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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Redbone - Beaded Dreams Through Turquoise Eyes (1974-75 us, pleasant blue eyed soul with funky and roots 'n' roll tones, 2013 expanded reissue)



A blend of contrasts highlights this fine record, from a group that seems equally at home with hard rockers, what used to be called "blue eyed soul" or wekk handled ballads. Adept at using a single lead voice with backup chorus or working with harmony.

Redbone have put together an exceptionally comercial set here with virtually every cut showing single possibility. Use of strings aids rather thatm hinders the material on the few cuts where they offered and the production of Pat and Lolly Vegas is superb. 
B/Board October 1974


Tracks
1. One More Time (Lolly Vegas) - 3:05
2. Suzi Girl (Lolly Vegas) - 2:58
3. Only You And Rock And Roll (Pat Vegas, Lolly Vegas) - 3:01
4. Blood Sweat And Tears (Pat Vegas) - 2:51
5. Cookin' With D'redbone (Lolly Vegas) - 3:57
6. (Beaded Dreams Through) Turquoise Eyes (Pat Vegas) - 3:22
7. Beautiful Illusion (Lolly Vegas) - 3:42
8. Interstate Highway 101 (Pat Vegas) - 2:55
9. I'll Never Stop Loving You (Pat Vegas, Lolly Vegas, James Ford) - 2:49
10.Moon When Four Eclipse (Lolly Vegas) - 4:48
11.I've Got To Find The Right Woman (Lolly Vegas) - 3:15
12.Physical Attraction (Pat Vegas) - 2:59
13.Keep Me Uptight (Pat Vegas, Lolly Vegas) - 6:08
14.To Get the Love I Need (Pat Vegas, Lolly Vegas) - 3:02
15.A Little Bitty Ditty (Pat Vegas, Lolly Vegas) - 2:59
16.Echoes From Another Planet (Pat Vegas) - 3:39

The Redbone
*Lolly Vegas - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Tony Bellamy - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Patrick Vegas - Bass, Vocals
*Butch Rillera - Drums, Percussion, Vocals

1970  Redbone - Redbone (2006 edition)
1972  Redbobe - Already Here (2011 bonus tracks reissue)

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Quintessence - Spirits From Another Time (1969-71 uk based international multicultural trippy psych prog rock, 2016 double disc set)



Formed in fashionable Ladbroke Grove in 1969, this international six-piece played extended, improvisatory compositions highlighted by lengthy guitar solos, flute, sitar and communal, Indian-inspired chanting. They took on Eastern names to match their philosophies, with Australian flautist and founder Ronald Rothfield becoming Raja Ram, for example, and American bassist Richard Vaughan known as Shambhu Babaji. Far from a niche, underground concern, however, Quintessence quickly signed to Island after a major-label bidding war, and soon appeared frequently in the music weeklies, and even live on BBC2 and in Nicolas Roeg’s Glastonbury Fayre. Across five studio albums, ranging from 1969’s In Blissful Company to 1972’s Indweller, they journeyed into their own groovy mysticism, lyrically paying as much heed to St Pancras and Ladbroke Grove as to Mount Kailash and various deities.

Despite their popularity at the time, they have since slipped under the radar in recent years, being denied the resurgence of, say, The Incredible String Band, or even the credibility of weirder Eastern-inspired acts like The Third Ear Band. Spirits From Another Time attempts to rectify this, with two CDs of outtakes and alternative recordings from the vaults, many forgotten by their creators and in need of reconstruction; two cuts here even feature new guitar and vocals from Dave ‘Maha Dev’ Codling and Phil ‘Shiva’ Jones.

The results are impressive, though Quintessence were clearly at their best when they abandoned their scenester pretensions and Jones’ slightly hammy vocals, and instead launched into relaxed improvisation. Disc One’s 12-minute take of “Epitaph For Tomorrow” is stunning, a steady, subtle groove over which lead guitarist Allan Mostert is free to slowly unwind his subtle soloing, his instrument increasingly affected by echo and wah-wah effects; “Body” similarly embarks on some swinging guitar improvisation, while opener “Notting Hill Gate” moves from exhortations of meditation and “getting it straight” into peals of echoed flute and buzzing sitar. What’s most striking is the restrained, almost ambient manner of their sound, presumably aimed straight at enlightenment rather than hedonism.

If Quintessence’s music is at times too time-stamped, and lyrics like “celestial wine filling you with divinity” too gauche for the cynical decades that came after, perhaps now, with the continuing resurgence of new age music and renewed appreciation for the likes of the Grateful Dead, is the right time again to appreciate these overlooked cosmic adventurers.
by Tom Pinnock


Tracks
Disc 1
1. Notting Hill Gate (Ronald Rothfield, Shiva Shankar Jones) - 5:42
2. Brahman - 5:38
3. Sea Of Immortality (Version 1) - 5:41
4. Epitaph For Tomorrow - 11:40
5. Only Love (Take 3) - 7:11
6. Spirits From Another Time - 1:22
7. Untitled Guitar - 2:33
8. Hari Om - 3:16
9. Body - 5:41


Disc 2
1. Sea Of Immortality (Version 2) - 5:30
2. Tree Of Life - 6:35
3. You Never Stay The Same - 6:32
4. Only Love (Take 2) - 7:59
5. Marwa - 3:10
6. Wonders Of The Universe - 3:38
7. Maha Mantra - 6:01
8. Untitled Harpsichord - 2:00
9. Sunlit Kitchens - 3:33
10.Twilight Zones (Lyrics by Stanley Barr) - 6:01
11.Move Into The Light - 6:25
All compositions by Quintessence except where noted

The Quintessence
*Allan Mostert - Lead Guitar
*Dave Codling - Rhythm Guitar
*Jake Milton - Drums
*Ron Rothfield - Flute
*Shambhu Babaji - Bass Guitar
*Shiva Shankar Jones - Vocals

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Second Hand - Death May Be Your Santa Claus (1971 uk, intense prog experimental rock, 2010 remaster)



By the time Second Hand released this, the band's second album, in 1971, the progressive elements were much stronger, and the group went further with experimentation. Only a couple tracks have guitar, but there are plenty of high-energy rockers just the same, especially the title track, "Lucifer and the Egg," and "Somethin' You Got," and the lack of guitar is more than made up for by plenty of long, wild organ solos. "Hangin' on an Eyelid" adds in easy listening elements to a rock song for an oddly effective mix.

The experimental leanings become especially prevalent on the second side of the record, where the group leaves song structure aside for several segued tracks of bizarre, mostly instrumental material, a wise choice given that Rob Elliott is only a marginally better vocalist than his brother Ken, who sang on the first album. (Fortunately, on many of the tracks they use processing to make the vocals sound more interesting.) "Cyclops" is a long instrumental of mostly keyboards, whereas "Sic Transit Gloria" has some weird chanting and explosions before suddenly going into "Revelations Ch. 16, Vs. 9-12" with nightmarish tones. The two bonus tracks on the CD, placed between the two sides rather than at the end, are quirky pop songs, one of which has guest saxophonist Lol Coxhill. 
by Rolf Semprebon


Tracks
1. Death May Be Your Santa Claus (Ken Elliott) - 2:37
2. Hangin' On An Eyelid (Ken Elliott) - 4:19
3. Lucifer And The Egg (Ken Elliott) - 7:49
4. Somethin' You Got (Kieran O'Connor) - 2:57
5. Cyclops (George Hart, Ken Elliott) - 6:30
6. Sic Transit Gloria Mundi (George Hart, Ken Elliott, Kieran O'Connor) - 1:01
7. Revelations Ch. 16 Vs. 9-21 (Ken Elliott, Mike Craig) - 3:35
8. Take To The Skies (Ken Elliott, Mike Craig) - 2:04
9. Death May Be Your Santa Claus (Reprise) (Ken Elliott) - 5:21
10.Funeral (Paul Greedus, Alan Morgan) - 3:01
11.Dip It Out Of The Bog Fred (Ken Elliott) - 1:38
12.Baby RU Anudder Monster? (Ken Elliott) - 3:22

The Second Hand
*Ken Elliott - Organ, Mellotron, Vocals, Piano
*Kieran O'Connor - Percussion, Drums, Noise, Vibraphone, Vocals
*George Hart - Bass, Vocals, Violin
*Moggy Mead - Guitar
*Rob Elliot - Vocals
Guest Musicians
*Lol Coxhill - Saxophone
*Tony Mcgill - Guitar

1968  Second Hand - Reality

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

American Blues - Do Their Thing (1969 us, superb psych blues rock, 2016 korean remaster)



Released by MCA's Uni subsidiary, 1969's "The American Blues Do Their Thing" was a major improvement. Self-produced, the collection found the band opting for a major change in direction. Written by the Hills, material such as the lead-off "You Were So Close To Me", "Captain Fire" and "Just Plain Jane" found the band attempting to capitalize on San Francisco-styled psychedelics. 

Elsewhere, the collection found the group mining a more conventional rock format; "Wonder Man" and "Shady" reflecting a distinctive Cream-influence, while the blazing "Comin' Back Home" (complete with Beard and Rocky Hill meltdown solos) offered up a nice Hendrix imitation. Sure, it was largely derivative, but that didn't lessen the enjoyment factor. A commercial failure, Uni promptly dropped the band. (On a personal note, we've always wondered about the discrepancy between the front and back covers showing a trio and the liner notes listing four members.) Beard promptly left to join the newly formed ZZ Top, quickly recruiting Dusty bassist.


Tracks
1. You Were So Close To Me - 3:32
2. Wonder Man - 2:25
3. Just Plain Jane - 2:37
4. Shady - 2:08
5. Comin' Back Home - 5:35
6. Captain Fire - 3:20
7. Chocolate Ego - 3:06
8. Nightmare Of A Wise Man - 3:26
9. Dreams - 2:58
10.Softly To The Sun - 2:34
All selections by Dusty Hill, Rocky Hill

The American Blues 
*Dusty Hill - Bass, Lead Vocals
*Frank Beard - Drums, Vocals
*Rocky Hill - Guitar, Vocals
*Doug Davis - Keyboards, Vocals

1968  American Blues - Is Here

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Mandrake Memorial - 3 Part Inventions (1969 us, exceptional psych prog rock, 2016 release)



The lost, third studio album from 1969 by this quite good psychedelic / proto-progressive band. An absolutely worthwhile release for fans of music of this era.

“Having made two superb psychedelic albums and gigged with The Doors, Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd, The Velvet Underground and many others, in June of 1969, The Mandrake Memorial came to London. The plan was to record with famed producer Shel Talmy (The Kinks, The Who, Pentangle), but when that fell through, they persevered alone.

Long thought to be lost, 3 Part Inventions anticipates the woozy, dream-like vibe of their 1970 masterpiece Puzzle, combining eerie vocals, trippy guitar and otherworldly electronics to create a unique whole.

Transferred directly from the master tape, it's released here for the first time, together with a detailed band history, rare images, two previously unheard outtakes from a 1969 acetate, and a rare radio interview.“
CD Liner-Notes


Tracks
1. The Puzzle - 2:52
2. Ocean's Daughter - 2:56
3. Tadpole - 2:32
4. Part Of My Dreams - 5:48
5. Wouldn't You Like It - 2:14
6. Bucket Of Air - 7:29
7. Witness The End - 10:06
8. Cassandra - 4:54
9. The 12th Brigade - 5:14
10.Rock Star Interview - 2:39
All compositions by Craig Anderton, Michael Kac, Randy Monaco, John Kevin Lally

The Mandrake Memorial
*Craig Anderton - Guitars, Electronics, Sitar
*Michael Kac - Keyboards, Voices
*Randy Monaco - Bass, Voices
*John Kevin Lally - Drums

1968  The Mandrake Memorial
1969  Medium
1970  Puzzle  

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Sunday, February 5, 2017

Various Artists - With Love A Pot Of Flowers (1965-67 us, fantastic garage psych folk rock, 2010 remaster and expanded)



“With Love: A Pot Of Flowers” was originally issued in late 1967 by Mainstream Records. It is testament to the quality of the groups and songs included, not to mention the A&R proclivities of Mainstream head honcho Bob Shad – as irascibly indefatigable as anyone you might choose in the hothouse atmosphere of the independent record business of that era – that the album plays so well and, if you’ll pardon the pun, really grows on you. That in hindsight it also plucked four bands from within the vortex of 1966 nascent psychedelia and places them in a historically fascinating context, is equally remarkable. This expanded version of “A Pot Of Flowers” includes additional material by other relevant groups released on Brent or Mainstream from 1965 to 1967, as well as the mono single mixes of selected tracks from the album and some unreleased cuts.

The collection was amongst the first of a swathe of rock albums that Mainstream issued towards the end of the 1960s, the result of a remarkable A&R odyssey conducted by Shad across the United States, in much the same fashion as the location recording expeditions the producer had made to the south in the late 1940s in search of blues and R&B acts. Whether by luck or design, Shad decided to make one of his first ports of call San Francisco, which in early 1966 was well into the honeymoon period of its own socio-cultural renaissance, with the entire Bay Area awash with rock’n’rollers of all shapes and sizes.

As our extensive liner note details, he had initially issued several unsuccessful singles by Bay Area groups on both Mainstream and Brent, but by subsequently collecting the best of these together on “A Pot Of Flowers” he unwittingly created one of the more satisfying surveys of the scene at the time. The acts in question were the Wildflower, pioneering folk-rockers who were an early fixture at the Fillmore and Avalon; San Jose’s popular garage band the Otherside; legendary East Bay punks the Harbinger Complex; and, from southern California via Texas, the idiosyncratic Euphoria, whose pathfinding, off-beat take on psychedelia has given the group a cult reputation.

The bonus material included on this Big Beat reissue doubles the track list of “A Pot Of Flowers” y adding appropriate folk-rock and proto-psych sides from other West Coast acts on Mainstream such as the New Dawn, the Word, the Ariel and Thee Unusuals, the latter a Northwest group featuring blue-eyed chanteuse Kathi McDonald, who would later to take Janis’ spot in Big Brother & the Holding Company (who were also signed by Bob Shad during his California sorties). We are also proud to include several stellar unissued garage rockers from the Ban and the Montells, as well as the original mono singles mixes of selected tunes. 
by Alec Palao


Tracks
1. Wildflower - Baby Dear (Michael McLure, Stephen Ehret) - 2:23
2. Wildflower - Wind Dream (Stephen Ehret) - 2:18
3. Euphoria - Hungry Women (Wesley Watt) - 3:20
4. The Otherside - Streetcar (Marty Battey, Alan Graham) - 2:19
5. Wildflower - Coffee Cup (Stephen Ehret, Tom Ellis) - 2:19
6. The Harbinger Complex - I Think I'm Down (Jim Hockstaff, Bob Hoyle) - 2:26
7. Wildflower - Jump In (Stephen Ehref, Tom Ellis, Michael McCausland) - 2:48
8. The Otherside - Walking Down The Road (Al Schackman) - 2:24
9. The Harbinger Complex - When You Know You're In Love (Jim Hockstaff, Bob Hoyle) - 2:14
10.Euphoria - No Me Tomorrow (Bill Lincoln, Wesley Watt) - 3:11
11.The Harbinger Complex - Time To Kill (Jim Hockstaff, Bob Hoyle) - 2:11
12.The Harbinger Complex - My Dear And Kind Sir (Jim Hockstaff, Bob Hoyle) - 2:26
13.New Dawn - Slave Of Desire (Tony Supnet, Mike Leonti) - 2:34
14.The Word - Now It's Over (Bill Lincoln, Wesley Watt) - 2:47
15.The Ban - Thinking Of Your Fate (Tony McCuire) - 2:17
16.The Montells - I'm Lonely (Rick Dorenzo, Alan Feia) - 2:56
17.Thee Unusuals - I Could Go On (Bill Capp) - 2:02
18.The Ban - Bye Bye (Tony McCuire) - 2:50
19.The Ariel - It Feels Like I'm Crying (Jack Walters) - 2:04
20.The Word - So Little Time (Bill Lincoln, Wesley Watt) - 2:42
21.The Montells - You're Wrong To Think It (Rick Dorenzo, Alan Feia) - 1:54
22.The Ban - Place Of Sin (Tony McCuire) - 2:40
23.Wildflower - Wind Dream (Mono Single Version) (Stephen Ehret) - 2:18
24.The Otherside - Streetcar (Mono Single Version) (Marty Battey, Alan Graham) - 2:21
25.Euphoria - Hungry Women (Mono Single Version) (Wesley Watt) - 3:02
26.The Harbinger Complex - I Think I'm Down (Mono Single Version) (Jim Hockstaff, Bob Hoyle) - 2:27

The Wildflower 
*Tom Ellis - Drums
*Teddy Schneider - Percussions
*Stephen Ehret - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Michael Brown - Guitar
*John Jennings - Bass

Euphoria
*David Potter - Drums
*Hamilton Wesley Watt - Vocals
*Peter Black - Bass
*James Harrell - Guitar

The Other Side
*Allen Graham - Guitar, Vocals
*Danny Phay - Vocals
*Ken Matthew - Drums
*Marty Battey - Bass
*Ned Torney - Keyboards, Guitar, Vocals
*Tom Antone - Bass

The Harbinger Complex
*Gary Clarke - Bass
*James Hockstaff - Vocals
*Jim Redding - Drums
*Robert Hoyle - Guitar
*Ron Rotarius - Lead Guitar

The Montells
*Rick Dorenzo - Vocals, Guitar
*Bob Mullong - Guitar
*Bob Trevorrow - Guitar
*Alan Feia - Bass
*Dave Ditto - Drums

The Unusuals
*Terry Allan - Bass
*Vic Bundy - Keyboards
*Bill Capp - Guitar
*Pat Jerns - Drums
*Kathi McDonald - Vocals
*Gary Ramsey - Drums
*Harvey Redmond - Bass
*Laurie Vitt - Guitar

The Ban
*Randy Gordon (Guzman) - Drums, Vocals
*Tony McGuire - Guitar, Vocals,
*Oliver McKinney - Keyboards, Vocals,
*Frank Straight - Bass

The Ariel
*Jack Walters - Guitar
*Chris Guiver - Sax, Guitar
*Paul Studebaker - Bass
*DennisStudebaker - Drums

The New Dawn
*Tony Supnet - Vocals
*Mike Leonti - Vocals
*Donnie Ordiniza - Vocals

Related Acts
1969  Euphoria - A Gift From Euphoria

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Nick Gravenites And Mike Bloomfield - Steel Yard Blues (1972 us, a long lost underground soundtrack blues rock gem with jazz and country gleams, 2015 remaster)



With a killer leading couple of Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland—fresh from their box office triumph co-starring in Klute—and a soundtrack by the Electric Flag’s Mike Bloomfield and Nick Gravenites—with performances by Paul Butterfield and Maria Muldaur—you would think that the 1972 film Steelyard Blues would be better known than it is. Alas, the film was one of those only-in-the-early-‘70s countercultural romps that died at the box office; Fonda plays a call girl (again) who hooks up with Sutherland’s bumbling ex-con to restore a seaplane and attempt an escape from The Man breathing down their collective necks. Poorly reviewed and largely forgotten by film audiences, it has remained a cult classic because of its soundtrack, which marked Mike Bloomfield’s first release of any kind in three years, and reunited him with Gravenites, with whom he’d composed music in the Electric Flag for the soundtrack to Roger Corman’s B-movie classic The Trip. 

Here, the emphasis was less on psychedelia than on a jaunty mix of blues, rock and country to match the shambolic goings-on on screen; there’s no mistaking Bloomfield’s stinging blues-rock licks for those of any other guitarist, and a pre-“Midnight at the Oasis” Muldaur serves notice of her impending superstardom. Completing the musical cast was Paul Butterfield, in whose band Bloomfield first broke into prominence, keyboardist Merl Saunders, later of course to collaborate with the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia, and Annie Sampson of the Bay Area group Stoneground.  
by Richie Unterberger.


Tracks
1. Swing With It - 2:51
2. Brand New Family - 2:29
3. Woman's Love - 2:29
4. Make The Headlines - 1:53)
5. Georgia Blues (Maria Muldaur, Mike Bloomfield, Nick Gravenites) - 2:10
6. My Bag (The Oysters) - 3:17
7. Common Ground - 2:27
8. Being Different - 2:47
9. I've Been Searching - 2:13
10.Do I Care (Maria Muldaur, Merl Saunders) - 3:08
11.Lonesome Star Blues (Maria Muldaur) - 4:19
12.Here I Come (There She Goes) - 2:11
13.If You Cared - 2:25
14.Theme From Steelyard Blues (Drive Again) - 2:16
All compositions by Mike Bloomfield, Nick Gravenites except where noted

Personnel
*Mike Bloomfield - Vocals, Guitar
*Nick Gravenites - Vocals, Guitar
*Maria Muldaur - Vocals, Guitar, Handclaps
*Paul Butterfield - Vocals, Harmonica
*Annie Sampson - Vocals
*Merle Saunders - Organ, Piano
*Christopher Parker - Drums
*John Kahn - Bass

1964  The Original Lost Elektra Sessions
1965  The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
1966  East West
1966  The Butterfield Blues Band - East-West (2014 Hybrid SACD limited adition) 
1966-68  Strawberry Jam
1967  Electric Flag - The Trip
1968  Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, Steve Stills - The Super Sessions (2014 Hybrid Multichannel SACD 24/88) 
1968-69  Electric Flag - An American Music Band / A Long Time Comin'  
196?-7?  The Electric Flag - Live
1968  Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield - The Lost Concert Tapes, Filmore East
1969  Mike Bloomfield And Al Kooper - The Live Adventures
1969  Michael Bloomfield with Nick Gravenites And Friends - Live At Bill Graham's Fillmore West
1969  Nick Gravenites - My Labors
1970-71  Big Brother And The Holding Company - Be A Brother / How Hard It Is 
1973  Bloomfield, Hammond, Dr.John - Triumvirate (Japan remaster)
1976  KGB - KGB
1976-77  Michael Bloomfield - Live at the Old Waldorf
1977  Prescription For The Blues

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