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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Brimstone - Paper Winged Dreams (1973 us, spectacular progressive art rock)

Official reissue by the band themselves,  an early Seventies harmonic progressive / psych rock band from the USA, who made this excellent album. Long instrumental tracks with keyboard and guitar mixing psych with progressive styles in a fragile ethereal manner. 

Formed in Canton, Ohio by Chris Wintrip during the early 1970's. The band went through many incarnations through the years, but will probably be best remembered for their debut album in 1973 titled "Paper Winged Dreams. Features extended instrumental organ/guitar passages, or as is said elsewhere 'long instrumental tracks with keyboard and guitar mixing psych with progressive styles in a fragile ethereal manner.

“Suite In Five Movements” is a complex composition in five movements which features some nice solo vocals complimented by intermingled harmonies; lyrics dominate the music but there's some nice guitar work and counter-pointing vocals; overall well worth investigation.

Rather irresistible melodic prog-artrock LP with a light, airy feel throughout. The band belongs at the dreamy Moody Blues and Camel end of the prog spectrum, with flawless vocal harmonies, long classical-inspired keyboard excursions and plenty of superior guitar interplay.'

1. Dead Sleep At Night - 3:12
2. End Of The Road - 3:55
3. Etude - Fields Of Clay - 6:17
4. Illusion - Paper Winged Dreams - 4:51
5. Suite In Five Movements - 18:52
.a.Prelude In C Minor
.b.Song Of Fifths (Thanks To Our Friend)
.c.Interlude To You
.d.Ode To Fear And Loneliness
.e.Epilogue: Forever
6. Visions Of Autumn - 3:15
7. Song Of Love - 2:49
All compositions by Christopher Wintrip, Gregg Andrews, Bernie Nau.

*Gregg Andrews  - Vocals
*Ken Miller  - Bass, Vocals
*Bernie Nau  - Keyboard,s Vocals
*Jimmy Papatoukakis  - Drums
*Christopher Wintrip  - Lead Guitar, Vocals

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bond And Brown - Two Heads Are Better Than One (1972 uk, superb progressive fusion jazz rock, 2009 remaster)

It was inevitable that one day Pete Brown and Graham Bond would work together. They had been friends going back to the early 1960s and the jazz poetry gigs where Pete, Mike Horowitz, Spike Hawkins and the other pioneers of performance poetry would vent their literary spleen backed by musicians on the lunatic fringes of the London jazz scene - including Graham, Dick Heckstall-Smith and Ginger Baker.

For Pete, the Graham Bond Organisation was the best British band and he wrote his classic song 'Theme for an Imaginary Western' with the GBO in mind as they took the blues and R&B all over the UK in vans held together with hope and string to places where the music had never been heard. Pete had been writing songs for Graham and was to play in the last incarnation of the band, but it all fell apart before Pete could join.

In 1972, Pete's band Piblokto was winding down. Meanwhile Graham was in the process of being sacked from the Jack Bruce Band. They had been on tour, promoting Jack's album Harmony Row; guitarist Chris Spedding and drummer John Marshall with saxophonist-surgeon Art Theman comprised the rest of the line-up. Graham was in modern parlance, 'high maintenance1 especially during the times when he was nursing a serious drug habit. Because of his medical duties, Art couldn't make the gig in Rome, which was unfortunate because he was the band's peace-maker between Jack and Graham. But it was there in the dressing room of the Teatro Boncaccio, that Jack got so exasperated with Graham that he ripped the sink out of the wall and threw it at him.

So Pete and Graham found themselves in limbo and decided to join forces. There were a couple of Piblokto gigs to do; one at the Seymour Hall in London and what Pete describes as a "very depressing gig in Southend, a terrible organ trio were the main event singing 'Knees Up Mother Brown' with a singer who was completely out of tune. We were in the psychedelic ghetto with about 18 people."

For the new band, Pete brought in drummer Ed Spevock from Piblokto and bassist deLisle Harper from the recently disbanded Gass formed by Bobby Tench with drummer Godfrey McLean. Graham recruited guitarist Derek Foley from prog rock band Paladin with Graham's wife Diane Stewart on vocals.

They got a record deal with Chapter One, a label formed by composer and conductor Les Reed who went into partnership with Wessex Studios and Donna Music Ltd. Most of the product was 'easy listening', light classical and a few comedy albums, but there was also a connection with Mecca Ballrooms who were looking to book some more progressive acts on their circuit.

The band had two managers, one was a 'silent partner'; the other a tough guy called Mick Walker. His brother is Savoy Brown's Dave Walker; back in the day, they played skiffle together in teenage bands going on to form the Red Caps who landed a record deal with Decca. Dave carried on in bands while Mick became a businessman, establishing the famous Rumrunner Night Club in Birmingham which later became the launch pad for Duran Duran. Maybe the writing was on the wall for Bond and Bond with their manager's opening remarks on meeting the band, "I've just seen Pete Brown and Graham Bond albums together in a remainder bin."

The album was recorded at Richard Branson's Manor Studios, engineered by Tom Newman who worked on Tubular Bells and at Wessex, one of Pete's favourite studios, but sadly sold to developers for housing in 2003. They began by recording an EP which featured 'Lost Tribe', 'Milk Is Turning Sour In My Shoes' and 'Macumbe' and then the tracks for the album. Unlike most British musicians of the times, Pete and Graham had a real affinity for digging into the grooves of a song and imbuing it with soul and funk feels strongly linked to Africa; Pete was a percussionist as well as a lyricist and singer - the Graham Bond Organisation had been driven by Ginger's strong African rhythms who had included Graham (and Diane) in his short-lived band Airforce. So amidst the welter of heavy rock and codclassical prog rock that dominated the British underground scene of the day, this album came from a very different musical sensibility and inspiration.

Between them Pete and Graham wrote most of the songs with contributions from deLisle Harper (nowadays an accomplished arranger) including 'Oombati'. One song, 'Colonel Fright's Dancing Terrapins' was recorded with a slightly different and earlier line-up featuring guitarist Mick Clark from the Clark Hutchinson duo. The song was inspired by some graffiti spotted scrawled on a French wall during a Piblokto tour; "Somebody asked what CFDT meant," says Pete, "it was probably some political slogan, but I just said, 'Colonel Fright's Dancing Terrapins', but we're in northern France so there is something in there about first world war tanks".

Songs like 'Lost Tribe' and 'Looking for Time' were an attempt to express the fact that musicians like Pete and Graham found themselves on the outside of the rock scene in the early seventies, just like they had done in the early sixties when they inhabited the demi-monde of be-bop and 'beat poetry' scorning and in turn being scorned by the jazz establishment. The playfulness in Pete's lyrics sometimes found its way into the music itself; '"Scunthorpe Crabmeat', has about a million time signatures - loads of stops and drop beats all over the place. Piblokto did a straight version of that, a straight shuffle. This was a bizarre, perverted version." As was 'Massed Debate' "a British pervert song" and Pete's homage to 'Arnold Layne'.

The song with the most interesting antecedence was Graham's 'Ig the Pig'. IG were the initials of the Los Angeles boss of a Mercury Records subsidiary label called Pulsar. During his time in the States in 1968, Graham found himself signed to this label along with Dr John and the Doug Sahm Band. With his reputed 'heavy' connections, IG was the guy who did his business at the point of a gun and was one day confronted by Diane (on behalf of Graham who was sick), Mac Rebennack and Wayne Talbot from the Quintet, all coming in search of promised cash. Now Graham, Mac and Johnny  Perez from the Sahm Band all had an abiding interest in the occult - and when they realised that no cash would be forthcoming, they got together to put a whammy on IG. The result? His wife caused a hit and run accident and IG himself was demoted to the ranks very shortly afterwards.

The band were a regular working outfit on the road with a small, but strong following of freaks and hairies especially at The Roundhouse and The Temple in Wardour Street, one of the last hippie outposts of the acid deranged and damaged. They were also signed to EMI in France who were very pro-active in promoting the band where Pete had always had an enthusiastic fan base - although how the band actually survived was a small miracle. Whenever Graham was driving, wheels had the habit of coming off. In fact most of the chaos of this band on the road had Graham at its core. They were in France doing 90 mph with a van full of gear and people, when a wheel rolled past them, "Oh, I think that's one of ours", said Graham. They spun off into a field and somehow Graham managed to bring the van under control before they all perished. With heroin in short supply, Graham would engage country chemists in a series of mumbles and hand signals which would produce varieties of noxious brews that only Graham could stomach. And e.erybody else's stomach turned at the sight of Graham tucking into a huge plate of bloody tripe straight out of a local meat market after an exhausting drive. Coming back through customs, Graham did his bit for Anglo-French relations with loud cries of "You won't find any drugs up my arse."

And it was drugs that finally did for the band. There was trouble anyway because Diane and the manager fell out, resulting in the singer being fired and bringing the fires of hell raining down on Graham's head. They were on tour in Leicester where Pete recalls, "this incredibly frightening woman appeared and gave Graham loads of acid and he did nothing but play feedback all night." The next night in Scarborough, Graham was hospitalised and they did this and the next gig without him and after that the whole band folded.

This was to be Graham's last recorded album. His mental health was deteriorating as his obsession with the occult grew. After a spell in a mental hospital, his life ended tragically under the wheels of a London Underground train in May

Pete went on to a renaissance career in both music and film, continuing to write with Jack Bruce, forging another productive partnership with ex-Man keyboardist Phil Ryan, recording albums on his own label, touring his band, working in the studio with an array of promising young talent and writing and producing films. He is currently working on his autobiography.
by Harry Shapiro

1. Lost Tribe (Pete Brown, Graham Bond) - 3:54
2. Ig The Pig (Graham Bond) - 4:39
3. Oobatl (DeLisle Harper) - 3:45
4. Amazing Grass (Diane Bond) - 5:08
5. Scunthorpe Crabmeat Train Sideways Boogie Shuffle Stomp (Pete Brown, Graham Bond) - 4:05
6. C.F.D.T. (Colonel Frights' Dancing Terrapins) (Pete Brown) - 5:52
7. Mass Debate (Ed Spevock, Pete Brown) - 3:24
8. Looking For Time  (Pete Brown, Graham Bond) - 1:58
9. Milk Is Turning Sour In My Shoes (G. Bond, Phil Ryan, Taff Williams) - 7:31
10.Macumbe (DeLisle Harper) - 3:38
Bonus tracks 9-10 from "Lost Tribe" EP 1972

*Graham Bond - Piano, Electric Piano, Alto Saxophone, Vocals, Organ
*Pete Brown - Trumpet, Talking Drums, Vocals
*Diane Bond - Vocals, Congas, Percussion
*Ed Spevock - Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
*Lisle Harper - Bass, Congas, Vocals
*Derek Foley - Lead Guitar
*Mick Hutchinson - Guitar On C.F.D.T.
*Mick Walker - Backing Vocals, Percussion
*Sue Woolley - Backing Vocals
*Erica Bond - Backing Vocals

Graham Bond
1965  The Sound Of '65 / There's A Bond Between Us
1970  Holy Magick (Vinyl and Repertoire CD limited edition)

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The Youngbloods - High On A Ridge Top (1972 us, beautiful soft rock blended with blues 'n' roll, Sundazed remaster)

The striking Larry Heald painting spread across fie gatefold sleeve of the Youngbloods' 1972 album High On A Ridge Top depicts a panorama of the rugged west Warm outback with a raccoon in the foreground washing a red sphere he's extracted from a mysterious pyramid According to Banana, the band's keyboardist and guitar player, it signifies nothing more than: "If you leave a pyramid full of red balls outside, a raccoon will pull one out and wash it." A simple explanation serves |just as well for the final album by the Youngbloods—still a four-piece featuring singer/guitarist Jesse Colin Young, Banana. Joe Bauer on drums and bassist Michael Kane. It's a bunch of cool tunes the band has always loved. "We'd all grown up with these songs." says Banana. 'They were part of our soul."

"Speedo." a 1955 smash by the Cadillacs, is taken in true doo-wop a cappella fashion for the first couple of choruses until it busts loose with a rousing, full-band finale. Young's sunlit tenor gives Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" its most emotional reading since the version by the Band's Richard Manuel. Lennon and McCartney's "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window" gives Banana a chance to flash his jazz-piano chops on an extended solo, while "Donna" and "La Bamba" are a natural one-two Ritchie Valens punch for Young, alternately breaking your heart and rocking like nobody's business.

A delightful album highlight is Banana's simmering rendition of "Going By The River." a Jimmy Reed classic. "I introduced all the kids at my grammar school in Santa Rosa to Little Richard, Chuck Berry. Fats Domino and Little Willie John," recalls Banana "When I was 13. I got into KWBR, the local R&B station with Rosco The Astronaut and Jumpin' George Oxford."

The Youngbloods were definitely beginning to run on fumes m 1972. "Jesse was starting to do gigs with the Jesse Colin Young Band," says Banana, "and he was writing songs for ;just his own band." One of the tunes Young had penned for Good And Dusty, a set-closing anthem called "Light Shine," admits Banana, "kinda stuck in my craw. Tunes he was writing of a preaching nature rubbed Joe and me the wrong way. When he suggested we do gigs with both the Youngbloods and the Jesse Colin Young Band, Joe and I both said, 'No. man, you can do gigs with your own band, but if we're gonna do Youngbloods gigs it's just gonna be Youngbloods gigs. And that pretty much spelled the end of it."

The finale for the Youngbloods came, appropriately enough, in Massachusetts. "We had decided that was gonna be it," says Banana. "It was at Wolf Trap, this huge festival, and there were 17,000 people there. The very next night was the first gig for the second coming of Banana & The Bunch, in this teeny little coffee house in the Berkshires in front of 18 people. Jesse also had a gig on the next night with his own band, probably with a crowd of 500 people." As all bands must, the Youngbloods had finally run their full course, but the enchanting music they created will forever reverberate from the hills of Marin—high on a ridge top.
by Jud Cost, Santa Clara, CA

1. Speedo (Esther Navarre) - 3:19
2. She Caught The Katy And Left Me A Mule To Ride (Taj Mahal, Y. Rachel) - 3:29
3. Going By The River (Jimmy Reed) - 4:59
4. Running Bear (J.P.Richards) - 3:52
5. I Shall Be Released (Bob Dylan) - 5:08
6. Dreamboat (Jesse Colin Young) - 3:14
7. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (J. Lennon, P. McCartney) - 3:35
8. Donna (Richie Valens) - 3:56
9. La Bamba (Traditional) - 3:52
10.Kind Hearted Woman (Robert Johnson) - 6:10

The Youngbloods
*Jesse Colin Young - Vocals, Guitar
*Joe Bauer - Drums
*Michael Kane - Vocals, Bass
*Banana - Vocals. Guitar, Piano, Mandolin
*Richard "Earthquake" Anderson - Harmonica

Related Act 
1973  Jesse Colin Young - Song For Juli (2009 edition)

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Morning - Morning (1970 us, marvelous country folk rock, 2009 edition)

Morning’s debut was released by Vault in 1970.  Thankfully, Wounded Bird Records has reissued this long lost album for the first time on cd.   Morning is full of dazzling performances, making it one of the mandatory LPs in the rural-rock/American roots/country-rock field.  While CSNY, Poco, and Band influences are unavoidable, this record is by no means derivative.  The band had its roots in several interesting 60s pop/garage bands, Wind and Moorpark Intersection being the most notable. These two groups would release a few decent 45’s in the late 60’s that are well worth tracking down.  The debut lineup looks something like this:  Barry Brown (guitar/drums/vocals), Jim Hobson(piano/organ/vocals), Jay Lewis (guitars/banjo/vocals), Jim Kehn (drums/guitar/vocals), Bruce Wallace (electric bass/string bass), and Terry Johnson (guitar).

Morning opens with “Angelena,” a rural rocker with heartfelt vocals, gospel tinged keyboards, and an appealing wide open, outdoor sound.  “Time,” another great track, is similar in feel and style, augmented by rich keyboards and moody vocals.  Both tracks are vaguely reminiscent of the Band’s early work – definitely a good thing here.  While country-rock/rural-rock may be the group’s main forte, Morning managed to record a few good psych tracks for their debut.  “Sleepy Eyes” stands out as their best piece of pure psychedelia.   Dreamy, with excellent dive bomb fuzz guitar work and lazy harmonies, this cut is great listening. 

 It’s amazing these guys never found any sort of success, whether it be underground or top 40.  Other winners are the beautiful CSNY-like country weeper “Dirt Roads” and the superb country-rocker “Roll ‘Em Down,” which sounds like it could have easily been a top 40 radio hit.  Every track on Morning has something to offer, whether it beautiful harmonies or fluid West Coast-style guitar leads, it all sounds terrific – including the group’s sharp, professional songwriting.  Also, while many of these tracks are quiet and tranquil, the band were definitely skilled musicians as heard on the tight group jam “And I’m Gone.”  If you’ve worn out copies of Pickin’ Up The Pieces or Deja Vu be sure to snatch up Morning, it’s a near lost classic with plenty of great songs to spare.
by Jason Nardelli

1. Angelena (Barry Brown, R. Dinsmore) - 3:27
2. Early Morning (Jay Lewis) - 2:40
3. Tell Me a Story (Jim Hobson) - 3:13
4. Easy Keeper (Jay Lewis) - 2:09
5. Roll 'em Down (Barry Brown) - 3:05
6. Sleepy Eyes (Jim Hobson) - 3:25
7. New Day (Jim Hobson, Jay Lewis,  Barry Brown) - 1:35
8. As It Was (Instrumental) (Jay Lewis, Barry Brown) - 2:50
9. Time (Jim Hobson) - 3:32
10.It'll Take Time (Barry Brown) - 2:30
11.And I'm Gone (Jay Lewis) - 5:23
12.Dirt Roads (Jim Kehn) - 1:30

*Barry Brown - Guitar, Drums, Vocals
*Jim Hobson - Piano, Organ, Vocals
*Jim Kehn - Drums, Guitar, Vocals
*Jay Lewis - Guitar, Banjo, Vocals
*Terry Johnson - Guitar
*Bruce Wallace - Electric, String  Bass

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Pisces - A Lovely Sight (1969 us, cool trippy psychedelia, 2009 remaster edition)

While Haight Ashbury was in full bloom, Laurel Canyon awash with fey folkies and the Sunset Strip a-go-go with guitar bands, Rockford, Illinois was celebrating the opening of a new Chrysler factory.  The blue-collar city, situated on the banks of the Rock River and just a short drive from Chicago, was the kind of place the freaks passed through on the road to some other happening somewhere else.  Yet, as in every city big or small, if you dug deep enough you’d have found a burgeoning underground music scene turned on to the Beatles and thrashing their guitars along to the Yardbirds and the Who. In fact, at the tail-end of the 1960s, the Forest City had no less than two bands, Fuse and Pisces, toiling away on the toilet-club circuit that would eventually be heard outside the city’s limits.  Fuse would, by 1974, change their name to Cheap Trick and rock out to mass worldwide audiences. Pisces, apart from three rare-as-hen’s-teeth 45s on the local Vincent label, had to wait another 40 years to be heard. 

Now, thanks to Chicago crate diggers Numero Group, a reissue label chiefly known for their excellent ongoing “eccentric soul” series, we can all have our hearts, minds and ears warped by some of the most exciting recordings to ever bubble up out of the 1960s psychedelic stew. With unfettered access to the master tapes, which have been carefully stored away in founding member Jim Krein’s basement ever since the band’s studio burnt down, Numero has compiled a “best of” 15-song collection entitled A Lovely Sight. It takes a leisurely, tripped-out stroll through inventive, haunting soundscapes of psychedelic pop playfulness, crepusclar garage punk and a handful of bewitching bluesy, psych-folk numbers—the latter menacingly breathed into life by a 17-year-old singer called Linda Bruner who’d initially gone to Krein for guitar lessons.

By the time Bruner had joined the band in 1969, however, Pisces was down to only two members, guitarist Krein and keyboard player Paul DiVenti. And like the Beatles before them, only on a far smaller budget (which they supplemented by recording local acts and jingles), they had retreated into their studio and given up playing live.  Nevertheless, it appears that, audience or no audience, Krien and DiVenti’s imaginations burnt brighter than the devil’s own lava lamp. 

Opener “Dear One” casts a tambourine-wielding spell, as Bruner enchants with a tale of spectral love.  Song number two, “Children Kiss Your Mother Goodnight”, is a slow burner to the dark side where a keyboard-induced lullaby turns downright creepy, with the brooding denouement: “Your mother is leaving on the midnight flight / Children your mother’s going to die tonight”. The dreamy folk rocker “Say Goodbye to John” sees the protagonist march off to his death.  Even the standout track sung by Bruner, “Sam”, a pleading tale of unrequited love, is full of menace as her voice strains to be heard over baleful throbbing bass and oscillating psych-organ. 

There is the odd tune, however, when Pisces’ musical experimentalism gets the better of them, such as the “Revolution No 9”-inspired shenanigans of “Mary” and the early prog-like spoken-word self-indulgence of “Genesis II”.  But, as the cliche goes, you can’t make an omelette this tasty without breaking a few eggs.  Otherwise, how on earth would they have come up with a wonderful pop song like “Motley Mary Ann”, which sounds as if the Hollies are being backed by a Jamaican sound system with the bass ratcheted up to 10?  This release of A Lovely Sight means one less lost classic is waiting to be unearthed. 
by Alan Brown

1. Dear One (Jim Krein) - 3:16
2. Children Kiss Your Mother (Paul DiVenti) - 2:55
3. Motley Mary Ann (Jim Krein, Paul DiVenti) - 2:29
4. Say Goodbye to John (Jim Krein) - 3:10
5. Mary (Jim Krein) - 2:25
6. Genesis II (Paul DiVenti) - 2:29
7. Sam (Jim Krein, Paul DiVenti) - 3:11
8. The Music Box (Jim Krein) - 2:59
9. Like a Hole in the Wall Where the Rat Lives (Jim Krein) - 2:46
10.Are You Change in Your Time (Jim Krein) - 2:20
11.In the Dreams of Paula (Jim Krein) - 3:15
12.Elephant Eyes (Paul DiVenti) - 2:54
13.Circle of Time (Jim Krein) - 3:32
14.A Flower for all Seasons (Jim Krein) - 2:49
15.In the Summer the Grape Grows (Jim Krein) - 3:36

*Linda Bruner - Vocals
*Jim Krein - Guitar, Vocals
*Paul DiVenti - Keyboards, Vocals
*Cal Van Laningham - Drums
*Dale Taylor - Guitar
*Red Balderama - Bass
Al Johnson - Lead Guitar
Bob "Fish" Fisher - Bass

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Country Joe And The Fish - I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die (1967 us, west coast protest acid folk psych masterpiece, 2013 digi pack double disc set)

The first three Country Joe and the Fish albums all have distinct qualities. “Electric Music For The Mind And Body” was the band’s pioneering metaphysical debut. Their third album, “Together”, featured a democratically inclined potpourri of styles. In-between came “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die”, a textbook example of how artist and producer can overcome a perceived shortage of material to create something of lasting value. Ironically, for a group with roots in the folk idiom, there were no acoustic guitars on “Electric Music”. Its sequel introduced these in a necessary fashion. While “Electric Music” represented the essence of the “plugged-in” Country Joe & the Fish, “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die” delved back to the roots of the group’s players, yet still managed to stretch their horizons.

In the spring of 1967, Country Joe & the Fish resided at the cutting edge of the San Francisco psychedelic rock renaissance, and anticipation was high for the sequel to their influential debut. This was an era where a new album was expected every six months. By introducing other aspects of the Country Joe & the Fish musical make-up, “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die” made up for any shortfall with its fresh perspective. Thanks to a rising profile, the group had confidence, so the new album, recorded during a residency in New York that summer, featured bold material that for the first time complemented their outspoken political stance, but in an appropriately humorous fashion. As one critic put it, Country Joe’s protest was delivered as “satiric comedies, not as invective … their power is precisely in the laughter and the release of tension they provoke.” None more so that the title tune, with its sarcastic anti-war message and the “Fish Cheer” intro which, thanks to a ruder in-person variant as well as a star turn in the movie Woodstock, guaranteed ‘The I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die Rag’ would become the number most associated with the act.

True, the commentary could be dark and biting, but there are performances on the record that are empathetic, touching and human. For an album that, as the participants recall, was essentially cobbled together, it bears a remarkable cohesion – perhaps less from the conceptual aspect producer Sam Charters saw as the way to salvage what was workable from the group’s repertoire than an overall deftness of touch that went against the grain at the time. The delicacy the group conjured up on tracks such as ‘Magoo’ and ‘Colors For Susan’ was without precedent in rock, and there is a thread of wilful nonconformity that runs throughout.

This deluxe reissue features Charters’ original stereo and mono mixes of the album, the latter available for the first time since 1967. Bonus cuts include an unreleased alternate mix of the title track (minus sound effects), while the deluxe 40-page booklet is stuffed with rare photos and memorabilia, and comes complete with a replica of the Fish Game, as included in original copies. Most importantly, “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die” sounds better than ever. As Charters’ original sleeve note states, this is indeed “their own world, their own sound … their own music together.”
by Alec Palao 

Disc 1 (Stereo)
1. The Fish Cheer / I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag- 3:44
2. Who Am I- 4:05
3. Pat's Song- 5:26
4. Rock Coast Blues- 3:57
5. Magoo- 4:44
6. Janis- 2:36
7. Thought Dream- 6:39
8. Thursday (Cohen, Hirsh) - 3:20
9. Eastern Jam (Bartol, Cohen, Hirsh, Melton) - 4:27
10.Colors For Susan- 5:58
All songs by Country Joe McDonald axept where noted

Disc 2 (Mono)
1. The Fish Cheer / I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag- 3:44
2. Who Am I- 4:05
3. Pat's Song- 5:26
4. Rock Coast Blues- 3:57
5. Magoo- 4:44
6. Janis- 2:36
7. Thought Dream- 6:39
8. Thursday (Cohen, Hirsh) - 3:20
9. Eastern Jam (Bartol, Cohen, Hirsh, Melton) - 4:27
10.Colors For Susan- 5:58
11.Janis (Instrumental) - 2:37
12.I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die (Alternative Mix) - 3:02
All songs by Country Joe McDonald axept where noted

Country Joe And The Fish
*Country Joe McDonald - Vocals, Guitar, Bells, Tambourine
*Barry Melton - Vocals, Guitar
*David Cohen - Guitar, Organ
*Bruce Barthol - Bass, Harmonica
*Gary "Chicken" Hirsh - Drums

Country Joe discography
1965-71  The First Three E.P's
1967  Electric Music For The Mind And Body (2013 double disc remaster)
1968  Together
1969  Live! Fillmore West
1969  Here We Are Again
1970  CJ Fish
1970  Tonight I'm Singing Just For You
1971  Hold On It's Coming
1971  War War War
1973  Paris Sessions 

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Rotary Connection - Peace (1968 us, wonderful soul jazz psych fusion)

The Rotary Connection's Peace is a terrific, soulful Christmas album. With its production and soulful vocal arrangements, it has all the hallmarks of a late-'60s pop-soul record. While that may date it slightly, it's nevertheless a blast to listen to the album, thanks to the great performances, particularly on the part of Minnie Riperton. 
by Rodney Batdorf

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
to all of you my Friends, Contributors, Users and Visitors
Thank you for keeping this flame alive.

1. Opening Round (M. Aliota) - 1:52
2. Silent Night (Franz Gruber, Joseph Mohr) - 5:57
3. Christmas Love (M. Dollison) - 3:09
4. Last Call For Peace (A. Feldman) - 2:52
5. Shopping Bag Menagerie (S. Barnes) - 3:49
6. Silent Night (Franz Gruber, Joseph Mohr) - 3:41
7. Christmas Child (C. Stepney, M. Dollison) - 2:42
8. Peace At Least (A. Feldman) - 4:11
9. Santa's Little Helpers (J. Donlinger, J. Nyeholt) - 0:34
10.Sidewalk Santa (S. Barnes) - 4:21
11.If Peace Was All We Had (J. Donlinger, T. Donlinger) - 4:49
12.Silent Night Chant (Franz Gruber, Joseph Mohr) - 4:33
13.Silence - 0:30

The Rotary Connection
*Bobby Simms - Vocals, Guitar
*Jim Donlinger - Keyboards
*Jim Nyeholt - Bass
*Minnie Riperton - Vocals
*Mitch Aliota - Vocals, Bass
*Sidney Barnes - Vocals
*Tom Donlinger - Drums

Related Act
1969  Aorta - Aorta
1970  Aorta - Aorta 2

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Colours - Love Heals The Complete Recordings (1967-69 us, elegant psychedelia)

They spell it the English way, and for jolly good reason. Colours have the crystalline sharpness of the Beatles before they turned acid . Colours have a rainbow sound, but you can distinguish one hue from another rather than fight through a haze of static, funky confusion, and screetching feedback. They also write love songs. Helping You Out has a kind of walk-up honesty that cuts through dreamy creamy gush lyrics: Washing your clothes when you're gone for the day and then hanging them out, helping you out.

The spectrum of Colours features Jack Dalton and Gary Montgomery, neither more than a quarter century old, both of whom are professional musicians.  They write the songs that lead guitarist Rob Edwards, drummer Chuck Blackwell, and bass guitarist Carl Radle help spread on a palette of sound. 

They will tackle a mess of changing time signatures, such as their Bad Day At Black Rock, Baby, where they move through six sharps from 6/8 to 4/8 to 3/8, then 5/4, and even 5/8, changing rhythms with the quick ease of the most wigged-out electronic classic composer. 

Yet, underneath is a straight, raw narrative about a tragic hero who, unlike the dramatic victims of a folk song, knows a gently dissonant sound full of the blues, the beat of a street band, the horns of a jazz connection, even the words of folk nostalgia. Brother Lou's Love Colony is a free-form cantata about the hippie colony in California. It ends with a classy coda underscored with, of all sounds, bagpipes. In Rather Be Me, a from Morocco or the whine of a sitar eaving an Indian raga. 

All that in the rarely used key of E flat minor lends a greater weirdness to the song. Colours takes a trip in Cataleptic, richly harmonizing over eerie organ music, or rips off a bold, bouncy Lovin' and Don't You Realize in a style that smacks of music hall or vaudeville energy. So Colours does have that broad spectrum of electric sounds so prized in today's rock, but they pull it off without indulging in jarring cliches. And, with a youthfull joyness, they don't paint it black.
by Jon Borgziner

1. Bad Day At Black Rock, Baby - 3:27
2. Love Heals - 2:36
3. Helping You Out - 3:00
4. Where Is She - 2:26
5. Rather Be Me - 3:38
6. I'm Leaving - 2:48
7. Brother Lou's Love Colony - 4:29
8. I Think Of Her (She's On My Mind) - 2:13
9. Lovin' - 1:40
10.Cataleptic- 2:08
11.Don't You Realize - 1:56
12.Tommorrow's Women - 2:07
13.All At Once - 1:43
14.Right Or Wrong - 1:51
15.She'll Be The One - 2:37
16.She Just Wanted Kisses - 2:08
17.Angie - 3:18
18.God Please Take My Life - 6:06
19.When Will You Be Coming Home? - 2:28
20.I Tried To Make You Love Me Last Night - 3:31
21.Grey Day - 3:55
22.Smillin' In Toronto - 4:10
23.Hyannis Port Soul (Lost You To The Wind) - 2:18
24.Run Away From Here - 1:59
25.It's Time To Tell You - 4:05
26.Announcement - 1:56
27.I'll Be Your Friend - 2:17
28.You're High - 2:38
All songs written by Jack Dalton  and  Gary Montgomery

*Gary Montgomery - Piano
*Rob Edwards - Lead Guitar
*Jack Dalton - Guitar
*Carl Radle - Bass
*Chuck Blackwell - Drums

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Truth - Truth (1970 us, pleasant sunny psych folk, 2012 Relics issue)

This short-lived trio was led by Michael DeGreve, who’d been a rock critic for the Los Angeles Times as of 1966. when he was only 19, bringing him into contact with legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. 

In 1968 he decided to switch his focus to music-making, forming a band named The Lid As of early 1970, DeGreve and bassist John Latin! were recording the cult album The Visit with their friend Bob Smith, as well as playing with their own band, Truth, along with a couple from New York who were also trying to make it as actors. 

They soon signed to the tiny People label (based at 6430 Sunset Boulevard), run by former Motown A’n’R director Mickey Stevenson, who had recently moved to Los Angeles and was apparently curious to dabble in hippie music. Truth made their sole album with three different producers - Stevenson, Clarence Paul (a former Motown producer) and Leon Ware (a songwriter for Ike & Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and many others). 

Despite these strong connections to black music, the album's sound is closer to straight pop, with folk and occasional country and psychedelic influences, rich harmony vocals and words that reference Eastern religion. Perhaps too eclectic to strike a chord with audiences, it was released with no fanfare, and sold in tiny quantities. 

As Latini has since recalled, 'We did a promo concert at the Palladium in Hollywood, with Blue Cheer and Flash Cadillac & The Continental Kids. Unfortunately, the husband and wife split from each other and the group went by the wayside.' As for People, only one other record is known to have appeared on it - soul singer Kim Weston's Big Brass Four Poster. It has since been stated that this was the same People label that James Brown ran, but this seems to be inaccurate, as Brown's label wasn't founded until 1971.
CD Liner-notes

1. Have You Forgotten (M. DeGreve) - 3:05
2. Being Farmed (Bob Doran) - 3:21
3. Anybody Here Know How To Pray (Mickey Stevenson) - 2:53
4. Wise Old Fool (M. DeGreve, T. Jacobson) - 2:23
5. Let It Out, Let It In (Leon Ware) - 2:45
6. Far Out (J. Kerr, B. Doran) - 2:52
7. Walk A Mile In My Shoes (Joe South) - 3:45
8. Thoughts (M. DeGreve, D. Smith) - 2:35
9. New York (J. Kerr) - 2:50
10.Contributin' (Bob Doran) - 3:15
11.Lizzie (Bob Doran) - 2:51
12.Talk (J. Kerr, B. Doran) - 2:46

*Mike DeGreve - Vocals, Guitar
*Bob Doran - Vocals
*J. Kerr - Vocals
*John Latini - Bass

Related Act
1970  Bob Smith - The Visit

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Jacqueline And Lindsay - Jacqueline And Lindsay (1969 uk / canada, wondrous ethereal folk psych, 2012 korean mini lp remaster)

Born in Cardiff, Wales son of a Lay Preacher-Merchant Navy Sea Captain, Lindsay crossed the Atlantc Ocean six times by small cargo steamer, before the age of eight Captain Tom Organ took his wife Dorothy and two young children, Lindsay, and his older sister Anthea, on three exciting voyages to Canada. To this day, Lindsay can remember the massive storms, tidal waves, icebergs, and whales, he saw as a small boy. He says" I will always be grateful for the incredible memories my father gave me by taking me on those voyages", "I will forever love, and remain in awe, of the ocean".

Lindsay started playing guitar and writing songs at the age of eleven. Lindsay was 17, and Jacqueline Clifton was just 14 when they first met and started going together. 'The Land of Opportunity' was calling and after being married just a few months, they emigrated to Canada, arriving on the last day of February 1967, with approximately $50.00 cash, a trunk full of "stuff", including Lindsay's meager record collection, and hearts full of hopes and dreams.

After a year in Toronto, they turned a singing and performing hobby into a full time professional career in May 1968. Toronto agent Paul Simmons booked them their first gig. "The Nor-Shore" hotel, Thunder Bay (Port Arthur), a sixteen-hour drive from Toronto. "We were thrilled," says Lindsay of the time. "What a way to see the new homeland of Canada". The booking was an instant success. Lindsay recalls "It's just that we were such a novelty". "We sang 'light rock', and the popular folk songs of that time. But we had these really strong Welsh accents that almost no one had ever heard before". "That year we worked 48 weeks straight, and that's at six days a week, and I swore I would never work that hard again".

1968 their second year as full time professionals, they were offered to be managed by Andy Anka, father of the legendary Canadian singer/ songwriter Paul Anka. The relationship lasted for quite a few years before they parted ways. "Andy and we were just moving in different directions," says Lindsay. "Although, we had a great relationship while it lasted. Andy opened a lot of doors for us, he got us some great TV and radio exposure". "I'll always remember him as a very kind and generous man". The duo got to perform CBC radio and Television shows with some of Toronto's top studio musicians of that time: Mo Koffman, Guido Basso, Rob McConnell, Peter Appleyard, Ed Bickert, Don Thompson, Terry Clarke, Doug Riley. They shared television appearances with Dr Music, Gene McLellan, Catherine McKinnon, and many other popular Canadian performers of that time.

In 1969 they were the act that opened Toronto night spot, "the Jarvis House". They played numerous return engagements to 'line-up around the corner' crowds, every night. "It was 'The Age of Aquarius' days", Lindsay recalls. "Every night ended in encore after encore". "The crowds would go wild", "One night after we tried to leave the stage, they picked up Jacqueline and literally carried her back on. During that time they were offered a recording deal with Art Snider, owner of a Toronto recording studio called "Sound Canada". 

Lindsay and Jacqueline were then living in Burlington, close to Toronto. They asked Ron Knappett, their next door neighbour's son, and an experienced jazz drummer to drum on their recording session. Through Ron they were introduced to two young musicians, just out of school, Daniel Lanois and his school mate Bob Doige. Bob Doidge had played bass in Ian Thomas's band Tranquility Base and Danny had been performing in groups when he was still in school. He and his brother Bob Lanois were starting to build a studio in the basement of their mum's house in Ancaster, Ontario.

At "Sound Canada", which had the luxury of being '8 track', Lindsay was supplied with a sound engineer, an Irish immigrant named Ernie Lyons ("lt's time fer another jar"), and all the freedom to produce what he wanted. The result is an eclectic mix of Lindsay early original compositions, with all sorts of experimental sounds and vocals. Lindsay quote: {"I was still learning the craft of songwriting. One song I'd recently placed second in a British song contest, but the one that came off the best was 'Night Spinner'. It's a little folk song I wrote in Barbados, and we recorded it without drums. 

It's more interesting really from a historic point of view. Of the four people on that song: Bob Doidge (bass), later produced Gordon Lightfoot, Brooks Williams, Prairie Oyster, and now owns Grant Avenue Studios in Hamilton, Ontario. Lindsay later produced Alanis Morissette's first record, and Daniel Lanois (lead guitar) of course has produced almost everyone else from Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, U2, Willie Nelson, etc, etc., etc. Most of the sessions took place at 1:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. after we'd been playing club gigs. But I remember we all had a hell of a lot of fun, and I believe we all learned a lot about sound and recording technique that was a good foundation for what came later on. Thank you, Art Snider'.}

"In a related story, around that time, Art owned the masters of some old sessions by Gordon Lightfoot and by now Gordon had become very successful". "Art Snider decided to capitalize on Gordon's success, and released the tracks as "Early Lightfoot'. "Bob Doidgem, our first bass player, who later in 1999 recorded and produced Lightfoot at Grant Avenue Studios, said that Gordon himself confirmed this "Lightfoot Legend" to him. Gordon bought the masters back from Art Snider, bought up every single copy of the Album that was in the warehouses and in the shops, and with his manager, laid them out in his driveway. Then together they took an axe and smashed every single one. Apparently Gordon felt the same way about his early album as I did about mine".

Shortly after the release of this album Jacqueline and Lindsay added other musicians to their stage line-up. At different times the group had as many as 6 members on stage. In 1971 they moved out of the city and bought a 125 year old stone farmhouse on 200 acres of beautiful rolling land, just outside of the southern Ontario farming community of Mount Forest. 

1. Night Spinner - 3:34
2. It's Not Important - 2:25
3. Give Me Eden - 3:19
4. Nine To Five Blues - 3:29
5. Sip of Wine - 3:47
6. Run With The Hare - 3:39
7. Rape of The Fair Country - 4:21
8. Take Me - 1:59
9. The Fair - 2:01
10.Look Away - 3:32
All songs written by Lindsay Thomas Morgan
Tracks 4 and 9 were recorded at the same original session but never released.

*Lindsay Morgan - Vocals, Guitar, Keybaords
*Jacqueline Morgan - Vocals, Percussion
*Paul Benton - Hammond B3
*Ron Knappett - Drums
*Kyle Pacey - Lead Guitar
*Daniel Lanois - Lead Guitar
*Bob Doidge - Bass, Vocals

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Hickory Wind - Hickory Wind (1969 us, amazing psychedelic rock with blues and folk drops, 2007 korean extra tracks issue)

The band Hickory Wind was formed in Indiana in 1969, by four very young musicians: Sonny Prentice, Alan Jones, Bobby Strehl, and Mike McGuyer. Much of their early musical influences were country rock bands like the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and in a more psychedelic nature: The Beatles in fact, the band's name came from an old Byrd's tune. 

The album was recorded in the fall of 1969 and had a very limited release, hence the high dollar value of an original today. Musically the album is a mix of classic country rock played through a psychedelic vibe. The track "Time and Changes" is in my mind, a classic of the era. 

There always has been a mystical innocence about the album that I love and the cover I cherish in it's hippie simplicity. The band broke up in 1970, with Sonny Prentice moving to Kentucky and the three remaining members forming B.F.Trike, of which I have included four cuts on this reissue. Hickory Wind is another example of some young musicians who were very talented but didn't have the break or the promotion to make it big.
by Brian Hulitt

1. I Don't Believe (Sonny Prentice) - 3:27
2. Time And Changes (Bob Strehl) - 2:26
3. Maybe Tomorrow (Alan Jones) - 3:13
4. Transit Blues (Alan Jones) - 2:49
5. Country Boy (Chuck Lawrence) - 2:15
6. The Loner (Chuck Lawrence) - 2:29
7. Mr. Man (Sonny Prentice) - 3:34
8. New Albany Police Carnival (Alan Jones) - 2:49
9. Father Come With Me (Bob Strehl) - 4:07
10.Judy (Lee Hyatt) - 2:45
11.I'm A Man - 3:41
12.Red Shoes - 2:25
13.Come A Little Closer - 3:18
14.Shuh Rah - 3:10
Bonus Tracks 11-14 recorded as B.F. Trike

Hickory Wind
*Sonny Prentice - Lead, Rhythm, Bass, Harp
*Mike McGuyer - Lead, Rhythm, Harp, Piano And Organ
*Alan Jones - Rhythm, Bass
*Bob Strehl - Drums

Related Act
1971  B.F.Trike - B.F.Trike

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Chris Bell - I'm The Cosmos (1972-76 us, brilliant melodically pop mastery, two disc set)

I dithered about reviewing Chris Bell’s I Am The Cosmos for months, in part because I was struggling to decide exactly what I wanted to say about it, in part because of its ambiguous status: formerly considered a “lost album” but nowadays a recognised classic (for the measure of its current standing, read the heartfelt reviews on, whilst actually not an album as conceived, but a compilation of tracks laid down over the six years before his death in 1978 and only issued in collected form fourteen years later to cash in on the renewed interest in Alex Chilton’s tempestuous career. Whatever: such an exceptional record deserves a slot on The Rising Storm.

Chris Bell’s history is extensively available on the Internet, so I’ll eschew my usual historical perspective and offer a purely personal appreciation. I bought the CD in 2001 as a clearance bargain, the insert booklet having gone missing; hence I do not have, and have not read, the highly-rated explanative booklet essay by Chris’s brother David. I knew of Chris as an ex-founder member of Big Star, but I knew nothing of his subsequent music, nor of his repressed homosexuality, clinical depression, heroin addiction and untimely ending, and it was mostly the mystique of the title I Am The Cosmos that prompted me to pick the album up. It didn’t turn out to be the neo-psychedelic exposition the title suggested, but one of the most intimately personal and bittersweet singer-songwriter collections I’ve ever heard: twelve absolutely exquisite compositions, mostly despairing songs of unrequited love, barely leavened with a couple of gently evangelical, faintly optimistic near-hymns.

Musically, the album runs the whole gamut from harsh, primitive electric tracks, all splintered guitars, thunderous drum fills and Spectoresque reverb, to sweet acoustic numbers with the softest possible string or woodwind coloration. Among the many original touches, “Speed Of Sound” pitches the acoustics against “violin-ed” lead guitar, marimba and swelling synth, whilst the quirky “Fight At The Table” features barrelhouse piano and an odd, wah-ed bass line, and the gentle Fender Rhodes on “Though I Know She Lies” is complemented by a crying George Harrison-like slide guitar. 

Despite all this variety the overall feel is homogeneous enough to almost convince you that the album was recorded as a single entity. Chris’s vocal throughout is high and keening, and mostly double-tracked with a dissonance that lends yet further pathos to his lyrical delivery. I don’t often attach the greatest importance to lyrics, preferring to hear the voice more as a principal instrument, but given the nature of this record they’re a quintessential and indivisible part of the package: simple, almost naïve and childlike, but utterly honest and expressive – just incredibly sad, without a trace of the cynicism present in some of Alex Chilton’s writing.

If you feel like getting emotionally wrung out one evening, try playing this end-to-end with Neil Young’s Tonight’s The Night, Kurt Cobain’s In Utero and Elliott Smith’s eponymous second album. It’ll either make you feel much better or have you reaching for the razor blades.
by Len Liechti

Disc 1
1. I Am The Cosmos - 3:46
2. Better Save Yourself - 4:25
3. Speed Of Sound - 5:11
4. Get Away - 3:26
5. You And Your Sister - 3:11
6. Make A Scene - 4:09
7. Look Up - 3:14
8. I Got Kinda Lost - 2:42
9. There Was A Light - 3:19
10.Fight At The Table - 3:41
11.I Don't Know - 3:22
12.Though I Know She Lies - 3:35
All songs by Chris Bell

Disc 2
1. Icewater  - Looking Forward - 3:39
2. Icewater -  Sunshine (Stephen Rhea) - 1:45
3. Rock City - My Life Is Right (C. Bell, Tom Eubanks) - 3:08
4. I Don't Know (Alternate Version) - 4:18
5. You And Your Sister (Alternate Version) - 3:03
6. I Am The Cosmos (Extended Alternate Version) - 5:07
7. Speed Of Sound (Alternate Version) - 5:13
8. Fight At The Table (Alternate Mix) - 4:11
9. Make A Scene (Alternate Mix) - 4:11
10.Better Save Yourself (Alternate Mix) - 4:29
11.Get Away (Alternate Version) - 4:21
12.You And Your Sister (Acoustic Version) - 3:00
13.With Keith Sykes - Stay With Me (Keith Sykes) - 2:49
14.With Nancy Bryan - In My Darkest Hour - 3:01
15.Clacton Rag - 3:30
All songs by Chris Bell unless as else written

*Chris Bell - Guitar, Vocals
*Ken Woodley - Bass Guitar, Organ
*Richard Rosebrough - Drums
*Jody Stephens - Drums
*Alex Chilton - Backing Vocals, Guitar
*Jim Dickinson - Piano

Related Acts
1970  Terry Manning - Home Sweet Home
1967-70  The Box Tops - The Best Of Box Tops
1970  Alex Chilton - Free Again (2012 release)

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Brian Auger's Oblivion Express - Second Wind (1972 uk, outstanding groovy jazz psych prog rock, japan bonus track remaster)

1972 saw the first personnel change in the Oblivion Express when Scot guitarist and vocalist Alex Ligertwood joined the quartet. Second Wind was the band's third outing overall, and the first with its new singer. In typical fashion, Brian Auger upped the creative ante once again. Whereas the previous two albums -- the self-titled debut, and A Better Land -- had showcased, respectively, the mirroring jazz and pop sides of the band, Second Wind combines them regally. 

With Auger being free to arrange and play, his composing skills went through the roof. In addition, Ligertwood added to the compositional depth of the band, as evidenced by his fine work, "Truth," which opens the album with its riff-oriented jazz undercoat and rockist sheen. Ligertwood is an excellent rock vocalist, with his reedy middle-range voice and strained falsetto, he wrings the passion from his lyrics. Auger, here on B3, particularly, and on piano to a lesser degree, is simply dazzling on every track. The funky, jazzy grooves on this set are indicative of the direction Auger would mine on all of his future recordings (a fine example of their early fruit is on the driven, deep funk and roll of "Somebody Help Us.") 

The centerpiece of the album is the Eddie Harris, Auger, and Ligertwood composition, "Freedom Jazz Dance," covered by everyone from War to the Beastie Boys. Simply put, this track is the pure embodiment of "groove jazz." With its shimmering opening of elongated chords against a tight, rhythmic shuffle, it leaves room for solos, turnabout melodic improvisations, and a melody that is as serpentine as it is infectious. Second Wind is chunky grooves, wondrously complex instrumental interludes, and inspiring performances, all adding up to a solid, adventurous chapter in Oblivion Express' history. 
by Thom Jurek

1. Truth (Alex Ligertwood) - 7:46
2. Don't Look Away (J. Mullen, B. Dean, A. Ligertwood) - 6:01
3. Somebody Help Us (Brian Auger) - 6:32
4. Freedom Jazz Dance (Harris, B. Auger, A. Ligertwood) - 5:26
5. Just You, Just Me (Brian Auger) - 6:15
6. Second Wind (Brian Auger) - 6:39
7. Freedom Jazz Dance (Live in Paris, 1971) (Eddie Harris, B. Auger, A. Ligertwood) - 5:27

Oblivion Express
*Brian Auger - Keyboards
*Alex Ligertwood - Vocal
*Jim Mullen - Guitar
*Barry Dean - Bass
*Robbie McIntosh - Drums

1971  Brian Auger's Oblivion Express - A Better Land (2006 japan remaster)

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Paul Revere And The Raiders - A Christmas Present... And Past (1967 us, beautiful garage beat roots 'n' roll, happy holidays)

A Christmas Present...and Past, by Paul Revere & the Raiders featuring Mark Lindsay, was one of the stranger seasonal albums ever made, which was perhaps appropriate given its release in the midst of the psychedelic '60s/Vietnam War era. Lindsay and producer/co-songwriter Terry Melcher concocted a comic, satirical take on Christmas that included sendups of President Lyndon Johnson, references to current social problems, and "A Heavy Christmas Message," which plaintively asked, "Who took the Christ out of Christmas?" Amazingly, Columbia Records reissued this odd artifact on CD in the 1990s as though it were just another collection of holiday songs. Listeners who buy it unaware are in for a surprise.
by William Ruhlmann

1.  Introduction (Lindsay, Melcher) 2:01
2.  Wear a Smile at Christmas (Lindsay, Melcher) 1:32
3.  Jingle Bells (Pierpont) 3:07
4.  Brotherly Love (Lindsay, Melcher) 2:09
5.  Rain, Sleet, Snow (Lindsay, Melcher) 2:51
6.  Peace (Lindsay, Melcher) 3:17
7.  Valley Forge (Lindsay, Melcher) 3:02
8.  Dear Mr. Claus (Lindsay, Melcher) 2:33
9.  Macy's Window (Lindsay, Melcher) 1:29
10.Christmas Spirit (Lindsay, Melcher) 2:02
11.A Heavy Christmas Message (Lindsay, Melcher) 3:15

Paul Revere And The Raiders
*Mark Lindsay - Vocals, Saxophone
*Charlie Coe - Bass Guitar
*Drake "Kid" Levin - Lead Guitar
*Freddy Weller - Lead Guitar
*Joe Correro, Jr. - Drums

1963-65  Paul Revere And The Raiders - Mojo Work Out
1970  Mark Lindsay - Arizona / Silverbird

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Light - Turn On The Light (1967 us, dynamic fuzzed out garage psych, 2007 issue)

The Light were a local 'supergroup' of sorts, uniting the brightest talents from two earlier bands from Southern California's fertile Inland Empire garage scene.

Bass player/vocalist Pete Samson and lead guitarist Bob Anglin were both part of the Northside Moss, but by early 1967 were looking to start something new. At the same time, the Bush were beginning to fall apart after a two-year run as the region's most popular act. Samson and Anglin approached the Bush's Greg Eckler about joining forces, and after some complicated finagling the first lineup of the Light came together around March of 1967, with Pete Samson on lead vocals and bass, Bob Anglin on lead guitar and vocals, Greg Eckler on rhythm guitar and vocals, and Brent Cartwright (also from the Bush) on drums. 

Mark I of the Light never quite gelled, but stuck together long enough to record an eight-song demo for Capitol Records in April 1967. Soon afterwards Brent left, Greg moved to drums (his primary instrument before joining the Bush) and the Bush's charismatic front man, Steve Hoard, came in to share the lead vocal slot and play rhythm guitar.

This second line up soon attracted the attention of Music Machine producer Brian Ross, who scored the group a single deal with A&M Records on the strength of the melodic Samson-Anglin composition, "Music Box." The single (a Jekyll and Hyde pairing with the fuzz-guitar monster "Back Up" on the flip) was released in September 1967 and "Music Box" quickly became a huge local hit. 

By this time, though, the Light's sound had transformed yet again with the addition of a second lead guitarist, 17-yearold Joe Casados, previously of the Peasants. The band now had a three-guitar line up- two lead, one rhythm- in addition to their four strong vocalists and songwriters, a similar format to the Buffalo Springfield or Moby Grape, but with the dueling guitar artillery of the Beck-Page Yardbirds. 

With this third lineup the Light finally reached the full, white-hot potential of their combined talents. The recently unearthed studio and live recordings on this CD attest to the phenomenal chemistry between the musicians- Anglin and Casados in particular- as well as the strength of their songwriting.

Unfortunately, just as they were reaching their musical peak the Light fell apart. Feeling marginalized within the band, and with major problems shaking his personal life, Pete Samson decided to quit towards the end of 1967. The other four continued briefly as White Pepper, bringing in Dave Hoard (Steve's younger brother and another ex-Bush member) on bass, but broke up after just a few gigs. Bob, Greg and Steve eventually regrouped under the name Cock Robin, and continued to work together, on and off, for several more years. (Steve also spent some time in England in 1969, fronting a revived lineup of the Misunderstood.)

Meanwhile, Pete Samson traded his bass for a guitar and teamed up with a local Fontana musician, Sammy Hagar. The duo recorded a single for Ranwood Records in early 1968 before going their separate ways. Samson then embarked on a long, troubled but sporadically productive solo career. Greg Eckler worked with him occasionally during 1968-70, including a demo recording of one of Pete's most hauntingly poignant compositions, "Die Another Day," which we've chosen to use as the closing track for this CD. 

Sadly, Pete passed away on February 5, 2006. This collection is dedicated to his memory.
by MikeStax, June 2007

1. Back Up (Anglin, Eckler, Hoard) - 2:50
2. Music Box (Anglin, Samson) - 1:55
3. Every Day (Samson) - 2:12
4. What You Need (Is Me) (Hoard, Eckler) - 2:24
5. Somebody Touch Me (Eckler) - 3:29
6. Good Inside (Hoard) - 2:07
7. Got To Have You (Samson) - 2:39
8. Just Like The Last Time (Anglin, Samson) - 4:20
9. Tobacco Road (Loudermilk) - 3:13
10.Somebody Touch Me (Eckler) - 3:18
11.I Feel Free (Bruce, Brown) - 3:53
12.Good Inside (Hoard) - 2:07
13.Can't You Hear Me (Samson) - 2:32
14.Got To Have You (Samson) - 2:23
15.Got A Good Reason (Lennon, McCartney,  Arr. Anglin) - 2:08
16.Just Like The Last Time (Instrumental) (Anglin, Samson) - 4:18
17.Can't You Hear Me (Samson) - 2:41
18.Tell Me, Tell Me (# 1) (Anglin, Eckler) - 3:56
19.She's Not There (Argent) - 3:02
20.Milk Cow Blues (Arnold) - 4:28
21.I Need Love (Anglin, Eckler) - 2:41
22.When I Look At Her (Anglin, Eckler) - 2:18
23.Tell Me, Tell Me (# 2) (Anglin, Eckler) - 2:50
24.It's All Over (Anglin, Samson) - 2:23
25.Die Another Day (Samson) - 2:41

The Light
*Pete Samson - Vocals, Bass
*Bob Aglin - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Greg Eckler - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals, Drums
*Ben Cartwright - Drums
*Steve Hoard - Vocals Rhythm Guitar (Tracks 1-17, 20, 24)
*Joe Casados - Lead Guitar (Tracks 5-17)
*Phil Kelley - 8-String Bass (Track 25)

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