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.


Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Brenda Patterson - Brenda Patterson (1973 us, spectacular blues swamp rock, 2011 korean remaster)

Brenda Patterson is the self titled album by Brenda Patterson, released in 1973. A rock-roots crossover set, with soul-tinged vocals and a bunch of hard-rocking cover tunes. Ry Cooder, Chris Ethridge and Rusty Young represent the more country side of the studio crew, though this is more of a "rock" record, it certainly deserves mention.

Full of heart-wrenching vocals plus, an amazing version of Paul Simon’s, “Congratulations”, arranged by Jim Dickinson. Roaring version of Etta James’ “Dance With Me Henry”. Pieces of the album may be heard here. Maybe it was because she went from Columbia Records to Playboy Records, the latter being a label associated with the magazine, and a label that came and went rather quickly.

1. Dance With Me Henry (Johnny Otis) - 2:40
2. The Crippled Crow (Donna Weiss) - 2:32
3. Hold An Old Friend`s Hand (Donna Weiss) - 3:33
4. Southern Brown (Ed Simmons, Ronnie Wilkins) - 3:24
5. Hope He`ll Be Happier With Her (Bill Withers) - 4:01
6. Jesus On The Mainline (Traditional) - 3:13
7. End Of The Road (Jerry Lee Lewis) - 2:24
8. I'm Gonna Be Strong (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil) - 2:54
9. Mine All Mine (Harold Beatty) - 3:49
10.Bury Me Down By The River (Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb) - 2:55
11.In My Girlish Days (Minnie Douglas) - 3:01
12.Congratulations (Paul Simon) - 3:22

*Brenda Patterson - Vocals
*Arthur Adams - Guitar
*Rick Allen - Piano
*John Barbata - Drums
*Charlie Brent - Piano, Guitar
*Fred Burton - Guitar
*Beau Charles - Guitar, Backing Vocal
*Ry Cooder - Guitar, Mandolin
*Tony Day - Drums
*Jim Dickinson - Piano, Organ, Guitar
*Chris Ethridge - Bass
*Wilton Felder - Bass
*Rafael Garrett - Bass
*Ed Green - Drums
*Paul Humphreys - Drums
*John Kahn - Bass (Tracks 11 And 12), Piano (Track 12)
*Carol Kaye - Bass
*Bruce Kurnow - Harmonica
*Clarence Mcdonald - Piano
*Wayne Perkins - Guitar
*Allyn Robinson - Drums
*Michael Rubini - Piano
*Merl Saunders - Organ (Track 12)
*Louie Shelton - Guitar
*Peter Swaidon - Guitar, Organ
*Bobby Ray Watson - Harmonica, Backing Vocals
*Donna Weiss - Harmonica, Backing Vocals
*Rusty Young - Steel Guitar 
*Chepito Areas - Bongos
*Bobby Bruce - Fiddle
*Martin Fierro - Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone
*Chuck Findley - Horns
*Warren Gale - Trumpet
*Artie Goleniak - Bass
*Jim Horn - Horns
*James Mingo Lewis - Congas
*J.D. Maness - Steel Guitar
*Gerald Oshita - Alto Saxophone
*Armando Peraza - Guiro, Maracas
*Peter Welker - Flugelhorn
*Ronnie Wilkins - Electric Piano
*Mary Anderson, Katherine Gaines, Mary Ann Watkins, Carolyn Watkins, Mary Elizabeth McCreary - Backing Vocals
*Lee Baker, "Edna", Vanetta Fields, Clydie King, Shirley Matthews, Melissa Mckay, Robbie Montgomery, Jessie Smith, Donna Washburn - Backing Vocals

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Jim Spencer - 2nd Look (1974 us, fantastic jazzy folk rock, 2009 korean remaster)

The love of his fiancée led Jim Spencer to move from his native Kentucky to Milwaukee. The South’s loss became a boon to the Cream City from the late 1960s to the early ‘80s. A cultural polymath of eclectic and esoteric interests, Spencer published an underground newspaper and chapbooks of his own poetry and operated an antique store, among other pursuits. Decades after his death in 1983, however, it’s his music that has given him the following beyond his adopted hometown that eluded him in life.

2nd Look retains some of the rural charm that gave its predecessor potential appeal to a mass audience (it’s fun to think that Spencer could have developed into a mainstream country music outlier). However, providing tension against that middle of the road are the way his psychedelic adjacency morphs into prog rock experimental atonality; what were once relatively unadorned melodies are endowed with choral and string arrangements recalling English madrigals. Even Spencer’s singing sounds fuller and more impassioned. What remains constant from his first to second sets is his lyrical navigation through what sounds like contentment to warier emotional terrains of paranoia and despair. 
by Jamie Lee Rake, May 13, 2020 

Jim Spencer was always looking for a stairway to success beyond, but Milwaukee was a Mobius loop he could not escape. He played many roles with grace; he was a musician, songwriter, poet, magus, and congenial salesman of ideas. He was a dealer in rare books, antiquities, and fantasies. He was a D.I.Y. publisher and indie recording artist at a time when circulating self-produced poetry and music beyond one’s hometown was a challenge on par with swimming the English Channel. He was Milwaukee famous—at least to anyone who cared about music and poetry. He was not much known elsewhere.

He released three albums under his own name and one as Major Arcana, a band-persona that enabled him to escape his singer-songwriter image. All were issued under the imprimatur of cryptically-monikered labels: Thoth, Akashic, and Castalia Records. “He had forbidden books in his basement,” said frequent collaborator Sigmund Snopek, a classically trained progressive rock keyboardist. “He was fascinated by other cultures and religions and incorporated some of that into his music.”

1974’s 2nd Look, his second LP, finds Jim Spencer in a deeper, darker place. The ten song album was assisted by Milwaukee scene star Sigmund Snopek III on keyboards and flute, and features a pair of songs written by and with Anonymous’s Ron Matelic. 

1. Second Look (Mike Pageant) - 4:30
2. No Place To Land (Jim Spencer, Mike Pageant) - 3:22
3. There Comes A Time - 3:40
4. What Am I Doing Here? - 7:31
5. Just A Little Time With You - 2:32
6. Laura Fair (Ron Matelic) - 2:40
7. Interlude (John Nebi) - 0:57
8. Lament - 2:52
9. Next To You - 2:38
10.The Devil Is A Fat Man - 6:37
Lyrics and Music by Jim Spencer except where noted

*Jim Spencer - Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar  
*Sigmund Snopek III - Piano, Organ, Synthesizer, Flute, Strings, Backing Vocals  
*Jay Borkenhagen - Electric Lead Guitar, Saxophone, Flute
*Tom Ruppenthal - Bass  
*Jay Borkenhagen - Flute
*Alan Ek - Harmonica  
*John Nebi - Acoustic Lead Guitar 
*Kent Carpenter - Acoustic Lead Guitar
*Gary Kemp - Electric Lead Guitar  
*Rob Fixmer - Percussion  
*Mike Pageant - Acoustic Rhythm Guitar
*Richard Thomas - Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals   
*Jay Borkenhagen - Saxophone  
*Jim Gorton - Tambourine, Backing Vocals
*Sue Francheschi - Backing Vocals 
*Susan Thomas - Backing Vocals  

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Friday, July 15, 2022

Frijid Pink - Frijid Pink (1970 us, tremendous rough psych rock, 2005 digipak remaster and expanded)

Frijid Pink's self-titled debut album is a slashing, seriously soulful example of late-'60s Detroit rock near its best. Although they never registered with critics or rock historians the way MC5 or the Stooges did, Frijid Pink had obviously learned something in the course of two years on the road, and with Mike Valvano producing, they were able to channel the excitement of their work onto the grooves of this album very neatly. 

Those who bought the number seven single "House of the Rising Sun" weren't disappointed with the bluesy boogie sound of "I'm on My Way" or the slowed-down Yardbirds approach of "Drivin' Blues" (somehow, when Kelly Green sang "My woman loves me" it seemed to matter), and even if "Tell Me Why" was a tuneless mess, Gary Thompson made up for it with a fuzz-out guitar performance that sounded like speaker burnout in slow motion. 

They were back in form on the next number, the crunchy, pumping rocker "End of the Line," where Green, (Gary Ray Thompson, and company move into Led Zeppelin territory very effectively (you can just imagine them switching gear into "Black Dog" in a jam to this song on-stage), with a killer performance by Rich Stevers on the drums. And that was all leading up to "House of the Rising Sun." "Boozin' Blues," which closed the original LP, is a blues workout reminiscent of Cream's version of Willie Dixon's "Spoonful"; a virtuoso effort by Thompson and Green, it shows off a more reflective and studied side of the band's sound. 

This reissue includes the singles "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Music for the People" (which features a gorgeous and perfectly appropriate gospel chorus), House Of The Rising Sun (Single Edit), Sing A Song For Freedom (Mono Single Mix) and "End Of The Line" (Mono Single Mix) as bonus tracks. 
by Bruce Eder
1. God Gave Me You - 3:35
2. Crying Shame (Michael Valvano) - 3:11
3. I'm On My Way - 4:34
4. Drivin' Blues - 3:14
5. Tell Me Why - 2:50
6. End Of The Line - 4:07
7. House of the Rising Sun (Traditional, arr. Frijid Pink) - 4:44
8. I Want To Be Your Lover (Gary Ray Thompson, Tom Beaudry, Michael Valvano) - 7:30
9. Boozin' Blues - 6:01
10.Heartbreak Hotel (Mae Boren Axton, Tommy Durden, Elvis Presley)  - 2:49
11.Music For The People  - 2:54
12.House Of The Rising Sun (Traditional) - 3:54
13.Sing A Song For Freedom (Tom Beaudry, Gary Ray Thompson, Richard Stevers)  - 3:02
14.End Of The Line - 4:09 
All songs by Gary Ray Thompson, Tom Beaudry except where noted

Frijid Pink
*Tom Beaudry aka Kelly Green - Lead Vocals
*Gary Ray Thompson - Guitars
*Tom Harris - Bass
*Richard Stevers - Drums
*Larry Zelanka - Keyboards

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Eddie Hardin - You Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks (1977 uk, fine soft rock, 2018 korean bonus tracks remaster)

When you can call on the likes of Deep Purple members Ian Paice and Roger Glover, Elton John Band bassist Dee Murray and famed session musicians like B. J. Cole, Mo Foster and Henry Spinetti to help you out on the recording of your second solo LP then you must be one hell of a talent, and keyboardist/vocalist Eddie Hardin is definitely that.

Born on February 9th, 1949 in South London, Hardin's first big break came in 1967 when, aged just 18, he joined the legendary Spencer Davis Group. Dubbed 'the singing keyboard wunderkind', Hardin soon made his presence felt in this mega star-outfit and appeared on the UK hit singles "Time Seller" (No. 30) and "Mr. Second Class" (No. 35). By mid-1968, and with the band's star on the descent, Hardin left with the group's drummer Pete York to form the duo, Hardin & York. Signing to Bell Records, the pair released the album, "Tomorrow Today" and undertook numerous tours of mainland Europe, and in particular Germany, where they regularly filled medium-sized venues and also supported the likes of The Nice and Deep Purple. Two further Hardin & York LPs followed: "Smallest Big Band In The World" (SELL SBLL 136,1970) and "For The World" (DECCA SKL 5095,1971 ) before the pair decided to go their separate ways and pursue solo ventures.

Hardin's solo career kicked off with November 1971's "Driving"/"Where I'm Going To SleepTonight" single "DECCA F13252) which was swiftly followed by the 1972 LP "Home Is Where You Find It" (DECCA TXS 106) and another single, "Why Does Everybody Put Me Down"/"Spend Your Money Honey" (DECCA F13307). He then put his solo attempts on hold when he took part in the 1973 reformation of the Spencer Davis Group where he was again reunited with Pete York. The reunion lasted for just two LP's "Gluggo" and "Living In R Back Street", before the band again split up. Hardin along with York and bassist Charlie McCracken then formed Hardin-York-McCracken and released one critically acclaimed self-titled LP, in 1974, for Vertigo Records (6360622).

Following this, Hardin worked with Roger Glover on "Butterfly Ball" and "Wizards Convention" LPs before again attempting a solo career with the singles "S'Easy"/"Strange Times" (Mercury 6008008) and "Summer Days"/"Seems I'm Always Going To Love You" (GTO GT24) and the album "You Cant Teach An Old Dog New Tricks" (ATTIC LAT 1023). Beetween 1979 and 1981, he led Axispoint, who also featured bassist Charlie McCracken, drummer Rob Townsend and guitarist John 'Charlie' Whitney, and who released two LP's "Axispoint" (RCA PL30039) and "Boast Of The Town" (RCA PL25277). Following the demise of Axispoint, Hardin stayed with RCA for 1982's "Circumstantial Evidence" LP (PL 30101) and then teamed up with Zak Starkey to work on a musical version of "Wind In The Willows" which also featured Donovan and John Entwistle.

Since then, he has released a couple of 'New Age' style albums for Coda Records, "Dawn Til Dusk" (830509, 1986) and "Survival" (834142,1980), overseen the re-issuing of Hardin & York's old recordings and took part in occasional reformations of the Spencer Davis Group. And with plans for a new, more rock-influenced LP, there's no doubt this old dog will be teaching us all a few new tricks in the near future.
by Mark Brennan, 1994

1. Oh What A Day It's Been - 3:09
2. Strange Times - 3:27
3. Drinking (Eddie Hardin, Ray Fenwick) - 3:03
4. Glad To Be Home (Eddie Hardin, Ray Fenwick) - 3:44
5. Moving - 4:48
6. S.'easy - 3:08
7. Give Me Freedon - 4:55
8. Think L'll Wait Another Day (Eddie Hardin, Ray Fenwick) - 3:39
9. Setting Down - 2:47
10.Here There And Everywhere - 3:42
11.Bet You All Wish It Was Sunday - 2:47
12.Credit Card City - 3:12
All songs by Eddie Hardin except where noted

*Eddie Hardin - Keyboards, Vocals
*Ray Fleming - Guitar, Vocals
*Mo Foster - Bass
*Roger Glover - Percussion, Vocals 
*Dee Murray - Bass
*Ian Paice - Drums
*Henry Spinetti - Drums
*B.J. Cole - Steel Guitar
*Barry DeSouza - Drums 
*Liza Strike - Vocals
*Doris Troy - Vocals 
*Helen Chappelle - Vocals

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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Brenda Patterson - Like Good Wine (1974 us, pleasant vocal blue eyed soul, 2018 korean remaster)

Brenda Patterson has a fantastic voice, a Memphis based blues rock singer recorded three albums in early 70’s.“Like Good Wine” was her third, released in 1974 on Discreet Records, a label owned in part by Frank Zappa, you'd think that this was going to be a rock album as well as her two previous, well not exactly. Produced by Snuff Garrett, who was also Cher's producer at the time, in the early 70's, but the formula he worked out for Cher did not do Brenda Patterson justice, he gave her soft production, with backing vocalists and strings. 

Couple of songs were written by John Durrill (who also worked with Cher), but the best songs are Bill Anderson's “Slippin' Away” a nice upbeat, Ray Price's “I'll Be There  (If You Ever Want Me)”, which illustrates the power of Brenda's voice best as she sings accapella on several lines, and probably the best song here “Sweet Amarillo”, first surfacing as a short jam on the outtakes of  Dylan’s 1973 Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid sessions, the song was completed a year later by songwriter Donna Weiss, the impromptu track on Dylan’s session was polished for pop splendor with a faster beat, a catchy hook, and a bell-bottom clad Patterson singing “Sweet Amarillo/ You stole my pillow/ You stole my pillow/ Hun, you ruined my mind/ Sweet Amarillo/ Like the wind and the willow/ I never will know/ Just how much you lied.” 

The album has some good cuts, but it's very short, with the songs all running around 2 and 3 minutes. Thankfully, she would continue to record, joining The Coon Elder Band.

1. Mr. Guitar (John Durrill) - 3:17
2. This I Find Beautiful (Larry Weiss, Mack David) - 2:40
3. Slippin' Away (Larry Weiss, Mack David) - 2:24
4. Blessed Be The Love (Gloria Sklerov, Harry Lloyd) - 2:03
5. Bring Your Good Wine (John Durrill) - 2:40
6. You Can't Have Your Cake And Eat It Too (Molly Ann Leikin, Yutaka Yokokura) - 3:12
7. I'll Be There (If You Ever Want Me) (Ray Price, Rusty Gabbard) - 2:40
8. Crazy (Willie Nelson) - 2:59
9. Sweet Amarillo (Donna Weiss) - 2:46
10.I've Never Been A Fool Like This Before (Lori Jacobs) - 2:38

*Brenda Patterson - Vocals


Friday, July 1, 2022

Subway - Subway (1971 uk / us, spendid acid folk psych rock, 2006 reissue)

Subway was a duo, consisting of an American and an UK- guy, who released their only album in France as 200 vinyls in 1971. There they lived and played both for some time as street musicians, who played their compositons even at Parisien subway, hence the bandname. Unfortunately the album fell through, so the unsold vinyls were melted, as usual in France at this time.The band presented a phantastic psych- folk music with prog- rock- elements. An absolutely top- album, which hopefully now will reach a bigger audience, as the original LP is very rare.

1. I Am A Child - 4:19
2. Song For Sinking Shelters - 5:15
3. Warm You Are - 5:03
4. All The Good Things - 3:57
5. Enturbulation - Free Form - 5:16
6. Arizona Sands - 3:36
7. Rosanna Of The Roses - 3:49
8. Can I Trade With You My Mind - 4:56
All compositions by Irv Mowrey except track #5, cowritten with Malcom Watson

*Malcolm Watson - Violin
*Irv Mowrey - Guitar, Vocals
*Henri Texier - Bass, Percussion
*Aldo Romano - Drums, Guitar
*Georges Locatelli - Lead Guitar, Percussions
*Michel Libretti - Violin, Guitar, Drum, Percussion
*Chris Hayward - Flute, Keyboards, Percussion

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