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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

John Cipollina - Raven (1975-76 us, stunning guitar rock, 2006 remastered and expanded)

Well it's coming up on thirty years since Raven first came together. Out of their ten members, maybe six of them are still left to spread the rumors. There isn't a lot that can be written about a band that lasted barely 10 months, and that played at best, maybe 11 shows. And when you consider that after all this time some of the memories and recollections of the surviving band members may be just a little but fuzzy. Here's their story.

Feeling restless with the lack of gigs with Terry & The Pirates, John Cipollina decided to start his dream band Raven, taking with him members of "the Pirates", Quicksilver and Copperhead for this new project. Raven was John's concept of a "Big Band" - 2 guitarists, 2 drummers, 2 keyboardists, 2 singers, and 1 bass player.

During their reign on the Bay Area music scene Raven included - John Cipollina from Quicksilver Messenger Service and Copperhead on lead guitar; Greg Douglass from Country Weather and Hot Tuna on lead guitar; Skip Olson from Boyd Albritton's band The Jones Boys and Quicksilver on bass guitar; Andy Kirby from King Kong on drums & lead vocals; David Weber from Copperhead and Front Page Review (a band he played with in Boston in 1968) on drums; Jasper "Hutch" Hutchinson from The Jones Boys on vocals & synthesizer; Nicky Hopkins from the Jeff Beck Group and The Rolling Stones on piano; Jim McPherson from Stained Glass and Copperhead on keyboards & vocals; Clay Cotton from the Charlie Musselwhite Band on keyboards and Dave Walker from Fleetwood Mac and Savoy Brown on vocals. (John told me once that he felt that Dave Walker was one of the best vocalists he'd ever worked with). It should also be mentioned that by this time John, Greg, Jim, Nicky, David and Andy had all been members of Terry & The Pirates.

In the beginning, but unknown at the time, Raven was born out of a rehearsal at Cipollina's Black Dragon Studio on December 9, 1975 with John Cipollina, Greg Douglass, Nicky Hopkins, Hutch Hutchinson, Terry Dolan, David Weber, Andy Kirby and Dallas Anderson (who played bass that night and was the "caretaker" of John's Corte Madera studio).

As these jam sessions began to take place, they gradually grew into "actual band rehearsals". John and Greg Douglass had often talked about a "serious" project together, but somehow, something always got in the way. But this time they were determined to start a band. Before John ultimately chose Raven for the band's name he was considering as possible contenders Jewel, California Vipers, Rangers, Witness, Prophet and Powerhouse.

Raven rehearsed non-stop for about six months before their first show, although, if you ask the band, it felt more like a year. But John wanted to make sure that Raven was well-rehearsed and ready to play "the Big Time" before they played out.

They probably rehearsed too much because by the time they were ready to play out, some of the songs already seemed old, not to mention that they were burned out on the lack of gigs and a lack of money! According to Greg Douglass "John had a serious case of cold feet". "John", we'd say, "let's go out and do some gigs, man!" "We're not ready", he'd reply. Raven did finally do some scattered gigs. As Greg Douglass put it "The only thing that would have made it all better is if we could've played out more".

Their first show was on June 27, 1976 at Sundance, a small club up in the mountains near Lake Tahoe, Nevada. John wanted to get out of town to debut the band in secret, far away from the familiar surroundings and scrutiny of the San Francisco Bay Area, and unleash this new band on an unsuspecting audience. Skip Olson blew off a gig with Quicksilver to play these shows, pissing off Gary Duncan and Dino Valenti, and subsequently getting kicked out of Quicksilver. Jim McPherson played bass at these gigs because Skip was too sick to play. By all accounts it was a disastrous weekend.

Gary Douglass recalls: "We did this three-night stand in Nevada that still stands near the top of my Worst Gigs Ever List. The first night, the crowd was small but extremely surly. Huge guys would come in small groups and end up scowling and yelling at the band. It turns out the place was a whorehouse that had just been converted into a rock 'n' roll club, without the knowledge of the former patrons. It was an ugly, ugly three days".

Raven then played several back to back Friday/Saturday night gigs: at the Keystone in Berkeley on July 16/17; at the LongBranch Saloon in Berkeley on August 13/14 and then it was back to the Keystone on August 19/20; Jim McPherson played keyboards at the July and August Keystone shows and possibly at the LongBranch Saloon appearances. (There remains some doubt as to whether it was Nicky Hopkins or Jim McPherson that played the LongBranch shows.) On the way to the July 17th Keystone gig, Skip was pulled over by the cops for speeding and not having a driver's licence, which is why their first set was short.

For their last gig on September 4, 1976, also at the Keystone, Clay Cotton played keyboards; Andy Kirby stepped out from behind the drums and was singing lead voals (leaving David Weber as the only drummer), and featuring their new vocalist Dave Walker on a few songs. (Now whether or not Dave played more than one show or if both Keystone shows scheduled for that weekend actually took place, no one can remember).

The songs Raven played showcased the music and songwriting skills of Joh Cipollina, Greg Douglass and Jim McPherson, with the occasional cover tune thrown in for fun. As Greg Douglass put it "A lot of Raven's songs were structurally pretty strange, but at the same time pretty well written and well performed".

Other songs that were part of Raven's repertoire included: Takes All Kinds, Post Scripts, Special Kind of Love, Wet Wild & Warm, All American Boy, Fingers, Snake Eyes, Cloye, Rain or Come Shine, Your Move, She's That Kind of Woman, Moon Light Traveler, Vampira, Saw Tooth, Fever Dreams, Oxblood, and Two Roads (A song by Boyd Albritton).

Over the years there has been much confusion over the identity of Hutch Hutchinson in Raven which is Jasper "Hutch" Hutchinson. The "Hutch Hutchinson" that played bass with Copperhead, Terry & The Pirates and who plays with Bonnie Raitt is "James" Hutch Hutchinson. Jasper was introduced to Cipollina by James, but was brought in to Raven by Skip Olson. (Where is the scorecard to keep this information straight when you need one?)

In 1975 Skip was playing with Cipollina in the reunited Quicksilver Messenger Service and recording at Wally Heider's world renowned studio in San Francisco with Boyd Albritton on guitar & vocals, along with Hutch Hutchinson, Nicky Hopkins, Greg Douglass, Michael Lewis (keyboards), with Sammy Piazza & Harold Aceves (who had also played with Quicksilver) on drums. (In 1998 these recordings were released as Boyd Albritton Band Prehistoric Raven.) John liked Boyd's song "Clouds" so much that he recorded it for the Raven album; Boyd in appreciation of this insisted that John shared the writing credit with him.

Reflecting back Andy Kirby feels that "Cipollina made sure that there were 2 drummers, 2 singers and 2 keyboard players because, in the event someone called in sick, John could still go out and play the gig". Andy also recalls that Beach Boy Blondie Chaplin was being considered as a possible member for Raven and even came over and jammed one day. "He was considered for the band, but I don't recall ever having met the man. John loved his singing & playing. I do remember that" says Greg Douglass.

Having Nicky Hopkins in the band made for some interesting moments. "For instance, there was the high note high dive" factor as Greg Douglass calls it. "Nicky would do one of those spectacular runs up the keyboard all the way to the top note... and keep going, and all of a sudden Bang! He was off the stool and on the floor. To keep Nicky from being seriously injured, Dallas Anderson rigged up a canvas seat belt to prevent any further chromatically-driven spills."

At one rehearsal Raven found themselves being surrounded by a S.W.A.T. team, who thought they were the Symbionese Liberation Army (the group of radicals that kidnapped Patty Hearst). It seems that the band had been shooting at bottles with some of John's extensive gun collection whe a neighbor called the cops, saying they[sic] we're terrorists. A great deal of fast talking was done to convince the gun-toting police specialists that they were just a bunch of goofy old guitar pickers. Dallas did a nice job of hiding Cipollina's M-16s while the band engaged the S.W.A.T. team leader at the front door.

Playing with Raven was a stretch for Clay Cotton because he had come from a Blues & R&B background and Raven was a rock 'n' roll band. He was brought to the band by Skip Olson with whom he worked with in Charlie Musselwhite's band. Clay remembers being treated with dignity and nobility when he met John and Raven and found John to be a gentleman and a true world class artist. "He was clearly a creative genius and composer who put together unique and esoteric songs that had power and integrity" and recalls that "the band played interesting and challenging music that was spot on. I especially remember Fever Dreams as being a zany song with zany lyrics". What appealed to Clay the most was that John had an intellect and personality and wished he could have known John, the person, a little bit better.

Todd Tolces, the San Francisco correspondent for Melody Maker, arranged for Dave Walker to meet John Cipollina and Greg Douglass at Fantasy Studios in 1975. He would later go over to Black Dragon and "jam" a couple of times. Shortly after this Dave moved back to England for about 7 months, and upon his return to the States in August of 1976, he went down to the KSAN studios and signed up on their musicians directory, looking for a band to join. No sooner than he comes home that day the phone rings and it was Cipollina reintroducing himself, and they started hanging out, which led to band practices and recording sessions at John's studio, and then some gigs with Raven. Walker noted, "Being with John gets a little deeper than just doing gigs."

Raven practiced a lot in the studio and they had a lot of freedom to stretch out and play. Dave Walker commented, "Although John was kind of the figurehead of everything, he still counted himself as one of the guys. If you had some kind of idea he was the type of guy that would say, "let's give it a shot and see if we can work something out". John and Greg were kindred spirits and they were a great teaming of guitarists, maybe one of the finest of all time."

Walker continues, "John played with a lot of people and felt he had a lot of responsibility to his friends and he took it seriously. John gave you the free will to be yourself in the studio and on the stage; he was the kind of guy who wouldn't let you down. If he felt he had an obligation to play with someone he would. I've enjoyed playing in America so much more than playing in England, becuase of that freedom to play and be yourself. John got me started here and made it possible for me to continue playing music in America. He took me under his wing a little, and I'll always be grateful for that. Let me put it this way, I've played with a lot of people, but playing with John and Greg Douglass was always a lot of fun".

Raven was an awesome band that was chocked full of some incredibly talented musicians who got along famously, had a lot of potential, and who showed a lot of promise. Maybe the band was too good; but with their aggravation over the lack of gigs and money, members started losing interest. Funny thing though, their disdain for the lack of gigs and money didn't get in the way of their enthusiasm for the music that they creating, both live and in the studio.

At this point Raven wasn't playing live anymore, they weren't earning any money either. This continual underlying theme of "No Gigs equals No Money", only went to underscore once again the frustrations that they felt, and which had plagued them ever since their inception. Greg Douglass sensed Raven's time had about run its course and was preparing for it.

Raven never really broke up; they just stopped playing together, or as John Cipollina explained "Bands in Marin County never really break up; they just have a new rehearsal and fail to tell somebody about it."

Feeling restless with the lack of gigs with Raven, Greg Douglass decided to star a new band, taking with him members of Raven and adopting the name of his old band Mistress and within a month they... De'ja vu... This sounds somewhat familiar... I think this is almost where I started...

In 1980 Line Records in Germany released the Raven recordings as John Cipollina Raven on vinyl. That release was made from a cassette tape that belonged to Andy Kirby; (John didn't have access to his masters so he borrowed Andy's reference tape to use as the master for the record's release).

To summarize - Raven was a powerhouse of a band that played with conviction, fire, intensity, and spirit along with that typical John Cipollina "Take No Prisoners" attitude. The energy and precision with which the band played was a wonder to behold. In looking back, all those rehearsals actually did pay off and they were ready all along.

This CD re-issue has been expanded with studio and live bonus tracks, re-mastered and re-sequenced and really gives the listener a good idea of just how great a band Raven really was!
by Mike Somavilla, 2006

1. Rock And Roll Nurse - 5:29
2. True Golden Touch - 5:20
3. Do What You Do - 6:31
4. Unvicious Circle - 6:51
5. True Reward - 3:05
6. Grass is Always Greener - 4:14
7. Clouds (John Albritton, John Cipollina) - 4:42
8. All Worth The Price (Greg Douglass) - 5:27
9. Ride (Highway Song) - 6:17
10.Burning Corte Madera (Jim McPherson) - 3:33
11.The Truth - 4:02
12.Bad News (Greg Douglass) - 3:57
13.Razor Blade And Rattlesnake (Deke Leonard) - 5:04
14.Prayers (Brian Kilcourse, Greg Douglass) - 3:33
All compositions by John Cipollina except where stated
Tracks 1,3,4,7,8,12,14 His Master's Wheels, San Francisco, CA
Tracks 2,6,11 Black Dragon Studios,San Rafael, CA
Track 5 Keystone, Berkeley, CA, June 7, 1976
Tracks9, 10 Blue Bear Studio, San Francisco, CA, October 15, 1976
Track 13 Venue unknown, Berkeley, CA, September 2, 1976

*John Cipollina - Guitars, Solo Vocal, Backup Vocal
*Greg Douglass -  Guitar, Plectrum Guitar, Bottleneck Guitars
*Nicky Hopkins - Piano
*Jasper "Hutch" Hutchinson - Vocals
*Skip Olson - Bass, Backup Vocal
*David Weber - Drums
*Andrew Kirby - Drums Backup Vocal
*Dave Walker - Vocals

Related Acts
1967-68  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Lost Gold And Silver (double disc issue)
1968  Quicksilver Messenger Service (2012 audiophile mini LP replica)
1969  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Happy Trails (2012 Audiophile remaster)
1969  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Shady Grove (2012 Audiophile remaster)
1969  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Castles In The Sand
1970  Q. M. S. - Just For Love  (2012 audiophile mini Lp replica)  
1970  Q. M. S. - What About Me (2012 audiophile mini LP replica)
1971  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Quicksliver (2012 Audiophile Vinyl replica)
1972  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Comin` Thru (2012 Audiopfile mini LP replica)  
1975  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Solid Silver
1973  Copperhead - Copperhead (2001 reissue)
1972  Terry Dolan - Terry Dolan (2016 remaster and expanded)
1975  Man With John Cipollina - Maximum Darkness (2008 remaster) 

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Sunday, June 28, 2020

Chaplin Harness - Chaplin Harness II (1969 us, jazz funk jam rock, 2010 release)

Chaplin Harness was a great unknown band. This is their second studio effort, recorded in late 1969. Personnel changes included the addition of John Tiberi and Greg Hayes on Keyboards, Phil Argentina on bass, and Geri Mingori on vocals.

Off the master tapes. The follow-up LP to their self-titled album in 1969, recorded at Mod Sound Studios. Featuring the beautiful female vocals of Geri Mingori. More great late '60s psychedelic music with distorted guitars and heavy organ.

1. Magic Is Everywhere (Raymond Bozarth, Joseph Mingori, Edward Monroe, William Vespe, Nicholas Fanelli) - 4:52
2. Old Man (Raymond Bozarth, Joseph Mingori, Edward Monroe, William Vespe, Nicholas Fanelli) - 2:53
3. Tears (Raymond Bozarth, Joseph Mingori, Edward Monroe, William Vespe, Nicholas Fanelli) - 2:13
4. In My Dream (Geri Mingori, Edward Monroe) - 5:07
5. Jack (Joseph Mingori, Edward Monroe, William Vespe, Nicholas Fanelli, John Tiberi, Phil Argentina) - 12:22
6. Dit Dewey Man (Raymond Bozarth, Rick lannacone) - 2:54
7. Baby I Know (Geri Mingori, Edward Monroe) - 4:06
8. Lay In My Bed (Raymond Bozarth, Joseph Mingori, Edward Monroe, William Vespe, Nicholas Fanelli) - 2:15
9. Time (Geri Mingori, Edward Monroe) - 2:40
10.Tears (Raymond Bozarth, Joseph Mingori, Edward Monroe, William Vespe, Nicholas Fanelli) - 1:56
11.Harness (Joseph Mingori, Edward Monroe, William Vespe, Nicholas Fanelli) - 1:14
12.George (William Vespe) - 0:45

Chaplin Harness
*Raymond Bozarth - Vocals
*Edward Monroe - Guitar
*William Vespe - Drums
*Joseph Mingori - Keyboards
*Nicholas Fanelli - Bass
*Rick lannaconne - Guitar
*Geri Mingori - Vocals
*Joe Mingori - Keyboards
*Phil Argentina - Bass
*John Tiberi - Keyboards
*Greg Hayes - Keyboards

1969  Chaplin Harness - Chaplin Harness (2009 issue)

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Friday, June 26, 2020

Chaplin Harness - Chaplin Harness (1969 us, groovy funky bluesy jam psych rock, 2009 issue)

My first memory of the Chaplin Harness legend was from about ten years ago. I had a collector friend from overseas ask me if it was possible to obtain a copy of the test pressing. Not aware of what it was, I was intrigued. He explained to me that it was a "local" band who had made a psychy, funky album in 1969 that was never released except in a few test pressings. Word spreads fast in the vinyl collector world! I checked with a few friends and they had heard of it but no one had a copy. 

Time passed and I forgot about it until two years ago when another friend Dan told me about the band and sent me a CD. On my first listen, I knew I had to release this on the Void label. I loved the LP! It was psychy, funky, bluesy, and even a bit progressive as well. Dan also put me in touch with the main man in the band, Philly jazz legend Rick lannaconne. Rick has played all over the world with some of the legends of the genre. While he was with Chaplin Harness in the late 60's, the band played frequently with all of Todd Rundgren's Philly area bands- Woody's Truckstop, The Nazz as well as opening for many big bands as they passed through town.

Musically, the album has a wide range of delights to offer. I have to say that I love Ray Bozarth's vocals, bluesy and powerful. Sadly, Ray left this world about 30 years ago. The big song on the album “Dit Dewey Man”, also released as a 45, has a great funky feel to it. The band had a gift for the hook and the riff for sure. Another killer is "Walk On Mister" which the listener can easily picture the Free performing. Then the bouncy "High On A Happy" with an infectious melody that you find yourself humming hours later. "3/4 Plaything" is a progressive freak jazz jam and "Sure Am Sorry" is a moody drug related (?) classic as well. Many other cuts are here; you choose your own classic upon listening.

I wish to thank Dan Balcer for his help, as well as Rick lannaconne and the rest of the band. Also on a personal note my daughter Jenn designed the cover art, way to go Jen! Put the album on, turn up the volume, sit back and get "High On A Happy"
by Brian Hulitt, 2009

1. Chances (Raymond Bozarth, Edward Monroe, Nicholas Fanelli, Joseph Mingori, William Vespe) - 4:02
2. Dit Dewey Man (Raymond Bozarth, Rick lannaconne) - 8:46
3. Without You (Raymond Bozarth, Joseph Mingori) - 3:37
4. Stitch (Nicholas Fanelli, Joseph Mingori, William Vespe) - 4:08
5. Walk On Mister (Raymond Bozarth, Rick lannaconne) - 3:15
6. 3/4 Plaything (Edward Monroe, Nicholas Fanelli, Joseph Mingori, William Vespe) - 11:09
7. High On A Happy (Daniel Interrante, Rick lannaconne) - 3:01
8. Sheila (Nicholas Fanelli) - 3:13
9. Peat Moss (Edward Monroe, Nicholas Fanelli, Rick lannaconne, Joseph Mingori, William Vespe) - 2:18
10.Sure Am Sorry (Raymond Bozarth, Edward Monroe, Joseph Mingori, William Vespe) - 3:03

Chaplin Harness
*Raymond Bozarth - Vocals
*Edward Monroe - Guitar
*William Vespe - Drums
*Joseph Mingori - Keyboards
*Nicholas Fanelli - Bass
*Rick lannaconne - Guitar
*Geri Mingori - Vocals
*Joe Mingori - Keyboards
*Phil Argentina - Bass
*John Tiberi - Keyboards
*Greg Hayes - Keyboards

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Monday, June 22, 2020

Mad Timothy - A Very Snug Joiner (1969 us, rough bluesy psych rock, 2019 issue)

First ever release for this previously unknown late ‘60s/ early ‘70s acetate, rescued from a thrift store in Chicago. Damaged heavy blooz-psych in the vein of Blue Cheer, Majic Ship, Mount Rushmore, Houston Fearless, Apryl Fool, Sweet Slag, Mutzie, Aum, Screw, or a wasted teenage Canned Heat.

In these digital and interconnected times, it’s very rare to find an album from the 60s-70s which hasn’t been documented or “discovered” yet. That’s the case with a mysterious demo LP titled “A Very Snug Joiner” by a band called Mad Timothy. In words of Steve Krakow (of Plastic Crimewave / Galactic Zoo): “A friend of mine found this no-jacket LP at a thrift shop, and there is ZERO information on them--no one knows anything and I've spoken to many collectors. Very cool sludgy Blue Cheer/Majic Ship/Mount Rushmore kind of vibe--with a few folkier tracks---it’s all pretty charmingly primitive-- I think people would want to hear this!”

Even knowing that our efforts to track down the band were fruitless, we thought that this rarity deserved to be shared with the world, so we at Out-Sider / Guerssen in collaboration with Steve’s Galactic Archive imprint, are doing a vinyl edition of the Mad Timothy demo album, hoping that any of the band members will see it and contact us…

*The audio has been lovingly restored for full thudding blastage, with new artwork by underground sculptor Robert Buchholz and Plastic Crimewave (Galactic Zoo Dossier). 

1. Strong Enough - 4:39
2. Drain Pipe - 3:58
3. Masters Of War (Bob Dylan) - 5:23
4. Find My Place - 2:54
5. Snug Joiner - 3:03
6. Running - 3:59
7. J.P. - 4:17
8. You Will Die If You Go Away - 4:02
9. King Bee (Slim Harpo) - 8:08

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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Yardbirds - For Your Love (1965 uk, trailblazer rock 'n roll rhythm and blues, japan 2018 mono edition)

The album commences with its title song, which was at once the first real hit for the band as well as the single song which made Clapton decide to depart. “For Your Love” was presented to the band by publisher Ronnie Beck and everyone in the group, aside from Clapton, loved it. Written by then 19-year-old Graham Gouldman, the song contains a distinct harpsichord by session man Brian Auger and is overall a strong departure from the blues-rock style of most of the other material on the band. Still, it was melodic and catchy and peaked in the Top 10 on the pop charts of both the UK and US. Clapton played the sessions for this song and then immediately left the group.

When Clapton departed, Gomelsky asked Jimmy Page, then the top session man in London, to join the group. However, Page was busy and happy with his session work and suggested Beck, who was sort of an understudy, for the position which Page would ultimately fill himself a few years later. Beck immediately makes an impact on “I’m Not Talking”, with its  heavy rock, crunchy riffs and rudiments along with great rhythmic elements by bassist Paul Samwell-Smith and drummer Jim McCarty. “Putty (In Your Hands)” contains a cool 60s groove while the bridge has some jazz elements, while Calvin Carter’s blues classic, “I Ain’t Got You”, features the fine harmonica playing by Relf for the first time on the album.

“Got to Hurry” is the first real original composition as an instrumental credited to Gomelsky (as “Oscar Rasputin”), but really a jam composed by the group. Rhythmically, this instrumental has surf music elements while it also acts as a showcase for Clapton’s bluesy leads. “I Ain’t Done Wrong” is a driving rocker with blues vocals by Relf and some great rudimental riffs thrown in for fun, while “I Wish You Would” is another blues standard with consistent, upbeat guitar rhythm by Dreja and Relf adding harmonica between every line during the verses. This side two opener also has a bridge section which builds towards a frenzied crescendo and was released as a single in August 1964. Although “A Certain Girl” was just the ‘B-side’ for the previous track, but is the first real shot at pop with a bright sound, strong melody, call and response vocals, and a blistering pop lead by Clapton which sounds like a souped-up Byrds lead.

The Yardbirds sound like a whole different band on “Sweet Music”, a song produced by Manfred Mann who also brought in some outside session players and vocals. The track is interesting because of the players involved, but really out of place on this album. In contrast, “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” is pure fifties-style pop style with harmonized vocals, Relf’s fine harmonica, and an outstanding, bluesy lead by Clapton. The song was originally composed and recorded by Williamson nearly three decades earlier. “My Girl Sloopy” is an interesting album closer as a fun rendition of a song which had not yet been made famous as “Hang On Sloopy” by The McCoys. The vocals here are odd but entertaining, especially the exaggerated high pitched harmonies and this extended track adds some Beatles elements.

While For Your Love barely broke the Top 100 on the album charts, it set The Yardbirds up for their first American tour, where Beck began to forge his own sound as well as help direct the group’s evolving sound through the mid sixties.

1. For Your Love (Graham Gouldman) - 2:33
2. I'm Not Talking (Mose Allison) - 2:35
3. Putty (In Your Hands) (Kay Rogers, John Patton) - 2:21
4. I Ain't Got You (Calvin Carter) - 2:03
5. Got To Hurry (Giorgio Gomelsky) - 2:36
6. I Ain't Done Wrong (Keith Relf) - 3:42
7. I Wish You Would (Billy Boy Arnold) - 2:22
8. A Certain Girl (Allen Toussaint) - 2:21
9. Sweet Music (Major Lance, Otis Leavill Cobb, Walter Bowie) - 2:33
10.Good Morning Little Schoolgirls (H.G. Demarais) - 2:49
11.My Girl Sloopy (Bert Russell, Wes Farrell) - 5:41
12.Steeled Blues (Keith Relf, Jeff Beck) - 2:38

The Yardbirds
*Keith Relf - Lead Vocals, Harmonica, Acoustic Guitar
*Eric Clapton - Lead Guitar
*Jeff Beck - Lead Guitar (Tracks 2, 4, 11, 12)
*Chris Dreja - Rhythm Guitar, Lead Guitar
*Paul Samwell-Smith - Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Jim McCarty - Drums, Backing Vocals
*Giorgio Gomelsky - Backing Vocal
*Brian Auger - Harpsichord
*Denny Pierce - Bongos
*Ron Prentice - Bass
*Manfred Mann - Keyboard, Backing Vocals
*Paul Jones - Backing Vocals
*Mike Hugg - Vibes
*Tom McGuinness - Guitar
*Mike Vickers - Guitar
*Unknown- Sitar
*Unknown- Tabla

1963-68  The Yardbirds - Glimpses (five disc box set, 2011 release)
1964  The Yardbirds - Five Live Yardbirds (2007 Repertoire digi pack with extra tracks)
1965-68  The Yardbirds - Live At The BBC (2016 double disc remaster)  
1968  The Yardbirds - Live Yardbirds! (2008 edition)
Related Acts
1969  Renaissance - Renaissance (2008 remaster)
1970  Renaissance - Illusion (2010 bonus tracks remaster)
1977  Illusion - Out Of The Mist (2011 remaster)
1978  Illusion – Illusion (2011 remaster) 

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Friday, June 12, 2020

Gary Farr - Strange Fruit (1971 uk, magnificent blend of folk blues acoustic and classic rock, 2008 remaster with bonus track)

Gary Farr has one of the most distinctive r'n'b inflected voices of the early seventies British singer-songwriter. His second and finest solo album - 1970's Strange Fruit is an unjustly neglected gem amongst the many albums from that era and genre, A popular live performer in the mid-6G's clubs of centra! London, Farr had an enviable reputation as the leader of the T-Bones, by 1963 he had decided on a soio career founded upon his richly moody original Songs.

Gary Farr was the son of the former British Heavyweight Boxing champion Tommy Farr – the Tonypandy Terror - who in 1937 memorably completed 15 rounds with World Champion Joe Louis. After retiring from the ring Tommy settled his family on the Sussex coast. It was here the Gary began playing folk and blues music in pubs and clubs around the Worthing and Brighton area. In 1963 at the height of the "Beat Boom" he formed the fabulous T-Bones. The group was continually changing line-up, including short stints from keyboardist Keith Emerson and bassist Lee Jackson, both later to form the Nice. The band was a live sensation, securing a weekly residency at London's prestigious Marquee Club and replacing the Yardbirds as the resident band at London's Crawdaddy Club. The contemporary Fabulous magazine breathlessly reported - "Down at the Marquee Club in London's Wardour Street, there are long, long queues every Friday to see five swingers called The T-Bones."

A talented and popular live band, Gary Farr and the T-Bones released three singles and an EP (Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem T-Bones) on the Columbia label in 1964 and 1965. Their powerful, rhythm 'n' blues repertoire didn't translate too successfully to vinyl, never making the music charts. The band undoubtedly got their biggest exposure when their performance of "Wooly Bully" at the Richmond Jazz & Blues Festival in August 1965 appeared on American television's 'Shindig Goes to London'. Farr and the T-Bones are seen playing between slots by the much more celebrated Animals, Moody Blues, George Fame, and Steampacket (featuring future stars Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger, Long John Baldry, and Rod Stewart). The T-Bones struggled on for a further year before disbanding in late 1966.

Returning to solo gigs, Farr re embraced his folk roots, though the man who ran the Crawdaddy, Giorgio Gomelsky - who'd also managed the Yardbirds in their first few years - continued to be involved in the singer's career. An obscure 1967 bootleg recorded live in Sweden by the Gomelsky managed psychedelic band Blossom Toes, also features a solo acoustic Farr performing a couple of tunes, including a cover of Tim Hardin's "Hang on to a Dream". He briefly worked with Blossom Toes drummer Kevin Westlake, the pair issuing a single "Everyday" / "Green" in May 1968, before Farr released his 1969 solo debut Take Something With You also on Gomelsky's Marmalade label. The album was heavily influenced by contemporary folk and progressive rock especially recent recordings by Tim Buckley and Tim Hardin; sometimes having a memorable pastoral rock-jazz-folk feel a la Traffic. Curiously the album sits comfortably alongside label mate Gordon Jackson's Thinking Back (which boasted Traffic among the supporting players). 

Turning in commendable performances on Farr's LP are members of two of the most inventive bands on the head circuit at that time - Blossom Toes and Mighty Baby (one of the great lost British psychedelic ensembles) had formed in 1968 from the ashes of The Action - a bunch of Tamla Motown influenced mods. They released two sought after albums, Mighty Baby – which appeared on the short-lived Head label in December 1969, (but had been recorded a year earlier) and A Jug Of Love (released on Blue Horizon in October 1971). The band were known for their ambitious improvised live sets and were in demand as session musicians, appearing on albums from Andy Roberts (Home Grown), Sandy Denny (The North Star Grassman ft The Ravens), Keith Christmas (Stimulus and Fable of The Wings), Shelagh McDonald (Stargazer) and Robin Scott (Woman From The Warm Grass) among many. Between their two albums, members of the band became Sufi Muslims. Keyboardist Ian Whiteman would appear on Richard & Linda Thompson's beautiful Sufi influenced Pour Down Like Silver, and with Roger Powell and Mike Evans would form the Thompson's backing band during a legendary 1977 tour of Britain. 

Completing a circle in your humble correspondents brain - these three Mighty Baby stalwarts - Whiteman, Powell and Evans would also appear on Gary Farr's next album, 1970's Strange Fruit, which also includes Fairport Convention's Richard Thompson on lead guitar. Richard Thompson is arguably Britain's finest electric guitarist. A founder member of Fairport Convention - the band credited with inventing the British version of folk-rock. Their 1969 masterwork Liege and Lief has long been regarded as a milestone recording, defining British rock in the same way that Music From Big Pink was to define North American rock with traditional roots. It was this album that finally revealed the extent of Richard's talent as a songwriter – writing contemporary songs whilst drawing upon deep traditional modes. Throughout the early 70's Thompson was called upon to add his distinctive guitar to a bewildering number of recordings. Farr's Strange Fruit was one of his first studio sessions outside the Fairport / Witch season orbit and probably marks the first time he met the Mighty Baby rhythm section.

After the demise of Marmalade, Farr secured a new contract with CBS records. Work soon began on recording his second album. In his brief sleeve note, brother Ricky Farr reveals the high hopes that they had for the project. Ricky was the erstwhile manager of the Action and one of the promoters of the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. This familial connection no doubt explains the presence of the three Mighty Baby's on the sessions and Gary's appearance at both the 1969 and 1970 Isle of Wight Festivals. Strange Fruit is notable for the contributions of several other young turks on the London music scene. The LP was produced by Fritz Fryer, a former member of the Four Pennies, who in 1970 was just beginning his career as a record producer. He would go on to establish the well-known Rockfield Studios in Monmouth producing acts as diverse as Stackridge, Skin Alley, Motorhead, Nucleus, Horslips and in 1973 Prelude's hit reading of Neil Young's "After The Goldrush". 

String arrangements were written by a 21 year old Mike Batt, soon to achieve chart fame as a Womble. Sleeve photographer Eric Hayes from Canada was briefly in London working as house photographer for the London edition of Rolling Stone. He took the memorable photos of Fairport Convention rehearsing Liege ft Lief at Farley Chamberlyne. Strange Fruit is a compelling early example of a pastoral roots rock, there's an attractive melancholy atmosphere to many of Farr's performances. He's at his best when the compositions and arrangements are the folkiest - slightly recalling American songwriters Tim Buckley and Tim Hardin. Listening again, all these years later, one is left with the feeling that the album has been somewhat unjustly overlooked. Perhaps if he had spent longer with one record company the story would be different. Gary's final recording was the 1973 Jerry Wexler produced Addressed To The Censors Of Love (Atco), recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound in Alabama, using respected session men such as guitarists Jimmy Johnson and Pete Carr, keyboardist Barry Beckett, bassist David Hood, and drummer Roger Hawkins. Despite a slightly more soul-rock focus this album also failed to find favour with a larger audience. In only ten years of recording Gary Farr had navigated a fascinating journey through r'n'b, folk, blues and soul, essaying a fine body of "really valid songs for today". Sadly Gary Farr died in Los Angeles in August 1994.
by David Suff, November 2007

1. In The Mud - 3:41
2. Old Man Boulder - 4:49
3. Strange Fruit (Lewis Allen) - 4:55
4. Margie - 4:13
5. Revolution Of The Season - 4:59
6. About This Time Of Year - 4:48
7. Down Among The Dead Men - 4:42
8. Proverbs Of Heaven And Hell - 3:31
9. Old Man Moses - 3:13
10.Sweet Angelina - 4:46
11.Revolution Of The Season - 3:44
Music and Lyrics by Gary Farr except where noted

*Gary Farr - Six, Twelve String Guitars, Harmonicas, Vocals
*Roger Powell - Drums
*Richard Thompson - Lead Guitar
*Ian Whiteman - Piano, Flute
*Mike Batt - String Arrangements

1969  Gary Farr - Take Something With You (2008 double disc issue) 
1972  Gary Farr - Addressed To The Censors Of Love (2006 remaster) 
Related Act
1969  Migty Baby - Mighty Baby (bonus tracks edition) 
1970  Mighty Baby - Live In The Attic 
1971  Mighty Baby - Tasting the Life (2009 issue) 
1971  Mighty Baby - A Jug Of Love 

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Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Trapeze - You Are The Music We're Just The Band (1972 uk, exceptional hard bluesy jazz funky rock, 2003 remaster)

Trapeze has long been underrated in hard rock and metal circles, as along with bands like UFO, Thin Lizzy, Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple, helped define European heavy metal and shape "riff" rock of the 80's. Comprised of Glenn Hughes on vocals, bass, and keyboards, Mel Galley (later of Whitesnake) on guitar, and Dave Holland (later of Judas Priest) on drums, the band was a bona fide supergroup, but only recorded a few albums together before Hughes left to replace Roger Glover in Deep Purple in 1973, shortly after the tour for this album.

Songs like "Keepin' Time" and "Way Back to the Bone" contain huge guitar riffs from Galley, while Hughes and Holland lay down some funky rhythms. In fact, listening to some of these songs it is apparent who really came up with those chunky riffs on the Whitesnake album Slide it In. "Coast to Coast" is Hughes' signature melodic rocker, and the singer also shines on the earthy "What is a Woman's Role", a tune that features some neat electric piano and big rock guitar riffs. The band walks into Humble Pie or Bad Company arena rock territory on the funky blues rocker "Feelin' So Much Better Now", with Hughes' Steve Marriott inspired screeching leading the way over Galley's crushing power chords. 

Atmospheric sax and liquid electric piano give the crooning "Will Our Love End" a jazzy quality, while "Loser" is a heavy, funkified affair that sounds like it could have come off a Grand Funk Railroad album from the same time period. Galley's guitar solos are just plain dirty and nasty here, as he shows what an unknown talent he really was. The title track is a busy funky romp, littered with Hughes' intricate bass work and Galley's meaty riffs. A great ending to a landmark album.

Those new to Trapeze would be doing themselves justice by starting off here or with Medusa, another excellent release from this same line-up. Only then will you begin to realize just what all the fuss is about. 
by Pete Pardo, November 5th 2003

1. Keepin Time (Mel Galley, Tom Galley) - 3:42
2. Coast To Coast (Glenn Hughes) - 3:57
3. What Is A Woman's Role (Glenn Hughes) - 5:39
4. Way Back To The Bone (Glenn Hughes) - 5:25
5. Feelin So Much Better (Glenn Hughes) - 3:36
6. Will Our Love End (Glenn Hughes) - 5:04
7. Loser (Mel Galley, Tom Galley) - 4:38
8. You Are The Music, We're Just The Band (Mel Galley, Tom Galley) - 5:13

*Glenn Hughes - Bass, Piano, Vocals
*Mel Galley - Guitar
*Dave Holland - Drums, Percussion
*B. J. Cole - Steel Guitar
*Rod Argent - Electric Piano
*Kirk Duncan - Electric Piano
*John Ogden - Percussion
*Frank Ricotti - Vibraphone
*Jimmy Hastings - Alto Saxophone

1970  Trapeze - Trapeze (2004 remaster with bonus tracks) 
1970  Trapeze - Medusa (2008 remaster)
1974  Trapeze - Hot Wire (2015 remaster)
1975  Trapeze - Trapeze (2015 remaster)
1975  Trapeze - Live At The Boat Club

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Sunday, June 7, 2020

The Frost - Live At The Grande Ballroom! (1969 us, powerful detroit hard blues rock, 2019 edition)

Designed in 1928 by Charles N. Agree for dance hall entrepreneurs Edward J. Strata and his partner Edward J. Davis, the Grande started off as a place Detroiters would go to dance and listen to jazz and big band sounds, but it would later achieve immortal status in the annals of music history as a rock venue. It is arguably the birthplace of punk and hard-driving rock, where bands like The MC5 and The Stooges cut their chops and became legends.

The building was designed in the Moorish Deco style and contained storefront space on the first floor and on the second a ballroom with Moorish arches featuring a floor on springs that gave dancers the feeling of floating. The dance floor held 1,500 dancers and was one of the largest in the city. Its ground floor had several retail tenants, such as W.T. Grant Department Stores, Beverly's and a drugstore. The neighborhood was a predominately Jewish enclave in the 1930s and '40s.

By 1961, the Grande was the only venue in the city with any semblance of what ballroom dancing used to be.

The ballroom did not serve liquor, "nor do we allow persons who have been drinking on the premises. This is not a pickup place," she told the News. "We do not emphasize the type of dancing or create the kind of atmosphere that appeals to troublemakers." 

Russ Gibb, a social studies teacher at Maples Junior High School in Dearborn was a popular local radio DJ at the time. Gibb took a trip out to San Francisco to visit a friend in early 1966 and paid a visit to the storied Fillmore Auditorium and saw The Byrds. When he returned to Detroit, he set out to bring Bill Graham's Fillmore to the Motor City. He scouted out several locations, including the then-closed, since-demolished Gayety Burlesque theater on Cadillac Square downtown and the ballroom of the Statler Hotel on Grand Circus Park, which also has been razed. He settled on the Grande, which was near the neighborhood he grew up in back in the 1940s and entered a rent-to-buy deal with the Kleinman family. 

The Grande opened the evening of Oct. 7, 1966, to a crowd of about 60 people turning out to see the Chosen Few and The MC5. Before long, the rock music and the counter-culture environment started luring kids from the suburbs eager to shed the ties and ditch the Brylcreem. The Grande became "the embassy for the suburban youth, whose parents had spirited them out of Detroit forever," Sinclair said. "They kind of thought the shopping malls were kind of lame, you know? They wanted to do something more interesting, so they started coming into the city. … Just as their parents feared, it rubbed off."

It featured one of the largest strobe lights ever built at the time. While Gibb, who was paying about $700 a month in rent, started off booking local acts like the MC5, Stooges, SRC, The Frost and the Rationals, in 1967, he started bringing in famous touring rock acts, the first being Vanilla Fudge on Dec. 15. Other rock legends soon followed, pummeling the sweaty crowds in temperatures that sometime reached 100 degrees: Led Zeppelin, John Lee Hooker, the Yardbirds, Cream, Pink Floyd, Canned Heat, the Jeff Beck Group, The Byrds, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Chuck Berry, Howlin' Wolf, the Velvet Underground, Canned Heat, the Steve Miller Band, Country Joe and the Fish, Blue Cheer, Tim Buckley and more all played the Grande. 

The Grande's final show came on New Year's Eve 1972. Gibb had started booking shows at bigger venues, including the Michigan Palace (formerly the Michigan Theatre), and in other cities across the Midwest. "A big frustration for me was the New York and Hollywood agents," Gibb said. "If I wanted to have The Doors play, I had to take two or three of their bands, too. I wanted to put local bands on the bill. The greed was incredible. Plus, people were always thinking we were dopers and the cops were giving us a hard time. …
by Dan Austin

Frost was a late 60's band from Alpena, Michigan. They were led by legendary guitarist, Dick Wagner, who went on to play with, Lou Reed, Alice Cooper, David Bowie, Kiss and Ursa Major in the 1970s. The rest of the band consisted of Gordy Garris (bass guitar), Bob Rigg (drums), and Don Hartman (rhythm guitar). 'Live At The Grande Ballroom' was originally recorded in 1969, from various appearances, a litle bit different tracklist from their other live album "Rock and Roll Music".

1. Opening Announcement - 0:14
2. Rock And Roll Music - 3:10
3. Sweet Lady Love - 4:22
4. Baby Once You Got It (Bob Rigg, Don Hartman, Gordy Garris) - 5:26
5. Donny's Blues (Don Hartman) - 7:49
6. Black As Night - 3:59
7. 1500 Miles (Through The Eye Of A Beatle) (Don Hartman) - 2:57
8. Take My Hand-Mystery Man (Dick Wagner, Don Hartman) - 10:10
9. Black Train - 3:56
10.We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil) - 16:50
All songs by Dick Wagner except where noted

The Frost
*Dick Wagner - Lead. Guitar, Vocals
*Donny Hartman - Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica
*Gordy Garris - Bass, Vocals
*Bobby Rigg - Drums, Vocals

1969  The Frost - Frost Music
1969  The Frost - Rock and Roll Music
1970  The Frost - Through The Eyes Of Love (2019 reissue)

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Friday, June 5, 2020

The Frost - Through The Eyes Of Love (1970 us, superb detroit rock 'n' roll, 2019 reissue)

Frost’s final and, in Dick Wagner’s opinion, best album, “Through The Eyes Of Love”, was released in 1970. The album contained seven great songs including two, Wagner’s “Black As Night” and Donny Hartman’s “Fifteen Hundred Miles (Through The Eye Of A Beatle)”, that had been originally recorded at the Grande Ballroom but left off of “Rock and Roll Music”. Despite the overall quality of “Through The Eyes Of Love”, the Frost again fell victim to Vanguard’s lack of support and the album sold poorly.

Wagner related in an interview in 2003 that when the Frost went out to San Francisco to open for B.B. King at the Fillmore West in support of their new album, the crowds loved them but everywhere they went their records were nowhere to be found. Vanguard had sent no representatives to support them, so without vital label promotion no one in the cities they were playing in knew anything about the Frost. Band members felt that their record label had let them down and that they were basically on their own. This in turn resulted in resentment and a loss of group morale.

According to Wagner, the end came when drummer Bobby Riggs became upset that the band wasn’t getting the adulation on the road that it routinely received in Michigan. At the start of a tour of Canada, Riggs decided he no longer wanted to continue, and he left the rest of the group in Toronto and flew home. Wagner had to cancel the remaining shows, and that signaled the demise of the original Frost. Hartman and Riggs later tried to rekindle the Frost in 1971 and 1972 with new bassist Rick Bozzo and keyboardist Robin Robbins, but without Wagner and Garris, the band was only a pale shadow of its former self.

After the Frost break-up, Dick Wagner traveled to New York where his manager pitched him the idea of joining a band he was putting together called Ursa Major.

Originally, Billy Joel was to be the keyboardist in the trio. Joel at that time, however, was undergoing some severe emotional problems and had to drop out of the project. Wagner recruited bassist and keyboardist Greg Arama from Michigan’s Amboy Dukes to fill the void. Dick Wagner then took over leadership in the band and wrote all seven songs for the band’s self-titled debut album, “Ursa Major”, produced by Bob Ezrin.

Although the album received positive reviews and Ursa Major toured as an opening act for both Alice Cooper and Beck, Bogart & Appice, the album didn’t sell and the band dissolved. Wagner was then called by producer Bob Ezrin to play guitar on some Alice Cooper sessions. Dick played uncredited on the “School’s Out”, “Billion Dollar Babies” and “Muscle Of Love” albums and established a close friendship with Alice.

The connection with producer Ezrin led to Wagner’s next gig, playing guitar on Lou Reed’s “Berlin” album. Dick and fellow Michigander Steve Hunter, who also played on “Berlin”, then joined Reed’s touring band. This resulted in 1974’s highly acclaimed “Rock ‘N’ Roll Animal” live album on which the twin guitars of Wagner and Hunter overshadowed Lou Reed’s performance.

After the break-up of the original Alice Cooper band, Cooper decided to go solo and Wagner was brought in to help Alice write a ‘concept’ album. The two went to Nassau in the Bahamas and eventually came up with ideas and songs for the “Welcome To My Nightmare” album. Wagner and Cooper settled into a songwriting partnership in which Dick would compose the music and Alice would come up with the lyrics. The album’s big hit single was a ballad called “Only Women Bleed”. Cooper changed the words to a song Dick had written back in 1968 called “I’m Moving On”. Released as “Only Women”, the single was a huge hit and it helped propel the ‘Welcome To My Nightmare Tour’ into one of the biggest and most successful rock productions of the 1970’s. The tour’s elaborate stage show, which featured both Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter on guitars, set the standard for Rock and Roll theatrics.

The songwriting partnership between Cooper and Wagner flourished for the next few albums before Alice’s alcoholism got the best of him. The pair collaborated on three more hit big singles in the late 70’s, “I Never Cry”, “You And Me”, and “How You Gonna See Me Now”, before Cooper was institutionalized for his drinking problems.

Since that time, Dick has done some solo projects, wrote hit material for Air Supply, worked off and on with Alice Cooper, and joined John Bradshaw in the Remember The Child project. He returned to Saginaw in the 1990’s and opened his own recording studio. While in Saginaw, Wagner performed his Remember The Child music with John Bradhaw, the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra, and a gospel choir during a memorable outdoor concert on the Campus of Saginaw Valley State University.

Donny Hartman lives in Northern Michigan and performs and records with the Donny Hartman Band. Bobby Riggs has played with Wagner and Hartman in several Frost reunions, and he recorded the CD single, “This Band Can Rock And Roll Forever/In The Middle Of The Night” with them in 1999 as part of the Frost 30th Anniversary Tour. After the Frost, Gordy Garris played in Whipeye and then in the Gordy Garris Band. He continues to be involved in music as a songwriter, but he has not participated in the Frost reunions.

In 2005, Dick Wagner closed his Saginaw recording studio and moved permanently to Phoenix, Arizona. In 2007, he suffered a major heart attack. Happily, Dick is on the road to recovery, and he is playing guitar again and producing a new artist called Wensday for his independent label Desert Dreams Records. Wagner has recently been working with his old guitar partner Steve Hunter, and there is a possibility that Dick and Alice Cooper may write together again in the near future.

Frost was voted into Michigan Rock and Roll Legends in 2008. "Mystery Man" was voted a Legendary Michigan Song in 2010.

1. Black As Night - 7:37
2. Fifteen Hundred Miles (Through The Eyes Of A Beatle) (Donny Hartman) - 3:39
3. Through The Eyes Of Love - God Helps Us Please - 6:16
4. Maybe Tomorrow - 2:53
5. It's So Hard - 4:51
6. A Long Way From Home - 3:53
7. Big Time Spender - 4:32
All songs by Dick Wagner except where stated

The Frost
*Dick Wagner - Lead. Guitar, Vocals
*Donny Hartman - Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica
*Gordy Garris - Bass, Vocals
*Bobby Rigg - Drums, Vocals

1969  The Frost - Frost Music
1969  The Frost - Rock and Roll Music

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Monday, June 1, 2020

Marian Segal And Jade - Fly On Strangewings The Anthology (1970-2013 uk, gorgeous ethereal folk psych, 2017 three disc box set)

Every autumn, when the nights start to get longer, the air begins to cool and all of the leaves start to change colors, I get an insatiable craving for folk music, but specifically English and psychedelic/acid folk and folk rock.

I’m not entirely sure why I prefer this particular sound at this time of year, but I think it has to do with these records often having a sort of chilly and rustic quality to them, which I immediately associate with the harvest, strolls through damp forests of yellow and orange under darkly overcast skies and vacant, leaf-strewn cemeteries. (A bit vague, I admit, but hopefully you know what I mean.)

The usual go-to albums that fit the bill for me include the likes of: First Utterance by Comus, The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter by The Incredible String Band, the first four or five Pentangle and Fairport Convention records and of course the enigmatic work of Vashti Bunyan and Nick Drake. However, there are several artists and albums that I revisit each autumn that have sadly gone a little under the radar but still deserve just as much praise as some of their better-known contemporaries.

To help share my love of these lesser-known folk albums and to celebrate the season (the best time of year, in my opinion) I’m going to review a personal favorite of mine once per week until late November. I want to go all through the fall and we all know that winter doesn’t officially start until around December 21st, but let’s face it, by Thanksgiving, we’re so buried in Christmas music, decorations and much colder weather, it really doesn’t feel like autumn anymore.

Seeing that it’s still September, why not start with a band that recorded a track called “September Song”?

Fly On Strangewings by Jade (or ‘Marianne Segal and Silver Jade,’ as they were known in the US) is a unique yet successful hybridization of the traditional English folk rock style with the more polished American folk-pop sound. Imagine if Sandy Denny-era Strawbs recorded with the likes of Judy Collins or John Phillips.

Released in 1970, Fly on Strangewings is surprisingly accessible, even for its time, despite its eclectic instrumentation, which includes electric violin and generous amounts of harpsichord. The songs are all generally catchy and focus greatly on melody while mainly being constructed around piano and acoustic guitar parts, sounding similar to Unhalfbricking-era Fairport Convention.

The strongest moments of the album happen when the group leans the furthest into their English folk roots, like the galloping, Fotheringay-like “Mrs. Adams” and the dreamy, harvest imagery-laden opening track, “Amongst Anemones.” Another major highlight is the hazy, almost Jefferson Airplane-like “Reflections on a Harbour Wall,” with its phased, acidic electric guitar lines. These stand out moments also all share a sharp, driving rhythm, which makes sense, seeing that they all feature Pentangle’s Terry Cox behind the drum kit.

The one complaint that I have is that sometimes the orchestrations sound a little corny. Perhaps I’m spoiled by the superb Joe Boyd productions that came out around the same time, but I feel like the few songs on this record that feature orchestrations could have benefited from being arranged by the likes of Robert Kirby. That’s just my personal preference and I’m really nitpicking, because it really doesn’t detract that much from the album.

While this is the only record officially credited to Jade, some reissues feature bonus tracks made by Marianne Segal prior to and after Strangewings. The best of this other material include the previously mentioned “September Song” as well as an excellent cover of “Carolina in My Mind.” However, as of only a few weeks ago, a 3CD set called Fly on Strangewings: Anthology was released with tons of unreleased rehearsal and demo recordings as well as other songs by Segal as a solo artist as well as a duo with fellow Jade-member, Dave Waite. I have yet to hear this set since it just came out, but I imagine that it would be worth seeking out.
Talk about good timing! 

If I could give a copy of this album to every person that liked Fairport, Roy Harper or Marianne Faithfull, then I’d do it in a heartbeat.
by Keith Hadad, September 22, 2017

Disc 1
1. Amongst Anemones - 3:56
2. Raven - 2:37
3. Fly On Strangewings - 4:27
4. Mayfly - 3:35
5. Alan's Song - 3:20
6. Bad Magic - 3:21
7. Clippership - 2:49
8. Five Of Us - 4:08
9. Reflections On A Harbour Wall - 2:35
10.Mrs Adams - 3:30
11.Fly Me To The North - 3:24
12.Away From The Family - 4:51
13.Big Yellow Taxi (Master, 1971) (Joni Mitchell) - 3:35
14.Carolina In My Mind (Master, 1971) (James Taylor) - 4:06
15.Chicago Radio Spots (1971) - 2:06
16.Moses (Master, Circa 1971) - 3:00
17.Raven (Rehearsal, 1970) - 2:46
18.September Song (Rehearsal, 1970) - 3:32
19.How Can That Be Right (Demo, 1970) - 5:14
Music and Lyrics by Marian Segal except where noted
Tracks 1-12 origina LP 1970 "Fly On Strangewings "

Disc 2
1. Paper Flowers (Dave Waite) - 2:25
2. It's Really Quite Alright - 3:26
3. I Can't Love You More - 3:43
4. Safe In Your Castle - 2:46
5. Miranda In The Sun (Demo) - 2:45
6. Percy's Song (Bob Dylan) - 5:27
7. Just  Like Tom Thumb's Blues (Bob Dylan) - 4:13
8. Dawn Song - 2:35
9. Milkwood Dragon - 2:33
10.September Song - 2:02
11.All The Reasons - 3:38
12.Rainbow - 3:57
13.I Think It's Going To Rain Today (Randy Newman) - 2:21
14.Miranda (Demo) - 2:45
15.Released - 2:22
16.All The Good Times - 3:10
17.It's Really Quite Alright (Demo) - 3:29
18.I Can't Love You More (Demo) - 3:30
19.Country Meets Folk (Radio Introduction) - 0:38
20.Shine A Candle (Live) - 2:05
21.Circles (Live) - 2:32
22.The Hedgehog Song (Mike Heron) - 4:05
23.The Dove (Jacques Brel) - 4:37
24.Chelsea Morning (Joni Mitchell) - 1:58
25.Alan's Song (Demo) - 4:02
26.Paper Flowers (Demo) (Dave Waite) - 2:19
All songs by Marian Segal axcept where stated

Disc 3
1. Circle Round The Sun (Master, 1971) - 3:57
2. Middling Man (Master, 1971) - 4:11
3. Gold Dust And Dirt - Song For Leonard Cohen (Demo, 1973) - 4:26
4. Sit Yourself Down (Demo 1974) - 4:45
5. Lucky Seven (Demo 1974) - 3:52
6. Fly Me To The North (Live, 1975) - 3:32
7. Deal Out The Cards (Master, 1976) - 2:13
8. Miranda (Master, 1976) - 4:33
9. Peaceful Easy Feeling (Master, 1976) (Jack Tempchin) - 3:28
10.So Sure Tonight (Master, May 1979) - 3:32
11.Kiss Of The Buddha (Master, May 1979) - 3:45
12.Outside The Wall (Master, 1984)  (John B. Spencer, Graeme Taylor) - 4:57
13.Gypsy Girl (Master, 1990) - 3:34
14.This Life (Demo 1996) - 4:17
15.The Water Is Wide (Master, 2013) (Traditional) - 5:43
16.Better Side Of Me (Demo 1972) - 4:17
17.Topanga (Demo 1972) - 4:34
18.Swallow (Demo 1973) - 4:24
19.Bullseye On A Rainy Night (Demo 1974) - 4:00
All compositions by Marian Segal except where indiacated

*Marianne Segal - Vocals, Guitar
*Dave Waite - Vocals, Guitar
*Rod Edwards - Vocals, Piano
*John Wetton - Bass
*Clem Cattini - Drums
*Herbie Flowers - Bass
*Barry Morgan - Drums
*Phil Dennys - String, Brass Arrangements
*Dave Moses - Bass
*Brian Brocklehurst - Bass

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