In The Land Of FREE we still Keep on Rockin'

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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, July 29, 2017

Rare Earth - Dreams/Answers (1968 us, fine psych funky soulful rock, 2017 remaster)

It is fairly common knowledge now but many Rare Earth fans had no idea that they were previously known as The Sunliners! It’s a complicated path that appears to start around 1960. Gil Bridges, Pete Rivera, John Persh, Ralph Terrana, Russ Terrana, Fred Saxon and Steve Fisher were all early members who played hundreds of club dates and record five singles for three different labels, Hercules, Golden World and MGM. In the middle of all this action, Fred Saxon, Ralph and Russ Terrana and Steve Fisher made way for Rod Richards and Kenny James, this line up would take them through to the MGM 45 Land Of Nod and the transistion to the name Rare Earth. 

Many later biographies claim that they became Rare Earth when they signed to Motown.....this is not fact as they stayed with MGM/Verve to record their very first album called Dreams Answers as Rare Earth in 1968. The land Of Nod track was re - recorded for inclusion on the LP and as a complete album it proved to be a masterpiece debut which combined rock, soul and physedelia. 

Their 1968 debut Dreams/Answers was recorded in the band’s hometown of Detroit and arranged, conducted and mostly written by Mike Theodore and Dennis Coffey. This early in their career, Rare Earth hadn’t perfected the sound that they would become famous for, but you can already see the early mix of influences. 

1. Stop/Where Did Our Love Go (Brian Holland, Edward Holland, Jr., Lamont Dozier) - 3:05
2. 6-4-5-5 (Eddie Floyd, Steve Cropper) - 2:37
3. King of a Rainy Country (Paul Parrish) - 3:46
4. New Rochelle (Gary Harvey, Mike Theodore) - 3:10
5. Land of Nod (Gary Harvey, Mike Theodore, Peter Hoorelbeke) - 3:09
6. Mother's Oats (Dennis Coffey, Gary Harvey, Mike Theodore) - 2:40
7. Red Apple (Dennis Coffey, Gary Harvey, Mike Theodore) - 2:49
8. Get Ready (William Robinson, Jr.) - 2:55
9. Morning (Ron Koss) - 2:26
10.Searchin' (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) - 2:29
11.Yesterday on Third Avenue (Paul Parrish) - 3:17
12.Sidewalk Cafe (Paul Parrish) - 2:57

Rare Earth
*John Parrish - Vocals, Bass, Trombone
*Rod Richards - Guitar, Vocals
*Kenny James - Organ, Piano
*Gil Bridges - Saxophone, Vocals
*Pete Rivera - Drums, Vocals

1969-74  Rare Earth - Fill Your Head (three cds box set, five studio albums plus outtakes and alternative versions)

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Don Preston And The South - Hot Air Through A Straw From (1969 us, spectacular country folk bluesy psych rock, 2017 korean remaster)

Preston was born in Denver, Colorado, and moved to Whittier, California at age 8. He started playing guitar and sang in the Sewart-Barber Boys Choir. By age 11, he was performing with a traveling youth troupe, the Cactus Kids, that performed at store openings, company parties, and USO clubs throughout Southern California.

In the 1950s, he performed with The Penguins, The Coasters, The Olympics, The Jaguars, Ritchie Valens, The Righteous Brothers, Gene Vincent, Don Julian and the Meadowlarks, and Jessie Hill, among others.

In the 1960s, his band, Don and the Deacons, played at the Cinnamon Cinder, a North Hollywood club owned by Bob Eubanks. From there, he joined The Shindogs with Joey Cooper, Chuck Blackwell, Leon Russell, and Delaney Bramlett.

He performed and recorded in the 1970s with Leon Russell (including Carney and Leon Live), Joe Cocker, Mad Dogs & Englishmen (album), and on the The Concert for Bangladesh. He also recorded and performed with Freddie King, Ricky Nelson and JJ Cale.

Preston recorded two albums on A&M Records, both produced by Gordon Shryock. The first was Bluse (1968), and the second was Hot Air Through A Straw (1968) by Don Preston & The South with Bob Young, Casey Van Beek, and Bobby Cochran. He also recorded an album on Stax Records titled Still Rock (1969), as well as solo albums on Shelter Records Been Here All The Time (1974) and Sacre Blues (1997) on DJM Records.

Not to  been confused with another rock musician named Don Preston, a keyboardist for Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention. 

1. American Gothic - 2:04
2. Here's To You Baby - 2:41
3. Daybreaks - 2:50
4. Sunshine Line - 2:21
5. You Won't Let Me Be (Don Preston, Joey Cooper) - 2:15
6. She Feels Like Sunshine - 1:57
7. End Of The Play - 2:16
8. Blues Break - 0:37
9. Circle For A Landing - 2:31
10.Love Season - 2:13
11.Medley: Nite Of The Fool-Sweetest Girl - 4:13
12.Got Me In The Middle (Joey Cooper, Red West) - 2:28
13.He's Waiting Now - 1:52
14.Spend My Time - 2:23
All compositions by Don Preston except where stated

The South
*Bobby Cochran - Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Don Preston - Vocals, Guitar
*Casey Van Beek - Bass, Backing Vocals
*Bob Young - Drums, Backing Vocals
*Carl Radle - Bass
*Jim Keltner - Drums
*Charles Blackwell - Drums
*Bill Boatman - Guitar, Fiddle
*Peter Pilafian - Violin
*Richard Torres - Flute, Saxophone

Related Act
1969  Stillrock - Stillrock (2014 korean remaster)

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Seatrain - Seatrain / Marblehead Messenger (1970-71 us, splendid blend of country folk blues and classic rock, double disc set)

Seatrain is the second album by the band Seatrain, recorded in 1970 and adding Peter Rowan on guitar and lead vocals. It was the first record produced by George Martin after his work with The Beatles. The most successful song on this album is "13 Questions", which reached #49 in the Billboard charts.

More of the same, in this case, doesn't mean more hits. Marblehead Messenger, while better played and sung, didn't have the appeal that their previous effort seemed to. But it is much more of a band effort, and the tunes are well worth seeking out and enjoying. A forgotten jewel of its time. 
by James Chrispell

Disc 1 Seatrain 1970
1. I'm Willin' (Lowell George) - 3:41
2. Song Of Job (Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 6:15
3. Broken Morning (Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 3:11
4. Home To You (Peter Rowan) - 3:31
5. Out Where The Hills (Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 5:59
6. Waiting For Elijah (Peter Rowan) - 3:47
7. 13 Questions (Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 3:05
8. Oh My Love (Peter Rowan) - 2:48
9. Sally Goodin' (Richard Greene) - 2:19
10.Creepin' Midnight (Carole King, Gerry Goffin) - 5:32
11.Orange Blossom Special (Ervin T. Rouse) - 5:17

Disc 2 Marblehead Messenger 1971
1. Gramercy (Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 3:01
2. The State Of Georgia's Mind (Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 4:03
3. Protestant Preacher (Peter Rowan) - 5:25
4. Lonely's Not The Only Way To Go (Lloyd Baskin) - 2:27
5. How Sweet Thy Song (Peter Rowan) - 5:00
6. Marblehead Messenger (Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 2:40
7. London Song (Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 4:24
8. Mississippi Moon (Peter Rowan) - 3:16
9. Losing All The Years (Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 4:38
10.Despair Tire (Richard Greene, Andy Kulberg, Jim Roberts) - 5:31

The Seatrain
*Larry Atamanuik - Percussion, Drums
*Lloyd Baskin - Keyboards, Lead Vocals
*Richard Greene - Violin, Viola, Keyboards, Vocals
*Andy Kulberg - Bass, Flute, Vocals
*Peter Rowan - Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Jim Roberts - Lyricist, Vocals

1969  Sea Train - SeaTrain 

Relatd Acts
The Blues Project
1966  Live At The Cafe Au Go Go
1966  Projections
1967  Live At Town Hall
1968  Planned Obsolescence
1973  Reunion in Central Park

1972  Rowan Brothers - Rowan Brothers
1975  Rowans - The Rowans
1976-77  The Rowans - Sibling Rivalry / Jubilation  

1968  Earth Opera - Earth Opera
1969  Earth Opera - The Great American Eagle Tragedy

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Zalman Yanovsky - Alive And Well In Argentina (1968 canada / us, bright genius colorful psychedelia, 2010 remaster and expanded)

I know at least one of his fellow supposedly-lovin' Spoonfuls resents the situation to this day, but whenever Zal Yanovsky appeared on stage alongside John Sebastian, Joe Butler, and Steve Boone during their halcyon daze in the mid-swinging Sixties, some poor girl in the audience would inevitably capsize the entire proceedings by screeching out a heartfelt, lung-felt, 16-year-old cry of "ZALLY!" at precisely the most inopportune of moments (i.e.; just as Sebastian would sensually lean into his mic to softly croon how he didn't want to have to do it). And then, like some completely-wound-up playtoy suddenly let free to dash across the nursery floor, Zally would take this as his cue to mug wildly into the nearest camera, bouncing up and down on one or more legs, before capping it all with a toss of his trademark ten-gallon sheriff's hat high up into the lighting rig, with often quite disastrous results.

All such strategically-enacted cartoon antics aside however, those who weren't lucky enough to be a part of a Lovin' Spoonful audience circa 1966, nor even care to obsess today over video footage of the band easily rivaling the circus atmosphere of a typical Ed Sullivan Show, can still marvel at the cockamamie genius that was Yanovsky by listening to the guitar breaks illuminating any of the four-dozen-or-so Spoonful songs Zal contributed his peculiar, fleet-fingered artistry to. Personally speaking, five notes into that "Do You Believe In Magic" solo made ME a disciple for life, yet an absolute wealth of such four-bar flashes of quicksilver, Music City grit exist throughout the Spoonful's loving canon of good-time rock. Mr. Sebastian has frequently gone on record over how his trusty right-hand guitarist could sound like Elmore James one moment, Floyd Cramer the next, then play just like Chuck Berry a-ringin' a bell -- sometimes all simultaneously! -- and all at the drop of a single ten-gallon hat. In fact, the deliciously crazed six-string acrobatics Zally laid all over the "What's Up, Tiger Lily?" score was only one of many reasons that very first Woody Allen movie remains, at least to these eyes and ears, the myopic li'l director's absolute best.

More magnificent still was the equally cinematic vision Zal brought to his first and sorrowfully lone solo album, "Alive And Well In Argentina." This thoroughly bent 1968 concoction kicked off with a decaying rendition of the Canadian National Anthem superimposed over a chorus of croaking tree frogs (oh, Canada indeed!) then dove headfirst into a near hour's worth of true, Yanovskized dementia (classic maul-overs of "Little Bitty Pretty One" and "You Talk Too Much," plus a six-minute-plus tone poem entitled " Lt. Schtinckhausen" complete with, true to the album's theme, stereophonic storm-troopers). A 1971 re-release of this monumental long-player also included Zal's non-hit single from the Summer of Love, "As Long As You're Here," written by that ace songwriting duo hot off a couple of Turtles chart-toppers, Gary Bonner and Alan Gordon. One of the era's sillier seven-inch single slices of surrealism, the original vinyl disc included the entire A-side re-spooled BACKWARDS on the flip (sure, Napoleon XIV might've done it first with "!Aaah-ah Yawa Em Ekat Ot Gnimoc Er'Yeht," but Zally always was the living, strumming embodiment of any Top Forty funny-farm you'd care to inhabit). "Is it a hiiiiiit, or a misssssss?" a chorus-from-hell wailed over and over as the song faded but, well, both single and album WERE unmitigated misses it's tragic to recall. Still smarting over his recent drug-bust-induced departure from the Spoonful (both Zal and Steve were popped holding the goods, the Feds threatened to deport the former if he didn't identify his dealer, Zally snitched but was sent packin' straight back to the Great Wide North irregardless, and a Rolling Stone Magazine-sanctioned boycott of all things S-ful ensued) our hero was obliged to pen his very OWN review of "--Argentina" for the Toronto Daily Star newspaper. But alas, despite Sebastian swathing himself head-to-toe in tie-dye at the Woodstock fest, the band's hip(py) factor was irrevocably doomed and Yanovsky's name especially remained Bay Area mud for the remainder of that flowered era.

So no longer a Lovin' anything ("the band was like a marriage with four people in it," he later recalled. "As I look back, I opened the door and they kicked me out"), yet characteristically nonplussed following a couple of projects spent next with Tim Buckley and Kris Kristofferson, Zal unceremoniously hung up his guitar almost for good and by the Seventies found himself BEHIND the lens for a change, producing a Canadian afternoon court-TV (quel irony!) semi-reality series called "Magistrate's Court" before appearing as the petulantly potty-mouthed voice-of-reason alongside Alice Cooper and Mick Jagger in the scathing 1975 documentary "Rock-A-Bye" (in which, among several other things, Zally brought serial swearing to prime time a full quarter century before those Osbournes).

But if there's one thing a musician doesn't just love to do besides playing, it's eating, and of course Zal went even that vice one better by opening up his very own restaurant inside a landmark Kingston, Ontario livery stable. Chez Piggy, along with its sidekick bakery Pan Chancho, kept Zally literally cookin' throughout the final chapters of his tumultuous life, and I'm proud to claim that whilst on the road with the Dave Rave Conspiracy combo I had the pleasure of lunching within the fabled walls of Chez Piggy myself. In fact, it's rumored that our guitarist at the time had once actually dated Zal's daughter Zoe, so armed with this information -- and pledging my undying love of "Alive And Well In Argentina" -- we relayed a request for the man himself back to the kitchen as dessert was served. Unfortunately Zally never did bless our table personally, and I had to wait nearly another decade to spot the man again on late-night Canadian TV, hawking his cookbook whilst most indiscriminately dumping wine all over a shrimp platter-in-progress. I am happy to report however that this fleeting appearance demonstrated the man had not lost one single inch of his Ed Sullivision-era zaniness.

More recently, Zal rejoined his former bandmates for their 2000 induction into the so-called Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ("a big media event that's over in two seconds," he so aptly put it upon arriving back home in Kingston) and then almost accompanied John Sebastian on a brief tour of England shortly thereafter. Twas not to be, however, as Zal succumbed to an attack of the heart on his farm on, wouldn't you just know it, Friday the 13th of December, 2002. It was certainly a dark, dark day for lovers of good-times AND music the world over.

"There was not any book anywhere that he followed," eulogized his fellow Canadian and fellow former Mugwump Denny Doherty, "and he is gone too soon." But in reality the magical mayhem of Zal Yanovsky will live on, wherever and whenever one might hear a lightning-brilliant burst of electric guitar in the middle of some three-minute jug-pop oldie --or see an over-sized cowboy hat flying high out of the frame at exactly the wrong moment. In his memory then, let's just let the boy Rock and Roll. 
by Gary "Pig" Gold, July 12, 2017 

1. Raven In A Cage (Zalman Yanovsky, Jerry Yester) - 2:50
2. You Talk Too Much (Roy Smeck, Coleman Kamile) - 2:33
3. Last Date (Floyd Cramer Jr) - 3:03
4. Little Bitty Pretty One (Robert Byrd) - 2:53
5. Alive And Well In Argentina (Rappaport De Boeuf, Zalman Yanovsky) - 3:26
6. Brown To Blue (Virginia Franks, George Jones, Johnny Mathis) - 2:25
7. Priscilla Millionaira (John Sebastian) - 2:18
8. I Almost Lost My Mind (Ivory Joe Hunter) - 3:06
9. Hip Toad (Judy Henske, Jerry Yester) - 2:04
10.Lt. Schtinckhausen (Zalman Yanovsky, Jerry Yester) - 6:05
11.As Long As You're Here (Garry Bonner, Alan Gordon) - 2:21
12.Ereh Er'ouy Sa Gnol Sa (Garry Bonner, Alan Gordon) - 2:19

*Zal Yanovsky - Vocals, Guitar
*Jerry Yester - Orchestral Arrangements

 The Lovin' Spoonful
1965  Do You Believe In Magic (2016 Blu Spec Bonus Tracks Edition)
1966  Daydream  (2016 Blu Spec Bonus Tracks Edition)
1966  Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful  (2016 Blu Spec Bonus Tracks Edition)
1966 The Lovin' Spoonful - What's Up, Tiger Lily (2008 japan remaster) 
1967-68  You're A Big Boy Now / Everything Playing (2011 edition and 2016 Blu Spec Bonus Tracks Edition)
1969  Revelation: Revolution '69
Related Acts
1969-76  John Sebastian - Faithful Virtue, The Reprise Recordings 
1969  Judy Henske And Jerry Yester - Farewell Aldebaran 

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Bob Brown - The Wall I Built Myself (1970 us, beautiful tender jazzy folk poetic ruminations, Richie Havens production, 2016 remaster)

Spontaneity drifts through The Wall I Built Myself, Bob Brown’s 1970 debut album. The D.C. folk artist’s distinctive chord changes animate his music. And, although these lilting, gorgeous songs were recorded decades ago, it feels like Brown is sitting next to you playing live. Iconic Woodstock opener Richie Havens captured Brown’s intimate performance and free-flowing dreamy style when he produced the LP, which he released on his MGM label, Stormy Forest.

Brown met Havens in the summer of ’66 when he saw the ascendant folk hero at the Newport Folk Festival. It was Brown’s second trek to the illustrious musical communion. He returned after a life-changing experience the summer before when Bob Dylan beguiled thousands playing “Maggie’s Farm” atop a wooden box in a field. “The feeling in the air was mystifying,” says Brown. And after discovering the three musicians he considers his mentors—Tim Harden, Eric Anderson, and Havens—Brown was inspired to pursue his music career.

Havens would help Brown achieve that goal, and it started back at Newport in ’66. “I stood a couple feet away from Richie and had a funny feeling,” says Brown. About a month later they connected in Provincetown. Brown was hitchhiking through the Northeast to play music, and he caught Havens at the famous Blues Bag coffeehouse. “I was blown away by Richie,” says Brown. The next day, the pair sat on the beach and exchanged songs.

Years later, while at the University of Maryland, Brown called Havens for legal advice regarding a deal with Mercury Records. Havens convinced Brown to join Stormy Forest. “I got up to the Big Apple and was young and nervous,” says Brown. “We met on one of the top floors of the MGM building and ironed out my contract.” Brown signed on for two albums, The Wall and its follow-up, 1971’s Willoughby’s Lament. Although they received positive praise, Brown’s LPs eventually went out of print.

Brown grew up in Clinton, Maryland. His grandmother, Celeste, was a major musical influence. “I used to sit under her grand piano listening to Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Chopin, and Beethoven,” says Brown. “A lot of sensitivity around classical music and chord changes came from her.” Brown started on piano at age five and gravitated to folk music in junior high. He’d travel 30 minutes north to D.C. for concerts, learning from musicians like Judy Collins, Tom Paxton, and Peter, Paul & Mary. As a high school sophomore, Brown had already taken the stage at D.C.’s seminal folk coffeehouses—Through the Gates, Crow’s Toe, and the Iguana.

Brown’s exquisite but tough sound took shape while studying creative writing at the University of Maryland. He lived in a dorm called Garrett Hall, where he met Orin Smith, who played guitar upside-down and left-handed. Smith’s ingenuity fascinated Brown, and they teamed up. Smith introduced Brown to Joe Clark, a Peabody and Julliard trained pianist and saxophonist, whose classical background reminded Brown of his grandmother. Brown calls Clark his musical soul mate, and their mystical chemistry pushed Brown’s music toward a blend of folk, jazz, and rock. “This approach let us play off each other so that no two performances sounded the same,” Brown says. Clark later became the founder of The Entourage Music and Theater Ensemble.  

Other influences came into Brown’s life during college. That’s when Brown met his first love and muse, Pamela. And Rudd Fleming, head of the university’s creative writing program, encouraged Brown to write both songs and poetry for class and pushed the young musician creatively. “Fleming helped me find my voice,” says Brown. The emotive work of Tim Hardin also affected Brown’s passionate singing and playing.

Davis Franks, a groundbreaking conceptual artist and poet, was another guide. Franks is well-known for his composition performed with tugboat whistles and sneaking into the Social Security Headquarters to Xerox his naked body. After meeting at Through the Gates coffeehouse, the pair collaborated on three songs for The Wall I Built Myself, including the startling opener “It Takes the World to Make a Feather Fall.” “David and I were competitive brothers,” says Brown. “He pushed me to be more hard-edged, and I pushed him to be softer.”

The Wall I Built Myself took shape against a backdrop of peace and free love of the ’60s counterculture movement. Brown’s solemn, lilting acoustic guitar and intense dynamic shifts on the album hint at the tense social and political climate of the era. Brown, Clark, and Smith recorded the album’s demo at the Cellar Door, the historic Georgetown club that elevated the careers of luminaries like Neil Young, James Taylor, and Jackson Browne. Brown, a regular, opened for some of the finest musicians who performed there—Tim Harden, Eric Anderson, and Neil Young.

After playing around the D.C. area, Brown and his collaborators perfected their musical chemistry. The interplay of Smith’s unusual electric guitar, Clark’s shape-shifting piano, and Brown’s tender acoustic guitar and mysterious, powerful vocals gelled into a compelling sound tapestry. Brown and his band mates recorded The Wall I Built Myself live, lending the album its powerful sense of immediacy. The trio brought a few other musicians into the sessions, including bass player Marshall Hawkins.

Hawkins, who has collaborated with Miles Davis, Donny Hathaway, and Roberta Flack, connected with Brown on a spiritual level. “Bob was very gentle, so we became good friends almost instantly,” says Hawkins. “Marshall’s style of playing was impressive to me and fit our musical style,” Brown says.

Brown and his collaborators recorded The Wall I Built Myself at Mira Sound Studios on West 57th Street in New York, with sessions running from noon to midnight. Amtrak carried Brown and his band back and forth between D.C. and New York, where Brown stayed at the famous Chelsea Hotel. When the sessions ended, Brown and his muse listened to the final mix in a sleeper car on a snowy train ride back to D.C.

The Wall I Built Myself offered a proper, engaging introduction to Brown. Producer Mark Greenhouse, who met Brown through the Iguana coffeehouse, says the record “nailed him.” “Bob Brown’s music is important both intellectually and artistically,” says Greenhouse. “I’m amazed by its power, beauty, and spontaneity.”

As Brown’s music career faded, he found his way into the service industry. He’s since become a consultant, trainer, and keynote speaker, which takes him around the world and led him to his wife, Judith. But Brown’s musical legacy never faded. Even though his two LPs went out of print, they are collectors’ items cherished by refined crate-diggers.

Tompkins Square has rescued The Wall I Built Myself and Willoughby’s Lament from oblivion with these official reissues. More than 40 years have passed, but the albums retain the spark that made Brown’s work so irresistible. The records also carry the spirit of Brown’s close collaborators who have passed—Joe Clark, Orin Smith, David Franks, and Richie Havens.

Together they bring the work of Bob Brown to life and let the world continue to experience his special brand of magic. “Bob is a pure and simple artist, who creates something powerful from nothing,” Greenhouse says.  
by Leor Galil

1. It Takes The World To Make A Feather Fall (Bob Brown, David Franks) - 6:35
2. Quiet Waterfall - 3:37
3. Monday Virus (Bob Brown, David Franks) - 3:07
4. First Light - 7:31
5. Winds Of Change (Bob Brown, David Franks) - 3:30
6. Selina - 4:12
7. Seek The Sun - 5:13
8. Icarus - 6:54
Music and Lyrics by Bob Brown except where indicated

*Bob Brown - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Joe Clark - Organ, Piano
*Marshall Hawkins - Bass
*Roland Henderson - Violin
*Bill Lavorgna - Drums
*Orin Smith - Guitar

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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Bobby Whitlock - Rock Your Sox Off (1976 us, awesome southern groovy boogie rock, 2016 SHM remaster)

Featuring many of the same musicians as his previous, One Of A Kind, Rock Your Sox Off mines similar sonic landscapes. The nucleus of the project was Kenny Tibbets on bass, Jerome Thomas on drums, Bobby on keys, and to start out with Les Dudek on guitar. In the early stages of recording, Les left the project and Jimmy Nalls came aboard. That was the basic lineup for the record. Everyone else was added as guest spots, after the fact. This became common practice for the records we were doing then. Everyone's album was sort of a family reunion. All the Southern musicians enjoyed a comrade together. 

The album is a mix of bluesy rockers and gritty soul, elevated above the ordinary by Whitlock's heartfelt vocals. Sweet Mother's Fun adds a little diversity, with mexican trumpets giving it a cantina blues sound. Also of note is a song he previously did with Eric Clapton's Derek and the Dominoes, Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad, here slower and more groove-oriented. In addition, the album features the top-notch production of Paul Hornsby and the gutsy guitar of relative unknown Jimmy Nalls. 
by Rob Caldwell

1. Why Does Love Got To Be So Bad - 6:44
2. If You Only Knew Me - 4:17
3. Sweet Mother’s Fun - 3:17
4. The Second Time Around - 5:02
5. Brand New Song - 4:21
6. Bottom Of The Bottle - 4:01
7. t’s Been a Long Long Time - 5:41
8. Make It Through The Night - 5:02
All songs written by Bobby Whitlock except track #1 co-written with Eric Clapton

*Bobby Whitlock - Organ, Piano, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Kenny Tibbetts - Bass
*Jerome Thomas - Drums, Congas
*Jimmy Nalls - Guitar, Dobro
*Dru Lumbar - Guitar
*Larry Howard - Guitars
*Ricky Hirsch - Slide Guitar
*Les Dudek - Electric Guitar
*Jimmy Hall - Alto Sax
*Paul Hornsby - Tambourine
*Larry Howard - Guitar
*Leo Labranche - Trumpet
*Skip Lane - Baritone Sax
*Chuck Leavell - Piano

1972  Bobby Whitlock - Where There's a Will There's a Way (2013 remaster)
1975  Bobby Whitlock - One Of A Kind (2016 japan SHM remaster)
1970  Derek And The Dominos - Layla (2013 platinum SHM edition)
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Friday, July 7, 2017

The Free Spirits - Out Of Sight And Sound (1966 us, superb jazz psych rock, 2006 remaster)

The Free Spirits emerged from that NYC stew in 1965, jazz players with drop-dead chops playing on the rock beat, psychedelic lyrics infused with whatever there needed to be on the date, in the moment, rebelling against the Top 40 mentality at all times, surging always pushing always looking always searching, “I’m gonna be free…for the rest of my days”… they sang, meaning it literally, the direction they were heading was THAT way….

The Free Spirits was a quintet: Larry Coryell, Ra-Kalam Bob Moses, Chris Hills, Columbus Chip Baker and Jim Pepper the members of the band, a collaboration that lasted from 1965 to 1967. In the same year that The Beatles released Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Jimi Hendrix came out of nowhere with Are You Experienced?, The Free Spirits released Out of Sight and Sound, their only LP, and the first of its kind in the history of music.
After The Free Spirits broke up, Jim Pepper, multi-instrumentalist Chris Hills and Columbus Chip Baker formed  a band called Everything is Everything, adding Lee Reinoehl, John Waller and Jim Zitro to the lineup, and on their LP and 45 RPM single was the first expression of Jim Pepper’s seminal, everlasting, transformational composition, Witchi Tai To, and Jim Pepper’s phenomenal, absolutely unique rendering of John Coltrane’s Naima, both songs seeded from ancient traditions emerging from different continents through this medium, this young man with a tenor saxophone he pretty much taught himself to play, Jim and his father Gilbert Pepper and grandfather Ralph Pepper, the Old Souls behind the Fingers….

Well-established as a jazz, rock and blues musician with fabulous improvisational skills and an unforgettable sound, Jim Pepper went in a new direction when he recorded his first LP under his own name in 1971, Pepper’s Powwow, a statement of 12 songs and chants of Native American music, another American masterpiece, told in jazz, free jazz, rock, blues, traditional Native and country idioms, and a more mature Jim Pepper’s Witchi Tai To, with one of the most magnificent solos ever recorded in the middle, a song and a reading with the power to change a person’s life, make you feel glad that you’re not dead….

Jim Pepper put the Pepper’s Powwow recording band together in 1971 in New York City, another seminal lineup with Larry Coryell on guitar, Portland’s Tom Grant on piano, Ravie Pepper on flute, Chuck Rainey and Jerry Jemmot on bass, Billy Cobham and Spider Rice on drums. His father Gilbert Pepper told the story of the Senecas in Peter LaFarge’s words and on the other side of the country out in the middle of San Francisco Bay, members of the American Indian Movement occupied Alcatraz, John Trudell their spokesman and poet warrior.

1. Don't Look Now (But Your Head Is Turned Around) - 2:19
2. I'm Gonna Be Free - 3:31
3. LBOD (Larry Coryell, Bob Moses) - 3:06
4. Sunday Telephone (Larry Coryell, Columbus Baker) - 2:57
5. Blue Water Mother (Larry Coryell, Columbus Baker) - 2:47
6. Girl Out Of The Mountain (Larry Coryell, Columbus Baker) - 2:42
7. Cosmic Daddy Dancer (Larry Coryell, Columbus Baker) - 2:37
8. Bad News Cat - 3:27
9. Storm - 2:15
10.Early Mornin' Fear (Larry Coryell, Nick Hyams) - 2:40
11.Angels Can't Be True - 2:44
12.Tatoo Man (Larry Coryell, Columbus Baker) - 3:00
13.I Feel A Song - 2:36
All compositions by Larry Coryell except where indicated

The Free Spirits
*Columbus Baker - Guitar, Vocals
*Larry Coryell - Vocal, Guitar, Sitar
*Chris Hill - Bass, Vocals
*Bob Moses - Drums
*Jim Pepper - Tenor Sax, Flute

1967  The Free Spirits - Live At The Scene (2011 release)
1969  Larry Coryell - Coryell

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Free Spirits - Live At The Scene (1967 us, jazz psych rock, 2011 release)

Before earning world renown as one of the most electrifying guitarists in American bop, Larry Coryell was a member of a local NYC group called The Free Spirits who is widely considered to be the very first act to fuse rock and jazz into a cohesive unit of expression.

Their sound was one that brought the psyched-out, organ-heavy vibe of such Metro area heroes as The Vagrants, The Hassles and Vanilla Fudge to the improvisational landscape of the Village Vanguard circuit, rafting a primitive version of a style that would reach a fever pitch in the 1970s with acts like Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever and Weather Report. 

This 10 song live set, unearthed by the UK archive imprint Sunbeam Records, catches the group at their youngest and most savage during an early 1967 performance at Steve Paul’s mythical Midtown nightclub The Scene. Though the fidelity of the recording is a B- audience capture at best, this dynamic document serves as a potent glimpse into the uncanny prowess of The Free Spirits at the peak of their game in a way their eponymous studio debut from 1966 could never fully convey, augmented by impressive guest turns from such fellow future jazz leaders as Randy Brecker, Joe Beck and Dave Liebman.

Regardless of its fidelity, Live At The Scene is nevertheless a worthwhile slice of New York rock history that any educated fan of fusion needs to check out.
by Stephen Judge

1. "LBOD" (Larry Coryell, Bob Moses) - 2:48
2. I Feel A Song (Larry Coryell) - 5:10
3. Earth Girl (Columbus "Chip" Baker) - 5:03
4. Sunday Telephone (Columbus "Chip" Baker, Larry Coryell) - 5:57
5. Cosmic Daddy Dancer (Columbus "Chip" Baker, Larry Coryell) - 4:49
6. Storm (Columbus "Chip" Baker, Larry Coryell) - 2:39
7. Blue Water Mother (Columbus "Chip" Baker, Larry Coryell) - 2:53
8. Peyote Song-Girl Of The Mountain (Columbus "Chip" Baker, Larry Coryell, Jim Pepper) - 3:48
9. I'm Gonna Be Free (Larry Coryell) - 9:33
10.Night In Tunisia (Dizzy Gillespie) - 12:32

The Free Spirits
*Columbus "Chip" Baker - Guitar, Vocals
*Larry Coryell - Guitar, Vocals
*Chris Hills - Bass, Vocals
*Bob Moses - Drums
*Jim Pepper - Flute, Vocals
*Randy Brecker - Trumpet
*Joe Beck - Guitar
*David Liebman - Tenor Sax

1969  Larry Coryell - Coryell

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Marian Henderson - Cameo (1964-70 australia, divine folk jazzy silky rock, 2016 double disc edition)

Marian Henderson was the queen of the Australian folk revival during the 1960s. With her distinctive, pure alto voice, beautiful face and long hair, she was the epitome of the new folk style. She gave life to old songs such as the convict ballad Van Diemen's Land, and The Streets of Forbes, about bushranger Ben Hall, which she recorded for the Australian cultural history series The Restless Years in 1967.

Alongside jazz and folk club gigs, she toured extensively. Red Cross tours took her island-hopping in light planes around remote New Guinea and Fiji, and to the Cork festival where she "cajoled old Irish tunes into the present". She later featured on ABC television in Jazz Meets Folk, and hosted the music show Sit Yourself Down.

Henderson's looks and talent attracted much attention from promoters, who invariably wanted to change her music and image but she was always her own woman, and turned down an offer from Harry M. Miller to take over her career: she had no desire to become a pop princess. Integrity to herself and to the music was everything: anything else is degrading to the songwriter and the audience, she said.

Largely self-taught, Henderson would speak lyrics to pull out the drama of a song, and then give it her musical interpretation. Her enunciation was always precise: she hated sloppy lyrics, from be-bop to opera.

Marian Grossman was born in Melbourne on April 16, 1937, the only child of Flight Lieutenant Ernest Grossman and his wife, Amelia (nee Martin). Amelia was a country girl from Porepunkah near Bright, and Ernest also had a rural background. He grew up on a farm at Bowser, near Wangaratta. He learnt the piano and cornet, and often played accompaniment for silent pictures at theatres in the town.

Like many entertainers, Marian had a peripatetic childhood as the air force moved Ernest from place to place. She went to 13 schools, from city to country and back again, before finishing her education at Essendon High School. Tall and athletic, she excelled at running, high jump, swimming and tennis. Then, in her early teens, Henderson found music – or perhaps music found her. Ernest played cornet in the military band, and she would accompany him at home on the piano, playing by ear as she never learnt to read music. Throughout her subsequent career most of the arrangements she made were committed to memory and rarely written down, unless by someone else.

Essendon High was significant for another reason: fellow student Don Henderson, whom Marian would later marry. At first she "couldn't stand him" but they became an item after a school dance, where he was the only boy who asked her to dance who was taller than her. "So I said yes." Like many girls at that time, Marian left school at 15 to learn shorthand, typing and "how to be elegant no matter what the situation" at business college.

Although her parents did not particularly approve of boyfriend Don, Ernest did make him a present of an Hawaiian guitar, which he adapted for rock 'n' roll. Don and Marian formed a band, The Thunderbirds, but Marian soon lost interest and turned to jazz. She was playing piano with a band, and one evening the vocalist failed to appear. Marian stepped up to the microphone, and at 18 her career as a singer began. She was hired as a rock 'n' roll singer for big bands playing dances at suburban town halls, but would persuade them to also incorporate jazz standards, sung her way.

The '60s was a fertile time for musicians of many styles, and Henderson soon came across some folkies. Although she had never heard of folk music, she quickly learnt five-string banjo, adapted some to guitar and began singing the style for which she was best known.

She and Don had a white wedding "under sufferance" when she was 21 and, gathering their courage, moved to Sydney to escape her parents, whom she described as tyrannical. Don encouraged Marian, writing her poetry and songs, however they divorced, regretfully but amicably, in 1962.

Some time before, Marian and Don had met Tom Baker on Glebe Bridge. Driving across it one day they saw a Bugatti, which was a rare sight, so they turned around and chased it and met its owner. They all became very good friends; after the divorce she and Baker were married, but Marian kept the surname Henderson for performing as she was already known by it. Their only child, Ben, was born in 1967. However, in 1970 Baker fell ill and died, and Marian's life changed.

She told fellow musician and historian Alex Hood, in recordings he made in 2002, now archived at the NLA, "working as a single mother to put shoes on my son, pay off mortgage, [I] put up with a lot." Sexual discrimination, and advancement via the casting couch, were rife in the industry (Now, she told Hood, "I could sue the bastards.")

But Henderson was a fighter, determined to carry on, and do things her way. For the next decade she worked in television, made recordings, including the Cameo album (which disappointed her – it was in at lunchtime and out by dinner, she remembered, with no time for revision) and many hundreds of live performances.

The second act of Henderson's life began in the late 1970s, with a move away from Sydney to laid-back Lismore. Her son was nine, and she effectively retired from music. Her final big tour was for the (then) Arts Council, driving the length and breadth of NSW by herself in her Ford Escort.

Mother and son settled into a quieter way of life, but Henderson was deeply artistic and soon was studying visual arts, costume design, and then teaching painting and music. After eight years she moved to Nimbin, to have more space. The little town's art scene was an attraction, and she knew many people there.

Henderson remained a modest and very private person, with some inherent contradictions. According to Ben she didn't really enjoy the company of large numbers of people at the same time … but she came alive on stage: "If she could have got away with just being a recording star she may have done that, although I also know she enjoyed revving up a crowd."

In her later years Henderson lived independently, and had a great circle of friends. She loved camping, the beach, and her gardens were renowned. Music remained her passion, and she would "try out" all types of contemporary music, even if it was not to her taste.

Three years before she died, Marian Henderson was diagnosed with cancer. She declined surgery, in order to live the best life she could for as long as possible. In her final six months she lived with Ben and his wife Madonna at Mt Mee, inland from Caboolture.

After her death, a large group of friends gathered at her beloved Brunswick Heads, to celebrate her life and music, and to scatter her ashes onto the sea.
by Rosalie Higson

Disc 1
1. Antique Annies Magic Lantern Show (Jimmy Stewart, Doug Ashdown) - 3:32
2. Miss Otis Regrets (Cole Porter) - 2:48
3. Stranger Song (Leonard Cohen) - 5:38
4. Lady Of Carlisle - 3:23
5. Fotheringay - 2:24
6. Streets Of Forbes - 2:52
7. First Boy I Loved (Robin Williamson) - 6:52
8. Country Girl - 5:03
9. Guess Who I Saw Today (Murray Grand, Elisse Boyd) - 2:40
10.Bald Mountain - 3:48
11.Convict Maid - 2:03
12.Sprig Of Thyme - 3:00

Disc 2
1. Streets of Forbes - 2:42
2. Look Out Below - 3:52
3. Moreton Bay - 3:21
4. Old Black Alice - 1:16
5. I Know Where I'm Going - 1:58
6. Black Is the Colour of My True Love's Hair - 4:26
7. Kum Bay Ya - 3:41
8. Swing Low Sweet Chariot - 3:05
9. Waltzing Matilda - 2:51
10.Jim Jones of Botnay Bay - 3:42
11.Euabalong Ball - 3:06
12.Van Dieman's Land - 3:30
13.Botany Bay - 3:15
14.Springtime It Brings on the Shearing - 3:04
15.The Old Bark Hut - 2:34
16.Peter Clarke - 4:19

*Marian Henderson - Vocals, Guitar
*Doug Ashdown - Guitars
*John Jackson - Guitars
*Ed Gaston - Bass
*Don Burrows - Clarinet, Flute
*Lyn Christie - Bass

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