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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Friday, April 5, 2019

McKenna Mendelson Mainline - Stink (1969 canada, remarkable hard blues rock)

Both natives of Toronto, Mike McKenna and Joe Mendelson grew up fans of the blues, and both emulated their idols early in life while learning to play guitar.

After McKenna left Luke & The Apostles in the mid '60s, he was a brief footnote in The Ugly Ducklings' story, then began working the local club circuit. He placed a newspaper ad looking for people to start a new band with, which Mendelson, a University of Toronto student, replied to. They decided that instead of toiling through the process of finding other musicians through the same means to round out the group, they'd do it on their own - and the foundations of McKenna Mendelson Mainline were laid with former Paupers bassist Dennis Gerrard and drummer Tony Nolasco, ex of The Spassiks.

After some rehearsals their first paid gig was a week-long run at The Night Owl in Yorkville in August of '68. They recorded some demos a month later, but Gerrard's run in the band was short, leaving that October immediately after a show at Massey Hall supporting The Fugs. But with new bassist Mike Harrison, who'd just left the popular R&B group Grant Smith & The Power, they carried on, opening for The Jeff Beck Group at The Grande Ballroom a month later, one of a handful of shows they gained favourable reviews for around the Detroit area.

Before the end of the year, they flew to England, where they filled in for a recently departed Jimi Hendrix Experience at the Utrecht Pop Festival. Hoping to land a recording deal while in the UK, they ended up working the same club circuit that saw the likes of Rory Gallagher, Fleetwood Mac, and the newly-formed Led Zeppelin appearing on a regular basis. They signed with Liberty Records under the United Artists umbrella in early '69 and recorded the basic tracks to their debut album in a single day. But homesick and with the rigors of the rock & roll lifestyle already getting to them, they returned to Toronto that June.

Their debut album, STINK, was in the stores a couple of months later, and the slide guitar-driven single "You Better Watch Out" got some good airplay around the Toronto area and made them one of the hottest tickets in town. The flipside "She's Alright," "Mainline," "Bad Women," the cover of Ramblin' Thomas' "One Way Ticket," and the funky second single "Don't Give Me No Goose For Christmas" helped catch the critics' and the audiences' attention, and things were looking up.

Meanwhile, Paragon Records, who owned the rights to the demos they recorded a year earlier in Toronto, released them as the McKENNA MENDELSON BLUES album in September. This notorized the group as arguably the first Canadian act signed to a major label to become victims of a bootlegged album, which featured the eleven-minute original version of "Bad Women" called "Bad Women Are Killing Me," "Pretty Woman," "Toilet Bowl Blues (the original version of "T B Blues"), and a cover of Albert King's "Born Under A Bad Sign."

But partially due to differences in musical vision, the band fell apart in the fall of '69. Mendelson briefly left the band and was replaced by ex-Mynah Byrds member Rick James, who later went on to be a huge disco star. By the spring of 1970 the band was dissolved due to musical differences.

Mendelson and Nolasco carried on, dubbing themselves Mainline, with Zeke Sheppard on bass and harmonica, who'd spent time in one of Dutch Mason's makeshift groups on the east coast, while McKenna returned to a reformed version of Luke & The Apostles for a pair of singles. But one thing led to another and he was back with Mendelson's new group that fall.

They signed with GRT Records and looking for new inspirations, travelled to California, recording material that became CANADA - OUR HOME AND NATIVE LAND at Pacific Recording Studios in San Mateo in the spring of '71. It was the first album they used Adam Mitchell to produce, and all the bulk of the material was written by Mendelson. Although no singles were released and with sales that fell far short of the label's or their own expectations, they had to be satisfied knowing that tracks like "Brain Damage," the southern rhythms of the Sheppard-penned "You're My Heart's Desire," the harmonica boogie in "Goin' To Toronto," and the somewhat out of place horns section in "Honkis de Konkis" gave it the versatility that critics called a future classic.

They stayed around the Toronto area, becoming regulars at The Canberra Playhouse and Wexford Collegiate in Scarborough, among other hot venues. Their live shows were by that point known not only for the on-stage magnetism, but also for the risque and raunchier banter, much to the shagrin of some of the more snootier nightclub owners. They returned with the live album, MAINLINE'S BUMP N GRIND REVUE - LIVE AT THE VICTORY THEATRE in 1972, recorded that February in one of Toronto's more infamous and seedier former burlesque theatres on Spadina and Dundas.

With Adam Mitchell and Zeke Sheppard among those who showed up to lend a hand, all the material was new, and all were covers, and critics praised it - saying their live versions of "C C Rider," "Ezmeralda," "Chicken Shack," and "Feel Alright" captured the band in their live essence. Along with playing their home turf, they ventured out to Detroit and the area, and also did a series of shows with King Biscuit Boy that took them out to Winnipeg.

Their final album came in the form of NO SUBSTITUTES in the fall of '72, stripped down without frills and returning the band to its core essence. But the album came and went just as fast, and no singles were released. Worse yet, internal problems were plaguing the band and with burnout setting in, tracks like "Sometimes," "Give It To Me Straight," "I've Been Lucky," and the title track went largely un-noticed by an audience that was finding new sounds to relate to. This was despite the critics' calling McKenna's slide guitar work among his best.

The band split up and everyone went on to do their own things. McKenna later joined Diamondback, prior to joining a version of The Guess Who in the late '70s. After joining Downchild Blues Band for awhile in the late '80s, he formed Sidewinder with Gerrard and Ronnie Jacobs, a saxophonist he'd played with in Downchild that had also worked with Mainline, and released one album in 1997. McKenna also kissed and made up with Luke Gibson (of Luke and the Apostles) in The Luke Gibson Band - the house band for the Blues on Belair Club in Toronto as the decade came to a close.

Mendelson meanwhile renamed himself Mendelson Joe, and became a sessions player, working with the likes of Ben Mink, Gwen Swick and Colin Linden. He also began to make a name for himself as a contemporary artist, pursuing painting as well as music. In 1988, he appeared in an episode of Sharon, Lois & Bram's Elephant Show titled "Sunday in the Park". A music video for a novelty song he recorded, "Dance with Joe," also received extensive airplay on MuchMusic for awhile.

Prior to and following his stint in Sidewinder, Gerrard toured with various bands, including Jericho and Lisa Hartt. After Mainline, Sheppard joined a reformed version of Rhinoceros, now going by the name of Blackstone for one album in '73. Purdy went back to school and got a Law degree, later becoming a lawyer.

McKenna, Nolasko, Purdy, and Harrison re-united in 1998 for a date at The Warehouse Club in Toronto, playing together for the first time in a quarter of a century. With Bob Adams on harmonica, this led to a semi-reformation and the band playing off and on again, including being the final band to play upstairs at El Mocambo in November 2001. That show was taped and released by Bullseye Records the following spring as LAST SHOW AT THE ELMO. 
1. One Way Ticket - 2:40
2. She's Alright - 3:35
3. Beltmaker - 3:35
4. Mainline - 6:40
5. Think I'm Losing My Marbles - 2:30
6. Drive You - 2:20
7. T.B. Blues - 2:05
8. Better Watch Out - 4:30
9. Bad Women - 12:20
10.Don't Give Me No Goose For Christmas Grandma - 2:30
All songs written by Joe Mendelson

The McKenna Mendelson Mainline
*Mike Harrison - Bass
*Mike McKenna - Guitar
*Joe Mendelson - Guitar, Harmonica, Keyboards, Vocals
*Tony Volasco - Drums

1966  The Ugly Ducklings - Somewhere Outside 
1975/87  Downchild Blues Band - It's Been So Long / Ready To Go 

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Thursday, April 4, 2019

McKendree Spring - McKendree Spring 3 (1972 us, exceptional folk prog rock)

Folks, there’s nothing like a sleeper. There’s a kinda rush involved in discovering a great album when you aren’t expecting it.

This time it’s electric folk band by the name of McKendree Spring. Michael Dreyfuss’ flaming violin work combined with Fran McKendree’s subtle understating vocals, Marty Slutsky’s lead guitar and Fred Holman’s bass work have created a sound similar to…well…no one I can think of.

It’s Dreyfuss who steals the show on this LP, though, with an excellent “God Bless the Conspiracy,” a tribute to the Chicago Seven. Throughout the track’s nine instrumental minutes the listener is dragged through a bomb sequence, a Star Spangled Banner sequence and a vision of social turmoil…all performed on the violin. A low-keyed masterpiece.
by Cameron Crowe, San Diego Door June 8, 1972  – June 22, 1972
1. Down By The River (Neil Young) - 5:53
2. Fading Lady (Jerry Jeff Walker) - 5:27
3. Flying Dutchman (Michael Dreyfuss, Fran McKendree, Martin Slutsky) - 6:17
4. Heart Is Like A Wheel (Anna McGarrigle) - 3:36
5. Feeling Bad Ain't Good Enough (Michael Dreyfuss, Fran McKendree) - 5:41
6. Hobo Lady (Keith Sykes) - 4:10
7. Oh, In The Morning (Arlo Guthrie) - 4:14
8. God Bless The Conspiracy (Michael Dreyfuss) - 8:37

The McKendree Spring
*Fran Mckendree - Vocals, Guitar
*Fred Holman - Bass
*Dr. Michael Dreyfuss - Electric Violin, Viola, Moog, Arp, Mellotron
*Martin Slutsky - Electric Guitar

1970  McKendree Spring - Second Thoughts 

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