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, December 27, 2023

Heavy Rain - Heavy Rain (1973-74 uk, tight heavy psych rock, 2023 release)

Formed in Blackpool in the late 60s, Heavy Rain was a ”heavy progressive blues” band who shared stage with big names like Hawkwind, Pink Fairies or Caravan. In 1973, now reduced to a power-trio (Geoff Carter on lead guitar/vocals, Oggy Hargreaves on bass and Bernie Worsley on drums), they went to London and registered an album which was never released at the time but a few metal acetates were made. Only one copy is actually known of this monster rarity. Music is 100% underground psychedelic hard-rock with heavy distorted fuzz-wah guitars and delay/echo effects. Seven original songs plus a spaced out Pink Floyd cover. 

1. Emily - 4:32
2. Thrutch In "B" - 4:05
3. Lady Matilda - 2:59
4. Lost Woman (Chris Dreja, Jeff Beck, Jim McCarty, Keith Relf, Paul Samwell-Smith) - 5:26
5. Chord Song - 5:06
6. I Need You - 5:53
7. Rising Of The Tide / Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun ( / Roger Waters) - 8:11
8. Ship Of Sin - 4:42
9. Flying High - 4:38
10.Out In The Street - 5:05
All songs by Bernie Worsley, Geoff Carter , Graham Hargreaves, except where stated

Heavy Rain
*Bernie Worsley - Drums
*Geoff Carter - Lead Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica
*Graham Hargreaves - Bass

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Grit - Grit (1972 uk, superb heavy psych rock. 2022 japan reissue)

Born from the ashes of a London band called Merlyn, Grit consisted of Frank Martinez (lead guitar, vocals), Paul Christodoulou (bass/vocals), Tom Kelly (drums, vocals) and Jeff Ball (vocalist).

Frank, nicknamed “Spider”, has an interesting story: at the beginning of his musical career he auditioned for Joe Meek at his Holloway Road studio. Later, he also played with a band called Grand Union - who supported Pink Floyd in 1968 - and with members of the John Dummer Band. An electronic wizard, Frank also worked building amps and electronic equipment at Nolan Amps, MIDAS, etc. He built the Twin Stacks and PA’s that later would form part of Grit's equipment.

Tom Kelly came from a band called Connexion and Paul Christodoulou had played in Merlyn along with Frank. After some attempts, the definitive line-up of Grit was born when Frank and Paul convinced drummer Tom Kelly to join them, after assisting to a Nazareth concert. They also recruited powerful singer Jeff Ball after an ad in Melody Maker.

On Christmas Eve, 1972, Grit recorded a demo at SWM Studios and four copies of a one-sided 12” acetate (one for each member) were pressed for promo purposes. It featured four self penned songs: the killer “Mineshaft” (pure underground fuzz hard-rock) and two lengthy numbers: “Child and The Drifter” (with some furious drumming, stunning leads and hard-prog moves) and the hard-psychedelic “What Do You See In My Eyes” / “I Wish I Was”.

Armed with the acetates, the band visited some music agents in London but nobody was interested. But while looking for a manager, they found a company who secured them a Greek tour. This was a true adventure and they managed to appear on television and play with big names from the Greek psych-prog scene like Socrates and Peloma Mpoklou in big festivals. Sadly, due to a family problem, Frank had to leave the band and return to England. That was the end for Grit.

40 years later, one of the original Grit acetates was found at a flea market in Germany, which led to its inclusion in the 7001 Record Collector Dreams book by famous collector Hans Pokora. The band still remained a mystery until 2019, when, by pure chance, Alex Carretero from Guerssen found Frank Martinez and he opened his vault, which included the original master tape of the Grit acetate and several tapes with rehearsals from Grit and Merlyn. 

1. Mineshaft - 3:54
2. The Child And The Drifter - 8:57
3. What Do I See In My Eyes / I Wish I Was - 9:23
4. 1000 Miles - 3:24
5. Across The Windowsill - 4:38
6. What Do I See In My Eyes / I Wish I Was - 7:52
7. Down In The Mine - Mineshaft - 3:44
All songs by Frank Martinez, Jeff Ball, Tom Kelly, Paul Christodoulou
Tracks 4-7 rehearsalls
Tracks 5 as Merlyn

*Frank Martinez - Guitar, Vocals
*Jeff Ball - Lead Vocals
*Tom Kelly - Drums, Vocals
*Paul Christodoulou - Bass, Vocals

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Smokey Circles - Smokey Circles Album (1970 uk / israel, beautiful orchestrated pop psychedelia, 2018 reissue)

This enigmatic album was the result of a collaboration between Ralph Murphy and Shmulik Kraus. Murphy had emigrated from the UK to Ontario, Canada aged six, and taught himself how to play guitar as he grew up. He played in New York and California during the early 60s folk boom, then formed a duo with his friend Jack Klaeysen back in Canada. When the Beatles hit, they decided to travel to the UK, arriving in February 1965. First they tried their luck in Liverpool, but the Merseybeat craze had petered out, so they relocated to London on the advice of Gerry & the Pacemakers. There they got in touch with agent Joe Collins, and began to play opening slots at the New Oxford Theatre for acts including the Pretty Things and the Byrds. Collins found them a berth on Pye Records, under producer Tony Hatch, and they issued four singles as The Slade Brothers, between June 1965 and September 1966. In that time they continued to act as an opener for touring artists, including the Kinks and the Walker Brothers.

As songwriters, they placed Call My Name with James Royal, who released it on CBS in January 1967. Produced by Collins' associate Mervyn Conn (primarily a tour promoter), it sold well, leading Murphy to place other songs with acts such as Billy Fury, Vanity Fare, Bella & Me and the Casuals, as well as co-producing cult band Kate with Conn. He also continued to collaborate with Klaeysen, under the new name Harper  & Rowe, releasing several singles and an LP, none of which appeared in the UK. Towards the end of 1967, the successful Israeli band the High Windows asked Murphy to translate their lyrics into English, in a bid to have success outside their homeland.

The High Windows were a trio led by the charismatic Shmulik Kraus. Born in Israel in 1935, he had made his name working with Abi Ofarim, before forming the band with Josie Katz (his wife) and Arik Einstein. When Einstein jumped ship, the couple moved to London, where Murphy ended up joining them as 'Raffi Murphy', and forming a songwriting partnership with Kraus. This resulted in two singles, issued in January and May 1968, both produced by Conn. When they didn't sell, the High Windows fell apart, but Murphy and Kraus continued their connection. with Conn when he formed his tiny Carnaby label in late 1969. John Walker recorded two of their songs, and another pair appeared on a promo-only single in March 1970, credited to Smokey Circles.

The following month, an entire album of their commercial pop songs appeared under the same name, performed by studio musicians, arranged by the renowned Ken Woodman, and produced by Conn. According to Disc & Music Echo, 'Long Long Love sticks in the brain like it should be a smash hit single, and Sun Comes Up is delightful,' but sadly sales didn't materialize and the duo parted ways. Thereafter Murphy continued to act as a writer-producer, until his death on 28 May 2019, of pneumonia, he was 75, while the volatile Kraus embarked on a solo career, remaining famous in his homeland, where he died in 2013. 
CD Liner notes

1. Long Long Love - 2:09
2. Chocolate Soldier - 3:18
3. Anybody Needs A Lover - 2:17
4. Traces Of Tomorrow - 3:29
5. Love Me While You Can - 2:03
6. Carnival - 3:22
7. Leaving Your Dreams Behind - 2:16
8. Whisper Streams - 3:24
9. Who Are We - 3:40
10.Sun Comes - 2:54
11.Find A Time - 2:23
12.Little Man - 3:07
All songs by Ralph Murphy, Shmulik Krauss

*Ralph Murphy - Composer
*Shmulik Krauss - Composer
*Leslie Danken - Vocals 
*Frank Shin - Vocals
*Ken Woodman - Arranger, Conductor
*Mervyn Conn - Producer

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Winterhawk - Electric Warriors (1979 us, outstanding hard rock, 2021 remaster)

San Francisco-based Indigenous hard rockers Winterhawk put out two records—one in 1979, one in 1980—that are both re-released by Don Giovanni Records, so we thought it was a good time to dive into the band’s first album, ’79’s Electric Warriors, to find out if it deserves the reissue.

This Winterhawk—who, by all accounts, took their culture’s traditions and values into their music and aimed to be good role models to youth—isn’t to be confused with Chicago’s Winterhawk, who were also around at the same time. (This band’s “Don’t Die” shirt is one sXe slogan away from being a piece of Earth Crisis merch.) Indeed, this Winterhawk took a positive and damn near squeaky-clean approach to their craft, and it only adds to the music.

“Prayer” is a killer opener, starting off with a slow burn that has tons of ’70s feel to it; it’s a courageous way to kick things off, not exactly diving head first into hard rock, but setting a mood, and doing it with authority. Then on to “Got to Save It,” and, man, I really like what this band is laying down here, incredibly solid on their instruments with a fantastic vibe—good-time KISS at its best—and a strong message. Fantastic opening pair of songs here. This song is 5:30 but doesn’t get old, it actually just gets stronger and stronger as it goes on.

“Black Whiskey” tells a tale of the evils of alcohol over a mid-tempo kinda-mellow tune, a song that wouldn’t sound half bad playing in a car stereo at 8pm on a summer night while you’re killing time in a parking lot with the buds. Winterhawk is doing absolutely nothing wrong on this record so far, three songs in. Win, win, win.

“Dark Skin Lady” ends off the original album’s side A with some killer guitar work that immediately brings to mind classy and classic Thin Lizzy, the band just incredibly solid, tight, working as a cohesive unit here. Love it. Side A done and done and absolutely no complaints here.

“Restaurant” is a slinky groover with tons of attitude, kinda absurd lyrics, and—I can’t stress this enough—a tight delivery. Seriously, these guys were incredibly locked in together on this album. This song rules, and, honestly, those stoopid lyrics only help.

“Selfish Man” is when the band’s personality really starts to shine, with some of their traditional Native American musical sounds coming through both in the music and vocals. Excellent track here, one that handles both quiet and louder parts with ease and power.

“Custer’s Dyin’” absolutely kills it, the band laying into a slinky boogie with charged lyrics and tons of their own flair in there. A great song, and then they end the album even stronger with “Fight.” This closes the album off with another streamlined rocker, vocals threatening to be a bit much at points but generally staying just this side of too much and instead rocking all night long, the band showing off their excellent riff skills one final time here, drumming concise and tight, everyone locked in for one final groove, bassist holding it down, man… I love Winterhawk, and the spoken part that ends off this song, and the album, just nails that home. Incredible.

This record being legit rocking, with tons of personality and a positive message behind it to boot. It’s aged perfectly and is one of the finest pieces of shoulda-been early metal/hard rock we’ve come across in this column to date.
by  Greg Pratt, October 14, 2021

1. Prayer - 3:00
2. Got To Save It - 5:28
3. Black Whiskey - 5:24
4. Dark Skin Lady - 3:32
5. Restaurant - 4:14
6. Selfish Man - 5:30
7. Custer's Dyin' - 4:59
8. Fight - 6:02
All songs by Nik Alexander

*Alfonso Kolb - Drums
*Frank J. Diaz de Leon - Bass, Vocals 
*Frankie Joe - Rhythm Guitar 
*Nik Alexander - Guitar, Vocals

Friday, December 8, 2023

Soul Inc. - Soul Inc. Vol. 2 (1965-69 us, stunning garage rock, rhythm 'n' blues)

Gear Fab Records continues its Souls Inc. story with the release of Volume 2. Originally a singles band from Kentucky, Soul Inc. was formed in 1965 when guitarist Wayne Young and drummer Marvin Maxwell secured a place on Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars tour prior to even forming a band. The two hired some musicians and backed up the likes of Lou Christi, Reparata & the Delrons, and others. On the second Dick Clark tour, Soul Inc. opened as a stand-alone band and quickly became a favorite of many of the top acts of the day, including Paul Revere & the Raiders. 

Over the following months, Soul Inc. built a reputation for themselves and began recording singles. The band recorded songs for the Rondo, Star Records, Boss and Counterpart labels, and became one of the most popular acts in Kentucky. Volume 1 of the Soul Inc. story collected 20 of the band's singles recorded between 1965 and 1969. Volume 2 now continues that story with an additional 16 tracks that were not on Volume 1, and features one song from the next incarnation of the band (known as the Elysian Field, not to be confused with the dream-pop band or the black-metal band named Elysian Fields). The music ranged from Beatles-influenced pop, garage rock, and surf-styled instrumentals to Motown soul and psychedelic rock. 

Throughout their entire career the band was constantly experimenting and progressing as the times changed. Soul Inc. split in 1969, with three members forming the Elysian Field while Wayne Young kept the Soul Inc. moniker and continued the band for a short time with various lineups. Sadly, by the end of 1969, Soul Inc. was no more. In 1999, Young reunited with the original band members and recorded a new Soul Inc. album. The sound quality on this CD is for the most part excellent, and is taken from master tapes where possible. With the release of this second compilation of Soul Inc.'s singles, the band's musical history has finally been completely documented. 
by Keith Pettipas

1. Connection (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 2:45
2. Nothing But A Dream (Frank Bugbee, Jim Settle, Wayne Young) - 3:05
3. In The Midnight Hour (Wilson Pickett Jr., Steve Cropper) - 2:27
4. Hanging Out My Tears (Cannon Paul Wil, Holbert Thomas) -  3.14
5. Laryngitis (Marvin Maxwell, Wayne Young) - 2:27
6. Don't You Go (Kenny Smith) - 3:04
7. Love Me When I'm Down (Jim Settle, Wayne Young) - 2:07
8. When I Stopped Dreaming (Jim Settle, Wayne Young) - 2:28
9. Alligator (Marvin Maxwell, Jim Orten, Tom Jolly, Wayne Young) - 2.15
10.Soul Jam (Marvin Maxwell, Wayne Young) - 2:34 
11.Hanging Out My Tears (Cannon Paul Wil, Holbert Thomas) - 3:15
12.Stronger Than Dirt #3 (P. Wiliams, B. Busha) - 1:59
13.In The Midnight Hour (Wilson Pickett Jr., Steve Cropper) - 2:29
14.Satisfied (Barry Man, Cynthia Weil) - 2:42
15.Ready. Willing, And Able (Bob Stone) - 3:17
16.Get It Right With Your Man (Stanley E. Flaharty) - 2:21
17.Mother Hate (Dennis Ledford) - 2:47

Soul Inc
*Jim Orten - Bass, Vocals
*Tom Jolly - Trumpet
*Wayne Young - Guitar 
*Jim Settle - Bass, Vocals
*Marvin Maxwell - Drums
*Frank Bugbee - Guitar
*Denny Lile - Bass
*Eddie Humphries - Saxophone

Related Act

Monday, December 4, 2023

Dead Sea Fruit - Dead Sea Fruit (1967 uk, extraordinary beat psych, 2017 reissue)

In April 1967, Record Mirror's 'Names & Faces' column introduced Dead Sea Fruit. 'The Dead Sea Fruit used to be known as Some Sloane Squares, their first record is Kensington High Street / Put Another Record On, and they're on the Camp label,' it ran. 'So far, so good. They are gentlemen who met through an advertisement in the Times, no less. They worked the debutante circuit, making money, then went to the South of France. There's an LP on the way by this rather unusually talented outfit, which comprises lead vocalist Clive Foster Kennedy, a Freeman of the City of London, lead guitarist David Lashmar, who started up with skiffle, Simon Winsloe Clifford, who plays organ and is a jazz fan, bassist Christopher Hall, who was once a solicitor, and drummer John Errington-Townsend, who used to go to Portsmouth Grammar School (where also went Paul Jones)?

The band had formed the previous year. After briefly being known as Some Sloane Squares, they adopted the more modish moniker Dead Sea Fruit, after a line in Thomas Moore's 1817 romantic poem Lalla-Rookh: 'Like Dead Sea fruits, that tempt the eye / But turn to ashes on the lips!' were promptly arrested for wearing carnival clothes on a non-carnival day – though I fact  was just their standard hippie attire, Thereafter they found some success playing covers  in  local clubs, and more widely around; France, A good-humored, highly theatrical act more in the vein of the New Vaudeville Band than their more psychedelic peers, they recorded for the local Disquez A-Z label, and had a big hit with the old-timey Loulou, Put Another Record On To promote it, they made some TV appearances (which can be seen online), involving a strikingly long trumpet invented by Kennedy One appearance was with Salvador Dali.

Back in the UK in early 1967, they signed to the new Polydor offshoot label Camp, who put out their debut single in March. The disc c id not prove a hit, but an album ensued, which appeared in April 'Dead Sea Fruit's first album chalks up the first LP release from Camp Records, and really they needn't have bothered,' wrote Disc & Music Echo.

`Musically the group seem to fall somewhere East of Winchester Cathedral and considerably West of Waterloo and its sunsets. They should have got together before making any tapes, and decided what sort of music they were going to play. The album is further distinguished by a nauseatingly pretentious sleeve note.' Sales were pool; and the release of their single in the US (on Atlantic's Atco subsidiary) in June did nothing to alter their profile. On Friday 30th of that month they supported psychedelic legends Tomorrow at the UFO club in London (along with the Knack), but didn't play many gigs in the UK. They did, however, perform in front of Jimi Hendrix and Paul McCartney in their time. September saw the release of their second and final UK 45, Love At The Hippiedrome / My Naughty Bluebell. Around this time Hall departed, and was replaced by Arthur Marsh. Before long, Kennedy and Clifford decided to return to the UK from their French base, upon which Lashmar, Townsend and Marsh accepted a residency in a club in Dakar, Senegal. However, when it became clear that the club only wanted them to play covers, the band splintered.
CD Liner-notes

1. The 8.15 And The 5.45 (David Lashmar) - 2:07
2. Put Another Record On (Clive Kennedy) - 3:06
3. Psychiatric Case (Christopher Hall) - 2:09
4. Mr. Barman (Clive Kennedy) - 3:30
5. Matters (David Lashmar) - 3:39
6. Seeds Of Discontent (David Lashmar) - 3:28
7. I'll Come With You (David Lashmar) - 2:20
8. I've Been Away Too Long (Clive Kennedy) - 2:42
9. Mr. Coffee Pot (David Lashmar) - 1:58
10.Time Waits For No One (Clive Kennedy) - 3:55
11.I Should Have Guessed (Clive Kennedy) - 3:28
12.Kensington High Street (John Townsend) - 2:05

Dead Sea Fruit
*Clive Kennedy - Vocals
*Dave "Beano" Lashmar - Guitar, Vocals
*John Townsend - Bass, Percussion, Vocals
*Si Clifford - Organ, Piano
*Christopher Hall - Electric Bass, Guitar, Vocals

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Yancy Derringer - Openers (1975 us, tight rural bluesy hard rocker)

Yancy Derringer was a four-piece band from Wisconsin that recorded an album titled Openers in 1976. With an original pressing of only 1000 copies, the album reflected the band's live act and creative talents in seven original songs. The sound of Yancy Derringer was similar to that of some of the more hard driven southern U.S. rock acts of the day such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker Band, Ozark Mountain Daredevils and many more. After selling out the initial thousand pressings very quickly, the band ordered a second pressing, which got caught up management hassles and was delayed. 

This caused fans to lose interest in the band; by 1976, the group's momentum had passed Yancy Derringer broke up, leaving the world with another limited pressing album. In the late '90s, Gear Fab acquired the rights to the band's original masters and released that long lost album for fans of '70s rock to enjoy. With detailed band history and song information as in all Gear Fab releases, Yancy Derringer cannow take its place in the history of American rock music. 
by Keith Pettipas

1. Pass The Wine (Charlie Kuchler) - 4:44
2. Rocket Roll (Boyd Williamson) - 5:15
3. Aero Plane (D. King, Boyd Williamson) - 3:31
4. I Thought Alot Today (Charlie Kuchler) - 6:32
5. Welcome On 6-52 (Boyd Williamson, Charlie Kuchler, Gabriel Berrafato, Lynn Gnatzig) - 6:54
6. Standing On The Edge (Boyd Williamson, Charlie Kuchler, Gabriel Berrafato, Lynn Gnatzig) - 6:53
7. Weedburner (Boyd Williamson) - 7:30

Yancy Derringer
*Gabriel Berrafato "Gabe" - Bass
*Boyd Williamson "Zoid" - Vocals, Guitar
*Lynn "Lance" Gnatzig - Drums, Vocals
*C.F. Kuchler "Charlie" - Lead Vocals, Hammond Organ, Mini Moog, Mellotron, Piano
*Darleen Koldenhollen - Backing Vocals
*Melody Magnuson - Backing Vocals

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Soul Inc - Vol.1 (1966-67 us, great garage psych rock)

With the release of Soul, Inc., Vol. 1, Gear Fab commences a new phase in the label's history with the release of an entirely new original album by a band that never before had an album of material. A singles band from Kentucky, Soul, Inc. was formed in 1965 when guitarist Wayne Young and drummer Marvin Maxwell secured a place on Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars tour prior to even forming a band! So the story goes the two hired some musicians, then proceeded with the tour backing up the likes of Lou Christi, Reparata & the Delrons, and others on their first gig together. 

On the second Dick Clark tour, Soul, Inc. opened as a standalone band and quickly became a favorite of many of the top acts of the day including Paul Revere & the Raiders. Over the next few months, Soul, Inc. built a reputation for itself and began recording singles. The band recorded songs for the Rondo, Star Records, Boss, and Counterpart labels and became one of the most popular acts in Kentucky. Now for the first time, Gear Fab has collected 20 of the band's singles recorded between 1965 and 1969 on one set. Vol. 1 contains more than 50 minutes of music from one of the mid-'60s most legendary and exciting, but virtually unknown bands, outside of Kentucky. 

The music of the Soul, Inc. ranges from Beatles-influenced pop, garage rock, and surf-styled instrumentals to Motown soul and psychedelic rock. A more detailed and informative essay on the band can be found in the CD booklet and, as with all Gear Fab releases, the sound quality is taken from master tapes where possible, and is superb except where original sources have deteriorated -- these tracks have been included only because of historical significance. With the release of this first compilation of Soul, Inc.'s singles, the band will finally get the exposure and appreciation of a wider audience that they missed the first time around. This album represents a fantastic piece of lost American music history that will be further explored in a second volume of music by Soul, Inc. 
by Keith Pettipas

1. Who Do You Love (Ellas McDaniel) - 1:54
2. Leaves Of Grass (Jim Settle, Wayne Young) - 2:17
3. I Found A Love (Wilson Pickett, Willie Schofield, Robert West) - 2:54
4. Stronger Than Dirt (P. Williams, B. Busha) - 2:24
5. I Belong To Nobody (Frank Bugbee) - 2:50
6. Ultra Blue (Marvin Maxwell, Frank Bugbee, Wayne Young) - 2:01
7. Subterranean Homesick Blues (Bob Dylan) - 2:49
8. Give Me Time (Jim Settle, Wayne Young) - 2:23
9. 60 Miles High (Jim Settle, Wayne Young) - 2:46
10.727 (Marvin Maxwell, Jim Settle, Frank Bugbee, Wayne Young) - 2:23
11.Hard Luck Harry (Wayne Young) - 2:11
12.UFO (Jim Settle, Frank Bugbee) - 2:41
13.Yellow Morning Glory (Jim Settle, Wayne Young) - 2:19
14.Subterranean Homesick Blues (Bob Dylan) - 2:49
15.Stronger Than Dirt (P. Williams, B. Busha) - 2:20
16.I Found A Love (Wilson Pickett, Willie Schofield, Robert West) - 2:54
17.I Belong To Nobody (Frank Bugbee) - 2:27
18.Been Down So Long (Stanley E. Flaharty) - 2:29
19.Poppin Good, Pt. 1 (Eddie Humphries, Jim Orten, Marvin Maxwell, Wayne Young, Floyd Lewellyn) - 2:12
20.I Hate You (Mark Miceli) - 2:49

Soul Inc
*Jim Orten - Bass, Vocals
*Tom Jolly - Trumpet
*Wayne Young - Guitar 
*Jim Settle - Bass, Vocals
*Marvin Maxwell - Drums
*Frank Bugbee - Guitar
*Denny Lile - Bass
*Eddie Humphries - Saxophone

Related Act

Friday, November 17, 2023

Grinderswitch - Unfinished Business (1977 us, awesome southern boogie rock, 2012 edition)

Grinderswitch was one of the most soulful bands that rocked the South, and indeed the rest of the world, during the '70s, highlighting Dru Lombar's powerful vocals and guitar work; Stephen Miller on keyboards; Larry Howard on guitar; Rick Burnett on drums; and the late Joe Dan Petty on bass.

In 1977, the band found themselves in the studio working on their second album for the Atco/Rabbit label. This following the huge success of Redwing, and three less successful releases on Capricorn Records. Just as they got the album ready for release, they were shelved in favor of the latest trend in music, disco.

Twenty-three years later, this fine album has finally been released in its entirety for the very first time. The record was produced by Paul Hornsby, perhaps the best known producer ever to come out of the "Southern rock" scene of the '70s, and recorded and mixed by Sam Whiteside. The Muscle Shoals Horns are featured guests, as is the timeless Bonnie Bramlett, whose solo work and recordings with her former husband, Delaney, are the stuff of music history.

"How Come It Is" is a straight-up rocker that opens the album, backed by a tight horn section and laced with an adequate dose of B-3 organ from Stephen Miller, who also wrote the tune. "Moving on Back to You," a soul-stirring R&B number, is power packed, and Larry Howard's "If the World Was My Guitar," is absolutely haunting in its beauty and spirit. When the band covers Albert King's "You're Gonna Miss Me," it is so hot you can shut your eyes, feel the heat, and see the burning embers smoldering. "That's What You Get for Loving Me" has the Otis Redding vibe down to a tee, and Lombar once again sings at his soulful best. This is a great album, filled with soul, blues, rock, gospel, and even a little '60s pop, as in the band's rollicking cover of the Drifters' "I Count the Tears," a track that manages to combine elements of Southern rock with a definite early '60s radio-hit sound. "Dr. Hector's Traveling Show," which inspired the name of Dru Lombar's current band, Dr. Hector & the Groove Injectors, is a fun-filled rocker that is highlighted by Lombar's red-hot slide guitar and catch lyrics.

This is an incredible documentation of one of the best bands to come out of the South since the Allman Brothers Band, and a welcomed addition to any collection. 
by Michael B. Smith

1. How Come It Is? (Stephen Miller) - 3:37
2. Moving On Back To You (Dru Lombar) - 3:32
3. The Warm Kind (Stephen Miller) - 3:53
4. Your Gonna Miss Me (Albert King) - 6:23
5. Dr. Hectors Traveling Show (Larry Howard) - 2:22
6. I Count The Tears (Doc Pomus, Mort Shuman) - 2:52
7. If The World Was My Guitar (Larry Howard) - 4:26
8. Thats What You Get (Dru Lombar) - 3:09
9. Lady Luck (Dru Lombar) - 3:26
10.Wheel Of Fortune (Dru Lombar) - 3:56

*Dru Lombar - Vocals, Guitar            
*Stephen Miller - Vocals, Keyboards
*Joe Dan Petty - Bass, Vocals 
*Larry Howard - Guitar, Vocals 
*Rick Burnett - Drums
*Bonnie Bramlett - Vocals
*The Muscle Shoals Horns - Horns
*Austin Petit - Guitar (Track 10)
*Bonnie Raitt - Vocals 

1974  Grinderswitch - Honest To Goodness
1975  Grinderswitch - Macon Tracks (2009 edition) 

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Blackfoot Sue - Strangers (1974 uk, sensational mixture of folk glam and prog rock, 2011 edition)

Blackfoot Sue's second album, Strangers, was recorded in 1974, but disputes with their management meant that its release was postponed indefinitely, Fortunately, it finally saw release on a US label, Import, in 1977. The cover looked like more of a designer's rough sketch than a finished piece of work, but was intriguing none the less. It depicted a featureless being controlling the band on puppet strings, while a fully-fledged battle raged around the stage, an interesting reflection of the band's situation at the time!

As prolific as ever, the band had completed many song demos for the album, but their manager/ producer and their record company chose the tracks solely for their commercial potential and then made them even more gimmicky in the studio. The title of the album was derived from the track Shoot All Strangers, which referred to hostile redneck attitudes, whether, as the band said, in Texas or indeed, in English pubs. One song which hasn't stood the test of time is Tobago Rose. Originally written as a straight-forward country rock tune, Prairie Rose, Walker pushed the band into performing it reggae-style, even drafting in Blue Weaver from Amen Corner (another of the bands he produced and managed) to play synthetic brass, which, as David pointed out many years later, "...sounds quite comical now."

In fact, the recordings didn't really do the band justice at all. The exception is the almost side-long treatment of Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" as 1812, which ventures into the free-flowing world of progressive rock and gives some idea of the energy of the band on stage - the song was a highlight of their live show, As David described it, "It was all done with violin bows On the guitars... we had huge great artificial stone letters spelling out '1812' . We used to smash jt up with axes and strobe lights flashed while the cannons exploded." They were thrown off a tour with The Kinks after only two days for doing just exactly that, and making too much of a mess on the stage!
CD Liner notes
1. Care To Believe - 3:22
2. Touch The Sky - 3:50
3. Shoot All Strangers - 5:14
4. Tobago Rose - 3:09
5. Nostalgia Ain't - 3:50
6. Bye Bye Birmingham - 3:28
7. Join Together - 3:36
8. 1812 (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky) - 11:08
9. Morning Light - 3:07
10.Get It All To Me - 3:29
11.You Need Love - 4:06
All compositions by Alan Jones, David Farmer, Eddie Golga, Tom Farmer except track #8
Bonus Tracks 9-11 single releases

Blackfoot Sue
*Tom Farmer - Bass, Keyboards, Vocals
*Dave Farmer - Drums
*Eddie Golga - Guitar, Keyboards
*Alan Jones - Guitar, Vocals

Saturday, November 4, 2023

The Horde - Press Buttons Firmly (1966-68 us, splendid garage psych, 2013 remaster)

Undoubtedly the most exciting mid sixties garage album to be recently discovered in the genre, is that by The Horde from North Carolina. The existence of this self produced album came to collectors' ears and eyes only about a year ago. It was recorded more or less accidently in early 1967, released in a micro quantity of only 25 copies and among the local US garage albums of the decade it is one of the few eclectic examples with all the ingredients that makes it outstanding compared with the usual prep-school albums of the time. It contains a blend of exciting originals and well chosen, inspired covers, played in a raw, crude and frantic style. If ever it were true that the over-used assertion that a band's cover versions measured up to the originals, then it is true of The Horde. Why? 

These five 19-20 year old students from all over the United States did not only blaze a trail for 60s rock in then conservative North Carolina, they also had a general attitude that finds its origins in the young people's mindset of the mid-sixties that put them outside of the local mainstream and gained them a sort of regional underground popularity. 

Break-A-Way has now reissued this original sought after LP with four bonus tracks taken from an unreleased 1967 EP along with a detailed twelve-page booklet which gives the complete history of the band and loads of rare pictures. "Press Buttons Firmly" to find out why the Horde LP is not only rare, but also deserves to be called, "one of the sharpest local garage punk albums of the Sixties".
CD Liner Notes

1. Troubles (Elizabeth Locke) - 2:15
2. Cuttin' Out Time (Elizabeth Locke) - 2:27 
3. Press Buttons Firmly (Doug Haggar, Bob Simons, Jake Devonshire) - 1:46
4. My Flash On You (Arthur Lee) - 3:10
5. Steve's Song (Steve Katz) - 4:12
6. I Can't Keep From Crying (Blind Willie Johnson) - 3:42
7. Tell Me (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 3:59
8. 7 And 7 IS (Arthur Lee) - 1:58
9. Smokestack Lightnin' (Chester  Burnette) - 5:11
10.Gloria (Van Morrison) - 3:50
11.No Need To Wonder Why (Bob Simons, Steve Denenberg) - 2:59
12.Press Buttons Firmly (Doug Haggar, Bob Simons, Steve Denenberg) - 2:14
13.Frog Street (Doug Haggar, Bob Simons, Steve Denenberg) - 2:11
14.VD's Thing (Richard Van Dusen, Jake Devonshire, Mike McMillen, Doug Haggar, Bob Simons, Steve Denenberg) - 3:11
Tracks 1-10 produced by the band at JCP Studio in Raleigh, N.C. 01/1967
Bonus Tracks 11-14 produced by Bill Cash at Copeland Sound, Greensboro, N.C. 05/1967

The Horde
*Doug Haggar - Organ, Vocals
*Steve Denenberg – Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Bob Simons - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Mike McMillen - Bass
*Jake Devonshire - Drums, Vocals
*Richard Van Dusen - Bass

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Albatross - Rockin The Sky (1975 us, excellent mix of hard blues southern rock, 2016 edition)

Albatross was a hard southern rock band with extremely solid guitars. It's confident, driving, and often metallic in the way that Blackfoot could be. A consistent album that is an absolute must for those looking into the far reaches of southern rock obscurities, and the heavier side of Southern Rock in general.

Private press out of Virginia. Killer guitar leads, and tons of rad songs about partying. Very strong album, with one awesome jam after another. 

1. Out Of Control (Gary Ward, Henry Reid, Mike George) - 4:02
2. After The Fire (Henry Reid, Rudy Weaver) - 5:06
3. Spare A Dime (Henry Reid, Rudy Weaver) - 3:33
4. About Losing (Gary Ward, Henry Reid, Mike George) - 3:36
5. Back Street Lover (Gary Ward, Henry Reid) - 3:48
6. Same Old Song (Gary Ward, Henry Reid, Mike George) - 3:46
7. No Reason To Cry (Gary Ward, Mike George) - 2:47
8. On The Run (Henry Reid, Rudy Weaver) - 2:50
9. Yankee Jam (Gary Ward) - 2:55
10.Both Sides Now (Gary Ward, Henry Reid, Mike George) - 2:23
11.Other Side Of Town (Gary Ward, Henry Reid) - 3:09
12.Mean Woman Blues (Gary Ward, Henry Reid) - 4:44

*Gary Ward - Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals 
*Chris Massie - Guitar
*Rudy Weaver - Bass, Backing Vocals 
*Henry Reid - Keyboards 
*Joe Campbell - Drums, Backing Vocals 
*Mike George - Lead Vocals

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Blackfoot Sue - Nothing To Hide (1972-73 uk, excellent hard glam rock, 2011 reissue)

Blackfoot Sue are remembered today, if at all, for their one-off UK hit, Standing In The Road, a 1972 no. 4. Helmed by twins Tom and David Farmer, their 'classic' lineup included guitarists Eddie Golga and Alan Jones, all but Jones doubling on keyboards when required. 

They released their only album to appear during their 'lifespan', Nothing to Hide, in 1973, bullishly containing no singles, while featuring a vicious put-down of the then-current glam scene, Glittery Obituary. The album's peak, though, is the ripping The Spring Of '69, a condensed heavy epic on a par with the genre's market leaders. 

"Nothing To Hide" is simply divine. With its incendiary guitar solos, clattering drums & full on anthemic choruses it’s hard to imagine that this album was first issued back in 1973. The track Glittery Obituary is a fine example. As for the bonus tracks. These are mainly the singles & tracks that were never intended as part of the album. The track Summer was decided to be a single by their label at the time due to the success of another moody instrumental track - Albatrossby the legendary Fleetwood Mac. Sadly, Summer didn’t have the same success. 
1. Messiah - 4:59
2. Country Home - 4:19
3. Cry - 3:13
4. My Oh My - 3:05
5. Now We're Three - 2:38
6. The Spring Of '69 - 3:56
7. Glittery Obituary - 3:37
8. On His Own - 3:27
9. Too Soon - 4:40
10.Gypsy Jam - 2:15
11.Standing In The Road - 3:58
12.Celestial Plain - 3:22
13.Sing Don't Speak - 3:41
14.2 B Free - 3:15
15.Summer (From The Season Suite) - 3:13
All compositions by Alan Jones, David Farmer, Eddie Golga, Tom Farmer
Bonus Tracks 11-15 single releases

Blackfoot Sue
*Tom Farmer - Bass, Keyboards, Vocals
*Dave Farmer - Drums
*Eddie Golga - Guitar, Keyboards
*Alan Jones - Guitar, Vocals

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Coyote - Cast Off Your Old Tired Ethics (1974/83 us, solid rough dual guitar rock with southern shades, 2016 reissue)

The hand-drawn cover emits a homegrown vibe, and seems to be inspired by a image on the 1970 self-titled Humble Pie LP, yet is slightly different. The LP starts with a rousing cover of “Peter Gun” and you realize this was not a typical southern band. The production sound is pure 1980s, and I feel a rawer approach would have better suited the band’s style. Coyote had a tough, ass kicking attitude and at times amusing lyrics about cheap motels, getting stoned, and the doctor telling you that you are sterile as a mule while you can’t pay child support. For example “Later On Tonight” is a mandolin-led hell raising anthem that feels dark, like there is an undertone of menace in all the hard partying and liquor drinking. Most of the tunes feature simple riffs that are reverb-laden and something feels quite off kilter about them, like the band was being slicked down for FM radio in the age of AOR.

As it turns out, Coyote had actually been together for nearly a decade before Cast Off Your Old Tired Ethics was released. For example there are two 45rpm 7” singles recorded in Louisiana in 1974, and the roots of the band date as far back as the mid 1960s. A close friend introduced me to Dirk Peterson, the drummer and founding member of the band, who was more than happy to talk about his musical history and the story behind Coyote.

Dirk Peterson was born in Niagra Falls, New York in 1950. He moved to Morganton, North Carolina when he was 6. He was the son of a businessman, and his family traveled all over the world. The family moved to England and lived there for 5 years. His earliest musical influence was hearing the Beatles when living in the UK in 1962, and he fell in love with them. When he arrived back in the States in 1963, he brought back some Beatles records and was turning people on to them. Having a guitar early on, he decided to beat it like a drum instead of strumming it, and ended up drumming on cardboard boxes as well. When he moved back to England when he was 13-14, a drummer he met would let him sit in on his Ludwig kit and he was hooked. He was self taught and started drumming first on cardboard boxes. He got his first kit for Christmas, and by 1965 had joined his first band. He met up with Blackjack (who had two drummers) in New York City, and he recorded for the first time in 1966. He recorded at Electric Ladyland Studios and numerous others all by the age of 19. During the time, he worked at the navy shipyard during the day and recorded at night. Later, he moved to Lancaster California and would go down to LA to see the protesters. Local bands he used to go see included a young Captain Beefheart who played the local proms, as well as the Youngbloods. He filled in on drums with the Knickerbockers in a Battle of the Bands at the Hollywood Palladium, and was scared shitless. Experiences such as these set the stage for the origins of Coyote.

During a drive in 1970 he got hit by a drunk driver and tragically, his wife was killed. He got in a lawsuit and won a lot of money, and flew back home. He briefly moved to Stockholm, Sweden (where he saw the Rolling Stones with Mick Taylor in concert and Jimi Hendrix Experience) and then came back to North Carolina. He joined a cover rock band called Cypress, who auditioned for Hit Attractions out of Charlotte, NC who thought they were too far out and laughed at them. They played songs by popular hard rock bands of the day such as Led Zeppelin and Steppenwolf. When playing a gig in New England, a band was breaking down their equipment at the venue and told them how the mafia would mess them up if they didn’t do what they said.

After they played they were getting ready to pack up and leave and Dirk was called into the office of a Mafioso sitting behind a desk with a cigar who said “you can play until we tell you to go” He said “yes, sir” and went in the other room and told the rest of the band to stop breaking the equipment down, and that they were not going anywhere. They ended up staying and playing for 6 weeks, and were all well taken care of, regardless of the shady circumstances. Cypress loved to trip and party and would end up scoring ounces of mescaline, which fueled insane all night jam sessions. In 1971, the doctor told Dirk it would take 3 months for all of the acid to get out of his system, so naturally he decided to give the psychedelics a rest. He remained sober (for the most part) thereafter.

In 1974, a few years after Cypress broke up, he formed Coyote with a singer and guitarist named David Tenery. They named Coyote after the poor old coyote on the cartoon TV show, and later titled the album after the prostitution advocate group. Coyote made 2 45rpm records at Studio in the Country in Bogalusa, Louisiana in 1974. The original band consisted of 5 members, and they toured up and down the East Coast and West Coast and played such places as the Troubadour in LA. From the start they were mainly a cover band, with a few originals mixed in. They were influenced by the major Southern Rock bands of the time but also the Beatles. David Tenery was influenced by bluegrass and they had a different twang and played country rock, and for a long time Coyote was considered a honky-tonk band.

By 1979, Coyote had reformed with a different lineup, and changed to a harder southern rock sound. In 1983, their self-released record was pressed entitled Cast Off Your Old Tired Ethics. For a long time no one knew when the record was released because there was no date on the cover, and years such as 1975 and 1978 were thrown around. It was recorded in Nashville circa 1982-1983, and cost around 10,000$ to record. David Tenery’s girlfriend was an artist and drew up the cover, which looks like the same image that is featured on Humble Pie’s 1970 self-titled LP but is slightly different.

The album took close to 8 months to record, with the band bouncing back and forth between Nashville, Tennessee and Spartanburg, South Carolina. Kenny Laxton was behind the board producing, and the band fired him because he was goofing off with his feet on the mixing board drinking Jack Daniels instead of working. The band hated the production of the record and it does have a more 1980s sound that did not suit the band’s raw 1970s southern rock approach. They took the tapes to finish the record at The Marshall Tucker Band’s studio, with whom they shared the same agent. Bobby Whitlock of Derek and the Dominoes fame was hanging around the studio and guested on piano on the song “Mrs Smith.” 700 copies of the LP were pressed and were sold at shows and biker rally’s. A DJ in New York somehow found their record and brought it with him to Texas and played it on the radio. He called the band and said, “Blink Drunk and Crazy is a hit in Texas!” Unfortunately, they never were able to get any more copies of the LP down to him to spread the word. There has been interest in reissuing the Coyote record yet nothing ever came from it, and the master tapes are long gone.

Coyote was a hot club draw and opened for bands such as Artemus Pyle Band, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Doc Watson, and countless others. They had an agency called Showtime (owned by the band Nantucket) and labels like CBS and Epic were interested, but when they went stopped by CBS Records in NYC, they did not like the vibes and decided to sneak out before talking business. Coyote never got the record deal they wanted, yet came close many times. They made a lot of money selling merchandise (such as T-shirts) while on the road. An associate of Georgia Satellites said Elektra was looking for a rock act. One of Coyote’s band members was out of town and couldn’t get back with the band to meet with the label, so obviously they didn’t have a chance. Their live shows had pyrotechnics, and opened with their smoking cover of “Peter Gun” where crowds went berserk. They had a loyal following in North Carolina and as far north as Lamont, Massachusetts. They had their own road, PA, and production crew.

By 1987, the members of Coyote were getting older and having missed out on getting signed by 2 labels, they felt like their time was over. They were in their 30s and wanted to settle down, and Dirk had been married since 1978. After Coyote’s demise, a local Morganton, NC southern rock band called Copperhead came knocking on Dirk’s door asking for help. They wanted to know how they could make it in the music business, so being the veteran he was, Dirk had them a record deal in a year. He told them to listen to him and not do drugs, change their name and work on the stage show. They got a $1,000,000 record contract in 1991. He managed them from 1991-1993. Of course there was an issue in changing the name to Copperhead – They had to talk to John Cipollina’s wife to get the rights to use the name, as Cipollina had used the name for his band in the 1970s. The record label tried to take his position but he didn’t budge and got to keep it, because he had a signed legal partnership. Copperhead’s first single “Long Way From Home” was used as the title song for the movie “Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man.” Dirk’s advice to younger musicians is as such: if you really want, it you can be somewhere in the business, but you have to be persistent – the best thing he can say is to be true to yourself.
by Josh Robertson

1. Peter Gun (Henry Mancini) - 3:59
2. I Hope We Don't Get Caught (David Tenery) - 3:58
3. Later On Tonight (David Tenery) - 2:57
4. Final Notice (Dirk Peterson, David Tenery, Joe Long, Mike Bennett) - 3:01
5. Cheap Motel (David Tenery) - 4:06
6. Someday (Dirk Peterson, David Tenery, Randy Powell, Mike Bennett) - 2:51
7. Danger Zone (Randy Powell) - 2:51
8. Mrs. Smith (David Tenery, Randy Powell) - 3:09
9. Blind Drunk And Crazy (David Tenery, Randy Powell, Dirk Peterson, Mike Bennett) - 4:55

*Mike Bennett - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Dirk Peterson - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
*Randy Powell - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*David Tenery - Electric, Acoustic Guitars, Mandolin, Harmonica, Lead Vocals
*David Rivette - Bass
*Bobby Whitlock - Piano (Track 8)
*Don Jackson - Horns
*Don Sheffield - Horns
*Roger Bissel - Horns

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Blue Money Band - No Money Down (1978 us, tough boogie roots rock with southern feel, 2011 remaster)

Ex Woolies and Chuck Berry’s backup band doing some terrific boogie rockin’ here. Great chugging chugging music. The material presented here consists mostly of somewhat loud and fast boogie blues rock, with fairly commercial production and some use of synthesizer. 

Jeff Baldori left the Woolies in the late 70’s and formed his own band called Blue Money. Jeff Baldori’s Blue Money band released its first album, “No Money Down” in 1978. 

1. No Money Down (Chuck Berry) - 4:28
2. Run When You Roadie - 4:14
3. Coaxial - 4:01
4. Keep On Rockin' - 3:42
5. Can't Get Stuff - 3:39
6. Have Mercy (Don Covay, Ronald Miller) - 3:07
7. Easy Baby (Samuel Maghett "Magic Sam") - 4:21
8. Watchin' The Devil Die - 5:17
9. The Answer - 4:05
All songs by Jeff Baldori except where stated

Blue Money Band
*Jeff Baldori - Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Randy Burghoff - Bass, Vocals
*Bob Gardner - Drums
*Mike Skory - Piano
*Bob Baldori - Keyboards, Harmonica
*Bernie Mieslik - Saxophone
*Jack Groendal - Rhythm Guitar
*Emil DiVitri  
*Kevin Nicoloff  
*Rubin Drake