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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.

Plato

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Dulcimer - Room For Thought (1971 uk, beautiful acoustic folk rock with a traditional aura, 2010 remaster)



Dulcimer consisted of singer/guitarists Dave Eaves and Pete Hodges and bassist Jem North.  The trio apparently began working together in 1966 - 67 attracting some local attention before relocating to London where they found a mentor in actor Richard Todd who seems to have helped them score a contract with the small UK Nepentha Records.  (For some bizarre reason Mercury Records subsequently deciding to acquire American distribution rights.)  

Released in 1970, the oddly titled "And I Turned As I Had As a Boy" found the group teamed with producer Larry Page (best known for his work with garage rock acts like The Troggs).  Similar to early Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, or a score of other early-1970s UK bands, this was best described as classic English acoustic folk-rock.  At the same time these guys differed from their competition in several ways.  Whereas Fairport and others were big on updating traditional folks songs, Dulcimer's LP featured all-original material.  

The band's 1971's follow-up "Room for Thought" was immediately shelved and didn't see a release until two decades later when the small Background label acquired rights to it. Although Room for Thought is not quite as bewitching as Dulcimer's debut album, it is far more enigmatic. Recorded, then shelved for twenty years, it puts the listener in the position of having to imagine it's presence in the world in which it was created. It could perhaps be considered typical of the era, but it's delicately wise.


Tracks
1. To Need Her - 3:22
2. Status In Maryland - 2:00
3. Mr. Rip Van Winkle - 4:53
4. The Planters Cottage - 4:34
5. Running On Down The Road - 2:21
6. Empty Hallways - 3:49
7. Grey Lady Morning - 3:18
8. Missing The Head - 3:19
9. Mr. Time - 2:32
10.Sandalwood Sailors - 6:06
11.Scarlet Lady - 3:04
12.But Maybe Not - 3:09
All compositions by Dave Eaves, Pete Hodge, Jem North

Dulcimer
*Dave Eaves - Lead Vocals, Harmonica, Acoustic, Twelve-String Guitar
*Pete Hodge - Vocals, Harmonica, Mandolin, Dulcimer, Twelve-String, Acoustic Guitar
*Jem North - Bass, Glockenspiel, Percussion, Coconuts, Wind, Vocals




 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Dirk Hamilton - Alias I (1977-78 us, dark moody quirky humorous, 2005 Akarma bonus tracks digipak)



Alias I, Dirk Hamilton's sophomore set, opens with a quite appalling scene -- "I saw a dog in a trash can chewin' on a cat" -- but worse is to come, as "In the Eyes of the Night"'s dystopian vision unfolds. It's a stunningly modern view of the world, seemingly ripped from the rhyme book of rappers or hardcore headbangers, but Alias I was originally released back in 1977, and musically it is a chasm away from the fury-firing punks across the sea. The album was Hamilton's follow-up to the previous year's You Can Sing on the Left or Bark on the Right, a deliriously derivative set that hit virtually every musical touchstone of '70s soft rock. Hamilton plundered freely from his idols musically, but his lyrics were breathtakingly unique, dizzying vignettes of poetic splendor.

Alias I picks up where its predecessor left off, but this time the songs are not such obvious rips. Sure "The Ballad of Dicky Pferd" pays tribute to Elton John's "Rocket Man," "The Classic Sweat Poze" tips a hat to Traffic, and "Joanna Ree" nods to the Rolling Stones, but there are unexpected stylings as well. "Los Gatos," for example, is Latin-tinged, while "The Light of Love" has a distinctly Spanish flavor. Elsewhere, bluesier elements come to the fore. The aforementioned "Night" defiantly crosses soul with rock, and tosses in some distinctly Stax-esque brass. "Joanna Ree," Stonesy as it is, is the Stones in their bluesiest mode, with wisps of gospel flicking through the gorgeous guitar work. 

"Big Boo Hoo" echoes the Stones circa Black and Blue, with its emphatic rhythm snapping around the sliding lead guitar. Even the Traffic-stopping "Sweat Poze" emphasizes that band's R&B roots. These numbers give the set a dirtier and darker sound than Bark, which dovetails nicely with a clutch of love-lost or world-gone-mad numbers. But salvation can be found, be it in the sweet pace of life in "Los Gatos," in the memories of young romance, or brought by the angel of the morning who hovers over "The Light of Love." And if Hamilton's own prayers are answered, he'll be living large as a rock star striking "The Classic Sweat Poze" on the album's most hilariously ironic song. In an age of singer/songwriters, Hamilton should have seen that dream fulfilled, but his songs were too disconcerting -- so familiar yet lyrically so alien that only the critics sang his praises. 

Today, with a more modern soundtrack, these songs could rule the world, but for now he remains trapped in '70s nostalgia. This reissue adds two equally stellar bonus tracks, the aforementioned "Big Boo" and the billowing ballad "As a Matter of Fact." 
by Jo-Ann Greene

Tracks
1. In The Eyes Of The Night - 5:46
2. The Ballad Of Dicky Pferd - 5:52
3. For Diana - 4:38
4. Alias I - 4:27
5. Los Gatos - 3:00
6. Joanna Ree - 5:54
7. The Classic Sweat Poze - 4:18
8. The Light Of Love - 3:36
9. The Big Boo Hoo - 5:21
10.As A Matter Of Fact - 3:31
Words and Music by Dirk Hamilton
Bonus tracks 9-10

Personnel
*Dirk Hamilton - Guitars, Percussion, Vocals
*Ron Alston - Drums, Percussion
*Charles Black - Woodwind
*George Bohanon - Brass
*Oscar Brashear - Brass
*Chuck Domanico - Bass
*Don Evans - Guitar, Vocals
*Ron Fransen - Keyboards
*Bob Glaub - Bass
*John Guerin - Drums
*Jim Horn - Woodwind
*Barbara Miller - Photography
*David Paich - Keyboards
*Bill Perkins - Woodwind
*Jeff Porcaro - Drums
*James Rolleston - Bass, Vocals
*Kenny Shroyer - Brass
*Chino Valdez - Percussion
*Darrell Verdusco - Drums


Thursday, June 16, 2022

Andy Ellison - Cornflake Zoo (1967-2005 uk, mod psych beat synth pop, 2006 release)



Born in Hammersmith, London, Andy was in the thick of things even as a boy. He was shot in the left eye with an arrow, his right eye with an airgun and since he enjoyed climbing trees and jumping out of them, he eventually knocked himself out when he landed having jumped from some incredible height.

During the early 60’s Andy had trials with Arsenal Football Club. Also back then, a lot of youngsters used to carry a harmonica in their pocket. It was an ‘in-thing’. Andy was one of these youngsters (listen to “No Russians In Russia” on Radio Stars second album) and after meeting up with his old mates Chris Townson and Louis Grooner from Box Hill Boarding School at an old boy’s re-union, he was quickly invited to meet the rest of the band his mates had formed. He joined up with them shortly afterwards. Dubbed The Clockwork Onions by guitarist Geoff McClelland, Andy joined vocalist Louis at the front of the stage for their debut gig at St. Georges Hall in Ashtead. But since Louis, who was hating the experience more and more with every passing minute – would repeatedly stop the band and start shouting through the microphone at ‘some bloke in the audience who was chatting up his bird’ left the band immediately after the gig. Andy was promoted to vocalist, doubling up on harmonica until someone else could be recruited into the line-up. Finally the search ended when Chris Townson brought along a large East End mod whom he had met at art school called Martin Sheller. Martin later went onto play in the Regents who had a hit single with “7teen” in 1979.

A change of name to The Few during 1965 soon followed and the band started to perform around three gigs every month. These were at village halls, art schools, but best of all was a small pub in Guildford called the Harvest Moon. Then Martin Sheller decided he wanted to leave and Chris Dawsett also decided that he wanted to give up playing bass and concentrate on playing keyboards. The band agreed and that was the cue Geoff McClelland had been waiting for. He brought along John Hewlett, who he had met earlier. John claiming that he knew various prominent members of the local music fraternity as well as pointing out his talents on the instrument. All this wasn’t true of course, it was just John wanting to be in a band. Shortly after John’s arrival, Chris Dawsett’s parents forced him to leave. This paid off as Chris eventually became a Professor of Art at Oxford. His departure coincided with a change of name to The Silence. After building up a good local following, acquiring Simon Napier Bell as their manager, the band changed their name again, this time to John’s Children. 

Two singles were released on Columbia Records during 1966 and 1967. Their debut release – “Smashed Blocked” became a minor hit in America and an album was recorded during 1966 for the American market only. But sadly it got shelved at the time and wasn’t released over there until 1970. Guitarist Geoff McClelland was replaced by Marc Bolan during March 1967 and the band also moved to Track Records where they released four singles. “Midsummer Night’s Scene” though was withdrawn shortly after it’s release and now sells for anything around £6,000+. During April, the band was thrown off a German tour with The Who because of their wild stage antics and Marc left the band around June. Along the way they did manage to film three promotional video’s. But after a tour of the South West the band split up.
 
Still managed by Simon Napier Bell, Andy studied mime and acrobatics, continuing in a solo vain and releasing three singles in six months – “It’s Been A Long Time” from the film ‘Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush’, “Fool From Upper Eden” and The Beatles “You Can’t Do That”. Lack of publicity helped them to become collector’s items.

Having had enough of the music business for a while, Andy left the country to persue adventures in Europe. But returned during 1973 and the following year joined up with his old mate Chris Townson and ex-Sparks bassist Martin Gordon to form Jet. The band signed to CBS Records and released two singles and an album during 1975, as well as toured with Hunter-Ronson. By 1976 they had been released from their contract.

All was not lost though, as Andy got Ted Carroll at Chiswick Records interested in Jet’s final demo’s and come 1977 Radio Stars were born. Six singles, two albums, numerous gigs, a few TV appearances and a hit single – “Nervous Wreck” happened over a two year period. Andy was even insured for £250,000 in case of injury to any member of the audience. But during 1979 the band were forced into splitting up as funds had run out and they received no support from the record company. The band did reform for a short time during 1982 and released a single on Martin’s own Snat label. Andy revived the band during 1988 and a few years later during 1992 until 1996. Chiswick issued a compilation album of old songs and unreleased songs during 1992 titled “Somewhere There’s A Place For Us”.

During the early 80’s Andy wrote quite a few songs and “To The Beat Of A Different Drummer” was eventually released on a cassette album many years later during 1991. A new version of the John’s Children song “Desdemona” was recorded in 1988 with Boz Boorer and this appeared on a Marc Bolan compilation album during the same year.

1992 saw John’s Children return to the stage making their debut in Darmstadt, Germany 25 years after their last gig. The band have done quite a few gigs since playing in and around London as well as in America, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Germany again.  

Andy was involved in the ‘Nothing To Do With Us Tour’ of London, Berlin and Amsterdam during 2000 promoting the re-release of Jet’s album from 1975. The band featuring Chris Townson, Martin Gordon, Ian MacLeod and Trevor White who performed songs by Radio Stars, Jet and John’s Children. Boz Boorer was a guest on the night of the London gig and a live album was released during 2001. 


Tracks
1. You Can't Do That (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 2:48
2. Cornflake Zoo (Marc Bolan) - 2:02
3. Hippy Gumbo (Marc Bolan) - 2:08
4. It's Been A Long Time (Chris Townson) - 3:15
5. Casbah Candy (Marc Bolan) - 2:02
6. Help (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 2:29
7. Fool From Upper Eden (George Alexander) - 2:52
8. Lucky Lie (Andy Ellison) - 1:57
9. Train In My Head (Andy Ellison) - 3:55
10.To The Beat Of A Different Drummer (Andy Ellison) - 3:55
11.Life's Too Short (Andy Ellison) - 5:37
12.Hurt Myself (Andy Ellison) - 4:01
13.She's So Dissatisfied (Richie Davenport) - 4:42
14.Something She Said (Andy Ellison) - 5:58
15.Heather Lane (Andy Lewis) - 3:53
16.Anyway Goodbye (Andy Ellison) - 4:59

Personnel
*Andy Ellison - Vocals, Keyboards
*Marc Bolan - Guitar, Vocals
*Geoff McClelland - Guitar 
*Chris Townson - Drums
*John Hewlett - Bass
*John Paul Jones - Bass
*Nicky Hopkins - Piano
*Trevor White - Guitar, Bass, Drums
*Rod Stewart - Backing Vocals
*Madelline Bell - Backing Vocals
*Dusty Springfield - Backing Vocals

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Jane Getz - No Ordinary Child (1973 us, lovely jazzy art soft rock, 2010 korean remaster)



Jane Getz made a strong but brief impression while playing in New York in the mid- to late '60s, and then seemed to disappear until she emerged in Los Angeles in the mid-'90s. The truth is that she never left music, but took a long hiatus from jazz. Considered a prodigy as a child, Getz switched from classical music to jazz when she was nine. She lived in Los Angeles and San Francisco and then at the age of 15, dropped out of high school and traveled to New York City, where within hours she was playing with Pony Poindexter. 

Getz worked with a who's who of jazz during her eight years in New York, most notably with Charles Mingus, Stan Getz (unrelated), Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Charles Lloyd, and Pharoah Sanders (with whom she recorded for ESP). In the early '70s, Getz moved back to L.A. and became a studio musician. She was signed to RCA under the name Mother Hen and played country music, in addition to appearing on many rock and pop albums (including with Ringo Starr, Harry Nilsson, and John Lennon). After 20 years outside of jazz, Getz started playing jazz gigs in Los Angeles, often teaming up with Dale Fielder, where it was obvious that her improvising skills were still very much intact. In 1996, she finally recorded her first jazz album as a leader.
by Scott Yanow

“Jane Getz’s 1973 solo album No Ordinary Child is a really unique record more people should know about,” muses.  “Getz is a talented pianist, producer and songwriter who did a fair amount of session work in the 70’s playing on albums by Harry Nilsson & John Lennon, Jimmie Spheeris and the Bee Gees, to name just a few.  Getz grew up on the West Coast, a child prodigy on the piano, memorizing Mozart pieces at the age of 6.  She traveled East in her teens, moving to New York and an early career playing jazz with Pharaoh Sanders, Mingus, Stan Getz and other luminaries. (She wrote a book about her travels in the jazz world called Runnin’ With The Big Dogs) Her songwriting first surfaced with a group she led called Mother Hen and a great album they recorded in 1971. Featuring a stellar cast of heavy cats like Clarence White, Danny Kortchmar, Lee Sklar, Russ Kunkel and Sneeky Pete, Mother Hen introduced Getz’ striking voice and song stylings to the pop world.”

“Sneeky" Pete returns and plays on a lot of No Ordinary Child along with Jim Keltner, John Seiter and an extended cast of LA session players.  There’s even a mariachi band on one tune!  There are elements of country, boogie woogie, blues, ballads, Broadway; a wide range of sounds and styles that feel easily connected by Getz’ piano and vocals.  Everything comes together here with a focus and depth that make the songs feel related, as vignettes in a larger tale.  Part of the shimmer of the album includes the lovely arrangements by Nick DeCaro, an incredible talent who was an in-house arranger for A&M Records as well as a musician and performer on his own.  His solo album Italian Graffiti is another overlooked gem and a big favorite of mine. 

This is one of those entries that solidifies the feature for me. I’d never heard Getz’ name before, let alone this ’73 gem she’s given to the world. The record proves an entrancing listen.  This one isn’t in print on LP, but its pretty cheap to pick up second hand. I’d recommend giving it a listen and letting it into your life.
by Andy Cabic
Tracks
1. No Ordinary Child - 4:22
2. Organ-Grinder Music In My Ear - 4:20
3. On The Shores Of Okinawa - 3:40
4. I Shall Build This House Again - 4:22
5. St. John Of The Highway - 2:39
6. Here Comes The Captain - 3:48
7. Gonna See If The Madam`s In - 4:31
8. If The Lady In The Song Had Been Your Mother - 4:06
9. I Wanna Ride - 3:07
10.Margarita - 2:57
11.Boy From Portland - 4:29
All compositions by Jane Getz

Musicians
*Jane Getz - Piano, Organ, Vocals
*Jim Keltner - Drums
*Tret Fure - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Sam Goldstein - Drums
*Dick Hyde - Bass Trombone, Tuba
*Jules Jacob - Clarinet
*Sneaky Pete Kleinow - Pedal Steel
*Lionel James - Flamenco Guitar
*Ollie Mitchell - Flugelhorn, Trumpet
*Maurice Saunders - Congas
*John Seiter - Drums
*David Vought - Bass
*Ernie Watts - Piccolo Flute, Saxophone 
*David Campbell - Violin
*Gene Cipriano - Clarinet
*Doreen Davis - Vocals 
*Nick DeCaro - Arranger
*Jamie Faunt - Bass, Vocals
*Chuck Findley - Flugelhorn, Trumpet
*Kazue Kudo - Koto 
*James Hare - Flamenco Guitar
*Terry King - Strings
*Ronald Folsom - Strings
*Denyse Buffum - Strings
*Thomas Buffum - Strings
*E. Marcy Dicterow - Strings
*Lyndl Christ - Strings
*Polly Sweeney - Strings
*Robert Lipsett - Strings
*Carole Mukogawa - Strings
*Jay Rosen - Strings
*Sheldon Sanov - Strings
*Jacqueline Lustgarten - Strings
*Gordon Marlon - Strings

Monday, June 6, 2022

Audience - Friend's Friend's Friend (1970 uk, fantastic post psych prog art rock, 2015 bonus tracks remaster)



Fiend's, Friend's, Friend was the second album by British art-rock band Audience, and first for Charisma Records. Now remastered by Cherry Red Records along with a host of bonus material, this sophomore release can now be discovered by those who might not have indulged in the bands eclectic and under-appreciated style back in 1970. Once again, the line-up of Howard Werth (lead vocals, electric classical guitar, banjo), Keith Gemmell (sax, clarinet, flute), Tony Connor (drums, percussion, piano) and Trevor Williams (bass, vocals) remained from the self-title debut, and the true sound of Audience seemed to be emerging in full force.

Williams' huge bass grooves kick off "Nothing You Do", as Werth's devilish vocal delivery (sounding a lot like Axel Rose) and Gemmell's jazzy tenor sax drive home the main melodies. A real fun tune follows, the folk based "Belladonna Moonshine", complete with a hook laden chorus and irresistible country-rock arrangements, while the near 9-minute "The Raid" sees the band launching into epic prog-rock territory for the very first time. Hints of Soft Machine, Van Der Graaf Generator, and early Yes pop up on this adventurous number, complete with rumbling rhythms, scorching sax, a lovely acoustic guitar interlude, and powerful vocals. "Right On Their Side" is a catchy pop/rock number, again featuring Gemmell's robust sax and Werth's gorgeous electrified classical guitar, and the instrumental "Ebony Variations" takes a quirkier, more classical approach (think Gryphon meets Gentle Giant), as soaring clarinet weaves around nimble guitar lines. The darker "Priestess" again hints at prog, and bonus cut "The Big Spell" sees the band in full rock mode for some scorching arrangements. The remainder of the bonus tracks are 1971 remixes of songs from the album, worth a listen but not overly different from their 1970 counterparts.

Cherry Red's remaster sounds great, and the CD booklet contains lyrics, artwork, photos, and info on the band & album. For those who might have missed out on the unique magic of Audience back in the early '70s, this is a good place to start investigating the band. 
by Pete Pardo, August 31st 2015


Tracks
1. Nothing You Do - 4:39
2. Belladonna Moonshine - 2:44
3. It Brings A Tear - 2:55
4. The Raid - 8:47
5. Right On Their Side - 5:28
6. Ebony Variations - 5:28
7. Priestess - 6:23
8. Friend's, Friend's, Friend - 3:33
9. The Big Spell - 3:05
10.Nothing You Do - 4:39
11.Belladonna Moonshine - 2:41
12.It Brings A Tear - 2:55
13.The Raid (Keith Gemmell, Tony Connor) - 8:44
14.Ebony Variations (Howard Werth, Trevor Williams, Keith Gemmell, Tony Connor) - 5:29
15.Priestess (Keith Gemmell, Tony Connor) - 6:14
All Music and Lyrics by Howard Werth, Trevor Williams except where indicated
Bonus Tracks 9-15

Audience
*Howard Werth - Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Vocals
*Tony Connor - Percussion, Piano, Drums
*Keith Gemmell - Saxophone, Wind, Woodwind
*Trevor Williams - Bass Guitar, Vocals

1969  Audience (2002 remaster edition)
1971  House On The Hill (2015 Esoteric)
1972  Lunch (2015 Esoteric)
1975  Howard Werth And The Moonbeams - King Brilliant

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Pacific Ocean - Pacific Ocean (1968 us,groovy garage psych rock, 2018 reissue)



Pacific Ocean was an American West-Coast Psychedelic band. They released one and only album in 1968 by the VMC label, known for releasing great Psychedelic albums. 

There isn't much information about them, but actor Edward James Olmos (Miami Vice, Battlestar Galactica, Mayans M.C., TV series, and movies like Blade Runner among others) plays/sings lead on the album. Most of the songs are covers except for two of them. This 1968 album smashes in like a hot stone with that soulful drive. 

The beginning of the sound is great. "I Can't Stand It"   best part are the vocals, principally the Back-Vocals, the growling Lead-Vocals is really cool too. "  99 1/2"   has an intensive use of the Organ. "Road To Hell"   and "My Shrink"  are the only original songs, in "  Road To Hell"   the vocals sound just like Iggy Pop and the accelerated pace of " My Shrink"   is really nice, and it has a great Guitar solo in the middle.

"16 Tons" originally by Merle Travis. Pacific Ocean gives a power to the song that it originally missed, that was the objective of this album probably, to give the power of rock music to old country tracks.  unlike the previous songs where they sped up everything "Subterranean Homesick Blues",  it's much slower than the original, it has a much groovier sound. The Miracles where the first recorders of the hit-song "Tracks Of My Tears"   by the big label Motown. 


Tracks
1. I Can't Stand It (Lester Chambers) - 2:32
2. 99 1/2 (Wilson Pickett) - 3:08
3. The Road To Hell (Tony Harris) - 4:09
4. I Wanna Testify (Daron Taylor, George Clinton) - 4:14
5. Mickey's Monkey (Brian Holland, Edward Holland, Jr., Lamont Dozier) - 3:20
6. 16 Tons (Merle Travis) - 2:52
7. My Shrink (Anthony Carrubba, Edward James Olmos, Tony Harris) - 2:07
8. Subterranean Homesick Blues (Bob Dylan) - 2:46
9. Track Of My Tears (Marvin Tarplin, Warren Moore, William Robinson, Jr.) - 3:17

Pacific Ocean 
*Kent Henry - Lead Guitar 
*Fred Riviera - Bass
*Eddie James (Edward James Olmos) - Vocals, Keyboards 
*Steve Rusty - Drums