Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Minnesoda - Minnesoda (1972 us, stunning brass jazz prog rock)

Minnesoda did an obscure but fairly interesting self-titled jazz-rock album for Capitol in 1972, produced by Bob Johnston (famous for his work with Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, Simon & Garfunkel, and numerous others). The record was in limited respects like the first recordings of Chicago and, more distantly, Blood, Sweat & Tears in its jazz-rock-with-vocals format. Minnesoda, however, had a substantially greater funk flavor, and a speedier, more aggressive edge to their material, though they didn't have the pop-friendly melodies of the more renowned bands. Half of Minnesoda's eight members were on horns, with tenor saxophonist Dave Gustafson playing flute as well, adding to the rock band-as-big-band feel.

A couple of the musicians in Minnesoda had performed with name acts prior to the album. Trombonist Don Lehnhoff had played with Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. Much more unexpectedly, trumpeter Eddie Shaw had in the 1960s been the bassist for the Monks, the 1960s band of ex-GIs who recorded an album of ludicrously minimalist, furious pre-punk in Germany in the mid-1960s -- a record that was unknown by 1972, but which by the 1990s had an avid cult following.

Minnesoda were at first called Copperhead, but without the band's knowledge, they were renamed Minnesoda (in a nod to their Minnesota origins) for the Capitol album. (They were no relation to another band called Copperhead, including ex-Quicksilver Messenger Service guitarist John Cipollina, that also recorded in the early 1970s.) 

Minnesoda's little-known self-titled LP is pretty hot white funk jazz-rock, sounding a little like Chicago or Blood, Sweat & Tears might have had those stars decided to go less commercial rather than more commercial after their first albums. Actually, Minnesoda are rawer and more frenetic than Chicago or BS&T were even at their earthiest, though their material lacks the pop hooks of even the boldest Chicago/BS&T outings. A quartet of brassmen on tenor sax, flute, trumpet, and trombone augment the usual rock lineup in this octet, fronted by John Elms' credibly high-octane, lusty upper-register blue-eyed soul vocals.

There's sometimes an almost big band-like dexterity to the horns, yet the more jagged, at times hyper, thrust of the guitars and drums give it a solid funk base. The melodies are often more ominous than they usually are in this kind of fare, frequently jetting off into unexpected, improvised-sounding horn interjections and key changes. Only the adventure film theme-like "Flexible Flyer," and the uncharacteristically reflective, jazzy ballad "Party" slow the tempo down much. 

Johnston recorded a second album with the band that went a little further into jazz, and further away from any rough similarities with Chicago, although they were still present. But Johnston was unable to get the album released, and Minnesoda remained their only issued LP.
by Richie Unterberger

1. Let's Get It On (Jerry LaCroix, Edgar Winter) - 6:00
2. Smokin' Bitch (Browder, Tuttle, Elms) - 3:13
3. Misery Isn`t Free (Steven Tollestrup) - 2:50
4. Shop Talk (Ellicott, Field, Hull, Jonutz, Matute, Stoltis) - 6:12
5. When's My Season (Charles Dahle) - 3:41
6. Flex (Anderson, Casseralla, Gustafson, Helnhoff, Shaw, Rick Warneke, Charles Dahle, Elms) - 2:51
7. Child`s Play (Charles Dahle) - 3:05
8. Partly (Charles Dahle) - 3:25
9. Maggie (Lolly Vegas) - 3:38

*Wayne Cafarella - Bass
*Charles Dahle - Guitar
*John Elms - Bongos, Vocals
*Dave Gustafson - Flute, Alto Saxophone
*Don Lehnhoff - Trombone
*Eddie Shaw - Trumpet
*Wayne Warnecke - Tenor Saxophone
*Rick Warneke - Bongos, Soprano, Tenor Saxophones

Monday, November 29, 2021

Rainbow - After the Storm (1968 us, significant fuzzy psych rock, 2008 release)

A short-lived Los Angeles-based project. Their album has a great cover. The contents incorporate several different styles. All the music is written by W. David Mohr except couple of tracks, and much of it is heavy with lots of fuzz guitar reminiscent of Iron Butterfly. A sorta West Coast sound which seems in places distinctly similar to Fever Tree's San Francisco Girls (well spotted, Max!); pretentious pop with lots of keyboards (Midnight Candle); gimmickry with lots of sound effects (Does Your Head Need Straightening?) to the very plesant After The Storm, which has some delighfful soothing piano.
The original sleeve of this eclectic collection of Los Angeles psychedelia promised it would deliver 'a feeling of newness'. And indeed few albums from 1968 could boast such a range of styles, taking in acid rock, sunshine pop and heavy soul, with plenty of fuzz guitar and progressive keyboard interludes along the way. An overlooked gem that's sure to appeal to fans of classic underground music.
1. Debby's Party - 0:32 
2. The Ballad of Captain Bob and the Good Ship Venus (Bob Gay, Darrell Devlin) - 4:39 
3. Love Allusions - 3:08 
4. Milk And Honey Lovin' - 3:56 
5. I Just Want to Make Love to You (Willie Dixon) - 4:48 
6. Leaf Clover - 3:17 
7. Prelude to the Music Makers Concerto - 1:28 
8. Does Your Head Need Straightening? - 6:02 
9. Midnight Candle - 6:17 
10.Mary Lou - 1:51 
11.Everything's - Cool 2:38 
12.After the Storm - 5:28
All songs by W. David Mohr except where indicated

*Darrell Devlin - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
*Bob Gay - Bass
*W David Mohr - Organ, Piano, Flute, Trumpet, Vocals
*Harry Vavela - Guitar, Vocals
*Barry Rillera - Saxophone

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Steel River - A Better Road (1971 canada, awesome classic rock with psych drops, 2013 edition)

After four years of amateur gigs and high-school dates around Toronto, Steel River began playing professionally in 1969 and signed with Tuesday Records the following year. From their 1970 debut album Weighin' Heavy, "Ten Pound Note" became a hit in Canada. Steel River broke up three years after 1971's A Better Road, but re-formed in 1979 to record the single "Armoured Car." 

“Southbound Train“, the hit single from A Better Road was recorded at Toronto Sound with Greg Hambleton producing, Terry Brown engineering in 1972 and mixed by Bob Liftin (Regent Sound, NY). The album was released in Canada on Greg’s Tuesday label and licensed by the Stereo Dimension label in the States. Distributed worldwide by Phonogram, the single promoted the album and supported their extensive international touring schedule in major arenas. “Mexican Lady“, featuring John Dudgeon‘s blues-rock vocals and their 3rd hit single, is included along with “Do You Know Where You’re Going?“, “What You Are” & “Take It Slowly“. Completing the lineup was Bob Forrester on keyboards, Ray Angrove on drums, Rob Cockell on bass and Tony Dunning on guitar.

Steel Tiver became an international touring success and performed on three major American tours with The James Gang, Melanie, Steppenwolf, Black Sabbath, Three Dog Night, Edgar Winters, etc. Band members Bob Forrester (keyboards), Rob Cockell (bass), Tony Dunning (lead Guitar) Ray Angrove (drums) and with lead singer John Dudgeon wrote most of the material on their first and second album 'A Better Road' including "Southbound Train" and "Mexican Lady". Licensed by Polygram for release outside North America, all three singles charted in Canada and the States.
1. Mexican Lady (Bob Forrester, Rob Cockell, Tony Dunning) - 3:50
2. Do You Know Where You're Going? (Bob Forrester) - 4:39
3. Take It Slowly (John Dudgeon) - 3:09
4. What You Are (Ray Angrove, Bob Forrester) - 3:18
5. They've Been Waiting (John Dudgeon) - 3:47
6. Southbound Train (Bob Forrester, Rob Cockell, Tony Dunning) - 3:56
7. Don't Tell Me (Rob Cockell, Tony Dunning) - 2:40
8. No One Will Hear You (John Dudgeon) - 3:01
9. Take You Away (Bob Forrester, Rob Cockell, Tony Dunning) - 2:45
10.Joyful Judy (John Dudgeon) - 3:11
11.Love Can't Be Made Of Gold / Let's Think Ahead (John Dudgeon) - 5:12

Steel River
*John Dudgeon - Lead Vocals
*Bob Forrester - Organ, Piano
*Rob Cockell - Bass
*Tony Dunning - Guitar
*Ray Angrove - Drums
*Lafe (H.F). Buckner And The Funky Hedgehogs - Backing Vocals, Percussion

Friday, November 26, 2021

The Jess Roden Band - Keep Your Hat On / Play It Dirty..Play It Class (1976 uk, groovy funky bluesy rock)

One of the great British vocalists, with an immediately distinctive sound,Roden cut his teeth with the Alan Bown Set in the 60’s, achieving a minor hit with the single “Emergency 999”. He eventually left to form the band “Bronco” which recorded two albums, which though well received, particularly “Ace of Sunlight” failed to set the world on fire. Roden surfaced again on the eponymously titled “Butts Band” album, a wonderful collection of songs performed by a great band comprising Roden, Robbie Krieger and John Densmore of The Doors, and session favourite Phil Chen on bass. Check out the wonderful “Baja Bus” and “Sweet Danger”.

Around this time Roden also appeared on Keef Hartleys “Lancashire Hustler” album with Robert Palmer. Island records then stood by Roden for a string of great albums, both solo and with his band. The self-titled “Jess Roden” album features the wonderful “Ferry Cross”. “The Player Not The Game” ia a beautifully made album with the cream of New Orleans session men, including Allan Toussaint. Jess also made a memorable version of “You can leave your hat on ” from the album “Keep Your Hat on”.

Sadly, he was never destined for the big time, and albums like “Play it Dirty” and “Stonechaser” became the rarities at the back of the record shop. A brief return in the 80’s with “Multiplay” by the Rivits and some session work, notably Grace Jones “Nightclubbing” album marked a less productive Roden.

However, in the mid 90’s he made a surprise return with a band called The Humans,featuring ex-Strider and Rod Stewart guitarist Gary Grainger, recording one great album, subsequently disappearing from the scene once more following a live album.

This Kidderminster born vocalist has a voice of pure gold, and for most of the record buying public, he is an undiscovered gem, check him out!
by Kev Moore
1. You Can Leave Your Hat On (Randy Newman) - 4:01
2. Jump Mama (Jess Roden) - 3:59
3. Blowin’ (John Cartwright, Jess Roden) - 3:24
4. In A Circle (John Cartwright, Steve Webb) - 5:29 
5. On A Winner With You (Jess Roden, Steve Webb) - 3:18
6. Mama Roux (Dr John, J. Hill) - 3:31
7. Desperado (Don Henley, Glen Frey) - 5:21 
8. Too Far Gone (Billy Sherrill) - 5:12
9. Send It To You (John Cartwright) - 4:05
10.U.S. Dream (John Cartwright,  Steve Webb) - 3:52
11.Stay In Bed (Jess Roden) - 3:57
12.Can’t Get Next To You (Norman Whitfield,  Barrett Strong) - 7:01
13.Dirty Bars (John Cartwright) - 4:39 
14.Me And Crystal Eye (Jess Roden,  Steve Webb) - 4:14
15.Stone Chaser (Jess Roden,  Steve Webb) - 5:33
16.The Ballad Of Big Sally (John Cartwright,  Bruce Roberts) - 5:43
17.All Night Long (Jess Roden) - 3:34
Tracks 1-9 from "Keep Your Hat On"
Tracks 10-17 from "Play It Dirty Play it Class"

The Jess Roden Band
*Jess Roden – Vocals, Guitar
*Bruce Roberts – Guitar, Vocals
*Steve Webb – Guitar, Vocals
*John Cartwright – Bass
*Pete Hunt – Drums
*Ronnie Taylor – Saxophone
*Chris Gower – Trombone
*Billy Livsey – Keyboards (Tracks 10-17)

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

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Full Moon - Full Moon (1972 us, wonderful fusion jazz rock with sharp guitars, 2005 japan remaster)

In 1972 the New York born guitarist Howard Feiten who had previous played with Paul Butterfiled for their 1969 "Keep On Moving",  met  Neil Larsen who was born in Cleveland, Ohio, together they  formed the band Full Moon along with Gene Dinwiddie, Philip Wilson who  both also had been in the Butterfield band. The LP was on an obscure label, never charted, and was relegated early on to the cut out bins. Even though the sound was an excellent amalgam of fusion “feel good” jazz rock.

Buzz Feiten with Butterfield, toured internationally and played at the Atlantic City Pop Festival and the Woodstock Festival, he was lead guitarist for The Rascals on their albums "Peaceful World" and "Island of Real". Feiten worked with many artists such as  Gregg Allman, The Brecker Brothers, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Michael Franks, Al Jarreau, Rickie Lee Jones, Chaka Khan, Dave Koz, Kenny Loggins, Bette Midler, Olivia Newton-John, Wilson Pickett, David Sanborn, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder,Etta James, Dave Weckl and Don McLean.

Neil Larson was briefly a member of the Soul Survivors, later he began touring as a member of Gregg Allman's band in 1975. He also collaborated with many musicians. From 2008, he had toured and recorded as a member of Leonard Cohen's band.
1. The Heavy Scuffle's On (Buzz Feiten, Neil Larsen, Gene Dinwiddie, Phillip Wilson, Freddie Beckmeier) - 2:53
2. To Know (Buzz Feiten) - 4:03
3. Malibu (Neil Larsen) - 4:13
4. Take This Winter Out Of My Mind (Gene Dinwiddie) - 5:26
5. Midnight Pass (Neil Larsen) - 4:22
6. Need Your Love (Buzz Feiten) - 4:10
7. Selfish People (Buzz Feiten, Phillip Wilson) - 7:49
8. Three Step Dance (Dave Holland) - 10:21
9. Jam (Buzz Feiten, Neil Larsen, Gene Dinwiddie, Phillip Wilson, Freddie Beckmeier) - 11:41
Bonus Tracks 8-9

Full Moon
*Howard 'Buzz' Feiten - Vocals, Guitar, Percussion
*Neil Larsen - Piano, Vibraphone, Organ, Synthesizer 
*Phillip Wilson - Drums, Vocals
*Freddie Beckmeier - Bass
*Brother Gene Dinwiddie - Tenor, Sopranino Saxophone, Flute, Vocals, Mandolin
*Airto Moreira - Percussion
*Robin Clark - Vocals
*Tasha Thomas - Vocals
*Dave Holland - Bass
*Ray Barretto - Percussion
*Randy Brecker - Trumpet

Related Acts


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Cuby And Blizzards - The Golden Years Of Dutch Pop Music A'n'B Sides And More (1965-76 holland, spectacular blues 'n roll psych beat rock, 2014 double disc remaster)

Cuby and the Blizzards started as The Rocking Strings with Eelco Gelling (guitar), Nico Schröder (bass guitar, replaced by bassist Willy Middel, ex-Sinister Silhouettes), Hans Kinds (rhythm guitar) and Wim Kinds (drums). Singer Harry Muskee was former double bass player of The Old Fashioned Jazz Group. In the years around 1964 the group performed regularly in the former factory hall "'t Krotje" in Groningen, where the competition was entered into with the local band "Little John and the Rocking Tigers". When the first single, Stumble and fall,was recorded for record company CNR, Dick Beekman was the drummer. The drummer left in 1966 for the beat group Ro-d-Ys,but would return to the band for a year in 1968. His replacement was Hans Waterman from Groningen. At that time, the group rehearsed in a part of the farm that Muskee had rented in Grolloo. In the formation Muskee, Gelling, Middel, Waterman and Hans Kinds, a number of singles were recorded for the Philips label of Phonogram Records,of which Back Home (A Man) reached the lower echelons of the Top 40.

For the recording of the first album, Desolation,the group was expanded with Henk Hilbrandie (piano), who had previously toured with the group for a year. Harry Muskee and Henk already knew each other from The Old Fashioned Jazzgroup,of which they were both part. This album was awarded an Edisonin 1968. In 1967 Hans Kinds had to go into military service and was replaced by pianist Herman Brood from The Moans. With Brood in the band, the album Greetings from Grollo was recorded, of which Another day another road became a reasonable hit. The album also featured the classic Somebody will know someday,inspired by Muskee's broken relationship with Miep Huisman. The band toured in 1967 and 1968 with Van Morrison, Eddie Boyd, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers and Alexis Korner. 

After the recordings for the hit Distant Smile at the end of 1967, the band disbanded for the first time because Herman Brood had to undergo imprisonment for possession of narcotics,and disagreements had arisen between Muskee and Gelling about the future of the band. Muskee wanted to continue with Willy Middel and Dick Beekman, Gelling with Waterman and bassist Jaap van Eik. However, record company Phonogram managed to glue the break and the new line-up of Cuby + Blizzards consisted of Muskee, Gelling, Beekman, Brood and Van Eik. After about a year Beekman and Van Eik were kicked out of the band again and replaced by Herman Deinum and Hans la Faille from Blues Dimension.  A few months later Brood was permanently kicked out of the band due to persistent drug use and replaced by Helmig van der Vegt (also from Blues Dimension).

The Muskee, Gelling, Deinum, La Faille and Van der Vegt occupation continued to exist for three years from mid-1969. After a few incidents that did the band little good, the fut was gone. The "Zwolse" members left the band and in 1972 the band was over. Joost den Draaijer set up the band Red White 'n Blue with Muskee and Gelling, who released one LP but that was not a commercial success. The name was changed again to Cuby+Blizzards. After Herman Brood re-joined the group, he gained some fame again. But after a short time, Brood and others left the group. After the departure in 1977 of Eelco Gelling to Golden Earring, Harry Muskee continued under the names Harry Muskee Band,then The Muskee Gang and again later Muskee. 

In the mid-nineties, the old band name was picked up again with veterans Herman Deinum, Helmig van der Vegt and Hans la Faille, while Erwin Java remained sologitarist in favor of Eelco Gelling. Former football player Johan Derksen was manager of the blues band in the nineties. Derksen and Muskee knew each other from the sixties. In 2004, Cuby + Blizzards made a theater tour with an ode to blues singer John Lee Hooker. In 2006 a box with DVD, CD,documentary photo book about the blues band was released, compiled by former VARApresenter Jan Douwe Kroeske. 

On September 26, 2011, Harry Muskee died of liver cancer, making Cuby + Blizzards definitive history. In March 2012 Hans la Faille released his biography Showbizz blues with many stories about Cuby + Blizzards. He also presented his new band, Hans la Faille's Showbizz Bluesband. Erwin Java founded the group King of the world around that time, named after one of the tracks from the album Groeten uit Grollo.
Disc 1
1. Stumble And Fall - 1:65
2. I'm So Restless - 2:27
3. L.S.D. - Got A Million Dollars (Tom McGuinness) - 3:30
4. Your Body Not Your Soul - 2:16
5. Back Home - 4:34
6. Sweet Mary (Huddie Ledbetter) - 2:26
7. You Don't Know - 3:42
8. Richard Cory (Paul Simon) - 2:43
9. Just For Fun - 2:49
10.Things I Remember - 1:52
11.Another Day Another Road (Herman Brood, Harry Muskee) - 1:52
12.Feeling Like A Suit-Case (Harry Muskee) - 2:36
13.Distant Smile - 3:03
14.Don't Know Which Way To Go (Al Perkins, Willie Dixon) - 5:01
15.The Sunshine Of Your Shadow - 2:45
16.Crying Tears (Otis "Smokey" Smothers, J.J. Jackson) - 4:01
17.Another Land - 4:37
18.Somebody Will Know Someday - 6:52
19.Window Of My Eyes (Herman Brood, Eelco Gelling, Harry Muskee) - 3:27
20.Checkin' Up My Baby (Sonny Boy Williamson) - 3:14
21.Nostalgic Toilet - 3:36
22.116 A Queensway -  4:07
All compositions by Eelco Gelling, Harry Muskee xcept where noted
Disc 2
1. Appleknockers Flophouse - 2:30
2. Because Of Ilness (Eelco Gelling) - 1:59 
3. Thursday Night (Harry Muskee, Helmig Van Der Vegt) - 3:23
4. Wee Wee Baby (Eelco Gelling) - 3:38
5. Backstreet - 3:50
6. Easy To Leave Hard To Forget (Harry Muskee, Helmig Van Der Vegt) - 3:59 
7. Pawn Broker - 2:43
8. Straight No Chaser (Thelonious Monk) - 3:17
9. Sometimes (Harry Muskee, Helmig Van Der Vegt) - 3:39
10.Everytime - 3:69
11.Kid Blue (Herman Brood, Harry Muskee) - 4:33
12.Perfect Song - 3:37
13.Desolation Blues - 3:00
14.Hobo Blues (John Lee Hooker) - 6:17
15.The Sky Is Crying (Bobby Robinson, Clarence Lewis, Elmore James) - 5:52
16.Go Down Sunshine (Alexis Korner) - 7:03
17.Night Train - 4:42
18.Too Blind To See - 5:14 
All songs by Eelco Gelling, Harry Muskee except where noted

*Harry Muskee - Vocals
*Eelco Gelling - Guitar 
*Willy Middel - Bass Guitar 
*Dick Beekman - Drums 
*Herman Brood - Piano 
*Hans Kinds - Rhythm Guitar
*Hans Waterman - Drums 
*Jaap Van Eik - Bass Guitar 
*Hans Lafaille - Drums, Violin
*Herman Deinum - Bass
*Helmig Van Der Vegt - Piano, Tambourine  
*Tobie Wynn - Baritone Saxophone
*Stan Abernathy - Trumpet
*Tom Hall - Trumpet
*Bobby Pittman - Tenor, Alto Saxophones
*James Tatum - Tenor Saxophone
*John Lagrand - Harmonica 
*Joop Mastenbroek - Baritone Saxophone
*Herman Schoonderwalt - Tenor Saxophone
*Cees Smal - Trombone –
*Henk HilbrandiePiano 
*Jenne Meinema - Alto Saxophone
*Roel Hemmes - Tenor Saxophone
*Eduard Nick-Blok - Trumpet
*Bas Munniksma - Flute, French Horn


Monday, November 22, 2021

Stampeders - Against the Grain (1971 canada, excellent classic rock, 2006 bonus tracks remaster)

"Against the Grain" contained a dozen original songs written by Dodson, Berly and King in the style of the band was unique but it has been compared to such American bands as CCR, Poco or even the Byrds at times but with a Canadian twist to the lyrics. The album garnered Juno Awards for ‘Best Vocal Instrumental Group,’ ‘Best Producer,’ ‘Best Single’ and ‘Best Composer’ and was released in England and Europe.
1. Carry Me - 2:55
2. Train To Nowhere - 2:54
3. Gator Road (Ronnie King) - 2:23
4. Only A Friend - 2:30
5. Oklahoma Country - 2:59
6. You Got To Go (Kim Berly) - 2:36
7. Sweet City Woman - 3:24
8. Sunday Prayin' - 3:05
9. Tuscaloosa Women (Ronnie King) - 2:48
10.With You I Got Wheels - 2:20
11.I Didn't Love You Anyhow (Ronnie King) - 2:19
12.Man From P.E.I. - 2:51
13.Oui Tu Es Mon Ami (Rich Dodson, Nicole Dufour) - 3:22
14.Sweet City Woman (Instrumental) - 3:22
All songs by Rich Dodson except where noted
Bonus Tracks 13-14

The Stampeders
*Rich (Richard) Dodson - Guitar, Vocals
*Ronnie King - Bass
*Kim Berly - Drums, Vocals

Saturday, November 20, 2021

The Stampeders - From The Fire (1973 canada, awesome classic rock, power pop, 2006 remaster)

"From the Fire" is the third full length studio album from Canadian band, The Stampeders. Consistently releasing two albums per year at this point, the band continued their string of well produced, well composed and well received projects with this release. The album charted at 12th in Canada, which was their fourth straight album to appear in the top 20.
1. Manitou (Rich Dodson) - 5:29
2. Wild Fire (Rich Dodson) - 3:47
3. Me And My Stone (Ronnie King) - 5:29
4. Good Bye Good Bye (Kim Berly) - 2:48
5. Chariots Of The Gods (Ronnie King) - 3:25
6. Rocky Mountain Home (Kim Berly) - 3:44
7. Child Of The Midnight Sun (Rich Dodson) - 6:33
8. Ride In The Wind (Ronnie King) - 4:05
9. Running Wild (Rich Dodson) - 5:59

The Stampeders
*Kim Berly - Drums, Vocals
*Ronnie King - Bass
*Rich Dodson - Guitar, Vocals

Friday, November 19, 2021

Jon And Robin - Do It Again! The Best Of (1965-69 us, smart sunny folk psych roots 'n' roll, 2006 remaster)

The male-female duo Jon & Robin are thought of as a one-hit wonder for their playful 1967 Top 20 hit "Do It Again a Little Bit Slower." Actually, however, they recorded quite a bit in the mid-to-late '60s, with an engaging if somewhat lightweight style craftily mixing AM radio mid-'60s pop/rock with a little psychedelia and Southern soul. "Do It Again a Little Bit Slower" was certainly the best of their discs, with its likable male-female vocal tradeoffs, a "Cool Jerk"-like soul piano riff at strategic points, and an effective fadeout that languorously stretched out the suggestive title phrase. But their two LPs and a bunch of 1965-1969 singles included some enjoyable material as well, devised with help from some fine songwriters and some of the best production and backup musician talent in their Dallas base.

The male half of the duo, Jon Abdnor, had recorded some solo singles for his millionaire father's Abnak label before hooking up with teenage singer Javonne Braga, who was billed as "Robin" on the records the pair made together. Their one national hit, "Do It Again a Little Bit Slower" came from the pen of Wayne Carson Thompson, most famous for writing the Boxtops' "The Letter." The duo also recorded several other Thompson compositions, including the fairly gritty soul-popper "Dr. Jon (The Medicine Man)," which was a big hit in Texas, although it didn't break nationally. 

Jon & Robin themselves wrote little original material, although they did benefit from production by ex-rockabilly star Dale Hawkins and Mike Rabon of the Five Americans, a fellow Abnak act. Indeed, several of the Five Americans played on some Jon & Robin sessions, and another Abnak artist, soul singer Bobby Patterson, also helped out with some of their recordings. By the end of the 1960s, however, Jon & Robin had split, though Jon Abdnor did put out a 1969 solo LP, Intro to Change, billed to John Howard Abdnor & the Involvement.
by Richie Unterberger
1. Do It Again A Little Bit Longer (Wayne Carson Thompson) - 2:32
2. Dr. Jon (The Medicine Man) (Wayne Carson Thompson) - 2:07
3. You Got Style (Andy Kim, Jeff Barry) - 2:06
4. Drums (Wayne Carson Thompson) - 2:45
5. Love Me Baby (Bobby Patterson, Bobby Rambo, Jon Abnor) - 2:38
6. I Want Some More (Wayne Carson Thompson) - 2:01
7. You Don't Care (Jon Abnor) - 2:35
8. Like I Know You Do (Knox Henderson, Ronnie Weiss) - 2:17
9. We Watched Each Other Fall In Love (Wayne Carson Thompson) - 1:56
10.Thursday Morning (Jerry Lynn Williams, Mike Rabon) - 2:25
11.Truly, Truly, True (Wayne Carson Thompson) - 2:16
12.My Heart Beats Faster (Bobby Patterson) - 2:06
13.How Come (William Goodson) - 2:30
14.Can't Make It With You (Jon Abnor) - 2:57
15.Lucille (Albert Collins, Richard Penniman) - 2:14
16.Gift Of Love (Delaney Bramlett, Mac Davis) - 2:36
17.If You've Got It, Flaunt It (Errol Sober) - 2:47
18.Walking In Different Circles (Larry Weiss, Scott English) - 2:36

*Javonne "Robin" Braga - Vocals
*Jon Abnor - Vocals
*Jim Glaves - Keyboards
*Bobby Rambo - Guitar
*Pete Molino - Guitar
*James Anderson - Bass
*Rex Ludwick - Drums

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Angel Pavement - Maybe Tomorrow (1969 uk, elegant mix of sunshine pop rock and late psychedelic whimsy, highlighted by exquisite harmonies, 2005 remaster)

You’re forgiven if you have never heard of the psychedelic/sunshine pop band Angel Pavement which formed in York, England in 1967 and disbanded just four years later. The band only released a couple of singles which didn’t do well on the charts and disagreements between the band and their label prevented their first album from ever seeing the light of day. The band did have a following in their hometown but it never translated to country wide success, thus relegating them to underground status. The good news is the band’s tracks have been indelibly preserved on the compilation titled Maybe Tomorrow, released on the Morgan Blue Town label, a subsidiary of Secret Records Limited. This edition comes as a six panel digipack with twenty-eight tracks spread over two CDs and includes an extensive booklet.

The band’s music clearly references The Hollies and The Beatles, major influences for sure and I have to say this CD is a real treat, especially suited for anyone who enjoys psychedelic/pop rock of the era.

This was a talented band with lush vocal harmonies and tasty guitar all over the place, sometimes in the form of pretty acoustic arpeggios or jangly electric rhythms. No matter, it’s all tastefully executed beginning with the upbeat pop of “The Man In The Shop On The Corner”, emphasizing the band’s penchant for great melodies. Lovely acoustic guitar and lush vocals highlight “Time Is Upon Us”, with a sparser arrangement but no less of an earworm. “Socialising” is part ballad, part up-tempo pop rocker while “Jennifer” is pure ear candy with its feel good melody and tasty vocal arrangement. The playful and childlike “Water Woman” and the incredibly lush psychedelic pop of the Beatles inspired “Little Old Man” are more nice tracks.

The second disc also contains some nice surprises like the hippy soaked jaunty pop of “Phantasmagoria”, the languid psych pop of “Rooftop Memories”, the harder driving rhythm section in “Tootsy Wootsy Feelgood” and the wonderful guitar melodies in “Flying On The Ground (Is Wrong)”. The gorgeous melodies and vocals in “I’m A Dreamer” and the lush Beatles-ish “Maybe Tomorrow (early mix)” are more stand out tracks.

Listening to Maybe Tomorrow has been like a breath of fresh air. Music like this just isn’t made anymore but if you want to be taken back a few decades I can’t recommend this one enough. 
by Jon Neudorf
1. The Man In The Shop On The Corner (Alfie Shepherd) - 3:07
2. Maybe Tomorrow (Tom Evans) - 4:11
3. Time Is Upon Us (Alfie Shepherd) - 3:32
4. Green Mello Hill (Danny Beckerman) - 2:35
5. Little Old Man (Alfie Shepherd) - 4:16
6. When Will I See June Again (Alfie Shepherd) - 4:47
7. Genevieve (Malcolm Spence, Michael Candler) - 2:36
8. Water Woman (Jay Ferguson) - 3:25
9. Napoleon (Alfie Shepherd) - 3:27
10.Socialising (Alfie Shepherd) - 4:05
11.Jennifer (Cliff Wade) - 2:19
12.Carrie (Geoff Gill) - 3:14
13.I'm A Dreamer (Alfie Shepherd) - 2:57
14.Baby You've Gotta Stay (Danny Beckerman) - 2:22
15.I'm Moving On (Alfie Shepherd) - 3:59
16.Tell Me What I've Got To Do (Danny Beckerman, Geoff Gill) - 2:30
17.Phantasmagoria (Malcolm Spence) - 2:28
18.Rooftop Memories (David Smith) - 3:24
19.Tootsy Wootsy Feelgood (Graham Harris) - 2:42
20.Flying On The Ground (Is Wrong) (Neil Young) - 4:15
21.Five Sisters (Alfie Shepherd) - 3:51
22.Desperate Dan (Alfie Shepherd) - 4:11
23.I'm Moving On (Alfie Shepherd) - 3:31

Angel Pavement
*Alfie Shepherd - Vocals, Lead, Six, Twelve String Guitars
*Graham Harris - Bass, Vocals
*Mike Candler - Drums, Vocals
*John Cartwright - Electric, Acoustic Guitars, Trumpet
*Paul Smith - Vocals
*David Smith - Vocals

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

NRBQ - Scraps (1972 us, loveably rockabilly bar-band blooze with free jazz infection, 2000 expanded)

The NRBQ history goes back to 1965 in Kentucky, and while there have been various changes in band members and there was a period in the ‘60s and ‘00s when the band didn’t exist, they are still going strong today and remain true to the template of their self-titled debut 1969 album which included covers of Eddie Cochrane and Sun Ra, which just shows their eclecticism. Also in place is the band’s sense of fun and founder and current leader Terry Adams’ unique keyboard flourishes, vocals and writing skills, and the songwriting and musical chops of bass player and vocalist Joey Spampinato. Over the years drummers and guitarists have changed, and horns have been added and removed and founding member, bassist and songwriter Joey Spampinato left in 2004 leaving Terry Adams as the last founding member.  Among NRBQ aficionados, The Q line-up from 1974-1993 with Terry Adams and Joey Spampinato being joined by songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Big ‘Al’ Anderson and drummer and occasional live vocalist Tom Ardolino is considered to be the classic line-up and the run of three albums from 1978 – 1980 to be their studio recorded peak. Al Anderson left The Q in 1993 and subsequently became a leading Nashville songwriter, guitarist for hire and he also maintained a lower-key solo career, and while his songwriting and guitar skills are exceptional, the overall quality of The Q’s music was not lost over subsequent years.

If The Q are so good with excellent power pop and country rock credentials, and not forgetting their Tin Pan Alley and jazz credentials, then why I hear some of you ask are they only a cult band, even if they are the template for all cult bands. That is a difficult question to answer, it could be that they were just too eclectic and too quirky in their humour. The more likely reason is that for the majority of their career they were on independent labels which, while allowing them to be true to their own artistic ideals, they were never shaped and polished by a major for the stardom their talents warranted. They established themselves as one of the best live bands around with a very large catalogue of songs and this provided a very steady income that allowed them to support themselves. The quirkiness of The Q is again shown by the fact that a band, famed for their live performances, didn’t release a live album until 1987.

‘Scraps’ is The Q’s third album and things are really beginning to fall into place. Al Anderson is on board as lead guitarist, but due to contractual issues wasn’t allowed to sing. Back in 1972 two and three minute pop songs weren’t all the rage, but NRBQ managed to get 14 tracks on the original album. That is a lot of songs, and fortunately, Joey Spampinato comes into his own as a songwriter with 5 tracks he wrote or co-wrote and also takes lead vocals on.  While I said pop songs, these included such songs as ‘Howard Johnson’s Got His Ho-Jo Working’ and ‘Who Put The Garlic In The Glue’, which gives a hint of the thought processes going on in the band. Columbia had released NRBQ from their contract after two albums and ‘Scraps’ was released on Kama Sutra which was a clear sign they were not heading for major label success while they honed their own sound and style. Joey Spampinato’s ‘Only You’ is a standout track.
by Martin Johnson, August 19, 2021
1. Howard Johnston's Got His Ho-Jo Workin' (Terry Adams) - 3:17
2. Magnet (Joseph Spampinato, Terry Adams) - 3:25
3. Don't Knock At My Door (Joseph Spampinato) - 2:58
4. Tragic Magic (Terry Adams) - 1:47
5. Only You (Joseph Spampinato) - 2:44
6. Who Put The Garlic In The Glue? (Terry Adams) - 1:56
7. Get A Grip (Steve Ferguson, Terry Adams) - 4:18
8. Boys In The City (Joseph Spampinato) - 2:26
9. New Tune (Terry Adams) - 2:31
10.Scraps (Terry Adams) - 4:05
11.It's Not So Hard (Joseph Spampinato) - 2:43
12a.Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive (Harold Arlen, Steve Ferguson)
12b.Things Are Getting Better (Julian Adderley) - 3:15
13.Do You Feel It? (Terry Adams) - 2:50
14.Ain't It All Right (Steve Ferguson) - 2:23
15.Just Close Your Eyes And Be Mine Ruby (Terry Adams) - 3:18
16.Hymn #9 (Terry Adams) - 1:14
17.Trouble At The Henhouse (Joseph Spampinato) - 2:13
Bonus Tracks 15-17

*Joseph Spampinato - Bass, Vocals
*Al Anderson - Guitar, Slide Guitar
*Terry Adams - Keyboard, Harmonica, , Vocals 
*Frank Gadler - Vocals
*Tom Staley - Drums
*Steve Ferguson - Guitar
*Donn Adams - Trombone
*Ken Sheehan - Rhythm Guitar 

Monday, November 15, 2021

Spriguns - Revel Weird And Wild (1976 uk, ethereal prog folk with traditional touches, 2004 japan remaster)

Originally a folk duo formed in 1972 by husband and wife Mike and Mandy Morton, they released their debut album Jack With A Feather in 1975 under the name Spriguns Of Tolgus. It contained mostly traditional tunes and was produced by Steeleye Span's Tim Hart which gives a fair indication of where they were coming from musically at the time. It also brought them to the attention of a major label, Decca Records, and after reducing their name to the more economical 'Spriguns' they released Revel Weird And Wild and Time Will Pass in 1976.

In addition to the change of name, the Morton's established a new band for the recording of Revel Weird And Wild which included Tom Ling (electric violin, vocals), Dick Powell (electric guitar, keyboards, vocals) and Chris Woodcock (drums). Mandy provided the lead vocals and acoustic guitar whilst Mike took care of bass guitar and vocals. Tim Hart was once again responsible for production and guesting on pedal steel guitar for two tracks was the imitable B.J. Cole. The end result was more rock friendly than its predecessor although their folk roots were still very much in evidence as track titles like Trysting Tree and Piscie Song testify.

Whilst the songs on Revel Weird And Wild are all original compositions penned mostly by Mandy Morton, they have an earthy folk charm thanks to her warm and sensitive delivery, the story-telling lyrics and the traditional instrumentation. Mandy's singing has been misleadingly compared to Steeleye Span's Maddy Prior even though her tone is less distinctive and closer to the late Sandy Denny and the neutral side of Kate Rusby. This she uses to good effect, sounding suitably melancholic or playful (as in Piscie Song) as the mood takes. Violinist Tom Ling also plays a major role, shining throughout with a succession of lively jigs, reels and hornpipes during Outlandish Knight, Sir Colvin and Nothing Else To Do. Elsewhere as in Hasberry Howard and Lord Lovell his playing is masterfully rich.

B.J. Cole's pedal steel appearances are brief but sublime adding a country tinge to Trysting Tree and When Spring Comes In (but he can be forgiven for that) whilst Dick Powell provides beautiful, rippling piano for Sir Colvin and When Spring Comes In. Laily Worm features strong, almost a capella harmonies whilst electric guitar and bass add an edge to the multi-part Outlandish Knight and the instrumental Hasberry Howard. Regular visitors to this website will also be encouraged by the fact that in true prog fashion the longer songs are divided into several distinct sections. Perhaps the only drawback to Revel Weird And Wild is the drums could have been more prominent and the production punchier. 
by Geoff Feakes
1. Trysting Tree - 4:01
2. Outlandish Knight - 4:33
3. Sir Colvin (Dick Powell, Mandy Morton) - 5:56
4. Piscie Song (Dick Powell, Mandy Morton) - 4:03
5. Nothing Else to Do (Dick Powell, Mandy Morton, Mike Morton) - 2:58
6. Hasberry Howard (Dick Powell, Tom Ling) - 2:54
7. Lord Lovell - 4:48
8. Laily Worm - 3:18
9. When Spring Comes In - 3:09
All songs by Mandy Morton except where stated

*Mandy Morton - Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
*Tom Ling - Electric Violin, Vocals
*Dick Powell - Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Mike Morton - Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Chris Woodcock - Drums
*B. J. Cole - Pedal Steel Guitar (1, 9)

1977  Time Will Pass

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Albert King - Born Under A Bad Sign (1967 us, exceptional electric blues, 2013 remaster and expanded)

The familiar cover artwork to Albert King’s 1967 Stax album Born Under a Bad Sign hardly gives any indication as to its heavy contents.  A calendar reading Friday the 13th, the Ace of Spades, snake eyes on the dice, and an almost-cute black cat (!) adorned with a skull and crossbones all reinforce the title of the album but offer precious little hint as to the smoking electric blues within the sleeve.  Following 2012’s reissue of King’s 1972 Stax album I’ll Play the Blues for You, Concord Music Group has turned its attention to Born Under a Bad Sign, delivering another handsomely-expanded edition.

Born Under a Bad Sign, King’s first long-player for the Memphis label, is one of the watershed albums in the development of electric blues; backed by Stax house band Booker T and the MG’s as well as the Memphis Horns and Isaac Hayes on piano, King’s soulful tones blurred the lines between R&B and the new “rock” (sans the “and roll”).  The debt to Albert King has been recognized by such icons as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton, and indeed, the influence of his music on those players and others is readily apparent when revisiting the eleven tracks that formed the LP.  (Some of these tracks had actually appeared in single edits before being compiled as part of the full-length album.)

Booker T. Jones and William Bell tailor-made “Born Under a Bad Sign” specifically for King, though it later charted for Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker in Cream and was also recorded by the illustrious likes of Hendrix and The Paul Butterfield Blues Band.  Hendrix sat up and took notice of King, not only of his tough guitar licks but his cool vocal delivery.  King nonchalantly confesses on the title cut, “I’ve been down since I begin to crawl…if it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all!”  At one point, he quickly adds, “That ain’t no lie,” as if we could ever doubt his verisimilitude.  Each element of the recording, from King’s forceful guitar to Donald “Duck” Dunn’s rootsy bass, The Memphis Horns’ sneering accents, Al Jackson’s assured drums and Cropper’s own complementary picking, fall into place.  The magic recurs on the greasy “Oh, Pretty Woman,” not the Roy Orbison song, but an A.C. Williams composition.  As on the title track, King enjoys a little yelp or two as he tears into its bluesy foundation.

King effortlessly brings his distinct guitar voice to “Crosscut Saw,” introduced in 1941 by Tommy McClennan, introduces an Afro-Cuban rhythm to the blues standard, and injects Leiber and Stoller’s “Kansas City” with a sense of swing.  The Memphis Horns have ample opportunity to shine on tracks such as King’s own, funky “Down Don’t Bother Me” but it’s always his piercing, controlled blasts of metallic guitar that carry each song.  A group composition by King and the MG’s, “The Hunter” is a bit of sly, rock-ish fun in which the singer boldly proclaims a lucky lady “in the sights of [his] love gun.”  It’s nothing too puerile, mind you; the love gun is loaded with hugs and kisses.  But when he pulls the trigger, “there won’t be no misses!”    And “Laundromat Blues” manages to be both seriously menacing and seriously humorous: “I don’t want you to get so clean, baby, you just might wash your life away!”  (King revisited the song for a rather awkward sequel, “Answer to the Laundromat Blues,” on I’ll Play the Blues for You.)

The brash swagger of “The Hunter” cedes to longing, and even sweetness, for “I Almost Lost My Mind,” one of the few ballads on the album.  King caresses the Ivory Joe Hunter song, gently accompanied by tinkling piano and Joe Arnold’s swirling flute.  There’s still room for a gritty guitar solo, of course, wringing each ounce of emotion out of the 1950 R&B hit.  The sinuous Stax sound is evident on “Personal Manager,” as potent a slab of soul-blues as any, with its scorching, searing solo as later emulated by Eric Clapton with Cream.  Another blues standard is immortalized by King with the dark, atmospheric “As the Years Go Passing By,” yet the original album ends with a standard of another kind.  Ray Noble’s “The Very Thought of You,” written in 1934 and recorded over the years by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James and Rod Stewart, among so many others, isn't reinvented by King here.  Rather, he ramps up the husky resonance in his voice for a hip yet timeless rendition of a classic, aided by a saxophone solo from Andrew Love of the Memphis Horns.

Four of the five bonus tracks offer alternate takes of album material.  First takes of “Born Under a Bad Sign,” “Crosscut Saw” and “The Hunter” all offer peeks into King’s development process.    Each version has differences, both pronounced and subtle, from the final takes, with a loose “Crosscut Saw” clocking in at around thirty seconds longer thanks to an additional chorus.  Take 15 of “Personal Manager” is considerably shorter than the album version, thanks to a brisker groove.  King might have refined his approach to the song, but this take cooks, too.  The fifth bonus track is an “Untitled Instrumental,” and it's a real find.  The MG’s are locked into a tight, crisp groove as King deliciously riffs over steamy horns for its all-too-brief running time.

The 2013 Born Under a Bad Sign (part of the ongoing Stax Remasters series) includes two essays, a new appreciation by Bill Dahl as well as Michael Point’s fine notes from the 2002 CD reissue.  Joe Tarantino has remastered all tracks, and Paul Blakemore has mixed the five newly-discovered songs.  A true cornerstone of electric blues, this taut R&B workout remains as timeless as the heavy blues-rock music it inspired on both sides of the Atlantic.
by Joe Marchese, April 2, 2013
1. Born Under A Bad Sign (William Bell, Booker T. Jones) - 2:40
2. Crosscut Saw (R. G. Ford) - 2:35
3. Kansas City (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) - 2:33
4. Oh, Pretty Woman (A.C. Williams) - 2:50
5. Down Don't Bother Me (Albert King) - 2:11
6. The Hunter (Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Booker T. Jones, Al Jackson, Jr., Junior Wells) - 2:45
7. I Almost Lost My Mind (Ivory Joe Hunter) - 2:31
8. Personal Manager (Albert King, David Porter) - 4:31
9. Laundromat Blues (Sandie Jones, Sandy Jones) - 3:22
10.As The Years Go Passing By (Albert King, Deadric Malone) - 3:48
11.The Very Thought Of You (Ray Noble) - 3:50
12.Born Under A Bad Sign (William Bell, Booker T. Jones) - 2:52
13.Crosscut Saw (R. G. Ford) - 3:01
14.The Hunter (Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Booker T. Jones, Al Jackson, Jr., Junior Wells) - 2:48
15.Personal Manager (Albert King, David Porter) - 3:21
16.Untitled Instrumental (Albert King) - 2:06
Bonus Tracks 12-16

*Albert King - Vocals, Guitar
*Steve Cropper - Guitar
*Booker T. Jones - Piano
*Isaac Hayes - Piano
*Donald "Duck" Dunn - Bass
*Al Jackson Jr. - Drums
*Andrew Love - Horns 
*Wayne Jackson - Horns 
*Joe Arnold - Horns 


Saturday, November 13, 2021

Jo Mama - Jo Mama (1970 us, awesome blend of blues country folk rock, from James Taylor's and Carole King's support band, 2013 japan remaster)

The members of Jo Mama were well established in the LA music scene when this LP came out. Guitarist Danny Kootch (aka Danny Kortchmar, who started out with James Taylor & Original The Flying Machine) and drummer Walt O'Brien were together in the King Bees. Organist Ralph Schuckett had played in the acid psych groups Clear Light and Peanut Butter Conspiracy, while Charles Larkey was in The City with his then wife Carol King, along with Kootch. When this Jo Mama LP debuted in 1970, Larkey was dating singer Abigale Haness (aka Gayle Haness), who takes lead vocals here. If you're looking for a terrific vibe, JO Mama certainly embodies it with this album of West Coast pop rock, a lá The Band, as well as some jazzy tunes. 

Selections such as Machine Gun Kelly; Midnight Rider; Searching High, Searching Low; Lighten Up, Tighten Up; Venga Venga; Sailing; Great Balls Of Fire (Jerry Lee Lewis song); The Sky Is Falling; The Word Is Goodbye; Check Out This Gorilla; Cotton Eyed Joe; Love’ll Get You High. Additional musicians include: Bob Williams; Michael Dubkin; Ollie Mitchell; & Mayo Tiana. This debut album was produced by Peter Asher. 

After Jo Mama, Abigale Haness (with Danny Kootch) did lots of sessions, including Carly Simon, James Taylor and on Bill Wyman's Monkey Grip album. She was also the featured voice of Janet Weiss in the "Rocky Horror Picture Show".
1. Machine Gun Kelly - 3:27
2. Midnight Rider - 4:20
3. Searching High, Searching Low - 3:46
4. Lighten Up, Tighten Up - 3:24
5. Venga Venga (Danny Kortchmar, Abigale Haness, Ralph Schuckett) - 3:39
6. Sailing - 5:31
7. Great Balls Of Fire (Otis Blackwell, Jack Hammer) - 2:40
8. The Sky Is Falling - 3:30
9. The Word Is Goodbye (Danny Kortchmar, Zachary Wiesner) - 4:29
10.Check Out This Gorilla - 3:55
11.Cotton Eyed Joe (Traditional) - 3:45
12.Love'll Get You High (Danny Kortchmar, Abigale Haness, Ralph Schuckett, Charles Larkey) - 5:50
All songs by Danny Kortchmar except where noted

Jo Mama
*Abigale Haness - Vocals
*Danny Kortchmar - Congas, Guitar, Vocals
*Charles Larkey - Bass
*Ralph Schuckett - Keyboards, Vocals
*Joel O'Brien - Drums, Vibraphone
*Ollie Mitchell - Trumpet
*Mayo Tiana - Trombone
*Bobby Williams - Trumpet 
*Michael Dubkin - Saxophone 

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Thursday, November 11, 2021

Tom Jans ‎- Loving Arms Best Of (1971-82 us, remarkable folk country rock, 2013 release)


Folk singer/songwriter Tom Jans was born February 9, 1948, in Yakima, WA. The son of a farmer (whose own mother played in a jazz group dubbed the Rocky Mountain Five), he was raised outside of San Jose, CA, weaned in equal measure on the Hank Williams records beloved by his father and the flamenco of his mother's native Spain. Ultimately, the Beatles proved Jans' most profound influence, however, and as a teen he learned guitar and piano, also writing poems he later set to music. After playing in a high-school rock & roll band dubbed the Breakers, Jans studied English literature at the University of California, turning down a graduate scholarship to Columbia University to pursue a career as a performer and songwriter.

Shortly after graduation he was playing in a San Francisco coffee shop when, in 1970, he met Jeffrey Shurtleff, a singer who previously collaborated with Joan Baez. Shurtleff soon introduced Jans to Baez, who in turn introduced him to her younger sister Mimi, who with her late husband Richard Fariña recorded a series of cult-classic folk LPs for Vanguard. After a failed second marriage and a stalled career as a dancer, Mimi Fariña was seeking to return to music. Jans, reminiscent of Fariña in so many respects, seemed the ideal collaborator, and together they began performing in Bay Area clubs, earning widespread notice for their breakout performance at the Big Sur Folk Festival. From there, the duo toured in support of Cat Stevens and later James Taylor before signing to A&M to record an LP, 1971's Take Heart.

The album generated little interest outside of folk circles, and Jans and Fariña soon dissolved their partnership, with the former relocating to Nashville to resume his career as a songwriter. There he joined the publishing house Irving/Almo as a staff writer, scoring his first hit with "Loving Arms," initially recorded by Dobie Gray and later covered by Elvis Presley and Kris Kristofferson. In 1974 Jans issued his self-titled solo debut, recorded with the assistance of guitarist Lonnie Mack and producer Mentor Williams. Despite critical acclaim, the record earned little commercial attention and he returned to California, settling in Los Angeles and entering an 18-month period of seclusion that yielded the songs comprising his Lowell George-produced sophomore effort, 1975's The Eyes of an Only Child. Featuring the country-rock gem "Out of Hand" (later a Nashville chart-topper for singer Gary Stewart) as well as the minor FM radio hit "Struggle in Darkness," this record too reached only a small cult audience, and when the following year's Dark Blonde -- considered by many to be Jans' masterpiece -- met the same fate, he fled to Europe, telling interviewers of plans to record a new album over the summer months.

The years to follow remain something of a mystery: no new material appeared, and instead Jans dropped from sight until 1982, when a new LP, Champion, appeared solely in a limited-edition release on the Japanese label Canyon International, its existence virtually unknown in the U.S. Sometime in late 1983, Jans was in a serious motorcycle accident. While his long-term prognosis appeared positive, he died March 25, 1984, of a suspected drug overdose. Tom Waits later paid homage to Jans with the Bone Machine cut "Whistle Down the Wind."
by Jason Ankeny
1. Carolina - 4:14
2. Letter To Jesus - 3:23
3. Loving Arms - 2:56
4. Old Time Feeling (Will Jennings) - 3:21
5. Margarita - 4:20
6. Free And Easy - 3:01
7. Gotta Move - 4:20
8. Once Before I Die - 3:20
9. Struggle In Darkness - 5:44
10.Out Of Hand (Jeff Barry, Thomas Jans) - 3:21
11.The Eyes Of An Only Child - 3:43
12.Inside Of You - 3:11
13.Why Don't You Love Me (Scott Shelley, Thomas Jans) - 5:07
14.Distant Cannon Fire - 5:43
15.Back On My Feet Again - 4:05
16.Mothers Eyes - 4:39
17.When The Rebel Comes Home - 3:12
18.Working Hot - 4:16
19.Lost In Your Eyes (Scott Shelley, Thomas Jans) - 4:19
All song by Tom Jans except where stated
Tracks 1-2 with Mimi Farina from 1971
Tracks 3-6 from 1974
Tracks 7-12 from 1975
Tracks 13-15 from 1976
Tracks 16-19 from 1982

*Tom Jans - Vocals, Guitar, Piano
*Mini Farina - Vocals, Guitar (Tracks 1-2)
*Craig Doerge - Piano (Tracks 1-2)
*Jim Keltner - Drums (Tracks 1-2, 7)
*Leland Sklar - Bass (Tracks 1-2, 17-18)
*Reggie Young - Guitar (Track 3-6)
*Mike Leech - Bass (Track 3-6)
*Lonnie Mack - Acoustic Guitar (Track 3-6)
*Troy Seals - Acoustic Guitar (Track 3-6)
*Kenny Malone - Drums (Tracks 3-6)
*David Briggs - Piano (Tracks 3-6)
*Herb Pedersen - Vocals (Track 8)
*Jeff Porcaro - Drums (Track 9)
*Mike Utley - Organ (Track 7)
*David Lindley - Lead Guitar (Track 7)
*Lowell George - Guitar (Track 9)
*Bill Payne - Synthesizer (Tracks 7,9, 13-15)
*Kerry Hatch - Bass, Vocals (Tracks 13-15)
*Kelly Shanahan - Drums (Tracks 13-15)
*Fred Tackett - Guitar (Tracks 13-15, 17-19)
*Jerry Swallow - Guitar (Tracks 13-15) 
*Scott Shelly - Guitar (Tracks 13-15)
*Valerie Carter - Vocals (Tracks 13-15)
*Ernie Watts - Saxophone (Track 13)
*Michael Utley - Piano, Organ (Track 13)
*Jeff Osborne, Kate Markowitz, Richard Kerr - Backing Vocals (Tracks 16-19)
*Don Grusin - Keyboards  (Tracks 16-19)
*Jerry Vinci - Concertmaster (Track 16)
*Carlos Vega - Drums (Tracks 17-19)
*Ken Wild - Bass (Track 19)
*Steve Forman - Percussion (Track 17)
*Lee Ritenour - Guitar (Tracks 16-18)