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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Gold - Gold (1969 us, amazing west coast psychedelic rock)

In 1971 Gold was one of the hottest bands in San Francisco without an LP. Bill Graham was booking them to open for 10 years After, Big Brother & the Holding Company, Hot Tuna and more. Eventually he called their management into his office and let them know that he needed bands that had an LP out with airplay. In 2002, Gold's Album "Mission Rock" recorded in '71 was released. After 32 years, finally the LP Graham had wanted to hear!

Gold, a real San Francisco band had Mission District origins in 1967. To gain attention, the band often did benefit gigs for good causes, something they learned from watching the career of Country Joe & The Fish. They played twice for prisoners at the San Francisco County Jail, and also at San Quentin State Prison. In 1971 they played at an anti-Vietnam War Moratorium rally at Golden Gate State Park which drew over 150,000, sharing the bill with Big Brother & The Holding Company. Also, in 1970 they played at a notorious Hells Angels party along with Big Brother, Full Tilt Boogie and Janice Joplin. Not only were they receiving good support from Bill Graham, but also received favorable reviews from the San Francisco Chronicle & Examiner.

The only thing holding them back during those days was not having an LP, but they did manage to get some airplay right along with Santana and The Grateful Dead from an audio cassette they had sent in to local FM radio stations.

Country Joe McDonald took a great interest in the Band and worked with them on a number of projects. he even helped them release a 45...the classic "Summertime" b/w "No Parking". The single went pretty much unnoticed, however they did receive some airplay on top 40 stations in California and Utah.

Guitarist Ed Scott founded what was to become Gold in 1967. Known at the time as The Lost Cause, featuring Larry Walton on lead guitar, they went through several names including Golden Gate, and then finally Gold (as in Acapulco Gold). As the years progressed, new members came and went. The band finally broke up in September, 1973 due to frustration over lack of finding a good label and the usual ego tripping issues that cause most bands to fall... For a garage band they actually went very far and played on some big stages with some mighty huge acts...

1. No Parking - 2:35
2. High On Love - 4:03
3. Righteous Road - 2:49
4. Summer Dresses - 2:26
5. Conquistadore - 5:16
6. Heavy - 2:48
7. Elizabeth - 4:33
8. I Saw You - 2:38
9. PSB - 5:47
10.Filet Of Soul - 5:40

*Ronald Coco -Vocals
*Ed Scott - Guitar
*Joe Bajza - Guitar
*Louis Gorseau - Drums
*Joe Mancada - Bass
*Dennis Cabral - Percussion
*Percy Nicholson - Congas

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J.J. Light - Heya (1969 us, magnificent psychedelic native rock, Sir Douglas side man)

Jim Stallings was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who had been knocking around the Los Angeles music scene for a few years when he met Bob Markley, a wealthy hipster and producer who had worked with the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. Markley took Stallings under his wing, scored him a record deal, and christened him with a new stage name, J.J. Light, which was imagined to better fit his Native American heritage.

J.J. Light scored an international hit single with 1969's "Heya," and the album of the same title sold respectably in Europe, Scandinavia, and South America, but for some reason the LP was never released in the United States, and a follow-up recorded later the same year was never released at all; Stallings became a member of Doug Sahm's Sir Douglas Quintet, joining in time to play bass on the classic Together After Five album.

This release from the U.K.-based Sunbeam Records features the Heya! LP in full along with 11 songs recorded for Light's unreleased second album, only one of which ("Kent State Massacre") has previously surfaced. Heya! is an engaging exercise in psychedelia lite; Stallings' songs are strong and to the point while boasting radio-ready melodies alongside lyrics that often deal with Native American issues, and his vocals are gutsy and passionate without sounding ragged, recalling Johnny Rivers with an extra portion of soul.

Stallings also had some fine help in the studio, including keyboard man Larry Knechtel, drummers Earl Palmer and Jim Gordon, and guitarists Gary Rowles and Ron Morgan (the former worked with Arthur Lee's 1969-1970 edition of Love, and the latter played in the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band), and the music isn't afraid to cut deep while leaning toward the sunny side.

The unreleased material was rescued from old acetates and the sound quality is flawed, but the songs and performances are as good if not better than what Stallings brought to his first album, and it's hard to imagine why work this good was forced to collect dust in the vaults for so long. Heya! certainly deserves a higher profile in Stallings' homeland, and until some American label picks this up for a stateside issue, Sunbeam's release gives his songs the hearing they clearly deserve, while Tim Forster's liner notes tell the story behind this music and J.J. Light's short-lived career.
by Mark Deming

1. Na Ru Ka - 3:01
2. Silently Sleeping - 2:58
3. Follow Me Girl - 3:02
4. It's Wednesday - 2:31
5. Until It Snows - 3:01
6. The Electric Land Band - 1:25
7. Hello, Hello, Hello - 2:31
8. Heya - 3:10
9. While the World Turns to Stone - 2:18
10.Henry Glover - 2:11
11.Hey Yo Hanna Wa - 2:14
12.Indian Disneyland - 2:23
13.Gallup, New Mexico - 1:56
14.On the Road Now - 3:05
15.Low Rider Rule - 2:37
16.Running Bear (Richardson) - 2:31
17.Rose Marie - 1:47
18.A Thousand Years Old - 2:47
19.Love Is Not a Game (Goldstein) - 2:16
20.Power to the People - 3:03
21.Kent State Massacre - 2:08
22.Christine - 1:59
23.Don't We All Get Lonely Sometimes? (Knight) - 3:25
24.Have You Seen My Baby? (Newman) - 2:32
25.Stuck in Prison - 1:58
26.Heya - 2:36
All Songs written by Jim Stallings except where noted.

*Jim Stallings - Vocals, Bass, Guitar
*Gary Rowles - Guitar
*Ron Morgan - Guitar
*Larry Knechtel - Piano, Organ
*Joe Osborne - Bass
*Jim Gordon - Drums
*Earl Palmer - Drums

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