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Saturday, November 30, 2019

Climax Blues Band - World Tour (1976 uk, superb funky blues rock, 2012 release)

Everyone seems to be getting in on the Climax Blues Band reissues these days, and now Major League Productions (MLP) are jumping on board with their re-release of the sizzling 1976 live album titled World Tour 1976. At the time the band had just released their strong selling Gold Plated album that contained the massive hit "Couldn't Get it Right" that really broke the band as rock superstars, showing the could do much more than play the blues. Colin Cooper (vocals, sax, rhythm guitar, harmonica), Peter Haycock (vocals, lead & slide guitar), Derek Holt (bass, vocals), John Cuffley (drums), and Richard Jones (keyboards) toured all over the world that year alongside bands such as ZZ Top, Aerosmith, Bad Company, Johnny Winter, BTO, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, but with the success of Gold Plated headline tours of their own were in their immediate future. This album captures all the excitement of a CBB show in the mid/late '70s as their blues side was giving way to pop, funk, jazz, and high energy rock.

Most fans generally look to their FM Live album from 1972 as the bands definitive live statement, but World Tour 1976 is a very close second, and features some excellent performances. Recorded October 16, 1976 at Nottingham University, the band tear through some strong album tracks, a few lengthy medley's & jams, plus hits "Couldn't Get it Right", "All the Time in the World", "Seventh Son", and other surprises. Near 10 minute opener "Together and Free/Amerita/Sense of DIrection" allows the band to get into some fiery musical interplay, sounding not unlike The Allman Brothers Band or The Grateful Dead, complete with plenty of scorching Haycock guitar licks. Haycock's guitar & Cooper's sax are locked in on the funky blues of "Running Out of TIme/Good Time Blues", and at nearly 13-minutes long the band really stretches out and cooks. Heavy blues rock is all the rage with "Mighty Fire", another vehicle for Haycock's fiery lead guitar work, which leads into his slide solo spotlight "Country Hat". Other examples of their groove laden, funky blues rock include "Chasing Change" and "Using the Power", while "Goin' To New York" is a throwback to their early Chicago blues style. Also, look for a wild rendition of the Beatles "Get Back" which is played at the end of their hit "All the Time in the World".

There's no indication on whether MLP remastered World Tour 1976, but the CD sounds quite good and is presented in a small LP styled sleeve, with a booklet stacked with live photos and an essay each from Haycock & Holt. It's a great live set of a band just hitting their creative peak and delivering stirring concert performances. 
by Pete Pardo

1. Together And Free / Amerita / Sense Of Direction - 9:52
2. Running Out Of Time / Good Times Blues - 12:51
3. Mighty Fire - 4:57
4. Country Hat / Come In The Kitchen (Robert Johnson)/ Country Hat (Reprise) (George Newsome, Anton Farmer, Colin Cooper, Pete Haycock, Derek Holt) - 10:05
5. Seventh Son (Willie Dixon) - 6:13
6. Couldn't Get It Right - 3:20
7. Chasing Change - 4:51
8. Using The Power - 4:15
9. Goin' To New York (Jimmy Reed) - 7:18
10.All The Time In The World (Colin Cooper, Pete Haycock, Derek Holt, John Cuffley) / Get Back (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 5:09
11.Encore Medley: Drum Intro / Hey Mama (Colin Cooper, Pete Haycock, Derek Holt, George Newsome, Arthur Wood) / Let The Good Times Roll (Leonard Lee) / Who Killed Mcswiggin / Get Into That Rock 'n' Roll - 6:13
All songs by Colin Cooper, Pete Haycock, Derek Holt, John Cuffley, Richard Jones except where stated

The Climax Blues Band
*Colin Cooper - Vocals, Alto, Tenor Saxes, Rhythm Guitar, Harmonica
*Pete Haycock - Vocals, Lead Guitar. Slide Guitars
*Richard Jones - Keyboards
*Derek Holt - Vocals, Bass
*John Cuffley - Drums

The Climax Long Hard Road
1969  The Climax Chicago Blues Band (2013 remaster and expanded)
1969  The Climax Blues Band - Plays On (2013 remaster and expanded) 
1970  A Lot Of Bottle (2013 remaster and expanded)
1971  Tightly Knit (2013 remastered with bonus tracks)
1972  Climax Chicago - Rich Man (2013 bonus track remaster) 
1973  Climax Blues Band - FM Live (2013 remaster)
1973-79  Climax Blues Band - Live Rare And Raw (2014 Release)
1974  Climax Blues Band - Sense Of Direction (2013 remaster and expanded)
1975  Climax Blues Band - Stamp Album (2013 remaster with extra tracks) 
1976  Gold Plated (2013 bonus tracks remaster) 
1978  Climax Blues Band - Shine On (2012 remaster) 

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Monday, November 25, 2019

Mystic Number National Bank - Mystic Number National Bank (1969 us, awesome blues psych rock, 2013 remaster)

Formed in Kansas City. Specializing in hard-edged psychedelic blues and propelled by Sebbo's fine guitar work, their sole album was taped in New York and appeared in 1969, but promptly sank without trace, upon which Walters joined The Hoodoo Rhythm Devils.

1. Blues Jam (Russ Booth, Bob Sebbo, Glenn Walters, Dave Lorenz) - 2:23
2. Good Love (Bob Sebbo, Glenn Walters) - 2:41
3. It Will Break Your Heart (Bob Sebbo) - 2:47
4. AC/DC (Russ Booth, Bob Sebbo, Glenn Walters, Dave Lorenz, Dick Weissman) - 1:44
5. St. James Infirmary (Irving Harold Mills) - 7:55
6. Beautician Blues (B.B. King, Jules Taub) - 2:23
7. Umbrellas (Bob Sebbo, Glenn Walters) - 3:40
8. Ginger Man (Geoff Muldaur) - 2:58
9. Big Boy (Bob Sebbo) - 3:32
10.Blues So Bad (Russ Booth, Bob Sebbo, Glenn Walters, Dave Lorenz) - 3:38

Mystic Number National Bank
*Glenn Walters – Percussion, Vocals
*Bob Sebbo - Lead Guitar
*Dave Lorenz - Rhythm Guitar
*Russ Booth - Bass

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Dirk Hamilton - You Can Sing On The Left Or Bark On The Right (1976 us, spectacular folk rock with jazz and blues elements, 2013 japan SHM remaster)

Dirk Hamilton was born in Hobart, Indiana and raised in California. At 14 he played in a Chuck Berry/surf music band called The Regents. For a 45-rpm record they were about to make, bandleader Houston Box had written an instrumental called ‘Orangutan’ but needed a B-side so Dirk whipped out ‘Truck’ the night before the session. He says it was the first song he ever wrote and ‘it stunk’.

Dirk: “I began playing guitar and singing songs when I was 8 years old. I was writing stories and poems before that. I always thought of the two activities as completely different and separate -- writing was ‘serious’, playing and singing was ‘fun’. Then I discovered Dylan and learned that songs could be just as deep as the best poetry. It was an epiphany! At that moment I knew what I wanted to do with my life.”

At 15, Dirk wrote two more songs for another 45, this one under his own name. Both records were on the IKON label in Sacramento. “These two were stinkers too but after what seemed like a real long time, I began writing good songs and realized I’d done it! I had enjoyed myself into a real songwriter poet!”

By the early 70’s, he was playing professionally in nightclubs in the San Joaquin and Central Valleys and in the San Francisco Bay Area. In ’74, he moved to LA where he eventually signed with ABC records thanks to Steely Dan producer Gary Katz who produced his first album, ‘You Can Sing on the Left or Bark on the Right’. Dirk went on to record 3 more major label records, another one for ABC (‘Alias i’) and two for Elektra (‘Meet Me at the Crux’ and ‘Thug of Love’). He toured the country with his band for 5 years receiving good and rave reviews for his records and live performances but somehow never became a huge commercial success.

After moving to Los Angeles from Stockton, CA, Dirk Hamilton attracted the attention of Steely Dan producer Gary Katz, who in turn helped him sign a deal with ABC Records. The result, the Katz-produced You Can Sing on the Left or Bark on the Right, is a quirky if occasionally misguided work, with moments of brilliance. Katz brought in a host of session pros, including Chuck Rainey, Elliott Randall, and Jeff Porcaro -- all of whom had previously worked with him on various Steely Dan projects -- to flesh out Hamilton's idiosyncratic, acoustic-based tunes. 

What makes You Can Sing truly worthwhile, and distinguishes it from the other singer/songwriter recordings bombarding the industry at the time, is masterful songwriting like the terrific "She Don't Squash Bugs," the detailed melancholy of "Wasn't That One Night Good," and the opening track, "The Sweet Forever." It would take Hamilton a couple of years to find the perfect setting for his songs but, nonetheless, his sharp wit, keen insight, and unique style are evident throughout You Can Sing on the Left or Bark on the Right. 
by Brett Hartenbach

1. The Sweet Forever - 5:34
2. Waterfall - 3:23
3. Little Big-Time Man - 2:42
4. She Don't Squash Bugs - 3:18
5. I Got To Feelin' - 4:47
6. Sweet And Cold - 4:33
7. Wasn't That One Night Good - 3:45
8. Grow A Rose - 3:31
9. When She Kiss Ya' Like She Love - Ya' Know She Do - 4:49
10.Ridin' On A Whale - 2:41
All compositions by Dirk Hamilton

*Dirk Hamilton - Vocals, Guitar
*Chuck Rainey - Bass
*David Hungate - Bass
*Jeffrey Porcaro - Drums
*Dean Parks - Guitar
*Elliot Randall - Guitar
*Larry Carlton - Guitar
*Louie Shelton - Guitar
*David Paich - Keyboards
*Ron Fransen - Accordion
*Milt Holland - Percussion
*Victor Feldman - Percussion
*Chris Hillman - Background Vocals
*Jim Gilstrap - Background Vocals
*Sherlie Matthews - Background Vocals
*Tom Kelly - Background Vocals
*Venetta Fields - Background Vocals

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Saturday, November 16, 2019

Dave Lewis - From Time To Time (1976 ireland, wonderful orchestrated folk blues straight rock, 2018 korean remaster)

David Lewis began playing guitar and piano and writing songs at a very young age, appearing in talent contests and on local TV in Northern Ireland. 

In 1967 he joined psychedelic band The Method who became Andwellas Dream in 1968. In 1969 while still a member of Andwellas Dream, he recorded some of his songs for a publisher's demo album "The Songs Of David Lewis". Intended as a calling card for his song-writing skills, this was a very limited private pressing, probably only a few hundred copies made, and is now a major rarity. 

Andwellas Dream released three albums between 1969-1971, the last two under the name Andwella. The band also worked on David Baxter's solo LP during this period. When Andwella split, David pursued a solo career. 

Two solo albums emerged on Polydor Records, "From Time to Time" in 1976 and "A Collection of Short Dreams" in 1978. The former is soft melodic AOR, the latter more uptempo soul. Both are difficult to locate but are bound to be somewhat of a disappointment to those expecting something in the vein of Andwellas "Love and Poetry" album. However the songs are well written and the playing excellent through. Not a million miles away from Boz Scaggs mid-70s records. 

Dave has also written many songs for other artists including "Happy To Be On An Island In The Sun", which was a worldwide hit for legend in his own lunchtime Demis Roussos. 

Disambiguation: No connection to the David Lewis who recorded the "Just Molly & Me" LP for Tiger Lily Records. 

1. Yesterday's Gone - 4:39
2. Papa Boy - 4:12
3. Good Morning - 3:25
4. We're Gonna Make It - 3:00
5. Our Time Has Come - 5:16
6. Ready To Rock'n'roll - 3:04
7. There's A Party Going On - 2:43
8. Follow Your Dreams - 5:11
9. Dedicated To You - 3:18
10.Going To The Better Side Of Time - 3:38
All titles by Dave Lewis

*Dave Lewis - Vocals, Guitar, Piano

1970  David Lewis - Songs Of David Lewis (2009 bonus tracks remaster)
Related Act
1969  Andwellas Dream - Love And Poetry (2009 Sunbeam extra tracks edition) 
1970  Andwella - World's End (2006 japan remaster) 
1971  Andwella - People's People (japan remaster issue) 

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Friday, November 8, 2019

Navasota - Rootin' (1972 us, tough southern boogie country rock, 2013 reissue)

The Year was 1969. The new Blues Rock music had taken the country by storm, and five lads from Southheast Texas had their own vision of how to create this sound. Steve Long (guitar), Ray Pawlik (guitar), Dicky Sony (vocals), Lindsey Minter (drums), and Paul Minter (bass) formed the band Navasota!

By 1972, Navasota had signed a record deal with ABC Dunhill Records, and they were off to Los Angeles to record the album Rootin´. This album was produced by Gary Katz, and Donald Fagen and Walter Becker of Steely Dan fame!. “Rootin'” was best described as bluesy-rock.  Powered by Sony’s growling vocals, group-penned tracks such as ‘Western Boots’, ‘$2 Bill’ and ‘That’s How It Is (Playin’ In a Rock & Roll Band)’ were tight and fairly commercial, though they didn’t exhibit a great deal of originality.  Far less impressive were the bands’ stabs at country-rock.  Complete with pedal steel and whistling solo, ‘Ballad of a Young Man’ was outright embarrassing.  As for the Fagen-Becker number, well it was okay though the lyrics were largely indecipherable.

This one album appears to be Navasota’s entire catalog.  Baxter went on to a stint with The Doobie Brothers before continuing his collaboration with Becker and Fagen in Steely Dan.  ABC tapped the LP for a single in the form of ‘That’s How It Is (Playin’ In a Rock & Roll Band)’ b/w ‘P. Farm’ (ABC catalog number ABC-11332).  Wonder if the band were aware that the single also saw a Japanese picture sleeve release …

ABC-Dunhill sent the band out on the road where they were teamed with the likes of Boston and Lynyrd Skynyrd, but sales didn’t amount to much outside of their Texas fan base.  ABC subsequently dropped the band, though they seem to have stuck it out through the late 1970s.

1. Western Boots - 2:44
2. $2 Bill - 2:18
3. Ballad Of A Young Man - 3:43
4. That's How It Is (Playing In A Rock 'n' Roll Band) - 4:16
5. Canyon Ladies (Donald Fagen, Walter Becker) - 3:57
6. Ole Slew Foot (Howard Hausey) - 2:55
7. I'm Leavin' (Chester Burnett) - 3:23
8. P. Farm - 3:41
9. Heat Of The Night - 3:38
10.Spring Creek - 2:58
All songs by Richard 'Dicky' Sony, Lindsey Minter, Paul Minter, Ray Pawlick, Steve Long except where stated

*Richard "Dicky" Sony - Vocals
*Ray Pawlik - Vocals, Guitar
*Steve Long - Guitar
*Paul Minter - Bass
*Lindsey Minter - Drums
*Donald Fagen - Piano
*Jeff Baxter - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Bryon Berline - Fiddle

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Monday, November 4, 2019

Aarons And Ackley - Aarons And Ackley (1971 us, wonderful folk rock, 2014 korean remaster)

Cleveland, Ohio-born Chuck Aarons and Portland, Oregan native Jim Ackley were both in their own groups in the 1960s, but both wound up in Canada at the height of the Viet Nam War. Aarons was excused from the draft due to an asthma condition (which his brother and father also had), while Ackley fled to Toronto while in a group called Thirteenth Story and touring with The Beach Boys.

Looking to continue his music career, Ackley made ends meet as an English tutor before taking a job at Capitol Records as a clerk in the promotions department, when a mustual friend introduced him to Aarons early in 1971. Aarons was a guitarist and Ackley was predominantly a jazz piano player. They started writing some material and occasionally played around the clubs in Toronto as a folk duo, and eventually got Capitol execs to listen to their demos, who signed them to a deal.

They were teamed up with producer Dennis Murphy, but wanting to shed the folk image and lean more towards a commercially palatable pop sound, execs insisted some session players be brought in. They included bassist Jim Rolleston who'd worked with Seals & Crofts and Gordon Lightfoot, and drummer Terry Clarke, whose resume included Jim Hall, Manhole, and Fifth Dimension. Their eponymous debut album was released in the spring of 1971. Two singles ensued to moderate success - "Let It Shine" (used on an episode of "The Mike Douglas Show" during a dance routine) and "Devil Song." "Swanee Song" was also included in a 1971 compilation album called THE CAPITOL RECORDS GUIDE TO CANADIAN CONTENT PROGRAMMING - VOLUME TWO.

But because Ackley was a draft dodger, they couldn't tour the US, and so for the next few months they assembled a back-up band and did the central Canada circuit. This was despite the fact reps at Captiol's New York office urging Aarons to find a replacement for an American tour.

Before the year was up, they released the single "NFS" while working on their follow-up, which came in the form of 1972's YOU AND I, with Murphy again acting as producer. It only spawned one single, "Bonnie Blue" b/w "Could Have Had Anything," but the record had a more rounded sound than its predecessor, incorporating woodwinds, trumpets, and a French horn. And unlike the first record, it also featured songwriting solely from Aarons and Ackley, without any outside assistance, and included other tracks like "Oh What A Good Time," "Truly," and "Five O'Clock."

But feeling they weren't getting the push they deserved, they moved to fledgling GRT Records in '74, where they cut four songs on a pair of singles over the next year or so - "Where Did The Music Go" b/w "Victim of Sorrow" and "Detective of Love" b/w "Beverley."

But with the label having financial woes, the intended album they were working on never materialized, and Aarons and Ackley both went on to other projects, including session work, and producing the likes of The Irish Rovers and Bob McBride after he'd left Lighthouse.

Following President Nixon's amnesty grant to draft dodgers, Ackley moved back to the US, settled in LA for awhile, then moved to Spain. After relocating to Vancouver, Aarons eventually followed him to LA and also got involved in movies, working on such films as "Winter of My Discontent," "Thornbirds," "Bird," "The Rose Mary Cloony Story," and "Quicksilver," as well as in TV, including working on "Dynasty."
With notes from Jeffrey Aarons, Toni Diotte, Ron Grahame, James Kavinsky 

1. Lay Me Down - 2:49
2. Willie Boy - 3:29
3. Devil Song - 3:01
4. There Is A Lady (Chuck Aarons, Jim Ackley, Larry Alan Morse) - 2:23
5. Take Me Home - 4:45
6. Swanee Song - 2:46
7. Annalee (Chuck Aarons, Jim Ackley, James Rolleston) - 2:38
8. Sleeping Gypsy (Chuck Aarons, Jim Ackley, Larry Alan Morse) - 3:57
9. Sailor Song (Chuck Aarons, Jim Ackley, Larry Alan Morse) - 1:47
10.Let It Shine (Chuck Aarons, Jim Ackley, Larry Alan Morse) - 4:57
All composotions by Chuck Aarons, Jim Ackley except where noted

*Chuck Aarons - Guitar, Vocals
*Jim Ackley - Keyboards, Vocals
*Terry Clarke - Percussion
*Rolf Kempf - Guitar, Jew's-Harp
*Carole Marshall - Cello
*James Rolleston - Bass, Vocals
*John Tank - Soprano Saxophone

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