Sunday, December 31, 2023

Kush - Presents Snow White ... And The Eight Straights (1974 australia, blazing prog brass jam rock, 2007 digipak remaster and expanded)

Kush came together around late 1971, emerging out of the 20-piece Barry Veith Big Band. Duff was the last to join and he went through the usual audition process, impressing the other musicians with his voice ("I think they liked my voice because I didn't sound like Joe Cocker or someone like that," Duff recalled recently) and his dress sense! So the original line-up was: Duff (Vocals, percussion), John Ellis (Alto & baritone sax, clarinet; band leader/musical director), Roger Pell (Guitar), Ron Anderson (Tenor sax, flute, piano), John Santos (Trumpet, Flugel horn), Colin Chapman (Trumpet, Flugel horn), Rob Matthews (Bass) and Larry Kegn (Drums).

John Ellis recalled recently, "When we were auditioning singers and Jeff came in, we had our wives and girlfriends there listening and a lot of them instantly said 'that's the guy you've gotta have'. I loved Jeff's voice because it reminded me of David Clayton Thomas. The other guys liked some of the other, more commercial singers because at that stage we were doing all covers like 'Proud Mary' and 'River Deep Mountain High'. I'd done most of the arrangements and John Santos had done some arrangements, like for Blood Sweat & Tears' 'Spinning Wheel'. We held out and said Jeff is exactly what this band needs, a singer with a voice a bit different. Seeing it was my band, I'd formed it and John was the other arranger (so) we won and Jeff came in. And then we probably started doing more and more Chicago and BS&T songs because of Jeff's voice."

Duff had an interesting early career; he'd started singing and drum lessons by the time he was 12 years old. His earliest bands (around 1966 and 1967) included Why and Not Only But Also. By late 1969 and into 1970 he was fronting Melbourne pop band The (New) Avengers. The Avengers had been around in one form or another since 1967, but by the time Duff joined there were no original members left in the ranks. The guitarist then was David Briggs who later went on to international fame with the Little River Band. The Avengers had broken up by the end of 1970. Incidentally, at the time Duff was known as Jeff Black.

The singer was also attending Swinburne Art College around this time where he came into contact with future members of Madder Lake. Duff's first vocal appearance (backed by the Madder Lake guys) on record was on the college-produced flexi- disc 'Swinburne Bestiary', which he recalls must have been a performance that was recorded and pressed up by the Student Union as an end-of-year memento.

Snow White... and the Eight Straights vindicated the band's heightened profile by reaching #5 in Melbourne. It was a glorious album, mixing campy jazz pop ('Easy Street'), hard jazz rock ('All Right in the City', 'Satanic Deity', 'Klue', a re-recorded version of 'Wait') with dramatic, highly arranged and immaculately played epics ('Christopher John', 'McArthur Park').

With regards to the album title, the guys recalled a live review by Ian 'Molly' Meldrum in the pages of Go-Set magazine in which he'd referred to the band as "Snow White and the Eight Straights". It was an obvious choice as it encapsulated the band's presence in one simple, straightforward phrase.

While the songs generally kept a tight focus, there was much scope in the arrangements for extended soloing (‘All Right in the City', ‘Satanic Deity', ‘Christopher John'). Alternatively, as a mark of the band's intuitive sense of togetherness, the ensemble playing during the instrumental section of 'McArthur Park', for example, is truly spectacular, in particular the syncopation between drum patterns and the towering horn lines. Also, there was no other singer on the Australian scene who could have carried the song's demanding vocal with such charisma, commanding presence and sheer lung power as the indefatigable Jeff Duff. He'd obviously taken much inspiration from the original Richard Harris sung version, really getting to grips with the actor's great oratorical delivery of the enigmatic lyrics. Duff's phrasing throughout is exceptional. This version of 'McArthur Park' is a classic that still demands the listener's attention.

The album's centrepiece is the emotional 'Christopher John', a multi-part suite written by Herzog that never gets bogged down in over-dramatic indulgence. Each part has a distinct flavour with memorable hooks and seamless arrangements that make for an uninterrupted flow. The denouement comes close to the 10 minute mark, taking the listener back to the opening musical theme and thereby tying the whole thing together with consummate ease. The highlight surely must be Ron Anderson's beautiful flute solo in the dreamy mid-section; simply stunning.
by Ian McFarlane
1. Wait Overture (David Herzog, Jeff Duff) - 2:03
2. Easy Street (Steve Ball) - 3:49
3. All Right in the City (Don Dunn, Tony McCashen) - 2:54
4. McArthur Park (Jim Webb) - 7:34
5. Wait (David Herzog, Jeff Duff) - 4:52
6. Satanic Deity (David Herzog, Jeff Duff) - 8:50
7. Christopher John Suite: Birth/Life/Death/Infinity (David Herzog) - 10:13
8. Klue (David Herzog, Jeff Duff) - 5:23
9. Peter Gun (Henry Mancini) - 2:31
10.Sky Is Falling (Jim Peterik) - 3:00
11.Can't You Hear Me Calling (Ian Mason) - 2:56
12.Wait (David Herzog, Jeff Duff) - 3:52
13.Introduction (Terry Kath) - 4:39
14.Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? (Robert Lamm) - 2:54
15.Beginnings (Robert Lamm) - 5:37
16.Interview with Jeff Duff - 2:10
Tracks 1-8 from the LP “Presents Snow White... And The Eight Straights“ recorded at Bill Armstrong Studios, South Melbourne, 1974 
Tracks 9-12 recorded at Bill Armstrong Studios, South Melbourne, 1973 
Tracks 13-15 Live In The Studio, recorded live at Bill Armstrong Studios, South Melbourne, 1973

*Jeff Duff - Percussion, Vocals
*Steve Ball - Keyboards
*Rob Matthews - Bass
*John Ellis - Alto, , Baritone Saxophones
*David Herzog - Guitar (Except Tracks 9,10)
*Nick Lister - Drums (Except Tracks 9,10)
*Bill Harrower - Tenor Saxophone, Flute (Except Track 9)
*John Santos - Trumpet (Tracks 1-10)
*Ian Hellings - Trumpet (Tracks 1-8)
*Colin Chapman - Trumpet (Tracks 9-15)
*Ian Mason - Keyboards, Vocals (Tracks 9-12)
*Roger Pell - Guitar (Tracks 9,10) 
*Graeme McDonald - Drums (Tracks 9,10) 
*John Hughes - Trumpet (Tracks 11-15)
*Ron Anderson - Tenor Saxophone, Flute (Tracks 7,9,10)
*The Cookies - Backing Vocals

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Guillotine – Guillotine (1971 canada, sensational rhythm 'n' blues, art jazz brass rock)

One of those unusual litle records on the Ampex label at the start of the 70s – a groovy rock group with a nice current of soul in the instrumentation – almost a Muscle Shoals sort of vibe – topped with nice vocals from Carol Breval, who's got this deep vibe that sounds nice next to the Hammond and horns!

Recorded in London, England, and released by a New York record label. Who could guess this group came from Québec? The sole hint is the predominance of French names in the lineup (which includes the pianist Pierre Nadeau, two years prior to his involvement with Ville-Emard Blues Band). Their sole eponymous album offers individual photos of all band members without specifying their respective instruments. Alongside Nadeau are Paul Morin, Jean Morin, Andre Morin, Jo Trivisonno, Paul Dalonzo, jr, Francois Petrari and Robert Turmel as well as singer Carol Breval. (similar to a french version of Janis Joplin).

This is jazz rock similar in vein to the Chicago Transit Authority, with expected sprinklings of psych, folk-rock and R&B. Most of the songs on the album are written by either Lanny Meyers or Rick Kunis (the band's arrangers, with the latter producing the album. The excelent track "Those Years Have Gone By" sports a soul feel with chord progressions not unlike a young Pink Floyd, accompanied by a swing-jazz-rock interlude. The folk-rock feel of "Anniversary", filled with somewhat unpredictable chords is complemented by the appearance of a pedal steel guitar. The album closer "I Can't Believe It" is a tour de force clocking in at almost 12 minutes, travelling through several different modes (of which some predict the stylings of VEBB). In closing, a little known, but well-performed, album that merits as much a listen for it's arrangement as for it's inclusion in Pierre Nadeau's recorded resume.
1. Hands Of Children (Lanny Meyers) - 4:33
2. Those Years Have Gone By (Paul Morin) - 5:13
3. Don't Need Your Love (Bob Bilvk, Marty Butler) - 3:48
4. Anniversary (Lanny Meyers) - 5:59
5. Feel Better (Lanny Meyers) - 2:50
6. Crow Bait (Rick Kunis) - 3:10
7. If You Don't Call That Love (Lanny Meyers) - 5:45
8. Jonathan (Lanny Meyers) - 5:17
9. I Can't Believe It (Rick Kunis) - 11:57

*Carol Breval - Vocals 
*Paul Morin - Guitar 
*Robert Turmel - Bass 
*André Morin - Drums 
*Pierre Nadeau - Organ, Piano, Harpsichord 
*Jean Morin - Saxophone 
*Joe Trivisonno - Trumpet
*Paul Dalonzo Jr. - Trombone
*François Petrari - Trumpet


Friday, December 29, 2023

Out Of Focus - Palermo 1972 (1972 germany, charismatic exciting prog jazz rock, 2007 edition)

Out Of Focus was a German “Krautrock” band, formed in 1968 in Munich. By 1972 they released three fantastic albums with a distinctive style of blending heavy rock with jazzy overtones.

The band’s lyrics reflected socio-political events. After the band split, Remigius Drechsler went to Embryo for a while before forming his own project, Kontrast. Today we can find six albums with the core lineup of Remigius Drechsler (guitar), Hennes Hering (organ, piano), Moran (sax, flute, lead vocals), Stephan Wisheu (bass) and Klaus Spöri (drums), later Ingo Schmid-Neuhaus (alto,- baritone sax), Peter Dechant (classical guitar), Wolfgang Göhringer (guitar).
by Klemen Breznikar

Palermo 1972 is Out of Focus’s third album, and what a progressive rock journey it is. Consisting of six tracks, recorded live at the Teatro Biondo, Palermo, Italy, on the twenty-six of May 1972, all of which flow in the style of Soft Machine or Kollective, with Saxophones, Flutes, Organs, and Drum solo’s a plenty. It is pure Progressive Rock, often spacey, mellow, chaotic, and all the while it takes the listener on a definite journey somewhere, to where is totally up to the listener. But rest assured that it does spin the head, which obviously is a must for me! The quality of the recording is very good and the ambience of the concert has been captured beautifully. Also, according to the accompanying booklet, this was the best gig of their 1972 tour of Italy, and luckily, all channels on the recorder worked perfectly, as other gigs it did not function on all channels. So, what we have here is Out of Focus at their best, and it is a joy to listen to the creative energy that flows from the recording. 

The album is over seventy minutes in length and it rarely pauses between tracks, giving almost constant music throughout. Most of the tracks are jazzy in a fashion; mixing rousing Sax freak out’s with tight and imaginative organic instrumental sections, and it is for this reason that I mention The Soft Machine as a likeness, although Out of Focus are not totally instrumental, there are vocals, which are not my cup of tea as I much prefer the instrumental stuff. Nevertheless it is well worth a listen. 
by Albert Pollard
1. Whispering (Remigius Drechsler, Hennse Hering, Moran Neumüller, Klaus Spöri, Stephen Wiesheu) - 10:15
2. Cafe Stiletto (Moran Neumüller, Remigius Drechsler) - 13:10
3. I Want To See Your Face No More (Moran Neumüller) - 12:32
4. Where Is Your Home Town (Remigius Drechsler) - 8:56
5. Fly Bird Fly / Television Program (Remigius Drechsler, Hennse Hering, Moran Neumüller, Klaus Spöri, Stephen Wiesheu) - 20:35
6. I'm Kissing Right (Moran Neumüller, Remigius Drechsler) - 10:38

Out Of Focus
*Remigius Drechsler - Guitar
*Hennse Hering - Keyboards
*Moran Neumüller - Flute, Saxophone, Vocals
*Klaus Spöri - Drums
*Stephen Wiesheu - Bass

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Asgard - For Asgard (1972 us, fascinating hard prog psych rock, 2023 remaster)

Asgard (initially known as Osgoode, named after the street where Blue Cheer had their headquarter) was a San Francisco band featuring ace guitar player Bob Hardy (a veteran of many Bay Area bands since the early 60s) and Jake ‘Gelon’ Lau (Gideon & Power, Mary McCreary, Tribe…) on electric violin and vocals.

“For Asgard” features nine original tracks, perfectly recorded and played, dominated by Bob Hardy’s outstanding fuzzy lead guitar and the cool touch of Gelon’s Lau electrified violin that recalls UK prog-psych bands like the similar named Asgærd or High Tide at times. Hard to believe that such a pro-recorded, top quality album like this was never released at the time. After playing a celebrated free concert at the Provo Park in Berkeley alongside bands like Mother Cat and Summerhill, the band slowly disintegrated. 
1. Carmen - 6:03
2. For Asgard - 5:13
3. Vespucci (The Dutiful) - 4:42
4. Fool (Gelon Lau, Phil Robyn) - 4:20
5. So Let Go (Bob Hardy) - 5:34
6. If I Had Anything To Say (Jack May) - 3:44
7. You Raise By Body Temperature, Baby - 3:50
8. Center of the Sky (Bob Hardy) - 5:49
9. Reflections - 5:02
10.Your Mouth Tastes Like You Just Woke Up (Bob Hardy, Harkens) - 3:26
11.Cradle of Love (Bob Hardy, Phil Robyn, Gelon Lau) - 5:10
12.For Asgard - 6:16
13.Reflections - 5:42
All songs by Gelon Lau except where stated
Bonus Tracks 10-13

*Phil Robyn - Bass 
*Steve Hall - Drums, Backing Vocals 
*Jack May - Electric Guitar 
*Bob Hardy - Electric Guitar, Backing Vocals, Piano, Pedal Steel Guitar, Effects 
*Gelon Lau - Vocals, Violin

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

The Last Nikle - The Last Nikle (1969 us, awesome brass jazz rock)

The Last Nikle was formed by bassist/singer Lenny McDaniel (b. 1950, New Orleans) and his keyboardist brother Wally McDaniel. Two years prior, Lenny fronted soul-rockers The New Era, which issued the 1967 singles “You Just Tear Me Up” (b/w “Feel So Funny,” Whizz Records) and “I Keep Telling Myself” (b/w “Something Out of Nothing,” Seven B).

For the Last Nikle, the McDaniel’s recruited guitarist Roger Bertrand, drummer Jerry Rouselle, and a three-piece brass section: trumpeter Gordon Schumert, trombonist Clay Musacchia, and reedist Mike Scorsone, who played tenor and baritone saxophone. The band signed with Mainstream Records, a New York jazz-psych-soul label headed by producer Bob Shad.

Their selftitled album appeared on Mainstream in 1969. It features nine songs, including four originals by Lenny McDaniel (“Got to Be Somebody,” “Feeling Blue,” “‘Cause I’ve Been Trying,” “Life Is a Purple Antilope”) and two Wally co-writes (“The Fool,” “She’s the One”). The side B opener “Five O’Clock Sun” is a co-write between Lenny and one D. Donovan. The album also includes covers of songs by Buddy Johnson (“Save Your Love for Me”) and Cole Porter (“I’ve Got You Under My Skin”). All the tracks are in the three-minute range apart from the nine-minute closer “Purple Antilope.”

Mainstream issued four Last Nikle singles, including the non-album sides “I’ve Been Trying to Love You” and “Groove on What You’re Doin’,” both McDaniel originals.

Lenny McDaniel (d. 2015) moved to Los Angeles and did session and soundtrack work. In 1976, he played bass on one track (“Table Top Girl”) on A Banquet in Blues, a solo album by John Mayall. In the mid-’80s, his name appeared on recordings by the Tony Lorrich Group and Princess & Starbreeze. During the 1990s, he released four solo albums, including one (Bad for Me, 1991) with accompaniment by Wally.

Scorsone played on ’70s soul-funk singles by Sonny Blackfield and Lonnie Robinson. Musacchia collaborated with Jimmy Iovine on the lyrics of “Queen of the Neighborhood,” the title track to the first of two albums by late-’70s RCA hard-rockers Flame.
1. Got To Be Somebody - 2:52
2. Feeling Blue - :52
3. The Fool (Lenny McDaniel, Wally McDaniel) - 3:30
4. 'Cause I've Been Trying - 3:37
5. She's The One (Lenny McDaniel, Wally McDaniel) - 3:20
6. Five O'Clock Sun (D. Donovan, Lenny McDaniel) - 3:11
7. Save Your Love For Me (Buddy Johnson) - 3:20
8. I've Got You Under My Skin (Cole Porter) - 4:06
9. Life Is A Purple Antilope - 9:27
All compositions by Lenny McDaniel except where noted

The Last Nikle
*Lenny McDaniel - Bass, Vocals 
*Wally McDaniel - Piano, Organ 
*Roger Bertrand - Guitar 
*Jerry Rouselle - Drums 
*Mike Scorsone - Saxophone 
*Clay Musacchia - Trombone 
*Gordon Schumert - Trumpet

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Lone Star - Lone Star / Firing On All Six (1976-77 uk, heavy riffs, strong melodies soaring keyboards funk bass solid drumming, 2004 remaster)

This traditional UK hard rock quintet was formed in 1975 by Kenny Driscoll (lead vocals), Tony Smith (guitar), Paul ‘Tonka’ Chapman (b. 9 June 1954, Cardiff, Wales; guitar), Pete Hurley (bass) and Dixie Lee (drums). Specializing in dynamic heavy rock, they attracted considerable attention with their Roy Thomas Baker-produced debut, offering an approach and sound not dissimilar to early Queen’s pomp/hard rock formula. Driscoll was replaced by John Sloman in 1977 before the release of Firing On All Six. This album pushed the dual guitars of Chapman and Smith to the forefront and concentrated on heavier material. Shortly after its release the band disintegrated, with Sloman joining Uriah Heep, Chapman replacing Michael Schenker in UFO and Dixie Lee teaming up with Wild Horses. 

The first album was compared to their second album "Firing On All Six" a more progressive hardrock-album with a great touch. This album is even better than their second album that I gave four stars. So this album is worth four strongs stars without any doubts. Roy Thomas Bakers production is really nice and is a mix between the sound of Led Zeepelins rocknroll, the harmonyvocals of Queen and the edge of a young and horny Uriah Heep. It's damn strange that the band didn't break big time cause this album sits on all the ingredients that an album of this era should consist. If you love the boombastic 70's and missed Lone Star... Well buy the album at once. If you loved and still love the band and don't have the Rock Candy-reissues - by them today as they are really nice with a fat bookletand bonustracks. Marvellous album. The song "Lonely Soldier" is one of the best songs in the pompgenre of the 70's.

In1977 the original vocalist Kenny Driscoll was replaced by 20-year old newcomer John Sloman (ex-Trapper). The band's second album, Firing on All Six, produced by Gary Lyons bettered its predecessor and reached No. 36 and the band did high profiles gig on such venues like The Reading Festival. If you havent heard Lone Star before and enjoy the huge "pompesque" arenasound of the 70's this album is a must. The opening track "The Bells Of Berlin" is a killer, "Hypnotic Mover" sounds like a mix between Queen and Uriah Heep and the soft "Seasons In Your Eyes" flirts with the sound of Supertramp. 
by Pär Winberg 2012-10-06
1. She Said She Said (Joh Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 8:29
2. Lonely Soldier - 5:09
3. Flying In The Reel - 4:54
4. Spaceships - 6:44
5. A New Day - 5:14
6. A Million Stars - 3:50
7. Illusions - 3:12
8. The Bells Of Berlin - 6:55
9. The Ballad Of Crafty Jack - 3:41
10.Time Lays Down - 4:49
11.Hypnotic Mover - 4:27
12.Lovely Lubina - 3:36
13.Seasons In Your Eyes - 4:13
14.Rivers Overflowing - 4:57
15.All Of Us To All Of You - 4:55
Tracks 2-7 written by Kenny Driscoll, Tony Smith
Tracks 8-15 written by Dixie Lee, John Sloman, Paul Chapman,  Peter Hurley, Rick Worsnop, Tony Smith
Tracks 1-7 taken from "Lone Star" release 1976
Tracks 8-15 taken from "Firing On All Six" released 1977

Lone Star
*Kenny Driscoll - Lead Vocals (Tracks 1-7)
*John Sloman - Lead Vocals (Tracks 8-15)
*Tony Smith - Guitars, Vocals
*Paul Chapman - Guitars
*Rick Worsnop - Keyboards, Vocals
*Peter Hurley - Bass
*Dixie Lee - Drums, Vocals, Percussion


Friday, December 22, 2023

The Illinois Speed Press - Duet (1970 us, awesome classic rock with blues and country shades)

Their second album, Duet, which was much more country-oriented, was released in 1970, by which time the group had seemingly run its course. Illinois Speed Press split up that year, owing to Cotton's and David's differing musical directions: David wanted to create more of an R&B-based sound and headed for San Francisco where, in conjunction with former Electric Flag bassist Harvey Brooks, he formed the Fabulous Rhinestones, who went on to record in their own right as well as perform on-stage with such luminaries as John Lennon and Yoko Ono. 

Cotton stayed in Los Angeles, where he was approached by Richie Furay, the co-founder of Poco, who remembered him from his Illinois Speed Press performances on the same bill with his band; he was asked to audition as a possible replacement for co-founder Jim Messina, who was planning to leave. Cotton won the spot and stayed with the band well into the 21st century; he died on August 1, 2021 at the age of 78. Kal David died on August 16, 2022 at the age of 79. 
by Bruce Eder
1. Country Dumplin' (Kal David) - 3:17
2. Sadly Out Of Place (Paul Cotton) - 4:36
3. The One Who Knows (Kal David) - 4:26
4. Medley (Paul Cotton) - 7:31
  III.Random Roads (And His Big Band)
  IV.Dearly Theme Reprise
5. Morning Blues (Paul Cotton) - 3:26
6. Bad Weather (Paul Cotton) - 2:59
7. The Life (Paul Cotton) - 4:26
8. The Visit (Kal David) - 3:53
9. Seventeen Days (Paul Cotton) - 6:04

The llinois Speed Press
*Paul Cotton (Norman Paul Cotton) - Guitar, Vocals
*Kal David (David Raskin) - Guitar, Vocals
*Mike Anthony - Keyboards, Vocals
*Fred Page (Frederick Pappalardo) - Drums
*Rob Lewine - Bass

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Illinois Speed Press - The Illinois Speed Press (1969 us, remarkable blues psych rock, 2021 remaster)


Illinois Speed Press was a Chicago-spawned band whose sound combined elements of R&B and country music in a powerful double-lead guitar attack. It was enough to turn them into stars in Chicago, get them a contract with a major label, and move to Los Angeles, paving the way for longtime careers for their two guitarists. Though the Illinois Speed Press were a late-'60s phenomenon in Chicago, their roots went back a full decade, traceable to a late-'50s band called "the Capitols" (no relation to the soul outfit of that name), who played local high school functions and the YMCA.

They began a series of name changes -- some voluntary and some imposed by outside forces -- in the early '60s, most of which reflected the changing musical sensibilities of the era. The first came in 1961, to the Mus Twangs (or Mus-Twangs), according to Linda Amicarelli in a 1997 article for the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. As their name hinted, they were primarily an instrumental outfit, and cut a surf-style instrumental version of Irving Berlin's "Marie" (backed with a piece called "Roch Lomond") on the local Nero label that was good enough to attract the attention of the Chicago-based Mercury Records, which picked it up for national distribution on the company's Smash Records subsidiary. That record didn't get very far in terms of securing the band's future, and in the wake of the British Invasion, the appeal of instrumental bands waned quickly, and by 1964, the group had added more vocals and transformed themselves into "the Gentrys" with a repertory that encompassed the Beatles and the Righteous Brothers, among other top contemporary acts. They didn't keep that name very long, however, as a Memphis-based band had a prior claim on that moniker, and by late 1964 they'd become the Rovin' Kind.

It was at this point that the personnel began to solidify around two or three key members: Alabama-born guitarist/singer Paul Cotton, who'd been with the outfit since 1959, and had come to music as an admirer of Les Paul, Scotty Moore, Duane Eddy, and James Burton; and Kal David, a Chicago-born guitarist/singer whose influences were blues and R&B, and who had previously played with a band called the Exceptions (whose ranks included Peter Cetera, later of Chicago, and future Buckinghams member Marty Grebb), which had recorded briefly for Vee-Jay Records. Between Cotton and David, the group generated a powerful and distinctive guitar-based rock & roll, and they were good enough to record several singles for Dunwich Records -- the other members were Mike Anthony on keyboards and vocals, who also wrote some of their songs, Keith Anderson on bass (later succeeded by Rob Lewine), and Fred Page on the drums.

But it was Cotton and David who were the main source of attention from listeners with their double-lead guitar configuration. None of the group's singles performed spectacularly, but the Rovin' Kind themselves were something else, again -- they were good enough to win a regional battle-of-the-bands contest against some 80 rivals and, for their reward, got flown to L.A., where they were featured on American Bandstand, miming a pair of songs, and also got to make a club appearance in San Francisco. The exposure was great, but it was back home where their work suddenly began to pay off when. At a performance at the Chicago Whiskey-A-Go-Go, they were seen by producer James William Guercio, who signed them up and got them a contract with Columbia Records' Epic label under their new name, Illinois Speed Press.

The band's sound was a guitar-based a mix of rock & roll, soul, and country, reflecting the divergent tastes of the members. They subsequently moved to Los Angeles, where they worked for a time as the house band at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go, and also opened for acts such as Steppenwolf and Chicago (who was also produced by Guercio). Among the up-and-coming groups that they played with in 1969 and 1970 was the country-rock outfit Poco.

The band's self-titled debut album favored David's R&B orientation, though it had several Cotton songs (one of which, "Get in the Wind," would be completely reinterpreted by Poco) and some country elements. It was well-received critically, but didn't make too much of an impression on the charts.
by Bruce Eder
1. Overture (Paul Cotton, Mike Anthony, James William Guercio, Kal David) - 3:26
2. Get In The Wind (Paul Cotton) - 2:55
3. Hard Luck Story (Kal David) - 4:43
4. Here Today (Paul Cotton) - 3:16
5. Pay The Price (Mike Anthony) - 5:15
6. P.N.S. (When You Come Around) (Paul Cotton) - 7:51
7. Be A Woman (Keith Anderson, Mike Anthony) - 4:54
8. Sky Song (Kal David) - 2:22
9. Beauty (Mike Anthony) - 5:17
10.Free Ride (Kal David) - 4:27

Illinois Speed Press
*Paul Cotton (Norman Paul Cotton) - Guitar, Vocals
*Kal David (David Raskin) - Guitar, Vocals
*Mike Anthony - Keyboards, Vocals
*Fred Page (Frederick Pappalardo) - Drums
*Rob Lewine - Bass

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Stampeders - Platinum (1977 canada, groovy funky classic rock, 2001 remaster)

Restless for new challenges and upset with what he considered ‘musical straying’, not ‘evolution’, Dodson quit the band during recording the next album, starting up his own recording studio as well as Marigold Records. To fully incorporate their ever-broadening sound, Berly and King continued on with a swelled personnel, including percussionist Gibby Lacasse (later of The Lydia Taylor Band), Ian Kojima (formerly of Great White Cane with Rick James) & David Norris-Elye on horns and guitarists Doug Macaskill – later of Moxy – & Gary Scrutton, basically the same supporting cast for Hit The Road.

After a series of abbreviated tours they came from the studios in mid ’77 sans the denim and rhinestones – now in the always-fashionable bell-bottoms and satin & lace shirts. The first single from PLATINUM was the lead-off “Bring The House Down” – a pumped-up rhythm & blues number. Also included was the tender “Pictures Of Love”, the eclectic “Sassy Dance” and “Fool’s Lament”.
1. Bring The House Down - 4:02
2. Move On Up - 3:52
3. Night And The City (Rich Dodson) - 5:24
4. Sassy Dance (Kim Berly) - 3:27
5. Don't You (Want Like I Do) (Gary Scrutton, Kim Berly) - 4:25
6. Believe It - 4:48
7. Everybody (Kim Berly) - 3:54
8. Picture Of Love - 5:20
9. Fool's Lament (Kim Berly) - 5:25
All songs by Ronnie King except where noted

*Ron King – Rhythm, Electric Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Kim Berly - Lead Vocals, Drums, Percussion
*Gibby Lacasse - Drums, Percussion
*Doug Macaskill - Lead Guitar, 
*Ian Kojima - Tenor, Baritone Sax
*David Norris Elye - Tenor Sax
*Gary Scrutton – Electric, Rhythm Guitar
*Rich Dodson - Bass
*Cathy Young - Vocals
*Rob Waterfield - Trumpet

1971  Stampeders - Against the Grain (2006 bonus tracks)  

Monday, December 18, 2023

Bacchus - Celebration (1969-75 us, power hard boogie psych rock, 2023 release)

“Celebration” from the creative and professional band Bacchus, it's an amazing album. It’s without a doubt one of the greatest albums discovered lately. Featuring a total of 8 tracks. This project is different, the vocals here are powerful, memorable, and will get stuck in your head in no time. The instrumentals are enjoyable and the lyrics are original, well-written, and mesh perfectly with the vocal melodies. 

The atmosphere of this project is unique and you may find yourself singing the choruses out loud by the next morning. The production is professional and the energy behind this album is incredible. This band delivers an amazing style of music, reflective of their creative sound and diverse art form. Their skills are impressive and their music is powerful and deserves more attention.

There’s a little bit of everything on this album and It’s certainly refreshing to hear a band with an activist aim to their music, especially within a genre like Rock. 
1. Carry My Load (Bill Peterson, Eric Turner, Charlie Souza) - 3:29
2. Good Time (Bill Peterson, Eric Turner, Charlie Souza) - 2:49
3. The Coo (Wayne Cochran, Ray Stevens, Chick Thompson) - 2:31
4. Ya Ya Ya (Eric Turner) - 2:48
5. Hope (Eric Turner, Charlie Souza) - 2:52
6. We Like To Boogie  (Eric Turner) - 2:26
7. A World Behind Time (Charles Harris) - 2:17
8. Celebration (Bill Peterson, Eric Turner, Charlie Souza) - 3:04

*Eric Turner - Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar, Keyboards, Harmonica 
*Charlie Souza - Bass Guitar, Vocals, Piano
*Bill Peterson- Drums

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Sunday, December 17, 2023

Livin' Blues - Hell's Session (1968-69 holland, fine blues psych rock, 2009 japan bonus tracks remaster)

Livin' Blues was formed in the Hague around 1967, becoming a regular outfit from 1969. The early line-up included Bjorn Toll (vocals), John Lagrand (harmonica), Ted Oberg (guitar), Ruud Fransen (bass) and Niek Dijkhuys (drums) but although the name remained wholesale changes soon took place, bringing in a new singer, Nicko Christiansen, and new bass and drums, Peter Kleinjan and Beer Klaasse, the latter pair being swiftly replaced by Gerard Strutbaum and Cesar Zuiderwijk, while keyboard player Henk Smitskamp was added. Other changes followed through the 70s, by which time the band’s repertoire was more inclined towards rock. Musicians involved included bass players Ruud van Buuren, Jan van der Voort, Jaap van Eijk and André Reynen, drummers John Lejeune, Herman van Boeyen, Cor van Beek, Michel Driessen, Kenny Lamb and Arjen Kamminga; the latter pair played in the band simultaneously for a spell. Smitskamp sometimes played bass, singer Johnny Frederiksz came in, as did organist Paul Vin and guitarist Ron Meyes.

Although best known in the Netherlands, Livin’ Blues also gained a following elsewhere in Europe, especially in Poland. At the start of the 80s, the band included Oberg, Christiansen, Evert Willemstein (bass) and Boris Wassenbergh (drums). Spin-off bands formed by ex-members of the Livin’ Blues included Nitehawk and the J&T Band, while most members also played with other Dutch blues and rock bands. The band recorded from 1968, cutting a few singles with its first album coming in 1969. The band appears to have drifted from the limelight after the early 80s but interest in its recorded work remained high into the new millennium.
1. Waitin' on You (B.B. King, Ferdinand Washington) - 2:47
2. One Night Blues (Nicko Christiansen, Ted Oberg) - 6:40
3. Bowlegged Woman (Nicko Christiansen, Ted Oberg) - 2:34
4. Hell's Session (Nicko Christiansen, Ted Oberg) - 4:53
5. Big Road Blues (Traditional) - 2:46
6. Black Panther (Nicko Christiansen, Ted Oberg) - 3:10
7. Worried Dreams (B.B. King) - 5:11
8. Big Black Train (Nicko Christiansen, Ted Oberg) - 4:00
9. Murphy McCoy (George Kooymans, Rinus Gerritsen) - 2:54
10.My Sister Kate (Edgar Dowell, Mamie Medina) - 2:22
11.You Better Watch Yourself (Sonny Boy) (Lightnin' Hopkins) - 2:47
12.One Night Blues (Nicko Christiansen, Ted Oberg) - 4:33
Bonus tracks 9-12

Livin' Blues
*Cesar Zuiderwijk - Drums
*Henk Smitskamp - Bass, Keyboards
*John Legrand - Harmonica
*Nicko Christiansen - Vocals, Bongo, Saxophone
*Ted Oberg - Guitar

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Moxy - Moxy II (1976 canada, good hard rock, 2003 remaster)

The original version of Moxy was actually one of a number of groups Buzz Shearman had been in. After the breakup of Sherman & Peabody (named after the cartoon ‘Mr Peabody’s Improbable History’), which also featured Greg Godovitz (Fludd & Goddo) and Gil Moore (Triumph) – he bounced around a few other Ontario groups which included Flapping. But when the nucleus of that group left Hamilton to become Ian Thomas‘ band Tranquility Base, Shearman returned to Toronto and joined the already-established Leigh-Ashford.

Following that bands’ demise in ’73, he hooked up with guitarist Earl Johnson and drummer Bill Wade, who he’d played with before in Leigh-Ashford. They added Kim Frased on bass and began playing together in the spring of ’74, still calling themselves Leigh-Ashford and carrying on the tradition of the ‘original’ band of putting on one of rock’s better live shows without all the ‘fluff’. After problems left them bassist-less, Johnson recommended Terry Juric, who he and Wade had played with in Outlaw Music. A name change later and they released “Can’t You See I’m A Star” as a single for Yorkville Records in ’74.

They landed a deal with Polydor the next year and flew to New York to record their first album with producer Mark Smith. While in The Big Apple, the rock-Gods were smiling. Legendary guitarist Tommy Bolin (James Gang, Deep Purple) happened to be in the studios and ended up working with them on the record.

The eponymous debut was released that summer, with “Fantasy” as the first single. When they returned to Toronto they recruited Buddy Caine as a second guitarist and in no time at all they’d become regulars on the Ontario bar circuit, quickly gaining a reputation as a no-nonsense, to-the-bones rock band. MOXY II came out a year later and spawned the hit single “Take It Or Leave It”. Their simple and blunt approach to music earned them several ‘hot tour pockets’, including Texas – where they travelled with Triumph – another Dixie-land fave.

Tragedy struck in 1983 when Shearman died in a motorcycle accident. 
by Danny Bilan
1. Cause There's Another (Buddy Caine, Buzz Shearman) - 3:45
2. Take It Or Leave It (Buddy Caine, Buzz Shearman) - 3:43
3. Through The Storm (Earl Johnson) - 4:00
4. One More Heartbreak (Earl Johnson) - 2:38
5. Slippin' Out (Bill Wade, Earl Johnson, Terry Juric) - 4:02
6. Midnight Flight (Earl Johnson) - 3:30
7. Change In My Life (Buddy Caine, Buzz Shearman) - 4:38
8. Tryin' Just For You (Buddy Caine, Buzz Shearman) - 4:30
9. Wet Suit (Bill Wade, Buddy Caine, Buzz Shearman, Terry Juric) - 4:54

*Buzz Shearman - Vocals 
*Earl Johnson - Lead, Slide Guitars
*Terry Juric - Bass 
*Bill Wade - Drums
*Buddy Caine - Electric, Acoustic Guitars
*Wisconsin Kid - Backing Vocals
*Mika Sharun - Backing Vocals
*Steve Byron - Backing Vocals

Friday, December 15, 2023

Winterhawk - There And Back Again Live At The Aragon (1978-79 us, exciting hard rock, 2002 remaster)

Not to confused with the San Francisco's native band, these guys came out of the Windy City. Before they regrouped to record their timeless classic "Revival" album in 1982 they were stunning audiences during their late 70s prime opening shows for acts like Budgie, Black Oak Arkansas, Steppenwolf and others. We struck gold when we unearthed this wonderful 1978 recording of Winterhawk at their peak during a headlining gig at Chicago's infamous Aragon Ballroom! You'll hear guitarist Jordan Macarus at the top of his game, dealing out endless mounds of mindblowing fretwork! Previously unreleased Winterhawk classics like 'Off the Bat,' 'There and Back Again,' 'Creatures of the Sea,' 'In the Wake of Things Yet to Come' plus live versions of 'Free to Live,' 'Sanctuary' and more.

"For those of you un-enlightened to the guitar talents of Jordan Macarus, this live CD will be a revelation for you. The guitar work is stunning, the songs are perfect and bring to mind the twin lead stylings of Wishbone Ash and even in parts reminds of a what a 70's version Iron Maiden might have been" - 
Shroom Records
1. Sanctuary (Jordan Macarus, Doug Brown) - 5:27
2. In The Wake Of Things Yet To Come (Jordan Macarus) - 8:40
3. Hammer And The Axe (Jordan Macarus) - 6:41
4. Creatures Of The Sea (Jordan Macarus) - 13:08
5. Off The Bat (Jordan Macarus) - 8:18
6. Interlude (Jordan Macarus, Steve Tsokatos) - 1:15
7. There And Back Again (Jordan Macarus) - 9:23
8. Drum Solo (Steve Tsokatos) - 1:25
9. Free To Live (Jordan Macarus) - 10:10
10.Bad Influence (Jordan Macarus) - 4:35
11.Too Much Of Nothin' (Steve Tsokatos, Doug Brown) - 4:08

*Jordan Macarus - Vocals, Guitar
*Doug Brown - Bass, Vocals, Guitar
*Steve Tsokatos - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
*Steve Brown - Guitar, Vocals (Tracks 1-9)
*Dan Sealight - Guitar (Track 10)

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Mountain - Live The Road Goes Ever On (1972 us, rough tough jam rock, 2018 bonus track remaster)

Remastered edition of this 1972 release. Windfall assembled this outstanding live document of the original version of the band Mountain following their breakup. The album features a couple of tracks from their landmark performance at the Woodstock festival and the epic centerpiece of the album, a majestic extended version of 'Nantucket Sleighride'. Leslie West, Felix Pappalardi, Corky Laing and Steve Knight were riding their first wave of success with their first two studio albums when these performances were documented. 

This version of the band could flat-out cook and the extended cuts show that they knew how to jam with a sense of power and dynamics. The performances were mastered from the original tapes by Vic Anesini and the liner notes by Ralph Chapman place the whole project in the proper perspective. The album is fleshed out by an extended bonus performance of "Stormy Monday" that was culled from another early '70s festival performance.
1. Long Red (Felix Pappalardi, John Ventura, Leslie West, Norman Landsberg) - 5:44
2. Waiting To Take You Away (Leslie West) - 4:40
3. Crossroader (Felix Pappalardi, Gail Collins) - 6:13
4. Nantucket Sleighride (Felix Pappalardi, Gail Collins) - 17:27
5. Stormy Monday (T-Bone Walker) - 19:27
Bonus Track 5 taken from the Atlanta International Pop Festival, 1970

*Leslie West - Guitars, Vocals
*Felix Pappalardi - Bass, Piano, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Corky Laing - Drums, Percussion
*Steve Knight - Organ, Mellotron

1970  Mountain - Climbing! (2013 blu spec edition) 
1971  Mountain - Nantucket Sleighride (2013 japan blu spec remaster)

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Arthur Hurley And Gottlieb - Arthur Hurley And Gottlieb (1973 us, pleasant soft folk rock)

Jeffrey Arthur, Neil Gottlieb, and Michael Hurley discovered a common interest in music while they were attending the University of South Florida in the early 1970s. The trio somehow attracted the attention of Clive Davis who signed them to Columbia. Co-produced by Clay Pitts and David Spinozza and recorded in New York with an all star cast of sessions players, the group made their debut with 1973’s cleverly-titled “Arthur Hurley & Gottlieb”. Arthur was responsible for all of the material which was heavily geared to sensitive singer-songwriter and country-flavored moves.

Their first single release was: ”Sunshine Ship”, an Arthur penned classic from the self titled LP. The group recorded 2 albums for Columbia before moving to A&M Records in 1975. No hits followed the “Sunshine Ship release”, and the group broke up pursuing solo ventures. Jeff Arthur went on to become an Addy winning jingle writer and producer for some of the largest advertising clients in the country. 
1. Sunshine Ship - 2:35
2. Time Carousel - 3:29
3. Cruisin' - 2:33
4. She's Got Feelings Too - 2:25
5. Fulton County Fair (Christopher Horrell, Jeffrey Arthur, Michael Hurley, Neil Gottlieb)  - 2:14
6. Hard Times - 3:27
7. Part Of You - 4:17
8. Bobby's Song - 2:58
9. Best Thing To Do - 2:35
10.Traveling Friends - 4:59
All songs by Jeffrey Arthur, except track #5

*Jeffrey Arthur - Acoustic Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Michael Hurley - Keyboards, Bass, Flute, Vocals
*Neil Gottlieb - Violin, Vocals
*Hugh McCracken -  Guitar
*David Spinozza -  Guitar 
*John Troper -  Guitar 
*Robert Dougherty - Bass 
*Russell George - Bass 
*Stu Woods - Bass
*Richard Davis - Acoustic Bass
*Steve Gadd -  Drums
*Rick Marotta -  Drums
*Andy Newmark -  Drums 
*Grady Tate -  Drums 
*Eric Weissberg - Pedal Steel, Banjo 
*George Ricci - Cello
*Ralph McDonald - Percussion
*Corky Hale - Harp
*Hubert Laws - Flute 
*The Tampa Cloggers - Footstompin', Clappin'  

Monday, December 11, 2023

Aquila - Aquila (1970 uk, wonderful art rock with jazz and prog elements)

Aquila were a five-piece progressive rock band from Wales who, in their time together during that wonderfully creative and burgeoning prog scene of the day, sadly left us with only one 1970-issued, self-titled release on RCA. The band were the brainchild of Blonde On Blonde guitarist, Ralph Denyer, who wrote and composed all the music and songs on the album.

Flute, sax, and the venerable Hammond augment the classic bass-drums-guitar bedrock, affording a jazz-inflected sound not too dissimilar to the output of the Neon, Dawn, and Transatlantic labels at that time—think Raw Material, Diabolus, Tonton Macoute, or Hannibal..Why Aquila broke up after just one album is a mystery. It sounds very competent against some of the other albums of the time, not least for the careful production work of Patrick Campbell-Lyons from Nirvana UK fame.
by Sébastien Métens, April 24, 2015
1. Change Your Ways - 5:16
2. How Many More Times - 6:18
3. While You Were Sleeping - 5:23
4. We Can Make It If We Try - 4:32
5. The Aquila Suite First Movement - Aquila - Introduction / Flight Of The Golden Bird - 8:27
6. The Aquila Suite Second Movement - Cloud Circus / The Hunter / The Kill - 8:48
7. The Aquila Suite Third Movement - Where Do I Belong? / Aquila - Conclusion - 8:55
All compositions by Ralph Denyer

*Ralph Denyer - Vocals, Electric, Acoustic Guitars
*Phil Childs - Fender Bass, Piano
*George Lee - Flute, Alto, Soprano, Tenor, Baritone Saxes
*Martin Woodward - Hammond Organ
*James Smith - Drums, Timpani, Various Percussion

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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Prairie Madness - Prairie Madness (1972 us, elegant folk melodic rock)

Prairie Madness is Chris Ducey on the guitar and singing lead and Ed Mills on the piano with a voice that adds to the sharp quality and flow of the duo's harmonics.

Prairie Madness (Columbia) carries a positive message in their sounds and lyrics. Like a westerly, they are a steady and warming change. They bringing a fresh western wind of folk-gospel sounds with an exciting mixture of original compositions. The album was produced by Matthew Fisher, former Procol Harum organist, who also plays keyboards on some tracks, backing by a full band with session musicians such as Jack Conrad on bass, Jim Young and Richie Hayward on drums, plus Airto Moreira and Emil Richards on Percussion.

Opening with "Nothing for Sophia," a somewhat haunting piece, they then showed what they are all about with "Shame the Children" and "Girl from Cincinnati." Ducey has a voice that moves in and along with the mate- rial in rich and ranging gospel tones which add to the performance. One does find him somewhat subdued on the guitar. Mills comes through nicely on the keyboard, especially so when blending vocally with Ducey.

Other songs are "Choo Choo Nairobi," an interesting figuration of sound and beat, "Broke Down," a rich blues-gospel piece, and "I'm Ready". 
1. Nothing For Sophia (Chris Ducey, Edward Millis) - 4:29
2. Up You Go (Chris Ducey, Edward Millis) -  3:23
3. Girl From Cincinnati (Kendrew Lascelles, Chris Ducey, Edward Millis) - 4:19  
4. Choo Choo Nairobi (Chris Ducey, Edward Millis) - 3:31        
5. Moondust (Chris Ducey, Edward Millis) - 5:27 
6. Shame The Children (Edward Millis) - 3:17
7. Sunbeam To His Heart (Edward Millis) - 4:17 
8. Broke Down (Edward Millis) - 4:57 
9. I'm Ready (Edward Millis) - 5:43

Prairie Madness
*Chris Ducey - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Vocals
*Edward Millis - Piano, Accordion, Vocals
*Matthew Fisher - Organ, Harpsichord
*Richie Hayward - Drums
*Jack Conrad - Bass
*Ralph Bryan - Electric Guitar
*Emil Richards - Percussion, Steel Drums
*Airto Moreira - Percussion
*Jim Young - Drums, Percussion
*Joyce Vincent - Backing Vocals
*Patti Austin - Backing Vocals 
*Telma Hopkins - Backing Vocals