Wednesday, March 5, 2014

John Hammond - Source Point / I'm Satisfied (1970-72 us, excellent blues rock, 2007 remaster)

John Hammond's lifelong fascination with the country blues is well-known, and his passion for it is admirable, even if his approximation of it on his many records is at times a bit of an acquired taste. No one can doubt his fervor for the genre, though, and he has developed over the years into a much less affected vocalist, a solid slide player, and a stirring and excellent harmonica player. This set combines his two albums for Columbia Records, 1970's Source Point and 1972's I'm Satisfied, on a 21-track single disc, and while on paper the two albums wouldn't appear to be good running mates, they actually fit together pretty well. 

Hammond produced the spare Source Point himself, working with a rhythm section of Charles Otis on drums and Billy Nichols on bass, and manages to get a nice, natural, and slightly swampy sound going, particularly on the lead cut, a cover of Slim Harpo's "I Got Love If You Want It," the haunting "My First Plea," and a ragged, stomping version of the classic "Junco Partner." I'm Satisfied is a more complex affair. Produced by Delaney Bramlett, it features horns, gospel backing vocals, layered guitars, and stacks of keyboards, and has a distinct Southern rock feel. It manages to work much more than it doesn't, and the highlights include the fast shufflin' "Man in the Road" and the impressive "Ride Till I Die (Jockey Blues)."

At times Hammond's voice feels almost like an afterthought, but the album was by no means a train wreck. Placed together, the two sessions, although obviously quite different in their angles of approach, share a certain general atmospheric feel, and if neither alone is exactly essential, together they show Hammond willing to try different things, even as the blues stay central in all of it. 
by Steve Leggett
1. I Got Love If You Want It (J. Moore) - 3:17
2. Hoo-Doo Blues (O. Hicks, J. West) - 3:41
3. Mellow Down Easy (W. Dixon) - 3:07
4. Takin' Care Of Business (R. Toombs) - 3:15
5. She Moves Me (M. Morganfield) - 3:11
6. Let's Go Home (R. Staples) - 2:57
7. Tell Me Mama (W. Jacobs) - 3:08
8. No Place To Go (C. Burnett) - 3:46
9. My First Plea (J. Reed, E. Abner) - 4:49
10.Junco Partner (Shad) - 2:34
11.As The Years Go Passing By (D. Malone) - 4:07
12.Outside Your Door  (D. Bramlett, D. Gilmore) - 3:41
13.If You Ever Need A Man (D. Bramlett) - 3:53
14.Man In The Road (T. Furlong) - 2:25
15.Mama Tain't Long For Day  (W. McTell) - 4:25
16.Farther Up The Road  (J. Veasey, D. Robey) - 2:45
17.I'm Satisfied (D. Bramlett) - 3:21
18.If You Got The Feelin' (D. Bramlett) - 2:33
19.Ride Till I Die (John Lee Hooker) - 2:32
20.I'm Gonna Leave (M. Morganfield) - 2:59
21.From Four Until Late  (R. Johnson) - 3:49

*John Hammond - Vocals, Guitar
*Charles Otis - Drums
*Billy Nichols - Bass

1973  Bloomfield, Hammond, Dr.John - Triumvirate (Japan remaster)

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Beau Brummels - Beau Brummels (1975 us, beautiful folk country rock)

After The Beau Brummels dissolved in 1968 following their swan song, Bradley's Barn, it was doubtful that we'd ever hear from the band again, despite their individual and collective brilliance. The group did somehow reunite in 1975, however, for this fine and somewhat understated album. 

The band's weaving of folk, country,  and pop stylings hadn't really changed that much from their prime in the mid- to late '60s. Ron Elliot has several superb songs on here, notably "Tennessee Walker" and the excellent album closer, "Today by Day," which is sung by Sal Valentino in his most soulful and intense style. 

Unfortunately, the group's appeal was probably lost in the mid-'70s arena rock world, and precious few people bought the record. This, however, does not take anything away from a record that, for all intents and purposes, was one of the most successful "reunion" projects of its time. 
by Matthew Greenwald
1. You Tell Me Why - 3:15
2. First In Line (Elliott, Engle) - 2:59
3. Wolf - 2:23
4. Down To The Bottom (Elliott, Engle) - 3:24
5. Tennessee Walker - 3:14
6. Singing Cowboy - 3:17
7. Goldrush (Elliott, Engle) - 3:20
8. The Lonely Side - 4:34
9. Gate Of Hearts - 3:00
10.Today By Day (Elliott, Engle) - 2:36
All songs by Ron Elliott except where stated.

Beau Brummels
*Sal Valentino - Vocals
*Ron Meagher - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
*Declan Mulligan - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
*John Petersen - Drums
*Ron Elliott - Guitar, Vocals
*Victor Feldman - Percussion
*Mark T. Jordan - Piano
*Mark Wilson Jordan - Piano
*Dan Levitt - Banjo, Guitar
*Ronnie Montrose - Lead Guitar On "Down To The Bottom"
*Nick Decaro - String Arrangements

1965  Introducing The Beau Brummels (Sundazed edition)
1966  Beau Brummels' 66 (Japan edition)
Related Act
1970  Ron Elliott - The Candlestickmaker

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