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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Melanie - Born To Be / Affectionately Melanie (1968-69 us, gorgeous sweet soft folk country pop, debut and 2nd album, 2007 edition)

No talent who came out of Woodstock and who continued actively performing more than a quarter century later remained as closely associated with the 1960s and "flower power" than Melanie. Born Melanie Safka in Astoria, Queens, in 1947, she made her first public appearance at age four on a radio show, later studying at the New York Academy of Fine Arts. After mounting a singing career while in college, she later sang in clubs in Greenwich Village, and was signed to a publishing contract in 1967. She recorded her first single, "Beautiful People," for Columbia Records that same year. Her relationship with the record company was short-lived, however, and after one more single she left the label.

In 1969, she chanced to meet producer Peter Schekeryk, and after a hastily arranged audition, he took charge of her career. Her first album, Born to Be, was recorded and released by Buddah later that same year. On August 16, Melanie took the stage at the Woodstock Music & Art Festival in Bethel, New York; her song "Birthday of the Sun" was later released on the Woodstock 2 album, and 20 years later it was released on video as part of Woodstock: The Lost Performances, alongside the work of Janis Joplin, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and the Who.

Soon afterward, she cut her second album, Affectionately, which did slightly better than her first; however, her commercial breakthrough came 11 months after Woodstock, when she released the song "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)," recorded with the Edwin Hawkins Singers. The song, written as a tribute to the audience at Woodstock and displaying the feel of a gospel hymn, rose to number six on the U.S. charts, while the accompanying LP, entitled Candles in the Rain, reached the Top 20.

After 1970's Leftover Wine, a live album recorded at a Carnegie Hall concert, she issued a plaintive version of the Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday." In January of 1971, Melanie's own version of "What Have They Done to My Song, Ma," a recent smash for the New Seekers, got to number 39 in Britain, where she emerged as a major star. In March, however, her new release, The Good Book, peaked on the U.S. charts at just number 80, despite the presence of several impressive tracks, among them a hauntingly beautiful cover of Phil Ochs' prophetic, doom-laden self-eulogy, "Chords of Fame."

At around this time, Melanie rebelled against her contract with Buddah, which required her to supply albums more or less on demand -- she'd had four LPs released in half as many years, and wanted more control over her work and career. With help from Schekeryk, whom she had married, she organized her own label, Neighborhood Records, during the summer of 1971. Her first subsequent single, "Brand New Key" hit number one on the U.S. charts while on its way to becoming a million seller; thanks to its not-so-subtle sexual undertones, the song became a kind of "in" dirty joke in some circles, and was even censored on some radio stations, but it also made Melanie one of the top-selling artists of the year 1971.

The accompanying album, Gather Me, was the best produced long-player she had ever released, and reached a chart position of number 15, earning a gold record in the process. This huge success prompted Buddah to release Garden in the City, consisting of previously unreleased outtakes. At the same time that 1971's Gather Me spawned the single "Ring the Living Bell," Buddah decided to capitalize more directly on Melanie's catalog and released "The Nickel Song"; the presence of two singles in release simultaneously from two different labels and distributors -- each competing for radio play and listener dollars -- damaged both releases, and they effectively canceled each other out.

Garden in the City rose to number 19, but her next new album on Neighborhood, Stoneground Words, only got to number 70 late in 1972. In June of 1973, her double-concert album, At Carnegie Hall, recorded the previous year, didn't even make the Top 100. By this time, Melanie had withdrawn from the stage, and was devoting her time to more personal and domestic concerns, having the first of three children in as many years. She re-emerged in 1974 for a short series of concerts, but her new album of that period, Madrugada, barely made it on to the charts, and her subsequent two LPs, As I See It Now and Sunset and Other Beginnings, released in 1975, barely sold. Neighborhood Records was later closed down.

A year later, Photograph was released to lackluster sales on Atlantic; the follow-up, Phonogenic, also failed to chart, and her last album for the next five years, Ballroom Streets, appeared on the Tomato label in 1977. In 1982, Melanie cut a comeback album, Arabesque, for RCA; a year later, her single "Every Breath of the Way" scraped the middle of the British charts and led to a series of concerts in England. Neighborhood was soon reactivated just long enough for Melanie to release one last album, Seventh Wave.

At the end of the 1980s, she re-emerged once again with her theme music for the popular television series Beauty and the Beast. By that time, Woodstock nostalgia was beginning to be stoked by the media and concert promoters, and Melanie appeared at one of the 20th anniversary events. She continued to periodically perform at clubs in the United States and larger festivals in Europe, where her association with the 1960s made her a major draw, and every so often released an album of new songs or re-recordings of her classic numbers.
by Bruce Eder

1. In The Hour - 3:07
2. I’m Back In Town - 2:18
3. Bo Bo’s Party - 3:52
4. Mr Tambourine Man (Bob Dylan) - 4:24
5. Momma, Momma - 3:44
6. I Really Love Harold - 4:10
7. Animal Crackers - 2:13
8. Christopher Robin (Is Saying His Prayers) (Alan Alexander Milne, Harold Fraser-Simson, Melanie Safka) - 2:34
9. Close To It All - 3:20
10.Merry Christmas - 2:49
11.I’m Back In Town - 0:13
12.Tuning My Guitar - 4:01
13.Soul Sister Annie - 3:30
14.Any Guy - 2:12
15.Uptown And Down - 2:11
16.Again - 3:18
17.Beautiful People - 3:35
18.Johnny Boy - 2:41
19.Baby Guitar - 3:27
20.Deep Down Low - 3:21
21.For My Father 2:28
22.Take Me Home - 2:23
All songs by Melanie Safka except otherwise.
Tracks 1-10 from "Born To Be" 1968
Tracks 11-22 from "Affectionately Melanie" 1969

Melanie Safka - Vocals, Guitar

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Monday, November 28, 2011

T2 - It'll All Work Out in Boomland (1970 uk, stunning power heavy progressive rock, 2008 edition)

T2 was formed in early 1970 when Peter Dunton (drums, lead vocals and songs) left the Gun to join up with Keith Cross (guitar and keyboards) and Bernard Jinks (bass), both from Bulldog Breed. They soon found a strong musical rapport and, after less than a week of rehearsals, they started a residency at a club in London's West End.

By their third gig, the club was packed, and the producers from four major record companies and three TV and Radio programmes were there to check them out. This led to a recording deal with Decca Records, the release of "It'll All Work Out In Boomland" and several TV and radio appearances later in the year.

Their rise continued throughout the year, with appearances at several important open-air festivals, including the Isle of Wight and Plumpton. They headlined a series of residencies at the Marquee Club, and appeared at virtually every major rock venue in the London area before branching out onto the university circuit. They were constantly in the music press - indeed Keith, still only seventeen, was being hailed as the new Eric Clapton! In the end, the pressures grew too great and first Keith and then Bernard left the band.

After a short break, Peter put the band back on the road with new musicians, and T2 toured the UK continuously throughout 1971 and 1972. Finally, a settled line-up was achieved - including Mike Foster, who had been a friend of the band since the early lays. However, the UK music scene had changed considerably by then. The band found that to resume their recording career, they would have to compromise their musical policy. Rather than do this, they decided to stop altogether.

Essentially, T2 were an exceptional live band with a unique blend of musical styles. The three musicians played as one, with great emotional intensity, and sounded like no one else. Their music went through constant changes of light and shade, from wistful acoustic whispers to thunderous roars of anger, creating great musical tension on the way. Their concerts were not just a series of favourite songs, they were emotional experiences, which somehow triggered feelings and memories in their audiences. In some ways it was fitting that they should end too soon - a promise unfulfilled, a question unanswered. But the dream did not die.

1. In Circles - 8:34
2. J.L.T. - 5:44
3. No More White Horses - 8:35
4. Morning - 21:14
Bonus tracks:
5. Questions And Answers - 5:17
6. CD - 7:01
7. In Circles - 9:07

*Keith Cross - Guitars, Keyboards, Harmony Vocals
*Peter Dunton - Drums, Lead Vocals
*Bernard Jinks - Bass Guitar, Harmony Vocals

Related Acts
1967-69  Bulldog Breed - Made In England
1965-68  The Flies - Complete Collection 
1968-69  Please - Please 
1969  Please - Seeing Stars 
1969-70  Infinity - Collected Works 
1971-72  Keith Cross, Peter Ross - Bored Civilians (2010 remaster) 

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Canned Heat - The Very Best Of (1967-73 us, classic psych blues rock, 2005 issue with previous unreleased track)

With the glut of Canned Heat compilations available, what makes this 19-song Capitol/EMI release better than the rest? For starters, the previously unreleased track "Henry's Shuffle," featuring guitarist Henry Vestine and recorded in 1968, which was undoubtedly the zenith year for the band; the inclusion of "Low Down (And High Up)"; the rare Liberty B-side "Time Was," and the rollicking 1970 date with Little Richard, "Rockin' With the King."

Also included are several tracks that both the novice and die-hard fan alike would find essential -- three live cuts from the Monterey Pop Festival, a nod to the 1971 collaborative effort with John Lee Hooker on "Whiskey and Wimmen'," and two Woodstock era classics culled from the Boogie with Canned Heat album, "Amphetamine Annie" and "Fried Hockey Boogie."

And, of course, what would a Canned Heat compilation be without the bona fide hippie hits: "On the Road Again," "Goin' Up the Country" and "Let's Work Together." These are the original versions, digitally remastered and sounding great, so ignore the glut, this really is the Very Best of Canned Heat.
by Al Campbell

1. On the Road Again (Jones, Wilson) - 4:56
2. Goin' Up the Country (Wilson) - 2:51
3. Amphetamine Annie (Canned Heat) - 3:32
4. Rollin' and Tumblin' Live (Morganfield) - 4:14
5. Dust My Broom Live (James) - 4:58
6. Bullfrog Blues Live (Cook, Hite, Taylor, Vestine, Wilson) - 3:08
7. Henry's Shuffle (Previously Unreleased) (Vestine) - 4:52
8. Fried Hockey Boogie (Taylor) - 11:02
9. Same All Over (De La Parra, Hite, Taylor, Vestine) - 2:52
10.Time Was (Wilson) - 3:23
11.Low Down (And High Up) (De La Parra, Hite, Taylor, Vestine, Wilson) - 2:52
12.Poor Moon (Wilson) - 3:26
13.Let's Work Together (Harrison) - 3:13
14.Future Blues (De La Parra, Hite, Taylor, Mandel, Wilson) - 2:58
15.Human Condition (Canned Heat) - 5:25
16.Whiskey and Wimmen' (Hooker) - 4:37
17.Long Way from L.A. (Baker) - 3:07
18.Rockin' With the King / Little Richard (Penniman, Taylor) - 3:17
19.Rock & Roll (Hite) - 2:27

*Al Wilson - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
*Bob "The Bear" Hite - Vocals, Harmonica
*Henry Vestine, Joel Scott Hill, James Shane - Guitar
*Ed Beyer - Keyboards
*Larry "The Mole" Taylor, Tony De La Barreda, Richard Hite - Bass Guitar
*"Fito" De La Parra, Frank Cook - Drums
*Little Richard - Vocals, Piano
*John Lee Hooker - Vocals
*Harvey Mandel - Guitar

More Canned Heat releases, here:
1968  Canned Heat - Livin The Blues (Akarma edition)
1970  Future Blues (Remastered and Expanded)
1971  John Lee Hooker And Canned Heat - Hooker 'N' Heat
1970-73  Memphis Slim Canned Heat Memphis Horns - Memphis Heat
1971-72  Canned Heat - Historical Figures And Ancient Heads
1973  Canned Heat - One More River To Cross

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Bevis Frond - Sprawl (1994 uk, great heavy acid psych rock revival, 2016 remaster and expanded)

1994 and Nick is back in Golddust Studios, this time with a whole bunch of mates, including Canterbury Scene stalwart Jimmy Hastings on Flute, and the immensely talented Andy Ward, ex-Camel, on Drums.

The album is restored to its original vinyl running order, spread, or sprawled maybe, over two discs. You can burn it as two CDs, with the second disc starting with Right On (Your Hippie Dream).

Nick is really on form here, and its difficult to single out particular tracks. Right On is a long jam featuring Current 93's David Tibet's intoning vocal, and everyone else throws something into the pot. The Puller and Oh Gideon are incredibly well observed songs, lyrically and musically beautiful.

Anodyne is great, and the speeded up live version always went down a storm - Bari Watts did a really good cover of it on his solo album, for all you Outskirts of Infinity fans. The album really benefits from the original running order.

Nick was touring a fair amount at this time, and the touring band was based around Andy Ward on drums and Adrian Shaw on Bass.
Bevis Frond-bandcamp

Disc 1
1. I Know Were Going - 6:15
2. Awake! - 11:53
3. Innerwheel - 4:45
4. 41 Years - 3:01
5. Love You More - 4:26
6. The Puller - 8:53
7. Oh Gideon - 6:48
8. 74/GinghamRag - 5:40
9. Right On (Hippie Dream) - 21:02
All songs by Nick Saloman

Disc 2
1. Boa Constrictor - 2:53
2. Remember Me - 4:42
3. I Bought My Love A Lapdog - 7:02
4. Madrigal - 3:02
5. New Alexandria - 4:32
6. Anodyne - 5:07
7. See You - 1:11
8. Sister John - 5:49
9. Dry Rain - 5:22
10.Melmex - 5:26
11.Untogether - 2:45
12.Christmas Eve - 2:28
13.Three Mile Wall - 4:32
14.Hard Life - 4:05
15.The Illegal Raffling Of The Equator - 12:48
All compositions by Nick Saloman

The Bevis Frond
*Nick Saloman - All Instruments, Vocals
*Andy Ward - Drums
*Jumi Hastings - Flute
*Tony Aldridge - Violin
*David Tibet, Ade Shaw, Dean Carter, Mick Donovan - Vocals

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Friday, November 25, 2011

The Golden Earrings - Just Ear Rings (1965 holland, smart beat 'n' roll, 2009 extra tracks edition)

When Golden Earring scored a massive worldwide hit with  Radar Love in 1973/4, few of their new fans knew  they'd formed in the early '6os and already had an unbroken string of Dutch hits.  Early on, they were The Golden Earrings -  the name change came in 1969, the year they struck out on their first American tour.  Before then, they'd remained Holland's secret. 

This special reissue of their debut album, 1965  Just Earrings, finally means the secrecy is over. Also out on RPM International are their second and third albums:  1967's Winter Harvest and 1968's Miracle Mirror.  It's about time, the Golden Earrings had their own voice from  the beginning.  They were always melodic, always focused, always immediate,  their music combined the tough chunkiness of The Who and  The Kinks with the minor- key, brooding melodies of The Zombies.  They had arrived on record fully formed.  Where bands like the rough-hewn Outsiders defined the edgy sound of Amsterdam, the more polished Golden Earrings  defined the sound of The Hague.

This - the first-ever CD release of Just Earrings outside The Netherlands - supplements the album with all the single-only  tracks that bookended the album. From the raving freakbeat  of Chunk Of Steel, the B-side of their first single,  to the wonderful That Day,  the top side of their second 45,  it's obvious The Golden Earrings were developing at an  incredible pace.  Just Earrings was issued between those first two singles,  and stands as one of Europe's best beat-era albums. and that includes the UK. 

Beyond displaying a top-drawer songwriting talent,  the album included only one cover version.  Who else was that confident in 1965? The Golden Earrings were amongst Holland's first home-grown  beat era stars: before Q65 and The Outsiders.  Please Go, their first single hit the Dutch charts  in September 1965 and began a career that still thrives. Just Earrings is the foundation of that career.

The roots of The Golden Earrings lie in The Tornados,  a band formed by 13-year-old George Kooymans  and 15-year-old Marinus Gerritsen in 1962. George had arrived at Rinus - as Marinus is known  to all - house in the south of The Hague to give older brother  Rob Gerritsen a Guitarlesson.  But Rob soon passed his guitar to younger brother Rinus,  who quickly formed a band with George. 

For influences, Rinus has said that 'Little Richard,  Lloyd Price, Fats Domino and Elvis: those are the first names that come to mind when I think back to those days' Settling as Rinus Gerritsen (bass), Hans van Herwerden (guitar), Freddie van der Hilst (drums) and George Kooymans (guitar),  the band became The Tornados. An instrumental outfit,  their repertoire included Shadows and Ventures numbers.

At the time, and it wasn't unusual for teenagers to start combos in The Hague. The city was stuffed with rock 'n1 roll bands and  competition was tough. The scene took off around 1957/8 when  The Room Rockers, The Black Dynamites, The Hot Jumpers  and The Rhythm Stars began playing live. Uniquely,  this boom was fuelled by bands made up from Indonesian immigrants Indo-Rock had been born.  The Netherlands' home-grown rock 'n1 roll scene owes  its existence to the Indo-Rockers. Ultimately,  Breda's Tielman Brothers would become Holland's kings of Indo-Rock.

With a live circuit and primed audiences, The Tornados - due  to their youth - started out playing school parties.  By then end of the year though, they'd begun playing clubs. After the British Tornados' Telstar became a Dutch hit  in late 1962, a name change was inevitable. In early 1963  the band chose The Golden Earrings, from the standard that  Peggy Lee had a hit with in 1948.

Another change came when Hans van Herwerden was replaced by Peter de Ronde. Then, by the end of 1963, it became clear  that the shifting musical climate meant the band would have  to incorporate vocals. Frans Krassenburg became their singer in early 1964. Now fit for Beat Boom purpose, the five-piece Golden Earrings  were up against stiff competition. Fellow Hague band The Motions  - with future Shocking Blue leader Robbie van Leeuwan -  were also moving fast.  So fast they scored the coveted support slot at The Rolling Stones' one-off Dutch date at Scheveningen's Kurhaus on  8 August 1964 (Scheveningen is the beach resort that borders  on The Hague).

The Dutch bands were well aware of the desire for beat music  that was on their doorstep. Pirate radio station Veronica  was broadcasting from a ship moored off the Dutch coast  (its programmes were recorded in a Hilversum studio).  The 7000 tickets sold for The Beatles' only Dutch date at Blokker on 6 June 1964 was already proof enough of that.  The seat smashing which kicked off the moment The Stones  took the stage at the Kurhaus meant that beat music could  even score some headlines.

Before The Golden Earrings could grab attention they adjusted  their line up again. By the end of 1964 drummer Jaap Eggermont  had joined from local outfit The Pirates. The recording line up  had finally arrived: Jaap Eggermont (drums),  Rinus Gerritsen (bass), George Kooymans (guitar),  Frans Krassenburg (vocals) and Peter de Ronde (rhythm guitar). Pirates' manager Jacques Senf also came on board. As the band entered 1965, the local music scene was beginning to exert  its identity. The Motions had recorded their first tracks in January,  and entered the Dutch charts in April with their debut single  It's Gone.  Home-grown bands could now compete.  The Golden Earrings had the chance to grab the brass ring.

The break came in July 1965 after they had appeared at a so-band showcase that climaxed with a Kinks' performance.  Shortly afterwards, Freddy Haayen saw the band at their  regular venue Club 192 (run by Senf, their manger).  Haayen said he worked for Polydor Records and that he wanted  to record them.  Actually, he was an architecture student who also worked as a trainee at Polydor's warehouse. 

The Golden Earrings didn't know this and duly turned up  at Hilversum's Phonogram Studio on the afternoon  of 8 August to record four tracks: Please Go,  Chunk Of Steel, Lonely Everyday and Not To Find.  Haayen had made good on his bluff and scored a deal with Polydor.  Released in September, Please Go immediately started  climbing the Dutch charts, reaching number 10 after TV  appearances  and special shows arranged for the press. 

Despite being a recording debut, this stunningly mature song had a note-perfect arrangement. As momentum built, The Golden Earrings were billed with visiting British bands to represent what Holland could do.  In September they played with The Who;  November saw them teamed up with The Kinks. The only thing that jarred was Frans Krassenburg's short hair,  the result of a brush with National Service. In the wake of the debut hit, the band completed their first  album, Just Earrings.  Released November 1965,  the album showcased the band's supreme confidence. 

The 12 tracks included just one cover version, Sticks And Stones. From the opening chords of Nobody But You,  it's instantly clear that melody was the band's forte  - even when balanced against those slabs of Who- derived guitar dissonance heard a minute in. The band was hurtling forwards. So much so, that a second single of album track Lonely Everyday was shelved. Lonely Everyday  and its planned B-side Not To Find were also recorded at  that first session in August.  Licensing restrictions prevent the inclusion of Not To Find - a great raving number - on this collection.  The sleeve of this rarity is illustrated anyway.

The next year began with a trip to London to record their  second single proper. Both That Day and its B-side  The Words I Need were recorded at Pye Studios on 5 January,  with Pirates' guitarist Aat den Dulk on piano. The session was followed by a single live date, at a club in south-east London's Forest Hill. The journey to London  was made by boat, because there was no money to go by plane, ' remembered Rinus Gerritsen.  "Everyone was seasick, but that was soon forgotten when we stuffed our instruments into a couple of London taxis  and drove to Pye Studios' The Golden Earrings were the first  Dutch band to record in England.  Their rivals The Motions followed suit in February,  also recording at Pye.  The Golden Earrings were setting the agenda now.

Another hit, That Day confirmed that The Golden Earrings  were a major force. But that was still true for Holland only:  the February 1966 British release of the single by Polydor  went nowhere. There was enormous pressure on us to produce a sequel to  That Day,1 recalled Rinus Gerritsen. ' So we tried to write a song in the same style.' That sequel, If You Leave Me, was also recorded in London  and issued in May 1966.  Although another consummate performance and another hit, the band weren't satisfied with the quality  of the production and dispatched Freddie Haayen back to London  to remaster the single. Established as one of The Netherlands'  top bands, The Golden Earrings would continue consolidating  their position while always progressing. Their next album, igGy's Winter Harvest, was another landmark. Which is where the story continues.
by Kieron Tyler,  March 2009

1. Nobody But You - 2:18
2. I Hate Saying These Words - 2:17
3. She May Be (G.Kooymans) - 1:47
4. Holy Witness (G.Kooymans) - 2:47
5. No Need To Worry (M.Gerritsen) - 2:04
6. Please Go - 2:56
7. Sticks and Stones (T.Turner) - 1:41
8. I Am A Fool (M.Gerritsen) - 2:06
9. Don't Stay Away - 2:10
10.Lonely Everyday - 1:42
11.When People Talk - 2:47
12.Now I Have (G.Kooymans) - 1:38
13.Chunk Of Steel (G.Kooymans, M.Gerritsen, Ronde) - 2:25
14.That Day -  2:30
15.The Words I Need - 2:15
16.If You Leave Me - 2:17
17.Waiting For You - 2:27
All tracks by Rinus Gerritsen, George Kooymans excepr where stated

The Golden Earrings
*George Kooymans - Guitar, Vocals
*Jaap Eggermont - Drums
*Rinus Gerritsen - Bass, Keyboard
*Frans Krassenburg - Vocals
*Peter De Ronde - Rhythm Guitar

The Golden Earring 
1968-69  Miracle Mirror (2009 bonus tracks edition)
1966  Winter-Harvest (2009 extra tracks issue)
1969  On The Double
1969/71 Eight Miles High / Seven Tears
1972  Together
1973  Moontan

1971  George Kooymans - Jojo
1972  Barry Hay - Only Parrots, Frogs And Angels

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Blues Image - Blues Image / Red White and Blues Image (1969-70 us, exciting blues rock with latin jazz shades)

The Blues Image formed in Tampa, FL, in 1966 by Michael Pinera (b. September 29, 1948, Tampa, FL) (guitar, vocals), Manuel Bertematti (b. 1946, Tampa, FL) (percussion), and Joe Lala (b. Tampa, FL) (drums). Malcolm Jones (b. Cardiff, Wales) (bass) joined in 1966, followed in 1968 by Frank "Skip" Konte (b. Canyon City, OK) (keyboards).

The band moved to New York City in 1968 and managed a club called the Image. Then they moved to Los Angeles, where they signed to Atlantic Records' Atco division in February 1969, and released their self-titled debut album. This was followed by Open (1970), which featured "Ride Captain Ride." But the Blues Image never followed their hit. Pinera left, replaced by Kent Henry (guitar) and Dennis Correll (vocals).

Then the Blues Image broke up. A third album, Red White & Blues Image, was compiled from outtakes. Skip Konte joined Three Dog Night, while some other band members reformed as Manna. Pinera later was a member of Iron Butterfly, then Ramatam, and, with Bertematti, the New Cactus Band.  He also formed a band called Thee Image and worked as a solo artist. Lala became a Los Angeles session player and worked with Joe Walsh and the various manifestations of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, among others.
by William Ruhlmann

1969 Blues Image
1. Take Me to the Sunrise - 4:14
2. Leaving My Troubles Behind - 3:49
3. Outside Was Night - 3:56
4. In Front Behind You - 3:13
5. Lay Your Sweet Love on Me - 2:14
6. (Do You Have) Somethin' to Say - 3:58
7. Lazy Day Blues - 4:50
8. Yesterday Could Be Today - 2:10
9. Reality Does Not Inspire - 9:09
All songs witten by The Blues Image.

1970 Red, White and Blues Image

10.Rise Up (Correll, Jones, Konte) - 4:16
11.Behind Every Man (Correll, Konte) - 3:17
12.Gas Lamps and Clay (Correll, Konte) - 2:39
13.Take Me Back (Correll, Konte) - 3:33
14.It Happens All the Time (Henry, Jones) - 4:01
15.Good Life (Correll, Konte) - 3:35
16.It's the Truth (Jones) - 3:42
17.Let's Take a Ride (Konte) - 2:52
18.Ain't No Rules in California (Jones) - 7:50

Blues Image

*Mike Pinera - Vocals, Guitar (1969)
*Frank "Skip" Konte - Vocals, Piano, Organ
*Joe Lala - Vocals, Drums, Percussion, Congas
*Manuel Bertematti - Drums, Congas, Tumba
*Malcom Jones - Bass
*Dennis Correll - Vocals (1970)
*Kent Henry - Guitar (1970)

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

East Of Eden - Mercator Projected (1969 uk, fascinating heavy progressive rock, eclectic extra tracks issue)

East of Eden was a British band that existed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and released a handful of albums. 1969's Mercator Projected is their first offering, and also regarded as their best. This album was originally released on Deram Records, the same label that gave us the Moody Blues.

The band didn't have a steady lineup, but on this album, the group consisted of violinist and flutist Dave Arbus, saxist Ron Caines, guitarist and vocalist Geoff Richardson, bassist Steve York and drummer Dave LaFont. Dave Arbus happened to be the same guy who played violin on The Who's classic "Baba O'Reilly" (aka "Teenage Wasteland"), by the way.

The album varies from hard rocking numbers like "Northern Hemisphere" to moody atmospheric numbers like "Bathers", "Waterways", and "Moth". There's also a bluesy number called "Centaur Woman" (sung by Ron Caines), but this is the only weak number on this album, as there's just too much bass noodling from Steve York.

The whole album is a fascinating combination of psych, Middle Eastern influences, early prog rock, and jazz rock. Odd electronic effects are included from time to time, odd use of phasing not unlike the Beatles' "I Am the Walrus", and some jams that sound like they belong on a Soft Machine album.

The old LP features photos of the band members all dressed in Egyptian garb and makeup on the back. The album had been reissued on CD on Repertoire Records in Germany, Si-Wan Records in Korea, and some Japenese reissues as well, so if you can't find the LP or you no longer have a turntable, then you can find the CD reissue online or at your finer record stores that carries better imports (that is, the record stores ran by music enthusiasts, which are becoming quite rare these days, at least in America).
 by Ben Miler

1. Northern Hemisphere - 5:03
2. Isadora - 4:19
3. Waterways - 7:00
4. Centaur Woman - 7:09
5. Bathers - 4:57
6. Communion - 4:02
7. Moth - 4:03
8. In The Stable Of The Sphinx - 8:20
9. Waterways (Bonus Track, Demo) - 6:40
10.In the Stable of the Sphinx (Bonus Track) - 11:10.
11.Eight Miles High (Bonus Track) - 6:51
All compositions by East Of Eden, except track 11 by G. Clark, D. Crosby, R. McGuinn.
Track 10 Demo recorded in July 1968
Track 11 recorded at Tangerine Stusios, London 3rd September 1969

East Of Eden
*Geoff Nicholson - Guitars, Vocals
*Dave Arbus - Electric Violin, Flute, Bagpipe, Recorders, Two Saxophones
*Ron Caines - Soprano, Alto Saxophones, Organ, Vocals
*Dave Dufont - Percussions
*Steve York - Bass Guitar, Harmonica, Piano

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Power Of Zeus - The Gospel According To Zeus (1970 us, detroit based, pioneer heavy psych rock band)

Power of Zeus was formed in 1968 by Detroit vocalist / guitarist Joe Periano shortly after his release from the Marine Corps. Joe was joined by bassist/vocalist Bill Jones, drummer Bob Michalski & Hammond organist Dennie Webber. Initially going by the name of Gangrene, the Cream/Zeppelin/Sabbath inspired heavy rock quartet became the unofficial house band at the Wooden Nickel club, where they were eventually spotted by a local manager.

Motown psyche-oriented subsidiary Rare Earth signed the band on the condition they find a new name. Having decided upon Power of Zeus they began work on what would become their sole release, 1970's The Gospel According to Zeus LP. The relationship between band and label was strained, with the former claiming that the latter had no experience of recording a heavy rock act, and that the Motown producers had failed to nail their crunchier live sound on tape.

Certainly the LP is pretty far removed from the distorto-trash rock of fellow Detroit rockers The MC5 and The Stooges, but what it lacks in grime it makes up for in Super Heavy Funkiness - hammond, bass & drums are to the fore, with production as fat & full as you would expect from the Motown studios. The LP was pretty much a flop at the time, but has since become a highly sought after item, attaining genuine legendary status amongst record collectors - especially those of a hip-hop / breaks orientation, for whom the incredible 'The Sorcerer of Isis (Ritual Of The Mole)' drum & bass break is like manna from Zeus himself. The definition of The Super Heavy Psychedelic Funk Rock Sound.

1. It Couldn't Be Me (Jones, Weber) - 3:52
2. In the Night (Periano) - 3:53
3. Green Grass & Clover (Jones) - 3:08
4. I Lost My Love (Periano) - 2:08
5. The Death Trip (Periano) - 7:37
6. No Time (Robinson) - 3:26
7. Uncertain Destination (Jones, Periano) - 4:50
8. Realization (Jones) - 2:47
9. Hard Working Man (Michalski) - 2:12
10.The Sorcerer of Isis (The Ritualof the Mole) (Jones, Michalski, Periano) - 5:43

Power Of Zeus
*Joe Periano - Vocals, Guitar
*Bill Jones - Bass, Vocals
*Bob Michalski - Drums, Backing Vocals
*Dennie Webber - Hammond Organ, Harpsichord, Piano

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Highway Robbery - Highway Robbery (1972 us, superb heavy psych rock)

After a stint with The Boston Tea Party lead guitarist Michael Stevens began looking for another project. Perhaps inspired by Capitol Records' success with a power trio (e.g. Grand Funk Railroad), Stevens decided to build a hard rock trio. He eventually ended up with a line up consisting of singer/drummer Don Francisco who had previously been a member of the California-based Atlee and Crowfoot and bassist John Livingston Tunison IV had been in an outfit by the name of Manitoba Hugger (?).

Stevens and company attracted the attention of managers Robert Cavallo and Joseph Rufallo who'd turned acts like Little Feat and The Weather Report into big names. The pair signed Highway Robbery to their management roster and quickly approached Bill Halverson about producing the band's debut album. Signed by RCA Victor and teamed with Halverson in the production role, all hyperbole aside, these guys managed to write and record one of the great and overlooked hard rock albums of the 1970s.

At least to my ears 1972's "For Love or Money" is a impressive on a number of fronts. With Stevens credited with writing all eight songs, the LP wasn't particularly original, but the band had good taste when it came to appropriating sounds. In this case their recipe borrowed liberally from bands like early Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer, Free, Led Zep and even a little Grand Funk bombast. Those ingredients were then mixed into something that managed to combine hard rock punch with a commercial sheen that was derivative, but still quite attractive.

With the exception of a pair of radio ready power ballads which were supposedly tacked on the album when RCA executives threatened to shelve the set for lack of commercial potential, this album simply didn't let up. Propelled by Francisco's shrieking voice and Stevens' hyperactive guitar, tracks like 'Mystery Rider', 'Fifteen' and 'Lazy Woman' (the latter one of two songs with Tunison handling lead vocals), were simply killer slices of early-1970s metal that match up well with any of the band's better known competition.

Even more impressive, these songs were tuneful and occasionally even boasted lyrics that rose above the typical 'need-my-woman-now' standard you'd expect from long haired freaks. At some risk to my rock credibility (big laugh), I'll even readily admit that the two commercial numbers 'All I Need (To Have Is You)' and 'Bells' were both actually pretty good.

For love or money, Highway Robbery hereby dedicates itself to roar, to drive, to sensitive joy and, above all, the emission of the highest levels of energy rock. Let it be known that Michael Stevens – lead guitarist, vocalist, writer of all material contained herein, child of a gypsy commune – carries out this pledge in the true manner of his forebears.

Further be it known that he is in allegiance with Don Francisco – drummer, lead singer and a New York native whose main influences have been traditional New Orleans-based bands such as Robert Parker & the Royals and Deacon John & the Ivories; and with John Livingston Tunison IV – bassman, vocalist and painter, whose first sound memories are of Muddy Waters and B.B. King. FOR LOVE OR MONEY: signed, sealed and created by the aforementioned Highway Robbery, in this age, on this day, in the name of storming, beautiful rock and roll.

1. Mystery Rider - 3:01
2. Fifteen - 2:56
3. All I Need (to Have Is You) - 4:16
4. Lazy Woman - 5:39
5. Bells - 3:24
6. Ain't Gonna Take No More - 3:56
7. I'll Do It All Again - 4:12
8. Promotion Man - 5:59
All songs by Michael Stevens.

Highway Robbery
*Michael "Mike" Stevens - Guitar, Back Vocals
*John Livingston Tunison IV - Bass, Back Vocals
*Don Francisco - Vocals, Drums

Related Acts
1968  The Boston Tea Party (2010 edition)
1970  Atlee - Flying Ahead

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Velvett Fogg - Velvett Fogg (1968 uk, amazing hard progressive and psychedelic rock, remaster edition with bonus track)

Velvett Fogg was formed in 1968 out of a respectable Brum band called Gravy Train. They were fronted by soul singer Ernie Handy and the guitarist at that time was Bob Hewitt. The other band members were drummer Graham Mullett, bass guitarist Mick Pollard, and Londoner Frank Wilson who played Hammond organ. The band were soon off to Germany where they spent most of the year playing at army bases and clubs. Their exciting stage act included a light show and a go-go dancer (who later married Ernie).

Upon returning to Birmingham, the band, now managed by an agency called Inter City Artists, was given a record deal by Jack Dorsey of Pye Records. At this time it seemed that the more unusual or controversial a band was, then the greater chance there would be for success in the record business. The record label was looking to sign unusual "underground" acts and Velvett Fogg were told to, in Jack Dorsey's words, "develop an image that would make people think you would piss on the pope"!

The initial line-up of Velvett Fogg featured guitarist Tony Iommi (later to make the big time with Black Sabbath). Tony stayed in the band for only one gig before leaving to be replaced temporarily by Ian Leighton - described as "a great blues guitarist" by his friend Frank Wilson. It was during this time that Pye Records arranged a photo-shoot of the group for the cover of their proposed first album (more about that later).
Material for the Velvett Fogg album would be supplied by local songwriter/guitarist Keith Law who became a friend of the band.

Keith was a veteran of the West Midlands music scene having played in "The Williamsons", "Love and Understanding" and Paint (Jardine). Keith takes up the story; "I was in the Rum Runner one night, when someone told me that Velvett Fogg were looking for new material, and they introduced me to them. I arranged to meet them at their rehearsal place, Langley Baths. I went along the next day, and went through the following songs with them: Yellow Cave Woman, Once Among The Trees, and Within' The Night and that was it! The next couple of days, they were in London recording".

Before recording could begin in late 1968, Ian Leighton departed Velvett Fogg and was replaced by guitarist/vocalist Paul Eastment (a cousin of the band's previous guitarist Tony Iommi). Paul Eastment was also to contribute original compositions for the album along with Frank Wilson, Graham Mullet and Mick Pollard.

Velvett Fogg recorded the tracks for their debut album under direction of Pye producer Jack Dorsey. Apparently, Dorsey aimed to get the band onto the then-popular "progressive" band wagon. "I was a classically trained pianist but we all had to play way below our capabilities" says Frank Wilson. The band were also allowed to record covers of a few songs they liked and these included psychedelic-sounding versions of New York Mining Disaster 1941 by The Bee Gees, and Tim Rose's version of "Come Away Melinda".

Velvett Fogg's self-titled album was released on the Pye label in January of 1969. Despite what some may have thought, the album stands up as a fine example of late 1960s British psychedelia. As well as the previously mentioned covers, original compositions such as Yellow Cave Woman and Once Among The Trees are both hypnotic if not compelling. By contrast, other tracks like Lady Caroline and Plastic Man had both homicidal and political overtones respectively.

By far the most controversial feature of the Velvett Fogg album was the record cover. It displayed the pre-Paul Eastment line-up of the band wearing garish make-up/body-paint and costume but also included two well-endowed young women wearing nothing but strategically applied body paint! This politically-incorrect package was accompanied by a typically obscure sleevenote by the influential U.K. disc jockey John Peel who commented "There is a lot of good music on this record. Remember Velvett Fogg - you will hear the name again."

Along with the Velvett Fogg album, Pye Records also released a single by the group. It was a cover of the Tornado's classic instrumental Telstar and was recorded by the band as requested by Jack Dorsey who hoped to cash in on the publicity surrounding the American moon landings taking place at that time. While receiving some radio play, the record did not sell enough copies to chart and a big advertising campaign planned by the record company to promote the album never materialised.

The band did a bit of touring after the single came out. Perhaps discouraged by poor sales of the Velvett Fogg album, Pye seemed to lose interest and withdrew their backing. In the autumn of 1969 the group disbanded with the members going their seperate ways. Frank Wilson says "I personally thought the first line-up in Germany was the best and most satisfying." He returned to London and joined Riot Squad and then "The Rumble Band" before following in Rick Wakeman's footsteps to join Warhorse in 1970.

Paul Eastment started a Brum band called "Holy Ghost" - later to become Ghost with whom he recorded a couple of albums. He later fronted another group called Resurrection as well as recording with local folk singer Shirley Kent. Keith Law stayed in the music business, is still writing songs, and is now a successful entertainer in the South-West of England.

During the years since Velvett Fogg's demise, demand amongst collectors for copies of their (now very rare) album has increased considerably. Original albums have changed hands for high prices with bootleg copies also known to be in circulation. Fortunately, in 2002 the Sanctuary Records Group Ltd. re-issued the album officially for the first time on CD (CMRCD619) and it is strongly recommended for those who are fans of the British psychedelic or early progressive sounds of the late 1960s. Keith Law and Frank Wilson are back together writing and recording for a proposed new Velvett Fogg album. Word has it that an Italian record company is already showing a lot of interest in the project.

Appearing in 1968, and disappearing just as quickly, Velvett Fogg's only LP is a truly great, lost classic of British psychedelic music. At it's best it features some imaginative guitar and organ workouts combined with quirky and unusual lyrics and the band's covers of 'New York Mining Disaster' and 'Come Away Melinda' add an eerie tone missing from the originals. Fogg's own originals include the childlike 'Wizard of Gobsolod', the haunting and somewhat dislocated 'Lady Caroline' and the jazzy workout of 'Owed to the Dip' but the tone of the album is set by the powerfully doom-laden opener, 'Yellow Cave Woman'. It's a great record and it's rounded off with the inclusion of the band's only single, a 68-style, special effect laden version of 'Telstar' - the sleevenotes, by John Peel, are a remarkable 1968 artifact in their own right.

1. Yellow Cave Woman (K. Law) - 6:57
2. New York Mining Disaster 1941 (R. Gibb, B. Gibb, M. Gibb) - 2:55
3. Wizard Of Gobsolod (P. Eastment) - 2:56
4. Once Among The Trees (K. Law) - 5:38
5. Lady Caroline (P. Eastment) - 2:23
6. Come Away Melinda (Fran Minkoff, Fred Hellerman) - 5:52
7. Owded To The Dip (G. Mullett, M. Pollard, P. Eastment) - 6:09
8. Within The Night (K. Law) - 4:45
9. Plastic Man (Frank Wilson, Graham Mullett) - 4:45
10.Telstar '69 (Bonus Track) (K. Law) - 2:46

Velvett Fogg
*Keith Law - (Songwriter)
*Frank Wilson - Hammond Organ, Vocal
*Paul Eastment - Guitar, Vocal
*Graham Mullett - Drums
*Mick Pollard - Bass Guitar

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Purple Overdose - Exit #4 (1988 greece, psychedelic rock revival)

The beauty of psychedelic music lies in its potential for genuine magic to occur. And if you focus your mantra in the direction of Athens, Greece you will find something very magical indeed. Purple Overdose is a band who unabashedly wear their passion for 1960's/70's era psychedelia on their shirtsleeves, creating some of the most beautiful and passionate progressive influenced psychedelia of the last several years.

Formed in 1987 by guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Costas Constantinou, Purple Overdose have released five studio albums and one live album of cosmic sounds that recall the glory of days gone by, while retaining a freshness and excitement that shrugs off any accusations of being "retro".

Purple Overdose's debut album - Exit #4 - was released in 1988 on Pegasus Records. At this time a quartet, the band consisted of Costas Constantinou on guitars and lead vocals, Christophoros Triantaphilopoulos on drums & percussion (George Nikas is the drummer on 5 tracks), "Sugar" George Papageorgiades on bass and backing vocals, and Michalis Vasiliou on organ, piano and backing vocals.

On this release we hear a rawer version of Purple Overdose though the seeds of exciting things to come are firmly planted. The songs reveal the bands passion for 60's era psychedelia combining elements of Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, and go-go flower power psych. The San Francisco sound really comes out on songs like "Are You There". "Yellow Mole" and "Roobie Go Round" feature classic 60's psych styled organ and keys.

Listening to "Yellow Mole" conjures up visions of go-go- girls grooving high above the dance floor. "Orange Journey" is the most Doors flavored song of the set and we're treated to the band taking off into jam territory (dig those Ray Manzarek keyboards!). "Holes" combines a Jefferson Airplane sound with Costas Constantinou's unmistakable vocals. "When You Talk About Me" is one of the heavier and intense songs on the album though the verses are classic 60's psychedelia. And "Blue Torture" is a cool trippy Blues tune. An impressive debut. 
by Jerry Kranitz 
On May 4th 2020, Costas Constantinou founding member and mastermind of the band, passed away, he was only 60 years old..

1. Exit #4 (Intro) - 1:37
2. Are You There? - 3:16
3. Yellow Mole - 4:48
4. Holes - 5:46
5. When You Talk About Me - 5:00
6. Rooby Go Round - 4:28
7. Elevation - 4:13
8. Blue Torture - 5:06
9. Orange Journey - 5:53
10.Exit #4 (Outro) - 1:35
All songs by Purple Overdose.

Purple Overdose
*Costas Constantinou - Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Christophoros Triantafilopoulos - Drums, Percussion
*George Papageorgiades - Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Michalis Vassiliou - Organ, Piano, Backing Vocals
*George Nikas - Drums (on tracks 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lee Clayton - Border Affair/The Capitol Years (1978-79/81 us, excellent classic rock, with country folk rock blend, 2007 acadia double disc edition, including three albums)

Introducing an artist such as Clayton is an excuse for the lazy sleeve note writer to trot out such hackneyed adjectives as 'enigmatic', or 'obscure', but not 'million-selling'. In a recording career that spans over thirty years, his album output doesn't even run into double figures, so one epithet that cannot be used in conjunction with Clayton's name is 'prolific'.

However, I'll take qualify over quantity any day, and if Clayton needs to take his time over albums as consistently strong as the three contained here - Border Affair, Naked Chid and The Dream Goes On, well, so be it. So, here's the point at which I shade in a bit of the Clayton background detail for yet.

According to the few music encyclopaedia entries on him, he was born in Alabama on October 29th, 1942, and was raised in Oak Ridge, Tennessee from the age of four. He told the UK fanzine Omaha Rainbow that "I've always known that music was important - when my dad knew he'd got uptight, and the world got too much for him, he would break out his bourbon and play Red Foley and Jimmie Rodgers records, and tell war stories and drink whisky.

I can remember trying to figure out what was going on; why everybody would sit there and get drunk and cry. I figured anything that could evoke that kind of emotion had to be pretty strong." Clayton's father was keen for him to learn a musical instrument, and gave him the choice of accordion or Guitar. He choose the latter of course, but it appears that his father purchased a steel guitar (maybe even a dobro) and also arranged for young Lee to have lessons. After a couple of years, Clayton expressed the opinion tha he preferred learning the instrument by ear, as opposed the formal lessons, his father promptly sold the guitar.

He didn't return to music until his teens. Music remaind one of numbered interests that he maintained during his student days at the University of Tennessee, wherein he eventually earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Managment, after which he got a job. He was doing ok, but in the mid '60's he was married had a Porsche sports car, and yet feld strangely unfulfilled. As well as music, he yearned to fly aeroplanes and despite being married, had the ol "roving eye" when it comes to the ladies.

According to Clayton "one day something went click and i turned around and went back home, quit the job and started trying to get in to the Air Force. He was to spend three years in USAF getting the pilot to March 2nd McDonnell BF101 Voodoo Fighter, which was most known amongst fly boys as "The Widowmaker", owing to a design fault that led to it behave unpredictably during certain manoeuvres.

In fact that experience inspired the song "Old Number NIne" from his album Border Affair. Having crossed off the desire to fly from his "to do" , on quitting the force, Clayton decamped to Nashville with the aim of pursuing a career of singer-songwritter. During his period with the services, Clayton has honed his skills as singer-songwritter, working on his Guitar playing and lyrical skills. There was clearly more than a grain of talent there, but in Nashville he was one of the zillion aspirant singer-songwriters trying to shine up the greasy pole.

" I was living in Luisville Kentucky, and spend three or four days of week in Nashville... people would say to me -what are you doing? - I'd say I'm a poet and songwriter. With in six months my money started to go and they took my credit cards away from me and I was on the street. Sols my Porsche and I had and old beat-up VW. I went from then until I got some money from the record company when i signed the deal in early '73. Before that was out on the street , sleeping in the floor time".

The record company referred to hear is MCA, who signed Clayton in 1973, following the succes he had enjoyed when Wylon Jennings had covered his song "Ladies Love the Outlaws". Clayton's excellent self-titled debut album is also available and is well worth checking out. However, Clayton spoked with somewhat mixed feelings of the year 1973 and released his debut long player. "The start of '73 I had no money, got some money made a record, spend a lot of money, end of '73, broke off the label, back on the streets again, all in one year.

I lived in motel room in California most of '74 - out in the Mojave Desert and lived there with this woman. Didn't do a whole lot, the truth is, just sat around and looked at things. Watched a whole lot of sun downs and sunrises, thought a lot, climbed the mountain, and one day figured it was time for me to go at it again". A considerable factor in the re-energising of Clayton's muse was his meeting and befriending Philip Donnelly, a fine Irish guitar player who was then a part of Donovan's touring band. In Donnelly, Clayton found an incisive and inspired guitarist, who helped supply a razor-sharp cutting edge to Clayton's recordings, lifting the music out of the Nashville standard, into something slightly more rock-orientated and contemporary.

This was Outlaw country, I guess. Clayton landed a new record deal with EMI / Capitol, and cut the three albums that you're hopefully enjoying. Border Affair was released in 1978, and enjoyed positive critical notices, and Willie Nelson loved the track If You Can Touch Her At All enough to cover the track himself. Cashbox magazine nominated Clayton for New Male Vocalist of the year. It's follow-up, Naked Child had a more difficult gestation - Clayton had crises of confidence over the production sound and the way recordings were progressing - however, he hauled it together, and its release in May 1979 again saw it well-received, critically.

Although Clayton had made little impression sales-wise in his native USA, the album did sell well in continental Europe, and Clayton, with an impressive band, toured the continent supporting label mates Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark and Chris Hillman. His European fan base has proved loyal; Clayton still enjoys a reputation on the Continent, years after the release of his final Capitol album, The Dream Goes On.

Lee Clayton has only intermittently returned to the recording and gigging fray in the twenty odd years since the early 80's; Bono of U2 has claimed Clayton as an influence, bizarrely enough, but Clayton's story is ultimately one of potential largely unfulfilled. Mind you, if one book-ends his debut with the three albums contained here, you have a quartet of some fine Outlaw Country music that no self-respecting fan should be without
by Alan Robinson, November 2007

Disc 1 
1. Silver Stallion - 4:48
2. If You Can Touch Her At All - 4:35
3. Back Home In Tennessee - 4:33
4. Border Affair - 3:47
5. Old Number Nine - 3:07
6. Like A Diamond - 4:36
7. My Women My Love - 5:02
8. Tequila Is Addictive - 4:32
9. My True Love - 4:36
10.Rainbow In The Sky (Lee Calyton, Phillip Donnelly) - 3:33 
11.Saturday Night Special - 3:11
12.I Ride Alone - 5:14
13.10,000 Light Years / Sexual Moon - 6:23
14.Wind And Rain - 2:40
All songs by Lee Clayton except where indicated
Tracks 1-10 from Border Affair 1978
Tracks 11-14 from Naked Child 1979

Disc  2
1. I Love You - 5:06
2. Jaded Virgin - 4:14
3. A Little Cocaine - 5:26
4. If I Can Do It (So Can You) - 4:44
5. What's A Mother Gonna Do - 2:54
6. Industry - 7:27
7. Wont You Give Me One More Chance - 3:22
8. Draggin' Them Chains - 3:31
9. Where Is The Justice - 4:48
10.Whatcha Gonna Do - 4:06
11.Oh How Lucky I Am - 3:41
12.The Dream Goes On - 4:47
All compositions by Lee Clayton
Tracks 1-4 from Naked Child 1979
Tracks 5-12 from The Dream Goes On 1981

1978 - Border Affair
*Colin Cameron - Bass
*Lee Clayton - Guitar, Harp, Lead Vocals
*Jimmy Day - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Phillip Donnelly - Lead Guitar, Vocal Harmony
*Danny Lane - Drums
*Andy McMahon - Keyboards
*Wayne Jackson - Trumpet
*Andrew Love - Sax

1979 - Naked Child and 1981 - The Dream Goes On
*Clay Caire - Drums
*Lee Clayton - Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Phillip Donnelly - Guitar
*Tim Krekel - Lead Guitar
*Steve Marshall - Bass
*Tony Newman - Drums tracks 8,12
*Bobby Ogdin - Keyboards
*Rachel Peer - Bass track 12
*Glenn Rieuf - Pedal Steel
*Vickie Hampton, Donna McElroy, Deborah Allen - Backing Vocals
*Sweet Honey Bees (Children's Voices) - Backing Vocals
*Thomas Cain & The Corinthian Church Choir (Big Children's Voices) - Backing Vocals

1973  Lee Clayton - Lee Clayton (2006 Acadia edition) 

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Moving Sidewalks - Flash (1968 us, excellent garage rock, with ZZ Top future members, akarma remastered edition, plus five bonus tracks)

The sole album by the Moving Sidewalks is as fascinating as it is unremarkable. As the birthing ground for legendary blues-rock guitarist Billy Gibbons, one would expect at least a taste of what would later make ZZ Top one of the best touring and recording bands on the planet; sadly, the album offers little in the way of revelation in its 15 tracks.

Admittedly, at the time of ZZ Top's 1970 debut, Gibbons' transformation from a journeyman bandleader into a boogie-blues demigod was still not fully realized, but his chops were miles away from what is heard here. Part of that lies in the fact that ZZ Top was less about psychedelia than straight blues; whatever psychedelic touches made their way onto the studio albums were largely an accessory. (They would eventually fully integrate on 1979's Deguello.)

The Moving Sidewalks, on the other hand, were psychedelic rockers whose songs hinted at the blues without fully diving in. The songs show little of Gibbons' future promise, and in fact are so thoroughly mediocre (both in writing and playing) that it's amazing to think he was only a few years away from international success. "Pluto-Sept. 31st" shows a clear Hendrix influence (the two guitarists openly admired each other), and as a bonus, Akarma's reissue includes five bonus singles that are some of the strongest material on the album, especially "Need Me," "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and the legendary single "99th Floor."
by Jim Smith

1. Flashback (Ames) - 4:46
2. Scoun Da Be (Moore) - 2:07
3. You Make Me Shake (Gibbons) - 3:04
4. You Don't Know the Life (Moore) - 3:56
5. Pluto - Sept 31st (Ames, Gibbons) - 5:13
6. No Good to Cry (Anderson) - 4:32
7. Crimson Witch (Gibbons) - 3:06
8. Joe Blues (Gibbons, Mitchell, Moore, Summers) - 7:37
9. Eclipse (Ames, Gibbons) - 3:37
10.Reclipse (Ames, Gibbons) - 2:30
11.99th Floor (Gibbons) - 2:17
12.What Are You Doing to Do (Gibbons) - 2:29
13.I Want to Hold Your Hand (Lennon, McCartney) - 3:20
14.Need Me (Gibbons) - 2:14
15.Every Night a New Surprise (Ames) - 2:58

The Moving Sidewalks
*Billy Gibbons - Vocals, Guitar
*Tom Moore - Keyboards
*Lanier Greig - Keyboards
*Don Summers - Bass
*Dan Mitchell - Drums

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Socrates Drank The Conium - Taste Of Conium (1972 greece, rough classic rock, blues psych)

Socrates was Yannis Spathas and Antonis Tourkoyorgis on guitar and bass respectively. During the period that they were playing in the Kitarro Club they went through several drummers including George Trantalidis, all of them terrific. In Athens during the early seventies, when the 1967 military dictatorship was still in control, there were a number of rock clubs in the area around Victoria Square and in the Plaka. Poll and Morka played at the Elaterion. Socrates and Exidaktilo played at the Kitarro. As Dorian Kokas, the founder and leader of Morka told us one night "We used to race through our set and play everything fast so we could get out early and go to the Kittaro and catch the last set of Socrates." Musicians loved Socrates.

Socrates sounded like several bands that were popular at the time, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Deep Purple, Blue Cheer, and Black Sabbath come to mind now when I hear their music from that early period, though the majority of their material was original. There were songs that were crowd favorites such as "Close the Door and Lay Down", "Starvation" and "Underground", but often the highlight of the evening was when they did their Hendrix songs like "Voodoo Chile", "Message of Love" and "Red House" or jammed on songs like "Kansas City" with singer Jimi Quidd (later of the NY Dots) and Greek-American blues guitarist John Kronis.

Spathas played a Fender Strat, long straight hair hanging down almost to the guitar, he was motionless except for his hands which effortlessly ripped out the most fluid, solos and riffs. He always hooked the chord to his amp over the bottom cutaway so he would not step on it and pull it out during a solo, I suppose. It was sort of his trademark in a way and we would watch him tune up and wait for him to do it which meant to us that the music was about to begin. He would play some mind-boggling riff to make sure the volume was right or the guitar was in tune and they would be off. Antonis Tourkoyorgis played bass and sang and if Spathas gave the appearance of being introverted he was the complete opposite. He was also a great bass player.

The powerful sound this little three-piece band with their stacks of Marshalls put out in the Kittaro kept us coming back night after night. In all honesty I have to say that to this day I have not heard any band, three-piece or more, fill as much musical space. Seeing the Who in 1976 I found myself comparing them to Socrates. OK, the Who is the Who. But apart from the personalities, the songs I knew and the flamboyance, were Townshend, Entwhistle and Moon as good a band as Socrates? No way. Led Zepplin? Nope. You'd have to ask someone who had seen Hendrix or Cream to make the judgement about those bands but I can't imagine anyone being better than Socrates on a good night and as far as those nights in the Kittaro went I don't think they ever had a bad night. They were too good to have a bad night.

What made them so remarkable was the guitar playing of Spathas. Even today listening to the solos he played in 1972 I still can't believe the music he was making. Brent Lambert of Kitchen Mastering, quite a guitar player himself, after hearing several Spathas solos from thirty years ago said "If this guy had come to America he would be a guitar hero and everyone would know his name." If you liked the way Hendrix, Ritchie Blackmore, Jimmy Page and Eddie Van Halen play you will love Spathas and if you play guitar yourself you will wonder "If this was thirty years ago and he is still playing how good must he be now?"

This is their second effort, released 1972, and despite the poor mixing and mastering we have the opportunity (once more) to discover the ability of the members, not only as skilled musicians, but also as renowned composers, expressing a particular view even in the versions of Satisfaction as "Wild Satisfaction" and "See See Rider".
Thank you my friend Antonis, I hope you are well.

1. Wild Satisfaction (M. Jagger, K. Richards arr. by J. Spathas, A. Tourkogiorgis, E. Boukouvalas) - 13:00
2. Good Morning Blues (J. Spathas, A. Tourkogiorgis, E. Boukouvalas) - 2:25
3. See See Rider (Traditional arr. by J. Spathas, A. Tourkogiorgis, E. Boukouvalas) - 3:10
4. Door of the Dream (J. Spathas, A. Tourkogiorgis) - 4:30
5. Waiting for the Sun (J. Spathas, A. Tourkogiorgis) - 2:55
6. A Trip in the Sky (J. Spathas, A. Tourkogiorgis) - 3:22
7. It's OK (J. Spathas, A. Tourkogiorgis) - 1:45
8. Born to be Free (J. Spathas, A. Tourkogiorgis) - 2:30
9. She's Gone Away (J. Spathas, A. Tourkogiorgis) - 4:20

Socrates Drank The Conium
*Antonis Tourkogiorgis - Bass guitar, Vocals
*Yannis Spathas - Lead guitar, Synthesizer
*Kostas "Gus" Doukakis - Guitar
*George Trantalidis - Drums

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