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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