Thursday, June 30, 2022

The Flatlanders - More A Legend Than A Band (1972 us, stunning americana country rock, feat. Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock)

This became my favorite new record in under a full day. Normally, we are looking at albums that we’ve sat with, kinda know inside out, but this is an emergency. It’s been an evil secret that nobody told me about this one sooner.

Originally released in 1972, and only available on 8-track cassette until 1990, when it was finally put out on CD- just in time for the alt-country kids to scoop it up- this is a perfect country album. If you’ve ever detected a note of irony when the Byrds put their cowboy hearts on for Sweetheart, this is the record to set you straight. The real deal (and you know because it’s on Rounder).

It’s hard to describe what it is about the sweet spot this record hits, but here’s a shot: The Flatlanders match an electric sound with acoustic, bluegrass instrumentation (sans banjo). They play in an old-timey (lazy fiddle) way with a swing in their step, and add a nice psych touch with the musical saw (imagine a tasteful theremin adding hints of accompaniment on about half the record). Jimmie Dale’s singing is A+ number one and the harmony is also great. Oh and listen to that fine dobro work on Stars In My Life.

Or look at it this way: 13 great new songs to love, a beautiful forgotten classic for your shelves, and a serious contender for Sweetheart of the Rodeo’s coveted country-rock trophy spot. Yes, it’s the newest record in my collection, but I think I would grab for it first on my way to the island.
by Brendan McGrath, April 23rd, 2007
1. Dallas (Jimmie Dale Gilmore) - 2:46
2. Tonight I'm Gonna Go Downtown (Jimmie Dale Gilmore, John Reed) - 2:41
3. You've Never Seen Me Cry (Butch Hancock) - 2:09
4. She Had Everything (Butch Hancock) - 2:07
5. Rose From The Mountain (Louis Driver) - 2:00
6. One Day At A Time (Willie Nelson) - 3:42
7. Jole Blon (Traditional) - 3:27
8. Down In My Hometown (Jimmie Dale Gilmore) - 2:42
9. Bhagavan Decreed (Ed Vizard) - 2:45
10.The Heart You Left Behind (Angela Strehll) - 2:18
11.Keeper Of The Mountain (Angela Strehll) - 2:44
12.Stars In My Life (Butch Hancock) - 3:00
13.One Road More (Butch Hancock) - 2:25

The Flatlanders
*Joe Ely - Harmony Vocals, Harmonica, Guitar, Dobro
*Jimmie Dale Gilmore - Lead Vocals, Guitar
*Butch Hancock - Harmony Vocals, Guitar
*Syl Rice - String Bass
*Tommy Hancock - Fiddle 
*Tony Pearson - Mandolin

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Complex - The Way We Feel (1971 uk, fascinating swinging beat psychedelia)

During their stint, Complex released two excellent albums pitched somewhere between psychedelic power pop and progressive rock. My favorite of the pair happens to be the British band’s second effort, The Way We Feel, which initially surfaced in 1971 on the Deroy Sound Studio imprint.

From the super sunny sensations of “Every Time I Hear That Song” to the hard and heavy jamming of the jazz influenced “We Don’t Exist,” the disc conveys an abundance of excitement and adventure.

Toe-tapping rhythms and nagging hooks are wired tight throughout cuts such as “The Way I Feel” and the paisley pinched “Lemon Pie Fair,” while “Moving Moor” is a brooding instrumental formed of classical music passages reflecting those of Procol Harum and the Moody Blues.

Beaming vocals, assisted by sweeping harmonies, expansive organ drills and stabbing guitar riffs are staples of Complex’s intricately crafted material. Although a hypnotic vibe holds the reins, the music maintains a lively and colorful exterior.

Commercial aspirations interact nicely with an experimental bent, resulting in the kind of record that would satisfy both top 40 listeners and followers of underground rock. A masterpiece of its genre sadly heard by few due to an extremely limited pressing, The Way We Feel is much deserving of a reissue. So kudos to the Wooden Hill label for recognizing the band’s worth back in 1999, and allowing their music to be enjoyed by a wider net of folks. 
by Beverly Paterson
1. Every Time I Hear That Song - 2:47
2. Am I - 4:10
3. We Don't Exist - 5:55
4. Lemon Pie Fair - 3:19
5. The Way I Feel - 3:22
6. Moving Moor (Steve Coe) - 4:48
7. Jeananette - 4:32
8. Hey Girl You've Got Style - 3:02
9. If You Are My Love (Steve Coe) - 6:42 - 
10.Moving Moor (Steve Coe) - 4:49
11.The Way I Feel - 3:17
All songs by Bob Mitchell, Steve Coe except where indicated
Bonus Tracks 10-11

*Steve Coe - Organ, Electric Piano
*Brian Lee - Guitars, Backing Vocals
*Lance Fogg - Bass, Backing Vocals
*Tony Shakespeare - Lead Vocals, Drums

Monday, June 27, 2022

The Electric Flag - The Band Kept Playing (1974 us, blues rock vibes, 2002 edition)

In 1974 the original Electric Flag members reunited for one album on Atlantic Records. The Band Kept Playing was their last album, and contains some of the best music ever recorded by the Electric Flag. "Every Now and Then" ranks among the best songs Buddy Miles ever wrote, and Grevenite's "Earthquake Country" is a classic piece of early‘70s soul-rock and the standout boogie "Doctor Oh Doctor (Massive Infusion), also penned by Gravenites, also most of the other material is well-played.
1. Sweet Soul Music (Michael Bloomfield, Arthur Conley, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Roger Troy) - 3:56
2. Every Now and Then (Buddy Miles, Vonda Shepard, Roger Troy) - 3:45
3. Sudden Change (Roger Troy) - 3:56
4. Earthquake Country (Nick Gravenites) - 4:03
5. Doctor Oh Doctor (Massive Infusion) (Nick Gravenites) - 5:22
6. Lonely Song (Mark Naftalin) - 3:59
7. Make Your Move (Buddy Miles) - 4:20
8. Inside Information (Mick Jones, Sonny Thompson) - 3:40
9. Talkin' Won't Get It (Michael Bloomfield, Buddy Miles) - 4:12
10.The Band Kept Playing (Michael Bloomfield) - 5:12

The Electric Flag
*Michael Bloomfield - Guitar, Vocals
*Nick Gravenites - Guitar, Vocals
*Barry Goldberg - Keyboards
*Buddy Miles - Drums, Vocals
*Roger Troy - Bass 
*Barry Beckett - Keyboards, Mellotron, Moog Synthesizer
*Albhy Galuten - Keyboards
*King Biscuit Boy - Harmonica
*Nicky Marrero - Percussion
*Richard Newell - Harmonica
*Richard Tee - Keyboards
*George Terry - Guitar

1967  Electric Flag - The Trip
1968-69  Electric Flag - An American Music Band / A Long Time Comin'  
196?-7?  The Electric Flag - Live
Related Acts
1965-66  The Barry Goldberg Blues Band - Blowing My Mind ..Plus (2003 remaster and expanded)
1968  Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, Steve Stills - The Super Sessions (2014 Hybrid Multichannel SACD 24/88) 

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Charley Musselwhite Blues Band - Stone Blues (1968 us, high energy chicago electric blues, 2005 remaster)

The late Big Joe Williams said: "Charlie Musselwhite is one of the greatest living harp players of country blues. He is right up there with Sonny Boy Williamson." The Memphis-born harp player is one of few white harp players who have stamped their mark on the blues, mainly because he was one of the first and also remains faithful to the style.

Musselwhite began playing blues with people he'd read about in Sam Charters' Country Blues-.-Memphis greats such as Furry Lewis, Will Shade and Gus Cannon. It was these rural roots that set him apart from Paul Butterfield.

Musselwhite migrated north from Memphis in his teens, in search of the mythical $3 per hour job, which had lured a significant portion of the black population onto the same route. He became a familiar face at blues haunts like Pepper's, Turner's, and Theresa's, eventually playing alongside harmonica greats such as Little Walter, Walter Horton, Good Rockin' Charles and Sonny Boy Williamson. Before recording his first album, Musselwhite appeared on LPs by Tracy Nelson and John Hammond and duetted with Walter Horton on Vanguard's Chicago/The Blues/Today series.

"Stone Blues" is a high energy blues album. Strong Little Walter feel (includes the man's 'Juke', amongst other tracks) and a rocking band featuring Tim Kaihatsu (later with Johnny Winter).

Charlie Musselwhite's tone and his performance are unique. His playing is extremely sensitive, balanced and innovative. His appearance is incredibly congenial, and his singing has gained in intensity, feeling and humor over the years.

Charlie has appeared on albums by such diverse musicians and bands as INXS, Tom Waits, Cyndi Lauper, the Blind Boys Of Alabama, Vassar Clements, Cat Stevens, and Bonnie Raitt. He has been honored with lifetime achievement awards. His open, friendly and human nature and elegant coolness have made him one of today's great ambassadors of the blues. 

Charlie Musselwhite still lives in Northern California. He can look back on more than 50 years of history as a professional musician, has released about 30 albums, won the Blues Music Award of the Blues Foundation in Memphis countless times, was inducted into the 'Blues Music Hall of Fame' in 2010 and, after ten nominations, received a Grammy Award together with Ben Harper for the album 'Get Up!'
by Detlev Hoegen, February 2019
1. My Buddy Buddy Friends (Aaron Corhton) - 1:54
2. Everything's Gonna be Allright (Little Walter) - 2:37
3. My Baby's Sweeter (Little Walter) - 4:21
4. Clay's Tune (Clay Cotton) - 5:12
5. Gone and Left Me (Little Walter) - 3:42
6. Cry for Me Baby (Elmore James) - 2:32
7. Hey Baby (Albert King) - 4:28
8. Juke (Little Walter) - 2:19
9. She Belongs to Me (Al Benson, Magic Sam) - 2:35
10.Bag Gloom Brew (Clay Cotton) - 10:52

*Charlie Musselwhite - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals 
*Tim Kaihatsu - Guitar 
*Fast Eddie Hoh - Drums 
*Clay Cotton - Keyboards, Vocals 
*Carl Severeiol - Bass 
*Larry Welker - Guitar 
*Barry Goldberg - Keyboards

Friday, June 24, 2022

The Chambers Brothers - A New Time A New Day (1968 us, excellent soul blues psych rock)

Thriving in blues, rock ‘n’ roll, gospel, and rhythm and blues idioms, the Chambers Brothers had the respect of music critics and many of their peers. Not long after releasing their first record with Vault, the brothers garnered the attention of record execs at Columbia. Signing with Columbia sometime in 1966, the band teamed up with famed producer David Rubinson, psychedelicized their soul, and began to make inroads on mainstream radio with songs like “Time Has Come Today”, Betty Marby’s “Uptown”, and Otis Redding’s “I Can’t Turn You Lose”. To the band’s delight, their music was not only being played on the radio, but it was also being purchased.

To better understand the group’s diverse style, it’s necessary to briefly examine their Southern roots. Siblings Lester, Joe, Willie, and George Chambers were born and reared in Lee County, Mississippi, where their family labored as sharecroppers. Life was arduous in the Jim Crow South, but there were moments of pleasure for the Chambers brothers. Like so many African Americans, the young boys found solace, tremendous encouragement, and opportunities for artistic development within the walls of the black church. Taking in all of the lessons provided in black America’s sacred and secular worlds, the Chambers soaked up the energy and sounds of the church, while also paying close attention to the rhythms and vibes of the blues.

Skilled singers and musicians by the time their family headed for Los Angeles in the ’50s, the Chambers Brothers were more than ready when doors began to open for the group. Their big break came in 1961, when LA’s Ash Grove club included them on a bill with Barbara Dane, Sonny Terry, and Brownie McGhee. Celebrated for both their talent and “authenticity”, the Chambers Brothers — with their particular brand of gospel, blues, and rock ‘n’ roll — became regulars on the folk circuit. 

A fine group of musicians who, despite their eclectic style, made a name for themselves in the ’60s. Competition for the hearts and dollars of young America was fierce during this period, but the Chambers Brothers successfully carved out a niche for themselves in the ever changing world of black popular music.
Pop Matters 14 February 2008 
1. I Can't Turn You Loose (Otis Redding) - 4:56
2. Guess Who (Jesse Belvin, JoAnn Belvin) - 4:21
3. Do Your Thing (Brian Keenan, George Chambers, Joseph Chambers, Lester Chambers, Willie Chambers) - 3:19
4. Where Have All The Flowers Gone? (Pete Seeger) - 3:40
5. Love Is All I Have (Brian Keenan) - 2:45
6. You Got The Power - To Turn Me On (Willie Chambers) - 3:22
7. I Wish It Would Rain (Barrett Strong, Norman Whitfield, Roger Penzabene) - 3:23
8. Rock Me Mama (Arthur Crudup, Big Bill Broonzy) - 6:09
9. No, No, No Don't Say Good-Bye (Willie Chambers) - 4:19
10.Satisfy You (Gary St. Clair, Timothy Michael O'Brien) - 3:56
11.A New Time - A New Day (Brian Keenan, Joseph Chambers) - 7:25

The Chambers Brothers
*Willie Chambers - Guitars, Vocals
*Lester Chambers - Harp, Vocals
*Joe Chambers - Guitars, Vocals
*George Chambers - Bass, Vocals
*Brian Keenan - Drums

1967  The Chambers Brothers - The Time Has Come
1969  The Chambers Brothers - Love, Peace and Happiness

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Ritchie Francis - Song Bird (1972 uk, orchestrated melodic silky rock, 2006 remaster and xpanded)

This is Ritchie Francis's only solo work "Song Bird", released in 1972. Ritchie, was a talented musician, from Neath, Wales, UK,  he began his career in mid sixties as a  bass player for The Mustangs, before they change their name to Eyes Of Blue and releasing two albums, in 1968 "Crossroads Of Time" and 1969 "In Fields Of Ardath". In 1971 they changed again their name, as Big Sleep and released  the wonderful “Bluebell Wood”. Soon after this release the band split.

Ritchie Francis recorded “Song Bird” with the help of Will Malone. The orchestration by Wil Malone is effectively and  the whole result is like a little prog-rock pop kaleidoscope.  It’s a trip from melancholic and melodious songs to bright songs.
1. Song Bird - 7:05
2. Dizzy Sycamore - 4:53
3. I'm Not Alone - 4:40
4. It Will Last - 4:17
5. My Music - 1:48
6. Don't You Ask Me Why - 5:03
7. There's A Time - 8:03
8. Yet To Come - 6:07
9. Friends - 4:01
10.You're Never Gonna Make It - 4:21
11.To Follow You - 3:26
12.Crossroads Of Time - 4:52
13.Largo - 3:14
14.Yesterday - 4:22
15.Little Bird - 2:32
All compositions by Ritchie Francis
Bonus Tracks 12-15 as "Eyes Of Blue"

*Ritchie Francis - Piano, Vocals
*William Malone - Drums, Orchestra Conductor
*Barry Morgan - Drums  
*John Rostill - Bass
*Jim Sullivan - Guitar
*Ray Taff Williams - Guitar 
*Phil Curtis - Bass 
*Mike Kellie - Drums

Related Acts 

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Rejoice - Rejoice (1968 us, pleasant folk sunny psych)

Rejoice was a band made up of guitarist Tom Brown, bass player Nancy Brown, pianist Dick Conte and drummer Michael Patrick Moore. They were from Marin County, north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Browns’ were a husband and wife duo and their harmonies bear strong echoes of the coffee house folk circuit blended with the gentle, hazily psychedelic Bay Area sounds of the day. Rejoice was signed by Jay Lasker, then president of the Dunhill label. Rejoice originally went into the studio with Terry Melcher as producer in April 1968. Melcher was the only son of singer Doris Day and he had previously produced the Byrds albums Mr. Tambourine Man and Turn, Turn Turn. Melcher also had produced all the albums for Paul Revere & The Raiders from 1965 to 1968, including their string of hit singles from “Just Like Me” to “I Had A Dream”. Melcher had also been the producer of the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967. Rejoice were very excited to have Terry Melcher in place as their producer.

While in the middle of recording the third or fourth song on the first side of the Rejoice album, Melcher’s father passed away and Terry was gone for about a week. Eventually, the band went back to Marin County. Months later, Tom and Nancy Brown, the singers and main songwriters, went back to Los Angeles with Steve Barri as producer and completed the Rejoice album. Bari was a successful producer for The Grassroots, most of Mama Cass’s solo career hits, Tommy Roe (“Dizzy”) and Alan O’Day (“Undercover Angel”). Rejoice used the following studio musicians to complete the album: drummer Hal Blaine, bass paler Joe Osborne and pianist Larry Knechtel. Hal Blaine and Larry Knetchel were both studio musicians with the legendary Wrecking Crew from Los Angeles.

The Rejoice album was released in January 1969 and a single co-written by Nancy and Tom Brown, “Golden Gate Park”, spent one week on the Billboard Hot 100 at #96. This was mostly on the strength of the tune climbing to #10 in San Francisco and #20 in Seattle. It was a fine example of the sunshine pop tunes populating the charts in the late 60’s. The second single from the album, written by Tom Brown, was “November Snow”.

May 23-25, 1969, The Aquarian Family Festival, a free concert, was held at a Football practice field across from San Jose State’s Spartan Stadium. The event was held in conjunction with the Second Annual Northern California Folk Rock Festival at The Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. All the bands played for free. The organizers called every band they knew and a lot of them showed up. The agreement with the College stipulated that people could only be present when music was playing. So performers played continuously for the entire 72 hours. A specially constructed stage allowed one band to set up while another played. Bands would show up at the site and sign up similar to signing up for a game on a tennis court. Besides hippie solidarity, playing a free concert was a good way for a local band in the Bay Area to get known. Up to 80,000 concert goers attended the Festival. Aside from the big headliner, Jefferson Airplane, for many of these groups like the Steve Miller Band, this would have been the biggest crowd they had played for in their music career so far. One of the bands performing at The Aquarian Family Festival was Rejoice. They played their first two singles as well as their final single from their album, “Sausalito Sunrise”, also written by Tom Brown.

With no commercial success, later in 1969 Rejoice broke up, with members pursuing different musical directions.
by Ray McGinnis, October 5, 2017
1. Sausalito Sunrise - 2:12
2. Gardens Of Chelsea - 4:00
3. Spring Flew In Today - 2:43
4. High Flying Bird (Billy Edd Wheeler) - 4:12
5. November Snow - 3:20
6. Quick Draw Man - 2:18
7. Even Though (Nancy Brown) - 3:28
8. Golden Gate Park (Nancy Brown, Tom Brown) - 2:30
9. Sonora - 3:31
10.Establishment Blues - 4:45
All compositions by Tom Brown except where stated

*Nancy Brown - Vocals
*Tom Brown - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Ron Wells - Rhythm Guitar, Banjo 
*Larry Knechtel - Piano, Organ
*Hal Blaine - Drums, Percussion
*Joe Osborn - Bass


Monday, June 20, 2022

The Graeme Edge Band Featuring Adrian Gurvitz - Paradise Ballroom (1977 uk, groovy funky rock with some prog elements, 2009 xtra track remaster)


Having been pushed to the periphery on his sophomore solo album, Kick Off Your Muddy Boots, Moody Blues drummer Graeme Edge wrestled back control for the follow-up, Paradise Ballroom. On Boots, singer/guitarist Adrian Gurvitz shared the limelight only with keyboardist Mickey Gallagher, leaving his own brother, bassist Paul, and his putative employer, Edge, to languish in the shadows. Now the tables were turned, as Edge insisting on co-writing all the tracks with Gurvitz (the drummer contributed only three on his debut), and promoted Paul to lead vocalist. This resulted in a much more coherent set, and a far funkier one, throwing the spotlight directly onto the rhythm section, bolstered by guesting Traffic percussionist Rebop Kwaku Baah. 

Of course, Gurvitz's lead guitar still splays across the album, but so does a full horn section, as the set sashays around disco, reggae, Motown, funk, and soul, the upbeat songs counterbalanced by gorgeous, introspective numbers. The discofied adaptation of "Everybody Needs Somebody" is inspired, the breezy "In the Light of Night" a delight, and the funky title track a soul-filled extravaganza. 

Edge died on 11 November 2021 at his home in Bradenton, Florida of metastatic cancer. He had previously suffered a stroke in 2016.
by Dave Thompson
1. Paradise Ballroom - 7:54
2. Human - 5:55
3. Everybody Needs Somebody - 3:17
4. All Is Fair - 4:56
5. Down, Down, Down - 5:42
6. In The Light Of The Light - 3:01
7. Caroline - 5:43
8. Be My Eyes - 5:51
All songs by Graeme Edge, Adrian Gurvitz 
Bonus Track 8

The Graeme Edge Band 
*Graeme Edge - Drums
*Adrian Gurvitz - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Paul Gurvitz - Bass, Vocals
*Emerson Able - Baritone Sax 
*Rebop Kwaku Baah - Percussion
*B.J. Cole - Guitar, Horn, Strings
*Ben Crawley - Flugelhorn, Trumpet
*Bill Easley - Flute, Alto, Tenor Sax, Soloist
*Tony Hymas - Keyboards
*Edgar Matthews - Flugelhorn, Trumpet
*Lawrie McMillan - Flute, Tenor Sax 
*Ken Spain - Trombone
*Blue Weaver - Organ, Synthesizer

Related Acts

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Lady - Lady (1976 germany, power pop glam rock)

Lady hailed from Hannover, Niedersachsen formed in 1974 by ex-Jane keyboard player Werner Nadolny. Their single “Without you” and “On the Road” gain minor success back on 1976 the year they release their self-titled album featuring pomp-rock not that different from the parent group with a progressive touch in some parts. Strong songwriting and outstanding melodies compose this rarity. At the end of 1976, Grossmann and Zaake quit and were replaced by Matthias Jabs (later with Scorpions) and Rob Perotti. The band was active till 1982. 
1. Midnight Mover - 4:28
2. Give Yourself a Chance - 4:42
3. Without You - 3:24
4. Sailor (Lyrics by Corina Fortmann) - 6:12
5. On the Road - 2:54
6. World of Fantasy - 4:34
7. Sixteen - 4:27
8. Lonesome - 5:25
All compositions by Werner Nadolny, Claus Zaake, Christian Reinhardt, Hanno Grossmann

*Werner Nadolny - Organ, Strings, Piano, Synthesizers
*Claus Zaake - Drums, Percussion,
*Christian Reinhardt - Bass, Lead Vocals
*Hanno Grossmann - Guitars


Saturday, June 18, 2022

The Jules Blattner Group - Call Me Man (1971 us, fine blues roots 'n' roll with psych tinges)

Back in the fifties, strange as it may seem, St. Louis was not a major centre for rock 'n' roll. This is despite one of the all time greats, namely Chuck Berry, being based there but seemingly he returned to his hometown to rest as opposed to performing. This left the local St. Louis scene open to various contenders, one of whom was a young and eager Jules Blattner.

He was born on 8th February 1941 as Jules Merrill Blattner and when Rock 'n' Roll music started to sweep across the nation, he soon became interested in artists like Carl Perkins, Gene Vincent, Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley as well as black acts such as Joe Turner and Jimmy Reed. Around 1956, Jules and some of his school chums from Affton High School got together and formed the group Jules Blattner & The Teen Tones. They were all so young that none of them were old enough to drive and so Jules's mum was 'volunteered' to drive them to their various performances. They played at all the local high school dances and Teen Towns, the latter being community dances for the youth. Jules recalls: Rock 'n' Roll music for many was a sound newly heard. Just being in a band made you an outlaw then. Nobody was in a band. There weren´t any where we were from. I guess we were on the cutting edge. We played every Teen Town around. And it was risqué saying "Right Now, the bands going to wee-wee," at intermission time. Woo-woo. If you caught smoking at a Teen Town, you got banned from Teen town for two weeks. You were an outcast. It was a different world. He also advises that he was the first person in St. Louis to have an electric bass.

In early 1959, the outfit came to the attention of Bob Lyons who owned the Bobbin label, a set up basically recording local artists. Bob contracted with the guys and got them into his garage studio where they recorded their own 'Rock & Roll Blues' and 'Gambling Man'. Today, these are cult classics and are much sought after, especially amongst rockabilly collectors. Billboard magazine reviewed the disc and wrote: Blattner has an okay sound on this pounding rhythm side. He has the Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins derivative quality throughout whilst Cashbox told their readers: A beat workout that is sure to please any red-blooded rock´n roll teener. Blattner and friends have lots of beat talent. 'Rock & Roll Blues' was a local success reaching the number 8 spot on the charts and position 12 on the rhythm & blues lists. To capitalise on this, in July 1959 Bobbin Records issued their second disc, 'Teen Town' c/w 'Green Stuff'.

There was almost no competition in the region and so they had as much work as they could handle. When a promoter bought a name act to town, the Teen Tones were often engaged as the opening act and also to provide the backing for the artist(s) concerned. That way, they came to work with the likes of Dodie Stevens, Jesse Belvin, Ray Peterson, Isley Brothers, Brenda Lee, Wade Clemmons, Little Richard and, in later years, Ted Nugget and Sha Na Na.

Whilst the two releases on Bobbin had been localised successes, they failed to break out nationally. Accordingly in 1960, Jules decided to try his luck with K-Ark Records, a bigger company based in Nashville, Tennessee. He cut four sides for the label, namely 'Till I'm With You', 'Lonesome', 'Lover Doll' and 'One More Time'. However, upon release, they too failed to achieve the desired national impact.

The band played a lot of fairs in the area: The fair circuit was not only very desirable because of the exposure that you could get there, it was also desirable because of the woman you could get there. Another good place to play and meet girls was the church circuit. The Teen Tones played a ton of Catholic Church dances, enabling them to get in the good with many a catholic mother!!!!. The Teen Tone Fan Club was a cool bunch of wild teenage girls crazy about that big beat sound the Teen Tones put out. These young ladies wore Teen Tones jackets to dances, hoping to be the next steady of Jules.

In the early sixties, St. Louis nightlife was centred on Gaslight Square that contained many of the area's clubs. Jules was included on an album titled 'A Musical Tour Of Gaslight Square' which was issued on Norman Records (#105). This LP featured the house band or top band from different clubs. At that time, Jules was appearing at the Butterscotch Lounge and so he recorded 'Butterscotch Twist' for the set. As the twist was then the in thing, he renamed his band The Twist Tones with that later being amended to The Jules Blattner Group. During the winter season, the guys secured a steady job playing in Hawaii. This 'work vacation' lasted for several years.

The local Norman label was like a home base for Jules as he recorded for them on several occasions through the years up to 1989. The label was named after Norman Weinstrorer, one of the guys who had arranged the record deal between Buddy Holly and Coral Records a few years earlier as he was friendly with Norman Petty and Bob Thiele, the then head of Brunswick Records. Blattner's first record for Norman was 'Slip 'n' Slide' and to publicise this release, the company put out some tasty promotion flyers showing Jules on a waterslide with his guitar. The first release on Norman was followed up with 'Do You Love Me/St.James Infirmary' and then he had two sides out on the Gaslight label. The last mentioned was an attempt to cash in on the twist craze with 'Butterscotch Twist/Liszt Twist'. Two further singles then followed this on Norman in 1962 and 1963.

Jules's first wife had insisted that he added a day job to his schedule and accordingly Jules became a forklift operator but continued to play his music. One day the forklift fell over and Jules knew it was time to quit this occupation. In September 1964 he signed a deal with Coral Records, a subsidiary of giant Decca (later MCA) group. The resulting single had a self written instrumental called 'The Thing' on the flip whilst the A-side was his reading of the Chuck Berry tune 'No Money Down'. Cashbox in their January 1965 review wrote: Jules Blattner unleashes his potent, widerange vocal talents ful blast rockin´ blueser about a guy who trades in his junk for a new set of classy wheels on the easy payment plan. Could be big.

In the mid sixties, Chuck Berry had become a hot act in Europe and the demand for another album built up. To ready one a forthcoming European tour, Berry set up several recording sessions in Chicago. Due to time restrictions and problems with his band, Chuck decided to use Jules Blattner and his band for some of these recordings and accordingly hired them out of the Butterscotch Lounge on Gaslight Square. The band members each made $122.00 for their work but failed to receive any credit on the album cover. It was not easy to work with Chuck Berry as he changed everything at the last minute and did not stick to prepared arrangements. They finally completed the album for Chess Records on 15th December 1964 and the record company titled the album 'In London' (#1495). There was a hit record from the sessions with 'Dear Dad' and, amongst the other tracks, Berry reworked Blattner's 'Butterscotch Twist' as 'Butterscotch'. This did not perturb Jules too much and he continued to record several Chuck Berry tunes.

When his regular base in the Gaslight Square folded in 1965, Jules left St. Louis and finally settled in California. Whilst 1967 was perhaps not the year to record quality rock 'n' roll, Jules nevertheless laid down his versions of Johnny Ace's 'Pledging My Love' and Eddie Cochrans 'Summertime Blues' for the Tee Pee label. Whilst performing at The Forbidden City in Hawaii in 1968, Blattner received an offer from the USO to entertain the American Armed Forces in Viet Nam, Thailand, Singapore, Korea and Japan for a period of six months - three shows a day for seven days a week. The tour commenced just as the Tet Offensive started. He started the tour right when the Tet offensive started. Conditions for the trio and added girl singer were rough and the group were often forced to sleep in bunkers or hotels with shot out windows. Transportation was frequently by helicopters that were hit by enemy fire on several occasions.

Upon his return to the USA, Blattner worked the Wisconsin area as a trio along with Darrell Meister (bass) and Paul Spencer (drums). Upon the break up of this group, he then went out under his own name. Eventually he and another four guys formed a band by the name of Genesis but were forced to change this to Jules Blattner And The Warren Groovy All-Star Band due to the popularity of the UK band of the same name. This outfit then toured around for the next eleven years and initially released singles on the DMA, Cine Vista 5 and Target labels. In mid 1971, he signed a contract with Buddah Records and his first album, 'Call Me Man' was released in 1972. This sold reasonably well and so later in 1972, he recorded the LP 'Back On The Road Again' for Stash Records and hit position 23 on the Milwaukee charts. The following year, the title song was re-released as a single on MGM Records and charted again. As a follow up and remaining with MGM, Blattner recorded his third album titled 'The Mishtabula, Maine Marching Band & Soil Salvation Society' which was released under the name of Seluj Renttalb (Jules Blattner spelt backwards). This was a 'Sergeant Pepper' style release, complete with folk music influences and a talking children choir, for the flower power generation. More albums such as 'Live' (Mountain Records) and 'Back To The Basics' (Desmond label) and singles followed in the ensuing years. However, when disco music became the in thing, it was hard for a rock 'n' roll band to obtain regular bookings and accordingly Jules took up public relations works.

In the early eighties, Blattner returned to St. Louis and, despite his years as a musician, attempted to earn a living selling cars. This career lasted two weeks and came to an end when, whilst he was swimming in the pool of his mother's apartment complex, he heard some young kids playing music. He went down to watch and heard them play 'Louie Louie': I thought wait a minute. There´s bucks here. I can put this back together and not have to learn any new tunes. I take it serious and not make a joke out of the old tunes as many bands do. I´m a good song caller. I can read a crowd and I can get them dancing on song one.

Come 1992, Jules Blattner was voted (by the readers of the Riverfront Times) the Best Local Rock & Roll Artist which clearly demonstrated that he still had many loyal fans in the region. The same year saw him recording and issuing a new album, 'Jump On This', which was a mixture of funky rhythms, chirping horns and clever lyrics. He has composed hundreds of songs, released six albums and around forty singles.

Jules has been married three times and has a son and grandson and is still taking care of his 85-year old mother. He has no desire to retire and still plays about twice a week in the St.Louis area. Every once in a while, he revisits Casa Loma Ballroom that was established founded back in 1927. When he plays there, he fills the place and is regarded as a local hero. This is confirmed the overheard conversation of two guys at one of his shows. One guy said "Who the hell was that?" and the other replied "Oh, that´s Jules Blattner. He´s older than dirt, but he really rocks".
by Tony Wilkinson
1. Gonna Have A Good Time - 1:02
2. My Babe (Willie Dixon) - 3:58
3. All Strung Out (Rudy Clark) - 2:25
4. Fannie Mae (Waymon Glasco) - 2:26
5. Rocky Racoon (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 3:24
6. School Days (Chuck Berry) - 2:40
7. Bullshit - 3:14
8. Man - 4:35
9. Birth - 6:28
10.Downbound Train (Chuck Berry) - 2:39
11.Bye Bye Baby - 0:20
All songs by Jules Blattner except where noted

*Jules Blattner - Vocals, Guitar

Friday, June 17, 2022

Tripsichord - Tripsichord (1971 us, awesome acid psych folk blues rock, 2001 Akarma edition)

This notorious San Fransisco group is known to have toured in the late 60’s/early 70’s as “the fake Moby Grape” – a marketing scam created by the evil Matthew Katz, who himself was trying to capitalize on the legendary Grape’s short-lived success.

Tripsichord (also referred to as the Tripsichord Music Box) was actually a fine band, a real group too, who would go on to release a very good album in 1970.  Prior to their sole album (a Janus label release), the group recorded material for Katz that ended up on the Fifth Pipe Dream compilation.  These cuts are solid SF acid rock – heavy on intensity and dark aura, brooding harmony vocals and great guitar work.

Their only LP release is a midpoint between the psych sounds of early Quicksilver Messenger Service and Moby Grape’s shorter, more concise material – psych influenced rural rock/folk rock with plenty of stoned ruminations and lots of melodic guitar work – the classic SF sound.  Regarding the Tripsichord album, Fuzz, Acid & Flower’s Clark Faville added, “their self-titled album (recorded in 1969) proves conclusively that they alone carried the torch during that year that was once shared by Quicksilver Messenger Service, Frumious Bandersnatch and Moby Grape. The Tripsichord album is essentially what the world was hoping Shady Grove would be! The record is an embarrassing wealth of riches both musically and in its dark and menacing lyrical imagery. The dual guitar interplay on this under-rated gem is as good as anything by the three groups mentioned and has stood the test of time well.”   If the album has a weak spot, it’s “Short Order Steward,” a boring blues jam that’s nearly rescued by fine guitar soloing.   

The remaining cuts are excellent.  “Fly Baby” and “Black Door” are two of the better unknown SF psych cuts (Fly Baby features great tribal rhythms) while the album’s last cut, “Everlasting Joy,” lifts off with inspired guitar leads.  Other gems are the relaxed country rock of  “We Have Passed On” and the mystical musings of “Narrow Way.”  If you’re interested in hearing this unsung band’s music, the Akarma reissue is probably the best bet.  Besides including the album in its entirety, this disc also features the Fifth Pipe Dream tracks along with Tripsichord’s two 45s.  A very classy reissue with lots of great music.
by Jason Nardelli
1. On The Last Ride (Bill Carr, David Zandonatti) - 4:50
2. We Have Passed Away (Bill Carr) - 2:45
3. Black Door (Bill Carr) - 2:55
4. The New World - 4:36
5. Son Of The Morning - 5:30
6. Short Order Steward - 5:04
7. The New World - 3:46
8. Fly Baby (Bill Carr) - 6:22
9. Everlasting Joy (Bill Carr, David Zandonatti) - 4:16
10.You're The Woman - 3:00
11.It's Not Good - 3:00
12.Family Song - 8:00
13.Times And Seasons - 3:00
14.Sunday The Third - 4:00
All compositions by David Zandonatti except where indiacate
Bonus Tracks 10-14

*David Zandonatti - Vocals, Bass 
*Oliver McKinney - Keyboards, Vocals 
*Frank Straight - Lead Guitar, Vocals 
*Randy Gordon - Drums, Vocals 
*Bill Carr - Guitar, Vocals

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Lazarus - Lazarus (1973 austria, heavy underground prog psych rock, 2013 remaster)

Lazarus was founded by Peter Glatzl,  his career began in mid 60's, as member of  various Austrian bands, such as The Tornados, The Beacons, and after serving the Austrian army he joined Chromosom in 1969 along with Walter Spacil (the drummer from Lazarus).

At the end of 1970 Lazarus played many gigs in Austria with various line-ups until 1976. This amazing album was recorded in Vienna in 1973 in a professional studio for Rex Records. Only 15 sample copies were pressed and only five copies ended up with the band members. Rex were known for releases of German folk music and schlager, so they didn't know what to do with this far-out recording and did not release it. Among collectors, Lazarus was a big mystery since nobody had ever found a copy for the past 25 years. 

The cover artwork was made by Peter Hohenwill, an academic painter. It isn’t a typical psychedelic cover at all, but it is an optical mirror of the tunes. It shows outside what you hear inside. there were many different musical influences at the time. If I look at it from today I can’t deny that there are main influences such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Mountain, Wishbone Ash, Nazareth and Frank Zappa on the other hand. Also we hear some psychedelic elements.

Hans Pokora (Record Collector Dreams) managed to locate an original LP and the band as well, and Shadoks was able to work out a deal. The label was amazed with the great music and the professional compositions and recording. The story of Lazarus is told as a psychedelic opera of a being who emerges as a monster from his grave to spread terror and horror. Features All-English vocals, amazing fuzz guitar, Zappa-style arrangements, great vocals, tons of effects and tight drum sounds. This is pure underground with a good dose of psychedelia.
1. Awakening Of Lazarus (Part One) (Peter Glatzl, Walter Spacil, Helmut Sacher) - 3:25
2. Telchoskop (Ernst Glatzl, Helmut Sacher) - 4:12
3. Faraway (Harald Music) - 3:38
4. Summer Distress (Peter Glatzl, Helmut Sacher) - 5:36
5. Dear Willie (Alvin Waldner, Peter Glatzl) - 0:30
6. The Wind Cries Your Name (Alvin Waldner) - 3:56
7. (The Garden Of) Eden (Harald Music) 4:00
8. Sweet Reflection (Harald Music) - 2:56
9. Awakening Of Lazarus (Part Two) (Peter Glatzl, Walter Spacil, Helmut Sacher) - 4:04
10.You (Peter Glatzl) - 3:52

*Peter Glatzl - Guitar,Vocals 
*Peter Fischer - Bass
*Alvin Waldner -  Guitar, Vocals 
*Walter Spacil - Drums 
*Helmut Sacher - Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar 
*Ernst Glatzl - Trumpet
*Gerda Schich - Zither 
*Harald Music - Harp


Sunday, June 12, 2022

Broth - Broth (1970 cuba / puerto rico / us, fine mix of latin, jazz, psych brass rock)

New York based band formed round late sixties, most of the members were from Cuba and Puerto Rico. Their sound is an amalgam of Latin, funk, jazz psychedelic rock. The album was produced by Steve Verroca who was a very known producer, musician, songwriter (he also penned all of the songs except “Louie Louie”), with collaborations such as Link Wray, Kevin Coyne, Juicy Lucy among others. This is their only effort released through Mercury label, in 1970.
1. I'm A King (Eddie Valdes, Eufermio Hernandez, Steve Verroca) - 5:50
2. Manana (Sun Shine On) - 2:59
3. Train Woman - 3:40
4. Back To The City - 3:17
5. I'm Gonna Get You - 3:41
6. She's Famous - 4:51
7. Louie, Louie (Richard Berry) - 3:45
8. Change Your Mind (Eddie Valdes, Eufermio Hernandez, Steve Verroca) - 3:47
9. Here Comes The Man - 3:21
10.Goin' To Denver - 3:45
All songs by Steve Verroca except where stated

*William Villanueva - Saxophone, Percussion, Vocals 
*Carlos De La Rosa - Horns, Vocals 
*Eddie “Chino” Dominguez - Percussion, Vocals
*Gene Hunt - Guitar
*Wolf - Bass
*Chino - Guitar
*Jesus - Drums
*Fernie Suarez - Bass

Friday, June 10, 2022

Paul Brett - Clocks (1973 uk, elegant folk rock with prog touches)

The aforementioned ‘Duellin’ Banjo’ track is a little bit of an anomaly on here. An oasis amongst the Gallagher brothers, a Ringo to the rest of the Beatles. You do not get more of the same. The LP is filed under Rock, but it’s a bit of a stretch if I’m honest, it’s a bit like the trouble the Sorting Hat had with where to put Harry Potter. An element of country for sure is how the first side kicks off, and after the banjos have departed, ‘Empty Dreams / Flying machines’ is a gentle smouldering track that, to be honest, has more life in it than is given here. Rain from a clear sky is an oddity.

 A little psychedelia of noise accompanied by words that ramp along at a pace. It’s almost as if the two were brought together after different nights out and made to work. And Side A finishes with a more traditional violin dominant track which fits in the middle of everywhere.

And so it continues on Side 2. I’m not exactly sure if this fits into any specific genre. Accomplished musicians undoubtedly, it feels a little like a lost afternoon in the hills, trying to find its way home. Not quite sure which direction to take. Promising paths are followed by cul-de-sacs but stick with it as there is enough variation on here to be able to find little gems hidden here and there. Try Snowbird at the end for example. Lovely.
Vinyl Second
1. Clocks (Paul Brett, Mike Piggott) - 1:31
2. Soho Jack (Paul Brett, Mike Piggott, Dave Griffiths) - 3:22
3. Captain Dan - 3:41
4. Duellin' Banjo (Rodney Dillard, Douglas Dillard, Mitchell F. Jayne, Dean Webb) - 2:57
5. Empty Dreams / Flying Machines - 3:22
6. Rain From A Clear Sky (Paul Brett, Nick Sterling) - 3:08
7. One Sunday Morning - 3:29
8. Explanation Blues - 2:28
9. Circles - 2:50
10.Hunter Of Angels - 3:05
11.What You Mean To Me - 2:58
12.Summer Driftin' - 3:57
13.Snowbird - 3:29
All songs by Paul Brett except where noted

*Paul Brett - Acoustic, Electric Guitars, Vocals
*Mike Piggott - Drums - Violin, Acoustic Guitars
*Dave Griffiths - Mandolin, Acoustic Bass
*Lyle Harper - Electric Bass 
*Terry Poole - Electric Bass 
*Pat Donaldson - Electric Bass
*Jim Toomey - Percussion 
*Charlie Charles - Percussion 
*John Richardson - Percussion
*Rob Young - Piano
*Nick Sterling - Cello

1970  Paul Brett's Sage - Paul Brett's Sage (2007 japan edition)
1971  Paul Brett's Sage - Jubilation Foundry (2007 Japan remaster)
1972  Paul Brett's Sage - Schizophrenia (2007 Japan remaster)

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Cross Country - Cross Country (1973 us, wondrous melodic country sunny folk, 2009 edition)

Brooklyn-based Cross Country, it was actually a side-project of The Tokens, formed by brothers Mitch and Phil Margo, together with Jay Siegel, and backed by some great musicians. They released a lone, self-titled album in 1973, and it's quite nice. It's mostly harmonic Americana, similar in the vein of Simon & Garfunkel, Beach Boys and the lighter side of Crosby Stills and Nash.

The record is really lovely a little slice of early 70s rock, with requisite country, folk and pop overtones, with wonderful harmony work to boot. Most of the material was written by Mitch Margo except two songs, the Wilson Pickett's tune “In the Midnight Hour” (written by Steve Cropper and Pickett), and "Choir Boy" penned by Milo Sobel.

Mitch Margo died November 24th, 2017, of natural causes at his home in Studio City, California, at the age of 70. His brother Phil passed away at a hospital in Los Angeles, California, after suffering a stroke, on November 13, 2021, at the age of 79.
1. Today - 2:42
2. Just A Thought - 3:18
3. Cross Country - 3:49
4. In The Midnight Hour (Steve Cropper, Wilson Pickett) - 3:14
5. Things With Wings - 2:00
6. Extended Wings - 2:35
7. Tastes So Good To Me - 3:10
8. A Fall Song - 2:49
9. Choir Boy (Milo Sobel) - 3:20
10.A Ball Song - 2:50
11.A Smile Song - 4:28
All compositions by Mitchell Margo except where stated

Cross Country
*Mitchell Margo - Guitar, Keyboards, Moog Synthesizer, Percussion, Vocals
*Phil Margo - Percussion, Vocals
*Jay Siegel - Percussion, Vocals
*Hugh McCracken - Guitar
*Richard McGrath - Steel Guitar 
*Allan Schwartzberg - Drums
*Greg T. Walker - Bass
*Eric Weissberg - Fiddle, Mandolin, Pedal Steel Guitar
*Stu Woods - Bass 
*Jimmy Maeulen - Percussion
*Bob Mann - Guitar 
*Al Gorgoni - Guitar
*Kirk Hamilton - Bass
*Max Hollander - Strings
*Loren Korevec - Guitar 
*George Devens - Percussion
*Jerry Friedman - Guitar