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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Chris Farlowe - Out of Time The Immediate Anthology (1965-69 uk, fabulous mod r'n'b, two disc set)

In his own time on Immediate Records, British soul shouter Chris Farlowe's output was sliced and diced and re-compiled so many times that no one even remembers the names of his original albums for the label (not that those were any better or more coherent -- Immediate founder Andrew Oldham was always so busy trying to exploit Farlowe any way he could, as one of the two or three best-selling talents on his label). 

Out of Time, subtitled "The Immediate Anthology," is the solution, its 49 songs drawn equally from Farlowe's singles, B-sides, EPs, and LP tracks, with the quality of the performances the only real deciding factor. The first half-dozen songs here could sell even the skeptics on Farlowe's talent, his renditions of "In the Midnight Hour," "Mr. Pitiful" and "Treat Her Right" are among the most convincing white soul you're ever likely to hear from either side of the Atlantic, and they also explain precisely how Farlowe was able to share a stage with Otis Redding (the equivalent of visiting royalty) on Ready, Steady Go (when Farlowe covered his first Stones' song, "Satisfaction," he used an arrangement that made it sound more like Otis than like the Stones). 

The only disadvantage is that the hits are, of necessity, spread out to two platters, but if it were solely the hits one were concerned with, then one would be getting one of those compilations, instead of this jewel, the next-best thing to a Chris Farlowe box set. The sound is never less than excellent -- and good and loud -- and the annotation is very thorough. 
by Bruce Eder

Disc 1
1. The Fool (Naomi Ford, Lee Hazlewood) - 3:02
2. Treat Her Good (Deighton) - 1:58
3. In the Midnight Hour (Steve Cropper, Wilson Pickett) - 2:19
4. Mr. Pitiful (Steve Cropper, Otis Redding) - 2:33
5. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 2:28
6. Who Can I Turn To? (Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley) - 2:31
7. Think (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 3:37
8. Don't Just Look at Me (Andrew Loog Oldham) - 2:44
9. My Colouring Book (Fred Ebb, John Kander) - 3:01
10.Lipstick Traces (Naomi Neville) - 3:18
11.Summertime (G. Gershwin, I. Gershwin, DuBose Heyward) - 4:37
12.That's No Big Thing (Dixon, Emerson) - 3:29
13.Don't Play That Song (Ahmet Ertegun, Betty Nelson) - 3:30
14.Looking for You (Doctor Ragavoy, Jerry Ragovoy) - 2:24
15.It's All over Now, Baby Blue (Bob Dylan) - 3:39
16.I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself (B. Bacharach, H. David) - 2:32
17.Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu (H. "Piano" Smith, J. Vincent) - 2:30 
18.Why Don't You Change Your Ways (Lutcher) - 3:28
19.My Girl Josephine (Fats Domino) - 2:13
20.Yesterday (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 2:30
21.Out of Time (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 3:14
22.Baby Make It Soon (Andrew Loog Oldham, Eric Woolfson) - 2:17
23.Ride on Baby (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 2:55
24.Headlines (Greenslade, Andrew Loog Oldham) - 3:25
25.What Becomes of the Broken Hearted (James Dean, Paul Riser, William Weatherspoon) - 2:40

Disc 2
1. We're Doing Fine (Horace Ott) - 2:38
2. Life Is But Nothing (A. Rose, Donald Ross Skinner) - 4:06
3. Paint It Black (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 3:00
4. Cuttin' In (Johnny "Guitar" Watson) - 2:59
5. Open the Door to Your Heart (Darrell Banks) - 2:34
6. North South East West (Farlowe, Lee) - 3:55
7. You're So Good for Me (W. Bell, A. Loog Oldham, A. Rose) - 2:15
8. It Was Easier to Hurt Her (J. Ragovoy, C. Richard, B. Russell) - 3:08
9. I'm Free (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 2:23
10.I've Been Loving You Too Long (Jerry Butler, Otis Redding) - 2:57
11.Reach Out (I'll Be There) (Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland) - 3:15
12.My Way of Giving (Ronnie Lane, Steve Marriott) - 2:34
13.Yesterday's Papers (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 2:38
14.Moanin' (Jon Hendricks, Bobby Timmons) - 2:33
15.What Have I Been Doing (Vincent Crane) - 3:53
16.Handbags and Gladrags (Michael d'Abo) - 3:58
17.Everyone Makes a Mistake (Vincent Crane) - 2:03
18.The Last Goodbye (Michael d'Abo) - 2:52
19.Paperman Fly in the Sky (Vincent Crane) - 2:47
20.I Just Need Your Lovin' (Vincent Crane) - 3:13
21.Dawn (Hammond, Waddell) - 3:49
22.April Was the Month (Vincent Crane) - 3:54
23.Moanin' (Jon Hendricks, Bobby Timmons) - 2:30
24.Paint It Black (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 3:35

*Chris Farlowe - Vocals

1970  Chris Farlowe With The Hill - From Here To Mama Rosa

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Various Artists - Raw Blues (1967 uk / us, superb electric blues)

From this modest beginning Mike Vernon was eventually able to lure several 'name' Stateside blues men to 'The Supreme Record Company's' then head offices on London's Albert Embankment, for the purpose of inking a recording contract, and thereafter driving them to West Hampstead — Decca's studio complex. Simultaneously, his was the influence which convinced some of Britain's finest home-grown exponents of the genre to follow a similar course.

This package, aptly titled Raw Blues, was assembled by Mike and issued on Decca's subsidiary 'Ace Of Clubs' label in January 1967 (ACL (Mono)/SCL (Stereo) 1220). An intriguing collection of artifacts, its wetter of big name participants may now be appreciated through the sophisticated medium of sound which is a compact disc. The technology may be smoother these days, but the blues remain as raw as ever...

A few details about the contents and its protagonists wouldn't go amiss: Bom Jackson, Mississippi, on 21 st March 1930, Otis Spann shared his parents affections with two brothers and two sisters. Product of a musically inclined family, his father Frank Euston Spann played piano and mother Josephine was formerly a guitarist with Memphis Minnie, a top vocalist who knew a good picker when she heard one, having married another Jackson six-string resident, Joe McCoy (Kansas Joe). Mot surprisingly, Otis took to music like a duck to water, adopting piano as his chosen Instrument Largely self-taught, in later life he always acknowledged the influence Big Maceo Merriweather had upon his style. Gaining confidence as a result of forming a small band with some other local juveniles, when he heard about a neighbourhood talent competition happening at the Alamo Theatre he entered and won — as a singer — performing Coot Davis' Four O'clock Blues. 

With the passing years he pursued medical studies at Jackson's Campbell College in the hope of becoming a doctor. When not buried in textbooks, he displayed a sporting prowess at boxing and football, briefly even turning professional at the latter. Between 1946 and '51 the U.S. Army called upon his time, but after discharge he relinquished all thoughts of any other occupation than music and moved to Chicago. The rest of the family had domiciled themselves there two years earlier, when mother died. Swiftly contacted by Muddy Waters, Otis joined the great guitarist/vocalist and stayed with his outfit for many years thereafter, although between 1952 and the time of this recording he'd also supplied studio accompaniment for such legends as Chuck Berry, Howlin' Wolf, Bo Diddley and Lowell Fulson. 

Visiting Britain in May 1964 for a tour, our subject recorded an acclaimed Decca LP: The Blues Of Otis Spann (LK 4615). Included here are the four additional cuts from that London session of May 4th: Pretty Girls Everywhere (a), My Home In The Desert and the McKinley Morganfield (alias Muddy Waters) duo Country Boy and You're Gonna Need My Help. Personnel: Otis Spann (Vocal, Piano); 'Brother' (Guitar); Ransom K nowli ng (Bass); Little Willie Smith (Drums); add Eric Clapton (Gtr.) on (a) only. Further south in New Orleans, seaport metropolis of Louisiana, on Independence Day 1910, was bom William Thomas 'Champion Jack' Dupree. His father was French, while mother was a descendant of the Cherokee Indian tribe. 

Tragically, both were killed when the family home burnt down during his seventh year. After spending the next seven cooped up in an institution he ran away, but not before he'd mastered the basics of singing and playing piano. Thereafter he maintained his existence by thumping the untuned pianos of seedy dubs and houses of ill-repute, acquiring the technique known as' Barrelhouse' playing thanks to prominent exponent of the art Willie Hall, otherwise billed as Drive 'em Down. 

The Depression found our subject attempting to make ends meet by taking up boxing—whence 'Champion Jack' — but by the mid-Thirties he'd joined forces with Cotton Club keyboarder Leroy Carr. Upon the tatter's early death Jack was offered the unfortunate vacancy, which he accepted. In 1940 the Okeh label added him to their roster; it was the first of a multitude of labels great and small to do so over the next thirty years, including King — where he notched a big hit on the R ' n' B charts, Walkingthe Blues, in 1955-and Atlantic. 

As blues music gained European popularity through the Fifties, many big names were lured from America to tour and occasionally record as a bonus. Big Bill Broonzy was instrumental in persuading Dupree to take the plunge, and he liked it so much that by 1960 he'd married an English giri half his age and settled in Zurich, Switzerland.  From here he was able to commute around Europe, finding appreciative audiences for his set which at that time still included some dance routines — early in his career he'd worked in vaudeville performing the tap variety.

By 1965 he was living in and working out of Denmark's capital, and the following February Mike Vernon signed him to a three album deal for Decca. The first of these, From New Orleans To Chicago (LK 4747), hit the shops in April, and included here are the two tracks from those sessions which were omitted through lack of space: Calcutta Blues (a) and the Eddie Boyd penned 24 Hours. Backed by an all-star British group, Now deservedly billed as 'The Father Of British Blues', John Mayall is rightly predominant on this collection. As one of the handful of pioneers responsible for popularizing the style in the U.K., his contribution cannot be overstated. 

The Bluesbreakers became a veritable 'nursery' for so many future stars in their formative years, and amongst the home grown contingent on display here are some of the finest. Of his two solo billings, the impassioned Burn Out Your Blind Eyes and Milkman Strut, this second title prevailed, according to Vernon's original album sleeve note, when the daily delivery to the studios saw the dairy employee wander in midway through a 'take', deposit his crate, and nonchalantly walk out slamming the door behind him...

Of John's pairing with organist Steve Anglo, it may now be revealed that for Anglo read Winwood. Owing to contractual obligations elsewhere he could not appear under his true identity when the album was published. Rhythm section duties on Long Night belonged to then Bluesbreakers' members John McVie (Bass) and drummer Aynsley Dunbar.

The Mayall and Clapton liaisons here, John's Lonely Years and Eric's instrumental Bernard Jenkins, were cut at Mike's instigation and originally issued as a back-to-back limited edition 45 on his own Purdah label. Dating from the period between the players' joint collaborations under contract to firstly Andrew Oldhams Immediate company and then Decca, (Bluesbreakers era), both were committed through a single microphone in the middle of the capital's Wessex Studios in Soho, hence the unusual sound.

At the time of its taping, Peter Green had recently been recruited to the Mayall ranks as Eric's axe wielding replacement. On his own composition, Evil Woman Blues, he displayed a mature prowess at both playing and singing despite his relative lack of experience. In time, of course, he formed Fleetwood Mac, but that's another story... Legendary purveyors of the blues from both sides of the Atlantic are gathered together in this one historical little collocation. We all owe grateful thanks to Mike Vernon for making it possible. Why wait? Just play on...
by John Tracy, London, 1987

1. Otis Spann - Pretty Girls Everywhere (Church, Williams) - 2:57
2. John Mayall - Burn Out Your Blind Eyes (Mayall) - 3:00
3. Champion Jack Dupree - Calcutta Blues (Unknown) - 4:00
4. John Mayall And Steve Anglo - Long Night (Mayall, Anglo) - 2:04
5. Otis Spann - Country Boy (Morganfiled) - 3:34
6. Curtis Jones - You Got Good Business (Jones) - 3:23
7. John Mayall And Eric Clapton - Lonely Years (Mayall) - 3:21
8. Peter Green And John Mayall - Evil Woman Blues (Green) - 4:04
9. Otis Spann - My Home In The Desert (Unknown) - 4:20
10.John Mayall - Milkman Strut (Mayall) - 2:26
11.Champion Jack Dupree - 24 Hours (Boyd) - 4:07
12.Curtis Jones - Roll Me Over (Jones) - 2:38
13.John Mayall And Eric Clapton - Bernard Jenkins (Clapton) - 3:50
14.Otis Spann - You Gonna Need My Help (Morganfield) - 3:25

*Champion Jack Dupree - Piano, Vocals
*Alexis Korner - Guitar
*Aynsley Dunbar - Drums
*John Mayall - Guitar, Harmonica, Piano, Vocals
*Peter Green - Guitar, Vocals
*Eric Clapton - Guitar, Vocals
*Curtis Jones - Piano, Vocals
*Eddie Taylor - Drums
*Otis Spann - Piano, Vocals
*Steve Anglo - Organ
*Tony Mcphee - Guitar
*Jack Fallon - Bass
*Keef Hartley - Drums
*Malcolm Pool - Bass
*Ransom Knowling - Bass
*John Mcvie - Bass
*Little Willie Smith - Drums

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