Sunday, July 30, 2023

Pan - Pan (1970 denmark, remarkable heavy bluesy psych rock, 2011 Flawed Gems bonus tracks remaster)

Pan was a Danish rock band, formed in October 1969 in Copenhagen by Robert Lelièvre and Arne Würgler . The band released just one album, which bears the group's name and is considered to be among the very best in Danish rock history.  Lelièvre and Würgler joined four other Danish musicians: Brothers Thomas and Michael Puggaard-Müller (guitar and drums), jazz organist Henning Verner (who had previously performed with Dexter Gordon  ) and singer and songwriter Niels Skousen, who initially shared lead vocals with Lelièvre but left Pan as early as January 1970.   

Their first single "In a Simple Way" / "Right Across My Bed" released January 1970, followed by their debut album Pan in May.  All music and lyrics were written by Lelièvre (with two of the songs in French and the rest in English), and the production highlights the sophisticated mix of rock, blues, folk, jazz and even a few splashes of classical.  At the time of its release, Pan was praised by the Danish press, and Dagbladet Information proclaimed it "the best Danish rock album so far". Over time, the record has achieved the status of a classic in Danish rock history. It is thus mentioned as the fourth best Danish rock album from the 1970s in Politiken's Dansk Rock .  It was released in 2010 on a CD – boxset Dansk Rock Historie 1965-1978, vol.II. Besides that, it is also available on the original vinyl edition, and on the occasion of Record Store Day in 2016, it was reprinted on vinyl in a limited edition. The 2016 pressing itself is also in green vinyl .

Pan gave countless concerts in 1970, played at festivals in Denmark and Germany and appeared in two Danish radio broadcasts and a TV programme.  The two radio broadcasts were recorded by DR and released on CD in 2004 by the Danish company Karma Music under the title Pan on the Air – Danish Radio Sessions 1970 .  They also wrote and recorded 20 minutes of instrumental music for the Swedish film Deadline and themselves filled the role of a touring band in the film.  However, despite the success on stage and in the media , Pan did not sell well and the band slowly disbanded during the autumn of 1970.
1. My Time - 0:36
2. If (Robert Lelievre, Mic Hannant) - 4:02
3. Song To France - 2:11
4. They Make Money With The Stars - 4:55
5. Il N'y A Pas Si Longtemps De Ca - 5:22
6. Many Songs Have Been Lost - 1:46
7. Tristesse - 5:01
8. To Get Along Alone - 5:46
9. We Must Do Something Before The End Day - 3:23
10.Lady Of The Sand - 6:44 
11.In A Simple Way - 3:46
12.Right Across My Bed - 5:56
13.To Get Along Alone - 6:28
All songs by Robert Lelievre except where noted
Bonus Tracks - 11-13

*Robert Lelièvre - Guitar, Vocals
*Thomas Puggård-Müller - Guitar
*Henning Verner - Organ, Guitar
*Arne Würgler - Bass
*Michael Puggård-Müller - Drums

Friday, July 28, 2023

rep> Writing On The Wall - The Power Of The Picts (1969-73 uk, solid heavy psych with prog traces, 2007 double disc edition)

Writing on the Wall, from Edinburgh, Scotland is the epitome of an underground rock band. Their one and only album was entitled The Power of the Picts, released in 1969 on a label called Middle Earth (the band also happened to perform at the Middle Earth Club as well). 

The label only had something like five albums released between 1969 and 1970 before disappearing. The band consisted of vocalist Linnie Paterson, guitarist Willy Finlayson, bassist Jake Scott, drummer Jimmy Hush, and keyboardist Bill Scott. Anyway, since this album came out in 1969, it should come as no surprise that Writing on the Wall sounds like how many other prog rock bands sound like at the time: not having yet abandoning their roots, in this case, hard rock, blues, and psychedelia. You can tell these influences right away from songs like "It Came On Sunday" or the ever heavy "Ladybird". 

The real gems on this include "Mrs. Cooper's Pie", "Aries", and "Bogeyman". "Mrs. Cooper's Pie" is amazing, because with a title like that you might think it should sound some shitty song your mother sung to you in bed as a kid, but that's hardly the case at all! Basically, this is simply a wonderful, ingenious psych and prog number, with great Hammond organ work. "Aries" is the epic on this album, at over eight minutes, it really lets the band stretch out. 

You'll hear some spoken dialog with a uniquely Scottish accent, some unbelievably heavy guitar riffs, and parts of it sounding like The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Plus there's a way cool jazzy solo as well. "Bogeyman" is a rather short number, and it starts off the most stupid way: a polka version of the famous Scottish song played on concertina (a song that everyone associates with bagpipes), but it's only 30 seconds, and the real song come in, and it's a totally amazing heavy bluesy piece that's the total epitome of underground. "Shadow of Man" starts off borrowing from Holst's The Planets, then it kicks in with Hammond organ and spoken dialog not unlike "Aries". "Ladybird" is another song, like "Bogeyman" that shows the band at its heavier side. 

Most of the rest don't stick out for me, a couple songs seem to drag on too long (particulary the last song, "Virginia Water"), but none of them are bad. "Hill of Dreams" is a rather mellow number, and also least bluesy, so it ends up sounding like many countless early '70s British prog rock bands. The CD reissue also contains two bonus cuts, "Child on a Crossing" and "Lucifer's Corpus", both were originally released as a single in 1969 on the same label The Power of the Picts was released on (Middle Earth). 

Unsurprisingly, these two songs are in the very same vein and could easily fit on the album. Oddly, the band won't be heard from again until 1973, when they released a single called "Man of Renown" and "Buffalo", but no followup LP materialized. After that the band broke up, with Linnie Paterson joining Beggars Opera for their 1973 album Get Your Dog Off Me (Beggars Opera being a prog rock band also from Scotland, although you should apparently only worry about their first three albums, 1970's Act One, 1971's Waters of Change, and 1972's Pathfinder). 

Willy Finlayson was later a member of the final verson of Bees Make Honey, and made a guest on Manfred Mann's Earth Band's Chance (1980) and was a member of Meal Ticket. The rest of Writing on the Wall, unsurprisingly, hadn't been heard since that band broke up. The Power of the Picts is recommended if you like the bluesy and heavy end of the early prog rock spectrum, although it falls short of being the long lost gem I hoped it was, it's still worth having. 
by Ben Miler
Disc 1
1. It Came On A Sunday (Robert Smith) - 4:18
2. Mrs Coopers Pie (Billy T. Scott, Willy Finlayson, Jake Scott) - 3:21
3. Ladybird (Jimmy Hush, Billy T. Scott, Willy Finlayson, Jake Scott, Linnie Patterson) - 3:46
4. Aries (Unknown) - 8:06
5. Bogeyman (Billy T. Scott, Willy Finlayson, Jake Scott) - 3:45
6. Shadow Of A Man (Billy T. Scott, Jake Scott) - 5:57
7. Tasker's Successor (Willy Finlayson, Jake Scott) - 3:42
8. Hill Of Dreams (Billy T. Scott, Willy Finlayson, Jake Scott) - 3:08
9. Virginia Waters (Pete Gage, Kenny Bernard) - 5:56
10.Child On A Crossing (Robert Smith) - 3:30
11.Lucier Corpus (Donald Cameron) - 5:43
Disc 2
1. Felicity Jane - 3:17
2. Nobody Knows - 3:59
3. Buffalo - 6:54
4. Henry Dawson - 4:55
5. Diane's Big Daddy - 5:29
6. Live And Learn - 4:57
7. Dream Yourself A Hero - 7:09
8. Fishers Of Men - 6:28
9. Tripsy Lady - 4:03
10.Bellyful Of Rock - 5:55
11.Man Of Renown - 3:07
12.Buffalo - 6:12
All songs by Willy Finlayson, Jimmy Hush, Billy T. Scott, Jake Scott, Linnie Patterson

Writing On The Wall
*Willy Finlayson - Guitar, Vocals
*Jimmy Hush - Drums
*Billy T. Scott - Keyboards 
*Jake Scott - Bass, Vocals
*Linnie Patterson - Vocals
*Alby Greenhalg - Wind Instruments

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Monday, July 24, 2023

Laser Pace - Granfalloon (1974 us, exciting experimental prog cosmic funk rock, 2008 digipak remaster)

The only prog LP Takoma Records ever released -- the 1974 slab by L.A.'s Laser Pace. The album's title, Granfalloon, is a term created by the late Kurt Vonnegut to describe a bunch of people who pretend to be an affinity group without having any actual affinity for each other. We're uncertain if that is suppose to refer to factions inside Laser Pace, but no matter. The album is probably the strangest pieces of wax dripped by Takoma (apart from Charlie Nothing, natch) and seems wildly out of synch with the label's presumed focus. But is a goddamn monster of odd charm, no two ways about it.

Doug Decker had a very successful career doing recording engineering working with Johnny Cash, the Beach Boys, Band of Gypsies, Roger Miller, and John Fahey among many, many others. He also did sound for the "Win Ben Stein's Money" TV show. Doug and his wife Maureen O'Connor recorded "Granfalloon", very experimental, lots of electronics.
1. Closet Casualty - 4:01
2. Avatar - 5:29
3. (Whoever) You Are (You) - 3:56
4. Sky Fell (Chris Christensen, Doug Decker) - 4:37
5. Endless - 3:11
6. Oh Yeah? (Chris Christensen) - 4:45
7. Redemption - 5:05
8. Scatter (Doug Decker) - 8:05
All compositions by Maureen O'Connor except where noted

Lase Pace
*Maureen O'Connor - Vocals, Guitar, Synthesizer, Piano, Mellotron 
*Doug Decker - Bass, Synthesizer, Mellotron 
*John Chris Christensen - Vocals, Drums, Percussion 
*Larry Parsons - Fender Rhodes, Piano, Organ, Synthesizer 
*Jim Divisek - Synthesizer, Keyboards 
*Carl Van Young - Clavinet 
*Larry Wolf - Soprano Saxophone 
*Weldon - Drums 
*George Belle - Percussion

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Rustix - Bedlam (1969 us, nice soulful funky psych rock, Vinyl edition)

Outside of their native Rochester, New York it's unlikely many folks will remember The Rustix.  That's unfortunate since they were a rather talented blue-eyed soul outfit who also happen to have been one of the first rock bands signed by Motown (well, signed by Motown's short-lived, rock-oriented Rare Earth subsidiary).

Formed in 1967, The Rustix showcased the talents of drummer Bobby Bladino (replaced by former Invictas drummer David Colon Jr.), singer Chuck Brucato,, lead guitarist Bob D'Andrea, singer Albin Galich, bassist Kit Nelson, and keyboardist Vince Strenk, the group became quite popular throughout New York state, eventually scoring a one-shot contract with Chess' Cadet subsidiary resulting in the release of a cover of Eddie Holland's 'Leaving Here' as their debut single.

While the single did little commercially outside of upper New York, manager/Rochester DJ Ferndinand Jay Smith III was responsible for getting the band signed by Motown's newly formed Rare Earth subsidiary.  Apparently signed as part of the label's attempt to dip it's corporate toe in rock and roll, the band was teamed with Motown artist R. Dean Taylor in the producers role.  The group's 1969's debut "Bedlam" offered up a mixture of popular covers (Marvin Gaye, Traffic) and band originals - the latter largely penned by singer Brucato.  From a couple of online items I've read, the band were apparently quite an impressive live act, but judging by the debut album, Motown was seemingly more interested in turning these guys into a second tier blue-eyed soul entity. 

Listening to tracks like 'I Can't Make It Without You', 'Can't You Hear the Music Play' and 'Lady In My Dreams' it wasn't too hard to imagine a sub-par version of the Young Rascals.  Ironically, by 1969  Rascals-styled blue-eyed soul was no longer in vogue with the buying public.  Showcasing two lead singers, Brucato and Galich were both good, , though neither had a truly awe-inspiring voice and when they harmonized, their voices seldom blended very well.   Galich actually reminding me a bit of Three Dog Night's Chuck Negron - if you doubt the comparison check out his performance on 'Wednesday's Child'.  That song also demonstrated how good these guys could have been had they been given a little more flexibility and control over their careers.
1. Feeling Alright (Dave Mason) - 3:50
2. Guess This Is Goodbye (Chuck Brucato) - 3:00
3. I Heard It Through the Grapevine (Barrett Strong, Norman Whitfield) - 6:16
4. I Can't Make It Without You (Debbie Dean, Dennis Lussier) - 2:28
5. Can't You Hear the Music Play (Chuck Brucato) - 3:05
6. Lady In My Dreams (Chuck Brucato) - 2:57
7. Country (Chuck Brucato) - 2:39
8. Wednesday's Child (Al Galich) - 3:05
9. Free Again (Chuck Brucato) - 5:49
10.That's What Poppa Told Me (Chuck Brucato) - 2:46

The Rustix
*Chuck Brucato - Vocals
*George Cochini - Lead Guitar 
*Ron Collins - Bass, Backing Vocals 
*David Colon Jr. - Drums, Percussion 
*Albin Galich - Vocals
*Vince Strenk - Keyboards, Accordion

Friday, July 21, 2023

Yezda Urfa - Boris (1975 us, spectacular prog rock, 2019 japan SHM bonus track remaster)

Yezda Urfa, with a name like that, you know these guys have to be unique.  The name has a rather simple origin, however: flipping through a dictionary, the band came across the names of two small villages, Yazd, Iran and Urfa, Turkey.  (Yazd was changed to Yezda in order to aid in pronunciation.)

The band itself consisted of five members: Rick Rodenbaugh (vocals), Mark Tippins (guitars), Marc Miller (bass), Phil Kimbrough (keyboards and flute), and Brad Christoff (drums and percussion). The Chicago area band released two albums, one in 1975 (Boris) and one in 1989 (Sacred Baboon).

Yezda Urfa are America’s response to England’s Gentle Giant: they are not copycats, but they are equally eccentric and talented.  Like Gentle Giant, the members of Yezda Urfa played their respective instruments with the utmost skill and precision. Sudden tempo changes, diverse and complex time signatures, and a variety of instruments are featured on both Boris and Sacred Baboon.  Although Rick Rodenbaugh’s vocals are not the strongest aspect of Yezda Urfa (which also applies to Derek Shulman of Gentle Giant), the musical talent of the band cannot be understated. Give them a listen, and I think you will enjoy their quirky sound. 

The names of the songs alone should grab your attention: Give ’em Some Rawhide Chewies, To-Ta in the Moya, Three Tons of Fresh Thyroid Glands, etc.  Their bizarre, idiosyncratic style will not appeal to everyone, but overall Yezda Urfa is one of the more creative bands I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. Give them a shot. Who knows, you may end up wanting some rawhide chewies.
by Connor Mullin, October 8, 2013
1. Boris And His 3 Verses. Including Flow Guides Aren't My Bag - 11:00
2. Texas Armadillo - 1:48
3. 3, Almost 4, 6 Yea - 8:46
4. Tuta In The Moya And Tyrenzimmage - 10:50
5. Three Tons Of Fresh Thyroid Glands - 10:20
6. The Basis Of Dubenglazy While Dirk Does The Dance - 9:51
All compositions by Mark Tippins, Phil Kimbrough, Rick Rodenbaugh, Marc Miller, Brad Christoff

Yezda Urfa
*Rick Rodenbaugh - Lead Vocals
*Mark Tippins - Acoustic, Electric Guitars, Banjo, Backing Vocals
*Phil Kimbrough - Keyboards, Synthesizers, Mandolin, Winds, Backing Vocals
*Marc Miller - Bass, Backing Vocals
*Brad Christoff - Drums, Percussion

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Mike Harrison - Smokestack Lightning (1972 uk, fine bluesy classic rock, 2011 remaster)

This 1972 release by the former and future Spooky Tooth singer is split between four tight, melodic white boy blues tunes and two extended jams. The album is capped by an overlong yet powerful cover of the Howlin' Wolf classic "Smokestack Lightning." Hats off to whomever decided to record this album in Alabama with the always-soulful Muscle Shoals studio band. Barry Beckett, Roger Hawkins, David Hood, and company elevate the proceedings a notch above an average white band. 
by Mark Allan
1. Tears (Jimmy Stevens) - 4:12
2. Paid My Dues (Jimmy Stevens) - 4:19
3. What A Price (Murphy Maddux, Jack Jessup, Fats Domino) - 5:52
4. Wanna Be Free (Joe Tex) - 4:14
5. Turning Over (Mike Harrison, Luther Grosvenor) - 6:31
6. Smokestack Lightning (Chester Burnett) - 12:28

*Mike Harrison - Harmonica, Vocals
*Pete Carr - Guitar
*Jimmy Johnson - Guitar
*Wayne Perkins - Slide Guitar
*Luther Grosvenor - Acoustic Guitar
*Barry Beckett - Keyboards
*Clayton Ivey - Keyboards
*David Hood - Bass
*Roger Hawkins - Drums
*Harrison Calloway - Trumpet
*Mike Stacey - Trumpet
*Harry Thompson - Tenor Saxophone
*Ronnie Eades - Baritone Saxophone
*Charles Rose - Trombone

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Monday, July 17, 2023

Stepps - Waltz For Tiger Joe (1976 australia, superb canterbury-like jazz rock, stable rhythm section, supple guitar sound, flowing electric piano, 2022 korean remaster)

Stepps was a band from the Australian 70s scene and closely related to the group Snakes Alive, who enjoyed success among collectors due to the fact that only 50 copies of the record were pressed. At the time, several bands managed to record their music but did not find a record deal for distribution, remaining published only as private pressings. As a result of collectors’ interest in Snakes Alive, the Stepps‘ record entitled “Waltz For Tiger Joe” was reissued on November 01, 2022 via the South Korean label Merry-Go-Round Records. Compared to the Snake Alive lineup, the sound evolved by incorporating elements of British Progressive Rock with marked references to the Canterbury Scene. The 1976 version contains 8 tracks, while the reissue adds 4 Bonus Tracks from the recordings of the previous lineup simply called Steps, entirely instrumental as Bernie Morgan had not yet joined the group. It should be noted that the most significant “Charred Ducks” was also included as a Bonus Track on the Snakes Alive album. 

The album opens with “Kolour Kode,” which immediately plunges us into the Canterbury-esque atmosphere of the band’s sound with elaborate textures intertwined with Bernie’s dynamic vocals. The song’s structure is complex, characterised by continuous tempo changes with frenetic accelerations and load-bearing bass lines on which melodies and keyboard phrasing are drawn. A very well-structured mixture of distinctly Jazzy Progressive traits, with all artists carving out their own space to enhance their individual technique put at the service of the band’s sound. Softer, deeper melodies and a more jazzy atmosphere characterise “If I Knew,” where from the very first bars Bernie’s sweet voice comes to the fore. Delicate arpeggios and a Jazz rhythm section create the structure of the song, which evolves into a continuous musical crescendo enriched by tempo changes and forays into the Fusion sounds of the 70s, with a Prog touch provided by the keyboards. 

A track that is both energetic and technical, alternating between sung passages and instrumental passages with virtuoso guitar and keyboard solo inserts. “Kryptonite” opens with percussion, lyrics and a deep bass line, moving slowly and creating an enveloping atmosphere with mystical traits. With a sudden change the track accelerates and returns to the band’s characteristic sounds with a Jazz Prog with Canterbury-esque traits loaded with groove and virtuoso keyboard solos that accompany us for most of the track. In the finale there is room for a bass solo that takes us to the finale. Pulled and intricately structured at times, “Make Me” features a killer bassline that gives body to the song. The drumming is pulled and elaborate and is enriched by continuous tempo changes, while the guitars and keyboards blend with Bernie‘s dynamic vocals. Solo inserts, virtuosity and more Progressive openings alternate with Jazz sounds and lead into Fusion, an energetic and engaging track and at the same time very elborated and technical. Sweet piano notes and a softer, more delicate vocal open “Flowers,” showing another facet of the band’s sound. A softer, dreamier-sounding track that softens the tone between the more intricate tracks that make up the tracklist. “End Of Play” returns to more sophisticated sounds by incorporating elements ranging between Fuzion and Canterbury, with the band’s unmistakable touch. The tempo changes are an added value to the song, which in the second half offers an extended solo section where guitar and keyboards alternate, accompanying us to the finale where the opening theme returns and closes. 

A deep bass line opens “Step Up Behind” to which vocals and keyboards are added, creating an enveloping atmosphere with dreamy overtones. Tempo changes allow for alternating frenetic accelerations and softer openings over which Bernie’s vocals stand out, a real added velour. A continuous musical crescendo that results in the finale in a prolonged solo of keyboards and guitars enriched by effects to conclude with the last vocal verse. The last piece in the original version, “Cumulus,” is a composition for classical guitar reminiscent of the instrument’s Mediterranean sounds. Very intense and technical, it offers an original interpretation with personal traits of said sounds, concluding pacevolemnte this first part of the disc. The first of the Bonus Tracks “Charred Ducks,” which was already on the Snakes Alive record, is an instrumental with intense phrasing between guitar and keyboards. 

The rhythm section is always very elaborate and full of tempo changes, resulting in a track with more Progressive connotations, always with that Jazz and markedly personal edge that will later be Stepps‘ trademark. “Floating” is the seond of the Bonus Tracks also instrumental, while elaborate and well crafted it presents a more ensemble sound with fewer solo passages. The melodies are more delicate, flowing nicely but sounding a bit less punchy than the previous ones. “Silly Song” traces in the first part the more ensemble sounds of the previous one, with enveloping melodies and a more linear sound. In the middle part with a change it develops with intense and elaborate solo keyboard phrasing that accompanies us to the finale, ending with a softer, softer section. The last of the Bonus Tracks “Wooly’s Song” concludes the album with a softer introductory part that slowly accompanies us to the more elaborate part of the composition. The intensity increases as the minutes go by, with a supporting bass line and valuable keyboard work both in the melodies and in the solo inserts to finish with a softer drop. A real jewel that is worth enhancing and spreading. 

A band that would have deserved greater exposure over the years especially at the time, as the compositions are very technical and sophisticated and are one of the rare examples of Canterbury sounds from Australia. Thanks to the Korean label Merry-Go-Round Records for reissuing this top notch record, enjoyable from start to finish and with a well built and developed tracklist. The tracks are enjoyable for the entire duration of the disc and enhance the individual technique of the artists involved, recalling the European bands of the scene, showing a perfect union of Canterbury, Jazz prog and forays into Fusion. A listening recommended to all lovers of the aforementioned sounds, a real hidden rarity that deserves to be disclosed now that it is available in a reissued version with the addition of Bonus Tracks. The original tracks of the disc are certainly more intense and engaging and contain the true essence of the band, while also remaining enjoyable even the Bonuses. I want to personally thank the record company for the opportunity they gave me to review this milestone of the 70’s Australian Underground.
by Jacobo Vigezzi
1. Kolour Kode (Oleg Ditrich) - 6:44
2. If I Knew (Oleg Ditrich) - 7:10
3. Kryptonite (Ian Hildebrand) - 7:52
4. Make Me (Oleg Ditrich) - 4:30
5. Flowers (Oleg Ditrich, Bernie Morgan) - 2:54
6. End Of Play (Oleg Ditrich) - 6:33
7. Step Up Behind - 6:07
8. Cumulus (Improvised Solo) (Ian Hildebrand) - 8:01
9. Charred Ducks - 7:23
10.Floating - 4:33
11.Silly Song - 6:15
12.Woolly's Song - 6:25
Bonus Tracks 9-12 recordings from the original 'Steps' Band

*Alex "Oleg" Ditrich - Electric Piano, Piano, Synthesizers 
*Ian Hildebrand - Classical Guitar, Electric Guitar 
*Bernadine "Bernie" Morgan - Congas, Percussion, Vocals 
*Michael Vidale - Bass
*Ralph Cooper - Drums, Gong (Tracks 1-8) 
*Paul Freeland - Drums (Tracks 9-12)

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Saturday, July 15, 2023

Jericho - Jericho (1972 israel / uk, powerful hard rocking killer psych, 2010 bonus tracks remaster)

This eponymous album from 1972 was the end of the road for the U.K.-based band Jericho, but what a long and eventful road it was. Years earlier -- 1965 to be precise -- the group's story began halfway round the world, in the independent state of Israel, as the Churchills: a beat group that enjoyed considerable local pop success and then recorded perhaps the first Hebrew-sung rock album backing up noted singer/songwriter Arik Einstein. In 1969, British guitarist Robb Huxley (of the Tornados fame) hooked up with the Churchills amid a tour through Israel and seemingly lured them back to England, where they eventually renamed themselves Jericho Jones and released a 1971 LP entitled Junkies Monkeys and Donkeys, to little acclaim. 

Finally, the band name was shortened to Jericho and this eclectic, five-song collection of heavy progressive rock resulted as their last musical will and testament…and an enduringly fascinating one it is too. The memorable guitar signature of opening number "Ethiopia" rides a driving beat similar to Krautrock's emergent Motorik style, while ostensive single "Don't You Let Me Down" anchors itself in safer blues-rock territory, but is still both forceful and catchy, thanks to vocalist Danny Shoshan's snarling intensity. Then we're into the epic compositions -- three of them -- beginning with "Featherbed," which weaves serpentine, Middle Eastern-flavored guitars behind harmony vocals intoning alternately blissful and tormented impressions of a presumed acid trip (or 20), with room in its jam section for a little scat-singing and choppy guitar funk. 

The cryptically named, string arrangement-laden "Justin Nova" explores a more anthemic, pedantic prog-rock vibe reminiscent of the era's rising, blue-blooded proggies, particularly Genesis with a little Yes thrown in. And the big daddy of the bunch, "Kill Me with Your Love," probably lacks its counterparts' focus (meandering off into several solo instrumental spots along its route) but ultimately nails its spiteful chorus to the wall of proto-metal intensity -- with attitude. All told, this material may have lacked some overarching cohesion and obviously yielded no glaringly irresistible chart-beaters, but it still helped Jericho stand well above the countless forgotten bands that were churning out mindless heavy rock drivel during this period. What's more, there's little available evidence to refute Jericho‘s status as the first hard rock album produced by an Israel-born band, and it's just too bad that it had to also signal a final stand for its creators. 
by Eduardo Rivadavia
1. Ethiopia (Danny Shoshan, Robb Huxley) - 4:30
2. Don't You Let Me Down (Michael Gabriellov) - 3:36
3. Featherbed (Danny Shoshan, Robb Huxley) - 9:36
4. Justin And Nova (Robb Huxley) - 8:20
5. Kill Me With Your Love (Danny Shoshan, Robb Huxley) - 11:13 - 
6. Mamma's Gonna Take You Home (Robb Huxley, Samy Birnback) - 2:42
7. So Come On (Robb Huxley, Danny Shoshan, Haim Romano, Chris Perry) - 3:53
Bonus Tracks 6-7 from 1972 Single

*Michael Gabriellov - Bass
*Robb Huxley - Guitar, String Arrangements 
*Haim Romano - Guitar
*Danny Shoshan - Vocals, String Arrangements 
*Ami Triebich - Drums
*Rob Eberhard Young - Piano, String Arrangements (Track 4)

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Utopia - Utopia (1972 germany, amazing art prog krautrock, 2017 remaster)

Recorded at the same time (July 1972) at the same studio (Bavaria Studios, Munich) as Amon Düül II`s well known and of their best efforts 'Wolf City', Utopia was a common project by Amon Düül II producer and musician Olaf Kübler (saxophone, moog) and Düül bass player Lothar Meid. Using the synergy of the parallel sessions with the Wolf City recordings, Olaf Kübler appreciated Düüls singer Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz as singer of 2 of the album tracks and Düül heads Weinzierl and Karrer on guitar and violin. There is also a different version of Deutsch-Nepal on the album. As Olaf Kübler reminds Deutsch-Nepal was originally planned to record only for the Utopia album. 

Musically Utopia has a lot in common with the Düül records 'Wolf City' and 'Viva la Trance' and slightly early Passport and Embryo influences. It's a very worthy and satisfying record with a hypnotic charisma. Originally released in December 1973. Remastered from original master tape and with a true and honest making of story. A masterpiece. 

The first track 'What You Gonna Do' is a straight-ahead rocker with Renate Knaup singing with her nice and distinctive noise. 'Wolf-Man Jack Show' is a weird song, with Jimmy Jackson at the mysterious 'Choir Organ' (giving off a stranger sound than Mellotron choirs), which he actually utilised on many tracks to good effect. The bass riff here is almost snatched straight from THE BEATLES “ Come Together” played German style. One of the albums highlights. 'Alice' is a sweet love song. The tune itself is care-free and up-lifting and has Lothar playing Mellotron flutes. It reminded of Kevin Ayers. 

“Las Vegas' is a hippy-sounding jam with congas, jazzy sax playing and a nose-flute.'Deutsch-Nepal' is a remake of the song of the same name of 'Wolf City'. It's heavy sound and strange vocal from guest Rolf Zacher makes it an excellent example of Krautrock. 'Utopia No. 1' is another hippy jam but features those searing organs from Jimmy Jackson and Falk Rogner too, Olaf Kübler toying around with a Moog Synth and bizarre echoed vocals from Meid. Very lovely stuff. 'Nasi Goreng' is a Hammond-heavy instrumental with strong melodies and light oriental moments. It reminds a lot to Viva la Trance 'Im Krater blühen die Bäume'. 'Jazz-Kiste': probably the master-piece composition of the album starring Passport's Christian Schulze on electric-piano and Embryo's Edgar Hofmann playing amazing 'wah-wah' soprano sax almost troughout.
1. What You Gonna Do? - 6:39
2. The Wolf-Man Jack Show - 5:04
3. Alice - 3:09
4. Las Vegas - 4:16
5. Deutsch Nepal - 3:03
6. Utopia No. 1 - 3:59
7. Nasi Goreng - 5:35
8. Jazz-Kiste - 5:33
All compositions by  Olaf Kübler, Lothar Meid

*Olaf Kübler - Saxophon
*Lothar Meid - Bass, Vocals
*Joe Nay - Guitar
*Kristian Schultze - Keyboards
*Jimmy Jackson - Organ
*Chris Karrer - Guitar
*John Weinzierl - Guitar
*Renate Knaup-Krötenschwanz - Vocals

Garland Jeffreys - Ghost Writer (1977 us, magnificent roots, reggae, folk, Velvetish rock)

Ghost Writer wasn't Garland Jeffreys' first album, but it was the first one where his signature lyrical voice made itself properly heard on vinyl, and where he seemed to fully embrace the stylistic eclecticism that would become one of the hallmarks of his work. On Ghost Writer, Jeffreys spins ten vivid tales of life on the New York streets, ranging from the cool literary philosophizing of the title cut to the teenage rage of "Wild in the Streets," encompassing the slinky reggae of "I May Not Be Your Kind," the sinewy Latin grooves of "Spanish Town," the cocky rock & roll of "Rough & Ready," the graceful sweet soul of "New York Skyline," and the edgy, urgent menace of "Lift Me Up." 

What holds it all together is Jeffreys' songwriting, keenly intelligent without seeming academic and reveling in the power of the word; here Jeffreys makes much of his multicultural background, which seems a natural reflection of the city that provides a backdrop for the stories, and Ghost Writer's musical shape shifting makes these songs sound like they're leaping from borough to borough without losing the "you talkin' to me?" big city swagger that informs them all. And Jeffreys can sing about the dilemma of race in an international city, political unrest in another land, unrequited love, the movies that give life to his dreams, and the books that nourish his soul while sounding wise, fully engaged, and like the coolest guy on the block all at once, with a voice that's sweet, sharp, and commanding. 

Ghost Writer is an album that covers a lot of ground in ten songs, but it never gets lost on its whirlwind ride around the city, and if it became a cult item rather than a mainstream success, anyone who gives this a fair hearing is likely to conclude it's the work of an artist of the first order, and Jeffreys' second masterpiece, Escape Artist, would attract the larger American audience he deserved. 
by Mark Deming 
1. Rough and Ready - 2:57
2. I May Not Be Your Kind - 3:46
3. New York Skyline - 3:29
4. Cool Down Boy - 4:04
5. Ghost Writer - 5:39
6. Lift Me Up - 3:28
7. Why-O - 3:38
8. Wild In The Streets - 2:59
9. 35 Millimeter Dreams - 3:12
10.Spanish Town - 7:43
Music and Lyrics by Garland Jeffreys 

*Garland Jeffreys - Guitar, Percussion, Vocals
*Anthony Jackson - Bass
*John Boudreaux, Rick Marotta, Steve Gadd - Drums
*Alan Freedman, Sugarbear - Guitar
*Hugh McCracken - Guitar, Harmonica
*David Spinozza - Guitar, Keyboards
*Don Grolnick, Dr. John, Leon Pendarvis - Keyboards
*Rubens Bassini - Percussion
*Al Cohn, David Sanborn, Michael Brecker - Saxophone
*Phil Messina - Trombone
*Burt Collins, Danny Cahn, Randy Brecker - Trumpet
*Arnold McCuller, David Lasley, David Peel, James Taylor, Lynn Pitney - Backing Vocals

Monday, July 10, 2023

Link Wray - Three Track Shack (1971-73 us, fantastic melt of surf roots country garage rock, 2005 double disc remaster)

In the waning days of 1971, a single under the name Mordicai Jones made its way to jukeboxes, radio stations, and record stores. Crisp bridge-picked acoustic guitar strummed out a loose melody, took a brief pause, and was picked up by fuzzed-out electric slide guitar that introduces a minimalist country shuffle. The singer chimes in with a raspy drawl that sounds as if The Marshall Tucker Band’s Toy Caldwell and Doug Gray were combined into one southern rockin’ monovox machine. “Walkin’ In the Arizona Sun” takes us on a pilgrimage from the singer’s obvious southern origins to the open expanses of the desert—fitting the ambling resonance of the arrangement. On the flip side, a gruff snarl is used to get the crowd moving. Cutting over yet another expertly delivered slide riff that gradually gives way to crunchy distorted free picking, “Days Before Custer” shows that the sleepy gang of the first side were capable of rocking with the heaviest of ’em.

Near simultaneously, from a decade in obscurity, the king of guitar rumble himself was back. With a stripped-down sound that could have been a companion to Dylan’s Basement Tapes, Link Wray set stereo amplifiers ablaze with “Fire and Brimstone.” A ferocious bottleneck slide exposé kicks off the piece—rest assured listener, the power chording maestro of primitive rock, he remains, but with more than a few new tricks up his sleeve. Phaser-heavy chords wash over the piece as a backbeaten wallop of percussion sends the whole cacophony into a backwoods romp. Then he sings. Wray had experimented with vocals on some previous recordings but any attempt at a calm serenade had gone the way of fancy studio tricks. This was a WAIL.

Over the course of 1971, as the heavy rock sound that he essentially founded really got into swing, Link Wray was holed up at his Maryland farm. The Wray brothers – Vernon, Link, and Doug – assembled a slipshod recording studio in a shed behind the house and equipped it with a now-vintage 3-track board. Naturally, the legacy of the music recorded that year ran the risk of being overshadowed by the homegrown novelty of the method in which it was recorded. While the details behind the recordings should be considered – they absolutely do contribute to the resulting raw power of the sound – the key takeaway for listeners then and a half-century later is that Wray still had big statements to make and was going to deliver them any way he saw fit.

The tapes from Wray’s Shack 3-Track took the form of three official releases. Two were in Wray’s own name: Link Wray and Beans and Fatback. The third, oddly enough, was under the aforementioned Mordicai Jones. The motivation behind billing Wray’s piano player with an esoteric pseudonym isn’t necessarily clear. Bobby Howard, as mentioned above, had a voice fit for the southern rock circuit, but was by no means leagues above Wray’s own vocal abilities. There have been guesses that it was a further step to rebrand Wray’s music to appeal to varied audiences after his own comeback failed to draw in significant new listeners. But Link Wray and Mordicai Jones were released concurrently. There is also the lesser cited theory that Wray felt Howard deserved more recognition for his vocal and piano work. The rockabilly vamps and pounded chords he pulled from the keys were a crucial feature of the shack recordings, but this was no Ray Charles or Dr. John when assessing overall skill and delivery of the singing pianist. Likely, the reasoning is a combination of things. 

Wray, in his mid-forties at this time, was not the ideal face of a top-selling rock outfit in the seventies. Further, it may not have made sense for Polydor to release two albums of very similar sounding material under Wray’s name at the time. With the boom in the Southern sound going strong, the label may have seen an opportunity for the Howard-fronted outfit to piggyback on the market successes of The Allmans, Skynyrd, and ZZ Top. Regardless, the release of the Mordicai Jones record gave an excuse for even more Wray-centric material to be released at a time when it was needed most. The early 70s saw plenty of acts going full-pastoral, but the denim-clad, rough and tumble ensemble of the Shack 3-Track sounded like they actually knew how to tend the land from which they channeled their cosmic rusticism.

As a whole, the 1971 recordings reside on the same plane as The Band’s self-titled second LP, Bobby Charles’ eponymous masterpiece, or if we’d like to get deeper into the rural rocker canon: Karen Dalton’s In My Own Time, Dale Hawkins’ comeback attempt L.A., Memphis, and Tyler, Texas or deeper still, The Farm Band’s second and more concise, Up In Your Thing. Coincidentally, Hawkins, Charles, and the boys in The Band (during their days as The Hawks) were hugely influential in Rock and Roll’s first wave, as it travelled out of the south and made its way across the world. On the sidelines for a decade, the cultural return to the folkier, southern roots of the post-psychedelic era provided a chance for the old guys (by pop music standards) to give it another go.

Without the aid of slick production, top-notch studio players, or access to standard recording equipment, the Wray brothers, along with Billy Hodges, Steve Verrocca, and Bobby Howard had to stir up some real magic to get the shack recordings to stand out in a market that was now overrun with arena rockers and the first generation of true singer-songwriter superstars. The music here was somewhere in between. Heavy and grooving, but with sincere heartfelt affect in the words sung. Wray and his group made sure to speak directly to their audience, and things never felt too weighty or self-adulating from a songwriting perspective. As the key influence on so many heavy ensembles of the era it was only fitting that Wray return to reclaim his throne. Lacking the power a John Bonham or Keith Moon could provide, Wray would rely solely on his own six-string command and the intense heaviness of hardship that runs so prominently along the back of American roots music to lift his low wattage assembly to the peaks of sonic assault.

The self-titled record starts off with just that. “There’s gonna be revival tonight!” Wray barks of his own comeback with the opening line. A thumping piano and ramshackle drum kit propel things into a feverish stomp.  Twangy guitars round out the sound. At one point Wray shrieks into the void. Its brief and filled with so much emotion that it runs the risk of stopping the show right in its tracks, but the group pushes on, bouncing to the groove of Wray’s woody Phil-Lesh-on-American Beauty bass work. “Take Me Home Jesus” shows a sentimental side of Wray; straining his voice as best he can to relive those childhood days in North Carolina once more. The stomp returns with a vengeance for the good time choogle of “Juke Box Mama.” Slide guitars swirl around adlibs, off-key in just the right way harmonies, and spoken word mumbles. Wray borrows the vocal melody to “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue” and sets his own heartfelt “Fallin’ Rain” over it. With the sweetest vocal delivery on the record, one almost overlooks the lament on the bloodshed and mental condition of the world at the close of the 1960s.

The previously mentioned “Fire and Brimstone” gets things moving on the flip side, before Wray loosens all inhibitions for the thunderous “God Out West.” Fully distorted guitar seemingly capable of slicing through the tape it was recorded on obstructs a choir of sidemen sounding as if they were recorded from the bottom of well. Wray unleashes a monster of solo that channels his proteges Hendrix, Page, and Clapton as much as his own decibel shattering work a decade earlier. But the fireworks don’t stop there. Following another couple of slow hazy numbers, the bloozey “Crowbar” and “Black River Swamp” (one of the most gorgeous songs ever recorded), Wray takes it back to the first pages of Rock and Roll’s story.  Closing out the album is quite possibly the funkiest – and definitely the crunchiest – rendition of Willie Dixon’s “Tail Dragger.” Back to the roots, indeed.

The same down-home energy is immediately apparent on Mordicai Jones. The album may be billed under the alias of Wray’s pal Bobby Howard, but the inception is absolutely beholden to the guitar player, as the second piece of the shack trifecta. A rambler, for sure, but the group gets things shakin’ on most cuts. The hip-moving “Scorpio Woman” could get the most modest of southern belles on the dancefloor. And its impossible to ignore Wray’s assault of a coda. The skronkin’ effects-laden solo pushes the veteran player to his avant-garde zenith with a battering that would fit right at home on a Faust record. “The Coca Cola Sign Blinds My Eyes” simmers over a cauldron of slide guitar and Howard pitches out a sultry blues akin to Pigpen’s croon, had The Dead been less cosmic, more country. The ensemble gets at their most cohesive on “All Because of a Woman.” This was the sound that should have been taken on the road – along with the material from the two Wray albums – as a monolithic Shack Band Revue. For sure, every roadhouse still standing in ‘72 would have had a crowd spilling into the parking lot. This traveling band may not have come to fruition, but the searcher vibes rear their head on side two opener, “On the Run.” The listless number wanders over its six-minute runtime, with harmonica accents, dobro, and phaser heavy power chords that drift between stereo channels and in and out of the song itself.

1972 was quiet for Wray. His brother Vernon packed up the shack and made his way out west (literally “Walkin’ in the Arizona Sun”), upgrading to an 8-track system shortly thereafter—though not before recording the now-legendary Wasted. Sales for Link Wray and Mordicai Jones weren’t great. Those familiar with Wray’s name and image were expecting “Rumble.” Instead they received an instrumentalist who decided it was time to sing his one lung out, publicly embrace his Indigenous roots, and play the most southern fried brand of folk-rock ever cooked up. Despite critical praise and the eventual cult status, the releases were deemed failures by Polydor. Quick to pick up the pieces, 1973 saw the release of Beans and Fatback. Recorded during the same sessions that made up the two previous LPs, the Virgin released slab features a familiar cast of faces and similar themes, but the delivery is even further reimagined.

In perhaps the oddest track to surface from these sessions, the title-cut/opener of Beans and Fatback, features cascading mandolin and jew’s harp moving along at breakneck speed. Suddenly, there’s an abrupt stop as “I’m So Glad, I’m So Proud” kicks into gear. The guitar workout absent from Link Wray, the tune satisfies any doubts over whether Wray still had the chops to shred with those who claimed him as their primary influence. “Shawnee Tribe” is a further acknowledgment of his Native American identity, in addition to a masterclass in amplified restraint. Slow, resonant, and haunting, the work here could be cited as the informal introduction of doom metal. And if that isn’t convincing enough, spin side two’s “Water Boy.” The track swirls around itself, wrapping into a repetitious flurry of single-chord blues that builds into a deafening silence. “Right or Wrong (You Lose)” gives yet another revelation in guitar mastery and sounds like nothing recorded until that point. Cans of nails, cardboard boxes, and dulcimers create a canvas for Wray to improvise over in one of the finest creations of his career. Like its predecessor, Bean and Fatback retains the sonic beauty within Wray’s songwriting. “Hobo Man” has an antiquated machismo that Ry Cooder would surely appreciate, and catchy chanting and muted guitar licks make for a good time. An homage to his upbringing, 

“From Tulsa to North Caroline” finds the group experimenting with variations on the simple chorus that runs the length of the song. The influences on the influencer come forth once more with Leadbelly’s “In the Pines” explored to great success on both sides. Overall, the feel of this final portion of the 3-track recordings is far looser and exploratory than those prior. What it lacks in singer-songwriter ambition is more than compensated for in ferocious instrumental experimentation. A combining of traditional music and high voltage aggression makes a perfect statement for Wray’s ideological mindset at the time: a synthesis of his own artistic origins with the deeper continuity present in original American music, whether that be blues, gospel, indigenous sounds, or country.

Ideally, all three of these slabs need to be played back to back, shuffled around, or in reverse order. Any way that you arrange it, the music is still one of the great testaments of Rock n Roll. Fortunately, the long-awaited reevaluation of Wray’s later career has finally arrived over the last decade. Reissues have been thoughtfully released, biographies and accolades continue to surface, and his legacy is regularly touted by artists of the 21st century. Long live the Link Wray rumble. 
by J.M. Rooney, September 20, 2022
Disc 1
1. La De Da (Yvonne Verroca) - 4:02
2. Take Me Home Jesus (Yvonne Verroca) - 3:17
3. Juke Box Mama (Yvonne Verroca) - 4:26
4. Rise And Fall Of Jimmy Stokes (Yvonne Verroca) - 3:58
5. Fallin' Rain (Link Wray) - 3:42
6. Fire And Brimstone (Link Wray) - 4:16
7. Ice People (Link Wray) - 2:59
8. God Out West (Yvonne Verroca) - 3:51
9. Crowbar (Link Wray) - 4:47
10.Black River Swamp (Link Wray) - 3:57
11.Tail Dragger (Willie Dixon) - 4:29
12.Beans And Fatback - 1:35
13.I'm So Glad, I'm So Proud - 6:52
14.Shawnee Tribe - 3:25
15.Hobo Man - 3:51
16.Georgia Pines (Traditional) - 3:54
17.Alabama Electric Circus - 3:57
All songs by Link Wray, Yvonne Verroca except where stated
Tracks 1-11 from "Link Wray" LP 1971
Tracks 12-17 from "Beans And Fatback" LP 1973
Disc 2
1. Water Boy - 9:40
2. From Tulsa To North Caroline - 4:38
3. Right Or Wrong (You Lose) - 2:55
4. In The Pines - 7:07
5. Take My Hand (Precious Lord) (Traditional) - 3:35
6. Walkin' In The Arizona Sun - 2:55
7. Scorpio Woman - 3:48
8. The Coca Cola Sign Blinds My Eyes (Link Wray, Bobby Howard, Yvonne Verroca) - 6:22
9. All I Want To Say - 3:11
10.All Because Of A Woman - 3:17
11.On The Run (Link Wray, Bobby Howard, Yvonne Verroca) - 5:42
12.Son Of A Simple Man - 4:20
13.Precious Jewel (Roy Acuff) - 2:02
14.Days Before Custer - 5:29
15.Gandy Dancer (Link Wray, Bobby Howard, Yvonne Verroca) - 3:30
All tracks by Link Wray, Yvonne Verroca except where noted
Tracks 1-5 from "Beans And Fatback" LP 1973
Tracks 6-15 as Mordicai Jones from "Mordicai Jones" 1972

*Link Wray - Vocals, Electric, Acousticr, Resonator, Twelve-String Guitars, Bass, Steel Guitar
*Doug Wray - Drums, Percussion, Rhythm Guitar, Proccnail Can Percussion, Vocals
*Mordicai Jones (a.k.a. Bobby Howard) - Lead Vocals, Piano, Mandolin, Harp
*Bill Hodges - Organ, Piano, Scratcher Percussion, Vocals
*Steve Verroca - Drums, Vocals
*John Grummere - Electric Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Norman Sue - Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Ned Levitt - Foot Stomp, Hand Claps, Vocals

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Westfauster - In A King's Dream (1971 us, excellent psych prog rock, 2006 digipak reissue)

They may sound like the quintessential English prog band but, in fact, Westfauster hailed from the rust belt, Cincinnati to be precise, and this gem of an album was initially released on the Nasco label in 1971. A guitar-free trio, the band did encompass a rhythm section, a variety of keyboards from harpsichord to Moog synthesizer, and a flute and saxophone within their multi-instrumental ranks. 

The Moody Blues and the Beatles were Westfauster's avowed influences, and you could hear subtle inflections of both on In a King's Dream. Blissful jazz ripples through the epic "Everyday," one of a clutch of flute-led numbers on the set. On that song, it's twinned with piano and organ; on "Blind Man's Epitaph" the flute flutters and flies amidst the harpsichord and choral vocals; and the harpsichord itself is showcased again on the Beatles-esque "Low Sun." In contrast, the title track, the album's other epic number, is resplendent with smoky sax, the darker, more majestic flip of the breezier, lighter "Everyday." 

All three bandmembers obviously had some jazz background, and it's their ability to fold elements of that style gently into the musical mix that perhaps truly sets Westfauster apart, notably on the two epics, "Where Are You" and the album closer "Did It or Didn't It (Take Us High)." That and the delicate textures of their songs and the wonderfully shimmering and dreamy quality of their atmospheres. With its subtle shifts in mood and style, luminescent sound, and lovely, reverberated harmonies, King's Dream reaches transcendental heights. 

Unlike their more extravagant contemporaries, Westfauster never flamboyantly highlight the musical journey or magnificent musicianship, preferring a more elegant, understated stance that allows this album to glow in all its glory. 
by Jo-Ann Greene
1. Where Are You - 3:24
2. Everyday - 8:53
3. Blind Man - 3:16
4. Blind Man's Epitaph - 2:52
5. In A King's Dream - 10:06
6. A Sunny Day - 3:16
7. Low Sun - 2:50
8. Did It Or Didn't It (Take Us High) - 5:07
All songs by Charles West Fauster

*C.W. Fauster (Charles West Fauster) - Vocals, Organ, Piano, Harpsichord, Moog Synthesizer, Bass
*Stephen Helwig - Vocals, Percussion, Harmonica
*Michael Newland - Flute, Alto Saxophone, Vibes

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Garland Jeffreys – Garland Jeffreys (1973 us, beautiful blend of reggae r 'n' b jazz folk rock, 2006 extra track edition)

Garland Jeffreys first appeared to record buyers in 1970, backed by the band Grinder's Switch, on an album for Vanguard Records that strongly recalled the sound of the Band, with and without Bob Dylan. He next returned to record stores as a solo act three years later under the auspices of Atlantic Records with this singer/songwriter project. Michael Cuscuna, who co-produced the disc with Jeffreys, was more of a jazz aficionado than the artist himself, and he built arrangements around Jeffreys and his backup guitarist, Alan Freedman, using a collection of well-known jazz-leaning session musicians including Ralph MacDonald, David "Fathead" Newman, and Bernard Purdie, along with such other names as Dr. John and David Bromberg. 

He also agreed to a trip to Jamaica that produced the reggae-styled "Bound to Get Ahead Someday." The result was a set of eclectic backing tracks that added flavor to Jeffreys' poetic story-songs, sung in his soulful tenor. It was a far more individual effort than Garland Jeffreys and Grinder's Switch, more focused on the singer, and demonstrated his growth as a writer and performer. But it still was not as accomplished as Jeffreys' later work would be, and it was thrown into the shade by his next recording, the one-off single "Wild in the Streets," which demonstrated his ability to rock out more. [The European release of Garland Jeffreys substituted a second track from the Jamaican session, "Midnite Cane," for "Lon Chaney."] 
by William Ruhlmann
1. Ballad Of Me - 2:55
2. Harlem Bound - 3:48
3. Calcutta Monsoon - 4:52
4. Bound To Get Ahead Someday - 3:43
5. Lovelight - 4:16
6. She Didn't Lie - 5:50
7. True To Me - 2:25
8. Lon Chaney - 4:05
9. Eggs - 5:03
10.Zoo - 2:15 - 
11.Midnite Cane - 3:13
All songs by Garland Jeffreys

*Garland Jeffreys - Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Vocals
*Patti Austin - Vocals
*David Bromberg - Dobro
*Don Brooks - Harmonica
*Hux Brown - Electric Guitar
*Lori Burton - Vocals
*Geoffrey Chung - Guitar
*Richard Davis - Bass
*Dr. John - Keyboards, Hammond Organ, Piano
*Alan Freedman - 12 String, coustic, Electric Guitar
*Winston Grennan - Drums
*Paul Griffin - Harmonium, Keyboards, Organ, Piano
*Neville Hinds - Organ
*Jackie Jackson - Bass
*Jimmy Johnson, Jr. - Drums
*Denzel Laing - Percussion
*Densil Lang - Percussion
*Ralph MacDonald - Congas, Cowbell, Percussion, Tambourine
*Mike Mainieri - Vibraphone, Vocals
*Adam Miller - Vocals
*David "Fathead" Newman - Tenor Saxophone
*Chris Osborne - Electric Guitar
*Larry Packer - Viola, Violin
*The Persuasions - Vocals
*Bernard "Pretty" Purdie - Drums
*Chuck Rainey - Bass
*Albertine Robinson - Vocals
*John Simon - Piano
*Maretha Stewart - Vocals
*Winston Wright - Piano