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Plain and Fancy

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Badger - White Lady (1975 uk, fabulous soulful art rock, 2015 remaster)

By 1974, Badger was reduced to Kaye and Dyke, who reconstructed the group along somewhat different lines with the addition of Paul Pilnick, late of Stealers Wheel, on lead guitar, Kim Gardner (of Ashton, Gardner and Dyke) on bass, and ex-Apple alumnus Jackie Lomax on vocals. In essence, it became Lomax's group, and he pushed the band away from progressive rock and into soul in a serious way; Badger's second album, White Lady, was made up entirely of songs co-authored by Lomax, and produced in New Orleans at Allen Toussaint's studio. The change in direction would have been difficult enough to pull off under the best of conditions, but stability wasn't one of Badger's long suits at this date -- the group had split up before White Lady was even issued, leaving bewildered fans of both the old sound and new to ponder what had just happened.

Pilnick later returned to the orbit of Stealers Wheel's Joe Egan and Parrish went on to cut a solo album, while Lomax signed with Capitol for two solo albums and Dyke passed through bands behind Pat Travers and jazz veteran Chris Barber. Tony Kaye was a member of Detective and later passed through a re-formed version of Badfinger before re-emerging with Yes in the 1980s, and even got to sing a little on the Union album. Finally, a quarter century after it was recorded.
by Bruce Eder

1. A Dream Of You - 4:15
2. Everybody - Nobody - 3:17
3. Listen To Me - 4:56
4. Don't Pull The Trigger - 4:02
5. Just The Way It Goes - 4:45
6. White Lady - 4:47
7. Be With You - 3:37
8. Lord Who Give Me Life - 3:04
9. One More Dream To Hold - 4:01
10.The Hole Thing - 6:09
Music by Jackie Lomax, Lyrics by Robert Ashley

*Jackie Lomax - Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
*Paul Pilnick - Lead Guitar
*Tony Kaye - Keyboards, Mellotron, Moog
*Kim Gardner - Bass
*Roy Dyke - Drums
*Bryn Haworth - Slide Guitar
*Barry Bailey - Slide Guitar
*Jeff Beck - Lead Guitar
*Allen Toussaint - Piano, Organ, Congas, Vocals, Horn Arrangements
*Carl Blouin - Baritone Saxophone, Flute
*Alvin Thomas - Tenor Saxophone
*Lester Caliste - Trumpet
*John Lango - Trombone
*Mercedes Davis -Backing Vocals
*Joan Harmon - Backing Vocals
*Teresipa Henry - Backing Vocals
*Bobby Montgomery - Backing Vocals
*Jessie Smith - Backing Vocals

Related Acts
1969  Jackie Lomax - Is This What You Want? (2010 extra tracks reissue) 
1969  Ashton Gardner And Dyke - Ashton Gardner And Dyke 
1970  Ashton, Gardner And Dyke - The Worst Of 
1971  Ashton, Gardner and Dyke - Let It Roll / Live
1972  Ashton Gardner Dyke And Co - What A Bloody Long Day It's Been 

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Friday, January 10, 2020

Bare Sole - Flash (1969 uk, spectacular garage psych heavy blues rock, 2015 mastered from the original tapes)

Bare Sole had been formed in 1969 from the ashes of another local beat outfit, The Combine, headed by lead guitarist Richie Foster, drummer Ron Newlove and Dave George on rhythm guitar. Richie Foster and Ron Newlove had emigrated from an early sixties band called The Mariners who at one point featured a young Mick Ronson (ironically, Ronson was balancing a day job as a local council gardener and up-andcoming guitarist). However, both Foster and Newlove's involvement in the evolving line-up of the band was short-lived and by 1968 were going out under the name of The Combine. Playing a strict diet of chart and Motown cover material, the band were joined by Brian Harrison on bass guitar leading to the eventual line-up of and change of name to Bare Sole. 

A steady stream of gigs and capable and enthusiastic management gave the band a selection of impressive support slots with visiting headline acts such as The Move, Status Quo, Family and the Small Faces (at this stage, fronted by Rod Stewart). Venues such as The Bridlington Spa and Skyline Ballroom proved a valuable platform on which to show the visiting bands what Hull had to offer. Confidence for the band and their manager grew after several complimentary returns from the bigger bands and studio time was eventually arranged at Fairview studios. The band's manager even brought  in the talents of a Jamaican songwriter Ira George Green who would compose Woman-a-Come for the band. The song's popularity within the band earned it a second version with Fairview's Keith Herd applying a dominant organ backing as he would with the R&B workout Ain't Nobody Here. Songs such as Jungle Beat and Flash illustrated Bare Sole's taste for fuzz and wah-wah pedals impeccably and was thankfully, nothing short of indulgent. Let's Communicate displayed the loose structure of the band's approach and attitude that seemed to mirror those of acts found across the pond, in particular The Litter and Country Joe and The Fish. 

The overall result of their brief session at Fairview and thus their entire recorded history is marked by an arrogant contempt for anything current and progressive, an attitude that can be easily forgiven for it's youthful drive and enthusiasm. Jungle Beat in particular captures the band at its most energetic and anarchic best with overdriven fuzz leads and an exceptionally enthusiastic Ron Newlove on drums. The only sadness being in all this, is that none of the recordings were ever committed to vinyl at the time or even made it out of Hull and in particular, Fairview studios. The band's manager endeavoured to push the band and help to secure a record deal sending a demo tape to Decca records in London.

Unfortunately, the band were denied an audition for the label which by 1 970 was unwilling to invest in a band that clearly had no intentions of keeping up with the changing music fashions of progressive London. Their sound was possibly too raw and primitive for the sophistication of Decca's fancy West Hampstead studios or that of De Lane Lea. Immediately before their tape was returned, the band were packing their bags for a tour of American air bases in West Germany, but as well as a rejected demo, drummer Ron Newlove was about to marry his long-term girlfriend which ultimately led to his decision to quit the band during the tour. Newlove and the band returned dismayed and after a brief and fruitless existence with a newly recruited drummer, the remaining members of Bare Sole inevitably split up and returned to their day jobs in mid-1970.

Although Bare Sole had lasted just over a year, they had narrowly carved themselves into the history books thanks to the Fairview recording session in 1969 and the survival of it. Keith Herd had the foresight to hold onto the original tapes and managed to salvage most of them from further deterioration 39 years later! This celebratory edition of Bare Sole's brief recorded legacy brings to life their music and concludes another chapter in the history of British popular music. As well as this vinyl spotlight, Bare Sole have also surfaced on Front Room Masters, a double-CD archival set of 42 tracks recorded at Fairview studios from 1966-1973. Their notoriety has been further documented in the British Music Archive alongside other Hull and East Riding bands such as The Mandrakes, Rats, Gospel Garden and Roger Blooms Hammer together with numerous nationwide acts.
by Greg Smith (British Music Archive) 2015 Very special thanks to: Keith Herd, Ron Newlove, Richard Foster, Dave George and Brian Harrison (RIP).

1. Let's Communicate - 4:49
2. Flash - 4:27
3. Woman A Come (Ira George Green) - 3:19
4. Ain't Nobody Here - 2:08
5. Jungle Beat - 4:22
6. Sole Blues - 5:08
7. Woman A Come (Version 2) (Ira George Green) - 2:21
All songs by Richard Foster, Dave George, Brian Harrison, Ron Newlove except where stated

Bare Sole
*Richard Foster - Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
*Dave George - Lead Guitar
*Brian Harrison - Bass
*Ron Newlove - Drums

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Monday, January 6, 2020

Byzantium - Seasons Changing (1973 uk, elegant silky prog rock, 2013 edition)

Originally issued in 1973, "Seasons Changing" was their third and final album release, and found them blending concise pop-rock songs and ballads with a lengthy three-part suite. Dreamy and atmospheric, and featuring some notable early use of synthesizer as well as guest appearances from BJ Cole on pedal steel, and Frank Ricotti on percussion.

1. What A Coincidence (Robin Lamble) - 3:55
2. My Season's Changing With The Sun (Mick Barakan) - 2:37
3. Show Me The Way (Chas Jankel) - 4:03
4. I'll Always Be Your Friend (Chas Jankel) - 4:08
5. October Andy (Mick Barakan) - 5:22
6. Something You Said (A Trilogy)  (Jamie Rubinstein) - 20:42
.a.Something You Said
.b.I Can See You

*Robin Lamble - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
*Jamie Rubinstein - Guitar, Vocals
*Mick Barakan - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Vocals
*Chas Jankel - Guitar
*Stevie Corduner - Drums, Shaker, Maracas
*Frank Ricotti - Congas, Cabasa
*B.J. Cole - Pedal Steel Guitar
*David Hentschel - Synthesizer
*Robin Sylvester - Synthesizer

1972  Byzantium - Byzantium (2013 reissue) 
1972  Byzantium - Live And Studio
Related Act
1969  Ora - Ora (2016 double disc edition)

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Thursday, January 2, 2020

Dave Lewis - A Collection Of Short Dreams (1978 ireland, marvelous multi blended rock, 2018 korean remaster)

The third solo full-length by the former lead singer of Irish psych legends Andwellas Dream, is actually a diverse album, like the title reffears "A collection of short dreams", from the funky "Let's Stay Right Here Forever", to the groovy "Papa Boy" wich also appears on his previous album.

The passionate blues "Whole Lotta Something", the country rock tune "Lucy Took A Ride",  the jazzy "Beautiful Woman" and the smoothy guitar "Open Up Your Heart", songs are flooded by his soulful voice.

1. Let's Stay Right Here Forever - 4:11
2. Late Show - 3:29
3. Go All Out To Get It - 2:53
4. Papa Boy - 4:08
5. Whole Lotta Something - 5:29
6. Lucy Took A Ride - 3:35
7. Beautiful Woman - 4:43
8. Open Up Your Heart - 3:57
9. A Woman Like You - 6:04
All songs by Dave Lewis

*Dave Lewis - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
*Jamie Brantley - Guitar
*Bruce Dees - Guitar, Vocals
*Andy McMahon - Keyboards, Vocals
*Felix Krish - Bass
*Steve Brantley - Bass, Vocals
*Steve Brantley - Percussion
*Preston Heyman - Drums, Percussion
*Maggie Ryder - Vocals

1970  David Lewis - Songs Of David Lewis (2009 bonus tracks remaster)
1976  Dave Lewis - From Time To Time (2018 korean remaster)
Related Act
1969  Andwellas Dream - Love And Poetry (2009 Sunbeam extra tracks edition)
1970  Andwella - World's End (2006 japan remaster)
1971  Andwella - People's People (japan remaster issue)

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Saturday, December 28, 2019

Mckendree Spring - Get Me To The Country (1975 us, wonderful folk rock, 2017 korean remaster)

McKendree Spring is a progressive folk-rock band, active mainly in the early 1970s.The band consisted of Fran McKendree (vocals and guitar), their first bass player was Larry Tucker (shown in the picture) then Fred Holman took over bass, Dr. Michael Dreyfuss (electric violin, viola, Moog, Arp, Mellotron), Martin Slutsky (electric guitar).

A change of motivation, line-up and outlet (Pye Records) was needed; Hollman was also duly replaced by Chris Bishop and drummer Carson Michaels. This move came on the self-descriptive “Get Me To The Country” 1975, their best-selling set to date (reaching No.118) and a record that cloned the peaceful, easy feeling of the Eagles.

1. Hold On (Bob Livingston, Ray Wylie Hubbard) - 4:43
2. Easier Things Have Been Done (Fran McKendree) - 4:21
3. She'd Never Leave Chicago (Chris Bishop) - 3:13
4. Meeting In Paris (Fran McKendree) - 3:17
5. Give It Some Time (Chris Bishop) - 4:40
6. So Long Daddy O (Fran McKendree) - 3:23
7. I've Been On The Mountain (David Kent) - 3:16
8. Get Me To The Country (Chris Bishop, Michael Dreyfuss) - 3:33
9. The Hustler (Fran McKendree, Martin Slutsky, Michael Dreyfuss) - 3:26
10.Give All You've Got To Give (Bryn Haworth) - 5:37

The McKendree Spring
*Fran Mckendree - Vocals, Acoustic, Electric Guitars
*Chris Bishop - Bass, Vocals
*Dr. Michael Dreyfuss - Violin, Viola, Synthesizer
*Martin Slutsky - Electric Guitar
*Carson Michaels - Drums, Chinese Bells, Tree Gong, Vocals
*Howard Wyeth - Organ
*Valerie Rosa - Vocals

1969  McKendree Spring - McKendree Spring (2009 remaster and expanded) 
1970  McKendree Spring - Second Thoughts
1973  McKendree Spring - McKendree Spring 3 

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Friday, December 20, 2019

Wayne Berry - Home At Last (1974 us, excellent folk country soft rock, 2017 japan remaster)

Wayne Berry is a singer-songwriter from Nashville, TN who was mostly active in the 1960s and 1970s as a country/rock artist. Besides recording a handful of singles and one album as a solo artist, he was also a founding member of the folk rock band Timber, who released two albums in 1970 and 1971. After releasing his only solo album, 1974's "Home at Last", Berry, together with George S. Clinton—who was also a member of Timber and later became an award-winning film music composer—formed a band named the Volunteers, who recorded one eponymous album in 1976. Over the years, Berry's songs have been covered by artists as diverse as Glen Campbell, Tom Rush, Johnny Rivers, David Soul, and Steppenwolf. In the mid to late 1970s, Berry began writing religious music for different artists and retired from the popular music business. Today, Wayne Berry is a Worship Ministries Pastor at Springhouse Worship & Arts Center in Smyrna, TN.

1. All I Needed - 3:17
2. Another's Lifetime - 3:23
3. Indian Woman From Witchita - 3:22
4. Snowbound - 3:47
5. Welcome Home - 4:21
6. Dixie's Pride - 3:31
7. Black Magic Gun - 4:17
8. Ballad Of Jonah - 3:31
9. Gene's Tune - Blond Guitar - 4:14
10.Lovers' Moon - 4:18
All songs by Wayne Berry

*Wayne Berry - Vocals, 12 String, Acoustic Guitar
*Jesse Ed Davis - Guitars
*James Rolleston - Bass, Vocals
*Jim Gordon - Drums
*Jeff Baxter - Guitar, Steel Guitar
*William Smith - Organ
*David Paich - Piano
*David Briggs - Piano
*Jimmy Johnson - Guitar
*David Hood - Bass
*Roger Hawkins - Drums, Percussion
*Peter Carr - Guitar
*Reggie Young - Guitar
*Barry Beckett - Organ, Piano
*Ben Cauley - Flugelhorn, Trumpet
*Ronald Eades - Sax
*Harvey Thompson - Sax
*Charles Rose - Trombone
*Harrison Calloway - Trumpet
*Joe Osborn - Bass
*Jim Gordon - Drums
*Weldon Myrick - Steel Guitar
*William Smith - Organ
*David Paich - Piano
*Norbert Putnam - Bass
*Kenny Buttrey - Drums
*Billy Sanford - Acoustic Guitar
*Weldon Myrick - Dobro
*Johnny Gimble - Fiddle
*Charlie McCoy - Harp
*Jackson Browne - Background Vocals
*Jeanie Greene - Background Vocals
*Ginger Holladay - Background Vocals
*Mary Holladay - Background Vocals
*Ned Doheny - Background Vocals

Related Act
1970  Timber - Part Of What You Hear (vinyl edition) 
1971  Timber - Bring America Home (2009 extra tracks issue) 

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Monday, December 16, 2019

King Harvest - Dancing In The Moonlight (1972 us, elegant soft classic rock)

They scored only one real hit, but the magic of King Harvest's infectious invitation to go "Dancing In The Moonlight" has secured the song a regular rotation on many oldies stations. The members of King Harvest were all students at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York in the '60s when they began playing, partly to pay their way through college. David (Doc) Robinson, Eddie Tuleja, Ron Altbach and Rod Novak played all over the Northeast, developing a reputation that even helped them score a gig in the balmy Virgin Islands.

Things changed in 1969. Altbach went to Paris to study classical piano and the rest of the band drifted off to other pursuits. For three years the players performed film music and did what one member once called "bizarre stage shows". How bizarre? They were a vaudeville rock group called Nik. They played as the Chicago Beau Blues Band. They were even a country band for a time, working as E. Rodney Jones & The Prairie Dogs.

In 1972 the band cut "Dancing In The Moonlight" in Paris. Then they took another break. Two members cruised the Mediterranean on a tuna boat. A couple went to Switzerland. Meanwhile, tiny Perception Records in the States had secured the release rights to "Dancing" and promoted it into a hit. That inspired King Harvest to regroup and return to this country to tour, promoting the single and subsequent album, named after "Dancing In The Moonlight".

After one album for Perception and an unsuccessful follow-up to "Dancing In The Moonlight" called "A Little Bit Like Magic", the band dropped out of music for the most part, spending a little time touring, playing favorite places like Oleott, New York and fishing, racing sailboats on Lake Ontario and occasionally working on some new songs.

In 1975, King Harvest reappeared with those new songs. This time they were on A&M Records, doing an album called "King Harvest". Produced by music veteran Jeff Barry - who had written numerous hits and produced the likes of Andy Kim for his own Steed Records - the album was a pleasant mix of 70s pop styles. But even with the help of musical friends like Mike Love and Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys, Pete Cetera of Chicago and jazz ace Charles Lloyd, The group was unable to harvest any hits for A&M.
by Mark Marymont

1. Lady, Come On Home (Ronnie Altbach) - 2:45
2. Motor Job (Eddy Tuleja) - 2:47
3. Roosevelt And Ira Lee (Tony Joe White) - 5:32
4. Dancing In The Moonlight (Ronnie Altbach) - 2:40
5. She Keeps Me High (Eddy Tuleja) - 4:00
6. Think I Better Wait Till Tomorrow (Ronnie Altbach) - 3:00
7. The Smile On Her Face (Ronnie Altbach) - 2:55
8. You And I (Ennio Morricone, Ronnie Altbach) - 2:38
9. Marty And The Captain (Ronnie Altbach) - 2:17
10.I Can Tell (William Bell) - 4:45

King Harvest
*Ron Altbach - Keyboards
*Eddie Tuleja - Guitar
*Rod Novak - Bass, Saxophone
*Dave "Doc" Robinson - Keyboards, Bass, Lead Vocals

1975  King Harvest - King Harvest (Vinyl edition)

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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Animals - Animalism (1966 uk, essential rhythm 'n' blues roots rock, 2014 remaster and expanded)

As with many of their 1960s contemporaries, the Animals were beholden to blues, gospel, and r&b;, even as they combined those rhythms with prevailing rock sounds. Like the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds, they idolized Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, and Bo Diddley, among other black American performers, and the Animals even shared a stage with Sonny Boy Williamson. Singer Eric Burdon also had the voice to sell the sound: sandpaper-raw, effortlessly loud, and, like Mick Jagger, intimately lewd, as if every lyric contained some potential double entendre.

On their 1966 album Animalism, they indulge their white-soul jones more heavily than ever before, and the songs-- mostly covers-- volley between the derivative and the inventive. On Animalism, amid near-complete turnover of the original lineup, the Animals play up their r&b; chops on blues and soul covers, and Burdon continues to try to match his heroes by pushing his performance over the top. His voice is undeniably strong-- and this type of approach certainly had a particular appeal 40 years ago-- but his soulman affectations sound practiced, imitative rather than instinctual. 

Burdon oversells these songs, especially on Sam Cooke's "Shake" and the slow, simmering version of "Hit the Road, Jack", and his vocals on "Rock Me Baby" make the song's innuendo all too obvious. Strangely, on "The Other Side of Life" he takes a slightly different tack, aiming for a sound between Elvis and Jim Morrison, but he winds up sounding smaller than the former and smarter than the latter. It should be no surprise that his best performances-- also his most restrained-- are on the originals "Outcast" and "Louisiana Blues". Burdon's vocals sound more spontaneous and individual, perhaps because he doesn't have an example to mimic on these songs-- or maybe because modern listeners have no other examples against which to measure his performance.

Balancing out Burdon's vocals, the Animals prove a powerful band, despite the fact that nearly half of them were new replacements. They're rock solid, but unlike their singer, they rarely showboat. Together they put the real soul in these songs. Hilton Valentine lays down some bluesy riffs on "Smoke Stack Lightning", but he's best when trading off with organist Dave Rowberry on "Rock Me Baby" and "All Night Long", forming a rowdy call and response. It's the rhythm section, however, that shapes the songs and allows the band to move so agilely around Burdon. Bassist Chas Chandler and drummer Barry Jenkins (a sturdy replacement for original member John Steel) put the shake in "Shake", pushing a swampy beat to its breaking point, and Jenkins' high hat and snare drive the up-and-down stomp on "Lucille". This type of playing doesn't go out of style.
by Stephen M. Deusner

1. All Night Long (Frank Zappa) - 2:50
2. Shake (Sam Cooke) - 3:16
3. The Other Side Of This Life (Freddie Neil) - 3:31
4. Rock Me Baby (B.B. King, Joe Josea) - 5:26
5. Lucille (Albert Collins, Richard Penniman) - 2:21
6. Smokestack Lightning (Chester Burnett) - 5:13
7. Hey Gyp (Donovan Leitch) - 3:49
8. Hit The Road Jack (Percy Mayfield) - 3:20
9. Outcast (Ernie Johnson, Edgar Campbell) - 2:38
10.Louisiana Blues (McKinley Morganfield) - 2:42
11.That's All I Am To You (Otis Blackwell, Winfield Scott) - 2:12
12.Going Down Slow (James B. Oden) - 6:24
13.C.C. Rider (Ma Rainey, Lena Arant) - 3:56
14.A Love Like Yours (Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Edward Holland, Jr) - 3:00
15.Shake, Rattle And Roll (Charles E. Calhoun) - 3:06
16.Tobacco Road (John D. Loudermilk) - 4:20
17.Roadrunner (Ellas McDaniel) - 2:49
18.When I Was Young (Eric Burdon, Vic Briggs, John Weider, Barry Jenkins, Danny McCulloch) - 3:03
19.A Love Like Yours (Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Edward Holland, Jr.) - 2:44
20.Connection (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 2:25
21.It's All Meat (Barrie Ernest Jenkins, Danny Mcculloch, Eric Victor Burdon, John Weider, Victor Briggs) - 2:09
22.San Franciscan Nights (Eric Burdon, Vic Briggs, John Weider, Barry Jenkins, Danny McCulloch) - 3:03
23.All Night Long (Frank Zappa) - 2:40
Tracks 13-17 Live In Germany, Jan 1967
Tracks 18-20 BBC Sessions 30th Jan 1967
Tracks 21-23 BBC Sessions 15th Aug 1967

*Eric Burdon - Lead Vocals
*Chas Chandler - Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Dave Rowberry - Organ, Piano
*Hilton Valentine - Guitar
*Barry Jenkins - Drums
*John Steel - Drums
*Frank Zappa - Guitar, Bass
*William Roberts - Harmonica
*Larry Knechtel- Organ
*Don Randi- Piano
*Carol Kaye- Guitar
*John Guerin- Drums
*Vic Briggs - Guitar, Piano
*Danny Mcculloch - Bass Guitar
*John Weider - Guitar, Violin

1964-67  The Animals - The Complete French EP (ten disc edition) 
1967  Eric Is Here
1967  Winds of Change (2013 Double SHM CD)
1968  The Twain Shall Meet (2013 Japan SHM)
1966-68  Roadrunners! Rare Live And Studio Recordings
1974-75  The Eric Burdon Band - Sun Secrets / Stop 

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Saturday, December 7, 2019

Freeborne - Peak Impressions (1967/2010 us, psychedelic masterpiece, 2013 expanded, 2007 digipak remaster and collector's item Vinyl reissue)

The Freeborne were a youthful Boston-based psych outfit whose five members, despite their tender years, all had considerable experience of playing a wide range of styles in earlier combos. Adapting their name from the movie Born Free and discovering the freewheeling creative delights of LSD, they signed to Monitor in early ’67 and concocted a set of highly psychedelic originals which were laid down at A&R Studios in NYC. Peak Impressions sold only modestly, probably because of a dilatory campaign of live appearances to support it. 

After the lukewarm reception afforded it the original Freeborne folded, though later incarnations with fewer or no original members did tramp the second-division concert circuit for a few years afterwards. Inexplicably, given their obvious talent, only guitarist Bob Margolin seems to have had an appreciable later career, playing in Muddy Waters’s backing band through most of the 70s and subsequently with blues-based outfits under his own name. There’s precious little documentation on the band anywhere, but the excellent It’s Psychedelic Baby website features an informative career interview with Margolin which includes insights into the Freeborne.

I was expecting this one to be good, having read complimentary accounts of it in both Fuzz Acid And Flowers and The Acid Archives. I was even more impressed when it arrived and the CD remaster proved to have been archived by Smithsonian Folkways whose estimable moniker now adorns the Digipak. And this is indeed an impressive collection. It’s notable for the virtuosity of the musicians whose ages ranged from just 17 to 19 and yet three of whom were precociously-talented multi-instrumentalists: and we’re talking orchestral hardware here – pianos, harpsichords, cellos, trumpets, flutes and recorders – not just standard rock frontline. 

It’s also remarkable for the variety and creativity of the material; one reviewer commented that there seemed to be too many ideas to fit into a single album, and I can see his point. Youthful enthusiasm ensured that nothing was left out and nothing left understated, and most tracks move through bewildering sequences of keys, metres, instrumentation and vocal stylings that give their definitively psych outlines a distinctly progressive edge. This is one to listen to right through several times to get the whole effect.

The lyrics are mostly generic trippy psych nonsense, but the music is invigoratingly original. Leading off with a soulful piano riff, the opening “Images” offers Byrdsy harmonies, pulsating bass and rippling guitar scales before switching into a baroque piano and trumpet waltz. “Land Of Diana” prefigures 70s prog, starting as a jazzy 5/4 and shifting into a bluesy shuffle after distinctly proggy organ and guitar episodes. “Visions Of My Own” sets a homely acoustic guitar and trilling flute against what sounds like a chorus of PDQ Bach’s infamous Dill Piccolos before mutating without warning into a military snare-drum march. “Peak Impressions And Thoughts” is all Piper-era Floyd with swirling Farfisa, spiky Syd-style guitar, fluid bass and crashing cymbals building to a furious final crescendo. “Yellow Sky” is definitive Britsike with wah-ed guitars, churchy keyboards and lots of tempo changes. 

The most conventional track, “Hurtin’ Kind Of Woman”, is a soft blues shuffle with jazzy guitar and energetic Hammond work comparable with the best of Brian Auger. Despite the multifarious musical landscapes visited here, only on the last two tracks does the band outstretch itself, with the ridiculously sombre harpsichord and cello, sub-Beach Boys harmonies and cod-poetic spoken voice outro of “A New Song For Orestes” and the unnecessarily lengthy and self-indulgent cod-classical piano/trumpet cadenzas and duet of the closing “But I Must Return To Frenzy”.

1. Images (Nick Carstoiu, Mike Spiros) - 3:38
2. Land Of Diana (Mike Spiros, Nick Carstoiu) - 2:56
3. Visions Of My Own (M. Spiros, N. Carstoiu, B. Greenglass) - 4:10
4. Sadly Acknowledged (J.Babbitt, M. Spiros) - 1:27
5. Peak Impressions And Thoughts (Dave Codd, N. Carstoiu) - 6:56
6. Yellow Sky (J.Babbitt, M. Spiros, D. Codd, N. Carstoiu) - 2:23
7. Hurtin' Kind Of Woman (Bob Margolin) - 4:24
8. Inside People (Dave Codd) - 2:50
9. A New Song For Orestes (Dave Codd) - 3:37
10.But I Must Return To Frenzy (N. Carstoiu, M. Spiros) - 9:06
11.Images (Nick Carstoiu, Mike Spiros) - 3:40
12.Land Of Diana (Mike Spiros, Nick Carstoiu) - 3:15
13.Visions Of My Own (Mike Spiros, Nick Carstoiu, Barry Greenglass) - 4:08
14.Sadly Acknowledged (Extended Mix Without Sound Effects) (Joan Babbitt, Mike Spiros) -1:18
15.Yellow Sky (Joan Babbitt, Mike Spiros, Dave Codd, Nick Carstoiu) - 2:20
16.But I Must Return To Frenzy (Nick Carstoiu, Mike Spiros) - 8:49
17.This Is It (Dave Codd, Nick Carstoiu) - 4:22
18.Take A Lick (Dave Codd) - 3:12
19.Lew's Blues (Bob Margolin, Dave Codd, Nick Carstoiu) - 7:05
Bonus Tracks 11-19
Tracks 11-16 Alternate Mono Mixes
Tracks 17-19 Freeborne / Reborne 2010

*Lew Lipson - Drums, Percussion
*Nick Carstoiu - Guitar, Recorder, Cello, Piano, Vocals
*Bob Margolin - Lead Guitar
*Mike Spiros - Organ, Piano, Chimes, Trumpet, Percussion
*Dave Codd - Harpsichord, Percussion, Bass, Vocals
*Tom Halter - Trumpet (Tracks 17-18)
*Aaron Smith - Drums (Tracks 17-18)

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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Blues Image - Open (1970 us, outstanding blues psych classic rock, 2004 remaster)

When Blues Image launched into their 1970 chart smash, "Ride Captain Ride," the smoking lamp was always lit. But, with their subtle use of Latin Rhythms -- featuring tantalizing fretboard work by Mike Pinera and the addictive conga drums of Joe Lala -- this Tampa, Fla. combo proved themselves anything but a one hit wonder on their out of nowhere classic, Open. This 2004 reissue adds historical liner notes with quotes from guitarist Mike Pinera and percussionist Joe Lala.

1. Love Is The Answer - 2:35
2. Running the Water - 2:37
3. Clean Love - 7:49
4. La Bamba (Traditional) - 2:26
5. Consuelate - 1:15
6. Ride Captain Ride - 3:46
7. Pay My Dues - 3:49
8. Fugue U - 0:50
9. Parchman Farm (Mose Allison) - 2:49
10.Wrath of Daisey - 1:31
11.Take Me - 7:35
All songs by Mike Pinera, Malcolm Jones, Joe Lala, Skip Konte, Manny Bertematti except where noted

Blues Image
*Mike Pinera - Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar
*Malcolm Jones - Bass
*Joe Lala - Percussion, Vocals
*Skip Konte - Keyboards
*Manny Bertematti - Drums
*Kent Henry - Guitar

1969  Blues Image - Blues Image / Red White and Blues Image 
Related Acts
1970  Iron Butterfly - Metamorphosis (2010 japan SHM)
1972  Ramatam - Ramatam (2004 edition) 
1974-75  Thee Image - Thee Image / Inside The Triange (2014 remaster edition) 

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