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.


Friday, April 30, 2021

Blues Magoos - Gulf Coast Bound (1970 us, magnificent jazz blues brass rock, 2020 korean remaster)

As original member Peppy Thielhelm and original producer Bob Wyld expanded the Blues Magoos' foray into Latin music meets mainstream blues, these May 1970 recordings take the previous years' Never Going Back a step further. Gulf Coast Bound is an improvement, retaining John Liello's vibes and percussion and pianist Eric Justin Kas, who is the major songwriting contributor here (strangely enough, he is listed as "Kas" on the album jacket and "Kaz" on the songwriting credits). "Slow Down Sundown" could be the band Chicago vamping without their horn section, some strange imitation monkey-sound vocals making their way onto the platter mixed in with Daddy Ya Ya's out-of-place tambourine as the song fades.

Erik Kas does the lead vocal on the 12-minute-plus opus "Can't Get Enough of You," which sounds like a strange marriage between Steely Dan and Traffic. The problem here is that the band is a notch or two below Traffic and Steely Dan, and despite the general improvement over the last disc and their initial dip into this musical bag, there is no Walter Becker or Dave Mason or Steve Winwood here, or, for that matter, a song as strong as Malo's "Suavecito" or Steely Dan's "Do It Again," which resembles "Can't Get Enough of You." To be fair to this new Blues Magoos, they came two full years before Malo and Fagen/Becker would all hit in 1972, so this album can be viewed as pioneering work. 

It's too bad ABC records didn't keep releasing this musical journey. Liello's vibes add a marvelous touch, and if they were given a few more chances, maybe they could have found another hit single. The seven-minute 54-second instrumental "Magoos Blues" is lightweight John Barleycorn Must Die-era Traffic, and the new rhythm section of drummer Jim Payne and bassist Cooker Lopresti is nondescript enough to not get in the way. Of the pyschedelic/garage rock bands which changed over to another format -- the Electric Prunes, H.P. Lovecraft, etc. -- in what seemed like gambles to become "respectable," this is the best of the lot. Eric Kaz takes "Tonight the Sky's About to Cry" and it, like the rest of this album, would make for good FM radio filler in the middle of the night. "Sea Breeze Express" follows suit, competent and pleasant music, but nothing outstanding, and, unfortunately, nothing as breathtaking as the Electric Prunes' "Get Me to the World on Time" or the Blues Magoos' own "We Ain't Got Nothing Yet," and that is the bottom line. 
by Joe Viglione

1. Gulf Coast Bound (Eric Kaz, Peppy Thielheim) - 3:56
2. Slow Down Sundown (Eric Kaz, John Andreolli) - 6:14
3. Can't Get Enough Of You (Eric Kaz) - 12:26
4. Magoo's Blues (Pee Wee Ellis) - 7:58
5. Tonight The Sky's About To Cry (Eric Kaz, John Andreolli) - 4:18
6. Sea Breeze Express (Eric Kaz, Peppy Thielheim, Pee Wee Ellis, Richie Dickon, Jimmy Payne, John Liello, John Cooker LoPresti) - 4:19

The Blues Magoos
*Daddy Ya Ya - Percussion, Tambourine
*Richie Dickon - Congas, Percussion
*Pee Wee Ellis - Percussion, Saxophone
*Eric Justin Kaz - Harmonica, Keyboards, Vocals
*John Liello - Percussion, Vibraphone, Vocals 
*John Cooker LoPresti - Bass
*Jimmy Payne - Drums
*Peppy Thielheim - Guitar, Vocals 

1966  Psychedelic Lollipop (expanded issue)
1967  Electric Comic Book (expanded issue)
1968  Blues Magoos - Basic Blues Magoos (2004 expanded edition)
1969  Blues Magoos - Never Goin' Back To Georgia (Vinyl edition)

Monday, April 26, 2021

Leslie West - The Great Fatsby (1975 us, awesome classic rock, 2008 reissue)

Released on Foreigner manager Bud Prager's RCA imprint -- Phantom records, it is one of two albums released by Leslie West on that label in 1975, the other being titled simply The Leslie West Band. The Great Fatsby's album cover has the rock & roll guitarist in front of a mansion surrounded by babes à la the F. Scott Fitzgerald character. It opens with a nice and bluesy Paul Kelly tune, "Don't Burn Me," and for the post-Mountain work here, that direction works best. 

"The House of the Rising Sun" features a duet with Dana Valery and is an interesting read on the traditional tune made famous by the Animals. Mick Jagger plays some guitar on a tune credited to himself, Keith Richards, West, Corky Laing, and Sandra Palmer. "High Roller" is a second cousin to "Brown Sugar," and for Rolling Stones fans, it's a must have, a rare '70s co-write and collaboration with another artist. For Leslie West fans, the album is a departure from the Mountain onslaught and a treat.

"I'm Gonna Love You Thru the Night" has an elegant guitar riff and brings West back to the blues. Though it's an original from Corky Laing and his guitarist, the influence of the band Free is obvious. West does an admirable job on Andy Fraser's "Doctor Love" on side two, as well as the Free song "Little Bit of Love." Tim Hardin's "If I Were a Carpenter" is a total diversion for the hard rock guitar slinger, and it comes off very nicely. At five minutes and 20 seconds, "Carpenter" is the album's longest track. 

The instrumental "E.S.P." might be the strongest statement here (isn't that the name of label owner Bud Prager's management firm, E.S.P.?). With 12-string guitars and superb musicianship, it's the best of West on display. Gary Wright makes an appearance on this album on piano, and The Great Fatsby emerges as a unique look at an important rock & roll artist with some surprises tucked inside. 
by Joe Viglione

1. Don't Burn Me (Paul Kelly) - 3:06
2. House Of The Rising Sun (Traditional) - 4:54
3. High Roller (Corky Laing, Keith Richards, Leslie West, Mick Jagger, Sandra Palmer) - 4:14
4. I'm Gonna Love You Thru The Night (Corky Laing, Leslie West) - 2:41
5. E.S.P. (Leslie West) - 2:44
6. Honkey Tonk Women (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 3:15
7. If I Still Had You (Ira Stone, Maxine Stone, Leslie West) - 2:15
8. Doctor Love (Andy Fraser) - 2:56
9. If I Were A Carpenter (Tim Hardin) - 5:19
10.Little Bit Of Love (Andy Fraser, Paul Kossoff, Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke) - 2:18

*Leslie West - Guitars, Vocals, Bass
*Mick Jagger - Guitar
*Joel Tepp - Guitar, Woodwind
*Howie Wyeth - Piano, Mellotron
*Gary Wright - Piano
*Marty Simon - Piano
*Corky Laing - Drums
*Nick Farrentella - Drums
*Don Kretmar - Bass
*Ken Hinckle - Bass
*"Buffalo" Bill Gelber - Bass
*Frank Vicari - Horns, Woodwind
*Sredni Vollmer - Harmonica
*Dana Valery - Solo Vocal, Backing Vocals
*Jay Traynor - Backing Vocals

1975  The Leslie West Band - The Leslie West Band (2008 reissue)
Related Acts
1965-68  Vagrants - I Can't Make a Friend (2011 remaster)
1969-73  Mountain ‎- Setlist The Very Best Of Mountain Live (2011 release)
1970  Mountain - Climbing! (2013 blu spec edition) 
1974  Mountain - Twin Peaks (2005 digi pak remaster)

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Chad And Jeremy - Sing For You (1964-65 uk, delightful baroque folk rock, 2007 japan extra tracks remaster)

Generally relegated to footnote status, folk/rock duo (heavier on the folk) Chad & Jeremy nonetheless managed a certain level of influence among a group of navel-gazing sensitive types who couldn’t totally commit to either the Beatles or Stones camps. And yet they still managed to make something of a splash riding the crest of a wave that was the British Invasion. At a time when it seemed every artist was copping the sound of the Beatles and/or Stones, Chad & Jeremy remained (relatively) committed to their folk origins. The trouble with this was their particular brand of folk was slowly falling out of favor following the arrival of Bob Dylan.

As if an attempt to split the difference, they embraced an approximation of the British Invasion sound while still attempting to adhere to their folk roots. But it didn’t quite suit the soft folk within which they best operated, and their attempts at continued relevance beyond a few early singles (“Yesterday’s Gone” and the song for which they are perhaps best known, “A Summer Song”) sound forced. They only truly succeeded when sticking closest to their roots; any venture into mainstream pop tended to fall short, sounding like a feeble attempt to tap into a commercial market quickly losing interest in them

Yet throughout, they prove to be fine interpreters of contemporary folk and standards of the genre. They take on Ewan MacColl’s perennial folk classic “Dirty Old Town”, giving it a decidedly country bent. “No Tears for Johnny”, while sounding feather-light, possesses a lyrical profundity and anti-war stance that far surpasses anything Simon & Garfunkel and their ilk ever attempted. It is within these unexpected moments that the music of Chad & Jeremy rises above much of the filler that weighed down their studio albums and prevented them from finding the favor they perhaps deserved. And while they would eventually surrender to the times with their generally well-regarded psychedelic albums Of Cabbages & Kings and The Ark, these early recordings show the pair trying desperately to get their music heard

Unfortunately the music of Chad & Jeremy has been unfairly overlooked by all but the most ardent fans of ‘60s pop music. The duo stands as a fine reminder that the pop landscape wasn’t all Beatles, Stones, Dylan, and Motown.
by John Paul, 14 September 2016

1. Yesterday's Gone (David Stuart, Wendy Kidd) - 2:31
2. If She Was Mine (Bobby Goldsboro, Buddy Buie) - 2:02
3. Willow Weep For Me (Ann Ronell) - 2:35
4. No Tears For Johnny (Tom Springfield) - 2:17
5. The Truth Often Hurts The Heart (Clive Metcalfe, Keith Noble) - 2:51
6. If I Loved You (Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rodgers) - 2:18
7. September In The Rain (Harry Warren) - 2:31
8. Like I Love You Today (Chad Stuart) - 2:41
9. Donna Donna (Aaron Zeitlin, Sholom Secunda) - 3:00
10.A Summer Song (Chad Stuart, Clive Metcalfe, Keith Noble) - 2:39
11.Dirty Old Town (Ewan MacColl) - 3:08
12.From A Window (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 2:16
13.If I Had My Way (Traditional) - 2:22
14.The Morning (Traditional) - 2:22
15.Ain't That Just Like Me (Traditional) - 0:50
16.If I Had A Hammer (Lee Hays, Pete Seeger) - 2:13
17.Yesterday's Gone (David Stuart, Wendy Kidd) - 2:20
18.Stanley And Dora (Traditional) - 1:38
19.A Summer Song (Chad Stuart, Clive Metcalfe, Keith Noble) - 2:41
Tracks 13-18 Live recordings

*Jeremy Clyde - Vocals, Guitar
*Chad Stewart - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
*Russ Savakus - Bass
*Charles McCracken - Cello
*Lucien Schmit - Cello
*Gary Chester - Drums
*Al Caiola - Guitar 
*Willard Syuker - Guitar  
*George Devens - Percussion
*Al De Risi - Trumpet
*Irvin Markowitz - Trumpet
*Harold Coletta - Viola 
*Harry Zaratzian - Viola
*David Nadien - Violin 
*George Ockner - Violin  
*Harry Katzman - Violin 
*Leo Kruczek - Violin  
*Max Pollikoff - Violin  
*Paul Gershman - Violin  
*Paul Winter - Violin 

1967  Chad And Jeremy - Of Cabbages And Kings (2006 japan bonus tracks remaster) 
1968  Chad And Jeremy - Three In The Attic (2013 edition) 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

NRBQ - All Hopped Up (1977 us, outstanding jazzy roots 'n' roll bar rock, 2018 remaster and expanded)

The music on All Hopped Up covered a period of a few years, 1974-1976. The LP was released in the Spring of 1977 by Red Rooster Records. NRBQ has released several fine albums but this has to rank as one of their very best – a minor masterpiece. Released during the height of the new wave/punk era, it sounds like nothing else from the time.

In fact, none of these 13 songs sound alike. NRBQ cover an enormous amount of ground on this release, from rockabilly, country, folk rock, power pop, jazz, and more. Even more amazing that they make it work as well as they do. It’s pointless to list highlights as the album is strong all the way through but a few special tracks need to be singled out. Al Anderson’s Ridin’ In My Car is a timeless pop classic. It Feels Good and That’s Alright are excellent power pop tracks on par with the best from this era. Call Him Off Rogers is a weird, offbeat country rock number with a melodic guitar solo. Things to You, a Terry Adam’s original that would later resurface on NRBQ’s country outing with Skeeter Davis (a great record), is another outstanding track.

NRBQ never took themselves too serious and for this reason they are never ranked among the important bands of the classic rock era. But when one reviews their body of work and its consistency, you can definitely pose the argument for NRBQ being one of America’s great rock n roll/roots bands. 
by Jason Nardelli, May 12th, 2020

1. Ridin' In My Car (Al Anderson) - 2:55
2. It Feels Good (Terry Adams) - 2:36
3. Cecilia (Harry Ruby, Dave Dreyer) - 2:57
4. I Got A Rocket In My Pocket (Jimmy Logsdon, Vic McAlpin) - 2:40
5. Call Him Off, Rogers (Terry Adams) - 2:55
6. Doctor's Wind (Joey Spampinato) - 2:37
7. Things To You (Terry Adams) - 3:29
8. Help Me Somebody (Al Anderson) - 4:09
9. Still In School (Joey Spampinato) - 2:25
10.Honey Hush (Lou Willie Turner) - 4:30
11.Queen Talk (Terry Adams) - 2:09
12.Bonanza (Jay Livingston, Raymond Evans) - 0:43
13.That's Alright (Joey Spampinato) - 3:13
14.Chicken Hearted (Bill Justis) - 2:16
15.Do The Bump (Terry Adams) - 3:05
16.She's Got To Know (Joey Spampinato) - 2:23
17.Start It Over (Terry Adams) - 2:31
Bonus Tracks 14-17

*Joey Spampinato - Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals 
*Terry Adams - Clavinet, Harmonica, Keyboards, Hammond Organ, Piano, Trumpet, Vocals
*Tom Ardolino - Drums, Vocals
*Al Anderson - Guitar, Vocals
*Keith Spring - Bells, Tenor Saxophone
*Donn Adams - Trombone, Vocals, Percussion

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The Sorrows - Old Songs New Songs (1966-80 uk, awesome mod freakbeat bluesy psych rock, 2009 double disc remaster)

Long after Fardon split, however, some of the band grabbed a last chance (for an extended holiday, at least) and relocated to Italy in 1966 to try and cash in on an Anglophilic scene. During this footnote era, they did achieve some squealing success as a placebo live draw, and hung around for years playing Family and Traffic songs, plus numbers by the ex-pat rockers who made up a bewildering, revolving cast list (two relatively major players are remembered only as “Kit” and “Rod”). 

They recorded singles for a tiny Italian indie label and, eventually, an LP. Old Songs New Songs is rare, inevitably hailed as a legendary cult classic. This two-disc set contains a complete bonus demo album and various 45 sides, including the sole outstanding track Ypotron – feedbacking freakbeat recorded in ’66 for an Italian spy caper movie.
by Derek Hammond , 21 August 2009

The first-ever official reissue of this legendary Italian-only late sixties album! British freakbeat/garage R&B giants the Sorrows relocated to Italy in 1966, recording the album Old Songs New Songs a couple of years later for a small independent label based in Milan. Now extremely rare as an original pressing, the album has been shoddily bootlegged a couple of times, including a CD pressing that slowed down the recordings and also managed to chop off the final minute of the album's title track! 

This new, band-approved reissue features the fully restored album in sparkling sound quality and adds an extra 100 minutes of music, nearly all of which is previously unreleased. Among the highlights are the magnificent heavy psychedelia of the band's aborted early 1968 Pye single 'Which Way'/'My Way Of Thinking,' the theme song to the cult Italian spy caper Ypotron, a couple of movie collaborations with soundtrack maestro Ennio Morricone, and even an entire late 1968 demo album that, following the departure of two group members, was eventually scrapped and replaced by Old Songs New Songs!

Completed by a previously unheard live gig from 1980 that proved the Sorrows' savage garage band instincts were fully intact a decade later, this package features new, extremely detailed sleevenotes concerning their time in Italy, with fresh band quotes and some superb, previously unpublished photos. Forget what you may have read and heard elsewhere, this incredible 2CD package is the final word on the band's lengthy but previously little-documented Italian sojourn!" Includes 16-page booklet.

Disc 1
1. Same Old Room (Chuck Fryers) - 3:13
2. Hey Mr. Policeman (Charlie Whitney, Roger Chapman, Rick Grech) - 3:28
3. Heaven Is In Your Mind (Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood) - 4:03
4. Mary J (Chuck Fryers) - 2:12
5. Hey Hey (Chuck Fryers) - 2:51
6. The Makers (Chuck Fryers) - 6:24
7. Io Amo Te Per Lei (Which Way) (Bruce Finley, Chuck Fryers) - 2:56
8. Dear Mr. Fantasy (Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood, Chris Wood) - 5:01
9. Rollin' Over (Ronnie Lane, Steve Marriott) - 3:01
10.Per Una Donna...No! (Listen To Me) (Claudio Fontana, Tony Hazzard) - 2:47
11.6 Ft. 7½ Inch Shark Fishing Blues (Chuck Fryers) - 1:59
12.Old Songs New Songs (Charlie Whitney, Roger Chapman, Rick Grech) - 4:38
13.Per Una Donna...No! (Listen To Me) (Claudio Fontana, Tony Hazzard) - 2:40
14.Amore Limone (Each And Every Day) (Mike Hugg, Vito Pallavicini) - 2:33
15.Hey Hey (Chuck Fryers) - 2:47
16.6 Ft. 7½ Inch Shark Fishing Blues (Chuck Fryers) - 2:47
17.Which Way (Chuck Fryers) - 2:36
18.My Way Of Thinking (Chuck Fryers) - 3:00
19.Pioggia Sul Tuo Viso #1 (Carlo Nistri, Ennio Morricone, Luciano Salce) - 2:26
20.Pioggia Sul Tuo Viso #2 (Carlo Nistri, Ennio Morricone, Luciano Salce) - 2:28
21.Ypotron (Nico Fidenco) - 3:41

Disc 2
1. Hey Hey (Chuck Fryers) - 3:12
2. New York Mining Disaster 1941 (Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb) - 4:48
3. Answer My Questions (Chuck Fryers) - 2:57
4. Dear Mr. Fantasy (Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood, Chris Wood) - 5:04
5. We Can Work It Out (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 4:19
6. The Makers (Chuck Fryers) - 6:41
7. Heaven Is In Your Mind (Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood) - 3:35
8. Dogs And Cats (Chuck Fryers) - 3:14
9. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood (Bennie Benjamin, Gloria Caldwell, Sol Marcus) - 5:51
10.Move Da Show (Nevada) - 3:17
11.Matchbox / Rock And Roll Music (Carl Perkins / Chuck Berry) - 5:40
12.Baby What You Want Me To Do (Jimmy Reed) - 3:04
13.Bye Bye Bird (Willie Dixon, Sony Boy Williamson) - 3:27
14.Let Me In (Miki Dallon) - 3:06
15.What'd I Say (Ray Charles) - 3:11
16.Dizzy Miss Lizzy (Larry Williams) - 3:05
17.No Reply (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 3:12
18.A Little Rock 'n' Roll (Pip Witcher, Roger Lomas) - 2:07
19.5-4-3-2-1 (Manfred Mann, Mike Hugg, Paul Jones) - 2:20
20.Take A Heart (Miki Dallon) - 3:28

The Sorrows
*Chuck Fryers - Vocals, Organ, Guitar
*Simon Catlin - Vocals
*Chris Smith - Keyboards, Vocals
*Mick Bradley - Drums
*Rod Davies - Guitar, Vocals
*Pip Witcher - Vocals, Harp, guitar 
*Wez Price - Guitar
*Philip Packham - Bass
*Bruce Finlay - Drums

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Heads Hands And Feet - Tracks...Plus (1972 uk, stunning classic rock with blues 'n' roll shades, 2009 remaster and xpanded)

Although the core personnel had been together in a variety of incarnations since the mid-'60s, most notable of which was the brilliant and criminally short-lived Poet & the One Man Band, Tracks (1972) was only the second long player from Heads Hands & Feet. The U.K. quintet of Pete Gavin (drums/vocals), Albert Lee (guitar/keyboards/vocals), Ray Smith (bass/guitar/vocals), Charles "Chas" Hodges (bass/guitar/violin/vocals), and front man Tony Colton (vocals) had gained significant notice stateside during a week-long residency at the Troubadour in Los Angeles after the release of their self-titled double-LP debut Heads Hands & Feet (1971).

For their second outing, Tracks, they continue their quest for exceptionally crafted country-flavored material. They waste precious little time, as the fiery "Let's Get This Show on the Road" is a high-energy, good-time ode to the rigors and foibles of live performing and concert touring as exemplified in the chorus "Maybe I'll see Margo/Down in Chicago/And I've got a dancer down in New Orleans." Lee's multi-tasking musicianship is particularly noteworthy as his rollicking keyboard work on both acoustic piano and Hammond organ, coupled with the catchy, if not slightly twangy lead electric guitar lines, rhythmically tie the verses to the chorus. "Roadshow" demonstrates quite a different side to the band, examining Lee's capacity for emotive singer/songwriter balladry. His temperate vocals and melodic piano runs recall that of Jackson Browne or early folksy Tom Waits.

Further demonstrating Heads Hands & Feet's wide-ranging musicality is "Hot Property." Remarkably, the combo fuses an energetic bluegrass-inspired instrumental introduction to a funk-driven melody that would not have been too out of place coming from southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd. Of equal (if not arguably greater) prowess is the downhome, organic "Jack Daniels," which returns the sound to a loose groove mirroring the Band's rural rockers "Up on Cripple Creek" or "Life Is a Carnival." Tracks...Plus (1996) reissues both the original ten-song platter with a pair of additional non-LP sides, "Silver Mine" and "Warming Up the Band." 
by Lindsay Planer

1. Let's Get This Show On The Road (Albert Lee, Chas Hodges, Pete Gavin, Ray Smith, Tony Colton) - 3:53
2. Safety In Numbers (Ray Smith, Tony Colton) - 3:36
3. Roadshow (Albert Lee) - 3:16
4. Harlequin (Ray Smith, Tony Colton) - 4:26
5. Dancer (Albert Lee, Chas Hodges, Ray Smith, Tony Colton) - 3:21
6. Hot Property (Pete Gavin, Ray Smith, Tony Colton) - 4:58
7. Jack Daniels (Albert Lee, Chas Hodges, Ray Smith, Tony Colton) - 3:30
8. Rhyme And Time (Albert Lee) - 2:41
9. Paper Chase (Ray Smith, Tony Colton) - 3:54
10.Song And Dance (Albert Lee) - 5:26
11.Silver Mine (Tony Colton, Ray Smith, Albert Lee) - 3:48
12.Warming Up The Band (Albert Lee, Chas Hodges, Pete Gavin, Ray Smith, Tony Colton) - 3:26

Heads Hands And Feet
*Tony Colton - Vocals
*Pete Gavin - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
*Chas Hodges - Bass, Fiddle, Banjo, Guitar, Vocals
*Albert Lee - Lead Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Ray Smith - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals, Bass
*Gerry Hogan - Steel Guitar