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Monday, November 20, 2017

Kaleidoscope - The Sidekicks Sessions (1964-67 uk, excellent r 'n' b folk psych, 2003 release)



Kaleidoscope: The Sidekicks Sessions collects together a batch of long thought lost acetates all recorded between 1964 - 1967 by an early incarnation of the 1960s British psychedelic band Kaleidoscope when they were still called The Sidekicks and The Keys. The recordings are rough, but the band sounds young and fine, combining together a Stones influenced R&B sound on the early sides with a Pink Floyd meets PF Sloan psychedelic folk rock sound on the later sides.

My favorite moments are the folk rock meets psychedelic rock of such songs as You're Not Mine with it's Syd Barrett sounding chorus and the smashing youth of Holiday Maker. In these songs I can hear what was sure to turn into the late 1960s psychedelic rock of Kaleidoscope. Other songs in the folk rock mode which sound pretty good are the versions of Please Stay, Don't Go (a PF Sloan dead ringer), What Can I Do? (which has some rave-up action), Reflections (a subdued mantra), and San Francisco (upbeat folk beat). The alternate version of all of these songs sounds better than the versions which appear later on the cd. These are all originals, and while they are not superb, they definitely show a band with a potential. In fact, they sound altogether fresh.

There are plenty of covers on this disc as well, running the gamut from an abysmal turn at The House of The Rising Sun, and a stuttering take of Roadrunner to the more enthusiastically received Walking in the Park which is a stride-a-long blues, and I Wants to Be Loved - a raunchy stopgap. Another highlight for me is the Chuck Berry blues song Wee Wee Hours. Anyone interested in British beat music will hang their heads high when they listen to this cd. I love when lost acetates resurface many years later, giving us a picture of a time gone but not forgotten. Discs like this one remind us of what a great time the 60s were for creativity. Soon after these demos were recorded Kaleidoscope would go onto record two solid albums, as well as change their name to Fairfield Parlour to record two more albums. This cd is where it all started.
by Patrick The Gullbuy, August 19, 2003


Tracks
1. And She's Mine - 2:27
2. Reflections - 2:24
3. Please Stay, Don't Go - 2:28
4. What Can I Do? - 1:58
5. He's Gonna Ba A Star - 2:18
6. San Francisco - 3:36
7. Walking In The Park (Graham Bond) - 2:26
8. I Wants To Be Loved - 2:33
9. San Francisco - 3:47
10.He's Gonna Be A Star - 2:24
11.I'm Looking For A Woman (Ellas McDaniel) - 2:15
12.The House Of The Rising Sun (Traditional) 4:20
13.Roadrunner (Ellas McDaniel) - 3:14
14.Wee Wee Hours (Chuck Berry) - 2:52
15.You're Not Mine - 2:19
16.Drivin' Around - 2:12
17.Holiday Maker - 2:04
18.And She's Mine - 2:32
19.Please Stay, Don't Go - 2:36
20.What Can I Do? - 2:04
21.High Heel Sneakers (Robert Higginbotham, Tommy Tucker) - 2:33

The Sidekicks
Peter Daltrey - Vocals
Danny Bridgman - Drums
Eddy Pumer - Guitar
Steve Clark - Bass

Kaleidoscope's mosaic 
1967  Kaleidoscope - Tangerine Dream
1967-69 Kaleidoscope - Dive Into Yesterday
1969  Kaleidoscope - Faintly Blowing
1967-71  Please Listen To The Pictures / The BBC Sessions 
1970  Kaleidoscope - White-Faced Lady (japan two disc set edition)
1970  Fairfield Parlour - Home to Home

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Standells - Live On Tour (1966 us, garage psych outbreaks, 2014 digipak release )



Whether during their Club Au-Go-Go beginnings or decades later as garage rock's still-deadly elder statesmen, the Standells are renowned for a sensational stage sound. Their Jimmy Reed-is-atwister take on "Help Yourself" was earliest evidence; a full-tilt party recorded live at PJ's in Hollywood (and a Liberty Records '64 exclusive).

However, it is the Standells' amazing string of punkish tough-guy anthems on the Tower Records label that are-best remembered. During this commercial apex, Tower should have been burying the competing cash-in of older PJ's tracks (on a Liberty subsidiary, Sunset Records) not with the all-covers, career momentum-killing The Hot Ones! misfire but instead a live LP set of the Standells' longer-haired repertoire. Look no further than the opening credits of AlP's celluloid freak-out Riot on Sunset Strip, featuring an incendiary performance by our heroes, for a lip-sync suggestion of what could've been. 

There's a happy ending to this story, however. It turns out the Standells were in fact recorded at their peak, On Tour— 1966.' "I never even knew it existed," the Standells' late, great lead singer-drummer Dick Dodd told this writer. Rescued from a professionally recorded concert at the University of Michigan ("Homecoming '66," headlined by a certain world-famous West Coast fivesome), the recording captures the Standells in astonishingly clean sound that rivals their legendary studio recordings.

Regardless of the fast-paced nature of this performance (Dodd: "On tours, we would do one set. Depending on how many acts, we were allowed maybe a half hour"), this is an essential document of mid-sixties live rock 'n' roll; a superb example in sound. Speaking in Standells terms, fuzztone 'n' Vox organ are out front where you'd want them, bass is in place, lead and backing voices in balance and—most rare for a mid-sixties concert tape—percussion still part of the plan, with bass drum, cymbals, toms and snare within earshot at all times.

Highlights include a triumvirate of hits delivered in versions that rival the original radio romps. "Why Pick on Me," "Good Guys" and "Dirty Water" showcase Dick Dodd's peerless drumming 'n' vocal arsenal. Dodd's backbeat that drives these best-known numbers is skillful and on par with the studio counterparts. The same can be claimed of his lead vocals, which are basically flawless. Dick explained to me the difference: "When we were in the studio, we would learn a song, put down the track and say That's good.' Then when we went on the road, it got better."

Fan-fave B-sides are also delivered, including the stomping 'Why Did You Hurt Me" and "Mr. Nobody," the latter a killer set-opening spotlight for organistvocalist Larry Tamblyn, also featuring a heaping helping of guitarist Tony Valentino's heralded fuzztone. Just dig the applause for Tony V.

This October 22, 1966 campus concert was no exception, with a set spiked with Standells-branded covers. Early on, they speed through a rapid-fire rendition of the Rascals' "Good Lovin'," lasting just long enough to remind us of the old dance-inducing PJ's version of the band. More contemporaneous perhaps is a cover of the Kinks' "Sunny Afternoon," sung by Tamblyn. In a knowingly selfmocking tone, at its conclusion he even plugs The Hot Ones.' all-covers album.

"Gloria" surfaces for the first time in a full Standells treatment. Dodd plays it cool (dryly humorous, too) while Valentino and Tamblyn steal the show with crowd-pleasing various instrumental sound effects. With the exception of "Dirty Water," the audience only truly erupts with approval during "Gloria," to which Dick Dodd observed with relief many years later, "Finally! This crowd sounds real regimented and polite. They clap and that's about it. Usually on these tours, there were at least a couple of girls screaming now and then. On this, it sounds like there were a lot of adults in the audience!"

Dick Dodd gets to exercise his R&B roots once more with a robust vocal on "Please, Please, Please." The between song banter is instructive. Judging by a southern drawl, bass player (and Floridian of the group) Dave Burke finally takes to the mic explaining a bit of musical chairs. For this number, Dodd steps away from his drum kit (freeing him to give his best James Brown impersonation), subbed briefly by a stickwielding Valentino.

But of all this Top 40 raiding, arguably the best is saved for last with "Midnight Hour," another road-toughened favorite that is performed with authority here. Frankly, a studio version of this should have been included on one of their Tower albums, and I don't just mean The Hot Ones! Dick Dodd was right on the money with his assessment: "I think everybody's really going to enjoy this," he offered proudly. He was being modest. This may just be the finest recorded example of vintage live '66 American garage rock.
by Jeff Jarema


Tracks
1. Introduction - 0:47
2. Mr. Nobody (Larry Tamblyn) - 2:35
3. Good Lovin' (Rudy Clark, Arthur Resnick) - 2:29
4. Why Did You Hurt Me (Dick Dodd, Tony Valentino) - 2:29
5. Sunny Afternoon (Ray Davies) - 3:55
6. Gloria (Van Morrison) - 5:18
7. Why Pick On Me (Edward C. Cobb) - 3:30
8. Please Please Please (James Brown, Johnny Terry) - 3:06
9. Midnight Hour (Wilson Pickett, Steve Cropper) - 4:01
10.Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White (Edward C. Cobb) - 3:00
11.Dirty Water (Edward C. Cobb) - 2:58

The Standells
*Dick Dodd - Drums, Guitar
*Larry Tamblyn - Piano, Organ, Guitar, Vocals
*Pave Burke - Bass, 12-string Guitar
*Tony Valentino - Lead Guitar

1966  The Standells - Dirty Water
1966  The Standells - Why Pick On Me
1966-67  The Standells - Try It
1966-67  The Standells - The Hot Ones (rare out of print issue)
1967  Various Artists - Riot On Sunset Strip / Rarities: The Standells (2009 bonus tracks remaster)

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Monday, November 13, 2017

High Mountain - Canyon (1970 us, exciting swamp bluesy brass rock, 2016 koream remaster)



Maybe you've never heard of Jerry Lynn Williams, but if you've been near a radio in the past twenty years, you've almost definitely heard his music. Eric Clapton's "Running on Faith"? Williams wrote it. He also penned Delbert McClinton's signature song, "Givin1 It Up for Your Love," and B. B. King's "Standing on the Edge of Love." Bonnie Raitt's "Real Man" was his too, as was "Wanna Make Love to You," by Johnny Hallyday, the French Elvis. And Williams co-wrote Stevie Ray and Jimmy Vaughan's "Tick lock," the song played at Stevie Ray's funeral. After more than two decades of writing tunes for and with some of the best-known musicians around, the 48-yearold has earned the nickname the Song Doctor, the man to call when you're working on an album and all that's missing is a catchy song.

The evidence of Williams' success lines the walls of his in-home studio near Tulsa: There are the gold arid platinum records that his work has appeared on, including Clapton's Unplugged, Behind the Sun, and Crossroads; Raitt's Nick of Time; the Vaughan brothers' Family Style; the soundtrack to the movie Wayne's World; Houstonian Clint Black's The Hard Way; and Robert Plant's Now and Zen. There are also snapshots of Jerry hanging out with some of the musical pals he has made over the years, including luminaries like Keith Richards and Ron Wood from the Rolling Stones, ex-Beatles Ringo Starr and George Harrison, B. B. King, and fellow Texan Roy Orbison (who, he says, "used to come to my place in Malibu to smoke cigarettes and write songs"). And this summer he flew to Toronto to help guitarist Jeff Healey finish an album.

In 1964 Williams and his band, the Epics, got local airplay with their first single, a Beatlesnfluenced original called "Tell Me What You See," on Fort Worth's Brownfield label. Soon after, the fifteen-year-old stumbled into a lifetime's worth of musical education when his band got to open for R&B stylist Ray Sharpe - famous for his song "Linda Lu" - at one of the great Texas roadhouses of all time, the Skyliner Ballroom on the Jacksboro Highway. 

Weeks after landing that gig, he got another break when the owner, Jimmy Levens, asked him to help book bands at the club, and he started tracking down artists like Jimmy Reed, Ike and Tina Turner, and Bobby "Blue" Bland. He also got to hang out with the entertainers he brought in; Reed, for instance, taught him rhythm-guitar chords. And a few months later, Williams got his biggest break yet: He booked R&B great Little Richard, who, after hearing Williams sing and play, hired him as the rhythm guitarist in his touring band. On the road Williams learned to play lead guitar from Little Richard's other axman, a young musician who went by the name Jimmy James and
later achieved fame as Jimi Hendrix.

His tenure with Little Richard lasted nine months, and shortly after, he returned to Fort Worth, where he made it through a semester at Arlington Heights High School before snagging regular gigs at the Bayou Club and the Silver Helmet Club in Dallas, which was owned by several Dallas Cowboys players. "I was doing Otis Redding stuff three nights a week," he remembered, "and within two weeks I had so many people in there that the fire marshal started showing up." Then, in the late sixties, Williams discovered orange sunshine, tie-dye shirts, and the hippie lifestyle, so he formed a threepiece psychedelic blues outfit called High Mountain and went to L.A. to score a record deal with the ATCO label. It became another learning experience. 

High Mountain landed a record deal with Columbia Records, releasing their debut album, Canyon, in 1970. Legal problems with the name High Mountain led to the album being reissued with the artist designation as the Jerry Williams Group and the LP retitled Down Home Boy. The album failed to do business under either name, and after High Mountain broke up, Williams landed a deal with the CBS-distributed Spindizzy Records.
CD Liner notes


Tracks
1. Down Home Boy - 3:11
2. Illusion - 2:53
3. May The Circle Be Unbroken - 3:26
4. More To You - 3:20
5. Sailboat - 4:08
6. Don't Ever Leave Me Again - 3:16
7. I've Got A Lot Of Time (Jerry McDonald, Mike Rabon) - 2:33
8. I'll Get Back To You - 2:56
9. Cid - 3:16
10.Rachmaninoff Piano - 1:29
All songs by Jerry Lynn Williams except track #7

Musicians
*Jerry Williams - Vocals, Guitar

1972  Jerry Williams - Jerry Williams (2010 korean remaster) 

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Glencoe - The Spirit Of Glencoe (1973 uk, fascinating soft prog rock, 2015 reissue)



Glencoe was one of those bands people tend to overlook, which is a pity since they have a surplus of significant music to offer, and while there are many exponents of hard and soft rock, or just plain light funky music, how many bands claim their music is 'randy rock'? Just imagine, if you haven't witnessed a Glencoe concert, what erotic delights you've been missing out on.

The second and final album from this British prog band originally appeared in August 1973. Glencoe should have been a great success, gigging extensively their live act was superb, quite heavy and very loud! (I saw them myself!) An effective mixing of speed, power and melody that sits very comfortably together. Graham Maitland's piano work sets a driving air to their music that is truly enjoyable. With the added rhythm of Norman Watt-Roy on bass and Stewart Francis on drums, the group's sound is filled to capacity. They disbanded in February 1974 and in March 1974 a third Glencoe LP was made with a different line up and name as “Loving Awareness”.


Tracks
1. Friends Of Mine - 3:40
2. Roll On Bliss (John Turnbull) - 3:23
3. Strnge Circumstance - 3:32
4. Nothing - Is Between Us - 3:39
5. Is It You? - 4:10
6. Born In The City - 5:24
7. Arctic Madness - 1:11
8. To Divine Mother (John Turnbull) - 3:26
9. Song No.22 - Om - 4:05
10.Two On An Island (In Search Of A New World) - 4:35
All songs by Graham Maitland except where noted

The Glencoe
*Stuart Francis - Drums, Vocals
*Graham Maitland - Keyboards, Vocals
*John Turnbull - Guitar, Vocals
*Norman Watt-Roy - Bass, Vocals
With
*Gerald Johnson - Bass
*Ben Sidran - Piano
*Kofi Aiyuo - Percussion

1972  Glencoe - Glencoe (2013 korean remaster)
Related Acts
1965-69  Les Fleur De Lys - Reflections
1966-69  Skip Bifferty - The Story of Skip Bifferty (double disc edition) 
1970  Forever More ‎- Yours / Words On Black Plastic (2007 remaster)
1970  The Greatest Show On Earth - Horizons (2012 remaster) 
1970  The Greatest Show On Earth - The Going's Easy (2012 remaster)
1970  Five Day Rain - Five Day Rain (2006 remaster bonus track issue) 
1971  Bell And Arc - Bell + Arc 

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Tower Of Power - Back To Oakland (1974 us, powerful funky bluesy brass rock, 2015 japan remaster)



Tower of Power followed their self-titled gold album with an even better album that didn't enjoy similar sales success. Back to Oakland had tougher, funkier and better-produced cuts, stronger vocals from Lenny Williams (who was more comfortable as their lead singer), and included an excellent ballad in "Time Will Tell," and a rousing tempo in "Don't Change Horses (In the Middle of a Stream)." The Tower of Power horn section reaffirmed its reputation in both soul and pop circles, and the album included a powerhouse instrumental. Back To Oakland was voted by Modern Drummer Magazine as one of the most important recordings for drummers to listen to.
by Ron Wynn


Tracks
1. Oakland Stroke... (David Garibaldi, Emilio Castillo, Stephen Kupka) - 0:53
2. Don't Change Horses (In The Middle Of A Stream) (Johnny Guitar Watson, Lenny Williams) - 4:45
3. Just When We Start Makin' It (Emilio Castillo, Lenny Williams, Stephen Kupka) - 6:22
4. Can't You See (You Doin' Me Wrong) (Lenny Williams, Emilio Castillo, Stephen Kupka) - 2:56
5. Squib Cakes (Chester Thompson) - 7:42
6. Time Will Tell (Emilio Castillo, Stephen Kupka) - 3:11
7. Man From The Past (Emilio Castillo, Lenny Williams, Stephen Kupka) - 3:59
8. Love's Been Gone So Long (Bruce Conte) - 4:45
9. I Got The Chop (Emilio Castillo, Stephen Kupka) - 2:58
10.Below Us, All the City Lights (Emilio Castillo, Stephen Kupka) - 4:15
11....Oakland Stroke (David Garibaldi, Emilio Castillo, Stephen Kupka) - 1:07

Personnel
*Stephen Kupka - Baritone Saxophone, English Horn, Backing Vocals
*Francis "Rocco" Prestia - Bass Guitar
*Brent Byars - Bongos, Conga
*David Garibaldi - Drums
*Greg Adams - Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Backing Vocals, String Arrangements, Conductor
*Bud Shank - Flute, Alto Saxophone, Piccolo Flute, Alto Flute
*Emilio Castillo - Tenor Saxophone, Backing Vocals
*Bruce Conte - Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Lenny Pickett - Clarinet, Flute, Tenor Saxophone, Backing Vocals
*Mic Gillette - Trombone, Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Baritone, Backing Vocals
*Chester Thompson - Organ, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
*Lenny Williams - Lead Vocals
*Alice Thompson - Vocals
*Marilyn Scott - Vocals
*Pepper Watkins - Vocals
*David Duke - French Horn
*Richard Perissi - French Horn
*Vincent DeRosa - French Horn
*Frank Rosolino - Trombone
*Kell Houston - Trombone
*Thomas Shepard - Trombone
*Ray Gillette - Trombone

1970  Tower Of Power - East Bay Grease
1972  Tower Of Power - Bump City (Japan issue)
1973  Tower Of Power - Tower Of Power (2015 japan remaster) 

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Saturday, November 4, 2017

Graham Nash David Crosby - Graham Nash David Crosby (1972 us / uk, amazing blend of country folk blues and classic rock, 2008 remaster)



This self-titled release is one of -- if not arguably the -- most impressive side project to arise from CSN. Taken beyond face value, Graham Nash/David Crosby is a direct reflection, if not an extension, of the musical and personal relationship between its co-creators. Likewise, the results remain true, enhancing rather than detracting from the very individualistic styles of Crosby and Nash. The best elements of each are readily available here, punctuated at every turn by their complicated vocal arrangements and air-lock harmonies. 

In the wake of the enormous successes garnered by the albums Crosby Stills & Nash, Déjà Vu, and Four Way Street, the principal members were essentially given carte blanche studio access to pursue solo projects as well. This release is the first in what would turn out to be a series of collaborative efforts between Crosby and Nash. Musically it continues in much the same vein as their respective debut solo releases, If I Could Only Remember My Name and Songs for Beginners. Nash's contributions include "Girl to Be on My Mind," "Stranger's Room," and "Southbound Train" -- a twangy piece of Americana featuring a high and lonesome steel guitar solo from Jerry Garcia that likewise hearkens to the Grateful Dead's American Beauty, Elton John's Tumbleweed Connection, or the Band's Music From Big Pink. These tracks co-exist in stark contrast to Crosby's more cerebral and incisive contributions, such as "Whole Cloth," "Games," and "The Wall Song." The latter features some outstanding instrumental support from the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia (guitar), Phil Lesh (bass), and Billy Kreutzman (drums).

The core band revolves around another set of all-stars: Russell Kunkel (drums), Leland Skylar (bass), Craig Doerge (keyboards), and Danny "Kootch" Kortchmar (guitar). This same band would more or less continue to back up Crosby and Nash's duo efforts throughout the remainder of the '70s. Graham Nash/David Crosby offers much of the same unique songwriting and personal style which informed their better contributions not only to the CSN-related efforts, but as far back as their offerings with the Hollies and the Byrds. Interested enthusiasts are also urged to locate Another Stoney Evening -- a live acoustic release from October 10, 1971 -- which includes seminal live versions of "Southbound Train," "Where Will I Be," "Immigration Man," and "Stranger's Room." 
by Lindsay Planer


Tracks
1. Southbound Train (Graham Nash) - 3:55
2. Whole Cloth (David Crosby) - 4:35
3. Blacknotes (Graham Nash) - 0:57
4. Strangers Room (Graham Nash) - 2:27
5. Where Will I Be? (David Crosby) - 3:22
6. Page 43 (David Crosby) - 2:55
7. Frozen Smiles (Graham Nash) - 2:19
8. Games (David Crosby) - 4:01
9. Girl to Be on My Mind (Graham Nash) - 3:27
10.The Wall Song (David Crosby) - 4:26
11.Immigration Man (Graham Nash) - 2:59

Personnel
*David Crosby - Vocals, Electric Guitar, Guitars
*Graham Nash - Vocals, Piano, Organ, Harmonica, Guitar
*Danny Kortchmar - Electric Guitar
*Jerry Garcia - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Dave Mason - Electric Guitar
*Craig Doerge - Electric Piano
*Leland Sklar - Bass
*Chris Ethridge - Bass
*Phil Lesh - Bass
*Greg Reeves - Bass
*Russ Kunkel - Drums
*Johnny Barbata - Drums
*Bill Kreutzmann - Drums
*George Price - French Horns
*Dana Africa - Flute
*Arthur Maebe - French Horns
*David Duke - French Horns

1964  The Byrds - Preflyte (2012 double disc edition) 
1973  Byrds (Reunion Album, 2004 issue) 
1971  Graham Nash - Songs For Beginners (2008 digipak remaster) 
1973  Graham Nash - Wild Tales
1974  Crosby Stills Nash And Young - Live (2013 four discs box set)

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Youngbloods - Ride The Wind (1971 us, marvellous jazzy psych rock with country traces, 2003 remaster)



This live disc followed up Rock Festival (1970), another batch of live recordings. However, Ride the Wind (1971) is far from simply a stop-gap effort between studio discs. The trio of Jesse Colin Young (bass/kazoo/rhythm guitar), Banana (guitar/piano), and Joe Bauer (drums) are definitely in their element on these half-dozen sides. In much the same way as their Marin County contemporaries, the Grateful Dead, the Youngbloods' live experience allowed the band to stretch out and take their improvisational interplay to a level that is merely hinted at on their studio sides. The disc begins with a nearly ten-minute version of the title track, which was initially issued on Elephant Mountain (1970). 

Banana really shines, as his laid-back electric piano runs are ably complemented by some interesting contributions from both Young and Bauer. The centerpiece is the extended instrumental interplay that ebbs and flows as the groove builds incrementally. The happy-go-lucky "Sugar Babe" sticks closely to the up-tempo ragtime version featured on Earth Music (1967). The band returns to Elephant Mountain for an easygoing and pastoral rendering of "Sunlight" that again allows for some well-tempered improvisation. 

The cover of Fred Neil's "The Dolphin" is another not-to-be-missed epic, as the Youngbloods never issued a studio version and once again a strong jazz influence dictates the performance's overall vibe. "Get Together" was the band's best-known side and still holds up in what is a spirited reading with just enough alteration to make it a worthwhile inclusion. Ride the Wind concludes with a final track from Elephant Mountain, as the optimistic "Beautiful" is given a lengthy and funky workout. When paired with the harder-edged Rock Festival, this live volume gives listeners another aural vantage point from which to rediscover the Youngbloods' unique country-rock leanings. 
by Lindsay Planer


Tracks
1. Ride The Wind - 9:26
2. Sugar Babe - 2:58
3. Sunlight - 6:25
4. The Dolphin (Fred Neil) - 7:52
5. Get Together (Chester Powers) - 4:23
6. Beautiful - 7:00
All songs by Jesse Colin Young except where noted

The Youngbloods
*Banana - Guitar, Piano
*Joe Bauer - Drums
*Jesse Colin Young - Bass, Rhythm Guitar, Kazoo, Vocals

1967/69  The Youngbloods / Earth Music / Elephant Mountain (2014 Japan Blu Spec Edition)
1969  Elephant Mountain (Sundazed expanded and  2014 Japan Blu Spec Edition)
1970  The Youngbloods - Rock Festival
1971  Beautiful! Live In San Francisco (Sundazed edition)
1972  High On A Ridge Top (Sundazed remaster)

Jesse Colin Young releases
1972  Together
1973  Song For Juli (2009 remaster)
1974  Light Shine
1976  On The Road (Japan remaster)

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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Mark Farner And Don Brewer - Monumental Funk (1974 us, amazing funky soul psych beat, 2017 digipak edition)



"Monumental Funk" put out by the people at the original label who released music by Terry Knight & the Pack, a company called Lucky Eleven; This is an amazing record that Don Brewer and Mark Farner have every right to be very proud of. While Grand Funk Railroad's manager, Terry Knight, may have been a fine producer and a marketing genius, his own efforts at songwriting and singing were the worst aspects of the Pack. Here Farner and Brewer absolutely shine, their version of "Harlem Shuffle" more fun than the hit version by the Rolling Stones. 

When Don Brewer formed Flint and released a disc on Columbia in 1978, he covered the Supremes' "Back in My Arms Again." Here Mark Farner trumps him with "Come See About Me," a great non-Motown version by these Michigan boys. Farner's original, "We Gotta Have Love," is worthwhile, as is the tremendous rendition of "Hey Everybody." Yes, this record was released to cash in on the fame of Grand Funk Railroad, and there is even a picture disc version of it. The release of this music made the boys in the band angry, but there is a silver lining. Monumental Funk shows that Grand Funk Railroad was no fluke and that Mark Farner was a major talent before Capitol Records signed him and brought him to the attention of millions of fans. 
by Joe Viglione


Tracks
1. We Gotta Have Love (Mark Farner) - 5:10
2. Hey Everybody (J. Tuttle) - 3:37
3. I've Got News For You (Dick Wagner) - 4:43
4. Come See About Me (Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland) - 4:17
5. Harlem Shuffle (Bob Relf, Earl Nelson) - 5:19
6. Love Light (Joseph Scott) - 7:04

Personnel
*Mark Farner – Guitar, Harmonica, Keyboards, Vocals
*Don Brewer – Drums, Vocals

1966-67  Terry Knight And The Pack - Terry Knight And The Pack / Reflections (2010 issue)
1969  Grand Funk Railroad - On Time (2002 remaster and expanded)
1969  Grand Funk Railroad - Grand Funk (2002 bonus tracks remaster)
1970  Grand Funk - Closer To Home (japan remaster with bonus tracks)
1970  Grand Funk Railroad - Live (japan remaster)
1974  Grand Funk - Shinin' On (Japan extra track issue and 2014 SHM remaster)

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Brother Fox And The Tar Baby - Brother Fox And The Tar Baby (1969 us, 2009



Boston's Brother Fox and the Tar Baby featured the talents of former Profits and The Front Page Review guitarist Richie Bartlett, Pugsley Munion bassist Tom Belliveau, guitarist Dave Christiansen, drummer Bill Garr, singer Steve High. and keyboardist Joe Santangelo.  One of the era's isolated multi-racial bands, the group were signed by the small Oracle label, which released 1969's Bruce Patch produced "Brother Fox and the Tar Baby".  Christiansen was credited with penning all eleven tracks, the result being an odd hodge-podge of musical styles. 

Quite diverse, the set included stabs at conventional hard rock ('We All Love Him'), ballads ('I Start To Cry') and the plain bizarre ('Maxie the Meanie').  The first couple of times I listened to the album I'll readily admit to being a little under whelmed, but repeated spins saw me start to warm up to the collection. To my ears the highlights included 'Metal Soldier', 'Three Tots and a Man and their most psych-oriented track 'Mr. Sleepy'. (The album was original released in a gatefold sleeve.)


Tracks 
1. Electric Chair - 4:19
2. Old Ladies - 2:56
3. Steel Dog Man - 3:47
4. Maxie The Meanie - 3:03
5. We All Love Him - 2:30
6. To Your Dreams - 3:34
7. Three Tots And A Man - 4:03
8. I Start To Cry - 3:12
9. Metal Soldiers - 4:42
10.Mr. Sleepy - 4:48
11.Crazy John - 3:54
All songs by Dave Christiansen

Brother Fox And The Tar Baby
*Richie Bartlett - Guitar
*Tom Belliveau - Bass
*Dave Christiansen - Guitar
*Bill Garr - Drums, Percussion
*Steve High - Vocals, Percussion
*Joe Santangelo - Keyboards

Related Acts
1968  Front Page Review - Mystic Soldiers
1970  Pugsley Munion - Just Like You

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Hookfoot - Headlines (1975 uk, astonishing guitar rock with southern tastes prog shades and funky vibes, 2016 two discs set)



Hookfoot were,  very much a band of "musician's musicians". All of them were in great demand as session players, both individually and collectively. As well as backing Elton John on many of his early albums they also perform en masse on Mick Grabham's 'Mick The Lad' solo LP (possibly it was this which led to the misinformation that Grabham was himself a Hookfoot member) and on Steve Swindell's solo LP from 1974 (the astute amongst you may recognise Swindell's name as a former Hawkwind member). The band also backed Harry Pitch and Zack Laurence on the chart-topping one-hit wonder 'Groovin' With Mr Bloe'; and although his voice is perhaps an acquired taste, Long John Baldry's 'It Ain't Easy' LP from 1971 also featured bassist Dave Glover, drummer Roger Pope and guitarist Caleb Quaye throughout, some of the songs sounding distinctly Hoofoot-esque.

Great songwriters, great musicians, with their tastes strayed too far towards bluesy country funk for the heads to ever fully embrace them. A bit like Steve Stills, in some ways: you kinda dug the way he did it, but not always what he actually did. Thing is though, Caleb Quaye was undeniably one of THE finest guitar players the UK has ever produced - not for nothing did Eric Clapton surprise David Letterman a lttle while ago by informing him "I'm not the world's best guitar player. Caleb Quaye is." - and I can't help wondering, if Hookfoot had played hard rock and psychedelia, whether their albums might not today be held in the same kind of reverential, big-dollar high esteem by collectors as, say, Little Free Rock, Ashkan, Aunt Mary, Blonde on Blonde and especially I suppose Black Cat Bones (who likewise featured a stellar guitar player in the shape of a young Paul Kossoff). I still challenge any fan of the above not to go into a toe-curling trance of guitar-fuelled ecstasy on hearing Hookfoot blister through 'Nature Changes' on the 'Live in Memphis' album though, or to goggle in awe at the pyrotechnics on display on all twelve minutes of 'Shoe Shine Boy', one of the otherwise unreleased songs on the 'Headlines' compilation album.

Headlines', the double LP compilation put out by DJM 1975,a year or so after Hookfoot's demise. Interestingly, it includes 4 non-album cuts, but no live material and none of the band's singles!
by Phil McMullen, April 2010


Tracks
Disc 1
1. Don't Let It Bring You Down (Neil Young) - 3:07
2. Movies (Ian Duck) - 4:53
3. S.B.W. (Ian Duck, Caleb Quaye) - 2:36
4. Shoe Shine Boy (Caleb Quaye) - 12:05
5. Nature Changes (Caleb Quaye, Ian Duck) - 5:25
6. Bluebird Revisited (Stephen Stills) - 4:03
7. Coombe Gallows (Caleb Quaye) - 3:09
8. Gimme Shelter (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) - 4:19
9. Fire And Rain (Caleb Quaye) - 3:38


Disc 2
1. Sweet Sweet Funky Music (Caleb Quaye) - 3:18
2. Living in the City (Caleb Quaye) - 4:57
3. If I Had the Words (Ian Duck, Roger Pope, Caleb Quaye, David Glover) - 3:31
4. Good Times a Comin' (Ian Duck, Fred Gandy, Roger Pope, Caleb Quaye) - 6:18
5. Cruisin' (Ian Duck, Fred Gandy, Roger Pope, Caleb Quaye) - 5:32
6. Just a Little Communication (Caleb Quaye) - 5:38
7. Nothin' Changes (Caleb Quaye) - 4:44
8. Tradin' Riffs (Caleb Quaye) - 4:45
9. Rockin' on the Good (Ian Duck) - 5:09
10.So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star (Chris Hillman, Roger McGuinn) - 3:18

The Hookfoot
*Caleb Quaye - Electric, Acoustic Guitars, Keyboards, Pianos, Organ, Percussion, Tambourine, Vocals
*Ian Duck - Electric, Acoustic Guitars, Harp, Percussion, Tambourine, Vocals
*Roger Pope - Drums, Percussions, Tambourine, Cow-Bell
*Dave Glover - Bass (1969-72)
*Fred Gandy – Bass (1973)
With
*Dicky Birds – Whistling
*Bob Kulick – Guitar, Vocals

1969  Hookfoot - A Piece Of Pye (2010 japan Remaster)
1971  Hookfoot - Hookfoot (2010 japan remaster)  
1972  Hookfoot - Good Times A'comin (japan 2010 bonus track remaster)
1972  Hookfoot - Communication (2005 reissue)
1973  Hookfoot - Roaring (2005 expanded edition)

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Colin Scot - Just Another Clown (1973 uk, gorgeous progressive folk rock, 2017 korean remaster)



There was a time when the demarcation lines between folk and rock were well drawn though one or two brave souls would occasionally pop their heads above the parapet.

Colin Scot was one of them and his tactic of covering Buddy Holly songs in his live set might have caused frowns from the folkie purists but probably stood him in good stead when it came to supporting rock bands such as Van der Graaf Generator or King Crimson in the bigger venues in the early 70s. The graveyard support slot was always a tough spot, and Scot was better at it than many of his more famous contemporaries.

Scot died in 1999 having only released three albums none of which attracted much in the way of sales or critical acclaim. Though long forgotten now, Scot was well plugged into the rock circuit rather than the folk scene, having the kind of juice that attracted various members of Genesis, Lindisfarne, Van der Graaf Generator, Yes, Rare Bird, and Robert Fripp from King Crimson to populate his 1971 debut.

That he could count on such distinguished company was due in no small measure to producer John Anthony - the behind the desk for albums such as progressive rock classics such as Nursery Cryme and Pawn Hearts.

"Just Another Clown" was recorded and released in 1973, two years after his debut, accompaniment with a much different and not so famous (like in his first recording) cast of musicians. His voice is amazing and remises the incredible set of progressive jazzy folk rock, some psychedelic touches with excellent guitar outbursts, emerge an unbelievable magic, melancholic in a way, like a tearful clown of a circus..

Alcohol dependency and a lack of original material meant Scot quickly became a marginal figure a fact underlined by his decision to quit the UK to make a living in Europe where he resided until his untimely death. Colin Scot does deserve a warm welcome, after all, he was a dreamer.


Tracks
1. I'm A Dreamer - 4:42
2. Then You Won't Be Blue - 2:39
3. Sunday Morning - 3:53
4. It's Over Now - 3:28
5. Baby I Got News For You - 4:19
6. Bluebird - 1:58
7. Lament - 6:51
8. Edward And Charley And Me - 3:10
9. You're Singing My Song - 3:03
10.A Simple Song - 4:41
Words and Music by Colin Scot

Personnel
*Colin Scot – Twelve String Guitar, Trombone, Whistle, Banjo, Vocals
*Micky Binelli - Accordion
*Nic Potter - Bass
*Peter Poole - Bass
*Terry Weil - Cello
*Fred Kelly - Drums
*Ray Glynn - Electric Guitar
*Mox Gowland - Flute, Harmonica
*John Pearse - Guitar
*Dave Kaffinetti - Keyboards
*Ray Cooper - Percussion
*David Hentschel - Synthesizer
*Madhukar D. Kothare - Tabla

1971  Colin Scot - Colin Scot (2006 remaster, korean Limited Edition) 

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Reason - The Age Of Reason (1969 us, fine rough soulful psych rock, 2016 edition)



Pressed in minute quantities by Arlington-based Georgetowne label, 1969's "The Age of Reason" lay largely forgotten until it appeared in one of Austrian vinyl collector Hans Pokora's books - 1001 Record Collectors Dreams.  Like anything listed in one of Pokora's books, the album's subsequently become a high priced, in-demand release. 

This late-1960s release is also a pretty good example of hype and rarity taking precedence over quality. That's not to imply the album's bad, rather for the big bucks it commands, you could certainly find a couple of more enjoyable releases. 

The band apparently came together in 1967, featuring the talents of keyboardist Tommy Didly, former The Telstars bassist Terry Gorka, drummer Bill Manning, and lead guitarist Billy Windsor.  

Two years later they were apparently back in the Washington, D.C. area, releasing what may have been a vanity project on the small Arlington, Virginia-based Georgetowne label.  Produced by drummer Manning, "The Age of Reason" offered up a mixture of late-1960s FM covers (Dylan, Savoy Brown Blues Band, Ike Turner) and band originals.  The players were all pretty good with keyboardist Didly featured on most of the songs.

Best of the lot was their opening Dylan cover.  Showcasing a couple of band originals, side two was marginally better with Manning's 'The View From Tom Thompson's Cell' standing as one of the best performance.   Elsewhere the biggest surprise was their cover of  'Temptations Bout To Get Me'.  The result was a totally unexpected knockout slice of blue-eyed soul.  Shame they didn't record more in this vein.


Tracks
1. This Wheel's On Fire (Bob Dylan, Rick Danko) - 4:14
2. Stay With Me Baby (Chris Youlden, Kim Simmonds, Dave Peverett) - 4:31
3. I'm Blue (Ike Turner) - 4:05
4. Don't Try To See Through Me (N.R. Colbertson) - 4:51
5. The View From Tim Thompson's Cell (Bill Manning) - 4:22
6. Letter To Home (Tommy Dildy, Bill Manning) - 4:57
7. Bang Bang (Sonny Bono) - 5:09
8. Temptations Bout To Get Me (Jimmy Diggs) - 4:07

Reason
*Tommy Dildy - Keyboards, Vocals
*Terry Gorka - Bass
*Bill Manning - Drums, Vocals
*Billy Windsor - Guitar, Vocals
With
*Danny Gatton - Guitar

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Mordicai Jones - Mordicai Jones (1972 us, raw blues country roots 'n' roll, feat Link Wray, 2010 korean remaster)



In the early '70s, first-generation rock guitar hero Link Wray was looking to make a comeback, and after his self-titled 1971 album for Polydor -- in which he set aside the raw, feral guitar tone of his early instrumental hits for a more casual country blues mood -- failed to make an impression with record buyers, Wray and his buddies decided to try making an end-run around the charts with this album. The Mordicai Jones of the title was actually Bobby Howard, who played piano and mandolin on the Link Wray sessions and whose strong, blues-leaning voice lacked the idiosyncrasies of Wray's TB-ravaged instrument; on the surface, "Mordicai Jones" seemed like a more appealing frontman than Link (who by this time was already 44 years old), and his name was on the front cover when the album hit the stores. 

However, the music had the same casual and laid-back tone as the Link Wray sessions, and Link kept his trademark barking axe just as far under wraps as he did on his own album. However, the album has a tough and heartfelt vibe that sets it apart from the more pastoral country-rock albums of the time -- while lots of musicians were talking about getting back to the land, Mordicai Jones sounds like music made by folks who actually worked the farm they lived on, and the rough and flinty energy of these sessions wears a lot better than what most of their contemporaries were doing. Link also plays some fine slide guitar, too, even if "Rumble" fans might wish for more meat. Cuts from Mordicai Jones later surfaced on the compilation Guitar Preacher: The Polydor Years, and it was included in its entirety on Wray's Three Track Shack. 
by Mark Deming


Tracks
1. Walkin' In The Arizona Sun - 2:56
2. Scorpio Woman - 3:49
3. The Coca Cola Sign Blinds My Eyes (Link Wray, Bobby Howard, Yvonne Verroca) - 6:23
4. All I Want To Say - 3:14
5. All Because Of A Woman - 3:19
6. On The Run (Link Wray, Bobby Howard, Yvonne Verroca) - 5:46
7. Son Of A Simple Man - 4:24
8. Precious Jewel (Roy Acuff) - 2:17
9. Days Before Custer - 4:01
10.Gandy Dancer (Link Wray, Bobby Howard, Yvonne Verroca) - 3:33
All songs by Link Wray, Yvonne Verroca except where stated

Musicians
*Link Wray - Electric Guitar, Dobro, Steel Guitar, Bass Guitar
*Doug Wray - Rhythm Guitar, Proccnail Can Percussion, Vocals
*Mordicai Jones (a.k.a. Bobby Howard) - Lead Vocals, Piano, Mandolin, Harp
*Bill Hodges - Organ, Piano, Scratcher Percussion, Vocals
*Steve Verroca - Drums, Vocals
*John Grummere - Electric Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Norman Sue - Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Ned Levitt - Foot Stomp, Hand Claps, Vocals

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Grinderswitch - Pullin' Together (1976 us, excellent southern boogie rock, 2010 remaster)



Grinderswitch was a white blues-rock band that never rose above being a second-tier Capricorn Records act, not remotely as popular as the Allman Brothers or the Marshall Tucker Band. But Dru Lombar (vocals, guitar, slide guitar), Larry Howard (guitar), Stephen Miller (keyboards), Joe Dan Petty (bass), and Rick Burnett (drums) built a loyal following in the tens of thousands playing music that was influenced by British blues outfits like John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream and T.S. McPhee's Groundhogs, but also the real article, especially Albert King and Booker T. & the MG's -- Lombar sounded more Black than any White rock singer you've ever heard. 

They could have been a more soulful and exciting competitor to Canned Heat, but they weren't lucky enough to appear in hit festival movies or get the right single out at the proper time. Working in the commercial shadow of better-known acts, they counted as fans members of the Marshall Tucker Band and a lot of other musicians who felt they deserved a break. The group failed to emerge as much more than a top regional act and an opener for the Allmans and Charlie Daniels, among others, despite recording seven album between 1972 and 1982, first for Capricorn and later for Atlantic.
by Bruce Eder


Tracks
1. Higher Ground - 3:47
2. I'm Satisfied - 3:25
3. That Kind Of Women - 4:12
4. Kill The Pain - 5:38
5. You're So Fine (Willie Schofield) - 3:33
6. Open Road - 4:11
7. Fact Of Life (Stephen Miller) - 2:27
8. Nobody Can - 3:04
9. As Sure As Tomorrow - 3:33
All compositions by  Rick Burnett, Larry Howard, Dru Lombar, Stephen Miller, Joe Dan Petty except where stated

The Grinderswitch
*Rick Burnett - Drums
*Larry Howard - Lead, Acoustic Guitars, Vocals
*Dru Lombar - Lead, Slide Guitars, Vocals
*Stephen Miller - Keyboards, Vocals
*Joe Dan Petty - Bass, Vocals
With
*Jimmy Hall - Harmonica
*Jerry Joseph - Congas

1974  Grinderswitch - Honest To Goodness
1975  Grinderswitch - Macon Tracks (2009 edition) 
1977  Grinderswitch - Redwing (2010 edition)

Related Acts
1968 Linn County - Proud Flesh Soothseer 
1969 Linn County - Fever Shot 
1970  Linn County - 'Till The Break Of Dawn
1969-70/72  Elvin Bishop - Party Till The Cows Come Home

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Christopher Kearney - Christopher Kearney (1972 canada, outstanding bluesy folk classic rock, 2016 SHM remaster)



Canadian born, Christopher Kearney’s career began with the support and encouragement of Gordon Lightfoot, who saw Christopher first perform at the age of 22 in Montreal. Within a year Christopher signed with Gordon’s Early Morning Productions and moved to Toronto.

Shortly thereafter Christopher inked a deal with Capitol Records and went on to record three albums on that label, Christopher Kearney,Pemmican Stash,and Sweetwater.

During this time period after a successful concert tour across Canada and a closing performance at Massy Hall in Toronto Christopher was asked to represent Canada at the Rio International Song Festival in Brazil.

A few years later Christopher joined forces with Bill King and Danny McBride and formed the band China.

Inking a new deal with CBS Epic and Charlie Daniel’s Production Company in Nashville, China joined forces with Bob Dylan’s Grammy Award producer Bob Johnston and Christopher was back in the studio.

During this project many other great players joined forces with Chris and the other members of China including Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Albert Lee, Jay Graydon, Lee Ritenour, Andy Newmark, Abe Laborial, Danny Lanois, and Paulino Da Costa. 

In the early 90’s Christopher moved to Puerto Vallarta Mexico and resided there until 2005.

Within a year or so of returning to California he was writing once again and back in the studio. In 2007 a new set of sessions began and by the fall of that year "Just A Step Away" was completed.

Rich musically and lyrically strong this offering from Christopher paints wonderful visuals of not only just the writer as he navigates through life's twists and turns but it also honestly touches on all of us. At close listening,the chances are very good that you will remember,see,or think of someone you know.

Excellent well crafting songwriters have always been a real commodity, and it is in that is category that Christopher quite comfortably belongs.


Tracks
1. Country Lady - 3:09
2. Loosen Up - 2:31
3. Let It Be Gone (Henry McCullough) - 3:41
4. Speical Day - 3:36
5. Long Old Train (John Schanck) - 4:50
6. House Of D (Chris Rawlings) - 4:11
7. Rocking Chair Ride - 2:33
8. Everything Here (Frank Thomas Talton) - 2:27
9. 20% Off - 2:53
10.Get Back Home - 2:49
Music and Lyrics by Christopher Kearney except where stated

Musicians
*Christopher Kearney - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
*Josh Onderisin - Acoustic, Electric Guitar
*David Bromberg - Slide Guitar, Dobro
*Cguck Aarons - Electric Guitar
*Jim Ackley - Keyboards
*James Rolleston - Bass
*Scott Lang - Bass
*Terry Clarke - Drums
*Diane Brooks - Vocals
*Steve Kennedy - Vocals
*Rhonda Silver - Vocals

1973  Christopher Kearney - Pemmican Stash (2014 korean remaster) 

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Carol Grimes - Warm Blood (1974 uk, excellent funky boogie rock, 2017 korean remaster)



Born in Lewisham, South East London, Carol Grimes had spent her early life as a busker. She eventually realised her talent one day in 1964 outside a pub in Hastings Old Town. Carol Grimes came to prominence in 1969 as a member of Delivery associated with the Canterbury Scene. 

During the 1970s she performed regularly on the London blues circuit with her band The London Boogie Band. At the same time she released her first solo album Warm Blood, the first release on the Virgin's Caroline label (CA2001), backed by session musicians in London and Nashville. The cover was taken in her Notting Hill flat. The following year saw the release of a follow-up blues album recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis and Goodyear Studios in Nashville which pictured her on the cover alongside her son Sam.

By the end of the decade, Grimes had moved to a more jazz-inspired style, including a lot of scat singing. In 1984 she formed Eyes Wide Open. Now known mainly as a solo artist she also does theatrical work and teaches voice. She lives in Folkestone.
CD Liner-Notes


Tracks
1. That's What It Takes (McLintan) - 3:12
2. High Hill Country Rain (J.J. Walker) - 4:04
3. Taxes On The Farmer (Traditional Arr. Ry Cooder) - 2:33
4. All For One (Mack Gayden) - 3:31
5. Ray, Ray, Ray (Bob Wilson, Alan Orange) - 2:52
6. Lost My Faith (In Everything But You) (Ron Cornelius) - 2:36
7. Warm Blood (Lloyd Perata) - 3:57
8. You're The Only One (Bob Wilson) - 2:32
9. Somebody Sleeping In My Bed (Allen Jones, Bettye Crutcher) - 3:09
10.Southern Boogie (D. Skinner) - 2:43
11.Don't Want You On My Mind (Bill Withers) - 2:11
12.Wait For Me Down By The River (Bob Johnson) - 2:56

Musicians
*Carol Grimes  - Vocal
*Ron Cornelius  - Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
*Mack Gayden  - Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Banjo
*Bob Wilson  - Piano, Organ, Vibraphone, Arrangement
*Tommy Cogbill (Miss-Credited As Codbill)  - Bass
*Kenny Buttrey  - Drums
*Karl Himmel  - Drums
*Roger Ball  - Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Brass Arrangement
*Malcome Duncan  - Tenor Saxophone
*Henry Lowther  - Trumpet
*Tommy Eyre  - Organ
*John "Rabbit" Bundrick  - Organ, Background Vocals
*Snazzy Sam Mitchell  - Dobro, Guitar
*Gaspar Lowell  - African Drum, Percussion
*Graham Bell  - Background Vocals, Harp
*Archie Leggit  - Background Vocals
*Jess Roden  - Background Vocals

Related Acts
1970  Delivery - Fools Meeting 
1972  Uncle Dog - Old Hat (2005 japan remaster)

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Bob Brown - Willoughby's Lament (1971 us, tremendous progressive jazzy folk country rock, 2016 issue)



In December 1971, Billboard magazine wrote, “Willoughby’s Lament conveys a quiet tenderness and charm.” With this album, D.C. singer-songwriter Bob Brown delved deeper into the jazz and classical-influenced folk sound established on The Wall I Built Myself, his 1970 debut. Willoughby’s Lament was chapter two for Brown, and the musician’s craftsmanship and experience lent the LP a spiritual energy that remains intact decades later.

One of the record’s most transcendent tracks is “In These Flames.” He wrote this powerful song in 20 minutes while fighting the flu, and folk legend Richie Havens covered it on his 1971 album The Great Blind Degree. Havens and Brown hit it off after a chance encounter in 1966. Havens signed Brown to his MGM label, Stormy Forest, and produced his first two albums.

Brown picked up the guitar at 14 and began playing in D.C. coffeehouses before graduating from high school. He put together his core ensemble—guitarist Orin Smith and multi-instrumentalist Joe Clark—while a freshman at the University of Maryland. That’s also where Brown met his muse, Pamela, and where he completed the compositions for The Wall I Built Myself.

After completing his debut, Brown added two new musicians to his band, violist Rusty Clark and drummer Rob Windsor. In the summer of 1970, when Brown started writing Willoughby’s Lament, he brought the band to a Baltimore club called the Classroom. The Baltimore venue, like D.C.’s esteemed Cellar Door, attracted its share of regulars and luminaries, among them rising star Emmylou Harris. Brown and Harris would go on to split a concert bill at George Washington University.

Iconic D.C. radio personality Don “Cerphe” Colwell conducted his first of many interviews with Brown for progressive rock station WHFS. “Usually, you’ve got musicians who can either write or sing or play or maybe two out of those three things. But Bob could do all three things really well. He was a great writer, great singer, and great player, and he was great onstage,” says Colwell. “Listeners found and gravitated toward him, loved his music like I did.” Colwell says he played The Wall I Built Myself on the air “quite a bit.”

As Brown worked on Willoughby’s Lament, his relationship with Pamela dissolved. The break-up inspired “Death in Dreams,” a stark lamentation influenced by Neil Young. Brown spent most of the writing process while on the road opening for Havens, who was riding high off his star-making performance at Woodstock. They traveled to college towns—Kansas City, Bloomington, Madison—and played for crowds as large as 10,000.

Brown’s biggest show with Havens took place in October 1971. Brown and his ensemble flew to London for a sold-out show at the iconic Royal Albert Hall. “It was the crowning jewel for opening acts,” says Brown.  The show was a break from the Willoughby’s Lament sessions recorded at RKO General Studios in New York because of Havens’ fascination with recording on 35-millimeter film.

Havens brought in peerless bassist Eddie Gomez, who was discovered by pianist Bill Evans and performed with jazz legends Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Herbie Hancock. Brown was blown away by Gomez’s intuitive musicianship. He synchronized with Joe Clark, Orin Smith, and Rusty Clark and added a new dimension to Brown’s music by progressing the alchemical, haunting interplay among band members.

Havens offered Brown the assistance of a handful of famous studio musicians, including renowned Grammy winning composer Jan Hammer. Brown turned down the offer. “I didn’t think anybody else could do what Joe and Orin could do,” Brown says.

Like The Wall I Built Myself, the intimacy of Willoughby’s Lament, combined with Brown’s soulful vocals, creates a mix of raw tenderness and power. This was a departure for Brown, who explored a new realm by focusing on the piano. This style expresses the influence of his pianist grandmother, who played classical music for him when he was a child. Brown also expanded his sound on the title track, a two-part suite featuring a string ensemble arranged by Jeff Kaufman.

Willoughby’s Lament fulfilled Brown’s two-album deal with Stormy Forest, and he parted ways with the label in 1972. Brown moved to New York and lived in the Chelsea Hotel as he continued to write and perform. He went on to record three more albums—two with renowned producer and engineer George Massenburg and one with Greenhouse and the Eagles’ Steuart Smith. None of these records saw the light of day, and Brown abandoned his career in the early 1980s.

Brown eventually found success in the hospitality industry. Today he’s a trainer, author, and keynote speaker, using his insights to help companies like Disney, Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton. Brown tours the world as a consultant, which is how he met his wife, Judith. As his second career took off, Brown’s music didn’t entirely disappear. His records have long been out of print and hard to locate, but in recent years fans have come out of the woodwork to find the LPs and the man who made them.

Tompkins Square has rescued The Wall I Built Myself and Willoughby’s Lament from oblivion with these official reissues. More than 40 years have passed, but the albums still hold the effervescent spark that made Brown’s work irresistible. The records carry the spirit of his close collaborators who have since passed—Joe Clark, Orin Smith, David Franks, and Richie Havens.

Together they brought the work of Bob Brown to life, and since then the world continues to seek out his special brand of magic. For producer and future collaborator Mark Greenhouse, Brown’s music remains unparalleled, and Willoughby’s Lament was life-changing. “It was a lovemaking event—the songs, the music, the sound, the composition and the instrumentation caressed me, entertained me, excited me, and steered me into a life of music,” says Greenhouse. “Each time I listened I heard something new, always discovering something unpredictable and unexpected.”
by Leor Galil


Tracks
1. If I Live Alone - 3:24
2. Interlude - 2:12
3. Baby Child - 5:37
4. Of Breath And Skin - 2:15
5. Willoughby's Lament (Part I) - 1:46
6. In These Flames - 3:44
7. Kindly Leave My Heart - 2:51
8. Death In Dreams - 4:03
9. For Pamela - 4:15
10.Light Of Children Come - 6:17
11.Willoughby's Lament (Part II) - 1:16
All compositions by Bob Brown 

Musicians
*Bob Brown - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Piano
*Richie Havens - Backing Vocals
*Aleta Greene - Backing Vocals
*Eddy Gomez - Bass
*Rob Windsor - Drums
*Eric Oxendine  - Electric Guitar
*Orin Smith - Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
*Bill Keith  - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Rob Windsor  - Percussion
*Joe Clark - Piano, Percussion, Vibraphone
*Rusty Clark – Viola
*Lorna Beard - Violin

1970  Bob Brown - The Wall I Built Myself (2016 remaster)

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