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Monday, February 28, 2011

Paul Brett's Sage - Paul Brett's Sage (1970 uk, fabulous psychedelic rock, japan edition)

The colour of Sage , most likely purple with streaks of blue, well that’s if you’ve ever listened to Paul Brett’s Sage. The multi-colored juggled history of Paul Brett most likely started with the group SW4 headed by future Blonde On Blonde Ralph Denyar. Paul would also replace Jimmy Page in Neil Christian & The Crusaders. A brief entry into the Arthur Brown Union yielded their first single, the Pete Townshend produced “Devil’s Grip” with Ronnie Wood on bass.

After brief excursions in 1967 with the Overlanders and Warren Davis Monday Band, Paul would enjoy sessions with the Dave Terry Band which later evolved into Elmer Gantry Band. The age of psychedelia had provided enriched pathways for the gifted Brett as he took his riffs to Tintern Abbey and springboarded from their into the melting pot of Elmer Gantry’s second album Ride A Hustler’s Dream which pushed out an urgent version of Blind Willie McTell’s “Statesboro Blues”.

The roads were many and the options countless but a distinct destiny drew Paul into the Soulmates where he met the gifted twelve string guitarist, ex Levee Breakers Johnny Joyce who at that stage had just left Velvet Opera. The group Friday’s Chylde had just metamorphosed into Fire and churned out a surging psyche single called “Father’s Name Was Dad” with future Strawb Dave Lambert on lead. Paul would enter for the 1970 conceptual Magic Shoemaker, acknowledged as a masterpiece in the same spirit as the Small Faces’ Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake.

The Brett sessions Paul’s sessions were scattered and endless as he persued the majestic chord that David once held in his Solomon wisdom. Amongst the chosen and frozen were poet Roy Harper’s unforgettable Sophisticated Beggar, Al Stewart’s Zero She Flies alongside Jimmy Page ..the “Volcano” and “Mary Jane” singles honed from Elmar Gantry’s debut which did not include Paul as an official member.

Paul would further his sessions with Strawbs on Dragonfly (lead guitar on "The Vision Of The Lady Of The Lake") and various singles included on Classic Strawbs. To add to this magnificent database Paul Brett also filled in the gaps with The Ivy League, The Flower Pot Men, Status Quo, the prolific Barclay James Harvest, ex Strawbs - Hudson & Ford, Max Bygraves, The Cyril Stapleton Orchestra, Lonnie Donegan and folk stalwart Ralph McTell, known for his hit “Streets Of London”.

The first coming of Sage ignited when ex Fire lighters Dick Dufall and percussionist ,vocalist Bob Voice joined lead guitarist Paul Brett to form Paul Brett's Sage with added employment of Nicky Higginbottom on flute and sax. The 1970 self titled ‘Hourglass’ debut was celebrated by the superb seven inch “Three D Mona Lisa” / “Mediterranean Lazy Heat” riddled with superb time signatures. The album was a shivering fusion of bongos , astounding acoustic and pulsing rhythms superbly enhanced by Jethro Tull arranger David Palmer.The percussive rhythms of “The Sun Died” and bass ambling “Little Aztec Prince” are the core style of this story tell album. Often not told are the superb lyrics ..”Reason For Your Asking” - .’You asked me why a flower died and why the Eastern horsemen rides, Why the silver lash of rain hides footprints in the dusty lane’ . Tolkienistic dimensions and apocalyptic visions cradle “Trophies Of War” and the severing “Warlock”. The 1971Jubilation Foundry, more of an acoustic affair and in hindsight Sage’s most established creation with it’s mature fusion of acoustic and harmonies now included ex Titus Groan Stuart Cowell as lead guitarist who later did some amazing things with Al Stewart.

Paul King who later played with Lambert in the King Earl Boogie Band played the harmonica on Jubilation. The album yielded the single “Dahlia” / “Cottage Made for Two”. A strong country element threads the album with elements of Strawbs, Magna Carta but a more definitive pick can be found in the heart sagging “I Fell So Far” and harmony filled “Tuesday Evening”. A cry from the gutter to the utter spills out of “Help Me Jesus” an eerie bluesy ballad that carries it’s message into the follow up holler “Jubilation Foundry”.

By the time the 1972 Schizophrenia hit the shelves Sage were back into electric with some stirring lead fusion on “Custom Angel Man”. a psychedelic master of note. The album enlisted Dave Lambert on piano and organ. Schizophrenia also sprouts some very fast guitar and nifty riffs on “Song Of Life, “Song Of Death” and “Slow Down Man” with Rod Coombes on drums. In the spirit of Jubilation’s “Tuesday Evening” those S&G harmonies reel through “Tale Of A Rainy Night”. Rob Young stepped in for the flute and oboe on the exquisite “Autumn”, a Strawb template in anybody’s book. Paul brett would later team up with ex Levee Breakers Johnny Joyce from Velvet Opera as an acoustic duo and then Cyril Stapleton Orchestra (with Dave Palmer of Jethro Tull and Bob Voice of Fire.

Paul’s awesome fretwork spills through (Bradley’s Records) “Mr.Custer“ & “Summer Driftin“ singles. From 1973 Paul’s solo albums on Bradleys Records, backed by violinist/guitarist Mike Piggott first heard with John Dummer Blues Band , Bert Janch and added multi-instrumentalist Dave Griffiths rule the roost. Further albums most likely deemed Prog or Suites wash Clock’s , Phoenix Future and Earth Birth, the latter a must.

The definitive purchase must be Fretdancer by Paul and that 12-string mandarin called Johnny Joyce that even Shawn Phillips stands in awe of. Paul Brett continues to record, evolving with each recording. Sadly Johnny Joyce passed from this world to a far greater dimension.
by Shiloh Noone

1. 3D Mona Lisa (Bob Voice) - 3:22
2. The Sun Died - 4:04
3. Little Aztec Prince (Bob Voice) - 4:25
4. Reason for Your Asking (Paul Brett, Bob Voice) - 4:13
5. Trophies of War - 3:49
6. The Tower  - 5:18
7. The Painter - 4:14
8. Mediterranean Lazy Heat Wave (Bob Voice) - 3:21
9. Warlock - 5:42
10.Wher Have All The Clowns Gone?  - 3:05
11.One Night  Stand  - 2:46
All songs by Paul Brett except where indicated.

Paul Brett Sage
*Paul Brett - Guitar, Vocals
*Dick Dufall - Bass
*Bob Voice - Drums
*Nicky Higginbottom - Saxophone, Flute

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Corporation - The Corporation (1969 us, splendid garage psych rock)

The Corporation formed in 1968 at the Galaxy Club, located in Cudahy, WI, a southeastern suburb of Milwaukee. Some months later, they were discovered by Capitol Records executives while playing at another local club called The Bastille. Members included Kenneth Berdoll (bass, vocals), Patrick McCarthy (organ, trombone), Daniel Pell (vocals), Gerard Smth (lead guitar, vocals) and brothers John Kondos (guitar, flute, harp, piano, vocals) and Nicholas Kondos (drums, vocals).

Their first, self-titled LP was released in early 1969 and contains some great musicianship and original melodies. Highlights on the album include 'Ring That Bell', 'Smile' and the 19½ minute psychedelicized version of the John Coltrane instrumental 'India'. Although the album was a smash on the local Milwaukee charts, peaking at #3, it only reached #197 nationally. Even though the record ended up not being a huge commercial success, the band continued to write and record with hopes of a follow up LP on Capitol.

1.I Want to Get out of my Grave - 5:31
2.Ring That Bell - 4:52
3.Smile - 2:51
4.Highway - 3:04
5.Drifting - 4:05
6.India - 19:33

The Corporation
*Kenneth Berdoll - Bass, Vocals
*John Kondos - Guitar, Keyboards, Fute
*Nick Kondos - Drums, Vocals
*Patrick McCarthy - Keyboards, Trombone
*Daniel Vincent Peil - Vocals
*Gerard Jon Smith - Lead Guitar, Vocals

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Wicked Lady - The Axman Cometh (1968-72 uk, fantastic heavy fuzz psych rock)

Wicked Lady exemplifies the "record collector" bands that gain new life through reissues "The Axeman Cometh" and "Psychotic Overkill". Their appearance marked some belated recognition for the power trio, which Northampton singer-guitarist Martin Weaver formed in 1968 with drummer "Mad" Dick Smith and bassist Bob Jeffries. However, Wicked Lady never came within a whisper of the stratospheric status attained by Cream, or the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

The band's liberal use of feedback -- and large biker following -- kept them relegated to clubs, even during the twilight hours of the psychedelic era. Awash in drink and drugs, Wicked Lady split up in 1970, but Smith and Weaver soon regrouped with new bassist, Del "German Head" Morley. The new lineup duly set about documenting its existence, as captured on Psychotic Overkill -- whose feel is looser than Axeman Cometh. The effect is a shotgun marriage of Black Sabbath-style rifferama, supported by a less risk-taking rhythm section. Weaver's vocal style lacks charisma, but his wah-wah and fuzz-driven guitar style carries the day.

The highlights include a bluesy cover of Hendrix's "Voodoo Child," the sex 'n' drugs snapshot of "Sin City," and the howling, 21-minute epic, "Ship Of Ghosts." But Wicked Lady's erratic ways proved too difficult for clubowners, who eventually refused to let them play. (At one gig, the band reportedly played the same song over and over until an irritated management pulled the plug on them.) Wicked Lady imploded in 1972, but Weaver rebounded that same year by joining the Dark, a more psychedelic- and progressive-outfit.

Their Round The Edges album became a Holy Grail for collectors -- because only a handful of copies were made for band members and their associates. Weaver next teamed with classically-trained keyboardist Dave "Doc" Wadley -- who'd worked with a pre-Sabbath Tony Iommi -- in the Mind Doctors.
by Ralph Heibutzki.

1. Run The Night - 5:08
2. War Cloud - 7:37
3. The Axeman Cometh - 6:52
4. Life And Death - 9:58
5. Wicked Lady - 6:01
6. Out Of The Dark - 10:14
7. Rebel - 3:32
8. Living On The Edge - 10:09
All songs by Bob Jeffries, Dick Smith, Martin Weaver

Wicked Lady
*Bob Jeffries - Bass
*"Mad" Dick Smith  - Drums
*Martin Weaver - Guitars, Vocals

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tomorrow - Tomorow (1968 uk, excellent beat acid psych with Keith West and Steve Howe)

Tomorrow was one of the most innovative of the late 1960s British "psychedelic" groups." Keith West, Steve Howe and John Wood had all been in the In Crowd that had released a few singles while Twink joined from the Fairies.

Tomorrow was an exciting live act as the tracks on 50 Minute Technicolour Dream testify. They supported artists such as Jimi Hendrix who even jammed on stage with them at Brian Epstein's Saville Theatre. Pink Floyd had been a major influence on artists such as Twink who saw something different in the improvisation and light shows. Other influences came through Steve Howe's liking for jazz as well as the direction being supplied to everyone by the Beatles and the Byrds. The jazz influences can be heard on one of Tomorrow's earliest tracks, Why? At the same time vocalist Keith West had started writing his own material for the group.

Word got to Michaelangelo Antonioni that there was an exciting band around and he spoke to them about appearing in his forthcoming film, Blow Up. Although Antonioni said he liked the songs, the band was dropped to be replaced by the Yardbirds. However, they did appear in the film Smashing Time where they were billed as The Snarks.

Tomorrow's own material started simple but contained different sounds thus making the tracks sound far more complex than they actually were. Drugs such as acid may have played a role in tracks such as Real Life Permanent Dream and Hallucinations.

The group made two singles, one of which, My White Bicycle, is a British psychedelic classic. The other single was Revolution. These did not make an impact on the charts although the group did manage to build up a sizeable underground following. One of the group's earlier champions was disc jockey John Peel who played the first single extensively on his Perfumed Garden radio show. He also had a Night Ride session recorded early in 1968 which was broadcast although the tapes were subsequently lost or, in true BBC style, erased.

The strength of the band live belied their poor commercial success. They were playing gigs most nights and became one of the hottest brands of the London scene alongside Pink Floyd and the Soft Machine. However, this did not always translate into success outside the capital.

Keith West may be better known as a participant in the Teenage Opera project that gave him a solo hit single Excerpt from a Teenage Opera (Grocer Jack) and brief commercial success. This was part of an idea for all the members of Tomorrow to have parallel solo careers alongside tomorrow. However, the move to work on other projects pulled the group apart with Twink joining the Pretty Things and the Pink Fairies. Poor record sales did not help either.

An album was released called Tomorrow in early 1968. This was billed as Tomorrow featuring Keith West, hoping to cash in on his solo success. It was also released too late to benefit from the summer of love and had a compromise cover that did not do justice to the material within.

By spring 1968 the group was no more. Steve Howe later joined Yes. Incidentally, My White Bicycle was included on the Heavy Karma album by the Young Ones' Neil.

1. My White Bicycle - 3:18
2. Colonel Brown - 2:53
3. Real Life Permanent Dream - 3:17
4. Shy Boy - 2:27
5. Revolution - 3:50
6. The Incredible Journey Of Timothy Chase - 3:18
7. Auntie Mary's Dress Shop - 2:46
8. Strawberry Fields Forever - 3:59
9. Three Jolly Little Dwarfs - 2:28
10.Now Your Time Has Come - 4:53
11.Hallucinations - 2:43
12.Claramount Lake - 3:02
13.Real Life Permanent Dream (Alternative Early Mono Version) - 2:24
14.Why - 3:59
15.Revolution (Phased Mono Version) - 3:50
16.Now Your Time Has Come - 3:05
17.The Aquarian Age - 10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box  - 3:27
18.The Aquarian Age - Good Wizzard Meets Naughty Wizzard - 4:42
19.The Aquarian Age - Me - 3:12
20.Keith West - On A Saturday  - 3:13
21.Keith West - The Kid Was A Killer - 2:31
22.Keith West - She - 2:30
23.Keith West - The Visit - 4:05

*Keith West - Vocals
*Steve Howe - Guitar
*John "Junior" Wood - Bass
*John Adler "Twink" - Drums
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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Humble Pie - Eat It (1973 uk, great classic glam rock, 2007 japan mini LP remaster)

This '73 album marked a turning point for Humble Pie following their legendary Rockin' The Fillmore live double and their best selling follow-up Smokin'. It clearly showcased four facets of Pie's music (it was originally a 2 LP set) - a slightly subdued but still rockin' section, four soul/funk songs written by the likes of Ike & Tina Turner, Ray Charles and Edwin Starr with the Blackberries girl backing singers much in evidence throughout, light Marriott love songs/singalongs, and one side recorded live in Glasgow that picks-up where Fillmore left off : hard rock boogie with big dirty meaty riffs and fluid soloing and interplay.

If you accept that Steve Marriott was the greatest British soul/rock singer ever then none of these elements are a problem, but sales dipped and their label rejected some later material as Marriott took the band further down the laid back and soulful road. I saw them support the Who at Charlton FC in mid '74 and they turned in a trimphant crowd pleasing heavy set that showed they still had rock potency.
by Pete Max

1. Get Down to It (Marriott) – 3:27
2. Good Booze and Bad Women (Marriott) – 3:18
3. Is It for Love? (Marriott) – 4:41
4. Drugstore Cowboy (Marriott) – 5:40
5. Black Coffee (Ike Turner, Tina Turner) – 3:11
6. I Believe to My Soul (Ray Charles) – 4:05
7. Shut up and Don't Interrupt Me (Bristo, Starr) – 3:07
8. That's How Strong My Love Is (Roosevelt Jamison) – 3:49
9. Say No More (Marriott) – 2:01
10.Oh, Bella (All That's Hers) (Marriott) – 3:28
11.Summer Song (Marriott) – 2:48
12.Beckton Dumps (Marriott) – 3:16
13.Up Our Sleeve (Humble Pie-lyrics by Steve Marriott) – 5:02
14.Honky Tonk Women (Keith Richards, Mick Jagger) – 3:58
15.(I'm A) Road Runner (Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland) – 13:29

*Steve Marriott - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica, Keyboards
*Greg Ridley - Bass
*Dave "Clem" Clempson - Guitar
*B.J. Cole - Steel Guitar
*Sydney George - Saxophone
*Jerry Shirley - Drums
*The Blackberries, Clydie King, Billie Barnum, Venetta Fields - Vocals

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Humble Pie - Smokin' (1972 uk, great classic rock, 2007 japan remaster)

Often considered to be the very best Humble Pie album, Smokin' is a bluesy hard rocking record that, like so many albums from the 60s and 70s, suffered a large drop in quality when it was transferred to CD. The original remaster of the album from the early 90s sounds muddy and tinny, too often turning Steve Marriott and Clem Clempson's guitar work into a indistinct sea of distortion and dampening the power of the rhythm section. Until now, those seeking a better mastering of the record have had to search for the 2007 limited edition Japanese remaster. With the release of a new SACD version of Smokin' from Analogue Productions comes a new way to hear the album.

The first thing you notice about the remastering is how crisp and clear the guitars sound. The sound of Clempson's wah-wah pedal is no longer lost in the mix. Greg Ridley's bass has a new prominence, providing a larger low end to anchor the band's riffs. Jerry Shirley's drums are so well mixed it can be hard to get used to--the hi-hats and cowbells ring out so loudly they can almost become distracting. The only sound that remains tinny and flat is the acoustic guitar on “You're So Good For Me”, though I think I prefer it to the too-prominent sounds of the nylon guitar strings on “Old Time Feeling” - you can hear the pick scraping against the strings!
by Daniel Krow

1. Hot 'N' Nasty 3:22
2. The Fixer 5:02
3. You're So Good To Me 3:51
4. C'mon Everybody 5:13
5. Old Time Feelin' 4:01
6. 30 Days In The Hole 3:57
7. Road Runner / Road Runner's 'G' Jam 3:44
8. I Wonder 8:53
9. Sweet Peace And Time 5:48

Humble Pie
* Steve Marriott - Vocals, Guitar, Harp, Keyboards
* Clem Clempson - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
* Greg Ridley - Bass, Vocals
* Jerry Shirley - Drums, Keyboards
Guest Musicians
* Alexis Korner - Vocals, Mandolin-type
* Stephen Stills - Organ,  Vocals
* Doris Troy - Vocals
* Madeline Bell - Vocals
* Martin Tipple - Guitar

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Humble Pie - Humble Pie (1970 uk, 3rd album, classic rock, japan remastered edition)

Alternating hard-driving blues-rockers with country-folk numbers, Humble Pie neatly showcases the two sides of this band's personality on their first release for a major American label and third album overall. All of the elements are in place for the sound that would reach its studio peak with the next release, Rock On, and culminate with the classic Live at the Fillmore album.

"Earth and Water Song" provides a blueprint for the acoustic guitar-based sound Peter Frampton would ride to multi-platinum success as a solo artist later in the decade. "One Eyed Trouser-Snake Rumba" and "Red Light Mama, Red Hot!" show the hard-rocking direction in which Steve Marriott would move the band after Frampton's departure the following year.

1. Live With Me  (Marriott, Frampton, Ridley, Shirley) - 7:55
2. Only a Roach  (Shirley) - 2:49
3. One Eyed Trouser Snake Rumba  (Marriott, Frampton, Ridley, Shirley) - 2:51
4. Earth and Water Song  (Frampton) - 6:18
5. I'm Ready (Dixon) - 4:59
6. Theme from Skint (See You Later Liquidator)  (Marriott) - 5:43
7. Red Light Mama, Red Hot!  (Humble Pie, Lyrics Marriott) - 6:16
8. Sucking on the Sweet Vine (Ridley) - 5:46

Humble Pie
* Steve Marriott - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
* Greg Ridley - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
* Jerry Shirley - Drums, Guitar, Vocals
* Peter Frampton - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
* John Wilson - Drums on "Only a Roach"
* B.J. Cole - Steel Guitar

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Andromeda - The Definitive Collection (1967-69 uk, great hard psych, prog rock with John DuCann, double disc set)

One of the most bootlegged and legendary LP's to come out of the late 60's was the self titled album ANDROMEDA which is included in full on this 2CD set. On CD2 are tracks never before released including 5 tracks recorded for John Peel's Top Gear show during 1968 and 3 tracks recorded live at Round House and Covent Garden London during 1967. This 2CD set is the Definitive collection lovingly prepared by JOHN DU CANN who has put together over two and a half hours of music.

This is a definitive 2-CD account of one of the seminal UK prog-rock bands of the late sixties. Beefed out with never before released material, including five tracks recorded for the John Peel "Top Gear" show during October 1968 and three tracks recorded live at the Roundhouse and Covent Garden, London in 1967. Remastered and fully annotated by guitarist and band founder John Du Cann, this release also provides a connection to Atomic Rooster with whom Du Cann featured in 1970.

Andromeda developed out of Du Cann's band The Attack who at this time were supporting bands such as The Yardbirds on the London gig circuit. After producing an album for the budget label Saga, with a "thrown-together" band called Five Day Week Straw People, Du Cann formed Andromeda with Mick Hawksworth (bass) and Jack Collins (drums) - whose brother was Jimmy McCulloch (sometime guitarist in Paul McCartney's band Wings).

As Du Cann recalls, when the album was originally released it received great reviews " wasn't just a basic rock album, it had a few light-and-shade parts in it and went into different little instrumental passages and things." That album is presented in its entirety on CD1 whilst live tracks and demos (for a projected second album) are on CD2.

Disc 1
1. Too Old
2. The Day of the Change
3. Now the Sun Shines
4. Turns to Dust
5. Return to Sanity
6. The Reason
7. I Can Stop the Song
8. When to Stop
9. Go Your Way
10.Keep Out 'Cos I'm Dying
11.The Garden of Happiness
12.Return to Exodus
13.Journey's End (Reprise)
14.Let's All Wacth the Sky Fall Down
15.Darkness of Her Room
16.See Into the Stars

Disc 2
1. The Day of the Change
2 .The Reason
3. Return to Sanity
4. Keep Out 'Cos I'm Dying
5. Search On
6. Ode to the Sea
7. Lonely Street's
8. Sleep Like a Child
9. I Was Left Behind
10.I Just Wanna Live My Life
11.The Lodger
13.Round House Blues (Live)
14.Walking On (Live)
15.I'm Searching (Live)
16.Acidus (Live)
17.All in You
18.Step this Way

*John DuCann - Guitar, Vocals
*Mick Hawksworth - Bass, Vocals
*Jack McCulloch - Drums
*Ian McLane - Drums

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Top Drawer - Solid Oak (1969 us, fetching heavy psych blues)

Top Drawer hailed from the rural center of the United States, coming right out of Kentucky. There aren’t many facts to be said about the band, considering they were around back in 1969-1970 and they only have one album that I am aware of. Their one and only album, titled “Solid Oak”, was recorded back in 1969 at Fultz Recording Studio over in Kentucky, and if you have one of these original records in mint condition, it could sell for well over a hundred dollars. The album is constantly being sought out due to it’s rarity.

1. Song Of A Sinner (Steve Geary) - 5:42
2. What Happened Before They Took The People Away (Steve Geary) - 5:19
3. Middle Class America (Alan Berry) - 4:55
4. Time Passes Much Too Quickly (Steve Geary) - 3:30
5. Messed Up (Ron Linn) - 3:46
6. Baker’s Boogie (John Baker) - 3:39
7. What’s In Store (Steve Geary) - 4:26
8. Sweet Memories (Alan Berry) - 4:56
9. Lies (Steve Geary) - 5:10

Top Drawer
*Steve Geary - Trumpet, Vocals, Harmony
*Ray Herr - Percussion, Harmony
*John Baker - Guitar, Harmony
*Alan Berry - Bass Guitar, Harmony, Vocals
*Ron Linn - Organ, Harpichord, Rhythm Guitar

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Ides Of March - Vehicle (1970 us, remarkable psych jazz funk rock, 2014 remaster and expanded)

When the Ides of March's "Vehicle" roared up to #2 in the spring of 1970, it might have seemed to most of North America that the band had come out of nowhere, so swift and sudden was the single's rise up the charts. In fact, however, the groups had been recording and performing since the mid-1960s, putting in years of honing their craft in both the studio and Chicago-area gigs before the big payoff. The horn-driven soul-rock of "Vehicle" might have been what first caught the ears of many listeners, but the band's extensive experience in all forms of rock music was reflected in the Vehicle album itself, whose diverse material also encompassed folk-rock and extended progressive workouts.

Formed in the Chicago suburb of Berwyn, the Ides of March were still in their mid-teens when "You Wouldn't Listen" became a big local hit in 1966, going all the way up to #42 in the national charts. Although they recorded a number of singles throughout the rest of the 1960s (including half a dozen on the London subsidiary Parrot), and had another sizable local hit with "Roller Coaster," the Ides never did break nationally at this stage, or manage to get an LP out. They continued to work as a popular regional live act, however, in the process expanding into harder, heavier, more soulful sounds from their original British Invasion-inspired style. They expanded the size of the band as well, growing from a quartet to a seven-piece, adding a horn section along the way and keeping their multi-part vocal harmonies.

"We started as a British Invasion wanna-be band, really, kind of Curtis Mayfield-meets-the-Hollies," remarks Ides guitarist, lead singer, and principal songwriter Jim Peterik today. "We loved that sound, but as the band wore on, we started wanting to do songs with brass, like the James Brown stuff and Arthur Conley's 'Sweet Soul Music.' We got a trumpet, and that was seductive; then we got another. It was kind of a gradual process, and I think the audience kind of came with us. 'Cause we always still did the harmony stuff. We still did the 'Roller Coaster'-like material. But then we started injecting some of the brass in even one of the Parrot singles, 'My Foolish Pride.'"

As the 1960s ended, a big influence on the Ides of March was Blood, Sweat & Tears, who were doing a great deal to popularize the use of horns within a rock context with their huge hit singles and albums. "When we went down to the Kinetic Playground in Chicago to see Blood, Sweat & Tears, they had just gotten [lead singer] David Clayton-Thomas," remembers Peterik. "They had just put out the second [album]. They started the set with 'More and More,' and we go, 'Holy mackerel, this is unbelievable.' But of course, we were very influenced by the first album, with [BS&T founder] Al Kooper in it. The famous story is, I actually brought Blood, Sweat & Tears a tape of 'Vehicle,' a little demo tape of that song, kind of a rehearsal tape to see if they were interested in recording it. I don't think they listened to it till after the song was #1, and I ran into [BS&T's] Steve Katz in an airport. And he says, 'Yeah, should have listened to that song.'"

Even before "Vehicle" came out, the Ides of March had made the leap to the Warner Brothers label with the help of manager-producers Frank Rand and Bob Destocki (the latter of whom was a regional promo representative for the company). "We had one single out on Warner Brothers, 'One Woman Man,' in '69, and it didn't really chart," continues Peterik. "But the company was interested enough in the band to say, 'Look, show us what else you got.' That's when we went into the studio to cut the four-song demo. 'Vehicle' was the fourth song on the demo reel, because we really didn't know what we had at the time. They called us and said, 'My god, this is a number one record.' And we go, 'Really? Great.' So they got all excited, and they broke the record."

In keeping with part of its musical inspiration, a lot of literal blood, sweat and tears went into the recording of "Vehicle." "I didn't know it at the time, but I was doing a spot-on David Clayton-Thomas imitation," admits Jim. "I mean, people in the studio said it was scary. I thought that was it, that was the take. And Frank Rand says, 'Peterik, would you stop trying to be David Clayton-Thomas and just be Peterik?' I go, 'I am, I am.' He says, 'Just do it again.' So I did a real pissed-off take, and that was, of course, the money take." As the backing vocals were being recorded, fourteen seconds were accidentally erased from the master tape by the second engineer. Fortunately, creative editing saved the day when fourteen seconds were inserted from take one to replace the missing snippet.

"The album was recorded after the single was taking off," pitches in multi-instrumentalist and fellow Ides of March founder-member Larry Millas. "'Vehicle' was the fastest-breaking single that Warner Brothers had ever had up until that time. It broke nationally within a week, which was pretty unusual. It happened so quickly Warner Brothers sort of made a panic call to our managers -- 'We have to have an album out immediately.' Fortunately, Jim did have a bunch of songs ready to go, and we worked 'em out in the studio. The entire record was recorded, overdubbed, mixed, [and] out the door in about a week, which is pretty much unheard of."

"Some of the songs were staples in our live show, so it wasn't like we had to work 'em out from scratch," adds Peterik. "Something like 'Symphony for Eleanor,' we had been performing in concert for probably a year already. 'Wooden Ships/Dharma for One,' same story. 'Sky Is Falling' was part of that four-song demo. So we had a head start on the album, and then we went in and just did the rest." Listeners expecting variations on a "Vehicle" theme might have been surprised by the variety on the LP, though it did contain some more hard-charging brassy rock tunes such as "Bald Medusa" and "The Sky Is Falling." There was also the gentler folk-rock-pop of "Home"; the Creedence Clearwater Revival homage "Factory Band"; a long medley of Crosby, Stills & Nash's "Wooden Ships" with Jethro Tull's "Dharma for One"; and a nine-minute makeover of the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby," here retitled "Symphony for Eleanor (Eleanor Rigby)."

"There is a lot of diversity on that record," agrees Peterik. "We made it so young. Our maturation process, we were all doing it in public. Where most bands hone their sound, and they make it or they don't make it, the public heard every transition we made. In the early days, I was just trying to be the Beatles, or variations thereof. And then when Blood, Sweat & Tears hit, my idol was David Clayton-Thomas. And his idol was probably Ray Charles, so on down the food chain."

The still-young band's extensive stage experience paid off when it came time to reinventing familiar songs as extended covers that stretched them into entirely different shapes. "If we took something that we liked, something that people would recognize, and if we made it our own, it would be successful in a live situation," points out Millas. "People would perk up and they'd accept our music if we mixed it amongst familiar stuff." The covers went over particularly well at a Winnipeg show where they went on before Led Zeppelin, and "we got a standing ovation after every song," recalls Peterik. "We only did like five songs that day, mostly extended songs. I know we did 'Wooden Ships/Dharma for One,' we did 'Eleanor Rigby,' and we did 'Vehicle.' The people were standing after every song, and during, just going crazy. In those days it wasn't unusual for 'Eleanor Rigby' to stretch out for 20 minutes or more."

The album was recorded at Columbia Studios in Chicago in March 1970, and both Jim and Larry retain basically positive memories of the experience, although they acknowledge in retrospect that some things could have been done better. "It was exciting, of course, for us," says Larry. "It was big-time. They had very expensive mikes and all that kind of stuff. The 'Vehicle' record was the first one done on their brand-new sixteen-track, two-inch tape machine. It had just been rolled in, and they were still learning how to use it on our sessions."

"I think overall, we were still getting comfortable in the studio and playing with headphones, trying to make that transition between live and studio," confesses Jim. "It was tough. The studio we recorded at [was] most noted for recording voiceover jingles and voiceovers. The whole staff was like union people. I remember being in the middle of one take and our main engineer walked out, and turned it over to the second engineer. He said, 'I'm catching my train. Goodbye.' He kind of waved to us through the glass in a middle of a take. It's a little weird when your main engineer leaves. They did a great job, but they weren't used to doing what we do. So we always go, 'Man, if we could just re-record it.'" Adds Larry as an illustration, "'Eleanor Rigby,' the version on the record is nowhere near as good as we used to do it. We chopped out sections, we shortened things. And for some reason, at that time, the studio just couldn't capture the way we sounded live. So it was a lot more tame-sounding. Live, it was more powerful and wild, and it still is live, now, when we play it. So I wish that we could have spent more time working on that."

Although the album made #55 in the Billboard charts, both Peterik and Millas feel Warner Brothers didn't maximize its opportunity, particularly coming on the heels of the smash single "Vehicle." "Most bands are very boring in lambasting their record company," chuckles Jim. "I hate to fall into that. But yeah, they could have done a hell of a lot more. We always felt like low men on the totem pole next to their big acts" -- the band's Chicago base perhaps working against them, as California artists were much closer to the company's Los Angeles offices. Concurs Millas, "We had the #1 record in the Warner Brothers food chain. The [internal company] newsletter comes in for that month, and the whole front page of the newsletter is about the Doobie Brothers. At that time, nobody knew who the Doobie Brothers were. They were nobody. But then we were like, 'What's going on here?'" "Well, [the Doobie Brothers] became very big," rejoins Peterik. "But I mean, when Van Dyke Parks is in bigger letters than the Ides of March, we're going, 'What's going on?'"

The Ides of March were likewise not wholly pleased with the artwork Warners chose for Vehicle. "I think I can speak for the band saying we were pretty appalled by the cover of the record," offers Peterik. "It was one of those moments where [we were told], 'Okay, here's the artwork.' It was kind of a Spinal Tap moment, and we all look at this naked baby doll in the grass...It was Warner Brothers' crack graphics staff."
by Richie Unterberger

1.  Vehicle  - 2:56
2.  Factory Band - 3:02
3.  Sky Is Falling - 2:48
4.  Home - 3:38
5.  Wooden Ships/Dharma for One (Ian Anderson, Clive Bunker, David Crosby, Stephen Stills) - 7:14
6.  Bald Medusa (Mike Borch, Peterik) - 3:02
7.  Aire of Good Feeling - 3:14
8.  Time for Thinking (John Larson) - 2:30
9.  One Woman Man - 3:15
10. Symphony for Eleanor (Eleanor Rigby) (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 9:42
11.High On A Hillside - 2:53
12.Lead Me Home Gently - 2:56
13.Melody - 2:47
14.Vehicle (Single Version) - 2:56
All Songs written by Jim Peterik, except where noted.

The Ides Of March
* Jim Peterik - Lead Guitar, Lead Vocal
* Larry Millas - Rhythm Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocal
* Bob Bergland - Bass, Saxophone, Backing Vocals
* Ray Herr - Bass, Backing Vocals
* Michael Borch - Drums, Percussion
* John Larson - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
* Jim Larson - Trumpet, Backing Vocal

1965-68  The Ides Of March - Ideology
1971  The Ides Of March - Common Bond

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Mariani - Perpetuum Mobile (1970 us, superb heavy acid psych from texas, Akarma edition)

The album by Mariani called Perpetuum Mobile, released in 1970 and featuring Eric Johnson, two thoughts immediately came to mind. Either the "1970" part was a typo and "1980" was intended, or this was a different Eric Johnson than the Austin, Texas-based axe virtuoso known and worshiped by legions of electric guitar enthusiasts around the globe.

After all, EJ didn't record as a leader until 1985 and he was barely 30 at the time. Ten years earlier he was the guitarist for the rock fusion group the Electromagnets. Something doesn't compute. But as I quickly confirmed, it does. This was sho 'nuff the same Johnson who later gave the world Ah Via Musicom, and if you do the math, you'll conclude he was 15 or 16 when he laid down these tracks as a sideman for a psychedelic blues rock band led by its drummer.

Holy Jonny Lang, Batman! Mariani, by the way, wasn't named after a popular dish at The Olive Garden; it is the namesake of said drummer, Vince Mariani. Mariani was a good enough drummer to seriously audition to be Mitch Mitchell's replacement in Jimi Hendrix's band. Instead of landing that coveted gig, he was persuaded by Austin producer and label owner Bill Posey to form his own band. Having jammed with Johnson previously, he enlisted young Eric to be his guitarist, and along with bass player/vocalist Jay Podolnick, they soon began to compose several songs together.

And the music itself? It's more than a little bit like Cream. Being that this is Vince's band, he and his drums do get the spotlight most of the time, but Lil' Eric was given plenty of space to shine. He wasn't in Clapton's league yet, as you might expect, but he was already more than halfway t In the opening track "Searching For A New Dimension", he shows a nice mastery of the wah wah pedal, which was nice thing to be good at in 1970. In "Re-Birth Day", which was edited down for a single release, Johnson shows off some flash in his guitar break that provides a strong hint of the solo career he would launch many years later.

The instrumental "The Unknown Path" is largely a Hendrix exercise. In many other spots he shows yet more of that promise; maybe t's not a distinctive style yet as he had just recently absorbed Wheels Of Fire. Oh, but did I tell you he was only 15 or 16 years old at the time?Although the band went on the road to promote their album, touring with the likes of Deep Purple, Perpetuum Mobile didn't make much of an impact. After a few years the band fell apart without recording another album and the individuals pursued other interests. It's probably safe to say that the band's guitarist went on to do pretty good for himself.

1. Searching For A New Dimension - 5:40
2. Interlude - 0:32
3. Re Birth Day - 5:52
4. Interlude ii - 0:32
5. Things Are Changing - 4:42
6. Interlude iii - 0:33
7. Lord I Just Cant Help Myself - 2:55
8. The Unknown Path - 5:58
9.  Euphoria - 11:23
10.Message - 2:19
11.Windy Planet - 6:09
12.Re Birth Day (45 Version) - 3:05
13.Memories - 2:08
All songs written and arranged by Mariani

*Eric Johnson - Guitar, Vocals
*Jay Podolnick - Bass, Vocals
*Vince Mariani - Drums, Vocals

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Ticket - Awake/Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (1971-72 new zealand, superb acid fuzz hard psych rock with funky vibes)

During the period of 1972, Ticket were New Zealand's ultimate acid band.Guitarist Eddie Hansen emerged on the music scene in a group called Revival, which also contained vocalist Craig Scott. When Craig went solo in April 1970, the Revival broke up. At that point Eddie left Christchurch and headed to Auckland. He accepted a gig with Challenge, who were in their last days, after having had a couple of successful hits. He quickly realised that he shared a common interest in the styles of music of the likes of Crazy Horse, Traffic and Jimi Hendrix, with Challenge drummer Ricky Ball. The two of them decided to form their own group, in order to be able to play their preferred style of music.

The pair looked around for some like-minded musicians to join them, and found Paul Woolright to play bass guitar and Trevor Tombleson for vocals. With this line-up, Ticket was formed in May 1970.Ricky Ball started his career with a group called the Beatboys, then the Courtiers, before becoming a member of the Challenge. Trevor Tombleson played bass guitar back in 1965 with a group called Moses and the Munks, before joining the Jamestown Union. He eventually left that group to pursue a solo career as M.T. Davies in 1967. Trevor became friends with Ricky Ball, and this friendship developed, with Ricky asking Trevor to join Ticket.

Ticket started playing gigs around Auckland, but were not getting enough work to pay the bills. Eddie called Trevor Spitz in Christchurch to see if he could help out with a venue. Trevor had been with the Four Fours and when he left them in 1966 he got a job managing Phil Warren's Monaco nightspot in Christchurch. This was the venue that Revival had played at. Trevor asked for a demo tape and after listening to it got the group a gig at another of Warren's venues, Aubreys, in Christchurch.

It was at Aubreys that Ticket developed a sound that was radically different to what any of them had previously played. Trevor Tombleson was one of the better singers of the underground scene, but it was Hansen's instrumental prowess which dominated the band. Tombleson wailed and Hansen scorched, and behind them stood one of the tightest rhythm sections around. Ricky provided a solid and relentless beat and Paul was the perfect partner to Ball's hard hitting style, holding down the bottom end with precision and just a touch of funk.

By mid-1971 Ticket had outgrown their Aubreys venue, and during that time had built up a big following in other South Island centres. In July 1971 the group decided to head north. Their reputation preceded them and concerts at Universities along the way were well attended and received. In Auckland the group came to the attention of promoters Barry Coburn and Robert Raymond. With new promotional power, the group supported Daddy Cool on their tour, and then headlined Coburn-Raymond's National Blues Rock Convention held at the Wellington Opera House. This attracted a capacity crowd and was also broadcast live on radio.

In October 1971, New Zealand's first international outdoor concert was held when Elton John had his debut show at Auckland's Western Springs. The support slot was well sought after and Ticket were successful, performing in front of 20,000 people.

Coburn even had his own record label, Down Under, so once again with his influence, Ticket recorded and released their first single. Actually released on the Ode label the single was "Country High"/"Highway Of Love". This was very successful for an underground group at the time, with "Country High" spending five weeks on the National charts in December 1971, peaking at number 12.

The follow-up single was "Dream Chant"/"Awake". Released on Down Under, it was not as successful, even though "Dream Chant" had been one of the group's most popular numbers back in their days at Aubreys. In May 1972, their debut album, "Awake", was released. "Awake" was produced by Frank Douglas at HMV Studios and released on the Ode label.

A third single "Stoned Condition"/"Then You'll Fly" was released on Down Under, but it was banned by the NZBC. In June 1972, Ticket crossed the Tasman, to perform a month long residency at Sydney's Whiskey-Go-Go. The reaction at the Whiskey exceeded everyone's expectations, and rather than returning to Auckland, Sydney based Robert Raymond secured them another residency at Chequers, another prestige gig. Performances in Queensland and Victoria followed.

While in Australia, a single was released there, "Awake"/"Country Radio", on Atlantic. Also while in Melbourne, the group recorded their second album, "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie". This was self-produced and recorded at Channel Nine's 16-track studio. The album was released in late 1972.

Tombleson changed his name to Trevor Keith and enjoyed a brief stint with England's Keef Hartley Band in the mid-70's and was later a member of Monsoon, a Melbourne band of expatriate Kiwis. Eddie Hansen had been converted to Hare Krishna at this stage, the result of his close friendship with Harvey Mann. Eddie played for a short time in 1974 with Band Of Light, but by 1975 he was together with Harvey Mann in Living Force. In 1974 Ricky Ball and Paul Woolright were members of Rainbow. Ricky left that group in August 1976 to become a member of Hello Sailor. In 1980, Paul, Ricky and Eddie all ended up at the same time in Beaver.

Awake 1971-72
1. Awake - 5:21
2. Highway Of Love - 4:52
3. Dream Chant - 8:14
4. Broken Wings - 6:04
5. Country High - 4:43
6. Reign Away - 5:58
7. Angel On My Mind - 6:36
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie 1972
8. The Bad Things In This World Make The Nice Things Nicer - 5:38
9. Remember To Understand - 6:21
10.People Going Nowhere - 5:20
11.And The Band Played - 5:18
12.On This Planet - 7:42
13.Gypsy Rover - 5:33
14.Let Sleeping Dogs Lie - 4:41
15.We Love Rock And Roll - 1:04
All songs by Eddie Hansen, Trevor Tombleson, Ricky Ball, Paul Woolright

*Eddie Hansen - Lead Guitar
*Ricky Ball  - Drums
*Paul Woolright - Bass Guitar
*Trevor Tombleson - Percussion, Vocals

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

CMU - Open Spaces (1971 uk, brilliant prog, jazz, blues, folk rock with marvelous female vocals, 2008 Esoteric remaster)

CMU stands for Contemporary Music Unit (no less), and were one of the few progressive rock bands to feature both male and female vocals. With influences mainly from psych and blues, their debut "Open Spaces" occasionally reminds a bit of Affinity, especially on the passages sung by Larraine Odell.

The opener "Henry" is one of the better tracks, based in a nice melody and with tasteful, atmospheric arrangements consisting of piano, guitar, bass, drums and some almost inaudible flute. "Voodoo Man" sounds like something Arthur Brown could have done, and the heavy chorus in the middle introduces the raspy voice of James Gordon, who together with guitarist Ian Hamlett is the main reason for the bluesy touch of this album. Hamlett really proves that point on the instrumental "Slow and Lonesome Blues" that is actually a bit faster and more energetic than what you would expect from such a title. "Chantecleer" starts slow, dark and moody with some haunting pairing of vocals from Odell and Gordon, but builds quickly up to a fast, organ-driven and almost funky tune where an influence from Arthur Brown again can be detected.

The second side opens with "Japan", an attempt at traditional Japanese folk music that sounds surprisingly authentic, especially when considering that the band just used their usual instruments. "Clown" is a lightweight and whimsical tune, but catchy enough to be worthwhile, and Gordon's vocals has an unusual operatic twist here. One of the most best melodies on the record can be found in "Mystical Sounds", a ballad dominated by Hamlet's flute and Odell's voice. The title-track is a lengthy, mystical and atmospheric journey with lots of dreamy, wordless vocals from the two singers, and keyboardist Terry Mortimer also contributes with some spooky violin here

1. Henry (L. Odell, R. Odell) - 4:42
2. Voodoo Man (L. Odell, R. Odell) - 4:35
3. Slow And Lonesome Blues (Ed Lee) - 5:06
4. Chanticleer (J. Gordon, L. Odell, Ed Lee, T. Mortimer) - 6:10
5. Japan (Sanders, arr. CMU) - 2:44
6. Clown (J. Gordon, Ed Lee) - 2:34
7. Mystical Sounds (L. Odell, R. Odell) - 3:11
8. Open Spaces (Ed Lee, T. Mortimer) - 11:34

*Jim Gordon - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
*Ian Hamlett - Guitar
*Larraine Odell - Vocals
*Leary Hasson - Keyboards
*Roger Odell - Drums
*Ed Lee - Bass
*Terry Mortimer - Guitar, Fuzz Guitar, Organ, Piano

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B.B.Blunder - Workers' Playtime (1971 uk, splendid heavy psych with blues shades, 2009 double disc remaster)

B.B. Blunder's story is a most confusing one for such a short-lived and little-known band. The group was essentially an offshoot of the Blossom Toes, one of the best underground British rock acts of the '60s, noted for both their droll psychedelic pop and a heavier, dual-lead guitar-oriented sound.

When the Blossom Toes broke up at the end of the '60s, guitarist Brian Godding and bassist Brian Belshaw continued to play together, sometimes in association with singer (and Godding's sister-in-law) Julie Driscoll. Eventually, Kevin Westlake, who had drummed on the Blossom Toes' first LP, joined them, and the trio recorded an album, with Driscoll helping out on vocals.

Although the group could have just as well been called Blossom Toes as B.B. Blunder, their sound was in fact significantly different than what they'd played on the Toes' albums. The songwriting was, well, loose, and unfocused. The record's principal attractions are the multi-layered guitars, which have a certain just-post-Abbey Road charm, with lengthy electric-acoustic passages bordering on jams.

After it was issued as Workers Playtime in 1971, Reg King (formerly of mid-'60s cult mod band the Action) joined the group for live work. The enterprise was basically a non-starter, though. Westlake soon quit, new members joined (including Reg King's brother and fellow Action veteran Bam King), and the group fell apart by the end of 1971.

To add to the confusion surrounding this none-too-tight aggregation, in 1989, their sole album was reissued under the title New Day by Decal, who attributed the recording to "Blossom Toes '70 (formerly B.B. Blunder)." This is why this none-too-interesting one-shot record also shows up in the Blossom Toes discography.
by Richie Unterberger

Disc 1
1. Sticky Living! - 6:33
2. You’re So Young - 5:26
3. Lost Horizons (Brian Godding, Brian Belshaw, Kevin Westlake) - 2:06
4. Research (Brian Godding, Brian Belshaw, Kevin Westlake) - 4:34
5. Rocky Yagbag (Kevin Westlake) - 3:59
6. Seed - 5:28
7. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (Brian Godding, Brian Belshaw, Kevin Westlake) - 3:32
8. Rise - 5:04
9. Moondance (Brian Godding, Brian Belshaw, Kevin Westlake) - 1:23
10.New Day - 4:40
All compositions by Brian Godding except where indicated

Disc 2
1. Backstreet (Brian Godding) - 3:55
2. Freedom (Brian Belshaw) - 5:42 
3. Black Crow's Nest (Kevin Westlake) - 3:30 
4. When I Was In The Country (Kevin Westlake) - 4:43
5. A Hard Day's Night (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 4:21 
6. Come On Eyes (Kevin Westlake) - 7:17 
7. Snippet With Tippett (Keith Tippett) - 0:25
8. Square Dance (Brian Godding, Brian Belshaw, Kevin Westlake) - 5:38 
9. Earache (Brian Godding, Brian Belshaw, Kevin Westlake) - 8:05 
10.Robots (Brian Godding, Brian Belshaw, Kevin Westlake) - 4:58 
11.Waltz (Brian Godding, Brian Belshaw, Kevin Westlake) - 6:02

The B.B.Blunder
*Brian Godding - Vocals, Guitar, Piano
*Kevin Westlake - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Drums
*Brian Belshaw - Vocals
*Julie Driscoll - Vocals
*Marc Charig - Trumpet
*Nick Evans - Trombone
*Chris Kimsey - Piano
*Keith Tippett - Piano
*Barry Jenkins - Piano
*Mick Taylor - Bass
*Brian Auger - Piano

Friday, February 11, 2011

Felt - Felt (1971 us, fantastic psychedelic rock with bluesy and jazzy spots, 2000 and 2010 remaster)

Felt was formed in Alabama in the late '60s around the talents of Myke Jackson (guitars), Mike Neel (drums), Tommy Gilstrap (bass), Stan Lee (guitars), and Allan Dalrymple (keyboards). The band's self-titled album, released on the small Nasco label in 1971, contains half-a-dozen original songs written for the most part by Jackson.

The mostly blues-styled songs on this album are full of great guitar work and contain fine Beatles-esque harmony vocals. While most of this album has a blues feeling to it, some of the songs hint of progressive rock with swirling keyboards, intense drumming, and blistering guitar solos. The album has recently been discovered for its musical excellence and has become a very rare collectors' item.
by Keith Pettipas

1. Look At the Sun (Myke Jackson) - 3:18
2. Now She's Gone (Myke Jackson, Mike Neel) - 5:29
3. Weepin' Mama Blues (Myke Jackson) - 4:40
4. World (Myke Jackson, Mike Neel) - 5:36
5. The Change (Myke Jackson) - 10:10
6. Destination (Myke Jackson) - 6:43

*Myke Jackson - Guitars
*Mike Neel - Drums
*Tommy Gilstrap - Bass
*Stan Lee - Guitars
*Allan Dalrymple - Keyboards

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Nightcrawlers - Little Black Egg (1967 us, great garage psych beat rock)

The Nightcrawlers found themselves surrounded by a heap of controversy when this single was first released and started to gain a respectable measure of regional airplay in 1965. A few paranoid and uptight buzzcut/flattop/flatland station managers feared it was a surreptitious, “Louie, Louie”-styled 45 as word got around that “The Little Black Egg” held thinly veiled lyrics that housed the far larger degenerate call-to-arms of, (gulp) interracial sex (I ask you...)

Well, it was 1965 in the deep, deep south and although this ridiculous projection of a lurking racial subtext got it banned throughout regional stations in The Nightcrawlers’ home state of Florida, its orbit returned when it was reissued on Kapp in 1967 in a “Space Oddity” type reissue boomerang effect. “The Little Black Egg” would have been just another sub-Beau Brummels-styled folk rock jingle-jangle xerox if not for the supremely non-plussing lyrics that centred around the lead singer’s ultra-possessiveness about his “little black egg with the little white specks.” Interracial sex, my ass: this guy’s found a magic egg, and yikes, he’s REAL particular about it! Musically, it’s kind of like The Daily Flash if they had a vocalist who delivered in a practically hoarse, non-quavering Buddy Holly style the following words under the thrall of said mysterious egg:

“I don’t care what they say/I’m gonna keep it anyway/I won’t let them stretch their necks/To see my little black egg/with the little white specks.” And those vocals get even more hoarsely desperate on the flipside “You’re Running Wild” where The ‘Crawlers turn things up a many notches higher in velocity in a far more garage-informed manner as chunks of surf drums get chucked in for good measure. A roaming dummy of a bass line threatens the rattling, tinny din of drums in a total Battle of The Bands triumph.

The drummer strives to keep up and drive the thing as the singer brusquely drools over two spindly guitars that can barely stand on their own all about his dream doll and her “luvvlee bodee I looong to touch” as the surfin’ drums curl and break in the background. The two guitars just continue to spindle out with just the skinniest of strumming and barely a solo, but it is all-spirited with every sweated-out note.

Said singer continues pining and drooling senselessly away, braying out uncontrollably, “You’re running wild! You’re running wild!” which actually translates more to a single, run-on sentence approximating “Yerrunwile! Yerrunwile!” as he’s kicking himself in both the head and the ass for not knowing what he did or did not do to lose a girl so fine. He finally resigns his lyrics of repetitive heartbreak to close resignedly with “So lonely...AH, uh so lonely...girl, a-so lonely...AH! Wuh, a-so lonely!’ as his heart takes the last westbound train out of town at dusk to beat the setting sun with the setting of his own heart.

Big Beat recently reissued The Nightcrawlers’ sole album, “The Little Black Egg” on CD with many bonus cuts and so forth, and the title track pops up on the “Nuggets” 4 CD set. But it is worth pointing out that the original single sounds far superior...and can be found for half the cost of a single CD. This single was the best thing The Nightcrawlers ever laid down. The choice is yours...

1. The Little Black Egg
2. A Basket Of Flowers
3. Sally In The Alley
4. Who Knows
5. Me For Me
6. If You Want My Love (Undubbed Version)
7. I Don't Remember
8. If I Were You
9. The Last Ship
10.Show Me The Way
11.What Time Is It
12.You're Running Wild
14.Sticks And Stones
15.He Shouldn't Hurt You
17.(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66
18.All Day And All Of The Night
19.Grown Up Wrong
20.Oh! Baby (We Got A Good Thing Goin')
21.Sea Of Love
22.It's All Over Now
23.Washboard (Early Version)
24.Heart Of Stone

The Nightcrawlers
*Tommy Ruger - Drums
*Rob Rouse - Vocal, Harmonica Tambourine
*Charlie Conlon - Bass, Vocals
*Sylvan Wells - Lead Guitar
*Pete Thomason - Rhythm Guitar, Vocal

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sir Douglas Quintet - The Best Of ....Plus (1964-1966 us, exciting garage roots 'n' roll)

Recorded between 1964 and 1966, this set is a companion to THE SIR DOUGLAS QUINTET IS BACK! The Sir Douglas Quintet came off more like a gritty amalgam of every strain of music that drifted through the airwaves of Texas.

Leader Doug Sahm had wide-ranging musical tastes but he attached himself to every performance with such pure and utter confidence that the tendency to label his music falls away as its wonderful wholeness becomes apparent. "She's About a Mover," the number that put the Quintet on the map, opens things up. Delights abound--from the riveting "The Rains Came" to the bluesy drama of "In The Pines."

The breadth found in this timeless music can be heard as the blueprint for Doug Sahm's music career over the following three decades. Restless, reverent, honest and bold, this is an essential Sir Douglas Quintet songs collection from their early period (it's not an all-time best of compilation despite its title)

1. She's About a Mover - 2:23
2. Beginning of the End - 2:58
3. Tracker - 2:33
4. You're out Walkin' the Streets Tonight - 2:16
5. In the Pines - 2:22
6. In the Jailhouse Now #2 - 2:22
7. Quarter to Three - 1:45
8. One Way Out - 3:12
9. Rains Came - 2:14
10. Please Just Say So - 2:25
11. We'll Take Our Last Walk Tonight - 2:44
12. You're out Walkin' the Streets Tonight - 1:50
13. Sugar Bee - 2:19
14. Blue Norther - 2:17
15. Story of John Hardy - 2:42
16. In Time - 2:15
17. Bacon Fat - 2:26
18. She's Gotta Be Boss - 2:11
19. Love Don't Treat Me Fair - 1:32
20. She Digs My Love - 2:47
21. When I Sing the Blues - 2:31

The Sir Douglas Quintet
*Doug Sahm - Vocals, Guitar
*Jack Barber - Bass Guitar
*Augie Meyers - Keyboards
*Frank Morin - Saxophone, Percussion
*Johnny Perez - Drums

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Parish Hall - Parish Hall (1970 us, excellent hard blues rock)

Parish Hall was a power trio from the California Bay Area. The band consisted of Gary Wagner (guitar, piano, vocals), John Haden (bass), and Steve Adams (drums). Specializing in a hard rock/blues rock sound, their album was originally released near the end of 1970 on a small local California record label.

Reminiscent of the sound of another popular trio of the day, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Parish Hall had begun to gain the recognition of some European collectors by the late 1990s, and originals have fetched high prices in collector's markets. All songs on this album are originals written by Wagner and hold up well when compared to other hard rock acts.
by Keith Pettipas

1 My Eyes Are Getting Heavy - 5:16
2 Dynaflow  3:06
3 Ain't Feelin' Too Bad - 2:50
4 Silver Ghost - 2:53
5 Skid Row Runner - 3:19
6 Lucanna - 2:32
7 We're Gonna Burn Together - 2:37
8 Somebody Got the Blues - 3:02
9 How Can You Win? - 2:53
10 Take Me with You When You Go - 2:55
All songs written by Gary Wagner

Parish Hall
*Gary Wagner -Vocals, Guitar, Piano
*Steve Adams - Drums
*John Haden - Bass

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Stark Naked - Stark Naked (1971 us, great hard rock with prog jazz traces, expanded issue)

Crate-crawling rock fans who have only encountered the band Stark Naked on record declare them a dark prog rock band that flirted with hard rock, but their Long Island, NY, hometown fan base also remember them as having a huge, theatrical stage show that acts like Kiss and Alice Cooper would later emulate.

Members Lyne Bunn (vocals), Richard Belsky (lead guitar), Jim Monahan (guitar), Tom Rubino (bass), Paul Venier (keyboards), and John Fragos (drums) were either in their teens or early twenties when their band's self-titled debut was issued by RCA in 1971. The album climbed to the number six slot on the charts but while on a tour supporting the release, the band's money disappeared.

They accused their missing manager of making off with the cash, became disillusioned with the music business, and soon broke up. Venier and Fragos weren't out of the business long before teaming once again in the band Salty Dog, a hard rock and somewhat prog outfit that recorded and toured throughout the '70s. Venier would later become a standup comedian and return to music in 2003 with his soft rock band, V, and their debut full-length, Better Late Than Never.
by David Jeffries

1. All of Them Witches (P. Venier, J. Monahan, J. Fragos) - 8:55
2. Done (P. Venier) - 5:48
3. Sins (R. Belskin, L. Bunn) - 4:46
4. Look Again (P. Venier) - 11:04
5. Wasted Time (P. Venier, J. Monahan) - 4:48
6. Iceberg (P. Venier, J. Fragos, T. Rubino) - 5:12
7. Done (Mono 45 Version) (P. Venier) - 2:53
8. Sins (Mono 45 Version) (R. Belskin, L. Bunn) - 2:57

Stark Naked
*Richard Belskin - Guitar
*Lyne Bunn - Percussion, Vocals
*John Fragos - Percussion, Drums, Gong
*Jim Monahan - Guitar, Vocals
*Tom Rubino - Bass
*Paul Venier - Percussion, Keyboards, Vocals

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