Monday, December 31, 2018

John Stewart - California Bloodlines (1969 us, exceptional country folk psych rock, 2007 remaster)



This may be John Stewart’s finest achievement although some fans might argue in favor of the great Willard from 1970.  California Bloodlines was John Stewart’s first true solo disc.  Recorded and released in 1969, Stewart used many of the same musicians as Dylan did for Nashville Skyline.  As expected this disc is much more rustic and country influenced than his work with either Buffy Ford or the Kingston Trio.  Regardless, this is a “must own” for fans of authentic American music.

It took me several spins and a few hours in deep thought to finally come to terms with this classic. John Stewart’s quivering, thin Johnny Cash-like vocals threw me off at first but now I see why many rate California Bloodlines as one of the premier Americana albums.  It’s stacked from top to bottom with great songs and intelligent songwriting.  The opener is one of Stewart’s classics, and while the studio side is excellent in it’s own way,  I prefer the full, live arrangement from October of 69 (Chris Darrow plays fiddle/mandolin on the live version).  Stewart’s songwriting is best heard on gems “Lonesome Picker,” “Missouri Birds,” and “The Pirates of Stone Country Road.”   These cuts are loaded with images of people and places from a bygone era.  

He occasionally takes the historical viewpoint a la Robbie Robertson but his songwriting is certainly one of the album’s strengths.  If you’re a fan of Gene Clark or Mickey Newbury I’m sure you’ll be able to appreciate the awesome “Lonesome Picker.”  This track is a spellbinding masterpiece with haunting imagery and lyrics that still cut deep today. My favorite song from the album, “Never Goin’ Back,”  is another standout track that features plenty of buzzing fuzz guitar similar to the Burritos’ classic “Devil In Disguise.”  The rest of California Bloodlines is fleshed out with accomplished country-rockers and pretty country-folk ballads that have great melodies and tight arrangements.
by Jason Nardelli
Tracks
1. California Bloodlines - 3:08
2. Razorback Woman - 2:27
3. She Believes in Me - 2:34
4. Omaha Rainbow - 3:07
5. The Pirates of Stone County Road - 3:51
6. Shackles and Chains - 2:54
7. Mother Country - 4:53
8. Some Lonesome Picker - 3:10
9. You Can't Look Back - 2:03
10.Missouri Birds - 3:26
11.July You're a Woman - 3:14
12.Never Goin' Back - 4:58
All songs by John Stewart

Musicians
*John Stewart - Vocals, Guitar
*Fred Carter Jr. - Guitar
*Norbert Putnam - Bass
*Lloyd Green - Pedal Steel
*Hargus "Pig" Robbins - Piano
*Kenneth A. Buttrey - Drums
*Charlie McCoy - Harmonica

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Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Seeds - Web Of Sound / A Full Spoon Of Seedy Blues (1966-67 us, stunning garage punk psych bluesy rock, 2013 double disc remaster and expanded)



For many, “A Web Of Sound” is the band’s finest moment, and the record is fully in line with the progressive musical atmosphere of Los Angeles in the mid-1960s. The second half of 1966 could be viewed as the peak of the original Seeds’ three-year career in terms of creativity and credibility. A quintessential 1966 rock album, “A Web Of Sound” retained the crazed energy of the Seeds first album, but dosed with a growing maturity and a willingness to experiment. It evolved out of a period when the band was truly Los Angeles’s own, for it had been in the back-alley bohemian rock clubs of the city that the contents of “Web” flowered.

Written and recorded during the band’s residencies at Hollywood’s underground club Bido Litos, alongside Love and the embryonic Doors it achieved notoriety for the 14-minute showstopper ‘Up In Her Room’, but also features some of the Seeds’ signature tunes including ‘Mr Farmer’, ‘Tripmaker’ and ‘A Faded Picture’. There is a questing, proto-psychedelic aura to “Web” that is both delicious and thrilling at the same time.

Seeds fans should note that the entire contents of our deluxe two-disc set are new to compact disc. They include the original stereo mix of the “A Web Of Sound” which has  been unavailable since the 1960s, along with its punchier mono incarnation. The previously unreleased outtakes include a cryptic early demo of ‘The Wind Blows Your Hair’, with a completely different arrangement to the version issued as a single, as well as its original mildly controversial lyric.

Also featured is an unused mono mix of the “A Full Spoon Of Seedy Blues” LP, made at the time of its recording in late 1966. This LP, originally credited to the Sky Saxon Blues Band, is traditionally seen as a bit of an aberration in the Seeds catalogue, but listening to it now, it is revealed as a creditable attempt to pay homage to a genre that few white American bands had mastered. Blues legend Muddy Waters’ patronage of the band: he contributed the song ‘Plain Spoken’; and members of his band performed on the sessions and he wrote a tribute on the LP jacket, was also a major feather in the Seeds’ cap.

As with all our Seeds reissues, “A Web Of Sound” comes as a trifold digipak with extensive illustrations and fresh commentary from the participants on both its contents and the career of these garage rock avatars.
by Alec Palao
Tracks
Disc 1 A Web Of Sound (stereo) 1966
1. Mr. Farmer (Sky Saxon) - 3:14
2. Pictures And Designs (Darryl Hooper, Sky Saxon) - 2:44
3. Tripmaker (Darryl Hooper, Marcus Tybalt) - 2:45
4. I Tell Myself (Marcus Tybalt) - 2:27
5. A Faded Picture (Darryl Hooper, Sky Saxon) - 5:26
6. Rollin' Machine (Sky Saxon) - 2:51
7. Just Let Go (Darryl Hooper, Jan Savage, Sky Saxon) - 4:19
8. Up In Her Room (Sky Saxon) - 14:42
Bonus Tracks 
9. The Wind Blows Your Hair (Version 1) (Buddy Biglow, Sky Saxon) - 3:10
10.Dreaming Of Your Love (Version 2) (Sky Saxon) - 2:15
11.Out Of The Question (Version 4) (Sky Saxon, Russ Serpent) - 3:17
12.I Tell Myself (Take 1) (Sky Saxon) - 2:49
13.Pictures And Designs (Take 14) (Darryl Hooper, Sky Saxon) - 2:56
14.Just Let Go (Take 4) (Darryl Hooper, Jan Savage, Sky Saxon) - 4:03
15.A Faded Picture (Take1) (Darryl Hooper, Sky Saxon) - 5:33
Disc 2 A Web Of Sound (Mono) 1966
1. Mr Farmer (Sky Saxon) - 3:10
2. Pictures And Designs (Darryl Hooper, Sky Saxon) - 2:45
3. Tripmaker (Darryl Hooper, Sky Saxon) - 2:47
4. I Tell Myself (Sky Saxon) - 2:34
5. A Faded Picture (Darryl Hooper, Sky Saxon) - 5:21
6. Rollin' Machine (Sky Saxon) - 2:43
7. Just Let Go (Darryl Hooper, Jan Savage, Sky Saxon) - 4:20
8. Up In Her Room (Sky Saxon) - 14:42
A Full Spoon Of Seedy Blues (Mono) 1967
9. Pretty Girl (Luther Johnson) - 2:06
10.Moth And The Flame (Sky Saxon) - 3:53
11.I'll Help You (Carry Your Money To The Bank) (Sky Saxon) - 3:32
12.Cry Wolf (Sky Saxon) - 6:09
13.Plain Spoken (Muddy Waters) - 2:56
14.The Gardener (Sky Saxon) - 5:02
15.One More Time Blues (Luther Johnson) - 2:29
16.Creepin' About (Sky Saxon) - 2:48
17.Buzzin' Around (Sky Saxon) - 3:44

The Seeds
*Rick Andridge - Drums
*Darryl Hooper - Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Backing Vocals
*Jan Savage - Guitars, Backing Vocals
*Sky Saxon - Lead Vocals, Bass, Harmonica
*Harvey Sharpe - Bass
*Luther Johnson - Guitar (A Full Spoon Of Seedy Blues)
*Mark Arnold - Guitar (A Full Spoon Of Seedy Blues)
*George "Harmonica" Smith - Harmonica (A Full Spoon Of Seedy Blues)
*James Wells Gordon - Saxophone (A Full Spoon Of Seedy Blues)

1966  The Seeds - The Seeds (2012 remaster and expanded) 
1965-93  The Seeds - Pushin' Too Hard
1967  The Seeds - Future (Vinyl edition)
1967  The Seeds - Future (2013 double disc digipack edition)
1986  Sky "Sunlight" Saxon And Firewall - Destiny's Children

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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Perth County Conspiracy - Alive (1972 canada, great folk rock, Vinyl edition)



Recorded at Toronto's Bathurst St. United Church, 1972's "The Perth County Conspiracy Alive" was a live, 13 track double album set.  Largely acoustic, the performances were all surprisingly good, showcasing some nice vocal harmonies and the band's penchant for crafting exceedingly pretty melodies. All of that came as a surprise to me since I didn't expect these guys to sound nearly as tight.  Highlights included the opening Dylan cover 'You Ain't Goin' Nowhere', the pretty ballad 'Broken Wing' and the radio friendly 'Take a Look at the Light Side' (the latter track being one of the few that seems to have undergone significant post-production work).

The fact that these guys actually had a sense of humor ('Stratford People') was an added bonus.  While the set had a lot going for it, one minor complaint stems from the emphasis on pained ballads which eventually started to take a toll on listeners (or maybe I'm just not sensitive enough).  For what its worth, the album would have benefited from a couple of up-tempo numbers.  Once again produced by John Williams, the set sported crystal clear audio and sounded marvelous on a good stereo, or headphones.  
Tracks
1. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (Bob Dylan) - 3:45
2. Sailboat (Terry Jones) - 4:12
3. Broken Wing (Cedric Smith) - 5:32
4. Take a Look at the Light Side (Richard Keelan) - 6:32
5. Stratford People / People Are Out of Tune (Cedric Smith, Richard Keelan) - 6:32
6. Hezakaiah - 2:38
7. Stories of Old (Terry Jones, Richard Keelan) - 4:39
8. Pilgrim / Welcome Surprise  (Cedric Smith, Richard Keelan) - 5:40
9. I Spun You'out  (Milton Acord, Cedric Smith) - 4:06
10.Tractor Song (Cedric Smith) - 3:53
11.Uncle Jed (Billy Batson) - 5:09

Perth County Conspiracy
*Terry Jones - Vocals, Guitar
*Richard Keelan - Vocals, Guitar
*Cedric Smith - Vocals, Guitar
*George Taros - Piano, Vocals
With
*Perth County Girls and Friend - Chorus

1970  Perth County Conspiracy - Does Not Exist (Vinyl edition) 

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Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Perth County Conspiracy - Does Not Exist (1970 canada, extraordinary acid folk rock with prog touches, Vinyl edition)



1970's "The Perth County Conspiracy Does Not Exist" released for Columbia and co-produced by John Williams and the band the results were prime hippy-era west coast-styled acid-folk !!!  (I'd normally cringe when hearing something like that, but this time around its a pretty apt descriptor.  Musically original material like 'Midnight Hour', the CSN&Y-styled 'Easy Rider' and 'Truth and Fantasy' mixed strong melodies and nice vocals from both Keelan and Smith with entertaining if dated and occasionally pompous lyrics.  Imagine the International String Band had they copped an English degree and been tough enough to survive in Canada and you'll be in the right aural neighborhood. 

Extra credit for the band's willingness to borrow from the likes of Dylan Thomas ('Midnight Hour') and even William Shakespeare ('Excerpt from "as you like it"').  Best of all is the stunning closer 'Crucifixation Cartoon' ... I can't eve begin to describe how good this track is.   The set isn't perfect - the kids reciting poetry t the start of 'Listen To the Kids' is pretty lame, as are some of the spoken word segments and 'The Dancer' is merely dull.  Still, maybe because it's so unique this one's definitely a keeper and even more attractive to me given it's an album that you can still find at an affordable price.
Tracks
1. Midnight Hour (Cedric Smith, Richard Keelan, Dylan Thomas) - 6:35
2. Epistle To the Borderliner (Cederic Smith) - 1:57
3. Easy Rider (Richard Keelan) - 4:40
4. Truth and Fantasy (Richard Keelan,  Christopher Logue, Cederic Smith) - 5:42
5. Don't You Feel Fine (Richard Keelan) - 2:40
6. You Have the Power (Cedric Smith, Richard Keelan) - 4:44
7. Keeper of the Key (Richard Keelan) - 3:18
8. Lady of the County (Cedric Smith) - 3:27
9. Listen To the Kids (Richard Lewis, Richard Keelan) - 2:59
10.Trouble On the Farm (Cedric Smith) - 2:17
11.Excerpt from "as you like it" (Williams Shakespeare, Richard Keelan) - 2:02
12.The Dancer (Richard Keelan) - 4:51
13.Crucifixation Cartoon (Cedric Smith, Richard Keelan) - 6:20

The Perth County Conspiracy
*Michael Butler - Bass
*Terry Jones - Vocals, Guitar
*Richard Keelan - Vocals, Guitar
*Cedric Smith - Vocals, Guitar, Bass   

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Monday, December 24, 2018

The Others / Sands / Sun Dragon – Listen To The Sky (1964-73 uk, fascinating mod psych beat, 2006 remaster)



Rob Freeman and Ian McLintock never quite achieved rock stardom, but it wasn't for a lack of talent or effort, and their career together unwittingly serves as a superb example of the shifting tides of the British rock scene in the 1960s and early '70s. Freeman and McLintock's recordings get a thorough examination on Listen to the Sky, which follows the stylistic evolution of their bands over the course of a decade. Freeman (guitar and vocals) and McLintock (bass and vocals) first worked together in the Others, an R&B combo from Southwest London whose lone single, a cover of Bo Diddley's "Oh Yeah," was a well crafted rave-up in the manner of the Rolling Stones and the Pretty Things. Both sides of that single appear here, along with an unreleased follow-up, but by 1966 the Others had split and Freeman and McLintock had formed a new band, the more pop-oriented Sands. 

There was more than a bit of nascent psychedelia in Sands' music, especially their cover of the Bee Gees' "Mrs. Gillespie's Refrigerator" and "Listen to the Sky," an original that ends in a bizarre noise coda that quotes Holst's The Planets! After one single Sands fell apart, despite management by Brian Epstein, but Freeman and McLintock soldiered on with a new project, Sun Dragon, which scored an almost-hit with their cover of the Lemon Pipers' "Green Tambourine" in 1968 (with typical luck, their label's pressing plant went on strike as the single was starting to gain radio play, prematurely ending its run on the charts). 

Sun Dragon's music was more polished and calculatingly commercial than their earlier efforts, with polished production and a strong emphasis on covers, but the group's first and only album, included here, is well-crafted U.K. pop that would have done some of the better-known production teams of the day proud. The set closes out with two cuts from post-Sun Dragon projects of the '70s, which are slick but solidly professional pop product. Given the stylistic diversity of the music here, Listen to the Sky would best serve loyal fans of Freeman and McLintock, who unfortunately are small in number, but folks with an interest in how U.K. pop changed during the '60s will find this edifying, and Freeman and McLintock's undervalued talent is certainly evident throughout. 
by Mark Deming
Artists - Tracks
1. The Others - Oh Yeah (Ellas McDaniel) - 2:53
2. The Others - If You Don't Come Back (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) - 2:17
3. The Others - Smokestack Lightning (Chester Burnett) - 2:36
4. The Others - I'm Taking Her Home (Ian McLintock, Paul Stewart) - 2:17
5. Sands - River Deep, Mountain High (Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, Phil Spector) - 3:27
6. Sands - Mrs Gillespie's Refrigerator (Robin Gibb, Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb) - 2:06
7. Sands - Listen To The Sky (Paul Stewart, Peter Hammerton) - 3:45
8. Sands - Weddings Make Me Cry (Andrew Pope, Herb Rooney) - 2:43
9. Sun Dragon - Green Tambourine (Paul Leka, Shelley Pinz) - 2:25
10.Sun Dragon - So You Wanna Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star (Chris Hillman, Roger McGuinn) - 2:01
11.Sun Dragon - Seventeen (Ian McLintock, Bob Freeman) - 2:43
12.Sun Dragon - Peacock Dress (Ian McLintock, Bob Freeman) - 2:19
13.Sun Dragon - Five White Horses (Ian McLintock, Bob Freeman) - 2:30
14.Sun Dragon - Far Away Mountain (Ian McLintock, Bob Freeman) - 2:53
15.Sun Dragon - Blueberry Blue (Paul Leka, Shelley Pinz) - 2:22
16.Sun Dragon - Love Minus Zero (Bob Dylan) - 3:19
17.Sun Dragon - I Need All The Friends I Can Get (Ian McLintock, Bob Freeman) - 2:26
18.Sun Dragon - Windy (Ruthann Friedman) - 2:10
19.Sun Dragon - Empty Highway (Ian McLintock, Bob Freeman) - 2:39
20.Sun Dragon - Look At The Sun (Ian McLintock, Bob Freeman) - 2:56
21.High Noon - Drivin' Drivin' (Ian McLintock, Bob Freeman) - 2:29
22.High Noon - Bring Back That Love Again (Ian McLintock, Bob Freeman) - 2:39
23.McLintock - Hey, Hey, What Do You See (Ian McLintock, Bob Freeman) - 2:43

Personnel
*Ian McLintock - Bass, Vocals
*Bob Freeman - Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
*Paul Stewart - Vocals (Tracks 1-8)
*Nigel Baldwin - Drums (Tracks 1-4)
*John Standley - Lead Guitar (Tracks 1-4)
*Peter Hammerton - Lead Guitar, Vocals (Tracks 5-8)
*Ray Cook - Drums (Tracks 5-8)
Guests
*Richie Blackmore - Guitar
*Jon Lord - Keyboards
*Ian Paice - Drums
*Nick Robbins - Synthesizer

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Monday, December 10, 2018

Tim Buckley - Honeyman (1973 us, sensational live recording)



Honeyman is a previously unreleased live 1973 radio broadcast in excellent sound. As the songs originate mostly from the Sefronia and Greetings from L.A records (although a couple of songs from the '60s do appear), this couldn't be placed among his best work, or even among his best live albums (Dream Letter and Live at the Troubadour 1969 are both considerably better). Buckley's vocals are great, though, and if the tunes are sometimes too funky for their own good, this is generally good stuff, especially his riveting interpretation of Fred Neil's "Dolphins".
by Richie Unterberger

Tim Buckley was a riveting live performer. While the albums made near the end of his career are not accorded the respect of the earlier, groundbreaking releases, the songs were still up to Buckley’s high standards. Honeyman is a live album from a 1973 radio broadcast. The sound is superb and the playing is much more organic sounding and even tighter than his studio recordings. Here, the songs breathe. Fred Neil’s “Dolphins” is a credible opener, perfect for Buckley’s sympathies and its quick segue into Buckley’s own “Buzzin’ Fly” from his studio best Happy/Sad makes for a great one-two punch. The avant-garde period is passed over for a shot at Goodbye and Hello’s “Pleasant Street” and tracks from Greetings from L.A. and Sefronia. The dexterous guitar leads of “Get On Top” help cook the radio waves. “Devil Eyes” and “Stone In Love” follow with a deeper funk that leaves plenty of room for Buckley to pull off his best night moves.
Tracks
1. Dolphins (Fred Neil) - 3:45
2. Buzzin' Fly (Tim Buckley) - 7:20
3. Get On Top (Tim Buckley, Larry Beckett) - 4:41
4. Devil Eyes (Tim Buckley, Larry Beckett) - 7:34
5. Pleasant Street (Tim Buckley) - 8:14
6. Sally Go 'Round The Roses (Lona Stevens, Zell Sanders) - 5:53
7. Stone In Love (Tim Buckley) - 4:17
8. Honey Man (Tim Buckley, Larry Beckett) - 8:31
9. Sweet Surrender (Tim Buckley, Larry Beckett) - 8:26

Musicians
*Tim Buckley – Vocals, 12 String Electric Guitar
*Joe Falsia - Lead Guitar
*Bernie Mysior - Bass
*Buddy Helm - Drums
*Mark Tiernan - Keyboards

1966-74  Tim Buckley - Wings The Complete Singles (2016 remaster)  
1966  Tim Buckley - Tim Buckley (Part 1 of 2017 eight cds box set)
1967  Tim Buckley - Goodbye And Hello  (Part 2 of 2017 eight cds box set)
1967  Tim Buckley - Live At The Folklore Center (2009 digipak release)
1969  Tim Buckley - Happy Sad (Part 3 of 2017 eight cds box set)
1969  Tim Buckley - Blue Afternoon (Part 4 of the 2017 eight cds box set)
1969 Tim Buckley - Greetings From West Hollywood (2017 remaster)
1970  Tim Buckley - Lorca (Part 5 of the 2017 eight cds box set)
1970  Tim Buckley - Starsailor (Part 6 of the 2017 eight cds box set)
1972  Tim Buckley - Greetings From L.A. (Part 7 of the 2017 eight cds box set)
1967-69  Tim Buckley - Works In Progress (Part 8 of the 2017 eight cds box set)
1973  Tim Buckley - Sefronia (2017 remaster)
1974  Tim Buckley - Look At The Fool (2017 remaster)

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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Buddy Guy And Junior Wells - Play The Blues (1972 us, superb electric blues, 2012 japan remaster)



Considering the troubled background of this album (Eric Clapton, Ahmet Ertegun, and Tom Dowd only ended up with eight tracks at a series of 1970 sessions in Miami; two years later, the J. Geils Band was brought in to cut two additional songs to round out the long-delayed LP for 1972 release), the results were pretty impressive. Buddy Guy contributes dazzling lead axe to their revival of "T-Bone Shuffle"; Junior Wells provides a sparkling remake of Sonny Boy's "My Baby She Left Me," and Guy is entirely credible in a grinding Otis Redding mode on the Southern soul stomper "A Man of Many Words." 
by Bill Dahl

Legend has it that Junior Wells and Buddy Guy first met in 1958, when recent Chicago transplant Guy beat Wells in a Battle Of The Blues competition, even though Wells was the established player on the Windy City scene. The two played together at the 1967 Newport Folk Festival and opened for The Rolling Stones on their 1970 tour. That tour was the catalyst for the recordings on this album, originally released in 1972.
  
When the Stones played Paris, Guy-Wells disciple Eric Clapton came over for a visit, joining Guy onstage for a few numbers. Backstage, Clapton suggested to Atlantic's Ahmet Ertegun that he sign the two bluesmen. Ahmet agreed if Clapton agreed to produce the record. The deal was struck, and sessions got underway at Criteria Studio in Miami. Unfortunately the album took two years to be released, during which time some of the post-Woodstock blues buzz had subsided.
   
Although the Guy-Wells partnership was vital well into the '80s, Guy enjoyed his greatest commercial successes after the partnership ended, winning five Grammys -- beginning with 1991's Damn Right, I've Got The Blues -- and a record 21 W.C. Handy Blues Awards. Wells died in 1998.
Tracks
1. A Man of Many Words (Buddy Guy) - 4:01
2. My Baby She Left Me (She Left Me a Mule to Ride) (Sonny Boy Williamson) - 3:11
3. Come on in This House/Have Mercy Baby (Junior Wells) - 4:23
4. T-Bone Shuffle (Aaron T-Bone Walke) - 4:19
5. A Poor Man's Plea (Junior Wells) - 3:13
6. Messin' With the Kid (Mel London) - 2:15
7. This Old Fool (Buddy Guy) - 3:11
8. I Don't Know (Willie Mabon) - 4:30
9. Bad Bad Whiskey (Thomas Davis) - 4:14
10.Honeydripper (Joe Liggins) - 3:49

Musicians
*Buddy Guy - Lead Guitar, Rythm Guitar
*Junior Wells - Vocals, Harmonica
*Eric Clapton - Rythm Guitar, Bottleneck Guitar
*A. C. Reed - Tenor Saxophone
*Leroy Stewart - Bass
*Mike Utley - Organ, Piano
*Seth Justman - Piano
*Roosevelt Shaw - Drums
*Stephen Bladd - Drums
*Carl Dean Radle - Bass (Track 1)
*Danny Klein - Bass (Tracks 7, 10)
*J. Geils - Rythm Guitar (Tacks 7, 10)
*Jim Gordon -  Drums (Track 1)
*Magic Dick - Harmonica  (Tracks 7, 10)
*Dr. John - Piano (Track 1)

Related Act
1964-72  Koko Taylor - What It Takes / The Chess Years (2009 remaster and expanded) 

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Tim Hollier ‎- Skysail (1971 uk, gorgeous baroque acid folk psych, Vinyl edition)



Born in June 1947 in Brighton (Sussex), Tim Hollier soon re-located with his family to Seascale (West Cumberland). At school he met Rod Alexander (g, later with V.I.P.'s, Green Bullfrog and Axe) and in 1960 they formed The Meteors together with Terry Hewitt (b) and Mike Beresford (d, soon replaced first by Keith Henderson and then by Brian "Chico" Greenwood, later of Jasper, Trifle, Moonrider, Gonzalez, Nicky James and Patrick Hernandez). In 1963 Tim went to Carlisle Art College and while studying he played with some success on the local folk club scene in a duo called Sovereigns (with his cousin Robbie Peckford). 

A couple of years later Tim moved to London to attend the London College of Graphic Design, where he met Canadian guitaristsinger Rick Cuff: the two began playing together and performed live in the capital city's venues of the time opening for well known acts, such as Jo-Ann Kelly, Roy Harper and even Paul Simon. Thanks to Charlie Crane (singer with Cryin' Shames and Gary Walker & The Rain), Tim came into contact with Simon Napier-Bell, who was working with David Hemmings' Hemdale Company, and in June '68 he signed for United Artists. With a good budget from the label and the help of fine musicians of the calibre of John Cameron, Gerry Conway, Herbie Flowers and David & Jonathan.

The third and final "proper" Tim Hollier LP was issued in March 1971, once again arranged by John Cameron. Here Tim sang three Rick Cuff-penned songs, of which especially "Tenderly Stooping Low" (already sung by Amory Kane on his second long-player) was particularly noteworthy. Cameron's orchestrations were at times too mellow, but songs like "And I Wait For That" (co-written by photographer Jeremy Taunton) and "Time Has A Way Of Losing You" (with lyrics by Rory Fellowes) still stand out,  the last track of which was the impressive "While London's Days Increase" (lyrics by Fellowes). After a second (and final) single, issued in July 1971, which included a cover of Gordon Lightfoot's "The Circle Is Small", Tim Hollier's recording career halted for a while. Tim Hollier died on 5 July 2017 due to complications of surgery.
Tracks
1. Skysail (Rick Cuff) - 3:31
2. Beauty Of The Gardens (Jeremy Taunton, Tim Hollier) - 2:04
3. Time Has A Way Of Losing You (Rory Fellowes, Tim Hollier) - 2:220
4. And I Wait For That (Jeremy Taunton, Tim Hollier) - 2:59
5. Your Quiet Life (Jeremy Taunton, Tim Hollier) - 2:18
6. Tenderly Stooping Low (Rick Cuff) - 3:38
7. Flowers In The Morning (John Cameron) - 3:08
8. Sunshine Moonshine (Roger Fennings) - 2:56
9. Yesterday's Dreams (Rory Fellowes, Tim Hollier) - 2:51
10.Tomorrow Is The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life (Tim Hollier) - 2:20
11.Through The Darkness (Rick Cuff) - 3:21
12.While London's Days Increase (Rory Fellowes, Tim Hollier) - 2:51

Personnel
*Tim Hollier - Vocals, Guitar
*Amory Kane - Guitar, Piano, Harmonica, Bass
*Harold McNair - Flute
*Tim Kraemer - Cello
*Tony Carr - Drums, Perscussion
*Bill Le Sage - Piani, Vibraphone

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Sunday, December 2, 2018

Gene Clark - Flying High (1964-1990 us, amazing compilation)



There's not many that could write a song like Gene. Take one song, Spanish Guitar'. A song that which no less than Bob Dylan said was 'something I or anybody else would have been proud to have written'. We open with 'You Showed Me' a song never properly recorded by The Byrds but turned into a hit by The Turtles a few years later. And by The Lightning Seeds here in England many years later! The guy could write songs! We have a couple of Gene's finest Byrds moments before we move onto the solo material. 'Set You Free This Time' is just so fuckin good! That slight quiver is his voice is everything. He wasn't a fabulous singer I suppose but he could sing and that quiver in his voice invested everything he did with a tremendous emotional quality. Besides, the likes of 'Set You Free This Time' contains some of the greatest lyrics written by anybody. No wonder Bob admired his song writing. 'She Don't Care About Time' is a superlative Byrds single that inexplicably was never included on a regular Byrds album. Its just fabulous, the guitars jangle away and it's pop music. Prime Beatles influenced music that in turn influenced The Beatles not least George Harrison who was a huge fan of The Byrds.

Moving on through the first couple of solo records i've already covered we have highlights with the ridiculously happy 'Tried So Hard', the stone cold classic 'Train Leaves Here This Morning' and the simply brilliant 'Why Not Your Baby'. And, on this compilation at least, a couple of rarities. Rarities? Gene recorded a single 'The French Girl' / 'Los Angeles' after his solo debut. The single never gained release and Gene ultimately decided to ditch that particular style and move more towards a country rock style. Thing is.....ah! 'The French Girl'. This is SUCH a fantastic song. Supremely melodic, the quiver in his voice present and correct and some fantastically romantic evocative lyrics. This song gets to me every time. It was never released? It should have been number one! Really. And, 'Los Angeles'. Rock and Roll! Sorry, i'm getting carried away, but really, these songs are just so damn good and grin inducing. Everybody should get hold of these two songs. They really are that good. 

More quality out-takes here. Gene had a bunch of them. 'I Pity The Poor Immigrant' - a great Dylan cover given a rock beat but still retaining a country flavour. 'Something's Wrong' from 'Fantastic Expedition' sounding as great and wondrous as ever. The decent 'Polly' and 'Dark Hollow' - yet more Gene Clark out-takes better than most writers best moments. A special mention for the two songs at the end of the first disc. 'She's The Kind Of Girl' and 'One In A Hundred' were Byrds re-unions. The mixes here are different to those that later emerged and were recorded with Jim Dickson The Byrds original mentor. They are simply fantastic, far superior to anything The Byrds were doing at that stage. The jangle is present, the harmonies are stupendous. Really. And, 'She's The Kind Of Girl' is simply beautiful.

Highlights of the second disc of course include the songs taken from his classic 'No Other' album which still to this day hasn't received a re-issue. Reissue it somebody! We open with some beautiful acoustic songs, 'With Tomorrow' and 'Spanish Guitar'. 'Spanish Guitar' especially is a thing to behold. A wonderful song, heartbreaking and beautiful again. A number of pleasant songs pass by until we reach the next moment of pure genius. 'Full Circle Song' - the version here is different to the version on The Byrds largely disappointing 73 reunion album. This is Gene's original version and dammit if it isn't wonderful! Wonderfully recorded and performed, a little Byrds jangle in the guitar and its just so uplifiting and happy. No wonder The Byrds wanted it to open their reunion album. This song always makes me smile and makes me happy. 'I Remember The Railroad' is so atmospheric, wonderfully desolate in feel. Skipping the 'No Other' songs for the moment, the remainder of the record is tasteful, quality but never again reaching heights of genius. Gene had something of a bad lifestyle and a drinking habit that ultimately cost him his life. 'Fair And Tender Ladies' however is late period Gene Clark and does send a chill up the spine. A beautiful folk song with added female harmonies.

'No Other' was the album Gene recorded for Asylum records with a budget that went way over what had been originally allocated. The production was state of the art, experimental. The songs were all 5/6/7 minutes plus and daring in their ambition. They remind me of Bob Dylan's 'Desire' album which was released in 1976. 'No Other' came out in 74. 'Silver Raven' and 'The True One' are both amongst the best songs Gene ever wrote. And, then? 'Lady Of The North'. Ah! 'Lady Of The North'. This is the one. I'm crying, i'm sorry. I'm going :) Yes, why did I have to listen to this whilst writing the review? I am crying, actual tears of joy. 'Lady Of The North'. The emotional quiver, fantastic vocals actually, some of the best he ever did. Soaring musical parts, a song in sections each one adding to the last. Violin! Desire! 'flying high, above the clouds. we lay in grassy meadows, the earth was like a pillow - for our dreams'. Wonderful lyrics, great piano. One of the finest six minutes in musical history. It's 4.30pm in the afternoon. I'm half way through the song. I've not drunk any alcohol, i'm sober and sane. One of the best songs and performances of all time. 
by Adrian Denning
Tracks
Disc 1
1. You Showed Me (Gene Clark, Roger McGuinn) - 1:54
2. Feel A Whole Lot Better - 2:31 
3. Set You Free This Time - 2:50 
4. She Don't Care About Time - 2:31 
5. Tried So Hard - 2:21 
6. So You Say You Lost Your Baby - 2:09 
7. The French Girl - 2:38 
8. Los Angeles - 2:39 
9. I Pity The Poor Immigrant (Bob Dylan) - 4:56 
10.That's Alright By Me - 4:00 
11.Train Leaves Here This Morning (Gene Clark, Bernie Leadon) - 3:51 
12.Why Not Your Baby - 3:42 
13.The Radio Song (Gene Clark, Bernie Leadon) - 3:03 
14.Git It On Brother (Lester Flatt) - 2:53 
15.Something's Wrong (Gene Clark, Doug Dillard) - 2:58 
16.Wall Around Your Heart (Don Reno, Red Smiley, James Buddie Smith) - 3:09 
17.No Longer A Sweetheart Of Mine (Don Reno, Red Smiley, James Buddie Smith) - 3:16 
18.Through The Morning, Through The Night - 4:07 
19.Kansas City Southern - 3:40 
20.Polly - 4:23 
21.Dark Hollow (Bill Browning) - 3:04 
22.One In A Hundred - 2:48 
23.She's The Kind Of Girl - 2:57 
All compositions by Gene Clark except where stated
Disc 2
1. With Tomorrow (Gene Clark, Jesse Ed Davis) - 2:28
2. Spanish Guitar - 5:01
3. The Virgin - 3:37
4. Opening Day - 4:17
5. Winter In - 3:19
6. The American Dreamer - 1:54
7. Full Circle Song - 2:46
8. In A Misty Morning - 4:58
9. I Remember The Railroad - 2:32
10.Silver Raven - 4:56
11.The True One - 4:01
12.Lady Of The North (Gene Clark, Doug Dillard) - 6:07
13.Hear The Wind - 3:07
14.Silent Crusade - 4:15
15.Past Addresses - 5:39
16.Fair And Tender Ladies (Traditional) - 5:04
17.Changes (Phil Ochs) - 3:31
18.Mr. Tambourine Man (Bob Dylan) - 5:37
Words and Music by Gene Clark except where noted

Musicians
*Gene Clark - Guitar, Vocals
*Michael Clarke - Drums
*David Crosby - Guitar, Vocals
*Chris Hillman - Bass, Mandolin, Vocals
*Jim "Roger" McGuinn - Banjo, Guitar, Vocal
*Vern Gosdin - Vocals
*Rex Gosdin - Vocals
*Glen Campbell - Electric Guitar
*Jerry Cole - Guitars
*Bill Rinehart - Guitars
*Clarence White - Guitar
*Doug Dillard - Vocals, Banjo, Fiddle, Guitar, Electric Banjo
*Leon Russell - Piano, Harpsichord; String Arrangements
*Van Dyke Parks - Keyboards
*Chris Hillman - Bass
*Michael Clarke - Drums
*Joel Larson - Drums
*Bernie Leadon - Banjo, Bass, Guitar, Vocals
*Sneaky Pete Kleinow - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Jon Corneal – Drums, Tambourine
*David Jackson - Bass, Piano, Cello, Vocals
*Byron Berline - Fiddle
*Donna Washburn - Guitar, Tambourine, Vocals
*Donald Beck - Mandolin, Fretted Dobro
*Andy Belling - Harpsichord
*Jesse Ed Davis - Electric Guitar
*Chris Ethridge - Bass
*Gary Mallaber - Drums
*Mike Utley - Organ
*Ben Sidran - Piano
*Spooner Oldham - Keyboards, Vocals
*Rick Roberts - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Bud Shank - Flute
*Lee Sklar - Bass
*Butch Trucks - Drums
*Russ Kunkle - Drums
*Michael Utley - Keyboards
*Michael Huey - Drums, Percussion
*Roscoe Beck - Acoustic Bass
*Craig Doerge - Keyboards
*Joe Lala - Percussions
*Richard Greene - Violin
*Ted Machell - Cello
*Bill Cuomo - Rheem Organ
*Jerry McGee - Guitar
*Danny Kootch - Guitar
*Buzzy Feiten - Guitar
*Carla Olson - Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Otha Young - Acoustic Guitar
*Skip Edwards - Keyboards

1964-82  Gene Clark ‎- The Lost Studio Sessions (2016 audiophile double Vinyl set) 
1967  Gene Clark - Echoes
1968-69  Dillard And Clark - Fantastic Expedition / Through The Morning, Through The Night
1971  Gene Clark - White Light
1972  Gene Clark - Roadmaster  (2011 Edition)
1979  McGuinn, Clark And Hillman (2014 Japan SHM Remaster)
With The Byrds
1964  The Byrds - Preflyte (2012 Edition)
1973  Byrds - Byrds (2004 issue)

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