Monday, April 27, 2015

John Mayall - Moving On (1972 uk, awesome jazz blues rock. 2009 remaster)

Following the U.S. tour, Mayall took the band on a tour of Australia. Selico and Larry Taylor dropped out and were replaced by Hartley and Putter Smith,respectively. Following that tour, Mayall brought in string bassist VictorGaskin, who toured with them in Britain in April 1972. Gaskin had worked with many of the jazz greats, including Duke Ellington, Cannonball Adderley and ChicoHamilton. Mayall then took the band on a European tour.

For his next release, Mayall recorded another live album in July 1972 at the Whisky A Go-Go in Los Angeles. He again reshuffled personnel, now choosing Mitchell, Solomon, Larry Taylor, Victor Gaskin, Hartley, Robinson, Watts,flautist Charles Owen and baritone and tenor saxophonist Fred Jackson. Thealbum, Moving On, was released in January 1973.
1. Worried Mind - 8:45
2. Keep Your Country Green - 3:25
3. Christmas 71 - 4:54
4. Things Go Wrong - 6:11
5. Do It - 4:56
6. Moving On - 4:22
7. Red Sky - 3:47
8. Reasons - 3:10
9. High Pressure Living - 6:59
All songs by John Mayall

*Freddy Robinson - Guitar
*Larry Taylor - Bass
*John Mayall - Vocals, Piano, Guitar, Harmonica
*Victor Gaskin - Bass
*Keef Hartley - Drums
*Blue Mitchell - Trumpet
*Fred Jackson - Baritone, Tenor Saxophone
*Ernie Watts - Tenor Saxophone
*Clifford Solomon - Alto, Tenor Saxophone
*Charles Owens - Flute

1966  John Mayall Bluesbreakers With Eric Clapton (Japan SHM double disc set)
1967  John Mayall And The Bluesbreakers - A Hard Road (Double Disc Set)
1969  John Mayall - The Turning Point (Remaster And Expanded)
1967  Various Artists - Raw Blues

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Josefus - Dead Man / Get Off My Case (1969-70 us, superb texas heavy psych rock)

Having played together in the Houston, Texas-based United Gas, in the wake of the band's collapse, singer Pete Bailey and guitarist Dave Mitchell decided to continue their musical collaboration. Adding drummer Doug Tull and bassist Ray Turner the the line up, the band initially attracted the attention of producer Jim Musil. Musil trucked the band to Arizona where he financed a series of demos under the name Come. Unable to interest a major label in the results (Frank Zappa's Straight label was reportedly briefly interested), the tapes were shelved; the band returning to Houston.

As Josefus, the quartet began playing Houston's local club scene. Unable to attract the attention of a label, the decided to record and release an album on their own Hookah label (the label symbol was a Turkish water pipe). Reportedly recorded in a single eight hour period, with a second day to mix, 1970's self-produced "Dead Man" proved surprisingly accomplished. With the exception of a manic cover of The Stones Gimmie Shelter", the collection featured all original, group-penned material. Propelled by Bailey's screeching vocals (gee, shades of Robert Plant ...) and Mitchell's equally shrill guitar, the set found the quartet blasting their way through a mix of bluesy ("I Need a Woman") and hard rock ("Crazy Man"). 

Highlights included their manic cover of The Stones' "Gimmie Shelter" and the 17 minute meltdown title track. Widely sought after by collectors (it's listed in Hans Pokora's "1001 Record Collector Dreams" as a "very rare" item), we'll be honest and tell you the set won't change your life. On the other hand, it rocks with considerable confidence and we've heard plenty of less talented outfits signed by major labels. Besides, we've always liked Howard Tucker's skull cover.
1. Crazy Man - 3:39
2. I Need A Woman - 4:21
3. Gimmie Shelter (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 4:06
4. Country Boy - 3:13
5. Proposition - 4:45
6. Situation - 1:55
7. Dead Man - 17:26
8. Crazy Man - 3:39
9. Country Boy - 3:15
10.Get Off My Case - 3:57
11.A Social Song  - 2:33
12.Feelin' Good - 6:18
13.Situation - 2:14
14.Dead Man - 15:52
All songs by Pete Bailey, Dave Mitchell, Doug Tull, Ray Turner except where stated.
Tracks 8-14 are from the original 1969 "Dead Man" Recordings

*Pete Bailey - Vocals, Harmonica
*Dave Mitchell - Guitar
*Doug Tull - Drums, Percussion
*Ray Turner - Bass

Friday, April 24, 2015

John Mayall And The Bluesbreakers - A Hard Road (1967 uk, amazing blues psych rock. 2003 double disc set remaster)

More an acquired taste than a mainstream sensation, John Mayall nonetheless merits mention in the annals of pop music’s most important artists. By dedicating his efforts to the pursuit of everything blues, Mayall eschewed the trappings of British Invasion era rock and single handedly crafted a genre all for himself. A gifted multi instrumentalist and experimenter as well as a demanding taskmaster, Mayall looked to American blues for inspiration while forging an eclectic brand of music, taking the blues explorations of the Yardbirds, Animals, and early Rolling Stones to far greater heights.

Throughout his most creative period of the ‘60s, Mayall fronted an ever-changing roster of skilled players known as the Bluesbreakers. A veritable who’s who of budding English artists, Mayall’s band served as a formidable training ground for the likes of Eric Clapton among others. After Clapton’s departure in 1966, Mayall recruited the gifted Peter Green to fill the spot and recorded the album A Hard Road. Some would argue that Green, not Clapton, was the premier young guitarist of the day; with an additional 22 bonus tracks to enjoy, the newly remastered twin disc package lends ample support to that premise.

Mayall’s ability to attract and challenge talented musicians was legendary, as A Hard Road’s lineup can attest. Backing Mayall and Green are pre-Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie and drummer Aynsley Dunbar. Interestingly, as Green was often less heralded than his contemporaries in British music circles, so too was Dunbar, frequently overshadowed by the likes of Ginger Baker, Keith Moon, and Mitch Mitchell. Popular opinion aside, this incarnation of the Bluesbreakers was an impressive lot.

The 14 tracks from the original album blend Mayall’s original compositions with several noteworthy covers, (from Freddie King, Elmore James, and Willie Cobb), and a pair of Green’s own songs which allow the guitarist to shine.

As strong as this material is, the true value of the remastered A Hard Road comes by way of the second disc. Ranging from several Mayall-less recordings by Green, McVie and Dunbar, to a series of songs featuring Paul Butterfield, the 17 tracks are a vividly painted canvas of blues innovation. Also included is a pair of 1967 offerings with Mick Fleetwood on drums, and a single 1968 effort highlighted by Green trading guitar licks with future Rolling Stone Mick Taylor. As with the first disc, original numbers sit comfortably alongside assorted blues covers, as Mayall alternates between vocals, guitar and organ, while Green displays his understated fret board style.

Despite his extensive resume, Mayall’s A Hard Road serves as a crowning moment in a lengthy career, as it was recorded at the peak of his British Blues creative sensibilities. Additionally, it puts a definitive face on the enigmatic Green, whose potential was never fully realized as a premier guitarist. While their respective levels of greatness can be argued, there is no denying that Mayall and Green came together for a brief time and created some powerful material in each other’s company.

For those who enjoy Brit infused blues and boast a keen appreciation for musical uniqueness, Mayall and his band of merry men fill the bill quite nicely, as the remastered double disc A Hard Road collection is a worthwhile listening pleasure.
by Adam Williams
Disc 1
1. A Hard Road - 3:08
2. It's Over - 2:48
3. You Don't Love Me (Willie Cobbs) - 2:48
4. The Stumble (Freddie King, Sonny Thompson) - 2:51
5. Another Kinda Love - 3:04
6. Hit The Highway - 2:15
7. Leaping Christine - 2:22
8. Dust My Blues (Elmore James, Joe Josea) - 2:46
9. There's Always Work - 1:37
10.The Same Way (Peter Green) - 2:09
11.The Super-Natural (Peter Green) - 2:57
12.Top Of The Hill - 2:39
13.Some Day After Awhile (You'll Be Sorry) (Freddie King, Sonny Thompson) - 3:00
14.Living Alone - 2:23
15.Evil Woman Blues (From Raw Blues) (Peter Green) - 4:02
16.All Of My Life (Jimmie Lee Robinson) - 4:22
17.Ridin' On The L'n'N (Lionel Hampton, Dan Burley) - 2:27
18.Little By Little (Mel London, Junior Wells) - 2:45
19.Eagle Eye - 2:52
All songs by John Mayall except as noted
Disc 2
1. Looking Back (Single A-Side) (Johnny "Guitar" Watson) - 2:34
2. So Many Roads (Single B-Side) (Marshall Paul) - 4:44
3. Sitting In The Rain (Single A-Side) - 2:56
4. Out Of Reach (Single B-Side) (Peter Green) - 4:41
5. Mama, Talk To Your Daughter (Session Outtake) (Alex Atkins, J B Lenoir) - 2:37
6. Alabama Blues (Session Outtake) (J B Lenoir) - 2:29
7. Curly (Single A-Side) - 4:49
8. Rubber Duck (Single B-Side) (Aunsley Dunbar, Peter Green) - 3:57
9. Greeny (Session Outtake) (Peter Green) - 3:54
10.Missing You (Session Outtake) (Peter Green) - 1:57
11.Please Don't Tell (Session Outtake) 2:26
12.Your Funeral And My Trial (Session Outtake) (Sonny Boy Williamson) 3:54
13.Double Trouble (Single A-Side) (Otis Rush) - 3:19
14.It Hurts Me Too (Single B-Side) (Mel London) - 2:55
15.Jenny (Single A-Side) - 4:36
16.Picture On The Wall (Single B-Side) - 3:01
17.First Time Alone (From Blues From Laurel Canyon) - 5:00
All songs by John Mayall except as stated

The Bluesbreakers
*John Mayall – Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica, Piano, Organ
*Peter Green – Guitar, Vocals
*John Mcvie – Bass
*Hughie Flint – Drums
*Aynsley Dunbar – Drums
*John Almond – Saxophones
*Alan Skidmore – Saxophones
*Ray Warleigh – Wind Instruments
Additional Musicians
*Colin Allen – Drums
*Paul Butterfield – Harmonica, Vocals
*Mick Fleetwood – Drums
*Henry Lowther – Trumpet
*Nick Newell – Saxophone

1966  John Mayall Bluesbreakers With Eric Clapton (Japan SHM 2 Disc Set)
1969  John Mayall - The Turning Point (Remaster And Expanded)
1967  Various Artists - Raw Blues

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Nice - Nice (1969 uk, extraordinary early prog baroque rock, 2003 bonus tracks hard sleeve remaster)

The Nice's third album was their first to break them into the star recording bracket in the U.K., where it reached number three on the charts. Though only measuring six songs in all, it covered a lot of territory, in a rich mixture of psychedelic rock, jazz, and classical that did a lot to map the format for progressive rock. The extended pretension of some of the numbers, viewed less forgivingly, might also seem like an antecedent to pop/rock. But the studio side of the LP (in its pre-CD incarnation) included one of their best tracks, a cover of Tim Hardin's "Hang on to a Dream," with grand Keith Emerson classical lines and an angelic choir. 

It also included a reworking of the B-side of their first single in "Azrael Revisited," a slight throwback to the more playful psychedelia of their roots with "Diary of an Empty Day," and the nine-minute "For Example," in which Emerson stretched out his jazz-classical mutations to a fuller length, throwing in a quote from "Norwegian Wood" along the way. More attention was given to the second side of the LP, recorded live at the Fillmore East, with a berserk workout of a number from their debut album, "Rondo" and a 12-minute overhaul of Bob Dylan's "She Belongs to Me." 
by Richie Unterberger
1. Azrael Revisited - 5:56
2. Hang On To A Dream (Tim Hardin) - 4:45
3. Diary Of An Empty Day - 3:59
4. For Example - 8:54
5. Rondo '69' (Brubeck, Emerson, Jackson, Davison) - 7:55
6. She Belongs To Me (Bob Dylan) - 11:51
7. Hang On To A Dream (Tim Hardin) - 4:46
8. Diary Of An Empty Day - 4:00
9. St. Thomas (Sonny Rollins) - 2:35
10.Pathetique Symphony 4th (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky) - 10:34
11.Lt. Kije (The Troika)/Rondo (Sergei Prokofiev) - 8:00
All songs by Keith Emerson, Lee Jackson except where indicated
Bonus Tracks 7-11

The Nice
*Keith Emerson – Keyboards
*Lee Jackson – Bass, Vocals
*Brian Davison – Drums
*David O'List - Guitar, Vocals

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Downchild Blues Band ‎- Straight Up (1973 canada, amazing jazz blues rock, Vinyl edition)

Adopting their name from the Sonny Boy Williamson song "Mr Downchild," Downchild Blues Band's roots run deep, first planted in the Toronto jungle in 1963. Singer Mike Smith, guitarists Don Walsh, Tom Extence, and Gary Stodolak, John Lamb on bass and drummer John Tanti got together playing mostly for fun while attending Northern Secondary School at Mount Pleasant and Eginton in Toronto.

By '68, a new version that had Walsh and his brother Rick, bassist Jim Milne, Tanti, and Dave Woodward became the house band at Grossman's Tavern. But after a couple of years, they outgrew the nest and flew the coop. They doubled the horns attack by adding Ron Jacobs, and their gigs across Canada and into the Chicago and Detroit areas became more frequent.

They released their independent debut, Bootleg, in 1971, starting a career of albums that traditionally featured a few originals mixed in with covers, such as their copies of Taj Mahal's "Change My Way of Livin'" and Jimmie Rogers' "That's All Right."

After signing with GRT Records, their first single was "Flip Flop Fly" from their sophomore album in '73, Straight Up. The song spent time in the top 40 pop list, and made them the first homegrown blues act with a gold single, (50,000 copies). As they continued a relentless tour schedule on both sides of the border for the next few years, and the Walsh Brothers' "I've Got Everything I Need (Almost)" was released as the second single," also spending time in the top 40. Also included was "Shotgun Blues," another tune pegged by the Walsh Brothers, which would be covered later by The Blues Brothers during their movie and subsequent soundtrack.
1. Every Day I Have The Blues (Peter Chatman) - 2:51
2. (I Got Everything I Need) Almost (Don Walsh) - 2:45
3. York County (Don Walsh) - 3:25
4. Can't Lose What You Ain't Never Had (McKinley Morganfield) - 4:13
5. Flip Flop And Fly (Charles E. Calhoun, Lou Willie Turner) - 3:00
6. Good Morning Blues (Richard Walsh) - 3:33
7. Bring It On Home (Willie Dixon) - 2:54
8. Shot Gun Blues (Don Walsh, Richard Walsh) - 5:40
9. Dig Myself A Hole (Arthur Crudup) - 2:37
10.Everything's Gonna Be Alright (Walter Jacobs) - 2:58

The Downchild Blues Band
*Don Walsh - Guitar, Harmonica
*Rick (Tha Hook) Walsh - Vocals
*Jim Milne - Bass
*Paul Nixon - Drums
*Dave Woodward - Tenor
*James Warburton - Alto
*Vic Wilson - Baritone
*Wayne Jackson - Trumpet

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Terry Reid - Seed of Memory (1976 uk, exceptional folk country smooth rock, 2004 remaster)

In 1973 Terry Reid was living in the high desert landscape of the Santa Monica Hills a semi wilderness utopia north of Los Angeles. After a brief spell in a temporary home he moved on to stay at the ranch belonging to Tony Duquette . Tony Duquette was a world renowned designer and sculptor with past commissions for Paul Getty and The Duke and Duchess of Windsor amongst others.  His property was like a cross between a sculpture park and a design Museum with dozens of buildings and sculptures made from found objects. There are a couple of pictures of Terry at that time posing in front of some antique furniture. All this set in the hills with breathtaking views west to the Pacific Ocean and spectacular sunsets night after night. Sadly this unique place was largely destroyed by fire in 1993. 

Properties in the hills were much sought after and people often drove along the narrow roads looking out for potential homes.  One day, one such person found his way up the ranch inquiring about places that might be available. This particular person a popular songwriter and one-time protest singer, pleased to find a fellow musician, spent a happy couple of hours discussing music, songs and the like.  Bob Dylan, for it was he, didn’t quite make it up into the hills to live, ending up nearer the coast in Malibu itself. Needless to say it was the ideal environment in which an artist could relax dream and create.  It was here that Terry would mostly write the songs that would form the basis of his next album, Seed of Memory.

As well as living and composing in his hillside retreat Terry was weaving his way into the multilayered fabric of the West Coast music community. Still friends and playing music with David Lindley and Lee Miles, Terry became acquainted with a whole host of West Coast artists some of whom he'd already met at various gigs and tours in England and America. Terry jamming and gigging with whoever was around, playing at places large and small.  Probably the most significant connection though was somebody 

Terry already knew from way back, his old friend and fellow Brit Graham Nash, also settled in California. Having written a load of new songs Terry was unsure about how to record them and recalled in a magazine interview at the time” I went to Graham with the songs and said, I don't know where to go at this point, in a sense that I want to get a person who will read into the songs, I wanna get someone on the other side of the window who understands what I wanna do. I wanted somebody that's just going to totally lift the responsibility off my shoulders of having to make sure a things plugged in just so I can sit in the studio and loosen up just like I'm sitting on the front couch at home and sing a song”. Graham proved to be the perfect person to go to and readily agreed to work with Terry on the songs. Rehearsals began at Graham's home and were recorded in part at the studio, Rudy records in L.A., which Graham had set up and owned.  Graham used to have a lot of equipment at his own home but seeing it unused a great deal of the time decided to move it to a proper studio in downtown L.A and allow others to use it.

The album was produced by Graham and although all the songs were written by Terry there is a clear sense of Graham's involvement in the whole project. Apart from anything else he shared the vocal harmonies on some of the songs. With Graham producing and David Lindley on hand there is a strong country feel to half of the album with the remaining tracks encompassing a typical Terry brew of funk, rock, blues and jazz.

Terry is often considered to be mainly a vocal stylist, concentrating his songwriting efforts on lyrics and  words that when sung can give the correct sound that he was striving for. On this album there is also clear evidence of Terry's wordsmithing abilities. Well illustrated than in the opening line of the title track Seed Of Memory,  ‘Brave dreams that are kindled from ashes’. Listen also to the words of Brave Awakening with its reflections on the dangers and inevitable tragedies connected with mining, a theme inspired by firsthand experiences of Terry's family in northern England.
Apart from Graham and David other players on the album were long-time Terry associate Lee Miles on bass and another former Ike and Tina Turner stalwart Soko Richardson on drums. Probably the most polished and coherent of Terry's albums it is definitely a good introduction for a newcomer.  The album was released under the ABC label with plenty of airplay and positive reviews, it should have been a hit. Unfortunately ABC, in financial difficulties, was in the process of being taken over by MCA resulting in lacklustre promotion and initial sales that didn’t reflect the commercial appeal of the album. Always popular it has had something of a renaissance recently due to the inclusion of three songs on a recent film soundtrack (more of that later in the biography). 

Terry now effectively a permanent Californian resident played various gigs with the core of the band that he'd assembled for seed  of memory. David by this time was heavily committed to other work particularly with James Taylor and was unable to tour with Terry, they did though manage fairly frequent acoustic gigs in places like McCabe's in Santa Monica. MCCabes is a famous guitar shop with a small concert space, sells all manner of string driven things and no doubt a favourite haunt of David Lindley's. Sadly the mess with ABC meant that Terry could not afford to keep the band going very long and people soon went their separate ways.Resilient as ever, Terry carried on writing, storing up songs playing whenever the opportunity arose. 
by Keith Duncan
1. Faith To Arise - 4:36
2. Seed Of Memory - 5:29
3. Brave Awakening - 6:30
4. To Be Treated Rite - 5:57
5. Ooh Baby (Make Me Feel So Young) - 3:58
6. The Way You Walk - 4:44
7. The Frame - 4:36
8. Fooling You - 7:21
All songs by Terry Reid

*Terry Reid - Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica
*David Lindley - Acoustic, Slide Guitar, Violin
*Graham Nash - Harmony Vocals
*Plas Johnson - Saxophone
*Blue Mitchell - Trumpet
*Tim Weisberg - Flute
*Al Viola - Balalaika
*Ben Keith - Pedal Steel
*Joel Bernstein - Acoustic Guitar
*Jesse Erlich - Cello
*James Gadson - Drums
*Lee Miles - Bass
*Al Perkins - Pedal Steel
*Soko Richardson - Drums
*Clifford Solomon - Horn
*Fred Wesley - Horn

1966-69  Terry Reid - Superlungs / The Complete Studio Recordings (Two disc set)

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