Monday, February 18, 2019

Barbara Massey And Ernie Calabria - Prelude To... (1971 us, glorious jazzy baroque folk rock, 2007 reissue)

Soul singer Barbara Massey and jazz guitarist Ernie Calabria paired up for this rare 1971 album. With Calabria having worked with Nina Simone and Harry Belafonte, among others, and Massey having sung backup for artists including Jimi Hendrix, Cat Stevens, and Herbie Hancock, the pairing was an inspired one and resulted in this superb soul-jazz outing. Massey has a dry yet passionate and evocative vocal quality that often brings to mind Grace Slick. 

Fittingly, the duo takes on Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love," turning the Summer of Love anthem into a steamy and hypnotic soul-funk jam. Elsewhere, the duo touches upon such varying styles as folk, Latin, and psychedelic rock with cuts like "For You" and "Do You Know?," bringing to mind such similarly inclined acts as the Free Design and Bill Withers. Anyone who has even a passing interest in this kind of '70s cross-genre aesthetic will certainly want to seek out Prelude To.... 
by Matt Collar
1. Play With Fire - 3:31
2. Somebody To Love (Darby Slick) - 4:40
3. Prelude - 3:32
4. Listen To Your Heart - 5:15
5. For You - 3:37
6. Searching The Circle - 4:31
7. My Love And I - 3:00
8. Do You Know - 3:12
9. Satisfied - 3:44
All songs by  Barbara Massey, Ernie Calabria except track #2

*Barbara Massey - Autoharp, Piano, Vocals
*Ernie Calabria - Bass, Acoustic, 12 String Electric, Classical, Guitar, Electric Sitar
*Joe Beck - Guitar
*Keith Jarrett - Piano
*Ray Lucas - Drums
*Ralph McDonald - Percussion, Congas
*Bill Salter - Bass
*Grady Tate - Drums
*Sam Brown - Electric Guitar
*Eumir Deodato - Orchestra Conductor

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Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Human Instinct - The Hustler (1974 new zealand, solid guitar rock with various influences)

Back in Auckland, the Greer brothers started work on renovating Dave Henderson and Tommy Adderley's "Granny's" nightclub. Tommy only had one request according to Maurice: "Purple - ! want the place to be ail purple with ace curtains and lots of latticework, just like a typical Granny's place", Once refurbished the group again took over the residency and started work on the next album "The Hustler "at Stebbings Studio. A theme of 1930's gangsters and prohibition quickly emerged with Glen Griff writing a song about Mae West while unbeknown to him John Donoghue had written a song about gangsters called "Johnny Blade" so a theme of gangsters and bootleggers was quickly established which seemed very appropriate in mid - 70 s New Zealand where unlicensed clubs sold tickets at the door for liquor and venues were constantly raided by the police. 

Human Instinct and Underdogs bassist Neil Edwards recalls the scene at the time; yeah there was this guy called Happy Jack ( we called him that because he never smiled) he would roil up in his car with a boot full of booze, he would always park a few doors down from a club and send word to the patrons that he was ready for business and people would be ushered out in small groups so as not to cause too much of a kerfuffle'. It was always $5 a bottle (hip flask) which was a lot dearer than the bottle stores at the time, he would have boxes of whiskey, gin, bourbon, whatever you wanted, i remember one time there was a construction site on the corner of Queen Street and Wyndham St which had access to Durham Lane where Grannys was. and he would hide in there in his car as lie was always cautious of being caught by the cops, he would always have one eye on the booze, one eye on the dough and his other eye looking out for cops. $5 was a Sot of money in those days so quite often you would get people to chip in $1 each and we would share, we were young and skinny so you didn't need much to get pissed anyway'.
CD Liner Notes
1. The Hustler (Glenn Mikkelson) - 4:12
2. Mae West and My Gangster Hero (Glenn Mikkelson) - 4:25
3. Funky Monkey (Glenn Mikkelson) - 3:55
4. Johnny Blade (John Donoghue) - 3:25
5. Last Breakfast (Alan Gorrie, Mick Travis) - 3:37
6. Passing Lines (Gordon, Reilly) - 7:11
7. Gypsy Lady (John Donoghue) - 4:18
8. Nothing's Changed (Glenn Mikkelson) - 2:39
9. Stoned Mary (Glenn Mikkelson) - 6:14

The Human Instinct
*Billy TK - Guitar
*Martin Hope - Guitar
*John Donoghue - Guitar, Vocals
*Glen Mickleson (aka Zaine Griff) - Bass, Vocals
*Maurice Greer - Drums, Vocals

1970  Human Instinct - Stoned Guitar (2007 bonus tracks edition)
1971  Human Instinct - Pins In It 
1972  Human Instinct - Snatmin Cuthin
1975  Human Instinct - Peg Leg / The Lost Tapes
Related Acts
1972/75/80  Billy T.K And The Powerhouse - Move On Up The Unreleased HMV Tapes (2009 release) 
1972  Space Farm - Space Farm 
1967-69  The Underdogs - Blues Band And Beyond / Sitting In The Rain
1970  The Underdogs - Wasting Our Time

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Monday, February 11, 2019

Whalefeathers - Declare / Whalefeathers (1970-71 us, fascinating heavy psych prog rock, 2002 Akarma issue)

American psychedelic group who recorded two excellent albums for the tiny Nasco label circa 1970, which later became a widely known imprint amongst collectors of obscure underground blues-rock and psychedelia. Both of their released albums, Whalefeathers Declare and their self-titled second album, have been collectors' items of extraordinary value to LP hounds which were finally reissued on the Akarma label in 2001. Maybe it's telling of the sound herein to know that the group does a cover version of Skip Spence's "Omaha," a psychedelic gem from his time in Moby Grape. For the most part, Whalefeathers deal in heavy rock based around keyboard-driven psychedelia and hard blues-rock. 

On their second album, the standouts are a cover version of "World of Pain," originally by Mountain, and a rave-up on the blues standard "Don't Need No Doctor," while elsewhere they soak in instrumentals with electric keyboards and guitar distortion with no apparent direction. m Cincinnati, Ohio, this outfit used to gig frequently with Westfauster and played a heavy, very keyboard-dominated blend of music. Their albums have distinct psychedelic influences. Both albums are sought-after by collectors.
by Dean McFarlane
Declare 1970
1. Declare - Prelude (Michael Jones) - 3:53
2. Lost Dimension (Ed Blackmon) - 6:47
3. Know Thyself (Michael Jones) - 2:59
4. Imagine (Michael Jones) - 3:06
5. Omaha (Alex "Skip" Spence) - 5:48
6. Please Me For A While (Ed Blackmon, Michael Jones) - 5:20
7. Invention Sequence (Ed Blackmon) - 3:41
8. Love Cant Be Wrong (Michael Jones) - 3:46
Whalefeathers 1971
9. World Of Pain (Felix Pappalardi, Gail Collins) - 8:36
10.I Dont Need No Doctor (Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson) - 3:26
11.Its A Hard Road (Back Home) (Lee Blanc) - 5:07
12.Bastich (Steve Cataldo) - 6:20
13.Pretty Woman (Andrew Charles Williams, Jr.) - 3:31
14.Shadows (Ed Blackmon) - 10:36

*Stephe Bacon - Percussion, Tympani, Rhythm Instruments, Vocals
*Ed Blackmon - Piano, Organ, Harpischord, Vocals
*Michael Jones - Guitar, Vocals
*Roger Sauer - Bass, Vocals (Tracks 1-8)
*Leonard LeBlanc - Bass, Vocals (Tracks 9-14)

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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Autumn People - Autumn People (1976 us, soft prog rock, 2007 reissue)

This American progressive unit hailed from Arizona, but musically they were closer to European groups like Triumverat and Focus. Their lone self-titled album, originally released in 1976 and reissued by Radioactive, has a darker musical edge than either of those groups or American contemporaries like Kansas or Saga. Lyrically, however, it is every bit as cheesy as other mid-'70s prog rock as the frolicking elves of "Rock and Roll Fantasie" will attest. It's the mix of dark, complex playing filled with Mellotron, flute, fantastic drumming and slick guitar pitted against light, almost breezy melodies about weighty subjects like angels ("Gabriel"), outer space ("Moon's Dancing") and the devil ("Coffin Maker") that make this album notable. However the appeal of the Autumn People is more than likely limited to hardcore prog rock collectors and fans of private press oddities. 
by Wade Kergan
1. Rock And Roll Fantasie - 3:35
2. Feeling - 3:45
3. See It Through - 3:23
4. Never See The Sun - 2:56
5. Gabriel - 6:12
6. Ovoid And Cubical - 6:45
7. Moon's Dancing - 6:03
8. Interlude - 2:26
9. Coffin Maker - 5:24
All compositions by Larry Clark,  Cliff Spiegel, Danny Poff, Steve Barazza

Autumn People
*Larry Clark - Vocals, Guitar
*Cliff Spiegel - Bass, Vocals
*Danny Poff - Keyboards, Vocals
*Steve Barazza - Drums, Vocals

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Silver Metre - Silver Metre (1969 uk / us, stunning blues psych classic rock)

Metre was a short-lived band with guitarist Leigh Stevens (who had just left Blue Cheer) and former Jeff Beck Group drummer Mickey Waller, along with bassist Pete Sears (who'd later join Hot Tuna and Jefferson Starship) and rhythm guitarist Tommy Cowan. Their 1970 eponymous LP has aged quite well, as evidenced from the opening piano-heavy rendition of Elton John’s “Now They've Found Me (Ballad of a Well Known Gun).”

They curiously cover a few more Elton John/Bernie Taupin songs, including a gritty take on “Country Comforts” and a psychedelic rendering of “Sixty Years On.” They also turn the main song from the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar into a heavy gospel-rock jam that’s more reminiscent of Delaney & Bonnie. 

The band’s own “Naughty Lady” riffed on some of the biker-friendly blues-rock that Stevens had played with Blue Cheer (though much mellower in volume and attack), while the instrumental jam “Gangbang” sought to revisit the decibel abuse that made Stevens such a worshipped guitar player.
by Keith Pettipas
1. Ballad Of A Well Known Gun (Bernie Taupin, Elton John) - 3:39
2. Naughty Lady (Pete Sears, Tom Cowan) - 4:30
3. Gangbang (Leigh Stephens) - 4:42
4. Country Comforts (Bernie Taupin, Elton John) - 3:23
5. Superstar (Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice) - 3:45
6. Sixty Years On (Bernie Taupin, Elton John) - 4:20
7. Compromising Situation (Leigh Stephens, Tom Cowan) - 3:46
8. Cocklewood Monster (Leigh Stephens, Tom Cowan) - 5:15
9. Nightflight (Pete Sears, Tom Cowan) - 4:15
10.Dog End (Leigh Stephens, Tom Cowan) - 3:52

Silver Metre 
*Leigh Stephens - Guitar
*Pete Sears - Bass, Keyboards
*Jack Reynolds - Vocals
*Mick Waller - Drums

Related Acts
1969  Leigh Stephens - Red Weather
1971  Leigh Stephens - And A Cast Of Thousands
1968  Blue Cheer - Vincebus Eruptum (2017 Japan SHM remaster) 
1968  Blue Cheer - OutsideInside (2017 japan SHM remaster and 2012 edition)

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Monday, January 21, 2019

Leigh Stephens - Red Weather (1969 us, fine bluesy psych rock)

After leaving Blue Cheer in 1969, guitarist Leigh Stephens, whose pulverizing roar was an essential element of the band's original sound, made his solo debut with "Red Weather". In contrast to his former band's stripped-down metallic blast, Stephens spread his musical wings to explore new musical territory. Although Stephens' trademark guitar sound is still prominent, it's featured in a more eclectic context that encompasses elements of avant-psychedelia and electric blues. Also featured is stellar piano work by legendary English pianist Nicky Hopkins.

Red Weather was the first solo project from the lead guitarist of Blue Cheer. Originally released on the Phillips/Mercury label in 1969, the album immediately became a favorite on the underground music scene and established Stephens as a solo act. The music on Red Weather was dramatically different than that of Blue Cheer, with a well structured psychedelic sound like Quicksilver or the Grateful Dead rather than the sledgehammer hard rock sound of his former band. Recorded in England at the Trident Studios with the help of Nicky Hopkins on keyboards, drummer Mick Waller from the Jeff Beck Group, and Kevin Westlake from Blossom Toes, the album was hailed as a masterpiece by many British rock fans but was equally dismissed by Blue Cheer fans. The album contained eight songs that highlighted Stevens songwriting ability rather than his guitar prowess. After nearly 30 years the album was rereleased complete with the original psychedelic artwork cover. 
by Keith Pettipas
1. Another Dose Of Life (Leigh Stephens) - 4:47
2. Drifting (Leigh Stephens) - 6:41
3. Indians (Leigh Stephens, Koske) - 4:47
4. I Grow Higher (Leigh Stephens, Eric Albronda) - 5:39
5. Red Weather (Leigh Stephens) - 3:14
6. If You Choose Too (Leigh Stephens, Eric Albronda) - 5:10
7. Joannie Mann (Leigh Stephens) - 5:05
8. Chicken Pot Pie (Leigh Stephens) - 3:12

*Leigh Stephens - Guitar, Bass, Vocals, Percussion
*Kevin Westlake - Drums, Vocals
*Eric Albronda - Vocals
*Ian Stewart - Keyboards
*Mick Waller - Drums
*Nicky Hopkins - Piano

1971  Leigh Stephens - And A Cast Of Thousands
Related Act
1968  Blue Cheer - Vincebus Eruptum (2017 Japan SHM remaster) 
1968  Blue Cheer - OutsideInside (2017 japan SHM remaster and 2012 edition) 

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Friday, January 18, 2019

Leigh Stephens - And A Cast Of Thousands (1971 us, great funky psych brass rock)

Cast of Thousands is the second solo album release from Blue Cheer frontman Leigh Stephens. Originally recorded and released in the U.K. in 1971 on the Charisma label, this album is dramatically different from his debut, Red Weather. Cast of Thousands journeys into more of a jazz, AOR style on most of its tracks. The overabundance of horns and female backup vocals makes it rather experimental at times, but Stephens' superb guitar work does manage to shine through in places.

1. The World Famous Soul Transplant - 3:27
2. Medicine Man - 3:47
3. Simple Song - 4:52
4. Handful Of Friends - 1:56
5. Oh Lord - 5:31
6. Jumping Jack Flash (Mick Jagger, Keit Richards) - 4:47
7. Sweet Love Of Mine - 2:44
8. Chunk Of Funk - 5:29
All songs by Leigh Stephens except where stated

*Leigh Stephens - Acoustic, Lead, Slide Guitar, Organ, Vocals
*Dick Morrissey - Saxophone
*Dave Quincey - Saxophone
*Paul Maintenance - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Trevor Op - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Glenn Cornick - Bass
*Kim Gardner - Bass
*Peter Sears - Bass
*Kevin Westlake - Drums
*Mick Waller - Drums
*Roy Dyke - Drums
*Bob Andrews - Piano
*Tony Ashton - Piano
*Dave Jackson - Saxophone
*Jeff Peach - Saxophone
*Lyle Jenkins - Saxophone
*Dave Caswell - Trumpet
*Noel Norris - Trumpet
*Aliki Ashman - Vocals
*Elizabeth Legworthy - Vocals
*Peter Ross - Vocals

Related Act
1968  Blue Cheer - Vincebus Eruptum (2017 Japan SHM remaster) 
1968  Blue Cheer - OutsideInside (2017 japan SHM remaster and 2012 edition) 

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Blue Cheer - Vincebus Eruptum (1968 us, pioneer proto heavy rock, 2017 Japan SHM remaster)

To describe Blue Cheer, the first word that comes to mind is . . . loud! It was said that the band’s sonic blast could “turn the air into cottage cheese.” The classic “power trio” lineup of guitar, bass and drums is more than capable of knocking down a house, as we easily find out on Blue Cheer’s debut LP, ‘Vincebus Eruptum,’ released in January 1968.

Blue Cheer have been cited by many as being the world’s first heavy metal band. That’s true to some extent, perhaps. Iron Butterfly were already on the scene, while Grand Funk Railroad and Led Zeppelin were right around the corner, but none of them were as single (or simple) minded as the bludgeoning attack that was Blue Cheer. In a blur of Roger Corman films, amphetamines, LSD, long hair, loud guitars and teen lust, the roots of metal, grunge and stoner rock can all be found on this one album.

Blue Cheer were managed by a former Hell’s Angel called simply “Gut,” and though they may have shared a home base (San Francisco) and a pharmacist (Owsley Stanley) with the Grateful Dead, their musical approach was very different.

Singer/bassist Dickie Peterson, guitarist Leigh Stephens and drummer Paul Whaley made one hell of a noise, while producer Abe ‘Voco’ Kesh found the group’s deafeningly definitive sound. The album is split between three cover songs, and three originals written by Dickie Peterson. Of those originals, ‘Out of Focus‘ is a classic. With a funky guitar riff leading the way, the song rides a heavy groove. The tone of the guitar alone defines the Blue Cheer sound — a Big Muff fuzzbox plugged into Marshall amp and cranked up loud. The circular riff of the song is hypnotic and ranks as one of the band’s finest efforts.

Their classic ‘Parchment Farm‘ (a cover of Mose Allison’s ‘Parchman Farm’) is a glorious case of taking the simple blues and transforming it into their own monster. It’s a driving rocker that has the eternal pedal to the metal. ‘Doctor Please‘ is a rollicking number about Peterson’s first time delving into the world of LSD. As Owsley states on the back of the LP, “Subtle color of the mind – BLUE, call the figure of the soul – CHEER.”

The band managed to have a hit single amidst all the heavy fuzz going on. Their cover of Eddie Cochran’s classic ‘Summertime Blues‘ lit up AM radio in 1968 and climbed the Billboard charts to No. 14. It would be the band’s sole hit single. It is the definitive Blue Cheer song in so many ways. They capture the angst and raw teen emotion of the Cochran original, but, like some crazy Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth vehicle, it’s all souped up and driving way out of control. It certainly didn’t sound like a lot of what was on the top of the charts, but in those times, it really was a stylistic free for all that somehow made sense.
by Dave Swanson 
1. Summertime Blues (Eddie Cochran, Jerry Capehart) - 3:45
2. Rock Me Baby (B.B. King, Joe Josea) - 4:21
3. Doctor Please (Dickie Peterson) - 7:52
4. Out Of Focus (Dickie Peterson) - 3:56
5. Parchman Farm (Mose Allison) - 5:479
6. Second Time Around (Dickie Peterson) - 6:18

Blue Cheer
*Dickie Peterson - Vocals, Bass
*Leigh Stephens - Guitar
*Paul Whaley - Drums

1968  Blue Cheer - OutsideInside (2017 japan SHM remaster and 2012 edition)

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Monday, January 14, 2019

The Hard Times ‎- Blew Mind (1967 us, fabulous beat psych rock, 2003 remaster and expanded)

The Hard Times certainly enjoyed some hard times - almost 40 years of obscurity to be exact - but thanks once again to the fine folks at Rev-Ola, a lost 1960s group with riches of talent and musical goodness has been unearthed to be rediscovered in this modern age of rediscovery. The Hard Times were one of many groups trying for the big time in mid 60s California, but unlike groups who did make it big like The Mamas and Papas, The Doors, Arthur Lee's Love, and Buffalo Springfield, The Hard Times were a mere blip on the map.

Like many groups of the time, The Hard Times showed us their best work first on their 45 singles. The Hard Times 45s have been sought after for years now, so to have them all collected in one spot, along with their sole LP from 1967, Blew Mind, is a true revelation. Like their fellow Where the Action Is cohorts The Robbs (both groups served as house band for the Dick Clark produced teen pop program), The Hard Times put out a slew of amazing folk rock gems on 45s (and here's hoping The Robbs will get the same treatment The Hard Times have been afforded on this Rev-Ola reissue).

Centering attention on The Hard Time singles compiled here for the very first time (and included as bonus tracks) is indeed a real treat. Not only does it become apparent that The Hard Times were an excellent folk rock outfit equal to groups like The Robbs, it becomes apparent just who the unsung heroes of this group are: Hard Times' songwriters Rudy Romero and Bill Richardson. Rudy and Bill wrote a number of The Hard Times' songs included here, and a few of the singles were re-recorded for the Blew Mind LP, while others were not.

You're Bound To Cry is a folk rock gem which includes an excellent melody played on the mournful sounding harmonica and wouldn't sound out of place on The Rolling Stones' Between the Buttons. That's All I'll Do continues with a more rollicking sound, but retains that haunting harmonica. Goodbye has wonderful harmonies and folk rock guitar work in a Beatlesque way, and certainly sounds more together on the 45 version as compared to the stereo LP version, but either version shows the band in a strong light. There'll Be a Time has a great introduction combining strummed guitar riff and the harmonica, but doesn't hold up as well during the verse. 

They Said No works the rocking sound a bit better, with angsty vocals that are only slightly tempered by the harmony background vocals and slapping rhythm that would have surely got the kids dancing back in 1966. A really amazing find is the Al Kooper composition Sad Sad Sunshine which sounds like Goffin/King's Wasn't Born to Follow (the song The Byrds sang in Easy Rider - which incidentally The Robbs covered as well), any fan of that song could do much worse than to check out this song. Wow, what a great song - the 45 version and the LP version have different feels to them too which make for interesting comparisons. Fortune Teller was the closest The Hard Times came to a hit, and while it pales in comparison to other versions of this song, it certainly will be a favorite of anyone who checks out this cd. Give to Me Your Love is a Rudy composed tune performed by The New Phoenix and produced by Mama Cass Elliot which has some peeling guitar licks and a haunting melody which opens up nicely thanks to the sweet vocals (Thanks - its b-side is an instrumental version of the a-side).

A few of the songs from the Blew Mind LP stand out too. The aforementioned Fortune Teller is probably stronger in its LP version, and a real standout tune. Play It for Me is probably my favorite Hard Times LP track, with it's giddy instrumentation and harmony vocals; it makes me smile every time I hear it. Take a Look Around is a really sweet ode to the things we take to granted in this world, and is a truly inspiring moment. Not Me combines a Beatlesque guitar riff with Donovan styled vocals, and is a groovy angsty LP track. I'm Not a Rock is another Donovan styled rocker, which isn't half bad. Under the Sunlight is an interesting attempt at a more psychedelized folk rock tune, which doesn't wholly work, but does end up with some interesting pop guitar work. The really tremendous psych moment that does work wonders is the odd title tune, Blew Mind combines droney guitar and gong hits with radio broadcasts sampled in and a psych melody with a mantra like vocal singing about "Blew...Blew....Blew Mind."

The downside to the Blew Mind LP is a handful of so-so covers which were no doubt the idea of the record company (indeed much of the album was reportedly recorded by session musicians). Songs like Candy Man (which does get a pretty unique arrangement), Colours (the Donovan tune), and The Beatles' Here, There and Everywhere all have an easy pop feel to them, but don't seem to match the goodness of the best by The Hard Times. Small complaint, for an otherwise amazing compilation from the fine folks at Rev-ola.
by Patrick (The Gullbuy), November 4, 2003
1. Candy Man (Beverly "Ruby" Ross, Fred Neil) - 2:39
2. Here, There And Everywhere (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 2:25
3. Play It For Me - 2:08
4. Take A Look Around - 2:41
5. Fortune Teller (Naomi Neville) - 2:29
6. Goodbye - 2:36
7. Not Me (Bill Richardson) - 2:17
8. Colours (Donovan Leitch) - 2:15
9. I'm Not A Rock (John Simon, Frances Landesman) - 2:35
10.Under The Sunlight - 2:09
11.Sad Sad Sunshine (Al Kooper) - 3:00
12.Blew Mind (Bill Richardson) - 2:47
13.You're Bound To Cry - 2:51
14.There'll Be A Time (Bill Richardson) - 2:28
15.That's All I'll Do - 2:30
16.Come To Your Window (Bob Lind) - 2:29
17.They Said No (Bill Richardson) - 2:38
18.Sad Sad Sunshine (Mono 45) (Al Kooper) - 3:04
19.Fortune Teller (Mono 45) (Naomi Neville) - 2:34
20.Goodbye (Mono 45) - 2:26
21.Give Me Your Love - 3:09
22.Thanks - 3:09
All composotions by Rudy Romero except where stated
Bonus Tracks 13-22
Tracks 21-22 as The New Phoenix

The Hard Times
*Rudy Romero - Vocals, Twelve String Guitar
*Larry Byrom - Bass
*Lee Keifer - Harmonica, Tambourine
*Bill Richardson - Lead Guitar
*Bob Morris - Bass

Related Act
1968  T.I.M.E. - T.I.M.E. (2012 extra track remaster)  
1969  T.I.M.E.- Smooth Ball (2010 remaster) 

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Asgard - In The Realm Of Asgard (1972 uk, wonderful prog rock, 2003 remaster)

As this record came out on the Moody Blues' Threshold label, it's inevitably gotten some comparison to their patrons of sorts. It's not all that much like the Moody Blues, however, other than sharing the trait of being more pop-influenced than much progressive rock. Its more bombastic than the Moody Blues in its strident vocals, melodies, and serious arching lyrics. 

While it's not extremely similar to Kansas, it might hold some appeal for fans of the kind of American art rock Kansas purveyed as well, in part because of its pop-flavored gravity, in part because violinist Peter Orgil is a big part of Asgard's sound. For all that, it just doesn't stick in the mind nearly as much -- regardless of whether you consider that a good or bad thing -- as the more accessible prog rock bands like the Moody Blues and Kansas do, in spite of the premium they place on straining vocal harmonies.

Lyrically it fits in snugly with the more na├»ve side of prog rock's probing visions, as reflected by titles like "Children of a New Born Age" and "Starquest," the latter track decorated by dated swooping synthetic sounds. 
by Richie Unterberger
1. In the Realm of Asgard - 4:25
2. Friends - 4:39
3. Town Crier - 3:59
4. Austin Osmanspare (Rodney Harrisson, Rob Hunt, Bernhard Jinks, Luis Farrell) - 4:15
5. Children of a New Born Age - 3:13
6. Time - 5:11
7. Lorraine - 4:45
8. Starquest - 5:17
All songs by Rodney Harrison except where noted

*Ted Bartlett - Vocals
*Dave Cook - Bass
*Rodney Harrison - Guitar, Vocals
*Peter Orgil - Violin
*James Smith - Vocals
*Ian Snow - Drums

Related Act
1967-69  Bulldog Breed - Made In England

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