Thursday, September 16, 2021

Mike Fiems - I Would Drem (1974 us, impressive mixture of sunshine folk, 2012 japan remaster)

Wanting to “mellow” out in the early ’70s, Link Wray’s elder brother Vernon moved to Tucson, Arizona. There, he reassembled the infamous Wray brothers’ Three Track Shack, rechristening it his “Record Factory.” There, he recorded his classic, Wasted. In December 1973 and January 1974, he welcomed a Tucson-based songwriter named Mike Fiems into the Factory, where he served as the producer of Fiems’ I Would Dream. While the LP — recently posted in its entirety by the Tyme-Machine — shares a certain dusty sensibility with Wasted, also released on Tucson’s Vermillion Records in scarce quantity, I Would Dream is an entirely different beast than Wray’s busted heart record.

Mastered by a mysterious “Graybeard,” this is kaleidoscopic sunshine pop as played by sand-caked types. Fiems augments his natural child incantations with folk, soft rock and Sonoran country timbres. He plants his feet in two worlds, one wistful and one jagged. Opener “I Would Dream” sounds appropriately dazed, that is until Fiems curses and steers his sidemen — bassist Charlie Gould and guitarist/drummer Bill Kennedy — into rougher territory.

The lyrics, written by Fiems and his wife (or sister?) Coleen, are alternately naturalistic and doggedly rowdy. “The world is my woman, woman and my child,” Fiems sings on “My Lady,” with a piano that bears a resemblance to the elegiac barroom piano featured on Wray’s “Lonely Son.” Occasionally the record veers into theatrical territory: “Sing It” sounds like it wouldn’t be out of place in the hippie-fied Broadway musicals of the day. But mostly, Fiems mines a unique intersection between cosmic wanderings and rural grooves.
by J. Woodbury
1. I Would Dream (Colleen Fiems, Mike Fiems) - 2:13
2. I'll Be  Star - 4:07
3. Touch Me (Colleen Fiems, Mike Fiems) - 2:53
4. Seven Years (Colleen Fiems, Mike Fiems) - 3:55
5. Desert Sands - 3:42
6. Feelin Fine - 2:37
7. My Lady - 3:10
8. Life In The City - 2:54
9. I'm Here (Colleen Fiems, Mike Fiems) - 2:15
10.Sing It (Colleen Fiems, Mike Fiems) - 3:09
11.How Will It Be - 3:30
All songs by Mike Fiems except where noted

*Mike Fiems - Twelve-String Guitar, Acoustic, 6-String, Rhythm Guitars, Percussion, Bass, Vocals, Piano
*Bill Kennedy - Drums, Percussion, Electric, Acoustic Guitars
*Charlie Gould - Bass, Lead Guitar (Track 9)

Monday, September 13, 2021

Gringo - Gringo (1971 uk, exceptional prog rock, 2012 remaster)

Gringo were formed in 1970 from the ashes of Toast and Utopia and played with Black Widow before they record their sole album. It was released through MCA in the summer of 1971 and then they shared the stage with Caravan and Barclay James Harvest. The self-titled album of Cringo is one of the best examples of the Canterbury prog scene without a trace of jazz and the peculiar, almost androgynous lead vocals of Synge fitting perfectly with those of the rest members. Off this magnificent album, two songs stand out, Cry the Beloved Country and I’m Another Man.

Although plans had been laid for a second album with Jon Hiseman as producer, the band split permanently in the summer of 1972 and the four members followed different paths. Synge (as Casey Synge) sang as a session musician in Leigh Stevens, Pilot, Lou Reed, Mott The Hoople, Cockney Rebel, Marsha Hunt and Maggie Bell, Henry Marsh (guitar, keyboards, vocals) was the founding member of Sailor, Simon Byrne (drums, vocals) released a solo album and John G. Perry (bass, vocals) did important things as a member of Aviator, Caravan, Spreadeagle and Quantum Jump while his debut solo album, the stunning Sunset Wading, is one of the most interesting and prominent records of the Canterbury prog scene.
Prog Rocks
1. Cry The Beloved Country - 5:55
2. I'm Another Man - 4:16
3. More And More - 4:43
4. Out Time Is Our Time - 5:06
5. Gently Step Through The Stream - 3:55
6. Emma And Harry - 3:56
7. Moonstone - 4:40
8. Land Of Who Knows Where - 4:06
9. Patriotic Song - 5:18
10.I'm Another Man - 3:39
11.Soft Mud - 3:16
All songs by Casey Synge, Henry Marsh, John Perry, Simon Byrne

*Casey Synge - Vocals
*Henry Marsh - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*John Perry - Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Simon Byrne - Drums, Vocals

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Druid - Toward The Sun (1975 uk, fine prog rock, 2015 japan SHM remaster)

Formed in 1971 by old schoolmates Dane Stevens and Cedric Sharpley, along with local bass player Neil Brewer, Druid spent years playing clubs as a trio before winning a competition by Melody Maker for the best unsigned band. At this point they added Andrew McCrorie-Shand, a recent London College of Music graduate.

The Melody Maker prize included new instruments and a recording contract, and their debut album appeared in July 1975 among envious whispers by rival bands and music publications. The band had a difficult time shaking the charge of hype, and they were also charged in some quarters as being Yes soundalikes -- Starcastle in the U.S. was later to be tarred with the same brush. () - In fact, Druid was an opening act at a number of Yes concerts. The Yes comparison, though an obvious one, is not entirely accurate. While Dane's vocals are clearly styled after Jon Anderson, and Neil Brewer's bass has the classic pick-driven Rickenbacker growl associated with Chris Squire, the rest of the band departs from the formula; McCrorie-Shand's unadorned keyboard parts, for example, have little in common with the lavishly baroque flash of Rick Wakeman or the martial Hammond pounding of Tony Kaye.

With the release of their second album in the spring of 1976, the band distanced themselves from their production and Melody Maker connections. It couldn't make up for the weaker material on their sophomore effort, and the band finally called it quits. Cedric Sharpley was to find success soon afterwards, though, by joining up with a new and unusual band led by an strange fellow named Gary Numan.
by Paul Collins
1. Voices (Andrew McCrorie-Shand, Dane Stevens) - 8:14
2. Remembering (Dane Stevens, Neil Brewer) - 5:24
3. Theme (Andrew McCrorie-Shand, Cedric Sharpley, Dane Stevens, Neil Brewer) - 5:26
4. Toward The Sun (Dane Stevens) - 5:08
5. Red Carpet For An Autumn (Andrew McCrorie-Shand, Neil Brewer) - 3:09
6. Dawn Of Evening (Andrew McCrorie-Shand, Neil Brewer) - 10:03
7. Shangri-La (Dane Stevens, Neil Brewer) - 10:08

*Dane Stevens - Guitars, Vocals
*Andrew McCrorie-Shand - Keyboards, Choral Arrangements
*Neil Brewer - Bass
*Cedric Sharpley - Drums, Percussion

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Dragonwyck - Fun (1974-76 us, essential art prog psych rock, 2008 remaster)

This previously unreleased album from 1974 rounds off the World In Sound trilogy of Cleveland´s most celebrated 70s "art-psychedelic" rock groups. It´s Dragonwyck´s most professional piece of music and truly decent pioneering in combining 60s psych compositions with tape looping (comparable to the "Dark Side of The Moon" album) and symphonic elements: "Fun is what the name implies; hard work, a lot of sweat. Orchestrated rock that is orchestrated without an orchestra". Sure they were inspired by the conceptions of giants, like Genesis, 70s Pink Floyd, Gentle Giant or Yes and express a few Doors / Bowie-flashes to sound finally as a unique collage of detailed studiowork. 

Compared to the time when it was recorded it´s innovatively produced and became a great artistic statement with finally 10 original cuts (plus 2 bonustracks/8 p. colorbooklet). You´ll hear prog-psych and crazy symphonic perversions with weird vocals/voices, powerful guitars, violin and lots of keyboards. While the first album (WIS-1023) was minimalistic dark/heavy and strong Doors influenced, the second (WIS-1030) created more "British Invasion"-sounds a la Moody Blues or King Crimson, to make this third album the most variative and unexpected one.
Tasty Odds 
1. The Music (Jack Boessneck, Tom Brehm, Bill Pettijohn) - 3:04
2. One More Goodbye (Jerry Moran, Bill Pettijohn) - 3:53
3. He Loves You (Bill Pettijohn) - 2:45
4. I Shall Stay (Tom Brehm) - 3:54
5. Relics (Tom Brehm, Bill Pettijohn) - 4:17
6. Doncha' Cry (Jerry Moran, Bill Pettijohn) - 3:21
7. You Gotta Have Fun (Bill Cavanaugh) - 1:00
8. Ain't That The Way She Goes (Tom Brehm, Jerry Moran, Bill Pettijohn) - 2:59
9. A Dream For Me (Jerry Moran, Bill Pettijohn) - 3:30
10.Forever (Tom Brehm) - 4:22
11.Not Over: Flying Turns (Bill Cavanaugh) - 5:07
12.I Am You (Jon Simonell) - 5:05
Tracks 11-12 as the Flying Turns

*Tom Brehm - Guitars, Violin
*Tim Layman - Bass
*Scott Barnes - Bass
*Dale Flanigan - Drums
*Butch Roth - Drums
*Bill Pettijohn - Lead Vocals
*Jerry Moran - Keyboards 
*Peggy Cella - Vocals

Flying Turns
*Bill Cavanaugh - Guitars, Vocals
*Tom Brehm - Guitars, Electric Violin
*Jerry Moran - Keyboards 
*Jon Simonell - Keyboards, Vocals 
*Michael McBride - Drums 

Friday, September 10, 2021

Fenton Robinson - I Hear Some Blues Downstairs (1977 us, awesome electric chicago blues)

Fenton Robinson was heralded as one of the most progressive guitarists in Chicago as well as one of the true intellectuals on the scene–a Tolstoy and Kafka reader also known as ‘The Mellow Blues Genius.’ He was one of the first acts to be signed to Alligator Records, and his considerable talents as a singer, instrumentalist, and songwriter were well showcased on his second album for the label. 

"I Hear Some Blues Downstairs", which in addition to the catchy title track also includes a remake of the classic ‘As the Years Go Passing By,’ which Robinson recorded in its original version for Duke Records in 1959. Sidemen on the album included Bill Heid, Steve Ditzell, Larry Exum, and Ashward Gates, with a horns arranged by one of Chicago’s other most advanced guitarists, Reggie Boyd.
1. I Hear Some Blues Downstairs - 4:14
2. Just A Little Bit (Ralph Bass, Buster Brown, John Thornton, Fats Washington) - 4:34
3. West Side Baby (Dallas Bartley, Johnny Cameron) - 5:03
4. I'm So Tired - 3:53
5. I Wish For You - 3:13
6. Tell Me What's The Reason (Florence Cadrez) - 3:19
7. Going West - 3:43
8. Killing Floor (Chester Burnett, Howlin' Wolf) - 3:37
9. As The Years Go Passing By (Deadric Malone) - 4:48
All compositions by Fenton Robinson except where stated

*Fenton Robinson - Guitar, Vocals 
*Billy Brimfield - Trumpet
*Earl Crossley - Tenor Sax 
*Steve Ditzell - Rhythm Guitar
*Larry Exum - Bass
*Ashward Gates, Jr. - Drums
*Bill Heid - Keyboards
*Bill MacFarland - Trombone
*Reggie Boyd - Horn Arrangements

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Sam Apple Pie - East 17 (1972 uk, fine blues rock, 2005 remaster)

In 1970 they played the first Glastonbury Festival, after which Morley and Charles left to form Help Yourself and Steve Jolly to join Procol Harum offshoot Freedom. After several more line up changes, the band recorded their second album East 17 in 1973, with Sam Sampson and Bob Rennie from the first album supported by Andy Johnson and Denny "Pancho" Barnes on guitars, and Lee Baxter Hayes on drums.

They disbanded in 1974, but reformed the next year. During the hiatus, from mid 1974 to February 1975, the band members performed with Vincent Crane as Vincent Crane's Atomic Rooster. Further line up changes included bassist Gary Fletcher, who subsequently joined The Blues Band and drummer Martin Bell. The band continued into the late 1970s, changing its name to The Vipers, Gary Fletcher on GTA agency site Retrieved 11 November 29 (not to be confused with the new wave band of the same name) before disbanding.
1.Good Time Music (John Sebastian) - 3:48
2.Louise (Andy Johnson, Sam Sampson) - 4:59
3.Out On The Road (Andy Johnson, Sam Sampson) - 4:28
4.Route 66 (Bobby Troup) - 2:32
5.She's The Queen (Andy Johnson, Lee Baxter Hayes) - 4:36
6. Old Tom (Andy Johnson, Sam Sampson) - 4:04
7.Flying (Andy Johnson, Sam Sampson) - 5:27
8.Call Me Boss (Andy Johnson, Lee Baxter Hayes) - 4:38
9.Another Orpheus (Andy Johnson, Denny Barnes, Bob Rennie, Lee Baxter Hayes, Sam Sampson, Eckersley) - 4:58

Sam Apple Pie
*Sam "Tomcat" Sampson - Harmonica, Vocals
*Bob "Dog" Rennie - Bass
*Andy Johnson - Guitar
*Denny "Pancho" Barnes - Lead Guitar
*Lee Baxter Hayes - Drums

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Sam Apple Pie - Sam Apple Pie (1969 uk, great blues rock with brass section, 2003 digipak expanded and 2013 japan remasterd editions)

Formed in Walthamstow, London, where they ran their own club 'The Bottleneck Blues Club', Sam Apple Pie soon attracted a large live following, with a mix of goodtime blues and boogie, interspersed with humour. In October 1969 they played the Amougies festival, in Belgium, where Frank Zappa jammed with them. United Mutations (Zappa History) Retrieved 29 October 2009
They wrote all but one of the songs on their first album Sam Apple Pie (1969) which featured lead singer Sam "Tomcat" Sampson with Mike "Tinkerbell" Smith and Steve Jolly on guitars, bassist Bob "Dog" Rennie, Malcolm Morley on keyboards and Dave Charles on drums. 
by Richie Unterberger
1. Hawk (Dave Charles, Mick Smith, Sam Sampson) - 4:06
2. Winter Of My Love (Andy Johnson, Sam Sampson) - 7:14
3. Stranger (Andy Johnson, Sam Sampson) - 4:26
4. Swan Song (Andy Johnson, Sam Sampson) - 7:12
5. Tiger Man (King Of The Jungle) (Joe Hill Louis, Sam Burns) - 2:23
6. Something Nation (Mick Smith, Sam Sampson) - 3:59
7. Sometime Girl (Andy Johnson, Sam Sampson) - 4:00
8. Uncle Sam's Blues (Andy Johnson, Dave Charles, Doug Renny, Mick Smith, Sam Sampson) - 2:36
9. Annabelle (Andy Johnson, Doug Renny, Sam Sampson) - 5:17
10.Moonlight Man (Andy Johnson, Mick Smith, Sam Sampson) - 7:17
11.Tiger Man (Joe Hill Louis, Sam Burns) - 2:23
12.Sometime Girl (Andy Johnson, Sam Sampson) - 4:01
Bonus Tracks Mono Single Mix 11-12

Sam Apple Pie
*Sam Sampson - Harp, Vocals, Whistle 
*Mick "Tinkerbell" Smith - Lead Guitar
*Dave Charles - Drums
*Andy "Snakehips" Johnson - Slide Guitar
*Doug Renny - Bass
*Andy Dark - Piano
*Steve Jolly - Guitar
*Harry Klein - Baritone Sax 
*Malcolm Morley - Electric Harpsichord, Piano
*Rex Morris - Tenor Sax

Monday, September 6, 2021

Fenton Robinson - Somebody Loan Me A Dime (1974 us, stunning electric chicago blues)

Fenton Robinson tirelessly strives to invent something fresh and vital whenever he's near a bandstand. The soft-spoken Mississippi native got his career going in Memphis, where he'd moved at age 16. First, Rosco Gordon used him on a 1956 session for Duke that produced "Keep on Doggin'." The next year, Fenton made his own debut as a leader for the Bihari Brothers' Meteor label with his first reading of "Tennessee Woman." His band, the Dukes, included mentor Charles McGowan on guitar. T-Bone Walker and B.B. King were Robinson's idols.

1957 also saw Fenton team up with bassist Larry Davis at the Flamingo Club in Little Rock. Bobby Bland caught the pair there and recommended them to his boss, Duke Records prexy Don Robey. Both men made waxings for Duke in 1958, Robinson playing on Davis' classic "Texas Flood" and making his own statement with "Mississippi Steamboat." Robinson cut the original version of the often-covered Peppermint Harris-penned slow blues "As the Years Go Passing By" for Duke in 1959 with New Orleans prodigy James Booker on piano. 

The same date also produced a terrific "Tennessee Woman" and a marvelous blues ballad, "You've Got to Pass This Way Again." Fenton moved to Chicago in 1962, playing Southside clubs with Junior Wells, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Otis Rush and laying down the swinging "Say You're Leavin'" for USA in 1966. But it was his stunning slow blues "Somebody (Loan Me a Dime)" cut in 1967 for Palos, that insured his blues immortality. Boz Scaggs liked it so much that he covered it for his 1969 debut LP. Unfortunately, he initially also claimed he wrote the tune; much litigation followed.

John Richbourg's Sound Stage 7/Seventy 7 labels, it's safe to say, didn't really have a clue as to what Fenton Robinson's music was all about. The guitarist's 1970 Nashville waxings for the firm were mostly horrific: he wasn't even invited to play his own guitar on the majority of the horribly unsubtle rock-slanted sides. His musical mindset was growing steadily jazzier by then, not rockier. 

One of the most subtly satisfying electric blues albums of the '70s. Fenton Robinson never did quite fit the "Genuine Houserocking Music" image of Alligator Records -- his deep, rich baritone sounds more like a magic carpet than a piece of barbed wire, and he speaks in jazz-inflected tongues, full of complex surprises. The title track hits with amazing power, as do the chugging "The Getaway," a hard-swinging "You Say You're Leaving," and the minor-key "You Don't Know What Love Is." In every case, Robinson had recorded them before, but thanks to Bruce Iglauer's superb production, a terrific band, and Robinson's musicianship, these versions reign supreme. 

His 1974 album Somebody Loan Me a Dime remains the absolute benchmark of his career, spotlighting his rich, satisfying vocals and free-spirited, understated guitar work in front of a rock-solid horn-driven band. Alligator issued Nightflight, another challenging set, in 1984, then backed off the guitarist. His 1989 disc Special Road, first came out on the Dutch Black Magic logo and was reissued by Evidence Music. Robinson passed away on November 25, 1997 at the age of 62 due to complications from brain cancer. 
by Bill Dahl
1. Somebody Loan Me A Dime - 2:59
2. The Getaway - 3:21
3. Directly From My Heart To You (Little Richard) - 4:21
4. Going To Chicago (Traditional) - 3:50
5. You Say You're Leaving (Big Joe Williams) - 3:18
6. Checking On My Woman - 3:26
7. You Don't Know What Love Is - 3:57
8. I've Changed - 4:26
9. Country Girl (Rudy Toombs) - 4:56
10.Gotta Wake Up - 4:28
11.Texas Flood (Larry Davis, Don Robey, Joseph Wade Scott) - 4:22
All songs by Fenton Robinson except where noted

*Fenton Robinson - Guitar, Vocals
*Dave Baldwin - Tenor Saxophone
*Cornelius Boyson - Bass Guitar
*Elmer Brown - Trumpet
*Tony Gooden - Drums
*Bill Heid - Keyboards
*Norval D. Hodges - Trumpet
*Bill McFarland - Trombone
*Mighty Joe Young - Guitar

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Bonnie Koloc - You're Gonna Love Yourself In The Morning (1974 us, warm tender folk rock)

The enduring and versatile voice of Bonnie Koloc has been heard in Chicago since 1968.  For a decade, Bonnie was a pivotal act at the Earl of Old Town, drawing crowds that stood in lines around the block, hoping, at least, for a place to stand to catch the hottest act in town.  In time her folk-oriented style merged with jazz and blues, and her versatility took her to Mr. Kelly’s, a long-time Chicago landmark.  While continuing to play at the Earl, Orphans and Holstein’s, she began appearing at festivals.

Along the way she received a Governor’s Award in 1973 for Best Singer, recorded ten albums, two of them with Epic. In 1984 her career took another turn when she starred in the Public Theater’s production of The Human Comedy, first earning her the theatre World Bronze Award for Outstanding New Talent on Broadway and a Drama Critics Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical.

She had a minor hit with "Roll Me On the Water" from the 1974 album "You're Gonna Love Yourself in the Morning," but never achieved the national recognition many predicted for her. 
1. You're Gonna Love Yourself In The Morning (Donnie Fritts) - 2:21
2. Colors Of The Sun (Jackson Browne) - 3:09
3. Crazy Mary (Mike Smith) - 3:10
4. Children's Blues (Bonnie Koloc) - 3:55
5. Guilty Of Rock And Roll (Neil Goldberg) - 3:18
6. Roll Me On The Water (Bonnie Koloc) - 3:48
7. I Have To Say I Love You In A Song (Jim Croce) - 2:50
8. 25th Of December (Bonnie Koloc) - 2:32
9. The Lion Tamer (Bonnie Koloc) - 2:59
10.Mother Country (Jack Smith, Jerry Liliedahl) - 3:35

*Bonnie Koloc - Guitar, Vocals
*David Briggs - Piano
*Jerry Carrigan - Drums
*Johnny Christopher - Guitar
*Jim Colvard - Guitar
*Steve Goodman - Guitar
*Mike Leech - Bass
*Larrie Londin - Drums
*Kenny Malone - Drums
*Farrell Morris - Percussion
*Norbert Putnam - Bass
*Billy Sanford - Guitar
*Henry Strzelecki - Bass
*Pete Wade - Guitar
*Reggie Young - Guitar

Friday, September 3, 2021

Bonnie Koloc - Hold On To Me (1972 us, remarkable jazzy folk rock)

Bonnie moved to Chicago at the age of 24 and was recognized for her talent as a folk singer. Then she moved to New York with great ambition, but soon returned to Chicago with disappointment and released her debut LP, "After All This Time." Her first three albums,  have been widely recognized for their musicality not only in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom and Canada. 

Her singing ability is very good and she is overflowing with charm. Nine guest musicians support her playing skills, but her cool voice boasts a terrifying power that suppresses all instruments. For a moment, her voice reaches its peak when all the instruments stop playing and listen to her. Her voice sounds very familiar, very similar to the British folk rock singers like Linda Hoyle. 
1. Sailing Ship (Bob Carpenter) - 3:02
2. Burgundy Wine (Bob Carpenter) - 2:36
3. The Lover In Winter Plaineth For The Spring - 0:50
4. Hold On To Me (Jim Glover) - 5:57
5. Sweet Mama (Bonnie Koloc, Ron Scroggin) - 3:12
6. We Are Ships (Bonnie Koloc, Norm Christian) - 3:41
7. Angel From Montgomery (John Prine) - 2:38
8. Jamaica (Jackson Browne) - 3:35
9. Diamond Lil (David Bromberg) - 5:32
10.Every Day II (Bonnie Koloc, Ron Scroggin) - 4:14

*Bonnie Koloc - Guitar, Vocals
*Allen Barcus - Piano
*Bobby Christian - Percussion
*Norman Christian - Drums
*Bobby Lewis - Guitar
*Wally Pillich - Bass
*Ron Scroggin - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
*Philip Michael Thomas - Congas
*Phil Upchurch - Bass, Guitar 
*Trevor Veitch - Guitar, Dobro

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Bonnie Koloc - Bonnie Koloc (1973 us, wonderful folk harmonies)

Bonnie Koloc came from a working-class background; her father worked in the local John Deere factory in Waterloo, Iowa. She had a difficult childhood, her parents divorcing when she was 12, but nevertheless became the first member of her family to go to university where she studied art and drama whilst singing to help pay the bills. Over time she became disillusioned with her studies and dropped out, moving to Chicago to pursue a musical career. She quickly established herself as a mainstay of the Chicago folk scene, playing regularly at the legendary Earl of Old Town and other folk venues. Her soft sweet voice was reminiscent of Joni Mitchell, although her music had a more jazzy-blues feel to it.

Bonnie Koloc’s debut LP ‘After All This Time’ was released in 1971, the same year as John Prine and Steve Goodman released their debuts. While her contemporaries were signed by established labels (Atlantic and Buddah respectively), Koloc’s record came out on Ovation Records, a local Chicago label. It therefore never gained the traction to launch her career to the heights that many had predicted. However, her brand of psych-folk now sounds ahead of its time. There followed three more albums on Ovation. ‘Hold on to Me’ (1972), ‘Bonnie Koloc’ (1973), and ‘You’re Gonna Love Yourself in the Morning’ (1974) that contain much of her best work. What is perhaps most striking about them is the consistent level of performance that makes it difficult to recommend any one single release ahead of the others.

The quality of the four Ovation releases won her a major label deal with Epic, which produced the equally excellent ‘Close Up’ (1976), one reviewer describing it as her “most consistent and enjoyable album”. However, whilst the album was being made Koloc lost her long time partner Curt Cole Burkhart to a heart problem. In memory of him she then made ‘Wild and Recluse’ (1978) which was partly based around the monologues of a Chicago street guy called Lucky, that her late partner had recorded. Following her well-received Epic debut with such an album was commercial suicide and Epic promptly dropped her.

It would be nine years before ‘With You on My Side’ (1987) which took Koloc back to her early folk style and marked a real return to form. Unfortunately, after this, Koloc only recorded sporadically as her attention turned to a successful career in acting, art and book illustrations. She still performs in Chicago but hasn’t released a new record since 2006’s ‘Here to Sing’. Two live collections have been released, ‘Beginnings’ (2009) features early 1970s live recordings, mainly from The Earl of Old Town shows and ‘Seems Like Yesterday’ is a complete show also from the 1970s. Both are well worth your attention.
by Clint West, May 19, 2020 
1. Newport, Aug.14 (Bonnie Koloc) - 3:18
2. Charmer (Bonnie Koloc, Chuck De Meyer) - 3:54
3. Sunday Morning Movies (Bonnie Koloc) - 3:25
4. Wind On The Water (Tom Rush) - 4:14
5. On The Road (Carl Franzen) - 2:55
6. Mama's Blues (Bonnie Koloc, Chuck De Meyer) - 2:26
7. Kentucky Dream (Bonnie Koloc) - 3:56
8. Roll Away The Grey (Bob Carpenter) - 2:27
9. My Aunt Edna (Bonnie Koloc) - 2:43
10.Roslyn (David Van Delinder) - 3:41

*Bonnie Koloc - Guitar, Vocals
*Bobby Christian - Percussion
*Norman Christian - Drums
*Chuck DeMeyer - Keyboards, Vocals
*Lonnie Knight - Guitar
*Harold Kritz - Bass
*Danny Long - Piano
*Jonathan Peartree - Guitar, Vocals
*Ron Scroggin - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
*David VanDelinder - Guitar

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Camel - Mirage (1974 uk, a prog rock milestone, 2013 japan SHM remaster and expanded)


Probably Camel’s most popular album and their best work, the group’s second effort Mirage both expanded and improved upon their self-titled début. Having truly found their sound and gained incredible confidence and daring in their writing and playing, this progressive classic opens strong and ends even stronger. “Freefall,” with its booming opening, outstanding guitar lines, seemingly effortless mood –and tempo changes and fitting vocals, is a definite statement about what Camel could unleash. Which, when listening to Mirage, was something quite astounding.

Split between the three vocal tracks that make up the beginning, middle and end of the album are two superb instrumentals. The shorter, more laid-back and playful “Supertwister” features a first appearance of Latimer’s abilities on the flute, introducing a new element that would play a part in Camel’s sound on many subsequent albums. The longer “Earthrise” is a free-flowing jam that features some fantastic interplay abilities between the quartet and is a perfect example of their strong chemistry.

Mirage’s most compelling moments are however its two epics. The middle track “Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider,” is once again full of signature Camel moments: Latimer’s gorgeous melodic guitar lines, relaxed vocals, Ferguson’s typical deep bass sound, and a smooth flow that makes it seem shorter than the nine minutes it actually takes. The group’s storytelling ability is most prominent here. Latimer wrote the song about the Gandalf character from The Lord of the Rings (those fantastical kind of themes were really hip among the rock bands of the era, after all), which is easily derived from the lyrics: “Once he wore grey/he fell and slipped away/From everybody’s sight/The wizard of them all/came back from his fall/This time wearing white.”

In traditional manner, the best epic is of course saved for last. Lady Fantasy, written together by the entire band (most of the band’s compositions were written by Latimer and Bardens), is one of the true highlights of Camel’s career. The lyrical content may actually be a little cheesy, but flows wonderfully with the music. Each section is extremely well though-out and Latimer’s playing, especially his highly emotional lead that recurs throughout the song, is to die for. These 12 minutes top off the accomplishment that is this record with proud determination, and are a reminder why it is held in such high regard. Mirage is a definite progressive classic, and should be owned by anyone who pronounces himself a fan of the genre.
Prog- Sphere
1. Freefall (Peter Bardens) - 5:53
2. Supertwister (Peter Bardens) - 3:19
3. Nimrodel / The Procession / The White Rider (Andrew Latimer) - 9:17
4. Earthrise (Peter Bardens, Andrew Latimer) - 6:42
5. Lady Fantasy: Encounter / Smiles For You / Lady Fantasy (Peter Bardens, Andrew Latimer, Andy Ward, Doug Ferguson) - 12:45
6. Supertwister (Peter Bardens) - 3:15
7. Mystic Queen (Peter Bardens) - 6:7
8. Arubaluba (Peter Bardens) - 7:47
9. Lady Fantasy: Encounter / Smiles For You / Lady Fantasy (Peter Bardens, Andrew Latimer, Andy Ward, Doug Ferguson) - 12:59
Bonus Tracks 6-8 Live at the Marquee Club 30.10.1974
Bonus Track 10 Original Basing Street studios mix

*Andrew Latimer - Guitar, Vocals
*Peter Bardens - Keyboards, Vocals
*Doug Ferguson - Bass, Vocals
*Andy Ward - Drums, Percussion

Related Acts
1970  The Answer (2010 esoteric remaster with extra tracks)
1971  Write My Name In The Dust (Japan remaster)

Monday, August 30, 2021

Chimo - Chimo! (1970 canada, wonderful jazzy hypnotic art prog rock)

Chimo’s roots can be traced back to Parry Sound band The Georgian IV who formed in 1964 and comprised Ross Raby (vocals, organ, piano), John Johnson (vocals, guitar), Stewart McCann (bass), and Rick King (drums). They toured extensively for several years throughout Ontario, Québec and New York State. Following the break-up of The David Clayton-Thomas Combine (itself a holdover from Clayton-Thomas’s The Bossmen), guitarist Jack Mowbray joined the Georgian IV and they changed their name to The Georgian People. Soon Mowbray called upon his old Bossmen bandmate Tony Collacutt for additional piano chops. 

The group made the rounds on the Southern Ontario bar scene and in their downtime, worked on a repertoire of original material. Soon, the act was signed to Mort Ross’s new Revolver Records. The line-up changed again when McCann quit John Johnson took over duties, relinquishing his role as guitarist to Mowbray. The band also lost King on drums who was replaced by former Combine member Pat Little. With the final addition of vocalist Breen LeBoeuf and their name was changed to Chimo! (Inuit for ‘hello’) but not before one last member change with Andy Cree replacing Pat Little on drums. In the spring of 1970, Revolver released the band’s remake of the old Bossmen song “Quicksilver Woman”, followed that summer by their original song “Silken Silver Melody”. Neither single did particularly well, but Mort Ross pushed forward and managed to get the band’s self-titled debut released in the US on Epic Records. Cree left after the album’s release to be replaced by the man he had originally replaced , Pat Little. But, cracks were already beginning to show with Johnson and Raby departing at the end of 1971 around the same time as their final single, “Cross Country Man”, was released. 

It was only a matter of time before Collacutt also skipped out leaving Mowbray, Little and LeBoeuf to carry on briefly. Little went on to become a respected session drummer and a member of such Canadian acts as the Modern Rock Quartet, Fludd and Diamondback; LeBoeuf would move on to a brief reformation of Motherlode, then Southcote, and finally, Offenbach; Mowbray formed a lounge act with his wife and then finally retired from the industry; Stewart McCann left the music business and is now a Professor of Psychology at an east coast University. 
by Stewart McCann and Breen LeBeou
1. Cross Country Man (Jack Mowbray, Breen LeBoeuf) - 5:23
2. In The Sea (Pat Little) - 2:56
3. Love Lady (Tony Collacott, Ross Raby) - 2:43
4. Pattie Love (Tony Collacott, Ross Raby) - 3:09
5. Silken Silver Melody (Jack Mowbray, Ross Raby) - 3:11
6. Day After Day (Tony Collacott, Ross Raby) - 6:31
7. Lonely Girl (Tony Collacott, David Clayton-Thomas, Ross Raby) - 2:326
8. Quicksilver Woman (David Clayton-Thomas) - 3:42
9. Hour Glass (Tony Collacott, Jack Mowbray, Breen LeBoeuf, Ross Raby) - 5:15
10.Elephant Bath (Tony Collacott) - 2:20
11.Sheba (Tony Collacott, Ross Raby) - 3:11
12.Time Waits For No Man (Tony Collacott, Ross Raby) - 3:53
13.Is That You Girl (Jack Mowbray, Ross Raby) - 3:12
14.Procession Of Mabs (Tony Collacott, Ross Raby) - 2:50
15.Ect Blues (Tony Collacott) - 4:59
16.It's A Long Long Time - 0:41

*Breen LeBoeuf - Vocals    
*Jack Mowbray - Guitar  
*John Brian Johnson - Bass, Vocals 
*Ross Raby - Organ, Vocals   
*Andy Cree - Drums 
*John Anthony “Tony” Collacutt - Piano
*Stewart McCann - Bass
*Rick King - Drums 
*Pat Little - Drums 

Friday, August 27, 2021

Greenslade - Bedside Manners Are Extra (1973 uk, a wide range of genres, from jazz fusion to hints of blues to prog rock with dazzling synthesizer work and atmospheric guitar implementations, 2015 japan SHM and 2018 bonus tracks remasters )

I am not sure when I first came across this album, but it wasn’t when it was first released in 1973 but some time in the Eighties. I was immediately blown away by the concept of having two keyboard players, and no guitar, and while some likened them to ELP I never really saw (or heard) the link. Yes, there are long instrumentals, but singer (and second keyboard player) Dave Lawson had a very different voice to Greg Lake. I know he is often castigated for his vocals, but I personally never felt there was an issue and actually enjoy his singing, especially on the opening title cut. 

This was the second album by Greenslade, who were formed by Dave Greenslade after the break-up of Colosseum. He brought on board fellow Colosseum founder member bassist Tony Reeves, who had left after contributing to just one song on ‘Daughter of Time’, along with Lawson (Samurai, and had also been a member of The Alan Bown Set and Web) along with drummer Andrew McCulloch (King Crimson, Fields). Many fans say the debut Greenslade album is the best, while the third ‘Spyglass Guest’ was the commercially most successful, but this is always the album to which I turn. It captures a time when anything was possible, and the band certainly felt they weren’t restricted on what they were doing. At this point within the British music scene there was the feeling that boundaries were there to be broken and pushed aside, and while Greenslade never really managed to capture the fan base of their contemporaries, to my ears it was never due to lack of songs or ability. Listening to this album on headphones, some 35 years on from its original release, still fills me with a great deal of pleasure and I know that many progheads who have overlooked this in the past will also feel the same way.

But wait, there’s more! I have been fortunate enough to have in front of me the reissue on Esoteric, and as always, they never feel just making an album available again is enough. So, firstly we have three additional songs which were recorded for the Radio One ‘Sounds of the Seventies’ series, from October 1973. This is a superb set, which has been making its way repeatedly back to my player, and deservedly so.
by Kev Rowland
1. Bedside Manners Are Extra (Dave Greenslade, Dave Lawson) - 6:24
2. Pilgrim's Progress (Dave Greenslade) - 7:05
3. Time To Dream (Dave Greenslade, Dave Lawson) - 4:51
4. Drum Folk (Dave Greenslade, Andy McCulloch) - 8:53
5. Sunkissed You're Not (Dave Lawson) - 6:35
6. Chalk Hill (Dave Lawson, Tony Reeves) - 5:32
7. Time To Dream (Dave Greenslade, Dave Lawson) - 3:46
8. Bedside Manners Are Extra (Dave Greenslade, Dave Lawson) - 5:30
9. Pilgrims Progress (Dave Greenslade) - 6:40
Bonus tracks 7-9  BBC Radio 1 "Sounds Of The Seventies" Session, only on Esoteric edition

Dave Greenslade – Keyboards
Dave Lawson – Keyboards, Vocals
Tony Reeves – Bass Guitar
Andrew McCulloch – Drums, Percussion

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Nektar - Down To Earth (1974 uk, splendid prog rock, 2013 japan SHM remaster)

Nektar's follow-up to the critically acclaimed progrock masterpiece Remember the Future couldn't have been more of an about face. Originally issued in 1974, Down to Earth marked a decidedly more radio friendly sound for the band and unquestionably their most "commercial" sounding album to date. Gone were the psychedelic explorations and LP length epics in favor of no less than nine songs averaging four minutes. While early fans might have cried "sellout", Down to Earth actually contains some of Nektar's finest music and undoubtedly won them a whole new audience.

As guitarist/vocalist Roye Albrighton notes in the recent remaster, Down to Earth could be likened to The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour, particularly with regard to the circus theme atmosphere. The band even employed a ringleader in vocalist/Hawkwind poet Robert Calvert. His wheezy faux German accent probably added to the confusion as to whether Nektar were a Teutonic or an English band. Several guest artists make invaluable contributions, most notably soul singer P.P. Arnold on backing vocals. A horn section is also liberally applied to many songs, such as "Nelly the Elephant".

While Down to Earth features the largest production yet from a Nektar album, the music never feels overdone. At least three of the nine tracks would go on to become all-time Nektar stage classics, including the rocking "Fidgety Queen" as well as "That's Life" and "Show Me the Way". But the album's lesser known tracks are equally great songs, including the slightly funky "Oh Willy" and the lovely ballad "Early Morning Clown".

The Eclectic Discs remaster currently under review contains several original mixes as bonus tracks and while these are interesting to listen to for comparison's sake, the released versions on Down to Earth are preferable. Paschal Byrne once again delivers a great sounding remaster; indeed, all of his work on Nektar's back catalog is exemplary.

Down to Earth is an essential chapter in the history of Nektar. In many respects, it should have been the album to catapult them to worldwide fame, especially given the accessible nature of the compositions. Ironically, it was the band's last album to crack the American Top Forty. While we can lament the fact that they didn't enjoy the fame of Yes or ELP, we can rejoice in the knowledge that Nektar created some of the very best music the progressive rock era had to offer. 
by Steve Pettengill
1. Astral Man - 3:15
2. Nelly The Elephant - 4:57
3. Early Morning Clown - 3:22
4. That's Life - 6:52
5. Fidgety Queen - 4:05
6. Oh Willy - 4:02
7. Little Boy - 3:04
8. Show Me The Way - 5:55
9. Finale - 1:41 
10.Astral Man - 2:59
11.Nelly The Elephant - 4:47
12.Early Morning Clown - 3:23
13.That's Life - 6:44
14.Oh Willy - 4:08
15.Show Me The Way - 5:57
16.Robert Calvert Outtakes - 2:07
All songs by Roye Albrighton, Allan Freeman, Ron Howden, Derek Moore
Bonus Tracks 10-16

*Roye Albrighton- Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Allan "Taff" Freeman - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
*Ron Howden - Drums, Percussion
*Derek "Mo" Moore - Bass, Backing Vocals
*Mick Brockett - Lights
*P. P. Arnold - Backing Vocals
*Phil Brown - Bass Tuba
*Robert Calvert - Ringmaster
*Ron Carthy - Trumpet
*Kenneth Cole - Backing Vocals
*Steve Gregory - Tenor Saxophone
*Butch Hudson - Trumpet
*Chris Mercer - Baritone, Tenor Saxophones
*Chris Pyne - Trombone
*Stephen Wick - Tuba
*Dieter Dierks - Special Effects
*Chipping Norton Mandies - Choir (2-9)

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Nektar - A Tab in the Ocean (1972 uk, fantastic prog space rock, 2013 japan SHM two disc set)

One of the first ‘prog’ concept albums, Nektar’s ‘A Tab In The Ocean’ is an innovative piece of music that helped propel the group to international stardom.

Europe was first to catch on to this British collective’s work, but success soon followed in the United States. A Tab in the Ocean built on the sound of Nektar’s first album, Journey to the Centre of the Eye, but further emphasized a “concept” over its five tracks (the lengthiest being album opener “A Tab in the Ocean”) and took the band musically in a tighter, more structured and focused direction. 

The time that the band lived in Germany, before their departure to live in the USA, was spent in the cellar of the house they rented in the little town of Seeheim that eventually became their rehearsal room. It is in this cellar that the idea for a follow-up album to Journey To The Centre Of The Eye was to be conceived. As founding band member Roye Albrighton recalls, “The only piece of furniture we had in the house was a fish tank, and one day we were all sitting watching it when someone said ‘I wonder what would happen if a giant tab of acid was dropped into the sea?’ We had found our title and concept for the new album.” The album is still considered one of the band’s finest efforts.

The Nektar story is a remarkable one. A British rock band that found stardom and major success in Germany and the USA, yet failed to make the significant breakthrough in their own country. With three gold albums under their belt (Remember the Future, Down To Earth and Recycled), Nektar produced some of the most original work of the seventies and eighties. In virtuoso guitarist Roye Albrighton Nektar had a charismatic front man who had shared a stage with Jimi Hendrix, in Allan “Taff” Freeman a unique keyboard player, in Derek “Mo” Moore a bass playing powerhouse and in Ron Howden a fluidity rarely found in a drummer. Fifth member Mick Brockett was not a musician, but was responsible for one of the most stunning light and visual shows ever to grace the rock stage. Nektar’s history appeared to have been written when they finally split in the eighties. 
by Joe Marchese
Disc 1
1. A Tab In The Ocean - 16:53
2. Desolation Valley / Waves - 8:13
3. Crying In The Dark - 6:29
4. King Of Twilight - 4:22
5. A Tab In The Ocean - 16:04
6. Desolation Valley / Waves - 8:33
7. Crying In The Dark - 5:14
8. King Of Twilight - 4:05
All compositions by Roye Albrighton, Allan Freeman, Ron Howden, Derek Moore
Tracks 4 The Original 1972 Mix
Tracks 5-8 The 1976 U.S. Mix
Disc 2 Official Bootleg 
1. A Tab In The Ocean - 17:46
2. Porcelain Valley (Later Called "Desolation Valley") - 11:33
3. Crying In The Dark - 9:17
4. Desolation Valley / Waves - 8:25
All songs by Roye Albrighton, Allan Freeman, Ron Howden, Derek Moore

*Roye Albrighton - Guitars, Vocals
*Mick Brockett - Lighting, Projections, Visual Effects
*Allan Freeman - Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Mellotron
*Ron Howden - Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
*Derek "Mo" Moore - Bass, Vocals

Monday, August 23, 2021

Nektar - Journey To The Centre Of The Eye (1971 uk, incredible space prog rock, 2006 bonus tracks and 2013 SHM double disc remasters)

Nektar are one of those classic progressive rock bands who have seen their catalog reissued and remastered countless times over the years, and at some point you just have to question, 'when is enough enough' ? Well, Purple Pyramid/Cleopatra Records certainly don't think we've seen enough Nektar reissues, because here comes yet again another version of the bands very fine psychedelic debut from 1972, titled Journey to the Centre of the Eye. No doubt most fans already have purchased this album on CD at least twice, so now here in 2013 Purple Pyramid is going to try and entice you one more time to take the plunge. Why you ask? Well, because of the bonus CD included in the set that contains a full live performance of the album recorded in 1971.

As we've reviewed Journey to the Centre of the Eye before, I'm not going to get too in-depth with the album itself. Let's just say it's a masterful collection of science fiction themed psychedelic progressive rock. Though the band are British, because they made their home base at the time in Germany, many fans lumped their music into the growing 'krautrock' scene, and while you can hear similarities to some of the bands on that scene thanks to the swirling organs & Mellotrons and fuzzed out guitar tones, their roots were in British rock & psychedelia. The classic "Dream Nebula" suite still sends chills today with its haunting keyboards and sizzling guitar lines, but the fact is the whole album is just a successful, rambling slice of the early '70s, an eerie acid trip into worlds unknown, and a great start to a career that would see Nektar release one killer album after another for quite a few years throughout the decade.

The live bonus CD is presented in one long extended track, and considering the age of the source material the sound isn't too bad. The band are in full psychedelic mode, with Allan 'Taff' Freeman's array of keyboards (organ, piano, Mellotron) providing plenty of haunting & spooky backdrops throughout, and Roye Allbrighton's guitar work drenched in fuzz, wah-wah, and bordering on feedback. "Warp Oversight" is especially powerful and chilling, and leads into the killer "Dream Nebula", but also look for stirring versions of "Burn Out My Eyes" and "Death of the Mind". Plenty of oddball noises and sound effects created by the band during the set, and you can only imagine being in the audience and influenced by certain 'substances' how much of a mind trip this show must have been. 
by Pete Pardo
1. Prelude - 1:26
2. Astronaut's nightmare - 6:27
3. Countenance - 3:34
4. The nine lifeless daughter's of the sun - 2:55
5. Warp oversight - 4:10
6. The dream nebula part I - 2:16
7. The dream nebula part II - 2:26
8. It's all in the mind - 3:22
9. Burn out my eyes - 6:36
10. Void of vision - 1:55
11. Pupil of the eye - 2:07
12. Look inside yourself - 0:45
13. Death of the mind - 4:07
14. 3-4 - 3:01
15. Do You Believe in Magic? - 3:52
All songs written by Roye Albrighton, Allan Freeman, Ron Howden, Derek Moore
Bonus tracks 14-15
Disc 1
1. Prelude - 1:27
2. Astronauts Nightmare - 6:22
3. Countenance - 3:30
4. The Nine Lifeless Daughters Of The Sun - 2:41
5. Warp Oversight - 4:28
6. The Dream Nebula - 2:14
7. The Dream Nebula Part II - 2:25
8. It's All In The Mind - 3:22
9. Burn Out My Eyes - 7:48
10.Void Of Vision - 2:01
11.Pupil Of The Eye - 2:46
12.Look Inside Yourself - 0:53
13.Death Of The Mind - 2:52
All compositions by Roye Albrighton, Allan Freeman, Ron Howden, Derek Moore
Disc 2 Live In Germany
1. Prelude - 2:03
2. Astronauts Nightmare - 6:50
3. Countenance - 3:37
4. The Nine Lifeless Daughters Of The Sun - 3:26
5. Warp Oversight - 4:29
6. The Dream Nebula - 2:24
7. The Dream Nebula Part II - 2:34
8. It's All In The Mind - 3:39
9. Burn Out My Eyes - 7:24
10.Void Of Vision - 1:11
11.Pupil Of The Eye - 2:06
12.Look Inside Yourself - 1:31
13.Death Of The Mind - 5:04
All tracks by Roye Albrighton, Allan Freeman, Ron Howden, Derek Moore

*Roye Albrighton - Guitars, Vocals
*Allan "Taff" Freeman - Mellotron, Pianos, Organ, Vocals
*Ron Howden - Drums, Percussion
*Derek "Mo" Moore - Mellotron, Bass, Vocals
*Dieter Dierks - Piano

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Spectrum - Milesago (1971-72 australia, a prog rock milestone, 2008 digi pak double disc remaster and expanded)

January 1972 was a high point in Spectrum's career, with two major events that month. The first was the release of their landmark second album – Milesago, the very first true Australian 'rock' double-album and only the second 'popular double album ever released in this country (the first was Doug Ashdown's Age of Mouse in 1970). Milesago is, quite simply, a masterpiece. The luxury of being able to spread the music across four sides allowed for much greater scope and diversity in the songs and arrangements, but they did not sacrifice the organic, improvisational feel of their live performances, and the result is by no means self-indulgent. 

Even at their most expansive, economy was always a watchword in Spectrum’s music -- unlike so many “prog” Albums of the era, there’s no “filler” material here, and nary a wasted note throughout. Milesago is chock-full of great moments, with several superb new extended tracks including the title track, the brilliantly ironic "What The World Need’s Now (Is A New Pair Of Socks)" -- a dig at the peace-and-love schtick of the Bacharach-David hit -- the sombre "Fly Without Its Wings", the epic four-part suite "The Sideways Saga", and a new, six-minute version of Ray Arnott’s "Trust Me". Once again, the production is fairly dry and warm, capturing the essential Spectrum sound but this time the 16-track facilities allow far greater fidelity and permitted the addition of extra layers to the arrangements, and it has to be said that Milesago is still a superb-sounding record. It’s also the only Spectrum album to feature outside players -- a brass section arranged and led by sax player Jeremy Noone (Vegetals, Co. Caine, Daddy Cool) with Simon Wettenhall on tuba and Steve Miller on trombone. 

The music press was full of praise, and it even received a highly favourable review from English music bible NME on its release in England. It reached #16 on the LP charts in January 1972. It was originally released in a textured cover, but later pressings were issued in a gloss-laminated flat cover. Its distinctive hallucinogenic collage was one of the first major album covers created by Go-Set staff artist Ian McCausland, who rapidly became the leading Australian cover and poster artist of the period.

The other major event for Spectrum in January 1972 was their appearance at the historic first Sunbury Festival over the Australia Day Weekend. They played as both Spectrum and Murtceps, and their performances were recorded for EMI’s Sunbury live double LP. As Spectrum, they took up the whole of side two of the album with their extended renditions of "Some Good Advice" and "I'll Be Gone", and the Murtceps cuts included were "We Are Indelible", "Be My Honey" and "But That's Alright".

Milesago’s opening track "But That's Alright" (b/w "Play A Song That I Know") was the third Spectrum single, released in February '72, but in spite of its considerable commercial appeal, it failed to chart. Once again, the single was a different and shorter version of the track that appeared on the album. To promote it Spectrum made a rare TV appearance on Happening ’72; regrettably they had to mime to the single, but fortunately this rare glimpse of the band on video has survived and still exists in the archives of Channel 0 in Melbourne.
Disc 1
1. But That's All Right - 4:20
2. Love's My Bag - 4:14
3. Your Friend And Mine (Ray Arnott, Michael Rudd) - 7:22
4. Untitled - 4:30
5. Play A Song That I Know - 3:45
6. What The World Needs (Is A New Pair Of Socks) - 7:30
7. Virgin's Tale - 3:30
8. A Fate Worse Than Death - 4:42
9. Tell Me Why - 1:47
10 But That's Alright (Single Edit) - 3:13
11 Some Good Advice - 20:05
12 I'll Be Gone - 4:18 
All compositions by Michael Rudd except where noted
Tracks 11-12  Live At Sunbury 1972
Disc 2
1. The Sideways Saga - 10:59
2. Trust Me - 6:03
3. Don’t Bother Coming Round - 3:25
4. Fly Without Its Wings - 10:09
5. Mama, Did Jesus Wear Make Up? - 2:13
6. Milesago - 7:15 - 
7. Trust Me (Original Single Version) (Ray Arnott) - 3:50
8. Going Home (B-Side) - 3:27
9. Dalmas (Theme) - 6:01
10.Camel Advert - 0:14
All compositions by Michael Rudd except where indicated

*Michael Rudd - Acoustic, Electric Guitars, Recorder, Vocals
*Lee Neale - Organ, Harpsichord, Piano, Vocals
*Bill Putt - Bass
*Ray Arnott - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
*Jeremy Noone - Saxophone 
*David Clarke - Saxophone 
*Steve Miller - Trombone 
*Simon Wettenhall - Tuba

Friday, August 20, 2021

Tudor Lodge - Tudor Lodge (1971 uk, wonderful hippie baroque folk rock harmonies, 2011 remaster with bonus track)

Tudor Lodge was originally formed in 1968, featuring John Stannard and Roger Strevens. The group started playing at the White Horse in Reading, England and later made appearances at other clubs on the folk circuit. In 1969 Lyndon Green replaced Roger. Lyndon had just returned to England after treading the hippy trail to Turkey and within a year they were joined by American singer and flautist, Ann Steuart. Tudor Lodge then toured the English folk circuit for over two years, teaming up with manager Karl Blore in March 1970, and releasing their first album in 1971: “Tudor Lodge” (Vertigo 6360043). Later that year, the group appeared at the prestigious Cambridge Folk Festival and also at Weeley Festival in Essex.

Annie left the group in 1972 and was briefly replaced by Linda Peters, who became better known through her work with husband Richard Thompson. That year saw Tudor Lodge touring Holland where they featured on Dutch Radio after which the group disbanded with their various careers diverging.

The eponymous debut album by Tudor Lodge taps into both the perpetual collectibility of the early-'70s Vertigo label catalog and the mid-2000s' growing fascination with British folk-prog of the same era. The trio of Lyndon Green, John Stannard, and Ann Steuart, backed by a heavyweight band of folk and classical legends (the redoubtable rhythm section of Danny Thompson and Terry Cox included), Tudor Lodge were unashamedly pastoral -- their music is the sound of a summer's day in centuries past, where "grey-backed squirrels run to safety," ("Forest"), ladies "disappear into the sunset, shrouded in organdie and wine" ("Willow Tree"), and even bloody battlefields become a place for quiet contemplation ("Help Me Find Myself"). 

And, all the while, clarinets twinkle, violins sigh, and cellos call to one another across the verdant fields. Recorded in a mere two weeks in early 1971, Tudor Lodge is very much a child of its times -- hopeful, gentle, and so delicately melodic that, even with harmonies hurtling like asteroids across "I See a Man," there is a Spartan simplicity to the record that surely exacted a major toll on the latter-day likes of Belle & Sebastian -- a comparison that the almost raunchy guitar and psych-soaked wah-wah of "The Lady's Changing Home" only amplifies. In its original vinyl form, Tudor Lodge was released in a grandiose six-panel die-cut sleeve, decorated with the intricate penciled sketches of artist Phil Duffy. In common with Akarma's other Vertigo reissues, this fabulous packaging has been restored in its entirety. Like the music, it's breathtaking. 
by Jo-Ann Greene
1. It All Comes Back To Me (John Stannard) - 4:19
2. Would You Believe? (John Stannard) - 2:29
3. Recollection (Lyndon Green) - 3:18
4. Two Steps Back (Ann Steuart, Lyndon Green) - 2:53
5. Help Me Find Myself (John Stannard) - 4:19
6. Nobody's Listening (John Stannard) - 3:32
7. Willow Tree (Ann Steuart, John Stannard, Lyndon Green) - 3:21
8. Forest (Lyndon Green) - 3:36
9. I See A Man (John Stannard) - 3:01
10.The Lady's Changing Home (John Stannard, Lyndon Green) - 4:38
11.Madeline (Lyndon Green) - 4:05
12.Kew Gardens (Ralph McTell) - 2:26
13.The Good Times We Had (Noel Paul Stookey) - 3:01

Tudor Lodge
*Lyndon Green - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
*John Stannard - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
*Ann Steuart - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Flute
*Mike Morgan - Electric Guitar
*Graham Lyons - Bassoon, Clarinet
*G. Wareham - Oboe, Cor Anglais
*Douglas Moore - Horn
*Tony Coe - Alto Flute, Clarinet
*Sergei Bezkorvany - Violin
*David Marcou - Violin
*Fred Buxton - Viola
*Suzanne Perreault - Cello
*Danny Thompson - Bass
*Terry Cox - Drums
*Sonny Condell - African Drums

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Free - Free At Last (1972 uk, great classic rock, 2002 remaster with extra tracks)

Following Paul Rodgers' unsuccessful project titled Peace and Andy Fraser's ill-fated Toby, Free rebuilt themselves and released Free at Last in the summer of 1972. The band went right back to what they knew best, with Rodgers baring his blues-rock soul to Kossof's moody electric guitar. Tracks like "Sail On," "Soldier Boy," and "Travelling Man" come out on top as some of the band's most emotive material, proving that their breakup in 1971 had no real effect on their chemistry. "Little Bit of Love" was released as a single in the U.K., peaking at number 13, while the album itself broke the Top Ten there, stalling at number 69 in the U.S. 

The band's mixture of laid-back blues and gritty, bare-boned rock & roll is as poignant and as expressive as it was on Tons of Sobs or Fire and Water, even though Paul Kossof's problems with drugs were beginning to be more and more evident. Eventually, Kossof's addiction affected the entire band, hindering Free's ability to go on tour to promote the album. After Free at Last, Andy Fraser left the group and created the band Sharks along with Chris Spedding, while Kossof was busy with his own Back Street Crawler project. John Bundrick re-joined along with Tetsu Yamauchi for 1973's Heartbreaker, Free's final release. 
by Mike DeGagne
1. Catch A Train - 3:32
2. Soldier Boy - 2:52
3. Magic Ship - 5:23
4. Sail On - 3:06
5. Travellin' Man - 3:23
6. Little Bit Of Love - 2:35
7. Guardian Of The Universe - 5:32
8. Child - 5:19
9. Goodbye - 5:16
10.Burnin' (Molton Gold) (Alternative Take) - 5:57
11.Honky Tonk Woman (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 3:14
12.Magic Ship (Alternative Mix) - 5:27
13.Little Bit Of Love (Alternative Mix) - 2:38
14.Guardian Of The Universe (Paul Rodgers Solo Version) - 6:07
15.Child (Early Mix) - 5:19
All songs by Paul Rodgers, Paul Kossoff, Andy Fraser, Simon Kirke except where indicated

*Paul Rodgers - Vocals, Piano
*Paul Kossoff - Lead, Rhythm Guitar
*Andy Fraser - Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Piano
*Simon Kirke - Drums, Percussion

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Apothecary - Apothecary (1973 us, wonderful folkish classic rock)

Recorded at East Detroit's G.M. Studios with Wesley Willard and Guy Marasco co-producing, I've struggled to bin these guys.  With all six members contributing to the writing chores, the nine tracks were quite varied.  There were at least three singers, though the lack of performance credits made it impossible to figure who was who.  Listening to the collection I've heard everything including America-styled folk-rock ('People for Peace') pop-rock ('Sometime, Somewhere') and even an occasional foray into non-secular themes ('The Christian'). 

The one genre I've seen others mention that escaped my ears was progressive.  It's a stretch, but perhaps the weird song structure would allow you to argue 'My Love To You' was progressive (in the same fashion Styx might be tagged progressive).  Elsewhere if these tunes were progressive, my ears missed it.  Exemplified by the opener 'Holding You' , I'd argue soft ballads were not their forte.  That merely underscored the fact these guys were so much better on rockers like the group-penned 'Sunset', 'Fly' and should've been a hit 'Say Goodbye To Me'.

Penned by guitarist Riddiough, 'Say Goodbye To Me' had everything going for it.  Awesome melody, nice lead vocal, nice harmonies, blazing slide guitar work...  If anyone had been paying attention, this would have made a dandy single. 'People for Peace' was a ballad done right.  Beautiful melody built on some first rate acoustic guitars; sweet lead vocals and Mike Houlihan's topical lyrics were subtle and thought provoking. The album's driving melody, 'Fly' reminded me a bit of a mash-up between CS&N and Styx.  I'll give it an extra star for the ARP arrangement and it did generate some energy as it went along. 

And finally the bass player gets a shot at the spotlight ...  The aptly titled 'In the End' was actually one of my favorite performances.  If he was the lead singer Block had a nice voice and this slinky country-rocker had an awesome guitar riff.  Note sure what happened at the end of the tune ... sounds like the tape recorded broke down ...
Bad Cat
1. Holding You (John Kruck, Phill Haase) - 4:48
2. Sometime, Somewhere (Mike Houlihan) - 3:46
3. The Christian (Phill Haase) - 3:47
4. Sunset (Bill Block, Bruce Riddiough, John Kruck, Mike Houlihan, Phill Haase) - 6:24
5. Say Goodbye To Me (Bruce Riddiough) - 4:05
6. People For Peace (Mike Houlihan) - 2:40
7. My Love To You (Mike Houlihan) - 2:53
8. Fly (Bill Block, Bruce Riddiough, Mike Houlihan, Phill Haase) - 4:51
9. In The End (Bill Block) - 4:12

*Mike Houlihan - Guitar, Vocals
*Bruce Riddiough - Guitar, Vocals
*Bill Block - Bass, Vocals
*John Kruck - Percussion, Vocals
*Phill Haase - Percussion, Vocals
*Denny Tabacchia - Arp Synthesizer