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Friday, December 30, 2016

Jimmy Campbell - Half Baked (1970-71 uk, magnificent folk rock with baroque psych and classic rock shades, 2009 extra track remaster)

1970's Half Baked (released on Philips' subsidiary Vertigo), is an upbeat and somewhat raucous album. It has more of a 'band' feel than "Son of Anastasia" which is the benefit of using musicians that Jimmy knew - Merseybeats members Tony Crane, Billy Kinsley and drummer Pete Clarke. Another Merseybeats drummer, Phil Chittick, appeared on some of the tracks too and there were lush orchestral arrangements by Nick Ryan and Donald Fraser.

The countrified opener 'Green Eyed American Actress' highlighted words that Campbell would have been justified to repeat in years to come after commercial success had eluded him. The lyrics "I could have made it easily, why I didn't - well I really don't know" were, in hindsight, quite poignant. In reality, Campbell's reluctance to spend more time away from home ultimately prevented him making a real breakthrough - Billy Kinsley states in the sleevenotes that "I think Jimmy would have preferred just being a songwriter and not having to be bothered by a solo career".

Elsewhere on "Half Baked, the sonically superb tour-de-force 'So Lonely Without You' is comfortably on a par with anything recorded by the Plastic Ono Band - it boasts a Phil Spector-esque production and one of Jimmy's strongest ever vocals. It's testament to the strength and diversity of the album that it can veer from a track like this, and the epic piano-led rocker 'That's Right, That's Me', to the plaintive and reflective nature of songs such as 'In My Room', 'I Will Not Mind' and 'Closing Down The Shop'.

Other highlights are the brooding title track, which explodes into a driving monster of a chorus that features Badfinger's Joey Molland on guitar, and the melodramatic and impressively orchestrated single 'Don't Leave Me Now'.

There's a bonus track in the form of the stomping 'Lonely Norman' that uses a similar groove to Nilsson's 'Jump Into The Fire' and features some wild guitar playing by Eddie Grant from The Equals. This song originally appeared on the Vertigo sampler "Heads Together, First Round". Compared to Repertoire's "Half Baked" CD reissue of a few years ago, Esoteric's version sounds vastly superior and is probably the best entry point to Campbell's work for a newcomer.
by Jim Henderson

1. Green Eyed American Actress - 2:47
2. Loving You Is All I Do - 3:17
3. So Lonely Without You - 2:56
4. In My Room - 4:22
5. That's Right That's Me - 3:51
6. I Will Not Mind - 3:22
7. Dulcie - It's December - 2:49
8. Forever Grateful - 2:35
9. Half Baked - 4:38
10.Closing Down the Shop - 2:41
11.Don't Leave Me Now - 5:55
12.Lonely Norman - 3:23
Words and Music by Jimmy Campbell

*Jimmy Campbell - Guitar, Vocals
*Pete Clarke - Drums
*Tony Crane  - Guitar
*Billy Kinsley - Bass
*Phil Chittick - Drums
*Nick Ryan - Orchestral Arrangements
*Donald Fraser - Orchestral Arrangements

1965-67  The 23rd Turnoff - The Dream Of Michaelangelo (2004 remaster)
1969  Jimmy Campbell - Son Of Anastasia (2009 remaster bonus track issue)
1972  Jimmy Campbell - Jimmy Campbell's Album (2009 remaster)

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Year 2000 - A Musical Odyssey (1969 us, awesome groovy soulful psych rock, 2013 remaster)

Florida-based band Year 2000 released a full length album in 1969 called, A Musical Odyssey which had small regional success with their tune “Pop Goes The Weasel”. They dissolved later that same year. “Spooky” is a serious slow-burner that drags one foot in soul, the other in pop. The deep haunting organ swirls effectively around a simple beat and scratchy guitar.

The sound is similar to the Long Island groups of the era (Vanilla Fudge, Hassles, Rascals etc.) heavy on the Hammond organ, soulful vocals, with a touch of psychedelia.

1. Working So Hard (Artie Alice) - 2:44
2. Spooky (Ron Hirsch) - 4:05
3. Love Love Love (Artie Alice) - 2:52
4. Something About You (Artie Alice) - 2:28
5. Midnight Hour (Wilson Pickett, Steve Cropper) - 4:09
6. Walking In Dry Rain - 3:11
7. Perfect Love (John Lacentra) - 3:21
8. Get Ready (William "Smokey" Robinson) - 3:26
9. Tell Nobody (Alex Bradford) - 2:31
10.Of Hallowed Minds (Mike Hilliker) - 3:06
11.Life In Confusing (Mike Hilliker) - 4:14
12.Cheetah (Gonzalo Vazquez) - 4:20
13.Little Child - 2:53
14.La Bamba (Traditional) - 2:42
15.Pop Goes The Weasel - 2:17

The Year 2000
*Artie Alice - Drums
*Billy Adams - Bass
*Mickey ? - Lead Guitar
*Michael ? - Hammond Organ
*? - Vocals
*Little Guy ? - Guitar

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Bleu Forest - A Thousand Trees Deep (1968 us, tremendous garage psychedelia, 2016 release)

In late 1965, drummer Jack Caviness was recruited by guitarists and vocalists Michael Cullen and Gary Heuer. All were from the same small town, Moorpark, CA. The three of us worked on original songs written by Michael for 6 months. At that point we added Ed Steele on bass guitar and spent time bringing him into the fold.

When ready we began playing small gigs around Moor parkand surrounding areas and received a good reception on the original music. Then we were booked into 'an open mic night at the Troubadour in Hollywood. That is where we were discovered by future music icon Jimmy Haskell. Mr. Haskell immediately scheduled us to record a demo at his home studio which we did. We could never have believed what happened next.

Both Gary and Michael were drafted were drafted into the armed service as Vietnam war was going strong. Both evacuated themselves to Canada, they were there several months prior to Gary's return. We then reformed the original members less Michael, added Larry Wiseman on keyboards and Rohn Barkley on le guitar and vocals. With Michael's blessing we used the original music written by him and added more original songs to our set. We were now off and running as the Bleu Forest heard on this album. That's when Jimmy Haskell called.

He had scheduled us to go into Valley Recording Studios in North Hollywood, CA. to record what you are hearing on this album, A Thousand. Trees Deep. Upon arriving there we met our engineer, Freddie Piro, another future icon of the LA recording industry. Freddie had produced The Grassroots previously and would go on to work with Ambrosia and many others. We spent over six months recording the album and another month was spent mastering.

This album was recorded on a very  but new for the time period Ampex 8 track 2" recorder. At that time, it was state of the art. I don't recall the brand of mixer used, but it did take up quite a great deal of space at the engineer’s console.  When we first came in to begin recording, we attempted to play at the volume we used live and the engineer freaked out and demanded we lower the volume. This was very confusing to us because it altered our sound dramatically. That is where the fuzz tone came into play. Our live sound was based more on very loud overloaded amplifiers for distortion rather than on devices. In a live environment, the fuzz was only used as an overdrive, not as a fuzz tone. The actual studio was only one room, 20' x 30', with one isolation booth at the rear. The booth was only used for overdubs (I wanted to isolate the drums but to no avail).

They used one mic per amplifier with no baffles between and three mics on my drums. I played a state of the art set of Ludwig "Super Hollywood" drums with a Rogers dyna-sound snare and all Zildgen cymbals. They were awesome sounding live but are not as pronounced on the recordings insofar none of the cymbals were individually miked.

To expand a bit on the abrupt beginning on the opening track: During the time period in which this was done, engineers and producers were trying many things that make no sense today. For instance, tracks played in reverse and recorded were very popular such as the one heard on Bitter Sweet, which, by the way, was entirely rearranged from the live version. They did not like all of the stops and starts from the live version which added greatly, in my opinion, to the dynamics of the song. 

When I really think back on the recording process one thing comes to mind: The entire six month process was completely paid for by both Freddie Piro and Jimmy Haskell because of their belief that the band could become something far more than a "garage band". They believed enough in us to really go on and hit the big time. They personal accepted all of the costs themselves. This is why we simply went along with what we were told would work or not work in the studio. The abrupt ' ginning to track one was simply something that had not been done before and they believed it would be accepted as different and unique.

There was much interest from various major companies  in Hollywood. We had a tentative deal with Tower Records pending some remastering. Several months passed during this period and Rohn left the group for personal reasons. Without our vocalist, we had no record deal. Although there were some creative ideas brought forth to a few of the songs during mastering, I believe that these tracts give a general idea of our sound, although our live sound was much heavier as it was performed much louder. I hope everyone enjoys this as much as I enjoyed performing it.
by Jack Caviness

1. A Thousand Trees Deep (Lorrainene Lopez) - 2:01
2. Look At Me Girl (Michael Cullen) - 3:32
3. Bitter Street (Michael Cullen) - 2:41
4. Story Of A Sort (Michael Cullen) - 3:43
5. That’s When Happiness Began (Rohn Barkley) - 2:24
6. Words In My Mind (Jack Caviness) - 2:59
7. Through With You (Rohn Barkley) - 2:43
8. She Said She’s Leaving (Michael Cullen) - 4:00
9. Knock Knock (Rohn Barkley) - 2:46
10.Trouble (Rohn Barkley) - 2:40

The Bleu Forest
*Mike Cullen - Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Jack Caviness - Drums
*Rohn Barkley - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Gary Heuer - Guitar, Vocals
*Ed Steele - Bass
*Larry Wiseman - Keyboards

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Elephant's Memory - Songs From Midnight Cowboy (1969 uk, fantastic psych rock with jazz and folk shades, 2006 remaster)

After original vocalist Carly Simon left Elephant's Memory for her own fame and fortune, the band recorded their self-titled Buddah debut, Elephant's Memory, with Michal Shapiro handling the female lead. That disc is not their John Lennon/Yoko Ono/David Peel Apple Records debut from 1972, which was also named after this ensemble. When two Elephant's Memory songs from the 1969 Buddah Records album appeared in the Capitol Records soundtrack to the film Midnight Cowboy, Buddah vice president Neil Bogart revamped and re-released the original LP, most likely and understandably, to cash in on the attention the band was getting from the hit film. "Old Man Willow" and "Jungle Gym at the Zoo" from the first LP appeared in Midnight Cowboy, and they show up again on side one of this disc along with a different spin on the Nilsson hit "Everybody's Talkin'."

Here Michal Shapiro gives a woman's take on the classic Fred Neil composition over a poppy/folksy Wes Farrell production. There's a strange instrumental version of John Barry's theme to "Midnight Cowboy," jazzy rock with a female vocal, most likely Michal, adding a nice eerie resonance to the spirited and jumpy rendition, a far cry from the version that contained Vinny Bell's elegant guitar, the Top Ten hit for Ferrante & Teicher in 1969. The two new titles as well as the Elephant's Memory material from the movie make up side one. Side two contains seven more titles from the first LP, including the singles that were released from that disc, "Crossroads of the Stepping Stones" and "Don't Put Me on Trial," two excellent slices of '60s pop. Over 40 minutes of music graces Songs From Midnight Cowboy Plus Their Hit Singles, the two new titles plus everything from the Buddah debut minus the songs "Band of Love" and "Hot Dog Man" (which was the flip of the 45 rpm "Jungle Gym at the Zoo"). 

The album could have been even more interesting had their 45 rpm "Keep Free, Pts. 1 & 2" from November 1968 found its way onboard rather than the reissue of "Yogurt Song," a composition from keyboardist Richard Sussman and drummer Rick Frank which sounds like a Frank Zappa nightmare. Other than that, the album actually is quite consistent and is lots of fun. Later releases Take It to the Streets and Angels Forever don't have the pop meets psychedelia underground feel of this neo-bubblegum period piece. 
by Joe Viglione

1. Everybody's Talkin (Fred Neil) - 3:50
2. Old Man Willow (Richard Sussman, Michal Shapiro, Myron Yules, Stan Bronstein) - 7:07
3. Midnight Cowboy (John Barry) - 2:58
4. Jungle Gym At The Zoo (Richard Sussman, Rick Frank, Stan Bronstein) - 2:15
5. Crossroads Of The Stepping Stones (Michal Shapiro, Stan Bronstein) - 2:56
6. Don't Put Me On Trial No More (Richard Sussman, Rick Frank) - 2:52
7. Super Heep (Siegrid Visconti, Stan Bronstein) - 5:32
8. R.I.P (Stan Bronstein, Richard Sussman) - 1:43
9. Yogurt Song (Richard Sussman, Rick Frank) - 2:58
10.Band Of Love (Myron Yules, Stan Bronstein, Tony Visconti, Siegrid Visconti) - 4:11
11.Takin' A Walk (Richard Sussman, Rick Frank, Michal Shapiro, Stan Bronstein) - 3:49
12.Hot Dog Man (Tony Visconti, Siegrid Visconti) - 3:34
13.Brief Encounter (Richard Sussman) - 4:38

Elephant's Memory
*Michal Shapiro - Vocals
*Stan Bronstein - Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, Vocals
*Rick Frank - Drums
*John Ward - Bass
*Chester Ayers - Guitar
*Myron Yules - Bass, Trombone
*Richard Sussman - Piano, Organ
*Leonard Allcock - Harmonica
*Guy Peritore - Guitar, Vocals
*David Cohen - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals

1969  Elephant's Memory - Elephant's Memory
1972  Elephant's Memory - Elephant's Memory

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Marvin Gardens - Marvin Gardens (1968 us, magical psych folk rock, 2016 release)

A phenomonal anthology of rare demos, studio and live recordings from late-60s, second-wave, San Francisco, Electric-Folk pioneers Marvin Gardens. All live tracks recorded by Peter Abram (Velvet Underground The Matrix Tapes) at the legendary Matrix Club in San Francisco. 1968 includes virtually every note Marvin Gardens recorded, and provides a tantalizing glimpse at a uniquely wonderful group. With a powerful female lead singer, Carol Duke, on par with Janis Joplin and Grace Slick, and a versatile and mesmerizing band that goes from playful folk to Latin-tinged jazz vamps to searing, guitar-fuelled garage rave-ups, Marvin Gardens could have been a major artist if the stars had been aligned.

“Had the Charlatans been joined by Country Joe’s keyboard player and fronted by an earthy female singer, they might’ve sounded like Marvin Gardens…”  
by Mike Stax

1. Down The Line (Bob Dylan) - 3:08
2. Titanic (Huddie Ledbetter) - 2:08
3. Close The Door Lightly (Eric Andersen) - 3:45
4. Duncan And Brady (Traditional) - 3:03
5. 97 Men (Buffy Sainte-Marie) - 3:29
6. Whips And Leathers (Dave Ray Costuros, Carol Duke, Tim Hazen, Michael Lindner, Fred Waxler) - 3:29
7. Down The Line (Bob Dylan) - 3:23
8. Larry Welz Dedication- 0:32
9. Gloryland (Traditional) - 5:00
10.I Know You Rider (Traditional) - 4:32
11.Baltimore Oriole (Hoagy Carmichael, Paul Francis Webster) - 6:47
12.Titanic (Huddie Ledbetter) - 2:53
13.Richland Woman Blues (Mississippi John Hurt) - 5:17
14.Duncan And Brady (Traditional) - 3:39
15.The Whisper Song (Cliff Friend) - 2:39
16.Ananias (Buffy Sainte-Marie) - 6:39
17.97 Men (Buffy Sainte-Marie) - 3:55
18.Have A Drink On Me (Peter Buchanan, Lonnie Donegan, Huddie Ledbetter, Alan Lomax, John A. Lomax) - 4:22
19.Good Night Ladies (Edwin Christy) - 2:15

The Marvin Gardens
*Dave Ray Costuros - Drums, Vocals, Trumpet
*Carol Duke - Vocals, Guitar
*Tim Hazen - Farfisa, Hammond Organ, Piano, Guitars, Vocals, Mandolin
*Michael Lindner - Bass
*Fred Waxler - Guitars, Clarinet

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Friday, December 9, 2016

Lighthouse - Good Day (1974 canada, brilliant prog rock, 2016 remaster)

Having been named "Vocal/Instrumental Group of the Year" for the third time at Canada's prestigious Juno Awards in 1973, Lighthouse entered Thunder Sound in Toronto the following year to record their final album. Downplaying the horn-heavy sound that had previously defined them, it's a taut set of progressive rock with prominent synth and it sees founder member and drummer Skip Prokop switching to lead guitar. 

Vocalist Bob McBride curiously failed to show up to the studio where Lighthouse was recording its 1973 album Can You Feel It, Skip Prokop and Ralph Cole shared singing duties for the band’s ninth studio album. Still, 1974’s Good Day featured “Wide Eyed Lady" a psychedelic ballad co-penned by McBride. Good Day rocks noticeably harder than most preceding Lighthouse albums. This is softened by the pillowy layers of backing vocals and the band’s propensity to infuse orchestral string arrangements (as heard in the opening epic, “White Buffalo”). 

1. White Buffalo (Skip Prokop) - 5:46
2. Wide Eyed Lady (Skip Prokop, Don Dinovo, Bob Mcbride) - 5:12
3. Got A Feeling (Ralph Cole) - 3:50
4. Be Here Now (Sam See, L. J. Reid) - 3:29
5. Good Day (Ralph Cole) - 4:46
6. Man, Woman, Child (Skip Prokop) - 3:20
7. Mighty Waters (Ralph Cole) - 5:06
8. Going Downtown (Skip Prokop) - 6:40
9. Reincarnate Nation (Skip Prokop) - 7:09

The Lighthouse
*Skip Prokop - Guitar, Vocals
*Ralph Cole - Guitar, Vocals
*Terry Wilkens - Bass, Vocals
*Sam See - Keyboards
*Billy King - Drums
*Don Dinovo - Violina
*Dick Armin - Cello
*Dale Hillary - Saxophones, Flute
*Rick Stepton – Trombone

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
1971  Thoughts Of Movin' On (2016 edition)
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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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Pugma Ho! - Pugma Ho! (1969-2004 uk, rough downer rock with experimental mood, 2004 release)

It started in 1968 as a Jo Wright Art School band the Incas with Chris Camm guitar and Dave Coxon bass joined eventually by Keith Gotheridge on drums and Cliffe Simms on keyboards playing pop around the local pubs and clubs.  As the band moved towards the rock influences we decided to recruit vocalist Bev Staley who promised to be a good front man.  Bevs arrival was soon followed by Cliff's departure as the bands influences started to change.  With original material and a heavier rock sound it was decided a name change was called for, Pugma-Ho (kiss my arse, in Gaelic)  was born.  

We started to establish ourselves on the rock circuit, playing the top London gigs like The Marquee Club, The Temple, The Roundhouse and The Greyhound.  We also played several gigs at the Liverpool Cavern rock nights, usually followed by gigs at Liverpools Mardi Gras.  In 1972  we were the midlands representatives for the MELODY MAKER National Rock Contest, playing in the finals at the Roundhouse.  By the mid 70,s the music was changing towards punk.  Athough the band continued with changes in personel and music styles, we decided to call it a day.

In 2003 Pugma-Ho got together again for the hell of it, minus Bev,  who now resides in Australia.  Steve Curzon's, Bevs replacement, immediately became part of the band, and we are once again building a reputation for playing classic rock, the way it used to be played.

Clive Wellings took over drumming duties, after Keith retired from the band and did a sterling job for a year. The band was moving away from its original style so we recuited Tim Cox who's technique was more in line with the bands aims.

February 15th, 2013, Tim made his debut at the New Inn, Ilkeston, playing drums with Pugma Ho and now has played several gigs with the lads.

Before joining the band, his love of music took him on a vocational course by being a roadie and a pyrotechnic technician, using his creative skills at events and festivals.

Being an accomplished drummer, in 2008 he joined the post - punk rock band Wicker Sunday, providing the group with powerful, solid drums. It was in this band where he met Dave who was guesting on bass for some time.

1. Intro...Alert ! - 1:02
2. Life Is Crazy - 7:23
3. Who Will You See - 9:31
4. Blinding Lights - 7:58
5. Only A Fool - 4:06
6. You Know - 7:14
7. What's Your Desire - 3:08
8. Outro...All Clear - 0:48
9. German Love Song - 8:08
10.The Way I Feel - 9:53
11.War And Hate - 2:45
12.Alone In A Dream - 2:57
13.221 - 4:40
14.Junior's Wailing - 3:47
15.Highway 101 - 3:26
Tracks 2-7 recorded 1973
Track 9 recorded 1975
Tracks 10-12 recorded 1969 as The Incas
Tracks 13-15 recorded 2003-04

The Pugma Ho!
*Chris Camm - Guitar (1971)
*Dave Coxon - Bass (1971-72)
*Keith Gotheridge - Drums (1971-75)
*Pete Greaves - Guitar, Vocals
*Mel Levis - Bass
*Bev Staley - Vocals
*Spike Miller - Bass (1971)
*Sam Samways - Bass
*Richopino Ricardo - Bass
*Chinese Charly - Bass
*Neil Wright - Bass
*Gordon Reaney - Vocals
*Margo Buchanan Reid - Vocals
*Sam Kenny - Keyboards (1975)
*Geoff Meakin - Drums (1975)
*Steve Curzon - Vocals (2003)

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Friday, December 2, 2016

Horse - For Twisted Minds Only (1970-71 uk, outstanding heavy psych rock, 2016 remaster and expanded)

Horse was formed in South London during the late sixties. They created occult influenced progressive hard rock that was ahead of its time. Guitarist Rod Roach had briefly played in an incarnation of British psych-rock legends Andromeda before forming Horse with other key member, vocalist Adrian Hawkins. Alongside bassist Colin Standring, the band also featured legendary drummer Ric Parnell, later of Atomic Rooster (amongst many others) and future star of This is Spinal Tap (aka Mick Shrimpton)! The obscure rockers have been a favorite among collectors for many years. For Twisted Minds Only is an album long overdue for an official reissue. 

Recorded in 1969, originally released in 1970 and bootlegged countless times from scratchy vinyl transfers, Rise Above Relics is now finally presenting this detailed release mastered and cut directly from the original master tapes. Featuring a treasure trove of previously unheard/unreleased material, For Twisted Minds Only is certain to have connoisseurs and collectors of the period frothing at the bit. This long classic gallops out of the gate with the psychedelic “The Sacrifice” that could feel at home on a Jefferson Airplane album from the era. With its bloody chorus and the equally creepy second track “See The People Creeping Round” we can see how this Horse might be an acquired taste.
by Rich and Laura Lynch

1. The Sacrifice - 6:17
2. See The People Creeping Round - 4:25
3. And I Have Loved You - 3:13
4. Freedom Rider - 3:20
5. Lost Control - 2:26
6. To Greet The Sun - 4:06
7. The Journey - 3:56
8. Heat Of The Summer - 4:04
9. Gypsy Queen - 2:54
10.Step Out Of Line - 4:24
11.Autumn - 3:52
12.Winchester Town-Dreams Turn To Ashes - 4:15
13.Born To Be Wild - 6:48
14.Picture Of Innocence - 2:53
15.She Brings Peace - Original Version - 5:44
16.Anthems Of The Sea - 3:28
All songs by Adrian Hawkins, Road Roach

The Horse
*Rod Roach - Guitar
*Adrian Hawkins - Vocals
*Colin Standring - Bass
*Ric Parnell - Drums
*Jess Liddiard - Drums (Tracks 13,14)
*Steve Holley - Drums(Tracks 15,16)

1971  Horse - Horse (Buy Or Die edition)

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