In The Land Of FREE we still Keep on Rockin'

It's Not Dark Yet

Plain and Fancy

Music gives soul to universe, wings to mind, flight to imagination, charm to sadness, and life to everything.


Monday, December 28, 2020

Saraband - Close To It All (1973 uk, wonderful folk rock, 2018 korean remaster)

Saraband was a short lived folk band from Rochdale (England), released only album in 1973. They started  out as The Honeydew releasing one LP in 1970, befor changing their name to Saraband. 

Fragile female vocal well mixed with various acoustic instruments and male vocal harmonies.

This is their sole album, one of the first on the tiny independent Folk Heritage label, and, lacking any distribution network, it was only available at gigs or mail order.

1. Close To It All (Melanie Safka) - 4:55
2. Winter Song (Frank Harrison, Barbara Yates) - 4:44
3. This Moment (Mike Heron) - 7:14
4. Retrospect (Frank Harrison) - 3:43
5. I'm Your Man (Frank Harrison, Stuart Mawdsley, Barbara Yates) - 3:04
6. Black Jack Davey (Traditional) - 3:35
7. Peace Will Come (Tom Paxton) - 3:03
8. River (Frank Harrison, Barbara Yates) - 8:32
9. Herbie (Frank Harrison, Barbara Yates) - 3:55
10.All The Way To Richmond (Ed Welch, Tom Paxton) - 4:00

*Barbara Yates - Vocals, Tambourine, Recorder 
*Frank Harrison - Guitar, Vocals, Mandolin
*Stuart Mawdsley - Guitar, Vocals
*Dave Titley - Bass, Electric Guitar, Vocals
*Chris Bradley - Drums, Tambourine, Bongos, Cymbal, Mandolin, Bodhrán


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Johnny Winter - Johnny Winter And (1970 us, superb hard blues rock, 2018 japan xpanded)

After two late-'60s albums on Columbia, Johnny Winter hit his stride in 1970 working with Rick Derringer and the McCoys, now recruited as his sidemen and collaborators (and proving with just about every note here how far they'd gotten past "Hang on Sloopy"). In place of the bluesy focus on his first two albums, Winter extended himself into more of a rock-oriented mode here, in both his singing and his selection of material. 

This was hard rock with a blues edge, and had a certain commercial smoothness lacking in his earlier work. Derringer's presence on guitar and as a songwriter saw to it that Winter's blues virtuosity was balanced by perfectly placed guitar hooks, and the two guitarists complemented each other perfectly throughout as well. 

There wasn't a weak moment anywhere on the record, and if Johnny Winter And wasn't a huge commercial success, it was mostly because of the huge amount of competition at the time from other, equally inspired players, that kept numbers like the Winter originals "Prodigal Son" and "Guess I'll Go Away" as well as Derringer co-authored pieces such as "Look Up" from having the impact they should have had on FM radio. 
by Bruce Eder

This album contains—surprise!—no blues. It is Rock and Roll at its very best. Good, solid songs—a few of them instant classics. The singing is funky, full of raspy screams, pushing the music towards some sort of ultimate ... edge. The new band consists of three ex-McCoys, a dyed-in-the-wool Rock Band. They still are. And good musicians—especially Rick Derringer, the guitarist-singer who shares the limelight with Johnny Winter.

The soul of the album is the interplay between Johnny Winter and Rick Derringer. On stage, it's easy to see how it works. Derringer plays guitar straight from the groin: solid-snaky rock lines. The root. Winter seems to play guitar in a state of transported ecstasy, like the bare electric skeleton of rock dancing in the mind-juice river. The branch. Winter's guitar-imagination has greater scope than Derringer's. Winter's guitar builds on Derringer's, elaborating, decorating, getting slinky and sliding right out of your brain. All without ever losing the beat, the sexual thread of the music.

Together, they sound like Hendrix playing behind Clapton. In fact, the album will remind you of the best moments of early Hendrix and early Cream. "Am I Really Here" sounds much like Cream's "White Room." The vocal to "Rock and Roll Hoochiekoo" has the same slide-punch inflections as Hendrix's singing. There are more examples of Influences At Work Here, but Winter and Derringer are much too good to be mere imitations. They have learned; they have transcended their influences and come up with something all their own.

Playing in a rock context has improved Winter's playing (if you can believe that possible). He seems more down-to-earth, more believable. You can dance to it. In fact, you'd better.

The material is surprisingly good — especially Derringer's compositions. "Rock and Roll Hoochiekoo" and "Funky Music" are both sturdy good-time rockers, and would make fine singles. Winter's compositions, though intense and moving, tend to lack form. They sometimes, as on "Nothing Left," fall apart in your ear. But what the hell. This is fine stuff, by far the best thing Johnny Winter has done. And that's saying something.
by David Gancher
1. Guess I'll Go Away (Johnny Winter) - 3:29
2. Ain't That A Kindness (Mark Klingman) - 3:30
3. No Time To Live (Jim Capaldi, Stevie Winwood) - 4:37
4. Rock And Roll Hoochie Koo (Rick Derringer) - 3:33
5. Am I Here (Randy Zehringer) - 3:25
6. Look Up (Rick Derringer, Robyn Supraner) - 3:35
7. Prodigal Son (Johnny Winter) - 4:18
8. On The Limb (Rick Derringer) - 3:36
9. Let The Music Play (Allan Nicholls, Otis Stephens) - 3:16
10.Nothing Left (Johnny Winter) - 3:31
11.Funky Music (Rick Derringer) - 4:58
12.Guess I'll Go Away (Live) (Johnny Winter) - 4:42
13.Rock And Roll Hoochie Koo (Live) (Rick Derringer) - 4:57
Bonus Tracks 12-13 Live at The Fillmore East, October 3, 1970

*Johnny Winter - Vocals, Guitar
*Rick Derringer - Vocals, Guitar
*Randy Jo Hobbs - Vocals, Bass
*Randy Zehringer - Drums 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Keef Hartley Band - British Radio Sessions (1969-71 uk, outstanding blues jazz rock, 2013 release)

The history of rock and roll has produced innumerable drummers. A small number of them have become household names, Ringo Starr, Ginger Baker, Charlie Watts,John Bonham. How many though, have been talented and forceful enough to carve out a successful solo career, without the advantage of being in the public eye, via involvement with a big selling group? The answer must be, very few indeed. This article centres on one such drummer and band leader, Keef Hartley. His recorded legacy spans the era's of Merseybeat, R&B, The British blues boom, and prog rock,leaving a host of highly collectable records in his wake. Additionally, he's contributed his considerable talent to genres as diverse as folk, Jazz, Kraut-rock and one of the biggest selling albums of the 1970's.

To find the start of Keef's career, we must go back to his home town of Preston in Lancashire and the year 1962. At this time Keef was playing with a highly regarded local outfit, "The Thunderbeats". Whilst this name will be unfamiliar to most readers, it is worth a brief mention if only for the fact, that this group would be the starting point for other collectable artists of the next decade. Examples of these include David John and The Mood, Little Free Rock and Thundermother (who were to perform on one side of the extremely rare "Astral Navigations" L.P. released by Holyground in 1971). The Thunderbeats were to perform regularly around the NorthWest, even supporting The Beatles at Morecambe, however Keef was about to make his first move.

When a Liverpool promoter and club owner discovered Keef was keen to turn professional, he offered him the chance to join Rory Storm and the Hurricanes as permanent replacement for Ringo Starr. Keef didn't view his new band too highly, having seen them countless times on the same gig circuit. "Nah, I didn't rate 'em much. I always thought Rory was a bit of a prat, but I couldn't turn down the chance to earn a tenner a week, which was a small fortune in those days". So, Keef became a full time Hurricane, wearing Ringo's old luminous pink stage suit and playing gigs up and down the country. The group recorded only a handful of tracks during their six year existence, and Keef's part in them has never been properly documented before.

However he clearly remembers the day, when John Schroeder from Oriole records came to record the group in the Rialto Ballroom. "I was surprised to read in a back issue of Record Collector (Rory Storm feature, issue 99) that Brian Johnson played on the session, because that was certainly me. It was done very quickly as I remember. We came up did our set, and that was it, time for the next band." These recordings were to appear on the Oriole compilation "This is Merseybeat", and the track "Dr Feelgood",was lifted to become the first single by the group.

Keef's friendship with the producer Mike Vernon enabled him to play on many more great albums, some of which are highly sought after today. Joining friends such as Eric Clapton, Tony McPhee, Peter Green, Mick Taylor and John Mayall, he played on countless sessions for visiting American bluesmen, such as Champion Jack Dupree and Jimmy Witherspoon. This informal group of friends were to also feature (frequently uncredited for contractual reasons) on many other L.P's that Mike Vernon produced for Decca and later Blue Horizon.

The first tentative steps to a solo career were made following a call from Marshall Chess ( owner of Chess Records )to Mike Vernon and Neil Slavern. As Neil remembers, "Marshall was keen for Chess to keep pace with the move from straightforward R&B to a more progressive sort of blues. He'd heard the stuff Mike had produced and was looking for something similar. Keef quickly put a band together consisting of himself, Gary Thain, Paul Rogers and Paul Kossoff. They went into the studio and finished about 3 tracks. These were sent over to the States but nothing came of it."

Keef was keen to push on, and he began auditioning friends and newcomers for the new outfit. The nucleus of this was to be Peter (Dino) Dines on keyboards, Spit James (better known as Ian Cruickshank) on guitar, Gary Thain on bass, Keef on drums and Owen Finnegan on vocals. Things were beginning to gel. The Keef Hartley Band began to gig regularly and their Chicago based blues rock was getting a good audience response.

Of the original band members, Gary Thain went on to join Uriah Heep, but suffered an electric shock on stage from which he never fully recovered. Unable to continue with the band, he became addicted to heroin and died of an overdose at the untimely age of 27.

Peter 'Dino' Dines and Miller Anderson both joined Marc Bolan's backing group, which lasted until Marc himself died tragically in a car crash just before his 30th birthday. Dino then went on to work with Bolan tribute band T Rextasy before he died of a heart attack in 2004 aged 59.

Keef Hartley carried on playing, leading bands and doing sessions, but eventually found himself in constant physical pain from the drumming – a similar fate has befallen Ginger Baker – and had to wear a neck brace. He went into retirement from music in the 80's, working as a cabinet maker, and died of complications arising from surgery, aged 67, in 2011.

Miller Anderson has soldiered on to play a part in The Miller Anderson Band, Hemlock, Savoy Brown, Blood Sweat and Tears, Dog Soldier, T Rex, The Dukes, Stan Webb's Speedway, Chicken Shack, Mountain, and The Spencer Davis group, to name but a few. In July 2016 he released a new album of 12 original tracks called “Through The Mill” and doesn't show any signs of slowing down yet. Long may he run.
by Stevie King

1. Medley - Overdog - Roundabout - Just A Cry - Sinnin' For You (Miller Anderson, Henry Lowther, Owen Finnegan, Keef Hartley, Peter Dines) -25:12
2. You Can't Choose (Miller Anderson) -5:56
3. You Can't Take It With You (Miller Anderson) -8:00
4. Sinnin' For You (Miller Anderson, Owen Finnegan, Keef Hartley, Peter Dines) -3:20
5. Too Much Thinking (Owen Finnegan, Gary Thain, Peter Dines) -5:33
6. Interview With Keef Hartley -1:09
7. Me And My Woman (Gene Barge) -3:37
8. Waiting Around (Gary Thain, Keef Hartley, Miller Anderson) -2:24
9. Too Much Thinking (Owen Finnegan, Gary Thain, Peter Dines) -5:43
10.Just A Cry (Henry Lowther, Owen Finnegan) -3:40
11.Shadows Across The Wall (Miller Anderson) -4:36
12.To Whom It May Concern (Miller Anderson) -3:19
13.High Tide, High Water (Miller Anderson) -7:27
Tracks 12-13 as Miller Anderson Band
Track 1 recorded live on 25 March 1971
Tracks 2-3 recorded live on 12 November 1970
Tracks 4-7 recorded in studio in April 1969
Tracks 8-9 recorded in studio in October 1969
Tracks 10-11 recorded in studio in June 1971
Tracks 12-13 recorded live on 13 September 1971

Keef Hartley Band
*Keef Hartley - Drums, Percussions
*Miller Anderson - Vocals, Guitars
*Gary Thain - Bass
*Henry Lowther - Trumpet, Violin
*Mike Weaver - Keyboards
*Lyn Dobson - Tenor Sax, Flute
*Dave Caswell - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
*Lyle Jenkins - Tenor Saxophone, Flute 

Keef Hartley
1968-72  Not Foolish Not Wise
1969  Halfbreed (2008 Esoteric)
1969  The Battle Of North West Six  (2008 Esoteric)
1970  The Time Is Near (2008 Esoteric remaster)
1970  Overdog (2005 Eclectic)
1971  Little Big Band
1972  Seventy Second Brave (2009 Esoteric)
1972  Lancashire Hustler (2008 Esoteric)
Related Acts
1964-67  Tha Artwoods - Singles A's & B's

Friday, December 11, 2020

White Duck - In Season (1972 us, essential country rock, 2014 korean remaster)

Hiatt made his first recording as a member of White Duck, a likable if unspectacular country rock band. Hiatt was on board for the band's second and final album In Season in 1972. (Hiatt did not play on White Duck's paper-thin self-titled 1971 debut record). The four band members (Hiatt, Don Kloetzke, Mario Friedel, and Paul Tabet) each contribute songs as singers and songwriters. Hiatt's two songs are the record's high points. "You Caught Me Laughin' " sounds like the type of song that would turn up on one of Hiatt's first two solo albums; the other one, "Sail Away", sounds almost like vintage Hiatt. "Sail Away" would be deserving of inclusion on a Hiatt anthology.

The songs contributed by Mario Friedel are almost as good as Hiatt's. Nearly half of the songs are written and sung by Don Kloetzke (who has a white duck sitting on his lap in the back cover photo); the quality of his contributions is inconsistent. Kloetzke shines on "Thank You" and "A Girl Who", but he overindulges on "Bull Island Boogie" and "Looney Tune", two oddball novelty songs in which Hiatt is not a credited player.

Overall, In Season makes for very pleasant listening, and should be regarded as more than just a curiosity piece for Hiatt's fans. The music on this record alternately resembles that of the Band and the Flying Burrito Brothers, but is more upbeat than either.

1. Carry Love (Don Kloetzke) - 3:55
2. Firewater (Mario Friedel, Skip Rogers) - 2:47
3. You Caught Me Laughin` (John Hiatt) - 3:24
4. Thank You (Don Kloetzke) - 3:22
5. Sail Away (John Hiatt) - 3:34
6. Bull Island Boogie (Buzz Cason, Don Kloetzke) - 5:04
7. Honey You`ll Be Alright (Do What Ya Gotta Do) (Paul Tabet, Mario Friedel) - 2:36
8. Lazy Days (Mario Friedel) - 4:01
9. A Girl Who (Don Kloetzke) - 3:32
10.Again (Mario Friedel) - 3:03
11.Looney Tune (Don Kloetzke) - 2:42

White Duck
*John Hiatt - Guitar, Vocals
*Don Kloetzke - Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Paul Tabet - Drums, Vocals
*Mario Friedel - Guitar, Vocals
*Lump Williams - Bass
*Steve Mendell - Bass
*Andy McMahon - Piano
*Doug Yankus - Guitar
*Doyle Grisham - Steel Guitar
*Skip Rogers - Background Vocals
*Buzz Cason - Background Vocals

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Tryad - ...If Only You Believe In Lovin` (1972 us, notable psych folk rock, 2011 korean issue)

Tryad's If Only You Believe In Lovin', originally released in 1971 as a private press. Ultra-deluxe LP reissue on the newly resurrected Del Val label -- obscure but legendary label previously responsible for early editions by The Brigade, The Bachs, Bent Wind, D.R. Hooker, Fifty Foot Hose, etc. Long overdue and much delayed reissue of this 1971 NYC private press few have heard and less have seen. Comparable to the best UK folk-fusion LPs of the era, this is like a Yankee version of Hunter Muskett's great Every Time You Move (1970) with co-ed vocals plus bass/drums/pedal steel/flute/keys accompaniment and East Coast haunted not West Coast hip, though you'll be reminded of a certain revered private from out there that wouldn't exist for another five years: Relatively Clean Rivers. 

"Low key but really cool. Hard to believe it's an NYC piece from '72 from a sonic aspect. There's a kind of innocence to overall heft that puts me in mind of very early Bay Area stuff, like the second We Five LP (1967). That same sort of psych-is-hanging-unnamed-in-the-background vibe. The only thing that really places it in the '70s is that pedal steel which has a definite post-Sneaky-Pete feel. Very cool." 
by Byron Coley

Tryad was a trio featuring Jim Lasko, Jesse Lanzillotti, and Norine Lyons. This 10 song LP ranges in influence from basic melodic folk with great harmonies on "Columbia Tavern" to west coast influenced country rock on "Something Sweet In Dying" to the acid folk feel of "Eulogy Raga"

When looking for an album, I usually check out the back cover as most people do, especially in the case of a new group, and ask myself what, if anything, does this group have to say. I like some indication that the album is worth listening to.

This is Tryad’s first effort, I listened and they have something to say, about people, about conscious freedom, about contemporary values.

Within their lyrics, Tryad reveals an intimate personal commitment, and the music gets it across with harmonies that are contrasted against the lack of harmony in our surrounding culture today.

Anyone for a chance at self-doscovering?
by Buffalo Dick Burch, Original Album Liner Notes

1. I`m Wonderin` How I Ever Got That Way - 4:04
2. Columbia Tavern - 4:10
3. Uptown Suburb Alley - 3:25
4. The Coming Time Of Gone - 2:34
5. Something Sweet In Dying - 3:06
6. Country Way - 3:15
7. Spider Song - 2:05
8. Don`t Talk To Strangers - 5:47
9. Northern Journey - 3:09
10.Eulogy  Raga - 4:54

*Jim Lasko - Rhythm, Acoustic Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Jesse Lanzillotti - Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Norine Lyons - Vocals
*Mike Oxios - Bass
*George Davis - Keyboards
*Kevin Perau - Flute
*Steve Musso- Drums
*Walt Rehder - Pedal Steel

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Howl The Good - Howl The Good (1972 us, remarkable classic rock, 2019 korean remaster)

Howl The Good's self-titled album, originally released in 1972. During the early 1970s, Detroit rock band Howl The Good signed to Motown's prog-rock offshoot, Rare Earth. Travelling to London to record their self-titled debut album at Olympic Studios, they were fortunate to work with engineer Chris Kimsey (best known for his later work with Peter Frampton and The Rolling Stones), with ex-Spooky Tooth keyboardist Gary Wright in the producer's chair; Wright was a highly-rated session player that worked with George Harrison, Elton John, Joe Cocker, and Steve Winwood, and he also enjoyed a successful solo career. 

The resultant album is a competent slice of semi-commercial prog rock with an undercurrent of blues and the odd pastoral number; despite the obviously American feel of the material, Billboard assumed the group was British, due to the location of the album's recording. Despite the strength of "Just Pretend It's Another Day" and "Long Way From Home", both co-written by Wright, and a one-off rendition of Cat Stevens's "The Joke", the album flopped on release on both sides of the Atlantic, leading the band to remain in obscurity and ultimately break up.

1. Things You Do (Allan Odom, Neil Faigenbaum) - 4:28
2. Just Pretend It's Another Day (Gary Wright) - 3:14
3. I Need A Friend (N. Adler, Neil Faigenbaum) - 3:05
4. The Joke (Cat Stevens) - 2:45
5. Harder Doing Nothing (Allan Odom, Dennis Harrison, Neil Faigenbaum) - 4:15
6. Why Do You Cry (I. Pack, Neil Faigenbaum) - 2:48
7. Long Way From Home (Gary Wright) - 3:52
8. Beginning Of The End (Aaron Nathanson, Neil Faigenbaum) - 3:03
9. This Moment In The Sun (Aaron Nathanson, Neil Faigenbaum) - 3:54
10.Ain't Hard To Stumble (David Rifkin) - 5:15

Howl The Good
*Neil Fayne - Bass, Vocals
*Dennis Harrison - Drums, Percussion
*Allan Odom - Vocals
*Wiley Pack - Guitar, Vocals
*Tom Schneider - Keyboards, Vocals 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Southwind - What A Place To Land (1971 us, excellent bluesy country classic rock, 2015 korean remaster)

The third and final album from Southwind, originally released by Blue Thumb in 1971. Compared to the band's debut this effort is less psychedelic and more pronounced blues influence than past efforts, but there's plenty to enjoy for fans of rural country rock.

Southwind disbanded soon after the record's release and guitarist John Martin swapping his birth name for his nickname "Moon," Martin went on to back Linda Ronstadt, later recording a series of solo albums and writing the Robert Palmer smash "Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)." Pulte also cut a pair of 1972 solo LPs for United Artists before disappearing from the music scene. 

1. Slippery John (John Martin, Jim Pulte) - 3:15
2. Beside The Mountain (Jim Pulte, Fontaine Brown) - 3:17
3. Best Part (Fontaine Brown) - 3:15
4. Please Don't Hitchhike (Jim Pulte) - 2:40
5. Back In The Band (Jim Pulte, John Martin) - 2:50
6. Bootleg Woman (Fontaine Brown) - 3:34
7. Baby Games (John Martin, Jim Pulte) - 2:57
8. Dynamite (Eric Dalton, Fontaine Brown, Jim Pulte, John Martin) - 2:11
9. Buzz Me (Fontaine Brown, John Martin) - 5:32

The Southwind
*Fontaine Brown - Keyboards, Harpsichord 
*Jim Pulte - Bass 
*Eric Dalton - Drums
*John Martin - Lead Guitar

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Bert Sommer - Bert Sommer (1971 us, beautiful psych folk rock, 2017 korean remaster)

 In 1972, Bert’s music was to be featured in a movie. The film in question was called “Ultra Violet’s Hot Parts”, a seedy film in which a French painter called Vampy – who had studied under Salvador Dali and had moved to New York in the early 1960s, going by the stage name “Ultra Voilet” – narrated over pornographic videos, often referred to as satire. The showings of the film had reportedly been raided on each occasion forcing the film underground. It has since been considered lost. However, the soundtrack - Karma Sutra KSBS 2054 was released on Karma Sutra records, a division of Buddah, and featured 4 of Bert’s songs from his first two albums.

Around the same time, Bert was opening for acts like Ike & Tina Turner, Poco, The Birds, and Richie Havens. These were all around the New York area, however, Bert was still not gaining the recognition to become a headline act. Meanwhile, he had just released his 3rd album, “Bert Sommer” - Buddah BDS 5082 after being convinced by Neil Bogart to leave Artie Kornfield’s Eleuthera sub-label and sign with Buddah directly. The album contained of songs composed by Bert.

Unfortunately, this album also didn’t sell well. This was having a toll on Bert, who ended up in a rehab correctional facility for a couple of years. Whilst there, he would meet Rob Landis who later let Bert live with him after leaving the facility. He also met Gary Roberts - known by his stage name: Johnny Rabb from a band called the Jailhouse Rockers, and with Rob Landis, they formed the trio “Sommer, Landis, & Roberts”. The group opened for a few acts, however, Bert wanted to try and get them a bigger deal.
by Robert Ian Hawdon, Aug 8, 2019

1. Stick Together - 3:16
2. Love Is Winning - 3:08
3. She Knows Me Better - 3:06
4. People Got To Be Free - 2:27
5. I Wondered Where You Be - 2:43
6. Magic Elixir (Bert Sommer, Mike Brown) - 2:29
7. The People Will Come Together (Bert Sommer, John Wilhelm) - 3:07
8. You've Got To Be Carefully Taught - 3:18
9. The Same Old Story - 2:58
10.Me And The Sunshine - 2:29
11.Back On The Bag - 2:45
12.Battle Of New Orleans - 2:26
All songs by Bert Sommer except where stated

*Bert Sommer - Vocals, Guitar
*Ron Frangipane - Piano, Organ, Harpsichord, String Arrangements
*Hugh McCracken - Electric, Acoustic Guitars
*David Spinozza - Electric, Acoustic Guitars
*Tony Levin - Bass
*Donald MvDonald - Drums
*Mike Miniere - Percussion
*Mike Brown - Piano
*Ira Bartwlstone - Guitar

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Bert Sommer - Inside (1969 us, elegant psych folk, with baroque prettiness, and peculiar undercurrent of melancholy, 2017 korean remaster)

In the space of 10 years between 1967-77, singer-songwriter Bert Sommer released four studio albums, collaborated with the Left Banke and the Vagrants with Mountain’s Leslie West, performed in the first stage musical of Hair, appeared at Woodstock, and was part of Kaptain Kool and the Kongs on TV’s The Krofft Supershow for one season.

Sommer also continued to write, record, and perform music until his untimely death in 1990 at the age of 41. He was a phenomenally talented charismatic singer and songwriter, and was gone way too soon. I had the rare pleasure of talking with his son Jesse Bert Sommer for a Something Else! Sitdown focusing on father’s music and career.
by Steve Elliott, January 8, 2020 

"Inside" was his second solo album, released not long after his appearance at the Woodstock festival – his performance did not make the film, although his performance of Paul Simon’s ‘America’ was hugely appreciated and this is the only track on the album not written wholly, or in part, by Bert. The album is not a normal singer/songwriter album, as it has significantly varied genres. This variety is the USP of the album, although it may have restricted the commercial impact the album had.

1. Smile - 3:06
2. It's A Beautiful Day - 3:02
3. Eleuthera - 2:20
4. The Grand Pianist (Mike Brown) - 2:24
5. Uncle Charlie - 2:29
6. I've Got To Try / Zip Zap Medley (Dan Sullivan) - 4:58
7. America (Paul Simon) - 3:21
8. Mama, If You're Able - 2:11
9. Friends - 3:19
10.On The Other Side - 4:37
11.Here In The Timeless Life - 2:44
12.We're All Playing In The Same Band - 3:21
All compositions by Bert Sommer except where stated

*Bert Sommer - Vocals, Guitar
*Joe Mack - Bass
*Jimmy Calvert - Electric Guitar
*Specs Powell - Percussion
*Ron Frangipane - Piano, Organ
*Hugh McCracken - Electric, Acoustic Guitar


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The Seeds - Bad Part Of Town (1961-72 us, top notch garage punk psych roots 'n' roll, 2008 edition)

1965, in the heat of the nights of San Francisco and Los Angeles, the rock-rhythm and blues changes itself into psychedelism. Towards Jefferson Airplane and Arthur Lee's Love, the Seeds appear then as the major group of this Weil Coast musical revolution. The Seeds leaded by Sty Saxon arc from Los Angeles He has already tried to become famous in the music business by recording a first 45 RPM under his real name Richie Marsh and the Hood winks rock'n'roll style, before to begin again with two other singles.

The second, is released under the pseudonym of Sky Sawn and the Soul Rockers, more rhythm 'n' blues, sounds 63-64 like with female vocals, and the third is released under the name of Sky Saxon and the Electra Fires. These six tracks "Baby, baby, baby" /-Half angel" "Go ahead and cry" / -They say" and "Do the swim" / -Trouble with my baby", are on the side one of this LP.

In 1965 the Seeds are composed by Sky Saxon (lead vocal, bass), Daryi Hooper (keyboards), Jan Savage (guitar) and Rick Andridge (drums}. They, immediately bring out several hits like "Can't seem to make you mine". "No escape", "Ptishin' too hard" "Mr fanner" "Up in her room". These songs are some great West Coast punk rock classics. In 1967 psychedelism and flower power arc the must. The Seeds bring out their third IP "Future" before returning to the blues under the name of Sky Saxon Band (with a little help from Muddy Waters) and released a last live LP.

The fury of the group on stage is so great that with the Seeds, the L.A. clubs become as wild as the ballrooms of the Detroit scene. In 1969 during a concert in the Santa Monica Civic Center where they jam with Neil Young they perform a killing cover of "Pushin’ too hard". Nevertheless before their split, The Seeds has recorded some promo tracks worth their best classics. So with "Bad par! of town" which opens the side one, and "Did he die", -Love in a summer basket", "Wish me up", "Shucking" and jiving" and "You took me by surprise" on the side two.

Like many other US bands from the golden era of the punk psychedelism (1964-69). we must wait until 1972 with the "Nuggets" compilation to discover again the Seeds, with Mouse and the Traps, the Chocolate Watchband, the Remains and many more. Then in 1977 the best of Seeds "Falling of the edge" is released with the collaboration of Kim Fowley. With the LP "Bad part of town" you possess the seventh album of the Seeds. It fits totally with the six previous albums and is the result of a careful and patient search in the land of the collectors.
CD Liner Notes

1. Bad Part Of Town - 3:28
2. Baby, Baby, Baby (Bob Roberts, Darla Hood) - 2:30
3. Half Angel (Darla Hood) - 1:49
4. Go Ahead And Cry (Buddy Wayne, Paul Nuckles, Richie Marsh) - 2:22
5. They Say (Paul Vagas, Sky Saxon) - 2:10
6. Do The Swim - 2:06
7. Trouble With My Baby - 2:13
8. Baby, I Swear That It's True (Gary Paxton, Sky Saxon) - 1:48
9. Die He Die - 3:33
10.Love In A Summer Basket (Sky Saxon And The Seeds) - 3:33
11.Wish Me Up - 3:17
12.Suckin' And Jiving (Sky Saxon And The Seeds) - 7:07
13.You Took Me By Surprise (Sky Saxon And The Seeds) - 2:43
14.Mr Farmer - 4:08
15.No Escape (Jan Savage, Jimmy Lawrence, Sky Saxon) - 2:17
16.I Can't Seem To Make You Mine - 2:48
17 Red Shoes High Sky Dancer - 3:34
18.Pushing To Hard To Far - 2:20
All songs by Sky Saxon except where indicated

The Seeds
*Sky Saxon - Vocals, Percussion
*Daryl Hooper - Guitar, Sitar, Piano, Organ, Vibraphone, Xylophone, Background Vocals
*Jan Savage - Guitar, Gong, Background Vocals 
*Rick Andridge - Drums, Percussion

1966 The Seeds - The Seeds (2012 remaster and expanded
1966-67 The Seeds - Web Of Sound / A Full Spoon Of Seedy Blues (2013 double disc) 
1967 The Seeds - Future (Vinyl edition)
1967 The Seeds - Future (2013 double disc digipak)

Friday, November 6, 2020

Southwind - Ready To Ride (1970 us, awesome country rural psych rock, 2015 korean remaster)

Southwind's second LP ‘Ready To Ride" released in early 1970,, at that time the band was comprised of Fontaine Brown (Dugg Brown), Eric Dalton, Jim Pulte and John Martin. Very often, during their live performances, a now well-known guitar player, Rick Vito (Juke Rhythm Band, Bonnie Raitt, Fleetwood Mac), would sit in with Southwind for some really hot shows. 

In “Ready to Ride,” the band clearly shifted from the 60‘s semi psychedelic thing to a very down home country image. Perhaps heading back to their Oklahoma roots? A great album cover. With the exception of one Johnny Cash (Ruby Eileen) one Hank Williams (Honky Tonkin’) tune, a majority of the writing credits are Fontaine Brown and Jim Pulte. Also, apparently Milton Sanders (Eric Dalton) wasn’t quite content with his new name, because on the “Ready to Ride” album, he’s changed the spelling of his first name, and added a nickname. For this album he was: Erik “Deputy” Dalton.

1. Rock And Roll Ruby (John R. Cash) - 3:01
2. Honky Tonkin' (Hank Williams) - 2:46
3. Ready To Ride (Fontaine Brown) - 2:48
4. I Got You Covered (Fontaine Brown, Jim Pulte) - 3:44
5. Heat Down In The Alley (Fontaine Brown) - 5:09
6. Rootin' And Tootin' (Fontaine Brown, Jim Pulte) - 3:42
7. Cool Green Hills Of Earth (Robert A. Heinlein) - 2:41
8. Same Sad Old Song (Fontaine Brown, Jim Pulte) - 4:17
9. Fine Tooth Comb (Eric Dalton, Fontaine Brown, Jim Pulte, John Martin) - 2:53
10.Ruby Eileen (Eric Dalton, Jim Pulte, John Martin) - 3:11

The Southwind
*Fontaine Brown - Keyboards, Harpsichord 
*Jim Pulte - Bass 
*Eric Dalton - Drums
*John Martin - Lead Guitar

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Renaissance - Live At Carnegie Hall (1976 uk, gorgeous art prog rock, 2019 three disc box set remaster)

 In 1976, British progressive/symphonic rock/folk act Renaissance released of the greatest live albums the genre has ever seen, titled Live at Carnegie Hall. It's a double live album that doesn't get nearly the credit it deserves, but all its majesty is contained here on this new box set from Esoteric Recordings, along with some incredible bonus material.

Recorded during three sold old nights at Carnegie Hall in New York City on June 20, 21, and 22 of 1975, the band were touring in support of their Scheherazade and Other Stories album, which was a month away from its actual release when these performances happened. Along with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and choir, the band launched into "Prologue", the great classical inspired piece from their album of the same name, mostly a soaring instrumental with some accompanying vocalizations from Annie Haslam and the band. 

A great way to start the show. The lovely, folky "Ocean Gypsy" follows, Annie's enchanting vocals drifting between Michael Dunford's delicate acoustic guitar, Jon Camp's muscular bass, and John Tout's majestic piano & synths. For this release, "Kiev" is put back into the set, originally played those evenings but never included on the original live album due to time restrictions, and fans will be thrilled to finally hear this song back in its rightful place, Camp & Haslam singing lead vocals side by side. In fact, the bassist puts on a clinic on this one, his Rickenbacker bass saddling up next to Tout's gliding piano for some virtuoso passages that will amaze any prog-rock fan. "Can You Understand" makes a glorious appearance, one of the standout tracks from the Ashes Are Burning album, the band firing on all cylinders with this classic track as they start with bombastic classical & rock before the quirky folk middle section, eventually finishing it up with more symphonic rock fury. Spectacular on every level. Pop, folk, and classical collide for the engaging "Carpet of the Sun", and the band then dip into their popular Turn of the Cards album for "Running Hard" and the legendary "Mother Russia", two timeless gems from the bands catalog and both exceeding 10-minutes in length.

Over to disc two, the band preview the title track "Song of Scheherazade" of their soon to be released album, all 23+ minutes and nine sections of it, including an explanation from Camp as to the story of the piece. The orchestra plays a big part here, and once again Renaissance proves to be a band that perfected the whole 'rock band meets orchestra' concept. Sweeping, majestic, and glorious, Haslam & Camp take turns at the microphone over sumptuous sounds from the band and orchestra as together they bring Scheherazade to life for the audience for the very first time. And if that wasn't enough, how about a 23-minute version of "Ashes Are Burning" to cap things off? Complete with some lengthy bass solos from Camp and a breathtaking climax, the band & orchestra are on complete fire here, Haslam bringing down the house with her 5 octave range. To have been in the audience on any of these three nights must have been quite the experience.

Over on disc 3 Esoteric have thrown in a BBC Radio One 'In Concert' performance from March 25, 1976, containing a trimmed down set from the Carnegie shows, featuring "Prologue", "Running Hard", "Ocean Gypsy", "Mother Russia", and of course "Song of Scheherazade", all of it thrilling to no surprise. The clamshell box set also includes a cool booklet with photographs and an essay, and the cardboard sleeves housing the CD's all replicate the live photographs from the original LP. The remastered sound is fabulous, so if you are at all on the fence about replacing your original CD version with this one, don't be...this is now the ultimate Live at Carnegie Hall to have in your collection. 
by Pete Pardo, August 11th 2019 

Disc 1
1. Prologue - 8:10
2. Ocean Gypsy - 7:17
3. Kiev (Jim McCarty, Betty Thatcher) - 8:09
4. Can You Understand - 10:48
5. Carpet Of The Sun - 3:47
6. Running Hard - 10:04
7. Mother Russia - 10:22
All Music by Michael Dunford except track #3, all Lyrics by Betty Thatcher
Track 3 previously Unreleased

Disc 2
1. Song Of Scheherazade (John Tout, Jon Camp, Michael Dunford, Betty Thatcher) - 28:19
2. Ashes Are Burning (Michael Dunford, Betty Thatcher) - 23:04

Disc 3 
1. Prologue (Michael Dunford) - 8:02
2. Running Hard (Michael Dunford, Betty Thatcher) - 10:13
3. Ocean Gypsy (Michael Dunford, Betty Thatcher) - 5:46
4. Mother Russia (Michael Dunford, Betty Thatcher) - 10:25
5. Song Of Scheherazade (John Tout, Jon Camp, Michael Dunford, Betty Thatcher) - 25:30
Live at BBC Radio One "In Concert" 25th March 1976 

*Annie Haslam - Lead Vocals
*John Tout - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
*Jon Camp - Bass, Bass Pedals, Backing, Lead, Harmony Vocals
*Michael Dunford - Acoustic Guitars, Vocals
*Terrence Sullivan - Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals

1969  Renaissance - Renaissance (2008 remaster)
1970  Renaissance - Illusion (2010 bonus tracks remaster)

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Bodast - Towards Utopia (1969 uk, fascinating mod psych beat, 2017 remaster)

 Steve Howe joined Yes in 1970, just in time to reinvent progressive rock on the band’s third LP, The Yes Album. Ever since, his guitar work—a blend of Wes Montgomery jazz finesse, Chet Atkins country pickin’, and supercharged psychedelia—has been the band’s defining instrumental element. And if Steve Howe is Yes, then here’s technically a long-lost Yes album: his 1969 recordings with short-lived, ill-fated act Bodast. 

The quartet—also featuring drummer Bobby Clarke, bassist Dave Curtis and frontman Clive Skinner—remain one of rock’s true tragedies, disintegrating shortly after their sessions with producer Keith West. Towards Utopia, Esoteric’s remastered compilation, showcases a band at the crux of the fading psych movement and the burgeoning prog-rock scene, with Howe’s instrumental heroics edging the songs toward the latter camp. 

The plainest proof is “Nether Street,” a guitar workout that later formed the foundation of “Würm,” the final section of the Yes epic “Starship Trooper.” (For Yes fans, it’s a trip hearing “Nether Street” open with that triumphantly strummed acoustic guitar climax—it’s like watching a sex scene played in reverse.) There are other glimpses of what Bodast could’ve become: “Mr. Jones” sounds like a lost mid-period Beatles tune with a virtuoso guitarist on deck; “Do You Remember” is a disorienting hybrid of proto-prog, proto-punk and country-rock. 

There’s a fascinating friction between Skinner’s pop-molded voice and Howe’s violent guitar eruptions, and it’s a shame that Bodast didn’t survive long enough to refine that formula. But in retrospect, we can appreciate the band on their own merits—as a pivotal launching pad for one of prog’s signature talents. 
by Ryan Reed, January 30, 2018 

1. Nether Street (Clive Skinner, Dave Curtis, Steve Howe) - 3:00
2. Tired Towers (Clive Skinner, Dave Curtis, Steve Howe) - 3:10
3. Mr. Jones (Dave Curtis) - 3:01
4. Do You Remember (Dave Curtis) - 3:33
5. Beyond Winter (Clive Skinner, Steve Howe) - 2:45
6. Once In A Lifetime (Clive Skinner) - 3:28
7. Black Leather Gloves (Clive Skinner) - 3:25
8. I Want You (Dave Curtis) - 3:20
9. 1000 Years (Clive Skinner) - 2:40
10.Nothing To Cry For (Steve Howe) - 4:00
11.The Spanish Song (Dave Curtis, Steve Howe, Bobbie Woodman) - 2:19
12.Power Of Music (Dave Curtis, Steve Howe, Bobbie Woodman) - 4:31
13.Come Over Stranger (Clive Skinner) - 2:50
Bonus tracks 11-13 as Canto

The Bodast
*Steve Howe - Guitar
*Bobby Clarke - Drums
*Clive Skinner - Vocals, Guitar
*Dave Curtis - Vocals, Bass

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Morning - Struck Like Silver (1972 us, wonderful folk soft rock, 2015 korean remaster)

 Formed in Los Angeles, California, USA, in 1970, Morning comprised by Jim Hobson (keyboards, vocals), Jay Lewis (guitar, vocals), an ex-member of Love under the name Jay Donnellan, Barry Brown (guitar, drums), Jim Kehn (guitar, drums), Terry Johnson (guitar) and Bruce Wallace (bass). After the country rock album Morning, Johnson and Wallace left and in came bass player Stuart Brotman, lately of Kaleidoscope. 

Morning was a band with a good combination going for them, good vocalist and musicians and that's a winner in any book. Nice solid sound in "Understand My Ways" and "Comin' In Love". They're at their best on Hoyt Axton's "Never Been To Spain" and the title track "Struck Like Silver". A noteworthy album.

However the group split up soon after its release, with Hobson joining Delaney Bramlett and Lewis enjoying a fruitful period with Albert Hammond.

1. I Ain't Gonna Leave (Barry Brown) - 3:31
2. In A Better Frame Of Mind (Jay Lewis) - 2:56
3. Only To Say Goodbye (Jay Lewis) - 3:13
4. For Free (Joni Mitchell) - 4:57
5. Struck Like Silver (Barry Brown) - 3:55
6. Understand My Ways (Barry Brown) - 3:42
7. Comin' In Love (Barry Brown) - 2:32
8. Jay's Movie Song (Jay Lewis) - 3:10
9. And Now I Lay Me Down (Jay Lewis) - 6:20
10.Never Been To Spain (Hoyt Axton) - 5:12

*Barry Brown - Guitar, Drums, Vocals
*Jim Hobson - Piano, Theremin, Vocals
*Jim Kehn - Drums, Guitar, Vocals
*Jay Lewis - Guitar, Banjo, Vocals
*Stuart Brotman - Electric, String  Bass 
*Chris Darrow - Fiddle
*Terry Johnson - Acoustic Guitar (Track 7)

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Bones - Bones (1972 us, exciting power pop, breezy rocker, sterling vocals, 2018 korean remaster)

 Bones was a four piece rock band on the L.A. scene in the years 1969 – 1973. An exciting live act as well as a remarkable recording outfit, Bones crafted a sound which combined great melodies, sophisticated vocals, rockin’ instrumental tracks, and (always) a danceable beat. The members were Jimmy Faragher, bass, Danny Faragher, keys, Greg Tornquist, guitar, and Casey Cunningham, drums. The band also had an unplugged, sensitive side, which featured sweet harmonies, and finger picked guitar. The guys had been known as the Peppermint Trolley Co., but in early ’69, after differences with their producer/manager, they’d walked away from all their ties, including the Acta record deal, to reinvent themselves.

Relocating to Riverside, the PTC put on their thinking caps to conjure up a new name. Danny remembers – “We wanted something which was opposite to the Peppermint Trolley Company; short and earthy.” (Greg) – “The Bones name came from an Earle Stanley Gardner murder mystery called Rolling Bones.  There was a book shelf in my bedroom with mystery books my dad liked to read… and I saw Rolling BONES among the 40 paper backs.  I laughed because of Rolling Stones…and then thought…Bones! That’s us…skin and BONES.” (Danny) – “We were deliberately looking for a word that started with the letter “B”. After all, there had been some great bands in that category…The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, The Band, etc. So when Greg suggested the moniker, we all thought it was perfect.” (Greg) – “ I remember we also agreed not to use skeletons or the hard on meaning…and we didn’t…just like the Beatles never used insects.”

The group quickly adopted a rehearsal schedule, practicing all night in friend, Chauncey Romero’s music store in Redlands, The House of Note. Danny traded the clavinet for an R.M.I. piano, and the Baroque figures for boogie licks. The boys turned up the volume a bit, as they worked to carve out a more rockin’ sound.

The Bones album, entitled “Bones”, was released that spring to rave reviews. Phil Hartman, future comedic star, did the cover art; a photo of the guys seated on a wall at the Malibu house. The LP featured songs with an original Rock and Soul vibe, like “Good Luck”, “Prisoner of Love”, and the funky “Door to Door Love”. There were hard rockin’numbers like “L.A. Isabella”, and “The Bust Song”, and gentler tunes like “He Said”, and “Bustin’ My Heart”. Danny and Jimmy played brass and reed parts, and both Greg and Danny blew harmonica. “Roberta”, an infectious Rock a Roll number written by Huey Piano Smith, was released as the single, and began to show up on the charts. (Danny) – “One of the best songs we ever recorded never made it on the album… ‘Hope’, a great timeless ballad which could resonate today, but for some reason it was omitted.” There were several other fine recordings that never made the cut: the country tinged “Greenwood County”; the Beach Boys influenced “Cold, Cold Mama”; and the Cowboy Funky “Honey Baby”.

Despite the positive reviews, and the single’s success, the album failed to catch on. Sadly, some of the extraordinary momentum Bones had revved up was beginning to wane. Members were meeting their future wives, getting their own places. The band had acquired roadies and tech men, who were now living in the Malibu house. Consequently, some of the tight camaraderie was lost. To shake things up, the band decided to add Patrick McClure, who had been in the Peppermint Trolley Co., and remained a close friend, as a second guitarist.

1. Good Luck - 2:42
2. Oh Darlin' - 3:26
3. The Bust Song - 3:35
4. Door To Door Love - 3:52
5. Prisoner Of Love - 3:27
6. L.A. Isabella - 2:57
7. He Said - 3:19
8. Roberta (Huey "Piano" Smith, John Vincent) - 3:59
9. Have Your Fun - 2:37
10.Bustin' My Heart (Danny Faragher) - 2:25
11.Take A Little Bit - 3:15
All songs by Jimmy Faragher except where noted

*Casey Cunningham - Drums, Percussion
*Danny Faragher - Keyboards, Horns, Vocals
*Jimmy Faragher - Bass, Sax Vocals
*Greg Tornquist - Guitar, Vocals

Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Mojos - Everything's Alright The Complete Recordings (1964-65 uk, great mersey beat 2009 remaster)

To anyone familiar with the British beat scene of the early Sixties, The Mojos were one of the leading Merseybeat groups and, like The Beatles, were among the first wave of bands from Liverpool to storm the UK charts, in their case with the unforgettable “Everything’s Al’ Right”, a rock ‘n’ roll tour de force powered by singer Stu James’s (b. Stuart Leslie James Slater, 14 July 1945, Liverpool) powerful lead vocals and Terry O’Toole’s dynamic piano playing. Peaking at #9 on the UK charts, it was The Mojos’ biggest hit.

But the equally impressive “Until My Baby Comes Home”, a storming, mod-rocker was The Mojos in name only. Although Stuart James (who worked as Stuart Slater from early 1968) provided the superb, emotionally charged lead vocal, the group was miles away from the Merseyside band that cut a cache of singles for Decca between 1963 and 1967, both in style and sound.

In fact, by the time The Mojos signed with Liberty Records, the group was largely comprised of musicians from Southampton on England’s south coast. It should have been a positive new dawn after years of struggling for recognition, but tragically the group’s potential was cut short.

To find out how Stu James re-launched The Mojos in the early months of 1968, it helps to go back to the very start and September 1962 when the singer/pianist signed up with Anfield, Liverpool group, The Nomads, after nearly joining The Undertakers.

Formed earlier that year as a duo by lead guitarist Roy Woods and bass player Keith Karlson (b. Keith Alcock, 14 August 1944, Liverpool), The Nomads were a blues-based rock group, who briefly featured future Easybeats’ drummer Snowy Fleet from The Four Musketeers before he emigrated to Australia, his place taken by Jon “Bob” Conrad (sometimes spelt Konrad, b. 3 October 1944, Liverpool).

Shortly before Stu James’s arrival, the band added rhythm guitarist and singer Adrian Lord (real name: Adrian Wilkinson), who took over from Roy Woods. Then, in August 1963, on George Harrison’s recommendation, they added pianist Terry O’Toole and recorded the track, “My Whole Life Through”, which was picked up by Oriole Records for the This is Merseybeat compilation LP.

When they found out that another group called The Nomads from Southend-on-Sea had registered the name, the musicians renamed the group The Mojos, taking the name from a popular Muddy Waters song in their set-list, “I Got My Mojo Working”.

The Mojos won a song-writing competition soon afterwards, the fruits of which were a production and publishing contract with Aberback Music. The musicians were soon whisked into the studio to cut their debut single “They Say” c/w “Forever”, which was erroneously released on Decca as The Mojo’s but to limited interest on 30 August 1963.

In September, Adrian Wilkinson left and former Faron’s Flamingos lead guitarist Nicky Crouch (b. 9 February 1943, Aintree, Liverpool) joined what would become the definitive early line-up.

Like many Merseyside bands, The Mojos headed to Hamburg in what was then West Germany for a six-week residency at the famous Star Club. While there, the group cut the single that would come to define its career.

“We recorded ‘Everything’s Al’ Right’ in a church in Hamburg,” recalls James. “I’ve always thought it was plucked from the heavens and it really sounded different on the radio.”

Released on 6 March 1964 and backed by the superb “Give Your Lovin’ To Me”, the single stormed up the UK charts and peaked at #9. However, follow ups, “Why Not Tonight” c/w “Don’t Do It Anymore”, issued on 5 June 1964 (UK #25) and “Seven Daffodils” c/w “Nothin’ At All”, released on 28 August 1964 (UK #30) failed to match the commercial success of the band’s breakthrough single.

James admits the group had poorly chosen material foisted on to musicians by their production company, which also had a label deal that went through Decca Records.

“All with a benefit of hindsight, you slam your foot on the brake and say, ‘Right, what have we really got for a follow up?” ‘Why Not Tonight’ was ‘Everything’s Al’ Right’ written sideways. It really was… It was completely contrived.”

As for “Seven Daffodils”, James recalls that the song “stormed it every night on stage”. Unfortunately, the single’s release was poorly timed.

“We were really pleased with our version and the day ours came out, blow me down, this group called The Cherokees from Leeds put it out as well,” he remembers.

In October 1964, The Mojos faced a mass exodus as Terry O’Toole, Keith Karlson and Bob Conrad all departed to form The Epics; O’Toole later put together a rival Mojos in Liverpool.

James and Crouch relaunched The Mojos bringing in ace drummer Aynsley Dunbar (b. 10 January 1946, Liverpool), who went on to play with a who’s who of rock royalty, including Jeff Beck and Jefferson Starship to name a few, and future actor and half of the Professionals, bass player Lewis Collins (b. 26 May 1946, Bidston, Birkenhead, d. 27 November 2013), son of the band’s road manager Bill Collins. Both were seasoned musicians from the local scene.

“Aynsley was an incredible drummer and an absolute natural,” says James. “Unlike Lewis I had no surprise at all that he made it because he was so good on the drums. There were nights when we’d go on and we wouldn’t get a lot of clapping until he came in on his drum solo.”

Besides working with a few local Liverpool bands, Lewis Collins had previously worked as a hairdresser with Paul McCartney’s brother Mike McGear. His father Bill would soon discover Welsh beat group, The Iveys, who shared a bill with The Mojos in spring 1966, and would take them under his managerial wing, later introducing them to Paul McCartney, who signed the band to Apple where they subsequently found success as Badfinger.

Unfortunately, the single, and its follow up, “Wait A Minute” c/w “Wonder If She Knows”, issued on 10 September 1965 as Stu James & The Mojos, both failed to crack the charts.

Decca began to lose faith in the band and wouldn’t sanction another single. In September 1966, with the band now based in London, Dunbar saw the writing on the wall and jumped ship to join John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, briefly replaced by Stan Bennett. Lewis Collins also departed soon afterwards, working with Robb Storme & The Whispers.

“The problem was we didn’t have anyone guiding us to say, ‘Look, just stick to what you do best’,” says James looking back. “We were all over the shop [stylistically]. On stage, we played ‘Spoonful’ and a lot of genuine blues. Maybe we should have stuck to that.”

James and Crouch rebuilt the band again from scratch bringing in bass player Deke Vernon from Birmingham and Southampton drummer Martin “Cuddles” Smith (aka Steve Snake). The new formation recorded one final single for Decca, “Good-Bye Dolly Grey” c/w “I Just Can’t Let Her Go”, issued on 3 February 1967, before the label dropped the band. Allegedly, the musicians briefly backed Paul and Barry Ryan during this period.

The new-look Mojos struggled through the rest of 1967, which included a bizarre extended engagement at a luxury hotel in the Ivory Coast in West Africa.

The Mojos continued to gig incessantly throughout 1969 during which time local Southampton drum legend Danny Barbour, who’d played with Ricky Brown & The Hi-Lites and The Time among others, took over from Tony House.

Then, as the year turned, The Mojos’ fortunes appeared to have turned. “[Canham] dragged Simon Napier-Bell and Ray Singer along to see us at a gig and they were quite impressed and things moved quite fast with those two guys,” says Campbell.

“It was still The Mojos but it was decided, [we needed a] name change, and the band became, much to my disgust as Natural Birth. It was all out of our hands.”

Produced by Napier-Bell and Singer, the single “Life Is What You Make It To Be” (credited to Rock Horse) c/w Slater’s “Day To Remember” had the commercial potential to be a sizeable hit but success would continue to elude the band.

When the group splintered in the 1970, Harnett briefly joined local legends Fleur De Lys before moving on to a succession of groups.

As for Slater, he would revert to his Stu James stage name and cut two singles with Bradley Records in 1974. He then released a one-off single for United Artists Records in 1977 as Stuart Slater before a final lone release as Stu James two years later for Philips.

During this period, he lived with singer Stephanie De Sykes and together they wrote two UK Eurovision Song Contest entries Co-Co’s “The Bad Old Days” and Prima Donna’s “Love Enough for Two”. Their son Toby was lead singer in 1990s pop band, Catch. Slater ran Chrysalis Music during the 1980s and currently lives in southwest London.
by Nick Warburton

1. My Whole Life Through (Stu James) - 3:00
2. They Say You Found A New Baby (Joy Byers) - 2:28
3. Forever (Adrian Wilkinson) - 2:34
4. Everything's Alright (John Konrad, Keith Karlson, Nick Crouch, Simon Stavely, Stu James) - 2:22
5. Give Your Lovin' To Me (Keith Karlson, Simon Stavely, Stu James) - 2:35
6. Why Not Tonight (Simon Stavely, Stu James) - 2:29
7. Don't Do It Anymore (Stu James) - 1:56
8. Seven Daffodils (Fran Moseley, Lee Hays) - 3:11
9. Nothin' At All (Nick Crouch, Stu James) - 2:46
10.I Got My Mojo Working (Preston Foster) - 3:34
11.The One Who Really Loves You (Smokey Robinson) - 2:34
12.Nobody But Me (O'Kelly Isley, Ronald Isley, Rudolph Isley) - 2:00
13.Comin' On To Cry (Nick Crouch, Stu James) - 3:31
14.That's The Way It Goes (Nick Crouch, Stu James) - 2:39
15.Wait A Minute (Kenny Lynch, Mort Shuman) - 2:54
16.Wonder If She Knows (Nick Crouch, Stu James) - 2:53
17.Goodbye Dolly Gray (Paul Barnes, Will D. Cobb) - 3:02
18.I Just Can't Let Her Go (Jeanette Ross) - 1:57
19.Until My Baby Comes Home (Stu James) - 3:23
20.Seven Park Avenue (Stu James) - 3:05
Track 1 as The Nomads
Tracks 15-16 as Stu James And The Mojos

The Mojos
*Nick Crouch - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Keith Karlson - Bass Guitar
*Stu James - Vocals
*Terry O’Tool - Piano
*John Konrad - Drums

Stu James And the Mojos
*Stu James - Vocals
*Nick Crouch - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Lewis Collins - Bass
*Aynsley Dunbar - Drums