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

Plain and Fancy

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

Nikos Kazantzakis

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tucker Zimmerman - Ten Songs (1969 outstanding folk psych rock, 2015 bonus tracks remaster)

When David Bowie placed Tucker Zimmerman’s 1969 album Ten Songs by Tucker Zimmerman on a list of his 25 favorite albums – alongside acknowledged classics by The Velvet Underground, James Brown, Little Richard and even Steve Reich – readers of the 2003 list could have been forgiven for wondering, “Who is Tucker Zimmerman?”  It’s taken some time, but the RPM label has finally unearthed Ten Songs by Tucker Zimmerman – in an expanded edition that could now be titled Seventeen Songs.

Zimmerman’s collection of self-penned, forceful folk-rock was produced by Bowie’s frequent collaborator Tony Visconti, who also played on the album.  But the superstar artist’s connections to Zimmerman didn’t end there.  The future Spiders from Mars – then known as Ronno after lead guitarist Mick Ronson – released Zimmerman’s “Fourth Hour of My Sleep” on a Visconti-produced single.  And Zimmerman had actually played Bowie’s Beckenham Arts Lab, jokingly billed as cousin to Robert Zimmerman, a.k.a. Bob Dylan!  (All kidding aside, Bob’s influence on Tucker can be detected in the harmonica and guitar work throughout the album.)

Zimmerman came to Britain from America in 1968 with a degree in music theory and composition under his belt as well as a songwriting credit on a Butterfield Blues Band album.  Gigging throughout Europe under various names, he attracted the attention of EMI’s Regal Zonophone imprint.  Regal Zonophone paired him with Visconti, who had been producing for the label, and the pair recorded a reported 80 demos.  A single was initially released, “The Red Wind,” featuring Zimmerman supported by future Beach Boy Ricky Fataar on drums, Visconti on bass and Rick Wakeman, later of Yes, on organ and piano.  Though the single didn’t make waves, the label proceeded with an album.  Wakeman and Visconti joined another impressive cast of musicians including drummer Aynsley Dunbar and guitarist/sitar player Shawn Phillips for Ten Songs.

The atmospheric, haunting and edgy folk-rock of Ten Songs, like “The Red Wind,” failed to catch on with the public.  Tucker Zimmerman would make five more albums through 1983 even as Ten Songs gained collectable cachet.  RPM’s reissue adds seven bonus tracks including the mono and stereo versions of “The Red Wind,” non-album B-side “Moondog,” and four previously unreleased recordings from the period.  Kieron Tyler has provided the excellent new liner notes and Simon Murphy has remastered from Rob Keyloch’s transfers from the original analogue tapes.
by Joe Marchese 

1. Bird Lives - 3:56
2. October Mornings - 3:37
3. A Face That Hasn't Sold Out - 4:33
4. The Roadrunner - 5:42
5. Children Of Fear - 4:55
6. The Wind Returns Into The Night - 5:35
7. Running, Running From Moment To Moment - 2:55
8. Upsidedown Circus World - 3:26
9. Blue Goose - 6:28
10.Alpha Centauri - 5:44
11.The Red Wind - 3:35
12.Moondog - 5:17
13.La Rinascente  - 2:50
14.Non C'e Niente Mai - 3:33
15.En Memoire De Jean Genet - 3:45
16.Les Visions De Rimbaud - 3:43
17.The Red Wind - 3:38
All songs written by Tucker Zimmerman
Bonus Tracks 11-17

*Tucker Zimmerman - Vocals, 12 String Guitar, Harmonica, Organ, Mellotron, Harpsichord
*Tony Visconti - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
*Aynsley Dunbar - Drums
*Shawn Phillips - Guitar, Sitar
*Rick Wakeman - Organ, Piano
*Rick Fataar - Drums, Percussion
*Terry Cox - Drums, Congas
*Marie Claire - Vocals

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Various Artists - The Immediate Singles Collection (1966-69 uk, amazing compilation, six discs box set)

This extravagant six-CD set documents the astonishing life span of the first pop independent label in the U.K., Immediate Records. Founded in 1965, Immediate flipped, flopped, and staggered its own way, competing against unhip American labels like EMI and Decca until late 1969. The label, and the documentary CD set, showcases in particular the Small Faces, who enjoyed a brief U.K. number one hit, Ogden's Nut Gone Flake. More familiar to American listeners will no doubt be the three-chord sock-hop favorite "Hang on Sloopy" by the McCoys, and a number of covers of familiar American folk-rock hits are present as well. 

The esoteric collector will appreciate inclusions by such café balladeers as the Poets and Les Fleurs-de-Lis, also signed by Immediate before the advent of the swinging London sound, marked by the Rolling Stones revolution and other mod developers influencing the pants off the tiniest studio cover bands. Immediate also helped sculpt the success of anguished bellower Chris Farlowe, soon to be joined by the similarly throaty vibrato of PP Arnold and, of course, manager, producer Andrew Oldham's best toss of the dice, the Small Faces, whom he ripped away from Decca. By the fourth disc, you are, in fact, in the throes of swinging London, featuring Farlowe's heart-stopping "Yesterday's Papers" and Arnold's "The First Cut Is the Deepest," written by the much-in-demand Cat Stevens. 

Most of the music is minimal and often out of tune, production at an early-time low, replete with tinny echoes and accidental outtake moments. The most successfully recorded instruments seem to be the sitars, baroque strings, and arpeggio harpsichord riffs that "translate" well under Immediate's studio circumstances. Notable moments: Small Faces' "Here Comes the Nice" and "Itchypoo Park," Murray Head's "She Was Perfection," and the Marquis of Kensington's Kinks, new vaudeville hybrid, "Changing of the Guard." 

This is a luxurious, overcollected document that could be easily managed on one museum-piece disc, although it would be hard cull dozens of small contributions by say, drop-ins Nico, Rod Stewart, and Mick Fleetwood. The jewel on the record is without question the Faces version (sung not by Stewart but by Chris Farlowe) of "Handbags and Glad rags": "They told me you missed school today, So I suggest you just throw it all away, The handbags and glad rags that your granddads had to sweat, So you could buy." Very British, very Immediate. 
by Becky Byrkit

Disc 1
1. The McCoys - Hang On Sloopy (Russell, Farrell) - 3:04
2. The McCoys - I Can't Explain It (Feldman, Goldstein, Gottehrer) - 2:27
3. The Fifth Avenue - The Bells Of Rhymney (Davies, Seeger) - 2:52
4. The Fifth Avenue - Just Like Anyone Would Do (Jimmy Page) - 2:20
5. Nico - I'm Not Sayin (Lightfoot) - 2:49
6. Nico - The Last Mile (Oldham, Page) - 2:29
7. Gregory Phillips - Down In The Boondocks (South) - 2:37
8. Gregory Phillips - That's The One (Oldham, Page) - 2:38
9. The Masterminds - She Belongs To Me (Dylan) - 2:44
10.The Masterminds - Taken My Love (Meakin, Cassidy) - 2:46
11.The Poets - Call Again (George Gallacher, Paton) - 2:23
12.The Poets - Some Things I Can't Forget (Gallacher, Paton) - 1:50
13.The Strangeloves - Cara-Lin (Feldman, Goldstein, Gottehrer) - 2:31
14.The Strangeloves - (Roll On) Mississippi (Feldman, Goldstein, Gottehrer) - 2:26
15.Van Lenton - Gotta Get Away (Crompton, Jones) - 2:48
16.Van Lenton - You Don't Care (Crompton, Jones) - 2:08
17.The Factotums - In My Lonely Room (Carter-Lewis, Ford) - 2:00
18.The Factotums - Run In The Green And Tangerine Flaked Forest (Oldham) - 2:18
19.Golden Apples Of The Sun - The Monkey Time (Mayfield) - 2:51
20.Golden Apples Of The Sun - Chocolate Rolls, Tea And Monopoly (Oldham) - 2:29
21.Barbara Lynn - You Can't Buy My Love (Billy Babineaux, Bobby Babineaux) - 1:56
22.Barbara Lynn - That's What A Friend Will Do (B. L. Ozen) - 2:31
23.John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers - I'm Your Witchdoctor (Mayall) - 2:10
24.John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers - Telephone Blues (Mayall) - 3:56
25.Glyn Johns - Mary Anne (Lordan) - 2:37
26.Glyn Johns - Like Grains Of Yellow Sand (Johns, Oliver) - 3:02
27.Mick Softley - I'm So Confused (Softley) - 2:50
28.Mick Softley - She's My Girl (Eden) - 1:57
29.Mockingbirds - You Stole My Love (Graham Gouldman) - 2:40
30.Mockingbirds - Skit Skat (Graham Gouldman) - 2:02

Disc 2
1. Chris Farlowe - The Fool (Hazlewood) - 3:03
2. Chris Farlowe - Treat Her Good (Deighton) - 2:00
3. Joey Vine - Down And Out (J. Levine) - 2:51
4. Joey Vine - The Out Of Towner (J. Levine) - 2:31
5. Jimmy Tarbuck - Someday (Hodges) - 2:18
6. Jimmy Tarbuck - Wastin' Time (Jagger, Richard) - 2:28
7. The Variations - The Man With All The Toys (Wilson) - 2:11
8. The Variations - She'll Know I'm Sorry (Raven) - 2:33
9. Les Fleur De Lys - Moondreams (Petty) - 2:27
10.Les Fleur De Lys - Wait For Me (Jimmy Page) - 2:22
11.The McCoys - Fever (Cooley, Davenport) - 2:48
12.The McCoys - Sorrow (Feldman, Goldstein, Gottehrer) - 2:03
13.The Factotums - You're So Good To Me (Brian Wilson) - 2:07
14.The Factotums - Can't Go Home Anymore My Love (D. Gerrard) - 2:10
15.Chris Farlowe - Think (Jagger, Richards) - 3:35
16.Chris Farlowe - Don't Just Look At Me (Oldham, Russell) - 2:43
17.The Poets - Baby Don't You Do It (Holland, Dozier, Holland) - 2:27
18.The Poets - I'll Come Home (Gallacher, Paton) - 2:06
19.Charles Dickens - So Much In Love (Jagger, Richard) - 2:43
20.Charles Dickens - Our Soul Brothers (Oldham) - 2:37
21.Goldie - Going Back (Goffin, King) - 2:27
22.Goldie - Headlines (Oldham) - 3:37
23.Tony Rivers And The Castaways - Girl Don't Tell Me (Wilson) - 2:44
24.Tony Rivers And The Castaways - Girl From Salt Lake City (Wilson) - 1:58
25.The McCoys - (You Make Me Feel) So Good (Zehringer) - 3:15
26.The McCoys - Ko-Ko (Feldman, Goldstein, Gottehrer) - 2:17
27.The McCoys - Up And Down (Lambert, Pegues) - 2:36
28.The McCoys - If You Tell A Lie (Feldman, Goldstein, Gottehrer) - 1:58
29.The London Waits - Softly Softly (The Theme From The BBC-TV Series) (Fry) - 2:35
30.The London Waits - Serenadio (Italian Serenade) (Spiegel, Wild) - 2:54

Disc 3
1. The Turtles - You Baby (Sloan, Barri) - 2:16
2. The Turtles - Wanderin' Kind (Kaylan) - 2:06
3. Les Fleur De Lys - Circles (Townshend) - 3:02
4. Les Fleur De Lys - So Come On (Smith, Sawyer) - 1:49
5. Twice As Much - Sittin' On A Fence (Jagger, Richard) - 3:10
6. Twice As Much - Baby I Want You (Rose, Skinner) - 2:14
7. The McCoys - Runaway (Feldman, Goldstein, Gottehrer) - 2:35
8. The McCoys - Come On, Let's Go (Valens) - 2:38
9. Chris Farlowe - Out Of Time (Jagger, Richard) - 3:31
10.Chris Farlowe - Baby Make It Soon (Oldham, Woolfson) - 2:16
11.Twice As Much - Step Out Of Line (Rose, Skinner) - 3:05
12. Twice As Much - Simplified (Rose, Skinner) - 3:52
13.The McCoys - Don't Worry Mother (Your Son's Heart Is Pure) (Feldman, Goldstein, Pomus) - 2:42
14.The McCoys - I Got To Go Back (And Watch That Little Girl Dance) (A. Alexander) - 2:28
15.Chris Farlowe - Ride On Baby (Jagger, Richard) - 2:45
16.Chris Farlowe - Headlines (Oldham, Greenslade) - 3:09
17.Twice As Much - True Story (Rose, Skinner) - 2:16
18.Twice As Much - You're So Good To Me (Oldham, Rose, Bell, Skinner) - 2:30
19.P.P. Arnold - Everything's Gonna Be Alright (Oldham, Skinner) - 3:07
20.P.P. Arnold - Life Is But Nothing (Rose, Skinner) - 3:45
21.Chris Farlowe - My Way Of Giving (Lane, Marriott) - 2:32
22.Chris Farlowe - You're So Good For Me (Oldham, Rose, Bell, Skinner) - 2:14
23.Twice As Much - Crystal Ball (Shuman, Fagan) - 2:45
24.Twice As Much - Why Can't They All Go And Leave Me Alone (Rose, Skinner) - 2:55
25.The Apostolic Intervention - (Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me (Lane, Marriott) - 1:59
26.The Apostolic Intervention - Madame Garcia (Shirley) - 2:51
27.Nicky Scott - Big City (Dan Walsh, Johnny Walsh) - 2:29
28.Nicky Scott - Everything's Gonna Be Alright (Oldham, Skinner) - 3:20

Disc 4
1. Nicky Scott - Backstreet Girl (Jagger, Richard) - 2:29
2. Nicky Scott - Chain Reaction (Rose, Skinner) - 2:10
3. The McCoys - I Got To Go Back (Berns, Barry) - 2:42
4. The McCoys - Dynamite (Feldman, Goldstein, Gottehrer) - 2:10
5. P.P. Arnold - The First Cut Is The Deepest (Stevens) - 3:06
6. P.P. Arnold - Speak To Me (Oldham, Greenslade, Hurst) - 2:14
7. Mort Shuman IV - Monday Monday (Phillips) - 2:36
8. Mort Shuman IV - Little Children (McFarland, Shuman) - 2:52
9. Chris Farlowe - Yesterday's Papers (Jagger, Richard) - 2:11
10.Chris Farlowe - Life Is But Nothing (Rose, Skinner) - 4:02
11.Small Faces - Here Come The Nice (Lane, Marriott) - 2:56
12.Small Faces - Talk To You (O'Sullivan, Lane, Marriott) - 2:06
13.Marquis Of Kensington - The Changing Of The Guard (Mills, Leander) - 2:24
14.Marquis Of Kensington's Minstrels - Reverse Thrust (Leander) - 1:56
15.Murray Head - She Was Perfection (M. Head) - 2:47
16.Murray Head - Secondhand Monday (M. Hurst, M. Head) - 2:15
17.Australian Playboys - Black Sheep R.I.P. (Gerrard) - 2:44
18.Australian Playboys - Sad (Peacock) - 2:54
19.P.P. Arnold - The Time Has Come (Korda) - 2:40
20.P.P. Arnold - If You See What I Mean (Hurst) - 2:07
21.Chris Farlowe - Moanin' (Timmons, Hendricks) - 2:34
22.Chris Farlowe - What Have I Been Doing (Alcock, Crane) - 3:06
23.Small Faces - Itchycoo Park (Lane, Marriott) - 2:46
24.Small Faces - I'm Only Dreaming (Lane, Marriott) - 2:23
25.Warm Sounds - Sticks And Stones (Younghusband, Gerrard) - 3:20
26.Warm Sounds - Angeline (Younghusband, Gerrard) - 2:35
27.The Nice - The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack (O'List, Emerson) - 2:48
28.The Nice - Azrial (Angel Of Death) (Emerson, Jackson) - 3:45

Disc 5
1. Rod Stewart - Little Miss Understood (D'Abo) - 3:39
2. Rod Stewart - So Much To Say (D'Abo, Stewart) - 3:14
3. P.P. Arnold - (If You Think You're) Groovy (Lane, Marriott) - 2:55
4. P.P. Arnold - Though It Hurts Me Badly (Arnold) - 4:19
5. Small Faces - Tin Soldier (Lane, Marriott) - 3:20
6. Small Faces - I Feel Much Better (McLagan, Lane, Marriott) - 3:56
7. Billy Nicholls - Would You Believe (Paul) - 2:42
8. Billy Nicholls - Daytime Girl (Nicholls) - 2:43
9. Small Faces - Lazy Sunday (Lane, Marriott) - 3:03
10.Small Faces - Rollin' Over (Lane, Marriott) - 2:10
11.Chris Farlowe - Handbags And Gladrags (D'Abo) - 3:24
12.Chris Farlowe - Everyone Makes A Mistake (Alcock, Crane) - 2:00
13.Chris Farlowe - The Last Goodbye (D'Abo) - 2:50
14.Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds - Paperman Fly In The Sky (Alcock, Crane) - 2:45
15.P.P. Arnold - Angel Of The Morning (Chip Taylor) - 3:18
16.Outer Limits - Great Train Robbery (Christie) - 3:38
17.Outer Limits - Sweet Freedom (Christie) - 3:00
18.The Nice - America (Bernstein, Sondheim) - 6:19
19.The Nice - The Diamond Hard Blue Apples Of The Moon (Emerson, Jackson) - 2:46
20.Small Faces - The Universal (Lane, Marriott) - 2:43
21.Small Faces - Donkey Rides A Penny A Glass (McLagan, Lane, Marriott) - 2:49
22.Duncan Browne - On The Bombsite (Bretton, Browne) - 2:46
23.Duncan Browne - Alfred Bell (Bretton, Browne) - 4:36

Disc 6
1. Chris Farlowe - Paint It Black (Jagger, Richard) - 2:59
2. Chris Farlowe - I Just Need Your Loving (Alcock, Crane) - 3:12
3. The Nice - Brandenburger (Davison, Emerson, Jackson) - 4:24
4. The Nice - Happy Freuds (Emerson, Jackson) - 3:26
5. Amen Corner - (If Paradise Is) Half As Nice (Fishman, Battisti) - 2:44
6. Amen Corner - Hey! Hey! Girl (Fairweather-Low) - 3:02
7. Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds - Dawn (Bruce Waddell, Steve Hammond) - 3:47
8. Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds - April Was The Month (Alcock, Crane) - 3:57
9. Michael D'Abo - (See The Little People) Gulliver's Travels (D'Abo) - 2:33
10.Michael D'Abo - An Anthology Of Gulliver's Travels (Part Two) (D'Abo) - 1:08
11.The McCoys - This Is Where We Came In (Feldman, Goldstein, Hobbs, Zehringer, Gottehrer, Zehringer, Brandon) - 1:37
12.Small Faces - Afterglow (Of Your Love) (Lane, Marriott) - 3:21
13.Small Faces - Wham Bam Thank You Man (Lane, Marriott) - 3:18
14.Fleetwood Mac - Man Of The World (P. A. Green) - 2:51
15.Earl Vince And The Valiants - Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight (Spencer) - 2:39
16.Amen Corner - Hello Susie (Wood) - 2:34
17.Amen Corner - Evil Man's Gonna Win (Fairweather-Low) - 4:00
18. Humble Pie - Natural Born Bugie (Marriott) - 4:15
19.Humble Pie - Wrist Job (Marriott) - 4:14
20.Amen Corner - Get Back (Lennon, McCartney) - 2:52
21.Amen Corner - Farewell To The Real Magnificent Seven (Fairweather-Low) - 6:27
22.The Hill - Sylvie (Waddell, Hammond) - 3:21
23.The Hill - The Fourth Annual Convention Of The Battery Hen Farmers Association (Part II) (Waddell, Davey, Robinson, Hammond) - 4:35

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Monday, February 1, 2016

The Mickey Finn - Garden Of My Mind (1964-67 uk, awesome mod freak beat with blues flame, 2015 issue)

This British cult band with Mod leanings, The Mickey Finn only put out a handful of singles, and it’s the first time that these (plus a couple of previously unavailable demos) have all been collected together. They were arguably the first British band to try their hands at ska- with their cover version of Bo Diddley’s Pills, included here. A very different interpretation to the rock & roll version by New York Dolls a few years later, this is also the band’s true debut, credited to Mickey Finn and The Blue Men, and also featuring a pre-Zeppelin Jimmy Page on harmonica on both sides of the single. (Although Page played some live dates with the band and was photographed with them, he was never an official member).

Before it was abbreviated, the same band name was also used for their false debut, the instrumental Tom Hark, another ska number (which was made famous a decade and half later by Piranhas, who added lyrics to it). It’s false because the band claim they had no involvement in the making of this record. Despite this, it is still included in the collection, probably because their name is on the original record. Elsewhere we have the R&B stomp that is I Still Want You, the cracking Mod-psych banger that’s the title track of this set, and my personal highlight, the freakbeat head-spinner, Time To Start Loving You.

The Mickey Finn covered a lot of musical ground in their short-lived career, and despite their modest vinyl output. It’s a shame they didn’t record more. An album would have been nice, but they never got around to actually making one: so in the absence of this, it’s good to have the singles all in one place. And the sleeve notes feature an insightful interview with the surviving members of the band. 
by Arash Torabi

1. Pills (Ellas McDaniel) - 2:37
2. I Still Want you (Mickey Waller, Alan Mark) - 2:28
3. Garden Of My Mind (Mickey Waller, Alan Mark, Bernard Jory) - 2:32
4. Night  Comes Down (Shel Talmy, Jon Mark) - 2:12
5. Hush Your Mouth (Jimmy Reed) - 2:38
6. Time To Start Loving You (Mickey Waller, Alan Mark, Bernard Jory, Richard Brand, Fluff Cooke) - 2:41
7. Ain't Necessarily So  (Ira Gershwin, George Gershwin, DuBose Heyward) - 3:19
8. If I Had You Baby (Lori Burton, Pam Sawyer) - 1:51
9. The Sporting Life (Chris Radmall, Shel Talmy) - 2:32
10.Because I Love you (Mis-Credited As I Do Loveyou) (Billy Stewart) - 2:09
11.Reelin' And A'Rockin' (Chuck Berry) - 2:23
12.Stagger Lee  (Lloyd Price, Harold Logan) - 2:28
13.Poverty  (Dave Clark, Pearl Woods) - 3:20
14.Miss Jane  (Bernard Jory) - 2:59
15.God Bless The Child (Billie Holiday, Arthur Herzog) - 2:32
16.Tom Hark (Rupert Bopape) - 2:20
17.Please Love Me (Alan Hawkshaw) - 2:19

*Mickey Waller - Guitar
*Richard Brand - Drums
*John Buckett - Bass
*John Cooke - Keyboards
*Alan Mark - Vocals
*Mick Stannard - Bass
*Rod Clark - Bass
*Bernie Joy - Bass
*Jimmy Page - Harmonica

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Love Affair - New Day (1970 uk, superb melt of mod beat psych and prog rock, 2008 bonus tracks remaster)

During the summer of 1970 Love Affair began recording the tracks destined for "New Day". The music here is something of a revelation and stills up after forty or so years ago. The album open with the tittle track, written by Mick Jackson, which sets the tone with bold progressive themes. Menacing chords from the keyboards help build up the tnesion befoe the drums come in and Gus Eadon sings with passionate clarity.

In May 1970 the group appeared on BBC TV's Top of the Pops to promote their single version of "Speak Of Peace, Sing Of Joy" looking very determined and serious as they played the four minute number "Live".

But it was an uphill battle to play down their old pop image. The LA name was quietly drop the group reverted back to Love Affair. By the end of the year, August 'Gus' Eadon had left the band. In 1973 he released a solo single Times Are Hard Now, Aint They?' / 'Ladybird' on the Dawn label. In 1974 he joined jazz rock group Zzebra, billed as 'Gus Yeadon' and played piano, guitar, flute clavinet. The band also included Terry Smith (guitar), Dave Quincy (sax) from If and John McCoy (bass) who later worked with Ian Gillan. Zzebra released an album on Polydor and a single, 'Zardoz', used to promote the film 'Zardoz' starring Sean Connery. Gus left Zzebra after a year and joined the Darryl Read Band in1979

After the failure of LA, Morgan Fisher and Maurice Bacon formed a duo called Morgan and released an album 'Nova Soils'. Morgan later joined Mott The Hoople and also worked with Queen. He played in short lived British Lions before moving to Japan in the 1980s, where he lives, studies meditation rarks as a prolific recording artist.

Love Affair's original vocalist Steve Ellis formed his own band Ellis in 1972. This subsequently Ellis Group, with Zoot Money on keyboards. They released the album  “Crest Of A Slump', which was produced by The Who's Roger Daltrey. In 1974 Stever joined the heavy rock outfit Widowmaker. They toured America supporting The Who without much success.

Steve Ellis signed as a solo artist with Arista in 1979 and recorded 'The Last Angry Man', an album destined to be shelved for some years. In 1980, he quit the music business and took up a job as a dockworker. Sadly he was involved in a serious accident when a forklift truck cut his feet and left him incapacitated. He spent the next eight years in and out of hospitals. Steve eventually learned to walk again and took up singing once more in 1991. In December 2001 he joined old friend Paul Weller on stage at a concert in Croydon for a heart-warming acoustic version of “Everlasting Love”.

In final twist to the saga “Love Affair” without Steve or Gus, but with three original members Morgan Fisher, Mo Bacon and Michael Jackson - were reunited in 1999. They appeared in a TV documentary and wrote a new song together called 'Love Affair By Love Affair', which encouraged them to reform the band once more in 2000.
by Chris Welch, London England, December 2007

1. New Day (Mick Jackson) - 4:29
2. Walking Down The Road (August "Gus" Eadon, Rex Brayley) - 3:13
3. Ge's Whiz (Morgan Fisher, Rex Brayley) - 4:41
4. Gypsy (Morgan Fisher, August "Gus" Eadon) - 5:04
5. Goodbye Brother Farewell Friend (August "Gus" Eadon) - 3:39
6. Hurt By Love (August "Gus" Eadon) - 5:52
7. Bad Girl (August "Gus" Eadon, Rex Brayley) - 4:15
8. Nine To Five (August "Gus" Eadon) - 5:04
9. Thank You Bean (Morgan Fisher, Mick Jackson) - 3:44
10.Speak Of Peace, Sing Of Joy (August "Gus" Eadon, Mick Jackson) - 4:08
11.Baby I Know (Phillip Goodhand Tait, John Cokell) - 3:41
12.Accept Me For What I Am (Love Affair) - 3:25
13.Lincoln Country (Phillip Goodhand Tait) - 2:57
14.Sea Of Tranquility (Love Affair) - 4:11
15.Brings My Whole World Tumbling Down (Mick Jackson) - 3:33
16.Wake Me I Am Dreaming (L. Batisti, Mogol, Scott) - 3:14
17.That's My Home (August "Gus" Eadon, Rex Brayley) - 3:20
18.Help (Get Me Some Help) (Byl, Vangrade) - 3:24
19.Long Way Home (August "Gus" Eadon, Rex Brayley) - 3:22
20.Io Senza Te (Daniele Pace, Carson, Gayden) - 3:55

The Love Affair
*Rex Brayley - Guitar (1967-71)
*Maurice Bacon - Drums (1967-71)
*Mick Jackson - Bass (1967-71)
*Steve Ellis - Vocals (1967-70)
*Lynton Guest - Keyboards (1967-68)
*Morgan Fisher - Keyboards (1968-71)
*August "Gus" Eadon - Flute (1970)

1967-69  Love Affair - The Everlasting Love Affair (2005 bonus tracks edition) 

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Marshall Tucker Band - Searchin' For A Rainbow (1975 us, beautiful guitar blended country jam roots rock, 2004 remaster and expanded)

Old West dreams meet Southern memories in the tracks of Searchin' for a Rainbow, The Marshall Tucker Band's fourth album. Released in 1975, this song collection found the group refining its multifaceted sound into an appealing country rock essence. Still present were the jazz and blues-based elements that had always made Marshall Tucker a distinctive unit. By dressing up their music in Western garb, the band found a way to reach a huge new audience-all it took was a little "Fire On The Mountain" to light the way. "We'd found a bit more direction on how to design songs for a record," says lead singer Doug Gray. "Our record company Capricorn had always said, 'Try to give us something that would work on the radio.' We tried to do that, and at the same time please each other. We were known as a jamming band. This was the first time we really tried to give them Marshall Tucker's interpretation of what a hit song  was."

Some three years of near-constant touring and steady recording brought the  band to this point. Formed in Spartanburg, SC in 1972, the group united lead guitarist Toy Caldwell, vocalist Doug Gray, bassist Tommy Caldwell, rhythm guitarist George McCorkle, drummer Paul Riddle and reed player Jerry Eubanks in a unique musical partnership. Named for a local piano tuner, the band established itself on the road (often sharing the bill with the Allman Brothers) as a formidable live act. Marshall Tucker's compelling mix of rock, country, blues and jazz set them apart from their peers and ensured them a rabid following in the Southern States and beyond.

At the core of the band's sound was Toy Caldwell's guitar virtuosity and heart felt way with a song. By all accounts, he was constantly working on his music. "Toy was a compulsive songwriter," Paul Riddle says. "At times, music would just pour out of him. I remember one time we were on the road-Toy had just written a verse for 'Searchin' For A Rainbow.' We stopped at a truck stop and I went in to get him a cheese sandwich. By the time I came back, he had the tune finished in less than 10 minutes. It was amazing."

Toy's growing skill on the pedal steel guitar was a factor in the band's move towards a more countrified approach. He developed a jazz-influenced style that was a cut above the typical twanging sounds most players coaxed out of the instrument. "I think it was a challenge for him," says Doug. "The first night he got his pedal steel guitar in Atlanta, he sat there playing it for two or three hours before we started our show. He really developed his own way of playing it."

Searchin' for a Rainbow also reflected The Marshall Tucker Band's growing acceptance among mainstream country musicians. Waylon Jennings, for instance, went on to score a hit single on the country charts with a cover of "Can't You See," a track from the band's first album. Hank Williams, Jr. performed with them at shows in Birmingham. Some in the Nashville music establishment still thought Marshall Tucker was too rock 'n' roll to fit into country radio formats. Eventually, though, hit-makers like Alabama lead singer Randy Owens would acknowledge the group as a key influence. Helping to spur things on was "Fire On The Mountain," the lead track off Searchin' for a Rainbow. Released as a single in the fall of 75, the tune reached #38 on the pop charts. A vivid, Old West, lyric-storyline combined with bluegrass tinged instrumental licks and an ear-grabbing chorus brought Marshall Tucker its first Top 40 hit.

"Fire On The Mountain" was written by George McCorkle, his first composition to be recorded by the band. Doug remembers seeing its potential from the start: "George called me over and had me sing a little bit of it. I said “Man th is going to be a great song.'" Coincidentally, Charlie Daniels (who contributed fiddle to numerous Marshall Tucker albums, including Searchin' for a Rainbow) released an album by the same name around this time, causing a degree of confusion. Before "Fire ...," Marshall Tucker had primarily been heard on FM radio. The song served to introduce the band to a whole new crowd of listeners. Doug says, "At first, we just had the cool people coming to our shows. Then all of a sudden, we had this hit and these teenyboppers started coming out to see us. I remember all these young guys who were sporting cowboy hats and boots—it was a whole new world for them. We noticed that we were drawing a younger crowd, and we started playing more venues that people under 21 could come to." Those new fans who picked up Searchin' for a Rainbow discovered that Marshall Tucker was much more than a singles band. The album ranks among the group's best work, sonically rooted in Southern traditional styles while displaying an individual edge

As with previous albums, Toy Caldwell contributed most of the songs. Lyrically, he delves into Western scenarios in "Virginia" and the title track, contrasting the hunger for gold with the need for faithful love. The pleasures of Southern country life are celebrated in "Bob Away My Blues," while "Bound And Determined" is a bluesy look at a troubled romance. Musically, the album stretches from old-time country to steamy R’n’B and toe-tapping jazz. Toy's pedal steel playing swoops and swoons on "Bob Away My Blues" (invoking memories of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys) and adds a gentle caress to "Keeps Me From All Wrong" (written by brother Tommy). Doug proves his vocalist mettle throughout, veering from honky-tonk testifying to blues belting as the songs require. Jerry Eubanks particularly shines on "Walkin" And Talkin'," a joyfully swinging number. Several guest players are worthy of note. Allman Brothers guitarist Dickie Betts and keyboardist Chuck Leavell contribute their signature touches to the title track and "Bound And Determined," respectively. As on earlier Marshall Tucker albums, producer Paul Hornsby adds dashes of New Orleans piano and gospel-drenched organ here and there.

Rounding out Searchin' ... is a live recording of "Can't You See," taken from a July 1974 show in Milwaukee. This smoldering treatment of the tune-first heard in studio form on the group's debut album-reaffirms Marshall Tucker's status as one of rock's premier jam bands. There's a wrinkle in his playing, Paul Riddle points out: "Listen to the intro-the song is in half-time, but something compelled me to play the first eight beats in double time. Tommy got so tickled, I swear we were about to stop the song. It's an absolute hoot!" Searchin' for a Rainbow brought the band another gold album and eventually 'went platinum as well. "Fire On The Mountain" helped pave the way for even greater success on radio with the 1977 hit "Heard It In A Love Song." Enduring personal tragedy and weathering line-up changes, The Marshall Tucker Band has continued on into the present day. Their creative fires continue to burn bright.
by Barry Alfonso

1. Fire On The Mountain (George McCorkle) - 3:56
2. Searchin' For A Rainbow - 3:52
3. Walkin', Talkin' - 2:31
4. Virginia - 4:54
5. Bob Away My Blues - 2:47
6. Keeps Me From All Wrong (Tommy Caldwell) - 4:17
7. Bound, Determined - 4:24
8. Can't You See (Live) - 6:31
9. It Takes Time (Live) - 3:44
All songs by Toy Caldwell except where indicated

The Marshall Tucker Band 
*Toy Caldwell - Vocals, Electric, Acoustic, Steel Guitars
*Tommy Caldwell - Vocals, Bass Guitar
*George McCorkle - Electric, Acoustic Guitars
*Doug Gray - Vocals, Percussion
*Jerry Eubanks - Saxes, Flute, Vocals
*Paul Riddle - Drums
Guests Friends 
*Richard Betts - Guitar Solo On "Searchin' For A Rainbow"
*Paul Homsby - Piano, Organ
*Charlie Daniels - Fiddle
*Chuck Leavell - Electric Piano
*Jerome Joseph - Congas
*Al McDonald - Mandolin
*Leo LaBranche - Trumpet, Horn Section Arrangements

1973  The Marshall Tucker Band - Way Out West, Live From San Francisco (2010 remaster)
1974  The Marshall Tucker Band - Where We All Belong (2004 remaster with bonus track)

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Various Artists - Golden State Psychedelia (1966-69 us, impressive psych rock, 2015 release)

Rare or previously unissued psychedelic gems from late 1960s San Francisco, produced at Leo Kulka’s studio, Golden State Recorders.

When it opened for business in the autumn of 1965, Golden State Recorders was the first large Hollywood-style studio inSan Francisco, with a brand new solid-state board and an expansive main room, perfect for replicating the ambience of the psychedelic ballrooms. Indeed, founder and chief engineer Leo de Gar Kulka had begun offering his services right as the Bay Area witnessed the explosion of its own well-documented rock scene, and thus during its first few years Golden State was the local independent recording venue most frequently visited by the city’s new breed of musician, along with the hordes of attendant A&R men hopeful for the next big thing.

Golden State hosted some of the most genuinely trippy and experimental rock recording sessions held in San Francisco in the late 1960s, but Kulka could not keep his large facility going on bookings alone, and so he also used the studio to attract talent that could be secured to a contract and sold on to labels. Reflecting the prevailing atmosphere in the Bay Area, much of what Golden State recorded under its own production umbrella had a frisson of psychedelic fancy, and at this juncture some 50 years hence, recordings deemed failures at the time are now collectors items, or certainly worthy of a second look, as “Golden State Psychedelia” amply demonstrates.

Some of the earliest and best-loved releases in Big Beat’s “Nuggets From The Golden State” series were based on repertoire from Golden State Recorders. This latest instalment continues to celebrate the studio’s legacy, restoring material from deleted volumes, as well as exhuming more psychedelic gems from the GSR vault. Since Ace Records acquired the catalogue in 2006, we have had the opportunity to revisit the tapes, this time with a fine-toothed comb.

Therefore, aside from rare singles by the Tow-Away Zone and Seventh Dawn, “Golden State Psychedelia” is comprised wholly of material that did not see release at the time, and was all recorded between 1966 and 1971. Highlights include the commercial pop-psych stylings of the Bristol Boxkite, Carnival and Ticket Agents, the punkadelic Goody Box and Immediate Family, and some outrageous studio experiments by Magician and the Gants. With full details on the participants contained in the liner notes, “Golden State Psychedelia” is a package no fan of this entrancing genre will want to miss.
by Alec Palao

Artist - Track
1. The Goody Box - Blow Up (Norman Hadsell) - 2:37
2. The Carnival - Meditorium - 2:19
3. The Tow-Away Zone - Shab'd (Joan Cutting, Phil Franks, Randy Molitor) - 2:58
4. The Bristol Boxkite - Sunless Night (Bill Ellis, Sandra White) - 3:03
5. The Immediate Family - Rubaiyat (Kriss Kovacs, Omar Khayyam) - 2:38
6. The Ticket Agents - Black Diamonds (David Salk) - 2:04
7. The Short Yellow  - Highway Highway (Gary Thorp) - 2:21
8. Celestial Hysteria - Speed (Harold Greer, John Allan, John Barsotti, Mark Buvelot, Mary Hazlewood) - 2:38
9. Magician - Fuck For Peace - 3:58
10.The Carnival - Infinitation - 2:16
11.The Bristol Boxkite - Mad Rush World (Bill Ellis) - 2:44
12.The Seventh Dawn - Don't Worry Me (Darius Phillips, Sue Phillips, Tom Noyer) - 2:37
13.Just Slightly Richer - My Kind Of People (Dan Talbot) - 3:01
14.The Tow-Away Zone - Daddy's Zoo (Bill deHaan, Phil Franks, Randy Molitor, Ray McCarty) - 3:45
15.The Short Yellow - Hand Full (Gary Thorp) - 2:43
16.The Goody Box - Ah Gee (Norman Hadsell) - 2:31
17.The Immediate Family - Wet Chant (Kriss Kovacs) - 5:36
18.The Bristol Boxkite - Chasing Rainbows (Frederic Chopin, Harry Carroll, Joseph McCarth) - 2:22
19.Celestial Hysteria - New Song Aka Going Home (Harold Greer, John Allan, John Barsotti, Mark Buvelot, Mary Hazlewood) - 2:57
20.The Carnival - Years Have Passed Away - 2:13
21.Just Slightly Richer - Solitude (Al Roberts, Dan Talbot, Larry Goldberg, Robert Sanders, Steve Allyn) - 2:51
22.The Bristol Boxkite - Who Are We (Bill Ellis) - 2:27
23.The Short Yellow - Start Seeing (Gary Thorp) - 2:29
24.The Royal Family - Love Is The Greatest Thing (The Royal Family) - 2:48
25.The Gants - Sunday At The Lotus Parlor (Brian Johnson, Dennis Battaglia, Kim Edwards, Tim Grand) - 2:51

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Swegas - Beyond The Ox (1970 uk, astonishing jazz prog brass rock, 2009 digi pak issue)

Beyond The Ox was the second Swegas album and again shows that Nick, with tracks like Into The Ox and Said But Never Heard, to his credit as a writer and arranger, was guiding the band in the right direction. John Macnicol's playing is a welcome addition to the band's sound and Billy Hogan's tight drumming has knitted the band together in a manner that wasn't quite achieved on Child Of Light.

1. Into The Ox - 3:34
2. Said But Never Heard - 4:56
3. Dawning - 3:27
4. Morning - 3:32
5. Evensong - 2:50
6. Tomorrow - 2:53
7. 1776 Fantasia - 6:49
8. Cold Unfriendly Way - 6:14
9. Gravedigger - 2:41
10.Beyond The Ox - 6:22
11.Oxtail - 0:22
Music by Swegas, Lyrics by Les Stewart

*Alan Smith - Alto Sax, Piano
*Nick Thomas  - Tenor Sax
*John Legg - Baritone Sax
*Joe Spibey - Trumpet, Vocals
*Chris Dawe - Trumpet
*Nick Ronai - Trombone
*Keith Strachan - Organ, Vocals
*Jonny Toogood - Guitar
*Roy Truman - Bass Guitar
*Chrys Chrysostomou - Drums

1971  Swegas - Child Of Light (2007 edition)

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