Monday, September 30, 2019

Ten Wheel Drive - Construction #1 (1969 us, marvelous jazz blues funky brass rock, 2019 korean remaster)

This exemplary recording by songwriters Aram Schefrin, Mike Zager, and singer Genya Ravan was highly experimental in ways that Chicago, Big Brother & the Holding Company, Traffic, and other of their contemporaries wanted to be. Imagine Ronnie Spector leaving the Ronettes to join Blood, Sweat & Tears, and realize the sweet Goldie Zelkowitz from Goldie & the Gingerbreads did just that by reinventing herself here as the great Genya Ravan. The Ravan co-write, "Tightrope," is five-minutes-and-ten-seconds of psychedelic blues-jazz-funk. This is the sound Janis Joplin would refine for her Kozmic Blues experience, and while Janis Joplin and Kozmic Blues performed at Woodstock, Ten Wheel Drive were getting such a buzz they turned Woodstock down.

History would, indeed, have been different had they played "I Am a Want Ad" at that event, but with Sid Bernstein as co-manager, and songs like "Lapidary," the band had a lot going for it. "Lapidary" is a complete about face, Traffic's "John Barleycorn" with a female vocalist. "Eye of the Needle," on the other hand, was an eight-minute-plus show stopper of horns and guitars that come in like some country's national anthem. With Ravan's amazing wail at the end, it becomes powerful stuff. Songwriter Louie Hoff got to arrange his "Candy Man Blues," which puts Ravan in a nightclub setting, the piano and flutes changing the mood dramatically. This is such an adventurous and remarkable record by such a talented crew, it is a shame they didn't record 20 or more platters.

A Polydor executive made a statement that if they couldn't break Slade, they weren't a real company. Polydor did, in fact, fail to launch that British supergroup in America, and one wonders if these recordings were made for another label, if oldies stations wouldn't be playing Ten Wheel Drive today. "Ain't Gonna Happen" is extraordinary, showcasing a band on the prowl and a singer who pounces every chance she gets with a voice that does all sorts of wild things. If "Polar Bear Rug" and "House in Central Park" were a bit too evolved for Top 40, their A&R man should have brought them a single. Ten Wheel Drive could, like Etta James, play to those who crave this wonderful fusion of jazz and blues with a rock edge. A Ten Wheel Drive reunion, bringing this music back on-stage, is something that would make the world a better place. 
by Joe Viglione
1. Tightrope (Genya Ravan, Leon Rix) - 5:10
2. Lapidary (Aram Schefrin, Mike Zager) - 4:32
3. Eye Of The Needle (Aram Schefrin, Mike Zager) - 8:11
4. Candy Man Blues (Elizabeth Hoff, Louie Hoff) - 4:36
5. Ain't Gonna Happen (Aram Schefrin, Mike Zager) - 5:37
6. Polar Bear Rug (Aram Schefrin, Mike Zager) - 4:34
7. House In Central Park (Aram Schefrin, Mike Zager) - 4:32
8. I Am A Want Ad (Aram Schefrin, Mike Zager) - 4:27

Ten Wheel Drive
*Genya Ravan - Harmonica, Tambourine, Vocals
*Louis Hoff - Flute, Tenor, Baritone Sax, Wind
*Peter Hyde - Flugelhorn, Horn, Trumpet
*Richard Meisterman - Flugelhorn, Trumpet
*Dennis Parisi - Trombone
*Leon Rix - Cello, Drums, Percussion
*Steve Sattan - Horn
*Aram Schefrin  - Guitar, Percussion, Vocals
*Jay Silva - Flugelhorn, Flute, Trumpet, Wind
*Bill Takas - Bass
*Michael Zager - Clarinet, Keyboards, Organ, Piano

1969-71  Ten Wheel Drive With Genya Ravan - The Best Of 
1971  Genya Ravan - Genya Ravan (Vinyl edition)

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Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Brotherhood - Stavia (1972 us, magnificent soulful psych rock, 2018 edition)

There’s nothing particularly wrong with Stavia, the only album made by Ohio band The Brotherhood. If this were a common dollar-bin staple, it might be a pleasant surprise. But the album’s reputation precedes it, and the hype just isn’t earned. Released in 1972 in a private press edition of maybe 200 or 300 copies, the album has sold for $250 to $750, and there’s an original pressing on Discogs right now that can be all yours for $1,100. But don’t be misled by those prices, or by the name of the Spanish label reissuing the album. The Brotherhood plays perfectly competent soulful rock with a social conscience, yet there’s nothing outsider about it. 

As the band’s name and diverse lineup suggests, The Brotherhood fosters racial harmony. “Color Line” starts the album with the earnest lyric, “I’m feeling blind/ That color line, yeah!” The musicianship is solid, the drums especially fevered as the well-meaning lead singer pleads, “I’m looking to the day when people can be themselves.” It’s a commendable sentiment delivered with a little soul but with perhaps less conviction than his band, who delivers solid lead guitar and swirling, mildly acid-tinged organ swirls. Stavia offers good musicianship that evokes the mellow side of ‘70s rock, but if you seek out private press records to hear something unfamiliar and unusual, there isn’t a whiff of that here. 
by Pat Padua
1. Color Line (Bill Fairbanks, John Hurd) - 2:39
2. Rock And Roll Band (John Hurd) - 3:20
3. Back Door (Bill Fairbanks) - 2:30
4. For Her Time (John Hurd) - 3:03
5. Meditation Pt. 1 (John Hurd) - 1:53
6. Uncle (Bill Fairbanks, John Hurd) - 4:38
7. Cry Of Love  (John Hurd) - 4:04
8. Tragedy (John Hurd) - 3:35
9. Meditation Pt. 2 (Bill Fairbanks, John Hurd) - 3:26

The Brotherhood
*Bill Fairbanks – Bass, Piano, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Don Hoskins – Drums
*Michael Coe – Flute, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Jeff Hanson – Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*John Hurd – Organ, Piano, Bass, Vocals

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Friday, September 27, 2019

Brian Auger's Oblivion Express - Straight Ahead (1974 uk, essential groovy jazz rock, 2005 remaster)

Long lean groovers from Brian Auger and the Oblivion Express group – recorded with a slightly freer feel than some of the group's earlier albums, and an approach that has them stretching out nicely! Brian still sings a bit on some tracks, but there seems to be more of a focus than before on the keyboards – that nicely compressed Auger use of Hammond and electric piano that actually went onto influence a fair bit of American players at the time, in the way that Auger himself had been influenced before by their own earlier work. Rhythms are great throughout – making all tracks funky, in a laidback sort of way – and titles include a remake of "Bumpin' On Sunset", one of the band's best tracks, plus "Change", "Beginning Again", "You'll Stay In My Heart", and "Straight Ahead".
1. Beginning Again (Brian Auger) - 9:22
2. Bumpin' On Sunset (Wes Montgomery) - 10:51
3. Straight Ahead (Barry Dean) - 5:04
4. Change (Lennox Laington) - 8:10
5. You'll Stay In My Heart (Barry Dean) - 3:44
6. Straight Ahead (Live In Denver, Colorado 1975) (Barry Dean) - 5:56

The Oblivion Express
*Brian Auger- Vocals, Piano, Electric Piano, Organ, Moog Synthesizer
*Jack Mills - Guitar
*Barry Dean - Bass Guitar
*Steve Ferrone - Drums
*Lennox Laington - Congas
*Mirza Al Sharif - Timbales, Percussion

1970 Brian Auger's Oblivion Express (2013 Japan SHM edition)
1971  A Better Land (2006 japan remaster)
1972  Second Wind (2006 japan remaster)
1973  Closer To It (2006 japan remaster) 
1967  Open (2013 Japan SHM)
1970  Streetnoise  (2014 SHM)
1970  Brian Auger And The Trinity - Befour (Japan SHM 2013)

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Jim Keays - The Boy From The Stars (1974 australia, wonderful concept art glam prog rock, 1999 remaster and expanded)

Jim Keays fronted the successful Master's Apprentices until they broke up in the U.K. 1971. This marked a career change and he returned to Australia, where he worked for Go-Set magazine, formed the Rock On Agency, and appeared at the Mulwala Rock Festival in April 1972. In March 1973, he starred in the Australian version of the Who's Tommy and in January 1974, Keays participated in the third annual Sunbury Festival.

Keays then returned to music, recording his debut solo album, The Boy From the Stars, a concept album about an extraterrestrial visitor who attempts to warn people of the earth's imminent destruction. Keays, playing the role of the boy from the stars, wrote most of the music and all of the lyrics. "Kid's Blues"/"&Inter-Planetary Boogie" (December 1974) and "The Boy From the Stars"/"Take It on Easy" were released as singles and Keays undertook an ambitious tour in support of the album, but due to the size of the show, only three concerts were staged.

The anti-drug song "Give It Up"/"Love Is" was released in June 1975. He then formed Jim Keays' Southern Cross with Mick Elliot, Rex Bullen (keyboards), George Cross (bass), and Rick Brewer (drums). They released a reworking of the Masters Apprentices' "Undecided"/"For Someone" in December 1975, by which time the lineup had changed to Peter Laffy (guitar), Ron Robinson (bass), and John Swan.

In 1977, Keays formed the Manning/Keays Band with Phil Manning. The next year, Keays formed the Jim Keays Band with Ron Robinson, James Black (guitar), and David Rowe (drums). Guitarists John Moon and Geoff Spooner replaced Black, and by 1979, the band had evolved into the Keays with a revamped lineup of Moon, Bruce Stewart (guitar), Peter Marshall (bass), and Nigel Rough (drums). In early 1980, the band began recording an album which was never finished due to Stewart's ill health. The single "Lucifer Street"/"The Living Dead" was released and the band broke up.

The unfinished album was finally released in 1983 as a solo Jim Keays project titled Red on the Meter and "Lucifer Street" was re-released as a single. Keays then began working as a DJ until a new deal with Virgin in 1987 saw him fly to the U.K. to record with producer Craig Leon (the Ramones, the Bangles) and ex-Sweet guitarist Andy Scott. Two singles were released from the sessions: "Undecided"/"Dubcided" (July 1987) and "Reaction"/"Bates Motel" (October 1987). The Masters Apprentices then re-formed until Keays issued his second solo album in 1993, Pressure Makes Diamonds, on the Gemstone label. BMG reissued the album in mid-1994, after which Keays revived the Master's Apprentices again.

Keays and his fellow Master's Apprentices bandmembers were inducted into the Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame in 1998. In 1999, Keays published his first book, His Master's Voice, which told the story of the Masters Apprentices. In January 2000, Raven Records reissued Keays' 1974 solo album, The Boy From the Stars, with five bonus tracks. The Mavis's contributed a cover of "The Boy From the Stars" to the original soundtrack of the Australian film Sample People in May 2000. 
by Brendan Swift

Jim Keays passed away on Jun 13, 2014, he had been suffering from Multiple Myeloma for seven years.
1. The Boy From The Stars - 5:45
2. Take It On Easy (Jim Keays, John Brownrigg) - 4:36
3. Nothing Much Left (Jim Keays, John Brownrigg) - 5:05
4. Space Brothers - 9:07
5. Alchemical Takeover - 4:45
6. Urantia (Jim Keays, John Brownrigg) - 5:50
7. Kids' Blues - 3:28
8. The Right Way To Go - 5:24
9. Reason To Be Living - 7:52
10.Inter-Planetary Boogie - 4:06
11.Give It Up (Cocainut) - 4:10
12.For Someone - 5:40
13.Interview With John O'Donnell 3XY. 1:34
14.Nothing Much Left / Urantia (Jim Keays, John Brownrigg) - 11:04
All compositions by Jim Keays except where stated
Bonus Tracks 10-14
Tracks 10-12 from Singles releases
Track 14 Live At Sunbury 1975

*Jim Keays - Lead Vocals
*Phil Manning - Guitars
*Peter Jones - String Arrangement
*Duncan McGuire - 4 String Fretless Bass
*Mark Kennedy - Drums
*Chris Brown - Acoustic Guitar
*Peter Robinson - Synthesizer
*Greg Cook - 12 String Acoustic Guitar
*Mal Logan - Synthesizer
*Marcia Hines - Backing Vocals
*Tony Buettel - Drums
*Barry Sullivan - 4 String Electric Bass
*Billy Green - Guitars
*John Brownrigg - Harmony Vocals
*Mark Kennedy - Drums, Timpani, Percussion
*Peter Sullivan - Piano
*Lobby Loyde - Electric Guitar
*Ross Wilson - Electric Guitar
*Bruce (Wings) Bryan - Synthesizer
*Andrew Vance - Organ
*Antonio Rodrigues - Congas
*Trevor Courtney - Drums
*Col Loughnan - Baritone Saxophone
*Tony Buettel - Drums
*Mick Elliot - Electric Guitar
*Geoff Skewes - Electric Piano
*Steve Dunston - Zapophone
*Joe Creighton - Bass
*Geoff Bridgeford – Drums
*Ross Hannaford – Electric Guitar
*Peter Laffy - Acoustic Guitar
*George Cross – Bass
*Rick Brewer – Drums
*Rex Bullen – Piano, Organ

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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Freedom - Through The Years (1971 uk, good classic rock with funky mood, 2004 remaster)

Freedom were a legendary British psychedelic hard-rock band. This is their fourth album, originally released for the collectable Vertigo label in 1971. Powerful hard-rock / bluesy sound with loud wah /distorted guitars, long tracks, wasted vocal.
1. Freestone (Bobby Harrison, Roger Saunders, Walter Monaghan) - 6:15
2. Through The Years (Roger Saunders) - 4:26
3. Get Yourself Together (Bobby Harrison, Roger Saunders, Walter Monaghan) - 6:19
4. London City (Bobby Harrison, Walter Monaghan) - 4:41
5. Thanks (Bobby Harrison, Roger Saunders) - 4:39
6. Toe Grabber (Bobby Harrison, Roger Saunders, Walter Monaghan) - 7:24

*Walter Monaghan - Vocals, Bass, Electric Piano, Moog Synthesizer
*Bobby Harrison – Vocals, Drums, Percussion
*Roger Saunders – Vocals, Guitars

1969  Freedom - Nero Su Bianco / Black On White
1969  Freedom - Freedom At Last (2004 remaster)
1970  Freedom - Freedom
1972  Freedom - Is More Than A Word
Related Acts
1973-74  Snafu - Snafu / Situation Normal
1975  Bobby Harrison - Funkist
1987  Bobby Harrison - Solid Silver

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Monday, September 23, 2019

Harvey Mandel - Cristo Redentor (1968 us, splendid jazzy blues rock, 2003 remaster and expanded)

This gently psychedelic album is another of my vinyl bargain bin discoveries from the early ‘70s, which I picked up only because I knew Harvey Mandel had played with my favourites Canned Heat and John Mayall. Best known as a sideman – he later auditioned for the Rolling Stones on Mick Taylor’s departure – this was Harvey’s first solo work, dating from 1968, and an impossibly young-looking Mandel is pictured on the back artwork, a diminutive figure dwarfed by his big Gibson 355. The grooves within demonstrate not only his virtuosity on guitar, but also why his tenure with Heat and Mayall was so brief and why the Stones declined to hire him. Mayall described his technique as “Harvey’s wall of sound”, which aptly encompasses his early mastery of controlled feedback through his customised Bogan amplifier, and his later featuring of two-handed tapping, well before EVH got hold of that particular trick.

This album is completely instrumental, a rarity in pop-psych terms; the only voice to be heard is that of a wordless soprano singer on the title track. However, the stylistic diversity of the tunes and the variety of the backing tracks means that it is by no means repetitive. It was mostly recorded in LA and Nashville, using the top rhythm section sessioneers of both camps: Art Stavro and Eddie Hoh from the Wrecking Crew, stalwarts of the early Monkees sessions, and Bob Moore and Kenny Buttrey, soon to anchor Dylan’s Nashville Skykine. The LA tracks also feature tight string and brass arrangements, while the Nashville ones benefit from Pete Drake’s sympathetic pedal steel accompaniment.

The album as a whole is the best late-night-listening record I know of, beautifully laid-back funky arrangements fronted by a bewildering array of restrained guitar tricks from Mandel, dazzling but never flashy or tasteless. The titles give the idea: “Lights Out”, “Nashville 1AM”, “Before Six”. “Cristo Redentor” is Portuguese for Christ The Redeemer, and this title track is the exception to the rule of funk, being a solemn, operatic piece.

“Before Six” features some of Harvey’s most mind-boggling sustain work, the sound looping wildly between the stereo speakers, plus a mouth-watering cameo on Hammond by longtime LA collaborator Barry Goldberg and tasty brass stabs throughout. “You Can’t Tell Me” is funkier than your average Nashville session, with Harvey wringing out the best Memphis scale licks I’ve ever heard, intertwining with Pete Drake’s slippery steel chords.

The CD reissue, on the estimable Raven label from Australia, dates from 2003 and includes bonus tracks from Harvey’s Canned Heat days and from his own short-lived instrumental band, Pure Food & Drug Act. None of these quite live up to the quality of the solo album tracks, though Heat’s “Let’s Work Together” – the nearest Harvey ever got to being a pop star – has a certain boozy charm.

On this CD release the two sides of the original vinyl have been reversed, probably to make the best-known track, “Wade In The Water”, the leadoff track. The original running order works better, so if you get hold of this CD, play tracks 6-10 followed by tracks 1-5 for the most satisfying programme.
by Len Liechti
1. Wade In The Water (James Woodie Alexander II) - 7:49
2. Lights Out (Sam Cooke) - 4:52
3. Bradley's Barn (Harvey Mandel) - 3:15
4. You Can't Tell Me (Dino Valente, Harvey Mandel) - 4:17
5. Nashville 1 A.M. (Abe Kesh, Harvey Mandel) - 3:35
6. Cristo Redentor (Columbus Calvin Pearson, Jr.) - 3:45
7. Before Six (Larry Frazier) - 6:27
8. The Lark (Abe Kesh, Harvey Mandel) - 4:37
9. Snake (Harvey Mandel) - 3:45
10.Long Wait (Barry Goldberg, Harvey Mandel) - 2:43
11.Spirit Of Trane (Barry Goldberg) - 4:00
12.My Time Ain't Long (Alan Wilson) - 2:57
13.Let's Work Together (Wilbert Harrison) - 2:47
14.That's All Right (Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup) - 5:28
15.A Little Soul Food (Don Harris, Shuggie Otis) - 4:02
16.What Comes Around Goes Around (Victor Conte, Don "Sugarcane" Harris, Paul Lagos, Harvey Mandel, Randy Resnick) - 4:19
17.My Soul's On Fire(Victor Conte, Don "Sugarcane" Harris, Paul Lagos, Harvey Mandel, Randy Resnick) - 4:11
18.Which Witch Is Which (Arthur Lee) - 1:56
Bonus Tracks 11-18
Track 11 from LP "Barry Goldberg" 1969
Tracks 12-14 from Canned Heat LP "Future Blues" 1970
Tracks 15-17 from Pure Food And Drug Act, 1972
Track 18 from Love LP "Reel To Reel" 1974

Musicians (tracks 1-10)
*Harvey Mandel - Guitar
*Jacqueline May Allen - Vocals
*Graham Bond - Keyboards
*Kenny Buttrey - Drums
*Nick DeCaro - Keyboards
*Pete Drake - Guitar (Steel)
*Larry Easter - Saxophone
*Barry Goldberg - Keyboards
*Catherine Gotthoffer - Harp
*Fast Eddie Hoh - Drums
*Bob Jones - Guitar
*Chip Martin - Guitar
*Stephen Miller - Keyboards
*Bob Moore - Bass
*Charlie Musselwhite - Harmonica
*Hargus "Pig" Robbins - Keyboards
*Art Stavro - Bass
*Julia Tillman Waters - Vocals
*Carolyn Willis - Vocals

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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Sunday, September 22, 2019

John Hammond - Southern Fried (1969 us, fine blues rock with Duane Allman, 2002 remaster)

"Southern Fried" album teams Hammond with the famous Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, and four tracks with guest guitarist Duane Allman. Hammond later recalled that the studio band didn't seem to rate him highly, until Allman arrived, professed himself a fan, and asked to sit in.
by Robin Lynam 

John Hammond recalls: 
I had been sent by Atlantic Records to Memphis to record with Tommy Cogbill producing. I got down there and whatever it was, I didn’t seem to connect with him on what I perceived his direction to be. I called Jerry Wexler and said that I didn’t think it would work out. So, he sent me down to Muscle Shoals Sound. These guys backed Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and all these guys.

I arrived and assumed they would all be black studio musicians. They were all white guys. They were all a clique and everyone knew each other and their wives and it was a homegrown kind of thing. I liked Marlin Greene and he was a very easygoing and likable guy, and then Jimmy Johnson who is just a terrific guy. They all seemed sympathetic to me. I had these tunes that I wanted to do, and some were Howlin’ Wolf tunes and stuff, with Barry Beckett, Roger Hawkins and David Hood and all these phenomenal players. I mostly connected with Eddie Hinton. He was a cool guy, great guitar player and songwriter, and a great singer in his own right. I had been there for about three days and we had cut some tunes and I was feeling very frustrated and couldn’t get across some of the ideas that I had in mind. Then this guy Duane Allman and his friend Berry Oakley showed up and they had driven from Macon in this old milk truck. They walked in the door and everybody was like, ”Hey, Duane, how are you doing?”

Eddie Hinton said he was the guy that played the slide guitar on “The Weight,” but it was still not clear in my mind. Then Duane said he wanted to meet John Hammond. We decided to do a tune together and we did “Shake for Me” and my jaw just slacked. This guy was just phenomenal. So, all of a sudden all of these guys that I could not communicate with before understood exactly what I meant and that was the beginning of a short lived, but intense relationship. This was before The Allman Brothers Band was happening. Duane was just phenomenal and a really cool guy; and everything just came together and we made the whole record in one week. I didn’t get to know all the guys that well, but Duane, Berry and Eddie Hinton were the ones that I knew. Eddie was my connection to Muscle Shoals.
1. Shake For Me (Willie Dixon) - 2:44
2. Cryin' For My Baby (Harold Burrage) - 2:42
3. I'm Tore Down (Sonny Thompson) - 2:45
4. Don't Go No Further (Willie Dixon) - 2:40
5. I'm Leavin' You (Chester Burnett) - 3:19
6. It's Too Late (Chuck Willis) - 3:02
7. Nadine (Chuck Berry) - 3:41
8. Mystery Train (Herman Parker, Sam C. Philip) - 2:59
9. My Time After A While (Robert L. Gaddins, Ronald Dean Badger) - 4:01
10.I Can't Be Satisfied (McKinley Morganfield) - 3:12
11.You'll Be Mine (Willie Dixon) - 2:35
12.Riding In The Moonlight (Chester Burnett) - 2:28

*John Hammond - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
*Duane Allman - Lead Guitar (Tracks 1,2,5,11)
*Joe Arnold - Tenor Sax
*Barry Beckett - Keyboards
*Lewis Collins - Tenor Sax
*Marlin Greene - Bass
*Roger Hawkins - Drums
*Eddie Hinton - Guitar, Piano
*David Hood - Bass
*Jimmy Johnson - Rhythm Guitar
*Ed Logan - Baritone, Tenor Sax
*James Mitchell - Baritone Sax
*Gene "Bo-legs" Miller - Trumpet

1965  John Hammond - So Many Roads (2005 remaster)
1967  John Hammond - I Can Tell (bonus tracks) 
1967  John Hammond, Jr. - Mirrors (2016 remaster)
1968  John Hammond - Sooner Or Later
1970-72  John Hammond - Source Point / I'm Satisfied (2007 remaster)
1973  Bloomfield, Hammond, Dr.John - Triumvirate (japan expanded edition)
1975  John Hammond - Can't Beat The Kid

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Friday, September 20, 2019

Devil's Kitchen - Devil's Kitchen (1969 us, remarkable west coast psych blues rock, 2011 Vinyl issue)

Devil's Kitchen Band was a four piece rock and roll band that lived and performed in San Francisco from the Spring of 1968 through the Summer of 1970.  We were the "house band" at Chet Helm's "Family Dog Ballroom on the Great Highway" opening for, and often jamming with, many of the most well known groups of the times.   We performed at all of the major West Coast venues from San Francisco's Fillmore West to L.A.'s Whisky A Go Go.

During the summer of 1970 while in the midst of a Midwest tour, the band fell apart when a series of gigs at colleges and universities was cancelled in response to the Kent State shootings.  Our last  big gig was Labor Day weekend 1970 at the Kickapoo Creek Rock Festival in Hayward, IL.

Everybody wants to know about the name: Devil's Kitchen... No we weren't a devil-worship-motorcycle-gang-heavy-metal-band...  That wasn't what we were called when we formed and for the first year or two we were playing.  We started out as "Om", the Hindu word/concept (click on the symbol to learn more about the meaning)... but when we got to San Francisco there were two or three other bands named that or some variation of spelling (most notably, AUM) playing in the Bay Area.  We had spent a couple months practicing at the lakeside vacation cabin of the family of our good friend and roadie, Rolf Olmsted.  We had fond memories of our time there and named the group after the lake - Devil's Kitchen Lake, an 810-acre lake about 8 miles from Carbondale (home of Southern Illinois University). 

How did the band start?  The full version could be a very long story, but the short version is that Brett, Robbie, Bob, and Steve knew each other from playing in different groups.  Bob had been a driving force as the bassist in a local blues rock band called the Nite Owls (aka the Nickel Bag) and also played multiple instruments in various groups as part of the Folk Arts Society, perhaps most notably, the bluegrass group, the "Dusty Roads Boys".  Steve had been the standout drummer playing with a local psychedelic rock group, "Hearts of Darkness" where he picked up the nickname "Naz".  Robbie had gained notoriety as the exceptionally talented young lead guitarist and band leader in a series of local high school bands, most recently the "Viscounts".  Brett  played in various folk groups and was active singing and palying  in the Folk Arts Society, and was the band leader, vocalist and guitarist for a typical college party band, "Om", whose personnel changed from semester to semester.  One semester, they decided to re-form "Om" with the best players from the best local groups.

... parties, protests and teen clubs... Besides playing the usual campus parties and local teen clubs and campus gigs, we were the "house band" for a new teen club aka rock emporium in nearby Murphysboro called the Hippodrome.    Early song lists were mostly covers of Folk-rock, blues, Brit-rock and classic American rock and roll - "Purple Haze", "Sunshine of Your Love", "Rock Me Baby", "Mr. Fantasy", "I Can See For Miles", "Johnny B. Goode", etc... As we continued to perform, we started adding more and more original songs to our repertoire until we were ready to present sets of mainly original material.

Brett, who was from the Bay Area, had visited San Francisco for the "Summer of Love" the previous summer, worked with the Diggers, found a "Frame of Reference" and now wanted to take the band out there to live and play.  The band practiced intensely for a couple months and then hit the road - everybody and our equipment packed up in Brett's Blue VW bus.  The first time we only got as far as Freeport, IL before burning out the motor.  After getting a new motor, we set out again and drove cross-country to San Francisco...

...practice, practice, practice... When we got to San Francisco, we rented an old auto garage in the Mission District across the street from a pie factory and set up a practice space surrounded by improvised living space.  We played for anyone who would let us perform in front of an audience, getting several gigs in small local venues and doing benefits for the SF Mime troupe, etc.  (see the Photos/Posters for some of our earlier gigs) Eventually we started getting the occasional opening slot in local concert halls., drugs, and rock & roll... not necessarily in that order... Yeah, we did the whole rock and roll band life style with all that involves, but it wasn't all just one big party... okay, yeah, it was...

After a while and with a growing coterie of roadies, girlfriends and just friends of the band passing through San Francisco, we needed a better living space and found a roach infested but huge 12-room apartment on the second floor of the building on the NE corner of Haight and Ashbury. Janis Joplin lived around the corner and down the block and we were close to Golden Gate Park and the weekend concerts where we played several times.  After the riots, we moved across the Panhandle to an old rooming house on Fell Street. We got more and more paying gigs all around the Bay Area, auditioned at the Fillmore where Bill Graham took an interest in us and helped us get more gigs and sent us into a studio to learn recording. 

Eventually we hooked up with a new manager, Harvey Morrison, who knew the local music scene well and who moved us to an old rooming house on Fell Street across from the panhandle of Golden Gate Park.  He also introduced us to Chet Helms who was in the process of opening a new venue after the Avalon had been shut down.  We opened the Family Dog Ballroom with the Jefferson Airplane and the Amazing Charlatans, and played there on and off as sort of the "house band" for the next year and a half, frequentyly filling in for bands that canceled at the last minute for one reason or another...

We did one LA tour, playing the Golden Bear, the Brass Ring, the Corral, and the Whiskey a Go Go, where we opened for Savoy Brown.  Mostly though, we played Northern Califorenia and the Bay Area at places like the Matrix, Keystone Korner, the San Francisco Art Institute, Stinson Beach, Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Palo Alto, San Jose, Boulder Creek, Monterrey, etc. while living in the Fell St house.  One of our favorite gigs was a week playing every evening at a Ski Resort, Bear Valley... skiing all day, party all night... 

During the summer of 1970 while in the midst of a Midwest tour, the band fell apart when a series of gigs at colleges and universities was cancelled in response to the Kent State shootings.  We had just played in Cincinnati at the legendary Ludlow Garage again and returned to Carbondale where we were performing at many of the local clubs.  First Steve left and we got an old friend, Randy Bradle, to join us on drums, and  then after our final gig at the Kickapoo Creek Rock Festival, Bob left, heading back to the West Coast with no intention of re-forming the band back in San Francisco. 

For several months, Robbie and Brett continued to play as Devil's Kitchen in and around Carbondale as a trio with Robbie on guitar, Brett on bass and Randy on drums.  We also started jamming with some old friends who had a group called Coal Dust (Carla Peyton and Bob Pina).  Eventually, the two groups merged to become "Coal Kitchen".  Shortly after that, Brett dropped out of the group.  Robbie and Randy stayed with Coal Kitchen for a little while, but eventually Robbie, Randy and Bob Pina broke out to form another band, "Rolls Hardly".  Robbie later returned to the West Coast for a time where he performed with Mickey Hart and Robert Hunter on their solo albums and played bass for a time with the Quicksilver Messenger Service,.. and so it goes
1. City - 3:53
2. Farm Bust Blues - 10:51
3. Earthfields - 9:34
4. (You've Got Your) Head On Right - 3:04
5. Dust My Blues (Elmore James, Robert Johnson) - 2:36
6. Cookin' - 3:47
7. Mellow Pot Blues (Buster Bennett) - 5:12
8. Mourning Glory - 4:45
All songs by Brett Champlin, Robbie Stokes, Bob Laughton, Steve Sweigart except where indicated

Devil's Kitchen 
*Brett Champlin - Rhythm Guitar, Bass, Vocals
*Bob Laughton - Bass, Slide Guitar, Vocals
*Robbie Stokes - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Steve Sweigart - Drums

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Frumpy - By The Way (1972 germany, excellent heavy bluesy prog rock, Repertoire issue)

Frumpy - By the Way, the title track of their third album, released in 1972. Frumpy evolved out of a gospel/folk outfit called The City Preachers in Hamburg, Germany in early 1970. They were one of the many fantastic bands to emerge from the "Krautrock" scene that was blossoming at the time. 

Frumpy, though, were pretty unique, in that their music encompassed elements of folk, jazz, blues, progressive rock and classical music. Led by the dynamic Inga Rumpf ( vocals, acoustic guitar,songwriter extraordinaire), they also employed the services of Jean Jacques Kravetz, an excellent French keyboard player in the Keith Emerson mould. Bassist Karl-Heinz Schott and drummer Carsten Bohn completed the initial line-up, which was augmented by former Sphinx Tush guitarist Rainer Baumann from their second album, "Frumpy 2", onward. 

Their second album is widely felt to be their best album, with some elaborate and extensive instrumental work, guitar and keyboard duets. with classical and blues undertones. This album, " By the Way", showed that Frumpy could rock with the best. It is, without doubt, one of the best progessive rock albums of all time, and should occupy a space in the collection of any self respecting lover of progressive rock music. 

When Frumpy folded in 1972, Rumpf would go onto form "Atlantis" with Schott and Kravetz, together with drummer Curt Cress and guitarist Frank Diez. Frumpy reformed in the late eighties, and Inga Rumpf has become a successful blues and jazz singer. This lady has incredible talent and her songwriting ability always was one of her major strengths.
1. Goin' To The Country (Inga Rumpf) - 3:40
2. By The Way (Carsten Bohn, Inga Rumpf) - 8:51
3. Singing Songs (Inga Rumpf, Rainer Baumann) - 7:02
4. I'm Afraid Big Moon (Carsten Bohn, Inga Rumpf, Jean-Jacques Kravetz) - 6:25
5. Release (Carsten Bohn, Inga Rumpf) - 8:50
6. Keep On Going (Inga Rumpf) - 5:25

*Inga Rumpf - Vocals, Guitar
*Jean-Jacques Kravetz - Keyboards
*Karl Heinz Schott - Bass
*Carsten Bohn - Drums

1970  Frumpy - All Will Be Changed (2008 remaster with extra tracks)
1971  Frumpy - Frumpy II
Related Act
1972 Atlantis - Atlantis
1975  Atlantis - Live In The Fabrik (2008 remaster and expanded)

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Monday, September 16, 2019

Fleetwood Mac - Bare Trees (1972 uk / us, wonderful adult rock, 2013 SHM remaster)

In 1972, Fleetwood Mac's ‘Bare Trees’ was a marked improvement after the releases of "Kiln House" and "Future Games". In fact, several decades later, it still sounds decent.

With Danny Kirwan’s ‘Child Of Mine’ the album starts with best foot forward. Its uplifting mixture of California pop and guitar boogie is easily compared to Delaney & Bonnie, although with a tougher edge. As expected, McVie lays down a solid bassline, never flashy, and Kirwan and Welch indulge in top notch almost Allman Brothers style guitar interplay. Christine McVie’s organ work bubbles just under the surface. You have to ask why the band sounds so vibrant here, when on the preceding album exactly the same line-up sounded lost and tired? Maybe on ‘Future Games’ they’d not found their footing together…

Christine McVie takes the helm for ‘Homeward Bound’, a piano-led pop rock workout with punchy edges. It’s not quite got the finesse of her later songwriting, but here she proves that she’s more than a valuable addition to the band. Bob Welch turns in a great guitar solo, which at the end becomes twin lead with the addition of Kirwan. ‘Spare Me a Little of Your Love’ points further in the direction Christine’s writing would later take the band, with its almost perfect arrangement and plain emotion. ‘Sunny Side of Heaven’ is a gorgeous instrumental piece, with all members putting in top performances – particularly of note is Kirwan’s understated lead work. It would have been so easy for him to overstep the mark and play something flash, but he opts for lyrical soloing, creating a beautiful end result.

‘Bare Trees’ also features less immediate material. ‘Danny’s Chant’ features Kirwan in aggressive mode. At the beginning, he plays a spiky guitar riff through a wah-wah pedal leading into a groove with heavy accompaniment from the rhythm section. With hindsight, I wonder if he’d already begun to feel out of place in the band, with Welch’s material becoming stronger. ‘Dust’ features some nice vocal harmonies, but ultimately, the end result is slight.

‘The Ghost’ is softer, with its slightly jazzy tendencies. A strong chorus shows the potential behind Welch’s songwriting in a way that little of ‘Future Games’ ever did. I often hear an influence from Stephen Stills in Welch’s best work with Fleetwood and this is no exception. His other key number here, ‘Sentimental Lady’ (later re-recorded for his ‘French Kiss’ solo record), is little more than easy listening singer songwriter fare. The title cut offers mid-paced pop that’s fine, but now sounds like the most dated thing the album has to offer. Again, there’s some decent interplay between Welch and Kirwan, so at least it’s got that going for it.

The album closes with a home recording of an old lady reading her own poetry. Apparently Mrs. Scarrott lived near the band’s communal home. I’m not sure why they chose to include it – maybe it was just in keeping with the hippie spirit of the times…or maybe she kept making them jam.

Like most of the albums Fleetwood Mac recorded during the first half of the 70s, ‘Bare Trees’ could never be called classic in the traditional sense, but has more than enough to recommend it.
1. Child Of Mine (Danny Kirwan) - 5:26
2. The Ghost (Bob Welch) - 4:02
3. Homeward Bound (Christine McVie) - 3:22
4. Sunny Side Of Heaven (Danny Kirwan) - 3:12
5. Bare Trees (Danny Kirwan) - 5:03
6. Sentimental Lady (Bob Welch) - 4:34
7. Danny's Chant (Danny Kirwan) - 3:20
8. Spare Me A Little Of Your Love (Christine McVie) - 3:46
9. Dust (Danny Kirwan) - 2:42
10.Thoughts On A Grey Day (Mrs. Scarrott) - 1:46

Fleetwood Mac
*Danny Kirwan - Guitar, Vocals
*Bob Welch - Guitar, Vocals
*Christine McVie - Keyboards, Vocals
*John McVie - Bass Guitar
*Mick Fleetwood - Drums, Percussion

1967-71  Live At The BBC
1968-70  Show Biz Blues
1968-70  Fleetwood Mac - The Vaudeville Years (two disc set)
1968-71  The Best Of Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac
1969  Shrine '69
1969  Then Play On  (Deluxe Expanded 2013 edition) 
1970  Fleetwood Mac - Kiln House (2013 SHM remaster) 

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Sunday, September 15, 2019

High Tide - Sea Shanties (1969 uk, stunning heavy fuzz psych prog space rock, 2006 remaster and expanded)

What would The Doors have sounded like had they included lead violin and fuzzed out guitars with their organ driven brand of psychedelic rock and roll? Perhaps something like High Tide, a very interesting band from the late 60's/early 70's UK proto-prog scene. The band was part of the Clearwater Management stable of bands that also included Hawkwind, Skin Alley, and Cochise, and their debut album Sea Shanties was on the Liberty/United Artists label. Made up of Tony Hill (guitar/vocals/keyboards), Simon House (violin/keyboards), Peter Pavli (bass) and Roger Hadden (drums), these four musicians mustered together some powerful sounds here on their debut, complete with plenty of bone crunching and doomy guitar riffs, wah-wah solos, soaring violin flights, raging organ, pounding drums, and a Jim Morrison-influenced vocal attack. Much of the music is pretty heavy for the time, with lots of wild and intricate jamming going on between the guitar and violin, which can certainly be heard to full effect on the mind-blowing frenzy of the instrumental "Death Warmed Up", a real scorcher featuring savage, distorted guitar and violin solos. 

Their classic "Futilist's Lament" is a real driving hard rock/early prog number, with catchy riffs, swirling organ, melodic violin, and passionate vocals. "Pushed, But Not Forgotten" sounds like a strange marriage of The Doors and Led Zeppelin, with creepy organ, powerful vocals, and plenty of Jimmy Page styled wah-wah guitar flourishes ("Dazed and Confused" anyone?), not to mention some whispy violin. After the bruising hard rock of "Walking Down the Outlook", which also features a killer violin solo from House, the band launches into the unique sounding "Missing Out", a near 10-minute mix of doom and jazzy hoedown themes. You want scorching guitar riffs, sizzling violin, and haunting vocals-well, this one has it all.

The regular part of the album ends with the rocking "Nowhere", a song with dizzying guitar & violin interplay, but the intense fuzz guitar sound that Hill gets on this one is what is so attractive about this proggy track. The bonus material presented here is pretty neat, mostly demo and unusued studio recordings worked on before the finished album. Of these, the extended jams of "The Great Universal Protection Racket", the crunchy rocker "Dilemma", and the driving mix of prog and heavy rock of "Time Gauges" perfectly complement the album.

High Tide only recorded one more album after this one, and by 1971 had ceased to exist. Simon House joined Third Ear Band and then Hawkwind, before joining up with David Bowie for a few years, while drummer Peter Pavli collaborated with sci-fi author Michael Moorcock in his band Deep Fix as well as working with Hawkwind's Robert Calvert. Tony Hill resurrected High Tide briefly in the early 90's, but today keeps most of attention centered on his own band Tony Hill's Fiction. For the most part, the music of High Tide was buried deep in the vaults until now, but thanks to Eclectic Discs these raw & powerful recordings can be enjoyed by lovers of the early 70's proto-prog and hard rock scene. 
by Pete Pardo
1. Futilist's Lament - 5:17
2. Death Warmed Up - 9:08
3. Pushed, But Not Forgotten - 4:43
4. Walking Down Their Outlook - 4:58
5. Missing Out - 9:38
6. Nowhere (Roger Hadden, Simon House) - 5:54
7. The Great Universal Protection Racket - 11:24
8. Dilemma - 5:14
9. Death Warmed Up (Demo) - 7:35
10.Pushed, But Not Forgotten (Demo) - 4:01
11.Time Gauges - 6:24
All tracks by Tony Hill except where stated

High Tide
*Roger Hadden - Drums
*Tony Hill - Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Simon House - Violin, Organ
*Peter Pavli - Bass

1970  High Tide - High Tide (2010 bonus tracks edition) 
1970  High Tide - Precious Cargo
Related Act
1965-66  The Misunderstood - Before The Dream Faded

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Ant Trip Ceremony - 24 Hours (1968 us, fantastic psych rock, 40th anniversary edition and 1995 Vinyl reissue)

How did such a wonderfully strange name such as Ant Trip Ceremony come  about?  The band's name came from Steve DeTray.  He entered Oberlin College in Ohio in 1964 but took a hiatus from college in 1966 and part of 1967.  He went to stay with his brother in Logan, Utah.  There Steve  formed a band and needed a name.  By chance he mentioned it to an  English professor at the nearby University in early 1967.

The professor suggested a phrase, "ant trip ceremony",  from an American novel  whose  title Steve can't recall. The author described modern   societal life as an ant trip ceremony.  Steve thought it spoke to the alienation felt by many of the younger generation in 1967, and the name stuck.  So in essence there were two different groups with the name Ant Trip  Ceremony.  The first one Steve formed in Utah in early 1967 and then the second one which he formed at Oberlin in the fall of 1967.

Steve left Utah in the summer of 1967 and headed back for a tour of  duty at Oberlin College.  The band he had in Utah had broken up and  Steve wanted to put together another band at Oberlin. Steve put out the word that he wanted to form an electric rock and roll band.  Gary Rosen was playing in a blues band with George Galt and Mark Stein. Stein, a multi-talented instrumentalist, was a flute major at the Oberlin Conservatory.  Roger Goodman was a brilliant keyboard player,  but refused to play it while in Ant Trip Ceremony and only wanted to sing. All the members for the new band were from Oberlin with the exception of  Jeff Williams who was a local sixteen year old up and coming jazz musician.

The Ant Trip Ceremony album was recorded during two sessions. the first session was in  February of 1968  in a rented hall at Oberlin.  Steve  was there for the first sessions but had left Oberlin by the spring of 1968 and was not present for the second recording session. The album was called "Twenty Four Hours"because that was the feeling behind the sessions(ie.that it took what seemed like twenty four hours to record). The machinery used for the recordings was primitive.

 The band used a KLH tape deck for playback and a two track Roberts reel to reel for recording.  When they wanted to  multitrack they would record on one side of the tape and then record  on the other side as well. Then they would  mix it down to the KLH. The reason the album sounds somewhat  imbalanced  is  because the KLH had one faulty speaker and thus the speaker balance leaned  heavily to the left. This ended up affecting the final mix-down.

How were the songs chosen for the album?  The band  felt ready to record their original songs.  These were performed live before student  audiences. During live shows, the band was wild, but  sadly no live tapes exist.  Thus the original songs done on the album when performed live were more psychedelic and improvised.  Where did the band play live?  Mostly at Oberlin and at off campus parties.  The band was known for getting into strange and long jams.  Furthermore no song was ever done twice exactly the same.

They were, in some ways like the Grateful Dead of the region. When the band played it was a happening, a genuine psychedelic event.  Shows went on for hours, with the audience in a wide variety of states of consciousness. Three hundred copies of the album were pressed and one hundred were sold  for $3.00 each!!  The album's expenses was shared equally by the band members. The artwork and production was done at Oberlin for free. Why was the album done? Steve was leaving Oberlin, and the band wanted to capture some of the magic they had collectively created anything could happen in those days, that there were no limits.

The producer of the album was David Crosby, an Oberlin student and good friend of the band who was very much into music production and sounds.  Sadly, he passed away during the making of this reissue and will be missed greatly.  The artwork for the album was of its time with  psychedelicmindzapping art work.  It was without a doubt a counterculture statement!!          

What are the songs about?  "Elaborations"a great  example of Steve's development of the Indian Raga form, with his guitar tuned to get a sitar sound. He had also been to Berkeley in the summer of 1967 and was  wowed by bands such as The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and  Quicksilver.  " Pale Shades Of Gray".words were written by Steve's  first wife, with some Procol Harum  influence, is about the pain of alienation. "River Dawn" George wrote this song about    escaping the restrictions of campus life by sitting on the banks of the Ohio River when the sun was coming up. "Locomotive Lamp"- Gary’s first song as a singer-songwriter.

It was a forerunner to the Grateful Dead’s train/drug imagery. “Little Baby” a blues cover song that was done by Gary and George's blues band before Ant Trip Ceremony.  “ Violets Of Dawn” the band members were fans of Eric Anderson and covered the song, that was also done by the great Northwest group, The Daily Flash. “ Hey Joe” the band loved Jimi Hendrix (of course) and did this cover version in his honor. “Four In The Morning” a weird but strangely ethereal song that bears a striking similarity to “Hey Joe” with its despondency and desperateness.

 “Outskirts- A song about alienation, has words by Oberlin poet, Sandy Lyne and music by pianist, Neal Evans. “What the matter now” written by George's friend , Jack Lee.  Lee used to play with Mother Earth. George got the tune from Jeff and added  different words to it.  “Get Out Of My Life Woman”-a then popular cover song that west coast bands such as “The Doors” were performing.

“What’s The Matter Now”-a lovely psychedelic number that predates the background vocal effect John and Yoko were doing in 1969 and 1970. “Sometimes I Wonder”- no available comments on this blues flavored melody.
1. Locomotive Lamp (Gary Rosen) - 3:50
2. What's The Matter Now (George Galt, Jack Lee) - 2:45
3. Violets Of Dawn (Eric Anderson) - 4:34
4. Riverdawn (George Galt) - 3:38
5. Hey Joe (Billy Roberts) - 4:20
6. Outskirts (Sandy Lyne, Neal Evans) - 1:39
7. Little Baby (Willie Dixon) - 3:03
8. Get Out Of My Life (Alain Toussaint) - 3:05
9. Four In The Morning (George C. Remaille) - 4:30
10.Sometimes I Wonder (Major Lance) - 3:53
11.Pale Shades Of Gray (Steve Detray, Jo Detray, Roger Goodman) - 4:30
12.Elaborations (Steve DeTray) - 7:20

The Ant Trip Ceremony
*Steve DeTray - Guitar
*George Galt - Bass, Harmonica, Harp, Rhythm, Vocals
*Gary Rosen - Bass, Rhythm, Vocals
*Mark Stein - Bass, Flute, Guitar
*Jeff Williams - Drums

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Stepson - Stepson (1974 us, solid rough bluesy rock, 2010 remaster)

Portland's Stepson were a sweatdrenched bluesy hard rock act that rose from the ashes of defunct area band, Touch. Their sole album was released on ABC/Dunhill Records in 1974, though the band were essentially a studio creation. Despite the fact that the band never toured in support of this amazing album, over the years the word has gotten out about this incredible album and the band enjoys cult success among collectors and obscurity geeks.

Though the album doesn't reinvent the wheel, it is a fine example of Detroit style hard rock with a healthy dose of punk attitude. Easily one of the best example of "cock rock" to come along at such an early stage of the genre's existence, Stepson deserve recognition for their meager contribution to rock music. After the band's efforts to record a followup were snuffed out, several members went on to later work for Elektra Records. Others went on to do session work for notably fluffier artists like Carole King, James Taylor and Shaun Cassidy.
1. Rule In The Book (Len Fagan, Bruce Hauser, Jeffrey Hawks, Joey Newman) - 3:21
2. Lil' Bit (Len Fagan) - 4:04
3. Rude Attitude (Carl D'Errico, Roger Atkins) - 3:26
4. It's My Life (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) - 3:04
5. I Apologize (Len Fagan, Bruce Hauser, Jeffrey Hawks, Joey Newman) - 5:38
6. Suffer (Jeffrey Hawks, Joey Newman) - 4:43
7. Back To 'Bama (Len Fagan, Bruce Hauser, Jeffrey Hawks, Joey Newman) - 2:35
8. Man, I'm A Fool (Jeffrey Hawks, Joey Newman, Bruce Hauser) - 4:31
9. Turnpike (Bruce Hauser, Goldsmith) - 2:42
10.Burnin' Hurt (Len Fagan, Bruce Hauser, Jeffrey Hawks, Joey Newman) - 4:38

*Len Fagan - Drums
*Bruce Hauser - Bass
*Jeffrey Hawks - Vocals
*Vern Kjellberg (aka Joey Newman) - Guitar
*Jeff Simmons - Harp
*Jimmy Greenspoon - Organ

Related Acts
1968-73  Touch - Touch (2012 remaster and expanded)
1970  Blue Mountain Eagle - Blue Mountain Eagle (2012 remaster and expanded) 

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Monday, September 9, 2019

Mountain ‎- Setlist The Very Best Of Mountain Live (1969-73 us, stunning bluesy hard rock, 2011 release)

Mountain were a thundering live band, channeling Cream through a kind of American heavy metal blender, and at the group's peak between 1969 and 1971, with the classic trio lineup of Leslie West on guitar, Felix Pappalardi on bass, and Corky Laing on drums, they were as good as any hard rock band anywhere. This set collects several live tracks from that period, including two songs Mountain did at the Woodstock Festival in 1969 (with N.D. Smart on drums -- Laing replaced him in the band soon after), "Long Red" and "Waiting to Take You Away," a version of "Nantucket Sleighride" from a New Year's Eve show at the Fillmore East in 1970, and a rendition of their biggest hit, "Mississippi Queen," from a show at the Fillmore East in the spring of 1971, all powerful live tracks from a band in its touring prime. 
by Steve Leggett
1. Long Red (Norman Landsberg, John Ventura, Felix Papalardi, Leslie West) - 5:43
2. Waiting To Take You Away (Leslie West) - 4:39
3. Crossroader (Felix Papalardi, Gail Collins) - 6:01
4. Blood Of The Sun (Gail Collins, Felix Papalardi, Leslie West) - 2:58
5. Theme For An Imaginary Western (Pete Brown, Jack Bruce) - 4:50
6. Roll Over Beethoven (Chuck Berry) - 2:23
7. Baby, I'm Down (Gail Collins, Felix Pappalardi) - 8:20
8. For Yasgur's Farm (Gail Collins, Felix Pappalardi, George Gardos, Corky Laing, David Rea. Gary Ship) - 4:19
9. Nantucket Sleighride (Gail Collins, Felix Pappalardi) - 5:57
10.Guitar Solo (Leslie West) - 2:18
11.Silver Paper (Gail Collins, George Gardos, Corky Laing, Steve Knight, Leslie West, Felix Papalardi) - 7:39
12.Mississippi Queen (Corky Laing, Felix Pappalardi, David Rea, Leslie West) - 6:10

Felix Pappalardi - Bass, Vocals
Leslie West - Guitar, Vocals
Corky Laing - Drums (Tracks 1-3, 7-12)
Steve Knight - Organ (Tracks 1-3, 7-12)
David Perry - Rhythm Guitar (Tracks 1-3)
Norman D. Smart - Drums (Tracks 1-3)
Bob Mann - Guitar, Keyboards (Tracks 4-6)
Allan Schwartzberg - Drums (Tracks 4-6)

Related Acts
1965-68  Vagrants - I Can't Make a Friend (2011 remaster)
1969  Leslie West - Mountain (Japanese edition)
1973  Back Door - 8th Street Nites
1976  The (Blues) Creation With Felix Pappalardi - Live At Budokan (rare double disc japan issue) 

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Saturday, September 7, 2019

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Live At Woodstock (1969 us, amazing classic rock with country shades, 2019 digipak remaster)

Creedence Clearwater Revival's entire performance at Woodstock finally released 50 years after the band played at the legendary music festival.

Live at Woodstock includes all 11 songs from CCR's set on Aug. 16, 1969. In addition to band classics like "Green River" and "Proud Mary," the album includes covers of Wilson Pickett's "Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won’t Do)" and Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You."

Creedence were scheduled to perform on Saturday night of the festival, following the Grateful Dead's set. But Woodstock almost immediately lost any hope of following a schedule, so they were pushed back. The Dead's longer-than-expected show sent CCR's appearance back even further, and they didn't end up onstage until after midnight.

They refused to allow their set to appear in the hit 1970 movie or the No. 1 soundtrack. Three songs eventually appeared on 2009's Woodstock 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur's Farm box set: "Green River," "Bad Moon Rising" and "I Put a Spell on You." The upcoming album marks the first time their historic show has been released in full.

Creedence Clearwater Revival had just released the second of the three albums they put out in 1969. Their second LP, Bayou Country, was released in January. Green River came out just a few weeks before their Woodstock performance. Willy and the Poor Boys followed in November.
by Michael Gallucci, June 11, 2019
1. Born On The Bayou - 5:34
2. Green River - 3:16
3. Ninety Nine And A Half (Won’t Do) (Steve Cropper, Eddie Floyd, Wilson Pickett) - 4:46
4. Bootleg - 3:38
5. Commotion - 2:48
6. Bad Moon Rising - 2:13
7. Proud Mary - 3:52
8. I Put A Spell On You (Jay Hawkins And Herb Slotkin) - 4:28
9. The Night Time Is The Right Time (Lew Herman) - 3:30
10.Keep On Chooglin’ - 10:29
11.Suzie Q (Eleanor Broadwater, Robert Chaisson, Dale Hawkins, And Stan Lewis) - 10:52
All songs by John Fogerty except where stated

Creedence Clearwater Revival
*John Fogerty – Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica, Piano
*Doug Clifford – Drums
*Tom Fogerty – Guitar, Vocals
*Stu Cook – Bass Guitar

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Friday, September 6, 2019

Bakerloo - Bakerloo (1969 uk, splendid heavy prog blues rock, 2013 bonus tracks remaster)

Nowadays one of the secondary, supplementary pleasures of music listening can be the background genealogy of those involved. The trail usually goes two ways: a forgotten or legendary one-off debut album, whereby context becomes archaeology rather than tracing current and ancestral lines; or else going on to form or augment more famous bands later known worldwide. A rare confluence of all these factors finds us in the territory of Bakerloo, a name which had as little to do with London’s public transport as their sole album’s distinctive cover image. 

Their initial moniker was neat word-play: The Bakerloo Blues Line, formed in England’s West Midlands in early 1968 by David ‘Clem’ Clempson (guitar, piano/harpsichord, harmonica, vocals) and Terry Poole (bass, vocals), a graphic artist who handled their promo material. In the wake of Cream, they searched long for a drummer adept in different styles to complete a power trio, coming up trumps with the aptly-named Keith Baker. Their local area was a hotbed for up and coming bands that also saw young liggers like Robert Plant, John Bonham, Spencer Davis, Cozy Powell, The Move, Medicine Head, and Black Sabbath. Indeed, the Sabs in their first incarnation as Earth shared the same agency as Bakerloo, and later label-mates Tea & Symphony, so often gigged together and more; Bill Ward filled-in on drums a couple of times for the ’loo. 

In the spirit of those times Bakerloo, with the later Black Sabbath manager Jim Simpson, started their own club. The legendary Henry’s Blueshouse (1968-1973) was located in the upstairs function room of the Crown Hotel (actually a pub) surrounded by music shops in central Birmingham. Bakerloo were the first headliners (supported by Earth) to open the venue that soon became famous for Tuesday jam sessions with Rory Gallagher, Zepp and many others and, like the Mothers club in nearby Erdington, featured touring blues legends like Arthur Big Boy Crudup, J.B.Hutto, Gary Davis, and Son House (supported by Stackwaddy!).  

In September 1968 Bakerloo played London’s Roundhouse with the Small Faces, Barclay James Harvest and The Action, followed the next month as support at the famous Marquee for the debut of Led Zeppelin, a little-known band that saw fit to modestly advertise themselves as ‘The New Yardbirds’. Bakerloo played it so often as to be almost residents while crashing with local friends, including support for the last appearance there of Jethro Tull before headlining in their own right soon after. John Peel heard them at Mothers and put them on his Top Gear show (with the Bonzo Dog Band) that same October. There is a bootleg in existence which may be this BBC recording, featuring four songs later on their album. They reappeared on the BBC in January 1969 (with Alexis Korner) and for two songs on Top Gear the next month, perhaps a repeat of their debut appearance. Their first airing led to nationwide gigs throughout the next year and what seems their only foray abroad, a concert in Belgium for the princely fee of £100. Back in Brum they were seen by Tony Hall of EMI and became one of the first signings to its new prog label.

That same summer a single was released: Drivin’ Bachwards (an arrangement of Bach’s BourrĂ©e In E Minor, soon adapted also on Jethro Tull’s second album) coupled with the non-album Once Upon A Time (HAR 5004). An unknown session drummer was used as Keith Baker had yet to join, and this is when their name was shortened to Bakerloo. There is some dispute, however, if the 45 even saw the light of day. An expert dealers’ forum has never seen one—certainly the exhaustive popsike website has no appearance—although a test pressing exists, once owned by Harvest label manager Malcolm Jones. Was it held back by the label awaiting the album then overlooked as the label gained momentum?

The self-titled album of seven tracks appeared as a gatefold in December 1969 on Harvest (SHVL 762) with band photos on the inner sleeves. Terry Poole kindly informed me that his cover design features a mining accident in the transalpine tunnel during the 1880s. The recording was one of the first produced by Gus Dudgeon (he’d engineered John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and Zombies prior) before later fame with Bowie’s Space Oddity and the first LPs of Elton John and Michael Chapman. Recorded round the corner from the Marquee at Trident Studios, it what was their live set nailed in two or three takes (except, ironically, for the shortest track Drivin’ Bachwards) in just a few days—unsurprisingly as the studio cost £30 per hour, at a time when the Marquee paid exactly half that and many bands were on retainers of a fiver a week. They even squeezed sessions in-between gigs the same day. In spite of being featured on Harvest’s double sampler Picnic (This Worried Feeling) it has become one of the rarest vinyls of the Harvest catalogue. Unlike for smaller labels—the only way to get Incredible Hog’s album on Dart was to hotfoot it to Haymarket and buy in the label’s office I recall—the platter was in the shops but eluded sales. Incredibly, however, the line-up had already split by the time the album hit the shelves.

Now Esoteric/Cherry Red has digitally remastered it plus five bonus tracks. The sound is loud, sharp and full of body, each instrument in its own space for a listening delight. A jazzy fast-chord instrumental opens, Big Bear Ffolly named after their agency’s first tour, which appropriately leads into a tasty Willie Dixon standard of the 60s, Bring It On Home, mid-paced with understated mouth harp in the spirit of early Canned Heat. Driving Bachwards, the aforementioned take on Bach, is a harpsichord-led instrumental very much ’69 or an electric Amazing Blondel, with the lone guest Jerry Salisbury on trumpet. The pace drops for Last Blues, funereal-paced bass morphs into a Cream-like power trio blast with guitar effects and solo, before returning via shimmering cymbals to the original melody with wind effect. Laden with metaphors (“Take me to the train”…), its dark atmosphere clings like a coroner’s wet-suit beside a foggy lake. Imagine the Wuthering Heights’ moor round an old graveyard and you’re there.

The unfortunately titled Gang Bang closed side one, like the opener with a nod to jazz inflections overlaid by guitar solo. This group composition—no doubt the real intent of the title—showcases each musician, especially drummer Keith Baker’s rhythm patterns as pounding as those of his namesake Ginger. Surely one of the least boring drum solos on record: close your eyes and you’re on the Victorian loco rattling through the tunnel en route to the Crystal Palace. This Worried Feeling opens with a Peter Green ‘lonely style’ Fleetwood Mac blues but stays closer to the four-bar like Savoy Brown. The stronger vocals here are underpinned with bar-room piano, building up to some blistering guitar. The bonus of this drops the guitar intro in favour of piano which is more prominent in a variant, shorter take that’s still finished and interesting.  

The album closes with a track that is impossible to avoid superlatives about. Extending to almost 15 minutes, Son Of Moonshine flies by like a single due to sheer energy and inventiveness. This is one helluva beast of a track, with enough horse-power to chuff a Genghis Khan who up to that point only had the heaviest Groundhogs on his walkman fed through a bank of pillaged cabinets. It is ’Hogs plus Mayblitz (live) or a tighter, heavier Mighty Baby jam. A total experience; live, you would have had to crawl out of the venue on your hands and knees afterwards—and forget to ask why the venue omitted to have a booze licence.

Its riffing, feedback opening, abrasive as asbestos, opens outs into a thumping fuzz-driven beat with more guitar styles and licks than a heaving music shop could cater for. The lyrics aren’t bad either, full of pithy wisdom, but bejeezus it’s darn hard to remember to listen out for them while such chords and rhythms are being committed to posterity. It is one of the greatest tracks of the period if you like driving, let-it-rip rock, a youth-filled bash that sums up the era, an Uncle Harry’s Freakout linking the Grove with Brum as if the M1 had never been built.

The bonus of this (Son Of Moonshine Part One) is a genuine alternate take, slightly less fuzzed but still an energetic nine minutes without the album’s post-blitz closing segment or vocals. The b-side of their only single, Once Upon A Time, is a swirling guitar example of the last flourishing of psych as we now know it in a paean to lost love. The three new bonuses are completed by the sore-thumb (Hoagie Carmichael’s Georgia) and a rumbling first take of Train, a hardy perennial subject back then that has some tasty bottle-neck slide. With 15 minutes plus of new bonuses, added to the two prior released 9 minutes, this issue is a 71 minute treat from start to finish. 

The influences span genres: blues, hard rock, psych, jazz and progressive including classical elements for an experience rare as tunnel cleaners on the transport system of their name. There is no bloody gap to mind. Clearly the trio, versatile without being flashy, saw Bakerloo as a showcase for instrumental prowess and audiences lucky enough to catch them on the circuit during that brief 18 months. Reviewers compare them to Alvin Lee’s Ten Years After, Cream, Blue Cheer, Canned Heat, Juicy Lucy and Blodwyn Pig, but Bakerloo is a sticky amalgam of these great bands fired by the energetic joie de musique of stand-alone albums like Quatermass, T2 or Hackensack. One immediate post-album killer line-up featured Clem (a nickname from schooldays, he doesn’t like the name Dave) with Cozy Powell and Dave Pegg before they left for other name bands after one gig, while a later more jazzy 5-piece incarnation morphed into a renamed Hannibal (Chrysalis Records) but without any Bakerloo founder members.

It’s said that the original split was because Terry Poole wanted to move to London but not Clem. Bakerloo was their vinyl debuts, reproducing their stage sound with added keys: Clem studied piano at the Royal School of Music from an early age before taking up the guitar under the influence of blues and early  rock ‘n’ roll. Incredibly, he has never released a solo album. Initially he left to form Colosseum, while Poole and Baker formed Mayblitz but again left before the Vertigo albums. The clear origins of the sound of that cult band appear on Bakerloo. And here the genealogy takes off, as the trio’s members went their own ways to Humble Pie, Graham Bond, Vinegar Joe, Judas Priest, Supertramp, Running Man and Uriah Heep—to name but a few! After more than ably replacing Peter Frampton, Clem worked in the 80s and 90s with Cozy Powell, Jack Bruce, Snafu, Rough Diamond, Ken Hensley, Jon Anderson, Bob Dylan and Chris De Burgh. After soon becoming Supertramp’s first drummer then Uriah Heep’s tubman for their second album but declining to tour, Keith Baker has worked as an in-demand sessionman. Terry Poole has had an equally glittering career as one of the best bassists in the business.

The founders are all still rightly proud of an album that has had laudatory reviews from day one for forty five years. It could have been the making of a major 70s band, rather than the safe-as-rock stepping stone it became. A more accomplished, confident debut could not exist; it would have to share the same plateau. Of course most debuts usually have their fair share of ideas—or should have—but here there is a consistent effort to add their own stamp to the event. Initially released on CD by Repertoire in 2000, with two bonus tracks, and then in 2013 on Belle (Japan) in mini cardboard sleeve, this Esoteric recording via Cherry Red in remastered glory is now definitive in concert-live sound like their recent issue of Quatermass. Even hoarders of the rare vinyl should check out its sound quality. No, not a lost gem, it has never gone missing and remains one of the cornerstones of heavy progressive rock without need of hype. Because it’s a masterpiece.
by Brian R. Banks, 2014
1. Big Bear Ffolly - 3:57
2. Bring It On Home (Willie Dixon) - 4:18

3. Drivin' Bachwards (Johann Sebastian Bach) - 2:08
4. Last Blues - 7:07
5. Gang Bang (Clem Clempson, Terry Poole, Keith Baker) - 6:18
6. This Worried Feeling - 7:06
7. Son Of Moonshine - 14:58
8. Once Upon A Time - 3:39
9. This Worried Feeling (Alternative Take) - 5:46
10.Georgia (Hoagie Carmichael, Stuart Gorrell) - 4:04
11.Train - 2:54
12.Son Of Moonshine Part One (Alternate Take) - 8:46
All songs by  Clem Clempson, Terry Poole except where indicated

*Dave 'Clem' Clempson - Guitars, Piano, Harpsichord, Harmonica, Vocals
*Terry Poole - Bass Guitar
*Keith Baker - Drums
*Jerry Salisbury - Trumpet

Related Acts
1967-69  Ruperts People - Magic World Of Rupert's People (2001 Circle limited edition) 
1970  Colosseum - Daughter Of Time (2004 remaster with bonus track)
1971  Colosseum - Colosseum Live (2016 double disc set remaster)
1972  Humble Pie - Smokin' ((1972 uk, great classic rock, 2007 japan remaster)
1973  Humble Pie - In Concert / King Biscuit Flower Hour
1974  Humble Pie - Thunderbox (2011 japan SHM remaster)
1975  Humble Pie - Street Rats (2016 japan SHM remaster with extra tracks)

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