Sunday, February 26, 2023

Steve Gibbons - Short Stories / Stained Glass (1971/1996 uk, superb roots 'n' roll, pub rock, 2001 double disc remaster and expanded)

Rock n’ roll sometimes isn’t fair with some of its representatives. Rock n’ roll isn’t giving everybody what he/she deserves. However, even if they are regarded as obscure or cult acts, these not so well-known artists aren’t lost in oblivion. Steve Gibbons is such a rock n’ roll representative, a true rock n’ roll hero, who never got famous, however, his work is here for us to enjoy. 

Steve Gibbons was born in Harborne, Birmingham (England), on the 13th of July, 1941, and belongs to the great Birmingham rock scene (Moody Blues, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Electric Light Orchestra among others). His first occupation was a plumber's apprentice in his hometown – nevertheless, he started his musical career in 1960 as the lead singer of The Dominettes. His first performance with The Dominettes was at The California Public House, near Weoley Castle. According to music historians, The Dominettes were a rhythm and blues act, with a rough image and quite a following. They played numerous shows in Birmingham, in music venues like The Grotto Club, The Sicilia Coffee Bar etc., but sometimes they were hired to back strippers at some of the more seedy establishments. The Dominettes didn’t last too long, since in 1963 they were renamed The Ugly’s.

Contrary to The Dominettes, The Ugly’s left a considerable work behind them. They secured a recording deal with Pye Records and their first single was “Wake Up My Mind” (1965), an original composition, co-written by Gibbons, advanced for its time, featuring some socially conscious lyrics, not a hit in England but a big hit on the national Australian chart, reaching No. 14. The Ugly’s were a psychedelic pop/rock band, with very interesting songs, like “It’s Alright”, “A Quiet Explosion”, “This is Your Mind Speaking”, “Real Good Girl” etc. They even covered a Kinks song (“End of the Season”), but failed to succeed. Besides that, the band suffered many line-up changes – in 1968 Richard Tandy, a keyboards player, joined The Ugly’s, however, he tasted worldwide success, only when he became a member of Electric Light Orchestra. By the end of 1968, Steve Gibbons was the only remaining original member of The Ugly’s – the last line-up of the band included, apart from Gibbons, Will Hammond, Dave Morgan (later in Electric Light Orchestra, Tandy/Morgan etc.), Keith Smart and Richard Tandy – with these members, The Ugly’s recorded the song “I See The Light”.

That single was the last The Ugly’s song, because by April of 1969, Gibbons formed with The Move guitar/bass player, Trevor Burton, a new band called Balls, a Birmingham supergroup, since apart from Gibbons/Burton, it featured Richard Tandy, Keith Smart and Dave Morgan. The summer of 1969 Morgan was replaced by Denny Laine (vocals, guitar, ex-Moody Blues) and after some personnel changes, Gibbons left the band in February 1971. Balls recorded only one single in 1971, the Trevor Burton-penned “Fight for my Country” (the b-side was “Janie Slow Down”), and then dissolved.

In 1971 Steve Gibbons released his first solo album, called “Short Stories” via the Wizard label (through which also Balls released their only single), produced by Gary Wright (one of the founding members of Spooky Tooth) and Jimmy Miller (worked also with Blind Faith, Motörhead, Traffic, The Rolling Stones etc.) and composed by Gibbons himself (in collaboration with Burton in three tracks). Several artists helped Gibbons in his first effort, for example Alan White (drums, became a member of Balls and later of Yes), Greg Ridley (bass, Spooky Tooth, Humble Pie) and Albert Lee (one of the greatest rock/country session guitarists). “Short Stories” is a fantastic rock n’ roll album, with a lot of blues and folk elements, very inspired compositions and outstanding performances from Gibbons and his accompanying musicians.

Steve Gibbons released his second solo album in 1996 (“Stained Glass”). Steve Gibbons belongs to the pantheon of British rock n’ roll of the 70s; he started his career in the psychedelic 60s and became a rock n’ roll band leader in the 70s, releasing some wonderful albums and touring endlessly around the world. The characteristics of Steve Gibbons, his tough, filthy voice, the way he spitted the words, his sincere sense of original rock music, are always there to remind us how beautiful is the story of Steve Gibbons and his band. They say that Gibbons is the English Bob Seger, one of the influences of bands like Dire Straits, a more electrifying version of Bob Dylan. Call it how you like it, Steve Gibbons is an underrated rock n’ roll icon, whose music shines brightly and will shine forever!
by Dimitris Zacharopoulos
Disc 1 Short Stories 1971
1. Leader Of The Band - 3:38
2. Now You're Leaving (Steve Gibbons, Trevor Burton) - 4:28
3. The Last Farewell (Steve Gibbons, Trevor Burton) - 2:44
4. One Of Those Days - 3:56
5. Alright Now - 5:39
6. You've Gotta Pay - 3:26
7. Bye Bye Buffalo (Steve Gibbons, Trevor Burton) - 4:30
8. Brown Girl - 3:46
9. Until She Comes Home - 5:05
10.Don't Wanna Let You Down - 3:16
11.Trouble - 3:24 - 
12.Lamb To The Slaughter - 4:53
13.I'm Going Home - 2:40
14.Tired Clock - 2:12
All compositions by Steve Gibbons except where stated
Bonus Tracks 12-14
Disc 2 Stained Glass 1996
1. Take It Easy - 3:32
2. You're A Big Girl Now (Bob Dylan) - 4:47
3. The Last Farewell (Steve Gibbons, Trevor Burton) - 3:15
4. Oh What A Thrill (Chuck Berry) - 3:10
5. Grace - 3:33
6. Looking Glass In The Rain - 3:20
7. One Day - 3:20
8. Looking For The Heart Of Saturday Night (Tom Waits) - 4:33
9. New Leather Shoes - 4:05
10.Stolen Hearts - 3:35
11.Hey Buddy - 3:23
12.Man In The Long Black Coat (Bob Dylan) - 3:35
13.Immaculate Conception - 2:38 
14.Where Was I Last Night? - 3:27
15.Smoky Joe's - 3:54
All songs by Steve Gibbons except where indicated
Bonus Tracks 14-15

Disc 1 Short Stories 1971
*Steve Gibbons - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
*Doris Troy - Backing Vocals (Tracks 2,5,8) 
*Gary Wright - Backing Vocals (Track 5), Piano (Tracks 1-5,3-4)
*Madeline Bell - Backing Vocals (Tracks 2,5,8)
*Greg Ridley - Bass (Track 8)
*Trevor Burton - Bass (Tracks 1,3-5), Guitar (Track 10)
*Pat Donaldson - Bass (Tracks 2,6-8,11)
*Larry Fallon  - Brass, Flute (Track 8)
*Claire Deniz - Cello (Track 9)
*Bill Povey - Clarinet
*Alan White - Drums (Tracks 8,10), 
*Mike Kellie - Drums (Tracks 1-9, 11)
*Alan White - Bass Drum, Flute (Track 10)
*Albert Lee - Electric Piano (Track 10), Guitar (Tracks 1-9, 11)
*Hugh McCracken - Guitar (Track 10) 
*Gerry Donahue - Guitar 
*Ginger Johnson - Percussion (Track 5)
*Jimmy Miller - Percussion (Track 5) 
*Rocki Dzidzornu - Percussion (Track 5)
*Ian Whiteman - Piano (Tracks 6-7,9)
*Gerry Conway - Steel Guitar (Tracks 2-4)
*Johnny Van Derek - Violin (Tracks 6,9)

Disc 2 Stained Glass 1996
*Steve Gibbons - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
*Bob Lamb - Drums
*Bob Griffin - Bass (Tracks 1,3,9)
*John Caswell - Guitar (Tracks 2,5,6,8,10-13) Bass (Tracks 2,6,10-13)
*Steve Dolan - Bass (Track 4)
*Roger Inniss - Bass (Tracks 5,7-8)
*Phil Bond - Keyboards (Tracks 1-2,5-6,8,10,12), Accordion (Tracks 11,13)
*Bob Wilson - Guitar (Tracks 3,5-7,9,11)

1976  The Steve Gibbons Band - Any Road Up 
1977  The Steve Gibbons Band - Rollin' On 

Saturday, February 25, 2023

The Hollies - Bus Stop / Stop! Stop! Stop! (1966 uk, marvellous folk beat, 2011 remaster)

The Hollies scored their first American smash in 1966, when “Bus Stop” (written by Graham Gouldman, a future member of 10cc) cracked the Billboard Top Ten. Looking to cash in on that song’s success, Imperial Records threw together a quick compilation, Bus Stop, which combined the titular tune with several older Hollies songs. Some of the tracks were two years old, and  -- who often released several albums a year during their heyday -- became angry with the label’s decision to exploit their success with a collection of old material. 

They left Imperial the following year, but not before releasing Stop! Stop! Stop! (issued in Europe under the title For Certain Because…), the first Hollies album written entirely by the bandmates themselves. Spliced together on this two-for-one compilation, the albums mark a turning point for the band, documenting the point at which  transformed their straightforward Merseybeat sound into an experimental pop hybrid. All 24 tracks are remastered, and the presence of the original sleeve notes (“Allan Clarke is a mischievous, grinning person with nomadic eyes which have surely tormented many a female heart”) should attract those who already own copies of both records.
by Andrew Leahey
1. Bus Stop (Graham Gouldman) - 2:51 
2. Candy Man (Fred Neil, Beverly "Ruby" Ross) - 2:28 
3. Baby That's All (Chester Mann) - 2:15 
4. I Am a Rock (Paul Simon) - 2:50 
5. Sweet Little Sixteen (Chuck Berry) - 2:22 
6. We're Through - 2:15 
7. Don't Run and Hide - 2:33 
8. Oriental Sadness (She'll Never Trust in Anybody No More) - 2:35 
9. Mickey's Monkey (Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland, Eddie Holland) - 2:30 
10.Little Love (Allan Clarke, Graham Nash) - 2:00 
11.You Know He Did (Al Ransom) - 2:02 
12.What'cha Gonna Do About It? (Gregory Carrol, Doris Payne) - 2:17 
13.What's Wrong with the Way I Live - 2:02 
14.Pay You Back with Interest - 2:44 
15.Tell Me to My Face - 3:08 
16.Clown - 2:13 
17.Suspicious Look in Your Eyes - 3:36 
18.It's You - 2:12 
19.High Classed - 2:21 
20.Peculiar Situation - 2:54 
21.What Went Wrong - 2:11 
22.Crusader - 3:49 
23.Don't Even Think About Changing - 2:08 
24.Stop! Stop! Stop! - 2:50
All songs by Allan Clarke, Tony Hicks, Graham Nash except where noted

The Hollies
*Allan Clarke - Vocals, Harmonica
*Tony Hicks - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Graham Nash - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Bobby Elliott - Drums    
*Eric Haydock - Bass 
*Bernie Calvert - Bass (Track 1)

Related Acts

Thursday, February 23, 2023

White Lightning - Strikes Twice (1968-69 us, raw garage heavy psych rock)

Hard fuzz trio featuring the blazing leads of Zippy Caplan (ex-Litter). The band was less garagy and more pounding hardrock than the Litter. "Under the Screaming Double Eagle" collects studio tracks from 1969. White Lightning was a slang term for LSD at the time (and bootleg whiskey prior to that). The group added two new members and shortened their name to Lightning. They continued in the hardrock mode but now with dual leads. "Lightning" is another excellent effort, just missing the certain magic they possessed as a power trio.

"White Lightning" was formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1968 by ex-"Litter" guitarist "Zippy" Caplan and bassist Woody Woodrich. The two musicians had been jamming together for close to a year before they decided to become a group. 

The name "White Lightning" was picked by "Zip" Caplan and Woody Woodrich during their drive back from the "Litter's" filming of "Medium Cool" because it was another name for acid. "White Lightning's" original drummer, Garr Johnson, quit the group after only a months rehearsals because he didn't believe a three-piece act could make it in Minneapolis. Mick Stanhope was immediately brought in from Chicago by Ronn Roberts to fill the empty drummer's chair. 
Minneapolis Music
1. Prelude To Opus IV (Mick Stanhope, Tom Caplan, Woody Woodrich) - 2:02
2. (Under The Screaming Double) Eagle (Denny Waite, Tom Caplan, Woody Woodrich) - 3:22
3. Born Too Rich (Mick Stanhope, Tom Caplan, Woody Woodrich) - 3:59
4. Coming Down (Larry Loofbourrow) - 3:32
5. Borrowed And Blue (Mick Stanhope, Tom Caplan) - 3:01
6. Bogged Down (Mark Gallagher, Tom Caplan, Woody Woodrich) - 2:31
7. Let Me Feel It Too (Larry Loofbourrow) - 3:17
8. Only Love (Larry Loofbourrow) - 1:45
9. Age (Mick Stanhope, Tom Caplan) - 3:36
10.Fantasy Days (Mick Stanhope, Tom Caplan, Woody Woodrich) - 3:25
11.No Time For Love (Mick Stanhope, Tom Caplan, Woody Woodrich) - 11:18
12.William Tell (Gioacchino Rossini) - 5:15
13.Prelude To Opus IV (Mick Stanhope, Tom Caplan, Woody Woodrich) - 4:18
14.Freedom (Mick Stanhope, Ronn Roberts, Tom Caplan) - 5:15
15.Groundhog (Mick Stanhope, Tom Caplan, Woody Woodrich) - 3:38
16.1930 (Mick Stanhope, Ronn Roberts, Tom Caplan) - 4:11
17.Just Let The World Roll On By (Mick Stanhope, Tom Caplan) - 1:46
18.Before My Time (Bernie Pershey, Mick Stanhope, Ronn Roberts, Tom Caplan, Woody Woodrich) - 3:12
19.Age  (Mick Stanhope, Tom Caplan) - 3:50
20.Fantasy Days  (Mick Stanhope, Tom Caplan, Woody Woodrich) - 2:31

White Lightning
*Mick Stanhope - Vocals, Drums, Percussion
*Tom "Zippy" Caplan - Guitar
*Woody Woodrich - Bass, Vocals
*Bernie Pershey - Drums (Tracks 13-20)
*Ronn Roberts - Guitar (Tracks 13-20)
*Barbara Hess - Vocasl (Tracks 15,17)

Related Acts
1966-68  The Litter - Distortions / Live At The Electric Theatre 
1968  The Litter - One Hundred Dollar Fine

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Strider - Misunderstood (1974 uk, good hard rock, 2009 digipak remaster)

Misunderstood, is well worth the effort; hard rock without being overbearingly heavy, it's got great songs, all-round good musicianship and superb dynamics (listen to opener Open Your Eyes for proof). A couple of tracks on side two feature Mellotron strings from Ian Kewley, but they're not exactly classics of the genre; Wing Tips is excellent, a bit of a mini-epic, in fact, while Take It Or Leave It is more of a rocker, with a quick burst of Mellotron in the slow middle-eight and its reprise. 
1. Open Your Eyes (Gary Grainger, Ian Kewley, Rob Elliott) - 4:57
2. Misunderstood (Gary Grainger, Ian Kewley, Lee Strzelczyk, Rob Elliott) - 5:53
3. Crossed Line (Gary Grainger, Jack Noton, Rob Elliott) - 3:44
4. Seems So Easy (Brian Leigh, Gary Grainger, Rob Elliott) - 5:23
5. Already Monday (Gary Grainger, Rob Elliott) - 5:03
6. Wing Tips (Ian Kewley, Jack Noton) - 6:17
7. Take It Or Leave It (Gary Grainger, Rob Elliott) - 4:23
8. Searching The Clouds (Gary Grainger, Ian Kewley, Rob Elliott) - 4:38

*Rob Elliott - Lead Vocals
*Gary Grainger - Lead, Rhythm Guitar
*Ian Kewley - Electric Piano, Grand Piano, Hammond, Mellotron, Moog, French Horn, Backing Vocals
*Tony Brock - Drums, Vocals 
*Lee Strzelczyk - Bass 
*Jennie Haan - Backing Vocals

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Stack - Above All (1969 us, solid heavy psych hard rock with ultra loud guitars)

Don't let the murky sound quality, almost certainly a result of imperfect source tapes, fool you; Above All is an above-average slab of snotty garage psychedelia. The cloudy sound actually enhances the album in certain ways. The stab at "Da Blues" gives the song not exactly an authenticity but a grittiness that gives the performance the sound and texture of a live recording. The psychedelic cuts, on the other hand, have an enveloping claustrophobic sound that traps the listener beneath the music. While probably meant to be experienced under the influence of certain chemical enhancers, the music is trippy enough on its own to send the listener on a trip of sorts. 

That wouldn't matter, of course, if the songs were not strong or were less than fully formed, but that is not the case. The album opens with a fuzzed-up version of Lieber and Stoller's "Poison Ivy," but the rest of the album is given over to standout originals by Stack, with lead guitarist Rick Gould penning five of the nine cuts. "Only Forever" is a power pop/psychedelic hybrid with some nice fuzz guitar by Gould, and Bob Ellis' vigorous, potent drumming is perhaps the band's secret weapon. Buddy Clark's robust bass, too, is terrific and helps songs such as "Cars," "Everyday," and "Valleys" get completely inside the listener with uncommon force. 

On top of the psychedelic cacophony, Bill Sheppard's vocals simply wail. Stack was obviously skilled, as their resumé bears out, and it is apparent through the subpar sound that the band could be quite powerful. Gear Fab's CD is well worth hearing for fans of garage and psychedelia and may even qualify for the top echelon of unearthed psychedelic obscurities. 
by Stanton Swihart
1. Poison Ivy (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) - 3:20
2. Only Forever (Rick Gould) - 3:37
3. Da Blues (Rick Gould, Bill Sheppard, Bob Ellis, Buddy Clark, Kurt Feierabend) - 7:00
4. Cars (Rick Gould) - 3:36
5. Everyday (Rick Gould) - 6:54
6. Valleys (Bill Sheppard, Rick Gould) - 2:53
7. Time Seller (Rick Gould) - 5:07
8. Hot Days (Steve Hoffman) - 2:53
9. Do It (Kurt Feierabend) - 2:54

*Bill Sheppard - Lead Vocals
*Bob Ellis - Drums
*Buddy Clark - Bass
*Kurt Feierabend - Rhythm Guitar
*Rick Gould - Lead Guitar

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Phil Ochs - Tape From California (1968 us, astonishing baroque folk psych, 2000 remaster)

With his first album for A&M, Pleasures of the Harbor (1967, also reissued on CD by Collectors' Choice Music), Phil Ochs made a daring entry into both full band arrangements and complicated near-art songs, in styles ranging from Dixieland jazz and lounge music to classical orchestration and musique concrete. The transition might have been too abrupt for much of his audience, coming from an artist that had made his name with protest folk songs, performed solo on acoustic guitar. Ochs perhaps bore that in mind when he made his next record, 1968ís Tape from California, a simpler affair, recorded quickly with notably less elaborate backing. 

"In my new album," he told Broadside, "Iím going to make the next step, which will be a comment on the spiritual decline of America, with some of the musical elements I had in Harbor but somewhat played down. And the words are coming to the fore again. Essentially, Iím going to try and get a balance between the Harbor record and the (solo guitar 1966) Concert one that preceded it." 

As a composer, however, Ochs was not going to regress to the topical folk songs that had dominated his mid-1960s Elektra albums to the exclusion of almost all else. Tape in Californiaís eight songs were as varied a lot as those on its predecessor, jumping from his artiest poetry to numbers that could have just about fit into his pre-1967 repertoire. Pleasures of the Harbor producer Larry Marks would once again work on the sessions, as would pianist Lincoln Mayorga and, for "The Floods of Florence" at least, arranger Ian Freebairn-Smith, who had devised much of the settings that gave Pleasures its diverse, ornate character. 

Ochs never played rockíníroll in as straightforward a fashion as he did on the six-minute title cut. Musically straightforward, that is. Lyrically, it was the sort of epic found on much of Pleasures for the Harbor (and some of his subsequent work), a drifting narrative that most likely contained some autobiographical elements, as it was written around the time he moved from New York to Los Angeles. "White Boots Marching in a Yellow Land," in contrast, found Ochs returning to the anti-war statements that comprised much of his bread-and-butter in his folkie rise to fame. However, it had a more observational tone and more poetic imagery than his early strident tunes of the sort. "Weíre fighting in a war we lost before the war began," he lamented, accurately mirroring the despair of the counterculture as the United States sank deeper into the quicksand of the Vietnam War in 1968, with no end to the senseless escalation in sight. The track nonetheless boasted a characteristically gentle, memorable Ochs melody and understated vocals, as well as clever insertions of martial bugles and gunfire. 

"Half a Century High" had actually been in Ochsí repertoire for some time, as a 1966 concert version was included on his posthumously released Phil Ochs at Newport CD. It could be said that, as with the avant-garde/electronic treatment of "Crucifixion" on Pleasures of the Harbor, the singer tried to be too clever for his own good with the studio version. His voice was distorted so that it sounded like it was indeed playing through a 50-year-old wind-up gramophone, although the harpsichord tinkles added some nice color. "Joe Hill," likewise, had been written some time before it was recorded. The ode to the legendary labor hero, set to the melody of Woody Guthrieís "Pretty Boy Floyd," could have fit onto a 1964 Phil Ochs LP with its leftist topicality and unadorned acoustic guitar-vocal arrangement. The flat-picked guitar on this track was by Rambliní Jack Elliott, whose drunkenness, Larry Marks has recalled, made the tune difficult to complete. 

"The War Is Over" was the finest song on Tape from California. This was released at a time, of course, when the war in Vietnam seemed as far from being over as was humanly possible. Ochs had a knack for cannily playing disturbing lyrics and images off jaunty melodies and exuberant vocals, a trait heard to brilliant effect on his famous "Outside of a Small Circle of Friends" and this less celebrated composition. Military beats, flutes, and horns set the table for this surreal portrait of the absurdity of war, with its indelible scene of one-legged veterans whistling as they mow the lawn. The war is over, yes, but was that kind of cost worth it? Ochsí own likely sentiments peeped through the irony when he noted that even treason might be worth a try, not just to prevent more deaths, but to keep the country itself from committing suicide. 

Side two of Tape from California found Ochs moving towards the more florid musical settings and lyrics that had typified much of Pleasures of the Harbor. "The Harder They Fall" twisted nursery rhymes into sinister scenes, and though the lyrics were more abstract than cogent, itís undeniably memorable to hear Jack and Jill going up the hill for the kind of thrills not hinted at in the original prose, and Mother Goose cited for stealing lines from Lenny Bruce and killing Jews. The 13-minute "When in Rome" was the Ochs epic to end all Ochs epics, a nightmarish journey through a Boschian landscape that could have been taking place in ancient Rome, twentieth century America, or both. As with Bob Dylanís own 1960s marathons ("Desolation Row" is the song to which "When in Rome" is most likely to be compared), it could be subjected to infinite interpretations, none of them necessarily correct or incorrect. Reportedly the composition was inspired by the Elia Kazan film Viva Zapata!; the relentlessly downbeat lyrics were leavened somewhat by Ochsí lilting vocal and the simple, just-a-man-and-his-acoustic-guitar arrangement. 

"When in Rome" might have been too much of a downer to end the album with, and Tapes from California came to a more graceful close with "The Floods of Florence." Its strings, flute, and harpsichord marked a return to the baroque orchestrated pop that Ochs, Marks, and arranger Ian Freebairn-Smith flirted with throughout Philís first two A&M albums. Actually the lyrics of the song were just as dreamlike and non-linear as those in "When in Rome," but the vibe was more romantic than despairing. 

Despair, however, was a sentiment that would become more prevalent in Ochsí music (and life) as 1968 progressed and American society seemed to edge closer to collapse. It was a mindset that Ochs would explore more fully in his next album, 1969's Rehearsal for Retirement, also reissued on CD by Collectors' Choice. Tape from California, however, captured a juncture at which Ochsí optimism and sensitivity were still to be found, even as the darker sides of personality came to the fore on occasion as well. 
by Richie Unterberger 
1. Tape From California - 6:45
2. White Boots Marching In A Yellow Land - 3:30
3. Half A Century High - 2:48
4. Joe Hill - 7:18
5. The War Is Over - 4:20
6. The Harder They Fall - 3:55
7. When In Rome - 13:13
8. Floods Of Florence – 4:53
Music and Lyrics by Phil Ochs

*Phil Ochs - Guitar, Vocals
*Joe Osborn - Bass on "Tape From California"
*Lincoln Mayorga - Piano, Keyboards
*Van Dyke Parks - Piano, Keyboards on "Tape From California"
*Ramblin' Jack Elliott - Flat-Picked Guitar on "Joe Hill"

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Penny Nichols - Penny's Arcade (1968 us, dazzling folk sunny psych with clear crisp vocals, 2006 edition)

Like many musicians in the Sixties, Penny started her career as a folk singer in coffeehouses around Orange County, CA. She shared stages with many legendary artists such as Jackson Browne, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Ponies,Jennifer Warnes, Mary McCaslin and others. In 1964 & 65 she sang in a bluegrass band with John, Bill & Alice McEuen (John then took Jackson Browne's place in the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and the rest is history) and then formed a duo with Kathy Smith called the Greasy Mountain Butterballs which toured Vietnam in the fall of 1966. Upon returning, she opened the show for numerous artists at the Troubadour and Ash Grove in Hollywood.

In the spring of 1967, Penny rode up to San Francisco on the back of a Harley motorcycle and decided to stay in the bay area for a while. She performed in concerts and clubs all over the bay area including: the Fillmore, the Avalon, the Matrix and opened for bands such as Big Brother and the Holding Co. (Janis Joplin), Steve Miller, Quicksilver Messenger Service, 13th Floor Elevator, Chocolate Watchband, Jefferson Airplane and others. During the "Summer of Love", Penny played at the Big Sur Folk Festival and recorded her first album, "Penny's Arcade", for Buddha Records. (It eventually sold over 50,000 copies) After touring the U.S. promoting her album in the fall, she toured Europe in the winter of 1968, staying with George & Patty Harrison and recording at Apple Studios while in London. An enjoyable fusion of folk, pop, jazz and psychedelia. Features support from Bob Dylan sidemen Bruce Langhorne and Al Gorgoni as well as members of psychedelic favourites the Peanut Butter Conspiracy.

On her return to the U.S., she decided to devote her time exclusively to songwriting for a number of years and studied voice with noted vocal coach, Florence Riggs. In 1975, she began to perform around Los Angeles with her jazz band, the Black Imp, and opened the show for Little Feat in concert. She wrote and performed commercials for Toyota's campaign to plant a tree for every car bought, Carnation Dairies, and produced a public service announcement for the Navajo Nation called "Black Mesa" to protest the misuse of the land around the Four Corners power stations in Arizona.

In 1977, while working with Emitt Rhodes on a record for Elektra, Penny joined Jimmy Buffett & the Coral Reefers. She appeared in the movie FM with the band toured...the U.S. and earned a Platinum Record for her singing on Son of a Son of a Sailor.

In the late 70's & 80's, Penny went back to school and earned degrees in Music & Psychology from Antioch University, and then went on to Harvard University to do research in music & psychology eventually earning a doctorate in Education there. During the same time, she recorded and toured with many performers including: Art Garfunkle (Fate for Breakfast) Suzi Quatro, Danny O'Keefe,Yvonne Elliman, Jennifer Warnes, Albert Brooks, The Credibility Gap, Steve Gillette and earned a Grammy nomination for her work on Arlo Guthrie's album The Power of Love.

In 1990, Penny co-produced her second album, All Life is One. In 1993, she released another record, an album of songs based on the 1000-year-old Buddhist stories, the Jataka Tales. In 1997, Penny and Molly Mason collaborated on the song "The Unbroken Thread" which is included on the CD, the Catskill Collection. She currently lives and teaches in Morro Bay, CA and was awarded the FAR-West Folk Alliance's Best of the West Lifetime Achievement award.   Her most recent ventures include a new album of songs called Golden State; a recollection of growing up in Southern California. She has also recorded a CD of Jackson Browne's early songs; Colors of the Sun, a Harmony and Background Vocal arranging CD's, a book and CD called the 8 Voyages of Nep, songs of grieving and healing through cancer treatments, teaching at SAMW, Colorado Roots, Lamb's Retreat and Moab Music camps, one of the best music camps in the country, and directing four camps per year for songwriters: SummerSongs: A Songwriters Summer Camp and Retrea. Sadly Penny Nichols passed away Oct 29, 2017.
Text from Penny Nichols official
1. Wash Day - 2:38
2. Moon Song - 2:26
3. Color Of Love - 1:27
4. Games - 1:40
5. Salton Sea Song - 2:10
6. Sunshine Blues - 2:27
7. Rainy Days - 2:52
8. Summer Rain - 3:03
9. Yellow Chimes - 2:19
10.Look Around Rock - 3:43
11.Mountain Song - 3:05
12.Holy Holy - 2:25
13.Farina - 2:01
All songs composed by Penny Nichols

*Penny Nichols - Guitar, Vocals
*Bruce Langhorne - Guitar
*Artie Butler - Piano
*Sal DiTroia - Guitar
*John Merrill - Guitar
*Al Gorgoni - Guitar
*Grant Johnson - Piano
*Joe Grimm - Flute
*Richard Romoff - Bass
*Julio Ruggiero - Bass
*Alan Brackett - Bass
*Joseph Macho Jr. - Bass
*Kerry Magness - Bass
*Alvin Rogers - Drums
*Jimmie Smith - Drums
*Sanford Konikoff - Drums

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Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Paul Davis - A Little Bit Of Paul Davis (1970-71 us, wondrous blue eyed soul, r 'n' b, soft rock, 2009 bonus tracks reissue)

The very title of Paul Davis’ 1971 debut is a nod toward Bert Berns, the founder of Bang records and author of “A Little Bit of Soap,” the 1961 Jarmels single Davis covered and brought within flirting distance of the Top 40 in 1970. Ironically enough, “A Little Bit of Soap” winds up being the song that seems out of step with the rest of the bubblegum pop-soul on A Little Bit of Paul Davis, as Davis recasts it as a bit of a sleepy groover -- nice enough, but not as appealing as the bright, snappy pop of the rest of the record.

Like a lot of Bang’s late-‘60s/early-‘70s output -- think Neil Diamond and Andy Kim -- this walks a curious line between AM bubblegum and adult contemporary soft rock, with the hooks coming from the former and the smoothness coming from the latter. Davis gives this a dash of Georgian soul in his phrasing, but that’s just flavoring on this batch of bubblegum pop. Impressively, most of the record is written by Davis himself -- only three cuts come from other writers -- and he shows a real talent for propulsive, cheerful pop, but even this has a touch of the laid-back delivery that would become his trademark…just enough to make this distinctive from other Bang LPs and other early-’70s AM pop, and just enough to make this something of an undiscovered little gem of its time. 
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Paul Davis was married to Pamela Gayle Jay Davis, who enjoyed a brief career with Bang Records/Web IV Music in Atlanta, where Davis was writing and recording his songs. When their only son Jonathan was born with special needs, Pamela retired from the music world to care for him. She died on March 20, 2017. Paul Davis died of a heart attack at the Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian, Mississippi, on April 22, 2008, a day after his 60th birthday.
1. I Just Wanna Keep It Together - 2:29
2. Supernatural Power - 2:39
3. If I Wuz A Magician - 2:14
4. Pollyanna - 2:36
5. Sally's Sayin Somethin (Harry Moffitt, Howard Boggess) - 2:09
6. A Little Bit Of Soap - 2:33
7. Mississippi River - 3:05
8. Who's Gonna Love Me Tomorrow (George Soule) - 2:33
9. Rainy Sunday Mornin - 2:45
10.Three Little Words - 2:45
11.When My Little Girl Is Smiling (Carole King, Gerry Goffin) - 3:14
12.I Feel Better - 2:49
All songs by Paul Davis except where stated
Bonus Tracks 11-12

*Paul Davis - Vocals

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

One - One (1969 uk, remarkable heavy psych bluesy rock)

In late 1969/early 1970, a motley crew of London-based musicians entered Trident Studios in the heart of Soho to record a lone, rare album for Fontana Records. Helmed by Indian-born musicians and childhood friends, singer Alan Marshall and keyboard player Bobby Sass, One had initially formed in early 1969 after a series of jam sessions at Marshall’s studio flat, located at 6 Denmark Street which he shared with manager Roger Burrow, a friend of Graham Nash’s.

Born in Lahore, Alan Marshall had quite the musical pedigree. Starting out with Bexley Heath, Kent R&B outfit The Loose Ends in the early 1960s, Marshall had cut two excellent singles on Decca before the original formation splintered in October 1966. Forming a new version with members of Croydon band The Subjects and another Bexley Heath area aggregation, Bob ‘N’ All, the new-look Loose Ends landed a short residency at the Bang Bang Club in Milan during January-February 1967.

When the musicians returned to London that March, they were spotted by Otis Redding at the Scotch of St James (or Speakeasy depending on who you speak to) and, ‘blown away’ by Marshall and co-vocalist Bob Saker’s duets, the soul legend took both singers back to the States to record two tracks at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals – “Johnny B Goode” and “Keep Pushing”. The plan was to couple the two recordings for a single on Atlantic but internal politics led to the tracks being shelved. Tragically, Redding died later that year.

Back in the UK, Alan Marshall reunited with guitarist Peter Kirtley who’d been playing with Alan Price’s band after leaving The Loose Ends the previous October. The pair decided to form a new group, Happy Magazine, and Marshall recommended his childhood friend Bobby Sass (not Bobby Tench under an alias which has often been misreported) to play keyboards. Unfortunately, after some tentative rehearsals, it was decided that Sass didn’t fit the band concept and he was dropped.

One’s storming cover of Havens’ “Don’t Listen To Me”, which opens the LP and third track, “Stop Pulling and Pushing Me” are inspired, extended workouts full of inventive playing and powerful instrumental passages. The musicians also do justice to “Cautiously”, an atmospheric reading of the ballad written by Maurey Hayden, singer, stand-up comedian and wife of Lenny Bruce. Alan Marshall and Bobby Sass’s “Near The Bone”, the band’s lone contribution to the song-writing stakes is also noteworthy.

According to several band members, the sessions at Trident’s studios also featured Alan Marshall’s former band mate from The Loose Ends and Happy Magazine, Peter Kirtley, who provided lead guitar on several cuts.

Fontana duly released the LP in the UK in late 1969, followed by continental releases in France, Germany and Spain. The label also issued several singles but like the LP, none of the releases charted, which is perhaps not surprising considering that One undertook very little live work to promote the records. One notable gig took place on 7 October 1969 when the musicians made a rare appearance on stage at Hatchettes Playground in Piccadilly.
Notes taken from GARAGE HANGOVER
1. Don't Listen To Me (Richie Havens) - 6:58
2. Cautiously (Maurey Hayden) - 8:41
3. Stop Pulling And Pushing Me (Richie Havens) - 7:53
4. Near The Bone (Alan Marshall, Bobby Sass) - 4:00
5. Run, Shaker Life (Richie Havens) - 17:37

*Alan Marshall - Vocals, Harp, Congas, Talking Drum, Tambourine, Guitar
*Kevin Fogerty - Guitar 
*Bobby Sass - Organ, Piano, Guitar 
*Conrad Isidore - Drums 
*Norman Leppard - Flute, Tenor Saxophone 
*Brent Forbes - Bass
*Peter Kirtley - Guitar

Monday, February 13, 2023

The Uniques - Happening Now!! (1967 us, magnificent garage beat)

Stampley, lead singer and keyboard player, was toting a tape made with his band The Uniques. It was 1964; he and his four partners were hot; three years on the dance and college circuit in Louisiana, and the surrounding states had proven them capable of creating real excitement with teens. Stampley sought out record industry powerhouse Stan "the Record Man" Lewis with the song he had written, one called "Not Too Long Ago." Lewis, owner of a chain of record stores and a blues label, Jewel Records, told the young performer "I'm really too busy right now", Stampley remembers. "I kept bugging him until (probably trying to get us off his back) he told us to go and see a guy named Dale Hawkins."

Hawkins, who had put Shreveport on the rock 'n roll map in 1957 by co-writing and singing "Suzie Q", loved the song. Within a few months Lewis, too, got behind The Uniques. "Not Too Long Ago" became a national hit for them in 1965 and the first hit for Stan Lewis's new label, Paula Records. It's considered a classic of the Southern sound.

"Not Too Long Ago" put The Uniques, guys from the North Louisiana paper mill town of Springhill (drummer Mike Love was from Magnolia, Arkansas), on the nationally syndicated Lloyd Thaxton Show on the Paramount Theater's "Soupy Sales Easter Show" with The Hollies, Animals, and Kinks, and on the hallowed American Bandstand with host Dick Clark.

They followed it with "You Ain't Tuff Baby", a song that reflected the Rolling Stonesy- spirit of the times. They then cut a song they heard on New Orleans radio station WNOE - Art Neville's "All These Things". "We had been playing the song ever since Neville released it", said lead guitarist, Ray Mills, "and the kids just couldn't seem to get enough of it, so we decided to record it in the summer of 1966". It, too, became a national hit. Today, Lewis remembers that "it was the most requested song in the history of Dallas station KLIF. It was number one there three weeks in a row".

"All These Things" is still one of rock's sentimental favorites. In the Deep South it's considered part of the essence of the 60's.

Joe Stampley and The Uniques were much more than hit records. "We were a dance band, a party band", remembers Stampley. "We let people get involved with the show".

The quintet was a regional phenomenon in an era when people were nuts for their local rock 'n rollers. They were a guaranteed smash in Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi. The Uniques consist of Joe Stampley/lead vocals and keyboards, Bobby Stampley/bass guitar and vocals, Ray Mills/lead guitar, Jim Woodfield/guitar and vocals, and Mike Love/drums. \

They sold out teen dances; they ruled college campuses. On the circuit, the 60's were simple times; all that mattered was dancing, partying, and listening to thrilling bands like The Uniques, part of the American scene from 1961 to 1971. 
1. Every Now And Then (I Cry) (Joe Stampley) - 2:28
2. Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love) (Cyril E. Vetter, Don Smith) - 3:03
3. And I Love Her (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 2:14
4. Sugar Bee (Eddie Shuler) - 1:34
5. Oh, Pretty Woman (Bill Dees, Roy Orbison) - 2:45
6. 96 Tears (Rudy Martinez) - 2:16
7. Run And Hide (David Wade, Joe Stampley, Ken Freeman) - 2:15
8. Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying (Gerry Marsden) - 2:53
9. Time Wont Let Me (Chet Kelley, Tom King) - 2:17
10.Look To Me (Jefferson) - 2:32
11.Don't Bring Me Down (Carole King, Gerry Goffin) - 3:03
12.You'll Never Walk Alone (Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rodgers) - 3:09

The Uniques
*Ray Mills - Lead Guitar
*Joe Stampley - Lead Singer, Organ
*Mike Love - Drums
*Bobby Stampley - Bass
*Bob E. Sims - Rhythm Guitar

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Sugarloaf - Don't Call Us, We'll Call You (1975 us, great classic rock with prog shades, 2010 remaster and expanded)

Sugarloaf was a psychedelic rock band from Denver, Colorado that became famous during the early 1970s. The original lineup consisted of Bob MacVittie (drums), Bob Webber (guitar), bassist Bob Raymond (d. February 11, 2016, age 69), and lead singer/keyboardist Jerry Corbetta (September 23, 1947 - September 16, 2016), with a number of personnel changes and additions. Formed in 1968 and first known as Chocolate Hair, the group decided to rename itself to something less racially incendiary after signing to Liberty Records. By 1970, they became known as Sugarloaf after a nearby mountain outside of Boulder and released their eponymous debut album that same year.

Sugarloaf debuted on the Pop/Rock charts in 1970 with the evocative "Green-Eyed Lady," a psychedelic rock/jazz fusion classic co-written by Corbetta featuring a long organ instrumental interlude which became a Top 5 hit. This smash was followed in 1971 by "Tongue In Cheek" and "Mother Nature's Wine," both from the band's second album, "Spaceship Earth." Sugarloaf later had a Top 10 hit in 1974 with the blues rocker, "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You," the title song to the band's fourth and final album which was also co-written by Corbetta. Sugarloaf had two final chart entries in 1975 with "Stars In My Eyes" and "I Got A Song."

After Sugarloaf disbanded in 1978, Jerry Corbetta went on to pursue a solo career. Prior to the band's split, he had a minor hit in 1976 with "You Set My Dreams To Music." From 1980-1984, Corbetta was a member of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, and he later became a part of a number of touring nostalgia shows. Sugarloaf had several reunions over the years and came together once again on September 8, 2012 to perform at the Boulder Theater for its induction into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.

Corbetta had been diagnosed with Pick's disease in 2010. Treatment forced him to retire. He died from the disease in a hospice in Denver, Colorado on September 16, 2016, at the age of 68.
1. I Got A Song (Bob Corso, Jerry Corbetta) - 5:11
2. Myra Myra (Jerry Corbetta) - 5:12
3. Lay Me Down (Bob Corso, Jerry Corbetta) - 6:42
4. Wild Child (Frank Slay, Jerry Corbetta) - 4:02
5. Don't Call Us, We'll Call You (Jerry Corbetta, John Carter) - 3:23
6. Lookin' For Some Fun (Jerry Corbetta, Ray Payne) - 4:09
7. Round And Round (David Riordan) - 3:37
8. Colorado Jones (J.C. Phillips, Jerry Corbetta) - 3:30
9. Easy Evil (Alan O'Day) - 4:02
10.I Got A Song, Reprise (Bob Corso, Jerry Corbetta) - 2:25
11.Boogie Man (Bob Corso, Jerry Corbetta) - 3:31
12.Texas Two Lane (Jerry Corbetta, Dick Eastman) - 4:13
13.Stars In My Eyes (Jerry Corbetta) - 3:48
14.Last Dance (Jerry Corbetta, Sky Keegan) - 3:59
15.Green Eyed Lady (David Riordan, J.C. Phillips, Jerry Corbetta) - 8:05
Bonus Tracks 11-15

*Jerry Corbetta - ARP Synthesizer, Clarinet, Organ, Piano, Vocals
*Bob Webber - Guitar 
*Bob Raymond - Bass
*Myron Pollock - Drums

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Radiator - Isn't It Strange (1975-77 uk, nice folk pub rock, feat Alan Hull, 2007 japan remaster)

A short lived British folk rock band featuring ex-Lindisfarne Alan Hull, Radiator released one album "Isn't It Strange" in 1977. Short after they disbanded and Alan and other musicians continued their solo career. They sounded more rock than folk compared to Lindisfarne.
1. Spittin' In The Wind (Colin Gibson, Kenny Craddock) - 3:22
2. I Wish You Well - 3:33
3. A Walk In The Sea - 3:11
4. Madmen And Loonies - 3:12
5. Corporation Rock - 4:54
6. Isn't It Strange - 3:42
7. Lay Back And Dream  (Peter Kirtley) - 4:26
8. Something Got The Better Of You (Colin Gibson, Kenny Craddock) - 4:46
9. Love Is The Alibi - 2:25
10.Love Is The Answer - 3:47
11.Raw Bacon - 4:02
12.Evening - 4:23
All songs by Alan Hull except where indicated
Bonus Tracks 11-12

*Ken Craddock - Keyboards
*Colin Gibson - Bass
*Alan Hull - Guitar, Vocals
*Pete Kirtley - Guitar
*Ray Laidlaw - Drums
*Terry Popple - Drums

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1966-68  Skip Bifferty - The Story of Skip Bifferty (double disc edition)  
1970-73  Lindisfarne - The Charisma Years (2010 four disc set edition)  

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

The Stillroven - Too Many Spaces (1968-69 us, stunning garage psych, 2003 remaster)

The band known as the Stillroven began in the Minneapolis suburb of Robbinsdale, MN. It was 1965, and their original name was "the Syndicate," a name they thought should be changed when original guitarist Mark Moorhead left the band in 1966. The original lineup also consisted of bassist Rock Peterson, guitarist John Howarth, keyboardist Dave Dean, and drummer Phil Berdahl. When Moorhead left, they recruited Dan Kane to take his spot and changed their name, eventually recording "She's My Woman"/"(I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone" for Falcoln that year. There were only 50 copies printed for radio stations, but their next single was the first one that the public had access to. "Hey Joe"/"Sunny Day" was a hit in their hometown, but that was not enough for Peterson and Kane, who departed the same year. 

The band found a new bassist and guitarist in Dave Berget and Jim Larkin respectively, and soon was recording their next singles. "Little Picture Playhouse"/"Cast Thy Burden Upon the Stone" was hailed as a hallucinogenic masterpiece by garage rock enthusiasts, but the average music fan did not catch on to the regional popularity they enjoyed in Minneapolis. Their manager moved to Tucson, AZ, where he continued to guide their career from a distance. Larkin and Berget left the band as quickly as they came, being replaced by bassist Mike Flaherty and guitarist Mike O'Gara. 

They recorded a fourth single under this lineup, "Come in the Morning"/"Necessary Person," but after the first 100 copies printed there was enough internal dissension to have "Come in the Morning" pulled from the single and replaced with a cover of the Small Faces' "Tell Me Have You Ever Seen Me." This would be the last release from the band, as they quietly broke up toward the end of 1968. A career retrospective, Cast Thy Burden Upon the Stillroven, was released in 1996 to appease garage band enthusiasts who had been waiting for more material from the group. The album included many unreleased songs, as well as a few tracks that were originally on compilations. Rumor has it that the band has an entire album recorded from 1968 that has never seen the light of day, and Sundazed Records has even promised a release of the album. 
by Bradley Torreano
1. Sundance (David Rivkin) - 2:31
2. The Green (Dave Berget, Dave Dean, Dave Rivkin, Mike O'Gara, Phil Berdahl) - 2:22
3. Girl In Blonde (David Rivkin) - 3:33
4. Tin Soldier (Ronnie Lane, Steve Marriott) - 3:02
5. Can You Dig It? (David Rivkin) - 2:57
6. Get Ready (Smokey Robinson) - 3:21
7. Too Many Spaces (Dave Rivkin, Mike O'Gara, Phil Berdahl) - 2:43
8. Happiness Is (Mike O'Gara) - 2:31
9. Country Tune (David Rivkin) - 2:07
10.Would You Believe (Dave Berget, Dave Dean, Dave Rivkin, Mike O'Gara, Phil Berdahl) - 1:57
11.Lighten Up (David Rivkin) - 3:53
12.Sundance (David Rivkin) - 2:30
13.Girl In Blonde (David Rivkin) - 3:17
14.Can You Dig It? (David Rivkin) - 2:53
Bonus Tracks 12-14

The Stillroven
*David Rivkin - Vocals, Guitar
*Dave Dean - Keyboard 
*Phil Berdahl - Drums 
*Dave Berget - Bass, Vocals
*Mike O'Gara - Guitar, Vocals

Sunday, February 5, 2023

The Yellow Balloon - The Yellow Balloon (1967 us, beautiful sunny baroque psych)

The Yellow Balloon is basically the story of one producer & songwriter Gary Zekley who, disappointed with the results after having Jan and Dean record one of his songs, decided to record it again himself. Then, with an unexpected smash hit song on his hands, quickly recorded a full album of material with studio musicians, then contacted his friend, multi-instrumentalist & singer Don Grady (better known as Robbie Douglas from the TV show My Three Sons) to assemble a “real” five-piece band to work up a live set and make a bunch of TV appearances in the wake of the hit. 

Beginning with album opener “How Can I Be Down?” the material has an unapologetically positive and uplifting vibe, heavily influenced by the “Good Vibrations”-era Beach Boys sound and the sunshine pop of the period (think Millenium, The Association, Sunshine Company, etc.) full of melody, simple happy-go-lucky rhythms, fun lyrics that intentionally eschew the social consciousness of the times, and meticulously arranged elaborate multi-part vocal harmonies. 

All songs are all short, no-nonsense pieces that concisely showcase and support the songwriting, and although musicianship is top notch throughout, there’s not a lot of room here for solos. Songs like “Follow the Sunshine,” “Stained Glass Window,” “Baby Baby It’s You,” and “Springtime Girl” are all as strong as the better known title track. Eight bonus tracks include singles, demos, and four cuts by Don Grady and his pre-YB Windupwatchband. All taken, an important, if somewhat obscure slice of 60s pop history. 
by Peter Thelen, Published 2005-03-01

A songwriting assignment from Dean Torrence led to a rich musical career for Los Angeles pop- genius Gary Zekley. Zekley - a man whose body of work stands up to any of the precocious Brill Building bunch from five years earlier - originally penned the song "Yellow Balloon" for Jan and Dean, but also recorded the tune himself. When Zekley's version went Top Thirty in April of 1967, he assembled a band, called the Yellow Balloon (natch), with the likes of lead singer Alex Valdez and multi-talented drummer/vocalist Don Grady, already a TV superstar as Robbie, Fred MacMurray's oldest kid on My Three Sons.

The Yellow Balloon album itself, is a day-glo gem- a wispy bridge spanning the lush yet trippy studio wizardry of Sagittarius and the mindbending delights of The Beach Boys' Smile-era recordings. Sundazed's Yellow Balloon disc contains 20 tracks, including the complete original stereo album, vintage single-only sides, a Zekley demo, both ultra-rare Don Grady singles, and a 20 page booklet stuffed with striking color outtakes of the group's photo sessions, acquired from the original band members-all of whom were interviewed by West Coast studio-expert Domenic Priore for the liner notes-and a penetrating on-disc interview with the late Gary Zekley, himself. Lush, plush and gorgeous!!!
1. How Can I Be Down (Don Altfeld, Gary Zekley, Jill Gibson) - 2:14
2. Stained Glass Window (Don Agrati, Gary Zekley) - 2:03
3. Baby Baby It's You (Dick St. John, Gary Zekley) - 1:57
4. Panama Red (Gary Zekley, Jay Lee) - 1:34
5. I've Got A Feeling For Love (Don Altfeld, Gary Zekley, Jay Lee, Jill Gibson) - 2:18
6. Yellow Balloon (Dick St. John, Gary Zekley, Jay Lee) - 2:16
7. Good Feelin' Time (Don Agrati, Gary Zekley) - 2:12
8. Follow The Sunshine (Patrick Ferrell, Paul Byrne) - 2:35
9. Springtime Girl (Patrick Ferrell, Paul Byrne) - 2:06
10.Can't Get Enough Of Your Love (Dick St. John, Gary Zekley, Mariene Anthony) - 2:16
11.Junk Maker Shoppe (Don Agrati) - 2:37
12.Noollab Wolley (Dick St. John, Gary Zekley, Jay Lee) - 2:16
13.The Children Of St. Monica (Don Grady) - 3:10
14.A Good Man To Have Around The House (Don Grady) - 2:34
15.Impressions With Syvonne (Don Grady) - 2:50
16.Leaving It Up To You (Don Grady) - 2:10
17.Can't Get Enough Of Your Love  (Dick St. John, Gary Zekley, Mariene Anthony) - 1:32
18.Follow The Sunshine (Patrick Ferrell, Paul Byrne) - 2:34
19.How Can I Be Down (Don Altfeld, Gary Zekley, Jill Gibson) - 2:04
20.Gary Zekley Interview - 7:09
Tracks 13-14 as Don Grady With The Windupwatchband
Tracks 15-16 as Don Grady
Tracks 19-20 as Gary Zekley

*Gary Zekley - Vocals
*Don Braucht - Bass, Rhythm Guitar, Tambourine, Percussion, Backing Vocals
*Luke R. Yoo - Vocals, Drums, Electric Piano, Keyboards, Vibraphone
*Alex Valdez - Vocals, Drums, Tambourine, Washboard 
*Mike Deasy - Guitar 
*Paul Cannella - Lead Guitar, Glockenspiel, Percussion, Backing Vocals
*Frosty Green - Vocals, Organ, Harpsichord, Tambourine, Piano, Clavinet
*Stan Farber - Vocals
*Bob West - Acoustic Bass, Piano
*Joe Saxon - Cello
*Eddie Rubin - French Horn, Percussion
*Mike Post - Guitar
*Carole Kaye - Bass
*Jack Schulman - Violin
*Gary Nuttycombe - Viola
*John DeVoogdt - Violin
*Jim Gordon - Drums
*Dennis Buddimir - Guitar
*Don Peake - Guitar
*Mike Rubini - Harpsichord, Keyboards
*Don Randi - Piano, Organ
*Ron Benson - Bass
*Al Casey - Guitar 
*Jerry Cole - Guitar
*Bill Hinshaw - French Horn
*Jim Horn - Saxophone
*Lou Blackburn - Trombone

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