Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Flamin Groovies - Teenage Head (1971 us, impressive powerful garage 'n' roll, bonus tracks edition)

Miriam Linna once opined that the Roy Loney-era lineup of the Flamin' Groovies suggested what the Rolling Stones would have sounded like if they'd sworn their allegiance to the sound and style of Sun Records instead of Chess Records. If one wants to buy this theory (and it sounds reasonable to me), then Teenage Head was the Groovies' alternate-universe version of Sticky Fingers, an album that delivered their toughest rock & roll beside their most introspective blues workouts. (In his liner notes to Buddha's  CD reissue of Teenage Head, Andy Kotowicz writes that Mick Jagger noticed the similarities between the two albums and thought the Groovies did the better job.) 

While the Flamin' Groovies didn't dip into the blues often, they always did right by 'em, and "City Lights" and "Yesterday's Numbers" find them embracing the mournful soul of the blues to superb effect, while their covers of "Doctor Boogie" and "32-20" honor the originals while adding a energy and attitude that was all their own. And the rockers are among the best stuff this band ever put to tape, especially "High Flying Baby," "Have You Seen My Baby?," and the brilliant title track. 

Teenage Head sounds just as good as it deserves to; Richard Robinson's production is clean, sharp, and gets the details onto tape with a clarity that never gets in the way of the band's sweaty raunch. While Flamingo rocks a bit harder, Teenage Head is ultimately the best album the Flamin' Groovies would ever make, and after Roy Loney left the band within a few months of its release, they'd never sound like this again. [Buddha reissued the album, added quite a few bonus tracks in the process.]
by Mark Deming
1. High Flyin' Baby - 3:31
2. City Lights - 4:25
3. Have You Seen My Babe? (Randy Newman) - 2:52
4. Yesterday's Numbers - 3:59
5. Teenage Head - 2:52
6. 32-20 (Robert Johnson, new lyrics by Roy A. Loney) - 2:04
7. Evil Hearted Ada - 3:21
8. Doctor Boogie - 2:32
9. Whiskey Woman - 4:47
10.Shakin' All Over (Fred Heath, Heath, Johnny Kidd) - 6:05
11.That'll Be The Day (Jerry Allison, Buddy Holly, Norman Petty) - 2:22
12.Louie Louie (Richard Berry) - 6:48
13.Walkin' The Dog (Rufus Thomas) - 3:41
14.Scratch My Back (Slim Harpo) - 4:50
15.Carol (Chuck Berry) - 3:15
16.Going Out Theme (Version 2) (Roy Loney, Cyril Jordanm, George Alexanderm, Tim Lynch, Danny Mihm) - 3:04
All songs written by Cyril Jordan, Roy A. Loney except where stated

The Flamin Groovies
*Cyril Jordan - Guitar, Vocals
*Roy Loney - Guitar, Vocals
*Tim Lynch - Guitar
*George Alexander - Bass Guitar
*Danny Mihm - Drums
*Jim Dickinson - Piano
*Karin Berg, Jean Charles Costa, Richard Meltzer - Vocals

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Flock - Inside Out (1975 us, cool prog rock, Vinyl issue)

Forming in late-'60s Chicago, the Flock forever languished in the shadow of the Chicago Transit Authority (later famous as just plain Chicago), whose peculiar approach to art rock -- incorporating horns and other unorthodox instrumentation into rock and jazz forms -- they also pursued. But though they clearly lacked Chicago's smash-hit-penning abilities, the Flock possessed a secret weapon in masterful violinist Jerry Goodman, and their genre-smashing compositions were often even more extreme, if not exactly Top 40 material. 
by Eduardo Rivadavia

Inside Out recorded in 1975 after several line up changes. The only original members where the lead vocalist and guitar player Fred Glickstein, together with rhythm section, bassist Jerry Smith and drummer Ron Karpman. The album produced by Felix Pappalardi and has the kind of the progressive style in mid seventies, the horn parts gave their place to keyboards, but the violin still shares some long parts. 

The compositions aren't bad, instead, sometimes  they take off thanks mainly to the ability of the musicians, but in the end, you have the feeling that something is missing, something is not completed. After that the band did few recordings which later released as "Heaven Bound – The Lost Album", the band stuck at a crossroads yet so hopeful for a new record deal that unfortunately never came.
1. Music For Our Friends (Jim L. Hirsen) - 4:26
2. Back To You (Jim L. Hirsen) - 8:06
3. Metamorphosis (The Flock) - 5:37
4. Hang On (Fred Glickstein, Jerry Smith, Ron Karpman) - 3:15
5. My OK Today (Fred Glickstein, Jerry Smith, Ron Karpman) - 7:23
6. Straight Home (Jim L. Hirsen, Ron Karpman) - 6:00

The Flock
*Fred Glickstein - Guitars, Lead Vocals
*Jerry Smith - Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Ron Karpman - Drums, Vocals
*Jim L. Hirsen - Keyboards, Vocals
*Felix Pappalardi - Backing Vocal On "Straight Home"
*Mike Zydowsky - Violin

1969  The Flock - The Flock
1970  The Flock - Dinosaur Swamps

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Warm Dust - Peace For Our Time (1971 uk, excellent prog rock)

"Peace For Our Time" Warm Dust ,have titled their second album. This quote from Neville Chamberlain, with Selbiger statement to waiting journalists held out the contract paper of the Munich Agreement of September 30, 1938, and apparently a soldier Performing Cover suggest it to know: The LP is a concept album or against the war and its consequences (eg, hunger and environmental degradation).

Each of the tracks begins with a brief spoken introduction, in a historic, mostly war-related event is described, followed by a moral world-improving warning or confirmation. Underlaid the whole thing each with a slightly dissonannten sound jumble of different instruments and threatening organ Wabern. With the Munich agreement mentioned just now it starts, then follow inter alia Pearl Harbor / Hiroshima, the Korean War, the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia and Vietnam before is read to the last track, the "Constitution Of Life" by Timothy Leary. But this musical program actually does not match the serious subject. An almost cheerful, easy-fuzzy jazz rock is to come out of the speakers that can not deny a certain relationship to simultaneous productions of Canterbury. 

Most accentuate rather gentle, just behave roaring organ tones this music, rhythmic support from a pretty powerful bass and drums. In general, the sweeping solos and duets of the two blower from working on various saxophones and flutes, oboe and clarinet at. Sometimes sounds even once a vibraphone, a jazzy piano or a guitar solo, rarely gets really rocked level. The somewhat silly Honky Tonky number "Wrote A Letter" and the final "Peace Of Mind", a ballad worn with longer oboe solo, but do not fit into this scheme. Dransfield Walker no longer sings more than ever on "And It Came To Pass", but his voice will occasionally be electronically altered. But when he sings, he acts quickly affected and intrusive. "Peace For Our Time" is a pretty decent album in which (in my opinion) the underlying concept does not really fit the music, and from today's perspective anmutet a little naive. Nevertheless, one has to acknowledge the dedication of the group. 

Warm Dust but are at their best when they jazzy rock in the form of long sequences, the lines of the various instruments devour complex, as in the middle of "Justify The Things Your Hands Have Done". The rest of the album is very nice, not necessarily surprising, but certainly not bad.
by Adamus67

The second album from UK '70's prog band warm dust - Peace For Our Time - highlights their jazz rock fusion sound with several War themes. The sax really stands out counterpointing the organ nicely and combined with some great vocals shows how Jazz fusion should be played. 

Peace For Our Time” is an excellent progressive album with strong vocals, long sax and flute instrumental sections and good organ work. Several tracks like “Rejection” and “Wind Of Change” veered towards jazz but one, “Wrote A Letter”, was an acoustic bluesy number with interesting lyrics.
1. Blood Of My Fathers – 5:02
2. Winds Of Change – 5:10
3. Justify, Things Your Hands Have Done – 8:48
4. Rejection – 4:38
5. Very Small Child (David Kubinec) – 4:10
6. Songs For A Star – 4:47
7. Peace Of Mind – 3:30
All compositions by Warm Dust except track #5

Warm Dust
*Dransfield “Les” Walker – Lead Vocals, Harmonica, Guitar
*Paul Carrack – Organ, Piano, Guitar
*John Surguy – Guitar, Tenor Saxophone, Alto Flute, Oboe, Vibes, Clarinet
*Alan Solomon – Baritone Saxophones, Tenor, Alto Flute, Oboe, Piano
*Terry “Tex” Comer – Bass, Recorder
*Dave Pepper – Drums, Percussion

1970  Warm Dust - And It Came To Pass
1972  Warm Dust - Warm Dust

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Friday, March 13, 2015

The Lemon Pipers - Love Beads And Meditation (1968 us, marvelous trippy sunny baroque psych, 2008 remaster)

Forming Ivan and the Sabres while attending the University of Cincinnati, Ivan Browne left the group and moved to Miami University in Oxford, OH, as a replacement for Tony of Tony and the Bandits. The quintet - Ivan Browne (vocals/rhythm guitar), Bill Bartlett (lead guitar), R.G. "Reg" Nave (organ), Steve Walmsley (bass) and Bill Albuagh (drums) - made its debut in 1967 with the single Turn Around And Take A Look. Catching the attention of Kasenetz and Katz and assigned to the songwriting/production team of Paul Leka and Shelly Pinz, they created a distinctive Lemon Pipers sound, a synthesis of sweeping strings and psychedelic organ and percussive elements exemplified on the group's million-selling #1 hit, Green Tambourine. 

Their first album for Buddah contained several songs - Rice Is Nice, Shoeshine Boy - which were recorded in  psychedelic stabs that juxtaposed their forced commercial leanings with their psychedelic aspirations. The group was unable to match their early success even though the song Jelly Jungle (Of Orange Marmalade) a that failed to crack the Top 40. 

Despite stellar efforts such as Catch Me Falling, Dead End Street/Half Light, and the slightly gummy Everything Is You, the Lemon Pipers were labeled bubblegum and, like the later-day 1910 Fruitgum Co., had nowhere to go. The group broke up in 1969, with Bartlett later finding success as a member of Ram Jam. 
Green Tambourine 1968
1. Rice Is Nice (Leka, Pinz) - 2:08
2. Shoesine Boy (Leka, Pinz) - 3:24
3. Turn Around And Take A Look (B. Bartlett) - 2:47
4. Rainbow Tree (Laguna, Mizrahi) - 2:18
5. Ask Me If I Care (Ehrmann) - 3:08
6. Straglin' Behind (Lemon Pipers) - 2:33
7. Green Tambourine (Leka, Pinz) - 2:24
8. Blueberry Blue (Leka, Pinz) - 2:24
9. The Shoemaker Of Leatherwear Square (Leka, Pinz) - 2:01
10.Fifty Year Void (Lemon Pipers) - 5:43
11.Through With You (B. Bartlett) - 9:06
Jungle Marmalade 1969
12.Jelly Jumble (Of Orange Marmalade) (Leka, Pinz) - 2:23
13.I Was Not Born To Follow (Goffin, King) - 2:31
14.Everything Is You (Leka, Pinz) - 2:43
15.Catch Me Falling (Lemon Pipers) - 5:16
16.Hard Core (Lemon Pipers) - 2:54
17.Love Beads And Meditation (Ross, Crane, Gajnos) - 2:48
18.I Need Someone (The Painters) (Leka, Pinz) - 2:40
19.Lonely Atmosphere (Leka, Pinz) - 2:52
20.Wine And Violet (Lemon Pipers) - 3:06
21.Dead End Street / Half Light (Lemon Pipers) - 11:42

The Lemon Pipers
*Ivan Browne - Vocals, Guitars
*Bill Bartlett - Vocals, Guitars
*Steve Walmsley - Bass
*R.G. Nave - Keyboards
*Bill Albaugh - Drums

1968  The Lemon Pipers - Green Tambourine

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Man - Revelation (1969 uk, sensational psych prog space rock, 2009 remaster and expanded)

A blast from Man's psychedelic past, this debut shows the band making an auspicious debut with Hammond-drenched guitar rock. It's easy to see, between the spacy effects and unearthly vocal choruses of their single "Sudden Life," how Man positioned themselves between the space prog of Nektar and the acid-fried rock of Quicksilver Messenger Service. 

When "The Future Hides Its Face" melds Apollo mission control transmissions with jamming, it's certainly evocative of time both musically and historically. "And Castles Rise in Children's Eyes" takes a more measured and orchestral approach, while the wonderful "Don't Just Stand There" is the great should-be single of the album, careening as it does between spiraling organ solos and sunny choruses of harmonica and Dylanesque vocals. Not every experiment works on this album, but when Man get it right, they get it very right. 
by Paul Collins
1. And In The Beginning..... (Roger Leonard) - 4:22
2. Sudden Life (Roger Leonard, Clive John) - 4:40
3. Empty Room (Clive John, Ray Williams) - 3:43
4. Puella! Puella! (Woman! Woman!) (Mike Jones) - 3:34
5. Love (Roger Leonard) - 2:52
6. Erotica (R. Leonard, C. John, Mike Jones, Jeff Jones, Ray Williams) - 4:10
7. Blind Man (Roger Leonard) - 4:17
8. And Castles Rise in Children's Eyes (Mike Jones) - 3:21
9. Don't Just Stand There (Come in Out of the Rain) (Mike Jones) - 4:15
10.The Missing Pieces (R. Leonard, C. John, M. Jones, J.Jones, R. Williams) - 1:55
11.The Future Hides Its Face (Roger Leonard) - 5:30
12.Erotica (First Version) (R. Leonard, C. John, M. Jones, J.Jones, R. Williams) - 8:40
13.Sudden Life (Roger Leonard, Clive John) - 4:12
14.Love (Roger Leonard) - 2:52
15.Erotica (R. Leonard, C. John, M. Jones, J.Jones, R. Williams) - 4:14  
Bonus Tracks 12-15

*Deke Leonard - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Clive John - Keyboards
*Ray Williams - Bass
*Micky Jones - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Jeff Jones - Drums

1969  Man - 2 Ozs Of Plastic With A Hole In The Middle (2009 Esoteric remaster)

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Monday, March 9, 2015

The Gasoline Band - The Gasoline Band (1972 us / uk / germany, amazing jazz blues brass rock, 2014 remaster)

The original band, initially called: "Children Of Fools" was Co-Founded in Berlin, Germany, by two Americans -NYC Composer/Pianist Fred Schwartz and Jazz Trumpeter/298th Army Bandsman LARRY "FISH" BROWN Jr., after recording a demo of Fred's new music with a small group of top Euro and American session men (including: UK Drummer Dai Bowen and US Jazz Altoist Leo Wright) at a West Berlin Recording Studio, in 1969. 

It all began began back at Berlin's famous Jazzgalerie! Fred had turned-up at 'The Gallerie' one evening, looking for some good 'Horn Men' to fill-out the sound and solos on a Jazz/Rock demo session. Featured Artists at the club that night were Leo Wright and Jazz Trumpeter Carmell Jones! During break after the 1st set, Fred was able to book Wright for the session. As it turned out, Jones was "too busy" but he introduced and recommended Brown (a friend, protege and Trumpeter with The 298th US Army Band!) 

The resulting session was inspirational -and with the Master Copy of that demo, (later lost) Schwartz and Brown were able to bring-in other Top Bandmates: -Brian Bevan, g.,and voc./ Major Wilburn Jr., t.,and Jerome Johnson, tb./ George "Bert" Thompson Jr., bs./ and Bob Howell, dr., -who were later granted a Public Relations motivated "Early Out" from the military (negotiated by Schwartz) -initially forming-up as: "Fun, Travel and Adventure" -and shortly thereafter, as: "Adventure Train!" Fish ran the band rehearsals, Fred composed music and booked the gigs and Everyone helped to shape the arrangements! 

By early '71, the group had grown to 10 members -and were gigging around Germany, when the they were offered a Contract to Record in the UK!. At that time, Brown opted to remain on Berlin's Jazz Scene, while the group (now appearing as: "Fishbrown" with Brown's old roommate Ron Phillips replacing him on Trumpet) made the the move to London! Once on Great Britian's vibrant Rock Scene, the group was further expanded with Philly and NYC Jazzmen brought in by Schwartz -Altoist Charles Bowen and Drummer William Goffigan, along with London session men- Trumpeter Jim Dvorak, Afro Percussionist Joe Oge -and Bassist Neville Whitehead, who is Heard on All Tracks, but Not Credited, because of his decision to Sign On with Don "Sugarcane" Harris! They recorded at Morgan Studios, London, as: "The Gasoline Band" having been persuaded by the lure of "Product Marketability" advised by executives at the new Cube Record Label. 

"The Gasoline Band" LP was released in May of 1972! -The Melody of this tune, "Ein Grosses" (written by Bevan in 1969) came-into Brian's head while sharing a pitcher of Schultheiss with Fish Brown, over at Frau Falk's Pub: "The Hoffbrau Haus" (located diagonally across the the street from the front gates of Andrews Barracks) and it became one of the band's earliest Jazz/Rock Jams! *Note: None of these facts (nor many others) about the group were recorded in Bob Harris' liner notes on The Gasoline Band Album's Cover! Solos here, feature: Major Wilburn (S.Sax) and Brian Bevan (Guit/Comp.) AwRight- Dig It! -bluesviews
1. The Bitch (Brian Bevan, Jerome Johnson) - 5:08
2. Can't You See Me (Doug Howell) - 3:50
3. Find It In You (Brian Bevan, Jerome Johnson) - 2:23
4. Ein Grosses (Brian Bevan) - 5:12
5. Folk Song (Brian Bevan) - 4:35
6. Schrapnel (Doug Howell) - 4:21
7. Loafers End (Erhardt, Fred Schwartz) - 3:51
8. Road (Brian Bevan) - 2:06
9. World What You Gonna Do (Brian Bevan, Jerome Johnson) - 4:30
10.Now's The Time (Fred Schwartz) - 5:00

The Gasoline Band
*Fred Schwartz - Keyboards
*William Goffigan - Drums
*Brian Bevan - Guitar, Vocals
*Jerome Johnson - Trombone
*Major Wilburn Jr. - Saxophones
*Charles Bowen Jr. - Saxophones
*Jim Dvorak  - Trumpets
*Ronald Phillips - Trumpets
*Jose Oge - Congas
*George Thompson Jr. - Bass

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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Unicorn - Blue Pine Trees (1974 uk, beautiful country folk rock, 2006 japan and 2017 extra tracks remaster)

Blue Pine Trees was the sound of Unicorn at the peak of their musical and songwriting abilities. An album that puts you in mind of Lindisfarne before they got desperate, or the Beatles if Ashley Hutchings had produced them, this is British folk-rock at one of its most idiosyncratic extremes. On the one hand, Unicorn's roots in the sounds of the American west coast are unmistakable. But, on the other, they never forget their English roots and, mindful too of their familial links to Pink Floyd (Dave Gilmour produced the best of their albums), Blue Pine Trees soars with melancholy subtlety above all of its influences, to remind us just how unique Unicorn were.

Key cuts like "Electric Night," "Autumn Wine," and the spectral beauty of "Ooh! Mother" are subjective; like a great Al Stewart album, with the Flying Burrito Brothers behind him, Blue Pine Trees might lure you in with its overall sheen, but it can continue surprising your ears for weeks. And, according to the fan club, it's not even the best record they ever made! 
by Dave Thompson
1. Electric Night - 4:52
2. Sleep Song - 4:58
3. Autumn Wine (Smith, St. John, Waters) - 3:04
4. Rat Race (Smith, St. John, Waters) - 4:22
5. Just Wanna Hold You - 5:04
6. Holland - 3:26
7. Nightingale Crescent - 3:36
8. The Farmer - 3:32
9. In The Gym - 5:28
10.Blue Pine Trees - 3:46
11.Ooh Mother! - 3:52
12.Ooh Mother! (Single Version) - 2:45
13.Bogtrotter - 4:52
14.I Believe In You (The Hymn) - 3:34
15.Take It Easy - 2:42
16.Volcano - 3:21
All compositions by Ken Baker except where indicated
Bonus Tracks 12-16

The Unicorn
*Ken Baker - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Pat Martin - Bass, Mandolin, Vocals
*Peter Perrier - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
*Kevin Smith - Guitar, Slide Guitar

1976  Unicorn - Too Many Crooks (2006 Japan remaster) 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Unicorn - Too Many Crooks (1976 uk, wonderful country smooth rock with prog shades, 2006 japan remaster)

Following the path laid by Buffalo Springfiled, The Byrds, Poco, The Eagles and many other Country Rock bands in the 70's, Unicorn instilled its own British flair into some pretty inspired tunes and released 4 albums in The UK and 3 in the USA on Capitol Records with the help of Pink Floyd's David Gilmour. 

1976 brought us the follow-up to "Blue Pine Trees" - a dream come true for any fan of the first American album. Songs like "Weekend," "Ferry Boat," "Bullseye Bill" and "No Way Out of Here" (later made famous by Pink Floyd's David Gilmour) and to be honest, every other track on this album, are songs that have flown into my brain at any given moment over the last 29 years without warning simply because they made such an impression on me from first listen back in the day. Not one month in the last 3 decades has gone by without these Unicorn LPs making their way to my turntable, cassette deck or CD player (I burned the vinyl to CD long ago). 

Unicorn's music is timeless and perfect and anyone who has yet to appreciate this music is in for a major revelation. Even though I know this music quite well - and love it more than I can say, I envy anyone hearing it for the first time. What a rush that must be!
by Dean Sciarra
1. Weekend - 3:22
2. Ferry Boat - 5:07
3. He's Got Pride - 4:10
4. Keep On Going - 4:36
5. Too Many Crooks - 4:26
6. Bullseye Bill - 5:24
7. Disco Dancer - 3::25
8. Easy (Smith, Waters, St. John) - 3:34
9. No Way Out Of Here - 5:20
10.In The Mood - 4:25
11.So Far Away (Bonus Track) - 3:23
All songs by Ken Baker except where indicated

The Unicorn
Ken Baker - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Pat Martin - Bass, Mandolin, Vocals
Peter Perrier - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Kevin Smith - Guitar, Slide Guitar
Chris Pidgeon - Keyboards
David Gilmour - Pedal Steel Guitar

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Help Yourself - Reaffirmation An Anthology (1971-73 uk, terrific multi blended rock, 2014 Remaster)

Help Yourself formed in 1970, and although they hailed from London physically, their musical souls were firmly rooted in Laurel Canyon. Leader Malcolm Morley’s finely crafted songs predated the current Americana fixation by over 40 years, and at the time Help Yourself remained a well-kept and low selling secret. From early in the band’s existence a close relationship was forged with United Artist label mates Man, the two bands frequently playing gigs and tours together, and later swapping band members in a manner that would delight Pete Frame.

Rolling Stone, upon hearing Help Yourself’s self-titled first album in spring 1971 stated that singer Malcolm Morley “sounds more like Neil Young than Neil Young does”. Oddly, the song from that LP that sounds most like the famous Canadian is titled Old Man, and although it is a different song it is very similar in pace, tone, and sentiment to the far more well-known Harvest tune of the same name, the only thing giving it a distinctive edge being some Grateful Dead-like acidic lead runs from Richard Treece. However, as the Help’s Old Man was recorded before Young’s version by at least a month, probably longer, one can only assume it is nothing more than a coincidence arising from the Help’s obsession with the West Coast sound in general, and on this song, Buffalo Springfield in particular.

Reaffirmation contains six tracks apiece from the first two LPs, with second album Strange Affair, released in 1972 seeing an enforced change of personnel. Bassist Ken Whaley was ousted by the management who considered that the group’s communal idyllic stoned existence at Headley Grange, recently vacated by Led Zeppelin, was not exactly conducive to the work ethic. Whaley himself described the band as living in “drugged out bliss” – hippies, eh? Doncha just love ‘em? By sacking Whaley, they hoped it would give the rest of the Helps a much needed kick up the collective backside. Richard Treece took up the bass, and Ernie Graham (ex-Eire Apparent) and JoJo Glemser were drafted in.

Around the time leading up to Strange Affair Malcolm Morley, who was suffering from undiagnosed depression, took more of a back seat with front man duties falling to Graham. That and the initial absence of the spidery acidic wanderings of Treece’s guitar makes Strange Affair take more of a country rock route, with big nods to Poco and America, especially on Brown Lady. The newly arrived duo of Graham and Glemser had no sooner plugged in than they were off again, leaving during the recording of Strange Affair. Treece returned to the lead guitar with Paul Burton filling the bass position. Blimey, this lot have more comings and goings than Chelsea football club!

As well as the country rock, Burton’s R&B style seeps through on funky proto-pubrock numbers Heaven Row, a particularly classy number, and the title track. The pubrock connection also arises with the long workout The All Electric Fur Trapper which was based on a story by roadie Sean Tyla, later to lead his own barrelhouse rabble-rousers Ducks Deluxe. However, there is no pubrock connection musically on this song, as the nine minute-plus mini epic is a psychedelic paen to Quicksilver Messenger Service, and quite wonderful it is, too. Many Ways Of Meeting and Deanna Call And Scotty show an identifiable Help Yourself style emerging from the Americana roots, the latter being a piano-led ballad that sounds like the kind of classy pop song of the time that Clifford T. Ward would have been proud of.

Malcom’s continued battle with depression is reflected in the title of third album Beware The Shadow, released in late 1972. At various points between the release of Strange Affair and Beware The Shadow either Deke Leonard, then on one of his sabbaticals from Man, or Sean Tyla were drafted in as replacements for Morley while he battled with his demons, the latter flitting between the status of roadie and front man on the whim of Morley, depending on his state of mental health – it can’t have been easy for either of them.

The Helps establish their own sound on Beware The Shadow with an effortless laid back funk that stands as a British parallel to Little Feat. The title track to this compilation starts out as a blissed out keyboard-led stroll through a leafy glade, with Paul Burton’s heavily reverbed bass adding an extra layer of groove. The tune then changes tack to a trademark solo from Treece, and then into an extended funk-lite workout. One can see how easily this would fit into Man’s repertoire when Morley and Ken Whaley both joined that band after the demise of the Helps in 1973. Passing Through, the concluding track on CD1 is a quite lovely and highly accomplished acoustic ballad, showing how the band were developing at a pace.

The second CD is a less consistent affair, the album cuts being broken up by a novelty Xmas single and ending with an extended live wigout, but it is no less fun for all that. Opening with another of Morley’s superior pop songs, the straight love song She’s My Girl underlines the fact that Beware The Shadow, despite the sad subject of its gloomy title is by far the band’s best and most enjoyable album.

The supremely daft 1972 Xmas single, Mommy Won’t Be Home For Christmas, penned by Neil Innes and Roger McGough is an amusing, if jarring interlude, and after a refreshingly different live barroom take on Johnny B.Goode, we venture on to the fourth album. The Return Of Ken Whaley was released in 1973, which as the title suggests sees the original bass player rejoining the fold. A return to communal living, this time in Finchley, north London leads to a looser and slightly less coherent recorded statement. However, with the exception of It Has To Be the album is surprisingly tight, with a continuation of the Anglicisation (is that a word?) of their sound. On Candy Kane, Morley’s nasal whine sounds not a million miles from John Lennon. From Buffalo Springfield to The Beatles in four albums, the Helps were coming home!

The aforementioned It Has To Be was an extended jam under the influence of an acid trip, with drummer Dave Charles adding spontaneous synthesiser. As jams go it’s ok, but I’ve heard better, not least from their mates Man. Speaking of whom, The Return… contains Man, We’re Glad To Know You, a musical thank you to their musical colleagues and mutual support network…ah, bless. The convergence with the Welsh wizards continues with Blown Away, which could easily have been a track on a Man album of the time.

Released as a free bonus LP with The Return… was Happy Days, a document of the live show toured earlier in the year. There are two tracks from it, Virginia and I’ve Got Beautiful You. The former returns to the Helps’ west coast fixation, and the second is a quaint rock’n’roll and West Coast mix.

The band split in the summer of 1973 during sessions for a fifth album as the mounting pressures on Morley to continually come up with the goods began to take its toll. The fifth album was eventually completed and released as “5” in 2002, on the Hux label. It is actually rather good, and if you like what you hear on this collection you should certainly check it out. Sadly Ken Whaley passed away last year, but Malcolm Morley remains active, and info can be found on his website (see link below).

To conclude, Reaffirmation is a classy summation of a band that are something of a lost treasure. If you have never heard of Help Yourself and you are partial to West Coast sounds and the free spirit of 70s rock music, then do please help yourself to this charming compilation.
by Roger Trenwith
Disc 1
1. Running Down Deep - 3:38
2. I Must See Jesus For Myself (Traditional) - 4:02
3. Paper Leaves - 3:05
4. Old Man - 6:40
5. Deborah - 3:25
6. Street Songs - 5:34
7. Strange Affair - 3:25
8. Brown Lady - 4:46
9. Heaven Row - 4:17
10.The All Electric Fur Trapper - 9:32
11.Many Ways Of Meeting - 3:54
12.Deanna Call And Scotty - 3:48
13.Alabama Lady - 4:05
14.Reaffirmation (Malcolm Morley, Paul Burton, Richard Treece) - 12:37
15.Passing Through - 4:34
All songs by Malcolm Morley except where indicated
Disc 2
1. She’s My Girl (Malcolm Morley) - 3:34
2. American Mother (Malcolm Morley) - 7:47
3. Mommy Won’t Be Home For Christmas (Neil Innes, Roger McGough) - 3:24
4. Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry) - 3:36
5. Candy Kane (Malcolm Morley, Richard Treece) - 4:15
6. Who Killed Paradise? (Malcolm Morley) - 3:44
7. It Has To Be (Malcolm Morley) - 12:20
8. Man, We’re Glad To Know You (Malcolm Morley, Richard Treece, Ken Whaley, Dave Charles) - 3:23
9. Blown Away (Malcolm Morley) - 4:24
10.Virginia (Vivian Morris) - 3:43
11.I’ve Got Beautiful You (Martin Ace, George Ace, Malcolm Morley) - 4:52
12.Eddie Waring (Deke Leonard) - 14:04

Help Yourself
*Malcolm Morley – Keyboards, Guitar, Vocals
*Richard Treece – Guitar, Vocals, Bass
*Ken Whaley – Bass
*Dave Charles – Drums, Percussion, Vocals, Synthesiser
*Ernie Graham – Guitars, Vocals
*Paul Burton – Bass, Guitar, Vocals
*Jojo Glemser – Guitar
*Martin Ace – Guitar, Bass, Vocals
*Neil Innes - Vocals
*Paul Jones - Vocals
*Lucinda Burn Forti - Vocals
*Sean Tyla - Vocals
*Vivian Morris – Vocals
*Deke Leonard – Vocals, Guitar
*Bj Cole – Pedal Steel Guitar

Related Act
1971  Ernie Graham - Ernie Graham (2014 Japan remaster)

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Third Eye - Awakening (1969 south africa, fine psych rock)

Normally, if a young girl is looking to tag along with her big brother and his friends, she will most likely be told to buzz off. Ron Selby, who played lead guitar in South Africa’s premier heavy-prog band the Third Eye, instead recruited his kid sister to play organ in the band. And with then-14-year-old Dawn Selby at the keys, the Third Eye released a trio of psychedelic nuggets in 1969-70 that could have been stiff competition for the likes of such similar-sounding acts as Chicago Transit Authority, Alice Cooper, and the Electric Flag had the US and Europe not banned groups from South Africa on account of the growing Apartheid movement there.

The scarcity of original copies of these albums, recorded and released on Polydor, make 1969’s Awakening… and its follow-up Searching and 1970’s Brother worth quite a small fortune on the collector’s market. But thanks to the folks at Shadoks Music, the entire set has been remastered and repackaged to be discovered by a whole new generation of young record hounds who certainly only heard of these albums spoken of by elder vinyl junkies like they were trading old myths. 

“Awakening”, which features a driving organ solo from Dawn Selby that certainly gave Jon Lord of Deep Purple a run for his money at the time. The Third Eye’s debut album, also called Awakening…, is the group’s most soulful outing, thanks to the killer brass section accompanying the songs.
by Ron Hart
1. All Along The Watchtower (Bob Dylan) - 3:12
2. Lost Boy (Maurice Saul) - 4:28
3. Valley Of Sadness (Boris Bergman, Vangelis Papathanassiou) - 3:05
4. Apricot Brandy (Danny Weis, Michael Fonfara) - 5:08
5. Magic Handkerchief (Alan Bown, Jeff Bannister, Jess Roden, Tony Catchpole) - 3:06
6. Love Is A Beautiful Thing (Harvey Pearl, Lee Pearl, Lewis Bellin) - 3:10
7. My Head Spins Round (Maurice Saul) - 3:28
8. Snow Child (Maurice Saul) - 3:28
9. Morning Dew (Bonnie Dobson) - 4:30
10.Society's Child (Janis Ian) - 3:58

The Third Eye
*Ronnie Selby - Lead Guitar
*Maurice Saul - Vocals, Lead Guitar
*Dawn Selby - Piano, Hammond Organ
*Robbie Pavid - Drums
*Mike Sauer - Six String Bass

1969  The Third Eye - Searching

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