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, Qu├ębec 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

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Blue Jug - Blue Jug (1975 us, fine southern rock, 2006 japan remaster)

Blue Jug (from Seattle by way of Nashville) and First albums are rarely as impressive as this one, and now I wonder if I've overstated the case for Blue Jug's initial effort. But no. On re-examination, I understand that what I feel is honest - before it's finished, Blue Jug will make a significant contribution to American music." 
by David McGee, RS 203 (January 1st, 1976)

Fronted by the team of Clint Delong, Bill Little, and Ed Ratzeloff, this band was mostly a concoction of the Capricorn label. As the Southern rock audience grew, A&R men noticed much of this audience was obsessed with roots music, from blues to country. At the same time, independent labels such as Flying Fish were doing well with concoctions such as Hillbilly Jazz, in which country fiddler Vassar Clements cut loose from the restrictions of old-timey music in a jamming setting. For the Blue Jug Band project, veteran fiddler Buddy Spicher was brought in, an important part of the overall sound, although he was sometimes not credited in band biographies -- what there are of them.

Blue Jug, the album, was released by the most astrologically correct of record labels in 1975, with a feathery impact. If released anytime in the '60s, perhaps this might have had a chance -- jug band music was popular then, with hits such as "Winchester Cathedral" and "Walk Right In," and that seems to be the genre the record-buying public thought this album belonged in. 
1. Hard Luck Jimmy - 3:23
2. Education - 3:27
3. It’s A Fact - 3:31
4. Poor Virginia - 3:27
5. Sugar Man (Bill Little) - 3:00
6. When The Moon Rises - 5:02
7. A Miner’s Song - 4:00
8. Come On To Town Ned - 3:32
9. Take A Little Time (Bill Little, Ed Raetzloff) - 3:00
All songs by Ed Raetzloff except where noted

Blue Jug
*Ed Raetzloff - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Clint Delong - Guitar, Vocals
*Bill Little - Keyboards, Vocals
*Bill Burnett - Bass
*"Mac" Paul Walkley - Drums
*Buddy Spicher - Fiddle