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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tim Rose - Tim Rose / Through Rose Coloured Glasses (1967/1969 us, folk rock, with blues and psych feeling)

Quite coincidentaly, Tim Rose has re-emerged strongly in Britain in the mid-1990s, after an viapparent absence of around twenty years, and a new album has been released on a British independent label, while there has also been talk of Nick Cave (a very fashionable name with the ultra-hip writers of NME and Q), producing a new Tim Rose album which would be released by Creation Records, making him a label-mate of Oasis. Clearly, there is something about Tim Rose, and it is probably largely to do with the two albums which are now combined in this package.

In particular, the earlier 'Tim Rose' album included what are – perhaps unjustly, as he is certainly a songwriter of some merit - his three 'Greatest Hits', 'Hey Joe, 'Morning Dew and 'Come Away, Melinda', all of which he didn't write and all of which are on this album, making it a powerful piece of work.

All three songs credit Rose as arranger rather than writer, but there is no shame in this, as Rose's versions of these three songs are still highly rated today, 30 years later, which is why his already mentioned new album includes newly recorded live versions of all three.

Tim Rose was born in Washington in 1940 and raised in Virginia. As a teenager, he apparently displayed rebellious tendencies - attending a seminary, where he was training to become a priest, he was expelled for smoking.

In New York's Greenwich Village in the early Sixties, he worked with several of the musicians who would later form two of the earliest (and best) folk/rock groups, The Mamas & The Papas and The Lovin' Spoonful, and supposedly joined a group called variously The Smoothies or The Thorns, which is said to have also included singer/songwriter Jake Holmes, although the very little information about this group that has recently been available (not to mention the highly contrasting group names) suggests that this was conceivably little more than an amusing pastime.

He served in the U.S.Air Force as a navigator, and when he left the service, relocated in Washington, where he met, and started performing with, 'Mama' Cass Elliott.

This duo metamorphosed into The Big Three with the addition of James Hendricks (emphatically not Jimi Hendrix - wrong colour), who married Cass Elliott (reportedly to avoid being drafted for military service). This group did some recording (several singles and two IPs), but no-one was too interested until Elliott became a star a couple of years later, when the group were billed on records as The Big 3 featuring Mama Cass Elliott' - you can get a 21 track CD today.

Rose left the group in 1964, in search of a solo career, and, according to some sources, because he was moving away from folk/rock into bluesier material.

Just to complete the circle, Elliott and Hendricks then joined Denny Doherty and Zal Yanovsky (who had worked together in a Canadian folk group, The Halifax Three), and the resulting quartet became The Mugwumps, who were joined by John Sebastian.

When The Mugwumps fell apart, Sebastian and Yanovsky formed The Lovin' Spoonful, while Elliott and Doherty teamed up with John & Michelle Phillips as The Mamas & The Papas. James Hendricks later made an under-rated solo album for SOL City, the label launched by Johnny Rivers, but never achieved great fame.

But Tim Rose carried on, and there is a suggestion that he was in a group with Jake Holmes (was it the same one as the group before The Big 3, or was there not a group before The Big 3? Confusing hardly describes the issue...).

And while we're at it, there's another suggestion that Rose had worked as the lead guitarist of The Journeymen, the group whic" included John Phillips (before The Mamas & The Papas) and Scott McKenzie (whose 1967 hit single, 'San Francisco (Wear Flowers In Your HalrJ is widely felt to be the anthem of the so called 'Summer Of Love' - the song was written by John Phillips).

Maybe Rose did, and maybe he was also offered the chance to join the New Christy Minstrels (from which another star of the time, Barry 'Eve Of Destruction1 McGuire, had graduated), and turned it down.

Anyway, he was working both solo and as part of a group in Greenwich Village, and was appearing at a club called The Night Owl' (which was where The Lovin' Spoonful spent their scuffling days? when he was spotted by Columbia Records producer David Rubinson.

Rubinson was impressed, and signed him to the label, but a debut single (apparently recorded in Nashville and produced by Bob Johnston, who was also working with Bob Dylan around this time flopped.

At this point, Rubinson himself assumed the production role, and Rose's second single was his version of 'Hey Joe, which was also recorded in 1966 by Love, The Byrds and Jimi Hendrix, whose career was effectively launched by his version.

There are some who maintain that Hendrix adapted Tim Rose's version, but another distinct possibility is that Hendrix heard the song played by Love, whose leader, Arthur Lee, had known Hendrix some years before.

Love conceivably heard the version by The Byrds, as Bryan Maclean had worked as a roadie for The Byrds before joining Love.

The precise origin of the song is not too relevant, as all four versions have their devotees... Rose's wasn't a hit - in fact, the US hit with the song was by The Leaves, at least one of whom later joined The Turtles; you may be tested on all this later, so please pay attention! - but the Rose version was apparently successfully regionally.

Hey Joe was included on the 'Tim Pose' IP, released in 1967, whose sleeve picture portrayed Rose (according to the sleeve note of a US reissue of the album) as "wearing a black T-shirt with his thumbs in his belt, his thin cigar at an angle that would reduce a chip on his shoulder to redundancy". A pint of what he's drinking, landlord, if you please...

The album also included five Rose originals, a cover version of the 1964 Gene Pitney hit, 'I'm Gonna Be Strong', and his supercharged version of Bonnie Dobson's 'Morning Dew'(on which he claims co-writing credit, almost certainly because his re-arrangement of the song was a huge airplay hit – whiie Bonnie Dobson will not deny that Rose's version increased her income, she maintains that if anyone deserves a co-writing credit for the new arrangement, it should be another erstwhile New York folksinger, Fred Neil, who also wrote 'Everybody's Talkin", a huge hit for Harry Nilsson).

However, this is not the place to debate the opposing claims of Bonnie Dobson and Tim Rose - a measure of the power of Rose's version is that the sleeve notes on the first Jeff Beck Group LP, 'Truth' (with a then little-known Rod Stewart as vocalist), acknowledges Rose's version as the one which inspired them to record their splendid version of 'Morning Dew".

This was probably the closest Rose has come to a hit single so far, and it was played by the then "pirate" disc jockeys (notably John Peel) to British audiences who were equally enthusiastic, although not quite enough to propel it into the chart.

Another powerful song on the LP was 'Come Away Melinda', an anti-war song co-written by Fred Hellerman (ex-The Weavers), which had first notably appeared on the extraordinary 1964 LP, 'Judy Collins #3, the sleeve of which is unforgettable.

Rose, who was probably most potent as a live performer, made it his own (so to speak) in the same way as 'Hey Joe and 'Morning Dew. Among the musicians backing Rose on the LP were Felix Pappalardi (bass player of Mountain and producer of Cream, who was shot dead, apparently by his wife, in 1983), and guitarists Hugh McCracken and Jay Berliner.

This was a hot album, but somehow it failed to chart. Rose came to the UK and was apparently backed by The Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation (one of the more bizarre group names of the time) and not only played the Savile Theatre (probably with Brian Epstein as his promoter), UFO (the ultra-trendy club where up-and-coming groups like Pink Floyd played), and Muso hangout The Speakeasy, but even appeared on Top Of The Pops'.

In 1968, he toured here for three months fronting a trio which included Led Zep drummer John Bonham. He released a couple more singles, and the story was that George Harrison was interested in producing him, as was Denny Cordell, but contractual obligations prevented both potential liaisons.

Another rumour had Rose strongly considered as the replacement for Brian Jones in the Rolling Stones, a job which eventually went to Mick Taylor.

The problem - his declining fortunes back in the US - has been interpreted as directly due to the long and frequent periods he spent in Europe.

In 1969, he released a second LP for CBS, 'Through Rose Colored Glasses' (sic), which was produced by Jack Tracy (not a familiar name) and apparently recorded in New York.

This is the latter half of this reissue, and, being perfectly frank, it is difficult to find anything much to say about it, as no musician's credits appeared, and the album was largely ignored on both sides of the Atlantic.

Maybe he should have recorded it in the UK with Beatle George and his chums, but he didn't - perhaps the main shortcoming of the second album was that it inevitably lacked the exciting freshness of the eponymous LP, and the four cover versions were less inspired choices, including a song written by The Bee Gees (who were still at the cutting edge of their first wave of popularity, and not yet dabbling in disco).

After this LP, he moved to Capitol Records, for whom his first single was a cover of 'I've Gotta Get A Message To You (also by the Brothers Gibb), so it was no gimmick to record their songs.

The Capitol LP was 'Love, A Kind Of Hate Story, which was produced by Shel Talmy (who had produced the first hits by both The Kinks and The Who), but it too was largely ignored and seems to confirm that there is some truth in the adage about only being as good as the last thing you did.

However, Rose didn't starve, as he was also a charter pilot - he is said to be passionate about flying - and a successful 'voice' for TV advertisements, some of which he also wrote, sang and produced. If more musicians developed a second string to their bow...

He recorded another LP in 1972. Again titled simply 'Tim Rose', it featured musicians like Mick Jones (later of Foreigner) and Gary Wright, who also produced it.

It was apparently the first album released by Playboy Records (connected with 'Playboy' magazine), and suffered from the teething troubles which affect any new label. It was released in the UK in 74 on Pye's "progressive" label, Dawn, after Pye had negotiated a licensing deal with Playboy.

Reviews were good, but the album didn't chart. Rose also undertook an unlikely UK tour sharing the billing with Tim Hardin, whom he reportedly blew offstage most nights - Hardin became a fatal casualty of the music industry lifestyle, Rose is still here. Rose made his next LP in 1975, 'The Musician', released on Atlantic, recorded at Rockfield and backed by noted musicians like Andy Summers (later guitarist of The Police), pedal steel virtuoso B.J.Cole (who, quite coincidentally, plays on Sting's recent album), keyboard star Tommy Eyre (of Joe Cocker fame), drummer Dave Charles of Help Yourself, etc.

Guess what? The album stiffed. There may have been occasional records between 1974 and the Nineties, when Rose's back catalogue started appearing on CD, but really nothing to speak of until this year, when a London independent label released 'Haunted1, the "new" album, which includes live recordings from this summer's Royal Albert Hall shows when Rose was Nick Cave's support act.

It seems likely that this will not be the end of the Tim Rose story, but until something else happens, BGO is pleased to present his first two albums on CD - the 'Tim Rose' album apparently appeared briefly on CD in 1994, but is long gone, and 'Through Rose-Colored Glasses' has never, to our knowledge, been previously digitalised. He still performs some of these songs today.
John Tobler, 1997

1967 Tim Rose
1. I Got a Loneliness (Rose) - 2:16
2. I'm Gonna Be Strong (Mann, Weil) - 2:05
3. I Gotta Do Things My Way (Hussan, Rose) - 2:19
4. Fare Thee Well (Rose) - 2:54
5. Eat, Drink and Be Merry (ForTomorrow You'll Cry) (Furguson) - 4:13
6. Hey Joe (You Shot Your Woman Down) - 3:01
7. Morning Dew (Dobson, Rose) - 3:43
8. Where Was I? (Martin) - 2:35
9. You're Slipping Away from Me (Rose) - 3:15
10.Long Time Man (Rose) - 5:04
11.Come Away Melinda (Hellerman, Minkoff) - 3:38
12.King Lonely the Blue (Andriani, Pomme) - 2:10

1969 Through Rose Colored Glasses
13.The Days Back When (Rose) - 2:54
14.Roanoke (Rose) - 2:17
15.Hello Sunshine (Rose) - 1:56
16.When I Was a Young Man (Rose) - 2:01
17.What'cha Gonna Do (Rose) - 2:36
18.Maman (Charnin, Thomas) - 5:29
19.Let There Be Love (Gibb) - 3:27
20.Baby Do You Turn Me On? (Rose) - 3:06
21.Apple Truck Swamper (Henderson) - 1:49
22.Angela (Rose) - 2:57
23.You'd Laugh (Becaud) - 3:31
24.You Ain't My Girl No More (Rose) - 2:42

1967 Tim Rose
Tim Rose - Vocals, Guitar
David Rubinson - Producer
Richard Hussan - Bass
Jay Berliner - Guitar
Bernard Purdie - Drums
Hugh Mccracken - Guitar
Art Butler - Keyboards
Felix Pappalardi - Bass
Jim Fischoff - Percussion
Charlie Smalls, Patti Brown - Piano
Chuck Rainey - Bass
David & Deanna Lucas - Backing Vocals

1969 Through Rose Colored Glasses
Tim Rose - Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Various studio musicians chosen by the producer provided the additional accompaniment. No information is available as to who they were.

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