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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, February 28, 2015

Batdorf And Rodney - Batdorf And Rodney (1972 us, elegant folkish smooth rock, 2014 japan remaster)

In late 1971 we moved into a house in Hollywood with our bass player Rick Carlos, and John Mauceri, drums. All we did was music and it was a magical time. A sound was evolving, and that sound inspired new songs: "Home Again","All I Need" , "Let Me Live The Life", "Under Five" to name a few.

This experience was different that the first album. Because we were working together as a band we knew exactly what these songs would sound like and we were excited to get started on a new album.

Because Ahmet was on the East coast again it was very hard to reach him at times and our manager asked us if we would be interested in moving to a newly formed West Coast Atlantic- owned label called Asylum. It was run by another legendary music mogul, David Geffen. As much as we absolutely loved Ahmet, it was the right move.

We needed a producer. We loved how the CSNY and Steve Stills solo records sounded and sought out Bill Halverson who engineered them all. He hadn't done much producing but when we recorded a demo for him at the Record Plant, he realized he simply needed to guide an already tightly rehearsed band. Man, could he make those acoustics sing. Bill was awesome. We cut the entire album's basic tracks in three days and then started working on the vocals and other overdubs. David Geffen brought the group America to one of our sessions and the next day and we got booted off our scheduled session so America could record with Bill. Man were we pissed!!

1. Poor Man's Dream - 3:20
2. Oh, Can You Tell Me - 4:31
3. Between The Ages - 4:06
4. Home Again - 6:31
5. By Today 4:09
6. Happy Town - 3:35
7. All I Need - 3:51
8. Under Five - 5:08
9. Let Me Live The Life - 3:35
All Songs written by John Batdorf

*John Batdorf - Acoustic, Electric Guitars, Lead,  Vocals, Piano
*Mark Rodney - Acoustic Guitars, Vocals
*John Mauceri - Drums
*Rick Carlos - Bass
*Bruce "The Creeper" - Harmonica
*String Arrangements  - Jimmie Haskell

1971  Batdorf And Rodney - Off The Shelf (2014 japan remaster)

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lighthouse - Suite Feeling (1969 canada, exceptional jazz brass jam rock, 2010 korean remaster)

A great title for this one – given that the album's got a full, spacious sound – one that definitely lives up to the "suite feeling" you'd expect! The style here is even more sophisticated than on the group's debut – still a mix of jazzy horns and rockish rhythms, but fused together even more perfectly – but with a leanness that's a good contrast to some of the more overblown groups of the same generation! 

There's just the right balance here to allow some standout solos – on horns, natch, but also some sweet Hammond too – and a young Howard Shore is also in the group on alto sax, and handled some of the arrangments for the record. Titles inlcude a great version of "A Day In The Life" – plus originals "Taking A Walk", "Could You Be Concerned", "Chest Fever", "Feel So Good", "Places On Faces Four Blue Carpet Traces", and "What Sense"

1. Chest Fever (Robbie Robertson) - 5:02
2. Feel So Good (Grant Fullerton, Paul Hoffert, Skip Prokop) - 2:59
3. Places On Faces Four Blue Carpet Traces (Grant Fullerton, Paul Hoffert, Ralph Cole, Skip Prokop) - 10:51
4. Could You Be Concerned (Paul Hoffert, Skip Prokop) - 4:16
5. Presents Of Presence (Paul Hoffert, Skip Prokop) - 3:52
6. Taking A Walk (Paul Hoffert, Skip Prokop) - 4:37
7. Eight Loaves Of Bread (Paul Hoffert, Skip Prokop) - 3:31
8. What Sense (Paul Hoffert, Skip Prokop) - 3:31
9. A Day In The Life (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 6:19

*Skip Prokop - Leader, Drums, Vocals
*Paul Hoffert - Keyboards, Vibes
*Ralph Cole - Guitar, Vocals
*Grant Fullerton - Bass, Vocals
*Pinky Dauvin - Lead Vocals
*Paul Armin - Violin
*Don DiNovo - Violin, Viola
*Myron Moskalyk - Violin
*Leslie Schneider - Cello
*Paul Adamson - Trumpet
*Bruce Cassidy - Trumpet
*Howard Shore - Alto Sax, Flute
*Russ Little - Trombone
*Dick Armin - Violin

1969  Lighthouse (2012 extra tracks edition)
1971  One Fine Morning
1972  Sunny Days (2008 RDI issue)
1973  Can You Feel It?  (2008 RDI issue)
Related Acts
1967  The Paupers - Magic People
1968  The Paupers · Ellis Island  (2008 remaster)
1969  The Live Adventures Of Mike Bloomfield And Al Kooper
1969  Michael Bloomfield with Nick Gravenites And Friends - Live At Bill Graham's Fillmore West (2009 remaster and expanded) 

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Hapshash And The Coloured Coat - Western Flier (1969 uk, excellent prog freak rock, 2013 remaster)

In the annals of freakdom there are fewer more celebrated ‘musicians’ as Hapshash and the Coloured Coat – but not at the time of release as original copies of these vinyl albums have sold at auction for more than £70. These reissues are a fine indication of just how far ‘out there’ the psychedelic funsters of the mid-sixties could get and the albums take a few listens before the light-bulbs go on and the music begins to make real sense.

The origins of the band lie in the talents of Michael English and his partner Nigel Waymouth. At the beginning of the psychedelic revolution in London they were producing posters for the likes of Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Pink Floyd and even The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown and were encouraged into the studio by their manager Guy Stevens. Not actually beong of a musical bent they hooked up with a band called Art (featuring a young Luther Grosvenor and who later emerged as Spooky Tooth) and created the first of these ‘freakouts’.

Actually, the first album has a mesmeric quality, with pounding and shamanic drumming and chants with the occasional electronic additions and screams. The music is highly ‘druggy’, resembling an altered state of consciousness and was actually credited creating a trance-like state in listeners of the time – with the same assistance it would probably be highly effective today! There is a certain joyousness to the music when the band play – very much of its time but no less interesting for that.

After English left the project Waymouth teamed up with Michael Mayhew and attracted a very young Mike Batt to the cause. They hooked up with ‘proper’ musicians to make the second album, ‘Western Flyer’ which featured no less than Tony (TS) McPhee on guitars. The album is comprised of more conventional songs, although still not exactly ‘pop’ material, and while the singing is still less than perfect the album has real coherence and presence. There is a similar feeling to albums by Country Joe or Wild Man Fischer and strong touches of the ‘Krautrock’ scene in their mixing of musical and electronic elements.

All told a fascinating insight to one of the more extreme bands of the sixties and soime damn fine moments along the way.
by Andy Snipper

1. Telephone Budreaux - 1:00
2. Colinda (Traditional) - 2:57
3. Chicken Run - 5:53
4. Big Bo Peep - 3:31
5. Blue Narcissus - 4:42
6. Car-Car - 2:10
7. Milk Shake Knock - 2:15
8. Wall - 4:47
9. You For Ophelia - 5:02
10.Fare You Well (Traditional) - 8:51
All songs by Michael Mayhew, Nigel Waymouth, Mike Batt except where stated

*Nigel Waymouth - Vocals
*Michael Mayhew - Guitars
*Mike Batt - Piano, Accordion
*Michael Ramsden - Lead Vocals
*Andy Renton - Drums
*Tony T.S. Mcphee - Lead Guitar
*Eddie Tripp - Double Bass
*Freddie Ballerini - Violin
*The Rock'n Roll Women - Vocals

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Byrds - Byrdmaniax (1971 us, beautiful folk psych country rock, 2013 japan Blu Spec edition)

The album starts off well on an upbeat number: Art Reynolds's "Glory Glory." With a rolling piano, 12-string guitar, female backing, and a gospel beat, this song is just as appealing as the earlier Reynolds track "Jesus is Just Alright" on "Ballad of Easy Rider." Next, the band slows it down with the McGuinn-Parsons track "Pale Blue." Like McGuinn's "Untitled" compositions, this is a sentimental ballad. Unlike the "Untitled" tracks, however, this song is awash with strings. 

Although many object to these as a pretentious addition, they don't intrude and actually enhance the song's beauty. Track 3 is McGuinn's Norman Vincent Peale inspired "I Trust." It starts off with a country-rock feel and then melds into country-gospel through more female backing and honky-tonk piano. With the catchy chorus and inspired feel good lyrics, this song is truly a pleasure to listen to. Unfortunately, the album and possibly the Byrds career, reach their nadir throughout the next three songs.

First comes the Battin-Fowley novelty "Tunnel of Love." The combination of piano, organ, horns, and carnival lyrics coming from a Byrds album is more than most fans with be able to take. This is, of course, until the listener moves on to the next track, the Battin-Fowley tune "Citizen Kane." Like "Tunnel" this is another novelty complete with 1930s style horns and inane lyrics. It's not a bad song necessarily, but as a Byrds track, it is over the top. Next follows the McGuinn-Levy "Gene Tryp" song "I Wanna Grow Up To Be A Politician." This composition also borders on the "novelty," but is much more listenable than the two Battin-Fowley tracks. Although "Politician" is a good song, following two out of character novelty songs, it's hard not to want to fast forward through this one too.

Although much maligned by critics and fans (oftentimes unfairly), the Battin-Fowley songwriting team occasionally scores and the seventh track "Absolute Happiness" delivers the goods. Inspired by Battin's Buddhist faith, this song has a nice mellow country-rock feel to it. After this, the band tackles bluegrass music on "Green Apple Quick Step," which is mainly a chance for Clarence White to show off his skills. Believe me, he does this well and demonstrates why he is such a highly rated guitarist. It also features his father Eric on harmonica and Byron Berline on fiddle. 

Although an instrumental, it is an enduring, pleasant track to listen to. Next comes another song from Clarence White's roots: "My Destiny." This beautiful hymn features the vocals of Clarence White as he asks thoughtfully concerning the questions of life: "Is this my destiny?" The only problem with this track is that White's voice seems a little frail and he's difficult to understand. Next comes the beautiful and sentimental McGuinn-Levy "Kathleen's Song," which just might be McGuinn's best ever composition. The addition of warm strings has been controversial, but I personally think they make the song more wistful and enhance it. If you prefer the un-orchestrated version, it is on "Untitled/Unissued" and the Boxed Set. The original album closed with Jackson Browne's classic "Jamaica, Say You Will" that receives a loving treatment from his friend Clarence White. The rest of the Byrds chime in to provide eerie harmonies, proving they could still do it.

The bonus tracks are interesting too. First, there is an excellent cover of Bob Dylan's "Just Like A Woman," which at last puts a Dylan tune on Byrdmaniax. The next track is a stripped down version of "Pale Blue," which for those who dislike Melcher's additions, will be pleasing. The album ends with a lively Gene Clark composition "Think I'm Gonna Feel Better" featuring McGuinn's 12 string and another lead vocal by Clarence White. For Byrds fans this is an excellent inclusion; it doesn't matter that White's vocals are a bit strained.

"Byrdmaniax," since its original release, has been derided by many. Some of this has been justified, some of it not. For example, McGuinn's decision to include 2 Battin-Fowley novelty songs is difficult to understand. However, the worth of Melcher's additions is still debatable. Many fans like them, while many fans loathe them. However you feel about them, there are some genuinely good tracks on Byrdmaniax. 
by Jonathan Bennett

1. Glory, Glory (Arthur Reynolds) - 4:03
2. Pale Blue (Roger McGuinn, Gene Parsons) - 2:22
3. I Trust (Roger McGuinn) - 3:19
4. Tunnel Of Love (Skip Battin, Kim Fowley) - 4:59
5. Citizen Kane (Skip Battin, Kim Fowley) - 2:36
6. I Wanna Grow Up To Be A Politician (Roger McGuinn, Jacques Levy) - 2:03
7. Absolute Happiness (Skip Battin, Kim Fowley) - 2:38
8. Green Apple Quick Step (Gene Parsons, Clarence White) - 1:49
9. My Destiny (Helen Carter) - 3:38
10.Kathleen's Song (Roger McGuinn, Jacques Levy) - 2:40
11.Jamaica Say You Will (Jackson Browne) - 3:27
12.Glory, Glory (Single Version) (Arthur Reynolds) - 3:28
13.I Trust (Live) (Roger McGuinn) - 4:05
14.You Ain't Going Nowehere (Bob Dylan) - 2:28
15.Nothing To It (Traditional Arr. Doc Watson) - 1:38
16.Think I'm Gonna Feel Better (Gene Clark) - 2:35
17.Just Like A Woman (Bob Dylan) - 3:55
18.Pale Blue (Alternative Version) (Roger McGuinn, Gene Parsons) - 2:32
19.Glory, Glory (Stereo 45 Mix) (Arthur Reynolds) - 3:28

The Byrds
*Roger McGuinn - Guitar, Vocals
*Clarence White - Guitar, Vocals
*Skip Battin - Electric Bass, Vocals
*Gene Parsons - Drums, Harmonica, Banjo, Vocals
Additional Personnel
*Larry Knechtel – Piano,  Organ
*Terry Melcher - Piano
*Sneaky Pete Kleinow - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Byron Berline - Fiddle
*Eric White, Sr. - Harmonica
*Jimmi Seiter - Percussion
*Merry Clayton - Vocals
*Jackson Browne - Piano

The Byrds
1964  The Byrds - Preflyte (2012 Edition)
1968  The Byrds - Sweetheart Of The Rodeo  (Double Disc Set)
1969  The Byrds - Live At Fillmore
1971  The Byrds - Live At Royal Albert Hall
1973  Byrds - Byrds
1973  Roger McGuinn - Roger McGuinn (2013 Edition) 
1976  Roger McGuinn - Cardiff Rose (2013 edition)
1979  McGuinn, Clark And Hillman (2014 Japan SHM Remaster)

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Colin Scot - Colin Scot (1971 uk, remarkable progressive folk rock, 2006 remaster, korean Limited Edition)

In later years, this singular set would leave a new generation of classic rock fans scratching their heads. Just what were so many superstars doing backing this unknown singer? However, in 1970, Colin Scot was at least as famous as any of those now legendary names that guested on this his debut solo album, with the singer/songwriter regularly packing the house for his frequent live shows. 

Of course, those gigs brought Scot into the orbits of a host of other folk-tinged groups from the day, but it seems to have been producer John Anthony who brought most of this crew together. This included Brinsley Schwarz of the eponymous band, Genesis' Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, Van Der Graaf Generator's Peter Hammill and David Jackson, King Crimson's Robert Fripp, then-Strawbs' organist Rick Wakeman, and his future bandmate Yes frontman Jon Anderson (the pair met at these sessions), and the list goes on and on.

Considering all the talent and egos in the studio, producer Anthony must have run an extremely tight ship, for he never allows any of the virtuosos to get in Scot's way or their excesses to overwhelm his songs. Nevertheless, the musicians left their marks, be it the shimmering guitars on "Do the Dance Now, Davey" that foreshadow the ones that strew glitter across Genesis' "The Music Box," or the quintessential Fripp chords that empower "Here We Are in Progress." "The Boatman" is buffeted by gusting wind, lapping waves, and exquisite guitar work, "Lead Us" sweeps listeners along with a choir of singers, while "Hey! Sandy," features some of the angriest acoustic guitars one's ever likely to encounter. 

All four of those songs were well-chosen covers, while the country-tinged "My Rain," the brooding "Take Me Away," and the psychedelic laced "Nite People" showcased the strength of Scot's own pen. The finished album was handed to United Artists, at the time, a relatively new and adventurous label, and upon release sold respectably in its day, but has cried out for reissue since. Boosted by a quartet of alternate takes of album tracks, the return of Colin Scot will be welcomed by prog and folk fans around the world.
by Jo-Ann Greene 

1. Do The Dance Now, Davey - 5:28
2. My Rain - 3:07
3. Take Me Away - 3:23
4. Confusion  - 2:55
5. Baby In My Lady (Mike Newbury) - 4:07
6. Lead Us (Neil Innes) - 4:34
7. You're Bound To Leave Me Now  - 4:36
8. The Boatman (Davy Johnstone) - 3:08
9. Nite People - 4:15
10.Hey! Sandy (Harvey Andrews) - 4:14
11.Here We Are In Progress  - 4:27
12.Long Time Gone  - 3:26
13.Do The Dance Now, Davey (Take 3)  - 5:42
14.My Rain (Take 1)  - 3:51
15.Nite People (Take 2)  - 4:42
All compositions by Colin Thistlewaite except where indicated
Previously Unreleased Bonus Tracks 12-15

*Colin Scot - Guitar, Vocals
*David Jackson - Saxophone
*Ian Thornton - Trumpet
*Brinsley Schwarz - Guitar
*Robert Fripp - Guitar
*Davey Johnstone - Guitar
*David Kaffinetti- Keyboards
*Rick Wareman - Keyboards
*Bob Andrews - Keyboards
*Nic Potter - Bass
*Rod Clements - Bass
*Guy Evans - Drums
*Billy Rankin - Drums
*Peter Hammill - Vocals
*Steve Gould - Vocals
*Peter Gabriel - Vocals
*Phil Collins - Vocals
*Anne Stuart - Vocals
*Jane Reif - Vocals
*Jon Anderson - Vocals
*Linda Hoyle - Vocals
*Alan Hull - Vocals

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Lovin' Spoonful - What's Up, Tiger Lily (1966 us, fabulous folk psych, 2008 japan remaster)

A truly unique and wonderfully American band, the Lovin' Spoonful released nearly all of their creative legacy between 1965 and the end of 1966. The first album, Do You Believe in Magic, hit in 1965, with the second, Daydream, and the third, Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful, arriving in 1966. Also in 1966, the group delivered the soundtrack to Woody Allen's first film, What's Up, Tiger Lily? This set combines that soundtrack with Hums on a single disc, and truthfully, it works mostly because Hums, which contained such classic Spoonful numbers as "Lovin' You," "Rain on the Roof," "Coconut Grove," "Nashville Cats," and "Summer in the City," is such a fine album. Aside from the minor song "Pow" and a redo of "Fishin' Blues," the music on What's Up, Tiger Lily? is of the instrumental soundtrack variety. Things went downhill after 1966 for the Lovin' Spoonful. The two albums the band released in 1967, 
by Steve Leggett

1. Lenny Maxwell, Woody Allen - Introduction To Flick - 2:03
2. Pow (Theme From "What's Up, Tiger Lily?") (J. Butler, J. Sebastian, Skip Boone, Steve Boone, Z. Yanovsky) - 2:28
3. Gray Prison Blues (Joe Butler, John Sebastian, Steve Boone, Zal Yanovsky) - 2:15
4. Pow Revisited (Joe Butler, John Sebastian, Skip Boone, Steve Boone, Zal Yanovsky) - 2:30
5. Unconscious Minuet (Joe Butler, John Sebastian, Steve Boone, Zal Yanovsky) - 2:05
6. Fishin' Blues (Traditional) - 1:58
7. Respoken (John Sebastian) - 1:48
8. A Cool Million (Joe Butler, John Sebastian, Steve Boone, Zal Yanovsky) - 2:20
9. Speakin' Of Spoken (John Sebastian) - 2:40
10.Lookin' To Spy (Joe Butler, John Sebastian, Steve Boone, Zal Yanovsky) - 2:30
11.Phil's Love Theme (Joe Butler, John Sebastian, Steve Boone, Zal Yanovsky) - 2:15
12.End Title (Joe Butler, John Sebastian, Steve Boone, Zal Yanovsky) - 4:05

The Lovin' Spoonful
*Steve Boone - Bass, Piano
*Joe Butler - Drums
*John Sebastian - Autoharp, Guitar, Harmonica
*Zal Yanovsky - Guitar
*Henry Diltz - Clarinet
*Larry Hankin - Jew's Harp

 The Lovin' Spoonful
1965  Do You Believe In Magic (2016 Blu Spec Bonus Tracks Edition)
1966  Daydream (2016 Blu Spec Bonus Tracks Edition)
1966  Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful (2016 Blu Spec Bonus Tracks Edition)
1967-68  You're A Big Boy Now / Everything Playing (2011 edition and 2016 Blu Spec Bonus Tracks Edition)
1969  Revelation: Revolution '69
Related Act
1969-76  John Sebastian - Faithful Virtue, The Reprise Recordings 

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Batdorf And Rodney - Off The Shelf (1971 us, wonderful melodic folk rock, 2014 japan remaster)

In the summer of 1970 at the ripe old age of 18, my girl friend and I packed our bags and left our apartment in Hollywood for Las Vegas. It was time for a change of scenery, and it didn't hurt that her parents had a home there. They were devout Jehovah's Witnesses and I am sure they were thrilled to have a hippie musician who'd been shacking up with their runaway daughter in LA move into their home. But the power of music can never be underestimated. Once they heard me sing they warmed up to me and I used to do shows for them and their friends. (For the record, no pamphlets were distributed during the performances).

I soon found employment at the University of Las Vegas in a coffee house. Although I'd played music all my life I did have a few other marketable skills that helped me get the gig: I worked in the kitchen, served drinks, cleaned up the place, even worked the cash register. But singing was more fun. As with most coffee houses of that era, each night featured various singers and songwriters. Before long I became the headliner. I did two or three sets a night depending on the crowds. Then, as a special reward for packing 'em in I had the priviledge of cleaning up when the show was over. 

One night Mark Rodney's younger brother Jeff showed up and liked what he saw. He went home and told his brother that he HAD to go check out this guy at the coffee house. Apparently he told Mark my distinguising features were: "he sings really high like a girl and plays really cool original music." Mark showed up the next night and watched a set and was impressed. Although both of us had been from LA and actually went to the same High School, Mark had been living with his dad Red Rodney who owned a home in Vegas. Red was a famous Jazz trumpet player and I'm convinced he passed on that great musical feel to his son. 

Mark introduced himself during a break and asked if he could sit in on the next set and play some guitar. That was the first time Batdorf and Rodney played. I loved the way the guy found such cool and tasty guitar parts that took the songs to a better place. Oh yeah, and it was fun.

We decided to rehearse and see what would happen. We practiced everyday either at Red's house, the park, or up at Mt. Charleston. We got really excited about this sound that was happening as we played, and we weren't alone. Soon we were packing them in at the coffee house. The manager there was so into the sound and the potential that he took us to a College entertainment show in Fresno to show off what UNLV had going on campus. We were a big hit and before long we had people wanting to join us, manage us, promote us, you name it. We were getting the offers.

We were feeling really good about what we had to offer and wanted to record it. On October 24, 1970, Mark and I were joined by our roadie Dan Bisker and a few others and we went up to Mt. Charleston armed with our guitars, a stereo cassette deck and two mics. We played a set of originals and really liked what we heard. Mark and I decided that we wanted to go back to LA and see if we could get a record deal.

We eventually booked some more sessions but this time in LA at Elektra Studios. Ahmet hired John Barbata on drums and Chris Etheridge on bass. Our engineer was Ross Myering. The sessions went great and everyone was pleased. Unfortunately because Ahmet was such a busy guy, it was hard to track him down and pin point a release date so the weeks passed and still nothing. 

We hooked up with a manager, Harvey Kresky, who had managed Sonny and Cher among others and had a history with Ahmet. He got Atlantic to finally schedule a release date in late 1971 to the newly named duo Batdorf and Rodney, another good Ertegun idea. Off The Shelf Because the record sat on the shelf for so many months we appropriately named the record, " Off The Shelf". The album was finally out!!! We immediately got airplay everywhere. The playlists were not like today. AM radio actually played album cuts. A very famous DJ in LA at KRLA AM radio B. Mitchell Reid played many cuts and often. Mark and I went to the Beverly Hills Hotel on Thanksgiving to have dinner with Ahmet, David Geffen, Eve Babitz, Earl McGrath and a few others he invited. He had a boom box playing in the background and on came "Can You See Him". We all freaked and I told Ahmet, "Man we're going all the way, we're going platinum!!!" Ahmet said "Don't worry about that man, we made our mark," and he was right again. 

That album didn't quite go platinum or gold or any other color but we toured and people loved us! On the road I was busy trying to write new songs for what would be our second album.

1. Oh My Surprise - 2:45
2. Me And My Guitar - 3:28
3. Can You See Him - 6:04
4. Workin' Man, Blind Man - 3:49
5. You Are The One - 3:37
6. Don't You Hear Me Callin' - 4:40
7. Where Were You And I - 2:21
8. Never See His Face Again - 2:53
9. One Day - 2:47
10.Farm (John Batdorf, Mark Rodney) - 1:55
11.Let Me Go - 5:24
All songs by John Batdorf except track #10

*John Batdorf - Acoustic, Electric Guitars Lead, BG Vocals, Piano, B3
*Mark Rodney - Acoustic Guitars, BG Vocals
*Roger Hawkins - Drums
*David Hood - Bass
*Barry Beckett - Piano, Rhodes, Vibes
*Chris Etheridge - Bass
*John Barbata - Drums

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Climax Chicago - Tightly Knit (1971 uk, magnificent blues rock, 2013 remastered with bonus tracks)

By the time of 1971's Tightly Knit, the group had settled into a very comfortable groove and suddenly didn't seem to be trying so hard, instead letting the music speak for itself. This newfound confidence was also mirrored in the fact that eight of the ten tunes aboard were group-penned originals. 

While they showed some versatility on tunes like "Little Link" and "Shoot Her If She Runs" (both exhibiting a strong country rock flavor), they still managed to sound like no one else but the Climax Blues Band on such familiar warhorses as "Spoonful" and Robert Johnson's "Come on in My Kitchen." Peter Haycock's lead guitar reached scorching levels on the almost-ten-minute-long "St. Michael's Blues"; "Who Killed McSwiggin" explored the Bo Diddley beat for all its worth, and the closing "That's All" took the pan-flute New Orleans groove into folk-singalong territory, making a top-notch finish for the group's most varied outing. 
by Cub Koda

1. Hey Mama - 3:33
2. Shoot Her If She Runs - 3:33
3. Towards The Sun - 3:20
4. Come On In My Kitchen (Robert Johnson) - 6:34
5. Who Killed McSwiggen - 4:59
6. Little Link - 1:37
7. St. Michael's Blues - 9:55
8. Bide My Time - 3:20
9. That's All - 2:14
10.Hey Mama - 3:37
11.Shoot Her If She Runs - 4:47
12.Spoonful (Willie Dixon) - 6:22
All songs by Climax Chicago except where indicated
Tracks 10-13 recorded Live at Blow Up London, Autumn 1970

The Climax Chicago
*Colin Cooper - Vocals, Saxophone, Harmonica, Guitar
*Pete Haycock - Vocals, Guitar, Bass
*Derek Holt - Bass, Guitar, Keyboards
*George Newsome - Drums
*Arthur Wood - Keyboards

1969  The Climax Chicago Blues Band (2013 remaster and expanded)
1970  A Lot Of Bottle (2013 remaster and expanded)

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Friday, February 6, 2015

Wicked Lady - Psychotic Overkill (1972 uk, awesome heavy psych, 2012 issue)

The second and final collection of Wicked Lady tracks all came from 1972, following the replacement of original bassist Bob Jeffries with Del Morley. Nothing else about either the band or its recording approach changed otherwise, with what proved to be the group's remaining recorded legacy being more of the same style and approach on The Axeman Cometh. Still, there's a little more of a frenetic edge on songs like "I'm a Freak," with faster tempos as well as lines like "I don't know right from wrong/I think I'm gonna be a politician." 

The band's one recorded cover shows up, a reasonable enough lumber through Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile" that has lead figure Martin Weaver throwing in a couple of queasy guitar moments all his own. Similarly, the hints of a little more stretching that can be heard at the end of The Axeman Cometh, with the stately enough near conclusion of "Tell the Truth," is more than welcome. "Ship of Ghosts," the final song on the collection, is also the band's longest at 22 minutes; while there are a couple of longueurs, its ambition is reasonably matched by the performance, from full adrenaline overdrive to near silence and back again, concluding on a gently lyrical note. "Passion" deserves a note as well for two reasons -- Morley's more notable basswork and Weaver's concluding line for the chorus: "Just tell me that you love me/And I won't throw your grandma on the fire." 
by Ned Raggett 

1. I'm A Freak - 5:01
2. Tell The Truth - 5:08
3. Passion - 9:29
4. Voodoo Chile (Jimi Hendrix) - 4:41
5. Why Don't You Let Me Try - 5:00
6. Sin City - 7:04
7. Ship Of Ghosts - 22:00
All songs by Wicked Lady except where stated.

Wicked Lady
*Del "German Head" Morley - Bass
*Dick Smith - Drums
*Martin Weaver - Guitar, Vocals

1968-72  Wicked Lady - The Axeman Cometh

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tamalpais Exchange - Tamalpais Exchange (1970 us, striking spiritual funky folk psych, 2014 edition)

Few Xian psych records got wackier or more harsh than this one. Tamalpais Exchange were an egalitarian sextet who emerged from the NYC area and somehow got signed to a big label, probably as a result of their work's obvious nod to the popular hippie musical trend of Christian themed Broadway shows like Hair, Godspell and Joseph & The Technicolor Dream Coat. The Tamalpais crew really hams it up on their only album, overloading the mics of these low budget takes with painfully wailing group vocals in performances that blast along with the power of an apocalyptic Mamas & The Papas, but way more punk.

Some songs slip into Anglo folk territory a la Buffy St. Marie or Joni Mitchell's early stuff, so the record has a truly schizo feeling as the group rarely hits any kind of middle ground between the quiet/loud extremes. The loud stuff here is the deal breaker though, so if you think your psych rock dream-come-true could be the sound of a church camp hootenanny screamin’ along to a pounding folk punk accompaniment then this one is a must-have.
by Mike Apichella

1. Anthem  - 2:20
2. If I Had The Answeres (Michael Knight, Mike Brandt) - 2:46
3. Here We Are  - 3:06
4. Never Ever Land  - 2:41
5. King  - 2:35
6. Flying Somehow  - 3:49
7. L.A. Incident  - 2:35
8. World (Michael Knight, Mike Brandt) - 3:23
9. Balnesmoor Lane  - 3:03
10.Pied Piper  - 2:16
11.Maybe Tomorrow  - 2:13
12.Understand It (Buckets Lowery, Mike Brandt) - 4:15
13.Why Don't You Believe Me?  -
14.Wish (Michael Knight, Mike Brandt) - 2:10
All songs by Michael Knight except where noted.

*Mike Brandt - Guitar, Vocals
*Susan Kay - Guitars, Vocals
*Michael Knight - Guitar, Vocals
*Ronnie Bedford - Drums
*Penelope Bodry - Vocals
*Buckets Lowery  - Vocals
*Ralf Rost - Bass
*Pamela Talus - Keyboards, Vocals
*Don Payne - Bass

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Savoy Brown - Blue Matter (1969 uk, stunning hard blues rock, 2004 remaster and expanded)

In late 1968, Savoy Brown's schedule was booked solid with never fewer than six gigs a week. Audiences' reactions was always enthusiastic, as Kim explained to Beat Instrumental: "Since we've got the new line-up together, the band has been working much better. Interest in our sort of music is on the upsurge, and we're doing very well now."

In November, the band discharged bassist Jobe and asked former member Brunning (who had recently filled in for some gigs) to join again permanently. Brunning again declined, and so Tone Stevens (b. September 12, 1949) joined instead.

On December 6, 1968, the band performed at the City of Leicester College of Education. The performance was taped with Dave Peverett substituting for Chris Youlden, who was sick and couldn't sing well enough to perform. They recorded the set anyway, and three tracks, "Maybe Wrong," "It Hurts Me Too" and "Louisiana Blues" appeared on their next album. "Louisiana Blues", a largely instrumental song, became a showstopper on their forthcoming U.S. tour. A fourth live track, "Sweet Home Chicago," appears to have been lost in the Decca vaults. All of Peverett's vocals were re-recorded in the studio.

In December, the band returned to the studio to record more two tunes, "She's Got a Ring in His Nose and a Ring on Her Hand" and "Don't Turn Me from Your Door." On January 22, 1969, they recorded "Grits Ain't Groceries (All Around the World)." "Grits" was composed by Titus Turner and under the name "All Around the World" was a Top Ten r&b hit in 1955 as covered by Little Willie John. Little Milton revived the song in 1969 as "Grits Ain't Groceries". The song featured an explosive horn section and was paired with "Ring" for the U.S. market. In spite of the high calibre of both sides of this release, the single nevertheless failed to chart.
by Martin "Jet" Celmins and Jeff Wat 

1. Train To Nowhere (Chris Youlden, Kim Simmonds) - 4:12
2. Tolling Bells (Chris Youlden, Kim Simmonds) - 6:33
3. She's Got A Ring In His Nose And A Ring On Her Hand (Chris Youlden) - 3:07
4. Vickburg Blues (Bob Hall, Chris Youlden) - 4:03
5. Don't Turn Me From Your Door (John Lee Hooker) - 5:04  
6. Grits Ain't Groceries (Titus Turner) - 2:42
7. May Be Wrong (Dave Peverett) - 7:50
8. Lousiana Blues (McKinley Morganfield) - 9:06
9. It Hurts Me Too (Elmore James, , Mel London) - 6:53
10.Raise Some Thunder (Kim Simmonds) - 2:33
11.Since You've Been Gone (Kim Simmonds) - 5:22
12.Medley - 20:45
a.I'm Tired
b.Hard Way To Go
c.Lousiana Blues
d.Street Corner Talkin'
e.Hellbound Train
f.Guitar Solo

Savoy Brown
*Chris Youlden - Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Lonesome Dave Peverett - Guitar, Vocals
*Kim Simmonds - Guitar, Harmonica, Piano
*Bob Hall - Piano
*Rivers Jobe - Bass
*Tony Stevens - Bass, Percussion
*Roger Earl - Percussion, Drums
*Alan Moore - Trombone
*Terry Flannery - Trombone, Tenor Trombone
*Keith Martin - Trombone, Tenor Trombone
*Brian Perrin - Trombone, Tenor Trombone
*Derek Wadsworth - Trombone, Tenor Trombone
*Mike Vernon - Percussion

1967-68  Savoy Brown - Shake Down / Getting To The Point
1969-70  Savoy Brown - Raw Sienna / Looking In
1974  Savoy Brown - Boogie Brothers
Related Act
1972  Foghat - Foghat (Japan Remaster)
1973  Foghat - Rock And Roll (Japan Remaster)
1974  Foghat - Energized (Japan Remaster)
1974  Foghat - Rock And Roll Outlaws (Japan remaster)
1975  Foghat - Fool For The City (2008 ultradisc MFSL)
1976  Foghat - Night Shift (Japan remaster with extra track)
1973  Chris Youlden - Nowhere Road
1974  Chris Youlden - Citychild

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