Thursday, April 11, 2024

West Bruce And Laing - Why Dontcha (1972 canada / uk / us, power trio, hard bluesy classic rock, 2012 remaster)

Bassically, this is Mountain with layers of Cream in between. When Mountain crumbled, Jack Bruce replaced his former Cream associate Felix Pappalardi in the middle of Leslie West and Corky Laing. West, of course, was one of rock’s best guitarslingers and a solid blues vocalist to boot, but a strange sight to behold. The best that can be said of Laing is that he’s a better singer than Ginger Baker and a better drummer than Peter Criss. Add to that one eccentric English heroin addict, and you’d think that Why Dontcha would be ripe for disaster. Instead, the album continued Mountain’s winnings ways, entering the US Top 40 and generating enough interest for a followup and a live album.

Now, my interest in the trio really begins and ends with Bruce. West clearly has a boatload of talent, but the only song of his that connects with me on a deep level is “Love Is Worth The Blues.” The songs from Jack Bruce, on the other hand, are never less than interesting. I thought Harmony Row was brilliant if a bit strange, and the same genius is evident on “Out Into The Fields” and “Pollution Woman.” Bruce’s bass playing continues to be completely over the top–a holdover from the days of wine and Cream. He comes off the hinges at the end of “Third Degree,” and you don’t know whether to be amazed or appalled.

Honestly, without the Pappalardi connection, Bruce probably wouldn’t have set foot on this mountain. But he did, and gained a great guitarist in the bargain. Or, from another perspective, Mountain gained an erratic but entertaining star to pin on their power trio pedigree. Either way you look at it, West, Bruce & Laing is too interesting a combination to ignore. The end result is sort of CCR meets Cream without an obvious hit in sight, but with enough energy to make up for it.
by Dave Connolly, September 7, 2018
1. Why Dontcha - 3:04
2. Out Into The Fields (Pete Brown, Leslie West, Jack Bruce, Corky Laing) - 4:41
3. The Doctor (Leslie West, Jack Bruce, Corky Laing, Sue Palmer) - 4:29
4. Turn Me Over - 2:45
5. Third Degree (Eddie Boyd) - 5:16
6. Shake Ma Thing (Rollin Jack) - 3:14
7. While You Sleep - 3:24
8. Pleasure (Pete Brown, Leslie West, Jack Bruce, Corky Laing) - 4:02
9. Love Is Worth The Blues - 4:12
10.Pollution Woman (Pete Brown, Leslie West, Jack Bruce, Corky Laing) - 4:28
All titles by Leslie West, Jack Bruce, Corky Laing except where stated

*Leslie West - Guitar, Vocals (Tracks 1, 3, 6, 7, 9), Dobro (Track 7), Violin Guitar (Tracks 7, 9), Acoustic Guitar (Track 10)
*Jack Bruce - Bass, Vocals (Tracks 2, 5, 6, 8, 10), Piano (Tracks 2, 5, 6, 7, 8), Harmonium (Track 2), Organ (Track 2), Harp (Track 4), Acoustical Bass (Tracks 4, 7), Backing Vocals (Track 6), Choir (Track 7), ARP Synthesizer (Track 10), Acoustic Guitar (Track 10)
*Corky Laing - Drums, Vocals (Track 4), Rhythm Guitar (Track 7)

1971  Jack Bruce - Harmony Row (Bonus tracks edition)

Dr. John, The Night Tripper - Remedies (1970 us, awesome dixie jazz voodoo psych, 2017 remaster)

Managerial problems – Dr John has had a few. One adviser encouraged him to spend time in a mental hospital to get out of a drug conviction – the part-finished Remedies comes from this insane period. Contains the 17-minute prison reform polemic, “Angola Anthem”.

“My managers put me in a psych ward. These guys were very bad people – I had gotten busted on a deal, and they got me bonded out of jail, and so when they did I could have got a parole violation. All of this stuff was so unconnected to music that it’s hard to relate it. A friend of mine had just come out of doing 40-something years in Angola [the infamous Louisiana State Penitentiary], he was just someone special in my heart – called Tangleye. And Tangleye says, ‘I’m gonna sell you this song. Got it in Angola, but ain’t nobody ever cut this song…’ Even now guys I know getting out of Angola know this song. It’s still a horrible place to be. They feed people every 10 days or whatever.

“And that’s why I cut this song: I got a friend doing 300 years in one of these satellite penitentiaries, he got high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver, he don’t get no medication. People have no idea what it’s like in a cell when it’s just you, and they feed you whenever they feel like it. One of these guys told me, ‘You can taste the food before you eat it.’ And they stretch it too with the rats and whatever other critters these guys have as pets.”
by Tom Pinnock, 15th June 2012
1. Loop Garoo - 4:42
2. What Comes Around (Goes Around) - 2:58
3. Wash, Mama, Wash - 3:43
4. Chippy, Chippy - 3:34
5. Mardi Gras Day - 8:17
6. Angola Anthem - 17:37
All songs by Mac Rebennack

*Dr. John "Mac Rebennack" - Vocals, Piano, Guitar
*Cold Grits - Guitars, Bass, Drums
*Jessie Hill - Backing Vocals, Percussion
*Shirley Goodman - Backing Vocals
*Tami Lynn - Backing Vocals 

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