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Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Association - The Association (1969 us, wonderful melt of psych rock, country, folk and blue eyed soul)

“Where have I gone, where have I gone?” pondered Terry Kirkman on the haunting opening track to The Association’s 1969 long-player.  Though the group’s fifth album, it was simply titled The Association, signifying an artistic rebirth.  Gone were the session players and ornate Bones Howe production that marked their previous album, 1968’s Birthday.  Taking the production reins themselves in tandem with John Boylan, The Association – Kirkman, Russ Giguere, Brian Cole, Jim Yester, Larry Ramos, Ted Bluechel., Jr. and the just-returned Jules Alexander – created one of their most beguilingly eclectic collections.  The Association, also known as “The Stonehenge album” for its spacey cover, didn’t contain any hit singles.  But it showed off the group’s trademark harmonies in gleaming form as each man’s songwriting continued to grow in maturity. 

The Association addressed the heady, rapidly-changing times with the very first song as Kirkman pondered over an ethereal chorale, “Oh, it’s a hard way down to the time I raised my hand and swore I’d gladly die for my God and Uncle Sam/There was so much I didn’t know, and what I know, I didn’t understand/Look at me, look at me/Where have I gone, where I have gone?”  But soon, Kirkman turned his questioning outward, too, with “Look at Me, Look at You.”  The voices were familiar but the accompaniment, flecked with Doug Dillard’s banjo, acknowledged country-rock.  

Jim Yester leaned in that direction, too, with “What Were the Words.”  This look back from relationship’s end was originally written for The Dillards, and incorporates twangy instrumentation alongside those lush voices.  Jules Alexander wrote his own country-rock song with the reflective “Dubuque Blues.”  This was, doubtless, an earthier Association, although folk influences had been a major component of the band since their earliest days.  On The Association, the multi-layered vocals hadn’t lost the sheer and exhilarating beauty of “Everything That Touches You” or “Cherish,” but frequently hinted at a darker place.

Even the love songs took on a more subtle air.  Alexander’s “Love Affair,” yearningly sung by Yester, paints a picture of “kids to the world of the old” with “dreams that we’re living [which] they will never know…you in your Levis and I in my hair…”  The imagery is spare yet potent, and very much of a window into the time though its author opines in reissue producer Steve Stanley’s comprehensive new liner notes that it “was about a woman I was going with at the time…nothing more than that, really.”  Bluechel co-wrote the ambitious “The Nest,” juxtaposing downbeat solo verses (“Without love, home’s an empty house/And you might be the one who’s left within it”) with a more optimistic group-sung chorus in which the famed sunshine pop purveyors were at least hinting at a ray of sunshine.

The most commercial track on The Association was producer Boylan’s “Yes I Will.” Warner Bros. correctly selected the track for single release, but it couldn’t rise above a disappointing No. 120 on the pop chart.  Still, it’s one of the band’s stronger rock-inflected songs, packing a simple yet powerful punch, even if it feels somewhat out of place on this more subtly reflective set.  “Goodbye Forever,” written by Kirkman, Alexander and Rita Martinson, was originally submitted as a title song to the 1969 film Goodbye Columbus, but was rejected in favor of Jim Yester’s stab at a title song for the movie.  It was retitled for The Association’s recording, and boasts a catchy melody if rather silly lyrics playing on the film’s then-risqué, hip and contemporary themes:    “Not just another pretty bottom/But a genuine blue boobie/Not just another pretty bottom/But a genuine cheap groovy…”

Larry Ramos and Tony Ortega’s frenetic soul rocker, “Are You Ready,” has a tough guitar riff and some horns arranged by Bones Howe’s frequent collaborator Bob Alcivar.  Brian Cole and Jules Alexander’s “I Am Up for Europe” (“…or any other place where I don’t speak the language or recognize a face”) emphasizes heavy guitars to a restless and searching lyric espousing a “gentle revolution.”  Russ Giguere’s only songwriting contribution is the jokey “Broccoli,” about, well, broccoli.  Kirkman closed out the album on a suitably poetic note, though, with “Boy on the Mountain,” co-written with arranger Richard Thompson (not of Fairport Convention fame).
by Joe Marchese

1. Look At Me, Look At You (T. Kirkman)
2. Yes, I Will (J. Boylan)
3. Love Affair  (J. Alexander)
4. The Nest (T. Bluechel, Jr., S. Carmel)
5. What Were The Words (J. Yester)
6. Are You Ready (L. Ramos, Jr., T. Ortega)
7. Dubuque Blues (J. Alexander)
8. Under Branches (J. Alexander, S. Carmel)
9. I Am Up For Europe (B. Cole, J. Alexander)
10. Broccoli (R. Giguere)
11. Goodbye Forever (T. Kirkman, J. Alexander, R. Martinson)
12. Boy On The Mountain (T. Kirkman, R. Thompson)
13. Just About The Same (Stereo 45) (R. Edgar, M. Fennelly, L. Mallory, D. Rhodes, J. Stec)
14. Six Man Band (Mono 45) (T. Kirkman)
15. Enter The Young (Withdrawn 1968 45) (T. Kirkman)
16. Yes, I Will (Mono 45) (J. Boylan)
17. Are You Ready (Mono 45) (L. Ramos, Jr., T. Ortega)
18. Dubuque Blues (Mono 45) (J. Alexander)
19. Under Branches (Mono 45) (J. Alexander, S. Carmel)
20. I Am Up For Europe (Mono 45) (B. Cole, J. Alexander)
21. Look At Me, Look At You (Mono Mix) (T. Kirkman)
22. Boy On The Mountain (Mono Mix) (T. Kirkman, R. Thompson)
The Original Stereo Album 1-12
Bonus Tracks 13-22

The Association
*Russ Giguere - Vocals, Guitar
*Brian Cole - Vocals, Bass
*Terry Kirkman - Vocals, Brass, Woodwinds
*Jim Yester - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
*Jules Alexander - Vocals, Guitar
*Larry Ramos, Jr. - Vocals, Bass, Guitar
*Ted Bluechel Jr - Vocals, Drums

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Friday, August 30, 2013

Dave Mason - Certified Live / Let It Flow (1976-77 uk, splendid classic steady rock, 2011 double disc edition)

Back in the mid-seventies Dave Mason had a really nice run.  In 1976 he had a nice hit record with this release, Certified Live, and then he followed that up a year later with one of, if not the most popular album of his solo career, Let it Flow.

Certified Live was another double live album. They were the rage in the mid-70s.  You can thank Frampton Come Alive for that.  If you were a decent selling artist in that period that did OK but needed a little kick to break out, you released a double live album.  It not only worked for Frampton, but it also was the formula that triggered hits for Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Outlaws, REO Speedwagon, Rush, UFO, Thin Lizzy, Pat Travers, Ted Nugent and even Genesis.  It really worked.  I should know, I bought all of those and a few more as well.

When I went back and listened to Certified Live the first thing that jumped out at me was how damn good his drummer was!  The opening track is “Feelin’ Alright,; You know the song, think Joe Cocker.  His name is Rick Jaeger. I’m not familiar with him but he’s really good. He’s got the Bernard Purdie high hat riff down!!

Dave runs through quite a bit of his best stuff here. Besides ‘Feelin’ Alright” you also get great versions of “Show Me Some Affection”, “World in Changes”, “Look at You and Look at Me” and of course, “Only You Know and I Know.”

Dave also takes on some interesting cover tunes here as well.  He tackles The Eagles “Take it to the Limit”, Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” and  the Spencer Davis Band’s “Gimme Some Lovin.”  You may not know this but Dave’s entry into the big time music scene was as the road manager in his early 20s for the Spencer Davis Band. There he met “Stevie” Winwood and would eventually join with him and form Traffic.

This album did OK on the charts. I was not another Frampton Comes Alive by any means.  It peaked at #78 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart.  It did however, give him time to work on that Let it Flow album that did quite well.
by Larry Carta

Let It Flow was the biggest selling album that Dave Mason had while on Columbia, as it contained his biggest hit, "We Just Disagree," as well as "Let It Go, Let It Flow." Everything here is similar in character to the latter song, though not all of it is as catchy or hook-driven. And there is a great deal else to recommend this record, including the horn-and-string ornamented "Mystic Traveler"; the soaring, soulful "Spend Your Life with Me"; the funky "Takin' the Time to Find"; and the soulful "What DO We Got Here?" 

Only the two hits off this album ended up on Sony/Legacy's compilation of Mason's work, Long Lost Friend: The Best of Dave Mason, so it is still a relevant purchase for those curious about Mason's work in the '70s. 
by Bruce Eder

Certified Live
1. Feelin’ Alright (D. Mason) - 6:21
2. Pearly Queen (S. Winwood, J. Capaldi) - 3:41
3. Show Me Some Affection (D. Mason) - 4:36
4. All Along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan) - 4:46
5. Take It to the Limit (R. Meisner, D. Henley, G. Frey) - 3:34
6. Give Me a Reason Why (D. Mason) - 4:12
7. Sad and Deep as You (D. Mason) - 3:12
8. Every Woman (D. Mason) - 2:36
9. World in Changes (D. Mason) - 5:25
10.Goin’ Down Slow (St. Louis Jimmy Oden) - 6:43
11.Look at You, Look at Me (D. Mason, J. Capaldi) - 12:50
12.Only You Know and I Know (D. Mason) - 4:45
12.Bring It on Home to Me (Sam Cooke)- 5:05
14.Gimme Some Lovin’ (S. Davis, S. Winwood, M. Winwood) - 8:14

*Mike Finnigan - Keyboards, Vocals
*Dr. Rick Jaeger - Drums
*Gerald Johnson - Bass
*Jim Kruegar - Guitar
*Dave Mason - Guitar, Vocals

Let It Flow
1. So High (Rock Me Baby And Roll Me Away) (Mentor Williams, Jack Conrad) - 4:07
2. We Just Disagree  (Jim Krueger) - 3:00
3. Mystic Traveler  (Dave Mason) - 5:00
4. Spend Your Life With Me  (Angeleen Gagliano) - 3:22
5. Takin' The Time To Find   (Dave Mason) - 4:31
6. Let It Go, Let It Flow  (Dave Mason) - 3:15
7. Then It's Alright   (Dave Mason) - 4:14
8. Seasons  (Angeleen Gagliano) - 4:50
9. You Just Have To Wait Now  (Dave Mason) - 3:09
10.What Do We Got Here? (Jim Krueger) - 4:21

*Mike Finnigan - Keyboards, Vocals
*Dr. Rick Jaeger - Drums
*Gerald Johnson - Bass
*Jim Kruegar - Guitar
*Dave Mason - Guitar, Vocals
*Stephen Stills - Vocals
*Yvonne Elliman - Vocals
*Ernie Watts - Saxophone

1970  Dave Mason - Alone Together (Japan remaster)
1972  Dave Mason - Headkeeper (Japan SHM remaster)

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Steve Miller Band - Sailor (1968 us, spectacular psych bluesy rock, 2012 digipak remaster)

Most definitely a part of the late-'60s West Coast psychedelic blues revolution that was becoming hipper than hip, Steve Miller was also always acutely aware of both the British psychedelic movement that was swirling in tandem and of where the future lay, and how that would evolve into something even more remarkable. 

The result of all those ideas, of course, came together on 1968's magnificent Sailor LP. What was begun on Children of the Future is more fully realized on Sailor, most notably on the opening "Song for Our Ancestors," which begins with a foghorn and only gets stranger from there. Indeed, the song precognizes Pink Floyd's 1971 opus "Echoes" to such an extent that one wonders how much the latter enjoyed Miller's own wild ride. 

Elsewhere, the beautiful, slow "Dear Mary" positively shimmers in a haze of declared love, while the heavy drumbeats and rock riffing guitar of "Living in the U.S.A." are a powerful reminder that the Steve Miller Band, no matter what other paths they meandered down, could rock out with the best of them. And, of course, this is the LP that introduced many to the Johnny "Guitar" Watson classic "Gangster of Love," a song that would become almost wholly Miller's own, giving the fans an alter ego to caress long before "The Joker" arose to show his hand. 

Rounding out Miller's love of the blues is an excellent rendering of Jimmy Reed's "You're So Fine." At their blues-loving best, Sailor is a classic Miller recording and a must-have -- especially for the more contemporary fan, where it becomes an initiation into a past of mythic proportion. 
by Amy Hanson

1. Song For Our Ancestors (S. Miller) – 5:57
2. Dear Mary (S. Miller) – 3:35
3. My Friend (Tim Davis, Boz Scaggs) – 3:30
4. Living In The U.S.A. (S. Miller) – 4:03
5. Quicksilver Girl (S. Miller) – 2:40
6. Lucky Man (Jim Peterman) – 3:08
7. Gangster Of Love (Johnny Guitar Watson) – 1:24
8. You're So Fine (Jimmy Reed) – 2:51
9. Overdrive (Boz Scaggs) – 3:54
10.Dime-A-Dance Romance (Boz Scaggs) – 3:26

*Steve Miller – Guitar, Harmonica, Lead Vocals
*Boz Scaggs – Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Lonnie Turner – Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Jim Peterman – Keyboards, Background Vocals
*Tim Davis – Drums, Backing Vocals

1968  Children Of The Future (2012 digipack remaster)
1969  Brave New World (2012 digipack remaster)

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Glass Family - Electric Band (1969 us, trippy psyhedelic rock with prog drops, 2012 Kismet isssue with extra tracks)

Attempts to get into contemporary songwriting are being fostered here by a newly organized W.B.-Seven Arts writers workshop. Two 16-year-old writers plus a trio of writers/performers called the Glass Family, have been signed to the workshop by Raul Abeyta, recently hired to oversee the workshop effort. Abeyta was formerly a contract writer with the company for three years. 

He now holds the title of general professional manager of special projects, reporting to Billy Sherman, the office's general professional manager. Abeyta has been scouting for writers and artists in the Southern California area. He found the Glass Family on Catalina Island. The group has been to record an LP of its own compositions for W-7 Records. Their compositions will be published by Tamerlane Music. W-7's BM1 firm. Abeyta critiques the new writers works and seeks lo pair composers with lyricists Sherman says the projeci can involve up to 12 persons. 

The workshop primarily functions in the evenings at the publishing company's Hollywood offices where a piano and tape recorder are made available to the fledgling writers. The Adrisi Brothers, who have been with Sherman five years, were originally brought into the Tamerlane fold when Valiant Records was still operating. Valiant was subsequent sold to Warner Bros.
B/brd November 16th 1968

'Astonishingly perceptive album. This is progressive rock, but with variations. House Of Glass hinges on its perceptive lyrics.Sometimes You Wander is melodic, and about as easy listening as you can get. Agorn (Elements Of Complex Variables) is interesting, largely because of the drum work. Very good LP. Highly electronic'
B/brd, February 15th 1969

1. House of Glass - 3:12
2. Born In the U.S.A. - 2:30
3. Once Again - 2:36
4. Sometimes You Wander (Henry'sTune) - 2:59
5. The Means - 4:10
6. Do You Remember? - 3:22
7. I Want To See My Baby (Capilouto, Green, Parrett) - 3:43
8. Lady Blue - 2:48
9. Passage #17 - 2:32
10. Mr. Happy Glee - 2:35
11. Guess I'll Let You Go - 2:44
12. Agorn (Elements of Complex Variables) (Capilouto, Green, Parrett) - 4:12
13. Teenage Rebellion - 1:41
14. David's Rap - 2:05
15. Guess I'll Let You Go (45 Mix) - 2:5
All titles by Ralph Parrett except where noted

Glass Family
*Ralph Parrett – Vocals, Guitar
*David Capiloato – Keyboards, Bass
*Gary Green – Drums Percussion

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Steve Miller Band - Brave New World (1969 us excellent psych rock, 2012 digipak remaster)

By the time the prolific Miller set up shop to record 1969’s Brave New World, the line-up had been slimmed down.  Scaggs and Peterman had departed as 1968 came to a close, but Miller welcomed some very special guests to the new album: returning friend and Miller’s sometimes co-writer Ben Sidran (who had played on Children of the Future), Nicky Hopkins, and Paul Ramon, a.k.a. Paul McCartney!  

Though the songs are tighter and a bit more pop-oriented than on the first two LPs, Miller’s blazing guitar rocked harder than before, and the album’s songs were the group’s most consistent yet.  Produced by Glyn Johns in Hollywood in the midst of his work on The Beatles’ Get Back, Brave New World offered group harmonies on Miller’s optimistic, catchy title track (originally written for an abortive sci-fi concept album; also see the album’s “Space Cowboy”) and Miller and Sidran’s “Celebration Song,” with its “Sha-la-la” refrain.  Their “Seasons” is also one of Miller’s loveliest pieces of music.  

Tim Davis’ breakneck “Hey Baby, Can You Hear Your Daddy’s Heartbeat” is Hendrix-style blues-rock, while the band went back to basics on the bluesy riffs of “Got Love ‘Cause You Need It” and Lonnie Turner’s “LT’s Midnight Dream.”  Nicky Hopkins’ glistening piano chords added a new dimension to the group’s sound on “Kow Kow,” with a familiar-sounding Miller melody set to an absurdist lyric.  

McCartney played bass and drums and sang background vocals on the album closer, the rousing and raucous “My Dark Hour.” Synthesizing blues, rock, pop and psychedelic soul influences into one cohesive LP, Brave New World augured for the band’s more commercial future.
by Joe Marchese

1. Brave New World (Steve Miller) – 3:27
2. Celebration Song (Miller, Ben Sidran) – 2:33
3. Can't You Hear Your Daddy's Heartbeat (Tim Davis) – 2:30
4. Got Love 'Cause You Need It (Miller, Sidran) – 2:28
5. Kow Kow (Miller) – 4:28
6. Seasons (Miller, Sidran) – 3:50
7. Space Cowboy (Miller, Sidran) – 4:55
8. Lt's Midnight Dream (Lonnie Turner) – 2:33
9. My Dark Hour (Miller) – 3:07

The Steve Miller Band
*Steve Miller – Guitar, Harmonica, Lead Vocals
*Glyn Johns – Guitar, Percussion, Vocals
*Lonnie Turner – Bass Guitar, Guitar, Vocals
*Ben Sidran – Keyboards
*Tim Davis – Drums, Vocals
Additional musicians
*Nicky Hopkins – Piano
*Paul McCartney (as "Paul Ramon") – Drums, Bass, Vocals

Monday, August 26, 2013

Al Kooper - I Stand Alone / You Never Know Who Your Friends Are (1968-69 us, outstanding art psych jazz rhythm 'n' blues folk rock, 2008 double disc remaster with extra tracks)

Another in the excellent  reissue, this is a musically sprawling double disc collection of two albums with bonus tracks by keyboard player Kooper who brought his particular genius to Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone single, Dylan's Highway 61, Blonde on Blonde and New Morning albums, and by the Seventies was working as a producer for artists as diverse as The Tubes, Nils Lofgren and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

During his Dylan period in the late Sixties he helped form Blood Sweat and Tears, but also recorded the jamming album Super Session with Stephen Stills and Mike Bloomfield. He played on the Stones' Let It Bleed sessions and with Hendrix for Electric Ladyland, and along the way recorded his own albums.

The two collected here come from '68 and '69 -- and might be a trap for young players: they are "period pieces" we might say.

The first opens with a sound collage of noises, orchestration and jazz bits by Kooper credited to Spooner Oldham, and in other places there are horn sections (in the manner of BS&Tears), a Sgt Pepper's/She's Leaving Home-styled cover of Harry Nilsson's MOR pop ballad One ("is the loneliest number") which Three Dog Night would later turn into a chart-topper . . . as well as Bill Munroe's country classic Blue Moon of Kentucky where he channels Elvis '56.

Oh, and his own psychedelic organ piece Soft Landing on the Moon, barnyard noises, and Isaac Hayes' soul-funk on Toe Hold. Hmmm. You suspect the drugs were just kicking in.

Moments of great beauty too however, notably the string embellished Song and Dance for the Unborn, Frightened Child which once more reinforces how much of an influence the Beatles' trippy Sgt Pepper was having, even a year later in a fast-moving world.

The second disc/album is equally diverse, but you can perhaps add to the influences Brian Wilson/Beach Boys (Lucille), more straight-ahead soul (Norman Whitfield's Too Busy Thinking About My Baby), country-rock pre Elton's Tumbleweed Connection, more Nilsson (Kooper would record a whole album of Nilsson songs) and soul-blues. And more.

The lasting impression is that Kooper was a great sideman (all those Dylan sessions), a real lateral thinker (BS&Tears, the production work) and an ADHD kinda guy when it came to his own albums: too much musical information floating around inside him that couldn't be contained so just came flooding out.

Disc 1
1. Overture (Spooner Oldham) - 4:39
2. I Stand Alone (Al Kooper) - 3:37
3. Camille (Al Kooper, Tony Powers) - 2:55
4. One (Harry Nilson) - 2:53
5. Coloured Rain (C. Wood, J. Capaldi, S. Winwood) - 3:00
6. Soft Landing on the Moon (Al Kooper) - 4:01
7. I Can Love a Woman (Al Kooper) - 3:27
8. Blue Moon of Kentucky (Bill Monroe) - 2:15 
9. Toe Hold (D. Porter, I. Hayes) - 3:53
10.Right Now for You (Al Kooper) - 2:33
11.Hey, Western Union Man (J. Butler, K. Gamble, L. Huff) - 3:30
12.Song and Dance for the Unborn, Frightened Child (Al Kooper) - 4:33

Disc 2
1. Magic in My Socks (Al Kooper) - 3:54
2. Lucille (Al Kooper) - 3:22
3. Too Busy Thinking About My Baby (N. Whitefield, J. Bradford, B. Strong) - 3:19
4. First Time Around (Al Kooper) - 2:46
5. Loretta (Union Turnpike Eulogy) (Al Kooper) - 3:46
6. Blues, Pt. 4 (Al Kooper) - 4:36
7. You Never Know Who Your Friends Are (Al Kooper) - 2:52
8. Great American Marriage/Nothing (Al Kooper) - 4:44
9. I Don't Know Why I Love You (D. Hunter, L. hardaway, S. Wonder, P. Riser) - 3:21
10. Mourning Glory Story (H. Nilsson) - 2:14
11. Anna Lee (What Can I Do for You) (Al Kooper) - 3:17
12. I'm Never Gonna Let You Down (Al Kooper) - 4:36
13. Piano Solo Introduction (Al Kooper) - 2:00
14. I Got a Woman (Ray Charles) - 4:29
15. Buckskin Boy (Al Kooper, Charlie Calello) - 3:09
16. Sad, Sad Sunshine (Al Kooper) - 5:04
17. God Sheds His Grace on Thee (Al Kooper, Charlie Calello) - 2:07
18. Brand New Day (From the Landlord) (Al Kooper) - 3:15
19. Love Theme (From the Landlord) (Al Kooper) - 3:12

I Stand Alone
*Al Kooper: Piano, Organ, Ondioline, Guitars, Vocals
*Stephen Miller - Keyboards
*Wayne Moss, Jerry Kennedy,"Big" Charlie Daniels - Guitar
*Charlie McCoy - Bass, Harmonica
*Ken Buttrey - Drums
*The Blossoms - Vocal

You Never Know Who Your Friends Are...Plus
*Al Kooper - Piano, Organ, Guitar, Ondioline, Vocals
*The Al Kooper Big Band under the direction of Charlie Calello
*Ralph Casale, Stu Scharf,  Eric Gale - Guitars
*Ernie Hayes, Paul Griffin,  Frank Owens - Piano, Organ
*Walter Sears - Moog Synthesizer
*Chuck Rainey, Jerry Jemmott,  John Miller - Bass
*"Pretty" Purdie, Al Rodgers - Drums
*Bernie Glow, Ernie Royal and Marvin Stamm - Trumpets
*Ray Desio, Jimmy Knepper, Bill Watrous,  Tony Studd - Trombones
*George Young, Sol Schlinger, Seldon Powell,  Joe Farrell - Saxophones
*Hilda Harris, Connie Zimet, Albertine Harris, Lois Winter, Mike Gately - Voices
*Lou Christie, Robert John, Charlie Calello - Voices

1969  The Kooper Sessions With Shuggie Otis
1970  Easy Does It 
1973  Naked Songs ( Japan remaster)
with Blues Project
1966  Live At The Cafe Au Go Go (2013 Japan SHM double disc set)
1966  Projections (2013 Japan SHM two disc set)
1967   Live At Town Hall (Japan SHM edition)
1973  Reunion In Central Park (Japan SHM edition)
with Blood, Sweat And Tears
1968  Child Is Father To The Man
with Mike Bloomfield
1969  Mike Bloomfield And Al Kooper - The Live Adventures
1968  The Lost Concert Tapes, Filmore East

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Steppenwolf - 7 (1970 canada, classic hard bluesy rock, 2013 japan SHM remaster)

This album benefited greatly from Larry Byrom’s creative surge and contributions from George Biondo (who replaced Nick St. Nicholas on Bass) - . Larry and George had worked together in the group ‘T.I.M.E.” and were not only fine players but also excellent singers. 

We put their vocal talents to good use on the songs “Foggy Mental Breakdown”, “Who Needs Ya” and “Fat Jack” on which George also sang co-lead or solo. Those tracks as well as “Renegade” and “Hippo Stomp” were some of my favorites and featured some of Larry’s finest playing along with Jerry Edmonton’s imaginative arrangement ideas. I found that these tracks stimulated my lyric/melody writing and I was quite pleased with our finished collaboration. 

Since I was busy working on vocal parts for tracks the guys were laying down, I found myself playing guitar only on “40 Days and 40 Nights” and “Snowblind Friend”, however Larry more than picked up the slack in that department. During these sessions, I developed an ear infection and remember doing vocals with one ear out of commission. All in all “7” remains as one of my favorite Wolf albums to this day.

1. Ball Crusher (L. Byrom, J. Kay) - 4:53
2. Forty Days And Forty Nights (B.Roth) - 3:04
3. Fat Jack (L. Byrom, G. Biondo) - 4:52
4. Rengade (L. Byrom, J. Kay) - 6:07
5. Foggy Mental Breakdown (L. Byrom, J. Kay) - 3:54
6. Snow Blind Friend (H.Axton) - 3:55
7. Who Needs Ya (L. Byrom, J. Kay) - 3:00
8. Earschplittenloudenboomer (L.Byrom) - 5:01
9. Hippo Stomp (L.Byrom, J. Kay) - 5:45
10.Screaming Night Hog (John Kay) - 3:18
11.Snow Blind Friend (Mono Single Version) (H.Axton) - 3:20
12.Hipop Stomp (Mono Single Version) (L.Byrom, J. Kay) - 3:22

*John Kay - Guitar, Vocals,   Harmonica
*Larry Byrom - Guitar, Vocals
*Goldy Mcjohn - Keyboards
*George Biondo - Bass, Vocals
*Jerry Edmonton - Drums

1968  Steppenwolf (2013 japan SHM bonus tracks and 2014 SACD)
1969  Early Steppenwolf (1967 Live, Japan SHM mini lp)
1969  At Your Birthday Party (Japan SHM 2013 remaster)
1969  Monster (2013 japan SHM issue)
1970  Live (2013 Japan SHM edition)
1971  For Ladies Only (Japan SHM 2013 remaster)
Related Act
1968  John Kay and the Sparrow
1972  John Kay – Forgotten Songs and Unsung Heroes

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Mother Earth - Living With The Animals (1968 us, enormous blues rock with folk and jazz touches, 2004 reissue and original vinyl edition)

Though Mother Earth is often remembered as a vehicle for Tracy Nelson, Living With the Animals is a true group effort, combining memorable vocal performances with tight R'n'B-derived playing with excellent guitar work from Michael Bloomfield. Side one is a showcase for Nelson's blues belting and piano, particularly on "Down So Low" and "Mother Earth." Not to be overlooked is the blues shuffle "I Did My Part" and R.P. St. John's sardonic "Living With the Animals" and "Marvel Set," which features him on lead vocals. 

Side two offers some stellar moments here as well, including "Cry On" and "Goodnight Nelda Grebe," with fine horn section work and excellent Nelson vocals. Written and fronted by St. John, "The Kingdom of Heaven Is Within You" is a brilliant closer; it's nocturnal, moody, and spacy and showcases beautiful muted trumpets and reeds with a gorgeous flute solo by Link Davis Jr. 
by J.P. Ollio and Thom Jurek

1. Marvel Group (Powell Saint John) - 3:17
2. Mother Earth (Memphis Slim) - 6:16
3. I Did My Part (Allen Toussaint) - 2:51
4. Living With The Animals (Powell Saint John) - 4:57
5. Down So Low (Tracy Nelson) - 3:51
6. Cry On (Allen Toussaint) - 4:36
7. It Won't Be Long (John Leslie McFarland) - 3:39
8. My Love Will Never Die (Willie Dixon) - 4:59
9. Goodnight Nelba Grebe, The Telephone Company Has Cut Us Off  (Sylvia Caldwell, Tracy Nelson) - 2:42
10.The Kingdom of Heaven (Is Within You) (Powell Saint John) - 5:05

*Tracy Nelson - Vocals, Piano, Keyboards
*Martin Fierro - Vocals, Flute, Saxophone, Altohorn, Tenorhorn, Synthesizer
*Powell St.John - Vocals, Harmonica
*Bob Salisbury - Vocals, Saxophone, Baritone Horn
*Losella Funque,Sylvia Caldwell,Shalimar Samuelson,Bob Arthur - Vocals
*Michael Bloomfield,  John Andrews, Makal Blumfeld - Guitar
*Spencer Perskin - Violin
*Ron Taormina - Saxophone, Baritonehorn
*Frank Morin - Saxophone, Tenorhorn
*George Rains - Saxophone, Drums
*Link Davis - Saxophone
*Luis Gasca - Trumpet
*Link Davis Jr. - Altohorn
*Mark Naftalin - Piano, Organ, Keyboards
*Danny Goldberg, Barry Goldberg - Organ
*Jose Rodriguez, Jose Emilio Rodriqueziii - Drums
*Earthettes - Background Vocals

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The Attack - About Time (1967-68 uk, solid mod freakbeat, 2006 remaster with unreleased material)

The Attack where a band formed in 1966 around singer Richard Shirman (born 26 April 1949, London). 

The first line-up featured drummer Alan Whitehead from Marmalade, guitarist David O'List (later of The Nice) and John Du Cann. Their first single "Try It" had also been recorded by The Standells and Ohio Express. They also released a version of "Hi Ho Silver Lining", a few days earlier than Jeff Beck. Richard Shirman was invited to be singer with Andromeda but he declined.

They had more energy than an H-bomb after flash, and they hit the senses and the soul with a long awaited wake up call.  Led by ex Ready Steady Go dancer Richard Shirman, aka Jivin'K. Boots (!), and future Nice guitarist David O'List, the Attack recorded four singles for Decca, plus a number of unreleased tracks and a radio session, all included here. 

A definitive collection, which includes such stand outs as - ‘Try It’ "bugged out insanity,with sexual overtones blowing the Standells version into oblivion"; ‘We Don't Know’"a tight explosion of mod-soul" ; ‘Anymore Than I Do’, a freak beat classic! Plus of course their pre-Jeff Beck version of ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’. 

This gorgeous package by Phil Smee and with full involvement of Richard Shirmani ncludes all four Decca singles and previously unreleased material.

1. Anymore Than I Do (O'List, Shirman) - 2:06
2. Feel Like Flying (Aka Making It) (John DuCann) - 2:37
3. Created By Clive (Radio Session) (Pattison) - 2:45
4. Try It (Levine, Ballack) - 2:07
5. Go Your Way (John DuCann) - 2:45
6. Too Old (John DuCann) - 3:05
7. Colour Of My Mind (Richard Shirman) - 2:30
8. Lady Orange Peel (Richard Shirman) - 2:28
9. Sympathy For The Devil (Jagger, Richards) - 4:49
10.Neville Thumbcatch (Smith, Bain) - 3:03
11.Strange House (John DuCann) - 4:10
12.Created By Clive (Pattison) - 2:41
13.Mr Pinnodmy's Dilemma (John DuCann) - 4:27
14.Come On Up (Previously Unreleased) (Felix Cavaliere) - 2:49
15.Freedom For You (John DuCann) - 2:36
16.Hi Ho Silver Lining (English Weiss, Lancer) - 2:30
17.Magic In The Air (Aka Watch With Mother) (John DuCann) - 3:38
18.Anything (Previously Unreleased) (Richard Shirman) - 2:08
19.We Don't Know (O'List, Shirman) - 2:44

*John DuCann  - Guitar
*Richard Shirman - Vocals
*George Watt - Organ
*Alan Whitehead - Drums
*Jim Avery - Bass Guitar
*Geoff Richardson - Guitar
*Kenny Harold - Bass Guitar
*Keith Hodge - Drums
*Roger Deane - Bass Guitar
*Chris Allen - Drums
*Gerry Henderson - Bass
*Davey O'List - Guitar
*Bob Hodges - Organ

1967-69  The Attack - Magic In The Air

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Steve Miller - Children Of The Future (1968 us, superb psych blues rock, 2012 digipak remaster with bonus track)

The 1968 debut of the Steve Miller Band begins with a shattering cacophony, followed by an acoustic strum emerging like a beacon of light amidst the darkness and clatter.  The album’s title track “Children of the Future” is far removed from the ironic detachment of “The Joker” or the sleek majesty of “Fly Like an Eagle,” later hits that proved the group could go “pop” while still showing off their versatility and impeccable musicianship.

Though the blues-rock guitarist from Wisconsin rose through the ranks in the fertile Bay Area psychedelic rock scene, Miller’s first album was recorded by producer Glyn Johns at London’s Olympic Studios.  Miller and his band (originally Boz Scaggs on guitar/lead and background vocals, Lonnie Turner on bass/background vocals, Jim Peterman on mellotron and organ/background vocals, and Tim Davis on drums/lead and background vocals) married blues guitar licks to hazy, lysergic melodies.  The centerpiece of Children of the Future is the side-long suite which opened the LP, primarily written by Miller.  

It’s bookended by the title song (“We are children of the future…wonder what in the world we are going to do…When they get high, they can see for miles and miles/When we get high, I can see myself for miles…You know I’ve got something that you can use”) and the B.B. King-influenced closer “The Beauty of Time is That It’s Snowing (Psychedelic B.B.),” an instrumental with only the “We are children of the future” mantra for lyrics.  What Mr. King thought of it, I don’t know.  Miller did, indeed, get high, as his lyrics went, and was busted and imprisoned for marijuana possession while recording the album.  The suite’s lyrics combine optimism with hippy-dippy cosmic belief redolent of the period (“In my second mind, I can see you grow/Feel you flow/It moves my soul, yeah”) though traditional love song sentiments and blues tropes are also present.

The second side is more traditional, though songs still flow into one another.  Boz Scaggs, on the verge of coming into his own as a solo artist, contributes two tracks to Side Two.  His pretty, ethereal pop song “Baby’s Callin’ Me Home” (with Ben Sidran on harpischord) segues into the electric rock of “Steppin’ Stone” (not the Monkees hit).  Long before “Jet Airliner,” Miller contributed the folk-rock “Roll with It” (“There’s a plane goin’ down the runway…Believe I better go with it/There’s a train goin’ by the highway…believe I better roll with it”) with its wailing guitar solo.  

The album is rounded out by Jim Pulte’s “Junior Saw It Happen” and a couple of R&B covers, “Fanny Mae” (with its striking R&B harmonica and a riff that was also semi-appropriated for The Beach Boys’ “Help Me, Rhonda”) and the slow-burning “Key to the Highway.”  The new reissue adds one bonus track, the shimmering non-LP single “Sittin’ in Circles,” written by another well-regarded tunesmith, Barry Goldberg of the Electric Flag.
by Joe Marchese

1. Children Of The Future – 2:59
2. Pushed Me To It – 0:35
3. You've Got The Power – 0:53
4. In My First Mind (Miller, Jim Peterman) – 7:31
5. The Beauty Of Time Is That It's Snowing (Psychedelic B.B.) – 5:24
6. Baby's Callin' Me Home (Boz Scaggs) – 3:24
7. Steppin' Stone (Scaggs) – 3:00
8. Roll With It – 2:29
9. Junior Saw It Happen (Jim Pulte) – 2:29
10.Fanny Mae (Buster Brown) – 3:09
11.Key To The Highway (Big Bill Broonzy, Charlie Segar) – 6:16
12.Sittin' In Circles (Barry Goldberg) - 3:06
All songs by Steve Miller unless as else stated

*Steve Miller – Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
*Boz Scaggs – Guitar,  Vocals  
*Lonnie Turner – Bass, Vocals
*Jim Peterman – Hammond Organ, Mellotron. Vocals
*Tim Davis – Drums, Vocals
*Ben Sidran – Harpsichord

1968  Sailor (2012 digipack remaster)
1969  Brave New World (2012 digipack remaster)
1969  Your Saving Grace (2012 digi pack remaster)
1970  Steve Miller Band - Number 5 (2012 digi pack remaster)

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Attack - Magic In The Air (1967-69 uk, exciting freakbeat garage, psych)

You can say that the Attack were in fact, at least a couple different groups for the fact that vocalist Richard Sherman had to regroup Attack from almost scratch 3 times.

The Attack's beginnings lie in a group called The Soul System. With members coming and going, once a stabilized 5 piece arouse, the band came attention to Don Arden, a top agent who signed them, found their first single (Try It, a Standells tune), and changed their name to Attack. Issued in January 1967, the single didn't do much on the charts.

However with it's heavy garage sound, it is considered a minor Freakbeat classic. The flip side We Don't Know is a rather strange jazz/soul and freakbeat hybrid with some silly lyrics. This same lineup stayed for the recording of their next single Hi-Ho Silver Lining before disbanding due to the lack of success with both 45's. Hi-Ho Silver Lining was met with fierce competition as Jeff Beck, who presumably heard The Attack's version and rushed out his own version as his first single after only a few days of The Attack's single.

The result was Jeff Beck getting the hit with Hi-Ho. The B side to Hi-Ho was an awesome piece of freakbeat, Any More Than I Do. This number, apart from being featured in recent compilations of the years, was used by John Peel for a radio jingle for the pirate Radio London. The guitarist responsible for the powerful riffing on Any More Than I Do, David O'List left to join the Nice in breaking new ground for a while, whilst drummer Alan Whitehead went back to the Marmalade and the others faded into obscurity.

Richard Sherman, now the only one left, regrouped The Attack with Scottish organist George Watt, drummer Chris Allen, guitarist Geoff Richardson and bassist Kenny Harold. Their follow up to Hi-Ho was another kinda cheeky and very English affair, Created By Clive. In a very ironic coincidence, two versions of Created By Clive were released the same day, by The Attack and The Syn!

The result was neither got any attention that the song was meant for which was probably better off as the liner notes of their posthumous compilation Magic In The Air notes "Clive, a fashion designer who specialized in dressing debs in see-through mini-dresses, would have probably sued anyway".

The new guitarist Geoff Richardson penned their B side, the slow tamped raga Colour Of My Mind. With the single just barely in the shops, a new guitarist John DuCann was added and the drummer and keyboard player were replaced too. With this lineup, The Attack went about playing all the venues available, Middle Earth, Tiles, the Speakeasy etc.

However personnel changes shifted once more in the summer of 1967, and Geoff Richardson and Kenny Harold left being replaced by Jim Avery. The recorded the two sides of their next single, Magic In The Air/Lady Orange Peel but the A side was rejected by Decca for being too heavy and the band were sent in to record the harmless Neville Thumbcatch.

Two more tracks were recorded in October 1967, covers of Morning Dew and Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever, but the single that was eventually released in January 1968 was Neville Thumbcatch backed with Lady Orange Peel.

Thumbcatch was very similar to Cream's Pressed Rat And Warthog with it's narrative verses and trumpet melodies. With this single, the group disbanded again. DuCann and Sherman kept Attack alive, recruiting bassist Roger Deane and drummer Keith Hodge and continued on as a four piece.

This last lineup recorded tracks for a future album and single, all left in the can. Before their split in mid 1968, the group recorded many songs, including Winding Up Clocks, Feel Like Flying, Strange House, Just Waiting, Freedom For You, etc. Unfortunately, not all of these tracks survived when the Magic In The Air album was being compiled.

But featuring all their singles (with one exception, Created By Clive) and a handful of unreleased tracks from their 1968 album sessions, the compilation gives a better look at who The Attack were really about.

Tracks like Magic In The Air, Strange House, Freedom For You & Colour Of My Mind justify their high place in British freakbeat/psych history. Perhaps with a more stable lineup, the band would have reached farther than they did.

1.Magic In The Air (John DuCann) - 3:39
2.Colour Of My Mind (Richard Sherman) - 2:29
3.Mr. Pinnodomy's Dilema (John DuCann) - 4:28
4.Hi Ho Silver Lining (English Weiss, Lancer) - 2:30
5.Try It (Levine, Ballack) - 2:03
6.Freedom For You (John DuCann) - 2:35
7.Any More Than I Do (O'List, Sherman) - 2:04
8.Strange House (John DuCann) - 4:11
9.Neville Thiumbcatch (Smith, Bain) - 3:03
10.Feel Like Flying (John DuCann) - 2:37
11.Lady Orange Peel (Richard Sherman) - 2:24
12.We Don't Know (O'List, Sherman) - 2:50
13.Too Old (John DuCann) - 3:08
14.Go Your Own Way (John DuCann) - 2:45

*John DuCann  - Guitar
*Richard Sherman - Vocals
*George Watt - Organ
*Chris Allen - Drums
*Jim Avery - Bass Guitar
*Geoff Richardson - Guitar
*Kenny Harold - Bass Guitar
*Keith Hodge - Drums
*Roger Deane - Bass Guitar
*Gerry Henderson - Bass
*Davey O'List - Guitar
*Bob Hodges - Organ
*Alan Whitehead - Drums

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bobby Whitlock - Where There's A Will There's A Way (1972 us, incredible classic rock melted with funky vibes, 2013 remaster)

Whitlock’s story is a remarkable one. Born to a hardscrabble existence, raised in abject poverty, abused by his preacher father and was sent out to pick cotton in the fields. Moving from one railroad town to another, Whitlock was quite literally from the wrong side of the tracks.

Yet thanks to his singing and piano playing, music was Whitlock’s escape. Winding up in Memphis, Whitlock hooked up with Stax Records, who signed him as the first white artist to their new pop label HIP. But it was soul music, not pop, that was in Whitlock’s heart – and his break came when Delaney & Bonnie asked him to join their band, The Friends.

Following Delaney & Bonnie from Stax to Elektra Records, Whitlock found his life starting to intertwine with ‘60s rock royalty. Delaney & Bonnie took him on tour with Blind Faith, where Eric Clapton was impressed with Whitlock’s playing and the camaraderie he saw in The Friends. Soon, Whitlock joined Clapton, Jim Gordon and Carl Radle in Derek & The Dominos, the crack unit that backed George Harrison on much of the seminal All Things Must Pass and recorded the classic rock album Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs.

During the recording of those albums, Whitlock tentatively made his first steps as a solo artist. Though drugs were already beginning to tear Derek & The Dominoes apart, Whitlock was able to call on some high profile friends (and “Friends”) to play on his album, including Clapton, Harrison, session bassist Klaus Voorman (John Lennon, Carly Simon, et al), drummer Jim Gordon, Chris Wood (of Traffic) and others. “I really loved my first record and everything that was behind it,” says Whitlock now. “And for the love that was brought to the room by everyone each time we recorded. I know that you can hear it in Eric’s solo on "The Scenery Has Slowly Changed.”

When Bobby presented his album to Atlantic Records they rejected it, citing a different vision for his debut record. So Bobby bought himself out of his contract. Soon after, The Dominos split up following troubled second album sessions. Bobby just kept moving: first back to his rural home in England, then to France, where the Rolling Stones were recording Exile On Main Street. He found a deal for his debut album (via producer Jimmy Miller) and a follow-up too. 

That second album, Raw Velvet, featured the Edwin Hawkins Singers, the L.A. Symphony, Eric Clapton, Jim Gordon and Bobby’s new band members: Rick Vito on guitar, Keith Ellis on bass and Don Poncher on drums. Andy Johns co-produced the self-titled debut (with Whitlock) and Jimmy Miller produced the Raw Velvet LP. Andy was the recording engineer of Exile on Main Street and later produced Television’s Marquee Moon. Miller, of course, produced Exile On Main Street!

1. Where There's a Will (Bonnie Bramlett, Bobby Whitlock) - 3:44
2, Song for Paula - 3:16
3. A Game Called Life - 4:15
4. Country Life - 3:06
5. A Day Without Jesus (Don Nix, Bobby Whitlock) - 3:24
6. Back in My Life Again - 3:31
7. The Scenery Has Slowly Changed - 3:52
8. I'd Rather Live the Straight Life - 2:29
9. The Dreams of a Hobo - 3:23
10.Back Home in England - 2:51
11.Tell the Truth (Eric Clapton, Bobby Whitlock) - 3:50
12.Bustin' My Ass - 3:31
13.Write You a Letter - 2:29
14.Ease Your Pain (Hoyt Axton) - 3:03
15.If You Ever - 3:18
16.Hello L.A., Bye Birmingham (Delaney Bramlett, Mac Davis) - 3:56
17.You Came Along - 3:04
18.Think About It - 3:09
19.Satisfied - 2:56
20.Dearest I Wonder - 3:49
21.Start All Over - 3:24
All songs by Bobby Whitlock except where indicated

*Bobby Whitlock - Vocals, 12 String, Rhythm, Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Organ, Piano
*Chris Wood - Flute
*Bonnie Bramlett - Vocals
*Delaney Bramlett - Guitar, Vocals
*Eric Clapton - Bass, Electric Slide Guitar
*Keith Ellis - Bass
*Jim Gordon - Drums, Tabla
*George Harrison - Guitar
*The Edwin Hawkins Singers - Vocals
*Jim Keltner - Drums
*Bobby Keys - Saxophone
*Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra - Strings
*Jerry McGee - Guitar
*Don Poncher - Drums
*Jim Price - Trombone, Trumpet
*Carl Radle - Bass
*Rick Vito - Guitar, Slide Guitar
*Klaus Voormann - Bass

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield - The Lost Concert Tapes, Filmore East (1968 us, brilliant blues rock)

You could tell the way the concert started, how it was gonna be. Bill Graham, took great pleasure in introducing each act, from the side of the stage, in shirtsleeves.When we were all in place, the crew gave him the nod. Michael said: "Wait a second—I wanna say something!" Where upon, our pianist, Paul Harris replied to Graham"Michael wants to say something..." In that instant, Michael had traversed the stage and grabbed the microphone right out of Bill Graham's grasp and proceededinto one of those Bloomfieldian speeches of his. Graham just stood there perplexed,eventually grinning at Michael's bluecollar blurb. 

When Michael finished, he politely dumped the microphone back in Graham's hands and headed back to his guitar. Graham introduced us in one sentence and we were off and running. Now 33 years later, it's my turn for the introductions. This was atypical Bloomfield-Kooper gig. Michael showed up sick as a dog withthe flu, two days before the show. I had put the band together this time. Jerry Jemmott was a master NYC session bassist and wasbest known for his recent work with Aretha Franklin. Pianist Paul Harris was my homey from Queens, who inherited all my studio work when I joined The Blues Project. John Cresci, was introduced to me by my good friend Charlie Calello and had played drums on the last two sessions for my first solo album, "I Stand Alone." I didn't know John very well, but he seemed like the right choice. 

We rehearsed for two days, and Michael managed to give Paul his flu. It started to become noticeable that Cresci might not have been the proper choice, as he seemed to not have logged much previous time playing Chicago-style blues, which is mostly what we performed. He & Jerry Jemmott kinda musically fought for where the groove belonged and that sort of subliminal feuding doesn't make for the best band chemistry. It was, however, just too late to make any personnel changes, and so I just hoped for the best. 

Prior to the first set the first night, Michael burst into the dressing room with this really wild looking guy in tow. His name was Johnny Winter, and Michael had heard him play in Chicago a coupla years before and knew he was good. Steve Paul, owner of the musician-hangout-club The Scene on West 46th Street, had just started managing Johnny, and I had heard good things about him, but had never met him til just then. Michael planned to bring him onstage to jam and I trusted his decision without having heard Johnny before. So we went out, Michael made his first speech of the night and we played "OneWay Out." 

I noticed right away how "on" Michael was, and I was excited because we were recording this show for a possible live album. Jerry & Johnny seemed to be doing okay and it looked like clear sailing. Right after the first song, Michael grabbed the mic again and introduced Johnny as Johnny 'Winters' and brought him right out to play. The opening-night audience, peppered with press and Columbia Records brass, had no idea who this wild-looking, long-haired, extremely white Texan albino was and it got tense real quick. Michael patiently counted out a slow Chicago blues groove and Cresci & Jemmott were at odds right at beat two of the first bar. 

Michael began playing his opening solo and Winter stood there, almost coiled up like a skinny Texas rattlesnake, waiting to strike. After Michael's solo, Winter stepped up to the mic and began to sing in an amazing voice that just didn't go with his frail body. After the first line of the verse ("It's My Own Fault, Baby"—a B.B. King chestnut) he fired off a sharp staccato blast of vintage Chicago-style guitar. The crowd leaned forward, and rows of jaws began to drop. This was the largest, most important audience young Winter had ever performed in front of, and he was virttually playing for his life. 

By the time he had sung a few verses and spun out a blistering guitar solo, the crowd was his. He graciously stepped back and gave Bloomfield the nod to solo. Michael stepped up in a very competitive situation, and slowly began to play his little heart out. But he didn't play any of the traditional licks that Winter had just strutted out for six minutes—he played pure vintage Bloomfield. Drummer Cresci, probably bored out of his gourd after playing over six minutes of slow blues, moved into a completely inappropraite % time waltz groove and pretty much extinguished Michael's momentum. 

Winter, gingerly tried to help by playing harmony with Michael, but it was too late. Michael stepped back and Winter sang the last verse, played a brilliant two minute cadenza and left the stage to a standing ovation. This was a Friday night. On Monday morning, Columbia Records brass who had attended the show offered him a lucrative recording contract which he eventually signed, and the rest, as they say, is history. 

Meanwhile, back at The Fillmore East, we were only on our third tune. Michael was having an amazing night. We played Simon & Garfunkel's "59th Street Bridge Song," Michael's slow blues "Tell Me Partner," Albert King's "Don't Throw Your Love On Me So Strong," Steve Winwood's version of "Til The End Of Time," Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup's Elvis cover "That's All Right, Mama" and a ragged version of Donovan's "Season Of The Witch," originally tweaked by Stephen Stills on the original Super Session album. 

Recording at the Fillmore was always risky business. Bill Graham rarely allowed a proper recording truck outside the premises, so gear had to be set up under the stage, a less than ideal acoustical location for recording. Crude spy cameras and monitors afforded the engineers a narrow view of what was actually going on up there, and spontanaiety was the engineers enemy. When Johnny Winter appeared unannounced, his guitar was nervously chosen to share the piano track in this eight channel world that existed in 1968. Interminable ground loops persisted, causing buzzes worse than the largest beehive. 

When the original sessions were concluded, the tapes laid, unplayed, in the Columbia vaults for 32 years. It was decided between the engineering gaffes and the Cresci/Jemmott battles, that this show was not fit for human consumption. As of 20 years ago, the tapes sunk into the "missing" category. Many attempts to locate them over the years proved futile. In 1999, I began workin on a box set that would come to be known as Rare & Well Done. In the course of raiding the Columbia vaults under various namechecks: Kooper, Bloomfield, Kooper-Bloomfield, etc., the masters miraculously re-appeared. I couldn't believe it. Time had cut into my memories and I couldn't recall whether we nad recorded the show where B.B. King guested or Johnny Winter was introduced. I soon found out. 

These tapes have been on a long, strange, journey. When we first re-discovered them, they had to be baked in an oven, an unceremonious but effective way to keep the Old oxide from peeling off all over the capstans of the playback machines. Then they were sent to the studios of Malcolm Cecil to be digitally debuzzed of all the ground hums, clicks and audio abberations picked up under the stage of The Fillmore East. Then I did some judicious editing to select the usable performances. Then the clarion call was sounded to my dear friend and uber-engineer Bill Szymczyk, who hosted us in Charlotte, North Carolina while he mixed this hornets nest of troubles & blessings at Reflection Sound. Finally, the mixed tapes found their way to Foothill Digital Studios in New York City, where the talented and erudite Allan Tucker, waved his mastering wand over it all and made that quantum leap to palatability. 

So here we are. I have to say, some of this is as good as it gets for Bloomfield afficionados, and the rest still smokes most of the players alive today. After all, this is the man they learned from! The drama of Johnny Winter(s) playing for his life out there on the Fillmore East stage is almost visual and. an audible rare treat to be heard; not to mention, a historical one. Paul Harris, who is largely lost in the audio miasma does a fine job and pops up with a couple of fine blues solos. I didn't particularly have a great night, but I left it as it was  cause this is all about Michael. Jerry Jemmott does his level best to hold down the groove, while Johnny Cresci tries to figure out what the hell he is doing onstage with these ragamuffins. 

This show contains dashes of humor, virtuosity, animosity and sheer joy at various random moments – sometimes all four at the same time! It ain't by any means perfect, but it sure is real and it's a pleasure to finally release it and make it possible to hear it as best as it can be heard. May the blues keep you kalm in these troubled times.
by Al Kooper, November 2002

1. Introductions - 1:27
2. One Way Out (E. James, M. Sehorn, S. Williamson) - 4:21
3. Mike Bloomfield's Introduction of Johnny Winter - 0:59
4. It's My Own Fault (B.B. King, J. Taub) - 10:57
5. 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) (P. Simon) - 6:16
6. (Please) Tell Me Partner (M. Bloomfield) - 10:11
7. That's All Right Mama (A. Crudup) - 3:40
8. Together Till The End Of Time (F. Wilson) - 4:30
9. Don't Throw Your Love On Me So Strong (A. King) - 14:01
10.Season Of The Witch (Donovan) - 8:59

*Mike Bloomfield - Guitar, Vocals
*Johnny Winter - Guitar, Vocals (track 3)
*Al Kooper - Organ, Piano, Vocals
*Jerry Jemmott - Bass
*Paul Harris - Piano
*Johnny Cresci - Drums

Mike Bloomfield
1966-68  The Paul Butterfield Blues Band - Strawberry Jam
1967  Electric Flag - The Trip
1968-69  Electric Flag - An American Music Band / A Long Time Comin'  
196?-7?  The Electric Flag - Live
1969  Mike Bloomfield And Al Kooper - The Live Adventures
1969  Michael Bloomfield with Nick Gravenites & Friends - Live At Bill Graham's Fillmore West
1969  Nick Gravenites - My Labors
1973  Bloomfield, Hammond, Dr.John - Triumvirate (Japan remaster)
1976  KGB - KGB
1976-77  Michael Bloomfield - Live at the Old Waldorf

Al Kooper
1969  The Kooper Sessions With Shuggie Otis
1970  Easy Does It 
1973  Naked Songs
with Blues Project
1966  Live At The Cafe Au Go Go (2013 Japan SHM double disc set)
1966  Projections
1967   Live At Town Hall
1973  Reunion In Central Park
with Blood, Sweat And Tears
1968  Child Is Father To The Man

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