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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Fredric - Phases And Faces The Complete Recordings (1967-69 us, garage psych masterpiece)

Phases and Faces, the only album by Grand Rapids Michigan quintet The Fredric, was released in 1968 on Forte Records. Long considered a masterpiece by fans throughout the world, this once-in-a-lifetime merging of diverse elements is one of the most magical and extraordinary musical offerings in all of sixties music. 

Any longtime fan will tell you, there is nothing like The Fredric in the history of recorded music. Nothing! Lead vocalist Joe McCargar and Guitarist Bob Geis were high school mates in the mid-sixties, playing in a band. One of their first shows was a booking on historic Mackinac Island, playing the Grand Hotel in the summer of 1966. Several days before the show the band lost their guitarist and drummer, but quickly found guitar-vocalist Steve Thrall as a replacement through the musicians grapevine. 

This move proved to be the genesis of what was to become the legendary Fredric sound. This revamped trio, minus a drummer, managed to play the show successfully and decided to enhance the group with additional musicians. Drummer vocalist David Idema was the son of a family friend of McCargar's parents. Ron Bera was added on keyboards, making use of his excellent skills. 

Extensive rehearsals were held throughout 1967. A unique and inviting sound began to take shape. At this point, the band approached a booking agent. Greatly impressed with the diversity of the original material, he encouraged them to develop and record. Soon afterwards he secured the band a position backing Harper and Rowe, a British vocal duo on a promotional tour. However, the duo's label did not want a locally recognized band backing their act. 

In need of a new moniker, the group changed their name from Yesterday's Children to The Fredric, on the way to their first show in Fredric, Michigan Mackinac Island, located in the northern part of the state, became the paradisiac setting for early songwriting efforts, including "The Girl I Love," "Morning Sunshine" and "All About Judy." In the summer of 1967 Steve's parents, in a vote of encouragement, let the band occupy their summer cottage on Lake Michigan as a retreat to perfect their sound. "Red Pier," and "Cousin Mary Knows" were written there. Constant playing and  exchanging of ideas  had tightened and fine tuned a most unique sound. The Fredric was on their way.

The Fredric shared concert bills with The Boxtops, Tommy James and the Shondells, The Yellow Balloon and other artists of the time. The Fredric played extensively throughout the Midwest and enjoyed an extensive fan base in West Michigan. In 1967 they formed their own label, Forte Records. In reality this was nothing more than means of copywriting their original material for presentations to major labels. 

In June of 1970, The Fredric signed with Capitol Records and was promptly rechristened The Rock Garden by label executives. Capitol saw the group as a pop hit unit, which caused great frustration among the members who wanted nothing to do with this commercialization of their music. They had scheduled for several releases when the decision was made to dissolve the band. 

After the demise of the band, both Thrall and Idema pursued recording careers and continued to write together, Idema performing under the pseudonym, David Geddes, scored a mega-hit with "Run, Joey, Run," and an album by the same name.  Thrall and Idema found careers in media. McCargar became a teacher and recording engineer. Geis entered the accounting profession and Bera furthered his formal musical training as a choral and band director. 

Thrall confides, Take chances on your journey, or you will never discover the unwritten music. I'd like to thank everyone involved in this labor of love project. We are sure that you, the fans, will love this reissue package. Enjoy The Fredric, truly an American treasure!
Ben Maxwell, August 1996

1. Federal Reserve Bank Blues - 2:11
2. The Girl I Love - 2:31
3. All About Judi - 2:13
4. Henry Adams - 1:51
5. Morning Sunshine - 2:29
6. Taggin' - 3:07
7. Cousin Mary Knows - 2:11
8. My Yellow Tree - 1:58
9. Red Pier - 2:55
10.Old Fashioned Guy - 2:11
11.Born in Fire - 2:38
12.Saturday Morning With Rain - 1:59
13.Five O'Clock Traffic - 2:10
14.Postmarks - 2:08
15.Bob's Songs - 3:28
16.Lori Lee Loveland - 3:59

The Fredric
*Joe McCarger - Vocals
*Steve Thrall - Guitar, Vocals
*Dave Idema - Drums, Vocals
*Bob Geis - Guitar
*Ron Bera - Keyboards

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Gerry Rafferty - City To City / Night Owl (1978-79 uk, soft rock with country folk touches, double disc set)

Gerry Rafferty was a huge talent, but a reluctant star. Management struggles and sundry other hindrances limited his output, but couldn't avert the Scot from releasing two legendary singles -- the Tarantino-ized "Stuck in the Middle With You" and the unforgettable "Baker Street," the latter included on this record. 

Just a glimpse of John Patrick Byrne's cool cover art lets the listener know City to City houses Rafferty's day in the sun as he conquers the world one metropolis at a time, his guitar and amp in tow. Setting out in his apocalyptic "Ark," each song radiates the confidence of a master craftsman cruising in his prime, constructing brilliant pop confections with top-flight support while awaiting the crunch of civilization. 

The dreamy reality check "Baker Street" rightfully remains one of the greatest cuts in pop history. Forever-lost B-side "Big Change in Weather" further demonstrates Rafferty was on a rare roll. Domestic valentine "Right Down the Line" snugly followed to the height of the charts, and third release, "Home and Dry," while not of an immortal status, stands as a quality song. He even stomps out a smooth hoedown on the title track. Rafferty's turns of phrase and tight composition skills create a fresh sound and perspective all his own. 

Any diverse style (and he attempts many) filters through his unique mindset, resulting in a classic platter buoyed by many moments of sheer genius. "Whatever's written in your heart, that's all that matters." 
by Doug Stone

On his second release for United Artists, Gerry Rafferty focuses an equal amount of attention on his lyrics and on the sincerity of the song's moods to create one his strongest and most heartfelt albums. Delicate, touching, and extremely poignant, Rafferty blankets all of Night Owl's tracks with a late-night/early-morning earnestness that is highly effective throughout. 

Although he managed to do just that with 1978's City to City, Night Owl generates a stronger intimacy and a genuine romantic feel through Rafferty's guitar playing and the way in which his lyrics are sung. The sentimental softness of "Days Gone Down," the controlled exuberance in "Get It Right Next Time," and the pathos which is instilled for the lonely wanderer in "Night Owl" all add to the album's solemn yet moving atmosphere. 

Rafferty continues this mood with tracks such as "Why Won't You Talk to Me," "Family Tree," and "It's Gonna Be a Long Night," giving the traditional singer/songwriter style some enchantment and allure through his vocal subtlety. In the U.K. the album broke into the Top Ten, and in the United States it sold 500,000 copies, earning Rafferty a gold disc. "Night Owl," "Days Gone Down," and "Get It Right Next Time" all cracked the Top 30, but unfortunately Rafferty failed to match the success of Night Owl with any of his albums that followed. 
by Mike DeGagne

1978 City To City
1. The Ark - 5:39
2. Baker Street - 6:08
3. Right Down the Line - 4:28
4. City to City - 5:04
5. Stealin' Time - 5:58
6. Mattie's Rag - 3:25
7. Whatever's Written in Your Heart - 6:37
8. Home and Dry - 4:57
9. Island - 5:16
10. Waiting for the Day - 5:43

1979 Night Owl
1. Days Gone Down (Still Got theLight in Your Eyes) - 6:31
2. Night Owl - 6:11
3. The Way That You Do It - 5:08
4. Why Won't You Talk to Me? - 4:00
5. Get It Right Next Time - 4:42
6. Take the Money and Run - 5:50
7. Family Tree - 5:58
8. Already Gone - 4:55
9. The Tourist - 4:14
10. It's Gonna Be a Long Night - 4:23
All titles by Gerry Rafferty.

*Roger Brown - Vocals
*Richard Brunton - Acoustic, Electric,  Slide Guitar, Soloist
*Hugh Burns - Acoustic, Electric,  Rhythm Guitar
*Joanna Carlin - Vocals
*Brian Cole - Dobro, Pedal Steel
*Betsy Cook - Vocals
*Barbara Dickson - Vocals
*Jerry Donahue - Electric, Guitar
*Robert Ellis - Photography
*Tommy Eyre - Brass Arrangement, Keyboards, Moog Synthesizer, Organ, Piano, Synthesizer
*Mo Foster - Bass
*Liam Genockey - Drums
*Richard Harvey - Penny Whistle, Pipe Organ, Recorder, Synthesizer
*Nigel Jenkins - Rhythm Guitar
*Paul Jones - Harmonica
*John Kirkpatrick - Accordion
*Glen LeFleur - Drums, Percussion, Tambourine
*Low - Drums
*Vivian McAuliff - Vocals
*John McBurnie - Vocals
*Micky Moody - Acoustic Treatments
*Hugh Murphy - Tambourine
*Rab Noakes - Vocals
*Graham Preskett - Brass, Fiddle, Keyboards, Mandolin, Piano, String Arrangements, String Machine
*Gerry Rafferty - Lead, Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Polymoog, String Arrangements, Vocals
*Raphael Ravenscroft - Saxophone, Soloist
*Willy Ray - Accordion
*Frank Ricotti - Percussion, Tambourine
*Henry Spinetti - Drums
*Gary Taylor - Bass, Vocals
*Linda Thompson - Vocals
*Richard Thompson - Electric Guitar, Mandolin
*Pete Wingfield - Organ
*Gavyn Wright - String Conductor

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