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Friday, December 14, 2018

Colin Hare - March Hare (1971 uk, marvelous folk country silky rock, 2015 bonus tracks remaster)

Though much more Americanized through it’s audible influences, being recorded / released almost simultaneously with it, this is a conceptual companion release of fellow Honybus rider, Pete Dello’s ’71 album Into Your Ears. Right from the very beginning, Colin makes it clear that, unlike in the case of his former band mate, this isn’t a Honeybus album in all but name.

The opener Get Up The Road, as well as Cowboy Joe Saga (obviously), both provide some pure country good times, which is something that he’s returning to quite a few times throughout the album, in a bit more sophisticated way though, as heard in Bloodshot Eyes, clearly depicting Dylan, while cruising all over the Nashville Skyline.

To My Maker takes it few years backwards, to Bob’s mid’60s period, recalling some of his most melodic moments, with an extra harmony or two thrown in, while Underground Girl goes even further, to the early folky beatnik daze.

For Where Have You Been is the rawkiest Colin ever got, combining the usual folky harmonies with the American Woman riffing, Find Me is kinda like a soulful Macca ballad, Alice is a piece of quirky Kinky pop, and New Day is an “Incredibly” Brit folk-inspired tune.

The closest he gets to the recognisable Honeybus sound, is on the first of the pre-album single sides, Grannie Grannie (backed with another piece of Dylanized protest folk Fighting For Peace), and on his post-album only-Warners ’72 single coupling Didn’t I Tell You / Seek Not In The Wide World, which you all get as a bonus on this definitive of “marches”.
by Garwood Pickjon

1. Get Up The Road - 2:41
2. Bloodshot Eyes - 3:21
3. For Where Have You Been - 2:55
4. Find Me - 2:09
5. Underground Girl - 3:38
6. To My Maker - 2:43
7. Alice - 2:16
8. Nothing To Write Home About - 2:49
9. New Day - 1:58
10.Cowboy Joe - Saga - 3:47
11.Just Like Me - 4:03
12.Charlie Brown's Time - 3:21
13.Grannie, Grannie - 2:06
14.Fighting For Peace - 2:40
All songs by Colin Hare

*Colin Hare - Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards, Harmonica, Bass
*Pete Kircher - Drums, Backing Vocals
*Billy Bremner- Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Jim Kelly - Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Pete Dello - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
*Pete Kelly - Keyboards, Backing Vocals

Related Act
1967-73  Honeybus - She Flies Like A Bird The Anthology (double disc release) 

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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Tim Hollier - Tim Hollier (1968-71 uk, delightful baroque folk psych, 2004 remaster)

Tim Hollier has, until now, remained a cult artist, beloved of a few but unknown to the many. He made some superb music, some of which is comparable to David McWilliams' orch.-folk, but is infinitely superior to it. Some of it is vocal/acoustic guitar folk minimalism, but a lot - thanks mostly to the arrangements/productions of the masterful John Cameron- is fuller and beautifully lush. Of the highlights on this CD (all taken from Tim's first three albums: 'Message To A Harlequin', 'Tim Hollier' and 'Skysail'), we must mention 'Message To A Harlequin' (the song) starts off in a folk idiom then rises to high-flying pop. It is pure magic! 'Do You Remember When' has a wonderfully over-the-top production. 

The trippy 'And Where Were You That Morning Mr. Carroll'. Hearing this again after not hearing it for ages came as a revelation to me. I always thought that it was like Calum Bryce's 'Lovemaker' (as is Tim's equally sublime 'Hanne' - pronounced 'Hannah', not included here), but it is so much more and so much better than 'Lovemaker'! It is a truly marvellous track and if you love 'Fading Yellow' then you'll adore this, if you love UK Psych Pop you will worship this! I am not over-stating thing by calling it a masterpiece of Alice-inspired psych-folk-pop. That it has remained unappreciated this long is a miracle, but a sad one. Luckily, this CD rectifies that matter. 'Full Fathoms Five' is another gem; baroque pop with tablas and lyrics by a certain Mr. W. Shakespeare. 'In Silence' is majestic folk-pop, with another OTT production. 

These tracks are all taken from Tim's debut, produced by Ray Singer, and featuring musical help from Herbie Flowers and David & Jonathan. Whilst the following, come from Tim's second, self-titled album: 'Seagull's Song' is superior folk-rock in a rather stoned groove. 'Evolution' is a great version of the Amory Kane song, with lots of flute, and tasty up-front rhythm track. And we must not forget the drone-filled 'Evening Song' and the suitably weird 'Tenderly Stooping Low'.

This package contains a selection of lyrics, a discography and detailed resumé of Tim's career, and a strong selection of material. 
by Paul Cross, December 2004

Tim Hollier was one of the most unfairly neglected of folk-based artists to come out of late-'60s England, his brand of trippy, quietly elegant psychedelic folk-rock deserving an infinitely wider hearing than it got -- not that he ultimately did badly in music, but he deserved better earlier. Born in Brighton in 1947, Hollier was raised in West Cumberland, and at age 13 formed his first group, the Meteors, with a group of friends from school. He attended art college and played as part of a folk duo called the Sovereigns in the mid-'60s. He later moved to London to study graphic design, and got involved in the folk scene there, seeing some limited success as an opening act for such well-known figures as blues songstress Jo Ann Kelly and visiting American Paul Simon.

An introduction to Simon Napier-Bell -- a music figure best remembered today as the man who inherited the Yardbirds' management from Giorgio Gomelsky -- got Hollier to the next phase of his career, a proper recording contract. Napier-Bell got Hollier signed with United Artists Records' U.K. division, a much more adventurous outfit than its American parent company. Where the latter was still relying on soundtracks and recording Jay & the Americans, the U.K. United Artists outfit was downright experimental, cutting psychedelic sides by Del Shannon; it wouldn't be long before they'd sign up Brinsley Schwarz and the Flamin' Groovies. It was at UA that Hollier recorded his first album, Message to a Harlequin, in mid-1968; released in October of that year, it was a tremendous showcase for Hollier's excellent voice and challenging, psychedelic-flavored songs, elaborately produced and reminiscent in many ways of the first two albums by Duncan Browne.

A hauntingly beautiful debut, Message to a Harlequin has Tim Hollier working in a restrained yet elegantly produced folk-pop mode, almost pre-Raphaelite in the manner of Duncan Browne's Give Me Take You. John Cameron's arrangements, far more ornate than his work during the same period for Donovan, sometimes bury Hollier's acoustic guitar and drench his solo singing voice in choral accompaniment. The songs themselves were probably strong enough to stand on their own a bit better, but the results are still eminently listenable, resembling a folk-based equivalent to the kind of highly produced psychedelic pop/rock of the period. 

The album -- although not especially successful in England -- even managed to get a U.S. release on the company's Imperial Records imprint. Hollier made slow progress in finding an audience over the ensuing year, playing on some of his UA labelmate Peter Sarstedt's records and getting some exposure on the BBC, and also collaborating on stage and record with American songwriter Amory Kane. He left UA in 1969 and signed with Fontana Records, which issued his self-titled, self-produced second album in the summer of 1970. A stripped-down album compared to its predecessor, Tim Hollier's self-titled second album is filled with pleasant, catchy folk-based tunes, with Hollier's acoustic guitar much more in the foreground and most of the songs loaded to overflowing with memorable hooks that are fully exploited in Hollier's singing and the various guitar parts. It failed to sell, and a year later a similar fate befell his third album, Sky Sail, released on Philips. 

His third album "Sky Sail" is beautifully produced, elegant, and tastefully arranged album finally shows off Tim Hollier's voice to best advantage, with no more than a few backing instruments -- flute, tabla, and celeste stand out most prominently -- supporting his basic guitar and vocals. Filled with beautiful songs and gorgeous sounds, Sky Sail is Hollier's magnum opus, somewhere between Duncan Browne and Justin Hayward. 

By 1973, he'd shifted gears somewhat in his career, and went into the production end, forming his own label, called Songwriters Workshop -- among those who signed up was Peter Sarstedt.

By the 1980s, Hollier had moved into music publishing, and later went into movie financing -- his company, Filmtrax, not only scored movies, but also helped produce such pictures as Withnail and I (which, ironically, dealt with the closing days of the 1960s, the period in which Hollier had the bad fortune to start his recording career). In the decades since, he has remained a major figure in the field of music copyrights amid the boom in new technologies and media.
by Bruce Eder

Message To A Harlequin 1968
1. Message To The Harlequin - 4:06
2. Street Of Gold - 2:14
3. Jimmy - 2:10
4. Do You Remember When? - 2:09
5. And Where Were You That Morning Mr Carroll? - 3:35
6. Full Fathoms Five - 3:12
7. In Silence - 2:27
Tim Hollier 1970
8. Seagull's Song (Tim Hollier) - 4:13
9. Llanstphan Hill (Amory Kane, Rick Cuff, Tim Hollier) - 3:44
10.And It's Happening To Her (Jeremy Taunton, Tim Hollier) - 2:29
11.Man Of Gentle Sunlight - 2:53
12.Evolution (Amory Kane, Rick Cuff) - 4:53
13.Maybe You Will Stay (Amory Kane) - 3:39
14.Would I Sing - 2:54
15.Winter Song - It's Raining And It's Cold - 3:43
16.Love Song - 2:43
17.Evening Song - 2:41
Sky Sail 1971 
18.Tenderly Stooping Low - 3:37
19.Time Has A Way Of Losing You - 2:16
20.Skysail (Rick Cuff) - 3:28
21.Beauty Of The Gardens (Jeremy Taunton, Tim Hollier) - 2:03
22.And I Wait For That (Jeremy Taunton, Tim Hollier) - 2:12
23.While London Day's Increase - 2:52
All songs by Rory Fellowes, Tim Hollier except where moted

*Tim Hollier - Vocals, Guitar
*John Cameron - Harpsichord, Organ, Piano
*Harold McNair - Flute
*Danny Thompson - Bass
*Tony Carr - Drums

1971  Tim Hollier ‎- Skysail (Vinyl edition) 

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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Aesop's Fables - In Due Time (1969 us, excellent funky soul jazzy sunny psych, 2018 korean remaster)

Falling somewhere in the musical spectrum between David Clayton-Thomas and Blood, Sweat and Tears and The Young Rascals,  the short-lived and little known Aesop's Fables deserved a better fate.  Led by singer/songwriter Sonny Bottari, the Long Island-based group was initially signed by ATCO where they released a series of three widely ignored mid-1960s singles.

After the unsuccessful singles ATCO dropped the band, though in a matter of months they rebounded, attracting the attention of the Chess affiliated Cadet Concept label.  Eager to expand its catalog of rock material, Cadet Concept gave the go ahead for an album teaming them with producer/songwriter  Bob () - Robert Gallo for their 1969 label debut "In Due Time".  Sporting two capable vocalists in Sonny Bottari and drummer John Scaduto, the collection aptly demonstrated the octet's enjoyable blend of blue-eyed soul and more experimental horn based outings () - 'Everybody's Talking' and 'Look Out' and 'In the Morning'.

Featuring a mixture of Gallo-penned numbers and band originals, blue-eyed soul moves like 'Lift Up Your Hearts', 'What Is Soul', and The Rascals blue-eyed soul clone 'What Is Love' were quite commercial.  Unfortunately, in the midst of a burgeoning blues and metal scene, the band's easygoing soul moves also seemed slightly out of date; almost like they were a year or two behind popular tastes.  Elsewhere there were a couple of stabs at updating the sound.  Sporting a much harder rock sound 'Spoons Full of Sand' came off as a weird hybrid of  Cream-meets Blood, Sweat and Tears.  Guufy but kind of neat.  Unfortunately the group's lounge lizard cover of the Supremes' 'I'm Gonna Make You Love Me' was simply a boneheaded move.

Aesop's Fables only released this one album on Chess Record's Cadet Concept imprint and as such it's one of only a couple of real rock records on Cadet Concept. The music is inconsistent and varied in style. A lot of it falls into the brass rock genre popular at the time., Blood Sweat & Tears, Rare Earth, but there are some other tracks that go into blue-eyed soul and psychedelic territory. The band is excellent especially when one or all hit a groove like the organ freak out on "In the Morning" and pretty sublime, psychedelic jamming on "And When It's Over".

1. Lift Up Your Hearts (Barry Taylor, Ronny Alterville) - 3:39
2. What Is Soul (Robert Gallo) - 2:38
3. In Due Time (Robert Gallo, Segal) - 3:02
4. In The Morning (John Scaduto, Robert Gallo, Ronny Alterville) - 3:45
5. Everyone's Talking (Robert Gallo, Segal) - 2:26
6. Spoons Full Of Sand (Sonny Bottari, Barry Taylor, Ronny Alterville, Heins) - 5:08
7. The Sound Of Crying (Sonny Bottari, Barry Taylor, Ronny Alterville, Heins) - 2:44
8. What Is Love (Robert Gallo) - 2:41
9. Look Out (B. Bottari, Barry Taylor) - 4:18
10.I'm Gonna Make You Love Me (Jerry Ross, Kenny Gamble, Williams) - 3:49
11.And When It's Over (Bert Sommer) - 6:26

The Aesop's Fables
*Ronny Alterville -Bass, Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Sonny Bottari -Vocals, Percussion
*Robert Dimonda -Flute, Sax, Backing Vocals
*Joe Fraticelli -Sax
*Frank Krepala -Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Louis Montaruli -Trumpet, Trombone
*John Scaduto -Vocals, Drums
*Barry Taylor -Keyboards

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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Richie Havens - Richard P. Havens 1983 (1969 us, magnificent folk psych, 2017 remaster)

When Richie Havens was making his third album it appears as if George Orwell had really got under his skin. He’d become filled with a dread, “as if the next year was going to be 1984.” He decided to call the record 1983 and make it a double album that would serve as a monument for the times; mixing eloquent, politically conscious statements with rich soul covers that made the originals his own, including four Beatles songs.

Partly recorded at a July ’68 Santa Monica concert, 1983 captured each facet of Havens’ quiet but towering strength and liberated stage magic, driven by his distinctive open-tuned guitar scrabble on originals including Indian Rope Man, For Haven’s Sake, What More Can I Say John?, Just Above My Hobby Horse’s Head and the bleak but resonant civil rights narrative The Parable Of Ramon. His supernatural powers of interpretation coax new essence out of Dylan’s I Pity The Poor Immigrant, Donovan’s Wear Your Love Like Heaven, Leonard Cohen’s Priests and he even makes Strawberry Fields, Forever sound as if it could’ve been written for the March On Washington.

1983 remains a consummate document of the irrepressible spirit that riveted half a million at Woodstock four months after its release.
by Kris Needs

1. Stop Pulling And Pushing Me (Richie Havens) - 1:50
2. For Haven's Sake (Richie Havens) - 7:05
3. Strawberry Fields Forever (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 3:39
4. Waht More Can I Say John (Richie Havens) - 4:40
5. I Pity The Poor Immigrant (Bob Dylan) - 3:11
6. Lady Madonna (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 1:58
7. Priests (Leonard Cohen) - 5:17
8. Indian Rope Man (Richie Havens, Mark Roth, Joe Price) - 3:04
9. Cautiously (James David Maurey) - 4:03
10.Just Above My Hobby Horse's Head (Mark Roth, Richie Havens) - 2:59
11.She's Leaving Home (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 4:07
12.Putting Out The Vibratioo, And Hoping It Comes Home. (Mark Roth, Richie Havens) - 2:55
13.The Parable Of Ramon (Mark Roth, Richie Havens) - 7:59
14.With A Little Help From My Friends (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 5:21
15.Wear Your Love Like Heaven (Donovan Leitch) - 4:58
16.Medley: Run Shaker Life/Do You Feel Good? (Richie Havens) - 8:53

*Richie Havens - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Sitar, Vocals, Tamboura, Handclapping, Ondioline
*Charles Howall - Vocals
*Carol Hunter - Bass
*Teddy Irwin - Guitar
*Bruce Langhorne - Guitar
*Ken Lauber - Keyboards
*Donald Mcdonald - Drums
*Arnie Moore - Bass
*Weldon Myrick - Steel Guitar
*Warren Bernhardt - Keyboards, Clavinet
*Brad Campbell - Bass
*Bob Chase - Percussion
*Diane Comins - Harmonica, Harp
*Jim Fairs - Bass
*John Ord - Organ, Piano, Celeste, Keyboards
*Skip Prokop - Drums
*Charlie Smalls - Keyboard, Piano
*Jeremy Steig - Flute
*Stephen Stills - Bass
*Collin Walcott - Sitar, Tabla
*Paul "Dino" Williams - Guitar
*Daniel Ben Zebulon - Drums

1967  Richie Havens - Mixed Bag
1970  Richie Havens - Stonehenge (2001 remaster)
1971  Richie Havens - Alarm Clock (2002 remaster)

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Monday, December 3, 2018

John Manning - White Bear (1971 us, splendid folk rock, 2014 japan remaster)

An album called White Bear has my undivided attention by virtue of its name alone. But when its cover also shows a lanky long-haired fellow sitting next to a piano in some kind of antique room, I’m sold. White Bear was released on Columbia in 1971, and is the first and only outing of John Manning, a 12-stringed balladeer who sailed the currents of the great 1960s folk wave, before it broke on the shores of the ’70s.

I’d like to proceed by giving more background on the artist, such as where John Manning hailed from and how he came to record his first album. Problem is, no one seems to know. Apparently, he opened for Deep Purple in the early 1970s. John Manning also shared the bill with Iron Butterfly and Black Oak Arkansas, and performed in the legendary Troubadour club.

For the rest, there’s about four short reviews available online, one of them in German, as well as a one-sentence review in The Milwaukee Journal of October 6, 1971, describing John Manning as a “sad, restless, romantic balladeer.” Finally, two of his songs were featured on the soundtrack of a Dennis Hopper documentary called The American Dreamer, also in 1971.

The dearth of information wouldn’t be so baffling if the music wasn’t so good. John Manning is a first-class singer, musician and songwriter, though his lyrics tend to be on the obscure side. It’s no surprise then, that he brings up his “drug-infected mind” in “The Whole Song,” a near-perfect folk ballad that also contains the beautiful line “but my every loving thought for you, like every song I sing, is the child of a mystic dream you’ve never known.” 

“Hard on the Road to New Mexico” is equally mystifying without losing out in intensity, reminding of Dylan’s great “Isis.” There’s a lover who offers the singer a “guiding moonstone” before departing. He escapes to the highway and meets a bunch of Indians. The plot thickens as Jesus joins in as well as a Prophet of the Dawn. There’s a beautiful verse about a girl in Colorado and a poignant conclusion: “And yet there is always one more question: Will there be someone still at home?” The song is a wild trip, but it’s well worth the ride.

John Manning’s “Free Clinic Song” is worth a listen too, as a poetic meditation on love and loneliness that starts with: “Who am I to hold your hand and think to know your mind?” The song is about that most basic of questions: Can we ever truly know each other? There’s an existential intensity to the singer’s probing – “sometimes in the dark you come to think you know too much” – that is reinforced in the refrain: “It’s so hard to be living here and never find out why.” Yet the singer clings to love, desperately believing in its potential: “Sometimes I imagine that I understand what’s real: If we put our hearts together, do you think they might be healed?”

As a singer, John Manning has a clear and intimate voice. He reminds of Tim Buckley at times, combining the depth of his low register with piercing trips into his higher range. In the intensity of his singing, he also brings to mind such artists as Roy Harper, Gene Clark, even Scott Walker and early Neil Young. Of course, comparisons can only bring us so far: Manning has a distinctive voice of his own, the perfect medium for his poetic and dramatic folk songs. Though I have cherry-picked only a few, there is no weak moment on the record; songs like “Mother Earth” and “Leaving Home Again,” especially, should not go unmentioned.

So this is what we have: a great album released as an LP in 1971, re-released on CD in 2002, and now available on YouTube – and an untraceable artist. Resorting to YouTube comments for more clues, we find, among pertinent observations such as “Hey, this guy has my name … AND MY HAIR,” and someone suggesting that John Manning may be still around and working on a follow-up album.

If that is indeed the case, some of the mysteries surrounding John Manning may be cleared up some time in the future. Until then, we’ll have to make do with the mysteriously beautiful folk music on the unjustly neglected White Bear.
by  Kasper Nijsen

1. Leaving Home Again - 4:29
2. Theme From H+2 - 3:30
3. Free Clinic Song - 5:51
4. Warm Inside - 3:58
5. Music Belongs To The People - 5:06
6. Hard On The Road To New Mexico - 5:05
7. Mother Earth - 4:27
8. The Whole Song - 4:21
9. Down Inside The Jungle - 5:41
All songs by John Manning

*John Manning - Vocals, 12 String Guitar
*Floyd Frederick Fletcher III - Bass
*Alan Dennison - Keyboards, Flute
*Mike Bolan - Guitar
*Terry Cox - Drums
*Richard Landis - String Arrangements

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Friday, November 30, 2018

Carolanne Pegg - Carolanne Pegg (1973 uk, wonderful folk classic rock, 2017 remaster)

Carole Ann Pegg was born Nottingham, September 1944. Summarises working class family background and recalls early musical experiences. First sang in public at Nottingham University 'House of the Rising Sun'. Joined Cambridge Folk Club. Formed trio with Bob Pegg and Gil Evans. Didn't finish university, married Bob Pegg and formed folk rock band, Mr Fox. Wrote own songs using traditional themes. Unlearnt classical violin and took up fiddle. 

Carolanne Pegg’s eponymous solo album from 1973 is, of course, not exactly new, but this reissued rarity feels absolutely fresh. It kicks off with a crisp and rocked-up version of Collins’ Open The Door, but Pegg’s talent is all her own. Her voice – a combination of Kate Bush’s edgy theatricality and a folkie’s down-home warmness – reminds us that Kate Bush was not the first Brit to break the female vocals out of sweet clichés. Pegg is more than ably abetted by guitar maestro Albert Lee. His country flavoured licks spit fire over Dave Peacock’s bass and Michael Lavelle’s cello. The crisp interplays between the three represent one of the real benefits of the remastering job. 

However, it’s Pegg who startles. Her vocal feats – by turns gritty, weird and moving – turn folk and country into a psychedelic prog masterwork. Tracks like A Witch’s Guide To The Underground and The Sapphire evoke a lost dark-folk world that never was. She is, then, a kind of fairy godmother not only for Kate Bush, but Crumbling Ghost and even Richard Dawson. Perhaps the standout track is Fair Fortune’s Star, a multi-movement suite that follows a lady through a dark wood towards enlightenment. It might act as a symbol for Pegg’s journey itself. Not only does it compete with peak Fairport but it achieves a menace they couldn’t dream of. This re-release benefits from a superb essay by Prog’s Malcolm Dome.

This is a beautiful album whose only sadness lies in what might have been if Pegg had received the popular attention she deserved. On the closing track, when Pegg sings, ‘I guess we’re winter people now,’ you’re left thinking this album deserves a second spring.
by Rachel Mann June 23, 2017

1. Open The Door (Song For Judith) (Judy Collins) - 4:26
2. A Witch's Guide To The Underground - 3:48
3. Mouse And The Crow - 2:54
4. The Sapphire - 4:01
5. Fair Fortune's Star - 10:03
6. Clancy's Song - 4:02
7. The Lady And The Well - 4:36
8. Wycoller - 2:53
9. The Lizard - 3:20
10.Man Of War (Humphrey Weightman, Carolanne Pegg) - 3:22
11.Winter People - 5:04
All songs by Carolanne Pegg except where indicated

*Carolanne Pegg - Fiddle, Guitar, Harmonium, Vocals
*Paul Rowan - Jew's Harp
*Keith Nelson - Banjo
*Dave Peacock - Bass
*Michael Lavelle  - Cello
*Albert Lee - Guitar 
*Alan Eden - Percussion

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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Glass Harp - Glass Harp (1970 us, impressive guitar bluesy psych rock, 2014 remaster)

The debut of Glass Harp is undeniably their strongest work, with a more unified sound and a more polished feel overall than the other records. The group's strongest songs -- "Changes," "Can You See Me," "Look in the Sky" -- appear here, much of it in the vein of Cream and Jimi Hendrix. Gentle "Black Horse" is a nice touch, and the group is not pulling apart so much on the first record. Keaggy is an amazing guitarist with innovative playing techniques and an ear for texture and tone color, while Sferra stands out as the strongest writer of the group. 
by Mark Allender

1. Can You See Me (Dan Pecchio, Phil Keaggy) - 6:27
2. Children's Fantasy (Phil Keaggy) - 4:14
3. Changes (In The Heart Of My Own True Love) (John Sferra) - 5:57
4. Village Queen (Dan Pecchio) - 4:02
5. Black Horse (John Sferra) - 2:53
6. Southbound (John Sferra, Phil Keaggy) - 3:56
7. Whatever Life Demands (Dan Pecchio, Phil Keaggy) - 6:31
8. Look In The Sky (Dan Pecchio, John Sferra, Phil Keaggy) - 8:13
9. Garden (Dan Pecchio, John Sferra, Phil Keaggy) - 4:21
10.On Our Own (John Sferra, Phil Keaggy) - 2:41
11.Can You See Me (Dan Pecchio, Phil Keaggy) - 28:50

The Glass Harp
*Phil Keaggy - Guitars, Vocals
*John Sferra - Drums, Vocals, Guitars
*Daniel Pecchio - Bass, Vocals, Flute
*John Cale - Electric Viola

1971  Glass Harp - Live! At Carnegie Hall
1972  Glass Harp - It Makes Me Glad (2005 remaster)

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Octopus - Restless Night (1967-71 uk, spectacular beat psychedelia prog rock, 2006 remaster with extra tracks and 2016 japan remaster)

As put by Stefan Granados in the accompanying liners, “perhaps due to it being recorded at the fag end of the psychedelic pop years in 1970, or the ghastly illustration that graced the sleeve”, Octopus’ sole album still remains unheard of by lots of those who would’ve treasured it, had they been digging a bit deeper under the hostile surface … had they ever came across it at all.

Though it’s already been given a second chance actually, by See For Miles in the mid 90's, this is surely the definitive, and most certainly the first ever complete version of Restless Night, including the previously omitted pair of ballads, with I Was So Young being an almost Victorian-sounding piece of British folk, with a fragile Blunt-stoned vocal delivery, and Orchard Bloom already kinda suggesting McCartney’s post-Beatle days.

While we’re at it, there’s quite a few other kinds of Beatlisms, be it the Macca-by-way-of-Emitt-Rhodes sounding I Say and Rainchild (a formula already applied on some of the pre-album recordings like Call Me A Fool and especially Turning Night Into Day, as well as the pre-Octopus Cortinas’ single sides Girlfriend/ Laugh At The Poor Man), the Lennon-like proggy blues of the title tune, or Council Plans, finding them halfway between the Pepper-ish groove and The Turtles’ sunshiny harmony pop.

On a rare occasion when they tend to rawk out a bit harder, it usually comes out pretty close to the above concept, in a more Badfinger-like way, most audibly in the fuzzy opening The River, there’s also some tasty slightlydelic guitar lines, keeping Summer from it’s almost classic bubblegum chewy ness.

Thief sounds like a rather nervously (in a good way) upbeat rendition of an imaginary Graham Gouldman tune, Queen And The Pauper is a kind of a lightweight type of Britsike, while the epic closer Tide, though still sticking to the album’s highly melodic concept, also combines it with a progressive structure, being more in accordance with the album’s contemporary surroundings.

Besides the already mentioned pair of pre-album recordings, worth of mention are some other previously unreleased Cortinas recordings as well, such as the happy-go-lucky pair of the Vaudeville-ian ditty Phoebe’s Flower Shop and the Hermits-sounding Too Much In Love.

Seems like it’s about time for Octopus to fully spread his arms around the popsike world. 
by Garwood Pickjon, October 25, 2006

1. The River (Nigel Griggs) - 4:22
2. I Was So Young (John Cook) - 2:58
3. Summer (Nigel Griggs) - 3:04
4. Council Plans (John Cook) - 3:33
5. Restless Night (Nigel Griggs) - 4:07
6. Orchard Bloom (Nigel Griggs) - 2:34
7. Thief (Nigel Griggs) - 3:36
8. Queen And The Pauper (Nigel Griggs) - 3:37
9. I Say (Nigel Griggs) - 1:52
10.John's Rock (John Cook) - 2:37
11.Rainchild (Nigel Griggs) - 3:06
12.Tide (John Cook, Nigel Griggs) - 5:32
13.Girlfriend (John Cook, Rick Williams) - 2:56
14.Laugh At The Poor Man (Jackie Steward, Nigel Griggs, Paul Griggs) - 3:17
15.Sagittarius (Nigel Griggs) - 3:41
16.In The Park (Unknown) - 3:18
17.Phoebe's Flower Shop (Brian Potter, Graham Dee) - 2:44
18.Too Much In Love (Brian Potter, Graham Dee) - 2:27
19.Call Me A Fool (Paul Raymond, Tony Murray) - 2:46
20.Turning Night Into Day (Paul Raymond, Tony Murray) - 2:20
21.I Am The Walrus (Live) (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 5:02
22.Peer Gynt Suite (Live) (Edvard Grieg) - 5:57
Tracks 15-18 as The Cortinas

Octopus’s sole 1969 long-player Restless Night is something of a treasure among ’60s Brit-psych fans due to its mixture of proto-progressive riffs, accomplished pop tunes and sparkling Beatlesque flourishes. The band evolved out of the thriving Hertfordshire beat scene that also gave us The Zombies, The Gods and those other cult pop-psych heroes Forever Amber. Octopus’ music was coloured by the use of keyboards and layered vocal harmonies in much the same way. 

As The Cortinas they enjoyed several years of local success which culminated in the 1968 CBS single ‘Phoebe’s Flower Shop’. The single was pure pop confectionery and betrayed little of the band’s tight, melodic brand of rock. By the time they’d been signed to Larry Page’s Penny Farthing label in 1969, their sound had expanded to encompass the burgenoning progressive scene, the dawn of the solo troubadour and the omnipresent influence of The Beatles, illustrated perfectly by their live sets of the period which included songs by Yes, Neil Young, Cat Stevens and even note-for-note renditions of “I Am The Walrus” and “Baby, You’re A Rich Man”!

The first single and album opener ‘The River’ is a tough dancefloor groover complete with lysergic fuzz guitar and has appeared on several compilations while the album cover art is an eye-opening classic of the “so bad it’s good” school. Much to the band’s horror, they discovered that Page had released a bastardised version of the album which omitted two of the original tracks and added the b-side of the single. Previous re-issues of the album have, not surprisingly, stuck to the erroneous tracklist but here at Rev-Ola we always strive to give you more. And you love it don’t you, you little beauties? So here it is pop pickers, for the first time EVER, the original version of the Octopus album as the band intended… containing two previously unheard (and uniformly excellent) tunes plus the usual plethora of previously unreleased bonus tracks, single sides, demos and even a mind-blowing contemporary live recording of Grieg’s ‘Peer Gynt Suite’! You better believe it daddy!
by Michael Kearton

1. The River (Nigel Griggs) - 4:24
2. Summer (Nigel Griggs) - 3:03
3. Council Plans (John Cook) - 3:36
4. Restless Night (Nigel Griggs) - 3:58
5. Thief (Nigel Griggs) - 3:38
6. Queen And The Pauper (Nigel Griggs) - 3:37
7. I Say (Nigel Griggs) - 1:53
8. John's Rock (John Cook) - 2:38
9. Rainchild (Nigel Griggs) - 3:04
10.Tide (John Cook, Nigel Griggs) - 5:40
11.Laugh At The Poor Man (Jackie Steward, Nigel Griggs, Paul Griggs) - 3:16
12.Girlfriend (John Cook, Rick Williams) - 2:55
13.The River (Single Version) (Nigel Griggs) - 3:23
14.Thief (Single Version) (Nigel Griggs) - 3:40

Paul Griggs - Lead Guitar, Vocals
Nigel Griggs - Bass Guitar, Vocals
Rick Williams - Rhythm Guitar,Vocals (1,2,5,11,12,13,14)
Brian Glasscock - Drums (1,2,5,11,12,13,14)
John Cook - Wurlitzer Organ, Piano, Vocals (3,4,6,7,8,9,10)
Malcolm Green - Drums (3,4,6,7,8,9,10)

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Stone The Crows - Teenage Licks / Ontinuous Performance (1971/72 uk, sensational hard blues rock, 2015 double disc remaster and expanded)

Scottish blue rock act Stone the Crows were dealt more than a few blows as they attempted to record their third album in 1971. Bassist/vocalist James Dewar had jumped ship to be the sole vocalist in Robin Trower's band, and keyboard player John McGinnis had enough of life on the road and became a teacher. This left vocalist Maggie Bell, guitarist Leslie Harvey, and drummer Collen Allen to look for replacements, and in came bassist Steve Thompson and keyboard player Ronnie Leahy. With Maggie now as the main focal point from a vocal perspective, the sound of the band changed slightly, and things got even more dicey when Harvey was electrocuted on stage in 1972, before the band had even finished their soon to be fourth album. In would come ex-Thunderclap Newman (and soon to be Wings) guitarist Jimmy McCulloch. However, things were never the same, and the band split soon afterwards with four albums in just over two years. This 2CD Angel Air Records set collects the two long out of print albums Teenage Licks and Ontinuous Performance, and while they are perhaps not quite as impressive as the band's first two releases, they are still prime examples of fiery early '70s blues rock.

Teenage Licks features a host of hot tunes, including the smoldering rocker "Mr Wizard", the slow blues piece "Don't Think Twice" (featuring an emotional, Janis Joplin styled vocal from Bell), the heavy rocker "Big Jim Salter", and Harvey's sizzling hard rock licks on the raucous "Keep On Rollin' ". A blistering live "Let It Down", originally written by the first incarnation of the band, is an outstanding bonus surprise here. Leahy contributes more piano on Teenage Licks than we saw on the first two Stone the Crows albums, as opposed to McGinnis' reliance on the Hammond organ, so there is a bit of a different feel here to be sure. With Harvey's death, the band had not completely finished the Ontinuous Performance, so McCulloch put the finishing touches to the songs "Good Time Girl" and "Sunset Cowboy", but Les can still be heard on the crunchy blues rocker "On the Highway", an old school blues number "Penicillin Blues", the upbeat "Niagara", and the atmospheric "King Tut". None of these songs carry the power of anything from Stone the Crows or Ode to John Law, as the band seemed to be going through the motions by this point, delivering solid but unspectacular honky tonk blues. By 1972, it was all over, and Maggie Bell's solo career would begin.

Thanks must be made to Angel Air for making sure these recordings are once again available for fans to either discover for the first time or finally get a CD copy of their old vinyl versions. Though their first albums are the cream of the crop, there's still plenty of exciting blues rock here to enjoy, featuring the amazing skills of one Maggie Bell. 
by Pete Pardo

Disc 1 Teenage Licks 1971
1. Big Jim Salter (Maggie Bell, Colin Allen, Leslie Harvey) - 4:38
2. Faces (Steve Thompson, Maggie Bell, Colin Allen, Ronnie Leahy, Leslie Harvey) - 4:41
3. Mr Wizard (Maggie Bell, Colin Allen, Leslie Harvey) - 5:27
4. Don't Think Twice (Bob Dylan) - 5:04
5. Keep On Rollin' (Maggie Bell, Colin Allen, Leslie Harvey) - 3:53
6. Ailen Mochree (Traditional) - 0:25
7. One Five Eight (John McGinnis) - 6:28
8. I May Be Right Imay Be Wrong (Maggie Bell, Colin Allen, Ronnie Leahy, Leslie Harvey) - 5:05
9. Seven Lakes (Steve Thompson, Maggie Bell, Colin Allen, Ronnie Leahy, Leslie Harvey) - 3:04
10.Let It Down (Live) (Maggie Bell, Colin Allen, John McGinnis, James Dewar) - 5:33
11.Going Down (Live) (Don Nix) - 5:05

Disc 2 Ontinuous Performance 1972
1. On The Highway (Ronnie Leahy, Leslie Harvey) - 5:36
2. One More Chance (Ronnie Leahy) - 6:13
3. Penicillin Blues (Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee) - 5:34
4. King Tut (Maggie Bell, Leslie Harvey) - 2:40
5. Good Time Girl (Steve Thompson, Maggie Bell, Colin Allen, Ronnie Leahy) - 3:28
6. Niagra (Ronnie Leahy) - 9:15
7. Sunset Cowboy (Colin Allen, Ronnie Leahy) - 6:42
8. Good Time Girl (Live) (Steve Thompson, Maggie Bell, Colin Allen, Ronnie Leahy) - 3:10
9. Penicillin Blues (Live) (Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee) - 5:27

Stone The Crows
*Steve Thompson - Bass, Vocals
*Colin Allen - Drums, Percussion
*Leslie Harvey - Guitar
*Maggie Bell - Vocals
*Ronnie Leahy - Organ, Piano
*Jimmy McCulloch - Guitar (Disc 2)
*Dundee Horns - Horn (Disc 1)
*Roger Ball - Horn (Disc 2)
*Malcolm Duncan - Horn (Disc 2)

1969-71  Stone The Crows - Stone The Crows / Ode To John Law (015 double disc bonus tracks set) 
1972  Stone The Crows - Live In Montreux
1975  Maggie Bell - Suicide Sal (2006 remaster)
1974  Maggie Bell - Queen Of The Night (2006 bonus tracks remaster) 

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Kevin Odegard - Kevin Odegard (1971 us, amazing folk psych rock, 2008 korean remaster)

This album was born one sunny day in the summer of 1970 as I ambled along the mall at the University of Minnesota, where I was a sophomore. The year following the “Summer of Love” wasn’t very lovely on campuses across America. The Altamont Rock Concert and Manson Family murders ended the Age of Aquarius with a thud. Rock god Jim Morrison and guitar genius Duane Allman would both be dead within a year. Musically, the times they were a changin’. “The Dream is Over” sang a prophetic, depressed John Lennon on his first solo album “Plastic Ono Band.” Chaos, rebellion and unrest overtook our campus when a group of students managed to shut down the school as part of a nationwide student strike in response to Nixon’s unannounced invasion of Cambodia.

Classes had been cancelled in the Spring. Already an apathetic student, I became a sailor without a compass, and by the time summer rolled around I was living as a caretaker in the basement of my fraternity house, in a barroom which I had converted, with the help of blankets and egg cartons, into a makeshift recording studio. My nutritional intake came from a Coke machine in the hallway and a new fast-food restaurant down the street called Arby’s. On a primitive Ampex quarter-track machine, I had proceeded to record my own versions of most of Neil Young’s first Reprise album, along with an odd collection of original songs, some of which appear here. The violence and student protests had quelled for a happy event known in Minneapolis as “Soul Of A City,” a festival of music, arts, street theater and counterculture, right here in my front yard. As I wandered through clouds of incense past the artisan booths, dodging mimes, mystics, tarot readers, astrologers and military recruiters, I was drawn to an area near Coffman Student Union where I heard what sounded like rifle shots cascading through the canyons of classroom buildings. 

The sound was magnetic, entreating me to cross Washington Avenue to see what it was. As I got closer I saw it was a bandstand, and on it were several scraggly-looking young musicians just about my age scrambling through an amplified, distorted fusion of strange new music. It was harder to follow than my mathematics class, yet was infinitely more intriguing to my ears. I was more attuned at that time to the warm, rich Vanguard recordings of Mississippi John Hurt, played late at night, all night, many a night. “Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor,” “Payday,” “Talking Casey.” It was like Woody Guthrie with emotion, and the finger-picking style was addictive. (I still haven’t shaken it) The beat was implied more than played. Local radio airplay on Mississippi Fred MacDowell’s Capitol recording, “I Do Not Play No Rock ‘n Roll” had drawn me across the river to the West Bank a week earlier to see, and meet MacDowell. playing his riveting, unforgettable one-man show with a beef bone slide guitar, tapping a foot that never quite hit the ground. In retrospect, Fred was the most influential professor I ever had, yet when he was at home in Como, Mississippi he pumped gas for a living at the Stuckey’s Pecan Shop & Texaco Station on the state highway. It never interfered with his stature in my mind. 

My own life was to follow a similar path once I chose music, but I didn’t know it at the time. On this sunny summer day I was puzzled by what I heard. The beats were fluid, rambling, but not hard to follow. You simply had to listen to become part of this intoxicating music. How did the singer remember where to go next, or what words to sing? Nothing made sense; there was no schlocky pop chorus, no refrain, no structure, and there were no boundaries or limits to what they could do together. Song after song they jammed and hammered away at something unseen, some mysterious source at the heart of things. Soon the crowd around me became invisible, indistinguishable from the members of the band, and then I too disappeared into the sax, the flute, the bass, the guitar, the Fender Rhodes electric piano and yes, that infinite energy behind it all, the drums! When it was over and the band was packing up, I found myself near a tree where the drummer stood wiping his face with a towel. I walked over, offered my hand and met Stanley Kipper for the first time, then retreated to the quiet of my lodgings, intrigued and deeply inspired by what I had just seen.

At Thanksgiving dinner that year I met Nancy Bundt, an artist-photographer, who became my soulmate and fellow traveler for the journey ahead. My heart was not into school, especially in the wake of the strike, and my formal education ended then and there with a January hitch-hiking trip to Boston and New York City, where Nancy had friends in the world of yoga and meditation. I brought along my Martin D-28 guitar and played here and there, making up songs along the way as I had with my frat brothers at the University. We were lucky in love, life and business. 

On our second trip to New York we went to work as music copyists for a small publisher doing the sheet music for George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” folio. We lived at 12 Perry Street in Greenwich Village, above both subway lines, and recorded short songs between the noisy trains below. Stephen DeLapp, my friend from a summer, 1969 gig playing the Medora Musical in North Dakota, was attending Yale Divinity School, and our visit to New Haven resulted in an appearance on a local television show, sandwiched between the news and Rat Patrol. 

A friend in New York City introduced us to her brother, a record company owner, and by May, 1971, we were back in Minnesota, contract in-hand to record an album of my ramblings and musings. How, I wondered, was I going to do this? What could I do with these songs, fragments and ideas to make a record that people would enjoy? I wanted to do something no one else was doing, not a repeat or imitation like I had done with the Neil Young songs in my frat studio. Then I thought of Stanley Kipper, and realized that the sound I wanted to hear on the record and, ultimately, on the radio was the sound I had heard at Soul of A City last summer. I also thought of a very talented fellow I had met through friends at the University, a great piano-player named Greg Anderson. 

I started there, writing a song with Greg we called “Me & The Blind Man.” We had fun doing that, and he came aboard for the project. I then located Stan, who suggested his bass player Dick Hiebeler, and flautist Larry Ankrum, both an integral part of his rock-jazz-fusion sound. Andy Howe was also playing with Stan by this time, and he came into our little group full of ideas about arrangements and instruments. A multi-instrumentalist, Andy could play anything in front of him, and as Stan notes, he did so on this recording with (mostly) good results. Cheerful, charming and brave, Andy became the bandleader. Producer Don Kasen enlisted David Zimmerman to oversee the recording sessions at Sound 80 Studios in Minneapolis, where I would later work with David’s brother Bob Dylan on “Blood On The Tracks.” Rehearsals ensued, songs were chosen, thrown out, re-tooled, rewritten, trashed, made up on the spot, mixed, edited, spliced and fashioned into this humble, impassioned first album, which came out just before Christmas, 1971. 

Reviewers heard or imagined the influences, Neil Young and Jefferson Airplane among them, and the album surfaced on regional FM radio with “Trees,” “A Man’s Work” and, mostly, the longest song of the collection, “When I Get Home.” Musically and lyrically, this is an album about a countercultural revolution that redefined a generation’s values and tested its faith. Deep inside the sweet love songs, laments and tentative mantras in this recording, if you listen very hard, you can hear the sounds of war and rebellion hiding in the electricity. 

By March of 1972, we were playing concert dates to support radio airplay. At the University of Minnesota, we played our first local show at The Whole Coffeehouse in the basement of Coffman Student Union, a hundred yards from where I had met Stan two years earlier. By this time, however, Andy Howe had moved on to another project, and he eventually landed in Hollywood as music director for America’s Sweetheart Debbie Reynolds. Duplicating the sound of the most popular song in performance was a problem without Andy in the band, and when the time came for the big guitar solo in “When I Get Home,” all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Andy back in the band. Stan. a magnificent drummer and loyal friend, became the conscience of our rotating membership, and has held that position through present day.
by Kevin Odegard

1. Krak`s Song - 1:04
2. Forget The Waste - 2:20
3. Trees - 1:55
4. If Your Heart`s Not In It - 1:44
5. A Man`s Work - 2:30
6. Fathers And Sons - 3:20
7. I Am - 2:32
8. Me And The Blind Man - 3:01
9. Advice From A Stranger - 1:41
10.When I Get Home - 8:32
11.Krak`s Song - Version 2 - 1:58
All songs by Kevin Odegard except track #8 co-written with Greg Anderson

*Kevin Odegard - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
*Steven Delapp - Acoustic Guitar
*James Hauck - Backing Vocals, Percussion
*Dick Hiebler - Bass
*Stan Kipper - Drums
*Andy Howe - Electric Guitar, Electric Piano
*Max Swanson - Flute
*Tony Glover - Harmonica
*Greg Anderson - Piano, Organ, Electric Piano, Celesta, Backing Vocals

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