Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Boones Farm - Boones Farm (1972 us, awesome rural hard rock, Vinyl edition)



Here's another big label release that has left precious little biographical information behind it.  Good luck finding out much about this short-lived  early-1970s California-based quartet, let alone locating a decent review of their sole 1972 release.

During high school drummer Fred Darling and guitarist Gary Stovall played together in the band Churchill Downs.  After school the pair relocated from Idaho to Southern California and began to enjoy some late 1960s local success on the L.A. club circuit when Darling got his induction notice, bringing the band to an end.  Completing his two years of active duty in the Army, in 1971 Darling returned to L.A. where Stovall invited him to join a band he'd just put together.   Featuring Darling, Stovall, bassist Brad Palmer, and singer Kent Sprague, while not exactly ground breaking (but still rare in rock circles), the quartet's integrated line up and country-rock moves attracted the attention of Columbia Records which promptly signed them to a contract.

Produced by Jim Messina (of Loggins and Messina fame), 1972's cleverly-titled "Boones Farm" was clearly intended to appeal to the growing country-rock audience (just check out the cover photos that made the quartet look like they had just finished a cattle round up).  Largely written by Sprague and Stovall with the other two members contributing, tracks like the acoustic ballad 'She's So Good', 'The Me Nobody Knows', and 'If You Can't Be My Woman' had a distinctive country-rock edge, complete with acoustic arrangements and some nice Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young-styled four part harmonies (check out 'Love has a Mind of Its Own' for a taste of the comparison).  

That said, similar to era-competitors like The Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds, or Poco their roots were far more diverse and the collection included a healthy dose of  conventional rock.  In fact, over half of the album was straight ahead rock.  Powered by Sprague's deep, soulful voice, 'Good Old Feelin'', 'Play Children Play', 'Livin' Together', 'The Me Nobody Knows' and the blazing 'So Much Wrong' (with a killer Stovall guitar solo) were all first-rate, out-and-out rockers that would have sounded fine on FM radio.s you wonder how these talented guys fell through the cracks when so many far less talented outfits made it onto the charts ...   Another one that sounds better the more I listen to it and you can still pick up on the cheap.
Tracks
1. Good Old Feelin' (Kent Sprague, Gary Stovall) - 3:00
2. She's So Good (Kent Sprague, Gary Stovall, Brad Palmer) - 3:20
3. Play Children Play (Kent Sprague, Gary Stovall) - 4:40
4. Love has a Mind of Its Own (Kent Sprague, Gary Stovall) - 3:56
5. Livin' Together (Kent Sprague, Gary Stovall, Brad Palmer) - 3:55
6. Mother-In-Law (Kent Sprague, Gary Stovall, Fred Darling) - 2:59
7. The Me Nobody Knows (Kent Sprague, Gary Stovall) - 2:53
8. You Say You Love Me More (Kent Sprague, Gary Stovall, Brad Palmer, Fred Darling) - 3:29
9. If You Can't Be My Woman (Kent Sprague, Gary Stovall) - 3:12
10.So Much Wrong (Kent Sprague, Gary Stovall, Brad Palmer) - 3:35
11.Start Today (Kent Sprague, Gary Stovall) - 4:19

The Boones Farm
*Brad Palmer - Bass, Vocals
*Fred Darling - Drums
*Kent Sprague - Percussion, Vocals
*Gary Stovall - Guitar, Vocals
*Milt Holland - Percussion

Related Act
1967-68  The Churchill Downs - The Churchill Downs (2011 Issue)

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Bread - The Best Of Bread (1973 us, elegant folk country smooth rock, 2015 SACD)



Bread is known for its 1970s soft rock hits, mostly written by band member David Gates. The Best Of Bread opens with “Make It With You,” which was the group’s first top-ten hit, released as a single in 1970 and reaching the #1 spot in the summer of that year. If you’re having trouble recalling the song for some reason, here is a taste of the lyrics to remind you: “Life can be short or long/Love can be right or wrong/And if I chose the one I’d like to help me through/I’d like to make it with you.”

It’s a good song, but I much prefer the album’s second track, “Everything I Own.” This is a sweet and beautiful tune, with lines like “The finest years I ever knew/Were all the years I had with you/And I would give anything I own/Give up my life, my heart, my home/I would give everything I own/Just to have you back again.” This is one of those songs that finds you in tears in your weaker moments. Boy George covered this one, giving it a happier, sort of reggae vibe, which completely changes the tone. Olivia Newton-John also covered it, her version remaining truer to the original.

“Baby I’m-A Want You” was another big hit for Bread, reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1971. If you’ve listened to the radio, you’ve heard this song. You’ve also probably heard it in several films and television shows. But in case you haven’t, here are the opening lyrics: “Baby I’m-a want you/Baby I’m-a need you/You’re the only one I care enough to hurt about/Maybe I’m-a crazy/But I just can’t live without/your lovin’ and affection.”  “If” likewise has been used in films and television programs, and is another beautiful song, this one reaching #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. This one was also covered by Olivia Newton-John, as well as by Frank Sinatra, Dolly Parton and Petula Clark. “If a picture paints a thousand words/Then why can’t I paint you/The words will never show/The you I’ve come to know.”

If you’ve only heard Bread’s mellow tunes, then a song like “Mother Freedom” will come as a surprise. This is more of a rock tune, with some really nice work on electric guitar. It kicked off the band’s 1972 record Baby I’m-A Want You, and opened the second side of The Best Of Bread. It wasn’t as successful as the band’s mellower material, reaching only #37 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Down On My Knees,” from that same album, is another more energetic tune, this one co-written by David Gates and James Griffin. “Let Your Love Go” is also more of a rock tune, and was released as a single in early 1971, and also kicked off their 1971 LP, Manna.

One of my favorites is “Too Much Love,” which has more of a folk and country flavor, which I really like. This is one of the few tracks not written or co-written by David Gates. It was written by James Griffin and Robb Royer. This compilation ends with another Griffin/Royer tune, “Truckin’,” a good song that includes a harmonica part.
by Michael Doherty
Tracks
1. Make It With You - 3:15
2. Everything I Own - 3:06
3. Diary - 3:05
4. Baby I'm A Want You - 2:25
5. It Don't Matter To Me - 2:41
6. If - 2:33
7. Mother Freedom - 2:55
8. Down On My Knees (David Gates, James Griffin) - 2:44
9. Too Much Love (James Griffin, Robb Royer) - 2:45
10.Let Your Love Go - 2:25
11.Look What You've Done (James Griffin, Robb Royer) - 3:10
12.Truckin' (James Griffin, Robb Royer) - 2:31
All compositions by David Gates unless as else stated

The Bread
*David Gates - Vocals , Guitar
*James Griffin - Guitar
*Larry Knechtel - Bass,  keyboards
*Mike Botts - Drums

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Wet Willie - Dixie Rock (1975 us, excellent funky boogie southern rock)



Dixie Rock is a worthy successor and another excellent yet underrated entry in the band's catalog. With their picture dominating the back cover, backing singers the Williettes (Ella Avery and Donna Hall) receive featured treatment, and their contribution adds substantial gospel flavor to the group's approach. Avery's duet with frontman Jimmy Hall on "Mama Don't Raise No Fools" is one of the disc's highlights, and the stripped-down version of Albert Brumly's "He Set Me Free" could have come directly off a traditional spiritual album. 

But "Leona" (a minor hit single), is pure greasy Southern singalong funk and rock that, along with the title cut, slots into Willie's established sound. The R&B-drenched "It's Gonna Stop Rainin' Soon," featuring sublime slide work from Ricky Hirsch and Jimmy Hall's mournful harp along with the deep Delta blues of "Jailhouse Moan," help make this one of the band's most cohesive works, although it takes a few spins for their charms to be appreciated. 
by Hal Horowitz
Tracks
1. She's My Lady (John Anthony, Jerry Weaver) - 3:30
2. Ain't He a Mess (John Anthony, Lewis Ross) - 2:57
3. Dixie Rock (Jimmy Hall, Ricky Hirsch) - 5:11
4. Poor Judge of Character (Ricky Hirsch) - 3:22
5. Mama Didn't Raise No Fools (John Anthony, Ella Avery, Jack Hall, Jimmy Hall, Ricky Hirsch, Lewis Ross) - 5:04
6. It's Gonna Stop Rainin' Soon (Jack Hall, Jimmy Hall) - 4:02
7. Jailhouse Moan (Jimmy Hall, Ricky Hirsch) - 4:26
8. He Set Me Free (Albert E. Brumley) - 1:27
9. Leona (Jack Hall, Jimmy Hall, William D. Shore, David Wills) - 4:38
10.Take It to the Music (Ricky Hirsch) - 3:36

Wet Willie
*John Anthony - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Jack Hall - Bass, Vocals
*Jimmy Hall - Harmonica, Percussion, Saxophone, Vocals
*Ricky Hirsch - Bottleneck Guitar,  Vocals, Guitar
*Lewis Ross - Congas, Drums, Percussion
With
*Ella Avery - Vocals
*Earl Ford - Trombone
*Mike Duke - Keyboards, Vocals
*Donna Hall - Vocals
*Mama Hall - Keyboards, Piano, Vocals
*Susan Hall - Vocals
*Joyce Knight - Vocals

1973  Wet Willie - Drippin' Wet Live
1974  Wet Willie - Keep On Smilin

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Wet Willie - Drippin' Wet Live (1973 us, great live southern roots rock)



This is the album to start with on Wet Willie, and their real best-of, a surging, forceful concert recording of white Southern soul and blues-rock at its best. The band holds its own alongside outfits like the Allman Brothers -- no, this isn't the kind of history-making set that At Fillmore East by the latter band constituted, but it is a great show presenting this group and its members at their very best. 

The playing is hard and muscular, the singing rich and expressive, and they have serious fun with numbers like "Red Hot Chicken" (stretched to ten minutes) and do a nice, laidback "Macon Hambone Blues," surrounded by crunchy renditions of pieces like "Airport." What's more, they switch effortlessly from a lean, guitar-centered blues-rock to a much funkier, sax-driven sound -- maybe it was that diversity that prevented Wet Willie from really breaking big outside of the Southeast. The vibes they were picking up from the audience on New Year's Eve at the Warehouse in New Orleans make this a compelling concert document. 
by Bruce Eder
Tracks
1. That's Allright (Arthur Crudup) - 7:03
2. She Caught The Katy (And Left Me A Mule To Ride)t (Taj Mahal, Yank Rachael) - 3:21
3. No Good Woman Bluest (Milton Larkin, Sr.) - 3:39
4. Red Hot Chicken (John Anthony, Jack Hall, Jim Hall, Ricky Hirsch, Lewis Ross, Wick Larsen) - 10:17
5. Airportt (John Anthony) - 3:32
6. I'd Rather Be Blindt (Leon Russell) - 3:49
7. Macon Hambone Blues (John Anthony, Jack Hall, Jim Hall, Ricky Hirsch, Lewis Ross) - 9:47
8. Shout Bamalamat (Otis Redding) - 4:06

Wet Willie
*Jimmy Hall - Harmonica, Percussion, Alto Saxophone, Vocals
*Rick Hirsch - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*John Anthony - Keyboards, Percussion, Vocals
*Lewis Ross - Drums, Percussion
*Jack Hall - Banjo, Bass, Composer, Vocals
With
*Jai Johanny Johanson - Congas

1974  Wet Willie - Keep On Smilin'

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Wet Willie - Keep On Smilin' (1974 us, exceptional funky blues southern rock)



The five original members of Wet Willie, all from Mobile, Alabama, came together in 1969 and soon realized they had something special. Jimmy was out front, a triple threat on lead vocals, sax and harmonica; as one writer said, “Jimmy Hall was who Mick Jagger wanted to be!” Ricky Hirsch played guitars and wrote or co-wrote much of the band’s material, with Jack Hall, Jimmy’s brother, on bass, Lewis Ross on drums and John Anthony on keyboards.

The band relocated to Macon, Georgia in 1970 where they were signed by Phil Walden’s Capricorn label, and got right to work on their self-titled first album. Upon its release later that year, Wet Willie began a relentless touring schedule, and soon became known as one of the hardest working bands of the Southern Rock era. As they put it, they “opened for everyone from A to Z: Allman Brothers to ZZ Top!”

Keep on Smilin' is the definitive Wet Willie studio album, bluesier than a lot of their other work, and much of it also somewhat more laid-back. Beginning with "Country Side of Life," the band sounds tight, tuned, and in top form.

Their playing is clean and crisp, and the vocals exude a bold confidence. The hit title track is a compelling reggae-country meld that's one of the more interesting and long-wearing country-rock hits of its period. It's surrounded by gospel-flavored material and also one of the neater Stax-influenced tracks ever put down by a white band, "Soul Sister," which is also a great showcase for the Williettes.

Other highlights include the acoustic country ballad "Alabama," a major change of pace for this band with some clever lyrical conceits; the ultra-funky "Soul Jones" (which manages to work in a quote from the Allman Brothers), and the soulful rocker "Lucy Was in Trouble," which became a key part of the group's concert sets. The 1998 Capricorn remastering has an especially full sound, improving significantly on the original LP.
by Bruce Eder
Tracks
1. Country Side Of Life (Maurice R. Hirsch, Ricky Hirsch) - 3:29
2. Keep On Smilin' (John Anthony, Jack Hall, Jimmy Hall, Ricky Hirsch, Lewis Ross) - 3:56
3. Trust In The Lord (Mike Duke) - 3:10
4. Soul Sister (John Anthony, Ella Avery) - 4:54
5. Alabama (Maurice R. Hirsch, Ricky Hirsch) - 3:24
6. Lucy Was In Trouble (Maurice R. Hirsch, Ricky Hirsch) - 3:38
7. Soul Jones (John Anthony, Jack Hall, Jim Hall, Ricky Hirsch, Lewis Ross) - 4:01
8. Don't Wait Too Long (John Anthony) - 3:05
9. Spanish Moss (Maurice R. Hirsch, Ricky Hirsch) - 3:43
10.In Our Hearts (John Anthony, Ricky Hirsch) - 4:24

Wet Willie
*Jimmy Hall - Harmonica, Percussion, Alto Saxophone, Vocals
*Rick Hirsch - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*John Anthony - Keyboards, Percussion, Vocals
*Lewis Ross - Drums, Percussion
*Jack Hall - Banjo, Bass, Composer, Vocals
With
*Ella Avery - Vocals
*Donna Hall - Vocals
*Earl Ford - Electric Trombone
*Joyce Knight - Vocals

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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Tom Rush - Tom Rush / Wrong End Of The Rainbow (1970 us, exceptional solid folk rock)



Second self-titled album, this time for CBS, finds Tom Rush continuing to mine the fertile vein of folk-rock songwriters the likes of James Taylor, Jackson Browne, and Canadian Murray McLaughlin. Standouts include David Wiffen's "Driving Wheel," McLaughlin's "Old Man's Song" and "Child's Song," and Browne's "Colors of the Sun." Also, there appears to be a hint of country sneaking into the arrangements. A very solid effort. 

Adding four original compositions to the mix helped Tom Rush gather even more acclaim with Wrong End of the Rainbow. But it was his covers of "Sweet Baby James" and Jesse Winchester's "Biloxi" that made listeners sigh. More country-rock than previous efforts, nothing here should be forsaken because all cuts merit listening. Again, Tom Rush found the right mix of material and released another solid effort. 
by James Chrispell
Tracks
Tom Rush 1970
1. Driving Wheel (David Wiffen) - 05:28
2. Rainy Day Man (James Taylor, Zachary Wiesner) - 03:15
3. Drop Down Mama (Sleepy John Estes) - 02:38
4. Old Man Song (Murray McLauchlan) - 03:28
5. Lullaby (Jesse Colin Young) - 03:53
6. These Days (Jackson Browne) - 02:46
7. Wild Child (Fred Neil) - 03:19
8. Colors Of The Sun (Jackson Browne) - 03:56
9. Livin'in The Country (Day, Winsted) - 02:38
10.Child's Song (Murray McLauchlan) - 04:17
Wrong End Of The Rainbow 1970
11.Wrong End Of The Rainbow (Tom Rush, Trevor Veitch) - 02:57
12.Biloxi (Jesse Winchester) - 04:47
13.Merrimac County (Tom Rush, Trevor Veitch) - 02:57
14.Riding On A Railroad (James Taylor) - 05:53
15.Came To See Me Yesterday In The Month Of (Ray O'Sullivan) - 02:35
16.Starlight (Tom Rush) - 04:44
17.Sweet Baby James (James Taylor) - 03:27
18.Rotunda (Tom Rush, Trevor Veitch) - 03:29
19.Jazzman (Ed Holstein) - 02:41
20.Gnostic Serenade (William Hawkins) - 04:56

Musicians
Tom Rush 1970
*Tom Rush - Vocals, Guitar
*Trevor Veich - Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Mando Cello
*Duke Bardwell - Bass
*Warren Bernhardt - Piano, Organ
*Herbie Lovelle - Drums
*Dave Bromberg - Dobro
*Paul Griffin - Organ
*Red Rhodes - Steel Guitar
*Ed Freeman - 12 String Guitar
*Ron Carter - Acoustic Bass
Wrong End Of The Rainbow 1970
*Tom Rush - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
*Trevor Veich - Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Mando Cello
*Bob Boucher - Bass
*Dave Lewis - Percussion
*John Locke - Piano, Organ
*Erik Robertson - Piano, Organ
*Paul Armin - Violin, Viola

1965 Tom Rush - Tom Rush
1968 Tom Rush - The Circle Game

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Livingston Taylor ‎- Carolina Day: The Livingston Taylor Collection (1970-80 us, delicate folk country mild rock)



Livingston Taylor's musical career has been marked by numerous highs and lows. The younger brother of folk-pop superstar James Taylor, Taylor has had a more modest career. His best-selling single, "I Will Be in Love with You," went no higher than the 30th position on the Billboard charts, while his last Top 40 single, "First Time Love," was released in 1980. Taylor's exuberant personality and warm charm as a performer allowed him to maintain a busy concert schedule for years.

Taylor was the third of five children born to Dr. Isaac Taylor, a member of a prominent Southern family, and his wife, Trudy, a lyric soprano vocalist whose roots lay in the established families of New England. Although born in a suburb of Boston, Taylor was raised in Chapel Hill, North Carolina after his father accepted a position as dean of a medical school. 

As a youngster, Taylor experienced many emotional problems. While attending a private, Quaker-run high school in Westtown, Pennsylvania, he suffered from such severe depression that he hospitalized himself at McLean Psychiatric Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, where James had been hospitalized earlier. Much of his therapy centered around guitar playing and singing. Upon his release in the late-'60s, Taylor remained in the Boston area and began to perform in local clubs and coffeehouses. Discovered by critic/producer Jon Landau, who later managed Bruce Springsteen, Taylor was one of the first artists signed to Capricorn Records in 1970. His self-titled debut album, produced by Landau, included the original biographical song "Carolina Day," and established Taylor's intimate and laid-back musical approach. His second album, Liv, again produced by Landau, included the minor hit "Get Out of Bed." Taylor's relationship with Capricorn concluded with his third album, Over the Rainbow, in 1973. Despite the inclusion of an original tune, "Be My New Horizon," featuring backup vocals by James Taylor and Carly Simon, the album sold disappointingly. 

Taylor's next album, 3 Way Mirror, his first on Epic, wasn't released until five years later. In addition to featuring "I Will Be in Love with You," the album included a song, "Going Round One More Time," that was covered by his brother James on That's Why I'm Here in 1985. Taylor publicized the album's release as opening act for Linda Ronstadt's "Living in the USA" national tour. In 1979, Capricorn released Echoes, a greatest-hits sampling of songs from Taylor's first three albums. 

The following year, Taylor released his second and last album on the Epic label, Man's Best Friend. In addition to the minor hit "First Time Love," the album included a lighthearted ditty, "Pajamas," that was later adapted into a children's book by Taylor and his wife, Maggie. In addition to hosting a nationally syndicated television show, This Week's Music, Taylor began teaching performance arts at the Berklee College of Music in 1984. He didn't release a new album, however, until four years later when he recorded Life Is Good, the first of two albums produced by Artie Traum and Scott Petito. Taylor subsequently worked with Traum and Petito on his 1993 album, Our Turn to Dance, while his 1996 album, Bicycle, was produced by Petito. 

Taylor also released two albums -- Good Friends in 1993 and the R&B-flavored covers album Ink in 1997 -- for David Chesky's Chesky label. Unsolicited Material, released in 1994, captured the warm-hearted fun of Taylor's concerts and ranged from humorous tunes including Andy Breckman's "Railroad Bill" and "The Dollar Bill Song," a medley of "Songs That Should Never Be Played on the Banjo," and the originals "Jacques Cousteau" and "I Hate Country Music" to heartfelt renditions of Hoagy Carmichael's "Heart and Soul" and Earl Scruggs' "Earl's Breakdown." In 1998, Razor & Tie released Carolina Day: The Livingston Taylor Collection, an 18-track retrospective of Taylor's career. Taylor continued recording after the turn of the millennium, issuing There You Are Again in 2006 and the highly regarded Last Alaska Moon in 2010, both on the Chesky-affiliated Coconut Bay imprint. 
by Craig Harris

Carolina Day: Collection (1970-1980) is an excellent single-disc collection spotlighting the singer-songwriter's prime years -- the '70s. Drawing highlights from his albums for Capricorn and Epic, the collection hits almost all the high points, including the hit singles "I Will Be In Love with You," "I'll Come Running" and "First Time Love," hereby offering a fine summary of Livingston Taylor's best work. 
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Tracks
1. Get Out Of Bed - 2:51
2. Carolina Day - 3:07
3. Can't Get Back Home - 2:24
4. Good Friends - 2:59
5. Lost In The Love Of You - 2:58
6. Packet Of Good Times - 3:03
7. Caroline - 2:17
8. On Broadway (Barry Mann, Cynthia Well, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) - 3:38
9. I Just Can't Be Lonesome No More - 2:45
10.Loving Be My New Horizon - 1:49
11.Lady Tomorrow - 2:39
12.Over The Rainbow (E.Y. Harburg, Harold Arlen) - 2:42
13.Going Round One More Time - 2:52
14.I'll Come Running - 3:24
15.I Will Be In Love With You - 3:32
16.First Time Love (Pat Alger, Peter Kaminsky) - 2:43
17.Pajamas (Margaret Taylor) - 1:55
18.Hush A Bye - 2:35
All compositions by Livingston Taylor except where noted

Musicians
*Michael Baird - Drums
*Jeff Baxter - Guitar
*Victor Brady - Keyboards
*Pete Carr - Guitar
*Pete Christlieb - Tenor Sax
*Nick Decaro - Accordion, String Arrangements
*Scott Edwards - Bass
*Bill Elliott - Keyboards
*Howard "Buzz" Feiten - Guitar
*Victor Feldman - Keyboards, Percussion
*Steve Forman - Percussion
*Ed Freeman - Horn, String Arrangements
*Tom Funderbunk - Vocals
*Jim Gilstrap - Vocals
*Ed Greene - Drums
*Jimmie Haskell - String Arrangements
*Jerry Hey - Flugelhorn, Horn Arrangements
*Paul Hornsby - Organ, Piano, Vibraphone
*David Hungate - Bass, Guest Artist
*Kim Hutchcroft – Baritone,  Tenor  Sax
*Tom Kelly - Vocals
*Jim Keltner - Drums
*Russ Kunkel - Drums
*Neil Larsen - Keyboards
*Chuck Leavell - Keyboards
*Tony Levin - Bass
*Steve Madaio - Flugelhorn
*Mike Mainieri - Marimba, Vibraphone
*Rick Marotta - Drums
*Jimmy Nalls - Guitar
*Robert "Pops" Popwell - Bass
*Greg Prestopino - Vocals
*Paul Prestopino - Tambourine
*Lee Ritenour - Guitar
*Walter Robinson - Bass
*Gene Roma - Drums
*Johnny Sandlin - Drums
*Rick Shlosser - Drums
*Carly Simon - Vocal Harmony
*William D. "Smitty" Smith - Keyboards
*Bill Stewart - Drums
*Fred Tackett - Guitar
*Tommy Talton - Guitar
*James Taylor - Vocal Harmony
*Larry Williams – Tenor Sax
*Jai Winding - Keyboards
*David Woodford - Flute, Tenor
*Livingston Taylor - Guitars, Piano, Vocals, Whistle

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Thirty Days Out - Thirty Days Out (1971 us, amazing guitar rock with folk psych shades, 2010 edition)



Thirty Days Out were formed New York in 1971 by John Micaleff (pronouced "McCullough"), a folksinger from Michigan and Jack Malken, who had previously been with The Outcasts. After teaming up with Melnick and Lowe, they found a place to practice but had to relocate in Greenfield, Massachussets when their neigbours complained! They soon managed to get a recording contract with Reprise and their first album was released in the summer of '71.  

Produced by Larry Marks (previously in charge of Lee Michaels and Phil Ochs) their debut was recorded in New York and L.A. On offer are eight tracks penned by Micaleff and Malken, which mix competent guitars with early seventies style vocals. Influenced by Free on some tracks (Doing The Best That I Can and Survival, a rip-off of Clover's Shotgun). The most interesting element is probably the keyboard parts played by two ace sessionmen, Larry Knechtel and Jim Dickinson. The lyrics have often a Christian content and the overall result is rather undistinguished. In fact the album is maybe mainly notable for a weird packaging idea, as it came wrapped in a poster of a steamliner. Once the shrink was opened, the hidden black and white sleeve with pictures of the group would appear.
Tracks
1. Everybody's Looking For Someone – 4:28
2. Mama Come See Me Tonight – 2:56
3. Home On The Road – 4:09
4. Living Like One (Jack Malken) - 3:10
5. Hoy Hannah – 2:37
6. Survival (Jack Malken, John Micallef) - 4:55
7. Taking The Chance (Jack Malken, John Micallef) - 3:32
8. Forever – 3:57
9. Doing The Best That I Can (Jack Malken, John Micallef) - 5:28
All songs by John Micallef except where indicated

Thirty Days Out
*Phil Lowe - Drums, Vocals
*Jack Malken - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Monte Melnick - Bass, Keyboards, Vocals
*John Micaleff - Vocals, Guitar
With
*Jim Dickinson - Keyboards
*Larry Knechtel - Keyboards

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band - British Tour '76 (1976 uk, stunning hard glam rock, 2004 issue)



British Tour '76 is not an expanded version of the original Live album, despite the similarity in track listings, but a remarkable document of the band's next major tour, in support of the newly released SAHB Stories album. History relates that the group was on the way out now, and certainly its subsequent decline was precipitous. Here, however, Alex and the lads aren't simply firing on all cylinders -- they're enacting one of the finest shows any British stage had ever seen. 

Their seething reinvention of "Amos Moses," the bicentennial gift "Boston Tea Party," and the so-compulsive "Dance to Your Daddy" are the new album's contributions to the show; elsewhere, it's business as usual, as the SAHB dig back into their earliest fare for a mighty "Isabel Goudie" and the inevitable thunder of "Faith Healer"; "Tomahawk Kid," "Vambo," and the encore hit "Delilah" are all present and deliriously correct, but the highlight has to be "Framed," with Alex in full comic Hitler mode, and delivering a routine that you simply couldn't get away with today. That doesn't stop it from being hysterically funny, though, as well as serving as a potent reminder that good taste and great rock & roll have rarely been comfortable bedfellows. 
by Dave Thompson
Tracks
1. Fanfare (D. Wadsworth) - 1:17
2. The Faith Healer (A. Harvey, H. McKenna) - 6:42
3. Tomahawk Kid (A. Harvey, H. McKenna, D.Batchelor) - 5:38
4. Isobel Goudie (Alex Harvey) - 9:40
5. Amos Moses (Jerry Reed) - 6:12
6. Vambo (A. Harvey, H. McKenna) - 6:43
7. Boston Tea Party (A. Cleminson, A. Harvey, H. McKenna) - 7:50
8. Dance To Your Daddy (D. Batchelor, A. Cleminson, C. Glen, A. Harvey, H. McKenna) - 8:42
9. Framed (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) - 7:39
10.Delilah (Les Reed, Barry Mason) - 5:12

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band
*Ted McKenna - Drums, Percussion
*Alex Harvey - Vocals
*Tommy Eyre - Keyboards, Synthesizer
*Chris Glen - Bass
*Zal Cleminson - Guitar


The Senstational Alex Harvey Band
1972-73  Framed / Next 
1974-75  The Impossible Dream / Tomorrow Belongs to Me
1975-76  Live / The Penthouse Tapes
1976/78 Stories / Rock Drill
Related Act
1970  Tear Gas - Piggy Go Getter (Vinyl edition)
1971  Tear Gas - Tear Gas

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Saturday, July 4, 2015

King Biscuit Boy With Crowbar - Official Music (1970 canada, awesome blues rock)



Hamilton, Ontario is a steel town. I guess you could compare it to Pittsburgh, although I've never been to Pittsburgh -- but the skyline is marked by foundries, their chimneys belching black smoke and the odd flame. A rust colored haze hangs in the sky, stratifying the horizon -- earth, air (somewhat breathable), smog and heaven. The Hamilton mountain provides the backdrop. Really it is an escarpment, but we call it the mountain, because we need to. It provides a layer of oxygen-producing trees needed in the overall picture. This is the kind of place that a hardy breed calls home. It is the perfect place for the blues. Blue collar blues, we know what that means. The city is a little bluer today--our own King of the Blues died last week. Not BB, or Albert, or Freddie--but a local boy. Richard Newell's blues ran as deep as his soul--his body finally couldn't take any more abuse, and gave up the ghost. King Biscuit Boy is gone. But his music will never die!

I've been listening to a lot of Biscuit over the past few days. The first album I turned to was Badly Bent, his Best of collection which contains a perfect selection from his first three albums; but really you should listen to the original albums in their entirety to fully appreciate Newell's gifts. So when Stony Plain sent me the original albums on CD I quickly put on Official Music, the album he made with Crowbar in 1972. Crowbar had been the rag-tag bunch of musicians Ronnie Hawkins hired to replace his last band, the one that backed up Bob Dylan, and moved to the Big Pink house in Woodstock. These guys were raw, tough and raunchy, they could really play. Newell adopted the King Biscuit Boy name-tag because he could play the harp to sound like Sonny Boy Williamson. He could blow that harp like anything. He made those reeds quiver. He made 'em sound like a saxophone, an orchestra, it was amazing. The music this raw band -- and the young blues shouter made, was "official" all right!

The album begins with a screamer, "Highway 61." Twin guitars of Rheal Lanthier and John "the Ghetto" Gibbard and then Biscuit's high voice, a blend of Robert Johnson howl and Muddy Waters growl. This one rocks. There is no let up, though, as the second track; "Don't Go No Further," steams ahead, slower but still potent. Kelly Jay Fordham, Doug Riley and Rick Bell provide keyboards and the amazing Larry Atamanuik keeps the solid beat! Jazz musicians Moe Kauffman, Steve Riley and Greg Mudry form a powerful horn section. This is good stuff. "Key to the Highway," "Corinna," "Hoy Hoy Hoy," "Shout Bama Lama," the covers are brilliantly chosen and well done. Newell also writes a couple...the long and humorous "Biscuit's Boogie," "Badly Bent," and "Cookin' Little Baby" show his understanding of the blues form. If this was his only album it would be a classic, but he would soon leave Crowbar and produce one of the greatest blues albums ever made.

I was lucky enough to catch King Biscuit Boy and Crowbar in a bar one night. One of those places where the girls dance with the girls, and the guys order a pitcher of beer and sit there with their buddies listening to the band. They rocked the joint out. The walls were sweating! They had played together behind Hawkins, and they knew each other intimately, they played as one--Biscuit just came out to do a featured spot and then went back to the bar.

Crowbar wanted to move away from the strict blues--they were a good time rock'n'roll band. They lived in a big house on the escarpment, and prepared their first album which they named after the house, Bad Manors. It's another classic. Richard Newell went into the studio using the Crowbar musicians individually, hand-picked for their talents, hand-matched to the songs he'd selected and created the masterpiece that is Gooduns. Gooduns came packaged in a cloth bag, a flour sack, just like King Biscuit Flour from whence he derived his name. I still have that original release, I treasure it. I played that record to death, it rocked so hard I could hardly believe it was made by a Canadian. We were used to the folksongs of Gord Lightfoot, the MOR top 40 sound of the Poppy Family, but this blues this was something else. At the time, I worked in a local department store, and one Saturday I saw Richard Newell browsing in the store. I went on my break and followed him around in awe. Wow, that's KING BISCUIT BOY!
by David Kidney
Tracks
1. Highway 61 (A. Luandrew) - 2:52
2. Don't Go No Further (Willie Dixon) - 3:43
3. Unseen Eye (Sonny Williamson) - 2:57
4. I'm Just A Lonely Guy (R. Blackwell, D. La Bostrie) - 2:32
5. Key To The Highway (W. Broonzy, C. Segar) - 3:14
6. Corrina, Corrina (Public Domain) - 4:28
7. Biscuit's Boogie (R. Newell) - 9:30
8. Hoy Hoy Hoy (J. Jones) - 5:16
9. Badly Bent (R. Newell) - 2:08
10.Cookin' Little Baby (R. Newell) - 2:36
11.Shout Bama Lama (Otis Redding) - 2:29

Personnel
*Larry Atamanuik - Drums
*Richard Bell - Keyboards, Piano
*Sonnie Bernardi - Drums
*Josef Chirowski - Flute, Keyboards, Percussion
*John Gibbard - Guitar, Vocals
*Roland Greenway - Bass, Vocals
*Kelly Jay - Percussion, Piano, Keyboards, Vocals
*Steve Kennedy - Horn
*Rheal Lanthier - Guitar, Vocals
*Gregg Mudri - Horn
*John R. - Percussion
*Doug Riley - Keyboards, Organ, Piano

1971  King Biscuit Boy - Gooduns
1970-72  Crowbar - Memories Are Made Of This

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Crowbar - Memories Are Made Of This (1970-72 canada, great hard blues roots rock)



Crowbar. Rock band, formed in the summer of 1969 as And Many Others to accompany Ronnie Hawkins. Taking the name Crowbar, and making its base in Ancaster, near Hamilton, Ont, it left Hawkins early in 1970 after one LP and several US appearances, then backed individual members Blake 'Kelly Jay' Fordham, John Rutter and King Biscuit Boy on record. King Biscuit Boy's album Official Music and single 'Corrina, Corrina' were the most successful releases.

Personnel changes left Crowbar in 1971 with 'Kelly Jay' (vocals, keyboards, harmonica), Rheal Lanthier (lead guitar), John Gibbard (slide guitar), Josef Chirowski (replacing Richard Bell, keyboards), Roly Greenaway (bass guitar) and Sonnie Bernardi (replacing Larry Atamuniuk, drums). King Biscuit Boy continued as a frequent guest performer through 1971.

The most popular of Crowbar's singles were 'Oh What a Feeling' (1971) and 'Million Dollar Weekend' (1974). The band made three LPs 1970-2 for Daffodil - Bad Manors (SBA-16004), Larger than Life (And Liver than You'll Ever Be) (2-SBA-16007, recorded in concert at Massey Hall) and Heavy Duty (SBA-16013) - and one in 1973 for Epic, KE32746 (KE-32746). The compilation Crowbar Classics: Memories Are Made of This (SBA-16030) followed.

Crowbar's rousing rock, blues and boogie made it one of Canada's most popular touring bands of the early 1970s. It appeared in Great Britain but otherwise made little impact outside of Canada, perhaps the result of the strong nationalistic fervour that characterized its performances. Disbanded in 1975, it was revived in 1977 for a tour of eastern Canada and again by Kelly Jay and others intermittently during the 1980s for club work in southern Ontario.
Tracks
1. The Frenchman's Cherokee Boogie Incident (M. Mullican, W. Chief Redbird) - 0:27
2. Let The Four Winds Blow (D. Bartholomew, A. Domino) - 2:23
3. Cane On The Brazos (Roly Greenway, Kelly Jay) - 5:15
4. In The Dancing Hold (Kelly Jay) - 3:52
5. Where Were You? (Kelly Jay) - 3:56
6. Lay One Down (Roly Greenway, LOVE) - 4:28
7. Oh Never Be A Dodo (Kelly Jay) - 0:19
8. Murder In The First Degree (Sonnie Bernardi, Kelly Jay) - 5:15
9. Trilby (Kelly Jay) - 2:41
10.Dead Head Out Of St. John's (Kelly Jay) - 3:45
11.Tits Up On The Pavement (Kelly Jay) - 7:47
12.Happy People (Jozef Chirowski) - 2:58
13.Oh What A Feeling (Roly Greenway, Kelly Jay) - 4:20
Tracks 1,2,4,7,8,13 from 1970 LP "Bad mannors"
Tracks 3,11 from 1971 LP "Larger Than Life"
Tracks 5,6,9,10 from 1972 LP "Heavy Duty"
Track 12 Previously Unreleased, original recorded 1970

Crowbar
*Sonnie Bernardi - Drums, Vocals
*Jozef Chirowski - Piano, Organ, Vocals
*John Gibbard - Lead, Rhythm, Bottleneck Guitar, Vocals
*Roly Greenway - Bass, Vocals
*Kelly Jay "Blake Fordham" - Vocals, Piano
*Rheal Lanthier - Lead Rhythm Guitar, Vocals

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