Frankie Miller made his name on the English pub rock circuit of the early '70s, and spent around a decade and a half cutting albums of traditional R'n'B, rock 'n' roll, and country-rock. In addition to his recorded legacy as an avatar of American roots music, his original material was covered by artists from the worlds of rock, blues, and country, from Bob Seger and Bonnie Tyler to Lou Ann Barton and the Bellamy Brothers. And Miller himself scored a surprise U.K. Top Ten smash in 1978 with "Darlin'," giving his likable, soulful style the popular airing many fans felt it deserved all along.
Frankie Miller was born November 2, 1949, in Glasgow, Scotland; he began singing with local bands beginning in 1967, in a style influenced by American soul singers like Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Otis Redding. After a few years, he moved to the more fertile music scene in London, where he soon met ex-Procol Harum guitarist Robin Trower in the summer of 1971. Impressed with Miller's talents as a raw soul belter in the vein of a Rod Stewart or Joe Cocker, Trower offered him a job as lead vocalist of his new band Jude. It wasn't to be Miller's big break, though; internal conflicts split the group apart by the following year, and Miller returned to the London pub rock circuit.
During 1972, he made frequent appearances at the Tally Ho in Kentish Town, often sitting in with Brinsley Schwarz, and signed a solo record deal with Chrysalis. Using the Brinsleys as a backing band, Miller recorded his debut album, "Once in a Blue Moon". That alone is reason enough to own this record. Add to that a nice batch of songs (mostly originals) and you have an enjoyable album.
by Steve Huey
1. You Dont Need To Laugh (To Be Happy) - 3:32
2. I Can't Change It - 3:11
3. Candlelight Sonata In F Major - 2:35
4. Ann Eliza Jane - 3:05
5. It's All Over - 2:39
6. In No Resistance - 3:02
7. After All (I Live My Life) (J.Doris, Frankie Miller) - 3:43
8. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues (Bob Dylan) - 4:04
9. Mail Box - 3:15
10.I'm Ready (Willie Dixon) - 3:10
All compositions by Frankie Miller except where stated
Combining the Sensational Alex Harvey Band's third and fourth albums, The Impossible Dream and Tomorrow Belongs To Me, offers perhaps the archetypal vision of Alex Harvey, as his long-nurtured alter-ego, the comic book hero Vambo, finally burst out of imagination to take on a life of his own on stages across the world. Yet what would become the group's most successful albums also stand as their patchiest.
From The Impossible Dream, "River Of Love," "Long Hair Music," and "Weights Made Of Lead" seem particularly throwaway; casualties, perhaps, of the sheer volume of live work which the band was putting in. Certainly there was nothing to rival its predecessors' "Faith Healer," "Next," or "Isabel Goudie," although when the album was good, it was great. The sparkling "Sergeant Fury" and "Tomahawk Kid," a dramatic (if slightly off-kilter) tribute to Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island were already live staples, while the impossibly moving, and so aptly-titled "Anthem" would allow Harvey to live out all his Scottish pride -- when SAHB toured the US in early 1975, he even arranged for a couple of bagpipers to join them on stage for the closing minutes of the song.
Tomorrow Belongs To Me is weaker still, despite the uniform excellence of its contents onstage. Indeed, like Impossible Dream's "Hot City Symphony," the epic "Give My Compliments To The Chef" and "Tale Of The Giant Stone-Eater" were surely designed with live, as opposed to studio, dynamics in mind, while the bulk of the shorter pieces once more tend to be throwaways. Again, however, there are exceptions -- one can readily imagine "Sgt. Fury" swaggering carelessly down through menacing shadows of "Action Strasse," while the almost religious intensity with which Harvey emotes the title track (from the stage show Cabaret) is virtually worth the price of admission alone.
One can also safely say that, linked on one CD, the two albums work better as a whole than they ever did alone -- again, testament to the sheer dynamic of SAHB-period live shows. That the best of that show is preserved only on the criminally short album Live on the Test only adds to this set's vitality. Live on the Test showcases the best, but you should hear the rest.
by Dave Thompson
Disc 1 The Impossible Dream 1974
1. Hot City Symphony Part 1: Vambo (A. Harvey, H. McKenna, Z. Cleminson) - 5:03
2. Hot City Symphony Part 2: Man In The Jar (A. Harvey, H. McKenna, D.Batchelor) - 8:17
3. River Of Love (A. Harvey, H. McKenna, Z. Cleminson) - 3:11
4. Long Hair Music (A. Harvey, H. McKenna, Z. Cleminson) - 4:36
5. Hey (A. Harvey, H. McKenna, D.Batchelor) - 0:38
6. Sergeant Fury (A. Harvey, H. McKenna, D.Batchelor) - 3:28
9. Tomahawk Kid (A. Harvey, H. McKenna, D.Batchelor) - 4:34
10.Anthem (A. Harvey, H. McKenna, D.Batchelor) - 7:45
Disc 2 Tomorrow Belongs to Me 1975
1. Action Strasse (A. Harvey, H. McKenna, Z. Cleminson) - 3:16
2. Snake Bite (A. Harvey) - 3:55
3. Soul In Chains (A. Harvey, H. McKenna, Z. Cleminson, D.Batchelor) - 3:54
4. The Tale Of The Giant Stoneater (A. Harvey, H. McKenna) - 7:20
5. Ribs And Balls (A. Harvey, G. Glen) - 1:53
6. Give My Compliments To The Chef (A. Harvey, H. McKenna, Z. Cleminson) - 5:32
7. Shark's Teeth (A. Harvey, Z. Cleminson) - 4:54
8. Shake That Thing (A. Harvey) - 4:05
9. Tomorrow Belongs To Me (Fred Ebb, John Kander) - 3:47
10.To Be Continued...(Hail Vibrania!) (A. Harvey, Z. Cleminson) - 0:56
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band
*Alex Harvey - Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
*Zal Cleminson - Guitar
*Chris Glen - Bass Guitar
*Hugh McKenna - Keyboards, Synthesizer
*Ted McKenna - Drums With
*Vicky Silva - Vocals
*Barry St. John, Liza Strike, Vicki Brown – Backing Vocals
Whether it was creative fervor or contractual obligation, Jesse Colin Young was back with a new album only six months after his commercial and artistic breakthrough with Song for Juli, and though the album featured more original songs, Young seemed to be stretching for material, turning the three tunes on side one into a "California Suite" with lots of jazzy instrumental work. Many of Young's backup musicians -- notably drummer Jeffrey Myer, keyboardist Scott Lawrence and reed player Jim Rothermel -- had been with him for a while now and were playing like a tight band.
Some of the songs were little more than weather reports ("Grey Day") or travelogues ("Barbados"), and when Young did have a message to convey, as in the title song (repeated from the Youngbloods' Good and Dusty album), he could come off as preachy, but the music was so delightful that none of that mattered much. Fans made it Young's highest-charting album yet, and it ranks with Song for Juli as his biggest seller.
by William Ruhlmann
1. California Child - 2:23
2. Grey Day - 11:19
3. Light Shine - 5:25
4. Pretty And The Fair - 2:37
5. Barbardos - 2:58
6. Motorcycle Blues - 2:40
7. The Cuckoo (Traditional) 6:53
8. Susan - 4:21
All songs by Jesse Colin Young except where indicated
*Jesse Colin Young - Vocals Guitar
*Jeffrey Myer - Drums, Congas, Percussion
*Scott Lawrence - Piano, Keyboards, Harmonies
*Kelly Bryan, Bass
*Jim Rothermel - Alto, Soprano Sax, Flute, Clarinet, Recorder, Harmonica
*Ozzie Ahlers - Electric Piano
*Marty David - Bass
*Jerry Corbitt, Suzi Young - Harmonies
Though Paul Revere and the Raiders was a quintessentially American band, it’s the Australian label Raven Records that’s bringing the first Raiders-related release of 2013. The group’s first five Columbia Records albums, originally released between 1965 and 1967, are being compiled on two discs as Evolution to Revolution: 5 Classic Albums 1965-1967. Available on March 12, Evolution contains the entirety of Here They Come! (1965), Just like Us! (1965), Midnight Ride (1966), The Spirit of ‘67 (1966) and Revolution! (1967).
Led by Paul Revere (born Paul Revere Dick) on piano and organ, and Mark Lindsay on vocals and saxophone, The Raiders were doubtless one of the most successful bands to come out of the fertile Pacific Northwest music scene. It was a bumpy start; the group first rose to prominence in 1963 on the strength of their rendition of Richard Berry’s controversial rocker “Louie, Louie.” But The Kingsmen got to it around the same time, recording it in the very same Portland, Oregon studio as Revere’s band. It’s lost to time as to which version was released first, but one fact is clear:
The Kingsmen’s version reached No. 2 on the charts, while The Raiders’ version stalled at No. 103. You can’t keep a good band down, though, and 1965’s “Steppin’ Out,” co-written by Revere and Lindsay and produced by Terry Melcher, set the wheels in motion for the group’s biggest successes. The Raiders were selected by Dick Clark to appear on his ABC after-school program, Where the Action Is!, bringing to television as well as records their blend of proto-punk garage rock, strong R&B roots, and irresistible pop sensibility.
The band – also including Phil “Fang” Volk, Mike “Smitty” Smith and Drake Levin in its heyday - memorably defied the British invasion, going so far as to make Revolutionary War costumes (inspired by Revere’s name, natch) their eye-catching attire. After “Steppin’ Out” (included on 1965’s sophomore Columbia album Just Like Us!) and its No. 65 chart placement, the hits just kept on coming for Paul, Mark and the band. “Just Like Me” topped its predecessor at No. 11, with a prominent organ part keeping the band true to its garage sound.
Much as he helped foment the folk-rock sound with The Byrds, producer Terry Melcher surely deserves much of the credit for shaping the sonic signature of Paul Revere and the Raiders, although he never boxed them into one style. Brill Building mainstays Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil were tapped, and delivered to the Raiders their most enduring hit: 1966’s No. 4 single “Kicks,” inspired by their real-life observation of a friend in thrall to drugs. “Kicks” was included on 1966’s Midnight Ride (spread across both discs of the new Raven set due to CD time constraints) along with another signature song, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart’s snarling “I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone.” The Monkees had the hit version just a few months after the release of Midnight Ride, but The Raiders had the original.
The band again turned to Mann and Weil’s songbook for “Hungry” (No. 6), which appeared on The Spirit of ’67 (actually released in November 1966) but sax-playing frontman Mark Lindsay was blossoming as a songwriter in his own right. “Good Thing,” co-written with their producer Terry Melcher, was another Top 5 smash for Paul Revere and the Raiders from the same Spirit album, with a dreamy (Beach Boys-inspired?) harmony interlude and an overall more sophisticated sound. Lindsay and Melcher’s “Him or Me – What’s It Gonna Be?” (No. 5) from 1967’s Revolution! even added a country flavor to the guitar-heavy framework.
Though Revolution! is the final album contained in the new Raven set, it was far from the end of Paul Revere and the Raiders. Personnel changes ensued, and the band name was eventually shortened simply to The Raiders. More albums followed for Columbia through 1972, including one pair already collected on CD as a two-fer from Raven in 2009, 1970’s Collage and 1971’s Indian Reservation, and label swansong Country Wine (1972, reissued by Raven in 2011). “Indian Reservation” became one of the group’s most enduring songs, climbing all the way to No. 1.
Raven promises a 12-page booklet with new liner notes for Evolution to Revolution. All of these albums have appeared on CD in the past, though some are particularly difficult to find and rather expensive secondhand (especially Midnight Ride and Revolution!). Though none of the bonus tracks from previous editions have been carried over, Raven’s new set is an affordable way to obtain these out-of-print albums on CD.
by Joe Marchese
Here They Come! 1965
1. You Can't Sit Down (Clark, Mann, Muldrow) - 4:05
2. Money (That's What I Want) - (J.Bradford, B. Gordyjr.) - 3:15
3. Louie, Louie (Richard Berry) - 2:51
4. Do You Love Me (Berry Gordyjr.) - 3:53
5. Big Boy Pete (D. Harris, D. Terry Jr) - 2:42
6. Oo Poo Pah Doo (Jesse Hill) - 3:11
7. Sometimes (Gene Thomasson) - 2:44
8. Gone (B Johnson, T. Melcher) - 1:48
9. These Are Bad Times (For Me And My Baby) (S. Barri, P F. Sloan) - 2:55
10.Fever (E.Cooley, J. Davenport) - 2:53
11.Time Is On My Side (N. Meade, J. Ragovoy) - 2:39
12.A Kiss To Remember You By (Lindsay, Revere) - 2:16
21.(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (M. Jagger, K. Richards) - 3:18
22.I'm Crying (E. Burdon, A. Price) - 3:05
23.New Orleans (F. Guida, J. Royster) - 2:57
24.Action (T. Boyce, S. Venet) - 1:28
Midnight Ride 1966
25.Kicks (Mann, Weil) - 2:28
26.There's Always Tomorrow (Levin, Smith) - 2:39
27.Little Girl In The 4th Row (Lindsay, Revere) - 2:58
28.Ballad Of A Useless Man (Levin) - 2:08
Disc 2 Midnight Ride 1966
1. (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone (Boyce, Hart) - 2:31
2. There She Goes (Lindsay, Revere) - 1:47
3. All I Really Need Is You (Lindsay, Revere) - 3:27
4. Get It On (Levin, Volk) - 3:12
5. Louie, Go Home (Lindsay, Revere) - 2:41
6. Take A Look At Yourself (Lindsay, Revere) - 1:48
7. Melody For An Unknown Girl (Lindsay, Revere) - 1:59
The Spirit of ’67 1967
8. Good Thing (M. Lindsay, T. Melcher) - 3:04
9. All About Her (R. Gerhardt, M. Lindsay, T. Melcher) - 3:01
10.In My Community (P. Volk) - 2:10
11.Louise (L. Kincaid) - 2:09
12.Why? Why? Why? (Is It So Hard) (P. Volk) - 2:57
13.Oh! To Be A Man (M. Lindsay, P. Revere) - 3:04
14.Hungry (B. Mann, C. Weill) - 2:57
15.Undecided Man (P. Revere, M. Lindsay) - 1:49
16.Our Candidate (M. Smith) - 2:52
17.1001 Arabian Nights (M. Lindsay, T. Mercher) - 4:26
18.The Great Airplane Strike (P. Revere, T. Melcher, M. Lindsay) - 3:10
19.Him or Me (What's It Gonna Be?) (M. Lindsay, T. Melcher) - 2:50
20.Reno (M. Lindsay, T. Melcher) - 2:24
21.Upon Your Leaving (M. Lindsay, T. Melcher) - 3:12
22.Mo'reen (M. Lindsay, T. Melcher) - 2:30
23.Wanting You (M. Lindsay, T. Melcher) - 2:52
24.Gone - Movin' On (M. Lindsay, T. Melcher) - 2:34
25.I Had a Dream (Isaac Hayes, Lindsay, Melcher, David Porter) - 2:20
26.Tighter (M. Lindsay, T. Melcher) - 1:59
27.Make It With Me (M. Lindsay, T. Melcher) - 3:07
28.Ain't Nobody Who Can Do It Like Leslie Can (M. Lindsay, T. Melcher) - 2:19
29.I Hear a Voice (M. Lindsay, T. Melcher) - 2:49
*Drake Levin - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Mark Lindsay - Lead Vocals, Saxophone
*Paul Revere - Organ, Vocals
*Mike "Smitty" Smith - Drums, Vocals
*Phil "Fang" Volk - Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Jim "Harpo" Valley - Guitar
Originally released in 1975, Homestead & Wolfe's lone and unknown privately pressed LP is an artifact so lost to time, it has never appeared in any discography, list of rare records, or catalog, anywhere. However, exist it does, and now their story can be told.
This has been re-released by Anopheles Records has sat tight lipped on this discovery for the last year while researching and preparing this reissue from the original master tapes and with full cooperation of the group. Homestead & Wolfe was a folk-harmony group based around the United Methodist Good Samaritan Church in Cupertino, CA (near San Jose). Comprised of two female lead vocalists, one male lead vocalist, and buttressed with superb male and female harmonies throughout, H&W performed original material in a rich, melodic folk-rock-country style that is well executed, as well as earnest and personal.
The patriarch, producer and lyricist of the group, Ernie Bringas, had dabbled in the record biz as one of two founding members of the "surf hot rod" early 1960s vocal duo, the Rip Chords, before leaving the music business to attend seminary school. As a Minister of Youth and master planner and motivator at Good Sam from 1969-75, Bringas assembled and encouraged this ensemble of counselors and students, eventually offering them an opportunity to record an album and have a shot at "making it" as artists. He gave them the ultimate "leg up" in the business, producing this finely crafted recording using his old Hollywood connections.
These 15 tracks were recorded at the legendary Gold Star Studios in Hollywood between 1973-75. Engineered by Stan Ross, these recordings feature top flight studio musicianship from legendary "wrecking crew" drummer Hal Blaine, guitarist Ben Benay (Goldenrod, Darius), acoustic guitarist Al Casey, monster bass player Ray Pohlman, not to mention one of the world's most renowned and respected pedal steel guitar players, Jay Dee Maness (Buck Owens, the Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo LP). The harmonies and arrangements of H&W recall both the Mamas and the Papas and the Carpenters at times, but much of the music deals with darker themes: the story of Wounded Knee told in "See The Children Die", the organ fueled psychedelia of "Your Freedom's In Question", aimed at the Nixon administration at the time, remains apropos today, and recalls the work of Growing Concern, Birmingham Sunday, and Art of Lovin'.
There are plenty of surprises here, as we located 6 unreleased tracks to augment the 9 tracks on the original album, including the startlingly great and dynamic cut, "Beat of the Drum", which sounds as if the Bangles were hired to front Goldenrod for a one off single. The full color 16 page booklet tells the story in their own words, features images of the touring group and recording sessions at Gold Star, and maintains the high standard of archival work Anopheles Records is known for. Homestead & Wolfe represents a highly unusual and strikingly original blend of unproven but talented young vocalists, top quality session players and engineering, and a truly rare chemistry that makes this one of the great folk-rock discoveries of the last 10 years.
1. Slow Down (Sheryl Johnson, Ernie Bringas) - 3:35
2. Love Comes Through My Door (Joanne Avery) - 3:26
3. King Of The Mountain (Joanne Avery, Ernie Bringas, Brian Gundy) - 2:13
4. If I Never Show (Joanne Avery, Ernie Bringas, Brian Gundy) - 2:32
5. See The Children Die (Joanne Avery, Ernie Bringas) - 3:27
6. Do I Love You? (Joanne Avery, Ernie Bringas) - 2:47
7. Your Freeson's In Question (Joanne Avery, Ernie Bringas, Ted Larson) - 3:33
8. I Am Cain (Joanne Avery, Ernie Bringas, Brian Gundy) - 2:22
9. Roll On, Tumbleweed (Ernie Bringas, Brian Gundy, Ed Gundy) - 2:20
10.Beat Of The Drum (Ernie Bringas, Brian Gundy) - 3:42
11.Rhythm Of The Wind (Joanne Avery, Ernie Bringas, Brian Gundy) - 3:41
12.You're All That I See (Joanne Avery) - 2:53
13.Mary Jane (Ernie Bringas, Brian Gundy) - 3:10
14.See The Children Die (Alternative Mix) (Joanne Avery, Ernie Bringas) - 3:21
15.Beat Of The Drum (Instrumental) (Ernie Bringas, Brian Gundy) - 3:54
A handy two-fer coupling of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band's first two albums, nicely remastered but sadly accompanied by nothing that has not been reissued before, Framed/Next captures the band as they took their first steps towards a superstardom that was by no means taken for granted. Early live audiences hated the group, and the only consolation for Harvey was that he actively enjoyed the confrontation.
Framed was recorded in under five days, and still steams with the seething fury of its birth, a mixed bag of new creations, odd concoctions, and oldies that Harvey had been playing for up to a decade. Both the title track and "I Just Want To Make Love To You" were reprised from his Alex Harvey Soul Band debut album; "Hole In Her Stocking" had already appeared on his last LP, as a member of the Rock Workshop troupe; and "Midnight Moses" revisited a lost 1969 single. Elsewhere, however, the epic "Isabel Goudie" showcased his backing band with a lengthy recounting of a Scottish witch legend, while the decidedly unseasonal Yuletide single "There's No Lights On The Christmas Tree" told the tale of a gangster going to the electric chair. And "The Hammer Song" found an entire new generation of fans after Nick Cave covered it on 1990s The Good Son. At the time, though, they couldn't give this stuff away.
Fast forward a year and the band's fortunes had changed dramatically. Now regarded as one of the top live acts in the country, the criticism was that their vinyl didn't reflect their live performances. Next, dynamically produced by Phil Wainman (later better-known for his work with the Bay City Rollers), would change that forever.
Once again, the title song was a cover, a dramatic version of Jacques Brel's "Au Suivant" transformed into an apocalyptic tango. More important within Harvey's own subsequent iconography, however, was the pulsing "Faith Healer," a magnificent invocation that was soon to become the band's traditional set-opener (replacing a manic version of the Osmonds' "Crazy Horses") and has since, of course, ascended to the status of Rock Anthem.
The seethingly sexual "Swampsnake" and the lascivious "Gang Bang" cater delightedly to the band's reputation for taking no prisoners, but a rambunctious version of Freddie Bell's 1956 classic "Giddy Up A Ding Dong" gives ample vent to their lighter side, before Harvey unleashes the semi-autobiographical "Last Of The Teenage Idols," a song recounting his long ago triumph in a Scottish Tommy Steele competition. It's a great conclusion to the album, and a fitting finale, too, to this release's roundup of SAHB's first full year in action.
by Dave Thompson
Disc 1 Frame
1. Framed (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) - 4:56
2. Hammer Song - 4:05
3. Midnight Moses - 4:25
4. Isobel Goudie (Part 1: My Lady Of The Night, Part 2: Coitus Interruptus, Part 3: Virgin And The Hunter) - 7:29
5. Buff's Bar Blues - 3:04
6. I Just Want To Make Love To You (Willie Dixon) - 6:39
7. Hole In Her Stocking - 4:39
8. There's No Lights On The Christmas Tree, Mother They're Burning Big Louie Tonight - 3:44
9. St. Anthony - 4:46
All tracks composed by Alex Harvey except where noted
Disc 2 Next
1. Swampsnake - 4:54
2. Gang Bang - 4:42
3. The Faith Healer - 7:21
4. Giddy Up A Ding Dong (Freddie Bell, Joey Lattanzi) - 3:14
5. Next (Jacques Brel, Mort Shuman, Eric Blau) - 4:02
6. Vambo Marble Eye (Alex Harvey Band) - 4:25
7. The Last Of The Teenage Idols (Harvey, Hugh McKenna, Zal Cleminson) - 7:15
All tracks composed by Alex Harvey except where stated
The Senstational Alex Harvey Band
*Alex Harvey - Lead Vocals
*Zal Cleminson - Lead Guitar
*Hugh McKenna - Electric Piano
*Chris Glen - Bass Guitar
*Eddie McKenna - Drums
*Phil Kenzie - Tenor Saxophone
*Big Bud's Brass - Brass Section
*David Batchelor - Backing Vocals (only on "Next")
By 1971, when this album was first released, it had become somewhat trendy amongst the underground fraternity to actively participate in practises such as ritual magic, occult arts and various other esoteric customs. With music very much to the fore of this scene, a twilight culture unfurled linking mysticism to it in the form of groups inspired by their own self interest and beliefs.
While special imagery and gimmicks were an all important part of such groups presentation there were those, like Monument, whose fascination for the occult drove them away from seeking to glamourise their image. Vocalist and keyboards man Steven Lowe was a founder member of a witches coven in Essex and this keen interest in the ancient craft served to shape much of the lyrical content of their sole album, which is steeped in sorcery and mysticism. Monument was actually made by Zior under a pseudonym.
Of all the late ‘60s/ early '70s bands that professed a genuine interest in the occult Black Sabbath achieved the most success. Ironically, at the outset, they were largely inclined to distance themselves as figureheads of occultism in rock, preferring instead to rely on the strength of their music rather than upholding an image.
"Nexus" is easily Argent's most progressive album. The three first tracks on the album are instrumental, keyboard-dominated progressive rock of a kind all of you will enjoy. Tons of Hammond, mellotron and moogs plays mighty and inspired themes. Very good. "Love" is a ballad that gets saved by a very pleasant mellotron arrangement. "Keeper of the Flame" is a nice symphonic track that for some unknown reason reminds me a little bit of Greenslade. "Thunder and Lightning" and "Gonna Meet My Maker" are more straightforward rock tracks.
The El-piano dominated "Music from the Spheres" and "Man for All Reasons" is a little bit slick, but they're definitively not bad. The latter is kind of a progressive pop-track in the vein of Kayak. Argent's problem was that the two main songwriters in the band, Rod Argent and Russ Ballard, obviously had very different musical interests. Argent was the one who wrote the most progressive tunes while Ballard was much more hit-song oriented, resulting in a lack of musical profile. Anyway, most of their material is good and so is the performance too.
1. The Coming Of Kohoutek (R. Argent, C. White) - 3:10
2. Once Around The Sun (R. Argent, C. White) - 2:20
3. Infinite Wanderer (R. Argent, C. White) - 3:02
4. Love (R. Ballard) - 3:51
5. Music From The Spheres (R. Argent, C. White) - 8:10
6. Thunder And Lightning (R. Ballard) - 5:05
7. Keeper Of The Flame (R. Argent, C. White) - 6:02
8. Man For All Reasons (R. Ballard) - 4:44
9. Gonna Meet My Maker (R. Ballard) - 4:35
This double-CD set, Brilliant Colors: The Complete W. B. Recordings, should be a no-brainer of a purchase for anyone who is an admirer of Van Dyke Parks' Song Cycle, Richard Harris' two Jimmy Webb collaborations (A Tramp Shining and The Yard Went on Forever), the Free Design's classic '60s albums, the extant fragments of Brian Wilson's previously lost SMiLE album, or any of the other classic examples of ornate late '60s psychedelic pop -- not that what's here is exactly psychedelic, so much as baroque pop, with lots of elaborate, occasionally "out-there" orchestral arrangements that luxuriate in their own ornate weirdness, sort of like Parks' "The All Golden" or "Palm Desert."
The Neon Philharmonic's two albums The Moth Confesses and The Neon Philharmonic are both represented (in superb sound) on the first CD, but the real treat is the 58-minute long second disc, which encompasses the group's singles -- once one gets past the four cuts lifted off of The Moth Confesses, most of the rest is comprised of some very pretty and nicely produced non-LP single sides that are some of the most enjoyable unknown sunshine pop of the period, and, as Andy Zax, the annotator of this set observes, virtually a third LP in breadth and content. "Flowers for Your Pillow" and "To Be Continued" sound like lost Jimmy Webb productions circa 1967, and "A Little Love" is such a radiantly upbeat piece of pop-rock that it's amazing it didn't do more for the act as a single; the disc finishes with a string of radio promotion spots for the group.
Not all of singles are as inventive or impressive as those tracks -- a lot of it would make one think of what might've happened had Richard Carpenter been given a budget and the job of generating upbeat sunshine pop music without the services of his sister around, say, 1970 -- and some of what's here shows signs of marking time, but the overall vibe of this music is still seductive thirty-some years later, if not quite as compelling as the very best work in this genre. Additionally, the annotation is so extensive and fascinating as to seriously enhance the value of the set -- what it tells us about the music business and the era in which this music was generated makes it essential reading, almost more than some of the Neon Philharmonic's music is essential listening. ~ by Bruce Eder
The Neon Philharmonic's 1969 debut, The Moth Confesses, is rightfully considered one of the stranger exponents of the sunshine pop scene. However, its less-celebrated 1970 follow-up, The Neon Philharmonic, is, if anything, even weirder. Composer/conductor Tupper Saussy's lyrics are even more obtuse and pretentious this time out, opening with the utterly bizarre "Are You Old Enough to Remember Dresden?" and closing with "F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Shakespeare," a rather drippy tale of college buddies who drift apart after graduation.
As the lyrics become more overwrought, so too does the increasingly pseudo-classical music. Several songs are sung (by Don Gant, returning from the debut) to strictly orchestral arrangements. Unfortunately, Saussy's not an interesting enough melodicist to give these arrangements the same zip that lifts The Moth Confesses over its more ponderous patches; it's not surprising that the album's best song by far, "Forever Hold Your Peace," is the one that sounds the most like that album. Although the Neon Philharmonic released occasional singles for various labels over the next half-decade, this was their final full-length release.
by Stewart Moon
1. Brilliant Colors - 4:22
2. Cowboy - 2:21
3. The New Life Out There - 5:36
4. Morning Girl - 2:14
5. Midsummer Night - 5:48
6. Little Sparrow - 3:20
7. The Last Time I Saw Jacqueline - 3:46
8. Morning Girl, Later - 2:41
9. Are You Old Enough to Remeber Dresden? - 5:23
10.Forever Hold Your Peace - 2:26
11.You Lied - 3:29
12.Harry - 4:11
13.No One Is Going to Hurt You - 3:58
14.Long John the Pirate - 5:18
15 F. Scott Fitzgerald And William Shakespeare - 5:16
16.The Mordor National Anthem - 0:44
1. Morning Girl (Mono Single Version) - 2:15
2. Brillant Colors (Mono Single Version) - 4:21
3. No One Is Going to Hurt You (Mono Single Version) - 3:57
4. You Lied (Mono Single Version) - 3:30
5. Clouds - 2:40
6. Snow - 3:23
7. Heighdy-Ho Princess - 3:25
8. Don't Know My Way Around My Soul - 2:59
9. Flowers for Your Pillow - 2:19
10.To Be Continued - 2:29
11.Something to Believe In - 3:19
12.A Little Love - 2:59
13.Got a Feelin' in My Bones - 3:01
14.Keep the Faith in Me - 3:09
15.Better Times - 2:22
16.Jody - 3:10
17.Letters Crossing - 3:05
18.Radio Spot 1 (Promo) - 0:54
19.Radio Spot 2 (Promo) - 0:55
20.Radio Spot 3 (Promo) - 0:56
21.Radio Spot 4 (Promo) - 0:54
22.Radio Spot 5 (Promo) - 2:09
All songs composed and arranged by Tupper Saussy
The original personnel listing for the Seeds’ third long-player, “Future”, included a credit to “your imagination”. It was lead singer Sky Saxon’s invitation for the listener to travel “back into your dreams”, to conjure up for themselves the fantasy landscape of castles, forests and clouds that he had envisaged for the record. “Future” embodied one of many tangents Sky had spun off upon, which led him from a knowing hipness to a wide-eyed, childlike naïveté. Behind, the Seeds packed as solid a musical punch as they ever had, but it was increasingly difficult for his fellow travellers to relate to the paths Sky was pointing the band down.
1967 was a turning point for Sky Saxon, Daryl Hooper, Jan Savage and Rick Andridge, a moment where the hard work of the previous two years was finally paying off. The first six months likely represented the zenith of the Seeds’ career, as the ascendant quartet seemed completely in the vanguard, with a major national hit under their belt, fan pandemonium wherever they went, and a public profile inflated by a new manager, the voluble “Lord Tim” Hudson. The eponymous debut album and its sequel, “A Web Of Sound”, had solidified the attitude implied by the hits, and saw the group made defiantly outrageous gestures, both musically and visually. What would their next move be?
The ensuing album, “Future”, seemed at once both calculated and confused. For some, it represents the Seeds’ grand psychedelic statement, a mind-blowing articulation of the flower power movement of which they had been proclaimed torchbearers. To others, “Future” is Sky Saxon’s folly: an over-egged, acid-damaged pudding that submerged the true power of the band with meaningless grandeur. The truth lies somewhere between. A narcissistic over-confidence made Sky feel the need to now augment Daryl, Jan and Rick in the studio with numerous overdubs – strings, harp, tuba – on hastily cobbled material that brimmed with bizarre lyrical concepts. On certain tracks the combination worked fine, on others it seemed almost like a parody of psychedelia. Nevertheless, “Future” contains many fan favourites such as ‘Painted Doll’, ‘Flower Lady’, ‘Two Fingers’ and ‘A Thousand Shadows’.
From this point on, Sky’s grip on the qualities that made him distinctive would only loosen further, but on “Future” he was attentive enough to pull things together, and the album has enough fine moments and flashes of the old Sky Saxon laser-like focus to ensure its reputation today as something of a flawed gem. Our deluxe 2CD edition thus seeks to reappraise the Seeds’ psychedelic experiment, and presents it in the very best sound quality. Disc One features the remastered stereo album mix, along with a selection of period mono mixes, including several that are previously unissued.
A second disc, “Contact High: The Future Sessions”, is a fascinating eavesdrop upon the album’s creation at Hollywood’s famed Gold Star studio, utilising outtakes, alternate mixes and previously unheard versions to demonstrate that, beneath all the overdubs and florid platitudes, on “Future” the Seeds’ electricity crackled as strongly as ever. A 48-page booklet crammed with rarely-seen images tells the story behind this unusual but nevertheless compelling episode in the career of these garage kings.
by Alec Palao
Disc 1 The Stereo Album
1. Intro/March Of The Flower Children (Sky Saxon, Daryl Hooper) - 2:52
2. Travel With Your Mind (Sky Saxon, Daryl Hooper, Jan Savage) - 3:10
3. Out Of The Question (Sky Saxon, Russ Serpent) - 2:16
4. Painted Doll (Sky Saxon) - 3:24
5. Flower Lady And Her Assistant (Sky Saxon) - 3:29
6. Now A Man (Sky Saxon, Daryl Hooper, Jan Savage) - 3:21
7. A Thousand Shadows (Sky Saxon, Daryl Hooper, Jan Savage) - 2:30
8. Two Fingers Pointing On You (Sky Saxon) - 3:13
9. Where Is The Entrance Way To Play (Sky Saxon) - 2:52
10.Six Dreams (Sky Saxon) - 3:11
11.Fallin' (Sky Saxon, Daryl Hooper) - 7:45
12.Chocolate River (Mono) (Sky Saxon, Daryl Hooper) - 3:09
13.Sad And Alone (Mono) (Sky Saxon, Daryl Hooper) - 2:22
14.The Wind Blows Your Hair (Mono, Version 2) (S. Saxon, Buddy Biglow) - 3:09
15.Travel With Your Mind (Mono) (S. Saxon, D. Hooper, J. Savage) - 3:06
16.Painted Doll (Mono) (Sky Saxon) - 3:23
17.Flower Lady And Her Assistant (Mono) (Sky Saxon) - 3:17
18.Now A Man (Mono) (Sky Saxon, Daryl Hooper, Jan Savage) - 3:20
19.Two Fingers Pointing On You (Mono) (Sky Saxon) - 3:11
20.Where Is The Entrance Way To Play (Mono) (Sky Saxon) - 2:52
23.The Navy Swings (Mono) (R. Andridge, S. Saxon, D. Hooper, J. Savage) - 1:03
Disc 2 Contact High The "Future" Sessions
1. Rides Too Long (Sky Saxon, Daryl Hooper, Jan Savage) - 2:58
2. Chocolate River (Sky Saxon, Daryl Hooper) - 3:10
3. Flower Lady And Her Assistant (Take 1) (Sky Saxon) - 4:11
4. Where Is The Entranceway To Play (Alt Mix) (Sky Saxon) - 2:55
5. Sad And Alone (Sky Saxon, Daryl Hooper) - 2:45
6. Contact High (Take 1) (Sky Saxon, Daryl Hooper, Jan Savage) - 3:35
7. Travel With Your Mind (Alt Mix) (S. Saxon, D. Hooper, J. Savage) - 3:12
8. Six Dreams (Take 4) (Sky Saxon) - 3:00
9. Two Fingers Pointing On You (Take 1) (Sky Saxon) - 3:03
10.The Wind Blows Your Hair (Version 2) (Sky Saxon, Buddy Biglow) - 3:08
11.March Of The Flower Children (Alt Mix) (Sky Saxon, Daryl Hooper) - 1:49
12.A Thousand Shadows (Take 7) (S. Saxon, D. Hooper, J. Savage) - 2:27
13.Gypsy Plays His Drums (Version 1) (Sky Saxon, Daryl Hooper) - 5:33
14.Satisfy You (Version 1) (Sky Saxon, Jan Savage) - 2:32
15.900 Million People Daily Making Love (Full Length Version) (S. Saxon) - 9:44
On a series of solo albums, Jesse Colin Young had developed a strong musical rapport with a group of players including drummer Jeff Myer, keyboard player Scott Lawrence, and especially horn man Jim Rothermel, whose flute and soprano sax lines duetted with Young's tenor vocals.
Adding David Hayes (one of several bassists who had appeared on his studio releases) and his wife Suzi on harmonies, Young produced this excellent live album, on which he mixed Youngbloods favorites ("Sunlight") with some of his better solo material ("Peace Song," a 12½-minute version of "Ridgetop") and some well-chosen covers (a medley of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" and "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)," Randy Newman's "Have You Seen My Baby") for a varied program that emphasized his eclectic talents.
Recorded live at "Paramount Northwest" Seattle, "Paramount Theatre" Portland, "Marin Veterann's Memorial Auditorium" San Rafael, "Pioneer Theatre" Reno and originally released in March 1976.
by William Ruhlmann
1. Sunlight - 3:59
2. Walkin' Off the Blues - 4:37
3. Peace Song - 3:35
4. Miss Hesitation - 7:12
5. What's Going On/Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) (Renaldo Benson, Al Cleveland, Marvin Gaye) - 5:33
6. Corinna (Traditional) - 3:30
7. Have You Seen My Baby? (Randy Newman) - 3:44
8. Ridgetop - 12:55
9. T-Bone Shuffle (T-Bone Walker) - 6:21
Words and Music by Jesse Colin Young unless otherwise stated.
*Jesse Colin Young - Guitar, Vocals
*Suzi Young - Vocal Harmony, Vocals
*Jim Rothermel - ARP Synthesizer, Horn, Wind
*Jeff Myer - Drums
*David Hayes - Bass, Vocal Harmony, Vocals
*Scott Lawrence - Keyboards, Vocal Harmony
This album, originally released as a double LP in early 1975, was supposed to buy a little time for Argent as the group worked two new members, John Verity and John Grimaldi, into its lineup in the wake of the departure of co-founder Russ Ballard. As a result, it showcased a band that had already evolved out of the sound represented here, which must have seemed a pity for the fans who bought it.
The sound captured on this album combines equal measures of progressive rock and hard-driving pop/rock into a whole that never lost its sight on rock & roll, as on "Thunder and Lightning" and "Music of the Spheres," or the more traditional sound of "Keep on Rollin'." With Ballard's guitar and the rhythm section of Jim Rodford (bass) and Bob Henrit (drums), the band could only stray so far from rock, and they and keyboardist Rod Argent, pulling in those opposite directions, ended up creating a scintillating whole on much of this record. Even the extended jams are focused and always maintain some serious forward momentum, though the opener, "The Coming of Kohoutek," comes dangerously close to fatal digression -- one can only quote Berlioz so far before the piece it's in loses its purpose as rock & roll.
The 11-minute jam of "Hold Your Head Up" seemed a little excessive at the time -- a reaction probably caused, in part, by the substandard pressings by which the vinyl version of this release was seemingly universally represented -- but it holds up well today. And the band encored with "Time of the Season," a selection with which no one could possibly take serious issue -- they dress it up in some heavily ornamented drumming and guitar, but it's the song everyone knows and loves, done about as well as anyone who was not Colin Blunstone could ever handle it. The Collectables CD reissue boasts about the best sound ever heard on this set, and there's some pretty good annotation by Mark Marymount.
by Bruce Eder
1. The Coming Of Kohoutek (C. White, R. Argent) – 10:34
2. It's Only Money, Pt. 1 (R. Ballard) – 3:51
3. It's Only Money, Pt. 2 (R. Ballard) – 5:04
4. God Gave Rock And Roll To You (R. Ballard) – 7:03
5. Thunder And Lightning (R. Ballard) – 6:21
6. Music From The Spheres (C. White, R. Argent) – 9:15
7. I Don't Believe In Miracles (R. Ballard) – 3:27
8. I Am The Dance Of Ages (C. White, R. Argent) – 9:28
9. Keep On Rollin' (C. White, R. Argent) – 5:19
10.Hold Your Head Up (C. White, R. Argent) – 11:16
11.Time Of The Season (R. Argent) – 6:38
This superbly melodic and strange distillation of pop, folk, psych and jazz was inspired by the paintings of Paul Klee, and first appeared in 1968. Despite being credited to a proper band, it was in fact a studio recording overseen by the Cleveland-based team of jazz composer Chuck Mangione and local producer-arranger Roger Karshner, who called the songs ‘electronic paintings’. The album is presented here, complete with two rare bonus tracks from a pre-LP 45 credited to Bhagavad-Gita.
This mysterious album emanated from Cleveland, where producer Roger Karshner (who’d been involved with local hit-makers the Outsiders) and jazz musician Charles ‘Chuck’ Mangione decided to collaborate on a selection of so-called ‘electronic paintings’ based on the work of German-Swiss abstract painter Paul Klee (1879-1940). The first fruits of their labours emerged in 1967 – a single credited to Bhagavad-Gita (the Vedic Bible, translating as ‘song of the most holy’), featuring two takes on Long Hair Soulful, one vocal and one instrumental. Though it was no hit (making the original picture sleeve issues - Philips 40485 - highly sought-after today), they proceeded with an album the following year.
The Bhagavad-Gita promotional material made the lofty claim that Karshner had ‘reached a completely new plateau in the realm of pop contemporary music by putting the works of Klee to music,’ and the album is indeed highly unusual. Though credited to a band (who are pictured on the back cover), it is thought to have been a studio project overseen by the two men, and was issued with a glossy leaflet including lyrics and reproductions of various Klee pictures.
It must have been an expensive enterprise, and was not a successful one. Shortly afterwards, four of its tracks also appeared Diana In The Autumn Wind (GRC 9001), an instrumental jazz-pop LP recorded by Mangione’s brother Gap in August 1968, but conducted by him - Diana In The Autumn Wind, Boy With Toys, Pond With Swans and Long Hair Soulful. This fared even less well commercially, condemning the project to underserved obscurity, and putting a premature end to a nascent pop sub-genre.
1. Barbaric, Classical, Solemn - 2:58
2. Diana In The Autumn Wind - 2:38
3. Boy With Toys - 2:30
4. Self Portrait - 2:35
5. Fear Of Becoming Double - 2:40
6. Pond With Swans - 3:08
7. A Child’s Game - 2:15
8. A Little Child Does Not Understand The Snow - 2:26
9. Fear Behind The Curtain - 1:46
10.Long Hair Soulfu - 3:31
11.Long Hair Soulful (non-LP 45a) - 3:33
12.Long Hair Soulful - instrumental (non-LP 45b) - 2:34
All music by Roger Karshner, Chuck Mangione, except track 8 by Roger Karshner, all lyrics by Roger Karshner Free Text
In Deep, the band's fourth album, was originally released on Epic Records in 1973. While not as strong as its predecessors, it did produce the excellent single (and one of the best tracks on the album), "God Gave Rock and Roll to You," which made the Top 20 in England and charted well in North America.
The original album contained eight songs, with half written by Ballard and the other half by Argent and White. The eccentric Be Glad and the prog epic Candles On The River redress the balance slightly.
When the band split in 1976, Argent went on to pursue a solo career. Henrit opened a drum shop in London's West End and played in a band called Phoenix with Rodford, before they both joined the Kinks.
by Keith Pettipas
1. God Gave Rock And Roll To You (Ballard) - 6:44
2. It's Only Money, Part 1 (Ballard) - 4:03
3. It's Only Money, Part 2 (Ballard) - 5:08
4. Losing Hold (Argent, White) - 5:30
5. Be Glad (Argent, White) - 8:38
6. Christmas For The Free (Argent, White) - 4:15
7. Candles On The River (Argent, White) - 7:01
8. Rosie (Ballard) - 3:44
Tongue and Groove were something of an offshoot of the legendary but little-recorded, early San Francisco hippie group the Charlatans. Singer Lynne Hughes had occasionally sung with the Charlatans on-stage in the mid-'60s (although she was never an official member), and even appears on vocals and guitar on a few cuts they recorded for Kama Sutra in 1966 (eventually seeing release on the CD compilation The Amazing Charlatans).
Pianist Mike Ferguson, who occasionally sang lead with Tongue and Groove as well, was a bona fide original Charlatan, although he left by the time their one proper '60s album was issued. Richard Olsen, another Charlatan, played bass on Tongue and Groove's one LP; Hughes and Ferguson wrote much of the material, and yet another ex-Charlatan, Dan Hicks, contributed one composition as well. Tongue and Groove's self-titled album, released in the late '60s on Fontana, was produced by Abe "Voco" Kesh, who also worked with several other second-tier '60s Bay Area acts, such as Blue Cheer and Harvey Mandel; top session musicians James Burton (on dobro) and Earl Palmer (on drums) also contributed to the recording.
As could be expected given their ancestry, the record had much in common with the Charlatans' fusion of old-timey saloon music, vaudevillian blues, and rock. The key differences were that a woman (Hughes) took most of the lead vocals, and that the lysergic tinge of much of the Charlatans' material was virtually absent. The numbers featuring Hughes' saucy vibrato vocals, which mine the territory between Janis Joplin and Mae West, are certainly the highlights of the album, a fitfully engaging footnote to late-'60s San Francisco rock.
by Richie Unterberger
1. Devil (Lynne Hughes) – 4:02
2. Come In My Kitchen (Lynne Hughes) – 3:45
3. Mailman’s Back (Michael Ferguson) – 6:25
4. Cherry Ball (Shake Shake Mama) (M. Lipscomb) – 3:44
5. The Shadow Knows (Lieber, Stoller) – 2:35
6. Sidetrack (Lynne Hughes) – 6:05
7. Motorhead Baby (J. Watson, M. Delagarde) – 3:10
8. Duncan And Brady (Lynne Hughes) – 2:37
9. Rocks for My Pillow (Livin’ with the Blues) (B. McGhee) – 5:21
10.Fallin’ Apart (Dan Hicks) – 3:24
Tongue And Groove
*Michael Ferguson - Vocals, Keyboards, Percussion
*Lynne Hughes - Vocals
*Randy Lewis - Lead Guitar With
*Eddie Adams - Bass
*James Burton - Dobro
*Therutius Deeps - Vocals
*Roger Dowd - Drums
*Fast Eddie Hoh - Drums
*Bob Lifton - Bass
*Jay Magliori - Horn
*Richard Olsen - Bass
*Tary Owens - Vocals
*Earl Palmer - Drums