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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ray Materick - Sidestreets (1972 canada, stunning sharp folk rock, 2009 korean remaster)

Ray Materick is a Canadian singer-songwriter, particularly popular in the 1970s, who continues to perform and create music.

Ray Materick is the son of an evangelical preacher, who had previously played saxophone, trumpet and clarinet in his own dance band, during the 1940s and 1950s. 

Originally from Brantford, Ontario, Ray Materick came from a musical household, where his father played in a dance band prior to becoming an ordained preacher in the early '60s. But although the trumpet was pushed on him as a child, he found his brother's love of Elvis, Buddy, and Chuck Berry, more appealing. As a teen he turned to the guitar (which he'd tried around age 8, but found it 'too difficult.') and became interested in the songwriters, like Gordon Lightfoot, Kris Kristofferson, and Bob Dylan.

His first group was while still a teen, in The Chevron Sextet, which only lasted doing high school dances until he moved to Toronto in 1970. Two years later, after gaining some experience on-stage on coffee house circuit, he signed a deal with Kanata Records (argued as one of Canada's first truly indie labels).

London picked up the distribution, and working with producer David Bird, he released his debut solo album, SIDESTREETS later that year. Roots-based folk with a fresh approach, it produced a pair of singles that both made the Canadian top 40 - "Season Of Plenty" b/w "Goodbye," and "Hard Life Alone." Hailed by the critics.

Ray Materick's first album was released on Kanata Records, the first indepdent label of Canada in 1972. Sidestreets received appraisal by many critics and regarded as a masterpiece. With his gritty, gravelly voiced and brilliant lyrics, it is truly deserved so. Includes 4 bonus tracks.

1. Home From Parade - 4:48
2. Season Of Plenty - 4:02
3. One Thing I'll Never Ask Is Why - 5:06
4. Final Fire - 3:44
5. Goodbye - 3:12
6. Dear Christine - 2:38
7. Hard Life Alone - 3:58
8. Morning Song - 4:46
9. Cherylee Rose - 2:52
10.Sidestreets - 3:41
11.Sidestreets (Demo) - 3:44
12.Cherylee Rose (Demo) - 2:38
13.I Think I'll Try Tomorrow (Unreleased) - 2:36
14.It Ain't That Easy (Unreleased) - 3:14
Words and Music by Ray Materick

*Ray Materick - Vocals
*Paul Mills - Guitar
*Michael Renzi - Bass
*Guido Basso - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
*Don Thompson - Piano
*Terry Clarke - Drums

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Howard Werth And The Moonbeams - King Brilliant (1975 uk, smart glam prog rock)

Howard Werth kick-started his music career with The Lloyd Alexander Blues Band in the sixties (and he doesn't remember it because he was there!), playing  a range of music covering the r'n'b / soul / Motown / psychedelia spectrum, and gigging round the circuit at that time, which included such West End all-night haunts as the Flamingo and the Whiskey A (Jo-Go (later to become The Wag Club), as well as thriving suburban venues such as the Blue Opera Clubs. These places all attracted the Motown mods, the art school blues and psychedelic crowds that dominated what was the burgeoning underground scene of that time.

The Lloyd Alexander Blues Band supported U.S. blues legends such as Jimmy Reed, and were the house band at the Uppercut Club in Fast London at a time when artists such as Otis Redding and Jimi Hendrix played there (Hendrix wrote Purple Haze in the dressing room).

Howard was searching for a new set of cultural references and musical triggers to draw from, which culminated in him forming Audience in 1 969. After a debut album for Polydor (reissued on CD by RPM Records). Audience recorded three more great albums for Charisma (now available through Virgin, along with a compilation). At the end of a very productive and hard working four years - w h i c h saw Audience play extensively around Britain, Europe and America (supporting Rod Stewart and The Faces in 1971) - the band were exhausted and in need of new impetus, and split up.

It was at this point that Howard began to work on his first solo album "King Brilliant". Gus Dudgeon produced and the core of the Elton John band provided the hacking, with the help of Bob Weston, fresh from his lime with Fleetwood Mac. The first two tracks to be laid down were ''Lucinda", a single that received a lot of airplay , and "Fading Star", which were recorded with members of Kokomo plus Davey Johnstone from Elton's band. Because of the limitations of vinyl , the track "Mechanical Dream", recorded during the sessions, had to be left off- and this hidden gem (which had never even been mixed) appears here for the very first time. A haunting, atmospheric piece, it sits perfectly with the rest of the material.

It was during the making of this album that Howard was approached by The Doors and asked to fill the space left by Jim Morrison. The Doors flew to England, and Howard spent some time rehearsing with them, but after some agonizing and deliberation, Ray Manzarek decided against The Doors reforming and the project floundered.

However Howard was later to reunite with Ray in Hollywood, where they worked together extensively on Howard's songs, some of which would later be re-worked to form the basis of the album "Six Of One", which was originally released on Howard's own METABop! label. 

Howard has stayed involved with music and following the reissue of these two classic solo albums, will be issuing a brand new recording on Luminous shortly. He is also planning to go back on the road playing selected gigs. He will also he contributing to an upcoming Doors tribute album at the request of Ray Manzarek....

1. Cocktail Shake - 2:59
2. Got To Unwind - 4:50
3. The Embezzler - 4:28
4. A Human Note - 2:47
5. Ugly Water - 6:03
6. Midnight Flyer - 4:12
7. Fading Star - 3:03
8. Dear Joan - 3:12
9. Roulette - 3:28
10.The Aleph - 5:48
11.Lucinda - 3:07
12.Mechanical Dream - 4:21
All songs by Howard Werth

*Howard Werth - Vocals, Guitar
*Bob Weston - Guitar
*Mike Moran - Piano
*Freddy Gaudy - Bass
*John Gustafson - Bass
*Roger Pope - Drums

Audience discography
1969 Audience (2002 remaster edition)
1971  House On The Hill (2015 Esoteric)
1972  Lunch (2015 Esoteric)

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Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Rainbow Press - There's A War On / Sunday Funnies (1968-69 us, beautiful groovy psych, 2005 edition)

Marc Ellis and William H. Yergin were high school friends, In the fall of 1967, Ellis told him about a friend from Suffern, N.Y., on the Hudson River, who was looking for other band members. So, that summer, Yergin and five others jammed together. Halfway through the summer, they auditioned in New York City at the same theater used by Ed Sullivan.

The band subsequently logged its first contract in middle of the summer of 1968. The recording company, Mr. G, was a division of Audio Fidelity Records, Inc., which was the first company nationally to release a true stereo record, a revelation in the mono-heavy time.  Cashbox and Record World magazines, which featured industry news, named Rainbow Press picks of the week. The band’s record company wanted a second album, “Sunday Funnies,” which was recorded around Christmas 1968 and released in the spring of 1969.

“There's A War On” is excellent late '60s soft rock with more than just a touch of psychedelia about it. The ten well-crafted songs are all original, and are delivered smoothly by a tight 6-piece band dominated by Groff's superb vocals. The album's name and the eponymous track are as close as we get to political posturing, which is a great relief as the lack of prosletising let's the strength of the song writing and the band's performance shine through. There are loads of tight vocal harmonies, and plenty of fuzz guitar liberally dispensed throughout this polished and very enjoyable record."

The second LP "Sunday Funnies" was recorded during Christmas vacation at the 8 track studio A&R in NYC. It was released in the Spring of 1969, with the release of the single "Great White Whale". The Rainbow Press was truly a studio band, never going on the road to perform as the Rainbow Press. The group went its separate ways that summer. Yergin went to Case Western Reserve University and became a dentist. Marc and Larry are still in the music industry, Dave uses his musical abilities in his career.

There's A War On 1968
1. Step Aboard (Marc Ellis) - 3:10
2. A Simple Way (Marc Ellis) - 2:33
3. Cyclic Epic (The Song Of The Barnegat Mosquito) (Larry Milton) - 4:10
4. Better Way (Marc Ellis) - 2:38
5. The Girl That Cannot Love (Marc Ellis) - 4:49
6. There's A War On (Marc Ellis) - 4:20
7. Lightning Streak (Larry Milton) - 2:41
8. I've Found Someone (Larry Milton, Dave Troup, Joe Graff) - 3:14
9. Our Country's Still O.K. (Marc Ellis) - 3:51
10.No One Follows The Daytime (Larry Milton) - 3:38
Sunday Funnies 1969
11.Sightseeing (Marc Ellis) - 3:15
12.Great White Whale (Marc Ellis) - 2:35
13.The Lost Platoon (Ellis, Milton) - 4:30
14.I'll Cry Instead (John Lennon, Paul Mccartney) - 3:28
15.You Warmed Up My Life (Marc Ellis) - 3:45
16.As I Went Out One Morning (Bob Dylan) - 3:44
17.Have You Ever (Larry Milton) - 3:11
18.Sing Your Song (Larry Milton) - 3:22
19.Definitions (Larry Milton) - 3:59
20.Smitty's Rainfall (Larry Milton, Siegal) - 3:41

The Rainbow Press
*Dave Troup - Electric Bass
*Larry Milton - Electric Piano, 12 String Guitar
*Joe Groff – Tambourine,  Maracas
*Marc Ellis - Guitar
*Charlie Osborne - Organ
*Bill Yergin - Percussion

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Jesse Winchester - Jesse Winchester / Third Down 110 To Go (1970-72 us / canada, amazing folk country bluesy rock, 2012 remaster issue)

Jesse Winchester was one of the top singer-songwriters of his generation. This talented artist was born and raised in the American South, but relocated to Canada to avoid being drafted. His early inability to tour in the US may have permanently stunted his commercial success as a recording artist, since he never achieved sales commensurate with his artistic achievements.

After growing up in Memphis, Winchester received his draft notice in 1967 and moved to Montreal, Canada, rather than serve in the military. In 1969, he met Robbie Robertson of the Band, who helped launch his recording career. In the same way that James Taylor's history of mental instability and drug abuse served as a subtext for his early music, Winchester's exile lent real-life poignancy to songs like "Yankee Lady," which appeared on his debut album, Jesse Winchester (1970). He became a Canadian citizen in 1973. 

Jesse's debut  was released in a fold-out LP jacket that featured the same sepia-toned portrait (which looked like one of those austere Matthew Brady photos from the Civil War era) on each of its four sides. Winchester emphasized the dichotomy between his southern origins and his northern exile in songs like "Snow" (which Robertson co-wrote), "The Brand New Tennessee Waltz" ("I've a sadness too sad to be true"), and "Yankee Lady." Jesse Winchester was timely: it spoke to a disaffected American generation that sympathized with Winchester's pacifism. But it was also timeless: the songs revealed a powerful writing talent (recognized by the numerous artists who covered them), and Winchester's gentle vocals made a wonderful vehicle for delivering them. [Originally released by Ampex in 1970.

His two-and-a-half-years-in-the-making follow-up was in some ways even more impressive. Without the influence of Robbie Robertson, Winchester, who produced most of the album himself (three tracks were handled by Todd Rundgren), gave it a homemade feel, using small collections of acoustic instruments, an appropriate setting for a group of short, intimate songs that expressed a deliberately positive worldview set against an acknowledgement of desperate times. Winchester found hope in religion and domesticity, but the key to his stance was a kind of good-humored accommodation. "If the wheel is fixed," he sang, "I would still take a chance. If we're skating on thin ice, then we might as well dance." The album was littered with such examples of aphoristic folk wisdom, adding up to a portrait of a man, cut off from his very deep roots and yet determined to maintain his dignity with grace and even occasionally a goofy sense of humor. 
by William Ruhlmann

Jesse Winchester 1970
1. Payday - 2:55
2. Biloxi - 3:21
3. Snow - 2:24
4. The Brand New Tennessee Waltz - 3:09
5. That's A Touch I Like - 2:50
6. Yankee Lady - 4:03
7. Quiet About It - 2:30
8. Skip Rope Song - 2:27
9. Rosie Shy - 3:06
10.Black Dog - 4:44
11.The Nudge - 3:34
Third Down 110 To Go 1972
12.Isn't That So? - 2:29
13.Dangerous Fun - 2:08
14.Full Moon - 2:06
15.North Star - 2:02
16.Do It - 1:31
17.Lullaby For The First Born - 2:57
18.Midnight Bus - 2:20
19.Glory To The Day - 3:50
20.The Easy Way - 1:33
21.Do La Lay - 1:57
22.God's Own Jukebox - 1:44
23.Silly Heart - 2:55
24.All of Your Stories - 2:38
All songs by Jesse Winchester except track #3 which is co-written with Robbie Robertson

1970  Jesse Winchester 
*Jesse Winchester - Guitar, Keyboards, Piano, Vocals
*Guy Black - Drums
*Bob Boucher - Bass, Keyboards, Standup Electric Bass
*Al Cherney - Violin
*Levon Helm - Drums, Mandolin
*Dave Lewis - Drums
*Ken Pearson - Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Vibraphone
*David Rea - Guitar, Vibraphone, Vocals
*Robbie Robertson - Guitar

1972  Third Down, 110 to Go
*Jesse Winchester - Guitar, Keyboards, Piano, Vocals
*Charles Viber - Violin
*Doug Schmolze - Guitar
*N.D. Smart II - Drums
*Jimmy Oliver - Bass
*Gordie Fleming - Piano
*Ron Frankel - Drums
*Amos Garrett - Guitar, Vocals
*Sam Kelly - Bongos, Conductor, Congas
*Don Abrams - Percussion
*André Benichou - Guitar
*Bob Boucher - Bass
*Gene Cotton - Bass

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Swallow - Out Of The Nest (1972 us, awesome brass jazz blues funky rock, 2010 edition)

The first album from Swallow was produced by Jean Paul Salvatori, who put together the excellent Bootleg Him! double LP of Alexis Korner material this same year, 1972. Jeff "Skunk" Baxter of Ultimate Spinach, later with Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers, appears on "Come Home Woman," an original from bassist Vern Miller Jr., who was part of the band who opened for the Beatles in 1966, the legendary Barry & the Remains. Miller's presence adds collectability to this debut. "Come Home Woman" would have been perfect for Alexis Korner, come to think of it, a bluesy lament which begins with Baxter's wonderful guitar work and picks up steam, letting George Leh open up and battle the horns -- the voice and instruments stir things up so fine. 

"Aches and Pains" is one of the four Vern Miller Jr./George Leh co-writes, and it is gospel-tinged blues which spills over onto "Common Man." There's real personality here, music perhaps a little too earthy for the Blood, Sweat & Tears crowd, but authentic to the max. Recorded and mixed where Aerosmith cut "Dream On" and where Jonathan Edwards of Orphan tracked "Sunshine," "Out of the Nest" is post-Bosstown serious singing and playing. When it is all instrumental, as on pianist/tenor saxman David Woodford's "Shuffle," Boston veteran Parker Wheeler gets a chance to give a counterpoint to J. Geils Band harp player Magic Dick. 

The harmonica on "Shuffle" admirably replaces George Leh's distinctive vocal. Leh's got that Nick Gravenites gravel growl on "Something Started Happening," a tune with charging dynamics, perhaps this band's strong suit. Miller's "Brown Eyed Baby Boy" is a plea for love with a solid hook that would work well for the Remains since that group started recording again in the new millennium. The Staple Singers' composition "Why Am I Treated So Bad," also covered by Cannonball Adderley and the Sweet Inspirations, adds another dimension to the mix, the organ of Bob Camacho getting to have its say. Mick Aranda's creative drumming is also worthy of note. Out of the Nest is an excellent document of early-'70s Boston roots rock/blues music with just a touch of jazz. This would make a nice two-fer with its follow-up, 1973's self-titled Swallow. 
by Joe Viglione

1. Something Started Happening (V. MIller, G. Leh) - 3:35
2. Brown Eyed Baby Boy (V. Miller) - 4:44
3. Jason (V. Miller, G. Leh) - 2:43
4. Why Am I Treated So Bad (K. Staples) - 7:02
5. Confusion, Sadness, Trouble (V. Miller, G. Leh) - 4:48
6. Come Home Woman (V. Miller) - 5:05
7. Aches And Pains (V. Miller, G. Leh) - 4:08
8. Common Man (V. Miller, G. Leh) - 3:02
9. Shuffle (D.Woodford) - 3:22

*George Leh - Lead Vocals
*Parker Wheeler - Vocals, Harp
*Vern Miller Jr - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
*David Woodford - Tenor Sax
*Phil Green - Guitar
*Mick Aranda - Drums
*Bob Camacho - Keyboards
*Jay Dewald - Trumpet
*Andy Harp - Trumpet
*Kerry Blount - Sax
*Gordan Kennedy - Trombone
*Jeff Baxter - Steel Guitar On "Come Home Woman"

1973  Swallow - Swallow (2010 issue)

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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Wet Willie - Wet Willie (1971 us, superb southern rock, hard funky rhythm 'n' blues, 2015 japan SHM remaster)

Wet Willie began as a thrown together blues-rock band during the magical Summer of 1969 "way down in Alabama"...(Mobile, to be precise). The original nucleus of the group that eventually became known as Wet Willie was called Fox. The first "gig" was a booking in Panama City, Florida at a club called the Oddessy, a geodesic dome right on the beach. 

Jimmy Hall was out front, a triple threat on lead vocals, sax and harmonica; as one writer said, “Jimmy was who Mick Jagger wanted to be!” Ricky Hirsch played guitars and wrote or co-wrote much of the band’s material, with Jack Hall, Jimmy’s brother, on bass, Lewis Ross on drums and John Anthony on keyboards.

The band relocated to Macon, Georgia in 1970 where they were signed by Phil Walden’s Capricorn label, and got right to work on their self-titled first album. Upon its release later that year, Wet Willie began a relentless touring schedule, and soon became known as one of the hardest working bands of the Southern Rock era. As they put it, they “opened for everyone from A to Z: Allman Brothers to ZZ Top!”

Wet Willie's eponymous debut is a superb slice of Southern rock. The band occasionally is  getting into bluesy improvised sections, but their main talent is for laidback Southern grooves.

1. Have A Good Time (Maurice Richard Hirsch) - 3:41
2. Dirty Leg (Jack Hall, John Anthony) - 3:41
3. Faded Love (Frank Friedman) - 4:31
4. Spinning Round (Frank Friedman) - 4:18
5. Low Rider (Maurice Richard Hirsch) - 3:01
6. Rock And Roll Band (Maurice Richard Hirsch) - 2:48
7. Pieces (Maurice Richard Hirsch) - 3:12
8. Shame, Shame, Shame (Jimmy Reed) - 3:22
9. Beggar Song (Frank Friedman) - 4:18
10.Fool On You (Frank Friedman) - 7:17

The Wet Willie 
*John Anthony - Organ, Piano, Vocals
*Jack Hall - Bass, Vocals
*Jimmy Hall - Harmonica, Percussion, Tenor Sax, Vocals
*Ricky Hirsch - Guitar, Vocals
*Lewis Ross - Drums, Percussion
*Donna Hall - Vocals

The Wet Willie Highway Ride
1972  Wet Willie - Wet Willie II
1973  Wet Willie - Drippin' Wet Live
1974  Wet Willie - Keep On Smilin
1975  Wet Willie - Dixie Rock
1976  Wet Willie - The Wetter The Better
1977  Wet Willie - Left Coast Live
1977/79  Wet Willie - Manorisms / Which One's Willie? (2013 Edition)

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