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Monday, September 30, 2013

Don Cooper - Bless The Children (1970 us, fantastic jazzy folk country psych rock, 2008 reissue)

Don Cooper was a promising folk-style singer/songwriter who enjoyed some modest success -- mostly on-stage -- during the early '70s. Coming up as he did amid the singer/songwriter boom of the era -- dominated by the likes of James Taylor, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, and Loudon Wainwright III -- he got lost in the shuffle, perhaps because he was signed to a label (Roulette) that was positioned badly, in terms of image and distribution, to break an artist working in his particular genre. 

Born in the mid-'40s, he grew up in various locales, his father's work taking the family to numerous towns across the country throughout his childhood. Cooper began playing the ukulele (which was a big instrument among kids in the 1950s) in elementary school and was drawn to country music as he grew older. In high school during the early '60s, he played in various bands, with a repertory heavy on the work of James Brown, Buddy Holly, and the Beach Boys, all done country-style.

The transforming moment of his life came when he first heard The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, the 1963 album that established Dylan as a major songwriter and artist. By that time, Cooper was playing a regular gig at a local coffeehouse and began mixing his music and Dylan's songs. By the end of the '60s, at just about the same time that James Taylor and Joni Mitchell were poised to emerge as major artists, Cooper found interest in his work from three different labels, and ended up going with Roulette Records, a company that was primarily associated with jazz (Count Basie, et al.) and pop/rock (Tommy James & the Shondells, et al.), founded and run by a totally disreputable figure named Morris Levy. 

In early 1970, just weeks after signing a contract, his self-titled debut album was released. Cooper proved himself strong singer, with a rich and powerful voice, and also a serious and dauntingly talented songwriter on this and on his subsequent three Roulette albums, which he produced himself. He was good enough to rate support spots on-stage with the likes of Blood, Sweat & Tears (in their peak years) and Chicago at major venues, including Carnegie Hall. He was, thus, able to reach thousands of people at a time at some of his bigger support gigs.

What he wasn't getting, however, were major record sales -- not that Roulette was putting much into marketing his albums, either. Put simply, he was probably the right artist at the wrong label. Apart from its unique jazz roster of the late '50s and early '60s (a point when Levy, with deep pockets and personally being a big jazz enthusiast, was able to pick up a lot of artists being dropped or overlooked by the major labels), Roulette's big strength had always been at breaking big singles, mostly by virtue of Levy's mob connections and his "unique" access to the jukebox business. 

But the music industry was different by the 1970s, and on top of that, Don Cooper wasn't aiming at listeners who did much with jukeboxes -- he was recording songs that were going to get placed in or played on a lot of them (at least, not outside of a few college-town pizzarias). In short, he wasn't Tommy James and wasn't writing "Mony Mony," much less recording it. On Reprise or Columbia, he'd have had a good shot, but Roulette wasn't really the place for an artist like him, anymore than it would have been for Leonard Cohen or Livingston Taylor.

At some point both parties took a look at the contract that linked them together and recognized a losing proposition for both sides. Cooper was obligated to deliver ten LPs to Roulette, a daunting number for any artist, and Roulette could see little profit in continuing to record him much past 1972 and his fourth album. The two parties went their separate ways in the mid-'70s, and Cooper's four LPs were consigned by the thousands to the cut-out bins. 

For his part, Cooper eventually gave up the life of a touring and performing artist, in favor of making records of children's songs, a goal that came to fruition in that peculiar niche market -- which drew upon his folk and popular music backgrounds equally -- during the 1990s, with help from Random House. In 2005, Europe's Delay Records released a 15-song compilation CD of Cooper's work under license from EMI (which owns the Roulette library for Europe), entitled Howlin' at the Moon. The singing is great and even the production is worth hearing.
by Bruce Eder

1. Mad George - 2:40
2. Sad-Eyed Queen Of The Mountains - 3:37
3. Tell Me About Her (J. Slezinger) - 3:36
4. Willy Jean - 3:48
5. Bless The Children - 4:05
6. Something In The Way She Moves (James Taylor) - 3:21
7. Tin Cans And Alleyways (Ken Shephard) - 2:46
8. Only A Dream - 3:26  
9. Rapid Rainbow Times - 2:26
10.A New Gun - 2:24
11.Brotherlove - 3:04
All Songs by Don Cooper except where noted

*Don Cooper - Vocals, Guitar
*Elliott Randall - Guitar
*Terry Plumeri - Bass
*Bobby Notkoff - Fiddle

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Gordon Jackson - Thinking Back (1969 uk, gorgeous psych folk rock, bonus tracks edition)

Originally released on Marmalade in 1969, Jackson 's lone solo album is the initial salvo from the new UK reissue label, Sunbeam, the brainchild of Steve Carr and rock scribe Richard Morton Jack. Marketed (somewhat correctly) as a long lost Traffic album, the release was produced by Jackson's Worcester neighbour, Dave Mason and features various Traffic permutations (Mason, Chris Wood, Jim Capaldi, and Steve Winwood) throughout, with the entire quartet backing Jackson on the first single, "Me and My Dog" c/w "A Day at The Cottage," whose non-LP B-side, which is included among several bonus tracks, is a reference to Traffic's cottage in Berkshire, where blueprints for many of the album's tracks originated from all night jam sessions). 

The album's personnel reads like a Family tree of late 60's UK rockedelica, including future Traffic bassist, Ric Gretch, along with his then-current partners in Family, Jim King and Poli Palmer (who also played with Blossom Toes, who appear on backing vocals), Luther Grosvenor (future Spooky Tooth guitarist who later changed his name to Ariel Bender and enjoyed much fame with Mott The Hoople), Julie Driscoll, and Reg King from The Action. In fact, Jackson originally played alongside Capaldi and Mason in the primordial Traffic lineups, The Hellions and Deep Feeling, the latter also featuring Palmer and Grosvenor.

Rock history aside, the album itself is a wonderful amalgamation of jazz, psychedelia, and folk influences, with the opening track "The Journey" driven by Rob Blunt's electric sitar and Mason's throbbing basslines and "My Ship, My Star" softly drifting along the open seas like an early, acoustic version of Jethro Tull. The tearfully reflective "When You Are Small," featuring Jackson on sitar and Winwood on bass, provides the lyrical inspiration for the album's title and cover photo, a snapshot of Jackson 's pouting daughter Cherie shedding a tear. 

Despite some warbly playback in the transfer from the original ?" analog master tapes, the song perfectly captures the lost yearning for youthful innocence, occasionally reminding me of the later solo work of the Moody Blues' Ray Thomas (cf., 1975's "From Mighty Oaks"). "Sing To Me Woman" features some tastefully blistering guitar solos from Mason and is included here in both album and single mixes, as is "Song For Freedom," while the extended jam version of "Me and My Dog" finds Traffic firing on all cylinders and is practically worth the price of admission alone, despite its annoying, midflight dropoff, as if the tape (or musicians) ran out of steam! Nevertheless, this is an essential purchase for Traffic and Family completists, as well as anyone interested in late 60's UK rockedelica.
by Jeff Penczak

1. The Journey - 4:52
2. My Ship, My Star - 6:13
3. Me And My Dog - 4:12
4. Song For Freedom - 4:52
5. Sing To Me Woman - 5:27
6. When You Are Small - 7:16
7. Snakes And Ladders - 5:57
8. A Day At The Cottage (Non-album B side) - 3:34
9. My Ship, My Star (Demo version) - 4:29
10. Song For Freedom (Single mix) - 3:56
11. Sing To Me Woman (Single mix) - 4:30
12. Me And My Dog (Long version) - 7:09
All songs by Gordon Jackson

*Gordon Jackson - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
*Rob Blunt - Electric sitar, Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar
*Dave Mason - Electric Guitar, Slide Guitar, Bass
*Remic Abacca - Tabla
*Jim Capaldi - Drums, Backing Vocals
*Jim King - Soprano Sax
*Poli Palmer - Piano, Organ, Backing Vocals
*Rocky Dzidzorni - Conga
*Cnris Wood - Flute, Tenor Sax
*Steve Winwood - Bass, Piano
*Reg King, Julie Driscoll - Backing Vocals
*Luther Grosvenor, Meic Stevens, Blossom Toes - Backing Vocals
*Nicole, Karen, Cynthia and Annie - Backing Vocals

Related Act
1966-68  Deep Feeling - Pretty Colours

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Stephen Stills - Stephen Stills (1970 us, amazing debut album, 2008 japan SHM remaster)

Talk about understatement -- there's Stephen Stills on the cover, acoustic guitar in hand, promising a personal singer/songwriter-type statement. And there is some of that -- even a lot of that personal music-making -- on Stephen Stills, but it's all couched in astonishingly bold musical terms. Stephen Stills is top-heavy with 1970 sensibilities, to be sure, from the dedication to the memory of Jimi Hendrix to the now piggish-seeming message of "Love the One You're With." Yet, listening to this album three decades on, it's still a jaw-dropping experience, the musical equal to Crosby, Stills & Nash or Deja Vu, and only a shade less important than either of them. 

The mix of folk, blues (acoustic and electric), hard rock, and gospel is seamless, and the musicianship and the singing are all so there, in your face, that it just burns your brain (in the nicest, most benevolent possible way) even decades later. Recorded amid the breakup of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Stills' first solo album was his effort to put together his own sound and, not surprisingly, it's similar to a lot of stuff on the group's two albums. But it's also infinitely more personal, as well as harder and bluesier in many key spots; yet, it's every bit as soft and as lyrical as the group in other spots, and all laced with a degree of yearning and urgency that far outstrips virtually anything he did with the group.

 "Love the One You're With," which started life as a phrase that Stills borrowed from Billy Preston at a party, is the song from this album that everybody knows, but it's actually one of the lesser cuts here -- not much more than a riff and an upbeat lyric and mood, albeit all of it infectious. "Do for the Others," by contrast, is one of the prettiest and most moving pieces of music that Stills has ever been associated with, and "Church (Part of Someone)" showed him moving toward gospel and R'n'B (and good at it, too); and then there's "Old Times Good Times," musically as good a rock song as Stills has ever recorded (even if it borrows a bit from "Pre-Road Downs"), and featuring Jimi Hendrix on lead guitar. 

"Go Back Home" (which has Eric Clapton on guitar) is fine a piece of bluesy hard rock, while "Sit Yourself Down" features superb singing by Stills and a six-person backing chorus (that includes Cass Elliot, Graham Nash, and David Crosby) around a great tune. "To a Flame" is downright ethereal, while the live "Black Queen" is a superb piece of acoustic blues.

All of this is presented by Stills in the best singing voice of his career up to that point, bolder, more outgoing, and more powerful (a result of his contact with Doris Troy) than anything in his previous output. He also plays lots of instruments (a la Crosby, Stills & Nash, which is another reason it sounds so similar to the group in certain ways), though a bit more organ than guitar, thanks to the presence of Hendrix and Clapton on two cuts. If the album has a flaw, it's the finale, "We Are Not Helpless," which slightly overstays its welcome. But hey, this was still the late '60s, and excess was the rule, not the exception, and it's such modest excess. 
by Bruce Eder

1. Love the One You're With - 3:04
2. Do for the Others - 2:52
3. Church (Part of Someone) - 4:05
4. Old Times Good Times - 3:39
5. Go Back Home - 5:54
6. Sit Yourself Down - 3:05
7. To a Flame - 3:08
8. Black Queen - 5:26
9. Cherokee - 3:23
10.We Are Not Helpless" - 4:20
All songs written by Stephen Stills

*Stephen Stills - Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Piano, Organ, Steel Drum, Percussion
*Calvin "Fuzzy" Samuel - Bass
*Dallas Taylor - Drums
*Conrad Isedor - Drums
*Ringo Starr (listed as "Richie" on track listing, tracks 7 and 10) - Drums
*Johnny Barbata - Drums
*Jeff Whittaker - Congas
*Jimi Hendrix - Guitar (Track 4)
*Eric Clapton - Guitar (Track 5)
*Booker T. Jones - Organ, Vocal
*Sidney George - Flute, Alto Saxophone
*David Crosby - Vocals
*Graham Nash - Vocals
*John Sebastian - Vocals
*Rita Coolidge - Vocals
*Priscilla Jones - Vocals
*Claudia Lanier - Vocals
*Cass Elliott - Vocals
*Henry Diltz - Vocal
*Liza Strike - Vocal
*Judith Powell - Vocal
*Larry Steele - Vocal
*Tony Wilson - Vocal
*Sherlie Matthews - Chorus, Vocals
Horns arranged by Stephen Stills
Strings arranged by Stephen Stills and Arif Mardin

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

MC5 - High Time (1971 us, rough energy pure r 'n' r, 2013 japan SHM remaster)

It makes sense. Out of the dialectic of the first two albums—the hyped, throbbing excess of Kick Out the Jams, the trimmed observances of Back in the USA—emerges the synthesis, High Time, in which the MC5 ditch the influences of their father-figures, Sinclair and Landau, and pledge themselves at last to the Goddess. “Sister Anne don’t give a damn about revolution!” is the opening lyrical shot, with the boys flinging aside their seditionary pamphlets and going to their knees before some sort of iron-buttocked Catholic Ur-mama who sneers at them through her wimple, a queen of loving punishment. 

They have failed to change the world (Back In The USA didn’t even make the top 100), the world indeed has begun to change them, so they come before her humbly. Her gift to the band is discipline—a groove that anchors all their freakishness in solid, primally familiar rock’n’roll. The playing is hot but precise, snappy. And they can’t stop blowing your mind: the twin divining rods of the Smith/Kramer guitars are trained on the old structures and magical spaces are found, little pockets of the future wherein reverbed interludes can occur, fantasias of brass and percussion, and Rob Tyner can ponder the prospect of a “vaccination against castration” while still keeping to verse/chorus/verse. 

The uniformity of vision means that band members can write their own songs, speak with their own voices as it were, and maintain coherence: everyone but Mike Davis has a song or two, and Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith has four. Politically too the stance has changed—no more the macho righteousness of …Jams, the phallic boom. This new anger is in the key of confusion. Now hooked (according to the rhetoric of the third phase) on “loving awareness,” as opposed to the “defensive awareness” of the old, paranoid days, the 5 open themselves to the general mood, which is a bummer-saturated mess. It’s 1971. But they can’t stop being funky. “Over and Over” is tired, pissed-off, helpless, a litany of futility with Tyner cracking his voice in a merciless high key, but Fred Smith’s quizzical solo takes it somewhere else, empowers it with a kind of lofty bemusement: the cycles of pseudo-revolution may boom and bust, but the 5, says the skewed guitar, will survive. 

Unfortunately of course they didn’t; the band fell apart before High Time had made a dent. In the words of Dave Marsh, “an album about the future by a band that did not have one,” adrift in time, a little storm of excellence, glimmering with holy possibility.
by James Parker

1. Sister Anne (Fred Sonic Smith) – 7:23
2. Baby Won't Ya (Fred Sonic Smith) – 5:32
3. Miss X (Wayne Kramer) – 5:08
4. Gotta Keep Movin' (Dennis Thompson) – 3:24
5. Future/Now (Rob Tyner) – 6:21
6. Poison (Wayne Kramer) – 3:24
7. Over And Over (Fred Sonic Smith) – 5:13
8. Skunk (Sonicly Speaking) (Fred Sonic Smith) – 5:31

*Michael Davis – Bass,
*Wayne Kramer – Guitar, Vocals, Piano
*Fred "Sonic" Smith – Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica, Organ, Sandpaper
*Dennis Thompson – Drums, Percussion
*Rob Tyner – Vocals, Harmonica, Maracas, Castanets, Conga
Guest Musicians
*Pete Kelly – Piano
*Dan Bullock – Trombone
*Ellis Dee – Percussion
*Bobby Wayne Derminer – Wizzer
*Marlene Driscoll – Vocals
*Rick Ferretti – Trumpet
*Dave Heller – Percussion
*Leon Henderson – Tenor Saxophone
*Joanne Hill – Vocals
*Larry Horton – Trombone
*Skip Knapp – Organ
*Brenda Knight – Vocals
*Kinki Lepew – Percussion
*Charles Moore – Flugelhorn, Vocals
*Dr. Dave Morgan - Percussion
*Scott Morgan – Percussion
*Butch O'Brien – Bass Drum
*David Oversteak – Tuba
*Bob Seger – Percussion

1970  MC5 - Back In The USA (Japan SHM remaster)

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Jonathan And Leigh - Third And Main (1967 us, wonderful psych folk country rock, 2007 remaster)

Forged in the early 60s folk scene of Dayton, Ohio, Jonathan and Leigh arrived in New York City in 1967 to play the Greenwich Village folk club The Gaslight Cafe. Vanguard Records' Maynard Solomon was in the audience and was so knocked out that he signed them for "the biggest cash advance the company's ever handed out...$3000 against five percent of record sales" (as a local Ohio newspaper noted at the time).

The album was recorded in a converted church in New York with outstanding supporting musicians such as Russ Savakus, Richard Davis and Bill Salter; overdubs by Jay Berliner and Warren Smith were added later. The sound is very distinctive, with Jonathan And Leigh's heartfelt Ohio roots shining through in the strong vocals and the accompanying music veering between simple folk stylings and a jangly, electric-folk hybrid. The songs are superb. 

Having been honed over the preceding three years they worked together in Ohio, they represent an impressive debut statement. Particularly fine are Winding River, Summer Sorrow (written for Mimi Farina after husband Richard's tragic death in a motorcycle accident) and Tapestry (John's favourite of them all). Though John wrote most of the songs, Sandy came up with the tune to Winding River after John recited the lyrics down the phone to her. He recalled: "I talked the words down the phone to Sandy and she came up with the beautiful music."

However, the hoped-for success did not come and the duo returned to Ohio. Later John Alden moved to Los Angeles, where he remained for eight years before returning to Dayton. He was part of the band Starbuck (along with Leigh), who recorded a session produced by Don Everly for Atlantic (though the album was never finished or released). 

Subsequently John recorded two albums as part of the country band Electric Range - singing lead, playing guitar and bringing his song writing talents to that group. Electric Range's debut features the Byrds Chris Hillman and was produced by the Eagles Randy Meisner. Sandy Roepken (“Leigh”) went on to form a duo with her husband Michael Bashaw and they have worked together continuously since the late 60s.
by John Crosby

1. Constant Tuesday - 3:06
2. Someday Baby (John Estes, Hammie Nixon) - 2:00
3. Tapestry - 2:33
4. Brownsville (Traditional) - 2:32
5. Song For Shelley - 2:38
6. Third And Main - 3:29
7. Balm In Gilead (Traditional) - 2:21
8. Cocaine Blues (Traditional) - 2:31
9. Summer Sorrow - 3:15
10.Winding River - 2:41
11.Changes (Phil Ochs) - 2:51
12.If The Earth Be Round - 2:19
All songs by Jonathan Alden except where indicated.

Jonathan And Leigh
*Sandy Roepken - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Dulcimer
*Jonathan Alden - Vocals, Guitars
*Warren Smith - Drums
*William Salter - Bass
Guest Musicians
*Vinnie Bell - Electric Guitar
*Jay Berliner - Electric Guitar
*Richard Davis - Bass
*Russ Savakus - Bass

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Association - Birthday (1968 us, elegant sunny blue eyed soul, 2013 Japan remaster)

Nobody knew it when Birthday was issued as the Association's fourth album in March 1968, but the group had just passed their commercial peak. Never again would they enjoy such phenomenal popularity as they had in 1967, when "Windy" and "Never My Love" gave them two of the biggest hits of the late '60s, and their Insight Out album (also reissued on Collectors' Choice) became a Top Ten LP. Birthday was nonetheless hardly a slouch saleswise, reaching #23 and spawning the group's final Top Ten single, "Everything That Touches You," as well as the Top Forty hit "Time for Livin'."

The Association's Jim Yester agrees that Birthday was "probably the most pop" of the albums the band did in the 1960s, though he wasn't sure if that was intentional. He does recall it as being a time of uneasy transition for the band, though their trademark harmonious vocal blends were never more intact than on this album. "The relationship was getting very strange at that time between [producer] Bones [Howe] and ourselves," he acknowledges. "Bones contended that had we stuck to that kind of semi-folk genre [which had yielded songs like "Windy"], we would have lasted forever. He was trying to get us to do that, and the group was trying to pull in a more avant-garde direction. I think that was one of the things that pulled the relationship apart. And a lot of other relationships in the group were getting strange at the time."

Howe remained the producer on the sessions, however, which like Insight Out featured top Hollywood studio musicians like drummer Hal Blaine, bassist Joe Osborn, guitarist Mike Deasy, and keyboardist Larry Knechtel. "I'm still really proud of that affiliation with those guys," says Yester. "They're the sweetest guys, and they were so open to direction. Whoever's song it was would go into the studio when guys were running it down for the first time, and they would be asking for direction. It wasn't just like they said, 'Okay, here's how we're gonna do it.' It was like, 'What do you want with it?' It was absolutely a wonderful situation. And such incredible players. Just mind-blowing."

While Insight Out had seen the group turn to outside writers for about half of the material, Birthday returned the focus to the band's own compositions, with a few exceptions. The band's Terry Kirkman was responsible for "Everything That Touches You," the mid-tempo ballad that gave the Association their last big hit. "If we had our preference, we would always prefer the inside material," notes Yester. "But that was getting closer and closer to where material selections were hangings. The guys got real gun-shy about bringing their own material in, because it was like being brutalized by the process. And we were also, each of us, getting involved with people outside the group at that time."

A few of Birthday's tracks, indeed, were collaborations between members of the band and outside writers, Yester penning a couple of songs with childhood friend Skip Carmel. "Those songs that I collaborated on with Skip, most of those are right out of Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung. It's all about personal transformation and archetypes and all of that kind of stuff. When I played it for the group, [Larry] Ramos used to hate that kind of stuff. He'd say, 'What the hell does that mean?' But Bones really liked 'em, so we wound up doing 'em." Ramos himself collaborated with two outside writers on the album's "Like Always," one of the co-authors being Bob Alcivar, who served as the LP's vocal arranger.

Brothers Don and Dick Addrisi, who'd given the Association "Never My Love," supplied the band's final Top Forty single with "Time for Livin'." (It was also the group's sole chart single in England, where they toured around the time of its release, sharing the bill with the Rolling Stones and others at the 1968 New Musical Express Poll Winners' Concert.) Another outside contribution, "Come On In," came from folksinger Jo Mapes, whom Yester had known since his coffeehouse folk days. Yester's brother Jerry's group the Modern Folk Quartet "also did 'Come on In,' that's where we got it from. Although Jo wasn't real happy about the way each of us did it, 'cause she envisioned much more of a soft kind of folk delivery, and we both had kind of hard-edged, rock things."

The most intriguing outside number considered for the sessions, however, was the one that got away. "Bones came in with Jimmy Webb and presented this thing Bones commissioned him to write for us," says Yester. "It was a 24-minute cantata, of which 'MacArthur Park' was a part. The deal was, you take the whole 24 minutes or none of it. We wound up turning it down, and the relationship was never the same after that, because Bones would have had publishing on that." "MacArthur Park," of course, became one of the biggest hits of 1968, as sung by actor Richard Harris - "it was like, 'Okay, I'll show you, I'll give the song to somebody who's not a singer and have a hit with it.

"Jimmy was very bitter, and I can't blame him," Yester continues. "But the deal was his. It was like, it's 24 minutes, take it or leave it. We asked for 'MacArthur Park,' and there was one other song in there that was a great song, a part of this 24-minute cantata, that we really wanted. We were halfway through the album. It's like, okay, whose song is coming off the album? And some of the guys were saying, 'Oh, we can write better stuff than that.' It was great stuff, but there was no way that we could have taken the whole thing.

"Jimmy knew it would have been a monumental piece, a 24-minute piece that was all threaded together, of which these things were all part of. I'm sure it would have been mind-blowing. But we couldn't see it at that time. Had we done that, it would have been trend-setting, and we probably would have reinvented ourselves a la what the Bee Gees did with Saturday Night Fever." As it was, the Association had to content themselves with another hit album that continued to cement their image as a mainstream pop group, although they'd gain more creative control over their sound on their next LP, 1969's The Association. 
by Richie Unterberger  

1. Come On In (Jo Mapes) - 3:19
2. Rose Petals, Incense And A Kitten (Ric Mcclelland, Jim Yester) - 2:57
3. Like Always (Bob Alcivar, Tony Ortega, Larry Ramos) - 3:08
4. Everything That Touches You (Terry Kirkman) - 3:22
5. Toymaker (Jeff Comanor) - 3:30
6. Barefoot Gentleman (Skip Carmel, Yester) - 3:27
7. Time For Livin' (Don Addrisi, Dick Addrisi) - 2:48
8. Hear In Here (Ted Bluechel) - 3:17
9. The Time It Is Today (Russ Giguere) - 2:19
10.The Bus Song (Kirkman) - 3:34
11.Birthday Morning (Carmel, Yester) - 2:25

The Association
*Russ Giguere - Vocals, Guitar
*Brian Cole - Vocals, Bass
*Terry Kirkman - Vocals, Brass, Woodwinds
*Jim Yester - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
*Larry Ramos, Jr. - Vocals, Bass, Guitar
*Ted Bluechel Jr - Vocals, Drums
*Hal Blaine - Drums
*Joe Osborn - Bass
*Mike Deasy - Guitar
*Larry Knechtel - Keyboards

1969  The Association - The Association (2013 deluxe expanded edition)

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Golden Earring - Eight Miles High / Seven Tears (1969/71 dutch, exceptional hard rock with psych prog tinges, 5th and 7th album)

Experimental Hard Rock and  Psychedelic vibes, "Eight Miles High" ,title taken from the song that was written by Gene Clark, Roger McGuinn and David Crosby of The Byrds, lent itself perfectly to the hallucinatory atmosphere display. During live performances including the United States was "Eight Miles High stretched to three quarters and enriched with a guitar, drum and bass solo. 

As an album side only limited up to about 20 minutes this song was shortened. With 19 minutes is the longest track Eight Miles High Golden Earring who ever put on record. Song Of A Devil's Servant is already ahead of its predecessor On the Double (1969), but at Eight Miles High has a more psychedelic production. The album was recorded in five days at Olympic Studios in London. The spontaneity of the songs was praised, given the rudimentary technology of the release which criticized.

The music of Golden Earring items early seventies hard rock in addition to a remarkably soft, mystical side. Wall Of Dolls (1970), this sensitivity in Seven Tears  from songs such as  Silver Ships and Hope. Rock n Roll  will prevail over again with an exuberant riff engraved The Road Swallowed Her Name and Earring classic She Flies On Strange Wings.

Eight Miles High
1. Landing (Rinus Gerritsen) – 4:27
2. Song of a Devil's Servant (George Kooymans) – 6:00
3. One Huge Road (Kooymans) – 3:05
4. Everyday's Torture (Kooymans) – 5:19
5. Eight Miles High (Gene Clark, David Crosby, Roger McGuinn) – 19:00

Golden Earring
*Rinus Gerritsen - Bass, Keyboard
*Barry Hay - Flute, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*George Kooymans - Guitar, Vocals
*Sieb Warner - Percussion, Drums

Seven Tears
1. Silver Ships  (Kooymans) – 5:40
2. The Road Swallowed Her Name (Kooymans) – 4:07
3. Hope (Gerritsen, Hay) – 4:46
4. Don't Worry (Hay) – 3:20
5. She Flies on Strange Wings (Kooymans) – 7:22
6. This Is the Other Side of Life (Kooymans) – 3:19
7. You're Better off Free (Kooymans) – 6:44

Golden Earring
*Rinus Gerritsen - Bass, Keyboard
*Barry Hay - Flute, Vocals
*George Kooymans - Guitar, Vocals
*Cesar Zuiderwijk - Drums

The Golden Earring-s
1966  Winter-Harvest
1968-69  Miracle Mirror
1969  On The Double
1972  Together
1973  Moontan (Japan remaster)

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Chilliwack - Chilliwack (1970 canada, outstanding prog psych rock with blues and jazz drops)

As the driving force behind Chilliwack during their illustrious career, Bill Henderson knew that music was his calling early in life. The native of Vancouver was already a working musician while still in high school. He was a student at UBC in 1966 when he joined the group, The Collectors. While spending a whole lot of time in California they were signed to a record deal. After a pair of albums and a string of radio singles between '67 and '69, including "Lydia Purple" and "Early Morning," which found them touring with the likes of The Doors and Jefferson Airplane, The Collectors were dead, Henderson was living in Vancouver - and from the ashes rose Chilliwack.

The band was rounded out by fellow ex-Collectors - drummer Ross Turney, Claire Lawrence on sax and keyboards and Glen Miller on bass. They cut their self-titled debut (also unofficially referred to as MASK because of the African head dress on the cover) in late '70 on the independant Parrot Records. "Chain Train" was the first single, followed by "Rain O," inspired by an Albert King show Henderson saw in San Francisco and a First Nations painting. Other noteable tracks included "Sundown" and "Everyday," the next two singles to come off the record. "We recorded that record in 36 hours, recorded and mixed, the whole thing. We'd never done that before, or since," Henderson reminisced.

But Miller dropped out and after picking up Robbie King and Rick Kilburn for various portions of their tours, the band was on the road non-stop, making stops throughout Canada, into the US, and the 1970 Expo in Japan. Once they came home, Miller soon dropped out, but they carried on - across Canada, to Japan, and all points in between.

1. Sundown (Henderson, Lawrence) - 5:37
2. Every Day (Lawrence) - 3:41
3. Seventeenth Summer (Ryga, Henderson, Lawrence, Miller, Vickberg, Turney) - 6:02
4. Ballad (Henderson) - 4:57
5. I've Got You Fixed (Miller) - 3:46
6. Rain-O (Henderson) - 6:46
7. Chain Train (Lawrence) - 7:07

*Bill Henderson: Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Claire Lawrence: Flute, Piano, Organ, Saxophone, Vocals
*Ross Turney: Drums
*Glenn Miller: Bass, Guitar

Related Act
1967-68  The Collectors - The Collectors / Grass And Wild Strawberries

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Marc Eric - A Midsummer's Day Dream (1969 us, lovely jazzy soft sunny melodies)

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Mark Eric Malmborg was  the stereotyped Southern California teenager - blond, tanned, good looking, great teeth, complete with a love of surfing and music.  As a teenager he began shopping songs around to major labels, eventually attracting the attention of local radio station engineer Bob Raucher.  Raucher helped Eric record material at Hollywood's Gold Star studios. Under the name Mark Eric he also enjoyed modest successes as a songwriter.  In 1968 though efforts caught the attention of Warner Brothers executive Russ Regan.  Regan eventually signed Eric to MCA subsidiary Uni's newly formed R&B imprint Revue.

Produced by Norman Ratner, 1969's "A Midsummer's Day Dream" is probably the best Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys album they never released.  Now, if you weren't a Beach Boys fan that description didn't do much for you.  On the other hand, anyone who was an admirer of Brian Wilson's catalog would find this set to be a 'must own' addition to their collection.  That also neatly captured the strengths and weaknesses of this release.  If you were looking for originality, there wasn't much to be found here.  

None of the dozen selections reflected a unique Mark Eric 'sound'.  What you did get was someone who managed to nail that unique mid-1960s Southern California vibe that mixed Beach Boys and sunshine pop.  Interestingly, Eric and his collaborator/arranger former Animals guitarist Vic Briggs apparently wrote these twelve tracks intending to place them with other acts.  The sessions were apparently only intended to demo the material, but the results were so impressive that Revue decided to release it as a Marc Eric effort.

Musically the album was already several years out of step with popular tastes so it shouldn't have been a surprise to see the parent LP and singles vanish directly into cutout bins.  Sadly that effectively ended Eric's recording career, though he actually recorded some material for a projected sophomore set.  Those tracks were shelved and only saw the light of day when appended to a 2002 Rev-ola CD reissue of the album (catalog number CR-REV 18).  Eric subsequently turned his time and attention to modeling, commercials and acting, briefly appearing in a number of early-1970s television shows including The Partridge Family and Hawaii 5-0.

1. California Home - 2:31
2. Move With The Dawn - 2:48
3. Laura's Changing - 2:19
4. Where Do The Girls Of The Summer Go? - 3:21
5. I'd Like To Talk To You - 2:56
6. Take Me With You - 3:06
7. Night Of The Lions - 2:41
8. Don't Cry Over Me - 2:49
9. We Live So Fast - 2:25
10.Sad Is The Way That I Feel - 3:05
11.Just Passin' By - 2:49
12.Lynn's Baby - 3:10  
13.Place For The Summer - 2:33
14.Build Your Own Dreams - 3:41
15.Summer Goes This Way - 2:50
16.Goin' Native - 2:42
17.Night Of The Lions (45 Mono Mix) - 2:40
18.Don't Cry Over Me (45 Mono Mix) - 2:45
19.California Home (45 Mono Mix) - 2:48
20.Where Do The Girls Of The Summer Go? (45 Mono Mix) - 5:39
All songs Mark Eric Malmborg
Bonus Tracks 13-20

*Marc Eric - Vocals, Guitar

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

MC5 - Back In The USA (1970 us, solid prime hard raw rock 'n' roll, japan SHM remaster)

Right on the heels of the revolution. Right after the smoke cleared from Grande Ballroom in Detroit where its native sons, the MC5, set forth a sound that was unheard of in terms of how high amplification could be turned. In this era, the MC5 were are the forefront of the proto punk scene, making their mark with the name inspired by their hometown, the Motor City 5 and on Back in the USA, they would show not only are they one of the great live bands of the day, but that they are not limited to being away from the studio and that they can rock out there too, crafting one of the first great 70's rock albums.

How would this effort differ from their previous. Basic observations state there will be a change in quality due to this being recorded as opposed to live; and while the noise and insanity of the MC5 is not fully present here on the surface, but the volume is certainly still turned up. All the major players were back for this puppy, the soul of the band which is their guitarists Wayne Kramer and Fred "Sonic" Hayes are slightly down a notch from their bombastic set on Kick Out the Jams but as mentioned, they are still the heart of the group.

Alright. The MC5 were prime rockers and in 1970 were definitely not past their prime. Why then has this not been reviewed yet? Well that was the life of the beginning punk bands then, their records reached a wide network of underground fans, but it remained just that, underground (with the single exception of making a Rolling Stone cover.  While many artists enjoy the appeal of playing and making albums for a limited audience, it holds back the potential widespread influence that could have been spread to the mainstream. Many groups were victim to this, and indeed the MC5 were. Despite not having widespread acclaim, the band rumbles on without White Panthers leader and manager John Sinclair to make a great piece of pure rock, and make another staple in the early punk years.

Without venturing too far into the future, the band dips into the past a tad, and that venture is what kicks off this album. "WOP BOP A LOO BOP A LOP BOM BOM!" screams front man Rob Tyner and the unheard and unused instrument of the band, piano, comes in to escort this high tempo Little Richard cover which serves to establish the boys not only as old time rock and rollers, but to preview the sexy feel of the work, the subtly risque element of the lyrics with a quick percussion core and slick guitar riffs throughout. The song is not theirs but it might as well be, it perfectly previews the album as well as providing a connection between Little Richard, an early black pianist, and the MC5, who embodied Motown soul and a rebellious attitude. The other featured cover from an earlier black artist is Chuck Berry's Back In the USA which by itself contradicts the rest of the album, proclaiming to be "Glad to be livin' in the USA" but in the context the song also glorifies not the police or the government, but hamburgers, jukeboxes, and drive ins.

What are the main topics selected for this stellar pure rock album? Why what else than what rock and roll is based on, sex and rebellion. That's how this album does so well, theres no need for poetic free form rambling artificial garbage or any sensitivity, the MC5 just rear back and give a balls out performance, this time its in a controlled setting. Want sexy? Look no further than the spot on titled "Teenage Lust". This song goes over how it feels bein' a teen and being hungry for more than burgers. Tyner recalls as "[He] chased them at the bars and [he] grabbed them at the dances/They'd huggy snuggle kissy but they'd never go all the way". 

Right on the money this tune is, the band is rockin' with guitar/drum parts blazing throughout and backup vocalists firing, this is a standout thing to rock out and shake your hips to. Want rebellion? "American Ruse" goes just as the title sounds and is made just for you. The reality of their music is displayed here and real situations appear in which " If you complain they're gonna get vicious /Kick in the teeth and charge you with assault". How many times past and present has that been seen, as Hendrix did in the previous years, this song has a seemingly improv version of an old American song brought on by the provocation of "Rock em Back Sonic!". Sonic is indeed what this album is about, applying to not only the noise this makes in the ranks of the underground, but the continuation of the riffage and all out performance of guitarist Sonic Hayes.

What is missing from the album is not only the live chaotic feeling of Kick Out the Jams, but the wild guitar tangents that made that album the classic it is. Other people may find grievances in the slower songs, such as "Let Me Try". While this is in the taste of some, who cares if they play the slow jams occasionally, they're from Detroit for Chrissakes! They know how to rock, swivel, make noise and they do just that in this album. It seems all this would give them the chance to record a slower and still decent song, and they do just that.

Back in the USA, it was slick but rude, loud and crazy, and absolutely essential for any real rock fan to have been listened to by now. Its been 36 years since this baby was released, and somehow the immediate and widespread response to the brilliance of this album has yet to be fully received. That's a crime considering the work (and arrests) it took to make this. No more excuses, the word is out, get it.
by Zachary Powell

1. Tutti Frutti (Dorothy Lavostrie, Joe Lubin, Richard Penniman) – 1:30
2. Tonight – 2:29
3. Teenage Lust – 2:36
4. Let Me Try – 4:16
5. Looking At You – 3:03
6. High School – 2:42
7. Call Me Animal – 2:06
8. The American Ruse – 2:31
9. Shakin' Street – 2:21
10.The Human Being Lawnmower – 2:24
11.Back In The U.S.A." (Chuck Berry) – 2:26
All tracks composed by MC5 except where indicated

*Rob Tyner - Vocals, Harmonica
*Wayne Kramer - Guitar
*Fred "Sonic" Smith - Guitar, Vocals on "Shakin' Street"
*Michael Davis - Bass
*Dennis Thompson - Drums
*Danny Jordan - Keyboards
*Pete Kelly - Keyboards

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Charles And Morgan - Homework (1974 germany, remarkable acid folk psych rock with blues and jazz elements, Vinyl issue)

Dieter Kaspari (Morgan) was born in Aachen in 1947 and remained faithful in his town ever since. Leaving aside the numerous touring musician since 1965, including 12 years as a pro in various bands, including Cave Dwellers or Credo in Aachen particularly Truss still enjoys a legendary are more important for Kaspari but the two and a half years on the road working with Champion Jack Dupree and many other American blues legends. 

Great long tours with Charles & Morgan, as opening act for Golden Earring and Greenslade, since 1978 as a commercial photographer, plus numerous photography books and exhibitions reputation. Mixes currently the city with original Öcher blues, as a singer, guitarist and harmonica player in the Bluesbüllen, formerly known as "blu 'heat'. Charly Büchel is known as Charly McLion and makes electronic music, eLounge ', between Enigma, Enya and Pat Metheny. 

"Homework" recorded in 1974  is a pretty transparent record. The nine songs (about 41 minutes) are playful immensely cheerful and blue love, full of oblique and witty psychedelic moments with changes in mood, irritable and melancholy in all its facets,  can be best  enjoyed, dancing, driving a car and watching the rain when it rains.

"Sesame stress" is instrumental, a perfect introduction. "Hey Man" has thoughtful epic, the Acid Folk is timeless and fresh and loose, finally swims like a fish in water, sung by kids voice, the band takes the children's song like "Five Little Fishes" gentle and tender before the percussion only knows a concept: who are crazy!

"Getaway" tends to rock, the semi-acoustic blues of Morgan's strong voice and acoustic guitar, the drums rock loose and playful, and a fine guitar solo. The "Thieke Blues" ends the first side of the LP. 

"Let the Good Times Roll" opens the series on side two. Psychedelic Acid Blues with terrific electric and acoustic guitar to enjoy the night as the day. The three-part "Train Session" (with subtitles a Arrival b. Station Desert c. Full Steam) finished an excellent, idiosyncratic gem flamboyant, fun-loving and hearty music.  As I said, it sounds special and wonderful. 

1. Seamstress - 3:28
2. Super Ugly (Charly McLion, Dieter kaspari, H. kaspari) - 2:09
3. Hey Man - 2:54
4. Five Little Fishes (Dieter  kaspari, H. kaspari) - 2:05
5. Getaway (Charly McLion, Dieter kaspari, H. kaspari) - 3:57
6. Thieke Blues - 3:10
7. Let the Good Times Roll - 3:44
8. Rhapsody (Charly McLion) - 4:07
9. Train Session a) Arrival  (Charly McLion, Dieter kaspari, Kurt Mick) - 2:21
10.Train Session b) Desert Station  (Charly McLion, Dieter kaspari, Kurt Mick) - 2:31
11.Train Session c) Fullsteam  (Charly McLion, Dieter kaspari, Kurt Mick) - 4:40
12.Train Session d) Yawateg  (Charly McLion, Dieter kaspari, Kurt Mick) - 1:19
All songs by Charly McLion, Dieter Kaspari except where noted

*Karl-Heinz Büchel "Charly McLion" -  6, 12 String Acoustic, Electric, Steel Guitar
*Dieter Kaspari -  6, 12 String Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Harmonica
*Kurt Mick - Drums, Glockenspiel, Percussion

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Jake Holmes - A Letter To Katherine December (1968 us, marvelous experimental folk rock with baroque and jazzy feeling, Fallout mini LP issue)

Jake Holmes’ first album, 'The Above Ground Sound', generated an amazing level of interest. Of course, the fact that the album included 'Dazed And Confused' had quite a lot to do with it, but it soon became apparent that Holmes’ music, along with the work of a number of other male singer-songwriters is enjoying a bit of a renaissance at the moment. 

Jake’s second album, 'A Letter To Katherine December', a record that many critics rate even more highly than his first. This is indeed a great follow-up; an album which easily evades the shadow of its predecessor’s success and another recording that, in typical Holmes fashion, defies description. Although Rick Randle, whose bizarre bass playing was such a feature of 'The Above Ground Sound', is missing on this one, Charlie Fox’s immaculate string and horn arrangements more than compensate. Holmes’ eccentric song writing is here in all its rich diversity, the sound quality is outstanding and the production standards superb. 

As was the case with its predecessor, 'A Letter...' failed to achieve any real commercial impact, so Holmes switched to a more country feel for his next two releases. Obviously he had perplexed the people at Tower Records enough by this time as the label cancelled his contract. Without a safety net, Holmes plunged into the world of TV commercials, which, ironically, is where he was to eventually enjoy his only real financial success. Unique card wallet. 

1. Saturday Night - 2:12
2. Late Sleeping Day - 3:22
3. Chase Your Eyes - 3:28
4. The Diner Song - 2:29
5. High School Hero - 3:18
6. Moving Day  - 2:38
7. Leaves Never Break - 4:41
8. It's Always Somewhere Else - 2:30
9. Sleeping Woman - 3:12
10.Houston Street - 4:29
Words and Music by Jake Holmes.

*Jake Holmes - Vocals, Guitars
*Ted Irwin - Lead Guitar
*Charlie Fox - Horns, Strings Arragments

1967 The Above Ground Sound Of Jake Holmes 

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Steve Miller Band - Your Saving Grace (1969 us, splendid classic rock with psych blues shades, 2012 digi pak remaster)

The same month Capitol Records released "Brave New World," the third album by the Steve Miller Band, the musicians started to record the band's next album in June 1969 at San Francisco's Wally Heider Studios, where groups such as Jefferson Airplane and Creedence Clearwater Revival also recorded. Keyboardist Nicky Hopkins flew in from London. Hopkins had fallen for the charms of the San Francisco Bay Area on US tours with Jeff Beck and was staying as houseguest at Miller's Marin County home. 

He had been British rock's premiere session player - Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Who.The Kinks wrote a song about him, "Session Man," and hired him to play on it. Miller met Hopkins in London when he overdubbed piano and organ on "Kow Kow" from his last album. Hopkins was a tall, quiet, sickly man with a brilliant touch on the keyboards who was forsaking England for California sunshine.

The Steve Miller Band had been touring ceaselessly for more than a year. There were concerts with the Moody Blues and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers with Mick Taylor at the Boston Gardens, a tour with Country Joe and the Fish, shows at the Fillmore West with Eric Burdon and the Animals and many more.

The first three albums had sold more than 400,000 copies combined. Between radio airplay on the growing network of FM underground rock stations and steady touring, the band had established itself. Johns came to San Francisco fresh from final mixes of the next Beatles album, "Get Back," a record that would never be released (eventually the album "Let It Be" was culled from the sessions by producer Phil Spector).

Miller drew from his days as a Freedom Rider for the old gospel song, "Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around." Tim Davis and Lonnie Turner came up with a funky blues,"The Last Wombat in Mecca," and Davis' song "Your Saving Grace," which was the highlight of his career in the Steve Miller Band. Former bandmate Curley Cook contributed rhythm guitar on the track, back with the Steve Miller Band for the first time since he left in July 1967. 

Miller and Nicky Hopkins combined forces on "Baby's House," a Miller original Hopkins exploded into a near symphonic, nine-minute epic. The 25 year-old musician was juggling many roles, battling his record company for any kind of support, operating without a manager, and spending close to 300 days a year on the road, recording three albums in the past eighteen months.The record company wanted to release another album before the end of the year and, in October, Miller went to London to finish mixing the record with Johns.

They added a choir to Hopkins' extravagant inventions on the end of "Baby's House." By that time, Nicky Hopkins had joined Quicksilver Messenger Service and was living in Marin. Capitol Records rush-released the album,"Your Saving Grace," in November 1969. The label immediately demanded another album.The band headed back into the studio after Christmas.
by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, March 2012

1. Little Girl (S. Miller) – 3:25
2. Just A Passin' Fancy In A Midnite Dream (S. Miller, Ben Sidran) – 3:41
3. Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around (S. Miller) – 2:30
4. Baby's House (S. Miller, Nicky Hopkins) – 8:54
5. Motherless Children (Trad. Arr.S. Miller) – 6:03
6. The Last Wombat In Mecca (Lonnie Turner) – 2:56
7. Feel So Glad (S. Miller) – 5:20
8. Your Saving Grace (Tim Davis) – 4:47

The Band
*Steve Miller – Guitar, Harmonica, Lead Vocals
*Lonnie Turner – Bass Guitar, Guitar, Vocals
*Tim Davis – Drums, Background Vocals, Lead Vocals (Tracks 6 And 8)
*Ben Sidran – Organ, Electric Piano
*Nicky Hopkins – Grand Piano
*Glyn Johns – Guitar, Vocals, Percussion
*Minor Wilson  - Guitar

The Steve Miller Band
1968  Children Of The Future (2012 digipack remaster)
1968  Sailor (2012 digipack remaster)
1969  Brave New World (2012 digipack remaster)

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Jake Holmes - The Above Ground Sound Of Jake Holmes (1967 us, remarkable acid folk rock, Fallout mini lp edition)

When folk-rock singer/songwriter Jake Holmes opened for The Yardbirds in New York in August 1967, little did he suspect that one of his songs, Dazed And Confused, would be “commandeered” by guitarist Jimmy Page and become one of his next band’s major live showpieces. 

The band in question is of course Led Zeppelin, and although The Yardbirds did incorporate the song into their live set, it is the Led Zep version that provided Holmes with his 15 minutes of fame, although Mr Page, clearly suffering from a temporary bout of amnesia, forgetfully claimed the song writing credit himself. Holmes had done the rounds of the New York folk scene, working in bands with the likes of Tim Rose before going solo. 

This, his first recording, originally appeared on the Tower label (ST 5079) in 1967. The album is considered a folk-rock masterpiece, and was described at the time as “a songwriter, three guitars and a mirror”. The guitars of Holmes, Ted Irwin (later to play with Elliot Murphy, Roy Buchanan and various country singers) are the only backing for Holmes’ voice and the 10 short tracks are outstanding, but especially the sparer, stripped-down original version of Dazed And Confused. 

Jake  was born December 28, 1939 in San Francisco, California, and before went solo, he performed in a trio with Tim Rose and Richie Hussan, in a group called The Feldmans.

1. Lonely - 2:39
2. Did You Know - 2:52
3. She Belongs To Me - 2:14
4. Too Long - 2:47
5. Genuine - 3:58
6. Dazed And Confused - 3:51
7. Penny’s - 2:38
8. Hard To Keep My Mind On You - 2:02
9. Wish I Was Anywhere Else - 2:51
10.Signs Of Age -  4:02
All songs by Jake Holmes

*Jake Holmes - Vocals, Guitars
*Ted Irwin - Lead Guitar
*Rick Randle - Bass Guitar

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Rainman - Rainman (1970 dutch, brilliant psych jazzy folk rock, Fallout issue)

Recorded in 1971, "Rainman" was co-produced by Cuby 'n' the Blizzards drummer Dick Beekman and Nuyens.  All tracks co-written by Nuyens and Q65 drummer Jay Baar (there's one cover), far from the Q65-styled R'n'B or psychedelia. 

Musically material such as the title track, 'Don't' and '' the collection leans towards laidback singer/songwriter faire; albeit with electric backing. In spite of a fairly heavy accent, Nuyens had a nice voice that was well suited to the material.  Individually most of the tracks were quite good, boasting strong melodies with Nuyens occasionally throwing in a tasty guitar solo ('Naturel Man' - his spelling).  

Curiously, his cover of Tim Hardin's 'Don't Make Promises' provides the most commercial and enjoyable track.  

1. Rainman - 2:33
2. Natural Man - 4:02
3. Don't - 2:43
4. Vicious Circle - 2:42
5. Don't Make Promises (Tim Hardin) - 2:44
6. You Will Be Freed By Me - 2:25
7. Money Means Nothing At All  - 2:40
8. Get You To Come Through - 5:29
9. She Told Me So - 3:28
10.They Didn't Feel - 4:00
11.The Joy That Is Inside - 3:04
12.The Bird (Bonus track) (Frank Nuyens) - 3:16
All songs by  Frank Nuyens and  Jay Baar except where noted

*Frank Nuyens - Vocals, Acoustic, Electric, Bottleneck Guitars, Bass
*Philip Peters - Keyboards
*Piet Kuyters - Piano
*Enno Velthuys - Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Background Vocals
*Dick Beekman - Drums
*Jay Baar - Drums, Maracas, Vibes
*Francois Content - Flute, Cowbell
*Co Co - Congas
*E. Stoffel - Acoustic, Electric Guitars
*Eugene Farago - Drums
*H. Staalmeester - Bass

Related Act
1966-69  Q 65 - The Complete Collection 

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Golden Earring - Together (1972 dutch, 8th album, excellent classic hard rock)

Together represents an important step forward for Golden Earring. Unlike the group's previous outings, the songs on this album don't fall into strict rock or progressive categories. Instead, the group blurs these strict lines and weaves elements of each genre into a distinctive style that gives the songs their unique flavor. 

For instance, "Brother Wind" has the complex arrangement and length of a prog rock epic, but it moves forward with the energy and powerful riffing of a hard rock song. The group also makes a concerted effort to give each song a tight arrangement and usually more than one catchy hook. The result is the band's first truly consistent album. 

Driving rockers abound on Together: "Avalanche of Love" is driven by a procession of gutsy riffs that live up to the song's title, and "Buddy Joe" is a surging, dramatic adventure tale built on a singalong chorus and an insidiously catchy Indian-style guitar riff (this rousing tune has remained a popular part of the band's live set list). "Jangalene" is another highlight, a cleverly arranged tune that starts out as an acoustic blues but flowers into a full-throttle rocker midway through.  

Together remains an impressive album and clearly shows off the chops and songwriting skills that would bring the group a massive worldwide success the next year with Moontan.
by Donald A. Guarisco

1. All Day Watcher  - 4:49
2. Avalanche of Love  - 4:14
3. Cruisin' Southern Germany  (Barry Hay) - 3:00
4. Brother Wind  - 7:54
5. Buddy Joe  - 3:48
6. Jangalene  - 5:08
7. From Heaven from Hell  - 6:06
8. Thousand Feet Below You  - 4:11
all songs written by George Kooymans, except where noted

Golden Earring
*Rinus Gerritsen - Bass, Keyboard
*Barry Hay - Flute, Guitar, Saxophone, Vocals
*George Kooymans - Guitar, Vocals
*Cesar Zuiderwijk - Drums

The Golden Earring-s
1966  Winter-Harvest
1968-69  Miracle Mirror
1969  On The Double
1973  Moontan

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