Sunday, August 31, 2014

Flying Norwegians - New Day / Wounded Bird (1974/76 norway, fine country soft rock, two disc set)



Countryrock Band from Bergen, Norway, formed in January 1974. The band was the first Boosting Countryrock band in Norway.

Rune Walle guitarist and drummer Gunnar Bergstrøm had both played with Hole In The Wall. They had just served with Saft when they joined with Jimmy Martin (vocals, guitar), John Torkelsen (bass) and Jarle Zimmerman (vocals, keyboards) to create Norway's answer to American groups like Eagles, Poco and the Flying Burrito Brothers. Quintet moved to Denmark, where they lived in a collective in the country and created songs to their first LP, recorded in Oslo with Hallvard Kvåle as a producer. The album New Day (1974) attracted attention both for the strong music - especially the title cut, with its dramatic final sequence - and jacket that showed a blimp floating over a dense cloudy.

The original Flying Norwegians unraveled when Walle was a member of the American band Ozark Mountain Daredevils in June 1976. January 1977 (with Jan Ove Hommel on bass) was released on the album the same year. The band had already marked him as studio musicians for Teddy Nelson under the name Flyvende Nordmenn, including  «Diggy Liggy»,, and they continued with this too without Walle. Among the many artists they worked for, had Johannes Kleppevik and lentil Hansen. In 1978 stacked sand, Zimmerman and Bergstrøm a new crew for the legs, now with the Ronald Jensen (bass), Egil distinguishable (steelgitar) and Jan Ove Hommel (guitar, accordion). Walle was a producer for the crew's only LP, This Time Around.

Rune Walle participate in the following LPs with Ozark Mountain Daredevils: Men From Earth (A & M, 1976), Do not Look Down (A & M, 1977), It's Alive (A & M, 1978) and Ozark Mountain daredevil (CBS, 1980).
Popsike
Tracks
Disc 1
New Day 1974
1. Young Man (Flying Norwegians) - 3:58
2. Time's Drawing Circles (P. H. Hansen, C. Sanden) - 3:41
3. Those Were The Days (G. Bergstrøm) - 4:15
4. Lucky Number (C. Sanden) - 3:27
5. New Day (C. Sanden) - 5:57
6. Behind The Words (J. Zimmermann) - 3:56
7. Spanish Tragedy (R. Walle) - 3:22
8. Tricky Lies (R. Walle) - 3:06
9. Human Need (R. Walle) - 2:50
10.You'll Come Around (P. H. Hansen, R. Walle) - 6:00
11.It Ain't Just Another Blow (P. H. Hansen, C. Sanden) - 2:24
Disc 2
Wounded Bird 1976
1. Crazy Eyes Go Blind (P. H. Hansen, R. Walle) - 4:19
2. Turn The Page (P. H. Hansen, C. Sanden) - 3:27
3. Taste Of The Money (Flying Norwegians) - 4:27
4. Let's Walk To The River (J. Zimmermann, R. Walle) - 2:14
5. Evening Prayer (J. Zimmermann, C. Sanden) - 3:40
6. Wounded Bird (P. H. Hansen, R. Walle) - 4:35
7. Tangles (J. Zimmermann) - 4:26
8. It's Over (J. Zimmermann) - 4:21
9. Old Lady (C. Sanden) - 2:50
10.Absolutely Sweet Marie (Bob Dylan) - 3:57

The Flying Norwegians
*Rune Walle - Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica, Banjo
*Cato Sanden - Guitar, Vocals
*Gunnar Bergstrøm - Drums
*Jarle Zimmermann - Keyboards
*Johannes Torkelsen  - Bass
With
*Harald Dyb - Pedal Steel Gyuitar

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Twogether - A Couple Of Time (1973 germany, groovy prog jazz fusion rock)



The two-man formation Twogether went back to an early 70s in Dusseldorf resulting band called BBC, which is made ​​up of former members of the band Blue Squad, Beathovens and crew (recruited). The initials of the old bands revealed the name of the new group (BBC). Early 1973, the band fell apart when three musicians got out. Those who remained, Klaus Bangert (keys) and Reinhard Fischer (drums), the duo decided to continue and called themselves from then on Twogether. 

In the fall of 1973 Bangert and Fischer played in a small studio in Dusseldorf a 13 numbers, of which two were published as a single and the rest on the only LP by the duo. "A couple of times" still appeared in 1973 on the small Victory label, records were released on their own. Because of the very small number of copies, the records are hardly available at all - and when found they are, it is hardly affordable. Classic drum and keyboard combo,a rarity in and of itself. After two handful of appearances in 1974 Twogether be solved..

It's been years, 2004 was the extremely rare in the original vinyl "A couple of times", published including the two single tracks "I was away too long" and "I've found a love again," Garden of Delights CD again. The master tapes were there, of course, has long been lost, so that a (relatively) good as new LP served as a template. Despite NoNoise treatment therefore some LP-typical noise can be heard, but otherwise the sound of the recordings is good. Organ and drums there to hear especially here. These now and then a piano and electronic sounds from the synthesizer come. Finally Bangert provides some of the pieces with very ordinary song. As the dynamic Duoprog of bands like Hansson & Karlsson, Sixty Nine or minus two sounds the best, slightly jazzy and classical-tinged symphonic (there's even an adaptation of "Bolero" to hear). 

Interspersed between, there are still a few slightly psychedelic pop songs with great organ ("I look around" and "Meet Me Every Day" for example, and of course the single numbers). Jazzy-rock, more relaxed, but quite varied rocks this mostly instrumental held music then, dominated by Bangerts organ (of both the melody and the bass adds), but also every now and then weaves jazzy piano runs (you can hear eg, "Out of Range "). Something verspiel-naive affects the whole, similar to the earlier or at the same time created albums of Sweden Bo Hansson. 

The looming in the cast details synthesizer come unfortunately rarely used, most notably in the opening, sometimes almost wild "Percussion", which is probably the best track here otherwise. Sacred Georgel (you listen to "Cathedral") and psychedelic Hammond Gewaber (in "fusion" eg) exist on the entertaining album finally also occasionally heard. "A couple of times" is an obscure little album with a rather unspectacular Duo prog and some pop songs, which is nice to listen to, A classic drum and keyboard combo,a rarity in and of itself.
by Adamus67
Tracks
1. Percussion - 3:26
2. Don't Cry - 2:56
3. Out Of Range - 4:03
4. Make Me Feel Alright - 2:23
5. On The Move - 3:35
6. Toss-Up - 2:55
7. I Look Around - 5:00
8. Meet Me Every Day - 3:23
9. Bolero - 2:43
10.Cathedral - 3:45
11.Fusion - 3:51
12.I Was Away Too Long (Bonus Track) - 2:32
13.I've Found A Love Again (Bonus Track) - 2:56
All compositions by Twogether

Twogether
Klaus Bangert - vocals, organ, piano, synthie
Reinhard Fischer - drums, percussion, synthie

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Wind - Seasons (1971 germany, exceptional heavy prog kraut rock, 2009 remaster)



The German band Wind’s 1971 debut Seasons was one to watch out for. Well, it finally just got reissued via the Long Hair label (who have recently brought us several kraut-prog winners from Cannabis India, Mammut, and Et Cetera, amongst others) and so, already curious about it, we ordered a copy of it in…

First impression, before we even put it on, from looking at the photo on the back: damn, for a krautrock band, these guys have some seriously impressive, huge Afros!!! So, a lot of expectation / anticipation / long hair to live up to. And as it turns out, Wind don’t blow it (sorry). This album is fine indeed. It hits our “heavy” buttons but also has enough melodic and groove appeal that some of the folks here at AQ who, y’know, don’t spend time memorizing stuff out of krautrock reference books or obsessing about 1971 were into it too!

Wind were a five piece: guitar, organ, bass, drums, the singer sometimes busting out flute (yes!) and harmonica. With the organ, they’re in the “heavy progressive” mode of a lot of other early krautROCK bands, sounding as much like Deep Purple as they do Can. Both of which are cool by us, and the DO sound like both sometimes. Another once-popular krautrock band they remind us of is Birth Control (who we love, but sadly have never reviewed, relevant reissues seem scarce right now). So that means lots of thumping organ and fuzzy guitar riffs, which do indeed pound forth, especially on opener ‘What Do We Do Now’, and later on the even heavier ‘Dear Little Friend’, but even those songs have their shades of light as well as dark.

Wind featured raw sounds and tight playing, on this record definitely conveying an impassioned feeling, in part due to the singer’s often gruff, sandpapery voice, that at his toughest makes us think of Nazareth’s Dan McCafferty, though at times he can be quite smooth and soulful. His harmonica blowin’ on the 16 minute album-closer ‘Red Morningbird’ gives that song an evocative Ennio Morricone / Spaghetti Western vibe, also sounding a lot like one of Can’s Soundtracks tracks, and this album might be worth the price of admission alone just for that epic track. Certainly kraut-fans of Birth Control, Murphy Blend, Dies Irae, Gift, early Out Of Focus, will need to hear Wind’s Seasons, and like we said it has also been catching the ears of even those here who aren’t the biggest prog and proto-metal fiends.

Liner notes in German and English tell us that prior to the release of this album, the members of Wind were involved in recording an exploito-psych LP by “Corporal Gander’s Fire Dog Brigade”, and did an ill-fated, six-month tour of Vietnam (where there was a war going on, you may recall). But they survived all that to release this debut and another (much softer, we’re told) album in ’72, calling it a day not long after, having bad luck selling records despite good reviews and success on stage, having played clubs and festivals with the likes of Can, Family, East Of Eden, Pink Floyd and others.
Aq/rius recs
Tracks
1. What Do We Do Now (Lucky Schmidt, Thomas Leidenberger) - 8:25
2. Now It's Over (Thomas Leidenberger) - 4:22
3. Romance (Lucky Schmidt, Thomas Leidenberger) - 1:31
4. Springwind (Lucky Schmidt, Thomas Leidenberger) - 7:08
5. Dear Little Friend (Lucky Schmidt, Thomas Leidenberger) - 4:15
6. Red Morningbird (Steve Leistner) - 15:56

The Wind 
*Steve Leistner - Lead Vocals, Harmonica, Percussion
*Thomas Leidenberger - Guitars, Vocals
*Andreas Bueler - Bass, Vocals, Percussion
*Lucian Bueler - Organ, Piano, Vocals, Percussion
*Lucky Schmidt - Drums, Percussion, Vibraphone, Clavinet, Piano

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Otis Spann - Cryin' Time (1968 us, awesome electric blues, 2005 issue)



An integral member of the nonpareil Muddy Waters band of the 1950s and '60s, pianist Otis Spann took his sweet time in launching a full-fledged solo career. But his own discography is a satisfying one nonetheless, offering ample proof as to why so many aficionados considered him then and now Chicago's leading post-war blues pianist. Spann played on most of Waters' classic Chess waxings between 1953 and 1969, his rippling 88s providing the drive on Waters' seminal 1960 live version of "Got My Mojo Working" (cut at the prestigious Newport Jazz Festival, where Spann dazzled the assembled throng with some sensational storming boogies).

The Mississippi native began playing piano by age eight, influenced by local ivories stalwart Friday Ford. At 14, he was playing in bands around Jackson, finding more inspiration in the 78s of Big Maceo, who took the young pianist under his wing once Spann migrated to Chicago in 1946 or 1947.

Spann gigged on his own and with guitarist Morris Pejoe before hooking up with Waters in 1952. His first Chess date behind the Chicago icon the next year produced "Blow Wind Blow." Subsequent Waters classics sporting Spann's ivories include "Hoochie Coochie Man," "I'm Ready," and [roviLink="MC"]"Just Make Love to Me."

Strangely, Chess somehow failed to recognize Spann's vocal abilities. His own Chess output was limited to a 1954 single, "It Must Have Been the Devil," that featured B.B. King on guitar, and sessions in 1956 and 1963 that remained in the can for decades. So Spann looked elsewhere, waxing a stunning album for Candid with guitarist Robert Jr. Lockwood in 1960, a largely solo outing for Storyville in 1963 that was cut in Copenhagen, a set for British Decca the following year that found him in the company of Waters and Eric Clapton, and a 1964 LP for Prestige where Spann shared vocal duties with bandmate James Cotton. Testament and Vanguard both recorded Spann as a leader in 1965. 

The Blues Is Where It's At, Spann's enduring 1966 album for ABC-Bluesway, sounded like a live recording but was actually a studio date enlivened by a gaggle of enthusiastic onlookers who applauded every song (Waters, guitarist Sammy Lawhorn, and George "Harmonica" Smith were among the support crew on the date). A Bluesway encore, The Bottom of the Blues, followed in 1967 and featured Otis' wife, Lucille Spann, helping out on vocals. 

Spann's last few years with Muddy Waters were memorable for their collaboration on the Chess set Fathers and Sons, but the pianist was clearly ready to launch a solo career, recording a set for Blue Horizon with British blues-rockers Fleetwood Mac that produced Spann's laid-back "Hungry Country Girl." He finally turned the piano chair in the Waters band over to Pinetop Perkins in 1969, but fate didn't grant Spann long to achieve solo stardom. He was stricken with cancer and died in April of 1970. 
by Bill Dahl
Tracks
1. Home to Mississippi - 3:26
2. Blues Is A Botheration - 4:02
3. You Said You'd Be On Time (Otis Spann, George Spink) - 4:46
4. Cryin' Time - 3:11
5. Blind Man (Traditional) - 3:18
6. Some Day - 4:35
7. Twisted Snake - 3:02
8. Green Flowers (McKinley Morganfield) - 3:44
9. The New Boogaloo - 2:09
10.Mule Kicking In My Stall - 3:30
All compositions by Otis Spann except where stated

Musicians
*Otis Spann - Organ, Piano, Vocals
*Lucille Spann - Vocals
*Joseph Davidson - Bass
*Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson - Guitar
*Barry Melton - Bass, Guitar
*Lonnie Taylor - Drums

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Michael Nesmith - Silver Moon (1970-73 us, wonderful country folk soft rock, Audiophile 2002 edition)



Born in Texas in 1942, Nesmith served in the U.S. Air Force before pursuing a career in music. He signed on to become a member of the Monkees, a television rock group, in the mid-1960s. The Monkees enjoyed tremendous success on the pop charts. After he left the group in 1970s, Nesmith pursued solo projects. 

Although the cover art might suggest that this compiles, features, or in some way includes material from Michael Nesmith's four-year (1966-1970) tenure as a Monkee, this isn't the case at all. Additionally confusing matters is that the same 25 tracks on this collection are replicated -- right down to the exact running order -- on the unimaginatively titled Best Of: Original Hits. Regardless, the contents of both have been culled from Nesmith's first half-dozen post-Monkees long-players. The tune stack is well represented by the First National Band LPs Magnetic South (1970), Loose Salute (1970), and Nevada Fighter (1971) -- plus, to a much lesser extent, Tantamount to Treason (1972), And the Hits Just Keep on Comin' (1972), as well as Pretty Much Your Standard Ranch Stash (1973). 

Nesmith's penchant for penning quirky country & western-flavored pop songs can be directly traced back to his Monkees material, such as "St. Matthew," "Good Clean Fun," and "Magnolia Simms." During this period he was also woodshedding material for future endeavors. Although never issued, he recorded a significant backlog of original compositions while still a Monkee. Of the tracks included on this collection, "Cripple Lion," "Some of Shelly's Blues," "Calico Girlfriend," "Nine Times Blue," "Hollywood," "Little Red Rider," and "Conversations," originally titled "Carlisle Wheeling" are among the titles first recorded by Nez prior to gaining artistic independence from his decidedly manufactured image. 

Ultimately, autonomy as a solo artist allowed him to further develop a singular voice rooted in folk and country, yet remaining ever unique. Stylistically, his range became more eclectic -- encompassing both driving rockers, such as "Mama Nantucket," and lilting, heartsick ballads, such as "Joanne." This compilation not only visits those extremes, it also hits upon many of the more subtle facets from Nesmith's prolific early-'70s recordings. 
by Lindsay Planer
Tracks
1. Silver Moon - 3:12
2. Listen To The Band - 2:33
3. Different Drum - 3:02
4. Some Of Shelly's Blues - 3:18
5. Mama Nantucket - 2:40
6. Harmony Constant - 3:47
7. Grand Ennui - 2:08
8. Bonaparte's Retreat (Pee Wee King, Redd Stewart) - 4:36
9. Propinquity (I've Just Begun To Care) - 2:57
10.Lady Of The Valley - 2:56
11.First National Rag (Red Rhodes) - 0:22
12.The Keys To The Car - 2:55
13.Two Diffrerent Roads - 2:39
14.Nevada Fighter - 3:06
15.I Fall To Pieces (Hank Cochran, Harlan Howard) - 2:55
16.Rainmaker (Bill Martin, Harry Nilsson) - 3:18
17.Calico Girlfriend - 2:35
18.Nine Times Blue - 1:40
19.Little Red Rider - 2:33
20.Conversations - 3:31
21.Joanne - 3:12
22.Beyond The Blue Horizon (Hank Cochran, Harlan Howard) - 5:49
23.Hollywood - 5:07
24.Bye, Bye, Bye - 3:23
25.The Crippled Lion - 3:12
All songs by Michael Nesmith except where noted

Musicians
*Michael Nesmith - Vocals, Guitar
*Earl P. Hall - Keyboards, Piano
*John London - Bass
*Red Rhodes - Steel Guitar
*John Ware - Drums
*Glen D. Hardin - Keyboards, Piano
*Max Bennet - Bass
*James Burton - Guitar
*Al Casey - Guitar
*Michael Cohen - Keyboards
*Joe Osborn - Bass
*Ron Tutt - Drums

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The Stills Young Band - Long May You Run (1976 us, beautiful folk country classic rock)



Long May You Run is not a Neil Young solo album. It is credited to "The Stills-Young Band," which is to say, Stephen Stills and his band with Young added, and the two divide up the songwriting and lead vocals, five for Young, four for Stills. The pairing, though it proved short-lived and had, in fact, ended before this album was released, must have seemed commercially logical. Like Young, Stills had seen his record sales decline after a successful period following the 1970 breakup of CSNY. So had erstwhile partners David Crosby and Graham Nash, but they had returned to Top Ten, gold-selling status in the fall of 1975 with their Wind on the Water duo album. 

Why couldn't Stills and Young do the same thing? Maybe they could have (and, actually, this was the first gold album for either in two years) if they had made a better record together. Young's songs were pleasant newly written throwaways with the exception of the title track, a trunk song he had written as a tribute to an old car, it’s a brilliant performance and would have fit any of his solo albums at the time. “Fontainebleau” is just a cut below and features some creative guitar work and an odd beat. His other three songs are okay which is faint praise. “Let It Shine” is amusing if nothing else, “Midnight On The Bay” does have some nice guitar work from Stephen Stills. In the other hand, Stills' compositions seemed more seriously intended, but still were not substantial. The playing, largely handled by the professional sessionman types in Stills' band, was far smoother than what one was accustomed to in a Young album.
by William Ruhlmann and David Bowling 
Tracks
1. Long May You Run (Neil Young) - 3:52
2. Make Love To You (Stephen Stills) - 5:09
3. Midnight On The Bay (Neil Young) - 4:00
4. Black Coral (Stephen Stills) - 4:41
5. Ocean Girl (Neil Young) - 3:18
6. Let It Shine (Neil Young) - 4:41
7. 12/8 Blues (Stephen Stills) - 3:43
8. Fontainebleau (Neil Young) - 3:59
9. Guardian Angel (Stephen Stills) - 5:47

Musicians
*Neil Young - Guitars, Piano, Harmonica, String Synthesizer, Vocals
*Stephen Stills - Guitars, Pianos, Vocals
*Joe Lala - Percussion, Background Vocals
*Jerry Aiello - Organ, Piano
*George "Chocolate" Perry - Bass, Background Vocals
*Joe Vitale - Drums, Flute, Background Vocals

1970  Stephen Stills - Stephen Stills (debut album, 2008 japan SHM remaster)
1972  Stephen Stills - Manassas (2006 HDCD)
1971-73  Manassas - Pieces (2009 release)
1975-76/78  Stephen Stills - Stills / Illegal Stills / Thoroughfare Gap

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Bryan Ferry - Let's Stick Together (1976 uk, fabulous glam rock with jazz r 'n' b traces, japan remaster)



As Roxy approached its mid- to late-'70s hibernation, Ferry came up with another fine solo album, though one of his most curious. With Thompson and Wetton joined by U.K. journeyman guitarist Chris Spedding, Ferry recorded an effort that seemed as much of a bit of creative therapy as it was music for its own sake. On the one hand, he followed the initial formula established for his solo work, looking back to earlier rock, pop, and soul classics with gentle gusto. The title track itself, a cover of the fluke Wilbert Harrison '60s hit, scored Ferry a deserved British hit single, with great sax work from Chris Mercer and Mel Collins and a driving, full band performance. Ferry's delivery is one of his best, right down to the yelps, and the whole thing chugs with post-glam power. 

Other winners include the Everly Brothers' "The Price of Love" and the Beatles' "It's Only Love," delivered with lead keyboards from Ferry and a nice, full arrangement. On the other hand, half of the album consisted of Ferry originals -- but, bizarrely, instead of creating wholly new songs, he re-recorded a slew of earlier Roxy classics. Fanciful fun or exorcising of past demons? It's worth noting that most of the songs come from the Eno period of the band, and consequently the new versions stear clear of the sheer chaos he brought to the original Roxy lineup. As it is, the end results are still interesting treats -- "Casanova" exchanges the blasting stomp of the original for a slow, snaky delivery that suggests threat without sounding too worried about it. "Re-Make/Re-Model," meanwhile, turns downright funky without losing any of its weird lyrical edge. Others have subtler differences, as when the stark, stiff midsection of "Sea Breezes" becomes a looser, slow jam. 
by Ned Raggett
Tracks
1. Let's Stick Together (Wilbert Harrison) - 3:00
2. Casanova (Bryan Ferry) - 2:45
3. Sea Breezes (Bryan Ferry) -:10
4. Shame, Shame, Shame (Jimmy Reed) - 3:15
5. 2HB (Bryan Ferry) - 3:50
6. The Price Of Love (Don, Phil Everly) - 3:25
7. Chance Meeting (Bryan Ferry) - 3:35
8. It's Only Love (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 3:45
9. You Go To My Head (J. Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie) - 2:50
10.Re-Make/Re-Model (Bryan Ferry) - 2:40
11.Heart On My Sleeve (Benny Gallagher, Graham Lyle) - 3:30

Musicians
*Bryan Ferry - Vocals, Keyboards, Harmonica
*Chris Spedding - Guitar
*Paul Thompson - Drums
*John Wetton - Bass
*Chris Mercer - Tenor Saxophone
*Mel Collins - Saxophone
*Martin Drover - Trumpet
*Eddie Jobson - Violin, Synthesizer
*Morris Pert - Percussion
*John Gustafson - Bass
*Rick Wills - Bass
*John Porter - Bass
*Phil Manzanera - Guitar
*David O'List - Guitar
*Neil Hubbard - Guitar
*Ann O'Dell - String Arrangement
*Jacqui Sullivan, Helen Chappell, Paddie Mchugh, Doreen Chanter, Vicki Brown, Martha Walker - Chorus

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Chris Spedding - Hurt (1977 uk, fantastic punk tinged roots 'n' roll)



In 1977 backing by Roy Harper's band Trigger, Chris Spedding recorded "Hurt" which showcased his guitar work in various styles. "Hurt" features an array of nine Spedding original compositions -don't you just love that title "Get Out Of My Pagoda"?- 

He also tries his hand at the rock guitarist's favourite riff, Bo Diddley's immortal "Road Runner", while there's a glimpse of the punk era Spedding, with the inclusion of the 1976 classic "Pogo Dancing" among the four bonus tracks.

Chris Spedding remains unique among the guitarists for the sheer breadth of his musical vision and the fact that so many people relied on him to deliver the goods. Whether he ever got "hurt" in the process is amatter for debate, but "Hurt" shows just what his fellow musicians and fans found so attractive about the Spedding experience.
by Chris Welch, London 2000. 
Tracks
1. Wild In The Streets - 3:10
2. Silver Bullet - 3:57
3. Lone Rider - 3:25
4. Woman Trouble - 5:19
5. Ain't Superstitious (Snips, Chris Spedding) - 4:44
6. Wild Wild Women - 3:51
7. Road Runner (Ellas McDaniel) - 2:46
8. Stay Dumb - 2:49
9. Get Outa My Pagoda - 2:40
10.Hurt By Love - 3:30
11.Pogo Dancing - 3:06
12.The Pose - 2:23
13.Gunfight - 2:31
14.Evil (Snips) - 2:57
All songs by Chris Spedding except where stated.

Personnel
*John Carter - Vocals
*Clem Cattini - Drums
*Ray Cooper - Percussion
*Jack Emblow - Musette
*Harold Fisher - Drums
*Herbie Flowers - Bass
*Chrissie Hynde - Vocals
*Neil Lancaster - Vocals
*Charles Mills - Vocals
*Chris Spedding - Guitar, Vocals

1972  Chris Spedding - The Only Lick I Know

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Twin Engine - Twin Engine (1971 us, smart country folk soft rock, 2004 release)



These 12 songs were recorded by Twin Engine in 1971 with the intention of getting an album together for release on United Artists, but they weren't issued until more than 30 years later. The music has very much of a 1970 aura, mightily influenced at different points by the Let It Be-era Beatles (particularly in the guitar sound of "Give My Love a Chance," "The Time Is Now," and "Mistress of the Morning"), Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (a riff in "The Time Is Now" seems airlifted directly from Neil Young's "Cowgirl in the Sand"), American Beauty-era Grateful Dead, and the country-rock being laid down by the Flying Burrito Brothers/Byrds axis in Southern California in the late 1960s and early 1970s. (That last influence may not have been entirely due to chance, as Byrds and/or Burritos members Chris Hillman, Clarence White, and Sneaky Pete Kleinow are all referred to in the packaging as having played on the sessions, though it's not specified who played on what track). 

It's very accomplished, and Twin Engine's duo harmonies are quite cheerful and invigorating. What it lacks is a sound of its own, and it's easy to see that a label of the time might have passed on it due to its similarity to some other bands of the era, or at least encouraged the pair to keep working up material until something more distinctive evolved. Now that competing in the marketplace isn't a concern, it's actually a pretty pleasant listen -- derivative, yes, but considerably stronger and more polished than most albums that are heavily derivative of their surrounding times and styles. There are the makings of a solid country-rock band here, albeit one more pop-influenced than most, like a less-slick Eagles. While it's too bad they didn't get any further, this relic of their abortive flight isn't at all bad. 
by Richie Unterberger
Tracks
1. Give My Love A Chance - 2:30
2. My Life Gets Better Every Day - 3:08
3. Secrets - 2:32
4. Mistress Of The Morning (Randy Naylor) - 2:22
5. No Time Is Better Than Now - 2:48
6. Darlin' (Randy Naylor) - 3:06
7. Flowered Wall - 3:06
8. Can't Keep My Mind Off Of You (Randy Naylor) - 3:12
9. Gold Mine - 2:22
10.When Will I Be Loved (Phil Everly) - 1:50
11.The Time Is Now (Randy Naylor) - 2:50
12.Same Train (Randy Naylor) - 3:00
Words and Music by Constantine Gusias except where noted

Musicians
*Constantine Gusias - Vocals, Guitar
*Randy Naylor - Guitar, Keyboard, Vocals
*Joe Foster - Synthesizer
*Randy Fuller - Bass
*DeWayne Quirico - Drums
*Nick Robbins - Synthesizer
*Ralph Scala - Organ
*Joey Stec - Guitar
*Clarence White - Guitar

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Chris Spedding - The Only Lick I Know (1972 uk, marvelous multiblended guitar rock)


Peter Robinson, 17 June 1944, Staveley, Derbyshire, England. An underestimated talent, this inventive guitarist began his career in a beat group, the Vulcans, prior to following a haphazard path touring in country bands and supporting cabaret attractions on the cruise ship Himalaya. Spells backing Alan Price and Paul Jones preceded Spedding’s involvement in the Battered Ornaments where he established a reputation for technique and imagination. The guitarist was subsequently heard on Jack Bruce’s 1969 debut Songs For A Tailor, and on early releases by Nucleus, a leading jazz rock ensemble. Session work for Lulu, Roxy Music, John Cale, Dusty Springfield and others was interspersed by two low-key solo albums, Backwood Progression (1970) and The Only Lick I Know (1972). Spedding also formed the much-touted Sharks with former Free bass player Andy Fraser, but internal ructions undermined the group’s potential. The guitarist resumed studio work in 1975, but also joined UK artist Roy Harper in Trigger, the singer’s short-lived backing band. The following year he produced the Sex Pistols’ first demos.

Spedding’s clinical approach resulted in several career-based anomalies during the 70s. He donned the requisite costume to perform with the Wombles and contrived an ill-fitting leather-boy image for a series of pop punk singles under the guidance of producer Mickie Most. ‘Motor-Biking’, in 1975, provided the UK Top 20 single the guitarist doubtlessly deserved, but these unusual interludes provided a distorted perception of his other work. Spedding has since balanced studio and live work for artists such as Elton John, Tom Waits, Bryan Ferry, Marc Almond and Katie Melua with occasional solo releases. His albums have maintained an impressive consistency while ranging over a diverse stylistic range.
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin

"Only Lick I Know" a very unusual second album from Chris Spedding – one that came out quite a few years after his first solo set, and definitely shows the result of Spedding's countless work on other rock, jazz, and soul sessions! There's still a rootsy, personal feel to the music – but there's also a much more tuneful approach, too – not one that's trying to be commercial, just a quality that clearly comes from all of Chris' work with top-shelf artists and producers as one of the most in-demand guitarists of his generation. Spedding handled a good amount of the instrumentation himself – save for the drums – and the album's got a relaxed feeling that really reflects the time that Chris took to get things right during the recording process. Tracks include "White Lady", "London Town", "A Hard Woman Is Good To Find", "The Only Lick I Know", and "Saw You Yesterday" – plus a surprising cover of "The Dark End Of The Street"
Tracks
1. White Lady - 3:55
2. A Hard Woman Is Good To Find - 2:41
3. London Town - 5:14
4. Don't Leave Me - 5:27
5. Honky Tonk Blues (Hank Williams) - 2:43
6. Saw You Yesterday - 3:28
7. The Dark End of the Street (Chips Moman, Dan Penn) - 3:26
8. The Only Lick I Know - 3:02
9. Listen While I Sing My Song - 3:21
All songs by Chris Spedding except where noted.

Musicians
*Chris Spedding  - Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
*Linda Lewis - Baiking Vocals
*Laurie Allan - Drums
*Harold Fisher - Drums
*Alan Hawkshaw - Piano
*Paul Francis - Drums
*Phil Dennys  - Keyboards
*Tony Campo  - Bass

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Stephen Stills - Stills / Illegal Stills / Thoroughfare Gap (1975-76/78 us, groovy funky smooth rock, 2007 double disc issue)



Born in Dallas, Texas, on January 3, 1945, Stephen Stills is an American folk musician, best known as a member of the bands Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. In the 1970s, Stills re-emerged as a solo artist, producing several successful albums. In 1997, he made history as the first person inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice in one night—with both Buffalo Springfield as well as Crosby, Stills and Nash.

During CSN&Y's early years, Stills continued to produce solo material, releasing Stephen Stills (1970) and Stephen Stills 2 (1971). In 1972, he joined the band Manassas, and released a self-titled album that same year.

In December on 1975, another album of Stephen's would be released titled "Stephen Stills Live", a collection of live in concert songs. And following this in 1976, with not only a brand new album under his belt, "Illegal Stills," he would then embark on a new venture with his fellow compadre Neil Young, an album and tour for "Long May You Run."

It would be 1977 when he would rejoin and he and friends Graham and David would make amend, to record their album "CSN", putting out such great passion envoked tunes including "Shadow Captain" and "Dark Star."

In 1978 he would take a chance and release of another solo album titled "Thoroughfare Gap"*This album was not popular among critics, but well received by many fans. From dance beats in "Can't get no booty," to the pure awesome beauty of "Thoroughfare Gap," the title song*Spacing himself, a few years later in 1982 he would continue to record more albums with CSN such as "Daylight Again", and "Allies," both inspiring the "Daylight Again" tour.
Tracks
Disc 1
Stills 1975
1. Turn Back The Pages (D. Dacus, S. Stills) - 4:04
2. My Favorite Changes - 2:50
3. My Angel (S. Stills, Dallas Taylor) - 2:25
4. In The Way - 3:35
5. Love Story - 4:11
6. To Mama From Christopher And The Old Man - 2:15
7. First Things First (Joe Schermie, Jon Smith, S. Stills) - 2:10
8. New Mama (Neil Young) - 2:21
9. As I Come Of Age - 2:33
10.Shuffle Just As Bad - 2:39
11.Cold Cold World (D. Dacus, S. Stills) - 4:38
12.Myth Of Sisyphus (Kenny Passarelli, S. Stills) - 4:28
Illegal Stills 1976
13.Buyin' Time (S. Stills) - 3:36
14.Midnight In Paris (D. Dacus, Véronique Sanson) - 4:00
15.Different Tongues (S. Stills, D. Dacus) - 3:09
16.Soldier (D. Dacus, S. Stills) - 2:59
17.The Loner (Neil Young) - 4:16
18.Stateline Blues (S. Stills) - 1:59
19.Closer To You (D. Dacus, Warner Schwebke, S. Stills) - 3:36
20.No Me Niegas (S. Stills) - 3:33
21.Ring Of Love (D. Dacus, S. Stills) - 4:02
22.Circlin' (Kenny Passarelli, S. Stills) - 4:20
All songs by Stephen Stills except where indicated
Disc 2
Thoroughfare Gap 1978
1. You Can't Dance Alone - 4:14
2. Thoroughfare Gap - 3:31
3. We Will Go On - 2:41
4. Beaucoup Yumbo (S. Stills, Joe Vitale) - 3:33
5. What's the Game - 3:32
6. Midnight Rider (Gregg Allman) - 3:39
7. Woman Lleva - 3:13
8. Lowdown - 3:46
9. Not Fade Away (Buddy Holly, Norman Petty) - 3:26
10.Can't Get No Booty (Danny Kortchmar, S. Stills) - 3:44
All songs by Stephen Stills except where indicated

Musicians

1970  Stephen Stills - Stephen Stills (debut album, 2008 japan SHM remaster)
1972  Stephen Stills - Manassas (2006 HDCD)
1971-73  Manassas - Pieces (2009 release)

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Giles, Giles And Fripp - The Brondesbury Tapes (1968 uk, smart experimental progressive art rock)



Though advertised as the long lost 1968 home recordings of the band that would become King Crimson, Giles, Giles and Fripp’s The Brondesbury Tapes reveal the early work of Robert Fripp and company to be a freewheeling world apart from their more celebrated work as the brooding godfathers of prog-rock.

At the time the tapes were recorded, brothers Michael and Peter Giles (drums and bass) and Robert Fripp (guitar) were on the downward trajectory of a disappointing fifteen-month existence. Unhappy with the bland production and Monty-Python-esque annoyance of their first full-length (a heavy-handed provincial-pysch concept album entitled The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles & Fripp on Decca / Deram that sold less than 500 copies), Giles, Giles & Fripp hoped to flesh out their sound by enlisting the help of the ever-comely miss Judy Dyble, the ethereal pre-Sandy Denny vocalist for folk-heroes Fairport Convention, and Ian McDonald, whose piano, flute, sax, guitar, and clarinet would later feature prominently in King Crimson’s debut In The Court of The Crimson King as well as in the decidedly un-hip ‘70’s arena-rock of Foreigner, to record some new songs in the cozy confines of Peter Giles’s new home. 

The revitalized ensemble shows up suprisingly shimmery on the primitive Revox stereo reel-to-reel recordings, somehow knitting the Canterbury School of spacey prog-autumns characteristic of early Soft Machine and the more psychedelic side of Fairport Convention with 1968’s wave of cheeky British-literate-pop like The Kinks’ Village Green Preservation Society and The Zombies’ Odyssey and Oracle into a seamless and subtle whole.

Listening to the digitally re-mastered version of this charming and unassuming lo-fi gem with Dyble oozing the vocals and Fripp content to noodle and fuzz in the background, it’s hard to believe that these sessions of The Brondesbury Tapes were recorded and then scrapped just one short year before In The Court of The Crimson King, a Hell of a concept album (featuring the god-awful Greg Lake of the even God-awfuler Emerson, Lake, and Palmer on the lead vocals) with a garish, pink, and fleshy cover giving only a slight and paranoid hint to its huge and cacophonous contents: redemption through muscular instrumental passages that knot the anacondas of psychedelic rock, jazz, and classical virtuosity ((check out Fripp’s seven fret stretch!)) into a sound of fury not heard again until Neil Michael Hagerty and The Royal Trux’s decadent guitar-miasma opuses. 

The Brondesbury Tapes, in contrast and in sweet oblivian, had no idea that cheesy Frippertronics and Post-Syd Barret Pink Floyd were on their way. Lyrics like “She’s so full of the decimal stuff / I’ll fall in love if I try hard enough,” sung in four part harmonies against sprightly jazz waltzes and sunny day tremolo studies, remind us that those sweaty anacondas were once daft little garden snakes and that those guilty of prog-pomp once recorded an endearing and altogether inspiring math-rock version of The Basement Tapes.
by Daniel Dineen
Tracks
1. Hypocrite (P. Giles) - 3:41
2. Digging My Lawn (A) (P. Giles) - 1:58
3. Tremelo Study in a Major (Spanish Suite) 1:41
4. Newly Weds (P. Giles) - 1:52
5. Suite No. 1 (Fripp) - 5:34
6. Scrivens (P. Giles) - 2:15
7. Make It Today (A) (McDonald, Sinfield) - 3:26
8. Digging My Lawn (P. Giles) - 1:55
9. Why Don't You Just Drop In (I) (Fripp) - 3:40
10.I Talk to the Wind (1) (McDonald, Sinfield) - 3:17
11.Under the Sky (McDonald, Sinfield) - 3:53
12.Plastic Pennies (Fripp) - 2:18
13.Passages of Time (Fripp) - 3:32
14.Under the Sky (McDonald, Sinfield) - 2:49
15.Murder (P. Giles) - 2:41
16.I Talk to the Wind (McDonald, Sinfield) - 3:15
17.Erudite Eyes (Fripp) - 6:46
18.Make It Today (B) (McDonald, Sinfield) - 4:46
19.Wonderland (Fripp) - 6:08
20.Why Don't You Just Drop In (II) (Fripp) - 3:42
21.She Is Loaded (P. Giles) - 3:12

Musicians
*Judy Dyble - Vocals
*Robert Fripp - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Piano
*Michael Giles - Drums, Vocals
*Peter Giles - Bass, Vocals
*Ian McDonald - Clarinet, Flute, Acoustic, Electric, Rhythm Guitar, Piano, Saxophone, Soloist, Vocals

1968  Giles Giles And Fripp - The Cheerful Insanity (Japan SHM-CD)

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Blossom Toes - If Only For A Moment (1969 uk, remarkable heavy psych, 2007 remaster and expanded)



Beginning in 1964 on a trajectory similar to that of the Yardbirds, Blossom Toes was eventually embraced by their producer Giorgio Gomelsky, who set them up with gigs, digs and studio time, insisting that they make a hit for his newly formed Marmalade label. While their first album, 1967’s We are Ever so Clean, garnered positive critical reception and seems to embody the Toes' legacy among the public, members of the band distance themselves from it now. 

BrianGodding , the group’s chief songwriter, maintains that it really didn’t speak to the group’s sound at all, that the orchestrations and arrangements, good as they are, really detracted fromBT’s collective identity. I enjoy the album, and frankly, the arrangements are its strongest suit. A somewhat pithy track like “Look at Me, I’m You” is aided in no small part by marimba glissandi, airilyreverb'd vocal harmonies and sped-up backward guitars. The instrumental version, included as one of the many bonus tracks, demonstrates the disparity in vision all too well. Similarly, a beautiful track like “Love Is,” which would have worked quite well stripped down, is given a very convincingSpector-esque Wall of Sound treatment. The album is pleasantly diverse, and even the most insipid excursions, including “Saga of a Frozen Dog,” are treated with a heartwarming mixture of respect and whimsy.

Some personnel changes and a bit of the older-and-wiser potion, not to mention a few other substances, led to a radical transformation for the second album, 1969’s If Only for a Moment. The album is darker, more broodingly introspective but also heavier, shorn of the first disc’s contentious orchestrations. “Peace-loving Man” exemplifies the shift perfectly, and while it is certainly of its time, the constant shifts in dynamic and effect-induced environment keep things fresh and interesting almost 40 years later. 

Even their sitar-soaked cover of Richie Haven’s “Just Above My Hobby Horse’s Head” looks inward more than it smiles, symptomatic of the encroaching sobriety that was to signal the group’s demise by year’s end. A shame really, as a track like “Listen to the Silence” shows real promise, the often jazzy, egalitarian guitar lines of Brian Godding and Jim Cregan especially effective and the many meter and mood shifts proving powerful.
by Marc Medwin
Tracks
1. Peace Loving Man (Brian Godding) - 4:53
2. Kiss Of Confusion (Brian Godding) - 4:44
3. Listen To The Silence (Jim Cregan) - 4:49
4. Love Bomb (Brian Godding) - 7:38
5. Billy Boo The Gunman (Brian Godding) - 7:06
6. Indian Summer (Jim Cregan) - 5:53
7. Just Above My Hobby Horse’s Head (Richie Havens) - 2:51
8. Wait A Minute (Jim Cregan) - 5:49
9. Postcard (45 A-Side) (Brian Godding) - 2:54
10.Everyone’s Leaving Me Now (45 B-Side) (Poll Palmer) - 4:45
11.Ever Since A Memory (Demo) (Brian Godding) - 4:20
12.Nobody But (Demo) (Brian Godding) - 4:02
13.Peace Loving Man (Demo) (Brian Godding) - 6:28
14.Listen To The Silence (Live) (Jim Cregan) - 3:56
15.New Day (Demo) (Brian Godding) - 5:16

Blossom Toes
*"Big" Brian Belshaw - Bass, Vocals
*Jim Cregan - Guitars, Vocals
*Brian Godding - Guitars, Piano, Organ, Vocals
*Barry Reeves - Drums, Percussion
With
*John "Poli" Palmer - Drums, Flute, Vibes
*Shawn Phillips - 12-String Acoustic Guitar, Sitar
*Julie Dricoll - Vocals
*Reggie King - Vocals
*Giorgio Gomelsky - Backing Vocals

1968  Blossom Toes - We Are Ever So Clean (2005 Japan issue)
Related Act
1971  B.B.Blunder - Workers' Playtime

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Robert Calvert - Captain Lockheed And The Starfighters (1973-74 uk, stunning rough space psych rock with satirical attitude, 2009 remaster)



It wasn’t strictly necessary to be a musician to be a member of Hawkwind, the proto-punk space-rock commune from Notting Hill; longtime associate Stacia’s contribution consisted of stripping nude, painting herself blue and gyrating energetically to the rhythms. Robert Calvert’s efforts were a little more artistically substantial: he was an established poet and playwright who featured at intervals during the 1970s as the band’s lyricist and singer. His first “solo” album was originally conceived as a stage play, but in the pilled-out experimental spirit of the times, and with the willing assistance of most of Hawkwind’s musicians and some suitably eccentric guest vocalists, it became a studio-produced concept album alternating songs with darkly-comic sketches and Monty-Pythonesque dialogues. Though having nothing thematically in common with the Monkees’ Head album, its structure is not dissimilar and it’s just as absurd and disorienting. Bob Calvert was famously bipolar, always teetering between rationality and madness and passing occasional intervals in institutions; unsurprising, then, that he produced such an off-the-wall opus.

Calvert had nursed a boyhood yearning to become an RAF jet pilot, an ambition thwarted by a perforated eardrum. His simmering regret for this is probably reflected in his choice of theme for Captain Lockheed And The Starfighters: the German Luftwaffe’s F-104G scandal. The story is well known, but briefly the air arm of West Germany was persuaded to purchase the Lockheed Corporation’s F-104 Starfighter, conceived for the USAF as a supersonic daylight interceptor, as an all-weather strike fighter, a role for which it was totally unsuited. The story also allegedly involves ruthless hard-sell tactics by the manufacturer, bribes accepted by high-ranking German officials, a lamentable lack of training for flight and ground crews and various technical shortcomings including ejector seat failures, the end result being 292 lost aircraft and 115 dead pilots and the nicknaming of the plane as “Widowmaker”. Calvert was clearly familiar with all these factors and included them all in his hard-hitting and highly satirical libretto.

The eight songs commonly employ familiar Hawkwind motifs: driving, repetitive riffs, pounding bass and drums and howling lead guitar and sax, with Calvert’s unhinged vocals wailing over the top. “The Right Stuff”, “The Widow Maker” and “Ejection”, all of whose themes are obvious from their titles, follow this template closely. “The Song Of The Gremlin Part One” and its subsequent companion “Part Two” are more intriguing, with freeform arrangements and some fine synthesiser work. The closing “Catch A Falling Starfighter” is a blackly-humorous dirge resting on the obvious tasteless pun. The intervening spoken-word interludes follow the uniquely British late-sixties fashion of absurdist comedy, seemingly largely improvised in the studio by Calvert, Arthur Brown, Vivian Stanshall of the Bonzos and, unexpectedly, Jim Capaldi of Traffic. Stanshall’s stereotyped hysterical voicing of the German officers is desperately non-politically-correct by today’s standards but hilarious to anyone who appreciated John Cleese’s contemporary “Don’t mention the War” routine, and on “Ground Crew (Last-Minute Reassembly Before Take-Off)” Stanshall and Capaldi recall the best moments of Peter Cook’s and Dudley Moore’s witless, peerless partnership.

One reviewer subsequently described the work as “Vaudevillean rock’n’roll theatre from a time when rock was intelligent (and) dangerous”, which seems to me to sum it up admirably. Normally anything this far leftfield would have sunk without trace, but its Hawkwind associations at a time when the band was at its popularity zenith meant it enjoyed considerable appreciation among the Hawk-faithful. Resuscitated for CD in 2009 by Cherry Red, its unique, utterly offbeat nature means that it doesn’t sound at all dated today.
by Len Liechti
Tracks
1. Franz Josef Strauss, Defence Minister, Reviews The Luftwaffe In 1958 - 1:40
2. The Aerospaceage Inferno - 4:35
3. Aircraft Salesman (A Door In The Foot) - 1:41
4. The Widow Maker (Dave Brock, R. Calvert) - 2:42
5. Two Test Pilots Discuss The Starfighter's Performance - 0:41
6. The Right Stuff - 4:23
7. Board Meeting (Seen Through A Contract Lens) - 0:58
8. The Song Of The Gremlin (Part One) (Arthur Brown, R. Calvert, A. Wagner) - 3:21
9. Ground Crew (Last Minute Reassembly Before Take Off) - 3:17
10.Hero With A Wing - 3:20
11.Ground Control To Pilot - 0:52
12.Ejection - 3:35
13.Interview - 3:55
14.I Resign - 0:27
15.The Song Of The Gremlin (Part Two) (Brown, R. Calvert, A. Wagner) - 3:10
16.Bier Garten - 0:38
17.Catch A Falling Starfighter - 2:54
18.The Right Stuff (Extended Version) - 8.07
19.Ejection (Single Version) - 3.47
20.Catch A Falling Starfighter (Single Version) - 3.00
All songs by Robert Calvert except where stated.

Musicians
*Robert Calvert - Vocals
*Arthur Brown - Vocals On "The Song Of The Gremlin" Parts 1 And 2
*Paul Rudolph - Lead And Rhythm Guitar, Bass Guitar
*Dave Brock - Lead Guitar On "The Widow Maker"
*Lemmy - Bass Guitar
*Nik Turner - Saxophone
*Brian Eno - Synthesizer
*Del Dettmar - Synthesizer
*Adrian Wagner - Keyboards
*Simon King - Drums
*Twink Alder - Funeral Drum On "Catch A Falling Starfighter"
*The Ladbroke Grove Hermaphroditic Voice Ensemble - Back Up Vocals

Actors
*Vivian Stanshall - Most Leads (E.G. Ground Control, Bright Mechanic)
*Jim Capaldi - American Salesman, Recruiting Officer, Dim Mechanic
*Robert Calvert - Pilot
*Tom Mittledorf
*Richard Elen (Mis-Credited As "Richard Ealing")

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Mint Tatoo - Mint Tatoo (1967 us, classic rock, blues psych blended, with members of Blue Cheer and Pilot, Akarma digi pack issue)



The Mint Tattoo was born as an offshoot of the legendary 60's proto punk acid band Blue Cheer. Bruce Stephens and Ralph (Burns) Kellogg had played together in Blue Cheer on band's self titled album in 1969, but after that one album, Stevens left the band to pursue other interests. Kellogg stayed on with Blue Cheer until the demise of the band in 1971, but during his tenure with Blue Cheer he reunited with Stevens along with drummer Gregg Thomas to form the band Mint Tattoo. Produced by James William Guercio (Chicago) and recorded at A&R Studios, and engineered by Phil Ramone in New York.

An interesting oddity from 1968...With, cult group,Blue Cheer emerged two formations: Silver Metre (with Leigh Stevens), Pilot (not to be confused with the British) and the Mint Tattoo - where he played Burns Kellogg and Bruce Stevens. the only one album of this formation very nice, definitely guitar heavy album with a big dose of improvised music!

Primarily blues based rock of above average quality, this group has almost progressive ambitions at times. While they don't always measure up, they do go in some fascinating directions. Unusual song structures and lyrical ideas share space with hard rockin' blues. It's no where near the quality of Jeff Beck's Truth, but this album grows on me a little more with each listen (I have an old vinyl copy I picked up second hand). The band obviously needed a little more time to grow, but they fell apart before they really had a chance to establish their sound and direction.

Bruce Stephens' raspy vocals fit the rockers, but can wear thin on some of the other numbers. He's certainly no Steve Marriot. He and keyboardist Burns Kellog show up in Blue Cheer a year later to finish out the New! Improved!! album. Kellog would hang in for a few years and albums, but Stephens would depart before finishing B.C.'s self titled album of late '69, going on to form Pilot. I suppose the songs he did with B.C. can give you a hint at what this disc sounds like, and if you enjoy those you'll probably like this. I like this album, but it falls short of its potential. Interesting artwork and ideas.

Mint Tattoo is a mixture of blues styled original songs, a cover of classic a blues numbers and some rather uninspired, typical for the era hard rock tunes. Not an overly exciting album, compared to the early Blue Cheer material, but none the less a period piece and better than most material that was being released in the early 70's. This reissue contains one bonus track and has faithfully reproduced the original graphics in digipack Akarma CD format as it originally appeared LP Record Label Dot Records DLP25918 in 1969
by Adamus67
Tracks
1. Sister Fleu (First Movement) - 3:53
2. Leper's Epitaph (Second Movement) - 1:34
3. Policeman's Ball (Third Movement) - 2:24
4. Littal Lieu Lieu's Revenge (Fourth Movement) - 0:15
5. Faces Of Roses - 3:37
6. I'm Talking About You - 3:25
7. Scorpio Woman - 6:46
8. Mark Of The Beast - 2:37
9. Moanin' - 4:21
10.With Love - 2:30
11.I Hear The Spirits - 3:22

Mint Tatoo
*Bruce Stevens - Lead, Rhythm Guitar, Lead Vocals, Kazoo
*Ralph (Burns) Kellogg - Bass, Keyboards
*Gregg Thomas - Drums

1968   Blue Cheer - Vincebus Eruptum (2007 Japan remaster)
1968  Blue Cheer - OutsideInside (2012 edition)
1969  Blue Cheer - Blue Cheer (Japan 2007 remaster and expanded)
1969  Blue Cheer - New Improved! (2007 japan remaster)

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Blue Cheer - Vincebus Eruptum (1968 us, pioneer proto heavy rock, 2007 Japan remaster)



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1968  Blue Cheer - OutsideInside (2012 edition)
1969  Blue Cheer - Blue Cheer (Japan 2007 remaster and expanded)
1969  Blue Cheer - New Improved! (2007 japan remaster)

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Orphan Egg - Orphan Egg (1968 us, groovy fuzzed psych)



Orphan Egg album originally released on gnp subsidiary carole in 1968 - formed in 1967 in San Jose Orphan Egg was one of the lengthy list of bay area groups inspired by the psych movement spreading its tentacles from the sounds spiritual home in San Francisco. The album which also boasts some strong uk beat psych influences features lashings of incredible heavy fuzz guitar psych on a number of tracks. Aside from a handful of covers the self-penned tunes really are the stand-outs here with the feisty fuzz guitar bass drums a little recorder & a smattering of harpsichord combining along with beautiful trippy vocals to produce an ethereal floating psych sound.
Tracks
1. Falling - 3:40
2. That's The Way Love Is - 2:30
3. Mourning Electra - 2:16
4. Bird Dog (Boudleaux Bryant) - 2:45
5. It's Wrong - 2:30
6. Ain't That Lovin You Baby - 2:55
7. Look At Me - 2:50
8. Deep In The Heart Of Nebraska - 2:15
9. Don't Go To Him (Dratleaf, Guy Hemric, Mirby, Jerry Styner) - 2:05
10.Circumstance - 2:50
11.Unusual State Of Mind - 1:40
12.Rock Me Baby (Joe Josea) - 5:50
All songs by Dratleaf, Orphan Egg, Mirby except where noted.

The Orphan Egg
*Jim Bate - Vocals
*George Brix - Drums
*Pat Gallagher - Guitar, Vocals
*Dave Monley - Guitar, Harpsichord
*Barry Smith - Bass

Related Release
1969  Various Artists - The Cycle Savages / O.S.T. (2012 edition)

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Monday, August 4, 2014

The Pretty Things - Emotions (1967 uk, brilliant psychedelia, Japan remaster)



In accordance with their label's (and not the band's) wishes, the Pretties were teamed with a middle-aged orchestra directed by Reg Tilsley on this album, which saw the Phil May-Dick Taylor songwriting team making an effort to move beyond R&B knockoffs into more sophisticated territory. Sometimes the arrangements (dubbed onto tracks without much involvement from the group) worked; more often, they were an unnecessary hindrance. An interesting failure, it contained some genuinely top-rank originals that saw the group expanding their vision into social observation and tentative psychedelia, including "My Time," "The Sun," and especially the moody, folk-rock-ish "Death of a Socialite." 
by Richie Unterberger

And here is this enchanted garden of psychedelia. The Pretty Things' third album has its admirers - but The Pretty Things are not among them. Released in May of 1967, "Emotions" saw this stubborn band embarking, just for once, on a path that was not of their choosing. Doubtful of the Pretty Things' place in a changing music scene, Fontana's hierarchy thought the beat group formula was fading and needed dressing up with mainstream pop arrangements. So they summoned new producer Steve Rowland. But the most radical colouring of the Pretties' sound was done by another outsider, one Reg Tilsey, who overdubbed the elaborate arrangements, much to the bands disgust.

But thanks to the helping of bonus tracks, you can  hear some of the "Emotions" sessions as nature intended them - free of the poppy brass and string embellishments imposed upon the music. However to neutral ears, the record sounds rather charming - a period of transition from the bands blistering R&B roots to full flowering of psychedelia. It's surely true the songs themselves were softer than before. The "Emotions" material has, at least, a definite leaning towards the wistful. As May says "we were using personal incidents to make the songs out of. Normally someone would get a musical idea and the lyrics would be made to fit that, but these were lyric-led songs. It was a completely different way of writing".

Also, stereo had become 'good'. Listening to the album with headphones will drive you insane in no time. Whereas common sense is used to create a stereo sound nowadays, at the end of the sixties the preference was to pull everything apart as much as possible. After the setback of "Emotions" the band moved to EMI, and found themselves at work in the Abbey Road studios alongside The Beatles and Pink Floyd. They went down on to make the classic record "S.F. Sorrow". 
by Henri Bos
Tracks
1. Death Of A Socialite (P. May, D. Taylor, I. Stirling) - 2:44
2. Children (P. May, D. Taylor, W. Waller) - 3:01
3. The Sun (P. May, W. Waller) - 3:05
4. There Will Never Be Another Day (P. May, D. Taylor, W. Waller) - 2:20
5. House Of Ten (P. May, D. Taylor, W. Waller) - 2:50
6. Out In The Night (D. Taylor, Stirling) - 2:40
7. One Long Glance (P. May, D. Taylor, W. Waller) - 2:54
8. Growing In My Mind (P. May, D. Taylor) - 2:19
9. Photographer (P. May, D. Taylor, I. Stirling) - 2:07
10.Bright Lights Of The City (P. May, W. Waller) - 3:02
11.Tripping (P. May, D. Taylor) - 3:23
12.My Time (P. May, D. Taylor, W. Waller) - 3:05
13.A House In The Country (R. Davies) - 2:58
14.Progress (B. Halley, C. Spencer) - 2:40
15.Photographer (Alternate Mix) (P. May, D. Taylor, I. Stirling) - 2:15
16.There Will Never Be Another Day (Alternate Mix) (P. May, D. Taylor, W. Waller) - 2:25
17.My Time (Alternate Mix) (P. May, D. Taylor, W. Waller) - 3:10
18.The Sun (Alternate Mix) (P. May, W. Waller) - 3:09
19.Progress (Alternate Mix) (B. Halley, C. Spencer) - 2:55
20.Children (Alternate Version) (P. May, D. Taylor, W.  Waller) - 3:00

The Pretty Things
*Phil May - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
*Dick Taylor - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
*John Povey - Percussion, Vocals
*Wally Allen Waller - Bass, Vocals
*Skip Alan - Drums, Vocals

1964-66  The Pretty Things - The EP Collection...Plus 

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