In The Land Of FREE we still Keep on Rockin'

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Plain and Fancy

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


Monday, February 28, 2022

Ross - Ross (1974 uk, magnificent funky jazzy soft prog rock, 2019 korean remaster)

In 1973, Bob Jackson was recruited as the new keyboard player in Rigor Mortis as part of the latest lineup of musicians so John Entwistle could go out on tour to promote his new solo album "Rigor Mortis Sets In" after its release in May. Because The Who were about to go in the studio within a few weeks to start recording "Quadrophenia", the touring plans had to be postponed. As a result of the change in plans, the latest version of the Rigor Mortis band was changed to be called Ross, with Alan Ross as the group leader. 

Ross was signed by Robert Stigwood's RSO Records and recorded their debut album in The Who's new studio in Battersea, London. It was called Ramport Studios (a.k.a. The Kitchen). This is where The Who recorded their new "Quadrophenia" album. Ross toured twice in the U.S. to promote their first album, the second one being in the summer of 1974 as the opening act for Eric Clapton (also managed by Stigwood). In 1974, Ross recorded a follow-up album, this time in Hollywood with The Doors' producer Bruce Botnick. The songs were based on Edgar Allan Poe's poetry about "The Pit & The Pendulum," but it failed to catch on with the record buying public. After the Clapton tour in August, Bob Jackson decided to quit the band.
by Denny Hoekstra

1. Alright By Me (Alan Ross, Bob Jackson, Steve Emery) - 6:22
2. You're Looking Down A Road - 4:35
3. Wherever You Go - 3:59
4. Caroline - 3:31
5. Changes - 3:46
6. Help Me Understand - 6:40
7. Blackbird - 3:12
8. I Need Your Love - 3:33
9. Buxton - 3:57
10.Leave It All Behind You - 4:02
All songs by Alan Ross except track #1

*Alan Ross - Lead Vocals, Guitars & Filing Cabinet
*Steve Emery - Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Bob Jackson - Keyboards, Vocals, String Machine
*Tony Fernandez - Drums, Percussion
*Reuben White - Percussion

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Thursday, February 24, 2022

Rio Grande - Rio Grande (1971 us, wonderful folk country rock, 2014 korean remaster)

Mouse And The Traps were one among the many groups that recorded at Tyler’s famous Robin Hood Studios during the sixties and early seventies. The musicians in the band were all schoolmates from Tyler. The original group consisted of Ronny “Mouse” Weiss (lead vocals and guitar), David Stanley (bass), Bugs Henderson (guitar), Don “Levi” Garrett (drums) and Jerry Howell (keyboards). Fifteen-year-old Ken “Nardo” Murray replaced Garrett on drums after the group’s second song was recorded. Bob Delk and Tim Gillespie, respectively, later replaced Howell on organ. When the band’s early records began getting airplay nationally, they started touring throughout North Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and Ohio. They played on college campuses, in nightclubs, and at several outdoor concert festivals during that period. After they were signed by Fraternity Records in Cincinnati, Ohio, the band was soon making appearances on the various television dance shows that became popular during the late sixties.

“Almost every market had some kind of local dance show. In Dallas, it was ‘Sumpn’ Else,’ hosted by Ron Chapman, who was one of the most popular radio deejays in Dallas at the time.  In Houston, it was ‘The Larry Kane Show.’ In Cleveland it was a show called ‘Upbeat,’ first seen on the ABC affiliate WEWS-TV5 and later syndicated nationwide,” recalls Ronny Weiss—the musician known as “Mouse” who was the leader of band. “All of those shows took their cue from a show in Philadelphia that was originally called ‘Bandstand’ when it started in 1952. Dick Clark took over as host in 1957 and the show’s name was changed to ‘American Bandstand’ when it was picked up nationally.”

Mouse and the Traps was known for their catalog of original music, including their first early 1966 hit, “A Public Execution.” It was a two-track recording, made when multi-track recording was in its infancy. With music by Ronny “Mouse” Weiss and lyrics by Knox Henderson, “A Public Execution” immediately received comparisons to Bob Dylan, particularly for the opening guitar/organ riff reminiscent of the beginning of Dylan’s 1965 hit “Like a Rolling Stone.” A strong regional hit, “A Public Execution” would eventually reach 121 on the national Billboard charts. 

The group had a good run from 1965 until 1971, releasing a new recording about every six months. “We never really broke up,” says drummer Ken “Nardo” Murray, “We just ran out of gigs.” For several years, the band members took whatever jobs they could get playing. In the early seventies, the band played under the name Rio Grande for an album produced by Dale Hawkins on the RCA Records label. 

Rio Grande, was a genuine country rock band. Supplemented with bassist Tom Russell and pedal steel player Bobby Tuttle record their debut LP for RCA at the local studio in Tyler, Rio Grande. When released in '71, the self-titled Rio Grande it was completely overlooked.  Songs like 'Sue Ann', 'So Good Te Be Free', 'Before My Time', 'Dog Song' are wonderful because of the harmonies and the waving pedal. steal. The swamp rocker 'Nice And Easy' also shines through the fantastic bottlleneck guitar of Ronnie Weiss – and thereby lifts Rio Grande to a higher level, even if that fell on deaf ears in 1971.
by Robert Marlin

1. Idle Idabelle - 3:53
2. Me And My Wife - 3:01
3. End Of The Bottle (David Stanley, Knox Henderson, Ronny Weiss) - 3:47
4. Sue Ann - 3:37
5. So Good To Be Free - 3:25
6. Wish I Could See You Again - 3:10
7. What Do You Do When Love Flies Out Your Window (David Stanley, Knox Henderson, Ronny Weiss, Tom Russell) - 2:12
8. Before My Time - 3:34
9. Nice And Easy - 4:22
10.Dog Song - 4:18
All compositions by David Stanley, Ronny Weiss except where indicated

Rio Grande
*Ronny Weiss - Vocals, Slide, Electric Guitar, Jew's Harp 
*Tom Russell - Guitar, Bass, Vocals
*David Stanley - Guitar, Bass, Vocals
*Ken Murray - Percussion
*Bobby Tuttle - Pedal Steel Guitar

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Sunday, February 20, 2022

Don Preston - Been Here All The Time (1974 us, strong blues rock, 2017 korean remaster)

Preston's 1974's "Been Here All the Time"  found him signed to Leon Russell's MCA affiliated Shelter imprint.   Produced by Peter Nicholls, the album captured Preston at the peak of his mid-'70s career as a studio player.  You can tell the guy was good by the stunning list of players and the fact the album was recorded across five separate studios ranging from L.A.'s Criterion Studios to Apple's London Studios.   This couldn't have been a cheap album to record.  

Featuring all original material, I won't try to convince anyone this was a great release.  In spite of the all-star supporting cast, few of the songs were truly memorable. Preston certainly had a likeable voice and he was a gifted guitarist, but he seemingly couldn't figure out what direction he wanted to pursue.  The result was an album that tried to be too much for too many folks and ultimately came short across the entire musical waterfront. 

An album that starts out with a screeching guitar solo isn't a bad thing in my book. Add in Preston's Southern-tinged voice and 'A Minor Case of the Blues ' got the LP off to a blazing start. Sweet, breezy, country-tinged tunes with some nice finger-picking, blues-rockers with nifty guitar solos.
Bad Cat

1. A Minor Case Of The Blues - 4:06
2. I`m With You Tonight - 3:33
3. Big Man - 3:07
4. What A Friend I Have In Georgia - 3:59
5. (Keep On) San Francisco - 3:31
6. Free And Easy Day - 2:18
7. On The Other Hand - 3:29
8. Underdog Blues - 2:56
9. Tennessee Boat Ride (Don Preston, Joey Cooper) - 1:54
10.Carry A Tune - 2:46
11.Rainy Day, Sunday Afternoon - 3:57
All compositions by Don Preston except where noted

*Don Preston - Vocals, Guitar
*Ambrose Campbell - Perccusion
*Barry Beckett - Guitar
*Carl Radle - Bass 
*Casey Van Beek - Bass  
*Chris Stewart - Bass 
*Chuck Finley - Trumpet 
*David Hood - Bass
*Denny Seiwell - Drums, Persussion 
*Jackie Kelso - Saxophone 
*Jamie Oldaker - Drums, Persussion  
*Jean Rousel - Piano  
*Jim Horn - Saxophone 
*Jim Keltner - Drums 
*Jimmie Johnson - Guitar  
*John Gallie - Guitar 
*Neil Hubbard - Guitar 
*Pete Carr - Guitar 
*Roger Hawkins - Drums  
*Steve Faulkner - Drums
*Harrison Calloway - Trumpet 
*Harvey Thompson - Saxophone, Flute 
*Charles Rose - Trombone 
*Ronnie Eades - Baritone Saxophone

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Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Greg Yoder - Dreamer Of Life (1976 us, elegant jazzy folk soft rock, 2011 korean remaster)

Greg was born in Oakland California in 1952 and was raised in the east bay area. At the age of thirteen, he began playing the guitar and attended music lessons until the age of seventeen. Throughout the next few years, he played with numerous bands and developed into a lead singer and guitar player. In 1969 he had his first experience in a recording studio and made a demo record with the band he was playing with at that time. This was virtually the beginning of his music career and became the passion of Greg's life. From 1970 to 1974, Greg performed in a well known band by the name of "Saba". The band consisted of eight pieces and performed extensively around northern California. 

Toward the end of 1974, Greg left the band and moved to Hawaii to pursue a solo career as a singer/songwriter. He performed mostly on the Island of Oahu within the Waikiki area. Greg earned the respect and honor of the talented close nit family of musicians in Hawaii. In 1976 Greg entered into a recording project with the producer of Napali Musical Society and recorded his album "Dreamer of Life". He gathered musicians from Hawaii to perform on the record which consisted of many instruments, including the vibraphone, a horn section, keyboards, bass guitar and percussion. Most of the music on the album was arranged by a long time friend and bass player Randy Carnevali. 

When the album was finished, Greg and the band performed in concerts within the Island of Oahu including the Crater festival and opening band for Sha-Na-Na at the Blaisdale Center to promote the record. In addition, the "Dreamer of Life" album was played on local radio stations of which live performances were made as well. In 1977, Greg was asked to bring the band to the Big Island of Hawaii to perform at the Kona Surf Hotel and various venues on the Island. Greg is very proud of his original songs on the album. The song "Things were so easy" was written by Greg when he was 19 years old and the song most dear to him is a song written for his wife Sheri titled "She's my Lady". Greg continues to play and write music to this day.
by Greg Yoder, 2011

Dreamer of Life by Greg Yoder is a killer AOR private press LP infused with Folk, Jazz and Soul notes and maybe one of the best albums from the Hawaiian Scene in this style.

Originally from San Francisco, Greg Yoder moved to Hawai'i in the early seventies and after achieving some local fame in the Waikiki area, recorded this one-off LP in 1976 at Audissey Sound studios, in Honolulu. The music is smooth and soothing, mixing xylophones, percussions, sweet guitars and brilliant orchestrations. In short, Dreamer of Life is full of hidden hits and faultless from the first note to the last.

Following his various projects at Favorite Recordings, DJ and producer Charles Maurice recently unveiled this masterpiece by selecting the song 'Things Were So Easy' on the AOR Global Sounds Vol.2 compilation. And after the label contacted Greg Yoder about it, the idea of reissuing this amazing album quickly became obvious.

1. Dreamer Of Life (Greg Yoder) - 4:00
2. If There's A Chance Tomorrow (Rider Kiaha) - 4:39
3. Parchment Farm (Mose Allison) - 3:32
4. Golden Lady (Stevie Wonder) - 4:37
5. She's My Lady (Greg Yoder) - 3:35
6. Moondance (Van Morrison) - 5:10
7. You Must Have (Emitt Rhodes) - 2:12
8. Things Were So Easy (Greg Yoder) - 4:19
9. Haven't We Met (Kenny Rankin) - 2:25

*Greg Yoder - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
*Randy Carnevali - Bass
*Creed Fernandes - Percussion
*John Raposa - Lead Guitar
*Bob Cabral - Flugelhorn
*Roger Bailey - Sax
*Travis Fullerton - Drums, Percussion
*Dennis Graue - Essemble, Arp Odissey, Piano, String
*Doug Johnson - Vibes

Friday, February 11, 2022

Jerry Merrick - Follow Follow Follow (1969 us, marvelous folk rock, 2018 korean remaster)

Jerry Merrick has appeared in festivals and clubs since the early 1960's. A restless singer-songwriter, he forged his way across the United States and into Canada performing his pastoral 'poetic-songpieces' and folk stories in front of audiences ranging from small coffeehouses to college concerts; guesting the Newport Folk Festival, Carnegie Hall, and the Tonight Show.

In 1969 Jerry recorded an album of his songs for Mercury Records. He toured with Kenny Rankin and Flip Wilson after appearing on 'The Tonight Show' together with Kenny. At the same time, he was raising a growing family and moved to a secluded home in New Hope, Pennsylvania. 

Soon his songs were being performed by recording artists such as Richie Havens, B.J. Thomas and Jerry Jeff Walker. Of 'Follow,' a thoughtful, flowing piece, featured on Richie Havens' 'Mixed Bag' and again on 'Resume,' Havens wrote '. . . it became one of the biggest songs I've ever done.' This still holds true, as Richie's version of 'Follow' has been featured in a number of movies, a TV series finale - The Practice, and even an audio book. Jerry Jeff Walker recalls, 'I had a real fondness for 'Follow,' a Jerry Merrick song . . . when we all lived in the Village,' so he included it in his 'Jerry Jeff' album for Electra. Walker also recorded, 'The Stranger - He Was The Kind' on his double album for MCA 'A Man Must Carry On' as the introduction and reprise of his touching tribute to Hondo Crouch, legendary founder of Luckenbach, Texas. 

Singer-songwriter Tom Ghent tipped his hat to Jerry by recording 'Guess I'll Pack My Things,' on his debut album which apparently led to the B.J. Thomas version on his hit album, 'Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head.' Jerry's song 'From The Prison' was recorded by Richie Havens on his second album for Verve/Folkways, 'Something Else Again' and again on his live album, 'On Stage.' 

After some years, he settled in Crystal River, Florida. His latest forays into songwriting led him to Nashville, Tennessee, where 'Suddenly I'll Know You' became his first recording in 32 years. It was produced/engineered by his old friend, Tom Ghent, on Sutherland Records. Many stellar musicians contributed their talents to the project which took almost a year to complete.
Jerry Merrick died peacefully on January 2, 2019, from throat cancer. 

1. As Leaves Turn Brown - 4:01
2. Love Is A Word Token - 2:14
3. The Stranger - 1:53
4. Just Like A Spirit Shroud - 4:40
5. To Find You - 2:11
6. The Pond - 2:55
7. Follow - 7:30
8. Sweet Babe - 2:22
9. The Flowers Are Fighting - 3:21
10.Please Hold Close - 2:52
11.Please Clear The Air - 3:33
All songs by Jerry Merrick

*Jerry Merrick - Guitar, Vocals
*Artie Schroeck - Drums
*Chet Amsterdam - Bass
*Hugh McCracken - Lead Guitar

Friday, February 4, 2022

Don Preston - Bluse (1968 us, remarkable blues rock, 2016 korean remaster)

Preston's second release for A&M Records, "Bluse" was a true solo effort. Again produced by Shyrock (Don Nix handling a couple of tracks), the set won't exactly set your musical world on fire. At the same time, Preston remained one amazing guitarist (check out his stinging leads on "Morning Rain" and "Something You've Got") and a surprisingly accomplished singer. 

Anyone hearing "Looking for My Baby" had to wonder how a young white guy could sound like such an aged and authentic bluesman? Musically the album offered up a pleasant mixture of blues originals and covers ("It's Only a Tear" and "Farther Up the Road") and popular soul covers ("Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won't Do)"). 
Bad Cat
1. Baby It's You (Don Preston) - 2:00
2. Standing In My Tears (Don Preston) - 3:26
3. You Don't Know What You Got (Don Nix) - 2:10
4. Ninety-Nine And A Half (Won't Do) (Eddie Floyd. Steve Cropper, Wilson Pickett) - 3:24
5. Morning Rain (Don Preston) - 2:54
6. Lookin' For My Baby (Don Preston) - 2:52
7. Something You've Got (Bill Medley) - 4:12
8. Farther Up The Road (Don Robey, Joe Veasey) - 2:46
9. It's Only A Tear (Don Preston) - 4:03

*Don Preston - Vocals, Guitar, Dobro
*Bud Deal - Sax 
*Barry Frost - Bass 
*John Hobbs - Keyboards
*Dave Johnson - Bass 
*Jerry Zarimba - Guitar

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