Saturday, May 28, 2022

Feather - Friends (1970 us, awesome folk psych rock with west coast aura)



Feather actually has an interesting history.  The line-up featured the talents of singers/guitarists Mike Collings and Roger White, along with drummer Dan Greer, singer/keyboardist Johnny Townshend and bass player Steve Woodward.  Collins and Rogers had previously recorded an album and a pair of singles for Dot Records under the name Catch.  Townshend had been a member of the Alabama-based The Rubber Band and a band called The Heart (not to be confused with the Wilson sisters) which recorded a couple of obscure singles and opened for Jimi Hendrix on a brief US tour.  After their respective bands had collapsed, Collings, White and Townshend apparently ran into each other in Southern California and started jamming and writing. With the other members, they recorded some demo material and as "Feather" they were signed to Clint Eastwood and Snuff Garrett's Viva label, making their debut.

Columbia Records then came calling, signing the group to a contract which saw the release of the Adam Ross produced "Friend By Feather". In addition to the earlier single, the album contained a likable mixture of country-rock moves and more commercially-oriented pop moves.  Collings and White were esponsible for the majority of the ten tracks, but drummer Greer and bassist Woodward also contributed to the songwriting chores. Musically the set wasn't particularly original with individual songs reflecting such influences as CSN&Y, Moby Grape, Poco and Mark Lindsay and The Raiders.  It made for one of those fun spot-the-influences albums. In this case the absence of creativity wasn't a major drawback since the album was packed with energetic performances, catchy melodies and some great vocals. Being blessed with at least three strong singers in Collings, Townshend and White certainly didn't hurt the band. At least to my ears, at least half of the tracks had top-40 potential with the classic kiss-off tune 'What You Will', the Loggins and Messina-styled rocker 'Roll Me Daddy', The Raiders-styled 'Along Too Long To Be Lonely' and the funky 'The Fifth Stone'  providing some of the highlights.  Fun from start to finish.

As far as I can tell, this version of 'Friends' is essentially the same song as the earlier singles. A nice, upbeat country-rockiish number, the song sounds a bit like a cross between CSN&Y and Poco. A major surprise, 'What You Will' retained the group's country-rock leanings, but this time around wrapped them up in a much heavier rock arrangement, including an intriguing set of "kiss-off" lyrics, a great melody, nice harmony vocals, and one of the album's best guitar solos.  This is one of the tunes I would have tapped as the single. 'Roll Me Daddy' aptly demonstrated the band could handle a straight-ahead rocker. Great title track refrain. This one's always reminded me of a good Loggins and Messina tune. A heavy pop tune with more hooks than most albums contain, 'Along Too Long To Be Lonely' definitely had top-40 slapped across it. Imagine the kind of song Mark Lindsay and the Raiders always wanted to write and you'd have a feel for how good this one was. 

With a "cutesy" lyric, and a blue-eyed soul vibe,'The Bible Way Mission Band' was another one that sounded like something out of The Raiders catalog.  I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff so I loved it. The lyric's always been a puzzle to me, but 'The Fifth Stone' had a wonderfully funky groove that suddenly exploded into a nifty folk-rock feel and then piled on the album's best fuzz guitar work. A nice up-tempo country-rocker, 'No Time for Sorrow' blended a catchy melody; nice lead guitar and the band's sweet harmonies on one of the album's catchiest performances. Easy to see why this one was tapped as a single.  
Bad Cat
Tracks
1. Friends (Mike Collings, Roger White, Steve Woodard) - 2:43 
2. What You Will (Steve Woodard) - 2:23 
3. Roll Me Daddy (Mike Collings) - 3:30 
4. Along Too Long To Be Lonely (Mike Collings, Roger White) - 3:45 
5. A Week Away (Dan Greer) - 3:22 
6. L.A. Meantime  (Mike Collings, Roger White, Steve Woodard) - 4:03 
7. Promised Land (Mike Collings) - 3:24 
8. The Bible Way Mission Band (Mike Collings, Roger White, Steve Woodard) - 4:12  
9. The Fifth Stone (Mike Collings, Roger White, Steve Woodard) - 4:25 
10.No Time for Sorrow (Mike Collings) - 3:24 

Feather
*Mike Collings - Vocals, Guitar
*Dan Greer - Drums, Percussion 
*Johnny Townshend - Vocals, Keyboards
*Roger White - Vocals, Guitar
*Steve Woodard - Bass  

Friday, May 27, 2022

Sixty Nine - Circle Of The Crayfish (1972 germany, heavy prog krautrock, 2008 digipak remaster)

 



Sixty Nine were an unusual "group" being only a duo of keyboards and drums. For these limitations, Sixty Nine made a pretty big sound, a combination of influences that on the more mundane side sounds like Atomic Rooster and on the more progressive side the veritable Emerson Lake and Palmer. Circle of the Crayfish was their first album and only studio release. The music is dominated by the Hammond organ sound and there's one of those long suites. Without guitar, there's a thinness here that is to be expected, and during the length of the album.
by Mike McLatchey

On their sole studio album 'Circle Of The Crayfish' Sixty Nine played a mixture of symphonic, organ-driven Progressiv- and Krautrock dominated by Armin Stöwes keyboards, supported by Roland Schupps powerful and technical drumming. First title 'Ballast' is a dynamic instrumental rocker with incredible heavy organ playing and steady drumming. 'Kolibri' is more in E.L.P. and Brian Auger vein with alternating jazzy and classical-inspired themes. Good organ und piano through out along with impressive drumming. 'Becoming Older' is the first track with vocals. Actually the vocals are supported by melodic organ-driven rock, soon to be replaced by hard jamming parts, very closed to Frumpy but also reminding Atomic Rooster or Beggars Opera. 'Journey' is very similar, a cross between The Nice, Deep Purple and Frumpy. 

The 15 minutes 'Paradise Lost' opens with a long intro, featuring synths and gongs to be followed by another very long fast organ/ synths/ drums jamming with repetitive rhythms to the end. The closing 'Crayfish' is dominated by the pounding organ and rocks really hard. “Circle of the Crayfish is a great album with interesting Hammond B-3-driven seventies prog rock. This release is a must have for organ fanatics along with other bands like Odin, 20 Sixty Six and Then, Amos Key and others, as well as for lovers of keyboard-and-drums-oriented duos like Hardin & York, Hansson & Karlsson or Twogether.
Tracks
1. Ballast - 5:12
2. Kolibri - 6:16
3. Becoming Older - 5:20
4. Journey - 5:09
5. Paradise Lost - 15:23
6. Crayfish - 6:05
All compositions by Armin Stöwe

Sixty Nine
*Armin Stöwe - Organ, Piano, Synthesizer, Guitar, Vocals 
*Roland Schupp - Drums, Percussion

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Brenda Patterson - Keep On Keepin' On (1970 us, fantastic folk dixie blues psych rock, feat. Redbone members)



Brenda Patterson is an American blues singer, based in Memphis, Tennessee, United States. Patterson, at the time of her early albums, was married to the songwriter Domingo “Sam” Samudio, and was a backing singer for Ry Cooder and Bob Dylan. During the 1990s and early 2000s, Patterson was part of the Camp Fireboys with Brenda Patterson which changed its name to Cooley’s House in 1999. Cooley’s House released a single eponymous recording of 16 original songs in 1999. 

"Keep On Keepin' On" is her debut album, and was released in early 1970 on Epic, and it's also noteworthy that the band playing on the album members of Redbone, who had several hits on their own. Brenda Patterson is one fantastic singer, able to wail with abandon, and hold a note into the stratosphere. Her voice is deep, as well as the songs.
Tracks
1. West Window Song (David Mitchell, George Parks) - 4:31
2. I'm Movin' On (Hank Snow) - 2:39
3. Sun Comes Up (Ralph Murphy, Shmulik Kraus) - 3:18
4. I Can't Keep From Cryin' Sometimes (Al Kooper) - 3:30
5. Who's Going To Come To My Cross? (David Mitchell) - 4:28
6. Ain't No Grave Can Hold My Body Down (Larry Cohn, Lolly Vegas) - 6:52
7. Keep On Keepin' On (Pat Vegas) - 2:54
8. Why Do You Do Me Like You Do Me? (Lolly Vegas, Pat Vegas) - 3:35
9. This Wheel's On Fire (Bob Dylan, Rick Danko) - 4:15
10.Red And Blue (Lolly Vegas) - 2:24

Musicians
*Brenda Patterson - Vocals
*Tony Bellamy - Electric Guitar
*Peter de Poe - Drums, Tambourine
*Lolly Vegas - Electric, Slide Guitar, Tambourine, Bass
*Pat Vegas - Bass

 

Monday, May 23, 2022

Grits - Rare Birds (1976 us, extraordinary jazz prog rock, similar to canterbury sound)



Grits was Washington D.C.'s most popular progressive group back in the 1970s. Rare Birds is over 75' of music recorded live 8/21/76 at a free concert in The Muffins' backyard. This was probably their single best performance and it was fortuitously recorded!! This spotlights the band at their pinnacle, featuring long tracks with tons of jamming never recorded in the studio. The sound is excellent and extremely live and vibrant, and this is the definitive release by them. Includes their 25' opus for electric viola and rock band "Rare Birds" and much more.
Tracks
1. Jupiter Jam - 13:04
2. Inside Straight - 11:58
3. Communa Lacrimosa - 3:37
4. Easy For You - 3:03
5. Glad All Over - 3:31 
6. As The World Grits - 14:11
7. Rare Birds - 25:51
All compositions by Rick Barse

Grits
*Rick Barse - keyboards, vocals
*Tom Wright - guitar, viola, bass, vocals
*Amy Taylor - bass, violin, female vocals
*Bob Sims - drums, vocals
With
*Brian Rapp - Percussion (Tracks 2,7) 
*Ned Davis - Percussion (Tracks 2,7) 

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Crosscut Saw - Mad Bad And Dangerous To Know (1975 us, powerful heavy southern blues rock, 2005 remaster)



Crosscut Saw was a top draw blues-rock band in Tallahasse, FL, in the mid- to late '70s, thanks to frontman Pat Ramsey, a gifted harmonica wiz and singer, and lead guitarist Julien Kasper. Ramsey was from Shreveport, LA, and began playing harmonica at 17. After hitchhiking around the U.S. for a couple of years, Ramsey ended up in Denver, CO, in 1973, where he joined the Bunny Brooks Blues Band. After contributing blues harp to Johnny Winter's White Hot & Blue album, Ramsey joined Butch Trucks' Florida-based Trucks band. Eventually moving to Tallahasse, Ramsey met a teenaged Kasper and formed Crosscut Saw. Kasper had fallen in love with the blues early, and he had only owned an electric guitar for a year when Crosscut Saw was formed, but his Jimi Hendrix-styled showmanship on-stage (not to mention his considerable chops), coupled with Ramsey's singing and harmonica, made the band a top draw in clubs and bars all up and down the Eastern Seaboard. 

Crosscut Saw played the circuit for five years or so, and released a single album, Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know, on the independent Surprise label in 1975. Ramsey and Kasper stayed in touch after the group disbanded, and their annual Crosscut Saw reunions are still a big draw in Tallahasse. Akarma Records re-released Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know on CD in 2005. 
by Steve Leggett
Tracks
1. One's Too Many (Nick Lowe, Kim Wilson) - 3:53
2. Allergic To Work (Pat Ramsey, Julien Kasper, Mike Howell, Steve Howell) - 3:13
3. Love Her With A Feeling (Tampa Red) - 4:29
4. Steppin' Out (Paul Revere, Mark A. Lindsay) - 2:38
5. Vegetable Oil (Julien Kasper) - 4:05
6. Dead Shrimp Blues (Robert Johnson) - 6:10
7. Treat Her Right (Roy Head) - 2:46
8. Hear My Song (Deadeye) - 3:06
9. Hippie Song (Slim Harpo) - 3:57
10.Mud Bee (Pat Ramsey, Julien Kasper, Mike Howell, Steve Howell) - 2:45

Crosscut Saw
*Pat Ramsey - Vocals, Harmonica
*Julien Kasper - Guitars
*Mike Howell - Bass
*Steve Howell - Drums, Percussion
With
*Joel Dick - Percussion (Track 5)
*Jim McRae - Saxophone (Track 9)

Friday, May 20, 2022

Neil Merryweather - Differences (1978 canada, remarkable glam rock)



Neil met Mark Smith, a fellow Canadian from Toronto who had engineered the “Bachman Turner Overdrive” records. Mark brought Neil to Joe Godfried, the manager and owner of Sound City Recording Studios, and he agreed to give studio time to Neil. Neil wrote ten songs and brought in a crew of friends to play on the tracks including Michael Willis, his guitarist from the “Space Rangers”. The songs came from different places musically, so Neil called the collection “Differences”. Neil went to England where the songs earned him a writer’s contract with Chrysalis Music. Through a connection with Chrysalis, Dureco Records Holland releases “Differences”.

"To make along story really long, I was involved in so many recording projects at the time and was in need of a change. My closest friend at the time was Peter Anders.One evening we were writing together and he told me of this time in London when he was a staff producer for Motown when they opened up a division in England. Peter and ex "Trade Wind" bandmate, Paul Nauman, were hired to head up the production side of the Motown label there. He told me stories of London and I suggested that we get out of LA and go to London. He knew a lot of people there, and I remember that my Space Rangers album got an incredible review in Melody Maker, a big magazine there. We booked a flight and headed out to London.

Things didn't work out as far as Peter getting into England. While he was working there for Motown, he was partying way too much and living in a hotel, but never paid the bill. They put one of those brass things on the door knob when he came back to his room and he took the fire ax down from the wall and chopped the door down to get to his clothes and his stuff.He was arrested and got deported. So his name was on a list when we got to the airport in London.When we arrived in London, Peter found his name on a list of people that were undesirable and that had been deported, and they didn't want to let him in. Meanwhile, a friend of his, the ex-wife of the editor of Melody Maker magazine, was waiting for us because she was going to put us up in her flat in London. He saw her and called to her and said "Wendy, you've got to try these pills". He had thrown them all over the floor as they were dragging him away, and she was picking the pills up from the floor. They asked if I was with him and saw my Canadian passport, so I told them I had met him on the plane and they let me into the country. Peter was cool and said he didn't know me.

Wendy put me up. I had the tapes I had done at Sound City. I hit the pavement, going to various labels. I did a demo for Phonogram in London, but it wasn't Space Rangers. It was another couple of songs I put together on the spot with a couple of English musicians I found in a club. It was interesting stuff, but it wasn't enough to get me a deal, so I kept looking. Richard Cowley, whom I had met when I was with Mama Lion, liked my bass playing. He told me if I was ever in London to look him up. I called him at his new Cowbell Agency, and he turned me on to the guy that owned Orange Equipment who had a music store and managed John Miles. I went to see him and he took me on to manage me.But Miles didn't like the idea, so it didn't work out. However, I continued to shop my tape and eventually wound up meeting Ann Monday at Chrysalis Music and playing her my stuff. She liked it a lot and signed me as a writer. Another benefit of being at Chrysalis was that I got to meet George Martin who had an office there, and Shirley, his long-time secretary let me use his desk phone to call my family and friends back home. Just sitting at George's desk in his chair was a trill – to me, he's the greatest producer of all time. One day I got to meet him, what a nice man, needless to say it was an honor to shake his hand.

I got an advance and things started looking better. One of Ann's friends was a producer named David Hitchcock. After living with Wendy, I wound up staying at David's flat on Kensington High Street. Eventually I wound up at a Bed and Breakfast and again connected with Richard Cowley. He asked me to produce an act called "Johnnie Angel". I did a single for Decca Records and we became friends, and went to stay at his flat in Notting Hill Gate. At day's end, I got invited to the "drink-ups" at the pub get-togethers. There, I met another writer for Chrysalis, Gary Pickford Hopkins, a great guy who used to be in "Eyes of Blue". I guess they all knew my music. One day, he brought a bunch of guys to the pub to meet me. I met Peter Brown, the lyricist from "Cream" and Taff Williams who was the guitar player from "Eyes of Blue" and Bonnie Tyler.

I wrote a couple of new songs and needed to demo them. I found out about a rehearsal spot outside of London. I ran into someone who had a company that would truck people's equipment on tours and he had a farm outside of London. I made arrangements to put an act together and flew back to LA, rented a truck a put everything into storage in Mike Willis's mother's garage, and grabbed Mike Willis. Because funds were thin, we took a Greyhound Bus to New York City. We had a one-night stay over until our flight to London took off, and I re-connected with Peter Anders. We had dinner and talked about the outrageous airport incident. The next day, we took off for London and wound up staying at a Bed and Breakfast off of Hyde Park.

We went about to try to find other musicians, and I remember meeting this guy at one of these pub get-togethers. He was the keyboard player from "Matching Mole" and "Camel". His name was David Sinclaire, and he was willing to come into the new unit. We heard that Procol Harem's drummer, B.J. Wilson, lived in the town where the farm facility was. So, we wound up going to visit him and asking his to join the band. We started rehearsing and were working on some new material. David, Willis and B.J. went to a local pub in town and B.J. was talking to Willis asking him who his favorite guitar influences were – Willis was into McLaughlin and Peter Fripp and the more advanced guitar player types.B.J. asked "What about Steve Cropper?", and Willis said "Who?" B.J. freaked out and quit because Willis didn't know who Steve Cropper was, and that was the end of that. We wound up going back to London and picking up a drummer called Clive Edwards. I took Willis, Sinclaire and Clive into a little studio that David Hitchcock told me about.It was run by one of the guitar players from "Gary Glitter".David came in to oversee the recordings. We did about three new songs for Chrysalis.

I met a girl at a party called Aliba Bellingham, the daughter of Lady Bellingham, and her father was the Captain of the Queens Guard, and they lived next door to the Queen Mother. We became friends and started a little production idea called "Rocking Horse Productions". She put us up at one of the family's flats in Victoria. Willis and I were staying there, and she found another writer/singer that she really liked. She let him stay at the flat too. One day, we came back to the flat and Aliba was crying because she found him overdosed on drugs. The next day, her Mother turned up. Willis' sneakers smelled really bad and the Mother went berserk and threw the sneakers out the window. That was the end of that. We saw Aliba some days later and she invited us to a New Year's Eve party at a big mansion. Mike strapped on his Gibson and plugged into a pig nose, and played "Old Lang Zyne" like Hendrix would have done it. The rich old stuffy people loved it!

Mike started missing LA and we weren't doing anything really, and didn't have the funds to continue, so he went back to LA. It turned out that Chrysalis had a deal in Holland with a label called Dureco Records to handle publishing. They heard the collection of songs I had brought with me, and couldn't believe it wasn't released as a record. They contacted me through Chrysalis and arranged for me to come to Amsterdam. I took the train/ferry and that was my next world of wonder, an amazing place. They checked me into the Hans Brinker Hotel where I stayed while we negotiated to put an album out. The stuff was all so different that I decided to call the record "Differences".

After hearing "Differences", a newly signed Dureco Records act called "Carlsberg" requested that I produce them. They sent for me again and I returned to Amsterdam.It was quite a good album. England had the drinking thing and the Dutch took it a step further. They could drink for days and could still maintain a realm of reality – that was "Carlsberg".

Next, I talked to Dureco Records and asked about setting up a little production company and came up with a label called "Clear".
CitizenFreak
Tracks
1. Hollywood Heavy - 5:35
2. Go To Roam - 3:36
3. Pick Up The Pieces Jack - 4:04
4. Captain Of Our Dreams - 5:28
5. The Shrink - 3:19
6. The Island - 3:17
7. Long Distance Rider - 3:17
8. Devils Daughter - 4:06
9. Night Of Nights - 6:01
10.Just Like Jesse James - 3:36
All songs by Neil Merryweather

Musicians
*Neil Merryweather - Vocals, Bass, Acoustic Guitar
*Michael Willis - Lead Guitar
*Clarke Garham - Guitar
*Dave Pearlman - Steel Guitar 
*Ruben De Fuentes - Lead Guitar 
*Taff Williams - Guitars 
*Jim Mandel - Piano, Organ, Chamberlain
*Monty Lee Stark - Synthesizers
*Roy Shipston - Piano 
*Robby Robertie - Drums
*Cornell McFadden - Drums 
*Clive Edwards - Drums 
*Tom Saviano - Saxophone
*Jimmy Calvert  - Percussion
*Paul Nauman - Percussion
*Les Emerson, Peter Anders, Tim Eaton, Mark Anthony, Taff Williams, Roy Shipston, Devereaux - Background Vocals

1969  Merryweather
1970  Neil Merryweather, John Richardson And Robin Boers
1971  Neil Merryweather And Lynn Carey - Vaccum Cleaner

Thursday, May 19, 2022

The Hangmen - Bitter Sweet (1966 us, fine garage folk beat, radioactive release)



Formerly known as The Reekers and based in Washington D.C., the Hangmen were centred around the talents of guitarist Tom Guernsey and put out three 4 5 's, plus the album Bittersweet, in that groundbreaking year of 1966. Originally released on Monument - SLP 18077 the album is a fine example of the U.S. mid 60's sound whether it's close harmony soft pop, or a stomp through some fuzzed beat/garage/R&B. 

Their first two classic 45's - the harmonica driven punk of What a Girl Can't Do, and the gentle fuzz of Faces are both reworked on the album, and included alongside cover versions of Dream Baby - 'psyched' with a hint of sitar Let It Be Me, and an extended workout of Van Morrison's Gloria. Elsewhere the British Invasion presence is evident as well as the closer to home sounds of T h e Byrds and Lovin' Spoonful. Groovy listening from beginning to end!But in 1966, the times were still a-changing, musical boundaries too, leaving many bands including the Hangmen behind. Thankfully though, what's not been allowed to slip away here is this innocent reminder of that golden age...Bittersweet by the Hangmen! 

An announcement in the May 17, 1967 edition of the Star Ledger said that the Hangmen had changed their name to The Button to pursue further psychedelic stylings. Paul Dowell and George Daly were already out of the group and replaced by Alan Flower, who had been bassist for the Mad Hatters, and George Strunz. By June Tom Guernsey had left the band to be replaced by John Sears, and the group were being billed as “The Button, formerly The Hangmen.”

Relocating to New York, the Button cut an unreleased session for RCA and played at Steve Paul’s The Scene on West 46th St. and at the Cafe Au Go Go on Bleeker. Berberich left the band leaving Tony Taylor as the only one of the Hangmen still in the group. They band changed its name to Graffiti, recording for ABC.

Meanwhile, Tom Guernsey produced a legendary 45 for the D.C. band the Piece Kor, “All I Want Is My Baby” / “Words of the Raven”. He also wrote, produced and played on a great 45 by another Montgomery County band, the Omegas, “I Can’t Believe”. For the Omegas’ session, Tom played guitar and piano, Leroy Otis drums, and Joe Triplett sang, with backing vocals by the Jewels.

Bob Berberich briefly drummed with The Puzzle then joined George Daly and Paul Dowell in Dolphin a group that featured the young Nils Lofgrin. Berberich stayed with Lofgrin through Grin, while Paul Dowell of Hangmen became equipment manager for the Jefferson Airplane, and George Daly went on to A&R with Elektra Records.

Tom Guernsey deserves a special word of thanks for giving his time to answer my many questions, and also for loaning me the Evening Star magazine.

Tom Guernsey passed away on October 3, 2012 in Portland, Oregon, followed less than two months later by David Ottley, on November 27, 2012.
by Chris Bishop
Tracks
1. Dream Baby (Cindy Walker) - 2:27
2. Guess What (Tom Guernsey, George Daly) - 2:13
3. Crazy Man (Tom Guernsey, George Daly) - 2:22
4. Let It Be Me (Mann Curtis, Pierre Delano, Gilbert Becaud) - 3:06
5. Terrible Tonight (Tom Guernsey, George Daly) - 2:21
6. Faces (Tom Guernsey, George Daly) - 3:36
7. I Wanna Get To Know You (Tom Guernsey, George Daly) - 2:34
8. Everytime I Fall In Love (Jack Bryant) - 2:20
9. What A Girl Can't Do (Tom Guernsey) - 2:28
10.Isn't That Liz (Tom Guernsey, George Daly) - 2:00
11.Gloria (Van Morrison) - 5:37

The Hangmen
*Dave Ottley - Lead Vocals 
*Tom Guernsey - Lead Guitar, Vocals 
*George Daly - Rhythm Guitar 
*Mike West - Bass, Vocals 
*Bob Berberich - Drums 
*Paul Dowel - Bass 
*Tony Taylor - Lead Vocals 
*George Strunz - Rhythm Guitar

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Zabu - My Coffin's Ready (1972 france, amazing bluesy funk rock)



Lucien Zabuski, aka Zabu, was the original vocalist for Magma, prior to the enlistment of Klaus Blasquiz. This is his first post-Magma solo album, which showcases his unique gravelly voice in a blues setting. The album is quite good, but it should be noted this is a blues-rock album, nothing particularly progressive here, and nothing that connects it with the Magma sound, despite the fact that it features Magma alumni Christian Vander, Francis Moze, Jeff Seffer and Teddy Lasry on a few tracks. 
by Peter Thelen, 1994-02-01
Tracks
1. Yellow Girl - 3:58
2. Doctor Moonshine - 3:42
3. Coffin's Ready - 8:27
4. Subversion Blues - 5:26
5. Informer Blues - 4:10
6. Silent Angel - 5:10
7. Ice-Pick Blues - 1:39
All compositions by Lucien Zabuski, Serge Grunberg

Musicians
*Lucien Zabuski - Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
*Serge Grunberg - Backing Vocals
*Dominique Frideloux - Lead, Rhythm Guitars, Bells
*Marc Perru - Lead, Rhythm Guitars
*Francis Moze - Piano
*Lahouari Benne Gjadi - Electric Piano
*Edouard Magnani - Bass
*Richard Siltich - Bass
*Eric Langeberteaux - Flute, Voice
*Jeff Seffer - Saxophone
*Teddy Lasry - Saxophone
*B.B. Brutus - Bass
*Christian Vander - Bass 
*Michel Santangelli - Bass

Monday, May 16, 2022

Paul Williams - Just An Old Fashioned Love Song (1970-71 us, wonderful jazzy smooth ballads)



Here Williams came into his own, writing the bulk of his material single-handedly. Just an Old Fashioned Love Song boasts "We've Only Just Begun" -- one of his signature compositions -- and finds him in wistful, melancholic form. The uncluttered arrangements, and the fact that Williams has learned to use his voice for emotional effect, make his second album a comparative success. 

While it's not really right to assess him in singer/songwriterly terms (he never played piano, guitar, or indeed any instrument, and is more accurately termed an easy listening tunesmith), Just an Old Fashioned Love Song is a worthy addition to the genre. "Waking Up Alone," "A Perfect Love," and "Gone Forever" form a touching triptych of moving, and surprisingly subtle, love-gone-wrong songs. Each adequately displays Williams' growth as both a performer and composer. 
by Charles Donovan
Tracks
1. Waking Up Alone - 3:41
2. I Never Had It So Good (Paul Williams, Roger Nichols) - 4:36
3. We've Only Just Begun (Paul Williams, Roger Nichols) - 3:25
4. That's Enough For Me - 5:20
5. A Perfect Love - 2:27
6. An Old Fashioned Love Song - 3:12
7. Let Me Be The One (Paul Williams, Roger Nichols) - 3:00
8. Simple Man (Graham Nash) - 2:14
9. When I Was All Alone - 3:53
10.My Love And I - 3:34
11.Gone Forever - 4:11
Lyrics and Music by Paul Williams except where noted 

Musicians
*Paul Williams - Vocals
*Craig Doerge - Acoustic Piano, Electric Piano 
*Leland Sklar - Bass Guitar 
*Russ Kunkel - Drums, Congas, Tambourine 
*David Spinozza - Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
*Michael Utley - Organ 
*Bobbye Hall Porter - Congas , Percussion 
*Tom Scott - Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet 
*Gene Cipriano - Oboe , Tenor Saxophone , Woodwinds 
*Paul Shure - First Violin 
*Marv Limonick - Second Violin 
*Milt Thomas - Viola 
*Edgar Lustgarten - Cello 
*Joe Mondragon - Bass Guitar , Double Bass 
*Dick Hyde - Tuba 
*Jack Conrad - Bass 
*Rick Marotta - Drums 
*Teddy Boy Friesen, Daffy Jackson, The Hobbit - Kazoo 
*Bob Brookmeyer - Trombone 
*Al Aarons - Trumpet 

Related Act

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Strider - Exposed (1973 uk, solid hard rock with great guitar parts, 2007 digipak)



Strider was a British hard rock band, signed to the tiny GM label (Warner, in the U.S.) owned by one Billy Gaffs, better known as the sometime manager of Rod Stewart and John Cougar, among others.

Their first LP, Exposed, was unveiled in 1973, bearing a striking – and intentional – resemblance to Humble Pie, thanks to keyboardist Ian Kewley’s howling, soulful vocals (not quite Steve Marriott, but pretty ballsy just the same), Gary Grainger’s blustery, rip-roaring guitar, and a rock-solid rhythm section, à la Free, in bassist Lee Hunter and drummer Jimmy Hawkins.

Unfortunately, despite being uniformly well-constructed and expertly played, with gusto and attitude, the rousing, in-concert favorite “Flying,” the bruising (if occasionally glam-sparkled) “Esther’s Place,” and a tough little bastard called “Straddle,” simply lacked that magical immediacy required of would-be-hits.

Ditto attempts to further incorporate the Pie’s R&B flavors (along with Kewley’s more prominent keys) like “Ain’t Got No Love” and “Higher and Higher” (watch out for the falsetto right out of The Darkness), featuring Jennie Haan, of Babe Ruth, on backing vocals.

And while “Woman Blue” revealed a mellower side of the band and the eight-minute “Get Ready” some unexpected versatility, Strider were seemingly doomed to obscurity – even though they toured extensively with Status Quo, Deep Purple and, yes, Humble Pie.

Following a lineup reshuffle, Strider released a second LP in ‘74 (the aptly named Misunderstood) and then went their separate ways, with Grainger later backing up Rod Stewart for several albums and tours.
by Eduardo Rivadavia

Well ... We just about made it, even though the beers of various countries came swirling in frothy torrents, 2 feet deep, through the control room. Sometimes these floods carried the lads into oblivion, but they forged onwards with the production, for which they can thank Jimmy Horowitz and Themselves, not forgetting the sober Phil Dunne, on advice. Strider threw up and disarranged the arrangements, while Phil Dunne (again?) engineered the whole shebang with admirable fortitude. John Eaton set the tapes up in between bouts of stealing our booze. All this happened at the Marquee Studios, London, and was recorded on a 16 track something or other, that coped memorably with the event. (Especially as it was February 1973.)
Album sleeve notes, 1973.
Tracks
1. Flying (Gary Grainger, Ian Kewley) - 6:01
2. Ain't Got No Love (Gary Grainger, Jack Noton) - 4:18
3, Woman Blue (Ian Kewley, Jack Noton, Jim Hawkins, Lee Hunter) - 5:41
4. Higher And Higher (Carl Smith, Gary Jackson) - 3:55
5. Esther's Place (Gary Grainger, Ian Kewley, Jack Noton) - 6:30
6. Straddle (Danny O'Brien, Gary Grainger, Ian Kewley, Jack Noton) - 3:49
7. Get Ready (William "Smokey" Robinson) - 8.50

Strider
*Gary Grainger - Guitar
*Ian Kewley - Keyboards, Vocals 
*Jim Hawkins - Drums
*Lee Hunter - Bass 

 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

G.F. Fitz Gerald - Mouseproof (1970 uk, fascinating avant-garde psychedelic suite contains elements of folk, jazz, rock and electronica, 2006 remaster)



Many odd, uncommercial rock albums were produced in the early '70s, but G.F. Fitz-Gerald's Mouseproof is an odd effort even in that company. It's not so much the music itself that's weird, though it's certainly far outside the rock and pop mainstream, drawing from jazz, classical, avant-garde, and electronic forms as well as more song-oriented rock ones. It's the juxtaposition of different, almost stylistically unrelated songs that's the record's most unusual feature, even if most of them are not the weirdest things to come down the pike when judged individually. In tunes like "April Affair," Fitz-Gerald can recall the more obtuse British folk-rock singer/songwriters, such as Roy Harper, the pleasing textures crossed with jazzy touches and a not-too-easy-to-hum melody. Yet there are also rather comic art rock-ish pieces, somewhat along the lines of what Giles, Giles & Fripp might have been had they become a more forceful rock band, but not quite evolved into the all-out prog rock of King Crimson. 

There's also droll country-rock ("Country Mouse"), and a pretty folk-jazzy number inspired by the 1970 shootings of Kent State students ("May Four," the most accessible track). Plus there's the bizarre "Ashes of the Empire/The End," which almost sounds like a Frank Zappa-esque inner dialogue/struggle between the most hippy-dippy and bestial elements of the counterculture, a lewd Captain Beefheart-ish growl giving way to an angelic male-female duet intoning "This is my land/This is my home/This is my country/And I want to make love to my lady." (The female voice in that section, incidentally, is original Fairport Convention member Judy Dyble.) The tracks get yet stranger after that. "Under and Over the Waterfall" again recalls the transition between Giles, Giles & Fripp and King Crimson with its tense jazzy rock and flute interplay. "A Movement Lost in Twilight Stone" makes much use of the kind of eerie, echoing guitar/piano pinging heard in the most abstract passages of early Pink Floyd songs. "Political Machine" runs operatic satire through a repetitive, tape-loopy grinder. 

The lengthy closing "Opal Pyramid Drifting Over Time" cools things out with a repetitive, meditative circular piano riff, over which gentle distorted electric guitar flutters and intermittent drums shuffle, eventually giving way to similar gentle, circular, but more disquieting tones and emissions, and then some ominous choral chanting. To say that this kind of record is not for everyone, even for some hard-bitten psychedelic collectors, is an understatement, since the record never settles into a steady groove or flow, and few of its tracks are conventionally accessible. Still, Fitz-Gerald's work here is skilled, daring, and eclectic, though the parts aren't particularly outstanding or memorable on their own. 
by Richie Unterberger
Tracks
1. April Affair - 5:22
2. New Lodger - 1:12
3. Country Mouse - 2:12
4. It Takes More Than A Clear Day To See It - 0:31
5. May Four - 2:56
6a.Ashes Of An Empire - 3:50
6b.The End
7. Under And Over The Waterfall - 2:57
8. A Movement Lost In Twilight Stone - 2:10
9. Political Machine - 2:50
10.Opal Pyramid Drifting Over Time - 8:40
Words and Music by Gerry Fitz-Gerald

Personnel
*Gerry Fitz-Gerald - Bass, Lead, Acoustic Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals, Banjo [Electric], Piano, Bass Guitar, Percussion, Synthesizer
*Ian Andrews - Bass, Double Bass, Mellotron, Moog Synthesizer
*B.J. Cole - Steel Guitar 
*Judy Dyble - Vocals
*Sam Gopal - Tabla
*Rod Herman - Guitar
*Rik Kenton - Bass
*Geoff Leigh - Alto, Tenor Flute, Saxophone
*Alan Place - Guitar, Vocals
*Martin Rushent - Vocals
*Les Taylor - Vocals
*Ted Tetlan - Drums
*Tony Turnbull - Drums
*Roger Watson - Vocals
*Steve Moyce - Vocals

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Bokaj Retsiem - Psychedelic Underground (1968 germany, fantastic acid freak psyh rock)



Rainer Degner, known as the guitarist of the 60s beat group German Bonds, had a passion for the old German children's song "Meister Jakob". This is also the name of the studio project (featuring session musicians). This is one of the first psychedelic albums in Germany and is therefore a very interesting and unusual listening pleasure. Not only members of the Rattles are involved in this project, but also old acquaintances from German Bonds times, namely Peter Hecht and Dieter Horn, who in addition to their normal career with Lucifers Friend produced several unusual albums under pseudonymous names, including many productions under the Europe label. An example would be the band Electric Food. 

The only album by Bokaj Retsiem released on the Fass label, and their name is  the result from the backwards spelling of "Meister Jakob”. The listener can expect an excellent psychedelic album with a very good lead guitar, wobbly keyboard and crazy ideas. On the tracks that contain the word "Bokaj" in their name, snappy corruptions of the topic "Meister Jakob" are given at best. The highlight of the album for me is the beat number "I'm so afraid", which contains an extremely long fuzz guitar solo with wonderful feedback. "Bokaj Retsiem" is another relatively unknown gem from the interesting late '60s. 
Tracks
1. So Bad - 6:04
2. Classic Bokaj - 0:29
3. It's Over - 4:21
4. Only A Child - 0:53
5. Sad Bokaj - 0:50
6. I'm So Afraid - 3:38
7. Bokaj Retsiem - 5:43
8. Bossa Bokaj - 0:30
9. Pill - 4:49
10.Something's Wrong With Bokaj - 0:45
11.Drifting - 4:39
All compositions by Rainer Degner

Bokaj Retsiem
*Rainer Degner - Guitar, Vocals
*Peter Hecht - Keyboards
*Dieter Horns - Bass, Vocals
*Noam Hazeid Halevi - Drums, Percussion

Related Acts
1970  Asterix - Asterix 
1970  Lucifer's Friend - Lucifer's Friend (2008 remaster) 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Southern Comfort - Southern Comfort (1970 us, essential brass jazzy blues rock)



Southern Comfort (no relation with any other band by that name), was a  late sixties Memphis band led by Bob Jones an American guitarist, singer, drummer and arranger, born in O'ahu, Hawaii. In between 1968 and 1979 Bob recorded five albums with Michael Bloomfield on which he played drums, guitar and sang. During those years he also recorded with Mississippi Fred McDowell, Nick Gravenites, Sam Lay, Harvey Mandel, Otis Rush and Taj Mahal. Between 1970 and 1973 Bob played drums, percussion and sang in the band Alice Stuart & Snake with bassist Karl Sevareid. They toured Europe twice and made two albums for Fantasy Records. He also played drums on two Brewer and Shipley albums.

With Southern Comfort he recorded and released one and only -self-titled- album in 1970, produced by Nick Gravenites and with Mike Bloomfiled contributing co-writing a song. They sound like soul freaks with blues and jazz elements. Other members were Ron Stallings (saxes and vocals) who was born in December 02, 1946 in Houston, Texas, USA Died April 13, 2009 in Berkley, California, USA. Mainly tenor saxophonist who was known as melodic rock and jazz musician, but he also played flute and clarinet. He was member of Huey Lewis & The News from 1994. Also he was a session musician who played with Elvin Bishop, Jerry Garcia, Jesse Colin Young, Merl Saunders, Boz Scaggs, Mike Bloomfield, McCoy Tyner and Gladys Knight, among many others. He joined the Machete Ensemble and co-led the Latin jazz band Que Calor with pianist Mark Levine.

Fred Olson (Fred Burton) guitarist and co-leader, who also played in Bloomfield's several recordings, Steve Funk the keyboard player, John Wilmeth as the trumpeter, and several bass players came in and out like, Bob Huberman, Art Stavro (played with Barry Goldberg, Albert Collins, Harvey Mandel and Elvin Bishop among others) and Karl Sevareid (later joined the Robert Cray band). Although they were very popular with the players at the time (like Tower of Power) and in the bay area, but couldn't get help from CBS to break out nationally. 
Tracks
1. Wild Western Cheetah (Ron Stallings) - 2:48
2. Talkin ‘Bout My Baby (John Kahn) - 3:03
3. Mountain Girl (Ron Stallings, John Kahn, John Wilmeth) - 2:52
4. Ride On Mary (Bob Jones) - 3:23
5. All Day Long (Ron Stallings, John Kahn, Mike Bloomfield, Fred Olson) - 3:28  
6. Love Got Me (Arthur Conlay) - 2:48
7. Come and Sit Down Beside Me (John Kahn, Bob Jones, Ron Stallings) - 3:52
8. Get Back (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 3:26
9. Who Knows (John Kahn, Bob Jones, Ron Stallings, Fred Olson, Steve Funk, John Wilmeth, Bob Huberman) - 3:52
10.Just Like A Friend (Bob Jones) - 3:40

Southern Comfort
*Bob Jones - Drums, Vocals
*John Wilmeth - Trumpet, Flügelhorn
*Steve Funk - Organ, Piano
*Art Stavro - Bass
*Ron Stallings - Tenor Sax, Vocals
*Fred Olson - Guitars
*Bob Huberman - Bass
With
*John Kahn - Piano
*Gerald Oshita - Baritone Saxophone, Flute
*Charley Schoning - Piano




 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Crazy Horse - Crazy Moon (1978 us, amazing classic rock, extra tracks edition)



Six years went by between the release of Crazy Horse's third album, At Crooked Lake, and its fourth, Crazy Moon, and a lot of water went under the bridge in the meantime. Crazy Horse was, in effect, three different bands on its first three albums because the only constants were bassist Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molina as lead singers, songwriters, guitarists, and keyboardists came and went. The band name seemed to be retired by 1973, but in 1974 Talbot and Molina hooked up with singer/guitarist Frank Sampedro as Crazy Horse, leading to sessions with their erstwhile employer Neil Young that resulted in the Young/Crazy Horse album Zuma. At the same time, they recorded some Crazy Horse tracks that sat around for years, finally being finished off in the summer of 1978 for release here. 

The result is the first album since their debut, 1971's Crazy Horse, that sounds identifiable as the band that backs Young. In part, that's because Young himself is present on guitar on the tracks "She's Hot," "Going Down Again," "New Orleans," "Downhill," and "Thunder and Lighting," and brings along his production associates David Briggs and Tim Mulligan as well as his pedal steel player Ben Keith. But it's also because this is a well-realized effort on which Sampedro proves to be the first of the many successors to original guitarist Danny Whitten to fit in well with Molina and Talbot; because Molina and Talbot have upped their participation beyond providing the rhythm and some vocals, contributing to the songwriting as well; and because the guest musicians include a bevy of Crazy Horse alumni and friends including keyboardist Barry Goldberg (producer of the pre-Crazy Horse band the Rockets); Greg Leroy (Crazy Horse guitarist, 1971-1972); Bobby Notkoff (Rockets violinist); and Michael Curtis (Crazy Horse keyboardist, 1972). This is something of a Crazy Horse reunion effort, and it shows the band off at its best, or at least probably as good as it could be without co-founder Whitten, who died in 1972. 
by William Ruhlmann
Tracks
1. She's Hot (Steve Antoine, Frank "Poncho" Sampedro) - 3:11
2. Downhill (Frank "Poncho" Sampedro) - 4:15
3. Going Down Again (Ralph Molina) - 3:26 
4. Thunder and Lightning (Frank "Poncho" Sampedro, Billy Talbot) - 3:58
5. New Orleans (Ben Keith, Billy Talbot) - 3:11 
6. That Day (Billy Talbot) - 3:18
7. Lost and Lonely Feelin' (Frank "Poncho" Sampedro) - 3:10
8. End of the Line (Ralph Molina) - 3:10
9. Dancin' Lady (Frank "Poncho" Sampedro, Billy Talbot) - 3:23
10.Love Don't Come Easy (Ralph Molina) - 3:10
11.Too Late Now (Frank "Poncho" Sampedro) - 2:54 
12.Lady Soul (Mike Curtis) - 3:40
13.Rock And Roll Band (Sydney Jordon) - 3:08
14.Pills Blues (George Whitsell) - 4:01
15.Let Me Go (Danny Whitten) - 3:47
16.Stretch Your Skin (Danny Whitten) - 4:10
17.Won't You Say You'll Stay (Danny Whitten) - 2:45
18.Mr Chips (Danny Whitten) - 2:22
Tracks 1-11 Original album "Crazy Moon" 1978
Tracks 12-13 from "At Crooked Lake" 1972
Tracks 14-18 as The Rockets from "The Rockets" 1968

Crazy Horse
*Billy Talbot - Bass, Vocals
*Ralph Molina - Drums, Vocals
*Frank "Poncho" Sampedro - Guitars, Vocals, Harmonica, Piano
With
*Neil Young - Guitar (Tracks 1-5)
*Barry Goldberg - Piano, Keyboards
*Greg Leroy - Guitar, Vocals (Tracks 7,10-13)
*Michael Curtis - Synthesizer (Track 6)
*Bobby Notkoff - Violin (Tracks 9,12-18)
*Kenny Walther - Trombone (Tracks 4,10)
*Tom Bray - Trumpet (Tracks 4,10)
*Mike Kowalski - Drums (Track 10)
*Jay Graydon - Guitar (Tracks 6,8)
*Steve Lawrence - Saxophone (Track 4,10)
*Ben Keith - Pedal Steel Guitar (Track 7)
*Rick Curtis - Vocals, Piano, Organ, Guitars, Mandolin, Banjo (Tracks 12,13)
*Patti Moan - Vocals (Track 12)
*Danny Whitten - Guitar (Tracks 14-18)
*Leon Whitsell - Guitar (Tracks 14-18)
*George Whitsell - Guitar (Tracks 14-18)

1962-73  Crazy Horse - Scratchy, Complete Recordings

Monday, May 9, 2022

Gary Shearston - Abreaction (1967 australia, magnificent baroque folk rock)



Gary Shearston, Australian singer and songwriter, was a leading figure of the folk music revival of the 1960s. He has an enduring legacy in his meticulously researched versions of old 'bush' songs (folk songs), which have long been source material for younger performers. In his own younger years he was a popular singer with chart success in Australia (especially Sydney) and had his own TV show ("Just Folk").

As he matured, Gary achieved international success as a songwriter (including Sometime Lovin' performed by Peter, Paul and Mary) and as a recording artist (his distinctive version of Cole Porter's I Get A Kick Out Of You was a worldwide hit in 1974).
Over the years his music absorbed and adapted a diverse range of elements including Australian Aboriginal and West Indian reggae (before either was popular with mainstream western audiences). He wrote songs with influences that ranged from Irish traditional to Japanese, and released an album with jazz arrangements that perplexed his folkie and pop music fans.

Since returning to live in Australia in 1988 Gary was often placed in the country music genre and he showed that he was equal to the best in that style too. In 1990 his iconic song Shopping On A Saturday was recognised with the Tamworth Songwriters' Association's award for Bush Ballad of the Year.
Gary Shearston thwarts attempts to categorise his musical style because he never stuck to just one, but we can say that over an active recording life of some 50 years he wrote, sang and recorded wonderfully evocative and distinctively Australian original songs.

In his 50s, an age when he might have started taking it easier, Gary followed his faith and became a hard-working grass-roots country-based Christian minister. When he finally retired in 2007 he again threw himself into songwriting, and over the following several years his output was prodigious! Many of the 'new' songs reflect on a life full of twists and turns and the characters he's known along the way. And, as always, his heart is on his sleeve, for all to see (or hear). 
Gary Shearston 
Tracks
1. Faded Streets, Windy Weather - 3:53
2. Monday's Child - 2:58
3. Hey! Honey, Give Me Some Money - 3:07
4. Rainbow Girl - 2.59
5. We'll Be Back In Just A Moment After This Important, Informative Interlude - 5:37
6. Sometime Lovin' - 5:36
7. Go On, Girl - 3:53
8. Last Night I Had The Strangest Delirium Tremendous - 4:22
9. Don't Wave To Me Too Long - 3:17
10.Crooked Hill - 7:29
Music and Lyrics by Gary Shearston

Musicians
*Gary Shearston - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
*Richard Brooks - Harmonica
*Ed Gaston - Bass
*Sven Libaek - Piano, Organ, Harpsichord
*Peter Martin - Guitar
*Bob McIvor - Trombone
*John Sangster - Vibes, Drums
*Sven Libaek - Arrangments