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Plain and Fancy

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


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Jackson Browne - Running On Empty (1977 us, masterpiece, 2016 japan remaster)

This was actually my first Jackson Browne's LP in my records collection, since the day of it's first release back in 1977, (I had some cassettes with his previous releases but not a vinyl record),  I was in my late teenage years, and I loved this album from the first spin, still do 40 years later, his magnificent voice, the melodies, music, lyrics, the all atmosphere, the  band, the arragements and the production, all these classify it as a masterpiece (in my humble opinion).
Happy new year to everybody.

Jackson Browne said:
“I thought making a live record would be something to do while I tried to come up with another LP of songs like The Pretender. That’s what happens when you get recognition. You go, ‘OK, great, let’s try to do something more like that.’ But that’s not what you were doing when you did it in the first place. You were just doing what you wanted to do next. And Running On Empty became my most successful record.

For the first time I was getting paid enough to take this band who’d been on my albums [Russ Kunkel, Lee Sklar, Craig Doerge and guitarist Danny Kortchmar] on tour. They were huge fans of David Lindley, and they’d been on recording dates with him, so they were the most accommodating of bands with what David and I already had going on. My favourite thing was recording in motel rooms… we actually sang in the shower. That album was about a shared common experience that we all had touring, that we all knew pretty well. Most of those ideas came from us touring with different people. Stagehands to this day come up and say, ‘”The Load-Out” is our anthem.’

1. Running On Empty (Jackson Browne) - 5:31
2. The Road (Danny O'Keefe) - 4:46
3. Rosie (Donald Miller, Jackson Browne) - 3:41
4. You Love The Thunder (Jackson Browne) - 3:55
5. Cocaine (Rev. Gary Davis) - 4:56
6. Shaky Town (Daniel Kortchmar) - 3:41
7. Love Needs A Heart (Jackson Browne, Lowell George, Valerie Carter) - 3:30
8. Nothin' But Time (Howard Burke, Jackson Browne) - 3:37
9. The Load Out (Bryan Garofalo, Jackson Browne) - 5:36
10.Stay (Maurice Williams) - 3:22

*Jackson Browne - Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Rosemary Butler - Vocals
*Craig Doerge - Piano, Keyboards
*Doug Haywood - Background Vocals
*Danny Kortchmar - Lead Guitar, Harmony Vocals
*Russ Kunkel - Drums, Snare Drum, Cardboard Box, Hi Hat
*David Lindley - Lap Steel Guitar, Fiddle, Vocals
*Leland Sklar - Bass
*Joel Bernstein - Background Vocals

1972  Jackson Browne - Saturate Before Using
1973  Jackson Browne - For Everyman (2004 remaster)
1974  Jackson Browne - Late For The Sky ( 2014 remaster)

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Tyla Gang - Pool Hall Punks / The Complete Recordings (1976-79 uk, stunning powerful pub boogie rock with punk attitude, 2016 three disc box set remaster)

Collection of the Ducks Deluxe mainman Sean Tyla’s follow-up late 70s band, featuring both the officially released albums, plus singles, demos and live tracks. Ian Canty revisits that time when Pub Rockers magically trans-morphed into New Wavers and wonders why the Gang were left behind….

Shortly after the final demise of Ducks Deluxe towards the end of 1975, Sean Tyla convened a new group to go back to the original, “no-holds barred” idea of the Ducks, which had been rather smoothed over on their two albums for RCA. The stripped-down, tough street rock that the Tyla Gang specialised in seemed purpose-built to run alongside the coming Punk explosion and their meaty, slightly Beefhearty debut single “Styrofoam” was one of the first few records issued on Stiff into the bargain. Sean himself was insulting bone-idle hippy audiences while John Lydon was still a lank-haired Hawkwind fan and by the first LP the line up included veterans of pioneering Glam/ProtoPunk/Pub Rock group the Winkies in bassist Brian Turrington and drummer Mike Desmarais.

The Tyla Gang received favourable mentions in “Sniffin’ Glue” but as was his want, Tyla shied away from any active engagement with the UK New Wave, apart from the necessary rubbing shoulders on the live circuit. Their two tracks from the fondly remembered “Hope And Anchor Front Row” comp LP, which are a more than fair demonstration of their live power of the time, end this collection on a fitting note. One can’t help but feel that the live arena was their natural habitat – their no-nonsense, thoroughly authentic aggression combined with great playing and catchy tunes would have marked them out as “difficult to follow” I’m sure.

First album “Yachtless”, released on Matthew Kaufman’s Beserkley label in 1977, makes up part of the first disc presented here and definitely marked them out as contenders even if it didn’t sell that much. Here they threw an occasional twelve bar boogie and Velvets’ rhythm guitar chug into the already potent, hard rockin’ brew. With strong numbers like “On The Street” and “The Young Lords”, it “ticked all the right boxes” as current parlance would have it. Possibly lacking quite the lyrical finesse of his Pub Rock contemporaries like Nick Lowe or Graham Parker, this may have possibly thwarted Sean and the Tyla Gang reaching the same level of success they attained during this period. Maybe the beard didn’t help either? We were living in fashion-conscious times then that was for sure. But the LP itself is very good and the early singles tracks are also a delight, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre Boogie” tapping into the kind of “sick joke” side of Punk and “The Young Lords” focussing on those heady greaser gang days of the late 50s for imagery and inspiration.

The follow up “Moonproof” (which follows on here on Disc 2) was not quite as strong as the debut, it appeared that now Tyla coverted the US audience via adding a strong Springsteen influence to the formula. You can understand why he choose to look to America, as there were few takers unfortunately for his brand of Rock n Roll in the rapidly changing UK Pop environment of 1978. It didn’t come off sadly, though “Suicide Jockey” is effective (though probably not as tough as on the original Skydog outing, featured as an extra on disc one here). 

Though this second LP didn’t meet with a great deal of commercial success, the Gang was made of stern stuff and started demoing material for a projected third long player and some of these tracks that were salvageable are presented here on disc 2 as part of this collection. These offerings do not deviate much from their standard sound with perhaps a little extra in the way of slide guitar and although they have their merits they are more low-key than their fiery recordings of a couple of years earlier. One exception is when they delve right back to their very early days for “Amsterdam Dog”, though on the whole it is the sound of a band out of time. Around this time they also recorded incognito as Speedballs and Spitballs (both of which figure amongst the bonus tracks), but the response was the same and as Beserkley closed up shop in 79 so did the Tyla Gang with Sean opting for a solo career mostly based stateside.

A third disc here brings together the three John Peel sessions from 77/78 that still crackle with raw energy. With a similar vim and vitality to Eddie The Hot Rods’ work at around the same time and a hint of Thin Lizzy, the Tyla Gang here bring home the feeling of the importance of life right now, the break from the normal that only Rock n Roll allows, that hot night when anything was possible in perfect vivid, live colour. Perhaps there was not quite the killer hit single track among the material like the Rods’ “Do Anything You Wanna Do”, but the spirit is there in spades. With a little luck who knows what they could have done? At this point they certainly appeared a better option than another bar room band of the time, Dire Straits, who went onto global fame with their torpid VHS symphonies.

Along with the surfeit of bonus tracks, this all adds up to a great collection of everything the Tyla Gang recorded in their original incarnation (but they did have a well received revival just a few years back). They may not have been the first word in originality, but in 1977 at least they were very close to being the last word in unpretentious Hard Rock.
by Ian Canty

Disc 1 Yachtless 1976-77
1. Hurricane (Sean Tyla, Bruce Irvine) - 3:18
2. Dust On The Needle - 4:37
3. On The Street - 2:57
4. New York Sun - 3:16
5. Speedball Morning - 3:04
6. Don't Shift A Gear - 3:03
7. Lost Angels - 3:45
8. The Young Lords (Version 2) - 3:20
9. Whizz Kids (Sean Tyla, Bruce Irvine) - 3:31
10.Don't Turn Your Radio On - 3:45
11.Styrofoam - 2:38
12.Texas Chainsaw Massacre Boogie - 3:32
13.The Young Lords (Version 1) - 3:28
14.Suicide Jockey - 4:53
15.Cannons Of The Boogie Night - 3:29
16.It's Only Rock And Roll (But It Gets Up Your Nose) - 4:30
17.Mad Muchachos - 4:10
18.Pool Hall Punks - 2:59
19.I Don't Want Your Love (Live In France 1977) - 3:21
20.Fireball (Live In France 1977) - 4:11
21.Gonna Take Me Away (Live In France 1977) (Sean Tyla, Brian Turrington) - 4:48
All songs by Sean Tyla except where stated

Disc 2 Moonproof 1978-79
1. Tropical Love - 3:25
2. Oakland Red - 3:03
3. It's Gonna Rain - 3:28
4. Did You Hear It On The Radio - 2:54
5. Rodeo (Sean Tyla, Bruce Irvine) - 3:00
6. Spanish Street - 3:04
7. No Roses (Michael Dasmarais, Sean Tyla) - 3:19
8. American Mother (Sean Tyla, Bruce Irvine) - 3:18
9. Suicide Jockey - 3:05
10.Flashing In The Subway (Sean Tyla, Bruce Irvine) - 2:34
11.Speedball Jive - 1:44
12.Jungle Of Love - 3:40
13.Bar Du Telefon - 5:04
14.Amsterdam Dog - 4:20
15.Chasing The Dragon - 3:38
16.Out On The Run - 3:47
17.Whaleback Boogie (Sean Tyla, Bruce Irvine) - 3:50
18.Moonlight Ambulance - 3:38
19.On The Street - 2:46
All songs by Sean Tyla except where noted
Track 11 as The Speedball
Track 19 by Das Luftwaffegaschaft

Disc 3 BBC Sessions And Rarities 1977-78
1. The Young Lords - 3:30
2. Don't Shift A Gea - 3:06
3. Whizz Kids (Sean Tyla, Bruce Irvine) - 3:33
4. Speedball Morning - 3:22
5. On The Street - 3:13
6. Don't Turn Your Radio On - 3:23
7. Styrofoam - 1:57
8. Dust On The Needle - 4:32
9. No Roses (Michael Dasmarais, Sean Tyla) - 3:55
10.It's Gonna Rain - 3:07
11.Spanish Streets - 3:07
12.Moonlight Ambulance - 3:40
13.Paris Boogie - 3:28
14.Hold On To My Love - 2:58
15.Keep From Movin' On - 2:09
16.Bad Moon Rising (John Fogerty) - 2:24
17.Knock On Wood (Steve Cropper, Eddie Floyd) - 1:48
18.Walking The Dog (Rufus Thomas) - 6:34
19.Don't Shift A Gear - 2:56
20.Young Lords - 3:27
21.On The Street - 2:58
22.Styrofoam - 2:05
All songs by Sean Tyla except where indicated
Tracks 16-17  by  The Spitballs

The Tyla Gang
*Sean Tyla - Guitar, Vocals
*Michael Desmarais - Drums, Percussion
*Bruce Irvine - Guitar
*Brian Turrington - Bass, Mandolin
Additional Members
*Peter O'Sullivan - Bass
*Deke Leonard - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Ken Whaley - Bass

1974-75  Ducks Deluxe - Ducks Deluxe / Taxi To The Terminal Zone (double disc set) 

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Philippe Debarge With Pretty Things - Rock St Trop (1969 france / uk, superb guitar acid psych rock, 2017 remaster)

Back in the stone age of rock ‘n’ roll – the year 1969, to be exact – Phil May (vocals) and Wally Waller (bass) of British rock legends the Pretty Things were approached with an unusual offer. Flown to St. Tropez by rich French playboy Philippe DeBarge, the bandmates met with the young millionaire at the DeBarge family estate. DeBarge had long harbored dreams of rock ‘n’ roll stardom, and he wanted to record an album with the Pretty Things as his backing band. 

In December 1968, the Pretty Things released S.F. Sorrow, the album that has since become known as the band’s psychedelic-era masterpiece. By the following August, however, the album was selling slowly, founding guitarist Dick Taylor had left the band, and the PTs’ future was uncertain. So May and Waller took DeBarge up on his offer, writing songs for and recording DeBarge’s album at Nova Studios in London during September 1969 with DeBarge singing lead vocals, May on backing vocals, and the band – including Waller, keyboardist Jon Povey, drummer ‘Twink’, and new guitarist Vic Unitt (from the Edgar Broughton Band) providing the music. 

When S.F. Sorrow sales picked up months after its release, EMI wanted to follow up with a new album from the band, who subsequently put the DeBarge project on the back burner in order to work on what would become their 1970 album, Parachute. The album remained lost for almost 40 years when it was discovered by musician and Ugly Things zine publisher Mike Stax, who had found two acetates of the album and had it mixed and mastered, releasing it in 2009 on his own Ugly Things label. Stax even enlisted the classic Pretty Things line-up – including guitarist Dick Taylor – to record a new song titled “Monsieur Rock (Ballad of Philippe)” as a bonus track for The Pretty Things/Phillip DeBarge CD.

On September 1st, 2017 Madfish released this obscure album as Rock St. Trop, billed to Phillipe DeBarge with the Pretty Things. Remastered for CD and featuring rare photos and new liner notes by Waller, the album features a 20-page booklet and bonus songs, including “Monsieur Rock.” Influential far beyond their often meager album sales, the Pretty Things seldom made a musical mistake during the 1960s and ‘70s and aside from being chummy with superstars like Led Zeppelin and David Bowie, the PT’s influenced bands as diverse as the Clash and the Libertines, among others, and this long-lost album is a welcome addition to the band’s catalog.
by Rev. Keith A. Gordon

Philippe DeBarge passed away on February 3rd 1999, on the front cover photo of this release, he sits on the left side, with a guitar in his hands, next to him is Johnny Hallyday who also left to join heaven's big band, few days ago (December 6th 2017), and the charming girl sitting in front of them is the one and only one, Brigitte Bardot.

Merry Christmas my friends with health and lots of music in your life. Keep on Rockin'. 

1. Hello, How Do You Do - 4:06
2. You Might Even Say - 4:03
3. Alexander (Dick Taylor, John Povey, Phil May, Wally Waller) - 2:59
4. Send You With Loving - 3:05
5. You're Running You And Me - 4:55
6. Peace - 1:44
7. Eagles Son (Dick Taylor, John Povey, Phil May, Wally Waller) - 3:21
8. Graves Of Grey - 0:48
9. New Day - 4:09
10.It'll Never Be Me (Dick Taylor, John Charles Alder, John Povey, Phil May, Wally Waller) - 4:35
11.I'm Checking Out - 3:45
12.All Gone Now - 2:18
13.Monsieur Rock (Ballad Of Philippe) - 5:41
14.Lover - 1:41
15.Silver Stars - 3:35
All compositions by Phil May, Wally Waller except where stated
Bonus Tracks 13-15

*Philippe DeBarge - Lead Vocals
*Phil May - Vocals
*Wally Waller - Bass, Vocals
*Victor Unitt - Guitar, Vocals
*John Povey - Keyboards, Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
*John Charles Alder - Drums

Related Acts
1964-66  The Pretty Things - The EP Collection...Plus 
1967  The Pretty Things - Emotions (Japan remaster)
1968  Tomorrow - Tomorow (Expanded reissue)
1970  Twink - Think Pink (2013 remaster and expanded) 
1971  Pink Fairies - Never Never Land (2002 extra tracks issue) 

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Paul Brett - Paul Brett (1972 uk, amazing folk silk rock, 2016 korean remaster)

Paul Brett is well known as an exponent of the 12-string guitar. The list of people he has played with is impressive indeed - much in demand for sessions, tours etc., he has played for a host of folks, from Max Bygraves to Status Quo, from Barclay James Harvest to Lonnie Donegan, from Crazy World of Arthur Brown to short-lived psych-pop outfit Tintern Abbey. With the latter he recorded the highly collectable single which is their only output.

From a Strawbs' point of view he has circled round the band - playing with various soon-to-be Strawbs - without ever actually joining.

Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera had grown out of r'n'b band Five Proud Walkers and recorded their first album and their first two singles, with the eponymous leader on guitar and vocals. In early 1969, Elmer left the band, as did guitarist Colin Forster, and Hud and John recruited Paul and Johnny Joyce (formerly with the Levee Breakers) to join them as a slightly more acoustically oriented outfit. They later shortened their name to simply the Velvet Opera and recorded the band's second album Ride A Hustler's Dreamand a number of singles. It was that incarnation which played at the opening night of Dave Cousins' White Bear-based Hounslow Arts Lab on 1 July 1969.

In late 1969, he recorded the lead guitar on Strawbs' "The Vision Of The Lady Of The Lake" for the Dragonfly album.

After Velvet Opera, Paul was involved in the recording of The Magic Shoemaker album by Fire - Dave Lambert, Dick Dufall and Bob Voice. Dave Cousins guested too, on banjo. The album was disappointing sales and production-wise and Lambert decided to split with long-time associates Dufall and Voice, who promptly hooked up with Paul to form Paul Brett's Sage, adding Stuart Cowell as lead guitarist which recorded three albums for Pye and Dawn (Pye's progressive label). Dave Lambert guested on piano and organ on several tracks on Schizophrenia, and Rod Coombes drummed on one track. Paul King, later to play alongside Lambert in the King Earl Boogie Band, played harmonica on a track on Jubliation Foundry.

From 1973 onwards Paul began to concentrate on a solo career, releasing a couple of attractive song-based solo albums on Bradleys Records, backed by violinist/guitarist Mike Piggott, adding multi-instrumentalist Dave Griffiths for the second. Rod Coombes popped up again on drums on the first. Bradleys made a push to establish him, releasing several singles from the albums.

A privately pressed album Phoenix Future followed in 1975, before Brett turned to the genre which is now his trademark, the twelve string guitar instrumental. Earth Birth, his critically-acclaimed first 12 string guitar suite, was released first released on his own label, then led to a 4 album deal with RCA, where it was the first release in 1977. Rod Coombes guests again on Interlife (1978), and Johnny Joyce plaus on two tracks on Eclipse (1979).

He then released some high-selling "easy listening" guitar albums on the K-Tel label and a number of music library releases, before concentrating on other activities - live show production including holiday/cruise work, music journalism. His longtime interest in collecting guitars led to his becoming a Marketing Consultant for Aria Guitars, who went on to develop a range of Paul Brett signature guitars.

1. The Ant - 2:17
2. Mr. Custer - 3:07
3. Goodtimes, Hardtimes - 3:31
4. 18 Years - 2:41
5. Handful Of Rain - 4:55
6. Atiques, Flowers And Music Box Dancers - 2:52
7. The Spanish Main - 4:34
8. Jim Crow - 3:22
9. Motherless Child On A Merry-Go-Round - 2:34
10.Here Comes The Sun (George Harrison) - 2:50
11.Who Am I - 3:47
12.March Of The Giant Hedgehogs - 3:28
All songs written by Paul Brett except where indicated

*Paul Brett - Acoustic, Electric Guitars, Timpani
*Mike Piggott - Violin, Acoustic Guitar
*Delyle Harper - Electric Bass, Double Bass
*Rob Young - Flute, Piano, Organ
*Jim Toomey - Percussion
*Rod Coombs - Percussion
*Geoffrey MacClean - Percussion

1970  Paul Brett's Sage - Paul Brett's Sage (2007 japan edition)
1971  Paul Brett's Sage - Jubilation Foundry (2007 Japan remaster)
1972  Paul Brett's Sage - Schizophrenia (2007 Japan remaster)
Related Acts
1969  Velvet Opera - Ride A Hustler's Dream 
1968-70  Fire - The Magic Shoemaker (2009 bonus tracks remaster) 

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Monday, December 18, 2017

Rod Taylor - Rod Taylor (1973 us, spectacular country folk classic rock, 2014 japan remaster)

The credits on Taylor’s album reveal one heck of an all-star cast assembled to help him get his first set of songs recorded. Backing vocals are by Bonnie Bramlett and Joni Mitchell; guitarists include Ry Cooder, Jesse Ed Davis and Andrew Gold; bassists Lee Sklar and former Stone Poney Kenny Edwards; drums by Jim Keltner and Russ Kunkel; pedal steel by Red Rhodes; organ by Little Feat’s Bill Payne; and that’s probably only half the familiar names here.

Happily, Taylor’s songs measure up to his backing cast. It’s a set of mostly laid-back country rock, led by Taylor’s bluesy, lived-in sounding vocals, but also dressed up with the occasional horn chart or psyched-out fiddling by folks such as David LaFlamme. And on a label unafraid to release records by distinctive and/or non-“pop” singing voices (at this point Asylum had already issued albums by Tom Waits and David Blue, along with Joni Mitchell, Judee Sill and J.D. Souther), Taylor is right at home.

It’s well worth it for fans of early ’70s singer-songwriters folk or country rock.
by Bob Koch, May 17, 2016

1. I Ought To Know - 3:11
2. Crossroads Of The World - 3:40
3. Railroad Blood - 2:46
4. Double Life - 2:14
5. Making A Way - 2:42
6. Sweet Inspiration - 3:45
7. Livin' Dangerous Blues - 2:43
8. Something Old - 4:03
9. Man Who Made It Fall - 2:23
10.Lost Iron Man - 4:25
11.For Me - 2:45
12.The Last Song - 3:26
All songs written by Rod Taylor 

*Rod Taylor - Vocals, Guitar
*Ry Cooder - Guitar, Mandolin
*Jesse Ed Davis - Guitar
*Andrew Gold - Guitar, Accordion
*Larry Knechtel - Piano
*Steve Ferguson - Piano
*Craig Safan - Piano
*Don Caverhill - Piano, Organ
*Bill Payne - Organ
*Charles Plotkin - Piano, Accordion
*Kenny Edwards - Bass
*Lee Sklar - Bass
*Buell Neidlinger - Bass
*Jim Keltner - Drums
*Russ Kunkel - Drums
*Gary Mallaber - Drums, Clavinet
*Red Rhodes - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Joel Tepp - Clarinet, Harmonica, Dobro, Slide Guitar
*Steve Van Gelder - Fiddle, Guitar
*David Laflamme - Electric Fiddle
*Charles Findley - Trumpet
*Jim Horn - Saxophone
*Ernie Watts - Saxophone
*Lew McCreary - Baritone Horn
*Joni Mitchell - Background Vocals
*Bonnie Bramlett - Background Vocals

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Friday, December 15, 2017

Mick Greenwood - Midnight Dreamer (1974 uk, marvellous folk soft rock, 2006 remaster)

Mick returned to the UK, and more touring with bands like Soft Machine and Curved Air, and performing at the Hammersmith Odeon with Jose Feliciano. The band underwent further changes with the addition of drummer Alan Eden and ex-John Mayall guitarist, Roger Dean. Mick then spent a little time away with an ancient tribe of musicians called Jajouka in the Moroccan mountains, visited previously by Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones and Ornett Coleman, before writing material for his third album, Midnight Dreamer.

This time around, Mick was holding the reigns of producer along with his engineer Vic Gamm at Sound Techniques. This now celebrated album with Mick on vocals, piano, keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars, also features Pat Donaldson on bass guitar, drummers William A. Murray, Gerry Conway and Barry De Souza, and backing vocals from Barry St.John, Sue Glover, Liza Strike, Bonny Hamilton and Kay Garner. Also featured are Kenny Wheeler on trumpet, Chris Hughs on Tenor Sax, Graham Smith on harmonica, and a further brass section comprising Eddie Mordue, Rex Morris, Duncan Lamont, Wally Smith, Rick Kennedy, Chris Smith, Creg Bowen and Johnny Huckridge. Superb arrangements by Steve Hamilton and Richard Hewson (who arranged the strings on The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby).

Through a chain of events, Greenwood became involved with the same record company and management as Fleetwood Mac, was inadvertently caught up in the political and legal wars of their separation, as witnessed by the tabloid coverage of the Old Bailey case. Even though the album was recognised, sadly the launch of Midnight Dreamer suffered as a result.

"Midnight Dreamer" originally released on Warner Brothers, charters Mick’s solid progression as he stepped into the role of producer/artist/writer. This celebrated album with Mick on vocals, piano, keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars, also features a star-studded lineup; Pat Donaldson, William A. Murray, Gerry Conway and Barry De Souza, and backing vocals from Barry St.John, Sue Glover, Liza Strike, Bonny Hamilton and Kay Garner.

What other talents does Mick Greenwood have up his sleeve? Not only does this album contain sensitive well written songs from across the spectrum, delivered  and performed with authority by himself and a host of top musos, but Mick has also produced with his engineer a rock solid piece of product with soul. Midnight Dreamer is a great third album by this guy. Highly recommended.
by Jonathon Teller, PlayTime Review

1. Black Roses - 2:56
2. Captain Life - 4:09
3. Writing On The Wall - 4:25
4. Easy Street - 4:43
5. Miss Morning - 3:52
6. Lady Midnight - 3:23
7. Diana Demons - 4:36
8. Deep Water - 3:48
9. Open Road - 2:12
All compositions by Mick Greenwood

*Mick Greenwood – Acoustic, Electric Guitars, Keyboards, Mixing, Piano, Vocals
*Gerry Conway - Drums
*Barry De Souza - Drums
*Pat Donaldson - Bass
*Kay Garner - Vocals
*Sue Glover - Vocals
*Bonnie Hamilton - Vocals
*Steve Hamiton - Brass Arrangement, String Arrangements, Vocal Arrangement
*Richard Hewson - Brass Arrangement, String Arrangements, Vocal Arrangement
*Ric Kennedy - Brass
*Duncan Lamont - Brass
*Eddie Mordue - Brass
*Reggie Wayne Morris - Brass
*William Murray - Drums
*Barry St. John - Vocals
*Chris Frazer Smith - Brass
*Wally Smith - Brass
*Liza Strike - Vocals
*Kenny Wheeler - Trumpet

1971  Mick Greenwood - Living Game 
1972  Mick Greenwood - ...To Friends (2006 japan remaster) 

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Doug Snyder And Bob Thompson - Daily Dance (1972 us, psychedelic instrumental experimental improvisation rock, 2010 mini LP reissue)

Less often than not, a sound recording will reach your ears that turns speculation into confirmation and leaves you wondering if it all really happened. TWS is usually the case when the bold soul finds itself face to face with the Daily Dance. The unlikely town of Washington Court House, between Columbus and Cincinnati in southern Ohio, was obviously the atmosphere needed to generate a document of such solidarity and perspective.

Snyder and Thompson were a guitarist and drummer respectively, and this is their vibratory postcard from nowhere. This duet has nothing to do with anything that has gone before, as even today it seems to dodge categorization. To the unseasoned ear, it might initially sound like a dilapidated cathedral of noise, but upon closer investigation you begin to realize the lack of pretension and sheer dazzle of its being.

The duo tear through seven "songs" with titles such as "Time Overlaps Itself," :'Soul And Universe" and "Truth Is A Pathless Land.'' They generate waves of energy through cascading feedback squall and drnrnbo bash and shimmer. A few tracks will start with something vaguely resembling a "groove," before they quickly deteriorate into their lonely Buckeye din. Daily Dance has much more in common with '90s groups like Fushitshusha or the Dead C than anyone operating in the US in the '70s.

Ya Ho Wa 13 and the likes included. This type of recording eventually achieves a sort of religious quality, where what was only thought of as a possibility becomes an undeniable reality pressed into a dark black circle of wax. An adventurous outing to say the least, and one that could only exist within the private press cosmos. Carefully repackaged and remastered by Cantor Records and Lion Productions, a greater andience now has the opportunity to reach what are indeed New Frontiers.
by Dante Carfagna, January 2009

1. Daily Dance - 10:29
2. Living With Crocodiles - 1:29
3. Time Overlaps Itself - 8:06
4. Unseen, Unheard - Rec. For 'daily Dance' - Prev. Unrel. - 1:56
5. Soul And Universe - 4:54
6. Hit And Run - 5:34
7. Truth Is A Painless Land - 2:47
8. Teenage Emergency - 8:28
All compositions by Doug Snyder, Bob Thompson

*Doug Snyder - Electric Guitar
*Bob Thompson - Drums, Percussion

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Monday, December 11, 2017

The Marshall Brothers Band - The Marshall Brothers Band (1975 australia, fine classic rock with prog touches, 2005 edition)

The Marshall Brothers Band are lesser-known Aussie proggers, quite possibly due to their lounge-act name, but also quite possibly due to their lounge-act music, certainly when compared to the likes of Aleph or the mighty Sebastian Hardie. The Marshall Brothers Band (produced by noted 'Tronnist Chris Neal).

There aren't any Marshall Brothers on the band, their name came after Rob Scott's wish to use the word "Brothers" like Allman Bros or Doobie Bros, so they called the band after Dave’s amplifier brand! 

Classical rock music influenced by King Crimson, Vanilla Fudge and Rick Wakeman. Their 1975 sole album sold quite well, spending eight weeks in the charts. 

1. Falcon 1959-1912 - 5:42
2. Bright Light Lady (David Hinds, Chris Browne) - 2:35
3. Pioneer Suite - 4:27
4. Mr. 'l' - 5:11
5. Come Out With Your Hands Up, Baby (Chris Neil) - 2:48
6. Flying High - 5:56
7. Summer Love (Chris Browne) - 5:28
8. Younger Now - 11:18
All songs written by Robert Scott except where indicated

The Marshall Brothers Band
*Chris Browne - Vocals
*John 'Funky' Halls - Drums
*David Hinds - Guitar
*Karl Hofman - Guitar
*John Rairty - Drums
*Robert Scott - Keyboards, Vocals
*Kevin Wyatt - Bass, Vocals

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Wooden Lion - Wooden Lion (1973 uk, great prog space downer rock, 2014 release)

Recorded over forty years ago by the original five-piece band, these insanely rare Wooden Lion tracks have, regrettably, been locked away for an eternity - until now that is. This dastardly and calculated act of betrayal compelled us to free the beast once and for all. In fact it is our sworn and solemn duty at AA Towers to bring you the best and the rarest recordings from the UK Underground of the late 60s and early 70s no matter how challenging the task. 

Not only was the vault securely locked but all keys were mercilessly destroved such is the breathtaking rarity of the sounds you are about to hear Mention the name Wooden Lion to most collectors of 70s prog and psych and more often than not you will be met with a baffled look.

For some though the name may trigger a garbled recital of weird and wonderful names; characters like The Captain, The Mad Molecule and Cardinal Biggies with tales of on-stage frippery and dark delight from long ago. The name fell into place when Roy Wood and Johnny Lyons disbanded Grope, their former band. The first Wooden Lion line-up comprised Roy Wood (electric guitar/6 and 12 string guitars), John Phillips (vocals), Johnny Lyons (bass), Gareth Kiddier (12 string guitar) and Wai Mansfield (drums).

It is this original quintet that was responsible for laying down the five tracks on this CD having been painstakingly re-mastered from a beyond rare acetate of which only one known copy exists. Housed in an adapted gatefold sleeve and customized to include rare pasted on photos and hand written lyrics the relic is an unsurpassed rarity.

As can be heard on these embryonic demos an early Hawkwind influence is apparent here and there whilst the gloomy vocal delivery is very much akin to the late 60s Basildon doom-metal merchants The Iron Maiden. Wooden Lion unleashed their melancholic theatrics and dark cosmic energy to captivated audiences across southern England on the pub and club circuit securing some useful support slots along the way especially at venues like the Dagenham Roundhouse where they opened up for SAHB.

By 1974 when the personnel had changed the band introduced some on stage gimmicks most notably a giant inflatable tube in a bid to gain increased attention not least from a record company or two. With appearances at various open air festivals including Windsor and Watchfield under their belts and another in a park in Basingstoke where they were banned due to excessive volume (yeah right), there was still no sign of a recording deal which only serves to make the earlier session in Hitchin all the more significant now. 

A session incidentally whereby the studio operatives were proposing to enter the tapes into a competition. Heard that one somewhere before! As the line-up continued to chop and change the band experimented by bringing in a synth player namely Alan Essex aka Cardinal Biggies who had occasionally performed with Hawkwind but things finally petered out as the punk scene reared its snotty nose in 1976 by which time the only two original members left were Roy and long standing drummer Wal. Roy then changed his name to Weard and joined circuit band Dogwatch who signed to Terry Murphy's Bridgehouse label.

The gods may have denied Wooden Lion their forty minutes of vinyl glory first time around but four decades on you can at last trip out to the very rarest UK cosmic doom album of the early 70s. This is the original Wooden Lion my friends, rescued from oblivion for you.
CD Liner-notes

1. She Paints Strange Pictures - 5:36
2. Hero - 1,11,111 - 5:36
3. Now The Day Is Over (Roy Wood, Gareth Kiddier, Johnny Lyons) - 5:34
4. Ice Maiden - 6:47
5. McAlistaire's Phantom - Parts 1,11,111 - 9:30
All songs by Roy Wood except track #3

The Wooden Lion
*John Phillips - Vocals
*Roy Wood - Lead, Slide Guitar, Vocals
*Johnny Lyons - Bass
*Gareth Kiddier - 12 String Acoustic Guitar
*Wal Mansfield - Drums

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Dave Miller Set - The Mr Guy Fawkes 1967-70

(Removed by Frenzy Music request)

Frenzy Music said... 
I request that you take down the post for The Dave Miller Set CD as released by RPM/Frenzy. It has taken 5 years to coordinate this release from Warner Music in Australia and ensure that Dave gets a good deal. Dave has had numerous problems in the last few years and is relying on healthy sales of this CD to help him through a difficult time. Thanking you in advance. Grant Gillanders (Frenzy Music) and Mark Stratford (RPM).

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Lee Pickens - Lee Pickens Group (1973 us, tight hard rock, 2010 digi pak remaster)

After leaving Bloodrock in '72, Lee Pickens put LPG together, and it certainly wasn't a commercial success. It was more of an artistic success. Comparing LPG to Trower's and Beck's as a better listening experience, it falls in between. LPG had all original songs written by the band, one titled "I Can't Stand it" has the same title as Trower's, both different but great tunes. LPG had a better vocalist then BBA, but James Dewar's vocals were miles ahead of both. 

Lee Pickens guitar work is great, and the songs the band wrote, give him plenty of room to explore his unique style and great tone. Lee's band is tight throughout, and all the players, Bass, Keyboard and Drummer add to the mix of funk, hard rock and country rock. One song, my favorite on LPG "It's Not Right" is a Funk Jazz-rock Monster. LPG may not have been a commercial success, but it was solid and Rockin', unfortunately , Capitol Records pulled the plug on Lee and LPG. A shame really, Lee was/is a great guitarist and that was the last time most of us heard his guitar sing.
by K. M. Barker

1. You'd Better Stop (Milton Walters) - 3:16
2. Sail Away (Lee Pickens) - 3:17
3. She's My Lover (Eddie Deston) - 4:16
4. It's Not Right (Milton Walters, Eddie Deston) - 5:28
5. I Can't Stand It (Eddie Deston) - 3:05
6. Hold On To Me (Eddie Deston) - 6:59
7. 2 Degress South (Charlie Bassman, Milton Walters) - 4:41
8. Ten After Never (Lee Pickens) - 3:13
9. Thumbs Up (Gary Owen) - 4:46

*Lee Pickens - Guitar
*Eddie Deaton – Vocals, Guitar, Organ
*Charlie Bassman – Drums, Congas, Vocals
*Gary Owen – Bass, Vocals
*Milton Walters – Keyboards, Vocals

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Southern Comfort - Southern Comfort (1971 uk, splendid folk country rock, 2017 reissue)

Southern Comfort haven t found the going easy since Ian Matthews left them 18 months ago, but they are anxious not to let it get them down. Their main problem is that the public have taken a long time to forget Matthews, and think of the split as being quite recent. They brought out one hasty album, Frog City, to offset Matthews' departure, but the new one has obviously had a lot more thought and planning out into it.

Gordon Huritley's pedal steel guitar and Mark Griffiths on mandolin do much to add to the individual charm of the album, and probably save it from becoming too near to pop. However, the group don't see themselves in that light at all. "We did some dates in Scotland recently," Mark Griffiths says, "but they weren't too good because it was obvious the audience were expecting a pop group, and didn't know what to make of us."

They did better in the States, where their type of music is going down well at the moment. Their first album was released there just before the tour with the Faces and Deep Purple, and sold well. To support the new album in Britain, they are making a short documentary film, playing some numbers from the album, to be shown in cinemas between the feature films. But they are still worrying about their receptions in this country.

"It's a really strange situation here. It's been a long time trying to forget about Ian, and we've found it hard trying to find a path for ourselves and be accepted. We don't see Ian as any opposition, although there must be some split loyalties among any fans we had. There was never any doubt about us carrying on when Ian left, although his departure was sudden. We've changed a lot, added different instruments. Now we use keyboards and mandolin, when before we depended more on the pedal steel.

We got over the voice difficulty. Too. Ian has a distinctive voice, but we think that Carl Barnwell has a good one too. Carl writes most of the material with me.

So now Southern Comfort are working their way round Britain, trying to build up their name, and face life without Ian Matthews. Ian is currently working with a new unit called Plainsong, and doesn’t see Southern Comfort as any kind of opposition or competition, because he is not choosing to look at things that way, although other might. In fact, his music with Plainsong is surprisingly different from what you might expect from him, after being conditioned to Southern Comfort.
Disc, January 22nd 1972

1. River Woman (Carl Barnwell) - 4:21
2. I Wanna Be Your Mama Again (Doug Sahm) - 3:46
3. Josephine's Biscuit (Carl Barnwell, Mark Griffiths) - 4:32
4. Moganbo/Devil's Canyon (Mark Griffiths) - 5:02
5. Cosmic Jig (Mark Griffiths) - 3:06
6. Lily Brown (Carl Barnwell) - 4:48
7. Russian River (Mark Griffiths) - 2:29
8. Ol' Rudd (Carl Barnwell) - 3:35
9. Harlem Girl (Carl Barnwell) - 4:12
10.I Don't Know (Mark Griffiths) - 2:50
11.Good Ol' 2-6-2 (Mark Griffiths) - 4:50

The Southern Comfort
*Andrew Leigh - Bass, Vocals
*Ray Duffy - Drums
*Carl Barnwell - Vocals, Guitar, Piano
*Mark Griffiths - Guitar, Vocals, Harp, Mandolin, Organ
*Gordon Huntley - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Ray Duffy - Percussion

Related Acts
1970  Andrew Leigh - Magician (2011 remaster) 
1970  Matthew's Southern Comfort - Later That Same Year (2008 remaster) 

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Tales Of Justine - Petals From A Sunflower Complete Recordings (1967-69 uk, wonderful delicate swinging psychedelia, 2016 remaster)

Tales Of Justine were one of those bands that came along at the outset of UK Psychedelia in the mid to late 60s but their pop dabbling soon lost them the “head” audience as the fashion went more towards heavy, experimental jamming rather than their snappy but trippy songs. Though they (and bands like them), never quite cut the mustard with the hip crowd back then, time on the whole has been kind to them and the type of “caught between two stools” late 60s Psych-Pop that they turned out has subsequently found favour with people all over the world that were too young to experience the Summer Of Love themselves, but wise to the value of a good tune well performed. That’s the odd thing about Psychedelia in broad terms – it worked as expansive, highly experimental underground music but somehow also as an intricate, “instant-nostalgia” pop art format. Justine clearly fitted comfortably into the later group.

With a past that dated back to Potters Bar beat band the Sound Of Silence, Tales Of Justine were spearheaded by the talented David Daltrey, singer, guitarist and yes, relative of the ‘orrible ‘Oo’s Roger. After a brief time as the Court Jesters, they assumed the Tales Of Justine name and hit the early 60s Psychedelic scene that was taking off in clubs such as Middle Earth and the Electric Garden, in the hope that they could become leading lights in the mode of emerging stars Pink Floyd. They were in truth far more traditional in their approach, very pop-orientated indeed and as the evidence here displays, far the better for it.

During the summer of 67 they were espied in concert by Tim Rice, who quickly came to realise their potential. Rice, who along with his partner the awful Andrew Lloyd Webber would of course go on to write some highly lucrative and bafflingly successful musicals, was at this time keeping a keen eye on the pop scene for any rising talent in his role at EMI A&R.Daltrey and Co clearly fitted the bill. He quickly signed them up to a management contract and also got their monikers on the dotted line with his record company overlords too. Success only looked a short step away for Tales Of Justine, but it didn’t quite turn out that way….

Sharing some common ground with fellow Psych-Pop would-be wunderkinds Muswell Hill’s Turquoise (the makers of “Tales Of Flossie Fillett”, who benefited from some association with their near neighbours the Kinks), TOJ specialised in a whimsical and stately version of Psychedelia, but they were not adverse to throwing in the odd mind-melting Freakbeat-esque effort when it pleased them (the stop-start “Sunday School” and the rough version of “Evil Woman” are both somewhat in that mode, some cracking fuzz guitar included in both). 

Though the Rice/Lloyd Weber patronage got them into Abbey Road to record (which explains the high sound quality on this lovingly-realised collection) it couldn’t even get them more than one record released. In truth the A side “Arthur” was far from being their best material, being a merely ok bit of nursery rhyme of Psychedelia, which does not display them in their best light at all. It is hardly suprising that it did not make an impact in the winter of 67 when the charts were awash with this kind of thing (Rice admits on the sleeve-notes that they should have flipped the sides with “Monday Morning”, a nifty piece of Mod guitar pop with way more appeal, being far the better of the two recordings on the single). What is harder to understand is why no-one at EMI thought that anything else they set down at Abbey Road over the two year period documented here other than those two tracks warranted any further exposure?

But of course the single flopped and that was the end of Tales Of Justine, as far as officially released material was concerned anyway. Despite that they recorded repeatedly over the next year or so and those recordings that never saw the light of day at the time make up the bulk of this compilation. The sad thing though is that the potential of the band is clear to see. A case in point is the goofy but wonderful “Come To Me Softly” (actually a David Daltrey solo) – nonsense female vocals, parping horns and a crashing guitar which prefigures cousin Rog’s “We Won’t Get Fooled Again”, all adding up to an attractive and totally adorable novelty. 

The “Victorian Music-Box” sound of “Sitting On A Blunestone” is another joy to the ears and “Pathway” has the kind of melodramatic, highly orchestrated and well-arranged (probably down to Lloyd Weber I suppose, I’ll give him that) feel that gave the Walker Brothers so much success in the same period. Very well sung too. The “bad trip” story of “Eleventh Obsolete Incident” is also outstanding and would have made a fine single, like most of the tracks here (which again makes you wonder why they plumped for “Arthur”?). In an alternate world, they would have been a hit machine.

This collection contains everything that Tales Of Justine laid down on tape at the time, along with a couple of solo David Daltrey recordings, all which glisten with the hope and heady atmosphere of that moment nearly 50 years back now. You also get the full, convoluted story in David Wells’ excellent sleeve-notes in the booklet (Wells’ release of the same name on his Tenth Plant imprint nearly 20 years ago presented more Tales Of Justine material for the first time and forms the backbone of what is presented here) to accompany the jaw-dropping beauty on show here amongst the songs. 

Tales Of Justine never made more than a ripple at the time but this set does deserves much more – the 60s flower children missed out on some great tunes. A combination of bad luck, bad timings and bad advice contributed to their eventual fate, but we can be thankful that what has endured in the dank vaults at EMI for all those years has finally seen the light of day. They were brilliant at times were Tales Of Justine and now we can finally tell.
by Ian Canty

1. Albert - 2:54
2. Monday Morning - 3:24
3. Eleventh Obsolete Incident - 3:03
4. Sitting On A Blunestone - 2:39
5. Sunday School - 3:25
6. Evil Woman (David Daltrey, Paul Myerson) - 3:33
7. Music To Watch Us By - 3:06
8. So Happy - 3:15
9. Morpheus - 4:07
10.Aurora - 2:56
11.Something Special - 2:45
12.Pathway - 3:47
13.Saturn - 3:23
14.Jupiter - 2:19
15.If This Is Love - 2:57
16.Easy To Be Hard (Galt MacDermot, Gerome Ragni, James Rado) - 3:03
17.Come Softly To Me (Gretchen Christopher, Barbara Ellis, Gary Troxel) - 2:41
18.Obsolete Incident - 2:40
19.Evil Woman (Alternative Version) (David Daltrey, Paul Myerson) - 3:32
20.Albert - 2:56
21.So Much Love To Give You - 3:31
All songs by David Daltrey except where indicated
Tracks 16-17 David Daltrey solo recordings

Tales Of Justine
*David Daltrey - Vocals, Electric, Acoustic Guitars, Bass, piano, Mellotron, Sitar, Celeste
*Paul Myerson - Organ, Bass, Celeste, Vocals
*Bruce Hurford - Drums (1967)
*Paul Locke - Drums (1968-69)

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Jackson Browne - For Everyman (1973 us, fascinating country folk rock, 2004 remaster)

For inwardly panoramic songwriting of an apocalyptic bent, Jackson Browne's second album is rivaled only by his first (the second one wins), and Jackson himself is rivaled by nobody. His work is a unique fusion of West Coast casualness and East Coast paranoia, easygoing slang and painstaking precision, child's-eye romanticizing and adult's-eye acceptance. He can expand explicit experience until it takes on the added dimension of an overview, or he can philosophize with such intimacy that every generality becomes a private truth. Either way, his songs hang suspended in an extraordinary twilight zone between reality and myth.

For Everyman further establishes Jackson as a purebred Seventies intelligence, though it also includes some of his precocious late Sixties material. He is the first major songwriter to have emerged with the knowledge that the battles Bob Dylan depicted a decade ago are either over or too ambiguous to be worth fighting any more. But unlike most older writers, he is not yet ready to retreat into merely mining the realm of private problems for subject matter. He has internalized the remains of those larger struggles and still dares to hope for solutions.

Nevertheless, he has progressed beyond the proselytizing stage, as the stunningly eloquent title cut carefully indicates. "For Everyman" is a more thoughtful, less impetuous reworking of "Rock Me on the Water"; both songs provide visions of the apocalypse, but this time the image is significantly altered "Rock Me" was a fiery youthful fantasy shot through with contempt ("Oh, people, look around you . . . "), dreams of escape ("While your walls are burnin', your towers are turnin'/I'm gonna leave you here, and try to get down to the sea somehow"), and nervous premonitions that escape might be just one more illusion ("Everyone must have some thought — That's gonna pull them through somehow").

"For Everyman" presents the crisis in gentler terms ("Everybody I talk to is ready to leave. With the light of the morning . . . " and offers an impassioned disc aner of special wisdom ("I'm not trying to tell you that I've seen the plan/Turn and walk away if you think I am"). Most notably, the renegade spirit who once dreamed of being bathed by "the sisters of the sun" while everything around him went up in flames is now ready to be left behind on the eve of the exodus — "holding sand," weighing "all my fine dreams, well thought-out schemes to gain the Motherland," and realizing that this time patience may make more sense than flight.

The daydreamer who waits to discover in himself the essence of "Everyman" is curiously suspended in time. He sits just shy of maturity, and will not progress until the object of his search takes clearer shape. Yet his childhood is over, however much he may long for "that place in the sun/Where a sweet child is still dancing." Jackson himself seems equally divided between teacher and searcher, mock-adult and mock-child, and one of his finest songs toys with the irony of his trying to play both roles at once.

In his best rocker, "Ready Or Not," he assumes one guise after another; the song sounds like the album's most sardonic fantasy, though it's actually the closest he comes to detailing a true story. His girl is pregnant, and he narrates the tale most comfortably by playing naive: "Someone's gonna have to explain it to me. I don't know what it means." He met the mother-to-be in a bar, "doing my very best Bogart," affecting sophistication. But after an initial show of bravado he's suddenly helpless again, posing (as in "Jamaica Say You Will") as passive, irresponsible, a child: "Next thing I remember she was all moved in, and I was buying her a washing machine."

Even when he asks the song's key question, the innocence is a sham: "Take a look in my eyes and tell me, brother/If I look like I'm ready . . .?" Why is he asking? The "not" of the title becomes all the more emphatic for remaining unspoken, despite the song's somewhat forced happy ending. (When Jackson performs it in concert, he turns the "rock & roll bad man" of the last line into a "rock & roll asshole," seemingly as uncomfortable with his tough-guy role as he is with any of the others.)

"Ready Or Not"'s final resolution rings a little false because it disrupts the pattern of descent that figures into Jackson's other songs. Most of his melodies build up their energy at the start of each line, wear down by line's end, then regroup and try again, once he's caught his breath. His lyrics often follow a similar scheme, starting off with something reasonably definite and then floating off into troublesome ambiguities.

"The Times You've Come," the album's sweetly erotic heartbreaker, takes the pattern of descent even further, exploring it on both spiritual and sexual levels. The title verb takes on progressively more sexual meaning, building up to a wonderfully evocative chorus (sung with Bonnie Raitt), then trailing off into post-orgasmic reverie. Meanwhile, the song begins with a relatively matter-of-fact assessment of the risks entailed in a relationship ("we've lost as much as we have won"), then falls further and further away from the concrete.

The final verse offers up a sense of sexual security, pauses, and then proceeds to undermine the calm with an ominous note to which the spirit has descended while the body was preoccupied: "Now we're lying here, so safe in the ruins of our pleasure/Laughter marks the place where we have fallen/And our lives are near, so it wouldn't occur to us to wonder/Is this the past or the future that is calling?"

For all the pessimism those lines imply, For Everyman also develops a faith in the writer's own ability to check his fall. Although the title cut rejects relatively traditional means of uplift ("that strong but gentle Father's hand"), in "Our Lady of the Well" he creates his own secular sacrament, once again placing faith in the ritual and restorative powers of water, which lent such mystical resonance to his last album. Back of the bus, Bob Heinlein.

Despite themes that bind many of its songs together, For Everyman is essentially a collection rather than an album, most of the songs are so complete that they resist Jackson's attempts to run them together (although "Sing My Songs to Me" is an exception, a longish fragment that serves to introduce the daydream spirit of the title cut).

So not everything fits smoothly, although even the jarring moments work in a positive way. The early songs, for instance, serve as fascinating keys to why Jackson — who was good to begin with — has gotten so much better. "These Days" is an elegantly composed exercise in sulky defensiveness, "Colors of the Sun" an oversimplified, childish indictment. Each is too single-minded to measure up to his current level of complexity, but their presence underscores the strength of his mature synthesis by demonstrating the emotional purity of its components.

"Take It Easy," the one song here that is not entirely Jackson's own — it was Glen Frey, of the Eagles, who was standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona — is the only cut whose melody actually outshines its lyrics. Jackson can usually turn street talk around to his own advantage, restoring cliches to their original meanings and arriving at an amazingly loose form of expression. (Sometimes he makes up phrases so natural they sound like street cliches the first time you hear them.) But the glibness gets out of hand in parts of "Take It Easy," and even more so in "Redneck Friend," which sounds like too deliberate an attempt to create a single by someone whose art, even at its most casual, remains too complex for strictly AM audiences. Still, "Redneck Friend" inadvertently offers up a line that's a concise, albeit conservative, estimation of the whole album's merits: "Eleven on a scale of ten."

Jackson's musicianship still lags behind his extraordinary abilities as a poet. Although his melodies blend beautifully with the mood and cadence of his lyrics, both tunes and arrangements seem shaped around the words. But the best arrangements here are effective on a startlingly deep level. "For Everyman" begins and ends with a low rumble from Russ Kunkel, then bursts out into a high-spirited release that mirrors the spirit of the song's resolution, simultaneously joyful and cautious. "Colors of the Sun" has an eerie, dirge-like quality that creates just enough tension to offset the song's more grandiose moments.

Even the more conventional arrangements work wonderfully well, with most of the spark coming from David Lindley, the guitar/fiddle jack-of-all-strings who also functions as Jackson's house wizard. The album has no official producer (Jackson thinks that's an unnecessary function, says the whole thing just "trickled out"), but most of it sounds like a brilliant, if understated, composite of the author's fluid downward progressions and Lindley's euphoric whimsy.

His singing has greatly improved since the last album, showing off a new expressiveness in his more soulful moments (particularly "These Times You've Come") and hitting the high notes with much more confidence and energy than before. He still doesn't write for his own voice, though; either that, or he sometimes can't play (especially piano) in whatever key he would sing best in. He often couples descending verses with choruses that shoot upward, and while the split evokes both a waking-dreaming polarity and an attempt to check downward drifting, it also forces him into the sort of low notes he can only mumble.

But every last note here, singable or otherwise, has a special resonance. Jackson's concerns, even more than his.
by Janet Maslin, November 22, 1973

1. Take It Easy - 3:52
2. Our Lady Of The Well - 3:39
3. Colors Of The Sun - 4:17
4. I Thought I Was A Child - 3:45
5. These Days - 4:47
6. Redneck Friend - 3:59
7. The Times You've Come - 3:39
8. Ready Or Not - 3:36
9. Sing My Songs To Me - 3:25
10.For Everyman - 6:12
All compositions by Jackson Browne except track #1, co-written with Glenn Frey

*Jackson Browne - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Rhythm Guitar
*David Crosby - Harmony Vocals
*Craig Doerge - Piano
*Wilton Felder - Bass Guitar
*Glenn Frey - Harmony Vocals
*Doug Haywood - Bass, Harmony Vocals
*Don Henley - Harmony Vocals
*Elton John - Piano
*Jim Keltner - Drums
*Sneaky Pete Kleinow - Pedal Steel
*Russ Kunkel - Drums
*David Lindley - Acoustic Guitar, Electric Fiddle, Electric Guitar, Lap Steel Guitar
*Gary Mallaber - Drums
*Mickey Mcgee - Drums
*Joni Mitchell - Electric Piano
*Spooner Oldham - Organ
*David Paich - Piano
*Bill Payne - Piano
*Bonnie Raitt - Harmony Vocals
*Leland Sklar - Bass
*Mike Utley - Organ

1972  Jackson Browne - Saturate Before Using 
1974  Jackson Browne - Late For The Sky ( 2014 remaster)

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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Original Sloth Band - Whoopee After Midnight (1973 canada, fine blues jazz ragtime jug bluegrass, 2011 korean remaster)

This is a collection of songs recorded as The Original Sloth Band would play them live - without overdubbing.

The first song is an old fiddle tune. Learned from Chet Parker's hammered dulcimer version "The New Heartbreak Blues" is roughly based on Gus Cannon's "Heart Breaking News" with a few words from Willie McTell. Fats Waller was the inspiration for "The Sheik of Araby". "Heaven" has been recorded by Flatt & Scruggs, among others (notably Red Allen & The Kentuckians on County). "The Johnson Rag" was adapted from Jimmy Dorsey and his Dorseyland Band's version, featuring the inimitable Claire "Shanty" Hogan. Probably the only other version of "I Just Want To Be Horizontal" is by Pat Flower and his Rhythm. "Stealin' " is from the most prolific of the old jug bands: The Memphis Jug Band.

Side Two opens with the old Coon & Saunder's Nighthawk's hit, "Rhythm King". "Get A Job" is by that traditional folk group, The Silhouettes. More than one source went into "The How Long Blues" but it owes its greatest debt to Franki "Half-pint" Jaxon. We found "Vulture..." at a Kiwanis Club rummage sale. "Mandolin King Rag" is in honour of the original mandolin king, Ex-King Thug III of Belgravia. "Coming In Glory" is from the singing of Fred Price, Clint Howard, and Doc Watson. "Buddha's Got The Blues" comes from the hot sleepy delta land of southern North York.

Back in the mid sixties of the last century, in the hot, sleepy delta land of southern North York, the Original Sloth Band began. Brothers Chris and Ken Whiteley and their friend Tom Evans started what was originally a jug band called Tubby Fats Original All Star Downtown Syncopated Big Rock Jug Band.

By 1973 they were known as the Original Sloth Band. At the forefront of independent recording, they released their first album, "Whoopee After Midnight." It was an incredibly eclectic mix of styles ranging through jug band to swing, fiddle tunes to doo wop, obscure songs from the 20's, 30's and 40's, bluegrass and more. Between the three of them they played 17 different instruments, all recorded live off the floor.

In 1975 the "Sloths" were back in the studio recording "Hustlin' and Bustlin." This time out they added string bass and drums to some tracks and were focusing more on early blues, jazz and jug band music. The early 1970s also marked their emergence in the burgeoning folk festival scene. They went on to prominence at festivals across Canada and in the United States.

Their third album was recorded and mixed by Daniel Lanois and featured contributions from the legendary Chicago blues pianist Blind John Davis. Titled for the year of its recording and release, "1978" demonstrated their growing musical sophistication while retaining their funky, old time roots. Also in 1978, they recorded with Leon Redbone on his album "Champagne Charlie" touring with him and appearing together on the famed television show "Saturday Night Live."

The following year Ken Whiteley recorded a gospel album, "Up Above My Head" which enlisted the support of his fellow Sloth Band members and also added the vocal harmonies of a trio of women calling themselves the Honolulu Heartbreakers. For the next two years they began doing shows as an 8 piece ensemble! 

After 1981, Chris and Ken both began pursuing other musical ventures. However they would still get the Original Sloth Band together for special engagements. The band gave it's last performance just a year and a half before Tom Evans' untimely death in 2009.

Chris and Ken Whiteley are both still very active in the Canadian musical scene. Chris has been focusing on his work with blues artist Diana Braithwaite. Ken is noted for his blues and gospel performances, his work in children's music and his record production. From time to time, though Chris and Ken will perform together and echoes of those early jug band blues, Original Sloth Band days will ring out once again.
CD Liner Notes

1. Temperance Reel - 1:09
2. The New Heartbreak Blues - 2:52
3. The Sheik Of Araby - 2:45
4. Heaven - 2:21
5. The Johnson Rag - 2:04
6. (I Just Want To Be) Horizontal - 2:59
7. Stealin' - 2:38
8. Rhythm King - 2:10
9. Get A Job - 1:26
10.How Long Blues - 2:35
11.I'm A Vulture (For Horticulture) - 3:05
12.Mandolin King Rag - 1:15
13.He's Coming In Glory - 2:21
14.Buddha's Got The Blues - 2:07
All compositions by Tom Evans, Chris Whiteley, Ken Whiteley

The Original Sloth Band
*Tom Evans - Mandolin, Clarinet, Tenor, Soprano Sax, Vocals,, Triangle
*Chris Whiteley - Trumpet, Harmonica, Bass Harmonica, Guitar, Vocals
*Ken Whiteley - Guitar, Mandolin, Washboard, Jug, Accordion, Vocals

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