In The Land Of FREE we still Keep on Rockin'

It's Not Dark Yet

Plain and Fancy

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


Monday, March 30, 2015

The Byrds - Farther Along (1971 us, marvelous folk country rock, Blu Spec 2014 extra tracks release)

It's been pretty well established that The Byrds had long gone past their expiration date. Roger McGuinn had already peaked as a songwriter, and none of the other band members he brought in were particularly notable songsmiths. Really, if you listen to this album, you'll likely find it to be inconsequential and without any original ideas to speak of. Well, despite that, Farther Along is an incredibly pleasing album. They learned from their mistakes well, and they started to actually sound like they were enjoying themselves! As it goes, the audience has a better chance of enjoying an album if the artists seem like they enjoyed creating it.

“Tiffany Queen” is a good start, and the only song of the album that could be construed as rock 'n' roll (and that includes the song called “Born to Rock 'n' Roll” in the bonus tracks). It's actually a somewhat convincing riff-rock song, and that's surprising considering I didn't think these guys knew what rock 'n' roll was! Yeah, it's still a tad flat, and they shouldn't have relied on a generic '50s R&B melody, but it's a sort of crunchy song that's fun to listen to. “Get Down Your Line” marks the moment when I suspected these guys were actually enjoying themselves. Musically the song isn't any great shakes, but all the band members join in for the chorus with incredibly unrehearsed, unpolished vocals and sound like they're having a blast. That's all that matters, I guess.

Nothing on here can really top “Bugler,” which probably deserves a place as a classic on these McGuinn-era Byrds albums, though not a major one. Once again, it's nothing spell bounding, but that light breezy melody is rather fun for me to hear. They also favor some rich, organic guitars, which makes it sound even better! What's more, that slide guitar is gorgeous!!

“B. B. Class Roadie” is a typical piano-boogie, but that comically guttural vocal performance keeps it lively and even comedic. It's as generic as it gets, and the musicianship isn't amazing or anything, but it's admittedly fun to hear it. “America's Great National Pastime” is even funnier, though. It sounds like a theatrical Dixieland parody (with some skiffle guitars and a music hall piano), and the lyrics are very silly. A lot of people think that song is dorky, and it is, but that's the point! ... I'm just glad they're not boring me to death with another zero-calorie gospel-folk number.

The last five songs of the album are generally the weakest, though many of them are still quite nice. “Antique Sandy” is a pleasant, atmospheric ballad with an interesting use of a vocal echo effect. That was close to being another one of their dull ballads, but with that effect and those pretty, well-mixed guitars, it had a chance to show its colors a bit. “Precious Kate” is a little dull, though... It's not a bad listen, but they don't come up with too many great ideas for it. “So Fine” and “Lazy Waters” also don't impress me much, but they're still tuneful enough for me to gather interest in it. The album ends with a finger pickin' bluegrass instrumental that sounds like royalty-free stock music. I know I already said the other songs don't have an ounce of originality, but that fact didn't seem to overwhelmingly bother me until that point. Ah well... It's the last track, and it doesn't do any harm.

The bonus tracks are surprisingly nice for bonus tracks! Many of the songs would later appear on McGuinn's solo career... which means that I know what his solo career sounds like now! Exactly like these late-career Byrds albums! “Lost My Drivin' Wheel” is very light and very nice. It's a cool sort of country-rock tune. “Born to Rock 'n' Roll” goes back and forth between a rather beautiful ballad and a more rockin' chorus. The ballad part is *much* better. Roger McGuinn was *not* born to rock 'n' roll! “Bag Full of Money” is likable, but clearly the lesser of the bonus tracks.

While this album isn't even close to measuring up to the classic Byrds albums, it's an incredibly even album and possibly the best of the McGuinn-era works. I guess the major problem with it is that it's without a single, really compelling song that's an equal to beautiful numbers like “Ballad of Easy Rider” and “Lover of the Bayou.” The closest thing this album has is “Buglar,” and there's next to no chance that you'll get that one stuck in your head... So, this is a solid album, but there's not much that will inspire you to listen to this too frequently. 
by Michael Lawrence

1. Tiffany Queen (Roger McGuinn) - 2:40
2. Get Down Your Line (Gene Parsons) - 3:26
3. Farther Along (Traditional, Arranged Clarence White) - 2:57
4. B.B. Class Road (Gene Parsons, Stuart Dawson) - 2:15
5. Bugler (Larry Murray) - 3:07
6. America's Great National Pastime (Skip Battin, Kim Fowley) - 2:57
7. Antique Sandy (Roger McGuinn, Skip Battin, Gene Parsons, Clarence White, Jimmi Seiter) - 2:12
8. Precious Kate (Skip Battin, Kim Fowley) - 2:59
9. So Fine (Johnny Otis) - 2:37
10.Lazy Waters (Bob Rafkin) - 3:33
11.Bristol Steam Convention Blues (Gene Parsons, Clarence White) - 2:42
12.America's Great National Pastime (Mono Single Version) (Skip Battin, Kim Fowley) - 2:54
13.Lost My Drivin' Wheel (David Wiffen) - 4:57
14.Born To Rock And Roll (Roger McGuinn) - 2:58
15.Bag Full Of Money (Roger McGuinn, Jacques Levy) - 3:19
16.He Was A Friend Of Mine (Traditional Arr. Roger McGuinn) - 2:27
17.Paths Of Victory (Bob Dylan) - 3:10
18.From A Distance (Julie Gold) - 3:14
19.Love That Never Dies (Roger McGuinn, Stan Lynch) - 3:57
Bonus Tracks 12-19
Tracks 18-19 recorded in 1990

The Byrds
*Roger McGuinn - Guitar, Vocals
*Clarence White - Guitar, Vocals
*Skip Battin - Electric Bass, Vocals
*Gene Parsons - Drums, Harmonica, Banjo, Vocals
*Charles Lloyd - Saxophone
*John Guerin - Drums
*Buddy Emmons - Pedal Steel Guitar

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
1971  The Byrds - Byrdmaniax (2013 Japan Blu Spec edition)
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)

Free Text
Text Host

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Canned Heat - Future Blues (1970 us, outstanding heavy blues psych rock, remastered and expanded)

This was the last record that Alan Wilson appeared on. It featured a slightly different Canned Heat, as Henry Vestine was absent for the sessions. Harvey Mandel, whose other credits included work with Charlie Musselwhite, Freddie Roulette, and John Mayall, filled in on lead guitar.

The tone was noticably heavier, and had a very clear and powerful recorded sound. Mandel's lead guitar actually didn't give the band any extra power, as both he and Vestine were equally powerful and electric in their styles, but the leads did have more rock punch. Making, "Work Together" for example, a very funky and loud rocker.

In fact, without Wilson, this record could have become a bit too samey. Yet keep in mind, without Hite's powerful and/or humorous stylings, this band could have ended up playing music as obscure as any John Fahey record... that mix is always what made Canned Heat the unique outfit it was.

The set opens with one of the most integrated numbers they ever did, "Sugar Bee", a strange, stomping number that has Alan Wilson all over it, yet, with a vocal that only Hite could have sung. It's a song no one could listen to and not recognize as being Canned Heat.

A fast, "Goin" Up The Country" type number follows called, "Shake It And Break It", which leads to an unusual cover of "That's All Right Mama", featuring a very slow, almost moody arrangement. It's unusual as it's generally done uptempo as Elvis did it, yet closer to how the composer, Arthur Cruddup would have performed it.

Two Wilson tunes follow, a prophetic "My Time Ain't Long", and the off the wall big band swing boogie, "Skat". Both show the dicotomy of the man; the odd, and often mysterious soul lost in a delta blues world, and a genius who often mixed disparate elements into a strange, yet coherent style. The latter was a very active swing number, with some of the best harp work he ever did, with some of the wierdest scat singing ever recorded.

The side ends with the number that got the most airplay (and still is heard now and then), the gloriously electric and funky rocker, "Let's Work Together". It was many steps removed from Wilbur Harrison, yet well within the spirit of the man.

Side two opens with Wilson's "London Blues", featuring Dr. John on piano. It opens like an old 50's Hooker blues, and as the band kicks in, becomes one very tough slow blues. A masterpiece.

A very hard and funky "So Sad" follows, with Hite leading the band through another tough, medium tempo rocking blues, leading to the entire band collaborating on "Future Blues", one of the best fast blues rockers ever written.

The band did continue to record after Wilson died, and certainly was as active as ever on the concert scene. A few years back, Bob Hite passed away, but the band still does perform, albeit in a very different way.

One problem with having had "hits", is that you can "go out of style" and seem washed up or something. That was never true with this band, and this last recording with Alan Wilson before he died earned the remark from critic Robert Cristgau, "I'm sorry that there won't be any more records like this one".

They had some real chart hits, which few blues bands since have achieved, and you can still hear "On the Road Again", "Goin' Up The Country", and "Get Together" on the radio still now and then. They were both a bridge from the early Delta era blues, and a band that trancended the label "blues band" in the 60's.

I've seen the band on film, saw them a few times at Winterland in the post-Wilson era, and one thing I can say, no one ever did the boogie better than Canned Heat, except for the Hook, and even he liked these guys. What more could any band want?
by Al Handa

1. Sugar Bee (Eddie Shuler) - 2:37
2. Shake It And Break It (Alan Wilson) - 2:34
3. That's All Right (Mama) (Arthur Big Boy Crudup) - 4:18
4. My Time Ain't Long (Alan Wilson) - 3:50
5. Skat (Alan Wilson) - 2:43
6. Let's Work Together (Wilbert Harrison) - 3:13
7. London Blues (Alan Wilson) - 5:28
8. So Sad (The World's In A Tangle) (Bob Hite, Alan Wilson, Harvey Mandel) - 7:55
9. Future Blues (Bob Hite, Alan Wilson, Harvey Mandel) - 3:00
10.Let's Work Together Single (Mono Version) (Wilbert Harrison) - 2:48
11.Skat Single (Mono Version) (Alan Wilson) - 2:41
12.Wooly Bully (Sam Samudio) - 2:32
13.Christmas Blues Canned Heat And The Chipmunks (Cook, Taylor, Vestine, Wilson, Hite Jr.) - 2:33
14.The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late) Canned Heat And The Chipmunks (Bagdasarian) - 2:46

The Canned Heat
*Bob Hite - Vocals
*Alan Wilson - Slide Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica
*Harvey Mandel - Lead Guitar
*Larry Taylor - Bass
*Adolfo De La Parra - Drums
Additional Musicians
*Dr. John - Piano, Horn Arrangements
*Ernest Lane - Piano

1967-73  Canned Heat - The Very Best Of
1968  Canned Heat - Livin The Blues (Akarma edition)
1971  John Lee Hooker And Canned Heat - Hooker 'N' Heat
1970-73  Memphis Slim Canned Heat Memphis Horns - Memphis Heat
1971-72  Canned Heat - Historical Figures And Ancient Heads
1973  Canned Heat - One More River To Cross

Free Text 
Just Paste

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mind Garage - A Total Electric Happening (1968 us, superb heavy psych garage rock, 2009 Vinyl edition)

The Mind Garage story begins in Morgantown, WV with the release of the classic “Asphalt Mother” single on their own label and includes turning down an opportunity to play Woodstock, walking away from RCA Records in 1970 at the height of their success (never to be heard from again) and the first and very controversial integration of rock music and religion that saw the band performing rock music during services in churches around the country and ending with a petition for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  The story of the Mind Garage is much more than how a group of talented musicians worked their way out of the backwater to find success in the music business, it’s about how their efforts ultimately influenced and paved the way for an entirely new “Contemporary Christian” genre of rock music and how that music is incorporated into the worship services of Christian churches today and maybe, more importantly, why they disappeared at the height of their popularity.  Their story begins with a band caled the Glass Menagerie.

The Glass Menagerie was formed in Morgantown in 1966, by a group of students attending West Virginia University, and included the core of what would become the Mind Garage.  The band featured Larry McClurg (vocals), Tom Warfield (lead guitar), John Fisher (bass), Norris Lytton (sax) and Jim Straub (drums).  Early on Jack Bond would show up wherever they would play and watch the band perform.  Norris Lytton remembers “he was a dedicated fan.”  When circumstances forced the Glass Menagerie to shuffle their lineup, Jack was invited to join as keyboardist.  Jack played many instruments but didn’t have a keyboard so John offered to buy one for him and let him pay it back a little at a time.  The band was highly regarded locally and their reputation for playing British Invasion and psychedelic cover songs of the day, along with a few originals, was such that they were often booked throughout the US Midwest playing on bills with more established national artists.  

The importance of the Glass Menagerie to the success of the Mind Garage cannot be understated as it was on these tours where the future members of the Mind Garage gained an education in how to entertain a large live audience by watching the headliners perform for crowds of up to 10,000. When the tour ended in the spring of 1967 the band broke up when their guitarist John Fisher left the band to join the Shadows of Knight (they had enjoyed a big hit in the US with a cover of Them’s Gloria) and drummer Jim Straub left for parts unknown, never to be heard from again.

In 1967 the cultural revolution was exploding nationally and long haired rock and roll musicians were considered “hippies” and violently disliked and ridiculed especially in a town like Morgantown where conformity was the rule and conformity meant being like all the other students involved in fraternities, sports and dances, and wearing your hair short and dressing conservatively.  Larry McClurg recalls the members of the band being threatened and harassed.  “Those dirty beatnik hippies” is what they called us.”  “We were spat upon as freaks, called communists, and were victims of discrimination, hatred, ridicule, lies, beatings, and sometimes called anti-Christ”.  “The unfortunate longhair walking alone somewhere at night would now and then come across a group of rednecks, frats or jocks hanging out drinking. They would block the path to intimidate the ‘hippy’ and one of them might whip out scissors to cut the long hair. Having your person threatened over the length of your hair seems absurd now.

In some respects Morgantown, a mix of intellectuals and cowboys, seemed like the Wild West”.  The cultural revolution was not limited to just secular circles but was also being fought in churches where young ministers and priests and members of the congregation were demanding changes be made to the services to make them more relevant to them and today’s world.  Reverend Paine and the band were both on the front lines of this revolution and therefore could not only relate to one another but help support each other by working together to change the status quo and that’s what they ultimately accomplished.

The band began their recording career in 1968 with the “Asphalt Mother”/”Reach Out” single pressed on their own Morning Glori label.  The A side “Asphalt Mother” is one of the all time greatest garage/psych records ever recorded and is a template many future punk and grunge records would follow without ever hearing it.  The band’s sound was new and exciting less British invasion and more loud, hard and heavy with a lot of fuzz and very psychedelic.  The record was pressed in a lot of 1,000 and placed in local record stores in Pittsburgh, Morgantown, Clarksburg and Fairmont WV and when they sold that was it.  The single never appeared on a Mind Garage album and it was therefore undiscovered and forgotten and has remained, even today, very much undiscovered.  Their live shows at that time were legend with Larry McClurg possessing enormous charisma and even some Jim Morrison like stage presence. 

The music was said to mesmerize the audience and would capture their attention to the point that in between songs you could hear a pin drop.  Their lighting and light shows were effective in creating an atmosphere where the audience felt they were being taken on a journey and according to those who attended they were.  When they would play these “Electric Happenings” as many of the performances were billed they would include, in addition to the light shows, psychedelic fashion shows and all sorts of other music with opening acts playing jazz and even sitar sounds.  The concerts were interactive with “Total Environment, Total Involvement” themes where the audience was as much a part of the show as the music. 

1. B-52 (Norris Lytton, Jack Bond, Ted Smith, John Vauhghan) - 0:53
2. Sale Of A Deathman (John Vaughan) - 3:56
3. What Shall We Do Till Norris Comes (Larry McClurg) - 6:26
4. Water (Larry McClurg) - 4:55
5. Star Goddess (John Vaughan) - 3:11
6. Circus Farm (Larry McClurg) - 2:47
7. This Town (Larry McClurg) - 4:08
8. Reach Out (Holland, Dozier, Holland) - 4:50
9. Asphalt Mother (Larry McClurg) - 5:05

The Mind Garage
*Larry McClurg - Lead Vocals, Vocals
*John Vaughan - Lead Guitar
*Ted Smith - Drums, Vocals
*Jack Bond - Keyboard, Vocals
*Norris Lytton - Bass Guitar, Vocals

Free Text
Just Paste

Monday, March 23, 2015

Lighthouse - Peacing It All Together (1970 canada, amazing brass psych rock, 2010 korean remaster)

In 1969 Lighthouse played the Atlantic City Jazz Festival and after a technical glitch with the PA system the band had an impromptu conversation with many of the 20,000 people in attendance who were anxious to hear this new band from Canada. They also discussed politics and when the show continued the band won over the mostly American audience – and the press declared Lighthouse “The Peace Band”.

The band took the term to heart and named their next release ‘Peacing It All Together’which allowed them to continue touring and building a larger audience. While the jazz-rock-classical blend they had pioneered was still prominent, the record included more pop-friendly tunes than their first two albums had featured, as well as some unexpected detours into folk-rock and country-rock. Comprised entirely of original compositions, the LP also included 'The Chant,' a hit single in Japan.

Peacing It All Together was the most commercially successful of Lighthouse's three RCA albums, reaching #133 in the Billboard charts, though it would take the title track of their next album, One Fine Morning, to give the band an international hit single. RCA would release the band from its deal in 1971. 

1. Nam Myoho Renge' Kyo / Let The Happines Begin (Paul Hoffert, Skip Prokop, Ralph Cole) - 3:52
2. Every Day I Am Reminded (L. V. Beethoven, Paul Hoffert, Skip Prokop) - 4:54
3. The Country Song - 2:29
4. Sausalito - 3:05
5. The Fiction Of Twenty Six Million - 2:32
6. The Chant (Nam Myoho Renge' Kyo) - 2:47
7. Mr. Candleman - 3:15
8. On My Way To L.A. - 4:28
9. Daughters And Sons (Grant Fullerton) - 2:57
10.Just A Little More Time - 2:19
11.Little People / Nam Myoho Renge' Kyo - 4:04
All songs by Paul Hoffert, Skip Prokop except where stated

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

1969  Lighthouse (2012 extra tracks edition)
1969  Lighthouse - Suite Feeling (2010 Korean remaster)
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) 

Free Text 
Text Host

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Canned Heat - Historical Figures And Ancient Heads (1971-72 us, awesome hard blues funky rock, extra track remaster issue)

A couple of summers ago, when “Blind Owl” Wilson overdosed; well, it looked like curtains for Canned Heat. The band added Harvey Mandel as lead guitarist and dropped a live album onto the market. After that LP whisked into oblivion, so did Canned Heat.

But wait, just released is Historical Figures and Ancient Heads complete with new member Joel Scott Hill at vocals and guitars, Harvey Mandel, who since left the band, is back for guitar work, and Little Richard himself.

What’s a critic to do? The band has retired the “boogie” theme for a more ballsy rock ‘n blues format. Gone are Bob “The Bear” Hite’s embarrassing growls. Gone are the inane lyrics. In their place stand a new band gleaming and ready to be accepted.

Side One is the stomping side – sizzling with good new rock ‘n roll. The side is, I might add, completely swiped by Little Richard on “Rockin’ with the King” where the Georgia Peach plays honky-tonk piano and shares the arrogant lyrics with Hite. I guess that’s the way it should be, but “Long Way From L.A.” gives it a good run-for-the-money which epitomizes all the “gotta-get-my-ass-back-home” theme songs.

Well, if you’re gonna change the tune of a band, you might as well go all out. The group has added a Mexican rhythm section with Adolfo de la Parra and Antonio del la Barreda on drums and bass respectively. The two jam away, weaving in and out between all the verses with their tasty subdued Latin-flavored style.

Side Two is the setting for the extended jam tunes “That’s All Right” and “Utah,” the former being Harvey Mandel’s homecoming cut. These two tracks seem to best describe the new and refreshed state of the band. They have not lost their snotty sense of raw humor, or their snotty sense of raw instrumentation. For once, I feel the group has tried their utmost to produce a great album… and succeeded.
by Cameron Crowe –  Courtesy of the Door (aka San Diego Door) March 30, 1972  – April 13, 1972

1. Sneakin' Around (Jessie Mae Robinson) - 4:53
2. Hill's Stomp (Joel Scott Hill) - 3:03
3. Rockin' With The King (Skip Taylor, Richard Wayne Penniman) - 3:17
4. I Don't Care What You Tell Me (Charles Lloyd) - 3:58
5. Long Way From L.A. (Jud Baker) - 3:05
6. Cherokee Dance (Robert Landers) - 4:25
7. That's All Right (Jimmy Rogers) - 5:30
8. Utah (Canned Heat) - 8:25
9. Long Way From L.A. (Single Version) (Jud Baker) - 2:53

Canned Heat
*Bob Hite - Vocals
*Henry Vestine - Lead Guitar
*Joel Scott Hill - Rhythm, Lead  Guitar, Vocals
*Adolfo De La Parra - Drums, Piano
*Antonio De La Barreda - Bass
Additional Personnel
*Little Richard - Piano, Vocals
*Clifford Solomon - Saxophone
*Charles Lloyd - Flute
*Harvey Mandel - Guitar
*Ernest Lane - Piano
*Kevin Burton - Organ
*Ray Bushbaum - Piano

1967-73  Canned Heat - The Very Best Of
1968  Canned Heat - Livin The Blues (Akarma edition)
1971  John Lee Hooker And Canned Heat - Hooker 'N' Heat
1970-73  Memphis Slim Canned Heat Memphis Horns - Memphis Heat
1973  Canned Heat - One More River To Cross

Free Text
Just Paste

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Unicorn - Uphill All The Way (1971-73 uk, splendid harmony folk soft rock, 2009 remaster and expanded)

The Unicorn’s first album,  Uphill All the Way, sounds like a band simply ecstatic at the possibilities of this new brand of folk-rock; they cover all the greats of the genre: Neil Young, Jimmy Webb, John Stewart, James Taylor, Joe Cocker, and Gerry Rafferty. But the originals by Ken Baker show that he was just as good at evoking the sun drenched canyons of the beaches of Southern California as his influences; which is all the more impressive considering he was writing and singing from the famously overcast and rainy London. 

Still Baker’s songwriting wasn’t yet up to snuff, the best song here is their beautiful interpretation of Webb’s  P.F. Sloan,  a tribute to the American songwriter. The amazing harmonies on this track reveal Unicorn was more than just a CSN rip-off like so many bands of this breed; these guys are the real deal.
by Stephen Belden

1. P.F. Sloan (Jimmy Webb) - 4:30
2. 115 Bar Joy (Ken Baker) - 3:51
3. I've Loved Her So Long (Neil Young) - 2:42
4. Don't Ever Give Up Trying (Ken Baker) - 5:08
5. Country Road (James Taylor) - 4:16
6. Something To Say (Joe Cocker) - 4:43
7. Ain't Got A Lot Of Future (Ken Baker) - 6:49
8. Never Going Back (John Stewart) - 3:21
9. You, You, Hate Me (Ken Baker) - 5:38
10.Please Sing A Song For Us (Gerry Rafferty) - 3:13
11.Going Back Home (Ken Baker) - 3:36
12.Cosmic Kid (Ken Baker) - 2:57
13.All We Really Want To Do (Bonnie Bramlett, Delaney Bramlett) - 3:17
14.P.F. Sloan (2006 Remix) (Jimmy Webb) - 4:40
Bonus Tracks 11-14

*Peter Perrier - Drums, Congas, Percussion, Vocals
*Pat Martin - Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Ken Baker - Electric Guitar, Acoustic 6, 12 String Guitar, Organ, Piano, Harmonium, Electric Piano, Vocals
*Trevor Mee - 6, 12 String Electric Acoustic Guitars, Flute, Vocals
*Kevin Smith - Guitar, Mandolin
*Hugh Murphy - Tambourine

1974  Unicorn - Blue Pine Trees (2006 Japan remaster and expanded)
1976  Unicorn - Too Many Crooks (2006 Japan remaster)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Brian Auger And The Trinity - Befour (1970 uk, brilliant jazzy prog rock, SHM 2013 remaster with extra tracks)

Brian Auger and his band outdo themselves on this extraordinary album, which boasts playing that is both passionate and of virtuoso caliber, and encompasses just the right repertory. From the opening of the soaring rendition of "I Wanna Take You Higher" through the jazzy interpretation of Gabriel Faure's Pavane, the Albinoni-based Adagio per Archi e Organo, the impassioned rendition of Traffic's "No Time to Live" (sung by lead guitarist Gary Boyle), and the smooth interpretation of Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage" (featuring some elegant lead playing by Boyle before Auger's organ moves into the foreground), Befour delivers superb musicianship, crossing the lines between jazz and rock with touches of soul and even some lingering traces of psychedelia. 

The one fully experimental track, "Listen Here," which was cut in a single take of nine-minutes-and-22-seconds, is a hard, pounding piece driven by Boyle's jagged lead guitar and showing off the band augmented by three additional drummers (Mickey Waller, Barry Reeves, and Colin Allen) and an extra bassist (Roger Sutton) -- it reminds one somewhat of the kinds of experiments that the Nice sometimes attempted a lot less successfully. "Just You and Me" is a worthy finale to the original album, a hard-rocking showcase for each of the players.
by Bruce Eder

1. I Want To Take You Higher (Sylvester Stewart) - 5:08
2. Pavane (Gabriel Fauré) - 3:49
3. No Time To Live (Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood) - 5:27
4. Maiden Voyage (Herbie Hancock) - 5:03
5. Listen Here (Eddie Harris) - 9:26
6. Adagio Per Archi E Organo (Brian Auger) - 3:30
7. Just You Just Me (Brian Auger) - 6:31
8. Rain Forest Talking (Live) (Brian Auger) - 4:07
9. Pavane (Demo Version) (Gabriel Fauré) - 3:44
10.Fire In The Mind (Previously Unreleased) (Brian Auger) - 4:47
11.Pavene (Live) (Gabriel Fauré) - 4:49
12.I Got Some (Live) (Brian Auger) - 5:02

Brian Auger And The Trinity
*Brian Auger - Keyboards, Electric Piano, Organ, Vocals
*Gary Boyle - Guitar, Vocals, Harmony Vocals
*Dave Ambrose - Bass, Harmony Vocals
*Clive Thacker - Drums, Harmony Vocals
*Colin Allen - Bass, Drum Rhythms, Bells,
*Roger Sutton - Bottom Bass Line
*Barry Reeves - Snare Drum, Cowbell
*Mickey Waller - Cymbals

Brian Auger's Oblivion Express
1970 Brian Auger's Oblivion Express (2013 Japan SHM edition)
1971  A Better Land (2006 japan remaster)
1972  Second Wind (2006 japan remaster)
1973  Closer To It (2006 japan remaster) 
With Julie Driscoll
1967  Open (2013 Japan SHM)
1970  Streetnoise  (2014 SHM)

Free Text
Text Host

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Third Eye - Brother (1970 south africa, exceptional heavy psych rock with prog traces)

The South African heavy prog act the Third Eye recorded three albums over the course of as many weekends in 1969. This second release is slightly more aggressive than the group's debut, and the horn section that sometimes caused Awakening... to become a little too ersatz-soulful is absent. 

The opening title track, driven by Dawn Selby's churning organ, almost has the impact of some of the Doors' heaviest, least jazzy material. Vocalist Maurice Saul is still a little too clean, in a weirdly middle-of-the-road way; he's neither a hoarse blues shouter nor a high-pitched frontman like Yes' Jon Anderson, and he winds up sounding like the frontman for a show band specializing in covers, not a unique and interesting band making compelling, original music. Which is too bad, because at their best (which is anytime guitarist Ronnie Selby gets to really cut loose; on this album, it's "Listen to the Bells"), they muster up a roar that Deep Purple would pack concert halls with only a couple of years later. 

This album's other high point is its final track, an eight-minute suite that includes poetry and a grinding, amped-up version of the Crazy World of Arthur Brown's "Fire" -- the only cover on this album, by the way, as contrasted with the trio of adaptations on the debut. Brother roars to its conclusion, Saul shrieking with all the power he can muster as the band explodes around him. 
by Phil Freeman

1. Brother - 4:02
2. Once Upon A Time Part 1 - 3:46
3. Once Upon A Time Part 2 - 4:01
4. Listen To The Bells - 5:40
5. Sister - 4:04
6. Young Folk And Old Folk - 3:32
7. Fire A) Prelude B) Poem C) Fire (Arthur Brown, Vincent Crane) - 8:00
All songs by Maurice Saul and Third Eye except where indicated

The Third Eye
*Ronnie Selby - Lead Guitar
*Maurice Saul - Vocals, Lead Guitar
*Dawn Selby - Piano, Hammond Organ
*Robbie Pavid - Drums
*Mike Sauer - Six String Bass

1969  The Third Eye - Awakening
1969  The Third Eye - Searching

Free Text
Text Host

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Jokers Wild - Liquid Giraffe (1967-69 us, tremendous garage psych rock, 2013 issue)

Local band The He-Too’s (the first version of the band and formerly The Aardvarks) break up and guitar player Gene Balabon and bass player Dave Waggoner decide to put together a new band.  Dave Waggoner calls Denny Johnson to see if he is interested in playing in a new band and he signs on with the two former members of The He-Too’s /Aardvarks.  Dave Waggoner plays Farfisa organ and sings lead vocals, Gene Balabon plays guitar and sings lead vocals, and Denny Johnson plays bass guitar and sings backing vocals. 

The band now needs to find a drummer so Dave and Denny head over to The Ritz Theater in Northeast Minneapolis, where booking agent David Anthony Wachter rents space for bands to practice in and to try out new band members in a “live” club like setting with a stage.  At The Ritz, Dave and Denny meet Pete Huber, a drummer from The Gremmies, a band that had just broken up due to their singer Jim Larkin leaving the group to take over as lead singer for The Rave Ons, as the group had lost their lead singer Lonnie Knight due to his family moving from Minneapolis to Detroit.  Pete Huber joins the newly forming group on drums. 

After practicing for a few weeks at Denny’s house in North Minneapolis, Dave decides he no longer wants to play keyboards and wants to focus on being a front man on lead vocals.  Denny recalls a guitar and keyboard player that he had worked with in the past and calls Dave “Kink” Middlemist.  Dave is playing with The Cavaliers but decides to try out for the new band  and leaves The Cavaliers to join on with the new band which is now up to five members.  The lineup is: Dave Waggoner on lead vocals; Gene Balabon on guitar and lead vocals; Dave “Kink” Middlemist on keyboards; Denny Johnson on bass guitar and backing vocals; and Pete Huber on drums.

Jokers Wild, now signed on with David Anthony Productions, plays teen clubs, ballrooms, and armories throughout the upper 5 State Midwest area. They recorded 3 singles between 1967 and 1969 in Minnesota but the complete album LIQUID GIRAFFE was never released. Starting as a 5 man band most of the material was recorded by the 3 main members: Lonnie Knight, Denny Johnson and Pete Huber. Later Lonnie Knight became guitarist of “The Litter” for a while but he returned to “Jokers Wild”.

What a powerful band this is. Huge amp stacks guaranteed a “wall of sound” on stage. Double bass drum, cool outfits, they must have been been great on stage.

Damin Eih, A.L.K. and Brother Clark wrote: “In ’67 I saw two local bands that again amped up the juice, The Litter and Jokers Wild. Both bands played original music and had excellent psychedelic-raved guitar players, Zippy Caplan (Litter) and Lonnie Knight (Jokers Wild). That brought everything to a new level”

Heavy underground rock with great composed songs, fuzz guitars, speedy drums and tight bass lines.If you think The Litter is the one you should listen to Jokers Wild.

1. Peace Man - 2:17
2. Tomorrow (Pete Huber) - 2:53
3. The Grass Is Greener - 4:14
4. I'm On My Way (Pete Huber) - 4:00
5. Stranger - 3:12
6. Copper Penny - 2:25
7. I See You - 4:19
8. Witch - 3:06
9. American Dream (Denny Johnson, Ed Fitzgerald) - 2:19
10.Hard Road - 2:49
11.River - 4:56
12.Have You Ever Loved Somebody (Allan Clarke, Tony Hicks, Graham Nash) - 3:16
13.Dissatisfied - 6:41
14.Good Time (Harry Vanda, George Young) - 4:00
15.Echo (Bonus Track) - 2:21
16.Because I'm Free (Bonus Track) (Greg Springer) - 2:46
17.All I See Is You (Bonus Track) - 2:38
18.Park Music (Bonus Track) (Lonnie Knight, Denny Johnson) - 6:02
All Songs written by Lonnie Knight unless as else stated

Jokers Wild
*Lonnie Knight - Guitar, Vocals
*Denny Johnson - Bass, Vocals
*Pete Huber - Drums, Vocals

Free Text
Text Host

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Joyous Noise - Joyous Noise (1971 us, strong melodic folk country swamp rock, 2012 korean remaster)

The contents of this album are meant to be a combination of music, positivism and thoughtfulness aimed at both gut and the mind.  Joyous Noise formed in the Spring of 1971. Their individual experiences are considerable in number and scope and their collective axperience a key to their ensemble ability.

Joyous Noise have been bringing audiences to their feet to dance on tables, chairs, floors and other available surfaces. This record may get you up on yours, moving, thinking and having a high old time. It will tell you what you need to know about Joyous Noise, and it may tell you something about yourself.
by Jim Bickhart (Original album sleeve notes)

1. Joyous Noise (Part 1) (Lee Montgomery) - 2:25
2. Music Song (Lance Wakely) - 4:23
3. Lady Beside Me (Marc McClure) - 4:28
4. Funky Lady (Lee Montgomery) - 5:15
5. Question Of Direction (Ron Elliott, Gary Downey) - 4:26
6. Never Been To Spain (Hoyt Axton) - 4:35
7. Lost Man (Lance Wakely, Gabe Lapano) - 4:15
8. If People Could Just Get Together (Lance Wakely) - 4:00
9. Joyous Noise (Part 2) (Lee Montgomery) - 2:45

Joyous Noise
*Lee Montgomery - Vocals
*Lance Wakely - Guitar, Vocals
*Marc McClure - Guitar, Keyboards, Percussion, Vocals
*Dennis Dragon - Drums
*Happy Smith - Bass
*Ricardo Rincorn - Congas, Percussion
*Joyous Noise Chorus - Vocals

1972  Joyous Noise - Wanderingman (2012 korean remaster)

Free Text
Just Paste

Monday, March 2, 2015

Climax Chicago - Rich Man (1972 uk, great blues rock with funky vibes , 2013 bonus track remaster)

Gospel Truth, Hipster Image, The Velvet Chords were all band names emblazoned across posters in the mid 60s. Hipster Image were impressing a lot of people in the Stafford, England area in the early 60s under the leadership of Colin Cooper on guitar, sax and vocals.

Decca were impressed by Hipster Image and a single was released, produced by Alan Price. It did very poorly, and in fact marked the end of the road. Returning to Stafford, Colin formed Gospel Truth with a very young Peter Haycock, still at school but already proving to be a sensational guitarist, and John Cuffley on drums who had already featured on a hit 45 with Emile Ford’s Checkmates.

Gospel Truth picked up where Hipster Image left off, and in the late 60s, Cooper and Haycock pointed the band in that direction and the Climax Chicago Blues Band was formed with guitarists Peter Haycock and Derek Holt; keyboardist Arthur Wood; bassist Richard Jones; drummer George Newsome; and vocalist and harmonica player, Colin Cooper.

Prior to the release of 1969's Plays On, Jones left the group, prompting Holt to move to bass. In 1970 they moved to the Harvest label, at the same time shifting towards a more rock oriented sound on A Lot of Bottle. Around the release of 1971's Tightly Knit, Newsome was replaced by John Cuffley; upon Wood's exit in the wake of 1972's Rich Man, they continued on as a quartet, also dropping the "Chicago" portion of their name to avoid confusion with the American band of a similar name.

‘Rich Man’ in 1973 also saw the nucleus of the band settle down to Cooper, Haycock, Holt and the addition of John Cuffley on drums. The album was released in America on the Sire label and made a dent into the lower regions of the Billboard chart.

It was an ambitious album and in keeping with the general progressive output on Harvest. However, like the band’s second album, it does come over as sounding disjointed, the political attitude and the humour of the tracks ‘Rich Man’ and ‘Mole On The Dole’, for instance, seem a little lost in time, and contrived. ‘All The Time In The World’ became the live set opener for many years. Tagged on the end of the album, almost as an afterthought, but to me the gem of the album is the sensitive slide & harmonica blues ‘Don’t You Mind People Grinning In Your Face’, long on title but brief and heartfelt succinct.
Climax Blues Band

1. Rich Man - 5:50
2. Mole On The Dole - 5:04
3. You Make Me Sick - 3:52
4. Standing By A River - 5:29
5. Shake Your Love (Climax, Gottherer) - 5:28
6. All The Time In The World - 6:03
7. If You Wanna Know - 5:30
8. Don't You Mind People Grinning In Your Face (Sonhouse) - 2:31
9. Mole On The Dole (Single Version) - 3:59
All songs by Climax Chicago except where stated.

Climax Blues Band
*Colin Cooper - Vocals, Alto, Tenor Saxes, Guitar, Harmonica
*Pete Haycock - Vocals, Lead Guitar
*Derek Holt - Vocals, Bass Guitar, Electric Piano
*John Cuffley - Drums, Percussion

1969  The Climax Chicago Blues Band (2013 remaster and expanded)
1970  A Lot Of Bottle (2013 remaster and expanded)
1971  Tightly Knit (2013 remastered with bonus tracks)

Free Text
Text Host