Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Excalibur - The First Album (1972 germany, fine bluesy hard rock, 2007 remaster)

Excalibur was a rock group, from Germany. The three members came from Mönchengladbach area. Werner Odenkirchen (guitar and vocals), Hartmut Scholgens (organ, bass and vocals), Charlie Terstappen (drums).They first and only album is musically somewhere between Tiger B. Smith and Black Sabbath, so on the one hand it is very influenced by the British hard rock of the time, but it also has nice krautrock elements.

Excalibur is a legendary sword. Who owns it is unbeatable. Just like King Arthur of England once received it from Merlin's hand. After the king's death, it was smashed into a mountain. From former Rattles and Wonderland drummer Dickie Tarrach. Excalibur is still sharp and invincible today. Hear it for yourself, Excalibur is unbeatable.
1. Light In The Dark - 6:05
2. Get Me, If You Want - 2:54
3. Zamuno (Hartmut Schölgens, Werner Odenkirchen) - 2:56
4. Run Through The Past - 3:58
5. Sure You Win - 4:27
6. Hollywood Dreams - 3:27
7. Questions (Hartmut Schölgens, Werner Odenkirchen) - 5:03
8. Don't Look Backwards - 5:02
9. Feelin's - 6:32
All songs by Werner Odenkirchen except where noted

*Werner Odenkirchen - Vocals, Lead Guitar 
*Hartmut Schölgens - Organ, Bass, Vocals 
*Manfred Terstappen - Drums 

Monday, November 28, 2022

The Pirates - Shakin' With The Devil / The Best Of The Pirates (1977-79 uk, powerful tough boogie roots 'n' roll pub rock, 2011 double disc digi pak)

Legendary UK music scribe Mick Farren once defied anyone to name two guitarists who could out-cut Mick Green and his battered Fender Telecaster, having just witnessed his band The Pirates in full throttle at the height of punk. The trio, also comprising bassist/singer Johnny Spence and brick shithouse drummer Frank Farley, had brazenly reunited during tumultuous 1977 having first played together behind cutlass-brandishing Brit-rock’n’roller Johnny Kidd. That early 70s incarnation laid down the acknowledged template for any power trio line-up that followed, with Dr Feelgood’s Wilko Johnson unashamedly homaging Green’s jaw-dropping lead-rhythm combination.

Embraced by both musicians and punk crowds, The Pirates laid waste to the nation’s gig circuit. In between times, they managed to capture their live mix of punk-shot compositions such as All In It Together and their own rock’n’roll classics on three albums (Out Of Their Skulls, Skull Wars and Happy Birthday Rock’n’Roll), catalysed by renowned back-to-basics producer Vic Maille.

The trio split after record company disinterest and Green’s elevation to session royalty, before his sad death in 2010. This rampant double-disc set of album highlights, plus outtakes, jingles and incendiary live workouts, pays suitable tribute, with added annotation by veteran journalist Roy Carr.
by Kris Needs, 07 September 2011

When Mick Green died in January 2010 a month short of his 66th birthday after a long illness, British music lost one of its best known session musicians.

Green spent the 1980s and 1990s touring the world and recording with Paul McCartney, Bryan Ferry and Van Morrison, but will always perhaps be best known as the guitarist in the early 60’s rock ‘n’ roll group Johnny Kidd and the Pirates.

By the time Green joined the Pirates in early 1962, shortly after Johnny Spence (bass guitar) and Frank Farley (drums), both of whom he had grown up with him in Wimbledon in South London, Kidd, another Londoner, had already had his biggest hit with a previous incarnation of the group and the 1960 number one hit, ‘Shakin’ All Over’.  

The Green-Spence-Farley line-up of the Pirates, however, remains the definitive version of the band.  Green’s fiery guitar work and ability to play the lead guitar and rhythm guitar simultaneously was an influence on both the Who’s Pete Townshend and Wilko Johnson, the guitarist with Dr Feelgood. They also became a very visual act, having an effect on both Alice Cooper and Adam and the Ants. Kidd, who wore an eye patch over his eye, would wave about a cutlass on stage, and he and his band, all of whom wore nineteenth century pirate costumes, would perform in front of a huge backdrop of a pirate galleon.

Green left Johnny Kidd and the Pirates in 1964 to join Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, while Spence and Farley stayed on with Kidd until in early 1966. In 1976, ten years after Kidd was tragically killed in a car accident later on in 1966 and shortly after forming another incarnation of his band, the New Pirates, Mick Green, Johnny Spence and Frank Farley reformed, calling themselves the Pirates. 

The Pirates’ swaggering and raucous brand of rock ‘n’ roll made them an instant success on their native London live circuit and was embraced by the punk movement. The trio, who continued to wear pirate attire on stage, signed a deal with Warner Brothers with whom they released two albums, their half live, half studio-recorded debut ‘Out of Their Skulls’ (1977) and its follow-up, ‘Skull Wars’ (1978), before moving to independent label Cube Records to release their third album, ‘Happy Birthday Rock ‘n’ Roll’ (1979).

They broke up in 1982, but Green and Spence from 1999 continued to play together sporadically as the Pirates, eventually without Farley who retired from live work due to ill health in 2005, and recorded a last studio album, ‘Skullduggery’, together in 2006.

2011 has seen a release of two disc, fifty two track box set, ‘Shakin with the Devil-the Best of the Pirates 1977-1979’, which has come out on the reissue label Salvo Music, and, beautifully packaged, contains the first three studio albums and also rare and unreleased tracks.
by John Clarkson, 27/10/2011
Disc 1
1. 'Out Of Their Skulls' LP radio promo spot - 0:34
2. Please Don't Touch (Frederick Heath, Guy Robinson) - 2:22
3. I Can Tell (Ellis McDaniels, Samuel Smith) - 2:28
4. Linda Lu (Intro) - 0:20
5. Peter Gunn (Henry Mancini) - 2:18
6. Lonesome Train (Glen Moore, Milton Subotsky) - 3:07
7. Shakin' All Over (Frederick Heath) - 2:33
8. Honey Hush (Willie Turner) - 2:09
9. Milk Cow Blues (Kokomo Arnold) - 3:31
10.Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee ("Stick" McGhee, J. Mayo Williams) - 2:58
11.Sweet Love On My Mind (Wayne Walker, Webb Pierce) - 3:21
12.Do The Dog (Rufus Thomas) - 2:40
13.Gibson Martin Fender (Mick Green) - 3:31
14.Don't Munchen It (Mick Green, Johnny Spencer) - 3:37
15.That's The Way You Are (Mick Green) - 2:44
16.You Don't Own Me (Alan Lancaster, Mick Green) - 2:48
17.'Skull Wars' LP radio promo spot - 0:34
18.Long Journey Home (Mick Green, Roy Carr) - 3:43
19.Dr Feelgood (Curtis Smith) - 1:58
20.All In It Together (Mick Green, Johnny Spencer) - 3:15
21.Johnny B Goode's Good (Mick Green) - 2:26
22.Johnny B Goode (Chuck Berry) - 4:05
23.I'm Talking About You (Chuck Berry) - 3:02
24.I'm In Love Again (Antoine "Fats" Domino, Dave Bartholomew) - 3:11
25.Voodoo (Mick Green) - 2:32
26.Four To The Bar (Mick Green, Johnny Spencer) - 2:51
27.Honey Hush (Willie Turner) - 2:26
28.Diggin' My Potatoes (Traditional) - 3:37
29.Shake Hands With The Devil (Johnny Spencer, Mick Green) - 3:28
Tracks 2-16 from "Out Of Their Skulls" 1977
Tracks 18-29 from "Skull Wars" 1978
Disc 2
1. Shakin' All Over (Frederick Heath) - 2:59
2. Saturday Night Shoot Out (Mick Green, Roy Carr) - 3:57
3. The Witch Queen of New Orleans (Lolly Vegas, Pat Vegas) - 3:08
4. Lonesome Train (Glen Moore, Milton Subotsky) - 3:01
5. All By Myself (Antoine "Fats" Domino, Dave Bartholomew) - 1:42
6. Sweet Love On My Mind (Wayne Walker, Webb Pierce) - 3:18
7. Gibson Martin Fender (Mick Green) - 3:39
8. Don't Munchen It (Mick Green, Johnny Spencer) - 3:34
9. Linda Lu (Ray Sharpe) - 3:38
10.Tear It Up (Dorsey Burnette, Johnny Burnette, Paul Burlison) - 3:33
11.You Can't Sit Down (Cornell Clark, Delicta Muldrow, Kal Mann) - 3:07
12.Hey Mary (Mick Green, Johnny Spencer) - 3:33
13.Golden Oldies (Mick Green) - 3:34
14.Alarmer (Mick Green, Johnny Spencer) - 2:57
15.Lady (Put The Light On Me) (Phil Wainman, John Kenneth Goodison) - 3:47
16.Happy Birthday Rock'n'Roll (Mick Green, Pete Cage) - 4:53
17.Going Back Home (Mick Green, Wilko Johnson) - 3:14
18.Lemonade (Mick Green) - 2:52
19.1:30, 2:30, 3:35 (Neville Crozier) -2:40
20.Hard Ride (Mick Green, Alan Lancaster) - 3:20
21.Mercy Pirate (Mick Green, Johnny Spencer) - 2:33
22.Hard Sell - 4:33
23.All By Myself (Antoine "Fats" Domino, Dave Bartholomew) - 1:44 
Tracks 1-10 from "Skull Wars" 1978
Tracks 11-23 from "Happy Birthday Rock 'N' Roll" 1979

The Pirates
*Mick Green - Guitar, Vocals
*Frank Farley - Drums, Vocals 
*John Spencer Louts - Bass, Vocals 

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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Rick Hayward - Rick Hayward (1971 uk, lo-fi experimental folk psych rock, 2007 remaster)

Having played lead guitar for psychedelic legends the Accent, formed a late incarnation of the Zombies with Rod Argent, collaborated with Christine Perfect (later of Fleetwood Mac), joined boogie rockers Jellybread and recorded innumerable sessions, Rick Hayward finally recorded this solo album for the Blue Horizon label in 1971. 

Don't expect any Zombies-like songs, this is an off-beat collection of psychedelictinged folk songs and instrumentals on which he plays all instruments, it was produced by Mike Vernon (David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, Ten Years After) but sank without trace on original release. Features detailed liner notes by Rick himself, as well as rare photographs and eleven bonus tracks recorded for his unreleased second album a few months later. 
1. Lament F' Yorke - 2:11
2. Light In The Sky - 4:10
3. His Imperial Highness Prince Chicken Rag - 2:43
4. Can't See Any Sign - 2:26
5. Neptune - 3:19
6. Weasel - 3:14
7. Dance Of The Sour Grape Fairy - 2:57
8. Seeing Through - 3:05
9. Minuette - 1:02
10.Mongrel - 2:23
11.Find Yourself Sometime - 4:28
12.Wheels Within Wheels - 2:50
13.Tattered Rag - 2:42
14.Gwendolynne - 2:00
15.Morning After - 2:26
16.Fast Track - 1:49
17.Peregrination - 3:10
18.Ragtiming - 3:00
19.Greensleeves (Sort Of) - 2:26
20.Strolling Home - 3:36
21.Boogie Bill - 1:50
22.Breathing Space - 2:19
23.Bonnie Wee Fling - 2:29
All songs by Rick Hayward
Bonus Tracks 13-23

*Rick Hayward - Acoustic, Electric Guitars, Sitar, Mandolin, Bass, Bongos, Drums

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Joe Prichard And Gibraltar - Joe Prichard And Gibraltar (1974 us, power guitar rock, 2004 reissue)

Very little is known about Joe Prichard or his sidekicks, except that the band, which hailed from Missouri, drew its inspiration from influences far and wide, resulting in each of the 5 tracks being very different in character, ranging from the power chords and staccato guitar breaks of the Jimmy Page variety, to the throaty sax of 12-bar blues specialists Climax as well as the dual guitars of ZZ Top. There's even a 9-minute jam a la Jethro Tull or Traffic with flute and sax giving a decidedly jazzy feel to proceedings. This is another extremely rare record (only 500 copies were pressed on the private Kendall-Lee label in 1974).
1. Blind Man (David Harmon) - 9:07
2. Rose Petal Lady (Steve Armstrong) - 7:08
3. Reason To Be (Joe Prichard) - 5:37
4. The Machine Is Small Enough (Joe Prichard) - 10:02
5. August Apathy (Joe Prichard) - 1:19

Joe Prichard And Gibraltar
*David Harmon - Bass, Vocals
*Norman Pelot - Drums, Backing Vocals
*Vincent West - Lead Guitar
*Steve Armstrong - Vocals
*Joe Prichard - Moog, Piano, Organ, Saxophone, Vocals

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Quintessence - Indweller (1972 uk, a compelling prog-rock exploration, 2008 remaster)

Quintessence's first album for RCA Records from 1972. Hailing from the heart of London's 'alternative underground' society in Notting Hill, Quintessence were inspired by Eastern philosophy and spiritual teachings creating a unique fusion of psychedelia, jazz and ethnic rock. Indweller saw them continue their musical explorations in this vein, creating a classic of the progressive/acid rock genre. The Esoteric remastered edition was produced from the original analog master tapes and features a booklet with liner notes and new essay."
1. Jesus My Life (Swami Ambikananda) - 3:39
2. Butterfly Music - 1:03
3. It's All The Same - 7:08
4. Indweller - 2:30
5. Holy Roller - 4:16
6. Portable Realm - 1:30
7. Sai Baba (Swami Ambikananda) - 3:24
8. On The Other Side Of The Wall - 3:38
9. Dedication - 2:46
10.Bliss Trip - 6:25
11.Mother Of The Universe - 1:46
All selections by Allan Mostert, Ronald Rothfield, Richard Vaughan, Jake Milton except where indicated

*Allan Mostert - Lead Guitar
*Ronald Rothfield “Raja Ram” - Flute
*Richard Vaughan “Sambhu Babaji” - Bass
*Jake Milton - Drums

Monday, November 21, 2022

Stampeders - New Day (1974 canada, exceptional classic rock, 2006 remaster)

"New Day" was cut in ’74 and was more experimentation in the studios, marked by the lead-off track and first single “Ramona”. Other hi-lites of their fifth straight gold record were Dodson’s “Marigold” (named for his future recording studio and record label), “Running Out Of Time” and the haunting “Brothers Of The Universe”. The subsequent tour resulted in the live album “Backstage Pass”, recorded at Ontario Place and released before year’s end. Capturing their live presence, which was always one of their trademarks, the record featured live versions of “Devil You”, “Johnny Lightning” and a cover of “Blue Suede Shoes”. “I used to ask the guys if we have to play music when we’re on stage. It always got in the way of my comedy routine,” King quipped. Slick editing (for the time anyway) stripped the gags out of the record and left one of the purest live albums of its day, showcasing the band in its most familiar stage – in front of screaming fans.
by Rich Dodson, Ronnie King

“New Day” represents a bit of a departure for The Stampeders. Leaving relatively “hokey” numbers (like Monday Morning Choo Choo, for example) aside, The Stampeders show their versatility and their ability to play straight ahead Rock and Roll on this album.

Highlights include “In the Shadows”,  “Ramona”, a straight ahead rocker, “It’s Your Move”, another fast-paced tune and the casually paced “Do It Again”. Of particular interest are the songs “Somebody Help Me”–two groove-infused songs that are featured as bookends on the Stampeders “Backstage Pass” Live album. A nice change of pace for a group that is, unfortunately, lost in the annals of Canadian Rock history. 
1. Ramona - 3:22
2. Marigold - 4:52
3. Running Out Of Time (Kim Berly) - 3:50
4. It's Your Move (Ronnie King) - 2:53
5. Wild Eyes - 3:51
6. In The Shadows - 4:30
7. Words (Kim Berly) - 2:55
8. Do It Again - 3:28
9. Somebody Help Me - 2:05
10.Brothers Of The Universe (Ronnie King) - 4:45
All songs by Rich Dodson except where indicated

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

1971  Stampeders - Against the Grain (2006 bonus tracks)  

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Mirkwood - Mirkwood (1973 uk, hard rock with prog shades, 2008 edition)

"Mirkwood's lone self-titled album was originally issued in 1973, in an edition of just 99 copies. Coming out of the port town of Dover, with each of the group members having honed their moves in various outfits for years (including the original Rolling Stones from 1957 - no relation to the Glimmer Twins).This album's fantastic mix of precise hard rock and mysterious ballads has had many a private press enthusiast by the hair over the years. Crashing out of the gates with the one-two knockout combination of the fuzz shuffle of 'Take My Love' and the epic 11-minute centerpiece of 'Love's Glass of Sunshine,' this record is a classic deep listen, revealing great moments with each new spin. Killer harmonies and lots of twin-guitar lead action, tough and tender, this record is pure autumnal magic."
1. Take My Love - 4:35
2. Love's Glass Of Sunshine - 11:28
3. Just Because - 5:17
4. The Leech (Mick Morris) - 5:19
5. The Vision - 3:27
6. Clockwise - 6:02
7. Lavendula - 7:23
All songs by Jack Castle except track #4

*Jack Castle - Guitar, Vocals
*Mick Morris - Guitar, Vocals
*Steve Smith - Drums
*Derek Bowley - Lead Vocals
*Dave Evans - Bass

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Blue Mink - Melting Pot (1969 uk, pleasant psych rock blue eyed soul, 2006 japan remaster)

One of the giants of British pop in the early '70s, Blue Mink was formed in fall 1969 by keyboard player Roger Coulam, around a nucleus of musicians based at London's Morgan Studios -- bassist Herbie Flowers, guitarist Allan Parker, and drummer Barry Morgan were also involved. Having already recorded a number of backing tracks, Coulam then approached soul singer Madeline Bell and former David & Jonathan star Roger Greenaway as vocalists; Bell accepted, Greenaway declined but recommended his songwriting partner (and fellow David & Jonathan-er) Roger Cook in his stead.

With this lineup, Cook and Greenaway's "Melting Pot" was released as Blue Mink's debut single, a plea for multi-racial harmony that reached number three in the U.K. that November. An album of the same title was released in the new year, alongside the single "Good Morning Freedom" -- for reasons unknown, the single did not originally appear on the LP. However, its swift rise into the U.K. Top Ten prompted a rethink, and subsequent pressings packed it on board. 
by Dave Thompson
1. Melting Pot (Roger Greenaway, Roger Cook) - 3:54
2. Gidda Wadda Wobble (Alan Parker) - 3:50
3. Gimme Reggae (B. Fox) - 3:13
4. But Not Forever (Roger Coulam) - 3:02
5. Chopin Up Stix (Herbie Flowers, Roger Coulam) - 4:21
6. Can You Feel It Baby (Roger Greenaway, Roger Cook) - 4:32
7. Country Chic (Roger Coulam) - 4:33
8. Mary Jane (Herbie Flowers, Kenny Pickett) - 3:19
9. Over The Top (Roger Coulam) - 6:23
10.Good Morning Freedom (Roger Greenaway, Roger Cook, Albert Hammond, Michael Hazlewood) - 2:54
Bonus Track 10

Blue Mink
*Madeline Bell - Vocals 
*Roger Cook - Vocals 
*Roger Coulam - Piano, Organ 
*Herbie Flowers - Bass 
*Barry Morgan - Drums, Percussion 
*Alan Parker - Guitar

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Thursday, November 17, 2022

Cromwell - At The Gallop (1975 ireland, exciting guitar pub rock, 2022 remaster)

Emerging from the giant shadow cast by the greatness of Thin Lizzy, this obscure band with a venomous guitar attack, and dual vocalists that kick ass and take names, puts the ‘ire’ in Ireland and delivers with a sound that’s not for the squeamish.

Initially self-released in 1975 by the Drumcondra, Dublin-based Cromwell, At The Gallop is a blistering, heavy, loud’n’lascivious ten track offering (thirteen in this expanded edition) of infused street rock’n’roll from a time when Ireland was still under the sway of conservative showbands, quasi-religious, sentimental pop pap and traditional Irish music.

Despite their cultural struggles, Cromwell crafted a creative and compact catalog—five fuzzed’n’ferocious 45s and this footlong—led by co-vocalist/bassist Michael Kiely’s come hither coo and fey Jagger pose’n’preen, the in-the-pocket drumming of Derek Dawson and minor-guitar hero moves of Patrick Brady, exercising taste, talent and towering mountains of fuzz’n’fury as comfortably as greasy ‘70s raunch and rural modes. At The Gallop is a rare—fetching upwards of 400€ when the original LP does appear—little heard classic in the pub/ fried rock’n’roll /proto-punk terrain.
1. Ireland (The Wild One) (Michael Kiely, Patric Brady, Derek Dawson) - 3:26
2. Down On The Town - 3:32
3. First Day - 3:23
4. You Got It Made - 3:36
5. At The Gallop - 2:24
6. Guiness Rock - 4:14
7. Hoodwinked (Michael Kiely, Patric Brady, Derek Dawson) - 2:22
8. Nothing Left To See - 4:07
9. Deal Me In - 2:47
10.Dawson's Fun Palace - 3:22
11.Stomp Stomp Stomp - 2:48
12.You Hate It To Turn On - 3:40
13.Guiness Rock - 3:47 
All compositions by Michael Kiely, Patric Brady except where stated
Bonus Tracks 11-13

*Michael Kiely - Vocals, Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Synthesizer
*Patric Brady - Vocals, Electric, Slide Guitars
*Derek Dawson - Drums, Percussion Jews Harp
*Joylon Jackson - Piano (Track 7)
*John O'Callaghan - Organ (Tracks 3,8)
*Finin O'Callaghan - Guitar, Harmony Vocals 
*John Keogh - Piano (Track 4) 

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Noah - Peaceman's Farm (1972 canada, nice classic rock, feat. Randy Bachman)

Noah started originally playing local clubs around Trenton, Ontario in 1964-65 as Buzzy And The Belvederes. The band featured 'Buzzy' Vandersel’s (who was 14 at the time of the band's inception), his older cousins Peter and Marinus Vandertogt and finally, lead singer Paul Clapper. The band was re-christened Tyme And A Half by Nimbus 9 Productions' manager Al MacMillan during the recording of their first single "It's Been A Long Time". They would release the song and a second single in 1969.

The group then landed a deal with RCA-Victor through their Nimbus 9 producer Jack Richardson, and with a final name change to NOAH, released their debut in 1970. Paul Clapper, unhappy with the direction the band was taking under the leadership of Al McMillan, left and was replaced by Ron Neilson as they toured the debut album. However, Neilson also left and Noah carried on as a three piece.

Moving to ABC/Dunhill their 1972 album 'Peaceman's Farm' was produced by Randy Bachman. Bachman also wrote the song "Sussex" for the record and played guitar on several tracks as did keyboardist Jim Morgan. The song "World Band" would later be covered by US group GRIFFIN. The album not only recieved great reviews in RPM, Cashbox and Billboard magazines, but increased their profile as one of the featured acts in the Canadian music industry's summer Maple Music Junket.

Noah began extensive touring in the USA to promote the album in the Spring of 1972 and Bachman toured with them. One stint included a live broadcast on radio station WCMF in Rochester, New York. Al Manning joined the group at this time as well. A 3rd album left unreleased, and one single. After the frontman and singer Barry "Buzz" Vandersel died in fall 1975, the band split up.
1. Peaceman's Farm - 6:15
2. They Come, They Go - 3:05
3. Sussex (Randy Bachman) - 3:27
4. April Roads - 3:37
5. Light Of A Different Day - 4:00
6. For Us All - 3:31
7. World Band - 3:44
8. Something's In My Way - 3:36
9. Take Me Back - 2:59
10.Never Too Late - 6:01
All songs by Barry Vandersel, Marinus Vandertogt, Peter Vandertogt except track #3 

*Barry "Buzz" Vandersel - Vocals, Bass
*Marinus Vandertogt - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Peter Vandertogt - Drums
*Randy Bachman - Vocals, Guitar (Tracks 1-3,6,8)
*Jim Morgan - Keyboards (Track 4)

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Dave Davies - Decade (1971-78 uk, straight ahead rock, ranging from hard rock to pop and all stops in between, 2018 digipak remaster)

It must be tough being in a band with your big brother – especially when he writes the tunes and calls the shots. It doesn’t help when the band you’re in is the Kinks – a volatile powder keg of ego, sibling rivalry, and God only knows what else. We all know that Dave Davies can write a decent tune – check out “Death of a Clown” and “Susannah’s Still Alive” for proof of that, but can the younger Davies brother consistently deliver the goods? If Decade is anything to go on, then yeah, he can.

Decade has been lovingly assembled by Dave’s sons Simon and Martin from recordings made at the band’s Konk Studios, throughout the 1970s. The good news is that it hangs together well as an album and sounds cohesive -not a ragbag of demos and half-baked ideas, but a genuine long-playing record. The other good news is that the tunes are strong and don’t sound as if they were written by his brother. Well, a few do, but they are family, after all.

In the 1970s, the Kinks were an eccentric arena band, packing them in across the USA and ramping up the rock elements of their sound. English whimsy combined with a loud guitar or two was a powerful draw to your average gig going American, and Davies was a major part of that. If you need proof, then just listen to One for the Road – recorded in a variety of American cities (with a couple of tracks from Zurich) in late 1979, Dave Davies guitar is front and center and propels the band forward with real urgency. On Decade, we get a hint of that, but it’s quite surprising that it isn’t more, well, heavy, I guess. This is the guy that invented heavy metal, after all.
by Ian Rushbury, 7 November 2018 
1. Cradle to the Grave - 3:32
2. Midnight Sun - 4:03
3. Islands - 4:23
4. If You Are Leaving - 4:18
5. Web of Time - 4:25
6. Mystic Woman - 2:33
7. Give You All My Love - 4:04
8. The Journey - 3:12
9. Within Each Day - 3:45
10.Same Old Blues - 4:10
11.Mr. Moon - 3:48
12.Shadows - 3:37
13.This Precious Time (Long Lonely Road) - 5:42 
All songs by Dave Davies

*Dave Davies - Vocals, Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Drums
*Phil Palmer - Electric Guitar, Electric Bass (Tracks 1,2,6,8,12)
*Neil McBain - Drums (Tracks 1,2,6,8,11,12)
*Ron Lawrence - Bass (Tracks 9,10)
*John Gosling - Organ (Tracks 1,2), Strings Arrangement (Track 12)
*Nick Trevisick - Drums (Tracks 3,7,9,10,13)
*Andy Pyle - Electric Bass (Tracks 3,7,13)
*Mick Avory - Drums (Track 4)

Related Act
1972  The Kinks - Everybody's In Show-Biz (2003 MFSL Ultradisc) 
1976  The Kinks - Present Schoolboys In Disgrace (2004 SACD) 

Monday, November 14, 2022

Strange - Souvenir Album (1974-78 us, fusion underground art psych rock, 2009 reissue)

The Strange were an underground art-rock band from Olympia, WA, close to the Canadian border. Tom Hackett, Robert Rensel, David Chamberlain, Rick Rackleff plus Mike Pitcher, Don Morris & Carl Dexter recorded the Souvenir Album over a period of several years, and it was finally released in a tiny pressing in 1976 on the Yantis Record label. With a touch of the West Coast sound and lots of Mothers Of Invention influences, this album is just as special as The Spoils Of War and as complex as Time and Think Dog, with Zappa-style wah-wah/flange guitar, great vocals, piano, effects, some horns, and a well-balanced mixture of heavy psych guitar tracks and twisted underground folk tunes. 
1. Segment from Barapp (9-75) - 1:14
2. Somebody - 6:10
3. The Ballad of Hollis Spaceman - 7:06
4. Four Eyes - 5:39
5. Segment from Barapp - 0:41
6. Segment from on Winning the War / A Faced Dream - 4:18
7. Rick's Song (Rick Rackleff) - 2:30
8. Segment from Mushroom Wednesday / Lies by Poetic License - 5:37
9. Twelve Boats (Tom Hackett) - 5:05
10.The Last Song - 4:31
All compositions by David Chamberlain except where stated

*Carl Dexter - Vocals, Bass
*David Chamberlain - Guitar, Vocals
*Tom Hackett - Twelve-String Guitar
*Robert Rensel - French Horn, Keyboards, Vocals
*Rick Rackleff - Bongos, Drums, Organ
*Don Morris - Bass, Saxophone, Vocals
*Ron Redifer - Drums
*Jim Eager - Drums 

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Roger McGuinn - Thunderbyrd (1977 us, wonderful folk classic rock, 2007 japan remaster)

1977's Thunderbyrd, McGuinn's last solo album until 1991's Back From Rio, is very different from Cardiff Rose and almost as good. At first, it sounds like a fairly typical late-'70's pop-rock album when you hear "It's Gone" and Peter Frampton's "All Night Long". But as the album goes along, it tends toward an urban style of country rock that McGuinn pulls off well. A special treat for rock trivia buffs is McGuinn's rendition of Tom Petty's "American Girl", a classic example of a musical pioneer paying homage to a well-known disciple. Thunderbyrd is a fine album that improves with repeat listenings. 
1. All Night Long (Micky Gallagher, Peter Frampton) - 4:18
2. It's Gone (Roger McGuinn) - 3:57
3. Dixie Highway (Roger McGuinn) - 3:28
4. American Girl (Tom Petty) - 4:28
5. We Can Do It All Over Again (Barry Goldberg, Mentor Williams) - 4:46
6. Why Baby Why (Darrell Edwards, George Jones) - 3:49
7. I'm Not Lonely Anymore (Roger McGuinn) - 3:07
8. Golden Loom (Bob Dylan) - 4:06
9. Russian Hill (Roger McGuinn) - 5:05

*Roger McGuinn - Vocals, Guitar
*Charlie Harrison - Vocals, Bass
*Marty Grebb - Keyboards
*Rick Vito - Guitar, Dobro Steel Guitar, Mouth Harp
*Greg Thomas - Drums, Percussion
*Bruce Barlow - Bass (Tracks 2,9)
*Tom Scott - Saxophone (Track 4)
*Janis Oliver - Vocals (Track 5) 
*Jennifer O'Neill - Vocals (Track 5)  
*Kristine Oliver - Vocals (Track 5) 
*Steve Forman - Percussion (Track 9)

1973  Roger McGuinn - Roger McGuinn (2013 Edition)
1974  Roger McGuinn - Peace On You (2008 japan)
1975  Roger McGuinn And Band - Roger McGuinn And Band (2004 extra tracks remaster)
1976  Roger McGuinn - Cardiff Rose (2013 edition)
1979  McGuinn, Clark And Hillman (2014 Japan SHM Remaster)
1979-80  McGuinn Clark Hillman - The Capitol Collection (2007 double disc set)
1964  The Byrds - Preflyte (2012 Edition)

Friday, November 11, 2022

The Stampeders - Ballsy (1979 canada, fine straight classic rock, 2006 remaster)

Following the release of their first Greatest Hits compilation album, The Stampeders went back to recording and released "Ballsy" in 1979. With members Rich Dodson and Kim Berly departing, Ronnie King was left to bring in three new members for the LP. The original members departure brought in a decade long hiatus for the band following this release, but King took the bands sound into his own hands to end this era of The Stampeders.

Ronnie King tried to keep the flame burning with "Ballsy". The new line-up included Ronnie's youngest brother, Roy Van Sprang, Bob Allwood and Gary Storin. Lack of sales, high overhead and disappointed fans led to the band's final break-up in 1980 and the departure of manager, Mel Shaw. 

In 1979, Kim Berly started his own new-wave band, The Cry, in which he performed under the name, Kimball Fox. Two album releases on RCA, good sales and intensive touring sustained the band for a couple of years, but mounting personal problems forced Kim to leave the music scene. From 1983 to 1989, Kim went briefly into acting, gaining recognition in the Toronto theatre community. Despite speculation within the music industry about just how successful The Stampeders would have been had they focused on just one style of music, one thing remains clear -- they left an enduring musical legacy. 

Between 1970 and 1977, they released ten albums and 15 singles, with six albums and seven singles going gold. Along with three Billboard chart singles in the U.S., The Stampeders had ten, Top-Ten singles in Canada. They also won three JUNO Awards, three BMI Awards, an EDISON Award and toured Canada, Europe, the U.S., including Hawaii, and South America.
1. We're Here To Rock And Roll - 3:47
2. Within You (Bob Allwood) - 3:36
3. How Does He Do It? - 5:56
4. Bye Bye Johnny (Chuck Berry) - 4:19
5. Got My Mojo Working (Preston Foster) - 6:00
6. Mama You - 3:40
7. Are You Coming To Your Senses? - 3:15
8. If You Really Want To - 5:59
All songs by Ronnie King except where stated

The Stampeders
*Roy King - Drums
*Ronnie King - Bass, Vocals
*Gary Storin - Guitar, Vocals
*Bob Allwood - Guitar, Vocals
*Dick Smith - Congas
*Kathy Young - Vocals
*Rhonda Silver - Vocals

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

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Randy Denison - Collage (1970 us, wonderful laid back folkish psychedelia)

Texas-born, late 60's Singer-Songsmith  with  full combo backing,  Sky-bound melodic Folk  Rock, dreamy vibes, subtle vocal harmonies with flute 'n some lofty string-arrangements.  
1. Prelude (Sing For You) - 1:06
2. Throughout The Woods - 1:50
3. Treat You Like A Lady - 2:26
4. Interlude Of Young And Old - 3:28
5. Country Evening Day - 2:23
6. Imaginary Mary - 2:48
7. Changing Scenes - 3:26
8. Before Morning Wakes - 3:28
9. Easier Way - 1:56
10.Soft Spoken Words - 2:51
11.Lamenting Seasons - 3:23
Lyrics and Music by Randy Denison

*Randy Denison - Vocals, Guitar

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Michele - Saturn Rings (1969 us, west coast folk psych gem, 2006 release)

Saturn Rings by Michele O'Malley, issued on ABC in 1969, is truly one of the lost psychedelic pop masterpieces. O'Malley was a member of the Ballroom, and was a session vocalist in Los Angeles, singing backup on Tommy Roe's It's Now Winters Day and Sagittarius' Present Tense. West Coast popster and legendary crazy man Curt Boettcher (leader of the Ballroom) was heavily involved, with arrangements by Michael Melvoin and session players including Lowell George (pre-Little Feat), Bobby Notkoff (pre-Rockets), Elliot Ingber, Gordon Alexander, and Bobby Jameson (aka songwriter Chris Lucey). Boettcher either wrote or co-wrote seven of the album's 11 cuts, and sings backup on the sessions as well. To say the album bombed is an understatement. It disappeared almost upon release, and O'Malley never made another one.

Τhere are some truly amazing moments such as "Fallen Angel," with its beautiful sawing electric violin floating through the mix above the acoustic guitars, tabla drums, and electric bass. O'Malley's voice just soars and glides between Western melody and Eastern modalism effortlessly. Some of the psychedelic pop arrangements have the feeling of some stranger than strange nostalgia -- like a sound that is familiar, but its textures are strange and alien, such as on "Spinning, Spinning, Spinning," with a harpsichord and either an oboe or soprano saxophone and strings. O'Malley wrote "Song to a Magic Frog" for Sagittarius, and the arrangement on this version is lush, full of elegant textures and richly layered instrumentation. 

Her voice is where the real "magic" lies, however. She moves through the melody with a meld of passion and restraint and creates hooks where there are none. The truth of the matter is, that with bands like Belle & Sebastian out there, if Saturn Rings were released today it would be regarded as a quirky masterpiece. Its production and arrangement excesses for the time -- which made it inaccessible to the masses -- would now be heard as the work of genius. Three cheers for Fallout for making this little-known classic available again. 
by Thom Jurek

1. Would You Like To Go (Bobby Jameson) - 2:33
2. Blind As You Are (Michele O'Malley) - 2:54
3. Song To Magic Frog (Michele O'Malley) - 3:43
4. Fallen Angel (Michele O'Malley) - 3:32
5. Spinning, Spinning, Spinning (Curt Boettcher, Lee Mallory) - 3:24
6. Know Yourself (Bobby Jameson) - 4:39
7. Musty Dusty (Curt Boettcher, Tandyn Almer) - 5:08
8. Lament Of The Astro Cowboy (Curt Boettcher) - 8:09
9. White Linen (Bobby Jameson, Michele O'Malley) - 2:31
10.Misty Mirage (Curt Boettcher) - 3:51
11.Believe You (Curt Boettcher) - 4:00

*Michele O'Malley - Vocals
*Lowell George - Flute, Harmonica
*Elliot Ingber - Electric Guitar
*Bobby Notkoff - Electric Viola, Electric Violin

Monday, November 7, 2022

Roger McGuinn - Peace On You (1974 us, amazing folk classic rock, 2008 japan remaster)

When Roger McGuinn released his second solo album, Columbia promoted it by playing up McGuinn’s status as a rock & roll legend. It was a point that needed making after several mediocre Byrds albums and a solo record that somehow managed to fly under the radar of rock fans and radio stations. Peace on You isn’t a markedly better record than his first, again suffering from an identity crisis as McGuinn brings in material from other writers, although the production value has more oomph this time. It’s not a bad record and, in fact, grows on me the more I listen to it, but at no point do I have the sense that I’m listening to a rock & roll legend.

Of course, McGuinn wasn’t the only rock star to flounder in the mid Seventies: Neil Young rejected his rock-star status, John Lennon retired, Joni Mitchell was making jazz records. And Peace on You isn’t any worse than those Stephen Stills albums. Individually, the songs are interesting enough. In fact, the songwriting partnership with Jacques Levy was proving almost as fruitful as the Hunter-Garcia team. The Lady, Gate of Horn and Without You are all solid songs with good lyrics. Two songs from James “Donnie” Dacus, who would join Stills in the studio the following year, are also very good: Going to the Country and Do What You Want To.

The remaining songs come from very different quarters. Better Change from Dan Fogelberg is a nice match for McGuinn’s voice; (Please Not) One More Time, featuring Al Kooper, not so much. But the oddest choice is the decision to make a fairly straight cover of Charlie Rich’s Peace on You (from his award-winning Behind Closed Doors album of the previous year) the centerpiece of the album. It gets the album off to unsteady start from which it never really recovers.

As I said, this album grows on me the more I listen to it, and the quality of the individual songs make up for its inconsistencies. Bill Halverson (credited with wife Suzanne) provides plenty of production polish and the backing band (featuring past and future Stills collaborators) is a nice change of partners.
by Dave Connolly, October 4, 2022
1. Peace On You (Charlie Rich) - 4:01
2. Without You (Jacques Levy, Roger McGuinn) - 4:07
3. Going To The Country (Donnie Dacus) - 3:17
4. (Please Not) One More Time (Al Kooper) - 3:23
5. Same Old Sound (Roger McGuinn) - 3:30
6. Do What You Want To (Donnie Dacus) - 3:00
7. Together (Jacques Levy, Roger McGuinn) - 3:38
8. Better Change (Dan Fogelberg) - 3:00
9. Gate Of Horn (Jacques Levy, Roger McGuinn) - 2:45
10.The Lady (Jacques Levy, Roger McGuinn) - 4:16
11.Rock And Roll Time (Bob Neuwirth, Kris Kristofferson, Roger McGuinn) - 3:17

*Roger McGuinn - Lead Vocals, 12-String Rhythm, Lead Guitar
*Donnie Dacus - 6-String Rhythm, Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals 
*Dan Fogelberg - Backing Vocals, Electric, Acoustic Guitar (Tracks 6, 8)
*Paul Harris - Keyboards 
*Russ Kunkel - Drums, Percussion
*Lee Sklar - Bass 
*Jorge Calderon - Backing Vocals (Track 1) 
*Tish Coulter - Backing Vocals (Track 1) 
*Gwendolyn Edwards - Backing Vocals (Track 1) 
*Brenan Gordon - Backing Vocals (Track 1) 
*Jordan Halverson - Backing Vocals (Track 1) 
*Charles Higgins, Jr. - Backing Vocals (Track 1) 
*Brooks Hunnicutt - Backing Vocals (Track 1) 
*Howard Kaylaw (Kaylan) - Backing Vocals (Tracks 5, 8)
*Mark Kellgren - Backing Vocals (Track 1) 
*Eddie Lee Kendrix - Backing Vocals (Track 1) 
*Al Kooper - Sweetening,  Clavinet, Piano, Guitar, Arranger,  Conductor  
*Al Perkins - Steel Guitar  (Track 6)
*Brian Russell - Backing Vocals (Track 1) 
*William Smith - Backing Vocals (Track 1) 
*Paul, Cynthia - Backing Vocals 
*Pilar Stallworth - Backing Vocals (Track 1) 
*Mark Volman - Backing Vocals (Tracks  5, 8)
*Tommy Tedesco - Flamingo Guitar  (Track 7)

1973  Roger McGuinn - Roger McGuinn (2013 Edition)
1975  Roger McGuinn And Band - Roger McGuinn And Band (2004 extra tracks remaster)
1976  Roger McGuinn - Cardiff Rose (2013 edition)
1979  McGuinn, Clark And Hillman (2014 Japan SHM Remaster)
1979-80  McGuinn Clark Hillman - The Capitol Collection (2007 double disc set)
1964  The Byrds - Preflyte (2012 Edition)

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Wilderness Road - Wilderness Road (1972 us, extraordinary outlaw folk rural rock)

Into the life of every critic, there come rare times when both heart and head simultaneously signal blast-off! and he falls happily head-over-heels in love with a rock & roll band, just like when he was seventeen. While a decade may have weeded out much of the naiveté, that warm glow definitely remains, and the qualitative difference is that both sides supposedly know something this time around. A mature appreciation, some would call it, but I prefer good old-fashioned love. To me, Wilderness Road, on this LP and (especially) in concert, sum up much of the best of American music, and such an event surely calls for at least one joyful and unabashed whoop of genuine pagan delight. After all, any philosophizing fool can prove through logic that he doesn't exist when you wish he didn't, but how (or why) do you hightone and thereby reduce a sensual and celebrative experience into mere reasonableness? 

There's this outlaw on my record player - Billy or Ishmael the Kid - and, goddamn, I'll stake my critical reputation, et cetera, that he's a real outlaw. Before formality, permit me one more voyage of sentimental reminiscence. I've seen Wilderness Road at a small club in Chicago at least a dozen times - on one occasion, so great was my enthusiasm, I paid full air fare from New York City for another writer so he, too, could enjoy the magic - and each time, when the music was over, standing on the street in what the late Jack Kerouac would call the great American night, talking with Warren Leming and Nate Herman, the guitarists, and the Haban brothers, Andy and Tom, bass and drums, respectively, I've had the mythic feeling that, during the preceding three or four hours, there was no better music to be heard anywhere in the land.

They seemed at then best like the Who crossed with the Byrds, Jerry Lee Lewis spawning the Firesign Theater (Leming and Herman are erstwhile Second City members), the J. Geils unit all mixed up with the boys in the Band, two Eric Claptons playing dual (and dueling) lead guitars with the Carter Family while everybody goes crazy.

Thematically, Wilderness Road begins with a whisper - the desert wind blows over the plains as the Rider, the "hero" of this brilliant and original aural Western movie (yes, that's what it is: a concept album) ruminates about his pursuers (himself?) and the living death of the freedom of the road - and ends with an almost literal band: the nameless protagonist being shot to pieces in the climactic, obligatory, end-of-the- "picture" gunfight. In between, there's a lot more - a flashback to a "Peaceful Life," some Wanted "Pictures in a Gallery," a professional "Bounty Man" hot on the trail, salvation through religious ("Revival") and secular ("Dr. Morpho's Revenge") means, dramatic foreshadowing ("Death Dream"), a love interest ("Don't Cry Lady"), and the strange, near-Camusian, Ahab-like soliloquy ("I Had the Right") which somehow holds things together while asking more questions than it answers.

Imagine a fusion of Ford's The Searchers, Stevens' Shane, Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch, Malle's The Fire Within, throw in a passage or two from Freud, Jung, Huckleberry Finn, Moby-Dick, and play some of the gentle traditional music of Elizabeth Cotten for a soundtrack and you've got at least some of it.

Yes, folks, it's the same old story, but, as is the case with most really old stories (archetypes, myths), don't (mis)understand it too quickly. Horton Barker used to claim that songs like these were easy enough to get into; the problem was trying to get back out again. Exactly. The power of the positive cliche may at times be so much romantic nonsense, but, just as often, it strikes deep to draw heavily upon the supply of rich, red, native American blood; and all of those orphans, widows, solitary strangers, hobos, gamblers, cowhands, and gunfighters who have haunted as many geniuses as they have readers of Modern Screen at last have a rock & roll record to call their own, with a critique on modern violence and the gratuitous act thrown in as a footnote. That should be worth at least one (I hope not lonesome) howl at the stars. And what may well be the best - a live LP (make that a double, please) showing the full range and power of the group - is yet to come. Why not too much, too soon? 
by Paul Nelson, August, 1971
1. Wilderness / Queasy Rider (Nate Herman, Andy Haban) - 3:14
2. Peaceful Life (Andy Haban) - 4:25
3. Revival - Yes I Am / Testify (Nate Herman, Warren Leming) - 1:28
4. Ten Miles / Testify Reprise (Nate Herman) - 2:41
5. Lost And Lonely Navigator (Nate Herman) - 2:42
6. Sing Your Song To The Lord / Brother Are You Troubled? (Nate Herman) - 2:14
7. I Had The Right (Nate Herman) - 3:27
8. Pictures In A Gallery (Andy Haban, Nate Herman) - 4:54
9. Bounty Man / Interlude In (Nate Herman, Andy Haban)- 5:10
10.Dr. Morpho’s Revenge (Andy Haban) - 3:25
11.Death Dream (Nate Herman) - 1:01
12.Don’t Cry Lady (Nate Herman) - 1:35
13.Rider’s Return (Andy Haban, Nate Herman) - 6:00

Wilderness Road
*Warren Leming - Electric, Acoustic Guitars, Banjo, Vocals 
*Nate Herman - Electric, Acoustic Guitars, Mandolin, Dobro, Organ, Vocals 
*Andy Haban - Bass, Vocals 
*Tom Haban - Drums, Oboe, Vocals