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.


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