Monday, October 31, 2022

Stampeders - Hit The Road (1976 canada, mainstream rock with latin tunes and horns section, 2006 remaster)

"Hit the Road" is the eighth full length album from Canadian rockers The Stampeders. Following the release of their classic 1975 album "Steamin'", which featured another Canadian hit with "Hit The Road Jack", featuring Wolfman Jack, they recorded an entire album by the same name. This album brought them back into top 15 territory on Canadian charts and featured charting singles such as "Playing in the Band" and "Sweet Love Bandit".
1. Playin' In The Band (Ronnie King) - 3:45
2. Sweet Love Bandit (Ronnie King) - 2:24
3. Things Are Getting Better (Ronnie King) - 3:20
4. Let It Begin (Kim Berly) - 3:37
5. Sally Ann (Ronnie King) - 2:36
6. Hit The Road Jack (Percy Mayfield) - 2:56
7. San Diego (Rich Dodson) - 2:56
8. C'est La Vie (Rich Dodson) - 4:33
9. New Orleans (Frank Guida, Joseph Royster) - 2:54
10.Rock N' Roll Line (Rich Dodson) - 3:09

The Stampeders
*Kim Berly - Drums, Vocals
*Ronnie King - Bass
*Rich Dodson - Guitar, Vocals
*Gibby Lacasse - Percussion
*Bob Adduono - Horns 
*Guy Marchi - Horns 
*Randy Marchi - Horns

1971  The Stampeders - Against the Grain (2006 bonus tracks)  

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Quintessence - Move Into The Light The Complete Island Recordings (1969-71 uk, brilliant multicolored raga psych rock, 2017 double disc remaster)

After only a handful of gigs, Eastern-influenced UK psychedelic rock band, Quintessence received two recording contract offers. In the end, the band rejected Ian Samwell’s offer from Reprise Records (despite it being more lucrative) in favor of one from Chris Blackwell of Island Records, the decision based on the amount of artistic control granted to the band. The agreement resulted in the three LPs and one single that comprise Move into the Light.

Quintessence took its name from a suggestion by Australian flutist Ron “Raja Ram” Rothfield, despite the band having six members rather than five. The Eastern influence on the band is reflected in the names such as “Shiva Shankar” and “Maha Dev” as well as the previously mentioned “Raja Ram,” which the band members were christened with by Swami Ambikamanda, the band’s spiritual guide.

The band’s debut LP In Blissful Company was produced by John Barham who had worked with George Harrison on “Wonderwall Music” and would later help with “All Things Must Pass,” rather than by Andy Johns as originally scheduled. It may not have been Island’s best selling album, but it was the most expensive package the label had released to that point.

In Blissful Company was a collection of eight tunes and shows that the band were rockers at heart with cuts like “Giants” which features a huge, wah wah powered solo by lead guitarist Allan Mostert. At the same time, the band’s Eastern influences are quite apparent on “Gange Man” a hot rocking little number featuring sitar by a guest musician credited only as “Mike.” The album’s standout track, however, is the four and a half minute heavy rocking “Notting Hill Gate” whose gentle, swirling flute stands in stark contrast to the heaviness of Richard “Shambhu Babaji” Vaughan’s bass and Jeremy “Jake” Milton’s drums. The band entered the studio in January, 1970, to record a new, punchier “Notting Hill Gate” for release as a single. The single version achieved its goal musically, with Mostert contributing a fuzzed out lead line and fiery solo. The 45s b-side, the title track for this collection, is an up-tempo number with a gorgeous melody, nice lead guitar line and trippy, chant like lyrics such as “its love that created you.” Unfortunately, sales of the 45 were disappointing. 

The band was always better live, according to Jones, because it was at heart a jam band, in the vein of The Grateful Dead, who shared the stage with Quintessence, as well as Black Sabbath and Traffic, on their first ever UK concert, 24 May 1970. The jam band element is obvious on extended tracks such as the nine minute plus “Midnight Mode” with its a cappella intro before settling into its hypnotic groove filled with Mostert’s lead lines and solos reminiscent of Jerry Garcia’s work with The Dead. As with the single, “In Blissful Company” did not chart, despite the quality of material and musicianship found on the long player.

Quintessence’s second, self-titled LP was released in June, 1970 and in sharp contrast to its predecessor, hit a quite respectable #22 on the UK album charts. “Quintessence” opens with the spiritual tune “Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Gauranga” a mid-tempo number featuring chant like vocals, entrancing flute, an outstanding keyboard (piano and organ) performance by Jones, and even more inspired wah wah fueled guitar. “Sea Of Immortality” opens with hints of a Hare Krishna chant, before flute, guitar and vocals become one, in a luscious melody. Midway through, the tempo quickens, with smoking, swirling guitar, Mostert’s solo pushing the song to its conclusion. The members of Quintessence had aspirations to compose an opera, in the vein of Tommy and S.F. Sorrow. Unfortunately, “High On Mount Kailash” is all that remains from those efforts. A sign of what could have been, the tune has a lovely melody spiced with sitar as well as delicate guitar and piano performances. “Burning Bush” serves as evidence of just how good the band was live. Mostert’s heavy guitar intro flows into a smoking wah wah laden solo, joined by Jones’ machine gun drums and Vaughan’s incredibly heavy bass. 

The performance rocks hard and Mostert shows his ability to use and control feedback. “Prisms” is an breezy, trippy number with Rothfield’s flute swirling round and round. A couple of other highlights from Quintessence are “Twilight Zones” a Jethro Tull like track with Rothfield’s flute floating about, while the tempo builds until mid-tune when Mostert unleashes a killer riff and is off to the races in a jazzy solo, before he turns up the volume bringing the song to a roaring finish. “St. Pancras,” a live recording, features guitar, bass and drums coming out rocking. This up-tempo number features fuzzed out guitar with great lead lines, while the bass roars and rumbles. Even more wah wah guitar and feedback give this tune plenty of punch. Mostert wrings every note out of his guitar, his solo swirling into feedback, making this the hottest rocking number on the set.

A live version of “Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Guaranga” taken from an Island compilation Bumpers serves as yet another example of how good this band was live. This hot rocking little number has Mostert’s guitar probing to and fro, swirling over the pounding rhythm section, before yet another wah wah fueled solo leading to controlled waves of feedback.

Quintessence’s final Island LP Dive Deep was intended to contain one side of live recordings from the London School of Economics, the other side studio tracks. Unfortunately, the live material was not of usable quality, so the album as released contains only studio takes. The album opens with its title track, a delicate, mid-tempo mixture of flute and vocals, until Mostert’s guitar once again pushes the beat and drives the song home. Dive Deep contains the band’s longest cut, the nearly eleven minute “Dance For The One” which begins as a jazzy number, complete with a false stop two minutes in, before the band settles into a groove, flutes floating, growing ever heavier, before the lead guitar line explodes into even more feedback. “Brahman” slows things down with its gentle keyboards and flute, and features gorgeous plaintive vocals by Phil “Shiva Shankar” Jones.

 “The Seer” has a gorgeous melody and is a fine example of folk psych, with acoustic guitar and flute accompanying the song’s introspective lyrics (what you seek) “is deep within your mind.” The eight minute “Epitaph For Tomorrow” has more Eastern influences, fuzzed out guitars and comes on with a roar before slowing and proclaiming hopefully “this will be the end of all our sorrows.” More tasteful lead guitar lines, solos and feedback are on display accompanied by pounding drums and thundering bass. The album and set close with “Sri Ram Chant” showcasing more Eastern influence, sitar and flute accompanying chanted vocals, before the band settles into a final groove and jams its way to the record’s end.

Chris Blackwell had a record deal set up for Quintessence in the US with Bell Records, with the band receiving an 85,000 pound sterling advance. However, with Island receiving 250,000 pounds from the contract, some members of the band felt they deserved a larger share and balked at the deal. In return, Blackwell lost interest in promoting the band and they signed with RCA Victor Records, home of the Jefferson Airplane and Elvis Presley among others. But that is a story for another day.

Thanks to the kind folks at Cherry Red Records’ Esoteric Recordings imprint Move into the Light contains all 28 tracks, over 2 hours, 15 minutes of classic UK psych spread across the 2 discs. The 24-page full color booklet, contains complete track listings and annotations, loads of previously seen photos and an informative essay by Malcome Dome. The set, compiled by Mark Powell, has been remastered in the 24 bit domain by Paschal Byrne, making this unquestionably the definitive documentation of Quintessence’s Island Record years.
by Kevin Rathert, May 2, 2017
Disc 1  
1. Giants (Ron Rothfield, Phil Jones, Stanley Barr) - 4:38
2. Manco Capac (Ron Rothfield, Richard Vaughan, Phil Jones) - 5:18
3. Body (Allan Mostert, Jeremy Milton, Richard Vaughan, Phil Jones) - 3:34
4. Gange Mai (Ron Rothfield, Richard Vaughan, Phil Jones) - 4:01
5. Chant (Phil Jones) - 2:59
6. Pearl And Bird (Allan Mostert, Ron Rothfield, Richard Vaughan) - 3:58
7. Notting Hill Gate (Ron Rothfield, Phil Jones, Stanley Barr) - 4:40
8. Midnight Mode (Allan Mostert, John Barham, Ron Rothfield, Phil Jones) - 9:13
9. Move Into The Light (Ron Rothfield, Phil Jones, Jeremy Milton, Richard Vaughan, Allan Mostert, Dave Codling) - 3:32
10.Notting Hill Gate (Ron Rothfield, Phil Jones, Stanley Barr) - 2:56
11.Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Guaranga (Ron Rothfield, Phil Jones, Jeremy Milton, Richard Vaughan, Allan Mostert, Dave Codling) - 5:00
12.Sea Of Immortality (Ron Rothfield, Phil Jones, Jeremy Milton, Richard Vaughan, Allan Mostert, Dave Codling) - 5:20
13.High On Mount Kailash (Excerpt From Opera) (Ron Rothfield, Phil Jones, Jeremy Milton, Richard Vaughan, Allan Mostert, Dave Codling, Stanley Barr) - 5:51
14.Burning Bush (Ron Rothfield, Phil Jones, Jeremy Milton, Richard Vaughan, Allan Mostert, Dave Codling) - 2:36
15.Shiva’s Chant (Ron Rothfield, Phil Jones, Jeremy Milton, Richard Vaughan, Allan Mostert, Dave Codling) - 2:14
Tracks 1-8 from "In Blissful Company" 1969
Tracks 9-10 Single versions
Tracks 11-15 from "Quintessence" 1970
Track 14 Live recording
Disc 2
1. Prisms (Ron Rothfield, Phil Jones, Jeremy Milton, Richard Vaughan, Allan Mostert, Dave Codling) - 3:12
2. Twilight Zones (Ron Rothfield, Phil Jones, Jeremy Milton, Richard Vaughan, Allan Mostert, Dave Codling, Stanley Barr) - 5:18
3. Maha Mantra (Ron Rothfield, Phil Jones, Jeremy Milton, Richard Vaughan, Allan Mostert, Dave Codling) - 1:37
4. Only Love (Ron Rothfield, Phil Jones, Jeremy Milton, Richard Vaughan, Allan Mostert, Dave Codling) - 3:54
5. St. Pancras (Ron Rothfield, Phil Jones, Jeremy Milton, Richard Vaughan, Allan Mostert, Dave Codling) - 6:19
6. Infinitum (Ron Rothfield, Phil Jones, Jeremy Milton, Richard Vaughan, Allan Mostert, Dave Codling) - 1:45
7. Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Guaranga (Ron Rothfield, Phil Jones, Jeremy Milton, Richard Vaughan, Allan Mostert, Dave Codling) - 5:09
8. Dive Deep (Ron Rothfield, Phil Jones, Jeremy Milton, Richard Vaughan, Allan Mostert, Dave Codling) - 4:45
9. Dance For The One (Ron Rothfield, Phil Jones, Jeremy Milton, Richard Vaughan, Allan Mostert, Dave Codling) - 10:46
10.Brahman (Ron Rothfield, Phil Jones, Jeremy Milton, Richard Vaughan, Allan Mostert, Dave Codling) - 4:17
11.The Seer (Ron Rothfield, Phil Jones, Jeremy Milton, Richard Vaughan, Allan Mostert, Dave Codling, Stanley Barr) - 6:01
12.Epitaph For Tomorrow (Ron Rothfield, Phil Jones, Jeremy Milton, Richard Vaughan, Allan Mostert, Dave Codling) - 8:21
13.Sri Ram Chant (Swami Ambikananda) - 7:58
Tracks 1-6 from "Quintessence" 1970
Track 5, 7 Live recordings
Tracks 8-13 from "Dive Deep" 1971

*Phil ‘Shiva Shankar’ Jones - Vocals, Keyboards, Hand Drums
*Ron ‘Raja Ram’ Rothfield - Flutes, Bells, Percussion, Raspers, Chimes
*Allan Mostert - Lead Guitar
*Dave ‘Maha Dev’ Codling - Rhythm Guitar
*Richard ‘Shambu Babaji’ Vaughan - Bass Guitar
*Jeremy ‘Jake’ Milton - Drums
*Mike - Sitar
*Surya - Tamboura
*Vidya Bahen Jee - Vocals (Sri Ram Chant)
*Sita Devi Jee - Tamboura, Violin
*Musetta - Tamboura
*Ned Balen - Tablas, Shenai

Friday, October 28, 2022

The Ballroom - Preparing For The Millennium (1966-70 us, gorgeous mix of psych pop, folk rock and pure joyous harmony)

Mention the name Curt Boettcher to fans of late 60s soft pop, and you'll get nods of reverence. Over the years, Boettcher has had a growing mystique, in large part because the wonderful bands he led didn't achieve even a modicum of popularity during their tenure, but also because he was such a talented writer and musician. His bands Sagittarius and The Millennium have been written about quite often in recent years, as their albums have been reissued on CD. Even though he passed away more than 10 years ago, Boettcher's name is constantly on the lips of many fans, and perhaps because of the intrigue surrounding his musical life everyone wants to fill in the missing pieces. One of those pieces has long been discussed in rather hushed tones although few knew much about it, and that was the unreleased album by The Ballroom, the band that Boettcher had circa 1966, before Sagittarius and The Millennium. 

Most collectors had given up on the possibility that this album would ever see the light of day, but fortunately people like Joe Foster of Revola Records was persistent in his quest to make it happen, and Revola has now released a disc called Preparing For The Millennium, which contains not only the Ballroom album, but outtakes from Ballroom and Millennium sessions as well as solo projects by Ballroom members. The end result was more than worth the wait, as the music within is beautiful, harmony filled pop that will easily satiate the appetite of any fan of late 60s pop music.

Curt Boettcher had many strengths as a musician and songwriter, but perhaps his greatest was his voice, which not only soared to the heavens but contained a childlike innocence not unlike that of Peter Pan. However, while his music was certainly pretty, whimsical and melodic, it was often tinged with enough psychedelic flourishes to conjure the image that perhaps our Peter was ingesting some funny, mind altering substances (which indeed Boettcher was at the time). Upon listening to The Ballroom CD, one can hear the germination of a fruitful period for Boettcher, and his bandmates Sandy Salisbury, Michelle O'Malley, and Jim Bell were able assistants, contributing tight musicianship, beautiful Association/Cowsills like harmonies, and sophisticated songwriting in the case of Salisbury. 

The album (actually, the tapes of 11 of the original 13 songs could be found) could almost serve as a soundtrack to a fairytale, albeit a slightly askew one, and Boettcher's Peter Pan persona is easily communicated on tracks like the delightful "Spinning, Spinning, Spinning," "Love's Fatal Way", and the Salisbury penned "Magic Time". The band could emerge from that mold as well, as the American Indian flavored "You Turn Me Around," (co-written by "Along Comes Mary" writer Tandyn Almer-Boettcher had produced the first Association album) the slow, intense, and mystical "It's A Sad World," the goofy, Vaudevillian, pot induced "Crazy Dreams," and the pop/psych workout of the traditional R&B "Baby Please Don't Go" would attest. The Ballroom album also has nascent renderings of "Would You Like To Go" and "Musty Dusty", which would appear in more ornate versions on Sagittarius' Present Tense and The Millennium's Begin albums, respectively. The Ballroom versions are slightly slower and sparer, and in that form perhaps more cogently illustrates the beauty of these songs. Although The Ballroom is considered to be a Boettcher-led project, perhaps the highlight of the album is the Salisbury penned "I'll Grow Stronger," which contains an amazing melody line, complimentary whispery lead vocals and exquisite harmonies. Truly an amazing aural experience!

The next 8 tracks on the CD are outtakes and demos from The Ballroom and The Millennium, many of which emerged on either the aforementioned Sagittarius or Millennium albums. These are all excellent, especially "Another Time", which is more acoustic based than the released version but greatly emphasizes the delicate, complex melody lines, and "I'm Not Living Here", which in this version is carried by a prominent, slightly distorted bass line (these outtakes contain some different lyrics than those versions which appeared on "Present Tense"). Some songs that had not previously seen the light of day in any form are the uptempo, slightly loungy "If You Only Knew," the slow, Indian tinged "Believe You", which could have easily fit on the Monkees' Head soundtrack, and the pretty, early Monkees-ish "Sunshine Today". The final three songs on the disc are the gypsy-ish "Milk And Honey", by a pre-Ballroom Boettcher project called Summer's Children, "All Really Have Is A Memory", a soft, romantic Salisbury solo track (credited to "Sandy" on the 45) that out Left Bankes the Left Banke in the refrain, and a delightful version of Nilsson's "Best Friend" by the Salisbury led group Puppet.

The packaging of Preparing For The Millennium is stellar as well, with cool photos, vintage press clippings, and the usual excellent liner notes and song annotations by the venerable Dawn Eden, which include insights from various members of The Ballroom and The Millennium. All in all, Preparing For The Millennium is a collection that should be considered the Holy Grail of soft pop.
by David Bash
1. Spinning, Spinning, Spinning (Curt Boettcher, Ruthann Friedman) - 2:42
2. You Turn Me Around (Tandyn Almer) - 2:45
3. Would You Like To Go (Curt Boettcher, Jules Alexander) - 2:41
4. Forever (Curt Boettcher, Lee Mallory) - 2:25
5. Loves Fatal Way (Curt Boettcher, Randy Naylor) - 2:57
6. It's A Sad World (Gene DiNovi, Mary Ann Maurer) - 3:53
7. Crazy Dreams (Michael P. Whalen) - 2:56
8. Magic Time (Sandy Salisbury) - 2:52
9. Musty Dusty (Curt Boettcher, Tandyn Almer) - 3:19
10.I'll Grow Stronger (Sandy Salisbury) - 3:05
11.Baby Please Don't Go (Traditional) - 3:12
12.Another Time (Curt Boettcher) - 3:37
13.If You Only Knew (Curt Boettcher) - 2:45
14.Keeper Of The Games (Curt Boettcher) - 1:53
15.The Island (Curt Boettcher) - 3:34
16.Believe You (Curt Boettcher) - 2:52
17.It's A Sad World (Gene DiNovi, Mary Ann Maurer) - 3:14
18.I'm Not Living Here (Curt Boettcher) - 3:19
19.Sunshine Today (Curt Boettcher) - 2:22
20.Milk And Honey (Curt Boettcher) - 2:28
21.All I Really Have Is A Memory (Sandy Salisbury) - 2:23
22.Best Friend (Harry Nilsson) - 2:23
Tracks 1-11 as The Ballroom
Tracks 12-19 as The Ballroom / The Millennium
Track 20 Summer's Children
Track 21 Sandy Salisbury
Track 22 Puppet

*Curt Boettcher - Guitar, Vocals, Producer 
*Mike Deasy - Guitar 
*Sandy Salisbury - Guitar, Vocals
*Ben Benay - Guitar 
*Lee Mallory - Guitar, Vocals
*Jerry Scheff - Bass
*Dottie Holmberg - Vocals
*Jim Bell - Vocals 
*Michele O'Malley - Vocals 
*Sharon Olsen - Vocals
*Butch Parker - Keyboards, Horns, Bass
*Mike Henderson - Keyboards, Horns
*Jim Bell - Oboe
*Jim Horn - Saxophone
*Jim Troxell - Drums
*Ron Edgar - Drums
*Toxie French - Drums, Vibraphone

Releated Acts

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Steppenwolf - Skullduggery (1976 canada / us, classic rock)

Skullduggery is the ninth studio album by Canadian-American rock band Steppenwolf. The album was released in May 1976, by Epic Records. It was the third of four released by Epic Records, and the last to feature keyboardist Wayne Cook, who left to join Player in 1977. The band broke up in 1971, and Kay pursued a solo career. Steppenwolf reformed in 1974 with the album Slow Flux, and disbanded in 1976. Afterward, several versions of the band toured North America until Kay reformed the official version of the group in 1980.

“The title song -while the mainstream Blue Oyster Cult-sounding chorus is pretty catchy and the verse melody is somewhat solid as well- really shows a band trying to fit in with the hard rock artists at the times and well, there really was no reason to.” “The title of the only slow song is Rock n roll song which is actually a nice ballad! It is smoothly played while maintaining a rock feel. “Rock and Roll Song” is a great commentary on how the political and societal changes had occured since Steppenwolf’s creation.”

“Life Is a Gamble” is generic -but decent- mid 70’s rock with the occasional touch of piano and is honestly a high point on an album like this. WHAT the… where did “Rock and Roll Song” come from? John Kay’s voice returns to fine classic form, and the sincerity in his voice is simply unmatched by anyone else” 
RoR, December 28, 2021
1. Skullduggery (Bobby Cochran) - 5:16
2. (I'm A) Road Runner (Brian Holland, Edward Holland Jr., Lamont Dozier) - 3:52
3. Rock And Roll Song (Paul Valdemar Horsdal) - 3:06
4. Train Of Thought (Alan O'Day) - 4:40
5. Life Is A Gamble (Bobby Cochran, Harry Garfield) - 3:22
6. Pass It On (Jean Watt) - 4:43
7. Sleep (George Biondo) - 3:45
8. Lip Service (Bobby Cochran, George Biondo, Jerry Edmonton, John Kay, Wayne Cook) - 5:27

*Bobby Cochran - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*George Biondo - Bass, Vocals
*Jerry Edmonton - Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals 
*John Kay - Lead Vocals, Guitar
*Wayne Cook - Keyboards

1969  Early Steppenwolf (1967 Live, Japan SHM mini lp)
1969  At Your Birthday Party (Japan SHM 2013 remaster)
1969  Monster (2013 japan SHM issue)
1970  Live (2013 Japan SHM edition)

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Ross - The Pit And The Pendulum (1974 uk, fine classic rock with prog shades, 2019 remaster)

Ross second and last album ‘The Pit And The Pendulum’ (despite what is written on the OBI strip of this Korean edition), was a concept album based on Edgar Allan Poe’s lovely tale of torture during the Spanish inquisition. This album isn’t as scary as the Poe novel except for the back cover photo when we see the band dressed as monks. The album is progressive UK rock ala Paladin and Rare Earth with R&B elements. Bob Jacksons keyboard work is a delight, particularly on the haunting ‘Standing Alone’ and moments of nicely executed hard prog brilliance on side twos stunner ‘Discovery’ which features Jackson on lead vocals. 

Alan Ross gives us the heavy instrumental 2 minute track ‘The Edge’. This is probably one of the best tracks Ross ever recorded so it’s a shame the band never got the chance to record a third album. After the release of the album the band did an appearance on ‘Don Kirchners Rock Concert’ and went out as support act on a high profile tour with another RSO artist namely Eric Clapton. Things looked bright for the band but then mid-tours Bon Jackson left and leaving an untimely end to the band. Jackson would later show up in Badfinger while Alan Ross would show up on Stars self titled album in 1976 before releasing 2 albums in 1977 and 1978 on Ebony records under the name Alan Ross Band. 

Ross has never been given deserved kudos from critics or the prog community at large which is a shame. Edgar Alan Poes novels and even old AIP movies made out of his stories have always been an interest of mine so I still give this album a spin every now and then. It’s a very well done concept album with a solid musicianship and some really nice tunes, of course there are a few fillers like most album, but overall a pleasure to listen to. 
TPL Recs
1. Swallow Your Dreams - 4:22
2. Gotta Get It Right Back - 4:13
3. Madness In Memories - 5:25
4. Standing Alone - 4:05
5. Discovery (Bob Jackson) - 4:38
6. Now I See - 4:10
7. So Slow - 3:58
8. The Edge - 2:04
9. Nearer And Nearer - 3:58
10.Free - 0:59
11.I've Been Waiting - 5:41
12.Oh I'm Happy Now (Alan Ross, Edgar Allan Poe) - 2:13
All songs by Alan Ross

*Alan Ross - Guitars, Lead Vocals
*Steve Emery - Bass, Background Vocals
*Bob Jackson - Keyboards, ARP Synthesizer, Backround Vocals, Lead Vocals (Track 5)
*Tony Fernandes - Drums
*Reuben White - Percussion
*Jack Nitzsche - String Orchestration


Monday, October 24, 2022

Stampeders - Steamin (1975 canada, awesome classic rock, 2006 remaster)

"Steamin'" is the 7th full length album from Canadian rock band the Stampeders. By 1975 the band had toured extensively in the United States and appeared on television shows. This album features their classic song "Hit the Road Jack" which was made famous originally by Soul legend Ray Charles in 1961. "Steamin'" is up there with some of the bands most classic releases to date.
1. Stand Up (Ronnie King) - 02:57
2. New Orleans (Frank Guida, Joseph Royster) - 02:54
3. Lovin' The Night Away (Ronnie King) - 02:42
4. Broken Heart Surgery (Rich Dodson) - 03:21
5. Rock Of Gilbraltar (Rich Dodson) - 02:37
6. Summer In The City (John Sebastian, Mark Sebastian, Steve Boone) - 02:18
7. Hit The Road Jack (Percy Mayfield) - 02:51
8. Wonder Woman (Rich Dodson) - 02:31
9. Hard Lovin' Woman (Ronnie King) - 02:42
10.She Threw Me Away (Kim Berly) - 02:56
11.Night Walker (Kim Berly) - 02:39
12.Were Here To Rock And Roll (Ronnie King) - 03:03

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

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Davy Graham - Hat (1969 uk, excellent feverishly imaginative acoustic guitar playing vibrant jazz-blues arrangements, 2005 edition)

It seems remarkable now that Davy Graham was an artist with a major label recording contract on Decca in the 1960s. That’s Decca, the same label that had the Rolling Stones on their roster at the time. To look at and assess Davy Graham’s recording career from this vantage point, its totally evident he was never going to be motivated by forming the kind of coherent career ark and recording catalogue that these big money labels are investing in. This was a man purely driven by musical considerations, cultural discovery and the investigation of mating potential in all he uncovered. That was his journey, the fuel that got him out of bed in the morning. He did not categorise any music; from classical to baroque, jazz to blues, rock to pop, it was all put in the same melting pot. By his own admission, he would have liked to have learned more instruments, but the acoustic guitar was the vessel he drove to perfection and so Davy Graham would be labelled a folk artist.

Listening again to the two sixties Decca albums that Bread And Wine have re-issued (more on the other soon), there is a suggestion that Davy Graham was in his own way trying to deliver work that would be popular and well received. He certainly wasn’t being a difficult artist, the problem (if there was one it would only have been in terms of sales figures, not musical capacity) was that the average, casual listener is more comfortable with categorisation. But Davy was casting his net all over the place; on the ‘Midnight Man’ album he had tried amplified guitar on three tracks; one of these was a cover of Rufus Thomas’s 1963 Stax hit ‘Walking The Dog’; an odd marriage on paper but this all-rounder carries it like a natural soul man. Now three years later on ‘Hat’ he opens with a version of the Beatles ‘Getting Better’, an interpretation that gives the relentlessly positive Paul McCartney a run for his money in uplifting vibes. How many albums buffer between summer-of-love pop, Jimmy Witherspoon’s ‘Lotus Blossom’ and Art Blakey’s study in Jazz rhythms ‘Buhaina Chant’ within the first four tracks and retain any cohesive sense? If you get behind Davy Graham’s vision and open-minded approach to music, it all stacks up naturally but sadly I’m not sure that enough people did; even in an era as progressive as the late sixties.

Through the seventies, Graham would only occasionally release very low-key records on small, independent labels. Then for the next three decades, he mostly completely disappeared, although a couple of under-the-radar releases and intermittent live appearances continued until the end. Drug addiction had taken a toll and charity work became more of a daily focus, primarily for the mental health charity Mind. Perhaps when you make your mark early and as definitively as Davy did with ‘Angi’, you carry it with you all the way and struggle to move past it? Simon & Garfunkel had included it on their commercial breakthrough ‘Sounds Of Silence’ album, probably ensuring the writer had a degree of dependable income for the remainder of the decade. 

On ‘Hat’ Davy shows his gratitude to Paul Simon by beautifully interpreting two of his songs, ‘Homeward Bound’ and ‘I Am A Rock’; also acknowledging in his original self-penned liner notes that “Paul is a good friend of mine”. And so, from murder ballads to Bulgarian dance tunes collected by A.L. Lloyd, from the self-explanatory ‘Hornpipe For Harpsichord Played Upon Guitar’ to defining ‘Down Along The Cove’ as “the Bob Dylan blues” this 1969 album (Davy Graham’s final solo release for Decca) is a musical collection full of thrills and nourishment. Inevitably, the guitar playing is supreme throughout and knits the whole thing together without a glitch. And a final word should go to another example of classic period packaging; of course, the Davy Graham album ‘Hat’ features front and rear cover artwork of, what else? Davy Graham wearing a very big hat. Perfect!
by Danny Neill, 2 May 2019
1. Getting Better (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 1:56
2. Lotus Blossom (Sam Coslow, Arthur Johnston) - 2:24
3. I'm Ready (Willie Dixon) - 2:28
4. Buhaina Chant (Art Blakey) - 2:30
5. Homeward Bound (Paul Simon) - 2:16
6. Love Is Pleasing (Traditional) - 2:11
7. Hornpipe For Harpsichord Played Upon Guitar (Henry Purcell) - 1:26
8. Down Along The Cove (Bob Dylan) - 2:09
9. Hoochie Coochie Man (Willie Dixon) - 3:34
10.Stan's Guitar (Stan Watson) - 2:18
11.Pretty Polly (Traditional) - 3:22
12.Bulgarian Dance (Traditional) - 3:17
13.I Am A Rock (Paul Simon) - 2:15
14.Oliver (Oliver Hunt) - 1:35

*Danny Thompson - Bass
*Johnny Spooner - Drums 
*Davy Graham - Vocals, Guitar 


Saturday, October 22, 2022

John Hammond And The Nighthawks - Hot Tracks (1979 us, fascinating electric blues)

In September of 1979, John Hammond went into Vanguard Records' 23rd Street Studio in New York with the Nighthawks -- Jimmy Thackery, guitar; Mark Wenner, harmonica; Jan Zukowski, bass; Pete Ragusa, drums -- and cut this record, one of his best (and which might've sold better with maybe some better cover art). 

The sounds are alternately hot and soulful on the ten-song collection, featuring covers of songs by Little Walter ("You Better Watch Yourself," "Last Night"), Chuck Berry ("Nadine"), Jimmy Reed ("Caress Me Baby," one of Hammond's slowest, most seductive numbers), and Robert Johnson ("Sweet Home Chicago"). 

Highlights include a stunningly beautiful rendition of Howlin' Wolf's "Who's Been Talkin'," a wailing reconsideration of John Lee Hooker's "Sugar Mama" with a really searing guitar break, a very powerful version of "Howlin' for My Darling," and even the best cover of Dixon's "Pretty Thing" this side of Bo Diddley himself, where Hammond and company manage to be raunchy and smooth at the same time.
Nothing's going to make anyone forget Walter, Wolf, or Willie, but this isn't a bad way to spend 40 minutes, especially given the really crunchy guitar sound achieved by Jeff Zaraya and the uncredited producer. A real diamond in the rough, and one of Hammond's best albums.
by Bruce Eder
1. Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut (Ellas McDaniel) - 3:20
2. Who's Been Talking (Chester Burnett) - 2:49
3. Sugar Mama (John Lee Hooker) - 3:27
4. Howlin' For My Darlin' (Chester Burnett, Willie Dixon) - 3:29
5. You Better Watch Yourself (Walter Jacobs) - 2:22
6. Pretty Thing (Willie Dixon) - 3:04
7. Caress Me Baby (Jimmy Reed) - 3:58
8. Nadine (Chuck Berry) - 3:47
9. Last Night (Walter Jacobs) - 3:11
10.Sweet Home Chicago (Robert Johnson) - 4:27

*John Hammond - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
*Jimmy Thackery - Guitar 
*Marc Wenner - Mouth Harp
*Jan Zukowski - Bass
*Pete Ragusa - Drums

1967  John Hammond - I Can Tell (bonus tracks) 
1967  John Hammond, Jr. - Mirrors (2016 remaster)
1968  John Hammond - Sooner Or Later

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Starry Eyed And Laughing - Forever Young (1973-74 uk, spectacular early and unreleased recordings, 2014 issue)

Forever Young, a collection of studio and radio sessions (14 of the 18 previously unreleased) - is something of a treasure trove for anyone who has happy memories of Starry Eyed and Laughing. It also serves as a fascinating nugget for anyone interested in the evolution of country rock in the UK — a form that did go into hiding for a while but eventually re-emerged with folk such as Elvis Costello, Robyn Hitchcock, and Nick Lowe admitting to a fondness for some twang and jangling guitars. It captures early attempts by producer Dan Loggins to have the band perform covers of songs by Roger McGuinn, Steve Stills, Mike Nesmith and others, a plan that was nixed when the band demanded their album would be all their own work. In addition, there are previously unheard originals along with radio sessions. (Sadly, some of these only came to light following the death of their first manager.)

The cover versions are an intriguing lot. There’s a Byrds’-type cover of Dylan’s “Forever Young”, a new song back then but delivered as if it were a 1965 follow-up to “Mr. Tambourine Man”. The chiming guitars and McGuinn-like vocals are spot-on and a delight to listen to. McGuinn’s own “I’m So Restless” (from his solo debut) - is more cosmic country than the original, which had a folk base. Here, it sounds like The Byrds circa the Dr. Byrds and Mr Hyde album, with a wee bit of cosmic rocking going on. Similarly, Steve Stills’ “4+20″ has a psychedelic sheen to it. Listening to their version of Mike Nesmith’s “Propinquity” has the ability to transport the listener into an alternative reality where McGuinn and gang take over the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s mantle of champions of Papa Nez. as the 12-string corkscrews thorough this magnificent song.

If the cover versions were all that was here, then it might be safe to relegate the album into the curio cabinet. However the band’s own songs, while undoubtedly indebted to The Byrds’ sound and in particular the 12-string eclectic guitar jangle, stand proud after all these years. One can see the time line from them to the likes of The Long Ryders, carrying a banner for sure, but no mere copy. With three writers on board (Tony Poole, Ross McGeeney, and Iain Whitmore) - they offered up some treasures of their own.

“Miles Away” is a yearning, dreamlike swoon — more Gene Clark than McGuinn here. “Giving You the Blues” visits another Byrd’s territory, this time David Crosby, with its hypnotic scales and time changes. It’s superbly sung and spine-tingling. “Jet Plane Rider” has obvious links to “Eight Miles High”, but it’s an exhilarating listen in its own right. It’s almost spooky, mind you, how well the band were able to channel their influences. Their blossoming into their own right is portrayed on the barnstorming “(Just Like) - A Weepy Movie”. The keening ballad “So Tired” is adorned by marvellous harmonies and well able to pass muster with contemporary songs by the likes of Poco and even the Eagles. Finally, the alternative version of “In The Madness”, a song on their first album, shows that by then they had transcended their influences and were able to mark their territory with a song that soared high on vinyl way back then.
by Paul Kerr, February 2, 2015
1. Forever Young (Bob Dylan) - 3:54
2. I'm So Restless (Roger McGuinn) - 3:24
3. Miles Away (Iain Whitmore) - 3:15
4. Dancing Slow (Tony Poole) - 4:06
5. Givin' You The Blues (Iain Whitmore) - 3:31
6. Another You (Ross McGeeney) - 2:33
7. Jet Plane Rider (Tony Poole) - 4:07
8. 4 + 20 (Stephen Stills) - 2:54
9. (Just Like) A Weepy Movie (Iain Whitmore) - 3:50
10.Lay Down Your Weary Tune (Bob Dylan) - 3:32
11.Propinquity (I've Just Begun To Care) (Michael Nesmith) - 3:10
12.I Thought I Was A Child (Jackson Browne) - 3:26
13.So Tired (Iain Whitmore) - 3:45
14.In The Madness (Electric Version) (Ross McGeeney) - 2:54
15.He Was A Friend Of Mine (Roger McGuinn) - 2:45
16.Strangers All Over Again (Tony Poole) - 3:34
17.Meet Me Lord (At The Bottom Of The Hill) - (Ross McGeeney, Tony Poole, Norman Lawrence) - 3:15
18.You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (Bob Dylan) - 2:57 

Starry Eyed And Laughing
*Tony Poole - Vocals, 12-string Guitar, Organ
*Ross McGeeney - Vocals, 6 string Guitars
*Iain Whitmore - Vocals, Bass, Congas, Percussion
*Michael Wackford - Drums, Congas, Percussion
*Nick Brown - Drums, Percussion


Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Wild Turkey - Turkey (1972 uk, excellent prog rock, 2013 bonus tracks remaster)

Wild Turkey released their second album, Turkey, in October 1972 on Chrysalis. It contains two Hopkins cuts (“Tomorrows Friend,” “Chuck Stallion and the Mustangs”) and six numbers by Cornick, including “Telephone,” “A Universal Man,” and the lengthy epics “Eternal Mother/The Return” and “See You Next Tuesday.” The opening track, “Good Old Days,” is a group-written number. 

Cornick produced Turkey at Morgan Studios with engineer Robin Black, a sound tech for Red Dirt who later worked with Jethro Tull (Storm Watch, A), Mallard, and the Spanish band Ñu. The gatefold cover, designed by Alan Cracknell (Matching Mole), depicts a black Spanish turkey in wait (front) and the wooden stable cleared (back). The inner-spread, designed by Visualeyes (Traffic, Claire Hamill, Amazing Blondel, Vinegar Joe), assembles lives shots of the band in hippie regalia; Gurl sports a pinstripe tie and blazer.

Chrysalis released “Good Old Days” as a single, backed with the non-album track “Life Is a Symphony.” The a-side also appears on a Thai maxi-single with cuts by Slade, Blackfoot Sue, and Harry Nilsson. 
1. Good Old Days (Glenn Cornick, Gary Pickford Hopkins, Tweke Lewis, Mick Dyche, Jeff Jones) - 4:13
2. Tomorrow's Friend (Gary Pickford Hopkins) - 4:08
3. A Universal Man - 3:49
4. Eternal Mother/The Return - 7:59
5. Chuck Stallion And The Mustangs (Gary Pickford Hopkins) - 3:42
6. The Street - 4:45
7. See You Next Tuesday - 6:52
8. Telephone - 3:40
9. Good Old Days - 3:02
10.Life Is A Symphony - 3:44
All songs by Glenn Cornick except where noted
Bonus Tracks 9-10 

Wild Turkey
*Mick Dyche - Slide, Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Glenn Cornick - Bass, Guitar, Keyboards
*Gary Pickford Hopkins - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Jeff Jones - Drums, Percussion
*Alan "Tweke" Lewis - Guitar 

Relates Acts

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Wild Turkey - Battle Hymn (1971 uk, remarkable prog rock, 2013 remaster)

Wild Turkey was formed in 1971 by bassist Glenn Cornick after his three-year stint in Jethro Tull. 

Cornick (b. 23 April 1947, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England, died at his home in Hilo, Hawaii on August 28, 2014) started in the Blackpool mod band The Executives, which issued five 1964–66 singles on Columbia. He then replaced bassist Jefferey Hammond in the soul-rock septet John Evan Smash, which also featured singer Ian Anderson and guitarist Mick Abrahams. 

In late 1967, Cornick followed Anderson and Abrahams to their new band, Jethro Tull. After their first album, Abrahams split to form Blodwyn Pig. Tull hired ex-Penny Peeps guitarist Martin Barre and made the 1969/70 Chrysalis albums Stand Up and Benefit. As the only member with formal training, Cornick was integral in the band’s arrangements. Despite this, Anderson sacked Cornick after Tull’s appearance at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, purportedly due to his partying lifestyle.  (Tull replaced Cornick with his predecessor in the Smash, Jefferey Hammond. Later, Tull hired Cornick’s successor in The Executives, bassist Tony Williams, for the US leg of their Heavy Horses tour).

Post-Tull, Cornick traded bass duties with Kim Gardner (Ashton Gardner & Dyke, Badger) and Pete Sears (Les Fleur de Lys, Steamhammer) on And a Cast of Thousands, the 1971 second solo album by ex-Blue Cheer guitarist Leigh Stephens. Cornick then formed Wild Turkey with singer Gary Pickford-Hopkins, drummer John Weathers, and guitarists Tweke Lewis and Graham Hedley Williams. 

Hopkins and Weathers hailed from Eyes of Blue, a Welsh soul-psych band that issued two albums on Mercury in 1968/69, plus a third as Big Sleep. Weathers served as benefactor to Williams’ prior band Strawberry Dust, a Welsh blues-rock covers band. As Ancient Grease, they released the 1970 album Women and Children First, produced and largely composed by Weathers, who also played on a concurrent single by Pete Brown & Piblokto! 

Before Wild Turkey hit the studio, Weathers and Williams departed for Graham Bond’s Magick. Cornick replaced them with drummer Jeff Jones and guitarist Jon Blackmore. Jones’ background stretched to The Bystanders, a Welsh beat group that morphed into Man. He stuck with Man for their first two albums, Revelation and 2 Ozs. of Plastic With a Hole in the Middle (both 1969).

For Wild Turkey, Cornick retained his ties to Tull’s label, Chrysalis. He named his band after a brand of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey.

Wild Turkey debuted with Battle Hymn, released on November 19, 1971, on Chrysalis. The album flows as a song cycle comprised of 10 originals, including the Cornick compositions “Butterfly,” “To the Stars,” “Gentle Rain,” and the epic title track. Blackmore wrote three numbers (“Dulwich Fox,” “Sanctuary,” “Twelve Streets of Cobbled Black”) and co-wrote the closing track (“Sentinel“) with Lewis, who co-wrote “One Sole Survivor” with Hopkins, who contributed “Easter Psalm.”

Battle Hymn was recorded at Olympic Studios with producer Rodger Bain (Hannibal, Black Sabbath, Budgie, Indian Summer) and engineer Tom Allom (Strawbs, Hudson-Ford). Original copies are housed in a gatefold sleeve designed by Douglas Maxwell Ltd. with an inner-spread group photo by Ray Rathborne. 

Wild Turkey promoted Battle Hymn with a two-night engagement at the Birmingham Town Hall over Christmas, followed by a winter 1972 transatlantic tour as the opening act for Black Sabbath. Several dates on the March US leg featured triple-bills with up-and-coming acts Bang, White Witch, Sweat Hog, REO Speedwagon, and Yes. Stateside, Battle Hymn was released in February 1972 on Reprise. “Butterfly” and “Battle Hymn” appear on the 1972 Spanish comp Esto es Chrysalis with cuts by Jethro Tull (“Thick as a Brick” edit), Procol Harum, Ten Years After, Tír na nÓg, and ex-Justine vocalist Laurie Styvers. In Oceania, Chrysalis paired “Easter Psalm” and “Sanctuary” on 7″. 

Before Wild Turkey re-entered the studio, Blackmore cleared out for guitarist Mick Dyche. Pianist Steve Gurl joined as a sixth member.
1. Butterfly (Glenn Cornick) - 5:00
2. Twelve Streets Of Cobbled Black (Jon Blackmore) - 3:11
3. Dulwich Fox (Jon Blackmore) - 3:50
4. Easter Psalm (Gary Pickford Hopkins) - 3:44
5. To The Stars (Glenn Cornick) - 4:29
6. Sanctuary (Jon Blackmore) - 4:31
7. One Sole Survivor (Gary Pickford Hopkins, Tweke Lewis) - 4:09
8. Battle Hymn (Glenn Cornick) - 4:40
9. Gentle Rain (Glenn Cornick) - 3:13
10.Sentinel (Jon Blackmore, Tweke Lewis) - 4:22

Wild Turkey
*Jon Blackmore - Guitar, Vocals
*Glenn Cornick - Bass, Guitar, Keyboards
*Gary Pickford Hopkins - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Jeff Jones - Drums, Percussion
*Alan "Tweke" Lewis - Guitar 

Relates Acts

Monday, October 17, 2022

Galaxy - Day Without The Sun (1976 us, extraordinary prog space rock, digipak edition)

Galaxy is a space rock band that played their largest performances in Jacksonville, Florida. The first was in 1975 at the 4th of July street concert sponsored by the Jacksonville Beach chamber of commerce. Galaxy was the only band performing that night, playing to a crowd the newspapers said was over 30 thousand strong. Galaxy performed 42 of their original rock songs that they had learned after being together only 3 months. They performed at the same venue the following year. Galaxy won WAPE radio's first "battle-of-the-bands" in 1976, winning the prize of a recording contract with Bang Records in Atlanta, Ga. that turned out only to be a midnight recording session.

Their winning year brought them to the concert stages to large audiences that included : Annhauser Busch Natural Light Beer debuton Jax. Beach to a crowd of over 250 thousand rock fans as thefinal feature act following a country rock band called "Road Dust" and during Galaxy's concert Leif Garrette made a guest appearance. Galaxy also performed to a Daytona Beach crowd of more that 20 thousand fans at the city's famous band shell on the beach. They recorded only one album called "Day Without The Sun" originally recorded in Florida in 1976 and unearthed by the Italian Akarma label, this is a wonderful mixture of space rock, West Coast guitar solos and Gong-like female vocals which combine superbly to richochet around your brain. The 14 minute title track is awesome....
1. Space Mountain - 4:05 
2. Green Stuff - 4:35  
3. Look What You Done - 3:58 
4. Galaxy - 6:10  
5. Sky Queen - 3:58  
6. Day Without The Sun - 12:22 
All songs by Space Mama Geiger, Frenzi Fabbri

*Frenzi Fabbri - Guitar
*Space Mama Geiger - Keyboards
*Pepper Leonardi - Bass
*Miss Gunner Powell - Drums 

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Evolution - Evolution (1969-72 spain / germany, exciting hard garage psych brass rock, 2003 bonus tracks remaster)

In 1965 the German band The Vampires arrives in Spain. Lovers of Rhythm 'N' Blues and Soul and based in Madrid, they released several singles with the Session label and participated in several festivals of the time. A few years later, tired of the pace of work and the pressure of their record label, they moved to Castelldefels, Barcelona. There they meet the guitarist Tony Ponce, leaving the formation of these new Vampires.

In the autumn of 1969, Artur Mas, founder  of the Ekipo sub-label, Dimension, signs a contract with the band, who change their name to Evolution (for Mas this name suggested a more progressive attitude) and in December his first single, which contained a version of “Fresh Garbage” by Californians Spirit, with wind arrangements a la Blood, Sweat and Tears, and another blues classic on the B-side, “You Don't Love Me Baby”, with wind arrangements. similar that showed that fusion of styles that characterized his music. After the replacement of the saxophonist Paul Waldhecker by the organist T.J Brown, a new single with two quite commercial pieces is published. The first was “Water”, with influences from the early Traffic and a certain Soul air, and the second was called “Loving Me (Is Not The Only Thing To Do)”, a ballad that was too cloying for my taste. The third single would arrive in September 1970, and that's when we noticed a hardening in the sound of the band. 

They moved away from Soul, as we can see in "She's So Fine", catchy, psychedelic, almost garage, or in the instrumental "I'm Walking High", which occupied the B side of the single. Composed by T.J Brown, with the hammond organ, a good bass line, percussion and a nice guitar solo, it is one of the best pieces of the group. In November of this same year, on the 20th and 22nd, Evolution plays at the First Permanent Festival of Progressive Music, organized by Oriol Regás in the Iris room. In that same month, Ekipo publishes the band's first and only album. Recorded at the Gema studios in Barcelona (of course!), and produced by Miquel Casas, the LP contained new mixes of the six songs that had been previously released as singles, plus three new pieces. The first was the fantastic “Dr. Vazquez”, a raw song, with an impressive rhythm and the organ and the guitar as protagonists. The second was a good version of "21st Century Schizoid Man by King Crimson. Whenever I hear the central instrumental part I imagine Deep Purple covering Fripp's band. The third, "Get Ready/Evil Ways" was a mix between Smokey Robinson's song (covered quite successfully by The Temptations and Rare Earth) and Santana's. 

The album was mixed while the band was touring Europe, and when they returned to Barcelona, they didn't like the result at all. At that time they were considered a powerful rock band, with psychedelic and progressive influences and a sound based on the organ and guitar, in Miquel Salas's mixes the wind arrangements reappeared (directed by the Catalan trumpeter Rudy Ventura ) with whom they no longer felt satisfied. It is curious how, despite everything, it seems to me to be an album full of strength, but both Tony Ponce and Det Ferring expressed their disagreement in the interviews that Marc Argenter and Jordi Segura did for the booklet of the reissue on CD that he did the Wah-Wah label in 2003 (respecting the original vinyl format of the time, in the form of a bag). The reception by the public was good, since television and radio, considering them as a foreign band, did not put inconveniences for them to sing in English, which facilitated their promotion. 

In May 1971, they released their fourth single, which contained a beautiful version of another King Crimson classic, “In The Court Of The Crimson King”, and “Problems”, a song that I like it a lot, very much like the Chicago Transit Authority, but without winds. Ferring's interpretation and Ponce's guitar details are fantastic. In this same month they participate in the Granollers Progressive Rock Festival and from this moment the problems begin. There is less and less room to play, the media supports less and less this type of band and the progressive movement in Barcelona decreases day by day. 

In 1972, T.J Brown left the group, and in May of this same year the band published its last single, already as a quartet. Unfortunately, this single leaves a bad taste in their mouths, since the record company needed commercial songs that could sell well for the summer, and the song “I Must Live” is “imposed” on them, again with wind arrangements, but this time much more tacky. I particularly like this piece, although I perfectly understand why they didn't like it too much. On side B we find "Pain and Pleasure", another smooth piece with a somewhat more elegant orchestration, but with the same commercial aims. Shortly after, Wolfgang Jünger left the band, being replaced by Artur Domingo from Pan y Licorice. After Tony Ponce's call-up, at the end of 1972, the band split definitively. 
by Francisco Macias
1. Dr. Vazquez (Det Ferring, T.J. Brown) - 2:51
2. I'm Walking High (T.J. Brown) - 4:13
3. She's So Fine (Det Ferring, Wolfgang Jünger) - 3:05
4. Water (Det Ferring, Tony Ponce) - 3:23
5. Fresh Garbage (Jay Ferguson, Paul Waldhecker) - 2:50
6. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Greg Lake, Ian McDonald, Michael Giles, Peter Sinfield, Robert Fripp) - 4:26
7. Get Ready / Evil Ways (Smokey Robinson, Clarence Henry, J. Zack) - 5:06
8. Loving Me (Is Not The Only Thing To Do) (T.J. Brown) - 3:13
9. You Don't Love Me Baby (T.J. Brown) - 3:43
10.I Must Live (Det Ferring, Ignace Baert) - 3:13
11.Pain And Pleasure (Det Ferring, Tony Ponce) - 3:13
12.In The Court Of The Crimson King (Ian McDonald, Peter Sinfield) - 2:48
13.Problems (Det Ferring, Tony Ponce) - 3:23

*Wolfgang Jünger - Bass
*Det Ferring - Vocals
*T.J. Brown - Keyboards
*Paul Waldhecker - Saxophone, Clarinet
*Micky Kluge - Drums
*Tony Ponce - Guitar

Friday, October 14, 2022

Survivor - All Your Pretty Moves (1979 us, classic hard rock and metal crossover sound highlighted by outstanding guitars, 2003 bonus track remaster)

"No connection with the band who recorded Eye of the Tiger"

The only album by Shreveport, LA, hard rockers Survivor, All Your Pretty Moves is gritty, tough, but still supple and groovy enough to be an unmistakable product of the late '70s -- born before the likes of Journey, Foreigner, and a more famous, "Eye of the Tiger"-toting namesake could dilute hard rock into slicker AOR; and before heavy metal went into a thrash-fueled overdrive that would distance it from roots like those heard here. Vintage rockers such as "So Blind," "Breakout," and "Black Sea" contain harmonizing twin guitars inspired by Thin Lizzy, and high-energy stomps like "The New Order" and "Kristallnacht" recall several Judas Priest anthems of the day, but plagiarizes none of them. 

All are topped with not altogether powerful but still serviceable vocals from frontman Brian Clark, who's equally at ease feigning Philip Lynott's knowing, conspiratorial tone as he is at approximating Rob Halford's less strident registers. And two more, particularly notable highlights shed additional light on a less explored, but arguably even more effective, softer side of the group's talents. 

The first, "Deceive Me," is a stunning, slow-building dreamscape that eventually breaks out into a truly epic climax; and the second, closing ballad "Back to the Homeland," unfurls a glorious guitar melody so stirring and laconic, it challenges 1970s six-string wizard Ritchie Blackmore for sheer, supernatural, dark-tinged beauty. That final song alone would justify this reissue's existence, but for those not already desperate enough to replace their super-rare and scratched-up vinyl copies with the 2003 Monster Records CD, there's also a non-album cover of Mott the Hoople's "Rock and Roll Queen" to consider. Simply put, All Your Pretty Moves is a worthwhile addition to the library of any serious classic rock enthusiast. 
by Eduardo Rivadavia
1. The New Order - 4:11
2. So Blind - 5:05
3. Breakout (Brian Clark) - 4:17
4. Deceive Me (Brian Clark, Pat O'Hara, Paul Restovich, Brian Martini) - 7:10
5. Kristallnacht - 5:20
6. Black Sea - 4:07
7. Delicate Adversary - 4:06
8. Back To The Homeland (Brian Clark, Paul Restovich) - 5:35
9. Rock 'n Roll Queen (Mick Ralphs) - 7:16
All songs by Brian Clark, Pat O'Hara, Paul Restovich except where noted

*Brian Clark - Bass, Vocals
*Brian Martini - Drums
*Pat O'Hara - Guitar
*Paul Restovich - Guitar, Vocals