Monday, October 31, 2016

Elias Hulk - Unchained (1970 uk, outstanding heavy raw psych blues rock, 2007 japan remaster)

Somewhere in Bournemouth 1968, the green giant emerged largely through vibrant concert performances. The Hulk started with the thunderous vox of Pete Thorpe who fronted the Harvey Wells Soul Band that become legendary through the ballrooms of the ‘Boscombe Hippodrome’ warming up for Status Quo, Small Faces and Pretty Things. The stirring grit of "In The Midnight Hour" could only hold them for long and by 1969 Thorpe recruited ex Free Love rhythm guitarist Pete Granville Frazer, ex Big Idea vocalist / guitarist Phil Clough, ex Push drummer Bernard James and Free Love bassist James Haines as Elias Hulk, with the latter recruitment of guitarist Neil Tatum. 

The groups stomping ground was the South West of England where rural hippy communities were loyal and astute enough to enjoy lengthy solos. Eric referred them to ‘Youngblood Records’ who handled the likes of Dando Shaft and Python Lee Jackson. Far from green the Hulk launched Unchained in 1970 with zealous bass and drum solo in the opening "We Can Fly". Elias Hulk were not a typical rock band but more wrapped in the entrails of psyche with extreme tempo changes and sensitive mood swings, stamped by Granville’s innovative raga spillage through the Coltrane influenced "Delhi Blues". Tatum’s urgent axe reaches severing angst through the compelling "Nightmare", while the free harmonies of "Been Around Too Long" evolve into latent jazz snare by Bernard James. Granville dazzled with a touch of guitar phasing (Caleb Quaye style) in the middle bridge of "Yesterday's Trip".

The blues slides superbly into "Free" with a nourishing Peter Green delta feel. Often likened to Geronimo they were closer to Hookfoot or Capability Brown. "Delhi Blues" is really their opus riff that quells all the way from Brighton to Bombay. The Hulk epitaph "Ain't Got You" sizzles with creative bass from Haines and squelching Tatum wah wah. By 1971 the great Hulk had fallen with Granville writing material for The Ckreed which included future Babe Ruth bassist Dave Hewitt. Thorpe sang for Magic Muscle, one part of the Hawkwind / Pink Faeries acid garden that evolved into The Rat Bites From Hell. Bernard James went on to Pro-Eyes and Flyer while Frazer entered Jenny Haan’s Lion. Clough joined Pinkerton’s Colours and Flying Machine.These days Hulk’s influence lies with Dr Brown and Bevis Frond. 
by Shiloh Noone
1. We Can Fly (Granville Frazer, Peter Thorpe) - 6:16
2. Nightmare (Bernard James, Granville Frazer, James Haines, Neil Tatum, Peter Thorpe) - 3:11
3. Been Around Too Long (James Haines, Neil Tatum, Peter Thorpe) - 3:01
4. Yesterday's Trip (Granville Frazer, Neil Tatum, Peter Thorpe) - 3:56
5. Anthology Of Dreams (Granville Frazer, Peter Thorpe) - 3:08
6. Free (Granville Frazer, Neil Tatum, Peter Thorpe) - 3:37
7. Delhi Blues (Bernard James, Granville Frazer, James Haines) - 4:18
8. Ain't Got You (Granville Frazer, Peter Thorpe) - 3:29

Elias Hulk
*Peter Thorpe "Big Pete Thorpe" - Lead Vocals
*Neil Tatum - Lead Guitar
*Granville Frazer - Rhythm Guitar
*James Haines - Bass Guitar
*Bernard James - Drums

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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Tidal Wave - Spider Spider Best Of Tidal Wave (1969-71 south africa, dynamic soulful blue eyed beat rock, 2007 release)

Tidal Wave are probably best known for their bubblegum pop hits ‘Spider Spider’ and ‘Mango Mango’ in 1969 and 1970 respectively, but they were so much more than that.

Yes, they did play pop and they had a few hits, which were featured on the top radio stations at the time, Springbok Radio and LM Radio. Both stations are long gone, but sadly missed and fondly remembered by many South Africans who grew up without TV. However Tidal Wave also played some very interesting psychedelic pop rock enhanced by the fuzz guitar sounds of Mike Pilot, who formed the hard rock band Stingray in the late 70s. They also played backing for various musicians.

It all started with a man named Terry Dempsey, songwriter and record producer. Dempsey was born in England and came to South Africa in 1968. He wrote and produced The Staccatos first song, ‘Butchers And Bakers’ in 1968. This song had originally been recorded by UK freakbeat band Les Fleur De Lys in 1967, though they called themselves Chocolate Frog at the time. 

In August 1970, an album titled simply ‘Tidal Wave’ was released and included ‘Spider Spider’, ‘Green Mamba’ and their next big hit ‘Mango Mango’. This song, with its nonsensical lyrics and repeated phrase of ‘sixty-nine, sixty-nine’, hit number seven on Springbok in late 1970 and achieved top five on LM Radio in January 1971. 

In 1971, according to the History Of Contemporary Music Of South Africa by Garth Chilvers and Tom Jasiukowicz, Tidal Wave supplied the music for the soundtrack of the movie, ‘Lindi’, composed and produced by Terry Dempsey.

Mike Koch and Roy Naturman left Tidal Wave and a last single was released in 1971 titled ‘Money Baby’ (b/w ‘I’ve Got To Get Away’) that featured drummer Kevin Kruger and keyboardist Aidan ‘Dooley’ Mason. This song went to number 15 on the Springbok charts and did even better on LM Radio going to number nine. After a couple more line-up changes, sadly, Tidal Wave was no more.

There is a wide variety of music styles covered on this Tidal Wave retrospective release. Lovers of end-of-the-sixties psychedelic pop and rock will discover many hidden gems here including the progressive rock sounds of ‘Get It Out Of Your System’ which would not have been out of place on an Abstract Truth album. This Disc also includes the funky soul sounds of ‘Town Girl’, featuring Peter Vee’s lead vocal, which was previously unreleased.

Tidal Wave is fondly remembered by many and now all their music; the hits, misses and rarities can be found in one place.
by Brian Currin, April 2007
1. Put It All Together - 3:07
2. I've Got To Get Away (Aidan Mason) - 2:30
3. With Tears In My Eyes - 3:14
4. Green Mamba - 2:43
5. Town Girl - 3:01
6. Spider Spider - 2:41
7. Morning Light - 3:32
8. Mango Mango - 4:03
9. Give Ma An A - 3:13
10.Money Baby (Aidan Mason) - 3:13
11.We Wanna Know - 2:35
12.Colonel Mustard - 2:41
13.Get It Out Of Your System (Aidan Mason) - 2:49
14.All In A Dream - 2:56
15.Man On A String - 2:46
16.That's Why The Girl Is Crying - 4:09
17.Crazy Horse - 2:25
All songs by Terry Dempsey except where stated

The Tidal Wave
*Mike Pilot - Vocals, Guitar
*Ken Haycock - Bass
*Roy Naturman - Keyboards (1968-70)
*Mike Koch - Drums (1968-70)
*Aidan "Dooley" Mason - Keyboards (1970-71)
*Kevin Kruger - Drums (1971)
*Ivor Back - Drums (1971)

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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Orang-Utan - Orang-Utan (1971 uk, exciting hard acid psych rock, 2005 digipak edition)

The saga of Orang-Utan is one of classic 60s-style music-biz skulduggery, contrived by dodgy late impresario Adrian Millar who, according to Jeremy Cargill’s sleevenotes, had the group name and King Kong-style sleeve design. All he needed was some gullible rockers to provide the music. 

Enter North London’s Hunter, stalwarts of Freddie Mac’s soul revue, armed with a clutch of songs by drummer Jeff Seopardi, which became proto-metal juggernauts in the hands of lung-busting singer Terry ‘Nobby’ Clark, bassist Paul Roberts and dueling axemen Mick Clarke and Sid Fairman. The group knew it was doomed from the moment Seopardi signed Millar’s contract in a Soho alley, later discovering the album had been released by Bell in the US. 45 years later, Orang-Utan is being released in the UK for the first time, complete with that sleeve, which now stands as a tacky classic of the time. 

Devotees of the kind of riff-heavy blues-rock ground out back then by the likes of Free and Cactus will relish the monolithic but dynamic bombast of outings such as Love Queen and Chocolate Piano. Proto-prog rears its head in the episodic arrangement of Magic Playground.
by Kris Needs
1. I Can See Inside Your Head - 3:15
2. Slipping Away - 6:12
3. Love Queen - 4:31
4. Chocolate Piano - 6:33
5. If You Leave - 5:22
6. Fly Me High - 4:38
7. Country Hike - 4:20
8. Magic Playground - 3:20
All songs written by Jeff Seopardie

The Orang-Utan
*Terry "Nobby" Clark - Vocals
*Mick Clarke - Guitar
*Sid Fairman - Guitar
*Paul Roberts - Bass
*Jeff Seopardie - Drums

Related Acts
1965-71  The Herd - The Complete Herd (2005 remaster, digi pack two disc set)  
1967-68  Jason Crest - The Collected Works
1972  Holy Mackerel (2015 reissue) 

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Bang - Bullets, The First Four Albums (1971-73 us, sensational heavy rock with prog shades, 2010 four discs box set)

Getting their first significant break, by gate crashing a Small Faces show in Orlando in 1971, Philadelphia-born Bang are often cited as being the closest band America had to Black Sabbath in the early 70’s, though there is much more to Bang than being mere copyists. This can finally be witnessed here on this deluxe re-mastered CD set, which encapsulates all of the bands recorded output from their ‘Capitol Records Period’, which spanned from 1971-1974.

Also included in here is the previously unreleased, debut album ‘Death of a Country’, which was initially rejected by Capitol, as being a ‘heavy concept album’ they thought no one would understand.

Highly regarded as a cult act by many for years, it’s now time for this truly amazing rock band to be enjoyed by a new audience. As can be heard over this four CD set, the versatility and songwriting skills of Bang were second to none. Starting with the darkly psychedelic prog-tinged vibes of their aforementioned unreleased debut, they soon became major contenders in the hard rock stakes with the release of their debut self-titled album in 1971, which has since gone to be considered an important forerunner to the early Doom Metal genre.

This was followed by the monumental ‘Mother/Bow To The King‘ album in 1972 which, quite frankly, should have exploded. Changes in personnel at their record company offices and an externally forced line-up change led to frustration and bewilderment, before releasing their swansong 1973 album Music. It is on this album that we see a mature songwriting partnership moving away from the all out heaviness of their earlier work, into reflective, yet uplifting almost Powerpop mode.

Also included here are the so-called ‘lost singles‘, which were the last attempts at commercial success, prior to the band folding for many years, before reforming in the early 90’s. There is a point to be made that these three tracks are some of the best material the band ever wrote, with ‘Slow Down‘ being a return to the heavier times with a main riff to die for, whilst ‘Make Me Pretty‘ is a fantastic powerpop ballad ahead of it’s time.

Bullets consists of a deluxe box containing four individual LP replica CD’s in mini gatefold sleeves, with an extensive 40 page booklet, detailing the bands unique story, with many unseen photo’s and an exclusive free sticker.
Disc 1 - Death of a Country Originally Recorded 1971 (Unreleased at the time)
1. Death of a Country - 10:07
2. No Trespassing - 5:10
3. My Window - 4:46
4. Life on Ending - 4:13
5. Certainly Meaningless - 3:32
6. Future Song - 3:59
All songs by Frank Ferrara, Frank Gilcken, Tony Diorio
Disc 2 - Bang Self-Titled. Originally released 1971
1. Lions, Christians - 4:00
2. The Queen - 5:24
3. Last Will and Testament - 4:10
4. Come With Me - 4:20
5. Our Home - 3:27
6. Future Shock - 4:41
7. Questions - 3:48
8. Redman - 4:54
All songs by Frank Ferrara, Frank Gilcken, Tony Diorio
Disc 3 - Mother/Bow to the King. Originally released 1972
1. Mother - 4:25
2. Humble - 4:43
3. Keep On - 3:39
4. Idealist Realist - 4:30
5. No Sugar Tonight (Randy Bachman) - 2:39
6. Feel The Hurt - 5:18
7. Tomorrow - 3:04
8. Bow To The King - 5:39
All songs by Frank Ferrara, Frank Gilcken, Tony Diorio except where noted
Disc 4 - Music. Originally released 1973 with Bonus material
1. Windfare 3:09
2. Glad you’re Home - 3:08
3. Don’t need Nobody - 3:04
4. Page of my Life - 2:28
5. Love Sonnet - 3:14
6. Must be love - 2:54
7. Exactly Who I am - 3:39
8. Pearl and Her Ladies - 3:03
9. Little Boy Blue - 4:19
10.Brightness - 2:53
11.Another Town - 0:49
12.Slow Down - 2:39
13.Feels Nice - 2:59
14.Make me Pretty - 4:14
15.Radio Interview - 32:36
Bonus tracks 12-14 The Lost Singles
All songs by Frank Ferrara, Frank Gilcken, Tony Diorio

The Bang
*Frank Ferrara - Vocals, Bass
*Frank Gilcken - Guitars, Harmony Vocals
*Tony Diorio - Drums (Discs 1, 2)
*Jeffrey Cheen - Drums (Disc 3)
*Bruce Gary - Drums (Discs 3, 4)
*Duris Maxwell - Drums (Disc 3)
*Clydie King - Vocals (Disc 3)
*Sherlie Matthews - Vocals (Disc 3)
*Venetta Fields - Vocals (Disc 3)
*Donny Gerrard - Vocals (Disc 3)
*Pete Sears - Piano (Disc 4)

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Leon Paul Phillips - London's Underground (1972 uk, solid heavy acid fuzz psych rock, 2016 remaster)

Leon Paul Phillips is the pseudonym of Garth Watt Roy, who with his brother Norman founders of prog band 'The Greatest Show On Earth and rumoured to include members of Hawkwind.

Performance is really amazing, very powerful and a disturbing listening experience. 'Ealing Broadway', a trippy downtempo acid funk groover as well as the frantic 'Way Out' have been compiled on the german 'Birds Do It' sampler already. many other tracks like 'Escalator', 'Oxford Circus', 'Return Ticket', 'Straphanger' and 'Commutation' show up with equal aggressive, beaty Psychedelic Rock: mighty slashings on wah wah, heavy-duty fuzz distortion and nasty hammond action over fat rock drums are omnipresent from start to finish.

Also released as "Pop Group" to the title and a different cover, even though it's the same album. Both also have the same catalogue number. 
1. Escalator - 3:09
2. Mind The Doors - 2:01
3. Oxford Circus - 2:03
4. Ealing Broadway - 2:50
5. Turnham Green - 2:56
6. Way Out - 2:40
7. Return Ticket - 2:51
8. Bond Street Blues - 2:40
9. Poster Parade - 2:55
10.Straphanger - 2:28
11.Communication - 2:30
12.End Of The Line - 2:19

Related Acts
1970  The Greatest Show On Earth - Horizons (2012 remaster)
1970  The Greatest Show On Earth - The Going's Easy (2012 remaster)
1975  East Of Eden - Another Eden (2012 Flawed Gems remaster)

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Jeff Christie The Outer Limits ‎– Outer Limits/ Floored Masters / Past Imperfect (1966-81 uk, fine beat pop psych, 2008 release)

Best known as the frontman for early-'70s hitmakers Christie, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Jeff Christie's career long predated that band. In fact, his earlier group, Outer Limits, should have been just as big, if not bigger than Christie themselves. Formed in the dying days of 1963, the band released three singles, gigged incessantly, and took part in the legendary package tour featuring Jimi Hendrix Experience, Pink Floyd, and Amen Corner. Yet they never managed to land a hit or record an album. 

However the Outer Limits did leave behind a slew of demos before folding in 1968, 22 of which features on the first disc of this two-CD set. An incredible songwriter, Christie penned all the band's numbers, and his strong ear for a pop melody and a way with a catchy chorus is self-evident. Recorded between 1966-1968, the songs are stylistically diverse, encompassing R&B, British Invasion pop, and psychedelia. It's a soundtrack of the age, and while certainly influenced by the stars of the day -- notably but not unsurprisingly the Beatles -- still Outer Limits were no mere copyists, having a sound very much their own. "When the Work Is Through" is one of a slew of standouts, in this case a single that has number one written all over it, although it failed to break into the Top 50. 

The rambunctious "Help Me Please" could have been a contender, while "Great Train Robbery" should have shot up the chart along with the acid washed "The Dream." The tough "Anyday Now," the harmony drenched "Funny Clown," the bouncy "Look at Me," the California dreaming of "Dancing Water," and the pumping "Run for Cover" are just some of the other highlights found on this stunning disc. Christie now beckoned, and upon its demise, the singer/songwriter launched a solo career, although his projected debut foundered in the mid-'70s, and a second go begun later in the decade also ended up being shelved. It was these aborted efforts that comprise most of the second disc, with another half-a-dozen tracks culled from later in his career. The enclosed booklet provides all the background, taken from discussions with the artist himself. 

Finding himself out of musical fashion, Christie continued doing what he did best, writing strong songs and pushing his own stylistic envelope. "Midnight Express" is a case in point, pomp rock on amphetamines driving straight into the discos. '60s pop infuses "Both Ends of the Rainbow," a surprising punk edge cuts through "Tightrope," jazz, classical, and pop harry "Saints and Sinners," a tinge of funk flutters across "Back on the Boards," and new wave sweeps over "Somebody Else." And while the later numbers are not so adventurous, Christie has yet to lose his touch. All told this is a sumptuous set, and a superb tribute to one of Britain's finest composers. 
by Jo-Ann Greene
Disc 1 The Outer Limits
1. When The Work Is Through - 2:34
2. Just One More Chance - 3:02
3. Help Me Please - 2:28
4. Great Train Robbery - 3:39
5. Sweet Freedom - 2:54
6. The Dream - 3:22
7. Stop - 3:48
8. Everything I Touch - 3:09
9. Anyday Now - 3:35
10.See It My Way - 3:13
11.Funny Clown - 2:50
12.Listen - 3:18
13.Paper Jake - 3:22
14.Days Of Spring - 2:46
15.Epitaph For A Nonentity - 3:28
16.Man In The Middle Of Nowhere - 2:19  
17.It's Your Turn Now - 3:53
18.Dancing Water - 3:07
19.Look At Me - 2:42
20.Run For Cover - 3:54
21.Mr. Magee's Incredible Banjo Band - 3:58
22.Tomorrow Night - 3:42
All songs by Jeff Christie
Disc 2 Floored Masters - Past Imperfect
1. Turn On Your Lovelight - 3:39
2. Both Ends Of The Rainbow - 3:49
3. You've Got The Love - 3:13
4. Midnight Express - 3:52
5. Troubadour - 4:52
6. Back On The Boards - 3:30
7. Another Point Of View - 3:26
8. You And Me - 4:24
9. On The Same Side - 5:05
10.Saints And Sinners - 4:03
11.Take Me As You Find Me - 3:02
12.Tightrope - 3:41
13.Somebody Else - 2:43
14.In A Rich Man's Shoes - 3:41
15.Jody - 3:36
16.Shine On - 2:34
17.Turning To Stone - 3:58
18.It Ain't Easy - 3:08
19.Shake Off These Chains - 4:43
20.Back In The Jungle - 3:14
21.Yuletide Lights - 3:37
All songs by Jeff Christie

The Outer Limits
*Jeff Christie - Lead Vocal, Lead Guitar, Piano, Organ
*Gerry Layton - Sax, Rhythm Guitar (1966)
*Gerry Smith - Bass, Vocals
*Stan Drogie - Drums, Vocals (1966-67)
*Steve Isherwood - Guitars, Vocals (1967)
*Rod Palmer - Drums (1968)

Floored Masters - Past Imperfect 
Tracks 1-15
*Jeff Christie - Vocals, Guitars, Piano, Keyboards, Bass, drums
*Paul Fenton - Drums, Percussion
*Ted Platt - Guitar, Bass, Ebow
*Pete Moss - Bass
*Will Hill - Drums
*Martin Dobson - Saxophone, Flute
*John Glascock - Bass, Vocals
*John Carter - Backing Vocals

Tracks 16-17
*Jeff Christie - Vocals, Guitars, Piano, Keyboards, Mellotron, Arp Odysey, Vibraphone
*Paul Fenton - Drums
*John Glascock - Bass, Vocals
*Jesse Henderson - Drums
*Angela Allen - Backing Vocals
*Robert Amaral - Backing Vocals
*Boston Symphony Orchestra - String Section

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Train - Costumed Cuties (1970 denmark / us, remarkable psych rock with baroque and prog tinges, 2011 remaster)

Train were a Danish group that relocated to United States where they were signed by Vanguard. Teamed with producer Geoff Turner, by the time their 1970 debut "Costumed Cuties" hit the streets the band seems to have effectively been reduced to a duo consisting of Lenox and Keider (the two names prominently featured in the liner notes). Largely penned by Lenox (Gordon contributing one selection), musically the set wasn't bad. Keyboard dominated rockers, Lenox had a decent voice that was well suited for material such as "Oink Oink", "Dreams and Realities" and the title track.
1. Oink Oink - 3:10
2. Bishop Pawn Three - 3:47
3. Guest Hotel - 4:06
4. Screw You - 0:59
5. Lilly White (Murray Gordon) - 2:03
6. Dreams and Realities - 3:50
7. Costumed Cuties - 3:32
8. Hasting's Worth Resolved - 3:33
9. Toe Jam - 1:28
10.Abolone Gold - 3:10
11.Love Is All - 1:28
12.Road Race - 4:16
All songs by Bob Lenox except where noted

The Train
*Vinnie Bell - Guitar, Sitar
*Jamie Faust - Bass
*Murray Gordon - Bass, Guitar
*Bob Lenox - Vocals, Keyboards
*Kirsten Loppenthin - Vocals
*Dave Lumsden - Sax
*Don Keider - Drums, Vibes, Vocals
*Jimmy Roberts - Sax
*Alan Shulman - Celllo
*Irving Spice - Violin

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Advancement - The Advancement (1969 us, amazing fusion jazz blues psych rock, 2007 reissue)

After collaborating with Gabor Szabo on such superb efforts as More Sorcery and Dreams, bassist Louis Kabok and drummer Hal Gordon further embraced jazz-rock fusion under the Advancement aegis, issuing their sole LP in 1969. The opening "Juliet" establishes a dark, moody atmosphere immediately bolstered by the intriguing "Painful Struggle," with its eerie vibes and Kabok's extended bass bridge. "Moorish Mode" is Gordon's star turn, highlighted by an impressively restrained drum break. But it's the most overtly rock-influenced cuts that make Advancement worth seeking out, in particular "Fall Out," an impressively heady mélange of jazz, hard rock, and psychedelia. 
by Jason Ankeny
1. Juliet (David Kinzie) - 2:58
2. Painful Struggle (Louis Kabok) - 6:56
3. Stone Folk (Louis Kabok) - 3:15
4. Grass Mass (Hal Gordon) - 2:26
5. Sunflower (Mason Williams) - 3:08
6. She (Lynn Blessing) - 1:57
7. Moorish Mode (Hal Gordon, Louis Kabok) - 6:00
8. Hobo Express (Louis Kabok) - 5:14
9. Child At Play (Richard Thompson) - 2:21
10.Fall Out (Art Johnson) - 3:22

*Colin Bailey - Drums, Percussion
*Lynn Blessing - Vibes, Harmonica, Organ
*John De Rose - Classical Guitar
*Hal Gordon - Conga, Drums, Percussion
*Art Johnson - Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Fuzz Guitar
*Louis Kabok - Bass
*Richard Thompson - Organ, Harpsichord

Related Act
1969  Lynn Blessing – Sunset Painter

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Nirvana - Songs Of Love And Praise (1972 ireland / uk, wondrous baroque psychedelia, 2005 japan remaster)

By the time of Local Anasthetic (1971), Nirvana was just Campbell-Lyons and session players, Spyropoulos leaving to pursue a solo career. Campbell-Lyons recorded and released a second, once again essentially solo, album under the Nirvana name, Songs of Love and Praise. The album failed to sell, and neither of two singles achieved much in the way of airplay or sales action. He worked for Vertigo as an A&R man and producer at the same time, handling some of their more minor acquisitions, the most impressive of which may well have been Dr. Z, while Mike Absalom was certainly the most obscure.
by Steven McDonald

“Songs Of Love And Praise“ contained re-recordings of “Rainbow Chaser“ and “Pentecost Hotel“, along with some fine new material, notably “Please Believe Me“,“I Need Your Love Tonight“ and “Stadium“, which were all written by Campbell-Lyons. On this and all Nirvana albums, he was assisted by a flexible group of close friends
1. Rainbow Chaser (Alex Spyropolous, Patrick Campbell-Lyons) - 2:54
2. Please Believe Me - 3:10
3. Lord Up Above - 4:12
4. She's Lost It - 5:00
5. Nova Sketch (Alex Spyropolous, Patrick Campbell-Lyons) - 1:50
6. Pentecost Hotel - 3:11
7. I Need Your Love Tonight - 3:32
8. Will There Be Me (Cas Thomas) - 2:15
9. Stadium - 7:10
All songs by Patrick Campbell Lyons except where stated

*Patrick Campbell-Lyons - Guitar, Vocals
*Glyn Havard - Bass
*Steve Bird - Guitar
*Jon Field - Drums

1968  Nirvana - All Of Us (2003 extra tracks issue)  

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Solution - Cordon Bleu (1975 holland, luminous progressive jazz rock)

For their third album they asked the English producer Gus Dudgeon, he didn't really change their sound but some things are different now. There are vocal harmonies, there is some guitar for the first time and the production is tighter. What remains is that this is another great album. The highlight of the album is Chappaqua, which is maybe the definitive Solution track. But the jazzy Whirligig is also a brilliant one. Sad to say, this is their last real great album, after this one they went downhill. 
Dutch Progressive Rock of the Seventies
1. Chappaqua (Hans Waterman, Tom Barlage, Willem Ennes) - 10:33
2. Third Line Part 1 (Guus Willemse, Tom Barlage, Willem Ennes, Frankie Fish, Michiel Pos) - 1:40
3. Third Line Part 2 (Hans Waterman, Tom Barlage, Willem Ennes) - 5:44
4. A Song For You (Guus Willemse, Frankie Fish) - 3:53
5. Whirligig (Guus Willemse, Tom Barlage, Willem Ennes) - 9:03
6. Last Detail Part 1 (Guus Willemse, Tom Barlage, Willem Ennes, Frankie Fish, Michiel Pos) - 2:50
7. Last Detail Part 2 (Guus Willemse, Hans Waterman, Tom Barlage, Willem Ennes) - 2:41
8. Black Pearl Part 1 (Guus Willemse, Tom Barlage, Michiel Pos, Frankie Fish) - 1:15
9. Black Pearl Part 2 (Tom Barlage, Willem Ennes) - 5:01

The Solution
*Tom Barlage - Flute, Alto, Soprano Sax
*Willem Ennes - Piano, Electric Piano, Organ, Synthesizer
*Guus Willemse - Vocals, Bass, Electric Guitar
*Hans Waterman - Drums
*Michiel Pos - Tenor Saxophone, Acoustic Guitar
*Frankie Fish - Vocals

1971  Solution - Solution (2012 Esoteric remaster)

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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Nirvana - All Of Us (1968 uk, wondereful psychedelia, 2003 extra tracks issue)

The UK Nirvana consisted of writers Patrick Campbell-Lyons and George Alex Spyropoulos, and together they released three albums under the 'Nirvana' name.

Their second album 'All of Us' was their strongest in terms of commercial success and musical consistency, opening with the psychedelic classic 'Rainbow Chaser', with its swirly 'phased' production and beautifuly innocent lyrics. This was Nirvana's only hit single reaching no. 34. Next on the album is the excellent 'Tiny Goddess', a catchy gentle song full of sweeping orchestration and drops of harpsichord. This led into the 'The Touchables (All of Us)' which was the theme song from the film. Now forgotten, 'The Touchables' was a typical English film of the 'swinging' 60's, similar to other films of the period such as 'Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush'.

The catchy psychedelic pop comes thick and fast after this with songs like 'Melanie Blue', the bouncy 'Girl in the Park' and the eccentric 'Frankie the Great', the late 60's production by Chris Blackwell being perfect. After their third album 'To Markos III' the group split. Like so many excellent bands of the time (The Misunderstood being the prime example), they never achieved the success they deserved, and they have since been overshadowed by Cobain's Nirvana.

'All of Us' is a beautiful late 60's psychedelic-pop album, full of eccentric English imagery and catchy songs, definately an unsung classic. 
1. Rainbow Chaser - 2:38
2. Tiny Goddess - 4:03
3. The Touchables (All Of Us) - 2:59
4. Melanie Blue - 2:40
5. Trapeze - 2:49
6. The Show Must Go On - 2:40
7. Girl In The Park - 2:41
8. Miami Masquerade - 2:48
9. Frankie The Great - 2:29
10.You Can Try It - 3:18
11.Everybody Loves The Clown - 2:00
12.St. John's Wood Affair - 4:18
13.Flashbulb (Single B-Side) - 2:15
14.Oh! What A Performance (Single B-Side) - 3:09
15.Darling Darlene (Single B-Side) - 2:49
16.C Side Of Ocho Rios (Single B-Side) - 2:13
All Songs written by Patrick Campbell-Lyons,  Alex Spyropolous.

*Patrick Campbell Lyons - Guitar, Vocals
*Ray Singer - Guitar, Vocals
*Alex Spyropoulos - Piano, Keyboards

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Redbone - Already Here (1972 us, marvelous soulful native folkish swamp rock, 2011 bonus tracks edition)

Redbone is a rock band created in 1969. The band was formed in Los Angeles, California by the brothers Pat and Lolly Vegas, two Native Americans, in 1968. Two other native americans joined them, Tony Bellamy on rythm guitar and Pete DePoe on drums. They produced a few hits, among which the single Maggy, The Witch Queen of New Orleans and Come and Get Your Love who recently (2014) made it's comeback in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. 

The fourth "Redbone" album "Already Here" released in 1972, is the perfect continuation of the third one. And a great Redbone one. Some wonderful songs, they stay in mind and live within you, giving you energy and hapiness. 
1. Fais-Do (Pat Vegas, Lolly Vegas) - 2:35
2. Motivation (Lolly Vegas, Tony Bellamy, Pat Vegas) - 2:22
3. Power (Prelude To A Means) (Pat Vegas) - 4:27
4. Speakeasy (Lolly Vegas) - 3:50
5. Condition Your Condition (Lolly Vegas, Tony Bellamy, Pat Vegas) - 2:51
6. Where Is Your Heart (Lolly Vegas) - 3:06
7. Good Enough For Jesus (Pat Vegas) - 2:36
8. Poison Ivy (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) - 3:04
9. Already Here (Brujo) (Lolly Vegas) - 9:18
10.We Were All Wounded At Wounded Knee (Pat Vegas, Sandy Baron) - 3:30
11.Speakeasy (Single Version) (Lolly Vegas) - 3:42
12.Already Here (Brujo) (Single Version) (Lolly Vegas) - 3:40
Bonus Tracks 10-12

The Redbone
*Lolly Vegas – Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Tony Bellamy – Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Pat Vegas – Bass, Vocals
*Arturo Perez – Drums, Percussion
*Peter DePoe - Drums
*Red Rhodes - Steel Guitar
*Terry Furlong - Slide Guitar
*Gordon DeWitty - Piano
*Elijah Horn Section - Brass
*Chipper Lavergne - Percussion
*Ronnie Baron - Percussion
*David Oliver - Background Vocals
*Michael Freda - Background Vocals

1970  Redbone - Redbone (2006 edition)

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Boxer - Bloodletting (1976 uk, tremendous hard classic rock, 2012 remaster)

"Bloodletting" was recorded in 1976, but for some reason was not released to the general public until 1979.  Strange, because it is a great album, despite the fact that half of the album's songs are cover versions and Ollie has no writing credits.  Every track is strong, and the band has a fuller sounding production than on the "Below The Belt" debut.

All of the original compositions are credited solely to Mike, and the "The Blizzard", "Rich Man's Daughter", and "Big City Fever" are perhaps some of the catchiest tunes he wrote on his own.  He redid "Rich Man's Daughter" for the 1977 Boxer album, "Absolutely".  

"Bloodletting" includes four great cover tunes.  "Hey Bulldog" rocks hard and includes some great guitar.  "Dinah-Low" is a fantastic version of the Terry Stamp/Jim Avery song from Terry's 1975 "Fatsticks" album, which both Ollie and Tony Newman played on.  Perhaps the star track on the album, though, is the live version of Leonard Cohen's "Teachers".  It is a smoking performance by the band, which features a bit of Ollie jamming alone towards the end.  

Unlike the first album, other musicians guested on "Bloodletting".  Chris Stainton was acknowledged in large print on the album cover for his keyboards.  Boz Burrell (King Crimson, Alexis Korner, Bad Company et al.), Bobby Tench (Jeff Beck Group et al.), and Tim Hinkley (Bo Street Runners, Jody Grind, Alexis Korner et al.) all played in Chapman/Whitney's Streetwalkers and were involved in the Hinkley's Heroes jam band, which Mike Patto was also involved with.  The three are only listed in small print on the record label, so their contributions to "Bloodletting" are unclear -- likely just backing vocals and minor instrumentation.
1. Hey Bulldog (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 3:49
2. The Blizzard - 3:19
3. Rich Man's Daughter - 4:21
4. Big City Fever - 2:58
5. The Loner (Neil Young) - 4:50
6. Why Pick On Me - 4:14
7. Love Has Got Me - 3:05
8. Dinah-Low (Terry Stamp, Jim Avery) - 3:07
9. Teachers (Leonard Cohen) - 6:05

The Boxer
*Mike Patto - Vocals, Keyboards
*Ollie Halsall - Guitar, Keyboards
*Keith Ellis - Bass
*Tony Newman - Drums
*Boz Burrell - Vocals
*Bobby Tench - Vocals
*Tim Hinkley - Keyboards
*Chris Stainton - Keyboards

1975  Boxer - Below The Belt (2012 remaster) 
1970  Juicy Luicy - Lie Back And Enjoy It (2010 remaster) 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Grand Funk Railroad - Grand Funk (1969 us, stunning heavy classic rock, 2002 bonus tracks remaster)

Grand Funk Railroad's 1970 somewhat eponymous album, their second for Capitol, is characteristic of the classic rock radio sound that would permeate the airwaves of the late 20th century. Grand Funk Railroad was a seminal force in giving the friendlier side of the heavy rock sound its charm and making it stick. 

Built on fuzzed-out blues riffs, simple lyrics, and at times seemingly unnecessary jamming, Grand Funk's songs are mild in nature. Slightly toothier than Foghat or Bad Company, Grand Funk's major influence is from the loose, blues-based power trio formula of bands such as Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Grand Funk combines rawness with radio-friendly melodies and vocal harmonies that would become their trademark sound. 

Hordes of bands to come, from Foreigner to Bon Jovi, would emulate Grand Funk's sound and style, focusing on good-time rocking material while attempting a few token social commentary pieces. This is a great album as far as early hard rock goes, and as Grand Funk Railroad would move farther and farther away from the type of roughness and loose arrangements found here, it is well worth picking up as an example of one of their early efforts.
by Jeff Schwachter
1. Got This Thing on the Move - 4:38
2. Please Don't Worry (Don Brewer, Mark Farner) - 4:19
3. High Falootin' Woman - 3:00
4. Mr. Limousine Driver - 4:26
5. In Need - 7:52
6. Winter and My Soul - 6:38
7. Paranoid - 7:50
8. Inside Looking Out - 9:31 (John Lomax, Alan Lomax, Eric Burdon, Bryan "Chas" Chandler)
9. Nothing Is The Same (Demo) - 5:39
10.Mr. Limousine Driver (Extended Version) - 5:28
All songs written by Mark Farner except where noted.

Grand Funk
*Mark Farner - Guitar, Piano, Harmonica, Vocals
*Don Brewer - Drums, Vocals
*Mel Schacher - Bass

1966-67  Terry Knight And The Pack - Terry Knight And The Pack / Reflections (2010 issue)  
1969  Grand Funk Railroad - On Time (2002 remaster and expanded)
1970  Grand Funk - Closer To Home (japan remaster with bonus tracks)
1970  Grand Funk Railroad - Live (japan remaster)
1974  Grand Funk - Shinin' On (Japan extra track issue and 2014 SHM remaster)

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Monday, October 10, 2016

B.B.Blunder - Workers' Playtime (1971 uk, splendid psych with folk blues shades and experimental mood, 2009 double disc remaster)

In the mid-to-late 1960s, during the height of the mania stemming from the British Invasion, the UK was teeming with psychedelic rock bands of all shapes and sizes, many of whom enjoyed the din of obscurity beneath the gargantuan shadows of such titans as the Who, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, Pink Floyd and, of course, the Beatles.  Among those bands was Blossom Toes, an acid-pop group signed to famed English rock impresario and Yardbirds/Soft Machine manager Gorgio Gomelsky’s Marmalade Records label. The band did not receive the commercial success enjoyed by their peers in the British Invasion, but released two albums to massive critical acclaim and counted Frank Zappa, with whom the group once jammed (as documented on the recently released double-live compilation Love Bomb: Live 1967-69), amongst their fans.

In December of 1969, Blossom Toes were on their way back from a gig when they suffered a terrible auto accident that didn’t kill anyone in the band, but left the lads shaken up enough to decide to dissolve their union shortly thereafter. While guitarist Jim Cregan went on to join the equally underappreciated UK group Family (who also counted Blind Faith’s Ric Grech amongst its ranks), second Blossom git “Little” Brian Godding and bassist “Big” Brian Belshaw still remained tight, temporarily backing up UK folk chanteuse Julie Driscoll for her 1970 tour. The duo continued to casually jam together after the Driscoll gigs, eventually bringing former Toes drummer Kevin Westlake back into the mix. They rechristened themselves B.B. Blunder, picked up on the heavier, more California-inspired sound the Toes left off on with their 1969 swan song, If Only for a Moment, and took it to new creative heights on their single album, 1971’s Worker’s Playtime.

Recorded at Olympic Studios at the same time that the Stones were laying down Sticky Fingers (Godding claims that Mick Jagger even lent the band a right-handed guitar for the album sessions), Playtime was looser and more AOR-oriented than the Blossom Toes material, featuring guest spots from the likes of Driscoll, electric piano guru Brian Auger, and Stones guitarist Mick Taylor. The songs B.B. Blunder were creating signified a sonic evolution similar to that of the way the Faces emerged from the Small Faces, or the Pretty Things circa Freeway Madness, with one foot in their British rock roots and the other pointing towards the sounds of the Los Angeles canyons, resulting in a warm, freewheeling sound effectively symbolic of the times while signifying something more progressive altogether. At the same time, songs like “Research”, “Seed”, and “Rise” were quintessential ‘71, and would certainly not sound out of place during a WNEW rock block alongside Bowie’s “Queen Bitch” and “Under My Wheels” by Alice Cooper.

In continuation of their reissue campaign focusing on the Blossom Toes catalog, it is only right and natural that Sunbeam Records gives Worker’s Playtime a long overdue makeover. The 2009 version of Worker’s Playtime is a vast upgrade to the tepid 1989 reissue on the Decal label, which retitled the album New Day after one of its key tracks (and one which features slide guitar from Mick Taylor, according to Godding) and rechristened the group Blossom Toes ’70 with the disclaimer “formerly B.B. Blunder” in parentheses. In addition to restoring the album’s original artwork, which parodied the BBC listings guide Radio Times, and accompanying it with assorted visual empherea from the time and newly penned liner notes from Godding and London writer Richard Morton Jack, this updated Playtime also features a killer bonus disc of previously unreleased material. And to be honest with you, the rarities are, quite arguably, much better than what was cleared for the official release. This is particularly true of the bundle of acoustic-based tracks, notably the Roy Harper-esque “When I Was in the Country” and a drastic acid-folk retooling of the Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night”, not to mention the kaleidoscopic, eight-minute electric instrumental jam “Earache” and the Grateful Dead-cum-Grand Funk inspired earth shaker “Waltz”. 

Though B.B. Blunder were over before they could begin, breaking up only a year after forming, this singular gem of an album they left in its wake remains one of the great buried treasures of this most robust and creative time for progressive rock music. And thanks to this most definitive version courtesy of Sunbeam, now is a better time than any to discover Worker’s Playtime. For further research on this closet classic, check out this great interview with Brian Godding conducted by Bill Whitten and James Beaudreau of the New York City rock band Grand Mal on the New York Night Train Web site.
by Ron Hart
Disc 1
1. Sticky Living! - 6:33
2. You’re So Young - 5:26
3. Lost Horizons (Brian Godding, Brian Belshaw, Kevin Westlake) - 2:06
4. Research (Brian Godding, Brian Belshaw, Kevin Westlake) - 4:34
5. Rocky Yagbag (Kevin Westlake) - 3:59
6. Seed - 5:28
7. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (Brian Godding, Brian Belshaw, Kevin Westlake) - 3:32
8. Rise - 5:04
9. Moondance (Brian Godding, Brian Belshaw, Kevin Westlake) - 1:23
10.New Day - 4:40
All compositions by Brian Godding except where indicated
Disc 2
1. Backstreet (Brian Godding) - 3:55
2. Freedom (Brian Belshaw) - 5:42
3. Black Crow's Nest (Kevin Westlake) - 3:30
4. When I Was In The Country (Kevin Westlake) - 4:43
5. A Hard Day's Night (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 4:21
6. Come On Eyes (Kevin Westlake) - 7:17
7. Snippet With Tippett (Keith Tippett) - 0:25
8. Square Dance (Brian Godding, Brian Belshaw, Kevin Westlake) - 5:38
9. Earache (Brian Godding, Brian Belshaw, Kevin Westlake) - 8:05
10.Robots (Brian Godding, Brian Belshaw, Kevin Westlake) - 4:58
11.Waltz (Brian Godding, Brian Belshaw, Kevin Westlake) - 6:02

The B.B.Blunder
*Brian Godding - Vocals, Guitar, Piano
*Kevin Westlake - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Drums
*Brian Belshaw - Vocals
*Julie Driscoll - Vocals
*Marc Charig - Trumpet
*Nick Evans - Trombone
*Chris Kimsey - Piano
*Keith Tippett - Piano
*Barry Jenkins - Piano
*Mick Taylor - Bass
*Brian Auger - Piano

Related Act
1968  Blossom Toes - We Are Ever So Clean (2005 japan issue)
1969  Blossom Toes - If Only For A Moment (2007 remaster and expanded)

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Sunday, October 9, 2016

Diamond Reo - Dirty Diamonds (1976 us, good hard rock, 2012 remaster)

Franki Cruzi, Bubs McKeg, Norman Nardini, Robbie Johns formed the band Diamond Reo in 1974.  Bubs and Cruzi had been band mates in an earlier band called the Igniters that had release a single on Atlantic records in 1968.  When the Igniters broke up in 1970 Bubs joined the Navy and Frankie Cruzi joined the Jaggerz.  Fresh from his Navy gig in 1974 Bugs was ready to rock again.  Working with producer Tom Cossie Diamond Reo recorded a demo tape at East Liberty's Red Fox Studio and sent it off to Atlantic Records.  The Atlantic subsidiary Big Tree Records released Diamond Reo’s first album “Diamond Reo” in 1975.  Scoring a top 40 hit with a version of the Marvin Gaye song, "Ain't That Peculiar" the band launched a national tour. They appeared on Dick Clark's "American Bandstand" and performed with Kiss, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Frank Zappa, Kansas, Ian Hunter, Blue Oyster Cult, and Canned Heat. 

Adding guitarist Warren King to the band Diamond Reo released the "Dirty Diamonds" album in 1976 on Kama Sutra.  Nardini, Czuri, and Warren King, co-wrote most of the music on that release.  Diamond Rio recorded their last album "Ruff Cuts" on the Piccadilly label in 1978.  The group disbanded later 1978 as punk and new wave were emerging.

Frank Czuri in 1979 joined with Warren King, drummer Ron "Byrd" Foster from the Igniters, bass guitarist Mike Pela, and keyboard player Dennis Takos to form the Silencers.  Working with producer Tom Cossie, the released two album releases on the CBS Precision label.  Norm Nardini formed his own band “Norm Nardini and the Tigers” and landed a deal with CBS Records.
1. All Over You - 3:55
2. It Ain't What You Do It's What You Do - 3:20
3. Scratch My Back - 4:28
4. Mamma Let Your Love - 4:25
5. It's A Jungle Out There (Norman Nardini, Frank Zuri, Rob Jones) - 3:11
6. Lover Boy - 3:47
7. Power (Wes King, Norman Nardini, Frank Zuri, Rob Jones) - 4:37
8. Bad News (Wes King, Norman Nardini, Frank Zuri, Rob Jones) - 3:32
9. Boys Will Be Boys - 3:50
10.Helter Skelter (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 3:33
All songs by Norman Nardini, Frank Zuri except where noted

The Diamond Reo
*Norman Nardini - Vocals, Bass
*Warren King - Guitars
*Frank Zuri - Keyboards
*Rob Jones - Drums

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Soft Machine - NDR Jazz Workshop (1973 uk, exceptional avant prog jazz rock, 2010 release)

Every year it seems that more archive material is unearthed from Soft Machine, the legendary British group that began life in Dadaist psychedelia, but wound down as a powerhouse, chops-centric, fusion outfit at the end of the 1970s, with stops in more complex writing and free jazz territory along the way. As influenced by minimalist composers such as Terry Riley as it was by trumpeter Miles Davis' electric jazz proclivities, the majority of live material issued during the noughties has focused on the classic lineup of the early 1970s, surrounding the group's Third (Sony, 1970) and Fourth (Sony, 1971). Live recordings have been found from other incarnations, but what makes the CD/DVD combo of NDR Jazz Workshop: Hamburg, Germany May 17, 1973 so important is its first-ever live documentation the quartet responsible for Seven (Sony, 1973).

When bassist Hugh Hopper left the group after the double-LP set (one live, one studio) Six (Sony, 1973), the group came increasingly under the influence of keyboardist/reed man Karl Jenkins—who had replaced another "classic" alum, saxophonist/pianist Elton Dean following Fifth (Sony, 1972). Jenkins, himself an alum of another early British fusion outfit, Nucleus, brought a more riff-driven approach to the writing, in contrast to founding keyboardist (and only remaining original member) Mike Ratledge's denser, more idiosyncratically arranged compositions. Drummer John Marshall—another Nucleus recruit who replaced founding drummer Robert Wyatt after a brief dalliance with Australian drummer Phil Howard on the early sessions for Fifth—brought greater virtuosity to the group, making its gradual move to fusion powerhouse nearly complete. But it was Hopper's replacement—the more rhythm section-focused, six-string bassist Roy Babbington—who in many ways positioned Soft Machine for its most successful and impressive post-"classic lineup" disc, the guitar-heavy Bundles (Harvest, 1975), featuring a relatively young and unknown Allan Holdsworth.

Recorded a month before sessions for Seven began, the majority of NDR Jazz Workshop's material is culled from Six, but what differentiates this set from others featuring Jenkins—such as Softstage: BBC In Concert 1972 (Hux, 2005)—is the inclusion of all the material from Six's studio disc, where each member wrote a track (in the case of the fiery "Stanley Stamp's Gibbon Album," a collaboration between Marshall and Ratledge).

What's perhaps most notable about this particular incarnation of Soft Machine at this particular moment in time is that free improvisations were still a part of the picture, largely used as transitional segues between composed pieces. "Link 1" and "2"—edited together on the CD. As the only existing live documentation of this particular incarnation of the ever-changing Soft Machine (no two albums featured the exact same lineup), NDR Jazz Workshop: Hamburg, Germany May 17, 1973 would be an important enough find. Most significant, however, is that it more clearly positions a line-up often considered, based on Seven, as nothing more than the transitional and, perhaps, incomplete group that only truly found itself again with the recruitment of Holdsworth for Bundles. While the majority of NDR Jazz Workshop does, certainly, feature a larger, guitar-heavy setting that foreshadows what was to come, the opening set that features the quartet alone makes clear that this was, indeed, a version of Soft Machine with its own strengths and inimitable charm. 
by John Kelman
1. Fanfare (Karl Jenkins) - 0:47
2. All White (Mike Ratledge) - 3:37
3. Link 1/Link2 (Roy Babbington, Karl Jenkins, John Marshall, Mike Ratledge) - 5:04
4. 37 1/2 (Mike Ratledge) - 6:31
5. Link 3 (Roy Babbington, Gary Boyle, Karl Jenkins, John Marshall, Mike Ratledge, Art Themen) - 0:46
6. Riff (Karl Jenkins) - 3:50
7. Down The Road (Karl Jenkins) - 10:41
8. Link 3a (Roy Babbington, Gary Boyle, Karl Jenkins, John Marshall, Mike Ratledge, Art Themen) - 1:00
9. Stanley Stamp's Gibbon Album (Mike Ratledge) - 4:46
10.Chloe And The Pirates (Mike Ratledge) - 8:33
11.Gesolreut (Mike Ratledge) - 11:48
12.E.P.V. (Karl Jenkins) - 3:33
13.Link 4 (Roy Babbington, Gary Boyle, Karl Jenkins, John Marshall, Mike Ratledge, Art Themen) - 3:37
14.Stumble (Karl Jenkins) - 6:55
15.One Across (John Marshall) - 6:09
16.Riff II (Karl Jenkins) - 1:08

The Soft Machine
*Roy Babbington - Bass
*Karl Jenkins - Oboe, Soprano, Tenor Saxophone, Recorded Piano, Electric Piano, Piano
*John Marshall - Drums
*Mike Ratledge - Electric Piano, Organ
*Gary Boyle - Guitar (Tracks 7-16)
*Art Themen – Soprano, Tenor Saxophones (Tracks 7-16)

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Ashkan - In From The Cold (1969 uk, astonishing heavy psych blues rock, japan limited edition)

We're shallow enough to admit the weird cover is what initially attracted our attention to this obscure LP ... there was just something odd about seeing four "hip" looking guys standing in a wheat field in front of an ancient windmill.

First off, we'll tell you numerous critics have slagged the album as being ordinary and unimaginative. We'll take issue with them and tell you it's actually an overlooked minor classic. Featuring the talents of singer Steve Bailey, bassist Ron Bending, drummer Terry Sims and guitarist Bob Weston, Ashkan made their recording debut with 1969's "In from the Cold"

In the UK the set was the first released by Decca's newly established progressive-oriented Neon label. In the States it saw a release on London's Sire subsidiary. Co-produced by Peter Sherter and Ian Sippin, to our ears much of the album bares an uncanny resemblance to early Spooky Tooth. Propelled by Bailey's hoarse growl and the band's penchant for screaming guitars, the comparison was reinforced on tracks such as "Going Home", "Take These Chains" and "Out of Us Two".

Elsewhere Bailey's growl sounded like Joe Cocker on "Practically Never Happens", while Bob Weston's "Slightly Country" sounded like it was stolen from the early Steve Winwood and Traffic catalog. With the exception of the pedestrian blues number "Backlash Blues" the entire album including the extended "Darkness" was worth hearing.

Weston became somewhat of a musical journeyman, briefly reappearing as a member of Savoy Brown, followed by a brief stint in Fleetwood Mac where he was fired after the rest of the band discovered he was having an affair with Mick Fleetwood's wife.  In the late-'70s he did a tour of duty with Howard Werth and the Moonbeams (see separate entries).
1. Going Home (Steve Bailey, Bob Weston) - 6:35
2. Take These Chains (Bob Weston) - 4:47
3. Stop (Wait and Listen) (Steve Bailey, Bob Weston) - 5:53
4. Backlash Blues (Nina Simone, Langston Hughes) - 7:48
5. Practically Never Happens (Steve Bailey, Bob Weston, Ron Bending, Terry Sims) - 6:00
6. One of Us Two (Steve Bailey, Bob Weston, Ron Bending, Terry Sims) - 5:46
7. Slightly Country (Bob Weston) - 2:57
8. Darkness (Steve Bailey, Bob Weston) - 12:10

The Ashkan
*Steve Bailey - Vocals
*Ron Bending - Bass, Vocals
*Terry Sims - Percussion, Drums
*Bob Weston - Guitar, Vocals, Mandolin

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