In some ways, Marc Ellington's Rains/Reins of Change two-fer sounds like a late-'60s Fairport Convention album that doesn't happen to have members of Fairport Convention on vocals. In others, it sounds like a blend of Fairport Convention with late-'60s/early-'70s Californian country-rock; this is not as odd a stretch as it might appear, since there was some mutual admiration between players in those bands. The connections aren't at all coincidental, as several members of Fairport actually contribute to the record, with Richard Thompson playing electric guitar, Dave Mattacks handling some of the drums, Dave Pegg handling some of the bass, and Ian Matthews and Sandy Denny singing some backup vocals.
Other guys from limbs of the Fairport family tree are here too (bassist Pat Donaldson, drummer Gerry Conway, and Trevor Lucas, all of whom played with Denny in Fotheringay), and the Californian country-rock flavor is made that much more authentic with contributions from Chris Hillman, Sneaky Pete, and Rick Roberts of the Flying Burrito Brothers. All of this makes the record necessary and desirable to major Fairport Convention fans, and to country-rock completists. What, though, of the music of Ellington himself -- who, after all, sings lead and writes or co-writes all of the original songs? He's an alright rootsy folk-rock songwriter, but to be a little unfair, you can't help wondering how much better some of these tracks would sound with Denny or Matthews on vocals.
For Ellington's just an adequate singer, and though he's a somewhat better songwriter, perhaps his talents would have been better served had the Denny-Matthews lineup of Fairport managed to cover some of his better songs (had that short-lived lineup managed to continue in the first place). There's an agreeable reflective, at times Band-like tone to his compositions. But Denny in particular could have worked much better wonders with the darker and more melancholic tunes, like the title track and "Days Used to Be Warmer," the latter of which in particular has the kind of haunting minor-keyed chill associated with some of the best late-'60s/early-'70s British folk-rock. One of the two traditional songs here, "Yarrow" is another standout, with a melody and attitude reminiscent of (but not identical to) classics like "Scarborough Fair" and "John Riley."
by Richie Unterberger
1. Oh No It Can't Be So - 3:02
2. On Your Own - 3:34
3. Saving Grace - 3:22
4. Song For A Friend - 3:05
5. Yarrow (Traditional) - 5:43
6. I'm Leaving (Karen Ellington, Marc Ellington) - 3:00
7. Rains-Reins Of Changes - 4:31
8. The Life You Love (Marc Ellington, Mike Deighan) - 4:15
9. Days Used To Be Warmer (Marc Ellington, Mike Deighan) - 5:03
10.Alligator Man (Traditional) - 2:20
11.All The Times - 2:57
12.Blue Suede Shoes (Carl Perkins) - 2:01
All songs by Marc Ellington except where stated
The New Arrivals band was formed in 1962 originally as The Preps from Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose California, the home of everyone from The Doobies to Smash Mouth. They started in a garage which was really converted into a family room and by the time 1963 rolled around they had produced a minor instumental hit in the West called PAM PAM distributed by Amy Mala. Then in 1964 they released Ray Peterson's NIGHT THEME on Dot Records and caught the ear of promoter Irving Granz who signed them as a back up band for the tour with the Beach Boys...after hearing them perform with them..our guys first real concert. Actually they opened for the first Beach Boys concert in the Bay Area and debuted their vocal act by singing 3 Beatle songs. As a stunt they wore Beatle wigs which Capitol Records had been giving out to radio stations such as the fabled KLIV promoting the Beatle Invasion. The crowd thought they WERE the Beatles and actually went semi crazy. The band was on its way to becoming a rock-solid vocal group as well as great instrumentalists.
Over the next three years they toured or performed with notables such as Sonny and Cher, Glen Campbell, Paul Revere and The Raiders, The Dave Clark Five, The Beau Brummels, The Righteous Brothers, The Ventures, Jr. Walker and The Allstars, Cannibal and the Headhunters, The Paris Sisters, The Angels, Sam the Sham and the Pharohs, Noel Harrison, Dobie Gray, Timi Yuro, The We Five, The Surfaris, and on and on. Going back to Golden State Recorders they released MOONRACERS by Herb Alpert on Southbay Records in 1965. Then they changed their moniker to The New Arrivals since they had graduated from the fabled Bellarmine "prep" school by this time. In 1965 they released TAKE ME FOR WHAT I AM(which was not available for this CD but can be linked through Let's Bet With It baby on this site}) on Southbay and this marked their debut as a five voice vocal group with influences from many of the people and bands they toured with or accompanied.
At this point they started doing national radio spots and TV commercials for corporations such as Macy's and Seven Up. In 1966 they toured and recorded SCRATCH YOUR NAME on Southbay Records written for them by Tom Talton of WeThe People. Then in early 1967 a big chance came when Mike Post and Reprise Records wanted to sign them. An album had just been completed and there was no stopping their fate. Except within days of the audition three of the five members were drafted. That was it. The band was in limbo. No, the band was disbanded.
During the 70's and 80's they were in and out of the studio trying to create a new sound but never a live performance group.In the late 80's they reunited to back Chuck Berry in what some reveiewers called the best rock 'n roll concerts of all time and played a few stints with The Coasters, Bobby Rydell, Martha and the Vandellas and San Jose's Syndicate of Sound. Until now this album has never been available or heard. In 1984 producer Dick Hanahoe gave the tapes to Tom Muller in hopes something might be done someday. This is the original 4 track mix that has been transfered to digital domain and only edited to make playable for CD. The reverbs, voices, guitars, vox organ and more are the real thing that Leo de gar Kulka engineered. It is as if time has given us the opportunity to listen in on another era with a fresh sound that perhaps will FINALLY be appreciated .
by David Bash
1. Scratch Your Name (Tom Talton) - 2:57
2. Wake Me Shake Me (Billy Guy) - 2:42
3. Time Won't Let Me (Chet Kelley, Tom King) - 3:00
4. Funny Feeling (Rick Leachman, Tom Muller) - 2:45
5. When I Needed You (Tom Talton) - 2:27
6. Goldfinger (Gerd, Axel, Guenther) - 2:45
7. God Help The Teenager (S. W. Spampinato) - 2:11
8. Hey Little Girl (Andre Meschi, Tom Muller) - 1:52
9. Wrong Slant On Life (Rick Leachman, Tom Muller) - 2:42
10.Nazz Are Blue (Jeff Beck) - 2:45
11.Just Outside My Window (Laurie Vitt) - 2:32
The New Arrivals
*Andre Meschi - Drums, Vocals
*Larry Syres - Bass, Vocals
*Bill Smith - Lead Guitar
*Dick Robitaille - Marimba, Vocals, Percussion
*Rod Gibino - Vocals
*Tom Muller - Vocals, Keyboards
*Rick Leachman - All The Others
For his next album, Amigo, however, he stuck with L.A. session musicians. The disc contained more originals than usual, among them "Victor Jara," an account of the death of the Chilean singer/songwriter who was slaughtered in his country's CIA-backed military coup in 1973 that was later covered by Christy Moore, and "Patriot's Dream," which later served as a title song for an album by Jennifer Warnes. When Amigo was released in September 1976, it garnered strong reviews from rock critics because it rocked more than Guthrie's albums usually did, notably on a cover of the relatively unknown Rolling Stones song "Connection." But the positive notices did not help sales. That fall, Guthrie joined Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue for some shows, leading to an appearance in Dylan's film Renaldo and Clara, shot during the tour.
Another of the originals on Amigo was a song called "Darkest Hour," a poetic and personal statement by Guthrie, who was questioning his spiritual ideas at this time. In 1977, he formally converted to Roman Catholicism. - He later explored Hinduism and Buddhism, adopting a more ecumenical view of religion.
by William Ruhlmann
1. Guabi, Guabi - 2:30
2. Darkest Hour - 4:07
3. Massachusetts - 3:13
4. Victor Jara (Adrian Mitchell, Arlo Guthrie) - 4:20
5. Patriot's Dream - 2:55
6. Grocery Blues - 2:11
7. Walking Song (Leah Kunkel) - 3:10
8. My Love - 2:46
9. Manzanillo Bay (Rabbit MacKay) - 4:25
10.Ocean Crossing - 3:25
11.Connection (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 2:41
All songs by Arlo Guthrie
Look At The Fool, the ninth and final studio album to be released by Tim Buckley in his lifetime (the album was released in November 1974, and Buckley was to die from a drug overdose on June 29th, 1975, aged only twenty-eight), is seen by some as the last in a trio of'sex-funk' releases. He'd begun this trilogy with Greetings From LA in 1972, his first album release in a couple of years, after the formless Starsailor in 1970. He followed Greetings with Sefronia (also available on Edsel Records), and the last album in his deal with Disc Reet, the label owned by his manager, Herb Cohen, was this - Look At The Fool. Greetings had seen Buckley abandon the allusive poetry and otherworldly ambience of his late sixties albums such as Lorca and Starsailor in favour of a far more direct - explicit, in fact - celebration of sexuality and carnal desire. Musically, he'd also embraced rhythm and blues and funk. Sefronia, his penultimate album, had broadly followed similar lines, but contained more outside material than he had ever entertained before. Look At The Fool would correct this by being entirely self-penned, apart from two songs co-written with his school friend Larry Beckett, with whom he had collaborated often over the years.
Apparently, Buckley had originally wanted to call the album An American Souvenir, seemingly informed in part by Van Dyke Parks' 'Discover America'. In the end though, the actual title perhaps says something more about Buckley's mental state - having to cope with a debilitating drinking problem, and his downward record sales spiral. Opening with the title track, Buckley delivers a stratospheric, tortured vocal that is eerily reminiscent to that of the last great Southern Soul star, Al Green (who was then at a real commercial peak, having crossed over from the rhythm and blues charts into mainstream international pop success). By any standards, 'Look At The Fool' is a remarkable performance.
A few years of hard drinking and sometime substance abuse may have robbed Buckley's vocal pipes of their youthful 'innocent' quality, but his four-octave vocal range was intact, and Buckley certainly pulls out the melismatic stops here. The arrangement is similarly ambitious, morphing through rolling funk to the tension and release of the breakdown. Whereas I can see where Buckley diehards would say that "it ain't 'Buzzin’ Fly'", it is, nonetheless, as ambitious and full-blooded as anything Buckley had cut in his career. 'Bring ft On Up' is gutsy funk, and again, Buckley artfully shuffles his vocal personae, from urgent falsetto to funk grits ‘n’ gravy.
The coda, which has Buckley referring to "belly to belly", revisits some of the overt sexual themes of Greetings From LA. 'Helpless' is more groove than song, but it's a solid groove, and delivered with commitment. 'Freeway Blues' is another teak-tough outing, based on an insistent clavinet motif with tart guitar stabs, and Buckley staying in one vocal persona for the song (both 'Freeway Blues' and its successor, 'Tijuana Moon' are Buckley co-writes with Larry Beckett).
Without wishing to worry any particular bone, what is SO wrong with Buckley here? He doesn't dial in a vocal, he sounds like he's enjoying the process - the lyrics certainly aren't folk poetry, but are certainly more reflective of the times they were written in - the album has worn considerably better than most critics would have you think. 'Tijuana Moon' is slight, but fits in with the Mexicali themes that crop up elsewhere. Buckley is onto something here though, rightly alluding to the odd ambience of border towns, the sense of unease and a space where cultures collide, where things get mixed and messed up. In its way, Look At The Fool inhabits borders – where the sacred collides with the profane (a conflict that informed the careers of great black R’n’B performers, from Jackie Wilson through to Al Green and Marvin Gaye, of course), the escape into no-strings sexual encounters and the need for love, and the breaking of musical borders - it's all in here, if you listen carefully.
'Ain't It Peculiar' partially purloins the title of a Marvin Gaye hit, but its lissom, loping funk is of Buckley's own invention. 'Who Could Deny You' opens in mellifluous style, Buckley's soulful upper register voice floating over the vibes and guitar track with a featherweight glide. He rings the arrangement changes, and proceeds to deliver an at times staggeringly 10 impressive, coruscating vocal, alternating between grit and grace with remarkable agility. 'Mexicali Voodoo' features a Steely Dan type guitar and keyboard dual riff- more groove than song again, but once more the groove is great. 'Down In The Street' is a lyrical departure for Buckley - more social observance than anything else, but the track has a real urgency and punch. Closing proceedings is the amusing 'Louie Louie' retread, 'Wanda Lu, a jokey sign-off that adds a little musical humour into the Look At The Fool mix that is welcome lighter relief, sounding like a Tijuana garage band.
One of the other undoubted plus points of Look At The Fool is the stellar crew of backing musicians listed in the credits. Produced by Joe Falsia. who had by then pretty much adopted the role of manager and minder to Buckley, and a fine job of marshalling the musical elements he does, too. Included in the personnel are Mike Melvoin (keyboards), and Chris Coleman (percussion), who, in addition to their being seasoned session players, are also the fathers of Wendy (Melvoin) and Lisa (Coleman), for many years the mainstays of Prince's band, as well as being recording artists in their own right.
Drummer Earl Palmer had played on most of Little Richard's hits, as well as on Randy Newman recordings, Beach Boys records, and scores of others, including Little Feat, Elvis Costello and Tom Waits. Speaking of Waits, bassist Jim Hughart was a member of Waits' band at this time, and another bassist featured here, Chuck Rainey, played with Steely Dan, Quincy Jones, Aretha Franklin and Joe Walsh in a lengthy career resume. As important as all of the backing crew is the presence of guitarist Lee Underwood back in Buckley's fold, after an enforced absence dealing with his own personal demons. In the end, though, the jig was up for Buckley, for the time being at least.
The album was released to little fanfare and some critical kicking on its November 1974 release. Buckley hated the cover painting, in which he wears a somewhat defeated expression, and by the end of the year, he had severed his managerial ties with Herb Cohen and DiscReet. On the website, www.timbuckley.net there is reproduced a four-part Buckley retrospective penned by the journalist Max Bell for the New Musical Express in 1979. The fine article ends with a couple of revealing Buckley interview quotes - referring directly to this album, but they tantalizingly point the way in which Buckley's career could have moved had he not died so tragically young: "An instrumentalist can be understood doing just about anything, but people are really geared to something coming out of the mouth being words. I use my voice as an instrument when I'm performing live. I figure if I can do it, why not stick with it? The most shocking thing I've ever seen people come up against, besides a performer taking off his clothes, is dealing with someone who doesn't sing words.
This kind of thing also figures into An American Souvenir' because I get off on great sounding words. If I had my way, words wouldn't mean a thing, but the rules are different for a single singer than a band - they can get away with it because their life expectancy is only two years, "If I haven't done it and I'm capable or old enough and ready, I'll do it while keeping an eye on communication and not necessarily trends and fads. If I thought a whole album of Hank Williams songs was right, I'd do it even if burlesque was the style. Miles Davis went for 15 years without really selling a lot of albums, but his company kept putting them out because there is only one Miles Davis. Now I'm not equating myself with him, but there isn't anybody who can sing or write like me, and if I wasn't allowed to record, then recording wouldn't be valid."
In the forty years since Buckley's passing, his music has been re-discovered and reappraised; for a brief while, Buckley's long-estranged son Jeff Buckley looked to be the true inheritor of his father's musical mantle, possessed of an equally staggering vocal and emotive range, but died in a drowning accident in the Mississippi river on May 29th 1997. Look At The Fool may not be the favourite album of many Buckley fans, but to me, it has worn very well down the years. Time to give it another chance, I reckon.
by Alan Robinson, July 2017
1. Look At The Fool - 5:12
2. Bring It On Up - 3:28
3. Helpless - 3:20
4. Freeway Blues - 3:13
5. Tijuana Moon - 2:43
6. Ain't It Peculiar - 3:37
7. Who Could Deny You - 4:24
8. Mexicali Voodoo - 2:26
9. Down In The Street - 3:22
10.Wanda Lou - 2:38
All songs by Tim Buckley except tracks 4-5 co-written with Larry Beckett
Marc Ellington is a Scottish folksinger and multi-instrumentalist who has guested with Fairport Convention on the latter group's recordings, starting with providing some vocal support on the Unhalfbricking album in 1969. Additionally, he worked with Matthews Southern Comfort on their self-titled 1969 LP, playing percussion, and recorded his debut album that same year, which featured his singing, guitar work, and bagpipes.
Marc Ellington's debut album on Philips in 1969, is a great combination of various famous folk numbers and traditional songs such as Bob Dylan, John Martyn, Al Stewart, Phil Ochs, Tim Hardin among others.
1. In Brooklyn (Al Stewart) - 4:17
2. Fairy Tale Lullaby (John Martyn) - 2:20
3. Reason To Believe (Tim Hardin) - 2:36
4. Caledonian Mission (Robbie Robertson) - 3:09
5. Fair And Tender Ladies (Traditional) - 3:32
6. Changes (Phil Ochs) - 2:26
7. Tears Of Rage (Bob Dylan) - 4:10
8. Four In The Morning (C. Raneily) - 3:06
9. Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Traditional) - 2:09
10.I Shall Be Released (Bob Dylan) - 3:03
11.Bless The Executioner (Peter Daltrey, Eddie Pumer) - 2:38
12.Love City (Noel Paul Stookey) - 3:52
13.Desolation Row (Bob Dylan) - 10:15
14.Nanna's Song (Ralph McTell) - 2:10
Elyse Weinberg was there and gone. While the 1960's were closing its doors, Weinberg graduated from Toronto folk clubs to crashing on Neil Young's Laurel Canyon couch to the Billboard charts within one prolific year. She played The Tonight Show and was featured in Newsweek. One of her songs was recorded as a title track for a cinematic Cher vehicle. It appeared, even beyond the Hollywood Hills, that Weinberg was poised to launch. But within a year, the bright lights began to dim and she quietly walked away. Informed by her astrological study and an awakened spiritual urge, Weinberg left the phony grin she sang about in Greasepaint Smite behind her and, with that, the music business.
Weinberg got her first guitar at age 12. As she learned lo play, the young musician gravitated toward folk tunes, eventually mastering the Carter Family's "Wildwood Flower." By the mid-1960s in Montreal, teenage Elyse was already down the rabbit hole, reading Broadside magazine and taping records by Greenwich Village folkies—Eric Andersen, Phil Ochs, Dave Van Ronk—onto her reel-to-reel so she could slow down the tapes to learn the guitar parts. When Reverend Gary Davis came to town, she looked after him, kept him in whiskey, and studied his fingers on the guitar neck.
Three years into McGill University in Montreal, Weinberg dropped out and moved to Toronto where the folk scene included heavies like Ian Sc Sylvia and Joni Mitchell, as well as headies like David Wiffen and Bob Carpenter. Renting a spot in a communal house on Bishop Street, she lived in a space where music and traveling artists shared real estate with a dog, pregnant feral cats, an iguana, and iwo monkeys. She formed a band called O.D. Bodkin and Company (she was O.D.) and played Toronto's Yorkshire coffeehouse district in haunts like the Bohemian Embassy, the Gate of Cleve, and the Mousetrap. These were days of counterculture consumption, documented specifically in the song "Ironworks" on her first record. But in the 1960s, Weinberg was there for more than just the party. She was tuning in to the cognitive and creative aspects of her Scorpio identity.
On the surface, she describes her behavior as being "a bundle of reactions," but the songs she was writing went somewhere deeper. Travels took her to Israel and throughout Europe, briefly to New York City, and then back to Toronto. Weinberg was flamboyant and serious, often wearing a purple crushed velvet cape beneath her long dark hair. She described the urgency in her voice at the time as an "old gravel pit." Despite the creative buzz and creative community of Toronto, Weinberg wanted to make records and knew that meant leaving town. Neil Young, an old friend who often camped out at the Bishop Street house in a sleeping bag, urged her to head west.
In the spring of 1968, she moved to Eos Angeles to crash on Young's couch in Topanga Canyon during Buffalo Springfield's final bow. She then became roommates with Cass Elliot, another musician connected to the Canadian folk clubs. When Elliot heard Weinberg's song "Darlin' Please Believe Me," she set up a meeting with Silver, who managed Elliot's old group before she joined The Mamas & the Papas, The Big 3. Weinberg only had enough money to travel one way in a cab to Silver's office across town. By afternoon's end, Silver had signed her to a management and recording contract. Not only did he give her cab fare home, he got her an apartment in Laurel Canyon and bought her a green Pontiac Le Mans, her first car.
Elyse was released on Tetragrammaton Records in May of 1969, when she was 23 years old. The label ran ads for the album with the tagline: "Because Cass Elliott called and asked us to listen." Coowned with Bill Cosby, Tetragrammaton played home to a roster that included Pat Boone, Deep Purple, and Biff Rose and released the John Lennon and Yoko Ono album Two Virgins when Capitol Records deemed it too controversial. Silver was a mover and shaker, an insider whose reach went beyond the music business. He managed Joan Rivers and Bob Dylan in their early days and orchestrated the televised, ratings-winning wedding between Tiny Tim and Miss Vicki on The Tonight Show. Silver worked all industry angles in Hollywood, eventually opening a Chinese restaurant on Sunset Boulevard in John Barrymore's old house where he hosted late night parties while selling Sichuan noodles and pork fried rice, just to keep his finger on the pulse. Silver could make things happen, and Weinberg was his focus.
Elyse peaked at #31 on the Billboard chart as Weinberg toured the folk circuit. Newsweek, in a July 1969 feature on visionary female troubadours with the demeaning title "The Girls Letting Go," included Weinberg alongside Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro, and Melanie. The writer described Weinberg's songs as death-obsessed, comparing them to "medieval ballads," and her vocal delivery to Bob Dylan's on John Wesley Harding. But to Weinberg, the songs involved more struggle. "Everyone has just one song they sing," she said to the reporter, "and these songs are about people who hold onto everything and anything that's holding them back or getting them down or getting them high—people who just don't know how to let go."
Silver's pull got Weinberg booked twice on The Tonight Show with Johnny Canon, but the show bumped her each time. The third time was the charm, and she performed Bert Jansch's "Oh, Deed I Do," the album's single, but that's where the good luck ended. Her guitar was mixed too low and her performance faltered. Adding insult to injury, when the night's guest-host, Flip Wilson, held up a copy of her record with the cellophane still on, the studio lights blinded the album cover. "It was a very unsatisfying experience, all in all," she remembers. Silver ever the play-maker, also convinced Cher to record the album's opening cut, "Band of Thieves," for her acting debut in the 1969 film Chastity. The film and soundtrack flopped. Worse for Weinberg, her song was retitled "Chastity's Theme," and the closing credits erroneously listed Sonny Bono as the composer.
By the summer of 1969, her debut was still fresh and her follow-up was already recorded. Produced by Neil Young's engineer, David Briggs, Greasepaint Smile features J.D. Souther on drums, an 18-year-old Nils Lofgren on guitar ("Greasepaint Smile, "Collection Bureau"), and Kenny Edwards on bass, among others. Neil Young welcomed the invitation from his old friend to play guitar on one song, "Houses," where his infamous 1953 Gibson Les Paul, "Old Black," makes its first appearance on record without assistance from an amp.
These were fuzzy times, but Weinberg recalls this part of the session well: "I remember us sitting in the control room, and Neil was plugged directly into the soundboard. I had my arm around him and he just began ripping out these beautiful guitar lines. It was very sweet and intimate." It's a song that skips between time signatures while metaphorically acknowledging the difficulty of sharing the world with others. Or, as Weinberg more succinctly states when asked about the song: "We all have our stuff." David Briggs, in an article in Record World in August of 1969, distinguishes Greasepaint Smile from its predecessor: "All the people are playing to the vocal rather than vice versa." That's accurate.
On Greasepaint Smile you hear a band with more of Weinberg, her voice and picking out front, as Biblical allusions blur with images of Laurel Camon nights and mornings-after. She is the sole writer on all these songs, minus her return to the Carter Family catalog for the song "Gospel Ship." Though pleased with the album, she didn't have creative control. "I didn't know I could have an opinion. I just turned up. I was just the chick singer!" Arid as she listens hack now, she says, "I hear a young woman wanting to be loved. I hear a spiritual yearning for a higher love. I know it now, but 1 didn't know it then." It's this raw wisdom that makes this record so compelling. But despite Tetragrammaton reserving a catalog number and completing die photo shoot for the album cover, the label was in financial trouble. During the release of Deep Purple's third album, their most profitable artist, they went bankrupt and closed shop.
By 1970, Weinberg was spending her nights at the Troubadour club. She played the Monday open mics along with performers like Warren Zevon, Cheech & Chong, and Jackson Browne, who Silver also managed early on, J.D. Souther and Glenn Frey were among the regulars, pre-Eagles, performing as Longbranch Pennywhistle and occasionally doubling as Weinberg's backing hand. But during daylight, little was happening, so she left for another adventure as Greasepaint Smile got Comfy in the attic of lost albums. Weinberg landed in London after touring with the Great Medicine Ball Caravan, the hippie troupe designed and documented in the 1971 film of the same name. The troupe's mission: spread counter-culture love and wisdom— Aquarian missionaries to the straights on the Warner Brothers' dime, a corporate package made up to mimic Woodstock's aesthetic and profits. The troupe included musical acts like B.B. King, Doug Kershaw, Alice Cooper, The Youngbloods, and, in the final overseas festival, Pink Floyd. Weinberg joined after hearing there was room on tour from her friend, the tour's official tie-dyer.
When the Great Medicine Ball Caravan wrapped, Weinberg met with former label-mate and Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover in London to discuss him producing her next album. But even before recording began, Roy Silver called and urged her to return home to make a third album, this time for a new label owned by his friend and future mogul, David Geffen. Weinberg signed to Asylum in August of 1971, becoming one of the label's first artists alongside Browne, Souther, The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, and Judee Sill. But after the album wrapped, Weinberg had a falling out with Silver, her longtime champion, and the deal disappeared.
For the second time in a few years, Weinberg completed an album that no one would hear. The Asylum album remains unreleased. The only known copy is a faded cassette. The story of Weinberg's time in the L.A. scene can be heard in her song, "City of the Angels." It's a tune she describes as "reflecting on the milieu that you're moving in and not liking it," but her exit isn't as clearly documented.
Weinberg stayed in L.A. for the next decade or so, distancing herself from the music business that was always at odds with her muse. She moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and then rural Oregon, where she lives today. Weinberg changed not only her residence, but also her name. Based on her beliefs in numerology, where numbers represent letters and each number represents an energy value, she reinvented herself as Cori Bishop.
Bishop kept making music quietly through the 1990's, and in 2001 approved a reissue of her debut, Elyse, on Orange Twin Records. The reboot included two songs from Greasepaint Smile, "Houses" arid "What You Call It." Here, those songs are presented in their original context for
the first time. Bishop self-released her fourth album in 2009, under her professional name Elyse Weinberg, titled In My Own Sweet Time, When asked about current plans, Bishop says she is continuing on her spiritual path and studying metaphysics, as she becomes "closer to dropping the body." Listening to the album now, Bishop says of the title track, "It's about the facades of who we are and how we keep trying to shed those facades." Exactly what you'd expect when hearing her sing the song's final, pleading line: "Bring me down the road another mile." For Bishop, the journey is about transcending the destination.
by Jerry David DeCicca, January 2015
1. What You Call It - 2:58
2. City Of The Angels - 3:28
3. Houses - 3:36
4. It's All Right To Linger - 2:47
5. Collection Bureau - 4:46
6. Gospel Ship (Traditional) - 2:28
7. Nicodemus - 4:06
8. My, My, My - 5:02
9. Your Place Or Mine - 2:47
10.Greasepaint Smile - 3:37
All compositions by Elyse Weinberg except track #6
If you recognize the name Joe E. Covington at all, chances are that it’s a result of his late inning association with The Jefferson Airplane – he replaced Spencer Dryden in 1971, or for his work with The Airplane spin off Hot Tuna. Though he only played on one Airplane album (19721’s “Bark”), that connection was enough to line up financing for his 1973 album debut – “Joe E. Covington’s Fat Fandango” on The Airplane’s RCA Victor affiliated Grunt label.
Ironically Covington’s solo debut actually stretched back to 1967 when he released a one-shot single for the small Original Sound label – an early cover of The Who’s ‘Boris the Spider’ b/w ‘I’ll Do Better Next Time’ (Original Sound catalog OS-74). He’d also been a member of the Pittsburgh-based The Fenwicks and after quitting The Airplane joined Peter Kaukonen’s Black Kangaroo.
While his attempts to sing in tune were only marginally successful, given the LP’s low-key charm, that problematic characteristic kind of faded into the background … c’mon, The Clash couldn’t sing to save their lives. Calling the album eclectic was an understatement. Apparently intent on showcasing his diversity, the album bounced all over the musical spectrum, including semi-competent stabs as soul (‘Your Heart Is My Heart’ and ‘Miss Universe’), 1950s rock (‘Moonbeam’), conventional rock (‘Hideout (A Crook’s Best Friend’), and even pseudo-psych (the trippy ‘Mama Neptune’ and the extended closer ‘Vapor Lady’).
Luckily a strong and enthusiastic backing band in the form of keyboardist ‘Senator’ Patrick Craig, guitarist Stevie Midnight, and bassist Jack Prendergast kept things moving in the right direction. The two previously mentioned soul-ish numbers were particularly good! Slap them on some type of soul compilation and I’ll guarantee most folks would never be able to guess who the performer was. The other standout track was the most commercial number – ‘Hideout (A Crook’s Best Friend)’ which went from straight ahead rock to a surprisingly engaging funk workout.
1. Your Heart Is My Heart (Joe E. Covington, Jack Prendergast, Senator Patrick Craig, Mack) - 3:41
2. Country Girl - 3:27
3. Moonbeam - 3:47
4. Mama Neptune - 7:16
5. Miss Unaverse - 5:25
6. Hideout (A Crook's Best Friend) - 4:12
7. Vapor Lady - 8:08
All songs written by Joe E. Convington except track #1.
*Joe E. Covington - Vocals, Drums
*Senator Patrick Craig - Keyboards
*Stevie Midnite - Guitar
*Jack Prendergast - Bass
Our tale begins on a weekday after my newly-appointed office as staff A&R man at Columbia Records in 1969, had already produced the top ten Super Session album, and was always scouting for new talent. Four young lads had some-how by-passed security and poked their heads into my office. "Can I help you?" I inquired "We've travelled from Boston just to audition for you, Mr. Kooper," they flatteringly exclaimed. I picked up the phone and called the studio booking office to try and get some space to hear them play as soon as possible. When they heard my end of the conversation, they yelled out: "Hang up!!! We can play right here in your office! All we need is one plug for the bass amp!" Never having been accosted with an offer like this before, I sheepishly hung up the phone, and pointed to the wall outlet.
They plugged in a tiny bass amp and opened their instrument cases. Out came an acoustic guitar, a CELLO! and a VIOLIN! I was totally mesmerized and I had't heard a note yet. The acoustic guitarist. John Compton. began to play and sing. The bass provided a rhthymic/melodic path behind him, and soon the strings began to swirl behind his Buddy Holly-esque vocal and a big smile broke out on my face. Every talent scout hopes for something unique to fall into their lap. Not the run of the mill crap that pours out of AM radios, but something we've never heard before; with unmeasurable depth. Here it was delivered to my office with no order placed. It was hard to believe. When they finished the first song. I told them to relax - that I would surely sign them up - and to continue playing every? original song in their repertoire. I took notes and asterisked the songs that jumped out at me. "Tulu Rogers" - a pastoral view of the countryside in the height of New England winter, a woman sits by the window crocheting to the sounds of Bach. "Thoughts Of Polly" - a jazzy sounding verse forwards into a folk rock chorus that concludes in a dizzying jazz coda supplied by the addition of then-Blood Sweat & Tears-sters Bobby Colomby on drums and Fred Lipsius on screaming, lyrical alto sax.
The band incorporates the addition of other musicians with nary a blink. "Feathers" - I always felt this album was six months ahead of it's time - that James Taylor followed in the correct time slot, also a New England lad, but with Beatle support, and a great deal more advertising. This song could easily have been written by Taylor in that time slot. "Bi-Weekly" - I could not resist adding a stuaioband around this autumnal quartet. This is a wonderful song lyrically and musicaly. It's hard to believe it's just Robin Bateaux on viola and Gene Rosov on cello, bouilding their own string fortress in this city of sound. "Glossolallia" - reminded me of Donovan to come. A woman stands in harbor, on a balcy, singing to the ocean. David Reiser, bassist, shows why this quartet had a bassist and drummer in one, when such a thing was neccesary. "Rivers Run To The Sea" Bobby Colomby attempts to bridge this bi-tempo sonnet. I join on electric guitar. "Pascals Paradox" - one of the best examples of what is great and timeless about Appaloosa. With no assistance or correction they do what is incredibly unique about them. And I lost myself in mock-heroic style, lodged in their castle for awhile. "Yesterdays Roads" - talking about flirting with a past lover and giving it relevance lyrically.
I confess to uncontrollably tinkling the ivories on this track. "Georgia Street" - the other song that Bobby Colomby and Fred Lipsius gave ample contributions. I m also doing my best on the doomed 1969 Rock-Si-Chord keyboard. Anotner duo-tempo composition by Compton is tackled in grand fashion climaxing in a swinging Lipsius alto solo. It's wonderful to ressurect this album now: nearly 50 years after it s innocent, naive debut. It still retains it s innocence and naivette, and sounds so much like those it influenced much later on in one way or another: Damian Rice. The Left Banke, Christopher Cross, A Stewart, James Blunt, and perhaps in someway or another, James Taylor. The album cover was shot by Marie Cosindas, who specialized in taking all her portraits with Polaroid cameras. She captured the essence of the group admirably and in 60 seconds, we had our cover. Although not a huge seller in it's time, it reached a lot of people who were in college at the time. I think many of them kept a soft spot in their music heart and will be glad to know about this re-release. To possibly rekindle that warmth once again.
Thanks for listening
1. Tulu Rogers - 3:59
2. Thoughts of Polly - 5:51
3. Feathers - 2:29
4. Bi-Weekly - 3:36
5. Glossolalia - 4:07
6. Rivers Run to the Sea - 3:32
7. Pascal's Paradox - 3:23
8. Yesterday's Road - 3:21
9. Now That I Want You - 2:34
10. Georgia Street - 4:47
11. Rosalie - 4:28
All compositions by John Parker Compton
Having garnered a spot opening for The Byrds during a brief 1972 US tour, the band's unexpected American success saw Epic Records offer them an opportunity to record a follow-up album. Heading back to England, the band went through a couple of personnel changes that saw drummer Eric Dillon replaced by Paul Francis, bassist Paul Leverton replaced by Bernard Hagley, and the addition of lead guitarist/singer Berkley Wright. Produced by Ashley Koyaks, 1972's "Silver" didn't mark a major change in musical direction from their debut.
Epic clearly spent a little more money on the recording sessions (at least allowing the band to buy a couple of synthesizers for Tony Lukyn - check out the opener 'Eagle Eye'), which served to give the album a fuller sound. With singer/lead guitarist Terry Shaddick again handling most of the writing chores (keyboardist Lukyn contributing the country-tinged ballad 'LInda'), the album found the band trying to find a musical sweet spot between blatantly commercial and hipper, rock oriented numbers. Their musicianship remained impeccable - how many bands can claim three talented guitarists, let alone three good lead singers? And that may well have been their downfall. Pop fans were probably put off by their more rock oriented moves, while rock fans probably wanted little to do with their country, or pop moves. In practical terms the overall impact was minimal, which meant if you admired the debut, the follow-up (which only saw a US release), was probably going to appeal to you as well.
Eagle Eye' started the album off with a melodic rocker. Kicked along by some nice jangle rock guitars, the song showcased Shaddick's knack for pretty and catchy melodies, as well as the band's patented lush harmony vocals. Opening up with a slightly dreamy, almost lysergic quality, the mid-tempo ballad 'Can I See You' was one of the album highlights. Simply a beautiful song with some killer harmony vocals, its hard to believe this one didn't generate some radio attention for the band. Penned by keyboardist Lukyn, the country-tinged ballad 'Linda' was one of the album's 'growers'. With a breezy melody, the song's winning edge came in the form of some killer Shaddick acoustic slide guitar. 'Whip Wheel' started out as a decent enough pop song showcasing some nice Lukyn electric piano. And then about two thirds of the way through, the song took an abrupt and unexpected change in direction heading towards a far harder, almost Floyd-styled hard-rock sound. Powered by some David Gilmore-styled lead guitar, the results were great. Short, but great.
Kicked along by some stellar jangle rock guitars, 'The Driver's Engine' found the band returning to a country-rock orientation (emphasis on rock). Another one that gets better the more you hear it - this one's always reminded me of something Mike Nesmith might have written and recorded with The Monkees. Another album highlight, 'Couldn't Possibly Be' may have had the album's strongest melody and when it got going, it was easily the toughest rocker. Yeah, the lyrics were a bit spacey, but who cared. A breezy pop track with touches of English Vaudeville, 'Nice and Easy' found Shaddick and company stepping into their best Paul McCartney impressions. Another one that climbed into your head and simply wouldn't leave, it would have made a nice single. Anyone who likes melodic pop is probably going to get a kick out of both of the Tranquility albums.
In an effort to support the album Epic brought the band back to the States slotting them as the opening act for a slew of nationally known bands including David Bowie, The Eagles, J. Geils Band, Humble Pie, and even Yes. Unfortunately those shows did nothing to help sales and Epic subsequently dropped the band from its recording roster.
The band spent the next two years trying to break in the US. In 1974 they signed with Island apparently recording what was intended to be a third LP, though all to emerge was an instantly obscure single, 'Born Again' b/w 'One Day Lady' (1974 Island catalog number WIP 6192). Dropped by Island, the band called it quits and the members scattered, Francis became a sessions player, Bernie Hagley was briefly a member of Jonesy and then joined Vanity Fare, Leverton hooked up with Caravan, Shaddick turned his talents to songwriting, enjoying a slew of hits with material like 'Physical' for Olivia Newton John.
1. Eagle Eye - 3:57
2. Can I See You - 5:44
3. Linda - 4:05
4. Whip Wheel - 5:17
5. The Driver's Engine - 3:41
6. Couldn't Possibly Be - 4:20
7. Nice And Easy - 3:17
8. Dear Oh Dear - 3:25
9. Silver - 7:23
10.The Tree - 1:09
All songs by Terry Shaddick exept track #3 by Tony Lukyn