Sunday, October 31, 2021

Nitzinger - Nitzinger (1972 us, jaggy hard blues rock with bonus tracks)



John Nitzinger is a Fort Worth, Texas guitarist and songwriter. In the very early 1970s, Nitzinger penned five songs for the Fort Worth band Bloodrock. When Bloodrock 2 went Gold, Nitzinger signed a contract with Capitol Records and his first album, the self titled Nitzinger, was released in early 1972.

Nitzinger's self-titled debut album was in fact the work of a budding Texan guitar cult legend -- the one and only John Nitzinger -- and his namesake power trio, whose music consisted of eclectic but still blues-drenched Southern hard rock and post-psych. The results include ZZ Top-style boogie and blues-rock ("Boogie Queen"), pre-Ted Nugent Gonzo guitar heroisms ("Witness to the Truth"), both of these at once ("Tickelick"), or neither, when it comes to the anthemic Southern rock of "My Last Goodbye," and semi-hit single "Louisiana Cock Fight." In addition, several cuts ("No Sun," "The Nature of Your Taste," etc.) see the trio augmented by soulful backup singers for a Mad Dogs & Englishmen sort of vibe, while others still see the versatile trio flirting with country-rock ("L.A. Texas Boy ") and plaintive balladry (the piano-enhanced "Enigma"). 

Yet the album's most intriguing/unique quality may be how the deceptively simple, universal, off the cuff material described above features obvious, if nuanced, sophistication, and is offset by lyrically weighty, post-flower power fare as seen in the aforementioned "No Sun" and "Hero of the War." And the fact that even these would-be progressive tendencies are kept to concise song lengths is what probably spared this album from utterly fatal dating; by extension, further separating Nitzinger's raised-on-the-jukebox-singles wheat, from the era's dominant music-conservatory-on-mushrooms chaff. Originally presented in a deluxe gatefold sleeve, it's not surprising that the Nitzinger LP has long been coveted by '70s rock collectors for the band's one-of-a-kind mixture of earthy grit and fearless (possibly naïve) flights of fancy.
by Eduardo Rivadavia
Tracks
1. L.A. Texas Boy - 2:20
2. Ticklelick - 2:41
3. No Sun - 3:46
4. Louisiana Cock Fight - 3:33
5. Boogie Queen - 4:46
6. Witness To The Truth - 3:24
7. The Nature Of Your Taste - 2:24
8. My Last Goodbye - 4:32
9. Enigma - 4:22
10.Hero Of The War - 3:35
11.King's X - 2:50
12.Pretty Boy Shuffle - 2:39
All songs by John Nitzinger
Bonus Tracks 11-12

Nitzinger
*Linda Waring - Percussion Section, Vocals
*Curly Benton - Bass, Vocals
*Bugs Henderson - Lead Guitar
*John Nitzinger - Lead Guitar, Vocals



 

Saturday, October 30, 2021

George Smith And Bacon Fat - The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions (1970 us, astonoshing blues rock, 2006 remaster and expanded)



George Smith was born on April 22, 1924 in Helena, Arkansas, but was raised in Cairo, Illinois. At age four, he was already taking harp lessons from his mother, a guitar player and a somewhat stern taskmaster: it was a case of get-it-right-or-else. In his early teens, he started hoboing around towns in the South and later joined Early Woods, a country band with Early Woods on fiddle and Curtis Gould on spoons. He also worked with a gospel group in Mississippi called the Jackson Jubilee Singers. Smith moved to Rock Island, Illinois, in 1941 and played with a group that included Francis Clay on drums. There is evidence that he was one of the first to amplify his harp. While working at the Dixie Theater, he took an old 16mm cinema projector, extracted the amplifier/speaker, and began using this on the streets.

Smith's first album on World Pacific, A Tribute to Little Walter, was released in 1968. In 1969, Bob Thiele produced an excellent solo album of Smith on Bluesway, and later made use of Smith as a sideman for his Blues Times label, including sets with T-Bone Walker and Harmonica Slim. Smith met Rod Piazza, a young white harp player, and they formed the Southside Blues Band, later known as Bacon Fat. In 1969, Smith signed with U.K. producer Mike Vernon and did the No Time for Jive album. He was less active in the '70s, appearing with Eddie Taylor and Big Mama Thornton. Around 1977, Smith became friends with William Clarke and they began working together. Their working relationship and friendship continued until Smith died on October 2, 1983.
by Michael Erlewine

Blue Horizon didn’t sign many contemporary US acts, although they did reissue lots of classic American tracks. Bacon Fat featured two bona fide blues heroes in the shape of the West Coast harmonica ace George Smith and the pianist J. D. Nicholson, as well as a bunch of talented white kids, including the harmonica- star-in-the-making Rod Piazza. Together, in these 1970 cuts, they give a blues masterclass with Smith — a revered figure among harp fans — showing off his big, almost sax-like harmonica sound and Piazza revelling in some choice Little Walter numbers.
by John Clarke, September 23 2006
Tracks
Disc 1 Bacon Fat "Grease One For Me" 1970
1. Up The Line (Walter Jacobs) - 4:15
2. Boom, Boom (Out Goes The Lights) (Stanley Lewis) - 3:47
3. Small's On 53rd (Rod Piazza) - 3:46
4. She's Wrong Woman (Rod Piazza) - 5:21
5. I Need Your Love (J.D. Nicholson) - 3:44
6. Juicy Harmonica (George Clinton Smith) - 3:54
7. Nobody But You (Walter Spriggs) - 2:13
8. Telephone Blues (George Clinton Smith, Sam Ling) - 5:58
9. You're So Fine (Walter Jacobs) - 3:09
10.Too Late (Willie Dixon) - 5:57
11.Evil (Willie Dixon) - 2:43
12.Blues Feeling (Rod Piazza) - 3:58
13.Off The Wall (Walter Jacobs) - 2:57
14.Ah' W Baby (Walter Jacobs) - 3:39
15.Mellow Down Easy (Willie Dixon) - 3:25
16.Blues With A Feeling (Rabon Tarrant) - 3:09
17.Tight Dress (George Clinton Smith, Nat McCoy) - 2:59
18.I've Had My Fun (James B. Oden) - 6:53
19.Help Me (Sony Boy Williamson, Willie Dixon) - 3:56
20.My Babe (Part 1) (Willie Dixon) - 2:38
Bonus Tracks 11-20
Tracks 11-12 single versions
Tracks 13-20 previously unreleased
Disc 2 George Smith "No Time For Jive" 1970
1. Someday You're Gonna Learn (To Treat Me Right) (Nat McCoy) - 4:14
2. Blue Switch (George Clinton Smith) - 2:53
3. Mississippi River Blues (George Clinton Smith) - 9:14
4. Before You Do Your Thing (You'd Better Think) (Nat McCoy) - 4:18
5. I Don't Want To Go, Baby (Nat McCoy) - 7:03
6. Good Things (Nat McCoy) - 3:45
7. Soul Feet (George Clinton Smith) - 3:44
8. No Time For Jive (George Clinton Smith) - 7:21
9. My Babe (Part 2) (Willie Dixon) - 1:55
10.I'm Ready (Willie Dixon) - 2:51
11.Telephone Blues (George Clinton Smith, Sam Ling) - 5:23
12.Forty Four (Chester Burnett) - 4:40
13.Blues With A Feeling (Rabon Tarrant) - 3:33
14.Summertime (DuBose Heyward, George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin) - 3:43
15.Got My Mojo Working (Preston Foster) - 4:09
16.Hamp's Boogie Woogie (Lionel Hampton, Milt Buckner) - 5:16
Bonus Tracks 9-16

Musicians
*George Clinton Smith - Harmonica, Vocals
*Rod Piazza - Harmonica, Vocals
*J.D. Nicholson - Organ, Piano
*Buddy Reed - Guitar
*Gregg Schaefer - Guitar
*Pee Wee Crayton - Guitar
*Marshall Hooks - Guitar
*Dick Innes - Drums
*Jerry Lee Smith - Bass
*Mike Vernon - Tambourine

Related Acts
1970  Bacon Fat - Grease One For Me

Friday, October 29, 2021

Muddy Waters - Fathers And Sons (1969 us, masterfully regal electric blues, 2001 bonus tracks remaster)



Fathers and Sons is certainly one of the finest sets of performances from Muddy in quite a while and will do much to offset the bad taste left by the previous Electric Mud and After the Rain albums.

Actually, the performances are surprisingly conservative efforts — certainly not the sort of exciting or fruitful cross-generation, cross-stylistic music one might have been led to expect from the lineup; Waters and Spann (and perhaps drummer Sam Lay) representing the modern Chicago blues mainstream, Bloomfield, Butterfield and Duck Dunn signaling more recent extensions of modern electric blues styles. No, the anticipated fusion doesn’t really take place, and the younger musicians seem content in undertaking roles that are wholly subservient to Muddy’s music. It gives an indication of just how highly the sons regard the father(s), and is a fine tribute to Muddy.

Mike and Paul are almost completely self-effacing throughout the album, particularly on the studio-recorded tracks — “All Aboard” (actually a remake of Crudup’s “Mean Old Frisco”), “Mean Disposition,” “Blow Wind Blow,” “Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had,” “Walkin’ Thru the Park,” “Forty Days and Forty Nights,” “Standin’ ‘Round Crying,” “I’m Ready,” “Twenty-Four Hours” and “Sugar Sweet.” The impression left by these performances is that the participants were striving towards recreating the sounds and textures of Muddy’s original recordings of them and, in this, they’re fairly successful. They’re also helped greatly by the fact that these are songs that have not been done to death, so there’s a certain amount of freshness just due to this. Producer Norman Dayron chose wisely in determining what numbers were to be concentrated on at the sessions (I know for a fact that he sifted through virtually every Waters Chess recording, including unreleased numbers, to come up with a program of tunes that were good and strong but not over-familiar, and his advance planning paid off handsomely).

Happily, Muddy is in excellent voice throughout these performances and he comes across solidly and excitingly. This is in fact some of the best, most convincing singing from Muddy in a hell of a long time; these tracks show that when he’s at the top of his game he’s unbeatable. And he’s there most of the way through these performances. The music takes its lead from Muddy, and everything falls in place behind him.

Butterfield is excellent, playing with a great deal of controlled power, with taste and invention to spare, and tons of energy in reserve. His amplifier tone is beautifully gutty and funky, with just the right edge of cutting intensity. And he never overplays or indulges himself; his accompaniments perfectly complement Muddy’s singing — Paul is listening and responding all the time. Why, Butter, what big ears you have! The basic impetus of his work here is clearly Little Walter, and he’s got it down beautifully, as any number of performances reveal — “Mean Disposition,” “Blow Wind Blow” (two tasty hot Buttered choruses, the first with Bloomfield fills), “Forty Days and Forty Nights,” “I’m Ready,” and so on. Just tasty, intelligent, feelingful harp work, spare, lyrical, driving in turn — and always appropriate. And almost as rhythmically relaxed and insinuating as Little Walter, which is high praise indeed. By the way, while we’re talking about harmonica playing, there’s superlative chromatic work by Jeff Carp (formerly with Sam Lay, lately working with Earl Hooker) all the way through “All Aboard,” acting as a sort of continue to Muddy’s singing and Paul’s rhythmic interjections, on regular harmonica, on the other channel. But on this track it’s Jeff’s show, and he does a hell of a job.

Though he gets a few solos, Spann’s role is primarily rhythmic, and his playing seems a shade less incisive than it has been in the past (his recent heart attacks doubtless explain his adopting a more subdued role). And his piano sound, while clearly defined, is a bit distant sounding.

Bloomfield is almost completely subsidiary to Muddy, although he does have a few soloes in his usual style. Mike’s at his best here — in terms of the overall contours of the music, that is — when he works closely with Muddy and plays in a style akin to the usual second-guitar role developed by such as Little Walter and Jimmy Rogers. That is, good, interesting bass guitar lines that contrast nicely with what Muddy’s playing, or in brief line or phrase-ending fills. He’s actually less effective in solo, for here he plays in his own distinctive, very modern style and this tends to clash with the generally funkier needs and colors of Muddy’s music. Mike’s playing on “You Con’t Lose,” for example, seems a bit too cute for the tune, and his solo on “Walkin’ Thru the Park,” while good, is just a bit too frantic, particularly in view of the already busy textures on which it’s overlaid. The solo with which “I’m Ready” ends also seems inapposite when contrasted with what’s gone before. And so on. Generally, though, Mike does a good supporting job, the only clashes occurring when his own basically sweet melodic style is superimposed on Muddy’s guttier, more rhythmically forceful and less introspective of lyrical approach.

Let me emphasize, however, that these are fine performances on their own terms. It’s perhaps unfortunate that they hew so closely to the arrangements and textures of the “original” recordings of the tunes because this inevitably invites comparison with the originals. And quite frankly, these recent performances — all of them — come off second best. I don’t believe I’m being unfair, obstinate or wrongheadedly romantic in saying this, either: the originals just happen to have greater power, more clearly defined textures, better organization and focus more subtle rhythmic playing and, finally, greater originality than do these. For people who are not familiar with Muddy’s originals this will not be a problem, of course, and these pieces can be enjoyed for what they are — strong, direct, modern Chicago music played honestly and unpretentiously. I do hope, though, that new listeners will be motivated by these performances into checking out the original recordings, which Chess hopefully will be issuing as part of its forthcoming ambitious reissue series.

“Long Distance Call,” “Baby, Please Don’t Go,” “Honey Bee,” “The Same Thing,” and two versions of “Got My Mojo Working” — recorded at an April 24th Chicago benefit concert for the Phoenix Fellowship. Personnel is the same as for the studio sessions, with the exception that drummer Buddy Miles is added (to little audible effect) for the second “Mojo.” Not as polished or as well recorded as the studio material, these tracks possess a good bit of excitement and spirit — though not enough to challenge comparison with the original Waters recordings of the tunes.

Again, Muddy is in excellent voice and, fortunately, his singing is one of the few elements of the proceedings that were recorded adequately. His singing here is simultaneously relaxed and driving, with a nice easy swing that is never forced. Then, too, Butterfield plays slashing, burning harmonica on these tracks, never letting up and pushing things along. He and Muddy make these performances what they are. Bloomfield has two brief solos, neither particularly interesting primarily because they’re just too short, and he pretty much stays in the background, working with the rhythm section.

The recorded sound is not very good; it starts off very poorly but does manage to get a bit better. Spann’s piano and Bloomfield’s guitar are inaudible on “Long Distance Call,” but they’re brought up to a relatively proper level by the time “Baby, Please Don’t Go” (composer credit given Muddy rather than to Big Joe Williams; why?) gets under way. Things pop in and out through the rest of the performances. Sometimes Butterfield’s harp playing is all but lost in the shuffle, other times it cuts through the fuzzy textures with an abrupt sharpness. Apparently the recording situation was difficult (people milling around backstage, etc.), but still and all recording engineer Reice Hamel — who ostensibly specializes in location recording — should have been able to do better than this. With good mikes and a Scully 4-track, the sound should have been far better defined and balanced than this.

Some of the finest Muddy performances in a while but still a long way from the original performances on which his towering reputation rests. The project is helped not a little by Butterfield’s intelligent and feelingful playing, and Sam Lay’s propulsive drumming. Certainly this is the only recent Muddy Waters set to buy … and that’s what this set is — a Muddy Waters album. The faces of some of the sidemen may be white and young but otherwise that’s the sole difference between the performances of this and several earlier editions of the Waters band.
by Pete Welding
Tracks
1. All Aboard - 2:52
2. Mean Disposition - 5:43
3. Blow Wind Blow - 3:38
4. Can't Lose What You Ain't Never Had - 3:06
5. Walkin Thru The Park - 3:22
6. Forty Days And Forty Nights (Bernard Roth) - 3:08
7. Standin' Round Cryin' - 4:05
8. I'm Ready (Willie Dixon) - 3:39
9. Twenty Four Hours (Eddie Boyd) - 4:48
10.Sugar Sweet - 2:18
11.Country Boy - 3:20
12.I Love The Life I Live (I Live The Life I Love) (Willie Dixon) - 2:45
13.Oh Yeah (Willie Dixon) - 3:38
14.I Feel So Good (Big Bill Broonzy) - 3:01
15.Long Distance Call - 6:37
16.Baby, Please Don't Go (Big Joe Williams) - 3:04
17.Honey Bee - 3:56
18.The Same Thing (Willie Dixon) - 5:59
19.Got My Mojo Working, Part One (Preston Foster, McKinley Morganfield) - 3:23
20.Got My Mojo Working, Part Two (Preston Foster, McKinley Morganfield) - 5:12
All songs by McKinley Morganfield except where noted

Musicians
*Muddy Waters - Vocals, Guitar
*Otis Spann - Piano
*Michael Bloomfield - Guitar
*Paul Butterfield - Harmonica
*Donald Dunn - Bbass
*Sam Lay - Drums
*Paul Asbell - Rhythm Guitar
*Buddy Miles - Drums 
*Jeff Carp - Chromatic Harmonica 
*Phil Upchurch - Bass



Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Jade Warrior - Kites (1976 uk, fused ethnic african and far eastern influences with superbly innovative rock guitar, 2010 remaster)



Kites is more layered and complex than Waves, the duo's previous outing. The album reportedly took nine months to record, a long time by mid-1970s standards. The first half is dominated by Jon Field compositions, which are meant to convey the sounds of a kite drifting through skies that range from sunny and calm to stormy and dangerous. Dense and dramatic, numbers such as "Songs of the Forest" and "Wind Song" spotlight unconventional percussive combinations, ethereal wordless choir voices, and Field's gentle flute playing. 

Tony Duhig dominates the second half of Kites with a group of songs interpreting Teh Ch'eng, the Boat Monk, a traditional Zen story. This is a rare example of intense ambient sound, best realized in "Quietly by the River Bank," which begins with an ominous tone and explodes with the fury of a samurai warrior. The remainder is more contemplative and some of the energy flags, but the album concludes on a high note with "The Last Question," one of Jade Warrior's prettiest melodies.
by Casey Elston
Tracks
1. Songs of the Forest - 3:12
2. Wind Song - 4:05
3. The Emperor - 1:58
4. Wind Borne - 6:52
5. Kite Song - 3:04
6. Land of the Warrior - 3:29
7. Quietly by the River Bank - 3:20
8. Arrival of the Emperor: What Does the Venerable Sir Do? - 1:06
9. Teh Ch'eng: Do You Understand This? - 2:32
10.Arrival of Chia Shan: Disclosure and Liberation - 4:10
11.Towards the Mountains - 2:03
12.The Last Question - 0:36
All compositions by Tony Duhig, Jon Field

Jade Warrior
*Tony Duhig - Guitars, Percussion, Keyboards, Production
*Jon Field - Flutes, Guitar, Percussion, Production
With
*Roger Bryson - Piano
*Fred Frith - Violin
*Pete Gibson - Brass, Horn
*Coleridge Goode - Bass Guitar
*Debbie Hall - Violin
*Jeff Westley - Electric Piano
*Graham Morgan - Drums
*Joe O'Donnell - Violin
*Clodagh Simonds - Vocals
*Gowan Turnbull - Saxophone
*Geoff Westley - Piano
*Willie - Drums, Percussion
*Elmo - Mexican Foot Drums




 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Muddy Waters - After The Rain (1969 us, raw chicago blues with psych, fuzzy guitars and groovy basslines, 2011 digipak remaster)



Though Muddy Waters was no cadet by the time After The Rain emerged in the Spring of 1969, it was only his fifth studio album. It came on the heels of Electric Mud, his much-vaunted “psychedelic” album that was panned on release, though it sounds pretty decent in hindsight.

In theory this album is more Muddy than its precursor, full of songs he wrote or associated with him, though the picture of him looking weird with a frog in his hand is fair warning that this is not trad blues.

Again he’s in the company of Chess’ young dynamos: the great Charles Stepney co-produces with Marshall Chess and Gene Barge; the deliberately intrusive lead guitar is played by the underrated Phil Upchurch, and that’s Morris Jennings (Ramsey Lewis, Superfly) on drums.

It’s not quite the clash of cultures Electric Mud was perceived as; it doesn’t all work but when it does, it really works. It improves as it goes on: Rollin’ And Tumblin’ becomes a funky blues that you can imagine turning a beer shack to matchwood; the aiming-for-abstract Bottom Of The Sea, with riffin’ cellos and guitars like distant kelp, is amazing.

Honey Bee could almost be normal Muddy, Blues And Trouble flips another funk grenade on your ears and the album closes with two tunes played kinda straight. Kinda.

Muddy doesn’t pretend to be anything other than himself – BS might be goin’ on but it don’ bother me – which is what makes it work. Far better than you feared.
by Ian McCann
Tracks
1. I Am The Blues (Willie Dixon) - 4:39
2. Ramblin' Mind - 4:45
3. Rollin' And Tumblin' - 4:50
4. Bottom Of The Sea - 5:24
5. Honey Bee - 4:18
6. Blues And Trouble - 4:24
7. Hurtin' Soul (Clarence Williams) - 4:39
8. Screamin' And Cryin' - 5:02
All songs by McKinley Morganfield except where stated

Personnel
*Muddy Waters - Vocals, Guitar
*Phil Upchurch - Guitar
*Pete Cosey - Guitar
*Paul Oscher - Harmonica 
*Louis Satterfield - Bass
*Morris Jennings - Drums
*Otis Spann - Piano
*Charles Stepney - Organ





 

Monday, October 25, 2021

Denny Doherty - Waiting For A Song (1974 canada, wonderful vocal orchestrated folk, 2011 digipak remaster)



Denny Doherty was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the son of an ironworker and a "housewife and mystic" as he once described his mother. He made his first public appearance at the age of 15 singing the Pat Boone hit Love Letters in the Sand at amateur night at the local skating rink. By the late 1950s he had shifted allegiance to the burgeoning folk song movement and had gained a recording contract with the New York company Columbia, with his group the Halifax Three.

The group emigrated to New York, the centre of the folk revival in the early 1960s. In Greenwich Village, he met Cass Elliott with whom he formed a short-lived group, the Mugwumps, which also featured future Lovin' Spoonful members John Sebastian and Zal Yanovsky.

Next, Doherty joined forces with husband and wife John and Michelle Phillips, as the New Journeymen. Michelle recalled that "it was so incredible to sing with somebody who had such a beautiful voice because John and I were just little croakers". Early in 1965, Cass Elliott brought her equally vital vocal talent to the group and the Mamas and the Papas were formed. As John Phillips (obituary, March 20 2001) wrote in the song Creeque Alley, his New York musician friends such as Roger McGuinn (of the Byrds) and Barry McGuire (singer of the hit Eve of Destruction) had already headed west ("McGuinn and McGuire just a-gettin' higher in LA"); the Mamas and the Papas decided to follow suit.

In the summer of 1968, however, the group collapsed as a result of the prodigious drug intake and the complicated inter-personal relationships of its members. As music historian Barney Hoskyns put it: "An affair began between Michelle and Denny for whom Cass lusted."

Mama Cass launched herself on a solo career, while Michelle Phillips moved into acting and John and Denny each recorded solo albums. Denny's Waiting For a Song was the last album Cass sang on before her death in London in 1974. In 1975 Doherty made his acting debut in Man on the Moon, a Broadway show created by Phillips and Andy Warhol.

Dennis (Denny) Gerrard Stephen Doherty, singer and actor, born November 29 1940; died January 19 2007.
by Dave Laing, 22 Jan 2007

Denny Doherty's second effort released in 1974. The title of "Give Me Back That Old Familiar Feeling," paired with the album's title, provide the intertwined recurring lyrical themes: Doherty as the lost artist looking for a song to sing and a reason to live -- the concepts becoming interchangeable after a while -- and continually looking to the past for fear of looking forward. This motif is underscored by the presence of his former bandmates, Cass Elliot and Michelle Phillips, on backing vocals throughout the record. Their harmonizing voices are in fine form, but the arrangements are far less novel than those from the group's heyday, and Doherty doesn't hit notes as brightly with his tenor as he once did.

The poor distribution rendered this album an instant obscurity, though collectors and Doherty fans were delighted by its reissue on the Varese Vintage imprint in 2001. In hindsight, the record is remarkable for its naked honesty, Doherty making little secret, either in the tunes or in the liner photos, of how much of a wreck he is, but on its own merits, Waiting for a Song is too much of a buzzkill to tout unreservedly. Highlights include the minor AC hit "You'll Never Know" and the Larry Weiss-penned ballad "Lay Me Down (Roll Me Out to Sea)."
by Joseph McCombs
Tracks
1. Simone (Dan England, John Ford Coley) - 3:13
2. Children Of My Mind (Gary Osborne) - 3:16
3. You'll Never Know (Harry Warren, Mack Gordon) - 2:56
4. Together (Dick Addrisi, Don Addrisi) - 3:16
5. It Can Only Happen In America (Denny Doherty, Henry 'Bud' Fanton) - 4:02
6. Southern Comfort (Rick Sandler) - 3:03
7. You've Lost That Loving Feeling (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Phil Spector) - 4:23
8. Goodnight And Good Morning (Daryl Hall, John Oates) - 2:41
9. Lay Me Down (Roll Me Out To Sea) (Larry Weiss) - 4:12
10.Give Me Back That Old Familiar Feeling (Bill C. Graham) - 2:28
11.I'm Home Again (Timothy Martin, Walt Meskell) - 3:04

Personnel
*Denny Doherty - Guitar, Vocals
*Cass Elliot - Vocals 
*Michelle Phillips - Vocals 

Sunday, October 24, 2021

The Second Coming - The Second Coming (1970 us, awesome jazz blues brass rock)



Originally hailed from Chicago moved to San Francisco and released one album and a couple of singles. With the recent glut of groups using a brass section, it's good to hear one that has potential to top all the ones currently in existence.

The Second Coming, is a nine piece homegrown group played with finesse not often seen in rock groups during its recent stay here. Music is tight when its need to be and fee when the songs call for it.

Leader is Buddy Stephens who is vocalist and doubles on drums and trumpet. His voice is powerful and was well sjhowcased as the group did several numbers from its Mercury records LP. Les King is a standout on drums, as he pushed, shoved and drove the band through the songs, never allowing a letup.

The horn section was punchy, with Bob Penny on guitar, Ernie Seil on bass, Tom Palmer  on bass, and Dave Miller on organ, each leading the right amount of support.

The Strong soloing talent of the group was showcased during "Ain't It Funky", a 20 minute piece that was all too short. Put simply the group is a dynamite.
by George Knemeyer, October 10, 1970
Tracks
1. Requiem For A Rainy Day (Dave Miller) - 4:03
2. Take Me Home (Dave Miller) - 4:19
3. Nobody Cares (Dave Miller) - 5:33
4. Landlubber (Dave Miller) - 5:32
5. Roundhouse (Dave Miller) - 3:34
6. It's Over (Bob Penny) - 4:47
7. Jeremiah Crane (Bill Dinwiddie, Jack Kramer, Richard Single) - 10:53

The Second Coming
*Buddy Stephens - Lead Vocals, Drums, Trumpet
*Bob Penny - Guitar, Vocals
*Les King - Drums, Congas, Percussion, Timpani
*Jack Kramer - Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Trombone, Vocals
*Bill Dinwiddle - Trombone
*Dick Rudolph - Alto, Baritone Saxophones, Alto Flute, Trombone
*Ernie Seil - Bass, Vocals, Guitar
*Tom Palmer - Bass, Vocals, Guitar
*Dave Miller - Hammond Organ, Electric Piano, Vocals

Friday, October 22, 2021

The Inmates - The Albums (1979-82 stunning pub boogie rock, 2017 three disc box set remaster and expanded)



The Inmates were the archetypal pub-rock band, coming onto the scene in 1978, almost two years after the pub-rock craze started dying down. They kept the flame of this much-maligned genre going for three decades, criss-crossing Europe year in year out to bring their high energy rock’n’roll to the clubs on the continent. This set issued by Cherry Red’s Lemon label compiles their first 3 LP’s.

The band was fortunate enough to have their first two albums produced by Vic Maile, a former Pye engineer in the sixties and maverick record producer in the seventies and the eighties. Maile operated from his own recording studio in Rickmansworth where his understanding of Rock’n’Roll plus the considerable amount of vintage gear he had accumulated enabled him to bring out the best of bands as diverse as Motorhead, Brinsley Schwarz and of course The Inmates. Maile passed away too early but before his death he confided to Peter Gunn (The Inmates’s guitarist and main songwriter) that he regarded “Shot In The Dark” as his best production job.

Their debut “First Offence” starts with an almighty bang with their cover of The Standells’s “Dirty Water”. Already a garage-rock classic in its original version, it becomes here a menacing hymn to London with a noticeably fatter guitar sound and Bill Hurley’s growl acting as the icing on the cake. Lots of bands of The Inmates’s era had trouble transferring their power a a live act to tape but “First Offence” is a great album. Arthur Conley’s “Love Got Me” shows the band’s soul side with its horn punctuations. The first original song “Mr.Unreliable” features an excellent driving bass line on the choruses while “The Walk”, an early rock’n’roll song published in 1958 get The Inmates steroid shot. The frantics “Jealousy” and “Back In History” both penned by guitarist Peter Gunn prove the effectiveness of the bands twin guitar approach. An excellent cover of The Pretty Things’s “Midnight To Six Man” manages to equal the original in its aggression.

As was the normal trend in these days, the band were back in the studio less than a year later to record their follow up. With three albums released in the space of three years plus all the touring in between, it’s no wonder that Bill Hurley called it a day (temporarily) at the end of 1981.”Shot In The Dark” recorded again with Maille manning the console starts with another garage rock anthem, The Music Machine’s “Talk Talk” covered in The Inmate’s style, it doesn’t strike as hard as the band’s take on “Dirty Water” put it still is a great way to start a record. The Gunn original “Tell Me What’s Wrong” is a bonafide rockabilly classic with a spot on vocal by Hurley. It has often been said that The Inmates carried the spirit of The Stone’s original recordings, however far from picking an obvious Jagger-Richard composition, the band chose the slighly merseybeat-ish “So Much In Love You” never recorded by The Stones. Peter Gunn comes up with some great originals, the jangly “Crime Don’t Pay”sees Hurley at his most theatrical while “(I Thought I Heard A) Heartbeat)” remains one the bands greatest songs (make sure you check out the live version on their live album “In The Heat Of The Night”).

Their third LP “Heatwave In Alaska” sees them work with Shakin Stevens’s producer Stuart Coleman. As explained in the liner notes by Michael Heatley, this was a decision by WEA who had absorbed Radar Records by that point. This kind of situation doesn’t usually generate the setting for a good recording atmosphere but the Coleman-Inmates association proves to be a successful one. The sound might be a bit more polished and radio friendly than on “First Offence and “Shot In The Dark” but opener “She’s Gone Rockin'” penned by bass player Ben Donnelly proved they still rock with considerable aplomb. Bill Hurley shines on a cover of The Four Top’s “Something About You” which also benefits from the presence of keyboard studio wizard Pete Wingfield (one hit wonder with his doo-wop homage “Eighteen With A Bullet”) and sax master Junior Walker who happened to be playing in London at the time of the album’s recording. 

The band’s soul side really comes to the fore here, Peter Gunn writing some tailor made songs for Bill Hurley’s fantastic voice (“Broken Hearted”). The band cover The Everly Brothers with a power pop version of “You Can Bet (A Broken Heart)”while drummer  Jim Russell makes his songwriting debut with an excellent rockabilly romp titled “Three Little Sisters”. Peter Gunn again proves he can churn out great rockers at will with “Yeah Yeah Yeah”. The bluesy “Who’s Foolin Who” with its sleazy shuffle is followed by another soulful Gunn original (“Send Some Of Your Loving My Way”). Their version of NRBQ’s “Me And The Boys” issued as a standalone single (with a gritty little original called “Betty Lou” as B-Side) are a nice addition to an album available on CD format for the first time.
by Craig Chaligne, June 16, 2017
Tracks
Disc 1 First Offence 1979
1. Dirty Water (Ed Cobb) - 3:01
2. Love Got Me (Arthur Conley) - 3:38
3. Mr. Unreliable (Peter Staines) - 2:53
4. The Walk (Bob Garlic, Jimmy McCracklin) - 2:47
5. I Can't Sleep (Peter Staines) - 3:02
6. Jealousy (Peter Staines) - 2:57
7. Three Time Loser (Don Covay, Ronald Miller) - 2:38
8. You're The One That Done It (Ray Scott) - 2:32
9. Midnight To Six Man (Dick Taylor, Phil May) - 2:18
10.Jeanie, Jeanie, Jeanie (George Motola, Rickie Page) - 3:21
11.If Time Could Turn Backwards (Peter Staines) - 4:14
12.Back In History (Peter Staines) - 2:19
13.I Can't Stop (Dan Penn, Roger Hawkins) - 2:37
14.Danger Zone (Steve Cropper, Wilson Pickett) - 2:14
15.Talkin' Woman (Ferdinand Washington, Lowell Fulson) - 2:31
Bonus Tracks 14-15
Disc 2 Shot In The Dark 1980
1. Talk Talk (Sean Bonniwell) - 2:01
2. Tell Me What's Wrong (Peter Staines) - 2:41
3. So Much In Love (Keith Richards, Mick Jagger) - 2:35
4. Stop It Baby (Robert Maxwell) - 2:28
5. Waiting Game (Peter Staines) - 3:01
6. Crime Don't Pay (Peter Staines) - 2:41
7. Feelin' Good (Herman Parker) - 3:41
8. (I Thought I Heard A) Heartbeat (Peter Staines) - 3:19
9. Why When The Love Has Gone? (Ivy Jo Hunter) - 3:07
10.Sweet Rain (Peter Staines) - 2:52
11.I Can't Make Up My Mind (Peter Staines) - 2:03
12.Show You My Way (Jim Russell) - 2:38
13.Some Kinda Wonderful (John Ellison) - 4:20
14.Jealousy (Peter Staines) - 3:25
15.Sweet Rain (Peter Staines) - 2:57
16.Tallahassie Lassie (Bob Crewe, Frank Slay Jnr., Frederick Picariello) - 2:01
17.(I Thought I Heard A) Heartbeat (Peter Staines) - 3:11
Bonus Tracks 14-17
Disc 3 Heatwave In Alaska 1982
1. She's Gone Rockin' (Ben Donnelly) - 2:49
2. Something About You (Brian Holland, Edward Holland, Jr., Lamont Dozier) - 3:02
3. Long Distance Man (Peter Staines) - 3:22
4. Broken Hearted (Peter Staines) - 3:15
5. You Can Bet (A Broken Heart) (Phil Everly) - 2:38
6. Remember, I've Been Good To You (Bobby Womack, Darryl Carter, Maria Tynes) - 2:48
7. Three Little Sisters (Jim Russell) - 2:26
8. Unhappy Boy (Peter Staines) - 3:43
9. Yeah Yeah Yeah (Peter Staines) - 2:32
10.On The Beat (Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook) - 3:10
11.Who's Foolin' Who (Dan Walsh, Michael Omartian, Michael Price, Steve Barri) - 4:18
12.Send Some Of Your Loving (My Way) (Peter Staines) - 3:14
13.Me And The Boys (Terry Adams) - 2:59
14.Betty Lou (Ben Donnelly, Bill Hurley, Jim Russell, Peter Staines, Tony Oliver) - 2:54
Bonus Tracks 13-14

The Inmates
*Bill Hurley - Vocals
*Peter "Gunn" Staines - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Tony Oliver - Rhythm Guitar
*Ben Donnelly - Bass
*Eddie Edwards - Drums (Disc 1, Tracks 2-13)
*Jim Russell - Drums (Discs 2-3)
*John Bull - Drums (Disc 1 Track 1)
With
*Laurie Garman - Harmonica
*Gavin Povey - Organ
*John Earle - Baritone Saxophone
*Ray Beavis - Tenor Saxophone
*Dick Hanson - Trumpet
*Junior Walker - Saxophone
*Bob Cotton - Acoustic Bass
*Chris Gower - Trombone
*Pete Wingfield - Keyboards

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Seventh Wave - Psi-Fi (1975 uk, great experimental prog symphonic rock, 2018 remaster and expanded)



By the time they came to record Psi-Fi it seems that Seventh Wave were suffering something of an identity crisis. The back of the album sleeve depicted Elliott, O'Connor and producer Neil Richmond decked out in glitzy costumes and face paint suggesting they had jumped on the 70’s glam-rock bandwagon. And this time rather than it being a two man effort they brought in a host of guest musicians that included Hugh Banton (Van Der Graaf Generator), Pete Lemer (Mike Oldfield) and Steve Cook (Gilgamesh). Ironically, with the exception of bass player Cook, the guests duplicated the contributions of Elliott and O'Connor (keys, vocals and percussion) suggesting that the music was intended to be reproduced live utilising a full band (minus a guitarist of course).

If there was an identity crisis as I suggested earlier then it also carried through to the music on Psi-Fi. Although there were fewer tracks this time around (10 in total), overall the album was a more fragmented affair with quirky pop and funk tunes rubbing shoulders with prog-rock extravaganzas. Compare the opening and closing tracks for example where the bubbly vitality of Return To Foreverland is in stark contrast to the epic grandeur of the exotically titled Star Palace Of The Sombre Warrior. Whilst retaining the pomp and grandeur of the first album, it seems that Queen and David Bowie had gate crashed the party.

Although Star Palace may have been the single best thing ever recorded by Seventh Wave, overall Psi-Fi for me didn’t reach the dizzy heights of Things To Come. Perhaps the lasting legacy of Psi-Fi is that it was a pre-curser of the synth-pop boom that would follow a few years later with the emergence of bands like Ultravox, OMD and later the Pet Shop Boys. The lively Manifestations for example is very much a forerunner of The Buggles’ Video Killed The Radio Star whilst there is also similarities between Seventh Wave and Howard Jones both in the vocal department and in the harmonious fusion of upbeat pop and keyboard based prog.

There’s no telling in which direction Seventh Wave would have developed had they stayed the distance. In a recent interview Elliot relates a story whereby they were approached by Peter Gabriel to become his backing band when he originally left Genesis but this fell through when the increasingly unreliable O'Connor failed to show for the audition. Although it’s impossible to predict how long the band’s career would have lasted had circumstances been different, I find it hard to imagine how they could have ever bettered Things To Come. Re-mastered from the original studio tapes, this 2CD digipack retailing at a tantalisingly low price is an excellent reminder of one of the most innovative but shamefully overlooked bands of the 70’s.
by Geoff Feakes
Tracks
1. Return To Foreverland - 3:52
2. Roads To Rome - 3:18
3. Manifestations - 5:41
4. Loved By You - 2:55
5. Only The Beginning - 8:03
6. Aether Anthem - 1:26
7. Astral Animal - 3:12
8. El Tooto - 2:12
9. Camera Obscura - 9:01
10.Star Palace Of The Sombre Warrior - 5:42
11.Manifestations - 2:59
12.Only The Beginning - 3:44
All songs by Ken Elliott except tracks #8 co-written with Neil Richmond
Bonus Tracks 11-12

Seventh Wave
*Ken Elliott - Vocals, Multi-Keyboards, Synthesizers, Pedals, Percussion
*Kieran O'Connor - Drums, Multi-Percussion, Vocals
With
*Hugh Banton - Organ, Mellotron, Arp Synthesizer 
*Steve Cook - Electric Bass 
*Rob Elliott - Vocals 
*Tony Elliott - Bongos, Vocals 
*Brian Gould - Organ, Crumar Stringman 
*Pepi Lemer - Vocals 
*Pete Lemer - Arp Synthesizer, Rmi, Crumar Piano 
*Tony Utah - Multi-Percussion 

Related Acts


 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Seventh Wave - Things To Come (1974 uk, remarkable prog space symphonic rock, 2018 bonus track remaster)



Following protracted recording sessions that began in 1972, Things To Come originally appeared on vinyl in April 1974 followed by its successor Psi-Fi in August 1975. Both albums were the creation of multi-keyboardist Ken Elliott supported by drummer Kieran O'Connor. Prior to forming Seventh Wave both men were members of early prog come psychedelic incarnations Second Hand and Chillum although their relationship had its ups and downs. Sadly further disagreements between the pair during a US tour to promote Psi-Fi led to the premature demise of Seventh Wave in 1976.

Going their separate ways, Elliot revived his career as a writer of TV themes and jingles which despite paying the rent was a great loss to the prog world as without question Things To Come (and to a lesser extent Psi-Fi) is one of the most memorable, ground breaking and inspired albums of the prog genre (or any genre for that matter).

A glance at the track listing above will show that Things To Come is divided into 14 tracks with an average length of just 3 minutes although in reality when played it flows as two continuous pieces. The midway break was necessitated to allow the music to be split between sides 1 and 2 of a vinyl disc although on CD such considerations become redundant.

Each song on Things To Come is generally preceded by an instrumental track, a strategy that was not uncommon at the time. The instrumental tracks feature lush, tuneful and occasionally ambient arrangements courtesy of an arsenal of keyboards that include ARP, Moog and EMS synthesizers. Obvious comparators would be Tangerine Dream, Rick Wakeman, Vangelis, Keith Emerson and pioneering electronic composers like Walter Carlos although with a far greater accent on melody. Despite the absence of guitars I would also cite Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells released less than a year earlier which was similarly a product of meticulous overdubs. In fact it’s quite impressive how Elliott and O'Connor infuse the music with weight and power without the need to resort to guitars or bass.

Fronted by Elliott’s distinctive falsetto delivery, the songs themselves on Things To Come are almost contradictory being ridiculously catchy in the pop/rock sense with lyrics that occasionally border on the banal (as in Old Dog Song) whilst layered keyboards and assorted percussion provide a sweeping orchestral backdrop. This combination may on the face of it seem a tad incongruous but somehow it works resulting in a listening experience that’s infectious and exhilarating without ever sounding pretentious. This is particular true of the final 10 minutes where the listener is literally swept along on a tide of swirling synths and exotic percussion. As one American reviewer remarked at the time, "Two men from Britain sounding like twenty".
by Geoff Feakes
Tracks
1. Sky Scraper - 2:17
2. Metropolis - 4:25
3. Intercity Water Rat - 0:48
4. Escalator - 0:26
5. Old Dog Song - 4:12
6. Smog, Fog And Sunset - 3:11
7. Fail To See - 4:05
8. Premonition - 3:15
9. Festival - 2:05
10.Eversolightly - 4:33
11.Communication Skyways - 4:42
12.Things To Come - 1:46
13.1999 ½ - 1:09
14.Dance Of The Eloi - 1:45
15.Metropolis - 3:12
All compositions by Ken Elliott
Bonus Track 15 Single Version

Seventh Wave
*Kieran O'Connor - Drums, Bass Drum, Congas, Bongos, Bells, Finger Cymbals, Cymbal, Castanets, Handclaps, Claves, Xylophone, Vibraphone
*Ken Elliott - Piano, Electric Piano, Clavinet, Synthesizer, Mellotron, Glockenspiel, Chimes, Vocals

Related Acts


 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Eddie Baird - Hard Graft (1975 uk, beautiful folk silky rock, 2015 edition)


Eddie Baird is most well-known for his first (and only) recording band, Amazing Blondel, although he was also a session musician (e.g. on Paul Kossoff’s solo album) and auditioned for Dire Straits to replace Knopfler in the late ’70s. By then Amazing Blondel, one of the foremost exponents of what’s now called prog-folk (when superlatives like Amazing and Incredible String Band were legitimate not hype), were fragmented by the leaving of their principal song-writer after three Island albums. On many tours that included St. Paul’s Cathedral (on a bill with Cliff Richard!), they forged their own distinctive style that was as outside folk as it was any mainstream.
 
Forty instruments for medieval-style ballads mixed with bawdy humour. Tuning the final lute, the first would be out of tune in the hot concert hall, until they had built 7-string guitars tuned to them with internal amplification, to play alongside 12 and 6 strings, crumhorn, cittern, the orbo, flutes, ocarina (also used by Dr. Strangely Strange), glockenspiel, and assorted keyboards and percussion. Group harmonies also required specific tunings: these guys knew their stuff! Shades of Jethro Tull’s and Forest’s whimsy from periods of yore, ISB’s inventiveness, and Dr. Strangely Strange’s uniqueness, with more breadth than Gryphon or Third Ear Band who, sadly, rarely went into the realm of comparable beauty.
   
An early influence for Baird were The Shadows and Everly Brothers while in a school band that gigged for £2.10 shillings shared five ways (Spangles and Squash presumably rather than Whisky Macs). Typical school-leaving manual jobs then photographer on the Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph, the locale of Blondel, didn’t interrupt gigging as far afield as Brigg, which attracted the attention of two professional musicians: John Gladwin and Terry Wincott. They had recorded an album with Methuselah, heavy prog rockers whose acoustic interlude live prompted their own band in ’69. Baird and a friend were invited to their house then a bit later he was invited to join them, after the debut Amazing Blondel album had been finished for Bell Records in late 1969. Four of the most beautiful band albums of the whole era appeared via Island Records from 1970-73: Evensong, Fantasia Lindum, England, and Blondel.
   
John Gladwin left immediately after a three-week US tour in 1973, gigs with Genesis in Germany, and when a tour with Traffic was in the pipeline. Years of non-stop touring and recording (which the band loved most) had taken its toll. Baird had contributed to the song-writing but most were written by Gladwin. Island then rang for a new album, with a deadline of six weeks. Baird wrote all Blondel in five weeks, known as the purple album (they hadn’t dropped the full name, as the LP’s back cover proves), which includes Simon Kirke and Paul Rodgers both of Free, plus Steve Winwood on bass and top session singers (Jim Capaldi had guested on an earlier album continuing the Island link). Most of the songs would grace later concerts. Three studio albums as a duo for DJM followed in 1974-76 (Mulgrave Street, Inspiration, Bad Dreams), sadly declining a little after the first that had some strong material. The label issued Live in Japan in ’77, actually recorded live in Europe though easier for the marketeers during glam then punk and disco.
   
Eddie Baird did session work and moved to Cornwall, when the well-known producer Tony Cox invited him to his Sawmills studio for a solo album. It was earmarked for Island but their A&R man left and the platter was shelved. This solo album is, however, far removed from that band's renaissance folk style. A classy set of concise pop rock songs played entirely by Baird, it was recorded in Cornwall, England, in the summer of 1975 and released in 1976. 
by Brian R. Banks, 2016
Tracks
1. Tonite - Tonight - 2:57
2. You're Not The Girl For Me - 3:05
3. Me And Mine - 3:23
4. How Easy Loving You Can Be - 3:11
5. It's Raining - 4:17
6. How Can I Cope - 3:44
7. Not When I'm Working - 2:52
8. I Love You - 4:19
9. Creepin' - 3:08
10.Something Off Of You - 2:08
11.Call Me - 2:15
12.Poem - 2:47
Words and Music by Eddie Baird

*Eddie Baird - Vocals, All Intruments

Related Act
1973  Amazing Blondel - Blondel
1974  Amazing Blondel - England 

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Eternity's Children - From Us Unto You The Original Singles (1967-70 us, pleasant sunny baroque psych, 2005 remaster)



Sunshine pop cult favorites Eternity's Children were formed in Cleveland, MS, in 1965 by singer/keyboardist Bruce Blackman and drummer Roy Whittaker, fellow students at Delta College. With the addition of lead guitarist Johnny Walker, rhythm guitarist Jerry Bounds, and bassist Charlie Ross, the group (originally dubbed the Phantoms) began developing the complex, overlapping vocal harmonies that remained the hallmark of their sound throughout their career. According to Dawn Eden's comprehensive liner notes in the 2002 Rev-Ola reissue Eternity's Children, in 1966 the Phantoms relocated to Biloxi, becoming the house band in the basement nightclub of the Biloxi Hotel and backing visiting performers including Charlie Rich and B.J. Thomas. With the addition of local folksinger Linda Lawley, the fledgling band adopted the more contemporary moniker Eternity's Children, and after Baton Rouge health club magnate Ray Roy caught one of their live appearances, he convinced business partner Guy Belello to form a management company (Crocked Foxx Productions and Music), which soon signed the group to a contract. 

Eternity's Children quickly recorded a demo that made its way to A&M producer Allen Stanton, and in the spring of 1967 recorded their lone effort for the label, the David Gates-penned single "Wait and See." (It was produced by Keith Olsen, the former Music Machine bassist best known as the production partner of studio wizard Curt Boettcher.) The record went nowhere, and despite touring as part of a package headlined by the Strawberry Alarm Clock, the Seeds, and the Blues Magoos, Eternity's Children were quickly dropped by A&M. Crocked Foxx soon landed their charges a deal with Capitol's tax-shelter subsidiary, Tower; Olsen again manned the boards, this time bringing Boettcher, who'd previously enjoyed massive success with vocal groups like the Association as well as his own Sagittarius and the Millennium. Despite some flashes of brilliance, Eternity's Children's self-titled debut does not rank among the Boettcher/Olsen duo's crowning achievements -- both producers were distracted by other concurrent projects, and for every potential smash like the lilting first single "Mrs. Bluebird" or the beautiful "Again Again," there was a "Rupert White" (which simply added a new vocal to a backing track issued the year earlier as the Chocolate Tunnel's "The Highly Successful Rupert White") or "You Know I've Found a Way" (which doesn't even feature the group at all -- a Boettcher production demo, it later resurfaced in much more complete form on Sagittarius' Present Tense). 

During production of the album, relations between the members of Eternity's Children and their management became increasingly strained, and prior to the LP's mid-1968 release, Blackman, Walker, and Bounds all exited. Only Blackman was replaced, by classically trained keyboardist Mike "Kid" McClain, previously of the Houston group the Neurotic Sheep. An appearance on American Bandstand spurred "Mrs. Bluebird" up the pop charts, but Tower did little to promote the single or the band, and after three weeks at number 69 on Billboard, both quickly plummeted out of the Hot 100. Eternity's Children nevertheless reconvened to begin work on their second album, Timeless, this time recruiting Boettcher's longtime engineer, Gary Paxton, to helm the sessions. With primary songwriter Blackman now out of the mix, Ross, Lawley, and McClain all contributed original material, and Paxton also wrangled songs from future Byrds Clarence White and Gene Parsons. After Whittaker left the group sometime during the sessions, drummer Bo Wagner was brought into the studio to complete the tracks -- coincidentally, Wagner would later join Blackman and Walker in their post-Eternity's Children project, dubbed simply the Children. (Blackman and Walker finally achieved massive chart success in the mid-'70s as members of Starbuck, which scored the Top Five smash "Moonlight Feels Right.") The album, titled Timeless, wrapped in late 1968, and promo copies of the first single, "Till I Hear It from You," were soon dispatched to radio. 

But when "Till I Hear It from You" caused little excitement among radio programmers, Tower abruptly scuttled Timeless' U.S. release; the album did appear on Capitol's Canadian branch ("Mrs. Bluebird" was a sizable hit north of the border). Desperate for a change in geography and approach, Eternity's Children decamped to Memphis, home of Chips Moman's legendary American Studios. Abandoning the lush, pristine production of their previous efforts for a more earthy, blue-eyed soul sound, the group teamed with Moman and ace session bassist Tommy Cogbill to record the single "The Sidewalks of the Ghetto." It went nowhere -- by now, Capitol was shuttering the entire Tower imprint, although one last Eternity's Children single, the Spooner Oldham-penned "Blue Horizon," slipped through the cracks, as did solo singles from Lawley ("When the World Turns") and Ross ("A Railroad Trestle in California"). Remarkably, there was one last gasp -- Liberty Records, reeling from the loss of the 5th Dimension to rival Bell, seized upon Eternity's Children as a replacement. They signed to record a single, "Alone Again," but when Liberty was folded into parent company United Artists, the band was dropped. No subsequent recordings ever saw official release, but various Eternity's Children lineups continued performing during the 1970s. 
by Jason Ankeny
Tracks
1. Time And Place (Bruce Blackman) - 1:55
2. Can't Put A Thing Over Me (Bruce Blackman) - 2:40
3. Wait And See (David Gates) - 2:12
4. Rumors (Bruce Blackman) - 1:52
5. Mrs. Bluebird (Bruce Blackman, Johnny Walker) - 3:04
6. Little Boy (Dearis P. Anthony) - 2:21
7. Sunshine Among Us (Bruce Blackman) - 2:46
8. Rupert White (Kenneth Johnson, Jerry Ritchey, Bob Hopps) - 2:09
9. Till I Hear It From You (Gary Paxton, Jan Paxton) - 2:05
10.I Wanna Be With You (Mike McClain) - 2:06 
11.Sidewalks Of The Ghetto (John Christopher) - 2:57
12.Look Away (Charlie Ross, Linda Lowley, Mike McClain) - 2:16
13.My Happiness Day (Steven Hudson Dell) - 3:14
14.Blue Horizon (Spooner Oldham, Mark James) - 3:26
15.Lifetime Day (Steven Hudson Dell) - 2:42
16.Alone Again (Mike McClain) - 3:05
17.From Us Unton You (Curt Boettcher) - 1:59
18.When The World Turns (John Christopher) - 2:52 
19.Living Is Easy (Linda Lowley, Mike McClain) - 2:59
20.Laughing Girl (R. Sellers, T. Russell) - 2:27
21.A Railroad Trestle In California (Ronnie Self) - 3:11
22.Wait And See (David Gates) - 2:09
23.Mrs. Bluebird (Bruce Blackman, Johnny Walker) - 2:13 
Bonus Tracks 18-23

Eternity's Children
*Charlie Ross - Vocals, Guitar, Bass (1966-70)
*Bruce Blackman - Keyboards, Vocals (1966-68)
*Roy Whittaker - Drums, Vocals (1966-68)
*Linda Lawley - Vocals (1966-70)
*Mike "Kid" McClain - Keyboards, Vocals (1968-70)
*Johnny Walker - Vocals, Guitar (1966-67) 
*Bo Wagner - Drums, Vibes (1968-70)
*Jerry Bounds - Guitar (1967)

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Axiom - If Only... (1971 australia, fine baroque psych, 2021 reissue)



In September Warners flew them to Los Angeles where they recorded the remaining tracks for their second LP If Only... with Talmy. They returned to Australia for a few months in November 1970 and then headed back to England in February 1971. If Only was released in March 1971, just after the band split. Talmy was interviewed by music writer Richie Unterberger in 2000. Almost thirty years down the track, he still spoke of Axiom group and the album in glowing terms:

"Warner Brothers hired me to record them. Super-duper band. It was a super album. Two weeks before the album was to be released on Warner, they decided to break up. And they did, and Warners said, "Bye!! If you think we're promoting this album, you're out of your fucking minds!" I was real pleased with that album. It was fun to do, they were talented, the songs were great."

Coming from the man who produced such classics as "My Generation", "You Really Got Me", "Friday On My Mind" and "Waterloo Sunset", this is high praise indeed.

Axiom had their third and last Aussie hit in early 1971 with the first single lifted from the LP, "My Baby's Gone" (the verses of which bear a suspicious resemblance to the 1980s World Party hit "Ship of Fools"). The only surviving videos of the band are performances of the song from Happening '71 and the shortlived Channel 9 pop show Move, and they also filmed a promotional clip for the song, one of the first such clips made in colour in Australia. Given that Australia wasn't to get colour TV for another four years, this was clearly done with overseas markets in mind. When released in January, the single did extremely well -- it was Top 10 by February, peaking at #8, a fact that is at odds with conventional wisdom, which says that interest in the band was waning while they were away in England.

Unfortunately the difficulties of slogging it out in England and cracking the international market undoubtedly took their toll, and it seems there was growing tension within the band by the start of 1971 and Lebler and Mudie both quit, following Doug Lavery into The Mixtures in March, which precipitated the band's break-up. Sadly, as Shel Talmy relates, this came only two weeks before If Only... was released. One can only speculate on the result if they had been able to stay together to promote it. Both album and single were released later that year in America but in the absence of the band, they sank without trace.

Brian Cadd continued to write and record with Don Mudie. They returned to Australia and released a duo single in late 1971, after which Brian hooked up with Ron Tudor to form the Bootleg label. He enjoyed a hugely successful solo career in the '70s and '80s both in Australia and overseas. He moved to America in 1975 and became a prominent member of what was dubbed the "Gumleaf Mafia", the group of Aussie expats based in L.A. that included John Farrar, Billy Thorpe and Olivia Newton-John. In recent years he has also been a member of the reformed Flying Burrito Brothers. He returned to Australia in the early '80s and eventually settled back here in the early 90s. He has worked regularly on the club and casino circuit since then. During his 1999 tour Cadd and his first wife had a 'close shave', and had to be rescued by a passer-by after their car was swept off a bridge on the Gold Coast during local floods. Brian continues to perform as well as running his own record label, among other music interests.

Glenn Shorrock returned to the UK for several years, singing and recording with the multi-national group Esperanto, before accepting an invitation to team up with members of Mississippi, which soon became the mega-successful Little River Band. Glenn reunited with Brian Cadd in 1993 for the album Blazing Salads.

Chris Stockley went on to a very distinguished career in the 70s with The Dingoes and Stockley, See & Mason.

Unfortunately we have no current information about the later careers of Don Mudie, Doug Lavery and Don Lebler, so if anyone can fill us in, we'd love to hear from you!
Milesago
Tracks
1. Father Confessor
2. Hold The Phone
3. Sailing Ships
4. Talking About It
5. My Baby's Gone
6. Time And Time Again
7. Longest Day
8. Georgia By Morning
9. Matter Of Time
10.Little Ray Of Sunshine
All songs by Don Mudie, Brian Cadd

Axiom
*Brian Cadd - Keyboards, Vocals
*Don Mudie - Bass
*Glenn Shorrock - Vocals
*Chris Stockley – Guitar
*Don Lebler - Drums