Friday, September 30, 2022

Sweet Thursday - Sweet Thursday (1969 us / uk, beautiful psych folk rock feat Nicky Hopkins, remaster with extra tracks)

This group and their one and only album were once considered so hot, what with Nicky Hopkins, Alun Davies, and Jon Mark in the lineup, that a reissue in 1971 rated a full-page ad from the source label in Rolling Stone. In fact, it's a pleasant, well-played midtempo piece of late-'60s rock, with elements of British blues ("Side of the Road"), psychedelic harpsichords and flute ("Cobwebs"), and R&B, mid-'60s U.K. style. Alun Davies and Jon Mark are more than good enough guitar players and singers. 

Jon Mark's "Rescue Me" is one of the better numbers here, dominated by Hopkins' organ playing and driven by a great beat, and carried by his attempts at a white soul vocal performance; it's no surprise for the neophyte to learn that all of these guys played with outfits like Zoot Money's Big Roll Band and the Cyril Davies All-Stars. And then there's "Gilbert Street," which shows some finesse and a robust vocal performance, and sustains interest for five minutes plus; this number must have been something to hear in concert, and a whole album like it would have lived up to a reputation stretching across the decades. It's also easy to see why this record never caught on at the time, there are also two bonus tracks from their 45' single.
by Bruce Eder
1. Dealer (Jon Mark) - 6:05
2. Jenny  (Jon Mark) - 3:49
3. Laughed At Him (Jon Mark) - 5:14
4. Cobwebs (Brian Odgers) - 3:26
5. Rescue Me  (Jon Mark) - 3:44
6. Molly (Brian Odgers) - 3:09
7. Sweet Francesca (Jon Mark)  - 4:00
8. Side Of The Road (Alun Davies) - 4:52
9. Gilbert Street (Pat Gunning) - 10:22 
10.Getting It Together (Jon Mark) - 3:13
11.Mary On The Runaround (Jon Mark) - 3:05

Sweet Thursday
*Nicky Hopkins - Keyboards
*Alun Davies - Vocals, Guitar
*Jon Mark - Guitar, Vocals
*Harvey Burns - Percussion
*Brian Odges - Bass, Woodwind

Related Acts


Thursday, September 29, 2022

The Rhythm Dukes - Flashback (1970 us, fantastic west coast psych rock, from Moby Grape and Sons Of Chamblin fame, 2005 release)

The Rhythm Dukes was created in the late summer of 1969. Before, there was a trio called The Boogie with Barry Bastian, John Barrett and John "Fuzzy" Oxendine. Fuzzy had replaced Kilos Kowalski (aka Mike Kowalski), who had left to play with the Beach Boys. Before Kilos left, The Boogie was called The California Memorial Band and included two sax players named Goose and Crow. Crow went on to play in the Silver Fox Band and Goose moved to L.A.

Barry had a brush with the law and had to do 90 days. Subsequently John Barrett and Fuzzy Oxendine were 'loose' and after Barry left for good (he later formed the already mentioned Silver Fox Band in Northern California.), John and Fuzzy decided to do something else as a rhythm section. As a matter of fact Moby Grape broke up around that time.

Jerry Miller who had been with Moby Grape wanted to start a new band and called Fuzzy and John. Jerry was living in Boulder Creek and John and Fuzzy were living in Marin County. So both packed up and moved to Santa Cruz to an old stagecoach stop called 1906 Glen Canyon. A great place for a band, away from the road on 80 acres of meadows and redwoods.

The house was funky, but they fixed it up real nice, built a rehearsal room and started writing and playing music. The original Rhythm Dukes members were Jerry Miller and Don Stevenson from Moby Grape, plus John Barrett and Fuzzy Oxendine.

Don Stevenson left the band after a short while, though. He probably prefered to play drums instead of guitar as John Barrett recalls. Subsequently the Rhythm Dukes played all over the place as a trio, but soon yearned for more substance in the music. Right around that time the Sons of Champlin disbanded for a while and Bill Champlin joined up with the Rhythm Dukes trio adding his voice, guitar and his B-3. Along with Bill came faithful roadies Charlie Kelly and Hog Steve. The Rhythm Dukes trio added their own Bill Leidenthal to the crew and they were ready to rock. 

The band was very popular - by some rated as one of the best West Coast bands in 1970 - and played lots of venues before disbanding in 1971. Jerry Miller had contract obligations with Columbia Records and was not available a lot of the time. That did not go well, as the band's income was suffering, and they had to cancel some big gigs on very short notice. When Bill Champlin went back to the Sons of Champlin the Dukes had other members for a while, i.e. Russell Dahneke, a fine guitarist from the club scene in San Francisco and Ned Torney from the Chocolate Watch Band.

Eventually Moby Grape was trying to make a comeback, so it was the end of the Rhythm Dukes. Due to the fact that some tapes and the studio recording made in Marin County survived, the Rhythm Dukes' music has become available for the first time now. The album is entitled "FlashBack" and highly recommended as it not only includes members of Moby Grape and The Sons of Champlin but some cool West Coast music as well. Some of the tracks were later even recorded by the Sons of Champlin on their albums "Follow Your Heart" (1971) and "Welcome To The Dance" (1973).
1. Love Your Daddy (Jerry Miller) - 6:28
2. Hey Children (Bill Champlin) - 7:00
3. Children Pt 2 (Bill Champlin) - 5:03
4. She's a Woman (Bill Champlin) - 5:06
5. Can't Make It That Way (Jerry Miller) - 6:35
6. Kansas City (Jay McShann) - 5:42
7. If I Was Right (Jerry Miller) - 3:22
8. Get to Know You (Bill Champlin) - 9:07
9. For Joy (Bill Champlin) - 14:21
10.Seven Four (Bill Champlin) - 5:01

The Rhythm Dukes
*Bill Champlin - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Jerry Miller - Guitar, Vocals
*John Barrett - Bass, Vocals
*Fuzzy Oxendine - Drums, Vocals 

Related Acts
1966-69  Live (Sundazed digipak issue)
1967  Moby Grape - Moby Grape (2007 remaster)
1967-68  The Place And The Time (2009 Sundazed release)

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Allan Taylor - Sometimes / The Lady (1971 uk, exceptional acoustic baroque folk)

Allan Taylor is one of England's most-respected singer/songwriters. His songs have been covered by artists on both sides of the Atlantic, including Don Williams, Frankie Miller, Fairport Convention, Dick Gaughan, the McCalmans, the Fureys, the Clancy Brothers, and De Dannan. Folk Roots praised him for his "ability to crystallize a mood and evoke an era with the ease of a computer memory access, crafting perfect songs with dramatic changes in the spirit of Brecht, Bikel, and Brel." The Oxford Book of Traditional Verse felt as strongly, writing that Taylor was "one of the most literate and sensitive of contemporary songwriters in terms of words and music and one who is capable of exploring more complex subjects than most of his contemporaries."

Inspired by the folk revival that swept the United Kingdom in the mid-'60s, Taylor left school at the age of 16 to run a local folk club. Stepping out as a professional musician five years later, he was greatly supported by members of Fairport Convention. Their friendship was cemented when he toured as opening act for the group's national tour. His 1971 debut album, Sometimes, featured instrumental accompaniment from Fairport's drummer Dave Mattacks, fiddler Dave Swarbrick, and bassist Dave Pegg. 
by Craig Harris
1. Sometimes (Allan Taylor, Myles Wootton) - 3:07
2. Searching For Lambs (Traditional) - 2:36
3. Nursery Tale - 3:12
4. Robin Hood (Traditional) - 4:05
5. Song For Kathy - 3:37
6. Swallow Sallow (Allan Taylor, Myles Wootton) - 2:34
7. Scarlet And Grey (Allan Taylor, Myles Wootton) - 3:01
8. Our Captain Cried All Hands (Traditional) - 4:14
9. Tudor Pop - 3:11
10.The Leaves Of Spring (Allan Taylor, Myles Wootton) - 3:52
11.The Pied Piper (Allan Taylor, Myles Wootton) - 3:31
12.The Kiss (Allan Taylor, Robert Herrick) - 5:03
13.Belfast '71 - 4:51
14.Still He Sings - 2:24
15.The Morning Lies Heavy - 3:14
16.Something's Chenged - 2:38
17.Let Me Be - 4:21
18.The Boy And The Mantle - 6:43
19.The Lady - 2:33
20.Cain - 2:54
21.Simple Song - 3:06
22.My Lady (Ian Matthews) - 1:43
Words and Music by Allan Taylor except where indicated
Tracks 1-12 from "Sometimes" 1971 written between 1967-1970
Tracks 13-22 fom "The Lady" 1971

*Allan Taylor - Acoustic Guitar, Vocal
*Dave Mattacks - Drums
*Dave Pegg - Bass
*Dave Swarbrick - Violin
*Tony Cox - Orchestral Arrangements

"The Lady"
*Allan Taylor - Acoustic Guitar, Vocal
*Andy Roberts - Electric, Acoustic Guitar
*Dave Mattocks - Drums
*Bob Ronga - Bass
*Pete Stanley - Banjo, Dulcimer
*Tony Cox - Keyboards
*Ian Matthews - Backing Vocals
*Royston Woods - Backing Vocals
*Tony Halsted - Horn
*Robbie Hewlett - Bass
*John Wibraham - Trumpet

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Atlantis - Get On Board (1975 germany / uk, classic rock melted with blues and funky vibes)

Atlantis formed in late summer 1972 by Inga Rumpf (vocals), Jean-Jacques Kravetz (keyboards) and Karl-Heinz Schott (bass). These musicians previously played in the band called Frumpy. The original line-up also included guitarist Frank Diez and drummer Curt Cress (ex-Emergency).

After a few live performances in Germany, the first LP was produced at the Island Records studios in London, which was particularly well received in the USA, where Rumpf's blues-oriented voice was appreciated. Diez and Cress left the band after the recordings. George Meier joined Atlantis on guitar and Udo Lindenberg on drums for a four week tour of England with Procol Harum and Traffic. They were replaced after the tour by Dieter Bornschlegel (formerly with the band Traumtorte) and Ringo Funk (formerly with Jeronimo), with whom the second LP It's Getting Better (1973) was recorded.

During another four-week tour of England, Jean-Jacques Kravetz left the band to join the band Randy Pie. Reiner Schnell stepped in for him for a short time. At the end of 1973 the band ranked among the three most popular groups among the readers of the magazine Musikmarkt.

The next personnel change took place in the summer of 1974. British keyboarder Adrian Askew replaced Reiner Schelle, and guitarist Alex Conti from the band Curly Curve replaced Dieter Bornschlegel. In this occupation, the third album Ooh, Baby was recorded in 1974.

In 1975 there was a tour of the USA (mostly as a support act for Lynyrd Skynyrd), after which the band parted ways with Alex Conti, for whom the former guitarist Frank Diez and, for the first time, a second guitarist, Rainer Marz (formerly as Ringo Funk at Jeronimo), joined the group. The subsequent fourth LP Get on Board 1975 recorded and released with sound familiar to the America's hard rock bands, but it failed in sales.
1. Get On Board (Frank Diez) - 3:46
2. Change My Mind (Adrian Askew) - 4:31
3. The Man (Adrian Askew, Karl-Heinz Schott) - 3:45
4. Let Me Stay For A While (Frank Diez) - 3:57
5. Keep The Music Going On (Adrian Askew, Rainer Marz) - 2:49
6. Chartbuster (Frank Diez) - 3:12
7. The Captain And The Ship (Inga Rumpf) - 3:46
8. If I Couldn't Sing (Inga Rumpf) - 3:38
9. Tried To Climb A Mountain (Adrian Askew, Rainer Marz) - 4:34
10.Mainline Florida (George Terry) - 2:55
Bonus track #10

*Inga Rumpf - Lead Vocals
*Frank Diez - Guitar, Vocals
*Rainer Marz - Guitar, Vocals
*Adrian Askew - Keyboards
*Karl Heinz Schott - Bass, Vocals
*Ringo Funk -  Percussion, Drums

Related Act
1970  Frumpy - All Will Be Changed (2008 remaster with extra tracks)
1971  Frumpy - Frumpy II
1972  Frumpy - By The Way

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Jack Schechtman - Jack Schechtman (1972 italy / us / canada, essential amalgam of folk rock, baroque and jazzy tunes)

It was a feeling rarely experienced. Have you ever felt encased in a halo? That's about the most honest way to express it. His style is oh so soft and mellow, yet totally original. Lyrically, it's nothing short of brilliant. With touches of blues, funk and good ole rock and roll Jack creates an atmosphere of unmitigated joy. He stopped by Record World two weeks later. We were eager to learn more about this gifted individual. Jack was born in Italy and when he was only three his family moved to the south Bronx. As the years flew by, Jack realized his destinywas music, but as he said,"I felt too introverted in New York. Musically, I couldn’t express my self. So I moved to Toronto, not to drop out mind you, but to seek a kind of slow withdraw alI so desperately  needed."

The Toronto folk scene became a part of his life, playing at places like Grumbles and the Riverboat, and learning from artists like Leon Redbone. Jack appears frequently on Canadian network radio and television, including "The Ian Tyson Show, "which is syndicated in several U.S. markets.

Jack's material has come to the attention of several major artists. Buzzy Linhart, Man hattan Transfer and Bette Midler have requested his songs and one is set for the next Lighthouse album.  So the album comes in and each listening gets better and better. A wonderful assortment of Jack Schechtman songs and ideals. I guess it’s kind of fitting that Jack’s album arrives at a time when he and Suzan are preparing for a first child.  
by Mitchell Fink, Record World Magazine, 1972
1. You Of All People - 3:48
2. Blind Faith - 3:50
3. Sing And Sway - 3:14
4. Criss-Crossing - 3:39
5. A Lady To Love - 3:45
6. Up And Down - 3:37
7. Razor - 2:51
8. Sharpshooter Delight - 3:13
9. On Cherry Mountain - 3:42
10.The Road Rolls On - 3:50
11.Glory Come, Glory Go - 2:25
All Music and Lyrics by Jack Schechtman

*Jack Schechtman - Vocals, Guitar
*Suzie Schechtman - Harmony Vocals
*Maribeth Solomon - Piano, Organ, Vocals, Electric Maestro
*Micky Erbe - Bass, Vocals, Strings Arrangements
*Brian Leonard - Drums
*Tony Nolasco - Drums, Groans
*Yehuda Wolk - Tumba, Quinto Drums
*Michael McKenna - Lead Guitar (Track 8)
*Adam Mitchell - Guitars, Bass, Organ, Mouth Harp, Vocals
*Warren Bernhardt - Piano
*Frank Owens - Organ
*Donald McDonald - Drums
*Marugai - African Talking, Clay Drums
*Bill Keith - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Tony Levin - Bass
*Ralph Casale - Guitars
*Artie Schreck - Percussion
*Phil Bodner - Flute
*Maretha Stuart, Lesley Miller, Linda November, Helen Miles, Hilda Harris, Pattie Austin - The Up and Down Power Chorus

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Alan Hull - Phantoms (1975 uk, remarkable folk rock, 2007 remaster and expanded)

Alan Hull's third solo album, and his last before Lindisfarne reconvened in 1979, follows firmly in the footsteps of its two predecessors, while advancing their musical outlook towards entire new pastures. Indeed, a crack band and lush production could lure you into mistaking the opening "I Wish You Well" for any number of contemporary MOR troubadours, although the self-deprecating "Anywhere Is Everywhere" quickly brings your ears back to basics, a rock & rolling singalong that finds Hull sounding as sharp and sassy as he ever did in the past… and ever would in the future. Brilliant stuff. 
by Dave Thompson
1. I Wish You Well - 3:31
2. Anywhere Is Everywhere - 3:51
3. Make Me Want To Stay - 4:17
4. Dancing (On The Judgement Day) - 3:56
5. A Walk In The Sea - 3:11
6. Corporation Rock - 5:48
7. Madmen And Loonies - 3:11
8. Somewhere Out There - 4:17
9. Love Is The Alibi - 2:24
10.Love Is The Answer - 3:37
11.Isn't It Strange - 3:42
12.Spittin' In The Wind (Ken Craddock, Colin Gibson) - 3:29
13.Lay Back And Dream (Pete Kirtley) - 4:26
14.Something Got The Better Of You (Ken Craddock, Colin Gibson) - 4:52
15.Somewhere Out There - 4:19
16.Raw Bacon - 4:00
17.A Walk In The Sea - 3:15
18.Evening - 4:17
19.Dancing (On The Judgement Day) - 3:55
All songs by Alan Hull except where noted
Bonus tracks 11-19
Tracks 11-14 From Radiator's "Isn't It Strange" 1977 LP
Tracks 15-19 Previously Unreleased 1975 Demos

*Alan Hull - Bass, Guitars, Keyboards, Percussion, Vocals
*Bob Barton - Guitars, Vocals
*Bud Beadle - Horn
*Ken Craddock - Guitars, Keyboards, Percussion, Vocals
*Lesley Duncan - Vocals
*Keith Fisher - Drums, Percussion
*Colin Gibson - Bass, Percussion
*Steve Gregory - Horn, Vocals
*Pete Kirtley - Guitar
*Ray Laidlaw - Drums
*Joanna Newman - Vocals
*Rab Noakes - Vocals
*Terry Popple - Drums
*Liza Strike - Horn, Vocals

1973  Alan Hull - Pipedream (2005 remaster and expanded)

Friday, September 23, 2022

Hog Heaven - Hog Heaven (1971 us, potend country boogie rock, 2008 bonus tracks remaster)

Renegades from 60s US pop idols Tommy James & The Shondells, Michael Vale and Peter Lucia formed this outfit in 1970 to follow The Byrds, Burritos and Band in the newly fashionable country-rock direction. A lone self-titled album was the result. Their instrumental ace in the hole was steel guitarist Buddy Cage, whose signature is everywhere here, though his defection in 1971 to replace Jerry Garcia in New Riders Of the Purple Sage effectively ended the Hog’s story early. Five tracks that were canned as a result of this eventuality augment the original Roulette album, making this the definitive document on a little known but interesting outfit.
by Michael Heatley, 08 January 2009
1. Wilma Mae - 3:29
2. Glass Room - 4:11
3. Bumpin' Slapcar Mama (Buddy Cage, Ronnie Hand, Chuck Demorat, Peter Lucia, Michael Vale) - 2:09
4. Prayer - 2:21
5. Happy - 6:53
6. Pennsylvania - 3:33
7. Come Away - 7:01
8. We All Go Down - 4:17 
9. Theme From A Thought - 3:48
10.Stoned Feelin' - 4:23
11.Light Of The Lord - 2:05
12.You And Me - 4:06
13.If It Feels Good Do It - 3:45
14.Free Spirit - 4:41
All songs by Michael Vale, Peter Lucia except where noted
Bonus Tracks 10-14

Hog Heaven 
*Buddy Cage - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Ronnie Hand - Drums, Percussion 
*Chuck Demorat - Lead Guitar 
*Peter Lucia - Drums, Vocals
*Michael Vale - Bass, Vocals
*Ronnie Rosman - Keyboards, Vocals

Related Act

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Days - Days (1970 denmark, magnificent psych proto prog with jazz elements, 2007 remaster)

The Danish group Days was formed in Copenhagen in the winter of 1967/1968 by Peter Lindhe (drums), John Kjaergaard (vocals/rhythm guitar), Ole Fester (vocals/bass) and Lars Reinau (vocals/lead guitar). The band's repertoire was mainly rock and blues-oriented with cover versions of songs from John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones. Lindhe and Reinau started writing original material for the band and the repertoire started changing from rock/blues cover versions to self-composed, more lyrical songs with elements of The Beatles, Procol Harum and (early) Deep Purple. 

In 1969, Jørn Anker (Hammond organ) joined the band and he, too, started contributing new original songs. The Days LP was recorded in the early summer of 1970 and in 1971, the band split up. Days came out on the Spectator label, and is one of the rarest albums from Denmark. It is full of amazing prog tunes with great organ elements and strong fuzz guitar.
1. Preambulum (Sound Track In G-Major)/Discovery In Blue (Jørn Anker/Lars Reinau) - 6:24
2. Believe In Me (Ole Fester) - 4:32
3. Feel The Joy (Peter Lindhe, John Kjærgård) - 6:55
4. What Can I Do (Lars Reinau) - 6:44
5. The Lonely Shepherd Boy (Jørn Anker) - 4:32
6. Globe Without A Soul (Jørn Anker, Steen Christiansen) - 6:01

*Ole Fester - Bass 
*Peter Lindhe - Drums 
*Lars Reinau - Guitar, Vocals  
*Jørn Anker - Keyboards, Vocals 


Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Alan Hull - Squire (1975 uk, a wonderful crash, through with its dryly humorous lyrics, to the bluesy rock boom and flavored air melodies, 2013 bonus tracks remaster)

A talented, versatile and prolific musician, Alan Hull rose to prominence with Tyneside folk rockers Lindisfarne, and in 1973 released a Top 30 solo album, Pipedream. Released two years later, the follow-up Squire was written as the soundtrack to the TV play by Tyneside playwright Tom Pickard, broadcast in 1974 with Hull playing the lead role on screen. His character, Alfy, is an unemployed Newcastle boy who has Walter Mitty-like fantasies about being wealthy (and how wonderful is the cover portraying that?).

Produced by Hull at Morgan Studios, the album still sounds exquisite and crystal clear. Shades of The Kinks, solo Lennon and early ELO imbue the mid-tempo title track, rock’n’roller Nuthin’ Shakin’ and heartbreaking One More Bottle Of Wine.

While it’s not a prog album per se, the Mellotron on instrumental I’m Sorry Squire pins it to its mid 70s period and, themed around Pickard’s play, it might even qualify as a concept album of sorts. Regardless, Hull (who died 20 years later, aged just 50) was firing on all cylinders here.
by GRM, September 25, 2013
1. Squire - 5:08
2. Dan The Plan - 4:20
3. Picture A Little Girl - 2:43
4. Nuthin' Shakin' (Cirino Colacrai, Diane Lampert, Eddie Fontaine, Johnny Gluck) - 3:45
5. One More Bottle Of Wine - 4:14
6. Golden Oldies - 3:57
7. I'm Sorry Squire - 3:57
8. Waiting - 3:43
9. Bad Side Of Town - 3:56
10.Mr. Inbetween - 2:37
11.The End - 0:41
12.Crazy Woman - 3:00
13.Carousel - 2:59
All compositions by Alan Hull except where noted
Bonus Tracks 12-13

*Alan Hull - Guitar, Keyboards, Percussion, Vocals
*Brian Chatton - Keyboards
*Kenny Craddock - Guitar, Keyboards, Percussion, Vocals
*Lesley Duncan - Vocals
*Colin Gibson - Bass, Percussion
*Ray Jackson - Harmonica, Mandolin
*Ray Laidlaw - Drums
*Albert Lee - Electric Guitar
*Micky Moody - Electric Guitar
*Joanna Newman - Vocals
*Terry Popple - Drums
*Jean Roussel - Keyboards 

1973  Alan Hull - Pipedream (2005 remaster and expanded)

Monday, September 19, 2022

Freddy Lindquist - Menu (1970 norway, noisy freak guitar rock, 2004 remaster)

Freddy Lindquist was a veteran of several Norwegian beat bands before embarking on his solo album in 1970. Moving on to heavy rock he produced an album in the classic vein of Cream and Taste - the comparison being even more apt as the addition of two help-mates made the band into a trio. The guitar-work on the opener 'Sundae Sellers' is very Clapton-influenced, although in no way just a copy-cat, and the jazzy 'Green And Pink Little Man' shows Lindquist is equally at home with hard rock. 'Shakaro' is a flute-led instrumental which nicely breaks up the album, before 'How Nice' re-introduces the guitar as the lead instrument for it's own showcase. 

In 1970 he gathered friends from the Club 7 environment and got free access to Arne Bendiksen's studio to record the now legendary album "Menu". Freddy Dahl (Junipher Greene), Calle Neumann, Espen Rud and Geir Wentzel, among others. - a bit of a star team. The result is one of the best Norwegian freak-rock albums of all time and a must for anyone interested in that sort of thing.

A heavy, heavy version of Los Bravos' 'Black Is Black' - done a la Vanilla Fudge - is one of the highlights of the album, but Lindquist's own offerings like 'Women Running Around' and 'Join In And Freak Out' are equally fine, and make this a truly excellent album. All the songs are sung in English, and have a definite British vibe to them, making them accessible to a worldwide audience. 
1. Sundae Sellers (Bent Birkholm) - 4:43
2. The Green And Pink Little Man (Freddy Lindquist) - 4:08
3. Ridin', Huggin' And Kissin' (Bent Birkholm, Freddy Lindquist) - 3:40
4. Sharako (Freddy Lindquist) - 3:42
5. How Nice (Keith Emerson) - 4:40
6. Black Is Black (Michelle Grainger, Steve Wadey, Tony Hayes) - 4:27
7. Woman Running Around (Bent Birkholm) - 5:48
8. Join In And Freak Out (Bent Birkholm, Freddy Lindquist) - 3:25

*Freddy Lindquist - Guitar, Bass, Flute, Percussion, Vocals
*Freddy Dahl - Vocals
*Espen Ruud - Drums
*Leif Jensen - Drums (Track 4)
*Kalle Neuman - Alto Saxophone

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Brett Smiley - Breathlessly Brett (1974 us, a fabulously fey, coyly campy, and smashingly swishy glam pop, 2003 release)

Brett Smiley was no David Bowie, in fact, the album the 18-year-old Mr. Smiley made with the Rolling Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham in 1974, “Breathlessly Brett,” didn’t even see the light of day until 40 years had passed.

But he was someone you should know. And in what seemed like some sort of cosmic coincidence, he died on Jan. 8, just two days before his immeasurably more successful contemporary.

The failure of Mr. Smiley — or Brett, as I came to know him — to take his own place in the pantheon of 1970s glam legends wasn’t because of a lack of effort. He was young, American, gorgeous and wrote compelling songs delivered in a breathy, achingly vulnerable voice. Some $100,000 had been invested in starting his career. Disco magazine declared him “the Most Beautiful Boy in the World.” He was poised, on the precipice, ready for his close-up.

But “Breathlessly Brett” was shelved. “I just refused to let them release the album,” Mr. Oldham said recently in an email. “I knew it would be a disaster, and we’d already had one — the 45 r.p.m. release of ‘Space Ace,’ ” a song from the record.

The astronaut-themed “Space Ace,” with its military-style snare drum rolls, “launchpad” sound effects and lush strings might have been titled “Not Quite Space Oddity.” The up-tempo, catchy B-side, “Va Va Va Voom,” would have made a much better debut. Either way, Brett’s glam career crash-landed, and Mr. Bowie — and the rest of the world — moved on.

In 1977, Brett landed a part in “Cinderella,” a low-budget soft-porn flick. Appearing in a movie wasn’t such a big stretch; he had understudied the lead role in “Oliver” on Broadway for a little over a month in 1965. But it was the last major gasp from Brett, who like so many in the hedonistic ’70s and ’80s was wooed by assorted mind-altering substances. And off he went.

By the time I met Brett in Central Park in 1988 while playing Frisbee, his time had passed. To me he was a skinny, friendly, vaguely beat-up-looking man who, like me, carried a guitar everywhere he went. We talked, we jammed, he played me one of his new songs — “From the Head to the Heart” — and he told me to throw out one line of a new song I had just written called “Quittin’ Time.” It was good advice.

We kept seeing each other in the park on weekends and then one last time, for a few hours, at a mutual friend’s house. Eventually, he told me the story of his 15 minutes of almost-stardom, but I didn’t really care. There was no Internet and I could not look up photos, hear recordings or see his and Mr. Oldham’s appearance on Russell Harty’s British TV show.

I just liked the guy; he wasn’t a dude or a bro, but neither was he overly touchy-feely. I was aching at the time for guidance, particularly with music, and Brett gave it to me without being asked. There was something lovable about him. Such is the nature of born stars, whether they become famous or not; you just want to be around them.

When Brett suddenly disappeared and I eventually made inquiries, I was told he’d succumbed again to drugs and had fled to California. I soon left New York to live in an Indian ashram. The past rapidly seemed a millennium away, and the ’80s were cemented in pop culture almost as soon as they were over.

I remembered Brett all through the next three decades, though — his face, his manner and especially the fact that he never complained about his faded career or his drug addiction; he didn’t seem to feel sorry for himself.

Shaken to the core in the wake of David Bowie’s death, I thought of glam and decided, after all these years, to Google Brett Smiley.

I wasn’t surprised, knowing his history, to see the headline “Brett Smiley Dies at 60,” but was gobsmacked to see he’d died in his Brooklyn apartment just 48 hours before Mr. Bowie. He’d been found, the obituaries said, by family members and a friend who had been unable to contact him by phone.

And thus I spent the better part of the day getting to know the Brett I had never known and falling in love with the tiny, beautiful creature on the cover of “Breathlessly Brett” as one might have in 1974 — in the den with friends gathered around a turntable or in one’s bedroom. There was also Andrew Loog Oldham and a nervous Brett Smiley debuting on British TV with “Space Ace,” which Brett had expected to mime but had to perform live. His songs have played nonstop on my iPod since I downloaded them two days ago. It’s all Brett, all the time.

David Bowie, by contrast, does not need me to mourn him. I saw the 1976 film “The Man Who Fell to Earth” when it came out (though I didn’t understand it). I pulled my car over to listen to “Ashes to Ashes” in 1980 the first time it came over the radio because the snapping bass guitar opening the song was so compelling; I didn’t even know it was Mr. Bowie’s song until he started singing. I watched him at Live Aid during a break from the restaurant I was working at near Washington Square Park in 1985, and I’ve sung the words “This is ground control to Major Tom” in public about 500 times since I was 15. I’ve given him more than 40 years of my life, and the world will no doubt see to his legacy without my help.

But maybe Brett Smiley does need me to mourn him. I asked Mr. Oldham for his thoughts, and they were kind. “He was an irresistible spirit, a warrior, superb writer and chronicler of his and our times,” Mr. Oldham said. “A good person to have as a friend, a lovable rogue. He will be missed.”

Brett wasn’t Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke or Major Tom, he didn’t end up getting to record and hang out with John Lennon and Mick Jagger and he didn’t make millions of dollars — not even close. But he was the Space Ace, as well as a talented, slightly mysterious guy who was nice to me when he had no reason to be. Brett Smiley didn’t change the world, but he’s left it now. He lived a life, and it mattered.
by Josh Max, Jan. 16, 2016
1. Brett's Lullaby - 0:31
2. Highty Tighty - 2:59
3. Space Ace - 3:50
4. April In Paris - 3:29
5. Solitaire (Neil Sedaka) - 4:03
6. Va Va Va Voom - 3:12
7. Run For The Sun (Brett Smiley, Tony Freed) - 2:44
8. I Want To Hold Your Hand (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 2:55
9. Pre-Columbian Love - 2:14
10.Queen Of Hearts - 3:49
11.I Can't Help Myself / Over The Rainbow (Brian Holland, Edward Holland, Jr., Lamont Dozier / Isidore Hochberg, Harold Arlen) - 2:49
12.Young At Heart (Carolyn Leigh, Johnny Richards) - 2:08
All songs by Brett Smiley except where indicated

*Brett Smiley - Vocals
*Jim Keltner - Drums
*Ken Ascher - Piano
*David Spinozza - Guitar
*Steve Marriott - Guitar
*Andrew Loog Oldham - Producer

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Orion Express - Orion Express (1975 us, pleasant southern boogie rock, 2005 release)

The self-titled debut by Orion Express was released in 1975 on the Round Mound Of Sound label. Hailing from California, Orion Express deliver rural hard psych/rock with acid guitar jamming. As with many of the 'back woods' guitar bands of that era the influences of Greg Allman and the Allman Brothers are never far away, with swirling keyboards, wailing leads, bluesy southern rock. great harp work... you can tell these guys were playing with the wind in their hair and the West coast sun in their faces!! Vocal comparisons are hard to tie down but Greg Allman, Paul Rodgers and a less warbly Roger Chapman all spring to mind!! Its good time summer boogie... the way it should be played.
1. Hey Mama  (Mick Martin) - 2:20
2. Blackness of Your Thoughts (Robbie Smith) - 4:19
3. Don't Give Up On Me  (Mick Martin) - 4:50
4. Gotta Get the First Plane Home (Ray Davies) - 1:56
5. Mercury Blues (Steve Miller, K.C. Douglas) - 2:14
6. Hard Goin' Up (Bettye Crutcher) - 5:56
7. Down the Rail  (Mick Martin) - 2:18
8. Time for Livin' (Robbie Smith) - 2:54
9. Another Bar Song (For Audrey) (Mick Martin) - 3:00
10.Your Mind Is On Vacation (Mose Allison) - 1:56
11.Misty Daydreams (Robbie Smith) - 3:46
12.Sunshine Lady (Richard Russom, Mick Martin) - 4:42
13.Beef Patties (Robbie Smith) - 1:57 

Orion Express
*Jim Damiano - Lead Guitar, Vocals 
*David Jolly - Drums 
*Mick Martin - Vocals, Harmonica, Percussion 
*Richard Russom - Keyboards, Backing Vocals 
*Steve Schofer - Bass 
*Robbie Smith - Guitar, Backing Vocals 

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Strongbow - Strongbow (1975 us, fine hard prog prog rock)

The second version of Strongbow started when Dave Smith met Bill Bendler when both were playing in the Rhodes Brothers touring band. David (drums) and Bill (vocals, trombone) wanted to play in a progressive hard rock band, so they left and got together with Sandy Edelstine (formerly of the Jaguars/Baroque Montly) and Bud Fowler to form Axis. Later in 1972 "Buzz" Ashton replaces Edelstine on guitar, and Mike Haines returns on bass. The band resurrects the Strongbow name and plays a lot of gigs in Michigan. Ashton departs, to be replaced with Michael Shortland (guitar) and John Stelzer (organ, sax, flute, synth, and vocals).

In the summer (likely July) of 1973 Strongbow went to Cleveland Recording and cut two original songs - "If You're Going to the City" (by John Stelzer) and "Change" (by Bill Bendler and Mike Haines). The 45 was released on the band's own Epodus label with the songs published under "Pizza music" - "If You Don't Like it, Eat It"!

John Durzo provides a first hand account - "I joined in October 1973. Mike Haines had just quit. The line-up was Bill Bendler, John Stelzer, Michael Shortland, and David Smith. It was an INCREDIBLE band, a musician's band. We toured throughout Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, West Virginia, Georgia and Florida. We opened for Ted Nugent at Alex Cooley's Electric Ballroom and then six months later came in as the opening act for Elvin Bishop. We opened for Bob Seger, Cactus, Thee Image, and tons of other national and regional acts. The writing of the band was definitely edgy, but the covers we played ranged from Iron Man to Can't Get Next To You. We kind of had a Uriah Heep/Deep Purple sound, due largely to the Hammond B3, but also had horn arrangements in some songs and straight forward driving rockers. We had a LARGE following who would pack every show we did, especially after the album was released. The disolution of the band was mainly due to poor management and the record company going belly up. I left in 1976 to play with a group called Tyler, and Mike Shoaf (ed. note - Mike had been in local bands in the 60s, including the Gears) took my place. I believe that Strongbow lasted until 1977, or there about."

Strongbow released an LP in 1975 on Buddah's Southwind subsidiary. The band had recorded a demo LP of seven original songs at Owl in Columbus, but re-recorded them at Buddah's request. John Durzo - "The reason for re-recording was the record company (Southwind) didn't like the sound quality (or they wanted to be able to fleece more money from us somehow). Mega Sound Studios in Bailey, NC, was - as I recall - a rat-infested little dump out in the middle of a field, miles from civilization. It sounded okay there, and there was room to spread the equipment out and isolate big amps (Ampeg SVTs) with fans from the speaker cabinets and mics, etc. The album kind of got wimpy-ized during the mastering or pressing. That's why I prefer the Owl demos on Con Carne to the actual album. It sounded more "Strongbow." In 2001 the band released a CD of the Owl recordings entitled "Con Carne" - a meatier sound. "We played all the album songs live. Our concert sets were usually 95% original. When we were on the bar circuit, we had a pile of covers that we used to fill the 4 or 5 sets per night."

"In 1975, Strongbow went on a western jaunt, playing in Sioux Falls, SD on our way to California. We went to the Starwood in LA, where we opened for Lydia Pense and Cold Blood for 3 nights, then opened for Ruby Starr and Grey Ghost for another 3 nights. One of Michael Shortland's old girlfriends was living out there and brought in her boyfriend to see a show. It was John Mayall of John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers fame He actually got up on stage with us and jammed for 40 minutes. What a set! Boy, was Ruby Starr's entourage pissed off! Oh, well. We went back to his house and helped him celebrate his son's 16th birthday party. Quite a list of Rock'n'roll Who's Who there as well. Joe Cocker, Richie Blackmore, then I passed out.....from there, back to Columbus for a couple of months of sold-out shows."
by John Durzo, David Smith and Sterling Smith
1. One Armed Bandit - 3:42
2. Sister Sea - 5:37
3. The Only One Around - 9:51
4. Move Over Gloom - 5:08
5. How Can I Be Loving You - 5:56
6. Wine Eyes (David Smith) - 2:42
7. Hazy May - 6:52
All songs by Bill Bendler except where noted

Bill Bendler - Vocals, Piano, Trombone
Michael Shortland - Guitar, Vocals
John Stelzer - Organ, Synthesizer, Mellotron, Alto, Tenor Saxophones, Flute, Vocals 
John Durzo - Bass, Vocals
David Smith - Drums, Vocals

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Magic Sam - Live At The Avant Garde June 22 (1968 us, outstanding electri blues, 2013 remaster)

Now here’s a blues album for ya. Recorded in 1968 and getting its first-ever CD release, Magic Sam Live at the Avant Garde is a time capsule from the days when this Chicago blues trio could step into a Milwaukee club and tear the place up. Magic Sam’s guitar throttling is dextrous, snaky but always clean, and his rhythm section of Big Mojo Elam on bass and Bob Richey on drums keeps everything moving along nicely. From instrumental opener “San-Ho-Zay” to well-worn standards such as “Hoochie Coochie Man”, the band is simultaneously energetic, laid back and tighter than a watch spring.

Sam’s vocals are unvarnished but honest in the way that true blues delivery requires, and the between-song patter is just a bonus (one that does not wear out its welcome, either). There’s no showing off here, as Sam is a practitioner of the “less is more” school of guitar wizardry, but the solos are extensive and note-perfect without being busy. Standout cuts include the nervy “Lookin’ Good” and the murky, downtempo “It’s All Your Fault, Baby”, but the whole album is smoking hot. Sam tragically passed away in 1969, but this recording stands as a testament to his mastery.
by David Maine, 2 April 2014 
1. San-Ho-Zay (Freddie King, Sonny Thompson) - 4:46
2. Don´t Want No Woman (Don Robey) - 3:46
3. I Need You So Bad (B.B. King, Sam Ling) - 4:29
4. Feelin´ Good (Herman Parker) - 4:42
5. It´s All Your Fault Baby (Lowell Fulson) - 4:42
6. You Belong to Me (Samuel Maghett) - 4:18
7. Bad Luck Blues (Samuel Maghett) - 3:21
8. Come On in This House (Amos Blakemore) - 3:56
9. Hoochie Coochie Man (Willie Dixon) - 3:40
10.Still a Fool (Muddy Waters) - 4:00
11.That´s All I Need (Samuel Maghett) - 4:47
12.All Your Love (I Miss Loving) (Otis Rush) - 4:11
13.That´s All Right (Jimmy Rogers) - 3:29
14.Lookin´ Good (Samuel Maghett) - 5:15
15.Everynight Everyday (Jimmy McCracklin) - 4:15
16.Hully Gully Twist (B.B. King, Joe Josea) - 4:03

*Magic Sam - Guitar, Vocals
*Robert "Big Mojo" Elem - Bass
*Bob Richey - Drums

1967  Magic Sam - West Side Soul (2011 digipak)  

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

The Chambers Brothers - New Generation (1971 us, spectacular funky blues rock with psych aspects)

Eschewing their normal frenzied mix of soul and rock, the brothers package their socially uplifting messages more in James Brown-style funk than usual. They produce the album themselves and their ambition often exceeds their grasp. String orchestrations by band members Brian Keenan and Joe Chambers clutter an already-busy mix. The title track is the kind of extended rave-up that seems to be on every one of their albums. "Going to the Mill" closes the session with a straightforward, and welcome, shot of gospel. 
by Mark Allan
1. Are You Ready (Joseph Chambers) - 3:50
2. Young Girl (Lester Chambers, Willie Chambers) - 3:39
3. Funky (Lester Chambers) - 2:54
4. When The Evening Comes (C. LaMarr) - 6:40
5. Practice What You Preach (Joseph Chambers) - 3:32
6. Reflections (George Chambers) - 5:24
7. Pollution (Joseph Chambers) - 1:48
8. New Generation (C. LaMarr, Joseph Chambers) - 11:55
9. Going To The Mill (C. LaMarr) - 5:13

The Chambers Brothers
*George Chambers - Bass
*Joe Chambers - Guitar, Vocals
*Lester Chambers - Harmonica, Vocals
*Willie Chambers - Guitar, Vocals 
*Brian Keenan - Drums

1967  The Chambers Brothers - The Time Has Come

Monday, September 12, 2022

Revival - Revival (1972 us, ravishing hippie country folk rock)

Revival is a country-rock band founded by the East Coast folk duo of Dan Daley and Michelle Conway. They built around strong two, three and four part harmonies, this group touches more bases than the country‐rock which dominates the album. There are two beautiful ballads—”I Was, You Were” and “Words No. 1”—and an exciting pop jazz number, “Barbara.” Mi chelle Conway's gutsy vocal solo on the latter serves as much as a musical instru ment as the coneyor of the lyrics.

All but three of the songs contained herein—Gerry Se gal's comment on deception, “Darrell Heywood,” Merie Haggard's classic “Mama Tried,” and Bobby Flax and Lanny Lambert's tuneful if innocuous “One Too Many Goodbyes” — are originals from the pen of lead singer and guitarist Dan Daley, who shows promise in all three areas. As a composer he moves freely between the country and pop idioms. As a vocalist he is clean and straight‐foward.

Rounding out the group are bass player Paul Guzzone and drummer Mike Malfesi, both of whom also sing. Though the quartet is moving in sev eral directions at once, the vocal harmonies hold every thing tightly and happily together.
by Ira Mayer, March 26, 1972
1. Way That It Feels (Dan Daley) - 3:35
2. Mama Tried (Merle Haggard) - 2:23
3. So Hard Lovin' (Mike Malfesi, Dan Daley) - 2:24
4. I Was, You Were (Dan Daley) - 4:47
5. One Too Many Goodbyes (Bobby Flax, Lanny Lambert) - 2:18
6. Swamp River (Patt Sciarrata, Dan Daley) - 4:02
7. Tomorrow (Patt Sciarrata, Dan Daley) - 3:53
8. Darrell Heywood (Jerry Segal) - 2:20
9. To No One In Particular (Dan Daley) - 3:03
10.Words No. 1 (Patt Sciarrata, Dan Daley) - 4:03
11.Barbara (Patt Sciarrata, Dan Daley) - 8:03

*Dan Daley - Guitar. Banjo, Vocals
*Paul Guzzone - Bass, Vocals
*Mike Malfesi - Drums, Guitar, Vocals, Rhythm Guitar (Track 4)
*Michelle Conway - Electric Piano, Vocals, Percussion
*Hank DeVito - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Larry Packer - Fiddle
*Stan Schwartz - Piano, Organ

Saturday, September 10, 2022

The Jaggerz - We Went To Different Schools Together (1970 us, groovy rhythm 'n' blues with psych elements)

The Jaggerz, who formed in the Beaver Falls/Aliquippa Pennsylvania, around 1965, released their first single in 1968 and produced their first album on Philadelphia's Huff-Gamble label in 1969. Although they regarded themselves as a rhythm and blues act, The Jaggerz broke the charts with "The Rapper", a more pop sounding single they recorded on the Kama Sutra label in 1970. "The Rapper" reached the number one spot in the pop music charts in March of that year, and became a gold record. (Based on the success of their single, The Jaggerz toured the country and appeared on Dick Clark's American Bandstand.

After band member Jimmie Ross left to join the Skyliners in 1975, the Jaggerz disbanded. More recently, Ross, along with three other original band members, revived the group earlier this year and released a CD of old Jaggerz favorites, as well as some new tunes. 
1. The Rapper (Dominic Ierace) - 2:47
2. I Call My Baby Candy (Dominic Ierace) - 3:02
3. Memoirs Of The Traveller (Joe Rock, Dominic Ierace, Benny Faiella) - 3:33
4. With A Little Help From My Friends (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 6:39
5. At My Window (Joe Rock, Dominic Ierace) - 4:13
6. Looking Glass (Joe Rock, Dominic Ierace, Benny Faiella) - 3:33
7. Things Gotta Get Better (Joe Rock, Thom Davies, Billy Maybray) - 3:59
8. Carousel (Joe Rock, Thom Davies, Jim Pugliano) - 5:25
9. Don't Make My Sky Cry (Joe Rock, Thom Davies, Billy Maybray) - 3:21
10.That's My World (Joe Rock, Thom Davies) - 3:44

The Jaggerz
*Dominic Ierace - Guitar, Bass, Trumpet, Vocals
*Jimmy Ross - Tube, Trombone, Bass, Vocals
*Benny Faiella - Guitar, Bass, Bacground Vocals
*Thom Davies - Organ, Piano, Trumpet
*Billy Maybray - Bass, Drumbs, Vocals
*Jim Pugliano - Drums, Background Vocals

Friday, September 9, 2022

Thunder Mugs - On The Spot (1969 us, cult garage psych, with fuzz guitar farfisa and melodic vocals, 2000 digipak release)

The Thunder Mugs were an obscure late-'60s band from California that recorded an album's worth of songs for Bill Holmes' All American label. Although the band never released a full album, they did manage a single: "Motion Tree" b/w "Captain Midnight." The band consisted of Dennis Bassetti (bass, vocals), Bob Jonte (drums), Jack Lutz (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards), and Jerry Roy (lead guitar, vocals). Composed by Lutz, the music on this album is predominantly soft psychedelic pop with good guitar, a few effects, and a very British sound. 

The material offers good period charm and features a few standout songs that, if released in Britain in 1967, could've easily become hits. This release on Akarma Records was officially licensed from All American and contains the band's entire output of 13 songs. 
by Keith Pettipas
1. Motion Tree - 2:47
2. Sweetwater Roll - 3:33
3. Muffin Man - 2:49
4. Mary Jane - 2:10
5. Figure This - 3:00
6. Captain Midnight - 2:09
7. Lucky Lady - 2:43
8. You For Me To Love - 2:09
9. Mistah Moon Risin' - 2:20
10.Marmalade Lady - 2:20
11.Mr. Z's Backyard - 2:29
12.What Is There Left - 2:29
13.Rooms Of Laughter - 2:29
All songs by Jack Lutz

Thunder Mugs
*Jack Lutz - Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar, Drums, Keyboards
*Bob Jonte - Drums
*Jerry Roy - Lead Guitar, Backup Vocals
*Dennis Bassetti - Bass Guitar, Backup Vocals
*Pontak Grote - Tambourine
*Bob Hale - Rhythm Guitar