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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Song - Song Album (1970 us, remarkable blend of power pop glam rock with some jazz aspects, 2017 korean remaster)

Band Song formed in 1969, recorded and released one album in 1970, and were history within a year. Pretty much pure power pop here, but there are a couple of heavier rock and jazz infused tracks that veer away from it. The musicianship is solid, and I'm sure Curt Boettcher and Keith Olsen contributed some of their production and engineering wizardry to the final mix.

Mickey Rooney Jr. was the main songwriter and singer as well as rhythm guitar player, born 3 July 1945 in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, and was the son of famous actor Mickey Rooney, the other members of the the band, were Shelly Scott and Rob Lewine. Wolfman Jack regularly used Clarks jazz/rock instrumental from that album called 'Medicine Man' as his sign off track. It remains a classic today. 

Baeutiful power pop songs, catchy melodies, great harmonies inbetween frantic bongo-handclap breaks, a bit of an English Isles folk sounds, midtempo rockers, and a progressive jazz-rock jam complete with a drum solo. 

1. 10 X 10 (Bob McDonald, Carmen Sardo, Clark Garman) - 2:44
2. Like We Were Before (Joey Covington, Mickey Rooney Jr.) - 2:14
3. Eat Fruit (Bob McDonald, Carmen Sardo, Clark Garman) - 2:40
4. Whenever I Think Of You (John Blanchard, Mickey Rooney Jr.) - 2:09
5. Banana High Noon (Carmen Sardo, Clark Garman, Mickey Rooney Jr.) - 6:18
6. I`m Not Home (Mickey Rooney Jr.) - 3:50
7. Wife (Mickey Rooney Jr.) - 1:44
8. Sugar Lady (Bob McDonald, Carmen Sardo, Clark Garman, Mickey Rooney Jr.) - 2:51
9. Meatgrinder (Bob McDonald, Carmen Sardo, Clark Garman, Mickey Rooney Jr.) - 3:09
10.Medicine Man (Carmen Sardo, Clark Garman) - 7:41

*Rob Lewine - Bass, Vocals
*Shelly Silverman - Drums, Vocals
*Clark Garman - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Mickey Rooney Jr. - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Nancy Priddy - You've Come This Way Before (1968 us, impressive jazzy baroque folk psych vibes, 2005 remaster)

Although better known to the public at large as an actress, Nancy Priddy also enjoyed a sporadic recording career, in 1968 releasing her lone LP, You've Come This Way Before, a minor classic of psychedelic folk. Born and raised in South Bend, IN, Priddy later studied liberal arts at Oberlin College, eventually graduating from the Northwestern School of Drama. Her fledgling theatrical career included a stint doing cabaret, and in 1964 she relocated to Greenwich Village, joining the folk combo the Bitter End Singers and making her recorded debut on the 1964 Mercury release Discover the Bitter End Singers. Priddy exited the group a year later to resume her acting career, eventually returning to the Chicago area. There she began writing her own songs, recording a series of now-lost demo sessions; upon landing back in New York City in 1967, she also contributed backing vocals to the classic Songs of Leonard Cohen.

At the end of 1967, Priddy and aspiring producer Phil Ramone initiated work on You've Come This Way Before, a dreamy, far-reaching acid-folk effort featuring contributions from jazz arranger Manny Albam and funk drummer Bernard "Pretty" Purdie. Issued with virtually no fanfare on Dot Records in late 1968, the album quickly disappeared. During a subsequent visit to Dot's Los Angeles headquarters, Priddy met her future husband, staff producer Bob Applegate. (The couple's daughter Christina Applegate later co-starred in the long-running television sitcom Married...with Children before mounting a feature film career.) During her SoCal stay Priddy also cut a single with producer Harry Nilsson, the 1969 release "Feelings." After contributing to composer Mort Garson's multi-volume opus Signs of the Zodiac, she effectively retired from music, renewing her focus on acting and later appearing in films (Short Walk to Daylight, The Aliens Are Coming) and television (Bewitched, The Waltons, and Barnaby Jones). Following a lengthy but triumphant battle with breast cancer, Priddy returned to music in the early '90s, self-releasing a series of LPs including Can We Talk About It? and Mama's Jam. 
by Jason Ankeny

Nancy Priddy's sole, obscure solo album is the kind of idiosyncratically weird effort that could have only been made in the late '60s, when all sorts of pop and underground influences were combining with a naïveté unreplicated ever since. In some ways it's an off-the-wall singer/songwriter album drawing from both folk-rock and psychedelia. The trippy lyrics are often Through the Looking Glass-like dreamy jottings from a woman who's just gone to the other side of reality, overawed and only slightly intimidated. The sense of a child let loose to romp in the fields is amplified by Priddy's oft-girlish vocals, as heard on cuts like "Ebony Glass," and trendy psychedelic-style echo and high-pitch modulations are added to some of the instruments and vocals on various tracks.

Structurally, the songs -- written by Priddy with several collaborators, including John Simon, Manny Albam, and Everett Gordon, all of whom contributed arrangements to the album -- zigzag all over the map, shifting tunes, meters, and moods unpredictably, and sometimes with little rhyme or reason. Yet at the same time, it's sometimes dressed up in unabashedly late-'60s commercial pop/rock and pop-soul production and orchestration, even to the point of employing trumpets that sound fresh off a Dionne Warwick session. It's often as if the creator and her coconspirators couldn't quite decide whether they were aiming for the pop market or the freaks. Sometimes the result's haunting and enticing, yet on the whole it's an uneasy mix that doesn't cohere, the songwriting not being quite up to the apparent far-out ambitions of the project. 
by Richie Unterberger

1. You've Come This Way Before (Everett Gordon, Nancy Priddy) - 2:52
2. Ebony Glass (Bobby Whiteside, Nancy Priddy) - 2:22
3. Mystic Lady (John Simon, Nancy Priddy) - 6:33
4. Christina's World (Everett Gordon, Nancy Priddy) - 2:46
5. We Could Have It All (Manny Albam, Nancy Priddy) - 2:42
6. My Friend Frank (Manny Albam, Nancy Priddy) - 3:03
7. O' Little Child (Manny Albam, Nancy Priddy) - 3:17
8. And Who Will You Be Then (Everett Gordon, Nancy Priddy) - 3:14
9. On The Other Side Of The River (Manny Albam, Nancy Priddy) - 2:35
10.Epitaph (John Simon, Nancy Priddy) - 1:22
11.Take Care Of My Brother (George Tipton, Art Podell) - 2:53
12.Feelings (George Tipton, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil) - 2:36

*Nancy Priddy - Vocals

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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Tim Buckley - Greetings From West Hollywood (1969 us, brillinat acid folk psych, 2017 remaster)

One of the great rock vocalists of the 1960s, Tim Buckley drew from folk, psychedelic rock, and progressive jazz to create a considerable body of adventurous work in his brief lifetime. His multi-octave range was capable of not just astonishing power, but great emotional expressiveness, swooping from sorrowful tenderness to anguished wailing. His restless quest for new territory worked against him commercially: By the time his fans had hooked into his latest album, he was onto something else entirely, both live and in the studio. In this sense he recalled artists such as Miles Davis and David Bowie, who were so eager to look forward and change that they confused and even angered listeners who wanted more stylistic consistency. However, his eclecticism has also ensured a durable fascination with his work that has engendered a growing posthumous cult for his music, often with listeners who were too young (or not around) to appreciate his music while he was active.

Buckley emerged from the same '60s Orange County, California folk scene that spawned Jackson Browne and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Mothers of Invention drummer Jimmy Carl Black introduced Buckley and a couple of musicians Buckley was playing with to the Mothers' manager, Herbie Cohen. Although Cohen may have first been interested in Buckley as a songwriter, he realized after hearing some demos that Buckley was also a diamond in the rough as a singer. Cohen became Buckley's manager, and helped the singer get a deal with Elektra.

Before Buckley had reached his 20th birthday, he'd released his debut album. The slightly fey but enormously promising effort highlighted his soaring melodies and romantic, opaque lyrics. Baroque psychedelia was the order of the day for many Elektra releases of the time, and Buckley's early folk-rock albums were embellished with important contributions from musicians Lee Underwood (guitar), Van Dyke Parks (keyboards), Jim Fielder (bass), and Jerry Yester. Larry Beckett was also an overlooked contributor to Buckley's first two albums, co-writing many of the songs.

The fragile, melancholic, orchestrated beauty of the material had an innocent quality that was dampened only slightly on the second LP, Goodbye and Hello (1967). Buckley's songs and arrangements became more ambitious and psychedelic, particularly on the lengthy title track. This was also his only album to reach the Top 200, where it only peaked at number 171; Buckley was always an artist who found his primary constituency among the underground, even for his most accessible efforts. His third album, Happy Sad, found him going in a decidedly jazzier direction in both his vocalizing and his instrumentation, introducing congas and vibes. Though it seemed a retreat from commercial considerations at the time, Happy Sad actually concluded the triumvirate of recordings that are judged to be his most accessible.

The truth was, by the late '60s Buckley was hardly interested in folk-rock at all. He was more intrigued by jazz; not only soothing modern jazz (as heard on the posthumous release of acoustic 1968 live material, Dream Letter), but also its most avant-garde strains. His songs became much more oblique in structure, and skeletal in lyrics, especially when the partnership with Larry Beckett was ruptured after the latter's induction into the Army. Some of his songs abandoned lyrics almost entirely, treating his voice itself as an instrument, wordlessly contorting, screaming, and moaning, sometimes quite cacophonously. In this context, Lorca was viewed by most fans and critics not just as a shocking departure, but a downright bummer. No longer was Buckley a romantic, melodic poet; he was an experimental artiste who sometimes seemed bent on punishing both himself and his listeners with his wordless shrieks and jarringly dissonant music.

Almost as if to prove that he was still capable of gentle, uplifting jazzy pop-folk, Buckley issued Blue Afternoon around the same time. Bizarrely, Blue Afternoon and Lorca were issued almost simultaneously, on different labels. While an admirable demonstration of his versatility, it was commercial near-suicide, each album canceling the impact of the other, as well as confusing his remaining fans. Buckley found his best middle ground between accessibility and jazzy improvisation on 1970's Starsailor, which is probably the best showcase of his sheer vocal abilities, although many prefer the more cogent material of his earliest albums.

By this point, though, Buckley's approach was so uncommercial that it was jeopardizing his commercial survival. And not just on record; he was equally uncompromising as a live act, as the posthumously issued Live at the Troubadour 1969 demonstrates, with its stretched-to-the-limit jams and searing improv vocals. (In 2017, two more archival live albums were compiled from Buckley's 1969 run at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, Greetings from West Hollywood and Venice Mating Call.) For a time, he was said to have earned his living as a taxi driver and chauffeur; he also flirted with films for a while. When he returned to the studio, it was as a much more commercial singer/songwriter (some have suggested that various management and label pressures were behind this shift).

As much of a schism as Buckley's experimental jazz period created among fans and critics, his final recordings have proved even more divisive, even among big Buckley fans. Some view these efforts, which mix funk, sex-driven lyrical concerns, and laid-back L.A. session musicians, as proof of his mastery of the blue-eyed soul idiom. Others find them a sad waste of talent, or relics of a prodigy who was burning out rather than conquering new realms. Neophytes should be aware of the difference of critical opinion regarding this era, but on the whole his final three albums are his least impressive. Those who feel otherwise usually cite the earliest of those LPs, Greetings from L.A. (1972), as his best work from his final phase.

Buckley's life came to a sudden end in the middle of 1975, when he died of a heroin overdose just after completing a tour. Those close to him insist that he had been clean for some time and lament the loss of an artist who, despite some recent failures, still had much to offer. Buckley's stock began to rise among the rock underground after the Cocteau Twins covered his "Song for the Siren" in the 1980s. The posthumous releases of two late-'60s live sets (Dream Letter and Live at the Troubadour 1969) in the early '90s also boosted his profile, as well as unveiling some interesting previously unreleased compositions. His son Jeff Buckley went on to mount a musical career as well before his own tragic death in 1997. 
by Richie Unterberger

1. Buzzin' Fly - 6:18
2. Chase The Blues Away - 6:32
3. I Had A Talk With My Woman - 7:23
4. Blue Melody - 5:41
5. Nobody Walkin' - 12:27
6. Venice Mating Call - 3:04
7. I Don't Need It To Rain - 8:37
8. Driftin' - 7:57
9. Gypsy Woman - 10:36
All songs by Tim Buckley

*Tim Buckley - Twelve String Guitar, Vocals
*John Balkin - Bass
*Art Tripp - Drums
*Lee Underwood - Electric Guitar, Electric Piano
*Carter C.C. Collins - Congas

1966  Tim Buckley - Tim Buckley (Part 1 of 2017 eight cds box set)
1967  Tim Buckley - Goodbye And Hello  (Part 2 of 2017 eight cds box set) 
1969  Tim Buckley - Happy Sad (Part 3 of 2017 eight cds box set)
1969  Tim Buckley - Blue Afternoon (Part 4 of the 2017 eight cds box set)
1970  Tim Buckley - Lorca (Part 5 of the 2017 eight cds box set)
1970  Tim Buckley - Starsailor (Part 6 of the 2017 eight cds box set)
1972  Tim Buckley - Greetings From L.A. (Part 7 of the 2017 eight cds box set)
1967-69  Tim Buckley - Works In Progress (Part 8 of the 2017 eight cds box set)
1973  Tim Buckley - Sefronia (2017 remaster)
1974  Tim Buckley - Look At The Fool (2017 remaster)

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Marc Ellington - A Question Of Roads (1972 uk, marvellous country folk rock, 2010 korean remaster)

Marc Ellington is a Scottish folksinger and multi-instrumentalist who worked with Fairport Convention, providing some vocal support on their 1969 ‘Unhalfbricking’ album, also played with Matthews Southern Comfort in the same year, as well as releasing his debut. I haven’t heard that one, but came across his 1971 follow-up ‘Rains/Reins of Change’ some years ago, and was intrigued to see just how members of Fairport were involved. It was a very different line-up for the next album, ‘A Question of Roads’.

The album has far more in common with American country, with steel guitars and banjo making plenty of appearances. If I was to compare this album with a more well-known group then it would be with The Band, as this 1972 album compares well with the music they were releasing at the same time.

It is laid back, melodic, and totally enjoyable the first time it is played. This album may not have any Fairport members involved, but I did find it intriguing to note that it includes a very countrified “Open The Door, Homer”, which was what Bob Dylan & The Band called “Open The Door, Richard” when they recorded it in 1967, but it can trace its roots back the Forties. Fairport Convention then recorded the song on the ‘Red & Gold album’, in a very different manner to this it must be said. Marc must have been held in high acclaim back in the Seventies when one sees who he worked with, and the number of solo albums he released, but he seems to have been mostly forgotten now which is a real shame. 

1. Four Rode By (Traditional) - 2:14
2. No Deposit, No Return - 3:14
3. Never Again (Karen Ellington, Marc Ellington) - 4:45
4. Please Be My Friend (Iain Matthews) - 3:46
5. Jacobite Lament (A Celtic Dream) - 3:26
6. Royal Blues - 3:08
7. Question Marc (Better Days Ahead) - 2:39
8. You Finally Found You - 3:03
9. Past Master - 2:17
10.Open The Door Homer (Bob Dylan) - 4:04
11.A Question Of Roads - 4:39
12.Six Days On The Road (Carl Montgomery, Earl Green) - 2:09
All songs by Marc Ellington except where indicated

*Marc Ellington - Vocals, Guitar
*Mike Deighan - Guitar
*Gordon Huntley - Steel Guitar
*Tim Renwick - Guitar
*Andy Roberts - Organ
*Bruce Thomas - Bass
*Andy Leigh - Bass
*Ray Duffy - Drums
*John Wilson - Drums
*Dave Richards - Piano
*John Roy - Vocals
*Karen Ellington - Vocals

1969  Marc Ellington - Marc Ellington (2009 korean remaster)
1971  Marc Ellington ‎- Rains-Reins Of Changes (2004 remaster)

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Eric Andersen - Be True To You (1975 us, awesome country folk soft rock, 2016 japan remaster)

Eric Andersen's songs, voice, and guitar have created a career, spanning over 40 years, that includes 25 albums of original songs, and numerous tours of North America, Europe, and Japan. His songs; have been recorded by artists all over the world, including Judy Collins, Fairport Convention, Peter Paul and Mary, Rick Nelson, Linda Ronstadt, The Grateful Dead, and Francoise Hardy.

Although born in Pittsburgh in 1943, Eric Anderson received his early education in Buffalo, where he taught himself guitar and piano. He saw Elvis Presley perform in a gold suit at Memorial Auditorium and the Everly Brothers play at his high school gym. He also saw the Miles Davis Quintet at Kleinhan's music hall. He had folk groups that performed the political songs of Woody Guthrie and the Weavers and spent a great deal of time reading the books of Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Jack Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg. After two years of pre-medical studies at Hobart College, he hitchhiked to San Francisco to try out his new songs in North Beach coffeehouses and seek out the poets of the Beat Generation. He succeeded in meeting Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Neal Cassady at the City Lights Bookstore. Weeks later, he heard them recite at a poetry reading in Haight Ashbury, on the same evening President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Songwriter Tom Paxton discovered him that late fall of 1963, performing at the Coffee Gallery in North Beach. He heard his songs and invited him to New York City. In 1964, Eric was soon introduced to the Greenwich Village songwriting circle of Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan. He played his first gig as an opening act at Gerde's Folk City. Robert Shelton of the-New York Times wrote a review where he called him "a writer and performer of the first rank… possessing that magical element called star quality." He was signed to Vanguard Records and began recording his first album.

In the Village folk and jazz clubs, he witnessed the singing and playing of some of America's greatest blues, and jazz masters alive. The list of people heard whose music he absorbed, was vast; performers like Mississippi John Hurt, Judy Roderick, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Skip James, Lightnin' Hopkins, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Doc Watson, Dave Van Ronk, Doc Watson, Reverend Gary Davis, David Blue, Uncle Dave Macon, Fred Neil, Son House, Anita O'Day,, Charles Mingus, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, and Miles Davis. It was in these clubs where he learned, first-hand, how a master musician can with one voice or one instrument, captivate an audience.

Over the next three years he wrote and recorded four albums of his earliest songs, including his early classics "Come To My Bedside", "Thirsty Boots", and "Violets of Dawn", for Vanguard. The Brothers Four recorded a single of "Bedside" for Columbia Records and it was immediately banned from AM radio, on the grounds of obscenity. Judy Collins and the Blues, Project created pop hits of the latter two songs. 

In 1972, Andersen would sign with Columbia Records after Blood, Sweat and Tears drummer Bobby Colomby introduced him to then-label head Clive Davis. Andersen’s Columbia Records debut, Blue River, would become his most commercially successful release, produced by Norbert Putnam. Joni Mitchell sang the duet harmonies on the title track. The Rolling Stone, Album Guide awarded it four stars and credited it as being "the best example of the 70's singer-songwriter movements. But when the master tapes for the follow-up album, Stages, were lost, Andersen's career lost much of its momentum. Between 1974 and 1977 he recorded two albums with Clive Davis at Arista Records, Be True To You and Sweet Surprise. He performed at the opening show of the Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Review, at Gerde's Folk City in New York, and again in Niagra Falls, in 1975.
by Will James

1. Moonchild River Song - 3:52
2. Be True To You - 4:10
3. Wild Crow Blues - 3:07
4. Ol' 55 - 3:22
5. Time Run Like A Freight Train - 8:41
6. Liza, Light The Candle - 3:45
7. Woman, She Was Gentle - 5:01
8. Can't Get You Out Of My Life - 3:02
9. The Blues Keep Fallin' Llike The Rain - 4:48
10.Love Is Just A Game - 3:46
All song by Eric Andersen except Track #4 written by Tom Waits

*Eric Andersen - Guitar, Keyboards, Harmonica, Vocals
*Deborah Greene Andersen - Backing Vocals
*Richard Bennett - Guitar
*Ginger Blake - Backing Vocals
*Christopher Bond - Guitar
*Jackson Browne - Backing Vocals
*Gary Coleman - Percussion
*Mike Condello - Backing Vocals
*Scott Edwards - Bass
*Jesse Ehrlich - Cello
*Howie Emerson - Guitar, Dobro
*Emory Gordy - Bass
*John Guerin - Drums
*Douglas Haywood - Vocals
*Tim Hensley - Piano
*Russ Kunkel - Drums
*Allen Lindgren - Piano, Wurlitzer
*Orwin Middleton - Backing Vocals
*Joni Mitchell - Backing Vocals
*Emmanuel Moss - Violin
*Maria Muldaur - Backing Vocals
*Dean Parks - Guitar
*Herb Pedersen - Backing Vocals
*Andrew Robinson - Vocals
*Tom Scott - Saxophone
*Tom Sellars - Clavinet
*Mark Sporer - Bass
*Dennis St. John - Drums
*Julia Tillman Waters - Vocals
*Maxine Willard Waters - Vocals
*Jennifer Warren - Vocals
*Ernie Watts - Saxophone, Flute

1972-73/90  Eric Andersen - Blue River / Stages The Lost Album (2014 double disc remaster) 

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Jim Ford - The Sounds Of Our Time (1967-73 us, fantastic groovy soulful country folk psych, 2007 digi pak remaster and expanded)

In the liner notes to cd reissue Sounds of Our Time Nick Lowe describes Jim Ford: “Jim Ford’s reputation was not the best. He told a lot of terrible stories and he used to bend the truth a bit. I think deep down he was no rock star, but he noticed people provided him with money when he pretended to be one. Many people who financed his career probably got disappointed when Ford didn’t care to live up to their expectations. He took a lot of people for a ride….I’d never seen anyone use cocaine before I met Ford. Wherever he went there were also illegal substances around. Ford was unreliable and from time to time he disappeared. We were surprised to find what kind of people he seemed to know in England. One time when he got back he had stayed with the blonde bombshell Diana Dors and her gangster-type husband Alan Lake!”

Nick also added this, “When Jim walked off the plane he wore a big Stetson, rose-tinted shades and jeans with creases and round-toe cowboy boots. I’d never met anyone like him before. Ford was the real thing, he was other-worldly and very charismatic. He turned up with a $3,000 guitar, an astronomical sum for 1970, but it seemed he could barely play it, and yet it was so mean, the way he hit that thing. He was totally unimpressed by us (Brinsley Schwarz), but he was making the best out of a bad job.”

Jim Ford meant a lot of things to a lot of different people. Sly Stone claimed Ford was his best friend, Nick Lowe name checks him as a major inspiration, and British mod band the Koobas recorded an entire album of Harlan County songs (The Koobas even went as far as to change their name to Harlan County). His unique brand of country-rock-soul-funk has proven to be original and very influential.

The Harlan County LP was released by White Whale in 1969 and is evenly divided between covers and Jim Ford originals. Most people single out the title track and “I’m Gonna Make Her Love Me” as highlights, and they are great slices of hard country funk. “Harlan County,” the title track, has a nice horn arrangement, crisp, driving acoustic guitars, female backup vocalists and a great beat – it’s another lost gem. But for me Ford’s fuzz guitar arrangement of “Spoonful” is really stellar and the superb country soul ballads “Changing Colors” and “Love On My Brain” make the album what it is today – a unique record in the country-rock canon. Ford’s main strength was his songwriting ability but he’s also an underrated vocalist with real southern grit and soul. There is nothing like Harlan County, the LP is mandatory listening for fans of 60s American rock n roll and country-rock.

You wanna hear his music? The best reissue to get a hold of is Sounds of Our Time by Bear Family Records (2007). This disc has the Harlan County LP in its entirety, rare pre-lp singles, and excellent outtakes that are in more of a country-rock vein. For an example of this, check out the slow version of “Big Mouth USA” and the title track. Both tracks are outstanding pieces of Americana that sound very similar to the Band’s best songs on Music From Big Pink.
by Jason Nardelli

1. Harlan County - 3:27
2. I'm Gonna Make Her Love Me (Henry Cosby, Lula Hardaway, Stevie Wonder, Sylvia Moy) - 3:06
3. Changing Colors (Suzanna Jordan) - 3:18
4. Dr. Handy's Dandy Candy - 2:34
5. Love On My Brain - 3:15
6. Long Road Ahead (Bonnie Bramlett, Carl Radle, Delaney Bramlett) - 2:53
7. Under Construction - 1:42
8. Working My Way To L.A. (James Ford, Lolly Vegas) - 2:44
9. Spoonful (Willie Dixon) - 2:44
10.To Make My Life Beautiful (Alex Harvey) - 2:57
11.Big Mouth U.S.A - 3:11
12.36 Inches High - 1:53
13.Sounds Of Our Time (Bobby Womack, James Ford) - 3:47
14.Chain Gang (Sam Cooke) - 4:21
15.I Wonder What They'll Do With Today (James Ford, Pat Vegas) - 3:45
16.Go Through Sunday - 4:27
17.She Turns My Radio On - 3:20
18.Mixed Green - 3:26
19.Happy Songs Sell Records, Sad Songs Sell Beer - 2:53
20.It Takes Two - To Make One - 2:07
21.Big Mouth U.S.A - 2:32
22.Rising Sign - 3:40
23.Linda Comes Running (James Ford, Pat Vegas) - 2:23
24.Ramona - 2:29
25.Hanging From Your Lovin' Tree - 2:57
All compositions by James Ford except where stated.

*Jim Ford - Vocals, Guitar
*Dr. John - Keyboards
*Jim Keltner - Drums
*James Burton - Guitar
*Pat Vegas - Bass
*Lolly Vegas - Guitar

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Friday, September 7, 2018

Gregg Allman - Laid Back (1973 us, exceptional southern blues rock, 2016 japan SHM remaster and 2019 double disc remastered and expanded)

Laid Back is Gregg Allman’s debut studio solo album, released in October 1973 by Capricorn Records. He developed the album as a small creative outlet wherein he would assume full control, and he co-produced the album alongside Johnny Sandlin. Laid Back was largely recorded in March 1973 at Capricorn Sound Studios in Macon, Georgia, with additional recording taking place at the Record Plant in New York City.

The album explores Allman’s varying influences, including rhythm and blues and soul music. It consists of several cover songs, originals, and a traditional hymn, and contains performances from a host of musicians, most notably Scott Boyer and Tommy Talton on guitars, Bill Stewart on drums, and Charlie Hayward on bass guitar. The album was created while Allman also worked on Brothers and Sisters, the fourth Allman Brothers album. The album title was a studio term Allman coined for relaxing a song’s tempo, while its cover was painted by Abdul Mati Klarwein.

Upon its release, Laid Back received positive reviews from music critics, and it peaked at number 13 on Billboard’s Top LPs & Tapechart. To support the album, Allman embarked on an ambitious tour, consisting of a full band and an entire string orchestra. Two singles were released to promote the record, with lead single “Midnight Rider” becoming a top 20 hit in the U.S. and Canada. It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 1974 for shipping 500,000 copies in the U.S., making it one of Allman’s best-selling albums.

The early '70s were a tumultuous time for Gregg Allman. After years of hard touring, The Allman Brothers Band broke through in 1971 with Live at the Fillmore East, one of the best live albums of all time. Then his brother, slide-guitar genius Duane Allman, died in a motorcycle accident late in the year. Gregg spent some of 1972 piecing together material the group had recorded with Duane for the landmark Eat a Peach, and began recording the lively Brothers and Sisters, which yielded the hit "Rambling Man." Somewhere in the middle of that process, the keyboard player and singer sneaked away to make a different kind of record: his aptly titled solo debut, Laid Back. It came out to positive notices in 1973 before fading into the background, eclipsed by the band's runaway success.

By this time, Allman was a formidable, confident vocalist — but mostly singing in front of the roaring Allman Brothers rhythm section. Though the disc offers terrific guitar asides, Laid Back's songs are centered on Allman's B3 organ and Chuck Leavell's acoustic and electric pianos, while the rhythm section's relaxed approach defines the session. Singing at a measured pace, one word at a time, Allman makes the most of these entrancingly downcast tunes. His version of Jackson Browne's "These Days" is a study in dejection, a symphony of self-pitying shrugs and cracked-apart whines that only a southerner could make beautiful. Meanwhile, Allman's original "Midnight Rider" , plenty rousing when played by the band, becomes a slightly spookier sketch of an even more shadowy figure.

Several of the songs come right from the revival tent: There's a mournful version of the standard "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," and the Allman original "Please Call Home" finds him singing with a slightly ragged but utterly righteous choir. It's amazing stuff, deep and intense yet nowhere near the decibel levels of his work with the band. Allman is amazing when he's belting his heart out about being tied to the whipping post. But he's equally compelling — maybe even more so — in a quieter space, when he's less fired up. At times on Laid Back, he sounds like a man reflecting on the dizzying twists and turns of what he's recently experienced. He may still be shell-shocked, and not too proud to ask for help (from a higher power, from a friend) as he tries to make sense of all that's happened to him.
by Tom Moon, October 25, 2006

1. Midnight Rider (Ed Freeman, Gregg Allman, Kim Payne, Jay Collins) - 4:29
2. Queen Of Hearts (Gregg Allman) - 6:17
3. Please Call Home (Gregg Allman) - 2:50
4. Don't Mess Up A Good Thing (Oliver Sain) - 4:11
5. These Days (Jackson Browne) - 3:56
6. Multi-Colored Lady (Gregg Allman) - 4:55
7. All My Friends (Scott Boyer) - 4:33
8. Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Traditional) - 4:50

Disc 1 
1. Midnight Rider (Ed Freeman, Gregg Allman, Kim Payne, Jay Collins) - 4:27
2. Queen Of Hearts (Gregg Allman) - 6:16
3. Please Call Home (Gregg Allman) - 2:47
4. Don't Mess Up A Good Thing (Oliver Sain) - 4:12
5. These Days (Jackson Browne) - 3:58
6. Multi-Colored Lady (Gregg Allman) - 4:56
7. All My Friends (Scott Boyer) - 4:33
8. Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Traditional) - 4:53
9. Midnight Rider (Ed Freeman, Gregg Allman, Kim Payne, Jay Collins) - 4:29
10.Queen Of Hearts (Gregg Allman) - 6:15
11.Please Call Home (Gregg Allman) - 2:59
12.Don't Mess Up A Good Thing (Oliver Sain) - 4:23
13.These Days (Jackson Browne) - 3:55
14.Multi-Colored Lady (Gregg Allman) - 4:54
15.All My Friends (Scott Boyer) - 4:34
16.Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Traditional) - 5:14
Tracks 1-8 Original 1974 "Laid Back" 2019 Remastered
Tracks 9-16 "Laid Back" Early Mixes

Disc 2 Laid Back Demos, Outtakes, And Alternates
1. Never Knew How Much (Gregg Allman) - 4:26
2. All My Friends (Scott Boyer) - 4:12
3. Please Call Home (Gregg Allman) - 3:31
4. Queen Of Hearts (Gregg Allman) - 5:05
5. God Rest His Soul (Gregg Allman) - 4:59
6. Rollin' Stone (Catfish Blues) (McKinley Morganfield) - 4:05
7. Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Solo Guitar, Vocal Demo) (Traditional) - 3:43
8. Multi-Colored Lady (Gregg Allman) - 4:40
9. These Days (Solo Guitar, Piano, Vocal Demo) (Jackson Browne) - 2:58
10.Shadow Dream Song (Jackson Browne) - 2:28
11.Wasted Words (Gregg Allman) - 4:48
12.These Days (Alternate Version With Pedal Steel Guitar) (Jackson Browne) - 3:57
13.Multi-Colored Lady (Gregg Allman) - 4:53
14.These Days (Jackson Browne) - 3:55
15.God Rest His Soul (Gregg Allman) - 5:33
16.Midnight Rider (Ed Freeman, Gregg Allman, Kim Payne, Jay Collins) - 4:52
17.Song For Adam / Shadow Dream Song (Jackson Browne) - 4:08
18.Melissa (Live At The Capitol Theater) (Gregg Allman, Steve Alaimo) - 4:45
Tracks 1-4 Demos
Tracks 5-10,11 Solo Guitar, Vocal Demo
Tracks 13,14 Rough Mix
Tracks 15,16 Rehearsal

*Gregg Allman - Vocals, Organ, Acoustic Guitar
*Bill Stewart - Drums
*Chuck Leavell - Acoustic, Electric Pianos, Vibes
*Tommy Talton - Acoustic, Electric, Slide Guitars, Dobro, Tambourine
*Scott Boyer - Acoustic, Electric, Steel Guitars, Electric Piano
*David Brown - Bass
*Buzz Feiten - Guitar
*Charlie Hayward - Bass
*Paul Hornsby - Organ, Keyboards, Clavinet
*Jai Johanny Johanson - Percussion, Conga
*Carl Hall - Background Vocals
*Hilda Harris - Background Vocals
*Cissy Houston - Background Vocals
*Emily Houston - Background Vocals
*June Mcgruder - Background Vocals
*Helene Miles - Background Vocals
*Linda November - Background Vocals
*Eileen Gilbert - Background Vocals
*Maretha Stewart - Background Vocals
*Albertine Robinson - Background Vocals
*Jim Nalls - Guitar
*David "Fathead" Newman - Saxophone
*Johnny Sandlin - Bass
*Butch Trucks - Percussion, Cabasa
*Ed Freeman - Strings, Horn Arrangements, Conductor
*Max Cahn - Violin
*Tony Posk - Violin

1974  Gregg Allman - The Gregg Allman Tour (2008 japan SHM remaster)
1977  The Gregg Allman Band - Playin' Up A Storm
with Allman Brothers
1968-89  Dreams (4 disc box set) 
1971  S.U.N.Y. at Stonybrook NY
1973  Brothers And Sisters (2013 Japan SHM super deluxe four disc set edition)

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Saturday, September 1, 2018

The Original Caste - One Tin Soldier (1969 canada, wonderful sunny folk psych, 2012 remaster and expanded)

The five-member band grew out of the Calgary folk trio The North Country Singers, formed in 1966 by songwriter and guitarist Bruce Innes (b Calgary 7 Jan 1943). They moved to Vancouver and added the singer Dixie Lee Stone (b Moose Jaw, Sask 14 May 1946), who married Innes. After playing western Canadian and US coffeehouses and resorts, in 1969 they signed with Bell Records, adopted a pop sound, and changed their name to The Original Caste. Their first release with Bell was the 1969 pop LP The Original Caste (Bell TA 5003), from which the moralistic tale "One Tin Soldier" (written by US producers Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter) became a No. 1 gold record in Canada and Japan, was No. 1 in several US cities, and reached No. 34 on the US Billboard charts in 1970. Also from this album, "Mr Monday" hit No. 3 on the CHUM charts in May 1970, was No. 1 in Japan, and sold over 2 million copies.

At their peak, the band was based in Los Angeles. They toured North America and Japan, performed with Glen Campbell and B.B. King, and made television appearances, including on Denny Doherty 's CBC TV show in 1978. Additional releases included several singles 1970-1, which fared less well, and two Live in Japan albums (Bell 1971). After the band's dissolution in 1972, Bruce and Dixie Lee Innes continued to perform as The Original Caste, releasing the country-influenced album Back Home (Century II/Capitol ST 17004, 1974), arranged by Tommy Banks and recorded in Alberta. Bruce Innes continued to perform under the band's name through the early 2000s.

"One Tin Soldier" was given a BMI award. A cover version performed by the US band Coven was featured in the 1971 film Billy Jack. In 2003 CHUM radio banned The Original Caste version and other anti-war songs, despite its having reached No. 1 on the CHUM chart in December 1969.

The Original Caste's trademark early sound was polished, uncomplicated pop, made remarkable by Dixie Lee Innes's rich, strong voice and heartfelt delivery. The band was among the earliest Canadian groups to be heard internationally.
by Betty Nygaard King

Following some musical work in the US, and the completion of his formal education at the University of Montana, Bruce Innes finally returned to Calgary, and began performing in a small renowned coffee house called The Pig's Eye at the same time as undiscovered performers like Joni Anderson (later to be Joni Mitchell) and David Wiffen. Using this as a performance base, he formed The North Country Singers with Graham Bruce (bass) and Joseph Cavender (drums). Innes saw Dixie Lee Stone performing there as well and soon asked her to join the ensemble. The group headed out on a cross Canada tour, swinging down into the US where they picked up Portland, Oregon native Bliss Mackie as second guitarist eventually landing in Los Angeles and changing their name to "The Original Caste".

Through Innes's former label, Dot Records, they recorded two singles including "I Can't Make It Anymore" (1968) which was less than a blip on the music industry radar. However, after signing with TA Records, a label distributed by Bell Records (Columbia), in 1969, Innes met writers Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter, who would produce The Original Caste’s first album.

They struck pay dirt after releasing the duo's "One Tin Soldier" that same year. The song made No. 6 on RPM Weekly chart and No. 34 on the Billboard Top-40 and went to #1 on the CHUM Chart.

They charted even higher with "Mr. Monday" which hit No. 4 on RPM Weekly's chart and No. 3 on the CHUM Chart in Canada. The two singles combined, worldwide, sold over three million copies. Despite the failure of "Mr. Monday" to chart in the US, they landed opening slots for the likes of BB King and Glen Campbell south of the border and made numerous TV appearances.

"One Tin Soldier" had a revival of sorts in 1972 when it was featured in the movie 'Billy Jack', however it was not the Original Caste on the soundtrack but rather American band Coven featuring singer Jinx Dawson. The singles made another round at radio and had significant sales after being re-issued.

The husband and wife team of Dixie Lee and Bruce Innes would record together and as solo artists as a continued extension of their Original Caste recording contract through Bell.

With switch to Century II Records out of Canada, the new four-piece version of the group (now with Gary Carlson on bass and Tom Doran on drums) released the 'Back Home' album in 1974.

The new version of Original Caste toured into the late 1970's. When the band made its final split in 1980 so did the Innes'; Dixie remarried and became a social worker; Bruce began jingle and film score work, remarried and moved to Washington. He currently lives in Idaho. In 2000 Bruce Innes produced country artist Brenn Hill utilizing the help of veteran country/folk singer Ian Tyson; Mackie died in 2004; Joe Cavender now resides in Seattle, Washington; Carlson now resides in Bellevue, Idaho; Coats now resides in Sandpoint, Idaho.

With the release of 'The Best Of The Original Caste' in Japan in 2005, another revival of the act returned with a line-up headed by Bruce Innes and Cheryl Morrel on vocals.

In 2008 Innes, with new vocalist Jilla Web, a featured artist with Las Vegas show "Superstars Live In Concert," re-recorded "One Tin Soldier" with the Nashville Children’s Choir. A new CD is planned. Innes and Web) can be seen in concert in theaters across the US performing their highly acclaimed traveling show 'One Tin Soldier Rides Again'.
Museum of Canadian Music, with notes from Bruce Innes

1. One Tin Soldier (Brian Potter, Dennis Lambert) - 3:38
2. Mr. Monday (Brian Potter, Dennis Lambert) - 3:08
3. Country Song (Bruce Innes) - 3:16
4. A Picture of Bob Dylan (Brian Potter, Dennis Lambert) - 3:00
5. Nothing Can Touch Me (Brian Potter, Dennis Lambert) - 2:59
6. Leaving It All Behind (Brian Potter, Dennis Lambert) - 2:47
7. Watch the Children (Brian Potter, Dennis Lambert) - 2:59
8. Highway (Bruce Innes) - 3:34
9. Sweet Chicago (Bruce Innes) - 4:38
10.Live For Tomorrow (Brian Potter, Dennis Lambert) - 3:26
11.Come Together (Artie Butler) - 2:22
12.Ain't That Tellin' You People (Artie Butler) - 2:40
13.When Love Is Near (Artie Butler) - 3:03
14.Come Together (Live) (Artie Butler) - 3:02
15.Sault Ste. Marie (Artie Butler, Bruce Innes) - 3:04

The Original Caste 
*Dixie Lee Innes - Vocals
*Bruce Innes - Lead Guitar
*Bliss Mackie - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Graham Bruce - Bass
*Peter Brown - Drums
*Joseph Cavender - Drums (1970)

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