Friday, April 3, 2020

Dog Soldier - Dog Soldier (1975 uk, remarkable hard funky blues rock, 2011 bonus track remaster)

The first official CD release of the album Dog Soldier. Keef Hartley formed the band bringing together Mel Simpson keyboards/vocals, Miller Anderson vocals/guitar, Paul Bliss bass/vocals, Derek Griffiths guitar/vocals and Hartley on drums. Hartley a British drummer got his start when he was one of the drummers to replace Ringo Starr in the band Rory Storm and the Hurricanes in 1963 when Ringo left to join the Beatles. From the Hurricanes Hartley joined the Artwoods which was a band headed by Arthur Wood the oldest brother of Ronnie Wood of The bands Faces and Rolling Stones. Derek Griffiths was a member of Artwood with Hartley and Miller Anderson was a part of Keef Hartley Band and a member of Savoy Brown band in 1974.

Another member of Artwood was Jon Lord who went on to be a founding member of Deep Purple and Hartley went to John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. In the late 60s Hartley formed Keef Hartley Band and in 1969 it was one of the few British bands to play Woodstock Festival. The sole album of Dog Soldier was recorded between November 18 and December 15, 1974 and featured excellent material such as Pillar To Post , Thieves And Robbers and the twelve minute long Looks Like Rain .According to Miller Anderson's interview:Dog Soldier was an Indian name that Keef Hartley thought of as a band name. When Al Teller, the boss of United Artists in the USA, heard I had more or less turned down the gig with BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS, he was interested to see what else I was doing. Keef knew that if anything came from this it would be because of this interest and wanted to be just part of the the band for a change. Al Teller came to London to hear the band and signed us to United Artists. And that was the "Dog Soldier" album. 
1. Pillar To Post (Miller Anderson) - 5:03
2. Several People (Keef Hartley) - 5:21
3. You Are My Spark (Derek Griffiths) - 7:18
4. Long And Lonely Night (Mel Simpson) - 5:31
5. Giving As Good As You Get (Paul Bliss) - 4:52
6. Thieves And Robbers (Miller Anderson) - 5:52
7. Stranger In My Own Time (Mel Simpson) - 4:34
8. Looks Like Rain (Miller Anderson) - 11:36
9. Looks Like Rain (First Version) (Miller Anderson) - 15:33

Dog Soldier
*Miller Anderson - Vocals, Guitar
*Keef Hartley - Drums
*Mel Simpson - Keyboards, Vocals
*Derek Griffiths - Guitar, Vocals
*Paul Bliss - Bass, Vocals

Related Acts
1968-72  Not Foolish Not Wise
1969  Halfbreed (2008 Esoteric)
1969  The Battle Of North West Six  (2008 Esoteric)
1970  The Time Is Near (2008 Esoteric)
1970  Overdog (2005 Eclectic)
1971  Little Big Band
1972  Seventy Second Brave (2009 Esoteric)
1972  Lancashire Hustler (2008 Esoteric)
1971  Miller Anderson - Bright City
1973  Hemlock - Hemlock (2004 issue)
1969  Fat Mattress - Fat Mattress (2009 Edition) 
1970  Fat Mattress - Fat Mattress II 
1974  Savoy Brown - Boogie Brothers

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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Hemlock - Hemlock (1973 uk, remarkable hard funky blues rock, 2004 issue)

The only album ever released by Hemlock is truly one of 70's British rock's hidden jewels! Soulful, melosic, unpretentious, this was the next careere step for Miller Anderson who'd just left Keef Hartley Band a year earlier, and could easily be construed as his second solo album (you wouldn't be too far off the mark thinking that it was, anyway).

It had all the right ingredients for succes, however it failed due to miserable promotion and the general lack of effort on behalf of Deram, which caused this short lived formation to dissolve.
CD Liner Notes
1. Just An Old Friend - 5:44
2. A Lover's Not A Thief - 3:28
3. Mister Horizontal - 3:23
4. Ship To Nowhere - 5:51
5. Monopoly - 3:21
6. Broken Dreams - 3:50
7. Fool's Gold - 2:41
8. Garden Of Life - 3:12
9. Young Man's Prayer - 5:38
All compositions by Miller Anderson

*Miller Anderson - Vocals, Guitars
*Peter Dines - Organ, Acoustic Guitar
*Michael Weaver - Organ, Piano, Clavinet, Congas
*James Leverton - Bass
*Eric Dillon - Drums, Percussion
*Chris Mercer - Baritone, Tenor Saxophone
*Pete Willsher - Steel Guitar

Related Acts
1971  Miller Anderson - Bright City
With Keef Hartley
1968-72  Not Foolish Not Wise
1969  Halfbreed (2008 Esoteric)
1969  The Battle Of North West Six  (2008 Esoteric)
1970  The Time Is Near (2008 Esoteric)
1970  Overdog (2005 Eclectic)
1971  Little Big Band
1972  Seventy Second Brave (2009 Esoteric)
1972  Lancashire Hustler (2008 Esoteric)
1969  Fat Mattress - Fat Mattress (2009 Edition) 
1970  Fat Mattress - Fat Mattress II 
1974  Savoy Brown - Boogie Brothers

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

David Blue ‎- These 23 Days In September (1968 us, fascinating folk country rock, 2007 reissue)

"David Blue's  strikes something like a warning with the cover, a vintage Highway 61 shot with a sullen Blue in a leather jacket. His delivery is quite like Dylan's on Blonde on Blonde. But behold, the lyrics are among the best I've recently heard. Though the stance is like Dylan's, the words themselves indicate he really knows some things Dylan knows, and some things the master doesn't," 
by Arthur Schmidt, September 28th, 1968

While Inside Llewyn Davis is loosely based on "the King of Greenwich Village" Dave Van Ronk, you could draw just as many parallels between the Coen brothers' creation and David Blue. Also a regular of the Greenwich Village folk scene, Blue frequently performed in the company of Van Ronk, Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan. After his own solo career stalled, Blue briefly joined Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue before trying his hand at acting, including roles in Wim Wenders' The American Friend and Neil Young's still-out-of-print oddball comedy Human Highway. Blue died suddenly of a heart attack in 1982 at the age of 41. Kris Kristofferson and Joni Mitchell were among the musicians who attended his memorial.
by Daniel Kreps
1. These 23 Days In September - 5:25
2. Ambitious Anna - 3:25
3. You Need A Change - 3:01
4. The Grand Hotel - 4:00
5. The Sailor's Lament - 5:19
6. You Will Come Back Again - 3:30
7. Scales For A Window Thief - 5:44
8. Slow And Easy - 3:24
9. The Fifth One - 2:46
All songs by David Blue

*David Blue - vocals, guitar, arranger
*Eric Hord - guitar
*Gabriel Mekler - keyboards
*Bob Rafkin - guitar
*Joe Osborn - bass
*James Burton - guitar

1965-66  David Blue - David Blue / Singer Songwriter Project (2001 remaster) 

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Monday, March 30, 2020

The Hello People - The Hello People (1968 us, spectacular psych rock, Vinyl edition)

One of the most unique rock groups of the 1960s, The Hello People, was created during late 1967 in New York by producer Lou Futterman. There is precious little information on this group that is available on the Internet. This is an attempt to fill that void.

The idea for creating the group stemmed from Marcel Carné's film Children of Paradise (Les Enfants du Paradis). Etienne De Crux, the father of French mime, plays the part of Bapties's father in the film. During the sixties De Crux taught painting to a group of musicians. Since these musicians learned to paint so quickly, De Crux reasoned that musicians could also learn mime and apply it in some new way to create a new form. The manager of the musicians De Crux taught, Lou Futterman, decided he would implement this new concept. He then put together a new group of musicians who would perform in mime makeup and do mime routines between songs, never speaking a word to the audience.

The group recorded for Philips Records, performed at the Café Wha? in Greenwich Village in 1968 and at The Players Theater, upstairs above the Café Wha? Although the group didn't have a hit record they were often seen on major network television shows such as The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and the controversial Smothers Brothers Show.
1. It's A Monday Kind Of Tuesday (Nancy Reiner) - 3:26
2. Sunrise Meadow - 6:09
3. A Stranger At Her Door - 2:39
4. Movin' And Growin' - 3:38
5. Paisley Teddy Bear - 2:53
6. (As, I Went Down) To Jerusalem (W. S. "Sonny" Tongue) - 4:15
7. Lamplight, Nightlight - 4:29
8. Mr Truth Evading, Masquerading Man - 2:21
9. Paris In The Rain - 4:52

The Hello People
*W. S. "Sonny" Tongue "Country" - Vocal, Guitar
*Greg Geddes "Smoothie" - Bass, Vocal
*Bobby Sedita "Goodfellow" - Guitar, Vocal
*Larry Tassi "Much More" - Keyboards, Vocal
*Michael Sagarese "Wry One" - Flute
*Ronnie Blake "Thump Thump" - Drums

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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Chad Stuart Jeremy Clyde - The Ark (1967-68 uk, marvelous baroque folk psychedelia, 2006 japan bonus tracks remaster)

Chad and Jeremy are remembered for little more than being posh – a shame because their sunny, gently psychedelic final album was genuinely amazing.

The Ark is a genuinely amazing album. It's luscious sound sits somewhere between baroque psychedelia and the sunshine pop Usher would go on to explore with his revered band Sagittarius (think the Zombies' Odessey and Oracle basking in the Californian sunshine). Chad and Jeremy couldn't quite stop themselves metaphorically dressing up as bowler-hatted city gents or guesting on Batman one last time – it concludes with a cover of a novelty single by Bernard Bresslaw called You Need Feet, which no one in the world needs to hear – but elsewhere, they came up with a string of utterly beautiful songs. 

The gorgeous title track drifts lazily in on a sea of brass and woodwind, swelling into a mass of tumbling drums and fuzz bass: he probably wouldn't have agreed as he cleared his desk, but Usher's production was worth every penny. The harpsichord-decorated Pipe Dream is equally lovely, Sunstroke's distorted vocals and sitar perfectly capture the image of a stoned Englishman wilting in the west coast heat, while Imagination is a gleeful pop song – albeit one with a surprising amount of xylophone on it – that conjures a childlike sense of wonder without cloying. Transatlantic Trauma 1966 is, perhaps unwittingly, an intriguing snapshot of pop star self-absorption and ennui: writing to his girlfriend in London in the middle of a US tour, Clyde first explains that he won't be paying her airfare to join him, then – less of a gentleman than you might expect given his aristocratic lineage – tries to fob her off with some free albums.

You could argue that The Ark is a record very much of its era – it's the kind of album that features an Indian raga-influenced instrumental called Pantheistic Study for Guitar and Large Bird – but that's not quite true. One of the umpteen reasons for its failure was probably that The Ark arrived out of time. Its emotional tone is a kind of pacific stoned wistfulness (as you might expect from a duo who must have realised in their heart of hearts that their 15 minutes of fame was up), but in 1968, events had conspired to turn rock music darker and angrier. In fact, some of the year's darkness had seeped into The Ark: Sidewalk Requiem, Los Angeles, June 5th and 6th ruminates on the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, on whose campaign Chad Stuart had worked, but it doesn't provoke the kind of man-the-barricades anger of Street Fighting Man or Revolution; just bewildered sadness. Perhaps Chad and Jeremy were just too well brought up for that kind of thing. Either way, The Ark proves they should be remembered for something more than being posh.
by Alexis Petridis, Tue 29 Jan 2013 
1. The Emancipation Of Mr. X (Jeremy Clyde) - 2:20
2. Sunstroke (Keith Noble) - 4:10
3. The Ark (Jeremy Clyde) - 4:52
4. The Raven (Chad Stuart, Jeremy Clyde) - 1:29
5. Imagination (Jeremy Clyde) - 2:48
6. Painted Dayglow Smile (Al Gorgoni, Estelle Levitt) - 3:29
7. Pipe Dream (Jeremy Clyde) - 3:34
8. Transatlantic Trauma 1966 (Jeremy Clyde) - 3:21
9. Sidewalk Requiem, Los Angeles, June 5th And 6th (Chad Stuart, Keith Noble) - 3:04
10.Pantheistic Study For Guitar And Large Bird (Chad Stuart) - 3:35
11.Paxton Quigley's Had The Course (Jeremy Clyde, Chad Stuart) - 3:20
12.You Need Feet (You Need Hands) (Roy Irwin) - 4:29
13.Painted Dayglow Smile (Al Gorgoni, Estelle Levitt) - 2:32
14.Sister Marie (David Morrow) - 3:03
15.You Need Feet (You Need Hands) (Roy Irwin) - 2:58
16.Paxton Quigley's Had The Course (Jeremy Clyde, Chad Stuart) - 3:26
Tracks 13-16 Mono Single Versions

*Chad Stuart - Guitar, Vocals
*Jeremy Clyde - Guitar, Vocals
*Teressa Adams - Cello
*Victor Feldman - Percussion
*Bill Fritz - Reeds, Woodwind
*Jim Gordon - Drums
*Jim Horn - Reeds, Woodwind
*Stephens La Fever - Bass
*Lincoln Mayorga - Keyboards
*Mike Rubini - Keyboards
*Lincoln Mayorga - Keyboards
*Michel Rubini - Keyboards

1967  Chad And Jeremy - Of Cabbages And Kings (2006 japan bonus tracks remaster) 
1968  Chad And Jeremy - Three In The Attic (2013 edition) 

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Friday, March 27, 2020

David Blue - David Blue / Singer Songwriter Project (1965-66 us, sterling folk psych rock, 2001 remaster)

When David Blue came out in August 1966, folk-rock singer-songwriters with folk roots were scurrying to ride Bob Dylan's coattails into the rock mainstream. For David Blue, however, it was not enough to be influenced by Dylan, or even to emulate Dylan. David Blue, from all the sonic and even visual evidence on his Elektra debut album, wanted to be Bob Dylan.

If that seems like an extreme or rash conclusion to draw in an era that saw several "new Bob Dylans," it's justified by a listen to the end result. The surrealistic lyrics, the half-spoken half-sung vocal style, the interjection of atonal howls at the end of phrases, the basic blues-rock melodies on the hardest-rocking cuts, the rich electric keyboards and raw tremoloed electric guitars, the occasional love songs to mysterious, nebulous goddesses -- it's all there, albeit in a somewhat garage-band variation. There seems little doubt that the songs were largely the product of multiple listenings to Highway 61 Revisited - at their raunchiest and Blonde on Blonde - at their most tender. If it sometimes sounds as if you're listening to outtakes from those records, it really is no accident, as bassist Harvey Brooks and keyboardist Paul Harris played on various 1965 Dylan sessions. Drummer Herbie Lovelle, meanwhile, had played on Dylan's very first electric recordings in late 1962, which yielded the obscure "Mixed Up Confusion" single.

If he nonetheless hoped to avoid Dylan comparisons, Blue did himself absolutely no favors by putting a head shot on the cover that replicated Dylan's curly late-1965 haircut to a T. Blue's pose in 1965-66 vintage Dylan sunglasses on the back sleeve reinforced the sense of a Village hanger-on auditioning for a film role as Dylan's stunt double. You could also toss in how Blue, like Dylan, had changed his name from an obviously Jewish one - David Cohen.

Yet Blue was not some cat plucked off the street to mimic the Dylan sound as closely as possible, but an actual friend of Dylan, with similar roots in the folk circuit. The Rhode Island native had worked in the Cambridge folk scene as part of the Unicorn Jook Band, which also featured another future folk-rock singer-songwriter of note, Eric Andersen. In the early 1960s, he was one of many young folk singers scuffling around Greenwich Village alongside Bob Dylan. In the Village Voices television documentary, Blue claimed to have helped Dylan during the writing of "Blowin' in the Wind," not to the extent of contributing any music or words, but by playing chords that Dylan suggested as the composer worked out the lyrics.

Blue's association with Elektra actually began not with David Blue, but the earlier compilation album Singer Songwriter Project. For this LP, Elektra had four young songwriters -- Blue, Richard Fariña, Patrick Sky, and Bruce Murdoch -- contribute three or four songs apiece. Blue, under the name Dave Cohen, sang three average, old-timey-styled acoustic folk originals - none of which appeared on David Blue that were not especially indebted to Dylan, in either compositional or vocal style. The emulation became more egregious when Elektra went for an entire David Blue LP. By that time Dylan had gone electric, and Blue was part of the legendary in-crowd -- with Dylan as the centerpiece, but also including Phil Ochs, Eric Andersen, and Tom Paxton -- that traded verbal spars and barbs in Greenwich Village cafes.

Producing the album was Arthur Gorson, who managed and/or produced several other acts making the transition from folk to folk-rock in the mid-1960s, including Phil Ochs, Eric Andersen, Tom Rush, and Jim & Jean. Filling out the session musicians were guitarist Monte Dunn, who had played on Ian & Sylvia's Early Morning Rain album, and Buddy Salzman, who shared the drum chores with Lovelle. Several of the session men on David Blue, particularly Harris and Brooks, ended up playing on many early singer-songwriter folk-rock albums in the mid-1960s, which Gorson confesses was no accident: "At a time when we wanted to expand our audience base a bit and make slightly more commercial records, we wanted to use electric instruments in the studio. But we really didn't know much about it. We ended up using a very small group of musicians who perhaps played on a Dylan album or something like that."

If the songs on David Blue sometimes seemed like Dylan prototypes that had been thrown in the kitchen sink and tossed in the washing machine several times over, its stronger tracks were nevertheless quite enjoyable variations of their obvious model. "So Easy She Goes By," in addition to boasting the vibrating organ-piano blend that was so much a part of the sound Dylan innovated in the studio, was melodic enough to be a hit in the hands of a more conventional singer than Blue. "Midnight Through Morning" had the late-night romantic mood of several of Blonde on Blonde's more introspective numbers, pivoting around the arresting image of a would-be lover fantasizing about falling with a woman's hair as it tumbled down. "Grand Hotel," probably the album's best-known track, was also somewhat of a fetching son-of "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" creation, demonstrating conclusively that Blue was a better singer when he turned down the volume and turned up the yearning longing. Both it and another song from the album, "About My Love," were effectively covered on Jim & Jean's underrated 1966 folk-rock album Changes - which included yet another Blue composition, the outstanding "Strangers in a Strange Land," that somehow didn't make it onto David Blue.

"I guess that was the sound of the moment that he was looking for," shrugs Gorson when asked about the record's strong resemblance to mid-1960s Dylan. "It was a tough thing for [David], 'cause that's what he knew." It couldn't have been any easier when, according to Gorson, "Dylan would come to the studio and taunt David during the making of the album."

David Blue ended up being the only LP the singer recorded for Elektra. He went on to release half a dozen other albums over the next decade - one under the name David Cohen, never rising even to established cult status. Those records found him growing away from his Dylan fixation, yet, perversely, he's probably most remembered for David Blue, in which his Dylan fixation was second to none. Also achieving some small recognition as an actor - particularly for a brief part in Wim Wenders's An American Friend, he died on December 2, 1982, of a heart attack while jogging in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village.
by Richie Unterberger
1. The Gasman Won't Buy Your Love - 3:04
2. About My Love - 2:39
3. So Easy She Goes By - 3:34
4. If Your Money Can't Get It - 3:01
5. Midnight Through Morning - 4:55
6. It Ain't The Rain That Sweeps The Highway Clean - 3:32
7. Arcade Love Machine - 3:50
8. Grand Hotel - 4:05
9. Justine - 3:02
10.I'd Like To Know - 2:27
11.The Street - 6:01
12.It Tastes Like Candy - 4:09
13.House Un-American Blues Activity Dream - 3:30
14.Birmingham Sunday - 4:00
15.Bold Marauder - 4:48
16.Talking Socialized Anti-Undertaker Blues - 2:11
17.Many A Mile - 3:51
18.Rompin' Rovin' Days - 2:21
19.Down In Mississippi - 1:44
20.Farewell My Friend - 2:53
21.Try 'n' Ask - 1:50
22.I Like To Sleep Late In The Morning - 2:23
23.It's Alright With Me - 2:03
24.Don't Get Caught In A Storm - 2:10
Tracks 1-12, 22-24 written and perfomed by David Blue
Tracks 13-15 written and perfomed by Richard Farina
Tracks 16-17 written and perfomed by Patrick Sky
Tracks 18-21 written and perfomed by Bruce Murdoch

*David Blue - Vocals, Acoustic, Electric Guitars (Tracks 1-12)
*Monte Dunn - Acoustic, Electric Guitars (Tracks 1-12)
*Harvey Brooks - Bass (Tracks 1-12)
*Herbert Lovelle - Drums (Tracks 1-12)
*Buddy Salzman - Drums (Tracks 1-12)
*Paul Harris - Piano, Organ, Celeste, Electric Piano (Tracks 1-12)
*Rickard Farina - Vocals, Guitar, Dulcimer (Tracks 13-15)
*Patrick Sky - Vocals, Guitar, Banjo (Tracks 16-17)
*Bruce Murdoch - Vocals, Guitar (Tracks 18-21)
*David Blue - Vocals, Guitar (Tracks 22-24)

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Keith Christmas - Fable Of The Wings (1970 uk, brilliant folk psych rock, 2012 remaster)

While Keith Christmas' second album was an improvement over his debut, there was still the sense that it was a stretch of his talents to fill an entire record with decent material. In its favor, it had some nicely integrated, varied arrangements that show more imagination than many other British folk-rock recordings of the early '70s: the jazzy piano-dominated vamp of "Waiting for the Wind to Rise," the lovely female backup harmonies on "The Fawn," the languid tempo of "Lorri," the gothic organ of "Kent Lullaby," the Mellotron-acoustic guitar-piano combination of "Hamlin," the rapid whirl of acoustic guitar picking on "Fable of the Wings." About half of the songs were mighty pretty, particularly "Hamlin" and the delicate "The Fawn." Christmas was good at establishing an attractively melancholy musical setting, but his rambling lyrics just couldn't hold up their part of the weight, and he was given to tracks that went on and on for way too long before fading, particularly on "Waiting for the Wind to Rise." 
by Richie Unterberger
1. Waiting For The Wind To Rise - 6:16
2. The Fawn - 4:57
3. Lorri -  8:26
4. Kent Lullaby - 3:48
5. Hamlin - 6:17
6. Fable Of The Wings - 4:30
7. Bednotch - 3:22
Music and Lyrics by Keith Christmas

*Keith Christmas - Guitar, Vocals
*Keith Tippett - Piano
*Mike Evans - Bass
*Pat Donaldson - Bass
*Gerry Conway - Drums
*Ian Whiteman - Electric Piano, Organ, Piano, Mellotron
*Roger Powell - Drums
*Bob Stewart - Autoharp
*Shelagh McDonald - Vocals

1969  Keith Christmas - Stimulus (2012 remaster) 
1974-76  Keith Christmas - Tomorrow Never Ends The Anthology (2010 Two Disc Set)
Related Act
1969  Mighty Baby
1970  Mighty Baby - Live In The Attic
1971  Mighty Baby - A Jug Of Love
1971  Mighty Baby - Tasting the Life (2009 Sunbeam issue)

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Delaney Bonnie And Friends - Motel Shot (1971 us, spiritual rhythm 'n' blues jam rock, 2017 remastered and expanded)

The magic of the late-night jam session is one of those rock & roll legends that, much like Bigfoot, doesn't have a lot of concrete evidence to support it. But Delaney & Bonnie believed in it strongly enough to try to put one on tape. Released in 1971, Motel Shot was intended to document the sound and vibe of the after-show jams that Mr. and Mrs. Bramlett often took part in while on the road. After an attempt to record one such jam in the living room of recording engineer Bruce Botnick, Delaney & Bonnie and their friends ended up doing it over again in a recording studio. But if Motel Shot doesn't seem as spontaneous as the principals wanted it to be, it does have a loose, playful feel that's honestly winning. 

The performances are almost entirely acoustic, and the set is dominated by traditional blues, gospel, and country standards that this crew could ease into comfortably and bend to their moods. Given that Delaney & Bonnie's friends for these sessions included Duane Allman, Leon Russell, John Hartford, Dave Mason, Gram Parsons, and Joe Cocker, it's no great surprise that this material is significantly more accomplished that most folks' musical goofing around, even if Jim Keltner is just slapping an empty box instead of playing a drum kit. And Delaney & Bonnie are both in fine voice on Motel Shot, passionate but very much in the moment, while the gospel jam of "Takin' About Jesus" features some powerful vocal interplay between Bonnie and Cocker. You can't plan a moment of spontaneous brilliance, but Delaney & Bonnie were just smart enough to know their muse didn't like to be forced, and Motel Shot is an admirable compromise between a 2 a.m. guitar pull and an acoustic studio session, and it was also their last truly effective album. 
by Mark Deming
1. Where the Soul Never Dies (Traditional) - 3:24
2. Will the Circle Be Unbroken (A. P. Carter) - 2:42
3. Rock of Ages (Traditional) - 2:17
4. Long Road Ahead (Delaney Bramlett, Bonnie Bramlett, Carl Radle) - 3:25
5. Faded Love (Bob Wills, Johnnie Wills) - 4:03
6. Talkin' about Jesus (Traditional) - 6:51
7. Come On In My Kitchen (Robert Johnson) - 2:43
8. Don't Deceive Me (Please Don't Go) (Chuck Willis) - 3:52
9. Never Ending Song of Love (Delaney Bramlett) - 3:20
10.Sing My Way Home (Delaney Bramlett) - 4:02
11.Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad (Traditional, Delaney Bramlett) - 5:09
12.Lonesome and a Long Way from Home (Delaney Bramlett, Bonnie Bramlett, Leon Russell) - 3:58
13.I've Told You For The Last Time (Eric Clapton) - 4:19
14.Long Road Ahead (Alternate Take) (Bonnie Bramlett, Carl Radle, Delaney Bramlett) - 3:34
15.Gift Of Love (Delaney Bramlett, Mac Davis) - 2:16
16.Come On In My Kitchen (Alternate Take) (Robert Johnson) - 3:12
17.Blues (Delaney Bramlett) - 5:38
18.Lonesome And A Long Way From Home (Alternate Take) (Bonnie Bramlett, Delaney Bramlett, Leon Russell) - 5:23
19.What A Friend We Have In Jesus (Joseph Scriven) - 2:51
20.Farther Along (Jesse Randall Baxter) - 3:40

*Delaney Bramlett - Guitar, Vocals
*Bonnie Bramlett - Vocals
*Duane Allman - Slide Guitar
*Ben Benay - Guitar
*Kenny Gradney - Bass Guitar
*John Hartford - Banjo, Fiddle
*Eddie James - Guitar
*Jim Keltner - Drums
*Bobby Keys - Saxophone
*Dave Mason - Guitar
*Gram Parsons - Guitar, Vocals
*Carl Radle - Bass Guitar
*Joe Cocker - Backing Vocals
*Leon Russell - Piano, Keyboards, Vocals
*Clarence White - Guitar, Vocals
*Bobby Whitlock - Vocals
*Jay York - Backing Vocals

1969-72  Delaney, Bonnie And Friends - D 'n' B Together (2003 extra tracks remaster) 

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Monday, March 23, 2020

The Bobby Fuller Four - Never To Be Forgotten - The Mustang Years (1965-66 us, pioneer garage beat roots 'n' roll, three disc box set)

Bobby Fuller was born in 1942 in Baytown, Texas. He enjoyed playing guitar, writing songs and singing them and eventually formed The Bobby Fuller Four in El Paso with his brother Randy and two friends, Jim Reese and DeWayne Quirico. The group played in El Paso for three years before signing a record contract and moving to Los Angeles. 

The Bobby Fuller Four was influenced in its music quite a bit by another rock-and-roll star who had also come from West Texas, Buddy Holly. The lead guitar player in Holly's band, The Crickets, was Sonny Curtis, who wrote what proved to be the biggest song ever for The Bobby Fuller Four. That song was I Fought The Law. They recorded other songs, some written by Holly, but I Fought The Law was their only record to reach the top ten in the charts. In later years the influence of The Bobby Fuller Four was seen in music recorded by such groups as The Clash, the Blasters, and Los Lobos. 

Bobby Fuller was a talented musician, songwriter and performer and most likely would have gone on to bigger and better things had he lived longer. Just after "I Fought The Law" became a top ten hit, Bobby Fuller was found dead in his automobile, which was parked near his Los Angeles home. The police considered the death an apparent suicide/accident, however, many people believe Fuller was murdered. 

The investigation was botched from the start. The crime scene was not secured and no fingerprints were obtained. A witness also claimed seeing a police officer throw a can of gasoline found at the scene into the trash. Fuller was found with multiple wounds all over his body and covered in gasoline leading many to speculate that the perpetrators fled before they could set the car on fire. Police later changed the cause of death to "Accidental asphyxiation" citing no evidence of foul play. Despite the official cause of death stated by authorities, rumors and speculation still surround Fuller's mysterious death. Fuller is buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

A three-CD box set that includes everything Fuller recorded for Mustang between 1964 and 1966: all the LP and 45 tracks, the previously import-only album recorded at PJ's on Sunset Strip, over a dozen cuts that were unreleased during Fuller's lifetime, and rarities. Although much of the music is excellent, it should be stressed that this is for the Bobby Fuller fanatic; most fans will be quite content with the all-killer no-filler distillation of his best mid-'60s cuts on Rhino's Best Of compilation. Fuller's albums were filled out with some unmemorable hot rod tunes and generic rockers that seemed to have been cranked out under pressure for product. 

The rare selections (some of which, despite being designated as unreleased, have shown up elsewhere) are largely alternates of songs that were already available, and although these are occasionally interesting, the variations are mostly on the slight side. A couple of cuts by the Randy Fuller Four (led by Bobby's brother and bassist) don't measure up to his sibling's output in the least, sounding jarring and clumsy by contrast. The Live at PJ's disc is disappointing: it consists mostly of covers of familiar rock standards, for one thing, and neither the sound quality nor performance match the excitement that Fuller routinely generated in the studio during this time. But make no mistake, this is a good thing for fans to have, and is superbly packaged, with a 64-page booklet of critical essays, speculation on his mysterious death, and an interview with Randy Fuller. 
by Richie Unterberger
Disc 1
1. Let Her Dance (Bobby Fuller) - 2:32
2. Julie (Chip Taylor) - 2:18
3. A New Shade Of Blue (Bobby Fuller, Mary Stone) - 2:59
4. Only When I Dream (Bobby Fuller, Mary Stone) - 2:02
5. You Kiss Me (Bobby Fuller, Mary Stone) - 2:36
6. Little Annie Lou (Bobby Fuller, Randy Fuller) - 2:01
7. I Fought The Law (Sonny Curtis) - 2:19
8. Another Sad And Lonely Night (Bobby Fuller) - 2:23
9. Saturday Night (Bobby Fuller) - 1:38
10.Take My Word (Bobby Fuller) - 2:13
11.Fool Of Love (Bobby Fuller) - 2:39
12.Never To Be Forgotten (Bobby Fuller, Randy Fuller) - 3:00
13.My True Love (Alternate Take) (Bobby Fuller, Mary Stone) - 2:19
14.You're In Love (Alternate Take) (Bobby Fuller, Mary Stone) - 2:07
15.Our Favorite Martian (Mono Version) (Bobby Fuller) - 2:51
16.Those Memories Of You (James D. Pewter) - 2:01
17.Think It Over (Unreleased) (Jerry Allison) - 1:45
18.Pamela (Mono Version) (Bobby Fuller) - 2:15
19.Wolfman (Mono Version) (Bobby Fuller) - 2:48
20.Thunder Reef (Bobby Fuller) - 1:51
21.It's Love Come What May (Mono Version) (Bobby Fuller, Mary Stone) - 2:02
22.Gallenkamp Shoe Commercial - 7:21
Disc 2
1. King Of The Wheels (Bobby Fuller) - 2:04
2. KRLA Top Eliminator (Bobby Fuller, Randy Fuller, Dewayne Quirico, Jim Reese) - 2:48
3. Keep A Knockin' (Richard Penniman) - 1:40
4. The Phantom Dragster (Bobby Fuller) - 1:24
5. The Lonely Dragster (Bobby Fuller) - 3:11
6. She's My Girl (Bobby Fuller, Randy Fuller) - 2:33
7. Love's Made A Fool Of You (Bob Montgomery, Buddy Holly) - 2:00
8. Don't Ever Let Me Know (Bobby Fuller, Mary Stone) - 2:40
9. Cheat And Lie (Unreleased) (Bobby Fuller, Randy Fuller) - 3:03
10.Jenny Lee (Unreleased) (Bobby Fuller) - 2:30
11.My True Love (Bobby Fuller, Mary Stone) - 2:05
12.Baby My Heart (Unreleased) (Sonny Curtis) - 2:17
13.The Magic Touch (Ted Daryll) - 2:53
14.I'm A Lucky Guy (Unreleased) (Lawrence Russell Brown, Neval Nader, Raymond Bloodworth) - 2:14
15.The Things You Do (Randy Fuller) - 2:31
16.Now She's Gone (John Daniel, Randy Fuller) - 2:31
17.Angel Eyes (Unreleased Backing Track) (Bobby Fuller) - 1:57
18.A New Shade Of Blue (Unreleased Alternate Take) (Bobby Fuller) - 2:58
19.Only When I Dream (Mono LP Version) (Bobby Fuller, Mary Stone) - 2:15
20.It's Love, Come What May (Bobby Fuller, Mary Stone) - 2:01
21.I Fought The Law (Single Version) (Sonny Curtis) - 2:18
22.Never To Be Forgotten (KRLA LP Stereo Alternate) (Bobby Fuller, Randy Fuller) - 7:17
Disc 3
1. I Fought the Law (Sonny Curtis) - 2:16
2. Brown Eyed Handsome Man (Chuck Berry) - 3:06
3. A New Shade of Blue (Bobby Fuller) - 2:57
4. Let Her Dance (Bobby Fuller) - 2:08
5. C.C. Rider (Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Lena Arant) - 2:09
6. Anytime at All (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 3:22
7. My Babe/Keep a Knockin'/Long Tall Sally (Willie Dixon, Richard Penniman, Enotris Johnson, Robert Blackwell) - 3:12
8. Vamp Introduction - 1:04
9. California Sun (Henry Glover) - 2:29
10.Do You Wanna Dance (Robert Thomas Freeman) - 1:31
11.Wooly Bully (Domingo Samudio) - 2:06
12.Gloria (Van Morrison) - 3:39
13.Oh, Boy! (Bill Tilghman, Norman Petty, Sonny West) - 2:19
14.Carol (Chuck Berry) - 2:56
15.Thunder Reef (Bobby Fuller) - 2:38
16.High Heel Sneakers (Robert Higginbotham) - 3:33
17.Slow Down (Larry Williams) - 2:57
18.Think It Over (Buddy Holly, Jerry Allison, Norman Petty) - 1:44
19.Money/Shakedown (Berry Gordy, Janie Bradford, Bobby Fuller) - 4:11

*Bobby Fuller - Guitar, Vocals
*Randy Fuller - Bass, Vocals
*DeWayne Quirico - Drums, Vocals
*Jim Reese - Guitar, Vocals
*Dalton Powell - Drums, Vocals
*Larry Thompson - Drums, Vocals
*Jimmy Wagnon - Drums, Vocals
*Bill Webb - Guitar, Vocals

Related Act
1970  Blue Mountain Eagle - Blue Mountain Eagle (2012 remaster and expanded)

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Saturday, March 21, 2020

The Blackbirds - No Destination (1968 germany, splendid rhythm 'n' blues, beat psych prog rock, 2005 bonus tracks remaster)

After World War II and during the 1950'ies people in the Saarland, Germanys smallest state in the Southwest, lived through a period of political conflict concerning their national status. In 1950 the Saarland was politically separated from Germany and became an autonomous state, while France was in charge of its foreign affairs. In 1955, an overwhelming majority of the population of the Saarland rejected the Saar statute that was supposed to sanction the political separation from Germany and the economic connection to France, and on 01.01.1957 the Saarland became the 10th state of the Federal Republic of Germany. However, the economic relocation did not take place until 2 years later, on 05.07.1959, in order to minimize any economic loss for France. Then came the 1960'ies and with it Germany's new economic miracle. Everyone was keen to leave the gloom of World War II behind. People made their living working in the coal mines, the iron and steel works and the vineyards, while seeking entertainment and pleasure through the cinema, television and radio. The spi-rit of the age at that time was rather outdated and conservative, though, and the young people and those who had stayed young were keen on more up-to date entertainment. They were thrilled by Rock 'n Roll and the "British Invasion" and sought to imitate them. This is what happened in Püttlingen, a small town close to Saarbrücken, where the first bands formed in 1963. With most simple means they tried to copy their English models who were growing more and more famous. They made their first appearances in gymnasiums, schools, pubs, community centres and Kolping halls, with little time to practise and far from perfect.

The Blackbirds were founded in the beginning of March 1965, when four friends decided to devote more time to their hobby - music - by forming a band. Those four friends were: Werner Breinig (solo guitar/vocals), Klaus Altmeyer (rhythm-guitar), Siggi Burda (bass-guitar) and Helmut Vigneron (drums). They rehearsed in a small hall pertaining to the local Peter-Wust-School, where the band was not disturbed, and more importantly, could not disturb anybody. Their equipment at that time consisted of self-assembled amplifiers, E-guitars that were patched together and seemingly prehistoric pieces of percussion.

This rather increased the motivation of the boys since their aim was to appeal to fans through an attractive stage performance, and by increasing their appearances and takings they were able to improve their technical equipment. The Blackbird's first gig was not long in coming: a dance event on May 1st 1965. The group was keen to constantly improve their musical quality, and so they appeared in a ballroom in Püttlingen on every Sunday. Playing hits from the English and French charts this is where the cornerstone of their future success was laid.

As a young boy, Werner Breinig, the bandleader, had been soloist with the famous Regensburger Domspatzen, where he received first-class singing instructions. His crystal clear and penetrating voice was the band's trade mark. In Summer 1965, Hubert Koop, organ, joined the quartet and the sound of the organ did a lot to improve the musical quality of the formation. 

In January 1966 the Blackbirds gained regional acclaim as the first band in the Saarland to stage a charity event. Shortly afterwards the band had their first television gig in the studio of the Saar TV during the Saarmesse, a regional trade fair. In April 1966 bass guitarist Siggi Burda had to leave the band because of his job and was replaced permanently by Heinz-Peter Koop in the end of 1966. In the meantime, Klaus Althmeyer had also left the band.

1967 was going to be the first really successful year for the Blackbirds: They were voted winner of the beat-groups in the federal festival "Chance 67" that was staged in the Ruhrlandhalle in Bochum. In July they took the second place amongst the "beat groups" during the "Festival de l'Européen" in Belgium. On Sept.11 they appeared in the regional TV show "Talentschuppen".

The proximity to France made it easy for the band to stage concerts in this neighbouring country, and the many so called "dance palaces" there offered ideal possibilities. The French particularly loved the slow titles of the band, and often asked them to "jouez un slow". Getting in and out of France was difficult, though. On each entry and exit the band had to present a list of the entire equipment, which had to be stamped at customs. Sometimes they were even controlled, which could take some time.

The band soon gained considerable reputation through the many concerts as well as through appearances on TV and radio, and the first record was not long in coming. Ambitious as they were they would not content themselves with making a single record first up, but decided to have a go at an entire LP right away.

The recordings were done in the beginning of 1968 in the studio Horst Jankowski in Stuttgart. The conditions for recording at that time (four-tracks) are hard to ima-gine these days: The entire LP was recorded and mixed in a single day. Several songs had even to be written in the hotel the night before the recording, since the record company wanted a full LP. Songs such as "Sandman's Bound" and "She" were influenced by the current weariness of the time, while other titles like "Something Different" were improvised on the spot. Although the recording conditions were far from ideal, the band was able to produce an internationally competitive LP. Remarkably, the LP was first published in Great Britain.

"Golden Sun" is a celebration in song of the transient opportunities of warm summer nights, and cherishes the hope for the coming summer.

"Space" breathes the spirit of space craft Orion (a German science fiction TV show), taking off slowly but steadily.

"No Destination", the title song of the LP, echoes the world-weariness and the 'no future' feeling' that characterized the time around 1968.

In "Sandman's Bound" the band expresses their wish to find peace at last and get some sleep, rather than having to struggle to write yet another song for the record producer.

"That's My Love" is dedicated to the ex-girl friend, who no longer trusts the vows of love, or does she…?

"Girl I'm Wondering": I always thought that you belonged to me…well you got it wrong.

"Show Me That You Love Me": but you know what we really do want…

"Something Different" is the field where organ player Hubert Koop can have his fling.

"She" expresses the hope that the positive female influences will continue, even though the young man has no job and nobody really likes him.

Unfortunately, the LP was not a big commercial success because the small record company did not get sufficiently involved. However, the group sold so many LP's regionally and during gigs that today even the musicians have run out of a copy. The titles "No Destination" and "Space" were also published on a single.

One of the highlights of the concerts was "Sherry Baby", a cover of the Four Seasons' hits. In the end of 1968 this song was published as a single, with "Lead On Light" on the B-side. They had been given this song by a team of composers of the record company Saga/UK. "Space"/ "Golden Sun" was published as a freebie on a split 7" EP with "Bing and The Birds" on the occasion of a leisure fair in Cologne. The group never saw any money for it.

There was also no money in having 5 titles of the LP "No Destination" used on a so called exploitation sampler under the band name "Snake In The Grass" and album title "Hot And Sweet With Beat" (Opp 5, 1969). The remaining 7 titles are apparently by an English band whose model were the "early" Small Faces. Although the record can be recommended, it is not a Blackbirds album under false name, as often purported.

Just how popular the Blackbirds were towards the end of the 1960ies became obvious in Manfred Sexauer's 1000th "Hello Twen Show" in the Saarlandhalle, with stars like Joy Unlimited, Jeronimo and John Mayall, where the best bands of the Saarland were awarded prizes. At that time the Blackbirds had 10 fan-clubs in Germany alone, and another 4 in France and Belgium. The city of Püttlingen honoured one of her famous sons with a "Silver Anchor".

The first successful Blackbirds formation ended when organ player Hubert Koop was drafted to the German army in 1969. 

And since beat and psychedelic pop music were gradually growing out of date and bands increasingly turned towards progressive rock and Kraut-rock, musical changes had to be made as well. In 1982 "Sherry Baby" was re-recorded, with "Burn Out For Rock'n Roll" on the B-side (EHA 5065, 1982), but with a different line-up. The B-side, composed by Werner Breinig, recalls the psycho-pop of the late 1960ies, particularly in the verse parts.
by Manfred Steinheuer, March 2005
1. Golden Sun - 3:12
2. Space (Breinig - 3:20
3. No Destination - 4:21
4. Long Tall Dorothe - 2:09
5. Sandmann´s Bound - 3:00
6. That's My Love - 2:38
7. Girl I'm Wondering - 3:06
8. Show Me That You Love Me - 3:24
9. Something Different (Werner Breinig) - 2:05
10.She - 4:32
11.Lead On Light (Judith Durham, David Reilly) - 3:31
12.Sherry Baby (Bob Gaudio) - 2:40
13.Burning Out For Rock'n Roll (Werner Breinig, Guido Klein) - 3:24
14.Sherry Baby (Bob Gaudio) - 3:02
All songs by Werner Breinig, Hubert Koop except where noted
Bonus Tracks 11-14

The Blackbirds
*Heinz Koop - Bass Guitar 
*Helmut Vigneron - Drums
*Werner Breinig - Lead Guitar
*Hubert Koop - Organ

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