Saturday, March 31, 2018

Roger McGuinn And Band - Roger McGuinn And Band (1975 us, great classic rock, 2004 extra tracks remaster)

In the liner notes to Sundazed's reissue of Roger McGuinn & Band, the former Byrds leader says, "A band should be a benevolent dictatorship," adding, "Democracy is a great form of government, but it doesn't work in rock & roll." Whether you agree with that statement or not, Roger McGuinn & Band is one album that supports McGuinn's argument pretty well; in 1975, after his first two solo albums were greeted with lackluster commercial and critical response, Columbia Records assigned producer John Boylan to McGuinn's next project, and Boylan brought along a band. While the players turned out to be a solid rhythm section who brought a tight, energetic groove to the sessions, McGuinn decided to let them contribute songs to the album in the name of esprit de corps, and let the record show that none of these guys had ever written a great song for one of America's benchmark rock bands.

Consequently, Roger McGuinn & Band is knee-deep in filler, though not all the blame can be pointed at Roger's bandmates, since "Easy Does It" and "Lisa" don't exactly loom large in his catalog. And while Boylan's production isn't especially intrusive, the results have a bit more gloss than this music needs, and the country-rock and boogie accents don't leave much room for the folk touches that have always been McGuinn's strong suit. Still, "Born to Rock and Roll" and "Lover of the Bayou" are solid McGuinn compositions that deserve wider circulation, and while this isn't one of his better albums, at least it finds him in sharp and passionate form with a good band behind him. He just shouldn't have let them write half of the album, that's all. 
by Mark Deming
1. Somebody Loves You (Allen Kemp, Stephen A. Love) - 3:16
2. Knockin' On Heaven's Door (Bob Dylan) - 3:20
3. Bull Dog (Richard Bowden) - 1:59
4. Painted Lady (David Lovelace, Greg Attaway) - 3:08
5. Lover Of The Bayou (Jacques Levy, Roger McGuinn) - 3:25
6. Lisa (Roger McGuinn) - 1:59
7. Circle Song (David Lovelace) - 3:04
8. So Long (Richard Bowden) - 3:13
9. Easy Does It (Roger McGuinn) - 2:41
10.Born To Rock And Roll (Roger McGuinn) - 3:21
11.Wasn't Born To Follow (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) - 2:02
12.Chestnut Mare (Jacques Levy, Roger McGuinn) - 5:50
Bonus Tracks Live 11-12

Roger McGuinn - Guitar, Vocals, Bass
Steve Love - Bass
David Lovelace - Keyboards
Greg Attaway - Drums
Richard Bowden - Guitar

1973  Roger McGuinn - Roger McGuinn (2013 Edition) 
1976  Roger McGuinn - Cardiff Rose (2013 edition)
1979  McGuinn, Clark And Hillman (2014 Japan SHM Remaster)

The Byrds
1964  The Byrds - Preflyte (2012 Edition)
1968  The Byrds - Sweetheart Of The Rodeo  (Double Disc Set)
1969  The Byrds - Live At Fillmore
1971  The Byrds - Live At Royal Albert Hall
1971  The Byrds - Farther Along (Blu Spec 2014 extra tracks release)
1971  The Byrds - Byrdmaniax (2013 Japan Blu Spec edition)
1973  Byrds - Byrds

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Rick Price And Mike Sheridan - This Is To Certify The Gemini Anthology (1970-71 uk, outstanding art beat psych baroque folk, 2004 two disc set)

This is one of the better albums coming from the Move family tree. It was released in 1970 though it has a clear 1967/1968 sound and is one of the best albums of its kind. Rick Price entered the Move sometime in the late 60s, contributing bass and guitar to “Shazam“, “Looking On” and “Message From The Country.” Mike Sheridan had previously been leader of the Nightriders which were a Birmingham group that specialized in the merseybeat sound and 50s rock n roll.

The Nightriders were sort of a breeding ground for future Move members, most importantly Roy Wood. During Price’s tenure with the Move, he and Sheridan started writing songs together for the above album. Both Sheridan and Price share vocals and writing chores on an album that veers into power pop, psychedelia, sunshine pop and progressive pop. There are horn and string arrangements on this beautiful album that recall some of Paul McCartney’s soft moments on the Beatles’ classic White Album (think “Martha My Dear” or even the Move’s great “Beautiful Daughter”). Some of the heavier moments like “Sometimes I Wonder,” “Lamp Lighter Man,” and “Lightning Never Strikes” sound like excellent 68/69 era Move outtakes. In fact, “Lighting Never Strikes” was released as a Move single at the tail end of the 60s. Sheridan and Price’s version is just as good though not as trippy, with a splendid backwards guitar solo, slashing acoustic guitars and crashing drums. Other songs such as the string laden pop number “Davey Has No Dad” or the trippy “Picture Box” have a beautiful child-like, story song whimsy that hints at a Ray Davies influence.

This is an exceptional if little known Move album that will appeal to fans of the Beatles, Kinks and even lovers of soft, sunshine pop sounds.
by Jason Nardelli
Disc 1
1. Rick Price - Davey Has No Dad - 2:52
2. Mike Sheridan - Lightning Never Strikes - 2:37
3. Rick Price - Bitter Sweet - 2:41
4. Rick Price And Mike Sheridan - Tracy Smith - 2:04
5. Mike Sheridan - Sometimes I Wonder - 2:39
6. Rick Price - Tomorrow's Child (Rick Price) - 2:23
7. Rick Price - Face In My Window (Rick Price) - 2:17
8. Mike Sheridan - Will You Leave Me Behind - 2:04
9. Rick Price And Mike Sheridan - Beautiful Sally - 2:03
10.Rick Price And Mike Sheridan - On The Moon - 2:30
11.Rick Price - Picture Box (J. Rodgers) - 2:08
12.Mike Sheridan - Lamp Lighter Man - 2:55
13.Mike Sheridan - Follow Me, Follow (Jeff Lynne) - 2:41
14.Mike Sheridan - When Love Breaks Your Heart (A. Tyler) - 1:39
15.Rick Price - Top Ten Records - 2:12
All songs by Rick Price, Michael Tyler except where stated
Disc 2
1. Rick Price - Butterfly - 2:48
2. Rick Price - April Is Here (Rick Price, Michael Tyler) - 3:46
3. Rick Price - Daisy Farm Park - 2:30
4. Rick Price - Misty Morning - 4:05
5. Rick Price - Talking To The Flowers (Terry Slater, Jacqueline Ertel, Venetia Stevenson) - 2:22
6. Rick Price - Who Am I (Rick Price, Michael Tyler) - 2:27
7. Rick Price - It's Over (J. Rodgers) - 2:03
8. Rick Price - Reason To Believe (Tim Hardin) - 2:09
9. Rick Price - And The Singer Sings His Song (Neil Diamond) - 4:47
10.Rick Price - Love Her (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil) - 3:27
11.Rick Price - Please, No More Sad Songs (Jeff Lynne) - 3:34
12.Rick Price - And Now (Rick Price, Michael Tyler) - 3:43
13.Rick Price - Dream (Michael Tyler) - 2:03
14.Rick Price - Hey Little One (Barry De Vorizon, Dorsey Burnette) - 2:00
15.Rick Price - Take My Hand For A While (Buffy Saint Marie) - 2:12
16.Rick Price - I Can Get Found - 3:49
17.Rick Price - Mr. Bojangles (Jerry Jeff Walker) - 4:33
18.Rick Price - Caroline - 2:27
19.Rick Price - Turn Around - 2:54
20.Rick Price - Love Is A Lonesome River (Glenn Campbell) - 1:54
21.Rick Price - Give Me Peace - 2:13
22.Rick Price - My Crying Time - 2:05
23.Rick Price - Galveston (Jimmy Webb) - 2:07
24.Rick Price - We Believe In Jesus (Michael Tyler) - 4:13
All song by Rick Price except where indicated
Tracks 13-24 Previously Unreleased

*Rick Price - Bass, Vocals
*Mike Sheridan - Vocals
*Roy Wood - Guitar, Bass, Drums, Percussion
*Jeff Lynne - Guitar

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Rugbys - The Rugbys (1965-68 us, strong garage psych, 2008 release)

A Louisville, Kentucky band, the Rugbys spent a few years working the local circuit prior to cracking the national market. Peaking at No. 24 in the late summer of 1969, “You, I” was the song that did the trick, but wound up being the band’s only hit single.

Performed at a quick and urgent pace parked aloft a bed of menacing fuzz guitars, stabbing breaks, bristling distortion, and icy psychedelic vocals, “You, I” imparted a visible tip of the cap to the sonic shreddings of Jimi Hendrix. Prompted by the success of the song, the Rugbys cut an album, Hot Cargo (Amazon Records) that expectedly included the winning track.

Like “You, I,” most of the material on Hot Cargo gravitates towards the hard rock side of the dial. A gruff and funky veneer encases both “Wendegahl the Warlock” and “Juditha Gina,” and “Rockin’ All Over Again” pumps and jumps to a tummy-wiggling boogie beat. Rigged with flowery keyboard ruffles and stately arrangements, “Lines of Thought,” “For Love Gone,” and “King and Queen of the World” pivot and rivet with artful twists and turns.

Not entirely immersed in heavy rock, the Rugbys delivered an altogether different vibe on the glossy soul pop of “Stay With Me,” and “Song to Fellow Man,” a jaunty piano-driven anthem pleading peace and love set to a rootsy gospel pitch.

Although Hot Cargo doesn’t qualify as a game-changer, original songs and intrepid musicianship afford the album to be ambitious and appealing. The Rugbys certainly had good ideas and a rich imagination, so there’s a lot of neat stuff going on here. Those with a yen for acts such as the Amboy Dukes, Blue Cheer and Steppenwolf will surely approve.

The band never recorded another album, but in 2008 the Gear Fab label released a collection simply titled The Rugbys that focuses on previously unissued tunes from 1965-69 and is also strongly recommended.
by Beverly Paterson 
1. I Gotta Find A Way - 2:57
2. This Way, That Way - 2:28
3. Endlessly (J. D. Miller) - 2:46
4. You're Not There - 2:33
5. Walkin' The Streets (Doug Sahm) - 2:31
6. Anyone But You - 2:28
7. Winter Winds (Frank Bugbee) - 2:17
8. But I Do - 2:24
9. Baby, Let's Wait (Lori Burton) - 2:52
10.Leaves Of Grass - 2:36
11.I Belong To Nobody (Frank Bugbee) - 2:34
12.Let The Music Take You Down - 3:03
13.On My Way - 3:44
14.Sundown Red - 3:30
15.Lies - 3:56
16.Lovestruck - 4:35
17.Burnin' With The Love - 4:30
18.You, I - 3:23
All songs by Steve McNicol except where stated

The Rugbys
*Chris Hubbs - Guitar
*Steve McNicol - Guitar
*Mike Hoerni - Bass Guitar
*Eddy Vernon - Keyboards
*Glen Howerton - Drums

1969  The Rugbys - Hot Cargo 

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Monday, March 26, 2018

Mama's Pride - Uptown And Lowdown (1977 us, terrific southern blues rock with horns parts, 2008 remaster)

Mama’s Pride, “The Pride of St. Louis” was formed in 1972 by brothers Pat and Danny Liston and was named as a tribute to their mother. The band worked hard and was eventually being taken under the wing of Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s Ronnie Van Zant. When Van Zant died in the legendary plane crash, it effectively slowed Mama’s Pride journey as well. With little record company support and personal issues, they finally broke up in 1982.

After playing couple years on local Missouri scene, Mama’s Pride signed a recording deal with Atlantic and recorded their self-titled debut album in three days. The band spend following couple years on the road playing with variety of bands from the Charlie Daniels to The Outlaws.

In 1977 Mama’s Pride was back in the studio and released the follow-up, Uptown and Lowdown, which introduced a new keyboard player, Paul Willet to the fans. Album did fairly well and songs like “She’s a Stranger to Me Now” and “Merry-Go-Round” gained airplay on radio.

The band was into talks with late Ronnie Van Zant and he was supposed to produce third Mama’s Pride album, but when Van Zant died in the notorious plane crash, it effectively slowed Mama’s Pride journey as well. In 1978 they played as Gregg Allman’s back-up band on his solo tour after which, the band was dropped from their label ATCO and little by little forgotten in the throws of disco. They still continued to perform as Mama’s Pride until 1982 when the band finally broke up.

In 1987 Mama’s Pride played one-off reunion show and finally decided to record new album, Guard Your Heart, in 1992. Mama’s Pride reunited again in 2004 and continue to perform live couple times a year in their home town, St. Louis.
1. Can I Call You A Cab (Danny Liston) - 4:58
2. She's A Stranger To Me Now (Pat Liston) - 4:40
3. Lucky Lady (Max Baker, Pat Liston) - 4:48
4. You Can't Fool Yourself (Pat Liston) - 7:12
5. The End Of Our Road (Barrett Strong, Norman Whitfield, Roger Penzabene) - 2:56
6. Merry-Go-Round (Danny Liston, Pat Liston) - 5:17
7. Now I Found You (Danny Liston, Kevin Sanders, Max Baker, Pat Liston) - 3:33
8. Long Time (Danny Liston) - 9:48

Mama's Pride
*Pat Liston - Vocals, Slide, Electric, Acoustic Guitars, Organ
*Danny Liston - Vocals, Electric, Acoustic Guitars
*Kevin Saunders - Drums, Percussion, Background Vocals
*Max Baker - Lead Guitar, 12 String, Acoustic Guitars, Background Vocals
*Dickie Steltenpohl - Bass, Vocals
*Paul Willet - Keyboards, Synthesizer
*Joe Turek - Bass, Background Vocals
*Jim Mason - Bass
*Joe Lala - Percussion
*Lenny Castro - Percussion
*Dennis Dreith - Horns, Strings Arrangements
*Jerry Jumonville - Horns

1975  Mama's Pride - Mama's Pride (2008 remaster) 

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Ozark Mountain Daredevils - The Car Over The Lake Album / Men From Earth (1975-76 us, exceptional country southern rock, 2006 remaster)

Both albums that constitute this ‘2 for 1’ single CD reissue, respectively they date from 1975 and 1976, were produced by David Anderle who had worked from the outset on the recordings made by this Springfield, Missouri based sextet. On “The Car Over The Lake Album” the band was blessed by the presence of four ‘in-house’ songwriters [all original band members], namely John Dillon, Larry Lee, Steve Cash and Randle Chowning, although the latter party had departed, to launch his solo recording career, by the time “Men From Earth” was issued. Chowning’s place in the band was filled by Norwegian born Rune Walle [guitars, mandolin, sitar]. U.K. based BGO Records issued the band’s debut and sophomore recordings, respectively “The Ozark Mountain Daredevils” [1973] and “It’ll Shine When It Shines” [1974], as a ‘2 for 1’ CD package during January 2005. The latter pairing, co-produced by Glyn Johns and David Anderle, each yielded one U.S. Pop Chart hit single - the only major commercial success the Ozarks were to enjoy. “If You Want To Get To Heaven” made the lower reaches of the Top 30, while the subsequent “Jackie Blue” achieved the heady # 3 position.

Having mentioned the quartet of songwriters in the band, a non-band member contributed to one cut on “The Car Over The Lake Album.” Minnesota bred hit country songwriter Elizabeth Anderson [Lynn Anderson’s mother] co-penned the penultimate cut “Out On The Sea” with Dillon. Following the appearance midway through 1968 of the Byrds country collection “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo,” a rash of long-haired country-rock influenced combos were formed during the ensuing years. Prior to working with OMD, music history records that Glyn Johns produced The Eagles’ 1972 self-titled debut album and their sophomore ‘thematic’ release “Desperado” [1973].

As might be inferred from the song title, Dillon’s “Keep On Churnin’” is a frantic paced number and it kicks off the “Car” collection replete with a rowdy rock ’n’ roll guitar riff. The considerably slower Lee/Cash soft-pop sounding collaboration “If I Only Knew” scored the band a Top 50 U.S. Pop single, and it’s followed by Chowning’s “Leatherwood” a ‘take it easy in the backwoods’ themed number. The latter is the first truly country sounding cut on “The Car…” In truth there are only a handful of “Car” and “Men” tunes that truly satisfy the country formula. The lyric to Cash’s “Cobblestone Mountain” [also] possesses a backwoods feel, while Lee’s “Mr. Powell” is a vocal harmony rich cut, as is the later Lee/Dillon collaboration “From Time To Time.” Featuring another backwoods themed lyric, Chowning and Cash were responsible for the hoedown paced “Gypsy Forest,” although sadly it’s followed by their uninspired love song “Thin Ice” – the repeated “We’re travelling on thin ice baby” pretty much reveals the total content of this three minute long cut. “Southern Cross” is simply riff rock filler, while Chowning’s gentle sounding “Whippoorwill” closes the Ozarks third album.

Following Chowning’s departure, Dillon, Cash and Lee fulfilled the songwriting duties on “The Car Over The Lake Album,” and like its predecessor it opens with a John Dillon composition - in this instance, the gospel tinged “Fly Away Home.” Chart wise the band’s slow ‘chart hit’ demise continued with Lee’s ‘easy listening’ “You Know Like I Know” peaking toward the nether reaches of Top 75 U.S. Pop. “Breakaway [From Those Chains]” is another of Dillon’s guitar-riff heavy creations. In terms of melodic content “Men From Earth” pretty much follows the rocker/ballad formula of its predecessor. “Watermill” [Cash/Dillon] and “It’s How You Think” [Lee] are vocal harmony rich ballads, Cash’s “Arroyo” is underpinned by a funky, cyclical guitar figure, and “Men From Earth” closes with the fiddle, mandolin and [James Burton/Albert Lee style] lead guitar lick filled, Larry Lee penned country song “Homemade Wine.”

The twenty-page liner booklet that accompanies this release contains a short history of the band by journalist/writer John Tobler, and also features the lyrics to all the songs.
by Arthur Wood, Kerrville Kronikles 01/2007
1. Keep On Churnin' (John Dillon) - 2:58
2. If I Only Knew (Larry Lee, Steve Cash) - 3:23
3. Leatherwood (Randle Chowning) - 4:01
4. Cobblestone Mountain (Steve Cash) - 2:23
5. Mr. Powell (Larry Lee) - 3:14
6. Gypsy Forest (Randle Chowning, Steve Cash) - 2:54
7. Thin Ice (Randle Chowning, Steve Cash) - 2:55
8. From Time To Time (Larry Lee, John Dillon) - 3:54
9. Southern Cross (Steve Cash, John Dillon) - 3:29
10.Out On The Sea (John Dillon, Elizabeth Anderson) - 3:42
11.Whippoorwill (Randle Chowning) - 5:10
12.Fly Away Home (John Dillon) - 2:50
13.You Know Like I Know (Larry Lee) - 4:05
14.Breakaway (From Those Chains) (John Dillon) - 3:59
15.The Red Plum (Steve Cash, John Dillon) - 2:03
16.Mountain Range (John Dillon) - 4:46
17.Watermill (Steve Cash, John Dillon) - 4:11
18.Noah (John Dillon) - 3:08
19.It's How You Think (Larry Lee) - 4:23
20.Arroyo (Steve Cash) - 5:12
21.Homemade Wine (Larry Lee) - 2:37

The Ozark Mountain Daredevils
*Buddy Brayfield - Piano, Electric Piano, Organ, Oboe
*Steve Cash - Harp
*Randle Chowning - Guitars, Mandolin, Harp
*John Dillon - Guitars, Mandolin, Harp
*Mike Granda - Bass
*Larry Lee - Drums, Acoustic Guitar, Synthesizer
1975  The Car Over The Lake Album
*Weldon Myrick - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Farrell Morris - Orchestra Bells
*Nancy Blake - Cello
1976  Men From Earth
*Bill Jones - Horns, Flutes, Synthesizer
*Randle Chowning - Guitars, Vocals
*Steve Canaday - Drums, Fair Witness
*Connie Canaday - Vocals
*Bean - Definition Of Pachuco
*Bobbye Hall - Congas, Percussion
*Jerry Mills - Mandolin

1973-74  The Ozark Mountain Daredevils / It'll Shine When It Shines (2004 double disc set) 

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Friday, March 23, 2018

The Ozark Mountain Daredevils - The Ozark Mountain Daredevils / It'll Shine When It Shines (1973-74 us, fascinating southern country folk classic rock, with some british styled tunes, 2004 double disc set)

The Ozark Mountain Daredevils were among the more popular of mid-'70s country-rock outfits, slotting in chronologically and stylistically between the Eagles and Firefall. As exponents of '70s country-rock, the group rode a wave of success for five years on A&M Records and survived in some form into the 1990s, with a following just large enough to justify occasional record releases in their later years.

The sextet was formed in Missouri during the early '70s, consisting of guitarists John Dillon and Steve Cash, blues harpist/singer/guitarist Randle Chowning, drummer/guitarist/singer Larry Lee, keyboard player Buddy Brayfield, and bassist-vocalist Michael Granda, and was signed to A&M Records in 1973.

The group's first album is also their most successful rock effort, an ebullient country-rock collection that sounds a lot like the Flying Burrito Brothers of around the same period, with richer production and more of a sense of humor than the Burritos had, and highlighted by some excellent songs ("Country Girl," "Road to Glory," "If You Wanna Get to Heaven"). Randle Chowning's "Country Girl," in particular, is amazing as a harmonica-driven near-twin of the Eagles' "Take It Easy" that you sort of wish ran for ten minutes instead of just three. Steve Cash's jew's harp/harmonica showcase "Chicken Train" brings the band back to its roots
by Bruce Eder

Following the success of their self-titled debut, the Ozark Mountain Daredevils' sophomore release, It'll Shine When It Shines, continues on their already established path of California-style country-rock. This release contained what would ultimately prove to be their greatest hit, "Jackie Blue," which ended up peaking at number three on the pop chart. Although "Jackie Blue" is by far the least countrified track on the album, it embodies the casual, understated groove of the band that could be found on any of the Daredevils' releases. Although when examined closely the album is really three neatly separate albums by three maturing songwriters (John Dillon, Steve Cash, and the underrated Larry Lee), the thread of their relaxed atmosphere and light harmonies runs throughout the album, binding it together as a cohesive whole. 
by Zac Johnson
Disc 1 The Ozark Mountain Daredevils 1973
1. Country Girl (Randle Chowning) - 3:17
2. Spaceship Orion (Larry Lee) - 3:12
3. If You Wanna Get To Heaven (Steve Cash, John Dillon) - 3:04
4. Chicken Train (Steve Cash) - 3:38
5. Colorado Song (Steve Cash, John Dillon) - 5:07
6. Standin' On The Rock (John Dillon) - 3:54
7. Road To Glory (Randle Chowning) - 4:55
8. Black Sky (Steve Cash) - 3:10
9. Within Without (Larry Lee) - 4:26
10.Beauty In The River (John Dillon) - 3:58
Disc 2 It'll Shine When It Shines 1974
1. You Made It Right (John Dillon, Elizabeth Anderson) - 3:49
2. Look Away (Randle Chowning) - 3:39
3. Jackie Blue (Steve Cash, Larry Lee) - 4:13
4. Kansas You Fooler (Larry Lee) - 2:38
5. It Couldn't Be Better (John Dillon, Elizabeth Anderson) - 4:23
6. E.E.Lawson (Steve Cash) - 3:32
7. Walkin' Down The Road (John Dillon) - 3:28
8. What's Happened Along My Life (Larry Lee) - 3:35
9. It Probably Always Will (Michael Granda) - 3:15
10.Lowlands (John Dillon) - 3:49
11.Tidal Wave (Steve Cash, John Dillon) - 4:13
12.It'll Shine When It Shines (Steve Cash, John Dillon) - 3:42

The Ozark Mountain Daredevils
1973  The Ozark Mountain Daredevils
*Steve Cash - Harmonica, Harpsichord, Percussion, Vocals
*John Dillon - Guitar, Mandolin, Fiddle, Dulcimer, Autoharp, Keyboards, Percussion, Vocals
*Larry Lee - Guitar, Keyboards, Drums, Percussion, Vocals, Saw
*Randle Chowning - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
*Michael Granda - Bass, Percussion, Vocals
*Buddy Brayfield - Piano, Keyboards
*Jack Black - Backing Vocals
*Elizabeth Anderson - Backing Vocals
*Sidney Cash - Backing Vocals
*Janet Lee - Backing Vocals
*Donald Bromage - Backing Vocals

1974  It'll Shine When It Shines
*Steve Cash - Harmonica, Percussion, Vocals
*John Dillon - Guitar, Dulcimer, Harp, Keyboards, Vocals
*Larry Lee - Guitar, Keyboards, Drums, Vocals
*Randle Chowning - Guitar, Dobro, Mandolin, Harmonica, Vocals
*Michael Granda - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
*Buddy Brayfield - Keyboards, Vocals
*Glyn Johns - Guitar
*Nick Decaro - Accordion
*Jody Troutman - Background Vocals

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Spanky And Our Gang - The Complete Mercury Recordings (1966-70 us, lovely jazzy sunny folk, 2006 four discs box set)

Although the original LPs have been out of print for decades, Spanky & Our Gang's Complete Mercury Recordings (2005) are once again available thanks to the audio archivists at Hip-O Select -- located online at Featured in this thorough and comprehensive four-CD anthology are the contents of the albums Spanky and Our Gang (1967), Like to Get to Know You (1968), Anything You Choose b/w Without Rhyme or Reason (1969), the compilation Spanky's Greatest Hit(s) (1969) -- notable for a few alternate and extended versions of familiar favorites -- and the combo's posthumous Spanky and Our Gang Live (1970). Hardcore enthusiasts will be even more impressed with the seven never-before issued rarities and an entire disc devoted to monaural mixes of every song released on 45 -- including their fall of 1966 debut 7" single with non-LP covers of the Beatles' "And Your Bird Can Sing" b/w "Sealed with a Kiss," which had been a hit for Brian Hyland in 1962.

Although there was the occasional personnel shift during their three-year (1966 -- 1969) run, the aggregate originated with the quartet of Spanky McFarlane (vocals), Malcolm Hale (guitar/trombone/vocals), Nigel Pickering (guitar/vocals) and Oz Bach (vocals). John Seiter (drums), former percussionist for Odetta was next to join, followed by Pickering's one-time bandmates Kenny Hodges (bass/vocals) and Lefty Baker [aka Eustace Britchforth] (banjo/vocals). As the latter were appreciably seasoned, their contributions to Like to Get to Know You and Anything You Choose take the unit's musicality to a whole new level. Spanky & Our Gang gained a deserved reputation as consummate harmonizers with a penchant for light and slightly psychedelic pop fare. All told, they turned in five respective Top 40 entries and their earliest, "Sunday Will Never Be the Same," was also their highest charting side, landing at a lofty number nine. However their eclecticism, coupled with a comparatively off-the-wall sense of humor is exposed on the lesser-known cuts from Spanky and Our Gang.

The tricky pro-pot "Commercial," the enchanting "5 Definitions of Love" -- containing lyrics lifted verbatim from a dictionary -- as well as the indescribably tasteful takes of John Denver's "Leaving on a Jet Plane" and E.Y. "Yip" Harburg's popular early 20th century standard "Brother Can You Spare a Dime" are but a few recommendations, while "Distance" and "Come and Open Your Eyes (Take a Look)" shouldn't be dismissed either. Like to Get to Know You adopts a motif of Americana, as each track provides a distinct slice of life -- ranging from the cocktail party atmosphere and ambience incorporated into "I'd Like to Get to Know You," the lazy "Sunday Morning" and low-down "Prescription for the Blues." The final studio title Anything You Choose b/w Without Rhyme or Reason is arguably the sextet's best. The pieces are linked together, resulting in an intricate yet cohesive multi-movement suite. Perhaps no song depicted the dichotomy of America in the late '60s like "Give a Damn," which was used as part of a memorable public service advertising campaign for the New York Urban Coalition and in politically and socially disparate regions of the United States, banned for explicit content.

Other standouts include the pop-ish "And She's Mine," the stunning and insightful "Yesterday's Rain" and the coupling of the spoken introduction "But Back Then" to "Mecca Flat Blues," both with Little Brother Montgomery. Spanky & Our Gang disbanded in late 1968 after the death of co-founder Malcolm Hale. Greatest Hit(s) (1969) is notable for the extended rendering of "Sunday Morning," while "Like to Get to Know You" and "Give a Damn" are offered without the sound effects that are heard on the original LPs. Spanky and Our Gang Live was recorded prior to the addition of Seiter, Hodges and Baker, which accounts for the lack of any later era charting selections. What listeners are treated to, though, is an excellent batch of tunes, reflecting the musicians' unique tastes. The set boasts the sublime bluegrass-inspired "Nagasaki," "Amelia Earhart's Last Flight," plus the Gordon Lightfoot compositions "Steel Rail Blues" and "That's What You Get for Lovin' Me." The audio quality is unrivalled thanks to thorough digital remastering, while the oversized 24-page booklet contains an historical essay from Richard Barton Campbell, rare pictures, reproductions of memorabilia and a discography.
by Lindsay Planer
Disc 1
Spanky And Our Gang 1967
1. Lazy Day (George Fischoff, Tony Powers) - 3:05
2. (It Ain't Necessarily) Byrd Avenue (Michael Peter Smith) - 2:35
3. Ya Got Trouble (In River City) (Michael Peter Smith) - 4:36
4. Sunday Will Never Be the Same (Eugene Pistilli, Terry Cashman) - 2:56
5. Commercial (Michael Peter Smith) - 1:30
6. If You Could Only Be Me (Carl D'Errico, Roger Atkins) - 2:03
7. Makin' Every Minute Count (John Morier) - 2:38
8. 5 Definitions Of Love (Bob Dorough) - 2:20
9. Brother Can You Spare a Dime (E.Y. Harburg, Jay Gorney) - 3:46
10.Distance (Joe Renzetti, Ray Gilmore) - 2:32
11.Leaving On A Jet Plane (John Denver) - 3:38
12.Come And Open Your Eyes (Take A Look) (Jo Mapes) - 2:18
Like To Get To Know You 1968
13.The Swingin' Gate (Geoffrey Meyers, John Ferrell) - 2:14
14.Prescription for the Blues (Little Brother Montgomery, Red Saunders) - 3:07
15.Three Ways from Tomorrow (Lefty Baker) - 3:25
16.My Bill (Bob Dorough, Daniel Greenburg, Monte Ghertler) - 2:28
17.Sunday Mornin' (Margo Guryan) - 3:54
18.Echoes (Everybody's Talkin') (Fred Neil) - 3:10
19.Suzanne (Leonard Cohen) - 3:51
20.Stuperflabbergasted (F. Summers, R. Bruce, Carlos Bernal) - 1:10
21.Like to Get to Know You (Stuart Scharf) - 2:15
22.Chick-A-Ding-Ding (Stuart Scharf) - 2:23
23.Stardust (Hoagy Carmichael, Mitchell Parish) - 3:32
24.Coda (Like to Get to Know You) (Stuart Scharf) - 1:00
Disc 2
Anything You Choose B/W Without Rhyme Or Reason 1969
1. Anything You Choose (Stuart Scharf) - 2:53
2. And She's Mine (Kenny Hodges) - 2:39
3. Yesterday's Rain (Eustace Baker) - 3:34
4. Hong Kong Blues (Hoagy Carmichael) - 3:47
5. Nowhere to Go (Stuart Scharf) - 0:51
6. Give a Damn (Bob Dorough, Stuart Scharf) - 3:36
7. Leopard Skin Phones (Eustace Baker, Kenny Hodges) - 2:57
8. But Back Then (Spoken) (Little Brother Montgomery) - 1:09
9. Mecca Flat Blues (Little Brother Montgomery, Elaine McFarlane) - 3:23
10.Without Rhyme or Reason (Bob Dorough, Fran Landesman) - 2:32
11.5-8 (Pedagogal Round #2) (Bob Dorough) - 1:12
12.Jane (Stuart Scharf) - 3:15
13.Since You've Gone (Stuart Scharf) - 4:37
Spanky's Greatest Hits 1969
14.Sunday Will Never Be the Same (Eugene Pistilli, Terry Cashman) - 2:57
15.Makin' Every Minute Count (John Morier) - 2:33
16.Lazy Day (George Fischoff, Tony Powers) - 3:05
17.Commercial (Michael Peter Smith) - 1:31
18.It Ain't Necessarily Byrd Avenue (Michael Peter Smith) - 2:35
19.Everybody's Talkin' (Fred Neil) - 3:16
20.Sunday Mornin' (Margo Guryan) - 6:12
21.Like to Get to Know You (Stuart Scharf) - 3:18
22.Give a Damn (Bob Dorough, Stuart Scharf) - 3:36
23.Three Ways from Tomorrow (Lefty Baker) - 3:21
24.And She's Mine (Kenny Hodges) - 3:26
25.Yesterday's Rain (Lefty Baker) - 2:37
Disc 3
Spanky And Our Gang Live 1970
1. Nagasaki (Harry Warren, Mort Dixon) - 1:13
2. Amelia Earhart's Last Flight (Dave McEnery) - 4:20
3. Waltzing Matilda (Banjo Paterson, Marie Cowan) - 3:50
4. Brother, Can You Spare a Dime (E.Y. Harburg, Jay Gorney) - 4:30
5. Steel Rail Blues (Gordon Lightfoot) - 3:05
6. Oh Daddy (Little Brother Montgomery, Elaine McFarlane) - 3:22
7. Dirty Old Man (Unknown) - 2:07
8. The Klan (M. Smith) - 4:40
9. That's What You Get for Lovin' Me (Gordon Lightfoot) - 2:20
10.Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me (Carey Morgan) - 2:21
11.Wasn't It You? (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) - 2:54
12.You Got Trouble (From The Music Man) (Meredith Willson) - 4:50
Previous Unreleased Rarities
13.Crying (Unknown) - 3:02
14.Chick-A-Ding-Ding (Mono Mix) (Stuart Scharf) - 2:23
15.Give a Damn (Stereo Single Mix) (Bob Dorough, Stuart Scharf) - 2:56
16.Yesterday's Rain (Stereo Single Mix) (Lefty Baker) - 2:37
17.Anything You Choose (Stereo Single Mix) (Stuart Scharf) - 2:53
18.Everybody's Talkin' (Echoes) (Stereo Single Mix) (Fred Neil) - 3:16
19.Give A Damn (Public Service Announcement) (Bob Dorough, Stuart Scharf) - 1:02
Disc 4
The Mono Single Mixes
1. And Your Bird Can Sing (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 1:48
2. Sealed With a Kiss (Gary Geld, Peter Udell) - 2:03
3. Sunday Will Never Be the Same (Eugene Pistilli, Terry Cashman) - 2:56
4. Distance (Joe Renzetti, Ray Gilmore) - 2:232
5. Making Every Minute Count (John Morier) - 2:38
6. If You Could Only Be Me (Carl D'Errico, Roger Atkins) - 2:03
7. Lazy Day (George Fischoff, Tony Powers) - 3:05
8. (It Ain't Necessarily) Byrd Avenue (Michael Peter Smith) - 2:35
9. Sunday Morning (Margo Guryan) - 3:00
10.Everybody's Talkin' (Echoes) (Fred Neil) - 3:10
11.Like to Get to Know You (Stuart Scharf) - 2:15
12.Three Ways from Tomorrow (Lefty Baker) - 3:25
13.Give A Damn (Bob Dorough, Stuart Scharf) - 2:35
14.The Swinging Gate (Geoffrey Meyers, John Ferrell) - 2:14
15.Yesterday's Rain (Lefty Baker) - 3:20
16.Without Rhyme or Reason (Bob Dorough, Fran Landesman) - 2:29
17.Anything You Chose (Stuart Scharf) - 2:46
18.Mecca Flat Blues (Little Brother Montgomery, Elaine McFarlane) - 3:21
19.And She's Mine (Kenny Hodges) - 2:34
20.Leopard Skin Phones (Eustace Baker, Kenny Hodges) - 2:56
21.Echoes (Everybody's Talkin') (Fred Neil) - 3:10

Spanky And Our Gang
*Elaine "Spanky" McFarlane - Vocals
*Malcolm Hale - Lead Guitar, Trombone, Vocals
*Nigel Pickering - Guitar, Vocals
*Paul "Oz" Bach - Vocals
*John "The Chief" Seiter - Drums
*Kenny Hodges - Bass, Vocals
*Lefty Baker (Eustace Britchforth) - Banjo, Vocals
*Artie Schroeck - Organ, Piano
*Donald McDonald - Drums
*Richsrd Davis - Bass
*Bill LaVorgna - Drums
*Chet Amsterdam - Bass
*Walter Raim - Twelve String Guitar
*Little Brother Montgomery - Piano, Vocals
*Hal Blaine - Drums
*Larry Knechtel - Bass
*Mike Deasy - Guitar
*Red Rhodes - Steel Guitar
*Lee Katzman - Trumpet

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Monday, March 19, 2018

The Soul Survivors - Expressway To Your Heart (1967 us, amazing funky philly sound vibes)

Richie Ingui and his brother Charlie led the Soul Survivors, the vocal group best known for "Expressway to your Heart," the 1967 hit that laid the foundation for Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff's Sound of Philadelphia.

The Ingui brothers grew up on Manhattan's Lower East Side, and along with fellow founding member Kenny Jeremiah, recorded as the Dedications from 1962 to 1964. The next year, the band moved to Philadelphia, and made their name with "Expressway," which was released on the Crimson record label. It was the first hit that Gamble and Huff wrote and produced together.

It reached No. 4 on the Billboard pop chart, establishing Gamble and Huff as successful hit-makers four years before they would found Philadelphia International Records (PIR), and has endured as a TSOP classic, with its signature opening riff sounded with honking car horns.

Gamble wrote the timeless Philadelphia lyric that likens an out-of-gas love affair to a traffic jam on the Schuylkill Expressway while stuck in traffic on his way to see his then-girlfriend, "Mashed Potato Time" singer Dee Dee Sharp. "Not only did they bring our Philly Sound and Gamble & Huff to the national spotlight," Gamble and Huff said in a joint statement that praised the late singer for his "unique and mellow voice." "But they truly were like brothers to us. Richie was a true soul singer who sang from the heart."

After "Expressway," the Soul Survivors had lesser chart hits with "Explosion in Your Soul" later in 1967 and "Impossible Mission (Mission Impossible)" the following year. Their other signature songs were "Mama Soul" from 1969 and "City of Brotherly Love," which came out in 1974 on TSOP Records. "It don't matter where you been, or what color skin you're in," they sang in the ode to their adopted hometown. In 1976, they recorded "Happy Birthday America" for PIR, to mark the nation's bicentennial celebration in Philadelphia.

The group had split by the late 1970s, and Ingui worked as a house painter, but he and his brother re-formed the band in 1987, and continued to perform. In 2009, they joined Daryl Hall and John Oates onstage in one of the final shows at the Spectrum in South Philadelphia. At the Marian Anderson Awards at the Kimmel Center in November, they energetically serenaded honorees Gamble, Huff, and Patti LaBelle with a Philly sound medley, including "Expressway to Your Heart."

Richie Ingui died of heart failure on January 13, 2017, at the age of 70.
by Dan DeLuca
1. Do You Feel It - 3:44
2. Please, Please, Please (James Brown, Johnny Terry) - 3:27
3. Too Many Fish In The Sea / Shake 5:50
4. Dathon's Theme - 2:44
5. Taboo - India - 3:41
6. Expressway (To Your Heart) (Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff) - 2:19
7. Respect (Otis Redding) - 2:40
8. A Change Is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke) - 3:46
9. Hey Gyp (Donovan Leitch) - 4:52
10.The Rydle - 2:59
11.Explosion In Your Soul - 2:34
12.Impossible Mission - 2:21
13.Poor Man's Dream - 2:52
14.Explosion In Your Soul (Extended Version) (Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff) - 2:56
All songs written by Charles Ingui, Richard Ingui except where stated

The Soul Survivors
*Richard Ingui - Vocals
*Charles Ingui - Vocals
*Kenny Jeremiah - Vocals
*Chuck Trois - Guitar
*Joey Fongioni - Drums
*Ronnie Vance - Bass
*Paul Ventunni - Keyboards

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Gomorrha - I Turned To See Whose Voice It Was (1972 germany, great heavy prog krautrock, 2013 remaster)

Gomorrha was a potentially fantastic German group that played in an early 70s hard rock/proto-prog style that was similar to the types of contemporary experimental Krautrock being played in Germany at the time. Gomorrha had a decidedly more Anglo-American element than did other guitar freak-out bands like Ash Ra Tempel or Guru Guru. Not only were the lyrics in English, but the group had a more distinct hard rock style, like a more psychedelic Black Sabbath with an eccentric and frenzied Robert Plant on vocals.

Gomorrah came out of Köln, the late 60s by Helmut Pohl (drums) and Eberhard Krietsch (keys) were established. With Ad Ochel and Ali Claudi joined at two guitarists in the band. In 1971, at the BASF label, the debut of the group ("Trauma"), which originally registered in the original German version was discarded and the album, the band once again recorded with English lyrics. These commitments were the singer Peter Otten. In 1972 appeared the second and last album Brain of Gomorrah ("I Turned To See Whose Voice It Was"). Previously had joined the band with Mike Eulner a full-time bassist. In 1973, the group quit music and went into the workforce. A pity really.

"This album is a milestone of progressive rock.", there is to read on the Krautrock page. Oho! After all, there are two numbers of "I Turned To See Whose Voice It Was", the second and last album of Gomorrah, usually this is a fairly varied, bluesy hard rock or organ Protoprog, the surprise here from the speakers. Like a cross between Black Sabbath and Procol Harum does this often: hit-edged, hard guitar classically-inspired cascade organ, accompanied by drifting drums. However, still more is offered. From time to time there are in fact quite relaxed on the acoustic guitar to hear, discreetly accompanied (in the middle part of "Dance On A Volcano", for example) of the percussion, which is reminiscent of various productions of groups that were located on the West Coast. 

The title track falls into this category, which, as well as the following "I Try To Change The World" now and then degenerates into a jaunty, folky-psychedelic jam, in the latter number also accompanied by the then roaring organ. Nice! Peter Ottens song fits quite well with the music, is not burdened accent, but sometimes looks a little forced and affected. Otherwise there is not much to complain about. Gomorrah have recorded with "I Turned To See Whose Voice It Was" a virtuoso already put forward album that does not need to hide from Anglo-American models or contemporaries and also has a quite unique touch. A milestone of progressive rock, the disc but not sure. 

Rather, the album offers a dignified, quite complex, bluesy melancholic hard rock, with an occasional, relaxed West Coast logging and organ that would have been so (and in such perfection) might not be expected from a German group of the early 70s. Particularly herbaceous, in meditiv-cosmic or amateurish-experimental sense, "I Turned To See Whose Voice It Was" is not, anyway.

Gomorrha had a decidedly more Anglo-American element than did other guitar freak-out bands like Ash Ra Tempel or Guru Guru. Not only were the lyrics in English, but the group had a more distinct hard rock style, like a more psychedelic Black Sabbath with an eccentric and frenzied Robert Plant on vocals. The main instruments are organ and guitar, which make for some fantastically volcanic moments, as in the titanic opening riff. There is also, oddly enough, something of an American soul or blues influence that often rears its head throughout, especially in the vocals. 

The band's essential elements make for a pretty incredible mixture of German noise rock and embryonic British heavy metal. Unfortunately the good parts aren't really pulled off for the duration of the album, and are watered down by some poor meandering sections and wordy narratives delivered for the sake of the album concept...the very cleverly titled "I Turned to See Whose Voice it Was" (referencing the Biblical story of Lot's wife) The album seems to be a Biblical concept album involving the Apocalypse of St. John. Incidentally, this album tends to fall into the same sort of traps as Aphrodite's Child's 666, another concept album relating the Apocalyptic saga. "Opening of the Sealed Book" definitely sounds like it could have been on that album, basically a simple guitar riff droning on behind an excessive relation of endless Biblical imagery. 

The opener, "Dance on a Volcano," starts out awesome, with a heavy organ/guitar riff blazing beneath the aforementioned Plant-style vocals. Unfortunately, the song loses itself midway through with some random acoustic guitar diddling. "Dead Life" is one of the better tracks, a heavier song playing towards the group's strengths, and keeping the experimental portions somewhat interesting. The album picks up big time towards the end with "I Try to Change This World" and "Tititsh Child," which features some intense guitar solos, heavy riffs and cool vocals, as well as some great organ playing on the latter. It would have been great if the whole album sounded like this,where fans of complex progressive rock go scratching their heads wondering what the big deal is. It's underground rock, baby. Nothing more than simple blues rock motifs, gruff vocals, pounding drums, organ shards, and the cherry topping is the long stretches of fuzzy guitar solos, all played And since it's on Brain, naturally Conny Plank was at the controls, so you can expect all sorts of echoing, phasing, and every other studio trick that just plain sounds cool. 

Dominated sound by ecclesiastical organ Hammond played by Eberhard Krietsch and the spaced out acid guitars of Ali Claudi and Ad Ochel, the lyrics are suitably bizarre, concerning life, death, religion and visionary dreams with a lot of quoting from the Book of Revelation by English singer Peter Otten. Bassist Mike Eulner and drummer Helmut Pohl anchor some tasty psychedelic jams that are played in the fashion that only the best Krautrockers can pull off. So while not necessarily memorable, it is the kind of album that sounds great while playing it. And really, isn't that when it matters most? So strap your seat belt on, plug in your air guitar, and get ready to jam. This is a brilliant mix of psychedelic and progressive rock that never gets raunchy or heavy. Head-melting electric guitars, Hammond organ freakouts mingling with quiet acoustic passages and weird lyrics make this an album that should be in any Krautrock fan's collection.
by Adamus67
1. Dance On A Volcano (Gomorrha, Ad Ochel) - 9:59
2. Opening Of The Sealed Book (Gomorrha, Taditional adpt. Conny Plank) - 5:45
3. Dead Life (Gomorrha, Ali Claudi) - 3:57
4. I Turned To See Whose Voice It Was (Gomorrha, Taditional adpt. Conny Plank) - 7:48
5. I Try To Change This World (Gomorrha, Peter Otten) - 9:32
6. Titish Child (Gomorrha, Ad Ochel) - 6:59

*Eberhard Krietsch - Organ, Piano
*Helmuth Pohl - Drums
*Mike Eulner - Bass
*Ad Ochel - Guitar
*Ali Claudi - Guitar
*Peter Otten - Vocals

1970-71  Gomorrha - Trauma (2013 Remaster)

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Holy Modal Rounders - Good Taste Is Timeless (1971 us, awesome psych freak folk, 2003 remaster)

The Holy Modal Rounders recorded a pair of albums for Prestige in 1963 and '64. Thereafter, the duo of Peter Stampfel and Steve Weber lent their free-ranging skills and attitudes to the Fugs, a similarly inclined bunch who leaned more toward rock than folk. Their next album, Indian War Whoop, appeared in '67 on the iconoclastic, artist-friendly ESP label; the record's loopy chaos dropped all pretense of updating traditional material from the folk world, diving head first into stoned recording sessions with a mix of giddy abandon and heavy-lidded jamming. It's perhaps surprising, viewed from this juncture, that they subsequently signed to Elektra, then flush with rock successes (Doors, Love, etc.) -- but bear in mind the tenor of the late '60s.

This yielded the solitary Moray Eels Eat The Holy Modal Rounders, which included one of their two most well-known songs, "If You Wanna Be A Bird". Which brings us to 1970, the short-lived Metromedia label, and Good Taste Is Timeless. Recorded in Nashville at the crux of assorted fiascoes, its credits bear a couple of surprising names, with erstwhile Elvis guitarist Scotty Moore engineering and Bob Dorough ("Schoolhouse Rock") producing. In the hands of a record company that didn't have a clue, and polished to a gloss that didn't always fit the rough-and-tumble performances, Good Taste Is Timeless caused few ripples anywhere. The one exception was the song "Boobs A Lot", the other number for which they're renowned. Which is a shame, really, because this band could've been the perfect antidote to the whitewashed country of Poco and others of the day. Even with the studio sparkle, the Rounders' fractured sensibilities remained intact. Among the numerous delights is "Livin' Off The Land", which rightfully takes the era's backpacking stargazers to task, essentially dousing them with beer as they make their way down the trail to their teepees. Nice!
by David Greenberger

1. Once A Year (Michael McCarty) - 2:08
2. Black Bottom (Antonia Duren, Peter Stampfel, Steve Weber) - 2:43
3. Happy Scrapple Daddy Polka (Robin Remaily) - 2:17
4. Spring Of '65 (Peter Stampfel) - 5:49
5. Livin' Off The Land (Antonia Duren, Peter Stampfel) - 2:14
6. Love Is The Closest Thing (Michael Hurley) - 2:13
7. Boobs A Lot (Steve Weber) - 2:50
8. Melinda (Joe Maphis) - 2:24
9. Generalonely (Steve Weber) - 4:06
10.Alligator Man (Floyd Chance, Jimmy C. Newman) - 2:31
11.City Blues (Robin Remaily) - 4:16
12.The Whole World Oughta Go On A Vacation (Robin Remaily) - 3:00

The Holy Modal Rounders
*John Wesley Annas – Bass Guitar, Kazoo, Jug, Vocals
*Michael McCarty – Drums, Percussion, Tambourine, Cowbell, Vocals
*Robin Remaily – Mandolin, Violin, Guitar, Clarinet, Jew's Harp, Vocals
*Peter Stampfel – Violin, Banjo, Vocals
*Steve Weber – Guitar, Vocals
*Pete Drake – Steel Guitar
*D. J. Fontana – Tambourine
*Tracy Nelson – Additional Vocals
*Richard Tyler – Piano, Organ

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Gomorrha - Gomorrha / Trauma (1970-71 germany, excellent heavy prog krautrock, 2013 remaster)

Ad Ochel and Eberhard Krietsch, both students of architecture, loved the "New Music" of Cologne based composer Karl-Heinz Stockhausen. In addition, like so many other aspiring young musicians and music lovers of the early 1960ies, they had caught the rapidly spreading "beat music" virus. Ad Ochel, proficient ξn both guitar and piano, soon concentrated ξn his εguitar, since Eberhard Krietsch proved to bε particularly talented and technically adept ξn the keys (and the bass). Eventually, after several drummers had cξmε and gone (among them Jaki Liebzeit, later with CAN), they chanced upon music student and drummer Helmut Pohl. As soon as he got experienced solo-guitarist Ali Claudi interested in the band Gomorrha's first line up to make it into a studio was born. This was in 1969.

The eponymous album was recorded in 1970, in a time between day and dream. Conny Plank (Konrad Plank back then), who was to become an internationally renowned and experienced sound technician and producer only a few years later, took his first steps in sound technology with Gomorrha. Being nξn official, recordings had to bε done bitwise over a period of 14 days - between midnight and 3 Margot Eskens' (famous and successful German pop singer in the 1950ies and early 1960ies) recording studio. During the day the studio produced pop stars and starlets. Owing to these frequent disruptions the product lacked homogeneity to some degree. Conny Plank would call in the middle of the night: "Have you got time, I ρan continue right now". 

In spite of the hectic πaρε the record turned out dreamy, lyrical and full of fairy tales. Μore than two years later piano man Eberhard Krietsch would describe the album as "roughly speaking Beatles-orientated". And adding with a smile:" fairy tale prince music". What is special about the first Gomorrha recordings is not so much the music, called pop-music back then, than their efforts to use German lyrics instead of the usual English lyrics for their music, which was much mξrε song-oriented compared to later recordings. Ad Ochel, sole text writer and guitarist, had the difficult task of convincingly interpreting these songs. His aim was not so much telling a story ξr transporting an image with the texts, he rather looked for German sounds and syllabIes that he felt were particularly suited for singing. As a result, words and sentences were formed to a novel kind of lyrics.

Anyway, the writers were so convinced of their literary skills that they had the texts printed ξn the inside of the folding LP cover, with the result that listening to the songs and reading the texts at the same time turned out a very complex delight, as the texts were not always comprehensible, in spite of sound engineer Conny Plank's sophisticated efforts. The instruments and the vocals were strongly interwoven. From today's point of view the texts appear to be ξn an appropriate level and are by nξ means embarrassing. The Cologne daily (Eυpress) praised Gomorrha's courage to use German texts ξn their first LP as an "interesting attempt", although conceding that the attempt hadn't been 100% successful yet. The band's efforts to pertect themselves musically were used as an opportunity to predict Gomorrha a promising future. In the period that followed Gomorrha had a hard time convincing an audience that was used to English lyrics with their German texts, so eventually, after ξne year, they decided to record their songs in English. It happened that Conny Plank was now able to realize the recordings without a narrow timeframe. They were able to rerecord the music, with the delightful consequences that the new recordings displayed Gomorrha in an authentic and up-to-date way.

Gomorrha's eponymous album was not to be the final stroke of their career. In retrospect, they appeared like a phoenix from the ashes, reformed and aware of what had to be changed next. The vocals had so far been put in second place, although Ad Ochel, who actually only played the guitar, tried hard to sing convincingly. Nevertheless, the band went looking for an experienced vocalist, and in early 1971 they found Peter Otten, who had gained experience in several rock groups Ad Ochel: "Peter was a real fluke. He not only put in his good voice, but, mξre importantly, new impulses." Soon after, once Peter Otten had joined the band, they headed for the studio and recorded "Trauma" - Gomorrha's first album in English. At first the small production company Cornet put the recordings ξn file, but had them released one year later by BASF without informing Gomorrha. This turned out to be disadvantageous both career- and moneywise.

In the meantime the band had released their 3rd album on the freshly founded and now legendary label Brain (Brain 1003). Gomorrha's album was part of a package of five pubIished by Brain in early 1972, which formed the foundation stone for many legendary recordings by mainly German bands that had a decisive influence  on Krautrock. Prior to the recordings Mike Eulner joined them on the bass. Eberhard Krietsch (keyboards and bass before) had bought a new Hammond organ on credit, enabling him to take over a part of the band's musical leadership. 'n the second half of 1971 Gomorrha had got themselves a new face. 'n early 1972 they went to the studio again. 

This time they had a contract with the record company Metronome, which had entered the German market with the specially founded label "Brain". 'n order to retain their persona' and musical freedom they only made a title contract. This meant that Gomorrha couldn't be forced to throw one or two LPs on the German market every year; the decision was purely theirs. As a result it was hardly surprising that, after the recording, they didn't know what was going to happen in the future and had no answers to the interviewer's questions with regard to their next album. They spent four entire days in the Windrose-Dumont studio in Hamburg for the recording of "I Turned o See Whose Voice It Was", together with their old friend Conny Plank on the controllers and as producer. This time things went much more smoothly, as the atmosphere in the recording studio wasn't as tense as three years before. The old friendship between technician and musicians was obviously bearing fruit on this LP. Like on the other albums, the band's music was text-based.

Eberhard commented aptly:"This doesn't mean, though, that a dramatic word is accompanied by a spectacular drumbeat. Μore correctly, the music reflects the text's overall mood. If the text is nasty, so is the music." Apocalyptic and at the same time redemptive images permeate "I Turned o See Whose Voice It Was". Dealing with this complex of themes and its musical realization was Ad Ochel's very personal concern. Is environmental pollution the beginning of the Apocalypse, was one of the pressing questions! If so, the bible scribes must have seen our planet earth as a very picturesque and clean place. The dazzling celestial phenomena, clean as a pin, will find it hard to make an impression on us through all the smog, soot and thick factory smoke. Still, the singer loves being fascinated by these stately phenomena appearing in his apocalyptic imagination: one of them, for example, standing between seven golden glowers, wearing a long robe, a golden belt round his chest, snow white hair, eyes flaming like fire, his feet shiny as brass, holding seven stars in his right hand, and so on. It is particularly these colorful images that come to life in the texts. Gomorrha do not think that music ρan contribute a lot to making the world a better place, so they desist from calling upon the audience to stop using plastic bags Social politics is not their intention. Says Helmut:" If I had political aims, it would never occur to me to make music. I'd stick with language." 

The apocalyptic mood doesn't keep the six musicians from making exciting music though. "The music is influenced by our mood, which in turn depends on our feelings, which ρan me very aggressive, but also very mild." They disapprove of making music just for the sake of music and don't go for gimmickry. Their music is played against the background of what they perceive and experience. They want to address the audience with what moves them, because this is the only way to achieve a convincing effect. In other words:" Our music has to hit us first before it ρan hit the audience." Brain's promotion text on the release of the album tried to classify the band's music in the field of "extended" rock with the following text:

Six musicians from Cologne got together under the name Gomorrha in order to make modern, electronic rock music beyond the usual Sabbath-Purple-Zeppelin cliches. Guitarist Ad Ochel:" We want to include electronics in our music, but in a controlled and directed way. We aren't set on freaking out with electronics at all," Gomorrha present their first album on the new Metronome label Brain, dedicated to German rock- and pop music. It contains six songs, which are the very personal statements of six musicians who do not harbor the ambition to be perfect instrumentalists in the traditional sense. They don't set great store by harmonics and other constricting schemata - their main emphasis is on the musical message.

"We play what we feel", says drummer Helmut Pohl. For example, the title song "I Turned o See Whose Voice It Was" is an adaptation of the biblical apocalypse. At the same time it is a description of what is, an evaluation of the current situation. "Danρe On ΐ Volcano", the second main piece on the LP. goes along the same lines. "Tititsh Child" describes Ad Ochel's experience with his little son, "I ry o Change The World" expresses resignation, while "Dead Life" by guitarist Ali Claudi, one of the best German blues guitarists ever, deals with environmental pollution, without however shedding light on the trendy aspects of the highly topical issue, "I Turned o See Whose Voice It Was" by the German band Gomorrha ρan be considered one of the most important recent releases in German pop in the "extended" field of rock, not only due to its clearly perceptible very personal musical message, but also owing to their (clearly perceptible) joy of playing.

Meanwhile the students of architecture had become architects. Job and family took up the biggest part of their time and attention. In 1973 Gomorrha were finished. The rerelease is dedicated to the late Eberhard Krietsch.
CD Liner Notes, Translation by Dr. Martina Hausler
1. Journey - 3:11
2. Trauma - 13:12
3. Yesterday - 3:45
4. Lola - 4:26
5. Dead Land - 3:28
6. Summer - 2:49
7. Rainbowlight - 2:42
8. Dance Of Circles - 3:07
9. Firehands - 3:14
10.Lola - 4:02
11.Totes Land - 3:26
12.Flammenhande - 3:11
13.Reise - 2:38
14.Regenbogenschein - 3:03
15.Gestern - 3:21
16.Kreiseltanz - 4:11
17.Sommer - 3:49
18.Trauma - 9:13
All music by Gomorrha, Wods by As Ochel
Bonus Tracks 10-18 German versions

*Ali Claudi - Guitar, Vocals
*Eberhard Krietsch - Bass, Keyboards, Organ, Vocals
*Peter Otten - Vocals
*Helmut Pohl - Drums, Flute
*Ad Ochel - Guitar, Vibraphone, Vocals

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Monday, March 12, 2018

The Hollies - Hollies (1974 uk, beautiful roots 'n' roll, folkish baroque soft rock, 2009 remaster with extra tracks)

A pop/rock band they might have been, but the Hollies had far more going for them than most of the British Invasion outfits that prospered in the wake of the Beatles. The band was notable among other reasons for the three-part Everly Brothers-inspired harmonies of lead singer Allan Clarke, guitarist Graham Nash and lead guitarist Tony Hicks, all of whom penned some of the group's material, not to mention Hick's ringing, often innovative licks, the superb drumming of Bobby Elliott, and the hit song contributions of outside composers such as Graham Gouldman.

Between 1963 and 1968, the Mancunian band that took its name from Buddy Holly scored time and again with the likes of 'Here I Go Again', 'I'm Alive', 'Look Through Any Window', 'Bus Stop' (the group's American breakthrough), 'Stop! Stop! Stop!', 'Carrie-Ann' and 'Jennifer Eccles'. When Graham Nash, feeling constrained by the Hollies' commerciality, departed to form Crosby, Stills & Nash, guitarist/vocalist Terry Sylvester filled his shoes and the band had further hits courtesy of 'Sorry Suzanne', 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother' and 'Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress)'.

By 1973, however, the Hollies' best days were firmly behind them... save for one remarkable exception. 'The Air That I Breathe', written by the team of Albert Hammond and Mike Hazelwood, was one of pop's all-time finest ballads. Hammond, who before Hazelwood's death in 2001, co-wrote with him for artists like Johnny Cash and Olivia Newton-John, recorded 'The Air That I Breathe' for his 1972 album It Never Rains In Southern California, and the following year Phil Everly covered it for his Star Spangled Banner long-player. It was the Everly version that producer Ron Richards, the man who'd signed the Hollies to EMI back in 1963, then brought into EMI Studios at Abbey Road for the band to work from.

Alan Parsons had been on staff at EMI for several years, and assisted and engineered on projects such as the Beatles' Let It Be and Abbey Road, Paul McCartney's earliest albums with Wings and, most famously, Pink Floyd's legendary Dark Side Of The Moon, not to mention a number of previous Hollies albums dating back to 1969's curious Hollies Sing Dylan venture, which had convinced Graham Nash to quit rather than get involved. 'The Air That I Breathe' was the sole standout on 1974's Hollies, among tracks like 'Rubber Lucy', 'Transatlantic West Bound Jet' and 'The Day That Curly Billy Shot Down Crazy Sam McGee', but the album was important to Parsons, at least, as the first to be engineered solely by him.

While the Hollies album was recorded in all three of EMI Studios' facilities — "At that time, nobody seemed to mind chopping and changing," Parsons remarks — the bulk of 'The Air That I Breathe' was tracked in Studio Three, whose control room at that time housed a 24-channel Neve console, Studer A80 tape machine and JBL 4320 monitors. The band was set up in the live area.

The mix took place in Studio Three, and again this was a formal process. "We'd sit down and go 'Right, we're going to mix this song today,'" says Parsons. "However, we probably wouldn't spend more than three hours on it. I remember in the case of 'The Air That I Breathe', the master machine that we mixed to had some kind of speed fluctuation problem. It might have been slipping on the capstan or something, but I actually took the master to a second generation and did a bit of pitch correction on it, which was quite daring, I suppose."

Released in early 1974, 'The Air That I Breathe' was a worldwide smash, peaking at number two in Britain and number six in the States. It would be the Hollies' last major hit single.
by Richard Buskin
1. Falling Calling (Allan Clarke, Terry Sylvester) - 3:14
2. Down On The Run (Colin Horton-Jennings, Tony Hicks) - 3:54
3. Don't Let Me Down (Allan Clarke) - 4:23
4. Love Makes The World Go Round (Allan Clarke, Terry Sylvester) - 3:46
5. The Day That Curly Billy Shot Down Crazy Sam McGee (Allan Clarke) - 4:28
6. It's A Shame, It's A Game (Colin Horton-Jennings, Tony Hicks) - 3:42
7. Rubber Lucy (Allan Clarke) - 4:16
8. Pick Up The Pieces Again (Terry Sylvester) - 4:00
9. Transatlantic Westbound Jet (Bobby Elliott, Terry Sylvester) - 3:17
10.Out On The Road (Kenny Lynch, Tony Hicks) - 2:56
11.The Air That I Breathe (Albert Hammond, Michael Hazlewood) - 4:15
12.Mexico Gold (Alexander, Campbell, Oerton) - 4:00
13.Tip Of The Iceberg (Kenny Lynch, Tony Hicks) - 4:09
14.Burn Fire Burn (Bobby Elliott) - 3:10
15.Born A Man (Tony Hicks, Kenny Lynch) - 2:58
16.No More Riders (Terry Sylvester, David Gordon) - 2:58
Bonus Tracks 12-16

The Hollies
*Bernie Calvert - Bass, Keyboards
*Allan Clarke - Vocals
*Bobby Elliott - Drums, Percussion
*Tony Hicks - Guitar, Vocals
*Terry Sylvester - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Pete Wingfield - Keyboards

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