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.


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)