Friday, November 15, 2019

Harvey Mandel - Righteous / Games Guitars Play (1969-70 us, beautiful after hours jazzy blues rock, 2005 remaster)



Many listeners’ first exposure to the unique, slithering guitar sound of Harvey Mandel came when the Rolling Stones’ “Hot Stuff” hit the airwaves in 1976. But Mandel’s story begins more than a decade earlier, when young white guitarists roamed Chicago’s blues clubs, learning to play at the feet of legends like Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, and Magic Sam. The release of The Paul Butterfield Blues Band in 1965, with its back-cover exhortation to “play it loud,” and the group’s East-West in 1966 showcased the incendiary playing of one of those nascent guitar heroes, Michael Bloomfield, whose raw performances on both records spoke to a new generation of players.

Harvey Mandel was also on the Chicago scene, cutting his teeth sitting in with blues legends. “Bloomfield was more on the South Side, and I hung more at the club Twist City, which is the West Side,” says Mandel. Born in 1945, he was a few years younger than the Butterfield Band guitarist, but by his late teens he was consistently jamming with the likes of Buddy Guy. “I wasn’t legally allowed in a lot of clubs because I wasn’t 21, but the owners didn’t mind,” he says. “They would sneak me in and out, making sure no one fed me liquor so they wouldn’t lose their licenses.” Shortly after becoming “legal,” Mandel made his recording debut on Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite’s Southside Band, with a singing tone already hinting at the sustain that would help define his sound.

To many suburban blues guitarists, Stand Back was almost as influential as the Butterfield records, but because it was released in 1967, Mandel’s emerging style was overshadowed by Clapton’s work with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and the arrival of Jimi Hendrix. Still, Bill Graham deemed the Musselwhite band worthy to share a bill with Bloomfield’s Electric Flag and Eric Clapton’s new group Cream at his San Francisco-based Fillmore West. “I ended up staying in San Francisco, because after that show the group disbanded and everyone went their own way.

There, the guitarist met Abe “Voco” Kesh (Keshishian), a radio DJ and producer for the Mercury/Philips labels. A fan of the Musselwhite band, Kesh had just produced a No. 1 record for Blue Cheer. This let him get Mandel a solo deal with Phillips without so much as an audition. His first solo record, Cristo Redentor, in 1968, contained many of the markers Mandel would revisit over more than a dozen records and almost five decades: funky grooves with strings and horns filling out the sound, along with psychedelic production techniques like guitars panning across the stereo spectrum and flipping the tape over to achieve backwards guitar effects. Even without recording tricks, Mandel’s distinctive licks seemed at times to be going backwards, creating the serpentine sound that earned him his nickname, “Snake.”

The next year saw the release of Righteous, cementing the eclecticism that would mark all of Mandel’s music, ranging from the clean tones on Cannonball Adderley’s “Jive Samba” and the funky “Poontang” to more distorted effects on the swampy “Love of Life” and the slow blues “Just a Hair More.”
by Michael Ross

‘Righteous’ has more intriguing strings-and-guitar pieces like the torrid and nimble ‘Jive Samba’ and ‘Summer Sequence’. The third disc ‘Games Guitar Play’ broadens the scope yet again, with side one featuring Russell Dashiel a rather good singer and Mandel bringing the blues quotient up with ‘Leavin’ Trunk’ and ‘I Don’t Need No Doctor’, then on the reverse side more instrumentals including the pop-country title tune, a hit for Joe South and here played straight with a few dashes of slide guitar. A stealthy tread through ‘Capurange’ works well, as does a gorgeous reading of Horace Silver’s theme ‘Senor Blues’, at once biting but spring-heeled. This cat really IS a genius!
by Pete Sargeant
Tracks 
1. Righteous (Harvey Mandel) - 3:46
2. Jive Samba (Nat Adderley) - 4:22
3. Love of Life (Bob Jones, Harvey Mandel) - 7:36
4. Poontang (Bob Jones) - 4:04
5. Just a Hair More (Harvey Mandel) - 4:53
6. Summer Sequence (Ralph Burns) - 3:27
7. Short's Stuff (Shorty Rogers) - 6:09
8. Boo-Bee-Doo (Duane Hitchings) - 3:21
9. Campus Blues (Harvey Mandel) - 4:03
10.Leavin' Trunk (Sleepy John Estes) - 6:35
11.Honky Tonk (Bill Doggett, Billy Butler, Clifford Scott, Shep Shepherd) - 3:38
12.I Don't Need No Doctor (Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson) - 3:52
13.Dry Your Eyes (Russell Dashiel) - 3:09
14.Ridin' High (Russell Dashiel, Harvey Mandel) - 2:51
15.Capurange (Russell Dashiel) - 6:48
16.Senor Blues (Horace Silver) - 5:37
17.Games People Play (Joe South) - 4:55
Track 1-9 from LP "Righteous" 1969
Tracks 10-17 from LP "Games Guitars Play" 1970

Musicians
*Harvey Mandel - Lead Guitar
*Eddie Hoh - Drums, Percussion
*Art Stavro - Bass (Tracks 1-9)
*Shorty Roberts - Trumpet (Tracks 1-9) 
*John Audino -Trumpet (Tracks 1-9)
*Michael Barone - Trombone (Tracks 1-9)
*Baddy Childers - Trumpet (Tracks 1-9)
*Gene Cipriano - Saxophone (Tracks 1-9)
*Victor Feldman - Percussion (Tracks 1-9)
*Stan Fishelson - Trumpet (Tracks 1-9)
*Plas Johnson - Saxophone (Tracks 1-9)
*Pete Jolly - Keyboards (Tracks 1-9)
*Bob Jones - Guitar (Tracks 1-9)
*Dick Leith - Trombone (Tracks 1-9)
*Lew McCreary - Trombone (Tracks 1-9)
*Ollie Mitchell - Trumpet (Tracks 1-9)
*Peter Myers - Trombone (Tracks 1-9)
*Jack Nimitz - Saxophone (Tracks 1-9)
*Earl Palmer - Drums (Tracks 1-9)
*Bill Perkins - Saxophone (Tracks 1-9)
*Howard Roberts - Guitar (Tracks 1-9)
*Ernie Watts - Saxophone (Tracks 1-9)
*Bob West - Bass (Tracks 1-9)
*Duane Hitchings - Organ (Tracks 1-9) 
*Larry Taylor - Bass (Tracks 10-17)
*Russell Dashiel - Guitar, Vocals, Organ, Piano (Tracks 10-17)

1968  Harvey Mandel - Cristo Redentor (2003 remaster and expanded)
1971  Harvey Mandel - Baby Batter (2016 remaster)
1972  Harvey Mandel - The Snake (2016 remaster)
Related Acts
1965-66  The Barry Goldberg Blues Band - Blowing My Mind ..Plus (2003 remaster and expanded)
1967  Charley Musselwhite - Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite's Southside Band
1968  The Barry Goldberg Reunion - There's No Hole In My Soul
1969  Barry Goldberg - Two Jews Blues (vinyl edition) 
1967-73  Canned Heat - The Very Best Of (2005 issue with previous unreleased track)
1970  Canned Heat - Future Blues (remastered and expanded) 
1971-72  Canned Heat - Historical Figures And Ancient Heads (extra track remaster issue)
1974  Love - Reel To Reel (2015 deluxe edition)

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Great Jones - All Bowed Down! (1970 us, sharp bluesy hard rock, Vinyl issue)



With only one highly collectible 1970 album to their credit, Great Jones, as the liner notes to their LP declared, was an odd combination. This hard driving rock and blues trio featured Billy Cadieux, a fiery jazz-loving guitar player, ex-folky bassist and gutsy lead vocalist, David Tolmie and blues-breaking drummer, Gary Kollarus. This Brooklyn based band became part of the scene revolving around legendary R&B producer, Jerry Ragavoy's Hit Factory Studios in New York City, which is where they met up with keyboardist and songwriter, Jeff Gutcheon. Then an apprentice at the Hit Factory, Gutcheon had worked extensively with Geoff and Maria Muldaur and not only contributed piano and organ tracks to Great Jones' album sessions, but also penned the title song, "All Bowed Down."

Following the release of their album, Great Jones was invited to open two high profile evenings at Bill Graham's Fillmore East, kicking off a bill that also featured Delaney & Bonnie & Friends (then with Eric Clapton on board) and headliners, the Byrds.
Tracks
1. Cripple Creek (Joe Zagarino) - 2:11
2. Finding My Way (Billy Cadieux) - 3:08
3. United State of Mind (Dr John) - 6:32
4. You Don't Know Nothin' About Love (Jerry Ragovoy) - 4:47
5. All Bowed Down (Jeff Gutcheon) - 3:20
6. Idaho Potatoes (Billy Cadieux) - 3:00
7. Leaving Trunk (Sleepy John Estes) - 3:23
8. I Ain't Got Long (Billy Cadieux, David Tolmie, Jeff Gutcheon) - 5:14
9. Leaving California (Billy Cadieux, Richard Farina) - 3:28

Great Jones
*Billy Cadieux - Guitar, Vocals
*David Tolmie - Bass, Vocals
*Gary Kollarus - Drums
With
*Jeff Gutcheon – Piano, Organ
*Mery Clayton, Clydie King, Vanetta Fields - Backing Vocals

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Monday, November 11, 2019

Mushroom - Early One Morning (1973 ireland, brilliant, heavy prog rock psych folk with blazing guitar and fiddle attacks, 2004 edition)



This rare album by this obscure early-'70s Irish folk-rock outfit is in some ways quite similar to the brand of British folk-rock pioneered by Fairport Convention in the late '60s and early '70s. Traditional Celtic folk-flavored melodies are given both delicate and hard-rocking treatments, the standard rock instruments given a British Isles folk tinge with embellishments of violin, electric mandolin, harpsichord, tin whistle, wind chimes, recorder, and bodhran. The similarity isn't extreme, however, as to start with, the production is far funkier and more homespun -- not a bad thing at all, but a trait that needs to be noted in case you're expecting something on the order of Fairport's Full House. Just as crucially, there are definitely more influences from pop, psychedelia, and progressive rock in Mushroom's particular spin on the British Isles folk-rock genre. While at times this is very much in the rapid-fire, lickety-split, ferociously rocked-up reels'n'jigs style that Fairport and such often used in the early '70s, there are also some nearly exquisite passages of melancholy Celtic folk balladry with a mild contemporary rock slant, such as "Tenpenny Piece" and the title track.

Then there's the psychedelic guitar sustain and wah-wah weaving around the violin in "Crying," which otherwise would be a rather standard British late-'60s pop/rock song. And there's also the almost berserk keyboards of "Johnny the Jumper," where Fairport-style folk-rock meets the distorted roller rink sounds of early-'60s Joe Meek productions. It's far more naïve a record than Fairport Convention or Steeleye Span ever made, and less vocally and instrumentally accomplished, not to say more rudimentarily produced. Yet for those very reasons, it's a fairly nifty relic in the genre, if only because it's not just an emulation of obvious influences, but a somewhat odd and original twist on the format. 
by Richie Unterberger
Tracks
1. Early One Morning - 2:37
2. The Liathdan - 4:17
3. Crying - 3:53
4. Unborn Child - 3:44
5. Johnny The Jumper - 3:04
6. Potters Wheel - 2:20
7. Standing Alone - 5:36
8. Devil Among The Tailors - 2:44
9. Tenpenny Piece - 3:28
10.Drowsey Maggie - 3:57
11.King Of Alba - 4:17
All Songs By Alan Brown, Aengus McNally, Cam Lynch, Michael Power, Pat Collins

Mushroom
*Aengus McNally - Guitars, Tin Whistle, Vocals
*Cam Lynch - Percussion, Bodhran, Wind, Wood Chimes, Vocals
*Alan Brown - Bass, 12 String Guitar, Vocals
*Michael Power - Organ, Harpsichord, Moog, Vocals
*Pat Collins - Violin, Electric Violin, Vocals

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Sunday, November 10, 2019

Lucifer's Friend - Banquet (1974 germany / uk, remarkable prog jazz brass rock, 2015 digi pak remaster with extra track)



On Banquet, Lucifer's Friend finally pulled together the many different elements to their sound (prog, soul, jazz, hard rock) into one cohesive and totally distinctive style. This time out, the primary focus of the album is epic prog numbers with complex instrumentation that go through a variety of surprising and ambitious changes in their arrangements. The standout example is the opening track, "Spanish Galleon": this pirate-themed epic starts with a Latin-flavored rock groove, that is given further power by the addition of horns, segues into a lyrical, pirate-themed song section that climaxes with a rousing chorus, takes a left turn into an instrumental portion studded with jazzy solos, and then finishes with a stirring reprise of the song section. 

The other prog numbers continue in a similar vein, reaching heights of almost orchestral complexity, but working in enough hooks and solid songcraft into the compositions to keep the listener hooked. Another standout in this arena is "Sorrow," a keyboard-based epic that features a lovely midsection where a keyboard solo is accompanied by a lush string arrangement. Banquet also balances out these epics with a pair of shorter, poppier songs that still manage to show off the band's firepower and complexity in their tighter format; the best is "Dirty Old Town," the closing ballad that builds to a jazzy, horn-powered chorus. All in all, Banquet is a fine, underrated prog outing and is worthy of rediscovery by art-rock fanatics. It's an ideal introduction to the sound of Lucifer's Friend. 
by Donald A. Guarisco
Tracks
1. Spanish Galleon (Peter Hesslein, John Lawton) - 11:50
2. Thus Spoke Oberon (John F. Bacardi, John O'Brien-Docker) - 6:44
3. High Flying Lady Goodbye (Peter Hesslein, John Lawton) - 3:40
4. Sorrow (Peter Hesslein, John Lawton) - 11:36
5. Dirty Old Town (Dieter Horns, Peter Hesslein, John Lawton) - 4:46
6. Our World Is A Rock 'N' Roll Band (Werner Becker, John O'Brien-Docker) - 3:20
Bonus Track 6

Lucifer's Friend
*John Lawton - Lead Vocals
*Peter Hesslein - Electric And Acoustic Guitars, 12 String Guitar, Percussion, Backing Vocals
*Dieter Horns - Bass, Backing Vocals
*Herbert Bornhold - Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
*Peter Hecht - Piano, Organ, Moog Synthesizer, Electric Piano
With
*Herb Geller - Alto Saxsophone, Flute
*Karl Hermann Lüer - Baritone Saxophone
*Stefan Dobrzynski - Tenor Saxophone
*Wilfried Schoberanzky - Bass
*Klaus Holle - Flute
*Franz Behle - Oboe
*Rolf Lind - French Horn
*Hans Alves - English Horn
*Kurt Donocik, Luigi Schaufub, Walter Hillinghaus - Cello
*Günter Fulisch, Heinz Reese, Waldemar Erbe, Wolfgang Ahlers - Trombone
*Bob Lanese, Heinz Habermann, Manfred Moch - Trumpet
*Bruno Korzuschek, Günter Grünig, Werner Knupke - Viola
*Fritz Köhnsen, Günter Klein, Günther Zander, Heinz Donocik, Helmut Jochens, Helmut Rahn, Ingeborg Kaufmann, Otto Kaufmann, Reinhold Gabriel, Senia Daschewski - Violin
*Dave Brian, Elvira Herbert, Sheila McKinley - Choir

1970  Lucifer's Friend - Lucifer's Friend (2008 remaster) 
Related Act
1970  Asterix - Asterix 

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Sugar Cube Blues Band - Sugar Cube Blues Band (1967 us, excellent garage psych folk rock, 1995 Vinyl edition)



From Grenada, Mississippi, the Sugar Cube Blues Band were not a blues band, but more a garage-psychedelic group, as heard on their sole single, 1967's "My Lasting Impressions." 

An entirely unreleased album's worth of material by the Sugar Cube Blues Band found its way onto this LP 30 years after it was recorded, along with the A-side of their sole single, "My Last Impression." As every one of the few reviews of this disc notes right off, despite the band's name, there's no blues or blues-rock here. Instead, it's a mixture of folk-rock, folk, garage rock, and psychedelia, all written by singer Bill Crowder. While the range of songs is considerably greater than that of the average period garage band (if indeed the group could fairly be called a garage outfit), musically it's average to below-average. 

The lyrics show greater ambition than the usual such act, and at times it sounds just a bit like the stranger groups recording on the Austin scene speared by the 13th Floor Elevators. But Crowder aims too high for his vocal range, and his straining, sometimes faltering singing can be frankly irritating at times, especially when exposed more nakedly on the acoustic folky tracks. There's often a bent toward moody minor-keyed folk-rock, though "My Last Impression" is fairly typical ominous garage-psychedelia, complete with pounding fuzzy riff, half-shouted surly lyric, quasi-Eastern guitar solo, and swirling organ. But on the whole this sounds like the work of a band not really ready for or deserving of an album release. 
by Richie Unterberger
Tracks
1. Shades of Life - 1:53
2. Run, Run, Run - 2:39
3. Never Think About Today - 1:59
4. You Can't Be Free - 3:22
5. Summer Sunset/Winter Sky - 2:14
6. There Is A Time For Everyone - 3:28
7. My Last Impression - 3:40
8. Step Into Your Life - 1:54
9. In this Way - 2:35
10. Learn To Be Yourself - 2:08
11.I Need You - 3:07
12.We've Got To Get Away - 2:18
All songs by Bill Crowder

Sugar Cube Blues Band
*Budley Bays - Guitar
*Bill Crowder - Vocals, Harmonica
*Danny Lancaster - Bass
*Deve Lancaster - Drums
*Tony Portera - Keyboards

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Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Ten Wheel Drive - Peculiar Friends (1971 us, good funky bluesy brass rock, 2019 korean remaster)



The third and final disc on Polydor from Ten Wheel Drive before Annie Sutton would come in to take over for the irreplaceable Genya Ravan and they would move the organization to Capitol for one more go at it, this is the most sophisticated of the small but cherished output from the ever changing and evolving entity known as Ten Wheel Drive. The pity here is that they had really found their groove on Peculiar Friends.

The band blends so nicely behind Ravan's unique and multi-purpose voice, changing genres while exploring the possibilities of a song like "I Had Him Down." They lift a few notes from Blood, Sweat & Tears' cover of the Laura Nyro composition, "And When I Die," but the song mutates before you can hold it down. The key word is "down," and the six-minute "Down in the Cold" rocks -- co-written by the core of the band, keyboardist Michael Zager (no relation to Zager & Evans of "25/25" fame, though many have made that mistake), guitarist Aram Schefrin, and vocalist Ravan. Drummers and bassists and horn players came and went, but the musical vision of the three main partners kept maturing, "Down in the Cold" takes Janis Joplin's drunken barroom "Turtle Blues" and speeds it up a whole lot. Ravan is in total control from the very slick "Shootin' the Breeze," which is one of the most magnificent songs they ever put on plastic, to "Fourteenth Street (I Can't Get Together)." The textures Schefrin and Zager build are the perfect complement to Ravan, and they should have kept this unit together at all costs. 

The title track is a mere 19 seconds of silliness while "The Night I Got Out of Jail" takes a Beatles riff and tucks it inside an Ike & Tina Turner rave-up. The nine tracks here hardly satisfy fans of early adult rock who would demand more. What they got was "No Next Time," the closest thing to a duet on this album, and a wonderful exercise in stretching the boundaries of pop. This is tough stuff that didn't lend itself to early-'70s radio, but had the potential to move the music from this time period to another, higher level. "The Pickpocket" fuses the hard rock of early Deep Purple from their keyboard heavy Tetragrammaton Days with contemporary jazz. The arrangements and performance here are top-notch, so good that the fact that there would be no more is the most disappointing aspect of Peculiar Friends. 
by Joe Viglione
Tracks
1. Peculiar Friends - 0:19
2. The Night I Got Out Of Jail - 3:44
3. Shootin' The Breeze - 3:19
4. The Pickpocket (Aram Schefrin, Michael Zager, Genya Ravan) - 3:48
5. No Next Time - 4:34
6. Love Me - 5:05
7. Fourteenth Street (I Can't Get Together) - 5:49
8. I Had Him Down - 3:52
9. Down In The Cold (Aram Schefrin, Michael Zager, Genya Ravan) - 6:09
All songs by Aram Schefrin, Michael Zager except where stated

Ten Wheel Drive
*Genya Ravan - Harmonica, Harp, Vocals
*Aram Schefrin - Guitar, Producer, Vocals
*Michael Zager - Clarinet, Keyboards
*Frank Frint - Trumpet
*Alan Gauvin - Reeds, Wind
*Blake Hines - Bass
*Tom "Bones" Malone - Trombone
*Dean Pratt - Trumpet
*Danny Stiles - Trumpet
*David Williams - Drums

1969  Ten Wheel Drive - Construction #1 (2019 korean remaster)
1970  Ten Wheel Drive - Brief Replies (2019 korean remaster)
1969-71  Ten Wheel Drive With Genya Ravan - The Best Of
1971  Genya Ravan - Genya Ravan (Vinyl edition)

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Saturday, November 2, 2019

The Mojo Men - Not Too Old To Start Cryin' The Lost Masters (1966 us, tight razor sharp blend of garage rock and trippier elements, 2008 remaster)



In 1966, having just left Autumn Records, the Mojo Men recorded a batch of songs for their new label Warner Brothers, intended both as potential singles and a possible long-player. The San Francisco-based band had recently recruited drummer and lead singer Jan Errico from the neighbouring Vejtables into the fold, which brought about a change of direction. Originally a raunchy rhythm and blues based combo, the Mojo Men were now transformed into an assured folk rock and baroque pop band that drew comparisons to the Beau Brummels, the Byrds and the Mamas & The Papas.

Sad to say, this album’s worth of mostly original material was eventually shoved under the rug, leaving these sessions to gather dust in the vaults, although some of the tunes would be re-recorded later. But thanks to the recent discovery of the master tapes, here’s “Not Too Old To Start Cryin’” in all its shimmering glory. While a handful of cuts, particularly the Bo Diddley-influenced shuffle beat of ‘Til I Find You’, the fuzztone-spiked ‘Give Me One More Chance’ and the rebel snarl of ‘They May Be Right’ retain the band’s initial garage punk pose, the remainder of the material on the disc emphasizes polish and precision. ‘Don’t Let It Happen To Me’, ‘Look Into My Eyes’, ‘Don’t Leave Me Crying Like Before’, ‘Happiness Is You’ and the title track of the collection – which is heard in two differing arrangements - place a strong emphasis upon the band’s new found repertoire of blissed-out harmonies and flowery melody, complemented by heaps of jangly guitars, twinkling keyboards and smart and tight arrangements.

Alive with colour and light, “Not Too Old To Start Cryin’” examines the Mojo Men at the peak of their powers, resulting in a genuine pop rock masterpiece. Despite the fact these stunning songs were shelved, the band soldiered on and it wasn’t long before fame arrived. In early 1967 they netted a nationwide Top 40 hit single with a gorgeous cover of Buffalo Springfield’s ‘Sit Down Think I Love You’ - but that’s another story altogether.
by Beverly Paterson 
Tracks
1. Not Too Old To Start Cryin' (Second Version) (Jim Alaimo, Jan Errico) - 2:34
2. 'Til I Find You - 2:07
3. Is Our Love Gone (Second Version) - 2:05
4. Sure Of Your Love - 2:02
5. Don't Leave Me Crying Like Before (Jim Alaimo, Jan Errico) - 3:34
6. You Didn't Even Say Goodbye - 2:47
7. What Kind Of Man (Jim Alaimo, Jan Errico) - 2:08
8. Happiness Is You - 2:18
9. Look Into My Eyes (Paul Curcio) - 2:46
10.What's The Answer - 2:58
11.Free Ride (Jim Alaimo, Jan Errico) - 2:26
12.Times Like These (Jim Alaimo, Jan Errico) - 2:41
13.Another World (Jim Alaimo, Jan Errico) - 3:07
14.Give Me One More Chance (Paul Curcio) - 3:08
15.Don't Let It Happen To Me - 1:53
16.Remember Me (Jim Alaimo, Paul Curcio, Jan Errico) - 2:41
17.Oh Lonesome Me (Don Gibson) - 3:39
18.Not For Me (Jim Alaimo, Paul Curcio, Jan Errico) - 2:44
19.They May Be Right - 2:49
20.She Cried (Ted Daryll, Greg Richards) - 2:54
21.I've Had It (Raymond Ceroni, Carl Bonura) - 2:50
22.Is Our Love Gone (First Version) - 2:21
23.Not Too Old To Start Cryin' (First Version) (Jim Alaimo, Jan Errico) - 2:41
24.There Goes My Mind (Paul Curcio) - 2:35
All songs by Jim Alaimo, Paul Curcio except where stated

The Mojo Men
*Jim Alaimo - Bass, Vocals
*Jan Errico - Vocals, Drums
*Paul Curcio - Guitar, Vocals
*Don Metchick - Keyboards

1965-66  The Mojo Men - Whys Ain't Supposed To Be 
1967-68  Mojo Men - There Goes My Mind 
Related Act
1965-66 The Vejtables - Feel...The Vejtables 

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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Michael Chapman - Savage Amusement (1976 uk, remarkable folk blues rock, 2015 remaster with extra tracks)



Savage Amusement is Michael Chapman’s 8th album and was recorded in 1976. Recorded at Sawmills in Cornwall, Tapestry in London and Ardent in Memphis, it finds Chapman’s folk guitar stylings augmented by fellow guitarists Tim Renwick (Al Stewart) and Andy Latimer (Camel) whilst the rhythm section is supplied by drummer Keef Hartley and bassist Rick Kemp (Steeleye Span). Peter Wood (Al Stewart) and Muscle Shoals session player Leo LeBlanc complete the band on keys and pedal steel respectively.
Tracks
1. Shuffleboat River Farewell - 4:38
2. Secret Of The Locks - 3:58
3. Crocky Hill Disaster - 4:40
4. Lovin' Dove - 3:33 -
5. Hobo's Lament (Meditation) (Jimmie Rodgers) - 3:17 
6. Stranger - 7:37
7. How Can A Poor Man (Blind Alfred Reed) - 2:40
8. It Didn't Work Out - 5:25 
9. Devastation Hotel - 5:20
10.Lovin' Dove - 2:44 
11.Just To Keep You - 3:06 
12.Devastation Hotel/Crocky Hill Disaster Idea - 2:53
13.Waiting For A Train (All Around The Water Tank) (Jimmie Rodgers) - 3:21
All songs by Michael Chapman except where noted
Bonus Tracks 10-13

Musicians
*Michael Chapman - Guitar, Vocals
*Keef Hartley - Drums
*Rick Kemp - Bass
*Andy Latimer - Guitar
*Leo LeBlanc - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Tim Renwick - Guitar
*Peter Wood - Keyboards
*Mutt, Stevie, Fuzzy - Vocals

1968  Michael Chapman - Rainmaker
1970  Michael Chapman - Fully Qualified Survivor
1970-71  Michael Chapman - Window / Wrecked Again
1973  Michael Chapman - Millstone Grit (2006 remaster)
1974  Michael Chapman - Deal Gone Down (2015 bonus tracks edition)

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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Fred Neil - Fred Neil (1967 us, superb folk blues psych with raga elements, 2006 remnaster)



From the clatter of the Greenwich Village 60s folk scene came a voice that was inspired, authentic, and extraordinarily deep. Freddy Neil had one of those unmistakable voices, a baritone that could rumble your brain and leave cracks in your spine. Add to that the skills of one of the better blues-folk songwriters; his songs were covered by Karen Dalton, Stephen Stills, David Crosby, Tim Buckley, Harry Nilsson, Jefferson Airplane.

Released in 1967, Fred Neil is moody, soft, and dark, but shimmers in beautiful electric sound. It lives within the pinnacle of styles from which Freddy would draw his influence: Brill Building chops, cold hard blues, good old folk song, and raga spiritualism. The ten original compositions heard here are masterpiece quality pens. “Everybody’s Talkin'” would put the voice of Nilsson forever in popular knowledge thanks to Midnight Cowboy; Fred refused to sing for the movie and his unornamented version is a refreshing listen. Neil harbored a genuine love for dolphins, championing their causes throughout his life, and recording his dreamy ode to open the record. I harbor a specific love for the bluesy standard, “That’s The Bag I’m In” and songs like “Faretheewell (Fred’s Tune)” are too precious for my description.

Neil was a father figure to many integral players in the folk, blues, and rock movements, cited as an influence by folks like David Crosby and Bob Dylan. Go grab this essential LP if it isn’t already in your collection.
by Brendan McGrath
Tracks
1. The Dolphins - 4:06
2. I've Got A Secret (Didn't We Shake Sugaree) (Elizabeth Cotten) - 4:40
3. That's The Bag I'm In - 3:37
4. Badi-Da - 3:39
5. Faretheewell (Fred's Tune) - 4:03
6. Everybody's Talkin'  - 2:45
7. Everything Happens - 2:20
8. Sweet Cocaine - 2:03
9. Green Rocky Road - 3:40
10.Cynicrustpetefredjohn Raga - 8:16
All compositions by Fred Neil except track #2

Personnel
*Fred Neil - Acoustic Guitar, Electric, Vocals, Finger Snapping
*Pete Childs - Electric, Acoustic Guitar
*John T. Forsha - Acoustic, 12 String Guitar
*Cyrus Faryar - Acoustic Guitar, Bouzouki
*Rusty Faryar - Finger Cymbals
*Jimmy Bond - Bass
*Billy Mundi - Drums, Cymbals, Tambourine
*Alan Wilson - Harmonica
*Nick Venet - Sound Effects

1964-65  Fred Neil - Tear Down The Walls / Bleecker And MacDougal (2001 release) 

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Monday, October 28, 2019

Twilights - The Way They Played Best Of (1965-69 australia, fine beat folk baroque psych, 2013 remaster)



The migrant hostels of the major Australian cities were the fertile breeding grounds for some of the most vital and seminal rock bands in in the early sixties. At Villawood migrant hostel in suburban Sydney, some young and talented music enthusiasts had recently formed into a group called The Easybeats, and that band's story is among the most compelling as any in Aussie rock History. Meanwhile, over in Elizabeth, north of Adelaide in South Australia, another mob of young guys, like so many youths all over the world, were seduced by the magic of The Beatles' film "A Hard Days' Night". Drawn together by their British origins - similar to the impetus that sparked the Easys' genesis - Glenn Shorrock (hailing originally from Kent, UK), and his friends Mike Sykes and Clem "Paddy" McCartney (although born in Belfast, blessed with a classic albatross of a surname!), formed an a-cappella trio to try out their pop and folk wares, eventually gaining regular bookings around the relatively meagre Adelaide folk/coffee-house circuit.

Occasionally, and especially for more prestige engagements, the vocal three-piece teamed with local instrumental outfits, among them The Vector Men and The Hurricanes. Typical of the era, the latter band began as a Shadows-style instrumental act, but soon caught the Brit-invasion bug. The Twilights and The Hurricans developed a solid bond. It was inevitable that with such strong, enthusiastic, precocious and insistent talents as those of Britten, Shorrock and Brideoake rubbing against each other, the prospect of blending it all together would prove irresistible. Thus, the six-piece, fully electric-and-vocal group as we know and revere them, was born.

Still based in Adelaide, self-managed and produced, the newly-formed band released its debut single, "I'll Be Where You Are" on EMI's Columbia imprint in June 1964. A plaintive, Beatle-esque ballad written by Shorrock and Britten, the single got some airplay in Melbourne but failed to chart outside their hometown Subsequent releases made further inroads -- their second single, "Wanted To Sell", cracked the Melbourne charts and the third, the brisk, Brideoake-Britten original "If She Finds Out" gained them fans in Sydney and Brisbane. The Twilights began to cause a stir with their dynamic live shows in Adelaide, and a 'vibe' quickly built about the band who could knock out note-perfect renditions of the latest hits with ease and could also rock out with wild abandon.

Early in 1965, drummer Frank Barnard (who featured on the first two singles) was replaced by Laurie Pryor. Barnard's wife apparently objected to manager Gary Spry's strict "no girlfriends" touring regime, and so Frank quit. Laurie, a locally-known drumming prodigy who had played with Johnny Broome & the Handles in England, immediately jumped at the offer. The new line-up with Pryor remained in place for the rest of the band's career. After taking over the group's management, Spry's strategy was to establish the group in Australia's pop capital, Melbourne, so The Twilights moved there in late 1965, and rapidly became established as one of the top acts in a city that had no shortage of great bands on offers. 

It was with their classsic fifth single "Needle In A Haystack" that The Twilights achieved national success.Its refrain rang out relentlessly on our 2SM/UW; 3UZ/XY; 4BH/BC (etc) "good guy" radio stations during '66. This superb rendition of the Motown song (originally cut by Martha & The Vandellas) flagged them in no uncertain terms as group to watch The single was a Top 10 in most states and reached the coveted #1 spot on the new Go-Set national chart in October 1966. The Twilights had already made big inroads with their previous single, a rendition of Larry Williams' "Bad Boy" that comprehensively whipped The Beatles' better-known version into a cocked hat. And to consolidate, the funky follow-up single to "Haystack" -- a cover of the Sam Cook classic "You Got Soul", together with a strong first album, confirmed critics' and fans' faith in the band.

On their eponymous debut LP, The Twilights demonstrated their diversity as a recording unit. With a strong mix of self-penned tunes, songs specially written for them (by Barry Gibb of The Bee Gees and Hans Poulsen), and tour-de-force reproductions of their stage favourites, the group's dexterity with a variety of styles was proven. A blistering version of The Yardbirds' "I'm Not Talkin' " (consummately seeing off the original with a welter of Britten guitarobatics) contrasted with the mellow tones of The Who's "La La La Lies", The Moody Blues' "Let Me Go" and the thrilling harmonies of Paddy and Glenn on The Hollies' "Yes I Will". Then, just when you thought it safe, along came a white-hot reading of the Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" to close the program in a raspy-vocalled feedback freakout! The David MacKay-produced LP showcased the band's strengths, and presented a potent document to take the nascent group into its most exciting era.

The next milestone was a new established national pop competition, The Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds. Established a couple of years earlier by Everybody's magazine as a talent quest for new unsigned bands, the Battle gained greater credibility and attracted many of the nation's finer outfits when, in 1966, confectioner Hoadleys' (best known for their scrumptious Violet Crumble Bar) assumed sponsogsubip, and the recently-launched Go-Set magazine took over the co-ordination role. The stakes were higher too, with first prize being full return passage to England on the Sitmar cruise line, two definite gigs and $1,000 prize money. The subsequent competitions would see such acts as The Groop and The Masters Apprentices taking out the prize, and many other prominent outfits that would go on to greater success competed in the Battle until its conclusion in 1972. But, as in so many other instances, The Twilights were pioneers.

In July 1966, The Twilights took the stage at Festival Hall, Melbourne, before a full house of screaming, streamer-hurling fans, to win the competition ahead of over 500 other hopefuls. They were awarded bonus points for sound, originality, presentation and audience reaction -- qualities the band already had in abundance (they had already taken out the 1965 title in a local Adelaide competition the previous year). The competition's rules set a maximum group membegsubip of five, which meant that Paddy -- half of the band's twin lead vocal line-up -- had to sit out the winning performance. But he returned to the stage for the triumphant encore and was, luckily, included in the victors' spoils. Any listener will thrill to hear what the fuss was all about -- the full performance is contained on the Raven LP Twilight Time. With the prize in hand, for the world music mecca of London for their biggest adventure yet. 
Tracks
1. If She Finds Out (Peter Brideoake, Terry Britten) - 2:20
2. It's Dark (Peter Brideoake) - 1:54
3. Bad Boy (Larry Williams) - 2:11
4. Baby Let Me Take You Home (Traditional) - 2:25
5. Sorry She's Mine (Kenny Lynch) - 2:34
6. John Hardy (Manfred Mann, Mike Hugg, Mike Vickers, Paul Jones, Tom McGuinness) - 2:03
7. I'm Not Talking (Mose Allison) - 2:24 
8. Needle In A Haystack (Norman Whitfield, William Stevenson) - 2:10   
9. I Won't Be The Same Without Her (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) - 2:44 
10.(I'll Be True To You) Yes I Will (Gerry Goffin, Russ Titelman) - 2:52 
11.You've Got Soul (Margaret Nash) - 2:23 
12.What's Wrong With The Way I Live? (Allan Clarke, Graham Nash, Tony Hicks) - 1:58   
13.9.50 - 2:31 
14.Cathy Come Home - 2:01 
15.Young Girl (Laurie Pryor) - 2:26 
16.Time And Motion Study Man (Parsons, Terry Britten) - 2:13
17.The Way They Play - 2:14
18.Always - 2:37
19.Once Upon A Twilight - 2:25
20.What A Silly Thing To Do - 2:46
21.Paternosta Row - 3:19
22.Comin' On Down - 2:23
23.Lotus - 2:57
24.Bessemae - 3:07
25.Mr. Nice - 2:01
26.Tell Me Goodbye - 2:24
27.2000 Weeks - 2:10
28.Bargain Day - 3:01
All songs by Terry Britten except where stated

Twilights
*Peter Brideoake - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Terry Britten - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*John Bywaters - Bass
*Clem "Paddy" Mccartney - Lead Vocals
*Glenn Shorrock - Lead Vocals
*Frank Barnard - Drums (1964-65)
*Laurie Pryor - Drums (1965-69)

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Sunday, October 27, 2019

Fred Neil - Tear Down The Walls / Bleecker And MacDougal (1964-65 us, amazing acoustic folk blues, 2001 release)



Fred Neil's first album for Elektra, 1964's Tear Down the Walls, had established him as a folk-blues troubadour unmatched in his appetite for eclecticism. That album had been done as a part of a duo with the more conventional folk singer Vince Martin, their partnership ending before a planned live follow-up LP at the Bitter End in Greenwich Village could be realized. Bleecker and MacDougal, released in May 1965, gave Neil more room to spread his wings. Where half of Tear Down the Walls had been folk covers, now Fred could write virtually all of the material. He could also take all the vocal leads, which he'd only occasionally been able to do on Tear Down the Walls, where he had often harmonized with Martin (who took the occasional lead vocal of his own on that LP).

As on the prior record, session men John Sebastian (on harmonica) and Felix Pappalardi (on bass) would be vital to fleshing out Neil's songs with arrangements unusually deep and powerfully rhythmic for folk albums of the period. On Bleecker and MacDougal, they were augmented by Pete Childs on second guitar and dobro, as well as Douglas Hatelid (the real name of the Modern Folk Quartet's Chip Douglas) on bass. On top of all that, some of the guitar was electric, though applied with sparse dabs. No one may have realized it, but in the process they were helping to forge an entirely new direction in contemporary music, folk-rock.

"The Vince and Fred music was more related to commercial folk music, just by virtue of what you have when you put two singers and two guitarists together," says Sebastian. "Once Fred was sort of on his own on a record, what would naturally come out would be more of the Southern musical hybrid. Whether he was doing it consciously or not, I can't say.

"Whatever we were calling it, it definitely had the qualities of rock'n'roll. But the styles were always just this side of rock'n'roll. He was a great rhythm guitarist, but he had very little inclination to use an electric. I think that was a wise choice, because that twelve-string [had] a certain kind of a propulsion you probably couldn't get out of an electric instrument. He had no objection to anybody playing an electric guitar accompanying him, but there are certainly both acoustic and electric guitarists accompanying him in the various recordings, including the [post-Elektra] Capitol stuff." (Which, incidentally, is found on yet another batch of Neil material reissued by Collectors' Choice, The Many Sides of Fred Neil.)

Neil summoned an extraordinarily strong set of material for Bleecker and MacDougal, rivaled only by his first Capitol album, Fred Neil, in consistently high quality. Fred had by this time perfected the unique persona of the bemused folk-bluesman. His sumptuous low voice sounded as lived-in as an all-night diner on the corner of Bleecker and MacDougal, the epicenter of the Greenwich Village folk scene, where he posed for the cover's memorable nighttime shot. That cover could have been the illustration for the opening lyric of the title cut that kicked off the album, where Neil found himself "standing on the corner of Bleecker and MacDougal, wondering which way to go." Unlike many a bluesman, however, Neil was not so much outraged or discouraged by life's setbacks as cheerily resigned to them. He was just a country boy, it seemed, bending with the hard knocks that a big city such as New York was bound to deliver. Either he could retreat to his woman in Coconut Grove in Southern Florida when the Village got too much, as he did on "Bleecker and MacDougal," or he could find contentment in a more philosophical, psychological space.

Nowhere were those ethos evoked more effectively than in the record's most famous song, "Other Side of This Life." Neil's most famous composition other than "Everybody's Talking," it attracted cover versions by Peter, Paul & Mary, the Lovin' Spoonful, the Youngbloods, and, most famously, the Jefferson Airplane, who made it a centerpiece of their live concerts. Also covered to good effect was the record's most delicate, melodic cut, "Little Bit of Rain," with its watery reverberating guitar. Linda Ronstadt sang it on the 1967 debut album by the Stone Poneys, and it was also recorded, albeit in an unreleased version, by top British folk-rock singer Sandy Denny.

Other highlights of the record included "Blues on the Ceiling," where Neil's blues were at their weariest and most fatalistic, though somehow they never quite made either him or the listener downright depressed. "Candy Man" reworked a song had originally been done as a B-side for Roy Orbison's "Crying," though Orbison managed to get his interpretation into the Top Thirty under its own steam. "Mississippi Train" rocked harder than anything else on what was still for the most part an acoustic record, showing he could convincingly handle uptempo blues as well as the more downbeat folk-blues he usually favored. So did "Country Boy," another tune that reinforced his image as a man ill at ease in the big bad city.

Neil's genre-blending and songwriting were extremely influential on the musicians that were about to break folk-rock wide open, as Sebastian soon did in the Lovin' Spoonful. Sebastian's own composing, he acknowledges, was influenced by "the natural way [Fred] could combine these various styles just by being who he was. It wasn't any kind of an alchemy thing of 'we're gonna pour a little of this, and a little of that.' That was very inspiring. It was also a real lesson in how to let a lyric sound like it just fell out of your mouth, like you hadn't really labored over it. Fred always had that quality about his songs. As a songwriter, at that time [when Sebastian and Neil were playing together], I maybe had written two songs. But I certainly was taking note of how effortless these songs sounded.

"As a matter of fact, in later years, I began to get a little critical about them. And say, 'Jesus Christ, you had this genius two verses, why didn't you write the third verse, for god's sake?' That was the only place that I could actually say I had any influence on Fred. Occasionally I did get up the nerve to say, 'Gee, we're kind of going back to this first verse faster than I really feel like doing it. Couldn't we have another verse, Fred?' That was part of the pincer movement that Felix and I were helping to apply, sort of on Paul Rothchild's behalf." As it turned out it would be the last album that Rothchild and Elektra worked on with Neil, yet one that endures as one the greatest of all New York folk-based singer-songwriter efforts from the 1960s. 
by Richie Unterberger 
Tracks
1. I Know You Rider (Traditional) - 3:12
2. Red Flowers - 2:37
3. Tear Down The Walls - 2:38
4. Weary Blues (Hank Williams) - 4:16
5. Toy Balloon (Vince Martin) - 1:53
6. Baby - 4:34
7. Morning Dew (Bonnie Dobson) - 4:13
8. I'm A Drifter (Travis Edmonson) - 2:32
9. Linin' Track (Traditional) - 2:41
10.Wild Child In A World Of Trouble - 2:19
11.Dade County Jail - 3:04
12.I Got 'em - 3:09
13.Lonesome Valley (Traditional) - 3:07
14.Bleecker And MacDougal - 2:15
15.Blues On The Ceiling - 2:26
16.Sweet Mama - 2:39
17.Little Bit Of Rain - 2:24
18.Country Boy - 2:29
19.Other Side Of This Life - 2:58
20.Mississippi Train - 2:22
21.Travelin' Shoes - 2:19
22.The Water Is Wide (Traditional) - 4:19
23.Yonder Comes The Blues - 1:53
24.Candy Man - 2:30]
25.Handful Of Gimme - 2:16
26.Gone Again - 3:16
All songs by Fred Neil except where noted
Tracks 1-13 with Vince Martin from LP "Tear Down The Walls" 1964
Tracks 14-26 from LP "Bleecker And MacDougal" 1965

Musicians
Fred Neil - Guitar, Vocals
Vince Martin - Guitar, Vocals
Felix Pappalardi - Bass, Guitar, Harmonica
John Sebastian - Guitar, Harmonica
Pete Childs - Dobro, Guitar
Douglas Hatlelid - Bass

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Thursday, October 24, 2019

The Bonniwell Music Machine - Ignition (1965-69 us, fascinating garage psych rock)



These recordings represent a contemporaneous diversity of late sixties rock.

"Everything is Everything": This is what the fool on the hill said, but a confused guru once said, "I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous." I was that guru. Advise & Consent stands aside and stares at the enigma of romantic inertia — as derived by an agreement of separation that satisfies no part of its expectations. Not unlike the Clinton administration.

"This Should Make You Happy" refers to producer Brian Ross, and so accommodates commercial clichés of the day it spoofs what never was, bubble gum punk.

"Black Snow" was written an hour after discussing human perceptions of reality with Jose Felliciano, and is meant as a metaphor for what it's like to be blind, physically, and to God.

"Mother Nature/ Father Earth" was recorded a decade before ecology became a term known and used, and its arrangement is due primarily to the talents of then keyboardist, Holly McKinley. God help us if this song becomes an anthem for environmental extremists, we'll all wind up with plastic Christmas trees.

"Dark White" reflects the urgent revisionism of 60's morality: If it moves, fondle it. The blame for this song can be placed squarely on the shoulders of Tarzan, the ape man. This was the only book my father ever read to me. Why he chose the Edgar Rice Burroughs classic is known only to Gloria Steinman, whose next act of feminism will be to have a rib removed. It didn't matter that I couldn't understand how a boy could be raised by apes. I figured if running around in a loin cloth and beating your chest was good enough for Cheetah then it was good enough for Jane. That seemed to be the problem. My father would skip portions of the text referring to any maneuvers leading to seduction. For a long time I believed the Stork delivered Tarzan in diapers, and that he just never got around to taking them off...

Just when you think the Machine's impetuous ignition into pop R&B has run out of gas, "Smoke & Water" shifts gears, and a white man sings the blues without once using the 7th of the chords. At best it can be said of the lyrics that the author was stoned. What makes them worse than they are is that he wasn't.

"Smoke" is a rehearsal song, authored as a means to set sound levels for recording. The lead guitar is a curious mixture; Ravi Shankar practices punk twang. But Mark always played with affectionate wonder — regardless of the genre, which is all the more remarkable when, in "Point of No Return," he was called upon to reveal the source of its deepest agony.
Slam Shift


Four songs written specifically for the Music Machine before the group was named. Soon to be known as the Ragamuffins, the trio featured Ron Edgar on drums, Keith Olsen, bass, and writer, Sean Bonniwell, guitar and vocals:

Two Much: The lyrics are chauvinistically delicious, but equal to a car in the race so far behind it eems to be first.

The romantic advice in "Push Don't Pull" is prematurely politically correct as well. As a tactic to persuade full grown women, it's an exercise in futility. It doesn't work on small daughters either. I regard these three songs as born from primal 60's melodies, however, it wouldn't be amiss to assume that "Talk Me Down" points to the future with the same middle finger accused of writing "Talk Talk," and because each song has elements indispensable to its conception they should be regarded as the true birth babies of the Music Machine.

Then there's the thoughtful premonitions in "Chances": Decorated with intonations common to the folk climate of the early 60's, "Chances" approximates the panache of British ballads — ala Gerry & The Pacemakers — but the transferal of that common instrumentation to "militant folk" included a 12 string acoustic lead answered by a punk slam to the brain, an electric lead with sonic distortion that will break your toilet bowl.

All this occurs in "Point of No Return." Featured as "Ignition's" true finale, "Point" is a mixture of folk rock and punk blues, the first of its kind. That the Music Machine invented alternative rock is still open to question. The birth wail of power rock born punk — emanating from the band's garage, is not. Perhaps such a destiny is inevitable for a songwriter who began his career playing trumpet (the photo above appeared on the cover of Down Beat magazine in 1943). For one now known as the grandfather of punk by disciples of the garage, it's not likely that such a misnomer will be validated until he dies from inhaling exhaust.
by Sean Bonniwell
Tracks
1. Everything Is Everything (Sean Bonniwell, Harry Garfield) - 1:52
2. Two Much - 2:02
3. Advise And Consent - 2:58
4. This Should Make You Happy - 1:53
5. Black Snow - 2:30
6. Chances - 3:07
7. Mother Nature, Father Earth - 2:14
8. Talk Me Down - 1:48
9. Dark White - 4:13
10.Push Don't Pull - 2:15
11.Smoke And Water - 3:19
12.King Mixer - 2:43
13.Unca Tinka Ty - 2:04
14.Citizen Fear - 2:28
15.Worry (Sean Bonniwell, Paul Buff) - 2:11
16.Worry (Alternate Version) - 2:15
17.Tell Me What Ya Got - 2:06
18.Point Of No Return - 2:40
19.902 (Sean Bonniwell, Harry Garfield) - 1:57
All songs by Sean Bonniwell except where noted
Tracks 6, 8, 10 as The Ragamuffins

Personnel
*Sean Bonniwell - Rhythm Guitar , Horn, Vocals
*Ron Edgar - Drums (The Ragamuffins 1965-66, Music Machine 1966-67)
*Keith Olsen - Bass, Vocals (The Ragamuffins 1965-66, Music Machine 1966-67)
*Doug Rhodes - Bass, Flute, Horn, Organ, Tambourine, Vocals (Music Machine 1966-67)
*Mark Landon - Guitar (Music Machine 1966-67)
*Ron Edgar - Drums (Music Machine 1966-67)
*Harry Garfield - Organ (Music Machine 1967-68)
*Jerry Harris – Drums (Music Machine 1967-68)
*Eddie Jones - Bass (Music Machine 1967-68)
*Guile Wisdom - Lead Guitar (Music Machine 1967-68)

1966-67  The Music Machine - The Ultimate Turn On (2006 two disc set with unissued material) 
1968-69  The Music Machine - The Bonniwell Music Machine (2014 double disc edition)
Related Act
1969  .S. Bonniwell - Close (2012 digi pak edition) 

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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Avalanche - Perseverance Kills Our Game (1979 holland, essential electric folk jazz rock, 2014 remaster)



Dutch band Avalanche formed in the early '70s and recorded Perseverance Kills Our Game, their only album, in 1979, completed in just a day,recorded essentially live and unedited and released as a private edition of 500 copies. The group’s sound had been gestating since the early 70s where, in truth, it remained: mellow electric folk-rock with period flute, piano, a decent jazzy rhythm section – and all instrumental recordings, bar one vocal track. Standout musician is guitarist Daan Slaman, who saves the best till last: the 11-minute Oblivion, on which, after a gentle acoustic guitar/flute intro, the slow-burning album finally ignites in a compelling, fluid, sustained guitar crescendo that’s more Dave Gilmore than Richard Thompson. Enjoyable and highly engaging.
by Mick Houghton 
Tracks
1. Lodalientje - 3:55
2. Cola-Tik - 2:47
3. Hymn On Wind And Water - 5:17
4. Maiden Voyage - 6:56
5. Gimmick For 20 Fingers - 1:18
6. Transcendence For Leo) - 7:11
7. Images Of Long Gone By - 2:29
8. Oblivion - 11:14
All compositions by Avalanche, Track #4 Lyrics by Fred Dekker

Avalanche
*Rob Dekker - Keyboards
*Daan Slaman - Guitar
*Jan Blom - Vocals, Mandolin, Guitar, Bass
*Marcella Neeleman - Flute
*Fred Dekker - Bass Guitar
*Johan Spek - Drums

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Monday, October 21, 2019

Blues Dimension - B.D. Is Dead, Long Live B.D. (1969 holland, splendid jazz blues psych brass rock, 2014 remaster)



One of the most underrated Nederpop bands from the 60s was the Zwolle band Blues Dimension . A unique band because they were one of the first to join a brass section. Originally the band played rhythm ‘n’ blues but their influence widened from psych and jazzy tunes.

In the three years of existing, members changed. At the time of they third and last album “B.D. Is Dead, Long Live B.D.” in 1969, band consisted of saxophonist Rudy van Dijk, drummer Herman van Boeijen, bassist Jaap van Eik, singer Leen Ripke, keyboardist Helmig van der Vegt, bassist Herman Deinum, guitarist Cees de Best and trumpet player Michel Sardoen .

The album opens with the beat ballad Stay with flowing organ and piano playing by van der Vegt. What is particularly striking in this song is how underrated guitarist Cees de Best is. His beautiful game is very reminiscent of Eelco Gelling's. Singer Leen Ripke also appears to be an excellent bluesy singer. The role of the blazers is meager because they are added at the end of the song. The wind instruments can hardly be heard on this album.

Battlefield Of Love was the last single from the band and did not get much of sales, even so this ballad can still be counted as one of the pearls of the Nederpop,. vory Tower Of Utopia is also a psychedelic ballad with a bluesy touch by the vocals of Ripke.

Supernatural Powers is an up-tempo funky blues rocker with excellent bass from Deinum and bluesy piano. In the cover of Willie Dixon's I Ain't Superstitious  you can hear the pure blues side of Blues Dimension. Here again the Muskee-like vocals of Ripke stand out. Society's Child is also a cover by Janis Ian, a psychedelic funky song.

The title track “BD Is Dead, Long Live BD” is  an instrumental song. This jazzy song focuses on saxophonist Rudy van Dijk. The cover of the Yardbirds song Shapes Of Things sounds like it is being sung by Rod Stewart. In the blues rocker Cornflakes, the driving bass from Vaninum and guitarist Cees de Best steal the lead roles. Final song of the album, is the up-tempo psych pop “Drift Into Space”.
by Peter Marinus
Tracks
1. Stay (Helmig K. Van Der Vegt, Leendert Ripke) - 3:30
2. Battle-Field Of Love (Helmig K. Van Der Vegt, Rudy Van Dijk, Leendert Ripke) - 4:43
3. Ivory Tower Of Utopia (Jaap Van Eik, Leendert Ripke) - 3:12
4. Supernational Powers (Helmig K. Van Der Vegt, Leendert Ripke) - 2:41
5. I Ain't Superstitious (Willie Dixon) - 4:45
6. Society's Child (Janis Ian) - 4:50
7. B.D. Is Dead, Long Live B.D. (Jaap Van Eik, Leendert Ripke) - 3:35
8. Shapes Of Things (Jim McCarty, Keith Relf, Paul Samwell-Smith) - 4:40
9. Cornflakes (Helmig K. Van Der Vegt, Leendert Ripke) - 3:48
10.Drift Into Space (Helmig K. Van Der Vegt, Leendert Ripke) - 2:27

Blues Dimension
*Cees de Best - Guitar
*Herman van Boeyen - Drums
*Helmig van der Vegt - Keyboards
*Jaap van Eik - Bass
*Leen Ripke - Vocals
*Michel Sardoen - Trumpet
*Rudy van Dijk - Saxophone
*Herman Deinum - Bass

1968-69 Blues Dimension - Blues Dimension (2014 remaster)

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Sunday, October 20, 2019

Shotgun - Dallasian Rock (1974-76 us, straight up rock and roll hard edged boogie rhythms with guitar flash, 2014 remaster)


Have a soft spot for vintage Doobie Brothers, Foghat, James Gang, Cactus, and Grand Funk Railroad? Can't get enough blistering lead guitar work, instantly memorable choruses, and grooves that just get stuck in your head for hours on end? Then wait till you get a load of Dallasian Rock, a collection of recordings from little known Texas act Shotgun. The folks at ShroomAngel Records have painstakingly remastered a full 1976 recording session, as well as a host of demo & live bonus tracks, to give this exceptional band the 'offical release' they never had. Though Shotgun proved to be a popular act on the Dallas-Fort Worth club circuit, mainstream success evaded them, and after listening to Dallasian Rock you'll wonder just how the hell that ever happened. This is incredible material that should have been huge back in the day, and the amazing thing is it still sounds fresh and exciting here in 2014. The ShroomAngel team have done a wonderful job on the remastering, so be prepared for a killer listening experience.

Shotgun were Guy Houston on drums, Hugh Coleman on bass, John Michael Soria on lead guitar, Russ Skarsten on keyboards, and Billy Metcalf on lead vocals. Though they only had a run of a few years, it sounds here like a band that had been together for much longer, a well oiled machine that is firing on all cylinders. Two energetic heavy boogie numbers kick things off, "Rock Star Queen" and "In the Music", each one full of hooks and addicting grooves. "Seems Like You Would Understand" wouldn't have sounded out of place on an old James Gang album, with Metcalf's vocals falling somewhere in between Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers, Grand Funk's Mark Farner, and Joe Walsh. Lots of hard rock/funk guitar licks, tasty keyboards, and tricky rhythms on this one. "Play The Game" again has that early '70s Doobies sound down quite well, the funky keyboards and heavy riffs supporting those soaring vocals quite nicely. 

The atmospheric rocker "Last Night" is another catchy piece, again reminding of Walsh era James Gang, while the raunchy "Mercy" ups the hard rock ante, complete with sizzling licks from Soria. There's more of an atmospheric blues feel to "Feelin' Good", but I love how the band throw in these wonderful vocal harmonies that almost come from a different planet (reminds of Styx) to add plenty of uniqueness to the song. "Straight Out" again takes us down James Gang avenue, this time the Tommy Bolin era, and you could actually say there are some Deep Purple Come Taste the Band styled flavors going on here as well thanks to the swirling keyboards, bluesy vocals, and stinging guitar licks. A fine, fine song. "Keep A Steady High" is straight forward, hard rockin' boogie, and the title track is a just a solid example of catchy, '70s hard rock & boogie, a tune with a great hook that should have seen radio play back in the day. The regular part of the album ends with the moody, almost prog-meets-Southern Rock track "Leavin' On A Train", as atmospheric & melodic musical passages mix with scorching slide guitar and heavy riffs, Metcalf again impressive with some powerful vocals. If you love those blazing slide guitar runs of the late Rod Price of Foghat, check this tune out. I have to mention again the great sound quality of these songs-a killer job was done on the remastering here.

That takes us over to the wealth of bonus material included on Dallasian Rock. Most of the demo tracks were recorded in 1974, and feature earlier songs that are no less spectacular in reality, probably more in the Southern Rock & Boogie vein but the talents of the band still shine through. "We Are the Stars" has a certain Foghat or Lynyrd Skynyrd flair to it, and "You Won't See Me Again" again ups the boogie ante, with driving riffs and organ really moving this upbeat piece. Mournful slide guitar and a rootsy vibe permeate the Southern Rock styled "Cold Sunday" (lots of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers Band, and Marshall Tucker Band elements here), while the heavy rocking, guitar/organ barn burner ""I Never Wanted You to Know" is a must hear for all the Deep Purple and Uriah Heep lovers out there. 

The band dives into prog rock on the dreamy "The Way It's Supposed To Be", as lovely keyboard textures from Skarsten and some tasty Carlos Santana/Mick Taylor styled lead guitar work from Soria just infiltrate your brain. A great song. "Silver Bullets" is another Purple/Heep influenced heavy rocker featuring big guitar & organ riffs...this is early '70s heavy rock baby! The few live tracks are also quite good, with "I Know What You're Saying" being another great early song, a groove laden Grand Funk Railroad styled thumper that sees Soria delivering some scalding riffs & solos. A few of the other tunes are also pulled off spectacularly by the band, showing that their intricate songs transferred quite nicely to the stage as well.

It's also available on LP as well (minus the bonus tracks), so pick your choice, but either way this is astounding stuff from a band that, quite frankly, should have been a household name back in the '70s. 
by Pete Pardo
Tracks
1. Rock Star Queen (John Michael Soria) - 3:09
2. In The Music (Guy Houston, John Michael Soria) - 4:13
3. Seems Like You Would Understand (John Michael Soria) - 2:38
4. Play The Game (John Michael Soria) - 3:30
5. Last Nite (John Michael Soria) - 3:04
6. Mercy (John Michael Soria) - 4:05
7. Feelin' Good (John Michael Soria) - 3:48
8. Straight Out (Guy Houston, John Michael Soria) - 4:19
9. Keep A Steady High (Guy Houston, John Michael Soria) - 2:17
10.Dallasian Rock (John Michael Soria) - 3:38
11.Leavin' On A Train (John Michael Soria) - 3:58
12.We Are The Stars (John Michael Soria) - 2:27
13.You Won't See Me Again (Guy Houston, John Michael Soria) - 2:43
14.Cold Sunday (Guy Houston) - 3:22
15.I Never Wanted You To Know (Guy Houston) - 3:09
16.The Way It's Supposed To Be (Guy Houston, Russ Skarsten) - 4:19
17.Keep A Steady High (Guy Houston, John Michael Soria) - 2:35
18.Silver Bullets (Hugh Coleman) - 3:44
19.I Know What You're Sayin' (Guy Houston, John Michael) - 4:23
20.The Way It's Supposed To Be (Guy Houston, John Michael Soria) - 4:31
21.Silver Bullets (Hugh Coleman) - 4:27
22.Leavin' On A Train (John Michael Soria) - 4:24
Bonus Tracks 12-22
Tracks 12-18 1974 4 Track Demos
Track 19 Live KZEW FM 1976
Tracks 20-22 Live AWHQ 1976

Shotgun
*Guy Houst - Drums
*Hugh Coleman - Bass
*John Michael Soria - Lead Guitar
*Russ Skarsten - Keys
*Billy Metcalf - Lead Vocals

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Friday, October 18, 2019

Think - We'll Give You A Buzz (1976 new zealand, elegant melodic prog rock, 2008 digipak remaster)



Prog rock band Think were the first New Zealand act signed to WEA, releasing We’ll Give You A Buzz on Atlantic in 1976. Phil Whitehead and Don Mills came from the disbanded Beam, with Phil actually having had a short stint with Human Instinct in-between. They produced an album in 1976 called "We'll Give You A Buzz" and a single "Arrived In Time"/"Big Ladies" the following year. One further single came in 1979 with "Good Morning"/"Peanut Joe". After struggling in Australia through 1977 they found themselves in the offices of Mushroom Records, being given assurances they would be a priority act if they could just hold on a bit longer.

They couldn’t, but as a revamped version of the band was grinding to a halt back in New Zealand at the end of 1979, their original guitarist Kevin Stanton, the man who had come up with the Think vision, was riding high in the Australian charts with his new band Mi-Sex and a collection of songs he’d written in reaction to his unsavoury departure from Think.
Tracks
1. Light Title 4:09
2. Look What I've Done 8:33
3. Rippoff 5:34
4. Stringless Provider 10:25
5. Big Ladies 4:01
6. Our Children (Think About) 6:28
All songs written by Alan Badger, Neville Jess, Don Mills, Phil Whitehead

Think
*Alan Badger - Bass
*Neville Jess - Drums
*Don Mills - Keyboards
*Ritchie Pickett - Vocals
*Phil Whitehead - Guitar

Related Act
1975  Human Instinct - Peg Leg / The Lost Tapes 

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