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Plain and Fancy

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Country Joe McDonald - War War War (1971 us, brilliant protest folk painted with traditional colours, Akarma limited edition)



The Canadian poet Robert Service, is best know for his poem "The Ballad of Yukon Jack"; but his most striking collection of work is contained in the small book of poetry published after the Great War (World War I) ~ "Rhymes of A Red Cross Man". 

Service was in the ambulance service during the War and this collection of poems put to music represent the experiences he had while serving in France. Each one of them is evocative of an era, a time that few alive today can understand. Perhaps best illustrated by the film version of "All Quiet On The Western Front" the horrors of trench warfare cannot be described to the young people of today. 

Service had a way of talking about situations that in many ways is very much in keeping with late 20th century writing- -the indirectness of "The Man From Athabaska" and the directness of "Jean Desprez" illustrate best the style made more popular by "Yukon Jack" and his poems of the Northwest Territories. "Jean Desprez" was performed in 1971 on the BBC's "Late Night Lineup" in a show that also featured Mick Jagger. We had a copy of the performance, but it was lost. 

The album has been a modest underground favorite for many years. It reissue by One Way a few years ago sold out its pressing run.
by Bill Belmont, Berkeley, June 2001


Tracks
1. Foreword - 4:39
2. The Call - 2:35
3. Young Fellow, My Lad - 3:47
4. The Man From Athabaska - 6:28
5. The Munition Maker - 4:22
6. The Twins - 1:53
7. Jean Desprez - 9:48
8. War Widow - 2:02
9. The March Of The Dead - 6:27
Music composed by Country Joe McDonald,
based on poems written by Robert Service

*Country Joe McDonald - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica, Footstomping, Harmony Vocal, Tambourine, Organ

Country Joe discography
1965-71  The First Three E.P's
1967  Electric Music For The Mind And Body
1967  I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die
1968  Together
1969  Live! Fillmore West
1969  Here We Are Again
1970  CJ Fish
1970  Tonight I'm Singing Just For You
1971  Hold On It's Coming

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The Human Beinz - Nobody But Me / Evolutions (1968 us, spectrum of sunny beat psychedelia, Collectables 2006 release)



Ohio's Human Beinz are remembered today for their one and only hit, a hot-wired and feedback-fueled cover of the Isley Brothers' "Nobody But Me" that hit the charts in 1968, but the two albums they cut for Capitol Records are most remarkable in that if you removed the title track from Nobody But Me, you'd be hard-pressed to imagine that they were recorded by the same band responsible for that single. 

Both Nobody But Me and the follow-up, Evolutions, released later the same year, are paired up on this two-fer CD from Collectables. Nobody But Me features a few token blasts of high-attitude rock, but producer Lex De Azevedo seemed more interested in conjuring up some ambitious psychedelic production numbers for the group, including a lavish and brooding cover of "Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair," a slice of semi-witty social protest called "It's Fun to Be Clean," and several low-key meditations on lost love. 

De Azevedo and the Human Beinz took things a good bit further with their second LP, Evolutions; the trippy psychodrama of "My Animal," the acoustic-based plea for compassion of "Close Your Eyes," the Mellotron-accented smirk of "If You Don't Mind, Mrs. Applebee," and the noisy freak-out coda of "Two of a Kind" (complete with the sound of a piano being dismantled) make this album some sort of landmark among frat rock guys who discovered the wonders of LSD. 

The album also gave lead guitarist Richard Belley a lot more room for his fuzzed-out solos, and if he was no Hendrix (or even Leigh Stephens), his sound brings a bit of welcome sonic unity to this wildly eclectic LP. Despite the presence of the Nuggets-approved hit single, Nobody But Me/Evolutions is probably more interesting for fans of the lesser-known branches of '60s psychedelia than anyone else, and if the Human Beinz's exploration of inner space was a bit cheesy, it's also amusing and still makes its case well all these years later. 
by Mark Deming 


Tracks
1. Nobody But Me (Isley, Isley) - 2:16
2. Foxey Lady (J. Hendrix) - 2:26
3. Shaman (De Azevedo) - 2:14
4. Flower Grave (Belley) - 2:14
5. Dance on Through (Whittington) - 3:03
6. Turn On Your Love Light (Malone, Scott) - 2:13
7. It's Fun to Be Clean (De Azevedo) - 2:06
8. Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair (Trad. arr. by De Azevedo) - 4:24
9. This Lonely Town (Leatherwood, Scheri) - 2:22
10.Sueno (Belley, Markulin, Pachuta, Tatman) - 2:06
11.Serenade To Sarah (De Azevedo) - 1:58
12.Face (De Azevedo) - 2:41
13.My Animal (De Azevedo) - 2:44
14.Every Time Woman (De Azevedo) - 2:06
15.Close Your Eyes (Murray) - 2:26
16.If You Don't Mind, Mrs. Applebee (De Azevedo) - 2:08
17.I've Got to Keep On Pushing (De Azevedo) - 2:35
18.Cement (Belley) - 2:10
19.Two Of A Kind (Murray, Kruck) - 5:05
20.April 15th (Belley, De Azevedo) - 7:05

The Human Beinz
*John "Dick" Belley - Vocals, Guitar
*Joe "Ting" Markulin - Vocals, Guitar
*Mel Pachuta - Vocals, Bass
*Mike Tatman - Drums

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