Thursday, August 31, 2023

rep> Quincy Conserve - Aire Of Good Feeling Best Of (1968-74 new zealand, awesome jazzy groovy psych brass rock, 2008 remaster)

The Quincy Conserve was formed in Wellington in late 1967 by Malcolm Hayman. Malcolm was an extremely talented musician who had already been on the music scene for twelve years by that stage. Hayman was only 15 years old when he arrived in Wellington in 1955 as a member of the Maori Hi Fives showband. The following year the singer-guitarist formed the Trademarks, long-time residents at the Mexicali, a popular nightspot owned by American expatriate Harry Booth.

The Trademarks were very popular, and after four years of constant playing, queues formed to see them every time they played. Over the years, 30-odd musicians passed through the ranks of the Trademarks, before Malcolm disbanded the group in 1961. The Trademarks owed more than a little to the Maori showband tradition, where Hayman had learnt his licks, but the group gave Wellingtonians their first taste of rock'n'roll. One member of the Trademarks was Rodney "Dody" Potter, who was later a member of the Keil Isles and Dallas Four.

Following the demise of the Trademarks, Malcolm spent 18 months at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music, followed by two years on the Australian-Pacific cabaret circuit with a variety of bands. Malcolm was a severe diabetic and in 1965, during a residency in New Caledonia, he came down with tuberculosis, spending the next 14 months in a Noumea hospital. He returned to Wellington in the middle of 1966 and formed a new band called the Soundells.

The Soundells had a residency at the Downtown Club in Wellington and at the end of 1967 they were enticed to go to Auckland to play there. They accepted the offer, but Malcolm decided not to go. Now without a resident band at the Downtown Club, owner Roy Young had enough faith in Malcolm to give him a budget to recruit, equip and rehearse a new band for his club. Malcolm immediately tried the rhythm section of Sounds Unlimited, who had just dissolved, but at rehearsals found that they were not appropriate. He then started scouring the countryside, looking for the best musicians, with a promise of a regular gig and a steady wage.

Malcolm recruited bass player Dave Orams from the Underdogs, keyboardist Rufus Rehu from the Quin Tikis, another previous member of Sounds Unlimited, saxophonist Johnny McCormick, and an inexperienced saxophonist, Dennis Mason. On drums was Bryan Beauchamp, from Bari and the Breakaways, but he was quickly replaced by another former Quin Tikis, Earl Anderson.

Rehearsals over, the Quincy Conserve debuted at the Downtown Club in February 1968. They were one of the most talented and professional groups to appear on the New Zealand music scene in the late sixties. They were Wellington's first 'supergroup'.

Malcolm continued playing for a number of years, but finally his diabetes caught up with him and he died as a result of complications on the 5th November 1988.

Quincy Conserve were never a true pop group, they were more of a musicians band, with Malcolm Hayman possessing one of the most distinctive voices in Kiwi Rock.

In 2008 EMI released a newest verion of their "Best Of ",  under the title "Aire Of Good Feeling" which contained more songs, singles and some good album tracks.
1. Aire Of Good Feeling (Jim Peterik) - 4:15
2. Ride The Rain (Bruno Lawrence) - 2:51
3. All Right In The City (Don Dunn, Tony McCashen) - 2:38
4. Roundhouse (D. Miller) - 3:18
5. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is (Robert Lamm) - 3:24
6. I Feel Good (James Brown) - 2:49
7. Somebody Somewhere Help Me (Steve Miller) - 2:41
8. Purple Frustration (Dave Orams) - 2:42
9. Don't Arrange Me (Dave Orams, Bruno Lawrence, Kevin Furey, Malcolm Hayman, Rufus Rehu, Dennis Mason, Johnny McCormick) - 2:04
10.Lazy Kind Of Day (Dave "Smokey" Smelko, George Sopuch, Mike "The Frist" Geraci, Don Nagy, Marc Spirou, Vic Walkus, Dave Myles, John Taylor) - 3:26
11.Hallelujah (David White, Johnny Caswell) - 2:26
12.Lovin Look (Robert Leslie Emmerson) - 2:35
13.Soul Thing (Keith Mansfield) - 3:15
14.Everybody Has Their Way (Bruno Lawrence) - 4:00
15.Keep On Pushing (Dave "Smokey" Smelko, Mike "The Frist" Geraci, Tony Corrao) - 3:11
16.Going Back To The Garden (Dennis Mason) - 4:19
17.I'm So Proud (Darlene Irra Landan) - 2:15
18.I Saw The Light (Todd Rundgren) - 2:59
19.Volcano (Robbie Robertson) - 2:34
20.Lulu Belle (Gary Coleman) - 3:05
21.I've Been Loving You Baby (Elton John) - 2:51
22.Here's To The Next Time (Elton John, Bernie Taupin) - 2:40
23.My Michell Chan (Johnny McCormick) - 3:47
24.Slut (Todd Rundgren) - 4:16
25.Keep On Playing That Rock And Roll (Edgar Winter, Jerry LaCroix) - 3:52

Quincy Conserve
*Malcolm Hayman - Lead Guitar, Laed Vocals 
*Dave Orams - Bass Guitar
*Rufus Rehu - Organ, Backing Vocals, Piano, Alto Horn
*Johnny McCormick - Tenor, Baritone Saxophones, Flute, Trumpet, Woodwind
*Dennis Mason - Tenor, Alto Saxophones, Backing Vocals
*Brian Beauchamp - Drums
*Bruno Lawrence - Drums
*Kevin Furey - Guitar, Trumpet, Vocals

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Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Various Artists - Blow My Mind The Doré Era Mira Punk And Psych Legacy (1965-69 us, tremendous garage psych rock, 2021 remaster)

Three of the quirkier imprints from Hollywood’s heyday in the mid-1960s were the record labels Doré, Era and Mira. Like most seasoned indie producers in that epoch, their owners Lew Bedell, Herb Newman and Randy Wood struggled to get to grips with the onslaught of rock’n’roll activity that followed in the wake of the British Invasion. But amongst each company’s catalogue of R&B, pop schlock and novelty discs were a number of outstanding garage and proto-psych 45s that today are sought-after collectors’ items.
“Blow My Mind: The Doré-Era-Mira Punk & Psych Legacy” collects together the best of this venerated repertoire in a power-packed set that also constitutes the first official reissue for many oft-bootlegged titles. Cuts like ‘The Thief’, ‘Slander’ and ‘I’ll Blow My Mind’ would be expensive to acquire in their original, minutely-pressed incarnation. Here, with top-notch sound and extensive annotation, these totemic garage rock items shine brighter than ever.
There is the expected quota of attitude-laden classics such as ‘My Baby’s Barefoot’, ‘Just Wanna Be Myself’ and the incredibly snotty ‘So What!!’, along with less heralded gems by bands such as South Hampton Story, the Puddin’ Heads, Yesterday’s Tomorrow and the Search. An unexpected bonus is a superb unreleased cut by ‘Hey Joe’ hitmakers the Leaves, along with off-beat garage-psych titles by Simon T Stokes, the Outlaw Blues and the Wrench.
“Blow My Mind!” is the natural sequel to Big Beat’s recent, well-received collection “Lost Innocence” and is an essential purchase for the dedicated garage head.
Artists - Title - Composer
1. The Syndicate -.My Baby's Barefoot (Bill Rash) - 2:42
2. The Leaves - Do Me A Favor (Unknown Artist) - 1:50
3. The No-Nâ-Mee's–.Gotta Hold On (Doug Wareham) - 2:33
4. The Motion - The Thief (Stanley House) - 2:26
5. The Lyrics - So What!! (Christopher Gaylord) - 2:49
6. South Hampton Story - Leave Me Behind (Dick Garcia, Tony Ponzo) - 2:39
7. Simon T Stokes -.Big City Blues (Simon T Stokes) - 2:16
8. Yesterday's Tomorrow–.The Other Half (RW Chandler, Anthony Bertolet) - 2:21
9. The Regents - Worryin' Kind (Mike McDonald) - 2:48
10.John Winfield Jr.- She Touched My Soul (John Winfield Jr.) - 2:26
11.Ty Wagner -.Slander (Ty Wagner) - 2:08
12.The Puddin' Heads - Now You Say We're Through (David Russell, John Greek) - 2:03
13.The Lyrics - They Can't Hurt Me (Christopher Gaylord) - 2:48
14.Spencer's Van Dykes–.I'll Blow My Mind (Edward E. Spencer) - 1:54
15.The Decades - I'm Gonna Dance (The Decades) - 1:56
16.The Wrench - The Day Is Hard (Gary Scott) - 2:16
17.The Search - Climate (Jim Mannino) - 2:32
18.The No-Nâ-Mee's - Just Wanna Be Myself (Doug Wareham) - 2:21
19.The Outlaw Blues - Non-Stop Blues (Victor Aleman) - 2:41
20.The Front Page And Her - Shame (Bobby Mell, Randy Larkin) - 2:15
21.The Bees - Forget Me Girl (Robert Zinner) - 2:17
22.The Tormentors - She's Gone (Lee Harper) - 2:25
23.Basil And The Baroques - It's No Use (Gene Clark, Roger McGuinn) - 2:57
24.Unknown Artist - To Make A Lie (Unknown Artist) - 2:31
25.Simon T Stokes - Cobwebs (Christian Wilde) - 2:22

The Syndicate
*Bill Patapoff - Bass  
*Bob Bourbon - Drums  
*Rick Cronin - Lead Guitar  
*Bill Rash - Lead Vocals  
*Jim Kobzeff - Rhythm Guitar  

The Leaves
*Jim Pons - Bass  
*Tom "Ambrose" Ray - Drums  
*Bobby Arlin - Lead Guitar  
*Robert Lee Reiner - Rhythm Guitar  
*John Beck - Vocals, Harmonica
The No-Nâ-Mee's
*Dewayne Wareham - Bass  
*Rod Williams - Drums  
*Clay Ice - Organ  
*Cliff Davis - Rhythm Guitar  
*Doug Wareham - Vocals, Guitar 
The Motion  
*Lee Bickford - Bass  
*Bill House - Guitar  
*Mark Shinbrott - Organ  
*Stan House - Vocals, Drums 
The Lyrics  
*Danny Garcia - Bass  
*Gary Neves - Drums  
*Michael Allen - Lead Guitar  
*Chris Gaylord - Lead Vocals, Keyboards  
*Craig Carll - Rhythm Guitar  
*Steve Khailer - Vocals  

South Hampton Story
*Danny Beckon - Bass  
*Leon Beckon - Drums  
*John Valenzuela - Guitar  
*Danny Garcia - Keyboards, Lead Vocals  
*Tony Ponzo - Lead Guitar  

The Regents  
*John Harris - Bass  
*Craig Boyd - Drums  
*Tom Baker - Guitar  
*Mike McDonald - Guitar  
*Jerry Rosa - Organ  

The Puddin' Heads
*John Greek - Guitar  
*Denny Reed - Vocals  

The Lyrics  
*Danny Garcia - Bass  
*Gary Neves - Drums  
*Michael Allen - Lead Guitar  
*Chris Gaylord - Lead Vocals, Keyboards  
*Craig Carll - Rhythm Guitar  
*Steve Khailer - Vocals  

The Bees 
*John York - Bass  
*Cary Slavin - Drums  
*Bob Zinner - Guitar  
*Peter Ferst - Guitar  
*George Caldwell - Vocals  

The Tormentors
*Dan Davis - Bass  
*Tim Daley - Drums  
*Lee Harper - Guitar  
*Mark Davis - Lead Guitar  

Basil And The Baroques
*Jim Messina - Bass  
*Roger Brennan - Drums  
*John Hartnett - Lead Guitar  
*Bruce Miller - Lead Vocals  
*John Cahners - Rhythm Guitar 

Monday, August 28, 2023

Catfish - Live Featuring Bob Hodge (1971 us, rough blues rock, roots 'n' roll)

Catfish has been called an “American folk blues hero” and has been a mainstay on the American Blues music scene for three decades now! He has twenty four albums to his credit, comprised almost totally of original material. “Catfish Blues” and “Like A Big Dog Barkin’” on the Wildcat label, and “Eyewitness Blues” on Genes CD were released in 1994 and 1995. His first album of children’s songs “Adventures at Catfish Pond”, on Music for Little People label was released in May of 1996. The album won the NAPA Golden Award as best children’s music of 1996. His 1998 release “Bare Necessities”(on Chicken Legs Music) finds him in a solo acoustic setting, with lowdown funky blues and soulful ballads. 

His 1999 release “Twenty Years” features performances from concerts and radio broadcast and includes the only version now available of “Boogie Man Gonna Git Ya”, as well as other rare gems. His 2002 release “Let’s Eat” is a best of collection of his best known food songs of which there are many! Both of his latest albums are available on Chicken Legs Music. All of his albums prior to the 1990’s are hard to find except for the first Catfish Band album “Get Down”, which Sony/Epic re-released in the mid 1990’s, due to demand for it overseas.

Catfish found his calling early on. While growing up in Detroit, he was sneaking into Motown Records Hitsville studio to catch the Four tops and the Supremes and grooving to R&B and Blues while his contemporaries gravitated to the Beatles. In the late 1960’s he formed the Catfish Band and led them out of Detroit into national prominence.

1971’s Live Catfish, capturing the next line-up at Detroit’s Eastman Theatre on rollicking covers of Martha & The Vandellas’ Nowhere To Run, Barrett Strong’s Money (That’s What I Want) and Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On, alongside originals including the accusatory diatribe Letter To Nixon and the stonking Mississippi River.

Though they can be appreciated as long-lost minor classic relics from that incendiary period, these first forays weren’t the last the world heard of the mighty ‘Catfish’ Hodge, who carried on testifying his beloved blues for the next 35 years.
1. Nowhere To Run (Brian Holland, Edward Holland, Jr., Lamont Dozier) - 3:49
2. Money (That's What I Want) (Berry Gordy, Jr., Janie Bradford) - 4:48
3. 300 Pound Fat Mama (Bob Hodge) - 14:37
4. Mississippi River (Bob Hodge) - 6:50
8. Letter To Nixon (Bob Hodge) - 11:31
6. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On (Dave Williams, Sunny David) - 3:19

*Bob Hodge - Vocals
*Dallas Hodge - Guitar  
*Harry Phillips - Keyboards
*Dennis Cranner - Bass 
*Jim Demers - Drums 
*John Hill - Piano (Track 1)


Sunday, August 27, 2023

Blackstone - Blackstone (1971 us, solid hard classic rock, feat Max Weinberg from the E Street Band fame)

New Jersey-based hard rock band who recorded an eponymous album for Epic Records in 1970. The drummer was Max Weinberg, later of The E Street Band.

"Noise proves nothing," Mark Twain once wrote, "often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid.

Blackstone, the young men who make their debut with this album, are destined to make a lot of noise in the music business, but not in the sense described above. After five months of intensive rehearsals in a New Jersey garage, they came to the studio and laid the  asteroid contained herein.

It's an impressive beginning. Blackstone has revealed its mettle, they've got what it takes and it's up to you to turn this asteroid into a star in the rock firmament.
(from Original Liner Notes)
1. Love Love Love (Dave DesRochers, Tom Butler, Kevin Collins, Tom Flynn, Max Weinberg) - 4:26
2. Sing - 3:44
3. Moondog - 4:19
4. Freedom Rider (Dave DesRochers, Tom Flynn) - 2:53
5. Time - 3:40
6. K.C. Funk (Whole Lotta Livin' Lovin') (Dave DesRochers, Tom Butler, Kevin Collins, Tom Flynn) - 4:12
7. Sleep Tonight - 3:33
8. Thinking (Dave DesRochers, Tom Butler) - 5:56
9. Woman Who Lives Alone - 6:08
All songs by Dave DesRochers except where noted

*Tom Butler - Bass, Vocals
*Kevin Collins - Organ, Piano
*Dave DesRochers - Guitars, Vocals
*Tom Flynn - Vocals8
*Max Weinberg - Drums, Percussion 
*Don Oriolo - Strings, Horns Conductor, Arranger  
*Lor Crane - Strings, Horns Conductor, Arranger (Track 7)

Friday, August 25, 2023

rep> Group Image - A Mouth In The Clouds (1968 us, wild acid psych rock, 2007 fallout reissue)

As much as collectors and critics can try to approach obscure albums on their own merits without unfairly comparing them to the giants of their era, sometimes a band's inspiration is just too blatant to ignore. So let's lay it on the line here: the Group Image's sole LP would not have existed were it not for the prior existence of the early Jefferson Airplane albums and concerts. It's not just the male-female vocal blend, with Sheila Darla approaching her singing very much like Grace Slick did, or the very specific echoes of Jorma Kaukonen's wiggly guitar tone. 

There are also echoes of specific Airplane songs, sometimes in passing references to the Airplane's arrangements of "The Fat Angel" or "Coming Back to Me," and sometimes in more obvious cops of "3/5 of a Mile in Ten Seconds," "It's No Secret," and (particularly in "Hiya") the Airplane's arrangement of "The Other Side of This Life." It's not all a trip in Jefferson Airplane economy class, but alas, there are also heavy imprints of the Mamas & the Papas, albeit in a more acid-folk-rock style, and a bit of the harmonies of the Association and the good-time cheer of the Lovin' Spoonful. 

If you're just an absolute sucker for those sounds, the record has its pleasant qualities as a psychedelicized folk-rock album of sorts, with heavily West Coast-influenced bittersweet melodies that are broken up by some freakier passages with jazzy tempo changes and searing distorted guitar. It's not just a lack of originality that disqualifies the record as a notable obscurity, however, but the fairly unexceptional quality of the songs, though it's better than many such largely forgotten psychedelic releases. 
by Richie Unterberger
1. Hiya - 5:00
2. A Way To Love You All The Time - 2:50
3. Moonlit Dip - 5:45
4. Voices Calling Me - 3:30
5. New Romancing - 2:50
6. Aunt Ida - 6:08
7. Banana Split - 6:15
8. My Man - 1:55
9. Grew Up All Wrong - 2:50
10.The Treat - 5:30
All songs by the Group Image

The Group Image
*Sheila Darla - Vocals
*Dr, Hok - Lead Guitar
*Freddy Knuckles - Rhythm Guitar
*William Guy Merrill - Rhythm Guitar
*Black Doug - Bass
*Professor Leon Luther Rix - Drums

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Thursday, August 24, 2023

Brothers Unlimited - Who's For The Young (1970 us, remarkable soul funk psych, 2008 edition)

This group of musicians and vocalist came to together in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968, with a unique live sound blending funk, soul, rock, funkadelic, and smooth vocals. The group was organized by John "Kousi" Harris from Pensacola, Fl., formerly of the group J Robinson and The Dynamics who recorded on the MALA label, and Jerry Jones a local Memphis Vocalist. Curtis Johnson, and brother Harold "Quake" Johnson had formerly been members of The Chips/Astors, that recorded with Stax Records.

The musicians had been playing locally with several groups, when John and Jerry had and idea to join these different talents to create a new sound. The group was self managed, with Curtis doing the booking and creating tours throughout Memphis night clubs, and on the Florida, and Alabama Gulf Coast. The group also traveled north to the Michigan area, but spent most of their time in the lower south east. In 1970, the group produced (with Fame Records) and recorded an album that was released on the Capitol Records label, "Who's For the Young".

The Memphis Sound on acid" is how Brothers Unlimited's lone release has been billed by feverish vinyl collectors. The album was notoriously talked about back in the day due to its rarity, especially for being on a major label like Capitol records. As for the music, Brothers Unlimited consisted of veterans from the Muscle Shoals camp who blended funk, soul, and psych rock to a tee. Stand out cuts include tracks like the soulful title cut, the funkadelic-esque "Hey Little Rich Boy", and their cover of "Spoonful".
1. Who's For The Young? (Robert Owens) - 3:03
2. A Change Is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke) - 3:44
3. Got To Get Over (Robert Owens) - 2:53
4. Hey Little Rich Boy (Earl CAge Jr., Lieutenant Wilks, Robert Owens) - 3:33
5. Get Away (Robert Owens) - 2:49
6. Life Dreams Death (Robert Owens) - 5:40
7. Spoonful (Willie Dixon) - 3:33
8. Take Me Back (George Jackson, Larry Chambers, Melvin Leakes) - 2:09
9. What We Need Is Harmony (Robert Owens) - 2:48

Brothers Unlimited
*Curtis Johnson - Vocals, Percussion, Washboard 
*Harold Johnson - Vocals, Percussion 
*Harold "Quake" Johnson - Vocals, Percussion 
*Jerry Jones - Lead Vocals 
*Alvin Potts - Keyboards, Vocals 
*Lee Cox - Tenor Saxophone, Vocals 
*Ronald Echols - Baritone Saxophone, Vocals 
*Oscar Smith - Guitar, Vocals 
*Charles Alridge - Drums, Percussion, Vocals 
*Charles Allen - Trumpet, Vocals 
*Leon Alridge - Bass, Vocals 
*Larry Lee - Guitar, Vocals

Monday, August 21, 2023

Hamilton Streetcar - Hamilton Streetcar (1969 us, gorgeous melodic brass rock, sunny psych)

Bassist Bart Conway and guitarist Tom Fannon had been members of a high school surf band The Regents.  By 1965 they'd expanded their repertoire to more conventional rock, added keyboardist John Burge (aka Ian Hamilton), drummer Barry McGuire (quickly replaced by Danny Fantz, who was then replaced by Greg Hart) and singer Ralph Plummer to the lineup.  They also picked up a new name - The Chosen Few.  Within a short period they'd mutated into Rollin' Machine (the name supposedly inspired by their drummer's recreational habits), replaced Conway with Jay Alan and started to attract attention on the local club scene and by serving as opening for various national touring acts.  

Their big break came as a result of playing a UCLA frat party.  The performance attracted the attention of Forrest Hamilton (son of jazz drummer Chico Hamilton), who signed on as group manager.  Obviously time for a new name - briefly Hamilton Omnibus, followed by Hamilton Streetcar.  Their initial efforts to attract the attention of major labels went nowhere.  

Steady work in local clubs did little to attract the attention of major labels, but that changed when the group somehow caught the attention of the ever eccentric Lee Hazlewood who promptly signed the band to his newly established LHI label where they recorded to psych-tinged singles:

Former Challengers drummer Richard Delvy signed the band to Dot.  Unfortunately Delvy apparently had little interest in the group's original sound, rather was interested in using them as a backing group for material written by former Appletree Theatre fron tman John Boylan.  Perhaps not a major surprise, but dreaded creative differences quickly arose within the band and in a matter of months the band had fallen apart leaving Plummer  and keyboardist Hamilton to carry on as the sole survivors.  Boylan, Plummer and Hamilton quickly recruited singer/guitarist Buzz Clifford (who'd enjoyed an early 1960s hit with 'Baby Sittin' Boogie') and finished the album with backing from sessions players.

Described by Plummer as a "contractual obligation" project, 1969's "Hamilton Streetcar" found the survivors reluctantly continuing to work with producer Delvy.  The impact on creativity was obvious.  Whereas Plummer had previously written all of the band's material (he'd reportedly written some 50 tracks for their catalog), on the album his contributions were limited to handling lead vocals and penning the pop-flavored 'Silver Wings'.  That left Delvy to stitch together an album mixing popular covers with  new recruit Buzz Clifford picking up the creative slack with a series of four tunes.  Structurally the set was certainly odd, largely forsaking conventional three minute song structures in favor of a pair of side long, multi-part suites that frequently interweaved main themes with shorter refrains (examples included Clifford's 'Welcome into Your World' and a cover of Tim Buckley's 'Pleasant Street').  

Heavily orchestrated tracks like their cover of Lee Michael's 'Streetcar', Boylan's 'Brother Speed' (which the original band line up included in their live repertoire) and 'I See I Am' featured an engaging mixture of lounge act, MOR pop, with occasional psych moves.  The song quality bounced all over the place (Plummer himself has slammed the LP - see below), but several of the tracks were simply great - 'Wouldn't It Be Nice (To Have Wings and Fly)' and Plummer's 'Silver Wings' were personal favorites.  Not a perfect comparison, but songs like 'Now I Taste the Tears' and the instrumental 'Entre Acte' sounded a bit like Curt Boetcher and Gary Usher's work with Sagittarius.  It certainly wouldn't appeal to everyone, but folks into sunshine pop, or Boylan's work with Appletree Theatre would probably find a great deal to like.
1. Overture / Streetcar (Lee Michaels) - 5:49
2. Brother Speed (John Boylan) - 2:55
3. I See I Am (Buzz Clifford) - 4:41
4. Where Do I Go (Galt MacDermot, Gerome Ragni, James Rado) - 3:32
5. Now I Taste The Tears (Buzz Clifford) - 2:40
6. Welcome Into Your World (Buzz Clifford) - 2:16
7. Entre Acte - 4:01
8. Wouldn't It Be Nice (To Have Wings And Fly) / Silver Wings (Buzz Clifford / Ralph Plummer) - 7:08
9. Honey And Wine (Carole King, Gerry Goffin) - 3:18
10.Pleasant Street (Tim Buckley) - 4:25
11.Wasn't It You (Carole King, Gerry Goffin) - 3:15

Hamilton Streetcar
*John Boylan - Vocals
*Ralph Plummer - Vocals
*Ian Hamilton "John Burge" - Keyboards
*Buzz Clifford - Guitar, Vocals 
*Greg Hart - Drums
*Jay Alan - Bass
*Dave Roberts - Horns
*Richard Delvy - Orchestral Arrangements

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Thursday, August 17, 2023

The Butts Band - The Complete Recordings (1973-75 us / uk, excellent classic rock, soul, rhythm 'n' blues and reggae tunes, feat. Robby Krieger, John Densmore, Jess Roden)

The 1973 debut of Butts Band, produced by Doors engineer turned producer Bruce Botnick, is -- along with Ray Manzarek's 1974 release, The Golden Scarab (also produced by Botnick) -- the true fulfillment of what Other Voices and Full Circle initiated. A release of Golden Scarab and The Butts Band on one CD would be a good companion piece to the aforementioned post-Morrison Doors releases; it's most likely what would have evolved had the Doors' trio given us a third album in the early '70s. Make no mistake, this is very musical and great stuff, it just had no image, introduced us to new personalities, and was saddled with a terrible name (c'mon, the Butts Band? What was Jimmy Castor's line in "Troglodyte"? "Bertha Butt, one of the Butt sisters." It's just plain silly with the world watching the Doors' legacy). Before Robbie Krieger went on his jazz tangent, this folky blues group may have been a necessary diversion. 

There's none of the Doors' darkness or Ray Manzarek's manic intensity here. It's laid-back, well-played, perfectly recorded music on the Blue Thumb label. What is surprising is that Robbie Krieger was an integral part of the Doors' hit singles. He seems to have put that in the past on these compositions. "Baja Bus," with conga by Larry McDonald, might as well be the Allman Brothers. Side one was recorded in Kingston, Jamaica, with Botnick as engineer, while in London for side two at Olympic Studios they used Keith Harwood on the boards, though Bruce Botnick is the producer of the entire package. More of what you'd expect than the follow-up, Hear and Now, which changes all the musicians save the two Doors and completely reshuffles the sound. Gotta hand it to Krieger and Densmore; they can be as proud of this as Ten Wheel Drive's Zager and Schefrin can be of their post-Genya Ravan disc on EMI. That record wasn't Ten Wheel Drive with Genya Ravan, but it was competent and worth a listen, as is The Butts Band .

In 1975 John Densmore and Robbie Krieger put together a second version of Butts Band for Hear & Now, which is really bizarre because Roy Davies, Phillip Chen, and vocalist Jess Roden did an admirable job on the first disc's folky blues sound. With Mike Berkowitz brought in as a second drummer, Karl Rucker on bass, and Bobbi Hall on congas, the band is expanded and substantially changed. Add Michael Stull and Alex Richman, both on keyboards and vocals, with Stull on guitar as well, and you may think you have what the Doors were up to on Other Voices. Almost, but not quite. The jazz element is definitely there, but subdued, for this is a soul record, an honest to God soul record by two of the guys who backed up Jim Morrison. 

Krieger and Densmore sound like they are sponsoring Barry White doing the songs of Percy Sledge. "If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody" is pure rhythm & blues, as is "Livin' and Dyin'," but it is not Butts Band that producer Bruce Botnick worked with. Sure it is dynamite stuff, but as the first go round for Butts Band had no image, this must have confused the hell out of radio programmers, retail workers, critics, and fans of the Doors. Botnick has been replaced by Jerry Fuller and is truly is the anomaly when it comes to Doors spin-off projects. Heck, even Ray Manzarek's work with poet Michael McClure contains Jim Morrison American Prayer elements, but the quasi-Steely Dan sound of "Caught in the Middle" could be early Lou Rawls cutting his teeth backed by a pseudo-pop band. It's commendable that Blue Thumb allowed rock stars to stretch like this, but no one familiar with Densmore and Krieger could get a handle on where Hear & Now was going. 

What might have been a nice calling card would be to take the Doors' "Touch Me" and let this crew send it up the R&B charts. For two members of a totally established group to create a new entity then switch genres is totally original and quite obscure. Butts Band would have been better off trying to get Towerof Power to do this arrangement of Bob Marley and Peter Tosh's "Get up, Stand Up." Robbie Krieger writes a majority of the songs, and female vocalist Alex Richman has a bit of Kathi McDonald in her for her composition "Everybody's Fool," but it is territory not embraced by most Doors aficionados. Labelmates with the Four Tops, this was moved to the Blue Thumb/ABC imprint (the Four Tops were on sister label Dunhill for their "Keeper of the Castle" phase). Gotta have it for the collection, but Manzarek's The Golden Scarab will get more spins. 
by Joe Viglione 
1. I Won't Be Alone Anymore - 4:29
2. Baja Bus - 4:40
3. Sweet Danger (Jess Roden) - 4:52
4. Pop-A-Top (Jess Roden, Phillip Chen) - 3:22
5. Be With Me - 4:21
6. New Ways (Jess Roden) - 3:55
7. Love Your Brother - 4:53
8. Kansas City (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) - 4:06
9. Get Up, Stand Up (Bob Marley) - 3:36
10.Corner Of My Mind - 4:36
11.Caught In The Middle - 3:22
12.Everybody's Fool (Alex Richman) - 2:45
13.Livin' And Dyin' (Lydia Tegret, Robby Krieger) - 3:13
14.Don't Wake Up - 4:13
15.If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody (Rudy Clark) - 4:04
16.Feelin' So Bad (Alex Richman) - 4:18
17.White House (Michael Stull) -  - 4:27
18.Act Of Love - 3:05
19.That's All Right - 3:18
20.Lovin' You For All The Right Reasons - 2:32
All compossitions by Robby Krieger except where stated
Tracks 1-8 from "Butts Band " 1973
Tracks 9-20 from "Hear And Now!" 1975

The Butts Band
1973 (Tracks 1-8)
*John Densmore - Drums
*Robby Krieger - Lead Guitar
*Jess Roden - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Phillip Chen - Bass
*Roy Davies - Keyboard, ARP Synthesizer 
*Mick Weaver - Wurlitzer Piano, Organ
*Larry McDonald - Congas
*Allan Sharp - Congas

1975 (Tracks 9-20)
*John Densmore - Drums
*Robby Krieger - Lead Guitar
*Michael Stull - Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Alex Richman - Keyboards, Vocals (Track 16)
*Karl "Slick" Rucker - Bass
*Bobbi Hall - Congas
*Mike Berkowitz - Percussion

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1970-71 Bronco - Country Home / Ace Of Sunlight (2010 remaster)
1965-67  The Alan Bown Set - Emergency 999 
1969  The Alan Bown! - The Alan Bown! (2010 Esoteric remaster)
1972 Keef Hartley - Lancashire Hustler (2009 esoteric remaster)

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

rep> Crack The Sky - Animal Notes / Safety Ιn Numbers (1976-77 us, fine prog rock)

Coming as it did after Crack the Sky's critically acclaimed first album, the darker, more cynical Animal Notes was something of a shock. The grim lyrics are still expressed with a dash of humor, but on the first four songs, the laughs are through clenched teeth. "We Want Mine," the opening cut, is a demand from a third-world native for a share of the world's wealth, a demand he knows will be ignored. "Animal Skins," which may be the best track on the album, skewers organized religion with bitter wit, and "Maybe I Can Fool Everybody Tonight" is told from the viewpoint of someone who is sure that his success is undeserved. Not until halfway through the album is there any lighter material, in the form of "Rangers at Midnight," a goofy pseudo-soundtrack about the Mounties. 

The remainder of the album is lighter in tone but the lyrics are oblique; "Virgin...No" sounds fantastic, all stellar harmonies and guitar hooks, but the vague verses seem to have no relation to the upbeat chorus. After the bright throwaway pop of "Invaders from Mars," lyricist John Palumbo returns to the bleak outlook of the first half with the somber "Play On." Palumbo left the band halfway through their next album and recorded a solo album of pained, introspective material, and his career direction can be seen in most of Animal Notes.

It's generally a bad sign when the lead singer quits a band in the middle of an album, especially when that singer wrote every song on the band's previous two albums. It is therefore somewhat surprising that Safety in Numbers was not merely a good album, but one which rivals Crack the Sky's award-wining first release. Though departing leader John Palumbo contributed a few vocals before quitting the band, new singer Gary Lee Chappell and other bandmembers filled in nicely on a mix of Palumbo's songs and new tunes written by guitarist Rick Witkowski and various partners. 

The two songs written by Palumbo aren't even the best -- that distinction would have to go to "A Night on the Town (With Snow White)," a delightful piece that mixes styles from the 1920s and progressive rock in a way that is probably unique. There are other lyrical gems here too, including the grim title cut and the sarcastic concert favorite "Lighten Up McGraw." Palumbo's "Nuclear Apathy" is five minutes of good song stretched to eight minutes, though the splendid guitar work and inspired arrangement does much to redeem the error. Taken as a whole, Safety in Numbers showed that there was more to Crack the Sky than John Palumbo, and that the band was ready to carry on in high style. 
by Richard Foss
1. We Want Mine - 4:53
2. Animal Skins - 3:33
3. Wet Teenager - 3:31
4. Maybe I Can Fool Everybody (Tonight) - 5:56
5. Rangers At Midnight" (Including 'Night Patrol' and featuring 'Let's Lift Our Hearts Up') - 7:35
6. Virgin  No - 4:56
7. Invaders from Mars - 3:30
8. Play On - 3:56
9. Nuclear Apathyn - 8:31
10.Long Nights - 3:58
11.Flashlight (John Palumbo, Joey D'Amico, Joe Macre, Jim Griffiths, Rick Witkowski) - 4:33
12.Lighten Up McGraw (Rob Stevens, Rick Witkowski, Joe Macre) - 5:08
13.Give Myself to You (Rick Witkowski, Rob Stevens) - 3:24
14.A Night on the Town (With Snow White) (Rick Witkowski, Deborah Kucan) - 3:29
15.Safety in Numbers" (Joe Macre, Rick Witkowski) - 6:30
All songs written by John Palumbo except where stated 
Tracks 1-8 from "Animal Notes", 1976
Tracks 9-15 from "Safety In Numbers". 1977

Crack The Sky
*John Palumbo - Lead Vocals, Keyboards, Acoustic Guitar, Harmonies
*Rick Witkowski - Electric Guitar, Harmonies
*Joe Macre - Bass Guitar, Harmonies
*Jim Griffiths - Electric Guitar, Harmonies
*Joey D'Amico - Drums, Harmonies
*Gary Lee Chappell - Lead Vocals, Back-Up Vocals, Acoustic Guitar (Safety In Numbers)
*Rob Stevens - Piano, Minimoog, Oberheim Synthesizer (Safety In Numbers)
Additional Musicians In Animal Notes
*David Sackson - Concert Master
*"Singin' Mounties" - Vocals
*George Marge - Horns
*Robert "Chic" Diciccio - Horns
*Gotham City Swing Band - Horns

1975  Crack The Sky - Crack The Sky

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Tuesday, August 15, 2023

White Wing - White Wing (1976 us, fascinating hard prog rock, 2017 remaster)

WhiteWing, formerly called Forbidden Children, was formed in Rapid City in 1968 with founders Mike Drew (vocals, organ), Rod Schroeder (vocals, guitars), Mike Coates (guitars), Gary Cass (bass) and Norm Curtis (drums).  From the band’s beginning, they were touring with national performing artists throughout North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota and Canada. Their name became synonymous with great music and electric performances. 

In 1974, Mike Niva performed on keyboards and vocals with WhiteWing. In 1975 with the line-up of original members Coates, Curtis, and Cass and now with Tim Renshaw on keyboards and Mike English on lead vocals, WhiteWing landed a record deal with the Minneapolis record label A.S.I. and released their self-titled debut album. The single from that album titled Hansa, written by Mike Coates, hit the Billboard top-singles charts. Subsequently, WhiteWing albums were sold all over the US, Canada, and Europe. Radio stations placed Hansa in a frequent rotational slot as part of their station’s programming; Hansa had massive radio airplay throughout the Midwest and Canada. WhiteWing was often mislabeled as an American version of The Moody Blues but it was a much heavier band with a progressive rock foundation; it was hard to find a genre that defined this unique band during the mid 70’s.

WhiteWing disbanded in late 1976 but left a mark in South Dakota rock history with the founding of a progressive, distinct style that is still rare and treasured by a multitude of vinyl music collectors and progressive rock aficionados.  All of the members of WhiteWing are indebted to the many loyal and faithful fans who supported them through the years. Many of the former members still perform and work in the music industry today. WhiteWing looks back on their place in the history of rock music in South Dakota with thanks, gratitude and pride.    
South-Dakota R'n'R
1. Hansa (Cygnus) - 3:14
2. Patent Leather - 6:44
3. Slave - 3:16
4. Wait 'Til Tomorrow - 4:29
5. The White Ship - 4:11
6. Harbinger - 3:51
7. A Little Levity (A Satirical Salute) - 4:44
8. Tuzashottma - 1:13
9. Executive Privlege - 4:20
10.Hansa (Aquila) - 1:59
All Music and Lyrics by Mike Coates except tracks #2 and #7 Lyrics written by Mike English

White Wing
*Gary Cass - Bass Guitar
*Mike English - Vocals
*Tim Renshaw - Keyboards, Clavinet (Track 7)
*Norm Curtis - Drums, Percussion
*Mike Coates - Electric, Classical, Acoustic Guitars, Backing Vocals, Piano (Tracks 1,4), Clavinet (Tracks 5,7)

Monday, August 14, 2023

Black Widow - Black Widow (1970 uk, good heavy psych prog rock, 2014 remaster)

Leicester, England-based Black Widow formed in 1969 from the ashes of blue-eyed soul band Pesky Gee! Jim Gannon (vocals, guitar, vibraphone), Kip Trevor (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Zoot Taylor (keyboards), Clive Jones (woodwinds), Bob Bond (bass), and Clive Box (drums) played dark, allegedly satanically inspired rock along the lines of Black Sabbath, and gained plenty of attention and controversy for their theatrical live sets. Black Widow made the U.K. Top 40 with their 1970 debut album, Sacrifice. Despite, or perhaps because of, the focus on their occult trappings, they moved away from their dark roots with their 1971 self-titled album and continued this trend with the following year's Black Widow III. By this time, however, lack of critical and label support, plus many lineup changes, caused the group to falter. Late in 1972, after losing their deal with CBS Records, Black Widow recorded Return to the Sabbat, a self-produced set that did not see the light of day until 1999, when it was released by Blueprint Records. A tribute album, Come to the Sabbat, appeared later that year as well. 
by William Ruhlmann
1. Tears And Wine (Jeff Griffith, Jim Gannon, Kip Trevor, Romeo Challenger, Zoot Taylor) - 8:58
2. The Gypsy (Jim Gannon) - 4:33
3. Bridge Passage (Jeff Griffith) - 0:30
4. When My Mind Was Young (Jeff Griffith, Jim Gannon) - 5:12
5. The Journey (Jim Gannon, Kip Trevor, Zoot Taylor) - 5:52
6. Poser (Jeff Griffith, Jim Gannon, Kip Trevor, Romeo Challenger, Zoot Taylor) - 7:46
7. Mary Clark (Bill Litchfield, Jim Gannon) - 4:07
8. Wait Until Tomorrow (Jim Gannon) - 3:24
9. An Afterthought (Jeff Griffith, Jim Gannon, Kip Trevor, Romeo Challenger, Zoot Taylor) - 1:12
10.Legend Of Creation (Jim Gannon) - 5:58

Black Widow
*Jeff Griffith - Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Jim Gannon - Lead, Acoustic, Twelve-String Guitars, Vocals 
*Kip Trevor - Lead Vocals, Tambourine, Maracas 
*Romeo Challenger - Drums, Bongos, Congas
*Zoot Taylor - Organ, Piano
*Clive Jones - Saxophone, Flute

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Friday, August 11, 2023

Anno Domini - On This New Day (1971 ireland, splendid folkish psych classic rock, 2006 digipak remaster)

A pleasant and satisfying set of songs from Anno Domini, a melodic acoustic folk rock outfit formed in 1971 by former Eire Apparent lead guitarist David ‘Tiger’ Taylor. Eire Apparent specialised in heavy rock and toured America with the Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1967. Anno Domini provided a complete musical contrast. ‘On This New Day’ is a rare work, long sought after by collectors. Influenced by American folk rock, the Irish group featured a lively version of The Byrds’ ‘So You Want To Be A Rock’n’Roll Star’ among the ten album tracks. Other stand out items include a ‘cover’ of Dion’s ‘Daddy Rowlin’ and originals ‘Bad Lands Of Ardguth’ and ‘The Good Life I Have Known’. A single version of ‘Hitchcock Railway’ has been added as a bonus item.
1. So You Want To Be A Rock 'N Roll Star (Chris Hillman, Roger McGuinn) - 5:08
2. On This New Day (David Mercer, Kerry Scott) - 1:58
3. Bad Lands Of Ardguth (David Mercer, Kerry Scott) - 3:17
4. Regency Days (David Mercer, Kerry Scott) - 2:53
5. Hitchcock Railway (Don Dunn, Tony McCashen) - 5:13
6. This Good Life I Have Known (David Mercer, Kerry Scott) - 3:13
7. The Trapper (David Mercer) - 2:28
8. Daddy Rowlin (Dion DiMucci, Tony Fasce) - 4:16
9. Five O'Clock In The Morning (Kerry Scott) - 3:07
10.June Tremayne (David Mercer, Kerry Scott) - 3:23
11.Hitchcock Railway  (Don Dunn, Tony McCashen) - 4:31
Bonus Track 11

Anno Domini 
*Dave Mercer - Vocals, Guitar, Bass 
*Kerry Scott - Vocals, Harmonica, Percussion,  
*David "Tiger" Taylor - Guitar, Vocals

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Thursday, August 10, 2023

The Staton Brothers Band - The Staton Brothers Band (1972 us, beautiful harmonized folk rock)

Produced by John Simon, 1972's cleverly-titled "The Staton Brothers Band" with several of these tracks were quite good in an imitative way.  Largely written by Jeffrey Staton, 'S.F. To La', 'Take It Back' and 'I Need To Be Alone' showcased lots of strumming acoustic guitars, catchy melodies, and four-part harmony vocals.

The time the Staton Brothers record was released there was a major record strike on the west coast and as a result, no distribution.  The record climbed the charts in the SF Bay area, but no one was able to get a copy of it.  The records sat undistributed for over two months. 
The band did tour all over the US and focused largely on the east coast.  When they returned from the tour, no records had been distributed.
Jeff Staton who is now Jeff Jones went on to not only tour with Stephen Bishop and Art Garfunkel, and now has mainly focused on writing.  He wrote several songs for Alabama - Calling All Angels - which went gold, Brooks & Dunn, and is currently writing and composing in Nashville, TN.
Mike Staton also lived in Nashville, recorded several CD's, and was the driving force behind the local Rockabilly Radio Show in Nashville. 
Donny Mederos not only plays with the Blues Defenders, he is also the bass player for Mississippi Blues Man Johnny Rawls on the west coast. 
Bad Cat
1. S.F. To L.A. - 3:05
2. Take It Back - 3:03
3. April - 4:00
4. No One Listens   -  3:14
5. I Need To Be Alone - 3:21
6. Four Days Gone (Stephen Stills) - 4:22 
7. Mobile Blues (Mickey Newbury) - 3:04
8. One Man Woman - 2:10
9. Mother Nature's Son (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 3:59
10.Ooh Did I Miss Her  - 2:42
11.Night In The City (Joni Mitchell) - 4:04
12.Bridge Of Your Faith - 5:56
All songs by Jeffrey Staton except where stated

The Staton Brothers Band
*Hal Atkinson  -  Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals, Percussion, Congas
*Donny Mederos  -  Bass, Backing Vocals, Dobro Guitar
*Jeffrey Staton (Aka Jeff Jones)  -  Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Piano
*Michael Staton  -  Vocals, Lead Guitar 
*John Simon - Orchestral Arrangements

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Bobby ''Blue'' Bland - His California Album (1973 us, magnificent soulful electric blues, BGO remaster)

In 1973 Bland's previous label Duke Records was incorporated by ABC Dunhill. Bland isn't thrilled at first, but when he learns that Steve Barri will be producing his next album, he agrees. His California album is the first for the new hosts and also marks Bland's transition from classic to modern soul. The opulent arrangements typical of modern soul came from Michael Omartian, who had the best studio musicians in Los Angeles at his disposal at ABC.

Bobby Bland's bluesy vocals fit into this sound like a made bed. By the way, it's no wonder that he brings the blues into soul. Because Bland learned his craft in the clubs of the legendary Beale Street in Memphis, where he also worked with B.B. King.

The ten-song album climbed to number three on the Black Album Charts in 1973. Two single releases, namely "Goin' down slow" and "This time I'm gone for good" also hit the charts. Bobby "Blue" Bland's  California album is just waiting to be rediscovered. 
1. This Time I'm Gone For Good (Deadric Malone, Oscar Perry) - 3:32
2. Up And Down World (Deadric Malone, Vernon Morrison) - 3:33
3. It's Not The Spotlight (Barry Goldberg, Gerry Goffin) - 3:52
4. (If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want To Be Right (Luther Ingram, Mack Rice) - 3:50
5. Goin' Down Slow (James D. Odom) - 5:35
6. The Right Place At The Right Time (Deadric Malone) - 2:55
7. Help Me Through The Day (Leon Russell) - 3:50
8. Where Baby Went (Deadric Malone) - 3:19
9. Friday The 13th Child (David Clayton Thomas) - 3:14
10.I've Got To Use My Imagination (Barry Goldberg, Gerry Goffin) - 4:14

*Bobby "Blue" Bland  - Vocals
*Mel Brown  - Guitar
*Ben Benay  - Guitar
*Max Bennett  - Bass
*Ginger Blake  - Vocals
*Larry Carlton  - Guitar
*David Cohen  - Guitar
*Wilton Felder  - Bass
*Chuck Findley  - Horn
*Ed Greene  - Drums
*Paul Hubinon  - Horn
*Dick Hyde  - Horn
*Jackie Kelso  - Horn
*Jack Kelson, Jr.  - Horn
*Michael Omartian  - Keyboards, Organ, Piano
*Dean Parks  - Guitar
*Sid Sharp  - Concert Master, Strings
*Julia Tillman Waters  - Vocals
*Julia Tillman  - Vocals 
*Ernie Watts  - Horn
*Maxine Willard Waters  - Vocals