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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bob Lind ‎– You Might Have Heard My Footsteps, The Best Of (1965-72 us, glorious folk psych)

This 25-song compilation includes the entire contents of his two 1966 LPs, as well as a 1967 single and two previously unreleased tracks. This period piece is highlighted by "Elusive Butterfly," the original versions of "Counting" and "Cheryl's Goin' Home," "Mr. Zero" (covered by Yardbird lead singer Keith Relf on a flop single), and the previously unreleased, gorgeous baroque rock song "English Afternoon." 
by Richie Unterberger

1. Elusive Butterfly - 2:46
2. Mister Zero - 3:43
3. You Should Have Seen It - 2:55
4. Counting - 2:54
5. Drifter's Sunrise - 3:26
6. Unlock The Door - 4:06
7. Truly Julie's Blues (I'll Be There) - 2:51
8. Dale Anne - 3:01
9. The World Is Just A “B” Movie - 3:57
10.Cheryl's Goin' Home - 2:06
11.It Wasn't Just The Morning - 2:50 -
12.I Can't Walk Roads Of Anger (Unedited Version) - 4:28
13.San Francisco Woman - 2:54
14.A Nameless Request - 2:15
15.West Virginia Summer Child - 2:12
16.Go Ask Your Man - 2:30
17.Remember The Rain - 2:47
18.I Just Let It Take Me - 2:35
19.The World Is Just A “B” Movie Meets Reno, Funtown, U.S.A. - 2:48
20.We've Never Spoken - 2:09
21.Oh Babe Take Me Home - 3:34
22.Eleanor - 3:33
23.It's Just My Love - 2:44
24.I Fall To You - 2:02
25.English Afternoon - 2:37
All songs by Bob Lind

*Bob Lind - Vocals, Guitar

1971  Bob Lind - Since There Were Circles

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Friday, November 29, 2013

Lindisfarne - The Charisma Years (1970-73 uk, amazing progressive folk rock, 2010 four disc set edition)

Four CDs round up the complete and utter Lindisfarne tale, from their arrival on the mainstream scene with 1970's still stunning Nicely Out of Tune through the following year's flirtation with stardom via Fog on the Tyne, and on through the sadly diminishing returns that were Dingly Dell and Roll on Ruby. Yes, the story would continue later in the '70s, and on and off since then, too.

But the first incarnation of the band was the one that mattered the most, and those first two albums remain quintessential early-'70s folk-rock, with neither folk nor rock having much to do with any of it. Lindisfarne are, perhaps rightfully, best judged by their two biggest hits, the sad mystery of "Lady Eleanor" and the singalong joy of "Meet Me on the Corner." Add "We Can Swing Together," "No Time to Lose" (amazingly, a mere B-side at the time) and "Fog on the Tyne," and Lindisfarne could have been the new Faces if only Alan Hull had wanted to be the next Rod Stewart. But pop fame and fortune sat awkwardly on the group's shoulders, which is why Dingly Dell was the original lineup's final shout.

The band split, some to form Jack the Lad; the rest to continue as a revamped soft rock Lindisfarne whose presence here (the final disc) really does spoil the proceedings somewhat. Better to end with the concert disc that takes 1973's Lindisfarne Live album, expands it to take in the entire evening's entertainment, and reveals Lindisfarne to have been one of the most entertaining live acts of their era. That, and a near-full album's worth of bonus material drawn from period singles, compilations, and mispressings ensure this is a must-have box set, even for fans who think they already own all the Lindisfarne they could ever need.
by Dave Thompson

Disc 1
1. Lady Eleanor - 4:16
2. Road to Kingdom Come (Clements) - 4:15
3. Winter Song - 5:14
4. Turn a Deaf Ear 3:56
5. Clear White Light, Pt. 2 - 4:07
6. We Can Swing Together - 5:48
7. Alan in the River With Flowers - 3:09
8. Down - 3:11
9. The Things I Should Have Said (Clements) - 4:03
10.Jackhammer Blues (Guthrie) - 3:25
11.Scarecrow Song - 3:23
12.Knackers Yard Blues (Clements) - 3:39
13.Nothing But the Marvellous Is Beautiful - 4:42
14.From My Window (Clements) - 3:29
15.On My Own I Built a Bridge (Out Take) 4:17
16.Lady Eleanor (US Mix) - 4:15
17.We Can Swing Together (US Mix) - 3:31
18.Scarecrow Song (US Mix) - 4:02
19.Meet Me On the Corner (Demo Version) (Clements) - 2:37

Disc 2
1. Meet Me On the Corner (Clements) - 2:40
2. Alright On the Night - 3:33
3. Uncle Sam (Cowe) - 2:57
4. Together Forever 2:35
5. January Song - 4:14
6. Peter Brophy Don't Care - 2:49
7. City Song - 3:06
8. Passing Ghosts - 2:30
9. Train in G Major (Clements) - 3:10
10.Fog On the Tyne - 3:24
11.Scotch Mist (Clements, Cowe, Hull, Laidlaw) - 2:07
12.No Time to Lose - 3:15
13.January Song (Extended Version) - 6:11
14.All Fall Down - 3:41
15.Plankton's Lament (Cowe) - 1:55
16.Bring Down the Government - 1:29
17.Poor Old Ireland - 2:58
18.Don't Ask Me (Clements) - 3:31
19.O No Not Again - 3:21
20.Dingle Regatta (Traditional) - 1:05
21.Wake Up Little Sister - 2:52
22.Go Back (Cowe) - 2:59
23.Court in the Act - 3:09
24.Mandolin King - 2:34
25.Dingly Dell - 6:09

Disc 3
1. Intro 1:13
2. Together Forever - 3:06
3. No Time to Lose - 3:56
4. January Song - 5:04
5. Meet Me On the Corner (Clements) - 3:41
6. Alright On the Night - 4:31
7. Train in G Major (Clements) - 3:29
8. Scotch Mist (Clements, Cowe, Hull, Laidlaw) - 2:43
9. Lady Eleanor - 6:01
10.Knacker's Yard Blues (Clements) - 4:54
11.Fog On the Tyne - 5:50
12.We Can Swing Together - 17:52
13.Jackhammer Blues (Guthrie) - 5:40
14.Clear White Light - 11:08

Disc 4
1. Taking Care of Business - 2:57
2. North Country Boy (Duffy) - :26
3. Steppenwolf - 5:01
4. Nobody Loves You Anymore 3:05
5. When the War is Over - 5:02
6. Moonshine (Duffy) - 3:56
7. Lazy - 3:22
8. Roll On River 5:19
9. Tow the Line 2:32
10.Goodbye (Duffy) - 4:46
11.Taking Care of Business (US Mix) - 2:58
12.North Country Boy (US Mix) (Duffy) - 3:22
13.Roll On River (US Mix) - 5:25
All compositions by Alan Hull except where indicated.

*Rod Clements - Electric Bass, 12 String, Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Organ, Piano, Violin, Vocals
*Simon Cowe - Banjo, 12 String, Acoustic Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals
*Ken Craddock - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Tommy Duffy - Bass, Vocals
*Charlie Harcourt - Guitar
*Alan Hull - 12 String, Acoustic Guitar, Harmonium, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Electric Piano, Vocals
*Ray Jackson - Harmonica, Harp, Mandolin, Vocals
*Ray Laidlaw - Drums
*Paul Nichols - Drums

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Klaatu - Klaatu / Hope (1976-77 canada, elegant symphonic rock with space and some glam shades)

Those who appreciate the smart pop, art/symphonic-rock, and weird sci-fi themes of Klaatu needn't venture beyond this two-on-one issue of their first two Capitol releases. Klaatu frequently alternated between Beatlesque pop, the showy guitar rock and vocal theatrics of early Queen, and the electronic orchestral techniques pioneered by Walter Carlos, or worked all three into the structure of a four- or five-minute song. 

They reached their creative peak on their second album Hope, which implemented all of the above in a very creative and effective manner but was predictably dismissed by the music press as being "over-indulgent" and "pretentious" -- and this only after it was ascertained that Klaatu was not the alias for the second coming of the Beatles. Their subsequent releases were downright ghastly pop-rock affairs that lacked originality and made their early-'80s demise a welcome occurrence. The Korean issue lacks liner notes and credit details, but for those who are curious about the Canadian band, this compilation presents Klaatu in their finest hour. 
by Dave Sleger

1. Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft (John Woloschuk, Terry Draper) - 7:17
2. California Jam (John Woloschuk, Dino Tome) - 3:01
3. Anus Of Uranus (Dee Long) - 3:21
4. Sub-Rosa Subway (John Woloschuk, Dino Tome) - 4:38
5. True Life Hero (Dee Long) - 3:24
6. Doctor Marvello (John Woloschuk) - 3:37
7. Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III (John Woloschuk) - 3:24
8. Little Neutrino (Dee Long) - 8:14
9. We're Off You Know (John Woloschuk) - 4:01
10.Madman (Dee Long) - 2:40
11.Around The Universe In Eighty Days (Dee Long) - 4:59
12.Long Live Politzania (John Woloschuk) - 9:13
13.The Loneliest Of Creatures (John Woloschuk) / Prelude - 3:45
14.So Said The Lighthouse Keeper (John Woloschuk) - 5:51
15.Hope (John Woloschuk) - 4:43
16.We're Off You Know (Reprise) - 0:52

*Dee Long - Vocals, Keyboards, Guitars
*John Woloschuk - Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
*Terry Draper - Drums, Percussion, Backup Vocals

1977/80  Klaatu - Sir Army Suit / Endangered Species

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Steve Miller Band - Number 5 (1970 us, brilliant psych bluesy rock, 2012 digi pak remaster)

The fifth album in Edsel’s program is 1970′s aptly-titled Number 5 which brought the first era of The Steve Miller Band to a close.  Before heading to Nashville to record the album, Miller parted ways with both Glyn Johns and Lonnie Turner, leaving just Tim Davis from the original band line-up.  

Bobby Winkelman of Frumious Bandersnatch was drafted for bass duties, and Nashville regular Charlie McCoy (owner of the studio where Number 5 was recorded) contributed harmonica to a few tracks.  Sidran, Hopkins and even Turner reappeared to make contributions, and Boz Scaggs appeared as a co-writer of an old bluesy onstage favorite, “Going to Mexico.”  McCoy’s harp added a different, though still blues-based, sound to Miller’s repertoire, and the change in scenery must have paid off when Number 5 became the group’s most successful album yet.  Miller’s distinct voice enlivened the jaunty “Going to the Country” (“Hey ho!  One thing I know!  People in the country really let themselves go!”), co-written with Sidran.  

Buddy Spicher’s fiddle and some fine harmonies also made an impression.  Bud Billings added mariachi brass to the light-hearted “Hot Chili.”  Serious, topical issues were still on Miller and co.’s minds, however.    Tim Davis professed his belief in the banjo-accompanied “Tokin’s” that “in a while, I know it’s gonna change,” and Miller echoed John Lennon in the foreboding, musically experimental “Jackson-Kent Blues,” imploring listeners to “give peace a chance.”  Miller also took the opportunity to decry the “Industrial Military Complex Hex” and speculated on those young soldiers, asking them, “When the wind blows you home/To the shores of home/Will you be one of those/Who killed another man?”

In 1971, Steve Miller suffered a car accident, and Capitol released Rock Love, an album of vault material.  It was followed by the other “lost” album of Miller’s career, 1972’s Recall the Beginning…A Journey to Eden.  The same year, an Anthology capped off this period of the artist’s career.  In 1973, the Steve Miller Band released The Joker, and solidified its place in classic rock history.

Whereas many of Edsel’s other recent reissue series have included copious amounts of bonus material, the Steve Miller Band series instead concentrates primarily on the original albums with just one bonus track on one album.  The addition of lyrics and liner notes, however, make these presentations the best yet for these often-overlooked and once hard-to-find albums.   Before Steve Miller flew like an eagle, he was grounded in the blues and San Francisco psychedelia.  Fans will likely relish hearing how that great career started.
by Joe Marchese 

1. Good Morning (Bobby Winkelman) - 2:48
2. I Love You (S. Miller) - 2:45
3. Going To The Country (S. Miller, Ben Sidran) - 3:47
4. Hot Chili (T.Davis) - 3:30
5. Tokin's (T. Davis) - 4:23
6. Going To Mexico (S. Miller, Boz Scaggs) - 2:29
7. Steve S. Miller's Midnight Tango (B. Sidran) - 2:40
8. Industrial Military Complex Hex (S. Miller) - 3:54
9. Jackson-Kent Blues (S. Miller) - 7:18
10.Never Kill Another Man (S. Miller) - 2:42

*Steve Miller - Guitar, Vocals
*Lonnie Turner - Bass Guitar
*Bobby Winkelman - Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Ben Sidran - Keyboards
*Nicky Hopkins - Keyboards
*Tim Davis - Drums, Vocals
*Charlie McCoy - Harmonica
Additional Musicians
*Lee Michaels - Organ On "Going To Mexico"
*Buddy Spicher - Fiddle On "Going To The Country"

The Steve Miller Band
1968  Children Of The Future (2012 digipack remaster)
1968  Sailor (2012 digipack remaster)
1969  Brave New World (2012 digipack remaster)
1969  Your Saving Grace (2012 digi pack remaster)

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Klaatu - Sir Army Suit / Endangered Species (1978/80 canada, lovely beatlesque pop with prog touches)

In 1976, Capitol Records in L.A. signed a three record deal with a totally unknown band, sight unseen. The band, Klaatu, demanded not to appear in public, play live or give interviews to support the album. In fact, nobody at Capitol even knew who the band was.

This was unheard of in the music industry, but Capitol felt this progressive rock band from Canada had presented them with one of the finest albums they had ever heard. Their first record, simply entitled 'Klaatu' – released as '3.47 E.S.T.', in Canada — contained no names, photos or clues to the identity of the band members. All writing and production credits were given collectively to Klaatu.

They had spent three long years experimenting at night in the recording studio owned by producer Terry Brown (Rush, Max Webster) and Doug Riley (Dr. Music) to complete an album filled with creative new sounds and innovative techniques. To them, the studio was a fourth band member... and another reason why they didn't want to tour.

Although there were initial comparisons to The Beatles in the music press, plus Pink Floyd meets The Beach Boys, the band simply saw this as a compliment, since The Fab Four had been one of many inspirational bands to them since they were kids.

John is from the West-end of Toronto and attended York University's fine arts program. John first met Terry Draper at grade school in the early 1960s. They played in a number of bands together until 1967 when John left to get a head start songwriting and recording. In 1971, John and Terry formed the short-lived Mudcow, adding Dee Long as guitar player.

Their desire to play original music – and not tour the stripper circuit – led to Mudcow's demise. Then John met producer Terry Brown at a job interview… and Klaatu took flight.

However, to fully understand Klaatu and how events transpired, one must realize three key things about John Woloschuk: 1) His love of old black and white movies. 2) His passion for music. 3) His shyness. That's why his bio ends here.

Dee first met Terry Draper in 1968 when they played against each other during a Battle of the Bands competition. Determined to play his own original music, Dee left Mudcow when they were forced to do covers. So when John was given the opportunity by Terry Brown to play him some of his demo tapes, John invited Dee to play his demos as well.

Instantly recognizing their talent, Terry Brown invited them to record at Toronto Sound Studio during off hours. And the rest is history.

During the creation of Klaatu's five albums, Dee continued to develop his skills as an engineer and producer. Eventually leaving the band to focus on his own production studio -- later working with Sir George Martin at London Air Studios.

Dee now lives in British Columbia with his wife. He's created several CD's over the years, including his latest release Life AfterLife. Terry says he finally made it to the top – but only when he started his own roofing company!

The gregarious drummer joined his former Mudcow band mates in 1974, when John and Dee realized they needed a permanent drummer who understood what they were trying to do in the studio. Terry lives just north of Toronto with his wife.

Sir Army Suit 1978
1. A Routine Day (John Woloschuk) - 3:11
2. Juicy Lucy (John Woloschuk) - 3:39
3. Everybody Took A Holiday (Dee Long) - 3:00
4. Older (Dee Long) - 3:17
5. Dear Christine (John Woloschuk) - 3:53
6. Mister Manson (Dee Long) - 4:16
7. Tokeymor Field (John Woloschuk) - 3:29
8. Perpetual Motion Machine (Dee Long) - 3:17
9. Chérie (Dee Long) - 3:07
10.Silly Boys (Dee Long) - 4:59
Endangered Species 1980
11.I Can't Help It (Dee Long) - 3:41
12.Knee Deep In Love (JJohn Woloschuk, Dino Tome) - 3:15
13.Paranoia (John Woloschuk) - 4:12
14.Howl At The Moon (John Woloschuk, Dino Tome) - 3:32
15.Set The World On Fire (John Woloschuk) - 4:16
16.Hot Box City (Dee Long) - 3:48
17.Dog Star (Dee Long) - 4:17
18.Sell Out, Sell Out (John Woloschuk) - 4:55
19.All Good Things (John Woloschuk) - 1:57

*Dee Long - Lead Vocals, Keyboards, Guitars
*John Woloschuk - Bass, Acoustic Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
*Terry Draper - Drums, Percussion, Vocals

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Brian Auger's Oblivion Express - A Better Land (1971 uk, amazing prog jazz fusion rock, 2006 japan remaster)

Whereas Brian Auger had taken the lion's share of composing responsibility on the deft, labyrinthine, jazz-rock debut album by the Oblivion Express, guitarist Jim Mullen steps up to the plate in a big way here, writing or co-writing seven of A Better Land's nine tracks, and arranging "Marai's Wedding," a traditional tune. Auger wrote just one, "Tomorrow City," and co-wrote two with Mullen. 

The feel and vibe of the record is almost a mirror image of its predecessor from earlier in 1971. Mullen composed on the guitar, therefore, the languid, sparer approach to harmony is everywhere apparent. But it's the songs themselves, with their lush use of acoustic guitars, country music melodies, and early rock tropes, such as on "Dawn of Another Day," the Band-inspired "Trouble," and the ethereal melody of "Women of the Seasons." There is also a pair of tracks here written with future AWB boss Alan Gorrie. The lilting jazz in the lead is countered with infectious pop hooks. 

On the Auger tunes, "Fill Your Head With Laughter," and "Tomorrow City," R'n'B is at their hearts. A Better Land is one of the more enduring pop records from the era, with its ultra-sophisticated compositioning and arrangement skills. It's as if the Oblivion Express wanted to reveal themselves as capable of anything, which, of course, they were. This is a fantastic place to start any Brian Auger collection. 
by Thom Jurek

1. Dawn Of Another Day (Brian Auger, Jim Mullen) - 4:20
2. Mariah's Wedding (Traditional) - 4:24
3. Trouble (Brian Auger, Jim Mullen) - 3:17
4. Women Of The Seasons (Jim Mullen) - 5:05
5. Fill Your Head With Laughter (Brian Auger, Jim Mullen) - 3:53
6. On Thinking It Over (Brian Auger, Jim Mullen) - 5:25
7. Tomorrow City (Brian Auger) - 3:33
8. All Time There Is (Brian Auger, Jim Mullen) - 3:35
9. A Better Land (Allan Gorrie, Jim Mullen) - 5:31
10.Mariah's Wedding (Live In Germany, 1972) (Traditional) - 4:32

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

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Water - The Second Day (1975 dutch, splendid soft progressive rock with jazzy soul tinges)

Judging from their debut "The Second Day", the Dutch six-piece Water played a brand of '70s rock where the only musical references I can think of perhaps would be Birth Control's "This Song is Just for You" from their "Plastic People" album, and some Eela Craig. The guitarist has an often-funky edge to his playing, and dominated the band's well thought-out sound together with flute, harmonica and keyboards (mostly clavinet, el-piano and string-synths). The vocals are both male and female, another element that gave the band a varied and interesting sound. 

The material on "The Second Day" is fairly song-based, but still with sophisticated and intriguing structures. The opener "Holiday (Hideaway)" is a bit more folk-influenced than the rest of the album, and starts with a nice and rural melody played on flute before the wistful verse appears. The chorus has two different melodies upon each other, and shows off the band's rich vocal harmonies. "After the Ball" is one of the best on the record, featuring good melodies, funky rhythms, nice combination of the flute and harmonica and has the same kind of interesting compositional structure as the opener. 

The country-influenced "You're Older Now" is probably the weakest song here, but quickly forgotten when the first side is closed with the nice "Night About Four" that reminds me slightly of a funkier and more soul-inflected version of the British band Samurai. The second side rocks a bit harder, as both "All Around You Tumble" and "Follow Me" features quite loud and rocking riffs, but still avoid being straightforward rockers. 

The atmospheric "Come and See the Day" is a pleasant song where their wide use of harmonica really comes to full effect. But "Okinavasta" is again a more upbeat and rocking song, but now with a Latin-flavoured chorus. The title-track is a short ballad where the band enters more symphonic realms, and would not been out of place on an Earth and Fire album. "The Second Day" is an interesting and often unique-sounding record that should appeal to many fans of the '70s.

1. Holiday Hideaway (R. Westerbeek, A. Bleeker, D. Wokaty) - 4:18
2. After The Ball (R. Westerbeek, A. Bleeker, D. Wokaty) - 5:02
3. You're Older Now (R. Westerbeek, John Le Grand) - 5:01
4. Night About Four (R. Westerbeek, B. Farberow) - 5:13
5. All Around You Tumble (R. Westerbeek, A. Bleeker, D. Wokaty) - 4:45
6. Come And See The Day (A. Bleeker, R. Westerbeek) - 4:18
7. Okinavasta (R. Westerbeek, Jan Van Dijk) - 3:52
8. Follow Me (R. Westerbeek, A. Bleeker, D. Wokaty) - 4:57
9. The Second Day (J. Van Dijk, R. Westerbeek, D. Wokaty) - 3:36

*Boris Farberow - Bass, Vocals
*Abdre Bleeker - Guitar
*Jan Van Dijk - Flute, Guitar, Vibraphone, Vocals
*Pieter Voogt - Percussion, Drums
*Ron Westerbeek - Organ, Vocals, Piano
*Debra Wokaty - Vocals
*John Lagrand - Harmonica

1976  Water - Damburst (2nd Album) 

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Various Artists - We Can Fly (1966-72 multiair, mod freakbeat acid psych sunny folk, five disc box set)

The five-volume We Can Fly series presented rare psychedelic rock spanning the mid-'60s to the early '70s, mostly centering on U.K. psych of the late '60s, though there's a little spillover from both the British Invasion and early prog rock eras. It's not all from the U.K., either, with a good number of entries from Continental Europe, as well as stray items from Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., and even Lebanon. This mini-sized box set compiles all five volumes, and while some of the 128 tracks have done the rounds on well-circulated compilations outside of this series, there can't be many collectors who would have all of them in one place before buying this anthology.

Though all of these cuts are unquestionably rare and as a whole representative of the scope of psychedelia in its British or British-derived form, they're pretty erratic in artistic quality, no matter what your taste. Some of these are unquestioned rare psych monsters that sound like tracks that should have qualified for the Nuggets II box of non-U.S. '60s freakbeat/psychedelia but somehow missed the cut. Among those near-masterpieces are the Lords' "Don't Mince Matter" (from Germany); 

Episode Six's brilliant "I Can See Through You," which is both tough and dreamy; Keith Relf's florid solo single "Shapes in My Mind," which hasn't been too easy to find on CD; the Afex's bopping mod rocker "She's Got the Time"; the Bunch's overlooked fanciful but melancholic "Looking Glass Alice"; the Peep Show's hazy "Mazy"; the Mickey Finn's crunchy "Garden of My Mind"; and Peter Cook & Dudley Moore's great psychedelic spoof "The L.S. Bumble Bee," often mistakenly bootlegged as a Beatles outtake, and surprisingly rarely reissued. There are also off the beaten path items by well-known or fairly well-known acts like Shocking Blue, the Mindbenders, Jackie Lomax, Terry Reid, Eire Apparent, Kim Fowley, Murray Head, Mick Softley, the Smoke, and East of Eden that, though not their best work, haven't been too widely heard.

Much of this box, however, has some fairly generic or even mediocre psychedelia that sounds like it might be championed by the odd collector here and there, but certainly wouldn't be recognized as consensus picks among the cream of the genre. In that sense, it often sounds like an alternate Nuggets II box set, Nuggets II being the major-league stars and the We Can Fly players stuck at the higher levels of the minor leagues. Sometimes the connections the artists had to major-league players are more interesting than the recordings themselves. 

The Bystanders, for instance, evolved into Man; the Cedars (from Lebanon, of course) were produced by Tony Hicks of the Hollies; Italian singer Giorgio is Donna Summer producer Giorgio Moroder; the Glass Menagerie were produced by Chas Chandler; Kippington Lodge had a young Nick Lowe in the lineup; the Iveys became Badfinger; Tangerine Peel were led by Mike Chapman; Trash were on Apple Records without releasing an LP; Danny McCulloch had been in Eric Burdon & the Animals; etc. All those loose ends and more are tied up in the 84-page booklet, which has plenty of information about the bands and their releases.
by Richie Unterberger

Disc 1 
1. The Penny Peeps - Model Village - 2:53 
2. The Loot - Try To Keep It A Secret - 3:11 
3. The Moving Finger - Pain Of My Misfortune - 2:32 
4. Anan - I Wonder Where My Sister's Gone - 2:50 
5. The Peep Show - Mazy - 3:07 
6. The Glass Menagerie - Fredrick Jordan - 3:16 
7. The Bunch - Looking Glass Alice - 2:34 
8. The Neat Change - I Lied To Auntie May - 2:18 
9. The Movement - Tell Her - 2:37 
10.Sands - Mrs. Gillespie's Refrigerator - 2:05 
11.Kippington Lodge - I Can See Her Face - 2:14 
12.Infantes Jubilate - Exploding Galaxy - 2:20 
13.The Smoke - That's What I Want - 2:27 
14.The QPR Supporters - Supporters, Support Us - 2:49 
15.Trash - Trash Can - 4:50 
16.The Orange Machine - Real Life Permanent Dream - 3:11 
17.Serendipity - Castles - 3:31 
18.The Mickey Finn - Garden Of My Mind - 2:31 
19.The Kytes - Running Through The Water - 2:34 
20.Portobello Explosion - We Can Fly - 2:44 
21.The Fox - Hey! Mr. Carpenter - 2:39 
22.The Mooche - Hot Smoke & Sassafras - 3:11 
23.The Fruit Machine - The Wall - 2:42 
24.The Image - Creation - 2:31 
25.Episode Six - Love, Hate, Revenge - 2:55 
26.Peter Cook & Dudley Moore - The L.S. Bumble Bee - 2:45 
Track No. 22 "Groovin' Slow" by "The Sound Barrier" although is listed on the CD credits was dropped probably due of copyright reasons. There are only 26 tracks on the CD. 

Disc 2 
1. Shy Limbs - Trick Or Two - 2:06 
2. Brainbox - Amsterdam, The First Days - 3:10 
3. The Cedars - Hide If You Want To Hide - 2:34 
4. Pugh - Love Love Love - 3:16 
5. The Lords - Don't Mince Matter - 3:51 
6. The Nite People - Love, Love, Love - 3:13 
7. The Montanas - Difference Of Opinion - 2:43 
8. The Julian Kirsch - Clever Little Man - 3:25 
9. Blonde On Blonde - All Day, All Night - 3:37 
10.Avalanche - Rabbits - 3:49 
11.West Coast Consortium - Colour Sergeant Lillywhite - 3:07 
12.The Tages - Fuzzy Patterns - 2:00 
13.The Mirage - Hold On - 2:22 
14.The Petards - Tartarex - 2:59 
15.The Bystanders - Cave Of Clear Light - 3:43 
16.A.P. Dangerfield - Conversations (In A Station Light Refreshment Bar) - 2:45 
17.A.P. Dangerfield - Further Conversations - 2:14 
18.The Blinkers - Original Sin - 3:55 
19.Danny McCulloch - Colour Of The Sunset - 2:42 
20.Joy Unlimited - Mr. Pseudonym - 3:47 
21.Moonshine - Garden Of Men - 3:40 
Track No. 5 "Stoned Out Of It" by "John Fitch And Associates" although is listed on the CD credits, was dropped probably because of copyright reasons. Officially there are only 21 tracks on the CD.

Disc 3 
1. The Magicians - Painting On Wood - 5:53
2. O' Hara's Playboys - The Ballad Of The Soon Departed - 2:31
3. St. John & The Crew - I'm A Man - 3:14
4. Murray Head - She Was Perfection - 2:47
5. Tales Of Justine - Monday Morning - 3:22
6. I Corvi - Sospesa Ad Un Filo - 2:34
7. Made In Sheffield - Amelia Jane - 2:32
8. The Mecki Mark Men - Free - 4:10
9. The Afex - She's Got The Time - 2:28
10.Jackie Lomax - Genuine Imitation Life - 3:32
11.Los Brincos - Passport - 2:52
12.The Excelsior Spring - It - 1:52
13.Daddy Lindberg - Wade In The Shade - 1:57
14.Pesky Gee - Where Is My Mind - 3:00
15.Cherry Smash - Sing Songs Of Love - 3:03
16.Mick Softley - Am I The Red One - 2:29
17.Callan & John - House Of Delight - 3:17
18.Brut - My Kind Of Feeling - 2:46
19.The Washington D.C.'s - Seek & Find - 2:08
20.The Sugarbeats - Alice Designs - 2:31
21.The League - Hey Conductor - 2:34
22.Shocking Blue - Send Me A Postcard - 2:34
23.The New Generation - Digger - 4:06
24.The Fox - Secondhand Love - 3:07
25.Bulldog Breed - Paper Man - 3:19

Disc 4 
1. Brass Tacks - Maxwell Ferguson - 2:46
2. Neo Maya - I Won't Hurt You - 2:32
3. Russell Morris - The Real Thing (Part 1,2) - 6:18
4. The Rokes - When The Wind Arises - 3:19
5. Eire Apparent - Here I Go Again - 2:11
6. Wimple Winch - I Really Love You - 3:41
7. Keith Shields - So Hard Living Without You - 3:21
8. ''14'' - Drizzle - 2:08
9.Lucas Tyson - Daylight Child - 3:29
10.Hopscotch - Look At The Lights Go Up - 2:17
11.The Truth - Sueno - 3:04
12.The Bunch - We're Not What We Appear To Be - 2:21
13.Griffin - I Am The Noise In Your Head - 3:56
14.Five Steps Beyond - No So Young Today - 2:48
15.Tangerine - Trapped - 2:23
16.Los Canarios - What Can I Do For You - 2:35
17.Strange Fox - Time And Tide - 4:19
18.The Mint - Love By Numbers - 2:23
19.Orange Machine - Dr. Crippen's Waiting Room - 3:02
20.The Ferris Wheel - I Can't Break The Habit - 2:14
21.The Beatstalkers - Sugar Chocolate M;achine - 2:17
22.The Mindbenders - My New Day And Age - 3:03
23.Les Baroques - Love Is The Sun - 2:12
24.Terry Reid - Fires Alive - 2:52
25.Magnet - Mr. Guy Fawkes - 3:57

Disc 5
1. Circus - Do You Dream - 3:07
2. Harsh Reality - How Do You Feel - 3:06
3. The Iveys - And Her Daddy's A Millionaire - 2:06
4. Old Gold - Teacher Of Electricity - 2:11
5. The Human Instinct - Rich Man - 2:41
6. Keith Relf - Shapes In My Mind - 2:16
7. Episode Six - I Can See Through You - 3:25
8. Gnomes Of Zurich - Second Fiddle - 2:18
9. Saker - Foggy Tuesday - 3:24
10.Kim Fowley - Lights - 2:17
11.The Loot - Radio City - 2:08
12.The Bunch - Spare A Shilling - 2:27
13.The Montanas - Anyone There - 2:34
14.Groep 1850 - Friday I'm Free - 2:51
15.Chris McClure - Meditation - 2:20
16.The Fruit Machine - Follow Me - 2:51
17.Giorgio - How Much Longer Must I Wait, Wait - 2:22
18.East Of Eden - Ballad Of Harvey Kaye - 2:07
19.I Corvi - Un Ragazzo Di Strada - 2:21
20.Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera - Salisbury Plain - 2:35
21.The Gibsons - City Life - 2:58
22.Orange Peel - I Got No Time - 2:46
23.The Mirage - And Life Goes On - 2:14
24.The Cedars - I Don't Know Why - 2:12
25.Cuby & The Blizzards - Appleknockers Flophouse - 2:29
26.Silver Eagle - Theodore - 2:45
27.Nite People - P.M. - 2:56
28.The Nocturnes - Look At Me - 3:08
29.Danny McCulloch - Smokeless Zone - 2:01

Psychic Circle compilations
1961-64  Phantom Guitars: A Cool Collection of Twangin' Instrumentals
1966-72  With The Sun In My Eyes
1968-72  White Lace And Strange
1968-72  The Room Of Loud Sounds
1964-69  Realistic Patterns Orchestrated Psychedelia
1965-69  Wednesday Morning Dew 
1965-70  The Electric Coffee House 
1965-70  The Golden Road The Electric Coffee House Vol.2
1969-73  Cosmarama
1969-74  Blow Your Cool: 20 Prog Psych Assaults
1969-74  Lovin’ Fire 20 Obscure Gems
1970-77  A Visit To The Spaceship Factory

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sproton Layer - With Magnetic Fields Disrupted (1970 us, experimental psych early prog, 2011 issue)

In March of 1969, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Miller brothers Roger (17), Benjamin (15) and Laurence (15) had a mind-altering improvisation session on guitar, bass and drums in their basement.  They called it "Freak Trio Electric", and none of them, or their views on music, were the same after this event.  A few days later, after repeated and amazed listening to the tape - "Sounds like Pink Floyd cut with Captain Beefheart!" wrote Roger in his journal - they decided to form a band.  

Roger wrote many songs that spring incorporating riffs and motifs from their improvisations.  Later that year they added trumpeter Harold Kirchen (brother of Bill Kirchen of Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen fame) and changed their name to Sproton Layer.  Benjamin and Laurence began composing around this time.

Their music was most definitely psychedelic, with many songs based on the "Toke Mythology."  The band played approximately 20 shows in 1969 and 1970 before folding in the fall of 1970 due to the conservative direction rock music was now moving.

In late summer 1970, they recorded an album's worth of material with classmate Mark Brahce engineering, again in their parents' basement.  Good friend Arnold Lelis drew the front cover illustration. This album, "With Magnetic Fields Disrupted", was released 23 years later on New Alliance, along with a 3-song 45rpm single from their 1969 recording sessions, to very little notice.

The album was first released in 1991 by New Alliance Records, but it did not catch much recognition among the '60's collector freaks. Here is the next chance to discover the whole story of one of the ?almost forgotten? US underground art-performance groups. Forty minutes long, the album was remastered from the original tapes creating a fresh, organic and punchy sound. 

The booklet features extended band info and about four dozen artifacts including drawings, set lists, photographs, journal entries and more. After Sproton Layer, all Miller brothers contributed to numerous bands such as Destroy All Monsters, Mission Of Burma, and M3 ? Truly a mind-expanding album!

1. Gift - 2:44
2. Pretty Pictures Now - 4:42
3. In the Sun - 2:53
4. Sister Regis - 1:58
5. Bush - 1:57
6. Tidal Wave (L. Miller, B. Miller, R. Miller) - 4:25
7. Up - 2:54
8. The Blessing Of The Dawn Source (Benjamin Miller) - 3:46
9. Nocturnal Mission - 3:30
10.Point Of View - 2:42
11.New Air - 4:08
12.The Wonderful Rise - 4:32
All songs by Roger Miller except where indicated

Sproton Layer
*Benjamin Miller - Guitars, Vocals
*Larry Miller - Drums
*Roger Miller - Bass, Vocals
*Harold Kirchen - Trumpet

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hunger - Strictly From Hunger And The Lost Album (1969 us, spectacular heavy psych, akarma edition)

By 1968 The Hunger! were on the verge of stardom. Having already headlined with Cream, Zappa, Neil Young and The Byrds, this now relatively unknown band were scheduled to play the Hollywood Bowl with The Young Rascals and Janis Joplin.

In a cruel twist of fate their equipment was stolen twice by the mob, and the group disbanded to be left wondering what might have been. But for these misfortunes Hunger might have amounted to more than just a record collector’s relic.

Hailing from Portland Oregon, The Hunger! had moved down to Los Angeles in the late sixties where they began to gain popularity amongst the burgeoning West Coast psychedelic scene.

Their sole album, Strictly From Hunger! was released on Public! Records in 1968 and is very much in keeping with the more prominent psych-rock bands of the Californian scene, inhabiting the same musical sphere as The Strawberry Alarm Clock, The Doors and Jefferson Airplane. All of the tracks are predominately organ lead with an emphasis on a heavy “swinging sixties” groove, orchestrated by some fantastic bass work by Tom Tanory and the rock steady drumming of Bill Daffern.

That is not saying, however, that the album is cast in the mould of sunshine/flower pop. Strictly From Hunger! certainly has it’s darker and heavier moments and there is an inescapable feeling of melancholy throughout the course of the record. The vocals (Parkinson, Daffern and Morton all take turns on various tracks) move between paranoia and despondency, highlighting the subtly surreal lyrics with minor melodies punctuated by the odd frenetic fuzz-guitar solo.

The band really could play, and it shows especially the wailing guitar solo on the instrumental jam “Portland 69” or the truly marvellous change up mid way through “The Truth”. Tracks like “Mind Machine” can’t fail to bring a smile to your face, as unashamedly redolent of the late sixties as “Incense and Peppermints”.

Elsewhere “Colours” appears broodingly sinister with its militant drum beat and echo-laden vocals and Morton’s guitar rides the heavy drum break into the stratosphere on “Trying to Make the Best” which is reprised in an extended form for the album closer (this track was also bizarrely put out as a single titled “Not So Fine” by the band calling themselves The Touch).

From this sole offering, it is easy to see that The Hunger! had a terrific amount of promise and if fate hadn’t stood in their way, maybe they would have become a household name, as much respected and influential as their West Coast contemporaries. 
by  Gerard Fannon

1. Colors (Mike Lane) - 2:04
2. Workshop (Lane, Parkinson, Daffern, Morton, Tanory, Hansen) - 4:17
3. Portland (Lane, Parkinson, Daffern, Morton, Tanory, Hansen) - 5:35
4. No Shame (Art Wayne) - 2:26
5. Trying to Make the Best (Mike Parkinson) - 5:33
6. Open Your Eyes (John Morton) - 2:25
7. The Truth (J. Morton, T. Tanory) - 3:59
8. Mind Machine (Bill Daffern) - 3:30
9. She Let Him Continue (Paul Hampton) - 5:04
10.Trying to Make the Best No. 2 (Mike Parkinson) - 7:18
11.Portland 69 (Lane, Parkinson, Daffern, Morton, Tanory, Hansen) - 5:42
12.The Truth (J. Morton, T. Tanory) - 5:33
13.Open Your Eyes (John Morton) - 3:57
14.Trying to Make the Best (Version #2) (Mike Parkinson) - 7:38
15.Workshop (Lane, Parkinson, Daffern, Morton, Tanory, Hansen) - 7:16
16.She Let Him Continue (Paul Hampton) - 5:12

*Mike Lane - Vocals
*Bill Daffern - Drums, Vocals
*Steve Hansen - Rhythm Guitar
*Tom Tanory - Bass
*John Morton - Lead Guitar
*Mike Parkinson - Vocals, Keyboards
*Ed King - Lead Guitar, Bass

Related Acts
1967  The Strawberry Alarm Clock - Incense And Peppermints (2011 sundazed issue)
1968  Strawberry Alarm Clock - Wake Up...It's Tomorrow

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Tommy Flanders - The Moonstone (1969 us, magnificent folk psych, 2006 digi pack edition)

Tommy Flanders the singer of The Blues Project  departed the group after their first LP, "Live At The Cafe Au-Go-Go". In 1969 he released this, his own Solo Debut LP, The Moonstone, featuring: J. Bruce Langhorne (Guitarist with Bob Dylan; Joan Baez, etc); Dennis McCarthy, Michael Botts (Drummer with Hoyt Axton, Karla Bonoff, etc); Dick Rosmini (Guitarist with Hoyt Axton; Doug Dillard; etc); and Jerry Scheff (Bass with Hoyt Axton; Marc Benno; The Association). 

The faded, melancholy vibe herein is somewhat unsettling, as the ghost of a fairly straight acoustic pop album is dimly apparent, and Tommy's voice still sounds occasionally as positive as it did on his earlier "Violets Of Dawn”.

1. Since You've Been Gone - 2:37
2. Blue Water Blue - 3:05
3. Morning Misty Eyes (G. Meckler, T. Flanders) - 2:59
4. A Detective Story - 3:52
5. Purple And Blue - 3:40
6. The Moonstone - 4:38
7. By The Mailbox We Stood - 3:16
8. Angel Of Mercy - 3:42
9. Boston Girls - 3:08
10.Sleepin' - 3:50
11.She's My Love - 4:44
All compositions by Tommy Flanders unless as else stated

*Tommy Flanders - Vocals
*J. Bruce Langhorne - Guitar
*Michael Botts - Drums
*Dick Rosmini - Guitar, Keyboards
*Jerry Scheff - Bass

Related Act
1966  The Blues Project - Live At The Cafe Au Go Go (2013 Japan SHM double disc set)
1971-72  The Blues Project - Lazarus / The Blues Project

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Witch - We Intend To Cause Havoc (1972-77 zambia, the complete works of legendary garage, psych, prog, funk, afro-rock ensemble, true masterwork, four discs box set, 2012 release)

A pioneering group from the nation of Zambia, Witch (the name was an acronym, standing for We Intend To Cause Havoc) were one of the defining acts of Zamrock, a fusion of Western rock and rhythm & blues with traditional African sounds; they were among Zambia's most popular and influential bands in the 1970s as a wave of psychedelic and hard rock gained an audience in Africa. 

A landlocked nation in the South of Africa, Zambia was formerly Northern Rhodesia until gaining its independence in 1964, and as Zambia established its own national identity, local musicians began embracing the progressive influences of artists such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Jimi Hendrix, as well as the forward-thinking soul and funk sounds of James Brown. 

By the mid-'70s, Zambia was falling into political chaos as the nation's once profitable mining industry ran dry, and many Zamrock bands reflected this with a darker, more psychedelic-influenced sound that suggested a familiarity with the likes of Deep Purple and Grand Funk Railroad. 

Witch included vocalist Emanyeo "Jagari" Chanda, guitarists Chris Mbewe and John Muma, bassist Gedeon Mulenga, and drummer Boidi Sinkala, who were veterans of Zambian cover bands of the late '60s; Chanda (whose nickname "Jagari" came from his fascination with Mick Jagger, one of his strongest influences) had worked with the Red Balloons and the Boyfriends (the latter group would evolve into another key Zamrock outfit, Peace), while most of the other members were members of Kingston Market. In 1971, Chanda sang with Kingston Market at a school function, and he was soon invited to join the group; they soon changed their name to the Mighty Witch, and then simply Witch, using the acronym they'd coined as explanation. Fueled by marijuana and Western rock and soul, the group's debut album, Introduction, was released in 1972, and was among the first commercially released LPs issued in Zambia. 

Witch's third album, 1975's Lazy Bones!!, is generally regarded as their finest work; while they were hampered by the primitive recording technology available in Africa, they developed a large following in Zambia and were playing stadium-sized shows throughout the continent.

After Witch toured as an opening act for Osibisa, the U.K.-based Afro-rock band, they began including more local influences on their final two albums, Lukombo Vibes and Including Janet (Single), but in 1977 the group began to splinter when Chanda left the band to return to school and become a teacher, and the rise of disco and loss of venues for live music did the rest. 

Chanda also became a born-again Christian, which he cites as one of the reason he avoided the fate that befell his bandmates; as the AIDS epidemic swept through Africa, the Zambian musical community was hit especially hard, and like most key Zamrock musicians of the 1970s, Mbewe, Muma, Mulenga, and Sinkala all succumbed to the disease. 

In the 21st century, crate diggers interested in idiosyncratic rock sounds from around the world rediscovered Witch, and the German reissue label Shadoks brought out new CD editions of Introduction and Lazy Bones!! In 2012 the American label Now Again Records released a comprehensive Witch box set that featured their five studio albums plus a bonus collection of single tracks and unreleased material. 
by Mark Deming 

Witch's five albums and rare 7" tracks presented as a 4CD box set, restored and remastered from the original tapes. Contains a twenty-four page booklet with never before seen photos and ephemera; extensive liner notes and annotation; an interview with bandleader 'Jagari' Chanda. By the mid 1970s, the Southern African nation known as the Republic of Zambia had fallen on hard times: self-imposed, single party rule; a decline in prices for the country's largest natural resource, copper; conflict in other countries on Zambia's borders. 

This is the environment in which the Zamrock scene that flourished throughout that decade emerged... fuzz guitars were commonplace, driving rhythms as influenced by James Brown's funk as Jimi Hendrix's rock predominated, musical themes were often bleak and bands largely sang in the country's constitutional language, English. Although Witch is the best known Zamrock ensemble and although they succeeded in releasing five albums in Zamrock's golden years -- they never made an impact on the global scale in, say, the way afro-beat maestro Fela Kuti did. Travel to and within Zambia is expensive, and the markers for the Zamrock scene are now few. 

Only a small number of the original Zamrock godfathers survived the AIDS epidemic that decimated this country. Witch's musical arc is contained to a five year span: The band's first two, self-produced albums, released in unison with the birth of the commercial Zambian recording industry, are exuberant experiments in garage rock, and are as influenced by the Rolling Stones as they are James Brown; their third albun, Lazy Bones!! is the band's masterpiece, a dark, brooding psychedelic opus that makes equal use of wah-wah and fuzz guitars, that relies as heavily on the stomping feel of hard rock as it does the syncopation of funk; the band's last two albums, recorded after the band toured with Osibisa, make use of traditional Zambian rhythms and folk melodies and are the most 'afro-rock'of Witch's oeuvre." 

Disc 1  Introduction and In The Past
1. Introduction - 3:45
2. Home Town - 4:21
3. You Better Now - 3:29
4. Feeling High - 3:37
5. Like A Chicken - 3:10
6. See Your Mama - 4:34
7. That’s What I Want - 3:01
8. Try Me - 4:23
9. No Time - 4:33
10. Living In the Past - 5:44
11. Young Lady - 3:51
12. Chance - 3:10
13. It’s Alright - 3:29
14. I’ve Been Away - 2:39
15. I Like The Way I Am - 4:52
16. The Only Way - 3:58
17. Smiling Face - 3:45
18. She Is Mine - 3:31
19. Mashed Potato - 4:05

Disc 2  Lazy Bones!! and Bonus Tracks
1. Black Tears - 4:54
2. Motherless Child -3:57 
3. Tooth Factory - 4:34
4. Strange Dream - 3:17
5. Look Out - 4:04
6. Havoc - 4:28
7. October Night - 4:39
8. Off My Boots - 2:55
9. Lazy Bones - 4:02
10. Little Clown - 3:29
11. Talking Universe - 5:18
12. Evil Woman - 6:00
13. Sweet Sixteen - 3:06
14. Toloka - 4:06
15. 81st Crowd Confusion - 3:48
16. Up The Sky - 3:41

Disc 3  Lukombo Vibes and Bonus Tracks
1. Thou Shalt Not Cry - 4:50
2. Bleeding Thunder - 5:15
3. Devil’s Flight - 4:32
4. Blood Donor - 4:44
5. Nasauka - 4:13
6. Evening Of My Life - 5:23
7. Kangalaitoito - 3:42
8. See Saw - 5:25
9. Chifundo - 5:10
10.Fool’s Ride - 3:26

Disc 4  Including Janet (Hit Single)
1. Janet - 4:48
2. As Days Go By - 3:17
3. Ntedelakumbi - 4:05
4. In Flight - 3:27
5. Nazingwa - 4:23
6. Silver Lady - 3:56
7. Anyinamwana - 4:08
8. Mama Feel Good - 5:19
9. The Way I Feel - 5:10

*Emanyeo Jagari Chanda - Cowbell, Maracas, Vocals
*Chris Mbewe - Guitar, Vocals
*Gedeon Mulenga - Bass
*John Muma - Guitar, Vocals, Wah Wah Guitar
*Boidi Sinkals - Drums

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Corpus - Creation A Child (1971 us, spectacular texas hard acid rock, 2011 Axis remaster)

'Underrated, partly outstanding ballsy 1970s rock album in the Texas style, which means good production, strong vocals, and solid playing all around. Some of it is rootsy blues-rock which wins out on pure class and power, but the highlights are undoubtedly two psych-flavored epics that could easily slide onto the Garrett Lund or D.R. Hooker LPs: the nocturnal, moodily jazz-tinged Mythical Dream and the even better Joy, whose combination of soaring vocals and superbly controlled feedback licks will have any fan of 70s private press sounds flip out... 

The music is given additional appeal by realistic lyrics about relationships and fatherhood, planned and unplanned, that retain a male perspective without degenerating into macho cliches. I bet these guys were local heroes among kids cruising around Corpus, and in another time and place they would have hit the big time. Despite reservations, impressive and a must hear for 1970s rock fans, while undoubtedly too much 'classic rock' for '60s guys. A marvy cosmic yet primitive sleeve adds bonus points'.
The Acid Archives

1. Cruising - 3:51
2. Joy - 6:20
3. Marriage - 3:38
4. Creation A Child - 6:54
5. Just A Man - 3:17
6. We Can Make It, Luv - 2:30
7. Not Mine - 3:31
8. Where Is She? - 3:36
9. Mythical Dream - 4:55
All songs by W. Grate, J. Castillo, F. Lianes, R. Deleon and G. Pena Jr.

*William Grate - Lead Guitar, Background Vocals
*James Castillo (Beaver) - Bass
*Frudy Lianes - Drums
*Richard Deleon (De-De) - Rhythm Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Gilbert Pena Jr. - Lyrics

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Elderberry Jak - Long Overdue (1970 us, terrific psych rock melted with blues and folk, Gear Fab edition)

Imagine a time: Without cable TV, when more in-home screens  were black-andwhite than color. When FM radio stations were exceptions, not rules. When interstates and other four-lane highways were  in their infancy. We're talking more than 40 years ago, when much of the world seemed far more distant than now for those of us growing up on the north end of the Appalachian coal fields. It was a time when local musicians with dreams of rock 'n' roll success weren't sure music's stars could ever shine on someone from  these parts.

Elderberry Jak changed that with the release of "Long Overdue," on Nashville-based Silver Fox Records, which was owned by singer Kenny Rogers' brother Leland. Now, anyone with a computer can put their music in front of millions of potential listeners without ever leaving home. They just record the songs and upload them to Web sites like Randy Worsham, a singer/songwriter I played bass for in Spingfield, Mo., a few years ago, has done that. So has Joe Cerisano, Elderberry Jak's lead vocalist, with his more recent work. 

When "Long Overdue" first made its way onto vinyl, however, home computers as powerful as the Commodore 64, the 64 standing for 64 kilobytes of random access memory, were still on the drawing board. Most of us send email photos today that are larger than 64K! Back then, the hotspots in the still-young rock universe seemed as far away from north central West Virginia as the stars in Orion's belt. Things were happening in L.A., London and New York. Geez; Pittsburgh was a two-hour trip back then! Many of us who practiced in garages to play weekends in tiny little clubs around there took heart and hope in Elderberry Jak's success. Heck, I played covers of several "Long Overdue" cuts; "Changes," "Forest on the Mountain," Wishing Well," and "Vance's Blues."

"Little Joe," the late Dave Coombs, Joe Hartman and Tom Nicholas were several years older. I started playing locally, keyboards back then, after their debut album was recorded and released, and they'd gone on the road to support it. Dozens of Volkswagens now sit in the parking lot of what was, back then, The White House - along U.S. 119, north of Morgantown, almost to the Pennsylvania state line. To this second, I can recall the butterflies I got as a teenager the night. I first played there as a member of a Fayette County, Pa., band called Brimstone. Like the guys in Jak, my bandmates were several years my senior. A couple of them had jammed with Cerisano and Coombs when they were still part of J.B. and the Bonnevilles, pre-Elderberry Jak. All night long during that first White House gig, I willed us to be as good as Jak; but not with the goal of getting a record deal. At that point, none of us had even started working on original material.

Rather, my wish simply was that we use the stage, and those four 45-minute sets, as well as Elderberry Jak did because they showed all of us that it could be done. Even coal-patch musicians from this part of the world had a shot at realizing our goals if we let the music do the talking and respected it... worked at it... as much as some of those who'd crossed that stage before us. The White House was the only nightspot I ever played that Jak had ruled around here before recording "Long Overdue." As a result, the nights spent on its stage are among my fondest musical memories. Meeting Joe Cerisano also is among them. He continues to sing songs on the soundtrack of my musical dreams.

Inspiration provided through the years by "Long Overdue" helped me achieve much of what I had hoped to in music. Some goals remain, so I keep listening to Jak to remind me that it's never too late. Some might argue; but from here, it seems Jak was ahead of its time. Listen to Hartman's pounding double-bass footwork on "Vance's Blues"and "Changes," for example. Jon Bonham, of Led Zeppelin, was playing that way back then. But most of the others - Alex Van Halen, Tommy Aldridge (Black Oak Arkansas, PatTravers and Whitesnake), Denny Carmassi (Montrose and Heart) were at least a few years away from the spotlight.

Nicholas' guitar work rivals the kind of thick, chunky and powerful hard rock riffs that helped Joe Walsh become a star with The James Gang, which he parlayed into a successful solo career and a long stint as arguably the most brash member of The Eagles. Coombs' bass made every song work. He kept the rhythm with Hartman while using every inch of his guitar's fingerboard to find just the right notes for every measure of every Jak original. Measure Cerisano's talent by the full body of his professional work. First with Jak, later with Silver Condor and as an alwaysworking studio musician, and more recently on solo releases and tours with the Trans Siberia Orchestra, "Little Joe" remains big on the ability to lend just the right touch to every lyric he sings.

What we have here is proof that these four men, together, made and played their music from the heart and soul. That this wonderful album has made its way to CD is a blessing beyond belief.
by Tim Lilley

1. Going Back Home - 3:17
2. Forrest On The Mountain (Mike Snyder) - 2:51
3. Vance's Blues - 3:47
4. Inspired (Mike Snyder) - 3:29
5. Restless Feeling - 3:40
6. Wish Me Well (Brooker, Reid) - 3:25
7. Mr. Sun - 3:43
8. My Lady - 3:45
9. Changes - 4:51
10.You're The One (Mike Snyder) - 4:01
All songs by Elderberry Jak except where noted

Elderberry Jak
*Joe Cerisano - Vocals
*Tom Nicholas - Guitar, Vocals
*Dave Coombs - Bass, Vocals
*Joe Hartman - Drums, Vocals

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