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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Silk - Smooth As Raw (1969 us, amazing psychedelic rock with baroque shades, 2008 Bull's Eye digi-pack edition)

In 1965 the teenager Michael Gee, started his career playing in a number of local groups including The Scepters.  By 1968 Gee was attending Hiram University and joined a late-inning version of Clevelabd's Beatles-inspired The Tree Stumps showcasing the talents of Gee, guitarist Chris Johns, drummer Courtney Johns and keyboardist Randy Sabo.  

Playing dances and local clubs won the band a cult following and released a couple of singles, but met with little financial reward and by 1969 the Stumps had morphed into Silk.  Silk did little and o the verge of calling it quits, a performance at a Cleveland club attracted the attention of producer Bill Szymczyk who'd been sent on the road by ABC Records to look for talent.  (The same trip saw him sign Joe Walsh and the James Gang to a contract.) 

Signed to ABC, the band were teamed with producer Szymczyk (who also co-wrote several tracks).  The group's 1969 debut "Smooth As Raw Silk" served to showcase the band's broad and versatile repertoire.   Gee and Sabo split vocal duties and while both were professional, neither was overwhelming (Sabo actually struck me as the better of the two).  

With all four members contributed the writing chores (a cover of Tim Rose's 'Long Haired Boy' was the lone non-original), the results found the band touching base on a wide array of genres ranging from country ('Custody'), to sensitive singer/songwriter moves, and even horn rock ('Not a Whole Lot I Can Do').  

The results were never less than professional.  The collection got off to a nice start with the effects laden 'Introduction' (dedicated to airline pilots everywhere) and the psych-rocker 'Foreign Trip'.  Sporting some nice twin lead guitar work from Johns and guest Harry Porter 'Skito Blues' was an excellent rocker.  Almost as good was the raucous 'Come On Down Girl'.  At the other end of the spectrum taking on the then-taboo issue of divorce and children the C&W-flavored 'Custody' was easily the strangest song.  

Coming in a close second, 'Scottish Thing' somehow managing to meld a trance feel with bagpipes.  The song was also interesting in that it was dedicated to Elektra's Jac Holtzman (even though the band was signed to ABC)  The album actually managed to hit the top-200 charts (peaking at # 191) but the quartet subsequently called it quits.

1. Introduction (Bill Szymczyk) - 1:12
2. Foreign Trip (Chris Johns, Bill Szymczyk) - 4:07
3. Long Haired Boy (Tim Rose) - 3:38
4. Not A Whole Lot I Can Do (Michael Gee) - 3:07
5. Custody (Steve Karliski, Larry Kolber) - 2:19
6. Scottish Thing (Michael Gee, Randy Sabo) - 4:47
7. Skitzo Blues (Gee, Sabo, Johns, Szymczyk) - 4:34
8. Hours (Michael Gee, Randy Sabo) - 2:48
9. Walk In My Mind (Michael Gee) - 4:18
10.Come On Down Girl (Gee, Sabo, Szymczyk) - 3:45
11.For All Time (Michael Gee) - 4:23

*Courtney Johns - Drums
*Michael Gee - Bass, Lead Vocals
*Chris Johns - Guitars
*Randy Sabo - Keyboards, Vocals
*Bill Szymczyk - Voclas, Production

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Lobby Loyde - Plays With George Guitar (1971 aussie, outstanding acid spacey guitar rock)

Australia's first guitar hero, Lobby Loyde helped shape the sound of classic local bands such as Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs and Rose Tattoo, as well as have a successful solo career.

In 1963, then known as Barry Lyde, he joined the Stilettos, a Shadows-inspired outfit, and by 1964, had joined the R&B band the Impacts. A name change to the Purple Hearts saw their career take off and the band solidified a reputation as one of Australia's best R&B bands. Barry Lyde changed his name to Lobby Loyde in 1967 and joined the Wild Cherries, whom he transformed into an experimental psychedelic group. He left the Wild Cherries at the end of 1968 and joined Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs. Loyde's guitar work helped Billy Thorpe to become the leader of Australia's rock scene during the early '70s.

Loyde left the Aztecs in October 1970 and released the classic solo album Plays With George Guitar in September 1971. He formed a backing band called the Wild Cherries, comprised of Teddy Toi on bass and Johnny Dick on drums, which lasted until February 1972. He then formed a new band, Coloured Balls, which broke up at the end of 1974. He then released a solo single, "Do You Believe in Magic?"/"Love Lost on Dream Tides," in December 1975.

Loyde issued his second solo album, Obsecration, in May 1976, another impressive collection of heavy rock guitar work. He moved to the U.K. where Virgin showed interest in releasing the album, but with England in the throes of punk music, a deal was never sealed. He returned to Australia in 1979 and formed a new lineup with Gil Matthews (drums), Gavin Carroll (bass), and Mandu, known as Southern Electric. They recorded the album Live with Dubs, later released in October 1980.

In 1979, Loyde contributed the track "John's Song" to the various artists disc Australian Guitar Album and then joined Rose Tattoo as a bass player. They recorded an album in Los Angeles that was never released, nonetheless Loyde toured with the band from October 1979 to September 1980. Loyde then turned his attention to producing other bands, working with the Sunnyboys, Machinations, X, and Painters and Dockers. In 1990 he played bass in a short-lived band called Dirt, and in 1997 he formed a new band called Fish Tree Mother. After battling lung cancer, Lobby Loyde died in Melbourne on April 21, 2007; he was 65 years old.
by Brendan Swift

1. Everybody Come Together - 5:05
2. Feels Good - 8:05
3. George - 7:06
4. Dream - 8:16
5. What I Want - 3:45
6. Evolution - 8:00
7. Herreni - 1:05
8. I Am The Sea - Stop Killing Me - 3:27
9. Daily Planet (J.Dick, T. Toi, L.Loyde) - 3:57
All songs by Lobby Loyde except where indicated.

*Lobby Loyd - Guitars, Vocals
*Teddy Toi - Bass
*Johnny Dick - Drums

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