Friday, July 27, 2012

The Who - A Quick One (1966 uk, classic second album, japan SHM-CD double disc box remaster)

The Who weren't always a nostalgia act or merely makers of pleasant Broadway fodder. Their tough, early tracks are a key punk resource, so it hardly matters that they were forever doomed to third place behind the Beatles and the Rolling Stones in the British-pop sweepstakes. At best, the Who's raw power and intelligence offered essential messages to any era.

A Quick One is the second album by English rock band The Who, released in 1966. American record company executives at Decca Records released the album under the title Happy Jack, rather than the sexually suggestive title of the UK release, and due to "Happy Jack" being a top forty hit in the U.S. "Happy Jack" was not included on the UK version of the album, but instead was released as a non-album single. This is widely regarded by fans to have been a pivotal album for the group, due to the departure from the R&B / pop formula featured on the band's first release.

Part of the marketing push for the album was a requirement that each band member should write at least two of the songs on it (although Roger Daltrey only wrote one), so this Who album is the least dominated by Pete Townshend's writing. The album was also the band's first foray into the form of rock opera, with "A Quick One, While He's Away", the title track of the LP, a nine-minute suite of song snippets telling a story of infidelity and reconciliation. The Who would later go on to write and record the full scale rock operas Tommy and Quadrophenia.

The Who's second album is a less impressive outing than their debut, primarily because, at the urging of their managers, all four members penned original material (though Pete Townshend wrote more than anyone else). The pure adrenaline of My Generation also subsided somewhat as the band began to grapple with more complex melodic and lyrical themes, especially on the erratic mini-opera "A Quick One While He's Away". Still, there's some great madness on Keith Moon's instrumental "Cobwebs and Strange", and Townshend delivered some solid mod pop with "Run Run Run" and "So Sad About Us". John Entwistle was also revealed to be a writer of considerable talent (and a morbid bent) on "Whiskey Man" and "Boris the Spider".
by Adamus67
Disc 1   Mono 
1. Run Run Run - 2:31
2. Boris The Spider - 2:28
3. I Need You - 2:24
4. Whiskey Man - 2:56
5. Heat Wave - 1:55
6. Cobwebs And Strange - 2:29
7. Don't Look Away - 2:52
8. See My Way - 1:52
9. So Sad About Us - 3:01
10.A Quick One, While He's Away - 9:07
11.Substitute - 3:47
12.Circles - 2:28
13.I'm A Boy - 2:37
14.In The City - 2:22
15.Batman - 1:25
16.Bucket T - 2:08
17.Barbara Ann - 1:58
18.Disguises - 3:10
19.Happy Jack - 2:11
20.I've Been Away - 2:07
21.Substitute (US Single Version) - 2:57
22.I'm A Boy (Alternate Version) - 3:17
23.Batman (Instrumental) - 1:12
24.Happy Jack (Acoustic Version) - 2:52
25.Happy Jack (Alternate Mix) - 2:13

Disc 2 Stereo
1. Run Run Run - 2:43
2. Boris The Spider - 2:27
3. I Need You - 2:22
4. Whiskey Man - 2:56
5. Heat Wave - 1:53
6. Cobwebs And Strange - 2:29
7. Don't Look Away - 2:52
8. See My Way - 1:51
9. So Sad About Us - 2:58
10.A Quick One, While He's Away - 9:09
11.I'm A Boy - 2:36
12.In The City - 2:21
13.Batman - 1:34
14.Bucket T - 2:07
15.Barbara Ann - 1:57
16.Disguises - 3:19
17.I've Been Away - 2:07
18.Man With Money - 2:43
19.My Generation ~ Land Of Hope And Glory - 2:04
20.I'm A Boy (Alternate Version) - 3:43

The Who
*Roger Daltrey – Vocals, Trombone
*Pete Townshend – Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards
*John Entwistle – Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Horns, Vocals
*Keith Moon – Drums, Percussion, Vocals, Tuba

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

James Taylor - James Taylor (1968 us, an eye-opening mix between country, blues, and some antique folk styles)

James Taylor was the first artist to be signed to record on the Beatles' short-lived vanity Apple label. In late 1968, Taylor's sophisticated self-titled disc foreshadowed the introspective singer/songwriter genre that dominated pop music in the early and mid-'70s.

Although often touted as his debut, this release is chronologically Taylor's second studio outing. James Taylor and the Original Flying Machine -- an EP recorded a year earlier -- contains rudimentary versions of much of the same original material found here. The album is presented with two distinct sides. The first, in essence, presents a unified multi-song suite incorporating several distinctly Baroque-flavored links connecting the larger compositions. The second is a more traditional collection of individual tunes.

This unique juxtaposition highlights Taylor's highly personal and worldly lyrics within a multidimensional layer of surreal and otherwise ethereal instrumentation. According to Taylor, much of the album's subject matter draws upon personal experience. This is a doubled-edged blessing because the emphasis placed on the pseudo-blues "Knocking 'Round the Zoo" and the numerous other references made to Taylor's brief sojourn in a mental institution actually do a disservice to the absolutely breathtaking beauty inherent in every composition.

Several pieces debuted on this release would eventually be reworked by Taylor several years later. Among the notable inclusions are "Rainy Day Man," "Night Owl," "Something in the Way She Moves," and "Carolina in My Mind." Musically, Taylor's decidedly acoustic-based tunes are augmented by several familiar names. Among them are former King Bees member Joel "Bishop" O'Brien (drums) -- who had joined Taylor and Danny "Kootch" Kortchmar in the Original Flying Machine -- as well as Paul McCartney (bass), who lends support to the seminal version of "Carolina in My Mind."

The album's complex production efforts fell to Peter Asher -- formerly of Peter and Gordon and concurrent head of Apple Records A&R department. The absolute conviction that runs throughout this music takes the listener into its confidence and with equal measures of wit, candor, and sophistication, James Taylor created a minor masterpiece that is sadly eclipsed by his later more popular works.
by Lindsay Planer
1. Don't Talk Now - 2:36
2. Something's Wrong - 3:00
3. Knockin' Round the Zoo - 3:26
4. Sunshine Sunshine - 3:30
5. Taking It In - 3:01
6. Something in the Way She Moves - 2:26
7. Carolina in My Mind - 3:36
8. Brighten Your Night With My Day - 3:05
9. Night Owl - 3:38
10.Rainy Day Man (Taylor, Wiesner) - 3:00
11.Circle Round the Sun (Traditional arr. Taylor) - 3:24
12.Blues Is Just a Bad Dream - 3:42
13.Sunny Skies - 2:12
14.Let Me Ride - 3:57
15.Sunshine Sunshine (Demo) - 2:51
16.Carolina in My Mind (Demo) - 3:06
All songs by James Taylor unless otherwise noted.

*James Taylor - Guitar, Vocals
*Peter Asher - Percussion, Vocals
*Louis Cennamo - Bass
*George Harrison - Vocals
*Richard Hewson - Strings, Bassoon, Oboe
*Skaila Kanga - Harp
*Paul Mccartney - Fender Jazz Bass, Guitar, Vocals
*Bishop O'Brien - Drums, Percussion
*Freddie Redd - Keyboards
*Don Schinn - Keyboards
*Mick Wayne - Guitar

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Various Artists - Piccadilly Sunshine Part 3 (1967-70 uk, groovie psych pop)

Artists - Tracks
1. Grapefruit - Ain't It Good - 2:33
2. Sight And Sound - Little Jacky Monday - 2:15
3. J.A. Freedman - Dance With The Man In The Teapot - 2:29
4. Dukes Nobleman - Thank You For Your Loving - 3:00
5. Montanas - Hey Diddle Diddle - 2:23
6. Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera - Dreamy - 2:30
7. Spectrum - Samantha's Mine - 2:19
8. Vanity Park - Waiting For Nightfall - 2:32
9. Young Idea - Mr. Lovin' Luggage Man - 2:24
10.Dave Clark Five - Man In The Pinstripe Suit  - 1:51
11.Now - The Handle On The Clack Stands Still- 3:21
12.Keith Field - Stop! Thief - 2:10
13.Paul Jones - Come Into My Muisic Box - 2:39
14.Cupid's Inspiration - Look At Me - 2:16
15.Peanuts - Emily - 3:09
16.Shoes - What In The World - 2:47
17.Twinset - Sneakin' Up On You - 2:23
18.Wath Committee - Now I Think The Other Way - 2:00
19.John Bryant - She's In Need Of Love - 3:21
20.Tony River And The Castaways - Pantomime - 3:45
21.Denis Couldry And The Next Collection - I Am Nearly There - 3:16
22.Grapefruit - Come Down To The Station - 2:59
23.Martha Velez - Swamp Man  - 2:50
24.Keith Field - The Day That War Broke Out - 3:03
25. Hayden Wood - The Last One To Know - 2:29

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Steve Howe With Bodast - The Early Years (1969 uk, mod beat)

One of Steve Howe's several obscure pre-Yes projects, Bodast filled the gap between his stint in Tomorrow and his recruitment for Yes. Apart from Howe, the line-up consisted of Clive Skinner (vocals, guitar), Dave Curtis (vocals, bass), and Bobby Clarke (aka Woodman) (drums). 

Curtis and Clarke had previously played together in ex-Searcher Chris Curtis's short-lived group Roundabout, comprising the portion of the band that didn't end up in Deep Purple, and Clarke's history in rock 'n roll went back to playing in the house band (playing skiffle) at the legendary 2 I's coffee bar in Soho during the late 1950's, and subsequent gigs with Screaming Lord Sutch and Vince Taylor's band. Curtis's previous work had included recording backed by his own band, the Tremors. 

As a psychedelic-cum-progressive rock outfit, Bodast was a strange link between those skiffle and early rock 'n roll roots and early '70s art-rock. Bodast slogged around the underground circuit in 1968 and 1969, never releasing any official product; some interest on part of Deep Purple's label (Tetragrammaton) came to naught, and they seldom played live, although they spent lots of time writing and rehearsing original material. Howe actually turned down offers from the Nice and Jethro Tull out of loyalty to the group, but finally gave up after the Tetragrammaton deal failed to come through. 

They did record some unreleased material in 1969 with ex-Tomorrow vocalist Keith West producing. These tapes, eventually released in the 1980s, showed them to be an average band reflecting the transition of British underground rock from psychedelia to progressive rock; it's of interest mostly to Howe fans, and even then it isn't among his more notable work.
1.  Do You Remember  - 3:37
2.  Beyond Winter  - 2:53
3.  Once In A Lifetime  - 3:26
4.  Black Leather Gloves  - 3:17
5.  I Want You  - 3:20
6.  Tired Towers  - 3:06
7.  Mr. Jones  - 3:06
8.  1,000 Years  - 2:40
9.  Nether Street  - 3:00
10. Nothing To Cry For  - 4:06

The Bodast
*Steve Howe - Guitar
*Bobby Clarke - Drums
*Clive Skinner - Vocals, Guitar
*Dave Curtis - Vocals, Bass

Similar Act
1968  Tomorrow

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Iveys - Maybe Tomorrow (1969 uk, baroque psych pop, 2010 remaster)

The story is well-known: south Wales pop group, the Iveys, are discovered by the Beatles' aide-de-camp Mal Evans, who not only signs them to Apple Records but produces their first sessions. Their first single, the glorious Bee Gees-like ballad "Maybe Tomorrow," is released in November 1968, yet it unaccountably stiffs. Disheartened, Apple shelves the planned U.S./U.K. release of the Iveys' debut album, though it does eventually sneak out in Japan and Germany.

The group replaces bassist Ron Griffiths with Liverpudlian Joey Molland and, at label exec Neil Aspinall's suggestion, changes their name to Badfinger, swiped from Paul McCartney's working title for "With a Little Help From My Friends." (John Lennon wanted to call them "Prix," preferably with the final letter pronounced.) Despite their early success, Badfinger goes on to become probably the unluckiest and one of the most tragic bands in pop music history.

However, very few people have ever heard the Iveys' Maybe Tomorrow album; copies of the original Japanese and European pressings were hens-teeth rare, and even the 1992 CD reissue with bonus tracks was seemingly in print for about 35 seconds. This is a shame, because Maybe Tomorrow ranks with Badfinger's best; in some ways, it's actually preferable to Badfinger's albums, because the production (four tracks by Mal Evans, the rest by a then-unknown Tony Visconti) is much fresher and less precise than it would be on Badfinger's slicker later albums. (Even the six tracks that eventually ended up in remixed form on Badfinger's debut, Magic Christian Music, sound better here.)

Though the party line has always been that the Iveys sounded like the Beatles, in reality, these 12 tracks have much more in common with the minor-key mopery of the early Bee Gees, from the heartbreaking "Dear Angie" (Griffiths' only writing contribution, which ironically would show up again on the first Badfinger album after he was kicked out of the group) to the frankly rather silly music hall-style "They're Knocking Down Our Home," a Pete Ham exercise in maudlin sentimentality that makes "She's Leaving Home" look subtle, though it does feature a nice clarinet part. Mike Gibbins' Kinks-like "Think About the Good Times" is the album's undiscovered gem, though the Ham and Tom Evans co-write "Yesterday Ain't Coming Back," with its weird staccato reeds section and unexpectedly aggressive middle eight, complete with burping, frog-like bass vocals, is probably the best track.

Of the four bonus tracks, the extremely silly "Looking for My Baby," from the Iveys' 1967 Apple demo, and the Creation-like rocking flip of the "Maybe Tomorrow" single, "And Her Daddy's a Millionaire," are the best, with "No Escaping Your Love" and the previously unreleased "Mrs. Jones" there for completists' sake.
by Stewart Mason
1. See-Saw Granpa (Pete Ham) – 3:33
2. Beautiful And Blue (Tom Evans) – 2:38
3. Dear Angie  (Ron Griffiths) – 2:39
4. Think About The Good Times (Mike Gibbins) – 2:21
5. Yesterday Ain't Coming Back (Ham, Evans) 2:57
6. Fisherman  (Evans) – 3:09
7. Maybe Tomorrow (Evans) – 2:52
8. Sali Bloo (Ham) – 2:35
9. Angelique (Evans) – 2:26
10.I'm In Love (Ham) – 2:25
11.They're Knocking Down Our Home (Ham) – 3:41
12.I've Been Waiting (Ham) – 5:15
13.No Escaping Your Love (Evans) - 2:12
14.Mrs. Jones (Ham) - 2:15
15.And Her Daddy's A Millionaire (Ham, Evans) - 2:08
16.Looking For My Baby (Ham) - 2:08

*Pete Ham - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Tom Evans - Guitar, Vocals
*Ron Griffiths - Bass, Vocals
*Mike Gibbins - Drums, Vocals

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Badfinger - No Dice (1970 uk, marvelous power pop, 2010 remaster with xtra trax)

Badfinger's second album No Dice kicks off with "I Can't Take It," a rocker that signaled even if Badfinger still played pop and sang ballads, they considered themselves a rock band. What gave Badfinger character is they blended their desire to rock with their sensitive side instead of compartmentalizing. Even when they rock on No Dice, it's never earthy, like, say, the Stones. 

Badfinger's very sensibility and sound is modeled after the early British Invasion, where bands sang catchy, concise love songs. Yet there's a worldliness to their music absent from that of their forefathers, partially because Badfinger styled themselves as classicists, adapting the sound of their idols and striving to create a similar body of work. No Dice bears this out, boasting old-fashioned rockers, catchy pop tunes, and acoustic ballads. On the surface, there's nothing special about such a well-crafted, sharply produced, straight-ahead pop record, but the pleasure of a power pop album is in the craft. 

No Dice is not without flaws -- a byproduct of an all-writing, all-singing band is that some songs don't measure up -- but it does achieve the right balance of craft, fun, and emotion, due in no small part to Pete Ham's songwriting. Ham dominates the record, providing note-perfect openers and closers, along with the centerpiece singles "No Matter What" and "Without You," the latter a yearning, painful ballad co-written with Tom Evans. 

Collaborating with new guitarist Joey Molland, Evans wrote two other excellent songs ("I Don't Mind," "Better Days"), while Molland's own "Love Me Do" chugs along with nice momentum. Still, the heart of the album lies in Ham's work.. He proves that songcraft is what separates great power-pop from good, and it's what makes No Dice a superb pop record. 
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
1. I Can't Take It (Pete Ham) - 2:56
2. I Don't Mind (Tom Evans, Joey Molland) - 3:14
3. Love Me Do (Joey Molland) - 2:59
4. Midnight Caller (Pete Ham) - 2:49
5. No Matter What (Pete Ham) - 3:01
6. Without You (Pete Ham, Tom Evans) - 4:43
7. Blodwyn (Pete Ham) - 3:27
8. Better Days (Tom Evans, Joey Molland) - 4:00
9. It Had To Be Me (Mike Gibbins) - 2:28
10.Watford john (Tom Evans, Mike Gibbins, Pete Ham, Joey Molland) - 3:23
11.Believe Me (Tom Evans) - 3:00
12.We're For The Dark (Pete Ham) - 4:02
13.I Can't Take It (previously unreleased extended version) (Pete Ham) - 4:14
14.Without You (previously unreleased studio demo version-mono) (Pete Ham, Tom Evans) - 3:58
15.Photograph (AKA Friends Are Hard To Find) (previously unreleased version) (Joey Molland) - 3:25
16.Believe Me (previously unreleased alternate version) (Tom Evans) - 3:04
17.No Matter What (previously unreleased mono studio demo version) (Pete Ham) - 2:57

*Pete Ham - Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Tom Evans - Bass, Vocals
*Joey Molland - Guitar, Vocals
*Mike Gibbins - Drums

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Badfinger - Straight Up (1971 uk, power glam pop, 2010 bonus tracks remaster)

Straight Up winds up somewhat less dynamic than No Dice, largely because that record alternated its rockers, pop tunes, and ballads. Here, everything is at a similar level, as the ballads are made grander and the rockers have their melodic side emphasized. Consequently, the record sounds more unified than No Dice, which had a bit of a split personality.

Todd Rundgren's warm, detailed production makes each songwriter sound as if he was on the same page, although the bonus tracks -- revealing the abandoned original Geoff Emerick productions -- prove that the distinctive voices on No Dice were still present. Frankly, the increased production is for the best, since Badfinger sounds best when there's as much craft in the production as there is in the writing. Here, there's absolutely no filler and everybody is in top form.

Pete Ham's "Baby Blue" is textbook power-pop -- irresistibly catchy fuzz riffs and sighing melodies -- and with its Harrison-esque slide guitars, "Day After Day" is so gorgeous it practically aches. "Perfection" is an unheralded gem, while "Name of the Game" and "Take It All" are note-perfect pop ballads. Tom Evans isn't as prolific here, but the one-two punch of "Money" and "Flying" is the closest Straight Up gets to Abbey Road, and "It's Over" is a fine closer.

Still, what holds the record together is Joey Molland's emergence as a songwriter. His work on No Dice is enjoyable, but here, he comes into his own with a set of well-constructed songs. This fine songwriting, combined with sharp performances and exquisite studio craft, make Straight Up one of the cornerstones of power-pop, a record that proved that it was possible to make classic guitar-pop after its golden era had passed.
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
1. Take It All - 4:28
2. Baby Blue - 3:37
3. Money - 3:30
4. Flying - 2:36
5. I'd Die, Babe - 2:34
6. Name Of The Game - 5:21
7. Suitcase - 2:54
8. Sweet Tuesday Morning - 2:31
9. Day After Day - 3:11
10.Sometimes - 2:53
11.Perfection - 5:09
12.It's Over - 3:35
13.I'll Be The One (Bonus Track) - 2:54
14.Name Of The Game (Earlier Version) - 4:25
15.Baby Blue (US Single Mix) - 3:37
16.Baby Please (Previously Unissued Bonus Track) - 3:05
17.No Good At All (Previously Unissued Bonus Track) - 2:10
18.Sing For The Song (Previously Unissued Bonus Track) - 3:20

*Pete Ham - Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Tom Evans - Bass, Vocals
*Joey Molland - Guitar, Vocals
*Mike Gibbins - Drums
Guest Musicians
*George Harrison - Slide Guitar
*Leon Russell - Piano On
*Bobby Diebold - Bass
*Klaus Voorman - Electric Piano

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Badfinger - Magic Christian Music (1970 uk, psych pop rock, 2010 remaster and expanded)

1. Come And Get It (Paul McCartney) - 2:23
2. Crimson Ship (Pete Ham, Tom Evans) - 3:43
3. Dear Angie (Ron Griffiths) - 2:41
4. Fisherman (Tom Evans) - 2:26
5. Midnight Sun (Pete Ham) - 2:47
6. Beautiful and Blue (Tom Evans) - 2:41
7. Rock of All Ages (Pete Ham, Tom Evans, Mike Gibbins) - 3:18
8. Carry On Till Tomorrow (Pete Ham, Tom Evans) - 4:49
9. I'm In Love (Pete Ham) - 2:28
10.Walk Out In The Rain (Pete Ham) - 3:28
11.Angelique (Tom Evans) - 2:28
12.Knocking Down Our Home (Pete Ham) - 3:41
13.Give It a Try (Pete Ham, Tom Evans, Mike Gibbins, Ron Griffiths) - 2:32
14.Maybe Tomorrow (Tom Evans) - 3:01
15.And Her Daddy's A Millionaire (previously unreleased alternate version) (Pete Ham, Tom Evans) - 2:26
16.Mrs. Jones (remix) (Pete Ham) - 2:20
17.Sali Bloo (previously unreleased mono mix) (Pete Ham) - 2:46
18.See-Saw Granpa (previously unissued mono mix) (Pete Ham) - 3:34
19.I've Been Waiting (previously unreleased unedited remix) (Pete Ham) - 5:58

*Pete Ham - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Tom Evans - Guitar, Vocals, Bass  
*Ron Griffiths - Bass, Vocals
*Mike Gibbins - Drums, Vocals
*Paul McCartney – Piano, Percussion 
*Nicky Hopkins – Piano 
*Bill Collins – Piano 

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The Remains - The Remains (1966 us, stunning fuzzed-up garage roots 'n' roll, 2007 extra tracks remaster)

 Most 1960s garage rock obsessives collect singles rather than albums for a good reason: While plenty of snarling teenagers could come up with two decent songs at a stretch, a precious few seemed able to brainstorm a dozen tunes without reaching to the bottom of the barrel or resorting to covers of other people's hits. 

But there were exceptions to this rule, among them the Sonics, the Litter, and, especially, the Remains, who never enjoyed much success on the national charts but were fabled heroes in their home town of Boston. the Remains' 1966 album for Epic is a classic, packed with great songs from singer/guitarist Barry Tashian, bassist Vern Miller, and pianist Bill Briggs, and boasting exciting, fiery performances, and if the full firepower of their legendary live shows didn't always come through on tape, even the album's weakest moments made clear the Remains were tougher, smarter, and tighter than the vast majority of their competition. 

The Remains is mid-'60s American rock & roll at it's best, and you don't have to own any paisley clothing to enjoy it. [When Epic/Legacy reissued the album in 1991 (with the band's name augmented to Barry and the Remains), they added a handful of non-LP singles and unreleased tracks and gave the album a crisp digital remix, and against all odds, Epic actually improved a masterpiece. 

If the old analog version sounds harder and dirtier (a good thing for garage rock), the CD allows you to hear more of the details, and nearly every one of the 21 cuts on board is killer stuff (their cover of Don Covay's "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" shows them beating the Rolling Stones at their own game, and after you've heard "Don't Look Back," you'll always wonder why it wasn't a Top Ten hit)
by Mark Deming 
1. Heart (Georges Aber, Tony Hatch) - 2:36
2. Lonely Week-End (Charlie Rich) - 3:22
3. Don't Look Back (Billy Vera) - 2:38
4. Why Do I Cry (Barry Tashian) - 2:48
5. Diddy Wah Diddy (Ellas McDaniel, Willie Dixon) - 2:31
6. You Got A Hard Time Coming (Barry Tashian, Vern Miller) - 2:05
7. Once Before (Vern Miller, Chip Damiani) - 2:06
8. Thank You (Barry Tashian) - 3:13
9. Time Of Day (Barry Tashian) - 2:15
10.Say You're Sorry (Bill Briggs) - 2:16 
11.Mercy, Mercy (1966) (Don Covay) - 2:35
12.I Can't Get Away From You (Single A-side,1965) (Vern Miller) - 2:32
13.But I Ain't Got You (Single B-side,1965) (Vern Miller) - 2:07
14.Me Right Now (Single B-side,1966) (Barry Tashian) - 2:25
15.My Babe (Single B-side,1965) (Willie Dixon) - 2:05
16.I'm Talking About You (1965) (Chuck Berry) - 2:08
17.Ain't That Her (1965) (Barry Tashian) - 2:07
18.Baby, I Believe In You (1965) (Barry Tashian) - 2:32
19.When I Want To Know (1965) (Barry Tashian) - 2:07
20.All Good Things (1965) (Vern Miller) - 2:13
Tracks 1-10 Original album (Stereo) 1966
Bonus Tracks 11-20

The Remains
*Billy Briggs - Electric Piano, Vocals
*Chip Damiani - Drums, Vocals
*Vern Miller - Bass, Vocals
*N.D. Smart II - Drums, Vocals
*Barry Tashian - Guitar,Vocals

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Troggs - Archeology (1966-1976 uk, classic garage beat, double disc chronicles series)

A double-CD, 52-track box set that proves there was a lot more to The Troggs than "Wild Thing" and "Love Is All Around." This archetypally primitive British Invasion quartet scored many hits in the U.K. that barely dented the charts in the U.S., like "With A Girl Like You," "Night Of The Long Grass," and the notoriously racy "I Can't Control Myself." They're all here, along with notable album cuts, B-sides, and worldwide post-1968 flops. 

Primitive they may have been, but The Troggs -- who wrote most of their own material -- did not lack a flair for hard pop hooks, and could display a surprising delicacy in their ballads. Several of their obscure singles and album tracks are equal in worth to their hits, like the gothic but pretty "Cousin Jane," and the witty light psychedelia of "Maybe the Madman" and "Purple Shades." Some of the '70s hard rockers and glammish novelties are unimpressive, and 52 songs is arguably excessive. But there are a fair number of obscure gems to be found on this well-annotated package. 
by Richie Unterberger 
Disc 1
1. Lost Girl (Reg Presley) - 2:34
2. The Yella In Me (Reg Presley) - 2:42
3. Wild Thing (Chip Taylor) - 2:38
4. From Home (Reg Presley) - 2:21
5. With A Girl Like You (Reg Presley) - 2:10
6. I Want You (Colin Fretcher, Larry Page) - 2:19
7. Jingle Jangle (Reg Presley) - 2:31
8. Our Love Will Still Be There (Reg Presley) - 3:12
9. I Just Sing (Reg Presley) - 2:12
10.I Can't Control Myself (Reg Presley) - 3:07
11.Gonna Make You (Colin Fretcher, Larry Page) - 2:51
12.Any Way That You Want Me (Chip Taylor) - 2:59
13.66-5-4-3-2-1 (Reg Presley) - 2:37
14.Give It To Me (All Your Love) (Reg Presley) - 2:17
15.I Can Only Give You Everything (Mike Coulter, Tommy Scott) - 3:27
16.You Can't Beat It (Reg Presley) - 2:25
17.Last Summer (Reg Presley) - 2:58
18.I Want You To Come Into My Life (Reg Presley) - 2:27
19.Cousin Jane (David Matthews, Larry Page) - 2:28
20.Night Of The Long Grass (Reg Presley) - 3:10
21.Girl In Black (Colin Fretcher, Larry Page) - 2:04
22.Too Much Of A Good Thing (Terry Fogg, John St. John Gillard) - 2:50
23.Seventeen  (Reg Presley) - 2:42
24.Her Emotion (Reg Presley) - 2:32
25.My Lady (Reg Presley) - 3:01
26.All Of The Time (Reg Presley) - 2:11
27.Somewhere My Girl Is Waiting (Artie Wayne) - 2:50
Disc 2
1. Love Is All Around (Reg Presley) - 3:01
2. When Will The Rain Come (Ronnie Bond) - 2:43
3. Little Girl (Reg Presley) - 2:59
4. Maybe The Madman (Chris Britton) - 2:14
5. Surprise, Surprise (I Need You) (Reg Presley) - 2:50
6. You Can Cry If You Want To(Reg Presley) - 2:53
7. Hip Hip Hooray (John Carter, Geoff Stephens) - 2:19
8. Purple Shades (Reg Presley) - 2:26
9. Heads Or Tails (Chris Britton) - 3:44
10.Evil Woman (Larry Weiss) - 2:57
11.That's What You Get Girl (Reg Presley) - 2:02
12.I Don't Know Why (Reg Presley) - 2:53
13.Easy Loving (Valerie Avon, Harold Spiro) - 3:01
14.Lover (Chris Britton) - 2:28
15.Come Now (R. Bond, C. Britton, T. Murray, R. Presley) - 2:22
16.The Raver (Reg Presley) - 2:49
17.Everything's Funny (Chris Britton, Reg Presley) - 2:14
18.Feels Like A Woman (Reg Presley) - 3:34
19.Queen Of Sorrow (Richard Moore) - 2:43
20.Strange Movies (Reg Presley) - 2:57
21.I'm On Fire (Richard Moore) - 2:15
22.Good Vibrations (Mike Love, Brian Wilson) - 3:21
23.Summertime (Ronnie Bond, Tony Murray, Reg Presley) - 3:23
24.I'll Buy You An Island (Chris Britton, Reg Presley) - 3:12
25.Get You Tonight (Richard Moore) - 2:48

*Ronnie Bond -  Drums
*Chris Britton - Lead Guitar
*Reg Presley - Lead vocals
*Peter Staples - Bass

1966  The Troggs - From Nowhere (2003 bonus tracks) 
1967  The Troggs - Cellophane (2003 bonus tracks) 

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The Troggs - Cellophane (1967 uk, beat psych, 2003 Repertoire bonus tracks issue)

First released in 1967, this album really does invoke the spirit of the Swinging Sixties with it's soft-rock folk-psychedelic feel throughout. Featuring 'Love Is All Around', 'My Lady' and 'Little Red Donkey' and 12 bonus tracks (including both sides of solo singles from Trogg's drummer Ronnie Bond and leader Reg Presley!). 
1.Little Red Donkey - 2:13
2.Too Much Of A Good Thing - 2:47
3.Butterflies And Bees - 1:54
4.All Of The Time - 2:08
5.Seventeen - 2:38
6.Somewhere My Girl Is Waiting - 2:49
7.It's Showing - 2:54
8.Her Emotion - 2:28
9.When Will The Rain Come - 2:40
10.My Lady - 2:57
11.Come The Day - 1:52
12.Love Is All Around - 2:58
13.That's What You Get Girl - 1:59
14.I Don't Know Why - 2:50
15.Easy Loving - 2:58
16.Give Me Something - 3:25
17.Lover - 2:24
18.Come Now - 2:18
19.The Raver - 2:46
20.You - 2:32
21.Ronnie Bond - Carolyn - 2:31
22.Ronnie Bond - Anything For You - 2:35
23.Reg Presley - Lucinda Lee - 3:05
24.Reg Presley - Wichita Lineman - 3:05

The Troggs
*Ronnie Bond -  Drums
*Chris Britton - Lead Guitar
*Reg Presley - Lead vocals
*Peter Staples - Bass

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Friday, July 13, 2012

The Troggs - From Nowhere (1966 uk, classic garage beat, 2003 repertoire extra tracks edition)

The Troggs were one of the great singles artists of the 1960s with a string of classics that started with Wild Thing. They never really achieved the same level of success with their albums. This debut From Nowhere was their most successful long player reaching number 6 in the UK and remaining on the chart for sixteen weeks. It contains some of the early singles and b-sides as well as additional tracks. However, this CD has a different running order to the original UK release and is more similar to the German release. However, the Kitty Cat Song, Ride You Pony and Evil were all found on the UK and not the German releases.

Chip Taylor's Wild Thing was the Troggs' breakthrough. One of the most recognisable riffs in music it prompted a cover by Jimi Hendrix. Surely this is track is unique with its ocarina solo. The band's first single Lost Girl and its b-side The Yella in Me are included. Lost Girl was originally released on the CBS label before Larry Page gained the band a two-single Fontana deal. Listening to this track now it is hard to imagine why it was not a hit as it is certainly one of the most powerful with a driving bass riff and crazy guitar solo.

The driving drums and bass of I Just Sing make it one of the album's best tracks. It stands out from the known singles and shows the Troggs could stand outside the pop market and produce more unusual or innovative tracks. The Jaguar and the Thunderbird is sung by drummer Ronnie Bond. Guitarist Chris Britton delivers the vocals on the standard Ride Your Pony.

Your Love is reminiscent of the Kinks' All Day and All of the Night. Its chopping guitar chords pushing the song forwards.

A cover of the Kingmen's Louie Louie is perfectly suited to the Troggs' style. Ironically, the riff from Louie Louie translated well into Wild Thing!

One of the benefits of reissuing the album on CD is that it provides an opportunity to include additional tracks that were not on the original album such as non-album singles and b-sides like I Want You. With a Girl Like You was the follow-up to Wild Thing and the Troggs' only number one hit in the UK although Wild Thing hit the top spot in the US at the same time.

This was almost an afterthought, having been recorded in a few minutes at the end of the session that produced Wild Thing. The song introduces the classic Troggs backing vocals that later reappeared on the superb I Can't Control Myself. The latter track was also a big hit for the band and was released on Larry Page's Page One label. This song was banned in Australia and was close to being banned by the BBC because of its second line "your slacks are low and your hips are showing." The Troggs had become at producing raunchy songs, Wild Thing possibly an example, but Gonna Make You and the later Give It To Me proved the point.
1. Wild Thing (Chip Taylor) - 2:34
2. The Yella In Me (Reg Presley) - 2:38
3. I Just Sing (Reg Presley) - 2:09
4. Hi Hi Hazel (Bill Martin,Phil Coulter) - 2:43
5. Lost Girl (Reg Presley) - 2:31
6. The Jaguar And The Thunderbird (Chuck Berry) - 2:01
7. Your Love (Larry Page,Michael Julien) - 1:52
8. Our Love Will Still Be There (Reg Presley) - 3:08
9. Jingle Jangle (Reg Presley) - 2:26
10.When I'm With You (Reg Presley) - 2:23
11.From Home (Reg Presley) - 2:20
12.Louie Louie (Richard Berry) - 3:01
13.The Kitty Cat Song (Jimmy Roach,Joe Spendel) - 2:11
14.Ride Your Pony (Naomi Neville; Nom De Plume Of Allen R. Toussaint) - 2:24
15.Evil (Shelby S. Singleton Jr.) - 3:13
16.With A Girl Like You (Reg Presley) - 2:05
17.I Want You (Larry Page,Colin Frechter) - 2:13
18.I Can't Control Myself (Reg Presley) - 3:03
19.Gonna Make You (Larry Page,Colin Frechter) - 2:46
20.As I Ride By (Ronnie Bond) - 2:02

The Troggs
*Ronnie Bond -  Drums
*Chris Britton - Lead Guitar
*Reg Presley - Lead vocals
*Peter Staples - Bass

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Grateful Dead - Live/Dead (1969 us, classic west coast psych)

The Grateful Dead's fourth title was likewise their first extended concert recording. Spread over two LPs, Live/Dead (1969) finally was able to relay the intrinsic sonic magnificence of a Dead show in real time. Additionally, it unleashed several key entries into their repertoire, including the sidelong epic and Deadhead anthem"Dark Star" as well as wailing and otherwise electrified acidic covers of the Rev.

Gary Davis blues standard "Death Don't Have No Mercy" and the R&B rave-up "(Turn on Your) Lovelight." Finally, the conundrum of how to bring a lengthy performance experience to the listener has been solved. The album's four sides provided the palette from which to replicate the natural ebb and flow of a typical Dead set circa early 1969.

Tomes have been written about the profound impact of "Dark Star" on the Dead and their audience. It also became a cultural touchstone signifying that rock music was becoming increasingly experimental by casting aside the once-accepted demands of the short, self-contained pop song. This version was recorded on February 27, 1969, at the Fillmore West and is presented pretty much the way it went down at the show. The same is true of the seven remaining titles on Live/Dead.

The rousing rendition of "St. Stephen" reinvents the Aoxomoxoa (1968) prototype with rip-roaring thunder and an extended ending which slams into an instrumental rhythmic excursion titled "The Eleven" after the jam's tricky time signature. The second LP began with a marathon cover of "(Turn on Your) Lovelight," which had significant success for both Bobby "Blue" Bland and Gene Chandler earlier in the decade.

With Ron "Pigpen" McKernan at the throttle, the Dead barrel their way through the work, reproportioning and appointing it with fiery solos from Garcia and lead vocal raps courtesy of McKernan. "Death Don't Have No Mercy" is a languid noir interpretation of Rev. Gary Davis' distinct Piedmont blues. Garcia's fretwork smolders as his solos sear through the melody. Likewise notable is the criminally underrated keyboard work of Tom Constanten, whose airy counterpoint rises like a departing spirit from within the soul of the song.

The final pairing of "Feedback" -- which is what is sounds like it might be -- with the "lowering down" funeral dirge "And We Bid You Goodnight" is true to the way that the band concluded a majority of their performances circa 1968-1969. They all join in on an a cappella derivative of Joseph Spence and the Pinder Family's traditional Bahamian distillation. Few recordings have ever represented the essence of an artist in performance as faithfully as Live/Dead.

It has become an aural snapshot of this zenith in The Grateful Dead's 30-year evolution and as such is highly recommended for all manner of enthusiasts. The 2001 remastered edition that was included in the Golden Road (1965-1973) (2001) box set tacks on the 45 rpm studio version of "Dark Star" as well as a vintage radio advert for the album.
by Lindsay Planer
1. Dark Star (J. Garcia, M. Hart, R. Hunter, B. Kreutzmann, P. Lesh, R. "Pigpen" McKernan, B. Weir) - 23:15
2. St. Stephen (Jerry Garcia, Robert Hunter, Phil Lesh) - 6:45
3. The Eleven (Robert Hunter, Phil Lesh) - 9:39
4. Turn on Your Love Light (Deadric Malone, Joseph Scott) - 15:30
5. Death Don't Have No Mercy (Rev. Gary Davis) - 10:30
6. Feedback (Grateful Dead) - 8:52
7. And We Bid You Goodnight (Traditional) - 0:36

Grateful Dead
*Tom Constanten - Keyboards
*Jerry Garcia - Guitar, Vocals
*Mickey Hart - Drums, Percussion
*Bill Kreutzmann - Drums, Percussion
*Phil Lesh - Bass, Vocals
*Ron "Pigpen" McKernan - Keyboards, Vocals
*Bob Weir - Guitar, Vocals
*Robert Hunter - Lyrics

Grateful Dead - Skull and Roses 1971 (Original Double Vinyl release)

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Eric Burdon And The Animals - The Twain Shall Meet (1968 uk, amazing psychedelic rock, 2003 digi pack bonus tracks issue and 2013 japan SHM remaster)

Repertoire REPUK 1022 (2004) Again, Repertoire has done an excellent job with their remaster and restoration of this classic psychedelic-era Animals collection. The sound is bright and punchy without being excessively heavy and loud - you'll want to play this one!

This second true step into the psychodelic explorations of Eric Burdon and the Animals (the first being Winds Of Change) is indeed a "strange trip" which wanders through topical tunes, blues, rock, and some radio hits. Songs like "Closer To The Truth" one could definitely call `head music' and is reflective of much of the music of the time (such as that of the Airplane). There are also roaming instrumentals like "We Love You Lil" which serve as links that connect the album together. "Sky Pilot" is by far the staple of the album. This tune became hugely popular with and still holds a special place for soldiers who experienced Vietnam first hand. Eric and his Animals had already become quite popular with those serving in Vietnam with earlier tunes such as "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place," and hearing "Sky Pilot" again clearly brings back a certain sentiment. The truly psychedelic and iconic "All Is One" nicely wraps up the original album and conveys Eric's peace-and-brotherhood mood during this stage of his career - and life. The bonus tracks are also a nice addition and round out the CD.

As many Animals' fans know, their recordings in the post-Mickie Most production era suffered from poor production values and often were very poorly engineered. One of the best features of this remaster is that much of the poor quality of the original tapes has been overcome. Of particular note is the classic mentioned above, "Sky Pilot." Fans will surely remember the generally poor sound quality of the original recording - particularly in Eric's intro vocal - with no real improvement on subsequent re-issues. Here, the song lives again and has been restored about as well as I believe it can be. (Gone, however, is that original tremolo/echo effect from Eric's vocal on the line, "How high can you fly?"). The quality of the sound holds throughout this CD remaster.
(A note for the purists and collectors out there: the single versions of "Sky Pilot" included as bonus tracks are not the US versions. The A and B side versions included in this package are 4:22 and 3:02, respectively. The US versions are 2:55 and 4:30, respectively).

On the whole, this album is indeed a "strange trip" through the blues-meets-psychodelia brand of music that occurred during the late sixties, and the style and energy of this disc clearly capture the period. While the two tunes not principally sung by Eric Burdon do not contribute much to the overall collection, they do help maintain the continuity and mood. Taking the whole package into consideration, I would give this remaster `two thumbs up' and would definitely recommend it - particularly to fans of the later stage of the Animals.
by Adamus67

1. Monterey 4:40
2. Just the Thought 3:51
3. Closer to the Truth 4:35
4. No Self Pity 4:55
5. Orange and Red Beams 3:46
6. Sky Pilot 7:23
7. We Love You Lil 6:45
8. All Is One 7:37
Bonus Tracks (Singles Versions)
9. Sky Pilot, Part 1 4:22
10.Sky Pilot, Part 2 3:02
11.Monterey 4:25
12.Anything 2:52
13.It's All Meat 2:09

*Eric Burdon - Vocals
*John Weider - Guitar, Violin
*Vic Briggs - Guitar
*Danny McCulloch - Bass, Vocals
*Barry Jenkins - Drums

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

American Blues - Is Here (1968 us, psych blues rock with pre ZZ Top members, Akarma edition)

American Blues is perhaps better known for its members than the music itself.... American Blues were a 1960s Texas-based garage band who played a psychedelic style of blues rock music influenced by the 13th Floor Elevators.

They are most famous for including two future members of the band ZZ Top in their ranks, ZZ Top and Frank Beard. From 1966 to 1968, they played the Dallas-Fort Worth-Houston circuit and headlined in three clubs all called "The Cellar", in Dallas at clubs such as "The Walrus" on Mockingbird Lane, and in Houston at "Love Street Light Circus Feel Good Machine" on Allen's Landing, as late as 1968. Around 1968 the band (the two Hill brothers and Beard) decided to leave the Dallas--Fort Worth area, relocating to Houston. At this time, however, guitarist Rocky Hill wanted to focus on "straight blues", while his brother Dusty wanted the band to rock more. Rocky left the band, and was soon replaced by Billy Gibbons, of Houston psychedelic-rockers Moving Sidewalks, becoming the band ZZ Top.

As teenagers living in Dallas, Texas, brothers Dusty (guitar) and Rocky (bass) Hill played in a series of local bands, including The Starliners and The Deadbeaters. Their efforts attracted little notice until they formed The Warlocks, who managed to release a pair of unsuccessful local singles. By 1968 the lineup had expanded to include former Cellar Dweller drummer Frank Beard and keyboard player Dough Davis. Simultaneously, the band decided The Warlocks had run their course. Opting for a new name (The American Blues) and a new sound, the group was signed by the local Karma label.

Recorded at Robin Hood Brian's Studio, the quartet's 1968 debut "The American Blues Is Here" teamed them with producer Scotty McKay. Rather raw and ill-focused, the album found the band fumbling around for a style. Taking stabs at a variety of genres, including blues (check-out the weird reworking of Tim Harden's "If I Were a Carpenter"), psych and hard rock, the results weren't particularly ground breaking. Needless to say, sales proved non-existent, though the album attracted the attention of major label MCA.
by Adamus67
1. If I Were A Carpenter - 5:26
2. All I Saw Was You - 3:46
3. She'll Be Mine - 1:51
4. Fugue For Lady Cheriff- 2:14
5. It's Gone- 2:00
6. Keep My Heart In A Rage - 2:40
7. Mercury Blues - 4:15
8. Melted Like Snow - 3:15
9. Mellow - 2:08

The American Blues
*Dusty Hill - Bass
*Frank Beard - Drums
*Rocky Hill - Guitar, Vocals
*Doug Davis - Keyboards

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Eric Burdon And The Animals - Winds of Change (1967 uk, great psych rock, 2003 extra tracks issue and 2013 japan SHM double disc remaster)

Everything changes , nothings changed'....Eric Burdon former lead singer of 'The Animals '. A five piece r'n'b band from Newcastle . The group hit the big time with a cover of 'House of The Rising Sun', produced by Mickie Most. Other big hit's followed such as 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood' and my personal fave 'We Got to Get out of this Place'. The Animals toured the US in 1964 as part of the British R'nB/Pop invasion .

A year later the group had split in two , boozers on one side , facing opposite Burdon and guitarist Hilton Valentine , Valentine first dropped acid with Brian Jones in New York. Soon after he introduced Burdon to LSD. The tension's in the group led to a split .. 1966. Burdon relocates to California .Putting together the 'new' Animals......'Winds of Change is the debut album. The title track is anchored by a fluid bass line with a repetitive violin and sitar on top . The song pays homage to musical icons past and present Robert Johnson to Jimi Hendrix circa 1967 .

I'm guessing Hendrix had blown 'em away at Monterey by then. Track two 'Poem By The Sea', the album's pivotal track , Burdon recites poetry over music drenched in echo and reverb. Very trippy . 'Paint it Black' is a great cover Burdon's r'nb roots are all over this one. 'The Black Plague' epic poem based on the Black Death , the story revolves round castle dwellers too scared to venture outside the walls, end up starving to death. ...'Yes I'm Experienced' is an affirmative reply to Hendrix. 'San Franciscan Nights' and 'Good Times' are two slices of timeless sixties pop psych.. 'Winds of Change' is a pretty good album .....All songs written by Eric Burdon, Vic Briggs, John Weider, Barry Jenkins, and Danny McCulloch. Produced by: Tom Wilson.
Reached #42 in US charts (released in UK in Oct'67 - did not chart).

While the two MGM LP commercial releases in the USA (SE-4484 and E-4484) and MGM's Special Disk Jockey USA version (also carrying the catalogue number E-4484) featured gatefold covers with inner notes by Eric Burdon, Kojak's copy of this LP is numbered SE-4484 and has "manufactured and distributed in Australia under licenece" printed on the back of the album sleave.

The New Animals: The new world different from the old with new jewels to be consumed, new frontiers to be won, and much more love to be given. The recognition of pain and ecstasy to know that they are both there in the pit of my stomach, and can be turned on or off as easily as a stereo colour TV set. I love you all, and want you to gain something from these new sounds as I gain from listening to my saints in past years. If you feel alone and confused and unhappy discontented, just know that I (and there are many like me) love you, and maybe you will know why I am happy contented and unconfused. The games I play are mostly games of children (not all) happy games, games of love, games of mystery, games of wonder, please excuse my games of fear and jealousy, I'm only human after all and still a student of life. Maybe the next production will be all games of love, but by then I could be in another world ... (from the front cover of the album).
by Adamus67
01. Winds of Change 3:59
02. Poem by the Sea 2:15
03. Paint It Black 5:56
04. The Black Plague 5:55
05. Yes I Am Experienced 3:36
06. San Franciscan Nights 3:16
07. Man-Woman 6:02
08. Hotel Hell 4:12
09. Good Times 2:57
10. Anything 3:19
11. It's All Meat 2:00
Bonus Tracks
12. Good Times (Mono Single Version) 2:57
13. Ain't That So (Single B-Side, UK) 3:24
14. San Francisco Nights (Mono Single Version) 3:16
15. Gratefully Dead (Single B-Side, UK) 3:59
Tha Animals
*Danny McCulloch - Bass
*Barry Jenkins - Drums
*Vic Briggs - Guitar, Piano, Vibes
*John Weider - Guitar, Violin
*Eric Burdon - Vocals

1964-67  The Animals - The Complete French EP
1967  Eric Is Here
1968  The Twain Shall Meet (2013 japan SHM double disc remaster)
1966-68  Roadrunners! Rare Live And Studio Recordings

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Eric Burdon And The Animals - Eric Is Here (1967 uk, classic psych blues rock)

This album made during the transition between the original Animals and the new line-up, the title of Eric Burdon & the Animals is sort of a misnomer. For the most part, the songs were Eric Burdon backed by the Horace Ott Orchestra, to add to the general confusion surrounding this material, some of it seems to have been recorded with the original Animals, or at sessions conducted while they were still together.

The reason Ott was on Eric is Here is that it was released during a gap between the time the original configuration of The Animals broke up and a new one could be put together, hence the stand-in band. It doesn't sound much like either version of the Animals and it is certainly not representative of their image. It does however demonstrate Burdon's vocal range and expression. The opening "In the Night" may be the best song but "Help Me Girl" was actually a top 40 hit in the U.S. In a way most of the songs remind me of several soundtracks from movies made in the sixties. Eric's voice singing orchestrated pop songs this isn't really that bad of an album in a novel sort of way,songs are jazzy, orchestrated pop that contains influence from the Beach Boys primarily Pet Sounds. It also has a soul/ Motown feel to it with a touch of Otis Redding and country Jerry Lee Lewis. Eric's vocals are very impassioned and he sings with conviction in interepting these songs like Billie Holiday (one of his idols) and Frank Sinatra.

Eric is Here (LP) USA 1967 - MGM Records Issued in stereo (SE-4433) and mono (E-4433) versions with minor variation to wording on LP covers. The recordings on this album are credited to Eric Burdon & The Animals. The Animals had however already disintegrated and the new line up (to be known as Eric Burdon & The Animals) had not yet been put together. The tracks were recorded by Eric Burdon with Barry Jenkins on drums and various studio musicians before Weider, Briggs and McCulloch were recruited.

Produced by Tom Wilson. Reached #121 on US charts. Re-relesed in CD format in USA (One Way Records OW31376). The album features the work of various very serious songwriting talent of the day, with Burdon on vocals backed up by the orchestra.
1. In the Night (Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart)
2. Mama Told Me Not To Come (Randy Newman)
3. I Think It's Gonna Rain Today (Randy Newman)
4. On This Side of Goodbye (Carole King, Gerry Goffin)
5. That Ain't Where It's At (Martin Siegel)
6. True Love (Comes Only Once In A Lifetime) (Bob Haley, Neval Nader)
7. Help Me Girl (Scott English, Lawrence Weiss)
8. Wait Till Next Year (Randy Newman)
9. Losin' Control (Carl D'Errico, Roger Atkins)
10.It's Not Easy (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil)
11.The Biggest Bundle of Them All (Richie Cordell, Sal Trimachi)
12.It's Been A Long Time Comin' (Joe Brooks, Jimmy Radcliffe)

The Kinks - Present Schoolboys In Disgrace (1976 uk, smart brit rock, 2004 SACD)

If one were to simplify the old guard of British rock & roll by drawing a straight line, left to right, between the angelic Beatles and the demonic Rolling Stones, one would probably place the Who slightly to the left of the Stones and the Kinks a couple of notches to the right of the Beatles but well to the left of Townshend and Company. Ray Davies may display a full share of Dionysian darkness and disorder at times, but his craziness is usually admirable and engaging, and the Kinks, if idiosyncratic, are essentially lovable.

Perhaps never more so than on Schoolboys in Disgrace, probably their best LP since Everybody's in Showbiz and a welcome relief from the ambitious but tired Preservation Act opus. Since Davies seems curiously committed to the concept album (the disappointing Soap Opera was the last), the least one can ask is that he pull it off without having to shore up his exposition by using aesthetically weak material. Schoolboys is a bit thin in spots — "Education" sounds like longwinded filler; "No More Looking Back" is no "Waterloo Sunset" — but it boasts at least one major song ("Headmaster") and several highly enjoyable minor ones, many of them composed and performed in delightful full-throttle, neo-Fifties and Sixties rock & roll styles. The story, according to a red-herring liner note, recounts the formative years of Mr. Flash of Preservation Act fame, ostensibly letting us in on why he became such "a hard and bitter character ... [who] in future ... would always get what he wanted." In actuality, most of the record is lovingly, even sentimentally, nostalgic ("Schooldays were the happiest days of your life/ ... And I'd go back if I could only find a way") and even the bad times don't seem to have left any permanent damage.

The bad times include a (possibly) blameless romantic misadventure with a ravishing Lolita ("It wasn't lust, it wasn't rape/It was just a mistake") and a traumatic caning by the cruel headmaster. "I'm in Disgrace" is a terrific rock & roll song about erotic confusion and shame, and the musically wonderful "Headmaster" rises to true desperation with its final sexual imagery of cane and bare ass: "Don't tell all my friends I bent over/ ... Don't make me take my trousers down." After the beating, however, Schoolboys reverts quickly to its basic comic structure, reestablishing the tone which has been set by such sunny parodies as "Jack the Idiot Dunce" and "The First Time We Fall in Love." Vocally, Davies sounds like he's putting on even the Band in parts of "Schooldays" and "The Last Assembly."

Because it does not really try very hard to hit a seriocomic home run, Schoolboys in Disgrace isn't one of the Kinks' great albums. But the fact that its limited intentions are often exceeded by the sheer talent of its creators happily proves that this band from Muswell Hill is still a vital force in contemporary rock & roll.
by Paul Nelson, March 11, 1976
1. Schooldays - 3:31
2. Jack The Idiot Dunce - 3:19
3. Education - 7:07
4. The First Time We Fall In Love - 4:01
5. I'm In Disgrace - 3:21
6. Headmaster - 4:03
7. The Hard Way - 2:35
8. The Last Assembly - 2:45
9. No More Looking Back - 4:27
10.Finale - 1:02
All songs by Ray Davies

The Kinks
*Ray Davies - Vocals, Guitar, Piano
*Dave Davies - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Mick Avory - Drums
*John Dalton - Bass Guitar
*John Gosling - Keyboards
*John Beecham - Trombone
*Alan Holmes - Saxophones
*Nick Newell - Tenor Saxophone
*Pamela Travis - Background Vocals
*Debbie Doss - Background Vocals
*Shirley Roden - Background Vocals