bob Harris - Orchestration
*David Crosby - Guitar
*Graham Nash - Organ

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