Saturday, March 25, 2023

Light - Light (1978 ireland, excellent guitar rock)

These guys are an Irish band from the late 70's. The vocals remind of Rory Gallagher and the songs have a Thin Lizzy-ish quality with some nice dual harmony guitars.
Songwriting is in the same mold as Lizzy as well as is the pace of the album. Nice guitars on this one supplied by Jim Armstrong who was in Them and also Truth (the Chicago-based one).

Anyone who remembers THEM (with Van Morrison) between 1967 and 1968, and (without Van Morrison) between 1969 and 1971, or a Chicago-based band called TRUTH, cannot fail to recall the playing of one of the world's great rock guitarists JIM ARMSTRONG.

Following the demise of TRUTH in 1971, Armstrong retreated from the international scene to gig at a more relaxed pace in his native Belfast. There was some writing and recording work with Brian Scott and bertie MacDonald in 1973, to be followed by concert performances with an occasional band called LIGHT, which, also included George O'Hara and Albert Mills. 

The breakthrough came in March 1977 when the band came together to play regular sessions at Ireland's premiere rock venue, the POUND, at the invitation of Dermont Moffatt. The last fifteen months have seen LIGHT established as Ireland's finest rock band, possibly the best ever.
Liner Notes
1. The Break (Albert Mills, Jim Armstrong) 4:14
2. Harland The Wolf (Jim Armstrong, Bertie MacDonald) 6:47
3. Beatification Of A Sad Pussycat (Brian Scott) 4:59
4. The Hooker (Albert Mills, Jim Armstrong) 4:35
5. Lonely One (George O'Hara, Jim Armstrong) 3:06
6. Castles In The Sand (Jim Armstrong, Bertie MacDonald) 3:57
7. Summertime (George Gershwin) 4:58
8. Ray's Song (The Dance) (George O'Hara) 3:39

*Jim Armstrong - Lead Guitar
*Albert Mills - Bass, Lead Vocals
*Brian Scott - Keyboards, Flute, Backing Vocals
*George O'Hara - Guitar, Vocals, Lead Vocals (Tracks 2,5)
*Bertie MacDonald - Drums  
*Artie Thompson - Additional Percussion (Track 1)

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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Howlin' Wolf - Message To The Young (1971 us, amazing electric acid blues, 2007 japan remaster)

Oft-considered his second attempt (after the Howlin Wolf Album he famously shunned) at offering the masses a psychedelic record, the sound on the record ranges from acid-rock, to blues, to funk, and back again. The title track on Message To The Young is exactly what the title suggests; Wolf s attempt at reaching the youth of the era in a beautiful spoken word ballad which can easily be summed up in two words Be Yourself .
1. If I Were A Bird (Morris Dollison) - 4:34
2. I Smell A Rat - 2:15
3. Miss James - 3:27
4. Message To The Young (Ralph Bass, Sonny Thompson) - 5:50
5. She's Looking Good (Roger Collins) - 2:40
6. Just As Long - 3:42
7. Romance Without Fiance - 3:22
8. Turn Me On - 4:32
All songs by Sarah Lewis, Sonny Thompson except where stated

*Howlin' Wolf - Vocals, Harmonica
*Sonny Thompson - Piano
*John Jeremiah - Organ
*Bryce Roberson - Guitar
*Jon Stocklin - Guitar
*Bob Crowder - Bass
*Tyrone Smith - Drums


Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Skyhooks - Living In The 70's (1974 australia, solid power pop, glam rock, 2004 remaster)

One of the hallmarks of truly great albums is that they document the moment of their creation but sound as though they could have been recorded at any time; they transcend the era of their conception but record it perfectly. Skyhooks’ Living in the 70’s is such an album.

Straight ahead rock and roll with an eyeliner of glam, Living in the 70’s sheds a small but unblinking light on what it was like to be an inner-suburban post adolescent in Melbourne circa 1974. The opening lines of the album sum it up pretty well. I feel a little empty, I feel a little strange. Like I’m in a pay-phone, without any change.

Dislocated, disassociated, dissatisfied and slightly disillusioned, the songs on Living in the 70’s touch on the emergence of youth sub-culture that was just gaining a foothold at the time. The children of the sixties were waking up, and for the first time they had the guts not to listen to their parents or authority. It’s not the cry of an anarchist punk, but more the shout of I’m getting my ear pierced and I don’t care what you say! by a rebellious teenager. Mild, oh so mild, but still beyond what their parents were capable of. This album helped forge a youthful national identity.

Produced by Ross Wilson (ex Daddy Cool) and put out on the emerging Mushroom records label, the production is clean and crisp and captures the state of the songs much as they were when Skyhooks performed them live. Wilson reportedly fought for production duties on Living in the 70’s so that the content was not deliberately watered down to suit the mature taste of the times.

Filled with sex, drugs, and rock and roll, six of the ten tracks were banned by the Federation of Australian Commercial Broadcasters, which dictated airplay on the commercial stations, but rather than hinder sales, the attraction of contraband was too hard for the kids to ignore and they sent the album to No. 1 on the Australian charts for 16 weeks.

In retrospect it seems hard to comprehend what all fuss was about, but in the political context of the times songs like Smut and You just like me ˜cos I’m good in bed were never going to be passed by the censors. The ambiguity that 1974 could give birth to the material, yet try to immediately abort it, was due more to the hangover of 20 consecutive years of conservative Government than anything else, but the country would quickly get over its headache and go in for another round of binge drinking at the party of which Living in the 70’s was the soundtrack. An Aussie classic!
by Chris (The Rising Storm)
1. Livin' in the 70's - 3:42
2. Whatever Happened to the Revolution? - 4:09
3. Balwyn Calling - 3:42
4. Horror Movie - 3:47
5. You Just Like Me 'Cos I'm Good In Bed - 3:44
6. Carlton (Lygon Street Limbo) - 3:56
7. Toorak Cowboy - 3:47
8. Smut (Red Symons) - 5:15
9. Hey, What's the Matter? - 2:48
10.Motorcycle Bitch - 3:56
11.Broken Gin Bottle - 4:13
All songs by Greg Macainsh except where noted

The Skyhooks 
*Greg Macainsh - Bass, Vocals
*Shirley Strachan - Lead Vocals 
*Red Symons - Guitar, Vocals, Mandolin
*Bob "Bongo" Starkie - Guitar, Vocals
*Imants Alfred "Freddie" Strauks - Drums, Percussion
*Peter Sullivan - Vibes, Arp Synthesizer
*Greg Sneddon - Arp Synthesizer
*Liam Bradley - Vibes, Marimba, Xylophone
*Ross Wilson - Vocals
*Pat Wilson - Vocals

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

P.F. Sloan - Raised On Records (1972 us, wonderful folk rock)

Take a moment to consider a number of the songs written or co-written by Philip "P.F." Sloan: "Secret Agent Man," "Eve of Destruction," "Let Me Be," "Where Were You When I Needed You," "You Baby," "A Must to Avoid," "Another Day, Another Heartache."  Yet the songwriter, who died on November 15 at the age of 70, may be best known for the bittersweet, elegiac ode penned by his colleague and admirer, Jimmy Webb.  "I have been seeking P.F. Sloan," Webb's song begins.  "But no one knows where he has gone..."
by Joe Marchese

Raised on Records was a reflection of its times, with P.F. Sloan entering a mellower singer/songwriter phase, in tune with trends of the early 1970s. It almost seems as if Sloan has been influenced by James Taylor, and to a much lesser extent other low-key performers of the ilk like Cat Stevens - not nearly so much in his songwriting as in the laidback production. Sloan's underrated singing is good, and his writing is fair. By most singer/songwriter contrasts, this would be considered a respectable release.
by Richie Unterberger
1. Let Me Be - 2:47
2. The Way You Want It To Be - 4:05
3. The Night The Trains Broke Down - 4:19
4. The Moon Is Stone - 4:13
5. Raised On Records - 4:09
6. Springtime - 4:34
7. Como - 3:11
8. Sins Of A Family - 3:35
9. Turn On The Light - 3:03
10.Midnight Girl - 2:52
11.Somebody's Watching You - 4:16
Music and Lyrics by P.F. Sloan 

*P.F. Sloan - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
*John Barbata - Drums
*James Barton - Dobro
*John Baylor - Vocals
*Barry Beckett - Organ
*Ben Benay - Banjo, Guitars, Ukulele
*Richard Bennett - Steel Guitar 
*Hal Blaine - Drums
*Phyllis Brown - Vocals
*James Burton - Dobro
*Conte Candoli - Trumpet
*Evangeline Carmichael - Vocals
*Duane Eddy - Guitar
*Alan Estes - Congas
*Chris Ethridge - Bass
*Loren Farber - Vocals
*Mitch Gordon - Vocals
*Bobbye Hall - Percussion
*Ron Hicklin - Vocals
*Jim Horn - Flute, Tenor Saxophone
*Dick Hyde - Trombone
*Jackie Kelso - Guitar, Baritone Sax, Wind
*Larry Knechtel - Piano, Electric Piano 
*Robert Krantz - Violin
*Ida McCune - Vocals
*Mike Melvoin - Bass
*Mike Metzion - Bass
*Ollie Mitchell - Trumpet
*Michael Omartian - Accordion, Keyboards, Organ, Electric Piano 
*Joe Osborn - Bass, Drums
*Wayne Perkins - Guitar, Keyboards, Piano
*Sid Sharp - Strings
*Sally Stevens - Vocals
*Tony Terran - Trumpet
*Tata Vega - Vocals

1968  P.F. Sloan ‎- Measure Of Pleasure (2006 issue)

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Poobah - Let Me In (1972 us, superb hard rock, 2010 remaster and expanded)

In much the same way as you can throw a stone nowadays and hit a band riding along on the coat tails of some or other genre fad, be it stoner, doom, drone, sludge, emo or whatever, if you crack open enough rocks you will find the fossilized remains of a million albums from days gone by that have been long forgotten and discarded. In many cases these little gems are destined to remain languishing in obscurity but occasionally one will rise to the surface and gain a certain notoriety…look at Leafhound and Sir Lord Baltimore for example. It would seem that the guys at Ripple Music were talking a walk through the desert one day and tripped up on this cracking piece of wax from Poobah sticking out of the sand and decided to give it the kiss of life once more.

Unlike many of their contemporaries who have decided to ride the current wave of their newfound popularity and forge new line-ups to hit the road, it would appear that Poobah have never really gone away and have always been plugging away cranking out their proto metal psychedelic blues for nearly 40 years now chucking out albums and tearing up stages. It is, however, for this album that they seem to be the most well known with vinyl copies changing hands for up to $300 dollars on eBay. Well folks, save your cash for here is a spanking new, bells and whistles version that presents the original 6 track album and an incredible 12 bonus tracks all lovingly remastered by sonic genius Tony Reed from Stone Axe.

As with Leafhound and Sir Lord Baltimore, with whom Poobah share many of the common traits of early 70’s heavy rock, on first listen I was immediately hit with the “how the fuck did I miss theses guys?” vibe. Considering myself something of an aficionado of 70’s metal I am ashamed to say that Poobah completely fell short of my radar. This album is little short of incredible so how these guys aren’t living in mansions now and living fat off the royalties of a golden career I’ll never know.

Kicking off with “Mr Destroyer”, for 1972 this would have been the musical equivalent of being hit with a tazer (did tazers even exist in 1972?). Jim Gustafson’s thick, biting guitar is set to stun as the band blast through a tune that somehow bridges the proto punk of The Stooges, the psychedelic tones of Hawkwind and the drug addled minimalism of The Pink Fairies. Gustafson proves himself to be one of the unsung heroes of acid blues guitar playing while drummer Glenn Wiseman throws in some heroic fills. Next up the band do a musical 360 on “Enjoy What You Have” which is a stripped back, light and airy piece that revolves around a mellow repeated guitar line and spacey, breathy vocals…a real smoker’s delight!!!

Poobah dust off the blues on “Live To Work”, albeit under a layer of syrup thick fuzz guitar and Ritalin avoiding drums. The themes of dissatisfaction with working for “the man” ring as true 38 years on as they did when this was laid to tape (yes tape!!!). Brief and to the point it paves the way for one of the most memorable tracks on the album “Bowleen”. Showing that there is far more to Poobah than cranked amps and gut wrenching vocals this track possibly owes more to Syd Barratt era Pink Floyd than Deep Purple or Sabbath as it explores Eastern themes in the guitar lines and a steady, hypnotic beat. Gustafson still mages to throw in some radical shapes but tempers it alongside some sparse keyboards. Structurally this is pretty linear but it seems to work.

“Rock N’ Roll”, as the title suggests is a 12 bar blast through some deliciously filthy rock and roll that would make Little Richard shit his extravagant stage wear!!! Once again Wiseman excels with his Keith Moon meets Ginger Baker on a sugar rush skin work while Gustafson’s guitar sounds as though it’s pushing the Marshall to the point of tears. The album proper rounds of with some more bump and grind boogie with the title track. Gustafson takes centre stage again with some more finger bleeding axe work while Phil Jones works the bottom end with pure sex dripping from his fingers. Obviously the 70’s wouldn’t be what it was without a drum solo and hot on the heels of Bonham’s “Moby Dick”, Wiseman pitches in with his own tumble round the kit. Excessive? Maybe. Kick ass? Of course it is!!!

Of the bonus tracks we’re treated to some alternative versions of “Bowleen” and “MR Destroyer” and various studio and rehearsal outtakes that run the gamut from blasting blues jams such as “Blooey Gooey” to the psychedelic metal groove of “Make a Man Outta You” that isn’t a million miles away from the fuzzed up blueprint set by Blue Cheer 4 years previously. “Upside Down Highway” is 7 plus minutes of frantic bass and guitar heroics, Gustafson clearly enjoying the spotlight but taking his time to allow the drums and bass interplay to breathe. “Walk of the Bug” throws some more Blue Cheer style, ear-splitting, speaker bothering proto metal into the mix while “Going To Rock City” comes across as ZZ Top with a heavier dose of testosterone. Poobah bring the jam again with the Hendrix stylings of “Smoke” while “Passion For Freedom” lays down a bass and drum groove that would have Grand Funk Railroad creaming their flares and a vocal line that barely stays on the right side of a visit from the men in white coats.

This reissue is very much a labour of love from all involved. Ripple Music show their passion for quality with the general layout and commitment to unearthing a wealth of quality bonus tunes. Tony Reed has given the whole thing a beautiful warmth that brings it into the modern age without sacrificing the purity of it’s vintage origins and Poobah themselves obviously relish the opportunity to give their first born new life. If, like me, you’re keen to unearth the origins of this thing we all love called metal then by all means keep dusting off your Sabbath, Zeppelin and Purple albums but please find a little space in your collections for Poobah.
by Ollie Stygall, 2nd October 2010
1. Mr. Destroyer - 6:01
2. Enjoy What You Have - 6:10
3. Live To Work - 2:55
4. Bowleen - 6:05
5. Rock N' Roll - 3:48
6. Let Me In - 6:41
7. Here's The Band - 0:20
8. Make A Man Outta You - 7:12
9. Upside Down Highway - 3:42
10.Walk Of The Bug - 2:51
11.Blooey Gooey - 1:07
12.Going To Rock City - 2:51
13.Smoke - 3:14
14.Mr Destroyer - 5:19
15.Passion For Freedom - 2:08
16.Aww, Not Now - 2:44
17.Bowleen - 3:31
18.I’m Crazy, You’re Crazy - 3:46
All songs by Jim Gustafson
Bonus Tracks 7-18

*Jim Gustafson - Lead, Acoustic, 12 String Guitars, Organ, vocals
*Phil Jones - Bass, Vocals
*Glenn Wiseman - Drums, Percussion, Screams
*Nick Gligor - Drums, Vocals (Tracks 8,10,18)
*Steve Schwelling - Drums (Tracks 9,11,13,14,15)

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Frame - Frame Of Mind (1972 germany, remarkable psych prog rock)

In retrospect, the German music scene in the early '70s was in some ways open to highly ambitious musicians. This is because not only the minor labels represented by Ohr, Pilz, Brain, etc., but also the major labels such as BASF and Philips opened their doors to them to some extent. If you think about it now, of course, it is true that major investments were not made... Frame, they released this work in 1972 with a relatively major Bellaphone on their back. If you look at the works contained in their album, they contain 8 songs in total, including major songs that are over 11 minutes long. 

Although the hard rock sound accompanied by the organ and melotron is the deepest on the other side, its experimental elements are often noticed, and you can hear performances close to the symphonic rock tendency accompanied by hard performances, so you can hear many kinds of music. It contains elements that will only delight fans. Even jazz-rock elements can be heard in some parts, but not enough to characterize their sound. If you look at the composition of the members, it's Andy Limburger - guitar vocals, piano). Cherry Hochdorfer - keyboard), Peter Lotz - bass vocals), Dieter Berker - vocals, percussion), and Wolfgang Clans - drums, percussion) are the musical core of the group. 

It is playing a keyboard instrument. You can enjoy their performances, and << a masterpiece that makes this album valuable.All Ireally want explain> has a large scale suitable for a long play time of over 11 minutes, and Cherry Hochdorfer's keyboard instrument performance, which is not strong but adds to the taste, along with Andy Lirnburg's savory guitar playing, is a dazzling sound based on technique. It's not, but it delivers a charming performance that remains in the heart. Of course, the guitar performance of Andy Kirnberger, who leads the first half, is also excellent. 

Overall, the sound they pursued can be evaluated as a performance that emphasizes the effort to keep the hard feeling while avoiding the rough sound, and to give a clean performance using keyboard instruments as much as possible.  
1. Frame of Mind - 4:08
2. Crusical Scene - 3:56
3. All I Really Want Explain - 11:15
4. If - 5:07
5. Winter - 5:35
6. Penny for an Old guy - 3:10
7. Childrens Freedom - 2:31
8. Truebsal - 0:18
All compositions by Andy Kirnberger, Cherry Hochdorffer, Peter Lotz, Dieter Becker, Wolfgang Claus

*Andy Kirnberger - Guitar, Vocals, Piano
*Cherry Hochdorffer - Organ, Piano, Mellotron
*Peter Lotz - Bass, Vocals, Percussion
*Dieter Becker - Vocals, Percussion
*Wolfgang Claus - Drums 

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Sons Of Champlin - Welcome To The Dance (1973 us, nice funky jazz brass rock, 2001 edition)

The Sons of Champlin were written off after the commercial washout of their third album, Follow Your Heart, but they came roaring back two years later with Welcome to the Dance. The crucial difference for a band as committed to funky rhythms as the Sons was an all-new rhythm section: bassist Al Strong and drummer Bill Bowen had been replaced by David Schallock and James Preston, respectively, giving the band the sort of soul groove R&B fanatic Bill Champlin had always sought. Champlin brought in his strongest bunch of material since the Sons' debut, Loosen Up Naturally (1969), once again returning in his lyrics to themes of personal responsibility and encouragement. 

You've got to wonder how a guy who liked to sing lines like "It's up to us to rearrange" and "We can do it now" ever got tagged as a hippie, especially since his musical inspirations seemed to be James Brown for his vocals and Jimmy Smith for his organ playing. But guitarist Terry Haggerty confirmed the band's psychedelic credentials with his biting, often complex solos, and the songs tended to go off into jams after a couple of choruses. Welcome to the Dance was the Sons' best realized album yet, a good compromise between their need for coherent structure and their desire to play free. 

Had it not been sabotaged by record company machinations, it might have been the record that finally broke this long star-crossed outfit. (The 2001 CD reissue by the British Acadia label bands both of the medleys on the album, so that what was originally the third track, "Who/Heaven Only Knows," now makes up the third and fourth tracks, and the 12-minute, four-part "Welcome to the Dance" medley that was the seventh track is now tracks eight, nine, ten, and eleven.)
by William Ruhlmann 
1. Lightnin' - 4:09
2. For Joy - 3:43
3. Who/Heaven Only Knows - 6:22
4. Right On - 3:54
5. No Mo' (Terry Haggerty) - 2:58
6. The Swim - 2:54
7. Welcome To The Dance - 12:06
.b.Sound/Turn Around
.c.Healthy Woman
.d.Welcome To The Dance
All compositions by Bill Champlin except where stated

The Sons Of Champlin
*Bill Champlin - Guitar, Keyboards, Baritone Saxophone, Vocals 
*Terry Haggerty - Lead Guitar, Vocals   
*Geoffrey Palmer  - Bass, Keyboards, Saxophone, Tabla, Vibe Master, Vibraphone, Vocals
*James Preston  - Drums, Percussion  
*David Schallock - Bass, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Mark Usham  - Horn
*Philip Woods  - Horn 
*Michael Andreas  - Horn

1966-67  The Sons Of Champlin ‎- Fat City  

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The Sidekicks – Fifi The Flea (1966 us, beautiful garage sunny beats)

The Sidekicks were a garage/pop rock band from Wildwood, NJ. First known as The Redcoats, the lineup consisted of John Spirt, Mike Burke, and brothers Randy and Jack Bocelle. Spirit and Burke co-wrote the band's 1966 hit, "Suspicions."
1. Suspicions (John Spirit, Mike Burke) - 2:34
2. Up On The Roof (Carole King, Gerry Goffin) - 2:37
3. You’re A Girl (David White, John Madara, Ray Gilmore) - 2:13
4. More (Theme from “Mondo Cane”) (Nino Oliviero, Norman Newell, Riz Ortolani) - 2:28
5. Not Now (John Spirit, Mike Burke) - 2:40
6. Ask Your Friend (John Spirit, Mike Burke) - 2:36
7. Fifi The Flea (Allan Clarke, Tony Hicks, Graham Nash) - 2:37
8. Sight And Sound (Jimmy Wisner, Norma Mendoza) - 2:25
9. Out Of The Dark (Joe Renzetti, Neal Brian) - 2:27
10.He’s My Friend (John Spirit, Mike Burke) - 2:23
11.The Best Things (Bobby Lance, Fran Robins) - 2:01
12.Ollie Wong (The Same) (Jimmy Wisner, Norma Mendoza, Samuels, Bocutto) - 2:38

The Sidekicks
*Zach Bochelle - Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
*Randy Bochelle - Bass Guitar
*Mike Burke - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*John Spirit - Drums

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Steve Gibbons - Short Stories / Stained Glass (1971/1996 uk, superb roots 'n' roll, pub rock, 2001 double disc remaster and expanded)

Rock n’ roll sometimes isn’t fair with some of its representatives. Rock n’ roll isn’t giving everybody what he/she deserves. However, even if they are regarded as obscure or cult acts, these not so well-known artists aren’t lost in oblivion. Steve Gibbons is such a rock n’ roll representative, a true rock n’ roll hero, who never got famous, however, his work is here for us to enjoy. 

Steve Gibbons was born in Harborne, Birmingham (England), on the 13th of July, 1941, and belongs to the great Birmingham rock scene (Moody Blues, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Electric Light Orchestra among others). His first occupation was a plumber's apprentice in his hometown – nevertheless, he started his musical career in 1960 as the lead singer of The Dominettes. His first performance with The Dominettes was at The California Public House, near Weoley Castle. According to music historians, The Dominettes were a rhythm and blues act, with a rough image and quite a following. They played numerous shows in Birmingham, in music venues like The Grotto Club, The Sicilia Coffee Bar etc., but sometimes they were hired to back strippers at some of the more seedy establishments. The Dominettes didn’t last too long, since in 1963 they were renamed The Ugly’s.

Contrary to The Dominettes, The Ugly’s left a considerable work behind them. They secured a recording deal with Pye Records and their first single was “Wake Up My Mind” (1965), an original composition, co-written by Gibbons, advanced for its time, featuring some socially conscious lyrics, not a hit in England but a big hit on the national Australian chart, reaching No. 14. The Ugly’s were a psychedelic pop/rock band, with very interesting songs, like “It’s Alright”, “A Quiet Explosion”, “This is Your Mind Speaking”, “Real Good Girl” etc. They even covered a Kinks song (“End of the Season”), but failed to succeed. Besides that, the band suffered many line-up changes – in 1968 Richard Tandy, a keyboards player, joined The Ugly’s, however, he tasted worldwide success, only when he became a member of Electric Light Orchestra. By the end of 1968, Steve Gibbons was the only remaining original member of The Ugly’s – the last line-up of the band included, apart from Gibbons, Will Hammond, Dave Morgan (later in Electric Light Orchestra, Tandy/Morgan etc.), Keith Smart and Richard Tandy – with these members, The Ugly’s recorded the song “I See The Light”.

That single was the last The Ugly’s song, because by April of 1969, Gibbons formed with The Move guitar/bass player, Trevor Burton, a new band called Balls, a Birmingham supergroup, since apart from Gibbons/Burton, it featured Richard Tandy, Keith Smart and Dave Morgan. The summer of 1969 Morgan was replaced by Denny Laine (vocals, guitar, ex-Moody Blues) and after some personnel changes, Gibbons left the band in February 1971. Balls recorded only one single in 1971, the Trevor Burton-penned “Fight for my Country” (the b-side was “Janie Slow Down”), and then dissolved.

In 1971 Steve Gibbons released his first solo album, called “Short Stories” via the Wizard label (through which also Balls released their only single), produced by Gary Wright (one of the founding members of Spooky Tooth) and Jimmy Miller (worked also with Blind Faith, Motörhead, Traffic, The Rolling Stones etc.) and composed by Gibbons himself (in collaboration with Burton in three tracks). Several artists helped Gibbons in his first effort, for example Alan White (drums, became a member of Balls and later of Yes), Greg Ridley (bass, Spooky Tooth, Humble Pie) and Albert Lee (one of the greatest rock/country session guitarists). “Short Stories” is a fantastic rock n’ roll album, with a lot of blues and folk elements, very inspired compositions and outstanding performances from Gibbons and his accompanying musicians.

Steve Gibbons released his second solo album in 1996 (“Stained Glass”). Steve Gibbons belongs to the pantheon of British rock n’ roll of the 70s; he started his career in the psychedelic 60s and became a rock n’ roll band leader in the 70s, releasing some wonderful albums and touring endlessly around the world. The characteristics of Steve Gibbons, his tough, filthy voice, the way he spitted the words, his sincere sense of original rock music, are always there to remind us how beautiful is the story of Steve Gibbons and his band. They say that Gibbons is the English Bob Seger, one of the influences of bands like Dire Straits, a more electrifying version of Bob Dylan. Call it how you like it, Steve Gibbons is an underrated rock n’ roll icon, whose music shines brightly and will shine forever!
by Dimitris Zacharopoulos
Disc 1 Short Stories 1971
1. Leader Of The Band - 3:38
2. Now You're Leaving (Steve Gibbons, Trevor Burton) - 4:28
3. The Last Farewell (Steve Gibbons, Trevor Burton) - 2:44
4. One Of Those Days - 3:56
5. Alright Now - 5:39
6. You've Gotta Pay - 3:26
7. Bye Bye Buffalo (Steve Gibbons, Trevor Burton) - 4:30
8. Brown Girl - 3:46
9. Until She Comes Home - 5:05
10.Don't Wanna Let You Down - 3:16
11.Trouble - 3:24 - 
12.Lamb To The Slaughter - 4:53
13.I'm Going Home - 2:40
14.Tired Clock - 2:12
All compositions by Steve Gibbons except where stated
Bonus Tracks 12-14
Disc 2 Stained Glass 1996
1. Take It Easy - 3:32
2. You're A Big Girl Now (Bob Dylan) - 4:47
3. The Last Farewell (Steve Gibbons, Trevor Burton) - 3:15
4. Oh What A Thrill (Chuck Berry) - 3:10
5. Grace - 3:33
6. Looking Glass In The Rain - 3:20
7. One Day - 3:20
8. Looking For The Heart Of Saturday Night (Tom Waits) - 4:33
9. New Leather Shoes - 4:05
10.Stolen Hearts - 3:35
11.Hey Buddy - 3:23
12.Man In The Long Black Coat (Bob Dylan) - 3:35
13.Immaculate Conception - 2:38 
14.Where Was I Last Night? - 3:27
15.Smoky Joe's - 3:54
All songs by Steve Gibbons except where indicated
Bonus Tracks 14-15

Disc 1 Short Stories 1971
*Steve Gibbons - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
*Doris Troy - Backing Vocals (Tracks 2,5,8) 
*Gary Wright - Backing Vocals (Track 5), Piano (Tracks 1-5,3-4)
*Madeline Bell - Backing Vocals (Tracks 2,5,8)
*Greg Ridley - Bass (Track 8)
*Trevor Burton - Bass (Tracks 1,3-5), Guitar (Track 10)
*Pat Donaldson - Bass (Tracks 2,6-8,11)
*Larry Fallon  - Brass, Flute (Track 8)
*Claire Deniz - Cello (Track 9)
*Bill Povey - Clarinet
*Alan White - Drums (Tracks 8,10), 
*Mike Kellie - Drums (Tracks 1-9, 11)
*Alan White - Bass Drum, Flute (Track 10)
*Albert Lee - Electric Piano (Track 10), Guitar (Tracks 1-9, 11)
*Hugh McCracken - Guitar (Track 10) 
*Gerry Donahue - Guitar 
*Ginger Johnson - Percussion (Track 5)
*Jimmy Miller - Percussion (Track 5) 
*Rocki Dzidzornu - Percussion (Track 5)
*Ian Whiteman - Piano (Tracks 6-7,9)
*Gerry Conway - Steel Guitar (Tracks 2-4)
*Johnny Van Derek - Violin (Tracks 6,9)

Disc 2 Stained Glass 1996
*Steve Gibbons - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
*Bob Lamb - Drums
*Bob Griffin - Bass (Tracks 1,3,9)
*John Caswell - Guitar (Tracks 2,5,6,8,10-13) Bass (Tracks 2,6,10-13)
*Steve Dolan - Bass (Track 4)
*Roger Inniss - Bass (Tracks 5,7-8)
*Phil Bond - Keyboards (Tracks 1-2,5-6,8,10,12), Accordion (Tracks 11,13)
*Bob Wilson - Guitar (Tracks 3,5-7,9,11)

1976  The Steve Gibbons Band - Any Road Up 
1977  The Steve Gibbons Band - Rollin' On 

Saturday, February 25, 2023

The Hollies - Bus Stop / Stop! Stop! Stop! (1966 uk, marvellous folk beat, 2011 remaster)

The Hollies scored their first American smash in 1966, when “Bus Stop” (written by Graham Gouldman, a future member of 10cc) cracked the Billboard Top Ten. Looking to cash in on that song’s success, Imperial Records threw together a quick compilation, Bus Stop, which combined the titular tune with several older Hollies songs. Some of the tracks were two years old, and  -- who often released several albums a year during their heyday -- became angry with the label’s decision to exploit their success with a collection of old material. 

They left Imperial the following year, but not before releasing Stop! Stop! Stop! (issued in Europe under the title For Certain Because…), the first Hollies album written entirely by the bandmates themselves. Spliced together on this two-for-one compilation, the albums mark a turning point for the band, documenting the point at which  transformed their straightforward Merseybeat sound into an experimental pop hybrid. All 24 tracks are remastered, and the presence of the original sleeve notes (“Allan Clarke is a mischievous, grinning person with nomadic eyes which have surely tormented many a female heart”) should attract those who already own copies of both records.
by Andrew Leahey
1. Bus Stop (Graham Gouldman) - 2:51 
2. Candy Man (Fred Neil, Beverly "Ruby" Ross) - 2:28 
3. Baby That's All (Chester Mann) - 2:15 
4. I Am a Rock (Paul Simon) - 2:50 
5. Sweet Little Sixteen (Chuck Berry) - 2:22 
6. We're Through - 2:15 
7. Don't Run and Hide - 2:33 
8. Oriental Sadness (She'll Never Trust in Anybody No More) - 2:35 
9. Mickey's Monkey (Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland, Eddie Holland) - 2:30 
10.Little Love (Allan Clarke, Graham Nash) - 2:00 
11.You Know He Did (Al Ransom) - 2:02 
12.What'cha Gonna Do About It? (Gregory Carrol, Doris Payne) - 2:17 
13.What's Wrong with the Way I Live - 2:02 
14.Pay You Back with Interest - 2:44 
15.Tell Me to My Face - 3:08 
16.Clown - 2:13 
17.Suspicious Look in Your Eyes - 3:36 
18.It's You - 2:12 
19.High Classed - 2:21 
20.Peculiar Situation - 2:54 
21.What Went Wrong - 2:11 
22.Crusader - 3:49 
23.Don't Even Think About Changing - 2:08 
24.Stop! Stop! Stop! - 2:50
All songs by Allan Clarke, Tony Hicks, Graham Nash except where noted

The Hollies
*Allan Clarke - Vocals, Harmonica
*Tony Hicks - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Graham Nash - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Bobby Elliott - Drums    
*Eric Haydock - Bass 
*Bernie Calvert - Bass (Track 1)

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