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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Jesse Ed Davis - Keep Me Comin' (1973 us, singular melt of electrified blues, Southern fried rocked up r'n'b, greasy funk, freaky soul jazz and country rock, Japan 2017)

Charismatic Jesse Ed Davis was truly one of the rare breed known as a “guitarist’s guitarist.” On session after session in the late 1960s and 1970s, he epitomized the concept of playing for the song, drawing deeply from country, blues, rock, and R&B influences without mimicking anyone. He recorded with three of the Beatles and blues giants John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Albert King. He appeared in the film Concert for Bangladesh and played sessions with Eric Clapton, Gene Clark, Neil Diamond, John Trudell, and many others. He released three solo albums on major labels. And yet despite these accomplishments, Jesse Ed Davis remains best known for his work on the early Taj Mahal albums and for being “the guy who inspired Duane Allman to play slide guitar.”

True, Jesse created the signature riff used by Duane for the Allman Brothers Band’s “Statesboro Blues,” as well as the bottleneck on Eric Clapton’s “Hello Old Friend.” But slide was just one facet of Davis’ widespread talent. He created many memorable hooks. Playing fingers-and-pick country on his trademark Telecaster, he could fire off multiple-string bends and double-stops as naturally as a Nashville cat. In blues settings, he made every note count, like a B.B. King or Mike Bloomfield. He delved into jazz. His uncanny feel for rock led to his becoming John Lennon’s guitarist of choice for the Rock ’n’ Roll album.

With his handsome features, long black hair, and moddish clothes, Davis cut a dashing figure onstage. He was one of very few Native Americans to achieve prominence in pop music, and today, almost three decades after his untimely death, he’s regarded as a hero by many young Native Americans.

Early in 1973, Jesse played guitar and sang backup on Bryan Ferry’s These Foolish Things, featuring many Roxy Music alumni, and joined a star-studded cast for Rod Taylor’s self-titled release on Asylum. He next played on Arlo Guthrie’s The Last of the Brooklyn Cowboys, which also featured Ry Cooder and Clarence White. He also released his third and final solo album, the self-produced Keep Me Comin’, which was devoid of guest stars. Instead, Davis relied on studio stalwarts – drummer Jim Keltner, bassist Bob Glaub, and keyboardist James Gordon. He co-composed four of the songs with John Angelo, calling his “Who Pulled the Plug” one of “the great Okie classics.”

Jesse Davis spent his final days living in Long Beach, California, where he sometimes counseled at the American Indian Free Clinic. On June 22, 1988, he was found dead in a laundry room in Venice, California, reportedly of a heroin overdose. His body was returned to Oklahoma for a traditional Comanche burial. In 1998, his first two solo albums were issued on CD by Warner/Japan.

In 2002, Jesse Ed Davis was inducted along with Dave Brubeck and Patti Page into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. “Whether it was blues, country, or rock,” stated the official citation, “Davis’ tasteful guitar playing was featured on albums by such giants as Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, John Lennon, and John Lee Hooker, among others.” For a kid who used to imitate Elvis in front of a mirror, Jesse Ed Davis had truly come a long way.

1. Big Dipper - 1:41
2. She's A Pain (Jesse Davis, John Angelos) - 2:52
3. Where Am I Now (When I Need Me) (Jesse Davis, John Angelos) - 3:16
4. Natural Anthem - 5:37
5. Who Pulled The Plug? (John Angelos) - 5:02
6. Ching Ching China Boy (Jesse Davis, John Angelos) - 2:57
7. Bacon Fat (Andre Williams) - 4:32
8. No Diga Mas (James Gordon) - 0:44
9. 6:00 Bugalu - 6:01
10.Keep Me Comin' (Jesse Davis, John Angelos) - 4:06
All songs by Jesse Davis except where stated

*Jesse Ed Davis - Guitar, Vocals
*John Angelos - Harmonica, Vocals
*Gary Barone - Flugelhorn, Trumpet
*George Bohannon - Trombone
*Bobby Bruce - Fiddle, Violin
*Billy Davis - Vocals
*Oma Drake - Vocals
*Jacques Ellis - Trombone
*Felix "Flaco" Falcon - Percussion
*Bob Glaub - Bass
*James Gordon - Clavinet, Keyboards, Piano
*Howard E. Johnson - Baritone Sax
*Jerry Jumonville - Alto Sax
*Jim Keltner - Drums
*Chris ODell - Vocals
*Bill Plummer - Double Bass
*Russell Saunkeah - Vocals
*Clifford Scott - Tenor Sax
*John Smith - Tenor Sax
*Julie Tillman - Vocals
*Bobby Torres - Congas
*Carolyn Willis - Vocals

1970  Jesse Davis (japan edition)
1972  Ululu (2003 japan HDCD remaster)

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Magna Carta - In Concert (1971 uk, peerless folk silky rock, 2014 remaster)

One of the six Magna Carta albums that went gold in Europe, In Concert was recorded live in Amsterdam in 1971, and remains one of the most atmospheric concert recordings of its age. A wonderful venue (the Concertgebouw), an appreciative audience, and a genuinely intimate selection of songs result in performances that cannot even be compared to their studio counterparts.

They're not better, they're not worse, they're just delightfully different, spun with a spontaneity and warmth that truly place the listener stage center. "Airport Song" opens the proceedings, of course, but the band was preaching to the converted that night -- every song is received as a conquering hero, and the band responds with equal generosity. 

A playful "Banjo Man," a haunting "Seven O'Clock Hymn," an eerie "Ring of Stones" -- every track is a highlight, while the newly arrived Davey Johnstone, making his recorded debut with the band, shines so brightly that it's hard to believe he was still unknown at the time. 
by Dave Thompson

1. Introduction - 0:51
2. Airport Song - 3:39
3. Speech - 0:39
4. Time For The Leaving - 4:25
5. Speech - 0:26
6. The Boatman (Davey Johnstone) - 3:10
7. Speech - 1:07
8. Sea And Sand - 4:19
9. Speech - 0:39
10.Banjo (Traditional) - 4:36
11.Speech - 1:02
12.Old John Parker - 2:49
13.Speech - 0:47
14.Seven O´Clock Hyme Midwinter - 12:51
15.Speech - 0:41
16.Country Jam (Chris Simpson, Guy Stuart, Davey Johnstone) - 1:48
17.Speech - 0:21
18.Ring Of Stones - 5:42
All songs written by Chris Simpson except where indicated

Magna Carta
*Chris Simpson - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Glen Stuart - Vocals, Glockenspiel, Harmonium
*Davey Johnstone - Acoustic, Electric Guitars, Mandoline, Sitar, Banjo, Vocals

1969  Magna Carta / Times Of Change
1969-2006  Tomorrow Never Comes-The Anthology (2007 double disc remaster)

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Rare Earth - Live In Chicago (1974 us, high energy classic rock with funky vibes, 2014 remaster)

In the early days before they became Rare Earth, two of this legendary band's founding members, Gil Bridges and Pete Rivera, were playing together around Detroit in a band called the Sunliners, a name they took from the car Gil drove at the time, a 1956 Ford Sunliner. They played top forty-style music including many popular Motown hits at their club dates, which led the band inevitably into its trademark, crossover musical terrain halfway between rock and R’nB. 

Not long after they changed their name to Rare Earth, their manager's friend convinced Barry Gordy's wife, Margaret, to see the band play live. She loved them, and Rare Earth would become the first band recruited by Motown for its fledgling rock music label that was so new it didn't have a name. Improbably, this groundbreaking imprint took the name of the first act it signed, Rare Earth Records.

Rare Earth had recorded the album Dreams/Answers for the Verve label in 1968 and that LP already featured several reinterpretations of soul and R’n’B songs blended with psychedelic rock, including the memorable harpsichordinfused mashup of two Supremes tunes, "Stop/Where Did Our Love Go," and an early version of their breakthrough single, "Get Ready." But when they recorded their first album for Motown their revised take on "Get Ready" had evolved into a solid, 21-minute rocking tour-de-force. The three-minute version of this song that gave the LP its title became a mega hit.

Ecology was their second release on Rare Earth Records and it featured another Temptations cover, "(i Know) I'm Losing You," which was also a hit, plus the driving, popular single, "Born to Wander." "I Just Want To Celebrate" was a highlight of their next album, One World, and it became the band's signature dosing number in concerts, as it is on the Live In Chicago album. A double LP Rare Earth In Concert was released in 1971, followed by Willie Remembers comprised of all band composed original songs. 

Then Rare Earth teamed up with the legendary Motown producer Norman Whitfield for the studio album Ma. Whitfield had produced the band's version of "(I Know) I'm Losing You" on Ecology and during their studio sessions he would constantly encourage the band to play on and on in ultra-long versions of the classic Motown songs they covered, stretching them out with the extended jams and improvisations that became Rare Earth's calling card. Ma included the song "Big John Is My Name" that is heard in the Live In Chicago set.

When Rare Earth decided to put out a second live album they recorded their concert at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago, a hall where the band had previously performed many times. According to original member, saxophonist and vocalist, Gil Bridges, "We had many loyal fans in Chicago and our Arie Crown Theater shows always sold-out. We always enjoyed a good response from Chicago audiences" The night in 1974 when they recorded Live In Chicago is no exception - the crowd sounds ecstatic, even singing along on "I Just Want To Celebrate." But through personnel changes and a long stretch since Rare Earth had a strongselling album, Live In Chicago was never released - untii now!

Rare Earth continues to tour with two longtime members performing Gil Bridges and Ray Monette. The other members in the current lineup have been with the band for over 20 years. Today, in 2014 - just as 40 years ago in 1974 - there is nothing in the world like the elemental live sound of Rare Earth!
CD Liner-notes

1. Hey, Big Brother (Dino Fekaris, Nick Zesses) - 7:54
2. Born To Wander (Tom Baird) - 8:29
3. Big John Is My Name (Norman Whitfield) - 7:20
4. (I Know) I'm Losing You, Pt. 1 (Cornelius Grant, Edward Holland Jr., Norman Whitfield) - 7:53
5. (I Know) I'm Losing You, Pt. 2 (Cornelius Grant, Edward Holland Jr., Norman Whitfield) - 11:42
6. Get Ready (Smokey Robinson) - 14:37
7. I Just Want To Celebrate (Dino Fekaris, Nick Zesses) - 10:55

Rare Earth
*Pete Rivera - Drums, Lead Vocal, Percussion
*Mike Urso - Bass, Vocals
*Gil Bridges - Saxophone, Flute, Vocals
*Ray Monette - Guitars, Vocals
*Mark Olson - Keyboards, Vocals
*Ed Guzman - Conga, Percussion

1968  Dreams/Answers (2017 remaster)
1969-74  Fill Your Head (three cds box set, five studio albums plus outtakes and alternative versions)
1971  One World  (2015 audiophile remaster)

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Grinderswitch - Macon Tracks (1975 us, splendid southern boogie rock, 2009 edition)

The genesis of Grinderswitch occurred in 1972 when Allman Brothers crew member, Joe Dan Petty, decided to put together a band of his own. Word reached guitarists Dru Lombar and Larry Howard and along with drummer Rick Burnett, they relocated to a farm outside of Macon, GA and began writing and rehearsing the band into shape. They soon gained the attention of Capricorn head honcho Phil Walden and the following year they recorded their debut album, "Honest To Goodness."

Over the course of the next three years, the band would work virtually non-stop. Macon Tracks album came out in 1975, Grinderswitch were signed to legendary southern label Capricorn, Pickin’ The Blues is a stomping instrumental boogie and was used by the influential British DJ John Peel as theme music for his radio show.

Grinderswitch would soon face major challenges, and eventual collapse of Capricorn Records right around the corner. However, at the time of this recording, they were at their peak.

1. Mail Train Blues - 4:00
2. Put It All In Today - 4:10
3. Now I'm Lovin' You - 4:06
4. Happy Like Me - 3:23
5. The Best I Can - 2:55
6. Let The South Wind Blow - 4:10
7. Drifter - 4:13
8. Get It While It's Hot - 3:32
9. Pickin' The Blues (Lloyd Copas) - 5:01
All songs by Dru Lombar, Joe Dan Petty, Larry Howard, Rick Burnett except where stated

The Grinderswitch
*Dru Lombar - Guitar, Vocals
*Rick Burnett - Drums
*Larry Howard - Guitar, Vocals
*Joe Dan Petty - Bass, Vocals
*Charlie Daniels - Fiddle, Banjo
*Paul Hornsby - Piano, Organ, Clavinet

1974  Grinderswitch - Honest To Goodness
1977  Grinderswitch - Redwing (2010 edition)

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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Seatrain - Watch (1973 us, wonderful blend of country folk blues jazz and classic rock, 2017 remaster)

Seatrain was an American roots fusion band based initially in Marin County, California (and later in Marblehead, Massachusetts) and was formed in 1969. They played a mixture of rock, country, blues, folk and jazz and had a highly distinctive sound not dissimilar to that of The Band, Little Feat, Grateful Dead and It's A Beautiful Day. Eclecticism was their calling card, and Seatrain notched up both hit singles and albums (two of them produced by Beatles producer George Martin) and garnered a cult following before call in it a day in 1973.

Seatrain's origin, however, lay in one of the most important American roots bands of the early 1960s - the Blues Project. Although calling themselves a blues band, they were not "pure blues" per se and while it was a pivotal aspect to their sound and approach, they didn't dwell on one specific type of blues music only. Unlike their contemporaries The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and the Jim Kweskin Blues Band (who delved into Chicago blues and ragtime respectively) they, like The Yardbirds, introduced a wider span of musical influences drawing on folk, classical, jazz and baroque strains to produce a music both exciting and unpredictable.

Drummer Roy Blumenfeld and flutist/bassist Andy Kulberg formed Sea Train in August 1968. They relocated to Marin County, CA, recruiting a new line up of vocalist/lyricist Jim Roberts, ex-Mystery Trend guitarist John Gregory, former Jim Kweskin Jug Band violinist Richard Greene and saxophonist Don Kretmar. Sea Train recorded their first album in 1968, Planned Obsolescence, however, it was issued under the Blues Project name for contractual obligations. guitarist Bill Lussenden and Country Joe and The Fish keyboardist David Cohen to the trio of Kalb, Blumenfeld and Kretmer. The original Blues Project would reform in 1973 for a concert in Central Park New York but this was some time later

In September 1971, Seatrain toured Great Britain for the first time, performing as a support act for Traffic. They also recorded a TV special in Copenhagen, Denmark which has recently surfaced on YouTube and features them playing material from Seatrain and Marblehead Messenger and displays their improvisational prowess, especially those of Andy Kulberg and Richard Greene. However, Greene and Peter Rowan would depart Seatrain in 1972 and resurface in Muleskinner, while Jim Roberts and Larry Atamanuik joined the backing band of Emmylou Harris (Atamanuik would later tour and record with Alison Krauss and Union Station). Andy Kulberg and Lloyd Baskin replaced these departing members with guitarist Peter Walsh, keyboardist Bill Elliot and drummer Julio Coronado, but only released one more album, 1973's Watch.

Jim Roberts would return to supply lyrics and vocals for Seatrain. Watch is the fourth and final album by Seatrain, recorded in 1973. It is marked with a departure from the electric violin which featured so much on Seatrain (and to a lesser extent on Marblehead Messenger), and incorporated the use of more session musicians on instruments like vibraphone, cello, accordion, tuba and oboe. The guest list of supporting musicians was impressive, featuring Bill Keith on banjo and Paul Preston on guitar (both well-known folk session players), rock and roll revivalists Sha Na Na on vocals, along with a string section, flute, tuba and oboe, and producer Bueli Neidlinger playing bass. It was their first and last album for Warner Bros. Record with whom they signed after leaving Capitol Records. In a brief retrospective review, All Music called Watch "A strange, but intriguing release." The material included a revised take on Al Kooper's 'Flute Thing' (originally performed by Andy Kulberg as a member of the Blues Project on their second album Projections) and Bob Dylan's 'Watching The River Flow'. 

These tracks were added to with several new compositions, kicking off with the up-tempo 'Pack Of Fools' by Kulberg and Jim Roberts. Lloyd Baskin wrote 'Bloodshot Eyes' and 'We Are Your Children Too', while Kulberg and Roberts also contributed 'North Coast' and 'Freedom Is The Reason'. Richard Greene co-wrote 'Abbeville Fair' with Kulberg, and Kulberg's 'Scratch', a simple acoustic folk story, completed the band's input. The musical span included country, rock, folk, gospel and blues styles as in previous Seatrain recordings, with Peter Walsh's strident guitar style dominating the proceedings and replacing Peter Rowan in the guitar/vocal chair. This time Seatrain also became susceptible to mid-1970s hip musical trends, adding in funky passages and 'Shaft'-like guitar. However, this diversity is not necessarily a bad thing, and while it is a product of its time. Watch is still distinctive and sound worthy enough to bear a Seatrain moniker although minus two of its major previous practitioners.

Seatrain broke up shortly after the release of Watch and this coincided with Andy Kulberg re-joining the Blues Project, who had reformed in 1971. The Original Blues Project Reunion in Central Park featured Al Kooper (but not Tommy Flanders) and the concert was released as a live double album that found them recapturing much of their early energy and innovation. There was also a 1997 double album compilation, The Blues Project Anthology, which was the last known recording of the Blues Project (bar a more recent issue of recordings cut at The Matrix in San Francisco in 1966). Since then, the group's activity has been confined to a few sporadic reunions such as when the Blues Project played a fundraising concert at Valley Stream Central High School in New York, promoted by Bruce Blakeman with the proceeds going to the Youth Council and the US Olympic Committee.

In the period between 2001 and 2007, Roy Blumenfeld drummed in the Barry Melton Band. Steve Katz, in the meantime, formed American Flier with Eric Kaz, Craig Fuller and Doug Yule, recording two albums for UA Records: American Flier (1976) and Spirit Of A Woman (1977). He also produced three albums for Irish Celtic rock band Horslips (The Man Who Built America (1978), Short Stories Tall Tales (1979) and The Belfast Gigs from 1980), the Lou Reed albums Rock n Roll Animal and Sally Can't Dance, and the Elliott Murphy album Night Lights. Becoming interested in Celtic music he worked in management for Green Linnet Records in the early 1990s. Al Kooper had a successful solo career recording for CBS and also producing Lynyrd Skinner's debut album Pronounced 'L h-'nerd 'Skin-'nerdanA also wrote his autobiography, Backstage Passes And Backstabbing Bastards, in 1998. Seatrain became embossed in legend after their 1973 dissolution, but their individual albums still stand up. With Andy Kulberg's return to the Blues Project, both their story and that of Seatrain retain an internal connection that crosses decades and combined musical ideals in both bands' eclectic mixes of rock, folk, blues and jazz, the results of which fusions were and remain highly original and under-appreciated.

The story of Seatrain is that of one of the most accomplished and intriguing rural rock bands to emerge from America. It's a story littered with creative opportunity used and built upon, its quality and versatility subject to the swings and roundabouts of commercial acceptance and popularity. Seatrain's albums are still tantamount to a golden period of American music in all its post-psychedelic diversity and difference. Watch, the final chapter in the Seatrain story, is no idle bookend; it's as diverse, intricate and innovative as its predecessors.
by John O'Regan, October 2016

1. Pack Of Fools (Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 4:36
2. Freedom Is The Reason (Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 4:15
3. Bloodshot Eyes (Lloyd Baskin) - 3:01
4. We Are Your Children Too (Lloyd Baskin) - 3:42
5. Abbeville Fair (Andy Kulberg, Richard Greene) - 4:54
6. North Coast (Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 4:26
7. Scratch (Andy Kulberg) - 3:45
8. Watching The River Flow (Bob Dylan) - 3:23
9. Flute Train (Al Kooper) - 7:53

The Seatrain
*Bill Elliott - Keyboards, Accordion, Arp
*Andy Kulberg - Bass, Flute, Vocals
*Julio Coronado - Drums
*Peter Walsh -, Guitar, Bass, Vocals
*Lloyd Baskin - Keyboards , Clavinet, Vocals
*Jim Roberts - Lyrics, Vibes, Ideas
Assisting Musicians
*Sandra Lee - Vocals;
*Paul Prestopino - Dobro, Acoustic Guitar
*Bob Stuart - Tuba
*Bill Keith - Banjo
*Paul Shure - Violin
*Bonnie Douglas - Violin
*Myra Kestenbaum - Vioia
*Doug Davies - Cellο
*Buell Neidlinger - Contrabass
*Jill Shires - Flute
*Allan Vogel - Oboe
*Wayne Daley - La La
*Fredric Myrow - String Arrangements

1969  Sea Train - SeaTrain 
1970-71  Seatrain / Marblehead Messenger

Relatd Acts
The Blues Project
1966  Live At The Cafe Au Go Go
1966  Projections
1967  Live At Town Hall
1968  Planned Obsolescence
1973  Reunion in Central Park

1972  Rowan Brothers - Rowan Brothers
1975  Rowans - The Rowans
1976-77  The Rowans - Sibling Rivalry / Jubilation

1968  Earth Opera - Earth Opera
1969  Earth Opera - The Great American Eagle Tragedy

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Long John Baldry - Good To Be Alive (1973 uk, magnificent blues soulful classic rock, 2012 issue)

Long John Baldry was born on January 12, 1941, as Hitler's Blitzkrieg terrorized his hometown of London. In hindsight, being born in the blitz may have been nature's way of preparing young Baldry for the volatile roLlercoaster of a life and career in music. A commanding presence on stage, the six foot seven, white, gay, Englishman deftly switched between affected, Noel Coward-like stage banter to a singing voice not unlike a Mississippi gravel road.

Could there be a more unlikely candidate for the title: "Father of the British Blues movement"? Baldry was already legendary for his sets with Cyril Davies at London's Eel Pie Island when he discovered young Rod Stewart wailing on a harmonica at Twickenham Rail Station. Later, alter shifting to pop with the chart-topping UK hit, "Let The Heartaches Begin", in 1967, he acquired Bluesology as his touring band, impressing their keyboardist Reginald Dwight enough to adopt stage name to Elton John, in tribute. But Baldry s pop success had alienated his original fan base at a time when many of the bands he'd inspired — the Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, The Yardbirds and Savoy Brown — were beginning to establish UK Blues rock in America.

To add insult to injury, Baldry's descent into irrelevance began just as his two star proteges, Rod and Elton, were becoming international superstars. He'd strayed from his roots and needed help if his career would have a second, or third, act. Rod and Elton, feeling a debt of gratitude, agreed to not only help their mentor come back in the UK, but to introduce him to the USA in style.

The plan was to reestablish Long John Baldry as a rocking bluesman with a trilogy of return-to-roots albums. The first of these, ItAin'tEasy (1971), featured one side produced by Elton and the other produced by Rod. It Ain't Ecuty fulfilled its mission, and Stewart's manager Billy Gaff (through his own label, CM Records), arranged a deal with Warner Bros securing a major US release on Warner Bros, garnering him US FM radio airplay and his first US tours. But alter Elton & Rod teamed up again for the followup, Everything Stopj For Tea (1972), Warner Bros began to see diminishing returns and did not pursue another.

Since Elton and Rod were by now far too busy, Gaff entrusted his house producer, Jimmy Horowitz who had executive produced the Warners albums, and who had replaced Elton in Bluesology, for the third try, Good To Be Alive. Horowitz recalls the sessions at IBC Studios in London. "We had good musicians," says Horowitz, "and everybody plaved well. They were actually some of the most comfortable, and fun, sessions we ever did. Baldry concurred in a later interview with Steve Peacock; "We took it at a much easier pace than the ones 1 did with Rod and Elton, where it was bash, bash, bash for a couple of weeks, simply because they didn't have much time to spare."

Horowitz brought back his own wife, singer Lesley Duncan, and guitarist Sam Mitchell, and adding powerhouse singer Liza Strike was brought in as a powerful foil for Baldry on the Gram Parsons song, "She." In addition to two rare songs by Baldry himself, "Aiaggie Bell", and "Song For Martin Luther King", the singer and Horowitz handpicked songs like Zoot Money and Colin Allen's "Good To Be Alive", Bo Diddley's "Let Me Pass" and Rod Stewart's "Gasoline Alley". "I remember Roddy turning up one night when we were recording the backing vocals to 'Gasoline Alley'," says Horowitz, "and he was fucking blown away!" Horowitz owes much of the "communal feel" of the sessions to the fact that both he and Baldry lived quite close to IBC studios, in Muswell Hill, and notes that the album's original cover photograph, featuring the singer at home with his pet goat, summed it up perfectly. "We used to call the album 'Goat To Be Alive'" laughs Horowitz, adding that the convivial atmosphere in the studio was occasionally broken by the singer's unpredictable mood swings. Depression had returned, in private at least, if not audible on the joyous album he was making.

GM Records issued Good To Be Alive in the UK only, in 1973. Despite some initial buzz for the single "She", the record, as strong as it was, failed to close the circle that the first two blues comeback albums had begun. It would be two years before Gaff arranged for an American release, via Neil Bogart's Casablanca label, but the moment had passed. After another album, Welcome To Club Casablanca, in 1976, Baldry's career stalled, heralding the start of another period of depression for the singer that wouldn't abate until his emigration to Canada where his first album for Capitol, Baldry’s Out, was a minor hit in 1979.

But Baldry archivist Jeff Edmunds believes that, had Warner Bros issued Good To Be Alice in 1973 as planned, it might have cemented his reputation in the United States. "John often said it was his favourite," says Edmunds, "because it was really the first album where he'd truly merged his folk, blues and roots-rock sides. It would be nice if it were someday recognized for its greatness."
by Paul Myers

1. Good To Be Alive (Zoot Money, Colin Allen) - 4:05
2. Let Me Pass (Bo Diddley) - 3:19
3. Rake and Ram Bling Boy (Traditional Arr. John Baldry) - 3:27
4. High And Low (Geoff Thomas) - 3:43
5. Gasoline Alley (Rod Stewart, Ron Wood) - 3:39
6. I Wish I Was A Rock (Derroll Adams) - 1:19
7. Up In The Trees (Neil Shepherd) - 2:51
8. Brand New Day (Al Kooper) - 3:18
9. Song For Martin Luther King (John Baldry) - 4:15
10.Maggie Bell (John Baldry) - 3:06
11.Let's Go (Chaz Jankel) - 2:39
12.She (Gram Parsons, Chris Ethridge) - 4:39

*John Baldry - Vocals, 12 String Guitar
*David Ball - Lead Guitar
*Sam Mitchell - Slide Guitar, Dobro
*Dennis Ball - Bass Guitar
*Terry Cox - Drums
*Tony Newman - Drums
*Mike French - Fiddle
*John Field - Fiddle, Banjo, Mandolin
*Pete Stanley - Banjo
*Jimmy Horowitz - Keyboards
*Chris Hughes - Tenor Sax
*Andy Brown - Acoustic Guitar
*Bob Cohen - Lead Guitar
*Sam Mitchell - Slide Guitar
*Jimmy Horowitz - Piano
*John Mealing - Organ
*Mike Driscoll - Drums
*Andy Bown - Bass
*Lesley Duncan - Vocals
*Lisa Strike - Vocals
*Suzy Glover - Vocals
*Kay Garner - Vocals
*Neil Shepherd - Vocals

1971  John Baldry - It Ain't Easy (2005 bonus tracks remaster)
1972  John Baldry - Everything Stops For Tea (2005 extra tracks remaster)

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Morka - There Was A Time... (1971-74 greece, marvelous folk psych with acid drops, 2006 expanded Vinyl limited edition)

During the difficult years of the dictatorship in Greece (1967-1974), a band was formed which was the origin of Morka. This group, founded in late 1970 by John Jungemann and Dorian Kokas, was called Stone Deep. It set the trend of the basic characteristics of Morka, which was a four-part harmony band.

Stone Deep comprised a group of fellow-students at ACS (American Community School). They released a private-pressed single containing the mellow electric folk songs “Winter’s here” and “Judy“.

Dorian Kokas and Mike Moraitis formed Morka after the other members of Stone Deep returned to their homes in the USA. The name MORKA comes from MORaitis-KokAs and the duet continued the tradition of melody and harmonies, adding more psychedelic tinges.

In late-1971, Polydor released a 33 rpm EP containing both the Stone Deep tracks as well as two new duet’s songs : “I see” and “She shouts“. For these specific tracks german drummer Reiner Rathe participated as a session musician. All four tracks appeared under the Morka moniker.

That same year, after the departure of Moraitis, Kokas kept the Morka name alive with the participation of Michalis Orphanides, George Tambre, Antonis Bravos, Paul Papadeas and Pamela Leake. With this line up was that Morka became recognized by the public and took a turn in a more professional innovative direction. Many appearances followed in the clubs of Athens and endless gigs with other important bands of the greek underground scene.

In 1972, the single “Giati? (=Why?) / And so she flies“, also released by Polydor. The first track was the lone attempt by the American, Canadian and English members to sing in Greek.

In the first weeks of 1973, Morka recorded a demo-tape distinctively more mature, still emphasizing the importance of their mellow psychedelic folk roots but in a more progressive music style. No doubt, Morka was ahead of its time.

Shortly after this recording, the band broke-up, following the fate of the Greek rock bands of that era. The material of the demo-tape had never been released to this day.

In 1986, there was an ephemeral reformation of Morka with the basic line up of founder member Kokas and Orphanides and Leake. They recorded one more demo tape and afterwards the final split came.

2006 and Anazitisi Records, officially released all the recordings of Morka in a limited, to 400 copies, vinyl album entitled “There was a time…”.

1. Fair Lady Of 1860 - 6:04
2. Fourteen Young Children - 2:36  
3. I See (Dorian Kokas, Mike Moraitis) - 2:17  
4. And So She Flies - 2:03  
5. Squeezing Pimples (Paul Papadeas) - 1:14
6. Winter's Here (Dorian Kokas, John Jungemann) - 3:17
7. Disassociation - 1:05
8. Judy (Dorian Kokas, John Jungemann) - 3:51
9. Avenue Winter - 5:28
10.She Shouts (Dorian Kokas, Mike Moraitis) - 2:09
11.Ann - 1:44
12.Looking For The Past - 2:08
13.Giati? (Why?) - 2:18
14.Just Like Ann - 4:14
All compositions by Dorian Kokas except where stated.
Tracks 6 and 8 as the Stone Deep

*Dorian Kokas - Vocals, Guitar, Piano
*John Jungemann - Vocals, Guitar
*Bill Harrell - Vocals, Guitar
*Kirk Esco - Flute
*Chris Olsen - Vocals
*Randa Salameh - Vocals
*Mike Moraitis - Vocals, Organ
*Reiner Rathe - Drums
*Michalis Orphanidis - Drums, Percussion, Guitar, Keyboards
*George "Tambre" Tambakopoulos - Vocals
*Leigh Sioris - Bass
*Kostas Anadiotis - Keyboards
*Antonis Bravos - Bass
*Paul Papadeas - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica, Bass
*Pamela Leake - Vocals, Effects
*Antonis Manolatos - Bass

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Various Artists - Searching For Love (1964-68 us, awesome garage beat, Vinyl issue)

This is another rare compilation also released by the Greek label Action in 1999.

Tidal Wave was a US garage beat with Motown soul influence, they release few singles between 1968-1970, no connection with other bands called Tidal Wave. 

The Avengers came from Philadelphia and released a couple of singles round 1966-68.

From Miami Florida The American Beetles started as the R-Dells recorded many tracks but non made a dent in national market. During a Miami club perfomance as the prank the boys combed their hair down and jokingly christened themselves as The American Beetles.

King Charles And The Counts were from Pocatello, Idaho."King Charles" was in fact Charlie Bieker, who also played with Easy Chair, member and songwriter was Steve Eaton whose songs have earned gold and platinum records for The Carpenters and Art Garfunkel. His songs have also been recorded by many other artists, including Glen Campbell, The Righteous Brothers, Ann Murray, and Lee Greenwood. Steve has received Emmy nominations for his original music written for PBS and has written music for the Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Some consider his song Idaho I Love You to be the true state song of Idaho.

The Birdwatchers were a garage rock pop band active in the 1960s in the Miami area. The band dabbled with an Everly Brothers sound in their early career (1964), even releasing a version of "Wake Up Little Susie" on Tara, a local Florida label. During 1966-67, the band released 5 garage-pop 45s on the Mala and Laurie labels, in addition to local releases on the Tara, Marlin and Scott labels. Most of these featured the vocals of Sammy Hall. Depite national TV exposure on teen shows such as Where The Action Is, the most the band ever made it on the charts was #125 on Billboard's Bubbling Under Charts in September 1966 with "I'm Gonna Love you Anyway." As evidence of their local popularity another of their records ("Girl I Got News for You") made Billboard's Regional Breakout Charts for Miami peaking at #3 locally in April 1966. The band also appeared in the 1967 film, Wild Rebels - a local Miami, Fla., production.

Malcolm Hayes, Tommy Williams and Tommy Murphy joined a band called "D & The Dominoes" while still in high school in Texas City, TX.  That band soon became the "Countdown 5" joined by Steve Long and John Balzer.  The "5" was a 60's rock and roll show band that produced two Billboard Top 100 hits, "Uncle Kirby" and "Shaka Na Na".  The 5's home base was the the beach in Galveston, Tx, as the house band for the legendary Bamboo Hut and later the Grass Menagerie beach clubs that were The summer destinations for college kids from all over the U. S.  Because of the success of their records the 5 also toured throughout the Southeastern U. S. doing college shows and opening concerts for the super star acts of the era such as the Dave Clark 5, Paul Revere & the Raiders, the Grass Roots, Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs (Wolly Bully), B. J. Thomas, the Fifth Dimension, and others.

Del-Rays from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, members including Jimmy Ray Hunter (vocals), Jimmy Johnson (guitar), Roger Hawkins, Bill Scott (keyboards), Bill Cofield (saxophone), Larry York (bass), John Daniels (drums), Norbert Putnam.

Before joing the big success with The Guess Who, Burton Cummings, was fronting his own Winnipeg sensations The Deverons, who'd also been making huge strides releasing a handful of singles of their own. 

The Skunks from New Jersey, but they sounded English, and so were chosen to accompany the miniskirted dancers at Swinging London fashion queen Mary Quant’s Youthquake events in US department stores in 1965. The band members had black hair with a white stripe dyed down the middle. Everyone who bought an English mod design from the Puritan Fashion Corporation was given a free copy of The Skunks’ single Youth Quake.

Artists - Tracks
1. The Tidal Wave - Searching for Love (Elliot Chiprut) - 2:12
2. The Avengers - No Wonder (The Avengers) - 3:02
3. The American Beetles - Hey, Hey Girl (Bob Yorey) - 1:51
4. King Charles And The Counts - It's True It's You (Steve Eaton) - 2:45
5. The Birdwatchers - Girl I Got News for You (Brad Shapiro, Robert Pucetti) - 2:29
6. The Avengers - Crying All Alone  (The Avengers) - 1:46
7. The "You Know Who" Group - Playboy (Robert Esposito) - 2:50
8. The Countdown 5 - Money Man (Malcolm Hayes) - 2:12
9. The Badd Boys - Never Going Back to Georgia (Arr. by Dick Monda) - 2:12
10.The Del-Rays - Like I Do (Larry Hamby, Jimmy Johnson) - 1:59
11.The Deverons - Blue Is the Night (Al Esposito) - 3:08
12.The Skunks - A Girl Like You (B. Leigh, A. Dee) - 2:04
13.The Coachmen - Mr. Moon (George A. Freeman) - 3:06
14.The Outcasts - Loving You Sometimes (Dick Hall-Hawkins, Al Collinsworth) - 1:51

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Various Artists - Tymes Gone By (1964-67 us, spectacular garage beat psych, vinyl edition)

Rare compilation by Greek label Action, with US Artists and songs recorded between 1964-67. Below I have links with informations from most of the Bands included here.

Blue Boys or Sound Of Excitement

Artists - Tracks 
1. The Weads - Don't Call My Name (Allan Varela, Dick Turano) - 02:16
2. The Rumbles - Fourteen Years (Rich Clayton) - 02:18
3. The Cobras - Goodbye (Eric Welsch) - 02:07
4. The Soothsayers - Please Don't Be Mad (Dave Van Omen, John Gibson) - 02:14
5. Little John and the Monks - Black Winds (Tom Davis) - 02:06
6. The Front Page News - You Better Behave (Wadley, Baldwin, Smith, Routh, Popejoy) - 01:43
7. The Todds - Things Will Change (Wallace Lyle Todd, Richard Lee Gluth) - 02:19
8. Blue Boys - Why Did You Go (Jerry Ciccone, Whisler) - 02:43
9. Richie's Renegades - Don't Cry (William H. Dunn, Jr., Robert J. Leger) - 02:00
10.Jerry Waugh and The Skeptics - I Told Her Goodbye (Jerry Waugh) - 02:11
11.The Specktrum - I Was A Fool (R. Schmeisser, K. Jeremiah) - 02:17
12.The Maltees Four - All Of The Time (Egan, Greenberg, Johnson, Saylor) - 02:16
13.Brym-Stonz Ltd. - Times Gone By (Leslie Roberts, Curtis Kirk) - 02:34
14.The Impacts - Don't You Dare (The Impacts) - 02:21

The Skeptics 

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Mick Greenwood - ...To Friends (1972 uk, superb folk prog rock, 2006 japan remaster)

Michael Vernon Greenwood was born under the sign of Aquarius in the front room of the family home in Potters Bar, England. His father was a Yorkshire engineer and the son of a textile baron, and his mother a Cumbrian farmer’s daughter.

His parents were restless souls, and much of Mick’s early childhood was spent on the move. A month before his 12th birthday, he emigrated with his family from the leafy London suburb of Thames Ditton to the small rural town of Halifax, Pennsylvania, situated twenty miles up the Susquehannah River from Harrisburg.

He found the transition from his regimented life at a boys English prep school to American high school liberating in more ways than one. “The culture shock was my saving grace at the time,” he says. “I remember a junior asking me to a high school dance, and making the discovery that girls had these wonderful entities called breasts, and that put a whole new tangible perspective on things.”

Predominately self-taught, Mick found an affinity with the piano at around 4 years old, and at 14 got what he wanted for his birthday, a Kent electric guitar with a Sears Roebuck amp. After an initial disappointing cacophony, the guitar stayed in its case until Mick broke his right wrist on the wrestling mat at school. Wearing a cast, but still able to hold a pick between his thumb and index finger, he decided it was time to pick up the guitar and teach himself a few basics, and with practice he then started writing songs, and later formed his first high school band, The DearSirs.

After graduating from Halifax High, Mick went to Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, ostensibly to pursue a career in law. Approaching 18, he was now becoming more prolific as a songwriter, and playing with several bands including Charlotte’s Web. His solo performances took him further afield to clubs like New York’s Bitter End, where he was to meet the legendary John Hammond of Columbia Records who became instrumental in launching Mick’s recording career.

Greenwood returned to England in 1970 and made his first highly-acclaimed album, Living Game, which became Cashbox’s import of the week and was released throughout the world. Recorded at CBS London and Sound Techniques, Chelsea, this was the first time Mick had entered a recording studio. The sessions went so well that the musicians involved became his backing band on the road. The album features ex-Fotheringay’s Jerry Donahue, Pat Donaldson and Gerry Conway, along with keyboards/arranger Tony Cox, and Fairport’s Dave Pegg. Plus contributions by top jazz musicians–Lynn Dobson, Karl Jenkins, Bud Parkes, Derek Wadsworth and Dudu Pakwana.

After appearing with the band on programs like The Old Grey Whistle Test, and performing solo at venues such as the Cambridge Festival, there were some personnel changes, and The Cockington All-Stars emerged. Named after the farmhouse in Devon where Mick wrote new material and the band rehearsed, the lineup included Barry de Souza, Dave Peacock, Jerry Donahue and Tony Cox. With this collection, he returned to Sound Techniques to make his second album, To Friends, which was again highly-acclaimed and acknowledged Mick’s change in direction. The record also features excellent backing vocals by Barrie St. John, Doris Troy and Jimmy Helms.

Mick and the band toured the States, playing Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Palladium with Hot Tuna, and Atlanta’s Coliseum with The Byrds, as well as clubs like The Earl Of Old Town in Chicago. His recollections of a crazy life on the road, “I drove this old black Lincoln down from New York City to Carlisle, Pa. Running late, we all poured out of the limo and went straight on stage, following a set by John McLaughlin. I was returning with my band to play my graduating class at Dickinson, and the reception was blinding.”

1. To Friends - 3:53
2. Spooked - 4:06
3. See Yourself - 4:42
4. Mother Earth - 3:35
5. All Aboard The Train - 4:57
6. Share The Load - 3:07
7. Show Your Colours - 3:27
8. Charlie - 4:18
9. Berzerk - 4:20
10.Space Captain - 3:45
11.How Do You Feel In Your Bones - 2:45
Words and Music by Mick Greenwood except song #10 written by Mathew Moore

*Mick Greenwood  -  Guitars, Harmony, Keyboards, Piano, Vocals
*Tony Cox - Accordion, Keyboards, Piano, Synthesizer, Vocals
*Barry DeSouza - Drums, Fiddle, Percussion, Trumpet
*Jerry Donahue - Electric, Spanish Guitar, Vocals
*Jimmy Helms - Vocals
*Dave Peacock - Banjo, Bass, Fiddle, Violin, Vocals)
*Barry St. John - Vocals
*Doris Troy - Vocals

1971  Mick Greenwood - Living Game

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

John Ussery - Ussery (1973 us, stunning groovy guitar psych rock, 2013 issue)

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Ussery, began playing guitar in the mid-fifties. By the age of 14 and protected by Arizona's right-to-work law, he was jamming in the honkytonks and bars while growing up in the southwest. At age 19, and out of the Army, Ussery moved to Phoenix to play in a pop and R&B band with his older brother Ron, a singer/saxophone player.

The mid-sixties found him noodling with Riley "B.B." King and opening up for John Lee Hooker at the 310 supper club just out of old downtown Seattle, and hanging out with Delaney Bramlett and the Shindog's (who had a very popular TV show called Shindig).

In 1973, Delaney produced Ussery's first solo album, "Ussery," on Mercury Records. It was shortly after the release of this album that the Texas slinger decided to leave the music business, and did so for the better part of 17 years.

He and his guitars returned to the music scene in 1991, and last year's Fifth Annual "Real Blues Award" nominated CD, "Getting' Lucky" and his latest "Cryin' and Screamin" are filled with contemporary original blues and some fine horn playing. 
by Matt Alcott

1. Smile - 2:26
2. Low Rider - 4:01
3. Must Have Been The season - 2:50
4. Dance - 2:36
5. Gangster - 3:31
6. Blue Suede Shoes (Carl Perkins) - 3:03
7. Through The Fire - 4:11
8. Jail House Rock (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) - 4:53
9. Just Want To Be Your Friend - 3:19
10.Listen To The Melody - 2:58
11.Sweet Seventeen - 2:56
All selections by John Ussery except where stated

*John Ussery - Vocals, Guitars
*Delaneu Bramlett - Slide Guitar, Percussion
*Joe Townend - Bass
*Tom Henderson - Drums
*Ron Grayson - Drums (Tracks 8-9)

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1969  Locomotive - Locomotive (2013 reissue)

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Game - Game (1969 us, awesome classic rock with psych and some prog shades, 2007 remaster)

Singers/guitarists Eddie Keating and Chuck Kirkpatrick, drummer Scott Kirkpatrick, keyboard player Les Luhring and singer/bassist George Terry had all been members of the Southern Florida based Proctor Amusement Company.  The band had become quite popular throughout the region, even recording a couple of singles and an unreleased LP for the New York based Faithful Virtue label before calling it quits. While Proctor Amusement Company had come to an end, by 1969 the five were playing Southern Florida clubs as Game.  

Released by Faithful-Virtue, 1969's "Game" is an interesting debut.  Co-produced by manager/mentor Steve Goldberg and Chuck Kirkpatrick, musically the set's all over the place, including stabs at conventional pop, progressive ('Entrance'), rock ('Fat Mama') and even showing off some jazzy interludes (check out side two's 'Disturbance/We Turn To You').  Normally such a diverse album wouldn't make all that much of an impression with me, but this is one of those exceptions.  While most bands have a hard time finding one good singer, Game wasn't hurt by having three in the form of Keating, Chuck Kirkpatrick and Terry.  The fact that Keating and Luhring wrote some nifty melodies and were capable of turning in ear candy harmony vocals didn't hurt the end results either (check out Luhring's 'Discovering You'). To be honest, material such as 'Make Some Music' and 'Stop, Look & Listen' sounds a couple of years ahead of it's time.

In 1970 the band relocated to Southern California.  Original drummer Scott Kirkpatrick dropped out before the move, replaced by Dave Robinson.  Over the next two years the band recorded a considerable amount of material, but found no takers.  Forced to start playing local clubs when their long time financial benefactor threatened to cut off support, Robinson and Terry called it quits, returning to Florida.  Terry subsequently hit the big time as a member of Eric Clapton's band.  Enduring a series of personnel changes, the band continued to play through 1978.  Chuck Kirkpatrick recorded an instantly obscure solo album for Capitol before returning to Miami where he spent some time recording and touring with Firefall, eventually starting his own business.

1. Entrance (Eddie Keating, Tom Quick) - 0:51
2. What's Goin' Through My Head - 3:18
3. Discovering You (Les Luhring) - 4:11
4. Fat Mama - 2:44
5. Make Some Music - 7:49
6. Stop Look And Listen (Les Luhring) - 3:30
7. Disturbance-We Turn To You (Eddie Keating, Les Luhring) - 6:20
8. Sermon - 2:09
9. Girl Next Door - 3:19
10.Exit (Chuck Kirkpatrick, Eddie Keating) - 4:03
All compositions by Eddie Keating except where indicated

The Game
*Eddie Keating - Vocals, Guitar, Bass
*Chuck Kirkpatrick - Vocals, Guitar, Bass
*Scott Kirkpatrick - Drums
*Les Lurhing - Keyboards
*George Terry - Vocals, Guitar, Bass

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Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Crystal Mansion - The Crystal Mansion (1972 us, beautiful mix of country folk funky psych soft prog rock, korean 2016 remaster)

Formed in the early-1960s' The Secrets were a Mount Laurel, New Jersey, based R'n'B cover band.  By 1968 the line up consisted of  singer Johnny Caswell, guitarist Ronnie Gentile, drummer Ricky Morley and keyboardist Sal Rota. Having adopted the name 'The Crystal Mansion',  the band was signed by Capitol where they enjoyed a modest national hit with the single 'The Though tof Loving You' b/w 'Hallelujah' (Capitol catalog number 2275 ). The single's success led Capitol to finance an LP, 1969's "The Crystal Mansion". 

Dropped by Capitol, in 1972 the band reappeared on Motown's rock-oriented Rare Earth label.  Co-produced by the band, the cleverly titled "The Crystal Mansion" found the band largely abandoning their early pop sound in favor of a  into a myriad of styles, including country, psych and even progressive moves.    

Even though it takes awhile to get organized, material such as 'There Always Will Be More', the funky 'Somebody Oughta' Turn Your Head Around' (imagine Rare Earth having spent a weekend in Miami) and the blazing 'Let Me Get Straight Again' (one of two group-penned originals) is actually pretty good.

1. There Always Will Be More (Johnny Caswell, Sam Owlens) - 6:00
2. Bad City Ways (Bob Barnayrd, Sal Rota) - 4:19
3. I Love You (Johnny Caswell, Sal Rota) - 3:06
4. Satisfied (David Tricker, Johnny Caswell, Sal Rota) - 3:39
5. A Song Is Born (David Tricker, Johnny Caswell, Sal Rota) - 3:39
6. Somebody Oughta Turn Your Head Around (Rick Morley,Sal Rota, Ronnie Gentile, Mario Sanchez, Bill Crawford, Johnny Caswell) - 3:27
7. Boogieman (Johnny Caswell) - 5:17
8. Let Me Get Straight Again (Rick Morley,Sal Rota, Ronnie Gentile, Mario Sanchez, Bill Crawford, Johnny Caswell) - 5:59
9. Peace For A Change (Johnny Caswell, Sal Rota) - 5:10
10.Earth People (David Tricker, Johnny Caswell, Ronnie Gentile, Sal Rota) - 4:02

The Crystal Mansion
*Rick Morley - Percussion
*Sal Rota - Organ, Piano, Vocals
*Ronnie Gentile - Guitar
*Mario Sanchez - Congas, Vocals
*Bill Crawford - Bass
*Johnny Caswell - Vocals, Piano

1969  Crystal Mansion - Crystal Mansion feat Johnny Caswell (Vinyl edition)  

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Jubal - Jubal (1972 us, good country soft rock, 2008 edition)

Jubal was a country rock group from the early 1970s on Elektra Records. It features Dennis Linde who wrote "Burning Love" for Elvis Presley and "Goodbye Earl" for the Dixie Chicks. 

Despite the very Southern-sounding band name and the Nashville studio connections, bandmembers Rob Galbraith and Dennis Linde, were sort of on the far edges of the country-rock scene.

One of the more interesting tracks is Terry Dearmore's uptempo tune, "Not Really A Rocker," which is a slightly twangy power-pop rock song, worthy of consideration by the Nuggets brigade. 

1. Lay Me Down (Dennis Linde) - 3:31
2. Friendly Goodbye (Lee Clayton, Rob Galbraith) - 2:42
3. Yesterday (I Threw My Life Away) (Alan Rush, Randy Cullers) - 3:06
4. Really Not A Rocker (Terry Dearmore) - 2:54
5. Morning Of My Life (Rob Galbraith) - 2:27
6. For Becky (Lee Clayton, Rob Galbraith) - 3:16
7. Talk To Me Tonight (Alan Rush, Randy Cullers) - 3:48
8. I'd Hate To Be A Blackman (Rob Galbraith) - 3:08
9. Courage Of Your Convictions (Alan Rush, Randy Cullers) - 3:46
10.Ridin' (Dennis Linde) - 2:36
11.Castles In The Sand (Alan Rush, Randy Cullers) - 3:46

The Jubal
*Rob Galbraith - Organ, Guitar, Piano
*Dennis Linde - Guitar, Bass, Vocals
*Randy Cullers - Percussion, Drums, Tambourine
*Terry Dearmore - Guitar, Vocals
*Alan Rush - Guitar, Harmonica, Bass, Vocals

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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Rare Earth - Dreams/Answers (1968 us, fine psych funky soulful rock, 2017 remaster)

It is fairly common knowledge now but many Rare Earth fans had no idea that they were previously known as The Sunliners! It’s a complicated path that appears to start around 1960. Gil Bridges, Pete Rivera, John Persh, Ralph Terrana, Russ Terrana, Fred Saxon and Steve Fisher were all early members who played hundreds of club dates and record five singles for three different labels, Hercules, Golden World and MGM. In the middle of all this action, Fred Saxon, Ralph and Russ Terrana and Steve Fisher made way for Rod Richards and Kenny James, this line up would take them through to the MGM 45 Land Of Nod and the transistion to the name Rare Earth. 

Many later biographies claim that they became Rare Earth when they signed to Motown.....this is not fact as they stayed with MGM/Verve to record their very first album called Dreams Answers as Rare Earth in 1968. The land Of Nod track was re - recorded for inclusion on the LP and as a complete album it proved to be a masterpiece debut which combined rock, soul and physedelia. 

Their 1968 debut Dreams/Answers was recorded in the band’s hometown of Detroit and arranged, conducted and mostly written by Mike Theodore and Dennis Coffey. This early in their career, Rare Earth hadn’t perfected the sound that they would become famous for, but you can already see the early mix of influences. 

1. Stop/Where Did Our Love Go (Brian Holland, Edward Holland, Jr., Lamont Dozier) - 3:05
2. 6-4-5-5 (Eddie Floyd, Steve Cropper) - 2:37
3. King of a Rainy Country (Paul Parrish) - 3:46
4. New Rochelle (Gary Harvey, Mike Theodore) - 3:10
5. Land of Nod (Gary Harvey, Mike Theodore, Peter Hoorelbeke) - 3:09
6. Mother's Oats (Dennis Coffey, Gary Harvey, Mike Theodore) - 2:40
7. Red Apple (Dennis Coffey, Gary Harvey, Mike Theodore) - 2:49
8. Get Ready (William Robinson, Jr.) - 2:55
9. Morning (Ron Koss) - 2:26
10.Searchin' (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) - 2:29
11.Yesterday on Third Avenue (Paul Parrish) - 3:17
12.Sidewalk Cafe (Paul Parrish) - 2:57

Rare Earth
*John Parrish - Vocals, Bass, Trombone
*Rod Richards - Guitar, Vocals
*Kenny James - Organ, Piano
*Gil Bridges - Saxophone, Vocals
*Pete Rivera - Drums, Vocals

1969-74  Rare Earth - Fill Your Head (three cds box set, five studio albums plus outtakes and alternative versions)

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Don Preston And The South - Hot Air Through A Straw From (1969 us, spectacular country folk bluesy psych rock, 2017 korean remaster)

Preston was born in Denver, Colorado, and moved to Whittier, California at age 8. He started playing guitar and sang in the Sewart-Barber Boys Choir. By age 11, he was performing with a traveling youth troupe, the Cactus Kids, that performed at store openings, company parties, and USO clubs throughout Southern California.

In the 1950s, he performed with The Penguins, The Coasters, The Olympics, The Jaguars, Ritchie Valens, The Righteous Brothers, Gene Vincent, Don Julian and the Meadowlarks, and Jessie Hill, among others.

In the 1960s, his band, Don and the Deacons, played at the Cinnamon Cinder, a North Hollywood club owned by Bob Eubanks. From there, he joined The Shindogs with Joey Cooper, Chuck Blackwell, Leon Russell, and Delaney Bramlett.

He performed and recorded in the 1970s with Leon Russell (including Carney and Leon Live), Joe Cocker, Mad Dogs & Englishmen (album), and on the The Concert for Bangladesh. He also recorded and performed with Freddie King, Ricky Nelson and JJ Cale.

Preston recorded two albums on A&M Records, both produced by Gordon Shryock. The first was Bluse (1968), and the second was Hot Air Through A Straw (1968) by Don Preston & The South with Bob Young, Casey Van Beek, and Bobby Cochran. He also recorded an album on Stax Records titled Still Rock (1969), as well as solo albums on Shelter Records Been Here All The Time (1974) and Sacre Blues (1997) on DJM Records.

Not to  been confused with another rock musician named Don Preston, a keyboardist for Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention. 

1. American Gothic - 2:04
2. Here's To You Baby - 2:41
3. Daybreaks - 2:50
4. Sunshine Line - 2:21
5. You Won't Let Me Be (Don Preston, Joey Cooper) - 2:15
6. She Feels Like Sunshine - 1:57
7. End Of The Play - 2:16
8. Blues Break - 0:37
9. Circle For A Landing - 2:31
10.Love Season - 2:13
11.Medley: Nite Of The Fool-Sweetest Girl - 4:13
12.Got Me In The Middle (Joey Cooper, Red West) - 2:28
13.He's Waiting Now - 1:52
14.Spend My Time - 2:23
All compositions by Don Preston except where stated

The South
*Bobby Cochran - Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Don Preston - Vocals, Guitar
*Casey Van Beek - Bass, Backing Vocals
*Bob Young - Drums, Backing Vocals
*Carl Radle - Bass
*Jim Keltner - Drums
*Charles Blackwell - Drums
*Bill Boatman - Guitar, Fiddle
*Peter Pilafian - Violin
*Richard Torres - Flute, Saxophone

Related Act
1969  Stillrock - Stillrock (2014 korean remaster)

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