Friday, February 28, 2014

Tim Rose - Tim Rose / Love, A Kind Of Hate Story (1970/72 us, outstanding classic rock melted with folk psych)

Born in September of what was, at the time I originally wrote this, an indeterminate year ("age is a personal thing - maybe someone will find it out for my obituary.") and brought up in Washington where he won the top music award at High School, Tim first came to prominence in 1967 with his first album on CBS (Columbia). Prior to that, he had trained for the priesthood (but got thrown out for inappropriate behaviour  - smoking) and been a navigator for Strategic Air Command before becoming involved in the music business.

His first notable group was The Journeymen, along with John Phillips and Scott McKenzie, both of whom went on to musical fame. He then teamed up with fellow members of the New York folk scene, James Hendricks and Cass Elliott, to form The Big Three (not to be confused with the British group of the same name).

CBS, in the wake of their success with Bob Dylan, sought out artistes looking for record deals and the first solo album was born. The blues, folk and rock influences made it a classic, with session musicians of a high quality brought in by CBS to ensure their product was a success. However, the record company didn't seem to have a clue about how to market the album and Tim got lost amongst a host of new acts that had been signed. Jimi Hendrix picked up Tim's version of  Hey Joe and made a hit out of it. Because Tim didn't actually write it, he never got a penny in royalties.

More successful in the UK and Europe than in his home country, Tim moved to England in the mid-seventies, performing occasionally in clubs around London, sometimes with fellow expatriate Tim Hardin. These appearances were often shambolic, probably because of the uncertain state that Hardin was in. His heroin and alcohol addiction meant that while he could sing brilliantly, he was unpredictable and therefore grossly unreliable.

The first CBS album was followed by several more excellent recordings, but the one elusive thing that Tim faced was chart success. This led to a variation in styles in the hope of capturing a different market, but no matter whether he rocked, sang ballads or played country, the record sales were getting less as the years went on. Meanwhile, he was messed around by people in the music business and he became soured by the way things were going.

After The Musician, Tim retired from the music business for a number of years before The Gambler was eventually released in 1991. During that time, he was involved in construction work, did some TV commercials that paid for his degree, did some geography teaching and was a Wall Street stockbroker.

In the late 1990s, encouraged by Nick Cave and Jacques Laureys, he started playing live again, supporting Cave at the Royal Albert Hall in London. This collaboration led to a new album, Haunted,  a mixture of older material, recorded live, and new material produced by Cave. His older albums started being re-released as double CDs and a further album of new material came out in 2002. Tim had managed to get back to touring, with a substantial tour of England and European venues in 1999 and further sporadic gigs from then on. Another interesting development was that Brook Guitars of Exeter, Devon, designed and manufactured a Tim Rose guitar. Made of ebony and spruce, with rosewood sides and a mahogany neck, the guitar had Tim's autograph on it. The price? £1795. Not the kind of thing one would smash up on stage.

Tim went into hospital to have a bowel complaint investigated.  His heart didn't survive the second of two operations and he died on  24 September 2002, his age now admitted as 62.
1. It Takes A Little Longer (Garry Wright) - 2:43
2. Ode To An Old Ball (Tim Rose) - 3:36
3. Boogie Boogie (Tim Rose) - 1:11
4. If I Were A Carpenter (Tim Hardin) - 2:52
5. Boogie Boogie (Reprise) (Tim Rose) - 0:58
6. I Know These Two People (Tim Rose) - 3:36
7. Georgia By Morning (Cadd Muddie) - 4:13
8. Dim Light A Burning (Tim Rose) - 3:14
9. Sympathy (Rare Bird) - 2:39
10.You Can't Stop Yourself (Tim Rose) - 2:46
11.Sad Song (Clinton Brown) - 4:40
12.Crying Shame (Garry Wright) - 3:37
13.You've Got To Hide Your Love Away (J. Lennon, P. McCartney) - 5:05
14.Jamie Sue (Tim Rose) - 3:55
15.Cotton Growin' Man (Garry Wright) - 4:10
16.You Can't Keep Me (Tim Rose) - 3:47
17.I Gotta Get A Message To You (Gibb Brothers) - 2:26
18.Darling You Were All That I Had (Bettis, Chater) - 4:26
19.Where Do You Go My Lovely (Sasdted) - 6:16
20.Goin' Down In Hollywood (Rose, Bettis) - 4:49

*Tim Rose - Vocals, Guitar
*Alan Parker - Guitar (1970)
*Herbie Flowers - Bass (1970)
*Alan Haekshaw - Keyboards (1970)
*Clem Cattini - Drums (1970)
*Peter Lee Stirling - Vocals (1970)
*Garry Wright - Keyboards, Vocals (1972)
*Mick Jones - Guitar (1972)
*Archie Leggett - Bass (1972)
*Bryson Graham - Drums (1972)

Tim Rose 
1967/1969  Tim Rose / Through Rose Coloured Glasses

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Melissa - Midnight Trampoline (1971 aussie, excellent progressive rock with folk shades)

Melissa formed in Sydney in 1969 under the name Molten Hue. The original lineup was Robert Gunn (flute, vocals), Rick Barrett (guitar) Ken Frazier (bass) and Warren "Wal" Sparkes (drums), but Irish-born bassist Joe Creighton (who had previously been a member of UK band The A-Side) replaced Frazier not long after the band was formed. Melissa started out playing a psychedelia and acid-rock, and they were one of the first Australian bands to play rock in the style of American West Coast acts like Jefferson Airplance, Country Joe & The Fish or The Steve Miller Band.

Melissa's debut 45 "Mississippi Mamma" -- produced by Rory Thomas from The Questions -- was a pacy progressive blues-rock number, backed by a raucous cover of Dylan's "Too Much of Nothing". The group's only album, Midnight Trampoline was recorded over a period of nine months during 1971 and was eventually released in October on the independent Banner label. Several tracks were composed by Creighton and/or Barnett, and there's an interesting arrangement of the traditional song "Cuckoo". As Ian McFarlane noted in Freedom Train, the group was obviously heavily under the spell of Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, and the LP features two Morrison covers, "Madame George" and "Young Lovers Do". Unfortunately, the album sank without a trace on release, but over the years it has gained a reputation as one of the better Australian rock Albums of the period and it became a sought-after collector's item.

Melissa had a strong following on the Sydney suburban dance circuit and they performed with major acts like Tully and Mecca at 'underground' happenings and concerts at venues like the Paddington Town Hall and the Arts Factory in Darlinghurst. One of the highlights of the group's brief career was a support slot in Sydney on the Sydney leg of the first Australian tour by Elton John in October 1971. By this time, however, internal tensions that built up during the recording of the LP had brought about to a split the band, with Creighton and Gunn being replaced by Chris Keystone and Ken Hanley, plus a new keyboard player, Glen Farley. Melissa continued to perform through 1972 but broke up at the end of that year.

Fortunately, the Melissa recordings were among the precious early-'70s OzRock relics selected for reissue by Vicious Sloth Collectibles. The tracks from the Midnight Trampoline LP, augmented by the two tracks from the single, were included on the CD reissue

The most notable member of the group is of course Joe Creighton, who has long been one of Australia's most respected and sought-after bassist-vocalists. He has played with many notable Australian acts including Billy T, Mark Gillespie, Pseudo Echo, The Black Sorrows, Vanetta Fields, Ian Moss and The John Farnham Band and The Revelators, he's toured with Tim Finn, and led his own Joe Creighton Band in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Joe's remarkable list of session credits includes the Oz soundtrack, Jane Conway, Pat Wilson, Australian Crawl, Hunters & Collectors, Sharon O'Neill, the Wendy Matthews/Kate Ceberano duet album, Greg Champion, Marc Hunter and Jenny Morris
1. Matalla (Creighton, Barrett) - 4:54
2. Getting Through (Creighton) - 4:08
3. Young Lovers Do (Morrison) - 4:11
4. Out In The Country (Williams, Nicholls) - 4:01
5. Cuckoo (Trad., Arr. Creighton, Barrett) - 5:46
6. Jennifer In New York (Barrett) - 5:08
7. Madame George (Morrison) - 6:13
8. Mississippi Mama (Zinser) - 1:58
9. Too Much Of Nothing (Dylan) - 2:44

*Richard Barrett - Guitars
*Joe Creighton - Bass, Vocals
*Robert Gunn - Flute, Vocals
*Wally Sparke - Drums, Percussion
Additional Musicians
*"Martin" - Vocal Harmony
*Peter Martin - 12 String Guitar
*Glen Farley - Electric Piano

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Kris Kristofferson - Kristofferson (1970 us, expressive outlaw country folk rock, 2001 remaster)

Kris Kristofferson was approaching his mid-thirties and had been kicking around Nashville for several years when he belatedly became an overnight success in 1969-1970. The impetus was "Me and Bobby McGee," which he co-wrote with Fred Foster, who ran Monument Records. Roger Miller cut the song, and his recording peaked in the country Top 20 in August 1969. By that time, Kristofferson had performed at the Newport Folk Festival at the behest of Johnny Cash, and Foster decided to sign him to Monument as a recording artist. Before this debut album was released in 1970, Ray Stevens had scored a pop and country chart entry with Kristofferson's "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down."

On the evidence of his first collection of songs, Kristofferson was ahead of his country music peers in realizing that, despite Nashville's conservative political tilt, there was a natural affinity between the country archetype of a hard-drinking, romantically independent loner and the rock & roll archetype of a drug-taking, romantically free hippie. (Of course, lots of rock musicians, especially in Los Angeles, had already noticed this similarity, and formed bands like Poco and the Flying Burrito Brothers to exploit it.) 

He opened the album with what sounded like an answer to the criticisms of the Rolling Stones in the wake of Altamont. "Blame It on the Stones" contrasted various conservative stereotypes, starting with "Mr. Marvin Middle Class," with the supposedly evil rock group, its chorus a parody of "Bringing in the Sheaves." Needless to say, that was not a typical way to open a country album in 1970 (or any other time), but Kristofferson quickly followed with the somewhat more reverent "To Beat the Devil," which he dedicated in a spoken introduction to Johnny Cash and June Carter, and in which he established a persona he would maintain through much of the album, the character of a poor songwriter struggling against despair. 

"Me and Bobby McGee," a classic on-the-road song, was next, with Kristofferson, despite the country grammar, displaying his background as an English teacher in its chorus, "Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose/Nothin' ain't worth nothin', but it's free." Then came "The Best of All Possible Worlds," which used a reference to Voltaire to reflect wryly on the viewpoint of a drunken vagrant. (You could see what attracted Roger Miller to Kristofferson in a song like this, which clearly was influenced by Miller's "King of the Road," though Kristofferson's treatment of the subject was grittier.) Of course, the ultimate example of the subject was the album-closing "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down," which was basically a first-person description of a hangover. The romantic side of the hard-living drifter character was glimpsed in the album's two tenderest statements, "Help Me Make It Through the Night" and "For the Good Times," both of which were pleas by the narrator to sleep with the object of his affection.

A sleeve note suggested that Kristofferson had been reluctant to record, but while he didn't have much range as a singer, he brought a conviction to his vocals and a complete understanding of the nuances of the lyrics. The songs were so personal that they seemed to demand a personal interpretation. Nashville, as it turned out, didn't have much use for countercultural songs like "Blame It on the Stones" and "The Law Is for Protection of the People" (which had some choice words for the police), but the country music community could recognize a good love song with an erotic edge that was on the cusp of the era's changing mores, and Ray Price quickly cut "For the Good Times," which topped the country charts. 

Then, Johnny Cash covered "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down" for a number one country hit, leading to its winning the Country Music Association's Song of the Year award for 1970, and Sammi Smith gave a twist to "Help Me Make It Through the Night" by recording it as a woman's song for yet another country number one. The finishing touch to Kristofferson's sudden renown was Janis Joplin's cover of "Me and Bobby McGee," released shortly after her death, which topped the pop charts.

When it was released in 1970, Kristofferson did not reach the charts. By the following year, however, its creator was on his way to becoming a major star, and after his second album, The Silver Tongued Devil and I, broke into the pop charts in July 1971, Monument re-titled the first album Me and Bobby McGee and reissued it. This time around, it made the pop and country charts and went gold. (On February 6, 2001, Monument/Legacy reissued Kristofferson as part of its American Milestones series. Featuring 24-bit remastering, the CD added four previously unreleased tracks from the same sessions that produced the album, among them an early version of "Come Sundown," later recorded for a Top Ten country hit by Bobby Bare and re-cut by Kristofferson himself for his Shake Hands With the Devil album in 1979.)
by William Ruhlmann
1. Blame It On The Stones (Kris Kristofferson, John Wilkin) - 2:46
2. To Beat The Devil - 4:43
3. Me And Bobby Mcgee (Kris Kristofferson, Fred Foster) - 4:23
4. Best Of All Possible Worlds - 3:01
5. Help Me Make It Through The Night - 2:24
6. The Law Is For Protection Of The People - 2:40
7. Casey's Last Ride - 3:37
8. Just The Other Side Of Nowhere - 3:39
9. Darby's Castle - 3:19
10.For The Good Times - 3:25
11.Duvalier's Dream - 2:58
12.Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down - 4:34
13.The Junkie And The Juicehead, Minus Me - 3:24
14.Shadows Of Her Mind - 3:13
15.The Lady's Not For Sale (Kris Kristofferson, Carol Pugh) - 3:27
16.Come Sundown - 2:36
All songs by Kris Kristofferson except as noted

*Kris Kristofferson – Guitar, Vocals
*Jerry Kennedy - Guitar

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Samuel Prody - Samuel Prody (1971 uk, spectacular heavy psych rock, 2011 Flawed Gems issue)

Tony Savva started his career in London as a bass player and vocalist in various bands. The first group was "The Rivals" - Andy Mitchell (lead guitar), Colin Cookson (rhythm guitar), Bobbie Scott (drums) and Tony Savva (bass & vocals). "Thee of London" - was the next band. They were managed by Reg King and released a single called "Each & Every Day" (written by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards).

Next came "The New Breed" - They were managed by Don Arden and he wanted them to record one of two songs written by Wes Farrell & Bert Russell. They wanted to record Hang On Sloopy but unfortunately the McCoys (who recorded it on Bert Russell's own Bang Records label) got there first so they recorded the other one, Friends & Lovers Forever. They then became the "Wild Angels" - and they performed at the Marquee Club in London. 

In the Wild Angels the vocalist was Dave Arden, Don Arden's son. His sister was Sharon Arden who married Ozzy Osbourne (Trivia.. Sharon Osbourne is Don Arden's daughter). The most successful of these early bands was "A Wild Uncertainty". They released a single "A Man With Money" (an old Everly Brothers hit) in 1966 (the B side was "Broken Truth" written by Tony).

When Keith Moon was going through a bad time with the Who (he & Pete Townshend were not getting on too well) he wanted to join the band so he rehearsed for a full day with them at the Kingston Cellar Club. When he agreed to join them as long as he got a £50 per week retainer Don Arden turned him down flat. 

At around this time Tony Savva was auditioned for the Jimi Hendrix Experience but unfortunately it was decided that the band should remain as a three piece. Mitch Mitchell still kept in contact with Tony and he did the percussion on the Wild Uncertainty single. 

The other guys in A Wild Uncertainty were: Gordon Barton on drums (he went on to join Andwella's Dream and then John Entwistle's OX) Peter Tidmarsh on guitar (he carried on with Tony and wrote one of the Samuel Prody Tracks) Eddie Hardin on keyboards - He went on to join the Spencer Davis Group and after a great period with Hardin & York he is still playing with them along with the fantastic Miller Anderson & Colin Hodgkinson. 

They were then managed by the infamous Andrew Loog Oldham who managed the Rolling Stones and founded the Immediate label. In 1968 Tony worked with Lionel Bart on writing a very strange album called "Isn't This Where We Came In?" (Deram - DML 1028). There were many well known performers on the recording - Madeline Bell, Danny Thompson, John Cameron, Willie Rushton, Rosetta Hightower, Kenny Lynch and the sleeve notes were by Jonathan King.

Tony went on to a couple of other bands - Smiffy's Gang and then Giant. It was Giant that eventually moved south to Brighton in the early 70s and became Samuel Prody. Originally Giant was formed by Pete Sears (who went on to Jefferson Starship, now with the FOB - the Flying Other Brothers).  In Giant the guitarist was Davey O'List (ex- the Nice) after Pete Sears left. When the band moved down to Brighton he left after a few months to be replaced again by Pete Tidmarsh. Pete left and he was replaced by Keith Hurley from Brighton.

The band wanted to change their name to Samuel Purdy but as this might have caused a problem with the world famous shotgun maker they were advised to change it to Samuel Prody. After the still popular Samuel Prody album was released the band broke up and Tony joined a great band called Rusty Butler. A young Dave Greenfield was the keyboard player who went on to join The Stranglers (and he is of course still with them!)
1. Who Will Buy (L. Bart) - 4:23
2. Woman - 4:17
3. Time Is All Mine - 6:10
4. Scat Shuffle (P. Titmarsch) - 2:17
5. She's Mine - 3:16
6. Mr Make Believe - 3:16
7. Hallucination - 8:42
All songs by Tony Savva except where noted

Samuel Prody
*Tony Savva - Lead Vocals, Guitar
*Derek "Mort" Smallcombe - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*John Boswell - Percussion, Vocals
*Stephen Day - Bass, Lead Guitar

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Crazy Elephant - Crazy Elephant (1969-70 us, wondrous colorful beats, 2006 remaster and expanded)

"There is no Crazy Elephant," insists writer-producer Ritchie Cordell. "That was just Bob Spencer." Robert Spencer was a member of the Cadillacs, who recorded the rock and roll classic "Speedo," a #14 hit from 1955. In the years that followed, Spencer kept active in the industry, often penning songs and selling them off without just compensation, according to Cordell. In 1969, Spencer linked up with Kasenetz and Katz just as their Super K bubblegum machine was churning out the hits full-throttle.

Kasenetz and Katz hooked him up with Cordell and Joey Levine, who together had penned the soulful "Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'." The searing single, featuring Spencer's scorching lead vocal and an obvious background vocal assist by Levine, was submitted to Buddah Records, the New York-based label with whom Kasenetz and Katz had been so continually successful. "We played it for [Buddah General Manager] Neil Bogart," the Super K boys recall, "but he said, 'No, I don't hear it.'" Undeterred, they walked Crazy Elephant over to Larry Uttal at neighboring Bell Records, who snapped it up. By May 1969, "Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'" hit #12 in Billboard. Its stateside success prompted a British release, where it also peaked at #12.

Kasenetz and Katz recruited a five-piece band of college-age youths to support the single on the road, pose for pictures, and fill out the inevitable album. According to the credits on that sole self-titled LP, the lucky winners of this strange sweepstakes were Larry Laufer (leader, keyboards and vocals), Ronnie Bretone (bass), Bob Avery (drums), Kenny Cohen (flute, sax, and vocals) and Hal King (vocals). The whole process was standard operating procedure for bubblegummeisters Kasenetz and Katz. More often than not, according to Cordell, they would "send five bands [with the same name] out on the road. They'd stick them in a room with the album and have them learn all the songs."

"Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'" was the only Crazy Elephant record for Cordell and Levine. When the Spencer-soundalike follow-ups "Sunshine, Red Wine" and "Gimme Some More" failed to click, Kasenetz and Katz took Crazy Elephant in a new direction overseas to London. In 1970, they brought in future 10cc members Kevin Godley, Lol Creme, and Graham Gouldman to take over the writing and production duties. Despite the ambitious single "(There Ain't No) Umbopo" (which the trio had recorded in an alternate version for Pye UK as Doctor Father), Crazy Elephant had effectively run its course, and was quietly retired.
by Bill Pitzonka
1. Gimme Gimme Good Lovin' (Joey Levine, Richie Cordell) - 2:04
2. Respect (Otis Redding) - 7:25
3. Pam (Larry Laufer, Robert Katz, Iver Kasenetz) - 2:33
4. Come To The Farm (Larry Laufer, Robert Katz, Iver Kasenetz) - 3:16
5. Somewhere (Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein) - 3:45
6. My Baby (Honey Pie) (Larry Laufer, Robert Katz, Iver Kasenetz) - 2:14
7. Sunshine, Red Wine (Jimmy Woods, Bob Levine, Jeff Katz, Jerry Kasenetz) - 2:30
8. (Heartless) Hertie Gertie (Jeff Katz, Jerry Kasenetz) - 3:03
9. Love Strike (Jimmy Woods, Bob Levine, Jeff Katz, Jerry Kasenetz) - 2:23
10.Try This When You're Ready (Larry Laufer, Robert Katz, Iver Kasenetz) - 2:56
11.Higher And Higher (Jeff Katz, Jerry Kasenetz) - 3:37
12.Gimme Gimme Good Lovin' (Joey Levine, Richie Cordell) - 2:01
13.Dark Part Of My Mind (J.Buglisi, N. Foroli, P. Kraft, J. Kent) - 2:53
14.Sunshine (Red Wine) (J. Woods, B. Levine, J. Katz, J. Kasenetz) - 2:30
15.Pam (Larry Laufer, Robert Katz, Iver Kasenetz) - 2:33
16.Gimme Some More (J. Woods, B. Levine, J. Katz, J. Kasenetz) - 2:08
17.My Baby (Honey Pie) (Larry Laufer, Robert Katz, Iver Kasenetz) - 2:18
18.There's A Better Day A Comin' (Na,Na,Na,Na) (R. Cordell, J. Katz, J. Kasenetz) - 3:15
19.Space Buggy (R. Cordell, J. Katz, J. Kasenetz) - 2:25
20.There Ain't No Umbopo (Godley, Creme) - 3:05
21.Landrover (R. Cordell, J. Katz, J. Kasenetz, H. Gold, P. Schindler) - 2:37
22.Respect Revisited (Otis Redding) - 5:00
23.In A Castle (Crazy Elephant) - 4:55
24.Hips And Flips (Joey Levine, Richie Cordell) - 1:55
25.Splif And Spih (Joey Levine, Richie Cordell) - 1:56

Crazy Elephant
*Kenny Cohen - Flute, Saxophone, Vocals
*Bob Avery - Drums
*Larry Laufer - Keyboards, Vocals
*Hal King - Vocals
*Ronnie Bretone - Bass

The Peanut Butter Conspiracy - Living Dream (1967-68 us, beautiful west coast sunny psych, Sundazed release)

A late-'60s California quintet with a sound that falls somewhere between the Mamas & the Papas and the Jefferson Airplane -- unfortunately without the elegance of the former or the edgy recklessness of the latter -- the Peanut Butter Conspiracy's albums now seem like timepieces of the flower power era, and since the group never managed a big radio hit, they don't even generate the easy nostalgia that might bring them a fresh audience in the 21st century.

Led by bassist Alan Brackett and guitarist John Merrill, both songwriters, and singer Sandi Robinson, who should have been the marketable centerpiece of the band, but curiously wasn't, the PBC certainly had potential. Columbia Records teamed them with producer Gary Usher, who spotted the 12-string guitars and the careful group harmonies of the band and promptly made them sound like the Byrds, which wasn't necessarily a bad idea, but a better idea might have been to make Robinson's vocals the clear focus of the group, which would have given them a stronger public identity.

The closest the PBC came to having a hit was with their first single, the now hopelessly dated "It's a Happening Thing," and if most of the songs on this anthology (drawn from the group's first two albums, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy Is Spreading and The Great Conspiracy) now seem half-written and full of hippie-driven jargon, there are still a few gems here, including Merrill's Byrdsian "Twice Is Life" and "Dark on You Now," as well as Brackett's intriguing "Living Dream." Other songs have strong points, like Brackett's "Living, Loving Life," which has a killer opening line ("Everyone has a bomb in their mind"), or the previously unissued "Peter Pan," which sounds today like a brilliant satire of the late-'60s hippie ethos, but wasn't anything of the sort when PBC recorded it.

Maybe the strongest cut is "I'm a Fool," a Brackett song that features an unusually aggressive vocal from Robinson (matched in the arrangement by horn blasts) that suggests an alternate musical path for the group that unfortunately was never followed. This set from Sundazed has all the essentials from the group's 1967 and 1968 albums for Columbia, plus two previously unissued tracks and the single mix of "It's a Happening Thing," making it both an ideal introduction to the Peanut Butter Conspiracy and probably all that most listeners will ever really need.
by Steve Leggett
1. It's A Happening Thing (Single Version) (Brackett) - 2:21
2. Twice Is Life (Merrill) - 2:46
3. You Can't Be Found (Brackett) - 2:44
4. Why Did I Get So High? (Brackett) - 2:08
5. Dark On You Now (Merrill) - 2:18
6. The Most Up 'Til Now (Brackett) - 2:33
7. Peter Pan (Brackett) - 3:07
8. Turn On A Friend (To The Good Life) (Brackett) - 2:20
9. Lonely Leaf (Merrill) - 3:52
10.Pleasure (Merrill) - 3:24
11.Too Many Do (Brackett) - 6:31
12.Living, Loving Life (Brackett) - 3:18
13.Captain Sandwich (Merrill) - 2:07
14.Living Dream (Brackett) - 4:17
15.Ecstasy (Merrill) - 6:17
16.Time Is After You (Brackett) - 3:01
17.Wonderment (Merrill) - 4:10
18.I'm A Fool (Brackett) - 2:36
19.It's So Hard (Brackett) - 2:32
20.Out Of Phase (Brackett) - 2:25

The Peanut Butter Conspiracy
*Alan Brackett - Bass
*John Merrill - Rhythm Guitar
*Jim Voight - Drums
*Sandi Robison - Vocals, Percussion
*Lance Fent - Lead Guitar (Tracks 1-6, 16)
*Mikhael Kollander - Lead Guitar (Tracks 8, 11, 17)
*Bill Wolf - Lead Guitar (Tracks 9, 10, 12-15)

1965-71  Ashes - Ashes

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

The New Colony Six - Sides (1965-74 us, fine sunny beat psych, 2007 issue)

The New Colony Six started out as one of the better garage bands to come out of the Midwest in the mid-'60s, playing tough British Invasion-style rock & roll (their "At the River's Edge" made it onto the Nuggets box set), and they later evolved into a surprisingly sophisticated and skillful pop group that scored nationwide hits with the singles "Love You So Much" and "Things I'd Like to Say." 

However, this collection of odds and ends doesn't quite play to either side of the band's personality; in fact, most of the 24 songs aren't actually by The New Colony Six, with 11 tunes by the Raymond John Michael Band (which featured three NC6 alumni, singer Ray Graffia, drummer Chick James, and keyboard man Craig Kemp) and one each by Junior and Graffia, both latter-day Ray Graffia projects. The compilers also present a number of tracks in multiple versions, which gets a bit tiring; "The Power of Love," "Accept My Ring," and "Rap-A-Tap" by The New Colony Six all appear twice, while there are two different takes of "Hitch-Hiker" by the Raymond John Michael Band, and their cover of Terry Reid's "Rich Kid Blues" shows up no less than three times. 

Given the plentiful supply of alternate takes and recordings by post-New Colony Six acts, Sides is clearly for hardcore NC6 fans only, but that's not to say they won't enjoy this collection; there's a charging live recording of the New Colony Six rarity "The Time Is Right," "Come and Give Your Love to Me" is a fine high-attitude rocker, most of the Raymond John Michael Band material sounds like a solid if slightly over-polished variation on the latter-day NC6, "Bobby and Georgia" and "Gwendolyn" are witty novelty numbers, and Graffia's "Sides" is an admirably ballsy hard rock number. In short, if you're looking for The New Colony Six's greatest hits, steer clear of Sides, but if you're a committed fan looking for some choice rarities, you'll find them on this collection. 
by Mark Deming
1. The New Colony Six - Sunshine (Gerry Van Kollenburg, Pat McBride, Ray Graffia Jr) - 2:25
2. The New Colony Six - The Power Of Love (Gerry Van Kollenburg, Pat McBride, Ray Graffia Jr) - 2:12
3. The New Colony Six - Rap-A-Tap (Ray Graffia Jr, Ronnie Rice) - 2:05
4. The New Colony Six - The Power Of Love (Gerry Van Kollenburg, Pat McBride, Ray Graffia Jr) - 2:26
5. The New Colony Six - Accept My Ring (erry Van Kollenburg, Ray Graffia Jr, Pat McBride) - 2:17
6. The New Colony Six - Rap-A-Tap (Ray Graffia Jr, Ronnie Rice) - 2:32
7. The New Colony Six - Accept My Ring (Gerry Van Kollenburg, Ray Graffia Jr, Pat McBride) - 2:16
8. The New Colony Six - Come And Give Your Love To Me (Ray Graffia Jr, Gerry Van Kollenburg, Chuck Jobes) - 1:57
9. The New Colony Six - The Time Is Right (Wally Kemp) - 2:14
10.The New Colony Six - Muddy Feet (On The Mississippi) (Billy Herman) - 2:56
11.The Raymond John Michael Band - Let There Be Love (Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb) - 2:51
12.The Raymond John Michael Band - Feel Free (Ray Graffia Jr, Greg Kempinskii) - 2:02
13.The Raymond John Michael Band - Rich Kid Blues (Terry Reid) - 2:59
14.The Raymond John Michael Band - Hitch-Hiker (James Chitkowski, Ray Graffia Jr, Greg Nashan) - 2:07
15.The Raymond John Michael Band - Rich Kid Blues (Terry Reid) - 2:35
16.The Raymond John Michael Band - Bobby And Georgia (Ray Graffia Jr.) - 1:39
17.The Raymond John Michael Band - Hitch-Hiker (James Chitkowski, Ray Graffia Jr, Greg Nashan) - 2:10
18.The Raymond John Michael Band - I Can't Believe That We're Alone (Ray Graffia Jr, Greg Kempinski) - 3:19
19.The Raymond John Michael Band - Rich Kid Blues (Terry Reid) - 3:21
20.The Raymond John Michael Band - Gwendolyn (Ray Graffia Jr, Greg Nashan) - 2:56
21.The Raymond John Michael Band - I Confess (Ray Graffia Jr, Gerry Van Kollenburg) - 4:08
22.Junior - I Will Always Think About You (Ronnie Rice,  Leslie Kummel) - 2:51
23.The New Colony Six - Can't You See Me Cry (Ray Graffia Jr, Gerry Van Kollenburg) - 2:34
24.Graffia - Sides (Ray Graffia Jr.) - 2:24

The New Colony Six
*Ray Graffia - Vocals
*Chick James - Drums
*Pat Mcbride - Harmonica
*Craig Kemp - Organ
*Wally Kemp - Bass
*Gerry Van Kollenburg - Guitar
*Ronnie Rice - Vocals, Keyboards, Guitar
*Ellery Temple - Bass
*Les Kummel - Bass
*Billy Herman - Vocals, Drums
*Bruce Gordon - Bass
*Chuck Jobes - Keyboards
*Skip Griparis - Vocals, Guitar

The Raymond John Michael Band
*Ray Graffia - Vocals
*Chick James - Drums
*Craig Kemp - Organ
*Greg Nashan - Guitar
*Terry Stone - Bass 
*Jeff Tuckman - Bass 

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Jeremy And The Satyrs - Jeremy And The Satyrs (1968 us, awesome groovy jazzy bluesy psych)

One of the earliest and finest jazz-rock flutists, Jeremy Steig is an outstanding soloist. He's mastered the entire flute family, including bass, and also plays piccolo well. He has a similarly rich, classically pure tone and timbre as James Newton or Hubert Laws, and uses almost as many devices, such as tongue fluttering, humming, and swirling lines. But he's not as blues- or swing-oriented, and his associations include working in the early '60s with Richie Havens and heading Jeremy and the Satyrs in 1967.

Steig's father is the famous artist William Steig; he began playing recorder at six and took flute lessons at 11. Steig attended the High School of Music and Art. He played with Gary Peacock and Paul Bley in the early '60s, then led a jazz-rock combo in 1967 backing Tim Hardin before heading his own groups. Steig played with Mike Manieri and Eddie Gomez in the '60s, and Jan Hammer in 1970. He began using electronics and synthesizers in the '70s, and toured Europe both as a soloist and heading quartets and quintets. He recorded with Gomez and Joe Chambers in the late '70s, and did sessions with Mike Nock, Karl Ratzer, Nana Vasconcelos, Ray Barretto, Steve Gadd, and Jack DeJohnette in the '80s. 
by Ron Wynn
1.In The World Of Glass Teardrops - 5:22
2.Superbaby - 3:52
3.She Didn't Even Say Goodbye - 6:30
4.The Do It - 2:58
5.The First Time I Saw You, Baby (With Your Pretty Green Eyes) - 3:29
6.Lovely Child Of Tears - 3:55
7.(Let's Go To The) Movie Show - 2:41
8.Mean Black Snake - 5:15
9.Cazonetta - 2:25
10.Foreign Release (The Satyrs) - 3:21
11.Satyrized - 3:41

Jeremy And The Satyrs
*Jeremy Steig - Flute
*Adrian Guillery - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
*Warren Bernhardt - Vocals, Keyboards
*Eddie Gomez - Bass
*Donald McDonald - Drums

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Fruupp - Seven Secrets (1974 ireland, splendid art baroque prog rock, 2004 japan, 2009 esoteric and 2016 blu spec)

Flushed with critical acclaim Fruupp returned to the studio at the beginning of 1974 to record their second album Seven Secrets, released just six months after its predecessor. Bassist and vocalist Farrelly was responsible for the multicoloured artwork as he had been with the previous release. They were now established as a regular live act in the UK supporting the likes of Genesis and the Electric Light Orchestra as well as headlining in their own right. Possibly as a result of extensive gigging the rougher edges had been smoothed away resulting in a more refined album where the classical leanings are even more pronounced. 

To illustrate the point a string overture based on Handel’s Water Music opens the album and the song Faced With Shekinah. The classical composer’s contribution goes unacknowledged however with the song credited to Houston who also adds vintage keys and woodwind sounds that bring Gryphon to mind. It was a clear sign that the keyboardist was providing a viable challenge to McCusker’s dominance as the bands principle songwriter. For his part McCusker adds a lovely weeping guitar sound ala Jan Akkerman.

Wise As Wisdom is not the bands strongest song to date but it does benefit from a restless organ rhythm in the vein of Genesis’ Return Of The Giant Hogweed. In addition to a mellow vocal, acoustic guitar and strings interlude, White Eyes introduces a jaunty piano rhythm that would feature prominently in many Fruupp songs. If you’re familiar with Tony Banks’ title song to Genesis’ Trick Of The Tail then you’ll know where I’m coming from. Garden Lady is the bands longest offering to date providing a good balance between strident, up-tempo sections and melodic, ambient moments rounded off by one of McCusker’s finest guitar solos. 

The wistful Three Spires is easily one of the bands most exquisite tunes thus far with violin, acoustic guitar and piano (courtesy of guest David Lewis) evocative of early Ant Phillips. Elizabeth follows the tone of the opening track and remains probably the bands most successful attempt at blending classical and prog. Cascading strings and rippling piano lift the lyrical vocal melody with Farrelly performing at his best (both vocally and bass wise) with muscular support from drummer Martin Foye. The album ends with The Seventh Secret, a whimsical acoustic guitar and spoken ditty written as an afterthought to ensure the album had seven songs to match its title. 
by Geoff Feakes
1. Faced With Shekinah (Stephen Houston) - 8:23
2. Wise As Wisdom (Vincent McCusker, Paul Charles) - 7:07
3. White Eyes (Vincent McCusker, Paul Charles) - 7:16
4. Garden Lady (Vincent McCusker) - 9:00
5. Three Spires (Vincent McCusker, Paul Charles) - 5:00
6. Elizabeth (Stephen Houston) - 7:45
7. The Seventh Secret (Vincent McCusker) - 1:08

*Peter Farrelly - Bass, Flute, Vocals
*Martin Foye - Drums, Percussion
*Stephen Houston - Keyboards, Oboe, Vocals
*Vincent McCusker - Acoustic, Electric Guitars, Vocals
*David Lewis - Piano

1973  Fruupp - Future Legends (Japan remaster)

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fruupp - Future Legends (1973 ireland, sensational art prog rock, 2004 japan, 2009 esoteric and 2016 blu spec with bonus track)

One of the hardest-working progressive bands to end up languishing in relative obscurity, Fruupp was begun in 1971 by guitarist Vince McCusker. After a brief musical apprenticeship in London, McCusker returned to Belfast and quickly pulled together a group of largely classically trained musicians; the lineup was unusual in that keyboardist Stephen Houston doubled on the oboe. (The unusual band name was taken from a Lectreset sheet.) 

The band's resulting sound is not unlike Spring or early Genesis, with primary composers McCusker and Houston acting as foils for each other: Houston's cello, oboe, and violin typically lend dark folk textures beneath McCusker's aggressive guitar parts and Peter Farelly's Celtic-influenced vocals. After two years of gigging, they shopped their demo tape around and were picked up by Pye Records for their Dawn label. Between 1973 and 1975, Fruupp released four albums, the last of which was produced by King Crimson alum Ian McDonald; the band also toured in support of Crimson.

 Despite playing hundreds of gigs per year throughout the U.K. and Europe during this period, their record sales never quite took off, and the band closed up shop after a final London gig at the Roundhouse in 1976. 
by Paul Collins
1. Future Legends - 1:27
2. Decision - 6:21
3. As Day Breaks With Dawn - 4:58
4. Graveyard Epistle - 6:14
5. Lord Of The Incubus - 6:20
6. Olde Tyme Future - 5:33
7. Song For A Thought - 7:25
8. Future Legends - 0:47
All titles composed by Vince McCusker

*Peter Farrelly - Bass, Flute, Vocals
*Martin Foye - Drums, Percussion
*Stephen Houston - Keyboards, Oboe, Vocals
*Vincent McCusker - Acoustic , Electric Guitars, Vocals

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Gospel Oak - Gospel Oak (1970 uk / us, fine rural blues rock)

Gospel Oak was a surprise to me, both in bibliographical terms and for the music. This was another album I picked up at a yard sale with no prior knowledge of the product. I literally bought it for the album cover which showed what I thought were a bunch of English hippy guys poised in a beatific rural setting (the oak tree picture on the cover was stunning). I literally had visions of early 1970s UK progressive moves.  Besides, Kapp had some interesting late 1960s and early-1970s acts on its roster (no, I'm not thinking about Cher). Anyhow it turned out that virtually every one of my preconceived notions was wrong. 

Matthew Kelly was a Californian who'd previously attracted attention playing blues harmonica and touring with the likes of Mel Brown, John Lee Hooker, and T-Bone Walker. The man clearly had some chops to be supporting names like that. Kelly soon found himself caught-up in San Francisco's burgeoning rock scene. He added electric guitar to his repertoire and started playing with Chris Herold and Dave Torbert. In 1969 the three of them were hired to play in the band Horses which was fronted by sometimes actor and lead singer Don Johnson (yeap, the Miami Vice guy). Horses recorded one self-titled album before collapsing.  

I found a brief online interview where Kelly actually talked about the experience: "I'm a bit embarrassed about. We actually made a record. We were backing up this Hollywood singer, a guy who was sort of a Jim Morrison type. We got flown down to Hollywood and lived there for three or four months while we were making this very commercial record, of which Jump for Joy (A Kingfish tune) was on the record with this guy Don Johnson was singing. Fortunately this record is very difficult to get. So for anybody that wants to run right out and buy it, I think they will have a very difficult time. It is just as well for it is a bit embarrassing." 

Perhaps out of personal shame Kelly's next move found him headed for the UK.  At the same time drummer Kerry Gaines, keyboardist Cliff Hall, pedal steel guitarist Gordon Huntley, lead guitarist Bob Le Gate, and singer/bassist John Rapp found themselves in England.  Originally from Indiana, they somehow managed to attract the attention of Beatles publicist Tony Barrow. Barrow signed on as manager and used his connections to get the band a record deal with Kapp. The label then decided to ship the group to London where they hooked up with fellow expatriot Kelly.  The expanded lineup was the teamed with producers Mike Leander and Roger Watson for their self titled debut LP.  

Musically "Gospel Oak" was all over the genre map.  With Rapp and Le Gate responsible for most of the material, tracks like 'Recollections of Jessica' and 'Big Fat White Man' were decent country-rock complete with nice melodies and catchy group harmonies. Showcasing Kelly's harmonica and Le Gate's lead guitar 'Brown Haired Girl', 'Common Expressions' and the instrumental 'South Bleach' offered up a harder edged blues sound, while 'Go Talk To Rachel' and 'O.K. Sam' found the group taking a stab at a more conventional and accessable rock attack.

Propelled by some nifty Le Gate guitar, best of the lot was the album-closer 'St. Anne's Pretension'.  The album was never less than enjoyable, but by the same token it lacked anything to distinguish it from the competition.  The album's certainly likeable which makes it too bad if didn't sport one or two slightly stronger compositions.  With those ingredients these guys could have been major players.  Kapp also tapped the album for a single in the form of 'O.K. Sam' b/w 'Go Talk To Rachel' (Kapp catalog number 2115).
1. Brown Haired Girl (John Rapp) - 3:34
2. Common Expressions (John Rapp) - 3:17
3. Recollections Of Jessica (Tim Hovey, Bob Le Gate) - 3:05
4. Big Fat White Man (Tim Hovey, Bob Le Gate) - 2:35
5. South Bleach (Instrumental) (Bob Le Gate, Kerry Gaines, Matthew Kelly) - 2:36
6. Why We Came (Kerry Gaines, John Rapp) - 2:57
7. Go Talk To Rachel (John Rapp) - 4:07
8. O.K. Sam (Tim Hovey, Bob Le Gate) - 3:25
9. St. Anne's Pretension (Kerry Gaines, John Rapp) - 4:39

Gospel Oak
*Kerry Gaines - Drums, Percussion
*Matthew Kelly - Harmonica, Guitar
*Bob Le Gate - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*John Rapp - Vocals, Bass, Rhythm Guitar
*Cliff Hall - Keyboards
*Gordon Huntley - Pedal Steel Guitar

Related Act
1969  Horses - Horses

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Mojo Men - There Goes My Mind (1967-68 us, splendid folk sunny psych, Sundazed release)

There Goes My Mind is essentially the album the Mojo Men would have liked Warner Brothers to put out in 1968, but which Warners, for whatever reason, declined to do. Although the liner notes make clear that the intention was for the band to eventually record the material with Warners with full orchestration, these 16 1967-1968 recordings -- all original songs, and all but two previously unreleased -- actually sound almost as fully produced as the typical late-'60s finished product. All but two of the tracks come from a June 30, 1968, session, and to be honest most of these aren't quite as good as the sweet early harmony-laden pop-folk-psych buzz the Mojo Men conjured on their best slightly earlier recordings, shortly after drummer-singer Jan Errico had joined. 

Some good early San Francisco rock-type bittersweet melodies, yearning melancholy lyrics, and accomplished male-female harmonies on songs like "I Wish Today Were Yesterday," "Unaware of Me," and the haunting harpsichord-laden "Watch You Walk Away," though occasionally the tunes lean toward a slightly bubblegummy sunshine pop vibe. Yet it's one of the 1967 demos, "Today" (no relation to the Jefferson Airplane classic of the same name), that emerges as the standout, qualifying as a lost near-classic of San Francisco rock with its enchanting never-neverland lyrics, startling tempo changes, and beguiling wistful melody. And the other 1967 demo, the jazzy and similarly reflective "But Now and Then," isn't too far behind. 
by Richie Unterberger
1. When You're Down - 2:37
2. Sure of Your Love (Jim Alaimo, Jan Errico) - 2:59
3. Everyday Love - 4:04
4. I Wish Today Were Yesterday - 2:48
5. Take Me Away (Jim Alaimo, Jan Errico) - 1:36
6. Unaware of Me (Jim Alaimo, Jan Errico) - 2:56
7. Candy (Jim Alaimo, Jan Errico, Paul Curcio, Don Metchick) - 2:50
8. Ashamed of Me (Jim Alaimo, Jan Errico) - 3:15
9. It's Okay (Jim Alaimo, Jan Errico) - 2:28
10.Watch You Walk Away - 3:08
11.There Goes My Mind (Jim Alaimo, Jan Errico, Paul Curcio, Don Metchick) - 2:48
12.Today (Mono Demo Version) - 2:09
13.But Now and Then (Mono Demo Version) - 2:16
14.Summer Flowers (Mono Demo Version) - 2:29
15.Not for Me (Mono Demo Version) - 1:44
16.Take Me Away (Mono Demo Version) (Jim Alaimo, Jan Errico) - 1:29
All songs by Jim Alaimo, Jan Errico, Paul Curcio except where noted

The Mojo Men
*Jim Alaimo - Bass, Vocals
*Jan Errico - Vocals, Drums
*Paul Curcio - Guitar, Vocals
*Don Metchick - Keyboards

1965-66  The Mojo Men - Whys Ain't Supposed To Be (Sundazed release)

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Mojo Men - Whys Ain't Supposed To Be (1965-66 us, excellent garage beat, Sundazed release)

Quite a few references show The Mojo Men as being part of the San Francisco music scene.  Technically that's correct, but the original line up of 

singer/bassist Jim Alaimo, guitarist Paul Curcio, drummer Dennis DeCarr and keyboard player Don Metchick morphed out of the Coral Gables, Florida based The Valiants.  

Frontman Alaimo was a cousin to Steve Alaimo and had recorded some material under the monikers 'Jim Paris' and 'Jimmy Summers and the Slicks'.  The Valiants had actually provided backing on some Steve Alaimo sides, but 1964 saw the quartet head for San Francisco where they changed their name to 'The Mojo Men' and briefly picked up Sly Stone as a member. While Stone quickly moved on to form Sly and the Family Stone, he was instrumental in getting the group signed to San Francisco DJ 'Big Daddy' Tom Donahue's Autumn Records where they recorded three 45s during the 1965-66 period.  Stewart also wrote some of their material, including the hit 'She's My Baby' and produced most of their Autumn Records sides.

Prior to the release of their third single the band underwent a personnel change that saw original drummer DeCarr replaced by former Vejtables singer/ drummer Jan Errico.  The personnel switch also marked a change in musical direction with the band dropping their earlier garage/R&B leanings (they'd opened for the Stones during their first San Francisco concert appearance at the Civic Auditorium) for a far more polished and produced pop-oriented sound.  With Autumn in financial collapse, the group switched over to the much large Reprise Records. 
1. Something Bad (S. Stewart, Steve Alaimo, Paul Curcio) - 2:12
2. She's My Baby (Stone, S. Stewart, Steve Alaimo, Paul Curcio) - 3:33
3. My Woman's Head (S. Stewart, Steve Alaimo, Paul Curcio) - 3:53
4. The New Breed (S. Stewart, Steve Alaimo, Paul Curcio) - 3:35
5. Dance With Me (Steve Alaimo, Paul Curcio) - 2:39
6. Off The Hook (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 2:43
7. Why (Steve Alaimo, Paul Curcio) - 2:18
8. Fire In My Heart (Paul Curcio) - 2:51
9. As I Get Older (S. Stewart, Steve Alaimo, Paul Curcio) - 3:11
10.Mojo Men Day (Wmex Radio Spot) - 0:56
11.Mama's Little Baby (Steve Alaimo, Paul Curcio, Don Metchick) - 2:26
12.Oh Misery (Steve Alaimo, Paul Curcio) - 2:10
13.Lost Love (Steve Alaimo, Paul Curcio, Don Metchick) - 2:07
14.Why Can't You Stay (Steve Alaimo, Paul Curcio) - 2:25
15.Girl Won't You Go On Home (Steve Alaimo, Paul Curcio) - 1:41
16.Cry Baby (Steve Alaimo, Paul Curcio) - 2:40
17.Everything I Need (Paul Curcio) - 2:44
18.he Goes With Me (Steve Alaimo, Paul Curcio) - 1:49
19.Free As A Bird (Steve Alaimo, Paul Curcio) - 2:22
20.Loneliest Boy In Town (Steve Alaimo, Paul Curcio) - 3:03
21.Fire In My Heart (Demo Version) (Paul Curcio) - 2:34

The Mojo Men
*Jim Alaimo - Bass, Vocals
*Paul Curcio - Guitar, Vocals
*Dennis DeCarr - Drums, Vocals
*Don Metchick - Keyboards

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Southwest F.O.B. - Smell of Incense (1966-69 us, lovely sunny folk psychedelia, Sundazed remaster and expanded)

Late-sixties Dallas band Southwest F.O.B. are mostly remembered for "Smell of Incense," a pop-psychedelic tune with an ethereal organ that was a big regional hit in the South, and a small national one. The group were more aligned with the "soft rock" or sunshine pop sounds typical of many late-sixties pop-psychedelic southern Californian acts than the tough Texas garage style. Multi-part vocal harmonies characterized many of their arrangements, and their occasional use of horns added a mild dash of soul. 

Although "Smell of Incense" was a pop-slanted cover of a song by L.A. psychedelic group the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, most of their material was original, penned by Dan Seals and John Ford Colley [sic], who went on to land some big soft-rock hits in the 1970s as England Dan and John Ford Coley. Their brand of psychedelia was way tougher than what they'd make in the 1970s, but certainly on the tame side. After making one album and a few singles, Seals and Colley left the group to form a duo, leaving the remaining members to carry on for about a year before disbanding. 
by Richie Unterberger
1. Smell Of Incense (Bob Markley, Ron Morgan) - 2:40
2. Tomorrow - 3:11
3. Rock 'N' Roll Woman (S. Stills) - 2:47
4. Downtown Woman/Nadine (Colley,  Seals, C. Berry) - 6:54
5. All One Big Game - 2:54
6. On My Mind - 2:26
7. Bells Of Baytown - 3:30
8. And Another Thing - 11:55
9. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy (Joe Zawinul) - 2:59
10.Independent Me - 2:27
11.Green Skies - 2:02
12.As I Look At You (Tony Durrell) - 2:23
13.Beggar Man - 2:29
14.Feelin' Groovy (P. Simon) - 2:52
15.Theze Few – Dynamite (Dan Seals) - 2:36
16.Theze Few – I Want Your Love (Dan Seals) - 2:15
17.Smell Of Incense (Single Mix) (B. Markley, R. Morgan) - 2:41
18.Nadine (Single Version) (C. Berry) - 2:59
19.Tomorrow (Alternate Mono Mix) - 3:11
20.And Another Thing (Edited Mono Version) - 3:10
All songs by John Colley and Dan Seals except where indicated

The Southwest F.O.B.
*Mike "Doc" Woolbright - Bass
*Tony "Zeke" Durrell - Drums
*Larry "Ovid" Stevens - Guitar
*Dan Seals - Lead Vocals, Saxophone
*John Colley - Organ, Keyboards
*Randy Bates - Trumpet

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Big Brother Feat. Ernie Joseph - South East Tour (1971 us, exciting raw hard psych, Akarma issue)

Supposedly "South East Tour" was originally released in 1971 under All American catalog number AA-5773-LPD.  Not that we're experts or anything, but we've never seen an original copy of the album which probably makes Akarma's 1998 reissue your only real choice if you want to hear this set.   

The title and packaging certainly give you the impression this is a live set, but that's not really the story here. Half of the ten tracks are pulled from Joseph's earlier band - A Giant Crab Comes Forth.  (I'm too lazy to pull the LP, but I think the songs are all pulled the first Giant Crab LP).  The other five selections are billed as previously unreleased efforts, but tracks such as "Keeping the Faith" and "How Many Times" don't sound like concert recordings to our ears.  In terms of quality, the new stuff varies from ponderous boogie ("Satisfied Woman") to mildly entertaining ("Truthfulness").  To be honest,  Giant Crab tracks such as the fuzz guitar propelled "Hotline Conversation" and the blue-eyed soul-ish "Save Me (Save Me)" provide the highlights. 
1. Satisfied Woman (Ernie Joseph, Cary Colt, Brian Faith) - 3:44
2. Truthfulness  (Ernie Joseph, Cary Colt, Brian Faith) - 5:08
3. Hotline Conversation  (Ernie Joseph, Cary Colt, Brian Faith) - 3:00
4. Thru The Fields  (Ernie Joseph, Bill Holmes) - 2:41
5. Keeping The Faith  (Ernie Joseph, Cary Colt, Brian Faith) - 0:38
6. Save Me (Save Me)  (Scott English, K. Young) - 2:15
7. How Many Times  (Ernie Joseph, Cary Colt, Brian Faith) - 5:25
8. Directions  (Ernie Joseph, Cary Colt, Brian Faith) - 2:59
9. Look At the Way  (Ernie Joseph, Cary Colt, Brian Faith) - 4:17
10.My Love (Is Gonna Grow On You)  (Scott English, H. McCracken) - 2:15

Big Brother
*Ernie "Joseph" Orosco - Vocals, Guitar, Bass
*Cory Colt - Rhythm Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
*Brian Faith - Drums, Bass
*Greg Munford - Backing Vocals

1970  Big Brother Feat. Ernie Joseph - Confusion

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Big Brother Feat. Ernie Joseph - Confusion (1970 us, stunning rough hard psych, Akarma edition)

This is one of those LPs I'd heard about for years, but never managed to lay my hands on. Every time I stumbled across a copy in a store it carried an astronomical price ($250 for the last copy I saw three years ago in San Diego), or when I found a copy on the internet it was either already sold, or if it was part of an auction I was quickly outbid. Well, having finally found a copy, was it worth the wait? Yes.

So what do we know about these guys? Not much. Under his given name Ernie Orosco, front man/singer/guitarist Joseph had previously played with a number of Santa Barbara, California-based acts including Ernie and the Emporers and Ernie's Funnys. He'd also recorded a pair of interesting late-'60s albums as a member of Giant Crab (see separate entries). Following the breakup of Giant Crab, Orosco/Joseph apparently relocated to Los Angeles, where he formed Big Brother (not to be confused with Janis Joplin's original outfit). Backed by guitarist Cory Colt, drummer Steve Dunwoodle (aka Steve D. and multi-instrumentalist brother Ruben (aka Ruben the Jet), the quartet attracted the attention of  the small All American label. 

Produced by Bill Holmes who'd handled production for the two earlier Giant Crab LPs, 1970's "Confusion" came as a major change in direction to anyone familiar with Orosco/Joseph's earlier pop/lite-psych moves. With all four members received writing credits, material such as 'Heart Full of Rain', 'L.L.A. (Lubricated Love Affair)' and the bluesy 'Heavy Load' offered up a set of Hendrix-styled guitar pyrotechnics. 

Elsewhere, the heavily phased 'E.S.P.' (sounding like a strange reworking of The Pretty Thing's 'L.S.D.') was actually a reworking of Giant Crab's final single. Given the abundance of guitar rockers, at least to our ears, the standout track was the atypical ballad 'Wake Up In the Morning'. Sweet and sincere, its a beautiful effort. Sure, it ain't the most original LP you'll hear this year and parts of the percussion heavy closing suite 'Gravus Delictum (Unforgiveable Sin)' drag, but the performances were enthusiastic and its an album I play on a regular basis. (Courtesy of Dan McClean, the LP also sports a great black and silver period piece cover)
1. Heart Full Of Rain (Bill Holmes, Ernie Joseph) - 3:33
2. Wake Up In The Morning (Ernie Joseph, Cory Colt, R.T. Jet, Bill Holmes) - 6:40
3. E.S.P. (Self, Ciebiera) - 2:15
4. Heavy Load (Ernie Joseph, Cory Colt, R.T. Jet, Bill Holmes) - 6:39
5. L.L.A. (Lubricated Love Affair) (Ernie Joseph, Cory Colt, R.T. Jet, Bill Holmes) - 3:54
6. Saint James Infirmary (J. Primrose) - 6:06
7. Gravus Delictum (Unforgiveable Sin)
.A.Under Cover Man (Instrumental) (Ernie Joseph, Cory Colt, R.T. Jet) - 1:17
.B.Puck-A-Chick-A (Instrumental) (Steve Dunwoodle) - 0:51
.C.Bare Skin (Instrumental) (Steve Dunwoodle) - 2:44
.D.Roll-In (Instrumental) (Steve Dunwoodle) - 2:07
.E.Roll-Out (Instrumental) (Steve Dunwoodle) - 0:58
.F.Climax (Instrumental) (Steve Dunwoodle) - 0:58
.G.403 Halkirk (Instrumental) (Ernie Joseph, Cory Colt, R.T. Jet) - 3:35

Big Brother
*Cory Colt - Rhythm Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
*Steve Dunwoodle - Drums, Vocals
*Ruben "The Jet" Orosco - Bass, Sax
*Ernie "Joseph" Orosco - Vocals, Guitar, Bass

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Trevor McNamara - Yeah Captain (1969 aussie, sensational folk psych)

Trevor started his music career at the age of 15, having taught himself to play the guitar. He played in a band called 5 Sided Circle which was considered unique and ahead of its time in the 'mod era' of music. He left after two years and formed a 4-piece band called Musik Express. This band achieved national success in Australia and released a single entitled 'Jackie's Thing', written by Trevor. He left Musik Express to stage a rock opera called 'Piano' which he wrote.

After 'Piano', Trevor was urged to record, and the album 'Yeah Captain' was made - Trevor was then 19. His work had been featured on many recordings, film scores, opera and a wide range of commercials in Australia. The 5 Sided Circle performed for a few years in the '90s, playing at exclusive clubs, and supporting acts from the '60s and '70s, eg, Moody Blues on their Australian tours.

While music is his main love, these days Trevor is a successful businessman and contemporary artist, His paintings are featured all over Australia and the demand for his work grows daily.

'Yeah Captain' was made in 1969, and was the first album of its type produced in Australia. All songs were written and performed by Trevor McNamara. Trevor sang and played all instruments, multi-tracking when necessary, and squeezing everything possible onto a 4-track recording deck. Technology was very young compared to what is available today.

The record company suggested that short tracks be included on the album, because radio stations used 'fillers' between hourly newsbreaks etc., and this would enable more airplay for the local release. Also, any form of controversy in the songs was suggested to create more publicity.

The albums was a milestone in Australia, but Trevor never liked it. Even today, collectors approach Trevor for copies of 'Yeah Captain' - they are always declined.
CD Liner-notes
1. Silver - 3:29
2. Waking - 0:37
3. The Gun - 2:44
4. 15 - 1:00
5. Jackie's Thing - From The Rock Opera "Piano" - 2:27
6. Joseph Blackwell - 2:53
7. Riding To Athenbury - 1:47
8. Yeah Captain, Part 1 - 4:10
9. Now - 2:12
10.P.I.P. - 1:28
11.Cavalier - 1:10
12.Digging - 1:05
13.I'm Very Sane, Thank You - 0:54
14.Black Girl - 2:27
15.Sinners - 0:48
16.Living On A Strain - 1:47
17.Yeah Captain, Part 2 - 2:32
18.Morocco (Bonus Track) - 3:21
19.Country Corn (Bonus Track) - 3:42
All songs written and arranged by Trevor McNamara

*Trevor McNamara - Vocals, Guitar

Free Text