Thursday, May 30, 2013

Eclection - Eclection (1968 uk, gorgeous folk rock with sunny psych tignes)

 
 
 The rare, sole, and self-titled album by Eclection was one of the finer overlooked folk-rock recordings of the 1960s, and perhaps the best relatively unknown British folk-rock LP of its time. The band had a great deal going for them: four strong singers, rich multi-part harmonies, strong original material by two composers, deftly textured mixes of electric and acoustic guitars, and tasteful orchestration that gracefully enhanced the soaring bittersweet melodies and male-female vocal blends. They were also one of the few British acts signed to Elektra Records, the hippest American independent label of the era.
 
None of this translated into high sales or wide renown. Eclection, so full of promise on this 1968 album, had split up by the end of 1969, never having issued another full-length release. The simple label of "British folk-rock band" applies to Eclection as much as any description could. Upon closer scrutiny, that term fails to capture the complexities of this enigmatic group. For this British band had but one actual British member, the rest of the group hailing from Norway, Australia, and Canada; for that matter, when one of the Australians left, she was replaced by an American.
 
The group are closely connected to the Fairport Convention family tree via the presence of two future members of the band, yet neither of them wrote material or took prominent lead vocal roles on the Eclection album. Despite the Fairport connection, the folk background of some of the members, and the obvious vocal and instrumental folk-rock elements, they didn't think of themselves as folk-rock.
 
Too, this British album, recorded in London by mostly non-British musicians, sounded more like a product of California than anything else, despite the absence of any Americans on the recording. Tying it all together was the unlikely figure of producer Ossie Byrne, most known for overseeing the first international hits of the Bee Gees. Byrne, of course, was not British either, hailing from Australia.
 
Eclection was an apt name for a group originating from such disparate regions. Georg Hultgreen, who wrote eight of the eleven songs on the album and handled twelve-string electric and acoustic guitars, was born in Norway. The son of Russian prince Paulo Tjegodiev Sakonski and Finnish sculptress Johanna Kajanus, he moved to Paris just before entering his teens. Shortly afterward he moved with his family to Quebec, where he learned English, and worked as a stained glass window designer before ending up in England. Michael Rosen, who wrote the remaining three songs on the LP and played trumpet in addition to six-string acoustic and electric guitars, came from Canada.
 
Singer Kerrilee Male, an Australian, had in the mid-1960s sung in Dave's Place Group; that outfit was featured on the Australian folk music television show Dave's Place, featuring ex-Kingston Trio guitarist Dave Guard, who had somehow ended up living in Sydney. Fellow Australian Trevor Lucas had the most on-record experience of any member of Eclection, having released a couple of rare folk albums, as well as contributing to the EP The Folk Attick Presents, singing backup vocals on British folk legend A.L. Lloyd's Leviathan, and appearing on the soundtrack to Far from the Madding Crowd.
 
Completing the unlikely quintet was their sole British member, drummer Gerry Conway, who was just leaving his teens. Conway had been playing in the group of musical giant Alexis Korner, whose band was famous for helping train numerous future British rock stars, including members of the Rolling Stones, Cream, and Led Zeppelin. If it seems like an unlikely transition from a blues-oriented ensemble such as Korner's to the pop-folk-rock of Eclection, it should be remembered that Korner's band had also given apprenticeships to Danny Thompson and Terry Cox, the rhythm section of one of the most successful British folk-rock groups, Pentangle.
 
After about a year of gigging with post-Kerrilee Male lineups, Eclection broke up in late 1969 (though Henderson did head a revamped version of the band in the 1970s). Lucas and Conway formed the rhythm section of Fotheringay, featuring Trevor's girlfriend (and, later, wife) Sandy Denny, who had just established herself as the finest British folk-rock singer as part of Fairport Convention. Fotheringay made a fine folk-rock album in 1970 before Denny left for a solo career.
 
Lucas and Denny would play together again in Fairport Convention in the mid-1970s, though Denny died tragically young in 1978, while Lucas passed away in 1989. Conway's long career took in stints in Jethro Tull and Pentangle, as well as recordings with John Cale, Sandy Denny, Joan Armatrading, the Everly Brothers, Cat Stevens, Richard Thompson, Al Stewart, and many others. He's now, in 2001, the drummer in Fairport Convention, an institution that's still going strong more than thirty years after their formation.
 
As for the others, Hultgreen, under the name Georg Kajanus, joined Sailor, who had a couple of Top Ten British singles in the mid-1970s. An accomplished artist as well as a musician, he is now, believes Conway, living in Paris. Rosen later played with obscure early-1970s progressive rockers Mogul Thrash, which also included future Family/King Crimson/Asia member John Wetton. Gerry last saw Michael in the early 1980s in Canada while touring with Richard Thompson, "and as far as I know, he was working in his uncle's steel mill." Conway's lost all contact with Kerrilee Male, whom he believes went back to Australia after quitting Eclection. "As it started as it finished, I suppose," he chuckles. "Everybody disappeared back to the four corners of the earth."
by Richie Unterberger
Tracks
1. In Her Mind - 3:57
2. Nevertheless (M. Rosen) - 2:51
3. Violet Dew - 3:51
4. Will Tomorrow Be The Same - 3:13
5. Still I Can See - 4:18
6. In The Early Days - 3:39
7. Another Time Another Place - 4:26
8. Morning of Yesterday - 4:11
9. Betty Brown - 3:06
10.St. Georg & The Dragon (Up The Night) (M. Rosen) - 4:58
11.Confusion (M. Rosen) - 5:04
All songs by Georg Hultgreen (Kajanus) except where indicated

Eclection
*Georg Hultgreen (Kajanus) - Vocals, Guitars
*Trevor Lucas - Bass , Vocals
*Gerry Conway - Drums, Vocals
*Kerrilee Male - Vocals
*Michael Rosen - Vocals, Guitars, Trumpet

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Chris Farlowe With The Hill - From Here To Mama Rosa (1970 uk, superb psycedelia with prog flashes, 2010 Flawed Gems extra tracks remaster)

 
 
Chris Farlowe was born John Henry Deighton in Islington, North London on October 13 1940, amidst the rationing, gas masks and bombing raids of WWII. Chris’ earliest musical influences were inherited from his close-knit family. His Mum, a self taught piano player, played at family sing alongs and at the local pub, where Chris sang in public for the first time. Chris and his Mum loved Doris Day along with other outstanding female vocalists from this era, including Jeri Southern, Sarah Vaughan and Anita O’Day, and Chris admits, he learnt a lot about song delivery from listening to these timeless chanteuses.
 
In common with many of the great British stars who emerged from the sixties, one of Chris's earliest heroes was the late Lonnie Donegan, and whilst still a teenager, Chris formed his own Donegan/Vipers influenced skiffle band - the modestly named 'John Henry Skiffle Group!’ They entered and won local talent contests and played small local venues for pocket money.
 
In 1965, things didn’t look like they were going to improve; the single ‘Buzz With The Fuzz’ was doomed to failure when EMI withdrew it soon after release, after realising the song contained references to illicit drug taking. It did however become a mod classic and won over many parka wearing fans, who to this day still regard Chris as a mod hero. Things picked up later in the year in an unexpected way when an unsuspecting Chris and The Thunderbirds recorded 'Stormy Monday Blues', a relatively unknown blues number by T Bone Walker.
 
Recorded as a studio try out, they were surprised at the critical acclaim it received and even more surprised when they found out that Sue Records had released it under the pseudonym 'Little Joe Cook'. Now, widely acknowledged as one of the main contenders for the accolade, best British blues record in history, people took some convincing at the time that the authentic sounding vocals were produced by Chris from North London, and not some obscure black bluesman from the deep south!
 
The summer of 66 saw England winning the Football World Cup, the USA fighting in Vietnam and the release of 'Out of Time', the third single on the Immediate label. Against Chris's wishes, EMI followed up ‘Out of Time’ with the release of 'Just a Dream' and then the much better 'Ride on Baby' both of which received a luke warm reception in terms of chart success - 'OOT' was such a tough act to follow.
 
The latter part of the sixties saw a number of releases, none of which had any major chart success with the exception of the classic 'Handbags and Gladrags' a song penned especially for Chris by buddy Mike d'Arbo of Manfred Mann fame and covered by Welsh rockers, the Stereophonics in 2003. Incredibly, this was to be Chris's last chart success, not counting the re-release of 'OOT' in the mid seventies. By the end of the sixties, Chris didn't have a record deal and looked set to fade into obscurity.
 
The Hill were a hard rock combo formed by ex Thunderbirds bass player Bruce Waddell, drummer Colin Davey, and keyboard player Peter Robinson, together with ex Fat Mattress guitar player Steve Hammond, and cellist Paul Buckmaster (yes it does say cellist!). Just one album with The Hill, but it’s a classic and quite possibly the first heavy rock album to feature a cellist. ‘From Here to Mama Rosa’, a much heavier, rock sound than anything Chris had done to date, was hinting at what might be if Chris chose to move in that direction. And fortunately for rock fans, he did.
Chris Farlow official-page 
Tracks
1. Traveling Into Make Believe 04:35
2. Fifty Years 02:43
3. Where Do We Go From Here 04:29
4. Questions 03:44
5. Head In the Clouds 06:59
6. Are You Sleeping 05:37
7. Black Sheep 04:49
8. Winter In My Life 04:01
9. Mama Rosa 07:45
10.Put Out The Lights (A-Side 1970) 02:44
11.Sylvie (US-Only A-Side 1969) 03:22
12.The Fourth Annual Convention Of The Battery Hen Farmers' Association Part II (US-Only B-Side 1969) 04:36
13.Dawn (A-Side 1968) 03:49
14.April Was The Month (B-Side 1968) 03:51
Tracks 1-9, 11-12 perfomed by The Hill
Track 10 by C. Farlow with The Hill
Tracks 13-14 by C. Farlow and The Thunderbirds

Musicians
*Chris Farlowe – Vocals
*Peter Robinson - Keyboards
*Steve Hammond – Guitars
*Bruce Vaddell – Bass
*Colin Davy – Drums
*Paul Buckmaster - Cello

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Curtis Knight Zeus-The Second Coming (1974 us, incredible heavy funky spinning rock, with "Fast" Eddie pre Motorhead, 2009 Lemon bonus track edition)

 
 
 Born Curtis McNear, 9 May 1929, Fort Scott, Kansas, USA, died 29 November 1999, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Having completed his national service, Knight settled in California where he hoped to pursue a career in music. He appeared in a low-budget movie, Pop Girl, before relocating to New York during the early 60s. Knight then recorded for several minor labels, but these releases have been eclipsed by the singer’s collaborations with Jimi Hendrix, who joined Curtis’ group, the Squires, in 1965.
 
Hendrix’s tenure there was brief, but the contract he signed with Knight’s manager, Ed Chalpin, had unfortunate repercussions, particularly as the guitarist ill-advisedly undertook another recording session in 1967. His spells with Knight yielded 61 songs, 26 studio and 35 live, which have since been the subject of numerous exploitative compilations. Although some of this material is, in isolation, worthwhile, such practices have undermined its value.
 
As Curtis Knight continued to pursue his career throughout the 60s using whatever musicians were available, he increasingly relied on his Hendrix association, and in 1974 published Jimi, ‘an intimate biography’. By this point Knight was based in London where he led a new group, Curtis Knight - Zeus. This band comprised Eddie Clarke (guitar; later in Motörhead), Nicky Hogarth (keyboards), John Weir (bass) and Chris Perry (drums).
 
They completed two albums, but only one was issued in the UK. The singer undertook a European tour and recorded an unremarkable album before returning to the USA. In the latter part of the decade Knight conceived the black punk rock band, Pure Hell. He continued to work with a variety of musicians while running his own limousine business. In 1992, Knight relocated to the Netherlands where he continued to record up to his death from cancer in November 1999. He had recently launched the Double Rainbow/Happy Dream label.

Knight cut a storming set of tunes which varies from the immediately attractive rocking title track, through the peaks and troughs of New Horizon, to the comparative restraint of The Confession. It’s hard to imagine any rock fan not finding something to enjoy here, with the quality of the playing and instantly memorable songs. Here and there Knight uses a female chorus to enhance certain tracks, while his overall production of the album is clear and engaging. One bonus, The Devil Made Me Do It, is added to the original, making this a highly recommended reissue for any Hendrix or general rock fan.
by Kingsley Abbott
Tracks
1. Zeus - 3:19
2. New Horizon - 4:00
3. Silver Queen - 6:15
4. Mysterious Lady - 2:47
5. Road Song - 4:38
6. People Places and Things - 2:55
7. Cloud (Eddie Clarke, Curtis Knight) - 8:27
8. Eyes of a Child - 2:47
9. The Confession (Eddie Clarke, Curtis Knight) - 5:54
10.Oh Rainbow - 2:47
11.The Devil Made Me Do It - 2:36

Musicians
*Curtis Knight - Guitar, Vocals
*John Weir - Bass
*Eddie Clarke - Guitar
*Nicky Hogarth - Keyboards
*Chris Perry - Percussion

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Morse Code Transmission - Morse Code Transmission (1971 canada, fine mix of psych, folk and progressive rock, 2012 O-Music issue)



 Drummer Raymond Roy and singer Michel Vallee started their musical partnership as members of Quebec Les Maitres.  Rounded out by guitarist Jocelyn Julien and multi-instrumentalist Christian Simard in 1969 the band was signed by RCA, releasing a string of three Canadian singles.

Apparently driven by a desire to expand their audience, in 1970 the quartet opted for a name change coupled with major reorientation in music direction.

Credited to Morse Code Transmission, 1971's cleverly titled "Morse Code Transmission" teamed the group with producer Bill Misener.  Unlike their earlier Les Maitres singles which were exclusively performed in French, their debut album featured all English performances.  Musically the set bounced around including stabs at top-40 pop ('Time'), early progressive moves (the Procol Harum-esque 'Souvenirs of Our Days'), AOR rock (the fuzz guitar propelled 'It Never Ever Easy To Do') and even a goofy piece of Arcadian folk ('Hunting and Laughing'). 

Interestingly, the liner notes indicated that Simard continued to write in French with Graeme Box, John deNottbeck and Stan Rogers providing help translating the material into English. Not meant as a criticism, but least to my ears Simard and Valee didn't seem particularly comfortable singing in English with their performances on material such as 'Souvenirs of Our Days' and 'One To One' sounding like they'd learned the lyrics phonetically. Elsewhere, released as a single 'Oh Lord' b/w 'Fire Sign' (RCA catalog number 75-1006) provided the band with a top-40 Canadian hit.
Bad-cat
Tracks
1. Souvenirs Of Our Days (Christian Simard, Bill Misener) - 2:24
2. It Never Ever Easy To Do   (Christian Simard, Bill Misener, Michel Vallee) - 3:50
3. Time (Christian Simard, Bill Misener) - 1:31
4. Oh Lord (Christian Simard, Graeme Box, John De Nottbeck) - 2:55
5. Hunting And Laughing (Christian Simard, Bill Misener) - 2:03
6. The Friend (Instrumental) (Christian Simard) - 1:07
7. Story-Book Life (Christian Simard, Bill Misener, Graeme Box) - 2:58
8. Fire Sign (Christian Simard, Stan Rogers, Michel Vallee) - 2:03
9. Freedom Train (Christian Simard, Bill Misener) - 3:34
10.Today I'm Alive (Christian Simard, Stan Rogers) - 2:23
11.One To One (Christian Simard, Bill Misener) - 2:50
12.Two Friends (Instrumental) (Christian Simard, Bill Misener) - 1:45

Morse Code Transmission
*Christian Simard - Keyboards, Vocals
*Michel Vallee - Guitar
*Jocelyn Julien - Guitar
*Raymond Roy - Drums

1972  Morse Code Transmission II

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Morse Code Transmission - Morse Code Transmission II (1972 canada, tremendous heavy progressive rock, 2012 O-Music edition)



 One of Quebec's most experimental psychadelic rock bands, Morse Code Transmission was formed in the late 1960s by Montreal natives guitarist Michel Vallee and drummer Raymond Roy. Then going by the name of Les Maitres (The Masters), they released a string of unsuccessful singles in English before the turn of the decade, though they also incorporated French songs into roughly half their live sets.

With Christian Simard on vocals and keyboards, and guitarist Jocelyn Julien, they became a hot commodity on the Quebec bar circuit and after signing a deal with RCA Records, and on the label's insistence, changed their name. They also dropped the original French material they'd written from their playlist, and began work with producer/songwriter Bill Meisener.

They released their self-titled debut album in the summer of '71, and although the single, "Oh Lord" b/w "Fire Sign" went nowhere, it was complimented by other heavy organ vibes and slick guitar solos in songs like "It's Never Easy To Do," "Souvenirs of Our Days," and "Freedom Train" still meant decent album sales. Although heavy on the organ and deep on bass, the music was diverse - from the grungy "Never Easy To Do" to the Beatlesesque "Today I'm Alive," cello solo compliments of Peter Schenkman, and a full strings accompaniment to Al Cherney's fiddle in "Hunting and Laughing."

By the time they were in the studios recording a follow-up, Berny Tapin had replaced Julien on guitars, and Morse Code Transmission II was released in '72. Simard was once again the chief writer, and more crunchy vocals and a pounding backbeat served up the only single, "Cold Society" b/w "Satan's Song." It failed to make a dent in the charts, but other cuts like the lead-off "Funk Alley," "Soul Odyssey," and "Sky Ride" were indicative of the more all-encompassing sound the band was trying to achieve.

The  album was housed in a superbly colourful gatefold sleeve which pictures a woman lying under a tree. They play a fairly exciting organ-driven hard rock. Later the band changed their name to Morse Code and sang in French.
Canadian-bands
Tracks
1. Funk Alley - 8:14
2. Soul Odyssey - 3:34
3. Graveyard Of Man - 4:54
4. Stick The Fork In - 8:39
5. Liberty, Freedom, Man - 9:29
6. Cold Society - 4:40
7. New Woman Kind - 4:33
8. Sky Ride - 4:31
9. Satan Song - 3:24
Songs 1-4 by Christian Simard
Songs 5-9 by Christian Simard and Michel Vallée

Morse Code Transmission
*Raymond Roy - Drums, Percussions
*Michel Vallée - Bass, Vocals
*Berny Tapin - Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
*Christian Simard - Piano, Organ, Tonga, Lead Vocals

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Richard Dickey Betts - Highway Call (1974 us, spectacular southern rock)

 
 
 After the runaway success of the Allman Brothers' classic Brothers and Sisters LP -- an album on which Dickey Betts virtually architected the open loping country sound with his newly found singing voice and easy, slimmed down guitar style -- the guitarist decided to try his hand at a solo album. Highway Call is, in essence, the second chapter in Betts finding his own voice as not only a singer, but also as a songwriter as well.
 
At a brief half-hour in length, Highway Call is nonetheless an emotionally powerful slice of small country life offered with a vast emotional landscape. The tone is nostalgic in that each of the songs here reflects memory and the yearning for a simpler, less cluttered life lived in the open spaces, away from the chaotic roil of rock stardom and all of its trappings. The title track reflects an acceptance of Betts' life as an itinerant musician, destined to play out his hand on the road.
 
There isn't a hint of regret in the ringing, slippery guitars and harmony vocals, but there is a sense that life could have been different. On "Let Nature Sing," Betts calls forth the spirits of America, from its rock and crags, its lakes and panoramic vistas, and from the ghosts of the people who've traipsed through Betts' life, leaving an emotional and indelible impression upon him.
 
Each song here, such as "Rain," with its sideways pedal steel, or "Long Time Gone," with its runaway slide, or even the aforementioned "Let Nature Sing," with its glorious dobro and fiddle (courtesy of Vassar Clements) underscoring Betts' lead and the ringing pedal steel of Jon Hughey is a testament to the pastoral in American life. And for Betts, the rambler, gambler, and hard living guitar man, there is no contradiction. All of his cards are on the table in "Hand Picked," a nearly 15-minute country swing romp through Bob Wills, Merle Haggard, the Allmans, and bluegrass, Betts creates the ultimate road instrumental.
 
The listener can hear Clements and Betts roaring down the two-lane blacktop on the back of a flatbed truck, ripping this one out with easy abandon. Highway Call stands as the artist's finest solo moment, one that holds his true voice easily expressing itself far from the madding blues wail of the Allmans, deep in the center of a Georgia holler with the sun beating down on the peach trees or on the incessant babble of a backwoods creek calling his listeners to the mystery inherent in simple living and in playing honest, heartfelt music.
by Thom Jurek
Tracks
1. Long Time Gone (Betts) - 4:31
2. Rain (Betts) - 3:40
3. Highway Call (Betts) - 4:26
4. Let Nature Sing (Betts) - 5:10
5. Hand Picked (Betts) - 14:20
6. Kissimmee Kid (Vassar Clements) - 3:13

Musicians
*Dickey Betts - Electric, Acoustic Guitar, Dobro, Lead Vocals
*Vassar Clements - Fiddle
*Chuck Leavell - Piano
*Tommy Talton - Acoustic Guitar
*John Hughey - Steel Guitar
*Walter Poindexter - Banjo, Vocals
*Leon Poindexter - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Frank Poindexter - Dobro, Vocals
*Stray Straton - Bass, Vocals
*Johnny Sandlin - Bass
*Oscar Underwood Adams - Mandolin
*David Walshaw - Drums, Percussion
*Reese Wynans - Harmonica
*The Rambos - Vocals

1977-78  Dickey Betts And Great Southern / Atlanta's Burning Down
with The Allman Brothers
1968-89  Dreams (4 disc box set)
1971  S.U.N.Y. at Stonybrook NY

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Graham Bond Organisation - The Sound Of '65 / There's A Bond Between Us (1965 uk, fantastic mod , jazz, rhythm 'n' beat, with Ginger Baker and young Jack Bruce)

 
 
 This two-LPs-on-one-CD package is essential listening for anyone who is seriously interested in either British blues, the Rolling Stones' early sound, or the history of popular music, in England or America, during the late '50s and early '60s.
 
In England during the years 1957-1962, jazz and blues used to intermix freely, especially among younger blues enthusiasts and more open-minded jazzmen -- by 1963, most of the former had gone off to form bands like the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, the Pretty Things, etc., with guitars a the forefront of their sound, while the latter (most notably British blues godfather Alexis Korner) kept some jazz elements in their work.
 
The Graham Bond Organization (along with Zoot Money's Big Roll Band and other, similar outfits) represented the jazzier side of the British blues boom, less charismatic and sexually provocative than blues-rock bands like the Stones or the Yardbirds, but no less potent a product of the same inspiration, sax and organ being much more prominent in their sound. Indeed, Bond's playing on the organ as represented on this CD is the distant antecedent to Keith Emerson's more ambitious keyboard excursions of 3-4 years later, without the incessant copping of classical riffs.
 
The playing and singing (by Graham Bond and a young Jack Bruce) are curiously soulful, and when Ginger Baker takes a solo on "Oh Baby," it's a beautiful, powerful, even lyrical experience (as drum solos go), and one of those bold, transcendant, virtuoso moments, akin to Brian Jones' harmonica solo on the Stones' version of "Hi Heel Sneakers." The band was more exciting on stage, as the evidence of their one surviving early live performance indicates, but they were worth hearing on record as well.
 
In a universe that was fair and idealized, this CD and the two albums contained on it would rank right up there in sales with anything (including the Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton album) that John Mayall ever released, and Bond also proves himself a more fervent and exciting figure here than Mayall ever seemed on his records.
by Bruce Eder
Tracks
1. (I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man (Willie Dixon) - 3:13
2. Baby Make Love to Me (Godfrey, Group) - 1:52
3. Neighbour, Neighbour (Valior) - 2:40
4. Early in the Morning (Booker T. Laury) - 1:50
5. Spanish Blues (Graham Bond) - 3:05
6. Oh Baby (Graham Bond) -  2:42
7. Little Girl (Graham Bond) - 2:15
8. I Want You (Graham Bond) - 1:45
9. Wade in the Water (Traditional) - 2:41
10.Got My Mojo Working (Preston Foster) - 3:11
11.Train Time (John Group) - 2:24
12.Baby Be Good to Me (Janet Godfrey, J. Group) - 2:35
13.Half a Man (Graham Bond) - 2:06
14.Tammy (Ray Evans, Jay Livingston) - 2:49
15.Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Don Kirkpatrick, Keith Knox) - 2:05
16.Hear Me Calling Your Name (Jack Bruce) - 2:37
17.The Night Time Is the Right Time (Lew Herman) - 3:01
18.Walking in the Park (Graham Bond) - 3:30
19.Last Night (Charles "Packy" Axton, Ivan Johnson, Smoochy Smith) - 3:00
20.Baby Can It Be True? (Graham Bond) - 5:04
21.What'd I Say (Ray Charles) - 4:16
22.Dick's Instrumental (Smoochy Smith) - 2:33
23.Don't Let Go (Jesse Stone) - 2:43
24.Keep A-Drivin' (Chuck Willis) - 2:04
25.Have You Ever Loved a Woman? (Graham Bond) - 4:53
26.Camels and Elephants (Ginger Baker) - 4:41

The Organisation
*Graham Bond - Organ, Mellotron, Saxophone, Lead Vocals
*Jack Bruce - Vocals, Bass. Double Bass
*Ginger Baker - Drums
*Dick Heckstall-Smith - Tenor Saxophone

1970  Graham Bond - Holy Magick

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Gene Clark - Echoes (1967 us, amazing psych folk rock)

 
 
 This is the album that, rather unfortunately for Gene, was released the very same day as The Byrds 'Younger Than Yesterday'. The release by his former group of course received all the attention and Gene's debut struggled for both airplay and sales. Both Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke of The Byrds contribute here though, and future Byrd Clarence White helps out on guitar.
 
And! We have the sheer wondrous splendour of the orchestrated 'Echoes' to open. Immediately, it sounds nothing like The Byrds. It's clearly written by the same pen as the likes of 'Set You Free This Time' however, and is certainly up there with Gene's finest ever compositions. We have poetic lyrics to rival Dylan at his best and the orchestration really does something here. In contrast, 'Think Im Gonna Feel Better' is jaunty, short and simple. Jaunty? Well, its happy! The Gosdin Brothers add harmonies and it's a fine song.
 
The guitar sound is 'chugging' rather than the Jangle of The Byrds, but everything is well played and performed. 'Tried So Hard' is a sheer delight, and ensures a strong album opening. Country picking and such a happy melody mixed in with Gene's poetic imagery. 'Is Yours Is Mine' is the one song here that that most evokes memories of The Byrds. The harmonies are mighty fine and provide the main enticing highpoints of the song. Fantastic psychedelic moments mixed in too, though! Ah, 'Keep On Pushin' is perhaps a little too simplistic but the song that follows is mighty fine and matches any of the opening three.
 
'So You Say You Lost Your Baby' is full of echo and reverb, and strings as well! Its a strange combination, but it works. Impressive drumming on 'Elevator Operator', 'The Same One' foreshadows Genes future work by being a dense intricate ballad yet with wonderful melodic guitar fragments. Neither of the final two songs are essential, but both are still pleasant enough, if still straying the wrong side of the line marked 'simple'. They retain the sound of the rest of the album however and fit in happily enough, if nothing else.
by Andrian Denning
Tracks
1. Boston - 2:01 
2. For Me Again - 2:30
3. I Knew I'd Want You - 2:18 
4. Here Without You - 2:36
5. Set You Free This Time - 2:48
6. If You're Gone - 2:46
7. Is Yours Is Mine - 2:37
8. So You Say You Lost Your Baby - 2:06
9. Tried So Hard - 2:20
10.Needing Someone - 2:02
11.Echoes - 3:16
12.The Same One - 3:29
13.Couldn't Believe Her - 2:10
14.Keep On Pushin' (Clark, Bill Rinehart) - 1:45
15.I Found You - 2:58
16.Elevator Operator  (Clark, Bill Rinehart) - 2:54
17.Think I'm Gonna Feel Better - 1:34
18.The French Girl - 2:36
19.Only Colombe - 3:07
20.So You Say You Lost Your Baby (Acoustic Demo Version) - 3:11
All songs by Gene Clark except where noted

Musicians
*Gene Clark - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
*Vern Gosdin - Backing Vocals
*Rex Gosdin - Backing Vocals
*Glen Campbell - Electric Guitar
*Jerry Cole - Guitars
*Bill Rinehart - Guitars
*Clarence White - Guitar
*Doug Dillard - Electric Banjo
*Leon Russell - Piano, Harpsichord; String Arrangements
*Van Dyke Parks - Keyboards
*Chris Hillman - Bass
*Michael Clarke - Drums
*Joel Larson - Drums
 
Related activities
1964  The Byrds - Preflyte (2012 Retro World)
1968-69  Dillard And Clark - Fantastic Expedition / Through The Morning, Through The Night
1971  Gene Clark - White Light (Expanded edition)
1972  Gene Clark - Roadmaster (2011 Sundazed)

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Moonstone - Moonstone (1973 us, marvelous acoustic folk rock)



Moonstone members lived in Winnipeg Manitoba Canada and released a completely left unnoticed LP on the private Canadian label Kot’Ai, recorded in Montreal somewhere in the early ‘70’s, and, like the label says, what a great discovery this is indeed. On the first track, female singer Carolyn MacLeod sounds like a cross between Vasthi Bunyan and perhaps Linda Perhacs.

All tracks have delicate and gentle fingerpicking guitar. There’s one short instrumental based upon guitars only, “Fina’s Birthday Song”. Often the male vocals lead and there are nicely worked out vocal harmonies. “In Case”, “Cointreau” and “Relative Hoak” and the melancholic “Said Gently” (with piano only) does this with a definite West Coast feeling and harmony, at times close to Crosby,Stills, Nash & Young, performed with a similar gentleness as the other tracks. “Black Blind Light” is a bit more psychedelic, with flute and guitars improvisations.

Last track, “Hope you can see” is the most melancholic song of the album, a track which can stand well against another favourite folkpsych track favourite of mine which I mentioned before in another review (of The Search Party, mentioning the similar track "All but this”), namely Jefferson Airplain’s "Coming back to me"
Psych-folk
Tracks
1. Focus - 4:44
2. In Case - 4:32
3. Top Heavy - 2:42
4. Fina's Birthday Song - 0:51
5. Cointreau - 3:33
6. Relative Hoak - 2:31
7. Black Blind Light - 4:27
8. David (Blue) - 4:28
9. Murk - 2:12
10.Said Gently - 3:57
11.Hope You Come See - 3:09

Moonstone
*Carolyn MacLeod - Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Randy Price - Guitar, Vocals
*Michael Heath - Guitar, Piano, Vocals

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Arkham - Arkham (1970-72 belgium, impressive experimental fusion progressive rock)

 
The Arkham born in Brussels following a meeting took place between Jean-Luc Manderlier keyboardist and drummer Daniel Denis, finding the reasons for this association in order to create original music, based on the style of the so-called "Canterbury School". In May of 1970, joins bassist Claude Berkovitch, from the Here and Now Group, where he also played Marc Hollander, later with Aksak Maboul.
 
After just a month of evidence together, the three musicians decide to confront the audience with enrolling in a competition among groups called "Guitare d'Or", a music festival held in Ciney in Belgium. The Arkam win with a strong public acclaim, which will give strength to the group and will substantially concert activity within the confines of the Belgians. In October of the same year, Berkovitch left the band to differences over musical line to follow and was replaced by bassist Patrick Cogneaux.
 
Denis had already played with Cogneaux in 1969 in a group called Knives and Axes. The compositions of the group are the sole prerogative of Manderlier and the group starts to appear in the broadcasts of Radio and Television Belgian gaining considerable popularity. After a few concerts with the newcomer, with other groups participating in the "Midi-Minuit" of 1971 in Liege - Belgium, where a festival will feed a variety of musical proposals under the artistic direction of the contemporary composer Henry Pousseur.

Throughout the year 1971, the group took part in many important concerts, such as Bilzen and the Festival of Ciney, the "Cocoripop" in Charleroi or the "Free-show" held in Josaphat Park of Brussels. They had also the opportunity to open the first concert of the Belgian Magma, 4 September of the same year, revving very Christian Vander.
 
At the end of September, Cogneaux leaves Arkham and then later to join Pazop and the group then invited the guitarist / bassist Paul Radoni, a former member of the Here & Now. Since then, the Arkham proposed a less elaborate music, placing more elements of improvisation. This feature lasted for a few months and in a few live concerts. During the last months of 1971, joined the group on trumpet Claude Deron (co-founder of Univers Zero) and the French guitarist Francois Arnaudeau, which, however, only played in a concert.
 
Cristiano Ramon is a bassist who occasionally participated in a concert held only in Verviers April 28, 1972. With the participation of the trumpet of Deron, Manderlier writes new songs in which to channel the inspiration typically jazz-rock bands like Nucleus. Deron only participated in two concerts, before the group is separated as a result of the invitation to join the Manderlier by Vander of Magma in March 1972.
 
Arkham during their business unfortunately failed to record a single album, it was only in 1994 was to issue a compilation of recordings from the concerts and samples from the years 1970 to 1972. Arkham are an early 70's prog band that featured keyboard player Jean-Luc Manderlier who would later join Magma, drummer Daniel Denis who would also move on to Magma as well as Univers Zero, and drummer Patrick Cogneaux.
 
The last two concerts of Arkham, after 2 years of life, were held in the Netherlands in May 1972, for the occasion combine Manderlier, Denis, Radoni, and Vincent Kenis, the latter later with Aksak Maboul. Manderlier remains for more than a year with the Magma taking part in the recording of "Mekanik Destructiw Kommandöh." Instead of Denis, his experience with Magma was limited to a few concerts in France and the Netherlands, before returning to Belgium to form the group with Deron Necronomicon, then evolved into Univers Zero in 1974. The Arkam did not lead to ever record market and some tapes containing live recordings of the time were transferred to digital media in 2002, edited by Denis and Manderlier, for Cuneiform Records.
 
The recovery of previously unreleased tracks and their posthumous publication, generally results in a treat for fans who will do anything for accaparrarseli, given the inherent need to complete as much as possible, the knowledge of the preferred group. The release of this CD, instead puts a different situation, because it allows you to take direct knowledge of Arkam, between the groups of the 70s unknown to most people because it never arrived at the realization of a record. The publication of this CD may be anachronistic, especially after thirty years, were it not for the fact that this group is worthy of consideration. A trio drums / bass / keyboards with two key characters: Daniel Denis and Jean-Luc Manderlier, music clearly inspired by the "Canterbury Sound", the musical phenomenon of the undoubted charm.
 
The audio quality is discontinuous, being recovered from the tracks recordings of various concerts for the period 1970/72, but also in consideration of the good work of recovery, listening to many songs is definitely acceptable. From the outset, we can appreciate the beautiful sound of the keyboards canterburiano, with characterizations that pass with ease from the typical peculiarities of the Caravan, the first Soft Machine but certainly with closest affinity to Egg. Elegant and nostalgic melodies, in a context that tends to mix bold scores, read dissonance, jazz, rock and contemporary music, without ever being cloying or an end in itself.
 
They are instrumental pieces, sometimes seemingly skinny, that there is no shortage of experimental diversions, as in "Bleirot: poor visibility", to arrive at 10 minutes and passes "With assays of bias," containing a fine solo by Denis on drums, follows the more classical Eve's eventful day (part 3) with its catchy melody. The last two songs, Riff 14 and Tight trousers are distinguished not just by others, and for the invaluable contribution of Claude Deron flugelhorn, both for greater compositional maturity and executive. This work can only be aimed primarily at those who, passionate admirers and followers of the school of Canterbury, want to add another valuable piece to your music collection.
by Adamus67
Tracks
1. Upstairs In The Granery - 5:11
2. Eve's Eventful Day (Part 5, 6) - 3:22
3. Monolithic Progression With Anticipated Rupture - 8:00
4. Brussels Shortly After - 8:30
5. Bleriot: Visibility Poor - 8:18
6. With Assays Of Bias - 10:21
7. Eve's Eventful Day (Part 3) - 4:45
8. Riff 14 - 8:48
9. Tight Trousers - 4:37

Arkham
*Jean-Luc Manderlier - Hammond Organ, Electric Piano, Clavioline
*Daniel Denis - Drums, Whistles
*Patrick Cogneaux - Bass
Additional Musicians
*Claude Berkovitch - Bass
*Claude Deron - Electric Flugelhorn
*Christian "Djoum" Ramon - Bass

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Dillard And Clark - Fantastic Expedition / Through The Morning, Through The Night (1968-69 us, essential country folk rock, MFSL remaster)

 
 
Gene Clark was the greatest underrated singer/songwriter to emerge from the '60s rock explosion, and deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Neil Young. This album, his debut as a duo with virtuoso banjoist/guitarist Doug Dillard, is perhaps his most brilliant recording.
 
Out of the ashes of the Byrds and a brilliant false start of a solo career (the excellent Echoes album), the 1968 Dillard & Clark project found Clark collecting some of his finest material (basically the entire album) and putting it in the familiar context of bluegrass and country, a good year before these elements became vogue in the pop world. But Gene Clark was always ahead of his time.
 
Bookended by two exquisite autobiographical explorations into consciousness -- "Out on the Side" and "Something's Wrong" -- the album's other tracks run from mournful ballad statements such as "Radio Song" to joyous celebrations like "With Care from Someone." There is also a very hot cover of the gospel number "Git It on Brother," which features Chris Hillman on mandolin. Doug Dillard's playing on the record is uniformly excellent. Not only a virtuoso musician, Dillard is a truly smart player who never gets in the way of the songs. Graceful, spellbinding, and tasteful all at the same time.

Combined together, these 20 songs are an essential addition to any country-rock collection and are also indispensible to fans of the Byrds or the Flying Burrito Brothers. The duo's two albums are combined on one CD, making for more than an hour of great listening. Mastered in state-of-the-art sound that still holds up years later, this is the version of the two albums to get.
by Matthew Greenwald and Bruce Eder
Tracks
The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard And Clark 1968
1. Out On The Side (Clark) - 3:49
2. She Darked The Sun (Clark, Leadon) - 3:10
3. Don't Come Rollin' (Clark, Dillard, Leadon) - 2:54
4. Train Leaves Here This Morning (Clark, Leadon) - 3:49
5. With Care From Someone (Clark, Dillard, Leadon) - 3:49
6. The Radio Song (Clark, Leadon) - 3:01
7. Git It On Brother (Lester Flatt) - 2:51
8. In The Plan (Clark, Dillard, Leadon) - 2:08
9. Something's Wrong (Clark, Dillard) - 2:57
Through the Morning, Through the Night 1969
10.No Longer A Sweetheart Of Mine (Don Reno, Red Smiley, Swift) - 3:16
11.Through The Morning, Through The Night (Gene Clark) - 4:06
12.Rocky Top (Boudleaux Bryant, Felice Bryant) - 2:47
13.So Sad (Don Everly, Phil Everly) - 3:21
14.Corner Street Bar (Gene Clark) - 3:35
15.I Bowed My Head And Cried Holy (Traditional, Arranged By Dillard & Clark) - 3:33
16.Kansas City Southern (Gene Clark) - 3:40
17.Four Walls (George Campbell, Marvin Moore) - 3:40
18.Polly (Gene Clark) - 4:22
19.Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms (Bill Monroe) - 2:50
20.Don't Let Me Down (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 3:52

Musicians
*Gene Clark - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
*Doug Dillard – Vocals, Banjo, Fiddle, Guitar
*Bernie Leadon - Banjo, Bass, Guitar, Vocals
*Chris Hillman - Mandolin
*Sneaky Pete Kleinow - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Jon Corneal – Drums, Tambourine
*Michael Clarke - Drums
*David Jackson - Bass, Piano, Cello, Vocals
*Byron Berline - Fiddle
*Donna Washburn - Guitar, Tambourine, Vocals
*Donald Beck - Mandolin, Fretted Dobro
*Andy Belling - Harpsichord

Related activities
1964  The Byrds - Preflyte (2012 Retro World)
1971  Gene Clark - White Light (Expanded edition)
1972  Gene Clark - Roadmaster (2011 Sundazed)

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Sweet Slag - Tracking With Close Ups (1971 uk, fascinating heavy psych jamming rock with progressive jazz elements)

 
 
 By 1971 the UK rock music scene was undergoing change. The psychedelic era was on the wane as a Syd Barrett-less Pink Floyd departed from the surrealist brilliance of Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Progressive rock, with Peter Gabriel at its helm dressed as a transvestite fox, was getting grander and more conceptual. David Bowie was about to christen himself Ziggy Stardust and Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath were ushering in a new heavier sound with their own reinterpretation of the blues.
 
With this in mind it’s difficult to see where Tracking with Close Ups, the sole album by UK band Sweet Slag, fits into the music scene at the time. Practically nothing is known of the band, except that they were a four-piece outfit from London and cut their solitary album for the President Record label.
Sweet Slag’s music is less concerned about creating anthemic popular rock like Zeppelin or Sabbath, and though their sound could be deemed psychedelic or progressive the over all feel of the album is darker with none of the pretence that would be normally found on albums in these genres. In truth Tracking with Close Ups owes much to the free experimentation of Zappa and Beefheart, with references to avant guarde composers such as Karl Heinz Stockhausen.
 
Each of the seven songs on the album are experimental with the entire band soloing freely and seemingly without direction. The tight drumming of Al Chambers and steady bass of Jack O’Neill just about manage to hold the threads of the ideas together. This freedom of expression can be a bit off-putting for the casual listener, but as in the best avant guarde work of John Coltrane, there are moments when all the ideas and discordant improvisations come together and intricate melodies weave their way out from the maelstrom.
 
“Rain Again” repeatedly morphs through different styles and time signatures over it’s 10 plus minutes, beginning with hazy horns over Chambers’ lazy funk break-beat, before quickly disintegrating into cacophony. ‘Twisted Trip Woman’ with its incessant bass riff is also a highlight, with a middle section which sounds like it could’ve been lifted straight off of a Plastic People of the Universe LP.

Vocalist and lead guitarist Mick Kerensky takes writing credits for all seven songs, and his lyrics are full of bleak imagery concerning his complete hatred and mistrust of society. “World of Ice” is the most psychedelic track; a slow eerie 'stoner rock’ tune much akin to “The End” by the Doors.
An embodiment of Kerensky’s paranoia, its eerie bass riff and swathes of atmospheric percussion lead on to his tortured guitar solo, which moves by turns discordant and delicate to create something truly beautiful and melancholic. Suicidal fairly sums it up.
 
The final track ‘Babyi Ar’ is based on the poem by Yevgeny Yevtushenko about the Jewish massacres at Babi Yar in 1941 perpetrated by the Nazi's. Kerensky screams the song title repeatedly over the horrific noises conjured up by the rest of the group. It stands as a poignant homage to the darker side of the human condition, and a fitting way to end an album so eager to explore this part of mans psyche.
by Gerard Fannon
Tracks
1. Specific - 5:40
2. Milk Train - 5:06
3. Rain Again - 10:14
4. Patience - 3:04
5. Twisted Trip Woman - 7:10
6. World of Ice - 7:34
7. Babyi Ar - 7:20

Sweet Slag
*Jack "Moth" O'Neill - Bass, Trombone
*Mick Kerensky - Lead Guitar
*Al Chambers - Percussion
*Paul Jolly - Soprano, Alto Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, Oboe

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Various Artists – What's Shakin' (1966 us/uk, excellent, blues psych folk rock)

 
 
 Throughout the 1960’s, rock music went through a turbulent period of transition. As bands like The Who and Cream steered the music industry toward album-based efforts and away from the singles-oriented business model, many bands found their musical catalogues re-arranged, distorted, and occasionally lost beneath the wheels of change. The most high profile causalities of this innovation were the Beatles, who, to the frustration of fans, were forced to arrange different tracks for British and American album releases (thus creating overlap and paradoxical phenomena, like two Rubber Souls).
 
Yet it was out of this chaos that emerged perhaps one of the best kept blues-rock secrets of the 60’s. Resulting from a series of back-room deals and compromises, 1966 saw the release of What’s Shakin’, an Elektra compilation featuring a loose collection of early recordings from a number of notable blues-rock acts- including a Paul Butterfield Blues Band fresh from of their groundbreaking debut, a yet-to-be famous Lovin’ Spoonful, and an Eric Clapton in the early stages of forming Cream (complete with a certain Mr. Jack Bruce on bass).
 
Though the album is fairly obscure to the public at large, these early blues cuts are anything but. Fans of Al Kooper will be quick to recognize the alternate version of “Can’t Keep from Crying, Sometimes", which in itself is a fantastic find. And those acquainted with the Bluesbreakers repertoire will be not fail to pick up on the take on “Steppin’ Out", a version that rivals in quality Clapton’s tenure with John Mayall. (And yes, that is Stevie Winwood on vocals).
 
Remarkably, the album only slows down really in one place (chiefly “I’m In Love Again"). Aside from this, the album soars. The Lovin’ Spoonful keep up their melody end, Eric Clapton remains faithful to his Southern delta roots, and The Butterfield Band are on fire with quality leads and a grooving beat. But what makes this album, whose concept is flimsy at best, work so well?
 
The secret is in the total absence of self-indulgence. The lack of a central artistic ego negates any bad effects that pop up on countless other records- leaving only a band that wants to play the blues. Clapton especially seems to have taken this stance- one gets the impression that Eric is purifying himself before his long tour-of duty with Cream. Case in point: no solo on “Crossroads"
 
For those who crave blues, this back-to-the basics experiment will not fail to please you. If you’re willing undertake a small online search, you’ll find that What’s Shakin’ is quite possibly the best low-key compilation of the 60’s. It is every bit as refreshing as a shot of Jack Daniels, yet is guaranteed never to make you black out. Who else can say that?
by L. Jackson Weisberger
Artists - Tracks
1. The Lovin' Spoonful – Good Time Music - 3:06
2. The Lovin' Spoonful – Almost Grown - 1:50
3. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band – Spoonful - 2:55
4. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band – Off The Wall - 2:02
5. Al Kooper – Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes - 4:30
6. Eric Clapton And The Powerhouse – I Want To Know - 2:14
7. Eric Clapton And The Powerhouse – Crossroads - 2:32
8. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band – Lovin' Cup - 2:35
9. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band – Good Morning Little Schoolgirl - 2:20
10.Eric Clapton And The Powerhouse – Steppin' Out - 3:12
11.Tom Rush – I'm In Love Again - 2:04
12.The Lovin' Spoonful – Don't Bank On It Baby - 1:52
13.The Lovin' Spoonful – Searchin' - 3:13
14.The Paul Butterfield Blues Band – One More Mile - 3:30

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The Allusions - Anthology (1966-68 aussie, pretty beat rock with garage sparkle)

 
 
 
 The Allusions was a Sydney-based quintet that burst out of nowhere in 1966, scoring a couple of major hits in Sydney. Although they disappeared into obscurity after their short career ended, this is a band that deserves much more recognition.
 
The Allusions formed in late 1965, its members drawn from several other accomplished Sydney groups, and boasting four singers. Their leader, singer-guitarist-composer Mike Morris, had previously played with Dennis & The Dellawares; Terry Hearne had been the bassist in popular instrumental group The Dave Bridge Trio, led by ace gutarist and Joy Boys founder-member Dave Bridge. Terry Chapman and Kevin Hughes had both been members of the early '60s Sydney surf band The Midnighters.
 
Within a short time of forming, The Allusions were signed to Robert Iredale's Leopold Productions, one of Australia's first independent record production companies (which had also recently signed Max Merritt & the Meteors) and their recordings were issued on EMI's Parlophone label. It's possible that their rapid signing came about because Robert Iredale was already familiar with Morris' talent -- it's known that The Dellawares provided backing for The Bee Gees on some of the trio's early recordings, which Iredale had produced.
 
The Allusions shot to prominence in early 1966 with their captivatingly melodic version of the old Rick Nelson hit "Gypsy Woman", backed with "Fever (Burns My Brain)", a Mike Morris original. The single proved a disc-jockey's dream, securing solid airplay on Sydney's 2SM and 2UW, registering impressive sales and peaking at #12. The Allusions' reading in turn inspired The Saints to record the song as a single B-side in 1981.
 
With this hit under their belt, the group was given the opportunity to record two original songs (both penned by Morris) for their mesmerising follow-up. "The Dancer" / "Roller Coaster Man" developed the polished sound and strong harmonies of their debut, and echoed The Beatles' "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You". The A-side, the song for which they are best remembered, fared even better than their debut, making the Sydney Top Ten (#9) and giving great hopes for this 'mysterious' outfit among punters and pundits alike. However, because of the parochial nature of radio and the pop scene at the time, The Allusions' chart success was limited entirely to Sydney, and their Singles made no impact whatsoever in Melbourne.
 
Morris' impressive songwriting ability and the success of the two singles persuaded Iredale to finance the recording of a full album -- a comparitively rare occurrence at that time for a new and relatively unproven group. The original LP is now a sought-after rarity, with copies changing hands for as much as $50; copies with the older-style black Parlophone label are particularly sought-after. Happily all the tracks from this rare gem of mid-Sixties OzPop have been included in the complete Allusions Anthology, recently released by Canetoad Records (see below).
 
The LP contains a variety of material, mixing originals by Morris with covers such as Smokey Robinson's "Shop Around". Some commentators have been rather critical of the album, reserving particular scorn for the song "I Believe", but Chris Spencer opines that "it's not as bad as some make us believe, and doesn't sound out of place on this collection".
 
Terry Chapman quit the band in July 1966, not long before their third single was recorded, apparently unhappy with the Beatles-ish direction in which Morris was taking them. He went on to join one of Australia's first psychedelic groups, The Knack, which included drummer Craig Collinge, formerly of The Librettos and later of Procession. Chapman's replacement was Bruce Davis, who had worked with Morris in The Dellawares.
 
Their third single "Looks Like Trouble" (Oct. 1966) didn't chart, although the follow-up "Roundabout" (another Morris original, released in March 1967) managed to scrape into the bottom of the Top 40. An EP, The Dancer, followed in April, compiling the A-sides from the first three Singles, plus "Roller Coaster Man".
 
According to Vernon Joyson, some time during 1967 The Allusions also recorded as the (uncredited) backing band for Digger Revell on his LP To Whom It May Concern. Another Allusions curiosity from this period is a promotional single -- which the group recorded under the pseudonym The Telemen -- the A-side of which was a version of the theme from the popular TV sitcom My Name's McGooley, What's Yours?.
 
The Allusions released two more Singles, "Seven Days Of Rain" (July 1967) and "Mr Love" (February 1968), but neither was successful. Between these two releases, Mike Morris left the band in late 1967, and he was replaced by John Spence. The Allusions continued as a four-piece until October 1968, when Terry Hearne quit to join Digger Revell's backing band. Mike Morris then rejoined, to raise money for an overseas trip, but by this time the momentum of their early success had dissipated, and in the face of changing trends they split for good in early 1969.
 
Not much is known about what happened to the members after their brief spell in the limelight; what little we have gleaned comes from Vernon Joyson's entry on the band in his book. Mike Morris worked with a number of local country-rock bands after returning to Australia. Terry Hearne was reported to be still playing with Digger Revell in the 1990s, although that was presumably ended by Digger's arrest conviction on charges of marijuana cultivation and trafficking, and his subsequent incarceration. Sadly, drummer Kevin Hughes committed suicide in 1975.
 
The Allusions left behind a fine batch of records that are highly sought after by collectors of quality sixties Aussie pop. The evidence we have is that they could indeed "rock out" -- exemplified by the spirited cover of The Kinks' "I Gotta Move" on the LP, which arguably rivals the original -- along with strong similarities to other early beat-boom merchants like The Zombies and The Searchers. They used "I Feel Fine"-style guitar feedback too, before it was remotely de rigeur.
 
If this band will be remembered at all though (and they should be), it would be for their extremely tight and inventive sound, those complex vocal harmonies, and their mastery of the three-minute beat-pop single idiom.
by Paul Culnane
Tracks
1. Gypsy Woman - 2:19
2. Fever (Burns My Brain) - 2:29
3. The Dancer - 2:02
4. Roller Coaster Man - 2:12
5. Looks Like Trouble - 2:41
6. Ninety Seven Cigarettes - 2:23
7. Roundabout - 3:10
8. I'll Be Home - 2:13
9. Seven Days Of Rain - 1:58
10.Two Of A Kind - 2:43
11.Mr Love - 2:40
12.And She's Mine - 2:35
13.I Gotta Move - 3:36
14.Blue Tomorrow - 1:59
15.In My Solitude - 2:43
16.Shop Around - 2:42
17.Lady Of Leisure - 2:12
18.Out Of Order - 2:06
19.I Believe - 2:23
20.Theme From 'My Name's McGooley' - 2:00
21.Stop Gently - 1:52

The Allusions
*Terry Chapman - Bass, Vocals (1965 - July 1966)
*Bruce Davis - Bass, Vocals (July 1966 - Early 1969)
*Terry Hearne - Lead Guitar, Vocals (1965 - Oct 1968)
*Kevin Hughes - Drums
*Michael Morris - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals (1965-Late 1967, October '68 - Early '69)
*John Shaw - Piano, Organ, Vocals
*John Spence - Guitar Late (1967 -)

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tom Rush - Tom Rush (1965 us, pure tough 'n' rockin' folk)

 
 
When Tom Rush's self-titled album appeared on Elektra Records at the beginning of 1965, the recent university graduate was already an established veteran of the Cambridge, Massachusetts folk scene. A popular performer at local venues such as Club 47 and the Unicorn, he had already recorded three albums, the first of those a private production done live at the Unicorn, the next two for the Prestige label.
 
Tom Rush marked a step up for the artist, moving him to a label that was actually more prestigious than Prestige, and filling out his sound with an all-star squad of accompanists. The music, though, remained much as it had been on his previous LPs: warm, affable interpretations of a diverse range of folk songs.
 
It was an age when there seemed to be a sort of mini-competition among various prominent folkies in trying to select the most eclectic repertoire possible, always accompanied by liner notes that meticulously documented the sources, as a testament to their assiduous choices and diligent folkloric research. In this respect Rush could more than hold his own, rambling through country blues by Kokomo Arnold and Bukka White, Woody Guthrie compositions, and traditional folk songs of indeterminate origin, some learned from peers such as Dave Van Ronk, Eric Von Schmidt, Geoff Muldaur, and Ian Tyson.
 
There was even a cover of a Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller composition that had been recorded by the Coasters, a daring move at a time when some purists were trying to keep the gap between rock and folk as wide as possible. And, naturally, there were diligent notes about the songs and how Rush had learned them, penned by the singer himself.
 
Moving from Prestige to Elektra along with Tom was producer Paul Rothchild, one of the top folk producers of the day, and soon to become a top rock producer at the helm of Elektra recordings by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Love, Tim Buckley, and the Doors. This helped create a confusing situation where Rush's Elektra debut actually hit the stores before his second Prestige LP, which had been recorded prior to Tom Rush.

The fuller, yet not electric, folk sound was in keeping with the approach then being pioneered on Rothchild-Elektra sessions; the producer also enlisted Sebastian and Pappalardi around this time for support on a crucial early folk-rock milestone on Elektra, Fred Neil's Bleecker & MacDougal. Pappalardi and Herald were also important sidemen on sessions by Ian & Sylvia that likewise were vital in expanding folk music's sonic canvas.
 
Elaborated Rush in a 1998 interview with Wally Breese (for Joni Mitchell's website), "When Paul and I sat down to make these two albums, we put the more traditional, I should say, simpler material on the Prestige project. We weren't really high-grading for Elektra, but we put the stuff that sounded best solo or solo with a washtub bass, which is how I recorded the first one, on the Prestige album, and the stuff that lent itself to more backup was on the Elektra album."
 
Tom Rush was still very much a folk record, though, and not a pop or rock one. None of the songs were written by Rush himself, who leaned most toward blues numbers such as "Milk Cow Blues" and the Robert Johnson-derived "If Your Man Gets Busted," as well as ageless folk tunes that had been around the block many times, like "The Cuckoo" and "Solid Gone" (also sometimes called "The Cannonball").
 
Certainly the most inventive cut was the eight-and-a-half-minute closer, "The Panama Limited, " which strung together several Bukka White songs. Another standout was the solo performance "Poor Man," with D modal tuning and a darker atmosphere than was typical for what was largely an upbeat, good-time collection.
 
If only in hindsight, the most significant track might have been "When She Wants Good Lovin'," taken from the B-side of a Coasters single. Rush, as well as collaborators Sebastian, Pappalardi, and Rothchild, would be heading full steam into the folk-rock revolution within a year, and Tom would devote most of an entire LP side of his next Elektra album to electric rock treatments of such rock'n'roll oldies.
by Richie Unterberger 
Tracks
1. Long John (Traditional) - 4:00
2. If Your Man Gets Busted (Traditional) - 3:30
3. Do-Re-Mi (Woodie Guthrie) - 2:39
4. Milk Cow Blues (Kokomo Arnold)  - 3:14
5. Black Mountain Blues (Traditional) - 2:44
6. The Cuckoo (Traditional) - 3:24
7. Poor Man (Traditional) - 3:30
8. Solid Gone (Traditional)  - 3:01
9. When She Wants Good Lovin' (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller)  - 2:45
10.I'd Like to Know (Woodie Guthrie)  - 2:17
11.Jelly Roll Baker (Lonnie Johnson)  - 3:01
12.Windy Bill (Traditional) - 2:16
13.The Panama Limited (Bukka White) - 8:23

Musicians
*Tom Rush - Vocals, Guitar
*Felix Pappalardi - Guitar
*John Herald - Guitar
*John Sebastian - Harmonica
*Bill Lee - Bass
*Fritz Richmond - Bass

1968  Tom Rush - The Circle Game

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Spontaneous Combustion - Triad (1972 uk, tight, clever hard progressive rock, 2012 Esoteric remaster edition)



 This second album from Dorset trio SC, also got the Esoteric de Luxe treatment, re-mastered (great sound) and refined booklet, restored artwork and essay (as with the debut album, read review on these pages) this album shows how mature these guys have grown within´ the same year. The music here are tighter and more coherent, but still imaginative and progressing.

As opposed to the first album I didn't own this second on vinyl, so even though I heard it way back then, I has not immediate the same effect on me understandably. But with several listening now this sparkling new edition is as brilliant as the first album! The sound here seem a tad better (well you can only do so much with the original material/master tapes cant you?) than on the debut. On the other hand, the debut had some spontaneous (there I did it again, sorry) moments, whereas this shows more directed or collected music ideas and delivery!

This album grows with every spin and it is a fine release, my favorite will always be the debut (you know the feeling, it's the one you´ve heard first, it's the one you kissed too, it's the first you found out you wanna be a musician too..etc etc.) In all fairness, this second release has the better instrumentation, tighter melody structure and a clearer and fuller sound!

This outing has 3 bonus tracks (I forgot to mention that the debut album also boast´ s a bonus track) two of them here are renditions of "Sabre Dance" (done by Love sculpture in 1968) the first one in that same fashion as LS, the latter one, in a moody semi acoustic version, with original sequences, that I quite like!! Another fine re-release from Esoteric (these guys are amazing)

Fave tracks: "Spaceship" / "Pan" / "Rainy Day" / and the second version of Sabre Dance! Oh..trivia: Sabre Dance are a classical music piece composed by Khachaturian.
by Tonny Larsen
Tracks
1. Spaceship - 3:29
2. Brainstorm - 6:22
3. Child Life - 4:14
4. Love And Laughter - 3:33
5. Pan - 7:36
6. Rainy Day - 3:13
7. Monolith Parts 1, 2, 3 - 9:16
8. Gay Time Night - 2:50
9. Sabre Dance - 5:55
10. And Now For Something Completely Different , Sabre Dance - 2:54
All songs written by Spontaneous Combustion
Tracks 9-10 single released January 1973

Spontaneous Combustion
*Gary Margetts - Guitar, Vocals,
*Tristan Margetts - Bass Guitar, Vocals, Synthesiser
*Tony Brock - Drums, Percussion, Vocals

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