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Friday, May 31, 2013

Chris Youlden - Nowhere Road (1973 uk, fabulous blues rock with funky soul vibes)

Nowhere Road is an underrated album, which is easily explained. Chris Youlden is illustrated with Savoy Brown in the late sixties. But this first solo album goes in a different direction. Youlden are indeed reveals a facet soul / funk at risk of losing its public road, which did not fail to occur. 

It was therefore too soul for some and too blues for others. Yet Nowhere Road is a beautiful piece and deserves to be included in the collections funk worthy of the name.  Our bluesman lost there appears indeed to his best and here his vocal qualities are no longer any doubt. The instrumental part, delicate, jazzy and full of groove is not used and remains perfectly adventures Youlden. 

The overall result goes beyond the specifications announced. This is particularly the last tracks that deserves all the praise, and with In the Wood Street Sounds and especially Wake Up Neighbour, genial way, that alone can motivate and justify the hearing of this album. 

1. Nowhere Road - 4:51
2. One October Day - 2:25
3. Chink Of Sanity - 4:01
4. Crying In The Road - 3:38
5. Mamma Don't You Talk So Loud - 3:13
6. Standing On The Corner - 3:29
7. In The Wood - 4:14
8. Wake Up Neighbour - 2:39
9. Street Sounds - 4:31
10.Time Will Tell - 2:43
11.Pick Up My Dogs - 2:40
All songs written by Chris Youlden

*Chris Youlden – Vocals
*Danny Kirwan – Guitar
*Chris Spedding – Guitar
*Ray Fenwick – Guitar
*Foggy Lyttle – Acoustic Guitar
*Andy Silvester – Bass
*Roy Babbington – Bass
*Bruce Rowland – Drums
*Mike Macnaught – Piano
*Pete Wingfield – Piano
*Sue Glover – Backing Vocals
*Sunny Leslie - Backing Vocals

with Savoy Brown 
1967-68  Shake Down / Getting To The Point
1969-70  Raw Sienna / Looking In

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Eire Apparent - Sunrise (1969 ireland, splendid varied imaginative psychedelia, 2010 Flawed Gems issue)

Eire Apparent was in fact the last lineup of The People, a band whose history dates back through several lineup changes to the early 1960's. The People had been managed by David Robinson and had moved from North Ireland to Blackpool and then spent a highly successful and influential period in Dublin, before setting off for London in May 1967. There they endured a tough couple of months until old manager Dave Robinson got them a gig at the UFO club. This brought them to the attention of Mike Jeffreys & Chas Chandler which led to a new management deal, a name change to Eire Apparent courtesy of Chandler, and support slots on the legendary Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Move and Pink Floyd tour of November - December 1967.

Eire Apparent's recording debut was an excellent single for Track Records, "Follow Me" / "Here I Go Again". Released in January 1968, it failed to take off and Track did not pick up the option for an LP. Nevertheless the band's fortunes were picking up especially in North America, where they spent most of 1968 touring as support act either for Hendrix or The Animals, and often with the Soft Machine on the same bill, as all these acts were managed by Jeffreys & Chandler. Unfortunately Henry McCullough was busted in Canada sometime in the first half of 1968 and had to leave the country to avoid a jail sentence. The rest of the band were understandably reluctant to quit the tour, and so McCullough's place was taken by Mick Cox (ex The End, The Alleykatz). The band eventually signed a deal with Buddah Records and were the first non-USA act on the label.

With a new lead guitarist and Jimi Hendrix in the producer's chair, the band recorded it's debut LP for Buddah Records in October 1968. "Sunrise" is a mix of rock, 60s pop, psychedelia and some early progressive moves. It's diverse nature is held against it in some quarters but it's long been a staple for psych collectors. It sold reasonably well at the time and was kept in print for some years. It was once a common bargin bin find, but now it's become somewhat harder to find in good condition. One track on the album "Mr. Guy Fawkes" became a hit for Australian psych band The Dave Miller Set, who recorded a fantastic version of the song. Mick Cox left the band for reasons unknown before the album was released. He was replaced by David 'Tiger' Taylor (ex Teddie & The Tigers) in November 1968.

Back in London in early 1969, the band recorded a new song "Rock'N'Roll Band" for the A-side of their second single. Buddah released their debut LP in January(?) 1969 in the USA only. The rest of January was spent touring in Europe with Hendrix. Rough tapes survive of the bands performances in Stuttgart (January 19) and Vienna (January 22nd) on this tour. Their half hour set included covers of "The Price of Love" (Everly Brothers), "Highway 61 Revisited" (Dylan) and "Gloria" (Them), the later including extended instrumental sections complete with drum solo. At the end of this tour the relationship with Mike Jeffreys and Hendrix ended, and the band returned to the UK without management or record company support.

The rest of 1969 was spent by the band trying to establish itself in the UK but they paid the price for concentrating on touring in the USA and being signed to a US label. They found themselves starting from scratch again. The second single came out in March 1969 to promote the upcoming UK release of the debut album. "Rock'N'Roll Band" is very good but the B-side, "Yes I Need Someone" is superb. It failed to chart. On April 20th they recorded three tracks for a John Peel BBC Top Gear session which have never been released. The debut LP which was finally released in the UK in May 1969 with a slightly altered track listing.

The band continued to tour through 1969 and into 1970. After a long year spent touring the small clubs and universities in Britain and with nothing to show for it, the band finally split in late 1970 (or May 1970?). Tiger Taylor had left by this stage to form Anno Domini. His short-lived replacement was Peter Tolson (guitar/vocals), better known for his time with the Pretty Things in the mid-70s. Ernie Graham recorded an excellent solo LP for Liberty Records in 1971, on which he was backed by members of Brinsley Schwartz, and was involved in Help Yourself (briefly, in 1972) and then formed Clancy. Dave Lutton played drums with Heavy Jelly, Ellis and Marc Bolan. Chrissie Stewart joined Frankie Miller's Full House and was later in Spooky Tooth.

After Henry McCullough left the band, he'd briefly been in Sweeney's Men and later joined Joe Cocker's Grease Band, and eventually released two solo albums on George Harrison's Dark Horse label. His list of guest appearances is long. Mick Cox later fronted his own Mick Cox Band and recorded with Van Morrison in the 80s.

1. Yes I Need Someone - 3:09
2. Got To Get Away - 3:19
3. The Clown - 3:17
4. Mr. Guy Fawkes - 5:52
5. Someone Is Sure To (Want You) - 2:34
6. Rock & Roll Band - 3:24
7. Morning Glory - 3:24
8. Magic Carpet - 2:50
9. Captive In The Sun - 5:38
10.1026 - 4:08
11.Let Me Stay - 3:37
12.Here I Go Again - 2:09
13.Follow Me - 2:43
14.The Price Of Love - 12:20
15.Highway 61 - 4:35
16.Blues - 4:38
17.Gloria - 11:37
Track 11 from US Album
Tracks 12-13 UK 1968 Single
Tracks 14-17 Live recordings Stuttgart Germany, 19th Jan 1969

Eire Apparent
(Original album lineup)
*Ernie Graham - Lead Vocals, Guitar
*Mick Cox - Lead Guitar
*Chris Stewart - Bass
*Dave Lutton - Drums
Special  Guests
*Jimi Hendrix - Guitar
*Noel Redding - Harmony Vocals
*Robert Wyatt - Harmony Vocals
Bonus Live Tracks lineup 
*Ernie Graham - Lead Vocals, Guitar
*David 'Tiger' Taylor - Lead Guitar
*Chris Stewart - Bass
*Dave Lutton - Drums

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Freight Train - Just The Beginning (1971 us, great blues psych rock)

The band, Freight Train, was formed by The Reds, founding member, Rick Shaffer, in 1968.  The line-up went through many personnel changes before arriving at the one that appears on the 1971 album, "Just The Beginning," on Fly By Nite records, a subsidiary of the Lost-Nite and Crimson labels, owned by Philadelphia record man Jerry Greene.   Greene released a catalog of doo wop and oldies hits in the 1960’s, most notably the hit record by The Soul Survivors, "Expressway To Your Heart,"  and today owns the compilation label, Collectibles, located in Narberth, PA.

The Freight Train albums’ line-up was Rick Shaffer on lead guitar and back-up vocals, Steve Martina on guitar and lead vocals, Jim Peters on bass, and Tommy Geddes on drums.  The album is a collection of Chicago blues standards done in a aggressive Paul Butterfield/British blues style, that included some of the great master works of Howlin' Wolf, Willie Dixon, T-Bone Walker, Sonny Boy Williamson and the great Magic Sam.  It also contained a rare track, "Rollin Man," by British blues guitarist Peter Green.  The album was engineered by Joel Fein, for his outstanding R&B style.  Fein’s signature on the soundtrack, "The Buddy Holly Story," starring Gary Busey, is legendary.

The band played all the venues of the time period, from outdoor Festivals to University gigs, coffee houses, and as the opening act for other more established bands.  Then, just prior to recording their next album, this time of original blues and R&B, Steve Martina decided to totally stop playing music.  His departure created quite a hole in the line-up, especially since Martina was principle vocalist and writer of the new material that had a J Geils / Butterfield Blues sound approach.  

Nevertheless, Martina was replaced by guitarist/vocalist, John Rostkowski, a talented and distinctive vocalist/songwriter.  The next, and final, upset for the band was changing management because of an unfulfilled promise to get the band off Fly By Nite, and on RCA.  So, in 1973, Freight Train pulled into the station and disbanded. 

Today, “Just The Beginning,” is recognized as a nugget of "Heavy Psych Blues" in the collectors market, and the "Acid Archives.”  In 2011 the album resurfaced on CD on the  Russian Federation label, Vitt.  And, original 1971 copies of the album sell on the internet for whatever a collector will pay, sometimes as much as $225.    In 1977, Shaffer, Geddes, and Peters, got back together, added keyboardist, Bruce Cohen, and formed, The Reds.

1. Papa Ain't Salty - 3:27
2. Everything's Gonna Be Alright - 2:43
3. So Many Roads - 7:08
4. Unseen Eye - 2:43
5. Built For Comfort - 2:49
6. Same Old Blues - 2:51
7. I Loved Another Woman - 3:01
8. Baby What You Want Me - 3:35
9. Rollin Man - 2:22

Freight Train
*Rick Shaffer - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Steve Martina – Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Jim Peters – Bass
*Tommy Geddes - Drums

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Band Of Light - Total Union (1973 kiwi / aussie, awesome hard blues boogie 'n' roll, digipack remaster and expanded)

Band of Light was a blues-based Sydney group, formed in October 1972 by Phil Key, with bassist Peter Roberts, who had both just left The La De Das. Phil Key was of course a founder member, the rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist in that legendary band. Peter Roberts was a more recent member -- he joined in late 1970 and helped to revitalise the group during a difficult period, after their disastrous English trip and the departure of original bassist Trevor Wilson. In the latter days of the La De Das, Phil had experienced difficulty in getting his own original material played in the band (as well as growing friction over his control of the group's finances). 

Phil quit the La De Das over a money dispute in September and the next month he and Peter formed Band Of Light, which enabled Phil to develop his own songs, which explored more personal themes of racial equality (Phil was Maori), social justice, spirituality and mysticism. Band Of Light was also one of the first local bands to use a symbol (a yin-yang within two triangles) to represent their philosophy and approach.

Their distinctive blues-rock sound was built around the dual slide guitar work of Key and their other superb guitarist, Norm Roue (who had come from Sydney band Gutbucket). Peter Roberts left after only three shows and was replaced by Ian Rilen, who was to become a fixture on the Australian rock scene in the 70s and 80s.  The band worked consistently on the Sydney and Melbourne pub/festival/dance circuits, alongside other staple acts of the day like Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, Carson, Coloured Balls, Chain, Madder Lake and Buffalo.

Band Of Light signed a recording contract with WEA in early 1973, and had immediate success in July when their first single Destiny Song made the national Top 40, peaking at #18. They followed up with a successful debut LP, Total Union, in August, which made the national Top 20 album chart, peaking at #13. A third single, the non-album track Moonstruck was released in November, but it didn't chart.

Norm Roue joined Buffalo. He played with them until early 1976, after which he reportedly left the music scene and followed a religious calling Robin Andrews worked in several other prominent groups in the 70s and 80s, including Phil Manning Band. Tony Buettel moved into production in the 80s with credits including Uncanny X-Men and Strange Tenants.

Ian Rilen joined Blackfeather (1975), was a founder member of Rose Tattoo (1976-77), and he formed Sardine V (1980-83), whose members included Joanna Piggott (XL Capris, Scribble), Barton Price (Models) and his wife Stephanie. He is best known for his long-lived power trio X (1977-79 , 1983-90).

Peter Roberts worked in Flake and Rockwell T. James.  Phil Key left the music scene, concentrating on his family, and working in Sydney as a cabbie for many years until his untimely death in 1985 from a congenital heart condition.
by Ian McFarlane, Noel McGrath, Spencer and Nowara.

Listening to "Total Union" you can’t help noticing Norm Roue’s brilliant slide guitar playing. At times raw and powerful, at other times his precision playing lends an opulent refrain to enhance a basic tune. Be careful though, a lot of Roue’s licks will linger in your head after one hearing.

The rhythm section of Rilen and Buettel, are simple and tight providing a strong background for Roue and Key to shine. Angry Anderson who was later to join Rilen in Rose Tattoo was once asked to describe Rilen’s bass sound. He replied: “It’s like the first time you hear that Tyrannosauras Rex howl in Jurassic Park. 

He’s got that low sting in it , but it’s almost like you expect it to go into this blood-curdling shriek, but it never really gets there, it threatens to do that all the time.” That quote is pretty close to the bone on this recording. Most of the tracks on this release were written by Key and his wife Pam (they went under the pseudonym of Wheel. Very hippy indeed).  

As with every Aztec Vintage Collection Series release this one comes with bonus tracks. ‘The Destiny Song’ was released as single in April ‘73. It was a hit and got the band exposure on radio. Its B side aptly named ‘Over B’  is included too, an instrumental, actually it’s my favourite track, all band members get a credit. Blues and boogie at its brilliant best. Roue and Key go head to head, Roue’s slide vs Key’s wah wah soloing with a little touch of Rilen magic on his own before Roue and Key dive in together at the end. 

The band issued a single in November ‘Moonstruck ’ ( it failed to chart ) and that’s included on this issue with another b-side to the single ‘The Cat’. Another highlight included, is a cover that was recorded live at Sunbury in ‘73, ‘Messin’ With The Kid’. This album is clearly of its time but after 30 odd years there is still some freshness about it. 

1. My First Home - 8:05
2. Free Me From Hunger - 5:47
3. Spaces of Time - 5:40
4. If - 5:40
5. Earthbound Blues - 5:44
6. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - 5:36
7. The Destiny Song (A-Side) - 3:14
8. Over “B” (B-Side) (P. Key, I. Rilen, N. Roue, T. Buettel) - 4:42
9. Moonstruck (A-Side) - 3:50
10.Messin’ with the Kid (Live at Sunbury) (Melvil London) - 7:29
11.The Cat (B-Side) - 5:49
All songs by Wheel (Pam and Phil Key) except where noted
Bonus Tracks 7-11

Band Of Light
*Phil Key - Guitar, Vocals
*Norm Roue - Bottlenck, Slide Guitar
*Ian Rilen - Bass
*Tony Buettel - Drums

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sainte Anthony’s Fyre – Sainte Anthony’s Fyre (1970 us, heavy fuzzed drenched psych)

Legendary proto-metal/psych private press side: released in 1970 this is a classic wasted thug-punk album with a ton of fuzz, crude riffs and a totally crunching rhythm section giving way to doofy harmonies and endless murky distorto solos. The amazingly named Greg Ohm handles guitar and vocal duties and his approach is totally first Blue Cheer album in terms of its ambition and inability to match Hendrix in terms of third stone sonics. The lyrics are classic Bonehead about getting good loving and being turned on but most importantly the songs are simple excuses, mere vehicles, for total six string scorch. 

The band have an amazing shuffling boogie style that trades doomy atmospherics for get-down dynamics and amphetamine breakouts in a way that has something in common with the early MC5’s testifying style but there’s something a little more crude and basement-blunt about Sainte Anthony’s Fyre that ‘does it’ that bit better.
by David Keenan

Gonzo, hard-rockin' madness! We're Definitely feeling this one - it's like Marty McFly time-travelled back in time and created a band that was executed per our exact taste! The "Hard Stuff", with a hint of bluesy rockin, but with a definite proto-punk attitude and swagger that elevates this above your typical Seventies hard stuff. These guys had to have had their ears on the Motor City back in the day - we're hearing the unmistakable testosterone-fueled influence of the MC5 or The Rationals, as well as the sinister oil-caked, cabaret feel of Alice Cooper too. 

These dudes were apparently courted by the bigs back in the day (Felix Pappalardi even offered to produce, but ultimately wanted too much moolah) and was a hair away from signing with Atlantic, but ultimately facing restrictions that would dictate their sound, decided against it, and recorded/released this one themselves. Fuck yeah! The "rough" sound of the record really is an asset to the overall feel and probably ups the aggression and sinister feel overall, with the guitars fuzzed out and pushing the red zone to the maxx, bro. If you dig Pentagram, Blue Cheer, Grand Funk, or even newer, backward-looking bands like Graveyard, Witchcraft and Fuzz, then prepare to feel the Heat.
Acid Archives

1. Love Over You - 4:54
2. Get Off - 3:10
3. Summer Fun - 3:38
4. Star Light - 5:36
5. Lone Soul Road - 4:43
6. With Your Beau - 3:10
7. Chance of Fate - 4:09
8. Wet Back - 3:02

Sainte Anthony’s Fyre
*Tom Nardi - Vocals, Bass
*Gregory "Greg Ohm" Onushko - Vocals, Guitar
*Bob Sharples - Drums, Percussion

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Guess Who - Let's Go (1967-68 canada, relish beat psych)

This new take on the "BBC Sessions" concept puts a comedic spin on the act of performing live on a '60s CBC television series. Bernie Mac (The Brenie Mac Show) costars as Percy Jones, a wealthy black banker who has an overbearing love for his family. Percy is about to host a lavish party at his sprawling New Jersey home in celebration of his 25-year wedding anniversary to Marilyn (Judith Scott, Flight Plan). 

His daughter Theresa (Zoe Saldana, The Terminal) is coming home for the occasion, and she's bringing her new boyfriend, Burton Cummings (vocalist, Canned Wheat, Wheatfield Soul). Theresa has neglected to mention that her new beau is white, however, and the formidable Percy is in for a surprise. 

Though Burton does everything in his power to impress his future father-in-law, including terrific alternate versions of such hits as "No Time" and "These Eyes" as well as lesser-known but great originals like "The Key," "Minstrel Boy" and "When You Touch Me," nothing will make the imposing patriarch change his undermining disposition. Matters are further complicated because the host of the show is former Guess Who leader Chad Allan, and Burton struggles to keep the family from finding out. 

As unrest spreads, causing tension--and plenty of laughs--in the days leading up to the party, Burton and Theresa face uncertainty in their relationship while Percy and Marilyn suffer difficulties of their own. This CD is full of both hilarious and cringe-worthy moments, including an incredibly tense scene where Burton is goaded into entertaining the family at dinner with truly abominable covers of "Touch Me," "White Room," "Time Of The Season," "Blackbird" and "Hey Jude". 

The sermonizing tone of the original studio tracks are replaced with an endearing slapstick humor, and while the heartwarming family tale is present, the CD doesn't shy away from the deeper underlying issues, presenting a fresh perspective on prescient cultural foibles.

1.  No Time (Bachman, Cummings) - 4:37
2. Touch Me (The Doors) - 2:02
3. White Room (Pete Brown, Jack Bruce) - 4:36
4. Time of the Season (Rod Argent) - 2:55
5. These Eyes (Bachman, Cummings) - 3:25
6. Ramblin' Gamblin' Man (Bob Seger) - 2:12
7. Black Bird (Lennon, McCartney) - 2:25
8. When You Touch Me (Bachman, Cummings) - 3:36
9. Along Comes Mary (Tondoyn Almer) - 2:58
10.The Key (Bachman, Cummings) - 5:51
11.Minstrel Boy (Bachman, Cummings) - 3:11
12.You Keep Me Hanging On (Holland, Dozier, Holland) - 5:27
13.Hey Jude (Lennon, McCartney) - 5:04
14.I Need Your Company (Bachman) - 2:59
15.Mr. Nothin' (Bachman, Cummings) - 2:22
16.Very Far from Near (Cummings) - 3:02
17.Heygoode Hardy (Cummings) - 3:25
18.Somewhere Up High (Bachman) - 4:38

The Guess Who
*Randy Bachman – Guitar, Sitar, Background Vocals
*Burton Cummings – Vocals, Organ, Harmonica, Piano, Guitar, Keyboards, Flute
*Jim Kale – Bass, Background Vocals
*Garry Peterson – Drums, Percussion, Tabla, Background Vocals

Monday, May 20, 2013

Gass - Gass "Juju" (1970 uk, exciting blend of blues, jazz, psych and prog, with Peter Green)

Bob Tench (also frequently credited as Bobby Tench) is a talented journeyman singer and guitarist who has worked with some of the biggest and best-respected names in British rock during a career that has spanned six decades. Born on September 21, 1944, Tench got his start as a bass player, working with a variety of acts on the London club circuit before forming his first band, Gass. 

Gass cut singles for Parlophone and CBS between 1965 and 1967, and in 1969, when impresario Jack Good presented his rock & roll stage adaptation of Othello, Catch My Soul, Gass were recruited to serve as the backing band and later appeared on the original cast album. Gass cut an album of their own in 1970, Juju, which featured a guest appearance by British blues legend Peter Green, but the group broke up in the summer of 1971. 
by Mark Deming

1.Kulu Se Mama - 7.14
2.Holy Woman - 5.29
3.Yes I Can - 6.51
4.Juju - 3.39
5.Black Velvet - 3.50
6.House For Sale - 3.47
7.Cold Light Of Day - 4.13
8.Cool Me Down - 6.10
All songs by G. McClean, D. Harper and R. Tench

*Robert Tench - Bass, Guitar, Organ, Vocals
*Godfrey Mclean - Drums, Congas, Vocals, Percussion
*Delisle Harper - Bass, Percussion
*Derek Austin - Organ, Piano, Flute, Percussion
*Michael Piggott - Violin, Guitar
*Junior Kerr - Guitar
*Errol Mclean - Congas
*Humphrey Okah - Sax
*Lan Roskans - Lead Guitar
*Frank Clark - Organ
*Peter Green - Guitar

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Judas Jump - Scorch (1970 uk, classic rock with glam and psych touches, 2009 Retro issue)

UK supergroup from such origins as The Herd, Amen Corner and the Mindbenders, branching out to the beyond, with a more progressive direction, as was de rigueur at the fag end of the 60's. Despite a fair amount of promotion and a contract with the Beatles label: Parlophone, they only made this one great album and 2 singles, but failed to click with the public. 

With Amen Corner's Alan Jones they were able to augment their sound with brass and woodwind, and listening today you can see some parallels with contemporaries Chicago and BST, but most of all the flavour is British and puts you in mind of a Traffic/Spooky Tooth groove, with some Jethro Tull thrown in for good measure - yet their pop roots were not deserted, which is what sets this album apart from so many others that line my shelves from the 1969/1970 period. 

In common with many contemporaries at this time, Judas Jump were keen to throw of the shackles of the pop success they'd previously enjoyed with their Top 40 bands. Judas Jump was their collective attempt to "go progressive". Luckily for us they avoid the pitfalls of many of their bombastic pretentious contemporaries and retain a poppy, rocky edge which permeates the whole album. "Scorch" kicks off with "John Brown's Body", a great lurching ballsy opening statement as ever you'll hear, with a nice wailing harmonica backdrop. 

The pace hardly lets up with "Rocking Chair" and "Beer Drinking Woman", but slows a little for the closing percussive dressed "Bossa Jump". Following by "Cry De Cry", an acoustic part, and then we get the tasty single, Trevor Williams' "Run For Your Life". It's not all wonderful though as towards the end of the album, it runs out of steam, and like a disappointing fizzy drink • goes slightly flat. 

Ending with the thoroughly awful Ye-Olde-Musical- Hall-Romp "Private Holiday Camp" - this dated piece of nonsense is not on the US copy - be thankful my American cousins! Alan Jones, Trevor Williams and Andy Sown all contribute material, but Bown deservedly gets the lion's share • as it's at that point where the others kick in, that downward trend is marked. Unbelievably, these days Andy Bown sessions for the boogie stalwarts Status Quo, so he's still around, and still doing it. 

A strange place for him to be? Maybe not so strange when you consider Status Quo and The Herd were Pop Contemporaries in the late 60's, which is no doubt where they must have met up and down the proverbial swinging circuit. In fact the Quo were a formidable pop combo back in the days before they discovered the 12 bar ad nauseum and their early albums: "Picturesque Matchstickabie Messages", and "Spare Parts are full of charming youthful and naive psychedelic whimsy.

1. John Brown's Body - 3:24
2. Rockin Chair - 2:57
3. Beer Drinkin' Woman - 3:33
4. 49 Fingers - 1:02
5. Purple God - 3:09
6. Bossa Jump - 4:30
7. Cry-De-Cry - 2:36
8. Run For Your Life  - 3:39
9. Cully - 2:34
10.Mississippi Turnpike - 2:57
11.Primrose Lady - 4:33
12.Scorch (instrumental)  (Alan Jones, Andy Bown) - 1:30
13.Private Holiday Camp - 3:29
All songs by Andy Brown except where noted.

Judas Jump
*Andy Bown - Keyboards, Guitar
*Charlie Harrison - Bass
*Alan Jones - Woodwind
*Henry Spinetti - Drums
*Adrian Williams -Vocals
*Trevor Williams - Guitar

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Knocker Jungle - Knocker Jungle (1970 uk, splendid bluesy psych folk rock, 2009 release)

Only a few copies were sold of this 1970 LP by the Knocker Jungle. At the time of the release, the duo had already split, and the shops didn’t take it, perhaps also because of a photograph with a finger gesture by one of the members. The problem now was that almost no information could be found about the duo, Tony Coop and Keith Jones. 

The participants surely made it look interesting. Involved were Dave Mattacks on drums (of folkrock band Fairport Convention), Phil Pickett on keyboards (of Sailor fame ; -not to confuse with Philip Picket from Albion Band-), and with no less than Tony Cox producing (at that time of Magna Carta and Tir Na Nog, besides he also had produced records later from Family, Caravan, Gringo, Françoise Hardy,…). In search of the master tapes they also found another 4 tracks of the session which have not been chosen to be included on the original LP, so they have been added now to complete this recording session.

We hear clearly attempts -especially on the early tracks- by Tony Cox to make the bluesier and simple busker-like guitar and song moments more sweeter, like on “Caught a cold last night” by a flute intro or with band arrangements like some conga and sitar-like guitar arrangement in an attempt to make this different. 

The light sunshine hippie-like folk-blues mode (a comparable area to Keith Christmas for instance, also because of the slightly hippie-feminine aspects in the vocal tensions), in several tracks, like also on the bonus tracks, is in fact rather attractive and distinctive, despite it’s simple core, while the busker-like tendency on other moments keeps the songs on the edge of making it still able to develop into something arranged more subtely. When going towards the American way of lyrically driven songs, or sometimes ballads, some of associated, slightly Westcoast sort of style in the vocal arrangements fit with those songs rather well, without that they ever go towards a real Americana influence, they rather chose folk-blues instead. 

Two of the tracks of the album, namely the first and the eight track, “I don’t know why” and “You’ve lost your love for me” and slightly also the second track, in the same vein, through its sort of catchy simple and light form, are easily comparable for the creative song melodies to some of those 70s Nigerian Afrorock songs, in a more acoustic version arrangement instead of with fuzz, and slightly bluesy, a fitting comparison thanks to its charming way of being playful-repetitive with the main lyrical song themes during the song.

This is an album which can be regarded as a song-album with its own, sometimes a bit more hidden charm.
Psych Folk

1. I Don't Know Why (Keith Jones) - 3:14
2. Oh To Be Free (Tony Coop) - 2:50
3. Caught a Cold Last Night (Keith Jones) - 2:40
4. I've Got Time (Keith Jones) - 2:17
5. Not Even a Letter (Keith Jones) - 3:14
6. Ecclesiastes (Keith Jones) - 2:16
7. Reality (Tony Coop) - 1:44
8. You've Lost Your Love For Me (Tony Coop, Keith Jones) - 2:38
9. Amanda (Keith Jones) - 3:19
10.Sunburnt Virgin Trousers (Tony Coop, Keith Jones) - 2:04
11.Impossible You (Keith Jones) - 2:48
12.Where I Belong (Tony Coop) - 2:45
13.It Ain't Necessarily So (George, Ira Gerschwin) - 3:35
14.Oh My (Tony Coop, Keith Jones) - 1:59
15.Shadow On Your Shoulder (Tony Coop, Keith Jones) - 3:50
16.You By My Side (Tony Coop, Keith Jones) - 1:55
17.I'm Losing My Mind (Tony Coop, Keith Jones) - 1:49
18.Rosemarie (Tony Coop, Keith Jones) - 2:24

*Keith Jones - 12 String Acoustic Guitars, Vocals
*Tony Coop - 6 String Acoustic Guitar, Mouth Organ, Vocals
*Phil Pickett - Piano
*Tony Cox - Piano
*Owen Finnegan - Congas
*Dave Mattacks - Drums
*Dave (Not one for corrections) - Electric Bass

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Orange Bicycle - Orange Bicycle (1970 uk, magnificent pshychedelia with soul touches, japan extra tracks remaster)

The British psych-pop outfit known as Orange Bicycle evolved from a Beat group, Robb Storme & the Whispers, also known as the Robb Storme Group. They had recorded a handful of harmony pop singles for Pye, Piccadilly, Decca, and Columbia Records during the early '60s, but with little success. In 1966, the Robb Storme Group covered the Beach Boys' "Here Today." 

It was arranged by the band's own multi-talented keyboardist/producer Wilson Malone and produced by Morgan Music's co-owner Monty Babson at Morgan Studios in the Willesdon area of London. With psychedelic music at its zenith, the group decided to change its name change and, in 1967, re-emerged as Orange Bicycle. Over the next few years, they released a half-dozen singles; their first single -- "Hyacinth Threads" -- remains the band's best-known track, appearing on numerous compilations. 

In late August/early September 1968, Orange Bicycle -- wearing matching black and orange suits -- performed at the Isle of Wight music festival, reportedly covering songs by Love and the Rolling Stones. In 1970, already somewhat past its prime, Orange Bicycle recorded its only album, The Orange Bicycle. It was comprised largely of covers, including Elton John's "Take Me to the Pilot," Bob Dylan's "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You," and Denny Laine's "Say You Don't Mind." A few tracks were produced by John Peel. Psychedelic pop music, however, was on the wane, or transmogrifying into heavier prog or hard rock, so the group decided to call it a day, breaking up in 1971. 

Wilson Malone's self-titled solo album (as Wil Malone) for Fontana was released that same year. Meanwhile, drummer Kevin Currie joined Supertramp, then Burlesque, before becoming a session drummer. Malone went on to form the heavy psych-prog trio Bobak Jons Malone with celebrated engineer/producer Andy Jons and guitarist producer Mike Bobak. They recorded one album, Motherlight. Malone also collaborated with bassist John Bachini on singer/songwriter Robert MacLeod's 1976 solo album Between the Poppy and the Snow. 

That same year, they covered the Beatles' "You Never Give Me Your Money" for All This and World War II. Malone then went on to become a top producer/arranger on his own, working with many successful groups and solo artists. His string arrangement for the Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony" (which appropriated the symphonic arrangement from the Rolling Stones' "The Last Time") caused a ruckus that resulted in Andrew Loog Oldham suing the Verve for songwriting royalties. In 1988, the Morgan Bluetown label issued an Orange Bicycle compilation, Let's Take a Trip On..., which contained all of the band's Columbia singles but no Parlophone-era recordings. 
by Bryan Thomas

1. Lady Samantha (E. John, B. Taupin) - 3:34
2. Country Comforts (E. John, B. Taupin) - 3:15
3. The Sweetest Thing Is (W. Malone) - 2:17
4. Make It Rain (John Dove) - 4:07
5. Say You Don't Mind (Denny Laine) - 2:58
6. Hallelujah Moon (W. Malone) - 3:29
7. Jelly on the Bread (John Dove) - 3:52
8. Take Me to the Pilot (E. John, B. Taupin) - 3:05
9. Come to Tomorrow Morning (Alan Hawkshaw, Ray Cameron) - 4:12
10.Back (J. Bachini) - 3:37
11.Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You (B. Dylan) - 4:32
12.Hyacinth Threads (W. Malone) - 2:56
13.Amy Peate (W. Malone) - 2:09
14.Laura's Garden (W. Malone) - 3:17
15.Lavender Girl (W. Malone) - 2:22
16.Jenskadajka (Doug Hodson, Des John Cox) - 3:33
17.Sing This Song All Together (M. Jagger, K. Richards) - 2:42
18.Trip on an Orange Bicycle (W. Malone) - 3:36
Bonus Tracks from 12-18

Orange Bicycle
*Wilson Malone - Keyboards and Vocals
*John Bachini - Bass and Vocals
*Bernie Lee - Vocals and Guitar
*R. J Scales - Vocals
*Kevin Curry (later Supertramp) - Drums
*John Povey - Organ and Sitar

Related Acts
1970 - Bobak, Jons, Malone - Motherlight

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mama's Pride - Mama's Pride (1975 us, stunning southern rock, wounded bird reissue)

The band, Mama's Pride, was originally from St. Louis, Missouri USA. In their hometown, they were fondly referred to as "The Pride of St. Louis". The group was formed by brothers Pat and Danny Liston. Members of the original band were: Pat Liston - vocals, slide, electric and acoustic guitars, organ, Danny Liston - vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, Kevin Sanders - drums, percussion, back ground vocals, Max Baker - lead electric guitar, 12-string and acoustic guitars, background vocals, Joe Turek - bass, background vocals, Frank Gagliano - keyboards and synthesizer.

Mama's Pride signed with Atco Records (a division of Atlantic Records) in 1974. They recorded and released their first album a short time later. According to Frank Gagliano, the Muscle Shoals tapes are still the highlight of the band then and now! The reason being is those recordings actually sounded live and in concert! Ten tunes--rhythm tracks--vocals--and overdubs recorded and mixed down in "THREE DAYS"!! David Johnson the engineer recorded all the tracks and we had been playing six nights a week for some time and the band was smoking hot!! All the labels that heard those tracks came to Atlanta to make a bid. Atlantic Records and the whole staff flew down to Tampa, Florida to see the group at a club called the PAC--Performing Arts Center. They offered us a major deal after the first show!! We actually met Amet Ertugen the CEO of Atlantic and he offered us a deal we couldn't refuse!

Frank Gagliano auditioned for Pat Liston in one of the first groups he had in St. Louis. At the time Frank was 14 years old and played accordian. Pat liked the way Frank played but told him to get a Wurlitzer electric piano and the gig was his! Well Frank picked up a used Wurlitzer and called Pat back and he had already hired somebody else, Ten years later Kevin Sanders---Kevin and Frank played together in bands since they were kids-- joined the group in December of 1973 in Tucson, Arizona and Frank hooked up with the group in April of 1974 in Kearny, Nebraska. 

1. In The Morning (Danny Liston, Max Baker)
2. Who Do You Think You're Foolin' (Gagliano, Turek, Liston) -  3:27
3. Blue Mist (Pat Liston) -  4:03
4. Laurie Ann (Pat Liston) -  4:21
5. Missouri Sky Line (Sanders, Baker, D. Liston, P. Liston) -  4:06
6. Ole St. Lou (Sanders, Baker, Turek, D. Liston) -  6:09
7. Kind Lovin1 Woman (Max Baker, Danny Liston) -  4:33
8. Where Would You Be (Pat Liston) -  6:21
9 Young And Free (Pat Liston) -  3:43

Mama's Pride
*Pat Liston - Vocals, Slide, Electric, Acoustic Guitars, Organ
*Danny Liston - Vocals, Electric, Acoustic Guitars
*Kevin Saunders - Drums, Percussion, Background Vocals
*Max Baker - Lead Guitar, 12 String, Acoustic Guitars, Background Vocals
*Joe Turek - Bass, Background Vocals
*Frank Gagliano - Keyboards, Synthesizer

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Billy Hallquist - Persephone (1972-73 us, strong, clear folk rock, 2009 korean remaster)

Billy Hallquist was born Oct. 19, 1949 in Sioux Falls, SD, USA. In 1951, He was stricken with Polio, but survived after several months in the hospital. His family moved to Minneapolis, MN in 1962. Billy graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1967 and briefly attended the University of Minnesota. He withdrew from college to pursue a career in music.

Like most teenagers, Billy was swept up in the Beatlemania phenomenon of the early '60s. Formed in 1965, his first band, The Transgressors, played the usual high school dances, talent shows and teen clubs of the day. His next group, The Other Guys, began to add original material to their repertoire of Beatles, Stones, James Brown, Bob Dylan, Animals, Paul Revere and The Raiders, Tommy James and other Top 40 hits.

His brief college career came to an end when Biliy replaced the guitarist of a pioneering Christian Rock band, Good Idea. They had just completed recording an original piece titled "1225", the traditional Christmas Story told from a Pop/Rock perspective. This recording landed the grouo a contract with Roulette Records. Prior to finishing the album, the original vocalist/lyricist left the group to pursue a solo songwriting career. 

The addition of a new bass player and vocalist caused the group to abandon its Christian roots in favor of a more traditional Rock/Pop sound. The album was completed and Good Idea became Thundertree. If you listen to the album, there are distinctly different sounds on each side of the disc. The Thundertree side of 5 Rock songs is quite different from the Good Idea recording, which is a long suite of multi-themed musical movements.

During the sessions, the album producer asked Billy if he would become lead vocalist in order to complete the project. But, Billy lobbied for another singer who eventually took over the vocal duties. However, Billy did agree to sing lead on one track, "Summertime Children". The album was completed and de ivered to Roulette for national and international (on Vogue) release in 1970.

Thundertree toured briefly. They shared the bill with national acts like The Box Tops, (Ted Nugent and) The Amboy Dukes, Rotary Connection (featuring future superstar Minnie Riperton) and The Johnny Winter Band before typical band politics and personal issues led to Hallquist's departure in 71 from the group he helped create.

Billy began to write and perform songs that were primarily acoustic vs the electric rock he had grown up with. For the next few years, he became a fixture on the Minneapolis folk scene that had launched the careers of such notables as Bob Dylan, Koerner, Ray and Glover, Leo Kotke and others. When time/money permitted, Billy would book sessions at Sound 80 studios, which was a state of the art facility, attracting such luminaries as Cat Stevens. (Several years later, Bob Dylan would utilize Sound 80 to rerecord much of his legendary "Blood On the Tracks" LP.) These sessions culminated in the release of "Persephone" by Billy. 

"Persephone" did much to establish Billy as a solo artist and was followed up by a 2nd solo release in 1976, "Travelin"' on Mill City Records. During this period Billy appeared with such major acts as Jerry Jeff Walker, Michael Johnson, Barefoot Jerry and comedian Jimmy Walker ("Good Times"). In 1976 Billy Hallquist helped form "he K.O. Band and performed with them throughout the Mid-West U.S. for a brief period. K.O. band alumni include Bobby Rivkin Bobby Z. of Prince and The Revolution), Jeff Dayton (Nashville songwriter and guitar player for the likes of Glenn Campbell, Lee Greenwood and Kenny Chesney) and Kevin Odegard (K.O.) (one of the Minnesota musicians on the "Blood OntheTra:ks" sessions).

Billy also performed in a bar band '-ailed Cimmaron following his stint as a K.O.  In 1979, Billy traded in his musician career for the life of a dad and husband. While no longer a husband, he remains a proud dad of sons BJ. and Dan and daughter Megan. His corporate career included many years as Broadcast and Creative Director for Lieberman Ent. a music/video rackjobber, and Marketing Director for the iconic label, K-tel.

Billy remains active musically. Throughout the '90s, and until very recently, he performed in a group called Perfectly Loud which featured a set list of nearly 1/3 Hallquist originals. The K.O. Band has reunited several times in the past several years to significant critical and public acclaim. His solo appearances at Three Crows in Delano MN helped establish it as a viable music venue that currently attracts numerous national and regional acts.

"I enjoy performing now as much, or more, than I ever did when I was doing it for a living" Billy often repeats to anyone who will listen. "I can't stand the booking end of the music business. I never had a desire to promote myself, which is an absolute necessity. But, if somebody asks me to play, I'll be there."
CD Liner-notes

1. Desert Rats - 2:07
2. For The First Time - 2:40
3. You And I - 4:20
4. Blanche - 4:54
5. Smiling Lady - 7:05
6. Help You Now - 2:54
7. Buddah's Rosary - 3:22
8. Smiley - 5:23
9. Middle Lothian Folk Ballad - 1:45
10.Persephone - 8:36
Music and Lyrics by Billy Hallquist

*Billy Hallquist - Guitar, Vocals
*Tom Hatcher - Acoustic. Electric Guitar
*Neil Iverson - Guitar, Vocals
*Jerry Johnson - Guitar, Vocals
*Rick LiaBraaten - Drums, Vocals
*Rich Miller - Bass
*Karl Ausland, Beckey Borchardt, Debbie Barton - Vocals
*Steve Crawford, Kim Hines, Dan Melford, Lee Sterner - Vocals
*Kathy Weingarden, John Holmquist, Tom Byrd - Vocals

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Fool - The Fool (1969 holland, tasteful blend of psychedelia, r 'n' b 'and folk with experimental mood, original Vinyl edition)

For Susan "the Golden Light" and her Mother

The Fool were a Dutch quartet transplanted to London in the middle ’60s, whose original impact on the rock world was visual rather than musical.  They were two women, Marijke Kooer and Josje Leeger – who designed clothes for people like Patti Boyd Harrison (George Harrison’s first wife) – and with Marijke’s husband, Seemon (Simon) and their friend, Barry Finch they became collectively known as “the Fool,” exemplifying the hippie ethic of the mid-’60s.   

They had a shop off London’s Montague Square, where John Lennon was an early visitor.  Brian Hogg’s CD liner notes quote Seemon from the Granada TV documentary, It Was Twenty Years Ago Today: “He walked into our place, and saw our stuff – furniture and posters as well as clothes – and he said ‘This is where I want to live.’”  That established the Fool.  They did concert posters for Brian Epstein’s Saville Theatre, decorated Lennon’s piano and his Rolls Royce and painted the exterior of the Apple building.  They flourished at the height of “flower power” and their distinctive images helped define the era.   

As artists they did several album covers, starting with the Hollies’ 1966 Evolution and the Move’s debut album, and perhaps culminating in 5000 Spirits On The Layers Of The Onion by the Incredible String Band – all in an instantly identifiable style.  In 1968 they recorded their only album, for Mercury Records. 

I remember that while my friends were getting excited about the Incredible String Band, I – never very fond of folk music – kept telling them, “Yeah, sure, but have you heard the Fool?”   When I played the album for them I made a lot of converts for it. 

The Fool is an album with some of the same English folk elements – including bagpipes! – but it is not a folk music album.  So what is it?  Good question.   In an odd way it reminds me of George Harrison’s very under-appreciated Wonderwall Music:  both are early precursors of “World music.”  But The Fool is much more. 

The album opens with spacey psychedelic effects that lead us directly into “Fly,” which has a naοve folksy quality but in turn leads (in a direct segue) to a rippling piano, banjos, and a deep organ accompaniment to the second track, “Voice On The Wind.”  Hogg states that Graham Nash, whom they’d met when he was in the Hollies, “acted as producer and he doubtlessly helped sculpt the textured opening two tracks … which served as an atmospheric introduction to the album.  The use of bagpipes and other exotic instruments signaled a wish to create something both adventurous and folksy.”  (I might add that I rarely enjoy the sound of bagpipes – as they are traditionally played – but they work well for me on this album.  Seemon is pictured playing bagpipes on the album’s cover.) 

 “‘Cry For Me,’ with its plaintive banjo, proved the Fool’s grasp of melody, a feature enhanced by their confident vocals and atmospheric seashore sound effects.  ‘No One Will Ever Know’ blends pop with a jugband feel feel before a now familiar [bagpipe] skirl grabs the casual listener. 

“A trumpet, whistles and almost gospel-styled singing inhabit ‘Reincarnation.’  ‘Hello Little Sister’ plays with the riff from ‘Walk Don’t Run’ and more faintly choral voices before ‘Keep On Pushin’ hits a bluesy vein.  The piece is underpinned by a Hammond organ, prompting scholars to suggest the presence of R&B veteran Graham Bond who was often photographed with the Fool around this time.  The eastern-styled [tenor] saxophone break would seem to confirm it.  ‘Inside Your Mind’ is another track hewn from Episcopalia, while ‘Lay It Down’ [which concluded the original album] is full blown intoxicated psychedelia.”  

When I first got this album I was struck by the nature of its melodies.  They seemed to derive in part from old English church hymns – blended with blues, boogie and rock.  “Episcopalia” is another way to describe it.  Oddly Calvinistic, I thought then.  But original: nothing else, before or since, sounds very much like it.  And that “eastern-styled  saxophone break” turns into a quote from Rahsaan Roland Kirk playing with Charles Mingus (as recorded in 1962) – a nice touch. 

This album dates to the days before “progressive rock” existed, but prefigures it in its adventurousness and wide-ranging musicality.  I always wondered why there was no second album to follow up on this one, but Hogg says, “Unfortunately for the Fool, flower-power was wilting in 1968 [when the album was released] and their efforts herein went largely unrecognized, despite cover art typical of their work.   Their designs were now deemed passι – the Apple building was repainted at the behest of residents, and the collective split up at the end of the decade.”  Frankly, I was never impressed by their style of artwork – the cover of the Move’s first album never did anything for me – and I miss that aspect of the Fool much less than I do their music. 

In the early ’70s Seemon and Marijke came to America and made an album for A&M Records, Son Of America (SP 4309). Graham Nash again was the producer (and contributed vocals), and Seemon plays bagpipes in a few spots, but the music is rather pedestrian and ordinary, perhaps the result of using American musicians (including Booker T. on organ), or perhaps the desire for greater commercial success – which eluded it.  This album was not a continuation of the Fool.  Then the couple returned to Amsterdam and split up.  Hogg says that Barry and Josje also returned to Amsterdam, “and, last heard, were still together.” 
by Dr. Progresso and Brian Hogg

1. Fly - 2:43
2. Voice On The Wind - 5:08
3. Rainbow Man - 2:21
4. Cry For Me - 3:52
5. No One Will Ever Know - 2:53
6. Reincarnation - 4:07
7. Hello Little Sister - 2:00
8. Keep On Pushing - 6:00
9. Inside Your Mind - 2:43
10.Lay It Down - 4:51
All compositions by Fool

The Fool
*Simon Posthuma
*Marijke Koger
*Barry Finch
*Josje Leeger

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Grand Funk - Shinin' On (1974 us, hard groovy rockin', 2014 SHM remaster)

And now, here it comes,  Grand Funk in all their slick rag-tag glory, where roughness and toughness in the essence have been overshadowed by gloss and, well, shining on the surface. Yeah, it took Todd Rundgren and even a second try at that to bring out the very best in Grand Funk, but believe me, the result was worth it; Shinin' On is a brilliant 'guilty pleasure' and the one "late period" Grand Funk album to buy if you're only gonna buy one, far better than any of those stupid hit packages that are all busy incorporating dreck like 'I'm Your Captain' and 'Heartbreaker' instead of showcasing the band's driving, energetic, boozy rock'n'roll sound as neatly combed and fleshed out by Mr Todd "Pop Is More Than Just A Pretty Chorus" Rundgren.

And Shinin' On certainly has a lot of that - a bit too much, even, perhaps, but heck, since it's the only true style I can easily tolerate from Farner and his dudes, it's all right in the end. The album is remarkably short, with none of the songs stretched out to ultra-epic length (well, many of them feature extended codas, but they're not epic codas - rather like unpretentious dance grooves), and six of the eight tracks are in-yer-face rock, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, but almost always ballsy and gruff, with a lot of energy and, occasionally, wonderful lead work from Farner. Of course, six years of work still haven't managed to teach Mark the skill of writing something at least halfway memorable, but I did close my eyes on that a long long time ago - we all know that Grand Funk Railroad thought themselves above such a primitive idea as 'hook'. I know. They must be progressive.

Only one tune has any signs of gospel ('Carry Me Through'), and, of course, it's one of the longest and the most boring numbers on the entire record, but still, it's interesting how Todd cleverly applies all those production devices to transform a routine gospel throwaway into a strange 'cosmic' weird chanting complete with electronic voice processing and otherworldly wah-wah solos. Whenever I check the lyrics sheet, I feel like pukin' ("help me find the hand that knows where I've been" - isn't that part a little bit too ambiguous?), but apparently, Rundgren felt that way, too, because he cleverly laid all these "voice screens" on Mark's delivery so he sounds like some Andromedan guy from far, far away, with a bunch of "space synth loops" confirming that idea.

Likewise, 'Mr Pretty Boy' is a very strange and exciting interpretation of a straightforward blues original, with atmospheric Mellotrons roaming in the background and weird underwatery guitars underpinning Farner's vocals. It's not that I'm actually saying these tunes are great or anything like that - but you gotta understand, for a band so unimaginative as GFR these arrangements are top of the game indeed. Subtract them, and you'll be left with basic derivative structures that do nothing, except for reminding you of several dozen identic performances from several dozen generic Southern rock bands. Whoever said production doesn't really matter? Oh, I did. Would you please get into your time machine, move five years back and shoot me?

And the rest just R-O-C-K-S. Rocks well, rocks hard, despite all the sheen, and even if you forget every single note as soon as the album's over (and you will, unless you grew up with this stuff under your pillow or something), that doesn't mean you won't have a real good time while the music's on. The title track is again the biggest highlight, with a classy 'dry' guitar tone employed by Farner as he bases the song on a phased funky riff, with booming, echoey vocals on top, more of a caveman than of a Christian. Craig Frost comes to the forefront here, getting involved in the same kind of driving interplay with Mark as he did on 'Flight Of The Phoenix' - but this here thing is rather funky than bluesy, meaning it actually gets hot during the performance.

The band's take on the golden oldie 'Loco-Motion' is funny; not great but essentially saved by the fact that it's the most lightweight tune they ever did up to that moment - in the context of this album, it functions akin to the Traveling Wilburys' 'Wilbury Twist', well, you know the score. Hardcore fans were probably disappointed hearing GFR do such blatant pop-rock, but hey, thank the Lord they're not doing generic bubblegum, and I suppose that Farner's (or is that really Rundgren? my commentators seem to be split on that one) blazing solo will put everybody to their senses anyway.

'Please Me' is the strangest thing on here lyrically, since I can't figure out who or what is the 'she' of the song supposed to symbolize. 'Five million guys have tried to reduce her to another girl on the street?' What the heck is that? That's a bit too few if they mean the world, and way too many if... well you know. The song rocks anyway, and so does the funky 'Gettin' Over You' and the socially biting 'Little Johnny Hooker', the latter apparently GFR's analog of Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Saturday Night Special' (only where the Skynyrders condemned hand guns, the Funkers condemn switchblade knives).

I don't know why, but they even manage to come out with enough sincerity on that track. Maybe it's the poison emanating out of Farner's guitar that drives me berserk, but I am perfectly ready to perceive 'Johnny Hooker' as a sincere, emotional, powerful anthem directed against... ah, well, all the anthems that are directed against something are directed against one thing all the time. It works, anyway, and even the vocals aren't overdriven this time.
by George Starostin 

1. Shinin' On (Don Brewer, Mark Farner) - 5:59
2. To Get Back In (Mark Farner) - 3:56
3. The Loco-Motion (Gerry Goffin, Carol King) - 2:46
4. Carry Me Through (Don Brewer, Craig Frost) - 5:34
5. Please Me (Don Brewer, Mark Farner) - 3:37
6. Mr. Pretty Boy (Don Brewer, Mark Farner, Craig Frost) - 3:08
7. Gettin' Over You (Don Brewer, Craig Frost) - 3:59
8. Little Johnny Hooker (Mark Farner) - 4:59

Grand Funk
*Mark Farner - Guitar, Guitarrón, Harmonica, Organ, Vocals
*Don Brewer - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
*Craig Frost - Organ, Clavinet, Moog, Piano, Mellotron, Vocals
*Mel Schacher - Bass Guitar

1966-67   Terry Knight And The Pack / Reflections
1969  Grand Funk Railroad - On Time (Japan edition)
1970  Grand Funk - Closer To Home (Japan edition)
1970  Grand Funk Railroad - Live (Japan edition)

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