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Friday, December 28, 2018

Perth County Conspiracy - Perth County Conspiracy (1970 canada, beautiful trippy acid folk psych. 2018 remaster)

Taking their name from the Stratford, Ontario region of the same name, Perty County Conspiracy was centred around British immigrant Cedric Smith and American draft dodger Richard Keelan (ex of Spikedrivers). They gigged up and down the Toronto strip in the late '60s and released their debut album, Mushroom Music on the independent label, Rumour Records in '69.

A healthy dose of trippy acid/folk rock was served up, and thanks to the CBC, it was followed in the spring of 1970 with a self-titled promotional only album. By now guitarist Terry Jones, bassist Michael Butler, and George Taros on piano were added. Only 250 copies were pressed, and although mostly experimental folk with the occasional mandolin or ukelele and bongo drums, it also contained covers of Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" and Dylan's "I Shall Be Released," and a folksy cover of Smokey Robinson's "If You Can Wait." But the music wasn't very audibly accessible, and the record was soon forgotten about by the radio station programmers.

Still, it fuelled them on to continue playing, and they eventually caught the attention of reps at Columbia. They were a hit with the live crowds and Perth County Conspiracy Does Not Exist was on the store shelves before the end of the year.

Nothing from the first two albums was re-recorded, and instead 40 minutes of new acoustic melodies with the occasional vocal harmonies made up the bulk of the John Williams produced album. "You've Got To Know" b/w "Listen To The Kids" was released as a single, but never really caught on. A few years later, the b-side did however make it to the Maple Music compilation series. The album also featured sampling from Shakespeare's "As You Like It," and a couple of endeavors that contained multiple segments, including the single "Fantasia" b/w "Listen To The Kids." Met with little fanfare, it was followed by "You've Got To Know" b/w "Keep of the Keys," and also featured an interpretation of English poet Christopher Logue's "Come To The Edge."

Recorded in the Bathhurst Street United Church in Toronto, their next outing was 1971's double album, Alive, with Williams returning as producer. Oddly, it was all new material, and Jones contributed to the writing this time. An edited cover of Dylan's "You Ain't Got Nothing" was put out as a single. But as usual, it didn't light the radio waves on fire. Other noteable cuts included the b-side "Uncle Jed," "Broken Wing," and the reflective "Stratford People."

Columbia dropped them by '72 but undaunted, the band carried on and eventually Bob Burchill came in on guitars to replace the departed Terry Jones. Now back on Rumour Records, they released another live album, What School Bus Tour? in the summer of '73. The band wasn't known for extensive engagements, but the record was a culmination of performances in Ottawa, Sudbury, and Winnipeg earlier that year. It again featured all new material, and Burchill's presence was immediately seen in the credits writing three cuts. It also featured a rendition of Arlo Guthrie's "Pastures of Plenty," and a pair of tracks written by Milton Acorn.

Following the stand alone single, "Black Creek" in '74, their next album wasn't until a year later. Breakout To Berlin again featured all new material, and a German pressing with a different cover and under the title of Kanada was released.

Following the band's demise, Burchill released the ill-fated Cabin Fever on Rumour Records in late '75, then became a session player. Smith carried along on the Toronto scene for awhile, and hooked up with Terry Jones again for the album, Ten Lost Years And Then Some in '77, then made it on to a CBC compilation in '81 called Touch The Earth before turning to acting. Along with regular roles in the series Road To Avonlea and Anne of Green Gables, he also landed a spot in the X-Men franchise.

What School Bus Tour and Ten Lost Years were both released individually in 2008, but neither contained any bonus material. In the early '90s, band members started reuniting annually a coffee house in Stratford in support of the homeless. In 2011, the band's name was resurrected again when CBC Radio profiled them during its "Inside The Music" series.
by Michelle Dionne, Dawn Edwards, Jaimie Vernon

A true legend of the psych-folk rock genre, the very first album by Canadian band Perth County Conspiracy was conceived, recorded and designed to look and sound like the product of a commercial record label. But with only 250 copies produced the record quickly reached mythic status as the band went on to begin a commercial career with Columbia Records.

 A huge influence on later generations of Canadian artists, original copies are incredibly rare and change hands for hundreds of dollars. Defining the zeitgeist as the 60s became the 70s, the band sound has touches of Nick Drake, Donovan and Terry Reid as well as more acid folk influences. Standout tracks include a version of Donovan’s ‘Hurdy Gurdy Man’, the trippy ‘Take Your Time’ and the smokey flute-led ‘So Many Things’.

1. Welcome Surprise (Richard Keelan) - 3:13
2. Take Your Time (Richard Keelan, Cedric Smith) - 3:23
3. If You Can Want (Smokey Robinson) - 4:31
4. Woman For All Seasons (Cedric Smith) - 4:15
5. Hurdy-Gurdy Man (Donovan Leitch) - 4:37
6. Mr Truthful Licks (Richard Keelan) - 2:49
7. So Many Things (Cedric Smith) - 2:53
8. Hindsight (Richard Keelan) - 3:41
9. Lace And Cobwebs (Cedric Smith) - 2:43
10.I Shall Be Released (Bob Dylan) - 6:35

Perth County Conspiracy
*Michael Butler - Bass
*Richard Keelan - Vocals, Guitar
*Cedric Smith - Vocals, Guitar
*Terry Jones - Vocals, Guitar

1970  Perth County Conspiracy - Does Not Exist (Vinyl edition)  
1972  Perth County Conspiracy - Alive (Vinyl edition)
Related Act
1965-68  The Spike Drivers - 60's Folkrocking Psychedelia From The Motor City

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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Alexander Lee Spence - AndOarAgain (1968 us, a warped blend of acid folk and far out psych rock, 2018 three disc hard sleeve set remaster)

Like a rough, more obscure counterpart to Syd Barrett, Skip Spence was one of the late '60s' most colorful acid casualties. The original Jefferson Airplane drummer (although he was a guitarist who had never played drums before joining the group), Spence left after their first album to join Moby Grape. Like every member of that legendary band, he was a strong presence on their first album, playing guitar, singing, and writing "Omaha." The group ran into rough times in 1968, and Spence had the roughest, flipping out and (according to varying accounts) running amok in a record studio with a fire axe; he ended up being committed to New York's Bellevue Hospital. Upon his release, 

Spence cut an acid-charred classic, Oar, in 1969. Though released on a major label (Columbia), this was reportedly one of the lowest-selling items in its catalog and is hence one of the most valued psychedelic collector items. Much rawer and more homespun than the early Grape records, it features Spence on all (mostly acoustic) guitars, percussion, and vocals. With an overriding blues influence and doses of country, gospel, and acid freakout thrown in, this sounds something like Mississippi Fred McDowell imbued with the spirit of Haight-Ashbury 1967. It also featured cryptic, punning lyrics and wraithlike vocals that range from a low Fred Neil with gravel hoarseness to a barely there high wisp. Sadly, it was his only solo recording; more sadly, mental illness prevented Spence from reaching a fully functional state throughout the remainder of his lifetime. He died April 16, 1999, just two days short of his 53rd birthday; the tribute album, More Oar: A Tribute to Alexander "Skip" Spence, featuring performances by Robert Plant, Beck, and Tom Waits, appeared just a few weeks later. 
by Richie Unterberger

AndOarAgain provides unparalleled access to what David Fricke calls “the most harrowing and compelling artifacts of rock & roll’s most euphoric era” across three dozen unheard tracks! In addition to the quintessential original album, AndOarAgain features nearly two hours of unheard music on the way to Oar–along with roads not taken–that both clarifies and muddies the enigma of how psychedelic legend Alexander “Skip” Spence determined the final state of his iconic masterpiece. The time: December, 1968. The setting: the Columbia Recording Studios at 504 16th Avenue South in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Alexander Spence – a singer, songwriter, and guitarist commonly known as Skip, recently relieved of his duties in the San Francisco rock band Moby Grape after a descent into excessive hallucinatory-drug use and a psychotic episode with a fire axe – is recording Oar, his first album as a Columbia solo artist. It will also be his last. Made in six days spread over two weeks, then released six months later on May 19th, 1969, Oar will be Spence’s only complete expression of his experimental verve and musical facility, under his real name and creative control, before he recedes into rapidly deepening, ultimately conquering darkness. A half-century after its brisk, strange birth, Oar remains an apparent chaos of eccentric composition and overwhelming melancholy, wreathed in country-blues shadows and the smokey blur of Spence’s wounded-baritone singing. 

AndOarAgain, a 3-CD set including the seminal original album, the 1999 bonus cuts, and nearly two hours of unheard Oar; all packaged in a hardbound book-style jacket with rare photos and extensive notes from David Fricke! 

Disc 1 Oar
1. Little Hands - 3:43
2. Cripple Creek - 2:15
3. Diana - 3:31
4. Margaret-Tiger Rug - 2:16
5. Weighted Down (The Prison Song) - 6:25
6. War In Peace - 4:04
7. Broken Heart - 3:28
8. All Come To Meet Her - 2:03
9. Books Of Moses - 2:42
10.Dixie Peach Promenade - 2:52
11.Lawrence Of Euphoria - 1:29
12.Grey/Afro - 9:38
13.This Time He Has Come - 4:42
14.It's The Best Thing For You - 2:49
15.Keep Everything Under Your Hat - 3:06
16.Furry Heroine - 3:35
17.Givin' Up Things - 0:59
18.If I'm Good - 0:48
19.You Know - 1:47
20.Doodle - 1:03
21.Fountain - 0:34
22.To Think You And I - 1:14
All compositions by Alexander Lee Spence

Disc 2 Or
1. Little Hands (Take 2) - 3:43
2. Cripple Creek (Basic) - 2:08
3. Diana (Take 3) - 4:39
4. Furry Heroine (Halo Of Gold) (Alternate) - 3:29
5. My Friend - 2:52
6. War In Peace (Alternate) - 3:49
7. Broken Heart (Vocal And Acoustic) - 4:47
8. All Come To Meet Her (Alternate 1) - 2:17
9. I Want A Rock 'n' Roll Band - 3:13
10.Dixie Peach Promenade (Yin For Yang)  (Alternate) - 2:09
11.Lawrence Of Euphoria (Alternate) - 2:03
12.Mary Jane / Steamboat - 5:01
13.I Got A Lot To Say (Version 1) - 1:53
14.Diana (Alternate 1) - 2:41
15.War In Peace (Instrumental) - 3:29
16.Diana (Alternate 2) - 5:57
All Music and Lyrics by Alexander Lee Spence

Disc 3 More
1. Little Hands (Vocal Overdub) - 3:48
2. Diana (Version 2) - 1:13
3. Weighted Down (The Prison Song) (Rehearsal) - 1:13
4. The Shape You're In - 0:57
5. I Want A Rock 'n' Roll Band (Instrumental) - 1:50
6. It's A Hard Life (Version 1) - 0:36
7. I Got Something For You - 2:03
8. Diana (12 String Version) - 4:00
9. I Got A Lot To Say (Version 2) - 0:52
10.It Ain't Nice (Version 1) - 1:19
11.She Don't Care - 0:58
12.All Come To Meet Her (Alternate 2) - 2:16
13.It Aint't Nice (Version 2) - 1:07
14.It's A Hard Life (Version 2) - 0:38
15.All Come To Meet Her (Rehearsal) - 3:03
16.Diana (Overdub) - 4:04
17.War In Peace (Take 2) - 4:18
18.Broken Heart (Extended Master) - 4:38
19.War In Peace (Guitar Overdub) - 4:48
20.Diana (Basics) - 3:44
All songs by Alexander Lee Spence

*Alexander Lee "Skip" Spence - Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Drums, Production

Related Act
1967  Moby Grape - Moby Grape (2007 remaster)
1967-68  The Place And The Time (2009 Sundazed release)
1969  Wow (Sundazed Issue)
1969  Moby Grape - Moby Grape 69' (2007 remaster and expanded)

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Sunday, December 23, 2018

Marc Ellington - Restoration (1972 uk, exceptional folk country rock, 2011 remasters)

This is Marc Ellington's 4th album, recorded late 1972 and released early 1973, musically he moves around at the same levels as his previous releases, folk, country with straight Rock doses, cover versions of traditional folky numbers as well as modern numbers and smartly mixed them up with his own compositions,framed by excellent musicians (as always), and a great clear production.

1. A Good Love Is Like A Good Song (Casey Kelly) - 2:43
2. It's Love That You Need (Marc Ellington, Sandy Roberton) - 3:13
3. Coal Tatoo (Billy Edd Wheeler) - 2:57
4. Try (Marc Ellington, Sandy Roberton) - 2:25
5. You Ain't Going Nowhere (Bob Dylan) - 4:00
6. Let The Music Bring You Back (Marc Ellington, Sandy Roberton) - 2:29
7. Break A Window (Break A Heart) (Ian Matthews) - 4:26
8. Along Comes Mary (Tandyn Almer) - 2:51
9. Younger Girl (John Sebastian) - 2:44
10.Wild Mountain Thyme (Traditional) - 3:01

*Marc Ellington - Vocals, Guitar
*Jerry Donahue - Electric, Acoustic Guitars
*Pat Donaldson - Bass
*Dave Richards - Bass
*Dave Peacock - Bass
*Dave Hepburn - Bass
*Dave Mattacks - Drums
*Timmy Donald - Drums
*Phil Chesterton - Drums
*Barry De Souza - Drums
*Zoot Money - Piano
*Dolly Collins - Piano
*Tony Cox - Piano
*Tom Parker - Piano
*Simon Nicol - Acoustic Guitars
*Phil Pickett - Acoustic Guitars
*Andy Roberts - Electric, Acoustic Guitars
*Ian Whiteman - Organ, Piano
*James Ogilvy Forbes - Bagpipes
*Sue Draheim - Fiddle
*Phil Pickett - Mandolin
*Mike Deighan -  Acoustic Guitar, Banjo
*Ray Warleigh - Saxophone
*Ian Matthews - Vocals
*Longdancer - Vocals
*Mac Kissoon - Vocals
*Kathy Kissoon - Vocals

1969  Marc Ellington - Marc Ellington (2009 korean remaster)
1971  Marc Ellington ‎- Rains-Reins Of Changes (2004 remaster)
1972  Marc Ellington - A Question Of Roads (2010 korean remaster)

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Friday, December 21, 2018

Gene Clark - Sings For You (1967 us, fantastic folk psych country rock, 2018 digipak with unreleased material)

Gene Clark’s musical legacy is most certainly assured as a singer, songwriter and member of some exclusive company as an inductee to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a founder of The Byrds, and collaborator in groups such as Dillard & Clark, Gene Clark and the Gosdin Brothers, McGuinn Clark & Hillman and later as the duet partner of Carla Olson (The Textones).

His songs have been covered by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Iain Matthews, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, The Rose Garden, and Chris & Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes among many others. As well documented as Clark’s career has been, there have been remarkable discoveries over the years (see Omnivore’s Here Tonight: The White Light Demos for example), but now the Holy Grail of Clark’s post-Byrds career is finally about to see the light of day:

“For longtime Gene Clark fans and aficionados, the tracks on this remarkable archival CD are the stuff of legend. Since word first spread in the 1980s about the discovery of these 1967 recordings on a rare acetate in Liberty Records’ vaults, fans have come to regard Gene Clark Sings For You as nothing less than the Holy Grail of the singer/songwriter’s extraordinary body of work. Shrouded in mystery and the subject of much speculation and conjecture, few have ever had the opportunity to hear these forgotten gems from one of Gene Clark’s most prolifically creative periods. Until now.”
by John Einarson author of Mr. Tambourine Man: The Life And Legacy Of The Byrds’ Gene Clark (Backbeat Books)

In addition to the 8 tracks from the Gene Clark Sings For You acetate, recorded in 1967 after he famously left The Byrds, there are an additional 5 previously unknown tracks from a further 1967 acetate given to the band, The Rose Garden, for recording consideration. This new compilation also includes a previously unissued demo rescued from a tape in the collection of John Noreen, member of The Rose Garden. This demo of the song “Till Today” is Clark running through the song for the band who would cut it on their only album, the 1968 self-titled effort on Atco Records (also being reissued and expanded at the same time as Gene Clark Sings For You).

Released with the full approval and cooperation with both the Estate of Gene Clark and the band, The Rose Garden, Gene Clark Sings For You is produced for release by Grammy®-winner, Cheryl Pawelski with restoration and mastering by Grammy-winner, Michael Graves. Liner notes by John Einarson, author of Mr. Tambourine Man: The Life And Legacy Of The Byrds’ Gene Clark (Backbeat Books) and previously unseen photos.

1. On Her Own - 4:19
2. Past Tense - 3:41
3. Yesterday, Am I Right - 2:56
4. Past My Door - 4:26
5. That's Alright By Me - 5:48
6. One Way Road - 2:34
7. Down On The Pier - 4:18
8. 7:30 Mode - 5:59
9. On Tenth Street - 3:50
10.Understand Me - 2:36
11.A Long Time - 2:03
12.Big City Girl - 3:56
13.Doctor Doctor - 2:59
14.Till Today (Demo) - 3:44
All compositions by Gene Clark

*Gene Clark - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
*Alex De Zoppo - Piano
Other Musicians Unknown

1964-90  Gene Clark - Flying High
1964-82  Gene Clark ‎- The Lost Studio Sessions (2016 audiophile double Vinyl set) 
1967  Gene Clark - Echoes
1968-69  Dillard And Clark - Fantastic Expedition / Through The Morning, Through The Night
1971  Gene Clark - White Light
1972  Gene Clark - Roadmaster  (2011 Edition)
1979  McGuinn, Clark And Hillman (2014 Japan SHM Remaster)
With The Byrds
1964  The Byrds - Preflyte (2012 Edition)
1973  Byrds - Byrds (2004 issue)

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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Vanilla Fudge - Rock 'n' Roll (1969 us, jamming psych ballads with heavenly hash, 2013 remaster with extra tracks)

Vanilla Fudge started focusing more on their European exposure in 1969. Unfortunately, I don't have the many European itineraries from that year yet. Certainly the band was more popular in Europe and Australia than they ever were on the West Coast. In Italy the Fudge became the first Rock & Roll band to ever win the coveted Golden Gondola Award for their vocals at the Venice festival.

On February 2, 1969, the Fudge performed Shotgun live on the Ed Sullivan show. The band would also appear on other TV shows like the Beat Club and Dick Cavett throughout '69. The day following the Ed Sullivan appearance (Feb. 3), ATCO released Shotgun as a single with the original hard rockin' Good Good Lovin' on the B-Side.

On February 5th, ATCO released the classic 60's LP: Near the Beginning. It was the only Fudge LP produced by the band alone and the first LP without Shadow Morton. It boasted some of the most lovely symphonic and vocal arrangements the Fudge would ever record and the entire second side was the bone crunching Break Song, recorded live at the Shriner's Auditorium in Los Angeles. In just those four songs from that album, Vanilla Fudge successfully distilled all that was good, inspired and noble about the 60's era.

A helpful thought or Tangential Segue: "What is in opposition is in concert, and from what differs comes the most beautiful harmony." Heraclitus of Ephesus, circa 500 BC.

Near the Beginning was devoid of the black cynicism found on the Who's Tommy or the pessimism of Creedance Clearwater Revival's 1969 efforts. Nor did it pander to the political posturing of Jefferson Airplane's Volunteers or Cream's Farewell self indulgences. Where Led Zeppelin only had raw steel, Near the Beginning also had the astonishingly arranged Some Velvet Morning - a combination that would not be lost on Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. The musical symmetry of the Fudge album was almost schizophrenic, and hence captured the fullest essence of those times. Psychedelia had given way to madness and overindulgence by 1969. Vanilla Fudge were one of the few bands who were still able to focus on the aesthetic and artistic mysteries which could combine both velvet and steel in an opus of obscure contrasts and uncanny harmonies.

Another US concert tour followed including: Feb 7th and 8th, Vanilla Fudge headlined on a bill that included Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull at the Kinetic Playground in Chicago.

Another ATCO single: Some Velvet Morning was remixed as a single from the LP and released on the 29th of April. More European dates followed (I think. More to be added as I get them.).

On June 6th and 7th the Vanilla Fudge headlined another show at Chicago's Kinetic Playground. On June 20th, the Fudge appeared at the Newport '69 Festival in San Bernadino, Ca. The bill included Joe Cocker and Buddy Miles.

The Fudge performed at the Denver Pops Festival in Mile High Stadium which was held on the 27-29th of June.

Another ATCO single, Need Love was released on the 22nd of July. It was an original song off their forthcoming fifth LP that the band was still recording with producer Adrian Barber.

Three days later Vanilla Fudge were checked into the Edgewater Inn in Seattle with Led Zeppelin. Both bands had come to play at the Seattle Pops Festival scheduled for July 25-27th, at Woodenville, Washington.

Richard Cole, the Zeppelin Road Manager, identified a young woman named Jackie from Oregon in his book. He described her as tall, red headed, and sexually adventurous. Carmine Appice admitted in a radio interview that he was the one who brought Jackie up to the room which Richard Cole identified in his book as #242 at the Edgewater Inn. Notwithstanding Frank Zappa's song about the Mud Shark, Cole insisted that the whole affair involved a Red Snapper fish wielded by him and John Bonham, some rope from the Hotels front desk, and Mark Stein's 8mm camera. The rest is pure speculation.

Asked about the event in 1997, Vince Martell said: "Yeah, that was after one of the gigs we did up in that area... uh... Chicago, right? Oh this was Seattle, yeah, well, there were a couple of things going on in a few places. {laughs} It just basically came down to one of these crazy parties that Rock bands like to get into... indulging... and with female companions, and you end up with, you know, how crazy can everybody go?' And that went pretty crazy."

The summer was the beginning of the end for the Fudge. Sometime during it they recorded two versions of a Coca-Cola radio commercial with Jeff Beck, while Martell was sick in bed. Tim & Carmine wanted to form a "Cream" type band with Jeff Beck. During the fall's European tours, Vanilla Fudge decided to end the "magic".

Mark Stein, looking at why the Vanilla Fudge eventually broke up, told Keyboard Magazine in 1983: "... bands that featured soloists, That was the coming thing. We toured with Cream, and Carmine decided he wanted to be Ginger Baker, with a lot of drum solo's. Tim Bogert wanted to be Jack Bruce. We were being influenced in that direction, so we lost the team effort. That really started in late '68 and '69."

In 1997, with far more hindsight, Martell gave his own views on the band's breakup. In the Web Site interview conducted by Mr. Aaron Butler, Vince said: "We broke up because we had been together so much in the years of "67 to '70, that we had only two 2-week periods off. The rest of the time we were always going, we'd only have a couple of days here and there. After a couple of days off we would get back together on the way to the airport and everybody had things to say, but by the time we hit the airport nobody was talking. We had talked the old stuff out so much, and now we just finished talking the new stuff,,, that's kind of what did it... We were in Italy when we decided that when we came back to the States, we'd call it quits. And I was looking for the time off, so it was fine with me."

On the 3rd night of the Palm Beach Festival in Florida (Thanksgiving Weekend), Vanilla Fudge performed with Johnny Winter's Band and Janis Joplin's Full Tilt Boogie Band. After the Joplin set, Janis called for a jam between the bands which went on for some time as the musicians traded palaces. That night Mark Stein and Carmine Appice backed Janis Joplin and Edgar Winter on sax. Vince Martell and Tim Bogert traded riffs with Johnny Winter... magical stuff to the very end...

Another remote tangent: The Fudge's music sought out the obscure through the 'harmonious wholes' of alternative & unfamiliar musical arrangements and 'patterns'. Previously 'unknown' forms of musical sounds, scales and arrangements applied to familiar themes thus revealed the 'unkown forms' lurking at the edge of all obscure & popular musical works. These 'unknown forms' proved immense, encompassing the 'greater mysteries', because what is 'unkown' is that which is 'unformed' and therein the 'unknown musical forms' create their own reality calling out to those who in turn performed or listened to it. Thus the unknown knew the 'known' and both gave life to one another at that ancient primal well William Blake called 'divine creativity'.(pax).

On September 25th 1969, Vanilla Fudge released their final LP, "Rock & Roll" which was produced by Adrian Barber. The final single by the Fudge wasn't released until 3 February 1970, and it was a remix of their Gospel rocker, Lord in the Country, from the Rock & Roll LP. On March 14, 1970, Vanilla Fudge played their final & farewell concert at Phil Basille's Action House. The Fudge disbanded and did not reunite until 1982, when ATCO released the Best of Vanilla Fudge LP in that year. In 1984, the Vanilla Fudge released a reunion LP called Mystery. In 1987 & 1988, the band did two reunion tours. Rhino records released their Fudge compilation, Psychedelic Sundae in 1993. On January 1997, Casey Butler founded the Vanilla Fudge Web page.

1. Need Love (Carmine Appice, Tim Bogert, Vince Martellt, Mark Stein) - 4:58
2. Lord In The Country (Mark Stein) - 4:33
3. I Can't Make It Alone (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) - 4:46
4. Street Walking Woman (Carmine Appice, Tim Bogert, Vince Martellt, Mark Stein) - 6:01
5. Church Bells Of St. Martins (Mark Stein) - 4:39
6. The Windmills Of Your Mind (Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Michel Legrand) - 8:53
7. If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody (Rudy Clark) - 6:23
8. All In Your Mindneed Love (Single Version) (Carmine Appice, Tim Bogert, Vince Martellt, Mark Stein) - 3:04
9. Need Love (Mono Single Version) (Carmine Appice, Tim Bogert, Vince Martellt, Mark Stein) - 2:39
10.I Can't Make It Alone (Single Version) (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) - 3:37
11.Lord In The Country (Single Version) (Mark Stein) - 3:02

Vanilla Fudge
*Carmine Appice - Drums, Vocals
*Tim Bogert - Bass, Vocals
*Vince Martell - Guitar, Vocals
*Mark Stein - Lead Vocals, Keyboards

1967  Vanilla Fudge - Vanilla Fudge (2009 japan SHM remaster) 
Related Acts
1970  Cactus (Japan SHM remaster)
1971  One Way...Or Another (Japan SHM remaster)
1971  Ultra Sonic Boogie (2010 issue)
1970-72  Fully Unleashed / The Live Gigs, Vol. 1
1971  Cactus - Fully Unleashed / The Live Gigs, Vol.2 (2007 limited two disc edition)
1976  KGB - KGB (2005 remaster)

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Friday, December 14, 2018

Colin Hare - March Hare (1971 uk, marvelous folk country silky rock, 2015 bonus tracks remaster)

Though much more Americanized through it’s audible influences, being recorded / released almost simultaneously with it, this is a conceptual companion release of fellow Honybus rider, Pete Dello’s ’71 album Into Your Ears. Right from the very beginning, Colin makes it clear that, unlike in the case of his former band mate, this isn’t a Honeybus album in all but name.

The opener Get Up The Road, as well as Cowboy Joe Saga (obviously), both provide some pure country good times, which is something that he’s returning to quite a few times throughout the album, in a bit more sophisticated way though, as heard in Bloodshot Eyes, clearly depicting Dylan, while cruising all over the Nashville Skyline.

To My Maker takes it few years backwards, to Bob’s mid’60s period, recalling some of his most melodic moments, with an extra harmony or two thrown in, while Underground Girl goes even further, to the early folky beatnik daze.

For Where Have You Been is the rawkiest Colin ever got, combining the usual folky harmonies with the American Woman riffing, Find Me is kinda like a soulful Macca ballad, Alice is a piece of quirky Kinky pop, and New Day is an “Incredibly” Brit folk-inspired tune.

The closest he gets to the recognisable Honeybus sound, is on the first of the pre-album single sides, Grannie Grannie (backed with another piece of Dylanized protest folk Fighting For Peace).
by Garwood Pickjon

1. Get Up The Road - 2:41
2. Bloodshot Eyes - 3:21
3. For Where Have You Been - 2:55
4. Find Me - 2:09
5. Underground Girl - 3:38
6. To My Maker - 2:43
7. Alice - 2:16
8. Nothing To Write Home About - 2:49
9. New Day - 1:58
10.Cowboy Joe - Saga - 3:47
11.Just Like Me - 4:03
12.Charlie Brown's Time - 3:21
13.Grannie, Grannie - 2:06
14.Fighting For Peace - 2:40
All songs by Colin Hare

*Colin Hare - Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards, Harmonica, Bass
*Pete Kircher - Drums, Backing Vocals
*Billy Bremner- Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Jim Kelly - Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Pete Dello - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
*Pete Kelly - Keyboards, Backing Vocals

Related Act
1967-73  Honeybus - She Flies Like A Bird The Anthology (double disc release) 

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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Tim Hollier - Tim Hollier (1968-71 uk, delightful baroque folk psych, 2004 remaster)

Tim Hollier has, until now, remained a cult artist, beloved of a few but unknown to the many. He made some superb music, some of which is comparable to David McWilliams' orch.-folk, but is infinitely superior to it. Some of it is vocal/acoustic guitar folk minimalism, but a lot - thanks mostly to the arrangements/productions of the masterful John Cameron- is fuller and beautifully lush. Of the highlights on this CD (all taken from Tim's first three albums: 'Message To A Harlequin', 'Tim Hollier' and 'Skysail'), we must mention 'Message To A Harlequin' (the song) starts off in a folk idiom then rises to high-flying pop. It is pure magic! 'Do You Remember When' has a wonderfully over-the-top production. 

The trippy 'And Where Were You That Morning Mr. Carroll'. Hearing this again after not hearing it for ages came as a revelation to me. I always thought that it was like Calum Bryce's 'Lovemaker' (as is Tim's equally sublime 'Hanne' - pronounced 'Hannah', not included here), but it is so much more and so much better than 'Lovemaker'! It is a truly marvellous track and if you love 'Fading Yellow' then you'll adore this, if you love UK Psych Pop you will worship this! I am not over-stating thing by calling it a masterpiece of Alice-inspired psych-folk-pop. That it has remained unappreciated this long is a miracle, but a sad one. Luckily, this CD rectifies that matter. 'Full Fathoms Five' is another gem; baroque pop with tablas and lyrics by a certain Mr. W. Shakespeare. 'In Silence' is majestic folk-pop, with another OTT production. 

These tracks are all taken from Tim's debut, produced by Ray Singer, and featuring musical help from Herbie Flowers and David & Jonathan. Whilst the following, come from Tim's second, self-titled album: 'Seagull's Song' is superior folk-rock in a rather stoned groove. 'Evolution' is a great version of the Amory Kane song, with lots of flute, and tasty up-front rhythm track. And we must not forget the drone-filled 'Evening Song' and the suitably weird 'Tenderly Stooping Low'.

This package contains a selection of lyrics, a discography and detailed resumé of Tim's career, and a strong selection of material. 
by Paul Cross, December 2004

Tim Hollier was one of the most unfairly neglected of folk-based artists to come out of late-'60s England, his brand of trippy, quietly elegant psychedelic folk-rock deserving an infinitely wider hearing than it got -- not that he ultimately did badly in music, but he deserved better earlier. Born in Brighton in 1947, Hollier was raised in West Cumberland, and at age 13 formed his first group, the Meteors, with a group of friends from school. He attended art college and played as part of a folk duo called the Sovereigns in the mid-'60s. He later moved to London to study graphic design, and got involved in the folk scene there, seeing some limited success as an opening act for such well-known figures as blues songstress Jo Ann Kelly and visiting American Paul Simon.

An introduction to Simon Napier-Bell -- a music figure best remembered today as the man who inherited the Yardbirds' management from Giorgio Gomelsky -- got Hollier to the next phase of his career, a proper recording contract. Napier-Bell got Hollier signed with United Artists Records' U.K. division, a much more adventurous outfit than its American parent company. Where the latter was still relying on soundtracks and recording Jay & the Americans, the U.K. United Artists outfit was downright experimental, cutting psychedelic sides by Del Shannon; it wouldn't be long before they'd sign up Brinsley Schwarz and the Flamin' Groovies. It was at UA that Hollier recorded his first album, Message to a Harlequin, in mid-1968; released in October of that year, it was a tremendous showcase for Hollier's excellent voice and challenging, psychedelic-flavored songs, elaborately produced and reminiscent in many ways of the first two albums by Duncan Browne.

A hauntingly beautiful debut, Message to a Harlequin has Tim Hollier working in a restrained yet elegantly produced folk-pop mode, almost pre-Raphaelite in the manner of Duncan Browne's Give Me Take You. John Cameron's arrangements, far more ornate than his work during the same period for Donovan, sometimes bury Hollier's acoustic guitar and drench his solo singing voice in choral accompaniment. The songs themselves were probably strong enough to stand on their own a bit better, but the results are still eminently listenable, resembling a folk-based equivalent to the kind of highly produced psychedelic pop/rock of the period. 

The album -- although not especially successful in England -- even managed to get a U.S. release on the company's Imperial Records imprint. Hollier made slow progress in finding an audience over the ensuing year, playing on some of his UA labelmate Peter Sarstedt's records and getting some exposure on the BBC, and also collaborating on stage and record with American songwriter Amory Kane. He left UA in 1969 and signed with Fontana Records, which issued his self-titled, self-produced second album in the summer of 1970. A stripped-down album compared to its predecessor, Tim Hollier's self-titled second album is filled with pleasant, catchy folk-based tunes, with Hollier's acoustic guitar much more in the foreground and most of the songs loaded to overflowing with memorable hooks that are fully exploited in Hollier's singing and the various guitar parts. It failed to sell, and a year later a similar fate befell his third album, Sky Sail, released on Philips. 

His third album "Sky Sail" is beautifully produced, elegant, and tastefully arranged album finally shows off Tim Hollier's voice to best advantage, with no more than a few backing instruments -- flute, tabla, and celeste stand out most prominently -- supporting his basic guitar and vocals. Filled with beautiful songs and gorgeous sounds, Sky Sail is Hollier's magnum opus, somewhere between Duncan Browne and Justin Hayward. 

By 1973, he'd shifted gears somewhat in his career, and went into the production end, forming his own label, called Songwriters Workshop -- among those who signed up was Peter Sarstedt.

By the 1980s, Hollier had moved into music publishing, and later went into movie financing -- his company, Filmtrax, not only scored movies, but also helped produce such pictures as Withnail and I (which, ironically, dealt with the closing days of the 1960s, the period in which Hollier had the bad fortune to start his recording career). In the decades since, he has remained a major figure in the field of music copyrights amid the boom in new technologies and media.
by Bruce Eder

Message To A Harlequin 1968
1. Message To The Harlequin - 4:06
2. Street Of Gold - 2:14
3. Jimmy - 2:10
4. Do You Remember When? - 2:09
5. And Where Were You That Morning Mr Carroll? - 3:35
6. Full Fathoms Five - 3:12
7. In Silence - 2:27
Tim Hollier 1970
8. Seagull's Song (Tim Hollier) - 4:13
9. Llanstphan Hill (Amory Kane, Rick Cuff, Tim Hollier) - 3:44
10.And It's Happening To Her (Jeremy Taunton, Tim Hollier) - 2:29
11.Man Of Gentle Sunlight - 2:53
12.Evolution (Amory Kane, Rick Cuff) - 4:53
13.Maybe You Will Stay (Amory Kane) - 3:39
14.Would I Sing - 2:54
15.Winter Song - It's Raining And It's Cold - 3:43
16.Love Song - 2:43
17.Evening Song - 2:41
Sky Sail 1971 
18.Tenderly Stooping Low - 3:37
19.Time Has A Way Of Losing You - 2:16
20.Skysail (Rick Cuff) - 3:28
21.Beauty Of The Gardens (Jeremy Taunton, Tim Hollier) - 2:03
22.And I Wait For That (Jeremy Taunton, Tim Hollier) - 2:12
23.While London Day's Increase - 2:52
All songs by Rory Fellowes, Tim Hollier except where moted

*Tim Hollier - Vocals, Guitar
*John Cameron - Harpsichord, Organ, Piano
*Harold McNair - Flute
*Danny Thompson - Bass
*Tony Carr - Drums

1971  Tim Hollier ‎- Skysail (Vinyl edition) 

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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Aesop's Fables - In Due Time (1969 us, excellent funky soul jazzy sunny psych, 2018 korean remaster)

Falling somewhere in the musical spectrum between David Clayton-Thomas and Blood, Sweat and Tears and The Young Rascals,  the short-lived and little known Aesop's Fables deserved a better fate.  Led by singer/songwriter Sonny Bottari, the Long Island-based group was initially signed by ATCO where they released a series of three widely ignored mid-1960s singles.

After the unsuccessful singles ATCO dropped the band, though in a matter of months they rebounded, attracting the attention of the Chess affiliated Cadet Concept label.  Eager to expand its catalog of rock material, Cadet Concept gave the go ahead for an album teaming them with producer/songwriter  Bob () - Robert Gallo for their 1969 label debut "In Due Time".  Sporting two capable vocalists in Sonny Bottari and drummer John Scaduto, the collection aptly demonstrated the octet's enjoyable blend of blue-eyed soul and more experimental horn based outings () - 'Everybody's Talking' and 'Look Out' and 'In the Morning'.

Featuring a mixture of Gallo-penned numbers and band originals, blue-eyed soul moves like 'Lift Up Your Hearts', 'What Is Soul', and The Rascals blue-eyed soul clone 'What Is Love' were quite commercial.  Unfortunately, in the midst of a burgeoning blues and metal scene, the band's easygoing soul moves also seemed slightly out of date; almost like they were a year or two behind popular tastes.  Elsewhere there were a couple of stabs at updating the sound.  Sporting a much harder rock sound 'Spoons Full of Sand' came off as a weird hybrid of  Cream-meets Blood, Sweat and Tears.  Guufy but kind of neat.  Unfortunately the group's lounge lizard cover of the Supremes' 'I'm Gonna Make You Love Me' was simply a boneheaded move.

Aesop's Fables only released this one album on Chess Record's Cadet Concept imprint and as such it's one of only a couple of real rock records on Cadet Concept. The music is inconsistent and varied in style. A lot of it falls into the brass rock genre popular at the time., Blood Sweat & Tears, Rare Earth, but there are some other tracks that go into blue-eyed soul and psychedelic territory. The band is excellent especially when one or all hit a groove like the organ freak out on "In the Morning" and pretty sublime, psychedelic jamming on "And When It's Over".

1. Lift Up Your Hearts (Barry Taylor, Ronny Alterville) - 3:39
2. What Is Soul (Robert Gallo) - 2:38
3. In Due Time (Robert Gallo, Segal) - 3:02
4. In The Morning (John Scaduto, Robert Gallo, Ronny Alterville) - 3:45
5. Everyone's Talking (Robert Gallo, Segal) - 2:26
6. Spoons Full Of Sand (Sonny Bottari, Barry Taylor, Ronny Alterville, Heins) - 5:08
7. The Sound Of Crying (Sonny Bottari, Barry Taylor, Ronny Alterville, Heins) - 2:44
8. What Is Love (Robert Gallo) - 2:41
9. Look Out (B. Bottari, Barry Taylor) - 4:18
10.I'm Gonna Make You Love Me (Jerry Ross, Kenny Gamble, Williams) - 3:49
11.And When It's Over (Bert Sommer) - 6:26

The Aesop's Fables
*Ronny Alterville -Bass, Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Sonny Bottari -Vocals, Percussion
*Robert Dimonda -Flute, Sax, Backing Vocals
*Joe Fraticelli -Sax
*Frank Krepala -Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Louis Montaruli -Trumpet, Trombone
*John Scaduto -Vocals, Drums
*Barry Taylor -Keyboards

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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Richie Havens - Richard P. Havens 1983 (1969 us, magnificent folk psych, 2017 remaster)

When Richie Havens was making his third album it appears as if George Orwell had really got under his skin. He’d become filled with a dread, “as if the next year was going to be 1984.” He decided to call the record 1983 and make it a double album that would serve as a monument for the times; mixing eloquent, politically conscious statements with rich soul covers that made the originals his own, including four Beatles songs.

Partly recorded at a July ’68 Santa Monica concert, 1983 captured each facet of Havens’ quiet but towering strength and liberated stage magic, driven by his distinctive open-tuned guitar scrabble on originals including Indian Rope Man, For Haven’s Sake, What More Can I Say John?, Just Above My Hobby Horse’s Head and the bleak but resonant civil rights narrative The Parable Of Ramon. His supernatural powers of interpretation coax new essence out of Dylan’s I Pity The Poor Immigrant, Donovan’s Wear Your Love Like Heaven, Leonard Cohen’s Priests and he even makes Strawberry Fields, Forever sound as if it could’ve been written for the March On Washington.

1983 remains a consummate document of the irrepressible spirit that riveted half a million at Woodstock four months after its release.
by Kris Needs

1. Stop Pulling And Pushing Me (Richie Havens) - 1:50
2. For Haven's Sake (Richie Havens) - 7:05
3. Strawberry Fields Forever (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 3:39
4. Waht More Can I Say John (Richie Havens) - 4:40
5. I Pity The Poor Immigrant (Bob Dylan) - 3:11
6. Lady Madonna (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 1:58
7. Priests (Leonard Cohen) - 5:17
8. Indian Rope Man (Richie Havens, Mark Roth, Joe Price) - 3:04
9. Cautiously (James David Maurey) - 4:03
10.Just Above My Hobby Horse's Head (Mark Roth, Richie Havens) - 2:59
11.She's Leaving Home (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 4:07
12.Putting Out The Vibratioo, And Hoping It Comes Home. (Mark Roth, Richie Havens) - 2:55
13.The Parable Of Ramon (Mark Roth, Richie Havens) - 7:59
14.With A Little Help From My Friends (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 5:21
15.Wear Your Love Like Heaven (Donovan Leitch) - 4:58
16.Medley: Run Shaker Life/Do You Feel Good? (Richie Havens) - 8:53

*Richie Havens - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Sitar, Vocals, Tamboura, Handclapping, Ondioline
*Charles Howall - Vocals
*Carol Hunter - Bass
*Teddy Irwin - Guitar
*Bruce Langhorne - Guitar
*Ken Lauber - Keyboards
*Donald Mcdonald - Drums
*Arnie Moore - Bass
*Weldon Myrick - Steel Guitar
*Warren Bernhardt - Keyboards, Clavinet
*Brad Campbell - Bass
*Bob Chase - Percussion
*Diane Comins - Harmonica, Harp
*Jim Fairs - Bass
*John Ord - Organ, Piano, Celeste, Keyboards
*Skip Prokop - Drums
*Charlie Smalls - Keyboard, Piano
*Jeremy Steig - Flute
*Stephen Stills - Bass
*Collin Walcott - Sitar, Tabla
*Paul "Dino" Williams - Guitar
*Daniel Ben Zebulon - Drums

1967  Richie Havens - Mixed Bag
1970  Richie Havens - Stonehenge (2001 remaster)
1971  Richie Havens - Alarm Clock (2002 remaster)

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Monday, December 3, 2018

John Manning - White Bear (1971 us, splendid folk rock, 2014 japan remaster)

An album called White Bear has my undivided attention by virtue of its name alone. But when its cover also shows a lanky long-haired fellow sitting next to a piano in some kind of antique room, I’m sold. White Bear was released on Columbia in 1971, and is the first and only outing of John Manning, a 12-stringed balladeer who sailed the currents of the great 1960s folk wave, before it broke on the shores of the ’70s.

I’d like to proceed by giving more background on the artist, such as where John Manning hailed from and how he came to record his first album. Problem is, no one seems to know. Apparently, he opened for Deep Purple in the early 1970s. John Manning also shared the bill with Iron Butterfly and Black Oak Arkansas, and performed in the legendary Troubadour club.

For the rest, there’s about four short reviews available online, one of them in German, as well as a one-sentence review in The Milwaukee Journal of October 6, 1971, describing John Manning as a “sad, restless, romantic balladeer.” Finally, two of his songs were featured on the soundtrack of a Dennis Hopper documentary called The American Dreamer, also in 1971.

The dearth of information wouldn’t be so baffling if the music wasn’t so good. John Manning is a first-class singer, musician and songwriter, though his lyrics tend to be on the obscure side. It’s no surprise then, that he brings up his “drug-infected mind” in “The Whole Song,” a near-perfect folk ballad that also contains the beautiful line “but my every loving thought for you, like every song I sing, is the child of a mystic dream you’ve never known.” 

“Hard on the Road to New Mexico” is equally mystifying without losing out in intensity, reminding of Dylan’s great “Isis.” There’s a lover who offers the singer a “guiding moonstone” before departing. He escapes to the highway and meets a bunch of Indians. The plot thickens as Jesus joins in as well as a Prophet of the Dawn. There’s a beautiful verse about a girl in Colorado and a poignant conclusion: “And yet there is always one more question: Will there be someone still at home?” The song is a wild trip, but it’s well worth the ride.

John Manning’s “Free Clinic Song” is worth a listen too, as a poetic meditation on love and loneliness that starts with: “Who am I to hold your hand and think to know your mind?” The song is about that most basic of questions: Can we ever truly know each other? There’s an existential intensity to the singer’s probing – “sometimes in the dark you come to think you know too much” – that is reinforced in the refrain: “It’s so hard to be living here and never find out why.” Yet the singer clings to love, desperately believing in its potential: “Sometimes I imagine that I understand what’s real: If we put our hearts together, do you think they might be healed?”

As a singer, John Manning has a clear and intimate voice. He reminds of Tim Buckley at times, combining the depth of his low register with piercing trips into his higher range. In the intensity of his singing, he also brings to mind such artists as Roy Harper, Gene Clark, even Scott Walker and early Neil Young. Of course, comparisons can only bring us so far: Manning has a distinctive voice of his own, the perfect medium for his poetic and dramatic folk songs. Though I have cherry-picked only a few, there is no weak moment on the record; songs like “Mother Earth” and “Leaving Home Again,” especially, should not go unmentioned.

So this is what we have: a great album released as an LP in 1971, re-released on CD in 2002, and now available on YouTube – and an untraceable artist. Resorting to YouTube comments for more clues, we find, among pertinent observations such as “Hey, this guy has my name … AND MY HAIR,” and someone suggesting that John Manning may be still around and working on a follow-up album.

If that is indeed the case, some of the mysteries surrounding John Manning may be cleared up some time in the future. Until then, we’ll have to make do with the mysteriously beautiful folk music on the unjustly neglected White Bear.
by  Kasper Nijsen

1. Leaving Home Again - 4:29
2. Theme From H+2 - 3:30
3. Free Clinic Song - 5:51
4. Warm Inside - 3:58
5. Music Belongs To The People - 5:06
6. Hard On The Road To New Mexico - 5:05
7. Mother Earth - 4:27
8. The Whole Song - 4:21
9. Down Inside The Jungle - 5:41
All songs by John Manning

*John Manning - Vocals, 12 String Guitar
*Floyd Frederick Fletcher III - Bass
*Alan Dennison - Keyboards, Flute
*Mike Bolan - Guitar
*Terry Cox - Drums
*Richard Landis - String Arrangements

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Friday, November 30, 2018

Carolanne Pegg - Carolanne Pegg (1973 uk, wonderful folk classic rock, 2017 remaster)

Carole Ann Pegg was born Nottingham, September 1944. Summarises working class family background and recalls early musical experiences. First sang in public at Nottingham University 'House of the Rising Sun'. Joined Cambridge Folk Club. Formed trio with Bob Pegg and Gil Evans. Didn't finish university, married Bob Pegg and formed folk rock band, Mr Fox. Wrote own songs using traditional themes. Unlearnt classical violin and took up fiddle. 

Carolanne Pegg’s eponymous solo album from 1973 is, of course, not exactly new, but this reissued rarity feels absolutely fresh. It kicks off with a crisp and rocked-up version of Collins’ Open The Door, but Pegg’s talent is all her own. Her voice – a combination of Kate Bush’s edgy theatricality and a folkie’s down-home warmness – reminds us that Kate Bush was not the first Brit to break the female vocals out of sweet clichés. Pegg is more than ably abetted by guitar maestro Albert Lee. His country flavoured licks spit fire over Dave Peacock’s bass and Michael Lavelle’s cello. The crisp interplays between the three represent one of the real benefits of the remastering job. 

However, it’s Pegg who startles. Her vocal feats – by turns gritty, weird and moving – turn folk and country into a psychedelic prog masterwork. Tracks like A Witch’s Guide To The Underground and The Sapphire evoke a lost dark-folk world that never was. She is, then, a kind of fairy godmother not only for Kate Bush, but Crumbling Ghost and even Richard Dawson. Perhaps the standout track is Fair Fortune’s Star, a multi-movement suite that follows a lady through a dark wood towards enlightenment. It might act as a symbol for Pegg’s journey itself. Not only does it compete with peak Fairport but it achieves a menace they couldn’t dream of. This re-release benefits from a superb essay by Prog’s Malcolm Dome.

This is a beautiful album whose only sadness lies in what might have been if Pegg had received the popular attention she deserved. On the closing track, when Pegg sings, ‘I guess we’re winter people now,’ you’re left thinking this album deserves a second spring.
by Rachel Mann June 23, 2017

1. Open The Door (Song For Judith) (Judy Collins) - 4:26
2. A Witch's Guide To The Underground - 3:48
3. Mouse And The Crow - 2:54
4. The Sapphire - 4:01
5. Fair Fortune's Star - 10:03
6. Clancy's Song - 4:02
7. The Lady And The Well - 4:36
8. Wycoller - 2:53
9. The Lizard - 3:20
10.Man Of War (Humphrey Weightman, Carolanne Pegg) - 3:22
11.Winter People - 5:04
All songs by Carolanne Pegg except where indicated

*Carolanne Pegg - Fiddle, Guitar, Harmonium, Vocals
*Paul Rowan - Jew's Harp
*Keith Nelson - Banjo
*Dave Peacock - Bass
*Michael Lavelle  - Cello
*Albert Lee - Guitar 
*Alan Eden - Percussion

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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Glass Harp - Glass Harp (1970 us, impressive guitar bluesy psych rock, 2014 remaster)

The debut of Glass Harp is undeniably their strongest work, with a more unified sound and a more polished feel overall than the other records. The group's strongest songs -- "Changes," "Can You See Me," "Look in the Sky" -- appear here, much of it in the vein of Cream and Jimi Hendrix. Gentle "Black Horse" is a nice touch, and the group is not pulling apart so much on the first record. Keaggy is an amazing guitarist with innovative playing techniques and an ear for texture and tone color, while Sferra stands out as the strongest writer of the group. 
by Mark Allender

1. Can You See Me (Dan Pecchio, Phil Keaggy) - 6:27
2. Children's Fantasy (Phil Keaggy) - 4:14
3. Changes (In The Heart Of My Own True Love) (John Sferra) - 5:57
4. Village Queen (Dan Pecchio) - 4:02
5. Black Horse (John Sferra) - 2:53
6. Southbound (John Sferra, Phil Keaggy) - 3:56
7. Whatever Life Demands (Dan Pecchio, Phil Keaggy) - 6:31
8. Look In The Sky (Dan Pecchio, John Sferra, Phil Keaggy) - 8:13
9. Garden (Dan Pecchio, John Sferra, Phil Keaggy) - 4:21
10.On Our Own (John Sferra, Phil Keaggy) - 2:41
11.Can You See Me (Dan Pecchio, Phil Keaggy) - 28:50

The Glass Harp
*Phil Keaggy - Guitars, Vocals
*John Sferra - Drums, Vocals, Guitars
*Daniel Pecchio - Bass, Vocals, Flute
*John Cale - Electric Viola

1971  Glass Harp - Live! At Carnegie Hall
1972  Glass Harp - It Makes Me Glad (2005 remaster)

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Octopus - Restless Night (1967-71 uk, spectacular beat psychedelia prog rock, 2006 remaster with extra tracks and 2016 japan remaster)

As put by Stefan Granados in the accompanying liners, “perhaps due to it being recorded at the fag end of the psychedelic pop years in 1970, or the ghastly illustration that graced the sleeve”, Octopus’ sole album still remains unheard of by lots of those who would’ve treasured it, had they been digging a bit deeper under the hostile surface … had they ever came across it at all.

Though it’s already been given a second chance actually, by See For Miles in the mid 90's, this is surely the definitive, and most certainly the first ever complete version of Restless Night, including the previously omitted pair of ballads, with I Was So Young being an almost Victorian-sounding piece of British folk, with a fragile Blunt-stoned vocal delivery, and Orchard Bloom already kinda suggesting McCartney’s post-Beatle days.

While we’re at it, there’s quite a few other kinds of Beatlisms, be it the Macca-by-way-of-Emitt-Rhodes sounding I Say and Rainchild (a formula already applied on some of the pre-album recordings like Call Me A Fool and especially Turning Night Into Day, as well as the pre-Octopus Cortinas’ single sides Girlfriend/ Laugh At The Poor Man), the Lennon-like proggy blues of the title tune, or Council Plans, finding them halfway between the Pepper-ish groove and The Turtles’ sunshiny harmony pop.

On a rare occasion when they tend to rawk out a bit harder, it usually comes out pretty close to the above concept, in a more Badfinger-like way, most audibly in the fuzzy opening The River, there’s also some tasty slightlydelic guitar lines, keeping Summer from it’s almost classic bubblegum chewy ness.

Thief sounds like a rather nervously (in a good way) upbeat rendition of an imaginary Graham Gouldman tune, Queen And The Pauper is a kind of a lightweight type of Britsike, while the epic closer Tide, though still sticking to the album’s highly melodic concept, also combines it with a progressive structure, being more in accordance with the album’s contemporary surroundings.

Besides the already mentioned pair of pre-album recordings, worth of mention are some other previously unreleased Cortinas recordings as well, such as the happy-go-lucky pair of the Vaudeville-ian ditty Phoebe’s Flower Shop and the Hermits-sounding Too Much In Love.

Seems like it’s about time for Octopus to fully spread his arms around the popsike world. 
by Garwood Pickjon, October 25, 2006

1. The River (Nigel Griggs) - 4:22
2. I Was So Young (John Cook) - 2:58
3. Summer (Nigel Griggs) - 3:04
4. Council Plans (John Cook) - 3:33
5. Restless Night (Nigel Griggs) - 4:07
6. Orchard Bloom (Nigel Griggs) - 2:34
7. Thief (Nigel Griggs) - 3:36
8. Queen And The Pauper (Nigel Griggs) - 3:37
9. I Say (Nigel Griggs) - 1:52
10.John's Rock (John Cook) - 2:37
11.Rainchild (Nigel Griggs) - 3:06
12.Tide (John Cook, Nigel Griggs) - 5:32
13.Girlfriend (John Cook, Rick Williams) - 2:56
14.Laugh At The Poor Man (Jackie Steward, Nigel Griggs, Paul Griggs) - 3:17
15.Sagittarius (Nigel Griggs) - 3:41
16.In The Park (Unknown) - 3:18
17.Phoebe's Flower Shop (Brian Potter, Graham Dee) - 2:44
18.Too Much In Love (Brian Potter, Graham Dee) - 2:27
19.Call Me A Fool (Paul Raymond, Tony Murray) - 2:46
20.Turning Night Into Day (Paul Raymond, Tony Murray) - 2:20
21.I Am The Walrus (Live) (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 5:02
22.Peer Gynt Suite (Live) (Edvard Grieg) - 5:57
Tracks 15-18 as The Cortinas

Octopus’s sole 1969 long-player Restless Night is something of a treasure among ’60s Brit-psych fans due to its mixture of proto-progressive riffs, accomplished pop tunes and sparkling Beatlesque flourishes. The band evolved out of the thriving Hertfordshire beat scene that also gave us The Zombies, The Gods and those other cult pop-psych heroes Forever Amber. Octopus’ music was coloured by the use of keyboards and layered vocal harmonies in much the same way. 

As The Cortinas they enjoyed several years of local success which culminated in the 1968 CBS single ‘Phoebe’s Flower Shop’. The single was pure pop confectionery and betrayed little of the band’s tight, melodic brand of rock. By the time they’d been signed to Larry Page’s Penny Farthing label in 1969, their sound had expanded to encompass the burgenoning progressive scene, the dawn of the solo troubadour and the omnipresent influence of The Beatles, illustrated perfectly by their live sets of the period which included songs by Yes, Neil Young, Cat Stevens and even note-for-note renditions of “I Am The Walrus” and “Baby, You’re A Rich Man”!

The first single and album opener ‘The River’ is a tough dancefloor groover complete with lysergic fuzz guitar and has appeared on several compilations while the album cover art is an eye-opening classic of the “so bad it’s good” school. Much to the band’s horror, they discovered that Page had released a bastardised version of the album which omitted two of the original tracks and added the b-side of the single. Previous re-issues of the album have, not surprisingly, stuck to the erroneous tracklist but here at Rev-Ola we always strive to give you more. And you love it don’t you, you little beauties? So here it is pop pickers, for the first time EVER, the original version of the Octopus album as the band intended… containing two previously unheard (and uniformly excellent) tunes plus the usual plethora of previously unreleased bonus tracks, single sides, demos and even a mind-blowing contemporary live recording of Grieg’s ‘Peer Gynt Suite’! You better believe it daddy!
by Michael Kearton

1. The River (Nigel Griggs) - 4:24
2. Summer (Nigel Griggs) - 3:03
3. Council Plans (John Cook) - 3:36
4. Restless Night (Nigel Griggs) - 3:58
5. Thief (Nigel Griggs) - 3:38
6. Queen And The Pauper (Nigel Griggs) - 3:37
7. I Say (Nigel Griggs) - 1:53
8. John's Rock (John Cook) - 2:38
9. Rainchild (Nigel Griggs) - 3:04
10.Tide (John Cook, Nigel Griggs) - 5:40
11.Laugh At The Poor Man (Jackie Steward, Nigel Griggs, Paul Griggs) - 3:16
12.Girlfriend (John Cook, Rick Williams) - 2:55
13.The River (Single Version) (Nigel Griggs) - 3:23
14.Thief (Single Version) (Nigel Griggs) - 3:40

Paul Griggs - Lead Guitar, Vocals
Nigel Griggs - Bass Guitar, Vocals
Rick Williams - Rhythm Guitar,Vocals (1,2,5,11,12,13,14)
Brian Glasscock - Drums (1,2,5,11,12,13,14)
John Cook - Wurlitzer Organ, Piano, Vocals (3,4,6,7,8,9,10)
Malcolm Green - Drums (3,4,6,7,8,9,10)

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