Thursday, June 4, 2020

Terry Reid - Original Album Series (1968-91 fantastic box set, an amalgam of acid rock blues folk classic rock, 2015 five discs edition)



British rock singer Terry Reid could have been a lot more famous if he had been able to accept the slot of lead singer for the New Yardbirds in 1968. That slot, of course, went to Robert Plant, and the New Yardbirds became Led Zeppelin. Unlike Plant, Reid was also a guitarist, and the opportunity to head his own group no doubt played a part in his decision to gun for a solo career. Leading a guitar-organ-drums power trio, he recorded a couple of respectable, though erratic, hard rock albums while still a teenager in the late '60s. Some bad breaks and creative stagnation combined to virtually bring his career to a halt, and he never cashed in on the momentum of his promising start.

A teen prodigy of sorts, Reid had turned professional at the age of 15 to join Peter Jay & the Jaywalkers. His first couple of singles as a headliner found him singing in a sort of poppy blue-eyed soul vein. But by the time of his 1968 debut Bang, Bang You're Terry Reid, produced by Mickie Most, he'd switched to more of a hard rock approach. Most was also handling Donovan and the Jeff Beck Group at the time, and similarities to both of those acts can be heard in Terry Reid's first two albums -- proto-hard rock on the louder tunes, sweeter folk-rock on the mellow ones (Reid in fact covered a couple of Donovan compositions, although he wrote most of his own material). Reid's high voice was reminiscent of Robert Plant's, though not nearly as shrill, and his folky numbers especially are reminiscent of Led Zeppelin's most acoustic early cuts.

Reid, oddly, was considerably more well-known in the U.S. than the U.K. His first album, very oddly, was not even issued in Britain, although it made the American Top 200. It's been reported that he at least in part declined Jimmy Page's offer to join Led Zeppelin owing to his contractual commitments to record for Mickie Most as a solo artist, and to perform as an opening solo artist on the Rolling Stones' late-'60s U.S. tour. He did influence Led Zeppelin's history in a big way by recommending Plant and drummer John Bonham as suitable candidates for the group's lineup, after Plant and Bonham's pre-Led Zep outfit (the Band of Joy) played support at one of Reid's early gigs. Reid felt confident enough in his solo prospects to also turn down an offer to join Deep Purple (Ian Gillan was recruited instead).

An opening spot on the Rolling Stones' famous 1969 tour of America seemed to augur even brighter prospects for the future, but this is precisely where Reid's career stalled, at the age of 20. First he became embroiled in litigation with Mickey Most, which curtailed his studio activities in the early '70s. After a couple of personnel changes, he disbanded his original trio, leading a group for a while that included David Lindley and ex-King Crimson drummer Michael Giles (this quartet, however, didn't release any records). He moved to California in 1971 and signed to Atlantic, but his long-delayed third album didn't appear until 1973. Reid would release albums for other labels in 1976 and 1979, but none of his '70s recordings were well-received, critically or commercially (though 1976's Seed of Memory did briefly chart). He rarely recorded, though he did play some sessions and The Driver appeared in 1991.

Reid's catalog was reissued on various labels in the 21st century, and there was a resurgence of interest in his music as well. The Raconteurs recorded "Rich Kid Blues" for inclusion on 2008's Consolers of the Lonely, and made it a centerpiece of their live shows. He provided three songs to the soundtrack for Rob Zombie's horror film The Devil's Rejects. In 2009, he played the Glastonbury and WOMAD festivals. Two years later, he toured Ireland for the first time in 30 years and released the Live in London; it included performances of several new songs.

In 2012, Reid was invited to play London's most famous jazz club, Ronnie Scott's, in celebration of their 50th anniversary -- he sold out three nights. He also returned to Glastonbury and played the Isle of Wight Festival for the first time since 1971. Reid's songs gained traction with 2000s pop artists. Rumer featured "Brave Awakening" on her charting Boys Don’t Cry album. America’s Got Talent winner Michael Grimm included "Without Expression" on his album Gumbo. DJ Shadow collaborated with Reid, who wrote lyrics for "Listen" that appeared on Reconstructed: The Best of DJ Shadow.

Reid toured the U.K. in 2013 and 2014, and performed the whole of Seed of Memory at the Borderline. In April 2016, the Washington Post ran a story about Reid working in Johnny Depp's home studio with Aerosmith's Joe Perry on a song for the guitarist's forthcoming solo album. The same month, Light in the Attic announced the release of The Other Side of the River, a collection of unreleased material and alternate takes from the 1973 album sessions for the twice-recorded River -- some that Reid didn't even remember. It was released in May. 
by Richie Unterberger
Tracks
Disc 1 Bang, Bang You're Terry Reid 1968
1. Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) (Sonny Bono) - 4:15
2. Tinker Tailor - 2:55
3. Erica - 3:52
4. Without Expression – 4:47
5. Sweater - 2:06
6. Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart (Roger Cook, Roger Greenaway) - 5:02 
7. Season Of The Witch (Donovan Leitch) - 10:09
8. Writing On The Wall / Summertime Blues (Terry Reid / Eddie Cochran, Jerry Capehart) - 10:14
9. When You Get Home - 3:40
10.Loving Time (Eric Leese, Terry Reid) - 3:40
All compositions by Terry Reid except where noted
Disc 2 Terry Reid 1969 
1. Superlungs My Supergirl (Donovan Leitch) - 2:41
2. Silver White Light - 2:54
3. July - 3:32
4. Marking Time - 3:48
5. Stay With Me Baby (George David Weiss, Jerry Ragovoy) - 4:12
6. Highway 61 Revisited / Friends (Bob Dylan / Terry Reid) - 7:59
7. May Fly - 3:42
9. Rich Kid Blues - 4:14
All titles by Terry Reid unless as else written
Disc 3 River
1. Dean - 4:45
2. Avenue - 5:08
3. Things To Try - 4:25
4. Live Life - 5:11
5. River - 5;45
6. Dream - 5:20
7. Milestones - 5:52
All Music and Lyrics by Terry Reid 
Disc 4 Rogue Waves
1. Ain't No Shadow - 3:39
2. Baby I Love You (Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry) - 3:52
3. Stop And Think It Over - 3:40
4. Rogue Wave - 5:42
5. Walk Away Rene (Bob Calilli, Mikel Brown, Tony Sansone) - 4:18 
6. Believe In The Magic - 6:32
7. Then I Kissed Her (Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry) - 4:44 
8. Bowangi - 4:014
9. ll I Have To Do Is Dream (Boudleaux Bryant) - 5:26 
All tracks by Terry Reid except where indicated
Disc 5 The Driver
1. Fifth Of July (Louise Goffin, Reid Savage) - 5;11
2. There's Nothing Wrong - 5:05
3. Right To The End (Gerard McMahon) - 4:55
4. The Whole Of The Moon (Mike Scott) - 4:13
5. Hand Of Dimes - 3:04
6. The Driver (Part I) (Hans Zimmer, Terry Reid, Trevor Horn) - 0:45
7. If You Let Her - 4:28
8. Turn Around - 3:49
9. Gimme Some Lovin' (Muff Winwood, Spencer Davis, Steve Winwood) - 4:19
10.Laugh At Life - 4:48
11.The Driver (Part II) (Hans Zimmer, Terry Reid, Trevor Horn) - 4:37
All songs by Terry Reid except where stated

Musicians
*Terry Reid - Guitar, Vocals
*Keith Webb - Drums (Discs 1, 2)
*Eric Leese - Keyboards (Disc 1)
*Pete Solley - Keyboards (Disc 2)
*Leo Miles - Bass (Discs 3, 4)
*Conrad Isidore - Drums (Disc 3)
*David Lindley - Steel Guitar, Slide Guitar, Electric Guitar (Disc 3)
*Douglas Rodriguez - Guitar (Disc 4) 
*John Siomos - Drums, Percussion (Disc 4)
*James E. Johnson – Organ (Disc 4)
*Sterling Smith - Organ (Disc 4) 
*Terrence James - String Arrangements (Disc 4) 
*Dyanne Chandler - Vocals (Disc 4)
*Maxine Willard Waters - Vocals (Disc 4)
*Dennis Williams - Vocals (Disc 4)
*Joe Walsh - Guitar (Disc 5) 
*Jackie Lomax - Guitars (Disc 5)
*Brian Auger - Keyboards (Disc 5)
*Timothy B. Schmit - Bass (Disc 5)
*Alan White - Drums (Disc 5)
*Stewart Copeland - Drums (Disc 5)
*Jack Lancaster - Sax (Disc 5)
*Howard Jones - Keyboards (Disc 5)
*Enya - Vocals (Disc 5)

1966-69  Terry Reid - Superlungs / The Complete Studio Recordings (2004  two disc set) 
1974  Terry Reid - Seed of Memory (2004 remaster) 

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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Claire Hamill - Stage Door Johnnies (1974 uk, delicate folk soft rock, 2006 japan issue)



Claire Hamill was born in Middlesborough in Northern England and has been in the music business since she was 17. In 1970 she was launched as one of Britain's first singer songwriters and seen by many commentators as in the vein of Joni Mitchell.

The album was "One house left standing" which showed the singer in a backdrop of her home town and a year later she went on her first U K tour supporting John Martyn.Up to 1973 she toured the USA with Procol Harum and Jethro Tull and came back to Britain to record her next album "October" at the same Manor studio of Richard Branson which Mike Oldfield was using to make what became "Tubular Bells".Her next tour support was for King Crimson.

In 1973 Claire Hamill met Ray Davies who signed her to his Konk label for her 3rd album "Stage Door Johnnies" an album which included her first covers. We Gotta Get Out Of This Place – (Mann, Weil) – the Animals worldwide hit from 1965, nothing can top that but this is suitably agrressive and angry.  

Oh Daddy (Blues) (You Don't Have No Mamma At All) – (Herbert, Russell) – First recording by Ethel Waters, Cordy Williams' Jazz Masters (1921)  but associated with  Bessie Smith (Clarence Williams at the Piano) from 1923. It has been done by a lot of folk blues jazz types in both instrumental and vocal versions. This is a good version and not dissimilar to what Ray was doing on some tracks of the Kinks "Muswell Hillbillies" (1971) album. All The Cakes She Baked Him – very Joni Mitchell but very good. Trying To Work It Out – more Joni. Geronimo's Cadillac – (C. Quarto, M. Murphy) – Co-written and recorded by American country singer Michael Martin Murphey in 1972 (also the title cut of his 1972 debut album) the song went to #37 in the US pop charts. The song has been often covered. Here, it sounds like a sister piece (in mood) to The Kinks' circa 1971. Very good. 

You Know How Ladies Are – quite beautiful with a touch of Ray Davies. Luck Of The Draw – very good with some nice up front twangy guitar and some hard lyrics. Stage Door Johnnies – Ray would love this … and so do I. Stage Door Johnnies was a English theatre reference to wealthy gentlemen who would wait outside the stage door hoping to escort chorus girls hem to dinner. The attract for the girls was (hopefully) marriage into the upper class, society and nobility.
Tracks
1. We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil) - 3:20
2. Oh Daddy (Blues) (You Don't Have No Mamma At All) (Ed Herbert, William Russell) - 3:44
3. All The Cakes She Baked Him - 3:21
4. Trying To Work It Out - 3:32
5. Geronimo's Cadillac (Michael Martin Murphey, Charles John Quatro) - 4:22
6. Something To Believe In (Steve Miller) - 4:09
7. You Know How Ladies Are - 2:44
8. You Take My Breath Away - 2:34
9. Go Now (Larry Banks, Milton Bennett) - 3:36
10.Luck Of The Draw - 3:10
11.Stage Door Johnnies - 2:07
All tracks composed by Claire Hamill except where indicated

Personnel
*Claire Hamill - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Phil Palmer - Lead Guitar
*Roy Neve - Guitar
*Nick South - Bass
*Paul Westwood - Bass
*Phil Chen - Bass
*Dave Rowberry - Keyboards
*Clem Cattini - Drums
*Jim Frank - Drums
*Neil McBain - Drums
*Laurie Brown - Trumpet
*Ray Davies - Backing Vocals
*Diz Disley - Guitar
*Tim Hinkley - Keyboards
*Alan Holmes - Flute
*Lew Warburton - String Arrangements

1971  Claire Hamill - One House Left Standing (2008 remaster with extra tracks)
1972  Claire Hamill - October (2008 remaster)
1975  Claire Hamill - Abracadabra (2006 japan remaster)

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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Claire Hamill - Abracadabra (1975 uk, beautiful folk funky soft rock, 2006 japan remaster)



On her fourth album Abracadabra (1975) Claire Hamill, covered The Kinks’ `Celluloid Heroes’, Ian Anderson’s `Your Dear’, Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke’s `I Love You So’ and the traditional `Jamaica’, although once again the buying public showed little interest. In 1976, she had a brief stint as the vocalist with Ric Grech’s S.D.M. (Square Dance Machine), but this proved to be unfruitful and she retired for a while.

Claire Hamill subsequently started writing for a few rock groups, even joining Wishbone Ash for one 1982 album, `Two Barrels Burning’.
Tracks
1. Rory - 2:50
2. Forbidden Fruit - 3:00
3. One Sunday Morning - 3:30
4. I Love You So (Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke) - 3:16
5. For Sailors - 4:22
6. Jamaica (Traditional Arranged By Claire Hamill) - 2:14
7. Under A Piece Of Glass - 3:11
8. You Dear (Ian Anderson) - 3:18
9. Maybe It Is - 4:00
10.In So Deep - 3:51
11.Celluloid Heroes (Ray Davies) - 5:00
All songs by Claire Hamill except where indicated

Personnel
*Claire Hamill - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Phil Palmer - Guitar
*Phil Chen - Bass
*Jon Hartman - Keyboards
*Gary Ray - Drums
*Mel Collins - Saxophone
*Vicki Brown - Background Vocals
*Doreen Chanter - Background Vocals
*Jean Roussel - Piano, Orchestral Arrangements
*Tom Robinson - Vocals
*Raphael Doyle - Vocals
*Hereward Kaye - Vocals

1971  Claire Hamill - One House Left Standing (2008 remaster with extra tracks) 
1972  Claire Hamill - October (2008 remaster) 

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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Big Star - #1 Record / Radio City (1972/74 us impressive power pop indie rock, 2004 SACD)




In the past, if you wanted to buy either of Big Star’s #1 Record or Radio City on CD you had to buy them together. While previously available individually on vinyl, the pair of albums were glued together in a two-for-one compact disc. Truthfully, while getting both albums at once was gratifying (because, really, you need both, along with Third/Sister Lovers), and it was probably cheaper to get a two for one deal, the end of #1 Record segueing into Radio City was messy at best. Thankfully, both albums are now back in print individually (sans bonus tracks), and are sourced from the original analog master tapes. One has to wonder, though, if the real reason behind these reissues is not to get the albums back into the hands of fans on CD in the proper format, but rather as a shot at Sony Music, who last year issued the godawful compilation album Playlist: The Very Best of Big Star (1972 – 2005). See, the problem with that disc was two-fold. The first is that the first three Big Star albums are Greatest Hits albums. They’re that necessary. Secondly, Sony got around the thorny issue of not having the rights to the original recordings by loading up songs on the tracklist from 1993’s Columbia: Live at Missouri University, 4/25/93. Basically, you would have been better off just buying the live album, as all that’s missing from it is a handful of songs from the original albums that the Best of album culls from. The 2013 Greatest Hits disc is, thus, that inconsequential.

While I cannot comment on the audiophile quality of these reissues for I was given access to a private stream, and we all know streams have their share of wow and flutter, the sound does manage to shine through. As do the songs themselves. Basically, if you don’t have either of these albums and have no idea of what I’m talking about, go. Just go, stop reading, and buy these records, especially if you want to see how this group essentially helped to invent the concept of ‘70s power pop, and would go on to influence countless bands from the Replacements, Teenage Fanclub, R.E.M. (whose Automatic for the People is essentially Third/Sister Lovers reimagined for the ‘90s) and, yes, Counting Crows, who have tucked a Big Star reference inside some live performances of their hit "Mr. Jones". As well, I’m not sure if it’s really worth giving more than a thumbnail sketch of the band’s history, because, chances are, if you’re reading this, you already know it and not much can be added or taken away from what you already know.

Still, here goes: Big Star was a group founded by Alex Chilton, formerly of the Box Tops, and also featured Chris Bell, drummer Jody Stephens and bassist Andy Hummel. (Stephens, incidentally, is the sole remaining original member still alive and kicking.) The group released #1 Record in 1972. The critics loved it, but, due to poor distribution problems with the record label, the album stiffed commercially, making the album title rather ironic (aside from the fact that it was, indeed, their number one record in order of release). Bell left the band and the remaining group, give or take a member or two depending on the song, went on to record 1974’s Radio City. The same result occurred: lavish critical praise, monumental commercial dud at the cash register.

Even if you haven’t heard of Big Star, you’ve heard Big Star. If you watched TV’s That ‘70s Show, well, the theme song is "In The Street" from #1 Record, only covered by Cheap Trick. For a band that sold a paltry number of records in its heyday, the cultural legacy of Big Star looms large. Without them, the Replacements wouldn’t have written their homage to "Alex Chilton". Without them, a large swath of alternative and indie rock would debatably cease to exist, or at least exist in some other unrecognizable format. Maybe indie kids today would have thought polka music was the hippest thing without Big Star. So this is a very monumental band, and, as I’ve said, if you don’t have these two albums, your record collection has a massive hole. You’re missing out on some of the finest music of the ‘70s, music that, in large part, remains timeless and even sounds much more relevant today than it did back then. That’s how ahead of the curve Big Star was.

So what of the albums themselves then? While both are in Rolling Stone’s 500 "Greatest Albums of All Time" list, #1 Record has the highest highs and the lowest lows. Had "The India Song" been swapped out its place at the end of Side One in favour of "When My Baby’s Beside Me", you would have had an argument for rock’s greatest Side One in the history of all music. That side would include the magnificent "The Ballad of El Goodo", the aforementioned "In the Street", the bluesy swagger of "Don’t Lie to Me", and the transcendent, touching ballad of first love "Thirteen". Even though the album does boast its share of filler ("ST 100/6" anyone?), the peaks are so towering that mere words cannot convey the brilliance. Plus, the album sounds like a group having a blast in the recording studio, unaware of the commercial disappointment that awaited them around the corner. The harmonies and the songwriting have been oft compared to Lennon/McCartney, and for a good reason. This stuff is just as good, if not better, than that of their predecessors. While #1 Record is slightly flawed, you could say that too about any Beatles album, and we all know that Revolver has the top spot generally on All Time Greatest Records lists. There is no such thing as outright perfection.

But then you have Radio City.

Radio City is outright perfection.

The album, which sees Bell get unofficially songwriting credit on just two songs ("O My Soul" and "Back of a Car"), is a sonic blast from start to finish. It’s rougher and bleaker than its predecessor, which presaged the harrowing decent into the tortured psyche of Third / Sister Lovers, but the songs themselves shine together with an overall consistency, even if there are gems within gems in the bunch. Do you remember the first time you heard the chiming riff to "September Gurls"? (And it had better not have been the Bangles’ absolutely atrocious butchering of the song.) Do you remember the first time you heard the sweet, affecting album closer "I’m In Love With a Girl"? Honestly, I bet you do. The album, and each song on it, is that memorable. I once made a mixed tape with the entirety of this record (and it was a record, I own a mint 1974 original pressing of the disc that set me back a pretty penny) on one side for a friend, who, upon listening to it, dubbed it "cottage rock". You know, the sort of thing you would have blasting at a keg party. That may sound like a reductive statement, but there’s a grain of truth to it. Radio City should be the summer album that everyone has, even if it is a little bit off-kilter and is the sound of a group trying to keep it together while falling apart. The songs are just stellar. Simple as that. Not a bad one in the bunch, not even the 87-second piano interlude “Morpha Too”.

While Radio City is, hands down, the stronger of the two discs, it is stronger by only a smidge. You need #1 Record, too, just for the group’s shot at familiarity and pseudo-hit making. Both albums are what we critics would dub essential. And, while you’re at it, try and score a copy of Third / Sister Lovers, too, as that album completes the trilogy. Listening to this all over again, one has to wonder if there was a better band during the tumultuous ‘70s than Big Star. At a time when prog rock was all the rage, Big Star was stripping rock music down to its poppy elements, setting the stage for a generation of bands who would pick up the mantle and run with it during the next few decades. While Bell and Chilton (and Hummel) are no longer with us, their legacy more than lives on with what the label is calling the "definite" digital masters of these albums. And, sure, there are no bonus tracks or outtakes, but these records don’t need them. They are as perfect or as near perfect as records come, and I’m pretty sure that I haven’t heard, in my entire lifetime, a record that is as flawless as Radio City, an album I always play front to back without skipping over any tracks.

So what on earth are you waiting for? Regardless if you have these records or not, you need them. Buy them again, if necessary. Trust me, the money will go to the enduring legacy of Big Star, and foster more bands that will head their path and blaze new trails in modern music. That’s not hyperbole, that’s just the plain truth. So go. Now. Get on your way to your nearest record store and pick these two stellar albums up before, you know, someone decides to pull them out of print as individual albums again.
by Zachary Houle, 02 Oct 2014
Tracks
#1 Record 1972
1. Feel - 3:35
2. The Ballad Of El Goodo - 4:22
3. In The Street - 2:57
4. Thirteen (Chris Bell, Alex Chilton, Mal Waldron) - 2:37
5. Don't Lie To Me - 3:10
6. The India Song (Andy Hummell) - 2:22
7. When My Baby's Beside Me - 3:26
8. My Life Is Right (Chris Bell, Thomas Dean Eubanks) - 3:09
9. Give Me Another Chance - 3:29
10.Try Again - 3:34
11.Watch The Sunrise - 3:46
12.St 100/6 - 1:01
Radio City 1974
13.O My Soul (Alex Chilton) - 5:40
14.Life Is White (Alex Chilton, Andy Hummell) - 3:20
15.Way Out West (Andy Hummell) - 2:52
16.What's Going Ahn (Alex Chilton, Andy Hummell) - 2:43
17.You Get What You Deserve - 3:10
18.Mod Lang (Alex Chilton, Richard Rosebrough) - 2:48
19.Back Of A Car (Alex Chilton, Andy Hummell) - 2:48
20.Daisy Glaze (Alex Chilton, Andy Hummell, Jody Stephens) - 3:51
21.She's A Mover (Alex Chilton) - 3:15
22.September Gurls (Alex Chilton) - 2:50
23.Morpha Too (Alex Chilton) - 1:30
24.I'm In Love With A Girl (Alex Chilton) - 1:47
All songs by Chris Bell, Alex Chilton axcept where stated

Big Star
1972  #1 Record
*Chris Bell - Guitar, Vocals
*Alex Chilton - Guitar, Vocals
*Andy Hummel - Bass
*Jody Stephens - Drums
1974  Radio City
*Alex Chilton - Guitar, Vocals
*Andy Hummel - Bass
*Jody Stephens - Drums
Guests
*Chris Bell - Guitar, Vocals
*Danny Jones - Bass
*Richard Rosebrough - Drums

1968-75  Big Star - Keep An Eye On The Sky (2009 four discs box set)
Related Acts
1967-69  The Box Tops - The Original Albums (two disc set, 2015 issue) 
1967-70  The Box Tops - The Best Of Box Tops
1970  Alex Chilton - Free Again: The 1970 Sessions (2012 release)
1985  Alex Chilton – Feudalist Tarts (Vinyl edition)
1972-76  Chris Bell - I'm The Cosmos (two disc set) 
1970  Terry Manning - Home Sweet Home (2006 Sunbeam)

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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Michael d'Abo - Broken Rainbows (1974 uk, wonderful folk soft rock, 2001 japan remaster)



After leaving Manfred Mann, Mike d'Abo had been offered a contract with Immediate Records for which he made one single and one album, both entitled "Gulliver's Travels". Then he switched to MCA Records and his first album was issued in mid 1970, simply titled "d'Abo". His next project found himself scoring for the Peter Sellers/Goldie Hawn movie "There's A Girl In My Soup", and from this came the single "Miss Me In The Morning/Annabella Cinderella" in December 1970.

1971 saw the release of the "Jesus Christ Superstar" album on MCA, on which Mike d'Abo sang the part of Herod. In June 1971 he signed with Chrysalis Records, though nothing of his recorded work for this company was released. Anyway, by the end of the year he changed companies once again, this time to the American A & M Records. The best period of his solo career was just about to begin. His debut album was "Down At Rachel's Place" followed by the single "Belinda/Little Miss Understood". Nothing more was heard from Mike for more than a year, then he re-appeared as composer of five songs on the debut album of John Christie "Relax".

Halfway through 1974, another single emerged: "Fuel To Burn/Hold On Sweet Darling" which served as an introduction to his solo album "Broken Rainbows". It received very favourable reviews, though like his earlier solo outings, it was not successful on the charts.  "Handbags And Gladrags" on this album is not exactly the same song as on the "d'Abo" album on Uni UNLS 114, the album was produced by Elliot Mazer, however, even though Mike d'Abo didn't have any chart success, he could persuade many well known musicians to play on his albums. Artists like Albert Lee, Chris Spedding, Mo Foster, John Kongos, Graham Nash, Mike Bloomfield, and The Jordanaires are well known to all of us.
Tracks
1. Fuel To Burn - 2:54
2. This Is Me - 1:21
3. Broken Rainbows - 3:37
4. The Last Match - 3:13
5. I Go Where My Spirit Leads Me - 3:12
6. Handbags And Gladrags - 4:59
7. Sitting On A Wood Floor - 3:47
8. Papa Didn't Tell Me - 3:39
9. My Load - 1:50
10.Hold On Sweet Darling - 3:05
All compositions by Michael d'Abo

Musicians
*Mike d'Abo - Piano, Electric Piano, Clarinet, Tambourine, Vocals
*Teddy Irwir - Rhythm Guitar, Electric Guitar
*Rab Noakes - Rhythm Guitar
*Graham Nash - Rhythm Guitar, Harmonica
*Bobby Thompson - Banjo
*Gary Taylor - Bass Guitar
*Elliot Mazer - Bass Guitar, Cowbell
*Denny Seiwell - Drums
*Ben Keith - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Mark Naftalin - Organ
*Ben Keith - Dobro
*The Jordanaires - Backing Vocals
*Mike Bloomfield - Electric Guitar

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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Negative Space - Hard Heavy Mean And Evil (1970 us, primitive distorted underground fuzzed basement psych rock, 2009 remaster)



Negative Space were an underground psych/rock band from East Camden, New Jersey, formed in 1969. They released one privately-pressed album ‘Hard, Heavy, Mean and Evil’ in 1970. Only 500 copies were originally issued and now command large sums of money on the collectors market.

Inspired by the likes of Blue Cheer and Nazz - their sound has been described as “crudely-recorded distorted rock in its purest form” and “dark heavy fuzzed basement psych".

In the late '60s Rob Russen, with his cherry red Gibson SG, Baldwin Exterminator amplifier and fuzztone was an established fixture in the East Coast music scene having performed in bands such as Soul Providers, The Ellingtons, The Banished and The Turfers.

Russen recruited musicians Jimmy Moy (guitar/vocals), Bob Rittner (bass) and Lou Nunziata (drums) to form the original line-up of Negative Space. Over a three year period, with minor variations, the group continued to perform, record and evolve into Russen’s subsequent band - Snow.

Negative Space issued their music on Castle Records, a small independent label formed by Russen in 1965 and only 500 copies of the original ‘Hard, Heavy, Mean & Evil’ album were released.

Rob Russen said..
Some of the bands I joined before forming the Negative Space, were The Soul Providers, The Ellingtons, The Banished, The Turfers. My father and his best friend had formed a record label (Castle Records) to support my music career and help other local artists. Among those groups were Great Pride, Dirty Martha, Plynth, the Cellar Wall, and r&b vocal groups The Millionaires, The Ebonies and the Omystics.

This “Mean” and “Evil” and, at that same time, radio stations were calling the new music they were playing “Heavy Metal” . .The band had a reputation for coming out hard and heavy with strong initial impact. So I combined those into “Hard, Heavy, Mean & Evil”. Many of the songs on the album reflect the turmoil of my personal life at that time. Much of it was fantasy because I felt I was trapped so I wrote about imaginary relief. For example “Forbidden Fruit” was a song about having an affair with one of my wife’s sisters who was a very creative girl who originally told me about the artistic concept that is “Negative Space” and I adopted the name for the band at that time.

The album was released in May of 1970 and we gigged hot and heavy that summer to promote it. Jim Moy had gotten married and his wife wanted him to settle down and not travel as much. Last year I met with Jim here in Florida for lunch one day and asked him “How did we end up in the band together?” He told me that we had gone to the same high school together. I was a senior when he was a sophomore so we didn’t have any contact during that time. But I was an outstanding athlete in school and had a reputation for that plus playing in bands. He said that one day he heard that I was looking for a percussionist to join my band and it was like a dream of his to play in a band with the ‘famous” Rob Russen. I couldn’t help but laugh at his story because I didn’t remember it at all. Jim was replaced with a guy named Gordon and then Bob Rittner left because he had a day job and they decided they didn’t want him taking off time to play music as much as he had been doing. He was replaced by a blonde female named Barbara who was excellent. After a few months of gigging with the new lineup I decided to change the name of the group to Snow and we recorded “Johnny B Good” b/w “Sunflower”. The material that was recorded for Hard, Heavy, Mean & Evil that was not used on the album was later included on the two CDs released by Monster Records.
Tracks
1. Isolated Ivory Tower - 3:56
2. Summertime (George Gershwin, DuBose Heyward, Ira Gershwin) - 6:29
3. Hey Wall - 4:36
4. The Long Hair - 5:14
5. Calm Before The Storm - 6:34
6. You're All I Need - 4:14
7. Living Dead - 3:40
8. Forbidden Fruit - 4:32
9. Sunflower - 3:59
10.Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry) - 3:11
11.Light My Fire (Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger, John Densmore, Ray Manzarek) - 4:20
12.Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix) - 2:57
13.The Pusher (Hoyt Axton) - 4:34
14.Snow's Angels - 3:02
15.Too Little Too Late - 2:37
16.Hour Of Quiet Rain - 4:17
17.Too Few Drums - 3:06
18.Father & Son - 4:02
All songs by Rob Russen except where indicated
Bonus Tracks 9-18

Negative Space
*Rob Russen - Guitar, Producer, Vocals
*Jimmy Moy - Guitar, Percussion, Piano, Recorder, Vocals
*Bob Rittner - Bass, Vocals
*Lou Nunziata - Drums
Additional Musicians
*Pat Bailey - Bass
*Gordon Cohen - Vocals
*Ron Gauntt - Rhythm Guitar
*Bill Messerschmidt - Guitar

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Monday, May 25, 2020

Mutzie - Light Of Your Shadow (1970 us, raw heavy blues brass rock, 2007 remaster)



Spawned by the same scene that produced The Stooges, MC5 and Bob Seger, this Detroit quartet made only one record, which originally appeared in August 1970. A heady brew of hard rock, blues, jazz and funk, it sold poorly, meaning that the band (who shared stages with the Allman Brothers, Johnny Winter, Alice Cooper, and many other leading acts of the era) splintered soon afterwards, leaving behind just one lost gem.
Tracks
1. Highway (E. "Mutzie" Levenburg, Barry Levenburg) - 5:55
2. The Light Of Your Shadow In Two Movements (E. "Mutzie" Levenburg, Mike Theodore, Gary Harvey) - 9:56
.a.The Inception (Incl. The Transition)
.b.The Consummation (Incl. The Judgement)
3. Cocaine Blues  (E. "Mutzie" Levenburg) - 4:32
4. Jessie Fly  (E. "Mutzie" Levenburg, Mike Theodore) - 4:49
5. Because Of You  (E. "Mutzie" Levenburg) - 2:39
6. The Game (E. "Mutzie" Levenburg, Mike Theodore, Gary Harvey) - 2:49
7. Daily Cycle (E. "Mutzie" Levenburg, Barry Levenburg) - 3:18

Mutzie
*E. "Mutzie" Levenburg - Guitar, Vocals
*Fred Boldt - Bass Clarinet, Baritone, Bass Saxophones
*Robert Cowart - Flute, Oboe, Tenor Sax
*Chuck Feger - Flute, Tenor Sax
*Dave Kovarick - Tenor Sax
*Andee Levenburg - Organ
*Barry Levenburg - Bass
*Nick Palise - Flute, Alto, Soprano Saxophones
*Marc White - Drums

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Sunday, May 24, 2020

Bent Wind - Sussex (1969 canada, rough heavy fuzzed psych rock, bonus tracks 2001 digipak remaster)



Phenomenally rare, with those surviving copies fetching upwards of 3000 bucks a pop, the 1969 acid rock raver Sussex had its origins in a drug-addled house in Toronto's Annex neighbourhood. As guitarist Marty Roth "recalls" on his blog, "Myself and another friend from schooldays were running a boutique/headshop at the corner of Sussex and Robert. And, every so often...I'd hear a faint blur of something, close to what some might consider music. It was emanating from the basement of one of the houses beside the lane at 57 Sussex Avenue, almost a block away. 

As it turned out, the guitarist was Gerry Gibas, a close friend who I'd been jamming with while writing original tunes any chance we could. He dropped by the shop during their break and told me to drop over. That's where I met Eddie Thomas Majchrowski, the drummer. His mother owned the house at 57 Sussex Avenue and all the rooms on all three floors were rented out to a mix of students, freaks, druggies and musicians. To my surprise, the bass player was Sebastian Pelaia, a classmate from high school, two years earlier."

With the nucleus of Bent Wind now in place, the lads consumed copious amounts of acid, hawked psychedelic candles at the infamous hippie residence Rochdale College, gigged around the corner at several U of T frat parties, and somehow managed to record these eight stoner nuggets. Roth: "Until we finally made it to recording an LP, all of our songs were without real words. We would use a sort of skat gibberish that sounded similar to words but were muffled by the way we used the microphone and echo effects. Nobody cared." With the rock world in flux - Led Zeppelin had already played sold-out shows at the Rockpile venue in February and August of 1969 - the plodding, freeform guitar workouts and soaring harmonies on Sussex would have been standard-issue cool at the time, bridging the Woodstock nation with the brave new heavy-metal world to come. But the band was essentially broke (Roth: "You have to remember, we were "hippies". We didn't have or need any money."), so it is little wonder that even the well-crafted songs sound somewhat amateurish. 

The heavier tracks like 'Mystify', 'Riverside' and 'Hate' come off better here, cutting through with muscular chords and airy vocals, whereas the flowery ballad 'Look at Love', though well-intended, seems to lug its psychedelic baggage a little too awkwardly. Still, in a Toronto awash in hippies and draft-dodgers, with a little spit and polish - not to mention some financial backing - Sussex could have been a contender. 
by Michael Panontin
Tracks
1. Touch Of Red (Marty Roth) - 3:14
2. Riverside (Jerry Gibas, Marty Roth) - 6:13
3. The Lions (Jerry Gibas, Marty Roth) - 5:29
4. Going To The City (Jerry Gibas) - 2:52
5. Hate (Marty Roth) - 5:23
6. Look At Love (Jerry Gibas) - 4:02
7. Mystify (Jerry Gibas) - 3:38
8. Sacred Cows (Jerry Gibas) - 4:10
9. Riverside (Jerry Gibas, Marty Roth) - 6:20
10.Bent Wind - 4:01
11.The Chant - 3:45
12.Castles Made Of Man (Marty Roth) - 3:26
13.Sacred Cows (Jerry Gibas) - 2:23
Tracks 1-8 Original Album
Tracks 9-11 Unreleased
Tracks 12-13 Rare Single

Bent Wind
*Jerry Gibas - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Eddie Thomas -  Drums   
*Sebastian Pelaia - Bass Guitar
*Marty Roth - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Tracks 9-11
*Marty Roth - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Michael George Jones - Lead Guitar
*Bill Miller - Bass
*John Butt - Drums

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Saturday, May 23, 2020

Blood Sweat And Tears - 3 (1970, us / canada, magnificent jazz brass rock, 2016 SACD)



At a distance of more than 40 years, we forget how big Blood Sweat and Tears was at the turn of the 1970s. Their second, self-titled album spent time at #1 in the spring and summer of 1969 and contained three classic singles: “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” “Spinning Wheel,” and “And When I Die.” They appeared at Woodstock and were frequently on TV. But their fame was short-lived, and it ultimately became a casualty of the times in which they lived.

Lead singer David Clayton-Thomas came aboard after the band’s first album, and his big, ballsy voice was the star of the second one. He was Canadian, so it was suggested to the band that a State Department-sponsored goodwill tour of Eastern Europe might be looked upon favorably the next time Clayton-Thomas tried to get a green card. But in the politically charged atmosphere of early 1970, the tour was perceived as buddying up with the Nixon regime. So, upon their arrival home from the tour (which ended up fairly unpleasant for the band), they were forced to fend off critics, both of their politics and of their music itself as their third album was released.

There are some interesting musical choices on Blood Sweat and Tears 3, although how well they work depends on your taste. BS&T covers James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain,” Traffic’s “Forty Thousand Headmen,” “Lonesome Suzie” by the Band, and even “Sympathy for the Devil,” which is incorporated into one of those multi-part suites every band was doing in 1970. Band member Steve Katz called the latter “ridiculous,” and said the reason the album sounded like it did was that the band had stopped having fun. Nevertheless, Blood Sweat & Tears 3 made it to #1 for the weeks of August 8 and August 15, 1970, despite some unkind reviews. “Hi-De-Ho” and “Lucretia MacEvil” both made the top 40.

By the end of 1971, the band would become a revolving door, and today, literally dozens of musicians can claim to be alumni of Blood Sweat and Tears. But all that was in the future when the band performed “Lucretia MacEvil” at the 1971 Big Sur Folk Festival, with Clayton-Thomas sounding great and the band’s jazz influences on display.
by J.A. Bartlett, January 24, 2013
Tracks
1. Hi-De-Ho (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) – 4:27
2. The Battle (Dick Halligan, Steve Katz) – 2:41
3. Lucretia MacEvil (David Clayton-Thomas) – 3:04
4. Lucretia's Reprise (Blood, Sweat And Tears) – 2:35
5. Fire and Rain (James Taylor) – 4:03
6. Lonesome Suzie (Richard Manuel) – 4:36
7. Symphony for the Devil/Sympathy for the Devil (Dick Halligan, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) – 7:49
8. He's a Runner (Laura Nyro) – 4:14
9. Somethin' Comin' On (Joe Cocker, Chris Stainton) – 4:33
10.40,000 Headmen (Steve Winwood) – 4:44

Blood Sweat And Tears
*David Clayton-Thomas - Vocals
*Bobby Colomby - Drums, percussion
*Jim Fielder -  Bass
*Dick Halligan - Keyboards, Flute, Trombone
*Jerry Hyman - Trombone
*Steve Katz - Guitars, Vocals
*Fred Lipsius - Sax, Piano
*Lew Soloff - Trumpet, Fleugelhorn
*Chuck Winfield - Trumpet, Fleugelhorn

The Blood Sweat And Tears
1968  Child Is Father To The Man (2014 Audio Fidelity and 2016 SACD)
1969  Blood Sweat And Tears (2014 audio fidelity and 2016 SACD)
1969  Live At Woodstock (2019 Legacy)
1971  Blood Sweat and Tears - 4 (2016 SACD)
1972  New Blood (2009 edition)
1973  No Sweat (2005 issue)
1974  Mirror Image (2005 issue)
1975  New City (Bonus Tracks)
1976  More Than Ever (Bonus Tracks)
1968-76  The Complete Singles (2014 two disc set)
Related Act
1972  David Clayton Thomas

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Thursday, May 21, 2020

Love - Live In England (1970 us, stunning live recording, part 3 of 2007 three discs digipak remaster)



Love’s 13-city sweep through England, where the group was held in high esteem, would garner recordings compiled for the third disc of this set, Live In England 1970. The foursome lift off with “Good Times” and “August,” a pair of hard-hitting rockers from the final Elektra album, Four Sails. There’s a bit of “My Little Red Book” for nostalgia purposes before the group traipses the mushroom patch for “Nothing,” then leaping about during “Orange Skies” and “Andmoreagain.” The Love fest continues as “Gather “Round” and the classic “Bummer In The Summer” from Forever Changes jockey for position. The playing and interaction is tight and alive throughout, surging forth during the finale of “Signed D.C.” and “Love Is More Than Words Or Better Late Than Never” — a double force as powerful and authoritative as other high-ranking hard rocking tomes of the day.

But for Love, it wasn’t meant to last. At least in the 70s. Lee would reappear from time to time, reliving the past without realizing the future. After his release from prison in 2001, he spent the next five years reasserting his genius via a series of Forever Changes concerts and small venue tours. Although no new music has yet to surface, Lee’s legacy remains etched in stone with the L.A. music scene of the 60s. 
by Shawn Perry

After the masterwork Forever Changes (1968) failed to make a sizable impression on North American audiences, Love mainstay Arthur Lee (lead vocals/guitar) disbanded the lineup that had also featured John Echols (guitar), Bryan Maclean (guitar/vocals), Ken Forssi (bass), and Michael Stuart (percussion). He then regrouped along with Gary Rowles (lead guitar), Frank Fayad (bass), and George Suranovich (drums). It took nearly a year of woodshedding tunes before Love was miraculously resurrected. This single disc captures the latter incarnation during their first foray across the Atlantic while on the road promoting Out Here (1970).

The contents were gleaned from shows at the Waltham Forest Technical College (February 27), the Roundhouse in London (February 28) and at Lanchester Polytechnic in Coventry (March 5). All the material on the nearly hour-long disc is previously unreleased, although the Waltham Forest gig would turn out to be the source for "Stand Out" on the False Start (1970) album. The 11 songs span Love's five studio LPs. "Signed D.C." gets two nods for having been a key component of their 1966 eponymously titled collection and then a bluesy overhaul from the aforementioned Out Here. 

The remarkably high octane "My Little Red Book" -- which is announced as "My Little Red Crook" -- maintains much of the manic energy of the original. Lee is painfully off-key throughout "Orange Skies" -- the sole Da Capo (1967) era offering. The band make up for it with a tight arrangement that substantially serves the performance. 

Equally well-received are the Forever Changes (1968) sides "Andmoreagain," as well as Gary Rowles' wah wah fest with the nifty and funky take on "Bummer in the Summer" -- both of which are undeniable highlights here. Understandably, the recent material is likewise plentiful with the driving rockers "August," "Nothing," and the extended jamming on "Singing Cowboy" being prime examples from Four Sail (1969) of the heavier sound Lee was obviously aiming for. Nowhere is that as evident than on the practically seven-minute proto-metal workout given to "Signed D. C." Love smolders to an energetic conclusion with one last Out There entry, "Love Is More Than Words or Better Late Than Never." Judging by the ferocity and inspiration unleashed by Rowles, Fayad, and Suranovich they could give any power trio of the day a run for their money. 
by Lindsay Planer
Tracks
1. Good Times - 3:50
2. August - 5:17
3. My Little Red Book (Burt Bacharach, Hal David) - 2:52
4. Nothing - 4:38
5. Orange Skies (Bryan MacLean) - 3:59
6. Andmoreagain - 4:00
7. Gather 'Round - 7:00
8. Bummer In The Summer - 3:26
9. Singing Cowboy (Jay Donnellan, Arthur Lee) - 8:14
10.Signed D.C. - 6:43
11.Love Is More Than Words Or Better Late Than Never - 6:31
All songs by Arthur Lee excpet where indicated

Love
*Arthur Lee - Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Piano
*Gary Rowles - Lead Guitar
*Frank Fayad - Bass
*George Suranovich - Drums

1966  Love - Love (remaster and expanded)
1967  Love - Da Capo (remaster and expanded)
1967  Love - Forever Changes (2018 four discs 50th anniversary edition)
1969  Love - Four Sail (2002 remaster and expanded)
1969  Love - Out Here (2008 remaster)
1970 Love - False Start (2008 remaster)
1971  Love - Lost Love (2009 Sundazed release)
1972  Arthur Lee With Band Aid - Vindicator (2008 expanded)
1973  Love - Black Beauty (2013 bonus tracks)
1974  Love - Reel to Real (2015 deluxe sdition)  
1992  Arthur Lee And Love ‎– Five String Serenade

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