Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Fraternity of Man - Get It On! (1969 us, superb garage psych blues folk rock)

 Fraternity Of Man is the band that forms the link between Frank Zappa and The Mothers, Lowell George & The Factory, Little Feat, and Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band. In its short period of existence between these ancestors, relatives and descendants, the band managed to record two albums, 'Fraternity Of Man' in 1968, and 'Get It On' in 1969, before fragmenting.

Elliott Ingber had joined the fifth lineup of The Mothers in time to participate in the recording of their first album 'Freak Out' in August 1966, the landmark double album produced by Tom Wilson. According to Zappa, he had to fire Ingber at the end of 1966, and in the course of 1967 the guitarist linked up with Warren Klein, Martin Kibbee and Richard Hayward, who had been three quarters of The Factory. Along with fourth member Lowell George, The Factory had been recording (with Zappa producing) in the latter half of 1966 and early 1967. (See the Edsel Records CD by Lowell George and The Factory 'Lightning Rod Man'

With the inclusion of Lawrence 'Stash' Wagner (rather than George) on lead vocals, Fraternity Of Man set about their first album with Tom Wilson in the producer's chair. 'Fraternity Of Man' was released on ABC Records in 1968 and featured a cover of 'Oh No I Don't Believe It' by Zappa (which he had yet to release himself), and 'Don't Bogart Me' which was subsequently featured in the film 'Easy Rider' and its huge-selling soundtrack album, issued in 1969.

The second album, again with Tom Wilson producing, was released on Dot Records in 1969, and featured credited session help from Lowell George and pianist Bill Pavne. By the end of 1969, however, Fraternity Of Man were no more. Richard Hayward found himself in a studio with Lowell George again, and with Bill Payne and bassist Roy Estrada (another ex-Mother), the first Little Feat line-up was complete. Elliott Ingber joined Captain Beefheart's Magic Band, appearing first on 'The Spotlight Kid' album in 1972, now with the monicker of 'Winged Eel Fingerling'.
CD-Liner notes
1. Boo Man - 3:14
2. Don't Start Me Talkin' (Sonny Boy Williamson) - 2:37
3. Pool Of Tears - 2:48
4. The Throbber - 3:40
5. Cat's Squirrel (Adapted By Fraternity Of Man) - 3:18
6. Too High To Eat - 3:37
7. Forget Her - 3:32
8. Coco Lollipop - 3:03
9. Trick Bag (P. Weedon) - 2:40
10.Mellow Token - 3:28
All songs by The Fraternity of Man except where indicated

The Fraternity Of Man
*Lawrence "Stash" Wagner - Guitar, Vocals
*Elliot Ingber - Guitar
*Warren Klein - Guitar, Sitar
*Martin Kibbee - Bass
*Richard Hayward - Drums
*Lowell George - Guitar
*Bill Payne - Piano

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mayo Thompson - Corky's Debt to His Father (1970 us, remarkable experimental blues psych rock, Red Krayola leader)

 Mayo Thompson's  first album was produced in Houston, Texas in 1970 by Thompson, Frank Davis and Roger 'Rocket' Romano for the short-lived but nonetheless legendary Texas Revolution label of Walt Andrus.

Though pressed and advertised in the pages of Rolling Stone, the demise of the label meant the album went largely undistributed until the mid 1980s when Glass Records (London) gave it its first proper release. Coming as the sun set on the first psychedelic rock era, Corky's Debt evokes the early days of acoustic blues, but is already in the maelstrom from which punk rock would emerge just a few years later.

The set features innovative performances by some of Houston's finest musicians of the time playing eleven songs by Thompson -- one with Frederick Barthelme, with whom he started The Red Crayola. They represent a broad range of expressive manners and forms. Made to stand with the finest comparable work of the period, Corky's Debt shows Thompson at his most accessible.

Unique ballads, blues, rock and love songs flow one to another with style, grace and intensity, and the handling of diverse popular-music idioms and language that characterize his more widely known work in The Red Crayola are also to be found. The line between genius and madness is very thin.

The line between a million dollars and nothing is also very thin. Had Corky's Debt been heard back then, today, if someone mentioned Astral Weeks, you might say, 'It does?' The beat lives on."
1. The Lesson 2:42
2. Oyster Thins 6:04
3. Horses 3:14
4. Dear Betty Baby 3:52
5. Venus In The Morning 2:33
6. To You 2:52
7. Fortune 2:14
8. Black Legs (Mayo Thompson, Ricky Barthelme) - 3:54
9. Good Brisk Blues 3:11
10.Around The Home 2:55
11.Worried Worried 5:02
All songs by Mayo Thompson except where noted.

*Mayo Thompson - Vocals, Guitar, Bass
*Frank Davis - Fiddle Guitar, Timpani
*Roger Romano - Percussion
*Joe Duggan - Piano
*Mike Sumler - Slide Guitar, Bass, Tenor Saxophone
*Le Anne Romano - Baritone Sax
*Chuck Conway - Drums, Bongos, Percussion
*Jimi Newhouse - Drums
*Carson Graham - Drums
*The La Las - Backing Vocals
*The Whoaback Singers - Backing Vocals

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Apple - An Apple A Day (1969 uk, tasteful beat psych, Repertoire bonus tracks edition)

 Apple came to Larry Page's attention via their first single issued on Smash records, "Thank You Very Much"/"Your Heart Is Free Just Like The Wind" in early 1968.

As a result, Page's record label, Page One Records, released their sole LP, which is a fine mixture of psych pop and psychedelic, heavy r&b. Two singles preceded the LP's release, "Let's Take A Trip Down The Rhine" (Oct 1968) and "Doctor Rock" (Dec 1968).

However, with little to no promotion for the record or the band, despite a colour brochure extolling the virtues of apples as supplied by the British Apple & Peau Development Council, the record didn't sell.

Despite having some of the finest British psych moments (i.e. "The Otherside", "Buffalo Billycan"), only a limited number of copies were pressed. In result, it is listed as one of Record Collector's Top 20 most collectable albums of all time.

However, thanks to a 1994 reissue on CD by Repertoire Records, An Apple A Day has finally been able to reach a larger audience than when it was first released.
1. Let's Take A Trip Down The Rhine - 2:59
2. Doctor Rock - 3:07
3. The Otherside - 3:17
4. Mr. Jones - 2:49
5. The Mayville Line - 2:54
6. Queen Of Hearts Blues - 2:28
7. Rock Me Baby - 3:28
8. Buffalo Billycan - 3:05
9. Photograph - 4:10 
10.Psycho Daises - 2:22
11.Sporting Life - 5:51 
12.Pretty Girl I Love You - 2:39
13.Let's Take A Trip Down The Rhine - 3:04
14.Buffalo Billycan - 3:07
15.Doctor Rock - 3:11 
16.The Otherside - 3:16
Bonus tracks 13-16 Single Mix.

*Dennis Regan - Vocals
*Robbo Ingram - Lead Guitar
*Jeff Harrod - Bass Guitar
*Charlie Barber - Piano
*Dave Brassington - Drums

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Arlo Guthrie - Alice's Restaurant (1967 us, marvelous psych folk rock)

 Although he'd been a fixture on the East Coast folk circuit for several years, Arlo Guthrie did not release his debut album until mid-1967. A majority of the attention directed at Alice's Restaurant focuses on the epic 18-plus-minute title track, which sprawled over the entire A-side of the long-player.

However, it is the other half-dozen Guthrie compositions that provide an insight into his uniformly outstanding, yet astoundingly overlooked, early sides on Warner Bros. Although arguably not 100 percent factual, "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" -- which was recorded in front of a live audience -- is rooted in a series of real incidents.

This decidedly anti-establishment saga of garbage dumps closed on Thanksgiving, good ol' Officer Obie, as well as Guthrie's experiences with the draft succeeds not only because of the unusual and outlandish situations that the hero finds himself in; it is also his underdog point of view and sardonic delivery that maximize the effect in the retelling. In terms of artistic merit, the studio side is an equally endowed effort containing six decidedly more traditional folk-rock compositions.

Among the standouts are the haunting "Chilling of the Evening," which is given an arrangement perhaps more aptly suited to a Jimmy Webb/Glen Campbell collaboration. There is a somewhat dated charm in "Ring-Around-a-Rosy Rag," a sly, uptempo, and hippie-friendly bit of jug band nostalgia. "I'm Going Home" is an underrated minor-chord masterpiece that is not only reminiscent of Roger McGuinn's "Ballad of Easy Rider," but also spotlights a more sensitive and intricate nature to Guthrie's craftsmanship.

Also worth mentioning is the first installment of "The Motorcycle Song" -- which was updated and discussed further on the live self-titled follow-up release Arlo (1968) -- notable for the extended discourse on the "significance of the pickle."
by Lindsay Planer
1. Alice's Restaurant Massacree - 18:20
2. Chilling of the Evening - 3:01
3. Ring-Around-a-Rosy Rag - 2:10
4. Now and Then - 2:15
5. I'm Going Home - 3:12
6. The Motorcycle Song - 2:58
7. Highway in the Wind - 2:40
Words and Music by Arlo Guthrie

*Arlo Guthrie - Vocals, Guitar

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Phil Ochs - Pleasures Of The Harbor (1967 us, bright, stylish orchestrated baroque folk, 2000 edition)

 If ever a record by a major 1960s artist was a "transitional" album, Phil Ochs’ Pleasures of the Harbor was it. The LP was his first recording to use full band arrangements; his first to almost entirely depart from the topical protest folk songs with which he had made his reputation; his first to be recorded for a then-young A&M label; and his first to be recorded in Los Angeles, the city to which he moved from New York in the late 1960s.

It is undoubtedly his most sonically ambitious work, and if the almost ludicrously huge scope of his ambitions guaranteed an uneven album, it nevertheless contained some of his most enduring and successful songs and performances.

When Ochs began working on Pleasures of the Harbor in August 1967, he was among the last of the major American folk singer-songwriters of the early-to-mid-1960s who had yet to make the leap from folk to rock. With the exception of a (very good) electric version of  "I Ain’t Marchin’ Anymore" on a 1966 single, all of his prior recordings-including three full albums for Elektra-had featured plain acoustic guitar-and-voice arrangements.

In fact he had not done any recording at all since the sessions (actually a mixture of live and studio taping) in early 1966 that had been issued as Phil Ochs in Concert. In the interim (and even by early 1966), acoustic folk music had been totally overtaken by the folk-rock of his chief rival Bob Dylan and the likes of the Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, and the Mamas & the Papas.

By the summer of 1967, even folk-rock was passing its peak as the psychedelia of Sgt. Pepper, the Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow, and the Doors’ debut album shook the top of the charts. Ochs continued to write songs at a good clip, but recording-wise sat on the sidelines during these crucial 18 months, in part due to prolonged business machinations that saw him switch both managers and record companies.

    Pleasures of the Harbor may have been the first Ochs album to use electric instruments and elaborate arrangements, but it would not be folk-rock, exactly. Influenced by rock’n’roll, jazz, soundtrack music, classical composition, and even the electronic avant-garde, Ochs sought elaborate, sometimes orchestral settings that would complement the progressively complex poetry of his lyrics.

Moreover, he wanted each song to be strikingly different from each other in mood and production, and yet wished the album to flow together well as a whole. Instrumental collaborators in this process would be producer Larry Marks, arranger Ian Freebairn-Smith (responsible for translating Ochs’ countermelodies into finished products utilizing numerous instruments), and pianist Lincoln Mayorga, who gave classical, ragtime, and lounge jazz spices when needed.

Baroque pop-rock production-and, perhaps, over-production-was fully in evidence on the opening track, "Cross My Heart," with its drums, harpsichord, flutes, strings, orchestral horns, and vocal overdubs. The song served notice that Ochs was largely abandoning explicit social comment for more abstract statements whose lyrics demanded multiple listenings to absorb all the nuances.

Ochs was beginning to write long songs at this point, and in fact Phil might have gotten carried away with "Cross My Heart," as he cut several verses from the number after the album was finished (one of those verses appears on the demo version of the tune on Rhino’s Farewells & Fantasies box set). Nothing in the six minutes of "Flower Lady" was a waste, however, the track-with strings, oboe, and piano-standing as the best of the several pseudo-chamber classical arrangements that Ochs and Marks would attempt in the late 1960s.

The moving, just-this-side-of-maudlin composition, with its almost cinematic narrative of a flower lady all but ignored amongst the bustle of numerous contrasting characters, also boasted one of Ochs’ best melodies. Even before Pleasures of the Harbor, cover versions had already appeared by British Invasion stars Peter & Gordon and folk-rock duo Jim & Jean; the Byrds, unfortunately, declined to record it although they had considered doing so.

"Outside of a Small Circle of Friends" is perhaps Ochs’ best-known song, and certainly the most celebrated track from his post-acoustic folk recording career. Inspired by the murder of  Kitty Genovese in New York, during which several witnesses did nothing to stop the killing for fear of getting involved, it was also Ochs’ most imaginative arrangement.

The appalling apathy of idle bystanders doing nothing to stop a woman getting stabbed, and several other similar situations laid out by the subsequent verses, was juxtaposed with a jaunty Dixieland-style backup (with Mayorga on tack piano) and Ochs’ splendidly deadpan vocal. Where most songwriters would have let the statement boil over into self-righteous rage, Ochs shrewdly realized that the message would hit home with a far more chilling punch via understatement and gallows humor.

This should have been a hit single, and in fact did become popular in Los Angeles and Seattle. Its chart prospects, however, were scotched by a reference to marijuana. No less than three separate releases of the cut on 45-an unedited one, a version which took out the verse containing the offending word, and another that simply removed the word "marijuana"-were to no avail, as the single failed to break nationally.

    "I’ve Had Her," a song of bitter romance with a devastating (and heartless) putdown line, had one of the album’s more lugubrious arrangements, highlighting Mayorga’s classical-style piano. It was back to lighthearted Dixieland jazz, however, for "Miranda," one of the few songs from this period of Ochs’ development that could be fairly characterized as fun, though it didn’t dispense with acute narrative detail. Certainly Ochs’ eye for savage yet witty character sketches reached an apex in the eight-minute "The Party," which like "Outside of a Small Circle of Friends" was a perfect match of lyric and arrangement. Ochs took the (singing, not playing) role of the pianist at a party of upper-class snobs, though he didn’t exclude himself from criticism either.

Lincoln Mayorga played the role of lounge lizard to the hilt, mimicking the styles of Bach, Beethoven, and Schumann, and purposefully misquoting standards such as "Stardust" to lounge jazz backing. The title cut returned to rich, somewhat overblown orchestration, however, with its bittersweet tales of sailors seeking escape on shore leave, though this was probably a metaphor for escapes of all sorts by everyone, not just sailors.

    No track in the Phil Ochs canon is more controversial than "Crucifixion," not so much for its lyrics-although those were plenty controversial-as its musique concrete-like arrangement. Its ten verses of martyred heroes couldn’t help but be interpreted as a comment on the still-fresh assassination of President Kennedy. In fact it did bring tears to the soon-to-be-slain Robert Kennedy when Ochs sang it to him. In keeping with the eclectic experimentalism of Pleasures of the Harbor, however, Ochs decided to set his vocal against an eerie morass of loops, electric harpsichord, and washes of electronic distortion, arranged by Joseph Byrd (leader of the excellent late-1960s experimental electronic rock group the United States of America).

This made him sound for all the world like a lone voice drowning in an avant-garde thunderstorm, which in the eyes of many fans obscured the terrible beauty of the song as heard when played solo, on acoustic guitar, in concert. The point is now moot as live acoustic versions of the song were eventually released, from 1968 (on There and Now: Live in Vancouver, 1968) and 1970 (on the Chords of Fame anthology and the Farewells & Fantasies box).

    Pleasures of the Harbor, clocking in at more than 50 minutes, was an outrageously long album for 1967, with most of songs exceeding five minutes and some approaching the ten-minute mark. It was also not terribly successful, peaking at #168 in the charts. While Ochs would not retreat to acoustic folk for his subsequent A&M LPs, and would continue to write songs as unusual (and often lengthy) in construction throughout the rest of the 1960s, he would never again employ textures as recklessly varied as those heard on Pleasures of the Harbor.
by Richie Unterberger
1. Cross My Heart - 3:23
2. Flower Lady - 3:23
3. Outside Of A Small Circle Of Friends - 3:37
4. I've Had Her - 8:03
5. Miranda - 5:17
6. The Party - 7:57
7. Pleasures Of The Harbor - 8:05
8. Crucifixion - 8:45
Words and Music by Phil Ochs

*Phil Ochs – Vocals, Guitar
*Lincoln Mayorga – Piano
*Warren Zevon – Guitar On "Pleasures Of The Harbor"
*Ian Freebairn-Smith – Arrangements
*Joseph Byrd – Arrangements On "The Crucifixion"

1964  All The News That's Fit To Sing

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Janus - Gravedigger (1972 uk / germany, stunning heavy progressive rock with psychedelic tinges, 2013 remaster, remixed and expanded)


 Janus was born as a progressive rock band made up of English musicians in Krefeld in Germany in 1970, retired broke and unknown in 1973, despite being signed to the prestigious EMI "Harvest" label, alongside such bands as Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, and Edgar Broughton. Re-born in 1990, and just achieving success in 2001.
The original band, were Colin Orr (Guitar/Keyboards), Roy Yates (Classical Guitar), Bruno Lord (Vocals), Derek Hyett (Vocals), Mick Peberdy (Bass) and Keith Bonthrone (Drums). Style was truly original, and it has been said that Janus were the originators of the genre that became "acoustic rock". That probably misses the fact, that like the name, the band had two very distinct, schizophrenic, sides. Capable of soft, beautiful melodies, they also cranked out some mega-decibel material, which a few years later would have had them tagged as a punk band.
Signed to EMI Harvest in 1970, in 1971 they recorded the classic "Gravedigger" album. Remarkably, the whole album, including mixing was put together in 24 hours of studio time.

For two years, the band lived in Holland, partied on - making the "summer of love" a 36 month event - and managed very few live appearances. The second album, which should have been made in 1972/3 included some dramatic concept pieces, and a 25 minute track "Under the Shadow of the Moon", which included elements that other artists would not make popular until the 1980's. Sadly, EMI never took up the option on the contract, due to the disappointing sales of "Gravedigger", so the album never got further than the rehearsal studio. But keep reading as in 2013 something really strange happened.
At the tail of 1973 Janus came to England, and managed to perform to one or two appreciative university audiences, before becoming the only band in history to be thrown out of the Cavern Club in Liverpool (too heavy.... read loud). By 1974 it was time to call it a day, so that was the first end of Janus.
CD 1 (Remaster)
1. Red Sun (Colin Orr) - 8:55
2. Bubbles (Colin Orr, Derek Hyatt) - 3:51
3. Watcha Trying To Do? (Colin Orr) - 3:50
4. I Wanna Scream (Colin Orr, Bruno Lord) - 2:43
5. Gravedigger (Janus) - 20:50
5. I'm Moving On (Rare Single A Side) (Colin Orr, Roy Yates) - 3:12
6. I Don't Believe You (Rare Single B Side) (Colin Orr, Bruno Lord) - 3:16
CD 2 (Remix)
1. Red Sun (Colin Orr) - 8:55
2. Bubbles (Colin Orr, Derek Hyatt) - 3:51
3. Watch Trying To Do? (Colin Orr) - 3:50
4. I Wanna Scream (Colin Orr, Bruno Lord) - 2:49
5. Suma Manatilly (Previously Unreleased) (Colin Orr, Keith Bonthrone) - 3:40
6. Sinful Sally (Previously Unreleased) (Colin Orr) - 2:52
7. Gravedigger (Janus) - 20:50

*Bruno Lord - Lead Vocals
*Derek Hyatt - Lead Vocals
*Colin Orr - Guitars, Keyboards
*Roy Yates - Guitar
*Mick Peberdy - Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Keith Bonthrone - Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Guest Musicians
*Thea Hanson-Orr - Backing Vocals
*Rikki Hanson-Orr - Backing Vocals
*Ben Stafford - Backing Vocals
*Hans Jurgen Fritz "Porky" - Keyboards
*Horst Dieter Krohn - String Arrangements

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mighty Baby - A Jug Of Love (1971 uk, ethereal uplifting west coast influenced rural psych rock, Sunbeam reissue)

 Originally released in 1971, Mighty Baby's second release is a deft, understated, and often magical synthesis of any number of musical strains.

Stepping further away from the group's louder roots in the Action and taking in everything from an embrace of Sufism to further explorations ranging from Gram Parsons and the Band's country-rock to jazz and obscure folk, A Jug of Love is all the more remarkable for being a rushed effort, recorded in barely a week's time. But the group's strength in performing together for years served it well, and the resultant album, while a minor classic rather than a holy grail, is still a classic as it stands.

Certainly anyone familiar with the Byrds and Spirit, to name two groups among many, won't be surprised by the end result, but the bandmembers themselves freely admitted to the influence (the cover is surely a nod to Fifth Dimension, at least), and songs like the gentle gospel-blues of the title track and the mandolin-tinged "Slipstreams" speak to it clearly.

Moments like the beautiful buried harmonies that help open "The Happiest Man in the Carnival" and the subtle interplay of the musicians during the extended instrumental break on "Virgin Spring," at over nine minutes the longest of the album's tracks, show the band's evident talent well in hand.

Even the fairly straightforward boogie of "Keep on Jugging" works well enough instead of simply killing time, thanks in part to a fantastic extended coda.
by Ned Raggett
1. A Jug Of Love - 6:22
2. The Happiest Man In The Carnival - 7:11
3. Keep On Jugging - 8:44
4. Virgin Spring - 9:25
5. Tasting The Life - 6:47
6. Slipstreams - 5:26
7. Devil's Whisper - 3:40
8. Virgin Spring - 7:03
9. Messages - 3:46
10.Ancient Traveller - 3:50
All songs by Mighty Baby

Mighty Baby
*Martin Stone - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Mandolin
*Alan King - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Vocals
*Mike Evans - Bass
*Roger Powell - Drums, Congas
*Ian Whiteman - Piano, Harmonium, Organ, Saxophone, Flute, Vocals

1969  Mighty Baby
1970  Mighty Baby - Live In The Attic
1971  Reg King
1966-90  The Action - The Ultimate Action

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Migty baby - Mighty baby (1969 uk, outstanding jamming psych prog rock, bonus tracks edition)

When the Action broke up in the late 60s, they reformed minus Reggie King as Azoth. The Azoth name was short lived, leading the band to settle on Mighty Baby. The Action had played the club circuit for years, releasing many excellent mod singles before plunging into the world of psychedelia. This band had always worked hard, and now they were finally given the luxury to record a long player.

Mighty Baby’s album was released in 1969 off the small independent Head label. At this point, Mighty Baby could technically and instrumentally hold their own against rock’s finest: The Grateful Dead, King Crimson, Collosuem, Caravan and the Allman Brothers. The album is miles away from the soulful, sweaty mod garage of their mid 60s singles and could best be described as a melding of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young harmonies, Allman Brothers guitar improv and Notorious Byrd Brothers psychedelia.

Few debut openers are as good as the revolutionary Egyptian Tomb. It’s a sleek, powerful piece of psychedelia with strong west coast style guitar interplay. At 5:30 minutes, this great song never falls flat and is definitely one of the defining moments of British acid rock. Same Way From The Sun has a similar stoned vibe with psychedelic echo and sounds like it could have been lifted from a really good latter day Byrds album.

The spacious, pounding A Friend You Know But Never See, yet another highlight, rocks really hard with some interesting raga style guitar and has a strange mountain air aura. Other works such as the rural I’m From The Country provided a sound Mighty Baby would further explore on their next album, the equally brilliant Jug of Love from 1971.

Mighty Baby along with the Action and various band member’s solo careers are one of rock’s great lost family trees. During their peak they were innovative and unstoppable, thus the “English Grateful Dead” label really doesn’t do them any justice.
by Jason Nardelli
1. Egyptian Tomb - 5:28
2. A Friend You Know but Never See - 4:24
3. I've Been Down So Long - 5:05
4. Same Way From the Sun - 5:37
5. House Without Windows - 6:10
6. Trials of a City - 5:58
7. I'm From the Country - 4:49
8. At a Point Between Fate and Destiny - 4:44
9. Only Dreaming - 3:16
10. Dustbin Full of Rubbish - 2:47
11. Understanding Love - 3:50
12. Favourite Days - 3:54
13. A Saying for Today - 3:27
Compositions from 1-8 by Mighty Βaby
Songs 9-13 written by Ian Whiteman and perfomed by The Action

Migty Βaby
*Alan King - Guitar, Vocals
*Michael Evans  - Bass
*Roger Powell  - Drums
*Martin Stone  - Guitars
*Ian Whiteman  - Flute, Organ, Percussion, Piano, Saxophone, Vocals

1970  Mighty Baby - Live In The Attic
1971  Reg King
1966-90  The Action - The Ultimate Action

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Luther Allison - Luther's Blues (1974 us, superb chicago electric blues, remaster and expanded)


Born in Widener, Arkansas in 1939, Luther Allison (the 14th of 15 musically gifted children) first connected to the blues at age ten, when he began playing the diddley bow (a wire attached by nails to a wall with rocks for bridges and a bottle to fret the wire).
His family migrated to Chicago in 1951, and Luther began soaking in the sounds of Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Robert Nighthawk. He was classmates with Muddy Waters’ son and occasionally stopped in the Waters’ house to watch the master rehearse. It wasn’t until he was 18 already in Chicago for seven years that Luther began playing blues on a real guitar and jamming with his brother Ollie’s band.
By 1957, Allison had dropped out of school and formed a band called The Rolling Stones. Unhappy with the name, they became The Four Jivers, gigging all over the West Side of Chicago. Before long, Luther was jamming with the West Side’s best, including Magic Sam, Otis Rush, and Freddie King, who encouraged Allison to sing. “That,” said Allison, “was my school.” When King began to tour nationally in the early 1960s, Allison took over King’s band as well as his weekly gigs at Walton’s Corner and became one of the hottest acts on the West Side.
For five years, Allison honed his craft. He moved to California for a year and cut sides with fellow Chicagoans Shakey Jake Harris and Sunnyland Slim. He cut his first two songs as a leader on the now-classic Delmark anthology Sweet Home Chicago before releasing his first solo album (also on Delmark), Love Me Mama , a record of hard-hitting blues that spoke to the growing rock audience. But even before his debut album came out, Luther landed a headlining spot at the influential Ann Arbor Blues Festival in 1969, and went from relative unknown to major blues-rock attraction. “His guitar riffs seemed to defy the possible,” raved John Fishel, the program director of the festival, who brought Allison back to perform at the following two festivals.
Allison signed with Motown Records in 1972 as the label’s only blues act. His three records for the Gordy subsidiary led to numerous concert dates and both national and international festival appearances, but domestically, interest in the blues was fading. After finding instant acceptance in Europe, he was convinced that Paris was the place to be. While he gained superstar status in Europe and released a dozen European records, his presence in the American music scene diminished.
by Chip Eagle
1. Luther's Blues (Luther Allison, Traditional) - 6:18
2. SomeDay Pretty Baby (Berry Gordy Jr., James Wookley) - 2:40
3. Easy Baby (Willie Dixon) - 5:17
4. Part Time Love (Janie Bradford, Clay Hammond, Richard Wylie) - 2:43
5. Now You Got It (Luther Allison,, Gary Beam, Walter Block, Kenneth George Mills) - 3:38
6. Kt (Luther Allison) - 3:07
7. Let's Have A Little Talk (Luther Allison) - 7:04
8. Driving Wheel (Roosevelt Sykes) - 5:34
9. Into My Life (Luther Allison) - 3:30
10.San-Ho-Zay (Freddie King, Sonny Thompson) - 5:20
11.Bloomington Closing (Early Version) (Luther Allison) - 5:27
12.Medly: I'm Gonna Miss My Baby/Bad News Is Coming?The Thrill Is Gone (Joseph Peraino, Luther Allison, Paul White, Rick Darnell, Roy Hawkins) - 19:10
Bonus Tracks 10-12
Track 12 recorded at the Ann Arbor Blues Festival, September 9, 1973

*Luther Allison - Guitar, Harmonica, Slide Guitar, Vocals
*Bob Babbitt - Bass
*Gary Beam - Bass
*Gene Block - Guitar
*Tom Curry - Keyboards, Organ, Piano
*Ray Goodman - Guitar
*K.J. Knight - Drums
*Andrew Smith - Drums
*Paul White - Keyboards, Organ, Piano

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Beggars Opera - Waters Of Change (1971 uk, essential heavy progressive rock, 2006 Repertoire digi pack edition)

 Beggars Opera are one of the most intriguing of all the bands to emerge from the Progressive Rock era of the 1970s. Hailing from Scotland the group was and still remains built around the talents of guitarist Ricky Gardiner and his wife Virginia Scott, who sings, plays keyboards and composes lyrics.

Still active today, but now based in Wales, the pair have released such albums as ‘Close To My Heart’ (2007), a richly varied and dynamic set of performances that took ten years to bring to fruition. This was mainly due to the effects of a medical condition known as ‘electro sensitivity’ that has affected Ricky Gardner for many years. This is brought about by exposure to radiation from mobile phones and computers. Ricky and Virginia have based their latest album ‘Lose A Life’ (2011) on the theme. Sub-titled a ‘Nano Opera’ it is based on the story of his battle against ‘E.S.’

Roderick ‘Ricky’ Gardiner’ was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1948. He has enjoyed a busy career, including working with David Bowie and Iggy Pop. But his first brush with fame came when Beggars Opera was formed in 1969. The original group was based in Glasgow and took its name from the ‘The Beggar’s Opera’ a play by the poet John Gay. Ricky began playing guitar in bands at the age of 14. Among his earliest groups were the Kingbees, Vostoks and the System. Beggars Opera first comprised Gardiner (guitar, vocals), Martin Griffiths (lead vocals), Alan Park (organ, piano), Gordon Sellar (bass, acoustic guitar, vocals) and Raymond Wilson (drums). Virginia Scott (Mellotron and vocals) joined later.

The group signed to Vertigo, alongside Black Sabbath, Colosseum and Manfred Mann’s Chapter Three. They released four albums over the next few years, ‘Waters Of Change’ (1971) was their second , the band had now added a female mellotron-player named Virginia Wolf who also wrote some material for the group too. Openoing track "Time Machine" has a relaxed and dreamy feeling to it, while "I've No Idea" and the folky "Festival" were both more energetic and excellent progressive rock tracks. "The Fox" was probably the most complex song the group ever recorded. "Silver Peacock" has a very beautiful mellotron arrangement, and especially the intro sounds cool. There are also some short and very nice instrumentals between the longer tracks. The best of these is probably "Nimbus". An essential album from the early 70's progressive scene of England.
1. Time Machine (Park, Gardiner, Griffiths) - 8:08
2. Lament (Park, Wilson) - 1:50
3. I've No Idea (Park, Griffiths) - 7:42
4. Nimbus (Griffiths, Gardiner, Sellar) - 3:35
5. Festival (Park, Erskine, Griffiths) - 5:59
6. Silver Peacock (Intro) (Scott, Park, Griffiths) - 0:23
7. Silver Peacock (Scott, Park, Griffiths) - 6:32
8. Impromptu (Scott, Gardiner) - 1:18
9. The Fox (Scott, Gardiner, Griffiths) - 6:47

Beggars Opera
*Ricky Gardiner - Lead Guitar, Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
*Martin Griffiths - Lead Vocals, Cow Bell
*Alan Park - Organ, Piano
*Gordon Sellar - Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Virginia Scott - Mellotron, Vocals
*Raymond Wilson - Percussion

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Various Artists - My Mind Goes High (1966-68 us, psychedelic pop nuggets from the wea vaults, double Vinyl edition)

 «My Mind Goes High» is a true excavation of the vaults, picking overlooked album tracks and neglected singles from a cornucopia of WEA-owned labels, including Warner Bros., Cotillion, Jubilee, Valiant, Reprise, and Atco.
While the focus is on acts that released a single or forgotten album, there are a handful of recognizable names -- the Association, Kim Fowley, the Electric Prunes, the Bonniwell Music Machine, the Tokens, the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band -- and in the Monkees' "Porpoise Song," there's even a genuine hit. But that song is the exception to the rule: most of these are quite obscure, and it's even arguable that because they were released on major labels (or at the very least, high-profile labels), the songs haven't been given the attention or respect as psychedelia released on smaller, regional labels.
That argument is laid out in the introduction of the excellent liner notes, and the music on «My Mind Goes High» supports it strongly. Often, collections of rare heavy psychedelia and garage rock can grow a little samey even when the musical quality is high, since bands tended to emulate the same sounds and ideas, using the same production techniques as their peers. «My Mind Goes High» is a much more interesting listen than the average psychedelic rarities collection since these underground ideas are applied in bizarre, unpredictable ways to professionally written, melodic songs that were designed for mainstream radio.
Where its companion collection, Come to the Sunshine, is heavy on lush surfaces and harmonies, «My Mind Goes High» is overtly trippy and psychedelic, filled with fuzz guitars, echoes, phased vocals, organs, studio effects, and minor-key drones. This brings it closer to familiar Nuggets territory, but there's a much heavier emphasis on studiocraft and production here than there is on anything on the original double-vinyl Nuggets or Rhino's original box set; again, the focus is on the record, not the song, even though there are some excellent songs here.
Nevertheless, the sound and effects of the productions are the most memorable aspects,  Jeff Thomas' "Straight Aero," quite likely the trippiest square anthem ever recorded, has a weird undercurrent of menace in its hiccupping bass and clanging piano.
«My Mind Goes High» is filled with moments as strong as this, and it makes a convincing argument that psychedelic pop is at its best when it's pure, undiluted ear candy like this. It's not just a good introduction to the charms of psychedelic pop; it holds its own next to any collection of freaky, guitar-fueled garage-psychedelic rarities.
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Disc 1
1. Baker Knight And The Knightmares - Hallcuinations - 2:54
2. The Misty Wizards - It's Love - 2:10
3. The Next Exit - Break Away - 2:47
4. The Collectors - Looking At A Baby - 2:18
5. Adrian Pride - Her Name Is Melody - 3:02
6. The Association - Pandora's Golden Heebie Jeebies - 2:53
7. The World Column - Lantern Gospel - 3:30
8. Tom Northcott - Who Planted Thorns In Miss Alice's Garden - 2:50
9. John Wonderling - Man Of Straw - 2:50
10.Ellen Margulies - The White Pony - 2:24
11.Jeff Thomas - Straight Aero - 3:14
12.M.C.2 - My Mind Goes High - 2:39 
Disc 2
1. Brass Buttons - Hell Will Take Care Of Her - 2:59
2. The Salt - Lucifer - 3:04
3. Kim Fowley - Strangers From The Sky - 2:59
4. The Electric Prunes- Antique Doll - 3:13
5. The Bonniwell Music Machine - Astrologically Incompatible - 2:23
6. The Tokens - How Nice? - 2:58
7. Noel Harrison - Sign Of The Queen - 2:44
8. Lee Mallory - That's The Way It's Gonna Be - 2:57 
9. The Glass Family - House Of Glass - 3:13
10.The Holy Mackerel - Wildflowers - 3:59
11.The Monkees - Porpoise Song - 4:04
12.The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - Smell Of Incense - 5:48

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Various Artists - Take My Tip (1963-67 uk, exciting mod r 'n' b artyfacts from the EMI vaults)

 Dedicated to the  enduring appeal of 60s music in its various guises. UK  bands in the 60s successfully fused their love of U.S. black music with  other styles, charged it with a healthy dose of youthful aggression and  called it their own.
That's in essence the Beat and R&B era, of course, in  a nutshell. But a quick glimpse at the credits for this compilation reveals  more: previously, serious-minded musicians shunned "pop". The R ‘n’ B explosion  brought them into the fold: now, hardcore jazz musicians could be found in  the ranks of various beat combos. 

Running parallel with this musical renaissance was a similarly exciting  evolution in youth culture. Mod was the catch-all term used to describe the  newly-acquired aspirant lifestyle adopted by many teenagers - with a  strongly identifiable look, the emphasis on the neat, the sharp, the  modern.
Four or so decades on, Mod has now come to symbolise the era,  inseparable from the iconography of the mid-60s, and kept alive by a small  but perfectly formed scene of people who weren't even born at the time.  What's Mod? What you want it to be. Is this Mod? Who cares?! In essence, Take My Tip is a fascinating jukebox of classic rarities.
From CD liner notes
Artists - Tracks
1. Ottilie Patterson with Sonny Boy Williamson - Baby Please Don't Go - 1:48
2. Long John Baldry And Hoochie Coochie Men - Up Above My Head I Hear Music In The Air - 2:50
3. Duffy Power - If I Get Lucky Some Day - 2:42
4. Tony's Defenders - Yes I Do - 2:23
5. The Manish Boys - Take My Tip - 2:15
6. Chris Farlowe And The Thunderbirds - Buzz With The Fuzz - 2:30
7. The Shotgun Express - Curtains - 2:21
8. Herbie Goins And Night Timers - Cruisin' - 2:40
9. The Ram Jam Band With Geno Washington - Shake Shake Senora - 2:31
10.Cliff Bennett And The Rebel Rousers - Strange Feeling - 2:37 
11.Simon Dupree And The Big Sound - Medley: 60 Minutes (Of Your Love)/A Lot Of Love - 4:37
12.Haydock's Rockhouse - Mix-A-Fix - 2:24
13.Beryl Marsden - What's She Got - 2:35 
14.The Roulettes - Jackpot - 2:05 
15.Mike Patto - Love - 3:01
16.Rod Stewart - I Just Got Some - 2:40 
17.Toni Daly - Like The Big Man Said - 2:51
18.Murray Head with Blue Monks - You Bore Me - 2:11
19.Kenny Lynch with Laurie Jay Combo - Harlem Library - 2:22
20.Edwick Rumbold - Boggle Woggle - 2:48 
21.The N' Betweens - Evil Witch Man - 2:19 
22.The Shadows - Scotch On The Socks - 2:18
23.Ben Carruthers And The Deep - Jack O'Diamonds - 2:44 
24.Paul Williams And Big Roll Band, The - Gin House - 2:37 
25.Night-Timers Featuring Herbie Goins - The Music Played On - 2:46 

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Jackson Heights - King Progress (1970 uk, exceptional progressive rock, DigiPack edition)

 When Keith Emerson disbanded The Nice, Lee Jackson decided to hang up his bass guitar and go back to 'simpler' music. With this in mind he gathered together some musicians he had known for a number of years: Charlie Harcourt, Tommy Sloane and Mario Tapia. The result being the first Jackson Heights album King Progress, on which Jackson sang and played acoustic guitar.

The standout tracks are 'Mr Screw' and a reworking of the old Nice song 'The Cry of Eugene'. It did not sell in any great numbers. The band started to drift apart and Jackson's next recruitment began. Joining him were John McBurnie and Brian Chatton, both multi-instrumentalists. He did not, however, recruit a drummer.

The band was now a trio with Jackson playing bass, sounds familiar! McBurnie took over the majority of the writing with all three sharing the vocals and a second Album The Fifth Avenue Bus, was recorded with Mike Giles on drums. At this stage the band was touring as a trio, without a drummer. There are no outstanding tracks on the album and once again there was a lack of commercial success.

Undaunted, writing and recording of the next album, with Brian Chatton now contributing to the song writing, began. The resulting album Ragamuffins Fool, was easily their best so far. There was almost a hit single with 'Maureen' and the overall sound was of a band confident in what they were doing. Again most of the drumming was done by Mike Giles. They toured, again without a drummer, and recorded their only Radio One Session in support of the album. It what was becoming inevitable it did not sell.

By now Lee Jackson was getting a bit downhearted and poorer, he was using his own money to keep the band solvent. The master plan was the dreaded 'Concept Album'. The theme was to be about the lives of the 'ladies' who worked in Burlesque theatre. It didn't quite work out that way but, armed with two drummers, Mike Giles and Ian Wallace, and a 20 piece orchestra they went into the studio and recorded Bump 'n' Grind. The publicity machine went into overdrive and the actual record was presented in a deluxe laminated sleeve. Even the record company wanted this one to be big! Guess what? that's right - it bombed.

A major problem in touring with the album was reproducing the orchestral sound. Jackson approached Patrick Moraz, Swiss keyboard wizard with a view to him touring with the band. He declined but suggested Jackson might consider forming a band with him. Moraz had the record deal and other finances in place. In view of his own 'money problems' Jackson agreed and with Moraz and ex Nice drummer Brian 'Blinkey' Davison formed Refugee.
by Jim Sutherland
1. Mr. Screw - 3:21
2. Since I Last Saw You - 7:03
3. Sunshine Freak - 4:52
4. King Progress - 3:30
5. Doubting Thomas - 4:16
6. Insomnia - 5:03
7. The Cry Of Eugene (Keith Emerson, Lee Jackson, David O'List) - 7:54
All songs written by Lee Jackson and Charlie Harcourt except noted.

Jackson Heights
*Charlie Harcourt – Electric, Spanish Guitars, Harpsichord, Mellotron, Organ, Piano,  Vocals
*Lee Jackson – 6, 12 String Acoustic Guitars, Harmonica, Lead Vocals
*Tommy Slone - Drums, Congas, Triangle, Timpani, Abdominal Percussion On Track 5
*Mario Enrique Covarrubias Tapia - Bass Guitar, Spanish Guitar, Background Vocals

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Rust - Come With Me (1969 aussie / uk, substantial fuzzed psych hard rock)


Rust is the real deal. Originally recorded in 1969, their album, Come With Me, is something of a lost mini-classic. Originally released on the independent German label Hor Zu, and bringing it to light in the early 21st century.
Great, psychedelic rock tunes are embellished with phased vocals, treated piano, samples of radio broadcasts, washes of organ, and electronic effects. Mind you, this isn't total freak out music, or anything. Songs like You Thought You Had It Made and Rust revel in blues licks, and rock with a genuine joy, even if the subject matter of their lyrics is somewhat pessimistic, and softer tunes like Please Return and the gorgeous Find a Hideaway are full of acoustic guitars and vocal harmonies.
For a reference point, listening to it I hear a lot of The Deviants, with touches of the 13th Floor Elevators. It's melodic rock that likes to experiment.
by Jeff Fitzgerald
1. Come With Me (Introduction) - ;36
2. You Thought You Had It Made (Jonny Thomas) - 3:34
3. Please Return - 2:37
4. Should I - 3:31
5. Think Big - 3:57
6. Rust - 3:33
7. Delusion (Jonny Thomas) - 2:45
8. Doesn't Add Up To Me - 3:36
9. Find A Hideaway (Jonny Thomas) - 3:38
10. Come With Me -  4:25
11. The Endless Struggle - 2:32
All songs by Brian Hillmann, Walter Monahan except where noted.

*Jonny Thomas - Guitar, Vocals
*Brian Hillmann - Drums
*Walter "Walt" Monahan - Bass

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Creepy John Thomas - Brother Bat Bone / Creepy John Thomas (1969-70 aussie/uk, strong heavy bluesy psych rock)

This is one of my favorite psych-blues albums and every track is just to forgotten gem of past generation. Both albums are allocated different guitars, throaty vocals and elastic hard-rock rhythms. John Thomas is John Thomas, nothing else intended.

He came from Australia, where he recorded in the 60s with The Flies. Then moved to London, but soon after settled down in Germany, where he recorded the pretty good psych album "Come With Me" with his band Rust (UK &US members) He then formed Creepy John Thomas with German musicians Andy Marx & Helmut Pohle (who were not amused, when this LP came out with wrong musicians-credits and a bunch of uninvolved hipsters on the cover).This first LP was released in UK too, but sank like a lead elephant. Next was the album "Brother Bat Bone" 1970, a German only release on Telefuken, and one that's pretty weird as well released on LP by Decca - in Germany.

Reissue by Progressive Line on one disc contains two excellent albums (in order: second album of 1970 and then debut of 1969) Debut RCA orange label ,includes a brief, 3-minute tracks maintained for the 1969 typical hard / folk / psychedelic climates. However,second album ( released on LP by Decca - only in Germany) are only 6 tracks full of heavy blues rock from of the highest shelf...forgotten, British band playing heavy psychedelic / progressive rock,first,lots very juicy play guitars, nice vocals solid rhythm section - a complete success. Previously, John Thomas played in the Rust and then in the Edgar Broughton Band (on LP: Bandages ).

Debut LP Creepy John Thomas (1969) starts with hard blues tune, "Gut Runs Great Stone" with great rhythm that just kicks you at the very beginning, making you headbang and simultaneously tap the rhythm with your hand. Next tune is my favorite, it's "(Do I Figure) In Your Life", chilled psych classic rock tune. Lyrics are solid but fluid, they go great with melody. And melody is real thing here - although it's just few chords chaning in the background, second guitar runs around whole song and adds sweet guitar licks. Bass with drums makes solid groove and nice background - but highlight of this song is ingeniously executed sweet solo - it's one of those Hendrix's solo, with so much emotions that after few listening it became one of my favorite solos.

"You've Gotta Hide" is bluesy tune with solid elements of pure classic rock, chorus is catchy and it's good fitter on first side of album. "One Way Track Blues" is awesome blues riff, lead on acoustic guitar and filled with riffing on electric guitar. Vocals are good-fitting and are totally bluesy, with sour tone but with strenght on finish. Solo is another great thing in this tune. I've noticed that they're singing "...Left my house, spend my time, Blue Cheer, plunder sky..." which left to conclude that they were probably in good releationship with Blue Cheer while Thomas was in San Fran. "Trippin' Like A Dog" is another Muddy Waters-stylish blues tune but with psychedelic guitar wailing through whole song.

"Ride A Rainbow" is psychedelic-trip themed tune, made by hippies for hippes - oriented on peace, unity and love. Thomas' guitar talent is obvious - with his psych-bluesy guitar sound he's painting every song with colors of vivid picture. Next tune, "Green Eyed Lady", instantly reminded me of bass groove on "The Other Side Of This Life" by mighty Jefferson Airplane, which proves Thomas' connection with San Fran scene. Although bass sounds similiar, this song is nothing like upper mentioned. If anything's been really catchy here - than "Sun and Woman" is winner. Guitar is so cheery and catchy, it'll stuck in your head for weeks.

Pumping rhythm of "Lay It On Me" will really satisfy you, and knitlling of guitar will make you love this band. It's funny how they use chorus from "Ride A Rainbow" in this song, just like that, in the middle of song - you'll hear part from previously mentioned song. "Bring Back The Love" will wake oriental side in you. There's bongos and sitars, outrhythmic singing - like in a middle of some ritual. However, ender song could be better. Realising strenght of this album, I would expect psych-bluesy version of, let's say, 10 minutes long jamming, but it ends with cool but rather short tune.
by Adamus67
Brother Bat Bone 1970
1. Down In The Bottom - 5:11
2. What’s The Matter With The Mill - 3:16
3. Brother Bat Bone - 9:06
4. This Is My Body - 3:28
5. Standing In The Sunshine - 8:34
6. 100 Lib. Noomy - 2:29
Creepy John Thomas 1969
7. Gut Runs Great Stone - 4:03
8. (Do I Figure) In Your Life - 2:46
9. You’ve Got To Hide - 2:34
10.One Way Track Blues - 2:09
11.Trippin’ Like A Dog - 4:19
12.Ride A Rainbow 3:05 - 5.65
13.Green Eyed Lady - 3:35
14.Sun And Woman - 3:38
15.Lay It On Me - 3:21
16.Bring Back The Love - 3:23
17.Moon And Eyes Song - 3:43

Creepy John Thomas
*Creepy John Thomas - Lead Vocals, Guitar
*Andy Marx - Lead Guitar, Bass
*Helmut Pohl - Drums
*Dave Hutchins - Bass
*Roy O’Temro - Drums

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