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

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bob McAllen - McAllen (1971 us, spectacular acid folk rock, 2014 korean remaster)

Amazing 12-string slinging folk singer-songwriter from East Lansing, Michigan. He’s got a bit of a Tim Buckley sound, and he’s a really interesting lyricist.

"Lady Today" also features the "Woolies" including Jeff Baldori on lead guitar. "By Candlelight", subtitled "Love Song to a Cat" is just that but it's quite a nice piece of folk psych with flugel horn low in the mix providing texture. You can't beat the honesty of such self-produced music. His vocals and 12-string are both great. "It Depends" has a fast tempo and a dreamy texture with echoed vocals in the 60's mode. 

Original sound with lyrics like "I used to walk the fields with a gun - just for fun but now I walk with empty hands again. I do not care for hunting any more - since the war. I will not hunt for animals or men." More dreaminess on "Guess We'll Never Be That Way Again" and "Nights Like This".

1. You've Heard This Song Before - 2:54
2. Furry Little Friend - 3:17
3. Rollen Home - 2:40
4. By Candlelight - 3:44
5. Happiness All The Time - 2:17
6. Wish I Were A Whippoorwill - 2:23
7. It Depends - 3:39
8. Guess We'll Never Be That Way Again - 3:13
9. Night Like This - 4:01
10.Lady Today - 3:45
11.Didn't You - 4:53
All songs by Bob McAllen

*Bob McAllen - Vocals, Guitar, 12 String Guitar
*Mike Grace - Bass
*Dave Koether - Drums
*Mike O'Sullivan - Glugel Horn
*Bob Baldori - Shakers
*Jeff Baldori - Lead Guitar
*Bee Metros - Drums
*Zocko Groendal - Bass

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Johnny Kidd And The Pirates - The Best Of (1956-66 uk, pioneer beat roots 'n' roll, 2008 two disc set)

It may surprise you to know that The Beatles were not the first British rock act to top the chart with one of their own compositions – that honour goes to Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, whose No. 1 hit, 'Shakin' All Over", is also the earliest British penned rock song to ever reach the US Top 20. Born Frederick Allbert Heath in WillesdenWillesden, North London on November 23 1935, Johnny was the youngest of Margaret and Ernest Heath's three children. He attended Wesley Road Secondary Modern School before going on to Willesden Technical College, and first became interested in music when an uncle gave him a banjo for his birthday. 

In 1956, together with some friends, he formed a skiffle group, who at various times were known as Bats Heath & The Vampires, The Frantic- Four, and The Five Nutters Skiffle Group. The group fared well in a handful of talent shows, which led to an appearance on the BBC radio show Skiffle Club and performances at the No.l skiffle venue. The '2 I's coffee bar in Soho.

When the skiffle train ran out of steam, the group had a few name changes before settling on Freddie Heath & The Nutters. Unlike many contemporary British rockers, Johnny also wrote songs. In 1959, George Martin produced the duo The Bachelors (Steve Keen & Rikki Gabin - no connection to the later Irish trio) singing 'Please Don't Touch', which Kidd composed with his manager Guy Robinson. Simultaneously Johnny was ottered a contract with another EMI label, HMV, and on April 18, 1959, the group recorded their version of that song with upand- coming producer Peter Sullivan, later famous for his work with acts like Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck. It was while recording this track (it took 28 takes), and its equally exciting, written-inthe- studio, b-side 'Growl' , that the group learned that they would now be known as Johnny Kidd & The Pirates - a decision they presumed had been taken by either Sullivan or Robinson.

'Please Don't Touch' had more of a raw rock'n'roll sound than any other British record at the time, and their performance of it on BBC" radio's Saturday Club helped push it into the Top 20. Most unusually for a UK rock song it was covered in the USA by Chico Holliday (on RCA), and 22 years later revisited the UK charts by heavy metal heroes Motorhead and Girlschool. Johnny, who wore an eye patch and calf length cowboy boots on stage to enhance his pirate image, followed this hit with a beat rendition of the First World War favourite 'If You Were The Only Girl In The World' - recorded just days after the death of its composer George Meyer. The group then returned to the chart with a cover version of 'You Got What It Takes' penned by future Motown owner Berry Gordy Jr.

At this time the Pirates had reduced to a trio consisting of Alan Caddy (lead guitar) Brian Gregg (bass), and Clem Cattini (drums). It was this line-up, with the addition of noted session guitarist Joe Moretti, that recorded their next single. The A-side was intended to be their rockin' revival of the 1925 favorite 'Yes Sir, That's My Baby', hut it was the "throwaway" b-side that went down in rock'n'roll history. They penned 'Shakin' All Over' in just six minutes at Chas McDevitt's Freight Train coftee bar in Soho the day before going into the studio on Friday the 13th May I960. Legend has it that the track, which features Moretti's playing the chilling guitar figure and classic solo, was recorded in just two takes. Johnny recalled "When we saw a girl who was a real sizzler we used to say that she gave us 'quivers down the membranes'. It was this that inspired me to write the song".

EMI instantly realised the track's potential and made it the a-side. The group launched it on Jack Good's TV show Wham!. It charted immediately and seven weeks later in August 1960 replaced Cliff Richard's 'Please Don't Tease' at No. 1. Incidentally, Cliff later recorded the song as did The Who, The Swinging Blue Jeans, Normie Rowe (who took it to the top in Australia) and Canada's Guess Who (who took it into the US Top 2O). Johnny's final I960 release was the haunting 'Restless' which narrowly missed the Top 2O. He returned to the Hit Parade the following year with the R&B song 'Linda Lu' but the next release 'Please Don't Bring Me Down', which owed more than a little to 'Shakin' All Over', failed to chart. It was soon after this that Brian, Alan and Clem thought thev were leaving a sinking ship and quit the Pirates - they would soon all be part of the Tornados, who had a transatlantic No. 1 with "Telstar' in 1962. Johnny's final release of 1961 was the 'Fever' flavoured 'Hurry On Back To Love', on which the Pirates were replaced by the Mike Sanimes Singers. It also sold relatively few copies.

By 1962 there was a new line-up of Pirates; Johnny Spence (bass), Frank Farley (drums) and Johnny Patto (guitar), who as the Redcaps had previously hacked Oh Boy! regular Cuddly Duddly. The group spent most of that year gigging around the UK and in Hamburg, where they starred at the prestigious Star Club. The cutlass wielding buccaneer and his band were particularly popular in Liverpool, where they often played the Cavern Club, where future Merseybeat stars watched and learned from their idols, and also topped the bill over The Beatles on a Mersey riverboat shuffle.

In January 1963 the group scored with their verson of A Shot Of Rhythm ‘n’ Blues' coupled with the equally popular 'I Can Tell', the first track to feature guitarist Mick Green who replaced Patto. That summer their new manager  Gordon Mills convinced them to record “Never Get Over You”, a catchy song he had written, and previously recorded with his group The Viscounts, which had a Merseybeat feel. Initially the group were not too keen as it was a little too commercial for them. However, it rocketed into the Top 5 and the similarly styled Mills-penned follow up 'Hungry For Love' also gave them a Top '20 entry, and a year later was used by The Searchers as the lead track on a Top 5 EP. The group's last chart entry came in 1964 with Always And Ever', which was based on the 19th century Neapolitan song 'Santa Lucia".  Later singles, including Kidd's versions of Jewel Akins hit The Birds & The Bees', The Miracles' million seller 'Shop Around', Marvin Rainwater's 1958 No.l ' Whole Lotta Woman' and an updated 'Shakin' All Over '65' sold only moderately well but this did not really affect Johnny's amazing capacity for pulling big crowds wherever he played.

In 1966, Johnny married long time girl friend Jean Complin and among his wedding guests were Tom Jones, Georgie Fame, and members of The Hollies and Pretty Things. In April that year The Pirates set sail without Johnny in search of more fame and fortune, and after that mutiny he put together The New Pirates (who evolved from Liverpool band The Avengers). He was very happy with the group and their live shows were very well received. As a Norfolk newspaper reported "Always a very visual performer, Johnny's voice sounded more powerful today than when this legend of British rock'n'roll was in the charts! ". However, tragically, soon afterwards, when driving back from a gig in Nelson, Lancashire, Kidd was killed in a crash near Bury.

'Send For That Girl', which Johnny had hoped would return him to the top, was released shortly after his funeral. Despite the fact that he had played such a pivotal role in British rock music, the single received little support from the British music media and, ironically, even the recently launched Pirate Radio ships turned a blind eye to the record. It seemed that Johnny's image and sound no longer fitted. Perhaps the reason was in his genes, he was too Gene Vincent and not enough Gene Pitney for the .swinging sixties set. Apart from all the A and B sides of all the group's singles, this top notch collection includes many noteworthy recordings that were not made available until after Johnny's death. Among the lesser known jewels are the group's distinctive interpretations of rock favourites The Fool', 'Let's Talk About Us', Dr. Feelgood' and 'Some Other Guy'. In addition, they offer unique treatments of 'Your Cheating Heart', 'Right String But The Wrong Yo Yo', 'You Can Have Her' and 'I Just Want To Make Love To You' (recorded three years before the Rolling Stones version!).

Although they never had a hit of their own in the USA, they are held in high esteem there. Rolling Stone magazine summed up Kidd's group by saying "They were a prototype for the heavy metal guitar trios that they predated by nearly a decade", while other American critics pointed out that they were recording R’n’B songs long before the Beat Boom and British Invasion bands. This set plunders Johnny Kidd & The Pirates' vault and oilers you the very best of their recordings - and, if you'll excuse the pun, it's an album to treasure.
by Dave McAleer  (with thanks to Adrian Barrett)

Disc 1
1. Please Don't Touch (Frederick Heath, Guy Robinson) - 1:53 
2. Growl (Frederick Heath, Guy Robinson) - 2:23 
3. Steady Date (Peter DeAngelis, Robert Marcucci) - 2:38 
4. Feelin' (Frederick Heath) - 1:59 
5. If You Were the Only Girl in the World and I Were the Only Boy (Clifford Grey) - 2:38 
6. You Got What It Takes (B. Gordy Jr, G. Gordy, R. Davies) - 2:02 
7. Longin' Lips (Frederick Heath, Guy Robinson) - 1:47 
8. Shakin' All Over (Johnny Kidd) - 2:21 
9. Yes Sir That's My Baby (Walter Donaldson, Gus Kahn) - 1:42 
10.Restless (T. Wadmore, Johnny Kidd, S. Dale) - 2:12 
11.Magic of Love (Johnny Kidd) - 2:08 
12.Linda Lu (Ray Sharpe) - 2:35 
13.Let's Talk About Us (Otis Blackwell) - 3:22 
14.Big Blon' Baby (Kenny Jacobson, Rhoda Roberts) - 2:05 
15.Weep No More My Baby (Arnette, Murphy, O'Dell, Paterno) - 3:14 
16.More of the Same (Peter DeAngelis) - 1:53 
17.I Just Want to Make Love to You (Willie Dixon) - 3:01 
18.Please Don't Bring Me Down (Johnny Kidd) - 2:14 
19.So What (Crompton, Jones) - 2:27 
20.Hurry on Back to Love (Westlake) - 2:30 
21.I Want That (Edna Lewis, Ben Weisman) - 2:26 
22.I Can Tell (Samuel F. Smith) - 2:31 
23.A Shot of Rhythm and Blues (Terry Thompson) - 2:00 
24.Some Other Day (Richard Barrett, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) - 2:28 
25.Popeye (M. Green, J. Spence, F. Farley) - 2:14 
26.Spanish Armada (M. Green) - 2:35 
27.Then I Got Everything (Johnny Kidd, Mike Green) - 2:02 
28.I'll Never Get Over You (Gordon Mills) - 2:09 

Disc 2
1. Hungry for Love (Gordon Mills) - 2:16
2. Ecstasy (Doc Pomus, Phil Spector) - 2:31
3. Casting My Spell (Alvin Johnson, Edwin Johnson) - 2:24
4. My Babe (Willie Dixon) - 2:46
5. Doctor Feelgood (C. Smith) - 2:11
6. Always and Ever (David J. Ruvin) - 2:56
7. A Little Bit of Soap (B. Russell) - 2:27
8. Oh Boy (Norman Petty, Bill Tilghman, Sonny West) - 1:40
9. Send Me Some Lovin' (John Marascalco) - 3:08
10.Whole Lotta Woman (Marvin Rainwater) - 3:12
11.Your Cheatin' Heart (Hank Williams) - 3:19
12.Right String But the Wrong Yo-Yo (W. Perryman) - 2:34
13.Shop Around (B. Gordy Jr, W. Smokey Robinson) - 3:06
14.I Know (Barbara George) - 2:25
15.Jealous Girl (Mills, Weske) - 2:38
16.Where Are You (Swanson, Roberts) - 2:21
17.Don't Make the Same Mistake as I Did (Lynch, Schuman, Westlake) - 2:28
18.The Birds and the Bees (Herb Newman) - 2:04
19.Can't Turn You Loose (Otis Redding) - 2:18
20.Gotta Travel On (Traditional) - 3:01
21.Shakin' All Over '65 (Johnny Kidd) - 2:24
22.Bad Case of Love (Sonny Curtis) - 2:02
23.You Can Have Her (Bill Cook) - 2:52
24.This Golden Ring (R. Greenaway, R. Cook) - 2:48
25.It's Got to Be You (Birch) - 2:26
26.I Hate Getting Up in the Morning (Mitch Murray) - 2:06
27.Send for That Girl (Barter) - 2:45
28.The Fool (N. Ford, Lee Hazelwood) - 4:11

The Pirates
*Johnny Kidd - Vocals, Guitar
*Alan Caddy - Lead Guitar
*Brian Gregg - Bass
*Clem Cattini - Drums
*Joe Moretti - Guitar
*Johnny Spence - Bass
*Frank Farley - Drums
*Johnny Patto - Guitar
*Mike Green - Guitar

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

McGuinn, Clark And Hillman - McGuinn, Clark And Hillman (1979 us, elegant folk country smooth rock, 2014 japan SHM remaster)

Although Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, and Chris Hillman were founding members of the Byrds, when they reunited as a trio at the end of the 1970s they seemed determined to create a sound that did not remind listeners of the earlier group. Though their music was still mainstream pop/rock with folk antecedents, it sounded like contemporary '70s studio rock, even to the point of including a song with a disco arrangement, "Release Me Girl." More important, the trio's vocal blend, heavily augmented by the voices of John Sambataro and Rhodes, Chalmers & Rhodes, did not remind listeners of the Byrds. The major reason for this was the back seat that McGuinn, the virtual leader of the Byrds, took in the new group. He had only two compositions, to Hillman's three and Clark's four, on the record, and they were his only lead vocals. Otherwise, his reedy tenor faded into the background, with Clark and Hillman singing lead most of the time. 

But if the group didn't sound like the Byrds, they often did sound like the Eagles, the group that had inherited the Byrds' mantle in the '70s. Hillman's "Sad Boy," for example, could have passed for a Glenn Frey-led Eagles song. Ironically, and perhaps deliberately, given record company machinations, the single released from the album was McGuinn's "Don't You Write Her Off," which rose into the Top 40, taking the album with it. But what probably helped the group and the album most was that in 1979 more than two years had passed since the last Eagles album, leaving fans hungry for a soundalike. If the trio had an appealing sound, however, they lacked substance.
by William Ruhlmann

1. Long Long Time (Chris Hillman, Ramsey, Rick Roberts) - 3:11
2. Little Mama (Gene Clark) - 4:17
3. Don't You Write Her Off (Bob Hippard, Roger McGuinn) - 3:19
4. Surrender To Me (Rick Vito) - 3:37
5. Backstage Pass (Gene Clark) - 4:28
6. Stopping Traffic (Chris Hillman, Knobler) - 3:20
7. Feelin' Higher (Gene Clark, Jim Messina) - 5:22
8. Sad Boy (Chris Hillman) - 4:05
9. Release Me Girl (Gene Clark, Thomas Jefferson Kaye) - 3:55
10.Bye, Bye Baby (Bob Hippard, Roger McGuinn) - 3:58

*Chris Hillman - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
*Gene Clark - Vocals, Guitar
*Roger McGuinn - Guitars, Vocals
*Paul Harris - Keyboards
*Joe Lala - Percussion
*Donna Rhodes - Vocals
*John Sambataro - Guitar, Vocals
*George Terry - Guitars, Piano
*Greg Thomas - Drums
*Charles Chalmers - Vocals
*Sandra Chalmers - Vocals
*Mike Lewis - Horn Arrangements, String Arrangements

1964  The Byrds - Preflyte (2012 Edition)
1968  The Byrds - Sweetheart Of The Rodeo  (Double Disc Set)
1969  The Byrds - Live At Fillmore
1971  The Byrds - Live At Royal Albert Hall
1973  Byrds - Byrds

1973  Roger McGuinn - Roger McGuinn (2013 Edition) 

1967  Gene Clark - Echoes
1968-69  Dillard And Clark - Fantastic Expedition / Through The Morning, Through The Night (MFSL remaster)
1971  Gene Clark - White Light
1972  Gene Clark - Roadmaster (2011 Remaster)

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Beau Brummels - Live (1974 us, marvelous folk psych country rock)

In 1965, American rock and roll music was swept up in the British Invasion. But, in Northern California, fans had there own "British" band. The Beau Brummels, like the Byrds and others, were a vital part of a new music explosion. All jangly guitars and tight harmonies, they had the sound. They also had the look. And, the name? Well, it sounded like a bunch of English dandies! The Beau Brummels took America by storm in 1965, leaping onto the charts with "Laugh Laugh", following in May with "Just A Little/ Still In Love With You Baby", and ending the summer with "You Tell Me Why". While the hits were breaking nationwide, the band's managers and record label owners, DJ's "Big Daddy" Tom Donahue and Bobby Mitchell, kept the group hidden in San Francisco area clubs until "the time was right for touring".

Finally let loose to play their first concert, the Beau Brummels were headliners at the Memorial Auditorium in nearby Sacramento. With Gary Lewis And The Playboys as support, they played in front of 4000 screaming fans! From 1965 through 1968, the Beau Brummels created a string of memorable Top-40 hits. They released a half-dozen albums, including one recognized classic, "Triangle" in 1967. The band are considered folk-rock pioneers and are credited with helping to introduce country-Rock with "Bradley's Barn" in 1968.  The Beau Brummels earned the respect and support of fans worldwide who remember something special when they hear the heartfelt soul in Sal Valentino's voice-the reverberation of Ron Elliott's and Dec Mulligan's guitars and Dec's wailing harmonica-all carried along by Ron Meagher's bass and John Peterson's drums. Ultimately, the band ceased to exist.  

In 1974, Elliott sparked a reunion of the Beau Brummels. He showed up at Sal's house with new material, a record deal in the works, and a desire to recapture the magic. But, it had to be with all the original guys! Sal Valentino explained it this way to DIG records: "Ron Elliott had a bunch of songs that sounded like he had been a staff writer trying to write stuff that would fit different artists. Ron Meagher had a couple songs. Declan wrote a song or two. One thing decided early on by Elliott was that I was going to do (all) the singing...not like before.

The group came to Sacramento to woodshed, to work on the songs. They returned to the city that had always received them warmly. Before recording any new material, they would test the waters with a week-long engagement at the intimate Shire Road Pub in nearby Fair Oaks Village. The Beau Brummels would play music for old friends and for the curious over a four night stand, two shows each night. With Sal's opening acoustic set, and Stoneground lady Lydia Moreno's offering, the shows ran nearly 3 hours. Crowds were lined up around the block—the Beau Brummels were back! The band performed the chart hits with a fresh infusion of joy and celebration. But, there was something else. From the bossa nova beat of "City Girl", to the funk-driven "Man And Woman Kind" and the rocking "Lisa", new musical territory was being staked out. 

1975 saw the Warner Brothers album "Beau Brummels" released to critical acclaim but poor sales. The band had not remained intact. Ron Meagher left before the LP was finished. Some live label-sponsored showcases were scheduled, but it just wasn't the same. 

People have said that the magic that justified the reunion was left on that tiny stage in Fair Oaks. What survived was this recording. It's the only stage performance of the original Beau Brummels. And, the song list features 10 compositions that have never been released.  

DIG records asked Sal Valentino to comment on some of the songs that Beau Brummels fans have not heard before. We share his thoughts and impressions with you: "Lonely People" ...That was a Ron Meagher song. "Music Speaks Louder Than Words" a strange song. It was one of those songs Elliott wrote when he was some kind of staff writer.

"Lisa" a Declan Mulligan song. It's got that kind of driving beat that Declan liked. With Elliott, everything we were doing was meticulous and plotted out. Whereas "Lisa" is just "let's get it on". We all seemed to like doing it. "Man And Woman Kind" ...We had fun doing this one because it's the kind of thing we (normally) wouldn't do. 

"Her Dream Alley" ...A little country, a little jug band-ish. "City Girl" ...This song I love. I really do. It's about his (Elliott's) wife, I think. You have to remember, this is the kind of singer I am. Basically, this is what I could do. Almost folky. Maybe a little jazzy. You know, not quite. But, that FM kind of song. Sal also commented on two songs from the Warner Brothers album: "Singing Cowboy" ...was inspired by Gene Autry

"Tennessee Walker" ...When Elliott came to me and played this song, I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe I knew someone who wrote this song. It made me think of Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer. I knew Elliott was capable of that. That was part of his musical background. When I met him, he was around 14 or 15 and he was writing musicals. It was impressive. Upon hearing Beau Brummels Live all the way through, DIG asked Sal what he thought: "That sounds pretty good!" Come, join us for a set at the Pub.
by Jeff Hughson, January, 1999

1. Nine Pound Hammer (Merle Travis) - 3:52
2. You Tell Me Why (Ron Elliott) - 3:34
3. Turn Around/Singing Cowboy (Ron Elliott, Ruth Durand) - 8:01
4. Gate of Hearts (Ron Elliott) - 3:18
5. Lonely People (Ron Meagher) - 4:19
6. Music Speaks Louder (Ron Elliott) - 2:49
7. Lisa (Declan Mulligan) - 3:01
8. Tennessee Walker (Ron Elliott) - 4:34
9. Don't Talk to Strangers (Ron Elliott, Ruth Durand) - 2:21
10.Laugh, Laugh (Ron Elliott) - 3:15
11.Lonesome Town (Ron Elliott) - 3:09
12.Free (Ron Elliott, Brian Engle) - 3:45
13.Man And Woman Kind (Ron Elliott, Brian Engle) - 4:50
14.Restless Soul (Ron Elliott) - 3:29
15.Her Dream Alley (Ron Elliott) - 2:34
16.City Girl (Ron Elliott, Brian Engle) - 3:29
17.Paper Plane (Ron Elliott) - 2:59
18.Just a Little (Ron Elliott, Ruth Durand) - 2:51
19.Love Can Fall (Ron Elliott, Ruth Durand) - 4:47

The Beau Brummels
*Sal Valentino - Vocals
*Ron Meagher - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
*Declan Mulligan - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
*John Petersen - Drums
*Ron Elliott - Guitar, Vocals

1964-66  Beau Brummels - Autumn Of Their Years
1965  Introducing The Beau Brummels (Sundazed edition)
1966  Beau Brummels' 66 (Japan edition)
1967  Triangle
1969  Bradley's Barn
1975  Beau Brummels
Related Act
1970  Ron Elliott - The Candlestickmaker

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tobias Wood Henderson - Blue Stone (1968 us, superb funky soul blues rock, 2009 korean remaster)

I was actually born in New Iberia, Louisiana. To be exact, I was born on Avery Island in the middle of the Bayou Teche in a lying in hospital which was part of the WL Mclllhenny plantation. Momma had taken the train to Florida to meet daddy when his ship arrived in Charleston harbor. They started back to Texas so the child (me) could be born in Texas and only got so far due to the interference of a hurricane. So it was that I was born at 12:01 AM on the 26th day of August, 1945 dead in the middle of a hurricane. For the next three days I had no name because I was going to be a Texan. Finally, on the 29th of August my mom and dad arrived in Victoria, Texas and my birth certificate says I was born in Victoria Hospital, Victoria, Texas (same date, August 26'th, just different venue.

I was a sickly child and suffered terribly from asthma and was not expected to live. To occupy the endless hours spent in an oxygen tent, my dad built me a crystal radio and one night (when I was about 4 years old) I discovered WLAC in Nashville, Tennessee and I heard the blues. As I recall, the first thing I heard was a serious sermon by the Reverend CL Franklin (Aretha Franklin's dad) from his church in Chicago, Illinois. The next thing I heard was Sonny Boy Williamson and then I heard Robert Johnson playing "Hellhounds On My Trail" I already had a violin but now I was torn between the harmonica and the guitar.

Lucky for me, one of my uncles went to Hawaii on vacation and brought back a slack-key guitar and made me a gift of it. The harmonicas had the approval of my doctor because I had to breathe deeply to play them. About this time I discovered singing. When I reached the age of 10, my father had my disabilities of minority removed. Except for the purchase of liquor, this made me a legal adult and I took my guitar and left home shortly thereafter. I went to New Orleans and played in the lobby of a whore house. I made tips from the music and worked as a towel boy in that house until I went back to Texas when I was 14. 

Shortly after returning, I founded "Tobias and The Sounds" and this band, which grew from 4 members up to 14 players over the next few years was one of the most successful Blues and Rhythm ‘n’ Blues bands around the state of Texas. Unfortunately, my success was not I welcomed in the White community as I played  I with an all-Black band and very often played for a large and devoted Black audience.

My parents were insulted in the street and I was often shot at by the local "whites only" folks. In 1961 I had a hit record and received an award from the Negro Disk Jockeys of America (of which BB King was a member from Memphis). When I arrived to pick up my award, they refused to give it to me because I was white. They were afraid of racist backlash. I wish I could say that today the world has changed but it has not changed all that much. In 1962, I entered the US Army which was which was the occasion of my first trip to Korea. I was deeply impressed by the culture, the people, and the food. 

When I was released, I ventured from Texas to Hollywood end met my old friend Dr. John The Night Tripper and his partner Harold Battiste, Jr. and that association led to the album called "Tobias Wood Henderson-Blue Stone". Unfortunately, Pulsar Records was a division of Mercury Records and at that time, the record business including distribution was very much under the aegis of organised crime. The album got great reviews and (4) singles were pulled from it and at the end. Mercury owed me something in the neighbourhood of $800,000.00 in royalties and publishing. I never got a dime of that money. We sued, we won and then getting any payment was like nailing jelly to a tree. Finally gave up and went back to Texas and worked in the oil field and played music on the week ends.

It was nearly 30 years until I recorded again. Meanwhile, I have been (and lived) all over the world playing and singing the Blues and I still can play and sing them.
by Tobias Wood Henderson 5/23/2009

1. Color Blind Man - 4:08
2. Turn Me Loose - 2:42
3. Be A Fool - 2:47
4. The Price Of Love - 2:45
5. Gypsy Boy I - 2:48
6. Child Of Darkness - 3:02
7. Woman Of The World - 3:18
8. Big Brothers Message - 2:42
9. Why Can't You Do Right - 2:43
10. Gypsy Boy II - 3:44
All compositions by Tobias Wood Henderson

*Tobias Wood Henderson - Vocals, Guitar

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Chris Spedding - Chris Spedding (1975-77 uk, splendid guitar pub rock, audiophile 2013 issue)

Though this eponymous masterpiece was not Chris Spedding's first solo album, it was the first to impact on the record buying public at large. Spiralling out of his so-memorable hit "Motorbiking," it established the leather-clad, quiff-topped Spedding as the first guitar-hero pin-up of the punk era, a full year before even punk's progenitors had heard of the term. Certainly great swathes of what eventually emerged amid the British new wave was bodily borrowed from Spedding, both visually and, with a few fashionable refinements, visually. 

Chris Spedding sounds like its maker looked: tight, mean, and taking no trash from no-one. The future anthem "Guitar Jamboree" could easily have been replayed with switchblades, while his take on Chuck Berry's "School Days" has a lot more in mind than class work and gym. Electrifying, too, are "Jump in My Car" and "Bedsit Girl." Economically riff-driven guitar pop was nothing new, of course, but rarely had it been executed with such a glowering swagger. Short, sharp and never less than brittle, Chris Spedding has few of the frills that Spedding so adeptly draped over other people's records, few of the twists and turns that distinguished his work with Sharks or later, alone. But, if ever anyone figures out how to fit a CD player into a motorcycle helmet, this should be the first album anybody buys to play on it. 
by Dave Thompson

1. New Girl In The Neighbourhood - 2:31
2. School Days (Chuck Berry) - 2:27
3. Sweet Disposition - 2:17
4. Bedsit Girl - 2:04
5. Guitar Jamboree - 4:20
6. Jump In My Car (Ted Mulry) - 3:24
7. Hungry Man - 3:18
8. Motorbikin' - 2:40
9. Catch That Train - 2:41
10.Nervous - 2:14
11.Boogie City - 2:38
12.Working For The Union - 2:53
13.Running Round - 2:38
14.Truck Drivin' Man - 3:13
All songs by Chris Spedding except where indicated

*Chris Spedding - Guitar, Vocals
*Brian Bennett - Drums
*Tony Burrows - Vocals
*Tony Carr - Drums
*Dave Cochran - Bass
*Sue Glover - Vocals
*Les Hurdle - Bass
*Neil Lancaster - Vocals
*Sunny Leslie - Vocals
*Charles Mills - Vocals
*Barry Morgan - Drums

1972  Chris Spedding - The Only Lick I Know
1977  Chris Spedding - Hurt

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Black Hippies - The Black Hippies (1977 nigeria, terrific hard fuzzy funk psych afro rock)

Black Hippies were a Nigerian rock band in the mid-'70s led by songwriter Joseph Etinagbedia (aka Pazy). In their earliest incarnations, the band played a distinct style of harder rock, one that bore many of the trademarks of Nigerian music, from the raw, visceral vocal style to the psychedelic funk that touches every corner of the songs. This first, self-titled album was recorded in 1976 by producer Odion Iruoje and features five of the band's tunes from their earliest days, finding funky pre-disco rhythms playfully co-existing with light-headed fuzz guitar in Pazy's celebratory, somewhat psychedelic tunes. The band would shift gears with subsequent releases, going more in the direction of reggae than hard rock, but these five songs represent the band at an inspired beginning point where their take on hard rock was something truly unique. 
by Fred Thomas

1. Doing It In The Street - 5:12
2. I Have The Love On You - 5:44
3. Love (Sonny Orovie) - 4:11
4. The World Is Great - 9:05
5. You Are My Witness – 8:40
All songs by Edire Etinagbedia except where noted

*Joseph Etinagbedia - Vocals, Guitar

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