Sunday, April 21, 2019

Three Man Army - A Third Of A Lifetime (1971 uk, stunning power hard guitar rock, bonus tracks remaster)

A Third Of A Lifetime by Three Man Army was one of the first LPs I bought, around 1972 from a cut-out bin in a dodgy independent supermarket, run by a local chancer and located at the rear of a cattle market. Ah…the smell of fresh vinyl and cow shit, I remember it well. As with all those other bargain LPs by obscure bands it shared the rack with, some of which now change hands for large sums, it was bought (or not) on the strength of its cover design, and the look of the band from the photos on the inner sleeve. The cover is a rather clever amalgam of a gun, based around a machine head and a drumstick. It was no doubt a reference to the band’s previous incarnation as much as it tied in with the new and militaristic band name. I am glad I bought it, as it has remained a favourite over all those years. When I saw Esoteric were reissuing this lost gem I just had to take up the scribbling duties, so here goes…

The coming together of Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton in 1966 as Cream not only saw the first instance of what swiftly became known as a supergroup, but it was also the first widely popular rock power trio, beating the likes of The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Taste by a matter of weeks. The power trio would prove to be a format that would become increasingly popular in the years that followed, with bands like Groundhogs – who actually existed before Cream – Blue Cheer, Budgie, Beck Bogert & Appice, ZZ Top and many, many others taking the format on into the ’70s and beyond.

One such trio was UK psychedelic hard rock band Gun, formed in 1967 by guitarist Paul Gurvitz (then known as Curtis), who previous to their 1968 worldwide hit Race With The Devil and subsequent two albums were a larger unit, once famously and briefly including Jon Anderson in the line up. The Yes connection continued, as Gun’s self-titled debut album was illustrated by Roger Dean’s first foray into LP cover art. The version of the band that released records was whittled down to a trio, with Paul Gurvitz on bass guitar, joined by his brother Adrian on lead and rhythm guitar and Louie Farrell on drums.

Gun disbanded after unsuccessful attempts to follow up the hit single, and the brothers briefly went their own ways before reconvening in 1971 as Three Man Army, initially a studio-only project due to other commitments, and ironically without a permanent drummer, rather giving the lie to the name! The punchy band name was reflected in the music, which saw a stylistic shift into the then nascent hard rock sound, as exemplified by contemporaries Budgie, but sweetened by a pop sensibility. The psychedelic embellishments of yore were trimmed right down but not completely shorn, as evidenced by the kaleidoscopic ending to Another Day, probably my favourite track from A Third Of A Lifetime. Largely though, the paisley was replaced by denim, the band pursuing a melodic yet tough rocking sound.

In the post-Gun period Adrian had worked with Buddy Miles, and he appears as a guest drummer on the opening track, offering a typically muscular backing. Buddy Miles also contributes organ to the laid back funk rock of Midnight and bass to the fearsome wah-fest of Nice One. Mike Kellie, on a short sabbatical from Spooky Tooth, who seven or so years later turned up on the drum stool for the fabulous post-punk band The Only Ones is the drummer for the rest of the album, and his percussive flair shines through on Another Day and on Midnight, the gloriously clear mix of this particularly fine remaster highlighting every subtlety of Kellie’s highly musical style.

As with Gun, Adrian Gurvitz writes almost everything for Three Man Army and A Third Of A Lifetime opens with Butter Queen, a song that nails the brothers’ new sound to the floor, it being a fast paced hard rocker that rattles the ornaments in exemplary fashion. Butter Queen, along with the Groundhogs-like sleazy wah-funk of Nice One and the dramatic rhythmic syncopations of See What I Took are ’70s rock classics…I wonder if he wrote them in an attic*?

It’s not all hard rockin’, they did slower songs too, in my humble opinion better than their Welsh contemporaries Budgie, leaders of the UK pack in early ’70s power trio hard rock, but a band whose slow songs sound like the album fillers they were. The romantic instrumental title track here includes a neat string arrangement presaging Adrian’s later forays into the pop market. The pop arrangements Adrian has a knack for are also highlighted on the band anthem Three Man Army, and on Agent Man which both come across as a combination of Slade balladry and early ELO with added guitar wizardry, and both written before either of those bands had got into their stride. Closing with the reflective and latterly joyously charging and symphonic Together, hinting at the musical changes that were afoot in 1971, this is a fine album that does not trap itself into a corner of patchouli scented leather jacketed rocking, as was the case with a lot of similarly structured bands of the time, which is maybe why it didn’t sell in the quantities it certainly deserved to.

Three Man Army eventually became a proper touring band a year or so after this debut, when Adrian’s previous commitments with Buddy Miles had been fulfilled, with renowned tub thumper Tony Newman moving into the drum seat. They recorded two more albums – a third album of unreleased material came out in 2005 – and went on to have moderate success in Europe, and Germany in particular, but the gap between the first album to becoming a touring band meant that impetus was lost here in the UK and they never amounted to anything in their homeland. This was a shame as I consider them to have been at least on a par with their contemporaries, and it took Adrian’s meeting up with Ginger Baker while in the States with Buddy Miles prior to the recording of A Third Of A Lifetime, a meeting that would eventually lead to the formation of the Baker Gurvitz Army, for the brothers to achieve the albeit short-lived level of success that their undoubted talents deserved.
by Roger Trenwith
1. Butter Queen (Adrian Gurvitz, Keith Ellis) - 5:23
2. Daze (Adrian Curtis, Lou Reizner) - 4:02
3. Another Day - 6:49
4. A Third Of A Lifetime - 4:29
5. Nice One - 4:10
6. Three Man Army - 5:05
7. Agent Man - 5:36
8. See What I Took - 3:31
9. Midnight - 5:23
10.Together - 6:34
11.What's Your Name (Single Version) (Adrian Gurvitz, Lee Baxter Hayes) - 3:31
12.Travellin' - 4:00
13.What's Your Name (Previously Unreleased)  (Adrian Gurvitz, Lee Baxter Hayes) - 4:36
All songs by Adrian Gurvitz except where stated
Bonus Tracks 11-13

Three Man Army
*Adrian Gurvitz - Guitar, Vocals, Organ, Mellotron
*Paul Gurvitz - Bass, Vocals
*Mike Kelly - Drums
*Buddy Miles - Drums (Track 1), Bass (Track 5), Organ (Track 9)

1974  Three Man Army - Two (Japan SHM remaster)
Related Acts
1965-67 The Knack - Time Time Time (2007 release)
1968  Gun - Gun
1969  Gun - Gunsight (Japan 2008 remaster)
1971-72  Parrish And Gurvitz - The Parrish And Gurvitz Band (2006 remaster)

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Friday, April 19, 2019

McCully Workshop - Ages (1975 south africa, fine multiblended rock, 2010 bonus tracks edition)

“'Ages' is a sort-of concept album”, remembers Mike McCully. In the early 70's, the promise made by the improvisational bands in the late 60's, like Cream, Iron Butterfly, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and many others, had started to bear fruit. It was a time of rock music becoming really heavy and progressive, but also a time of the Singer-Songwriters genre and Folk Rock. Medieval themes, Lord Of The Rings and 'Dungeons and Dragons' styles were the also the order of the day. Keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman had released an instrumental album about the 'Six Wives Of Henry VIII', Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow had sang about 'The Man On The Silver Mountain' and Uriah Heep celebrated 'The Magician's Birthday'.Mike says that when McCully Workshop used to perform live around that time, the set list would include their arrangements of classical pieces like Bach's 'Toccata in D Minor', Grieg's 'Hall Of The Mountain King' and Strauss' 'Also Sprach Zarathustra' (better known as the theme to '2001: A Space Odyssey)' alongside 'Every Little Thing' by The Beatles and 'The Man From Afghanistan' by Curtiss Maldoon. Quite an eclectic mix.

When asked about his favourite song on the 'Ages' album, Mike McCully says without hesitation: 'I Walked Alone'. “This song had very difficult drumming, and I was influenced by Jim Keltner at the time. And the drumming on 'Guinevere' features double-tracked triplets”, continues Mike, “and live I used to play this with four sticks (a la John Bonham) for audio and visual effect.” The album opener, 'Avenue' is a bass-driven rock track, which echoes 'Salisbury'-era Uriah Heep, whilst 'Carbon Canyon' is an up tempo Steve Miller Band influenced blues boogie with rollicking piano and cool guitar licks from Richard Black (born 9th December 1946) who had been playing guitar with various bands since the mid-60s. He had been in a rock power trio, Elephant, with George Wolfaardt (Abstract Truth) and Savvy Grande (Suck) and he brought his impressive rock credentials into McCully Workshop as a replacement to Bruce Gordon. Black also brought his flute-playing skills to the 'Ages' album, and the flute adds an extra dimension to the Focus-inspired instrumental 'Shingles'. 

'Step On Easy' is influenced by Country Folk Rock, and would not have been out of place on a Stealers Wheel album. 'Blues In C minor' was recorded live at the Students Union Hall at the University Of Cape Town. It is a tongue-in-cheek improvisational live blues jam with Tully trying out his best Louis Armstrong impersonation. “It was a spoof song”, says Tully, “I would make up different lyrics every time I sang it”. Leon Morton's organ-playing shines on this song.

Emerson, Lake and Palmer were a big influence on the recording sessions. Keyboardist Leon Morton loved Keith Emerson, Mike McCully rated Carl Palmer as a top drummer, and Tully McCully is a singing bassist, just like Greg Lake. Leon Morton used an Elka Rhapsody string synthesizer (also used by artists like Jean-Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream) extensively on the 'Ages' album, and the epic chords on 'The Plague' are thanks to this instrument.

Richard Wilson's violin playing can be heard on a number of tracks on 'Ages' including a few of his own compositions. '1623' and 'Shingles' are among Tully's favourite songs on the album .'Great medieval sounds, mixed in with Irish jigs”, says Tully. “They were very much in the style of 70's prog-rock band East Of Eden`s surprise hit single,. 'Jig-A-Jig' ,we even used to play that song at our live performances”. Richard Wilson was also a classically-trained pianist and his playing can be heard prominently on 'Guinevere'. This song is a powerful prog-rock ballad that reached the LM Radio Top Ten. The vocal harmonies of Crocodile Harris can be heard on this track and it was performed live during the early days of South African TV.

McCully Workshop always prided themselves on their vocal harmonies, and were influenced by bands such as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Yes, The Beach Boys, Uriah Heep, The Moody Blues and The Beatles. “We were always well-rehearsed with our vocal harmonies”, remembers Tully. 'Forgot How To Smile' was penned by Richard Black and Tully wanted to try something different with the vocals, so he put them through a guitar phase pedal! On the subject of strange effects, the echo chamber for this album was the 18 by 12 foot corrugated iron water tank on the roof of the studio building. “We put a speaker on one side, and two mikes on the opposite side to create echo and reverb effects” says Tully. “Then one day a storm came and blew the water tank across the road on top of the building next door!” Unperturbed they strung cables across and continued to use it.
by Brian Currin
1. Avenue - 3:58
2. 1623 (Richard Wilson) - 2:08
3. You - 2:54
4. I Walked Alone (Richard Wilson) - 3:35
5. Carbon Canyon (Richard Black) - 2:50
6. Blues In C Minor - 5:15
7. Step On Easy - 2:40
8. Guinevere - 3:11
9. Goddbye Lonely Blues - 2:56
10.The Plague (Richard Wilson) - 2:54
11.In The Quiet Hours (Richard Black) - 3:13
12.Forgot How To Smile (Richard Black) - 2:34
13.Shingles (Richard Wilson) - 3:43
14.Carnival - 3:14
15.Got A Good Reason - 2:51
16.I'm Waiting - 4:35
17.Inside - 3:52
18.Rainbow'S Illusion - 3:29
19.Gunpoint - 2:54
20.Shamrock - 2:52
All songs by Tully Mccully except where stated
Bonus Tracks 14-20

McCully Workshop
*Mike Mccully - Drums, Vocals
*Tully Mccully - Lead Vocals, Bass, Guitar
*Richard Black - Guitars, Vocals
*Richard Wilson - Violin, Mellotron, Electric Piano
*Leon Morton - Organ, Synthesizer

1970  McCully Workshop - Inc (2009 remaster) 
1971  McCully Workshop - Genesis (2009 remaster) 

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

McGuinness Flint - Happy Birthday Ruthy Baby (1971 uk, great folk pub rock with some prog shades, 2016 japan SHM remaster with bonus tracks)

In the early '70s, Capitol had both the Band and McGuinness Flint on their roster, with both bands producing the best work of their careers. Like the Band, McGuinness Flint excelled by ignoring trends in rock music and drawing on styles with deeper roots. Also like the Band, Happy Birthday, Ruthy Baby is a follow-up that often surpasses their exceptional debut album. Where Dylan's former backup band was making the cover of Time magazine, though, McGuinness Flint remained largely unknown outside their native England. Happy Birthday, Ruthy Baby, with solid production by Glynn Johns and the gifted Nicky Hopkins on piano, expands on the rustic tone of the band's first album. 

The title track is a rousing pub rock tribute to one of the band's supporters, a touching picture of life as a struggling musician. Jazz influences permeate the propulsive "Reader to Writer" and "Fixer," with its stunning trombone solo. "Klondike" is a slice of Americana that could easily pass for a Robbie Robertson composition, and the acoustic "Sparrow" is as moving as any ballad to come out of the '70s. From beginning to end, Happy Birthday, Ruthy Baby is a gem, full of promise for the group. It's unfortunate that the album, and the band, were not more widely appreciated. Principle songwriters Gallagher and Lyle left after this album. Although McGuinness Flint rebounded in style with Lo and Behold, lead singer Dennis Coulson soon started a solo career, and the band folded in 1975. 
by James A. Gardner
1. Happy Birthday, Ruthy Baby - 3:23
2. Conversation - 3:06
3. When I'm Alone With You (Hughie Flint, Tom McGuinness) - 2:42
4. Fixer - 3:55
5. Faith And Gravy - 2:45
6. Klondike - 2:10 
7. Reader To Writer - 2:40
8. Changes - 2:44
9. Friends Of Mine - 2:52
10.Piper Of Dreams - 3:41 
11.Jimmy's Song - 3:36
12.Sparrow - 2:59
13.Wham Bam (Dennis Coulson, Hughie Flint, Tom McGuinness) - 2:46
14.Back On The Road Again - 2:59
All songs by Benny Gallagher, Graham Lyle except track #3 and #13
Bonus Tracks 13-14

McGuinness Flint
*Tom McGuinness - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
*Hughie Flint - Drums, Vocals
*Benny Gallagher - Guitar, Harmonica, Ocarina, Piano, Vocals
*Graham Lyle - Banjo, Bass, Guitar, Vocals, Mandolin
*Dennis Coulson - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Nicky Hopkins - Keyboards
*Jimmy Jewell - Saxophone
*John Mumford - Trombone

1970  McGuinness Flint - McGuinness Flint (2016 japan SHM bonus tracks remaster) 

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

McGuinness Flint - McGuinness Flint (1970 uk, marvelous folk soft rock, 2016 japan SHM bonus tracks remaster)

Here’s another roots rock classic in the same vein as The Band, only this slice of ‘Americana’ is from the UK! McGuinness Flint is sort of ‘The British Band’ and their debut album is a good, straightforward roots rock record worthy of your attention.

McGuinness Flint are Steve McGuinness, former Manfred Mann guitarist, and Hughie Flint, former John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers drummer. They only lasted from about 1970-1973 and thus were a bit ahead of the emerging Pub Rock scene in the UK, which might have provided them some more longevity, but it was well received in 1971. Two of these songs made the top 5 upon release in the UK: the upbeat go-to track, When I’m Dead And Gone(#2), and the polka-ish Malt And Barley Blues(#5). There are fun and strong tunes here like Bodang Buck, and Lazy Afternoon has a great mid-song transition. Mister Mister is brilliantly penned and infinitely catchy. Mainly, a good English folk/blues classic, and a pleasurable listen.

Faintly, the album teases some classic rock schmaltz; I don’t know how comfortable I’d be singing along to the lyrics “Rock on, rock on, everybody’s gonna rock on!” (unless it were a T-Rex song or something). And one time I dj’ed a track from this at a party and had to cut it short. But you can’t let missteps like these be judge. Fans of the Band are sure to be pleased with this quality record and will find the right time and place to let it ride.
by Brendan McGrath
1. Lazy Afternoon (Tom McGuinness, Dennis Coulson, Hughie Flint) - 3:54
2. Bodang Buck - 3:08
3. Mister Mister - 2:07
4. Heritage - 2:21
5. I'm Letting You Know (Tom McGuinness, Dennis Coulson) - 3:28
6. Let It Ride - 2:52
7. Dream, Darling Dream - 1:47
8. When I'm Dead And Gone - 3:41
9. Brother Psyche - 5:07
10.Who You Got To Love - 2:42
11.International - 3:22
12.Malt And Barley Blues - 2:14
13.Rock On (Dave Kelly, Tom McGuinness) - 2:54
All compositions by Benny Gallagher, Graham Lyle except where indicated
Bonus Tracks 12-13

McGuinness Flint
*Tom McGuinness - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
*Hughie Flint - Drums, Vocals
*Benny Gallagher - Guitar, Vocals
*Graham Lyle - Guitar, Vocals
*Dennis Coulson - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Dixie Dean - Bass, Harmonica

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Monday, April 15, 2019

The JuJus You - Treat Me Bad (1965-67 us, excellent garage folk beat psych, 2009 release with extra tracks)

Of all the regional garage bands that were never given the opportunity to record an album, the JuJus were amongst the very best.  They formed in 1964 and played a mixture of frat rock, British Invasion influenced teenbeat and classic garage rock sounds all around the local clubs of Grand Rapids.  Their early tracks can be heard on the above 2009 Cicadelic reissue, it’s an excellent sampling of the group’s career.   The early tracks have saxophones, sappy lyrics and muddy sound but are good for what they are – great frat rock and teenbeat. 

In 1965 the group would cut vocalist/guitarist Ray Hummel’s “You Treat Me Bad/Hey Little Girl” for Fenton.  Fenton was a local label run by electronic/production genuis  Dave Kalmbach and business partner Bruce Smith.  Fenton would cut many, many garage classics but You Treat Me Bad stands out as one of the label’s best.  The vocals are snotty and the tempo is driving; You Treat Me Bad would eventually hit number 2 on local radio.   The JuJus second 45 was cut in Kingtones guitarist Phil Robert Jr.’s basement studio and issued in a picture sleeve on the United label in 1966.  Both sides of “I’m Really Sorry/Do You Understand Me” are superb.  Do You Understand Me has guitar lines straight out of the Stones’ Last Time and is achored down by a nice fuzz solo.  Both recordings sound very crude and primitive but hold a special place in many garage fans’ hearts – this was some of the best rock n roll being pumped out of Michigan at the time.

The JuJus lineup would change quite a bit from 1964 to 1967.  Eventually the group would break up after losing core band members Ray Hummel, drummer Bill Gorski and saxophone player Max Colley.  But before throwing in the towel they would cut a few more songs in 1967 for a possible single release.  The JuJus were constantly evolving and by this time they had grown into a more experimental unit.  They would record two songs that year:  Sometime Or Another and If You Really Love Me.  The latter was a nice slice of power pop with pretty vocal harmonies and a quality guitar oriented arrangement.  Sometime Or Another, a song that was good enough for an A-side release, was the JuJus at their most psychedelic and adventurous.  This track could compete with any “big group’s” best single and was notable for its distorted vocals, blazing fuzz guitar solo and introspective lyrics.  It sounded like a hit but was probably a bit downbeat and too experimental for top 40 radio. 

The above reissue is one of the best garage rock offerings I’ve heard in quite some time.  Cicadelic gives you the classic singles, a good 1965 Ray Hummel Fenton 45 ( in which he is backed by the JuJus) and a slew of quality outtakes.  There are no lame covers and the sound quality is excellent.  The JuJus were a great group whose music still burns brightly in the memories of Michigan locals.  This is mandatory listening for anyone interested in pure rock n roll.
by Jason Nardelli

Formed in Grand Rapids, MI in 1963 by a trio of Godwin High School students, the JuJus never recorded an album but released an impressive series of poorly recorded but wonderfully energetic singles on local labels, including the ragged and raw garage cult classic “You Treat Me Bad,” and if they weren’t exactly polished musicians, the band certainly understood what made the little girls scream. Led by singer Ray Hammel and the throaty saxophone playing of Max Colley, Jr., the group played the state’s frat circuit, mixing in thinly disguised R&B licks with a dose of folk-rock, British Invasion echoes, and, later, a nice splash of psychedelia, sounding a bit like the Beau Brummels crossed with the early Kinks. “You Treat Me Bad” got a lot of play on the regional radio stations, but the band was no more by 1967. 

This set collects all of the group’s singles and adds in a live track and a handful of unissued sides to make a complete history of this fun little band. Highlights include two versions of “You Treat Me Bad,” the breezy “There She Goes,” “Hey Little Girl” (in two versions), “Do You Understand Me” (which borrows the main riff from the Rolling Stones' “The Last Time” and somehow gets away with it), the impressive “Sometime or Other,” and the delightful “If You Really Love Me,” which may have been the band’s melodic peak and certainly deserved some airplay. Countless garage bands like the JuJus sprang up in the mid- to late '60s, and most of those never did more than play a handful of gigs and left behind nothing but stacks of yellowed handbills in someone’s attic or basement, but the JuJus left behind at least 23 fun tracks of local garage band history, all of which is collected here. 
by Steve Leggett
1. You Treat Me Bad (Alternate Version) - 2:00
2. Hey Little Girl (Alternate Version) - 2:09
3. Runaround Girl - 2:09
4. I’m Cryin’ - 2:22
5. I Love Her So - 2:32
6. She’s My Girl - 2:03
7. There She Goes - 1:45
8. The Gentle Rain (Single B Side) -  2:52
9. Fine Day (Single A Side) - 2:34
10.It’s Gonna Be Alright (Gerry Marsden) - 2:24
11.You Treat Me Bad (Single A Side) - 1:51
12.I’m Really Sorry (Single A Side) (Rick Stevens) - 2:24
13.Do You Understand Me (Single B Side) (Bill Gorski, Rick Stevens) - 2:33
14.Sometime Or Other (Rick Stevens, Rod Shepard, Ron Homrich, Ronn Burke) - 2:49
15.If You Really Love Me (Rick Stevens, Rod Shepard, Ron Homrich, Ronn Burke) - 2:46
16.In The Park (Ronn Burke) - 2:14
17.Hey Little Girl (Single B Side) - 1:58
18.Come On Children - 3:21
19.The Gentle Rain (Alternate Stereo Version) - 2:54
20.Fine Day (Alternate Stereo Version) - 2:29
21.I’ll Be There (Bobby Darin) - 1:53
22.I Don’t Want To See You Again (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 2:09
23.Open Up Your Door (Lawrence Russell Brown, Neval Nader, Raymond Bloodworth) - 2:43
All songs by Ray Hummel except where stated

The JuJus
*Ray Hummel - Guitars, Harmonica, Vocals
*Ronn Burke - Guitar, Vocals
*Max Colley - Saxophone
*Bruce Essex - Rhythm Guitar
*Bill Gorski - Drums
*Ron Homrich - Drums
*Rod Shepard - Guitar, Bass, Organ
*Rick Stevens - Guitar
*Ray Vasques - Organ
*Brett Wells - Vocals

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Sunday, April 14, 2019

New Heavenly Blue ‎– New Heavenly Blue (1972 us, extraordinary blend of country, folk, jazz blues rock, 2010 reissue)

Chris Brubeck was born on March 19, 1952, in Los Angeles, where his family was staying at the time, due to his dad’s extended club engagement. One of  Dave Brubeck's six children,  he began playing piano at age five at the insistence of his dad, who wanted his offspring to have proper musicianship skills, in case they wanted to pursue music.

For high school, Brubeck attended the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, majoring in classical bass trombone, and was in the new jazz program’s big band, with Peter Erskine on drums. Through school and after graduating, he continued to play bass guitar, both in rock bands with classmates and as a guest on a few of his dad’s sides. One of the rock groups that he starthed along with David "Spaceman" Mason,  were New Heavenly Blue. 

They cut two albums one for RCA and one Atlantic, blending jazzrock, blues, country, folk and classical music. When the band dissolved in 1975, Chris and half the members went on to form the funk–rock–jazz unit Sky King. 
1. Love You Tonite (Chris Brubeck) - 3:04
2. The Battlefields Of History (Stephen C. Mason, David Mason) - 6:21
3. Raft Song (Chris Brubeck) - 2:20
4. Where Are You Tonight? (Chris Brubeck) - 3:26
5. Pegleg (Back In 35) (Chris Brubeck) - :05
6. Hard Lovin' Man (Chris Brubeck, David Mason, Jimmy Cathcart, Peter Bonisteel, Peter Ruth, Stephan Dudash) - 3:54
7. Tulsa Oklahoma Blues (Chris Brubeck) - 4:36
8. Nebulon Possessed (David Mason) - 3:25
9. The Idol (Chris Brubeck) - 5:30
10.I Look Upon What I Have Done (Jimmy Cathcart) - 1:55

The New Heavenly Blue
*Chris Brubeck - Bass, Trombone, Organ, Piano, Guitar, Vocals
*David "Spaceman" Mason - Guitar, Viola, Vocals
*Peter Ruth - Harmonica, Flute, Jew's Harp, Spoons, Vocals
*Jimmy Cathcart - Organ, Piano, Trumpet, Bass, Kalimba, Flugelhorn, Washboard, Vocals
*Stephan Dudash - Violin, Guitar, Vocals

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Friday, April 12, 2019

Jerusalem - Jerusalem (1972 uk, rough heavy downer rock, 2017 japan SHM remaster)

Round 1966 two high school classmates, Paul Dean and Ray Sparrow, in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, put together a local amateur band along with Chris Skelcher. They began as a trio, after a while Chris left and guitarists Bob Cooke and Bill Hinde came to join the band. They recorded a demo which eventually reaches in Ian Gillan's hands, who got excited.  TheĎ… signed a contract deal with Deram label. In 1972 they recorded and released their same titled sole album, produced by Ian Gillan.

Ian Gillan wrote:
“This is the first album by Jerusalem, a band which excites me very much; they are rough, raw and doomy with their own strong identity. As they are young and a bit green, they don't follow many rules, so their material is almost crude - but still immensely powerful in content. I believe that, whenever possible, the work of writers and players in their formative stages should be recorded; before inhibition and self-consciousness set in, before fire and aggression die down, and while they are still absorbing influences and doing things which others might consider 'uncool'. Most important though, before they might develop that self-imposed rigidity which afflicts so many. I hope none of these things happen to Jerusalem, we'll have to wait and see, this album is just in case. I hope you like it as much as I do”.
1. Frustration - 5:18
2. Hooded Eagle - 4:48
3. I See The Light - 3:55
4. Murderer's Lament - 3:40
5. When The Wolf Sits - 4:57
6. Midnight Steamer - 4:42
7. Primitive Man - 5:55
8. Beyond The Grave - 6:09
9. She Came Like A Bat From Hell - 5:43
10.Kamikaze Moth (Non LP Single Track)- 2:46
11.Primitive Man (Demo Version) - 6:56
12.Beyond The Grave (Demo Version) - 7:15
13.Hooded Eagle (Single Version) - 4:04
14.I See The Light (Mono Version) - 3:58
All songs by Lynden Williams, Bob Cooke, Bill Hinde, Paul Dean, Ray Sparrow 

*Lynden Williams – Vocals
*Bob Cooke – Guitar
*Bill Hinde – Guitar
*Paul Dean – Bass
*Ray Sparrow – Drums

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Mainline Bump 'N' Grind Revue – Live At The Victory Theatre (1972 us, awesome blues jam rock, 2006 edition)

One of Canada’s finest, the “McKenna Mendelson Mainline” (from band members Mike McKenna and Joe Mendelson), soon simply known as “Mainline,” are the authors of several very strong rock-blues oriented albums. Also well-known for their live performances, their incessant gigging granted them slots playing alongside names like the Jeff Beck Group (Grande Ballroom, Detroit), and on the British circuit, the Bonzo Dog Band, Family, Keef Hartley Band, Gun, Fleetwood Mac and the nascent Led Zeppelin. 

In 1972, under the more representative moniker of “Mainline Bump ‘n’ Grind Revue,” the band recorded this memorable live album, featuring several inspired originals along with reputable versions of songs by Big Joe Williams, Johnny Young, Jimmy Smith, Leadbelly, and even a surprising “Misty” by Erroll Garner. When these guys get cooking, not even a cold day in the Canadian Rockies can stop them. 

Michael McKenna, previously with Luke & the Apostles and the Ugly Ducklings, formed McKenna Mendelson Mainline with Joe Mendelson (vocals, guitar, bass, harmonica), Tony Nolasco (vocals, drums) and Frank Sheppard (vocals, bass, mandolin, harmonica). After Stink (1968) and Canada, Our Home and Native Land (1971), the band shortened their name to Mainline and broke up soon after.

Two posthumous albums appeared in 1972-73: The Mainline Bump and Grind Revue — Live at the Victory Theatre and Biscuit Meets Mainline. Joe Mendelson’s first solo album, Mr. Middle of the Road, appeared in 1972. Michael McKenna and Tony Nolasco later formed Diamondback. A reunion album with McKenna called No Substitute has also been released. 
by John Bush
1. Canada - 1:36
2. Ezmerelda (Joe Mendelson) - 3:26
3. Wild Wild Women (Johnny Young) - 4:57
4. Miss Collin’s Cha Cha (Michael McKenna) - 5:24
5. Feel Alright (Big Joe Williams) - 5:18
6. Game of Love (Joe Mendelson) - 3:17
7. Chicken Shack (Jimmy Smith) - 5:01
8. Misty (Errol Garner) - 3:52
9. C.C. Rider (Huddie William Ledbetter) - 3:16
10.No Boogie Finale - 1:27

Michael McKenna- Guitar, Vocals
Joe Mendelson- Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals 
Adam Mitchell- Harmonica, Mixing 
Tony Nolasco- Drums, Vocals 
Zeke Sheppard- Harmonica, Vocals

1969  McKenna Mendelson Mainline - Stink
1971  McKenna Mendelson Mainline - Canada Our Home And Native Land (2006 remaster) 

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Monday, April 8, 2019

McKenna Mendelson Mainline - Canada Our Home And Native Land (1971 canada, solid hard blues rock, 2006 remaster)

Having played in famed Toronto acts Luke & The Apostles and then, briefly, The Ugly Duckings, guitarist Mike McKenna took out an advertisement asking other like-minded individuals to form a new blues band. Joe Mendelson answered the ad and this team-up provided the basis of Mendelson Mainline in the summer of 1968.

Former Paupers' bassist Denny Gerrard was the next to join and another advertisement brought in new-comer Tony Nolasco from Sudbury.

The band worked its way around Yorkville with Denny Gerrard soon being replaced by former Grant Smith & The Power bassist Mike Harrison in 1968. With bigger profile concert gigs, the band's vibrant live show was committed to tape in September 1968 -- a session that would later come back to haunt the band.

McKenna Mendelson Mainline relocated to England late that year to pursue a record deal. After being signed to Liberty (United Artists) in the Spring of 1969, they worked the same English club circuit as up and coming bands like Fleetwood Mac and Led Zeppelin. In July of 1969 a single day recording session yielded the first Liberty Records album 'Stink'. They returned to Canada to await the release of the new album.

With their reputation as crowd pleasers on tours in England, Holland, and Australia with such acts as Rod Stewart, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, and The Guess Who preceding them, Paragon Records in Canada anticipated the band would be the 'next big thing' and rush released the September 1968 sessions to the band's chagrin.

Joe Mendelson quit in September of 1969 and Rick James (of Myna Birds fame) replaced him briefly to finish a run of contracted gigs. Mike McKenna effectively took the wind out of the group's sails by reforming a new version of Luke & The Apostles.

After a brief recording stint with Luke And The Apostles, McKenna found himself back with Mendelson, Nolasco and bassist Zeke Sheppard (formerly of Dutch Mason's Escorts) for the 1970 Scarborough Fair Festival.

By 1971 the re-christened Mainline was signed to GRT Records and released 'Canada Our Home & Native Land'.

The band's live shows became more risque and raunchier, defying the staid Canadian R & B clubs up and down the Toronto bar circuit. The result of Mainline's new found infamy was released as the 'The Mainline Bump 'n' Grind Revue: Live At The Victory Theatre' in 1972. One more album, 'No Substitute', was produced before the band collapsed.

Mendelson re-named himself Mendelson Joe and has had a prolific independent recording, writing, and painting career as well as being an outspoken political activist. He currently lives in Muskoka, Ontario; Gerrard went through a series of semi-successful Canadian recording acts such as Jericho and the Lisa Hartt Band; Zeke Sheppard joined former members of Rhinoceros under the new banner Blackstone for one album on GRT Records in 1973.  Ted Purdy is a lawyer in Toronto.

Mike McKenna continued on as a legendary slide guitar player -- including a stint replacing Domenic Troiano in the final days of the original Guess Who line-up. By the '90s he had formed Mike McKenna and Slidewinder with former Mainline bassist Denny Gerrard.

In the Spring of 1998 a Classic Rock Revival festival at The Warehouse club in Toronto found a semi-reformed Mainline hitting the stage for the first time in 25 years. The new Mainline has remained a mainstay of the Toronto Blues scene ever since and now boasts the title of being the final band to play at legendary El Mocambo upstairs on November 4, 2001. The band was recorded that night and an album from this performance was released on Bullseye Records in 2002.
by Tony Nolasco, Mike McKenna, Jim Zeppa, Bill Munson, Mike Harrison, Maxine Mitchell,  GW Watson. 
1. Blind Girl - 3:14
2. Get Down To - 3:34
3. Pedalictus Rag - 2:25
4. One Time Loser - 3:59
5. You're My Heart's Desire (Zeke Sheppard) - 2:28
6. Motorcycle - 4:44
7. I Am Normal - 2:44
8. Brain Damage - 4:04
9. Honkis De Honkis - 3:26
10.Going To Toronto (Joe Mendelson, Michael McKenna) - 8:02
11.Nova Scotia Breakdown (Traditional) - 0:42
All songs by Joe Mendelson except where stated

*Mike McKenna - Vocals, Guitar
*Joe Mendelson – Guitar, Bass, Harmonica, Vocals
*Tony Nolasco – Drums, Vocals
*Zeke Sheppard – Bass, Mandolin, Harmonica

1969  McKenna Mendelson Mainline - Stink 

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Sunday, April 7, 2019

Steppenwolf - Second (1968 canada / us, stunning hard acid psych rock, 2013 japan SHM with extra track)

Lost And Found was a genuinely thoughtful and self-critical song about romance and sex completely at odds with the still rather macho attitudes in rock music at the time. Because of their two-albums-a-year recording contract, the band had less time than they would have liked to work on 'Steppenwolf The Second'. For this reason, Mekler contributed one of his own compositions to the album in 28, (as well as co-writing two others with Kay, as he had on the first album).

Mars Bonfire contributed the opening Faster Than The Speed Of Life, which is actually sung not by Kay but by Jerry Edmonton. Despite the album's short gestation period, the band had grandiose artistic ambitions for it: the whole of side two had originally been intended to portray the development of the blues from its cotton field origins to present day rock. The concept wasn't fully realised but glimmers of it can be discerned, especially on the steel guitar opening and 12-bar structure of Disappointment Number (Unknown).

The centrepiece of the album was Magic Carpet Ride, a Kay/Moreve composition which was released as a single. Moreve would never get another songwriting credit with Steppenwolf so must have been especially pleased that it became only second to Born To Be Wild in being the song the public most associated the band with. Contrary to those who read drug connotations into the songwords, they were inspired by the expensive hi-fi Kay had bought with some of his royalties from the first album. 

The single certainly went on a magic carpet ride chart-wise, soaring to number 3 Stateside. Its parent album likewise went top five. It was the perfect end to a wonderful year for  a band which hadn't even been in existence barely a few months before its start.
by Sean Egan
1.  Faster Than The Speed Of Life (Mars Bonfire) – 3:12
2.  Tighten Up Your Wig  – 3:06
3.  None Of Your Doing (John Kay, Gabriel Mekler) – 2:50
4.  Spiritual Fantasy  – 3:39
5.  Don't Step On The Grass, Sam – 5:43
6.  28  (Gabriel Mekler) – 3:12
7.  Magic Carpet Ride  (John Kay, Rushton Moreve) – 4:30
8.  Disappointment Number (Unknown)  – 4:38
9.  Lost And Found By Trial And Error  – 2:20
10.Hodge, Podge, Strained Through A Leslie  - 2:42
11.Resurrection  – 3:43
12.Reflections  (John Kay, Gabriel Mekler) – 1:30
13. Magic Carpet Ride (Mono Single Version) (John Kay, Rushton Moreve) – 2:57
All tracks composed by John Kay except where indicated

*John Kay - Lead Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
*Michael Monarch - Lead Guitar
*Goldy McJohn - Organ, Piano
*Rushton Moreve - Bass
*Jerry Edmonton - Drums, Vocals

1968  Steppenwolf (2013 japan SHM bonus tracks and 2014 SACD)
1969  Early Steppenwolf (1967 Live, Japan SHM mini lp)
1969  At Your Birthday Party (Japan SHM 2013 remaster)
1969  Monster (2013 japan SHM issue)
1970  Steppenwolf - 7 (2013 japan SHM remaster)
1970  Live (2013 Japan SHM edition)
1971  For Ladies Only (Japan SHM 2013 remaster)
Related Act
1968  John Kay and the Sparrow
1972  John Kay – Forgotten Songs and Unsung Heroes

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