Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Airbus - Test Flight (1970-73 uk, dazzling vocal harmonies, intelligent lyrics and hook-laden melodies, 2010 release)


Formed from the wreckage of harmony pop hopefuls West Coast Consortium, Airbus pursued their craft with such monomaniacal fervour during their 1970-73 lifespan that they effectively never emerged from the Venus studio in Whitechapel. You won’t have seen them live, because they never played any gigs, and you’re unlikely to have anything by them in your collection unless you own volume three of Psychedelic Schlemiels, or a contentious brace of singles released in Holland… All of which makes the 25 spit-shined demos compiled on Test Flight a rather exciting archaeological find, adding substance to Wooden Hill’s claim that this is “THE Great Lost Early 70s British Pop Album”.

A trio comprised of Geoff Simpson and brothers Martin and Ron Jay, Airbus have drawn comparisons to Badfinger, Ram-era McCartney and 10cc, but they’re definitely closer to the Badfinger end of the spectrum. There’s no trace of 10cc’s acidulous cynicism in their earnestly sunny worldview and, if anything, the bubblegum immediacy of Hurry On Home To London, Anytime At All and Send Susanna Home call to mind Vanity Fayre. But who’s complaining? Martin Jay’s clarion vocals on more credible compositions such as Smokey Chimney Tops and Walking The Silver Hay will buckle the knees of über-pop cognoscenti.
by Marco Rossi
Tracks
1. Back On The Street Again - 3:23
2. This Time Tomorrow - 3:34
3. Without A Second Word - 3:16
4. Walking The Silver Hay - 3:34
5. Living On Borrowed Time - 2:34
6. Time On My Side - 3:27
7. Susanna In The Summer - 3:24
8. Alias Oliver Dream - 2:54
9. I'm About To Lose My Mind - 2:27
10.I Think I'll Stay - 2:41
11.Do You Need Someone In Your Life - 3:39
12.Every Day Is Like Saturday - 4:07
13.Send Susanna Home - 3:23
14.Smokey Chimney Tops - 2:25
15.Down On The Farm - 3:50
16.Raincloud - 4:00
17.The Sound Of Her Laughter - 2:40
18.Hurry On Home To London - 3:12
19.Rodeo - 3:08
20.Anytime At All - 2:47
21.It's Only Human - 2:55
22.Once Upon A Wednesday - 3:12
23.Kentucky Summer - 2:23
24.Windmill Hill - 2:05
25.Lonely River - 3:18  
All song by  Geoff Simpson, Ron Jay

Airbus
*Geoff Simpson - Guitar, Bass, Organ, Piano, Vocals
*Martin Jay - Lead Vocals, Drums, Guitar, Bass
*Ron Jay - Piano, Organ, Vocals,

Monday, March 1, 2021

Ellie Pop - Ellie Pop (1968 us, fresh breezy folky psych pop, 2005 korean remaster)


Ellie Pop were from Roseville, Michigan formed in 1968, some rock collectors/fans consider Ellie Pop’s only album a mid 60’s classic. The sound is straight out of 1966/early 1967 (though this album was released in 1968-) with strong Beatles influenced melodies and harmonies. Other comparisons that come to mind are a guitar oriented Association (with more balls!) or the Merry-Go-Round, on their less trippy, Beatles inspired material.

There are no psychedelic freakouts, distorted vocals or backward guitar solos on this record. It’s a straight up power pop/pop record, with the occasional odd time signature and plenty of good song arrangements. The production is not as pristine as say the Left Banke’s debut, so the playing and the record itself sound rough or crude at times. The songs reward with repeated listenings though, and the Fab Four injected Whatcha Gonna Do is a personal favorite (those Yeah Yeah Yeah’s are straight out of the early Beatles songbook). Oh! My Friend has a vibe similar to Rubber Soul’s downbeat folk-rock numbers, sad and moody but a worthy song nonetheless. Can’t Be Love is also very good, with some strange twists and turns and excellent thick guitar riffs that hum like a Mustang engine.

No Thanks Mr. Mann is as psychedelic as this record gets, a classic 60’s character sketch with some superb harmonizing and frantic guitar playing toward the end. While the Beatles comparisons are inevitable, this record is still original and very solid. It’s definitely near the top of the heap of Mainstream (record label) releases.
by Jason Nardelli
Tracks
1. Seven North Frederick - 2:19
2. Winner Loser - 2:12
3. Can't Be Love - 2:31
4. Remembering (Sunnybrook) - 2:26
5. Seems I've Changed - 2:20
6. Caught In the Rain - 2:30
7. Oh! My Friend - 2:18
8. Some Time Ago - 2:18
9. No Thanks Mr. Mann - 2:48
10.Watcha Gonna Do - 2:41
All songs by Len Gervasi, George Kouri

Ellie Pop
*George Kouri (George Dunn) - Vocals
*Bill Long - Lead Guitar
*Doug Kouri (Doug Kunn) - Bass
*Wayne Kolar - Drums

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Plato And The Philosophers - Thirteen O'Clock Flight To Psychedelphia (1966-68 us, awesome garage psych)


Ken Tebow came from a musical family. His mother played in big bands during World War II. His grandfather met his grandmother while he was in a band. From the time he was in grade school, Ken was playing one instrument or another, beginning with a coronet. In the early 60's, Ken was playing the saxophone with his friend. They would play along with the music of bands like The Marquees. In 1962, Ken dropped the sax for the bass guitar and formed a group called The Checkmates. This was when Ken was a mere fourteen years old. Mike Imbler also fourteen was in the group. The band went on till 1965 playing mainly in Church basements and Jr. High School Proms. Their music consisted of instrumental covers.

The Checkmate's manager suggested a name change in 1965 as there was another popular group with the same moniker. He suggested coming up with a name that sounded like Paul Revere and The Raiders or Sam The Sham and The Pharaohs. Thus was born Plato and The Philosophers. They were from Moberly, Missouri The band at this time was Mike Imbler- lead guitar, Ken Tebow-bass and vocals, Barry Orscheln-keyboards, Mark Valentine- drums(note: a year later a fifth member Ben White would play bass. When they first started playing with the new name Ken suggested they go on stage dressed in Togas and sandals. He even put together the materials for the outfit from gym shorts and sheets. The band performed two times with the outfits. Just before they were to perform a third time in the outfits, Ken went out to the parking lot and saw a fire. The other band members had burned the outfits!

Plato's first single release was "C.M. I Love You" b/w "I Don't Mind" on the It Records label. The band was booked into a small basement studio in Quincy. Barry got the band booked there. He called them up and the band paid for the sessions. The record was cut from a master that was done live in the studio. There was no over dubbing the vocals later on. The band played live and Ken sang the vocals simultaneously. Five hundred records were pressed. Most were sold or handed out at the groups shows. Some were sent to radio stations. Ken was intent on getting the band signed to a major label. He found a Billboard catalog that listed record companies and their addresses. He sent out the records to many companies. He received ten reject letters. The other companies did not even answer him, except one, a company in Chicago called GAR Records. GAR got in touch with Ken and was interested in issuing the record on their label. Ken was seventeen at this time. The owner of GAR came to Moberly to meet with the band. He signed them to a record deal which stated they would receive monthly sales statements. For the first three months the band received statements. The record had sold 10,000 copies. It was "pick hit of the week" in Michigan and Northern Illinois. The band never heard anything further. In the summer of 1967 Plato and The Philosophers were opening for The McCoys at the Missouri State Fair. A group of kids came up to Plato and wanted autographs. The kids were from Michigan and told Plato that they had the "I Don't Mind" record and heard it numerous times on the radio. No one knows to this day which stations played it and how many records it really sold.

After the success of their first single, Plato and The Philosophers got in touch with a well respected studio in Columbia, Missouri(which was only about thirty five miles away from Moberly) called "Fairyland Studios". The band worked out a deal with the studio to issue the record on the Fairyland Records label by paying for all the studio and record pressing costs. This time the band would lay down the initial backing tracks and then come back in another session and overdub the vocals on May 7, 1967. In the summer of 1967, the record was released. Only about four hundred copies were pressed. Most were sold at dances and sent out to radio stations. There was some radio air play, but not enough to go back and repress the record. Ken's ballad "Wishes" was the a-side, while "Thirteen O'clock" was the b-side. Ben White thought up the title and Ken wrote the words and music. When asked what the lyrics were about, Ken is at a loss to remember. He does recall trying to make the bass sound in the song distinguished. A lot of reverb was added to the song. If one listens carefully to the end of the song you can hear the drummer knocking over this cymbal stand. While the band wanted to re-do it, they later decided it sounded kind of cool and left it in anyway.

After the "Thirteen O'Clock Flight To Psychedelphia" single, the band went back into Fairyland Studios on September 24, 1967 to record two more sides for a single "Doomsday Nowhere City" b/w "I Knew". Ken recalls that "Doomsday Nowhere City" was about "not liking his hometown and wanting to get away from it, putting it down". The song stands out as real period gem, reflecting the pop psychedelic sound that was issuing from bands such as The Strawberry Alarm Clock and The Rainy Daze. The flip side "I Knew" is lost. It was to be a song with lots of brass. When the sessions were finished the band failed to issue the sides as a single for lack of funds.

In 1968 Plato and The Philosophers began to change to a heavier sound, influenced in part by their admiration for The Iron Butterfly. When the album In A Gadda Da Vidda was released all the groups in the Central Missouri area would perform the single edit of In A Gadda Da Vidda.

Barry, Plato's keyboard player, studied the long version of the song for a month. He dedicated his time to learning every single note of the eighteen minute song. Thereafter In A Gadda Da Vidda became the theme song for Plato and The Philosophers. For the next year the band played the long version at every gig. In 1969 Plato had been booked into a Florida club six nights a week performing from nine till two in the morning.

The next recording sessions were done in 1968 in Pekin. The songs recorded were "Ima Jean Money"and "Take It Easy". Later in 1968 Plato records some more songs in Springfield- Through Your Heart", "The Pill", "How I Won The War", "In Good Time", and a second version of "Take It Easy". These demos got Plato a tentative agreement with Cedarwood Music for an album and single release. When the group went to Nashville to record an album for major distribution. By now there were only two original members, Ken and Barry. The band's sound also changed with the addition of a brass and horn sound on many of the songs. For example a new version of "Ima Jean Money" was recorded with horns. Other songs recorded at this time were "I Really Don't Care", "Back Room Bar", "Today I Died", "Don't Take It To Heart", and "Winter Green". Two of the songs "Don't Take It To Heart" and "Winter Green" are pop sounding songs written by Larry Williams. The rest of the songs are by Ken Tebow. When it comes time for a album and single release nothing is done, so all the material is never released.

After the Nashville sessions failed to bring success the band began to fall apart. By the end of 1970 Plato and The Philosophers was no more. Ken got married that year, then in June he was drafted into the Army. Five weeks later he was discharged for what the Army termed "physically unfit". The other members left to pursue their own careers. Recently Plato and The Philosophers re-formed and released a cd of new music. Here then, is their first album of old material combined with some other bands from the same era of sound.
Cicadelic
Tracks
1. I Don't Mind (Ken Tebow) - 3:02
2. C.M. I Love You (Ken Tebow) - 2:26
3. Thirteen O'Clock Flight To Psychedelphia (Previously Unreleased Mix) (Ken Tebow) - 3:02
4. Doomsday Nowhere City - 2:33
5. Trippin' Out (Bill Evans, Bill Payne, Joe Geppi) - 2:12
6. She's Kinda Weird (Bill Evans, Bill Payne, Joe Geppi) - 2:20
7. Hole In Her Soul - 2:14
8. Church House Blues (Thomas Pounds) - 3:28
9. I Like It Like That - 2:16
10.Why Won't You Wear My Ring? - 2:03
11.Heat Wave - 2:15
12.Shop Around - 2:46
13.Wishes (Previously Unreleased Mix) (Ken Tebow) - 3:26
14.I Knew - 3:02
15.Ima Jean Money - 4:06
16.Today I Died - 2:35
17.Take It Easy - 2:50
18.How I Won The War - 3:18
19.In Good Time - 2:32
20.Back Room Bar - 2:39
21.Through Your Heart - 5:09
22.Thirteen O'Clock Flight To Psychedelphia (Early Take) (Ken Tebow) - 3:06
Tracks 1-4 and 13-22 by The Plato And The Philosophers
Tracks 5-7 by Something Wild
Track 8 by The Smoke
Tracks 9-12 by The Fortunes

Plato And The Philosophers
*Mike Imbler - Lead Guitar 
*Barry Orscheln - Keyboards 
*Ken Tebow - Bass, Vocals 
*Mark Valentine - Drums 
*Ben White - Bass

Something Wild
*Bill Evans - Guitar
*Bill Payne - Keyboard (Little Feat)
*Joe Geppi - Bass
*Linus Kal X Blue - Lead Vocals
*Red Libben - Drums

The Smoke 
*Johnny Orvis - Vocals, Guitar, Banjo 
*Eddie Beyer - Keyboards 
*Richard Floyd - Bass, Guitar, Vocals 
*Earl Finn - Bass, Keyboards, Guitar 
*Phil Parker - Drums

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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Adamkosky - In Your Eye (1973 us, beautiful folk rock, 2008 korean remaster)



Lonely melodic private press 1973 USA album. The recording session took eleven hours and there were no second takes. Low-fi crude sound with vocals, some solo tracks, some with further instrumentation. Its from a folk-blues tradition but sometimes sounds a bit like 70s singer-songwriter stuff by a 19-year-old who couldnt afford to hire a band. It is laid back but ethereal, very homemade sounding with a weird b/w cover of a bullet in the eyeball of the moon. Sparse music with creepy vocals that sound resigned to the problems of existence. Local pressing with three hundred pressed. 
Tracks
1. Never Thought - 3:33
2. Broken Hours, Wasted Days - 1:47
3. Sand Castle Skies - 1:51
4. Steam - 2:17
5. Last Winter's Fridays - 4:07
6. Armadillo Hitchhike Blues (Water Adamkosky, Dennis Smith) - 2:26
7. One More Time - 1:22
8. Shadows - 2:44
9. Sunset Of A Dying Day - 3:16
10.Afterthoughts - 2:15
11.Dreams - 1:12
All songs by Michael Adamkosky, Erich Mees except where stated

Musicians
*Michael Admkosky - Vocals, Drums, Guitar, Mandolin
*Ray Pauken - Banjo


Friday, February 26, 2021

Moby Grape - Grape Jam (1968 us, awesome blues jam psych rock, 2007 remaster)


Grape Jam is the oddity here. Of course Moby Grape's strengths and reputation on record up to this point were based on concise executions of carefully composed three-minute songs. Live, those stretched out a bit longer, but Grape certainly weren't considered a jam band in the sense of The Dead, Quicksilver, and others. Grape Jam showcased what the band could do for the most part just jamming in the studio, along with some guest players like Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield (several months before the release of Super Session), plus a slow blues vocal cut that opens the proceedings. 

The jams are great fun, even if a little long-winded at times, and showcase some great playing mostly in an electric bluesy style that was so prevalent at the time. Closing the original disc was "The Lake," a bizarrely psychedelic meandering with lyrics written by somebody outside the band, and is pretty much a throwaway. Three lengthy bonus cuts are included, the last being an arrangement of "Bags' Groove" with Kooper, Randy Brecker on trombone, and part of Blood Sweat & Tears horn section. 
by Peter Thelen, 2008-01-01
Tracks
1. Never (Bob Mosley) - 6:12
2. Boysenberry Jam (Skip Spence, Bob Mosley, Don Stevenson, Jerry Miller, Peter Lewis) - 6:00
3. Black Currant Jam (Skip Spence, Bob Mosley, Don Stevenson, Jerry Miller, Peter Lewis) - 7:07
4. Marmalade (Bob Mosley, Don Stevenson, Jerry Miller, Mike Bloomfield) - 14:02
5. The Lake (Skip Spence, Bob Mosley, Don Stevenson, Jerry Miller, Peter Lewis, Michael Hayworth) - 3:58
6. Grape Jam #2 (Skip Spence, Bob Mosley, Don Stevenson, Jerry Miller, Peter Lewis) - 9:18
7. Grape Jam #3 (Bob Mosley, Don Stevenson, Jerry Miller, Peter Lewis, Joe Scott) - 9:10
8. Bags' O Groove (Milt Jackson) - 13:21 
Tracks 1-5 Recorded January 16 - February 13, 1968
Tracks 6-8 Spontaneous Studio Recordings, 1968

Moby Grape
*Peter Lewis - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Jerry Miller - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Bob Mosley - Bass, Vocals
*Skip Spence - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Don Stevenson - Drums, Vocals
With
*Fred Lipsius - Alto Saxophone
*David Rubinson - Drums
*Al Kooper - Piano
*Jerry Weiss - Trumpet
*Randy Brecker - Trumpet
*Mike Bloomfield - Piano
*Joe Scott - Piano

1966-69  Live (Sundazed digipak issue)
1967  Moby Grape - Moby Grape (2007 remaster)
1967-68  The Place And The Time (2009 Sundazed release)
1969  Wow (Sundazed Issue)
1969  Moby Grape - Moby Grape 69' (2007 remaster and expanded)
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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Various Artists - Bob Stanley And Pete Wiggs Present Three Day Week (1972-75 uk, excellent rock mosaic, 2019 compilation)



Britain wasn’t on its own in having a thoroughly miserable 1973: O Lucky Man! and Badlands both found a great year to premiere; Watergate brought America to a new low. But America didn’t still have back-to-backs and outside bogs. Tens of thousands of Britons were still housed in wartime pre-fabs. The bright new colours of the post-war Festival of Britain and Harold Wilson's talk in the 60s of the “white heat of technology” now seemed very distant as strikes, inflation, and food and oil shortages laid Britain low. What had gone wrong? And what did pop music have to say about it?

Many of the year’s biggest acts had set out on their particular journeys in the most idealistic years of the 60s (Yes, Genesis, the Moody Blues) and still held traces of that era’s promise. For acts such as Bowie and Roxy Music who had emerged in the new decade, one way out of the British malaise was to look into the future, embracing modernism and the space age beyond, a world of electric boots and mohair suits. Another was to draw heavily on the revered 50s, retreating to rock’s unsullied roots while remaining ostensibly current – Wizzard, Mott The Hoople and even the Rubettes managed to reshape the 50s to their own ends, much as Springsteen did in the States, although beyond them lay Showaddywaddy, Shakin’ Stevens, and a sickly nosedive into nostalgic yearning.

This left a small rump of acts diligently soundtracking Britain’s present, not with a wagging finger but a fuzzy guitar, a primitive synthesiser, and a pitch-black sense of humour. Quite often these records were cut in home studios – many featured the same basic synth (just the one) that Roxy’s Eno and Hawkwind’s DikMik used; the guitarists still played blues progressions picked up from the Stones; and they sometimes touched on glam – the era’s brightest, newest noise – found inspiration in its disposability and its energy, but didn’t have the luxury of a Chinn and Chapman or a Mickie Most to sprinkle fairy dust on their final mix. And outside the studio door were the strikes, the cuts, economic chaos, teenage wasteland – these musicians created music that, intentionally or not, echoed their surroundings. It wasn’t glam, but it emerged from what Robin Carmody has called “the glamour of defeat, the glory of obliteration”.

The songs on “Three Day Week” amplified the noise of a country still unable to forget the war, even as it watched the progressive post-war consensus disintegrating. We hear shrugs and cynicism, laughter through gritted teeth. Comparing it to the richness of records made just five or six years earlier, you might think musical instruments had been rationed, and that everyone has one eye on the clock, cutting corners to get the recording finished before the next power cut. You picture engineers in donkey jackets, with a brazier by the mixing desk. You hear odd electronic explosions, quacks and squiggles. The pub piano is predominant, with its brown ale, Blitz-spirit, grin-and-bear-it jollity. And under many of these tracks is a barely concealed frustration (sexualised on the Troggs’ ‘I’m On Fire’) and even anger (how else to read ‘Urban Guerrilla’, or the howling and the hand grenade at the end of Stud Leather’s ‘Cut Loose’?). Think of “Three Day Week” as an extended, musical Play For Today.

The Three Day Week itself – which only lasted eight weeks, but was the nadir of a four-year-long depression – had been a result of the Tory government’s limit on pay rises in October 1973 and the miners strike that followed. Back at the start of 1972 the miners had struck for higher pay and won, averting Prime Minister Edward Heath’s threat to introduce a three day week in manufacturing and industry to hold on to energy reserves. By late 1973, though, the miners had slipped from top of the industrial wages league to 18th. Amid strikes by civil servants, medical staff, railway and dock workers, the miners went on strike again. The Three Day Week proper lasted from New Year’s Day to 7 March 1974. TV shut down at 10:30. Power cuts and blackouts in homes across Britain meant the sales of candles and torches soared. Old soldiers tutted. The Army were on standby. And, nine months later, there was a spike in the birth rate.

For the younger generation, however, the Three Day Week is not remembered as a period of woe. Power cuts were fun! Who wouldn’t like the idea of a three day week? More time to play! It was also easy for kids to confuse pop culture and politics when the Prime Minister was Ted Heath and the leader of Britain’s biggest union, the TGWU, was Jack Jones. Even the TUC’s leader Vic Feather sounded like the bassist from a RAK act. There is also the folk memory of the period being a high-water mark for the power of trade unions, who seemingly always struck for higher pay and won, a dreamtime for many on the left. The second miners strike brought down the Tory government – what a time to be alive! Margaret Thatcher was only education secretary at this point, the hated “milk snatcher”, and no one had a crystal ball to see what the Tory reaction might be several years down the line.

The records on this collection were almost all released as 45s, sent to shops in cost-cutting plain white paper bags, and – thanks to the oil shortage caused by the Arab-Israeli conflict – pressed on thinner vinyl than you’d have had ten years earlier. On every level, they felt as if they were being recorded and released under wartime restrictions. Many of these tracks were B-sides, recorded in haste, with no commercial forethought or relevance to the A-side, because, as Peter Shelley recalls, “You’d made the wild assumption that no one would ever play it”.

Why did the music end up sounding this way? There had been a general sense of decline in Britain since the turn of the decade – not only in industry but in film, art, fashion, and in people’s expectations. You could trace its roots further back to 1968, when the collapse of the Ronan Point tower block in East London sounded a death knell for modernist dreams. Or to 1967, a year for which Swinging London has prevailed in popular memory over Cathy Come Home, but which should be remembered for the devaluation of the pound and the capital's nationalistic dock strikes as much as Alexandra Palace’s 14 Hour Technicolour Dream. By 1972, everything new – be it a brick wall or a terylene suit – was a shade of brown or orange, and the smell of sweat and odour-hugging man-made fabrics (not only clothes but carpets and curtains) was dominant. The worsted mills of Bradford and cotton mills of Manchester were fast disappearing, and the mix of wet wool, chimney smoke and boiled cabbage that Shena Mackay recalled being London’s olfactory default in the 60s had been replaced by weeks-old fag smoke, BO, and something plasticky you couldn’t put your finger on.

Few of the songs on “Three Day Week” are politically direct: the Edgar Broughton Band had been Ladbroke Grove rabble rousers at the tail end of the 60s, but their ambitions sound entirely blunted on the monochrome hopelessness of ‘Homes Fit For Heroes’; Phil Cordell’s ‘Londonderry’ is diffuse, but it was an odd place to single out for a song title in 1973; Pheon Bear appears to be losing the will to live even as he shouts himself hoarse on ‘War Against War’. The ambivalence of the Strawbs on ‘Part Of The Union’ – a #2 hit – is entirely in keeping with the pub humour and shrugging cynicism of the era. So there is a little agitation here, but there is plenty of gleeful irreverence. One more drink? What have we got to lose? The government’s on its knees and we might all be out of work tomorrow. Quick, somebody, get on the piano before the lights go out again.
by Bob Stanley
Artist - Tracks - Composer
1. The Brothers - Part Of The Union (John Ford, Richard Hudson) - 2:55
2. Small Wonder - Ordinary Boy (Mike Berry) - 2:55
3. Ricky Wilde - The Hertfordshire Rock (Peter Shelley, Ricky Wilde) - 2:47
4. The Kinks - When Work Is Over (Raymond Douglas Davies) - 2:06
5. The Sutherland Bros Band - Sailing (Gavin Sutherland) - 2:36
6. Adam Faith - In Your Life (Adam Faith, David Courtney) - 2:39
7. Phil Cordell - Londonderry (Phil Cordell) - 3:08
8. Stud Leather - Cut Loose (Roger Cook) - 3:02
9. The Troggs - I'm On Fire (Richard Moore) - 2:12
10.Mike McGear - Kill (Mike McGear) - 1:49
11.Lieutenant Pigeon - And The Fun Goes On (Nigel Fletcher, Rob Woodward) - 3:03
12.Mungo Jerry - Open Up (Ray Dorset) - 3:24
13.Matchbox - Rod (Paul Vigrass, Rod Lynton, Steve Brendell, Jack Oliver) - 2:12
14.Hawkwind - Urban Guerilla (Dave Brock, Robert Calvert) - 3:38
15.Edgar Broughton Band - Homes Fit For Heroes (Edgar Broughton) - 4:18
16.Bombadil - Breathless (Terry Bull) - 3:04
17.Robin Goodfellow - Why Am I Waiting (Robin Goodfellow) - 3:35
18.Cockney Rebel - What Ruthy Said (Steve Harley) - 2:29
19.Paul Brett - Clocks (Paul Brett) - 1:39
20.Climax Chicago - Mole On The Dole (Colin Cooper, Derek Holt, John Cuffley, Peter Haycock) - 5:01
21.Barracuda - I Feel So Down (Peter Shelley) - 2:39
22.Wigan's Ovation - Northern Soul Dancer (Alf Brooks, Jim McClusky, Pete Preston, Phil Preston) - 2:18
23.Stavely Makepeace - Don’t Ride A Paula Pillion (Nigel Fletcher, Rob Woodward) - 2:50
24.Pheon Bear - War Against War (Pheon Bear) - 3:02
25.Roly Pin (Ray Stiles, Roly Davis) - 3:55
26.David Essex - Stardust (David Essex) - 2:49

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Taste - I'll Remember (1969-71 ireland, spectacular blues rock, early recordings and unreleased material, 2015 four dic box set remaster)


 

At long last Rory Gallagher’s first band, Taste, in both its incarnations, gets its due in the form of the 57 track, nearly five hour long four disc box set “I’ll Remember.”  The first two discs contain the band’s two LPs, 1969s “Taste” and 1970s “On The Boards” each album being supplemented by bonus tracks.  Disc three contains live tracks from Sweden and London recorded just before the band called it a day in 1970.  Disc four contains recordings, studio and live, performed by Taste Mk. I, with Gallagher joined by bassist Eric Kitteringham and drummer Norman D’Amery, who were replaced by Richard McCracken and John Wilson.  Kudos to compiler Daniel Gallagher did a great job of representing Taste, Mk. I and Mk. II.

“I’ll Remember” opens with “Blister On The Moon” a re-recording of half of the original lineup’s unofficially released Major Minor label 1967 single.  The tune was joined by the rocking “Born On The Wrong Side Of Time” on the single and was likewise re-recorded for inclusion on “Taste” which was released in April, 1969.  “Blister” is a great vehicle for Gallagher’s guitar and has a hook ideal for AM radio, yet somehow was never officially released on 45.  In fact either of the tunes would have been a great a-side.  “Taste” is filled with blues rock tunes, a mixture of originals, covers and arrangements of traditional material with  Gallagher’s guitar dominant, such as his incredible slide work on “Leavin’ Blues.”  Two traditional songs arranged by Gallagher, “Sugar Mama” and “Catfish” give him a chance to stretch things out with run times of seven minutes or more each.  In addition to the album’s original nine tracks the disc contains six alternate versions as bonus tracks.  The LP showcases blues rock at its very best.

Disc two is built around the band’s second and final LP “On The Boards.”  Released on New Year’s Day, 1970, the album reflects the group’s musical growth.  The opening track “What’s Going On” is a hot little rocker, clocking in at just under three minutes and most definitely a radio friend number that would have been an ideal selection for a single.  With its second album Taste showed increased versatility with jazz influences apparent throughout, and Gallagher playing alto saxophone on two of the LP’s ten tracks including the breezy “It’s Happened Before, It’ll Happen Again” on which he begins playing guitar before switching to sax.  However, it is still Rory’s guitar that dominates the album, especially on scorching numbers like “Morning Sun” and the slide guitar driven “Eat My Words.”  The six minute title track showcases Taste’s versatility with Rory’s guitar quietly steering the band and the listener into the land of mellowness leading Gallagher to once again pick up the sax.  The album’s ten tracks are joined by six bonus tracks, including the audio from four performances on the “Beat Club” television show.  

Disc three opens with eight tracks recorded live at Konserthuset, Sweden in 1970.  Dominated by Gallagher’s guitar the set includes extended takes of tunes from both of the band’s albums as well as four non-LP tracks including the slide workouts “Gamblin’ Blues” and “Sinner Boy” and the blues drenched “At The Bottom” and “She’s Nineteen Years Old.”   The disc also features five tunes recorded by the BBC at the Paris Theatre in London beginning with an unbelievable take on “I’ll Remember” stretched out to double the length of the three minute studio version with Gallagher’s guitar leading the way from beginning to end. The 78 minutes on this disc are representative of Taste Mk. II’s incredible live sound. 

“I’ll Remember” closes with a disc of recordings by Taste Mk. I.  The first nine tracks on disc four, recorded in Belfast, are the oldest surviving studio recordings of the band.  Among the tracks are the original takes of “Blister On The Moon” and “Born On The Wrong Side Of Time” which, as previously mentioned, were released and then immediately withdrawn as a single on the Major Minor label.  The material is much more traditional blues oriented than that of Mk. II.  Standout tracks include the guitar workouts “Norman Invasion” and “How Many More Years.”  The final five tracks were recorded live at the Wobum Abbey Festival in 1968 and are evidence that Taste Mk. I could rock like hell live!  The band was so fresh that following their performance of Gershwin’s “Summertime” Gallagher is heard saying “thank you” more than a dozen times!  This is followed by a stunning take on “Blister On The Moon” featuring Rory at his heaviest.  Also included is an obviously Muddy Waters influenced version of “I Got My Brand On You.”  The set closes, quite appropriately, with a spirited medley of blues classics, “Rock Me Baby/Bye Bye Bird/Baby Please Don’t Go.”

The book style box set, designed by Phil Smee at Waldo’s Design and Dream Emporium, is rounded out by a 40 page full color booklet.  Complete track annotations are joined by a Nigel Williamson essay and tons of gorgeous photos.  Aside from the Isle Of Wight concert, issued separately, “I’ll Remember” is the last word on Rory Gallagher’s earliest work.  The sound, mastered by Paschal Byrne at the Audio Archives in London, is impeccable, even the early live recordings.  

The bottom line is that “I’ll Remember” was one of the very best reissue compilations of 2015 and is an absolute must for blues rock enthusiasts and serves as a wonderful document of Rory Gallagher’s first recordings.  I cannot recommend this set highly enough.  There is not a weak link among the collection’s 50-plus tracks.  Make sure you grab a copy of this incredible box set before it goes out of print.  It is absolutely essential!
by Kevin Rathert, 2016
Tracks
Disc 1
1. Blister On The Moon - 3:26
2. Leavin’ Blues (Huddie Ledbetter) - 4:15
3. Sugar Mama (Sonny Boy Williamson) - 7:14
4. Hail - 2:35
5. Born On The Wrong Side Of Time - 4:00
6. Dual Carriageway Pain - 3:13
7. Same Old Story - 3:32
8. Catfish (Traditional) - 8:04
9. I’m Moving On (Hank Snow) - 2:29
10.Blister On The Moon - 3:21
11.Leavin’ Blues (Huddie Ledbetter) - 4:31
12.Hail - 2:35
13.Dual Carriageway Pain - 3:13
14.Same Old Story - 3:26
15.Catfish (Traditional) - 6:55
All tracks by Rory Gallagher except as else written
Tracks 1-9 original "Taste" Lp released April 1969
Bonus Tracks 10-15 Alternate Versions 
Disc 2
1. What’s Going On - 2:44
2. Railway And Gun - 3:33
3. It’s Happened Before, It’ll Happen Again - 6:32
4. If The Day Was Any Longer - 2:07
5. Morning Sun - 2:38
6. Eat My Words - 3:45
7. On The Boards - 6:01
8. If I Don’t Sing I’ll Cry - 2:38
9. See Here - 3:04
10.I’ll Remember - 3:01
11.Railway And Gun - 4:26
12.See Here - 3:13
13.It’s Happened Before, It’ll Hapen Again - 10:52
14.If The Day Was Any Longer - 2:35
15.Morning Sun - 3:31
16.It’s Happened Before, It’ll Happen Again - 9:48
Music and Lyrics by Rory Gallagher except where stated
Tracks 1-10 original "On The Boards" LP released January 1970
Bonus tracks 11-016
Disc 3
1. What’s Going On - 6:14
2. Sugar Mama (Sonny Boy Williamson) - 6:48
3. Gamblin’ Blues (Melvin Jackson) - 6:41
4. Sinner Boy - 6:23
5. At The Bottom - 3:19
6. She’s Nineteen Years Old (Muddy Waters) - 3:57
7. Morning Sun - 4:18
8. Catfish (Traditional) - 6:33
9. I’ll Remember - 6:14
10.Railway And Gun - 4:58
11.Sugar Mama (Sonny Boy Williamson) - 7:19
12.Eat My Words - 9:21
13.Catfish (Traditional) - 5:27
All songs by Rory Gallagher except where indicated
Tracks 1-8 Live In Konserthuset Stockholm, Sweden 1970
Tarcks 9-13 BBC Live In Concert Paris Theatre, London 1970
Disc 4
1. Wee Wee Baby (Joe Turner) - 2:45
2. How Many More Years (Chester Burnett) - 3:24
3. Take It Easy Baby (Traditional) - 7:08
4. Pardon Me Mister - 2:44
5. You’ve Got To Pay - 3:55
6. Norman Invasion - 3:01
7. Worried Man - 2:30
8. Blister On The Moon - 3:25
9. Born On The Wrong Side Of Time - 3:15
10.Summertime (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward) - 1:31
11.Blister On The Moon - 3:36
12.I Got My Brand On You - 7:23
13.Medley: Rock Me Baby / Bye Bye Bird / Baby Please Don’t Go / You Shook Me Baby (Willie Dixon, Sonny Boy Williamson, Joe Williams) - 10:59
All compostitions by Rory Gallagher except where noted
Tracks 1-9 the early Belfast sessions
Tracks 10-13 Live At Woburn Abbey Festival, UK 1968

The Taste
*Rory Gallagher - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica, Alto Saxophone
*Eric Kitteringham - Bass
*Richard McCracken - Bass
*John Wilson - Drums
*Norman Damery - Drums

1970  Taste - On The Boards (Japan SHM edition)
1971  Rory Gallagher (Japan Mini Lp replica)
1971  Deuce (Japan Mini Lp replica)
1972  Live In Europe (2018 remaster)
1973  Blueprint (Japan Mini Lp replica)
1973  Tattoo (2012 promo copy)
1974  Irish Tour (2018 remaster)
1975  Against The Grain (2018 remaster)

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Rory Gallagher - Stage Struck (1980 ireland, great live hard classic blues rock, 2018 remaster with extra tracks)


The late Irish guitar legend Rory Gallagher released a few classic live albums in his career, and Stage Struck is certainly one of them. This one originally came out in 1980 and featured the definitive trio of Gallagher on guitar & vocals, Gerry McAvoy on bass, and drummer Ted McKenna. Eagle Rock has now unleashed this powerhouse live album to the masses once again, so if you missed any of the previous editions, don't hesitate to get your hands on it now.

Stage Struck basically showcases the trio in all their hard rock fury, celebrating such releases as Calling Card, Photo-Finish, and Top Priority. From top to bottom, it's nothing but scorching versions of classic tunes such as "Wayward Child", "Shinkicker", "Brute Force and Ignorance", "Moonchild", "Shadow Play", and many more. Rory's guitar is fed through a distorted Marshall stack for plenty of monstrous rock & blues licks, and he's just oozing emotion on the dramatic "Bad Penny" and bluesy "Keychain". Let's not forget what a great singer he was too, which you can hear perfectly on the upbeat rocker "Follow Me", a song that featured not only great guitar playing, but also a catchy hook as well.

Perfect through and through, Stage Struck is the perfect companion to Irish Tour and Live in Europe, three of the best guitar-led live albums you'll ever hear. If you are a longtime Rory Gallagher fan, you already know how great this album is, and if you are new to the late guitarist, then what are you waiting for, get your hands on this pronto!
by Pete Pardo
Tracks
1. Shin Kicker - 3:50
2. Wayward Child - 4:47
3. Brute Force And Ignorance - 4:13
4. Moonchild - 6:00
5. Hellcat - 4:38
6. Bad Penny - 6:38
7. Keychain - 5:01
8. Follow Me - 6:17
9. Bought And Sold - 4:38
10.The Last Of The Independants - 5:37
11.Shadow Play - 5:09
All songs by Rory Gallagher
Bonus Tracks 10-11

Personnel
*Rory Gallagher – Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
*Gerry McAvoy – Bass
*Ted McKenna – Drums

1971  Rory Gallagher (Japan Mini Lp replica)
1971  Deuce (Japan Mini Lp replica)
1972  Live In Europe (2018 remaster)
1973  Blueprint (Japan Mini Lp replica)
1973  Tattoo (2012 promo copy)
1974  Irish Tour (2018 remaster)
1975  Against The Grain (2018 remaster)

Monday, February 15, 2021

Rory Gallagher - Top Priority (1979 ireland, exceptional hard bluesy classic rock, 2018 xtra tracks remaster)


It was Rory Gallagher’s then label, Chrysalis Records, who inadvertently named his tenth album. Top Priority, the brisk follow-up to 1978’s well-received Photo-Finish, arrived on the back of a hugely successful US tour which resulted in positive press at home and abroad, provoking Chrysalis into revealing that their “top priority” was the release and promotion of the prolific Irish star’s next album. 

Though Gallagher chose the phrase as the record’s title to remind the company executives of their promise, Chrysalis had good reason to support him every inch of the way. They saw he was in fine shape creatively and, as Photo-Finish had already demonstrated, he had the resilience required to sidestep the post-punk era’s revolving door of fads and fashions. 

Gallagher had, however, made a few changes of his own. He reshuffled his band’s personnel prior to Photo-Finish, retaining longtime bass lieutenant Gerry McAvoy, but stripping the line-up back to a muscular power trio completed by ex-Sensational Alex Harvey Band drummer Ted McKenna. As he told North America’s Record Review in April 1980, he’d found this process reinvigorating.

“There’s something about a three-piece,” he mused. “You’re really back to the essentials, it’s very rhythmic and aggressive, and I like that. With keyboards, you’ve got extra texture and all that, but it cuts down the free-form style. I’m happier in a three-piece band.”

Gallagher’s team had recorded Photo-Finish at Dieter Dierks’ studio outside Cologne in Germany. They decided to return there for the Top Priority sessions as they enjoyed the complex’s relaxed, yet creative vibe. The record they emerged with, however, was every bit as urgent and compelling as its immediate predecessor. 

Top Priority opened with the anthemic, shape-throwing “Follow Me” and the tracklist was again long on exuberant rockers such as “Wayward Child,” the atmospheric, Southern rock-styled “Bad Penny” and the thrilling “At The Depot,” with the latter number affording Gallagher the opportunity to let rip with some truly imperious slide guitar.

Except for “Keychain” and the smoldering “Off The Handle,” the Cork man’s blues influences were less evident than usual, but several significant stylistic departures more than redressed the balance. To this end, the whole band performed with swagger to spare on the atypically funky, Hendrix-ian “Public Enemy No.1,” while the evocative, noir-flavored “Philby” found Gallagher drawing unlikely comparisons between the notorious double agent Kim Philby and his own restless rock’n’roll lifestyle. 

It was Rory Gallagher’s then label, Chrysalis Records, who inadvertently named his tenth album. Top Priority, the brisk follow-up to 1978’s well-received Photo-Finish, arrived on the back of a hugely successful US tour which resulted in positive press at home and abroad, provoking Chrysalis into revealing that their “top priority” was the release and promotion of the prolific Irish star’s next album.

Though Gallagher chose the phrase as the record’s title to remind the company executives of their promise, Chrysalis had good reason to support him every inch of the way. They saw he was in fine shape creatively and, as Photo-Finish had already demonstrated, he had the resilience required to sidestep the post-punk era’s revolving door of fads and fashions.

Gallagher had, however, made a few changes of his own. He reshuffled his band’s personnel prior to Photo-Finish, retaining longtime bass lieutenant Gerry McAvoy, but stripping the line-up back to a muscular power trio completed by ex-Sensational Alex Harvey Band drummer Ted McKenna. As he told North America’s Record Review in April 1980, he’d found this process reinvigorating.

“There’s something about a three-piece,” he mused. “You’re really back to the essentials, it’s very rhythmic and aggressive, and I like that. With keyboards, you’ve got extra texture and all that, but it cuts down the free-form style. I’m happier in a three-piece band.”

Gallagher’s team had recorded Photo-Finish at Dieter Dierks’ studio outside Cologne in Germany. They decided to return there for the Top Priority sessions as they enjoyed the complex’s relaxed, yet creative vibe. The record they emerged with, however, was every bit as urgent and compelling as its immediate predecessor.
“I just do my own thing, whatever it is”

Top Priority opened with the anthemic, shape-throwing “Follow Me” and the tracklist was again long on exuberant rockers such as “Wayward Child,” the atmospheric, Southern rock-styled “Bad Penny” and the thrilling “At The Depot,” with the latter number affording Gallagher the opportunity to let rip with some truly imperious slide guitar.

Except for “Keychain” and the smoldering “Off The Handle,” the Cork man’s blues influences were less evident than usual, but several significant stylistic departures more than redressed the balance. To this end, the whole band performed with swagger to spare on the atypically funky, Hendrix-ian “Public Enemy No.1,” while the evocative, noir-flavored “Philby” found Gallagher drawing unlikely comparisons between the notorious double agent Kim Philby and his own restless rock’n’roll lifestyle.

“I love that whole espionage thing,” he told Record Review. “I thought there were some parallels to the rock world. It’s a spy song and he’s the ultimate spy. I added the electric sitar to give it a slightly exotic feel and there’s some mandolin on it also. I hope to do more songs like that, using more unusual themes.” 

First released on September 16, 1979, Top Priority was quickly embraced by Rory Gallagher’s fiercely loyal fanbase and it soon found favor among the era’s more tuned-in critics, such as Creem’s Michael Davis, whose review sagely noted that “after a decade on the boards, he can still make blues-based material come alive”. Four decades on, that observation still holds true: the exhilarating Top Priority has barely aged a day. Indeed, its inherent freshness shows exactly why this singular performer was always right to follow his heart and eschew the industry’s continual turnover of trends.

“Well, I just go doing my own thing, whatever it is,” Gallagher said in 1980, illustrating this point. “I think it’s modern and valid and moves in its own way. The next thing you get is new wave and that’s not that different, it’s back to basics, which is where I’ve been all along. I think good rock’n’roll and blues are timeless – it’s not a fad.” 
by Tim Peacock, September 16, 2020
Tracks
1. Follow Me - 4:41
2. Philby - 3:51
3. Wayward Child - 3:31
4. Keychain - 4:09
5. At The Depot - 2:57
6. Bad Penny - 4:03
7. Just Hit Town - 3:37
8. Off The Handle - 5:37
9. Public Enemy No 1 - 3:46
10.Hell Cat - 4:50 -  
11.The Watcher - 5:48
All compositions by Rory Gallagher
Bonus Tracks 10-11

Musicians
*Rory Gallagher – Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
*Gerry McAvoy – Bass
*Ted McKenna – Drums

1971  Rory Gallagher (Japan Mini Lp replica)
1971  Deuce (Japan Mini Lp replica)
1972  Live In Europe (2018 remaster)
1973  Blueprint (Japan Mini Lp replica)
1973  Tattoo (2012 promo copy)
1974  Irish Tour (2018 remaster)
1975  Against The Grain (2018 remaster)

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Rory Gallagher - Photo-Finish (1978 ireland, stunning hard blues classic rock, 2018 bonus tracks remaster)


'Photo Finish' was so titled because the album was originally delivered to Chrysalis at the eleventh hour, just (and only just) making the deadline.Rory began recording the material for the album in San Francisco but on completion of those sessions he was unhappy with the results and decided to move the project to Germany. Meantime, Rory had written more songs and returned to the band line-up to a three piece, Ted McKenna on drums and Gerry McAvoy on bass.

Some of Rory's best work came from 'Photo Finish'. His "Fuel To The Fire" has some of the tightest harmonising guitars and echos of his earlier classic " A Million Miles Away".  "Shadow Play" starts with a pile-driving classic Gallagher guitar riff, this self doubting song gives us an insight to Rory's double life, on and off stage, poetically described in the line -'A little bit of Jekyll, a little bit of Hyde'.
by Donal Gallagher, London 1998
Tracks
1. Shin Kicker - 4:01
2. Brute Force And Ignorance - 4:15
3. Cruise On Out - 4:41
4. Cloak And Dagger - 5:19
5. Overnight Bag - 4:50
6. Shadow Play - 4:43
7. The Mississippi Sheiks - 5:59
8. The Last Of The Independents - 3:57
9. Fuel To The Fire - 6:20
10. Early Warning - 2:49
11. Juke Box Annie - 3:17
All songs composed by Rory Gallagher
Bonus tracks 10-11

Musicians
*Rory Gallagher - Guitar, Vocals, Mandolin, Harmonica
*Gerry McAvoy - Bass
*Ted McKenna - Drums

1971  Rory Gallagher (Japan Mini Lp replica)
1971  Deuce (Japan Mini Lp replica)
1972  Live In Europe (2018 remaster)
1973  Blueprint (Japan Mini Lp replica)
1973  Tattoo (2012 promo copy)
1974  Irish Tour (2018 remaster)
1975  Against The Grain (2018 remaster)