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

Music gives soul to universe, wings to mind, flight to imagination, charm to sadness, and life to everything.

Plato

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Bodast - Towards Utopia (1969 uk, fascinating mod psych beat, 2017 remaster)



 Steve Howe joined Yes in 1970, just in time to reinvent progressive rock on the band’s third LP, The Yes Album. Ever since, his guitar work—a blend of Wes Montgomery jazz finesse, Chet Atkins country pickin’, and supercharged psychedelia—has been the band’s defining instrumental element. And if Steve Howe is Yes, then here’s technically a long-lost Yes album: his 1969 recordings with short-lived, ill-fated act Bodast. 

The quartet—also featuring drummer Bobby Clarke, bassist Dave Curtis and frontman Clive Skinner—remain one of rock’s true tragedies, disintegrating shortly after their sessions with producer Keith West. Towards Utopia, Esoteric’s remastered compilation, showcases a band at the crux of the fading psych movement and the burgeoning prog-rock scene, with Howe’s instrumental heroics edging the songs toward the latter camp. 

The plainest proof is “Nether Street,” a guitar workout that later formed the foundation of “Würm,” the final section of the Yes epic “Starship Trooper.” (For Yes fans, it’s a trip hearing “Nether Street” open with that triumphantly strummed acoustic guitar climax—it’s like watching a sex scene played in reverse.) There are other glimpses of what Bodast could’ve become: “Mr. Jones” sounds like a lost mid-period Beatles tune with a virtuoso guitarist on deck; “Do You Remember” is a disorienting hybrid of proto-prog, proto-punk and country-rock. 

There’s a fascinating friction between Skinner’s pop-molded voice and Howe’s violent guitar eruptions, and it’s a shame that Bodast didn’t survive long enough to refine that formula. But in retrospect, we can appreciate the band on their own merits—as a pivotal launching pad for one of prog’s signature talents. 
by Ryan Reed, January 30, 2018 


Tracks
1. Nether Street (Clive Skinner, Dave Curtis, Steve Howe) - 3:00
2. Tired Towers (Clive Skinner, Dave Curtis, Steve Howe) - 3:10
3. Mr. Jones (Dave Curtis) - 3:01
4. Do You Remember (Dave Curtis) - 3:33
5. Beyond Winter (Clive Skinner, Steve Howe) - 2:45
6. Once In A Lifetime (Clive Skinner) - 3:28
7. Black Leather Gloves (Clive Skinner) - 3:25
8. I Want You (Dave Curtis) - 3:20
9. 1000 Years (Clive Skinner) - 2:40
10.Nothing To Cry For (Steve Howe) - 4:00
11.The Spanish Song (Dave Curtis, Steve Howe, Bobbie Woodman) - 2:19
12.Power Of Music (Dave Curtis, Steve Howe, Bobbie Woodman) - 4:31
13.Come Over Stranger (Clive Skinner) - 2:50
Bonus tracks 11-13 as Canto

The Bodast
*Steve Howe - Guitar
*Bobby Clarke - Drums
*Clive Skinner - Vocals, Guitar
*Dave Curtis - Vocals, Bass


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Morning - Struck Like Silver (1972 us, wonderful folk soft rock, 2015 korean remaster)



 Formed in Los Angeles, California, USA, in 1970, Morning comprised by Jim Hobson (keyboards, vocals), Jay Lewis (guitar, vocals), an ex-member of Love under the name Jay Donnellan, Barry Brown (guitar, drums), Jim Kehn (guitar, drums), Terry Johnson (guitar) and Bruce Wallace (bass). After the country rock album Morning, Johnson and Wallace left and in came bass player Stuart Brotman, lately of Kaleidoscope. 

Morning was a band with a good combination going for them, good vocalist and musicians and that's a winner in any book. Nice solid sound in "Understand My Ways" and "Comin' In Love". They're at their best on Hoyt Axton's "Never Been To Spain" and the title track "Struck Like Silver". A noteworthy album.

However the group split up soon after its release, with Hobson joining Delaney Bramlett and Lewis enjoying a fruitful period with Albert Hammond.


Tracks
1. I Ain't Gonna Leave (Barry Brown) - 3:31
2. In A Better Frame Of Mind (Jay Lewis) - 2:56
3. Only To Say Goodbye (Jay Lewis) - 3:13
4. For Free (Joni Mitchell) - 4:57
5. Struck Like Silver (Barry Brown) - 3:55
6. Understand My Ways (Barry Brown) - 3:42
7. Comin' In Love (Barry Brown) - 2:32
8. Jay's Movie Song (Jay Lewis) - 3:10
9. And Now I Lay Me Down (Jay Lewis) - 6:20
10.Never Been To Spain (Hoyt Axton) - 5:12

Morning
*Barry Brown - Guitar, Drums, Vocals
*Jim Hobson - Piano, Theremin, Vocals
*Jim Kehn - Drums, Guitar, Vocals
*Jay Lewis - Guitar, Banjo, Vocals
*Stuart Brotman - Electric, String  Bass 
*Chris Darrow - Fiddle
*Terry Johnson - Acoustic Guitar (Track 7)


Thursday, October 1, 2020

Bones - Bones (1972 us, exciting power pop, breezy rocker, sterling vocals, 2018 korean remaster)



 Bones was a four piece rock band on the L.A. scene in the years 1969 – 1973. An exciting live act as well as a remarkable recording outfit, Bones crafted a sound which combined great melodies, sophisticated vocals, rockin’ instrumental tracks, and (always) a danceable beat. The members were Jimmy Faragher, bass, Danny Faragher, keys, Greg Tornquist, guitar, and Casey Cunningham, drums. The band also had an unplugged, sensitive side, which featured sweet harmonies, and finger picked guitar. The guys had been known as the Peppermint Trolley Co., but in early ’69, after differences with their producer/manager, they’d walked away from all their ties, including the Acta record deal, to reinvent themselves.

Relocating to Riverside, the PTC put on their thinking caps to conjure up a new name. Danny remembers – “We wanted something which was opposite to the Peppermint Trolley Company; short and earthy.” (Greg) – “The Bones name came from an Earle Stanley Gardner murder mystery called Rolling Bones.  There was a book shelf in my bedroom with mystery books my dad liked to read… and I saw Rolling BONES among the 40 paper backs.  I laughed because of Rolling Stones…and then thought…Bones! That’s us…skin and BONES.” (Danny) – “We were deliberately looking for a word that started with the letter “B”. After all, there had been some great bands in that category…The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, The Band, etc. So when Greg suggested the moniker, we all thought it was perfect.” (Greg) – “ I remember we also agreed not to use skeletons or the hard on meaning…and we didn’t…just like the Beatles never used insects.”

The group quickly adopted a rehearsal schedule, practicing all night in friend, Chauncey Romero’s music store in Redlands, The House of Note. Danny traded the clavinet for an R.M.I. piano, and the Baroque figures for boogie licks. The boys turned up the volume a bit, as they worked to carve out a more rockin’ sound.

The Bones album, entitled “Bones”, was released that spring to rave reviews. Phil Hartman, future comedic star, did the cover art; a photo of the guys seated on a wall at the Malibu house. The LP featured songs with an original Rock and Soul vibe, like “Good Luck”, “Prisoner of Love”, and the funky “Door to Door Love”. There were hard rockin’numbers like “L.A. Isabella”, and “The Bust Song”, and gentler tunes like “He Said”, and “Bustin’ My Heart”. Danny and Jimmy played brass and reed parts, and both Greg and Danny blew harmonica. “Roberta”, an infectious Rock a Roll number written by Huey Piano Smith, was released as the single, and began to show up on the charts. (Danny) – “One of the best songs we ever recorded never made it on the album… ‘Hope’, a great timeless ballad which could resonate today, but for some reason it was omitted.” There were several other fine recordings that never made the cut: the country tinged “Greenwood County”; the Beach Boys influenced “Cold, Cold Mama”; and the Cowboy Funky “Honey Baby”.

Despite the positive reviews, and the single’s success, the album failed to catch on. Sadly, some of the extraordinary momentum Bones had revved up was beginning to wane. Members were meeting their future wives, getting their own places. The band had acquired roadies and tech men, who were now living in the Malibu house. Consequently, some of the tight camaraderie was lost. To shake things up, the band decided to add Patrick McClure, who had been in the Peppermint Trolley Co., and remained a close friend, as a second guitarist.


Tracks
1. Good Luck - 2:42
2. Oh Darlin' - 3:26
3. The Bust Song - 3:35
4. Door To Door Love - 3:52
5. Prisoner Of Love - 3:27
6. L.A. Isabella - 2:57
7. He Said - 3:19
8. Roberta (Huey "Piano" Smith, John Vincent) - 3:59
9. Have Your Fun - 2:37
10.Bustin' My Heart (Danny Faragher) - 2:25
11.Take A Little Bit - 3:15
All songs by Jimmy Faragher except where noted

Bones
*Casey Cunningham - Drums, Percussion
*Danny Faragher - Keyboards, Horns, Vocals
*Jimmy Faragher - Bass, Sax Vocals
*Greg Tornquist - Guitar, Vocals

Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Mojos - Everything's Alright The Complete Recordings (1964-65 uk, great mersey beat 2009 remaster)



To anyone familiar with the British beat scene of the early Sixties, The Mojos were one of the leading Merseybeat groups and, like The Beatles, were among the first wave of bands from Liverpool to storm the UK charts, in their case with the unforgettable “Everything’s Al’ Right”, a rock ‘n’ roll tour de force powered by singer Stu James’s (b. Stuart Leslie James Slater, 14 July 1945, Liverpool) powerful lead vocals and Terry O’Toole’s dynamic piano playing. Peaking at #9 on the UK charts, it was The Mojos’ biggest hit.

But the equally impressive “Until My Baby Comes Home”, a storming, mod-rocker was The Mojos in name only. Although Stuart James (who worked as Stuart Slater from early 1968) provided the superb, emotionally charged lead vocal, the group was miles away from the Merseyside band that cut a cache of singles for Decca between 1963 and 1967, both in style and sound.

In fact, by the time The Mojos signed with Liberty Records, the group was largely comprised of musicians from Southampton on England’s south coast. It should have been a positive new dawn after years of struggling for recognition, but tragically the group’s potential was cut short.

To find out how Stu James re-launched The Mojos in the early months of 1968, it helps to go back to the very start and September 1962 when the singer/pianist signed up with Anfield, Liverpool group, The Nomads, after nearly joining The Undertakers.

Formed earlier that year as a duo by lead guitarist Roy Woods and bass player Keith Karlson (b. Keith Alcock, 14 August 1944, Liverpool), The Nomads were a blues-based rock group, who briefly featured future Easybeats’ drummer Snowy Fleet from The Four Musketeers before he emigrated to Australia, his place taken by Jon “Bob” Conrad (sometimes spelt Konrad, b. 3 October 1944, Liverpool).

Shortly before Stu James’s arrival, the band added rhythm guitarist and singer Adrian Lord (real name: Adrian Wilkinson), who took over from Roy Woods. Then, in August 1963, on George Harrison’s recommendation, they added pianist Terry O’Toole and recorded the track, “My Whole Life Through”, which was picked up by Oriole Records for the This is Merseybeat compilation LP.

When they found out that another group called The Nomads from Southend-on-Sea had registered the name, the musicians renamed the group The Mojos, taking the name from a popular Muddy Waters song in their set-list, “I Got My Mojo Working”.

The Mojos won a song-writing competition soon afterwards, the fruits of which were a production and publishing contract with Aberback Music. The musicians were soon whisked into the studio to cut their debut single “They Say” c/w “Forever”, which was erroneously released on Decca as The Mojo’s but to limited interest on 30 August 1963.

In September, Adrian Wilkinson left and former Faron’s Flamingos lead guitarist Nicky Crouch (b. 9 February 1943, Aintree, Liverpool) joined what would become the definitive early line-up.

Like many Merseyside bands, The Mojos headed to Hamburg in what was then West Germany for a six-week residency at the famous Star Club. While there, the group cut the single that would come to define its career.

“We recorded ‘Everything’s Al’ Right’ in a church in Hamburg,” recalls James. “I’ve always thought it was plucked from the heavens and it really sounded different on the radio.”

Released on 6 March 1964 and backed by the superb “Give Your Lovin’ To Me”, the single stormed up the UK charts and peaked at #9. However, follow ups, “Why Not Tonight” c/w “Don’t Do It Anymore”, issued on 5 June 1964 (UK #25) and “Seven Daffodils” c/w “Nothin’ At All”, released on 28 August 1964 (UK #30) failed to match the commercial success of the band’s breakthrough single.

James admits the group had poorly chosen material foisted on to musicians by their production company, which also had a label deal that went through Decca Records.

“All with a benefit of hindsight, you slam your foot on the brake and say, ‘Right, what have we really got for a follow up?” ‘Why Not Tonight’ was ‘Everything’s Al’ Right’ written sideways. It really was… It was completely contrived.”

As for “Seven Daffodils”, James recalls that the song “stormed it every night on stage”. Unfortunately, the single’s release was poorly timed.

“We were really pleased with our version and the day ours came out, blow me down, this group called The Cherokees from Leeds put it out as well,” he remembers.

In October 1964, The Mojos faced a mass exodus as Terry O’Toole, Keith Karlson and Bob Conrad all departed to form The Epics; O’Toole later put together a rival Mojos in Liverpool.

James and Crouch relaunched The Mojos bringing in ace drummer Aynsley Dunbar (b. 10 January 1946, Liverpool), who went on to play with a who’s who of rock royalty, including Jeff Beck and Jefferson Starship to name a few, and future actor and half of the Professionals, bass player Lewis Collins (b. 26 May 1946, Bidston, Birkenhead, d. 27 November 2013), son of the band’s road manager Bill Collins. Both were seasoned musicians from the local scene.

“Aynsley was an incredible drummer and an absolute natural,” says James. “Unlike Lewis I had no surprise at all that he made it because he was so good on the drums. There were nights when we’d go on and we wouldn’t get a lot of clapping until he came in on his drum solo.”

Besides working with a few local Liverpool bands, Lewis Collins had previously worked as a hairdresser with Paul McCartney’s brother Mike McGear. His father Bill would soon discover Welsh beat group, The Iveys, who shared a bill with The Mojos in spring 1966, and would take them under his managerial wing, later introducing them to Paul McCartney, who signed the band to Apple where they subsequently found success as Badfinger.

Unfortunately, the single, and its follow up, “Wait A Minute” c/w “Wonder If She Knows”, issued on 10 September 1965 as Stu James & The Mojos, both failed to crack the charts.

Decca began to lose faith in the band and wouldn’t sanction another single. In September 1966, with the band now based in London, Dunbar saw the writing on the wall and jumped ship to join John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, briefly replaced by Stan Bennett. Lewis Collins also departed soon afterwards, working with Robb Storme & The Whispers.

“The problem was we didn’t have anyone guiding us to say, ‘Look, just stick to what you do best’,” says James looking back. “We were all over the shop [stylistically]. On stage, we played ‘Spoonful’ and a lot of genuine blues. Maybe we should have stuck to that.”

James and Crouch rebuilt the band again from scratch bringing in bass player Deke Vernon from Birmingham and Southampton drummer Martin “Cuddles” Smith (aka Steve Snake). The new formation recorded one final single for Decca, “Good-Bye Dolly Grey” c/w “I Just Can’t Let Her Go”, issued on 3 February 1967, before the label dropped the band. Allegedly, the musicians briefly backed Paul and Barry Ryan during this period.

The new-look Mojos struggled through the rest of 1967, which included a bizarre extended engagement at a luxury hotel in the Ivory Coast in West Africa.

The Mojos continued to gig incessantly throughout 1969 during which time local Southampton drum legend Danny Barbour, who’d played with Ricky Brown & The Hi-Lites and The Time among others, took over from Tony House.

Then, as the year turned, The Mojos’ fortunes appeared to have turned. “[Canham] dragged Simon Napier-Bell and Ray Singer along to see us at a gig and they were quite impressed and things moved quite fast with those two guys,” says Campbell.

“It was still The Mojos but it was decided, [we needed a] name change, and the band became, much to my disgust as Natural Birth. It was all out of our hands.”

Produced by Napier-Bell and Singer, the single “Life Is What You Make It To Be” (credited to Rock Horse) c/w Slater’s “Day To Remember” had the commercial potential to be a sizeable hit but success would continue to elude the band.

When the group splintered in the 1970, Harnett briefly joined local legends Fleur De Lys before moving on to a succession of groups.

As for Slater, he would revert to his Stu James stage name and cut two singles with Bradley Records in 1974. He then released a one-off single for United Artists Records in 1977 as Stuart Slater before a final lone release as Stu James two years later for Philips.

During this period, he lived with singer Stephanie De Sykes and together they wrote two UK Eurovision Song Contest entries Co-Co’s “The Bad Old Days” and Prima Donna’s “Love Enough for Two”. Their son Toby was lead singer in 1990s pop band, Catch. Slater ran Chrysalis Music during the 1980s and currently lives in southwest London.
by Nick Warburton


Tracks
1. My Whole Life Through (Stu James) - 3:00
2. They Say You Found A New Baby (Joy Byers) - 2:28
3. Forever (Adrian Wilkinson) - 2:34
4. Everything's Alright (John Konrad, Keith Karlson, Nick Crouch, Simon Stavely, Stu James) - 2:22
5. Give Your Lovin' To Me (Keith Karlson, Simon Stavely, Stu James) - 2:35
6. Why Not Tonight (Simon Stavely, Stu James) - 2:29
7. Don't Do It Anymore (Stu James) - 1:56
8. Seven Daffodils (Fran Moseley, Lee Hays) - 3:11
9. Nothin' At All (Nick Crouch, Stu James) - 2:46
10.I Got My Mojo Working (Preston Foster) - 3:34
11.The One Who Really Loves You (Smokey Robinson) - 2:34
12.Nobody But Me (O'Kelly Isley, Ronald Isley, Rudolph Isley) - 2:00
13.Comin' On To Cry (Nick Crouch, Stu James) - 3:31
14.That's The Way It Goes (Nick Crouch, Stu James) - 2:39
15.Wait A Minute (Kenny Lynch, Mort Shuman) - 2:54
16.Wonder If She Knows (Nick Crouch, Stu James) - 2:53
17.Goodbye Dolly Gray (Paul Barnes, Will D. Cobb) - 3:02
18.I Just Can't Let Her Go (Jeanette Ross) - 1:57
19.Until My Baby Comes Home (Stu James) - 3:23
20.Seven Park Avenue (Stu James) - 3:05
Track 1 as The Nomads
Tracks 15-16 as Stu James And The Mojos

The Mojos
*Nick Crouch - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Keith Karlson - Bass Guitar
*Stu James - Vocals
*Terry O’Tool - Piano
*John Konrad - Drums

Stu James And the Mojos
*Stu James - Vocals
*Nick Crouch - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Lewis Collins - Bass
*Aynsley Dunbar - Drums


Sunday, September 20, 2020

Brass Monkey - Brass Monkey (1971 uk, fine classic rock, 2014 korean remaster)



Interresting straight ahead rock band from UK, most of the songs were written by the British duo composers/producers Doug Flett and Guy Fletcher. Album includes also four cover versions.

“Brass Monkey” had its moments, Ben Case has a pretty good versatile voice that was equally at home across the entire album. Their genre of choice was country bluesy classic rock with some hard moments, -think something between CCR and Rod Steward- tracks like ‘Goodbye Birds’ and the bluesy instrumental ‘Strange Days’ showcased a mild English influence.  Elsewhere the required social commentary ‘All Fall Down’ was surprisingly tuneful and subtle.

Singer Ben Case (Peter Lee Stirling) has worked with Tim Rose, Hungry Wolf, Rumplestiltskin among other bands, drummer Dougie Wright with Justine, The John Barry Seven and Whistler. Guitarist Mike Morgan has no connection with the Texas born who made career since 1990 with his band The Crawl.


Tracks
1. Sweet Water - 3:31
2. You Keep Me Hangin` On (Brian Holland, Edward Holland, Jr., Lamont Dozier) - 3:50
3. Goodbye Birds - 4:00
4. All Fall Down - 3:56
5. Strange Days - 3:46
6. Keep A Little Bit Back - 3:08
7. Stay With Me Baby (Jerry Ragovoy, Larry Weiss) - 3:43
8. Proud Mary (John Fogerty) - 3:12
9. Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) (Sony Bono) - 3:24
10.Sing, Sing, Sing - 3:27
All songs by Doug Flett, Guy Fletcher except where indicated

Brass Monkey
*Ben Case (Peter Lee Stirling) - Vocals
*Ken Summer (Ken Street) - Guitar
*Mike Morgan - Guitar
*Les Hurdle - Bass
*Dougie Wright - Drums

Related Acts
1970  Hungry Wolf - Hungry Wolf 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Mother Nature - Orange Days And Purple Nights (1968-72 uk, exquisite baroque psych folk, 2015 remaster)



One of the undoubted star turns on this year’s enchanting Dust On The Nettles box set, Mother Nature had – as far as anyone knew – only winked into being for a brace of unimpeachable singles before instantaneously sinking back into the underground folk mulch. However, the revelatory, dot-joining demos on this invaluable compilation elevate them to the head of the “great lost bands of their era” class. 

It could all have been so different. It took until 1971 for debut single Orange Days And Purple Nights to gain a release, by which time the magic bus had long since pulled away. Winningly plaintive and decorously garlanded with strings, you’d swear (if you didn’t know any better) that the song was birthed at the exact clock chime when Kaleidoscope turned into Fairfield Parlour. Pleasingly, time has since proved it, er, timeless. 

The retrospectively applied “progressive folk” label accounts for the band’s pillowy harmonies, plus a preponderance of mandolins (Games, Green And Brown) and acoustic 12-string guitars (Dreamclouds), but the aerated falsetto pop of My Yesterdays and All You Dreamers gatecrashes Badfinger and Supertramp territory. By the time you reach the dulcet, tinkling Mister Pigeon, you’re so besotted that you even forgive them singing, “Do you remember punting down to Kew?” 
by Oregano Rathbone


Tracks
1.  Orange Days And Purple Nights - 3:50
2.  Where Did She Go - 4:39
3.  My Yesterdays - 3:55
4.  Green And Brown - 2:59
5.  Games (Version 1) - 3:23
6.  My Friend Says - 2:48
7.  All You Dreamers - 3:27
8.  Love Keeps Shining Through - 3:12
9.  Laugh (I Almost Sang A Song) - 4:29
10. Dreamclouds - 2:04
11. Once There Was A Time - 3:04
12. Clear Blue Sky - 3:08
13. Take Me High - 3:15
14. Where Were You? - 4:31
15. Blue Skies, Blue Mountains - 3:46
16. Clipper (A Crimpers Carol) - 2:41
17. Games (Version 2) - 1:53
18. Wishing Well - 2:40
19. It's Alright My Friend - 2:28
20. Sad-Eyed Ann - 2:26
21. Mr Pigeon - 3:11
22. Land Of Pan - 1:51
23. Puppet King - 3:29
24. Orange Days Purple Nights - 4:13
All songs by Jon Reeves, Rod Copping, Steve Norchi, Pete Reynolds

Mother Nature 
*Jon Reeves - Lead Guitar, Acoustic, 12 String Guitars
*Steve Norchi - Bass, Mandolin, Piano, Lead, Harmony Vocals
*Pete Reynolds - Drums, Piano, Stylophone, Lead, Harmony Vocals
*Rod Copping - Acoustic Guitars, Mandolin, Harmony Vocals
With
*Barney James - Drums (Track 3)
*Dave "Min" Gaylor - Drums (Track 9)
*Pat Donaldson - Bass (Tracks 1, 12)

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Sunday, September 13, 2020

Various Artists - The Eve Folk Recordings (1965 uk, wonderful acoustic traditional folk, 2014 double disc set)



It’s not often that a double CD, rather than box-set, provides insight into a crucial historical moment. Thanks to Cherry Red’s broad field-lens, the diverse RPM Records (est.1991) release The Eve Folk Recordings from the boom year of 1965 when the EP format, often split-sided like jazz issues, was being elbowed out by LPs. Transatlantic issued early Renbourn and Jansch, but it was three sex education platters and imported Russian classical music that financed diversity. Artists then were mostly bohemians anyway, often running clubs while earning a crust from gigs rather than poky studios distributing through the backdoor.

It was a living tradition rather than revival, and more home-spun than contemporary R&B. The scene resulted in a few careers (it’s hard to believe Ralph McTell’s ‘Streets Of London’ hit number 2…in 1974, first on his 1965 LP) as well as spin-off folk-rock, psych-folk, even Baroque Renaissance. Quirky one-hit wonders too, ship-jumping into “light entertainment”, and mainstream covers (who’d imagine the million-sellers by Presley and Roberta Flack of ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ was by the anti-Capitalist Ewan MacColl). This double CD features one poised for international fame, one (also) hailed as the English Dylan for three CBS LPs but became a cult recluse, one renowned for traditional fare, and a sole album called “the most obscure album ever made” (Mojo Collection 2007). Welcome to the world of Eve Productions, formed by writer-producers Peter Eden and Geoff Stephens in sunny Southend, where they first saw Donovan supporting Cops and Robbers in ’64 and signed him up.

When EMI/Columbia wanted four albums, Eve initially chose Donovan but the future all-too-quickly slammed the door. Three consecutive appearances on Ready Steady Go hailed him as Britain’s Dylan: an LP and singles on Pye, with Eve involved, soon came out (‘Catch The Wind’ and ‘Colours’ open here) then he changed management. They needed a fourth album: Eric Clapton was interested but then thought his new employer John Mayall wouldn’t approve. So, three albums here and the A-sides, plus two LP tracks Donovan covered without permission from his older guitar tutor Mick Softley: ‘The War Drags On’, the first British anti-Vietnam song, and ‘Goldwatch Blues’, prophetically about work exploitation with startling lyrics going for the jugular more than Dylan dared.

Mick Softley had a reputation on the circuit and through his Spinning Wheel club (home of later TV. series Pie In The Sky), famously raucous into the early hours. Maddy Prior still recalls “that holy terror Mick” cajoling her onto the barrel-raised stage for ‘The Good Ship Venus’: “I was so embarrassed while trying to look cool—oh goodness it was awful!” The bohemian Softley didn’t even write his songs down, but that changed for the hirsute 24 year-old’s debut done in a single session (like all their recordings), the producers picking out what they liked. Songs For Swinging Survivors is now rare, only once on CD by Hux (2003) without bonuses, and here completes RPM’s first CD.

There are fine covers of ‘Strange Fruit’, a Civil Rights Movement staple, Guthrie’s ‘The Plains Of The Buffalo’ (long in Softley’s repertoire), and Pete Seeger’s ‘Bells of Rhymney’ based on a Welsh school-teacher’s poem, featured on The Byrds’ debut just weeks before this autumn recording. Intricate instrumentals (‘Blues For Cupid Green’; ‘I’ve Got A Deal You Can’t Turn Down’) between bold, rich-toned advice to a drug addict ex-lover, a warning about nuclear war, love songs of different tempo, and travel tales capturing the rolling sound. His own ‘The War Drags On’–haunting vocals over percussive guitar—is more moving than the better-known version. A welcome addition to this stirring set is the Immediate 45 ‘I’m So Confused’ / ‘She’s My Girl’ produced by Eden/Stephens a few weeks later.

The second CD is a different take on the multi-form known as folk. Bob Davenport championed the living tradition like the old bluesmen then. He’d done EPs but this was his first album with the Rakes providing fiddle, piano, melodeon, tin whistle and spoons for one evening session, with regulars from Islington’s The Fox providing chorus. Fiddle-accompanied ‘William Brown’ is boisterous like ‘The Soldier And His True Love’ with its double-entendres. ‘The Foggy Dew’ sounds startlingly like a younger Harry Cox, the Norfolk fisherman who put it in the canon. ‘Reel’ and ‘Jig’ are stirring whistle and bell-like spoons performances, strong as any electrified folk-rockers. ‘My Bonnie Land’ haunts as a solo lament, which Davenport recorded four times. Rambling Jack Elliot arrangements resurface for ‘Rap Her To Bank’, a Birtley miner’s song, and ‘Old Johnny Booker’ (changed to bugger for this knees-up). Davenport returns to his roots (‘The Hexamshire Lass’; ‘Gateshead Town’), climaxing with the band’s full-on ‘Down The Glen’. With a strong whiff of Watney’s Pale Ale, the stories come thick ‘n’ fast through the mist. Pristine live 1965 bonuses are non-Eve: ‘The White Cockade’ and Northumbrian ‘The Shepherd’s Life’.

Time-travelling continues with Vernon Haddock’s Jubilee Lovelies, a name a little less odd when the contents heard. It was actually David Elvin’s band (vocals, guitar, banjo, kazoo) but Vernon Haddock (mandolin, jug, swanee whistle) had the name going for him (they thought), with David Vaughn, Sid ‘Piles’ Lockhart, and Alans Woodward and Sutton providing guitars, harmonica, washboard and percussion. The energetic fun-timers mix Music Hall, American 20s and hillbilly, said to be much funnier live than Monty Python (many were, e.g. Dandelion’s Mike Hart and Occasional Word). Recorded in one night – with irregular mike placement – this sole LP sees them astride a steam engine under the Union Jack and Southern Cross.

‘Mandy Make Up Your Mind’ has some nice instrument echo sounding like a gramophone. The jug and harmonica ‘Viola Lee Blues’ could be Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee on a good day, Lockhart’s ‘Vickyandal’ is allegedly about Queen Victoria though escapes me. ‘Little White Washed Chimney’ recalls the Incredible String Band’s log cabins. They stroll off into the sunset to ‘I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate’, and the afore- mentioned fate of the obscurest album ever. They did record later for Decca/ Immediate, but unreleased when Lovelies remained semi-pro; David Elvin worked on the Yellow Submarine film. Shifting 400 copies, probably mostly in their local, Leigh’s Smack Inn, it’s a rare recording of English jug-washboard music, more earthy than Mungo Jerry, McGuiness Flint and Panama Limited Jugband. As if scrumpy-fuelled rather than anything whiter, it’s wondrous the hoedown didn’t need new fangled electricity.

This time-capsule, with only Mick Softley on CD before, catches the first recording phase on a crest before falling under other waves. Colin Harper’s authoritative essay features Davenport and the producers; Eden’s limited vinyl anthology (1999) had Clive Palmer’s ‘Stories Of Jesus’ and a later unreleased Jubilee Lovelies track. Boom or an overheard network of secret societies spread by coded messages, this important release of three rare albums with their origins provide a vivid snapshot of the diversity and potential possibilities for years afterwards.
by Brian R Banks 


Tracks
Disc 1
1. Donovan - Catch The Wind (Single Version) (Donovan Leitch) - 2:19
2. Donovan - Colours (Single Version) (Donovan Leitch) - 2:47
3. Donovan - Goldwatch Blues (Donovan Leitch) - 2:33
4. Donovan - The War Drags On (Donovan Leitch) - 3:43
5. Mick Softley - After The World War Is Over (Or How I Learnt To Live Without Myself) (1:46)
6. Mick Softley - The Bells Of Rhymney (Pete Seeger, Idris Davies) - 4:02
7. Mick Softley - Strange Fruit (Lewis Allan) - 3:45
8. Mick Softley - Blues For Cupid Green - 1:47
9. Mick Softley - All I Want Is A Chance - 2:26
10.Mick Softley - The War Drags On - 3:55
11.Mick Softley - Keep Movin' On  - 2:42
12.Mick Softley - Jeannie - 3:45
13.Mick Softley - What Makes The Wind To Blow - 1:40
14.Mick Softley - I've Gotta Deal You Can't Turn Down - 2:11
15.Mick Softley - West Country Girl - 2:38
16.Mick Softley - Plains Of The Buffalo (Arlo Guthrie) - 3:48
17.Mick Softley - I'm So Confused - 2:53
18.Mick Softley - She's My Girl - 1:58
All songs by Mick Softley except where stated


Disc 2
1. Bob Davenport And The Rakes - William Brown (Traditional) - 2:34
2. Bob Davenport And The Rakes - The Foggy Dew (Harry Cox) - 3:05
3. Bob Davenport And The Rakes - Reel (Traditional) - 2:20
4. Bob Davenport And The Rakes - My Bonnie Lad (Traditional) - 0:54
5. Bob Davenport And The Rakes - Wake Up My Love (Booth) - 0:38
6. Bob Davenport And The Rakes - New York Gals (Traditional) - 2:29
7. Bob Davenport And The Rakes - The Soldier And His True Love (Traditional) - 3:33
8. Bob Davenport And The Rakes - Rap Her To Bank (Jack Elliot) - 1:35
9. Bob Davenport And The Rakes - Sandgate Girls Lament (Traditional) - 1:55
10.Bob Davenport And The Rakes - The Hexamshire Lass (Traditional) - 2:05
11.Bob Davenport And The Rakes - Jig (Traditional) - 1:08
12.Bob Davenport And The Rakes - Old Johnny Booker (Jack Elliot) - 2:30
13.Bob Davenport And The Rakes - Gateshead Town (Traditional) - 3:21
14.Bob Davenport And The Rakes - Down The Glen (Traditional) - 2:12
15.Bob Davenport And The Rakes - The White Cockade (Traditional) - 2:41
16.Bob Davenport And The Rakes - The Shepherd's Life (Traditional) - 2:45
17.Vernon Haddock's Jubilee Lovelies - Coney Island Washboard (N. Nestor, C. Shugart, H. Durand, J. Adams) - 3:30
18.Vernon Haddock's Jubilee Lovelies - Don't Let Your Deal Go Down (Traditional) - 2:53
19.Vernon Haddock's Jubilee Lovelies - Clementine (Billy Mize, Buddy Mize) - 3:09
20.Vernon Haddock's Jubilee Lovelies - Coloured Artistocracy (Will Marion Cook) - 1:37
21.Vernon Haddock's Jubilee Lovelies - Mandy Make Up Your Mind (Arthur E. Johnstone , George W. Meyer, Grant Clarke, Roy Turk) - 2:47
22.Vernon Haddock's Jubilee Lovelies - Boodle-Am-Shake (Jack Palmer, Spencer Williams) - 3:27
23.Vernon Haddock's Jubilee Lovelies - Viola Lee Blues (Noah Lewis) - 2:34
24.Vernon Haddock's Jubilee Lovelies - Vickyandal (Lockhart) - 2:39
25.Vernon Haddock's Jubilee Lovelies - Stealin' (Traditional) - 3:20
26.Vernon Haddock's Jubilee Lovelies - Little White Washed Chimney (Bill Clifton) - 2:16
27.Vernon Haddock's Jubilee Lovelies - I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate (Clarence Williams, Armand Piron) - 2:12

Musicians
*Donovan Leitch - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica

*Mick Softley - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica

Bob Davenport And The Rakes
*Bob Davenport -  Vocals
*Michael Plunkett -  Fiddle, Tin Whistle;
*Paul Gross -  Fiddle, Piano;
*Reg Hall -  Melodeon, Spoons;
*Soo Patterson -  Spoons
*Chorus sung by The Fox, Islington

Vernon Haddock's Jubilee Lovelies
*Vernon Haddock - Guitar, Vocals
*David Elvin - Guitar, Banjo, Vocals
*David Vaughan - Harmonica
*Alan Woodward - Guitar, Vocals
*Graham "Sid" Lockheart - Guitar, Bass, Kazoo, Vocals

1965  Donovan - Fairytale (2001 expanded deluxe edition)
1966-69  Donovan - Breezes Of Patchouli His Studio Recordings (2013 four discs remaster)
1967  Donovan - A Gift From A Flower To A Garden (2008 remaster) 
1967  Donovan - In Concert, The Complete Anaheim Show (2006 two disc set)
1973  Donovan - Cosmic Wheels 
1972  Mick Softley - Any Mother Doesn't Grumble (2016 reissue)

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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Various Artists - Smokin' And Trippin' (1967-74 uk, acid psych, beat, idiosyncratic underground sounds and some full-on, spaced out guitar mayhem., 2014 release)



Psych compilation features 17 ultra-rare tracks taken from UK private press releases, studio demos and acetates with additional acidy live material. Acts include The TJ Assembly, The Incas, Projection, Kozmik Kev, Dog Rose, The Underground Set, Metz, Cathedral, Graphite, and there's a classic pop-psych mystery gem. Comes with a stunning tripped out poster sleeve that's crammed with rare pics and info. 


Artists - Tracks
1. Metz - New Life - 5:49
2. Incas - The Way I Feel - 9:52
3. Kosmik Kev - Before The Storm - 3:16
4. T.J. Assembly - I Remember The Good Times - 3:48
5. Graphite - Summer/Autumn (Live) - 11:51
6. Projection - The Four Musketeers - 3:24
7. Kozmic Kev - Can You Bear To See The Evening Go - 4:12
8. Dog Rose - City Lights - 3:05
9. T.J. Assembly - Travellin' Round - 3:00
10.Incas - War & Hate - 2:44
11.Graphite - S?Ld (Live) - 3:43
12.Cathedral - Storm Clouds Of Heaven - 5:48
13.Kozmik Kev - Georgie - 3:30
14.T.J. Assembly - Ginger - 2:36
15.Unknown - The Dancer - 2:48
16.The Underground Set - Shake Twenty-Six - 2:44
17.Metz - Universe - 6:07

1970-73  Various Artists - Downer Rock Genocide

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Friday, September 4, 2020

After Tea - Joint House Blues (1970 holland, excellent heavy blues rock, 2012 remaster and expanded)



After Tea was founded in 1967 by Hans van Eijck (organ), Ray Fenwick (guitar) and Polle Eduard (bass/vocals) - all ex-members of the Tee Set - with drummer Martin Hage (ex-Don't). The group produced three moderate hits in 1967-1968: "Not Just A Flower In Your Hair", "We Will Be There After Tea" and "Snowflakes on Amsterdam", all in a psychedelic pop style.

Ray Fenwick left shortly after the recordings of the first LP, "National Disaster" (his work permit had expired) and returned to England to join the Spencer Davis Group. He was replaced by ex-Just Colours guitarist Ferry Lever.

In the Spring of 1968, Polle Eduard was arrested for possession of marijuana and incarcerated for a few months. His temporary replacements were singer Frans Krassenburg (ex-Golden Earrings) and bass player Henk Smitskamp (ex-Motions, to Livin' Blues). In the Summer of that year, the band scored a surprise hit under the pseudonym De Martinos with "Moest dat nou?" (recorded as a joke).

Martin Hage left later that year, replaced temporarily by Pierre van der Linden (later to Focus, Trace) and then permanently by Ilja Gort (ex-IQ 150).

Early 1969, the most important songwriter in the band, Hans van Eijck, left to rejoin the Tee Set. He was replaced by German keyboard player Uli Grün (ex-Boots). The group then switched to a more rock-oriented sound. Yet in 1970, Ferry Lever left (also to join the Tee Set) and was not replaced. The band continued as a three-piece for some time, but in 1971 After Tea finally folded. Polle Eduard and Uli Grün were then joined by guitarist Frank van der Kloot and drummer Shel Schellekens, calling themselves Drama. They scored a Top 20 hit with “Mary's Mama” which they subsequently refused to play live (as the whole thing was a concoction by producer Peter Koelewijn). However, in 1975, Polle Eduard, Ferry Lever and Ilja Gort reunited once more to record the single "Mexico" under the After Tea moniker. Polle Eduard continued his career as a songwriter by penning a few hits for Nico Haak and subsequently recorded an album of Dutch songs one year later, in 1976. Polle continued playing solo and in bands like The Rest (with Hans Vermeulen of Sandy Coast).

Ilja Gort worked as a producer for Basart Records before making a fortune composing music for commercials like the famous Nescafe tune. He now owns a vineyard in France producing his La Tulipe wines.

In 1970 After Tea  signed to Negram and made an outstanding album in October the same year with long bluesy numbers and high quality improvisations. Ray Fenwick is long gone. Hans van Eyck went back to the Tee Set and After Tea were Polle Eduard, Ferry Lever and now: Uly Grun (keyboards) and Ilya Gort (drums). As well as heavy numbers like "Jointhouse Blues" there were also softer songs. With "Sun" they scored another hit, but the follow up didn't chart, neither did the beautiful "Lovesong to Mother Earth". After Tea finally ended in 1971. On 24 November 1984 the group had a reunion concert in the Maaspoort in Den Bosch, complete with children's choir for "Not Just a Flower In Your Hair"...

After his stint with the Tee Set, Hans van Eijck concentrated on writing music for TV and became a successful record producer (Danny de Munck, Marco Borsato). Ferry Lever became a music teacher and a session player. He still plays in the band of singer Rob de Nijs. 


Tracks
1. Jointhouse Blues (Polle Eduard, Ulli Grun) - 5:26
2. You've Got To Move Me (Polle Eduard) - 5:26
3. I'm Here (Polle Eduard) - 3:41
4. Someday (Polle Eduard) - 5:44
5. Let's Come All Together (Ulli Grun) - 5:59
6. Trial, Punishment, The End (Polle Eduard, Ilja Gort, Ulli Grun) - 25:17
7. Sunshine Eyes (Polle Eduard) - 3:03
8. Joint House Blues (Original Version) (Polle Eduard, Ulli Grun) - 2:44
9. Please Come My Love (Ferry Lever, Ilja Gort) - 3:07
10.Think (Polle Eduard, Ferry Lever, Ilja GorT, Ulli Grun) - 3:06
11.Sun (Ferry Lever, Polle Eduard) - 2:58
12.Love Song To Mother Nature (Ilja Gort, Ulli Grun) - 4:21
13.Fame (Polle Eduard) - 3:38

The After Tea
*Ferry Lever - Guitar
*Ilja Gort - Drums
*Polle Eduard - Bass, Vocals
*Ulli Grün - Keyboards

1969  After Tea - After Tea 

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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Rare Earth - Get Ready (1969 us, essential mix of funk, soul, and psych rock, 2015 remaster)



Based in the Motor City (Detroit, MI, USA), hometown to such (in)famous rockers as The MC5 and The Stooges to name but two, psychedelic influenced rhythm and blues rockers Rare Earth were notable on at least three accounts.  First and probably most importantly they were the first white band signed to Berry Gordy’s prestigious Motown label, receiving their own eponymous imprint, Rare Earth Records.  Second, the band’s front man and lead vocalist was their drummer.  Finally, the band’s repertoire consisted almost entirely of cover versions.  

During the 5 year period, 1969-1974, they were one of the hottest acts in the land (the USA), releasing 6 albums (5 studio and 1 live), as well as a string of 5 hit singles (followed by a few near misses) that ensured the band lots of Top 40 AM radio time, as well as extended album cuts that garnered the band airplay on the newly emerging FM radio market.  As a result Rare Earth consistently scored highly on the Billboard charts, albums and singles alike, and achieved this despite a rather limited repertoire of original material.  In fact, all of the songs the group was best known for, and continues to be remembered for, were cover versions and this occurring at a time when original material was deemed absolutely essential to success in the ever burgeoning rock market.  Being a huge fan of Rare Earth as well as a rock historian I invite you to join me on this adventure, tracing Rare Earth’s musical life (5 years worth anyway) by way of the tracks released during the period, documenting my journey along the way.

The band’s self-produced, heavy rocking rhythm and blues debut LP “Get Ready” entered the Billboard pop charts on 6 December 1969, peaking at #12 and remaining in the Top 200 albums for an impressive 77 weeks.  The group featured on the album was comprised of Pete Hoorelbeke aka Rivera (drums and lead vocals), Gil Bridges (saxophone, flute, percussion and vocals), John Persh (bass, trombone and vocals), Rod Richards (guitar and vocals) and Kenny James (organ and keyboards).  The album yielded a sizable hit single with its title track (written by William “Smokey” Robinson of Smokey Robinson and The Miracles fame), edited to just under 3 minutes from the LP version’s 21 minute plus run time. 

The single entered the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart on 14 March 1970, peaking at #4, charting for a respectable 20 weeks and outperforming The Temptations’ original release for good measure.  Rod Richards’ fiery, psychedelic guitar is featured on the heavy, rhythm and bluesy sound the band created, although Bridges’ saxophone and flute or Persh’s trombone added a jazzier, breezier element to the music. 
by Kevin Rathert, 2015


Tracks
1. Magic Key (Gil Bridges, Kenny Folcik) - 3:59
2. Tobacco Road (John D. Loudermilk) - 6:18
3. Feelin' Alright (Dave Mason) - 5:05
4. In Bed (Lynn Henderson, Tom Baird, Wes Henderson) - 3:00
5. Train To Nowhere (Kim Simmonds, Chris Youlden) - 3:24
6. Get Ready (William "Smokey" Robinson) - 20:05

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

1968  Dreams/Answers (2017 audiophile remaster)
1969-74  Fill Your Head (three cds box set, five studio albums plus outtakes and alternative versions)
1971  One World  (2015 audiophile remaster)
1971  In Concert (2017 Audiophile) 
1972  Rare Earth - Willie Remembers (2017 audiophile) 
1974  Live In Chicago (2014 audiophile remaster)
1976/78  Midnight Lady / Band Together (2017 digipak remaster)
1975/77  Rare Earth - Back To Earth / Rare Earth (2006 remaster)

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Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Cathy Young - A Spoonful Of Cathy Young (1969 canada, elegant bluesy folk psych rock, 2015 reissue)



Already a familiar face on Yorkville, Toronto's thriving folk scene, Cathy Young came to wider prominence when she performed in front of 5000 people at the Queen's Park Love-in in May 1967, still aged only 16, on a bill that also included Leonard Cohen and Buffy Sainte-Marie. As she later commented: "It was my graduation from the streets of Yorkville... The only song I was able to play was Buffy Sainte-Marie's Codeine." Though she was scheduled right after Sainte-Marie on the bill, she went ahead with the song anyway, and cemented her reputation. 

Before long she'd been offered a recording contract by Mainstream's entrepreneurial Bob Shad, who specialized in signing up young artists and swiftly taping whatever they had to offer (the most prominent example having been Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company). With musical backing from Dylan sideman Eric Weissberg (soon to become renowned for Duelling Banjos) and other session notables including Buddy Saltzman and Michael Abene, the album appeared in April 1969, prompting Billboard to write 'Cathy Young is the best female singer-songwriter to come along in a long time. The subtlety of her lyrics is a strong point, but her singing and Eric- Weissberg's musical arrangements also help to make this 'spoonful' an impressive debut album. Some of her best songs are Everyone's A Dealer, Circus, and Melody Plot. 

With much deserved airplay of these and other cuts, such as her unique rendition of the blues standard Spoonful, this album could become an underground smash. This one 'spoonful' should be all that's required to transform Cathy Young into a chart regular.' Unfortunately these predictions did not come to pass, but Young did go on to receive a prestigious Juno Award as Most Promising Female Vocalist in March 1974, following the release of her second album, Travel Stained, the previous year. 

Thereafter she has toured the world, as well as performing in stage musicals (including a stint as Mary Magdalene in the Canadian touring production of Jesus Christ Superstar), and becoming a popular performer on cruise ships and in luxury hotels.
CD Liner Notes


Tracks
1. Spoonful (Willie Dixon) - 6:46
2. Misfit Matilda - 2:02
3. This Life - 3:07
4. Everyone's A Dealer - 4:17
5. Circus - 2:59
6. Mr. Moth - 1:51
7. Colour That Lightning - 4:00
8. 3 Billion Lovers - 2:01
9. Understanding Changes Misunderstood - 3:38
10.Following In Front - 2:49
11.Melody Plot - 3:37
All compositions by Cathy Young except track #1

Personnel
*Cathy Young - Vocal, Guitar
*Eric Weissberg - Banjo, Guitar
*Don Payne - Bass
*Buddy Saltzman - Drums
*Ronnie Zito - Drums
*Michael Joseph Abene - Piano, Organ
*Patrick Rebillot - Piano, Organ

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Saturday, August 1, 2020

Forest Green - Forest Green (1973 us, exceptional brass jazz prog rock, 2019 korean remaster)



A stunning debut album of this American band in 1973 features progressive and psychedelic rock with nice jazzy approach. Pretty awesome mixed bag album for prog jazz and classic rock.


Tracks
1. Never Found A Way (Timothy Jordan) - 4:36
2. I've Been This Way Before (Syd Silverstein) - 3:12
3. What It's About (Timothy Jordan) - 3:01
4. Black Shepherd (Arthur Cohen) - 3:15
5. Beggar Man (Ray Barrett) - 4:07
6. Scream Fear (Syd Silverstein) - 4:26
7. The Ballad Of Widow Jenkins And Rita (Arthur Cohen) - 3:10
8. Movin' To The Country (Syd Silverstein) - 2:34
9. Boundless Sky (Ray Barrett) - 4:28
10.Mountain (Timothy Jordan) - 5:16

Forest Green
*Timothy Jordan- Vocal, Electric, Lead, Rhythm, Acoustic Guitars
*Syd Silverstein- Vocal, Bass
*Lon Poland- Drums, Bongo
*Ray Barrett- Vocal, Organ, Electric Piano, Clavinet, Recorder
*Donald Hettinger- Flute, Alto Sax, Bassoon, Percussion
*Robert Mast- Flute, Tenor Sax
*Arthur Cohen - Piano

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Sunday, July 26, 2020

Brian Auger And The Trinity - Definitely What! (1968 uk, fantastic groovy jazz rhythm and blues psych rock, 2013 japan SHM bonus tracks remaster)



Brian Auger inhabits a unique position within British music. Essentially a highly regarded and talented modern jazz musician, he paid the critical price for crossing over into the pop charts, and eventually migrated to America where he felt his wide-ranging approach would be better understood and appreciated.

Straddling jazz, rhythm & blues, folk, gospel and pop with great aplomb, it may have confused the less open-minded of the time, and may still be causing some confusion all these years later. Brian's stated intention had always been to overlay souland funk rhythms with jazz harmonies and solos and all three of these recording are packed with this very individual approach.

Definitely What! (1968) was Auger's first solo recording and his unique keyboard skills and offbeat humour are apparent throughout. ''George Bruno Money'' illustrates this brilliantly. Brian's Jimmy Smith jazz approach sits alongside that mildly camp Goons-like humour so in vogue at the time. This is the broad-minded musical attitude that really led to fusion or jazz-rock.

Leave your 60s-based prejudices at the door and get a dose of musical free thinking!
by Greg Boraman, 2004


Tracks
1. A Day In The Life (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 5:16
2. George Bruno Money (Brian Auger) - 3:59
3. Far Horizon (Brian Auger) - 5:10
4. John Brown's Body (Traditional) - 3:01
5. Red Beans And Rice (Al Jackson Jr., Booker T. Jones, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Steve Cropper) - 5:43
6. Bumpin' On Sunset (Wes Montgomery) - 4:57
7. If You Live (Mose Allison) - 3:50
8. Definiely What (Brian Auger, Clive Thacker, David Ambrose) - 8:06
9. Misty (Erroll Garner, Johnny Burke) - 1:48
10.Il Gatto Nero (Brian Auger) - 3:08
11.As She Knows (David Ambrose) - 3:35
12.What You Gonna Do (Brian Auger) - 3:22
13.Red Beans And Rice Part 1 (Al Jackson Jr., Booker T. Jones, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Steve Cropper) - 2:11
14.Red Beans And Rice Part 2 (Al Jackson Jr., Booker T. Jones, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Steve Cropper) - 2:48
15.If You Live (Mose Allison) - 5:24
16.Season Of The Witch (Donovan Leitch) - 4:10
17.This Wheel's On Fire (Bob Dylan, Rick Danko) - 4:14
18.Save Me (Aretha Franklin, Carolyn Franklin, King Curtis) - 4:08

Musicians
*Brian Auger - Electric Organ, Piano, Electric Piano, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
*Rick Laird - String Bass
*Phil Kinorra - Drums
*Vic Briggs - Guitar
*Ricky Brown “Ricky Fenson” - Bass
*Micky Waller - Drums
*Gary Boyle - Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
*Roger Sutton - Bass
*Clem Cattini - Drums
*Clive Thacker - Drums
*Dave Ambrose - Bass, Backing Vocals

1970  Brian Auger And The Trinity - Befour (SHM 2013 remaster with extra tracks) 
Brian Auger's Oblivion Express
1970 Brian Auger's Oblivion Express (2013 Japan SHM edition)
1971  A Better Land (2006 japan remaster)
1972  Second Wind (2006 japan remaster)
1973  Closer To It (2006 japan remaster) 
With Julie Driscoll
1967  Open (2013 Japan SHM)
1970  Streetnoise  (2014 SHM)

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Thursday, July 23, 2020

The Paisleys - Cosmic Mind At Play (1970 us, fabulous beat psych rock, 2003 extra tracks edition)



The Paisleys were formed in Minneapolis, and their sole album was produced by Warren Kendrick, who produced a bunch of other garage rock and psychedelic recordings in Minneapolis in the mid-'60s to early '70s (most notably for the Litter).

The Paisleys actually helped Kendrick build the studio in which Cosmic Mind at Play was recorded, and only a couple of thousand copies were pressed when it was released in 1970

In late 1968, they decided to pack up and move to Canada where they camped around and gigged predominantly in the Vancouver area. Due to fear of being deported back to the U.S. and into the Vietnam draft, Youngerberg left the group. Payton had a nervous breakdown and also left and was replaced by Bob Belknap (drums, vocals).

In 1969, Smith, Timm and Payton moved back to the U.S. and held auditions for a new lead guitarist and found Brad Stodden. They then began recording their sole LP, "Cosmic Minds At Play". Halfway through recording the album, Belknap was replaced by Mike Cornelius (drums, vocals). It's this lineup that recorded the outstanding 'Something's Missing', which is one of their best songs, but ironically never made the LP. Only 2,000 copies of the record were pressed and when it didn't sell well, the band soon split.


Tracks
1. Cosmic Mind At Play (Richard Timm) - 2:06
2. Rockin’ (Bill Smith) - 1:56
3. Now (Bill Smith, Richard Timm) - 3:07
4. Smokey Windows (Bill Smith) - 1:35
5. Diddley (Bill Smith) - 4:30
6. Wind (Bill Smith) - 5:14
7. Musical Journey (Bill Smith, Richard Timm) -18:38
8. Something’s Missing (Bill Smith, Richard Timm) - 2:55
9. Medley: Comin’ On / City Of Light / Home Again (Brad Stodden, Bill Smith, Richard Timm) - 7:23
10.The Fool With The Jewel (Bill Smith) - 3:19
11.Step Quietly and Quickly (Richard Timm) - 2:08
12.Elf In A Magic Bottle (Rick Youngberg) - 6:06
13.In Dreams (Rick Youngberg) - 6:41

The Paisleys
*Brad Stodden - Vocals, Guitar
*Dick Timm - Bass, Vocals
*Bob Belknap - Drums, Vocals
*Bill Smith - Piano, Vocals
*Mike Cornelius - Drums, Vocals
*Rick Youngberg - Guitar, Vocals

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Saturday, July 18, 2020

Terry And The Pirates - Comanche Boots (1973-80 us, great psych classic rock, 2008 release)



Like all good pirates that bury their treasure so they can come back later to bask in the glory of the fruits from their labors and enjoy the bounty of their success Terry And The Pirates would be no exception! Sitting amongst the fools gold, wooden nickels and thin dimes that were in the treasure chest that Terry and The Pirates' buried a long time ago were some real precious gems thought to have been lost forever. It was here that we unearthed the mother lode of tapes for which this collection of music was compiled. 

Featured on "Comanche Boots" are a few of the last known studio recordings of Terry and The Pirates in existence, including never before released tracks, rare demos, rehearsals and exciting live performances. "Comanche Boots" is also in many ways a celebration of 35 years of rockin' with Terry & The Pirates. The aibum opens up with "The Cuckoo", the only recording from the Los Angeles version or T&TP with Terry Dolan and the original "Pirate" rhythm section of Hutch Hutchinson and David Weber (both originally from Copperhead) and featuring Johnny Lee Schell from Bonnie Raitt's and Ian McLagan's bands on lead guitar. On June 12, 1973, Hutch and David joined Terry along with John Cipollina and Greg Douglass the first time he ever played out with a band. This was the night that Terry abd The Pirates were born.

From the Fantasy Studio Sessions on 11-21-75, deep in the vault, we found some interesting outtakes - "I Can't Dance", "Nicky's Tune" and "Truer Than Blue". "Nicky's Tune" has some excellent rocking and rolling piano from Nicky Hopkins along with some great guitar licks from Greg Douglass and John Cipollina. (A live version of "I Can't Dance" appeared on "Silverado Trail"). By the way Silverado Trail has been recently reissued as Return To Silverado on Evangeline Records with bonus tracks and a bonus CD.

The "Pirates" never being ones to pass up on a good thing accepted a offer to go in to the recording studio with Freeway covering all of their expenses. At the time of these sessions, John was on a East Coast tour with Nick Gravenites, so Terry, Greg Douglass, David Hayes and Jeff Myer went in the studio and recorded the songs - "Yankee Son", 'Vain River" and "Sweet Emotions". It was always Terry's every intention to go back and add Cipollina to these recordings but unfortunately that never happened, but if you close your eyes and listen real hard, I think you can still hear him. This is the original version of "Vain River". Terry later re-recorded it on his album "Still A Pirate". 

There is a live version of "Sweet Emotions" with John Cipollina on the album "Silverado Trail", but that version is without Greg Douglass, because he was on the road with Greg Kihn at the time. One of the problems of "The Pirates" was finding them all home from the road long enough for Terry to assemble them for a gig. On October 25, 1978 from a rehearsal for an upcoming gig on Halloween comes "Through The Willows", this is one of the few known recordings of this song. Cipollina was not present for this rehearsal, because he was busy preparing for a Halloween gig with the Novato Frank Band at the Inn Of The Beginning in Cotati, California. From the sessions for Terry Dolan's Acoustic Rangers album comes this great unreleased recording of Bob Dylan's "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, (It Takes A Train To Cry). 

This unique and special version of the Terry and The Pirates classic "Something To Lose" was recorded as a demo with just Terry and John in 1980. The full on, balls to the wall studio version can be found on the album "Wind Dancer" and there is a "killer" live version on the CD release of "Too Close For Comfort". Terry's love for the history of the American Indians and the days of the olde west influenced this psychedelic western styled instrumental called "Comanche Boots". This is Terry's musical landscape interpretation of a Charles Russell or Frederick Remington painting.

The Pirates recorded two versions of "All In Your Mind" - one with lyrics which is included here and the other being an instrumental. Greg really did outdo himself writing this one, Terry sings the vocals. The album closes with a special treat, a never before released live version of "Jungle Love". Long before this became a major hit for Steve Miller it was a staple of T&TP shows...then Lonnie Turner plays their demo for Steve and he flipped over Greg's guitar work! Steve Miller not only records the song, but hires Greg Douglass as well, in part because he couldn't figure out how to play it, but mostly because of Greg's guitar playing ability. It was a lot of fun sifting through Terry's cache of music to create this compilation, I'd been after him for years to cut loose with some of these recordings and he was always holding out for the right time, well my friends that time has finally arrived.
by Mike Somavilla, 2008 


Tracks
1.  Cucko (Traditional) - 3:47
2.  I Can't Dance (Tom T. Hall) - 2:30
3.  All In Your Mind (Greg Douglass) - 3:28
4.  Vain River - 3:47
5.  Yankee Son - 2:55
6.  Comanche Boots - 3:21
7.  Sweet Emotions (Blue Hazlehurst) - 3:37
8.  Truer Than Blue - 4:25
9.  Nicky's Tune (Nicky Hopkins) - 3:31
10. The Light Thru The Willows - 5:02
11. It Takes A Lot To Laugh - It Takes A Train To Cry (Bob Dylan) - 3:37
12. Something To Lose - 4:09
13. Jungle Love (Greg Douglass, Lonnie Turner) - 3:30
All songs by Terry Dolan except where noted

Musicians
*Terry Dolan - Rhythm Guitar,  Vocals
*John Cipollina - Guitar
*Gregg Douglas - Guitars
*David Hayes - Bass, Harmonica
*Nicky Hopkins - Keyboards, Piano
*James "Hutch" Hutchinson - Bass
*Jeff Myer - Drums
*Johnny Lee Schell - Keyboards, Piano
*Lonnie Turner - Bass
*Bob Yance - Flute
*Byron Allred - Keyboards, Piano
*Tom Dollinger - Drums
*Andy Kirby - Drums
*David Weber - Drums

1972  Terry Dolan - Terry Dolan (2016 remaster and expanded)
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