Sunday, April 30, 2017

Mick Ronson - Play Don't Worry (1975 uk, extraordinary glam guitar rock, 2009 remaster and expanded)

The second Ronson album, Play Don't Worry (RCA APL 1-0681), recently released, is far better than last year's debut Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. The first album was excellent in parts, but Ronson seemed unsure of himself. The result was the inclusion of weak material and poor mixing of the vocals. Play, on the other hand, is a more assured and independent effort. Ronson had a hand in writing only four of the album's songs, but he is credited with all guitar and most vocal work and he tries his hand at bass, synthesizer, keyboards and drums. He handles all the material as wholeheartedly as if it were his own, In contrast to Slaughter, the production and mixing on the new album is almost faultless. Only on one occasion, a rendition of 'The Girl Can't Help It,' are the vocals lost in the mix. The printing of Ronson's pleasantly unsophisticated lyrics emphasizes their awkwardness, but they sound much better than they read.

Ronson's live role with the Spiders was that of lead guitarist, his tonal expertise combined with sheer volume produced some wonderfully frenetic guitar work. For the most part his playing is more subdued on his own records, but at times he releases all inhibition. His guitar wails through 'Angel No. 9' and he recalls his live work with 'White Light/White Heat.' Fast-fingered bassist Trevor Bolder and pianist Mike Garson recreate their Spider roles. Overzealous drummer Aynsley Dunbar sometimes borders on sloppiness, but adequate percussion work is supplied throughout the album by Paul Francis, Richie Dharma and Tony Newman.

The overall tone of the album is gentler than Slaughter or any of the work with Bowie. This is felt through two Ronson originals, that lead off side two, 'Play Don't Worry' and 'Hazy Days'. Laurie Heath's 'This is for You' is embellished by soothing multi tracked harmonies, and Sid Sax leads an ample string section through 'The Empty Bed.'

The original version of 'The Empty Bed,' 'Io Me Ne Andrei' was done by Italian crooner Claudio Baglioni. Ronson's English lyrics are not a literal translation, but the ultra-romantic sentiments are left intact. An Italian music/English lyric fusion, 'Music is Lethal,' was attempted on Slaughter on Tenth Avenue but it failed because the involved lyrics wee unsuited to the frail melody. 'The Empty Bed,' on the other hand, works perfectly. Ronson has become an assured vocalist, signing in his best saccharine tinged voice. His vocal proficiency allows him to handle the hard and the soft with equal finesse.
by Charles Bermant, March 9, 1975
1. Billy Porter (Mick Ronson) - 3:34
2. Angel No. 9 (Craig Fuller) - 5:39
3. This Is For You (Laurie Heath) - 4:29
4. White Light/White Heat (Lou Reed) - 4:12
5. Play Don't Worry (Mick Ronson, Bob Sargeant) - 3:09
6. Hazy Days (Mick Ronson) - 4:29
7. Girl Can't Help It (Bobby Troup) - 2:59
8. Empty Bed (Io Me Ne Andrei) (Claudio Baglioni, Antonio Coggio, Mick Ronson) - 5:15
9. Woman (Adam Taylor) - 3:33
10.Seven Days (Original B Side) (Annette Peacock) - 2:42
11.Stone Love (Soul Love) (David Bowie) - 3:30
12.I'd Rather Be Me (Mick Ronson) - 4:55
13.Life Οn Mars? (Roscoe West) - 4:17
14.Pain Ιn Τhe City (Mick Ronson) - 3:48
15.Dogs (French Girl) (Mick Ronson) - 3:52
16.Seven Days (Alternate Take) (Annette Peacock) - 6:04
17.28 Days Jam (Mick Ronson) - 6:26
18.Woman (Alternate Take) (Adam Taylor) - 3:31
Bonus Tracks 10-18

*Mick Ronson - Guitar, Bass, Drums, Harmonica, Piano, Clavinet, Synthesizer, Vocals
*Jeff Daly - Saxophone, Flutes
*Neil Kernon - ARP Synthesizer
*Paul Francis - Drums
*Mike Garson - Piano
*Trevor Bolder - Bass, Horn
*Ritchie Dharma - Drums
*Aynsley Dunbar - Drums
*Tony Newman - Drums
*John Mealing - Piano
*Ian Hunter - Backing Vocals
*Vicky Silva - Backing Vocals
*Beverly Baxter - Backing Vocals
*Miquel Brown - Backing Vocals

1974  Mick Ronson - Slaughter On 10th Avenue (2009 extra tracks remaster)

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Mick Ronson - Slaughter On 10th Avenue (1974 uk, fantastic glam guitar prog rock, 2009 extra tracks remaster)

Upon first listen, one could be forgiven for thinking this was a David Bowie album. After all, Mick Ronson was fresh off his tenure as guitarist for the Spiders From Mars, having worked with Bowie for about four years. Add to that the fact that the lineup of musicians on this album was the exact same used by Bowie on his 1973 covers album, Pin-Ups, and the lines begin to blur even more.

This was not the case, though. By 1974, the Spiders were no more, Bowie having dismissed the entire band to begin work on his album Diamond Dogs. Mick Ronson, however, decided to continue with the band for his debut solo album, while taking on lead vocals himself. The resulting album, Slaughter on 10th Avenue, was a very worthy debut album from one of rock’s finest guitar players and musical arrangers.

Let’s get one fact out of the way first; while not contributing directly to the recordings, Bowie was actually involved in a couple songs. “Growing Up and I’m Fine” was written solely by Bowie for this album. The linked tracks of “Pleasure Man/Hey Ma Get Papa” bear the Bowie stamp musically, with the writing of the second half of the two songs being co-credited to him. Finally, the song “Music Is Lethal” was Bowie’s translation of an Italian song, and contain lyrics that were typical of his songs at the time.

All this makes it seem as if Ronson was trying to emulate Bowie, rather than establishing himself as a solo artist in his own right. Ronson openly admitted to not being comfortable as a frontman, and in some corners it was said that he was pressured into the situation.

However, when it comes down to it, the album itself is genuinely good. There is no denying Ronson’s talent, both as a guitarist and musical arranger, and this album finally lets him shine on his own. His vocals, while not as strong as (though very similar to) Bowie’s, still manage to convey the emotion of each song as necessary, especially during the second half of the song “I’m The One”, itself being a cover of an Annette Peacock song.

More than anything, though, the album gives him a chance to really highlight his guitar prowess, especially on the instrumental title track, which itself was an adaptation of the music from the ballet of the same name. Meanwhile, straightforward rocker “Only After Dark” would go on to be covered by The Human League, while “Pleasure Man” is highly reminiscent of Bowie’s song “Aladdin Sane” in tempo and off-kilter piano.

Released the same year (and roughly around the same time) as Diamond Dogs, the album was destined to not do as much business except to those who knew Ronson from his days with Bowie. Those who discovered it though, both then and now, were rewarded with an album that was extremely varied and eclectic without being overreaching, an album by an amazing guitarist that was crafted to not just focus on the guitar. As one of the best known guitarists of the 70s up to present day, it would’ve been easy to just make an album of straight up rock filled with riffs. Ronson instead chose to craft a different sort of album that could highlight all his talents, allowing him to step out of the shadows and show what he truly was capable of. If you have not heard this album yet, I highly recommend you seek it out. From straight rock to glam to torch-style songs to a guitar version of a ballet song, there’s something on here for everyone, and 40 years (!) later, it stands up as one of the most unusual, but rewarding, albums ever made…even for non-Bowie fans.
by Joe Jamnitzky
1. Love Me Tender (Ken Darby) - 4:42
2. Growing Up and I'm Fine (David Bowie) - 3:12
3. Only After Dark (Mick Ronson, Scott Richardson) - 3:31
4. Music Is Lethal (David Bowie, Lucio Battisti) - 5:11
5. I'm the One (Annette Peacock) - 5:06
6. Pleasure Man/Hey Ma Get Papa (Mick Ronson, Scott Richardson, David Bowie) - 8:52
7. Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (Richard Rodgers) - 4:38
8. Solo On 10th Avenue (Richard Rodgers) - 2:07
9. Leave My Heart Alone (Craig Fuller) - 4:32
10.Love Me Tender (Ken Darby) - 4:43
11.Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (Richard Rodgers) - 4:35
Bonus Tracks Live recordings 8-11

*Mick Ronson - Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Trevor Bolder - Bass, Trumpet, Trombone
*Aynsley Dunbar - Drums, Percussion
*Mike Garson - Piano, Electric Piano, Organ
*David Hentschel - Synthesizer
*Margaret Ronson - Backing Vocals
*Dennis Mackay - Backing Vocals
*Sidney Sax - Strings

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Dirty Tricks - Night Man (1976 uk, fine heavy rock, 2004 remaster and expanded)

1976's Night Man was a worthy successor to the band's debut album. By this time, the USA was starting to take notice of this brash, enthusiastic and exciting young hard rock band and, on the strength of the Night Man album, shows were booked in America. A selection of tracks from this trip are included here, along with a single b-side and two US re-recordings of tracks from the Dirty Tricks debut album.

Dirty Tricks became one of rocks hardest working and most highly regarded acts, and it was in the live arena that they really shone. The vocals of Kenny Stewart, the guitar work of soon-to-be Rogue Male Johnny Fraser-Binnie and the rhythm section of bassist Terry Horbury and drummer John Lee played hard and aimed high…as the bonus tracks on this release ably show.
1. Night Man (John Fraser Binnie, Kenny Stewart) - 6:03
2. Weekend Raver (John Fraser Binnie, John Lee) - 4:49
3. Armageddon (Song For A Rainbow) (Terry Horbury) - 4:25
4. Fun Brigade (John Fraser Binnie, Kenny Stewart) - 4:29
5. Play Dirty (John Fraser Binnie, Terry Horbury, John Lee, Kenny Stewart) - 4:51
6. Now You're Gone (John Fraser Binniee) - 4:13
7. You Got My Soul (John Fraser Binnie, Terry Horbury, John Lee, Kenny Stewart) - 4:35
8. Black Diamond (John Fraser Binnie, Terry Horbury, John Lee, Kenny Stewart) - 5:41
9. Too Much Wine (Alternative Version) (John Fraser Binnie) - 5:18
10.Wait Till Saturday (Alternative Version) (John Fraser Binnie) - 5:30
11.Wait Till Saturday (John Fraser Binnie) - 5:49
12.Too Much Wine (John Fraser Binnie) - 6:58
13.You Got My Soul (John Fraser Binnie, Terry Horbury, John Lee, Kenny Stewart) - 8:36
14. Hire Car (Terry Horbury, Kenny Stewart) - 4:29
Bonus Tracks 9-14
Tracks 11-14 recorded Live in Cincinnati 1976

Dirty Tricks
*John Fraser Binnie - Guitar, Keyboards
*Terry Horbury - Bass
*John Lee - Drums
*Kenny Stewart - Vocals
*Madeleine Bell - Vocals
*Joanne Stone - Vocals
*Vicky Brown - Vocals
*Phil Kenzie - Horns
*Rod Argent - Piano

1975  Dirty Tricks - Dirty Tricks (bonus tracks issue)
Related Act
1973  Renia - First Offenders

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sammy - Sammy (1973 uk, essential hard rock with some brass instruments, 2012 edition)

It's doubtful many folks have ever heard the British band Sammy - I certainly hadn't which was kind of surprising given the band's impressive pedigree.   Drummer Mick Underwood was apparently the band's driving force, with the line up rounded out by a collection of rock veterans including ex-Audience horn and woodwinds player Keith Gemmell, ex-Billy J. Kramer keyboardist Mick Hodgekinson, former Ginhouse guitarist Geoff Sharkey, and ex-Roy Young Band bassist Paul Simmons.     

Signed by Philips, the band debuted with a 1972 45 'Goo Ger Woogie' b/w 'Big Lovin' Woman' (Philips catalog number 6006 227).  While the single did little commercially, it attracted enough interest and attention for Philips management to green light an album.

Co-produced by Louie Austin and Deep Purple's Ian Gillan (not Jon Lord) and the front cover artwork was done by Philip Castle who was the man who did the artwork for the film Clockwork Orange. 1973's "Sammy" offered up a competent, if slightly worn set of mid-1970s hard rock.  

Largely penned by Sharkey and Simmons, lyrically and musically there wasn't a lot of originality going on here (kind of like the album cover) - Gemmell's sax adding occasional jazz-influenced runs to the band's blues and rock oriented sound.  As lead singer Sharkey wasn't bad; his raw raspy voice sounded surprisingly good on tracks like 'Give Me More', their unlikely cover of 'I Ain't Never Loved a Woman (The Way That I Love You)', and 'Get Into a New Thing'.  Imagine Uriah Heep-lite with the saxes, a little more boogie and variety ('Who Do You Really Love') and you'll be in the right aural neighborhood.  

The band was actually far more impressive on their isolated stabs at more-pop oriented material like 'Sioux-Eyed Lady' and 'Jo Anne'.  Elsewhere the album spun off a UK single in the form of 'Sioux-Eyed Lady' b/w '70 Days' (Philips catalog number 6006 249).  Brainless fun, it's actually not a bad effort, especially if you approach it with the right mindset.  
1. Give Me More (Geoff Sharkey, Mick Underwood) - 6:00
2. I Ain't Never Loved A Woman (The Way That I Love You) (Ronny Shannon) - 5:07
3. Siox Eyed Lady (Geoff Sharkey) - 3:43
4. Boggle (Geoff Sharkey, Mick Hodgkinson, Mick Underwood, Paul Simmons) - 0:45
5. 70 Days (Geoff Sharkey) - 4:14
6. Get Into A New Thing (Paul Simmons) - 4:29
7. Jo Anne (Mick Hodgkinson) - 4:40
8. Boggled (Geoff Sharkey, Mick Hodgkinson, Mick Underwood, Paul Simmons) - 0:54
9. Who Do You Really Love? (Geoff Sharkey) - 4:31
10.Lady Lover (Paul Simmons) - 3:53

*Keith Gemmell - Saxes, Flute
*Geoff Sharkey - Guitars, Lead Vocals
*Mick Hodgkinson - Keyboards, Vocals
*Paul Simmons - Bass, Vocals
*Mick Underwood - Drums, Percussion
*Martin Rushent - Tambourine
*Sylvia McNeill - Vocals

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Jesse Davis - Jesse Davis (1970 us, excellent classic rock melted with blues and folk, japan edition)

While Jesse Ed Davis’ legacy has finally started to see the light of recognition, there is still a long way to go in establishing his rightful place in the pantheon of rock and roll legends. The Kiowa guitarist’s career encompassed work with everyone from Conway Twitty to John Lee Hooker to Bob Dylan, and his time served in the original Taj Mahal band would be highly influential on up-and-coming guitar slingers like Duane Allman (he being the inspiration for the latter’s taking up bottleneck-style guitar in the first place). Davis never really managed to establish himself as a commercially successful singer in his own right, but that did not prevent him from cutting a series of strong and invigorating records in the early 1970s, the first and foremost of these being Jesse Davis.

Davis has surrounded himself with a real who’s-who of rock and roll musicians here, including Eric Clapton, Joel Scott Hill, Gram Parsons and the oddly-omnipresent Leon Russell. This is a hearty American brew; it’s only too bad that the liner notes do not include a track by track breakdown of who is playing what on which songs. Davis’ voice may be an acquired taste – being slightly nasally and, yes, sometimes a little pitchy – but it also has a lot of character, and its hard not to give the guy a break; in the end, whatever vocal limitations the cat may be accused of are more than made up for by his exemplary musicianship. 

In his guitar playing I have noticed that Davis exhibits a certain degree of Curtis Mayfield influence (similar to that of Woodstock-era Robbie Robertson) in his ability to always serve the song and the rhythm; that is, until it comes time to let loose into a sharp and jagged solo, such as that which leaps out from the end of the otherwise lethargic “Reno Street Incident” – an original composition which was also recorded by Southwind’s Jim Pulte. The expansive horn arrangement on “Every Day Is Saturday Night” falls somewhere between Memphis boogie-woogie and red dirt dixieland, with Davis’ sharp staccato guitar leaping and swerving through the collective improvisation until its gleeful collapse. Make a joyful noise, indeed.

Perhaps the most memorable number here is “You Belladonna You,” which not only manages to lock into a serious groove, but also boasts an inescapable vocal hook. The extended jam at the end is the reason I harbor such ill will towards “the fade-out” on rock and roll records: is this not where the real magic happens? On the other hand, the oddest moment on the record comes with “Golden Sun Goddess,” which is an uncharacteristic detour into Los Angeles yacht rock replete with groovy electric sitars and a lava lamp vocal choir. It sounds like the album’s closest thing to a hit single, though its Steely Dan-isms are pretty jarring. 

Pretty much everywhere else Davis leans on an earthy, deadpan charm that betrays his deep Oklahoma roots. “Redheaded woman wants me to get a haircut,” Davis grumbles at the end of Pamela Polland’s “Tulsa County” before cracking, “man, I can’t get no haircut. Redhead? That’s a redneck.” Alright, so the Byrds may have cut the definitive take on this one, but they never let themselves have this much fun in the studio. Davis may be criticized for relying so heavily on other people’s material for his own albums, but his takes on these songs are always individualistic, and anyways, the guy’s got some good taste.

Jesse Davis has been reissued both individually and as a set with the follow up release, 1972’s Ululu, but somehow both are currently out-of-print and demanding ridiculously high prices. Your best bet is to keep an eye out for some original vinyl or else sucking it up and purchasing a digital copy, which may in fact be the most affordable choice at the moment though it does entail missing out on the righteous jacket artwork.
by Nik Rayne 
1. Reno Street Incident - 4:10
2. Tulsa County (Pamela Polland) - 2:21
3. Washita Love Child - 3:47
4. Every Night Is Saturday Night - 7:11
5. You Belladonna You - 6:29
6. Rock N Roll Gypsies (Roger Tillison) - 4:14
7. Golden Sun Goddess - 4:48
8. Crazy Love (Van Morrison) - 3:36
All songs written by Jesse Ed Davis except where indicated

*Jesse Ed Davis - Guitar, Vocals
*Nickey Barclay - Vocals
*Chuck Blackwell - Drums
*Eric Clapton - Guitar
*Merry Clayton - Vocals
*Patt Daley - Percussion
*Venetta Fields - Vocals
*Jim Gordon - Clarinet, Horn, Baritone Sax
*Joel Scott Hill - Guitar
*Bobby Lee Jones - Vocals
*Gloria Jones - Vocals
*Jerry Jumonville - Tenor  Saxophone
*Clydie King - Vocals
*Larry Knechtel - Keyboards
*Sanford Konikoff - Percussion
*Darrell Leonard - Horn, Trombone, Trumpet
*Jackie Lomax - Percussion
*Frank Mayes - Tenor  Sax
*Steve Mitchell - Drums
*Gram Parsons - Vocals
*Larry Pierce - Keyboards
*Billy Rich - Bass,
*Bruce Rowland - Drums
*Leon Russell - Keyboards, Piano
*Ben Sidran - Keyboards
*John Simon - Keyboards
*Steve Thompson - Bass
*Pete "Big Boy" Waddington - Percussion
*John Ware - Percussion
*Alan White - Drums
*Maxine Willard Waters - Vocals
*Alan Yoshida - Percussion

1972  Jesse "Ed" Davis - Ululu (2003 japan HDCD remaster)   

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Copperhead - Copperhead (1973 us, spectacular classic rock with psych shades, 2001 reissue)

Copperhead began as a loose unit of musicians in November 1970 and meandered on in a relatively fluid state until late 1972 when they began work on an abortive album for Just Sunshine Records with the working title of "Sealed For Your Protection". Nothing emerged from those sessions. In 1972 however they were signed by Columbia Records with a deal reputedly worth $ 1,500,000 over five years and rapidly recorded the superb "Copperhead". In guitar terms this album shows John Cipollina at his best since the acid days with Quicksilver four years before.

The music was driving rock and roll with Cipollina dominating tracks such as "Making a Monster", "Spin Spin" and "Roller Derby Star", the latter written by Kent Houseman and Gary Philippet and originally recorded by The Ducks. "Roller Derby Star" was issued as a single (Columbia 45810) and deserved to have been a hit. The band had an envialble live reputation and were thought by many to be poised on the brink of a major commercial succes but Columbia, who were going through the Clive Davis bust crisis, failed to exploit their excellent beginning and didn’t run a single major ad for the sparkling debut album. All this notwithstanding the band went to work on and completed a second album (seven tracks in all) which Columbia refused to issue. With Davis removal from Columbia the band were dropped and the album remains in the Columbia vaults. Despite the lack of promotion "Copperhead" sold remarkably well for Columbia and was re-issued in 1980.

The band’s live capabilities are captured well on "Copperhead-Live", a superb live show from Pacific High Studies for KSAN-FM-radio (The Tom Donahue Show) recorded in 1973. On the night Unobsky and Murray guested on a couple of cuts. The album is a gem for Copperhead/Cipollina fans including live versions of "Kibitzer", "Spin Spin" and "Roller Derby Star". Additionally however there are five cuts that didn’t appear on "Copperhead" these being "Keeper Of The Flame", "Salty Lady", "I’m Not The Man I Used To Be", "Good Times Boogie" and "Sidewinder" which was originally going to be included on the first album (hence the cover) but never made it that far.
1. Roller Derby Star (Gary Philippet, Kent Housman) - 4:16
2. Kibitzer (Jim McPherson) - 3:45
3. A Little Hand (Jim McPherson) - 4:59
4. Kamikaze (Jim Jensen, Jim McPherson, John Cipollina) - 5:24
5. Spin-Spin (Gary Philippet, John Cipollina) - 3:18
6. Pawnshop Man (Gary Philippet, John Cipollina, Mary Unobsky) - 5:30
7. Wing-Dang-Doo (Jim McPherson) - 4:04
8. They' Re Making A Monster (Gary Philippet, Jim McPherson, John Cipollina) - 7:35
9. Chameleon (Kent Housman) - 3:3

The Copperhead
*John Cipollina - Lead Guitar, Hawaiian Guitar
*Gary Philippet - Vocals, Guitars, Bottleneck, Organ
*Jim McPherson - Vocals, Piano, Bass, Percussion
*David Weber - Drums, Percussion
*Jim Murray - Harmonica, Vocals
*Mark Unobsky - Guitar
*Pete Sears - Bass, Keyboards
*Hutch Hutchinson - Bass

Related Acts
1967-68  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Lost Gold And Silver (double disc issue)
1968  Quicksilver Messenger Service (2005 japan, 2012 audiophile mini LP replica)
1969  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Castles In The Sand
1970  Q. M. S. - Just For Love  (2005 japan, 2012 audiophile mini Lp replica)  
1970  Q. M. S. - What About Me (2005 japan, 2012 audiophile mini LP replica)
1975  Quicksilver Messenger Service - Solid Silver
1968  Freedom Highway - Made In '68
1965-67  The Stained Glass - A Scene In Between (2013 issue)
1969  Stained Glass - Crazy Horse Roads
1969  Stained Glass - Aurora
1965-69  Les Fleur De Lys - Reflections
1971  Stoneground - Stoneground

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Friday, April 21, 2017

My Indole Ring - My Indole Ring (1968-69 canada, splendid acid westcoast rock with trippy guitars, soundeffects and soulful vocals)

In 1966 a rock band whimsically named The Jabberwock was formed in Vancouver, British Columbia. With John King - lead guitar, harmonica and vocals, John Cluff - Hammond organ, David Jordan-Knox - bass guitar, Lindy Jordan-Knox - vocals, and Chris Dahl – drums. This group evolved into the unique acid/blues/rock phenomenon My Indole Ring, with John K., John C., David and Chris.

Frequently appearing at such hip venues as The Afterthought, The Village Bistro, and The Retinal Circus, the group soon became associated with Vancouver’s counter culture and was the Vancouver acid-rock band. During one memorable appearance on the CBC Television show Let’s Go, the phone lines lit up with viewers concerned with the show’s radical music presentation.

The home base for My Indole Ring became The Retinal Circus on Davie Street in downtown Vancouver. As the house band we warmed up for acts including Muddy Waters, The Siegel Schwall Blues Band, Country Joe and The Fish, The Doors, Steve Miller, The John Handy Band, The Grateful Dead, Eric Burdon and the Animals, The Velvet Underground, and The Youngbloods. One memorable highlight was performing during prime time at the Sky River Rock Festival in front of a screaming crowd of over 50,000.

We played until 1969 as My Indole Ring. Life had changed for each of us by then and the band - like the 60s - would never be the same. We regrouped in 1999 to play one more time as My Indole Ring. This was the last gig we played with all members present and accounted for, and with John Cluff’s failing health we continued to stay in touch with each other.

John has been gone for over a year now and we miss him dearly. However he did live to know that this album would be released, making this a special reconnection for us all.

Most of the songs on this LP are original Ring compositions and soon became signature tunes for the band, such as Orange Float Petals. This is a selection of raw cuts recorded in just one or two takes in the studio-giving them a spontaneous feel, reminiscent of the era.

The exception is the last three songs-Wake Me Shake Me, Come See Me in the Morning, and Orange Float Petals-all recorded live at the Retinal Circus. You can sit back and imagine yourself in the midst of the sunken dance floor with the pulsating light show swirling about your head and the floors and walls literally vibrating with the movement and sound. This is a unique insight into the unbridled energy and excitement of the Retinal Circus, a venue that became legendary in the West Coast music scene. A glimpse into a piece of music history.

The Ring has been jamming and laying down a few tracks over the past three years. There may be more to come.
1. Orange Float Petals (John Cluff, John King) - 5:27
2. Love People Everywhere (John Cluff, John King) - 5:23
3. Another Man Done Gone Troubles (Traditional) - 5:55
4. Blue Wax (John Cluff, John King) - 2:28
5. Silk Road (John Cluff, John King, David Jordan-Knox, Chris Dahl) - 4:49
6. The Morning Breaks (John King) - 3:46
7. Big City (John King) - 4:36
8. Two Trains Are Running (McKinley Morganfield) - 5:18
9. Early In The Morning (Traditional) - 4:25
10.Maryjane (John King) - 3:52
11.Wake Me Shake Me (Live) (Traditional) - 4:16
12.Come See Me In The Morningorange Float Petals (Live) (John Cluff, John King) - 9:03
13.Instrumental Medley  Nursery Rhymes, Crescent Beach, Four-Ring Circus (John Cluff, John King, David Jordan-Knox, Chris Dahl) - 5:28

My Indole Ring
*John King - Lead Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
*John Cluff - Hammond Organ
*David Jordan-Knox - Bass Guitar
*Chris Dahl – Drums

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Linda Hoyle - Pieces Of Me (1971 uk, elegant folk psych blues jazzy rock, 2002 remaster)

Linda Hoyle (born Linda Hoile in 1946) is a singer, lyricist, writer and art therapist.  She grew up in West London, where she attended Chiswick Grammar School. Her first public performance was when she was ten, at St. Peter’s Primary School.  She sang ‘Toot Toot Tootsie Goodbye’ as part of a small talent show the school held, and later that same year appeared as the Angel Gabriel in the church nativity play. A fearless stage presence was noted by her teachers. However, her music teacher at Chiswick School wrote in her school report that Linda “showed no aptitude for music”. At Linda as Lady Macbethsixteen she played Lady Macbeth in the boy’s school production, during which, for a joke, some of the cast nailed her dress train to the floor.  Her entrance was considered a tour de force of Hoile bravado. 

Her fundamental musical influence was jazz, essentially dictated by the existence of her father’s substantial collection of 78 RPM records, stored carefully in wooden drawers set on roller skates for easy access. She still has two of the original records, both by Louis Armstrong, ‘Hotter Than That’ and ‘West End Blues’. Linda can still sing, note for note, Armstrong’s scat improvisation from the former. Her appreciation for jazz, which she views as America’s gift to the world, has never diminished. 

Hoile family life was a mixture of high-explosive emotion coupled with the expectation of physical toughness. Linda and her younger sister, Wendy, rode out these storms by singing and playing – first ukuleles and later guitars. They built up a catalogue of popular songs, some from as far back as the 1900’s, which they performed, in harmony, to semi-appreciative friends and family.

In her mid-teens, with a weekend job and teenage friends, rock-and-roll broke into the house, along with The Everley Brothers, Cliff Richard, Elvis and Eddie Cochran. Sadly, Pat Boone came too, mainly because the entry way was the radio and other people’s records. Money did not flow freely in the Hoile household.  However, it was a fairly equal-opportunity home for music, so although her mother’s piano playing was not encouraged much, owing to its general non-swinging nature, it was on the whole a free-for-all musical soup. In later teen years, Eel Pie Island, The Crawdaddy Club and local pubs furnished both of the Hoile sisters with the experience of live, loud, and anarchic music. It turned out to be Linda’s drug of choice.

After finishing at Chiswick School, and turning down a place at Teachers Training College, she spent a year working in Hammersmith Hospital as a lab technician. However, Linda found herself writing poetry while she was in evening classes studying Staining Techniques, consequently underperforming on the exams.Linda with Lynton Naiiff  Accepting that resistance was useless, she enrolled again in Teachers College. Wall Hall was an all women’s institution in the flush of Britain’s renewal. New residences were being built, good meals were provided and generally, with some native wit, exams could be passed. The core of the College was a neo-gothic pile extended and embellished by Pierpoint-Morgan. It lent itself to romance. In 1967 she was introduced to Lynton Naiff, subsequently breaking off a previous engagement to a Sussex student whom she had known at school. She started singing with the Sussex University Jazz Trio where Naiff was the pianist and Mo Foster was on drums. This was the seed group that was to become Affinity in 1968. Linda rejected the teaching job offered to her after finishing college and went on the road with the band. 

The years with Affinity (1967-1971) were tough but educational. Managed by Ronnie Scott’s, they were signed with Vertigo, worked as an opening band for jazz legends such as Stan Getz and Horace Silver, lost their equipment to a fire in the Upstairs Room at Ronnie’s club, spent time Affinity Album Coveron the road with Annie Nightingale for her first documentary with the BBC, survived tours of Europe and performed live on radio and television. Their original album, Affinity (1970) is now highly collectable and has continued to sell as a CD on the Angel Air label.  Two of the tracks were original compositions by Naiff and Jopp, with Linda writing the lyrics. It was during this time that the misspelling of Linda’s surname, Hoile to Hoyle, passed into general use. This has never been corrected.

In 1970 Linda became the voice of the Shredded Wheat commercial, ‘there are two men in my life…’. This made her more money than she ever received with the band. She performed it live on the Michael Parkinson show, sharing a dressing room with a rather tipsy Shelley Winters who insisted on arranging Linda’s hair for her performance.

Shortly after that albums’ release Linda left the band. Her relationship with Naiff had run its course, and life on the road had become too much. At Ronnie Scott’s suggestion, she started work on a solo album with Karl Jenkins, now Sir Karl. He was then keyboardist for Nucleus and Soft Machine and part of the Scott stable.  Working over several months they wrote the majority of the music for Pieces of Me, again released by Vertigo. This album is now one of the rarest from the label and an original copy sells for over a thousand pounds.

Jenkins’ string arrangements for the album, which appear on several tracks, pre-figure his later classical works, for which he is so well known.
At the same time that Linda was making Pieces of Me she started a relationship with John ‘Nick’ Nicholas, the original bass player from the University of Sussex Jazz Trio. In 1972 she left for Canada where Nicholas had a teaching position at The University of Western Ontario. They married that year.
1. Backlash Blues (Nina Simone) - 5:55
2. Paper Tulips - 3:34
3. Black Crow - 3:18
4. For My Darling - 3:58
5. Pieces Of Me - 4:06
6. Lonely Women - 4:06
7. Hymn To Valerie Solanas - 4:03
8. The Ballad Of Marty Mole - 4:31
9. Journey’s End - 3:16
10.Morning For One - 4:23
11.Barrel House Music (Mildred Bailey) - 2:41
All compositions by Linda Hoyle, Karl Jenkins except where noted

*Linda Hoyle - Vocals
*Karl Jenkins - Bass
*John Marshall - Drums
*Chris Spedding - Guitar
*Jeff Clyne - Bass
*Colin Purbrook - Piano

Related Act
1968-70  Affinity - If You Live  
1970  Affinity - Affinity

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Stormsville Shakers - One And One Is The Complete Recordings (1965-67 uk, wonderful mod beat with psych flashes, 2015 issue)

Phillip Goodhand-Tait has had his songs recorded by artists ranging from Gene Pitney to Roger Daltrey and has also fronted a number of bands in his many decades in the music industry.  Cherry Red Group imprint RPM has collected 27 tracks by singer-musician-songwriter Goodhand-Tait, solo and with his bands The Stormsville Shakers and Circus as One and One is Two: Complete Recordings 1965-1967.

Born in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England, Goodhand-Tait began his music career while still in his teenage years.  In his new liner notes penned especially for this release, he recalls receiving the sum of five pounds for assembling a five-piece band to play a dance at the local drill hall in 1960.  After flirting with names The Royphillians, Phil Tone and the Midnighters, and The Vibrants, the group settled on The Stormsville Shakers in 1961. The band, fronted by Goodhand-Tait on piano, included Paul Demers on drums, Ivor Shackleton on guitar, and Kirk Riddle on bass.  By 1963, the band was earning bookings in central London, with some personnel changes.  

Dick Forcey replaced Paul Demers on drums, and Steve Howard filled out the sound with his saxophone.  By 1965, two new saxophonists had joined the line-up.  Though there had been occasional forays into the recording studio before (including a session with The Yardbirds’ impresario Giorgio Gomelsky), the group was on the cusp of a breakthrough when they recorded Chris Andrews’ composition “Long Live Love.”  As these things happen, though, Sandie Shaw released her version of the song first, which soared to No. 1 in the U.K. and deprived The Stormsville Shakers of a potential hit.

Parlophone took a chance on the band, but it took the band another year to get a record out.  A French EP on the Odeon label also arrived in 1966.  By that time, however, the band’s mod brand of R&B and soul was being slowly replaced by more psychedelic acts.  The Shakers transformed themselves into Circus, and recorded a number of tracks with Mike  D’Abo of Manfred Mann fame.   But as he writes, Goodhand-Tait’s heart wasn’t in the direction music was taking: “Supporting Jimi Hendrix at the Saville Theatre in London finally convinced me that I could not empathize with these latest feedback-laced, guitar-led indulgences.  I knew then, in 1967, that I was a song man…”  And so began his career as a songwriter for groups including Love Affair.

Goodhand-Tait’s early years are chronicled on this comprehensive set which includes his Parlophone and Odeon recordings plus six previously unreleased bonus tracks including the Lennon/McCartney title track.  In addition to writing the liner notes, Goodhand-Tait compiled the set with John Reed and remastering engineer Mark Stratford.
by Joe Marchese
1. I'm Gonna Put Some Hurt On You (Raymond Lewis) - 2:14
2. It's A Lie (Pat Costello, Roger Mealey) - 2:07
3. No Problem (Phillip Goodhand-Tait) - 2:23
4. What More Do You Want (Z. Z. Hill) - 2:19
5. The Society For The Protection Of Love (Phillip Goodhand-Tait) - 2:42
6. Gettin' Ready (Phillip Goodhand-Tait) - 2:13
7. L'amour Se Lisait Dans Ses Yeux (Phillip Goodhand-Tait, Evy) - 2:13
8. Number One (Phillip Goodhand-Tait) - 2:28
9. You Can't Take Love (Morris Dollison, Monk Higgins) - 2:34
10.J.C. Greasburger (David Sherrington, Kirk Riddle) - 4:29
11.Long Live Love (Chris Andrews) - 2:33
12.I'll Do The Best I Can (Chris Andrews) - 2:36
13.There You Go (Phillip Goodhand-Tait) - 2:49
14.Do What You Wanna Do (Phillip Goodhand-Tait) - 3:15
15.Where Were You (On Our Wedding Day) (Harold Logan, John Patton, Lloyd Price) - 2:59
16.One And One Is Two (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 2:06
17.I Feel Good (Live) (James Brown) - 2:42
18.Have You Ever Had The Blues (Live) (Harold Logan, Lloyd Price) - 1:58
19.Turn On Your Love Light (Live) (Joseph Wade Scott, Don Robey) - 3:22
20.Gone Are The Songs Of Yesterday (Phillip Goodhand-Tait) - 3:04
21.Sink Or Swim (Mike D'Abo) - 2:56
22.Do You Dream (Phillip Goodhand-Tait) - 3:08
23.House Of Wood (Phillip Goodhand-Tait) - 2:24
24.Yes Is A Pleasant Country (Mel Colins) - 4:07
25.Something To Write About (Phillip Goodhand-Tait) - 3:28
26.The Patience Of A Fool (Mel Colins) - 3:54
27.Who Will Love Her (Phillip Goodhand-Tait) - 3:28
Tracks 1-4, 11-19 performed by Phillip Goodhand-Tait and the Stormsville Shakers
Tracks 5-8 performed by The Stormsville Shakers
Tracks 9-10 performed by Phillip Goodhand-Tait
Tracks 20-27 performed by Circus

*Phillip Goodhand-Tait - Vocals, Piano
*Alan Bunn - Drums
*Ian Jelfs - Guitar
*Kirk Riddle - Bass
*David Sherrington - Tenor Saxophone
*Peter McGregor - Tenor Saxophone
*Ivor Shackleton - Guitar
*Richard Hobby - Drums
*Tony Hurley - Tenor Saxophone
*Mel Colins - Tenor Saxophone
*David Hurford - Trumpet
*Dirck Forcey - Drums

1969  Circus - Circus
1972  M.O.T.U.S. - Machine Of The Universal Space

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Circus - Circus (1969 uk, fantastic psych prog rock, 2009 remaster)

The term ‘pioneer’ seems perfect to describe the early achievements of the Transatlantic record label. They imported blues, folk, and jazz from the States and provided an outlet for a whole wealth of otherwise 'impossible to get' music to the UK market.

Within a year or two of their birth in 1961, they began to record new British sounds and led the way in the growing folk and blues movement of the latter half of the sixties. By 1969 the fiercely independent label’s eclectic philosophy had seen them releasing records in rock, pop, and even ragtime.

It was the debut eponymous album from UK band Circus in 1969 that saw them venture into the progressive rock world. This highly collectable album has now been re-released on the Esoteric Recordings label, having been re-mastered, and appears with extensive and informative liner notes.

The newly re-named Circus had already achieved chart success under the cumbersome moniker of Philip Goodhand-Tait and the Stormsville Shakers. It hardly rolled off the tongue, and as the late sixties arrived they sensibly changed their name.

Two singles produced by Manfred Mann’s singer Mike D’Arbo faded into obscurity. But their song “Gone Are The Songs Of Yesterday” was covered by Love Affair on the flip side of their hit single “Everlasting Love.”

When Goodhand-Tait left to write more material for Love Affair, Circus decided to move away from the singles market and go into more experimental territory.

At this time the band consisted of Ian Jeffs on guitar and vocals, drummer Chris Burrows, bass player Kirk Riddle and renowned sax and flu player Mel Collins who also covered flute.

It would be impossible to try and list everyone that Mel Collins has played with over the years. Names such as The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, King Crimson, Camel, Caravan, Humble Pie, Uriah Heep, Dire Straits, Bad Company, and many more, spring to mind.

Back in 1969, Circus were busy developing a jazz fusion style. This was a period that saw the rise of bands such as The Nice, Soft Machine, Colosseum, and the newly formed King Crimson. In the album notes Mel describes the period by saying, “it was a very creative time where you were allowed to experiment. There wasn’t a formula you had to stick to.” 

When Transatlantic stepped in and signed Circus the Guildford band quickly found themselves in the studio with producer Ray Singer who had achieved success with Ray Sarstedt’s hit “ Where Do You Go To My Lovely.” In just two days the band went through their established live set, while Singer did his best to capture the band’s spirit in the time allowed.

The album sold well and has subsequently become something of a sought after collectors item. It is also best remembered for its two cover songs, The Beatles “Norwegian Wood,” which opens the album, and “Monday, Monday,” a huge hit for The Mamas & The Papas.

“Norwegian Wood” takes the song to a whole new level, not always a popular thing to do amongst Beatles purists. Having said that, this cover is bravely and successfully innovative. If anything, it takes the song along a logical path. Ian Jeffs even sounds Beatle-esque with his vocals. But it’s the jazz elements that lift the version on high building towards a soaring crescendo before regrouping along original Beatle lines. It’s a stunningly effective opener.

The next track, “Pleasure Of A Lifetime”, written by Mel Collins, is a gentle meandering and melancholic track that features his father Derek on alto-flute. The upbeat “St. Thomas” arrives with its ‘live extended free form jam’ flavor and features some excellent flute playing by Mel Collins.

The all too brief “Goodnight John Morgan” takes us easily into late night jazz. You can see the swirls of cigarette smoke and the lonely guy at the end of the bar staring into his empty glass on this one. Mel’s “Father Of My Daughter” recaptures the melancholic feel of earlier with another gentle breeze of a song set above acoustic guitar and flute.

The up-tempo theme-tune feel to the instrumental “II BS” leads into the well chosen cover of “Monday, Monday.” The album closes with one of its highlights, the laid back of ease of “Don’t Make Promises,” which slowly opens out into something quite special as Mel once again shows his flute expertise.

Sadly , it was to prove the last track released by Circus. When the band began to write material for a second album they were simply unable to deliver and the band folded.

Largely forgotten over the years, save for those buyers of collectable vinyl, Circus’s debut album has finally been given the makeover it deserves. In part it is very much of its time. Yet there remains something fresh and alive about the recording that make it an enjoyable and rewarding trip.

Maybe this was, in part, due to the manner of its recording as a mainly ‘live’ studio album. Either way, the high quality of the musicianship is evident from the very first bars of the brave statement that is “Norwegian Wood.” If only they could have come up with some more.
by Jeff Perkins
1. Norwegian Wood (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 7:22
2. Pleasures Of A Lifetime (Mel Collins) - 8:21
3. St. Thomas (Mel Collins) - 3:33
4. Goodnight John Morgan (Mel Collins) - 1:47
5. Father Of My Daughter (Mel Collins) - 3:19
6. II B.S. (Charles Mingus) - 6:28
7. Monday Monday (John Phillips) - 4:18
8. Don't Make Promises (Tim Hardin) - 4:42

The Circus
*Ian Jelfs - Guitar, Vocals
*Chris Burrows - Drums
*Kirk Riddle - Bass
*Mel Collins - Flute, Tenor Saxophone
*Keath Bleasby - Percussion

1972  M.O.T.U.S. - Machine Of The Universal Space

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Timber - Part Of What You Hear (1970 us, fine rural psych rock, vinyl edition)

This short-lived band was a collaboration between two songwriters, Wayne Berry and George (no, not that one) Clinton who each had distinctive and largely divergent musical interests, with Clinton being (roughly) more of a rocker, and Berry being more on the country/rural/acoustic side of the tracks. They recorded two albums as Timber, followed by a couple of solo albums, and briefly reunited as "Volunteers" for one album in 1976. 
1. Tip Top (Wayne Berry) - 6:51
2. All But Gone (Wayne Berry) - 4:12
3. Good Intentions (Wayne Berry) - 2:53
4. Part Of What You Hear (Wayne Berry) - 3:37
5. Boat Ride (George Clinton) - 4:33
6. In It (George Clinton) - 2:17
7. She's My Lady (George Clinton) - 4:54
8. Go On Alone (George Clinton) - 3:07
9. A Sad Song (George Clinton) - 5:33
10.Country Blue / Don't Hide Tonight (Wayne Berry) - 5:56

The Timber
*Wayne Berry - Vocals, Bass, Guitar
*George Clinton - Vocals, Keyboards, Woodwinds, Autoharp
*Warner Charles Davis - Drums, Percussion
*Judy Elliott - Vocals
*Roger Johnson - Lead Guitar, Vocals

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Friday, April 14, 2017

United Travel Service - Wind And Stone (1966-69 us, great folk psych garage rock, 2010 issue)

Dateline 1966 – the Pacific North West of the USA – a hotbed for numerous local and regional bands following the tradition of the renowned North West Fratrock of the Kingsmen or the uncompromising Rock & Roll of The Sonics and Wailers. Not so the United Travel Service.

They were sadly overlooked at the time but are now revered for their two brilliant, killer folkadelic 45 releases “Wind And Stone” b/w “Drummer Of Your Mind” and “Gypsy Eyes” b/w “Echo Of You”. The UTS were mainly influenced by the San Francisco scene, Garage Rock and the Byrds. Their high quality repertoire written by guitarist Ben Hoff and produced by New Tweedy Brothers producer Rick Keefer would have made a classic local psychedelic album if released back then. But it was not to be.

Their great album, would have counted to the classic psychedelic ones, had it been released at the time. Break-A-Way presents for the first time ever, a collection of the band's rare 45s, along with five more, until now unreleased studio recordings, plus three home demos.  
1. Wind And Stone - 3:28
2. Drummer Of Your Mind - 2:58
3. Snow - 2:30
4. Like Me - 2:46
5. The Slightest Possibility - 2:28
6. ytilibissoP tsethgils ehT - 2:31
7. Gypsy Eyes - 2:23
8. Echo Of You - 2:36
9. To Helen (Ben Hoff, Edgar Allan Poe) - 3:42
10.California Dreamin' (John Phillips) - 3:57
11.Nelly Was A Lady (Stephen C. Foster) - 2:07
12.Beyond The Rainbow - 3:38
13.Some Velvet Morning (Lee Hazelwood) - 4:34
14.Flamenco Express (Ben Hoff, Dale Sweetland, John Reeves, Steve Bennett) - 4:46
15.Helen (With Percussion) (Ben Hoff, Edgar Allan Poe) - 3:40
All songs written by Ben Hoff except where stated

The United Travel Service
*Steve Bennett - Guitar
*Ray Doern - Bass
*Ben Hoff - Guitar, Vocals
*John Reeves - 12-String
*Jim Roberts - Bass
*Dale Sweetland - Drums

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The City Blues - Blues For Lawrence Street (1967 us, terrific rough garage rock 'n' blues, Vinyl edition)

The original City Blues Band was formed in Fullerton, Calif. in 1966. It made an LP, financed by David R. Hall, a local DJ, in 1967 that sold in in record shops in LA and Orange Counties of So. Calif. About five copies even made it to Victoria around this time. Today it is a sought after collectors item, mostly in Europe.

The band then went through several personel changes, mostly guitarists. In it's final So. Calif. inception, Bob Lesher was the only original member left. He moved to Victoria in April, 1969, soon to be followed by Mike Balfe (drummer) and Bill Burdick (bassist). 

For it's Victoria version the band featured Tim Zurowski and Phil Rossner, Victoria guitarists and borrowed Paul Iverson, on bass, from Frendlyn Page prior to Burdick arriving in town. As a result, the band's first gigs were opening for Frendlyn Page.

The City Blues dissolved in early 1970 as all the players mixed more into the "Victoria scene" to form Bayside Blues, an eventually, Blues Union.

Phil Rossner was into Elmore James when I was introduced to him by Tim Zurowski. I seem to recall that He was taking over Tim's spot in City Blues and thought him to be perfect for the position as he was so well educated about the blues idiom. 

Unfortunately, the band was in such a state of flux we never got a real chance to play much together, and I regret that as he was/is such a fine, ego-free guitarist.
by Bob Lesher
1. I'm In A Groovy Mood (Ed Soldberg, Steve Eliot) - 2:57
2. Blues For Lawrence Street (Dick Payne, Bob Lesher) - 4:40
3. Steal My Chickens (Jimmy Rodgers) - 2:47
4. Goin' To New York (Jimmy Reed) - 4:02
5. All Blues (Dick Payne) - 6:52
6. You Gotta Help Me (Sonny Boy Williamson, Willie Dixon, Ralph Bass) - 4:26
7. Goin' Down To The River (Ray Charles) - 4:38
8. Smokestack Lightning (Chester Burnett) - 9:50

The City Blues
*Bob Lesher - Vocals, Harmonica
*Dick Payne - Guitar
*Ed Soldberg - Guitar
*Steve Eliot - Bass
*Tim Reeves - Drums
Other Members (several releases)
*Phil Howitt - Drums
*Tim Zurowski - Guitar
*Michael Balfe - Drums
*Paul Iverson - Bass
*Phil Rossner - Guitar, Vocals
*Bruce Bennett - Keyboards

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Monday, April 10, 2017

We The People - Mirror Of Our Minds (1964-67 us, excellent garage beat, two disc set)

One of the most versatile mid-'60s garage groups -- indeed, they were for the most part too accomplished and pop-savvy to truly merit the garage band tag -- We the People had some big hits in Florida, but never broke out nationally, despite releases on the large RCA and Challenge labels. Veterans of Orlando garage combos the Trademarks, the Offbeets, and the Nonchalants all found their way into We the People, who made their first single for the local Hotline label, "My Brother the Man," in early 1966. "My Brother the Man" was a smoking, almost-crazed, hard garage-punk number, a path the band continued to follow on their early Challenge singles "Mirror of Your Mind" and "You Burn Me Up and Down."

Grinding guitar chords, organ, aggressive vocals, and crazed guitar distortion (particularly on the swooping noises and feedback that introduce "You Burn Me Up and Down") were their initial trademarks. Yet at the same time they could throw in gentler and more lyrically and melodically subtle originals, like the beautiful, tremolo-laden ballad "(You Are) the Color of Love," on the B-side of "Mirror of Your Mind." Unusual for a garage band, they boasted two prolific and talented songwriters in Tommy Talton and Wayne Proctor. Proctor was the more interesting of the pair, penning one of the great raga rock tunes (the gutsy "In the Past," covered by the Chocolate Watch Band), the Baroque-psychedelic "St. John's Shop," and "(You Are) the Color of Love." All had uncommonly elusive, vague, but evocative lyrics for a young regional band of the time; Proctor even wrote a love song to a nun ("Love Wears Black (None)"), although that wasn't issued until more than 30 years later. 

We the People had a good share of chart success in Florida, but suffered a major setback when Proctor left the band in early 1967. The music recorded subsequent to his departure had its moments: the nasty "When I Arrive" made its way onto a Pebbles compilation, and "The Day She Dies," although written by Talton, recalled Proctor's work with its harmonic pop, melodic base and odd lyrical slant. Some of the last numbers they cut in the studio were derivative soul-rock tunes, though, and Talton's departure at the end of the '60s, as well as the expiration of their recording deal, sealed the death of the group, although they continued for a bit longer. As part of the Southern rock group Cowboy, Talton was the only We the People member with a visible music career after the '60s. 
by Richie Unterberger
Disc 1
1. The Trademarks - Everything'll Be Alright (Wayne Proctor) - 2:06
2. The Offbeets - Drivin' Me Out Of My Mind (David Duff) - 2:23
3. My Brother The Man (Version 1) (Wayne Proctor) - 2:11
4. Mirror Of Your Mind - 2:45
5. (You Are) The Color Of Love (Wayne Proctor) - 2:28
6. She Does Everything For Me (Rod Argent) - 2:10
7. He Doesn't Go About It Right - 2:29
8. You Burn Me Up And Down - 2:23
9. Nothing Like A Vision (Demo) - 3:10
10.Proceed With Caution (David Duff) - 2:17
11.By The Rule - 2:05
12.Look At The Girls (Version 1) - 3:01
13.Love Is A Beautiful Thing (Eddie Brigati, Felix Cavaliere) - 2:45
14.The Nonchalants - Double Trouble (Dennis Messimer) - 2:16
15.The Trademarks - Don't Say You Love Me (Wayne Proctor) - 2:23
16.St. John's Shop (Version 1) (Wayne Proctor) - 2:45
17.Love Wears Black (None) (Version 1) (Wayne Proctor) - 2:33
18.Beginning Of The End (Wayne Proctor) - 1:56
19.The Day She Dies - 2:27
20.There's Gonna Be A Storm - 2:55
All songs by Tommy Talton except where noted
Disc 2
1. When I Arrive - 3:08
2. No, No Boys - 3:01
3. In The Past (Wayne Proctor) - 2:35
4. Alfred, What Kind Of Man Are You (Wayne Proctor) - 2:27
5. Boy, She Just Don't Feel It (Demo) (Wayne Proctor) - 2:55
6. Declaration Of Independence (Wayne Proctor) - 2:19
7. Look At The Girls (Version 2) - 2:43
8. Follow Me Back To Louisville (Bill Davison) - 2:00
9. Lovin' Son Of A Gun - 2:18
10.St. John's Shop (Version 2) (Wayne Proctor) - 2:27
11.Half Of Wednesday (Wayne Proctor) - 2:17
12.Fluorescent Hearts - 2:33
13.The Nonchalants - I Wanna Do It (Bob Feldman, Jerr Goldstein, Richard Gottehrer) - 3:37
14.The Offbeets - She Lied (David Duff) - 2:41
15.Ain't Gonna Find Nobody (Better Than You) (David Duff) - 2:32
16.My Brother, The Man (Version 2) (Wayne Proctor) - 2:08
17.Free Information - 2:26
18.You Like Me, You Love Me (Demo) - 2:28
19.Too Much Noise - 2:26
20.Love Wears Black (None) (Version 2) (Wayne Proctor) - 2:32
All songs by Tommy Talton except where stated

We The People
*Tommy Talton - Vocals, Guitar
*Wayne Proctor - Guitar
*Lee Ferguson - Drums
*Randy Boyte - Keyboards
*David Duff - Bass

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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Colosseum - Colosseum Live (1971 uk, fascinating heavy fusion prog rock, 2016 double disc set remaster)

A remarkable feature of Colosseum Live was the inclusion of one of the more unusual numbers in the band's repertoire, namely Michael Gibbs's outstanding composition "Tanglewood '63." This was a brave piece for a six piece jazz rock band to tackle since the original version (aside from a version recorded by Gary Burton's quartet in 1982) was made by Gibbs for his second big band album for Deram in 1971. But Gibbs plus Colosseum members Jon Hiseman, Dick Heckstall-Smith and Dave Clempson had also performed this track, as members of the New Jazz Orchestra, at the Jeanetta Cochrane Theatre, London on 26 May 1970 (a CD of the concert eventually being released on the Dusk Fire label in 2008 and going under the title of Camden '70). The version of "Tanglewood '63" heard on this re-mastered Colosseum Live album meticulously reflects the labyrinthine and complex arrangement of the piece. The Colosseum version also utilises vocal harmonies to replace some of the original instrumentation and most notably the voice of Chris Farlowe, whose ability to sing intricate melody lines proves beyond doubt that he was not merely an impressively powerful rhythm and blues singer.

The original Colosseum Live LP was released in 1971 on the Bronze label, the content gleaned from concerts recorded in the United Kingdom. Tracks included Jack Bruce's "Rope Ladder To The Moon" and Graham Bond's "Walking In The Park" which was Colosseum's hugely popular signature tune. Then there were some frenetic blues tracks, "Skellington" and the blistering "I Can't Live Without You" (not included on the original 1971 Bronze label double vinyl release but included as a bonus track on the 1992 Sequel CD reissue). The mood was taken down a little with the classic T-Bone Walker number "Stormy Monday Blues," Farlowe's barnstorming vocals positively shining through. The Greenslade, Heckstall-Smith and Farlowe-penned "Lost Angeles" is another genuine highlight of the album, a fifteen minute tour de force proving that the band could write effective and dynamic numbers when they set about it.

This Esoteric release includes an extra CD of bonus tracks recorded in Brighton, Bristol and Manchester. Significantly there is the addition of several tracks not included on the original release including a full length version of "The Valentyne Suite," a very rare treat to hear live. Also, sandwiched between "I Can't Live Without You" and "The Machine Demands A Sacrifice" is "Time Machine," a stupendous twelve minute drum solo—where Hiseman, egged-on by a increasingly hysterical audience, proves what a technically brilliant drummer he is; towards the climactic ending of his solo he kicks his twin bass drums at almost superhuman speed. His drumming far outstripped the capabilities of the average rock drummer, which he most certainly was not. The bonus CD on this release makes this an absolutely essential purchase for all Colosseum fans, who will undoubtedly already possess a version of the original Colosseum Live.

Those who haven't heard this band before will be mightily impressed at the virtuosic talent of all the members of the group and the timeless quality of the music presented here. Therefore this is a very welcome reissue indeed from one of the pre-eminent pioneering British jazz rock outfits and one of the genre's most well-loved bands.
by Roger Farbey
Disc 1 (Original Album)
1. Rope Ladder To The Moon (Jack Bruce, Pete Brown) - 9:45
2. Walking In The Park (Graham Bond) - 8:22
3. Skelington (Dave "Clem" Clempson, Jon Hiseman) - 14:57
4. I Can't Live Without You (James Litherland) - 7:49
5. Tanglewood '63 (Michael Gibbs) - 10:13
6. Stormy Monday Blues (Aron T. Walker) - 7:29
7. Lost Angeles (Chris Farlowe, Dave Greenslade, Dick Heckstall-Smith) - 15:48
Tracks 1-7 recorded at Manchester University, Manchester, UK (March 18, 1971) and the Big Apple, Brighton, UK (March 27, 1971), on the "Daughter of Time" tour.
Disc 2
1. Rope Ladder To The Moon (Jack Bruce, Pete Brown) - 10:56
2. Skellington (Dave "Clem" Clempson, Jon Hiseman) - 14:41
3. I Can't Live Without You (James Litherland) - 21:39
.a.Time Machine (Jon Hiseman)
.b.The Machine Demands A Sacrifice (Jon Hiseman, James Litherland, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Pete Brown)
4. Stormy Monday Blues (Aron T. Walker) - 5:12
5. The Valentyne Suite - 21:20
.I.January's Search (Jon Hiseman,  Dave Greenslade)
.II.Theme Two - February's Valentyne (Jon Hiseman,  Dave Greenslade)
.III.Theme Three - The Grass Is Greener (Jon Hiseman, Dick Heckstall-Smith)
Tracks 1-2 recorded at The Big Apple, Brighton, 1971
Track 3 recorded at Manchester University, March 1971
Track 4 recorded in Bristol, 1971
Track 5 recorded at Manchester University, March 1971.

The Colosseum
*Mark Clarke - Bass, Vocals
*Dave "Clem" Clempson - Guitars, Vocals
*Chris Farlowe - Vocals
*Dave Greenslade - Organ, Vibes
*Dick Heckstall -Smith - Saxophones
*Jon Hiseman - Drums

1969 Colosseum - Valentyne Suite (2004 deluxe expanded edition) 
1969  Colosseum - Those Who Are About To Die Salute You (2004 remaster and expanded)
1970  Colosseum - Daughter Of Time (remaster with bonus track)

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1970 Chris Farlowe With The Hill - From Here To Mama Rosa (2010 Flawed Gems extra tracks remaster)
1972  Dick Heckstall Smith - A Story Ended (2006 Japan Remaster)
1973  Tempest - Tempest
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