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


Friday, April 29, 2016

Barbara 'Sandy' Robison With The Peanut Butter Conspiracy - Barbara (1966-70 us, gorgeous emotional psych jazzy folk rock with heavenly vocals, 2014 release)

This is a collection of recordings featuring Barbara (Sandy) Robison during the time she was a member of the Peanut Butter Conspiracy. On various recordings not all of the other members were included. Some of the songs were recorded for other projects but involved Barbara as vocalist and some were written during the time the group was recording but were not included on a Peanut Butter Conspiracy album. They did, however, feature her wonderful voice and for that reason, even more than it being the Peanut Butter Conspiracy, it makes this a very collectible collection to their fans that love to hear her sing.

"I put a lot into this 'work of love' release featuring Barbara", states Alan Brackett, "because I knew that there were people out there that would love to hear her sing more songs than what are already released on PBC records. She was blessed with a warm, natural and beautiful voice and I feel these recordings should be shared with her fans.

"Roses Gone" was recorded by The Ashes in 1966. This is the group that Barbara, John and Alan were in prior to the Peanut Butter Conspiracy along with Jim Chernis and Spencer Dryden, later to be the drummer with the Jefferson Airplane.

"Get Out Of My Dreams", "I Miss You", "It Comes And Goes With The Wind" "Foolhearted Woman" and "Love Came So Easy" were songs written by Alan and recorded between 1967 and 1970 but never released. PBC vocal harmonies can be recognized in all of these except "I Miss You", which Barbara sang solo.

"Shuffle Tune" was recorded during a vocal rehearsal at Alan's house on a Teac A1200 in 1968 with Barbara, John and Alan playing and singing live "Return Home" and "Good Feelest" were recorded in 1969 and ended up on the PBC Ip, "For Children Of All Ages". "Step Aside (You're Crushing All The Flowers)" was recorded by PBC in 1969 for the movie "2000 Years Later"

"True Believers" was recorded in 1969 by the PBC using the name  The Windows for the Hell's Angels movie, "Run Angel Run" It features Barbara with an overdubbed harmony sung by her on the last verse.

"Come A Little Closer" is a song written by David Bennett.  Alan produced the recording and David's brother, Steve, sang the 'echo' lines to Barbara's vocal.
CD Liner-Notes

Barbara (Sandy) Robison is at last featured on every song in this Peanut Butter Conspiracy release. The recordings date from 1966 through 1970. Five of them have never been previously released, two are from rare movie soundtracks, and five are hand-picked from previous PBC releases. There has always been consensus from their fans that Barbara possessed the most beautiful voice of the 1960's rock and roll era. This release is for those who have always wanted and now can hear more of her warm, soulful voice.

On April 6, 1988, Robison was performing in Butte, Montana. During her concert, she fell ill and was transported to a hospital in Billings, Montana. Robison did not recover, and died on April 22, 1988 from toxic shock poisoning at the age of 42.

1. Roses Gone (John Merrill) - 2:48
2. Get Out Of My Dreams (Alan Brackett) - 3:33
3. Shuffle Tune (Alan Brackett) - 2.14
4. Return Home (Alan Brackett) - 3:38
5. Step Aside (You're Crushing All The Flowers) (Stu Phillips, Neil Sedaka) - 3:02
6. I Miss You (Alan Brackett) - 3:13
7. Good Feelin' (Alan Brackett, John Merrill) - 2:49
8. It Comes And Goes With The Wind (Alan Brackett) - 2:06
9. True Believers (Alan Brackett, John Merrill, Stu Phillips) - 2:21
10.Foolhearted Woman (Alan Brackett) - 3:12
11.Love Came So Easy (Alan Brackett) - 2:10
12.Come A Little Closer (David Bennett) - 2:16

*Barbara "Sandy" Robison – Lead Vocals, Percussion
*Alan Brackett – Bass Guitar
*Lance Fent -Lead Guitar
*John Merrill – Rhythm Guitar
*Bill Wolff - Guitar
*Jim Voigt - Drums
*Ralph Schuckett - Organ, Piano
*Michael Ney - Drums

1965-71  Ashes - Ashes
1967-68  The Peanut Butter Conspiracy - Living Dream
1969  Peanut Butter Conspiracy - For Children Of All Ages (2008 bonus tracks remaster)

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Redwing - Redwing (1971 us, astonishing classic rock with country folk blues and psych tinges)

The seeds of Redwing were sown in Sacramento, California in 1962. when folk trio Tim, Tom and Ron formed. Comprising Timothy B Schmit (guitar / bass / vocals), Tom Phillips (guitar / vocals) and Ron Floegel (guitar / vocals), they soon added drummer George Hullin and evolved into a surf band named the Contenders, then a British Invasion-influenced act called the New Breed. Under that moniker they issued their debut 45 on the tiny Diplomacy label in 1965, Green Eyed Woman I I'm In Love. 

The A-side was stomping garage rock, while the flip was an obscure Lennon-McCartney number that had been a hit for the Fourmost but wasn't recorded by the Beatles. A 1966 follow-up on Mercury (Leave Me Be I I've Been Wrong Before) failed to break nationally, and their last two 45s (Want Ad Reader / One More For The Good Guys and Fine With Me I The Sound Of The Music) were minor garage classics that appeared on their own World United label.

Despite recording an LP's worth of material at this time, no album release was forthcoming so in 1968 they were only too glad to sign to a production company named Equinox (under the aegis of Byrds producer Terry Melcher). They promptly taped a further album's worth of material as the Breed, produced by engineer Erik Wangberg— but were dismayed when it appeared on ABC as by 'Glad', entitled Feelin' Glad (ABCS 655, 1969) Worse still, studio musicians had been drafted in to record certain parts, and several songs were swamped by string and brass arrangements. 

Disaffected, Schmit departed to join Poco (and later the Eagles), leaving his former bandmates to draft in Andy Samuels, late of local blues act Nate Skitter's Band. Stung by their experience with ABC, they recorded a self-financed LP's worth of demos, which soon won them a deal with Fantasy, which was riding high with the massive success of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Their sound was now a tauiv gritty and commercial blend of blues, country and rock influences, which legendary Rolling Stone critic Ralph J Gleason declared had 'knocked me right out of my mind'. 

Nonetheless, their debut LP (produced by Creedence engineer Russ Gary) was not the bestseller it could have been, and four further albums (1972's What This Country Needs, 1973's Take Me Home, 1974's Dead Or 'Alive and 1975's Beyond We Sun And Stars} were solid Californian sellers but unsuccessful nationally, causing them to split at the end of  1975.
CD Liner-Notes

1. The Underground Railway - 3:01
2. Please Doctor Please (Ron Floegel, Andrew Samuels) - 3:00
3. Bonnie Bones - 2:52
4. Dark Thursday (Ron Floegel, Andrew Samuels) - 2:45
5. Sweetwalkin' Lady (Ron Floegel, Andrew Samuels) - 3:18
6. I'm Your Lover Man - 5:13
7. Shorty Go Home (Ron Floegel, Andrew Samuels) - 4:29
8. Hogtied - 3:15
9. I'm Counting on You (To Come Through) - 4:58
10.Oh Maggie (Don't Lift the Weight) (Ron Floegel, Andrew Samuels) - 3:18
11.(Tell Me Baby) Why You Been Gone So Long (Micheal Newbury) - 3:01
12.California Blues (Jimmy Rogers) - 3:56
All songs by Ron Floegel, Andrew Samuels, Tom Phillips except where stated.

The Redwing
*Andrew Samuels - Lead Guitar, Bass, Vocals
*Ron Floegel - Rhthm Guitar, Vocals
*Tom Phillips - Guitar, Slide Guitar, Piano
*George Hullin - Drums, Vocals

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Rowans - Sibling Rivalry / Jubilation (1976-77 us, marvelous country silky rock, 2004 issue)

Jerry Garcia called them the California Beatles. Rock critic Dave Marsh quipped that Garcia must have been tripping at the time. The truth about the Rowans can be found where the truth often resides: somewhere in the middle. Between Garcia's adulation and the critics' damnation with faint praise, the Rowans made an eclectic and uneven body of work for Asylum Records in the mid-'70s—a trio of albums through which disparate styles, from bluegrass and reggae to straightforward pop and rock, intersected and combined. Some of the Rowans' songs from this period continue to be sung today and, thanks to Collectors' Choice, their original albums are back in print nearly thirty years later.

Peter, Chris and Lorin Rowan recorded their self-titled Asylum debut in 1975, and that story can be found in the booklet of The Rowans, reissued on compact disc by Collectors' Choice in 2002. This disc is the second chapter in the Rowans' saga, pairing the group's second and third Asylum albums, Sibling Rivalry Wlb) and Jubilation (1977). Herein is some of the Rowans' best and most commercially successful music.

Many fans consider Sibling Rivalry to be the Rowans' finest moment, and with good reason. For starters, it has the Rowans' sole charting single, "If I Only Could," which peaked at #74 on the Billboard pop chart but fared a little better in Cash Box, where it reached #69. The Rowans were no strangers to the charts, though: Chris and Lorin, as the Rowan Brothers, made a single that "bubbled under" the Billboard Top 100 in 1972, and Peter reached the Top 100 in 1969 with the band Earth Opera. "If I Only Could," written by Chris, features the delicate sound of Peter's mandola and the brothers' three-part harmonies on a gem of California country-rock that bears a passing resemblance to America or Crosby, Stills & Nash.

The Rowans' Asylum debut was filled with sounds of, and allusions to, Eastern spirituality and music. Sibling Rivalry showed their continuing interest in the East with the Chinese dragon on its cover and song titles like "Fire Dragon" and "Mongolian Swamp." But the album veered into other exotic realms with the Spanish story-song "Joaquin Murrieta," the faux reggae of "Love Is," and "Ya Ba Da Ba," which Billboard described as a "'40s-sounding Pointer Sisters type of number," in apparent reference to the Pointer Sisters' nostalgic 1974 album That's a Plenty. Keeping with the countercultural currents that were always on or just below the surface of the Rowans' music, Sibling Rivalry was co-produced by Bill Wolf, one-time member of legendary hippie rock band the Fugs.

The progressive bluegrass group Northern Lights later recorded Sibling Rivalry's closing cut, "Soldier of the Cross," and the song showed up again as the title track of Ricky Skaggs' Grammy award-winning bluegrass gospel album in 1999. In spite of the Rowans' accomplished songwriting and musicianship, Sibling Rivalry M not chart, nor did a follow-up single release of "Ooh My Love." Billboard reviewed the album in their Recommended LPs column, but weakly praised it as "wholly acceptable" and opined that "the boys could use some more bite intheirvocals next time out."

The Rowans released Jubilation late the following year—their final album for Asylum. On the surface it seemed like an attempt to make an overtly commercial pop album, but the music is in some ways a return to the sunny pop sound first heard on Chris and Lorin's 1972 album, Rowan Brothers. When Peter joined the group for the Rowans' Asylum debut, he brought his interests in bluegrass and Eastern mysticism to the table, but on Jubilation those contributions are not in evidence, and Peter's songs are much more pop-oriented than before. In particular, there is nothing that even a charitable critic would identify as progressive bluegrass. If you listen closely, however, there are still a few unusual things happening in the grooves.

The title and cover art of Jubilation convey a youthfulness and energy that is only furthered by the bright harmonies and melodies within. The previous albums' experimentation is all but gone, replaced with a sugary pop glaze and Beatlesque melodies. Even the fiddle on "Don't Say Goodbye" adds no particular country flavor, which should not come as a surprise since the man behind the bow is famous jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli! The album, in fact, is full of jazz players, right down to the steel drummer, Andy Narell. "Best of Friends," another light, harmonydrenched pop song in the direction of Bread, was paired with "Makin' It Easy" for the album's single but didn't register on the charts. "Hoo Doo Love" is only a few steps away from the dance floor with its pulsing rhythm, high harmonies and synthesizer solo (the Sheila Escovedo on the conga drums became better known in the mid-'80s as pop star Sheila E). "Love's Secret Sighs" and "Don't Say Goodbye" are distinctly Beatlesque, and "Lovelight" features more synthesizer sounds by Bernie Krause, George Harrison's collaborator on his 1969 album Electronic Sound. In the end, one minor hit was not enough to placate the bean counters, so the Rowans and Asylum parted company.

The Rowan brothers complained that Asylum didn't know quite what to make of—or how to market— their albums, and failed to give them much of a promotional push. Listening to their music, it isn't hard to understand the label's bafflement—today the Rowans' albums are often filed under progressive bluegrass, but Billboard categorized them as pop, and—with the exception of isolated cuts like Sibling Rivals "Tired Hands"—it would take a broad and permissive definition of bluegrass to accommodate the Rowans' music. The fact is, the Rowans were and are three individuals with distinct styles and interests, and the albums they made for Asylum were melting pots overflowing with their creators' eclecticism and ideas. If their styles didn't always gel, perhaps it was because their interests were so broad. 

The Rowans went on to record other albums for other labels, separately and together, and continue to actively record and perform. The trio released a new album as the Rowan Brothers, Crazy People, on their own Rowantone Records in 2002. Stepping back in time, the two albums reissued here capture the brothers at their major label peak, going for broke in a commercial arena and striving to make, in Lorin's words, "the best successful records possible."
by Greg Adams

Sibling Rivalry 1976
1. Ooh My Love (Chris Rowan) - 4:30
2. Love Is (Lorin Rowan, Dudley Glanz, Mark Stein) - 4:10
3. Tired Hands (Lorin Rowan, Peter Rowan) - 5:07
4. If I Only Could (Chris Rowan) - 3:52
5. No Desanimes Amor (Peter Rowan, Juanita West, Amanda Lynn, Woody West) - 3:55
6. Ya Ba Da Ba (Chris Rowan) - 2:52
7. Fire Dragon (Chris Rowan, Lorin Rowan, Peter Rowan) - 0:58
8. Mongolian Swamp/King's Men (Lorin Rowan, Peter Rowan) - 4:14
9. Joaquin Murrieta (Peter Rowan) - 8:29
10.Sword Of Faith/Soldier Of The Cross (Lorin Rowan) - 4:59
Jubilation 1977
11.Best Of Friends (Lorin Rowan) - 3:06
12.Give Ya Good Lovin' (Peter Rowan) - 3:16
13.Hoo Doo Love (Chris Rowan) - 5:20
14.Love' Secret Sighs (Chris Rowan, Peter Rowan) - 2:35
15.Don't Say Goodbye (Peter Rowan) - 3:40
16.Lovelight (Chris Rowan) - 4:17
17.New Horizons (Lorin Rowan) - 4:42
18.Makin' It Easy (Chris Rowan, Peter Rowan) - 3:41
19.Calle Music (Lorin Rowan) - 5:14

Sibling Rivalry 1976
*Peter Rowan - Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals
*Chris Rowan - Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Lorin Rowan - Guitar, Vocals
*Joe Carroll - Bass
*Wally Drogas - Drums
*Bill Elliott - Organ, Piano
*K. Dudley Glanz - Drums
*Richard Greene - Violin
*Jim Hodder - Drums
*Mark Stein - Drums
Jubilation 1977
*Peter Rowan - Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals
*Chris Rowan - Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Lorin Rowan - Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals
*Terry Adams - Cello
*Susan Bates - Viola
*Nancy Ellis - Viola
*Brad Bilhorn - Drums
*Stephne Busfield - Guitar
*Joe Carroll - Basss
*Ralph Carter - Bass
*Peter Barshay - Bass, Drums
*Brian Cooke - Piano
*Glenn Cronkhite - Percussion
*Glen Deardorff - Violin, Guitar
*Keith Glanz - Drums
*Stephane Grappelli - Violin
*Lee Carlton - Drums
*Bob Hogins - Keyboards
*Daniel Kobialka - Violin

1972  Rowan Brothers - Rowan Brothers
1975  Rowans - The Rowans
Related Act
1968  Earth Opera - Earth Opera
1969  Earth Opera - The Great American Eagle Tragedy

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Frantics - Relax Your Mind (1968 us, magical trippy psychedelic rock, rare issue)

The Frantics were from the same era and area as The BlueThings the '60s and the Midwest. They were musicians from parts of Montana and North Dakota who formed The Frantics in Billings, Montana. All of them were in bands previously and some had released singles locally. They were fans of The BlueThings and the first Frantics1 single in 1966 was The BlueThings version of "La Do Da Da”, backed with "Route 66". Only 1,000 copies were pressed and today they are much sought-after by collectors.

Through 1966 and 1967, The Frantics progressed as artists. After becoming the top draw in Montana and most of Wyoming and 9outh Dakota, they became a "KOMA" band (along with The Tracers, The Fabulous Flippers, 9pider &• The Crabs, The Red Dogs and The BlueThings).

They headlined all over the country and were also second billed on concerts with The Who, The Young Rascals, The Everly Brothers, The 9teve Miller Band and other groups, including a week-long, three-state tour with The Yardbirds with Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page ("...who were real friendly when we partied with them after the concerts back at the motel") and three tours with The McCoys, during which they became friends with Rick Derringer (Zehriger). Later when fhe Frantics were based in New York City, Rick, in his first role as producer, produced some demos tor them (including the first recorded version of "Just For A While").

The Frantics, then based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico ("The best place to be during the psychedelic days," says Kim Sherman), later moved to New York City in early 1968. They were quickly signed up with Premier Talent, one of the biggest national booking agencies then and now. The Frantics played the top East Coast circuit, including the legendary Steve Paul's "The Scene" in New York City. It was the best place for famous and upcoming groups to perform and jam after hours. Steve Paul liked The Frantics and they got to play there a lot. On off nights or after other gigs in town, they would go back to The Scene, where Steve would always let them in for free to watch other groups.

Says Kim, "Jimi Hendrix would often come down to The Scene and jam with other great musicians like B.B. King and Rick Derringer. Some of us also jammed with Jimi. One night Jim Morrison got up on stage with Jimi and literally screamed into the mike in a drunken stupor, fell down and had to be carried out."

The Frantics tired of the East Coast weather and rat race and after a tour of Florida they moved back to New Mexico. They rented two houses in the mountains around Ruidoso. They went out on weekends playing around New Mexico, Colorado and West Texas and spent the rest of the time jamming in their rehearsal house and working up more original songs.

This CD, a result of those jams, was recorded at Norman Petty’s legendary 4-track studio in Clovis, NM during a week's time. All of the songs were performed live with the exception of "She", which was too psychedelic to be played live. Some of these songs were later re-recorded and appeared on The Frantics' official 1970 album.

The Frantics then moved to Colorado Springs, CO, becoming the top local Colorado draw before relocating in 1969 to Los Angeles where they felt their psychedelic/hard rock frame of mind and stage show would be better suited to pursue their career. They shortened their name to "Frantic" and headlined at the Whiskey A Go-Go (where they were told to turn down their amps because they were so loud) and became well-known around Southern California. They signed up with manager Robert Fitzpatrick (who used to co-manage Cream and The Bee Gees) and in 1970 released their first official album which got a 4-Star pick in Billboard magazine.

Their record label, Lizard Records, was owned by Gabriel Meckler, who produced all the Three Dog Night and Steppenwolf records. Although Frantic received a $20,000 advance to sign with the label (a considerable amount at the time), the record did not sell well due to a lack of distribution. Amazingly, the album was bootlegged in Europe a few years ago and recently was also released on CD. The original album commands good money as a collectors1 item.

In 1971, after seven years, the band began to splinter and disbanded. However, half of the members stayed together and went on to create many more original songs and demo recordings, some of which got airplay on Los Angeles radio stations even though there was no record. 

Their legacy continues today as most of the members are still active in the music business performing, producing and doing session work. Kim says, "During our career we had a lot going for us. We had the musicianship, vocals, songs and  stage snow, as well as the equipment, clothes, confidence and the best light show. We were also the first group in the Midwest to have roadies to set up our equipment and were probably the best group most of our audiences had ever seen. We graduated to one-set concerts and blew away all of our backing groups, as well as some major groups when we did concerts with them. Our version of 'My Generation' was so powerful that when we played with The Who, their manager, after hearing us playing it during our sound check, wouldn't allow us to perform it that night?

Kim went to Hawaii, Dennis to London, England, and the rest of The Frantics stayed in Los Angeles. Please keep in mind that the original master tapes of this demo album were lost many years ago and all that exists of that session was a very old, fourth-generation tape from which this CD was made.
CD Liner-Notes

1. Her and Her Mountain (Kim Sherman, Dennis Devlin) - 3:27
2. Lady of the Night (Max Byfuglin, Jim Haas) - 3:38
3. Child of the Universe (Kim Sherman, Dennis Devlin) - 5:29
4. Sweet Mary (Kim Sherman, Max Byfuglin) - 2:38
5. Think About It (Max Byfuglin, Jim Haas) - 2:59
6. Relax Your Mind (Max Byfuglin, Jim Haas) - 3:22
7. JJust for a While (Kim Sherman, Max Byfuglin) - 2:53
8. Stranger (Max Byfuglin) - 3:29
9. She (Jim Haas) - 4:24
10.Great Tomato (Dennis Devlin) - 2:42
11.Scitnarf (Kim Sherman, Dennis Devlin) - 2:36
12.Stone Goddess (Kim Sherman, Dennis Devlin) - 4:41

The Frantics
*Kim Sherman - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Max Byfuglin - Lead Vocals
*Dennis Devlin - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica
*David Day - Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Jim Haas - Keyboards, Vocals I
*Phil (Gordo Head) - Drums

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Jim Sullivan - Jim Sullivan (1972 us, fascinating swamp folk rock, 2011 korean edition)

Sullivan’s second, self-titled and final essay was released in 1972 and hosted by Hugh Heffner’s record label “Playboy”. Three years after U.F.O., Sullivan began his new musical adventure exactly where he stopped.  To be precise he rerecorded and included two songs from his first album “Sandman” and “Plain to See” –each one was the final track on every LP side-. 

Rough folk blues mixed with brass jazz tunes and a hard (cry baby) guitar rockin’, named “Tom Cat”. Travelling from smoothness to sharpness, like riding a beautiful wild horse in a harsh country,  with an edged blade cutting the desert’s silence. 

1. Don't Let It Throw You - 3:14
2. Sonny Jim - 3:11
3. Tea Leaves 3:18
4. Biblical Boogie (True He's Gone) - 3:36
5. Lonesome Picker (John Stewart) - 3:09
6. Sandman - 2:45
7. Tom Cat - 3:10
8. You Show Me The Way To Go (Ronald Bertram Greaves, Jonathan Rowlands) - 3:32
9. Amos - 4:31
10.I'll Be Here - 2:26
11.Plain To See - 4:09
Words and Music by Jim Sullivan except where indicated

*Jim Sullivan - Vocals, Guitar, Strings Arrangement
*David Cohen - Guitar, Banjo
*Jim Hughart - Bass
*Allen Reuss - Bouzouki
*Gene Estes - Percussion
*Colin Bailey - Percussion
*Mike Melvoin - Piano

1969  Jim Sullivan - U.F.O. (2010 issue)

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Friday, April 8, 2016

Jim Sullivan - U.F.O. (1969 us, tremendous folkish psychedelia, 2010 issue)

In March 1975, Jim Sullivan mysteriously disappeared outside Santa Rosa, New Mexico. His VW bug was found abandoned, his motel room untouched. Some think he got lost in the desert. Some think he fell foul of a local family with alleged mafia ties. Some think he was abducted by aliens.

By coincidence – or perhaps not – Jim’s 1969 debut album was titled U.F.O. Released in tiny numbers on a private label, it too was truly lost, until Seattle’s Light In The Attic Records begun a years-long quest to give it the full release it deserves – and to solve the mystery of Sullivan’s disappearance. Only one of those things happened.

For record collectors, some albums are considered impossible to get hold of, records so rare you could sit on eBay for years and not get a sniff of a copy. U.F.O. is one of those albums. A seventh son, Jim Sullivan was a West Coast should-have-been, an Irish-American former high school quarterback whose gift for storytelling earned him cult status in the Malibu bar where he performed nightly. Sullivan was always on the edge of fame; hanging out with movie stars like Harry Dean Stanton, performing on the Jose Feliciano show, even stealing a cameo in the ultimate hippie movie, Easy Rider.

Friend and actor Al Dobbs thought he could change all that, and founded a label – Monnie Records – to release Jim’s album, enlisting the assistance of Phil Spector’s legendary sessioneers The Wrecking Crew to do so. That’s Don Randi, Earl Palmer and Jimmy Bond you can hear, the latter also acting as producer and arranger.

U.F.O. was a different beast to the one-man-and-his-guitar stuff Jim had been doing on stage; instead, it was a fully realised album of scope and imagination, a folk-rock record with its head in the stratosphere. Sullivan’s voice is deep and expressive like Fred Neil with a weathered and worldly Americana sound like Joe South, pop songs that aren’t happy – but with filled with despair. The album is punctuated with a string section (that recalls David Axelrod), other times a Wurlitzer piano provides the driving groove (as if Memphis great Jim Dickinson was running the show). U.F.O. is a slice of American pop music filtered from the murky depths of Los Angeles, by way of the deep south.

With no music industry contacts, the record went largely unnoticed, and Jim simply moved on, releasing a further album on the Playboy label in 1972. But by 1975, his marriage breaking up, Jim left, for Nashville and the promise of a new life as a sessioneer in the home of C&W. That’s where it gets hazy.

We know he was stopped by cops for swerving on the highway in Santa Rosa, some 15 hours after setting off. We know he was taken to a local police station, found to be sober, and told to go to the local La Mesa Motel to get some rest, which he did. Some time later, his car was spotted on a ranch belonging to the local Genetti family, who confronted him about his business there. The next day his car was found 26 miles down the road, abandoned. His car and his hotel room contained, among other things, his twelve-string guitar, his wallet, his clothes and several copies of his second album, but no note, and no Jim. It was as if he had simply vanished into thin air.

Jim’s family travelled out to join search parties looking for him, the local papers printed missing person stories, but the search proved fruitless. Around the same time, the local sheriff retired and the Genettis moved to Hawaii. Jim’s manager Robert “Buster” Ginter later stated that during the early morning hours of a long evening Jim and Buster were talking about what would you do if they had to disappear. Jim said he’d walk into the desert and never come back.

Tracking down the truth behind Jim’s mystery became an obsession of Light In The Attic’s Matt Sullivan (no relation) when he happened upon a copy of the album and fell in love. He took on a cross country pilgrimage in search of master tapes and truth, and came back with neither, despite hundreds of phone calls, e-mails, letters, faxes, private detectives, telepathy, palm readings and meetings with Jim’s wife, son and producer. Thanks to superb digital mastering techniques, Light In The Attic is still able to present a clean, near perfect copy of Jim’s masterpiece for general consumption for the first time. Enjoy. And remember, beyond the mystery, there’s the music.

1. Jerome - 2:47
2. Plain As Your Eyes Can See - 2:27
3. Roll Back The Time - 2:14
4. Whistle Stop - 2:37
5. Rosey - 3:21
6. Highways - 2:51
7. U.F.O. - 2:5
8. So Natural - 3:2
9. Johnny - 4:5
10.Sandman - 2:31
All Music and Lyrics by Jim Sullivan

*Max Bennett - Bass
*Lyle Ritz - Bass
*Earl Palmer - Drums
*Don Randi - Keyboards
*Jimmy Bond - Double Bass
*Jim Sullivan - Vocals, Guitar

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Shawn Phillips - Furthermore (1974 us, brilliant prog folk rock with funky vibes, 2014 issue)

Shawn Phillips is one of those legends that had been swept up in mystery, disappeared under the cloak of the sixties, or stripped of acknowledgement due to dirty management and contracts. Such is the case with the twelve-string acoustic genius, Shawn Phillips, one time flat partner with Tim Hardin, who played the Indian sitar for Donovan on “Sunshine Superman” and exquisite “Three Kingfishers”. 

At the age of twenty Shawn moved to London and became known as a prolific writer, musician, and vocalist. Not only did he tutor Joni Mitchell at a very young age, but also this Texas born folk musician was a regular at the Bleecker / McDougal folk clubs of the early sixties. 

Shawn’s 1974 Furthermore release has ex Big Three / Quartermass bassist John Gustafson ploughing into the progressive intro “January First”. It is here that you realize that Shawn was far from folk, but more in the jazzy confines of intricate Progressive Rock. As if to pacify the mayhem Shawn paints his brushes through the tranquil “Starbright” with Peter Robinson etching the canvass with his rippling keyboards while ex Blue Mink Anne Odell bends the mellotron on this choral stargazer. Shawn once told me on a 10min radio interview that Furthermore was his absolute assault and creation. 

The album also boasts the ethereal cello of Paul Buckmaster, a master arranger of note. This album has dimension beyond the shifting sands of Camel or Caravan such as the spacey “Cape’ Barras” airlifting Shawn’s yodel vox. Shawn recruited phase axe innovator Caleb Quaye for the guitar inquisitions that sprouted out of “Ninety Two Years” and “Talking In The Garden”.Perhaps the most moistening deliverance saddles the infectious “Breakthrough”, a master in it’s own reflection. Each of Shawn’s albums has a dazzling gem that often blinds the listener, namely Collaborations that gave us the stirring “Moonshine” and “Spring Wind” while Furthermore, shimmered through “Talking in the Garden”, and then there was Bright White and the underrated Rumpelstiltskin Resolve.
by Shiloh Noone

1. January First (Shawn Phillips, Peter Robinson) - 3:11
2. Starbright - 3:51
3. Breakthrough - 5:45
4. Ninety Two Years - 3:07
5. See You - 4:14
6. Planscape (Shawn Phillips, Paul Buckmaster) - 4:16
7. Troof - 4:24
8. Cape Barres - 4:01
9. Song For Northern Ireland - 2:06
10.Mr. President - 3:35
11.Talking In The Garden - 3:13
12.Furthermore - 2:32
All selections written by Shawn Phillips except where noted

*Shawn Phillips - Vocals, Guitars
*Peter Robinson - Keyboards
*John Gustafson - Bass
*Barry De Souza - Drums
*Caleb Quaye - Guitar
*Paul Buckmaster - Cello
*Raul Mayora - Percussion
*Ann Odell - Mellotron On "Starbright"

1969-72  Shawn Phillips - Faces (2014 remaster)
1970  Shawn Phillips - Contribution / Second Contribution (2009 remaster)

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Friday, April 1, 2016

Jesse Winchester - Learn To Love It / Let The Rough Side Drag (1974-76 us / canada, elegant folk world blues silk rock, 2012 remaster)

As the title suggests, making a virtue of necessity had always been one of Jesse Winchester's goals, and by the time of the release of his third album, the American expatriate had gone ahead and assumed Canadian citizenship. This seemed to free him to comment explicitly on his antiwar exile in "Pharaoh's Army" and especially a version of the old campaign song "Tell Me Why You Like Roosevelt" updated with new lyrics: "In the year of 1967, as a somewhat younger man, the call to bloody glory came, and I would not raise my hand." Elsewhere, Winchester continued to write love songs to his lost South ("L'Air de la Louisiane," "Mississippi You're on My Mind") and, to a lesser extent, to pursue the wistful philosophizing found on Third Down, 110 to Go ("Defying Gravity"). 

The sense that he was repeating himself was inescapable, however, and with one-third of the album written by others and two of the originals in French Canadian, it was also obvious that Winchester was straining to come up with material. Interestingly, the two Russell Smith songs included, "Third Rate Romance" (which Smith sang uncredited) and "The End Is Not in Sight," went on to become Top 40 country hits for Smith's group, the Amazing Rhythm Aces, in the next two years. Stoney Edwards took "Mississippi You're on My Mind" into the country Top 40 in 1975. 

At his best, Jesse Winchester is an inspired songwriter with a unique worldview. But even at less than his best, he is a craftsman, capable of turning out an album's worth of well-written songs like those here that, now and then, suggest his personal viewpoint. The title track, another of Winchester's reflections on the importance of persevering under difficult circumstances, and "Damned If You Do," which suggests that you might as well follow your heart because you're in trouble either way, are up to his usual standard. But even slight songs like "Everybody Knows But Me" are clever and enjoyable, and overall, Let the Rough Side Drag, with its accomplished mixture of country and R&B, was Winchester's most accessible album so far, even if it was his least ambitious. 
by William Ruhlmann

Learn To Love It 1974
1. Wake Me - 2:26
2. Every Word You Say - 1:58
3. How Far To The Horizon - 2:18
4. L'air De La Louisiana - 2:20
5. Mississippi You're On My Mind - 3:29
6. Third Rate Romance (Russell Smith) - 3:39
7. Defying Garvity - 2:43
8. Tell Me Why You Look Like Roosevelt (Traditional) - 2:54
9. Pharaoh's Army - 1:18
10.Laisse Les Bons Temps Rouler - 2:36
11.The End Is Not In Sight (Russell Smith) - 2:40
12.You Can't Stand Up Alone (Martha Carson) - 2:04
Let The Rough Side Drag 1976
13.Let The Rough Side Drag - 2:40
14.Damned If You Do - 3:27
15.Step By Step - 3:02
16.Lay Down Your Burden - 4:13
17.Everybody Knows But Me - 2:58
18.Blow On Chilly Wind - 2:32
19.Working In The Vineyard - 2:48
20.How About You - 4:09
21.It Takes More Than A Hammer And Nails To Make A House A Home (Aaron Schroeder, David Hill) - 4:36
22.As Soon As I Get On My Feet - 3:16
23.The Only Show In Town - 2:31
24.The Brand New Tennessee Waltz (Reprise) - 3:31
All songs by Jesse Winchester except where stated

1974  Learn To Love It
*Jesse Winchester - Vocals, Guitar, Piano
*Amos Garrett - Guitar
*John Rigby - Strings

1976  Let The Rough Side Drag
*Jesse Winchester - Vocals, Guitar
*Keyboards, Flute
*Marty Harris - Bass, Background Vocals
*Chris Castle - Drums
*Bob Cohen - Guitar
*Christian St. Roch - Drums
*Maurice Beauchamp - Keyboards
*Ron Dann - Pedal Steel
*Carlisle Miller - Sax
*Bruce Murchison - Violin
*Ken Pearson - Piano
*Don Habib - Bass
*Bob Lucier - Pedal Steel
*Lorri Zimmerman - Background Vocals
*Sharon Ryan - Background Vocals

1970/72  Jesse Winchester - Jesse Winchester / Third Down 110 To Go (2012 remaster issue)

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