Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sweetwater - Sweetwater (1968 us, attractive sunny baroque psych folk rock)

An unusual rock group in both the size of their lineup (which numbered eight), the instrumentation employed, and the eclectic scope of their material, Sweetwater didn't quite get the first-class songs or breaks necessary to make them widely known. Lead singer Nansi Nevins was backed not just by conventional guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards, but also flute (Albert Moore), conga (Elpidio Cobian), and cello (August Burns). 

Their self-titled debut album was the kind of release that could have only been the product of the late '60s, with the music flying off in all directions, and a major label willing to put it out. Sweetwater blended Californian psychedelia with jazzy keyboards and a classical bent, especially in the flute and cello, but did not cohere into a readily identifiable aesthetic, or write exceptional songs, although they were okay. 

Perhaps Reprise was willing to give such a hard to market and classify band a shot, figuring that in the midst of psychedelic rock scaling the charts that would have seemed unimaginably weird just a couple of years before, who knew what would sell now? Sweetwater was formed from a group of friends that jammed at coffeehouses in Los Angeles in the mid '60s. 

Harvey Gerst, who had written a Byrds song with Roger McGuinn ("It Won't Be Wrong"), was an unofficial member of sorts, sometimes acting as road manager and playing guitar. For their debut album they were produced by Dave Hassinger, who had worked, as recording engineer and producer, with the Rolling Stones, Electric Prunes, and the Grateful Dead. In the late '60s they opened for a lot of big-time acts, and played a bunch of festivals without breaking into the headliner ranks. In fact, they were the very first band to take the stage at Woodstock.

In December 1969, twenty year old Nansi Nevins was in a serious car accident in which she suffered severe brain trauma and damaged her vocal cords, putting her in a coma for weeks and necessitating physical therapy for years. Although she had recorded a couple of tracks on their second Reprise album, she was unable to rejoin the band, which had to stop touring and lost any career momentum it had developed. Producer Richard Perry tried working with them, but that didn't pan out well, although the second album was completed with other members of the band taking lead vocals. 

They broke up in the summer of that year. The surviving trio of Nevins, keyboardist Alex Del Zoppo and bassist Fred Herrera reunited Sweetwater in 1997, and two years later -- to coincide with the 30th anniversary of Woodstock -- cable network VH1 produced and broadcast a film about the group, with Felicity co-star Amy Jo Johnson cast as Nansi Nevins; the picture sparked a considerable resurgence of interest in the group.
by Richie Unterberger
1. Motherless Child (Fred Herrera, Nancy Nevins, Traditional) - 5:05
2. Here We Go Again (Nancy Nevins) - 2:33
3. For Pete's Sake (Alex Del Zoppo) - 2:51
4. Come Take A Walk (Nancy Nevins) - 3:46
5. What's Wrong (Alex Del Zoppo) - 4:02
6. In A Rainbow (Alex Del Zoppo) - 3:17
7. My Crystal Spider (Fred Herrera, Nancy Nevins) - 3:52
8. Rondeau (Fred Herrera) - 1:16
9. Two Worlds (Nancy Nevins) - 3:53
10.Through And Old Storybook (Alex Del Zoppo, Fred Herrera) - 2:31
11.Why Oh Why (Albert B. Moore) - 3:01

*Nanci Nevins - Lead Vocals
*August Burns - Cello
*Alex Del Zoppo - Keyboards, Vocals
*R.G. Carlyle - Bongos, Guitar, Vocals
*Elpido "Pete" Cobian - Congas, Percussion
*Albert B. Moore - Flute, Vocals
*Fred Herrera - Bass, Vocals
*Alan Malarowitz - Drums

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The Petards - The Petards (1967-71 germany, fabulous beat psych with some heavy rock touches)

Originally from Schrecksbach (near Schwalmstadt/Hessen) The Petards, besides bands like "The Lords" or "The Rattles", were one of Germanys most successful and most popular Beat bands in the mid-sixties.

In 1966 Horst Ebert, Klaus Ebert, (git. and voc.) Ruediger "Roger" Waldmann (bass) and Hans Juergen Schreiber (drums) were forming The Petards, Schreiber was replaced in June 1967 by Arno Dittrich, at that time known as best rock - drummer in Germany. Arno's famous drum soli soon became one of the highlights in the band's live performances. With him they won the SWF - New - Generation - Competition, which made it possible to record their first LP "A Deeper Blue". The singles "Shoot Me up To the Moon" as well as "Golden Glass" quickly got number one in HR and SWF hit parades

In the Year 1968 their second album "Petards" was released including another radio number one, "Pretty Liza". The very catchy "Misty Island", a single, produced in the same Year still ranks as a classical of the beat era.

Touring excessively throughout Germany, The Petards had been one of the first beat - bands playing behind the so called "Iron Curtain" with their successful concerts in the CSSR.

Particularly The Petards - fan clubs (up to 380) with their tremendous support were extremely helpful for the band's success and sold out venues over these Years. In the pop poll of "music express" magazine they were voted to be "Best group of new generations". On "Album of the Year” The Petards reached a 5th place

Besides that the group still produced, with aliases such as Zonk and Flittermouse, several Cover LPs, e.g. with songs of Creedence Clearwater Revival.

1970 their third Album "Hit shock" was released. Appearances on French television and in the "Olympia" in Paris followed. Their single "Blue Fire Light" reached the Top Ten in France and Belgium. They showed their musical versatility also with the production of the musical “Wie es euch gefällt” (a free adoption of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night) at the Staatstheater Bremen. As the founder and organizer of the legendary "Burg Herzberg Festival" the band settled a tradition that still works today (note: After the second festival in 71 the band gave up planning another one. 

A decade later a group of musical agents took over the festivals name and installed it again nearby the original venue, of which it moved in 2004 to several other places.) The debut in 1970 had an audience of over 5000, who came to see the stars of the beginning Kraut – Rock scene such as Can, Frumpy and Amon Düül II, just to name a few.

At the end of 1970 The Petards said good-bye to Klaus Ebert, who left the band to become head of the A’n’R department at Liberty Records in Munich. As replacement for Klaus, Bernd Wippich, of whom they said he played an excellent "Hendrix - style guitar", was picked out of 60 applicants.

The double album "Pet-Arts" appeared at the beginning of 1971 as their best and most creative one with affectionately sophisticated Songs like "Baby Man" and "Good Good Donna". In March 4th, 1972 Arno’s thousandth performance took place. A few months later at the third of September, the Petards staged their instruments for their last gig at the “Western Saloon” in Wiesbaden.
1. Golden Glass - 2:58
2. Shoot Me Up To The Moon - 2:42
3. Summerwind - 2:49
4. Roses For Kathy - 2:40
5. Misty Island - 2:35
6. Pretty Liza - 2:32
7. The Fountain - 2:10
8. Some Sunny Sunday Morning - 2:53
9. On The Road With My Bag - 3:31
10.Blue Fire Light - 3:34
11.Pictures - 2:25
12.The Dream - 2:51
13.Keep On - 3:09
14.My World - 3:17
15.Don't You Feel Like Me? - 2:48
16.Good Good Donna - 3:44
17.Rainy Day - 3:58
18.On The Road Drinking Wine - 2:35
19.Baby Man - 4:41
20.Hello My Friend - 3:45

The Petards
Bernd Wippich - Vocals, Guitar (1970-1972)
Arno Dittrich- Drums (1967-1972)
Franz Binder - Drums (1967)
Hans Jurgen Schreiber - Drums (1966-1967)
Ray King - Guitar (1971)
Klaus Ebert - Back Vocals, Keyboard (1966-1972)
Rudiger "Roger" Waldmann - Bass, Back Vocals (1966-1972)
Horst Ebert - Vocals, Guitar (1966-1970)

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