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Plain and Fancy

Music gives soul to universe, wings to mind, flight to imagination, charm to sadness, and life to everything.


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Morgen - Morgen (1969 us, superb heavy fuzz psych, 2013 remaster and expanded)

Morgen was a hard rock/psych band that hailed from Long Island, NY.  They were fronted by guitarist/vocalist/wild man Steve Morgen but also included drummer Bob Maiman and guitarists Barry Stock and Rennie Genossa.  In 1969, record label Probe (ABC) released the group’s sole offering.

The album’s best known track is the classic “Welcome To The Void.”  40+ years later this cut’s over the top acid guitar work and pounding drums still shred the best of speakers.  Certainly a unique mixture of acid garage and hard rock, “Welcome To The Void” is essential listening.  There are other great cuts to be found on Morgen, like the stealth rocker “Purple” and the freaky fuzz corker ”Of Dreams.”  “Eternity In Between,” probably influenced by the Who, is another excellent track that begins with ringing guitars and crashing drums.  This 5 minute song is nearly ruined by a two and a half minute drum solo.

Steve Morgen’s sexually charged lyrics and over the top vocals will irritate some listeners but that’s really a minor complaint as most of Morgen is full of great fuzz guitar solos and solid songs.  No beads or flowers for these guys, Morgen is straight up brooding hard rock psych.  A mini gem of a record that will reward patient listeners.
by Jason Nardelli

1. Welcome To The Void - 4:46
2. Of Dreams - 5:37
3. Begging Your Pardon (Miss Joan) - 4:47
4. Eternity In Between - 5:06
5. Purple - 4:11
6. She’s The Nitetime - 3:29
7. Love - 10:53
8. Of Dreams (45 Version) - 3:24
9. She’s The Nitetime (45 Version) - 3:27
10.Street Walker - 3:39
11.Lady - 4:06
12.Too Many Americas - 5:47
13.Don’t You Tell Me - 5:52
14.Maryjane - 2:59
15.Alpha Omega - 5:01
All songs by Steve Morgen

*Steve Morgen - Vocals, Guitar
*Rennie Genossa - Bass
*Bob Maiman - Drums
*Barry Stock - Rhythm Guitar 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Headband - The Headband Collection (1971-75 new zealand, outstanding blues 'n' rock, jazz, roots 'n' roll)

In the early sixties, singer Tommy Adderley enjoyed a  couple of minor hits and became a popular television performer. He then spent two years in Australia, returning home a seasoned cabaret performer. With a genuine love of the blues, he had always dreamed of forming a group similar to John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, and in 1971, it all came to fruition when Headband debuted at Hatchett's nightclub in Auckland. 

The lineup was Alan Quinnell and Ronnie Craig on guitars, Jack Stradwick on bass (later replaced by Billy Kristian) Dick Hopp on electric violin and flute and ofcourse Adderley on vocals and harmonica.

Tommy initially didn't want a drummer but during rehearsals, it became obvious that the group wouldn't work without one so Jimmy Hill was added to the lineup. Mid year they became the resident band at the new Granny's club, and later in the year recorded an album for EMI. The album and three singles from it, The Ballad Of Jacques Le Mere, Love Is Bigger Than The Whole Wide World and Good Morning Mr. Rock and Roll were all successful, but unfortunately, apart from a universities tour as part of the Rock Circus, in 1972, Headband rarely performed outside of Auckland and disbanded in 1973.

They reformed briefly in 1975 for a tour organized by the Student Arts Council and recorded a new album, Rock Garden. A selection of tracks from both their albums are featured on this release.
CD Liner-notes

1. (a) Mood One (Hopp) - 7:11
    (b) Time To Kill (Robertson)
2. Lisa, Listen To Me (Clayton Thomas) - 2:41
3. Dip Tank (Hopp) - 3:10
4. The Ballad Of Jacques La Mere (Edwards) - 3:44
5. Headband Grooving (Kristian) - 4:12
6. Good Morning Mr. Rock and Roll (T. and P Adderley) - 2:47
7. Love Is Bigger Than The Whole Wide World (Hill) - 4:00
8. (a) Mood Two (Hopp) - 15:14
    (b) The Laws Must Change (Mayall)
9. Hey Little School Girl (Adderley, Hill) - 4:02
10.Ungrateful Madonna (Hill) - 5:01
11.Good Time Feeling (Hill) - 3:34
12.Blueberry Pie (Edwards) - 4:52
13.I Get High (On Music) (Adderley, Hill, Nix) - 4:05
14.Raving Richard (Hill) - 4:10
Tracks 1 to 8 are from  “Happen Out”
Tracks 9 to 14 are from “Rock Garden”

The Headband
*Tommy Adderley - Harmonica,  Vocals
*Alan Quinnell - Guitar
*Ronnie Craig - Guitar
*Jack Stradwick - Bass
*Dick Hopp - Electric Violin, Flute
*Jimmy Hill - Drums
*Billy Kristian - Bass
*Neil Edwards - Bass
*Len Whittle - Keyboards

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Left End - Spoiled Rotten (1974 us, hard glam rock)

The rain continued to fall on a September Friday evening in downtown Youngstown, Ohio. The thick air made the last chords of the last song ring on beyond their normal cry. It was over. The young rock group Cherry Paup had finished their last gig. Guitarist Tom Figinsky, keyboardist Fred Dolovy, bassist Rod Buckio and drummer Pat Palombo had come to the end of their four years together. They were billed as The New Teen Sensations from 1964 through 1969…from high school freshmen to now graduating high school seniors. Now, it was a time of passage…from boys to men, from the dreams of rock & roll to the challenges of the real world… from high school heroes to regular faces in the crowd.

It was during a break at the Apartment Nightclub on Youngstown’s south side in the summer of 1972 that an articulate, brash, boastful and at times vulgar gentleman walked into the group’s dressing room.  He announced himself as Steve Friedman and confidently told the group he wanted to manage them.  At first, the guys took Mr. Friedman as just another hawker that was not to be taken seriously.  But Friedman’s obvious knowledge of the music business and his arrogance were appealing to the group.  After a couple of meetings, LEFT END had a management/production contract with Steven Friedman.

The group recorded more demos and Steve began meeting with record company executives in New York City.  By October of 1972, Friedman landed the group a recording contract with Polydor Records.  The contract gave the group a lucrative recording budget that included a minimum of two singles and one album a year for five years.  LEFT END could choose any studio at which to record.  The group unanimously selected Cleveland Recording in Cleveland, Ohio.  Why?  Because that is where Grand Funk recorded its early albums with the great engineer Ken Hamann.  The group finished its winter engagements while writing and testing new material for an album.  Polydor released “Bad Talkin Lady” on its label and the single began to sell nationally.

In the late spring of 1973 LEFT END began recording their first album.  The group continued to perform during this period.  The group recorded on Monday through Thursday.   One night with a few guests on hand, someone noted the total chaos and mess at the large hotel dining table that had been created by sliding several tables together.  There were beer bottles and mixed drink glasses lying on their side surrounded by stacks of china and half-eaten desserts.  The guest said, “Boy, you guys are really spoiled rotten.”  That was it…the perfect name for LEFT END’s first album…Spoiled Rotten.  To fit the image, Dennis changed his name to Dennis T. Menass.

The Spoiled Rotten LP was released by Polydor Records in the late fall of 1973.  It went to #1 on “Album Pix” charts in the tri-state area of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia over night.

The album picked up momentum and began to sell throughout the Midwest.  LEFT END’S live performances also picked up dramatically and they began playing concert venues to “standing room only” crowds.  Steve Friedman strongly supported the group’s spoiled rotten image by equipping the group with dead frogs to throw into the crowd, ping pong ball firing canons and suckers with wrappers that boldly read “YOU SUCK!”  Below in smaller print it read LEFT END.  The group did a mock slow ballad called, “Your Mine” or “The Pimple Song” in which a large weather balloon filled with water, whipped cream, and mustard was wheeled onstage in a small red wagon.  At the end of the song Dennis T. Menass would burst the balloon and those against the front of the stage got the worst of the exploding pimple.

Battles on stage with giant gorillas and “staged” attacking fans that Dennis T. would subdue with beer bottles, whips and clubs became a standard.  The press labeled them “Big Time Wrestling Meets Heavy Rock.”  The group wore lavish “glam rock” costumes of bright silver, gold, black and red.  When in New York City, the group would head to Greenwich Village and SoHo to find the most outlandish boots, belts, and leather outfits.  Dennis T. would change outfits several times during a concert set.  Certain songs commanded a special look.  Of course, the group continued closing their shows with flash pots and pyrotechnics.  LEFT END was known for their introduction tapes that were played prior to the group appearing on stage.  These were comical thematic collections of live and taped recordings compiled by Thomas John and Jerry Starr of what was then WSRD FM Radio (The Wizard).  These intros became very popular with LEFT END fans.  The Cleveland press dubbed them, “The Monster That Ate Cleveland.”

Soon after the Spoiled Rotten album was released, Polydor released the single “Loser” from the album.  The group began performing in large concert venues with the likes of the Eagles, the J. Geils Band, Brownsville Station, the New York Dolls, Trapeze, George Clinton and the Funkadelic Parliament, and dozens of others.  LEFT END appeared in Rolling Stone, Cash Box, Billboard, Cavalier and other national magazines.  They were frequently featured in local periodicals in the tri-state area.

Polydor held a big reception for LEFT END after the group performed in concert at Cobo Arena in Detroit.   The concert was a great success.  LEFT END finished the set with the usual flash pots on stage and added a full blown fireworks display.  The crowd went crazy and literally attacked the group.  Later, at the reception for the group, Polydor executives, still buzzing from the concert, began to lay out plans for the group.  LEFT END had captured the Midwest and there was great interest from east and west coast cities.  Their plan was to take the group to Europe where it was felt that they would be an instant success and then bring them back here as “The Monster That Ate Europe.”

Group members were floating on clouds anticipating their rise to greater stardom…until communication with Polydor Records suddenly came to a halt.

1. Loser (Figinsky, Menass) - 3:38
2. Bad Talkin' Lady (Guerrieri, Menass, Palombo) - 2:28
3. Spoiled Rotten (Figinsky, Menass, Palombo) - 4:15
4. Take It In Stride (Figinsky, Guerrieri, Menass, Palombo) - 5:04
5. Sweet Lovin' (Figinsky, Guerrieri, Menass, Palombo) - 2:59
6. Every Little Thing (Lennon, McCartney) - 3:06
7. Mary-Jo (Figinsky, Menass) - 3:59
8. Takin' Time (Figinsky, Menass, Puhalla) - 3:24
9. Whiskey And Rye (Figinsky, Guerrieri, Menass, Palombo) - 3:55
10.It's Over (Left End) - 4:08

Left End
*Dennis T. Menass - Vocals
*Patsy Palombo - Drums, Percussion
*Tom Figinsky - Lead Guitar
*Jim Puhalla - Rhythm Guitar
*Roy Guerrieri - Bass

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Leaves - All The Good That's Happening (1966-67 us, splendid folk psych garage beat, 2011 remaster)

From south to east and west to west, then back again. So the cyclone went in the early sixties. It carried blues and rhythm to New York, spun across the sea, casting rare vinyl nuggets on the shore of Liverpool and, in a mop-topped whirly gig ripped back across the ocean and through the heart of LA.

By the time it reached the pacific edge there was blues, rhythm, folk, pop and star-spangled freedom strewn in its wake. The universe-bound youth seized the tidal yo-yo, sought residencies at the Go-Go and forged some of the mind-melting foundations of American psychedelia. For The Byrds, The Doors and Love this was their time, a time they made timeless. But, in the wake of any cyclone there is debris and, Sunset stripped, The Leaves withered and fell, just a year after tasting the chart-tipped rays of success.

The band started as a rhythm and blues party band but hit the big time in April 1966 with a fuzz-wigged version of Hey Joe. Hip and tripped on this high, with a Whiskey residency and faithful hearts in the city of angels, they recorded All The Good That’s Happening. It A-bombed as fingers hovered and, when founding member Jim Pons left to get happy together with The Turtles, the band died.

However, All The Good That’s Happening is, in part, a fantastic testament to all the musical good that was happening from 1965 to 1967. Opening track Twilight Sanctuary reflects the close-knit harmonies and country-folk-tinged airs that gave wing to The Byrds. While One In The Middle is a R‘n’B standards work out…and great fun.

 This isn’t a testament, however, to why The Leaves fell. Third track in, On The Plane, has the haunting progressions and chilling lyrical tones that powered Love’s Forever Changes. Like Arthur Lee and his charges, it’s documented that The Leaves dabbled with nature’s resin. The influence of which can be felt with giddy-slept ears on side two of All The Good That’s Happening.

With None Shoes chops and jangles with litho-cut intent, while Codine is musically as clear at the rising sun but wrapped in the midnight claws of self-abuse and lament. The album closes with Lemmon Princess and its sinister opening command, “Play.” Wonderfully confused, ambiguous and sonically fried, the track is close to the Mad Hatter’s tea party edge of British psychedelia . It hints at what may have been had the LA waves not been carrying the portents of political unrest by the time The Leaves released their sophomore album.
by Stephen Coole

1. Twilight Sanctuary (Bob Arlin, W. James Pons) - 2:37
2. One In The Middle (Paul Jones) - 2:33
3. On The Plane (Bob Arlin, W. James Pons) - 2:35
4. Officer Shane (Robert K. Arlin, John Beck) - 2:52
5. Let's Get Together (Jimmy Reed) - 2:51
6. Introduction To A Cartoon Show (Robert K. Arlin, John Beck) - 0:37
7. With None Shoes (Robert K. Arlin, John Beck) - 2:21
8. To Try For The Sun (Donovan) - 3:00
9. Codine (Buffy St. Marie) - 3:56
10.Flashback (The Rhythm Thing) (Arlin, Pons, Beck, Ray) - 4:16
11.The Quieting Of Oliver Tweak (The Stone Freak) (Michael Whalen) - 2:23
12.Lemmon Princess (W. James Pons, Robert M. Harris) - 2:05
13.Twilight Sanctuary (Mono) (Bob Arlin, W. James Pons) - 2:30
14.Lemmon Princess (Mono) (W. James Pons, Robert M. Harris) - 2:11

The Leaves
*Robert (Peppermint) Arlin - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Tom Ambrose Ray - Tambourine, Drums
*Jim Pons - Vocals, Bass
*John Beck - Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Sitar, Tambourine

1965-66  The Leaves...Are Happening! Best Of

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Reggie King - Looking For A Dream (1968-71 uk, fabulous power guitar pop rock, 2012 release)

The story of The Action and its players is an ever evolving wonder. There seems to be no point at which to say: "We've heard it all and know it all now". Every once in a while there is a fresh surprise as another part of the tale is revealed. The latest twist is this full unveiling of a collection of Reggie King demos which the great singer recorded, with former colleagues from The Action just as they were on the brink of becoming Mighty Baby. For many Looking For A Dream will seem a gloriously apt title for this record as it provides an opportunity to hear Reggie sing in a setting hitherto often fantasised about There is, of course, an unbearable poignancy to this collection appearing now. In 2010 we lost Reggie and we lost Mike Evans, the steadfast, secret hero and heartbeat of The Action/Mighty Baby story. 

Their passing was desperately sad, but their deaths made many of us more resolute in affirming the parts Reggie and Mike played in creating some of the most beautiful and inspiring music ever. When The Action's recording of "Since I Lost My Baby" was played at Reggie's funeral, it was the first time the presiding minister had heard him sing, but he was nevertheless visibly moved. The clergyman was also canny enough to improvise and pay tribute to the way such a remarkable singer will have touched many people's lives. It's still a shock to realise there are people who have not had the pleasure of hearing Reggie sing. And it's always dangerous to succumb to the temptation of playing "could've, should've, would've". But who knows what might have been different if these remarkable demos were widely heard 40 years before now?

Those of us whose introduction to The Action's music came via the infamous Edsel compilation now have a far better understanding of the pivotal role its members later played, collectively as Mighty Baby or individually, in the making of many of the visionary records of the British folk rock heyday, by the likes of Shelagh McDonald, Shirley Collins. Sandy Denny, John Martyn, Gary Farr, Keith Christmas, Andy Roberts, Robin Scott, and so on. Mighty Baby's own LP A Jug of Love, is now revealed as something of extraordinary beauty and spiritual warmth, up there with the best of Gene Clark or The Band Discovering that particular record has been one of those great revelations contained within the unfolding story of The Action.

There is a case to be made for the best British recordings of the folk rock era being made by those conning from a rhythm 'n' blues background: Mighty Baby, of course: Stevie Winwood and Traffic roamm' thro' the gloamin': the Faces be they small or otherwise drawing strength from Tim Hardin: even Fami . and the Kinks. It's quite fascinating how well it works, often in sharp contrast to those approaching from a solo traditional folk perspective. It's probably got something to do with all the jamming with acoustic guitars in the backs of vans driving to and from gigs, the sitting around in damp communal bedsits practising intricate harmonies, and the edge provided by being steeped in the blues and black music.

The ensemble playing on these Reggie King demos is ridiculously good and feels warmly intuitive. It exudes a sense of trust and knowing who you're playing with. The harmonies are exguisite, but you'd expect that. The instrumentation is predominantly acoustic, but it doesn't come across in a gettingit- together in the country pastoral retreat kind of way. The prevailing picture is distinctly urban: with more of a neglected and chilly church hall vibe: a huddled around a Calor Gas stove with buses rumbling past mood, rather than an idyllic camp fire at twilight with accompanying birdsong kind of thing.

The individual performances are wonderful. That remarkable rhythm section of Mike Evans and Roger Powell provides the perfect bedrock for melodic invention. As ever their playing is unobtrusive but they achieve that odd balance between solidity and fluidity which added a definite depth to many recording sessions. It's also easy to envisage Martin Stone hunched ove' an acoustic guitar, intently strumming himself into a trance, while Ian Whiteman with his seemingly care-worn piano, and his occasional jazzy flute and organ embellishments, pretty much steals the show.

In contrast to these demos, the one official Reg King solo LP can seem cluttered. There are some incredible tracks on that 1971 set which wring the emotion out of the listener. But sometimes it seems Reggie is struggling, which just might be symbolic when you stop and think about it. A self-destructive or self-erasing urge, perhaps, as if to say: "You don't want to listen to me? Fine, I'll make sure I'm not heard." On these demos though, his singing is much more relaxed and the ease with which he sings is evident. The space on these demos perfectly suits him.

Temporally and spiritually these demos lie perfectly in between the official Reg King LP and the earlier elegant, sundrenched Rolled Gold demos by The Action which have become so much a part of our lives. There is plenty here for aficionados of the gloriously baroque, brocade and paisley pop that later incarnation of The Action excelled at. There is also a lot for those of us who adore what Reggie did with Gary Farr on the Take Something With You LP. 

There are even moments to compare with the astonishing heartbreaking beauty of that record's "I Don't Know Why You Bother, Child". There are songs too that you could just imagine being given the full-on gospel revue/soul rave-up treatment by a Doris Troy or a Rosetta Hightower. It is the strength of the songs that is striking. It's easy to dwell on the majesty of Reggie the singer, but he was a truly talented songwriter too. The songs here are mostly gloriously uplifting and infectious. They feel instantly familiar, but it is difficult to pin down close comparisons. The songs are deceptively simple. There's an art in making things seem simple. And in contrast to the more mystical, abstract, cosmic concerns of the time this set of songs seems strangely down-to-earth. None of these songs resurfaced in later years. No other act seized an opportunity to cover such patently superior material. 

There is something spectacularly arrogant about the way such a great set of compositions seems to have been casually cast aside after having been so painstakingly put together. More care seems to have been put into these intricate demos than most groups of the time put into their huge hits. That bewildering and appealing mix of nonchalance and perfectionism seems to sum up Reggie and The Action. Everyone who gets to hear this collection will have their own highlights. But there will be a general consensus that devotees of Reggie's haunted balladry are well-served by songs like "In And Out" which has him drifting in and out of daydreams, trying to find a way to say more, trying to be heard. Even here where the mood is more wistful and melancholy, with Ian Whiteman's flute sounding particularly beautiful, the sound is still sinewy and there is a sense of barely concealed rage and a soulful solar plexus punch.

The most hard-hitting track, however, is "They Must Be Talking 'Bout Me" about which it's impossible not to use the word harrowing. Reggie baldly introduces the track as being about a mental hospital. There are no histrionics. There is no sentiment or sermonising. And it is this matter-of-fact portrayal of paranoia and the way mental illness was treated that makes the song more chilling. The stark, pounded piano accompaniment fits perfectly. 

Even when resisting the temptation to read too much into the theme, the song is a sharp slap of cold reality at the end of the '60s dream. That dream... it may be long gone, but the part The Action and its players performed in providing its unique soundtrack continues to inspire and to illuminate the present. And all those involved in creating this collection will live forever through the extraordinary music which so many of us will love forever.
by Kevin Pearce, April 2011

1. Get Up, Get Away (Reg King, Kevin Westlake) - 2:44
2. Let Me See Some Love In Your Eyes - 2:48
3. You Gotta Believe Me - 3:05
4. All Up To Heaven - 2:30
5. So Full Of Love - 4:15
6. Merry Go Round - 3:27
7. Suddenly (Reg King, Kevin Westlake) - 2:55
8. Picking Up Nancy's Grin - 3:22
9. In And Out - 3:13
10.Put Something Together - 5:38
11.Live Forever - 3:00
12.Magenta - 5:56
13.Thinkin' 'Bout Getting Out - 3:12
14.They Must Be Talking'bout Me - 5:10
15.You'll Be Around - 3:51
All songs by Reggie King except where stated

*Reg King - Vocals, Acoustic Rhythm Guitar
*Ian Whiteman - Hammond, Piano, Saxophone, Flute, Vocals
*Martin Stone – Acoustic, Lead Guitar
*Mike Evans - Bass
*Roger Powell - Drums
*Nick Jones - Congas
*Kevin Westlake- Piano, Guitar, Percussion

1971  Reg King
1964-1990  The Action - The Ultimate Action

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Captain Marryat - Captain Marryat (1974 uk, splendid hard prog rock, 2008 edition)

1974 was a banner year for what has become known as progressive heavy rock. Bands such as Lucifer’s Friend, Beggars Opera, and Wishbone Ash were all in their heyday. The heavy organ and guitar sound was all the rage. Deep Purple had just scored with “Woman From Tokyo,“ and Uriah Heep with the great “Stealin.“ Even Iron Butterfly were still in the game, with the underrated Scorching Beauty LP.

Enter Scotland’s Captain Marryat. They took their name from a London author, and associate of Charles Dickens, Captain Frederick Marryat. It is interesting that they chose a friend of Dickens for their moniker, as the character of Uriah Heep comes from the Dickens novel David Copperfield.

In those heady, post-hippie days, a band like Captain Marryat could make a living on the Scottish pub circuit. When they felt they were ready, the band recorded and self-released their one and only LP. It was done as a demo to drum up interest from the majors more than anything else.

With only 200 copies of Captain Marryat ever pressed, the original album is a highly valued collectors item. Copies have reportedly changed hands for over 3,000 Euros recently. While the original is obviously a rare and attractive piece for vinyl fetishists, what about the music itself?

I am happy to report that the Captain Marryat record is as faithful to the genre as anything I have ever heard. From the opening, Phantom Of The Opera-type keyboard trills of “Blindness” all the way through to the prog-mania that is “Dance Of Thor,” Captain Marryat are brilliantly of their time.

The second song on the record, “It Happened To Me,” is the band’s tour-de-force. At eight minutes, it is also the longest track here. They needed that amount of time to get the full guitar and organ solos in though, and I for one am very grateful.

The guitar solo followed by an even lengthier organ solo is the format Captain Marryat holds to pretty consistently in the instrumental sections of their songs. Until we come to “Changes” that is. The tune seems to be their bid for airplay, as it is certainly the most radio-friendly cut on the record.

“Gonna be changes come someday, gonna be changes come your way.”
Truer words have never been spoken.

The six minute instrumental “Dance Of Thor” closes Captain Marryat out, and it is a thing of beauty. On top of a driving drumbeat comes the power-organ of Allan Bryce, followed by Ian McEleny’s searing guitar work. Last but certainly not least are the sounds of thunder, in honor of Thor, the original god of thunder.

There is not a lot of middle ground with Captain Marryat. You either love this type of early-Seventies European progressive hard rock, or hate it. I totally dig it, and will be filing this disc between Banquet by Lucifer’s Friend, and Uriah Heep’s The Magician‘s Birthday.
by Greg Barbrick

1. Blindness (Allan Bryce) - 5:10
2. It Happened to Me (Allan Bryce) - 8:11
3. A Friend (Tommy Hendry) - 4:32
4. Songwriter's Lament (Allan Bryce) - 6:20
5. Changes (Ian McEleny) - 2:45
6. Dance of Thor (Captain Marryat) - 6:53

Captain Marryat
*Hugh Finnegan - Bass, Vocals
*Jimmy Rorrison - Drums, Vocals
*Ian McEleny - Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
*Tommy Hendry - Vocals
*Allan Bryce - Hammond M102 Organ, Electric Piano

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Blue Cheer - OutsideInside (1968 us, superb heavy fuzz psych rock, 2017 japan SHM remaster and 2012 edition)

Blue Cheer’s second album, Outsideinside, fully matches its predecessor’s primal power. The last Blue Cheer release to feature the beloved lineup of Stephens, Peterson and Whaley, Outsideinside is a bracing orgy of volume, distortion and aggression, with such highlights as “Just a Little Bit,” “Come and Get It,” the instrumental “Magnolia Caboose Babyfinger” and the band’s distinctive take on the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction.”

Sundazed’s compact disc edition is sourced from the original Philips reels, complete with the unique original cover design and features a new essay by Doug Sheppard of Ugly Things magazine.

Blue Cheer looms large in the annals of hard rock, laying down the sonic foundations of heavy metal and serving as a crucial influence on the birth of punk, grunge and stoner rock. While the rest of the rock world was mellowing out and embracing the spirit of the Summer of Love, the seminal San Francisco power trio was churning out ballsy blues-rock anthems whose fuzz-heavy, adrenaline-charged intensity helped to alter the course of contemporary music.

1. Feathers From Your Tree (Dickie Peterson, Leigh Stephens, Peter Wagner) - 3:33
2. Sun Cycle (Dickie Peterson, Leigh Stephens, Peter Wagner) - 4:14
3. Just A Little Bit (Dickie Peterson) - 3:29
4. Gypsy Ball (Dickie Peterson, Leigh Stephens) - 3:00
5. Come And Get It (Dickie Peterson, Leigh Stephens, Peter Wagner) - 3:17
6. Satisfaction (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 5:10
7. The Hunter (Booker T. Jones) - 4:32
8. Magnolia Caboose Babyfinger (Dickie Peterson, Leigh Stephens) - 1:35
9. Babylon (Dickie Peterson) - 4:20

Blue Cheer
*Leigh Stephens - Guitar
*Dickie Peterson - Bass Guitar, Vocals, Guitar
*Paul Whaley - Drums
*Ralph Burns Kellogg - Keyboards, Organ, Reeds

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Freedom - Freedom At Last (1969 uk, awesome hard blues rock, 2004 remaster)

Freedom was formed in the autumn of 1967 by two ex. members of Procol Harum, drummer Bobby Harrison and guitarist Ray Royer. Their spell with Procol had been a short though not exactly a sweet affair. Recruited as last resort choices before entering the studio to record the all time classic single "A Whiter Shade Of Pale", Royer and Harrison were soon told to leave the band because of internal differences. They were replaced by B.J. Wilson and Robin Trower on drums and guitar respectively, both ex. members of band leader Gary Brooker’s previous act, The Paramounts.  

In 1968-69 bands were often based on a bass-guitar-drums line-up, omitting the keyboard playing a heavy blues rock idiom, such as The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Led Zeppelin and Cream. The last named in particular were a strong influence on Harrison, Saunders and Monaghan. Their management, whom Saunders described as "somewhat dodgy", came up with the rather strange idea of telling the new line-up not to make any live appearances for the first year. "Through all this time we were to work only in the studio, then they wanted to release us to the world!" Saunders recalled.

During 1969 the group released their second LP, titled "Freedom At Last". (If they are generally confused in people's memory with the rather more commercially successful group Free, this isn't made any less by the latter band's release of an album in 1972 bearing the exact same title!) This new album still had some leanings backwards in the direction of psychedelia while at the same time it pointed at what lay ahead for the future. Sadly, " Freedom At Last" did only marginally better than "Nerosubianco/Black On White" and for more or less the same reason. It has never been out in the UK at all and only saw release in France (on the BYG label) and Germany (on Metronome).

No-one seems to be able to explain exactly what went wrong, other than putting the blame on the management. It must have felt horribly disillusioning to the group at the time to see a full album, which they had sweated a lot of blood over, being so bluntly neglected, particularly for Bobby Harrison who had already experienced the exact same thing with another album which was also a truly fine piece of work.  

Nevertheless, Freedom soldiered on through 1969 and into 1970. Their new-found heavy blues rock style, which they mastered to a tee, naturally won them a faithful live following, as did their impressive three-part harmony vocal work. Through label associations they got to tour the USA with Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull. They played to huge audiences and with their next albums " Freedom" SJPCD063 and 'Through The Years" SJPCD177 finally succeeded to get releases not only in Britain but in the USA as well.

Roger Saunders also landed himself with a solo deal with Warner Records. The recordings of his "Roger Saunders Rush Album" took, ironically enough, a long time and involved an awful lot of production work and arrangements. To the rest of the group this caused both confusion and general bad feelings as their management demanded solo spots up to the length of 20 minutes with Saunders just playing piano and singing on his own. "They had this vision of me being a new Elton John or something. I'd rather have been James Taylor if I'd had the choice."

In the midst of everything the management also demanded the group change to another bass player, Pete Dennis. Another attempt to change things around, though not necessarily for the better, came with the inclusion of Steve Jolly on guitar, giving Saunders more of a chance to play keyboards. Around this time the style of the band seemed to go back in the direction of Procol Harum, but some country rock influences could also be detected.

Deeply disillusioned and disappointed Freedom finally threw in the towel in 1972. They were primarily a live group, and they had toured extensively throughout their career. Like most fine rock outfits their studio efforts could not match up to the sparkle of their stage appearances, but there appears to be no live recordings of the group and the closest we will ever get to those magic moments back in 1970-72 is the rare and elusive album presented here on this release  Bobby Harrison went on to become lead singer in Snafu (whose keyboard player Pete Solley oddly enough later ended up where Bobby had begun - in Procol Harum!) He also released a solo album "Funkist" (SJPCD056) in 1975. 

In the early eighties he moved his residence to Iceland where he teamed up with local supergroup Mezzoforte with whom he recorded the wonderful "Solid Silver" SJPCD011 album, a strong collection of R&B classics displaying his immense abilities as a singer. Never quite at the forefront of commercial success - apart from those few elusive weeks back in 1967, perhaps – Bobby Harrison has nevertheless enjoyed a remarkable and varied musical career stretching over five decades. 

Today, he is as active as ever and his singing voice has never been stronger. Freedom never quite made it to the first division of British rock. Not because of lack of ability, just sheer lack of luck. What were left with is perhaps more a case of "what might have been" than what actually was, at least in a commercial sense. Then again - who cares when the music's playing!
by Claes Johansen

1. Enchanted Wood (Roger Saunders, Walter Monaghan, Hillman) - 2:54
2. Down In The Bottom (Willie Dixon) - 4:25
3. Have Love Will Travel (Richard Berry) - 2:48
4. Cry Baby Cry (Joihn Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 3:38
5. Time Of The Season (Rod Argent) - 4:50
6. Hoodoo Man (Sonny Boy Williamson, Junior Wells) - 4:23
7. Built For Comfort (Willie Dixon) - 4:23
8. Fly (Walter Monaghan, Hillman) - 3:15
9. Never Loved A Girl (Shannon) - 4:35
10.My Life (Roger Saunders, Hillman) - 2:50
11.Can't Stay With Me (Roger Saunders, Hillman) - 4:06
12.Dusty Track (Roger Saunders) - 3:33

*Walter Monaghan - Bass Guitar, Electric Guitar, Piano, Mellotron, Vocals
*Roger Saunders - Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Organ, Vocals
*Bobby Harrison - Drums, Percussion, Vocals

1969 Nero Su Bianco / Black On White
1970  Freedom
1972  Is More Than A Word
1973-74  Snafu - Snafu / Situation Normal

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Cream - Live Cream (1967-68 uk, superb heavy blues psych rock, 2010 japan SHM remaster)

Cream was a band born to the stage, a fact that the band and their record label realized the public fully understood by the number one U.S. chart placement for Wheels of Fire, with its entire live disc, and the number two chart peak for Goodbye, the posthumous release that was dominated by concert recordings. And in response to those success, we got Live Cream, Vol. 1 (originally known simply as Live Cream) in the spring of 1970, nearly 18 months after the trio's breakup. This could well be their most consistently brilliant album for sheer musicianship, though it is also a peculiar one on a couple of counts, some of which probably prevented it from reaching quite as wide an audience as it might have otherwise. 

Released in April 1970 and derived from tapes made at three May 1968 California shows, all of the live tracks here consist of songs originally featured on the group's least ambitious and most rudimentary album, Fresh Cream, dating from 1966 -- and as it happens, there's not a hit represented among the five songs, a fact that probably made this release seem more appealing to hardcore fans than to casual and curious listeners (who didn't know what they were missing). 

The performances here show how far the group had come in the nearly two years since laying down the studio originals -- take side one of the original LP, where they stretch out their playing, as well as boost it to new levels of intensity, on "N.S.U." and "Sleepy Time Time," so that the renditions here are the definitive ones, and by themselves should have made this album an essential acquisition back in 1970. But that brings us to the original side two and the 15-minute rendition of "Sweet Wine," an excursion by all three players that is worth the quarter-hour time commitment of the listener. 

The live portion of the album ends with their searing, rollicking high energy rendition of Muddy Waters' "Rollin' and Tumblin'." And then, for reasons not clear -- except perhaps simply that it was there, in the vaults, and seemed like a valuable piece of property, which it was (and what else were they going to do with it?) -- the producers close Live Cream with a studio cut, "Lawdy Mama," an Eric Clapton-inspired take on a traditional tune that subsequently evolved into the hit "Strange Brew" during what became the Disraeli Gears sessions. It's not a match for everything we've heard, but in the spring of 1970 no one was exactly complaining over being handed a previously unissued studio track by the Cream, as a bonus to the concert performances here. 

As it turned out, there were more live tracks from some of these same shows to draw on in future releases and reissues, which would include a couple of the group's hits; but Live Cream offers the overall highest quality, both in terms of clarity and fidelity, and the performances, which, in addition to the essential great playing (better in some ways than what was heard on some of the much-vaunted live tracks from Wheels of Fire), include excellent vocalizing by Clapton and Jack Bruce. 

Not that vocalizing looms that large here -- the live tracks are all given extended jazz-based treatment, and the dialog among the three musicians as the jams develop is fascinating. Foreground and background seem to dissolve as all three musicians take charge, using the full range of their instruments. And where Bruce goes with his bass, especially on "Sweet Wine," is every bit as rewarding as the places that Clapton's guitar takes us; and Ginger Baker's playing is a trip all its own. Performances like this single-handedly raised the stakes of musicianship in rock. 
by Bruce Eder

1. N.S.U. (Bruce) - 10:15
2. Sleepy Time Time (Bruce, Godfrey) - 6:49
3. Sweet Wine (Baker, Godfrey) - 15:16
4. Rollin' And Tumblin' (Morganfield) - 6:42
5. Hey Lawdy Mama (Traditional) - 2:48
Recorded May 1967 at Atlantic Studios, New York City,  7 March 1968 at The Fillmore, San Francisco, 9 and 10 March 1968, Winterland, San Francisco

*Jack Bruce - Bass, Harmonica, Vocals
*Eric Clapton - Guitar, Vocals
*Ginger Baker - Drums

1966  Cream - Fresh Cream (SHM remaster)
1967  Cream - Disraeli Gears (SHM remaster)
1969  Cream - Goodbye (2010 SHM remaster)
1969  Jack Bruce - Songs For A Tailor
1971  Jack Bruce - Harmony Row

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Terry Frank ‎- Loaded To Fire (1981 us, exceptional sharp blues rock)

After playing in rock bands for nearly ten years, Terry Frank (T-Bone) began his  Bone Deluxe ensemble in 1980 as 'Black Cat Bone' against the advice of loyal followers in order to 'play the music I love'.  He quickly proved that playing from your heart gets 'em every time and has worked steady in the Midwest ever since gaining fans everywhere the band goes. 

In 1981 Terry Frank released a private press LP “Loaded To Fire” where he played most of the instruments (except drums), the album was filled with hard blues rock inspired by Robert Johnson, Tampa Red,  Buddy Guy, Freddie King, Johnny Winter, Mick Taylor, Duane Allman, Stevie Ray Vaughan for contemporary.

In the years to follow he changed the name of the band to “Bone Deluxe” and was nominated for many awards  continuing to draw strong crowds. The band has also been a regular feature at Milwaukee’s Summerfest since 1985.

With some line up changes and his wife Cheryl on Bass, Terry recorded and released a couple of records. Terry and Bone Deluxe, put on the most high energy and up-tempo shows of any Blues group in the area, getting the crowd up, moving and keeping their attention for the course of the night. Terry kept his blues flame lit on stage until his death in 2009. 

1. Stepping Out (Bracken) - 2:20
2. Drinkin' Blues - 5:00
3. Shotgun Shuffle - 3:45
4. Dining Duck (Estes) - 3:35
5. Walking Blues (Traditional) - 2:27
6. Hideaway (F. King) - 2:55
7. Loaded To Fire - 2:30
8. Laid Back Feeling - 5:45
9. All Along The Watchtower (B. Dylan) - 4:55
10.Beyond The Rainbow - 6:45
All songs by Terry Frank except where stated

*Terry Frank - Vocals, Guitar, Bass
*R. Allioto - Drums
*Mick Evans - Bass
*J. Shaab - Drums
*M. Daily - Drums
*R. Leer - Drums

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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Max Webster - Universal Juveniles (1980 canada, great hard prog rock)

Despite a fabled team-up of Max Webster and Rush on the song "Battlescar", 1980's 'Universal Juveniles' had a noticeable absence of that trademark Watkinson keyboard sound and the band was falling apart from constant touring in towns where feverish fans were unable to purchase the band's records - especially stateside. The lack of promotion and poor management organization is sited as the cause for Kim Mitchell's resignation during a tour with Rush in April 1981. With this the band split up but they had actually been close to hitting the big time, so Anthem capitalized with a posthumous greatest hits package called 'Diamonds, Diamonds'.

Mitchell went on to a very successful solo career, but the continued cult status of Max Webster, particularly in Ontario, prompted Mitchell, Watkinson, McCracken, and Tilka to reunite in 1990. Their first performance was a short set at the Toronto Music Awards that year to 3000 hysterical fans who refused to pay attention to the awards given out after their set, continuing to chant "Max! Max! Max!" for the rest of the night. Anthem capitalized on the new-found Max fervour by releasing another best of package that year. Delighted with this response, the four musicians continued to do one-off dates around Ontario as Max Webster well into the late 1990's with Kim Mitchell Band bassist Peter Fredette filling in for Tilka.

In 2007, Mitchell, Tilka, McCracken and Watkinson reunited yet again for Toronto radio station Q107's 30th Anniversary bash along with David Wilcox, Goddo, Sass Jordan and Alannah Myles. The event was filmed but has yet to be released.

Kim Mitchell is the drive-time host on Q107-FM in Toronto. He still performs solo gigs in Southern Ontario; Gary McCracken still lives in Sarnia and owns a very successful music store/school. Aside from playing in ZZ Top tribute band Tres Hombres in the 80s and 90s, he has released several eclectic solo albums; Terry Watkinson performs with Mike Tilka in the band Antlers and occasionally joins Frank Soda live. Watkinson has been successful as a painter and displays his works in galleries around Ontario

1. In The World Of Giants (P. Dubois, K. Mitchell) - 4:18
2. Check (P. Dubois, K. Mitchell) - 2:37
3. April In Toledo (P. Dubois, K. Mitchell) - 3:40
4. Juveniles Don't Stop (P. Dubois, K. Mitchell) - 3:32
5. Battle Scar (P. Dubois, K. Mitchell) - 5:48
6. Chalkers (P. Dubois, D. Myles) - 3:45
7. Drive And Desire (P. Dubois, K. Mitchell) - 3:53
8. Blue River Liquor Shine (P. Dubois, K. Mitchell) - 4:15
9. What Do You Do With The Urge (P. Dubois, G. McCracken) - 3:20
10.Cry Out Your Life (P. Dubois, K. Mitchell) - 5:33

Max Webster
*Kim Mitchell – Guitar, Vocals
*Gary McCracken - Drums
*Dave Myles - Bass
*Pye Dubois - Lyrics
Guest Musicians
*Doug Riley - Piano, Clavinet, Synthesizer
*Neil Peart - Drums
*Terry Watkinson - Keyboards
*Alex Lifeson - Guitar
*David Stone - Synthesizer
*Geddy Lee - Bass
*Meloshe - Bass

1976  Max Webster
1977  High Class In Borrowed Shoes
1978  Mutiny Up My Sleeve
1979  A Million Vacations
1979  Live Magnetic Air

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Hookfoot - Roaring (1973 uk, great tough southern blues rock, expanded edition)

Hookfoot, created by Southampton based musicians vocalist Ian Duck, bassist Dave Glover and drummer Roger Pope, was virtually the side act to their day jobs as session musicians for Elton John. The band started life as an R&B band The Soul Agents in 1965. A name change to The Final One then led to Hookfoot. The debut album, which found the band ploughing a similar Country Rock furrow to Cochise and covering songs by Neil Young, saw the addition of vocalist Peter Ross.

Hookfoot turned up en masse to supply the session music for solo artist John Kongas debut of the same year on Elektra Records as Quaye, Pope and Glover provided the backing.

The follow up album had Hookfoot joined by second guitarist American Bob Kulick. A period of flux followed as Kulick quit (later finding notoriety with session work for Kiss and his stints with Blackjack, Balance, Meat Loaf and Skull). To keep things on the move after Glover departed Cochise guitarist Mick Grabham subbed on bass. Third album 'Communication' had the band up to full strength with bassist Fred Gandy.

Hookfoot made four albums under their own name between 1971 and 1974, none of which did particularly well anywhere. None charted in the States. And by 1974, the bandmembers’ reputations as session players led to the breakup of the band. According to bassist Fred Gandy, who had replaced Glover, “We were all getting offers to work elsewhere . . . the temptations were just too great.” Pope and Quaye would eventually join Elton John’s new band in 1975.

Guitarist Caleb Quaye appeared on numerous 70's Rock projects including The Who's 'Tommy' Extravaganza, Colosseum man Dick Heckstall-Smith's 1972 solo album, Cochise's debut 'Swallow Tales', Grabham's 'Mick The Lad' solo effort and ex Hawkwind man Steve Swindells 1974 solo album. The guitarist has also worked with Paul McCartney and Pete Townsend.

Far from the heaviest Rock Band Hookfoot nevertheless produced some interesting albums with worthy guitar work courtesy of Quaye. Glover became a studio engineer in later years working with Cinderella among others.

1. Tradin' Riffs (Caleb Quaye) - 4:36
2. Rockin' On The Road (Ian Duck) - 5:06
3. Maybe Tomorrow (Roger Pope, Caleb Quaye) - 3:44
4. Surely Lost Our Way (Ian Duck) - 2:44
5. In Many Ways (You're So Beautiful) (Ian Duck) - 4:33
6. Three Days Out (Caleb Quaye) - 4:45
7. Ridin' On A Thunderstorm (Ian Duck) - 6:00
8. Take It Where You Want It (R. Pope, I. Duck, C. Quaye, F. Gandy) - 0:56
9. There's A Chance (Caleb Quaye) - 3:41
10.Roll Of Drums (Ian Duck) - 5:34
11.Sweet Sweet Funky Music (Caleb Quaye) - 3:16
12.Living In The City (Caleb Quaye) - 4:56
13.If I Had The Words (R. Pope, I. Duck, C. Quaye, D. Glover) - 3:18
14.Gunner Webb's Changes (Ian Duck) - 3:14
15.The Painter (Caleb Quaye) - 6:06

*Ian Duck - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
*Fred Gandy - Bass
*Roger Pope - Drums
*Caleb Quaye - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sherman Hayes - Catman (1973 us, awesome swamp blues rock with folk drops, korean remaster)

Sherman Hayes Sr is a Californian who first recorded with Del Courtnet's band in 1939 & 1940. Hayes led a "White" hotel orchestra, in which he played tenor sax and vocalized. The band then featured "sweet" arrangements, a steel guitar, a Lombardo-styled sax section, period vocals by the leader, and a femme singer simply billed as 'Wyoma' (actually Sherman's wife Wanda). In the early 1950s, the band was last heard on a remote broadcast from the Hotel Roosevelt in New Orleans, LA.

Then, in 1973, Sherman Hayes Jr surfaced with his version of "Catman", released on Barnaby Records. The session features David Cohen, Dick Rosmini, Ralph Shuckett, Larry Knechtel, Joe Osborne and others, including members of "Pan" as well as Tom "Zippy" ("Zip") Caplan on lead guitar, arrangements & special effects, and Mick ("Slick"] Stanhope on lead vocals, lyrics & percussion. Mick is best known as drummer in the 3-piece power trio, "White Lightning." Mick moved to Los Angeles in 1971 with "Zip" Caplan (lead guitarist extraordinaire in "The Litter" & "White Lightning") and Pat Rains, their "White Lightning" manager.

Living in L.A. eventually led "Slick" and "Zip" to their little known yet amazing studio appearance on this fine southern rock styled Sherman Hayes (Jr.) album, titled "Catman." Released by the Andy Williams owned Barnaby Records, 1973's "Catman" offers up a weird combination of swamp rock, pop and country influences. Hayes certainly had a likeable voice which was at its best on the more blues and rock oriented numbers like the bizarre opening title track, 'Keepin' To the Backroads' and 'Creepy Crawly Feelin'. To be honest, most of the ten tracks are quite catchy (particularly where Hayes' swamp rock moves recall Tony Joe White), but the rural feel that infuses tracks such as 'Winter's Just Like Comin' Home' and The Dreamer' probably won't have much appeal to most rock fans. Elsewhere, boasting one of those irritating hooks that stick with you all day long, 'Mandy' would have made a dandy single.

Unfortunately, the combination of the OPEC gas crises (which drove vinyl prices through the roof), coupled with the collapse of Barnaby's distribution agreement with the label ensured the album got next to no promotion, explaining why it instantly vanished into cutout bins.
CD Liner-notes

1. Catman  (Sherman Hayes) - 2:51
2. Winter's Just Like Comin' Home  (Sherman Hayes) - 4:10
3. South's Gonna Rise Again  (Bob Mcdill) - 2:55
4. The Dreamer  (Sherman Hayes) - 4:00
5. Keepin' To The Backroads  (Sherman Hayes) - 3:46
6. Creepy Crawly Feelin'  (Sherman Hayes) - 2:55
7. Mandy  (Sherman Hayes, Dann Lottermoss) - 2:05
8. Spirit  (Larry Murray) - 2:08
9. Waitin' For Tomorrow  (Sherman Hayes) - 2:45
10.Country Rain  (Sherman Hayes) - 2:54

*Sherman Hayes - Vocals, Guitar
*Jonathan Avila - Harmonica
*Larry Brown - Drums
*Colin Cameron - Keyboards
*David Cohen - Guitar
*Dennis Conway - Drums
*Thomas Kaplan - Guitar
*Larry Knechtel - Keyboards
*Joe Osborne - Keybaords
*Dick Rosmini - Guitar
*Robert Schnitzer - Guitar
*Ralph Shuckett -  Keyboards
*Chris Smith - Guitar

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Five Man Electrical Band - Half Past Midnight / The Staccatos And Beyond (1966-69 canada, fabulous sunny folk beat psych)

Five Man Electrical Band
1. Five Man Electrical Band - 3:21
2. Last Time I Saw Memphis - 3:30
3. Private Train - 2:21
4. Half Past Midnight - 2:25
5. You're Gonna Lose That Girl (Lennon, McCartney) - 2:17
6. Maple Lane - 3:02
7. Black Sheep Of The Family - 2:26
8. Fancy Dancin' Man (Bonnet, Gordon) - 2:28
9. We Go Together Well - 2:25
10.Hi Didn't Know The Time - 2:28
11.Running Back - 2:32
The Staccatos
12.Catch The Love Parade - 2:40
13.Whisper Words - 2:37
14.Let's Run Away - 2:25
15.Face To Face (With Love) - 2:17
16.Walker Street - 2:50
17.Super Girl - 2:17
18.She Fancies Herself A Lady - 2:43
19.Weather Man - 1:49
20.Half Past Midnight  (Mono 45) - 2:12
All songs written by Les Emmerson except where noted.

Five Man Electrical Band
*Ted Gerow - Keyboards
*Brian Rading - Bass
*Rick 'Bell' Belanger - Drums
*Les Emmerson - Vocals, Guitar
*Mike 'Bell' Belanger - 2nd Drums

The Staccatos
*Vern Craig - Vocals, Guitar
*Brian Rading - Bass
*Rick 'Bell' Belanger - Drums
*Les Emmerson - Vocals, Guitar
*Mike 'Bell' Belanger - 2nd Drums

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Raiders - Country Wine...Plus (1971-74 us, spledind melt of classic rock, country and r 'n' b, 2010 remaster and expanded)

The band had started to diversify and develop its sound on the albums Collage (1970) and Indian Reservation (1971), something they continued with the final studio album for Columbia Records, Country Wine. Lead singer Mark Lindsay had also taken over production duties from the band's 1960s mentor, Terry Melcher (eulogised in the groovy soul-jazz instrumental Terry's Tune', the B-side to Indian Reservation'), and his confidence in the studio was reflected in the quality of the material on offer, 'Country Wine' was an up-tempo pop-rock number, the equal of anything they'd  recorded previously. 

The single B-side, Lindsay's 'It's so Hard Getting Up Today', was a smouldering jazz-blues number not that far removed from what Leon Russell was doing at the same time. The crunching “Powder Blue Mercedes Queen', also written by Lindsay, found the band taking on the riff-heavy sound of Mountain's 'Mississippi Queen' and coming up with an effective example of the heavy metal form. The irony here is that Columbia was intent on promoting new hard rock signings like Blue Oyster Cult and Aerosmith while the Raiders' Country Wine album and subsequent singles got lost in the rush.

It's worth investigating the band's line-up changes circa the early to mid 1970s, The back cover of the Country Wins album shows the band comprising Mark Lindsay (lead vocals), Paul Revere (keyboards), Keith Allison (bass and guitar, who had replaced Phil Volk), Freddy Weller (guitar, who had replaced Jim Valley) and Mike "Smitty" Smith (drums, who had replaced Joe Correro Jr. in 1970 and had already been a member during the 1960s).

After 'Indian Reservation' had become a hit, they added musicians to the live band so they could more readily reproduce the sound of the record. Omar Martinez (drums) and Bob Wooley (keyboards), both ex- Peach, joined the touring Raiders In late 1971.  

Smitty left at the end of 1972 and Martinez became an official band member. Weller departed in early 1973 to be replaced by Doug Heath, whose first session with the band was for the'... All Over You' single. 

Lindsay left in early 1975 and Martinez was promoted to lead singer (from behind the drums), Allison left in April to be replaced by Ron Foos. The band reverted to the moniker of Paul Revere and the Raiders, with the line-up of Revere, Martinez, Wooley, Heath and Foos touring until the end of 1976. The final single for Columbia, 'Your Love (Is the Only Love)' b/w 'Gonna Have a Good Time', featured this post-Lindsay line-up and doesn't fit on this collection.

Over the decades, a large amount of mystique has built up around the Raiders’ final Columbia album. Between 1972 and 1973, the Raiders had recorded enough material for a full album which the label chose not to release. The tracks were: “Song Seller”, “A simple Song”., “Love Music”, Goodbye No9”, “seaboard Line Boogie”, “Tobacco Road”, “Angels of Mercy”, “Chain Of Fools”, “Kept It In The Family”, “Billy Come Down” and “Union Man”

A number of the tracks appeared on singles; 'A Simple Song' as the B-side to 'Song Seller' and 'Goodbye, No. 9' as the B-side to love Music', white the jaunty R&B country song 'Seaboard Line Boogie' later showed up as the B-side to'.,. “All Over You” although that was a totally different take. Much later, the terrific covers of John D. Loudermilk's 'Tobacco Road', Rallene Ellison's 'Angels of Mercy' and Don Covay's 'Chain of Fools' saw release on the 1990 double CD collection The Legend of Paul Revere.

From the late 1970s onwards, various groups from the punk movement, the Paisley Underground and the garage rock revival have acknowledged the Raiders' influence (specifically their 1965-1967 recordings). Tracks such as 'Steppin' Out', 'Just Like Me', 'Kicks', 'Hungry', 'I'm Not Your Stepping Stone', 'Good Thing', 'Him or Me - 'What's it Gonna Be' and 'Ups and Downs' still hold up as bold and unpretentious pop classics, as durable as anything by the Roiling Stones, Them, the Who, the Kinks, the Standells, the Music Machine and dozens of other 1960s bands of that ilk.

The Raiders’ latter day albums displayed a more mature pop-rock direction but have tended to be overlooked. So alongside Collage and Indian Reservation, Country Wine is now ripe for serious re-evaluation.
by Ian McFarlane

1. Country Wine (E. Villareal, W. Watkins) - 2:33
2. Powder Blue Mercedes Queen (Mark Lindsay) - 3:07
3. Hungry For Some Lovin' (Robert Siller) - 3:16
4. Baby Make Up Your Mind (John P'Andrea, John Porter) - 3:17
5. Take A Stand (Mark Lindsay, Keith Allison) - 4:05
6. Where Are Your Children (Leslie Ward Chandler) - 2:46
7. Ballad Of The Unloved (P. Weiss, S. English) - 3:29
8. American Family (Alan Earle O'Pay) - 3:43
9. Golden Girls Sometimes (M. Lindsay, K. Allison) - 2:38
10.Farewell To A Golden Girl (Mark Lindsay) - 2:46
11.Terrystune (Mark Lindsay) - 3:19
12.It's So Hard Getting Up Today (Mark Lindsay) - 2:42
13.Song Seller (Jimmy Webb) - 3:33
14.A Simple Song (Mark Lindsay, John D'Andrea) - 3:01
15 Love Music (Dennis Lambert, Brian Potter) - 3:43
16.Goodbye, No. 9 (Mark Lindsay) - 2:58
17.(If I Had To Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It) All Over You (Bob Dylan) - 2:43
18.Seaboard Line Boogie (Mark Lindsay, Keith Allison) - 3:10
19.Tobacco Road (John D. Loudermilk) - 3:30
20.Angels Of Mercy (Rallene Ellison) - 3:30
21.Chain Of Fools (Don Covay) - 3:12

The Raiders
*Mark Lindsay - Lead Vocals
*Paul Revere - Keyboards
*Keith Allison - Bass And Guitar
*Freddy Weller - Guitar
*Mike "Smitty" Smith - Drums
*Omar Martinez - Drums
*Bob Wooley - Keyboards
*Doug Heath - Drums
*Ron Foos - Guitar

Paul Revere And The Raiders
1963-65  Mojo Work Out (Sundazed issue)
1965-67  Evolution to Revolution: 5 Classic Albums (2013 double disc remaster)
1967  A Christmas Present... And Past
1968  Goin' To Memphis (Sundazed remaster)
1968  Something Happening  (Repertoire digipack remaster and expanded)
1969  Alias Pink Puzz (Sundazed remaster)
1969  Hard 'N' Heavy With Marshmallow (Sundazed issue)
1970-71  Indian Reservation / Collage (2009 remaster)
Related Act
1970  Mark Lindsay - Arizona / Silverbird

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