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


Friday, June 24, 2016

P.F. Sloan - Songs Of Our Times (1965 us, classic folk psych, 2014 japan SHM remaster)

Sloan's solo debut unveiled a singer-songwriter of a more serious, not to say Dylanesque, mindset than was evident on the material he had written for other artists up to that point (and indeed on the material that he continued to supply for acts like Johnny Rivers, Herman's Hermits and the Grass Roots after this album). At times, the Dylan influence was obvious -- "What Exactly's the Matter with Me," for instance, sounds like a pop Dylan with a heavy streak of satirical self-pity. 

Yet the strongest half or so of the album revealed a composer of considerable talent. Sloan's own versions of "Eve of Destruction" and "Take Me for What I'm Worth" are starker than the hit covers by Barry McGuire and the Searchers respectively, and "The Sins of a Family" is one of his best and most penetrating works. Other tracks, such as "I Get Out of Breath" and "This Is What I Was Made For," show more of the pop tunesmith in Sloan, and his underrated voice is well-suited for the earnest charm of the material. 
by Richie Unterberger

P.F. Sloan passed away on November 15th 2015 at the age of 70.

1. The Sins Of A Family (P.F. Sloan) - 3:05
2. Take Me For What I'm Worth (P.F. Sloan) - 2:50
3. What Exactly's The Matter With Me (P.F. Sloan) - 2:32
4. I'd Have To Be Out Of My Mind - 2:27
5. Eve Of Destruction (P.F. Sloan) - 3:15
6. This Mornin' (P.F. Sloan) - 2:42
7. I Get Out Of Breath (P.F. Sloan) - 3:19
8. This Is What I Was Made For - 2:24
9. Ain't No Way I'm Gonna Change My Mind - 2:50
10.All The Things I Do For You Baby - 2:01
11.Goes to Show Just How Wrong You Can Be - 2:07
12.What Am I Doin' Here With You - 2:45
All songs by P. F. Sloan, Steve Barri unless as else stated

*P.F. Sloan - Vocals. Guitar. Harmonica

1965-66  PF Sloan - Precious Time / The Best Of (vinyl edition)
1968  P.F. Sloan ‎- Measure Of Pleasure (2006 issue)

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Essra Mohawk - Essra (1976 us, beautiful silk art groovy rock, 2003 japan release)

Listening to my early albums, there seems to be a progression from ballads to uptempos that took place over the years. My first album is all ballads, my second album, Primordial Lovers, has a few rnidtempos and uptempos, and my third album is half ballads and half uptempos. This album, my fourth, is very different from the ones before it in that there are only two ballads: “Summersong” and “Hello Winter”. I seem to have switched  gears from ballads to uptempos as though I were gaining some kind of momentum. On the original vinyl release, "Summersong" appeared on one side of the record and "Hello Winter" was on the other side, just like winter and summer are opposite seasons.

"People Will Talk" appears twice (two different versions), the serious version began side one and the album ended with the sitly version. One day in the studio while recording my vocals, I spontaneously began cutting up just for laughs and when I looked up through the window to the control room, I couldn't see the producer (Jerry Ragavoy) or the engineer (Bruce Terguson). That's because they had dropped out of sight while they were rolling around on the floor laughing uncontrollably!! We all had such a good laugh over it, we decided to pat that version on the album as well and let everyone in on the joke. Laughter is good for body and soul!

"Holy Trinity" is a song about diversity and how all of the various kinds of people who make up this world could benefit each other  with the special and unique qualities that each brings into the mix. I particularly like the line, "It's happening slowly but surely. Pessimists, you prophesize so poorly."1 I have always believed optimism functions much better than pessimism. Imagine a captain determined to save his ship. If he didn' t believe he could keep it from sinking, would the ship have any chance of staying afloat? We kept my original reference vocal on the ride-out of "God Help It". Even I was amazed by the notes I reached that day! The band was smoking thanks to the amazing musicianship of bassist Richard Davis and Bernard Purdy on drums! My voice joined in rising to the occasion.

Some of you might’ ve seen me sing “Appointment With A  Dream” on TV when I Appeared on the Gong Show in 1977. No, I wasn’t gonged, thank goodness. In Fact, I scored a “23”, my lucky number, but I came in second to a guy who played two saxophones at once! Reruns of the show are still getting aired. Look for it!

Although "Don't Be Afraid" was recorded with the rest of the tracks for this album, it didn't make it on the original release. Fortunately, thanks to the fact that CDs are longer playing than the vinyl LPs, it can now be included as a bonus track. I wrote and sang it with my favorite male singer songeriter, Alan Gerber. We were almost in a band together. I was asked to join Rhinoceros when Paul Rothchild and Barry Friedman (Frazier Mohawk) were putting the superband together. Unfortunately, my manager at the time wouldn't let me join. Alan Gerber did join the band and I always hoped that one day we'd get another opportunity to do something together. Several years later we erote and recorded this song, but as I said it didn't make the album. Now finally, thanks to Air Mail, it is being rteleased and one of my fondest dreams gets to come true.
by Essra Mohawk

1. People Will Talk - 3:52
2. I Wanna Feel Ya (Essra Mohawk, Duke Williams) - 4:35
3. Summersong - 2:53
4. Time To Start (Essra Mohawk, Harve Mann) - 2:13
5. Holy Trinity  - 4:19
6. God Help It  - 5:11
7. Appointment With A Dream (Essra Mohawk, David Stone) - 2:07
8. Hello Winter - 2:44
9. Hallelujah, I've Been Released - 3:24
10.People Will Talk - 3:37
11.Don't Be Afraid (Alan Gerber, Essra Mohawk) - 3:19

*Essra Mohawk - Vocals, Keyboards
*Jonathan Kalb - Guitar
*Eric Gale - Guitar
*David Stone - Guitar
*Paul Griffin - Synthesizer
*Jereemy Steig - Flute
*Richard Davis - Bass
*Andy Newmark - Drums
*Bernard Purdy - Drums
*Howard Wyeth - Drums
*Arnold McCuller, David Lasley, Rhetta Hughes, Ula Hedwig - Vocals
*Sonny Burke - Strings Arrangment, Keyboards

1969  Sandy Hurvitz - Sandy's Album Is Here At Last!  
1970  Essra Mohawk - Primordial Lovers
1974  Essra Mohawk - Essra Mohawk (2010 bonus tracks edition)  

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Elizabeth - Elizabeth (1968 us, brilliant folk baroque psych rock, Vinyl edition)

Elizabeth was an American psychedelic rock/progressive rock band that were active from 1967 to 1970. They were based out of Philadelphia and known for their unique musical and sonic blend of Baroque Music,Classical Music, Folk Music, American Rock, British Rock, Country Music, and Ragtime. Elizabeth's members were: Steve Weingarten (lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), who died in 2012; Bob Patterson (rhythm guitar, lead and backing vocals); Jim Dahme (flute, lead and backing vocals); Steve Paul Bruno (bass, organ, backing vocals); and, Hank Ransome (drums).

In 1968, the band recorded and released their self-titled album on Vanguard Records (produced by Sam Charters). Vanguard's artist roster at the time included Joan Baez, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Country Joe and the Fish. Elizabeth performed with Cream, Blue Cheer, Joni Mitchell, Ritchie Havens, The Chambers Brothers and many other musical luminaries of that era. Some of the bands' many Philadelphia area performances included concerts and sets at: The Main Point, The Second Fret, The Electric Factory, and most Be-INs at Belmont Plateau in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park.

As the band was starting to come together (nameless at that point), Steve and Robert "Stewkey" Antoni, band mates from Newport, RI, made an unexpected stop in Philadelphia on their way to Florida. After a week in the City of brotherly love, they decided to forgo Florida and help form Elizabeth. Some interesting guitarists auditioned for the band, including future rock star Todd Rundgren who was with Woody's Truck Stop at the time; and, Nick Jameson, soon to be a founder and guitarist of The American Dream (both were Philly bands).

Within a month or so of landing in Philadelphia, Stewkey left Elizabeth to join Todd's new band, The Nazz. Of note, Linda Cohen, a Philadelphia classical guitarist, was Elizabeth's first drummer (briefly). During the spring and summer of 1969, she teamed up with Michael Kac from Mandrake Memorial and, together, performed as a classical-pop fusion guitar-harpsichord duo. Linda died in 2009 of lung cancer. Mandrake Memorial and Elizabeth shared the stage many times.

1. Not That Kind Of A Guy (Steve Weingarten) - 3:09
2. Mary Anne (Bob Patterson) - 2:38
3. Dissimilitude (Steve Weingarten) - 2:11
4. Similitude (Steve Weingarten) - 4:06
5. You Should Be More Careful (Bob Patterson) - 4:03
6. The World's For Free (Steve Weingarten, Steve Weingarten) - 3:00
7. Fields Of Home (Jim Dahmne) - 3:16
8. Alarm Rings Five (Bob Patterson) - 4:53
9. Lady L (Jim Dahmne) - 3:24
10.When All Else Fails (Bob Patterson) - 4:16

*Steve Weingarten - Lead Guitar, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
*Bob Patterson - Rhythm Guitar (6, 12-String), Vocals
*Jim Dahmne - Flute, Vocals
*Steve Paul Bruno - Bass Guitar, Hammond B-3 Organ, Backing Vocals
*Hank Ransome - Drums, Percussion

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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Bubble Puppy - Hot Smoke (1969/84 us, incredible heavy garage psych)

Bubble Puppy was the second-most-famous '60s rock band named after writings by Aldous Huxley. Which isn't to diminish what the Texas psychedelic rock band accomplished during its four-year run, only to say that Bubble Puppy made one album with one formidable hit before bad business sunk the group. 

Bubble Puppy didn't last long enough but discerning '60s psychedelic rock enthusiasts still remember the band's hit "Hot Smoke and Sasafrass," a No. 14 single (more for its sound than spelling) in 1969. The band's sole album, "A Gathering of Promises," still sounds vibrant today; less trippy than much psychedelia, and more like a blueprint for '70s hard rock.

Bubble Puppy hit with "Hot Smoke" before it had an album, "another IA oversight," Fore says. Eventually, "A Gathering of Promises" was assembled, and the band had a record to promote. The cover is a brilliant relic of its era, with the four members dressed by a theatrical costume designer.

The band's trajectory at that point should've been upward. But International Artists was unable to capitalize on the success of "Hot Smoke," putting the group on strange tour routes that didn't maximize potential audiences. Bubble Puppy was on the same stage as the 1910 Fruitgum Company, a quintessential '60s bubble-gum band. Despite the differences in sound, the association was difficult to shake.

Bubble Puppy eventually shook free of International Artists, which was on the brink of collapse. The band moved to Los Angeles hoping to start anew, though it left things behind, including some recordings. Andy Bradley, chief engineer at SugarHill Studios, says a majestic 15-minute jam is in the studio's vaults.

The four men of Bubble Puppy didn't find fame out West. They made a terrific album in 1970 that documented the band making a transition from psychedelia into a more direct, powerful style of what would eventually become hard rock. "Demian" yielded no hits, but it remains a collector's item, with sellers seeking $50-$100 on eBay for a copy these days.

It was a self-titled recording because the band also left the name Bubble Puppy in Houston. When the group's members settled on "Demian," they became the second-most-famous band to pull a name from the writings of Herman Hesse, author of "Steppenwolf."

By the numbers, Bubble Puppy was a one-hit wonder. But that shouldn't be read as a pejorative. The band's output is rich and deeper than one song.

"A Gathering of Promises" and "Demian" boast a sound ahead of its time. Both deserve reappraisal and new discovery.
by Andrew Dansby

1. Hot Smoke And Sassafras - 2:37
2. Lonely - 3:00
3. Grand Illusion - 4:25
4. Methedrine Blues - 4:44
5. Hard Livin' - 4:33
6. Bound To Pain - 3:59
7. The Puppy Jam-1984 - 13:49
All songs by Rod Prince, Roy Cox except track #6 written by Todd Potter

The Bubble Puppy
*Rod Prince ‒ Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Roy Cox ‒ Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Todd Potter ‒ Lead Guitar, Vocals
*David Fore ‒ Drums, Vocals

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Graham Bond - Live At BBC And Other Stories (1962-72 uk, splendid bebop jazz rhythm 'n' blues prog rock, 2015 four discs box set remaster)

Many of the articles that have recently appeared around this four CD compilation of Graham Bond’s BBC sessions tend to assume that the reader will be aware of who Bond was. Unfortunately this is not the case. While talking to an acquaintance of similar vintage as myself a few weeks ago, I mentioned this latest box set from Repertoire. “Graham Bond, I don’t recall him…” resulted in disappointment more than surprise from my side. So, for those who were there but find that almost daily our memories are fading, but more importantly for those who weren’t around in the sixties here’s a few facts.

Graham Bond was an important (and imposing) figure in British music in the sixties and seventies. Bond was an innovator, on a par as those more celebrated British musicians such as Alexis Korner and John Mayall, who also served as a training ground for many musicians who are still rightly regarded highly half a century after they first took to a stage. Bond was initially known for playing alto saxophone while trying to scrape a living as a jazz musician on his chosen instrument. After a stint with Alexis Korner’s Blues Inc., Bond teamed up with fellow Korner members, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, and with guitarist John McLaughlin formed the Graham Bond Quartet before morphing into the Graham Bond Organization, dropping McLaughlin in favour of Dick-Heckstall-Smith on tenor sax while Bond played keyboards, heavily featuring the Hammond organ.

It was during this time that Bond, while never forsaking his jazz leanings, introduced the rhythm and blues stylings that were so popular in the mid-sixties into his music and in doing so built up a sizable following. But, even with two albums released in 1965, ‘The Sound Of ‘65’ and ‘There’s a Bond Between Us’, and a dedicated fan base that attended his live shows, although he gained the respect, he never achieved the glory that many of his fellow band-mates did. It’s felt that Bond was under-appreciated then and even though his albums have been available through the digital age he’s still not recognized as the innovator he truly was. Bond was, and still is, one of the most important figures in British R'n'B.

For Bond’s full and fascinating story there’s a book, ‘Graham Bond: The Mighty Shadow’ which was published in 1992 and is still available from the author, Harry Shapiro, which details the rise and fall of Bond’s life and music, and is simply one of the most compelling books about a musician ever written. It’s a must-have for any music fan.

Of course, Bond’s life was complicated and there was a darker side to him, not helped by his drug addiction and his obsession with the occult, but one thing is certain; his death, which many to believe to be suicide, at the age of thirty-six robbed the music scene of an immense talent.

Bond went through a succession of bands, all of which are covered in Shapiro’s book, and while his time on this earth was short he influenced and introduced the world to many fine musicians. Although some of his more popular albums have hardly been put of print, during the last few years Repertoire Records have finally given part of Bond’s body of work the respect it’s due.

In 2012 the label released ‘Wade In The Water’, a four CD box set lovingly put together by poet/lyricist Pete Brown, who is possibly best known for his work with Cream and another underrated artist who also provided the foreword for Shapiro’s book as well as actually working with and releasing music with Bond. That lovingly compiled box set covered all that was really required from Bond’s early years, remastered with his usual skill by Jon Astley. Now Repertoire have gone the extra mile and issued another four CD box set covering Bond’s live work at the BBC and a little more.

While not as elaborately presented as ‘Wade In The Water’ - the book-sized box has been abandoned for a couple of double standard CD jewel cases - the fact that this music is now available at all is a blessing. Pete Brown again supplies liner notes and Astley once again has remastered the set. There have been many negative comments about the quality of some of these sessions and it’s true that some tracks do suffer from imperfections, but rather that than never having the opportunity to hear or relive them. With Astley in charge of the sound, you can be certain that they’ll never be improved upon anyway.

‘Live at the BBC’ covers more ground than it’s (mainly) studio counterpart. There is a handful of tracks from the Bond and Brown period. Bond’s Initiation era is featured and, of course, both Bond’s Quartet and Organization work is covered. The earliest recordings are from 1962 and the latest from 1972. There are sessions from BBC’s Jazz Club with Bobby Breen, the Quartet backing Duffy Power, Bond backing the Brian Dee Trio and so much more.

It’s not just fascinating for Bond devotees; anyone who has an interest in or is discovering British R&B for the first time will find plenty to enjoy here. While some of the tracks do show their age and sound a little dated, there are those such as the Bond and Brown ‘Sounds of the Seventies’ sessions that still sound as fresh as the day they were recorded. It’s also good to hear Diane (Bond’s wife) singing on a couple of those songs. While for the most part it’s fascinating to hear the various DJs introducing the songs, Pete Drummond sounds like he’s just woken when presenting these particular cuts, but hearing John Peel, Steve Race and George Melly is a joy.

While the quality of the four songs taken from a bootleg of the BBC ‘Pop Goes the Beatles’ recorded at Aeolian Hall, London in 1963 is one of the sections that has been singled out for criticism due to the audio imperfections, for some it will be a highlight. With Duffy Power on vocals, McLaughlin on guitar, Jack Bruce playing the double bass, Ginger Baker on drums and Bond’s Hammond driving the songs along, it’s not only a collector's dream come true but a piece of history many thought was lost forever.

All those connected with this set, especially Repertoire Records, should be commended for making this music available and at a reasonable price. The amount of love, care and passion that has gone into both of Repertoire’s Bond box sets is a lesson as to how it should be done to much bigger labels. Now all we need is some young, hip artist to check out Bond’s not inconsiderable body of work and maybe he’ll finally receive the acclaim he so rightly deserves. 
by Malcolm Carter

Disc 1
1. Bluesology (Milt Jackson) - 4:13
2. I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town (Casey Bill Weldon, Roy Jacobs) - 3:56
3. Hello Little Girl (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 2:18
4. Spanish Blues (Graham Bond) - 4:13
5. Wade In The Water (Traditional Arr. Graham Bond) - 5:28
6. Hallelujah I Love Her So (Ray Charles) - 4:12
7. Every Day I Have The Blues (Pinetop Sparks, Milton Sparks) - 3:40
8. I Saw Her Standing There (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 2:26
9. I Got A Woman (Ray Charles, Renald Richard) - 4:32
10.Summertime (George Gershwin) - 3:59
11.Hallelujah I Love Her So (Ray Charles) - 2:06
12.Things Are Getting Better (Julian "Cannonball" Adderley) - 5:40
13.Elsie And Ena aka 'Bring Back The Burch' (Graham Bond) - 3:36
14.Richmond Festival (Don Rendell) - 6:15
15.Kelly Blue (Wynton Kelly) - 4:07
16.Troika (Burch) - 3:34
17.Kazeef (Burch) - 3:08
18.Persian Party (Don Rendell) - 4:05
Tracks 1-7 Graham Bond Quartet with Bobby Breen, BBC Jazz Club, at the Paris Cinema, 25th April, 1963
Tracks 8-11 Duffy Power with the Graham Bond Quartet, BBC 1963
Tracks 12-18 Don Rendell Quintet with guest Dick Heckstall-Smith, ‘Jazz Session’, at the Paris Cinema, 19th September, 1962

Tracks 1-7
*Graham Bond - Vocals, Hammond Organ
*John Mclaughlin - Guitar
*Jack Bruce - Double Bass
*Ginger Baker - Drums
*Bobby Breen - Vocals
Tracks 8-11
*Graham Bond - Hammond Organ
*John Mclaughlin - Guitar
*Jack Bruce - Bass
*Ginger Baker - Drums
*Duffy Power - Vocals
Tracks 12-18 
*Don Rendell - Tenor, Soprano Saxophones
*Graham Bond - Alto Saxophone
*Dick Heckstall-Smith - Tenor Saxophone
*Johnny Burch - Piano
*Tony Archer - Bass
*Ted Pope - Drums

Disc 2
1. Wade In The Water (Traditional Arr. Graham Bond) - 4:43
2. Only Sixteen (Graham Bond) - 4:05
3. When Johnny Comes Marching Home (Traditional Arr. Graham Bond) - 4:50
4. Macumbe (DeLisle Harper) - 5:17
5. Milk Is Turning Sour In My Shoes (Pete Brown, Phil Ryan, Taff Williams) - 7:15
6. Beak Suite (Graham Bond) - 9:58
7. Improvisation - 2:42
8. Moses In The Bullrushourses (Pete Brown, Dick Heckstall-Smith) - 4:02
9. What’d I Say? (Ray Charles) - 9:40
10.Wade In the Water (Traditional Arr. Graham Bond) - 5:23
11.I Got A Woman (Ray Charles, Renald Richard) - 2:42
12.Cabbage Greens (Champion Jack Dupree) - 2:33
13.I Saw Her Standing There (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 2:27
14.Spanish Blues (Graham Bond) - 2:59
Tracks 1- 3 Graham Bond Organization, ‘Jazz Beat’, 22nd January, 1966
Tracks 4-6 Bond and Brown, BBC Radio Birmingham, 23rd March, 1972
Track 7 Graham Bond and Dick Heckstall-Smith, home tape, 1962
Track 8 Dick Heckstall-Smith Band, demo recording, 1972
Track 9 Graham Bond Organization, live recording, 1966-67
Track 10 Graham Bond Initiation, live recording, 1969-70
Tracks 11-14 The Graham Bond Quartet From A Bootleg of BBC “Pop Goes The Beatles” Recorded At Aeolian Hall London Broadcast 16th July 1963 

Tracks 1-3
*Graham Bond - Hammond Organ, Vocals
*Dick Heckstall-Smith - Saxophones
*Mike Falana - Trumpet
*Ginger Baker - Drums
Tracks 4-6
*Graham Bond - Vocals, Hammond, Electric Piano
*Pete Brown - Vocals, Percussion
*Diane Stewart - Vocals, Percussion
*Delisle Harper - Bass
*Ed Spevock - Drums
Track 7
*Graham Bond - Alto Saxophone
*Dick Heckstall-Smith - Tenor Saxophone
Track 8
*Graham Bond - Hammond, Vocals
*Dick Heckstall-Smith - Saxophones
*Others Unknown
Track 9
*Graham Bond - Hammond, Vocals
*Dick Heckstall-Smith - Saxophones
*John Hiseman - Drums
Track 10
*Graham Bond - Hammond Organ, Alto Saxophone, Vocals
*Keith Bailey - Drums

Disc 3
1. Walkin’ In The Park-I Want You (Segue) (Graham Bond) - 7:17
2. Wade In The Water (Traditional Arr. Graham Bond) - 13:44
3. Love Is The Law (Graham Bond) - 8:16
4. Love Is The Law (Graham Bond) - 10:21
5. Magic Mojo (Graham Bond) - 9:52
6. The World Will Still Be Free (Graham Bond) - 8:23
7. Wade In The Water (Traditional Arr. Graham Bond) - 12:51
Tracks 1-3 Graham Bond Initiation BBC ‘Top Gear’, Maida Vale, 31st January, 1970
Tracks 4-7 Graham Bond Initiation, BBC John Peel Sunday show, Paris Theatre, London, 22nd March, 1970

Tracks 1-3
*Graham Bond - Hammond Organ, Vocals
*Diane Stewart - Congas, Vocals
*Dave Usher - Flute, Tenor Saxophone, Guitar
*Nigel Taylor - Bass
*Keith Bailey - Drums
Tracks 4-7
*Graham Bond - Hammond, Vocals
*Dave Usher - Flute, Tenor Saxophone
*Nigel Taylor - Bass
*Keith Bailey - Drums
*Kevin Stacey - Guitar

Disc 4
1. Things Are Getting Better (Julian "Cannonball" Adderley) - 4:12
2. Blew Through (Philamore Lincoln) - 5:19
3. Sack O'Woe (Julian "Cannonball" Adderley) - 8:34
4. Mack The Knige (Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht) - 5:48
5. Work Song (Nat Adderley) - 13:30
6. Oleo (Sonny Rollins) - 15:14
7. Things Are Getting Better (Julian "Cannonball" Adderley) - 18:10
Track 1 Brian Dee Trio, From The EP “Jazz And Twist” Vaux VA 8, 1962
Track 2 Philamore Lincoln,  From The Album “The North Wind Blew South” Epic BN26497 1970
Tracks 3-7 With Ken Wray and The Joe Palin Trio Rehearsal / Jam Session Manchester, Club 43, 1962

Track 1
*Graham Bond - Alto Saxophone
*Brian Dee - Piano
*Malcolm Cecil - Double Bass
*Tony Mann - Drums
Track 2
*Graham Bond - Keyboards, Saxophone
*Hal Blaine - Drums
Tracks 3-7
*Graham Bond - Alto Saxophone
*Ken Wray - Valve Trombone
*Joe Palin - Piano
*Bill Brown - Bass
*Dave Edwards - Drums

Related Acts
1965  The Graham Bond Organisation - The Sound Of '65 / There's A Bond Between Us
1970  Graham Bond - Holy Magick (Vinyl issue)
1972  Bond And Brown - Two Heads Are Better Than One (2009 remaster)
1969  Colosseum - Those Who Are About To Die Salute You
1969  Colosseum - Valentyne Suite
1970  Colosseum - Daughter Of Time
1972  Dick Heckstall Smith - A Story Ended (2006 Japan remaster)  
1970  Philamore Lincoln - The North Wind Blew South (2010 remastered edition)

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Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Crazy People - Bedlam (1968 canada, intense experimental theatrical multi psychedelia, 2011 remaster)

Little is known about this late-'60s band other than they were Canadian, recorded their sole album Bedlam on the Burnaby, British Columbia-based Condor exploit label (home to a wide diversity of bands, among them Latin Holiday, Blues Train, the Surf Riders, and the Jimmy Cole Unlimited), and were intensely weird even for the era. From there, perhaps appropriately enough, everything gets a bit fuzzy.

Much of the Crazy People legend is couched in mystery and subject to various rumors and speculation. It is thought, because of the label it is on, that the band was actually an exploitation studio project rather than a proper combo. The most plausible theory is that it is the brainchild of Johnny Kitchen, whose name may seem terribly arcane to the casual music fan but is well-known among '60s collectors despite the fact that his identity remains a complete enigma. What is known about Kitchen is that he was something of a poor-man's Kim Fowley. He had a hand in literally dozens of crazed and experimental underground records in America during the latter years of the decade. Ending up in Los Angeles in late 1968 or early 1969, he began making records on the Crestview label beginning with the self-titled Victims of Chance debut. He was also involved that year with the bizarre first album from certified schizophrenic and acid freakazoid Larry 'Wild Man' Fischer, Evening with Wild Man Fischer, which was released on Frank Zappa's Bizarre label.

This is where a connection turns up that is both veiled in conjecture and seemingly more than coincidental. Fischer's album shares not a few similarities with the Crazy People album. In fact, the two contain a couple identical elements, including an entire chorus and vocal on one song. Some attribute the shared moments to pure happenstance or perhaps musical borrowings. Others (among them Gear Fab head Roger Maglio in the CD reissue liner notes) have suggested that the two albums are possibly the work of a single man: Wild Man Fischer himself, who perhaps also used the pseudonym Johnny Kitchen for outside projects. Crazy People's Bedlam precedes Fischer's debut by nearly a year, and, in fact, it is known that Kitchen was in Canada during 1968, involved in another Condor release, The World With the Trio of Tyme. He has two songwriting credits on Bedlam as well. From there the guessing game gets muddier and more inexact, and other plausible names have been tossed around, including a local Vancouver personality, television weatherman Jack Millman, who also has several songs on the album. More than likely, however, the truth of the matter has lived and died with the 1960s themselves.

Inside the grooves of Bedlam lies some dramatically unhinged stuff, a schizophrenic, psychedelic mutation unlike any other from the era. From the opening few bars of "Parade at the Funny Farm," the direction of the album is evident -- that is, that there is no direction per se. If you borrowed all the weirder sound-collage stuff, satirical performance-art, and politico-comedic humor from the early work of the Mothers of Invention or the Firesign Theatre and superimposed it over some oddball, calliopic melodies and eclectic stylistic jump-cutting, you would begin to approach the mayhem of the sole effort by Crazy People.

For example, "After Six" is a really beautiful, swaying kaleidoscopic pop tune. Or it could have been pretty. Over top of the music, however, a stoned philosopher narrates an involved story (an amusing amalgam of fairy tale, cartoon, Bible epic, and Greek tragedy delivered, nevertheless, with an absolutely stony-faced tone) in a manner similar to Cream's kooky "Pressed Rat and Warthog." "Head Games and Other Assorted Crap" is a partly a sound collage a la the Beatles' "Revolution No. 9," but the collage arises out of a lovely sunshine-pop tune that ultimately gives way to bits of jazz and tribal music, and even a choir at one point. The album is very much a product of its times, and the humor very much endemic to the era, rendering Bedlam as a perfect, encapsulized historical record of the times: part bollocks, part inspiration, and all intriguing, even when it falls on its face. 
by Stanton Swihart

1. Parade At The Funny Farm (Johnny Kitchen) - 8:24
2. Head Amusement (Ludie Priessman) - 0:35
3. Raunchy Boog-A-Loo (Jack Millman) - 3:04
4. After Six (Phillip Werber) - 2:33
5. The Truth (Jack Millman) - 3:14
6. Head Games And Other Assorted Crap (Jack Millman) - 6:13
7. Head Job (Ralph Morris) - 3:04
8. Happy Academy (Frank Morris) - 3:48
9. Trans Luv Airlines (Ludie Priessman) - 3:53
10.Let's Split (Johnny Kitchen) - 2:53

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Thee Image - Thee Image / Inside The Triange (1974-75 us, sparkling light prog rock with funky affects, 2014 remaster edition)

Thee Image were formed in 1973 by former Blues Image, Iron Butterfly and Cactus guitarist Mike Pinera and keyboard player Duane Hitchings, formerly with Buddy Miles. Pinera's first band, Blues Image scored a US hit with the single "Ride Captain Ride" and had begun life as the house band of a Miami rock club called Thee Image. Pinera's skill as a guitarist meant he was a much in demand musician. After a spell in a reformed line-up of the hard rock group Cactus in 1973 Pinera formed Thee Image with Duane Hitchings on keyboards and talented drummer Donny Vosburgh (who had also played with Blues Image). The band was signed to Manticore  in 1974 by Mario Medius who had known Mike Pinera from his time at Atlantic Records in New York whilst Pinera was a member of Iron Butterfly.

Thee Image recorded their self-titled debut album at Criteria studios in Miami, producing a work of polished and sophisticated rock. The album enjoyed a release both in the USA and Europe (where Manticore was distributed by WEA Records).

Although "Thee Image" failed to chart, sales were encouraging enough for Manticore to continue to support the band with the recording of their next album, "Inside the Triangle" in 1975. Once again recorded at Criteria studios in Miami, the band's second album was released in the USA only and arguably fell victim to ELP's waning interest in Manticore as an entity. In hindsight, Motown Records were perhaps not best suited to distribute and market rock music. 

As result, despite gaining positive notices as a live act, sales of "Inside the Triangle" failed to live up to expectation and by 1976 Thee Image had cense' to exist. Mike Pinera soon embarked on a solo, career and would later work with Alice Cooper among others and remains a much respected and in demand session guitarist.

The demise of Thee Image seemed to pre-empt the demise of Manticore itself. Although the label was releasing some remarkable music by the middle of 1976 it was apparent that the label that had begun as a worthy outlet for the music of Emerson Lake & Palmer and other fine acts was swiftly becoming a burden. The harsh light of day revealed that aside from Emerson Lake and Palmer, few, if any of the other acts signed to Manticore had the commercial success hoped for them (with the possible exception of PFM). Greg Lake would later reflect; "At the beginning it was all very exciting having your own label, but quite soon we realized that it was a huge task running Manticore and also recording and touring as ELP in our own right. It was also unfair on the other acts we had signed as we simply didn't have the time to devote to the proper promotion of their albums. As a result, Manticore lasted only a few years, but in that time some wonderful music was released by the label". 

The final album released on the Manticore imprint was the album "Jet Lag" by PFM, issued in the early months of 1977. By now, the Punk rock explosion had begun and groups such as Emerson Lake and Palmer were the target of Punk's protagonists. Although lasting a little over three years. Manticore Records released a body of music that now bears much worthy reappraisal. The passage of time has been kinder to the music of the acts signed to the label.

This compilation gathers together the tracks from both albums Thee Image recorded for Manticore and is a fine collection of sophisticated rock music by three talented musicians.
by Mark Powell

Thee Image 1974
1. Good Things (Mike Pinera) - 2:53
2. For Another Day (Mike Pinera) - 4:05
3. Drift Off Endlessly (Duane Hitchings) - 4:22
4. Love is Here (Mike Pinera, Duane Hitchings, Buddy Miles) - 4:05
5. So Hard to Say (Mike Pinera) - 3:45
6. It Happens All the Time (Mike Pinera, Ted Webb) - 3:07
7. Come to You (Duane Hitchings) - 3:02
8. Temptation (Donny Vosburgh, Mike Pinera) - 5:13
9. Show Your Love (Duane Hitchings, Mike Pinera, Donny Vosburgh) - 6:43
Inside The Triangle 1975
10.Fly Away (Mike Pinera) - 6:41
11.Far Away Places (Mike Pinera, Tommy Curtiss) - 3:03
12.High Time Feeling (Mike Pinera, Duane Hitchings) - 3:39
I3.I.O.U.'s (Mike Pinera) - 2:35
14.All Night Long (Mike Pinera, Donny Vosburgh, Duane Hitchings) - 4:19
15.Good To You (Mike Pinera) - 6:09
16.Alone With You (Mike Pinera) - 5:08
17.Rapture Of The Deep (Mike Pinera, Duane Hitchings) - 1:44
18.Nobody Wins 'Til the Game is Over (Mac Rice, B. Crutcher) - 4:14

Thee Image
*Mike Pinera - Guitars, Vocals
*Duane Hitchings - Keyboards, Moog, Keyboard Bass, Univox Synthesizers, Univox Stringman, Vocals
*Donny Vosburgh - Drums, Percussion, Vocals

Related Acts
1969-70  Blues Image - Blues Image / Red White and Blues Image 
1970  Iron Butterfly - Metamorphosis (Japan SHM edition)
1972  Ramatam - Ramatam  

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