Friday, September 29, 2023

Morning Dew - No More (1966-69 us, tight, dynamic garage psych, 2009 release)

The Morning Dew's body of work provides a compelling object lesson in how far into the ether the average American rock dude would drift over the course of the 1960s. Early in that fabled decade, lead guitarist Mal Robinson and drummer Don Sligar played together in a Ventures-influenced instrumental combo called the Impax and a pair of blue-eyed R&B acts, the Runaways and the Durations. Robinson and Sligar then joined forces with bassist Don Shufford to form a folk-rock band, the Toads, which in 1966 would evolve into the Morning Dew with the addition of guitarist Don Anderson. 

The Morning Dew started out as a swaggering garage rock outfit before embracing the fuzzy sounds and sonic wanderlust of psychedelia late in the decade. They cut an album for Roulette that was released in 1970, not long before the band called it quits, but No More 1966-1969 collects several small label singles and demo sessions the band recorded in the years before that album, and while most of the stuff here is strong if not exactly mind-bending rock & roll from the Middle of America, the group's creative progress is inarguably fascinating. 

The opening cuts, "No More" and "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone" (modeled after Paul Revere and the Raiders, not the Monkees) are classic sneering garage rock, and Robinson's vocals and lead work are a cut above the average, but by the time they recorded "Winter Dreams" (complete with an autoharp) and "Sycamore Dreamer" (a slick number with flute, violin, and wah-wah guitar adding to the trippiness), they might not have been dropping acid but they were listening to enough bands who did to pick up the influences, and they carried them off pretty well. 

By the time this disc has come to a close, the Morning Dew have transformed themselves into Topeka's answer to the Strawberry Alarm Clock, and on "Lady Soul," "Money Honey Blues," "Rainbow Women," and a cover of the Youngbloods' "Get Together" that drips with panning, they sounded as expert as their big-city compatriots and hip enough to pass for actual hippies in dim light. For fans of vintage garage and psychedelic rock, No More 1966-1969 is a solid collection that captures a lesser-known band in fine form, while for sociologists, the Morning Dew provide an absorbing case study in the freaking out of Young America. Either way, it's well worth a listen. 
by Mark Deming
1. No More - 2:41
2. I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone (Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart) - 2:17
3. Touch Of Magic - 2:26
4. Look At Me Now - 2:36
5. No More - 2:46
6. Be A Friend - 3:43
7. Go Away - 2:53
8. Winter Dreams - 2:18
9. Sycamore Dreamer - 3:45
10.Then Came The Light - 4:01
11.Cherry Street - 4:26
12.Rainbow Woman - 4:00
13.Lady Soul - 3:07
14.Money Honey Blues - 2:49
15.Sing Out - 2:57
16.Young Man - 2:38
17.Get Together (Dino Valenti) - 4:17
18.KEWI Radio July, 1967 Tour Interviews - 6:14
19.Look At Me Now - 2:52
All songs by Malcolm Robinson except where noted

The Morning Dew
*Malcolm Robinson - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Don Sligar - Drums
*Don Anderson - Rhythm Guitar
*Don Shufford - Bass

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Garland Jeffreys And Grinder's Switch - Garland Jeffreys And Grinder's Switch (1970 puerto rico / us, intelligent combined reggae, blues and idiosyncratic country-rock amalgams)

As a child of black, white and Puerto Rican heritage growing up in the ‘50s, Jeffreys was raised on everything from R&B to the first bursts of rock and roll to “God Bless America” crooner Kate Smith (who gets a shout-out in the new album’s title track, by virtue of having been a daily TV favorite of his grandfather’s). He fell in with a more literary crowd once his blue-collar father made enough money to send him to Syracuse. Once he started making his own music, Jeffreys never became any easier to nail down. As a folkie, he played Village nightspots like the Bitter End and the Gaslight, before recording his first album as a member of the short-lived Woodstock-based group Grinder’s Switch for Vanguard in 1970.

Garland Jeffreys made his disc debut as the leader of the band Grinder's Switch on Vanguard Records in 1970. By the evidence of its ten Jeffreys-composed songs, he and the group had spent a lot of time listening to the Band's Music from Big Pink and the batch of songs Bob Dylan had developed with the Band in the late '60s, including "The Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo)." Jeffreys, Ernest Corallo, and Stan Szelest approximated the Band's rough vocal trio of Levon Helm, Rick Danko, and Richard Manuel, and the country-rock musical arrangements, with their prominent organ and piano work by Szelest, also strongly recalled the sound of the Band. (Szelest actually joined a later lineup of the Band, appearing on their 1993 album, Jericho.) Jeffreys had some clever and amusing things to say in his lyrics, marking him as the singer/songwriter he would develop into later. But upon release, Garland Jeffreys and Grinder's Switch was so much of a clone of the Band that it was hard to separate it out as the work of an independent entity. 
by William Ruhlmann
1. Sister Divine - 4:45
2. Father, The Son, And The Holy Ghost - 3:56
3. Won't Ya Come Back Home - 2:26
4. Dear Jolly Jack - 3:41
5. And Don't Be Late - 2:42
6. An Imaginary Invalid - 4:05
7. Last Night I Drove Down To The Bar (Women And Wine) - 2:09
8. Evening - 1:52
9. They Call Me Fortune And Fame - 2:17
10.Seven Sleepers' Den - 7:40
All songs by Garland Jeffreys

*Garland Jeffreys - Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
*Ernie Corallo - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Steel Guitar, Mandolin
*Richard Davis - Bass
*Sanford Konikoff - Drums
*Bob Piazza - Bass
*Stan Szelest - Vocals, Harmonica, Organ, Piano

Monday, September 25, 2023

rep> Johnny Lunchbreak - Appetizer / Soup's On (1974-75 us, amazing guitar garage psych rock)

Johnny Lunchbreak, never even released an album. The band had roots at King Philip Junior High in West Hartford, Conn., and their story is a prototype for thousands of groups-- start out playing because it's fun, get serious, find success elusive (complete with cool reception by the NYC press), call it quits in frustration when you realize that feeding your child is more important than gigging at bars in Vernon for chump change. 

But what most of those other bands didn't have was an album's worth of really good, unique songs that show a band tantalizingly close to a breakthrough. "Tinsel Days" has a colossal power pop hook and a great independent bassline, but the killer is "Not a Dry Eye in America", which shows off their harmonies and fakes you into believing it's a ballad before ramping up to a moody, blues-inflected climax. The recording quality is clean but not clear (these are demos in the true sense), but these guys had it, and it shows through the relatively murky sound.
by Joe Tangari
1. A Very Papal State - 5:33
2. Tinsel Days - 3:50
3. The Same Could Happen To You - 2:42
4. Never Found - 2:29
5. It's Got A Hold On You (Tom Ekwurtzel) - 5:16
6. Take Me Baby (John Gengras) - 3:36
7. Amazing Pain (Tom Ekwurtzel) - 3:24
8. Not A Dry Eye In America - 4:06
9. The Best That I Had - 5:43
All songs by Andrew Merritt except otherwise stated.

Johnny Lunchbreak
*Andrew Merritt - Guitar, Vocals, Drums
*Michael Clare - Bass
*John Gengras - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Guy Gengras - Drums, Vocals, Congas
*Tom Ekwurtzel - Guitar, Piano, Moog

Free Text

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Genya Ravan - Goldie Zelkowitz (1974 us, essential funky blues rock, 2008 remaster)

When you hear the great blues singer Genya Ravan totally capture Gregg Allman's "Whipping Post," you realize that his melody needed a vocal that could bring the song way over the bar. Ravan's voice does just that, hits the home run while gliding through the dense production of Gabriel Mekler, the man who produced Janis Joplin's I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama. It's the combination of Mekler's guidance and Ravan's musical instincts that give immense power to this 1974 release titled after Ravan's birth name, Goldie Zelkowitz. 

The version of the Allman Brothers' classic is a total reinterpretation, but it is only one of ten selections that are arguably the best setting for this pioneer vocalist. "Get It Back" is funky and hip with dance rhythms that are adventurous and futuristic; the song has pull like an undertow, and the production is so polished it will amaze. Mekler was one of the most underrated producers of his day, and the Kozmic Blues album was a masterpiece overshadowed by Cheap Thrills and Pearl. It seems like Mekler had something to prove and, with co-producer Trevor Lawrence, he augments Ravan's vocal prowess, the band aiding and abetting her as she takes "Hold On I'm Coming" and makes it her own. A dazzling recording that sounds like Quicksilver Messenger Service doing Big Mama Thornton's "Ball and Chain" with drums out of Charlie Watts on "Let It Bleed" -- this makeover of the Sam & Dave hit is a monster track. "Whipping Post" was great but this "Hold On I'm Coming" just obliterates everything in its path.

While Ten Wheel Drive experimented with various styles, their former lead singer has the opportunity here to focus and to strut her stuff away from the confines of a big, big rock band, giving listeners a side of Ravan that is only hinted at on Urban Desire, one of her most popular solo albums, which arrived a few years after this. "Letter" is like a subdued "Stay With Me" from the TWD days, while "Breadline" takes the disc even deeper into the blues. "Walkin' Walkin'" is snappy, intimate dance-pop that gives good balance to an album boasting Danny Kortchmar on guitar and Bobby Keyes on horns. "Need Your Lovin'" segues into a mini-medley with "Peeping and Hiding" finding Ravan's voice in complete control, and boy can she play the harmonica. 

Her catalog remains one of the most unmined vaults of treasures in rock/blues history, and this album needs to be the centerpiece of a boxed-set appreciation of Genya Ravan. It is so overwhelmingly good that, with a push to the blues market, it can find a new audience for this major and underrated talent. The singer's legacy is intact at and Goldie Zelkowitz is an often overlooked chestnut in her impressive catalog, an album that needs to get serious attention from those who understand this art form and who want another album to cherish.
by Joe Viglione
1. My Oh My My Mama (Catherine C. Williamson, Gabriel Mekler, Trevor Lawrence) - 4:08
2. Whipping Post (Gregg Allman) - 4:25
3. Get It Back (Gabriel Mekler, Genya Ravan, Trevor Lawrence) - 3:10
4. Hold On I'm Coming (David Porter, Isaac Hayes) - 4:22
5. Little By Little (Gabriel Mekler, Genya Ravan, Trevor Lawrence) - 3:33
6. Letter (Catherine C. Williamson, Gabriel Mekler, Trevor Lawrence) - 4:38
7. Breadline (Catherine C. Williamson, Gabriel Mekler, Trevor Lawrence) - 3:40
8. Walkin' (Catherine C. Williamson, Gabriel Mekler, Genya Ravan, Trevor Lawrence) - 2:36
9. Need Your Lovin / Peeping And Hiding (Bobby Robinson, Clarence Lewis, Don Gardner, James McDougal, Morris Levy) - 2:39

*Genya Ravan - Harmonica, Percussion, Vocals
*Fred Beckmeier - Bass
*Steve Beckmeier - Guitar
*Mailto Correa - Percussion
*Gwen Edwards - Vocals
*Abigale Haness - Vocals
*Bobby Keys - Saxophone
*Danny Kortchmar - Guitar
*Trevor Lawrence - Horn, Keyboards
*Steve Madaio - Horn
*Ken Marco - Guitar
*Gabriel Mekler - Keyboards
*Larry Nash - Keyboards
*Kenneth "Spider Webb" Rice - Drums
*William D. "Smitty" Smith - Keyboards
*Catherine C. Williamson - Vocals

1971  Genya Ravan - Genya Ravan (Remaster)
Related Act
1969  Ten Wheel Drive - Construction #1 (2019 korean remaster)
1970  Ten Wheel Drive - Brief Replies (2019 korean remaster)

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Various Artists - Vintage Psychedelia From The Music City (1968-69 us, wonderful sunny beat psych, 2008 release)

For about 15 years, in the 1990’s and the early 2000’s, wonderful 50s/60s  compilations of tracks from the small labels of Nashville appeared on a number of reissue labels in Europe, mostly Holland and Germany, licensed from the archives of Bluesland Productions, run by the superb bluesman Fred James, who is well-known for his exciting collaborations/productions with veteran blues and R&B artists such as Frank Frost, Homesick James, and the “Excello R&B Legends,” Clifford Curry, Earl Gaines, and Roscoe Shelton. Any album James recorded with these men is worth getting, and the Gaines and Shelton discs have rarely been far from my turntable/cd-player over the years. However, Mr. James is also an archivist and controls the rights to the material found on a number of Nashville-based small labels, with material spanning a number of genres: blues, R&B, rocknroll, pop, country, bluegrass, rockabilly, country-rock, jump blues, etc. We can look at those other genres in other posts (and I hope we will, it’s a large and stunning body of work that’s little commented on), but now I’d like to discuss an odd but fascinating album that crept out in Germany eleven years back and has received little attention.

The focus here is on Nashville’s SPAR label. Best known for its soundalike budget covers of various hits (most record collectors have stumbled across a number of Spar 45’s over the years, particularly if you are in or close to The South), Spar also recorded original material, and there is a mixture of both on this 20-track album. The core of the album, and the finest material on it, is singles by three bands, The Network (whose single was produced by the great George Motola, of Jesse Belvin fame, who’d moved to Nashville and brought his A-game to this session), Charley Romans Seventh Plane, and The Mad Tea Party, groups about which little is known, but the little that is known is covered well in James’ liner notes. 

They are first rate, trippy soft-psych material that would fit well on a FADING YELLOW or SOFT SOUNDS FOR GENTLE PEOPLE comp.  In fact, I’m sure at least one of the songs is on one of those comps, as I’ve heard TWO of these songs but I’ve never owned the actual singles. They are intelligent songs, well-performed and well-arranged, but with that wonderful small-label ambiance that makes all the difference. And the album’s programmers were smart to put these as tracks 1 and 2 (great lead-off makes one favorable toward the album), tracks 5 and 6, and tracks 9 and 10. With that much excellent material in the first half of the album, the many entertaining but thin soundalike covers by The Electric Screwdriver are easier to swallow. Of course, being quickie recordings, they really DO NOT sound “alike” to the originals, and from our perspective today, it’s the differences that make listening worthwhile. I particularly like the “bubblepunk” vocal on “Instant Karma,” which makes it sound like something from the Kasenetz-Katz stable. The covers of Hush, Come Together, Born To Be Wild, and Crimson and Clover are all well done and capture the essence of the originals while sounding different enough to be of interest to today’s collectors. 

The covers of “Love Is Blue” and Jose Feliciano’s version of “Light My Fire” are not really psych by any definition, or even rocknroll, but as they are mixed among other quality material, they are quite tasty….and have that unique, off-kilter flavor one finds with budget-label cover versions, which I have actively collected and enjoyed for decades. For instance, the version of Paul Mauriat’s elevator music classic “Love Is Blue” is arranged to feature fewer musicians than the original (which makes economic sense on a quickie cover), so a solo classical guitar is featured throughout and there is no orchestra. The guitarist’s playing—maybe someone who played on a Nashville country session across town the same day—is beautiful, and I’d love to hear a full album of him/her playing the hits of the day. You take fine artistry wherever you find it.

Southern psychedelia sounds nothing like psychedelia from other parts of the USA—-I was reminded of that fact again recently while reading about LITTLE PHIL AND THE NIGHTSHADOWS in UGLY THINGS #51…. only a band from the South could produce an album like their totally original with a debt to no other band THE SQUARE ROOT OF TWO…. or something like THE ELECTRIC TOILET‘s album IN THE HANDS OF KARMA (a favorite of mine since the 70’s)… or the various bands who recorded for Shelby Singleton’s family of labels (Charly did a fine sampling of that material on a 2-cd set a few years back called ALICE IN WONDERLAND: THE GREAT SOUTHERN POP-SIKE TRIP). Maybe it’s the fact that so many Southern bands have deep roots in soul/gospel and in R&B flavored frat-rock—-you decide. Even the Spar cover of “Magic Carpet Ride”, credited to THE ELECTRIC SCREWDRIVER, reflects that unique approach to psych South of the Mason-Dixon Line.

There are three fine trippy singles (six songs), mixed in with excellent sound-alike covers of psych-tinged classics (Magic Carpet Ride, Crimson and Clover, etc.), mixed in with other Spar Records covers from the era (Love In Blue, Games People Play, etc.). I should also mention the fine cover of fellow Tennesseans THE BOX TOPS’ hit SWEET CREAM LADIES, by a Spar studio group called THE CHORDS (on some other records spelled THE CORDS), which was originally on the B-side of a cover of “Build Me Up Buttercup” credited to The Fantastics. 

Perhaps the best way to appreciate this album is to imagine you are listening to some low-wattage Nashville radio station in an alternate universe circa 1969 in a dream  you don’t want to end, in a world where all the windows are crooked, the milk is watery, and all the newspapers are printed off-center. Or maybe you hit a junk store outside Nashville circa 1972 with a large haul of random Spar Records-related material, and you’re playing it in no particular order. However you view it, fans who can go from pop-sike to budget-label covers of “Magic Carpet Ride” and “Instant Karma” without missing a beat will be as excited about this album as I’ve been for the last eleven years. You’re unlikely to find a copy of either ELECTRIC SCREWDRIVER album in the wild easily (I’ve never owned them, though I’ve owned maybe 20 Spar singles at one time or another over the years), so here’s your chance to hear the cream of that material….and some first-rate original pop-sike singles from Music City USA.
by Bill Shute, September 1, 2019
Artist - Track - Composer
1. The Network - The Boys And The Girls (Mark Charron) - 2:50
2. The Network - Ears Of Stone (Charlie Romans, Dan Sullivan) - 2:49
3. The Electric Screwdriver - Hush (Joe South) - 3:53
4. The Electric Screwdriver - Crimson And Clover (Peter Lucia, Tommy James) - 3:13
5. Charley Romans Seventh Plane - There's A Place (Charley Romans) - 2:24
6. Charley Romans Seventh Plane - Time To Realize (Charley Romans, Herbie Busby) - 2:21
7. The Electric Screwdriver - Magic Carpet Ride (John Kay, Rushton Moreve) - 2:45
8. Bobby Russell - It Sure Took A Long Long Time (Kent Lavoie) - 2:56
9. The Mad Tea Party - It's A Bliss To Be Alive (Paul Richard Godknecht) - 2:58
10.The Mad Tea Party - Keep It In Your Mind (Paul Richard Godknecht) - 3:12
11.The Chords - Sweet Cream Ladies (Bobby Weinstein, Jon Stroll) - 2:18
12.The Electric Screwdriver - Light My Fire (Jim Morrison, John Densmore, Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger) - 2:56
13.Jack Eubanks - Lve Is Blue (André Popp, Bryan Blackburn, Pierre Lemaire) - 2:44
14.The Electric Screwdriver - Istant Karma (John Lennon) - 3:14
15.The Electric Screwdriver - Come Together (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 3:47
16.The Electric Screwdriver - Hair (Galt MacDermot, Gerome Ragni, James Rado) - 3:12
17.The Electric Screwdriver - The Rapper (Dominic Ierace) - 2:30
18.The Electric Screwdriver With Jimmy Buffett - Na Na Hey Hey (Dale Frashuer, Gary DeCarlo, Paul Leka) - 3:31
19.The Electric Screwdriver - Born To Be Wild (Mars Bonfire) - 3:02
20.The Electric Screwdriver - Games People Play (Joe South) - 3:16

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Texas - Texas (1973 us, awesome groovy rural, brass, roots rock)

Texas was put together in August  1974, with Osier, Deaton, Mace Maben and Frank  Gilckin on guitars and Jerry Moore keyboards. But  the roots of the band stretch back through years and  much experience on the part of its members. It had  its origins in a band formed in 1968 by Osier and  Maben in Fort Worth named Courtship. Courtship  lasted three years, culminating in an album for  Capital Records, “Comment ” and a national tour  with Three Dog Night in 1970. In 1971 the band had  signed with Motown and was looking for a new  name. At the same time, Jimmy Vaughn, whom the  Courtship members had known and played with at The Cellar in Fort Worth, had dissolved his group,  Texas, and so Courtship took that as their new name.

Texas recorded with Motown, before moving to LA. A lot of  recording was done, but nothing released. That incarnation of the band broke up in 1973, and the members went their  various ways: Deaton made an album as a singer  for the Lee Pickens group, and Osier and Maben went with a group named Bang where they met Frank Gilckin. Bang did  three albums for Capitol.

In 1974 Maben and  Osier found themselves back in Fort Worth and  without a band and decided to reform Texas. It was a seven- piece band, with a sax and two drums. This group  produced the album, “Texas ” and did another tour  with Three Dog Night. The band didn't last so Maben, Osier and Moore put together with  Deaton and Gilckin  a new band by the same name. 
1. L.A. Lights - 5:47
2. Man Oh Man - 3:44
3. Don't Love Have A Funny Way - 8:15
4. Tough Kid - 4:10
5. Rock 'N' Roll Eyes - 3:59
6. It's You My Love - 3:09
7. Burger King Blues - 7:55
All songs by Michael Maben, Gary Osier

*Michael Maben - Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Gary Miles - Bass
*Wesley Harris - Harmonica, Background Vocals
*Jerry Moore - Piano, Organ, Background Vocals
*Bob Anderson - Saxophone, Horn Arrangements, Background Vocals
*Tony Lee - Drums
*Gary Osier - Drums, Percussion

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Meal Ticket - Take Away (1978 uk / ireland, pleasant pub country rock)

Sunday afternoon at Watford’s legendary music venue, a good crowd has assembled to catch Half A Meal Ticket as they call themselves nowadays. Steve Simpson and Willy Finlayson, backed by a rotating cast of musicians regularly play pubs in south London (lucky inhabitants of TW and SW postcodes…). Willy and Steve for this occasion were backed by Malcolm Hoskins on bass, Alan Coulter (member of the last incarnation of Meal Ticket) on drums and the rather sublime Dean Barnes on guitar. Band’s catalogue (bar a CD release of their LP “Take Away” in 1989) had been unavailable since the original Vinyl releases.

1978 “Take Away” saw a major reshuffle in the band’s line-up as virtuoso guitar player Ray Flacke left and the rhythm section of Chris Hunt and Jack Brand was replaced by Alan Coulter and Rod Dennick, in an attempt to toughen up the band’s sound. It is a credit to Simpson’s talent that Flacke’s disappearance is hardly noticeable. As stated by Finlayson, the result is “a different but equally as good sound”. 

The luxurious instrumentation on “Down  On My Knees (After Memphis)” showcases Steve Simpson on Mandolin and Harmonica. Our two lead vocalists reach new heights with excellent performances by Rick Jones (“Lucy”) and Willy Finlayson (“Simple”). A rocking version of The Band’s “The Shape I’m In” was chosen as a single while the Bees Makes Honey songbook is ploughed again with “Get On Board”.
by Craig Chaligne, February 1, 2017 
1. Why In The World (Dave Pierce, Rick Jones, Steve Hammond) - 3:21
2. Down On My Knees (Mike Heron) - 4:08
3. Lucy - 4:29
4. Lonestar Motel (Dave Pierce, Rick Jones, Willy Finlayson) - 3:31
5. The Shape I'm In (Robbie Robertson) - 4:05
6. Blame - 2:45
7. Simple - 3:04
8. Bonnie Lee’s Dinette (Dave Pierce, Rick Jones, Steve Hammond) - 3:22
9. At The Funny Farm - 2:49
10.Get On Board (Barry Richardson) - 3:18
All songs by Dave Pierce, Rick Jones except where stated

Meal Ticket
*Willy Finlayson - Lead Vocals, Guitar
*Rick Jones - Lead Vocals, Keyboards
*Steve Simpson - Lead Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin, Harmonica
*Alan Coulter - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
*Rod Demick - Bass, Vocals 

Related Acts

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Sherbet - Time Change A Natural Progression (1972 australia, nice mixture of glam, prog, roots soft rock)

Daryl Braithwaite joined Sherbet in 1970, initially as a second lead vocalist. However, Laughlin left the band within a matter of months and Braithwaite then became Sherbet's sole lead singer. By early 1972, after much turnover, Sherbet's line-up had solidified to include lead vocalist Braithwaite, Shakespeare on guitar, bassist Tony Mitchell, keyboard player Garth Porter, and drummer Alan Sandow. The band released their first album ("Time Change...A Natural Progression") in 1972. The accompanying single "You've Got The Gun" (written by Shakespeare, Porter and Braithwaite) was Sherbet's first self-penned A-side, and charted at a respectable #27. 
1. You've Got The Gun (Clive Shakespeare, Daryl Braithwaite, Garth Porter) - 5:03
2. Thinkin' About You (Clive Shakespeare, Garth Porter, Tony Mitchell) - 4:09
3. Midnight Blues (Clive Shakespeare, Garth Porter) - 2:57
4. Do It (Clive Shakespeare, Garth Porter) - 2:13
5. Time Change (Alan Sandow, Clive Shakespeare, Daryl Braithwaite, Garth Porter, Tony Mitchell) - 5:49
6. Love The One You're With (Stephen Stills) - 4:54
7. Movie Star (Daryl Braithwaite, Garth Porter) - 3:06
8. Can You Feel It Baby (Roger Cook, Roger Greenaway) - 3:35
9. Free The People (Barbara Keith) - 2:43
10.You're All Woman (Ted Mulry) - 2:55

*Tony Mitchell - Bass, Vocals (Tracks 1-7,10)
*Alan Sandow - Drums
*Clive Shakespeare - Guitar, Vocals
*Garth Porter - Keyboards, Vocals
*Daryl Braithwaite - Vocals
*Bruce Worrall - Dass (Tracks 8,9)

Monday, September 18, 2023

Simon Stokes And The Black Whip Thrill Band - The Incredible Simon Stokes And The Blackwhip Thrill Band (1973 us, rough psych blues classic rock)

Raised by his grandparents in Reading, MA, Simon Stokes was seen by his peers as a loner or solitary child. By the age of ten he had become a sleepwalker. His grandfather would often take Stokes to see the Harry D. Stokes Orchestra, which was his introduction to music. In his teenage years, Stokes became influenced by the blues, often listening to a local DJ named Sid Symphony and attending all-night concerts. 

Stokes saw Big Mama Thornton and Hank Ballard among countless others, each having an impact on him. After entering a local songwriting contest and winning the top prize, Stokes ventured to Los Angeles in his early 20s. Beginning in 1965, Stokes recorded a number of 45s under names such as the Flower Children and Heathen Angels. At the same time, Stokes became a staff writer at Elektra Records. Forming a band called the Nighthawks, Stokes and MC5 signed to Elektra on the same day.

In 1973, Stokes released his debut album, Incredible Simon Stokes, on Spindizzy Records. The album was a psychedelic blues record in the vein of Captain Beefhart. That same year, Stokes released Simon Stokes & the Black Whip Thrill Band on Spindizzy. The album's cover was reportedly the first banned album cover in the United States. Featuring S&M scenes as well as females being whipped, the controversy created a cult following for the musician, especially among biker groups. Sadly Simon Stokes passed away December 13th 2020.
by Jason MacNeil
1. The Black Whip Thrill Band - 3:24
2. The Devil Just Called My Name - 3:26
3. Ride On Angel - 4:27
4. The Wolf Pack - 3:19
5. The Boa Constrictor Ate My Wife Last Night (Simon Stokes, Mars Keith) - 2:47
6. Good Times They Come - 0:25
7. Waltz For Jaded Lovers - 4:57
8. If I Wanted To - 3:32
9. Should I Have Married Peggy Sue - 3:06
10.She's Got The Voodoo - 2:47
11.Hot Summer Night In The City (Simon Stokes, Dale Ward) - 3:29
12.Ballad Of Lennie And George - 3:12
All compositions by Simon Stokes except where noted

The Black Whip Thrill Band
*Simon Stokes - Vocals 
*Don "Butch" Senneville - Guitar 
*Christian Pennick - Guitar 
*Marty Tryon - Bass 
*John Locke - Keyboards 
*Harry Garfield - Keyboards  
*Nathan Pino - Keyboards 
*Billy Goodnick - Drums
*Kathi McDonald - Vocals (Track 12)

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Michael Gately - Gately: Still 'Round (1972 us, fascinating melt of folk country jazz funky soft rock, 2013 korean remaster)

Michael Gately was born on October 28, 1942 in New Jersey and died on April 12, 1982 in Los Angeles, California. A visionary singer songwriter who made his debut with Al Kooper and released two pop masterpieces! He was a member of the songwriting team with Robert John, and also sang on the chorus of Al Kooper's and Lobo's solo albums. His mellow and delicate voice, in contrast to his reportedly huge 500-pound frame, captivated Al Kooper.
1. With You Today - 2:41
2. No Dry Change - 2:44
3. You Just Run Away (Michael Gately, Robert John) - 2:55
4. Did The Mornin’ Tell You - 3:09
5. You’re To Busy Being Free (Michael Gately, Robert John) - 3:09
6. Country Ladies - 2:12
7. I Couldn’t Of Loved You More (Michael Gately, Robert John) - 3:03
8. All Too True Blues - 2:19
9. Will You Be Here (Michael Gately, Robert John) - 2:55
10.I Don’t Know If I Should Love You (Lynn’s Song) - 2:57
11.But Then Again (Michael Gately, Robert John) - 2:25
All compositions by Michael Gately except where indicated

*Michael Gately - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
*Stu Woods - Bass
*Rick Marotta - Drums
*David Spinozza - Guitar
*Bhen Lanzaroni - Keyboards
*Rick Marotta - Percussion
*Robert John - Background Vocals
*Richard Grando - Sax
*Carmel Malignaggi - Strings
*Gene Orloff - Strings
*Joseph Malignaggi - Strings

Thursday, September 14, 2023

La Croix - La Croix (1972 us, marvelous rhythm 'n' blues, brass rock)


Jerry LaCroix was born October 10, 1943 in Alexandria, LA, and a 30-mile journey from his kinfolk's home in nearby Jena. His first musical exposure came by way of family. At early age LaCroix moved to Port Arthur and attended Port Arthur and Port Neches schools, he graduated from Port Neches-Groves High School in 1961 before going to Lamar University.

Although he was never a household name in his own right, LaCroix's soulful vocals made him a favorite performer for those in the know -- a group that, early in his career, included Columbia president Clive Davis, who not only presided over White Trash's deal with the label's Epic subsidiary, but ended up playing matchmaker between LaCroix and Blood, Sweat & Tears after White Trash fell apart. Although he'd just released his own solo album, 1974's 'The Second Coming,' he decided to abandon promotional efforts because, as he put it, "Blood, Sweat & Tears was going on a world tour and I hadn't seen the world."

Staying with the band long enough to contribute to their 1974 'Mirror Image' album, LaCroix soon left because, as he told Swampland, "they weren’t really a kick-ass band like White Trash was and I wasn’t happy." But just as quickly as he left one band, he joined another: Rare Earth's manager soon came calling, and as LaCroix recalled in the same interview, "He flew me out to L.A. and we talked a little bit and he said, 'Oh, by the way, tomorrow we’re going to be on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. You want to sing with us?' No rehearsal, no nothing. I just got on live TV and sang 'Get Ready.' He said and then, day after tomorrow, we’re going on tour. So I had to learn all of their songs in two days."

While LaCroix continued to enjoy local legend status in the Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coast region, he turned his back on the music industry after the '80s; at one point, he told Swampland, "I was living up in Oregon cutting wood. A guy had a 2000-acre ranch. It was just pristine but it wasn’t music." Returning to Texas to care for his ailing father, he started a new band, but he harbored no delusions of grandeur regarding that stage of his career. "I'm doing a compilation tape of things I've recorded in the past. A little package to give more or less as souvenirs to people who come to see us. Demos, if somebody wants to hear something," he mused in one late interview. "I'm also working on an anthology. I'm getting my own CD burner so I can make my own CDs and do them out of the back end of the Winnebago."

After the turn of the century, LaCroix dedicated himself to caring for his elderly mother, but in the summer of 2010, his own health took a turn for the worse. Local musicians banded together to help raise money for his medical care after he suffered congestive heart failure; he recovered enough to perform at his induction into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in January of 2012, but over time, his condition continued to deteriorate.

The man behind one of Southeast Texas' most noted, soulful voices enchanted the area for more than four decades, the "blue-eyed soul brother" never fully recovered, he passed away on May 7th, 2014.
1. On The Road Again - 3:25
2. Drivin' Wheel (B. B. King, JulesTaub) - 5:15
3. A Little Bit O' Trust (Edgar Winter, Jerry La Croix) - 4:39
4. New Orleans Song - 3:57
5. Marshall's Tune (Marshall  Cyr) - 3:25
6. Tired Of Feeling Sorry For Myself - 3:23
7. Ninety-Nine And A Half (Eddie L. Floyd, Steve Cropper, Wilson Pickett) - 3:41
8. Sexy Linda Lee - 2:50
9. I'd Like To Write A Song - 3:12
10.All Join Together - 6:30
All songs by Jerry La Croix except where stated

*Jerry La Croix - Lead Vocals, Harp, Saxophone, Piano
*Barry Rillera - Lead Guitar, Backgound Vocals
*Bobby Ramirez - Drums, Congas, Percussion
*George Sheck - Bass
*Jon Smith - Saxophone, Backgound Vocals
*Tilly Lawrence - Trumpet, Percussion
*Marshall Cyr - Trumpet, Percussion
*Jose Silva  - Bass (Tracks 1,2,7,9,10)
*Michael Omartian - Piano (Tracks 3,6)
*Greg Mathieson - Piano (Tracks 9,10),  Organ (Track 7)
*Gordon De Witty - Organ (Track 2)

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Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Chuck And Mary Perrin ‎- The Last Word (1967-70 us, gorgeous melodic folk rock, 2002 remaster)

The Last Word combines both of Chuck & Mary Perrin's privately pressed late-'60s albums (Next of Kin and Brother & Sister) onto one single-CD reissue, adding a couple of songs that appeared on the 1970 various-artists compilation The Peoria Folk Anthology, Vol. 3. Both of these albums by the Illinois brother-sister contemporary folk duo were privately pressed LPs, with a run of a mere 500 copies each. On Next of Kin, as was common for private pressings in those days, the production was basic, with just guitar and voice (with the exception of "To a Better Life," which has a minimal folk-rock arrangement with light percussion). But the sound was clear and spacious, and the music was pretty good close-harmony folk, somewhat reminiscent of a more naive Ian & Sylvia or Stone Poneys.

Though there's no rock instrumentation, it's far more folk-rock in inclination than it is traditional folk, both in the singing and the material, whether original or covers of songs by the Lovin' Spoonful, Eric Andersen, Donovan, and Ian & Sylvia themselves. The close harmonies have a nice slightly sad, bittersweet flavor, and Chuck Perrin's songwriting (whether working alone or in collaboration with others) has that mid-to-late-'60s combination of romantic optimism and wary introspection. Though there's a slight callowness that keeps it from reaching a major-league level, it's a nice and attractive record, recommended to '60s folk-rock fans in the mood for the gentlest, most unplugged side of that genre. It's also better than their full-band, more soft rock-ish second LP, Next of Kin (recorded a year later). 

Sunshine pop fans might well prefer Next of Kin to the far folkier debut, but this follow-up -- recorded in late 1969 a year after Brother & Sister had been cut -- was a letdown after the mild promise of its predecessor. It's a tame, at times drippy early soft rock/singer/songwriter-oriented album, slicking up the introspective, slightly melancholy close-harmony contemporary folk of their first album. Songs like "Sundance" have the escapist sentiments found throughout much sunshine pop, as well as the bordering-on-easy listening vocals and arrangements. It's not all marshmallow stuff, "Bye Bye Billy" reflecting the influence of Californian mellow rockers like Crosby, Stills & Nash (who sounded tough in comparison to the Perrins), and "Flying" affecting jazzier, more aggressive postures that nonetheless sound rather genteel. Of the two cuts from The Peoria Folk Anthology, Vol. 3, "Help Us Jesus" is dispensable, but "Saturday Morning" is a cheery acoustic number that sounds much more like their first LP than their second.
by Richie Unterberger
1. Commencement (Chris Ince, Chuck Perrin) - 3:26
2. Violets Of Dawn (Eric Andersen) - 2:57
3. Mornings - 3:26
4. You Knew All Along - 3:10
5. Don't Know Why I Love You Like I Do (Chuck Perrin, Mary Perrin) - 1:54
6. Song For Canada (Ian Tyson, Peter Gzowski) - 4:13
7. Babe Can You See (Chuck Perrin, Don Connors) - 2:31
8. Circus Of Sour (Donovan Leitch, Paul Bernath) - 2:41
9. Younger Generation (John Sebastian) - 2:46
10.To A Better Life (Chris Ince, Chuck Perrin) - 2:32
11.The Beginning - 0:40
12.Here Comes The Weekend Again - 2:21
13.Run Away With Me - 0:59
14.Sundance - 3:13
15.Bye Bye Billy - 2:21
16.Fugacity (Pat Garvey, Victoria Garvey) - 2:23
17.Reprise - 1:42
18.Dedication - 3:44
19.This Is Just To Say (William Carlos Williams) - 0:20
20.Dealer - 2:41
21.Flying - 2:27
22.This Is A Happy Song - 1:38
23.Statement - 0:53
24.The Beginning Again - 0:36
25.Saturday Morning - 4:06
26.Help Us Jesus (Jim Hardin) - 3:56
All songs by Chuck Perrin except where stated
Tracks 1-10 are from 1967 LP, "Brother And Sister"
Tracks 11-24 are from 1969 LP, "The Next Of Kin"
Tracks 25, 26 are taken from Various - The Peoria Folk Anthology - Volume Three.

*Mary Perrin - Vocals, Guitar
*Chuck Perrin - Vocals, Guitar
*Chris White - Electric Bass, Guitar (Tracks 1-10)
*Norm Zeller - Guitar (Tracks 11-24)
*Andy Wallace - Bass (Tracks 11-24)
*Dave Porter - Drums (Tracks 11-24)

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Supply Demand And Curve - Supply Demand And Curve (1976 ireland, sophisticated jazz influenced progressive rock, 2018 edition)

Dublin band with a long history dating back to 1970. Jolyon Jackson was an anglo-irish multi-instrumentalist who'd come to Dublin to study in the late '60s. Brian Masterson, the bands other mainstay, had played with Jackson and Roger Doyle in Jazz Therapy in 1969 before forming SD&C in 1970. 

The 1970-75 period is largely undocumented though SD&C were very active during these years. They played the Foxrock Folk Club on at least three occasions: 29 Feb 1971, 5 December 1971 and 2 April 1972. Gigs at this club were regularly recorded on reel-to-reel by one of the organisers. It is not yet known if any of SD&C's gigs were recorded (they were listed in the announcement of the RTE radio documentary series but not actually included in the programs themselves). If anyone has these recordings, please get in touch. Supply Demand and Curve also played the pop concert organised as part of Human Need Week at the Examination Hall in TCD on 9 February 1971 with The Chosen Few, Thin Lizzie and The Junk. In the report in The Irish Times of February 10th, the band was described as "...representing the present trend towards conscious artistry within popular limits that had to emerge from the anything-will-do scene of recent years". 

They appeared at the Rock in the Hollow Free Open Air Concert held at Blackrock Park, Dublin, on 8 August 1971 with Thin Lizzy, Horslips, Elmer Fudd, Gypsy Rock and Mellow Candle. This gig may also have been recorded. SD&C appeared on RTE at least twice, once as the trio pictured above with Paddy Finney (vocals, guitar, whistle) who was a member circa 1972, and once on Tangents with Roger Doyle (drums) (also in Jazz Therapy), who joined in the summer of 1972 and was with the band for at least a year, including the Canadian tour of March 1973. Jolyon Johnson subsequently appeared on Doyle's "Oizzo No" solo LP recorded in 1973. 

In January 1972 the band premiered Jolyon Jackson's 20-minue rock operetta "Fred and Mary" at the American Embassy in Dublin, an event organised by An Taisce. They were subsequently invited by the Arts Society of Trinity College Dublin to perform it again at the Exam Hall a few months later. During christmas 1972 the band rehearsed at a cottage in Enniskerry over several days and many of the sessions were recorded by Brian Masterson. There are undoubtedly many other demo and live recordings spanning the band's long career which with the right treatment would make an excellent box set. 

SD&C toured in Canada in March 1973 and supported Gay & Terry Woods on their Irish tour the same year. At one time or another the lineup included Rosemarie Taylor and Nigel Rolfe. By the time of their sole LP, the lineup was Jackson & Masterson with ace guitarist Greg Boland and drummer Paul McAteer. 

The debut LP finally emerged on Mulligan Records in 1976. It is usually described as 'Canterbury' style progressive by dealers usually asking for too much money for it. It is a good progressive rock LP with slight fusion and/or experimental touches a la Isotope. In 1977 this band appeared more or less as a unit on Midnight Well's LP (Mulligan Records), Sonny Condell's "Camouflage" LP (Mulligan Records) and Rosemarie Taylor's "Taylormaid" (ID Records). They backed Sonny Condell at Macroom '76. They split sometime in the late 70s. 

Jolyon Johnson guested on Gay & Terry Woods "Tender Hooks" (Mulligan) in 1978. In 1980 he recorded the seminal "Hidden Ground" album with fiddle-player Paddy Glackin (Tara Records) on which he plays and arranges all the music and instruments which frames Paddy Glackin's solo fiddle. He also appeared on Operating Theatre's two CBS singles released in 1980-81 and Scullion's "Balance And Control". And he wrote extensively for theatre and TV. He died in 1985. 

Greg Boland was later in Stagalee (1978-82), recorded four albums with Scullion (mid-80s), Bumper to Bumper (80s), Moving Hearts, the Davy Spillane Band and The Big Noise (1987-89), but he is probably best known now as a session musician. Paul McAteer also played with Stagalee. 
from Irish Bands
1. Changeling - 6:14
2. When You’re By Yourself - 6:20
3. Corea Guidance - 3:47
4. To Know To-Night - 3:04
5. Samuel - 5:25
6. Lunar Sea - 2:04
7. November The Third - 4:09
8. Ooh Gilbert! - 5:03
9. Freckle - 3:04
10.Cat On The Keys - 4:25
11.Precious Time - 4:28
All songs by Jolyon Jackson except track #6 written by Greg Boland

Supply Demand And Curve
Brian Masterson - Bass, Vocals
Jolyon Jackson -  Keyboards, Cello, Vocals, Recorder, Tin Whistle, Melodica
Greg Boland - Guitar, Backing Vocals, Whistle, Bells
Paul McAteer - Drums, Bongos, Percussion 
Rosemarie Taylor - Vocals (Track 4), Piano (Tracks 4, 10)
Michael Ward - Drums (Track 2)

Monday, September 11, 2023

Longbranch / Pennywhistle - Longbranch / Pennywhistle (1970 us, beautiful country soft rock)


John David Souther has been somewhat of a renaissance man since first appearing on the national scene in the 1960s. He's probably best known for his songwriting, and is a 2013 inductee of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. That's in part thanks to co-writing a number of hits by The Eagles, including the trio of Billboard No. 1s "Best of My Love, "Heartache Tonight" and "New Kid in Town." J.D. also had one monster hit of his own, "You're Only Lonely," a retro-rock breath of fresh air in the disco-hazed air of 1979.

Since the early '70s, Souther has released a handful of solo albums as well as a pair of discs with the Souther Hillman Furay Band, done session work and co-written songs with a long list of artists, and popped up in a few movies and recurring roles on television shows such as thirtysomething and the current hit Nashville. It's a more recent development that he's returned to recording albums, starting with 2008's If the World Was You. Souther is touring now too, and will stop in Madison for an early evening show at the Majestic Theatre on Saturday, September 7.

While Souther's recent recordings have incorporated some jazz sounds into the mix, he made his name as one of the architects of the California country-rock sound, originally built in the '60s by acts like The Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers and Rick Nelson but wildly popularized in the '70s by The Eagles. Souther's recording career goes back farther than his 1972 solo debut and Eagles work, though. There are a few singles by his teenage garage band from Amarillo, Texas, lurking in the shadows of time (check out John David and the Cinders "No Not My Heart" if you can find it). And the groundwork for his Eagles work was laid by a fairly obscure LP that quietly emerged on Amos Records in late 1969 or early 1970: Longbranch/Pennywhistle, who was the duo of Souther and future Eagles member Glenn Frey.

There are tons of lost country-rock LPs from the time period (heck, Don Henley has one of his own on Amos, with a group called Shiloh), but Longbranch/Pennywhistle is one of the more interesting examples of the genre. In addition to the lure of early songs by Souther and Frey (who wrote all but a James Taylor cover) the duo are backed by "heavy helpers" James Burton, Ry Cooder, Buddy Emmons, James Gordon, Doug Kershaw, Larry Knechtel and Joe Osborne. That's one heck of a band, folks.

The songs are mostly amiable 'tonkers with a couple ballads thrown in for good measure, and feature lots of nice Souther-Frey harmonies. One of the guitarists is also laying down some fine fuzz guitar, likely in an attempt to emulate the sound of Sneaky Pete Kleinow's pedal steel on the Burritos records. Considering the pros involved, the album was likely recorded pretty quickly -- I swear someone says "good enough" as the rocker "Run Boy Run" is fading down! -- but never comes across as lackadaisical, a trait encountered often on country rock albums from the time.

It was a solid debut, and the label must have done at least a bit of promotion. Mine's a radio station copy, and Amos did release a pair of singles from the album to no avail. So far, despite the fact that there's certainly lots of Eagles fans who would purchase it, Longbranch/Pennywhistle has never been reissued. 
by Bob Koch, September 1, 2013
1. Jubilee Anne (John David Souther) - 3:00
2. Run Boy, Run (Glenn Frey) - 2:58
3. Rebecca (Glenn Frey) - 2:45
4. Lucky Love (John David Souther) - 2:26
5. Kite Woman (John David Souther) - 2:30
6. Bring Back Funky Women (Glenn Frey, John David Souther) - 2:21
7. Star-Spangled Bus (John David Souther) - 3:10
8. Mister, Mister (John David Souther) - 4:10
9. Don’t Talk Now (James Taylor) - 3:18
10.Never Have Enough (John David Souther) - 3:52

*John David Souther - Guitar, Vocals
*Glenn Frey - Guitar, Vocals
*James Burton - Guitar
*Ryland P. Cooder - Guitar
*Buddy Emmons - Pedal Steel
*Larry Knechtel - Piano
*Joe Osborn - Bass
*Jim Gordon - Drums
*Doug Kershaw - Fiddle

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Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Tarantula - Tarantula (1969 us, stunning tight psych jazz brass rock)

What was quintessential can quickly fade. It then becomes the gift of those who decide where relevance exists, and there lies a problem. History is largely a composite, a construct by those who were not present. Much of what is deemed to be wholly representative of an era was largely ignored at the time: the poetry of Rimbaud, the paintings of Van Gogh or the songs of Nick Drake. Messages can take a long time to get through to receptive ears, and one such missive that remains in transit is Tarantula's sole album, from 1969.

It mattered little then, and matters little now, but it is a perfect freeze-frame of the dissolution and ideals of the Sixties. Wigged-out but flawlessly played, this much-ignored, authentic slab of pure psych-prog has a loose-limbed cohesion and is wonderfully weird. In terms of curio and masterpiece, this one exists as an authentic souvenir of the times: California, circa '68-69, just as the flowers start to wilt upon the heads they'd once adorned, and the string pops on the cheap strands of love beads. Unruly, crackers, and out to lunch, this was the soundtrack of uncertain lives. The times seemed to be blessed with optimism, but reality shatters every dream.

This is the last gasp of peace and love, but one whose final breath is imbued with the knowledge of impending darkness. Formed by ex-Spanky and Our Gang member Oz Bach, and produced by Chad Stuart of Chad and Jeremy fame, the album slithers all over the place like a divinely mad snake on the trip of a lifetime. Eastern influences, military drumming and pieces of pastoral delight combine to intoxicate and alienate in equal measure. This spider has been out in the sun too long, is both scary and mad, but wishes to infiltrate the eardrums and share the madness. Joining Bach on bass, were Steve Zwirm, drums, Tom Grasso, organ, Thad Maxwell, electric guitar, and Mike Edelman on vocals, flute and sax.

Inspired perversity stripped much of Tarantula's efforts of its obvious commerciality. The opening track "You" has successful single a la "Spirit in the Sky" written all over it, whilst "Electric Guru" is an adept exercise in bottling the mysticism and ideals of the era. "T.V. Repairman" sounds like Zappa auditioning for Hair. His diversity is referenced on much of the proceedings, but a bunch of also-ran Franks these boys were not. They possessed a strangely spiritual inclination, as betrayed in "Love Is for Peace," their only single. It's a mantra-like chant for space cadets of any era, right down to the Scottish reel they mange to rope into this diligent tapestry of insanity before abandoning it a few seconds later.

Perhaps the beautifully melancholic "Thoughts for Anne" betrayed too much of "Eleanor Rigby" to impress the purists of the day, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a finer song. Rarely have Americans managed to sound so chamber-gloomily English and haunted. The divinely titled and terribly louche "Peach Fuzz and Peppermints" sounds like something a stripper might have shaken her moneymaker to, in a 1930s sin bin, before descending into the kind of fuzzed-out intensity only Patti Smith now seems capable of generating.

"Red Herring," as the name suggests, goes all over the shops, but somehow manages to never topple into the abyss it so perilously skirts, whilst "Billie the Birdman" begins as pure Beatles in "Strawberry Fields" mode, but ends as a whimsical Blur at their most Parklife. The brief, sad smattering of applause at the track's demise, and that of the album, portended the meager portion of appreciation shown Tarantula. Things didn't translate into wider recognition and success, and they didn't cross the line from 1969 to '70. It is easy to see why they never hit anything resembling the big time. They probably weren't even attempting to, and may not have managed the consequences of success too well. Albums like this don't get made because of good sense and rational behavior, but they do betray impeccable timing and taste.

As Mr. Wilde once opined, "All things in moderation, especially moderation."

Tarantula thankfully gave free rein to their notions, albeit briefly, and left us a box of tricks worthy of Pandora. More Peach Fuzz everyone? 
by Robert Cochrane on March 12, 2008
1. You (Mike Edelman) - 3:24
2. Electric Guru (Mike Edelman) - 5:38
3. T.V. Repairman (Tom Grasso) - 2:43
4. Love Is For Peace (Oz Bach) - 6:37
5. Poison Dance (Tom Grasso) - 6:16
6. Thoughts For Anne (Oz Bach) - 2:44
7. Peach Fuzz And Peppermints (Tom Grasso) - 3:53
8. Red Herring (Mike Edelman, Tom Grasso) - 7:40
9. Billy The Birdman (Tom Grasso) - 3:29

*Tom Grasso - Piano, Organ, Vocals
*Mike Edelman - Electric Flute, Saxophone, Vocals
*Thad Maxwell - Electric Guitar, Vocals
*Oz Bach - Electric Bass, Vocals
*Steve Zwirn - Drums

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1966-70  Spanky And Our Gang - The Complete Mercury Recordings (2006 four discs box set)