Saturday, May 31, 2014

Marc Mundy - Marc Mundy (1971 cyprus, stark acid psych folk with mediterranean aura)



Anthony Hassini, Marc Mundy's brother and this album's producer, offers the  facts plainly, "We were naive...we knew nothing about the music business."  The two did all they could to push this collection of tragic love songs onto the  airwaves and pop charts, sending copies to label heads and radio jocks but  their hard work garnered no response whatsoever. What they might not have realized at the time was that Mundy's music was quite literally too "foreign"  for U.S. pop audiences. 

This was a major blow to Marc, then twenty years of age. He never recorded again and, while granting us permission for this reissue, declined any active involvement. Everything we know about Marc comes second-hand through his brother. 

In talking with Anthony, it became clear that Marc had a complete emotional investment in this album. He believed in what he was doing and felt he had something to offer. He wanted recognition and he wanted to be heard. It didn't turn out this way. 

Marc Mundy was born into an eclectic show business family in Cyprus, an  island at the eastern edge of the Mediterranean. His birth name is Emin but,  in standing with a family tradition, he and his brother took stage names. Marc adopted his Mundy surname from a clarinetist uncle while Anthony, a budding  magician, took Hassini, a play on the name Houdini. 

Marc's early musical  influences were derived almost exclusively from Mediterranean radio: Cairo,  Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Athens, and local Cyprian stations broadcasted a rich blend  of Near and Middle Eastern traditional music providing the soundtrack to  Mundy's childhood. 

In 1965, seventeen-year-old Marc Mundy joined Anthony in New York City in  search of better opportunities and a new life. He left Cyprus on the heels of  an ill-fated love affair, an event that  fueled the songwriting on this album.  In New York he was exposed to  Western music for the first time and  former idols like Turkish vocalists  Zeki Muren and Boris Manco were  joined by new ones including Elvis  Presley, Roy Orbison, the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. Marc enrolled in a  philosophy program at NYU and  immersed himself in the Greenwich  Village coffeehouse music scene. 

At age nineteen he fell in love again and  married Hulya Aziz, a young Turkish  emigree. During this period he  gathered a loose-knit group of  musicians who provided the backing  on this album, which they recorded in late 1970. With Marc on vocals and  lead guitar, Hulya on backing vocals, and a now anonymous band of friends  behind him, the group locked into a unique East/West groove that stands out  from the myriad of psychedelic-era rock and pop LPs. 500 copies were  pressed and the album promptly vanished into obscurity. 

Marc Mundy stayed in New York until the end of the 70s, finishing school,  working with his brother, and traveling abroad. Eventually he returned to his  hometown Nicosia in Cyprus as a teacher in math and music to high school kids. 
Tracks
1. The Hidden Meaning Of Your Love - 3:06
2. Our Love Can Never Be - 3:22
3. How Can I Marry This Language - 2:57
4. Love Me All The Time - 2:24
5. The Nights We Spend Together - 3:09
6. Don't Love Me Anymore - 3:15
7. The Tragic House - 3:11
8. I Know Not Where - 2:38
9. Give Up Your Pride - 3:04
10.I'm Crying Your Name - 2:11

*Marc Mundy - Guitars, Vocals

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Earth Opera - The Great American Eagle Tragedy (1969 uk, wonderful melt of country folk and jazzy psycedelia)



If Earth Opera's self-titled debut album reflected the eclectic, ambitious pop styles of the Flower Power, Sgt. Pepper era of 1967, the group's follow-up, The Great American Eagle Tragedy, took into consideration the changed musical climate of 1968, when arrangements became more stripped down and hard rocking, with country-rock beginning to make inroads. 

The departure of bandmember Bill Stevenson, along with his harpsichord and vibraphone, may have hastened the group's transition to a simpler sound, too. But from the first note, the second album was very different from the first. Earth Opera sounded like it had been made by a studio band that had never played out, but the country-rock opener of The Great American Eagle Tragedy, "Home to You," paced by the pedal steel guitar of guest Bill Keith, was a road song in subject matter and feel, played by a band that sounded like it had spent some time before paying customers. 

"Mad Lydia's Waltz," the second track, sounded more like the group that had made Earth Opera, but the sound was still more rooted in stringed instruments and steady beats than it had been before, and following the throwaway written by the drummer came a real rocker, "Sanctuary From the Law." But the album's big number, the ten-and-a-half-minute title song, brought the earlier and later parts of Earth Opera together, combining a driving rock chorus, complete with screaming electric guitar solo, with slow, contemplative verse sections in which singer/songwriter Peter Rowan wove a transparent allegory about a royal court in crisis that was really about the state of the U.S. in the late '60s, particularly the quagmire of the Vietnam War. The track attracted the attention of free-form FM radio, and the album made the charts for several weeks. But Earth Opera folded soon after.
by William Ruhlmann
Tracks
1. Home To You -4:27
2. Mad Lydia's Waltz -3:47
3. Alfie Finney (Dillon) -2:35
4. Sanctuary From The Law - 2:54
5. All Winter Long - 5:56
6. The American Eagle Tragedy - 10:36
7. Roast Beef Love - 3:16
8. It's Love - 4:05
All compositions by Peter Rowan, unless as else noted

Earth Opera 
*Peter Rowan - Vocals, Guitar, Saxophone
*David Grisman - Mandolin, Mandocello, Keyboards, Saxophone, Vocals
*Paul Dillon - Guitar, Drums, Vocals
*Billy Mundi - Percussion, Drums
*John Nagy - Bass, Violoncello, Mandocello
With
*Jack Bonus - Flute, Sax, Wind
*Herb Bushler - Bass
*John Cale - Guitar, Viola, Vocals
*Richard Grando - Saxophone
*David Horowitz - Organ, Piano, Keyboards
*Bill Keith - Pedal Steel, Steel Guitar
*Bob Zachary - Percussion, Triangle

1968  Earth Opera
Related Act
1968  Rhinoceros - Rhinoceros
1969-70  Rhinoceros - Satin Chickens / Better Times Are Coming

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Earth Opera - Earth Opera (1968 us, delicate baroque folk psych)



For a time in the mid- to late '60s, it seemed as though Boston might become the East Coast's answer to San Francisco -- it never happened, but if it had, Earth Opera had as good a shot as any of being the East Coast answer to the Grateful Dead. Spawned out of the early- to mid-'60s folk boom, Earth Opera's core was comprised of Peter Rowan, a former bluegrass player (and Bill Monroe alumnus) whose proficiency on guitar and mandolin was soon matched by his songwriting; and David Grisman, a mandolin virtuoso of no small talent who had played with a various younger ensembles, including Siegel, Grisman, Rose & Lewinger. 

By the mid-'60s, even the most serious and dedicated of urban folk players, attuned and attached to younger collegiate audiences, were getting caught up in the changes being wrought in music from across the Atlantic and the West Coast, which had yielded such efforts as the ineptly named bluegrass Beatles effort Beatle Country by the Charles River Valley Boys, and Wheatstraw Suite by the Dillards. In late 1967, Rowan and Grisman made the jump across the psychedelic chasm opened by the Beatles et. al from their folk perch, in the guise of Earth Opera. They were joined by John Nagy on bass, Paul Dillon, and Bill Stevenson on keyboards and vibraphone, and began generating music that was closer in spirit to the spacier parts of Anthem of the Sun than to Bill Monroe, though they didn't leave bluegrass behind entirely. 

The group was signed to Elektra Records which, at the time, was enjoying success with its first two rock signings, the Doors and Love and rapidly expanding into the more advanced forms of rock music. Their self-titled debut album, produced by Grisman's ex-bandmate Peter Siegel, and including veteran drummer (and Mothers of Invention alumnus) Billy Mundi on drums, was as spaced-out a record as Elektra had issued up to that time and, in its mix of folk and psychedelic influences, was reminiscent of the music emanating from San Francisco in the same era. 
by Bruce Eder
Tracks
1. The Red Sox Are Winning - 3:34
2. As It Is Before - 7:25
3. Dreamless - 2:52
4. To Care At All - 3:35
5. Home Of The Brave - 4:51
6. The Child Bride - 4:43
7. Close Your Eyes And Shut The Door - 2:46
8. Time And Again (Grisman, Rowan) - 5:47
9. When You Were Full Of Wonder - 4:00
10.Death By Fire - 6:08
All compositions by Peter Rowan except where stated

Earth Opera
*Peter Rowan - Vocals, Guitar, Saxophone
*David Grisman - Mandolin, Mandocello, Keyboards, Saxophone, Vocals
*Bill Stevenson - Piano, Harpsichord, Organ, Vibraphone
*Paul Dillon - Guitar, Drums, Vocals
*Billy Mundi - Percussion, Drums
*John Nagy - Bass

Related Act
1968  Rhinoceros - Rhinoceros
1969-70  Rhinoceros - Satin Chickens / Better Times Are Coming 

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Fludd - Fludd (1971 canada, wonderful blend of smart folk, classic rock and glam tinges, 2010 edition)



After toiling away in various local bands in the Toronto area, brothers Brian and Ed Pilling packed their bags and headed to England where they formed Wages Of Sin in 1969. Less than a year later they'd caught the eye of Cat Stevens who took them under his paw, renaming them Zeus and using them as his back-up band. But at odds with Stevens over music direction, the 2 brothers quit and returned to Canada before the end of the year. They recruited bassist Greg Godovitz, who they played with a few years earlier in a band called The Pretty Ones. Add drummer Jorn Andersen and guitarist Mick Walsh, and the first incarnation of Fludd was born.

They became mainstays of the Toronto club scene and soon landed a contract with Warner Bros. Adam Mitchell, most noteable for his stint with The Paupers was brought in to the recording studios in California to help produce the band's debut. Released in '71, the self-titled album featured the Canadian top 20 hit "Turned 21". Work on the second record began the next spring in Toronto, with Mitchell returning as producer. By this time however, Walsh had left and was replaced by fellow Wages Of Sin alumni Mick Hopkins.

While still working on the final touches of the album, they released the single "Get Up, Get Out, Move On" that April. However dissension with their label led Hopkins to return to England, where he formed the group Quartz. After being dropped by Warner Brothers, and sensing a change was in need, Fludd continued on their next project but with a different direction in mind. This led to the hiring of keyboardist Peter Csanky.

Fludd was perhaps better known for the list of musicians who played with the band at one time or another, rather than for the music itself. But it definitely has to be noted that the Pilling brothers, and whoever else was in the band at the time, never bowed to pressure from the executives. Always pushing the envelope, they always did things their way, while recording some of Canada's most under-rated and ground-breaking rock in the process. 
by Frank Davies and Greg Godovitz
Tracks
1. Turned 21 - 2:26
2. Sailing On - 1:42
3. David Copperfield - 3:10
4. The Egg - 3:02
5. Come Back Home - 2:07
6. A Man Like You - 2:33
7. Birmingham - 2:37
8. Mama's Boy (Greg Godovitz) - 2:59
9. Easy Being No One - 2:03
10.Make It Better - 2:51
11.You See Me - 2:17
12.Tuesday Blue - 3:21
All songs by Brian Pilling and Ed Pilling except where noted.

Fludd
*Mick Walsh - Guitar
*Edmund "Ed" Pilling - Vocals
*Brian Pilling - Guitar
*Greg Godovitz - Bass
*Jorn JJ Andersen (John Andersen) - Drums

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Dave Mason - It's Like You Never Left (1973 uk, great classic rock)



Dave Mason may have been done too soon in the sense that Mason hadn't come up with an album's worth of good new material. In fact, he had only six new songs, filling up the collection with covers of Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home to Me" and Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" (in an arrangement that recalled the Jimi Hendrix version on which Mason had appeared), as well as a remake of "Every Woman" from the previous album in a longer, more elaborate arrangement with strings. (The version on It's Like You Never Left, despite the presence of Nash, was a near-demo running only one-minute-and-40-seconds.) 

The new songs were good ones, however, particularly "Show Me Some Affection." And while there were no hotshot guest stars this time, the musicians were Mason's road band, including second guitarist Jim Krueger, who would be Mason's partner for many years to come, and keyboardist Mike Finnigan, plus the rhythm section of bassist Bob Glaub and drummer Rick Jagger. The result was a more cohesive band sound in the playing that actually made Dave Mason a stronger musical effort than its predecessor. It also sold better, reaching number 25 during a 25-week chart run and going gold within two years. Even though a hit single would elude Mason until he came up with "We Just Disagree" in 1977, many of the songs on It's Like You Never Left and Dave Mason joined perennials such as "Feelin' Alright?" and "Only You Know and I Know" in his concert repertoire, and these albums helped re-establish him with fans. 

Over the years, several different record companies licensed It's Like You Never Left and Dave Mason from Columbia Records for reissue together on a single CD. In 2007, the British Acadia label accidentally pressed its version with the tracks from Dave Mason sequenced ahead of those from It's Like You Never Left, even though the CD booklet indicated that the opposite was the case; thus, on this disc, the tracks shown as one-ten were really ten-nineteen, and those shown as eleven-nineteen were really one-nine.
by William Ruhlmann
Tracks
1. Baby... Please - 3:15
2. Every Woman - 1:40
3. If You've Got Love - 3:24
4. Maybe - 4:03
5. Head Keeper - 3:36
6. Misty Morning Stranger - 4:32
7. Silent Partner - 3:03
8. Side Tracked (Mason, Jordan, Jaeger, Turner) - 3:34
9. The Lonely One - 4:43
10. It's Like You Never Left - 3:03
All songs by Dave Mason except where stated

Personnel
*Dave Mason - Guitar, Vocals
*Graham Nash - Guitar, Vocals, Synthesizer
*Chuck Rainey - Bass
*Rick Jaeger - Drums
*Rocky - Congas
*Jim Keltner - Drums
*Clydie King, Julis Tillman - Vocals
*Kathleen Saroyan, Maxine Willard - Vocals
*Carl Radle - Bass
*Mark Jordan - Piano
*Greg Reeves - Bass
*Nastyee - Congas
*Stevie Wonder - Harmonica
*Malcolm Cecil - Moog
*Lonnie Turner - Bass
*Dennis Morouse, Norma Bell, Steve Madaio - Horns

1970  Dave Mason - Alone Together (Japan remaster)
1972  Dave Mason - Headkeeper (Japan SHM remaster)
1976-77  Certified Live / Let It Flow  (2011 remaster)

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

David McWilliams - The Days Of David McWilliams (1967-69 ireland, outstanding protest folk rock ballads)



In October 1967, the Irish singer-songwriter David McWilliams was launched in mainland Britain by his eager manager Phil Solomon, with a barrage of publicity for the dreamy track "The Days of Pearly Spencer".

"The single that will blow your mind, the album that will change the course of music" trumpeted full-page adverts in the New Musical Express alongside enthusiastic quotes from journalists and other pop impresarios comparing the 22-year-old McWilliams to Donovan and Bob Dylan.

Unfortunately, back in 1967, Radio 1, the BBC's new pop network, didn't add "The Days of Pearly Spencer" to its playlist, maybe because Solomon was also a director of Radio Caroline, the pirate station just outlawed by the Marine Broadcasting Offences Acts passed by Harold Wilson's government.

Nevertheless, the single was played incessantly and defiantly on Caroline while stations in continental Europe picked up on its strange "phoned-in" chorus and pastoral arrangement. The following year, the track charted all over Europe and impinged itself on the continental consciousness as the soundtrack to Swinging London alongside the likes of "Nights in White Satin" by the Moody Blues and Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade Of Pale".

A reluctant stage performer, McWilliams recorded more than 10 solo albums and eventually saw the torch singer Marc Almond, formerly of Soft Cell, score the biggest hit of his solo career with a carbon-copy version of "The Days of Pearly Spencer" which reached No 4 in the British charts in 1992.

Born in the Cregagh area of Belfast in 1945, David McWilliams moved to Ballymena when he was three. He grew up with seven brothers and sisters and as a teenager developed an early interest in the rock'n'roll music of Buddy Holly and learned to play the guitar. He also developed a rebellious streak and in 1960 was expelled from Ballymena Technical School for drinking between lessons. Even when he returned, McWilliams played truant constantly, spending days thinking up songs.

In 1963, he followed his father and became an apprentice fitter in a torpedo factory in Co Antrim. However, he was always looking for a way out. Six foot tall with blue eyes and unruly black hair, he cut a distinctive figure on the football pitch; he excelled as a goalkeeper but an ankle injury kept him out of the local Linfield football team.

He preferred music anyway and joined the Coral Showband. Not content with performing covers, he began writing his own compositions such as "Redundancy Blues" and "Time of Trouble", inspired by his surroundings. "I listen with my eyes and I sing what I see," he later told journalists.

In 1966, he signed to CBS and released his début single, "God and My Country", but Dylan and Donovan seemed to have the protest singer and troubadour market sewn up and the track sank without trace. Undaunted, McWilliams went into a Belfast studio to record some demos. The impresario Mervyn Solomon overheard McWilliams's tapes and contacted his brother Phil, who was equally impressed by the material.

The formidable Irish entrepreneur Phil Solomon had made his name with Them and the Bachelors. He had also joined Ronan O'Rahilly's Radio Caroline operation and was keen to establish a record company connected to the pirate station. Having launched the Major Minor label at the tail end of 1966, Solomon wanted to add McWilliams to his roster. Even better, since CBS already manufactured Major Minor's releases, he could appear to do them a favour by offering to take the singer off their hands. The scam worked and Solomon brought his new signing over to London. He teamed up McWilliams with the arranger Mike Leander.

McWilliams had found the perfect producer for his delicate and heartfelt songwriting as well as his six- and 12-string acoustic guitars and the partnership blossomed. In June 1967, his début album, David McWilliams Sings Songs from David McWilliams, made the Top Forty. The second one, simply called David McWilliams, fared even better, probably because it featured "The Days of Pearly Spencer".

Thanks to Leander's orchestral arrangement, the track had evolved from a poignant ballad about a homeless man whom McWilliams had met in Ballymena into a haunting radio record and a considerable turntable hit. Though it never charted in Britain, the single was re- released on three separate occasions and remains a favourite on oldies stations around Europe. The follow-up single, "Three O'Clock Flamingo Street", proved equally evocative of the down-and-out milieu the songwriter had observed as a teenager. And, despite the lack of hit singles, his third album, David McWilliams Volume III, also charted in March 1968.

This 22-track compilation is largely drawn from the three albums McWilliams released on Major Minor in 1967-68, tagging on a B-side apiece from 1968 and 1969. 

David McWilliams, born Belfast 4 July 1945; twice married (one son, seven daughters); died Ballycastle, Co Antrim 9 January 2002.
by Pierre Perrone
Tracks
1. The Days Of Pearly Spencer - 2:33
2. For Josephine - 3:03
3. Brown Eyed Girl - 2:25
4. Marlena - 2:29
5. For A Little Girl - 2:36
6. Lady Helen Of The Laughing Eyes - 3:11
7. What's The Matter With You - 3:29
8. There's No Lock Upon My Door - 2:53
9.Tomorrows Like Today - 1:54
10.Mister Satisfied - 2:30
11.I Love Susie In The Summer - 3:17
12.Harlem Lady - 3:05
13.Letter To My Love - 2:30
14.City Blues - 1:56
15.Three O'Clock Framingo Street - 2:53
16.Redundancy Blues - 4:02
17.Huroshima - 2:41
18.Question Of Indentity - 2:37
19.Time Of Trouble - 1:49
20.And I'm Free - 2:44
21.In The Early Hours Of The Morning - 2:00
22.Born To Ramble - 3:20
Words and Music by David McWilliams

*David McWilliams - Vocals, Guitar

1967-69  The Days Of Pearly Spencer

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Socrates Drank The Conium - On The Wings (1973 greece, amazing hard rock)



On The Wings is one of those records where you just have to shake your head in disbelief every time you listen to it, absolutely face-melting guitar work. 

Hard to believe this came out in 1973 (though I wasn't even born yet, so what do I know). Bands like Wishbone Ash were already doing full-on, well-composed intricate rock arrangements with two guitars and bass all playing something different (and both ably backed with excellent drummers), but this album predates and almost predicts the classical melodies later employed by bands such as Iron Maiden, though some of the tempos and changes are more manic than Maiden or any other NWOBHM band or any metal band up until Venom (though for a comparison of competency, Slayer would be a more apt reference point).

The vocals sound almost strained at times, but it adds to the desperate power of these songs. The album's really not very long, but they pack SO MUCH into the scant 30 minutes, you can't help but be glued to the speakers/headphones/etc.

Maybe the recording could be better, but I don't know what technology was available in Greece in the early '70s or if a band like this had the capital (though apparently they were on Polydor) to travel to record.

Regardless, this is a brilliant record that will appeal to fans of metal, 70s rock, and great music. The only drawback is, it's really hard to find. If you do see it, snap it up, you won't regret it! 
by G.Johnson
Tracks
1. Who Is To Blame - 3:47
2. Distruction - 4:32
3. Naked Trees - 5:00
4. Death Is Gonna Die - 3:33
5. This Is The Rats - 2:49
6. Lovesick Kid's Blues - 2:50
7. On The Wings Of Death - 3:25
8. Breakdown - 3:04
9. Triping In A Crystal Forest (Gus Doukakis) - 1:49
10.Regulations (If I Were A President) - 2:40
All compositions by  Gus Doukakis and Antonis Tourkogiorgis except where indicated.

Socrates
*John Spathas - Lead Guitar
*Antonis Tourkoyorgis - Bass, Vocals
*Gus Doukakis - Gguitar
*George Trantalides - Drums

1972  Socrates Drank The Conium
1972  Taste Of Conium 

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Socrates Drank The Conium - Socrates Drank The Conium (1972 greece, great acid rural rock)



Originally released in 1972, their debut isn't quite as ripping as the totally off-the-hook On The Wings, but it's got plenty of wailing kick ass guitar work nonetheless. Unlike On The Wings there's only one guitar in the mix, but when he gets cooking with the bands' driving rhythm section backing him up he really takes off. There's also some more laid-back, rural psych moments on here, but mostly hard boogie-blues-acid-rock numbers harking back to Cream and Hendrix, assuredly big heroes of Socrates Drank The Conium. They've got something to say through their music as well, as titles like "It's A Disgusting World" and "Underground" indicate, although the band's lasting message might not really be one of radical politics but something more basic: rock on! 
Tracks
1. Live In The Country - 3:43
2. Something In The Air (D. Wood) - 3:21
3. Bad Conditions - 3:59
4. It's A Disgusting World (Elias Boukouvalas) - 6:52
5. Close The Door And Lay Down - 3:12
6. Blind Illusion - 3:33
7. Hoo Yeah! - 3:36
8. Underground (D. Wood) - 4:40
9. Starvation - 3:45
All songs by Yannis Spathas and Antonis Tourkogiorgis except where noted

Socrates Drank The Conium
*Antonis Tourkogiorgis – Bass, vocals
*Yannis Spathas – Lead Guitar
*Elias Boukouvalas – Drums

1972  Taste Of Conium 

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Blue Cheer - Blue Cheer (1969 us, fantastic hard blues rock, Japan 2007 remaster and expanded)



After working with two monstrously loud guitar heroes, Leigh Stephens and Randy Holden, Blue Cheer wanted to pursue a more subtle musical direction, and on their fourth album, simply titled Blue Cheer, they followed the path of the first half of 1969's New! Improved! Blue Cheer, featuring guitarist Bruce Stephens and keyboard man Ralph Burns Kellogg, instead of the power trio format they pioneered on their first two albums and the second half of New! Improved! with Holden. Drummer Paul Whaley had also dropped out of the band by album number four, with Norman Mayell taking over the traps and leaving bassist and singer Dickie Peterson as the only original member of Blue Cheer, all within two years of the release of Vincebus Eruptum. 

Given all these changes, it's no wonder Blue Cheer sounds so much different than they did on the band's first two LP's, but so long as you're not expecting the monolithic power of their earliest stuff, it's a fun album that generates an impressive groove. Blue Cheer's music was always rooted in the blues, but here the approach is less mutated and more organic, with a touch of boogie in the rhythms and enough swagger to keep this from sounding like country-rock, even if the tone is more rootsy and significantly less punishing. 

The raspy twang of Peterson's vocals shows a lighter, more graceful touch here, though he still sounds good and gritty, and the interplay between Kellogg's piano and organ and Stephens' guitar work suggests some improbable but effective cross between the Band and Steppenwolf. And while Peterson didn't contribute much to the songwriting on Blue Cheer, Stephens and Kellogg step up with some good tunes (as does Gary Yoder, who guests on two tunes and would join the group for album number five), and the cover of Delaney Bramlett's "Hello L.A., Bye Bye Birmingham" is inspired. If Vincebus Eruptum and Outsideinside sounded like music for an acid-and-amphetamine-crazed Saturday night biker party, Blue Cheer is the stuff the same bikers would put on for a Sunday beer-and-weed cookout; it's a more laid-back and relaxed effort, but it still rocks with a strong and steady roll. 
by Mark Deming
Tracks
1. Fool (G. R. Grelecki, G. L. Yoder) - 3:32
2. You're Gonna Need Someone (N. Mayell, B. Stephens) - 3:35
3. Hello La, Bye Bye Birmingham (D. Bramlett, M. Davis) - 3:24
4. Saturday Freedom (B. Stephens) - 5:56
5. Ain't That The Way (Love's Supposed To Be) (R. Kellogg, D. Peterson) - 3:12
6. Rock And Roll Queens (R. Kellogg, D. Peterson) - 2:43
7. Better When We Try (R. Kellogg) - 2:48
8. Natural Man (RKellogg, D. Peterson) - 3:36
9. Lovin' You's Easy (B. Stephens) - 3:58
10.The Same Old Story (G. R. Grelecki, G. L. Yoder) - 4:17
11.All Night Long (R. Kellogg) - 2:05
12.Fortunes (D. Peterson) - 2:23
13.Fool (Alter Version) (G. R. Grelecki, G. L. Yoder) - 2:53
14.Ain't That The Way (Remix) (Love's Supposed To Be) (R. Kellogg, D. Peterson) - 2:37

Blue Cheer
*Bruce Stephens - Guitar, Vocals
*Dickie Peterson - Bass, Vocals
*Ralph Burns Kellogg - Keyboards
*Norman Mayell - Drums
with
*Eric Albronda – vocals

1968  Blue Cheer - OutsideInside (2012 edition)

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Day Of Phoenix - Wide Open N-Way (1970 denmark, fine psych prog rock, Esoteric remaster)



Day Of Phoenix  formed in 1968, and, on this album at least, consisted of Ole Prehn on guitars, Erik Stedt on piano and bass, Henrik Friis on drums, Karsten Lyng on lead guitar and Hans Lauridsen on vocals. Interestingly enough, the band had the good fortune to open for the mighty Colosseum at a gig in Aarhus, Denmark, leading them to the attention of bassist Tony Reeves (Colosseum and later to feature in Greenslade). Reeves became impressed with the band and agreed to produce their albums. After Wide Open N-way, the band would record a follow up, The Neighbour's Son, in 1972 before calling it a day.

Guitarist Prehn reveals in the notes that the band's influences were Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, Love, Clear Light and The Doors. All this should give you an idea about just how psychedelic the music is. Three of the album's five tracks are well over ten minutes in length, leaving plenty of space for noodling and improvisation, the kind you might hear at a live gig. However, the tracks do appear to have some kind of structure, even if wibbling on a guitar frenetically for a minute is an integral part of it. Somehow, even when the band are rocking out at their hardest, everything seems hushed and subdued, and the mood is melancholic on the whole. During the extended instrumental sections Stedt's bass occasionally whips up the music into a frenzy, creating a whirlwind of explosive psychedelic rock. Sadly, the same bassist would die from a drug overdose a year after this album was released. The provocative lyrics are sung in English; according to Prehn, 'somehow it's difficult to be as flamboyant in Danish.'

The album is presented very adequately, with informative liner notes containing excerpts of an interview with Ole Prehn. Also interviewed is Danish multi-instrumentalist Robin Taylor, who confesses his adoration for Day Of Phoenix readily, saying other Danish groups of the time were 'amateurish' in comparison. Appended to the disc is the band's 1969 single, whose artwork is shown in the booklet. I find it heartwarming that Esoteric chose to include this, as it stops precious tracks like these being lost in the oblivion.

 On the single, the band choose to cover two tracks, the first being Tell Me What You See In Me by the Strawbs from their debut album released the same year, although Day Of Phoenix abbreviate this to Tell Me. With drums included, this version is rockier, yet significantly shorter than the original. Surprisingly enough however, I prefer the B-side; beginning with some thick bass notes, the cover of Randy Newman's I Think It's Gonna Rain Today turns out to be the happiest song on the collection. Lauridsen's gravelly voice pours wonderfully over the delightful chord progression, in a version that I find superior to the original. 

While they were never going to become the next Beatles, Day Of Phoenix definitely had more than met the eye and this delightful reissue allows the listener to reassess this obscure Danish band. Oh, and please don't ask me what an N-way is! 
by Basil Francis
Tracks
1. Wide Open N-Way - 11:29
2. Cellophane #1, Cellophane #2 (Ole Prehn) - 13:10
3. If You Ask Me - 04:52
4. Mind Funeral - 12:18
5. Tick-Tack (Ole Prehn) - 01:15
6. Tell Me - 03:01
7. I Think It's Gonna Rain Today - 02:28
All compositions by Ole Prehn and Karsten Lyng except where stated

Day Of Phoenix
*Ole Prehn - Guitars, Vocals
*Karsten Lyng - Lead Guitars
*Hans Lauridsen - Lead Vocals
*Erik Stedt - Bass, Piano, Saw
*Hendrik Friis - Drums, Percussion
With
*Peter Friis - Double Bass
*Ulrik Jensen - Oboe
*Kenneth Knudsen - Piano

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Frumpy - By The Way (1972 germany, excellent heavy bluesy prog rock, Repertoire issue)



Frumpy - By the Way, the title track of their third album, released in 1972. Frumpy evolved out of a gospel/folk outfit called The City Preachers in Hamburg, Germany in early 1970. They were one of the many fantastic bands to emerge from the "Krautrock" scene that was blossoming at the time. 

Frumpy, though, were pretty unique, in that their music encompassed elements of folk, jazz, blues, progressive rock and classical music. Led by the dynamic Inga Rumpf ( vocals, acoustic guitar,songwriter extraordinaire), they also employed the services of Jean Jacques Kravetz, an excellent French keyboard player in the Keith Emerson mould. Bassist Karl-Heinz Schott and drummer Carsten Bohn completed the initial line-up, which was augmented by former Sphinx Tush guitarist Rainer Baumann from their second album, "Frumpy 2", onward. 

Their second album is widely felt to be their best album, with some elaborate and extensive instrumental work, guitar and keyboard duets. with classical and blues undertones. This album, " By the Way", showed that Frumpy could rock with the best. It is, without doubt, one of the best progessive rock albums of all time, and should occupy a space in the collection of any self respecting lover of progressive rock music. 

When Frumpy folded in 1972, Rumpf would go onto form "Atlantis" with Schott and Kravetz, together with drummer Curt Cress and guitarist Frank Diez. Frumpy reformed in the late eighties, and Inga Rumpf has become a successful blues and jazz singer. This lady has incredible talent and her songwriting ability always was one of her major strengths.

Tracks
1. Goin' To The Country (I. Rumpf) - 3:40
2. By The Way (C. Bohn, I. Rumpf) - 8:51
3. Singing Songs (I. Rumpf, R. Baumann) - 7:02
4. I'm Afraid Big Moon (C. Bohn, I. Rumpf, J.J. Kravetz) - 6:25
5. Release (C. Bohn, I. Rumpf) - 8:50
6. Keep On Going (I. Rumpf) - 5:25

Frumpy
*Inga Rumpf - Vocals, Guitar
*Jean-Jacques Kravetz - Keyboards
*Karl Heinz Schott - Bass
*Carsten Bohn - Drums

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Junipher Greene - Friendship (1971 norway, groovy heavy psych)



Junipher Greene was founded in 1966 in Oslo, Norway by Geir Bøhren (drums, vocals), Øyvind Vilbo (guitar), Bent Åserud (flute, guitar, keyboard, vocals) and Bjørn Sønstevold (bass guitar) as a blues band. Bjørn Sønstevold quit the band a few months later with Øyvind Vilbo taking over as bass player, and with new member Helge Grøslie on organ the band developed into a more experimental progressive rock band.

The band released their first album, the double-LP Friendship, in 1971. It was one of the first progressive rock records from Norway and the very first Norwegian double-LP. The double-LP was seen as a daring move by their record company, which demanded that the band themselves had to cover half the cost of the release. The album has since become a staple record within Norwegian rock music.

The band played on the first Woodstock-inspired music festival at St. Hanshaugen in Oslo. This is where Friendship was played for the first time, which lead to their breakthrough. The band went on touring heavily in the early 70’s, both in Europe and Africa, as well as warming up for major bands like Deep Purple and Sweet.

Dahl and Grøslie quit the band in 1973. The remaining members went on to release Communication in 1974, when Vilbo shortly after also left the band. Bøhren and Åserud decided to continue, and together with the new members Lars Hesla og Jørun Bøgeberg the band released Rewind in 1981 and Forbudte formiddagstoner in 1982. Bøgeberg’s fascination with electronic music brought the band in a new direction towards new wave music. The band disbanded after releasing the single Slaraffenliv/Alla Toya in 1983.

Friendship was named Best Norwegian Rock Record by the Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv in 2007. This lead to a reunion of the original members at the Storåsfestivalen music festival in 2008, and the band has since performed several concerts. 
Last-Fm
Tracks
1. Try To Understand (Freddy Dahl, Bent Åserud) - 4:50
2. Witches Daughter  (Åserud) - 3:28
3. Music For Our Children (Dahl, Åserud) -  6:40
4. A Spectre Is Haunting The Peninsula (Dahl, Grøslie, Åserud) - 2:52
5. Sunrise / Sunset (Grøslie) - 4:03
6. Magical Garden  (Åserud) - 7:09
7. Autumn Diary (Grøslie) - 1:53
8. Maurice (Junipher Greene) - 4:24
9. Attila's Belly-Dance (Junipher Greene) - 0:40
10.Friendship: Prelude: Take The Road Across The Bridge (Dahl, Åserud, Alex K. Carlsson) 6:12
11.Friendship (Contd.) (Dahl, Åserud, Alex K. Carlsson) - 19:48
.1.Friendship - 2:23
.2.Interlude - 0:55
.3.Mountain Voices - 4:53
.4.Land Of The Foxes/Friendship That's Earned - 3:02
.5.Into The Cloudburst - 2:57
.6.Manitou's Skylands & Down To Earth - 3:33
.7.Friendship - 2:03

Junipher Greene
*Helge Groslie - Lead Vocals, Keyboards
*Bent Aserud - Electric, Acoustic Guitars, Flute, Harp, Vocals
*Oyvind Vilbo - Bass, Vocals
*Geir Bohren - Drums, Vocals
*Freddy Dahl - Lead Vocals, Electric, Acoustic Guitars, Vibraharp

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Fingletoad, Strange And Siho - Mazzola (1969-70 us, trippy folk psych bluesy rock, Shadoks two disc set)



This is the first and second album by young bohemian Americans Fingletoad, Strange & Siho. Their self-titled first album was recorded in 1969 in Chicago as Fingletoad & Strange, and very few acetates were pressed. The follow-up Mazzola was recorded in 1970, and perhaps less than 100 records were pressed. This double CD includes all original songs from both albums, taking the listener on a psychedelic trip merging imaginary landscapes and dreamy folk with teenage angst. 

Clearly influenced by the top musicians of the time, The Beatles, Neil Young and Jimi Hendrix, they undoubtedly manage to create a sound all their own ranging from beautiful lyrical ballads with harmony vocals to over-the-top fuzz and feedback frenzy. All professionally executed while still retaining a garage atmosphere and production, creating the perfect mix.
Forced-Exposure
Tracks
Disc 1
1. Marshlands (Novak) - 5:28
2. Forsaken (LaPointe) - 6:51 
3. Salvation (Glienke) - 4:38
4. Make You Mine (Novak, Glienke) - 2:37 
5. On The Morning You're Gone (LaPointe) - 2:43 
6. Screaming Spiders (Glienke) - 7:10 
7. Woman (Novak) - 5:27 
8. Stormy Day (Glienke) - 3:18 
Disc 2
1. Union Station (LaPointe, Glienke) - 2:50
2. A Happy Song (Glienke) - 2:19
3. Angela Lee (LaPointe) - 4:37
4. Babe, Don't Try To Tell Me (LaPointe) - 6:11
5. Having Been There And Back (Glienke) - 2:51
6. City Woman (LaPointe) - 3:16
7. Twelfth Night Into Summer (Glienke) - 4:11
8. It Came And It Went (Bob's Rag) (Cabanban, Glienke) - 1:04

Musicians
*Siho - Vocals, Piano, Guitars, Bass
*Nigel Fingletoad - Bass, Drums, Fuzz Guitar, Guitars, Harmonica, Percussion, Piano, Recorder, Vocals
*Neil Strange - Bongos, Drums, Guitars, Vocals
*Dave Green - Drums, Foot Stomping, Percussion
*Bob Cabanban - Bass
*Marc Huseby - Acoustic Bass
*Debbie Matson - Vocals
*Max Bunster - Hammond Organ

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Gregg Allman Band - Playin' Up A Storm (1977 us, amazing soulful southern funky blues rock)



In a way, Playin' Up a Storm doesn't really highlight Gregg Allman's strengths, since it's a little smoother and soul-inflected than his work with the Allman Brothers. Then again, that's not a problem; after all, why make a solo album that's exactly like your full-time gig? Consequently, Playin' Up a Storm is a well-made, expertly performed set of blues-rock, soul-pop, and straight-ahead rock 'n' roll.

The thing that makes it one of Allman's best solo efforts is the terrific performances. Not only is he in fine voice, delivering each song with conviction, but his supporting band -- featuring such luminaries as Dr. John and Bill Payne -- is sterling. All the grooves are in the pocket, the sound is enticing, and the overall effect is just right. Not an earth-shattering record, but it will please true Allman fans. 
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Tracks
1. Come And Go Blues (Gregg Allman) - 4:48
2. Let This Be A Lesson To Ya' (Gregg Allman, Malcolm Rebennack) - 3:42
3. Brightest Smile In Town (Ray Charles, Barry De Vorzon, Bob Sherman) - 3:06
4. Bring It On Back (Gregg Allman) - 4:49
5. Cryin' Shame (Beckmeier, Steve Berlin) - 3:44
6. Sweet Feelin' (Clarence Carter, Daniel, Hall, Candi Staton) - 3:37
7. It Ain't No Use (Bernie Baum, Bill Giant, Florence Kaye) - 3:54
8. Matthew's Arrival (Neil Larsen) - 3:50
9. One More Try (Gregg Allman) - 3:53

The Gregg Allman Band
*Gregg Allman - Vocals, Organ, Piano, Acoustic Guitar
*Willie Weeks - Bass, Fender Rhodes
*Steve Beckmeier - Guitar
*Ricky Hirsch - Guitar, Slide Guitar
*John Leslie Hug - Guitar
*Neil Larsen - Synthesizer, Piano, Keyboards, Fender Rhodes, Horn Arrangements
*Bill Stewart - Drums
Guest Musicians
*Fred Beckmeier - Bass
*Red Callender- Bass
*Dr. John - Keyboards
*Victor Feldman - Percussion
*Venetta Fields - Background Vocals
*Clydie King - Background Vocals
*Milt Holland - Percussion
*David Luell - Horn, Saxophone
*Steve Madaio - Horn
*Pat Rizzo - Horn
*Sherlie Matthews - Background Vocals
*Bill Payne - Synthesizer, Keyboards

with Allman Brothers
1968-89  Dreams (4 disc box set) 
1971  S.U.N.Y. at Stonybrook NY
1973  Brothers And Sisters (2013 Japan SHM super deluxe four disc set edition)

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Blue Sandelwood Soap - Loring Park Love Ins (1968 us, groovy beat psych with baroque folk sparkles)



From the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, Blue Sandlewood Soap was one of relatively few '60s psychedelic groups from the region (though there were others, such as C.A. Quintet and, on some of their records, the Litter and T.C. Atlantic).

Groovy 12-string guitar, subtle bass work, and far-out Farfisa solos are woven together by truly strange tempos and surprising breaks, about half of this release was recorded in the basement of organist Harley Toberman's apartment around 1967.
Tracks
1.Friends I Haven't Met Yet (D. Bergsland, D. Knudson, H. Toberman) - 3:07
2.Nickel Bag Of Blue - 2:27
3.How Can I Show My Love (H. Toberman) - 3:01
4.Reborn In Eastern Meditiation - 2:52
5.Love Pirt (D. Bergsland, D. Knudson, H. Toberman) - 5:20
6.Without A Sond - 2:36
7.Did You See The Man (D. Bergsland, D. Knudson, S. Luck) - 3:41
8.Just For The Moment (Byrne, Knudson) - 3:38
9.What Is Life - 2:01
10.A Most Unusual Way (D. Knudson, S. Luck) - 2:59
11.A Childlike Face (D. Bergsland, D. Knudson, H. Toberman) - 2:23
12.Love Is (Byrne, Knudson) - 2:08
13.That's Cool - 3:26
14.Interludes (Byrne, Knudson) - 12:19
15.The Girl Stares Coldly (Byrne, Knudson) - 2:19
16.I See The Lightning Roar - 1:59
17.Age Of The Magic Men (D. Bergsland, D. Knudson, H. Toberman) - 4:20
18.Northwest Arilines (Demo) (H. Toberman) - 2:26
All songs by Dave Bergsland and Dan Knudson except where stated

Blue Sandalwood Soap
*Dan Knudson - Guitar, Vocals
*Steve Luck - Bass, Saxophone, Vocals
*Dave Bergsland - Drums
*Harley Toberman - Farfisa Organ

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Empire - Mark I (1974 uk, fine soft jazzy prog rock)


Recorded in 1974, this has a few fillers, and it occasionally falls into the prog habit of going six minutes when four would do, but it's still mystifying that this perfectly solid collection would go missing for so long. Empire's sound bridges the West Coast funk of Cold Blood and the jazzy guitar of early Yes, and it works surprisingly well. 

The charging "Out of Our Hands" has some clever guitar effects thrown in, and a startling moment where Foxx's vocals rise up like a kettle on the boil. Magnusson's keyboards lend a velvety smoothness to the lovelorn "More Than Words," and the country twang of "Hear My Voice On the Radio" is so appropriately radio-friendly that it's shocking that it wasn't released as a single. 
by Paul Collins
Tracks
1. Out Of Our Hands - 5:40
2. More Than Words - 7:40
3. Someone Who Cares - 7:01
4. For A Lifetime - 2:44
5. Hear My Voice On The Radio - 3:30
6. Shooting Star - 13:00
.a.Part 1 - From The Top  
.b.Part 2 - Common Ground  
.c.Part 3 - Iceland On The Rocks
.d.Part 4 - Shooting Star
7. Sky At Night - 9:38

Empire
*Sydney Fox - Vocals
*Peter Banks - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*John Giblin - Bass, Vocals
*Preston Ross-Heyman - Drums
*Jakob Magnusson - Keyboards, Vocals
With
*Sam Gopal - Tabla
*Phil Collins - Drums, Vocals

Related Act
1972  Flash - Flash (2010 remaster)
1972  Flash - In The Can (2010 remaster)
1973  Flash - Out of Our Hands (2010 Esoteric remaster)

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Egg - The Civil Surface (1974 uk, exceptional experimental prog fusion rock, 2007 remaster)




Ever since I came across the work of Andy Tillison a few years, I began hearing more and more about the music of the Canterbury Scene and how it drastically influenced The Tangent. I decided to investigate some groups further on this basis. The Civil Surface is my first foray into the Canterbury genre and it left quite an impression. Egg began in 1969 with the trio of Dave Stewart (organ, piano, bass on Nearch), Clive Brooks (drums) and Mont Cambell (bass, voice, french horn, piano). After two records the group disbanded in 1972. Fortunately, two years later Dave Stewart signed a deal with Virgin Records owner Richard Branson and commenced working on their third album The Civil Surface.

The Civil Surface begins with Germ Patrol. Starting off with a bolero like drum beat, it gradually builds in strength with distorted guitar and organ passages. This theme ends and gives way to a different, complementing passage in the same manner. A good choice for an opener.

Wind Quartet parts 1 and 2, as the names imply, are songs consisting only of four wind instruments (clarinet, flute, french horn and bassoon). The first part serves as a quirky and effective transition between the hectic Germ Patrol and Enneagram. Part 2, however, is much of the same and serves as a somewhat dull ending for an otherwise energetic album. Overall, even though they are a bit different, I enjoyed these pieces and have not yet had the urge to skip over them.

Next up is Enneagram, a complex, instrumental tune much in the same vein of Germ Patrol. It features some excellent drumming by Clive Brooks and skillfull organ and piano playing by Dave Stewart. There is a strong hint of Mahavishnu Orchestra type fusion on this. Excellent track and one of my favorites on the album.

Prelude is entirely organ driven with female vocals. This was the first song that struck me as bearing resemblance to The Tangent. More specifically, Skipping The Distance. The chanting female vocals share great resemblence to those of Sam Baine of The Tangent. Other than a little smile from Deja Vu, I think this is the only real weak moment on the album. In four minutes it doesn't hold its own.

Wring Out The Ground [Loosely Now] is, lyrically at least, one of the stranger songs to have crossed my path. For about two minutes, in one form or another, the phrase "wring out the ground" is sung just about non stop. They also reprise this idea towards the end. Sandwiched in between is a pretty interesting instrumental section that seems to borrow from Gentle Giant and even Yes in a few aspects. Again, very jazzy and more excellent organ by Dave Stewart.

Nearch is also a bit of an oddity. It begins with what seems to be a nod toward Lizard era King Crimson. About two and a half minutes into the song it just stops and for about a minute drum beats occasionally pop up through the silence. I would assume that this is here as a joke of some sort?
A few minor discrepancies aside, I really enjoyed this album. I can't really say I have heard anything quite like it. If you are into older prog like the above mentioned bands, than this is a no brainer. Also, for those like me who are curious to see were many great bands, like The Tangent, got their influence from. Pick this up. Highly recommended.
by Chris Jackson
Tracks
1. Germ Patrol - 8:31
2. Wind Quartet I - 2:20
3. Enneagram - 9:07
4. Prelude - 4:17
5. Wring Out The Ground (Loosely Now) - 8:11
6. Nearch - 3:22
7. Wind Quartet II - 4:48
All Music and Words by Egg

Egg
*Dave Stewart - Organ, Piano
*Mont Campbell - Bass, Vocals, French Horn, Piano
*Clive Brooks - Drums
Guests
*Steve Hillage – Guitar
*Lindsay Cooper – Bassoon, Oboe
*Tim Hodgkinson – Clarinet
*Jeremy Baines – Flute
*Amanda Parsons – Vocals
*Ann Rosenthal – Vocals
*Barbara Gaskin – Vocals
*Maurice Cambridge – Clarinet
*Stephen Solloway – Flute
*Chris Palmer – Bassoon

1969  Uriel - Arzachel (2007 remaster, collectors edition)
1969-72  The Metronomical Society
1971  Egg - The Polite Force (2008 Esoteric remaster)
1969-70  Egg (2008 Esoteric remaster)
1976  Steve Hillage - L (2007 remaster)
1979  Steve Hillage - Open (2007 remaster)

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Egg - The Metronomical Society (1969-72 uk, experimental prog rock)


The Metronomical Society by Egg, a collection of live and studio recordings made by the Stewart / Campbell / Brooks trio between 1969 and 1972. The CD features archive recordings unheard for nearly 40 years, including a sizeable segment of Egg's last Roundhouse concert. Also included are superior versions of selections from the band's radio sessions, material previously only available on poor-quality bootlegs. The Metronomical Society's foreword is written by the irrepressible Captain Sensible.

In Dave's words: "There have been a few Egg bootlegs over the years, all terrible sound quality with inaccurate or non-existent documentation. I felt we should try to remedy this, and was delighted when music fan David Carruthers told us he had over an hour of archive Egg material on tape, recordings he'd stored carefully for 35 years and never copied - hats off to him. That discovery made the idea of an Egg archive CD feasible. Some of the music was recorded at our last-ever London gig at the Roundhouse in July 1972; those tapes reflect exactly how the band sounded to me on stage, with a bite, attack and visceral power that our '70s albums failed to capture." 
Tracks
1. While Growing My Hair (Campbell) - 3:46
2. Seven Is A Jolly Good Time (Stewart, Campbell) - 3:09
3. Germ Patrol (Stewart, Campbell) - 5:34
4. Enneagram (Campbell) - 8:51
5. Long Piece No. 3, Part 2 (Campbell) - 9:02
6. Long Piece No. 3, Part 4 (Campbell) - 3:12
7. There's No Business Like Show Business (Berlin) - 3:16
8. Blane Over Camden (Stewart) - 4:26
9. Long Piece No. 3, Part 3 (Campbell) - 6:48
10.Wring Out The Ground (Loosely Now) (Campbell) - 8:02
11.McGillicuddie The Pusillanimous (Campbell) - 5:00
12.I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside (Glover, Kind) - 0:42

Egg
*Dave Stewart - Keyboards, Tone Generator
*Mont Campbell - Bass, Vocals
*Clive Brooks - Drums

1971  Egg - The Polite Force (2008 Esoteric remaster)
1969-70  Egg (2008 Esoteric remaster)

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Egg - Egg (1969-70 uk, impressive canterbury prog fusion rock, 2008 Esoteric remaster)



Organ / piano, bass guitar, and drums. Add occasional vocals and tone generator and that's it! Obviously not much rocking expected from that ensemble - for goodness sake, just three people and no guitars?

Well like so many of their Cantebury compats, these guys didn't read the memo and they created some ground breaking stuff. In fact the notes on the original LP read: The music on this LP is not dancing music, but basically music for listening to. It is harmonically and rhythmically complex, designed to be as original as possible within the confines of the instrumental lineup; so it's pretty demanding on the listener's attention.

Originally released in 1970, Egg took influences from such diverse genres as jazz, psychedelia, rock and fusion, but probably most important, from classical music - and Brahms, Stravinsky and Grieg are directly and indirectly represented here. And Egg in turn gave their own influences to a number of other Cantebury acts of the early '70s. Egg was Dave Stewart on keys and tones, Mont Campbell on bass and understated but very competent vocals, and Clive Brooks on drums. They were hatched from Uriel in 1969, after they'd lost their guitar player, Steve Hillage to his university studies. 

Later, Stewart and Hillage would form Khan, and Stewart would move into the realms of Hatfield and Ayers and Campbell would join him in National Health. The family tree of the Cantebury scene is a complex web, and we won't try to unravel it here. Suffice it to say that this was one of the more influential if underrated acts of prog's golden age.

The music generated by this small lineup was heavily dependent on Stewart's organ and Campbell's bass - both of which were applied with flair and imagination - but all three artists were credited with various compositions. There's a lot of avant garde generation of weird and spacey tones, but the rest is an entertaining example of several budding progressive genres taking their first baby-steps. 

The English sense of humor is present in many songs, although the lyrics tend toward the spaced out rather than the poetic. "The Song Of McGillicudie The Pusillanimous (or Don't Worry James, Your Socks Are Hanging In The Coal Cellar With Thomas)" could almost have come off an album by The Doors. And yes, that's the song's name! "I Will Be Absorbed" comes the closest to a prog 'song' in the traditional sense of the word. Symphony No. 2 is a 5-part 22-minute early-day-avant-garde attempt at a modern-era classic, in a similar vein to many of the Keith Emerson pieces that would come later.

Honors for the all-round favorite, however, go to "Seven Is A Jolly Good Time" which is a bonus track here and wasn't on the original record. By 'good time' they're taking a stab at the fixation with odd time signatures.
by Duncan Glenday
Tracks
1. Bulb (Peter Gallen) - 0:09
2. While Growing My Hair - 4:02
3. I Will Be Absorbed - 5:11
4. Fugue In D Minor (Bach) - 2:49
5. They Laughed When I Sat Down At The Piano… - 1:21
6. The Song Of McGillicudie The Pusillanimous - 1:04
7. Symphony No. 2 - 23:58
8. Movement 1
9. Movement 2
10.Blane
11.Movement 3
12.Movement 4
13.Seven Is A Jolly Good Time - 2:47
14.You Are All Princes - 3:45
All songs by Clive Brooks, Mont Campbell, Dave Stewart except where indicated

Egg
*Dave Stewart - Organ, Piano, Tone Generator, Mellotron
*Mont Campbell - Bass, Vocals
*Clive Brooks - Drums

1971  Egg - The Polite Force (2008 Esoteric remaster)

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Harpers Bizarre - Harpers Bizarre 4 (1969-70 us, sunny soft folk, Sundazed edition)



Harpers Bizarre "4" had a better selection of material. "Knock on Wood," the Beatles' "Blackbird," the Barry Mann-Gerry Goffin collaboration "Something Better," John Denver's "Leaving on a Jet Plane," Kenny Rankin's "Cotton Candy Sandman," and (most unexpectedly) jazzman Jim Pepper's "Witchi Tai To" were all given the group's smooth harmony veneer and mock-rococo production. 

Also on board were four bouncy, inconsequential group originals, and the theme to the movie I Love You, Alice B. Toklas. It still didn't add up to anything special -- not many groups could have stripped so much of the grit from "Knock on Wood" -- but was a soft rock marshmallow that was easier to swallow than their gooiest previous concoctions. Ry Cooder played occasional bottleneck guitar. The 2001 CD reissue on Sundazed added two bonus tracks, both from non-LP singles: Harry Nilsson's "Poly High," which is actually one of the group's better recordings, and Thomas Dorsey's gospel composition "If We Ever Needed the Lord Before." 
by Richie Unterberger
Tracks
1. Soft Soundin' Music (Dick Scoppettone, Ted Templeman) - 4:10
2. Knock On Wood (Steve Cropper, Eddie Floyd) - 3:08
3. Witchi Tai To (Jim Pepper) - 2:42
4. Hard To Handle (Alvertis Isbell, Allen Jones, Otis Redding) - 2:16
5. When The Band Begins To Play (Scoppettone, Templeman) - 2:31
6. Something Better (Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann) - 2:43
7. Blackbird (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 1:59
8. I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (Elmer Bernstein, Paul Mazursky, Larry Tucker) - 2:08
9. There's No Time Like Today (Scoppettone, Templeman) - 2:05
10.All Through The Night (John Petersen, Scoppettone, Templeman) - 2:12
11.Cotton Candy Sandman (Sandman's Coming)  (Kenny Rankin) - 2:57
12.Leaving On A Jet Plane (John Denver) - 2:22
13.Poly High (Harry Nilsson) - 2:39
14.If We Ever Needed The Lord Before (Traditional, Thomas A. Dorsey) - 2:56

Harper's Bizarre
*Ted Templeman - Vocals, Drums, Guitar
*Dick Scoppettone - Vocals, Guitar, Bass
*Eddie James - Guitar
*Dick Yount - Bass, Vocals
*John Petersen - Drums, Percussion, Vocals

1966-67  Feelin' Groovy (Sundazed release)
1967-68  Anything Goes

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Harpers Bizarre - Anything Goes (1967-68 us, harmonie sunny baroque pop, Sundazed issue)




Recorded in Hollywood, in 1967. Originally released on Warners, Harpers Bizarre debut album is an astonishingly varied concoction, with songs and stunning arrangements by some of Los Angeles' most creative talents (including Randy Newman, legendary singer-songwriter David Blue, and Van Dyke Parks) sharing space with Cole Porter and Glenn Miller classics and Doug Kershaw's Cajun "Louisiana Man." Extra tracks include the group's beautiful country-flavored lullaby-cum-love song, "Cotton Candy Sandman (Sandman's Coming)."
Tracks
1. (Intro) This Is Only The Beginning (Ted Koehler, Harold Arlen) - 1:44
2. Anything Goes (Cole Porter) - 2:00
3. Two Little Babes In The Wood (Cole Porter) - 3:45
4. The Biggest Night Of Her Life (Randy Newman) - 2:25
5. Pocketful Of Miracles (Sammy Cahn, Jimmy Van Heusen) - 2:47
6. Snow (Randy Newman) - 2:39
7. Chattanooga Choo Choo (Mack Gordon, Harry Warren) - 2:35
8. Hey You In The Crowd (Dick Scoppettone, Ted Templeman) - 2:25
9. Louisiana Man (Doug Kershaw) - 2:36
10.Milord (Monnot, Moustaki) - 3:07
11.Virginia City (Dick Scoppettone, Ted Templeman) - 2:08
12.Jessie (Mike Gordon, Jimmy Griffin) - 3:45
13.You Need A Change (David Blue) - 2:43
14.High Coin (Van Dyke Parks) - 2:35

Harper's Bizarre
*Ted Templeman - Vocals, Drums, Guitar
*Dick Scoppettone - Vocals, Guitar, Bass
*Eddie James - Guitar
*Dick Yount - Bass, Vocals
*John Petersen - Drums, Percussion, Vocals

1966-67  Feelin' Groovy (Sundazed release)

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