Monday, February 26, 2024

Arc - ...At This (1971 uk, powerfull dual guitar classic rock with blues and prog shades, 2009 remaster)

Arc formed when guitarist John Turnbull and keyboardist Micky Gallagher, both recently of Skip Bifferty, teamed with bassist/singer Tom Duffy and drummer David Montgomery.

Turnbull and Gallagher first partnered up in 1966 when their respective bands, The Primitive Sect and The Chosen Few, merged into a new band, Skip Bifferty. That band endured itself to the psychedelic underground with three singles and a 1968 self-titled album on RCA Victor. Breaking from their management, they masqueraded as Heavy Jelly for the epic 1969 Island single “I Keep Singing That Same Old Song.” Later that year, the Bifferty camp split in two when bassist Colin Gibson and singer Graham Bell formed the short-lived Griffin.

In 1970, Turnbull and Gallagher recorded an album of covers by American singer/songwriter Tim Harding. (Though initially shelved, a 1972 single on Peacock Records acquitted two cuts, “Smugglin Man” and “Misty Roses,” under the name Turnbull and Arkwright.)

The album features nine originals, eight co-written by Turnbull and Gallagher, including “Hello, Hello, Monday,” “Great Lager Street,” “Let Your Love Run Through,” “You’re In the Garden,” “Sophie’s Cat,” and “Four Times Eight.” Duffy contributed the second track on side one, “It’s Gonna Rain.”

… at This is a self-produced effort. Gallagher plays guitar on select passages, in addition to piano and organ. The three writers share vocal duties. The cover sports a black-framed group photo, taken in a football field by Decca photographer David Wedgbury.

Later in 1971, Montgomery cleared out for drummer Rob Tait, formerly of the Battered Ornaments and Pete Brown and Piblokto! He also played on recent albums by Kevin Ayers and Paul Korda.
1. Let Your Love Run Through - 4:54
2. It's Gonna Rain (Tom Duffy) - 4:08
3. Four Times Eight - 3:15
4. An Ear Ago - 4:29
5. Great Lager Street - 3:56
6. Hello, Hello, Monday - 7:11
7. Perfectly Happy Man - 5:56
8. Sophie's Cat - 3:07
9. You're In The Garden - 4:51
All songs by John Turnbull, Mick Gallagher except where indicated

*John Turnbull - Vocals, Guitar, Percussion
*Mick Gallagher - Vocals, Piano, Organ, Guitar
*Tom Duffy - Vocals, Bass
*David Montgomery - Drums, Percussion

Related Acts
1966-69  Skip Bifferty - The Story of Skip Bifferty (double disc edition) 
1970  Brian Davison - Every Which Way (2010 edition) 

Thee Sixpence - Step By Step (1966-67 us, rough garage rock, Akarma issue)

Thee Sixpence was a garage rock/psych band that released a few singles in 1966-7 before recording "Incense And Peppermints", changing their name to Strawberry Alarm Clock, and achieving a fluke #1 hit. Most of the key musicians in the latter band were members at least part of the time in Thee Sixpence.

Beginning with "Long Days Care" b/w "Can't Explain" in the summer of 1966, Thee Sixpence went on to release a total of ten songs in roughly as many months. The last two of these, "The Birdman Of Alkatrash" b/w "Incense And Pepermints" [sic], were re-released by Uni after the band had changed their name to Strawberry Alarm Clock; the a- and b-sides of the record were also reversed, reflecting the rapidly growing popularity of the original single's b-side. All of Thee Sixpence's 45s were released on the small All American label, though at least one, "Fortune Teller" b/w "My Flash On You", was also released on Dot.

Musically, Thee Sixpence was a rambunctious garage/punk band in the mold of the Leaves, the Standells, and early Love. In fact, the band recorded two of Arthur Lee's songs from Love's eponymous 1966 debut LP, "Can't Explain" and "My Flash On You". (Another Thee Sixpence recording, of "Hey Joe", may be seen as a de facto third Love cover.) The ten songs available by Thee Sixpence show obvious and remarkable progress over the band's short career; where their first single is exciting but just manages to hold things together, by the end Thee Sixpence was experimenting with daring arrangements, varied song structures, and much more assured playing.

Along the way, Thee Sixpence also released a real lost psychedelic classic, the haunting, horrifying "In The Building". Strawberry Alarm Clock themselves rarely exceeded the weirdness of this piece, and although the recording is somewhat crude in a late-66 kind of way, "In The Building" benefits from its earnest, untutored performance.

Thee Sixpence eventually added Mark Weitz on keyboards, and the Strawberry Alarm Clock sound proper was borne. The band brought in Randy Seol on drums, and along with long-time members Ed King, Lee Freeman, and Gary Lovetro, the Clock was set and worldwide fame, not to mention further audacious musical explorations, were continued right under the noses of listeners everywhere.
1. Long Days Care (Gale Stedge) - 2:01
2. Can't Explain (Arthur Lee, John Echols, John Fleckenstein) - 2:14
3. Fortune Teller (Neville Minute) - 2:17
4. My Flash On You (Arthur Lee) - 1:57
5. In The Building (Gegast, Lamito) - 2:58
6. Hey Joe (Billy Roberts) - 2:32
7. Heartfull Of Rain (Bill Holmes) - 2:15
8. First Plane Home (Ray Davies) - 1:57
9. Incense And Peppermints (Ed King, John Carter, Mark Weitz, Tim Gilbert) - 2:49
10.Birdman Of Alkatrash (Mark Weitz) - 2:11
11.The World's On Fire (Bill Holme, Ed King, Mark Weitz) - 8:25

Thee Sixpence
Lee Freeman - Lead Vocals (1,2,4,6,8), Rhythm Guitar (7,9-11), Harmonica (8)
Steve Rabe - Lead Guitar (1-6, 8)
Ed King - Rhythm Guitar (1-6,8), Lead Guitar (7,9-11)
Mike Luciano - Lead Vocals (3,5), Tambourine (1,6)
Gary Loverto - Bass
Gene Gunnels - Drums (1-9)
Greg Munford - Organ (7,9-11), Lead Vocals (9)
Mark Weitz - Lead Vocals (7, 10), Tambourine (10)
Randy Seol - Drums (10-11), Lead Vocals (11)
George Bunnell – Flute (11)
Randy Seol - Vibraphone (11)
George Bunnell – Bass (11)

Related Acts
1968  Strawberry Alarm Clock - Wake Up...It's Tomorrow
1968-69  Strawberry Alarm Clock - The World In A Sea Shell / Good Morning Starshine
1969  Strawberry Alarm Clock - Good Morning Starshine