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

Monday, May 10, 2021

Toe Fat - Bad Side Of The Moon An Anthology (1970-72 uk, impressive hard classic rock with some prog shades, 2021 double disc digi pak remaster)


Motown’s Rare Earth imprint intended to bring the sound of rock to the home of The Supremes, The Miracles, Martha and The Vandellas, The Temptations, and Four Tops.  The imprint was named after a white rock band from Detroit and its artists were both home-grown and licensed from other parties.  In the latter category was Toe Fat, a U.K. psych-rock band built around the talents of Cliff Bennett, formerly of the beat group Cliff Bennett and The Rebel Rousers.  Both of Toe Fat’s albums – issued on Rare Earth in the U.S. and EMI in the U.K. – are newly collected on Bad Side of the Moon: An Anthology 1970-1972, a 2-CD set from Cherry Red’s Esoteric Recordings imprint.  It gives a welcome opportunity to reevaluate the music of the band that yielded two future members of Uriah Heep, one member of Jethro Tull, and a key collaborator of The Bee Gees.

Toe Fat’s self-titled debut arrived on Rare Earth in 1970 following albums from Rare Earth (the band), Love Sculpture, U.K. import The Pretty Things, Rustix, and Messengers.  Cliff Bennett was encouraged by EMI, with whom he’d been under contract leading the Rebel Rousers, to form a band reflecting the heavier sound of rock at the turn of the decade.  When Bennett learned that Motown was interested, as well, he set out to form the oddly-monikered Toe Fat.  (Malcolm Dome’s liner notes reveal that “Bollocks” and “Shit Harry” were two other options, so maybe Toe Fat wasn’t such a bad name, after all.)  The core line-up was poached from the ashes of band called The Gods: guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Ken Hensley, bassist John Glascock (incorrectly credited during his time in the band as John Konas), and drummer Lee Kerslake.  Pianist-lead vocalist Bennett tapped Mox Gowland on flute and harmonica as a guest musician.  Recording took place with producer Jonathan Peel at Abbey Road.

Bennett’s efforts to modernize his sound were largely successful; Toe Fat was steeped in blues, rock, and soul and wrapped up in a rather frightening Hipgnosis sleeve depicting toe people.  (Two of the four nude toe people were too much for Motown and were incongruously replaced with a sheep.)  Bennett penned most of the material on the eponymous LP, sometimes in collaboration with Hensley (uncredited due to publishing rights issues).

Some notable outside compositions were brought in, too, including Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s “Bad Side of the Moon.”  Bennett tells Dome that he’d known John as a young fan of the Rebel Rousers, so he gladly accepted the chance to record the rising star’s song.  (Elton’s rendition appeared as the B-side of his “Border Song” in 1970.)  Bennett’s deep, resonant, and gutsy vocals – which at times resemble those of Blood, Sweat and Tears’ David Clayton-Thomas – were well-suited to the guitar-dominated heavy soul approach to material such as “Bad Side” and “(Ain’t That) Just Like Me,” the Hollies oldie-but-goodie.  Ernie Shelby and Dick Cooper’s “Nobody” (introduced by Larry Williams and Johnny Watson with The Kaleidoscope and covered by Three Dog Night) showcased Hensley with ample soloing and scorching fuzz guitar.

But the album primarily consisted of melodic but aggressive Bennett originals including the strong opener, “That’s My Love for You,” the attractive midtempo harmony ballad “The Wherefors and the Why,” the Tull-esque “Just Like All the Rest” (with Mox Gowland in place of Ian Anderson on flute as well as bluesy harmonica), the powerfully-rocking “I Can’t Believe,” and boogieing “You Tried to Take It All.”  Hensley’s riffs complemented and added an edge to Bennett’s straightforward, hook-laden songs.

Despite lackluster sales upon the album’s May 1970 release, Toe Fat was poised for success with an opening slot on Derek and the Dominos’ U.S. tour.  But it wasn’t without drama.  Before the tour, the band’s management fired Hensley and Kerslake, much to Bennett’s surprise.  They landed in Uriah Heep and were replaced in Toe Fat by future Bee Gees band member Alan Kendall on guitar and John Glascock’s brother Brian on drums.  Once the tour was completed, this line-up, again joined by Mox Gowland, reunited with Jonathan Peel at Abbey Road for the sophomore LP sought by Rare Earth.  The simply-titled Two was more eclectic than its predecessor but for consistency’s sake was adorned with another creepy-crawly Hipgnosis cover.

The opening “Stick Heat” established Alan Kendall’s bona fides.  With its spiky, abrasive guitar and foreboding atmosphere, the tune announced that Kendall was more than ready to pick up where Ken Hensley left off.  He also took Hensley’s place as Bennett’s primary co-writer, albeit with full credit.  The duo co-wrote seven of the eight songs on Two, with Kendall sole author of the moody prog instrumental “Indian Summer.”  The eight songs veered from driving hard rock (“Since You’ve Been Gone,” “Idol,” “Three Time Loser”) to a straight blues workout (“There’ll Be Changes,” boasting uncredited guitar from Fleetwood Mac co-founder Peter Green and harmonica from Mox Gowland) with psychedelia and prog flourishes laced throughout as on the slow-burning, two-part anthem “A New Way.”  The band might not have settled on a firm direction, but they played in the manner of a tight-knit unit.

While singles had been issued from Toe Fat (“Bad Side of the Moon” in both the U.S. and U.K., and then a U.S. pressing with “Bad Side” relegated to the flip of “(Ain’t That) Just Like Me”)), neither Rare Earth in the U.S. nor EMI/Regal Zonophone in the U.K. released a 45 from Two.  Before giving up the ghost, Toe Fat recorded one more single which was released in 1972 on the indie Chapter Two label.  These have been included as bonus tracks on the second disc here.  The A-side, “Brand New Band,” channeled a more rootsy sound, with barroom piano and a singalong chorus.  “Can’t Live Without You,” on the B-side, also had a lighter sound than the two albums, pointing Toe Fat in a pub-rock vein.

Bassist John Glascock would join Jethro Tull in 1976, remaining with the band until his untimely death in 1979.  Alan Kendall would form a crucial component of the Bee Gees’ band for two separate stints (1971-1980 and 1987-2001).  Brian Glascock returned to session work for a number of high-profile artists including Dolly Parton and Heart’s Nancy Wilson.  Cliff Bennett and Ken Hensley remained friends until Hensley’s death in 2020.

Esoteric’s collection is housed in a six-panel digipak containing a 20-page booklet.  In Malcolm Dome’s notes, Bennett candidly and affectionately reflects on the band’s small but potent discography.  Ben Wiseman has remastered all of the tracks here from master tapes other than the Chapter 1 sides which were sourced from a clean vinyl copy of the original single.  Toe Fat has long been a mere footnote in the histories of Cliff Bennett and The Rebel Rousers, Uriah Heep, Jethro Tull, The Bee Gees, Elton John, and Motown/Rare Earth.  Bad Side of the Moon: An Anthology 1970-1972 enjoyably places the music front and center. 
by Joe Marchese, February 25, 2021


Tracks
Disc 1 Toe Fat 1970
1. That's My Love For You (Frank Allen, M. Roberts) - 4:02
2. Bad Side Of The Moon (Elton John, Bernie Taupin) - 3:25
3. Nobody (Dick Cooper, Ernie Shelby, Beth Beatty) - 6:03
4. The Wherefores And The Whys - 3:43
5. But I'm Wrong - 4:00
6. Just Like Me (Billy Guy, Earl Carroll) - 4:12
7. Just Like All The Rest - 2:32
8. I Can't Believe - 4:00
9. Working Nights - 2:33
10.You Tried To Take It All - 4:24
All songs by Cliff Bennett except where stated


Disc 2 Toe Fat II 1971
1. Stick Heat - 6:18
2. Indian Summer (Alan Kendall) - 2:08
3. Idol - 3:31
4. There'll Be Changes - 6:51
5. A New Way - 7:55
6. Since You've Been Gone - 4:47
7. Three Time Loser - 4:30
8. Midnight Sun - 4:44
9. Brand New Band (Towns) - 2:59
10.Can't Live Without You (Cliff Bennett) - 3:33
All compositions by Alan Kendall, Cliff Bennett except where noted
Bonus Tracks 9-10 released as Chapter 1 Records SGH-R 175 in September 1972

Toe Fat
*Ken Hensley - Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocals (Disc 1)
*Cliff Bennett - Lead Vocals, Piano
*John Glascock - Bass, Vocals
*Lee Kerslake - Drums, Vocals 
*Max Gowland - Flute, Harmonica
*Alan Kendall - Guitars, Ukele Banjo (Disc 2)
*Brian Glascock - Drums, Vocals (Disc 2)

Related Acts
1968  The Gods - Genesis (2009 japan extra tracks remaster)
1969  The Gods - To Samuel A Son (2009 japan bonus track remaster)
1970  Head Machine - Orgasm (2006 digipak edition)
1971  National Head Band - Albert One (2008 remaster) 
1973  Ken Hensley - Proud Words On A Dusty Shelf (2010 remaster)

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Chris Harwood - Nice To Meet Miss Christine (1970 uk, gorgeous jazzy folk, naked vocals ride a rock-solid back beat with clavinet funk and a wash of luscious strings sending you into a trance-like state, 2006 bonus trax remaster)


Has anybody met Chrissie Harwood?  Let us introduce to you an elusive British artiste who made an equally elusive, immaculate LP, which in the 35 years since its original release, as if by tragic magic, has materialised into thin air.

Recorded for an obscure British label it was the only record she ever made and no singles were ever released. In fact it was seldom heard beyond these shores (aside rumours of an Australian vanity pressing), and alongside Vertigo’s obscure Linda Hoyle LP, late period Transatlantic releases such as CMU’s Space Cabaret and Julie Covington’s early solo LP Beautiful Changes, it remains one of the most sought after English female folk rock records ever released. Until now it has been a mystery amongst pop-historians, DJs and record collectors alike.

For a short time in the early 90s the original LP became a regular exhibit at UK record fairs where aspiring collectors and DJs like myself would be the only buyers willing to take a gamble on this anonymous slab of vinyl housed in its uninspiring black and white sleeve which was devoid of any information likely to inspire any of the old-faire to take a punt. A record shop in Stockport called ‘The 78 Record Exchange’ was rumoured to have a whole box of these LPs sat outside in the rain throughout the late Eighties until the final copy was snapped up for the modest 50 pence asking price. The old cliche “never judge a book by the cover” couldn’t be more apt – and although, in hindsight, the LP has all the enigmatic trappings of an American private press, Smithsonian, folksploitation LP the bland packaging didn’t quite cut the mustard. Since then copies of the LP rarely crop up, only two have cropped up on the ‘necessarily evil’ eBay within the last 3 years and both have commanded figures around the £200 mark (£192 and £228 retrospectively). With a notable resurgence in vintage British folk rock it is little wonder that ‘an original Chris Harwood’ has become something of a holy grail amongst collectors, but few can say they actually know the history behind this sacred LP – the original artist, as I already mentioned, has remained somewhat elusive to say the least.

Throughout the heady summer of 1970 a regular folk tinged fixture at Rick Wakeman’s notorious ‘Brewer’s Droop’ rock pub in London was an unnamed blues-folk outfit featuring a sixteen-year-old singer called Chrissie Harwood. Spellbinding performances were warmly received by the progressive-pop cognoscenti which inspired Chrissie’s latter day squeeze and future husband and rock hack, Mark Plummer, to pursue a record deal resulting in an overnight guinea-pig contract with the launch of a CBS distributed new label owned by an uber-legendary, Mickie-Most-alike called Miki Dallon.

The first release on the short lived Birth imprint (which acted as a sister-label to Dallon’s Youngblood Records) was realised with a half baked business plan, and after a short run of break-neck off-peak studio sessions at Marble Arch (one of which witnessed a temporary power cut) – the LP, ‘Nice To Meet Christine’, was written and recorded with Plummer behind the desk and Ms. Harwood in the vocal booth. In his debut role as producer, Plummer enlisted the services of a host of up and coming progressive rock and folk stars drawing from a little black book of celebrity friends who he had previously interviewed for the likes of Melody Maker and in turn they then created the blueprint for a Rock Family tree-surgeons breakfast.

The original ‘Yes’ guitarist Peter Banks, who would later reform ‘Blodwyn Pig’ was drafted in to play acoustic and pedal steel guitar throughout the entire LP alongside a young Guitarist Dave Lambert who would go on to work with Dave Cousins in ‘The King Earl Boogie Band’ and later join ‘The Strawbs’. Lambert wrote three tracks for the album, a country-rock-boogie number ‘Ain’t Gonna Be Your Slave’, the up-tempo ‘Flies Like A Bird’ and a quasi-political intro track ‘Mama’ which included a Gainsbourg / Melody Nelson-esque choral arrangement courtesy of folk-rock vocal group ‘Design’ (craftily recording under the moniker ‘The Designettes’ to avoid legal wranglings with their new label Epic).

By contacting Joe Cocker’s Hammond organist Tommy Eyre, Plummer would inject ‘the funk’ into the proceedings, which goes some way to explaining why the LP has become a regular inclusion on record collectors wants-lists, especially sought after amongst Hip-Hop producers and die-hard Acid-Jazzers over the last ten years. Eyre (who would play on albums by ‘Juicy Lucy’, ‘The Sensational Alex Harvey Band’ and John Martyn) added sublime twinkles of Fender Rhodes and bursts of Hammond B3 to the LP, most notably on an astonishing, orchestral-funk cover of CSN’s ‘Wooden Ships’ as well as Chrissie’s self penned ‘Gotta Do My Best’ complete with pulsating backbeat courtesy of rock journalist veteran Chris Welsch drumming under the pseudonym J.K. Boots. Chris Welsch also supplied a future-DJ-friendly drum break on another of Chrissie’s original compositions ‘Never Knew What Love Was’, a stripped down arrangement exposing the raw fender bass played on the album by Roger Sutton, fresh from recording the seminal Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll LP ‘Open’.

With extra percussion from drum workshop legend Peter York, more guitars by folk-festival stalwart Mike Maran, and ‘Macdonald & Giles’ saxophonist, Ian MacDonald, contributing to a version of Traffic’s ‘Crying To Be Heard’ the LP unintentionally became an all star super-session (library music enthusiasts might revel in the fact that violins were contributed by session-man and Michel Legrand side-kick Johnny Van Derrick whilst taking a break from recording incidental music for The Pink Panther). Three further tracks were recorded in the session which have never been heard since the original recording.

After the studio bill was paid the LP was delivered, manufactured and sadly, mysteriously disappeared in to the purple ether with minimum commitment in the artwork, marketing and radio-plug department. A crest fallen Chrissie was given the cold, ambiguous explanation that ‘nothing happened’ with her only handcrafted stab at fulfiling the teenage dream. In later years Chrissie would hide her only copies of the ultra rare original release in a cupboard only to smash and tear them to pieces to save the potential humiliation of the record re-appearing at family functions like an embarrassing photo album. To this day since, the mysterious Chris Harwood has shyly put her singer songwriter days behind her and successfully covered the tracks. Fruitless, feeble attempts to track Chrissie down have lead to a string of ‘dodgy’ bootlegs from France, Italy and the UK which have only highlighted ‘Miss Christine’s’ enigmatic position in the mystery of pop history. In a topsy-turvy chain of events, the solo artist would step down the pop-ladder and become a session vocalist. Chrissie’s voice can be heard clearly on two tracks by the Peter Grant discovered ‘Stone The Crows’ backing up lead vocalist Maggie Bell on ‘Sunset Cowboy’ and ‘Crystal Palace Bowl’. The Twickenham born singer also spent extra studio time in an unnamed rock combo recording for Bell Records before a twist of fate saw her take the disappointing music industry in to her own hands and until recently she has worked behind the scenes, promoting pop music overseas.


Tracks
1. Hear What I Have To Say (Chris Harwood) - 3:45
2. Never Knew What Love Was (Chris Harwood) - 2:42
3. Wooden Ships (David Crosby, Stephen Stills) - 4:58
4. Before You Right Now (Dave Lambert) - 3:47
5. Crying To Be Heard (Dave Mason) - 5:03
6. Question Of Time (Roger Sutton) - 3:43
7. When I Come Home (Chris Harwood) - 2:30
8. Gotta Do My Best (Chris Harwood) - 3:18
9. Romance (Chris Harwood) - 3:56
10.Ain't Gonna Be Your Slave (Dave Lambert) - 3:14
11.Flies Like A Bird (Dave Lambert) - 2:36
12.Mama (Dave Lambert) - 3:19
13.When I Come Home (Reprise) (Chris Harwood) - 1:25

Personnel
*Chris Harwood - Vocals, Percussion
*Dave Lambert - Acoustic, Electric, Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals, Percussion
*Peter Banks - Acoustic Guitar
*Tommy Eyre - Hammond Organ, Piano 
*Jeff Matthews - Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
*Mike Maran - Acoustic Guitar
*Ian McDonald - Flute, Saxophone
*John Russell Morgan - Stomping, Tambourine
*Jeff Starrs - Vocals
*Roger Sutton - Bass, Celli
*Johnny VanDerrick - Violin
*Pete York - Congas, Percussion 
*Chris Welch - Drums

Friday, April 30, 2021

Blues Magoos - Gulf Coast Bound (1970 us, magnificent jazz blues brass rock, 2020 korean remaster)


As original member Peppy Thielhelm and original producer Bob Wyld expanded the Blues Magoos' foray into Latin music meets mainstream blues, these May 1970 recordings take the previous years' Never Going Back a step further. Gulf Coast Bound is an improvement, retaining John Liello's vibes and percussion and pianist Eric Justin Kas, who is the major songwriting contributor here (strangely enough, he is listed as "Kas" on the album jacket and "Kaz" on the songwriting credits). "Slow Down Sundown" could be the band Chicago vamping without their horn section, some strange imitation monkey-sound vocals making their way onto the platter mixed in with Daddy Ya Ya's out-of-place tambourine as the song fades.

Erik Kas does the lead vocal on the 12-minute-plus opus "Can't Get Enough of You," which sounds like a strange marriage between Steely Dan and Traffic. The problem here is that the band is a notch or two below Traffic and Steely Dan, and despite the general improvement over the last disc and their initial dip into this musical bag, there is no Walter Becker or Dave Mason or Steve Winwood here, or, for that matter, a song as strong as Malo's "Suavecito" or Steely Dan's "Do It Again," which resembles "Can't Get Enough of You." To be fair to this new Blues Magoos, they came two full years before Malo and Fagen/Becker would all hit in 1972, so this album can be viewed as pioneering work. 

It's too bad ABC records didn't keep releasing this musical journey. Liello's vibes add a marvelous touch, and if they were given a few more chances, maybe they could have found another hit single. The seven-minute 54-second instrumental "Magoos Blues" is lightweight John Barleycorn Must Die-era Traffic, and the new rhythm section of drummer Jim Payne and bassist Cooker Lopresti is nondescript enough to not get in the way. Of the pyschedelic/garage rock bands which changed over to another format -- the Electric Prunes, H.P. Lovecraft, etc. -- in what seemed like gambles to become "respectable," this is the best of the lot. Eric Kaz takes "Tonight the Sky's About to Cry" and it, like the rest of this album, would make for good FM radio filler in the middle of the night. "Sea Breeze Express" follows suit, competent and pleasant music, but nothing outstanding, and, unfortunately, nothing as breathtaking as the Electric Prunes' "Get Me to the World on Time" or the Blues Magoos' own "We Ain't Got Nothing Yet," and that is the bottom line. 
by Joe Viglione

Tracks
1. Gulf Coast Bound (Eric Kaz, Peppy Thielheim) - 3:56
2. Slow Down Sundown (Eric Kaz, John Andreolli) - 6:14
3. Can't Get Enough Of You (Eric Kaz) - 12:26
4. Magoo's Blues (Pee Wee Ellis) - 7:58
5. Tonight The Sky's About To Cry (Eric Kaz, John Andreolli) - 4:18
6. Sea Breeze Express (Eric Kaz, Peppy Thielheim, Pee Wee Ellis, Richie Dickon, Jimmy Payne, John Liello, John Cooker LoPresti) - 4:19

The Blues Magoos
*Daddy Ya Ya - Percussion, Tambourine
*Richie Dickon - Congas, Percussion
*Pee Wee Ellis - Percussion, Saxophone
*Eric Justin Kaz - Harmonica, Keyboards, Vocals
*John Liello - Percussion, Vibraphone, Vocals 
*John Cooker LoPresti - Bass
*Jimmy Payne - Drums
*Peppy Thielheim - Guitar, Vocals 

1966  Psychedelic Lollipop (expanded issue)
1967  Electric Comic Book (expanded issue)
1968  Blues Magoos - Basic Blues Magoos (2004 expanded edition)
1969  Blues Magoos - Never Goin' Back To Georgia (Vinyl edition)

Monday, April 26, 2021

Leslie West - The Great Fatsby (1975 us, awesome classic rock, 2008 reissue)


Released on Foreigner manager Bud Prager's RCA imprint -- Phantom records, it is one of two albums released by Leslie West on that label in 1975, the other being titled simply The Leslie West Band. The Great Fatsby's album cover has the rock & roll guitarist in front of a mansion surrounded by babes à la the F. Scott Fitzgerald character. It opens with a nice and bluesy Paul Kelly tune, "Don't Burn Me," and for the post-Mountain work here, that direction works best. 

"The House of the Rising Sun" features a duet with Dana Valery and is an interesting read on the traditional tune made famous by the Animals. Mick Jagger plays some guitar on a tune credited to himself, Keith Richards, West, Corky Laing, and Sandra Palmer. "High Roller" is a second cousin to "Brown Sugar," and for Rolling Stones fans, it's a must have, a rare '70s co-write and collaboration with another artist. For Leslie West fans, the album is a departure from the Mountain onslaught and a treat.

"I'm Gonna Love You Thru the Night" has an elegant guitar riff and brings West back to the blues. Though it's an original from Corky Laing and his guitarist, the influence of the band Free is obvious. West does an admirable job on Andy Fraser's "Doctor Love" on side two, as well as the Free song "Little Bit of Love." Tim Hardin's "If I Were a Carpenter" is a total diversion for the hard rock guitar slinger, and it comes off very nicely. At five minutes and 20 seconds, "Carpenter" is the album's longest track. 

The instrumental "E.S.P." might be the strongest statement here (isn't that the name of label owner Bud Prager's management firm, E.S.P.?). With 12-string guitars and superb musicianship, it's the best of West on display. Gary Wright makes an appearance on this album on piano, and The Great Fatsby emerges as a unique look at an important rock & roll artist with some surprises tucked inside. 
by Joe Viglione


Tracks
1. Don't Burn Me (Paul Kelly) - 3:06
2. House Of The Rising Sun (Traditional) - 4:54
3. High Roller (Corky Laing, Keith Richards, Leslie West, Mick Jagger, Sandra Palmer) - 4:14
4. I'm Gonna Love You Thru The Night (Corky Laing, Leslie West) - 2:41
5. E.S.P. (Leslie West) - 2:44
6. Honkey Tonk Women (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 3:15
7. If I Still Had You (Ira Stone, Maxine Stone, Leslie West) - 2:15
8. Doctor Love (Andy Fraser) - 2:56
9. If I Were A Carpenter (Tim Hardin) - 5:19
10.Little Bit Of Love (Andy Fraser, Paul Kossoff, Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke) - 2:18

Personnel
*Leslie West - Guitars, Vocals, Bass
*Mick Jagger - Guitar
*Joel Tepp - Guitar, Woodwind
*Howie Wyeth - Piano, Mellotron
*Gary Wright - Piano
*Marty Simon - Piano
*Corky Laing - Drums
*Nick Farrentella - Drums
*Don Kretmar - Bass
*Ken Hinckle - Bass
*"Buffalo" Bill Gelber - Bass
*Frank Vicari - Horns, Woodwind
*Sredni Vollmer - Harmonica
*Dana Valery - Solo Vocal, Backing Vocals
*Jay Traynor - Backing Vocals

1975  The Leslie West Band - The Leslie West Band (2008 reissue)
Related Acts
1965-68  Vagrants - I Can't Make a Friend (2011 remaster)
1969-73  Mountain ‎- Setlist The Very Best Of Mountain Live (2011 release)
1970  Mountain - Climbing! (2013 blu spec edition) 
1974  Mountain - Twin Peaks (2005 digi pak remaster)

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Chad And Jeremy - Sing For You (1964-65 uk, delightful baroque folk rock, 2007 japan extra tracks remaster)



Generally relegated to footnote status, folk/rock duo (heavier on the folk) Chad & Jeremy nonetheless managed a certain level of influence among a group of navel-gazing sensitive types who couldn’t totally commit to either the Beatles or Stones camps. And yet they still managed to make something of a splash riding the crest of a wave that was the British Invasion. At a time when it seemed every artist was copping the sound of the Beatles and/or Stones, Chad & Jeremy remained (relatively) committed to their folk origins. The trouble with this was their particular brand of folk was slowly falling out of favor following the arrival of Bob Dylan.

As if an attempt to split the difference, they embraced an approximation of the British Invasion sound while still attempting to adhere to their folk roots. But it didn’t quite suit the soft folk within which they best operated, and their attempts at continued relevance beyond a few early singles (“Yesterday’s Gone” and the song for which they are perhaps best known, “A Summer Song”) sound forced. They only truly succeeded when sticking closest to their roots; any venture into mainstream pop tended to fall short, sounding like a feeble attempt to tap into a commercial market quickly losing interest in them

Yet throughout, they prove to be fine interpreters of contemporary folk and standards of the genre. They take on Ewan MacColl’s perennial folk classic “Dirty Old Town”, giving it a decidedly country bent. “No Tears for Johnny”, while sounding feather-light, possesses a lyrical profundity and anti-war stance that far surpasses anything Simon & Garfunkel and their ilk ever attempted. It is within these unexpected moments that the music of Chad & Jeremy rises above much of the filler that weighed down their studio albums and prevented them from finding the favor they perhaps deserved. And while they would eventually surrender to the times with their generally well-regarded psychedelic albums Of Cabbages & Kings and The Ark, these early recordings show the pair trying desperately to get their music heard

Unfortunately the music of Chad & Jeremy has been unfairly overlooked by all but the most ardent fans of ‘60s pop music. The duo stands as a fine reminder that the pop landscape wasn’t all Beatles, Stones, Dylan, and Motown.
by John Paul, 14 September 2016


Tracks
1. Yesterday's Gone (David Stuart, Wendy Kidd) - 2:31
2. If She Was Mine (Bobby Goldsboro, Buddy Buie) - 2:02
3. Willow Weep For Me (Ann Ronell) - 2:35
4. No Tears For Johnny (Tom Springfield) - 2:17
5. The Truth Often Hurts The Heart (Clive Metcalfe, Keith Noble) - 2:51
6. If I Loved You (Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rodgers) - 2:18
7. September In The Rain (Harry Warren) - 2:31
8. Like I Love You Today (Chad Stuart) - 2:41
9. Donna Donna (Aaron Zeitlin, Sholom Secunda) - 3:00
10.A Summer Song (Chad Stuart, Clive Metcalfe, Keith Noble) - 2:39
11.Dirty Old Town (Ewan MacColl) - 3:08
12.From A Window (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 2:16
13.If I Had My Way (Traditional) - 2:22
14.The Morning (Traditional) - 2:22
15.Ain't That Just Like Me (Traditional) - 0:50
16.If I Had A Hammer (Lee Hays, Pete Seeger) - 2:13
17.Yesterday's Gone (David Stuart, Wendy Kidd) - 2:20
18.Stanley And Dora (Traditional) - 1:38
19.A Summer Song (Chad Stuart, Clive Metcalfe, Keith Noble) - 2:41
Tracks 13-18 Live recordings

Musicians
*Jeremy Clyde - Vocals, Guitar
*Chad Stewart - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
*Russ Savakus - Bass
*Charles McCracken - Cello
*Lucien Schmit - Cello
*Gary Chester - Drums
*Al Caiola - Guitar 
*Willard Syuker - Guitar  
*George Devens - Percussion
*Al De Risi - Trumpet
*Irvin Markowitz - Trumpet
*Harold Coletta - Viola 
*Harry Zaratzian - Viola
*David Nadien - Violin 
*George Ockner - Violin  
*Harry Katzman - Violin 
*Leo Kruczek - Violin  
*Max Pollikoff - Violin  
*Paul Gershman - Violin  
*Paul Winter - Violin 

1967  Chad And Jeremy - Of Cabbages And Kings (2006 japan bonus tracks remaster) 
1968  Chad And Jeremy - Three In The Attic (2013 edition) 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

NRBQ - All Hopped Up (1977 us, outstanding jazzy roots 'n' roll bar rock, 2018 remaster and expanded)


The music on All Hopped Up covered a period of a few years, 1974-1976. The LP was released in the Spring of 1977 by Red Rooster Records. NRBQ has released several fine albums but this has to rank as one of their very best – a minor masterpiece. Released during the height of the new wave/punk era, it sounds like nothing else from the time.

In fact, none of these 13 songs sound alike. NRBQ cover an enormous amount of ground on this release, from rockabilly, country, folk rock, power pop, jazz, and more. Even more amazing that they make it work as well as they do. It’s pointless to list highlights as the album is strong all the way through but a few special tracks need to be singled out. Al Anderson’s Ridin’ In My Car is a timeless pop classic. It Feels Good and That’s Alright are excellent power pop tracks on par with the best from this era. Call Him Off Rogers is a weird, offbeat country rock number with a melodic guitar solo. Things to You, a Terry Adam’s original that would later resurface on NRBQ’s country outing with Skeeter Davis (a great record), is another outstanding track.

NRBQ never took themselves too serious and for this reason they are never ranked among the important bands of the classic rock era. But when one reviews their body of work and its consistency, you can definitely pose the argument for NRBQ being one of America’s great rock n roll/roots bands. 
by Jason Nardelli, May 12th, 2020


Tracks
1. Ridin' In My Car (Al Anderson) - 2:55
2. It Feels Good (Terry Adams) - 2:36
3. Cecilia (Harry Ruby, Dave Dreyer) - 2:57
4. I Got A Rocket In My Pocket (Jimmy Logsdon, Vic McAlpin) - 2:40
5. Call Him Off, Rogers (Terry Adams) - 2:55
6. Doctor's Wind (Joey Spampinato) - 2:37
7. Things To You (Terry Adams) - 3:29
8. Help Me Somebody (Al Anderson) - 4:09
9. Still In School (Joey Spampinato) - 2:25
10.Honey Hush (Lou Willie Turner) - 4:30
11.Queen Talk (Terry Adams) - 2:09
12.Bonanza (Jay Livingston, Raymond Evans) - 0:43
13.That's Alright (Joey Spampinato) - 3:13
14.Chicken Hearted (Bill Justis) - 2:16
15.Do The Bump (Terry Adams) - 3:05
16.She's Got To Know (Joey Spampinato) - 2:23
17.Start It Over (Terry Adams) - 2:31
Bonus Tracks 14-17

NRBQ
*Joey Spampinato - Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals 
*Terry Adams - Clavinet, Harmonica, Keyboards, Hammond Organ, Piano, Trumpet, Vocals
*Tom Ardolino - Drums, Vocals
*Al Anderson - Guitar, Vocals
*Keith Spring - Bells, Tenor Saxophone
*Donn Adams - Trombone, Vocals, Percussion


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The Sorrows - Old Songs New Songs (1966-80 uk, awesome mod freakbeat bluesy psych rock, 2009 double disc remaster)


Long after Fardon split, however, some of the band grabbed a last chance (for an extended holiday, at least) and relocated to Italy in 1966 to try and cash in on an Anglophilic scene. During this footnote era, they did achieve some squealing success as a placebo live draw, and hung around for years playing Family and Traffic songs, plus numbers by the ex-pat rockers who made up a bewildering, revolving cast list (two relatively major players are remembered only as “Kit” and “Rod”). 

They recorded singles for a tiny Italian indie label and, eventually, an LP. Old Songs New Songs is rare, inevitably hailed as a legendary cult classic. This two-disc set contains a complete bonus demo album and various 45 sides, including the sole outstanding track Ypotron – feedbacking freakbeat recorded in ’66 for an Italian spy caper movie.
by Derek Hammond , 21 August 2009

The first-ever official reissue of this legendary Italian-only late sixties album! British freakbeat/garage R&B giants the Sorrows relocated to Italy in 1966, recording the album Old Songs New Songs a couple of years later for a small independent label based in Milan. Now extremely rare as an original pressing, the album has been shoddily bootlegged a couple of times, including a CD pressing that slowed down the recordings and also managed to chop off the final minute of the album's title track! 

This new, band-approved reissue features the fully restored album in sparkling sound quality and adds an extra 100 minutes of music, nearly all of which is previously unreleased. Among the highlights are the magnificent heavy psychedelia of the band's aborted early 1968 Pye single 'Which Way'/'My Way Of Thinking,' the theme song to the cult Italian spy caper Ypotron, a couple of movie collaborations with soundtrack maestro Ennio Morricone, and even an entire late 1968 demo album that, following the departure of two group members, was eventually scrapped and replaced by Old Songs New Songs!

Completed by a previously unheard live gig from 1980 that proved the Sorrows' savage garage band instincts were fully intact a decade later, this package features new, extremely detailed sleevenotes concerning their time in Italy, with fresh band quotes and some superb, previously unpublished photos. Forget what you may have read and heard elsewhere, this incredible 2CD package is the final word on the band's lengthy but previously little-documented Italian sojourn!" Includes 16-page booklet.


Tracks 
Disc 1
1. Same Old Room (Chuck Fryers) - 3:13
2. Hey Mr. Policeman (Charlie Whitney, Roger Chapman, Rick Grech) - 3:28
3. Heaven Is In Your Mind (Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood) - 4:03
4. Mary J (Chuck Fryers) - 2:12
5. Hey Hey (Chuck Fryers) - 2:51
6. The Makers (Chuck Fryers) - 6:24
7. Io Amo Te Per Lei (Which Way) (Bruce Finley, Chuck Fryers) - 2:56
8. Dear Mr. Fantasy (Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood, Chris Wood) - 5:01
9. Rollin' Over (Ronnie Lane, Steve Marriott) - 3:01
10.Per Una Donna...No! (Listen To Me) (Claudio Fontana, Tony Hazzard) - 2:47
11.6 Ft. 7½ Inch Shark Fishing Blues (Chuck Fryers) - 1:59
12.Old Songs New Songs (Charlie Whitney, Roger Chapman, Rick Grech) - 4:38
13.Per Una Donna...No! (Listen To Me) (Claudio Fontana, Tony Hazzard) - 2:40
14.Amore Limone (Each And Every Day) (Mike Hugg, Vito Pallavicini) - 2:33
15.Hey Hey (Chuck Fryers) - 2:47
16.6 Ft. 7½ Inch Shark Fishing Blues (Chuck Fryers) - 2:47
17.Which Way (Chuck Fryers) - 2:36
18.My Way Of Thinking (Chuck Fryers) - 3:00
19.Pioggia Sul Tuo Viso #1 (Carlo Nistri, Ennio Morricone, Luciano Salce) - 2:26
20.Pioggia Sul Tuo Viso #2 (Carlo Nistri, Ennio Morricone, Luciano Salce) - 2:28
21.Ypotron (Nico Fidenco) - 3:41


Disc 2
1. Hey Hey (Chuck Fryers) - 3:12
2. New York Mining Disaster 1941 (Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb) - 4:48
3. Answer My Questions (Chuck Fryers) - 2:57
4. Dear Mr. Fantasy (Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood, Chris Wood) - 5:04
5. We Can Work It Out (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 4:19
6. The Makers (Chuck Fryers) - 6:41
7. Heaven Is In Your Mind (Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood) - 3:35
8. Dogs And Cats (Chuck Fryers) - 3:14
9. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood (Bennie Benjamin, Gloria Caldwell, Sol Marcus) - 5:51
10.Move Da Show (Nevada) - 3:17
11.Matchbox / Rock And Roll Music (Carl Perkins / Chuck Berry) - 5:40
12.Baby What You Want Me To Do (Jimmy Reed) - 3:04
13.Bye Bye Bird (Willie Dixon, Sony Boy Williamson) - 3:27
14.Let Me In (Miki Dallon) - 3:06
15.What'd I Say (Ray Charles) - 3:11
16.Dizzy Miss Lizzy (Larry Williams) - 3:05
17.No Reply (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 3:12
18.A Little Rock 'n' Roll (Pip Witcher, Roger Lomas) - 2:07
19.5-4-3-2-1 (Manfred Mann, Mike Hugg, Paul Jones) - 2:20
20.Take A Heart (Miki Dallon) - 3:28

The Sorrows
*Chuck Fryers - Vocals, Organ, Guitar
*Simon Catlin - Vocals
*Chris Smith - Keyboards, Vocals
*Mick Bradley - Drums
*Rod Davies - Guitar, Vocals
*Pip Witcher - Vocals, Harp, guitar 
*Wez Price - Guitar
*Philip Packham - Bass
*Bruce Finlay - Drums


Thursday, April 1, 2021

Heads Hands And Feet - Tracks...Plus (1972 uk, stunning classic rock with blues 'n' roll shades, 2009 remaster and xpanded)


Although the core personnel had been together in a variety of incarnations since the mid-'60s, most notable of which was the brilliant and criminally short-lived Poet & the One Man Band, Tracks (1972) was only the second long player from Heads Hands & Feet. The U.K. quintet of Pete Gavin (drums/vocals), Albert Lee (guitar/keyboards/vocals), Ray Smith (bass/guitar/vocals), Charles "Chas" Hodges (bass/guitar/violin/vocals), and front man Tony Colton (vocals) had gained significant notice stateside during a week-long residency at the Troubadour in Los Angeles after the release of their self-titled double-LP debut Heads Hands & Feet (1971).

For their second outing, Tracks, they continue their quest for exceptionally crafted country-flavored material. They waste precious little time, as the fiery "Let's Get This Show on the Road" is a high-energy, good-time ode to the rigors and foibles of live performing and concert touring as exemplified in the chorus "Maybe I'll see Margo/Down in Chicago/And I've got a dancer down in New Orleans." Lee's multi-tasking musicianship is particularly noteworthy as his rollicking keyboard work on both acoustic piano and Hammond organ, coupled with the catchy, if not slightly twangy lead electric guitar lines, rhythmically tie the verses to the chorus. "Roadshow" demonstrates quite a different side to the band, examining Lee's capacity for emotive singer/songwriter balladry. His temperate vocals and melodic piano runs recall that of Jackson Browne or early folksy Tom Waits.

Further demonstrating Heads Hands & Feet's wide-ranging musicality is "Hot Property." Remarkably, the combo fuses an energetic bluegrass-inspired instrumental introduction to a funk-driven melody that would not have been too out of place coming from southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd. Of equal (if not arguably greater) prowess is the downhome, organic "Jack Daniels," which returns the sound to a loose groove mirroring the Band's rural rockers "Up on Cripple Creek" or "Life Is a Carnival." Tracks...Plus (1996) reissues both the original ten-song platter with a pair of additional non-LP sides, "Silver Mine" and "Warming Up the Band." 
by Lindsay Planer


Tracks
1. Let's Get This Show On The Road (Albert Lee, Chas Hodges, Pete Gavin, Ray Smith, Tony Colton) - 3:53
2. Safety In Numbers (Ray Smith, Tony Colton) - 3:36
3. Roadshow (Albert Lee) - 3:16
4. Harlequin (Ray Smith, Tony Colton) - 4:26
5. Dancer (Albert Lee, Chas Hodges, Ray Smith, Tony Colton) - 3:21
6. Hot Property (Pete Gavin, Ray Smith, Tony Colton) - 4:58
7. Jack Daniels (Albert Lee, Chas Hodges, Ray Smith, Tony Colton) - 3:30
8. Rhyme And Time (Albert Lee) - 2:41
9. Paper Chase (Ray Smith, Tony Colton) - 3:54
10.Song And Dance (Albert Lee) - 5:26
11.Silver Mine (Tony Colton, Ray Smith, Albert Lee) - 3:48
12.Warming Up The Band (Albert Lee, Chas Hodges, Pete Gavin, Ray Smith, Tony Colton) - 3:26

Heads Hands And Feet
*Tony Colton - Vocals
*Pete Gavin - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
*Chas Hodges - Bass, Fiddle, Banjo, Guitar, Vocals
*Albert Lee - Lead Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Ray Smith - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals, Bass
With
*Gerry Hogan - Steel Guitar


Sunday, March 28, 2021

The Souther Hillman Furay Band - Trouble In Paradise (1975 us, fine country classic rock, 2017 japan SHM remaster)


With producer Tom Dowd, known for his work at Atlantic Records, at the helm, the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band seemed to be distancing itself a bit from its country-rock roots with its second release, the appropriately titled Trouble in Paradise. Here the band expands on the funkier aspects of its debut album, while at the same time slipping even closer to the middle of the road. On that record it was former Poco frontman Richie Furay who was responsible for the highlights, but this time out it's J.D. Souther, who penned four of the LP's nine tracks, who leads the way, with "Prisoner in Disguise" (recorded that same year by Linda Ronstadt) and the title cut the standouts. 

Still, Furay, whose two compositions were dominated by his recent conversion to Christianity, does connect with the lovely "For Someone I Love," which interestingly enough precedes the sleazy rationalizations of Souther's "Mexico." As was the case with the previous album, Chris Hillman's trio of selections, including "Love and Satisfy," which borrows the lyrics for the majority of its first two verses from his and Gram Parsons' "Train Song," are moderately successful, if in the long run somewhat forgettable.

Before the recording of the album, original drummer Jim Gordon had left and was replaced by Ron Grinel (Souther also played drums on a couple of tracks), and what must have seemed like a great idea in 1973 was showing signs of unraveling. The band was finished by 1976 following Trouble in Paradise's poor showing, with each of its primary members recording solo records for Asylum within the year. Originally released by Asylum Records in 1975 and reissued on CD in 2002 by Wounded Bird. 
by Brett Hartenbach


Tracks
1. Trouble In Paradise (John David Souther) - 5:06
2. Move Me Real Slow (Chris Hillman) - 3:03
3. For Someone I Love (Richie Furay) - 2:57
4. Mexico (John David Souther) - 3:14
5. Love And Satisfy (Chris Hillman) - 2:59
6. On The Line (Richie Furay) - 3:41
7. Prisoner In Disguise (John David Souther) - 4:52
8. Follow Me Through (Chris Hillman) - 3:50
9. Somebody Must Be Wrong (John David Souther) - 3:51

Personnel
*J.D. Souther - Vocals, Guitar, Drums On "Trouble In Paradise" And "Love And Satisfy", Bass On "Move Me Real Slow"
*Chris Hillman - Vocals, Bass, Mandolin, Guitar
*Richie Furay - Vocals, Guitar
*Al Perkins - Lead Guitar, Pedal Steel Guitar, Dobro
*Paul Harris - Keyboards, Flute
*Joe Lala - Percussion
*Ron Grinel - Drums
*James William Guercio - Guitar
*Glenn Frey - Background Vocals
*Don Henley - Background Vocals

Related Acts 1968  The Byrds - Sweetheart Of The Rodeo  (Double Disc Set)

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Doctor K's Blues Band - Doctor K's Blues Band (1968 uk, fabulous electric psych blues rock, japan 2007 remaster)



Electric urban blues, particularly of the hard-hitting Chicago variety, became big news in Britain in the middle of the 1960's, not so much as performed by its American originators, but rather like the beat music and R&B which preceded it - via home grown interpretation by enthusiasts who began as fans and developed their enthusiasm as musicians.

Among the initiates on this post-R&B scene were Dr K's Blues Band, formed in Muswell Hill, North London (Kinks country!) by Ashley Hutchings, who was destined to find his folkier roots and considerably more success a couple of years later with Fairport Convention. When Hutchings moved on, the line up eventually stabilised as Mick Haase on vocals and harmonica, the enigmatic Dr. K. on piano, Geoff Krivit on lead guitar, Roger Rolt on slide and rhythm guitar, Harold Vickers on bass and Eric Peachy on drums.

Dr. K's Blues Band played the London/home counties circuit initially, but soon started to move around the country as the blues circuit spread and eventually even found himself playing gigs abroad in Italy and Denmark. Their original forte was the small club and music-featuring pub - the natural homes as it were, of an electric blues quintet in their transatlantic equivalents (honky tonk/dive). After a couple of years, however some of these smaller venues were supplanted by the university and college circuits which became very much their spiritual home.

Their successful career on the live circuit did not translate automatically into a recording deal for the band until 1968. Espying a growing musical boom. Spark Records decided to board the bandwagon by signing up some of the non-contracted groups on the blues circuit and approached Dr. K's manager, Roger Simpson. But Spark Records lacked the experience and expertise in promotion and distribution to ensure widespread press coverage, media exposure or high street stocking of their albums.

Eventually and inevitably, the original band started to break up as the decade drew to a close. Eric the drummer was the first to leave, being replaced by Jeff Alien. By the middle of the 1970's, only Mick Haase and Roger Rolt remained of the original members. The whole team decided to call it a day and split up.


Tracks
1. I Can't Lose (Geoff Krivit) - 2:50
2. Walking (Geoff Krivit, Mick Hasse) - 3:26
3. Key To The Highway (Eric Peachey, Richard Kay, Geoff Krivit, Mick Hasse, Roger Rolt) - 6:26
4. Crippled Clarence (Richard Kay) - 2:45
5. Pet Cream Man (Roger Rolt) - 2:09
6. Messin' With Kid (Richard Kay, Geoff Krivit, Mick Hasse, Roger Rolt) - 2:02
7. Don't Quit The Man You Love, For Me (Mick Hasse, Richard Kay) - 2:24
8. Rolty's Banjo Shuffle (Geoff Krivit, Richard Kay, Roger Rolt) - 2:10
9. Strobe Lemming's Lament (Richard Kay) - 1:46
10.Long Distance Call (Richard Kay) - 4:30
11.I Feel So Bad (Richard Kay) - 2:49

Dr K's Blues Band
*Mick Hasse - Harmonica, Vocals
*Geoff Krivit - Bass, Guitar
*Eric Peachey - Drums
*Roger Rolt - Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Slide Guitar, National Steel Guitar
*Harold Vickers - Bass
*Richard Kay - Piano