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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Brian Auger's Oblivion Express - Second Wind (1972 uk, outstanding groovy jazz psych prog rock, japan bonus track remaster)

1972 saw the first personnel change in the Oblivion Express when Scot guitarist and vocalist Alex Ligertwood joined the quartet. Second Wind was the band's third outing overall, and the first with its new singer. In typical fashion, Brian Auger upped the creative ante once again. Whereas the previous two albums -- the self-titled debut, and A Better Land -- had showcased, respectively, the mirroring jazz and pop sides of the band, Second Wind combines them regally. 

With Auger being free to arrange and play, his composing skills went through the roof. In addition, Ligertwood added to the compositional depth of the band, as evidenced by his fine work, "Truth," which opens the album with its riff-oriented jazz undercoat and rockist sheen. Ligertwood is an excellent rock vocalist, with his reedy middle-range voice and strained falsetto, he wrings the passion from his lyrics. Auger, here on B3, particularly, and on piano to a lesser degree, is simply dazzling on every track. The funky, jazzy grooves on this set are indicative of the direction Auger would mine on all of his future recordings (a fine example of their early fruit is on the driven, deep funk and roll of "Somebody Help Us.") 

The centerpiece of the album is the Eddie Harris, Auger, and Ligertwood composition, "Freedom Jazz Dance," covered by everyone from War to the Beastie Boys. Simply put, this track is the pure embodiment of "groove jazz." With its shimmering opening of elongated chords against a tight, rhythmic shuffle, it leaves room for solos, turnabout melodic improvisations, and a melody that is as serpentine as it is infectious. Second Wind is chunky grooves, wondrously complex instrumental interludes, and inspiring performances, all adding up to a solid, adventurous chapter in Oblivion Express' history. 
by Thom Jurek

1. Truth (Alex Ligertwood) - 7:46
2. Don't Look Away (J. Mullen, B. Dean, A. Ligertwood) - 6:01
3. Somebody Help Us (Brian Auger) - 6:32
4. Freedom Jazz Dance (Harris, B. Auger, A. Ligertwood) - 5:26
5. Just You, Just Me (Brian Auger) - 6:15
6. Second Wind (Brian Auger) - 6:39
7. Freedom Jazz Dance (Live in Paris, 1971) (Eddie Harris, B. Auger, A. Ligertwood) - 5:27

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

1971  Brian Auger's Oblivion Express - A Better Land (2006 japan remaster)

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Paul Revere And The Raiders - A Christmas Present... And Past (1967 us, beautiful garage beat roots 'n' roll, happy holidays)

A Christmas Present...and Past, by Paul Revere & the Raiders featuring Mark Lindsay, was one of the stranger seasonal albums ever made, which was perhaps appropriate given its release in the midst of the psychedelic '60s/Vietnam War era. Lindsay and producer/co-songwriter Terry Melcher concocted a comic, satirical take on Christmas that included sendups of President Lyndon Johnson, references to current social problems, and "A Heavy Christmas Message," which plaintively asked, "Who took the Christ out of Christmas?" Amazingly, Columbia Records reissued this odd artifact on CD in the 1990s as though it were just another collection of holiday songs. Listeners who buy it unaware are in for a surprise.
by William Ruhlmann

1.  Introduction (Lindsay, Melcher) 2:01
2.  Wear a Smile at Christmas (Lindsay, Melcher) 1:32
3.  Jingle Bells (Pierpont) 3:07
4.  Brotherly Love (Lindsay, Melcher) 2:09
5.  Rain, Sleet, Snow (Lindsay, Melcher) 2:51
6.  Peace (Lindsay, Melcher) 3:17
7.  Valley Forge (Lindsay, Melcher) 3:02
8.  Dear Mr. Claus (Lindsay, Melcher) 2:33
9.  Macy's Window (Lindsay, Melcher) 1:29
10.Christmas Spirit (Lindsay, Melcher) 2:02
11.A Heavy Christmas Message (Lindsay, Melcher) 3:15

Paul Revere And The Raiders
*Mark Lindsay - Vocals, Saxophone
*Charlie Coe - Bass Guitar
*Drake "Kid" Levin - Lead Guitar
*Freddy Weller - Lead Guitar
*Joe Correro, Jr. - Drums

1963-65  Paul Revere And The Raiders - Mojo Work Out
1970  Mark Lindsay - Arizona / Silverbird

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