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Plain and Fancy

Music gives soul to universe, wings to mind, flight to imagination, charm to sadness, and life to everything.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dryewater - Southpaw (1974 us, rough 'n' hard garage psych with southern flame)

Now a highly regarded release among the collectors of early 70’s U.S. rock, Dryewater’s Southpaw album was privately released to little fanfare on the J.T.B. label in 1974. The North Carolina based four piece pressed just 500 copies of the album (fewer still with actual covers!) and the rarity value of this initial release has since increased as it’s since become known that the band destroyed the copies they failed to sell at the time! Maybe they had higher expectations for the album, and this is justifiable, as in hindsight the ten original compositions show a very confident release by an obviously proficient line up. 

Strong rhythm guitar work forms the basis of most of the songs, but also evident is some melodic, perhaps slightly progressive keyboard work, that both underpins the occasional acid lead guitar solos and maintains the overall momentum of each performance. With a tight rhythm section and strong vocals too, this all makes for a rockin’ rollercoaster ride. A fine example of the harder West Coast sound of the time. Check out the melodic Don’t Let Her Sleep Too Long, the riff - heavy track 2, and rolling rhythms of track10, 

Dryewater were certainly overlooked at the time A limited vinyl run released by Void Records in 1996 briefly led to a renewed interest in the band.

1. Winterground - 3:02
2. Trouble - 4:07
3. Give Yourself Time To Live - 3:24
4. Don’t Let Her Sleep Too Long - 2:58
5. Let Me Take You - 3:31
6. Thunder - 2:57
7. See Them Run - 2:02
8. Revelation - 2:23
9. Set Out On The River - 2:49
10. After All - 6:30
All compositions by Richard Drye

*Richard Drye - Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Shaye Drye - Keyboards, Vocals
*Robert Blair - Bass, Vocals
*Garland Walker Stidham - Drums

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Graham Bond - Holy Magick (1970 uk, remarkable progressive jazz blues rock, 2006 digiPak bonus tracks remaster)

According to ancient Druidic and Celtic legend, King Arthur will return in this age of Aquarius to sustain us. And man, he's going to blow a mean blues; according to merlin Bond! Long before the recent spate of black magic involvement by some groups, Graham has been involved in white, or as he prefers to call it - holy magick. In order to help the word and perhaps gain a little more understanding he has devoted his latest album "to the true seekers of light". 

The lyrics are mainly incantations and chants in Egyptian and Atlean. Stonehenge is photographed on the sleeve with Graham and his wife Diane Stewart raising their arms in supplication. If you can't take the magick however, there is a lot of wailing music to enjoy. Graham sings with his usual pre-Joe Cocker intensity, and plays organ, piano and sax. Keith Bailey is a storm on drums, and other musicians involved are Victor Brox, Big Pete Bailey, Aliki Ashman, John Gross, Alex Dmochowski, Godfrey McLean and John Morsehead. They are at their best on slow tempo blues like "The Judgement". 

And even if you don't want an astral temple constructed around you, playing side one, should help contact the "higher forces", according to Bond. At least we can invent a new category - Rockult!
by Chris Welch, January 2, 1971 

Holy Magick opens with a fantastic trippy Jam, "Meditation". A 23-minute insane song, full of references to the 'Dark Side', and with some very good instrumental lines. The Female-Vocals, are particularly interesting, and so is trying to understand the weird words he is singing. The Saxophone has some great lines, the Organ work is also very cool. "Return Of Arthur" has a strong Blues sonority, with Joe Cocker-like Vocals and an astonishing Guitar Solo.

In the beginning it may sound weird and unpleasant, but it will turn into a very enjoyable listen, after the first minute. "The Magician", again with some blasting Saxophone work, this song is full of energy and power, probably due to the Bass line. The Screaming Vocals, by Bond, are the cheery at the top of the cake. "The Judgement" is completely different from the other songs, calm, without any sort of insane Instrumental solo. The Back-Vocals are pretty good on this one, sounding as if they were answering the Lead-Vocals. "My Archangel" is the lest song. It is quite weak, not much to say about it except that it i a feel-good song, without much interest.

The Cover-Art was photographed in Stonehenge, featuring Graham Bond and his wife, performing a strange ritual. This Album was not well received by the critics, but it is nonetheless a fantastic Album.
by Adamus67

1. Holy Magick Suite (Graham Bond) - 23:09
...a.Meditation Aumgn
...b.The Qabilistic Cross
...c.The Word Of The Aeon
...d.Invocation To The Light
...e.The Pentagram Ritual
...f .Qabalistic Cross
...g.Hymn Of Praise
...h.12 Gates To The City
...i.The Holy Words Iao Sabao (These Are The Words)
...j.Aquarius Mantra (In Egyptian)
...k.Enochian (Atlantean) Call
...l.Abragadabra The Word Of The Aeon
...m.Praise "City Of Light"
...n.The Qabalistic Cross, Aumgn
2. Return Of Arthur (Graham Bond) - 5:06
3. The Magician (Graham Bond) - 4:04
4. The Judgement (Diane Stewart) - 4:45
5. My Archangel Mikael (Diane Stewart) - 4:09
6. Water Water (Single Version) (Graham Bond, Diane Stewart) - 3:46
7. 12 Gates To The City (Single Version) (Graham Bond) - 3:40

*Alex Dmochowski - Bass Guitar
*Rick Gretch - Bass Guitar
*Jerry Salisbury - Cornet
*Godfrey McLean, Keith Bailey - Drums
*John Morsehead, Kevin Stacey - Guitar
*Big Pete Bailey - Percussion
*John Gross - Tenor Saxophone
*Aliki Ashman ,  Annette Brox - Vocals
*Victor Brox - Vocals, Electric Piano, Piano, Vocals
*Diane Stewart  - Vocals, Gong
*Graham Bond - Vocals, Alto Electric, Acoustic  Saxophone

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Carolyn Hester Coalition - Magazine (1970 us, powerful vocal acid psych folk, 2009 Sunbeam issue)

Carolyn Hester is a noted Folk Singer from the 60's Greenwich Village Folk Scene. She appeared on the cover of the "Saturday Evening Post" in the May 30th, 1964 issue and has been remembered in many books including "Chronicles", Bob Dylan's autobiography, as being the person who was most instrumental in Dylan's signing to Columbia records - the label that took an unknown singer-songwriter and elevated him to super-stardom. 

Hester is known for her angelic voice and her repertoire of traditional English ballads mixed with an original selection of contemporary folk. She has recorded more than fifteen albums in her fifty years of performing. She was signed to the Decca/Coral label in 1957 by her manager-producer, Norman Petty. Also under Petty's influence at that time, was a hip entertainer and friend of Hester's, Buddy Holly. Throughout the '60s, Hester was well-established in the Greenwhich Village folk scene where she met a young, Bob Dylan.

In the late 60’s Carolyn released two albums as The Carolyn Hester Coalition, their second “Magazine” originally issued in 1970 by the Metromedia label. Magazine is slightly more moody and not as sunshiney as the first record, but it is still fairly light, approachable West Coast-ish psych/folk/pop. There are some covers on this record, mixed with originals that hold up next to any other record of its ilk from the era. Hester's crystalline, sweet voice is backed by some hauntingly deep and melodic fuzz, proving that Hester wasn't just any Texas songbird.

1 Rise Like Phoenix (Hester, Blume) - 3:18
2. Dedicated (S. Wolfe) - 3:04
3. Plant The Crops In The Garden (Newburge, Blume) - 3:00
4. Beadmaker (Hester) - 2:51
5. St. James Infirmary (Primrose) - 5:22
6. Just Follow Me (Moore, Wolfe, Blume) - 5:14
7. (Sittin On The) Dock Of The Bay (Redding, Cropper) - 3:50
8. Sir Robert, The Lost Knight (Parisi, Blume) - 3:43
9. Calico Sky (Davis, Blume) - 2:38
10.Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (Trad, Blume) - 2:48

The Carolyn Hester Coalition
*Carolyn Hester - Vocals, Guitar
*Steve Wolfe -Guitar, Percussion
*Dave Blume - Bass, Keyboards, Melodica
*Skeeter Camera - Drums, Flute
*Dave Mauney - Vibes, Bass

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chain - Live (1969-70 aussie, extraordinary blues rock with experimental mood, 2010 Aztec remaster)

If there is one Australian band that deserves the oft-overused adjective "legendary", then that band would be Chain. As has been stated many times, the name Chain is synonymous with blues of the highest order and integrity. Originally formed in 1968, and except for a gap between 1974 and 1982, the band has continued in one form or another to this day. 

The five key figures in the saga of Chain are Warren Morgan, Phil Manning, Matt Taylor, the late Barry 'Big Goose' Sullivan and Barry 'Little Goose' Harvey but there have been numerous musicians who have passed through the ranks. Morgan, Manning and Taylor each assumed leadership at one lime or another, with the two Gooses comprising the best rhythm section the band has ever known. Inevitably, at any given time the fundamental nature of Chain has been shaped by the particular musicians present. Still, with all the comings and goings, there is one thing of which we can be sure: Chain "the whole" will always be greater than the sum of its parts. 

This portion of the story covers the years 1968 up to the end of 1970, the period preceding the release of thc landmark Australian blues album Toward The Blues and thc enduring hit single 'Black and Blue”. Specifically, we'll focus on the Live Chain version of the band, headed by Morgan and Manning. This is thc first reissue of the album since its original release (Festival SFL-933926) in October 1970. With three bonus tracks added for good measure it makes for compelling listening.

1. The World is Wailing (Morgan, Manning, Sullivan, Harvey) -12:11
2. Black and White (Warren Morgan) -12:30
3. Pilgrimage (Harvey, Sullivan, Mason, Morgan, Manning) - 8:40
4. Gen rude Street Blues (Phil Manning) - 6:01
5. Chaser (Sullivan, Mason, Harvey, Morgan, Manning) - 7:13
6. On The Road Again (Glyn Mason) - 4:34
7. Show Me Home (Phil Manning) - 3:27
8. Mr. Time (Warren Morgan) - 4:55
Tracks 1-6 recorded  live at Caesar's Palace, Sydney. July 1970
Tracks 7 and 8 Single Festival FK-3331, October 1969

*Phil Manning - Guitar, Vocals
*Warren Morgan - Electric, Acoustic Piano, Vocals
*Glyn Mason - Guitar, Vocals
*Barry 'Big Goose' Sullivan - Bass
*Barry 'Little Goose' Harvey - Drums
*Tim Piper - Bass (Tracks 7 and 8)
*Claude Papesch - Organ (Tracks 7 and 8)
*Ace Follington - Drums (Tracks 7 and 8)

more Chain
1971  Toward The Blues
1973  Two Of A Kind

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The Yardbirds - Five Live Yardbirds (1964 uk, clasic live, blues 'n' roll, 2007 Repertoire digi pack with extra tracks release)

Five Live Yardbirds was the first important -- indeed, essential -- live album to come out of the 1960s British rock & roll boom. In terms of the performance captured and the recording quality, it was also the best such live record of the entire middle of the decade. 

Cut at a Marquee Club show in 1964 , Five Live Yardbirds was a popular album, especially once Eric Clapton's fame began to spread after leaving the band. Although the album didn't appear officially in the United States until its CD release by Rhino in the late 1980s, four of its tracks -- "Smokestack Lightning," "Respectable," "I'm a Man," and "Here 'Tis" -- made up one side of their classic U.S. album Having a Rave Up, and the British EMI LP became a very popular import during the early 1970s as a showcase for both the band and the playing of Eric Clapton. 

That album had astonishingly good sound, which was not the case with any of the reissues that followed, on vinyl or CD -- even Rhino's compact disc suffered from blurry textures and noise, though it was an improvement over any release since the original EMI LP. The 1999 Repertoire Records reissue is the first CD that matches the clarity and sharpness of the original LP, and along with that improvement, their original concert has been very sensibly expanded with a half-dozen live cuts from roughly the same period, recorded at the Crawdaddy Club. 

Among them is a killer live version of the Billy Boy Arnold classic "I Wish You Would."There's also a pair of live tracks from German television in 1967 -- "I'm a Man" and "Shapes of Things"; the two, in a flash, make up for what they lack in perfect fidelity. 
by Bruce Eder

1.Too Much Monkey Business (C. Berry) - 3.52
2. I Got Love If You Want It (Moore) - 2.40
3. Smokestack Lightning (C. Burnett) - 5.35
4. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl (Demarais) - 2.44
5. Respectable (Isley, Isley, Isley) - 5.35
6. Five Long Years (E. Boyd) - 5.21
7. Pretty Girl (E. McDaniels) - 3.00
8. Louise (John Lee Hooker) - 3.43
9. I'm A Man (E. McDaniels) - 4.33
10. Here'tis(E. McDaniels) - 5.10
11. Smokestack Lightning (C. Burnett) - 6.47
12. You Can't Judge A Book By Looking At The Cover (W. Dixon) - 2.55
13. Let It Rock (C. Berry) - 2.17
14. I Wish You Would (B. Arnold) - 5.53
15. Who Do You Love (E. McDaniels) - 2.17
16. Honey In Your Hips (K. Relf) - 5.53
17. I'm A Man (E. McDaniels) - 4.13
18. Shapes Of Things (Samwell-Smith , Relf , McCarty) - 2.27

The Yardbirds
*Eric Clapton – Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Chris Dreja – Rhythm Guitar
*Jim McCarty – Drums
*Keith Relf – Lead Vocals Harmonica, Maracas
*Paul "Sam" Samwell-Smith – Bass Guitar, Vocals

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ruperts People - Magic World Of Rupert's People (1967-69/1999 uk, bright coloured beat psychedelia, 2001 Circle limited edition)

As I sit down to write these thoughts, it occurs to me that its now over thirty years since I embarked on a career in the 'biz', in fact its 33% years or an albums worth! Over the course of the years I've been a roadie, drummer, D.J., radio presenter, band manager, recording artist and pop columnist. 

A fulsome list and a happy life. I outline this potted biog only because none of this would have happened had it not been for one band, one group of people whose generosity of spirit towards a callow 15 year old, "oh so long ago", made it all possible. 1967 'the summer of love' and this 15 year old heard two records on Radio Caroline that crystallised a lurking desire to 'get into the music biz'. They were Denny Laines' 'Say You Don't Mind' and Rupert's People's 'Reflections of Charles Brawn'. Something in these two songs communicated itself to me in some way inexplainable but lit the fire. 

In those days I lived in Hastings and the centre of the pop world there was the Pier Ballroom on a Saturday night. This tatty hall perched on the end of a Victorian edifice transformed itself on a Saturday into a magical place that played host to, amongst others, The Stones, The Who, The Kinks, The Move, Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd (with Syd Barrett) and... Rupert's People. Having acquired a Saturday job lugging Marshall amps, Hammond organs et al from the roadies' vans to the ballroom for most of the afternoon, I was rewarded with free entrance and backstage privileges at the gigs. 

One sultry summer afternoon a van arrived and disgorged Rod, Ray, Steve, John and Dai. The equipment was then duly pushed and lifted into place and the important business of having a drink got under way! In those days the retinue of PRs, managers, press agents etc. that encircle today's artists was happily absent. Rather it was a case of 'we're all in this adventure together', no big time egos, just camaraderie. In this atmosphere I listened to stories from the boys of their life on the road and their hopes for the future. Later that night, on stage and to a packed hall, Ruperts delivered an electrifying set. 

Whether it was the musical talent, their good looks or indeed their splendid stage clothes or more likely all of these, they were... special. The gig ended, the gear was reloaded and the van set off back to London. A year passed, a new promoter in the shape of one Jon Scofield leased the pier for the '68 summer season. Jon had turned up at the pier one afternoon in July to find me plugging in some lights backstage and after some discussion offered me a job as stage manager and office boy in his London office. I gratefully accepted! Some weeks later sitting in Jon's office off the Strand he asked me for suggestions for bands to play the pier. 

Thus it was at my suggestion that Rupert's People returned for their second gig. By now their second single for Columbia, and may I add my own personal favourite, had been released, 'A Prologue to a Magic World'. The boys once again arrived at the Pier and now living in London, I took up the invitation to 'hang out1 with them. So it was that I 'hung out' at legendary clubs like Middle Earth, UFO, The Marquee and memorably the Cafe des Artistes in Fulham. It was at the latter where for reasons lost in the mists of time I took to the drums (a skill I had acquired along the way) to cover one night for an absent Steve. That was one of my proudest nights, to play with such a great band. 

Time moved on,.. Ruperts' third single, 'I Can Show You' was released and I waited for them to explode. It didn't happen. Why? I don't know, but this is a personal story, lets move on. I moved on to work for a record company and gradually lost touch with the guys, but I never forgot them. Its 1995 and disaster! My beloved vinyl record collection is stolen and with it my three priceless Ruperts' singles. Imagine my surprise if you will when glancing through a copy of Record Collector, I find to replace said copies will cost me a small fortune! Rupert's People had over the years assumed icon status. I should not have been surprised, it was only what they deserved. 

So why in this age of re-issues of every 'collectable' band known to man was there no Ruperts 'retrospective'? A mission was born. Space does not permit the ensuing four years that passed in vain attempts to locate my old friends. Then in 1999 whilst I was in Amsterdam I received a call from a friend to tell me I might be interested to know that Rupert's People were playing a gig in... Hastings!! Flying back and hurrying down to The Marina Pavilion on Hastings seafront with a sense of bewilderment I was sure he had his facts wrong. So it was on yet another Saturday afternoon I came face to face with Rod, Ray and Steve (sadly no John). 

A whole new bunch of fans of the new 'Mod' scene had persuaded the band to re-form for a gig at their 'Mod' rally. To say it was an emotional moment would be a gross understatement. Much later that night the plans were hatched to give life to the record you now hold in your hands. Again space negates all the tales of how much work has gone into this album, suffice to say that Ray's breakfast table in deepest Essex has been the scene of much discussion, planning and not a little reminiscence. 

As I stated earlier why Ruperts missed out on the big time is an enigma, 0K they would be the first to agree The Beatles they ain't but Rod, Ray, Steve and John created something that has stood the test of time and anyone who attended that gig two years ago would tell you the story is far from over. They also, through their generosity of spirit and love started a 15 year old boy on a journey that was to fulfil a 'dream in my mind' and for that I love and thank them. Now it just remains for me to invite you to "step inside and join us, in our magic world".
by Colin Bell, Sussex 2001

1. All So Long Again (Rod Brosse) - 3:15
2. Charles Brown (Rod Brosse) - 2:18
3. Reflections Of Charles Brown (Conder, Lynton) - 4:18
4. Hold On (Haskell, Conder, Lynton) - 3:33
5. Dream In My Mind (Lynton) - 3:22
6. I Can Show You (Lynton) - 2:58
7. A Prologue To A Magic World (Conder, Lynton) - 4:20
8. I've Got The Love (Beverly, Lynton) - 4:09
9. Water To A Stone (Beverly, Lynton) - 3:56
10. I See You've Changed (Lynton) - 4:34
11. Reflecting (Lynton, Poole) - 6:12
12. You Can't Always Get What You Want (Jagger, Richards) - 5:37
13. My Mind's Eye (Lane, Marriott) - 3:24
14. Rain (Lennon, McCartney) - 3:55
15. I See You've Changed (Version 2) (Lynton) - 5:30
16. Hold On (Version 2) (Haskell, Conder, Lynton) - 5:40
Song #1 perfomed as The Sweet Feeling

Ruperts People
*Ray Beverly - Bass Guitar (1, 2, 5 to 9, 13 to 16)
*Terry Poole - Bass, Vocals (10 to 12)
*Steve Brendell - Drums (1, 2, 4 to 16)
*Dai Jenkins - Guitar (4 to 12)
*Rod Lynton - Guitar, Vocals  (1, 2, 4 to 16)
*John Tout - Organ  (4 to 12)
*Gordon Haskell - Bass
*Keith Guster - Drums
*Bryn Haworth - Guitar
*Peter Solley - Keyboards
*Chris Andrews - Vocals

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Various Artists - Lovers From The Sky Vol. 4 (1968-71 uk, pop psych sounds from the Apple era, 2010 RPM release)

On the fourth volume of this interesting series devoted to songwriters who were under contract to Apple Publishing, the connection to the more public face of Apple -- namely, Apple Records, home to the Beatles and artists like Badfinger and Mary Hopkin -- can be pretty tenuous. Most of these artists did not release music on the Apple label, and some of these songs weren't even published by Apple, although in those cases the writers and/or composers did at least have some Apple connection on their resumes. 

Unless that kind of thing easily upsets you, however, you'll find this quite an interesting collection of rarities from the poppier side of British pop-psychedelia, several of which were previously unreleased. With the exception of Merseybeat band the Fourmost (represented by three late-'60s tracks from long after their brief commercial peak, including a 1969 single, "Rosetta," produced by Paul McCartney), none of the artists were hitmakers. 

Some did have notable careers or connections, including folk guitarist Stefan Grossman; Brute Force (represented by the notorious naughty novelty "King of Fuh" and his version of "Nobody Knows," which was a minor hit for the Chiffons); Andy Ellison (formerly of John's Children); Timon, the future Tymon Dogg; and Lon & Derrek Van Eaton, who did manage to release a 1972 LP on Apple. Quite a few of the others failed to make the slightest of commercial dents, though a few of them were able to record songs by notable Apple-published songwriters. Marilyn Powell's "Something to Hold on To," for example, was written by Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle, and the tracks here by Marzipan, Moving Finer, and Ellison were penned by George Alexander of Grapefruit. Based on these 19 songs, Apple's publishing division was largely on the lookout for Beatlesque pop that was more mainstream than the Beatles and fairly commercial. 

While none of these cuts seem like obvious hits, they are quite pleasant, and usually quite well-produced, representative samples of British pop-psych that avoid the over-sweetness into which the genre was apt to lapse. Lilting, pleasing harmonies are also to the fore on much of the material, with Promise's demo of "Not Sarah" (one of the highlights) using the Beatles' own Mellotron. the Fourmost sound a bit like an updated Unit 4+2 or hipper Seekers on the folk-poppish "Just Like Before"; Marilyn Powell offers a bit of female pop-soul on "Something to Hold on To," and the Eatons are represented by a demo version of their nice, harmony pop-folk-rock, 1972 George Harrison-produced single "Sweet Music." 
by Richie Unterberger

Artists - Tracks - Composer
1. Andy Ellison - Fool From Upper Eden (George Alexander) - 2:51
2. Focal Point - Far Away From Forever (D. Rhodes, P. Tennant) - 3:40
3. Promise - Not Sarah (Alan Morgan, Steve Webber) - 3:02
4. Fourmost - Do I Know You (Brian O'Hara) - 2:22
5. Moving Finger - Jeremy The Lamp (George Alexander) - 2:41
6. Contact - Lovers From The Sky (Trevor Bannister) - 2:40
7. Brute Force - King Of Fuh (Stephen Friedland) - 3:03
8. Fourmost - Just Like Before (Brian O'Hara) - 2:26
9. Stefan Grossman - Not You, Or I, My Dear (Grossman) - 2:28
10.Timon - Now She Says She's Young (Tymon Dogg) - 3:05
11.Promise - Where Love's Concerned (A. Morgan, S. Webber) - 2:15
12.Marilyn Powell - Something To Hold On To (B. Gallagher, G. Lyle) - 2:53
13.Focal Point - Lonely Woman (D. Rhodes, P.l Tennant) - 3:27
14.Brute Force - Nobody Knows (Stephen Friedland) - 2:59
15.Contact - Round And Round (Trevor Bannister) - 3:51
16.Focal Point - Tales From The GPO Files (D. Rhodes, P. Tennant) - 2:19
17.Fourmost - Rosetta (Earl Hines, Henri Woode) - 2:11
18.Marzipan - Sweet Water Mary (George Alexander) - 3:14
19.Lon, Derrek Van Eaton - Sweet Music (D. Van Eaton, L. Van Eaton) - 2:17

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Chain - Two Of A Kind (1973 aussie, stylish blues rock)

In the '73 Sunbury Festival featured Mighty Mouse, as well as a Matt Taylor "solo" slot. Phil and the two Barrys, augmented by second drummer Kevin Murphy backed Matt for this gig. On Mushroom's triple-album document of the event, The Great Australian Rock Festival Sunbury 1973, Mighty Mouse weigh in with the lengthy "Sunset Song", while Matt's set is represented by his own composition, "Brisbane To Beechworth". He had already recorded with his Sunbury line-up (minus Murphy, but with "Sleepy" Greg Lawrie on board) for his debut solo album Straight As A Die. Also a Chain record in all but name, and showcasing Taylor's own rollicking, witty compositions, this album was a Top-20 seller and in September yielded Mushroom Records' first placing in the national Top 10 singles list, "I Remember When I Was Young" a song that, like "I'll Be Gone", "Eagle Rock" and "Most People I Know", has become a perennial 70s OzRock anthem. 

With so much activity involving so many Chain alumni, it was inevitable that Mighty Mouse would evolve into yet another Chain -- by now the 15th permutation of the band!. Signing to Mushroom, this line-up issued two singles, the medium-tempo "I Thought You Weren't My Friend" (August) and the gruff shuffle-blues "I'm Gonna Miss You Babe" (November). Neither was particularly successful, but the reconstituted group did impress on the touring circuit, appearing in March at yet another large outdoor gathering, the Down Under Rock Festival in Melbourne (again, all the usual suspects were on a bill that featured – surprise – headliners The Aztecs). During May, Chain toured the country as support to the Muddy Waters Band and soon after teamed with that band's James "Peewee" Madison (guitar, vocals) and George "Mojo" Beauford (vocals, harmonica) for recordings that would form part of Chain's next LP, Two Of A Kind.

One of Melbourne's premier "head" venues around this time, along with the T.F. Much Ballroom, was the Garrison Disco in Prahran, the venue which had served as the unofficial HQ for Madder Lake. Local council pressure forced Garrison's closure in June 1973, and as one of its most popular and regularly-performing acts, Chain was fittingly invited to be among a handful of select bands that paid tribute to the place in its final days. Two Chain songs ("Grab A Snatch And Hold It" and "Do What You Wanna Do"), recorded live there on 7 June, appeared on the various artists' album Garrison: The Final Blow Vol. 2, along with "Roberta" by Taylor and Lawrie as a duo. Other songs recorded that evening were released in other formats: the single "I Thought You Weren't My Friend", b/w "Elephant", an edit of the extended soloing jam "How To Set Fire To An Elephant", which appeared in its full 18-minute form on Two Of A Kind. 

1. Two Of A Kind (James Madison) - 4:44
2. Reconsider Baby (Lowell Fulsom) - 4:39
3. Everybody Has To Lose Sometime (Traditional) - 8:22
4. Blues With A Feeling (Little Walter Jacobs) - 4:47
5. How To Set Fire To An Elephant (Ian Clyne) - 19:22

*Phil Manning - Guitar, Vocals
*Barry Sullivan - Bass
*Barry Harvey - Drums
*Ian Clyne - Keyboards
*Mal Capewell - Sax, Flute
*James "Peewee" Madison - Guitar, Vocals
*George "Mojo" Beauford - Vocals, Harmonica

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Chain - Toward The Blues (1971 aussie, superb blues rock, 2007 Picar bonus tracks issue)

Formed from the remnants of Perth band the Beaten Tracks in 1968, the Chain were named by singer Wendy Saddington after the classic soul track "Chain of Fools." Saddington soon left and the band released one of Australia's first progressive blues singles, "Show Me Home," in 1969. Soon after, the Chain shortened their moniker to Chain. In June 1970, Chain recorded the classic live album, Live Chain, at Caesar's Palace discotheque, and along with other Australian acts like Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, Carson, and the Adderley Smith Blues Band, were considered at the forefront of the Australian blues movement.

In 1971 the new Chain (already by now, "Mk 7"!) attracted the attention of the aggressive young entrepreneur Michael Gudinski, who was by then in the throes of putting together the enduring Mushroom indie record label. Gudinski, who also became the group's manager soon afterwards, has subsequently acknowledged that Mushroom was conceived and built upon Chain's reputation, and he in turn enthusiastically helped foster their career during those heady times.

During the same year, the band continued to grow in stature as a must-see drawcard around the Melbourne blues haunts, as well as being a popular staple at the various outdoor festivals common to the era. An appearance at the Odyssey Festival at Ourimbah in January was captured on the double-LP set History Of Chain, cementing the group's greatness for posterity. Other festival appearances, such as at Myponga outside Adelaide and Wallacia near Sydney (each featuring a roster of the cream of OzRock's best) had a similar effect, and Chain by now were regarded as among the premier of Australia's progressive blues units.

The "classic" line-up of Chain enjoyed a national top ten hit in May with its debut Infinity single, "Black And Blue" (working title: "We're Groaning"), backed with Taylor's ambitious but solidly-delivered and decidedly progressive "Lightning Ground". The A-side recalled the traditional Afro-American "work-song" motif, and heralded the solid, blueswailing body of songs featured on Toward The Blues, Chain's first album for Festival's "progressive" Infinity imprint, which was released to great (and enduring) critical acclaim in September.

At a climactic concert on 13 June 1971 at the Melbourne Town Hall, where a number of the scene's pre-eminent bands assembled (headliners Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs released an LP of their stunning performance there), a self-deprecating Chain were awarded a silver disc plaque (at that time a coveted accolade) for selling 25,000 copies of the "Black 'n' Blue" single, a record that went on to become one of mainstream rock radio's most-played and most oft-requested staples.

1. Thirty Two-Twenty Blues (Robert Johnson) - 4:10
2. Snatch It Back And Hold It (Junior Wells) - 5:03
3. Boogie - 10:44
4. Booze Is Bad News Blues - 7:46
5. Albert Gooses Gonna Turn The Blues Looses - 7:04
6. Black And Blue - 4:50
7. Undgemend - 3:28
8. Blow In D - 6:01
9. Mr. President - 3:40
10.Leaving - 2:47
11.Two Of A Kind - 4:43
12.Forever - 5:07
13.I'm Gonna Miss You Babe - 3:30
14.Gertrude Street Blues - 5:01
All songs by Barry Harvey, Phil Manning, Barry Sullivan, Matt Taylor, except where noted.

*Barry Harvey - Drums
*Phil Manning - Guitar
*Barry Sullivan - Bass
*Matt Taylor - Vocals, Harmonica

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Flake - Hows Your Mother (1971 aussie, great soulful psych rock, mini LP replica)

The story of Flake began in late 1968 when drummer Wayne Thomas quit Sydney band Plastic Tears to form his own group. He recruited four other players he knew -- singer Geoff Gray and bassist Laurie Sinclair (ex The Eli) and organist Rob Toth and guitarist Lindsay Askew (ex The Seen). The new band rehearsed solidly for three months but Laurie Sinclair was forced to drop out before their first gig due to the fact that his father died, his house burned down, he split up with his girlfriend and he had been called up for the Army -- all in the space of one week!

Several changes of personnel during 1969. Mick Gaul left the band and was replaced by Denis Moore (recently returned from the USA) who was known to Thomas from his time with Sydney band Him & The Others. Not long after, Lindsay Askew and Rob Toth both left due to the difficulties of balancing work and band committments -- all the members somehow managed to hold down day-jobs -- and Toth subsequently joined Samael Lilith.

Flake now started looking for a record deal. They had preliminary discussions with EMI, who lined up the renowned David Mackay as producer, but EMI's offer was for two Singles, with the recording of an album dependent on both Singles being hits. At this point independent producer Martin Erdman made them a better offer -- he would sing them to his Du Monde label for two Singles, plus an album, providing Flake had reasonable success with at least one of the Singles.

In early 1970 Flake went to Erdman's World of Sound studio at Ramsgate. The tracks they recorded were the Jackie Lomax song, "You've Got Me Thinking" as the A-side, with as the flip. Unfortunately, although Sydney radio programmers liked the band, they didn't like the song, so Wayne Thomas (who had chosen the A-side) then approached 2UW programmer Gary Jaegear for help. 2UW had rejected the A-side -- but not the B-side, Dylan's "This Wheel's On Fire" -- so Jaegar generously slipped "This Wheel's On Fire" onto the 2UW playlist. 

Fortunately for Flake, the single came out at the start of the Radio Ban, which began in May 1970. While this controversial six-month dispute between commercial radio and record companies raged, many major label recordings -- particularly UK hits released or distributed by EMI-- were banned from commercial radio, giving independent labels like Du Monde, Fable, Sparmac and Image unprecedented access to commercial radio playlists. 

Before long it was picked up by 2SM and then by stations in other cities. It definitely became a major national hit, although sources differ about exact chart placings. According to Wayne Thomas' History of Flake, it made the Top 5 nationally and stayed on the Go-Set chart for 18 weeks and charts reproduced in the CD-ROM of Martin Erdman's Du Monde compilation confirm his report that it went to #1 in the Sydney Daily Mirror chart and #2 in the 2SM chart, and that it made the Top 30 on 5AD Adelaide. Ian McFarlane's Encyclopedia entry on Flake says that it went Top 5 in Sydney (#4, July) and reached #20 nationally, whereas Martin Erdman asserts that it "reached ... No 7 nationally". Vernon Joyson claims that it spent 25 weeks on the chart. Martin Erdman also reports that the single was originally released by Festival with an orange label, but this was interrupted by the Radio Ban, so Erdman's own World Of Sound company took over pressing and distribution, with Singles released with both gold and orange labels. The single also won the 1970 2SM Australian Talent Award. 

In the wake of the single's success Flake toured extensively up and down the east coast, all the while balancing their music career with their day jobs. Inevitably the strain began to tell and the first to leave was Dave Allen. His replacement was Billy Taylor (ex Purple Vision), who took over on rhythm guitar aas well as adding an extra voice to the band's already powerful vocal lineup. Taylor soon became close friends with singer Geoff Gray and the band's roadie Paul Berry, and they soon moved into a flat together. During this period Flake recorded a performance of a song from their repertiore, "Midnight Train", for the ABC's GTK pop show, but it is not yet known whether this still survives in the archives. 

1. This Wheels On Fire (Dylan, Danko) - 3:07
2. You've Got Me Thinking (J. Lomax) - 2:51
3. Story (Ray Cane) - 3:34
4. Dream If You Can (Rosenbaum, Epstein) - 3:29
5. See The Light (Fataar Bros, Chaplin) - 3:42
6. Under The Silent Tree (Ray Cane) - 3:53
7. Where Are You (Higgs, Palge, Russell) - 4:17
8. Say Goodbye (Gregg Higgs) - 4:28
9.Reflections Of My Life (Cambell, McAleese) - 4:50
10.Life Is Getting Better (Vanda, Young) - 3:18
11.To Be The One You Love (Sharon's solo) (Cipriani, Newell) - 3:47
12.Where Are You (Sharon's solo version) (Higgs, Palge, Russell) - 2:22
13.Teach Me How To Fly (Barnes) - 3:27
14.Quick Reaction (Vanda, Young) - 5:42
15.Down In Rio (Flake) - 6:02
16.How's Your Mother (John Russell) - 1:10
17.Breadalbane - 5:19

*Wayne Thomas - Drums, Piano, Vocals
*Sharon Sims - Vocals, Percussion
*Geoff Gray - Vocals, Percussion
*John Russell - Lead, Rhythm Guitar, Autoharp
*Greg Higgs - Bass, Vocals
*Billy Taylor - Rhythm, Lead Guitar, Vocal
*Denise Caines - Vocals
*Dave Allen - Flute, Sax
*Shauna Jensen - Vocals
*Denis Moore - Bass

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The David - Another Day, Another Lifetime (1965-68 us, revealing psychg beat, extra tracks issue)

The David started in 1965 when lead singer and vocalist Warren Hansen got together with bassist Chuck Spieth, drummer Tim Harrison, and rhythm guitarist Mike Butte. Once they added lead guitarist Mark Bird, they got bookings in the Los Angeles area as "The Reasons." In 1966, while attending a gig at the Santa Monica Auditorium, the band met an enthusiastic young man named Steven Vail who convinced them to let him manage them. 

Vail redubbed them "The David" to be unique and memorable to a young listening audience. Within months, Steven Vail landed the group a recording contract with 20th Century-Fox Records.   In October 1966, The David went into the recording studio for the first time with 20th Century-Fox producer Jackie Mills. They recorded "Bus Token" (sometimes called "Bus Token Fare"), "Foolish Man," and what would become their first A-side, "Forty Miles." 

The single was released in December 1966 (backed with "Bus Token"). The group went out to promote it in their clean-cut white corduroy suits and neatly-trimmed long hair. 20th Century-Fox involved them in a nationwide promotional contest where the grand prize was a trip to Los Angeles, a studio tour, and a date with The David. "Forty Miles" received heavy airplay on the West Coast and went to #19 on Bakersfield, CA's top 40 outlet, KIFM.In November, for their second 20th Century-Fox session, they recorded "Out Of My Mind" and "People Saying, People Seeing," but it took more than six months, til June 1967, for 20th Century-Fox to release "People Saying, People Seeing" b/w "Forty Miles." 

The group then went through changes. They parted ways with 20th Century Fox, rhythm guitarist Mike Butte left the band,  while Steve Vail formed The Vance Music Company, whose first signing was The David.  Plans were madefor an album with big production. String arranger extraordinaire Gene Page (who was all over the & many disco hits of the 70s)  brought to Sound Recorders in Hollywood a full panoply of horns, strings, sitar, and additional vocals for the sessions that began on November 20,1967.  

The sessions later switched to American Recording Co. in Studio City, CA with Richard Podolor as the engineer. Capping Steven Vail's conglomeration and masterpiece of a production was the cover stunningly designed by painter Alan Maynard. When VMC issued the album at the tail end of 1967, the label picked "I'm Not Alone" as the first single, which was issued in a fancy picture sleeve TV beach performance: featuring a photograph by close friend of the band, Chris Georgesco. But radio station program directors had other ideas, especially on the East Coast where "Another Day, Another Lifetime/I Would Like To Know," "Sweet December" and "Time M" got most of the airplay. "Time M" is an obvious example of the theme of time that runs throughout the album, but the song's title is itself a mystery lost in time. 

The song was originally just called "Time" but when it got on the session take sheet it had become "Time M," though no one knows why. "Mirrors Of Wood" features Warren playing an instrument of his own design called a plasmatar, a six-foot long wooden frame strung with piano wire and played with a bottleneck to give the vibrant rasp heard on the song. All the songs were written by Warren Hansen, except for "(Mister) You're A Better Man Than I," which Mike Hugg of Manfred Mann wrote for The Yardbirds. 

The David recorded it in March, 1968, at T.T.G. Studios in Hollywood along with "I Don't Care," featuring the combined vocals of Mark Bird and Chuck Spieth. Tom Moulton found the two T.T.G.- recorded songs on the original 8-track session tapes during the remixing of the CD. Used by the group to warm up, "(Mister) You're A Better Man Than I" was never intended for release and never had vocals put down on it, but anyone familiar with The Yardbirds' version can tell how skillfully The David do it. The group's promotional efforts included an appearance at the annual Miss Teen Screen Magazine pageant at the Hollywood Palladium. They were also a Gramophone To Groovy, a tv documentary on rock and roll. 

 The group continued  on after the album's release, eventually drifting apart in the »early 1970s. Warren Hansen started college at UCLA and then moved away to start an environmental consulting firm. Tim Harrison went up to Alaska to work on the oil pipeline but moved back to manage properties in the Los Angeles area (when not surfing). Mike Butte continued to live in the Pacific Palisades area and became a finishing carpenter.  Chuck Spieth died from smoke inhalation in an accidental house fire in Oregon in the early 70s. While psychedelic in nature, the album does not pinpoint exactly whom The David sound like because theycreated a sound all their own.  

They could have been the next big thing if only top 40 radio by late 1967 had not started sticking to the sound they knew, afraid to try something new.  Looking back, the album should have sold a lot better than it did. Thirty years later, The David continue to garner fans in the psychedelic/garage band underground.  The time has come for The David to get the recognition they truly deserve. It is long overdue.
by Steve Kolanjian

1. Another Day, Another Lifetime I Would Like To Know - 5:53
2. I'm Not Alone - 1:50
3. Sweet December - 3:06
4. Tell Me More - 2:25
5. Now To You - 2:50
6. Professor Crawford - 2:41
7. Time M - 3:49
8. So Much More - 2:17
9. Mirrors Of Wood - 3:24
10.Of Our Other Days - 2:08
11.I Don't Care  (Unissued) - 2:12
12.Mister, You're a Better Man Than I  (Unissued) - 2:52

The David
*Warren Hansen - Organ, Vocals
*Mark Bird - Guitar
*Chuck Spieth - Bass
*Tim Harrison - Drums

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Bards - The Moses Lake Recordings (1968 us, blended sophisticated solid pop psych, Curt Boetcher and Keith Olsen production)

The Bard's charted hit "Never Too Much Love" was released by Capital Records in 1967. Amazingly, 30 years later, the Best of the Bards unique and highly innovative sound has been rediscovered. The Bard's journey to success is a true study of serendipity meeting innovation. 

Early in the 1960s, before the Beatles, about the time that the Wailers and Kingsmen were waking up Seattle and the three chords of "Louie Louie" were inspiring garage bands along the west coast, the "Continentals" evolved on the other side of Washington State. Consisting mainly of Moses Lake High School music students, the Continentals configuration was constantly being shaped by graduation, college, the army draft and parents. 

When the final combination of Mike Balzotti on keyboards, Mardi Sheridan on guitar, Bob Galloway on drums and Chuck Warren on bass arrived a true band was born! Eight years of intense effort and creativity took the group with a new name "The Bards" to every dance hall, armory, radio station and recording studio in the Northwest. They created an immensely different and popular sound by setting classic and contemporary poetry to rock music. (The Bard name means an ancient order of lyric, minstrel poets.) 

They quickly became a standout group among the popular Northwest groups of the 60's-sharing the stage with acts like The Dave Clark Five, Rascals, Animals and The Turtles. At the height of their popularity, featured in a series of concerts with Tommy Roe, they were paid the ultimate sixties compliment when in mid-set, police had to escort them off stage past screaming mobs of young teens. It was the glory days of Rock 'n Roll and a time of transition in American culture. 

The Bards mirrored these changes as reflected in their music. They blended solid pop rhythms and some sophisticated chord structures against seductively memorable vocal melodies. They merged classic lyrics with psychedelic textures. The rewards of their innovative style came when the Bards ventured to Hollywood, packing their "garage" tapes. 

Legendary pop producer Curt Boetcher, obviously amused by their lack of "Hollywood chic" introduced himself in an elevator and invited them to pitch their music. Boetcher's production partner at that time was Keith Olsen, who later achieved worldwide fame producing artists who've sold over 100 million records. This serendipitous meeting resulted in "The Moses Lake Recordings" a unique mix of distinctive songs including a 20- minute "Rock Opera," based on a poem called "The Creation." 

This material, produced by the best in the business was never released because of the demise of the record label until now. In a recent documentary on Northwest music, legendary Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame DJ Pat O'Day was asked what NW group deserved greater national recognition. He answered, "The Bards." The Bards were both a product of their time and an unmistakably original. Like many originals there is a timeless quality that endures.
Bob, Chuck, Mardig, and Mike, February, 2002

1. Rainy Days I Had With You (Mike Balzotti) - 2:26
2. Laredo (Mardig Sheridan, Mike Balzotti, Chuck Warren) - 3:55
3. Oobleck (Mike Balzotti, Seuss) - 2:39
4. Moses (Mike Balzotti, Chuck Warren) - 3:14
5. Reluctantly and Slow (Mardig Sheridan, Johnson) - 3:05
6. The Creation (Mardig Sheridan, Mike Balzotti, Johnson) - 14:18
....And the Light Broke - 1:42
....He Made the World - 3:42
....Seven Seas - 0:30
....Green, Green Grass - 2:17
....I'll Make Me a Man - 3:08
....Up From the Bed of the River - 2:27
....Amen - 0:25
7. Hollow Men (Mardig Sheridan, Mike Balzotti, Elliot) - 4:22

The Bards
*Mardig Sheridan - Guitar, Vocals
*Mike Balzotti - Keyboards, Vocals
*Chuck Warren - Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Bob Galloway - Drums, Vocals

Morly Grey - The Only Truth (1972 us, exciting psychedelic guitar rock, sundazed bonus tracks edition)

Since its rediscovery in the early '80s, Morly  Grey's “The Only Truth” album has become known  mostly as the quintessential hard rock/psychedelic collectable, skyrocketing in value and inspiring countless bootleg versions. For brothers Mark and Tim Roller, everything had been building up to Morly Grey since the Alliance, Ohio, natives both got into rock 'n' roll as preteens in the 1950s.

First came guitar-playing, then came the Beatles for initial inspiration and then came a series of late '60s bands: the Chads, Popcorn Treaty and Rust, As the brothers' first group to play professional gigs, Rust was a turning point for the Rollers (then in high school)—gigging regionally at clubs in Cleveland, Akron, Salem and their hometown as the quintet played an assortment of Cream, Hendrix, the Doors and similar covers.

It was a start, but the Roller brothers were getting bored. "We were just doing cover music iike everybody was doing, but we wanted to do something different that we weren't copying anybody, we were doing all our own writing/' Mark recalled. Consequently, when attrition reduced Rust to a core trio of Mark, Tim and drummer Paul Cassidy in late 1969, the three knew exactly what they wanted to do: original music. Adding ex-Coming Generation guitarist Randy Byron, the band was renamed Morly Grey.

1. Peace Office (T. Roller, P. Cassicly) 5:30
2. You Came to Me (M. Roller) 4:12
3. Who Can I Say You Are (M. Roller) 3:40
4. I'm Afraid (P. Cassidy) 4:32
5. Our Time (T. Roller) 6:29
6. After Me Again (M. Roller) 3:07
7. A Feeling for You (M. Roller) 2:33
8. The Only Truth (M. Roller) 17:02
... "When Johnny Comes Marching Home (traditional, arranged by Morly Grey)
9. None Are for Me (T. Roller) 10:21
10.Come Down (P. Cassidy) 8:59
11.Love Me (T. Roller, M. Roller, P. Cassidy) 3:39
12.I'll Space You (M. Roller) 3:47
13.Be Your King (M. Roller, P. Cassidy) 2:33
Bonus Tracks previously unissued  from 9 - 13

Morley Grey 
*Tim Roller - Guitar, Vocals
*Mark Roller - Bass, Lead Vocals
*Paul Cassidy - Drums, Vocals
*Bob Lanave - Drums, Percussion, Vocals

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Friday, September 21, 2012

The Patron Saints - Fohhoh Bohob (1969 us, gentle pleasure and overflowing creativity of a rural psychedelic jewel, 2006 digipak bonus tracks edition )

2006 marked the 40th anniversary of the birth of the Patron Saints. 40 years. How could it possibly be that long? Back in 1966, we were five typical mid-sixties suburban New York kids, learning our musical craft by emulating our heroes: the Stones, Beatles, Hendrix, Cream, the Butterfield Blues Band, the Doors, Moby Grape, the Yardbirds, et al, all loomed large in our rock ‘n’ roll education. 

By early 1969, the Saints were down to three members: Jon Tuttle, Paul D'Alton and myself. Jon and I had just started writing songs at this point, so we finally had some original music to practice and perform. Eventually, we recorded some demos together, using guitars and piano just to see what they sounded like. When we felt we had enough compositions under our belts, we decided to record some of this new material with Paul on drums. I owned a Sony 10255 reel-to-reel tape deck and Jon had a portable Sony reel-to-reel system. These decks were not, by any stretch of the imagination, professional recording devices, but that didn't matter to us...we had gotten pretty good at squeezing respectable results out of less-than-state-of-the-art equipment by this time. 

It was at this point that I began to act on an idea that had been gestating in my little teenage brain for some time...why do we need to go to a record company with our stuff? Why don't we just record our own album and put it out ourselves? Sort of like those old Andy Hardy movies..."Say, let's put on a show in the barn!!!" My philosophy was (and still is, for that matter) that the music and vibes on a record were far more important than the fidelity. Our friend and contemporary, Chris Kubie, had recorded a live concert of his music in January 1969 and put out a limited edition record, so we knew it could be done. Jon and Paul readily agreed to the scheme; so, now what? How much would it cost? What did we need? Where would we record this thing? 

Fate intervened when the Paul's family decided that when they went away for three weeks in June of 1969, we could record at the house in their absence. I don't think they really had a clue what was involved, but it sounded positive and harmless, so why not? With our "studio" problem solved, we scrounged up some extra equipment; a Roberts //oX (as I recall) reel-to-reel tape deck similar to my Sony, but of higher quality, a high-impedance Shure microphone and a mixer with built-in reverb! We had it made now. We divided up the responsibilities into three distinct sections: I was to produce and engineer the album, Jon was to do the cover artwork and Paul was head of distribution (whatever that meant). 

Bit by bit, we set up our creative turf; amplifiers were hooked up, mikes (all three or four of them) were placed, levels were checked. It took a whole day, but finally, on June 25,1969, we were ready to make our creative mark on the world. Song by song, we captured our repertoire. Jon and I had done enough recording in the past to know our way around the basics of the process, but not enough to know what "wasn't allowed," so we constantly broke the rules (i.e., mike placement, reverb levels, sound effects, etc.) without even being aware of it. I truly believe our innocent "ignorance" is what gave the record it's charm. We often stopped tape when loud planes went over, when dogs barked, when phones rang (if we forgot to take them off the hook, which was fairly often). 

If you listen carefully to the fade out of "White Light", you can hear the birds chirping outside. Not exactly a soundproof environment. Somehow or other, by July isth, we had finished the tracks for what was to become Fohhoh Bohob. We packaged, pressed and delivered our masterpiece to a waiting world. Or so we thought. Since we could only afford to press 100 copies of the LP, there weren't that many to go around. Some went to family and friends, a few to record companies and radio DJs, and the rest to...well, apparently, they eventually found their way into the hands of fans and collectors who, in the ensuing years, have made Bohob one of the most collectible independently produced LPs ever released, with original copies commanding absurdly high prices. Who would have guessed? Which brings us to this new reissue. 

To combat the number of sonically sub-par Bohob bootlegs which had appeared on the underground music scene over the years, we released a reissue LP and CD a decade ago, which were culled from original sources and processed to the best of our abilities using 1996-7 technology. Since that stock of reissue LPs/CDs is now virtually depleted, it seemed the right time to put out a new edition. Enter Nemo Bidstrup, owner and founder of Time-Lag Records, and, conveniently, a big fan of Fohhoh Bohob. Based on Nemo's urging, we decided to put out the ultimate Bohob reissues, with the LP being as close as possible to the original in terms of look, feel and sound (only infinitely better), and the CD with an additional four previously unavailable bonus tracks, for a total of sixteen. 

This time, the transfer from the original master tapes (which, remarkably, still sound as good as they did back in '69) is a close to perfect as possible. For instance, the transfer of the song "Flower" on the first reissues used a de-clicked version from an original Bohob LP. The version used on the new reissues, however, is about 85% original master tape, 15% de-clicked version. The continued demand for Fohhoh Bohob is astonishing and truly heartening for the Patron Saints, who are still together in 2006 and releasing new music. It should also be an inspiration for bands offering their music to a difficult-to-break-through business, the lesson being, of course, "you just never know"! Grateful thanks to all of you who have loved this album enough to keep its spirit alive.
by Eric Bergman, October 2006

1. Flower (Eric Bergman) - 4:28
2. Nostalgia Trip - 3:32
3. Reflections - 3:44
4. Do You Think About Me? (Eric Bergman) - 3:11
5. White Light (Eric Bergman) - 5:41
6. Relax - 6:13
7. My Lonely Friend - 4:03
8. Andrea (Eric Bergman) - 5:58
9. The Goodnight Song - 4:43
10.Shine On Heart - 7:01
11.Do It Together - 4:01
12.Do You Think About Me (Live Version) (Eric Bergman) - 3:50
13.Nostalgia Trip (1975 Version) - 3:43
14.Reflections On A Warm Day (1975 Version) - 3:34
15.Do You Think About Me (Demo Version) (Eric Bergman) - 3:33
16.The Goodnight Song (Alternate Version) - 4:04
All song by Jonathan Tuttle excpet where indicated.

The Patron Saints
*Eric Bergman - Vocals, Acoustic, 12-string Guitars, Piano, Bass, Autoharp, 5-string Banjo.
*Jonathan Tuttle - Vocals, Acoustic, 12-string Guitars, Piano
*Paul D'Alton - Drums

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Oxford Circle - Live At The Avalon (1966 us, amazing garage psych blues rock, pre Blue Cheer, Kak-Ola and young Dr John)

To the uninitiated, the name Oxford Circle may only be recognisable from a faded Fillmore or Avalon poster, where they once shared the bill with the Dead, Quicksilver or Big Brother. Amongst the cognoscenti, however, their name is mentioned in the hushed, awed tones reserved for only the truly great. Amazing to think that such immense repute stems from the outfit's sole recorded legacy, the $500-rated single Foolish Woman / Mind Destruction. But all it takes is one listen to this masterpiece of throbbing punk hysteria, and its demented, off-the wall flipside, to vindicate the legend of the Circle. 

Contrary to public opinion, the Circle were not in fact a San Francisco band. Rather, they hailed from the university town of Davis, just outside state capital Sacramento. Gary Lee Yoder, Dehner Patten, Jim Keylor and Paul Whaley had been kingpins in the over-populated northern California teen scene ever since they got together in late 1964 as the Hide-Aways. One year later they had become the Oxford Circle, in deference to their trademarked interpretation of the blueswailing English punk sound. Patten tore off spiky, spindly leads with dexterity; bassist Keylor and drummer Whaley constituted one hell of a powerhouse rhythm section; and the Circle were fronted by the soulful, full-blooded warbling of Yoder, who was also not averse to writhing around the stage floor or coaxing ear-splitting electronic noises from his Gibson. 

Sensing the constrictive nature of their immediate environs, the Circle frequently journeyed south to San Francisco. There, their tight and dynamic stage show quickly got them booked at the ballrooms, and the combo would regularly blow their more illustrious contemporaries off the boards. No further evidence is needed than Live At The Avalon 1966, where Family Dog honcho Bob Cohen's dynamic recordings capture the Circle at the peak of their powers.

 From the nine-minute improvised feedback assault of Mystic Eyes that opens the disc, via ripping takes on punk staples such as You're A Better Man Than I, Baby Please Don't Go and I'm A Man, through to Yoder's tuff originals like Soul On Fire and Since You've Been Away, Live At The Avalon firmly establishes the Circle as the pre-eminent psychedelic garage band, bar none. And it crystallises that brief but magic moment when punk fury took on an experimental zeal and mutated into something quite breathtaking indeed. 

The personnel may have graduated to projects more feted - Whaley to Blue Cheer, Yoder and Patten to Kak - but the Oxford Circle was its constituents' finest hour. Live At The Avalon tells the story of this fascinating band in an exhaustively annotated and lavishly illustrated package. 

In addition to the incredible live material, both sides of the crazy World United single are included, as well as a further two tracks from an aborted 1967 demo session held in Hollywood (and featuring Mac 'Dr John' Rebennack on organ). 

A must-have for the aficionado, but essential too for any fan of well-recorded, kickass 1960s garage rock & roll. Check it out! 
by Alec Palao

1.Mystic Eyes (Van Morrison) - 9:11
2.Since You've Been Away (Gary Lee Yoder) - 2:16
3.You're A Better Man Than I (Mike Hugg, Brian Hugg) - 5:00
4.Soul On Fire (Gary Lee Yoder) - 2:33
5.I Got My Mojo Working (Preston Foster) - 3:44
6.Baby Please Don't Go (Joe Williams) - 5:16
7.Foolish Woman (Gary Lee Yoder, Dehner Patten) - 3:53
8.Troubles (Gary Lee Yoder) - 5:14
9.We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil) - 3:34
10.Today (Gary Lee Yoder) - 4:08
11.Silent Woman (Gary Lee Yoder) - 3:53
12.Little Girl (Van Morrison) - 4:44
13.Hoochie Coochie Man (Willie Dixon) - 4:44
14.I'm A Man (Elias McDaniel) - 3:50
15.Foolish Woman (Gary Yoder, Dehner Patten) - 2:34
16.Mind Destruction (Jim Keylor, Paul Whaley) - 5:16
17.The Raven (Gary Lee Yoder) - 2:42
18.Troubles (Gary Lee Yoder) - 2:38

The Oxford Circle
*Gary Lee Yoder - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
*Jim Keylor  - Bass, Vocals
*Paul Whaley  - Drums, Vocals
*Dehner Patten  - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Mac Rebennack  - Organ

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