Saturday, October 12, 2019

Tongue - Keep On Truckin´ With Tounge (1969 us, rough blues psych rock, 2000 expanded issue)

Founded in 1967 at the University of Wisconsin-Stout by singer/guitarist Paul Rabbitt and bass player Bob ‘Hippie’ Collins, the group was originally known as the Tennis Shoe Tongue Band. … (The band) quickly became student body favorites for its blues-based hard rock sound and ferocious live shows. …

“Tongue toured extensively with another Wisconsin band, Soup, and opened shows for many headliners on the Midwest concert circuit. Tongue toured with the Cleveland-based rock band James Gang, featuring Joe Walsh, and played with Chuck Berry, Cheap Trick, Michigan’s own Ted Nugent and Alice Cooper. … After gigging around the Midwest for a decade, the Tongue called it quits in 1976.
by Steve Seymour
1. Homely Man Blues (Paul Rabbitt) - 3:44
2. Get Your Shit Together (Paul Rabbitt) - 2:28
3. The Earth Song (Paul Rabbitt, Bob Collins) - 7:00
4. The Prophet (Paul Rabbitt) - 3:45
5. Sidewalk Celebration (Paul Rabbitt) - 3:13
6. Slap Her Down Again Paw (Alice Cornett, Eddie Asherman, Polly Arnold) - 0:26
7. Every Time (Mick Larson, Paul Rabbitt) - 3:02
8. Get Down (Dick Webber, Paul Rabbitt, Bob Collins, Mick Larson) - 3:00
9. Morning Dew (Bonnie Dobson) - 7:29
10.Jazz On The Rag (Paul Rabbitt) - 2:39
11.Keep On Truckin' (Donovan Leitch) - 3:20
12.Hashish (Paul Rabbitt) - 0:04
13.Stained Glass Window (Paul Rabbitt) - 4:43
14.Hey Hey Moma (Paul Rabbitt, Mick Larson, Bob Collins) - 2:13
Bonus Tracks 13-14

*Bob "Hippie" Collins - Bass, Vocals
*Paul Rabbitt - Vocals, Guitar
*Mick Larson - Keyboards
*Dick Webber - Drums

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Friday, October 11, 2019

Pacific Gas And Electric - P G & E (1971 us, remarkable funky blues rock, 2007 reissue)

A really strong set with great rock & soul groove in the best style of some of the other Bay Area crossover groups from the time! The line up here is augmented by some positively soaring backing chorus vocals credited to the Blackberries – a nice counterpoint to the grittier lead vocals of Charlie Allen. The tunes range from an emotive rock & soul vibe to more of a chugging rock groove. Overall it's got some heavy guitar with good wah-wah moments, rock-oriented vocals with a soulful sound! Tracks "When The Sun Shines", "See The Monkey Run", "Short Dogs & Englishmen", "Recall", "Death Row #172", and "The Time Has Come (To Make Your Piece)" and more.
1. Rock And Roller's Lament (Charlie Allen) - 3:15
2. Recall (Charlie Allen, Frank Petricca) - 4:24
3. One More River To Cross (Daniel Moore) - 2:42
4. Death Row #172 (Charlie Allen, Frank Cook, John Hill) - 5:33
5. Short Dogs And Englishmen (Charlie Allen) - 6:30
6. See The Monkey Run (Steve Beckmeier) - 2:34
7. The Time Has Come (To Make Your Peace) (Ron Woods) - 3:14
8. Thank God For You Baby (Charlie Allen, John Hill) - 6:54
9. When The Sun Shines (Ken Utterback) - 4:10

Pacific Gas And Electric
*Ken Utterback - Lead Guitar
*Frank Petricca - Bass
*Jerry Aiello - Organ
*Ron Woods - Drums
*Joe Lala - Conga, Timbales
*Alfred Gallegos -Tenor Sax
*Virgil Gonsalves - Baritone Sax
*Stanley Abernathy - Trumpet
*Charlie Allen - Vocals
*The Blackberries - Background Vocals

more Gas
1968  Pacific Gas And Electric - Get It On / The Kent Records Sessions (2009 extra tracks remaster) 
1969-70  Pacific Gas And Electric / Are You ready
1970  Live 'N' Kicking At Lexington

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Ten Years After - The Cap Ferrat Sessions (1972 uk, superb classic blues rock, 2017 remaster part of a 10 disc box set)

The Cap Ferrat Sessions – exists thanks to Alvin Lee’s wife, who discovered a box of recordings in their house in Spain. Chris Kimsey recorded and engineered these tracks originally (they formed part of the Rock N Roll Music To The World sessions) which is why Chrysalis Records turned to him to mix them for the first time. Cap Ferrat is in the South of France, situated between Nice and Monaco.

Kimsey has set the record straight in terms of the quality of these newly-found tracks: “Alvin and the band were incredibly creative and abundant during this period. These re-discovered recordings were not rough demos, not rehearsals, but completed masters that did not make the album due to the time limitations of vinyl at the time. So these gems were left off. Mixing this in 2017 I began to study the parts, the playing, the response of each musician. It was amazing! It is what all great recordings are made of.”
by Paul Sinclair

The Cap Ferrat Sessions, which contains five tracks laid down in 1972 – but were later forgotten.

Drummer Ric Lee says: “We recorded in the south of France using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, in a villa in Cap Ferrat.

“Each of the instruments were recorded in a different room – the drums were in the ballroom. Between our engineer, Chris Kimsey, and me, we managed to get one of the best drum sounds on any Ten Years After recording.

“The tracks were originally planned for the Rock & Roll Music To The World album, but due to vinyl restrictions of the time, they weren’t included.”

Kimsey was 21 years old when he first worked on the Cap Ferrat tracks – but 45 years later, and with a career that includes collaborations with the Stones, Bad Company and Peter Frampton among his credits, he went back to work on them.

“Alvin and the band were incredibly creative and abundant during that period,” Kimsey says. “These rediscovered recordings were not rough demos or rehearsals, but completed masters that did not make the album.

“Mixing this in 2017 I began to study the parts, the playing, the response of each musician. It was amazing – it’s what all great recordings are made of.”
by Martin Kielty
1. Look At Yourself - 4:20
2. Running Around - 5:34
3. Holy Shit - 3:01
4. There's A Feeling - 3:32
5. I Hear You Calling My Name - 11:11
All songs by Alvin Lee

Ten Years After
*Alvin Lee - Guitar, Vocals
*Leo Lyons - Bass
*Ric Lee - Drums
*Chick Churchill - Organ

Related Acts
1973-74  Alvin Lee And Mylon Lefevre - On The Road To Freedom
1974  Alvin Lee - In Flight 
2012  Alvin Lee - Still on the Road to Freedom

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Rare Earth - Willie Remembers (1972 us, exceptional groovy classic rock, 2017 audiophile remaster)

Rare Earth's “Willie Remembers” (again co-produced by Baird and the band) hit the charts on 25 November 1972, peaking at a disappointing #90 while charting for 20 weeks.  Michael Urso (bass and vocals) replaced original member John Persh.  For the first time, the band put out an album of almost entirely original material.  Unfortunately, the album did not sell, despite having many good moments.  The album had two singles “Good Time Sally” and “We’re Gonna Have A Real Good Time” but neither sold well, topping out at #67 and #93 respectively.  

The band’s fortunes were fading.  Fortunately for collectors both single edits are included on “Anthology” and serve notice that although the band’s singles were no longer top 10 or even top 20 smashes, they were certainly worthy efforts.  But the times had changed.  Music headed in a more progressive direction, and the band’s brand of psychedelic rhythm and blues turned breezy, good time music waned in favor. Motown thought it was ‘too white’ and refused to promote it. 
by Kevin Rathert
1. Good Time Sally (Tom Baird) - 2:53
2. Every Now And Then We Get To Go On Down To Miami (Dino Fekaris, Nick Zesses) - 3:11
3. Think Of The Children (Ray Monette, Mark Olson, Pete Rivera) - 5:36
4. Gotta Get Myself Back Home - 3:02
5. Come With Your Lady - 5:47
6. Would You Like To Come Along - 2:48
7. We're Gonna Have A Good Time - 3:25
8. I Couldn't Believe What Happened Last Night - 12:29
All sons by Gil Bridges, Eddie Guzman, Ray Monette, Mark Olson, Pete Rivera except where noted

Rare Earth
*Pete Hoorelbeke – Drums, Percussion, Lead Vocal
*Gil Bridges – Woodwinds, Percussion, Vocal
*Mike Urso – Bass Guitar, Vocal
*Ray Monette – Lead Guitar
*Mark Olson – Keyboard, Vocal
*Ed Guzman – Congas, Percussion

1968  Dreams/Answers (2017 audiophile remaster)
1969-74  Fill Your Head (three cds box set, five studio albums plus outtakes and alternative versions)
1971  One World  (2015 audiophile remaster)
1971  In Concert (2017 Audiophile) 
1974  Live In Chicago (2014 audiophile remaster)
1976/78  Midnight Lady / Band Together (2017 digipak remaster)
1975/77 Rare Earth - Back To Earth / Rare Earth (2006 remaster)

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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Blonde On Blonde - Reflections On A Life (1971 uk, beautiful prog rock with psych flashes, 2017 bonus track release and 2007 Japan remaster)

There was something very special about being able to live a life split between two worlds, one quiet and countrified, and the other - on the road or in the heart of London's nightlife!

I think you can hear that contrast in the music itself: a mixture of focused energy and laid-back calm. It was a reflection of the way we lived and worked. We all came from a heavily industrialised Welsh seaport that was closely surrounded by mountains and wild romantic countryside; it was the contrast that inspired us.

And it still inspires me. I am about to release a new Blonde On Blonde album. The music's already 'in the can' and includes songs from Blonde On Blonde's live performances that were not previously released. It also includes some very recent material. The new album is called "Coldharbour" (another name for my hometown Newport). It was hearing "Rebirth" again that brought me determination to complete the project.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the sounds of 1970 so faithfully captured here on this reissued CD. When I listened to it again, it was like taking a ride in a time capsule in my own head. The sound and the memories are crystal clear.
by David Thomas

1. Gene Machine (Gareth Johnson) - 2:12
2. I Don't Care (Dave Thomas, Gareth Johnson) - 2:40
3. Love Song (Dave Thomas) - 6:45
4. Bar Room Blues (Dave Thomas) - 5:30
5. Sad Song For An Easy Lady (Dave Thomas) - 4:14
6. Ain't It Sad Too (Gareth Johnson) - 4:25
7. The Bargain (Dave Thomas) - 4:16
8. The Rut (Graham Davies) - 5:29
9. Happy Families (Gareth Johnson) - 3:50
10.No. 2 Psychological Decontamination Unit (Gareth Johnson) - 3:03
11.Chorale (Forever) (Gareth Johnson) - 4:53
12.Sad Song for An Easy Lady (Single Version) (Dave Thomas) - 3:34

Blonde On Blonde
*Graham Davies -  Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Banjo, Vocals
*Gareth Johnson - Lead Guitar
*Les Hicks - Percussion
*Dave Thomas - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Bass Guitar, Harmonica

more Blondes
1969  Contrasts (2010 Esoteric edition)
1970  Rebirth  (2017 remaster)

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Monday, October 7, 2019

Blonde On Blonde - Rebirth (1970 uk, a real heavy psych buzz of excitement, 2017 remaster and expanded)

Blonde on Blonde's second album, Rebirth, was a more focused body of music than their debut; it also constituted the recording debut of the group's second lineup: David Thomas (vocals, guitar, bass), Gareth Johnson (sitar, lead guitar, lute, electronic effects), Richard Hopkins (bass, keyboards), and Les Hicks (drums, percussion).

Whether they're doing the spacy, airy, psychedelic pop of "Castles in the Sky" or the folky "Time Is Passing," the group attack their instruments as though they're performing live, and the effect is riveting throughout, even when the melodic content flags slightly. Thomas' voice is powerful if a little over-dramatic at times, but when the band keeps things moving, there's enough richness of content to carry the album and then some; the band was probably really interesting in concert, too, based on the evidence here. And for once with a band like this, trying to encompass psychedelia, folk-rock, hard rock, and progressive rock between two covers, they don't over-reach on their magnum opus "Colour Questions," the record's 12-minute centerpiece.

The group's prog rock impulses are also expressed on the album's original closer, "You'll Never Know Me/Release," which is a tour de force for Richard Hopkins' keyboard playing; unlike most of the competition, Blonde on Blonde seems not to have gravitated to the Moog synthesizer or the Mellotron, and the difference is refreshing, Hopkins' grand piano and organ speaking volumes in their own resonant language.
by Bruce Eder

1. Castles In The Sky (Eve King, Paul Smith) - 3:29
2. Broken Hours (David Thomas) - 3:40 
3. Heart Without A Home (Gareth Johnson) - 5:27 
4. Time Is Passing (Les Hicks, David Thomas) - 2:40
5. Circles (Gareth Johnson) - 7:23 
6. November (David Thomas) - 3:09
7. Colour Questions (David Thomas) - 12:07 
8. You'll Never Know Me (Gareth Johnson)/Release (Richard John) - 7:46 
9. Circles (Single Version) (Gareth Johnson) - 3:30
10.Castles In The Sky (Alternate Version) (Eve King, Paul Smith) - 3:24
11.Time Is Passing (Alternate Version) (Les Hicks, David Thomas) - 3:45

Blonde On Blonde
*Gareth Johnson - Lead Guitar, Sitar, Lute, Electronic Effects
*David Thomas - Vocals, Guitar, Bass
*Richard Hopkins (Aka Richard John) - Bass, Keyboards
*Les Hicks - Drums, Percussion

1969  Blonde on Blonde – Contrasts (2010 Esoteric bonus tracks issue)

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Saturday, October 5, 2019

Les Dudek - Les Dudek / Say No More (1976-77 us, excelent southern funk rock, 2007 double disc remaster)

Guitarist Les Dudek has played with some of rock and pop's biggest names (Stevie Nicks, Steve Miller, Dave Mason, Cher, Boz Scaggs, and the Allman Brothers Band, among others), in addition to issuing solo albums on his own. Born on August 2, 1952, in Rhode Island, Dudek began playing guitar at the age of 11 (first inspired by such pop hitmakers as Elvis Presley and the Beatles), and only three years later, would sneak into bars to play with bands. It was during his teenaged years that Dudek discovered such blues masters as Freddie, Albert, and B.B. King, as well as such then-modern day blues rockers as Paul Butterfield and Steve Miller. By the early '70s, Dudek was residing in Florida, playing in the obscure group Power, whose keyboard player was friends with the Allman Brothers' Dickey Betts. Soon a friendship was struck up between Betts and Dudek, as Betts contemplated forming a side band in addition to his Allman duties. The duo cut some demos, but the group was disbanded when work on the Allman's classic Brothers and Sisters album got underway. But Dudek was present for the recording sessions, laying down some guitar lines alongside Betts on "Ramblin' Man" and helping co-write one of the Allman's best-known songs, "Jessica" (for which Dudek also played on).

After his brief detour with the Allman Brothers, Dudek signed on with Boz Scaggs, playing with him for five years and appearing on the 1976 release Silk Degrees. Dudek became friends with one of his main guitar influences during this time, Steve Miller, leading to a co-headlining tour between Scaggs and Miller, which saw Dudek appearing with both artists each night. (Miller would subsequently record a few of Dudek's original compositions, including "Sacrifice" for his Book of Dreams release, while Dudek also played on Miller's Fly Like an Eagle album.) A planned acoustic tour with just Dudek and Miller was shelved at the last minute, as Dudek returned for a tour with Scaggs. With all this activity, Dudek still found time to sign a solo deal with Columbia Records, issuing four albums between 1976 and 1981 -- 1976's self-titled debut, 1977's Say No More, 1978's Ghost Town Parade, and 1981's Gypsy Ride -- as well as launching the DFK Band (which saw Dudek joined by keyboardist Mike Finnigan and guitarist Jim Krueger), who issued a lone, self-titled release in 1979.

Dudek also played with Cher briefly in the early '80s, as the famous singer attempted to launch a rock-based outfit, Cher & Black Rose, which failed to get off the ground due to record label turmoil. Cher launched her successful movie acting career shortly thereafter and even helped Dudek land a bit part in 1985's Mask as a boyfriend (Cher and Dudek demoed a song for the movie which has remained unissued). Dudek then guested on Stevie Nicks' 1985 release, Rock a Little, and was the guitarist on the album's ensuing tour. The '90s saw Dudek return to his blues roots, as he appeared on Steve Miller's back-to-basics release, 1993's Wide River, and issued his fifth solo release overall, 1994's Deeper Shade of Blues. 
by Greg Prato
Disc 1 Les Dudek 1976
1. City Magic - 5:30
2. Sad Clown - 5:19
3. Don't Stop Now - 3:54
4. Each Morning - 7:27
5. It Can Do - 6:29
6. Take The Time - 4:07
7. Cruisin' Groove - 4:08
8. What A Sacrifice  - 7:01
All songs written by Les Dudek except "What A Sacrifice" by J. Cooke, Les Dudek.
Disc 2 Say No More 1977
1. Jailabamboozle - 3:06
2. Lady You're Nasty - 4:40
3. One To Beam Up - 2:05
4. Avatar - 5:00
5. Old Judge Jones - 4:56
6. Baby Sweet Baby - 5:35
7. What's It Gonna Be - 3:27
8. Zorro Rides Again - 5:50
9. I Remember - 2:07
All songs written and arranged by Les Dudek

1976 Les Dudek
*Les Dudek - Vocals, Guitars
*Jeff Porcaro - Drums
*Gerald Johnson - Bass
*David Paich - Piano, Organ
*Maxine Green, Pepper Swenson, Jeri Stevens, Carolyn Willis, Myrna Matthews, Rebecca Louis - Background Vocals
*Chuck Rainey - Bass
*Mailto Correa - Congas
*Jim Hugart - Bass
*Tom Scott - Lyracon
*David Hungate - Bass
*Boz Scaggs - Backing Vocals

1977  Say No More
*Les Dudek - Guitars, Vocals
*Alan Feingold, David Paich, Ted Stratoin - Keyboards
*Jeff Porcaro - Drums
*Gerald Johnson - Bass
*Kevin Calhoon, Reymondo, Pat Murphy - Percussion
*Sherlie Matthews, Rebecca Louis, Clydie King - Background Vocals
*Joachiem Young - Organ
*David Sancios - Organ
*Chuck Rainey - Bass

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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Pete Brown And Piblokto - Things May Come And Things May Go But The Art School Dance Goes On Forever (1970 uk, brilliant folk jazz prog rock)

Piblokto is an Inuit word describing a “dissociative fugue state, usually occurring in Inuit women, in which the afflicted person screams, tears off her clothes, and runs out into the snow; afterward, she has no memory of the episode.” Piblokto! is also the name of a band fronted by Pete Brown between 1969 and 1971.

Pete Brown is one of those rare mavericks who really should be a household name, but for whatever reason the gods of rock, the furies, luck, life or what you may call it, didn’t always give Brown and his talents the rewards he so justly deserves.

Brown is a poet, a lyricist, a musician, a composer, a songwriter, a singer—the man Eric Clapton described as the “fourth member” of supergroup Cream. It was through Cream that Brown first came to recognition as the lyricist for Jack Bruce on such hits as “Sunshine Of Your Love,” “White Room,” “I Feel Free,” and “Politician.” Brown’s success with Cream led him to form his own band, Pete Brown and His Battered Ornaments, which included Chris Spedding among its ranks. With the Battered Ornaments, Brown released the influential album A Meal You Can Shake Hands With In The Dark.

In 1969, the Rolling Stones booked Brown and co. as support for their free Hyde Park concert. The prospect of world recognition never seemed so certain—but life is never so straightforward or so easy.

The day before appearing on stage with the Stones, Brown was ruthlessly kicked out of his own band. Even worse, his vocals were excised from the Battered Ornaments’ album Mantlepiece and replaced by Spedding’s.

Some may have given up, but not Brown, who formed a new band Pete Brown and Piblokto! releasing two albums Things May Come and Things May Go but the Art School Dance Goes on Forever and Thousands On A Raft in 1970. 

Piblokto!‘s music was a pioneering fusion of poetry, folk, rock, jazz, prog, and for these two albums alone, Brown and his fellow musicians (Jim Mullen, guitar; Dave Thompson, keyboards; Steve Glover, bass; Rob Tait, drums) should have been overnight sensations—but again, it didn’t quite work out that way.

The band split and Brown went on to collaborate with Graham Bond on the album Two Heads Are Better Than One, before forming two new groups Brown and Friends then the Flying Tigers. In some respects his moment had passed, and with the arrival of punk, Brown returned to writing, this time producing television dramas and screenplays.

In the early seventies, Pete Brown and Piblokto! made two appearances on the French TV show Pop 2, where they performed rip-snorting renditions of “Aeroplane Head Woman,” “Golden Country Kingdom,” and “Got a Letter From a Computer.” 
by Paul Gallagher
1. Things May Come and Things May Go, But the Art School Dance Goes on Forever (Pete Brown) - 5:06
2. High Flying Electric Bird (Pete Brown, Jim Mullen) - 4:18
3. Someone Like You (Pete Brown) - 5:49
4. Walk for Charity, Run for Money (Pete Brown, Jim Mullen, Roger Bunn) - 5:31
5. Then I Must Go and Can I Keep (Pete Brown, Chris Spedding) - 3:53
6. My Love Is Gone Far Away (Pete Brown, Chris Spedding) - 2:50
7. Golden Country Kingdom (Pete Brown, Jim Mullen) - 3:11
8. Firesong (Pete Brown) - 6:01
9. Country Morning (Pete Brown, Roger Bunn) - 6:48
10.Flying Hero Sandwich (Pete Brown) - 3:18
11.My Last Band (Pete Brown) - 3:03

*Pete Brown - Vocals, Talking Drum, Cornish Slide Whistle
*Jim Mullen - Guitar
*Dave Thompson - Organ, Piano, Mellotron, Harmonium, Soprano Saxophone, Bass Pedals
*Roger Bunn - Bass, Acoustic Guitar
*Rob Tait - Drums
*John Mumford - Trombone
*Ray Crane - Trumpet
*Paul Seedy - Banjo

1970  Pete Brown And Piblokto! - Thousands On A Raft (2009 remaster) 
Related Acts
1972  Bond And Brown - Two Heads Are Better Than One (2009 remaster) 
1969  Roger Bunn - Piece Of Mind (2006 remaster) 

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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Ten Wheel Drive - Brief Replies (1970 us, fascinating jazz blues brass rock, 2019 korean remaster)

Quoting Damon Runyon on both the back cover and inside the gatefold, Brief Replies warns "Do not sweet-talk me sweet-talker, for I am no stranger...." Music that was too literate for the time, the second album from Ten Wheel Drive emerged as Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin were making their exits in 1970. "Pulse" was intended to be the opening track, and it would have been a great one, but despite being listed that way on the back cover, it is actually the third band on the vinyl's first side, and is evidence that sequencing is so key. "Morning Much Better" opens the album without the sledgehammer blues of this Genya Ravan/Michael Zager funk-rock dirge. It is explosive without the Top 40 appeal of Blood, Sweat & Tears. Going further down the road of complete artistry, "Come Live with Me" pulls away from the big-band sound, leaving the authors -- Genya Ravan on a wailing harp and voice along with co-writerAram Schefrin's guitar. 

The thing about Ten Wheel Drive is their defiance toward what was considered conventional at the time. Each song on all three of their long-players, those on the 1969 debut Construction, and the polished gems from 1971's effort with Alice in Wonderland cartoons on the cover, Peculiar Friends (are better than no friends at all) break down barriers and stretch the formats of the day. They reached their pinnacle with a cover of the Jerry Ragovoy/George David Weiss masterpiece, "Stay with Me." Janis Joplin's last producer, the late Paul Rothchild -- who created many a Doors album, had Bette Midler sing in the film The Rose what Genya Ravan gave birth to here. But it is Ravan's harp and dynamic and soulful performance which puts the tune over the top. The compact, radio-friendly tour de force is a departure from the lengthier jams like "How Long Before I'm Gone." Though they change moods enough within a tune like this before veering off into the scribblings which made Chicago Transit Authority such a labor, it was still too progressive for rock audiences who were driven by the Top 40 single. That Clive Davis could edit Ragovoy's "Piece of My Heart" on behalf of Big Brother & the Holding Company was one of the reasons Big Brother's album (and single) charted so high. 

When Ravan left TWD for her solo outings, including one on Columbia with Davis as president, that too failed to generate the excitement a talent like Genya Ravan deserved then, as she does now. "Last of the Line" shows her chameleon-like skills, and those of the band as well. She started as one of the pioneers of the girl group sound in the '60s reinvented herself in this experimental pop/jazz unit, and went on to put out solid rock & roll solo albums in the '80s. Had the songwriting duo of Michael Zager and Aram Schefrin continued working with Ravan, she would have a body of work that would be impressive, and they would no doubt be household names. There is every indication of that here, especially on "Last of the Line," perhaps the most commercial of Zager and Schefrin's tunes. A classy hook about a ramblin' gal..."the last branch of the tree/which will die with me/I'm the last of the line." The instrumental "Interlude: A View of Soft" concludes this special album with Ravan's voice used as an instrument, as accurate as David Liebman's flute and sax. Powerful music that should have been stretched out over 25 or so albums.
by Joe Viglione 
1. Morning Much Better (Genya Ravan, Michael Zager) - 2:36
2. Brief Replies (Aram Schefrin, Michael Zager) - 5:35
3. Pulse (Genya Ravan, Michael Zager) - 4:21
4. Come Live With Me (Aram Schefrin, Genya Ravan) - 5:22
5. Stay With Me (George David Weiss, Jerry Ragovoy) - 4:20
6. How Long Before I'm Gone (Aram Schefrin, Michael Zager) - 6:45
7. Last Of The Line (Aram Schefrin, Michael Zager) - 5:21
8. Interlude: A View Of Soft (Aram Schefrin, Michael Zager) - 3:53

The Ten Wheel Drive
*Genya Ravan - Harmonica, Percussion, Vocals
*John Eckert - Flugelhorn, Horn, Trumpet
*John Gatchell - Flugelhorn, Horn, Trumpet
*Allen Herman - Drums, Percussion, Vibraphone
*David Liebman - Flute, Baritone, Soprano, Tenor Sax, Wind
*Dennis Parisi - Trombone
*Bob Piazza - Bass, Vocals
*Steve Satten - Bells, Flugelhorn, Trumpet
*Aram Schefrin - Banjo, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals
*Michael Zager - Clarinet, Keyboards

1969  Ten Wheel Drive - Construction #1 (2019 korean remaster)
1969-71  Ten Wheel Drive With Genya Ravan - The Best Of
1971  Genya Ravan - Genya Ravan (Vinyl edition)

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Monday, September 30, 2019

Ten Wheel Drive - Construction #1 (1969 us, marvelous jazz blues funky brass rock, 2019 korean remaster)

This exemplary recording by songwriters Aram Schefrin, Mike Zager, and singer Genya Ravan was highly experimental in ways that Chicago, Big Brother & the Holding Company, Traffic, and other of their contemporaries wanted to be. Imagine Ronnie Spector leaving the Ronettes to join Blood, Sweat & Tears, and realize the sweet Goldie Zelkowitz from Goldie & the Gingerbreads did just that by reinventing herself here as the great Genya Ravan. The Ravan co-write, "Tightrope," is five-minutes-and-ten-seconds of psychedelic blues-jazz-funk. This is the sound Janis Joplin would refine for her Kozmic Blues experience, and while Janis Joplin and Kozmic Blues performed at Woodstock, Ten Wheel Drive were getting such a buzz they turned Woodstock down.

History would, indeed, have been different had they played "I Am a Want Ad" at that event, but with Sid Bernstein as co-manager, and songs like "Lapidary," the band had a lot going for it. "Lapidary" is a complete about face, Traffic's "John Barleycorn" with a female vocalist. "Eye of the Needle," on the other hand, was an eight-minute-plus show stopper of horns and guitars that come in like some country's national anthem. With Ravan's amazing wail at the end, it becomes powerful stuff. Songwriter Louie Hoff got to arrange his "Candy Man Blues," which puts Ravan in a nightclub setting, the piano and flutes changing the mood dramatically. This is such an adventurous and remarkable record by such a talented crew, it is a shame they didn't record 20 or more platters.

A Polydor executive made a statement that if they couldn't break Slade, they weren't a real company. Polydor did, in fact, fail to launch that British supergroup in America, and one wonders if these recordings were made for another label, if oldies stations wouldn't be playing Ten Wheel Drive today. "Ain't Gonna Happen" is extraordinary, showcasing a band on the prowl and a singer who pounces every chance she gets with a voice that does all sorts of wild things. If "Polar Bear Rug" and "House in Central Park" were a bit too evolved for Top 40, their A&R man should have brought them a single. Ten Wheel Drive could, like Etta James, play to those who crave this wonderful fusion of jazz and blues with a rock edge. A Ten Wheel Drive reunion, bringing this music back on-stage, is something that would make the world a better place. 
by Joe Viglione
1. Tightrope (Genya Ravan, Leon Rix) - 5:10
2. Lapidary (Aram Schefrin, Mike Zager) - 4:32
3. Eye Of The Needle (Aram Schefrin, Mike Zager) - 8:11
4. Candy Man Blues (Elizabeth Hoff, Louie Hoff) - 4:36
5. Ain't Gonna Happen (Aram Schefrin, Mike Zager) - 5:37
6. Polar Bear Rug (Aram Schefrin, Mike Zager) - 4:34
7. House In Central Park (Aram Schefrin, Mike Zager) - 4:32
8. I Am A Want Ad (Aram Schefrin, Mike Zager) - 4:27

Ten Wheel Drive
*Genya Ravan - Harmonica, Tambourine, Vocals
*Louis Hoff - Flute, Tenor, Baritone Sax, Wind
*Peter Hyde - Flugelhorn, Horn, Trumpet
*Richard Meisterman - Flugelhorn, Trumpet
*Dennis Parisi - Trombone
*Leon Rix - Cello, Drums, Percussion
*Steve Sattan - Horn
*Aram Schefrin  - Guitar, Percussion, Vocals
*Jay Silva - Flugelhorn, Flute, Trumpet, Wind
*Bill Takas - Bass
*Michael Zager - Clarinet, Keyboards, Organ, Piano

1969-71  Ten Wheel Drive With Genya Ravan - The Best Of 
1971  Genya Ravan - Genya Ravan (Vinyl edition)

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Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Brotherhood - Stavia (1972 us, magnificent soulful psych rock, 2018 edition)

There’s nothing particularly wrong with Stavia, the only album made by Ohio band The Brotherhood. If this were a common dollar-bin staple, it might be a pleasant surprise. But the album’s reputation precedes it, and the hype just isn’t earned. Released in 1972 in a private press edition of maybe 200 or 300 copies, the album has sold for $250 to $750, and there’s an original pressing on Discogs right now that can be all yours for $1,100. But don’t be misled by those prices, or by the name of the Spanish label reissuing the album. The Brotherhood plays perfectly competent soulful rock with a social conscience, yet there’s nothing outsider about it. 

As the band’s name and diverse lineup suggests, The Brotherhood fosters racial harmony. “Color Line” starts the album with the earnest lyric, “I’m feeling blind/ That color line, yeah!” The musicianship is solid, the drums especially fevered as the well-meaning lead singer pleads, “I’m looking to the day when people can be themselves.” It’s a commendable sentiment delivered with a little soul but with perhaps less conviction than his band, who delivers solid lead guitar and swirling, mildly acid-tinged organ swirls. Stavia offers good musicianship that evokes the mellow side of ‘70s rock, but if you seek out private press records to hear something unfamiliar and unusual, there isn’t a whiff of that here. 
by Pat Padua
1. Color Line (Bill Fairbanks, John Hurd) - 2:39
2. Rock And Roll Band (John Hurd) - 3:20
3. Back Door (Bill Fairbanks) - 2:30
4. For Her Time (John Hurd) - 3:03
5. Meditation Pt. 1 (John Hurd) - 1:53
6. Uncle (Bill Fairbanks, John Hurd) - 4:38
7. Cry Of Love  (John Hurd) - 4:04
8. Tragedy (John Hurd) - 3:35
9. Meditation Pt. 2 (Bill Fairbanks, John Hurd) - 3:26

The Brotherhood
*Bill Fairbanks – Bass, Piano, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Don Hoskins – Drums
*Michael Coe – Flute, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Jeff Hanson – Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*John Hurd – Organ, Piano, Bass, Vocals

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Friday, September 27, 2019

Brian Auger's Oblivion Express - Straight Ahead (1974 uk, essential groovy jazz rock, 2005 remaster)

Long lean groovers from Brian Auger and the Oblivion Express group – recorded with a slightly freer feel than some of the group's earlier albums, and an approach that has them stretching out nicely! Brian still sings a bit on some tracks, but there seems to be more of a focus than before on the keyboards – that nicely compressed Auger use of Hammond and electric piano that actually went onto influence a fair bit of American players at the time, in the way that Auger himself had been influenced before by their own earlier work. Rhythms are great throughout – making all tracks funky, in a laidback sort of way – and titles include a remake of "Bumpin' On Sunset", one of the band's best tracks, plus "Change", "Beginning Again", "You'll Stay In My Heart", and "Straight Ahead".
1. Beginning Again (Brian Auger) - 9:22
2. Bumpin' On Sunset (Wes Montgomery) - 10:51
3. Straight Ahead (Barry Dean) - 5:04
4. Change (Lennox Laington) - 8:10
5. You'll Stay In My Heart (Barry Dean) - 3:44
6. Straight Ahead (Live In Denver, Colorado 1975) (Barry Dean) - 5:56

The Oblivion Express
*Brian Auger- Vocals, Piano, Electric Piano, Organ, Moog Synthesizer
*Jack Mills - Guitar
*Barry Dean - Bass Guitar
*Steve Ferrone - Drums
*Lennox Laington - Congas
*Mirza Al Sharif - Timbales, Percussion

1970 Brian Auger's Oblivion Express (2013 Japan SHM edition)
1971  A Better Land (2006 japan remaster)
1972  Second Wind (2006 japan remaster)
1973  Closer To It (2006 japan remaster) 
1967  Open (2013 Japan SHM)
1970  Streetnoise  (2014 SHM)
1970  Brian Auger And The Trinity - Befour (Japan SHM 2013)

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Jim Keays - The Boy From The Stars (1974 australia, wonderful concept art glam prog rock, 1999 remaster and expanded)

Jim Keays fronted the successful Master's Apprentices until they broke up in the U.K. 1971. This marked a career change and he returned to Australia, where he worked for Go-Set magazine, formed the Rock On Agency, and appeared at the Mulwala Rock Festival in April 1972. In March 1973, he starred in the Australian version of the Who's Tommy and in January 1974, Keays participated in the third annual Sunbury Festival.

Keays then returned to music, recording his debut solo album, The Boy From the Stars, a concept album about an extraterrestrial visitor who attempts to warn people of the earth's imminent destruction. Keays, playing the role of the boy from the stars, wrote most of the music and all of the lyrics. "Kid's Blues"/"&Inter-Planetary Boogie" (December 1974) and "The Boy From the Stars"/"Take It on Easy" were released as singles and Keays undertook an ambitious tour in support of the album, but due to the size of the show, only three concerts were staged.

The anti-drug song "Give It Up"/"Love Is" was released in June 1975. He then formed Jim Keays' Southern Cross with Mick Elliot, Rex Bullen (keyboards), George Cross (bass), and Rick Brewer (drums). They released a reworking of the Masters Apprentices' "Undecided"/"For Someone" in December 1975, by which time the lineup had changed to Peter Laffy (guitar), Ron Robinson (bass), and John Swan.

In 1977, Keays formed the Manning/Keays Band with Phil Manning. The next year, Keays formed the Jim Keays Band with Ron Robinson, James Black (guitar), and David Rowe (drums). Guitarists John Moon and Geoff Spooner replaced Black, and by 1979, the band had evolved into the Keays with a revamped lineup of Moon, Bruce Stewart (guitar), Peter Marshall (bass), and Nigel Rough (drums). In early 1980, the band began recording an album which was never finished due to Stewart's ill health. The single "Lucifer Street"/"The Living Dead" was released and the band broke up.

The unfinished album was finally released in 1983 as a solo Jim Keays project titled Red on the Meter and "Lucifer Street" was re-released as a single. Keays then began working as a DJ until a new deal with Virgin in 1987 saw him fly to the U.K. to record with producer Craig Leon (the Ramones, the Bangles) and ex-Sweet guitarist Andy Scott. Two singles were released from the sessions: "Undecided"/"Dubcided" (July 1987) and "Reaction"/"Bates Motel" (October 1987). The Masters Apprentices then re-formed until Keays issued his second solo album in 1993, Pressure Makes Diamonds, on the Gemstone label. BMG reissued the album in mid-1994, after which Keays revived the Master's Apprentices again.

Keays and his fellow Master's Apprentices bandmembers were inducted into the Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame in 1998. In 1999, Keays published his first book, His Master's Voice, which told the story of the Masters Apprentices. In January 2000, Raven Records reissued Keays' 1974 solo album, The Boy From the Stars, with five bonus tracks. The Mavis's contributed a cover of "The Boy From the Stars" to the original soundtrack of the Australian film Sample People in May 2000. 
by Brendan Swift

Jim Keays passed away on Jun 13, 2014, he had been suffering from Multiple Myeloma for seven years.
1. The Boy From The Stars - 5:45
2. Take It On Easy (Jim Keays, John Brownrigg) - 4:36
3. Nothing Much Left (Jim Keays, John Brownrigg) - 5:05
4. Space Brothers - 9:07
5. Alchemical Takeover - 4:45
6. Urantia (Jim Keays, John Brownrigg) - 5:50
7. Kids' Blues - 3:28
8. The Right Way To Go - 5:24
9. Reason To Be Living - 7:52
10.Inter-Planetary Boogie - 4:06
11.Give It Up (Cocainut) - 4:10
12.For Someone - 5:40
13.Interview With John O'Donnell 3XY. 1:34
14.Nothing Much Left / Urantia (Jim Keays, John Brownrigg) - 11:04
All compositions by Jim Keays except where stated
Bonus Tracks 10-14
Tracks 10-12 from Singles releases
Track 14 Live At Sunbury 1975

*Jim Keays - Lead Vocals
*Phil Manning - Guitars
*Peter Jones - String Arrangement
*Duncan McGuire - 4 String Fretless Bass
*Mark Kennedy - Drums
*Chris Brown - Acoustic Guitar
*Peter Robinson - Synthesizer
*Greg Cook - 12 String Acoustic Guitar
*Mal Logan - Synthesizer
*Marcia Hines - Backing Vocals
*Tony Buettel - Drums
*Barry Sullivan - 4 String Electric Bass
*Billy Green - Guitars
*John Brownrigg - Harmony Vocals
*Mark Kennedy - Drums, Timpani, Percussion
*Peter Sullivan - Piano
*Lobby Loyde - Electric Guitar
*Ross Wilson - Electric Guitar
*Bruce (Wings) Bryan - Synthesizer
*Andrew Vance - Organ
*Antonio Rodrigues - Congas
*Trevor Courtney - Drums
*Col Loughnan - Baritone Saxophone
*Tony Buettel - Drums
*Mick Elliot - Electric Guitar
*Geoff Skewes - Electric Piano
*Steve Dunston - Zapophone
*Joe Creighton - Bass
*Geoff Bridgeford – Drums
*Ross Hannaford – Electric Guitar
*Peter Laffy - Acoustic Guitar
*George Cross – Bass
*Rick Brewer – Drums
*Rex Bullen – Piano, Organ

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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Freedom - Through The Years (1971 uk, good classic rock with funky mood, 2004 remaster)

Freedom were a legendary British psychedelic hard-rock band. This is their fourth album, originally released for the collectable Vertigo label in 1971. Powerful hard-rock / bluesy sound with loud wah /distorted guitars, long tracks, wasted vocal.
1. Freestone (Bobby Harrison, Roger Saunders, Walter Monaghan) - 6:15
2. Through The Years (Roger Saunders) - 4:26
3. Get Yourself Together (Bobby Harrison, Roger Saunders, Walter Monaghan) - 6:19
4. London City (Bobby Harrison, Walter Monaghan) - 4:41
5. Thanks (Bobby Harrison, Roger Saunders) - 4:39
6. Toe Grabber (Bobby Harrison, Roger Saunders, Walter Monaghan) - 7:24

*Walter Monaghan - Vocals, Bass, Electric Piano, Moog Synthesizer
*Bobby Harrison – Vocals, Drums, Percussion
*Roger Saunders – Vocals, Guitars

1969  Freedom - Nero Su Bianco / Black On White
1969  Freedom - Freedom At Last (2004 remaster)
1970  Freedom - Freedom
1972  Freedom - Is More Than A Word
Related Acts
1973-74  Snafu - Snafu / Situation Normal
1975  Bobby Harrison - Funkist
1987  Bobby Harrison - Solid Silver

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Monday, September 23, 2019

Harvey Mandel - Cristo Redentor (1968 us, splendid jazzy blues rock, 2003 remaster and expanded)

This gently psychedelic album is another of my vinyl bargain bin discoveries from the early ‘70s, which I picked up only because I knew Harvey Mandel had played with my favourites Canned Heat and John Mayall. Best known as a sideman – he later auditioned for the Rolling Stones on Mick Taylor’s departure – this was Harvey’s first solo work, dating from 1968, and an impossibly young-looking Mandel is pictured on the back artwork, a diminutive figure dwarfed by his big Gibson 355. The grooves within demonstrate not only his virtuosity on guitar, but also why his tenure with Heat and Mayall was so brief and why the Stones declined to hire him. Mayall described his technique as “Harvey’s wall of sound”, which aptly encompasses his early mastery of controlled feedback through his customised Bogan amplifier, and his later featuring of two-handed tapping, well before EVH got hold of that particular trick.

This album is completely instrumental, a rarity in pop-psych terms; the only voice to be heard is that of a wordless soprano singer on the title track. However, the stylistic diversity of the tunes and the variety of the backing tracks means that it is by no means repetitive. It was mostly recorded in LA and Nashville, using the top rhythm section sessioneers of both camps: Art Stavro and Eddie Hoh from the Wrecking Crew, stalwarts of the early Monkees sessions, and Bob Moore and Kenny Buttrey, soon to anchor Dylan’s Nashville Skykine. The LA tracks also feature tight string and brass arrangements, while the Nashville ones benefit from Pete Drake’s sympathetic pedal steel accompaniment.

The album as a whole is the best late-night-listening record I know of, beautifully laid-back funky arrangements fronted by a bewildering array of restrained guitar tricks from Mandel, dazzling but never flashy or tasteless. The titles give the idea: “Lights Out”, “Nashville 1AM”, “Before Six”. “Cristo Redentor” is Portuguese for Christ The Redeemer, and this title track is the exception to the rule of funk, being a solemn, operatic piece.

“Before Six” features some of Harvey’s most mind-boggling sustain work, the sound looping wildly between the stereo speakers, plus a mouth-watering cameo on Hammond by longtime LA collaborator Barry Goldberg and tasty brass stabs throughout. “You Can’t Tell Me” is funkier than your average Nashville session, with Harvey wringing out the best Memphis scale licks I’ve ever heard, intertwining with Pete Drake’s slippery steel chords.

The CD reissue, on the estimable Raven label from Australia, dates from 2003 and includes bonus tracks from Harvey’s Canned Heat days and from his own short-lived instrumental band, Pure Food & Drug Act. None of these quite live up to the quality of the solo album tracks, though Heat’s “Let’s Work Together” – the nearest Harvey ever got to being a pop star – has a certain boozy charm.

On this CD release the two sides of the original vinyl have been reversed, probably to make the best-known track, “Wade In The Water”, the leadoff track. The original running order works better, so if you get hold of this CD, play tracks 6-10 followed by tracks 1-5 for the most satisfying programme.
by Len Liechti
1. Wade In The Water (James Woodie Alexander II) - 7:49
2. Lights Out (Sam Cooke) - 4:52
3. Bradley's Barn (Harvey Mandel) - 3:15
4. You Can't Tell Me (Dino Valente, Harvey Mandel) - 4:17
5. Nashville 1 A.M. (Abe Kesh, Harvey Mandel) - 3:35
6. Cristo Redentor (Columbus Calvin Pearson, Jr.) - 3:45
7. Before Six (Larry Frazier) - 6:27
8. The Lark (Abe Kesh, Harvey Mandel) - 4:37
9. Snake (Harvey Mandel) - 3:45
10.Long Wait (Barry Goldberg, Harvey Mandel) - 2:43
11.Spirit Of Trane (Barry Goldberg) - 4:00
12.My Time Ain't Long (Alan Wilson) - 2:57
13.Let's Work Together (Wilbert Harrison) - 2:47
14.That's All Right (Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup) - 5:28
15.A Little Soul Food (Don Harris, Shuggie Otis) - 4:02
16.What Comes Around Goes Around (Victor Conte, Don "Sugarcane" Harris, Paul Lagos, Harvey Mandel, Randy Resnick) - 4:19
17.My Soul's On Fire(Victor Conte, Don "Sugarcane" Harris, Paul Lagos, Harvey Mandel, Randy Resnick) - 4:11
18.Which Witch Is Which (Arthur Lee) - 1:56
Bonus Tracks 11-18
Track 11 from LP "Barry Goldberg" 1969
Tracks 12-14 from Canned Heat LP "Future Blues" 1970
Tracks 15-17 from Pure Food And Drug Act, 1972
Track 18 from Love LP "Reel To Reel" 1974

Musicians (tracks 1-10)
*Harvey Mandel - Guitar
*Jacqueline May Allen - Vocals
*Graham Bond - Keyboards
*Kenny Buttrey - Drums
*Nick DeCaro - Keyboards
*Pete Drake - Guitar (Steel)
*Larry Easter - Saxophone
*Barry Goldberg - Keyboards
*Catherine Gotthoffer - Harp
*Fast Eddie Hoh - Drums
*Bob Jones - Guitar
*Chip Martin - Guitar
*Stephen Miller - Keyboards
*Bob Moore - Bass
*Charlie Musselwhite - Harmonica
*Hargus "Pig" Robbins - Keyboards
*Art Stavro - Bass
*Julia Tillman Waters - Vocals
*Carolyn Willis - Vocals

Related Acts
1965-66  The Barry Goldberg Blues Band - Blowing My Mind ..Plus (2003 remaster and expanded)
1967  Charley Musselwhite - Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite's Southside Band 
1968  The Barry Goldberg Reunion - There's No Hole In My Soul 
1969  Barry Goldberg - Two Jews Blues (vinyl edition) 
1967-73  Canned Heat - The Very Best Of (2005 issue with previous unreleased track) 
1970  Canned Heat - Future Blues (remastered and expanded) 
1971-72  Canned Heat - Historical Figures And Ancient Heads (extra track remaster issue) 
1974  Love - Reel To Reel (2015 deluxe edition)

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

John Hammond - Southern Fried (1969 us, fine blues rock with Duane Allman, 2002 remaster)

"Southern Fried" album teams Hammond with the famous Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, and four tracks with guest guitarist Duane Allman. Hammond later recalled that the studio band didn't seem to rate him highly, until Allman arrived, professed himself a fan, and asked to sit in.
by Robin Lynam 

John Hammond recalls: 
I had been sent by Atlantic Records to Memphis to record with Tommy Cogbill producing. I got down there and whatever it was, I didn’t seem to connect with him on what I perceived his direction to be. I called Jerry Wexler and said that I didn’t think it would work out. So, he sent me down to Muscle Shoals Sound. These guys backed Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and all these guys.

I arrived and assumed they would all be black studio musicians. They were all white guys. They were all a clique and everyone knew each other and their wives and it was a homegrown kind of thing. I liked Marlin Greene and he was a very easygoing and likable guy, and then Jimmy Johnson who is just a terrific guy. They all seemed sympathetic to me. I had these tunes that I wanted to do, and some were Howlin’ Wolf tunes and stuff, with Barry Beckett, Roger Hawkins and David Hood and all these phenomenal players. I mostly connected with Eddie Hinton. He was a cool guy, great guitar player and songwriter, and a great singer in his own right. I had been there for about three days and we had cut some tunes and I was feeling very frustrated and couldn’t get across some of the ideas that I had in mind. Then this guy Duane Allman and his friend Berry Oakley showed up and they had driven from Macon in this old milk truck. They walked in the door and everybody was like, ”Hey, Duane, how are you doing?”

Eddie Hinton said he was the guy that played the slide guitar on “The Weight,” but it was still not clear in my mind. Then Duane said he wanted to meet John Hammond. We decided to do a tune together and we did “Shake for Me” and my jaw just slacked. This guy was just phenomenal. So, all of a sudden all of these guys that I could not communicate with before understood exactly what I meant and that was the beginning of a short lived, but intense relationship. This was before The Allman Brothers Band was happening. Duane was just phenomenal and a really cool guy; and everything just came together and we made the whole record in one week. I didn’t get to know all the guys that well, but Duane, Berry and Eddie Hinton were the ones that I knew. Eddie was my connection to Muscle Shoals.
1. Shake For Me (Willie Dixon) - 2:44
2. Cryin' For My Baby (Harold Burrage) - 2:42
3. I'm Tore Down (Sonny Thompson) - 2:45
4. Don't Go No Further (Willie Dixon) - 2:40
5. I'm Leavin' You (Chester Burnett) - 3:19
6. It's Too Late (Chuck Willis) - 3:02
7. Nadine (Chuck Berry) - 3:41
8. Mystery Train (Herman Parker, Sam C. Philip) - 2:59
9. My Time After A While (Robert L. Gaddins, Ronald Dean Badger) - 4:01
10.I Can't Be Satisfied (McKinley Morganfield) - 3:12
11.You'll Be Mine (Willie Dixon) - 2:35
12.Riding In The Moonlight (Chester Burnett) - 2:28

*John Hammond - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
*Duane Allman - Lead Guitar (Tracks 1,2,5,11)
*Joe Arnold - Tenor Sax
*Barry Beckett - Keyboards
*Lewis Collins - Tenor Sax
*Marlin Greene - Bass
*Roger Hawkins - Drums
*Eddie Hinton - Guitar, Piano
*David Hood - Bass
*Jimmy Johnson - Rhythm Guitar
*Ed Logan - Baritone, Tenor Sax
*James Mitchell - Baritone Sax
*Gene "Bo-legs" Miller - Trumpet

1965  John Hammond - So Many Roads (2005 remaster)
1967  John Hammond - I Can Tell (bonus tracks) 
1967  John Hammond, Jr. - Mirrors (2016 remaster)
1968  John Hammond - Sooner Or Later
1970-72  John Hammond - Source Point / I'm Satisfied (2007 remaster)
1973  Bloomfield, Hammond, Dr.John - Triumvirate (japan expanded edition)
1975  John Hammond - Can't Beat The Kid

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Friday, September 20, 2019

Devil's Kitchen - Devil's Kitchen (1969 us, remarkable west coast psych blues rock, 2011 Vinyl issue)

Devil's Kitchen Band was a four piece rock and roll band that lived and performed in San Francisco from the Spring of 1968 through the Summer of 1970.  We were the "house band" at Chet Helm's "Family Dog Ballroom on the Great Highway" opening for, and often jamming with, many of the most well known groups of the times.   We performed at all of the major West Coast venues from San Francisco's Fillmore West to L.A.'s Whisky A Go Go.

During the summer of 1970 while in the midst of a Midwest tour, the band fell apart when a series of gigs at colleges and universities was cancelled in response to the Kent State shootings.  Our last  big gig was Labor Day weekend 1970 at the Kickapoo Creek Rock Festival in Hayward, IL.

Everybody wants to know about the name: Devil's Kitchen... No we weren't a devil-worship-motorcycle-gang-heavy-metal-band...  That wasn't what we were called when we formed and for the first year or two we were playing.  We started out as "Om", the Hindu word/concept (click on the symbol to learn more about the meaning)... but when we got to San Francisco there were two or three other bands named that or some variation of spelling (most notably, AUM) playing in the Bay Area.  We had spent a couple months practicing at the lakeside vacation cabin of the family of our good friend and roadie, Rolf Olmsted.  We had fond memories of our time there and named the group after the lake - Devil's Kitchen Lake, an 810-acre lake about 8 miles from Carbondale (home of Southern Illinois University). 

How did the band start?  The full version could be a very long story, but the short version is that Brett, Robbie, Bob, and Steve knew each other from playing in different groups.  Bob had been a driving force as the bassist in a local blues rock band called the Nite Owls (aka the Nickel Bag) and also played multiple instruments in various groups as part of the Folk Arts Society, perhaps most notably, the bluegrass group, the "Dusty Roads Boys".  Steve had been the standout drummer playing with a local psychedelic rock group, "Hearts of Darkness" where he picked up the nickname "Naz".  Robbie had gained notoriety as the exceptionally talented young lead guitarist and band leader in a series of local high school bands, most recently the "Viscounts".  Brett  played in various folk groups and was active singing and palying  in the Folk Arts Society, and was the band leader, vocalist and guitarist for a typical college party band, "Om", whose personnel changed from semester to semester.  One semester, they decided to re-form "Om" with the best players from the best local groups.

... parties, protests and teen clubs... Besides playing the usual campus parties and local teen clubs and campus gigs, we were the "house band" for a new teen club aka rock emporium in nearby Murphysboro called the Hippodrome.    Early song lists were mostly covers of Folk-rock, blues, Brit-rock and classic American rock and roll - "Purple Haze", "Sunshine of Your Love", "Rock Me Baby", "Mr. Fantasy", "I Can See For Miles", "Johnny B. Goode", etc... As we continued to perform, we started adding more and more original songs to our repertoire until we were ready to present sets of mainly original material.

Brett, who was from the Bay Area, had visited San Francisco for the "Summer of Love" the previous summer, worked with the Diggers, found a "Frame of Reference" and now wanted to take the band out there to live and play.  The band practiced intensely for a couple months and then hit the road - everybody and our equipment packed up in Brett's Blue VW bus.  The first time we only got as far as Freeport, IL before burning out the motor.  After getting a new motor, we set out again and drove cross-country to San Francisco...

...practice, practice, practice... When we got to San Francisco, we rented an old auto garage in the Mission District across the street from a pie factory and set up a practice space surrounded by improvised living space.  We played for anyone who would let us perform in front of an audience, getting several gigs in small local venues and doing benefits for the SF Mime troupe, etc.  (see the Photos/Posters for some of our earlier gigs) Eventually we started getting the occasional opening slot in local concert halls., drugs, and rock & roll... not necessarily in that order... Yeah, we did the whole rock and roll band life style with all that involves, but it wasn't all just one big party... okay, yeah, it was...

After a while and with a growing coterie of roadies, girlfriends and just friends of the band passing through San Francisco, we needed a better living space and found a roach infested but huge 12-room apartment on the second floor of the building on the NE corner of Haight and Ashbury. Janis Joplin lived around the corner and down the block and we were close to Golden Gate Park and the weekend concerts where we played several times.  After the riots, we moved across the Panhandle to an old rooming house on Fell Street. We got more and more paying gigs all around the Bay Area, auditioned at the Fillmore where Bill Graham took an interest in us and helped us get more gigs and sent us into a studio to learn recording. 

Eventually we hooked up with a new manager, Harvey Morrison, who knew the local music scene well and who moved us to an old rooming house on Fell Street across from the panhandle of Golden Gate Park.  He also introduced us to Chet Helms who was in the process of opening a new venue after the Avalon had been shut down.  We opened the Family Dog Ballroom with the Jefferson Airplane and the Amazing Charlatans, and played there on and off as sort of the "house band" for the next year and a half, frequentyly filling in for bands that canceled at the last minute for one reason or another...

We did one LA tour, playing the Golden Bear, the Brass Ring, the Corral, and the Whiskey a Go Go, where we opened for Savoy Brown.  Mostly though, we played Northern Califorenia and the Bay Area at places like the Matrix, Keystone Korner, the San Francisco Art Institute, Stinson Beach, Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Palo Alto, San Jose, Boulder Creek, Monterrey, etc. while living in the Fell St house.  One of our favorite gigs was a week playing every evening at a Ski Resort, Bear Valley... skiing all day, party all night... 

During the summer of 1970 while in the midst of a Midwest tour, the band fell apart when a series of gigs at colleges and universities was cancelled in response to the Kent State shootings.  We had just played in Cincinnati at the legendary Ludlow Garage again and returned to Carbondale where we were performing at many of the local clubs.  First Steve left and we got an old friend, Randy Bradle, to join us on drums, and  then after our final gig at the Kickapoo Creek Rock Festival, Bob left, heading back to the West Coast with no intention of re-forming the band back in San Francisco. 

For several months, Robbie and Brett continued to play as Devil's Kitchen in and around Carbondale as a trio with Robbie on guitar, Brett on bass and Randy on drums.  We also started jamming with some old friends who had a group called Coal Dust (Carla Peyton and Bob Pina).  Eventually, the two groups merged to become "Coal Kitchen".  Shortly after that, Brett dropped out of the group.  Robbie and Randy stayed with Coal Kitchen for a little while, but eventually Robbie, Randy and Bob Pina broke out to form another band, "Rolls Hardly".  Robbie later returned to the West Coast for a time where he performed with Mickey Hart and Robert Hunter on their solo albums and played bass for a time with the Quicksilver Messenger Service,.. and so it goes
1. City - 3:53
2. Farm Bust Blues - 10:51
3. Earthfields - 9:34
4. (You've Got Your) Head On Right - 3:04
5. Dust My Blues (Elmore James, Robert Johnson) - 2:36
6. Cookin' - 3:47
7. Mellow Pot Blues (Buster Bennett) - 5:12
8. Mourning Glory - 4:45
All songs by Brett Champlin, Robbie Stokes, Bob Laughton, Steve Sweigart except where indicated

Devil's Kitchen 
*Brett Champlin - Rhythm Guitar, Bass, Vocals
*Bob Laughton - Bass, Slide Guitar, Vocals
*Robbie Stokes - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Steve Sweigart - Drums

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