Friday, January 31, 2020

Lonnie Mack - The Hills of Indiana (1971 us, pretty laid back affair with plenty of roots country rock, 2003 remaster)

Probably due to the success of The Band, starting in 1970 a slew of rockabilly and rhythm and blues artists diverged from the sound that gave them a name in the 60s and released at least one kick ass roots rock album. File Hills of Indiana on the same shelf.

Lonnie Mack’s 1971 outing may not slay listeners the first time around like Bobby Charles or Link Wray, though it reels in that familiar mix of blues, soul, & country rock. Indiana finds Lonnie trading his guitar slinger/blues-instrumental persona for gentler roots rock with touches of gospel and even straight bluegrass – Uncle Pen is a faithful rendition of the Bill Monroe number. He shows good taste with versions of Bob Dylan’s Man In Me, Carole King’s A Fine Way To Go, and Mickey Newbury’s She Even Woke Up To Say Goodbye. There are five originals (cowrote with Don Nix) with some fine cuts in Motown-inspired trucker ode Asphalt Outlaw Hero, the low-key and orchestrally ornamented Florida, and album closers All Good Things Will Come To Pass and Three Angels.

The album’s production is a touch on the clean side, edging near schmaltzy, and closer to Dale Hawkin’s pro-studio approach than Wray’s chicken shack. This kills only a little appeal for this near classic record, still worth a spot in any Americana collection.
by Brendan McGrath 
1. Asphalt Outlaw Hero (Don Nix, Lonnie Mack) - 3:04
2. Florida (Don Nix, Lonnie Mack) - 3:08
3. Lay It Down (Gene Thomas) - 3:51
4. The Hills Of Indiana (Lonnie Mack) - 3:42
5. Uncle Pen (Bill Monroe) - 1:51
6. Bicycle Annie (Drew Thomason) - - 5:09
7. A Fine Way To Go (Carole King, Toni Stern) - 3:07
8. Rings (Eddie Reeves, Alex Harvey) - 3:12
9. The Man In Me (Bob Dylan) - 3:08
10.She Even Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye (Mickey Newbury, Doug Gilmore) - 3:19
11.All Good Things Will Come To Pass (Don Nix, Lonnie Mack) - 3:27
12.Three Angels (Don Nix, Lonnie Mack) - 4:31

*Lonnie Mack - Guitar, Vocals
*Buddy Spicher - Fiddle
*David Briggs - Keyboards
*Lloyd Green - Steel Guitar
*Don Nix - Baritone Saxophone, Vocals
*Troy Seals - Bass, Vocals
*Barry Beckett - Keyboards
*Kenny Buttrey - Drums
*Tim Drummond - Bass
*Roger Hawkins - Drums
*David Hood - Bass
*Mount Zion Singers - Vocals
*Wayne Perkins - Guitar
*Norbert Putnam - Bass, Horn, String Arrangements

1969  Lonnie Mack - Whatever's Right (2003 Sundazed remaster) 
1969  Lonnie Mack - Glad I'm In The Band (2003 Sundazed remaster) 

Free Text
Text Host

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Quatermass - Quatermass (1970 uk, fantastic heavy prog rock, 2013 digi pak remaster and expanded)

When the British Blues movement morphed into the riff-rock wing of progressive music, the focus of most groups remained the heroic lead guitarist. It was a brave outfit that elected to do without the fretboard god altogether. Having been persuaded by the success of Keith Emerson’s guitarless latterday Nice that it could work, a select few elected to structure themselves as a trio comprising a showboating keyboard player, a punchy drummer and a bassist who could handle lead vocals. Emerson recruited Greg Lake and Carl Palmer into his eponymous ensemble; Dave Stewart salvaged Egg from the remains of his school band Uriel, sans Steve Hillage; and three veterans from the British Beat Boom came together as Quatermass. One of these three acts would go forward to worldwide acclaim and the sickly smell of excess, the other two to a brief second-division career and oblivion.

Quatermass could have been as big as ELP; they had the chops, the experience and the contacts. Bassist/vocalist John Gustafson had been in the Big Three, the Liverpool guitar trio that all the other Cavern/Hamburg bands looked up to for their musicianship. Drummer Mick Underwood had served time with Joe Meek’s legendary house band, the Outlaws, alongside Richie Blackmore. Keyboardist Peter Robinson had backed hugely popular R’n’B shouter Chris Farlowe. All three were also in-demand studio sessioneers. They came together in a late lineup of Episode Six, the band that had provided a further two-fifths of Deep Purple, and decided to stay together when the Six finally folded. Taking their name from the classic sci-fi TV show, and rapidly signing to premier UK prog-rock label Harvest, their first album appeared in May 1970 . . . and despite strong reviews, undeniable quality and a splendid gatefold sleeve by Hipgnosis (of Pink Floyd fame), disappeared just as rapidly from the shelves. Its poor sales, an unsuccessful US tour and demand for their services from other nascent bands ensured that there wouldn’t be another. Quatermass broke up in April ’71.

Forty years later the reissued, extended album still exudes quality. Gus was a funky, syncopative Fender bassist with a strong cock-rock voice in the Rodgers/Gillan mould. Robinson combined fruity blues and soul licks with a sly jazzy atonality and just enough classical nous not to become overbearing like the ELP mainman, whilst freely overdubbing Hammond organ, electric and acoustic piano, Mellotron and Moog. Underwood provided the solid, John Bonham-style groove that held the three musicians tightly together. The whole had a no-nonsense rocky edge distinctly uncommon in keyboard-centric prog. The album mixes short, precise three-minute songs like the soulful single “Black Sheep Of The Family” and the gently psychedelic, harpsichord-led “Good Lord Knows” with eight-minute keyboard workouts typical of the live act, notably the ferocious bluesy soloing on the riff-based “Up On The Ground”, the jazzy, fully-orchestrated block chording on “Laughin’ Tackle” and the ring-modulated funk of the instrumental outtake “Punting”. Robinson’s genuinely exciting yet tasteful keyboard skills, especially on the B-3, ensure that none of these outstay their welcome. Keith Emerson might usefully have taken note.
by Len Liechti
1. One Blind Mice (John Gustafson, Mick Underwood, Peter Robinson) - 3:27
2. Entropy (Peter Robinson) - 1:11
3. Black Sheep Of The Family (Steve Hammond) - 3:41
4. Post War Saturday Echo (Graham Ross, John Gustafson, Peter Robinson) - 9:52
5. Good Lord Knows (John Gustafson) - 3:12
6. Up On The Ground (John Gustafson) - 7:09
7. Gemini (Steve Hammond) - 5:55
8. Make Up Your Mind (Steve Hammond) - 1:44
9. What Was That (John Gustafson, Mick Underwood, Peter Robinson) - 5:59
10.Make Up Your Mind (Reprise) (Peter Robinson) - 1:03
11.Laughin' Tackle (Peter Robinson) - 11:31
12.Punting (John Gustafson, Mick Underwood, Peter Robinson) - 7:21
13.Afraid Not (Rehearsal) (John Gustafson, Mick Underwood, Peter Robinson) - 5:25
14.Bluegaloo / Broken Chords / Scales (Live Recording 1974) (Janne Schaffer, John Gustafson, Peter Robinson) - 6:29
Track 1 A Side Single
Tracks 2-11 The Original Album
Bonus Tracks 12-14

*Johnny Gustafson - Bass, Vocals
*Peter Robinson - Keyboards
*Mick Underwood - Drums
*Steve Hammond - 12 String Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals, Guitar
*Barry De Souza - Drums
*Karin Stigmark - Vocals
*Malando Gassama - Drums, Congas
*Janne Schaffer - Guitar

Free Text
Text Host

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Hot Tuna - Burgers (1972 us, superb folk blues classic rock, 2012 audiophile Vinyl replica)

Hot Tuna leads the splinter league in longevity. This is their third album, giving them a greater output–in a comparable time period–than the parent Jefferson Airplane. There is undeniable talent in the band: Jorma Kaukonen is one of the most readily identifiable electric guitar stylists, and Jack Casady (whose headband was tattooed onto his forehead during a visit to San Diego in 1968) always gets a mention when you're discussing the finest bassists. Papa John Creach's credentials (which include an excellent solo album) are beyond reproach, and drummer Sammy Piazza's capabilities run about even with the demands made of him.

Burgers is easily their best effort–a generally enjoyable marriage of the first album's acoustic blues with the electricity of the second. It's really Kaukonen's show–his guitars dominate and he hoards all the lead vocals–and things seem to work best when he realizes it and defines some room for the others to move, as on "Ode To Billy Dean." His vocals add very little, and so the numbers where their spaces are filled by Papa John's violin (the instrumentals "Water Song" and "Sunny Day Strut") also work to advantage. Interaction would seem to be the key.

Even the weaker cuts, however, are buoyed somewhat by an inescapable gusto. Reacting, perhaps, to the somber self-importance which so mars the Airplane, Hot Tuna is mostly about blowing off some steam and having a good time. They indulge in a lot of traditionally-oriented material, but with enough energy and good intent to pacify those of us who cringe at first sight of musical scholars with their texts on Blind Lemon Jefferson and holy deadpan delivery.

Yet this same gusto contributes heavily to the album's areas of failure. On stage, a certain amount of untogetherness will be compensated for by energy or visual impact; in the studio, the consequences can be drastic. At times the album can seem irritatingly slapdash, and the sound quality has occasional lapses such that you'd swear the instruments were played through instant mashed potatoes. The studio environment requires a little more care and a lot more diligence than it is given here.

So while Burgers has its indisputable moments, the basic question of energy distribution keeps popping up. That Kaukonen and Casady don't apply the energy expended on Hot Tuna toward the task of breathing some life into the Airplane (who, in my opinion, haven't given us anything of sustained substance since Crown of Creation) must prompt reservations which put a damper on whatever measure of success is achieved here. Or, at this point, maybe the Airplane is the splinter group.... 
by Ben Edmonds
1. True Religion (Jorma Kaukonen) - 4:45
2. Highway Song (Jorma Kaukonen) - 3:16
3. 99 Year Blues (Julius Daniels) - 4:01
4. Sea Child (Jorma Kaukonen) - 5:04
5. Keep On Truckin' (Bob Carleton) - 3:41
6. Water Song" (Instrumental) (Jorma Kaukonen) - 5:17
7. Ode For Billy Dean (Jorma Kaukonen) - 4:52
8. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here (Rev. Gary Davis) - 3:26
9. Sunny Day Strut" (Instrumental) (Jorma Kaukonen) - 3:15

Hot Tuna
*Jorma Kaukonen - Guitars, Lead Vocals
*Jack Casady - Bass, Vocals, Eyebrow
*Papa John Creach - Violin, Vocals
*Sammy Piazza - Drums, Tympani, Other Percussion, Vocals
*Nick Buck - Organ, Piano
*Richmond Talbott - Vocals, Slide Guitar
*David Crosby - Vocals

1976  Hot Tuna - Hoppkorv (2012 audiophile Vinyl replica) 

Free Text
Text Host

Monday, January 27, 2020

Agnes Strange ‎– Theme For A Dream (1972-74 uk, power hard boogie rock, 2000 release)

Agnes Strange, a hard rock/blues band based in Southampton, Hampshire, England, formed in the mid-70s and quickly acquired a recording contract with Birds Nest Records () - an affiliate label distributed by Pye Records. Comprising Alan Green (bass), Dave Rodwell (drums) and John Westwood (guitar, vocals), they made their debut in 1975 with Strange Flavour, a perfunctory but expertly played collection of original rock songs that failed to bring them to the attention of the mainstream. They broke up shortly thereafter, though members of the band remained active on the Hampshire club scene. 
1. Theme for a Dream (John Westwood, Alan Green, Dave Rodwell) - 2:23
2. Messin' Around (John Westwood) - 4:58
3. Graveyard (John Westwood, Alan Green, Dave Rodwell) - 5:19
4. Rockin' in 'e' (John Westwood) - 4:39
5. Dust in the Sunlight (Dave Travis) - 3:50
6. The Day Dreamer (John Westwood) - 3:49
7. Book With No Cover (John Westwood) - 5:54
8. Failure (Dave Rodwell) - 5:51
9. Motorway Rebel (John Westwood) - 3:46
10.Children of the Absurd (Dave Rodwell, Alan Green, Dave Barber) - 7:17
11.Clever Fool (John Westwood) - 3:31
12.Strange Flavour (John Westwood, Alan Green, Dave Rodwell) - 4:15
13.Odd Man Out (John Westwood) - 3:45
14.Highway Blues (John Westwood) - 9:41
Tracks 1-7 Unreleased Masters
Tracks 8-14 Original Demos

Agnes Strange
*John Westwood - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Alan Green - Bass, Vocals
*Dave Rodwell - Drums, Vocals
*Dave Travis - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
*Sunny - Vocals, Harmonies
*Spider Kennedy - Drums (Track 5)
*Terry Nicholson - Bass (Track 5)

1976  Agnes Strange - Strange Flavour (2007 remaster) 

Free Text
Text Host

Saturday, January 25, 2020

After Shave - Skin Deep (1972 swiss, splendid raw underground garage bluesy rock, 2007 remaster and expanded)

1972 Swiss underground hard rock album featuring liner notes, photos and five bonus tracks! After Shave were a heavy trio formed in the late 60s and influenced by Cream, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Mountain and the usual suspects. They toured Europe in the early 70s and eventually recorded this debut album for the tiny Splendid label in 1972, which now commands big dollars on the rare record collector market.

This album is one of the holy grail of Swiss Heavy Progressive Psych Music History. It is definitely the best album on the famous Swiss underground label 'SPLENDID records' out of La Chaux-De-Fonds. A must for heavy guitar fans, it’s a raw power trio crusher that blows collectors away at the very first listen.
1. Skin Deep - 3:59
2. Him - 4:33
3. Paper Woman - 3:43
4. Ride Ride Ride - 4:08
5. Sweet Home - 2:51
6. Amsterdam In My Living Room - 3:02
7. Near The Sun - 2:43
8. Pink Rose - 2:50
9. Sunflower - 7:04
10.Greengage Man (Unreleased) - 3:19
11.On The Ground (Unreleased) - 2:42
12.One Of The Best (B Side) - 3:29
13.Warmaker (2nd Single) - 3:32
14.Near The Sun (First Single) - 2:52
All songs by Pierre Alain Kessi, Jean Claude Fontana, Rodolphe Baumgartner
Bonus tracks 10-14

After Shave
*Pierre Alain Kessi - Guitar, Vocals
*Jean Claude Fontana - Bass
*Rodolphe Baumgartner - Drums

Free Text
Text Host

Friday, January 24, 2020

Clive John - You Always Know Where You Stand With A Buzzard (1975 uk, extraordinary prog rock, from Man fame, 2004 remaster)

Clive John, or Clint Space or just Clint to Man-band fans, was the beloved keyboardist and sometimes guitarist for Man through most of their classic periods. His contribution to the sound and humour of the band was a big one, though you might not really realise it until you place him apart to record his one and only solo album, ie. this one. Of all the Man off-shoots and solo projects that I’ve heard (which I have to admit isn’t all of them), this is far and away the best and most consistently high in quality (and other substances), but for some reason it’s also one of the most obscure. I only discovered its existence when I stumbled across it in a random rack-shuffling in a large discount music store, and although I was instantly intrigued by a) the Man connection, b) the title and c) the cover, I was also wary of the late date 1975, by which time Man were no longer so hot on record) and the fact that I’d never heard of it before. 

At this time, Clint was holed up in a remote farm in Breton, and after being asked by Andrew Lauder of UA to do a solo album, he transferred holes to Rockfield Studios in Wales to record it. Clint handled most of the instruments on this album – guitars, keyboards and vocals – but he’s backed by Man’s Martin Ace on bass, and Help Yourself’s Dave Charles on drums and engineering, as well as sundry guests on various tracks including Phil Ryan (Eyes of Blue, Quicksand, Piblokto, Man, Neutrons) and Andy Fairweather Low (Amen Corner). The cover features the still-hairy prototypical hippy freak Clint generously holding out a giant fake-looking orange. The title of the album came from what Clint said to a visitor who fled after being attacked by buzzards whose nest site he’d unwittingly approached, the point being that you’re supposed to stand your ground and the buzzards will hold back. Don’t ask me to test that one out...

‘Out Of My Tree’  begins in a kinda mainstreamy guitar rock mode, and it’s perhaps the most ordinary and seriously-toned track on the album, but don’t let that put you off, there’s better to come, and this song does have a cool slashing fuzzed guitar bit that’s nice. This track might grow a little on you over time, as it has for me. You gotta love a song that’s about questioning your sanity (at least that’s what I think it’s about...).

‘Brand ‘X’’  changes the mood considerably, not to Brand X-like fusion but with a kooky cascade of cheesy keyboard, bass and guitar matching notes and dripping down the chromatic scale before swinging into a totally chugging Man-esque hard guitar riff, with ultra-cool vocals pleading for a little bit of rock’n’roll. This is a fist-in-the-air anthem to rock and a go-get-‘em attitude that’s up there with the Fairies’ ‘Do It’ as a positive motivator. Midway it breaks down into a gutsy down-home groove as Andy Fairweather Low (here rechristened as Ferretweather) cuts loose with a wicked guitar solo. As fas as the guitar-oriented side of things go, this is like Man at their best, I guess not counting things like the 20-minute ‘Spunk Rock’ jam on ‘Greasy Truckers Party’.

‘Summer Song’  sees us in softer, spacier, wistful Man mode, keyboards predominating with a gentle, simple structure that bobs along like the Good Ship Lollipop (no, it doesn’t sound like the Shirley Temple song, I’m trying to create imagery here...), and wouldn’t have been out of place as one of the more unassuming tracks on ‘Back Into The Future’. ‘Swansea Town’ is, yes, another one to compare to Man, something that’s hard to avoid here. It alternates between, initially, a cheerier kind of Man guitar riff, that swings into a slightly strange one with a harder edge that might be called kinda ‘doomy’ (slightly) if it didn’t sound like a bunch of silly trippers having a bit of fun. Mid-time sees a typical one-note bass groove propelling a tasty dual guitar jam, and well, need I say it, if you’re a Man fan you know what you’re getting here.

‘Visitin’ The Duke’ is more traditional and down-homey at the start, with blues harmonica and guitar wheezing away, before kicking into a hard, gritty Southern boogie rock slide riff with meaty vocals, done of course a la Man, breaking down and dirty with the harmonica for another jam-out that these guys just can’t seem to escape let alone do badly, and let us be thankful for that! This track, by the way, is about visiting Deke Leonard in London.‘Love To You’ starts with bass throbs and weird keyboard sounds hovering in the background, hinting at something that doesn’t come, before a steady, loping groove sets in with a kinda psych-soul-boogie feel, if that makes any sense. Reminds me a bit of The Indelible Murtceps, in other words Australia’s legendary Spectrum in non-psychedelic/prog mode. Of course that won’t mean a thing if you haven’t heard ‘em, but I’m clutching at straws here (one of the hardest things about doing reviews, for me, is that the most meaningful and/or well-known comparisons or descriptions don’t always come to mind when you need them! And, well, I haven’t heard everything...). Anyway, if that sounds dodgy to you, you might find it’s better than it sounds on paper with my measly attempt at description, but still, not one of the better tracks on the album.

‘Overflow’  begins with some jazzy sparring for a few seconds before a structure sets in with ease and we have a mellowish, unusual rock number with a guitar rhythm and bass line that’s only a few degrees removed from reggae, though as imagined by Patto, if you can paint that in your mind. And the Patto comparison holds into the unexpected brief jam that opens up next, now denser and with more of a jazz-informed hard rock edge, though the second (and longer) jam that follows and fades out the track is more akin to a mellow, almost spacey Man circa ‘Back Into The Future’. ‘Bust Again’ is, of course, about being busted (for growing dope), and flows as a slow-plodding skanky fuzz rock number as Clint recounts the lament of the events of his undoing at the petty hands of the law. As Clint puts it, “What the fuck can you do with a bush or two of my weed?” Musically, this is comparable to Man’s ‘Romain’ and is likewise pretty cool.

‘Ferret Interview’ is a ridiculous interview in silly voices regarding the sexual habits of ferrets, apparently “rather a domesticated form of perverted stoat”! I won’t give away any of the rest, suffice to say you’d have to be made of stone if this track doesn’t raise a few chuckles.‘Hold Your Ferret Aloft’ is in a slightly odd angular jazz rock vein, cruisy and juicy and reeking of the weed, with oozing harmony vocals imploring us “hold your ferret aloft” and “vote for stoat”, amongst other things I can’t quite make out. However, instrumental interplay predominates, as the band jam away in a lazy, stoned and virtuosic way through various shades and permutations of the basic groove, Phil Ryan providing some tasty, unshowy keyboard licks. I can certainly imagine this track sitting comfortably on the Chillum album, or maybe snuck into some early/mid-70’s Zappa album, and it’s one of the few tracks here that doesn’t sound derived from styles set down previously by Man – let’s call them Mannerisms, eh? But how can you accuse Clint of being derivative of something he helped create and was a part of in the first place? Even if you could get away with calling any of it derivative, there’s no escaping that the music is still great regardless, and that’s what matters ultimately. Unless you don’t like this sort of thing, in which case, why have you read this far?

This album was reissued on CD by Eclectic in 2004, with an added coda at the end of ‘Hold Your Ferret Aloft’, which basically consists of 10 seconds or so of keyboard doodling after the track has otherwise ended. 
by achuma, 24/05/2006
1. Out of My Tree - 5:21
2. Brand 'X - 3:45
3. Summer Song - 5:24
4. Swansea Town - 3:48
5. Visitin' the Duke - 6:02
6. Love to You - 6:19
7. Overflow - 5:08
8. Bust Again - 4:37
9. Ferret Interview - 1:38
10.Hold Your Ferret Aloft (Clive John, Martin Ace, Phil Ryan, David Charles, Viv Morris) - 6:01
All compositions by Clive John except track #10

*Clive John - Keyboards, Guitar, Vocals
*Andy Fairweather Low - Guitar, Vocals
*Brian Breeze - Guitar
*Dave Charles - Drums
*John "Buddy" Williams - Vocals
*John Williams - Vocals
*Martin Ace - Bass
*Pete Hurley - Bass
*Phil Ryan - Keyboards
*Ted Crook - Harmonica
*Tommy Riley - Drums

Related Act
1969  Man - Revelation (2009 remaster and expanded)
1969  Man - 2 Ozs Of Plastic With A Hole In The Middle (2009 remaster)
1971  Man - Man (2007 remaster with extra tracks)

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Jess Roden - The Best Of (1974-80 uk, remarkable blues funky classic rock, 2009 remaster)

Jess Roden was a journeyman British rock singer who caught lots of breaks, it's just that none of them were particularly lucky. He sang background in the studios and fronted various bands before playing with Keef Hartley, yet never went anywhere; sang for Robbie Krieger and John Densmore's post-Doors project the Butts Band, which also stalled; then he had a solo career on Island which is compiled on this quite good 2009 Lemon collection. 

Equal parts Rod Stewart and Paul Rodgers, Roden had a powerful bluesy growl made for rockers like "The Ballad of Big Sally" - and his cover of Randy Newman's "You Can Leave Your Hat On" trumps Joe Cocker's latter-day version - but he also sounds just as comfortable on softer material like "Blowin'" and the terrific Boz Scaggs-styled soft rock of "In Me Tonight." That track is an indication of how Roden got softer, slicker, and also somewhat funkier - if funk is nothing but loping basslines and wah-wah guitars - as the '70s came to the close. He still negotiated these turns quite well, and these are good, period soft rock, but Roden sounds alive on the earliest cuts, when he still had the chance of breaking through toward the blues-rock big time. 
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
1. Ballad Of Big Sally (Bruce Roberts, John Cartwright) - 5:44
2. Blowin' (Jess Roden, John Cartwright) - 3:28
3. You Can Leave Your Hat On (Randy Newman) - 4:05
4. Stonechaser (Jess Roden, Steve Webb) - 5:34
5. Reason To Change (Jess Roden) - 3:05
6. Woman Across The Water (Jess Roden) - 4:13
7. In A Circle (John Cartwright, Steve Webb) - 5:34
8. Trouble In The Mind (Jess Roden) - 4:08
9. Me And Crystal Eye (Jess Roden) - 4:14
10.In Me Tonight (Jess Roden) - 4:37
11.Can't Get Next To You (Barrett Strong, Norman Whitfield) - 7:00
12.What The Hell (Jess Roden) - 4:57
13.I'm On A Winner With You (Jess Roden, Steve Webb) - 3:20
14.Deeper In Love - 2:59
15.Lonely Avenue (Doc Pomus) - 3:38
16.If You Change Your Mind (John Cartwright) - 3:18
17.Jump Mama (Jess Roden) - 4:02
18.All Night Long (Jess Roden) - 3:34

 *Jess Roden - Vocals, Guitar

Related Acts
1970-71 Bronco - Country Home / Ace Of Sunlight (2010 remaster)
1965-67  The Alan Bown Set - Emergency 999 
1969  The Alan Bown! - The Alan Bown! (2010 Esoteric remaster)
1972 Keef Hartley - Lancashire Hustler (2009 esoteric remaster)

Free Text
Text Host

Friday, January 17, 2020

Rabbit - Dark Saloon / Broken Arrows (1973-74 us excellent mix of soul funk prog and art rock, 2008 remsaster)

2008 release containing two early '70s albums from the Rock keyboardist on one CD. Considering John 'Rabbit' Bundrick's reputation and high profile career, playing keyboards with everyone from Free and Bob Marley right up to The Who, it's amazing that his solo work still remains largely unrecognized. After Free split in early 1973, Rabbit continued his association with Island Records and, as well as recording innumerable sessions for them, made two excellent solo albums. Broken Arrows from 1973, and Dark Saloon from 1974, were Rabbit putting his songwriting talents to good use. ('Salt Annie Ginger Tree' was later covered by Johnny Nash.) On Dark Saloon Rabbit was joined by string arranger Marty Ford, ABBA's Swedish musicians and his Texas friends Terry Wilson and Tony Braunagel along with repeat appearances from Snuffy Walden and Al Roberts from Stray Dog (also on Broken Arrows) and even Free's Tetsu turns up to play some bass. 
Ork Records

"Considering John 'Rabbit' Bundrick's reputation and high profile career, playing keyboards with everyone from Free and Bob Marley right up to The Who, it's amazing that his solo work still remains largely unrecognized. After Free split in early 1973, Rabbit continued his association with Island Records and, as well as recording innumerable sessions for them, made two excellent solo albums which Ork Records is proud to release on CD for the first time. Broken Arrows from 1973, and Dark Saloon from 1974, were Rabbit putting his songwriting talents to good use ('Salt Annie Ginger Tree' was later covered by Johnny Nash). On Dark Saloon, Rabbit was joined by string arranger Marty Ford, ABBA's Swedish musicians and his Texas friends Terry Wilson and Tony Braunagel (soon to be in Paul Kossoff's Back Street Crawler) along with repeat appearances from Snuffy Walden and Al Roberts from Stray Dog (also on Broken Arrows) and even Free's Tetsu turns up to play some bass! Rabbit was so busy with sessions, he didn't have time to promote these albums, hence them lying under the radar ever since. Rabbit himself, however, retains a high profile due to his ongoing tenure with The Who, and now-reissued work with Free. Thus these underrated releases stand a better chance this time around, not least with Rabbit assisting on the project."
1. Don't You Leave Me Babe - 3:23
2. Dig It Johnny Walker - 3:29
3. Dark Saloon - 2:41
4. '43 Revolution - 4:17
5. Special Woman - 3:19
6. Devil Run - 3:44
7. Cheat on Me - 3:32
8. Hall of Love - 3:44
9. I Believe In You - 3:20
10.Magical Fountain - 3:00
11.I Love Life and Peace - 2:16
12.Broken Arrows - 2:27
13.I Don't Mind - 4:03
14.Ergot - 3:07
15.Blues My Guitar - 2:54
16.Music Is the Answer - 3:52
17.Salt Annie Ginger Tree - 2:23
18.London Town - 2:47
19.You're There Somewhere - 2:51
20.Boll Weevil Blues - 2:50
All songs written by John "Rabbit" Bundrick

*John "Rabbit" Bundrick - Vocals , Keyboards, Drums
*Janne Scheaffer - Guitar
*Ola Brunkert - Drums
*Rebop Kwaku Baah - Congas
*Tetsu Yamauchi - Bass
*Snuffy Walden - Guitar
*Junior Hanson - Wah-Wah Guitar
*Richard Reeves - Acoustic Guitar
*Terry Wilson - Bass 
*Tony Braunagle - Drums
*Dave Keeley - Guitar
*George Larnyoh - Horns, Percussions
*Eddie Quansah - Horns, Percussions
*Pete Vanderpurge - Horns, Percussions
*Chris Laurence - Acoustic Bass, Cello
*Gerri Masters - Bass
*Jim Capaldi - Drums
*Pete Carr - Guitar
*Simon Kirke - Drums
*Conrad Isadore, - Drums
*Alan Gerri - Electric Guitar, Bass

Free Text
Text Host

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Blues Magoos - Never Goin' Back To Georgia (1969 us, mighty psych blues rock with jazz elements, Vinyl edition)

Never Goin' Back to Georgia shows real evolution, their chops far more impressive than on Electric Comic Book, but this adventure certainly alienated their fan base, and as latter-day bands cloned the sound these guys implemented with Psychedelic Lollipop, what was the point of doing Willie Dixon with Santana overtones? The beautiful blue sky cover looks like the Allman Brothers, and only Emil "Peppy" Thielhelm remains to lead new members Eric-Justin Kaz on keyboard, trumpet, harp, vocals, John Liello on vibes, Roger Eaton on bass, Herb Lavelle on drums, Dean Evanson on flute, as well as an alto and two conga players. 

Peppy Thielhelm only contributes two originals, "I Can Feel It" (Feelin' Time) and "Georgia Breakdown," and even though it was always his band, the original 1966 hit single was written by the departed keyboard, bassist, and lead guitarist. What is here is not the Blues Magoos that we knew and loved, but excellent musicians playing a keyboard heavy neo Latin blues with some jazz licks thrown in for good measure. "Gettin' Off is a tasty track.
by Joe Viglione
1. Heartbreak Hotel (Elvis Presley, Mae Boren Axton, Tommy Durden) - 4:10
2. Heart Attack (Willie Dixon) - 4:14
3. The Hunter (Al Jackson Jr., Booker T. Jones, Carl Wells, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Steve Cropper) - 4:15
4. Feelin' Time (I Can Feel It) (Emil Thielhelm, Eric Kaz) - 3:57
5. Gettin' Off (John Liello) - 5:27
6. Never Goin' Back To Georgia (El Pito) (Joe Cuba, Jamie Sabater) - 7:19
7. Broke Down Piece Of Man (Joe Shamwell, Steve Cropper) - 6:17
8. Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out (Jimmy Cox) - 5:18
9. Georgia Breakdown (Emil Thielhelm, Eric Kaz, John Liello, Roger Eaton) - 6:47

Blues Magoos
*Peppy Thielheim - Guitar, Vocals
*Richie Dickon - Conga
*Roger Eaton - Bass, Vocals
*Dean Evenson - Flute
*Eric Kaz - Harmonica, Keyboards, Trumpet, Vocals
*John Liello - Vibes, Vocals
*Herb Lovelle - Drums
*Soto - Alto Saxophone
*Tito - Conga

1966  Psychedelic Lollipop (expanded issue)
1967  Electric Comic Book (expanded issue)
1968  Blues Magoos - Basic Blues Magoos (2004 expanded edition)

Free Text
Text Host

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Byzantium - Live And Studio (1972 uk, remarkable prog rock, 2001 release)

Byzantium released a trio of albums across 1972-1973, and the double Live and Studio was the group's last. Fans considered it their best set, but as it was self-released, few were actually in a position to know. Now all that has changed. Unusually, the quartet's influences rarely came from their compatriots (although the indomitable Beatles tinge a bit of their sound); instead, the band looked mostly to the U.S. for inspiration. Across four sides of vinyl and 12 songs, Byzantium explored the vagaries of contemporary American rock, from the rich harmonies of the Byrds through the spacier sounds of the West Coast.

The guitarists are the band's fulcrum, giving free rein to rocking riffs and fiery leads as well as moodier 12-string passages, with songs sliding from atmospheric musing to rip-roaring boogying that leans toward the likes of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Thoroughly eclectic, the set merrily bounds from pop-flecked numbers to soaring majestic tracks, from downbeat ballads to country-twanged rockers. Contrary to the album's title, however, none of the songs were recorded live in the modern sense of on-stage, but were instead captured live in the studio, which certainly gives the entire set a sense of immediacy that could otherwise be lacking. Incidentally, the album also boasts a surprising punk connection via future Blockhead Chas Jankel, whose presence on lead guitar, piano, and vocals boosts the set to even greater heights. A quite spectacular finale that deserved a much greater audience, and now finally has the chance to find one. 
by Jo-Ann Greene
1. Flashing Silver Hope - 9:39
2. Cowboy Song - 3:27
3. Feel It - 4:30
4. What a Coincidence - 3:57
5. Something You Said - 6:23
6. I Can See You - 6:12
7. Morning - 8:26
8. I'll Just Take My Time - 4:43
9. Surely Peace Will Come to Those Who Try - 3:11
10.If You Wanna Be My Girl - 2:35
11.Oh Darling - 3:08
12.Move With My Time - 3:59
All compositions by Byzantium

*Chas Jankel - Piano, Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Robin Lamble - Vocals, Bass
*Mick Barakan - Vocals, Guitar
*Jamie Rubinstein - Vocal, 12 String Guitar
*Steve Corduner - Drums
*David Hentschel - Synthesizer
*Robin Sylvester - Synthesizer

1972  Byzantium - Byzantium (2013 reissue) 
Related Act
1969  Ora - Ora (2016 double disc edition)

Free Text
Text Host

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Bronco - Country Home / Ace Of Sunlight (1970-71 uk, stunning country classic rock, 2010 remaster)

British country rock sounds about as likely and as authentic as British blues, but both were forces to be reckoned with in late sixties and early seventies rock respectively. Whilst the UK country rock vein certainly aped its US counterpart rather than actually kickstarting it as its blues predecessor had done, a number of artists from this side of the Pond found moderate success working in the form back across the water as well as at home. One of these was Bronco, whose early work compared favourably in its low-key ensemble construction with such luminaries as Neil Young’s Crazy Horse and The Band.

Vocalist Jess Roden had been featured frontman for the Alan Bown Set, one of London’s foremost live soul and R’n’B outfits during the late sixties. When the Bown train began to roll in a more psychedelic direction, Roden re-teamed up with guitarist Kevyn Gammond and bassist John Pasternak from his earlier blues combo Shakedown Sound. Gammond recommended second guitarist Robbie Blunt and drummer Pete Robinson from his own previous Band Of Joy – which had also featured a certain Robert Plant – and Bronco was ready to start buckin’. 

Happy to change direction yet again and clearly inspired by the likes of The Band, Bronco became one of the first British groups to take a punt at the upcoming country rock form. Widely regarded even then as “Britain’s finest unknown singer”, Roden had no trouble bagging a recording contract at the mighty Island Records, and Country Home and a leadoff single “Lazy Now” (not on the album) appeared rapidly. Roden and Co. toured it extensively on both sides of the Atlantic – I recall seeing them supporting fellow Island labelmates Traffic at Bristol University Union during the autumn of 1970 – to favourable responses which unfortunately failed to translate to record sales.

Composed principally by Roden but with input from all band members plus close friend, future schlock-folk singer/songwriter Clifford T Ward, the album exudes rough charm with its low-key, live-sounding recording. The first five of its seven tracks ride mainly on acoustic rhythm guitars with clean countrified electric licks from Blunt and rather more pentatonic input from Gammond plus occasional restrained piano from guest Jeff Bannister, Roden’s former colleague in the Bown set, and bluesy harmonica from drummer Robinson. The harmonies are endearingly rough-edged throughout with a distinct Band vibe. My favourite tracks are “Civil Of You Stranger” with its rolling rhythm, E-string twang and funky modulation, the jugbandish “Misfit On Your Stair” recalling the Lovin’ Spoonful and “Home” with its simple two-chord motif decorated by distant wailing cross-harp and a soulful piano solo. The last two tracks see the band “man-up” with a saw-toothed twin-electric guitar attack that certainly recalls Young’s and Danny Whitten’s partnership or perhaps Free’s slower, funkier material.

Despite the failure of Country Home to sell in droves, a second album Ace Of Sunlight appeared the following year. This featured considerably more composer input from Ward and songwriter Suzy Worth plus a lot more instrumental arrangement and studio gloss, and consequently sounds much more urban mainstream soft-rock, lacking the rough rural edges that had made Country Home such a charmer. When this too failed to set the charts alight Roden saddled up for the States to team up briefly with ex-Doors Robby Krieger and John Densmore as the Butts Band. Blunt and Gammond would work extensively again with Robert Plant post-Zeppelin, whilst Roden finally embarked on an uneven solo career producing a body of work that confirmed him as “Britain’s finest unknown singer” until a total change of direction saw him become a graphic artist in the mid-eighties. Country Home and Ace Of Sunlight are available as a two-disc anthology of Roden’s solo work, reflecting the high regard in which a small but discerning cognoscenti still hold him.
by Len Liechti 
Country Home 1970
1. Civil Of You Stranger (Robbie Blunt) - 3:56
2. Love (Jess Roden) - 4:29
3. Misfit On Your Stair (Clifford T. Ward, Kevyn Gammond) - 3:12
4. Bumpers West (Suzy Worth) - 5:51
5. Home (Jess Roden) - 4:11
6. Well Anyhow (Jess Roden, Kevyn Gammond, Robbie Blunt, John Pasternak, Pete Robinson) - 7:03
7. Time (So Long Between) (Jess Roden, Robbie Blunt) - 5:21
Ace Of Sunlight 1971
8. Amber Moon (Jess Roden, Suzy Worth) - 4:05
9. Time Slips Away(Robbie Blunt) - 6:39
10.Some Uncertainty(Clifford T. Ward, Kevyn Gammond) - 3:48
11.Woman (Clifford T. Ward, Kevyn Gammond) - 4:18
12.New Day Avenue (Jess Roden, Suzy Worth) - 6:24
13.Discernible (Kevyn Gammond, Suzy Worth) - 3:45
14.Sudden Street (Jess Roden) - 6:24
15.Joys And Fears (Jess Roden, Suzy Worth) - 3:45

*Jess Roden - Guitar, Harmonica, Percussion, Piano, Vocals
*Kevin Gammond - Guitar, Vocals
*Robbie Blunt - Guitar, Vocals
*John Pasternak - Bass, Vocals
*Peter Robinson - Drums, Conga
*Jeff Bannister - Piano (Country Home)
*Clifford T. Ward - Vocals (Country Home) 
*Terry Allen - Organ (Ace Of Sunlight)
*Paul Bennett - Vocals (Ace Of Sunlight)
*Paul Davenport - Piano (Ace Of Sunlight)
*Ian Hunter - Piano (Ace Of Sunlight)
*Trevor Lucas - Vocals (Ace Of Sunlight)
*Mick Ralphs - Organ (Ace Of Sunlight)

Related Acts
1965-67  The Alan Bown Set - Emergency 999 
1969  The Alan Bown! - The Alan Bown! (2010 Esoteric remaster)
1972 Keef Hartley - Lancashire Hustler (2009 esoteric remaster)

Free Text
Text Host

Friday, January 3, 2020

Graham Parker And The Rumour ‎- Live At Trent Poly Sports Hall Nottingham (1977 uk, awesome pub rock roots 'n' roll, 2019 remastered)

Graham Parker was born in Hackney East London in 1950. In the summer of '75 Parker joined ex-members of three British Pub-Rock bands to form Graham Parker And The Rumour. They began in the British Pub-Rock scene, often augmented at times by a four man Horn section known as The Rumour Horns.

He appeared (along with the Rumour) on BBC television's Top of the Pops in 1977, performing their version of the Trammps "Hold Back The Night", from the "Pink Parker" EP, a top 30 in March 1977. This concert was recorded at Nottingham Poly Sports Hall, 25th March 1977, by John Moon assisted by Geoff Woodward.
CD Liner Notes
1. Lady Doctor – 2:58
2. Heat Treatment – 3:52
3. (Let Me Get) Sweet On You – 2:36
4. Silly Thing – 3:03
5. Fool's Gold – 4:22
6. Howlin' Wind – 4:22
7. Pourin' It All Out – 3:32
8. Gypsy Blood – 5:22
9. Back To Schooldays – 2:49
10.Don't Ask Me Questions – 5:25
11.Not If It Pleases Me – 3:50
12.New York Shuffle – 3:10
13.Soul Shoes – 3:53
14.Hold Back The Night (Allan Felder, Earl Young, Norman Harris, Ron Baker) - 4:16
15.Kansas City (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) - 3:48
All song by Graham Parker except where noted

The Rumour
*Graham Parker - Vocals, Guitar
*Andrew Bodnar - Bass
*Steve Goulding - Drums
*Martin Belmont - Guitar
*Bob Andrews - Organ, Piano
*Brinsley Schwarz – Guitar

1976  Graham Parker And The Rumour - Howlin Wind (bonus track edition) 
Related Act
1967-69  Kippington Lodge - Shy Boy / The Complete Recordings (2011 release) 

Free Text
Text Host

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Ora - Ora (1969 uk, wondrous psych folk with a jazzy mood, 2016 double disc edition)

This is an amazing folk-with-popsike-jazz-and-even-bossa UK band! Originally released on the Tangerine label, the Ora LP was also issued in the German Metronome label as "Knick Knacks", but gets its first vinyl reissue since it first came out on this 2LP set. Record 1 will feature the original Ora LP as it was first issued back in 1969, while record 2 is made up of previously unreleased in vinyl format top quality material by the band and will include tracks never issued before in any format that original band member James Rubinstein had in his personal archive. 25 must-have songs for anyone interested in UK folk/pop/psych ! !

It is an album of incredible beauty, recorded by some talented young artists, Here is an extract from the original 1969 press release:Jamie Rubinstein, 18, leader, lead vocalist and guitarist with the group called ORA, wrote all the songs on their new LP. He arranged most of them. While making the album Jamie was studing for his GCE A Levels. This is the group's first release, a single is being planned.

Jamie and Robin Sylvester, 18, who plays bass guitar, piano, organ, and is co-arranger, are the main-stays of the four-piece group. The others, lead guitarist Jon Weiss and drummer Julian Diggle, are "floating" members. Jamie, Robin, and Julian had met at UCS (University College School) in Hampstead. James Rubinstein soon after formed the legendary progressive rock group Byzantium.
Disc One
1. Seashore - 2:51
2. About You - 2:41
3. Deborah - 3:06
4. Whitch - 6:24
5. Venetia II - 2:09
6. You - 2:45
7. Fly - 3:44
8. Ladyfriend - 2:19
9. Are You Seeing - 2:55
10.Emma’s Sage - 2:37
11.The Morning After The Night Before - 2:19
12.The Seagull And The Sailor - 3:18
Disc Two
1. Ooo - 1:17
2. What Is Happening - 4:17
3. I Love You - 3:07
4. Deborah - 3:01
5. I Am A Stranger To My Life - 4:56
6. Fly - 3:46
7. It Was An Easy Legend - 2:39
8. Seashore - 4:11
9. No More Love - 3:20
10.Pomme (Chloe Walters) - 2:39
11.Morning Love - 3:17
12.This Time I Won’t Let You Go - 3:45
13.Thank God - 4:44
All songs written by James Rubenstein except where noted

*Mark Barakan - Guitar
*Julian Diggle - Drums
*James Rubenstein - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
*Robin Sylvester - Bass, Keyboards, Guitar
*Chloe Walters - Guitar
*Jon Weiss - Lead Guitar

Related Act
1972  Byzantium - Byzantium (2013 reissue) 

Free Text
Text Host