Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Man With John Cipollina - Maximum Darkness (1975 uk / us, fine jam guitar rock, 2008 remaster with bonus tracks)



Though Budgie are probably the most well known band to come out of Wales, Man certainly have had a long and respected career as well, with many studio albums to their credit and endless touring over the years. Mostly recognized for their live shows, it's no surprise that Man has released numerous live albums, this one, Maximum Darkness, originally came out in 1975 and recently remastered by Esoteric/Cherry Red. It features the lineup of Micky Jones (guitar, vocals), Deke Leonard (guitar, piano, vocals), Martin Ace (bass, vocals), and Terry Williams (drums, vocals), with guest guitar from John Cipollina, the legendary Quicksilver Messenger Service member.

Having Cipollina on board here only adds to the bands already '60s West Coast psychedelic influenced sound. Plenty of lead guitar excursions abound on tunes such as "7171-551", and "Codeine" has a psych/acid rock/bluesy feel that wouldn't sound out of place on an old Quicksilver or Grateful Dead album. Bluesy hard rock with lots of melody and jangly guitar can be heard on "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You", while extended guitar jams once again are at the core on the near 14-minute "Many Are Called, But Few Get Up", a hard rocker with effective vocals and nasty riffs & keyboard parts to go along with the fiery solos. One of Man's more popular songs has always been the fun "Bananas", a rousing & quirky hard rocker that features guitar solo aplenty here, Jones, Leonard, and Cipollina weaving and swirling around each other for the near 12-minute duration like a cross between Yes and Crazy Horse.

Esoteric's remaster also includes two bonus tracks, the massive "C'Mon", a rambling, sprawling psychedelic jam that amazingly channels the late '60s San Francisco scene, and the heavy blues rocker "Romain". These inclusions, recorded at the Keystone in Berkeley, California in 1975, really make this a full live album (the original portion of the album was recorded that same year at the London Roundhouse), and not only does Esoteric's remaster sound great, but you also get a jam packed booklet full of information and photos. If you want to discover the jamming side of Man, this is a great place to start. 
by Pete Pardo
Tracks
1. 7171-551 (Deke Leonard) - 11:20
2. Codine (Buffy St Marie) - 7:45
3. Babe I'm Gonna Leave You (Anne Bredon, Edward Darling, Paul Bennett) - 6:33
4. Many Are Called, But Few Get Up (Clive John, Deke Leonard, Micky Jones, Terry Williams) - 13:51
5. Bananas (Clive John, Micky Jones, Phil Ryan, Terry Williams) - 11:24
6. C'mon (Clive John, Micky Jones, Phil Ryan, Terry Williams) - 23:56
7. Romain (Martin Ace, Clive John, Micky Jones, Deke Leonard, Terry Williams) - 5:00
Tracks 6 and 7 recorded live at Keystone, Berkeley, California, April 1975

Man
*Micky Jones - Guitar, Vocals
*Deke Leonard - Guitar, Vocals
*Martin Ace - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
*Terry Williams - Drums, Vocals
With
*John Cipollina - Guitar

1969  Man - Revelation (2009 remaster and expanded)
1969  Man - 2 Ozs Of Plastic With A Hole In The Middle (2009 remaster)
1971  Man - Man (2007 remaster with extra tracks)
Related Acts
1971-73  Help Yourself - Reaffirmation An Anthology (2014 Remaster)
1973  Help Yourself - 5 (2004 release)
1976-78  Tyla Gang - Pool Hall Punks / The Complete Recordings
1967-68  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Lost Gold And Silver (double disc issue)
1968  Quicksilver Messenger Service (2005 japan, 2012 audiophile mini LP replica)
1969  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Happy Trails (2012 Audiophile remaster)
1969  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Shady Grove (2012 Audiophile remaster)
1969  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Castles In The Sand
1970  Q. M. S. - Just For Love  (2005 japan, 2012 audiophile mini Lp replica)  
1970  Q. M. S. - What About Me (2005 japan, 2012 audiophile mini LP replica)
1971  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Quicksliver (2012 Audiophile Vinyl replica)
1972  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Comin` Thru (2012 Audiopfile mini LP replica)  
1975  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Solid Silver
1973  Copperhead - Copperhead (2001 reissue)
1972  Terry Dolan - Terry Dolan (2016 remaster and expanded)

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Monday, November 19, 2018

Moby Grape - Moby Grape 69' (1969 us, great west coast psych blues country rock, 2007 remaster and expanded)



Moby Grape ’69 found the band rebounding after the double album Wow/Grape Jam debacle. Wow is still a great but flawed record that at times recalls Buffalo Springfield’s tension filled Last Time Around. After Wow was completed, Skip Spence exited the band in pursuit of a solo career, releasing the legendary Oar. Spence’s departure was a major blow but like other great American bands of the time who lost key members, the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield, Moby Grape was still brimming with talent and enthusiasm.

While ’69 is not on par with Moby Grape’s self-titled debut, it’s still a great back to basics country rock record. The album only enhances the group’s legend though, including Skip Spence’s final contribution to the band, Seeing. ‘Seeing’ is undoubtedly their finest moment as a band and one of the best pieces of San Fransisco psychedelia ever waxed!

It starts out with Spence’s plaintive, apologetic vocals which give way to a hard rocking bridge with great spiraling acid leads. It’s as deranged as Syd Barrett’s swansong, Jugband Blues, and mandatory listening for anyone interested in 60’s rock. The band also rock hard with successful results on Trucking Man, Hoochie, and Going Nowhere. Trucking Man is almost a sequel of sorts to Fall On You, with some great, fat slingshot guitar riffs that hit you hard. There are also some quiet, country rock moments on the album like the majestic I Am Not Willing and the classic It’s A Beautiful Day. It’s A Beautiful Day is Moby Grape’s Ripple (Grateful Dead), a sparkling, country folk-rock gem that shines with hippy optimism.

Moby Grape ’69 proved that after all the debut related hype settled, the band was still making great music.
by Jason Nardelli
Tracks
1. Ooh Mama Ooh (Jerry Miller, Don Stevenson) - 2:26
2. Ain't That A Shame (Jerry Miller, Don Stevenson, Peter Lewis) - 2:28
3. I Am Not Willing (Peter Lewis) - 2:58
4. It's A Beautiful Day Today (Bob Mosley) - 3:06
5. Hoochie (Bob Mosley) - 4:21
6. Trucking Man (Bob Mosley) - 2:00
7. If You Can't Learn From My Mistakes (Peter Lewis) - 2:33
8. Captain Nemo (Jerry Miller, Don Stevenson) - 1:43
9. What's To Choose (Peter Lewis) - 1:57
10.Going Nowhere (Jerry Miller, Don Stevenson) - 2:01
11.Seeing (Skip Spence) - 3:44
12.Soul Stew (Bob Mosley) - 2:16
13.If You Can't Learn From My Mistakes (Peter Lewis) - 1:23
14.You Can Do Anything (Skip Spence) - 3:35
15.It's A Beautiful Day Today (Bob Mosley) - 4:12
16.What's To Choose (Peter Lewis) - 3:19
17.Big (Jerry Miller, Don Stevenson) - 2:19
18.Hoochie (Bob Mosley) - 3:18
Tracks 13-17 Demo recordings

Moby Grape
*Peter Lewis - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Jerry Miller - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Bob Mosley - Bass, Vocals
*Don Stevenson - Drums, Vocals
*Skip Spence - Guitar, Piano, Vocals

1966-69  Live (Sundazed digipack issue)
1967  Moby Grape - Moby Grape (2007 remaster)
1967-68  The Place And The Time (2009 Sundazed release)
1969  Wow (Sundazed Issue)
Related Act
1972  Bob Mosley - Bob Mosley
1974-77  Bob Mosley - Never Dreamed

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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Jackson Heights - Bump 'n' Grind (1973 uk, wonderful soft prog rock, 2010 remaster)



Adding a new drummer to the line Up (actually three in the form of Michael Giles, Ian Wallace and Ian Paice -yes the Purple man- in one song),  band struggled on releasing a fourth studio set "Bump 'n' Grind" before calling it quits at the end of 1973.  

In "Bump and Grind" the intention of Jackson Heights was a return to somewhat simpler, less bombastic music. By the time the band was ready for this album, that intention had already been thrown overboard, probably for an important part by the record company, which began to crumble the harrowing lack of commercial success. Too good for the rock scene, not hit sensitive enough for the pop charts, the band fell out of the way everywhere. A somewhat fuller, more commercial sound was therefore in order.

That is, in retrospect, actually the greatest merit of "Bump" and "Grind": the album sounds incredibly good in this polished version, a richly produced album. That is partly due to the large orchestra that accompanies the band in a number of tracks. Those numbers are beautiful pop songs of the classic kind.

Jackson subsequently partnered with Swiss keyboard player Patrick Moraz in the band Refugee (made even more ironic given Jackson had previously tried to recruit Moraz for a late inning version of Jackson Heights).  Frustrated with the business, he dropped out, relocating to Los Angeles where he lived until the early 1990s.  Back in the UK he resumed a somewhat low-keyed musical career focusing his time on the blues oriented Ginger Pig Band and occasional Nice reunions.

Chatton hooked up with Ian Anderson in the short-lived Fragile, played in Boys Don't Cry, Uzlot (with Yes' Jon Anderson), toured with John Miles, Meatloaf, and others, wrote material for others, became an in-demand studio player, recorded a couple of solo efforts, and enjoyed success as a talent scout/manager
Tracks
1. I Could Be Your Orchestra (Hugh Murphy, John McBurnie) - 4:15
2. Spaghetti Sunshine (Brian Chatton) - 3:34
3. Long Necked Lady (John McBurnie) - 3:46
4. Public Romance (Brian Chatton) - 2:31
5. Bump And Grind (John McBurnie) - 3:25
6. Cumberland County (Brian Chatton, Lee Jackson) - 3:41
7. It's A Shame (Brian Chatton, Lee Jackson) - 4:19
8. Ladies In The Chorus (Brian Chatton, Lee Jackson) - 3:05
9. Whatever Happened To The Conversation (Brian Chatton, John McBurnie, Lee Jackson) - 3:49

Jackson Heights
*Brian Chatton - Vocals, Piano, Clarinet, Organ, Mellotron, Harpsichord, Celesta, Tubular Bells, Electric Piano, Moog
*Michael Giles - Drums
*John McBurnie - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Mellotron, Percussion
*Lee Jackson - Vocals, Bass Guitar, Percussion, Cello
With
*Johnny VanDerrick - Violin
*Ian Paice - Drums
*Ian Wallace - Drums
*Chris Laurence - Bass
*Bill Bell - Banjo
*Brian Hawkins - Viola
*Brian Mack - Viola
*Don McVay - Viola
*Jan Schlapp - Viola
*Alan Travers - Violin
*Andy Babynchuk - Violin
*Cathy Wei - Violin
*Clare Farmer - Violin
*David Woodcock - Violin
*Eddy Roberts - Violin
*Liz Edwards - Violin
*Gavyn Wright - Violin
*Godfrey Salmon - Violin
*Jeff Grey - Violin
*Louise Jopling - Violin
*Paul Pearce - Violin

1970  Jackson Heights - King Progress (2004 remaster)
1972  Jackson Heights - The Fifth Avenue Bus (2010 remaster)
1972  Jackson Heights - Ragamuffins Fool (2010 remaster)
Related Act
1970   Justine - Justine (2008 Sunbeam release)

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Jackson Heights - Ragamuffins Fool (1972 uk, elegant prog rock, 2010 remaster)



Jackson Heights' third album (issued as Ragamuffin's Fool by Vertigo in the U.K. and Jackson Heights by Verve in the U.S.) was an improvement over its predecessor (The 5th Avenue Bus), but still an indication that leader Lee Jackson would have relatively little exciting to offer in his post-Nice career. While 5th Avenue Bus had at times leaned toward an American west coast soft rock sound (particularly in its vocal harmonies), Ragamuffin's Fool went for a somewhat harder, artier, and more diverse approach. "Maureen" had almost, but not quite, enough straightforward rock hooks to have had a chance as a single.

The gloomy ballads "Oh You Beauty" and "Chorale," more than anything on The 5th Avenue Bus, reached back a little toward the slightly classical-tinged, keyboard-anchored melodic scope of the Nice, though the flavor on the first tune is as much Todd Rundgren as Keith Emerson. "As She Starts" is a kind of nice, slightly eccentric waltz with good vocal harmonies, and "Bebop" again nods in the art rock direction with its fusion of classical piano and dynamic rock rhythm. However, just when you're thinking it's not a half-bad record in its slightly peculiar mix of melancholy pop, mild art rock, and more of those west coast-influenced harmonies, it sputters to a close with a few mediocre good-time and country-rock numbers that are wholly at odds with the mood of the rest of the LP. 
by Richie Unterberger
Tracks 
1. Maureen (Brian Chatton, John McBurnie, Lee Jackson) - 3:50
2. Oh You Beauty (John McBurnie) - 4:20
3. As She Starts - 3:24
4. BeBop - 3:57
5. Catch A Thief - 4:47
6. Ragamuffin's Fool - 4:43
7. Chorale (Five Bridges Suite) (Keith Emerson, Lee Jackson) - 3:23
8. Chips And Chicken - 3:58
9. Poor Peter (Lee Jackson) - 2:01
10. Bellyfull Of Water - 3:56
All compositions by Brian Chatton, John McBurnie except where indicated

The Jackson Heights
*Brian Chatton - Mellotron, Organ, Piano, Vocals
*Mike Giles - Drums
*Lee Jackson - Bass, Congas, Electric Cello, Guitar, Vocals
*John McBurnie - Acoustic, 12 String Acoustic Guitars, Percussion, Vocals
With
*Mox Gowland - Harmonica
*Keith Harris - Banjo
*Laurie Jay - Drums
*Oli Oliver - Fiddle

1970  Jackson Heights - King Progress (2004 remaster)
1972  Jackson Heights - The Fifth Avenue Bus (2010 remaster)

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Fresh Blueberry Pancake - Heavy (1970 us, great rough acid psych jam rock, 2001 release)



Pittsburgh power trio Fresh Blueberry Pancake formed in 1968, comprising singer/bassist Tony Impavido, guitarist John Behrens, and drummer Geoff Reidell. After two years of local gigging, the group built up enough of a fan base and enough original material to record a demo tape, and in 1970 they self-released Heavy -- issued in a pressing of just 54 copies, the record is now much sought-after among collectors of plodding, monolithic acid rock. (The Shadoks label reissued Heavy in 2001.) After the album's release the group abbreviated its name to Pancake, dissolving in 1972. 
by Jason Ankeny
Tracks
1. Hassles - 4:03
2. Being In Town - 3:12
3. Clown On A Rope - 3:53
4. Bad Boy Turns Good - 3:24
5. I Call Him Lord - 2:32
6. Down On The Farm - 2:39
7. Where's The Sun - 4:08
8. Sleep Bound - 4:13
9. Stranded - 4:51
All songs by John Behrens, Tony Impavido, Geoff Rydell

Fresh Blueberry Pancake
*John Behrens – Guitar, Vocals
*Tony Impavido – Bass, Vocals
*Geoff Rydell – Drums

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Man - Rhinos Winos And Lunatics (1974 uk, spectacular jam psych prog rock, 2007 double disc remaster)



1974, another year, another Man album and, inevitably, a change in line-up for the Welsh band that refused to lie down. Stalwarts Micky Jones and Terry Williams remained and, somewhat surprisingly, Deke Leonard was invited back into the fold after having been ignominiously sacked before the bands previous album Be Good To Yourself At Least Once A Day. Obviously he had been redeemed for his irredeemable nihilism! Or perhaps it was just because the Man band fancied recruiting two members of Iceberg, Leonard's solo band. Those two members were Malcolm Morley and Ken Whaley, both of whom had previously been in Help Yourself signed, like Man, to United Artists. For the first time the management suggested that Man work with an outside producer and roped in Roy Thomas Baker, fresh from recording the second album by an up and coming band named Queen. Although the band initially resisted, they soon found that their level of playing reached a new peak under the gifted ears of Mr Baker.

Written, recorded and mixed in under three weeks, the quality of the album defies the seemingly effortless ease with which the group could come up with new and exciting material. The reinstatement of Leonard provided a foil for Jones to play off resulting in some great multi-layered guitars all over the album. Taking The Easy Way Out Again is the sprightly opener with a naggingly insistent guitar riff while The Thunder And Lightning Kid has a degree more funkiness to it with keyboardist Morley taking over on vocals and even contributing some guitar. California Silks And Satins is more laid back and the only track not composed by the whole band, having been brought to the recordings sessions by Leonard and Morley from the Help Yourself days. On Four Day Louise the band really gel with the twin guitar and underpinning keyboards making it a popular live number.

Side two of the original vinyl version of the album started with the brief instrumental Intro which segued straight into the lovely Kerosene where Ray Thomas Baker's influence is more instantly heard. Rich harmonies and an almost sleazy guitar takes the band into a totally new area far removed from what had gone before. However, it was not all change as Scotch Corner is a more traditional Man number, extended instrumental sections with the feel of unrestricted jamming, all with a smooth sheen taking the edge off the rougher edges. The album is rounded off with another short instrumental appropriately called Exit and, as a bonus, the single mix of Taking The Easy Way Out Again.

However, the real bonus comes with a previously unreleased live recording taped during the band's first American tour at the Whiskey A Go Go in Los Angeles in March 1974. And as an extra bonus the recording features saxophone maestro Jim Horn who had happened to turn up to the gig accompanied by his sax and offered to join the group on stage. A true musical genius, his contributions are outstanding, particularly considering the first time he heard the songs was on stage that evening! Of course, the band had to step up to the mark to avoid being overshadowed by their illustrious guest, and boy they did just that. There are plenty of live man recordings available so what does this one have to offer over all the rest? Well three genuine Man classics, two of which are a shade under twenty minutes each, an openness in the playing, a shade more experimentation and some awe inspiring sax playing. Should be enough for anyone!

Once again Esoteric have excelled in this reissue, they understand exactly what the fan wants from a quality reissue. The fact that there is some excellent music as well is rather a bonus! 
by Mark Hughes
Tracks
Disc 1 Rhinos Winos And Lunatics 1974
1. Taking the Easy Way Out Again - 4:22 
2. The Thunder and Lightning Kid - 5:17
3. California Silks and Satins (Deke Leonard,  Malcolm Morley) - 4:40
4. Four Day Louise - 6:02
5. Intro - 0:46
6. Kerosene - 6:29
7. Scotch Corner - 9:04
8. Exit - 1:13
9. Taking The Easy Way Out Again (Single Version) - 3:19
All songs by Micky Jones,  Deke Leonard,  Malcolm Morley,  Ken Whaley except track #3
Disc 2 Live At The Whiskey A Go Go 28th August 1974
1. American Mother (Deke Leonard,  Malcolm Morley) - 14:21
2. 7171 551 (Deke Leonard,  Malcolm Morley) - 12:25
3. A Hard Way To Live (Deke Leonard,  Malcolm Morley) - 3:40
4. Romain (Martin Ace, Clive John, Micky Jones, Deke Leonard, Terry Williams) - 19:04
5. Bananas (Clive John, Micky Jones, Phil Ryan, Terry Williams) - 19:39

Man
*Micky Jones - Guitar, Vocals
*Malcolm Morley - Piano, Guitar, Vocals
*Ken Whaley - Bass
*Terry Williams - Drums, Vocals
*Deke Leonard - Guitar, Piano, Vocals

1969  Man - Revelation (2009 remaster and expanded)
1969  Man - 2 Ozs Of Plastic With A Hole In The Middle (2009 remaster)
1971  Man - Man (2007 remaster with extra tracks)
Related Acts
1971-73  Help Yourself - Reaffirmation An Anthology (2014 Remaster)
1973  Help Yourself - 5 (2004 release)
1976-78  Tyla Gang - Pool Hall Punks / The Complete Recordings

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Monday, November 12, 2018

Andrew Gold - All This And Heaven Too (1978 us, beautiful soft rock, 2005 bonus tracks remaster)



Best remembered for his mid-'70s smashes "Lonely Boy" and "Thank You for Being a Friend," pop singer/songwriter Andrew Gold was born in Burbank, California on August 2, 1951. The son of composer Ernest Gold (who won an Academy Award for his score to the film Exodus) and vocalist Marni Nixon (the singing voice of Natalie Wood in West Side Story and Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady), he first attracted attention as a member of the Los Angeles band Bryndle alongside Kenny Edwards, Wendy Waldman, and Karla Bonoff; in 1973, both Gold and Edwards joined Linda Ronstadt, appearing on classic albums including 1974's Heart Like a Wheel and 1975's Prisoner in Disguise. A noted arranger as well as a skilled multi-instrumentalist, Gold swiftly emerged as one of the most sought-after session musicians on the West Coast scene, and his résumé -- including dates with James Taylor, Carly Simon, Loudon Wainwright III, and J.D. Souther -- reads like a who's-who of the singer/songwriter movement. 

In 1975, Gold released his self-titled solo debut; its follow-up, What's Wrong with This Picture?, was his commercial breakthrough, notching an international hit with "Lonely Boy." "Never Let Her Slip Away, " from 1978's All This and Heaven Too, also reached the British Top Five, but the album's most enduring moment remains "Thank You for Being a Friend, " the blockbuster ballad later remade as the theme song for the hit sitcom The Golden Girls. However, 1980's Whirlwind stiffed, and Gold was cut loose from his contract with Asylum. After spending the early part of the decade touring with Ronstadt, he teamed with 10cc alumnus Graham Gouldman to form Common Knowledge, recording a self-titled LP in 1984. Gold and Goldman then rechristened their duo project Wax UK, notching a minor hit in 1986 with "Right Between the Eyes." "Bridge to Your Heart" was a British smash in 1987, but after 1989's A Hundred Thousand in Fresh Notes, Wax UK disbanded. Andrew Gold passed away at the age of 59, at his home in Los Angeles on Friday Jun 3rd 2011
by Jason Ankeny
Tracks
1. How Can This Be Love (Mark Safan, Mark Goldenberg) - 4:00
2. Oh Urania (Take Me Away) - 4:23
3. Still You Linger On - 3:26
4. Never Let Her Slip Away - 3:28
5. Always For You - 4:38
6. Thank You for Being a Friend - 4:41
7. Looking For My Love - 3:43
8. Genevieve (Andrew Gold, Brock Walsh) - 5:05
9. I'm On My Way (Mark Safan) - 3:44
10.You're Free - 4:07
11.The Gambler (Version 1) (Kenny Edwards) - 3:57 
12.Thank You For Being A Friend (Outtake) - 1:31 
13.Dr. Robert (Live) (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 3:20
14.Genevieve (Original Version) (Andrew Gold, Brock Walsh) - 5:43
15.Still You Linger On - 4:52
All songs by Andrew Gold, except where stated

Musicians
*Andrew Gold - Vocals, Piano, Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Electric Piano, Clavinet, Synthesizer, Harmonium, Bass, Drums, Percussion, Tympani
*Kenny Edwards - Bass
*Brock Walsh - Backing Vocals, Percussion
*Waddy Wachtel - Guitar
*Jeff Porcaro - Drums
*Rick Marotta - Drums
*Russ Kunkel - Drums
*Beau Segal - Drums
*Brad Palmer - Bass
*Ernie Watts - Saxophone
*J. D. Souther - Backing Vocals
*Jennifer Warnes - Backing Vocals
*Mark Safan - Backing Vocals

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Saturday, November 10, 2018

R. Dean Taylor - The Essential Collection (1965-72 canada, wondrous soul orchestrated sunny folk psychedelia, 2001 issue)



Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, R. Dean Taylor made his first entry into the world of music at the age of 12, singing at various open-air Country & Western shows in the Toronto area.  

In 1960 he recorded his first record, "At the High School Dance," which played across Canada and on CHUM Radio, Toronto' s power-house radio station.  He appeared on a CBC dance party TV show and started playing clubs and other venues around the Toronto area and toured the States for a short time.

Dean went to New York in 1962 and cut four sides which were distributed on the AMY- MALA label: "I'll Remember," "It's A Long Way to St. Louis," "We Fell In Love As We Tangoed," and "Beautiful Dreamer"

In 1963 a friend from Detroit called him about a newspaper article featuring an up-an-coming record company called Motown Records and said he could arrange an audition.  Dean was fortunate enough to meet with Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier of Motown's top producing team, Holland, Dozier, Holland.  They liked his material and Dean was immediately signed as a writer and artist for the label. Dean started working with Eddie Holland, sitting for hours tossing ideas back and forth and coming up with lyrics for many of the Holland/Dozier hits.  

…Eddie was a fantastic writer, he could write from a woman's point of view as well as a man's, and I really learned a lot from working with him.  I wanted to learn everything I could about producing and started playing tambourine on the Holland/Dozier sessions.  I played on most of their records, such as "Standing In the Shadows of Love," "Reach Out," and many more.  Seeing the innovative way Brian and Lamont used new sounds in their productions, such as footstomps on an old board as the intro on "Where Did Our Love Go" and many other gimmick sounds, was an inspiration.  Watching Holland/Dozier produce, and playing with those great musicians now referred to as The Funk Brothers, was more than I could have ever hoped for.

As a writer, Taylor's credits include such hits as "Love Child" and "I'm Living In Shame" by the Supremes, "All I Need" by the Temptations, "I'll Turn To Stone" by the Four Tops, and "Just Look What You've Done" by Brenda Holloway.

Dean recorded his own record, "Let's Go Somewhere" in 1965, a subtle war protest song, but not much happened.  In 1966 he recorded "There's A Ghost In My House."  but f
ound out from a friend that there was little or no promotion on the record since they were concentrating on promoting the established Motown acts.  Four years later in England, a club DJ started playing "There's A Ghost in My House" and it became popular.  Other dance clubs picked up on the record and Motown UK released it as a single, and it went to the top of the charts in England and throughout Europe.

"Gotta See Jane," written in 1967 on a rainy drive to Toronto, became another English hit but received no promotion in US.  

In 1970, Dean recorded "Indiana Wants Me" which he always felt would be a hit record.  Two radio stations broke the record in the States.  Disk jockey, Scott Regen, believed the record was a hit and fought to get the record played on WKNR in Detroit.  At the same time, program director, Rosalie Trombley put the record on the powerful CKLW playlist in Windsor, Ontario.   Dean went to Motown Vice President, Barney Ayles, and asked him if he could put some heavy promotion behind this record.  Ayles knew it was getting airplay and the record was getting positive feedback so he agreed to hire an independent promotion man, Al Valente, to go out with Taylor on a promo tour to stations, large and small, in the Michigan area.  More and more stations began playing "Indiana" and  Barney told the Motown promotion department to get behind it. Dean also appeared on CKLW's The Robin Seymour TV Show a number of times.  "Indiana Wants Me" became a million-seller and climbed to #1 on the US charts, making R. Dean Taylor the first white artist in the history of Motown to do so.

Dean's songs continue to receive International airplay and have been covered by several artists.  Currently, Dean has built a recording studio in his home in Los Angeles and is working on a new CD and writing a book about his Motown memories. 
Tracks
1. Gotta See Jane (Edward Holland, Jr., R. Dean Taylor, Ronald Miller) - 3:08
2. Back Street (R. Dean Taylor) - 3:37
3. Ain't It A Sad Thing (R. Dean Taylor) - 2:28
4. Gonna Give Her All The Love I Got (Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong) - 2:52
5. There's A Ghost In My House (Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Edward Holland, R. Dean Taylor) - 2:14
6. Don't Fool Around (Edward Holland Jr., R. Dean Taylor) - 2:29
7. Indiana Wants Me (R. Dean Taylor) - 3:47
8. Woman Alive (R. Dean Taylor) - 2:33
9. Love's Your Name (R. Dean Taylor) - 2:20
10.Taos New Mexico (R. Dean Taylor) - 3:11
11.Fire And Rain (James Taylor) - 2:58
12.Shadow (R. Dean Taylor) - 2:50
13.Two Of Us (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 3:06
14.Poor Girl (Edward Holland Jr., R. Dean Taylor) - 2:44
15.Let's Go Somewhere (Edward Holland Jr., James Dean, R. Dean Taylor) - 2:53
16.Candy Apple Red (R. Dean Taylor) - 3:34
17.Sunday Morning Coming Down (Kris Kristofferson) - 4:15
18.Just Like In The Movies (Edward Holland Jr., Lamont Dozier, R. Dean Taylor) - 2:31
19.My Lady Bug Stay Away From That Beatle (Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Edward Holland Jr., R. Dean Taylor) - 2:52

*Richard Dean Taylor - Vocals

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Friday, November 9, 2018

Jamul - Jamul (1970 us, great roots classic rock, 2011 remaster)



Named after the rural east San Diego town they came from, folk/blues rockers Jamul played frequently at venues like National City's Club Pleasure, performing originals and covers of tracks like the Stones' "Jumping Jack Flash." Gary Puckett (of The Union Gap) championed the group, helping them land a label deal with Gabriel Mekler's Lizard Records, distributed by Ampex.

In addition to turning up on the KGB-FM Homegrown album series, Jamul earned nationwide airplay with singles like their cover of “Tobacco Road,” as well as originals like “Movin’ To the Country,” and “Sunrise Over Jamul” (named a Newcomer Pick of the Week in Cashbox magazine). Their self-titled debut LP hit number 93 on the Billboard album chart in 1970.

"We did very well packing the clubs and ended up making an album produced by Richard Podolor with Gabriel Mekler as executive producer," recalls drummer Ron Armstrong (formerly of the Misfits, who opened in San Diego for the Rolling Stones). The same production team also produced Steppenwolf and 3 Dog Night.

"Little Richard heard that we recorded one of his songs on our album, 'Long Tall Sally,'" says Armstrong. "We were playing at the Whiskey, in Hollywood. He told our leader and lead singer, Bob Desnoyers, that he liked our four piece band better than his big band and asked us to back him for his first video, produced by Barry Richards, and also play one of our songs in Washington DC...this became part of Barry Richards TV Production." 
Tracks
1. Tobacco Road (John D. Loudermilk) - 3:50
2. Long Tall Sally (Enotris Johnson, Richard Penniman, Robert Blackwell) - 2:58
3. Sunrise Over Jamul (Ron Armstrong) - 3:03
4. Movin' To The Country (Ron Armstrong) - 3:58
5. Hold The Line (Ron Armstrong) - 2:22
6. Jumpin' Jack Flash (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 4:46
7. All You Have Left Is Me (Bob Desnoyers) - 2:48
8. Nickel Thimble (John Fergus) - 2:46
9. I Can't Complain (Ron Armstrong) - 3:42
10.Ramblin' Man (Steve Williams) - 4:18
11.Valley Thunder (Bob Desnoyers) - 3:49

Jamul
*Bob Desnoyers - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Vocals
*Steve Williams - Harmonica, Vocals
*John Fergus - Bass guitar, Vocals
*Ron Armstrong - Drums, Vocals

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Duffy - Scruffy Duffy (1973 uk, sensational hard bluesy psych prog rock, 2002 remaster)



Duffy's second LP Scruffy Duffy's opening bars take you to the Exile On Main Street territories, but that-s just until the vocals begin-then you see you are into something different. The sound of Duffy is between the raw side of Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and the pastoral side of Jethro Tull, but their very personal mix of psychedelia, progressive and hard rock is unique.  Scruffy Duffy released in 1973 on Chapter One label.
Tracks
1. Running Away - 2:33
2. Changing My Ways - 6:00
3. Ode To Clay - 2:59
4. The 1959 Rock'n Roll Bop - 2:56
5. The Browns - 3:02
6. Banker - 4:21
7. Joker - 2:28
8. I Can't Help The Way I Am - 1:23
9. St. John's - 9:02
10.Finale - 0:29
All songs by Stuart Reffold, Barry Coote, Joe Nanson, Patrick Sarjeant, Will Wright.

Duffy
*Stuart Reffold - Lead Vocals, Harp, Percussion
*Barry Coote - Guitars
*Joe Nanson - Organ, Vocals
*Patrick Sarjeant - Bass, Vocals
*Will Wright - Drums, Percussion

1972  Duffy - Just In Case You're Interested (2010 remaster)

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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Duffy - Just In Case You're Interested (1972 uk, exceptional hard psych prog rock, 2010 remaster)



Duffy were formed in London in the early 1970s by five guys in their late twenties: Stuart Reffold, vocalist, Barry Coote, guitarist, Joe Nanson, keyboardist, Patrick Sarjeant, bassist and Will Wright , drummer, they met in the university circuits of Cambridge and London.

In the essays, their music had clear influences from the early sonority of Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Humble Pie and Jethro Tull, the kind of sound that was in vogue among early British youth of the era. It did not have the heavy mark of the Birmingham scene, which was already outlining the primitive heavy metal, not as progressive as the London scene, which was beginning to see the fuse of Pink Floyd and Yes. It was a sound of convergence.

They often played in university circuits, pubs and nightclubs across the central north-central axis of England, such as the Marquee, Fishmongers Arms and Eel Pie Island in London, The Star Hotel in Croydon, The Mothers in Birmighan, among others.

After getting a name in the local scenes, they were invited to attend major rock festivals, even opening for Deep Purple at the Pop Monster in 1971, until they met, -during one of those shows-, the Swiss producer Stephen Sulke, who had already worked with Santana, Melanie, Aretha Franklin and Buddy Miles.

Sulke became interested of their songs and invited them to record their debut album in Switzerland, where he had contacts with studios, sound engineers and others connected to the music industry, anyone who could be interested in the work of the group. The result was the album "Just in Case You're Interested", originally released by the German label Mabel Records in 1971. At that time they did not manage to release their LP in UK, but only in some European countries, South Africa and South America.
Tracks
1. Matchmaker - 2:42
2. Long Lost Friend - 3:00
3. Judgement Day - 4:21
4. Amie - 2:30
5. It's My Life - 2:50
6. Rock Solid - 3:13
7. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood (Bennie Benjamin, Horace Ott, Sol Marcus) - 5:49
8. Tell Me - 3:03
9. Riverside - 2:58
10.Place To Die - 2:13
All songs by Patrick Sarjeant, Will Wright, Barry Coote, "Leslie" Joe Nanson, Stuart Reffold except track #7

Duffy
*Patrick Sarjeant - Bass
*Will Wright - Drums
*Barry Coote - Electric Guitar
*"Leslie" Joe Nanson - Keyboards
*Stuart Reffold – Vocals

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Monday, November 5, 2018

Maggie Bell - Queen Of The Night (1974 uk, excellent funky blues rock, 2006 bonus tracks remaster)



Producer Jerry Wexler puts the earthy vocals of Maggie Bell in a beautiful setting here. She stretches John Prine's "Souvenirs" to the max with Steve Gadd ably assisting by splashing the drums as deep as Bell's vocals. Her uptempo version of J.J. Cale's "After Midnight" is more captivating than Eric Clapton's; she oozes that Etta James sexuality while Reggie Young throws some tasty guitar into the semi-calypso groove. Bell's identity is unique on much of the material, but a couple of tunes have her paying tribute to some of her sisters. 

The title track, "Queen of the Night," is drenched in gorgeous harmonies by the Sweet Inspirations and is pure Genya Ravan, but conversely, the cover of "A Woman Left Lonely," embraced totally by Janis Joplin on Pearl, is a sweet vocal and totally alien to how Joplin ripped the song to shreds so wonderfully. It works on an entirely different level on Queen of the Night -- Bell's voice is an instrument that slips into different styles on a moment's notice. She takes the fun but silly Ringo Starr/Vini Poncia number five hit from the same year and gives it some style, then turns around with Deadric Malone's "As the Years Go Passing By" and delivers another brand of quality sound. Cornell Dupree's fabulous guitar leads cook in the background -- the frosting on the cake for "As the Years Go Passing By." Intense and beautiful, it is the real sleeper here. While Merry Clayton was singing backup on Ringo Starr's "Oh My My" and ex-Black Oak Arkansas Ruby Starr would track Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed," Bell broke through her Stone the Crows image to cover a range of ideas, giving even David Clayton Thomas some respectability, taking his original "Yesterday's Music" to new heights with a Bonnie Bramlett-style touch of gospel.

From Will Jennings to Carole Bayer Sager and Peter Allen, Bell's Queen of the Night is a stunningly marvelous mix of blues, pop, soul, and Southern rock. "We Had It All" builds with a smoldering tension that gives Bell a platform for her inspired phrasings. Sager must've been over the top when she first heard this version of "The Other Side." This is music straight from the heart, which concludes with "Trade Winds," piano, drums, and Bell's voice tapering off like the end of a great set at some intimate nightclub. This is an extraordinary creation worth pulling out when you want to appreciate a fine wine like Queen of the Night. 
by Joe Viglione
Tracks
1. Cado Queen (Mentor Williams, Troy Seals, Will Jennings) - 3:38
2. A Woman Left Lonely (Dan Penn, Dewey Oldham) - 3:55
3. Souvenirs (John Prine) - 5:34
4. After Midnight (J.J. Cale) - 2:38
5. Queen Of The Night (Ronnie Leahy) - 4:03
6. Oh My My (Richard Starkey, Vinny Poncia) - 2:57
7. As The Years Go Passing By (Deadric Malone) - 4:23
8. Yesterday's Music (David Clayton-Thomas, William Smith) - 3:27
9. We Had It All (Donny Fritts, Troy Seals) - 2:57
10.The Other Side (Carole Bayer Sager, Peter Allen) - 2:55
11.Trade Winds (Ralph MacDonald, William Salter) - 5:17
12.Penicillin Blues (Live Bonus Track) (Brownie McGhee, Sonny Terry) - 12:11
13.Wishing Well (Live Bonus Track) (John "Rabbit" Bundrick, Paul Kossoff, Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke, Tetsu Yamauchi) - 4:03

Musicians
*Maggie Bell - Vocals
*Cornell Dupree - Guitar
*Steve Gadd - Drums
*Barry Goldberg - Keyboards
*John Hughey - Steel Guitar
*Arthur Jenkins - Keyboards
*Ralph MacDonald - Percussion
*Leon Pendarvis - Keyboards
*Chuck Rainey - Bass
*William Salter - Bass
*The Sweet Inspirations - Vocals
*Richard Tee - Keyboards
*Reggie Young - Guitar

1975  Maggie Bell - Suicide Sal (2006 remaster) 
1969-71  Stone The Crows - Stone The Crows / Ode To John Law (2015 double disc bonus tracks set) 
1972  Stone The Crows - Live In Montreux (2002 edition) 

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Saturday, November 3, 2018

Leon Russell - Leon Russell (1970 us, splendid varied style rock, 2014 japan SHM remaster)



Leon Russell never quite hit all the right notes the way he did on his eponymous debut. He never again seemed as convincing in his grasp of Americana music and themes, never again seemed as individual, and never again did his limited, slurred bluesy voice seem as ingratiating. He never again topped his triptych of "A Song for You," "Hummingbird," and "Delta Lady," nor did his albums contain such fine tracks as "Dixie Lullaby." 

Throughout it all, what comes across is Russell's idiosyncratic vision, not only in his approach but in his very construction -- none of the songs quite play out as expected, turning country, blues, and rock inside out, not only musically but lyrically. Yes, his voice is a bit of an acquired taste, but it's only appropriate for a songwriter with enough chutzpah to write songs of his own called "I Put a Spell on You" and "Give Peace a Chance." And if there ever was a place to acquire a taste for Russell, it's here. 
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Tracks
1. A Song For You - 4:08
2. Dixie Lullaby (Leon Russell, Chris Stainton) - 2:35
3. I Put A Spell On You - 4:12
4. Shoot Out On The Plantation - 3:13
5. Hummingbird - 4:02
6. Delta Lady - 4:05
7. Prince Of Peace (Leon Russell, Greg Dempsey) - 3:05
8. Give Peace A Chance (Russell, Bonnie Bramlett) - 2:23
9. Hurtsome Body - 3:39
10.Pisces Apple Lady - 2:53
11.Roll Away The Stone (Leon Russell, Greg Dempsey) - 3:10
All Songs By Leon Russell Except Where Indicated

Musicians
*Leon Russell - Piano, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Buddy Harman - Drums
*Klaus Voormann - Bass
*Mick Jagger - Vocals
*George Harrison - Guitar
*Ringo Starr - Drums
*Alan Spenner - Bass
*Charlie Watts - Drums
*Bill Wyman - Bass
*Delaney Bramlett - Guitar
*Eric Clapton - Guitar
*Jim Horn - Saxophone
*Bonnie Bramlett - Vocals
*Steve Winwood - Keyboards
*Jim Gordon - Drums
*Chris Stainton - Keyboards
*B.J. Wilson - Drums
*Joe Cocker - Vocals
*Merry Clayton - Vocals
*Jon Hiseman - Drums

1968  The Asylum Choir - Look Inside (2007 remaster)
1971  Leon Russell And Marc Benno - Asylum Choir II (japan SHM 2016 remaster)
1971  Leon Russell - Leon Russell And The Shelter People (2016 Audio Fidelity)
1972  Leon Russell - Carney
1979  In Session At The Paradise Los Angeles With J.J. Cale (2003 remaster) 

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Friday, November 2, 2018

Bob Seger - Smokin' O.P.'s (1972 us, fantastic groovy roots 'n' roll, 2005 remaster)



It's that legendary "Heavy Music" man back on the scene again with his fifth album in as many years, and most likely his best (arguably, his best material is available only on Abkco singles, and were originally released on the Cameo-Parkway label six years ago}.

If you're residing on either coast, it's a good bet you've never heard of this guy, and you've been missing a thrill. Hopefully, this album will change all that. In the South, Southwest, and all-important Midwest, they rank this Detroit boy right up there with Rod Stewart and Joe Cocker. With good reason -- Bob has consistently churned out great singles for six years, and always puts on a great, exciting live show. Seger is an intense, charismatic performer and person, and the fact that he has never made it big in California or New York is at least as unfortunate for those of us living in those states, as it is for Seger himself. And he is one of the few hard rockers who is totally capable of translating his in-concert excitement from the stage to the vinyl.

The man who wrote "Heavy Music," "2 + 2," "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man," and "Death Row" in his days with Cameo and then Capitol Records (the most important of the Capitol LPs to have is Tales of Lucy Blue) comes through here not so much with original material as with successful interpretations of already popular songs. His "If I Were A Carpenter" was a pretty big hit last summer, for instance, and that's a pretty hard song to breathe new life into, it's been done so many times already.

He's backed on this record by Teegarden and Van Winkle, themselves an established popular Michigan rock group (remember "God, Love, and Rock and Roll"?). Seger can rock with the best of them on guitar or keyboards, but his greatest asset is his voice. Echoes of Eric Burdon in his prime may run through your head, and justifiably so, but Seger has his own vocal style.

His choice of material for this album is eclectic and successful: Bo Diddley's "Bo Diddley" and Eric Anderson's Chuck Berry riff, "Let It Rock." Plus Stephen Stills' "Love The One You're With," Leon Russell's "Hummingbird" and Bobby Blue Bland's classic "Lovelight."

Worth the entire price of admission, however, is a version of "Heavy Music" that sounds very close to the original version of six years ago. It must be an old version, because the band is Seger's old Last Heard, not the same personnel as on the rest of this record. The song is a prime example of and an anthem about Detroit's heavy rock and roll music.

It's about time that Bob Seger achieved the recognition that his talents and his six years of sweat and poverty have earned him. There is no excuse for you to not have this album in your collection, no excuse at all.

Case dismissed.
Harold Tribune, Words and Music, 12/72
Tracks
1. Bo Diddley/Who Do You Love (Ellas McDaniel) - 6:17
2. Love the One You're With (Stephen Stills) - 4:17
3. If I Were a Carpenter (Tim Hardin) - 3:48
4. Hummin' Bird (Leon Russell) - 3:47
6. Let It Rock (Chuck Berry) - 3:25
7. Turn on Your Love Light (Deadric Malone, Joseph Wade Scott) - 4:44
8. Jesse James (Traditional) - 3:29
9. Someday (Bob Seger) - 2:34
10.Heavy Music (Bob Seger) - 2:33

Personnel
*Bob Seger - Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Jack Ashford - Percussion, Tambourine
*Eddie Bongo - Percussion, Conga
*Mike Bruce - Guitar
*Jim Bruzzese - Tambourine
*Crystal Jenkins - Vocals, Background Vocals
*Skip Knape - Organ, Bass Guitar, Piano, Keyboard
*David Teegarden - Drums, Maracas, Marimba
*Pam Todd - Vocals, Background Vocals

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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

McPhee - McPhee (1971 australia / new zealand, astonishing blend of hard psych bluesy classic rock, 2002 akarma remaster)



Sydney band McPhee, which formed in 1970, released no Singles and only one LP during its brief life, but the group has long enjoyed a cult following and rock historian Chris Spencer describes it as "one of the most collectible (and enjoyable) Australian Albums of its time".

Jim Deverell and Benny Kaika were originally from New Zealand, and Deverell and Joyce had previously worked together as session players backing artists like Digby Richards, The Delltones and Little Sammy & The In People. Faye Lewis had done session singing and had been a member of Luke's Walnut, the group that replaced Tully as house band for the musical Hair in early 1970. English-born Terry Popple had been a member of late 60's UK band Tramline, who issued a couple of Albums on the Island label. He linked up with McPhee shortly after the group formed, when he travelled to Australia in early 1970, and the band began working on the Sydney club and wine bar circuit.

McPhee was strongly influenced by the acid-rock and progressive styles coming from the UK, as indicated by their covers of songs done by acts like Spooky Tooth and Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity, as well as the emerging west coast American sounds like Neil Young. In this respect they operated in the same general area as contemporary groups like Melissa and Galadriel, although on record they were probably the hardest-hitting outfit of the three.

In 1971 they went into Martin Erdman's World Of Sound studio in Sydney to record an album for erdman's independent Violet's Holiday label. The sessions yielded seven tracks that were favourites from the bands live repertoire. The two originals were the lengthy jazz-rock instrumental Out to Lunch and five cover versions, including 'heavy' renditions of Spooky Tooth's "The Wrong Time", Neil Young's "Southern Man", Ritchie Haven's "Indian Rope Man" and The Beatles' "I am The Walrus". 

The album's piece de resistance was the surging rendition of "Indian Rope Man" (a Richie Havens song done in the style of the cover by British soul/R&B act Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity) highlighted by a stunning Hammond organ solo by Jim Deverell.

Released with little promotion in early 1972, the album sank without trace. Perhaps only 500 copies were ever pressed, which places it with Albums like Company Caine's fabled Dr Chop as one of the rarest of Aussie LPs of that era.

Not long after the album came out, McPhee broke up. Popple returned to the UK where he joined he joined his former colleague Mick Moody in SNAFU. Lewis returned to session work and sang in an outfit called The Bondi Bitch Band. Kaika played with Jeff St John, John Robinson's band Tramp and Leo De Castro's New King Harvest. Deverell moved on to the USA and apparently died of cancer some years ago. Joyce relocated to Darwin, where he joined a number of Aboriginal bands like Under the Spell of Trees, Life on Mars and Dogboy, which featured American-born drummer Allen Murphy, who had worked with Warumpi Band and Yothu Yindi. For a number of years during the early 1990s, Joyce ran the Northern Territory office of the AusMusic organisation.

In the pantheon of Australian early 70's progressive rockdom, McPhee must rank as one of its most obscure outfits. McPhee's solitary album appeared to little fanfare in early 1972 and simply sank without trace. Its likely that only 500 copies were ever pressed so it rates as a significant rarity. More importantly, 'Mc Phee' stands as one of the great lost treasures of Australias progressive rock era, a truly fascinating artefact of tremendous scope. The tapes have been dusted off so that you can hear this hard-hitting underground masterpiece in all its glory. McPhee came together in Sydney during 1970 with the line-up of Faye Lewis (vocals), Tony Joyce (lead guitar), Jim Deverell (Hammond Organ), Benny Kaika (bass) and Terry Popple (drums). Deverell and Kaika were originally from New Zealand, while Englishman Popple had been a member of late 60's UK blues-boom band Tramline, who issued a couple of albums on the Island label.

McPhee played the local club and bar cicuit around Sydney and in 1971 entered producer Martin Erdman's World Of Sound studio in order to record an album. The sessions yielded material culled from the bands live repertoire including five cover versions. McPhee's influences extended from the prevailing Acid-rock trends of the day, to the emergent sounds of progressive rock with a smattering of contemporary rock hits. From the outset it is clear that McPhee is imbued with a crucial kick and gritty sense of purpose. It is brimming with acidy, wah-wah fuelled lead breaks and some of the most awesomely heavy and stunning Hammond organ playing to be heard anywhere on an Australian album. The opening cut, a groaning version of Spooky Tooth's 'The Wrong Time' (from 'The Last Puff'), sets the scene. Joyce peels off a series of clattering guitar riffs while Deverell holds the whole thing together with his growling organ bubbling away underneath. McPhee also tackle Spooky Tooths brooding arrangement of Lennon and McCartney's 'I Am The Walrus' (again from 'The Last Puff') which is pretty freaky stuff! The surging seven minute version of Richie Havens' 'Indian Rope Man' (as covered by Julie Driscoll & Brian Augers Trinity) remains the albums piece de resistance. 

The album ends with a Tony Joyce original titled 'Out To Lunch'. This jazz flavoured instrumental starts out innocuously enough, but the 10 minute, open-ended arrangement allows the band to stretch out in fine style. Joyce takes the spotlight with a lengthy guitar solo which eventually concedes to more organ pyrotechnics. Not long after the album appeared, the members of McPhee went their seperate ways. Popple returned to the U.K. where he joined old cohort Mick Moody in SNAFU. Deverell the keyboard wizard apparentlysuccumbed to cancer and Joyce relocated to Darwin where he played with a number of Aboriginal bands, and for several years ran the Northern Territory office of the AusMusic organisation. The chances of unearthing an original vinyl pressing of McPhee are now pretty slim. So take advantage of this reissue to savour the delights of a magnificent lost gem. 
by Vicious Sloth
Tracks
1. The Wrong Time (Gary Wright, Hugh McCracken) - 6:38
2. Sunday Shuffle (Benny Kaika) - 3:25
3. Southern Man (Neil Young) - 5:51
4. Indian Rope Man (Jim Price, Mark Roth, Richie Havens) - 7:19
5. Superstar (Bonnie Bramlett, Leon Russell) - 7:19
6. I Am The Walrus (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 5:05
7. Out To Lunch (Tony Joyce) - 8:03

McPhee
*Faye Lewis - Vocals
*Tony Joyce - Guitar
*Jim Deverell - Keyboards
*Benny Kaika - Bass
*Terry Popple - Drums
With
*Shauna Jensen - Harmony Vocals
*Ken James - Alto, Flute
*Larry Durea - Congas

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Public Foot The Roman - Public Foot The Roman (1973 uk, fine prog rock, 2011 remaster)



These guys actually had an interesting background.  Irish-born singer/guitarist Sean Byrne had been a member the California-based The Count Five who had a classic one-shot single with 'Psychotic Reaction'.  When that band fell apart Byrne eventually returned to Ireland where in the early 1970s he ended up as a member of Public Foot the Roman along with lead guitarist Greg Knowles, drummer Jaime Lane, keyboardist Dag Small, and bassist Ward (guess he couldn't afford a last name). 

Produced by Derek Lawrence who handled a bunch of the Wishbone Ash catalog, 1973's oddly titled "Public Foot the Roman" was kind of an odd hybrid of AOR and progressive moves - occasionally blended together in the same song ('When You Lay It Down').  With Byrne responsible for all eight tracks on the surface that wouldn't sound particularly promising (I can see folks thinking along the lines of a second tier Genesis or Gentle Giant).

The fact of the matter is that while there wasn't a great deal of originality here, the band played with considerable energy and with one of two exceptions (the country-tinged 'King for a Day'), this album was a lot of fun to hear.  Byrne, Lane, and Small all handled lea vocals, though Byrne seemed to be the most prominent of the three.  All of them had decent if slightly anonymous voices that managed to cover the band's entire catalog.  For his part Knowles was a truly overlooked guitarist who turned in some first-rate performances on this overlooked set..  That said, the band's secret weapon (well I guess he really wasn't much of a secret) was keyboardist Small who managed to salvage virtually everything he touched.
Tracks
1. Land Owner - 4:38
2. When You Lay It Down - 5:40
3. King For A Day - 3:09
4. Judas Returns - 6:00
5. Don't Bite The Hand - 5:05
6. One - On My Mind - 4:54
7. Decline And Fall - 8:31
All compositions by Sean Byrne

Public Foot The Roman
*Sean Byrne - Guitar, Vocals
*Greg Knowles - Guitar
*Jamie Lane - Drums, Vocals
*Dag Small - Keyboards, Vocals
*Ward - Bass

Related Act
Count Five - Psychotic Reaction (2007 digi pack remaster and expanded) 

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Monday, October 29, 2018

Collusion - Collusion (1971 uk, extraordinary prog rock, 2015 reissue)



Genuine UK prog rock obscurity from 1971, originally released in a tiny run on the custom SRT label. Collusion was a Dagenham-based six piece with twin guitars and interwoven male/female vocals as the main ingredients. Expect hard-edged prog-rock with tasty folk and jazz elements. 

This engaging release features seven original tracks with the stunning 'Bluebirds' and the epic 'Sweetbread Line' as the undisputed highlights. The package is presented with a special poster sleeve offering rare pics and memorabilia. There also are extensive sleeve notes and a band history by Tony Davison, plus an additional comment by their manager and esteemed promoter Darrol Edwards.
Tracks
1. I've Got That Cold Porridge Feeling - 3:19
2. Might As Well Be Dead - 4:41
3. Song Of Pity - 5:02
4. The Way It Used To Be (Tony Davison, Steve Webb) - 6:16
5. Saturday Morning (Down The Dead Highway) (Mike West, Tony Davison) - 4:45
6. Sweetbread Line - 5:24
7. Bluebirds - 7:37
All song by Mike West except where stated

The Collusion
*Sandy Baker - Vocals
*Tony Davison - Vocals, Tambourine
*Chris Simons - Bass
*Colin Victory - Drums
*Mike West - Guitar
*Steve Webb - Guitar

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Saturday, October 27, 2018

Lesley Duncan - Sing Children Sing (1971 uk, delicate folk soft rock, 2000 edition and Vinyl issue)



Lesley Duncan's debut album was a modestly engaging slice of early-'70s singer/songwriter rock, though not distinctive enough amidst a rapidly crowding field to command attention. Somewhat like Elton John, she blended parts of folk-rock, the emerging singer/songwriter movement, pop (though less pop than John), and bits of the Band's gospel-rock flavor. Indeed, the record is best known for Duncan's own version of her composition "Love Song," covered by Elton John on Tumbleweed Connection (and way back in 1969 by a pre-"Space Oddity" David Bowie on a home demo that's since been bootlegged).

Reference points among Duncan's countrywomen might include the obscure early-'70s work of Marianne Faithfull (though not as dark) or Bridget Saint John. Duncan wasn't as folky or reserved as Saint John, but this is pretty laid-back, and too pensively even-tempered and melodically bland to make a deep impression. The sound is certainly pleasant and professional, due in large part to the presence of some big names in the session band, including guitarist Chris Spedding, Pentangle drummer Terry Cox, and most of all Elton John himself on piano. The more bittersweet-than-usual "Love Song," here garnished by some odd rainfall-like effects in the background, is the standout, while "Crying in the Sun" edges oddly close to the kind of pop/rock ballad that could have been covered by Dusty Springfield.  Lesley Duncan, died aged 66 of cerebro- vascular disease, 12 March 2010.
by Richie Unterberger
Tracks
1. Chain Of Love (Lesley Duncan, Jimmy Horowitz) - 4:43
2. Lullaby - 3:52
3. Help Me Jesus - 3:13
4. Mr. Rubin - 7:04
5. Rainbow Games - 2:42
6. Love Song - 3:38
7. Sunshine (Send Them Away) - 3:30
8. Crying In The Sun (Lesley Duncan, Jimmy Horowitz) - 3:10
9. Emma (Lesley Duncan, Jimmy Horowitz) - 2:37
10.If You Won't Be Mine - 2:56
11.Sing Children Sing - 3:39
All Songs by Lesley Duncan except where indicated

Personnel
*Lesley Duncan - Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin
*Jimmy Horowitz - Organ, Piano, Celeste, Keyboards
*Toni Campo - Bass
*Terry Cox - Drums
*Elton John - Piano
*Tristan Fry - Percussion
*Joe Moretti - Guitar
*Chris Spedding - Guitar, Bouzouki
*Ray Cooper - Percussion

1973  Lesley Duncan - Everything Changes (Vinyl edition) 

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