In The Land Of FREE we still Keep on Rockin'

I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now

Plain and Fancy

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

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Bolder Damn - Mourning (1971 us, raw fuzzed-out guitar solid rhythm section and manic vocals, 2008 issue)

Bolder Damn, formed in Fort Lauderdale, Florida 1969, got a following by opening up for the big names that came through the state. They had a mad and theatrical live show that got a reaction in those days because neither Alice Cooper nor Black Sabbath had turned up! The band reached a good fan base because of this live show. 

Allegedly during the epic "Dead Meat" people with capes carried the lead singer off stage while the band continued to play, then they carried the singer back on stage in a coffin! The fans wanted an album so the band went into the studio in the summer of '71 recorded "Mourning" in just 4 hours with hardly any overdubs.

The album is very dynamic and has a huge soundstage. It shows the band as excellent tight musicians who were capable of both writing and performing original songs delivered with meaning and strong lyrics especially, and, as it turned out, ironically about Vietnam.

The haunting doom-power of "Dead Meat", a mind-blowing epic track clocking in at 15 minutes long, the moving boogie feel  of "Got That Feeling" and the alarming "Monday Mourning" are just some of the great tracks on this killer album, which is of a consistently high standard throughout.

Bolder Damn could have been huge negotiations with a couple of labels had just started when front man John Anderson and bassist Ron Reffett got drafted into the US Army and inevitably Vietnam.  This fatally interrupted the bands plans to make a proper release and spread their name outside the state. "Mourning" is a mighty testament and one of the most essential powerhouse albums from the early 1970s.
CD Liner Notes 

1. BRTCD - 2:59
2. Got That Feeling - 3:31
3. Monday Mourning - 3:08
4. Rock On - 4:15
5. Find A Way - 4:42
6. Breakthrough - 3:24
7. Dead Meat - 16:05
All songs by John Anderson, Glenn Eaton, Robert Eaton, Ron Reffett

Bolder Damn
*John Anderson - Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
*Glenn Eaton - Guitar, Backup Vocals
*Robert Eaton - Drums, Backup Vocals
*Ron Reffett - Bass  Backup Vocals
*Marc Gaspard - Keyboards, (1968-71)
*Dean Noel - Bass, (1968-69)

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Sunday, October 6, 2019

David Lewis - Just Mollie And Me (1976 us, sharp classic rock with folk and glam tinges, 2012 korean remaster)

Dave Lewis is a singer / songwriter who moved to California from Texas in 1971.  He happened go to Gazzarri’s on the Sunset Strip where he met Mike Cochrane and his band Train.  They went into the studio and recorded a song Dave wrote called "Witches Brew".  This is the only known recording with the original members of Train on it.  After that, Dave and Mike Cochrane started recordind together for several years as a studio duo.

Lewis is a refreshing vocalist who operates in the higher ranges with a minimum of musical accompaniment on most tracks. But he can rock 'n' roll too as he shows on "You Push Too Hard," propably the best track on the album, an out-and-out rocker, with a great melody and raunchy rhythm guitar completed with a great arena-rock guitar solo. 'Daydreamer' opened the album with a glistening slice of pop, the song featured one of those power-pop melodies that climbed into your head and wouldn't leave. "Witches Brew" a nice bar rocker, the highlight on this song is actually the guitar work which more than made up for Lewis somewhat quivering vocals. "Can't Say Goodbye" a classic greasy bar rocker with a tasty talk box guitar.  

1. Daydreamer - 3:18
2. Loneliest Cowboy - 2:43
3. Jeraboa - 3:05
4. You Push Too Hard - 2:56
5. Witch`s Brew - 3:35
6. Make Me Alive - 3:51
7. Can`t Say Goodbye - 2:28
8. Horsehead Crossing - 3:04
All Songs by David Lewis

*David Lewis - Lead Vocals, Drums,  Acoustic Six String Guitar
*Mike Cochrane - Lead Guitar, Acoustic Six, Tewlve  String Guitars, Bass, Vocals
*Mike Kirchner - Bass (Only Track #5)
*Bob Hopkins - Drums (Only Track #5)

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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Harvey Mandel - Baby Batter (1971 us, strong jazzy blues funk rock, 2016 remaster)

Originally released in 1971, this frenetic, funk-laden fusion of Jazz licks and Blues-Rock attack from former-Canned Heat guitarist Harvey Mandel is a true lost gem that pre-dates the later work of Jeff Beck, Al Di Meola et al. Featuring the knock-out band of keyboardist Howard Wales, bassist Larry Taylor and drummer Phil Lagos, this fine recording sounds as fresh as the day it was born.

1. Baby Batter - 3:47
2. Midnight Sun - 6:25
3. One Way Street - 4:22
4. Morton Grove Mama - 4:59
5. Freedom Ball - 6:25
6. El Stinger - 7:27
7. Hank The Ripper - 5:16
All compositions by Harvey Mandel

*Harvey Mandel - Acoustic, Electric Guitar
*Colin Bailey - Drums
*Big Black - Congas
*Sandra Crouch - Tambourine
*Paul Lagos - Drums
*Mike Melvoin - Keyboards, Organ, Electric Piano
*Joe Picaro - Percussion
*Jeff Porcaro - Percussion
*Emil Richards - Percussion
*Shorty Rogers - String Arrangements
*Larry Taylor - Bass, Fender Rhodes
*Howard Wales - Keyboards, Organ, Electric Piano

1968  Harvey Mandel - Cristo Redentor (2003 remaster and expanded)  
Related Acts
1965-66  The Barry Goldberg Blues Band - Blowing My Mind ..Plus (2003 remaster and expanded)
1967  Charley Musselwhite - Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite's Southside Band
1968  The Barry Goldberg Reunion - There's No Hole In My Soul
1969  Barry Goldberg - Two Jews Blues (vinyl edition) 
1967-73  Canned Heat - The Very Best Of (2005 issue with previous unreleased track)
1970  Canned Heat - Future Blues (remastered and expanded) 
1971-72  Canned Heat - Historical Figures And Ancient Heads (extra track remaster issue)
1974  Love - Reel To Reel (2015 deluxe edition)

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Thursday, September 26, 2019

Guy Clark - Texas Cookin' (1976 us, remarkable outlaw country rock, 2016 japan remaster)

Guy Clark's sophomore effort sounds more like a party of friends who got together to pick together on a Saturday night that it does a sensitive singer/songwriter outing. Essentially that's what it is, coming as it did at the height of the outlaw movement fever. Recorded at Chips Moman's American Studios in Nash Vegas, there is no producer listed on the set, so you can assume Clark did it himself with the aid of his many compadres here, who include but are not limited to Emmylou Harris, Susanna Clark, Johnny Gimble, Jerry Jeff Walker, Hoyt Axton, Waylon Jennings, Tracy Nelson, Brian Ahern, Mickey Raphael, Rodney Crowell, David Briggs, and Chip Young. 

Songwise, Clark's on a roll here; first there's the wooly party tune, "Texas Cookin'," that celebrates the Lone Star State's particular ability to make their food taste good with beer, and then there's the stunning "Anyhow I Love You," with Emmylou, Waylon, and Crowell accompanying Clark as a chorus. Jennings' harmony singing here is the best he did in his career. There's the mid-tempo "Good to Love You Lady" with Walker, Axton, Crowell, and Harris singing in a smoky contralto, an honest to goodness country song, baring its fiddles, pedal steel, and a trio of acoustic guitars to carry those rough and sweet voices through the story. And while the up-tempo tunes here are wondrously raucous fare, Clark's strength as a ballad writer is almost unequaled among his peers. 

Nowhere is this more evident than on "Broken Hearted People" (since retitled for the refrain, "Take Me to a Barroom"). Clark's version of the song lacks any sentimentality. He is one of the tune's subjects; his resignation is to spend his mourning days on a barstool after discovering a lover's faithlessness, but he's already wasted and can't even get there under his own power. His devastation is only eclipsed by his desperation: "Take me to a barroom driver/Set me on a stool/If I can't be her man, I'm damned/If I'll be her fool." In addition, Clark's "The Last Gunfighter Ballad" is a signature song, like his "Randall Knife" or "Desperadoes Waiting for a Train." It's a song; it's a story; it's a movie with acoustic guitars a bass, a cello, finger cymbals, and Waylon. Chilling, stirring, and unforgettable, just like the album itself. 
by Thom Jurek

1. Texas Cookin' - 3:49
2. Anyhow, I Love You - 3:55
3. Virginia's Real - 3:00
4. It's About Time - 4:56
5. Good To Love You Lady - 5:03
6. Broken Hearted People - 4:45
7. Black Haired Boy - 3:10
8. Me I'm Feelin' The Same - 3:32
9. The Ballad Of Laverne And Captain Flint - 3:54
10.The Last Gunfighter Ballad - 2:52
All songs by Guy Clark excpet track #7 co written with Susanna Clark

*Guy Clark - Vocals, Guitar
*Mike Leach - Bass
*Jerry Kroon - Drums
*Larrie Londin - Drums
*Chip Young - Guitar
*Brian Ahern - Guitar
*Lea Jane Berinati - Keyboards, Piano, Background Vocals
*David Briggs - Clarinet, Piano, Keyboards, Clavinet, Background Vocals
*Chuck Cochran - Piano
*Charlie Bundy - Bass, Background Vocals
*Susanna Clark - Background Vocals
*Sammi Smith - Background Vocals
*Hoyt Axton - Background Vocals
*Tracy Nelson - Background Vocals
*Nicolette Larson - Background Vocals
*Rodney Crowell - Guitar, Background Vocals
*Johnny Gimble - Fiddle
*Pete Grant - Dobro, Pedal Steel Guitar
*Emmylou Harris - Background Vocals
*Jack Hicks - Banjo
*Chris Laird - Drums, Percussion, Finger Cymbals
*Mike Leech - Bass, String Arrangements
*Waylon Jennings - Guitar, Harmony Vocals
*Steve Keith - Fiddle
*Chips Moman - Guitar
*Mickey Raphael - Harmonica
*Danny Roland - Guitar, Background Vocals
*Tommy Williams - Fiddle
*Byron Bach - Cello
*Jerry Jeff Walker - Guitar, Background Vocals

1975  Guy Clark - Old No1 (2016 japan remaster) 

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Devil's Kitchen Band - Been A Long Time Coming, Be A Long Time Gone (1969-70 us, fantastic west coast psych jam blues rock, 2018 digi pak release)

Back in the 1 960S, Carbondale, Illinois was a lively college town. There were
lots of local bars that featured live rock bands. If you were a student, a rock 'n roll musician, and, you had a gig at one of those bars, you could cover most of your college expenses - tuition, books, room & board - playing once or twice a week. Students would often spend an evening drinking and dancing to live music after heading out to their favorite local road house. It was the dancing that set the tone, the drive, and it got folks up on their feet. Motown, Memphis, Soul, Blues, and the occasional grungy rock & roll cover tune filled the night air in funky road houses.

Discovering new music by British bands like Traffic, The Who, The Yardbirds, and eventually American groups like Jefferson Airplane and Butterfield Blues Band, rarely heard on top-forty commercial radio, after a while started making the bar gigs feel more like... work. And fanning desires for better, hipper, more artful scene were. tales told by friends and lucky classmates returning from school breaks and summer adventures in San Francisco.

The rock band; that became Devil's Kitchen began in Carbondale in 1967. Robbie, Brett, Steve, and Bucky, a 16-year-old bass player still in high school, started a band they called *OM", after the sacred cosmic Sanskrit syllable. The group planned to migrate to San Francisco at the end of the 1967-68 school year and join the party in progress, but unfortunately for Bucky, his parents said "No!". A Southern Illinois University design student then studying with the other Bucky (University Professor R. Buckminster Fuller) would be soon be graduating, so then Bob joined the group as the new bass player.

Driving west in a vintage VW Bus and arriving in San Francisco in June of 1968, band *OM" soon found there wets three other Bay Area bands already tuned in to the same cosmic vibe and featuring names like Om, Aum, or Ohm. So "OM" decided to name themselves after Devil's Kitchen Lake, a popular weekend retreat just a few miles outside of Carbondale. Devil's Kitchen had come to San Francisco well prepared, with dozens of compelling, original songs and arrangements and a level of musicianship that was up to the high energy demands of the San Francisco rock scene. They very quickly joined the legendary Chet Helms' Family Dog Productions as the "house band" at The Great Highway ballroom, and evolved into a killer psychedelic jam improvising those extended, dynamic, layered, energetic performances that were in tune with the San Francisco hippie scene. 

Far out! Groovy! Wish you could have been there! If you were there ... Hello, old friend!
Enjoy this live blast from the past.
CD Liner Notes

1. Mellow Pot Blues (Buster Bennett) - 3:56
2. Earthfields - 9:28
3. Dust My Blues (Elmore James, Robert Johnson) - 5:16
4. All In A Daze Existence - 7:03
5. Farm Bust Blues - 10:42
6. City - 3:58
7. Mourning Glory - 4:52
8. To Love Somebody (Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb) - 3:59
9. Shadowbird - 5:43
10.Short Haired Woman (Sam Lightnin' Hopkins) - 7:34
11.Things On My Mind - 4:38
12.Head On Right - 3:21
All songs by Brett Champlin, Robbie Stokes, Bob Laughton, Steve Sweigart except where indicated

Devil's Kitchen Band
*Robbie Stokes - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Brett Champlin - Guitar, Vocals
*Bob Laughton - Bass, Vocals
*Steve Sweigart - Drums

1969  Devil's Kitchen - Devil's Kitchen (2011 Vinyl issue) 

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Rumplestiltskin - Rumplestiltskin (1970 uk, impressive hard blues classic rock, 2007 remaster)

An abiding childhood memory for many people around the world is the strange story of Rumplestiltskin. Who was this creature and what possible connection could he have with the world of music? Well, Rumplestiltskin was a passionate, deformed dwarf of German folklore. Remember the miller's daughter, ordered by the King to spin straw into gold? The dwarf offered to achieve this miracle on her behalf, as long as she promised to give him her first child. The maiden married the king and grieved so much when their child was born, that the dwarf promised to relent if she could guess his name. A servant tipped off the maiden and when the child was saved, Rumplestiltskin killed himself in a fit of demented rage. 

But whence came the mysterious group that adopted this curious name? Did they yearn to spin their records into pure gold? It's most likely they had this firmly in mind. After all, 'Rumplestiltskin' was the idea of a successful record producer, and those who would do his bidding were all top British session players. Alas, their golden schemes came to nought, but at least they produced a splendid album that has since gone into rock folklore.

Shel Talmy was an American born producer resident in London during the Swinging Sixties. Talmy was closely involved with The Who, The Kinks, The Easvbeats and many other top groups. As a busy producer, he appreciated the benefits of using session players as they could save him time and money. Groups had all the ideas, but often their guitar players and drummers were inexperienced youngsters who found it difficult to cope with studio demands.Talmy would call in reinforcements, when he needed guys who could read music and quickly grasp the arrangements.

The contributions of his anonymous session men were usually a closely puarded secret. Nevertheless, the producer grew to admire the hard working studio stalwarts and that's probably what gave Shel the idea forming a new kind of'super group'. It would give the professional musicians a chance to shine in their own right. Except that, like the mythical prototype, their names could only be revealed by guesswork. Once again, 'Rumplestiltskin' became the centre of a spinning web of intrigue.

The musicians chosen for the enterprise were all top line players. The line up comprised Peter Charles Green (Vocals), Alan Parker (Guitar), Alan Hawkshaw (Keyboards), Herbie Flowers (Bass) And Clem Cattini (Drums). "We all had a great laugh in the studio," recalls Clem Cattini, recalling the events of some 36 years ago. "We were all session men, but the idea was to form our own supergroup. It was Shel's idea to call it Rumplestiltskin and we all played under assumed names, because the BBC wouldn't play our record if they thought it was by session men. So I went under the name of 'Rupert Baer'."

Peter Charles Green was actually Peter Lee Stirling, a singer/songwriter who subsequently enjoyed an international hit single under the name of 'Daniel Boone' with 'Beautiful Sunday' in 1972. He had previously sung in the group Hungry Wolf, that also featured Clem Cattini, Herbie Flowers, Alan Hawkshaw and Alan Parker, and recorded an album for Philips in 1970. Alan Parker as one of the top session guitarists of the day who played the solos on records by all sorts of artists, from Status Quo to David Bowie. Says Clem: "Alan Parker and I worked with Lulu as her backing band at 'The Talk Of The Town' in the West End, with John Paul Jones on bass and Nicky Hopkins on piano. Alan Hawkshaw wrote loads ofTV material, including the theme for Channel 4's 'Countdown'. Herbie Flowers used to play with John Williams in a group called Sky.

He also wrote 'Grandad', a big hit for Clive Dunn." Clem believes that Shel Talmy brought them together to see if they could compete with the heavy rock groups like Led Zeppelin and Status Quo. "We did a  helluva lot of work with Shel and he wanted to get this supergroup going, without being facetious. He had a lot of faith in us. But we never got a hit, and this was the only record we made. We recorded the album at Pye and did one 'live' gig at the Marquee Club in Soho. It was a great band and Alan Parker was a superb guitar player. He played on Donovan's big hit 'Hurdy Gurdy Man' and so did I.You read that it was Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham on the record, but that's completely wrong. The  trouble was, nobody knew who we were. But I was one of the original rock'n'rollers." Clement Cattini was born in Stoke Newington, London August 20, 1937. His father emigrated to England from Italy in the early 1900s and began a career in the restaurant trade. Thanks to flat feet, Clem escaped National Service with the Army, the fate of most British teenagers in the 1950s. He was able to enjoy life as a rock'n'roller and became was one of the U.K.'s first professional pop and rock drummers.

He started playing aged 18 and joined Terry Kennedy's Rock'n'Rollers. They had the extraordinary experience of touring with legendary British comedian Max Wall in 1957. "Max was doing a Bill Haley skit in his show and we had to back him," recalls Clem. "He was a fabulous guy and so funny. I used to watch him every night." After touring with Max, the band backed pop idol Terry Dene and were known as the Dene Aces. They appeared in Terry's movie 'The Golden Disc'. Clem: "I was in the film as a smiling youth. I get ribbed quite a lot about that when it's shown on TV. But I'm so glad I was involved in that era."

After playing for Terry Dene, Clem worked on the Larry Parnes package shows, backing Billy Fury, Duffy Power and Johnny Gentle. He then joined Johnnv Kidd and the Pirates who had a Number One hit in 1960 with 'Shaking All Over'. "I'd had a enough working for £20 a week for Larry Parnes, so I left him and got the job with Johnny Kidd. We recorded 'Shakin' All Over', which was my first Number One. The guy who played the guitar solo on the record was Joe Moretti. He used to lidiiy diuund the 2I's Coffee Dai in Soho. Our regular guittiiist was too nervous to do a solo, so we asked Joe if fancied making a record — as you do. Joe now lives in South Africa. Just before he died, George Harrison told me at a party that 'Shakin' All Over' was one of his favourite records, and he was surprised when I told him who had actually played the famous solo." Clem left the Pirates when Johnny Kidd's touring schedule dried up and answered an advert to join a session group put together by producer Joe Meek. 

The group turned out to be The Tornados who promptly had a Number One hit in America in 1960 with the instrumental 'Telstar'. Despite his success with The Tornados and The Honeycombs, Joe Meek suffered from personal and business worries, and on February 3, 1967, Meek took out a shotgun and killed his landlady, before turning the gun on himself. Once he had recovered from this shocking tragedy, Clem went back to work and joined successful vocal group The Ivy League that led to endless 'demos' sessions for different acts. "That's how I got into session work and ended up playing on the master discs. I was lucky because I was one of the few session men who could play rock'n'roll."

During a career lasting 23 years, Clem played on 43 Number Ones, including Tony Christie's '(Is This The Way) To Amarillo', the smash hit so successfully revived in 2005. Cattini still plays 'live' gigs with a revived version of The Tornados. In 2006 the group was looking forward to playing on a special show to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Joe Meek's death, in February 2007, also due to include John Leyton, Cliff Bennett and The Honeycombs. But the big question remains — could Rumplestiltskin have made it as a successful supergroup? Says Clem: "Quite possibly, because the band had some great musicians. Who knows? I might got have finally got my swimming pool!"
by Chris Welch, London, England, February 2007

1. Make Me Make You (Alan Hawkshaw, Alan Parker, Peter Charles Green) - 6:08
2. Poor Billy Brown (Alan Hawkshaw, Alan Parker, Peter Charles Green) - 8:10
3. Knock On My Door (Alan Hawkshaw, Alan Parker, Peter Charles Green) - 2:46
4. No One To Turn To (Alan Hawkshaw, Alan Parker, Peter Charles Green) - 3:36
5. Mr Joe (Witness For The Defence) (Alan Hawkshaw, Alan Parker) - 6:43
6. Pate De Foie Gras (Alan Hawkshaw, Alan Parker) - 2:58
7. Rumplestiltskin (Alan Hawkshaw, Alan Parker, Clem Cattini, Herbie Flowers) - 3:20
8. Squadron Leader Johnson (Alan Hawkshaw, Alan Parker, Peter Charles Green) - 5:00

*Peter Charles Green - Vocals
*Alan Parker - Guitar
*Alan Hawkshaw - Keyboards
*Herbie Flowers - Bass
*Clem Cattini - Drums

1972  Rumplestiltskin - Black Magician (2011 hard sleeve remaster edition with extra track) 
1970  Hungry Wolf - Hungry Wolf 
Related Acts
1956-66  Johnny Kidd And The Pirates - The Best Of (2008 two disc set) 
1969  The Pandamonium - The Unreleased Album (2004 release)
1969  P.J. Proby - Three Weeks Hero
1970  Bob Downes Open Music - Electric City (2007 japan remaster)
1972  Tennent Morrison - Tennent Morrison  

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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Trapeze - Trapeze (1970 uk, great debut classic rock with glam flashes, 2004 remaster with bonus tracks)

Trapeze were the first act signed by the Moody Blues to their newly founded Threshold Records label, and remain the most substantial talent -- along with Nicky James -- ever to pass through that company's roster, apart from the Moodies themselves. Those listeners who only know the subsequent albums by Trapeze may be surprised by this debut effort, the sole recording left behind by the original five-piece version of the band. With Moody Blues bassist John Lodge producing a lineup that included ex-Montanas lead singer John Jones and guitarist/keyboardist Terry Rowley alongside singer/guitarist Mel Galley, bassist Glenn Hughes, and drummer Dave Holland, late of Finders Keepers, the sounds here don't closely resemble the hard-rocking work of the subsequent trio -- there are lush choruses, psychedelic interludes, and hook-laden romantic ballads scattered throughout this record. 

Yet that trio, of Hughes, Galley, and Holland, is pumping out high-energy music within the context of psychedelic pop/rock throughout this album, which comes off as a much higher-wattage alternative to the Moody Blues. And in some respects, this album also closely resembles the better moments on those three early Deep Purple albums (the ones with Rod Evans on lead vocals), when they were essentially a hard rock outfit still playing pop/rock -- the results aren't bad and, in fact, are quite catchy at times, but it's clear that three of these musicians are holding back to one degree or another in these surroundings. Galley's high-energy leads and power chords and Hughes' already larger-than-life bass are the dominant sounds about 60 percent of the time, overpowering much around them, with songs like the Galley/Jones-composed "Fairytale" and Hughes-authored "Am I" pointing the way to their future sound -- and even on Rowley's rock ballad "Send Me No More Letters," Holland is playing drums about as hard as the music will permit. 

The core trio does find a good compromise with Rowley and Jones' more lyrical, psychedelic pop sensibilities, and Trapeze probably could have held this sound together longer than they did but for Jones' and Rowley's departures. But it's also clear that there was another band trying to break out from within the sound of this lineup, which happened later in the year when Trapeze were reduced to a trio. 
by Bruce Eder

1. It's Only A Dream (Mel Galley) - 0:43
2. The Giant's Dead Hoorah! (Glenn Hughes) - 3:32
3. Over (John Jones, Mel Galley) - 3:37
4. Nancy Gray (Glenn Hughes) - 2:47
5. Fairytale - Verily Verily - Fairytale (John Jones, Mel Galley) - 7:40
6. It's My Life (John Jones, Mel Galley) - 2:48
7. Am I (Glenn Hughes) - 3:07
8. Suicide (John Jones, Mel Galley) - 4:50
9. Wings (Glenn Hughes, Terry Rowley) - 3:28
10.Another Day (Mel Galley, Glenn Hughes, John Jones) - 2:36
11.Send Me No More Letters (Terry Rowley) - 4:33
12.It's Only A Dream (Mel Galley) - 0:37

*Glenn Hughes - Bass, Guitar, Piano, Trombone, Lead Vocals
*Mel Galley - Lead Guitar, Bass
*Dave Holland - Drums
*Terry Rowley - Organ, Guitar, Piano, Flute
*John Jones - Trumpet, Vocals

1970  Trapeze - Medusa (2008 remaster)
1974  Trapeze - Hot Wire (2015 remaster)
1975  Trapeze - Trapeze (2015 remaster)
1975  Trapeze - Live At The Boat Club

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Sunday, September 8, 2019

Mandrake Paddle Steamer - Pandemonium Shadow Show (1968-70 uk, impressive heavy psych prog rock, 2019 release)

Pure late 60s UK psychedelic sound with early prog moves, plenty of Hammond and fuzzed out guitar, powerful vocals…Including such lost gems as the Barrett-Floyd sounding ‘The World Whistles By’, killer psych-rockers like ‘Pandemonium Shadow Show’ or ‘Doris The Piper’, the mellotron fuelled ‘October Country’ and more!

Unlike other ’60s British bands who changed their music to “psychedelic” or “progressive” with the time, MPS were born “progressive” from day one. Formed in 1967 in Walthamstow (London) by a core of art school students, their members were Brian Engel, Martin Briley, Paula Riordan, Martin Hooker and Barry Nightingale (later replaced by David Potts).

During their short lifespan (’67-70), MPS supported big names like Pink Floyd, The Nice or Vanilla Fudge. They played at The Isle Of Wight Festival, had a residence at the Star Club in Germany and ran their own club night (Asgard).

Signed to the Parlophone label (though the band was aiming to be part of the more progressive Harvest imprint) they released in ’69 the ‘Strange Walking Man’ 45, recorded at Abbey Road and now widely considered a lost British psychedelic classic (check Rubbles, Perfumed Garden, etc). Due to lack of promotion and interest from their record label, the 45 went nowhere. After some line-up changes and shortening their name to just Mandrake, the band definitively split in 1970.

Pandemonium Shadow Show collects studio recordings registered by Mandrake Paddle Steamer / Mandrake during ’68-70 at various London studios such as Regent, Orange and other unknown locations. Some of these tracks had been previously included on several bootleg albums with inferior sound quality / wrong titles and others have remained unreleased until now. 

1. Pandemonium Shadow Show (Brian Engel, Martin Briley) - 4:18
2. Solitair Husk (Brian Engel, Martin Briley, Martin Hooker, Paula Riordan) - 2:55
3. Stella Mermaid (Martin Briley) - 7:07
4. The World Whistles By (Brian Engel, Martin Briley) - 3:56
5. Upminster Windows (Brian Engel, Martin Briley, Martin Hooker, Paula Riordan) - 5:27
6. Doris The Piper (Martin Briley) - 7:35
7. The Doorway To January (Martin Hooker) - 4:50
8. Simple Song (Martin Briley) - 5:13
9. The October Country (Brian Engel, Martin Briley) - 4:59
Tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9 recorded 1968
Tracks 3, 6, 8 recorded 1970

The Mandrake Paddle Steamer
*Brian Engel - Vocals (Tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 9)
*Martin Briley - Guitar, Vocals
*Martin Hooker - Keyboard
*Paula Riordan - Bass
*Barry Nightingale - Drums
*David Potts - Drums (Tracks 3, 6, 8)

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Thursday, September 5, 2019

Rosebud - Rosebud (1971 us, spectacular folk rock with baroque jazz and prog tinges, 2017 remaster and expanded)

Over the course of the 1960s, Judy Henske had gradually drifted from folk to pop to folk-rock and psychedelia. More than any of her other projects, the early-1970s LP Rosebud was very much a rock album, anchored by a functioning rock band rather than collaborators and session musicians. For the record was not a Henske solo release, but the work of an actual band called Rosebud, in which Henske was just one of five members, albeit a very important one.

Another key member of Rosebud was Judy's husband of the time, Jerry Yester. After recording folk and folk-rock in the mid-'60s as part of the Modern Folk Quartet, Yester replaced Zal Yanovsky in the Lovin' Spoonful and produced albums by Tim Buckley and the Association, as well as teaming up with Henske to share co-billing  on the psychedelically eclectic late-1960s cult classic Farewell Aldebaran. That record's fertile imagination hadn't resulted in commercial success, yet one of its songs, the crunching blues-rocker "Snowblind," was vital to turning Henske and Yester toward a rockier full-band setup. "The only thing that had been played [on the radio] was 'Snowblind,'" explains Henske. "Jerry and I already had a lot of material, but we thought that expanding out of that Modern Folk Quartet kind of style -- beautiful harmonies and delicate constructions -- might be a good idea. I had a heavier idea of what I wanted to do, or something that could swing. So then along came Craig."

Keyboardist Craig Doerge had first met Henske when he played in her backup band at a Cleveland gig in 1965. He'd subsequently moved to Hollywood to work as a studio player and songwriter. "I'd been on the lot of A&M Records, doing a lot of writing with Paul Williams and with Donna Weiss, who wrote [with Jackie DeShannon] 'Bette Davis Eyes,'" he remembers. "We were cranking out songs, very much in the West Coast Brill Building style of songwriting. Some of those songs were on the reel that I sent out to Judy."

"We heard some of Craig's demo records and it really sounded good," picks up Henske. "Craig was a swinging piano player with a big rhythmic sound, and big left hand; he didn't even need a bass player. So we decided to form a band." The trio was expanded to a quintet with drummer John Seiter, who'd been in Spanky & Our Gang and the Turtles, and bassist David Vaught (who only made the back cover shot and not the front one of the group), though "the songs were all written by Jerry, Craig, and me," continues Judy. "We decided to be very democratic on assigning lead singing, so most of the lead singing went to Jerry and me, some to Craig, and one [song] to Johnny Seiter."

The democracy was reflected in the album's diversity, with only a few of the songs (particularly the Henske-Yester compositions "Le Soleil," "Lullabye II (Summer Carol)," and "Lorelei") echoing the strange poetic wordplay and psychedelic-classical melodic whimsy of Farewell Aldebaran. At other points the sound was more in line with the burgeoning Los Angeles singer-songwriter movement of the early 1970s and country-rock, though the Henske-Doerge-penned "Flying to Morning" ventured into baroque orchestrated art-pop. "Salvation," another Henske-Doerge collaboration, unexpectedly became a hit in France for French pop star Johnny Hallyday, who recorded it as "Sauvez Moi" in Hollywood, with Doerge on piano. The translation did take some liberties by adding, in Doerge's words, an "extra thing about going onto the steps of the guillotine."

Jerry Yester produced, his major role in shaping the recording praised by both Henske, who calls him "a wonderful thinker with strings and arranging," and Doerge, who hails his "terrific vocal arrangements. Jerry's very much a perfectionist on vocal parts, so we would sing that stuff ad nauseum. But it's the only way that the group could work, because they were complicated vocal charts. I personally had grave reservations about any band in which Judy's role as a lead singer was anything other than always outfront. In some ways, the democracy Jerry was looking for didn't serve Judy as a solo singer, because no matter how good Jerry or I might sing a song, it was immaterial if it meant Judy didn't sing the song. I think it was a time in Judy's life where she was raising [her daughter] and kind of happy to back off a little bit from being the wild and crazy solo Judy Henske, and willing to let her limelight be kind of tucked within a group." Yester, however, welcomed the chance to spread the vocals around, as "John Seiter was a fine singer, and Craig was a good parts singer. Judy and I loved parts singing, so we wanted to do as much of that as possible. It was a lot more rounded than just Judy and I."

"'Lorelei' and 'Lullabye' are two of the finest pieces of music that I think Jerry ever wrote for a group," adds Doerge. "The realization of those records was great as well, 'cause he was taking four very different voices. Our bass player and drummer were not big singers, but we actually sounded pretty good. Jerry knew how to give parts to everybody so that they sounded as good as they could. Because he knew how to arrange for a vocal quartet, which is what this was." Craig also admired Yester's orchestral arrangements for tracks like "Flying to Morning," where "there was a small orchestra, but they sounded great. I think Jerry works with a small orchestra not unlike Claus Ogermann, another great arranger. He gets a lot out of fifteen players because he can't afford more." From time to time the sound was also filled out by top L.A. session players, with Mike Deasy playing guitar on "Salvation" and "Reno," Buddy Emmons pedal steel on "The Yum Yum Man," and Ray Brown and Barry Zweig bass and guitar respectively on "Roll Home Cheyenne."

Yet after all the thoughtful craft that had gone into the group's formation and the album's recording, Henske says Rosebud played live just a couple of times (once at the Troubadour club in Los Angeles, and once in San Juan Capistrano) before splitting. Henske and Yester's marriage was breaking up, with Henske beginning a relationship with Craig Doerge, whom she's still married to, and with whom she still records and performs. Around the time Rosebud came out in 1971, Yester remembers running into Warners honcho Mo Ostin, "who said, 'Oh boy, we love the album, and we're going to give it a big push.' I said, 'Judy and I have broken up, Mo.' He said, 'Oh,' and drove off. And that was, I think, the last time I saw him. It was just horrible timing." With the band already dissolved, Rosebud's sole album enjoyed little promotion or commercial impact.

"That busted up the band," confirms Doerge, who would go on to play on albums by Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and many others, also recording as a solo artist, while Henske largely retired from the music business until her 1999 release Loose in the World. "I think if Rosebud had stayed together, we'd probably have been as big as Fleetwood Mac. But we suffered some of the same problems they did. That's great that it is being re-released, because Jerry and I have talked about it in the last few years hoping that it would be. Jerry and I both think there's a lot of great material on there, and it's wonderful that it's going to have the chance to see the light of day now."
by Richie Unterberger

1. Panama - 3:54
2. Le Soleil - 2:37
3. Reno (Craig Doerge, Judy Henske) - 3:57
4. Western Wisconsin - 4:00
5. Loreli - 3:54
6. Salvation (Craig Doerge, Judy Henske) - 4:03
7. Lullabye Ii - Summer Carol - 2:31
8. The Yum Yum Man (Craig Doerge, Judy Henske) - 3:36
9. Roll Home Cheyenne - 3:14
10.Flying To Morning (Craig Doerge, Judy Henske) - 4:25
11.Lazy - 2:51
12.Reno (Mono Single) (Craig Doerge, Judy Henske)- 3:58
13.Mercury Of Fools - 3:17
14.Hey Old Friend - 3:04
15.Le Soleil - 3:36
16.What's The Matter With Sam - 3:19
17.Easy On Me, Easy (Craig Doerge, Judy Henske) - 3:39
18.Father Of Souls - 3:46
19.Mercury Of Fools - 2:58
20.Hey Old Friend - 3:16
All compositions by Jerry Yester, Judy Henske except where noted
Tracks 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20  Previously Unissued

*Judy Henske - Vocals
*Jerry Yester - Vocals, Bass, Guitar, Banjo, Autoharp
*John Seiter - Vocals, Drums, Percussion, Bells
*Craig Doerge - Vocals, Keyboards, Vibraphone, Concertina
*David Vaught - Bass
*Ray Brown - Bass
*Barry Zweig - Guitar
*Buddy Emmons - Pedal Steel Guitar

Related Acts
1969  Judy Henske And Jerry Yester - Farewell Aldebaran 
1965  Do You Believe In Magic (2016 Blu Spec Bonus Tracks Edition)
1966  Daydream  (2016 Blu Spec Bonus Tracks Edition)
1966  Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful  (2016 Blu Spec Bonus Tracks Edition)
1966 The Lovin' Spoonful - What's Up, Tiger Lily (2008 japan remaster) 
1967-68  You're A Big Boy Now / Everything Playing (2011 edition and 2016 Blu Spec Bonus Tracks Edition)
1969  Revelation: Revolution '69
1968  Zalman Yanovsky - Alive And Well In Argentina (2010 remaster and expanded)

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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Diabolus - Diabolus (1971 uk, fantastic psych jazz prog folk rock, 2004 digi pak release)

Diabolus is another of those unusual bands that, like Nektar, were English but released their only album in Germany.  Although their 1972 self-titled debut (also listed as High Tones) was released on the Bellaphon label, it would have fit in perfectly on Neon (Raw Material, Tonton Macoute, Dawn (Jonsey, Gravy Train), Vertigo (Catapilla, Cressida) or Deram (Room, et. al).  In fact, if you were to take the best elements of each of those bands, plus a little bit of Aquila (1970) and Hannibal (1970), you pretty much have this little masterpiece.

Instrumentation is led by a pair of brothers, John and Anthony Hadfield, on guitar, bass and vocals.  Phillip Howard broadens their sound by providing not only keyboards but also flute and sax (lots of flute and sax).   The quartet is rounded out by an impressive drummer, Ellwood Von Seibold, who treats us with a brief drum solo at the end of one of their best numbers, a cool free form jazzy jam called Spontenuity.   It goes on for just long enough to appreciate his talents, but not so long that we reach for the “next track” button.

Diabolus style is a perfect blend of electric psych inflenced folk with a load of jazz rock.  That gives their songs something of an energy and tension, even in the gentle ballads, because you know that they could break out in a spirited riff at any moment.  And when they do, they are are at their best.  The dueling between guitar (often switching from rock to jazz technique) and flute is just brilliant.  Their ability to play tight start/stop and shift effortlessly through time signatures sets them apart from many of their peers.  
by Bob Netherton

1. Lonely Days (John Hadfield) - 7:22
2. Night Clouded Moon (Traditional Arr. By John Hadfield) - 5:49
3. 1002 Nights (Anthony Hadfied, Ellwood Von Seibold, John Hadfield, Philip Howard) - 4:51
4. 3 Piece Suite (Anthony Hadfied, Ellwood Von Seibold, John Hadfield, Philip Howard) - 7:11
5. Lady Of The Moon (Anthony Hadfied, Ellwood Von Seibold, John Hadfield, Philip Howard) - 4:00
6. Laura Sleeping (John Hadfield, Poem by Charles Cotton) - 6:11
7. Spontenuity (Anthony Hadfied, Ellwood Von Seibold, John Hadfield, Philip Howard) - 6:27
8. Raven's Call (Anthony Hadfied, Ellwood Von Seibold, John Hadfield, Philip Howard) - 6:22

*John Hadfield - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Anthony Hadfied - Bass, Vocals
*Philip Howard - Flute, Keyboards, Saxophone, Organ, Piano
*Ellwood Von Seibold - Drums

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Sunday, July 28, 2019

Amory Kane - Memories Of Time Unwound (1968 us, wonderful baroque folk psych, 2015 korean remaster)

Amory Kane was born Jack Daniel Kane Jr. at St. Mary's Hospital, San Francisco, California. The month was March in 1946. The Kane Family, with three small kids in tow, sailed to Great Britain in 1947, where Jack Daniel Kane sr. was posted in the capacity of military air attaché. Young Jack attended British schools in London- (Cannon Park Road School), and in Bath, Cornwall (Priory Park). Soccer and cricket were the games of choice and Jack jr , who was tall, became affair goalie.

Young Jack was moved by the classic music played in the British Isles throughout the year but especially during England's most heartfelt holiday, Christmas. People sang all the old songs together. He began piano lessons. At English schools the kids learned French, English, Latin and Greek from the very first years of pre-school. Everyone was also, it seems, guided to a musical instrument Electric Guitar

The Kanes were returned stateside by the military powers that be when JD (now Jack Jr s family name) turned seven. The family was stationed in San Antonio, Texas and there was music everywhere. Jack soon discovered the electric steel guitar and, by the age of nine, he was appearing on the locally televised Sagebrush Shorty Show, a popular local kids show, and participating in musical reviews at the Civic Auditorium. Grace, Jack's mother, soon purchased him a Recording King lap steel guitar and a Gibson amplifier.

The Kane kids had been getting their religious instruction with Saturday catechism and the Sunday choir and services at the local charismatic Baptist Church. We kids were adopted warmly by the entirely African American congregation and introduced to the great gospel music of the Church. A love of the rich black culture rubbed off strongly on Jack for the rest of his musical life.

After three rich years in San Antonio, the family moved back to Hamilton Air Force Base, near Novato, California, when Jack was ten or eleven. Jack Amory Kane, 1975 With the family living in Marin County, Jack discovered he was carrying a viable singing ability with him, much of which he had come by in the Baptist choir back in Texas. He wanted to switch over to the Spanish style guitar to comp behind his voice in singing the pop, blues and folk songs of the day. Jack also wanted to emulate the electric guitar blues that he was listening to nightly on his tiny battery powered transistor radio, tuned into distant Tijuana blues station XERB, with the Wolfman, which only came in at night.

Since he had been studying piano now for some years, Jack had developed a great love for the classical music his teachers had given him. And he had three years of lessons in learning the pedal steel guitar, playing the great country hits of the '50's. But that Wolfman Jack blues music, emanating from so far away over the night airwaves, was what would become Jack's most compelling interest, and the blues he heard most acutely was played on the electric Spanish guitar. Young Jack soon acquired a guitar neck and some castoff pickups and he fashioned a body of wood to mate the neck to. A colorful paint job was applied and a castoff bridge was glued in place to accept the strings.

Astonishingly, the mongrel guitar worked admirably with a radio that he turned into an amp of sorts. Body Rhythm Flyer Mama Grace eventually took notice of his initiative and, with her help he soon graduated to a Sears Silvertone guitar and amp combo, plus a Harmony twelve string. Grace played classical guitar and piano and always fostered her kids musical development Jack says, "That's why I did those six or seven years at the piano lessons, ending only when the guitar became too irresistibly obsessive. My mom wanted me to." Jack attended a couple of Bay Area Catholic schools, through ninth grade, St. Raphael's in San Rafael and St. Joseph's in Mountain View. Then he finished high school at Novato High School, where he did talent shows with Chris Clark, who was later to sign with Motown Records as their first white female artist.

During high school. Jack was being booked as a single act at hotels and venues around the Bay by well-known manager, Lucille Bliss. There were also gigs for his folk group, The Hearthside Singers, throughout high school. Jack led a surf band as well, called "The Chancellors" at hops and dances. "I just wanted to be making music all the time," he says. He was, however, mostly an "A" student, throughout school.

After a year of studying music at Kentfield Community College, the pull became just too strong from his future. Grades, for the first time in his educational history, were slipping Jack would have to (and would) attain a college degree later in life JAK and his jaguar While attending the momentous 1967 San Francisco Human Be-in with friends, it became clear to the young man that fate had another road in store for him. What others were seeking here m San Francisco, he would only find elsewhere. He sold his creampuff '57 Galaxie convertible and his extensive record collection and left the City By the Bay. He would hit the skyways with his redheaded Gibson guitar to play his way through Europe.
CD Liner Notes

1. Mama Mama - 2:14
2. Reflections "Of Your Face" - 3:34
3. All The Best Of Songs And Marches (Terry Stamp) - 2:59
4. You Were On My Mind - 4:48
5. Physically Disqualified Blues - 2:22
6. New Light - 5:08
7. Night - 2:58
8. Maybe You`ll Stay - 3:08
9. Candy Queen - 4:05
10.Birds Of Britain - 4:09
11.Perfumed Hand Of Fate - 9:52
All compositions by Amory Kane except Track #3

*Amory Kane - Guitar, Vocals
*Dave Pegg - Bass
*Ned Balen - Drums

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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Cowboy - Boyer And Talton (1974 us, fantastic country southern classic rock, 2018 remaster and expanded)

Cowboy's third album, 1974's Boyer & Talton, found the Florida-bred, Georgia-based combo pared down to its original creative core of founding singer-songwriter-guitarists Scott Boyer and Tommy Talton, after the group's original six-man line-up disbanded. The duo rose to the occasion, writing an effortlessly likable set of tunes and recruiting a set of talented new players to create a consistently strong album that many fans rate as the band's best.

On its first two albums, 1970's Reach for the Sky and 1971's B'll Getcha Ten, Cowboy had introduced its gently soulful brand of country-rock songcraft, distinguished by Boyer and Talton's thoughtful, introspective songwriting and the band's easygoing instrumental rapport. Their laid-back approach allowed Cowboy to stand out from the other Southern rock acts on Capricorn Records' roster.

By the end of 1972, though. Cowboy's roster, which had originally come together casually and organically, had begun to splinter, leaving Boyer and Talton to pick up the pieces.
CD Liner Notes

It's difficult, if not impossible, to understate the distinction Cowboy brought to Capricorn Records. At the height of the Southern rock movement launched by and spurred on through the success of the Allman Brothers Band, Phil Walden's artist roster, including the Marshall Tucker Band and Wet Willie, was also populated with bands like Grinderswitch that borrowed heavily and without reservation from ABB's style (perhaps not so surprisingly, that group was co-founded by Joe Dan Petty, one of the Allmans' roadies). 

But the ensembles led of Scott Boyer and Tommy Talton were earmarked not just by a reliance on vocal harmonies-an element of style missing from all the aforementioned groups-but also an emphasis on formal song structure that not only stood them in good stead over four albums of their own, but also in collaborations with Gregg Allman and Duane Allman: Skydog, the founder of ABB recommended the signing of Cowboy and reaffirmed his advocacy by playing slide on the original version of "Please Be With Me" (subsequently covered by Eric Clapton on 461 Ocean Blvd. 

Quotes from interviews with Tommy Talton, combined with photos from his personal archive are more value-added than the bonus tracks here, both of which also appear on The Gregg Allman Tour (Capricorn, 1974). Yet real style and substance remains in the mellifluous blend of the co-leaders' singing, which suitably decorates a dozen songs, like "Everyone Has A Chance to Feel," as unaffected as the authors' voices. Played and recorded with a crew of collaborators still within the Capricorn family-at the time of this recording prior to the dynasty's decline-there are no pretensions to profundity or innovation on this record, but only an honest reaffirmation of the natural charm of Boyer and Talton's music. 

The duo consent to honor more stylized Dixie rock overtones, but wisely relegate their act of homage to a pair of instrumentals, "Road Gravy Chase" and "Houston Vamp," the combination of which elevates the warm informality of the sessions described in Scott Schinder's liner notes; the accuracy of his essay, in conjunction with this reissue label's wise decision to replicate the original cover graphics, adds to the overall authenticity of this release. 
by Doug Collette, June 23, 2018  

1. A Patch And A Pain Killer - 3:27
2. Coming Back To You (Scott Boyer) - 3:10
3. Everyone Has A Chance To Feel (Scott Boyer) - 4:42
4. Where Can You Go? - 2:21
5. I Heard Some Man Talking - 4:04
6. Love 40 - 3:37
7. Road Gravy Chase (Chuck Leavell, Johnny Sandlin, Scott Boyer, Tommy Talton) - 3:20
8. Something To Please Us - 3:02
9. Long Ride (Scott Boyer) - 3:58
10.Message In The Wind - When I'm Listening (Scott Boyer) - 4:24
11.Houston - 3:00
12.Houston Vamp - 2:52
13.Time Will Take Us - 6:03
14.Where Can You Go? - 8:11
All songs by Tommy Talton except where indicated

*Scott Boyer - Acoustic, Electric Guitars, Lead, Harmony Vocals
*Tommy Talton - Acoustic, Electric Guitars, Bass Guitar, Lead, Harmony Vocals
*Jimmy Nalls - Electric Guitar
*Paul Hornsby - Keyboards
*Chuck Leavell - Acoustic, Electric Piano
*Randall Bramblett - Soprano Saxophone, Backing Vocals
*David Brown - Tenor Saxophone, Backing Vocals
*Toy Caldwell - Pedal Steel Guitar
*John Hughey - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Johnny Sandlin - Bass, Congas
*Charlie Hayward - Bass
*Jaimoe - Drums, Congas
*Bill Stewart - Drums, Percussion
*Giggling Heap - Percussion
*Donna Hall, Ela Brown, Joyce Knight - Backing Vocals
*Georgia Allstars - Backing Vocals

1970  Cowboy - Reach For The Sky
1971  Cowboy - 5'll Getcha Ten (2014 remaster)
Related Acts
1968  The 31st Of February - The 31st Of February
1973  Gregg Allman - Laid Back (2016 japan SHM remaster) 
1974  Gregg Allman - The Gregg Allman Tour (2008 japan SHM remaster)

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Sunday, June 23, 2019

Fat Chance - Fat Chance (1972 us, excellent brass rock, 2019 korean remaster)

"In '68 or '69, [Bill and I] started this group called Fat Chance," Eaton said. "We got a job at this place called Large David's that used to be over by The Downtowner. One night, Phil Garonzik [a sax player] and Fred Sherman [a horn player] showed up looking for a job. They sat in with us, and it was incredible. It changed the whole group."

Within a few months, the members of Fat Chance took a chance. They packed up their horns, guitars, drums, keyboards and iconic '70s rock sound and moved to Los Angeles. It was 1972, and bands like Chicago, Transit Authority and Blood, Sweat and Tears were radio mainstays. Fat Chance's music was a perfect fit.

Shortly after arriving in L.A., Fat Chance secured a gig at The Troubadour. Luck was still on their side because that night, they were signed to RCA. Before the ink on the contracts could dry, they were touring the United States, opening for British prog-rock band Yes.

Fat Chance's rise to success was followed shortly by a fall. For Eaton, the story of the band's break-up is really no story at all.

"We broke up for stupid reasons," Eaton said enigmatically.

LaBounty moved back to Nashville and would forge an impressive career, not only performing but also writing songs for the likes of Patti LaBelle, Jimmy Buffett, Brooks and Dunn, The Judds and Tim McGraw.

Eaton went on to record solo, releasing 1974's Hey Mr. Dreamer and a self-titled follow-up on Capitol Records.
by Amy Atkins

Originally released by RCA in 1972, the sole full-length by a talented band from Boise, Idaho is now revived on CD! Fat Chance managed to combine soft-rock with jazzy brass-rock, resulting in this appealing self-titled album. 

1. One More Time (Bill LaBounty, Steve Eaton) - 3:53
2. We Are The People (Bill LaBounty, Steve Eaton) - 2:59
3. Funny Hats (Bill LaBounty) - 3:29
4. Oh Lavinia (Wayne Bennett) - 3:41
5. That's Not Love (Bill LaBounty) - 2:34
6. Hello Misery (Steve Eaton) - 4:29
7. Country Morning (Steve Eaton) - 3:06
8. Pirate (Bill LaBounty) - 4:30
9. Love Sick Rag (Steve Eaton) - 2:32
10.Lovin' Kind (Bill LaBounty) - 3:21
11.It's A Crime (Bill LaBounty, Dale Borge) - 4:22
12.Beauty (Kathy Deasy, Mike Deasy) - 3:25

The Fat Chance
*Dale Borge - Bass, Vocals
*Steve Eaton - Vocals, Guitar, Harp
*Phil Garonzik - Woodwinds
*Gordon Hirsch - Drums
*Bill LaBounty - Keyboards, Vocals
*Fred Sherman - Trumpet, Flugelhorn

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Levi Smith's Clefs - Empty Monkey (1966-71 australia, awesome groovy psych rhythm 'n' blues, 2008 double disc digi pak set)

This story has been amended immensely by Barrie McAskill from the written documentation of Chris Spencer (The Who’s Who of Australian of Rock & Roll) and Ian Mc Farlane (Whammo)

During the 1960s, Adelaide-born Barrie McAskill earned a reputation as the King of Rock & Roll with his band The Drifters. He also became acknowledged as one of the Australia’s pioneering Soul/R&B singers. A great bear of a man with a commanding presence and gravelly voice to match, McAskill led numerous line-ups of his band Levi Smith's Clefs between 1967 and 2004.

Levi Smith's Clefs initially earned a reputation on the disco /club and dance circuit as a gutsy R&B band, eventually proving to be a breeding ground for the swelling ranks of Australia's progressive music scene. Tully, Fraternity and Southern Contemporary Rock Assembly (SCRA), Mighty Mouse for example, all sprang almost intact from the bosom of the Levis.

McAskill’s philosophy became to encourage his band members to improve as musicians, and for them to move on as the urge arose. Many of them became successful musicians and bandleaders because of his willingness to share his knowledge. More than one hundred musicians have passed through the Levis ranks through the years.

The Levi Smith's Clefs story actually began in Adelaide, South Australia during 1966 when Tweed Harris (Keyboard) reformed The Clefs. This early line-up included Barrie McAskill (vocals), Bev Harrell, (vocals), Les Tanner (guitar), Vinnie Jones (drums), John Young (guitar) and Bruce Howe (bass). The Clefs, with out Bev Harrell moved to Melbourne and became an in-demand band on the city's thriving club, disco and dance circuit.

When Harris accepted an invitation to create a supergroup, The Groove, in early 1967, McAskill was offered the job as lead singer; however he decided to assume leadership of The Clefs, which had changed members to Les Stacpool (Guitar), Bob Jeffrey (Saxophone). Gil Matthews (Drums), Doug Stirling (Bass) he added Inez Amaya (Vocals). McAskill’s musical ear had changed from pop to what he calls symphonic soul music.

When manager Peter Raphael (The Editor of Go-Set Magazine and proprietor of the Australian Entertainment Exchange) suggested the band be renamed, McAskill decided upon, The Levi Smith Affair (which in a roundabout way had been inspired by the name of the Four Tops lead singer Levi Stubbs and Smith being one of the biggest listings in the phone book). Tweed Harris asked Barrie would he keep the name of the Clefs in the equation as he had spent many years building it.

As a six-piece, Levi Smith's Clefs worked Melbourne and Adelaide then to Sydney where they played the Here Disco and were offered a three month season at the Whisky Au Go Go nightclub in Kings Cross, this Gig turned into a six night a week, (9.00pm till 3.00am), 18-month residency, a long party?

The line-up shifted constantly along the way, with Inez Amaya (vocals), Les Stacpool (guitar, ex-Chessmen, Merv Benton and the Tamlas, The Clefs), Ian Walsh (organ, Jeff St John & the Id), Michael Carlos (organ, Long John Law’s Disco), Doug Stirling (bass, The Blue Jays), John Blake (bass, Little Sammy, Janice Slater and The In People), John “Yuk” Harrison (bass, Ray Columbus & the Invaders, Max Merritt & The Meteors), John Helman (bass, Jeff St John & the Id), Gil Matthews (drums, Max Hamilton and the Impacts) and Jimmy Thompson (drums, Tony Worsley & the Blue Jays) passing through the ranks, some for the second time.

By 1968, the line-up had stabilized with McAskill, Amaya, Carlos, Blake, Jurd (guitar), Richard Lockwood (flute, sax) and Robert Taylor (drums, Johnny Young & Company).

The next move, Carlos, Lockwood, Blake and Taylor all left to form Tully, before joining Harry Miller’s Australian stage production of the American “tribal love-rock musical”, Hair in June 1969.

When McAskill left The Whisky Amaya also joined the cast of Hair.

Still at The Whisky, McAskill, Amaya and Jurd assembled a new Levi Smith's Clefs with John Bisset (organ, The Mods, The Action), Bruce Howe (bass, Fraternity, Something Purple, The Clefs, Mickey Finn, Some Dream), and Tony Buettel (drums, Bay City Union, Band of Light). This line-up recorded the adventurous Empty Monkey album for the Sweet Peach label. It was one of the first Australian albums to combine Soul / R & B / pop / jazz with a more progressive rock outlook.

Ed Nimmervol of the editor of Go-Set & Juke magazines, now Howl Space on the web, reviewed this album and concluded that, “This is the best rock album ever produced in Australia”.

Despite being a groundbreaking release in many ways, the album failed to see the success it deserved.

Perhaps due to Sweet Peach changing its recording company from Polydor, to Polygram half way through the promotional tour: And Sweet Peach’s own agenda to take over McAskill’s band: The standout cut was an 11-and-a-half minute arrangement of The Beatle’s You Can’t Do That, Sweet Peach also lifted two singles from the album, Lisa*****Roadrunner (January 1970) And a cover of Junior Walker’s: Shotgun*****Who is it that Shall Come (April 1970). By the time the album came out in March 1970, Jurd, Bisset, Howe and Buettel were leaving to form Fraternity with Bon Scott and supply the backing for Doug Ashdown’s double album The Age of the Mouse, released by Sweet Peach.

McAskill assembled a new Levi Smith's Clefs and returned to Whisky Au Go Go in Sydney. This line-up comprised of Linda Cable (vocals, The Vamps, The Pussy Cats), Steve Doran (keyboards), Peter Karlanek (guitar, Blues Syndicate), Doug Stirling (bass), John Freeman (drums, Red Angel Panic), who was lured away to join Fraternity when Buettel quit, to be replaced by Michael Darby, (drums, Jack Stradbroke & The Action).

When McAskill was offered the famous “Chequers Night Club” where he did another mammoth stint 6 nights a week for a year, another long party.Mike Cousins (trombone, Jeff Duff & Kush), Steve Bowden (trumpet, Daley Wilson Big Band), Bill Harrower (sax), Ken Deacon (Vocals, Everton Park, and Cool Bananas) joined this line up.

It wasn’t long before changes developed to, Mick Kenny (trumpet, The Chant), Bob Jeffrey (sax), Jim Kelly (guitar, Kerry Biddel and The Affair, Dal Myles, their manager was at Peter Raphael’s home when McAskill renamed The Clefs). Russell Dunlop (drums, Aesops Fables), John (Yuk) Harrison (bass, Max Merritt & The Meteors, Genesis), Bruce Howard (piano, La De Das), Michael Carlos (organ returned from Tully & “Hair”).

As Barrie McAskill's Levi Smith's Clefs, this band issued a brassy R&B single, “Gonna Get a Seizure” / “Dancing and Drinking” (April 1971) Chart Records,

Throughout 1971, this band held down the residency at Chequers night club in Sydney. Kelly, Dunlop and Kenny then joined Peter Martin’s, Southern Contemporary Rock Assembly (SCRA) when McAskill's season at Chequers finished. (One Year).

The Levi Smith’s Clefs went on the road again, line-up changes continued apace with Ted (The Head) Yanni (guitar, Plastic Tears, Maple Lace), Yuk Harrison (bass), Doug Stirling (bass), Allan Turnbull (drums, Don Burrows), Greg Henson (drums, The Rhythm Aces) and Bob Jeffrey (sax), Michael Carlos (organ).Carlos and Henson then joined the backing band for the Australian production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar.

In late 1971, McAskill’s “Madmen, Mescaline & Music” days began, as quoted by Julien Cumming of Juke Magazine.

Some of McAskill’s bands became known as The Bear’s Brigade, McAskill, McAskill's Marauders, McAskill’s People, Barrie McAskill and Friends, “McAskill, Murphy, Melouney, Firth and Barns”, God’s Warriors & the Amazons, however he always thought of them as the Levi Smith’s Clefs.

Barrie McAskill's People comprised Vince Melouney (guitar; Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, Bee Gees, Fanny Adams, Cleves, Flite), Michael Barnes (guitar; Nutwood Rug), Ken Firth (bass, Tully, The Ferrets) and Kevin Murphy (drums, Wild Cherries, The Aztecs, King Harvest, Chain, Leo D’Castro & Friends, Rush):.

In mid-1972, McAskill reverted to the Levi Smith's Clefs name for the line-up of Doug Stirling, Kevin Murphy, Les Stacpool and Ian Clyne (keyboard, the Loved Ones, Ram Jam Big Band).

By October 1972, McAskill was working with a line-up, which comprised Murphy, Clyne, Mal Capewell (sax, flute, Dr Kandy's Third Eye, Dada, Little Gulliver’s Company Caine), Russell Smith (trumpet, vocals, Ram Jam Big Band, Power House), Phil Manning (guitar, Bay City Union, Chain, Band of Talabene), and Barry Harvey (drums, Chain). A month later, Murphy, Clyne, Capewell, and Harvey broke away from McAskill and became Mighty Mouse.

It would appear McAskill was left high and dry once again, although he has never seen it this way, he says, “there are more musicians for me to meet and I hope it will remain this way for the rest of my life”, “there is always something new to learn, new chemistries to blend and new music to play”.

McAskill formed a new band called McAskill, (Barns, Stirling, Royal & Doran) which occupied him until 1973. Some of the members of his bands at various times have included: Alvin Tutin (guitar), Lindsay Wells (guitar; Healing Force, Chain, Blackfeather), Jeff Spooner (guitar, Red House Roll Band), Ian Mawson (keyboards, The Ferrets, Company Caine), Howie Morgan (keyboards), Eddie McDonald (bass; Bakery), Doug Stirling (bass; Levi Smith's Clefs), Warren Ward (bass; Flying Circus, Blackfeather), Bob Fortesque (bass; Blackfeather), Roger McLachlan (bass, Stars, Mississippi, Little River Band), Dallas `Digger' Royal (drums, Salty Dog, Rose Tattoo), Stevie Dunstan (bass & keyboards) Mick Eliot, (guitar). And Paul Johnson (drums).

McAskill returned to Adelaide in late 1974 and formed or joined an ever-evolving series of bands: Peter (Beagley) Head’s East End Street Band, Peter (keyboard & vocals, (Head Band, Mount Lofty Rangers), Benni Seidel (bass & vocals), Graham Bartlet’s Keytones and Nexus), Dave Colville (guitar), Doug Johnston (drums, The Drifters), Vonny, (congas & vocals), Joan Boylan, (vocals, Nexus), Pandora Leader, (vocals), Kevin Locket, (sax & flute):

Barrie McAskill's on Fire: Doug Johnston, (drums) Randell Wilson (drums) David Dempsey (guitar), Kirk Steele (piano), Benni Seidel, (bass), Joan Boylan, (vocals), Kevin Locket, (sax & flute), Steve Goss, (pedal steel guitar):

Barrie McAskill and Friends, Chris Finnen, (guitar & vocals, Chain), Carl Orr, (guitar), Doug Johnston, (drums, The Keytones, The Fabulous Drifters), Russ Johnson, (guitar, Country Radio, Mississippi), Stan Chamarczuk, (bass, The Brats), Laurie Pryor, (drums, The Twilights, Healing Force, Hair), Dean Birbeck, (drums, Bobby Bright, Doug Ashdown, Hayden Burford & The Beaumen), Fred Payne, (trumpet, Freddy Hampton’s Big Roll Movement), Stan Koretjni (guitar, Some Dream), Graham Conlan, (guitar, Sybil Graham’s Alice’s Wonder Band, Sue Barker & Self Abuse, The Onions).

In Adelaide, 1983, McAskill recorded two tracks he had written himself. “The Hindley Street Shuffle*****Dance With Me”. (Also film clipped). Levi Smith’s Clefs once more with its big brassy sound, this line up: Mick Jurd (guitar), Phil Cunneen (arranger & piano, Here’s Humphrey, Some Dream,), Russ Johnson (bass, Mississippi, Greg Quill’s Country Radio), Dean Birbeck (drums), Fred Payne (trumpet, Nutwood Rug, Hair, Freddy Hampton’s Big Roll Movement), Schmoe (sax), Bob Jeffrey (sax, The Penny Rockets, The Hi Marks, Neville Dunn’s Planets, Ronny Carson’s Big Seven, The Bob Koss Quartet), Peter Trotter (trombone, Australian Crawl), Irene Petrie, Jaqui Phillips, Marlene Richards, Sue Barker (backing Vocals).

In 1983 McAskill returned to Sydney and within two weeks another Levi Smith’s Clefs featuring the amazing “Dash Riprock” formed, The band that was backing Reg Livermore’s Firing Squad Musical asked him to sing with them when their season ended. After a year of keeping a ten piece band together for a year, McAskill formed his Bear’s Boogie Band, then Who Dat Dere, these units had many styles and faces. Jan & Barrie married and formed a Duo, Topsy & The Bear, (Jan McAskill, (keyboard & vocals), Barrie McAskill, (guitar & vocals) and toured Australia with their son Tarrin for ten years to eventually settle in Adelaide and now work their Duo as Barrie & Jan McAskill. Two Levi Smith’s Clefs reunions were held in Melbourne: 2002 & 2003.

Disc 1
1. Relief From A Lighted Doorway (Mick Jurd) - 6:42
2. Shotgun (Single A Side) (Junior Walker) - 5:08
3. You Can't Do That (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 11:37
4. Lisa (John Bisset, Mick Jurd) - 3:31
5. The Hunter (Al Jackson, Booker T. Jones, Carl Wells, Donald Dunn, Steve Cropper) - 2:39
6. Shake And Finger Pop (Junior Walker, Lawrence Horn, Willie Woods) - 6:51
7. Who Is It That Shall Come (Single B Side) (Doug Ashdown, Jimmy Stewart) - 3:32
8. Empty Monkey (Mick Jurd) - 3:26
9. I Can Only Give You Everything (Phil Coulter, Tommy Scott) - 2:47
10.Roberta (Huey Smith, John Vincent) - 2:22
11.A Boy Like Me (Carl Keats) - 2:20
12.Bring It To Jerome (Jerome Green) - 2:32
13.Hey Jude (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 4:18
14.Bye Bye Blackbird (Ray Henderson, Mort Dixon) - 4:22
Tracks 9-12 Single releases
Track 13 Live In Studio, November 1971
Track 14 as The McAskill's Marauders

Disc 2
1. Shake And Finger Pop (Junior Walker, Lawrence Horn, Willie Woods) - 11:26
2. Road Runner (Single A Side) (Brian Holland, Edward Holland, Jr., Lamont Dozier) - 2:40
3. Empty Monkey (Mick Jurd) - 4:10
4. Cool Spot (John Bisset, Mick Jurd) - 3:20
5. The Hunter (Al Jackson, Booker T. Jones, Carl Wells, Donald Dunn, Steve Cropper) - 2:36
6. You Can't Do That (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 12:14
7. The Weight (Robbie Robertson) - 5:01
8. Lisa (Single B Side) (John Bisset, Mick Jurd) - 3:54
9. Relief From A Lighted Doorway (Mick Jurd) - 7:43
10.Down In The Valley (Live) (Bert Berns, Solomon Burke) - 3:31
11.Lawdy Miss Clawdy (Live) (Lloyd Price) - 3:33
12.Love Like A Man (Alvin Lee) - 3:20
13.Piece Of My Heart (Bert Berns, Jerry Ragavoy) - 3:01
14.Dancing And Drinking (Johan Kruijswijk) - 3:13
15.Gonna Get A Seizure (John Harrison) - 2:20
16.Lawdy Miss Clawdy (Lloyd Price) - 3:57
Track 10 from "The Best Of Whiskey A Go Go" EP 1971
Tracks 12-15 Single releases 
Track 16 The McAskill's Marauders Live in the Studio, November 1971

Levi Smith's Clefs
*Barrie Mcaskill - Vocals
*Inez Amaya - Vocals
*Linda Cable - Vocals
*Ken Deacon - Vocals
*Les Stacpool - Guitar
*Mick Jurd - Guitar
*Peter Karlanek - Guitar
*Jim Kelly - Guitar
*Ted "The Head" Yanni - Guitar
*Vince Melouney - Guitar
*Michael Barnes - Guitar
*Phil Manning - Guitar
*Billy TK - Guitar
*Bob Jeffrey - Saxophone
*Bill Harrower - Saxophone
*Doug Stirling - Bass
*John Blake - Bass
*John "Yuk" Harrison - Bass
*John Helman - Bass
*Bruce Howe - Bass
*Ken Firth - Bass
*Gil Matthews - Drums
*Jimmy Thompson - Drums
*Robert Taylor - Drums
*Tony Buettel - Drums
*John Freeman - Drums
*Michael Darby - Drums
*Russell Dunlop - Drums
*Allan Turnbull - Drums
*Greg Henson - Drums
*Kevin Murphy - Drums
*Barry Harvey - Drums
*Ian Walsh - Organ
*Michael Carlos - Organ
*John Bisset - Organ
*Richard Lockwood - Flute, Saxophone
*Mal Capewell - Flute, Saxophone
*Steve Doran - Keyboards
*Ian Clyne - Keyboards
*Mike Cousins - Trombone
*Steve Bowden - Trumpet
*Mick Kenny - Trumpet
*Bruce Howard - Piano
*Russell Smith - Trumpet, Vocals

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