Thursday, July 31, 2014

Gothic Horizon - Tomorrow's Another Day (1972 uk, bright, breezy folk psych prog, 2004 issue)

Gothic Horizon's second and final album, like many a sophomore effort, was essentially similar to their debut (The Jason Lodge Poetry Book), except for being somewhat more elaborately produced. Gentle, occasionally somewhat frail British acoustic-based folk-rock remained at the center of their sound. Standard rock instrumentation, however, was employed with considerably greater frequency, though not to the point of overuse. The group's material, too, sounded more serious and less innocent, though it still retained a light, easygoing quality (and, on numbers like "Jefferson James" and "Sydney's Wharf," a definite Simon & Garfunkel influence, especially in the vocal harmonies). 

While the tracks are almost always pleasing on the ear to some degree, they're not too penetrating, and the more they veer from the group's folky core to more ordinary early-'70s rock, the closer they come to losing the plot. The aforementioned "Sydney's Wharf" is probably the highlight, the nostalgic musings accented by some haunting backup female vocals and strange electronic buzzing tones. Like so many slightly-above-average rarities in its genre, the record will please serious enthusiasts of the style, but might be better appreciated by the average collector by hearing the best one or two cuts on various-artists compilations. 
by Richie Unterberger
1. Thyme And Tied - 3:21
2. Sydney’s Wharf - 4:19
3. Beverley’s Song (Song For Beverley) - 3:36
4. Baby, You Make The Sunshine (Andy Desmond) -2:53
5. Lament (For Two Voices) - 2:58
6. Sunny Day Parable (Andy Desmond) - 4:30
7. Song No.1 - 4:41
8. Girl With Guitar - 3:25
9. If You Can Smile (Andy Desmond) - 3:33
10.Jefferson James - 3:39
11.Thoughts (Andy Desmond) - 2:49
12.Tomorrow’s Another Day (Andy Desmond) - 6:45
All songs by Mike Simmons except where stated

*Andy Desmond - Six, Twelve String Guitars, Harmonica, Vocals
*Richard Garrett - Vocals
*Paul Cartwright - Drums, Percussion
*Barrie Evans - Electric Guitar
*Mike Simmons - Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica, String, Brass Arrangements
*John Gosling - Organ, Piano, Moog Synthesizer

1970  Gothic Horizon - The Jason Lodge Poetry Book

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Tin Tin - Astral Taxi (1971 aussie, smart soft orchestrated harmonies, 2009 remaster)

Astral Taxi is an excellent second album from keyboard player Steve Kipner, guitarist Steve Groves, and their group, Tin Tin, whose 1971 Top 20 hit "Toast and Marmalade for Tea" actually sounded like a sequel to Marmalade's 1970 Top Ten hit "Reflections of My Life." They were often confused with the Bee Gees, though Tin Tin had more reason to be -- not only did they really sound like the brothers Gibb, they shared the same manager in Robert Stigwood, the same record label in Atco, and Maurice Gibb was executive producer on this follow-up to their debut, Gibb having more hands-on involvement with the first disc. Both the title track, "Astral Taxi," and the second song, "Ships on the Starboard," would have been perfect on a Paul Kantner solo disc. 

Consider Aztec Two-Step in outer space. Steve Grove's "Our Destiny," on the other hand, is an orchestrated progressive rock instrumental. A heady philosophical essay accompanies the song credit, though the bandmembers don't get the same courtesy. Gerry Shury did the orchestral arrangements, Geoff Bridgeford is most likely on drums, and Johnny Vallins is probably part of the ensemble as well, but the lack of information on who is playing what is distressing for such a great recording and eventual historical artifact. Vallins contributes his songwriting skills to "Ships on the Starboard," "The Cavalry's Coming," and "Benny the Wonderdog." The songwriter also wrote the 1978 number one hit for Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams, "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late," along with Kipner's father, Nat Kipner. Steve Kipner and Steve Groves craft a poppy Moody Blues-type number in "Tomorrow Today" along with their producer, Billy Lawrie. Lawrie also co-wrote the final track, "Is That the Way," with the duo, its very Beatlesque elegance being one of the LP's many highlights. 

Astral Taxi is an enigmatic album for sure, but it works on every level. The more rocking "Jenny B." has horns and guitar battling it out toward the end, a departure from the rest of the music. This 1971 album has three of the guys on the cover photo (as well as on the inside gatefold) , but none of their names accompany the faces. They weren't the Bee Gees just yet, nor were they going to be that visible, but when you add up Steve Kipner's Australian hit along with his smash songs for Olivia Newton-John and Chicago in the mid-'80s and include the Tin Tin composition written by Steve Groves, this band -- who was pretty much written off as a one-hit wonder/Bee Gees clone -- turns out to have had immense depth. "I Took a Holiday" will delight fans of the Bee Gees' song "Holiday"; it has their vocal style, charm, and string arrangements. Astral Taxi is a very pleasant album which should be a collectors' item within pop circles. 
by Joe Viglione
1. Astral Taxi (Steve Kipner, Steve Groves) - 3:31
2. Ships On The Starboard  (Steve Kipner, Steve Groves, Johnny Vallins) - 3:22
3. Our Destiny (Steve Groves) - 3:16
4. Tomorrow Today (Steve Kipner, Steve Groves, Billy Lawrie) - 3:54
5. Jenny B. (Steve Kipner, Steve Groves) - 4:06
6. I Took A Holiday (Steve Kipner, Steve Groves) - 3:28
7. Tag Around (Steve Kipner, Steve Groves) - 2:25
8. Set Sail For England (Steve Kipner, Steve Groves) - 2:55
9. The Cavalary's Coming (Steve Kipner, Steve Groves, Johnny Vallins) - 2:44
10.Benny The Wonder Dog (Steve Kipner, Steve Groves, Johnny Vallins) - 3:54
11.Is That The Way (Steve Kipner, Steve Groves, Billy Lawrie) - 2:33
12.Talking Turkey (Steve Kipner, Steve Groves, Geoff Bridgford) - 3:30
13.Strange One (Grozmann) - 3:44
14.I'm Afraid (Pete Beckett) - 3:39
15.Love Her That Way (From Tin Tin First UK Album) (Steve Kipner, Steve Groves) - 2:19
16.Back To Winona (B-Side UK Single “Come On Over Again”) (Steve Kipner, Steve Groves) - 2:45

Tin Tin
*Steve Kipner - Keyboards, Percussion, Vocals
*Steve Groves - Guitars, Percussion, Vocals
*Johnny Vallins - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
*Geoff Bridgford - Drums

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Grodeck Whipperjenny - The Grodeck Whipperjenny (1970 us, splendid hard fuzz acid funk rock)

The Grodeck Whipperjenny were wolves in sheep attire: a Cincinnati-based group of jazz musicians flexing their rock chops under the auspices of future CTI artist and Grodeck leader David Matthews, who at the time was serving as arranger and writer for the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. The band's lone 1970 release exists in the sonic hinterland between Funkadelic-style psychedelic soul and a distinctly soulful prog rock that shares some territory with Brian Auger and Norman Whitfield's Motown productions. 

The soupy results are truly sublime with funky tracks like "Sitting Here on a Tongue" coasting on Kenny Poole's fuzz guitar and Jimmy Madison's insistent drums that surely made Brown, who gets his requisite "A James Brown Production" credit, proud. The proceedings get even harder and heavier with the lysergic caveman stomp of "Put Your Thing on Me" and "Why Can't I Go Back." Matthews gets to strut his arranging stuff on the string-heavy "Conclusions" and takes his Hammond for a ride on the trippy "Evidence for the Existence of the Unconscious." A few dated speed bumps, "I Wonder" and "You're Too Young," prevent this from being a through and through classic, but it's a wild ride otherwise and not to be missed. 
by Wade Kergan 
1. Sitting Here On A Tongue - 2:50
2. Wonder If - 2:55
3. Why Can't I Go Back - 3:40
4. Conclusions - 4:33
5. You're Too Young (Michael Moore) - 1:48
6. Put Your Thing On Me (Kenny Poole) - 4:40
7. Inside Or Outside - 1:00
8. Evidence For The Existance Of The Unconscious (Tom Banta) - 10:28
All songs by David Matthews except where stated

The Grodeck Whipperjenny
*Mary Ellen Bell - Vocals
*Jimmy Madison - Drums
*David Matthews - Organ, Piano, Trombone
*Michael Moore - Bass
*Kenny Poole - Guitar, Vocals

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Byrds - Byrds (1973 us, brilliant folk country ballads, 2004 issue)

The announcement of the reunion album featuring all five original Byrds raised expectations to the point where whatever emerged was almost bound to be an anticlimax. (Imagine the effect of the Beatles reforming around the same time, if you will.) Despite a general thumbs-down from the critics, fan loyalty and eager anticipation made the new long-player highly successful at the record store: in the States, the biggest-selling new-material Byrds album since Turn, Turn, Turn. Subsequent reviews expressed varying degrees of disappointment, but recent re-evaluation with almost forty years of hindsight portrays the project as fascinating historically and not without merit artistically. Interest in it has never waned and it’s been re-released on CD no fewer than four times. The Wikipedia article on it is almost a book.

The theory behind the reunion varies. According to one version, the famously unreticent David Crosby visited Roger McGuinn in mid-1972 and panned the well-loved White/Battin/Parsons Byrds lineup, saying, “you’ve done some OK stuff but you’ve also done stuff that is pretty bad. Please stop doing it under the Byrds name”. Crosby then suggested reforming the original band to record an album showing where the founder members “are at today”. Another version has the ever-opportunistic David Geffen seeing the lucrative potential of a reunion and planting the suggestion in McGuinn’s mind, noting that McGuinn himself had become dissatisfied with the long-standing lineup and replaced Gene Parsons with salaried sessioneer John Guerin. Either way, McGuinn acquiesced and the other members, all having found themselves between longterm engagements, followed.

The nature of the final work supports the first theory: the album is The Crosby Show in almost every respect. Although on the surface democracy seems to be served by each of the four principals furnishing two original compositions, two of the three accompanying covers are Neil Young songs and the third is by Joni Mitchell, both being longtime Crosby cronies (though Clark takes lead vocal on the Young ditties). It’s been suggested that the other three writers were saving their best material for their own solo projects, but though none of their offerings is a blockbuster they’re all engaging enough, especially Gene Clark’s delicate “Full Circle” and Dylanesque “Changing Heart” and McGuinn’s ersatz-traditional “Sweet Mary”. By contrast, Crosby’s “Long Live The King” is characteristically ebullient, while his “Laughing” is itself actually a cover of the original that appeared on his sublime 1971 collection If Only I Could Remember My Name. Crosby also has the sole production credit; the only tracks that show real spirit in the lead vocals are his; and in the cover photographs he’s the only one who really looks like he wants to be there. (Chris Hillman looks like he’d rather be anywhere else at all.)

The sound of the album is also heavily redolent with Crosby’s aural fingerprint. Acoustic guitars predominate, with the electrics and bass mostly mixed way back and only Hillman’s vibrant mandolin and Clark’s plaintive harmonica forefronted strongly as solo instruments. Apart from “Laughing”, all the songs have short, terse arrangements, never really catching fire. While Crosby’s lead vocals soar, Clark’s and Hillman’s are more subdued and McGuinn’s particularly sombre. The block harmonies are immaculate but display the sweetness of CS&N rather than the engaging rough edge of latterday Byrds. One is led to conclude that with this album Crosby finally achieved, albeit temporarily, belatedly and with questionable success, the domination of the Byrds that he’d craved during the classic years.
by Len Liechti
1. Full Circle (Gene Clark) - 2:43
2. Sweet Mary (Roger McGuinn, Jacques Levy) - 2:55
3. Changing Heart (Gene Clark) - 2:42
4. For Free (Joni Mitchell) - 3:50
5. Born To Rock 'N' Roll (Roger McGuinn) - 3:12
6. Things Will Be Better (Chris Hillman, Dallas Taylor) - 2:13
7. Cowgirl In The Sand (Neil Young) - 3:24
8. Long Live The King (David Crosby) - 2:17
9. Borrowing Time (Chris Hillman, Joe Lala) - 2:00
10.Laughing (David Crosby) - 5:38
11.(See The Sky) About To Rain (Neil Young) - 3:49

The Byrds
*Roger McGuinn – Guitar, Banjo, Moog Synthesizer, Vocals
*Gene Clark - Guitar, Harmonica, Tambourine, Vocals
*David Crosby - Guitar, Vocals
*Chris Hillman – Electric Bass, Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals
*Michael Clarke – Drums, Congas, Percussion
Additional Personnel
*Wilton Felder - Electric Bass
*Johnny Barbata - Drums
*Dallas Taylor - Congas, Tambourine

1964  The Byrds - Preflyte (2012 Edition)
1971  The Byrds - Live At Royal Albert Hall
1967  Gene Clark - Echoes
1968-69  Dillard And Clark - Fantastic Expedition / Through The Morning, Through The Night
1971  Gene Clark - White Light
1972  Gene Clark - Roadmaster  (2011 Edition)
1973  Roger McGuinn - Roger McGuinn (2013 Edition) 

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Atlanta Rhythm Section - Dog Days / Red Tape (1975-76 us, fine straight southern rock, 2005 remaster)

Atlanta Rhythm Section was formed in 1970, intended as the house band for new state-of-the-art recording facility in Doraville, Georgia, and played on various recordings during the first year of the studio, for artists including Al Kooper, B J Thomas and Joe South. 38 Special and Lynyrd Skynyrd also gravitated towards the studio. Meanwhile, the ARS sextet began to record their own material. Three albums preceded 'Dog Days': a self-titled debut, 'Back Up Against The Wall' and 'Third Annual Pipe Dream' with increasing song writing maturity evident through these releases. 'Dog Days' was released in 1975 and as with all ten of the studio albums released up to and including 'Quinella' in 1981, each one offered an engaging balance and blend of up-tempo songs and reflective ballads.

'Dog Days' contains six of the former and two of the latter, all were self-composed and crystallised the bands sound, opener 'Crazy' beginning with the lyric "Wow! Isn't the music strange – it's over-arranged but so untogether..." showing that they had a great sense of humour and that they would – and did – stretch out and jam (as was the case with most of their contemporary Southern band cousins). Here, it was following track, the eight minute 'Boogie Smoogie' that begins as a slow blues that opens out after three minutes into a joyous romp with sensational contributions from both lead guitarists. Although comparisons can at times be made with these other Southern bands, ARS have always provided a broader musical palette and their incredible harmony vocals were also something of a trademark. On the slower material, such as 'Silent Treatment' here and 'Beautiful Dreamers' on 'Red Tape' one may begin to note some similarities with the harmonies and approach of bands like America, Hall & Oates and Toto...and this comes even more to prominence on 'Quinella'. As it happens, 'Beautiful Dreamers' is even redolent stylistically of some of ELO's slow ballads! 'Cuban Crisis' is also a must hear, with its highly amusing lyric and latino rhythms.

'Red Tape' appeared the following year, an album with a greater rock and blues emphasis and with a fantastic, new, nine minute version of 'Another Man's Woman' (a song they had included on the debut, but honed to perfection via many live performances). Other favourites here include the short but oh-so-sweet 'Shanghied', the amusing 'Police! Police!' with its migrating police car siren at the start and the glorious mid-tempo song 'Oh What A Feeling' that has some of the most sensational harmonies of the three albums discussed here.
Dog Days 1975
1. Crazy (Buie, Nix, Daughtry) - 3:07
2. Boogie Smoogie (Buie, Nix, Bailey) - 7:57
3. Cuban Crisis (Buie, Nix, Cobb) - 3:50
4. It Just Ain't Your Moon (Buie, Nix, Daghtry) - 4:50
5. Dog Days (Buie, Nix, Daughtry) - 3:35
6. Bless My Soul (Cobb) - 4:00
7. Silent Treatment (Buie, Nix, Bailey) - 5:15
8. All Night Rain (Buie, Nix, Daughtry, Mcree) - 3:10
Red Tape 1976
9. Jukin'/San Antonio Rose (Buie, Nix, Wills) - 3:43
10.Mixed Emotions (Buie, Cobb, Nix) - 3:20
11.Shanghaied (Buie, Cobb, Nix) - 2:14
12.Police! Police! (Buie, Cobb, Nix) - 3:11
13.Beautiful Dreamers (Buie, Cobb, Nix) - 3:26
14.Oh What A Feeling (Bailey, Buie, Nix) - 2:39
15.Free Spirit (Buie, Hammond, Nix) - 3:35
16.Another Man's Woman (Bailey, Buie, Daughtry, Nix) - 9:47

Atlanta Rhythm Section
*Barry Bailey - Guitar
*Buddy Buie - Vocals
*J.R. Cobb - Guitar, Vocals
*Dean Daughtry - Keyboards
*Paul Goddard - Bass Guitar
*Ronnie Hammond - Vocals, Vocals
*Robert Nix - Percussion, Drums, Vocals

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Winterhawk - Revival (1982 us, good hard rock with prog shades, 2006 remaster)

Winterhawk was a Chicago area band that existed between like 1977 and 1983 before leaving us all behind. This is the sole record that they released in 1982 on their own small label. 2000 copies were pressed in two bunches but 30% of the first batch were crap. It is pretty rare today and it has a lot of great material. The band was a 3 piece and you can hear Triumph (the high pitch vocal, more than the guitar work), the harder edged Styx material, Richie Blackmore like guitar in this great hard rock piece of art. 

The record starts with a short instrumental piece before launching into the hard rocking Sanctuary, which has a great riff. Period of Change has some amazing guitar playing and a lot of different moods. At this point I would have to consider the band a progressive rock band, and then Can’t see the Forest from the Trees kicks in and is a foot stomping bluesy track and Jordan lets it rip! The title track, Revival, is next and is a cool melodic rock track. Ace in the Hole is not sung by vocalist/guitarist Jordan Macarus but the bass player Doug Brown. This features some ripping guitar at the end and again is quite a complex arrangement. The CD ends with the long progressive rock track with some very Richie Blackmore like guitar runs that only miss Jon Lord on the organ., Free to live clocking in at 9½ minutes. A great track and pretty cool record.
1. Intro - 3:41
2. Sanctuary (D. Brown, J. Macarus) - 5:25
3. Period of Change - 7:15
4. Can't See the Forest for the Trees (D. Brown) - 5:35
5. Revival - 6:04
6. Ace in the Hole - 5:05
7. Free to Live - 9:23
All songs by Jordan Macarus except where noted

*Jordan Macarus - Vocals, Guitar
*Doug Brown - Bass, Vocals, Guitar
*Scott Bennes - Drums, Percussion

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tennent Morrison - Tennent Morrison (1972 uk, fine folk classic rock)

Originally released on Polydor in 1972, Tennent & Morrison's debut album has been renowned for its superb musical sense by serious record collectors for many years. The album is an exquisite package full of American swamp rock and British folky sound. 

The band comprised of John Tennent and David Morrison. The album Tennent & Morrison (1972, Polydor) was their first album. It was recorded with several members of Stone the Crows (Jimmy, Ronnie Leahy, Steven Thompson, Colin Allen), plus Herbie Flowers (bass) and Clem Cattini (drums). 
1. Good For You (Tennent, Morrison) - 03:28
2. Tomorrow It Might Rain (Tennent) - 02:39
3. Keep My Secrets (Morrison) - 04:08
4. I Should Have Known Better (Tennent) - 02:41
5. Round And Round (Morrison) - 02:59
6. For In The Future (Morrison) - 03:47
7. I Can't Imagine (Tennent) - 02:51
8. Easy Come, Easy Go (Tennent) - 03:51
9. The Last Hour (Morrison) - 02:40
10.Take My Place (Tennent) - 04:25
11.Death In A Distant Country (Tennent, Morrison) - 06:24

*John Tennent - Guitar, Vocals
*Dave Morrison - Bottleneck, Vocals
*Jimmy McCulooch - Guitar
*Ronnie Leahy - Keyboards
*Steven Thompson - Bass
*Colin Allen -  Percussion
*Herbie Flowers - Bass
*Clem Cattini - Drums
*Dennis Lopez - Percussion

1972  Joe Soap - Keep It Clean (2010 koream remaster)

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Longdancer - If It Was So Simple (1973 uk, delicate smooth folk rock, with young David Stewart from Eurythmics fame, Vinyl edition)

Longdancer was an early 70s English folk-rock band that included David A. Stewart (of Eurythmics fame). The group grew out of a folk duo comprising Stewart and Brian Harrison. The pair played clubs and support gigs in the north east of England and in 1971 recorded an EP for the local Multichord label. Soon afterwards they added further singer/guitarists Steve Sproxton and Kai Olsson and were re-named Longdancer. In 1973, they became the first artists to sign to Elton John’s Rocket label, touring with John before Olsson left to be replaced by Matt Irving (keyboards) and Charlie Smith (drums). The new line-up made a second album in 1974. Shortly afterwards, Longdancer split up.

In 1977, Stewart formed The Tourists and in 1981, with Annie Lennox, the highly successful Eurythmics.

Kai Olsson made a 1979 solo album for Chrysalis Records (Crazy Love) while Harrison and Smith played with folk singers Robin & Barry Dransfield before Smith joined Blue.

Irving recorded with Philip Rambow before joining The Lords Of The New Church in the 80s. 
1. Silent Emotions (Kai Olsson) - 4:21
2. Hold Up The World (Kai Olsson) - 3:40
3. Don't Turn Out The Lights (David Stewart) - 3:19
4. Trivialities (Steve Sproxton) - 5:10
5. Time To Pay (Brian Harrison, Steve Sproxton) - 4:39
6. Too Much To Soon (Kai Olsson) - 2:03
7. Take A Man (Steve Sproxton) - 2:36
8. Crying Out Loud (Steve Sproxton) - 4:43
9. Ballad Of Hillary (Kai Olsson) - 3:43
10.If It Was So Simple (Brian Harrison) - 4:27

*David A. Stewart - Guitars, Vocals, Bass
*Kai Olsson - Vocals
*Steve Sproxton - Guitars, Vocals
*Brian Harrison - Piano, Guitar, Bass, Vocals
*Tony Ashton - Keyboards
*Jimmy Hall - Percussion
*Dave Mattacks - Drums
*Roger Powell - Drums
*Andy Roberts - Dulcimer
*Bob Rongs - Bass

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Joe Soap - Keep It Clean (1972 uk, smart folk classic rock, 2010 koream remaster)

Joe Soap was a band comprised of John Tennent and David Morrison and the album "Tennent & Morrison" {Polydor, 1972) was their first album. It was recorded with several members of Stone the Crows (Jimmy, Ronnie Leahy, Steven Thompson, Colin Allen), plus Herbie Flowers (bass) and Clem Cattini (drums). Their second album, "Keep It Clean" (as Joe Soap) (Polydor, 1973), featured Gerry Conway (drums, later in Jethro Tull) and Mik Kaminski (violin, from ELO). 

Although they were regarded as a second class British rock bands in the early 70s' they were very good indeed. They were one of the most underrated bands in the British rock & pop history. The album features ten tracks composed by John and David with help of Sandy Robertson (producer). Two guys rather thick but fascinating voices diffuse strong masculine beauty in all tracks.

In addition to it, a mastermind violinist Mike Kaminski's scattering violin features most of the tracks especially on "Feel Strange" and "On The Wing" are just superb. Jimmy McCulloch's intense guitar domains on every track as well. Overall, the album is an awesome combo set of typical British rock classics with strong American southern rock flavor

Both Tennent and Morrison and Keep It Clean are now extremely rare and occasionally surface on the collectors' market. After they release two albums, both John and David are not active as musicians but their talents and the albums still remain even now.
CD Liner-notes
1. Talkin"Bout You - 4:12
2. Warning Sign - 2:58
3. Lay It On Me - 7:05
4. Whatever The Song Is Now (Tennent) - 3:09
5. Get Out From Under - 3:00
6. Feels Strange - 3:24
7. On The Wing (Morrison) - 3:27
8. Time - 3:46
9. All Out Now - 3:22
10. Birdman (Tennent) – 3:33
All compositions by John Tennent, Dave Morrison unless as else indicated

*John Tennent - Guitar, Vocals
*Dave Morrison - Bottleneck, Vocals
*Jimmy McCulloch - Guitar
*Jerry Conway - Drums
*Jeff Pearce - Bass
*Mike Kaminski - Violin

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Eddie Hardin And Pete York - The World`s Smallest Bigband (1969-70 uk, elegant jazzy prog rock, 2008 remaster with extra tracks)

The band's second studio album - "THE WORLD'S SMALLEST BIG BAND" - was taped at Olympic and De Lane Lea, although, as with their first, they still got the whole thing wrapped up inside a month. Some of the material had been stockpiled since their inception back in 1969 but with the pressures of touring, the sessions were hard work and the album wasn't as coherent.

Side one kicked off with three singer/songwriter performances, Eddie using piano rather than Hammond, followed by an abrupt change of mood as wild cheering heralded the start of a rock & roll medley which they'd decided to tape in front of an invited audience (of 'Soho deadbeats' as the liner notes put it!) This was followed by a lengthy drum workout titled, "The Pike", the nickname of their head roadie (it was he who had pulled off the snow filled amps trick mentioned earlier).

There were no guest musicians either, although Eddie remembers Jon Lord and Tony Ashton hanging around the studio at the time. Singer (and sometime Penthouse star) Dana Gillespie was also about, though only in her capacity as manager Ian Smithers' girlfriend. The results were issued in the then obligatory gatefold sleeve in 1970, again on the Bell label (SBLL 136).

So big were the band in Europe by now that they fell prey to bootleggers. "We were playing in a German Youth Centre," Eddie explained, "and the director asked if we would mind if his film club made a film of our show. It seemed OK. The next thing we knew was that an album had been released of the show. The filming had all been a cover to record a bootleg." Titled, "The Hardin & York Bootleg", copies were imported into the UK in early '71 with the first wave of European vinyl bootlegs.

The year flashed by in a blur of touring, and the new year looked set to be the same with Hardin & York booked to support Deep Purple on their February '71 UK tour. During the set, Purple's drummer Ian Paice took the chance to play alongside Pete York on a number called "Extension 345", an idea inspired by an Elvin Jones/Ginger Baker fiasco which York had witnessed. "That situation was contrary to the principals of entertainment, so Ian and I decided to show how musicians can work together and forget egos," Pete told a journalist.

In March '71, Hardin & York booked the Bumpers club for a marathon music "all star jam" session. By this time, both Eddie and Pete had their own bands with which to let off steam outside the confines of the duo. There was The Pete York Percussion Band, with vocalist Eric Dylan, guitarist Miller Anderson (from Keef Hartley's band), plus a brass section. Eddie's outfit went out as Hardin/Fenwick/Newman. The idea of the Bumpers show was to include slots by both offshoots, then finish with a Hardin & York set. At one stage they ended up with three drummers - Pete, Ian Paice and Keef Hartley - on stage together for a marathon version of "The Pike".
by Simon Robinson
1. Just A Case Of Time - 4:03
2. I Can't Find My Way Home - 3:36
3. Love, A Song For You - 6:18
4. Rock And Roll Medley - 4:53
.a.Jailhouse Rock (Leiber, Stoller)
.b.Mean Woman Blues (Dunetrius)
.c.Rip It Up! (Marascalo, Blackwell)
5. The Pike (E. Hardin, P. York) - 9:00
6. Northern Medley - 10:12
.a.Lady Madonna (Lennon, McCartney)
.b.Norwegian Wood (Lennon, McCartney)
7. If I Could Join Them - 3:09
8. David Difficult - 6:09
9. Tomorrow Today - 3:20
10.Candlelight - 5:17
11.Little Miss Blue - 3:54
12.Can't Keep A Good Man Down - 6:09
13.Cowboy (Live) - 5:17
14.Everyone I Know (Live) - 4:50
All songs by Eddie Hardin except where noted

*Eddie Hardin - Organ, Piano, Vocals
*Peter York - Drums, Percussion

1969-70  Tomorrow Today

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Eddie Hardin And Pete York - Tomorrow Today (1969-70 uk, magnificent organ drivin' prog psych, extra tracks issue)

Hardin and York's career spanned arguably one of rock's most productive periods. Pop music of the early sixties had influenced a generation of bands who were keen both to push the boundaries further and experiment with the possibilities of the long playing album format. By the end of the decade, progressive rock was being championed by groups as diverse as Yes, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, The Moody Blues, ELP, Deep Purple and many more - all working hard to establish themselves with defining albums. This rush of energy lasted through into the early seventies before faltering as bands burnt themselves out and musical fashions changed.

When keyboardist Eddie Hardin (born 19th February 1949, South London) was recommended in 1967 by family friend and Manfred Mann vocalist Paul Jones for the vacant position in the then internationally popular Spencer Davis Group he could scarcely have believed that his introduction to the world of professional music would have led to a career that is now well over a quarter of a century old. On joining the band in April 1967, he teamed up with Davis, guitarist Phil Sawyer and drummer Pete York (born 15th August 1942, Middlesborough) they took off on an American tour followed by a cameo appereance in the film "Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush". They also scored two UK hits, "Time Seller" (No.30) and "Mr. Second Class" (No.35), before, in the summer of '68, both Hardin and York left to begin work as a duo - 'The smallest big band in the world' as they were initially dubbed by the music press.

Securing a record deal with Bell Records, the duo released an album (SBLL 125) and single (BLL 1064) both called "Tomorrow Today" in mid '69 and found themselves in considerable demand on the European live circuit, gigging with the likes of Deep Purple, The Nice and Keef Hartley. One concert in a youth hostel in Hamburg-Blankenese was recorded without the pair's knowledge and released as a bootleg disc which the duo only found out about when fans used to bring it to gigs for them to sign. Eddie Hardin eventually tracked down a copy of this excellent quality recording and set about "bootlegging the bootleggers"! The 1970 LP "Smallest Big Band In The World" (SBLL 136) was followed by 1971's "For The World" (Decca SKL 5095) before the pair went their separate ways by releasing solo LP's - Hardin with "Home Is Where You Find It" (TXS 106) and York with "Pete York Percussion Band" (TXS 109), both on Decca Records.
by Mark Brennan
1. Tomorrow Today - 3:36
2. 100 Years From Now - 2:44
3. I'm Lost - 8:23
4. Drinking My Wine - 4:45
5. Candlelight - 4:37
6. Beautiful Day - 2:32
7. Mountains Of Sand - 6:45
8. Can't Keep A Good Man Down - 6:23
9. Listen Everyone - 4:06
10.All I See Is You - 3:23
11.Mullberry Place - 4:30
12.Sunday Morning - 3:35
13.Rock 'N' Roll Music (Chuck Berry) - 3:52
14.Can't Find My Way Home - 2:37
15.Just A Case Of Time - 4:22
All songs by Eddie Hardin except where stated

*Eddie Hardin - Keyboards, Vocals
*Pete York - Drums, Percussion
*Mel Thorpe - Flute, Horn, Trombone
*Vic Flick - Guitar
*Mike Hurst - Guitar
*Herbie Flowers - Bass
*Sue And Sunny - Backing Vocals

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Salvation - Salvation / Gypsy Carnival Caravan (1968 us, spectacular west coast acid psych rock)

Excellent psych from these San Francisco Hippies, great acid leads, some sitar too.

San Francisco psychedelic band Salvation was formed in 1967 by singer Al Linde and guitarist Joe Tate, who first met while students at the University of Washington. Bassist Artie McLean, keyboardist Art Resnick, and drummer Teddy Stewart later completed the original lineup, which at first called itself the New Salvation Army Banned.

After earning featured spots in a series of concerts in Golden Gate Park, the band signed to ABC Records, albeit on the condition they abbreviate their name for fear of legal action from the actual Salvation Army.

Salvation's self-titled debut album followed in 1968, boasting an expansive, eclectic sound highlighted by the first single, "Think Twice."

Opening slots for bands including the Doors, Big Brother & the Holding Company, and Canned Heat followed, and around the time of their second album, 1969's Gypsy Carnival Caravan, Salvation traveled to New York City to headline the Fillmore East and the Village Gate.

But their future was jeopardized after the group's management reputedly ran off with their ABC advance, and in 1970 Salvation dissolved; Resnick later resurfaced in jazz circles with a handful of solo recordings as well as sideman dates behind Nat Adderley, Freddie Hubbard, and others 
by Jason Ankeny
1. Love Comes In Funny Packages - 3:01
2. Cinderella - 2:54
3. More Than It Seems - 3:25
4. Getting My Hat - 4:07
5. G.I. Joe (Joe Tate) - 4:41
6. Think Twice (Joe Tate) - 7:10
7. She Said Yeah (Al Linde, Joe Tate) - 3:45
8. The Village Shuck - 2:24
9. What Does An Indian Look Like - 3:40
10.Hollywood 1923 - 3:23
11.Handles Of Care - 5:49
12.Yuk Yuk (Joe Tate) - 7:37
13.In The Evening - 2:42
14.Salvation Jam (Stanley Clayton, Tom Scott) - 9:01
15.Come On Over Here (Joe Tate) - 4:27
16.What'll I Do #42 - 3:59
All songs by Al Linde except where stated

*Al Linde - Vocals
*Joe Tate - Guitar
*Artie McLean - Bass
*Teddy Stewart - Drums
*Art Resnick - Organ, Harpsichord
Auxilliary Members
*Tom Scott - Tenor Sax, Flute
*Bill Plummer - Sitar

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Joshua - Opens Your Mind (1970 us, great rough heavy blues psych, Vinyl issue)

When you think of 60's music from California the town of Sacramento doesn’t immediately come to mind. but the state capitol had a fertile music scene having given birth to mind melters blue cheer who paved the way for other locals like Joshua.

Fronted by singer Mick Martin, Joshua were at the center of a scene that, for the most part, ignored the flower power shenanigans going on up north and worshipped at the altar of heavy Rock & Roll.

Along with other locals like Slo Loris and Jericho, Joshua created guitar lead, blues based rock music with lyrics that reflected the current events of the day, war & drugs.

While the band never released any music back in the day, they did record an LP’s worth of material along with some legendary live shows that took place at the university of California at Davis.

Anti-war feelings that still ring true today can be heard on cuts like “The Fist”, “G.I. Peace” and “No Country”. while expanding your mind with drugs is exposed on cuts like “Please Excuse Me” and The Title Track, “Open Your Mind”.

With heavy guitar crunchers in a style that will remind you of one of our earlier release, Stone Garden. it comes in a thick gatefold cover with liner notes by Mick Martin and lots of photos that compliment the mind blowing, full color front cover.

This is a totally unknown band that is not to be confused with any other band by the same name that may have released LP’s in the past. 
1. The First (Robbie Smith) - 2:39
2. Open Your Mind - 5:03
3. You Still Hide - 2:57
4. Please Excuse Me - 3:34
5. Man on the Street - 5:15
6. It's a Game - 3:53
7. When You Grow Up - 3:16
8. No Country - 2:50
9. G.I. Peace - 6:14
All songs by Mick Martin except where stated

*Mick Martin - Lead Vocals, Harmonica
*Wayne Smith - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Ray Halverson - Lead Guitar
*Larry Sherwood - Bass, Backing Vocals
*Rick Yarrision - Drums

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Rockadrome - Royal American 20th Century Blues (1969 canada, amazing psychedelia, 2010 edition)

A near-mint copy of Rockadrome's lone 1969 LP will probably set you back at least a month's rent - and not a one-bedroom in Wawa (ON), either. Recorded in the early months of 1969 at Art Snider's Sound Canada studios in Toronto and pressed up in very limited quantities, Royal American 20th Century Blues is an impossibly rare psych-rock curio that has sold for upwards of US$1900.

The band (guitarists Ron Dove and Mike Clancy, along with bassist Paul Lachapelle and drummer Rick Vallieres) formed in Toronto in 1968, with the older Clancy having once recorded with rockabilly acts Jack Bailey and The Naturals and Jerry Warren and The Tremblers. Royal American... seems to have one foot planted on either side of the Atlantic, flitting from Brit-infused freakbeat ('Very Strange') to acerbic West Coast guitar jams ('Thirteen Miles Down'), sometimes even in the same song (the amazing five-minute title track). Dove's Dylanesque whine on the jangly 'There You Go Again' should by rights be maddeningly annoying, but instead the song could almost be a long-lost Blond on Blonde outtake. And the sombre piano reprise that closes side two is a sober lament - almost frighteningly so - on our own royal American twentieth century futility. The record is not without its detritus, but still, how Royal American 20th Century Blues could have gone so unnoticed remains a mystery.

Snider kept the lads busy later that year, employing them as session musicians on a couple of equally arcane endeavours, Hyde's obscure folk LP on Quality and, a few years later, for Snider's wife's project, the Allen Sisters. But aside from a solo seven-inch by Dove, the band responsible for one of Canada's rarest records was never heard from again. 
by Michael Panontin
1. R.A.T.C.B. Teaser - 1:18
2. Very Strange - 3:15
3. Thirteen Miles Down - 2:23
4. Royal American Twentieth Century Blues - 4:57
5. Live And Love Child - 1:41
6. There You Go Again - 3:25
7. Inside Out, Inside In - 3:50
8. T.O. Town - 2:17
9. Ain't It A Shame - 3:17
10.Good Dream - 3:37
11.R.A.T.C.B. Reprise - 4:44
All songs by Ron J. Dove, Mike Clancy

*Ron J. Dove - Vocals, Guitar
*Mike Clancy - Guitar, Percussion, Keyboards, Vocals
*Paul Lachapelle - Bass, Organ
*Rick Vallieres - Drums, Vocals

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Neighb'rhood Childr'n - Long Years In Space (1967-68 us, fabulous garage beat folk psych)

From just south of Medford, Oregon in the tiny burg of Phoenix (population 600) came the teen band the Navarros. Guitarist Rick Bolz, drummer John Morrison and bassist George Glenn hooked up with singer/keyboardist Dyan Hoffman. After cutting a rowdy single for an Oregon label called Corby, the band came to San Francisco for a weekend and quickly became psychedelicized, moving as far away from the previous surf and R&B stance as their fuzztone pedals and Farfisa organs would carry them. After losing members to the draft (guitarist Ron Raschdorf and drummer W.A. Farrens replaced the departing John Morrison and temporary guitarist George Campbell), they changed their name to the Neighb'rhood Children. Recording their lone album at Golden State Recorders for release on the microscopic Acta label, 1968 looked to be the year for the band. 

They toured constantly behind the album, working everything from go-go clubs to one-off concerts with the Who, the Grass Roots and a small mini-tour with the Beau Brummels. Upon several close calls on the road, the group found religion and changed their name to White Horse. After finding that no label would release their second album (by all reports much more contemplative, laidback and acoustic than their debut), the group disbanded in 1970. Bolz responded to the years of road burnout by getting back to nature, buying a surplus parachute, turning it into a teepee and living off the land, hunting and fishing, while the others returned to home, hearth and semi-normal lives. 
by Cub Koda

Marinated in such diverse influences as the mind-splintering mushroom folk-rock blast of the Jefferson Airplane and the feel-good pristine pop of the Turtles, original copies of the Neighb’rhood Childr’n’s lone album trade hands these days for sums usually mentioned in ransom notes. Hailing from the tiny town of Phoenix, Oregon, the Childr’n made deep inroads into the early San Francisco scene, opening for the Who, the Grass Roots, and the Beau Brummels and subsequently taking the psychedelic message back to the Pacific Northwest hinterlands—sometimes at great risk to their persons at the hands of small-minded locals. Marked by singer-organist Dyan Hoffman’s wailing vocals and guitarist Rick Bolz’s stinging fuzz leads, the Neighb’rhood Childr’n are one of the most criminally overlooked acts of the entire psych/acid era. 
1. Feeling Zero (Rick Bolz, Dyan Hoffman) - 3:10
2. Long Years In Space (Rick Bolz, Dyan Hoffman) - 2:56
3. Up Down Turn Around World (Rick Bolz) - 2:25
4. Changes Brought To Me (Rick Bolz) - 2:01
5. Please Leave Me Alone (Rick Bolz, T. Ryan, G. Campbell) - 2:38
6. Hobbit's Dream (Rick Bolz, Dyan Hoffman) - 1:55
7. Chocolate Angel (R. Bolz, D. Hoffman, R. Raschdorf, D.A. Farrens) - 2:32
8. Patterns (Rick Bolz, Dyan Hoffman) - 3:23
9. Happy Child (Rick Bolz, Dyan Hoffman) - 2:17
10.Happy World Of Captain K (Rick Bolz) - 2:54
11.She's Got No Identification (M. Murphy, O. Castleman) - 2:34
12.Can't Buy Me Love (Lennon, McCartney) - 3:16
13.That's What's Happening (Rick Bolz) - 2:29
14.Sunday Afternoon (Rick Bolz) - 1:48
15.Feeling Zero (Alternate Version) (Rick Bolz, Dyan Hoffman) - 3:04
16.The Little Black Egg (M. Stone) - 2:38
17.Tomorrow's Gone (Rick Bolz) - 2:00
18.Over The Rainbow (Harburg, Arlen) - 2:37
19.Louie Louie (R. Berry) - 2:33
20.I Need Love (Rick Bolz) - 2:30
21.Yesterday's Thoughts (Rick Bolz) - 1:43
22.Woman Think (J. C. Horton) - 3:59
23.Long Years In Space (Alternate Version) (Rick Bolz) - 2:51
24.Behold The Lillies (D. Hoffman) - 2:30

The Neighb'rhood Childr'n
Rick Bolz - 12 String Guitar, Harmonica, Tambourine, Triangle, Vocals
Wayne Arthur Farrens - Drums, Harmonica, Tambourine, Vocals
Dyan Hoffman - Organ, Tambourine, Vocals
Ron Raschdorf - Guitar, Harmonica, Tambourine, Vocals
George Glenn - Bass

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Crack The Sky - Crack The Sky (1975 us, powerfull prog rock with glam shades, 2002 remaster)

Progressive rock group Crack the Sky was formed in the Ohio River Valley region in 1975 by frontman John Palumbo, guitarists Jim Griffiths and Rick Witkowski, bassist Joe Macre, and drummer Joey D'Amico. According to the website at, the band was originally dubbed ArcAngel, building a loyal following on the Cleveland and Baltimore club circuits before signing to the Lifesong label to issue their self-titled debut LP, which earned critical acclaim for Palumbo's acerbic lyrics and the songs' complex structures and time changes. 

Commercial reward was minimal, however, and after completing Crack the Sky's second LP, 1976's Animal Notes, Palumbo exited to pursue a solo career. D'Amico assumed lead vocal duties on 1978's Safety in Numbers, with singer Gary Lee Chappell featured on the Live Sky release. Crack the Sky then disbanded, but in 1980 Palumbo, Witkowski, and keyboardist Vince DePaul briefly reformed the group to record the White Music album before again dissolving. Palumbo then formed another new lineup for a series of albums including Photoflamingo, World in Motion I, and Raw before reuniting with Witkowski, D'Amico, and DePaul for a series of 1986 live dates at the Baltimore club Hammerjacks and eventually a new 1989 studio LP, From the Greenhouse. Dog City followed in 1990, and Crack the Sky infrequently reunited throughout the decade to come. 
by Jason Ankeny

The astonishing success of Crack the Sky's eponymous first album raised expectations that the band was never able to fulfill for the rest of their career. Critics and audiences alike delighted in the wry, intelligent lyrics, complex and powerful progressive rock, and carefully crafted harmonies. Radio programmers were more ambivalent. Songs like "Ice," "She's a Dancer," and "Surf City" all got nationwide airplay, though none actually became a real hit. 

All of them deserved more attention, but the label never focused their promotional efforts on any one of them, and as a result there was no hit single. (Shades of Moby Grape's first album.) Rolling Stone's designation of Crack the Sky as "Album of the Year" for 1975 helped did as much as anything the record company did, and in retrospect their award was well-deserved. The album still holds up very well, especially the delirious "A Sea Epic," one of the rare examples of a driving and complex progressive rock song with a really good sense of humor. Three years and two albums later, when Crack the Sky did a live album, most of the songs were from this album. They obviously knew where their best material was and played to their strengths. Highly recommended. 
by Richard Fos
1. Hold On - 3:00
2. Surf City - 3:54
3. A Sea Epic - 6:33
4. She's a Dancer - 3:54
5. Robots for Ronnie - 4:39
6. Ice - 4:36
7. Mind Baby - 4:32
8. I Don't Have a Tie - 3:04
9. Sleep - 7:48
10.Let Me Go Home (A Visit to the Projects) - 3:25
11.Eileen, I Lean on You - 3:49
12.Hold On - 2:14
13.Dr. Octopus, Pt. 2 - 3:08
All songs composed by John Palumbo

Crack The Sky
*John Palumbo - Lead Vocals, Keyboards, Guitar
*Rick Witkowski - Lead Guitar, Percussion
*Joe Macre - Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Jim Griffiths - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Joey D'Amico - Drums, Vocals
Additional Musicians
*Michael Brecker - Horns
*Randy Brecker - Horns
*David Sanborn - Horns
*George Marge - Woodwinds
*Tom Jones - Trombone

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Manassas - Pieces (1971-73 us, remarkabale country folk classic rock, 2009 release)

Pieces is the perfect name for this new Manassas outtakes collection from Rhino.  Nobody had combined country, rock, salsa, blues, and bluegrass like Stephen Stills’ powerhouse 7-piece that formed out from the wake of CSNY and the Burrito Brothers, and their eponymous album was a disconnected smattering of “pieces” itself. This new hodgepodge of unheard treats may be scattered, but it’s right in line with tradition and kicks ass like any Manassas fan would expect.

Pieces collects some leftovers from the Miami sessions that led to the first album (“Witching Hour” “Like A Fox”), warmups and ideas intended for the 2nd Manassas album, Down The Road (“Lies” “Love and Satisfy”), as well as what Stills refers to as “Chris Hillman and Byron Berline teaching me bluegrass” (“Panhandle Rag” “Uncle Pen”). Other tracks are electrified covers from Stephen Stills 1 & 2, the hugely successful solo albums that gave Stephen the freedom to form a band with Doug Sahm level schizophrenia.

There are a number of gems here; “Witching Hour” and “Sugar Babe” are easy classics. Stills throws together the chorus of “Like a Fox” last minute and presages  Manfred Mann’s “Fox On The Run” (which the Country Gentlemen would turn into a bluegrass standard) word for word. Only problem, even with Bonnie Raitt lending her voice, I can’t hear past the Manfred version to this one. On Side B, the bluegrass numbers have no knockout picking, but it’s a treat to hear Stills and Hillman harmonize on “Uncle Pen.” “Do You Remember The Americans,” however, is cooler grass than I’ve ever heard. I wish Stills had recorded an entire album in this vein. ”I Am My Brother” is a sick solo blues to prove Stills’ immense talent and soul.
by Brendan McGrath
1. Witching Hour - 5:12
2. Sugar Babe - 4:19
3. Lies (Chris Hillman) - 3:07
4. My Love Is A Gentle Thing - 1:23
5. Like A Fox - 2:58
6. Word Game - 1:35
7. Tan Sola Y Triste (Stills, Nelson Escoto) - 1:23
8. Fit To Be Tied - 3:49
9. Love And Satisfy (Hillman) - 1:57
10.High And Dry - 5:52
11.Panhandle Rag (Leon McAuliffe) - 1:58
12.Uncle Pen (Bill Monroe) - 1:53
13.Do You Remember The Americans - 1:49
14.Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music) (Joe Maphis, Max Fidler, Rose Lee Maphis) - 2:16
15.I Am My Brother - 3:24
All songs by Stephen Stills except where indicated

*Stephen Stills - Vocals, Guitar
*Al Perkins - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Joe Lala - Congas
*Dallas Taylor - Drums
*Calvin Samuels - Bass
*Paul Harris - Piano
*Byrone Berline- Fiddle
*Roger Bush - Bass
*Ricky Roberts - Guitar, Vocals
*Bobby Whitlock - Keyboards
*Bonnie Raitt - Vocals
*Joe Walsh - Guitar
*Chris Hillman - Mandolin

1970  Stephen Stills - Stephen Stills (debut album, 2008 japan SHM remaster)
1972  Stephen Stills - Manassas (2006 HDCD)

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Stephen Stills - Manassas (1972 us, amazing classic rock melted with country folk and blues tunes, 2006 HDCD)

A sprawling masterpiece, if not its sound. Rock, folk, blues, country, Latin, and bluegrass have all been styles touched on in Stephen Stills' career, and the skilled, energetic musicians he had gathered in Manassas played them all on this album. What could have been a disorganized mess in other hands, though, here all gelled together and formed a cohesive musical statement. 

The songs are thematically grouped: part one (side one on the original vinyl release) is titled "The Raven," and is a composite of rock and Latin sounds that the group would often perform in full live. "The Wilderness" mainly centers on country and bluegrass (Chris Hillman's and Al Perkins' talents coming to the forefront), with the track "So Begins the Task" later covered by Stills' old flame Judy Collins. Part three, "Consider" is largely folk and folk-rock. "Johnny's Garden," reportedly for the caretaker at Stills' English manor house and not for John Lennon as is often thought, is a particular highlight. 

Two other notables from the "Consider" section are "It Doesn't Matter" (later redone with different lyrics by the song's uncredited co-writer Rick Roberts on the first Firefall album) and "Move Around," which features some of the first synthesizer used in a rock context. The closing section, titled "Rock & Roll Is Here to Stay," is a rock and blues set with one of the landmarks of Manassas' short life, the epic "The Treasure." A sort of Zen-like meditation on love and "oneness," enlivened by the band's most inspired recorded playing it evolves into a bluesy groove washed in Stills' fierce electric slide playing. 

The delineation lines of the four themed song groupings aren't cut in stone, though, and one of the strengths of the album is that there is a lot of overlap in styles throughout. The CD reissue's remastered sound is excellent, though missed is the foldout poster and handwritten lyrics from the original vinyl release. Unfortunately, the album has been somewhat overlooked over the years, even though Stills considers it some of the best work he has done. Bill Wyman (who guested on "The Love Gangster") has said he would have quit the Rolling Stones to join Manassas. 
by Rob Caldwell
1. Song Of Love - 3:28
2. Medley - 3:34
..I.Rock And Roll Crazies (Stephen Stills, Dallas Taylor)
.II.Cuban Bluegrass (Stephen Stills, Joe Lala)
3. Jet Set (Sigh) - 4:25
4. Anyway - 3:21
5. Both Of Us (Bound To Lose) (Stephen Stills, Chris Hillman) - 3:00
6. Fallen Eagle - 2:03
7. Jesus Gave Love Away For Free - 2:59
8. Colorado - 2:50
9. So Begins The Task - 3:57
10.Hide It So Deep - 2:44
11.Don't Look At My Shadow - 2:30
12.It Doesn't Matter (Chris Hillman, Rick Roberts, Stephen Stills) - 2:30
13.Johnny's Garden - 2:45
14.Bound To Fall (Mike Brewer, Tom Mastin) - 1:53
15.How Far - 2:49
16.Move Around - 4:15
17.The Love Gangster (Stephen Stills, Bill Wyman) - 2:51
18.What To Do - 4:44
19.Right Now - 2:58
20.The Treasure (Take One) - 8:03
21.Blues Man - 4:04
All compositions by Stephen Stills except where noted

*Stephen Stills - Vocals, Guitar, Bottleneck Guitar, Piano, Organ, Electric Piano, Clavinette
*Chris Hillman - Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin
*Al Perkins - Pedal Steel Guitar, Guitar, Vocals
*Calvin "Fuzzy" Samuel - Bass
*Paul Harris - Organ, Tack Piano, Piano, Electric Piano, Clavinette
*Dallas Taylor - Drums
*Joe Lala - Percussion, Vocals
Additional personnel
*Sydney George - Harmonica
*Jerry Aiello - Piano, Organ, Electric Piano, Clavinette
*Bill Wyman - Bass
*Roger Bush - Acoustic Bass
*Byron Berline - Fiddle
*Jerry Garcia - Pedal Steel Guitar

1970  Stephen Stills - Stephen Stills (debut album, 2008 japan SHM remaster)

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Greatest Show On Earth - The Going's Easy (1970 uk, spectacular prog brass rock, 2012 Esoteric remaster)

The Greatest Show On Earth was an intriguing octet who produced some rather original music in their three year lifespan, including two albums both released on EMI's Harvest label. Now, Esoteric give us the opportunity to hear these two light-hearted albums once again. 

The Going's Easy, their second and final album relased in late 1970. The light and airy Magic Woman Touch became later a hit single by The Hollies. Storytimes & Nursery Rhymes features some of the band's best vocal performances and can be considered to be the highlight on this album on which once again strong progressive rock elements come to the surface. 

The re-release of the second album contains two bonus tracks: Mountain Song and the single version of Magic Woman Touch. However, these tracks have no added value to the original album. Unfortunately this album had little to non-consumer or industry interest which resulted in the split up of the band in 1971. After the decease some of the musicians started to work with acts like Vinegar Joe, Graham Parker, The Darts, Suzi Quatro, Shaking Stevens and The Marmalade. 
by  Henri Strik
1. Borderline (Greatest Show On Earth) - 9:18
2. Magic Woman Touch (C. Horton-Jennings, G. Watt-Roy) - 5:10
3. Story Times And Nursery Rhymes (C. Horton-Jennings, G. Watt-Roy) - 4:50
4. The Leader (Greatest Show On Earth) - 5:43
5. Love Magnet (D. Hanson, G. Watt-Roy, Ian Aitchison) - 9:26
6. Tell The Story (M. Deacon, R. Prudence, T. Philpotts) - 4:29
7. Mountain Song (G. Watt-Roy) - 3:32
8. Magic Woman Touch (Single Version) (C. Horton-Jennings, G. Watt-Roy) - 3:54

The Greatest Show On Earth
*Mike Deacon - Organ, Piano, Vocals
*Dick Hanson - Trumpet, Fluggelhorn, Percussion
*Colin Horton-Jennings - Lead Vocals, Flute, Acoustic Guitar, Bongos
*Tex Philpotts - Tenor, Alto, Saxophone, Percussion
*Ron Prudence - Congas, Drums
*Garth Watt-Roy - Vocals, Acoustic, Electric Guitars
*Norman Watt-Roy - vocals, Bass
*Ian Aitcheson - Tenor, Baritone, Saxophone, Percussion

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