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


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Jimmie Spheeris - The Dragon Is Dancing / Ports Of The Heart (1975-76 us, brilliant folk jazz prog silk rock, 2014 double disc set remaster)

One of Jimmie Spheeris' Epic titles of the 1970s was his third album, a classic titled The Dragon Is Dancing. The album was produced by Henry Lewy, a well-respected producer/engineer who had an impressive track record when he entered the studio with Spheeris in 1975. 

In addition to working with Joan Baez, Neil Young, and Procol Harum, Lewy was the engineer on many of Joni Mitchell's best albums. Lewy always had an ear for singer/songwriters, and he proves to be quite an asset to Spheeris on reflective, contemplative gems like "In the Misty Woods" and "Blue Streets." Between Spheeris' heartfelt singing and writing and Lewy's imaginative production, The Dragon Is Dancing never fails to hold the listener's attention. 
by Alex Henderson

"Tonight we're going to take your mind on a ride outside this universe," Jimmie Spheeris' trademark half whisper taunted the throng of 10,000 rowdy Cheech and Chong fans. In the ensuing 10 seconds, he had their attention riveted to his haunting piano intro for "The Nest".

Jimmie's hushed, airy tones, banshee wails and snake charmer vocal riffs sent rapturous thrills through many enormous crowds in the early '70s, initially impatient audiences of unruly kids who came to see big name hard rock acts, only first to be surprised and tamed by a true dream weaver.

It was my great fortune to be sometimes part of his troupe of time-travelling gypsies; a band consisting of piano, guitar, bass, flute and myself on viola, endeavoring to conjure up a whole orchestra to carpet Jimmie's musical visions. Wherever Jimmie performed, his listeners were drawn into his unusual world.

He invoked a similar spell in the studio, always singing his own songs: artfully fashioned gems that could only originate from Jimmie Spheeris. On his fourth album, Ports of the Heart, he added to this delicious mix some classic songs by other writers. The vocal magic continued as if they were songs of his own creation. I still can feel the sensation from one summer evening session, as if my mind were floating in an air-cooled stream, as Jimmie wafted the melody of Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry", backed by Jim Cowger's sonorous sax lines. Another unforgettable session had Jimmie playacting the romantic mood of an earlier classic, "It's All in the Game", composed in 1912 from a poem written near the turn of the century.

Most of the album, of course, is filled with songs of colorful vision, fantasy and sensuous life, all written by Jimmie, straight from his unmistakable creative world. When I listen to it now the music brings on the memory of how it felt in the living room of Jimmie's Venice, California beach house, where the room seemed always to glow from the spark of his most recent creations and with the energy and affection he inspired in his many close friends.

I'd have thought by now that another singer would have achieved something similar to his unique voice, in the way that artists from prior eras become major influences on younger singers. So far, no one has.
by David Campbell

Disc 1 The Dragon Is Dancing 1975
1. The Dragon Is Dancing - 3:14
2. Sighs In A Shell (Jimmie Spheeris, Michael Mallen) - 3:21
3. Tequila Moonlight - 3:24
4. Snake Man - 2:44
5. Love's In Vain - 4:32
6. Lost In The Midway - 3:09
7. Eternity Spin - 4:35
8. Sunken Skies - 3:31
9. Summer Salt - 2:52
10.In The Misty Woods - 3:13
11.Blown Out - 4:00
12.Blue Streets - 3:47
Music and Lyrics by Jimmie Spheeris unless as else indicated

Disc 2 Ports Of The Heart 1976
1. Child From Nowhere - 3:12
2. Emerald And The Dream Dance - 3:20
3. It's You They're Dreaming Of - 2:58
4. Captain Comes Cold - 2:33
5. Bayou Eyes - 3:43
6. It's All In The Game (C. Sigman, C. Dawes) - 3:12
7. Hills In My Head - 3:49
8. Whirlpool - 3:02
9. Sweet Separation - 3:08
10.So Darkly Fall The Shadows - 3:28
11.Nightingale Come Sail - 2:44
12.I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry (Hank Williams) - 4:11
Music and Lyrics by Jimmie Spheeris unless as else stated

The Dragon Is Dancing 1975
*Jimmie Spheeris - Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Vocal
*Bart Hall - Drums, Percussion
*Johnny Pierce - Bass
*Geoff Levin - Electric, Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Jim Cowger - Flute, Sax
*Chick Corea - Electric Piano, Mini-Moog
*Jane Getz - Piano
*Mike Mallen - Acoustic Guitar
*Paul Lewinson - Arp, Piano
*Dorothy Remsen - Harp
*Henry Lewy - Birds, Percussion
*Morgan Ames - Backing Vocals
*Jim Cowger, Chuck Findley, Robert Findley - Horns
*Gary Barone, Jonathan Ellis - Horns

Ports Of The Heart 1976
*Jimmie Spheeris  -  Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Voices
*Chick Corea -Electric Piano
*Johnny Pierce - Bass
*Stanley Clarke - Bass
*Bart Hall, John Guerin - Drums
*Jim Cowger - Sax, Soprano Sax, Flute, Clarinet, Piano
*Geoff Levin - Guitars
*David Campbell - Viola
*Jay Ellington Lee - Arp
*Robin Williamson - Oud
*Dan Orbach - Mandolin
*Emile Pandolfi - Piano
*Richard Feves - Bowed Bass
*Charles Veal, Robert Dubow, Gordon Marron, Mary Ann Ringgold - Strings
*Haim Shtrum, Janice Gower, Sheldon Sanov - Strings
*Lya Stern, Mareia Van Dyke, Dan Neufeld - Strings
*Pamela Goldsmith, Paul Polivnick, Ronald Strauss, Rollice Dale - Strings
*Arthur Royval, Ronald Cooper, Dennis Karmazyn  - Strings
*David Spelz, Richard Feves - Strings
*Jackson Browne, Geoff Levin, Johnny Pierce - Backing Vocals

1971-73  Jimmie Spheeris - Isle Οf View / The Original Tap Dancing Kid (2008 remaster)

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Rainbow Ffolly - Sallies Fforth (1968 uk, beautiful orchestrated swinging psychedelia, 2005 remaster)

Spectromorphic Iridescence from a Tube of Smarties
For years, Rainbow Ffolly Sallies Fforth, PMC 7050 (stereo PCS 7050), has been the ultimate mystery album for collectors. Mint copies change hands at upwards of £120, an Italian bootleg has been issued, and yet the group members have remained anonymous. Time to unffold the tale of the Rainbow Ffolly, a band influential on the careers of the Moody Blues, possibly the Who and even the Beatles.

The Ffolly's story, with its incredible string of 'ffirsts', is unique amongst groups of the time. Only when it reaches the part where the band is forced to split through lack of income does the tale become the sadly-familiar 'Sixties shot-at-stardom that failed'.

Rainbow Ffolly, an art college band, evolved in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, from a group called Force Four. Jonathan Dunsterville picked the new name to conjure up the eye-searing colours associated with psychedelia, doubling the 'f' on Ffolly in tribute to Wally Ffolks, jazz clarinettist and creator of the 'Flook' cartoon strip.

Roger Newell and Stewart Osborn were neighbours who had known each other since the age of three. Later in life they both took up the guitar, but according to Roger: "We found there were loads of guitarists better than us, but few bass players and few drummers."

Roger shrewdly moved to playing bass and Stewart, to drums. In book-binding classes at college, John became intrigued by Stewart's habit of carrying sticks in his pockets and drumming on the desk when he got bored.

"This bloke in evening class going 'chika chika chika bash bash bash!'... (had) to be an interesting character," John realised. "He could play trills and things that no other drummer could do at the time, so I thought, 'that'll do'!"

John and his brother, Richard, came from a musical family, John's guitar skills stemming from finding a ukulele in the loft at the age of eleven. The brothers honed their talents by copying Elvis and the Everlys. When John first considered Roger for the band, he rejected him because he "only looked about thirteen" and was dwarfed by his guitar. Alan Thomas subsequently became Force Four's bassist, leaving after a year or so because he was not in tune with the others' art school ideas. By this time, Roger, whom John describes as "a perfect bass player," had "doubled in size" and finally passed the audition.

Roger recalls seeing John entertaining a group of people in the local park, and thinking:
"'Wow! He plays Scotty Moore stuff!' And (John) 'picked', which was not a style currently in vogue."

Group manager, John Sparrowhawk's claim to fame was that he was the vocalist on the 'Light up a Richmond' cigarette commercial, fondly remembered by Sixties pirate radio aficionados.

1. She's Alright - 3:42
2. I'm So Happy - 2:33
3. Montgolfier '67 - 2:37
4. Drive My Car - 2:15
5. Goodbye - 3:54
6. Hey You - 2:05
7. Sun Sing - 3:57
8. Sun And Sand - 4:02
9. Labour Exchange - 1:55
10.They'm - 1:55
11.No - 2:58
12.Sighing Game - 3:06
13.Come On Go - 2:57
14.Go Girl (Mono Single Version) - 2:41
15.Drive My Car (Mono Single Version) - 2:09
All tracks written by Jonathan Dunsterville

Rainbow Ffolly
*Jonathan Dunsterville - Vocals, Guitar
*Richard Dunsterville - Vocals, Guitar
*Roger Newell - Vocals, Bass
*Stewart Osborn - Vocals, Drums

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Next Morning - The Next Morning (1971 trinidad, stunning psych rock)

The late-1960s found guitarist Scipio Sargeant having left his native Trinidad for New York City.  Living in Brooklyn his lightening quick guitar began attracting attention, including that of  fellow Trinidadian/guitarist Bert Bailey.  Discovering a shared interest in hard rock, the pair decided to form a band, quickly recruiting keyboardist Earl Arthur, brother/drummer Herb Bailey and singer Lou Phillips.  With Scipio switching to bass the quintet began attracting attention on the city's club circuit.

Almost signed by Columbia, the group ended up with a recording contract on the Roulette Records affiliated Calla label.  Recorded at New York's Electric Lady Studios, their 1971 debut "The Next Morning" was produced by Dick Jacobs and clearly drew inspiration from Jimi Hendrix.  Propelled by Arthur's insane keyboards and Bert Bailey's wicked feedback drenched guitar, self-penned material such as "Changes of the Mind", "Life Is Love" and "Back To the Stone Age"  offered up impressive slices of Hendrix-styled heavy rock. The overall performances were quite attractive, making for a first-rate set that should appeal to all guitar rock lovers.

1. The Next Morning (Lou Phillips, Scipio Sargeant, Bert Bailey) - 4:56
2. Life (Lou Phillips, Bert Bailey) - 2:57
3. Changes Of The Mind (Lou Phillips, Scipio Sargeant, Bert Bailey) - 6:01
4. Life Is Love (Lou Phillips, Earl Arthur) - 5:33
5. Back To The Stone Age (Lou Phillips, Scipio Sargeant, Bert Bailey) - 5:28
6. Adelane (Lou Phillips, Bert Bailey) - 2:51
7. A Jam Of Love (Lou Phillips, Scipio Sargeant, Herbert Bailey, Bert Bailey, Earl Arthur) - 4:24
8. Faces Are Smiling! (Lou Phillips, Bert Bailey) - 6:28

The Next Morning
*Earl Arthur - Keyboards
*Bert Bailey - Guitar
*Herbert Bailey - Drums
*Lou Phillips - Vocals
*Scipio Sargeant - Bass, Guitar

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Gosdin Brothers - Sounds Of Goodbye (1968 us, country folk rock milestone, 2003 remaster)

Once you've heard them, how can you not like the Gosdin Brothers? Their 1968 album SOUNDS OF GOODBYE is one of the most satisfying blends of country, pop and folk-rock that the era produced, yet because it was aimed at the country market rather than the hip scene, the record, and indeed the act's importance, has been overshadowed by the frankly more copy-worthy Byrds and Burritos. As charter members of the country rock brotherhood that included Clarence White, Gib Guilbeau and Gene Parsons - all of whom provided the sparkling musical support for the duos studio recordings - Vern and Rex Gosdin brought a knowing savvy to the music that was tempered by the innocent freshwater sensibilities of their stunning harmonies, and the unsurpassed warmth of Vern's lead vocal. With its array of fine songs, and sympathetic production by maverick Gary S Paxton, SOUNDS OF GOODBYE is a true jewel of early country rock.

On a personal level, this reissue has been a very long time coming. It was probably about 1982 that I first forked over a portion of my meagre student income to Alie at Rhythm Records in Camden High Street, in order to secure an original copy of SOUNDS OF GOODBYE. Like most neophytes, I knew the Gosdins only from their credit on Gene Clark's eponymous debut, a favourite record that even at that stage I had worn out almost as much as my treasured Byrds LPs. With its country-cool cover graphics and an intriguing tracklist, I reckoned this rarely-espied Gosdins album had to at least be worth a listen. I certainly wasn't prepared to fall so deeply in love with the voices, the songs, the sound. And in my amazement at Rex and Vern's complete lack of visibility in the vintage country-rock milieu, I felt just had to spread the word about this incredible duo.

In subsequent years I endeavoured to track down more of that magic Gosdin Brothers sound. I picked up copies of their mid-60s 45s, including the 1967 country hit Hangin' On, and the rare 1966 Edict Records single, produced by Chris Hillman. I somehow acquired lo-fi copies of unissued material from the same period. And most importantly, I learned of Vern Gosdin's enormous stature in the back to basics 'hard' country movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s, where he had numerous number ones and became known amongst his legions of fans as the Voice, all without altering one iota the style or sound he had espoused with brother Rex in the late 1960s.

Which brings us to this compilation, of which I am most proud. It collects together the contents of the SOUNDS OF GOODBYE album, plus the aforementioned non-LP singles on World-Pacific, Edict and Bakersfield International, and some truly stellar unissued sides. Foremost is Tell Me, an out-take from the Edict session featuring accompaniment from Hillman, Michael Clarke and Clarence White, the jaw-dropping final fifty seconds of which are concrete proof that technically and melodically, White was already in a class of his own on electric guitar. Yep, it's that good.

Putting this thing together has been a blast too, as it has been with all the Big Beat Bakersfield releases - whether it be remixing those fabled out-takes, gleaning words of wisdom from biz legends Gary S Paxton and former Byrds/Gosdins manager Jim Dickson, or hanging out with the brothers' former collaborators Chris, Gib and Gene. But perhaps the most fun of all was the time Cindy and I amusedly looked on as Vern, draped in enough chains and jewellery to make a rap star envious, held court in a Cracker Barrel restaurant near Opryland, enduring a never-ending procession of middle-aged fans ooh-ing and aah-ing over him - not to mention the repeated insistence of the waitress in passing on her latest demo tape. And Vern was loving every minute of it. I realised that, to these folks at least, the Voice is still very much a country music superstar. As he should be. Take a listen to SOUNDS OF GOODBYE and see if you don't agree.
by Alec Palao 

1. Sounds Of Goodbye (Eddie Rabbit, Richard Heard) - 2:30
2. Tell Me (Vern Gosdin, Rex Gosdin) - 3:05
3. There Must Be A Someone (I Can Turn To) (Vern Gosdin, Rex Gosdin, Cathy Gosdin) - 2:41
4. Woman's Disgrace (Floyd Guilbeau, Wayne Moore) - 2:41
5. Multiple Heartaches (Kenneth Johnson, Don Hinson) - 2:17
6. Love At First Sight (Vern Gosdin, Rex Gosdin) - 1:48
1. The Victim (Vern Gosdin, Rex Gosdin) - 2:53
8, Uncommitted Man (Kenneth Johnson, Jan Paxton) - 2:58
9. Catch The Wind (Donovan Leitch) - 2:25
10.She's Gone (Jan Paxton. Clarence White) - 2:08
11.No Matter Where You Go (There You Are) (Floyd Guilbeau) - 2:41
12.Hangin' On (Buddy Mize. Ira Allen) - 2:51
13.Wishing (Vern Gosdin Rex Gosdin) - 1:54
14.Louisiana Man (Douglas Kershaw) - 2:27
15.I'll Live Today (Floyd Guilbeau) - 2:56
16.For Us To Find (Vern Gosdin. Cathy Gosdin) - 3:02
17.One Hundred Years From Now (Vern Gosdin, Rex Gosdin) - 2:48
18.Bowling Green (Trad An Terry Slater, Jaqueline Ertel) - 2:02
19.I'll Live With God (To Die No More) (Charlie Louvin, Ira Louvin, Eddie Hill) - 2:42
20.The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (Ewan MacColl) - 3:06
21.Low, Of The Common People (John Hurley, Ronnie Wilkins) - 3:15
22.She Still Wishes I Were You (Paul Nuckles, Buddy Mize) - 2:48
23.Had A Lot Of Friends (Vern Gosdin, Rex Gosdin) - 1:53
24.Let It Be Me (Gilbert Becaud, Manny Curtis, Pierre Delanoe) - 1:57

*Vern Gosdin - Vocals, Guitar
*Rex Gosdin - Vocals
*Gib Guilbeau - Guitar, Vocals, Fiddle
*Gene Parsons - Harmonica, Banjo, Drums
*Clarence White - Guitar
*Wayne Moore - Rhythm Guitar, Bass
*Chris Hillman - Guitar, Bass, Madolin
*Michael Clarke - Drums
*Gary Paxton - Keyboards
*Kenny Johnson - Piano
*Jim Troxel - Drums
*Jerry Scheff - Bass
*Mike Deasy - Guitar

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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Lighthouse - Thoughts Of Movin' On (1971 canada, beautiful brass rock with prog traces, 2016 edition)

This 1971 Lighthouse album was produced by Jimmy Ienner. The album starts out on a strong note with "Take It Slow (Out In The Country)." It boasts a memorable melody and an impassioned lead vocal by Bob McBride, and should have been a big hit. The same could be said for the song "I Just Wanna Be Your Friend," which was written by Keith Jollimore and Larry Smith. Another highlight of the album is the love song "I'd Be So Happy." That song was covered by Three Dog Night, but has inexplicably not appeared on any Lighthouse compilation.

The late Bob McBride wails away on the rockers "What Gives You The Right," "Fly My Airplane," and "Insane." Bob also turns in heartfelt vocals on the power ballads "I'm Gonna Try To Make It" and "Walk Me Down" (written by Bob McBride). My least favorite track is "You And Me," written and sung by Howard Shore. Howard is a much better saxophonist than a vocalist. 

The rocking "Rockin' Chair," co-written and sung by Skip Prokop, is almost a novelty song. Although somewhat uneven, this album is an essential purchase for all fans of Lighthouse, along with the albums "One Fine Morning" (1970), “Lighthouse Live!” (1972), and "Sunny Days" (1972). 
by Michael King 

1. Take It Slow (Out In The Country) (Ralph Cole, Larry Smith, Keith Jollimore) - 3:12
2. What Gives You The Right (Howard Shore) - 3:23
3. You And Me (Howard Shore) - 4:51
4. Fly My Airplane (Paul  Hoffert) - 3:46
5. I'd Be So Happy (Skip Prokop) - 4:05
6. I Just Wanna Be Your Friend (Skip Prokop, Bob McBride) - 3:10
7. I’m Gonna Try To Make It (Larry Smith, Keith Jollimore) - 3:54
8. Rockin’ Chair (Skip Prokop, Ralph Cole) - 3:39
9. Walk Me Down (Bob McBride) - 3:51
10.Insane (Skip Prokop, Bob McBride) - 3:57

*Skip Prokop - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
*Paul Hoffert - Keyboard, Vibes
*Ralph Cole - Guitar, Vocals
*Louie Yacknin - Bass
*Bob McBride - Lead Vocals, Percussion
*Don Dinovo - Electric Violina
*Dick Armin - Electric Cello
*Mike Malone - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
*Keith Jollimore - Sax, Flute, Vocals
*Howard Shore - Sax, Flute, Vocals
*Larry Smith - Trombone, Vocals

1969  Lighthouse (2012 extra tracks edition)
1969  Lighthouse - Suite Feeling (2010 Korean remaster)
1970  Peacing It All Together (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) 

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Demian / Bubble Puppy - Demian / A Gathering Of Promises (1969-70 us, awesome heavy bluesy psych rock, 2008 digipak remaster)

Bubble Puppy was a Texan psychedelic rock band, formed in 1966 in San Antonio, Texas, by Rod Prince and Roy Cox. Looking to form a "top gun rock band" based on the concept of dual lead guitars, Prince and Cox recruited Todd Potter, a gymnast, saxophone player and guitarist. With the addition of Danny Segovia, the original line up of Bubble Puppy was complete. Bubble Puppy's live debut was as the opening act for The Who in San Antonio.

After several line-up changes, the final roster for Bubble Puppy settled at Rod Prince and Todd Potter on lead guitars, Roy Cox on bass guitar and David "Fuzzy" Fore on drums. In 1967, Bubble Puppy moved to Austin, Texas, and signed a recording contract with Houston-based International Artists, home to the 13th Floor Elevators and the Red Krayola.

Bubble Puppy scored a Top-20 U.S. hit in 1969 with their single, "Hot Smoke and Sasafrass"; it peaked at number 14 on the Billboard 100.

In 1969, Bubble Puppy released their only full-length album, A Gathering of Promises. However, despite Bubble Puppy's early success with the "Hot Smoke and Sasafrass" single, they experienced numerous conflicts with International Artists, and parted ways with the label in 1970. Signing Nick St. Nicholas of Steppenwolf as a manager, Bubble Puppy moved to Los Angeles, changed their name to Demian and signed to ABC-Dunhill Records. 

Demian released one self-titled album in 1971, but its failure to perform on the charts led to financial difficulties with the label and, in 1972, Bubble Puppy split up.

The members of Bubble Puppy continued to be active in the music industry after the band's demise. Potter and Prince played with Sirius through the late 1970s, and Fore drummed with the Texas punk rock band, D-Day, co-writing their cult hit, "Too Young to Date". In 1987, the original Bubble Puppy lineup reunited, for their comeback LP, Wheels Go Round.

The name "Bubble Puppy" was taken from "Centrifugal Bumble-Puppy", a fictitious children's game in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Demian was named after Herman Hesse's 1919 novel, and "Hot Smoke and Sasafrass" was a line lifted from an episode of "The Beverly Hillbillies".
CD Liner-Notes

1. Face In The Crowd (Roy Cox) - 2:56
2. Windy City (Roy Cox) - 5:20
3. Love People (Todd Potter) - 2:18
4. Coming (Rod Prince, Roy Cox) - 5:33
5. Todd's Tune (Todd Potter) - 3:21
6. No More Tenderness (Rod Prince, Roy Cox) - 3:53
7. Are You With Me Baby (Todd Potter) - 4:56
8. Only A Loner (Rod Prince, Roy Cox) - 4:37
9. Hot Smoke And Sassafrass (Rod Prince, Roy Cox) - 2:33
10.Todd's Tune (Todd Potter) - 3:13
11.I've Got To Reach You (Roy Cox, Todd Potter) - 7:52
12.Lonely (Rod Prince, Roy Cox) - 2:55
13.A Gathering Of Promises (Mike Taylor, Rod Prince) - 2:25
14.Hurry Sundown (Rod Prince, Roy Cox) - 4:00
15.Elizabeth (Rod Prince, Roy Cox) - 2:56
16.It's Safe To Say (Jim Mings) - 2:26
17.Road To St. Stephens (Rod Prince, Roy Cox) - 4:07
18.Beginning (Rod Prince, Roy Cox) - 3:54
Tracks 1-8 as Demian
Tracks 9-18 as Bubble Puppy

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

1969/84  Bubble Puppy - Hot Smoke  

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Exit - Exit (1975 swiss, good blend of guitar drivin' psych prog and krautrock, 2008 digipak remaster)

Exit emerged in 1972 in the Swiss Frauenfeld. The band around guitarist Andy Schmid and drummer Kafi Kaufmann was live very hardworking, played the opening act for Birth Control and Jane and published in 1975 their first and only, self-titled album on their own. The group existed until 1979'

Schmid and Kaufmann were then further musically active. Schmid died in 2001 when he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage during a performance of his band in Cairo. Kaufmann published from time to time solo albums to date.

Originally produced "Exit" in an edition of 350 pieces of the band, was first published in 1993 by Black rills Records as LP again. In 2008, the album was released there as a CD, extended by a handful of bonus.

Electric guitar, organ, synthesizer, bass and drums there on "Exit" to hear. Then there is the not terribly remarkable singing, for no one wants to show responsibility in the credits. The short Beihefttext of CD reissues but you can see that it is Andy Schmid, who can here mostly sounded his institution. That exit with the two above mentioned German bands on tour, had already indicated some of the music that had the Swiss offer. A dominated by the organ, herbaceous Symphoprog with slight Hard Rock bonds there on "Exit" to hear the partly quite reminiscent of the somewhat earlier productions of Birth Control and Jane. Significantly keys-heavy music of the Swiss, however, slightly jazzy and coated with a thin, easy-fuzzy West Coast flair. In addition, Pink Floyd tracks have in this music left (which, for some numbers of Jane applies).

For the Year 1975, the music sounds but quite dusty. Rather, one would tap the late 60s or early 70s. Protoprog is thus almost what play Exit here tolerably varied rock numbers, provided with some ausladenderen key deposits, swirling organ excursions, jazzy sprinklings, instrumental Jamabschnitten and subdued synth escapades ( "Talk Around"). The music is quite timid and behaved as if the band would dare to rock never really. Accordingly, the pace of the events offered rather slowly (only the introductory "Paradise" has a little more momentum), which does not necessarily increase the listener's attention (the reviewer). This is for awakened by the occasionally quite amusing pronunciation of English texts (especially in "Balade of live" - ​​what should probably be called "Ballad of life").

The subsequent numbers of very neat sounding, originating from various studio sessions bonus material are slightly jazzy and funky occasional also failed ( "Take a little more time"). With Gallus Bachmann Sax another tone comes in the music, while Martin Beerli to the latest pieces (tracks 7-9) enhances the jazz-rock direction of music with a lively electric piano (in addition to the organ and synthesizer classic progressively employed). "II" is a varied instrumental number with nice, sounding slightly Canterbury Symphojazzrock that makes quite fun. With "Clarinetto" then provides the band with a not quite to the rest matching Dixie Swing pun for a humorous conclusion.

"Exit" is a somewhat half-baked disc, but at least shows that you could make quite a decent Key Programming in Switzerland in the 70s. However, had bands like crocodile, Iceland, Circus, Welcome or Kedama but much more interesting in the offer. 
by Adamus67

1. Paradise - 7:59
2. Balade Of Live - 11:29
3. Talk Around - 11:55
4. Bad Gossip - 6:36

The Exit
*Roman Portail - Organ, Synthesizer
*Kafi Kaufmann - Drums, Percussion
*Edwin Schweizer - Bass
*Andy Schmid - Guitar, Harmonica

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Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Magic Mixture - This Is The Magic Mixture (1967-69 uk, brilliant psych rock, 2008 Sunbeam extra tracks issue)

The Magic Mixture were a British psychedelic band comprised Terry Thomas (guitar/vocals), Melvyn Hacker (bass), Jack Collins (drums) and Stan Curtis (organ) . Mel and Terry were  both students at the Central Foundation Boys School in London in the early of 60's. After some line up changes they released their sole album in 1968. It is regarded as one of the better examples of the psych genre, featuring engaging instrumental work on tracks such as ‘(I’m So) Sad’, ‘Urge To Leave’ and ‘Slowly The Day’.

Originally released on Saga, this superb piece of psychedelic freakbeat should be in every record collection sharing section with UK psych gods like July, Skip Bifferty, Forever Amber, Five Day Week Straw People, The Open Mind and the likes

Even though according to The Tapestry Of Delights book the Saga LPs are supposed to have been recorded at a school premises rather than in a proper studio, this album has become a classic of the genre on its own, containing some killer psychedelic sounds delivered mainly by the guitar of leader Jim Thomas and his bandmate Stan Curtis' organ riffs The line up was completed with Jack Collins on drums and Melvyn Hacker on bass guitar.

The songs are all original Magic Mixture compositions, and they are all excellent samples of what was going on in the UK when the genres who had been en vogue during the sixties (modern jazz, folk, r'n'b, pop) were all put into the same cauldron in the search of a special mixture, eventually obtaining some great pop tunes played with a freakbeat edge and some early psychedelic sounds, all pretty simple and without many gimmicks or studio trickery, but amazingly lovely and very cool It is one of the most sought after Saga releases and one that commands high sums when it shows up on eBay Wah Wah's is the first ever legit reissue, with best sound quality and best sleeve quality ever.

1. (I'm So) Sad - 4:13
2. Urge To Leave - 2:29
3. You - 2:57
4. Slowly The Day - 3:53
5. New Man - 2:59
6. Living On A Hill - 2:56
7. It's Alright By Me - 2:59
8. When I Was Young - 2:54
9. Hey Little Girl - 2:23
10.Tomorrow's Sun - 3:20
11.Motorbike Song - 2:32
12.Moonbeams - 4:05
13.It's Alright By Me - 3:03
14.Slowly The Day - 3:09
15.Captain Marvel - 4:10
16.Pearly Queen (Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi) - 3:01
17.Fresh Garbage (Jay Fergusson) - 2:53
18.My Days Are Numbered (Al Kooper) - 3:53
All compositions by Terry Thomas except where indicated
Bonus Tracks 13-18

The Magic Mixture
*Terry Thomas - Guitar, Vocals
*Simon Kirke - Drums (Tracks 13-14)
*Stan Curtis- Organ, Vocals
*Melvyn Hacker - Vocals
*Jack McCulloch - Drums, Vocals
*Cliff ''Fifi'' Reuter - Drums (Tracks 15-18)

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Snow - Snow (1968 us, lovely sunny folk baroque psychedelia)

Snow was one of the lucky few bands that released an LP for a major record label, releasing one eponymous LP for Epic that included an interesting and often excellent mix of Beatles influenced psychedelica.

Snow was formed from the demise of Muthers Oats. MO members Jim Sikela and Dan Mahoney hooked up with Will Ryan and started writing and peforming original songs. The group got an audition with CBS who suggested they add a female singer. The group became Snow and recorded the LP for Epic. For some reason, live performances of this group were infrequent.

Around 1970, members of the group, minus the female singer, started performing around town using their surnames. Sometimes all four of them (Sikela, Morris, Ryan, and Mahoney), sometimes three, and sometimes solo. Sounding a bit like CSNY Probably not accidental. The sound was folk/rock. In the mid 70s Will Ryan formed a duo with Phil Baron called Willio and Phillio.

1. Where Has My Old Friend Billy Jones Gone (Jim Sikela) - 3:07
2. The Golden Oldie Show (Tom Morris) - 2:35
3. Old Uncle Timothy's Flying Balloon (William Frank Ryan) - 4:14
4. Englebert (William Frank Ryan) - 4:35
5. You Let Me Know (Tom Morris) - 3:30
6. Song Of The Sirens (Tom Morris) - 4:12
7. The Flying Miraldos (William Frank Ryan) - 3:26
8. Sweet Dreams (Jim Sikela) - 2:22
9. Bab's Song (Jim Sikela, Sandy Linzer) - 3:00
10.Caterpillar (William Frank Ryan) - 3:41

The Snow
*Jim Sikela - Guitar
*William (Will) Ryan - Vocals
*Tom Morris - Vocals
*Dan Mahoney - Drums

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Chocolate Watchband - Forty Four (1966-68 us, impressive acid garage psych)

In the roll call of 1960s garage band heroes, the Chocolate Watchband reside at the very top. Their notoriety derives from the handful of singles and LPs that they made, balanced between the Watchband’s own intense Anglophilic blues wailing, and mysterioso studio trickery on the half of producer Ed Cobb. Their best-known cut is probably ‘Let’s Talk About Girls’, which appeared on the seminal 1972 garage band sampler “Nuggets,”, but the Chocolate Watchband have many more such gems within their vintage catalogue, all of which is available to you in fully remastered sound on Big Beat Records.

The original Chocolate Watchband was formed in the autumn of 1965 at Foothill College on the San Francisco peninsula, with a six-man line-up that featured guitarist Mark Loomis and drummer Gary Andrijasevich. Playing the R&B and folk rock of the day, the outfit did some recording, but outside of their unusual name, made little impression beyond local gigs in the San Jose area. The draft and the departure of key personnel rent the group asunder late in the year, but Loomis determined to reassemble the band with a new line-up, including rhythm guitarist Sean Tolby, bass player Bill Flores and on lead vocals, San Jose State student David Aguilar.

Though it had been Loomis’ group up until this point, Aguilar was the spark that moved the Watchband to the top of the class. Within weeks of this line-up getting together, they took San Jose by storm, blasting their way to the top of the local circuit with a scintillating, mesmerizing set of Americanized Stones, Yardbirds and Animals covers. Aguilar in particular was a master of dynamics, and the singer directed his mod-togged combo through sets that made the new Watchband the talk of the local circuit. In the summer of 1966 the group signed with manager Ron Roupe, whose connections included Ed Cobb of Green Grass Productions, then riding high in the chart with the Standells. In quick succession Cobb inked the Watchband and ushered them to Los Angeles to record.

Technically, the first release was ‘Blues Theme,’ a pseudonymous instrumental cover credited to The Hogs, but the Watchband’s debut proper was the Cobb-penned ‘Sweet Young Thing’, perfectly suited to the group’s arrogant punk stance. It was released in December 1966 on Tower Records’ R&B imprint Uptown, an unusual choice of label which meant that the group was subsequently perceived by some agents as a black act. The single’s flip was an atmospheric reading of Dylan’s perennial ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’. 

The '44' album was recorded between 1966 and 1968 all of the tracks were actually recorded by the group as opposed to the many sides issued under their name, but cut by session players. Great sounds from beginning to end and featuring the great I'm Not Like Anybody Else By the Kinks and the two Frank Zappa produced sides from the mega rare Hanna Barbera 45.

1. Don't Need Your Lovin' (Dave Aguilar) - 2:37
2. No Way Out (Ed Cobb) - 2:22
3. It's All Over Now Baby Blue (Bob Dylan) - 3:12
4. I'm Not Like Everybody Else (Ray Davies) - 3:44
5. Misty Lane (Martin Siegel) - 3:06
6. Loose Lip Sync Ship (David Aguilar, Mark Loomis) - 3:02
7. Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love In)  (E McElory, D Bennett) - 2:25
8. Gone And Passes By (D Aguilar) - 3:11
9. Sitting There Standing (David Aguilar, Gary Andrijasevich, Bill Flores,  Mark Loomis, Sean Tolby) - 2:21
10.She Weaves A Tender Trap (Ed Cobb) - 2:39
11.Sweet Young Thing (Ed Cobb) - 2:57
12.I Ain't No Miracle Worker (Annette Tucker, Nancie Mantz) - 2:52
13.Blues Theme (Mike Curb) - 2:08
Tracks 6 and 13 as The Hogs

The Chocolate Watchband
*Ned Torney - Guitar
*Mark Loomis - Guitar
*Rick Young - Bass Guitar
*Pete Curry - Drums
*Jo Kemling - Organ
*Danny Phay - Lead Vocals

*Mark Loomis - Lead Guitar, Keyboards
*David Aguilar - Lead Vocals, Harmonica
*Gary Andrijasevich - Drums, Backing Vocals
*Sean Tolby - Rhythm Guitar
*Bill 'Flo' Flores - Bass, Backing Vocals

*Sean Tolby - Lead Guitar
*Bill 'Flo' Flores - Bass
*Tim Abbott - Rhyhtm Guitar
*Mark Whittaker - Drums
*Chris Flinders - Vocals

*Sean Tolby - Guitar
*Bill "Flo" Flores - Bass
*Mark Loomis - Guitar
*Gary Andrijasevich - Drums
*Ned Torney - Guitar
*Danny Phay - Vocals

1965-67  The Chocolate Watchband - Melts In Your Brain...Not On Your Wrist / The Complete Recordings
1967  The Chocolate Watch Band - No Way Out
1968  The Chocolate Watch Band - The Inner Mystique
1969  The Chocolate Watchband - One Step Beyond

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Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Sonics - Psycho Sonic (1964-65 us, pioneer garage punk rock, 2003 remaster edition)

Back in the mid-1960s, the legendary Sonics took rock'n'roll by the scruff of the neck and thrashed it to within an inch of its sorry life, leaving a legacy of some of the most savage, visceral recordings ever made. Compiling their no-holds-barred Etiquette sessions, "Psycho-Sonic" is the ultimate Sonics anthology.

One of the best selling Big Beat releases of recent years has been Psycho-Sonic, a comprehensive collection of all the sides the much-feted kings of garage rock recorded for the Etiquette label in 1964/65. Only the most cloistered of music fans would be unaware of the mighty Tacoma combo's influence and importance, now stronger than ever thanks to young bucks such as the White Stripes, Hives, Vines etc constantly dropping the band's name. 

With access to first generation tapes recently uncovered by Big Beat's ongoing celebration of the catalogue of Sonics' mentors, the Wailers, we figured it was time to give this decade-old compilation a spring clean. 

The newly upgraded Psycho-Sonic features vastly improved sound quality on all tracks, with many presented in ear-blistering true stereo remixes, but taken from the actual tape the band recorded onto, and mastered with Big Beat's customarily sensitive mastering. 

The set's sequencing and flow have also been improved, delivering an entertaining and invigorating programme from start to finish. Track for track, the first half-hour of this disc is the wildest, most visceral rock'n'roll listen you're ever likely to have. Also included is a far more in-depth overview of the group's career by reissue producer Alec Palao, based on fresh, first-hand interviews with the band and their associates, including the legendary Sonics' lead singer/ songwriter/ screamer Gerry Roslie. 

1. The Witch - 2:35
2. Boss Hoss - 2:23
3. He's Waitin' - 2:41
4. Psycho - 2:16
5. Louie Louie (Richard Berry) - 2:54
6. Strychnine - 2:16
7. Cinderella - 2:42
8. Shot Down - 2:12
9. Have Love Will Travel (Richard Berry) - 2:37
10.Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark 2:27
11.Dirty Robber (John Greek, Kent Morrill) - 1:59
12.Keep A Knockin' (Richard Penniman) - 2:06
13.Money (That's What I Want) (Berry Gordy Jr., Jamie Bradford) - 1:58
14.The Hustler - 2:15
15.Jenny Jenny (Enotris Johnson, Richard Penniman) - 2:18
16.Hitch Hike (Clarence Paul, Marvin Gaye, William Stevenson) - 2:43
17.Roll Over Beethoven (Chuck Berry) - 2:47
18.Skinny Minnie (Rusty Keefer, Bill Haley, Catherine Cafra, Milt Gabler) - 2:12
19.Do You Love Me (Berry Gordy Jr.) - 2:21
20.Walking The Dog (Rufus Thomas) - 2:43
21.Good Golly Miss Molly (John Marascalco, Robert Blackwell) - 2:05
22.Night Time Is The Right Time (James Oden, Roosevelt Sykes) - 2:57
23.It's Alright (Chris Andrews) - 2:11
24.Let The Good Times Roll (Leonard Lee) - 2:01
25.Don't You Just Know It (Huey Smith, John Vincent) - 2:51
26.Since I Fell For You (Buddy Johnson) - 3:58
27.The Witch (Alternate) - 2:47
28.Psycho (Live) - 2:03
29.The Witch (Live) - 3:00
All songs by  Gerald Roslie except where noted

The Sonics
*Gerry Roslie - Organ, Piano, Lead Vocals
*Andy Parypa - Bass Guitar
*Larry Parypa - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Rob Lind - Saxophone, Vocals, Harmonica
*Bob Bennett - Drums

1965  Here Are The Sonics (New Rose rare Vinyl issue)
1966  The Sonics - Introducing

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Friday, July 1, 2016

The E-Types - Introducing... The E-Types (1965-66 us, splendid garage beat)

In the mid-'60s, this group from Salinas, CA, (near San Jose) played a pleasant blend of British Invasion-inspired pop/rock and a touch of garage. With prominent keyboards, three-part harmonies, and original material with minor-keyed shifts, they sounded something like a mix between the Zombies and the Turtles. Very popular within their (pretty limited) stomping grounds, they made no impact whatsoever on a national level, issuing four singles on small labels (most of them with producer Ed Cobb, who also handled the Standells and the Chocolate Watch Band).

Certainly they were a promising outfit, capable of offering strong original material (most of which, oddly, was penned by a friend who wasn't in the band, Larry Hosford). They didn't have enough time to convert that promise into truly significant work, however. They disbanded in 1967, when their carefully executed pop/rock was falling out of fashion in California, in favor of psychedelia. 

Twenty-two tracks, including both sides of their four singles and previously unissued demos, outtakes, and live performances. The four singles are legimitately fine finds if you collect obscure '60s pop-garage. "Long Before," "I Can't Do It," and "Put the Clock Back on the Wall" are outstanding, and the cover of Lennon-McCartney's "Love of the Loved" (which the Beatles never officially released themselves) rates as one of the best unknown Beatle covers of the '60s. Most of the rest of this archival compilation is padding, though, consisting largely of faithful British Invasion covers and some outtakes that are markedly inferior to their singles. 

It's an enjoyable listen for collectors of mid-'60s rock, boasting considerably more pop-oriented material and accomplished production than the garage norm. But it couldn't be considered in the top drawer of this sort of thing. 
by Richie Unterberger

1. I Can't Do It (Larry Hosford) - 2:35
2. Love Of The Loved (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 2:16
3. Live (Emitt Rhodes) - 2:37
4. Put The Clock Back On The Wall (Alan Gordon, Garry Bonner) - 2:47
5. Big City (John Walsh) - 3:08
6. She Moves Me (Edward C. Cobb) - 2:31
7. Back To Me (Craig Williams, Randy Barlow) - 2:50
8. No Milk Today (Graham Gouldman) - 2:50
9. 4th Street (Randy Barlow) - 2:49
10.Long Before (Larry Hosford) - 2:48
11.A Clown's No Good (Emitt Rhodes) - 2:39
12.Wait (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 2:07
13.Evil Hearted You (Graham Gouldman) - 2:23
14.Mister You're A Better Man Than I (Mike Hugg) - 3:20
15.Shapes Of Things (Jim McCarty, Keith Relf, Paul Samwell-Smith) - 2:30
16.Things We Said Today (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 2:36
17.Still In Love With You Baby (Ron Elliott) - 2:20
18.Just A Little (Robert Durand, Ron Elliott) - 2:25
19.Let's Not Talk About It (Larry Hosford) - 1:44
20.It's Better Than I Planned (Don Shephard, Larry Hosford) - 2:08
21.I Can't Do It (Larry Hosford) - 2:39
22.Don't Turn Your Back On Me (Jackie DeShannon) - 1:59

The E Types
*Danny Monigold - Bass
*Reggie Shaffer - Drums
*Don Shephard - Guitar, Vocals
*Bob Wence - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Jody Wence - Keyboards, Vocals

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