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


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Keef Hartley Band - Halfbreed (1969 uk, classic blues rock, 2008 esoteric remaster with bonus track)

Keef Hartley is a British-born musician from Preston, Lancashire, in the United Kingdom. Hartley's career started when he was a replacement for Ringo Starr as a drummer for Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, which was a very popular Liverpool band at the time. Hartley then played and recorded with The Artwoods and various configurations of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers before forming his own band, The Keef Hartley Band.

With Hartley's own band he released a total of nine albums, the most famous of all being the first album, Halfbreed, hence the title of this book. Hartley studied Native American culture and that was reflected in his album artwork and for his wardrobe on his albums, as well as in this newly published book. Amazingly Hartley's group played at the original Woodstock Festival in 1969, which was just one of the interesting facts I learned from this fine book. So the story goes that Keef's manager did not want to sign the necessary paperwork for his band performance to be part of the Woodstock movie and the multipleWoodstock recordings, which is truly a shame. Interestingly, Hartley's biggest influence was the legendary drummer Buddy Rich, which probably accounts for why Hartley was such a good fit for Mayall's Jazz Blues Fusion and Moving On, albums, which featured outstanding Jazz players like Blue Mitchell, Red Holloway, Clifford Solomon, and the magnificent Soul/Blues/Jazz guitarist Freddy Robinson.

Halfbreed is Hartley's autobiography, which sheds light on the star-studded first decade of his career and the walk down the U.K.'s historical Blues scene that fascinates the reader with stories about fabled musicians like Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor(who was Hartley's roommate), the Beatles, John Mayall, Graham Bond, Jimmy Page, Brian Auger, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Champion Jack Dupree, and Willie Dixon, plus brief encounters with actor Peter O'Toole and actress-turned-Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly.

My only issues with Halfbreed is that it took a while to get going, as a fair amount of pages were scribed about his youth and lesser-known bands. Additionally I was looking forward to a segment on Keef's time with the later day versions of the aforementionedJazz Blues Fusion album band which always fascinated me. But towards the end of this book Keef makes mention that there might be a follow-up book titled Bye Bye Blues, where Hartley states, "If you pester the publisher, I'd love to tell you more." Cheers to that!
by Bob Putignano

1.  Sacked (Introducing Hearts and Flowers) (Arranged Keef Hartley) - 0:40
.a. Confusion Theme (Ian Cruickshank, Keef Hartley) - 1:05
.b. The Halfbreed (Ian Cruickshank, Keef Hartley, Peter Dines) - 6:07
2. Born to Die (Fiona Hewitson, Gary Thain, Keef Hartley, Peter Dines) - 9:58
3. Sinnin' For You (Fiona Hewitson, Keef Hartley, Owen Finnegan, Peter Dines) - 5:51
4. Leavin' Trunk (Sleepy John Estes) - 5:55
5. Just to Cry (Henry Lowther, Owen Finnegan) - 6:20
6. Too Much Thinking (Gary Thain, Owen Finnegan, Peter Dines) - 5:30
7. Think it Over" (B.B. King) - 4:59
.a.Too Much to Take - 0:32
8. Leave It 'Till The Morning (Fiona Hewitson, Gary Thain, Keef Hartley, Spit James) - 3:27
Bonus Track 8

Keef Hartley Band
*Miller Anderson - Vocals, Guitar
*Peter Dines - Organ, Harpsichord
*Spit James - Guitar
*Gary Thain - Bass Guitar
*Keef Hartley - Drums
*Henry Lowther - Trumpet, Violin, Brass arrangements
*Harry Beckett - Trumpet
*Lynn Dobson - Tenor Sax, Flute
*Chris Mercer - Tenor Sax
*John Mayall - voice on "Sacked" and "Too Much to Take"

Keef Hartley Band
1968-72  Not Foolish Not Wise
1970  Overdog (2005 eclectic)
1971  Little Big Band
1972  Lancashire Hustler (2008 esoteric)

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The Spencer Davis Group - The Second Album (1966 uk, brilliant swinging soulful beat rock, 2006 japan bonus tracks edition)

"Get a bigger amplifier, you're not loud enough!" a famous pop star once told the Spencer Davis Group. It was a remark meant as a friendly tip on how best to combat the acoustics of a northern cinema. But it also reflects the pop situation where sheer noise is often regarded as the most important consideration, over and above the quality of the music. 

For  years this has been true of beat groups who, apart from creating a sort of token barrage of noise, seeking to amplify as loudly as possible their lack of talent, have placed most faith in the tightness of their trousers ensuring lasting popular success. it would be an insult to call the Spencer Davis Group a "beat group," unless one qualified it by calling them the "thinking man's beat group." But musicians hate to be categorised anyway. 

And if you accuse the Spencer boys of playing R ‘n’ B they will shift uncomfortably while Spencer quietly explains they prefer the term "coloured pop music". Steve Winwood is likely to grin and groan: "We: hate the word R ‘n’ B ". So what do the Spencer Davis Group play? Their music is an adult, sophisticated culmination of the mindless beatery of yesteryear and the raw emotionalism of early British R ‘n’ B. It's got jazz, it's got beat and it's got blues. 

It swings and shouts and most of all, and more than most, it's got heart. A lot of soulless people talk about soul playing, but the Spencer Davis Group don't have to talk. When they are playing on a stage or in a club, they are not thinking how easy it is to con money from the screamers. They are worrying if people are enjoying what they arc enjoying. It means much to them that an audience reacts to a slow ballad like "Georgia On My Mind," as much as a hit record like "Strong Love". But they don't need to worry, as in the few short months of forming, they have become one of the most highly regarded and respected organisations playing today. 

On this album you can hear all facets of Spencer music from country blues and folk to hard punching R ‘n’ B. Their swing is a quality stemming from their strong feeling for jazz. Drummer Peter York's favourite musician is Buddy Rich, bassist Muff Winwood digs Ray Charles, while brother Steve and Spencer love Duke Ellington's compositions. Spencer in fact veers nearer to the country blues of singers like Lead Belly and began his musical career singing folk. 

Stave Winwood has quite the most extraordinary talent on the scene. Aged 17 he has probably the most natural and convincing blues voice of all soul singers this side of the Atlantic and quite a few on the other side. Steve's Ray Charles/Horace Silver piano, gutty guitar and humming harmonica arc all featured here, with Spencer's warm vocals and tolling 12-string guitar. Driving Spencer arid Stevie along are Muff's grooving bass lines, and Pete's crisp, facile drumming. 

You will be completely satisfied with this package. New listeners will be surprised and rewarded. It's strong, loving music. Don't scream. Iisten. 
by Chris Welch

1.Look Away (Norman Meade, Bert Russell) -  2:45
2.Keep On Running (Jackie Edwards) -  2:51
3.This Hammer (M. Winwood, S. Winwood, P. York, S. Davis) -  2:19
4.Georgia On My Mind (Hoagy Carmichael, Stuart Gorrell) -  4:44
5.Please Do Something (Don Covay) -  2:27
6.Let Me Down Easy (T. Glaser, J. Glaser) -  3:06
7.Strong Love (Deadric Malone, Edward Silvers, Mary M. Brown) -  2:18
8.I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water (Joe Babcock) -  2:38
9.Since I Met You Baby (Ivory Joe Hunter) -  3:30
10.You Must Believe Me (Curtis Mayfield) -  2:49
11.Hey Darling (Davis, S. Winwood) -  4:49
12.Watch Your Step (Bobby Parker) -  2:57
13.Stevie's Blues (S. Winwood) - 3:49
14.Trampoline (S. Winwood) - 2:28
15.Back Into My Life Again (Jimmy Miller, Jackie Edwards) - 2:26
16.Kansas City (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) - 3:52
17.Oh! Pretty Woman (R. Orbison, Bill Dees) - 3:22
18.Det War In Schoneberg - 2:42
19.Stevie's Groove (S. Winwood) - 2:46
20.Stevie's Blues (Us Version) (S. Winwood) - 3:49

Spencer Davis Group
*Steve Winwood - Guitar, Organ, Vocals
*Muff Winwood - Bass Guitar
*Spencer Davis - Guitar
*Pete York - Percussion

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