Friday, October 31, 2014

Jellybread - The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions (1969-70 uk, ellegant blues rock, 2008 remaster)

In 1968, John Best posted a notice in the Common Room of Sussex University advertising a search for members to play in a band. Those accepted were Pete Wingfield (keyboards and vocals), Paul Butler (guitar and vocals) and bassist John Best (because, as he says, "I put the notice up"). Drummer Chris Waters heard 'the blues' coming from upstairs in the Union Building's music practice room and realised the trio had need of a drummer. John Best was born 20 December 1948 near Dorchester, Dorset. During his early school years, he learned to play piano, violin and clarinet but lost interest in music until a school friend sold him a bass guitar. 

After teaching himself to play the guitar, John found himself in one of the Sherborne School bands, Style 5 that played parties during the holidays. Occasionally, he filled in for another school band, called Four Pillars of Wisdom. The guitarist was Henry Marsh (Toast) and drummer Jeremy Irons (the actor). Upon leaving school, John moved to London and went to work at EMI in Hayes. John then enrolled at Sussex University to study engineering. The course was linked to EMI and during holidays he would work as 'button pusher'. (His parked car is on the cover of the Beatles' "Abbey Road".) Paul Butler was born in Ranikhet, in the Himalayan foothills of India on 1st July 1946 and was raised by his grandmother in the Andaman Islands, where the family owned coconut plantations. Paul then moved to what is now Bangladesh and attended Jesuit school before moving to England in 1958. 

The family's interest was jazz, as was Paul's, until he discovered rock and roll on the radio. But the R&B scene of Greater London finally caught his attention, and harmonica playing Paul formed his first band, The Turnkeys, in 1963. Paul discarded the harmonica and turned to guitar, fronting a band The Kleek. Later he would be at Sussex University. Pete Wingfield was born in Hindhead, Surrey on 7 May 1948 and began playing piano at an early age. His early influences were Winifred Atwell and Russ Conway but he soon discovered rock and roll. While at Wellington College, Pete was a member of various groups, first playing a Hohner Pianet and then Farfisa Organ. He left school in 1966 with plans to enroll at Sussex the following year. Pete then visited the US and travelled by Greyhound bus planning to see as much of the country as possible. He visited Stax Records in Memphis, and saw James Brown, B.B.King, The Temptations and The Vanilla Fudge at various venues throughout the US. Chris Waters was born 28 August 1946 in Peckham, S.E.London. 

While in grammar school, he joined the Combined Cadet Force, playing the snare-drum. Chris also took lessons from a pro jazz-drummer, leading to the formation of The Beat-Routes. His record collection consisted of many of the home grown jazz bands, some of whom he saw at local pubs. Chris joined Sussex University in 1964 and after graduating in 1967, spent the summer in Lower East Side New York with an American girlfriend. He returned to Sussex University to take a Literary MA course. Jellybread was formed by the four to have fun and earn a bit of money. The band began to build a reputation, both in the Brighton area and on the nationwide University Student Union Blues Club circuit. John Holbrook, who had been guitarist with Wingfield in their various college bands, was a trainee disc-cutting engineer at IBC Studios in Portland Place. Holbrook snuck the group into Studio 2 in February 1969 while the office staff were out and recorded six tracks, wiping the multi-track after they were finished, in order not to leave any evidence. 

A 12" boot-leg style album of 99 copies was released and sold on campus and at gigs. Further pressings occurred as demand always out-weighed supply. The album brought Jellybread to the attention of Blue Horizon, the band were signed and were at CBS Studios recording their album "First Slice". "Chairman Mao's Boogaloo" was pulled from the album but did not have any more success than their album. A second single also flopped. The third "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu" received a fair amount of airplay and good reviews. "Old Man Hank" almost made the charts. The band continued as semi-professionals, since they were all still attending university. Fellow students James Atkinson and Richard Sanders acted as road crew driving the group throughout the UK for a night-time gig and then rushing back to attend morning classes. In mid 1970, following honour degrees for all six of the Jellybread entourage, the decision was made to go professional. 

A second album " Sixty Five Parkway" with all original material was released, under Blue Horizon's new distributorship, Polydor. Shortly after, Pete Wingfield was offered a job with Keef Hartley. Chris Waters, with family commitments, returned to teaching. Paul Butler recruited guitarist Rick Hayward and drummer Kenny Lamb. With the new line-up, the "Back to Begin Again" album was recorded. Kenny and John then departed and Paul regrouped, signing to Transatlantic, but nothing came of the association and the group disbanded. 
Forty Five Cat
1. River's Invitation (Percy Mayfield) - 2:22
2. I Pity the Fool (Deadric Malone) - 4:46
3. Never Say No (Percy Mayfield) - 4:18
4. Chairman Mao's Boogaloo - 2:09
5. Evening (Chirs Waters, John Best, Paul Butler, Pete Wingfield) - 7:14
6. I've Got to Forget You (Deadric Malone) - 2:50
7. Boogie Sandwich - 1:53
8. Rusty Blade (Chirs Waters, John Best, Paul Butler, Pete Wingfield) - 4:18
9. No Brag Just Facts, Parts 1, 2 (Chirs Waters, John Best, Paul Butler, Pete Wingfield) - 3:57
10.No One Else (Paul Butler, Pete Wingfield) - 3:38
11.Don't Pay Them No Mind - 3:17
12.Comment (Charles Wright, Yusuf Rahman) - 5:20
13.Funky Wasp - 3:11
14.Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu (Huey Smith) - 2:44
15.Readin' the Meters (hirs Waters, John Best, Paul Butler, Pete Wingfield) - 2:22
16.Old Man Hank - 3:40
17.Faded Grace (Paul Butler) - 3:00
18.That's Alright (Jimmy Rogers) - 2:08
19.Don't Want No Woman (Don Robey) - 3:00
20.Drivin' Wheel (Roosevelt Sykes) - 3:35
21.Never Say No (Percy Mayfield) - 3:49
22.Sugar Mama (John Lee Williamson) - 4:05
Songs written by Pete Wingfield unless as else stated
Tracks 18-22 Mono

*John Best - Bass
*Paul Butler - Guitar, Vocals
*Chirs Waters - Drums
*Pete Wingfield - Keyboards, Vocals

Free Text
Just Paste

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Aerovons - Resurrection (1969 us, fabulous beatlesque psychedelia)

The dozen songs that would have been on the Aerovons' album had it come out (though a couple of the songs did come out on a 1969 single) form the core of this release, Resurrection,the U.K. bonus edition also tacks on four bonus tracks. the Aerovons' unusual story -- a band from the American Midwest recording in Abbey Road in 1969, led and produced by their 17-year-old singer-songwriter -- might be the main reason there was interest in excavating these sessions, but this CD is not a mere curio. It's quite respectable late-'60s Beatles-style pop/rock, if a little green around the edges and pretty derivative. 

In fact, in a couple of spots it's downright imitative, with "Say Georgia" taking licks from "Oh! Darling," and "Resurrection" itself lifting from "Across the Universe." (Neither of those songs had yet been released by the Beatles at the time of the sessions, but the group heard them by virtue of working in Abbey Road.) Fortunately, those are the only blatant cops, though Beatles comparisons abound throughout, particularly in the Paul McCartney-esque piano-playing. Songs like "With Her" and "The Years" recall the acoustic outings of both John Lennon and Paul McCartney on The White Album, while "Bessie Goodheart" uses McCartney's more vaudevillian Sgt. Pepper-era outings as an obvious launching pad, and "Something of Yours" brings to mind "Michelle." 

To this list you could also add the very Lennon-esque echo on the vocal of "The Children." the Aerovons leaned more toward wistful and sadness-tinged moods than the Beatles did, though. One of the best tracks, "World of You," brings out that quality very well, recalling the better late-'60s orchestrated Bee Gees opuses. The bonus tracks include both sides of a non-LP 1969 single ("The Train," their poppiest number, which echoes both the Hollies and the Bee Gees), the outtake "Here" (very much like McCartney's piano ballads), and a demo of "World of You." 
by Richie Unterberger
1. World Of You - 2:31
2. Resurrection - 3:04
3. Say Georgia - 2:20
4. With Her - 2:23
5. Quotes And Photos - 2:34
6. Words From A Song - 3:51
7. Bessy Goodheart - 2:00
8. Something Of Yours - 2:22
9. She's Not Dead - 2:48
10.The Years - 1:38
11.Everything's Alright - 2:49
12.The Children - 5:06
13.The Train (Single A-Side) - 2:56
14.Song For Jane (Single B-Side) (Mike Lombardo) - 2:37
15.Here (Unreleased Song) - 2:18
16.World Of You (Demo) - 5:07
All compositions by Tom Hartman except where stated.
Bonus Tracks 13-16

*Tom Hartman - Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Mike Lombardo - Drums
*Phil Edholm - Guitar
*Billy Lombardo - Bass
*Bob "Ferd" Frank - Guitar
*Johnny Arthey - String Arrangements

Free Text
the Free Text

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Five Day Week Straw People - The Five Day Week Straw People (1968 uk, splendid mod beat psych)

A collectible psychedelic album from this one-off studio-only group consisting of UK songwriters, The Five Day Week Straw People was originally on Saga Records and features your standard British underground psychedelia, laced with some Pretty Things and the Attack.

That’s fitting since the Straw People included the Attack’s John Du Cann on lead guitar and vocals, along with David Montague and Guy Moascolo on guitar and vocals, bassist Mike Hawksworth, and One in A Million drummer Jack McCulloch.

The lead-off title track sets the dreamy hazy mood for all of the tunes, though a bit of sameness tends to creep in on the whole record, which is heavy on the echo and wah-wah guitar — in particular on “Sunday Morning.” “I’m Going Out Tonight” is a very Attack-sounding track, and perhaps the best track here — in particular because of John Du Cann’s handling of the lead guitar
by Steve Elliott
1. Five Day Week Straw People - 3:23
2. I'm Going Out Tonight - 3:36
3. Gold Digger - 3:30
4. Postmen - 3:46
5. Car Wash - 3:15
6. Feel Like Having A Party - 3:21
7. Sunday Morning? - 4:30
8. Does It Rain! - 3:15
9. If You Were Around - 3:50
10.Dust In My Eyes - 4:08
11.Magic In The Air - 3:38
12.Mr. Pinnodmy's Dilemma - 4:27
13.Freedom For You - 2:35
14.Strange House - 4:10
15.Feel Like Flying - 2:37
16.Too Old - 3:05
17.Go Your Way - 2:45
18.Now The Sun Shines - 3:32
19.Sleep Like A Child - 3:28
All songs by John Du Cann
Tracks 1-10 by The Five Day Week Straw People
Tracks 11-19 by The Attack

The Five Day Week Straw People
*John Du Cann - Guitar, Vocals
*Mick Hawksworth - Bass, Vocals
*Jack Collins - Drums

The Attack
*John DuCann  - Guitar
*Richard Sherman - Vocals
*Keith Hodge - Drums
*Roger Deane - Bass Guitar

Related Acts
1967-68  The Attack - About Time
1967-69  The Attack - Magic In The Air
1967-69  Andromeda - The Definitive Collection
1970-72/81  Atomic Rooster - Devil's Answer / Rare Live Recordings

Free Text
Text Host

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Neon Pearl - Neon Pearl (1967 uk, cool lo fi psychedelia)

Incredible sessions from the year of psychedelia’s apex—gliding rhythms and softly pulsing melodies floating on a bed of organ and harmonium (‘Out Of Sight’ and ‘Going With The Flow’ in particular are especially delicious). Peter Dunton (drums/vocals), Bernard Jinks (bass) and Rod Harrison (guitar) (sometime members of PLEASE and THE FLIES and later in legendary band T2) plied their trade as Neon Pearl in Germany in the summer of 1967.

After a few months playing to appreciative German audiences, they returned to England where a music publisher financed them to lay as many tracks to tape as they could within the few hours booked. The result is what we have here. Almost certainly the most spartan of Dunton-related material reissued thus far, but it doesn’t suffer because of it, rather it gives it a feel all of its own. This edition is taken from the master tapes, and comes complete with two bonus tracks.
1. What You See - 4:58
2. Dream Scream - 4:24
3. Out Of Sight - 6:59
4. Just Another Day - 3:50
5. Forever - 5:22
6. Going With The Flow - 5:40
7. Urban Ways - 4:03
8. Going Back - 4:07
9. Dream - 2:23
10.Nothing To Say - 1:56
All compositions by Peter Dunton

Neon Pearl
*Pete Dunton - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, Drums
*Bernard Jinks - Bass, Vocals
*Nick Spenser - Guitar, Harmonium, Keyboards

Related Acts
1965-68  The Flies - Complete Collection
1967-69  Bulldog Breed - Made In England
1968-69  Please - Please
1969  Please - Seeing Stars
1970  T2 - It'll All Work Out in Boomland

Free Text
the Free Text

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

First Edition - The First Edition First And Second (1967-68 us, amazing country folk sunny psych, 2014 remaster)

Ex-members of the New Christy Minstrels (with the exception of the drummer, Mickey Jones ) run the fun gamut on The First Edition, and had they disappeared after this effort it would have been a huge collector's item. The cardinal sin of Lenny Kaye's masterpiece Nuggets collection is that "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" did not follow the Electric Prunes as the second track on volume one of that revered collection, or show up on it at all. 

The psychedelicized Top Five hit from the winter of 1968 produced by Mike Post and arranged by Al Capps might have a few lyrics that would make Bob Dylan blush, but the song's fuzz guitar, attitude, and hook are unstoppable. The rest of the album is top-notch as well, sounding like the Mamas & the Papas meets early Jefferson Airplane with Signe Anderson on vocals. It's Thelma Camacho who never got the name change or the recognition she deserved, but she sounds great on "I Get a Funny Feeling" and "Hurry Up Love," and the album benefits from her presence. "Shadow in the Corner of Your Mind" may be a title that conjures up images of Bob Lind and Ted Nugent hammering out a song over the dinner table, maybe because they still look like the New Christy Minstrels on the cover, and Tom Smothers gushing on the liner notes is unique, but it was television that was instrumental in launching this group into the mainstream and the hit song does well surrounded by this musical environment. 

Tunes like Mike Post's co-write "Dream On" rock out much harder than "Green Green," "Saturday Night," and "Today," Christy Minstrel's hits prior to Rogers joining the group. "Home Made Lies" has that "someday I'll teach you real fine" riff from the Animals' "It's My Life," Mike Settle lifting from here and there, while "Marcia: 2 A.M. sounds like Peter, Paul & Mary jamming with Paul Kantner and "Hurry Up Love" wants desperately to be girl group. The album's one drawback is that the band and producer don't go all the way in exploring these different styles the way they did on the hit "Just Dropped In." "Just Dropped In" not only made Kenny Rogers' voice the most familiar first, it's an all-out assault on the senses, its wild abandon necessary but absent from the other aspects of this disc. "Church Without a Name" explores -- or maybe toys with -- the blues, just adding to the feel of a band looking for a sound. They eventually found that sound during their run of hits from early 1968 to late 1970. But this debut is splendid and it is fun to hear them emulating Marty Balin right off the bat with the first track, "I Found a Reason." A lost gem worth rediscovering. 

A more focused '60s album than 1967's First Edition, what is missing from this follow-up LP is a hit single like "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)," though the group more than makes up for that with solid performances. This was again produced by Mike Post, with arrangements by veteran Al Capps, who brought so much to Johnny Mathis, Cher, and many others. "Charlie the Fer de Lance" is indicative of this effort, with phasing fuzz guitar and Kenny Rogers as a hippie delivering odd lyrics on an interesting tune which isn't as direct as the group's first hit. Mike Settle's voice leads the pack on the second track, the Rogers/Williams co-write "If I Could Only Change Your Mind," another nice period piece that works well in this setting but wasn't going to burn up the charts. 

This is the First Edition as a real group, a full band before Kenny Rogers would start exerting more control on the third outing, First Edition '69. Mike Settle's "A Patch of Clear" is yet another vague essay from this era -- as odd as the opening track. Settle sounds great on Bob Stone's "A Good Kind of Hurt" and Thelma Camacho (who they have listed on the back cover as "Comancho") is just wonderful on her own composition "I Passed You By." The band works the Paul Williams/Roger Nichols little-known title "Only Me" to good effect to end side one. 

The song is chock-full of 1960s pop clich├ęs and would have fit nicely on an album from the Monkees or maybe an airline commercial. Songwriter Mickey Newbury's "Are My Thoughts With You?" opens side two and features Kenny Rogers performing in the style which would bring him his eventual solo success, delivering the most commercial performance on this 11-song collection. Four members of the International Graphoanalysis Society give profiles of the four singers from the First Edition on the back cover, making for one of the more interesting sets of liner notes from any album released in 1968. It's not just the almost astrological look at the musician's personalities through their handwriting which makes this disc special, it -- like the Fifth Estate's Ding Dong the Witch Is Back -- is a very special album from a special time that '60s cultists have completely overlooked. 

The First Edition were an excellent psychedelic folk-pop group, and First Edition's Second should be a much-sought-after collectors' item. Like the aforementioned Fifth Estate, they were left off of Lenny Kaye's Nuggets collection, perhaps because they conquered the charts seven separate times. Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle are the songwriters on the final four tracks, and they are all extraordinary journeys into the psyche of the '60s. Rogers' "Things Can't Be So Bad," followed by Mike Settles' "Rainbows on a Cloudy Day" and "The Sun Keeps on Rising," two songs about the weather, has that mood that fans of the genre adore. 

Mike Post's production brings it all home. Thelma Camacho and Terry Williams' voices helped make this group an underground Mamas & the Papas, and their vocals closing the disc out by embracing Kenny Rogers' wonderful "Look Around, I'll Be There" very well could have made it a sleeper hit and changed the band's history. Rogers would take over right after this, and as valuable as his contributions to country/pop would eventually turn out to be, the First Edition were more than just one person; The First Edition's Second proves that. It's by no means the lost Sgt. Pepper's, but it does have lots to offer and should be dusted off and given new life. 
by Joe Viglione
1. I Found A Reason - 2:47
2. Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) (Mickey Newbury) - 3:20
3. Shadow In The Corner Of Your Mind - 2:52
4. If Wishes Were Horses - 2:32
5. Ticket To Nowhere - 2:24
6. I Get A Funny Feeling - 3:49
7. I Was The Loser - 3:05
8. Dream On (Mike Post, Walt Meskell) - 2:45
9. Home Made Lies (Mike Settle, Terry Williams) - 2:20
10.Marcia: 2 A.M. - 2:20
11.Hurry Up, Love (Mike Post, Walt Meskell) - 2:35
12.Church Without A Name - 3:15
13.Charlie The Fer De Lance (D. Dunn, T. Mccashen, D. Lottermosser) - 2:52
14.If I Could Only Change Your Mind (K. Rogers, T. Williams) - 2:30
15.A Patch Of Clear - 2:30
16.I Passed You By (Themes Lou Camacho) - 2:33
17.A Good Kind Of Hurt (Bob Stone) - 2:25
18.Only Me (R. Nichols, P. Williams) - 2:35
19.Are My Thoughts With You? (Michael Newbury) - 3:07
20.Things Can't Be So Bad (Kenny Rogers) - 2:35
21.Rainbows On A Cloudy Day - 3:23
22.The Sun Keeps On Rising - 2:30
23.Look Around, I'll Be There (Kenny Rogers) - 2:28
All songs by Mike Settle except where Stated

First Edition
*Mike Settle - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Thelma Lou Camacho - Vocals
*Kenny Rogers - Bass, Vocals
*Terry Williams - Guitar, Vocals
*Mickey Jones - Drums

Related Act
1963  Barry McGuire And The New Christy Minstrels - Star Folk (2007 remaster)

Free Text
Just Paste

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mellow Candle - Swaddling Songs (1972 ireland, wonderful folk rock, 2004 bonus tracks edition)

Mellow Candle were an Irish group, with an English folk-rock sound, who released one album and then disappeared due to lack of public response. Having gained greater appreciation among folk collectors over the intervening years, not only was this album was resurrected on CD, but another CD made up of previously unreleased recordings was also released. Sometimes justice is dealt out in retrospect, because Mellow Candle are a worthy band.

Clodagh Simonds and Alison Williams share vocal duties, and work exceptionally well together. They are at their most reliable on slower songs, such as the wonderfully atmospheric "Reverend Sisters" or "Silver Song", but occasionally manage to pull out an exceptional performance on the more raucous songs, such as the final track, "Boulders on My Grave."

The songwriting is very solid, and is, despite a number of fairly conventional songs, occasionally quite adventurous. Most songs are in a comfortable triple meter, but on a few tracks they jump from one time signature to the other with gay abandon. The compositions are approached with a sense of naive adventure, and are played with such energy and clear enjoyment that on the odd occasion where they misstep, I find it quite easy to forgive them.

While all the songs are of reasonable quality, there are a few which stand out for me. "Dan the Wing" is a song about an encounter with the spirit world in the great folk tradition, whose supernatural theme is accentuated by its shifting metre. "Reverend Sisters" is an example of a straightforward song written well; a piano with the sustain pedal down accompanies a simple yet haunting melody sung in close harmony. The closing "Boulders on My Grave" is the closest the band come to Irish folk, with its jig rhythm, and is a wonderful way to finish the album.

Swaddling Songs was a slow grower for me. I never thought it was a bad album, but I did think it vastly overrated. There is, however, a lot to this album, and most of it fits so well that the depth and charm isn't obvious until after a number of listenings. Although Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention remain more essential examples of the British style of folk-rock to my way of thinking, Mellow Candle certainly aren't far behind, and are essential for those who consider themselves folk-rock fans.
by Conrad Leviston 
1. Heaven Heath (Alison Williams) - 3:00 
2. Sheep Season (C. Simonds, A. Williams, D. Williams)  - 5:01 
3. Silver Song (Clodagh Simonds)  - 4:26 
4. The Poet And The Witch (Clodagh Simonds)  - 2:51 
5. Messenger Birds (Alison Williams)  - 3:39 
6. Dan The Wing (Clodagh Simonds)  - 2:45 
7. Reverend Sisters (Clodagh Simonds)  - 4:21 
8. Break Your Token (Clodagh Simonds)  - 2:27 
9. Buy Or Beware (David Williams)  - 3:05 
10.Vile Excesses (W. Murray, D. Williams)  - 3:14 
11.Lonely Man (Clodagh Simonds)  - 4:28
12.Boulders On My Grave (Clodagh Simonds)  - 3:40
13.Feeling High (Clodagh Simonds)  - 2:23 
14.Tea With The Sun (Clodagh Simonds)  - 3:18 

Mellow Candle
*Frank Boylan - Bass
*William Murray - Drums 
*Clodagh Simonds - Vocals, Keyboards 
*Alison Williams - Lead Vocals 
*David Williams - Guitar, Vocals

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sweet Smoke - Just A Poke-Darkness To Light (1970/73 international, spectacular prog psych jam rock)

Sweet Smoke is a jazz rock band with an international line-up that came together in the mid- Sixties in Brooklyn, NYC. Only a few months after the group had been founded, the musicians were offered the chance to embark on a three month tour to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on the South-Eastern coast of America. Until then the members had worked as semi-professionals, mainly concentrating on their studies at various American music academies.  With their departure for Puerto Rico they decided to focus exclusively "i.e. professionally" on their own music. 

However, the band did not experience their greatest triumphs hi the States but in Germany and the Netherlands, to where they relocated in 1969. The German sculptor Waldemar Kuhn helped them to find a suitable abode in Emmerich near the Dutch border. Directly after their arrival, the band started to play live in the vicinity of their new base and delivered several gigs that year in cities like Amsterdam, Cologne and Bonn.

Their music thrived on the individual instrumentalist's talent of improvisation, and their press info noted: "You should listen attentively to their music and allow yourself to get acquainted with it, because this is music from the mind, the heart and the soul, and it changes constantly." Just A Poke (1970) & Darkness To Light (1972)

A year after their move from New York to Germany, Sweet Smoke recorded their debut album) “Just A Poke” with the line-up Andrew Dershin (bass), Jay Dorfman (drums), Marvin, Kaminowitz (guitar, vocals), Michael Paris (tenor sax, vocals) and Steve Rosenstein (guitar, vocals). The release caused a stir, not only due to its psychedelic sleeve designed by the Dutch artist Jan Fijnheer, but also thanks to an accomplished mix of cleverly arranged jazz and rhythmically complex rock elements. 

The record (engineered by the legendary Conny Plank) consisted of two long songs which filled a whole side of the album each and contained long solo improvisations by the musicians, complete with the legendary drum solo on "Silly Sally" with its highly original ping-pong sound effect The German music magazine "Sounds" commented: "One of the best German pop productions of recent times which will hopefully go on to yield the success it deserves." The musicians then proceeded to put their band activities on ice for a year and travelled to India, in autumn 1972 Sweet Smoke recorded their second album “Darkness To Light” with friends and family, as well as some additional instruments (cello, tamboura, flute, alto saxophone). Particularly the title track and the song " Kundalini " were unmistakably influenced by their Asian trip. 

Again "Sounds" commented favourably on the versatile material: "Sweet Smoke's music is constructed very logically. Since all seven band members appear to be welt served musically and play a very imaginative style, they have succeeded in finding a mix that will probably be responsible for quite a lot of sweet smoke." 
by Matthias Mlneur, July 1999
Just A Poke 1970
1. Baby Night (Sweet Smoke) - 16:30
2. Silly Sally (Sweet Smoke) - 16:28
Darkness To Light 1973
3. Just Another Empty Dream (Steve Rosenstein) - 4:19
4. I'd Rather Burn Than Disappear (Steve Rosenstein) - 4:14
5. Kundalini (Sweet Smoke) - 13:24
6. Believe Me My Friends (Marvin Kaminowitz) - 4:28
7. Show Me The Way To The War (Jeffrey Dershin, Suzan Dershin) - 5:29
8. Darkness To Light (Michael Paris) - 12:50

Sweet Smoke
1970 Just A Poke
*Andy Dershin - Bass Guitar
*Jay Dorman - Drums, Percussion
*Marvin Kaminowitz - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Michael Paris - Saxophone, Flute, Vocals, Percussion
*Steve Rosenstein - Rhythm Guitar, Percussion, Vocals
1973  Darkness To Light
*Andy Dershin - Bass Guitar, Percussion
*Jay Dorman - Drums, Percussion
*Marvin Kaminowitz - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Michael Paris - Saxophone, Flute, Vocals, Percussion
*Steve Rosenstein - Rhythm Guitar, Percussion, Vocals
*Jeffrey Dershin - Piano, Percussion, Voclas
*Rochus Kuhn - Cello

Free Text
Just Paste

Friday, October 17, 2014

Abacus - Everything You Need / Midway (1972/74 germany/uk, awesome prog rock with psych shades)

A solid second album from a band will typically consolidate some of the best aspects of the debut, giving fans a more focused slice of what they liked the first time around. Although there are certainly bands that have done great things in spite of the ‘sophomore formula’, I think that there was some fantastic potential worth fleshing out on Abacus’ self-titled debut. A marriage of psychedelic pop and pastoral symphonic prog fueled with thick keyboard, “Abacus” had a style that could have made the band far better-known than they ended up being, were it not for an inconsistent songwriting standard. With this in mind, it’s a bit disappointing that Abacus decided to shift their sound towards a more melodic, even commercial sound with “Everything You Need”. Blending pop with blues rock and an innocuous sidedish of prog, Abacus didn’t realize their sound the way I would have hoped they would on this second album, but with that being said, there are elements of this reinvented Abacus that might make it worthwhile to the prospective listener.

For all of the shades and sounds that Abacus’ debut brought into play, it all ultimately fell underneath a progressive rock umbrella. Even relatively poppy tracks like “Song for John and Yoko” retained a bit of proggy flair. “Everything You Need” keeps in touch with the prog aesthetic through the conservative use of synthesizers and sparing time signature changes, but there are many times here where Abacus sound more like a standard blues-infused rock band with aspirations of commercial success. Unfortunately, although Abacus attempt to place a far greater focus on the melody and vocals, Chris Williams’ vocals have the same limitations as they did on the album prior. Williams (formerly of the band Grail) can hold a melody as long as it doesn’t test his range (which it often does), but the nasal tone of his voice might make for an acquired taste for some. “Anyway We Can” starts the album off on a fairly disappointing note, echoing the same sort of bland blues rock that the early 70′s were saturated with. Fortunately however, the first side of the album keeps improving with every song. “Ivan Hood the White Knight” is a track with solid keyboards and an interesting lyrical concept about the righteousness of holy warfare. “Thing We Do” is less memorable but feels less kitschy, a trait suffered by much of Abacus’ pop-oriented stuff.

I doubt that I’m alone in thinking this, but seeing a twenty minute track at the end of a progressive rock album immediately piques my interest. Particularly with Abacus, the promise of a twenty minute suite was exciting, as they had demonstrated some great potential with the epic form on their self-titled debut with the opener “Pipedream Revisited”. Other reviewers’ comments about the eponymous epic being little more than a collection of shorter songs have some weight to them, but I don’t think it’s fair to see the suite in such vague terms. “Everything You Need” (the song) does not enjoy the cohesion I would have liked to hear in a twenty minute rock epic, but it’s clear that Abacus have saved their best ideas for last. Finally, “Everything You Need” begins to sound like the progressively-inclined Abacus I first heard on the debut. Keyboard-riddled jazz rock sections and typical progressive rock fanfare are here, including a vocal section that seems like they’re trying to mirror Genesis theatrics. The best part of the so-called ‘epic’ comes at the end with a segment that might only be described with the same vaudevillian terminology as the best work Queen would do some years later; dramatic vocals and a Rhodes piano give a nice touch to a rocky, if not truly convincing epic.

“Everything You Need” shows promise, but with this second album, I would have liked to have seen more of this potential realized. The poppier direction could have worked gracefully for Abacus, but once again, there is the issue of inconsistent, cheesy songwriting to deal with. It’s clear however that they have their hearts in the right place; a twenty minute epic is no easy undertaking, and even if it’s ultimately a mixed success, it’s still an accomplishment to be able to reinvent your sound and dive into your music with a fresh perspective. It’s a pleasant listen for the most part, but Abacus remain sounding like a work- in-progress than a fully-realized musical act.
by Conor Fynes
Everything You Need  1972
1. Anyway We Can (Song for H.) - 4:30
2. Slide Away - 4:51
3. Ivan Hood the White Knight - 3:50
4. Thing We Do - 6:13
5. Every Thing You Need - 20:21
.a.What a Day
.b.Paranoia Agency
.c.Hold Up the Flag
.d.Don’t Worry
.e.Everything You Need
Midway  1974
6. Let’s Face the Voices and Dance - 3:23
7. Including Revelation - 1:17
8. Me and You - 4:26
9. 11 Farden - 2:08
10.(You’re Not) The One I Love - 3:51
11.For the Moment (Unaware) - 2:54
12.Be Beholding - 3:49
13.Herman the German - 3:20
14.Here We Go - 3:28
15.Midway - 10:31

*Chris Williams – vocals, acoustic guitar
*Hans Rolf Schade – guitar, vocals, moog (Tracks 1-6)
*Christoph Perutzky – piano, organ, synth
*Klaus Kohlhase – bass
*Konstantin H Bommerius – drums (Tracks 1-6)
*Charlie Schade – guitar, sitar (Tracks 7-15)
*Allan Warren – drums, percussion (Tracks 7-15)

1971  Abacus - Abacus

Free Text
the Free Text

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Abacus - Abacus (1971 germany, spectacular heavy prog krautrock with psych overtone, 2012 remaster with bonus track)

Like Van der Graaf Generator and their lesser-known contemporaries Aardvark, Abacus represented an early 70′s wave of prog that tried to bring the keyboards to the forefront, usurping the long-held role of the guitars in rock music. With the use of distortion and thick organ textures in the keyboards however, most of the bands that took this approach never distinguished themselves a great deal from their guitar-based counterparts. While Abacus did not steer away entirely from the use of guitar in their music, they were one of the few bands that really capitalized on the use of rock organ in their music. Released at the beginning of their genre’s golden age, Abacus’ self-titled debut is a convincing slice of progressive rock, with a welcome dose of jazz and 60′s beat pop to add extra colour to the style. As promising as Abacus sounded at this early stage in their career however, some inconsistent songwriting standards kept “Abacus” from the cult classic status it could have had.

Often dainty and at times downright psychedelic, Abacus’ sound reflects a transition of styles between the 60′s and 70′s. The organ-rich performance is filled with the sort of symphonic arrangement and sophistication indicative of the ‘classic’ 70′s progressive rock, but Abacus would not have sounded out of place in the latter part of the decade prior. Although the excellent, pastoral mini-epic “Pipedream Revisited” opens the album on a bit of an exceptional note, most of the tunes here sound like organ-driven renditions of tunes that could be found on a British Invasion compilation. It’s no surprise really, given that Abacus were originally a beatpop group called The Fashions. Although other reviewers have noted a Krautrock sound on “Abacus” (and rightly so), much of the band’s influence has been certainly derived from British rock tradition. Then again, with a song title like “Song for John and Yoko”, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

Of these two primary styles (prog and 60′s pop), the greatest moments on “Abacus” may almost always be attributed to the progressive end of their sound. “Pipedream Revisited” kicks off the album on a very strong note, weaving psychedelic charm into a keyboard- infused framework, pleasantly fusing classical tradition with pastoral folkishness. The instrumental “Capuccino” is arguably the best thing that the album has going for it, a fast- paced, theatrical and energetic jazz-fusion piece that ends much too soon. From there on, Abacus begin to shift towards their other style, toning down the instrumental sophistication to make room for ex-Grail frontman Chris Williams’ vocal contributions. Although “Don’t Beat So On the Horses” represents a comfortable mix of the two styles, Abacus’ vocal melodies are rarely as endearing as their instrumental prowess. 

Although William’s voice is tuneful enough and echoes the band’s Merseybeat-influenced past, the melodies rarely feel like they are worth the diminished instrumental arrangements. “Song for Brunhilde” represents the album’s lowest point, eschewing the band’s typical rock organ flair for a sitar-tinged piece of hippie folk with a song structure that goes nowhere and lyrics that may cringing from more discerning listeners. “Song for John and Yoko” is a decent tune in the familiar 60′s pop style. With “Radhod Blues” and “Chestholder”, Abacus return to the style hinted at by the first couple of tracks, but they are not nearly as impressive. “Chestholder” in particular tends to raise an eyebrow from me; although it begins promisingly enough, the album’s finale tosses together samples from earlier moments in the album. Although it’s clear that the band were trying to wrap up their debut with a quick summary of the album, but the completely chaotic and patchy way this climax is thrown together leaves the album on a fairly weak note.

Abacus’ songwriting lulls significantly towards the middle of the album, and although it improves, it never really recovers. It’s a shame, because if the first two tracks on the album were any indicator, the album could have been really excellent. Instrumentally, Abacus have a lot going for them on this self-titled debut. While Chris Barutzky’s keyboard work is above and beyond the strongest aspect of the band, the musicianship upholds an impressive standard throughout. It’s unfortunate “Abacus” didn’t manage to fulfill the potential of the band, but then again, how many bands manage to nail it on their first time around? As it stands, “Abacus” is a pleasant album for its style, but the inconsistency keeps it from being a real gem.
by Conor Fynes
1. Pipedream Revisited Part I - II (C. Schade, C. Barutzky, C. Williams) - 9:34
2. Cappucino (C. Schade, C. Barutzky) - 4:03
3. Don't Beat So On The Horses (C. Barutzky, C. Williams) - 4:30
4. Song For Brunhilde (Chris Williams) - 4:34
5. Song For John And Yoko (C. Schade, C. Williams) - 5:04
6. Radbod Blues (C. Schade, C. Barutzky, C. Williams) - 5:46
7. Chestholder (C. Schade, C. Williams) - 5:39
8. Midway (Live) (Charlie Schade, Chris Williams) - 9:37

*Felix Hans - Drums, Percussion
*Charlie Schade - Guitar, Sitar
*Chris Barutzky - Keyboards
*Chris Williams - Vocals
*Konstantin Bommarius - Drums, Percussion

1972/74  Abacus - Everything You Need / Midway

Free Text
the Free Text

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Golgotha - Old Seeds Bootleg (1973 us, perceptive west coast influenced electric folk rock with jazz drops)

An album that’s just about as home-made a you can get. The original LP, although recorded for the Jubilee label, never saw the light ofday and when the album did finally appear, it was as a privatepressing limited to a paltry 100 copies with no record labels and apaste-on cover! The band, which was formed by guitarist Bruce Scofield in 1969, gigged around the New York and New Jersey areas off and on for acouple of years. 

Their almost transcendental approach to musicwon them many (mostly male!) devotees, and their bizarre stageshow (typically, involving vocalist Ray Bartkowech littering thestage with mandolins, percussion instruments, teddy bears and Raggedy Ann dolls!) became somewhat of a novelty.When Jubilee finally got them into the studio, the band laid down amore conventional and more accesible album reminiscent of thesound of Little Feat and early ‘70s Grateful Dead and the 12 selfpennedguitar-led tracks, all of which are brilliantly played, tend toget pretty heavy at times. 
1. Somethings Moving - 5:33
2. Sunday Morning - 3:08
3. Sooner Or Later - 4:20
4. Seeing You - 6:10
5. Tuesday Afternoon - 2:53
6. Slopes Of Illusion - 2:23
7. Look Out For Me Woman - 2:35
8. Startin' New Daze - 4:59
9. Found What - 2:44
10.Long Ties Cut Loose - 2:32
11.She Is Coming - 3:20
12.News Tomorrow - 3:54

*Michael Jannone - Ternor Sax, Percussion
*Michael Melesurgo - Percussion
*Betsy Lee - Vocals
*Dick Kowalczyk - Bass
*R.X. Heyman - Drums
*Bruce Scofield - Vocals, Guitars, Bass

Free Text
the Free Text

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Human Beinz And The Mammals - The Human Beinz And The Mammals (1967 us/uk garage beat pop, blue eyed soul)

Best-known for its version of "Nobody but Me," Youngstown, OH's frat rock quartet the Human Beinz featured rhythm guitarist Ting Markulin, lead guitarist Richard Belley, bassist Mel Pachuta, and drummer Mike Tatman. Originally known as the Human Beings, the group was a local favorite and was discovered playing at a Youngstown bar. Their early releases include covers of Bob Dylan's "Times They Are A-Changin'" and Them's "Gloria," as well as renditions of the Who and Yardbirds songs; they released their first singles on the local Gateway imprint. In 1967, the group signed to Capitol Records and scored a Top Ten hit with their cover of the Isley Brothers' "Nobody but Me." 

On their debut album, which was also named Nobody but Me, the band found their name changed to the Human Beinz, a play on the hippie phrase "be-in." The following year, the group issued Evolutions, which showcased a more original side to the Human Beinz' music, but the album did little and the band ultimately broke up.
by Heather Phares

Split release featuring songs recorded for Gateway prior to the enormous success of their Capitol Records release 'Nobody But Me', but not released until 1967. Since Gateway didn't have enough material for a full album, they included cuts from a similar band, The Mammals. Contains Human Beinz doing covers of pop hits from the day like 'Pied Piper', 'My Generation' and 'Gloria'. 
The Human Beinz (Gateway Gigs)
1. Pied Piper (Konfeld, Duboff) - 2:12
2. My Generation (Pete Townshend) -  2:45
3. Gloria (Van Morrison) - 2:46
4. The Times They Are A Changing (Bob Dylan) - 2:02
5. Nobody But Me (Isley Brothers) - 2:15
The Mammals (Gateway Years)
6. I Say Love (Medley, Russell) - 2:15
7. Hey Little One (Burnette, DeVorzon) - 2:30
8. Stop In The Name Of Love (Holland, Dozier, Holland) - 2:43
9. Hold On! I'm Coming (Hayes, Porter) - 3:32
10.Ooh Baby Baby (Robinson, Moore) - 2:57
11.Up Tight (Cosby, Moy, Wonder) - 2:38

The Human Beinz
*Dick Belly - Vocals, Guitar
*Joe Markulin - Guitar
*Mel Pachuta - Bass
*Mike Tateman - Drums

1968  The Human Beinz - Nobody But Me / Evolutions
1968  Human Beinz - Live In Japan

Free Text
the Free Text

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Duncan Browne - Duncan Browne (1973 uk, spectacular art baroque folk rock)

Duncan Browne's self-titled second album plays like a direct sequel to his debut long-player, Give Me Take You; he uses the same acoustic guitar and writes in a similar idiom, especially on tracks like "Country Song" and "The Martlet." Indeed, apart from the fact that it's generally better recorded, most of Duncan Browne could easily have slotted into the earlier album; the only exceptions are the more elaborately produced songs, such as "Ragged Rain Life," with its electric guitar sound, the keyboard-embellished "Babe Rainbow," and the bluesier, Dylan-esque "Journey," which was a substantial hit in England. Browne's style elsewhere on the record is unique unto himself, built around hauntingly beautiful melodies, mostly in a folk idiom, with some choice results, including the exquisite "Over the Reef" and "My Old Friends." 

He saved the best for last, a valedictory number entitled "Last Time Around," featuring extensive and impressive acoustic guitar ornamentation that gives way to some surprisingly tasteful progressive rock electronic sounds on the choruses. The RAK album was reissued on CD by EMI in 2002 with four bonus tracks, comprised of odd single sides and a pair of outtakes that extended the record's stylistic range considerably, into a more purely electric rock, more standard (though still enjoyable and attractive) singer/songwriter mode -- although the last of the bonus tracks, the previously unissued "Mignon," is easily the prettiest song that Browne ever recorded and is thoroughly in the style of his first LP. Even overlooking its own intrinsic merits, Duncan Browne is worth owning as a more mature and developed, if slightly less spontaneous, expression of the sensibilities that forged Give Me Take You. 
by Bruce Eder
1. Ragged Rain Life - 2:56
2. Country Song - 3:38
3. The Martlet - 4:12
4. My Only Son - 4:05
5. Babe Rainbow - 4:17
6. Journey - 3:15
7. Cast No Shadow - 4:15
8. Over The Reef - 5:33
9. My Old Friends - 4:06
10.Last Time Around - 4:41
11.In A Mist (Single B Side) - 7:09
12.Send Me The Bill For Your Friendship (Single A Side) - 3:34
13.Guitar Piece (Previously Unreleased) - 2:09
14.Mignon (Previously Unreleased) - 2:58
All compositions by Duncan Browne

*Duncan Browne - Spanish Guitar, Electric Guitar, Piano, Vocals, Arranger
*John "Rabbit" Bundrick - Piano, Organ, Synthesizer , Keyboards
*John Cameron - Piano, Keyboards
*Jim Rodford - Bass
*Robert Henrit - Drums
*Keith Hodge  - Backing Vocals
*Suzi Quatro - Backing Vocals
*Tony Carr - Backing Vocals

1968  Duncan Browne - Give Me Take You (Japan issue)

Free Text
Text Host

Mahogany - Mahogany (1969 uk, remarkable blues rock, 2006 remaster)

Though this is one of the better UK blues-based rock LPs of the late 60s, for some reason its proposed release on CBS was cancelled and it remains almost unknown. Highlights include the tremendous opener 'Coolin’', melodic 'Live Your Love A Lie', atmospheric instrumental 'For Jane' and punchy 'Two Trains', which starts as a snakey acoustic blues and ends up an electric raver. 

Though they were contemporaries of Fleetwood Mac, Chicken Shack, Savoy Brown and others, this youthful British blues-rock quartet’s album only saw release in America and Holland, unfairly dooming it to obscurity. Originally released in 1969 and produced by Alan Clark, famous for producing The Moody Blues' concept albums and King Crimson. 
1. Coolin' - 3:08
2. Best Woman, Best Friend 2:55
3. Live Your Love A Lie - 2:35
4. Easy - 3:20
5. Two Trains (Mckinley Morganfield) - 3:20
6. Armchair Woman - 3:27
7. Sweet Home Chicago (Woody Payne) - 3:11
8. For Jane - 3:57
9. Keepin' - 4:26
10.Feeling Good (Anthony Newley, Leslie Bricusse) - 4:00
All songs by John MacKay, Stephen Darrington except where stated

*Stephen Darrington - Organ
*Joseph Southall - Bass
*John MacKay - Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Paul Hobbs - Drums

Free Text
the Free Text

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Kopperfield - Tales Untold (1974 us, terrific hard rock with prog shades)

Kopperiield's roots really started back in 1970, two guys in the same high school but in different bands. Keith Robinson was playing keyboards and working in a hot group with horns and I (Jerry Opdycke) was blasting away on the bass in a power trio.

We were good friends, both heavily into the music scene and somewhat the rebels of our time. We had often talked about getting together and jamming but never seemed to find the time to connect. Then one summer gig. Which both bands played at, we found that each group was having personnel problems. One of us suggested in fun that we combine forces and form a new band. The idea was great of course but the timing wasn't right, however the seed had been planted. 

Just over a year later both bands had become somewhat dysfunctional. It was the perfect time for a phone call. I made that call to Keith and he agreed to a joint venture. I was the bass player and he was to be the man on the keys. With me was Mr. Chuck Eagan on guitar and long time friend Bill Wallace on second guitar and percussion. We had no real vocalist but Keith said that his brother was quite good. So little Jimmy Robinson arrived. This kid had a nice voice and now we had a singer. 

Still just one problem remained- no good drummers around. One more call to Keith and he said, 'yeah I got just the guy". And boy was he right. So the one and only Tom Curtis, who was really a bass player at the time, had just run out and picked up a drum set and could this guy play. I thought he had been playing for years not just for a few months. Now the band was complete. We jammed, the sound was great and so Koppertield was born. It was 1971.

Well, needless to say it didn't take us long to realize that this band had something very special. We worked on some good cover tunes but the real magic came when we started writing. Everything just seemed to fall into place. Our writing started in late 1971 and a year later in 1972 we got brave and headed to Chicago to record (what we call our basement tapes). The early writing was rough and as we started to move into 1973 our material improved. 

By then the band had become family, we were living on the road and we started the Tales Untold project. But being on the road in 72-73 made life hell. Just trying to make a living and find time to record was next to impossible. A lot of gigs passed with different agencies but our really big break came when we played for over 10,000 people at the Ann Arbor Blues festival. That was the day we set the world on fire. After that, the gigs got better, the pay got better and we got better. During that time we lost one member Bill, but picked up a new face Mr. Paul Decker, vocalist and keyboards. We played a lot more dubs and then suddenly the road life got just a little easier. 

Finally the LP was finished and we starting on a new project, the never released second LP 'Back to Bitchm." We played the Coral Gables clubs, the Alibi East and Alibi West, we did Maxwell's and a lot of the better Acircun nightclubs. We also started working with an agency called Windy City Products out of Chicago and became an opening act for the big concerts groups. And finally we became a headlining act. Over the years the members of Koppertield opened for groups like Foghat, Country Joe McDonald. Kansas, The Sunday Funnies. Joe Walsh / James Gang. H.P. Lovecraft and the Flock and a lot of other groups that we may have forgotten about. This was certainly the life.

And as those five years quickly passed the band had hoped to finish that second LP. But all good things must come to an end and so in late 1975 the group, Kopperiield. brake-up Some members moved on to do new and different things but some of us just kept on doing what we loved the most- playing music, writing songs and as Jimmy always said- living our dream. And so life goes on. But maybe someday, someone will hand us a cool million and say." Hey you guys, do another Koppertield recording." Who knows, it could happen? Well, maybe not. But in the meantime Mr. Robinson and I will be heading out with our new group Razmataz along with a new CD titled "Dancing Madly Backward".
by Jerry Opdycke
1. Moonride - 3:40
2. Anatomy - 3:06
3. Brain Rot - 4:39
4. Watching The Time Go By - 4:32
5. Nothing Left To Give - 4:57
6. Truckin'On - 3:43
7. Tales Untold - 3:32
8. Magic In Your Mind - 3:23
9. A Thousand Warriors - 2:58
10.Wiseman - 2:06
11.Dreams - 4:25
12.Can't Find My Wine - 6:23
13.People Are Leaving - 4:10
14.Red Neck - 3:14
15.Gonna Get Stoned - 3:13
16.Wake Up People - 4:31
17.Jam It - 3:59
18.Naked Tears - 2:30
19.You Pulled The Lights Down - 3:20
20.Katie Love - 6:53
All compositions by Kopperfield

*Paul Decker - Keyboards, Vocals
*Jimmy Robinson - Lead Vocals
*Chuck Eagan - Guitar, Vocals
*Tom Curtis - Drums
*Keith Robinson - Keyboards
*Jerry Opdycke - Bass
*Bill Wallace - Guitar, Percussion (Tracks 12-17)

Free Text
the Free Text

Friday, October 3, 2014

Jerry Williams - Jerry Williams (1972 us, magnificent melt of classic rock, blues, jazz and folk, 2010 korean remaster)

Blues-rock singer/songwriter Jerry Lynn Williams was born in Dallas, TX, in 1948. Raised in nearby Fort Worth, he learned to play piano from his church pastor's wife and at 11 acquired his first guitar. Williams quit school at 14 to tour the roadhouse circuit with his band the Epics, briefly joining Little Richard and playing alongside lead guitarist Jimmy James, later known as Jimi Hendrix. When authorities learned Williams was still in his mid-teens, they sent him back to Fort Worth, where he briefly backed his idol Jimmy Reed. He eventually migrated to Los Angeles, signing to CBS Records and teaming with producer David Briggs to cut his self-titled debut LP. 

When the album earned little notice, Williams signed to Warner Bros. to release a 1975 follow-up, Gone. Again there was little attention from retail or radio, but when Delbert McClinton scored his first Top 40 hit with his cover of the album's "Givin' It Up for Your Love," Williams became a sought-after songwriter. Three of his compositions, including the hit "Forever Man," appeared on Eric Clapton's 1984 comeback effort Behind the Sun. Five years later, their collaboration resumed for the smash Journeyman, featuring the Williams-penned hits "Pretending" and "Running on Faith." 

He also contributed songs to Bonnie Raitt's Grammy-winning Nick of Time as well as B.B. King's 1992 album King of the Blues, and collaborated with brothers Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan on "Tick Tock," a song later played at the former's funeral. In 1996 Williams self-released The Peacemaker, his first solo effort in over two decades. He relocated to the island of St. Martin in 2003, and died there of kidney and liver failure on November 25, 2005. 
by Jason Ankeny
1. On Broadway (B. Mann, C. Weil, J. Leiber, M. Stoller) - 4:15
2. Cast Your Spell - 4:21
3. Words - 4:49
4. Just Like A Woman (B. Dylan) - 4:51
5. Rock'n'roll (Is Here To Stay) - 3:38
6. A White Shader Of Pale (G. Brooker, K, Reid) - 4:50
7. On The Move - 4:11
8. Love Letters (E. Heyman, V. Young) - 3:35
9. Maggie Was A Spider - 3:40
10.Gangster Of Love (J. "Guitar" Watson) - 4:47
All compositions by Jerry Williams unless as else indicated

*Jerry Williams - Vocals, Guitar
*Nicky Hopkins - Piano
*Cornell Dupree - Guitar
*Nils Lofgren - Guitar
*Bob Gordon - Bass
*Chuck Rainey - Bass
*Gordon Edwards - Bass
*Bernard Purdie - Drums
*Bob Berberich - Drums
*Bobbye Hall - Percussion

Free Text
the Free Text

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Skip Battin - Skip (1972 us, fantastic classic rock with folk and roots 'n' roll traces, 2003 issue)

Byrds historians would have you believe that Cecil Ingram Parsons III was the squarest peg ever to occupy one of the legendary band’s round holes. Not a bit of it: that honour has to go to Clyde “Skip” Battin, who held down the bass chair from 1969 till the breakup of the band in 1972. Progeny of Italian immigrant parents, Battin was born in 1934, which makes him a hoary 35 years old when he joined McGuinn & Co. In fact he was the oldest Byrd ever, by eight years. Further, whilst all previous Byrds had cut their teeth on Greenwich Village folk or Nashville bluegrass in the early sixties, Skip’s musical genesis came in the novelty music era which followed the initial surge of rock’n’roll in the fifties. 

With his heroes being Fats Domino and Tom Lehrer, it’s no surprise that his forte turned out to be witty narrative songs with a piano spine, mostly written with assistance from maverick lyricist Kim Fowley. If you’re familiar with the moderately successful single “America’s Great National Pastime” taken from Farther Along, you’ll get the essence. Surprisingly, in the latter days when all but McGuinn were merely salaried Byrds members, the Leader allowed a handful of Battin’s distinctly oddball songs on to the final three albums.

Even before the breakup, Skip obtained a contract with Signpost Records of LA on the strength of “Pastime”, and his first solo album, Skip, emerged rapidly. Battin handles piano duties as well as bass, and his voice is warm and husky. All the Byrds’ final lineup contributed, including McGuinn in amusing circumstances: the track “Captain Video” is a delightful pastiche of the Byrds singing Dylan, and McGuinn guests on 12-string Rickenbacker whilst Skip himself sings the lyrics dedicated to Roger, who allegedly never realised that they were about him. 

Clarence White is everywhere, including some of his best-ever B-Bender wailing on “The Ballad Of Dick Clark”, more of the same plus amazing mandolin on “Four Legs Are Better Than Two” and what sounds like Fender electric mandolin on “Valentino”, providing an appropriately Italian flavour. In fact much of the record combines Bakersfield country licks with typically Italian polka two-step rhythms, as Skip wears his two cultural hearts on his sleeve. Towards the end the pace slackens for the wistful, witty paean to a 1940s baseball team, “St Louis Browns”, on which Clarence flatpicks superb dobro licks, and the closing, gentle “My Secret Life” in which Battin artfully lays his own soul bare.

The late ’72 timing of the album was not good; Skip’s touring commitments with the ailing Byrds meant that it was barely promoted, and sales were poor. Nonetheless, a second album was mooted by Signpost, by now part of Atlantic, to be entitled Topanga Skyline, but Clarence White was killed the day before recording was due to begin. It went ahead assisted by members of Country Gazette plus Al Perkins, but the heart had gone out of the project and the completed tapes were shelved. Skip went on to serve with New Riders Of The Purple Sage and the reformed Burritos, but his two other solo albums were released in the 1980s solely in Italy, to which he made frequent visits; these featured some songs sung in Italian, and remain rare collectors’ items. In Sept 2009 Skip’s son Brent financed the belated release of Topanga Skyline on Sierra Records as a fortieth anniversary commemoration of Skip’s first appearance with the Byrds.
by Len Liechti
1. Undercover Man - 3:11
2. The Ballad Of Dick Clark - 2:58
3. Captain Video - 4:11
4. Central Park - 2:27
5. Four Legs Are Better Than Two - 4:07
6. Valentino - 3:30
7. Human Being Blues - 2:58
8. The St. Louis Browns - 4:31
9. Cobras - 4:26
10.My Secret Life - 2:35
All songs by Kim Fowley, Skip Batin

*Skip Battin - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Bass
*Clarence White - Electric, Acoustic, Resonator Guitar, Mandolin
*Roger McGuinn - 12 String Guitar
*John Guerin - Drums
*Billy Mundi - Drums
*Spanky McFarlane - Backing Vocals

1971  The Byrds - Live At Royal Albert Hall

Free Text
Just Paste