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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.


Friday, June 23, 2023

rep> Mouzakis - Magic Tube (1965-73 us, stunning raw garage psych with rhythm and blues traces, 2007 bonus tracks edition)

Mouzakis were an East coast basement garage psych group and this is their full LP from 1971. The band started with R&B rock standards, adapted on its way bits of rock’n roll, early rock, and stayed mostly rather on the edge with a more garage rock sound. They learned songs like from Animals, and did a cover from Blues Magoos.

Groups of that time like The Who, Animals and even the Rolling Stones very much liked to keep that rawness of garage alive in their more into the 70s directing rock expressions, also Fabulous Pharoahs and Mouzakis fitted with that approach.

The tracks are a bit longer and especially the first two tracks show complex rhythm use in combination with their adapted R&B influence into rock territory. “Magic Tube” has a complex fast rhythm, (bass and drums) almost funky in its bluesy rock way, while on top is slower bluesy singing, with rhythm guitar, creating a unique kind of complexity I have not heard elsewhere. “Rock Around the clock” with additional organ parts continues a bit in the same direction.

Fred Dawson opined 'after trying to get 4-5 people to agree on 'stuff to play,' we ended up as a three piece band. What we lacked in personnel we made up for in amplification.' Magic Tube, very much the rough and ready hard garage psych album, features almost complete material from the collective pen of Dawson and Stevenson.

Of the band, one critic was moved to proclaim 'Mouzakis has to be heard to be believed. They are totally unique...and as a trio, they accomplish more in their sound than groups double their size!'" Two of the members continued to play under the name Capone until the 80s.

1. Sometimes, I Think About You (Ronnie Gilbert, Ralph Scala, Emil Theilheim, Mike Esposito) - 3:01
2. Hold Me Tight (Fred Dawson, Ed Stevenson, Bill Rylander) - 2:41
3. Church Key (Aubry Fisher, Ed Stevenson) - 2:41
4. Route 66 (Bobby Troup) - 2:11
5. Run And Hide (Fred Dawson, Ed Stevenson) - 2:03
6. Fire Street (Fred Dawson, Ed Stevenson) - 2:59
7. Don't Need Your Money - 3:08
8. Gonna Give You Rock 'n' Roll - 2:33
9. Looking Back (Johnny Guitar Watson) - 2:28
10.We Will Be Together (Dick Taylor, Phil May, John Stax) - 3:14
11.Lady (Fred Dawson, Steve Stipo) - 3:06
12.Hey Hey Hey (Richard Penniman) - 2:13
13.Morning Sun (Fred Dawson, Ed Stevenson) - 2:40
14.Don't Want You No More (Fred Dawson, Ed Stevenson) - 2:46
15.Magic Tube - 7:26
16.Rock Around The Clock (Jimmy DeKnight, Max Freedman) - 2:30
17.White Horse - 3:28
18.Love Everyday - 3:56
19.Long Haired Bombardier - 4:07
20.Party Ball - 2:18
21.Lady - 5:31
22.Both Do Fine - 3:09
All songs by Fred Dawson, Eddie Stevenson, Steve Stipo except where stated 
Tracks 1-4 as The Fabulous Pharoahs

*Ed Stevenson - Vocals, Trumpet, Drums
*Sam Stipo - Guitar
*Fred Dawason - Saxophone, Keyboards

The Fabulous Pharoahs
*Ed Stevenson - Lead Vocals, Drums 
*Aubrey Fisher, - Lead Guitar 
*Fred Dawson - Tenor Sax, Organ 
*Bill Rylander - Rhythm Guitar
*Bobby Walker - Bass

Friday, June 16, 2023

The Bleu Forest - Ichiban Live At Jimmie's (1967 us, exciting rough garage psych rock, 2017 release)

I’m betting most of you have heard the Bleu Forest’s “A Thousand Trees Deep,” which was issued in 2016 on the Golden Pavilion label. Initially recorded in 1968, the disc duly renewed interest in the otherwise obscure Ventura County, California band. Prior to the birth of “A Thousand Trees Deep,” the Bleu Forest laid down a recording, that like “A Thousand Trees Deep,” had been hiding in the vaults for years.

Recorded one night in August 1967 at producer Jimmie Haskell’s house, the effort portrays the band in all their bare bones bravado. Employing only a two track reel to reel tape machine and a pair of microphones, the fellows poured their hearts and souls into the performance as though they were courting a massive crowd at Madison Square Garden. Despite the limited technology and spontaneity of the session, the results are mighty impressive. The tone is punchy, while the Bleu Forest approaches their songs with a concentrated focus. Original material, matched by a solid vision, presents the musings of a self-contained band.

The dual influences of raggedy garage rock and psychedelic exploration prevail throughout “Ichiban – Live At Jimmie’s,” directing the tracks to shimmer and sizzle with West Coast cool. Thoughtful lyrics, occasionally flashing a flowery poetic quality, lend a sense of mystique to the mix.

Chiming Byrds styled licks snuggle side by side with aggressive acid-informed frequencies, recalling the barbed bite of Jefferson Airplane and the latter day Vejtables. Detached British inspired vocals, backed by excitable harmonies, along with free-flowing tempos and compact jamming seal the set.
My favorite songs on “Ichiban – Live At Jimmie’s” are “When I’m Alone,” “Bitter Street,” “A Woodland Spring” and “One I Love,” but the whole collection is a satisfying listen. 

Not a speck of dead space appears here, as the Bleu Forest rock relentlessly to a high energy level. A valuable piece of history, “Ichiban – Live At Jimmie’s” offers an enjoyable look at a great band that was not only hip to the sounds of the time period in which they were active, but capable of expressing themselves with genuine conviction. 
by Beverly Paterson
1. Bitter Street - 3:21
2. Story Of A Sort - 2:37
3. When I'm Alone - 3:10
4. One I Love - 3:16
5. I Need Sunshine - 2:52
6. You Said You're Leaving - 3:54
7. Looking In - Introspection Song - 3:41
8. For You - 2:30
9. A Woodland Spring - 3:35
10.At Times - 4:13
11.Colored Rings - 3:05
All songs by Mike Cullen

The Bleu Forest
*Mike Cullen - Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Jack Caviness - Drums
*Gary Heuer - Guitar, Vocals
*Ed Steele - Bass

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Green - To Help Somebody (1971 us, pleasant rural, classic rock, 2011 reissue)

One of the most unjustly-neglected bands of their time, Green got together at North Texas State University in the late '60s, and released a stunning psych-pop debut in 1969. Their largely-overlooked second LP first appeared in September 1971. In the interim between albums, multi instrumentalist James Neel had been replaced by pianist / trumpeter Jay Pruit.

"To Help Somebody" was self produced, and recorded at 2545 North Fitzhugh, Dalla Texas. It's still largely unknown, perhaps because it doesn't sound much like its predecessor, a punchy pop rock record, tightly performed and well recorded.

A classy combination of rock and roll and ballads, with acid-tinged guitar and tasteful horns, it comes across as an idiosyncratic amalgam of The Beatles, The Zombies and Buffalo Springfield, making it a must-have for fans of classic '60s psychedelia and early 1970s rural rock. 

1. All My Bells - 3:24
2. To Help Somebody - 1:53
3. She Dont' Love Me - 2:58
4. Mary Magdalena - 2:04
5. Can You See Me (Wilson Fisher) - 2:52
6. Teenage Woman (Gary Casebeer) - 2:34
7. Lady, Oh Lady - 1:49
8. Big Dipper (John Martin, Wilson Fisher) - 3:48
9. High Time (Jay Pruitt, John Martin) - 3:02
10.Suzy - 2:49
11.Funny Faces - 3:11
12.San Fernando Valley Girls - 3:11
13.Forest Lawn - 1:35
All compositions by John Martin except where indicated

*Gary Casebeer  - Drums, Vocals
*Richard Gardzina - Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet, Trumpet, Piano, Accordion
*Wilson Fisher - 8 String Bass, 12 String Guitar, Vocals
*John Martin - Guitar, Piano, Clavinet, Vocals
*Jay Pruitt - Piano, Trumpet
*Kathy Kelsey Pruitt - Cello (Tracks 5,7)
*Chuck Mandernach - Trombone (Track 11)


Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Bob Hughes - The Kids Are Ok! (1978 uk, magnificent folk silky rock, 2011 korean remaster)

An obscured English singer songwriter Bob Hughes, was thirty-two years old at the time he recorded his first album (My Old Man) at Spaceward Studios in 1976. This was followed in the same Cambridge studios by In For a Penny with the group Hooknorton in 1977 and The Kids Are Ok! 1978, which was recorded in two sessions only!!

The Kids Are Ok! is a step in a new world. Firstly, it's the work of a band, The Bob Hughes Band which comprised of Bob Hughes (12 string guitar, 6 string guitar and vocals) and 5 talented musicians: John Kaliski (lead guitar, bass guitar, vocals), Alan Buxton (same as John), Gary Moore (drums), Adrian Nash (keyboards and vocals) and Ron Turner (lead guitar). Secondly, this album is much more folk rock than My Old Man, with plenty of electric guitar. Melodies are so catchy they will stay in your head for days.

1. When I Get There - 3:25
2. Jeannie - 3:48
3. Black Haired Girl - 3:34
4. The Kids Are Ok - 3:06
5. Belinda Blue Eyes - 3:24
6. I Ain`t Got You - 3:55
7. Losing You - 4:10
8. French Wine - 4:22
9. Jacqueline - 5:05
10.Nichola`s A Place - I Know - 3:09
11.In Love With You - 3:01
12.You Broke My Heart - 4:12
Words and Music by Bob Hughes

*Bob Hughes - 12-String Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Vocals
*Gary Moore - Drums
*Adrian Nash - Keyboards, Vocals
*Ron Turner - Lead Guitar
*Alan Buxton - Lead Guitar, Bass Guitar, Vocals
*John Kaliski - Lead Guitar, Bass Guitar, Vocals

Thursday, June 1, 2023

rep> Bear Mountain Band - One More Day (1971 us, outstanding hard psych blues rock, 2015 remaster)

A loud hardrock /heavy psych U.S. group from Arizona with lots of fuzz guitar and gritty vocals. Local mountain air rocker with psychy west coast flashes on the excellent titles track ‘One More Day’ and else where, more melodic numbers rural rock vibe, with a couple of extended jams showing good playing and a nice atmosphere all around. ‘Crotch Crickets, has a really catchy heavy riff, other song that really stands out is ‘Crossroader’, which has some really memorable up-tempo and wah-heavy guitar playing. It’s a real rock burner. Mount is also a great instrumental track. The rest of the album is also a high standard bluesy hard psychedelic rock. 

1. One More Day - 2:47
2. Crotch Crickets - 4:08
3. Somethin' to Say - 5:28
4. Aspen Jam (Cam Empens, Bill Richardson, Frank Ford) - 5:24
5. Bagdad Boogie (Bill Richardson, Bill Keisler) - 2:26
6. Crossroader (Bill Richardson, Cam Empens) - 3:53
7. Mount (Bill Richardson, Frank Ford, Cam Empens) - 4:48
8. Fallin' (Bill Richardson, Cam Empens) - 3:50
9. Tihsllub (aka Irondoors) - 2:24
All songs by Bill Richardson except where indicated

Bear Mountain Band
*Bill Richardson - Guitar
*Bill Keisler - Bass
*Cam Empens - Organ
*Frank Ford - Drums

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