Thursday, February 28, 2013

Jack Bruce - Songs For A Tailor (1969 uk, great prog blues rock, expanded edition)

With a live version of "Crossroads" going Top 30 for Cream, Songs for a Tailor was released in 1969, showing many more sides of Jack Bruce. George Harrison (again using his L'Angelo Misterioso moniker) appears on the first track, "Never Tell Your Mother She's Out of Tune," though his guitar is not as prominent as the performance on "Badge."

The song is bass heavy with Colosseum members Dick Heckstall-Smith and Jon Hiseman providing a different flavor to what Bruce fans had become accustomed to. Hiseman drums on eight of the ten compositions, including "Theme From an Imaginary Western," the second track, and Jack Bruce's greatest hit that never charted. With "just" Chris Spedding on guitar and Jon Hiseman on drums, Bruce paints a masterpiece performing the bass, piano, organ, and vocals. The song is so significant it was covered by Mountain, Colosseum, and a Colosseum spin-off, Greenslade.

One has to keep in mind that the influential Blind Faith album was being recorded this same year (and according to the late Jimmy Miller, producer of that disc, Jack Bruce filled in for Rick Grech on some of the Blind Faith material). Bruce's omnipresence on the charts and in the studio gives the diversity on Songs for a Tailor that much more intrigue. "Tickets to Water Falls" and "Weird of Hermiston" feature the Hiseman/Spedding/Bruce trio, and though the wild abandon of Ginger Baker is replaced by Hiseman's jazz undercurrents, these are still basically two- to three-and-a-half-minute songs, not as extended as the material on Bruce's work on his John McLaughlin/Heckstall-Smith/Hiseman disc Things We Like recorded a year before this, but released two years after Songs for a Tailor in 1971. The history is important because this album is one of the most unique fusions of jazz with pop and contains less emphasis on the blues, a genre so essential to Bruce's career.

Indeed, "Theme From an Imaginary Western" is total pop. It is to Jack Bruce what "Midnight Rider" is to Greg Allman, a real defining moment. "Rope Ladder to the Moon" has that refreshing sparkle found on "Tickets to Water Falls" and "Weird of Hermiston," but Bruce has only John Marshall on drums and producer Felix Pappalardi adding some vocals while he provides cellos, vocals, guitar, piano, and bass. Side two goes back to the thick progressive sound of the first track on side one, and has a lot in common with another important album from this year, Janis Joplin's I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!

Jack Bruce and Janis Joplin were two of the most familiar superstar voices on radio performing hard blues-pop. Joplin added horns to augment her expression the same time Jack Bruce was mixing saxes and trumpets to three tracks of this jazz/pop exploration. "He the Richmond" deviates from that, throwing a curve with Bruce on acoustic guitar, Pappalardi on percussion, and Marshall slipping in again on drums. But the short one minute and 44 second "Boston Ball Game, 1967" proves the point about the pop/jazz fusion succinctly and is a nice little burst of creativity.

 "To Isengard" has Chris Spedding, Felix Pappalardi, and Jack Bruce on acoustic guitars, a dreamy folk tune until Hiseman's drums kick in on some freeform journey, Spedding's guitar sounding more like the group Roxy Music, which he would eventually join as a sideman, over the total jazz of the bass and drums. "The Clearout" has Spedding, Hiseman, and Bruce end the album with progressive pop slightly different from the other recordings here. As with 1971's Harmony Row, Peter Brown composed all the lyrics on Songs for a Tailor with Jack Bruce writing the music. A lyric sheet is enclosed and displays the serious nature of this project. It is picture perfect in construction, performance, and presentation.
by Joe Viglione
1. Never Tell Your Mother She's Out Of Tune - 3:41
2. Theme For An Imaginary Western - 3:30
3. Tickets To Water Falls - 3:00
4. Weird Of Hermiston - 2:24
5. Rope Ladder To The Moon - 2:54
6. The Ministry Of Bag - 2:49
7. He The Richmond - 3:36
8. Boston Ball Game 1967 - 1:45
9. To Isengard - 5:28
10.The Clearout - 2:35
11.The Ministry Of Bag (Demo Version) - 3:47
12.Weird Of Hermiston (Alternate Mix) - 2:33
13.The Clearout (Alternate Mix) - 3:02
14.The Ministry Of Bag (Alternate Mix) - 2:54
All Lyrics written by Peter Brown, Music by Jack Bruce

*Harry Beckett - Trumpet
*Jack Bruce - Organ, Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Cello, Vocals
*Dick Heckstall-Smith - Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
*Jon Hiseman - Drums
*Henry Lowther - Trumpet
*John Marshall - Drums
*George Harrison - Guitar
*John Mumford - Trombone
*Felix Pappalardi - Percussion, Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
*Chris Spedding - Electric Guitar
*Art Themen - Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone

1971  Jack Bruce - Harmony Row
1967  Cream - Disraeli Gears

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Who - Who's Next (1971 uk, masterpiece, double disc japan SHM deluxe edition)

Much of Who's Next derives from Lifehouse, an ambitious sci-fi rock opera Pete Townshend abandoned after suffering a nervous breakdown, caused in part from working on the sequel to Tommy. 

There's no discernable theme behind these songs, yet this album is stronger than Tommy, falling just behind Who Sell Out as the finest record the Who ever cut. Townshend developed an infatuation with synthesizers during the recording of the album, and they're all over this album, adding texture where needed and amplifying the force, which is already at a fever pitch. 

Apart from Live at Leeds, the Who have never sounded as LOUD and unhinged as they do here, yet that's balanced by ballads, both lovely ("The Song Is Over") and scathing ("Behind Blue Eyes"). That's the key to Who's Next -- there's anger and sorrow, humor and regret, passion and tumult, all wrapped up in a blistering package where the rage is as affecting as the heartbreak. 

This is a retreat from the '60s, as Townshend declares the "Song Is Over," scorns the teenage wasteland, and bitterly declares that we "Won't Get Fooled Again." For all the sorrow and heartbreak that runs beneath the surface, this is an invigorating record, not just because Keith Moon runs rampant or because Roger Daltrey has never sung better or because John Entwistle spins out manic basslines that are as captivating as his "My Wife" is funny. 

This is invigorating because it has all of that, plus Townshend laying his soul bare in ways that are funny, painful, and utterly life-affirming. That is what the Who was about, not the rock operas, and that's why Who's Next is truer than Tommy or the abandoned Lifehouse. Those were art -- this, even with its pretensions, is rock 'n' roll.
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Disc one
1. Baba O'Riley - 5:01
2. Bargain - 5:33
3. Love Ain't For Keeping - 2:10
4. My Wife (John Entwistle)3:35
5. The Song Is Over - 6:17
6. Getting In Tune - 4:49
7. Going Mobile - 3:43
8. Behind Blue Eyes - 3:42
9. Won't Get Fooled Again - 8:35
10.Baby Don't You Do It (Longer Version) - 8:21
11.Getting In Tune - 6:36
12.Pure And Easy (Alternate Version) - 4:33
13.Love Ain't For Keeping (Electric Version, Townshend On Lead Vocals) - 4:06
14.Behind Blue Eyes (Alternate Version) - 3:30
15.Won't Get Fooled Again (Original New York Sessions Version) - 8:48
Disc two
1. Love Ain't For Keeping - 2:57
2. Pure and Easy - 6:00
3. Young Man Blues - 4:47
4. Time Is Passing - 3:59
5. Behind Blue Eyes - 4:49
6. I Don't Even Know Myself - 5:42
7. Too Much of Anything - 4:20
8. Getting in Tune - 6:42
9. Bargain - 5:46
10.Water - 8:19
11.My Generation - 2:58
12.Road Runner (Ellas McDaniel) - 3:14
13.Naked Eye - 6:21
14.Won't Get Fooled Again - 8:50

The Who
*Roger Daltrey – Lead Vocals, Harmonica
*Pete Townshend – Guitars, Organ, VCS3 And ARP Synthesiser, Backing Vocals, Piano, Vocals
*John Entwistle – Bass Guitar, Vocals,  Piano
*Keith Moon – Drums, Percussion
Additional Musicians
*Nicky Hopkins – Piano
*Dave Arbus – Violin
*Al Kooper – Organ
*Leslie West – Guitar

1965  My Generation (two disc japan SHM-CD remaster)
1966  A Quick One (japan SHM-CD double disc box remaster)
1967  Sell Out (double disc japan SHM expanded edition)

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Monday, February 25, 2013

The Kingsmen - Louie Louie The Best Of (1962-67 us, classic garage roots 'n' roll, 2008 Repertoire release)

Many believe that all starts from a certain hit record by one of America’s pioneering and premiere ‘garage’ bands. Yes, it all kicked off with the raucous sound of ‘Louie Louie’ by The Kingsmen, a smash hit back in 1963. A combination of teenage angst and an insidious ‘hook line’ ensured the number would become a classic and inspiration to future generations of rockers.

The Kingsmen came from Portland, Oregon and were headed by singer Jack Ely and guitarist Mike Mitchell. ‘Louie Louie’ was their debut single, written by Richard Berry and recorded by him way back in 1957. The Kingsmen’s version got to Number 2 in the US chart and proved a Top 30 hit in the UK in 1964.

Although the group was the subject of internal dissent after their first big hit, they went on to enjoy more chart success with such songs as ‘Money’ and ‘The Jolly Green Giant’, both included on this 20 track compilation.
1. Louie Louie - 2:46
2. Haunted Castle - 2:48
3. Money - 2:31
4. Little Latin Lupe Lu - 2:27
5. Death of an Angel - 2:35
6. The Jolly Green Giant - 1:59
7. Long Green - 2:39
8. The Climb - 2:32
9. Annie Fanny - 2:07
10.Trouble - 2:23
11.Killer Joe - 2:19
12.The Gamma Coochee - 2:11
13.Little Green Thing - 2:00
14.Little Sally Tease - 2:56
15.Give Her Lovin' - 1:48
16.The Wolf of Manhattan - 2:35
17.Long Tall Texan - 2:47
18.You Can't Sit Down - 3:01
19.New Orleans - 2:25
20.Let the Good Times Roll - 1:53

The Kingsmen
*Jack Ely - Vocals, Guitars
*Lynn Easton - Drums
*Mike Mitchell - Guitar
*Bob Nordby - Bass
*Don Gallucci - Keyboards
*Gary Abbott - Drums
*Norm Sundholm - Bass
*Dick Peterson - Drums
*Barry Curtis - Keyboards

1963-67  The Kingsmen - Best Of (Vinyl edition) 

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Mandrill - Mandrill Is (1972 us, remarkable latin heavy funk jam rock)


Mandrill’s first three albums were recorded at Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Lady Studios in New York’s Greenwich Village.  Their reputation as a “World Music Group” and “Champions for Peace” began with their self-titled debut album, which contained the epic composition titled “Peace and Love.”  

This amazing suite was performed by the group accompanied by the Symphony of the New World, an 80-piece orchestra, and a 200-voice chorus to a Standing Room Only audience at Philharmonic Hall in New York City.

Their sophomore release Mandrill Is contained the single “Get It All” and the cosmic anthem “Ape is High.”  The third album, Composite Truth, released in 1973, propelled Mandrill’s popularity around the globe with their jam-heavy funk rhythms encapsulated in the song “Fencewalk.”  Their freewheeling approach influenced peers such as Parliament-Funkadelic, Earth Wind & Fire and others. 

 As their popularity grew, so did their appearances on all of the major music TV shows. Mandrill performed on both of Don Kirshner’s series, In Concert and Rock Concert.  On numerous occasions they appeared on Soul Train with Don Cornelius, Midnight Special with Wolfman Jack, Soul! with Ellis Haizlip and Like It Is with Gil Noble.
1. Ape Is High - 5:32
2. Cohello - 1:50
3. Git It All - 4:30
4. Children Of The Sun - 5:00
5. I Refuse To Smile - 4:05
6. Universal Rhythms - 3:24
7. Lord Of The Golden Baboon - 3:33
8. Central Park - 4:05
9. Kofijahm - 3:25
10.Here Today Gone Tomorrow - 4:30
11.The Sun Must Go Down - 3:17
All Songs written and arranged by Mandrill

*Carlos Wilson - Trombone, Flute, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals
*Lou Wilson - Percussion, Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Vocals
*Ric Wilson - Saxophone, Percussion, Vocals
*Claude Cave - Keyboards, Vibraphone, Percussion, Vocals
*Fudgie Kae - Bass, Percussion, Vocals
*Omar Mesa - Guitar, Percussion, Vocals
*Charles Padro -Drums, Percussion, Vocals

1971  Mandrill

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Graham Nash - Wild Tales (1973 uk, classic country folk rock)

Graham's second effort, a trip between counrty rock to folk and back to classic forms, Prison song is one of these songs that sticks in your mind and absorb it like the earth smack every drop of the rain, this song was one of my favorites that time and even now gives me the same gentle sentiments.

Graham Nash is from a unique era of singer songwriters who created an amazing musical legacy. This album is a fine example of the closing period of that special era and well worth investigating. 
1. Wild Tales – 2:18
2. Hey You (Looking At The Moon) – 2:14
3. Prison Song – 3:10
4. You'll Never Be The Same – 2:48
5. And So It Goes – 4:48
6. Grave Concern – 2:45
7. Oh! Camil (The Winter Soldier) – 2:51
8. I Miss You – 3:04
9. On The Line – 2:35
10.Another Sleep Song – 4:43
All Tracks composed by Graham Nash

*Graham Nash - Acoustic, Electric Rhythm Guitar, Electric Piano, Harmonica, Vocals
*Johnny Barbata - Drums
*Joel Bernstein - Acoustic Guitar
*David Crosby - Vocals
*Tim Drummond - Bass
*Harry Halex - Electric Piano, Acoustic Guitar
*Ben Keith - Pedal Steel Guitar, Dobro
*David Lindley - Electric Slide Guitar, Mandolin
*David Mason - Twelve String Guitar
*Joni Mitchell - Vocal
*Joe Yankee (aka Neil Young) - Acoustic Piano

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Bridge - Bridge (1971 canada, stimulating flux of psych country folk rock)

Bridge materialized in April 1971 consisting of three accomplished musicians: Francis and John Webster and Tony Lecaillon. The Webster brothers have been performing together since 1964 when they started a group called "The Marcatos". In 1967 they moved to Toronto where they joined forces with Tony and reorganized "The Marcatos" into a seven-piece group. In 1969 the group recorded an album at Sound Canada. 

The album, entitled David, contained nine original tunes and two commercial tunes, (Hey Jude and House of the Rising Sun), and was played frequently on CHUM FM and other stations. The following Spring Francis and John moved to their farm in the Georgian Bay area where they began cultivating original material and sounds, playing in local churches and nightclubs with great success.

Meanwhile, Tony travelled around England (his native land), and Europe, to open his ears and eyes to the scene there. Francis, John and Tony rejoined last year to produce a unique combination of country, folk, jazz and rock, with original lyrics and music. Bridge answer the question, for anyone who wishes to know, what happened to the Canadian band David after their lone record on Sound Canada in the late 60s. 

Guitarist Francis Webster, bassist John Webster, and drummer Tony Lecaillon from David make up Bridge who recorded this ultra obscure and rare record at the same Sound Canada studios in 1971. Next to each song is a brief description of the musical genre of each ranging from "Ego Trip" to "Country" to "jazz shuffle." 

What this album is differs drastically from what you'd expect from David.The best way to describe Bridge's album would be "Sweetheart Of The Rodeo" on tons of acid! There is no fuzz guitar, but a clean west coast shimmering tone on all tracks, bizarre vocal effects on ; the tripped out "It's My Life" and plenty of weirdness present for the whole album. 

The tracks that are labelled "Country" all have a strange bent to them . despite being early back-to-the-  roots country rock influenced by Graham Parsons and "real" country artists like Hank Williams. The long "Ego Trip" version of Little Richard's "You're My Girl" is great fun and the only good version I've heard of one of his songs. 

There is something here very enjoyable for anyone looking for a bizarre i twisted record of fun music, especially "Brand New Day" with echoes of Spirit and a bit of Freeborne. Very rare and a good one.
by Ben Blake Mitchner
1. I Had It But I Lost It - 2:33
2. It's My Life - 3:07
3. Ain't My Day - 3:18
4. Simple Blues Form - 3:18
5. Running Away - 2:28
6. Brand New Day - 4:48
7. You're My Girl - 9:45
8. Born To The Country - 4:12
9. Barnyard - 3:56

*Francis Webster - Guitar
*John Webster - Bass
*Tony Lecaillon - Drums

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Mandrill - Mandrill (1971 us, groovy latin jam rock)

Mandrill may have been too good for their own good. The heart of the band were the Wilson brothers - Louis "Sweet Lou", Richard "Dr. Ric" and Carlos "Mad Dog" – who created a tasty blend of soul, blues, rock, Afro-Latin elements and jazz. It was a strongly danceable sound, but the band's often complex rhythms and lengthy solos didn't lend themselves to easily cutting a piece down to a shorter version for radio exposure. Nonetheless. 

Mandrill created some great music during their decade or so of playing and writing. While the Wilsons were the clear creative force, they were ably assisted by Omar Mesa, Claude "Coffee" Cave. Charlie Padro and Bundie Cenac. Between them, they played more than 20 instruments. The Wilsons were in high school in Brooklyn. New York, when they joined the school band. After they got more proficient on their instruments, the three brothers began to play in small clubs around their neighborhood until they were drafted into the military in the '60s. One Wilson, Ric also attended medical school and v/as one of the few physicians to divide his time between medicine and music. 

After meeting their military obligations, the Wilsons got more serious about their music. Placing an ad for other players in New York's "Village Voice", they got more than 200 responses. They included guitarist Mesa and the other members of the original 1968 line-up. Most of the players were experienced musicians with diverse backgrounds and musical interests that helped define the varied sound of what the Wilsons decided to call Mandrill. By 1971. Mandrill was signed to Polydor Records. Their debut album, "Mandrill" (Polydor 4050), was released in early 71. 

While the album was a Top 50 seller, singles taken from it didn't sell. Things looked up with "Mandrill Is" (Polydor 5025), which came out in the spring of 1972. It sold well and so did the single "Get It AH" (Polydor 14142). which moved into the Billboard rhythm and blues Top 40 in the fall of 72. Mandrill had their biggest hit in the spring of 1973 with "Fencewalk" (Polydor 14163), a Top 30 R&B single that just missed the pop Top 50. "Composite Truth" (Polydor 5043), which spawned "Fencewalk", was a Top 30 album and would be their biggest-selling release. It also contained another hit in the Top 30 "Hang
Loose" (Polydor 14187). 

Their record sales resulted in a busy touring schedule, which was fine with the guys in the band. In a 1973 interview Ric Wilson said they wanted to stay as busy as possible. Added Carlos, "Our music is for the people. If we don't keep playing we lose touch." Mandrill proved they were still in touch with a fourth best-selling album - "Just Outside Of Town" (Polydor 5059) - in the fall of 73. It contained two popular singles: "Mango Meat" (Polydor 14200) and "Love Song" (Polydor 14214). In 1974 they did better on the singles charts, especially with "Positive Thing" (Polydor 14235), which went Top 30 on the R&B charts. 

While times had changed for Mandrill, when they were at their peak the band produced a tasty melange of styles that may have been a challenge for radio programmers. But anyone who saw them live or heard their albums got the message to their music. This collection of some of their best work shows how good they were.
by Mark Marymont
1. Mandrill - 4:20
2. Warning Blues - 4:33
3. Symphonic Revolution - 5:22
4. Rollin' On - 7:41
5. Peace And Love (Amani Na Mapenzi) Movement I (Birth) - 1:50
6. Peace And Love (Amani Na Mapenzi) Movement II (Now) - 1:45
7. Peace And Love (Amani Na Mapenzi) Movement III (Time) - 2:15
8. Peace And Love (Amani Na Mapenzi) Movement IV (Encounter) - 6:05
9. Peace And Love (Amani Na Mapenzi) Movement V (Beginning) - 2:05
10.Chutney - 3:07

*Carlos Wilson - Flute, Trombone, Guitar, Vocals
*Lou Wilson - Percussion, Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Vocals
*Ric Wilson - Saxophone, Percussion, Vocals
*Claude Cave - Keyboards, Vibraphone, Percussion, Vocals
*Bundie Cenas - Bass, Percussion, Vocals
*Omar Mesa - Guitar, Percussion, Vocals
*Charles Padro -Drums, Percussion, Vocals

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Allman Brothers Band - Dreams (1968-89 us, integrated classic masterpiece, 4 disc box set)

Spanning four discs and nearly 100 tracks, Dreams is one of those rare box sets that tells a story while delivering the definitive word on its subject. Gathering pre-Allman's recordings from the clan, including cuts by the Allman Joys, selecting the hits from the classic years, and adding stray cuts by solo projects to the mix. 

It's a smart move and it results in a terrific box that truly offers the definitive word on one of the longest-running dramas in Southern rock. Yes, the Allmans reunited rather successfully after this box, so none of that material is here, but it's not missed, this is the story of the band. 
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Disc One
1. Shapes Of Things - The Allman Joys - 2:48
2. Spoonful - The Allman Joys - 3:40
3. Crossroads - The Allman Joys - 3:33
4. Cast Off All My Fears - The Hour Glass - 3:25
5. Down In Texas - The Hour Glass - 3:07
6. Ain't No Good To Cry - The Hour Glass - 3:06
7. B.B. King Medley: Sweet Little Angel/It's My Own Fault/How Blue Can You Get - The Hour Glass - 7:06
8. Morning Dew - The 31 February - 3:46
9. God Rest His Soul - The 31st Of February - 3:56
10.I Feel Free - The Second Coming - 3:31
11.She Has Funny Cars - The Second Coming - 4:48
12.Goin' Down Slow - Duane Allman - 8:47
13.Dreams - 4:55
14.Don't Want You No More - 2:25
15.It's Not My Cross To Bear - 4:56
16.Trouble No More - 3:48
17.Dreams - 7:15

Disc Two
1. Statesboro Blues - 4:06
2. I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man - 4:57
3. Midnight Rider - 2:58
4. Dimples - Live - 5:02
5. I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town - Live - 9:23
6. Revival - 4:04
7. One More Ride - - 2:41
8. Whipping Post - Live - 22:53
9. In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed - Live - 12:58
10.Drunken Hearted Boy - Live - 6:54
Disc Three
1. You Don't Love Me/Soul Serenade - Live, Previously Unreleased - 19:28
2. Blue Sky - 5:10
3. Little Martha - 2:13
4. Melissa - 4:02
5. Ain't Wastin' Time No More (Live) - 4:46
6. Wasted Words - 4:21
7. Ramblin' Man - 4:48
8. Southbound - 5:10
9. Jessica - 7:30
10.Midnight Rider - Gregg Allman - 4:26
11.One Way Out - Live - 7:59
12.Long Time Gone - Dickey Betts - 4:30
Disc Four
1. Can't Lose What You Never Had - 5:52
2. Come And Go Blues - Gregg Allman Band - 4:46
3. Bougainvillea - Dickey Betts and Great Southern - 7:13
4. Can You Fool - Allman and Woman - 3:19
5. Good Time Feeling - Dickey Betts and Great Southern - 4:28
6. Crazy Love - 3:44
7. Can't Take It With You - 3:34
8. Just Ain't Easy - Live - 5:01
9. In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed - Live - 10:52
10.Angeline - 3:40
11.Things You Used To Do - 3:42
12.Nancy - Dickey Betts - 3:51
13.Rain - Gregg Allman - 3:03
14.I'm No Angel - Gregg Allman Band - 3:41
15.Demons - Gregg Allman Band - 3:28
16.Duane's Tune - Dickey Betts Band - 5:51


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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Boot - Boot (1972 us, steady hard classic rock)

Now here are four guys who had a true passion for rock - sticking together through for twelve years which included several band name changes, hundreds of concert dates, and precious little commercial success. Hailing from Port Richey, Florida, bassist Dan Eliassen and drummer Jim O'Brock put their first band together in 1972.  

Originally known as The Kingsmen, they opted for a name change when the Washington-based Kingsmen scored a hit with 'Louie Louie'.  Morphing into The Allusions, Eliassen, O'Brock and a changing cast of players continued to perform at local school dances and teen centers. By 1966 the lineup featured Eliassen, O'Borck, and lead guitarist Bruce Knox and rhythm guitarist Mike Mycz. 

 They'd also opted for another name change (The Split Ends') as well as moving away from performing largely cover material to penning their own stuff.  Signed by the local CPF Records, they also made their recording debut with a 1966 single  'Rich with Nothin' b/w 'Endless Sun'. The 45 proved a regional hit, opening the door to wider exposure including an opening slot on Dick Clark's Happening '67 tour.  That in turn saw them offered an opportunity to compete on Clark's 'Happening '68 television band contest.  

In 1969 the quartet decided on another image and name change - this time adopting the moniker Blues of Our Time - quickly abbreviated to Boot.  With a repertoire of largely original material, the band hit the road playing clubs and concerts nearly non-stop for the next four years.

Released by the Texas-based Agape label, the band debuted with 1972's cleverly-titled "Boot".  Co-produced by Mike Stone and Peter Thomason, the album was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee at James Brown's Starday/King Studio.  With all four members contributing material the album offered up a mixture of blues-rock and blues-rock, with an occasional stab at a more commercial tune.  

The band was blessed with three decent singers.  Nothing more than a guess on my part, but judging by the songwriting credits (assuming whoever wrote the track probably handled lead vocals), Mycz seemed to have the tougher-rock voice in the group while Eliassen was gifted with more commercial chops.  Knox fell somewhere in the middle with a modest country-rock feel to his voice.  Knox also showed himself to be n immensely talented lead guitarist - check out his lead work on ''..
1. Hey Little Girl  (Mike Mycz) - 4:05
2. Danny's Tune  (Dan Eliassen) - 5:25
3. Liza Brown  (Bruce Knox) - 2:47
4. Andromeda   (Dan Eliassen) - 5:15
5. Destruction Road (Jim O'Brock, Mike Mycz, Bruce Knox, Dan Eliassen) - 5:06
6. Reach Out (Mike Mycz) - 3:14
7. What Are They Doing To Me  (Jim O'Brock, Mike Mycz, Bruce Knox, Dan Eliassen) - 3:34
8. What You're Missing  (Mike Mycz) - 4:03

*Dan Eliassen - Vocals, Bass
*Bruce Knox - Guitar, Vocals
*Mike Mycz - Guitar, Vocals
*Jim O'Brock - Drums, Vocals

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Justine - Justine (1970 uk / us, beautiful acid folk pop, 2008 Sunbeam release)

Though this obscure 1970 LP falls into the general folk-psych-rock category, its focus is so all-over-the-place that it's hard to get a read on it. At times the record seems very influenced pop and whimsical psychedelia,by the side of American folk-rock, particularly in the blends of male and female vocal harmonies, which are extremely reminiscent of the Mamas and the Papas' approach in places. 

Yet there are also songs that have a more specifically British, gentle reserved acoustic quality; a character portrait of "Mr. Jones" with a whimsical British feel; and occasional off-the-wall burning fuzzy psychedelic guitar. At its most mature, it's slightly similar to, if an obscure reference point is allowed, the folk-prog-rock recordings that Giles, Giles & Fripp made as they were morphing into King Crimson (though not nearly as inspired). 

The first track 'Flying' lives up to it's title with flute fluttering, swooning strings and tight harmonies. The songs mix the innocent, quirky and strange to heady effect. The songs are fairly unique in folk as they mix in horns which expands the mix giving a warmth that folk sometimes finds hard to achieve. In the last track they create a classic that lives up literally to it's title of 'Amazing Journey'. It starts with folk guitar, introduces fuzz guitar then wah wah builds to a crescendo and drops back to a delicate folk ballad within the first minute. It builds up introducing 'A Day In The Life' style strings and massed vocals. 

Towards the end it explodes with a staggeirng number of layers that Roy Wood in The Move was expert at. Strange effects come in, wild guitars solo, flutes, horn and strings abound and a propulsive rhythm section drives the whole thing explosively as the singer moves from folk whispers into Robert Plant style wails. An excellent track on a most enjoyable album which shows the link between the earlier psychedelic sound and the later musical indulgence of progressive rock.

Beautiful rock-psychedelic-folk-pop songs with great harmonies. Several items are very good and show all the skills of the band. A great album to listen calmly, slowly, enjoying every note and nuance of the songs, make sure a smile on your face, and possibly the goosebumps on your arms. Air rather melodic, like a 
nice summer breeze. This disc contains an unsettling psychedelic buildup that gradually explodes into a strong sense of satisfaction. You'll notice many classical music influences West Coast, but this album is recorded in London in 1970. All tunes are composed by John and Keith.
by Adamus67
1. Flying/Love You More Than Is Good for Me To/Nostrils - 7:25
2. She Brings the Morning with Her - 3:18
3. Back to Boulder - 5:07
4. Traveller -
5. See Saw (John McBurnie, Laurie Styvers, Keith Trowsdale) - 2:31
6. Mini Splurge/Mr. Jones/Is That Good. That's Nice - 10:54
7. Clocks/Hey I Used to Know You - 5:02
8. Unknown Journey - 7:07
9. Leave Me Be - 3:54
10. Clown - 2:39
All songs by John McBurnie, Keith Trowsdale except where noted

*John McBurnie - Vocals
*Laurette Stivers - Vocals
*Keith Trowsdale - Guitar, Vocals
*Bethlyn Bates - Vocals
*Valerie Cope - Vocals
*Dougie Wright - Drums
*Chris Gibb - Drums
*Jerry Hovell - Bass

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Man - 2 Ozs Of Plastic With A Hole In The Middle (1969 uk, hard driven guitar jam rock, 2009 Esoteric remaster)

2 Ozs Of Plastic With A Hole In The Middle was set for a mere six months after the release of Revelation. Consequently, Man spent the summer of 1969 ensconced in their communal terrace house in Streatham writing, rehearsing and ingesting artificial stimulants. Once again recorded at Marble Arch Studios, this time in the main studio that was usually reserved for orchestras, although the desire to raid the sound effects cupboard had at least worn off. Regarded by many to be one of the best, if not the best, Man albums, the six months of writing and rehearsals had really allowed the band to forge their own sound. 

With no manager, agent or gigs, the band were free to concentrate on the music. Their progression was evident from the start with the 12.5 minute Prelude - The Storm, a Jones instrumental that features Leonard making seagull sounds with his guitar and generally setting out the stall for what was to come, both throughout the rest of the album and forthcoming releases. The intensity is ramped up on It Is As It Must Be with the dual lead guitars getting a real work out on this rocker, which originally went under the title Shit On The World, something that Pye objected to. They also were not too eager on the title of the next track which the band had called Spunk Rock. 

Whereas Shit On The World had been replaced by It Is As It Must Be (after a wry comment by composer John), Spunk Rock somehow got transformed to Spunk Box, obviously someone at the label got confused at which the offending word was! The track is synonymous with Man, their iconic song that in concert would be stretched to four or five times the length of the studio version. The album version has all the elements crammed into six minutes and is the ultimate Man song, even if the vocals are a bit ropey!

My Name Is Jesus Smith, which no doubt if released as a new song these days would get a lot of fundamentalist Christians hot under the collar, is the tale of a man who takes over Heaven and has the pearly gates melted down and sold for scrap. Featuring slide guitar throughout it is quite a jolly number, if a little simplistic, although more characteristic of the Man sound than the very Baroque Parchment And Candles with its harpsichord backing. 

The original album ended with Brother Arnold's Red And White Striped Tent which is another bona fide classic Man song, although not generally performed live in its original form, long-term Man aficionados will recognise elements that were often incorporated into on-stage jams. Three great previously unheard bonus tracks have been exhumed from the vaults: an instrumental and slightly longer version of Jesus Smith which I think is far better than the album version; A Sad Song [Grasshopper] which is obviously a song in progress and taped in rehearsal; and Walkin' The Dogma the demo of Spunk Box (or Rock!).
by Mark Hughes
1. Prelude The Storm (Micky Jones, Deke Leonard) - 12:18
2. It Is As It Must Be (Clive John, Ray Williams) - 8:27
3. Spunk Box (John, Micky Jones) - 5:45
4. My Name Is Jesus Smith (Micky Jones, Leonard) - 4:03
5. Parchment And Candles (Leonard) - 1:51
6. Brother Arnold's Red And White Striped Tent (Micky Jones, Leonard) - 5:04 7. My Name Is Jesus Smith (Alternative Version) (Micky Jones, Leonard) - 5:13 8. A Sad Song (Grasshopper) (Man) - 5:16 9. Walkin' The Dogma (Spunk Box Demo) (Clive John, Micky Jones) - 6:06
Man *Clive John - Organ, Piano, Guitar, Vocals *Jeff Jones - Drums, Percussion *Micky Jones - Lead Guitar, Vocals *Deke Leonard - Guitar, Harp, Piano, Percussion, Vocals *Ray Taff Williams - Bass

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Gigymen - Gigymen (1974 uk, marvelous folk rock with some traditional adaptations, 2012 issue)

Originally released as an obscure private pressing of just 100 copies, Gigymen’s only record has been a hen’s tooth since it was recorded in 1974. Guersson changed all that earlier in the year with a short-run vinyl release – and here’s the welcome and significantly cheaper follow-up.

Opener As I Roved Out is a confident and competent slab of folk-rock that does what all good folk-rock should: amplifies the power and emotion inherent in its traditional roots. There are two more trad rock-outs (the Irish Rocky Road To Dublin; and Scottish Gypsy Laddie), with the accomplished arrangements and quality of the musicianship across both being superb.

Elsewhere, Plain Jane is Gigymen as the former Quarrymen – and, indeed the Fab Four are the driving force behind many of the other tracks on the record, though the unnerving Crumbledown might well be without precedent. Packed with photos and info on the talented bunch who made this wonderful oddity, this is a welcome addition to the private pressings file.  
by Jan Zarebski
1. As I Roved Out (Traditional) - 4:32
2. Gone Are The Days (Alan Harvey, John Porter) - 3:35
3. Plain Jane (John Porter) - 3:21
4. Gypsy Laddie (Traditional) - 6:08
5. Rocky Road To Dublin (Traditional) - 5:04
6. Brother Herbert (John Porter) - 2:38
7. Crumbledown (John Porter) - 4:27
8. Don't Let Her Go (John Porter) - 3:19

*John Porter - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
*Alan Harvey - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Mandolin
*Andy Thurston - Violin
*Paul Marsh - Bass
*Alex Cooper - Vocals, Drums

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Illusion - The Illusion (1969 us, appealing hard rock liquefied with funky soul savors)

The illusion, one of long island's greatest bands that lasted from 1965-1972  which some say were the greatest years of rock ‘n’ roll. The illusion will always  be remembered for their incredible harmonies, insane light shows, raw  energy, intense mind-expanding sound effects, and great musicianship. But what was going on before the illusion?
John Vinci (lead vocals) was into doo wop during the early 60's. "During  that time (early 60's) Johnny had that greecer look" says Lance Folger (illusion  roadie)."We used to call Johnny the walking stick" says Chuck. "He was about  6 ft. and very thin".  "Johnny was always very creative (says Lance) and had a lot of  ideas that he would incorperate in to the show". This creativity would make  the illusion different from all the other New York bands.
Mike Maniscalco was the most versatile member of the illusion. Mike  always enjoyed music, "He could pick up anything and play it" says Lance.   (we'll soon have more on Mike). Rich Cerniglia (lead guitar) started playing guitar when he was about 10.  By the time he was 15 he was backing up the likes of the Shirelles, The  Ronettes, Gladys Knight, The Temptations, and many others.

Chuck Alder (bass) was playing guitar by age 12, when he was about 15 he switched to bass. Some of the groups Chuck was in during the early 60's were:  The Uncalled Four, The Arrivals, The Dell Sonics (where he met Mike  Maniscalco), and The Creations (where he met Mike Ricciardella). Mike Ricciardella was banging on drums since before he could remember,  at about age 16 he competed in a New York State drum competition and won  (he was officialy the best drummer in New York). Mike would later meet Chuck  Alder in "The Creations".

How did the illusion get "Together"? After the Creations fell apart, Mike  Ricciardella joined a band called "The 5 illusions" they were very "56"  sounding. "I remember the first night Mike went to play with them (the 5  illusions)" says Lance." it was at a club in West Hempstead in a little basement  room, the place was like a little college mixer, they sounded pretty good, that  had to around 1965". "The original line-up was Johnny Vinci, Steve Burg,  Howie Blume (Howie later became the bass player in Network under the name  of Howard Davidson), Frank Carrillo, and Mike Ricciardella". "After a while,  Frank and Steve were leaving the band, and Howie joined the service, that's when  they brought in Mike Maniscalco, Chuck Alder, and Rich Cerniglia."

The name of the band went through a few changes, first... The 5 illusions,  then the 5 illusion, then the illusions, then The illusion. The illusion's first release was a single tittled: "My Party" which was  backed with: "It's groovey time". Both tracks were written and produced by Mitch  Ryder, the single was unfortunatly unsuccessful. Time would pass before the  band would record their first album. In 1967 the band did their first national  tour with Mitch Ryder, the tour started on March 5th, and ended some time in  November. Later, The illusion began recording their first album which was  produced by Jeff Barry. 

The album did very well, and the band had a hit with: "Did you see her  eyes?" Which went to #1 in some areas of New York and #22 in the nation.  Although the album didn't make it to gold, it did so well that Paramount  (instead of advertising the record) wanted another record from the band. The  band's new album was rushed in three days, however, it did not have the  success of their first lp.

The illusuion always put on an incredible live show! They were ahead of  their time in many ways. The band undoubtably had fun in the studio  recording their first album, but something was missing in the recordings. That  Hard Rock attitude that the band had on stage wasn't there.
by Dennis Folger
1. Did You See Her Eyes - 6:59
2. Talkin' Sweet Talkin' Soul - 2:44
3. Just Imagine - 3:31
4. Medley: Run, Run, Run / Willy Gee - 5:57
5. I Love You, Yes I Do - 2:22
6. Alone - 3:04
7. Charleena - 2:20
8. Medley: Why, Tell Me Why / The Real Thing - 6:22
9. You Made Me What I Am - 3:25

The Illusion
*John Vinci - Vocals
*Richie Cerniglia - Guitar
*Mike Maniscalco - Guitar, Keyboards, Organ
*Chuck Alder - Bass
*Michael Ricciardella - Drums

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Smoke - At George's Coffee Shop (1969 us, hard jagged blues rock, 2012 O-Music edition)

Originally known as The Nomands and based in Houston, Texas, they became known when they changed the band name to Smoke in mid-1968. Their music can best be described as “psychedelic boogie”. Semi-hard blues rock, loads of energy, jiving vocals, good guitar solos and powerful organ parts. “At George´s Coffee Shop” is a tad better than their debut, a lost treasure for the biker blues crowd.
1. The Room - 3:27
2. San Luis Obispo County Jail Blues - 5:52
3. Greased Lightnin' - 9:21
4. George (Part 1) - 0:36
5. Brown Bread - 9:11
6. Iron House - 7:31
7. George (Part 2) - 0:19
All songs by John Orvis

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

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McCully Workshop - Genesis (1971 south africa, spectacular heavy progressive rock, 2009 remaster)


The follow-up to 'Inc' was the album 'Genesis' recorded in early 1971 and released in June of that year by Trutone Records with catalogue number STO 745. After the 'Inc' album there was a deliberate move to do something different and progressive. “'Genesis' wasn't really a concept album based on the Bible,” says Tully, “but more about looking back and learning from old wisdom”.

Tully speaks of “his dream stories, about waking up with ideas, the words and music together, real stream of conciousness stuff.” “It was more about the feel than the actual words,” Tully says.

The core of Mike McCully (drums), Tully McCully (vocals, bass) and Ian Smith (brass and flute) from the 'Inc' album were now enhanced by the Hendrix-influenced guitarist Bruce Gordon.

The musical vibe at the time of the album's recording was very brass influenced with bands like Chicago, Blood, Sweat & Tears and Traffic pushing the boundaries of Jazz and Rock.

Inspired by the progressive albums of the time, 'Genesis' included a number of long tracks with sub-sections. However in the interest of garnering radio play '(We All) Look For The Sun' and 'Sweet Fields of Green' were more pop influenced. “Pop” as inspired by The Beatles, though, rather than the throwaway bubblegum pop prevalent at the time.

Tully remembers that when he was asked what type of band they were he would reply, “we play heavy music”. Terms like “heavy” and “underground” were very broad terms in those heady days of the early '70's to describe music that was not pop or radio-friendly.

'Sweet Fields Of Green' was released as a single, reaching #2 on the LM Radio charts in August 1971. The follow-up single 'Birds Flying High' (actually the flipside of 'Rainbow Illusion'), recorded shortly after the 'Genesis' sessions, peaked at #9 on the LM Radio charts.

Tully recalls the recording sessions being a fun time and due to the limitations of the 4-track recording studio, most songs were recorded in one take. If they made a mistake, they would do the whole take over again, not an easy thing to do with songs exceeding seven minutes!

Ian Smith took care of the brass arrangements and Tully used multi-tracking techniques to make him sound like a horn section, mainly utilizing the trumpet and flugelhorn, though the flute also makes it's presence felt a few times.

Due to wiring problems in the studio, the original album mix was out-of-phase and unusable and Tully had about two hours to remix the album in a Johannesburg studio before it went to the pressing plant.

Keith Madders, a friend of the band and big music fan introduced them to painter Tommy McLelland. He took photos of the band members and then included their likenesses into an original painting with religious overtones. The original painting was one metre square and to be mysterious the name of the band does not actually appear on the cover. “This was not a deliberate ploy”, says Tully, but it has probably led a few vinyl collectors over the years, to think they have discovered a lost gem by Peter Gabriel's band.

Madders also came up with the name for Tully's Spaced-Out Sound Studios, as well as the name Crocodile Harris for Robin Graham. 'Miss Eva Goodnight' was composed by the McCully Brothers and McCully Workhop played on this song, which was released by Crocodile Harris in 1974.
by Brian Currin
1. Genesis (T. McCully) - 7.45
...a. Evolution
...b. Overture To Cancel Hate
...c. Survival And Genesis
2. (We All) Look For The Sun (T. McCully) - 3.15
3. Stone Man (T. McCully) - 9.44
...a. Stone Man
...b. Degeneration
...c. Satan's Dance
4. Red Light City (B. Gordon, T. McCully) - 7.40
...a. Sodom
...b. Gomorrah
5. Sweet Fields Of Green (T McCully) - 3.45
6. Togetherness (T McCully) - 4.35
7. Order Out Of Chaos (McCully Workshop) - 3.20

McCully Workshop
*Mike Mccully - Drums, Vocals
*Tully Mccully - Vocals, Bass
*Bruce Gordon - Guitars, Percussion, Vocals
*Ian Smith - Trumpet, Flute, Flugelhorn, Trombone, Percussion

1970  McCully Workshop - Inc

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Friday, February 15, 2013

McCully Workshop - Inc (1970 south africa, bright psychedelic tapestry, 2009 remaster)

The McCullagh brothers, Tully (born Terence on 31st May 1953) and Mike (born Michael on 7th April 1947), have been an integral part of the South African music scene for five decades now.

In 1965 they started as a folk-rock trio with Richard Hyam and called themselves the Blue Three. Richard had been in a folk duo, Tiny Folk, with his sister Melanie. After a few personnel- and name-changes, like The Blue Beats and Larfing Stocke, the line-up settled down (for a while) in 1969.

“I had my own studio in the garage since I was 12” remembers Tully. It was a single garage in the garden of their home in Plumstead, in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. The brothers’ father, radio personality Michael Drin (his stage name), painted the name “McCully Workshop, Inc.” on the garage wall. “McCully” was an easier-to-spell version of McCullagh and the “Inc.” was a tongue-in-cheek addition.

A photo of the garage was used as the album cover. The photo was taken by Sigurd Olivier from the Argus newspaper. The cat’s name was Sirikit.

“We had been playing music for 6 years” remembers Mike McCullagh. “In 1969 I was 22 and Tully was 16, along with Richard Hyam, his sister Melanie and Allan Faull the group started.”

“We all wrote our own songs”, continues Mike, “and we just took the best ones for the album. Tully wrote ‘Why Can’t It Rain’ in the middle of the night and this became a hit single putting McCully Workshop on the charts for the first time.” This song went to number 12 on the Springbok Radio charts in July 1970 and also reached number 13 on the LM Radio charts.

“Why Can’t It Rain” drew the attention of the Gallo label, and they said they wanted an album. McCully Workshop signed probably the first independent licencing deal with a major label in South Africa.

Billy Forrest (born William Boardman in Kimberley in 1940) was the “top guy” at the time and was appointed as producer. He had recently had chart success with The Staccatos ‘Cry To Me’ and many others including The Dream Merchants and Quentin E Klopjaeger (one of his many pseudonyms).

Tully remembers Forrest’s catchphrase at the time was “could happen”.

The “Inc.” album shows a variety of styles and influences including The Beatles, Frank Zappa and Pink Floyd. “’Sgt Pepper’ was very important, as were the pop charts at the time”, recalls Tully.

Another big influence, according to Tully, was The Moody Blues ‘Threshold Of A Dream’ which was released in April 1969. Echoes of Graeme Edge’s poems can be heard in Mike McCully’s spoken words during the moonlanding-inspired ‘Head For The Moon’.

Alan van Der Merwe was a music teacher friend of Mike’s and was responsible for the vocal harmony arrangements. Tully cites South African band ‘The Sandpipers’ as an inspiration. This folk quartet, which consisted of two girls and two guys, and not be confused with the US folk trio, released an album titled ‘A Bird in Hand’ in 1967.

When asked to name his favourite song on the ‘Inc.’ album besides ‘Why Can’t It Rain’, Tully says without hesitation, ‘The Circus’. This song is an uptempo psychedelic pop-rocker with strong vocal harmonies, distorted guitar sounds from Allan Faull and great flute playing from Ian Smith.

The sessions were done, but another song was needed to complete the album, so a studio jam called ‘Jackin’ Around’ was added. Great organ sounds from Glenda Wassman, and a drum solo play-out from Mike McCully.

Glenda Wassman later married Richard, and they formed the pop band Pendulum and had a big hit with ‘Take My Heart’ in 1976. Glenda then went on to major success worldwide with the all-girl group, Clout, who had a huge hit with ‘Substitute’ which went to number 2 in the UK in 1978.

Allan Faull formed Falling Mirror in the late 70’s with his cousin Nielen Mirror (nee Marais).

Asked about an interesting studio story, Tully remembers feeling a few tremors and stuff falling off the walls one day during recording. “Everybody got a fright and rushed outside”, says Tully, “we thought it was a passing train.” Turned out to be the Tulbagh earthquake of 29th September 1969.

McCully Workshop, with the McCullagh brothers always at the core, have released a number of albums over the years and of course are best known for their big hit ‘Buccaneer’ from 1977.

40 years after those first recording sessions in late 1969, Tully is still involved in recording and runs his successful Spaced-Out Sounds Studio in Cape Town. Mike regularly packs out concert halls with his various nostalgic revue shows including ‘Sixty Something’, ‘Station 70′, ‘Music Of The Millennium’, ‘Country Classics’ and many, many others.

McCully Workshop still perform live on occasion and their first hit ‘Why Can’t It Rain’ is almost always included in the setlist.

The legends of South African pop and rock live on…
by Brian Currin
1. Why Can't It Rain - 4:12
2. Hardcase Woman - 2:34
3. Ice Lover - 3:05
4. Four Walls - 2:40
5. Stargazer - 2:48
6. Rush Hour At Midnight - 3:42
7. Jackin' Around - 2:04
8. Head For The Moon - 4:00
9. The Circus - 4:00
10.Years Of My Life - 3:19
11.Fast Car - 3:41
12.Séance - 3:05

McCully Workshop
*Tully Mccully - Vocals, Bass, Guitar
*Mike Mccully - Vocals, Drums
*Richard Hyam - Rhythm And Acoustic Guitars, Vocals
*Glenda Wassman - Organ, Vocals
*Ian Smith - Trumpet, Flute, Flugelhorn
Additional Musicians
*Allan Faull - Lead Guitar
*Alan Van Der Merwe - Vocal Harmony,Organ
*Melanie Hyam - Vocal Harmonies

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