Monday, February 29, 2016

Tramp - Put A Record On (1974 uk, elegant classic bluesy funky rock, 2007 Japan remaster)

Recording sessions involving musicians who do not regularly work together can be notoriously unproductive, the shelves of second hand record shops are littered with dusty remnants of what might have been a great session.

Happily 'Tramp' is a very fine exception to this rule, perhaps because although there is plenty of creative and spontaneous playing on these tracks, the songs themselves, written by Bob Hall and Dennis Cotton, are economical, witty and tightly constructed; there are no twelve minute guitar solos on this record. Every musician contributed hugely to the overall strength of performance that is obvious throughout the set. Dave and Jo-Anne Kelly are renowned for their ability as blues singers, and they tackled each song whole-heartedly, often adding new ideas whilst actually recording. 

Bob Hall is surely the finest boogie pianist in Britain, and has never played better than on these sessions. Bob Brunning is also a highly experienced bass player who has worked and recorded with many blues giants, forming a unit with Bob Hall which has become much in demand by impressed visiting American performers, many of whom have invited them back to the States to form a permanent band! Mick Fleetwood has been the mainstay of Fleetwood Mac for a long time, and when one listens to this exciting playing on this album, one can see why - listen to his inspired and absolutely spontaneous drum lead in during the entirely unrehearsed piano break in 'Too Late For That Now' which leads incidentally to one of the most exciting solos heard in a long while. 

Danny Kirwan plays crisply and economically, showing his ability, unusual among rock guitarists - to know when not to play, nevertheless turning in some pleasing solos. Dave Brooks proves just how easily he recently stole the show on some of the '73 American Blues Legends performances, and last but not least, percussionist Ian Morton adds a lot of excitement to the proceedings. Here then is a fresh and exciting album representing of more than worthwhile gathering together of some well known musical 'Tramps'.
1. Too Late For That Now (Bob Hall) - 4:53
2. Now I Aint A Junkie Anymore (Dennis Cotton, Bob Hall, Dave Kelly) - 3:07
3. What You Gonna Do (Bob Brunning, Dennis Cotton, Bob Hall) - 3:02
4. Like You Used To Do (Dennis Cotton, Bob Hall) - 4:04
5. You Gotta Move (Bob Hall, Dave Kelly) - 2:38
6. Put A Record On (Bob Hall, Dennis Cotton) - 3:17
7. Funky Money (Dennis Cotton, Bob Hall, Dave Kelly) - 5:43
8. Beggar By Your Side (Dennis Cotton, Bob Hall) - 3:38
9. Maternity Orders (Keep On Rolling In) (Bob Hall, Dennis Cotton) - 2:24
10.It's Over (Bob Hall) - 2:31

The Tramp
*Mick Fleetwood - Drums
*Danny Kirwan - Guitar
*Dave Brooks - Sax
*Dave Kelly - Vocal
*Jo Anne Kelly - Vocal
*Bob Brunning - Bass
*Bob Hall - Piano
*Ian Morton - Percussion

1969  Tramp - Tramp (Japan remaster)

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Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Knack - Time Time Time (1965-67 uk, fine beat roots 'n' roll, 2007 release)

Not to be confused with the “My Sharona” guys on Capitol, the mid-‘60s California band that also recorded for Capitol, or even the ‘60s Argentinean beat combo known as the Knacks, this Knack hailed from Britain and started life as the Londoners in 1965, debuting with a rather ordinary single pairing covers of Elvis Presley’s “That’s My Desire” and Sam Cooke’s “Bring It on Home to Me” while playing an extended engagement at the legendary Star Club in Hamburg, Germany.

Renaming themselves the Knack after a Richard Lester movie upon returning to the UK the same year marked a turning point for the band, who went on to record six mostly solid singles over the next two years.

The a-side of the first was a gritty cover of the Kinks’ “Who’ll Be the Next in Line”, but the real excitement was on the flip, a stellar cover of the Clique’s “She Ain’t No Good” with strong Beatlesque harmonies. The Clique, incidentally, were not the US band who had hits later in the decade, but an obscure British beat band—though that obscurity didn’t prevent the Knack from covering yet another Clique song on their next single, “Time Time Time”, which was done as adeptly as the previous outing. The a-side, a beat remake of Hank Ballard and the Midnighters’ “It’s Love Baby (24 Hours a Day)”, was almost as good, featuring a brief-but-nifty guitar solo (presumably by Gurvitz).

Their commercial desperation manifested in passable but ordinary covers of two Lovin’ Spoonful hits, “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?” and “Younger Girl”, and a lament of unknown origin called “Red Hearts”, but their quest also produced a first-rate harmony pop tune in “Save All My Love for Joey” (Joey being a girl). The buoyant beat of “Stop!” was also worthy, if perhaps out of date in the changing musical environment of 1966, a description that also fits their final single from 1967,  “(Man from the) Marriage Guidance and Advice Bureau” backed with the band’s only released original, Gurvitz’s “Dolly Catcher Man”. Both the acoustic Rubber Soul-like pop of the a-side and the dreamy pop of the flip showed maturity, but with the rest of the UK dropping acid and/or plugging into fuzzboxes, it was hopelessly anachronistic, and being on a faltering label didn’t help.

The Knack, however, did branch into psychedelia on Gurvitz’s excellent (and previously unreleased) “Lights on the Wall”, a huge step forward from 1967 that signaled a new direction for the band. But with membership shuffling that ultimately brought in Adrian Gurvitz on guitar and Louis Farrell on drums as Paul switched to bass, that direction would be taken up by the rechristened Gun, not the Knack.

Gun were indeed the better of the two bands, but the Knack’s Time Time Time compilation is worth a listen for anyone seeking to dig deeper into British beat.
by Doug Sheppard
1. Who'll Be The Next In Line (Davies) - 1:58
2. She Ain't No Good (Rowbottom) - 2:14
3. It's Love Baby (24 Hours A Day) (Jarrett) - 2:20
4. Time Time Time (Rowbottom, Page) - 2:45
5. Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind (Sebastian) - 2:05
6. Red Hearts (Unknown) - 2:04
7. Stop (Miller) - 3:02
8. Younger Girl (Sebastian) - 2:48
9. Save All My Love For Joey (Lyle) - 2:43
10.Take Your Love (Unknown) - 2:17
11.(Man From The) Marriage Guidance And Advice Bureau (Morris) - 3:45
12.Dolly Catcher Man (Gurvitz) - 2:54
13.Lights On The Wall (Gurvitz) - 2:47
14.Back In The USA (Berry) - 3:01
15.Bring It On Home To Me (Cooke) - 2:35
16.That's My Desire (Kresa) - 2:43

The Knack
*Topper Clay - Drums
*Paul Gurvitz - Guitar, Vocals
*Gery Kenworthy - Bass
*Brian Morris - Guitar, Vocals
*Mick Palmer - Bass

1968  Gun - Gun
1969  Gun - Gunsight (Japan 2008 remaster)
1974  Three Man Army - Two (Japan SHM remaster)

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Friday, February 26, 2016

The Barry Goldberg Blues Band - Blowing My Mind ..Plus (1965-66 us, superb electric blues, 2003 remaster and expanded)

This is the first long-player from '60s blues keyboardist Barry Goldberg (organ/piano/vocals). His early association as Bob Dylan's organist during Dylan's electric debut at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival garnered Goldberg ample exposure. Within a few months he had teamed up with Steve Miller to create the Goldberg-Miller Blues Band. Although the combo were signed by Epic Records and cut a pair of 45s, Miller headed for the flourishing San Francisco psychedelic music scene and left Goldberg and the remnants of the short-lived Goldberg-Miller union to their own devices. 

In addition to the 10 tracks on the album Blowing My Mind (1966), the Goldberg-Miller Blues Band also recorded "The Mother Song," and "More Soul, Than Soulful," which appear on the 2003 release Goldberg-Miller Blues Band 1965-66. Goldberg is then joined by the likes of Roy Ruby (bass), who contributed to some early Michael Bloomfield recordings, and Maurice McKinley (drums), whose musical rap sheet included a previous stint with Rahsaan Roland Kirk. The combo also featured the respective talents of Harvey Mandel (guitar) and Charlie Musselwhite (harmonica). 

One of the most evident factors in the success of the Barry Goldberg Blues Band is the impeccable ensemble work as they propel through a blend of effective originals as well as an atypical combination of cover material. The title track is a mid-tempo Goldberg/Ruby tune that features a slightly edgy feel, reminiscent of Dylan's "Positively Fourth Street." "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" and "That'll Be The Day," are both recommended reworkings that perhaps best exemplify the bluesy synthesis that defined the Barry Goldberg Blues Band, at least on this initial effort. Rather than attempting a note-for-note recreation, they fuse their own blend of electric blues into the well-known and already established melodies. 

The same holds for the cover versions of Jimmy Reed's "Can't Stand To See You Go" and Jimmy McCracklin's seminal side "Think." One non-LP outtake is also included, a strong rendering of Geoff Muldaur's "Ginger Man." 
by Lindsay Planer
1. The Mother Song (Barry Goldberg) - 2:57
2. More Soul Than Soulful (Harris) - 3:13
3. Getting It Down (Barry Goldberg) - 2:08
4. Mean Old World (Barry Goldberg) - 3:49
5. Twice A Man (Barry Goldberg) - 2:28
6. Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On (D. Williams, S. David) - 2:37
7. Big Boss Man (A. Smith, L. Dixon) - 2:57
8. Blowing My Mind (Barry Goldberg, Roy Ruby) - 2:57
9. That'll Be The Day (J. Allison, B. Holly, N. Petty) - 2:22
10.Cant Stand To See You Go (J. Reed) - 2:24
11.Put Me Down (Barry Goldberg, Roy Ruby) - 1:53
12.Think (J. McCracklin, D, Malone) - 2:37
13.Ginger Man (G. Muldaur) - 1:46
Tracks 1-2 The Goldberg - Miller Blues Band
Tracks 3-13 The Barry Goldberg Blues Band

The Goldberg - Miller Blues Band
*Barry Goldberg - Vocals, Organ
*Maurice Mc Kinley - Drums
*Steve Miller - Vocals, Lead Guitar
*Roy Ruby - Bass Guitar

The Barry Goldberg Blues Band
*Barry Goldberg - Vocals, Organ
*Maurice Mc Kinley - Drums
*Harvey Mandel - Lead Guitar
*Charlie Musselwhite - Harmonica
*Roy Ruby - Bass Guitar

1968  The Barry Goldberg Reunion - There's No Hole In My Soul
1968-69  Electric Flag - An American Music Band / A Long Time Comin'
1969  Barry Goldberg - Two Jews Blues (vinyl edition)
1976  KGB - KGB (2005 remaster edition)

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Barry Goldberg Reunion - There's No Hole In My Soul (1968 us, spectacular blues psych rock)

After leaving The Electric Flag, pianist and organist Barry Goldberg formed his own briefly lived group and continued to play the blues, albeit spicing it up with unusual psychedelic rock songs and a fabulous cover of the Beatles’ Fool on the Hill (misspelled as Fool on a Hill on the album). There’s No Hole In My Soul is the record output for the group, a dense piece of varying styles that has something for everyone. Following Goldberg from the Electric Flag to the Barry Goldberg Reunion is Harvey Mandel on guitar. The album’s cover is a hint to what’s inside: the cover is a jumbled mess of photographs of faces, blending into one another. The album’s songs are a mixed bag as well, often at odds with one another, representing a variety of styles.s

Goldberg’s instrument of choice, the organ, plays heavily on all tracks, occasionally dwarfing the overall sound, but on songs like the lead off track it remains a tasteful accompanier. Sitting In Circles is a masterful, booming number that brings multiple elements to the table. Echo graces the track, filling up the spaces where the organ, strings, guitars, and drums aren’t playing with excess sound. Goldberg moans the lyrics in a rather contemporary fashion, sort of an older John Mayer cum Leonard Cohen. The lyrics are suitably basic, placing the emphasis on the music, which is excellent and just a bit complex. 

Fool on a Hill sounds like a Velvet Underground outtake, though not a word is spoken. Two or three organs come together (Beatle pun unintended) to make a drone that is otherworldly, while drums keep time by soloing faintly in the background. On occasion the drums will serve a more central role to the song, but it’s really all about the organ and guitar duet that functions as the main melody. The song is a Blue Jay Way interpretation of a classic, fuzzy and hazy, barely holding together rhythmically and absolutely delightful. The organ captures the spiral into the clouds that Paul’s vocals carry on the original as he improvises around “round\round\round\oh oh oh”. 

While slight homage is paid to the original, the Barry Goldberg Reunion is not afraid to push the limit, psychedelic-izing an already trippy song. While the lyrics on other tracks deal with liberation of the mind and riding on rainbows, Fool on a Hill takes credit for being the most psychedelic song on the record. It’s followed by a goofy blues number that hammers shut side one called Capricorn Blues. It’s a bit of astrology rock\blues, as the protagonist struggles to get a date with the proper astrological sign, something Goldberg laments. 

Side two is fairly basic blues and rock, but the final track, a live number called The Answer’s In Your Head is a stirring utopian vision along the lines of We Love You. by the Rolling Stones (“lost within our minds\cos we love you!”) The mind is the best place to method the stresses of social change and of being led and being imprisoned by American corporate society. The band presents a convincing argument for the hippie school of thought, that through experimentation with drugs and less hang ups one can make a revolution, though the radical leftists of the sixties chose to carry out more concrete actions. 

A rousing Doctor John style piano boogie is attached at the beginning of the track, building up to the introduction of the actual song. The noise of a concert jam fades into a country and western track, Goldberg’s voice soaring over the song, backed up by what sounds like a live audience on joyous cries of “the answer’s in your head!”. The song deals with Goldberg recognizing the potential of mindfulness and liberation just around the corner, while describing the loss of his ego. It’s a joyful celebration of the counterculture, complete with whoops and handclaps, inviting the audience into the musical painting. 
1. Sitting In Circles - 3:40
2. Hole In My Pocket (Danny Whitten) - 2:45
3. It Hurts Me Too - 4:10
4. Fool On A Hill (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 3:25
5. Capricorn Blues - 1:55
6. Another Day - 3:25
7. Sugar Coated Love - 2:35
8. Strung And Young - 3:15
9. I Think I'm Gonna Cry - 3:25
10.The Answers In Your Head - 3:25
All songs by Barry Goldberg except where indicated

*Barry Goldberg - Organ, Rhythm Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Eddy Hoh - Drums
*Charlie Musselwhite - Harmonica (Harp)
*Harvey Mandel - Guitar
*Don MacCallister - Bass
*Roy Woods - Percussion
*Ronald Minsky - Percussion, Audio Consulant
*Skippy Diamond - Vibraphone (Good Vibes)
*Nettie Goldberg - Barrelhouse Piano

1968-69  Electric Flag - An American Music Band / A Long Time Comin'
1969  Barry Goldberg - Two Jews Blues (vinyl edition)
1976  KGB - KGB (2005 remaster edition)

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Brainbox - Parts (1972 holland, exceptional prog rock, 2012 extra tracks remaster)

Holland's Brainbox were founded by Jan Akkerman in the mid-'60s. While H.P. Lovecraft kept changing members around the drummer, this band would release a record with totally new people in 1972, entitled Parts. Yet the original Brainbox do have qualities somewhat resembling the earlier H.P. Lovecraft, and their eponymous album is a worthwhile collection of musically diverse and eclectic performances. The decent liner notes call this "progressive pop," and in some respects it is, though they shift gears from the Simon & Garfunkel classic "Scarborough Fair/Canticle" to the 17-minute plus original "Sea of Delight," and take lots of other directions in between. 

The Damned had a song called "New Rose," which is where the French record label got its name, and there was the aforementioned Savage Rose, but Brainbox start the album with "Dark Rose," a blend of Jethro Tull meets the Mothers of Invention. Brainbox ups the ante by sliding into Tim Hardin and a very credible cover of "Reason to Believe" a full two years before Rod Stewart would get a B-side hit with it (the original A-side of the "Maggie Mae" single), they pull off a chameleon-like change on this to become folk rockers. 

Casimirz Lux has a very appealing voice with a bit of Stewart's rasp, making "Reason to Believe" a highlight of the album. The liner notes credit Jimmy Smith for writing "Baby, What You Want Me to Do," but the tracking properly gives it to Jimmy Reed, and his Top 40 1960 hit is as bluesy as you can get here, the band changing styles yet again and showing their grasp and appreciation of American music. From progressive rock to folk-rock to blues-rock to the folk-pop of Simon & Garfunkel, who is to say they weren't rewriting Blind Faith's lengthy "Do What You Like" by way of "Sea of Joy" for their epic "Sea of Delight"? The album is a dense amalgam of sounds and themes from England and America, but is reverent in its borrowing and presentation. 

Brainbox's rendition of "Summertime" sounds like Deep Purple adding heavy keyboard sounds and slowing up the Billy Stewart 1966 hit reinvention of the Gershwin tune from Porgy & Bess. Of course, Janis Joplin did it two years earlier than Brainbox and psychedelicized it with an immortal performance -- but a good song is a good song, and this is Jan Akkerman before he would give us "Hocus Pocus" from Focus, and that fact makes the album more than just a curiosity. Since these gents were so enamoured of American music, it seems credible that they took the Vanilla Fudge sound -- famous in Europe a year before it hit in America -- and put it on a Janis Joplin favorite. Released with five bonus tracks on CD, including additional versions of "Sea of Delight," this is much more than the "bargain bin" item many American record buyers passed it off as. It's a real diamond in the rough. 
by Joe Viglione
1. A Face - 4:23
2. You're Used To Be Warmer - 3:55
3. Part Of Me Is A Part Of You - 5:36
4. What It's All About - 4:56
5. Scotch Ballad - 2:03
6. Another Part - 3:17
7. Dilemma - 3:30
8. Drum And Thunder Suite (B. Golson) - 5:05
9. When I Was Poor - 5:54
10.Virgin (A-Side, 1971) - 3:40
11.Mobilae (B-Side, 1971) - 5:38
12.Companion (Live At Paradiso 1971) - 4:30
13.Sea Of Delight (Single Version, 1969) - 3:03
All compositions by Brainbox except where stated
Bonus Tracks 10-13

The Brainbox
*Robert Verwey - Bass
*Michel Van Dijk - Vocals, Flute
*Ron Meyjes - Lead Guitar, Harmonica
*Robert Verwey - Organ, Piano
*Frans Smit - Percussion

1969-70  Brainbox - Brainbox (2011 bonus tracks remaster) 

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Lonnie Mack - Whatever's Right (1969 us, marvelous soul blues roots 'n' roll, 2003 Sundazed remaster)

By 1968 guitarist Lonnie Mack had been playing professionally for a decade. Ironically, it took a lengthy article in Rolling Stone magazine to finally capture the attention of major record labels.

Signed by Jac Holzman's Elektra Records, Mack finally seemed poised for the big time.  Produced by Russ Miller, 1969's "Whatever's Right" is the resulting mix of blues, gospel and country genres was clearly souped up to appeal to a rock audience.  While the spotlight was clearly on Mack's Gibson Flying V (and his speed of light whammy bar), to my ears the biggest surprise here was Mack's singing. 

As exemplified by tracks like 'My Babe, 'What Kind of World Is This?' and his cover of Bobby Womack's 'I Found a Love' the guy actually had a great voice.  Interestingly, the two best songs here are also the only two Mack originals.  'Mr. Healthy Blues' was a killer instrumental that showcases how fast this guy could play, while Elektra marketing executives should have been fired for not having pulled 'Gotta Be An Answer' as a single.  
1. Untouched By Human Love (Norman Simon, Dick Roman) -  3:40
2. I Found A Love (Wilson Pickett, Willie Schofield, Robert West) -  3:34
3. Share Your Love With Me (Deadric Malone, Alfred Braggs) -  4:12
4. Teardrops On Your Letter (S. Scott) -  4:14
5. Baby What You Want Me To Do (Jimmy Reed) -  2:53
6. Mt. Healthy Blues (Instrumental) (Lonnie Mack) -  6:50
7. What Kind Of World Is This? (Troy Seals) -  4:05
8. My Babe (Willie Dixon) -  2:36
9. Things Have Gone To Pieces (Leon Payne) -  2:55
10.Gotta Be An Answer (Lonnie Mack) -  2:43

*Lonnie Mack - Guitar, Vocals, 6-String Bass
*Rusty York - Harmonica
*Jack Brickles - Harmonica
*David Byrd - Keyboards
*Roy Christiansen - Cello
*Tim Drummond - Bass
*Ron Grayson - Drums
*Timothy Hedding - Organ
*Jerry Love - Drums
*Denzil Dumpy Rice - Piano
*Leslie Asch, E. Brenden Harkin - Horn Arrangements
*Sherlie Matthews - Vocals

1969  Lonnie Mack - Glad I'm In The Band (2003 Sundazed remaster)

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Saturday, February 20, 2016

Ray Stinnett - A Fire Somewhere (1971 us, spectacular folk psych straight ahead rock, 2012 digipak remaster)

Best known for his work with a band that bridged the gap between R&B and garage rock, Ray Stinnett was also an unsung hero of the Memphis music scene whose most personal music would wait over 40 years to find an audience. Stinnett was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1944, and like so many kids growing up in Memphis, he developed a love for music early on, getting his first guitar when he was 12 years old. Stinnett claims he bought the instrument at the same pawn shop where Elvis Presley was said to have gotten his first guitar, and as Stinnett was walking home, he spotted Presley driving by in a Cadillac, who called out to the youngster, "Hey, cat." Suitably encouraged, Stinnett set about learning the guitar, and by his mid-teens, he was playing around town in a duo act with drummer Jerry Patterson, as well as working with a teen rock band called Johnny and the Electros and doing occasional session work. In mid-1963, a Texas-based group called the Nightriders, led by keyboard man Domingo "Sam" Samudio, were booked into a standing gig at a Memphis nightspot called the Diplomat Club when their guitar player and drummer both quit; Stinnett and Patterson signed on to replace them, and when the Nightriders' engagement ended, the Memphis boys hit the road with the band. 

A few months later, the Nightriders changed their name to Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, and after they cut a single for a small Memphis label, MGM Records picked up the disc for national distribution. "Wooly Bully" became the top-selling single of 1965, spending 14 weeks in Billboard's Top 40, and a pair of minor hits followed ("Ju Ju Hand" and "Ring Dang Do"), but Stinnett's tenure with the group was short-lived; within a year of "Wooly Bully" hitting the charts, the Pharaohs had a falling out with Samudio over business matters, and they found themselves replaced with a new set of Pharaohs, who scored a hit of their own with "Li'l Red Riding Hood." Stinnett, Patterson, and their fellow ex-Pharaohs cut a single for Dot Records as the Violations, "The Hanging" b/w "You Sure Have Changed," which dealt metaphorically with their anger and disappointment, but the record went nowhere commercially and the group split up. 

In 1967, as Americans became aware of the growing counterculture, Stinnett headed to Northern California and embraced the hippie lifestyle while living at a celebrated commune, the Morning Star Ranch; a year later, back in Memphis, he formed a psychedelic band called 1st Century, who lasted long enough to release one single for Capitol Records, "Looking Down" b/w "Dancing Girl." While 1st Century quickly dissolved, Stinnett struck up a friendship with legendary producer and instrumentalist Booker T. Jones, and as Stinnett began putting a greater focus on his songwriting, Jones encouraged him and gave him occasional gigs. 

By the dawn of the 1970s, Stinnett and his wife were living on a commune in California and searching for spiritual enlightenment. Stinnett's life path reflects the shifting cultural Zeitgeist of the 1960s with commendable accuracy, but thankfully he never stopped playing guitar like a Memphis boy who dug the blues, as evidenced by A Fire Somewhere, an album Stinnett recorded in 1971 that finally earned a long-overdue release in 2012. When Booker T. Jones produced an album for his then-wife Priscilla Coolidge-Jones, 1970's Gypsy Queen, Stinnett played guitar on the sessions and wrote two songs that appeared on the LP.

Stinnett was a protégé of Booker T. Jones, and when Jones signed a deal with A&M Records, he persuaded them to sign Stinnett as well, and if what Stinnett was writing was a long way from classic Memphis R&B, Stinnett's sharp, emphatic guitar work and easygoing sense of timing suggest he learned more than a little from the cats at Stax Records, though his vocals weren't always on a par with his picking.

As a songwriter, Stinnett conjures up a fine, swampy fusion of soul, country, blues, and rock, with occasional side trips into psychedelia and gospel, and though it's true Stinnett's spiritual and philosophical conceits sometimes sound a bit clumsy after 40 years of gathering dust, Stinnett never sounds less than entirely sincere, and when he deals with the nuts and bolts of love and relationships, he strikes a bull's-eye. And Stinnett was blessed with a rhythm section as idiosyncratically gifted as he was in bassist Mike Plunk and drummer Jerry Patterson. Differences with A&M over marketing and management caused Stinnett to walk away from his record deal, and A Fire Somewhere got left by the wayside, buried in the label's vaults.

This re-release of the album doesn't quite resurrect a lost classic, but this is an entertaining, often fascinating set of well-crafted swamp rock that showcases a talent that deserved a hearing it didn't get in 1971. The album was remastered from the original session tapes,
by Mark Deming
1. Salty Haze - 2:43
2. You Make Me Feel - 3:53
3. Silky Path - 5:03
4. Wheel Of Time - 2:36
5. Stop - 3:32
6. Long Rivers Flow - 2:48
7. America - 4:21
8. You And I - 4:18
9. Honey Suckle Song - 3:00
10.Liberty Train - 3:40
11.Naturally High - 3:11
12.Loves In The Answer - 2:46
13.A Fire Somewhere - 5:30
14.The Rain - 5:27
Music and Words by Ray Stinnett

*Jerry Patterson - Drums, Percussion
*Mike Plunk - Bass, Baritone Saxophone, Backing Vocals
*Phil Stevens - Trumpet
*Ray Stinnett - Guitar, Piano, Vocals, Harp

1965-73  Sam The Sham And The Pharaohs - The MGM Singles (2011 digi pack release)

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Rowan Brothers - Rowan Brothers (1972 us, beautiful country folk west coast blend, 2002 issue)

Released in 1972, the Rowan Brothers' eponymous debut arrived with a great deal of hype, including an ad featuring a quote from Jerry Garcia in which he stated that Chris and Lorin Rowan "could be like the Beatles. They're that good." Produced by Bill Wolf and David Grisman (credited as David Diadem), the first effort from the Stinson Beach, CA, duo never even came close to living up to such lofty praise. Though it can give a young artist a boost, this sort of hype can quite often be devastating, and probably hurt the pair in the long run.

The Rowan Brothers is a mix of country-rock, folk, and pop tunes with cosmic ("the universe is nothing but a fantasy/of life's illusions throughout eternity") and hippie ("we'll put on our costumes, bring the music along/come on friends we'll sing a happy song") underpinnings, which are often trite and very much artifacts of the time. Although they may lack lyrical muscle, Chris and Lorin are capable of pleasant, catchy tunes that can be light and spirited or lush and pretty. Ignored at the time and somewhat dated today, The Rowan Brothers is another forgotten relic from the late-'60s and early-'70s San Francisco music scene. 
by Brett Hartenbach
1. Hickory Day - 2:52
2. All Together - 3:04
3. The Best You Can - 2:52
4. One More Time - 3:27
5. Lay Me Down - 2:34
6. The Wizard - 3:06
7. Mamma Don't You Cry - 3:05
8. Gold - 3:35
9. Love Will Conquer - 3:27
10.Lady of Laughter - 3:36
11.Move on Down - 2:27
12.Singin' Song - 3:34
All songs written by Lorin Rowan, Chris Rowan

*Chris Rowan - Guitar, Vocals
*Lorin Rowan - Guitar, Vocals
*Peter Rowan - Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals
*Beverly Bellows - Harp
*Iasos Benardot - Flute
*Edward Bogas - Strings
*Jack Bonus - Flute, Saxophone
*Bill Elliott - Keyboards
*Buddy Emmons - Steel Guitar
*Dick Fenner - Cello
*Jerry Garcia - Steel Guitar
*Richard Greene - Violin
*Jim Keltner - Drums
*Bill Kreutzmann - Drums

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Lonnie Mack - Glad I'm In The Band (1969 us, magnificent soulful blues rock, 2003 Sundazed remaster)

Lonnie Mack was born in Ohio and raised in nearby southern Indiana, he was raised on blues, country and roadhouse rock.

His singing incorporated all three styles. To him, they were all part of the same fabric of Southern music that carpeted the area around his home base in Cincinnati.

Mack didn’t get much of a chance to showcase his vocal talent, however, until he signed at the end of the 1960s with Elektra Records, a folk label that was trying to branch out into rock.

His Elektra albums didn’t make much of a dent when they were issued; Mack’s bluesy roots music was out to style. Today they sound like long-lost gems. At times, they invite comparison to the recordings of the late Eddie Hinton, the blue-eyed soul man from Tuscaloosa.

Mack’s 1969 release, “Glad I’m in the Band," showed him to be a formidable vocalist, especially on blues and r&b. Mack’s remake of Huey “Piano" Smith’s New Orleans rocker “Roberta" was a particularly fine welding of his skills as a player and a singer, and he turns in a very credible performance on Little Willie John’s 1959 blues ballad, “Let The Talk."

From his stash of early 1960s recordings, he resurrects “Why," a tough, slow blues, and “Memphis," which loses little of its bite in a more contemporary setting.

“Save Your Money" is a delectable slice of Muscle Shoals-style soul, while “Old House" shows Mack’s deep affinity for country.
by Ben Windham
1. Why - 4:20
2. Save Your Money - 2:48
3. Old House - 3:08
4. Too Much Trouble - 2:05
5. In The Band - 1:44
6. Let Them Talk (Sonny Thompson) - 4:15
7. Memphis (Chuck Berry) - 2:28
8. Sweat And Tears (David Byrd) - 4:14
9. Roberta (Al Smith, John Vincent) - 2:20
10.Stay Away From My Baby (Ray Pennington) - 3:45
11.She Don't Come Here Anymore (Lonnie Mack, Wayne Bullock) - 4:24
All tracks by Lonnie Mack except where indicated

*Lonnie Mack - Guitar, Vocals
*Bruce Botnick - Engineer
*David Byrd - Bass, Keyboards, Voices
*Tim Drummond - Bass
*Maxwell Davis - Horn Arrangements
*Mac Elsensohn - Drums
*Sebastian Dangerfield - Voices
*Billy Salyer - Drums

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Wild Butter - Wild Butter (1970 us, fine straight up rock'n'roll with lush harmonies and psych traces, 2010 edition)

Wild Butter was started in 1970 by drummer/lead singer Rick Garen and keyboard player Jerry Buckner. Garen had previously been in the Collection and recorded a demo called "Little Man". Former Rogues member Jerry was impressed and got Eric Stevens, WIXY program director and manager of Damnation of Adam Blessing, interested as well. Stevens took it to New York and after a week or two Buckner got a call saying the band had a LP recording deal with United Artists - only there was no band, yet, although UA didn't know that. "Put a band together" was the request and Rick and Jerry talked to their Akron peers and found Jon Senne' (guitar) and Steve Price (bass) willing to get on board.

Wild Butter played a month or so before recording the LP at Cleveland Recording. "Little Man" was not done, but a whole LP was, including excellent songwriting contributions from everyone. Considering the short time the band had to work up the songs, the high level of writing, musicianship, and vocals are amazing, and the LP is certainly a lost treasure of 1970 contemporary unpretentious melodic rock. The recordings included some guitar parts from Mark Price (Steve's high school aged brother and future Tin Huey member), Jim Quinn and Bob Kalamasz (both from Damnation). The Senne' penned "Roxanna (Thank You for Getting Me High) was chosen as a 45 track backed with "Terribly Blind". The cover photos were taken in a Akron industrial area at Stevens' suggestion. A few shots were taken before some hardhats objected to the 'longhairs' and chased them out!

Wild Butter played the NE Ohio club scene including places like Admiral Bilbos in Westlake where they had to use a fan to cool down their primitive Heathkit PA amp. If the amp overheated, it was instant 15 minute break time. "Roxanna" got some local airplay on stations like WIXY and the band got an appearance on Upbeat, sharing the show with Blues Image who were riding the top of the charts with "Ride Captain Ride" at the time, summer of '70. During the Friday afternoon taping the band got the offical thumbs down stare from Cleveland's 1st lady of establishment telejournalism, Dorothy Fuldheim, as she walked past them in the WEWS TV station hallway!

1. Roxanna (Thank You For Getting Me High) (Jon Senne) - 2:36
2. Terribly Blind (Jon Senne, Steve Price) - 3:28
3. From One Who Sang The Song (Jon Senne) - 2:36
4. Come Fly With Me (John Buckner) - 3:21
5. Oh Martha (Jon Senne, Steve Price) - 4:40
6. Never Comes The Day (Justin Hayward) - 4:39
7. And We Loved It (Jon Senne) - 3:32
8. I've Been Waiting For You (Neil Young) - 3:06
9. Tommy The Cat (R. Peters, Steve Price) - 1:51
10.New York Mining Disaster (1941) (Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb, Robin Gibb) - 5:15

The Wild Butter
*Jerry Buckner - Keyboards, Autoharp, Vocals
*Rick Garen - Lead Vocals, Drums
*Steve Price - Bass, Vocals
*Jon Senne - Guitar, Vocals
Guests Musicians
*Mark Price - Guitar
*Jim Quinn - Guitar
*Bob Kalamasz - Guitar

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Friday, February 12, 2016

Arcesia - Reachin (1972 us, cool weird unusual acid psych, 1997 limited Vinyl edition)

Born in Sayre, Pennsylvania on February 11, 1917. As a child, his father Antonio (Tony) played an Enrico Caruso disc for young Johnny and from that time on Johnny knew what he wanted to do with his life. As a result he became a child prodigy singing whenever possible in public or private in the Sayre, Athens and Towanda area of Pennsylvania, as well as Waverly, New York, and as far as Scranton, Pennsylvania and Elmira, New York. He turned professional as a child after winning a talent show/contest that was produced in Sayre at the Sayre Theatre by the great 'Blackstone the Magician' in c.1926. 

Young Johnny sang for every club or organization in the area that needed or wanted talent to perform for their various causes,i.e. The Elks, Lions, The D.A.R. et,al. In 1932 after a fire almost destroyed the family home, young Johnny, with his father's blessing, decided to travel alone to NYC to become a band vocalist. His childhood idols and inspirations were Bing Crosby, Russ Columbo, Red McKenzie, as well as Caruso.

The album was released in a private edition of 300 copies and most of them were given away to family and friends. In the late 80s, one of those copies was unearthed by rare record dealer Paul Major, who was one of the first persons to appreciate the singularities of “Reachin’ Arcesia”. Since then, the album, which mixes over the top crooner vocals with late 60s acid-rock / pop arrangements is now considered a lounge-psych / real people masterpiece. 
1. Pictures In My Window (J. Johnson, Perry) - 2:31
2. Soul Wings - 4:01
3. White Panther - 2:31
4. Leaf - 3:00
5. Voice Of Love - 2:34
6. Reaching (Furth, Perry, Arcessi) - 2:43
7. Summer Of Love (D. Totten, Perry) - 3:14
8. Mechanical Doll - 1:51
9. Butterfly Mind - 2:52
10.Desiree (J. Johnson, Lejon) - 3:02
11.Rainy Sunday - 3:24
All songs by John Arcessi and Lejon except where stated.

*John Arcessi - Vocals

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Tales Of Justine - Petals From A Sunflower (1967-69 uk, wondrous sunny psych with mod beats, Vinyl issue)

Tales of Justine only had one single, 1967's "Albert (A Pet Sunflower)"/"Monday Morning," both sides of which are included on this release. But with the addition of 13 tracks recorded between August 1967 and January 1969 that were unreleased at the time, there's enough for a full album with this LP, pressed in a limited edition of 1000 copies. Entirely written by David Daltrey (except one song he co-wrote with Paul Myerson), it's very much in the school of flowery British pop that, ahem, flowered in the period just post-Sgt. Pepper's

Even by the gaudy standards of the style, it's inclined toward storybookish lyrics and precious melodies, quite possibly taken to excess on "Obsolete Incident," which manages to fit in references to whitewashed coal, chocolate flowers, a clock that runs backwards, and sunburned toast just in the first 40 seconds. Orchestration gets loaded into the mix on the five tracks recorded in December 1968, perhaps looking forward to the kind of musicals on which producer Tim Rice and arranger Andrew Lloyd Webber would collaborate in the near future. If you're the kind of listener who just loves, say, the Hollies in their most psychedelic period around the time of Butterfly, you may well find this to your liking, though it's on the candy-coated side even in comparison with the Hollies' sweetest pop-psychedelia. A harder side surfaces on "Evil Woman," with its pungent psychedelic organ. basic mod rock, and freak-out instrumental break, but that's an atypical effort in the context of this collection. 

Though Tales of Justine were yet more precious in their approach. Bandmember and singer/songwriter David Daltrey was featured in the early Rice-Webber musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and later formed the group Carillion, a support act in a tour during David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust phase. The group's single, and numerous unreleased tracks from 1967-1969, were compiled on the 1,000-copy limited-edition Tenth Planet LP Petals from a Sunflower in 1997. 
by Richie Unterberger
1. Albert (A Pet Sunflower) - 2:51
2. Monday Morning - 3:22
3. Sunday School - 3:24
4. Evil Woman (David Daltrey, Paul Myerson) - 3:33
5. Obsolete Incident - 2:39
6. Music To Watch Us By - 3:05
7. Sitting On A Blunestone - 2:40
8. So Happy - 3:10
9. Morpheus - 4:02
10.Aurora - 2:53
11.Something Special - 2:44
12.Pathway - 3:41
13.Saturn - 3:19
14.Jupiter - 2:16
15.So Much Love To Give You - 3:27
All songs written by David Daltrey except where indicated

Tales Of Justine
*David Daltrey - Vocals, Electric, Acoustic Guitars, Bass, piano, Mellotron, Sitar, Celeste
*Paul Myerson - Organ, Bass, Celeste, Vocals
*Bruce Hurford - Drums (1967)
*Paul Locke - Drums (1968-69)

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ralph McTell - You Well-Meaning Brought Me Here (1971 uk, elegant folk silk rock)

You Well-Meaning Brought Me Here is generally considered Ralph McTell's finest album; it is also one of the best albums of the singer/songwriter movement of the early 1970s. Gus Dudgeon (Elton John) was enlisted as producer, and he brought in guitarist Caleb Quaye, as well as Roger Pope and, on mandolin, Davey Johnston. The sessions also featured soon-to-be-famous keyboardist Rick Wakeman and arranger/conductor (and future David Bowie producer) Tony Visconti, among others. Like Dudgeon's early Elton John records, You Well-Meaning Brought Me Here had a restrained production in which the added instrumentation and string arrangements were only used to support McTell's vocals and acoustic guitar. 

The songs made for a loose concept album that began with creation ("Genesis I Verse 20"); continued with primitive man ("First and Last Man"); and, while taking in love ("In Some Way I Loved You"), drinking, and celebration ("Lay Your Money Down"), man's best friend ("Old Brown Dog"), and war ("Pick Up a Gun"), merged into the singer's own autobiography. The second half of the album revolves around character and story songs, but the whole album reflects McTell's broad experience, especially of some of the seamier sides of life. In that sense, the substitution on the American version of the album of his most famous song, "Streets of London," for "Chalkdust," which appeared on the British version, was an appropriate one, since it fit with the sympathetic depictions of other poor people on the record. McTell's calm singing and the discreet touches of Dudgeon's production gave these portraits even greater depth, making this a singularly impressive work. 
by William Ruhlmann 
1. Genesis 1:20 - 4:28
2. First And Last Man - 3:35
3. In Some Way I Loved You - 2:54
4. Lay Your Money Down - 2:48
5. Old Brown Dog - 4:25
6. Pick Up A Gun - 4:19
7. You, Well Meaning Brought Me Here - 3:15
8. Chalk Dust - 3:15
9. The Ballad Of Dancing Doreen - 3:08
10. Claudia - 3:46
11. The Ferryman - 7:04
Music and Lyrics by Ralph McTell

*Ralph McTell - Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Moog Synthesizer, Harmonica, Harmonium, Flute, Lead Vocals
*Rick Wakeman - Organ, Piano
*Davey Johnstone - Mandolin
*Johnny Van Derek - Violin
*Caleb Quaye - Electric Guitar
*Danny Thompson - Double Bass
*Steve Bonnett - Electric Bass
*Roger Pope - Drums
*Mike Vickers - Moog Synthesizer
*Gus Dudgeon - Background Vocals
*Sheila Dudgeon - Background Vocals

1967-70  Ralph McTell ‎– Spiral Staircase (2007 expanded edition)

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Linda Perhacs - Parallelograms (1970 us, gorgeous divine folk, 2008 bonus tracks remaster)

This unique and fascinating album has belatedly garnered a considerable following in recent years as a result of the new interest in what is nowadays referred to as Acid Folk. In reality it’s finely-structured acoustic folk-rock, but with strong elements of psychedelic studio treatment and twentieth-century avant-garde classical and choral music. Until now it’s only rated a couple of oblique references in these pages; now it’s time to give it the full exposure it deserves.

The album was the product of a chance conversation between Los Angeles periodontist Linda Perhacs and one of her patients, film score composer Leonard Roseman. Perhacs had written the songs as a hobby sideline, composing with just modally-tuned acoustic guitar and her own beautifully clear voice. Stimulated by Perhacs’s own graphic visualisation of her composition “Parallelograms” as “visual music sculpture” encompassing light, form and colour as well as sound, Roseman offered to develop her songs into an album, arranging and enhancing them in George Martin fashion and utilising the services of his studio’s state-of-the-art technology plus session musicians including guitarist Steve Cohn and percussionists Milt Holland and Shelley Manne. The stunning results found a release on Kapp records, but there the interest stalled; the label pressed the songs out of sequence with dull AM-friendly equalisation on poor quality vinyl, and then proffered no publicity for it, and the brashly commercial Los Angeles AM radio stations refused to play it. When what would become her first and only album in almost four decades tanked, Perhacs went back to the day job. 

Over thirty years later she was alerted to the fact that the new generation of Acid Folk musicians such as Devendra Banhart were drawing inspiration from her long-lost work. Reissued by Wild Places in 1996 and by Sunbeam in 2008, the currently-available CD is correctly sequenced, beautifully remastered and comes with eight bonus demos, alternative versions and unreleased songs plus a superb booklet history by Perhacs herself. Perhaps best of all, its belated success has induced Perhacs to start creating music again and she’s issued two albums of new music in partnership with musician/producer Ben Watt of Everything But The Girl since 2007.

The quirky acoustic guitar tunings of Parallelograms may suggest early Joni Mitchell and the clear, crystalline vocals similar-period Joan Baez, but on this album Linda Perhacs utterly transcends both with her dazzling originality. The gently-rippling guitar arpeggios and cascading multi-tracked harmonies of the opening “Chimacum Rain” set out the collection’s predominant motifs, but the following “Paper Mountain Man” is surprisingly funky and blues-inflected with its jazzy percussion and distant, ethereal harmonica, and the wonderfully ironic critique of South Californian society marital celebrations, “Porcelain Baked-Over Cast-Iron Wedding”, rocks along similarly on oriental percussion and delightfully atonal 12-string. 

Head and shoulders above the rest, the title track even eschews proper lyrics, the singer’s tongue playing mischievously with the syllables of the title and the names of other geometric forms in a sinuous flow of sound, broken by a Gyorgy Ligeti-like musique concrete interlude, all being the product of Roseman’s realisation of Perhacs’s original scroll-like pictorial depiction of the song. “Moons And Cattails” and “Morning Colours” are similarly, though slightly less, experimental, the former again utilising superbly melismatic vocals and the latter glorious electronically-processed flute obbligati. The rest is more conventional, but still well to the left of the field. As with the avant-garde music that largely inspired it, this is an album to be listened to, not merely heard.
by Len Liechti
1. Chimacum Rain - 3:33
2. Paper Mountain Man - 3:13
3. Dolphin - 2:56
4. Call Of The River - 3:51
5. Sandy Toes - 3:00
6. Parallelograms - 4:36
7. Hey, Who Really Cares? (Perhacs, Nelson) - 2:44
8. Moons And Cattails - 4:09
9. Morning Colors - 4:48
10.Porcelain Baked-Over Cast-Iron Wedding - 4:01
11.Delicious - 4:08
12.If You Were My Man (Demo) - 3:30
13.If You Were My Man (Alt. Take) - 2:59
14.Hey, Who Really Cares? (With Intro) - 3:01
15.Chimacum Rain (Demo) - 3:45
16.Spoken Intro To Leonard Rosenman - 2:19
17.Chimacum Rain (Demo With Sounds) - 4:13
18.BBC Interview - 5:52
19.I Would Rather Love - 3:06
All tracks composed and written by Linda Perhacs, except where noted.

*Linda Perhacs - Vocals, Guitar, Electronic Effects
*Leonard Rosenman - Electronic Effects
*Steve Cohn - Electric, 6-String, 12-String, Lead Guitar
*John Neufield - Flute, Saxophone
*Milt Holland, Shelley Mann - Percussion
*Reinie Press - Electric Bass, Fender Guitar
*"Tommy" - Harmonica
*Brian Ingoldsby - Amplified Shower Hose For Horn Effects
*"Fleetfoot" Of Laurel Canyon - Guitar

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Dr. Z - Three Parts To My Soul (1971 uk, cult extreme prog rock, japan extra tracks remaster)

In its original vinyl form, Dr. Z's Three Parts to My Soul rates among the most valuable British prog albums of all time. But it is a rarity among such rarities in that it is also as good as a high three-figure value leaves you hoping it would be. Dr. Z was discovered by Nirvana UK frontman Patrick Campbell-Lyons, who is also credited as executive producer on the album. But Three Parts could not be further from its mentor's taste for eclectic airiness. The dominant mood is of percussive keyboards, alternately majestic and militaristic, the sound, if you like, of a Keith Emerson harpsichord concerto if Carl Palmer matched him note for note on a kettle drum. The vocals, meanwhile, have that kind of bellowed edge of conviction which makes every lyric resonate like a profoundly meaningful motto. 

The first half of the near-singalong "Spiritus Manes et Umbra" moves like a battalion of tanks, with the LP's title itself rendered as compulsive a chant as any "gabba gabba hey" could be. There are moments of less-than-scintillating activity: the four-minute drum solo which punctuates that same song flags long before the chorus careens back into view, while "Summer for the Rose" is a ponderous snarling in desperate need of melody. At its most inventive and textured, however, Three Parts is an excellent example of early-'70s prog at its deepest and darkest, as inventive as it is occasionally magpie-like. "Burn in Anger," the most commercial song in sight, is a dead-ringer for a classic rock hit which will forever float just beyond your ability to name it, while the closing "In a Token of Despair" is a tour de force of Floydian winds, Crimson-ish signatures, and electifyingly symphonic structure. The Si Wan reissue concludes with two bonus tracks drawn from a similarly rare Dr. Z single released a year or so before the LP. Produced by the Pretty Things' Dick Taylor, "Lady Ladybird" and "People in the Street" have little in common with the main attraction beyond a similar taste for crashing drums and keyboards; the world's first orchestral garage band. 
by Dave Thompson

Dr. Z's first and only album is the most rare record released on the Vertigo-swirl label. It sold only about 70 copies (!!) when it was released, and the rest of the pressings were trashed. 
1. Evil Woman's Manly Child - 4:47
2. Spiritus, Manes Et Umbra - 11:52
3. Summer For The Rose - 4:36
4. Burn In Anger - 3:26
5. Too Well Satisfied - 5:52
6. In A Token Of Despair - 10:33
7. Lady Ladybird - 2:47
8. People In The Street - 3:09
All compositions by Keith Keyes 

Dr Z
*Keith Keyes - Piano, Harpsichord, Organ,  Vocals
*Bob Watkins - Drums,  Percussion
*Rob Watson - Bass

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Redbone - Redbone (1970 us, impressive native funky blues jam rock, 2006 edition)

Redbone's story is interesting from more then one point of view. The band itself of course, who had a great career, with ups and downs. The fact that the musicians were all native americans from different origins (Cherokee, Yaquis, Apaches and Shoshones...). Their political implication and the fact their were censored that shows a very interesting political and social background of the US nation. All this plus the fact that they produced a unique, powerfull and soulfull music !

Lolly and Pat Vegas were well-known musicians in the rock and jazz "milieu"in Los Angeles during the sixties. Candido Albelando Vasquez (Lolly Vegas) and Patrick Morales Vasquez (Pat Vegas) were born in Fresno, California. The brothers were of mixed Yaqui/Shoshone and mexican descent. Very early the singing/guitar playing brothers began their musical careers backing and touring with Jimmy Clanton of "Just A Dream" fame. In 1961 the brothers relocated to Los Angeles.

The brothers played with Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson at the Monterey Jazz and Pop Festival before relocating to Los Angeles in 1963. Calling themselves the Avantis, the brothers attempted to cash in on the surf craze popularized by Jan and Dean and the Beach Boys, with such songs as "Gypsy Surfer" and "Wax 'em Down" on the Chancellor label, and "The Phantom Surfer" on the Regency label. The Avantis featured future Beach Boy drummer Mike Kowalski, and their recordings earned them an opening slot on a Beach Boys' tour.

The Vasquez brothers also recorded the singles "Let's Go" as the Routers, "Surf Stomp" and "Batman" as the Mar-kets, and "Hotrodders' Choice," "Dawn Patrol," "Double A Fueller," and "Satan's Chariot" as the Deuce Coupes. The 1963 Deuce Coupes' sessions featured impressive session help from Glen Campbell, David Gates, and Leon Russell.

They then meet manager/producer Bumps Blackwell who suggest they change their names to Pat & Lolly Vegas. In 1963, Pat & Volly Vegas recorded "Boom, Boom, Boom" and "Two Figures" for the Reprise label (Reprise 20199).

Bumps Blackwell helped the brothers become the house band at Los Angeles' The Haunted House. In 1966, produced by Leon Russell and Snuff Garrett they would record an album for Mercury entitled "Pat & Lolly Vegas At the Haunted House"

While fulfilling a residency at a Los Angeles nightclub named Gazzarri's, the Vegas brothers met guitarist Tony Bellamy. A Yaqui Indian who had performed with Dobie Gray, and a member of Peter and the Wolves (a San Francisco band that evolved into the psychedelic band Moby Grape), Bellamy had grown up in a family of dancers and musicians. He had learned to play flamenco guitar as part of his musical education as well, and he was recruited by the Vegas brothers to accompany them on session work with Odetta, John Lee Hooker, and the Everly Brothers. 

According to Pat, it was Jimi Hendrix who talked the musicians into forming an all-Native American rock group. Vegas told Record Collector writer Jeremy Isaac, "Hendrix was a friend of ours.... and he was half Indian. Once he knew that we were Indian too he used to come and hang with us because of that. Jimi made me aware of my roots: He'd say 'Native American is beautiful, man, be proud of that.'" 

Signed to CBS's Epic subsidiary in 1969, the band took its name from the Cajun epithet "Rehbon", meaning half-breed, and its self-titled debut album Redbone, released in 1970, was an extraordinary affair. Think of it: an unknown band producing its first record and releasing a double album. Redbone played primarily rock music with R&B, Cajun, Jazz, tribal, and Latin roots. This first album was released as a double album in North America. In Europe it was released both as a double (EPC 67242) and as a single album (BN 26280) on the Epic label.

Lolly was one of the first guitarists to make extensive use of the distinctive Leslie rotating speaker effect in his electric guitar amplification set-up. Vegas played improvised, jazz-influenced guitar. Drummer Peter DePoe (born 1943, Neah Bay, Washington) is credited with pioneering the "King Kong" style of drumming, which features sharply accented polyrhythms involving the bass and snare drums and is similar to funk styles of drumming. The band referred to DePoe's "King Kong Beat" in their lyrics to the song "Prehistoric Rhythm" on their debut album. Pat Vegas' style of bass playing is still coveted by bass players in the world, even taught in college courses of music. The level of creativity each member held on his own instrument added to the power of the band.
1. Crazy Cajun Cakewalk Band (Jim Ford, Lolly Vegas, Pat Vegas) - 3:08
2. Prehistoric Rhythm - 3:58
3. Niki Hokey (Jim Ford, Lolly Vegas, Pat Vegas) - 3:17
4. Promise I Won't Let It Show - 3:07
5. Minor Seven Heaven - 4:21
6. Night Come Down - 3:53
7. Tennessee Girl - 2:25
8. Rebecca - 3:05
9. Jambone (Lolly Vegas, Pat Vegas, Pete Depoe, Tony Bellamy) - 7:48
10.Little Girl - 3:57
11.Chance To See - 4:32
12.Red And Blue - 2:44
13.Suite Mode (Pat Vegas, Pete Depoe, Tony Bellamy) - 8:22
14.(I Can't) Handle It - 5:36
15.I'm A Man - 2:57
16.Danse Calinda - 2:45
17.Things Go Better (Lolly Vegas, Pat Vegas, Pete Depoe, Tony Bellamy) - 7:34
All songs by Lolly Vegas except where stated

The Redbone
*Lolly Vegas - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Tony Bellamy - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Patrick Vegas - Bass, Vocals
*Pete Depoe - Drums, Percussion

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Out Of Focus - Wake Up (1970 germany, excellent heavy psych krautrock, 2010 remaster)

Wake Up! was originally recorded and released in 1970 by a band that seemingly lacked the wherewithal to manage such a thing. A practised and experienced live outfit that had made a name for itself in and around Munich, the members of Out Of Focus hit the studio for the first time having procured label support from Eckart Rahn’s Kuckuck which had established itself the year before. However, the band was usually stoned and their live set featured prolonged jams that could see them playing for 3 hours. The discipline and rigour of the studio presented a challenge to the band who had to be made aware of the need for accuracy, tuning and brevity. “It took them a bit of adjustment,” remembers Rahn.

Nevertheless, there was a genuine desire to allow the band their artistic freedom and capture something of the socially conscious, psychedelic, and slightly surreal live experience that had made them a popular act in the first place. So they had two long weekends to track the album and, on listening to it, it has that cohesive, driven quality that often comes from the exquisite pressure of time.

Opening with See How A White Negro Flies, we get an immediate sense of the musical direction this album is going to take. A heavy, plodding, psychedelic groove supported by a spectacular ‘walking’ bass motif combines tightly with Klaus Spφri’s energetic and busy drumming while Remigius Drechsler pulls off a riff that would turn Ennio Morricone green. Drechsler’s guitar work is a highlight of the album and the band’s overall sound. He combines spastic thrashing rhythm work with electrifying, fuzzed and distorted lead work as well as dealing in clean picked box-riffs and gently strummed atmospherics. You get a real sense of this range in God Save The Queen Cried Jesus which cycles through vivid shades and phases led as much by Moran Neumόller’s wonderfully dynamic flute work as his off-the-wall, impassioned and theatrical vocal delivery. Neumόller’s declamatory squawking is something of an acquired taste however, often sounding too much like a hangover from ‘60s American protest music, although occasionally, he sounds passingly like Jim Morrison.

Hey John is an extended jam on a rising and descending chord pattern held dramatically and melodically in tow by Neumόller’s flute. Again Spφri’s athletic drumming is powerfully supported at every turn with fluid and intuitive bass runs while Hennes Hering (organs, piano) and Neumόller interject lengthy improvisational solos over the shifting weight and changing light of the band’s delicately calculated soft/loud dynamic. No Name has a similar feel in its brief, shouty moment and is perhaps remarkable in that it predates by some 7 or 8 years the raucous, New Wave aggro of early Ian Dury And The Blockheads.

Out Of Focus’ strength lies firmly in their instrumental endeavours. With the two closing tracks being longer than ten minutes each, there’s plenty of scope for the improvisatory excursions that have served them well throughout the album. There’s little development of the formula, just energetic, occasionally frenetic shaping of the dynamics. It’s raw and vivid, but I’m not getting much out of it by the end, just roach burn.

This is a fairly convincing debut that mashes several strands of the underground scene from the late ‘60s into a blend of Traffic, The Doors, early (Saucerful Of Secrets) Floyd with the hard rock of The Edgar Broughton Band and Atomic Rooster. Having said that, Out Of Focus are resolutely their own band with their own sound and their own take on the underground music scene of their day. It has an immediate appeal, made all the more attractive by Ben Wiseman’s excellent remaster.
by Jon Bradshaw
1. See How A White Negro Flies - 5:49
2. God Save The Queen, Cried Jesus - 7:31
3. Hey John - 9:39
4. No Name - 3:07
5. World's End - 9:56
6. Dark, Darker - 11:40
All compositions by Out Of Focus

Out Of Focus
*Remigius Drechsler - Guitar
*Hennes Hering - Keyboards
*Moran Neumüller - Vocals, Saxophone
*Klaus Spöri - Drums
*Stefan Wisheu - Bass

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