Monday, August 3, 2020

Mungo Jerry - Gold (1970-74 uk, a fine bag of folk jug roots 'n roll and glam rock, 2019 three disc remaster)

Led by the heroically sideburned Ray Dorset, Mungo Jerry rose to overnight fame with their debut single, 1970's "In the Summertime," a loose-limbed celebration of the carefree summer months set to a rollicking acoustic accompaniment that invoked the sounds of skiffle and jug band music in its playful approach to the blues. "In the Summertime" would become and remain their signature song, but it was also the basis for a long and successful career for Dorset, who continued to tour and record under the Mungo Jerry banner half-a-century after the band made their debut. The playful acoustic sound of that effort would give way to a more full-bodied approach on 1971's You Don't Have to Be in the Army and 1972's Boot Power, and tougher electric arrangements would dominate 1976's Impala Saga and 1977's Lovin' in the Alleys, Fightin' in the Streets. But the playful, good-time spirit of Mungo Jerry would almost always shine through, even on latter-day experiments like 2001's Candy Dreams, which featured several electronic reggae tracks, and the rockabilly leanings of 2007's Naked - From the Heart.

Mungo Jerry were formed in 1970 by singer/guitarist Ray Dorset, who was fascinated with early rock & roll sounds, as well as skiffle and blues. The other original members were Mike Cole on upright bass; Paul King on guitar, kazoo, and jug; Joe Rush on washboard; and Colin Earl on keyboards. Dorset and Earl had first hooked up in the Good Earth, a group with a mixed rock & roll and blues sound that cut some tracks for the mid-priced Saga label, none of which sold. Cole, King, and Rush came aboard, and the Mungo lineup was complete. The name Mungo Jerry -- from a T.S. Eliot poem -- came next, along with a contract from Pye Records.

The quartet had a pleasing, low-key jug band sound, folk-like but also bluesy, which was unusual at a time when most British bands into the blues were shooting for high-wattage virtuosity. They sounded less like Cream or Blind Faith and a lot more like Jesse Fuller or Tampa Red. Mungo Jerry became one of the very first acts placed on Pye's new Dawn Records imprint, a progressive label that was intended to update Pye's image. In May of 1970, following an appearance at the Newcastle Hollywood Festival, their debut single "In the Summertime," written by Ray Dorset, was released. An easygoing, catchy skiffle-like piece reflecting the mood of the season in its title was an instant hit, shooting to number one in England in only two weeks and riding the charts for much of the summer. Concerts and television appearances followed in profusion. The song was a Top Ten hit in America, riding the charts for weeks, and was a success in practically every country in which it was released, ultimately selling between eight and 16 million copies around the world. 

A self-titled debut album was rush-released to capitalize on the hit. By the time the LP was recorded, washboard player Rush was gone, and Cole had left by the time the record was issued, departures that started a dizzying series of personnel changes. The group's second single, "Baby Jump," was a chart-topper in England but didn't fare as well overseas; the song heralded a second album, Electronically Tested, which was followed by a third, You Don't Have to Be in the Army, that same year with a parallel U.S. release, Memoirs of a Stockbroker (issued by Janus Records). "Maggie," "Johnny B Badde," "Mighty Man," "Lady Rose," and "You Don't Have to Be in the Army to Fight in the War" all charted in England and got decent, if not spectacular, airplay at various other points around the globe.

The membership of Mungo Jerry began coming apart almost from the outset of their success. Cole, who was replaced by John Godfrey, led to the exodus of King and Earl, although their exit was somewhat more acrimonious. They attempted to take the name Mungo Jerry, but Dorset, as the singer, guitarist, and songwriter, held onto the handle. Instead, King and Earl cut solo albums for Pye and went on the road as the King Earl Boogie Band, with former bandmate Rush in the lineup. Meanwhile, Dorset recruited keyboard player Jon Pope and drummer Tim Reeves for Mungo Jerry.

Essentially, from 1972 onward, Dorset was Mungo Jerry, much in the same way that Ian Anderson was Jethro Tull in the eyes of his fans. Drummer Paul Hancox (ex-Chicken Shack), bassist (and future Ozzy Osbourne alumnus) Bob Daisley, and keyboard man John Cook passed through, as did piano player Ian Milne and guitarist Dick Middleton, and that was just during the band's time on Pye through 1975.

2019 saw the release of Gold, an ambitious three-CD, 45-track box set that included all of Mungo Jerry's U.K. hits of the '70s, as well as a bonus 15-track LP pressed on gold-colored vinyl. 
by Bruce Eder
Disc 1
1. In The Summertime - 3:35
2. Mighty Man - 4:48
3. Johnny B.Badde - 3:07
4. Sad Eyed Joe (Paul King) - 2:53
5. Maggie - 4:14
6. See Me - 3:58
7. My Friend - 2:40
8. Santo Antonio Santo Francisco (Paolo Conte, Vito Pallavicini) - 2:57
9. Baby Jump - 4:13
10.The Man Behind The Piano (Paul King) - 3:26 
11.Lady Rose (Single Version) - 3:12
12.Have A Whiff On Me (Traditional) - 3:58
13.Somebody Stole My Wife - 2:59
14.She Rowed - 3:19
15.Follow Me Down -3:23 
All songs by Ray Dorset except where stated
Disc 2
1. You Don't Have To Be In The Army To Fight In The War - 3:14
2. Memoirs Of A Stockbroker - 4:09
3. You Better Leave That Whisky Alone - 4:04
4. The Sun Is Shining - 3:40
5. Take Me Back (Traditional) - 3:27 
6. Northcote Arms - 3:16 
7. There's A Man Going Round Taking Names (Traditional) - 3:09 
8. Simple Thing - 3:53
9. On A Sunday - 3:19
10.We Shall Be Free (Traditional) - 3:00 
11.Open Up (Single Version) - 3:25
12.Going Back Home - 2:18
13.I Don't Wanna Go Back To School - 4:01
14.My Girl And Me (Single Version) - 3:00
15.No Girl Reaction - 4:37
All compositions  by Ray Dorset except where noted
Disc 3
1. Summer's Gone - 3:40
2. 46 And On (Single Version) - 3:20
3. She's Gone - 5:25
4. Lookin' For My Girl - 4:23
5. Alright Alright Alright (Jacques Dutronc, Jacques Lanzmann, Joe Strange) - 2:50
6. Little Miss Hipshake (Barry Murray) - 2:37
7. Wild Love - 3:17
8. Glad I'm A Rocker - 2:52
9. Long Legged Woman Dressed In Black - 2:54
10.Gonna Bop Till I Drop - 2:58
11.All Dressed Up And No Place To Go - 2:06
12.Shake Till I Break - 1:04
13.Don't Stop - 2:32
14.Too Fast To Live And Too Young To Die - 1:46
15.Say Goodnight - 4:04
All tracks  by Ray Dorset except where indicated

Mungo Jerry
*Ray Dorset - Guitar, Percussion, Vocals
*Mike Cole - Bass
*Colin Earl - Piano, Vocals
*Paul King - Banjo, Guitar, Vocals
*John Godfrey - Bass
*Jon Pope - Keyboards
*Tim Reeves - Drums
*Paul Hancox - Drums
*Bob Daisley - Bass
*John Cook - Keyboards
*Ian Milne - Piano
*Dick Middleton - Guitar

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Sunday, August 2, 2020

Mighty Joe Young - Blues With A Touch Of Soul (1970 us, spectacular electric cihicago blues with horn section)

Mighty Joe Young, longtime sideman for Magic Sam, leads his own 1970 session on Blues With A Touch Of Soul (Delmark DD-629; 43:18). With Dawkins on second guitar and John “Big Moose” Walker on piano and organ, Young turns in urgent and earthy renditions of Albert King’s “I Walked All Night,” Guitar Slim’s “The Things I Used To Do” and Bill Doggett’s instrumental classic “Honky Tonk.” But he digs deepest here on the slow blues, “Somebody Loan Me A Dime.”

This was Mighty Joe Young’s first LP. Fellow Delmark recording artist Jimmy Dawkins wrote the original LP notes and said “Young is one of the Midwest’s most gifted and conclusive guitarists and certainly Chicago’s best.” Mighty Joe was very active in the 60’s with his own career and as session player; he recorded with Magic Sam on the two classic Delmark albums West Side Soul and Black Magic, with Willie Dixon for Columbia and on Tyrone Davis’ million-seller “Can I Change My Mind.” Similar to Magic Sam’s albums, the music is sound of 60’s soul .

Mighty Joe Young was born as Joseph Young Jr. in September 23, 1927 and passed away on March 24, 1999.
1. I Walked All Night (Mighty Joe Young) - 3:06
2. Somebody Loan Me A Dime (Fenton Robinson) - 10:40
3. Every Man Needs A Woman (Mighty Joe Young) - 8:24
4. Why, Baby? (Mighty Joe Young) - 5:36
5. Things I Used To Do (Eddie Jones) - 3:50
6. Got A Bad Case Of Loving You (Mighty Joe Young) - 5:50
7. Honky Tonk (Bill Doggett, Billy Butler) - 5:23

*Mighty Joe Young - Guitar, Vocals
*Jimmy Dawkins - Guitar
*Sylvester Boines - Bass
*Hezekiah Roby - Drums
*John "Big Moose" Walker* - Organ, Piano
*Dennis Lansing - Tenor Saxophone
*Jordan Sandke - Trumpet

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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Peter Green - Man Of The World Anthology (1968-88 uk, outstasnding blues rock, 2004 double disc remaster)

The sixties, as we all know, provided us with a slew of cult heroes whose reputations rest almost as much as them either shuffling off this mortal coil or succumbing to the pressures of fame and mislaying their marbles as their musical achievements. In the latter bracket we have names like Brian Wilson, Syd Barrett, Roky Erickson, Skip Spence and Peter Green. Green stands apart from the crowd. He wasn't a psychedelic voyager (though lysergic experimentation doubtlessly helped his decline). He was, first and foremost a bluesman, with the ability to replace Eric Clapton in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers.He was a fabulous singer and songwriter who was equally adept at adapting blues classics or conjuring new standards, seemingly, with ease. He's returned to something approaching form in recent years, but Man Of The World barely approaches the full story.

There's no getting around the fact that Sanctuary are pulling a little bit of a fast one with this anthology. The bulk of Green's studio work with Fleetwood Mac resides in the Columbia catalogue, leaving them to present us with alternative mixes, demos or live versions to represent the man in his prime. Luckily even offcuts and rarities from this period shine brighter than most artist's main output. While rougher versions of ''Green Manalishi'' (Green's most psychedelic hour and a true indicator of where his mind was headed) and the gorgeous ''Man Of The World'' just leave one hungering for the finished originals, live versions of ''Oh Well'', or ''Jumping At Shadows'' (taken from the legendary Boston Tea Party gig) are simply stunning in their power. The latter is demonstration in itself of Green's mastery of tone and attack with nothing more than a vintage Les Paul and a Marshall stack. His mastery of the blues guitar remains more emotive than any other of his generation.

Unfortunately following his debut solo album, The End Of The Game, and his retreat into psychological turmoil in 1971 he fell mainly silent. By 1980 he was coaxed back into the studio with several famous friends (Pete Bardens, Snowy White, Dave Mattacks etc) and produced several desultory albums that were but a pale shadow of his late 60s output. The bulk of this album comes from these. Add to this a couple of jokey, early extra-curriclar numbers from jams with Bob Brunning's Sunflower Blues Band.
by Chris Jones 2004
Disc 1
1. Man Of The World (Peter Green) - 3:00
2. Long Grey Mare (Peter Green) - 1:58
3. Cryin' Won't Bring You Back (Mike Green) - 5:04
4. A Fool No More (Peter Green) - 7:42
5. Trying To Hit My Head Against The Wall (Mike Green) - 3:44
6. Last Train To San Antone (Mike Green) - 5:30
7. Walkin' The Road (Mike Green) - 3:48
8. Uranus (Bob Brunning) - 3:20
9. Whatcha Gonna Do? (Mike Green) - 3:48
10.Born On The Wild Side (Mike Green) - 2:58
11.Lost My Love (Mike Green) - 5:22
12.Fast Talkin' Woman Blues (Peter Green) - 3:21
13.Long Way From Home (Mike Green) - 3:42 
14.Touch My Spirit (Mike Green) - 3:44 
15.Seven Stars (Peter Green) - 3:04 
16.Loser Two Times (Mike Green) - 4:28 
17.Oh Well (Peter Green) - 2:46
18.If You Let Me Love You (B. B. King, Sam Ling) - 10:30  
Tracks 1, 2, 12, 17, 18 with Fleetwood Mac 
Track 8 with Brunning Sunflower Blues Band
Disc 2
1. Jumping At Shadows (Duster Bennett) - 4:22
2. Black Magic Woman (Peter Green) - 7:10
3. Big Boy Now (Mike Green) - 5:53   
4. You Won't See Me Anymore (Mike Green) - 3:35
5. Got To See Her Tonight (Mike Green) - 5:48 
6. Same Old Blues (Traditional) - 3:43 
7. Showbiz Blues (Peter Green) - 4:04
8. Ride With Your Daddy Tonight (Traditional) - 3:28   
9. Tribal Dance (Peter Green, Snowy White, Reg Isidore, Lennox Langton) - 4:27
10.Give Me Back My Freedom (Mike Green) - 5:37 
11.Bandit (Peter Green, Mike Green) - 3:02
12.Baby, When The Sun Goes Down (Mike Green) - 5:33 
13.What Am I Doing Here? (Mike Green) - 3:28 
14.Shining Star (Mike Green) - 3:06
15.Apostle (Peter Green) - 3:10
16.Stranger Blues (Peter Green) - 4:54 
17.Lazy Poker Blues (Peter Green, Clifford Davis) - 3:21
18.The Green Manalishi (Peter Green) - 4:41
Tracks 1, 2, 7, 17, 18 with Fleetwood Mac 
Track 8 with Brunning Sunflower Blues Band

Fleetwood Mac
*Peter Green – Guitar, Vocals
*Jeremy Spencer – Guitar, Vocals, Piano
*Danny Kirwan – Guitar, Vocals
*John McVie – Bass
*Mick Fleetwood – Drums, Percussion

Brunning Sunflower Blues Band
*Bob Brunning - Bass
*Pete Banham - Drums
*Colin Jordan - Guitar
*Big Sunflower - Piano
*John Altman - Horns
*Dave Kelly - Guitar
*Peter Blue - Guitar
*Bob Hall - Piano
*Peter Green – Guitar

*Peter Green - Lead Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica
*Ronnie Johnson - Rhythm Guitar
*Snowy White – Guitar
*Roy Shipston - Organ
*Paul Westwood - Bass Guitar 
*John 'Rhino' Edwards - Bass Guitar 
*Kuma Harada - Bass Guitar 
*Dave Mattacks - Drums
*Morris Pert - Percussion 
*Peter Vernon-Kell - Piano 
*Pam Douglas - Backing Vocals 
*Carol Ingram - Backing Vocals 
*Lennox Langton – Percussion
*Jeff Daly – Saxophone
*Mike Green – Vocals
*Larry Steele – Bass
*Webster Johnson – Keyboards
*Reg Isidore – Drums
*Jeff Whittaker – Percussion
*Daniel Boone – Keyboards
*Ray Dorset – Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Harmonica
*Vincent Crane – Keyboards
*Len Surtees – Bass 
*Greg Terry-Short – Drums

1967-71  Live At The BBC
1968-70  Show Biz Blues
1968-70  Fleetwood Mac - The Vaudeville Years (two disc set)
1968-71  The Best Of Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac
1969  Shrine '69
1969  Then Play On  (Deluxe Expanded 2013 edition)

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Peter Green - Little Dreamer (1980 uk, beautiful funky blues rock, 2019 reissue)

In 1980 Peter Green released his third solo album "Little Dreamer", most of the material this time written by brother Mike (aside from a too-pleasant Born Under a Bad Sign and a co-write on the title track).

Again Green kept things mellow, perhaps even more so than on In the Skies. Some of the material like the bluesy pop of Loser Two Times and Baby When the Sun Goes Down sounded like a serious pitch at radio play, the funk didn't quite suit him but the seven minute closer title track took him right back to the sound and style of Albatross, with lyrics.
by Graham Reid,  Feb 17, 2020
1. Loser Two Times - 4:28
2. Momma Don'tcha Cry - 3:19
3. Born Under A Bad Sign (Booker T. Jones, William Bell) - 2:53
4. I Could Not Ask For More - 4:55
5. Baby When The Sun Goes Down - 5:33
6. Walkin' The Road - 3:49
7. One Woman Love - 5:28
8. Cryin' Won't Bring You Back - 5:03
9. Little Dreamer (Peter Green, Mike Green) - 7:00
All compositions by Mike Green except where stated

*Peter Green - Lead Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica
*Ronnie Johnson - Rhythm Guitar
*Roy Shipston - Organ
*Paul Westwood - Bass Guitar 
*John 'Rhino' Edwards - Bass Guitar 
*Kuma Harada - Bass Guitar 
*Dave Mattacks - Drums
*Morris Pert - Percussion 
*Peter Vernon-Kell - Piano 
*Pam Douglas - Backing Vocals 
*Carol Ingram - Backing Vocals 

1967-71  Live At The BBC
1968-70  Show Biz Blues
1968-70  Fleetwood Mac - The Vaudeville Years (two disc set)
1968-71  The Best Of Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac
1969  Shrine '69
1969  Then Play On  (Deluxe Expanded 2013 edition)

Monday, July 27, 2020

Fleetwood Mac - Live in Boston (1970 uk, superb electric blues rock, three disc box set, 2003 HDCD remaster)

Recorded during a legendary extended weekend stand in 1970, these live recordings from the three-guitar lineup of Fleetwood Mac have existed in various shoddy, uneven, and sometimes sloppy configurations, but were finally sorted out and released as a triple-disc box (also available individually) in 1999. First-generation source tapes were utilized, approximately an hour's worth of previously unreleased tracks as well as between-song patter is interspersed among the discs, and the running order is restored to match that of the original performance. Live at the Boston Tea Part, Vol. 1, taken from the first set, is a Peter Green bonanza.

Kicking off with a sharp "Black Magic Woman," then weaving his liquid guitar lines into an achingly slow cover of Duster Bennett's "Jumping at Shadows," and finally breaking into a formerly unavailable 25-minute version of "Rattlesnake Shake," the disc's centerpiece, Green sings and plays with restrained authority. The extended jam on "Shake" proves that Green was a master improviser, referencing his blues roots even when flying off on spontaneous tangents no less riveting than those of the Allman Brothers or the Grateful Dead. Jeremy Spencer takes the lead on two rollicking Elmore James covers, "I Can't Hold Out" and "Got to Move," the latter seeing the light of day after being hidden in the vaults for 29 years. The set closes with Green's proto-metal "The Green Manalishi" in a riotous 13-minute version that leaves the original four-minute single looking limp. This is the tightest, and most varied of the three albums, and is recommended for newcomers not interested in the entire set. 

Live at the Boston Tea Party, Vol. 2 starts strong with a floating "World in Harmony," the only Peter Green/Danny Kirwin co-written track in the Mac catalog, and one that, interestingly, never appeared on a studio album. An abbreviated but aggressive "Oh Well" (the rocking opening only) segues into a half-hour "Rattlesnake Shake" that's more raucous, driving, and intense than the lower key, and slightly stiffer version on Vol. 1. The Kirwin/Green interplay here is stunning as they push each other past previous limits, driven by the forceful rhythm section of John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. Jeremy Spencer runs through terse versions of "Stranger Blues" and "Red Hot Mama," two hot and jittery Elmore James covers. But the show becomes slipshod with his '50s doo wop tribute "Teenage Darling," complete with faux-Elvis singing that is pandering and irritating.

The band jogs through a few revved-up, enthusiastic, but hardly essential Little Richard covers, redeemed by Fleetwood's driving drums and Green's wiry leads weaving through ten minutes of "Jenny Jenny." It may have been a blast at the time, but the tracks don't translate well without the visual impact of the three guitarists flailing away. The set ends with a heretofore unheard 12-minute jam simply entitled "Encore," where Joe Walsh of opening band the James Gang, adds a fourth guitar. Intermittently interesting, the quadruple guitars trading leads and riffs make for some predictably cluttered and unfocused music. Followers of the band during these early years might find this of passing curiosity, but for most people, you had to be there. Still, with Green playing at the peak of his powers, at least half of this disc is essential, especially to fans, and the numerous high points more than make up for the parts that drag. 

Part Three is a goldmine for fans of this Mac lineup, as it features a whopping six tracks-over 35 minutes-worth of newly found material. Most importantly, almost all of this music is of exceptional quality. Unfortunately the album's centerpiece, an intense, eleven minute, slow blues cover of B.B. King's "If You Let Me Love You," is marred by Peter Green's dead microphone, giving his vocals a hollow quality. But his guitar attacks with startling clarity, as he alternately pushes and lays back with style and moderation. Green deftly massages his solo, and the band gives him plenty of room to navigate, making this one of the most impassioned performances on all three discs. 

An instrumental version of Danny Kirwin's "Coming Your Way" is another recent addition, and throughout its seven minutes, the dueling guitars of Kirwin and Green spar with Mick Fleetwood's tribal drums creating a rhythmic whirlwind that frustratingly fades away before it's over. Jeremy Spencer whips out four Elmore James covers with a lately discovered version of "The Sun is Shining" a highlight, as his buzz-saw slide slices through the tune. A few Little Richard oldies crop up, and a frayed but propulsive version of "Tutti Frutti" where the band relaxes and rocks with class and restraint, shows how innovative they could be even working with the most basic three chord material. A remarkably subtle, weekend closing, eight minute "On We Jam" is the final unearthed cut, and proves that even with three talented guitarists sharing leads, the improvisational skills of this band were second to none. Not the most cohesive album of the trio, Part Three is still indispensable to fans, and a reliable overview of the strengths and diverse approaches of this short-lived but renowned version of Fleetwood Mac. 
by Hal Horowitz
Volume 1
1. Black Magic Woman (Peter Green) - 6:45
2. Jumping at Shadows (Duster Bennett) - 4:48
3. Like It This Way (Danny Kirwan) - 4:28
4. Only You (Danny Kirwan) - 4:23
5. Rattlesnake Shake (Peter Green) - 24:38
6. I Can't Hold Out (Elmore James) - 6:35
7. Got to Move (Elmore James) - 3:25
8. The Peter Green Manalishi (With the Two-Prong Crown) (Peter Green) - 12:52
Volume two
1. World in Harmony (Danny Kirwan, Peter Green) - 4:10
2. Oh Well (Peter Green) - 3:12
3. Rattlesnake Shake (Peter Green) - 25:36
4. Stranger Blues (Elmore James, Marshall Sehorn) - 3:55
5. Red Hot Mama (Elmore James) - 4:03
6. Teenage Darling (Jeremy Spencer) - 4:16
7. Keep A-Knocking (Richard Wayne Penniman) - 4:56
8. Jenny Jenny (Enotris Johnson, Richard Wayne Penniman) - 7:40
9. Encore Jam (Peter Green, Danny Kirwan, Jeremy Spencer, Joe Walsh) - 13:25
Volume 3
1. Jumping at Shadows (Duster Bennett) - 4:17
2. Sandy Mary (Peter Green) - 5:21
3. If You Let Me Love You (B. B. King) - 10:30
4. Loving Kind (Danny Kirwan) - 2:57
5. Coming Your Way (Danny Kirwan) - 7:06
6. Madison Blues (Elmore James) - 4:49
7. Got to Move (Elmore James) - 3:56
8. The Sun Is Shining (Elmore James) - 3:11
9. Oh Baby (Elmore James) - 4:26
10. Tiger (Ollie Jones) - 3:44
11. Great Balls of Fire (Jack Hammer, Otis Blackwell) - 3:16
12. Tutti Frutti (Joe Lubin, Richard Wayne Penniman, Dorothy LaBostrie) - 6:45
13. On We Jam (Peter Green, Danny Kirwan, Jeremy Spencer, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood) - 7:56

Fleetwood Mac
*Peter Green - Guitar, Vocals, Six String Bass
*Jeremy Spencer - Guitar, Vocals, Piano, Percussion
*Danny Kirwan - Guitar, Vocals
*John McVie - Bass Guitar
*Mick Fleetwood - Percussion, Drums
*Eric Clapton - Guitar
*Joe Walsh - Guitar

1967-71  Live At The BBC
1968-70  Show Biz Blues
1968-70  Fleetwood Mac - The Vaudeville Years (two disc set)
1968-71  The Best Of Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac
1969  Shrine '69
1969  Then Play On  (Deluxe Expanded 2013 edition) 
1970  Fleetwood Mac - Kiln House (2013 SHM remaster) 
1972  Fleetwood Mac - Bare Trees (2013 SHM remaster)

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Saturday, July 25, 2020

America - Homecoming (1972 us, clear bright silky rock, with colorful arrangements, 2015 SACD)

America‘s second studio album, Homecoming, showcases the trio hitting their folk-rock stride with a slight nod to some diversified musical sub-genres. Released in late 1972, this album features group added richer instrumentation, particularly with more pronounced guitar and keyboard layers to top off the acoustic guitar-based compositions. Lyrically and thematically, the songs build on America’s penchant for yearning and wanderlust.

The group was formed in London by vocalists and composers Dewey Bunnell, Gerry Buckley and Dan Peek, who chose the name because they all had American fathers. They got some plum gigs opening for the likes of Pink Floyd, The Who and Elton John, which led to a brief contract with UK-based Kinney Records before they signed to Warner Bros. Their self-titled debut was released in 1971 and the lead single “Desert Song”, eventually re-titled “A Horse with No Name”, became a minor hit locally but a much larger hit worldwide.

With this success, the trio relocated to Los Angeles and opted to self-produce the second album, Homecoming. The recording was delayed a bit due to an arm injury by Peek, but once it got rolling the trio enlisted Joe Osborn on bass and Hal Blaine on drums to round out the group arrangement for this album. 

The album commences with its most popular and indelible track, “Ventura Highway”. This is a unique classic with a fine, distinct and optimistic vibe and rhythm. It was written by Bunnell and features poetic lyrics inspired by a family trip through Southern California a decade earlier. Musically, Beckley and Peek provide the distinct harmonized guitars throughout, which helped elevate the song to a Top Ten hit in the US.

Beckley’s “To Each His Own” is a sweet, rotational piano ballad with some harmonized vocals in the chorus, while Peek’s Top 40 hit “Don’t Cross the River” has a very county/rock feel which seems to parallel the sound on the Eagles’ debut album, also released in 1972. The compositional roundabout returns to Bunnell with “Moon Song”, an asymmetrical tune which migrates from pure folk to an electric coda featuring a fine guitar lead by Peek. “Only In Your Heart” complete the original first side of the album as a choppy piano with smooth vocals by Beckley.

“Till the Sun Comes Up Again” returns to the soft folk/rock for which America is best known as an acoustic tune with a slight arrangement in verses and harmonized vocals and good rhythms during choruses. “Cornwall Blank” branches out towards a Southern / Allman Brothers Band feel with a darker feel with much reverb and layers of electric guitars while the album’s only cover song, “Head and Heart” written by John Martyn, includes a slightly funky electric piano. The aptly titled “California Revisited” acts as a late album counter-point to “Ventura Highway” featuring early seventies, moving soft folk sound with heavy harmonies. The album concludes with Peek’s “Saturn Nights”, features soft piano and deep harmonies, eventually warming up with fine rhythms and more direct melodies.

Homecoming reached the Top 10 on the Pop Albums charts and helped propel America towards ever greater success throughout the decade of the 1970s.
by Ric Albano
1. Ventura Highway (Dewey Bunnell) - 3:34
2. To Each His Own (Gerry Beckley) - 3:15
3. Don't Cross The River (Dan Peek) - 2:36
4. Moon Song (Dewey Bunnell) - 3:43
5. Only In Your Heart (Gerry Beckley) - 3:24
6. Till The Sun Comes Up Again (Gerry Beckley) - 2:14
7. Cornwall Blank (Dewey Bunnell) - 4:20
8. Head And Heart (John Martyn) - 3:50
9. California Revisted (Dan Peek) - 3:06
10.Saturn Nights (Dan Peek) - 3:35

*Dan Peek - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Gerry Beckley - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Bass Guitar
*Dewey Bunnell - Guitar, Vocals, Percussion
*Joe Osborn - Bass Guitar
*Hal Blaine - Drums, Percussion
*Gary Mallaber – Drums, Percussion

1971-72  America - America (Hybrid SACD 2013 edition)
1975  America - Hearts (2016 SACD) 

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Friday, July 24, 2020

America - Hearts (1975 us, soft acoustics gemlike vocal harmonies, 2016 SACD)

I began listening to this album with no great expectations, but by the third song the excellence of the arrangements and production was so evident -- and so comforting -- that the rest of the disc moved easily and pleasantly. America still dispenses tuneful, if basically bland, pop-oriented pastiches of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, but let's face it: as pabulum goes, it's remarkably well prepared.

The man responsible for the arrangements and production of Hearts is George Martin, and it's high time he got some kind of award. Before he became associated with the Beatles (and it is fair to say that Martin's skills, which are diplomatic as well as musical, helped the Beatles immensely). Martin produced the recordings of the Goons, featuring Peter Sellers, who were the Monty Python of the Fifties. Whether dealing with lunatic comedy, the farthest reaches of rock, or the very tuneful and straight-ahead pleasantries of America, Martin has always brought to his productions taste combined with an understanding of both what performers want to do and what they are capable of doing. He is a very accomplished gentleman, is Mr. Martin, and without him the history of recent pop music would have fewer great moment.s
by Joel Vance, Stereo Review, August 1975. 

America released many hit albums including their fifth studio release which is a favorite among fans. This superbly crafted 1975 classic was produced by legendary Beatles producer George Martin and is a musical treasure filled with great harmonies and hooks!

Achieving significant popularity in the 1970’s, Gerry Beckley, Dan Peek and Dewey Burnell made up the band that became famous for their close vocal harmonies and light acoustic folk sound. With a string of hit singles and albums, often played on pop/soft rock radio stations, Hearts boasts three top selling hits. High Resolution Audio fans can now experience the original quad LP mix on SACD with a stereo layer and includes the #1 hit "Sister Golden Hair," their Top 20 ballad, "Daisy Jane" and "Woman Tonight."
by Wesley Derbyshire
1. Daisy Jane (Gerry Beckley) - 3:10
2. Half A Man (Dan Peek) - 3:37
3. Midnight (Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell) - 2:47
4. Bell Tree (Gerry Beckley) - 2:34
5. Old Virginia (Dan Peek, Catherine Peek) - 3:34
6. People In The Valley (Dewey Bunnell) - 2:46
7. Company (Dewey Bunnell) - 3:28
8. Woman Tonight (Dan Peek) - 2:25
9. The Story Of A Teenager (Gerry Beckley, Dan Peek) - 3:24
10.Sister Golden Hair (Gerry Beckley) - 3:22
11.Tomorrow (Dan Peek) - 2:53
12.Seasons (Dewey Bunnell) - 3:04

*Gerry Beckley - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
*Dewey Bunnell - Vocals, Guitar
*Dan Peek - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
*David Dickey - Bass
*Willie Leacox - Drums, Percussion
*George Martin - Keyboards

1971-72  America - America (Hybrid SACD 2013 edition) 

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Camel - Under Age (1969 uk, a top notch hard blues psych guitar blaster, 2004 remaster)

Sopworth Camel  was a rock group formed in Italy in 1969 by four English musicians and is the first band from Italy that might be regarded as a "super-group". The Musicians came to Italy with various groups during the beat era in 60s. Martin Fisher (b.1947in Kingston, London, UK) and Pete Huish came to Italy in June,1966 for a couple of gigs with a band called Thane Russal and Three, where they played guitar and drums respectively. Pete Huish was a great drummer and his style sounds similarly to John Bonham's. One day the guys,  Martin and Pete,  desired to switch to different style than Thane Russal was known from. 

Their biography inevitably connects with a guitarist Dave Sumner - a member of  Primitives and Motowns. The Motowns  arrived  in  Firenze, Italy  stright from Liverpool in 1966. Dave was electrifying italian audiences from south to north. After Martin and Pete were through with their original bands, they offered  Dave to join the forces and set up a new group.

As the trio was formed, Martin, a former guitar player, picked up the bass. He played using an octave divider, a stomp box allowing the player to adjust the pitch of the instrument one octave above or below the usual tone. Martin had to go to London to get one of these effects because they were hardly found in Italy. The band was named Sopworth Camel. Pete thought up the name (in London slang - Sopworth Camel = Sopwith Camel). They played their first concert at Piper Club in Rome, Italy  in early 1969. 

After that they decided to make the Naples their headquarters. Sopworth  Camel contributed  to Martin's  progress - he developed a unique technique of playing the bass, very rich and ear~catching and, together with Pete Huish, they were able to create such a complex background that Dave was completely free of exploring his guitar style. Many musicians longed to be a part of that trio but only Alex "Eck" Ligertwoodaka  Alex Jackson  (born 18.12.1948 in Glasgow)  managed to achieve the goal. He played in group called The Senate. 

They came to Italy in 1968. RCA gave Sopworth Camel an opportunity to record a single and an album. They choose to release a 45 including an italian version of  "Only My Woman"  former recorded by the Marbles  (the title in Italian  was "Sei La Mi Donna"). On the B-side they included Spirit's classic "Fresh Garbage" (1969). Following the success of the 45s, they released a full lenght album called "Underage - dedicated to all those who understand"  in 1969 and 45 with songs from the album,"Mystery Tour / Society's Child". The material recorded at RCA  Studios in Rome in  2nd, 3rd,  9th and  12th,  June,  1969. Woruth noticing - the name of the band is only Camel. In studio they were supported by Gaetano Ria - sound engineer, Tony Mimms who played the piano on a couple of tracks and was awarded with the title of assistant  producer. Actually the band had a complete control over the music and the mix. G. Tosti who was expected to be the musical supervisor never even entered the recording studio! The album cover was drawned by Gordon Faggetter, a drummer of  Cyan Three. 

The nine covers featured on the album are taken from their live set and some of them are better than the original versions. The band went on playing gigs in Italy. There were also invited to play abroad. The musicians were also backing vocalists in italian singer Nada's group (there was also Derek Wilson in his band). When Dave Sumner decided to leave the band and came back to the Primitives, Martin and Pete moved to Britain to seek for a new guitarist. In those times Peter Frampton got in touch with them and Frampton made an album under the name of Peter Frampton's Camel. After the concert at Caracalla Pop Festival in October, 1970 Camel disbanded.

After Camel split Martin Fisher came back in Englad untill Dave Sumner offer him to join one of the last Primitives line~up. After a year Dave left the band  and a new guitar player, called Laury, joined the band. Then Martin started playing in the studio as a session man with Derek Wilson, Mike Fraser, Laury and Lally Stott. Then he moved to UK again and played for a couple of years with  East of Eden, recording the album "Another Eden", Pete Huish played with his band in England and Canada. He passed away. Dave Sumner continued his career in Italy with Mad Dogs, West Coast Lizzie, Made in England i Superobots.
Pearls Of Rock, 04.01.2009 
1. Pinball Wizard (Pete Townshend) - 4:09
2. Where Is My Mind (Mark Stein) - 3:37
3. Tin Soldier (Ronnie Lane, Steve Marriot) - 4:15
4. Forget It, I Got It (Gary Wright, Jimmy Miller) - 4:11
5. Mystery Tour (John Lennon, Paul Mc Cartney) - 5:18
6. Can`t Be So Bad (Don Stevenson, Jerry Miller) - 3:59
7. Society`s Child (Janis Ian) - 4:45
8. Sitting On The Top Of The World (Walter Vinson, Lonnie Chatmon) - 5:01
9. Evil Woman (Larry Weiss) - 5:57

*Alex Jackson “Alex Ligertwood” - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Piano
*Dave Summer - Guitar, Vocals
*Martin Fisher - Bass, Keyboards, Harpsichord
*Pete Huish - Drums

Related Act
1975  East Of Eden - Another Eden (2012 remaster) 

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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Alex Harvey The New Band - The Mafia Stole My Guitar (1979 uk, spectacular glam prog rock)

This 1979 outing saw Alex Harvey returning to the rock music world for what would be his final album. It's no big surprise that The Mafia Stole My Guitar sounds a lot like the Sensational Alex Harvey Band: the music remains the same unusual but intriguing blend of prog ambition and punk energy and it also contains a few of Harvey's trademark oddball cover versions (example: his surprisingly straight-faced cabaret version of "Just A Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody"). What is a surprise is how consistent The Mafia Stole My Guitar is, especially in light of the uneven final albums of his last band. While the album never coheres the way classic Alex Harvey outings like Next did, each of the songs feels inspired and benefits from a carefully-crafted sound:"Wait For Me Mama" contrasts a wailing, impassioned vocal from Harvey with a tightly-controlled, gypsy-flavored groove from the band while "Oh, Spartacus" is a Roman adventure tale that takes the story of its title character and gives it a glam rock beat.

The Mafia Stole My Guitar also adds finds Harvey shifting his sound in a new direction, with the saxophone taking an upfront role in the arrangements and adding a jazzy flair to the proceedings. A good example of this new jazziness is the cover of "Shakin' All Over," which alters this classic Johnny Kidd and the Pirates hard-rock nugget by raising the tempo to an amphetamine level and adding all sorts of jazz-fusion inspired riffing over the top.

This album also contains one of the loveliest songs in the Harvey canon in "The Whalers (Thar She Blows)," a surprisingly gentle and lyrical song layered with plenty of gentle synthesizer and saxophone shadings. The end result is a rocking yet stately-sounding slab of music that is unmistakably the work of Alex Harvey. While it's tragic that Harvey would never record again after this album (he died of health problems in 1981), the Mafia Stole My Guitar remains a fine addition to his legacy. 
by Donald A. Guarisco
1. Don's Delight (Don Weller) - 1:33
2. Back In The Depot (Alex Harvey, Matthew Cang) - 6:31
3. Wait For Me Mama (Alex Harvey, Don Weller, Matthew Cang, Hugh McKenna) - 7:01
4. The Mafia Stole My Guitar (Alex Harvey) - 5:13
5. Shakin' All Over (Johnny Kidd) - 4:51
6. The Whalers (Thar She Blows) (Alex Harvey, Matthew Cang, Hugh McKenna) - 7:06
7. Oh Spartacus! (Alex Harvey, Matthew Cang) - 3:57
8. Just A Gigolo-I Ain't Got Nobody (Irving Caesar, Julius Brammer, Leonello Casucci) - 5:19

*Alex Harvey - Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar
*Matthew Cang - Lead Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Simon Charterton - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
*Tommy Eyre - Keyboards, Vocals
*Gordon Sellar - Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Don Weller - Saxophone, Horns

1972-73  Framed / Next 
1974-75  The Impossible Dream / Tomorrow Belongs to Me
1974  The Sensational Alex Harvey Band - Hot City / The Unreleased Album (2009)
1975-76  Live / The Penthouse Tapes
1976/78  The Sensational Alex Harvey Band - Stories / Rock Drill (2002)
Related Act
1970  Tear Gas - Piggy Go Getter (2019 remaster)
1971  Tear Gas - Tear Gas (2019 remaster)

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Monday, July 20, 2020

The Graeme Edge Band Featuring Adrian Gurvitz - Kick Off Your Muddy Boots (1975 uk, marvellous soft prog rock with plenty of fluid electric guitar workouts, 2009 remaster)

A solo album from a drummer is rarely cause to celebrate, for invariably it arrives stillborn. But Kick Off Your Muddy Boots is a solo set from Moody Blues' skin basher Graeme Edge in name only, and instead is really a showcase for the Gurvitz brothers, or more precisely singer/guitarist Adrian. Edge contributed only three songs to his set; the dreamy "Lost in Space," the introspective "Have You Ever Wondered," and dramatic "Somethin' We'd Like to Say," providing very tentative links to the Blues' own sound. The rest of the album, composed by Adrian Gurvitz, goes very much its own way. 

The fabulously funky instrumental "The Tunnel" flies furthest from the mothership, while a guesting Ginger Baker edges Edge into the shadows on the Chicago blues spectacular "Gew Janna Woman," the set's apotheosis. "My Life's Not Wasted" is nearly as epic, meandering from funk to blues, soul to orchestral overkill in one fell swoop. 

Swinging from the C&W-tinged rocker "Shotgun" to the sunny California-styled "Bareback Rider," Muddy Boots treads into as many musical pastures as possible, with the bonus "We Like to Do It" (the band's 1974 single) tossing ragtime into the mix. Keyboardist Mickey Gallagher provides excellent work throughout, his lovely soundscapes and delicate melody lines providing a perfect foil to Gurvitz's soaring leads and hefty riffs. The rhythm section is strong of course, but in the end, this is Gurvitz and Gallagher's show from start to finish, and what a show it is. 
by Dave Thompson
1. Bareback Rider (Adrian Gurvitz) - 5:15
2. In Dreams (Adrian Gurvitz) - 5:13
3. Lost In Space (Graeme Edge) - 4:28
4. Have You Ever Wondered (Graeme Edge) - 5:10 
5. My Life's Not Wasted (Adrian Gurvitz) - 2:59
6. The Tunnel  (Adrian Gurvitz, Graeme Edge, Paul Gurvitz) - 2:06
7. Gew Janna Woman (Adrian Gurvitz) - 4:15
8. Shotgun (Adrian Gurvitz) - 4:10
9. Somethin' We'd Like To Say (Graeme Edge) -  3:32   
10.We Like To Do It (Adrian Gurvitz, Graeme Edge) - 4:02

*Graeme Edge -- Drums, Percussion
*Mickey Gallagher -- Keyboards, Backing Vocals
*Adrian Gurvitz (aka Arian Curtis) -- Vocals, Lead Guitar
*Paul Gurvitz -- Bass, Backing Vocals
*Jorge J. "Jay Jay" Bell - Orchestral Arrangements 
*Martyn Ford - Orchestral Arrangements 
*Ginger Baker - Drums
*Barry St. John - Backing Vocals
*Brian Parrish - Backing Vocals
*Joanne Williams - Backing Vocals
*Lesly Ducan - Backing Vocals
*Ray Thomas - Backing Vocals
*Ruby James - Backing Vocals
*Sunny Leslie - Backing Vocals
*Nicky James - Backing Vocals

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)
1971  Three Man Army - A Third Of A Lifetime
1974  Three Man Army - Two (Japan SHM remaster)

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