Sunday, December 31, 2017

Warren Zevon - Preludes Rare And Unreleased Recordings (1969-76 us, beautiful outtakes and demos from a great singer songwriter, 2007 release)



You don't have to be terribly familiar with the works of Warren Zevon to surmise that he was the kind of guy to whom the idea of a series of posthumous closet-cleaning releases would have seemed pointless and idiotic, an eye-roll-worthy annoyance, a stupid trick at the bar. Even a casual fan could theorize that the man who wrote acerbic, near-freeze-dried death-related songs like "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" and "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" would have met the idea of such a suggestion with a smack to the face, or, if you were lucky, a mumbled joke to his tablemates at your expense.

Happily for Zevon, who succumbed in 2003 to a form of lung cancer, this is no such project. Preludes isn't the product of label guys sniffing around Zevon's vaults to fulfill some second-quarter sales projections, or, apologies to Johnny Cash and Ray Charles, to spot-capitalize on the novelty of his fresh corpse (waiting four years after Zevon's death to release such a record lends the project extra weight and lessens the uncomfortable post-mortem cash-in vibe considerably, although it is being released around the same time as a biography by Zevon's wife, Crystal).

Rather, Preludes was assembled by Zevon's son Jordan, who discovered the tracks herein in one of Zevon's old storage spaces -- more romantically (the story goes anyway), he found them in a suitcase full of old reel-to-reel tapes, a treasure haul that yielded six CDs and 126 songs, all of which hailed from before 1976. Tellingly, there were no accompanying notes.

Just 16 of those demos made it to Preludes, and of those, only six are unreleased compositions, and all are pretty damned good, rosy nostalgia or not. (Although the nostalgia counts for more than you might think: "Ain't life strange, ain't it funny," sings the ghost of Zevon in the record's first notes, and even if the song ends up being a piano weeper starring whiskey and cigarettes and sidewalks and abject loneliness, of course, it's impossible to not be chilled by the introduction.)

Zevon fans should be highly pleased with the volume of curious here: There's a loose, drinky-sounding, is-this-thing-on? take on "Werewolves of London", that sports a reggae twist and a line from "Hamlet" for some reason; a dirty-blues riff "Join Me in L.A." that's just Zevon, guitar, harp and attitude; a soft, rough "Hasten Down The Wind" whose unpolished sound lends its story extra heartbrokenness; a "Tule's Blues" that finds Zevon going all juke-joint on the keys; a 3 a.m. house-party take on "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" and a piano-only "Studebaker" whose piano jumps off even the lo-fi recording.

Preludes is heavy on material from that last category; it uses the considerable emotional weight of its backstory to successfully throw light on the lesser-known of Zevon's persona; not the arch pirate behind "Lawyers Guns and Money" but the piano balladeer who evidently spent more time than we might have suspected absorbing Tom Waits and Billy Joel (a second bonus disc comprises a 2000 interview and a smattering of live performances, including a heartbreaking-in-retrospect version of "Don't Let Us Get Sick" and a funny tale about an encounter with Joel that compelled him to -- wait for it -- temporarily abandon the piano.)

Preludes does precisely what it sets out to do -- paint a fuller portrait of a talent who remains underrated despite it all. Once again we can assume that Zevon's not the kind of guy who would want people thumbing through his notebooks. But he also can't be the kind of guy who kept only one of these crates lying around.
by Jeff Vrabel, 24 May, 2007
Tracks
Disc One
1. Empty Hearted Town - 3:04
2. Steady Rain - 4:18
3. Join Me In L.A. - 2:27
4. Hasten Down The Wind - 2:30
5. Werewolves Of London (LeRoy Marinell, Waddy Wachtel, Warren Zevon) - 3:36
6. Tule's Blues - 3:02
7. The French Inhaler - 3:31
8. Going All The Way - 2:15
9. Poor Poor Pitiful Me - 3:09
10.Studebaker - 2:34
11.Accidentally Like A Martyr - 3:05
12.Carmelita - 3:56
13.I Used To Ride So High - 2:43
14.Stop Rainin' Lord - 2:11
15.The Rosarita Beach Café - 4:08
16.Desperados Under The Eaves - 3:44
All songs by Warren Zevon except where noted
Disc Two
1. I Was In The House When The House Burned Down - 3:02
2. Warren Speaks On Songwriting And The Early Days Of His Career - 7:14
3. Musings On Mortality, Song Noir And The King Of Rock N' Roll - 5:07
4. A Chat About Producers And The Stark Sounds On The Album Life'll Kill Ya - 5:09
5. Back In The High Life Again (Will Jennings, Steve Winwood) - 3:11
6. Warren's Take On Winwood's Classic And Warren's Inspirations - 3:58
7. Talk Of Tv, Movies, Acting And Performing - 5:14
8. Don't Let Us Get Sick (Solo Acoustic) - 3:10
Track 8 Recorded live December 3, 1999 at Austin City Limits Studios for 107.1 KGSR Radio Austin 9th Anniversary Concert

*Warren Zevon - Vocals, Guitar, Piano

1969  Warren Zevon - Wanted Dead Or Alive

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Friday, December 29, 2017

Home - Live BBC Sessions (1972-73 uk, significant prog rock)



Home was a relatively obscure British group most closely associated with the progressive rock movement of the early 1970s, but their lasting legacy has had less to do with their music than as serving as a proving ground for several musicians who would go on to find much greater success with future bands.

Founded in London in 1970 by singer/guitarist Mick Stubbs, guitarist Laurie Wisefield, bassist Cliff Williams, and drummer Mick Cook, who eventually attracted some label interest and wound up signed to CBS Records, releasing three albums over the next three years. 1971's Pause for a Hoarse Horse came first with keyboard player Clive John fleshing out the group's relatively understated progressive rock aspirations, which were tempered with elements of the period's easygoing California rock sound and driven primarily by Wisefield's distinctive guitar work. 
Tracks
1. How Would It Feel (Mick Stubbs) - 6:27
2. Red E. Lewis And Red Caps (Mick Stubbs) - 7:40
3. Dreamer (Mick Stubbs, Mick Cook, Laurie Wisefield, Cliff Williams) - 5:13
4. My Lady Of The Birds (Mick Stubbs, Mick Cook, Laurie Wisefield, Cliff Williams) - 8:30
5. In My Time (Mick Stubbs, Mick Cook, Laurie Wisefield, Cliff Williams) - 8:33
6. Schooldays - 3:03
7. The Old Man Dying - 3:26
8. Time Passes By - 1:37
9. The Old Man Calling - 3:06
10.The Disaster - 2:41
11.The Sun's Revenge - 6:01
12.A Secret To Keep - 1:15
13.The Brass Band Played - 0:26
14.Rejoicing - 2:40
15.The Disaster Returns - 8:07
16.Death Of The Alchemist - 4:36
17.The Alchemist - 3:41
Tracks 6-17 written by Mick Stubbs, Mick Cook, Laurie Wisefield, Cliff Williams, David Skillin

The Home
*Mick Stubbs - Vocals, Guitar, Piano
*Laurie Wisefield - Acoustic Guitar, Steel Guitar, Vocals
*Cliff Williams - Bass, Vocals
*Mick Cook - Drums, Percussion
*Jim Anderson - Piano, Organ, Mellotron, Synthesizer, Vocals, (Tracks 6-17)

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Hot Tuna - Hoppkorv (1976 us, forceful hard blues rock, 2012 remaster)



Begun as an acoustic spinoff of the Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna eventually became the full-time focus of founding members Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen, emerging as a popular touring act of the 1970s. The two were lifelong friends, growing up together in Washington, D.C., and playing in the group the Triumphs. After high school, guitarist Kaukonen and his government-service parents relocated to the Philippines, but he returned to the U.S. in time for the advent of psychedelia, landing in San Francisco and co-founding the Airplane in 1965. Bassist Casady joined not long after, and together they helped lead the group to massive success during the late '60s. 

Hot Tuna -- originally dubbed Hot Shit, much to the chagrin of their label, RCA -- first began taking shape in 1969, while both Casady and Kaukonen were still active members of the Jefferson Airplane; in fact, their first performances were sandwiched between regular Airplane gigs. As a trio rounded out by harmonica player Will Scarlet (and occasionally including Airplane members Marty Balin and Spencer Dryden).

Unlike recent Hot Tuna albums, Hoppkorv found the group acting less as a mouthpiece for guitarist Jorma Kaukonen's compositions and more as a heavy rock cover band, handling such familiar material as Buddy Holly's "It's So Easy" and Chuck Berry's "Talkin' 'Bout You," although "Watch the North Wind Rise" was one of Kaukonen's better tunes. Even on the originals, the tempo had picked up, the arrangements were shorter; nothing here ran as long as five minutes, and the sound had been filled out by the occasional addition of keyboards, second guitar, and background vocals.
by Jason Ankeny and William Ruhlmann
Tracks
1. Santa Claus Retreat (Jorma Kaukonen) - 4:10
2. Watch the North Wind Rise (Jorma Kaukonen) - 4:38
3. It's So Easy (Buddy Holly, Norman Petty) - 2:33
4. Bowlegged Woman, Knock-Kneed Man (Bobby Rush, Calvin Carter) - 3:05
5. Drivin' Around (Nick Buck) - 2:53
6. I Wish You Would (Billy Boy Arnold) - 3:16
7. I Can't Be Satisfied (McKinley Morganfield) - 3:50
8. Talkin' 'Bout You (Chuck Berry) - 3:23
9. Extrication Love Song (Jorma Kaukonen) - 4:13
10.Song from the Stainless Cymbal (Jorma Kaukonen) - 4:00

Hot Tuna
*Jorma Kaukonen - Vocals, Guitar
*Jack Casady - Bass
*Bob Steeler - Drums, Percussion
Additional Musicians
*Nick Buck - Keyboards
*John Sherman - Guitar
*Karen Tobin - Background Vocals

Related Acts
1969  Country Joe And The Fish - Live! Fillmore West 
1973  Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, David Freiberg - Baron Von Tollbooth And The Chrome Nun 

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

18 Karat Gold - All-Bumm (1973 germany, fine melt of krautrock glam and spacerock, 2017 remaster)



An early supergroup borne out of the prolific Munich scene fronted by American-German Klaus Ebert featuring studio musician Keith Forsey on drums (Hallelujah/Amon Düül II), bass genius Lothar Meid (Amon Düül II), Jörg Evers (guitar) from Embryo. 

The idea behind 18 Karat Gold seems to have been to present Krautrock in a commercial dilute form to the pop public.

Much of the time 18 Karat Gold made their living by working as pop singer Peter Maffay's backing band. Their sole album contained a few minor surprises.
Tracks
1. Going Home - 4:47
2. Come On Monday - 2:05
3. Flying - 5:18
4. Goldrush - 2:57
5. Star-Eyed - 4:31
6. Dr.Stein (5%) - 3:47
7. Elektric Infected - 5:10
8. I Am Just A Man - 3:02
9. See Me In Your Dreams - 4:00
10.If My Guru Would Know (Lothar Meid, Klaus Ebert, Jörg Evers) - 3:36
11.Cool - 2:49
All songs by Keith Forsey, Lothar Meid, Klaus Ebert, Jörg Evers except Track #10

18 Karat Gold
*Jörg Evers - Guitar
*Keith Forsey - Drums
*Klaus Ebert - Guitar
*Lothar Meid - Bass Guitar

1974  Sameti - Hungry For Love (2010 digipak remaster)

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Monday, December 25, 2017

Warren Zevon - Wanted Dead Or Alive (1969 us, interesting debut a mix of acid psych rock blues and folk)



Recorded in 1969, Wanted Dead or Alive is a very different Warren Zevon than the one who emerged in the late ‘70s as one of Los Angeles’ premier singer-songwriters. The voice is still deep and foreboding.

“She Quit Me” is an acoustic demo that’s part blues, part harmonica-folksinger. “Hitchhikin’ Woman” is tough hard rock. “Calcutta” is tougher barroom rock ‘n’ roll. The title track and the country-tinged “A Bullet for Ramona” come closest to the film-noir horrors of Zevon’s most notable works.

The electric guitars are supersized in comparison with Zevon’s later work. “Tule’s Blues” is excellent and would be reworked at a later date but not officially released until the expanded and deluxe editions of his catalog began appearing. Zevon himself expressed little interest in this set, but it has its fans.

In 1981, Warren Zevon told a reporter from Rolling Stone about the strange genesis of his first album: "In 1969, [producer] Kim Fowley called me up one day and asked very simply, 'Are you prepared to wear black leather and chains, f---- a lot of teenage girls and get rich?' I said yes." Zevon had been bouncing around the margins of the L.A. rock scene for several years as a songwriter and would-be pop star when Fowley (at that point best known as the man who wrote, sang, and produced "Alley Oop" by the Hollywood Argyles) offered him a record deal.
Tracks
1. Wanted Dead Or Alive (Kim Fowley, Martin Cerf) - 2:36
2. Hitch Hikin' Woman - 2:16
3. She Quit Me - 4:48
4. Calcutta - 2:19
5. Iko-Iko (Jessie Thomas, Joe Jones, Marilyn Jones, Sharon Jones, Joan Marie Johnson, Barbara Ann Hawkins, Rosa Lee Hawkins) - 1:54
6. Traveling In The Lightning - 3:05
7. Tule's Blues - 3:32
8. A Bullet For Ramona (Warren Zevon,  Paul Evans) - 3:50
9. Gorilla - 3:23
10.Fiery Emblems (Bonus Track) - 3:15
All songs by Warren Zevon except where noted

Personnel
*Warren Zevon - Bass, Guitar, Piano, Percussion, Harmonica, Vocals
*Skip Battin - Bass
*Drachen Theaker - Drums
*Jon Corneal – Drums, Percussion (Tracks 2, 7, 10)
*Toxey French - Drums (Track 8)
*Brent Seawell - Bass (Track 8)
*Sweet Trifles - Background Vocals
*Shutter Ed Caraeff - Maracas (Track 2)

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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Gravy Train - Staircase To The Day (1974 uk, splendid prog rock, 2007 bonus tracks remaster)



Released in 1974, Staircase To the Day would be the last album by Lancashire band Gravy Train, a band whose popularity (at least) on the live circuit would not be reflected in their album sales. Originally signed to the Vertigo label for their first two albums, the band then moved to the Dawn label which saw them release Second Birth in 1973. It was panned critically. Thus the Roger Dean illustrated Staircase To The Day would be the groups' final fling at achieving success in the music business.

The album itself is a nice collection of pieces, which synthesises the rock scene of the early seventies and features a myriad of influences or styles which we can readily associate with various other well-known bands from the prog rock/hard rock circles. From the opening Starbright Starlight, one can see that the band achieved a more cohesive and full sound when compared to their previous albums. This was due probably to two main factors: the addition of another guitarist (George Lynon), as well as the handling of production duties by Vic Smith (Vic Coppersmith-Heaven) who had just finished working on Black Sabbath's Vol. 4 and Judas Priest's Rocka Rolla and would in the future go on to work with The Jam. In fact early comparisons of the group saw critics referring to them as being in the same vein as early Jethro Tull, mainly to strong presence of J.D. Hughes' flute. On this album, the flute is "relegated" to a secondary role, only really appearing on the Moody Blues-esque, Mellotron-drenched Staircase To The Day and the acoustic The Last Day.

Tracks like Staircase To the Day and Never Wanted You have a taste of Uriah Heap as well as Sensational Alex Harvey Band, while the closing Busted In Schenectady has a lovely bass/Mellotron interaction which is very reminiscent of Pink Floyd together with Mary Zinovieff's electric violin. On the other hand, we then have tracks such as Bring My Life On Back To Me and Evening Of My Life whose backbone is completely acoustic. Never Wanted You shows off Norman Barrett's strengths as a vocalist, as he rocks away on this number with some great interplay with J.D. Hughes' organ playing. 

Staircase To the Day is a good spin, and indeed listening to this album/band makes one wonder why or how they didn't go on to achieve success, as some other of their contemporaries did. Luck and a question of timing probably played a role in all of this. Having said that, if you want to listen to good early seventies rock music, then this album will go down fine. 
by Nigel Camilleri
Tracks
1. Starbright Starlight - 4:27
2. Bring My Life On Back To Me - 5:44
3. Never Wanted You - 4:00
4. Staircase To The Day - 7:29
5. Going For A Quick One (Vic Smith, Candy Carr) - 5:14
6. The Last Day - 5:35
7. Evening Of My Life (Norman Barrett, J.D. Hughes) - 2:59
8. Busted In Schenectady - 8:11
9. Starbright Starlight - 4:13
10.Good Time Thing - 4:15
11.Climb Aboard The Gravy Train - 3:08
12.Sanctuary - 4:02
All songs by Norman Barrett except where indicated
Bonus Tracks 9-12

The Gravy Train
*Norman Barrett - Guitar, Vocals
*George Lynon - Guitar
*Barry Davenport - Drums
*Lester Williams - Bass, Vocals
*J.D. Hughes - Keyboards, Vocals, Flute, Saxes
With
*Mary Zinovieff - Keyboards, Violin
*Peter Solley - Keyboards, Vocals
*Jim Frank - Drums
*PP Arnold, Faye Doris, Bobby Harrison - Backing Vocals
*Vic Smith - Cowbell

1970  Gravy Train - Gravy Train (2005 remaster)
1971  Gravy Train - The Ballad Of A Peaceful Man (japan remaster)
1973  Gravy Train - Second Birth (2006 Japan mini LP remaster)

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Friday, December 22, 2017

Gravy Train - Second Birth (1973 uk, excellent prog rock, 2006 Japan mini LP remaster)



St.Helens band Gravy Train were one of hundreds on the undercard of the nascent progressive rock scene at the turn of the ’60s into the ’70s, and they made their first two LPs for Philips’ underground subsidiary Vertigo. Both releases vanished with hardly a ripple, and so the band switched labels to Pye Records’ hip subsidiary Dawn, hoping for more promotion, somewhat naively as it turned out.

Their 1973 album for Dawn, the appropriately and optimistically titled Second Birth. Unlike a lot of their prog rock contemporaries, Gravy Train were not afraid to highlight social and environmental concerns in their lyrics, directly hinted at in some of the song titles. Occasionally a little too earnestly it has to be said. You can almost hear principal songwriter Norman Barratt’s conscience as well as his cracked voice straining to near breaking point on opener Morning Coming.

This band could rock too, with more than a hint of funk, as the following Peter testifies, with some fine sax blowing from Hughes, Barratt’s voice bearing some similarity to that of Roger Chapman on this one. Like almost every other band of the era that ever picked up an acoustic guitar, the influence of Crosby, Stills and Nash is felt, this time on September Morning News. Another all-pervasive influence and unavoidable in the early ’70s was The Beatles, and Fields And Factories blatantly lifts part of its vocal melody wholesale from Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, but the rest of the nearly nine-minute tune has enough of its own character to make that excusable, with more sax extemporising and some fine acidic guitar from Norman.

The title track is a good example of the progressive rock of the time, and bears comparison with any of its more well-known contemporaries. It is another paen to man’s abuse of nature, and with its three-part guitar and flute harmonies, and its fast and technically demanding sections it stands as evidence of a band revelling in their fast increasing proficiency.
by Roger Trenwith
Tracks
1. Morning Coming - 6:42
2. Peter - 4:09
3. September Morning News - 5:41
4. Motorway - 5:52
5. Fields And Factories - 8:36
6. Strength Of A Dream - 4:02
7. Tolpuddle Episode - 5:10
8. Second Birth - 6:57
All compositions by Gravy Train

The Gravy Train
*Norman Barrett - Guitar, Lead Vocals
*George Lynon - Guitar
*J.D. Hughes - Keyboards, Vocals, Flute, Saxes
*Les Williams - Bass, Vocals
*Barry Davenport - Drums, Percussion (Tracks 1,5,7)
*Russ Caldwell - Drums (Tracks 2,3,4,6,8)

1970  Gravy Train - Gravy Train (2005 remaster) 
1971  Gravy Train - The Ballad Of A Peaceful Man (japan remaster) 

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Paul Brett's Sage - Schizophrenia (1972 uk, spectacular hard psych folk rock, 2007 Japan remaster)



Schizophrenia, the third and final album, saw the group reduced to a trio with the departure of bassist Dufall. Although not replaced, the bass playing is uncredited, Brett's old friend from the Fire days, Dave Lambert, by this time a member of The Strawbs, added piano and organ to a few tracks. From the opening grooves of Custom Angel Man a new heaviness to the material could be heard with electric guitar hammering between the speakers. There was still an underlying acoustic vibe with piano and acoustic guitar forming the backdrop. Twin electrics also grace the marvellous Song Of Life - Song Of Death, possibly the only other 'rock' song besides Greg Lake's I Believe In Father Christmas to include sleigh bells! The vocals are also quite a bit rougher, giving the songs a harder edge, although the harmonies were still present on more commercial numbers like Charlene and the acoustic numbers like Tale Of A Rainy Night which really emphasises just how proficient Brett was on the guitar. 

Slow Down Ma! is all over the place tempo wise, with a frantic rhythm set up by the congas of Voice accompanied by a real drum kit, played by another Strawbs member, Rod Coomes. The gentler passages have some nice lap steel guitar to add texture. Two instrumental numbers, Limp Willie and Bee are great guitar showcases, the latter featuring a solo acoustic and the former a couple of electrics, along with the sleeve note "Drink eight double rums and you can no doubt make up your own words"! As one might expect from the title, Take Me Back And I Will Love You is a sweet ballad, well mostly, it all gets rather heated at the end and seems to lose its original intent. 

Autumn once again harks back to the style of the original album with flute and oboe (played by Rob Young), acoustic guitar, bongos, harmony vocals and some very tasty electric guitar. A wonderful song. Dahlia, a non-album single, has been added to complete the entire reissue of the songs of Paul Brett's Sage. A good tune that differs from the rest of the group's output in that it features some great violin work. This is undoubtedly by Mike Piggott, who replaced Cowell in the last line-up of the band, despite the sleeve notes stating that the violinist never recorded with the group (Piggott's web site states that he recorded with Brett in 1972, but no other details are given!) 
by Mark Huges
Tracks
1. Custom Angel Man (Paul Brett) - 2:35
2. Charlene (John Hutcheson) - 3:06
3. Song Of Life - Song O f Death (John Hutcheson) - 2:44
4. Slow Down Ma! (John Hutcheson) - 2:59
5. Saviour Of The World (John Hutcheson) - 3:39
6. Limp Willie (Bob Voice, Dick Dufall, Paul Brett, Stuart Cowell) - 1:41
7. Tale Of A Rainy Night (Paul Brett) - 3:03
8. Take Me Back And I Will Love You (John Hutcheson) - 4:13
9. Autumn (Paul Brett) - 4:43
10.Make It Over (Goddard, Phillips) - 3:10
11.Bee (Paul Brett) - 1:01
12.Dahlia (Bonus Track) (Paul Brett) - 4:14

Paul Brett's Sage
*Paul Brett - Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Vocals
*Bob Voice - Percussion, Vocals
*Dick Duffall - Bass, Vocals
*Stuart Cowell - Electric Guitar
*Rob Young - Flute, Piano, Oboe
*Dave Lambert - Piano, Organ
*Rod Coomes - Drums

1970  Paul Brett's Sage - Paul Brett's Sage (2007 japan edition)
1971  Paul Brett's Sage - Jubilation Foundry (2007 Japan remaster)
Related Acts
1969  Velvet Opera - Ride A Hustler's Dream 
1968-70  Fire - The Magic Shoemaker (2009 bonus tracks remaster) 

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Paul Brett's Sage - Jubilation Foundry (1971 uk, exceptional folk soft rock, 2007 Japan reissue)



Paul Brett is widely regarded as one of the finest 12-string acoustic guitarists in the world and also has an amazing collection of guitars, something that he is probably better known for these days than his recorded output. Having been performing since the early 1960s he has contributed his skills to many records including those by Arthur Brown, Velvet Opera, Tintern Abbey, The Strawbs and Fire to name but a few. However, he also released a trio of albums with his band Sage between 1970 and 1972. Long out of print, Esoteric have done their usual expert job in re-mastering and reissuing the albums complete with bonus tracks and rare photographs. All three albums were initially released by Pye Records, either on the main label, or in the case of the latter two albums, on their Dawn imprint label. 

By the time of the second album, Jubilation Foundry, the band's name had changed to the more grammatically correct Paul Brett's Sage and Nicky Higginbottom had been replaced by Stuart Cowell, a second guitarist. Although Higginbottom had gone, some flute playing persists, particularly on the opening track Cottage Made For Two. In other changes, there is more harmony singing and a greater use of orchestrations (by Mike Gibbs) plus an overall rockier feel, although both Brett and Cowell still provide plenty of acoustic in-put throughout the album, such as on their guitar playing on Pasadena Days and piano playing on Keeper Of My Heart, both written by Steve Voice, the younger brother of conga, bongo and anvil (!) player Bob Voice. The simplicity of this latter song, along with the gorgeous arrangement blending strings, wind and brass, make this a killer love song. 

There was also an expansion in the styles of music covered, with both sides of the single from the album Goodbye Forever and Good Old Fashioned Funky Kind Of Music being somewhat atypical and although interesting, not the strongest tracks on the album to my mind. (As an aside, the marketing prowess of Pye Records is exemplified by the single being wrapped in a sleeve featuring a photograph which included Higginbottom!). Tuesday Evening features some great harmony singing from the whole band, as does Help Me Jesus during which Voice gets the most out of his bongos. 

However, it is the title track, featuring the aforementioned anvil, that takes the credits with some fine playing by the ensemble, haunting lyrics and a great dirge-like quality. The three additional tracks are from an EP that was released between the first and second album which featured Reason For Your Asking from the debut album as lead track. Stylistically, the tracks are more akin to those on the first album, acoustic with added orchestrations on the first two tracks, with Everlasting Butterfly being the standout number, and a more upbeat chant on To Everyman [Freedom]. 
by Mark Huges

Tracks
1. Cottage Made For Two (Richard Dufall) - 2:35
2. Hold My Hand Mother (John Hutcheson) - 3:00
3. Pasadena Days (Steve Voice) - 3:17
4. Keeper O F My Heart (Barry Myers, Paul Brett) - 3:45
5. Goodbye Forever (John Hutcheson) - 3:03
6. Good Old Fashioned Funky Kind Of Music (John Hutcheson) - 4:23
7. Bits (Paul Brett, Stuart Cowell) - 0:34
8. I Fell So Far (Richard Dufall) - 3:08
9. Written In Winter (Paul Brett) - 2:56
10.Tuesday Evening (Paul Brett) - 2:27
11.Help Me Jesus (John Hutcheson) - 4:16
12.Jubilation Foundry (Paul Brett) - 4:51
13.Bits (Paul Brett, Stuart Cowell) - 0:59
14.Everlasting Butterfly (Paul Brett) - 3:37
15.Savannah Ladies (Paul Brett) - 3:16
16.To Everyman (Freedom) (Paul Brett) - 4:17
Bonus-Tracks 14-16

Paul Brett's Sage
*Paul Brett - Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Electric Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Stuart Cowell - Acoustic Guitar, Lead Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Dick Dufall - Bass, Vocals
*Bob Voice - Bongoes, Congas, Vocals, Anvil
*Paul King - Harmonica

1970  Paul Brett's Sage - Paul Brett's Sage (2007 japan edition)
Related Acts
1969  Velvet Opera - Ride A Hustler's Dream 
1968-70  Fire - The Magic Shoemaker (2009 bonus tracks remaster) 

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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Maria Muldaur - Waitress In The Donut Shop (1974 us, magnificent melt of blues jazz folk rock and traditional elements)



Best known for her seductive '70s pop staple "Midnight at the Oasis," Maria Muldaur has since become an acclaimed interpreter of just about every stripe of American roots music: blues, early jazz, gospel, folk, country, R&B, and so on. While these influences were certainly present on her more pop-oriented '70s recordings (as befitting her Greenwich Village folkie past), Muldaur came into her own as a true roots music stylist during the '90s, when she developed a particular fascination with the myriad sounds of Louisiana. On the string of well-received albums that followed, Muldaur tied her eclecticism together with the romantic sensuality that had underpinned much of her best work ever since the beginning of her career.

Muldaur was born Maria D'Amato on September 12, 1943, in New York. As a child, she loved country & western music and began singing it with her aunt at age five; during her teenage years, she moved on to R&B, early rock & roll, and girl group pop, and in high school formed a group in the latter style called the Cashmeres. Growing up in the Greenwich Village area, however, she naturally became fascinated with its booming early-'60s folk revival and soon began participating in jam sessions. She also moved to North Carolina for a while to study Appalachian-style fiddle with Doc Watson. Back in New York, she was invited to join the Even Dozen Jug Band, a revivalist group that included John Sebastian, David Grisman, and Stefan Grossman; they had secured a recording deal with blueswoman Victoria Spivey's label and she wanted them to add some sex appeal. The young D'Amato got a crash course in early blues, particularly the Memphis scene that spawned many of the original jug bands, and counted Memphis Minnie as one of her chief influences.

Elektra Records bought out the Even Dozen Jug Band's contract and released their self-titled debut album in 1964; however, true to their name, the band's unwieldy size made them an expensive booking on the club and coffeehouse circuit and they soon disbanded. Many of the members went off to college and, in 1964, D'Amato moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, home to another vibrant folk scene. She quickly joined the Jim Kweskin Jug Band and began an affair with singer Geoff Muldaur; the couple eventually married and had a daughter, Jenni, who would later become a singer in her own right. When the Kweskin band broke up in 1968, the couple stayed with their label (Reprise) and began recording together as Geoff & Maria Muldaur. They moved to Woodstock, New York to take advantage of the burgeoning music scene there and issued two albums -- 1970's Pottery Pie and 1971's Sweet Potatoes -- before Geoff departed in 1972 to form Better Days with Paul Butterfield, a move that signaled not only the end of the couple's musical partnership, but their marriage as well.

With Maria initially unsure about her musical future, her friends encouraged her to pursue a solo career, as did Reprise president Mo Ostin. Muldaur went to Los Angeles and recorded her debut album Maria Muldaur in 1973, scoring a massive Top Ten pop hit with "Midnight at the Oasis." Showcasing Muldaur's playfully sultry crooning, the Middle Eastern-themed song became a pop radio staple for years to come and also made session guitarist Amos Garrett a frequent Muldaur collaborator in the future. Three more Reprise albums followed over the course of the '70s, generally with the cream of the L.A. session crop, "Waitress In The Donut Shop" includes her second (and final) hit single "I'm a Woman" and presents a pleasant folk-blues mixture of material including everything from contemporary songs by Wendy Waldman and Anna McGarrigle to Skip James blues tunes and Fats Waller's "Squeeze Me," all given Muldaur's earthy, enthusiastic treatment. 
Tracks
1. Squeeze Me (Clarence Williams, Thomas Waller) - 3:21
2. Gringo En Mexico (Wendy Waldman) - 3:20
3. Cool River (McGarrigle, Audrey Bean) - 2:51
4. I'm A Woman (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) - 4:09
5. Sweetheart (Ken Burgan) - 3:05
6. Honey Babe Blues (Clarence Ashley) - 3:06
7. If You Haven't Any Way (Skip James) - 2:46
8. Oh Papa (David Nichtern) - 3:19
9. It Ain't The Meat It's The Motion (Henry Glover, Lois Mann) - 3:02
10.Brickyard Blues (Allen Toussaint) - 4:32
11.Travelin' Shoes (Traditional) - 2:26

Musicians
*Maria Muldaur - Vocals
*Elvin Bishop - Electric Guitar
*George Bohannon - Trombone
*James Booker - Keyboards, Piano
*Joe Boyd - Producer
*Ray Brown - Bass
*Dennis Budimir - Guitar
*Ken Burgan - Composer
*Paul Butterfield - Harmonica
*Red Callender - Bass
*Rosendo Cervantes - Trumpet
*John Collins - Guitar
*Rosendo Covanties - Trumpet
*Dr. John - Keyboards, Marimba, Piano
*Jose Ordaz Durante - Trumpet
*Harry "Sweets" Edison - Trumpet
*Terry Evans - Vocals, Vocals
*Freebo - Bass
*Amos Garrett - Bass, Guitars, Vocals
*Lowell George - Guitar
*Jim Godron - Drums
*Jim Gordon - Drums
*David Grisman - Mandolin
*Jeff Gutcheon - Keyboards, Piano
*Bobbye Hall - Percussion
*Paul Harris - Keyboards, Piano
*Milt Holland - Percussion
*Paul Humphrey - Drums
*Plas Johnson - Tenor Saxophone
*Mark T.  Jordan - Keyboards, Piano
*John Kahn - Bass
*Ellen Kearney - Vocals
*Roger Kellaway - Keyboards, Piano
*Bobby King - Vocals
*David Lindley - Guitar
*David Lynley - Guitar
*Tommy Mcclure - Bass
*Anna McGarrigle - Vocals,
*Kate McGarrigle - Vocals
*Abe Most - Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
*David Nichtern - Guitar, Piano
*Spooner Oldham - Keyboards, Piano
*Larry Packer - Viola, Violin
*Earl Palmer - Drums
*Bob Porter - Percussion
*Greg Prestopino - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Mac Rebennack - Marimba, Piano
*Emil Richards - Percussion
*Alvin Robinson - Electric Guitar
*Linda Ronstadt - Vocals
*Bud Shank - Alto Saxophone
*Sahib Shihab - Baritone Saxophone
*Fred Staeble - Drums, Percussion
*Fred Staehle - Drums
*Tommy Tedesco - Guitar, Requinto
*Doc Watson - Guitar
*Merle Watson - Guitar
*Snooky Young - Trumpet

1973  Maria Muldaur - Maria Muldaur
Related Acts
1967  Geoff And Maria Muldaur - Pottery Pie
1972  Nick Gravenites And Mike Bloomfield - Steel Yard Blues (2015 remaster)

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Doris Troy - Doris Troy (1970 uk, wonderful groovy rhythm and blues with some folk shades, 2010 extra tracks remaster)



Doris Troy is a rollicking party album, and this particular party included Harrison, labelmate Billy Preston, Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, Peter Frampton and Klaus Voormann! All of those estimable talents, however, took a back seat to the lady with the smoky voice which could be gritty one minute, velvety the next.

It was clear that Troy had evolved musically since the days of “Just One Look.” Harrison’s powerful electric guitar licks on “Give Me Back My Dynamite” couldn’t be further removed from that soul classic. Yet Troy didn’t turn her back on those halcyon days of just a few years earlier; she revisited “Hurry,” which she first recorded at Atlantic, for Doris Troy. If “Dynamite” is rocking soul, Stephen Stills’ “Special Care” was reworked from Buffalo Springfield’s folk-psych into pure R'n'B heaven. 

On Doris Troy, the singer treats all songs with equal respect, regardless of origin; the Dorothy Fields/Jimmy McHugh standard “Exactly Like You” is taken to the same gospel church as her cover of Joe South’s “Games People Play.” (Spiritual “Jacob’s Ladder” even closes the album on a rousing high note.) On “Gonna Get My Baby Back,” Troy jams with two Beatles (Harrison and Starkey) and Stills for a track that would make a great sing-along, if only one could possibly keep up with Doris’ insistent vocals!

The original CD release boasted five bonus tracks; all five have been retained, and are supplemented with one additional cut, an alternate version of “All That I’ve Got.” Troy sings “You Give Me Joy Joy” (another Troy/Harrison/Starkey/Stills co-write!) on the album, but joy – singly or doubly – is assuredly what this album will bring to any classic soul fan.
by Joe Marchese
Tracks
1. Ain't That Cute (George Harrison, Doris Troy) - 3:50
2. Special Care (Stephen Stills) - 3:00
3. Give Me Back My Dynamite (George Harrison, Doris Troy) - 4:56
4. You Tore Me Up Inside (Doris Troy, Ray Schinnery) - 2:33
5. Games People Play (Joe South) - 3:06
6. Gonna Get My Baby Back (George Harrison, Richard Starkey, Doris Troy, Stills) - 2:20
7. I've Got To Be Strong (Jackie Lomax, Doris Troy) - 2:36
8. Hurry (Doris Troy, Greg Carroll) - 3:13
9. So Far (Klaus Voormann, Doris Troy) - 4:28
10.Exactly Like You (Jimmy Mchugh, Dorothy Fields) - 3:10
11.You Give Me Joy Joy (George Harrison, Starkey, Doris Troy, Stephen Stills) - 3:42
12.Don't Call Me No More (Doris Troy, Ray Schinnery) - 2:07
13.Jacob's Ladder (Traditional Arranged George Harrison, Doris Troy) - 3:21
14.All That I've Got (I'm Gonna Give It To You) (Billy Preston, Doris Troy) - 4:19
15.Get Back (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 3:08
16.Dearest Darling (Doris Troy) - 3:04
17.What You Will Blues (Doris Troy) - 5:07
18.Vaya Con Dios (Larry Russell, Inez James, Buddy Pepper) - 3:33
19.All That I've Got (I'm Gonna Give It To You) (Alternative Version) (Billy Preston, Doris Troy) - 3:24
Bonus Tracks 14-19

Musicians
*Doris Troy - Vocals, Piano
*George Harrison - Electric Guitar
*Klaus Voormann - Bass
*Ringo Starr - Drums
*Billy Preston - Piano, Organ, Electric Piano
*Stephen Stills - Electric Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Peter Frampton - Electric Guitar
*Alan White - Drums
*Eric Clapton - Electric Guitar
*Delaney Bramlett - Percussion
*Bonnie Bramlett - Percussion
*Leon Russell - Keyboards
*Bobby Whitlock - Vocals
*Jim Gordon - Drums
*Rita Coolidge - Vocals
*John Barham - String, Brass Arrangements

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Web - I Spider (1970-71 uk, exceptional prog rock, 2008 remaster)



Like many others I became acquainted with the music of keyboardist and vocalist Dave Lawson with the release of the debut Greenslade album in 1973. A dual keyboard led quartet, the band also included Dave Greenslade, Tony Reeves and Andrew McCulloch. Whilst I was aware of his colleague’s pedigree having come by way of bands like Colosseum and King Crimson, I was unfamiliar with Lawson’s background. Thanks to Esoteric and the re-release of this 1970 album from Web and the 1971 Samurai set (see review below) which followed, my education is now complete in that department. As with all of Esoteric’s retrospective releases this album has been lovingly remastered, on this occasion by Lawson himself.

When Lawson joined Web, a then soul influenced band, they already had several recordings under their belt but this proved to be their last. Up to that point he had been a member of Episode Six, a band best known for once having Ian Gillan and Roger Glover amongst its ranks before they found fame and fortune with Deep Purple. Taking over sole song writing duties he transformed Web into a jazz-rock outfit with progressive rock and blues leanings. What attracted Lawson to the band in the first place was the dual drumming of Kenny Beveridge and Lennie Wright. Completing the line-up for the recording was Tom Harris (saxophones and flutes), Tony Edwards (electric and acoustic guitars) and John Eaton (bass guitar).

They nail their new colours to the mast by opening the album with Concerto For Bedsprings, a ten minute opus in five contrasting parts. I Can’t Sleep is a suitably strident and atmospheric introduction with heavy sax and organ underpinning the imposing vocal which is unmistakably Lawson. A spooky repeated organ motif rather like the vintage Twilight Zone TV theme leads into Sack Song a melodic jazzy instrumental with buoyant piano and sax. In keeping with its title Peaceful Sleep finds the band in gentle mode with a plaintive vocal resting on a light piano, flute and sax backing. In contrast the up-tempo You Can Keep The Good Life has an aggressive edge aided by a pounding piano riff. During the stark chorus Lawson’s voice it at its most strained and in my opinion least appealing. A strong sax solo continues the mood although it’s a tad overlong and begins to drag long before it ends. Loner returns briefly to the earlier mood to provide a peaceful close.

The title track I Spider is another lengthy piece although with less contrast in mood than its predecessor. Slow and moody for the most part it has a thoughtful vocal with a delicate organ backing and a spiralling sax motif. The edgy guitar punctuations sound very Peter Banks ala Yes’ version of Everydays from Time And A Word released the same year. A soaring sax break proves to be the most uplifting part. Love You opens with the rare use (for Lawson) of Mellotron with acoustic guitar and a reflective vocal which is Lawson sounding at his best. The mood and tempo abruptly changes as menacing sounding sax and guitar erupt. Mellotron and tympani are used to good effect here to sustain an air of tension and the whole thing reminded me of Van Der Graaf Generator. A heavy and bluesy guitar solo rounds off what is thus far for me the albums best song.

The curiously titled Ymphasomniac is an urgent sax led instrumental with a thumping piano backing. The eerie underscoring of Mellotron and the busy drum work is strongly reminiscent of early King Crimson. A lengthy percussion only section gives both drummers a chance to hit everything in sight before building into a bombastic piano, organ and sax coda driven by monumental drumming. Although the coda feels somewhat over extended it’s a cracking instrumental nonetheless. Always I Wait is an OK closer but is about three minutes longer than it needs to be. The trebly staccato guitar punctuations have a Hendrix influence whilst Lawson sings impossibly high joined by restless sax and organ. A fuzzed organ solo brought back memories of Tony Kaye’s work in Yes mark 1 whilst the vocals here sound very like Andy Tillison at times.

With the original album clocking in at less than forty minutes, which was about average for the time, two bonus tracks have been included. Both were recorded live in 1971 in Sweden, a country where the band seemed to find particular favour. As live recordings go they are both excellent in terms of clarity and musicianship. Here the instruments seem more pronounced in Concerto For Bedsprings. This is especially true of bass and organ which when combined with sax recalls the Mike Ratledge and Elton Dean partnership from Soft Machine. Love You skips the mellow intro of the studio version and compensates with an extended and excellent guitar solo. It’s supported by animated organ playing and together they build to a potent climax. Superb stuff making both tracks an essential addition.

Following the albums release and a string of live dates supporting the likes of Yes, Hawkwind and Manfred Mann, Web decided to call it a day. This was prompted by a lack of finance and also frustration over their name constantly being misspelt on billings. They didn’t so much disband however as evolve into the band Samurai. With I Spider they have left behind a worthy legacy and it’s not hard to see why Esoteric decided to give it a new lease of life. If you’re familiar with Greenslade then you will appreciate that Lawson’s vocals are an acquired taste, sitting somewhere between Andy Tillison and Patrik Lundstrom. Stylistically the music occupies the same area as Soft Machine, Colosseum, King Crimson and Van Der Graaf Generator from the same era with overtones of the Canterbury style. Well worth a dabble especially for those that recall early 70’s UK prog-jazz with affection. 
by Geoffrey Feakes

Tracks
1. Concerto For Bedsprings Including I Can't Sleep / Sack Song / Peaceful Sleep / You Can Keep The Good Life / Loner - 10:19
2. I Spider - 8:38
3. Love You - 5:32
4. Ymphasomniac - 6:52
5. Always I Wait - 8:22
6. Concerto For Bedsprings Including I Can't Sleep / Sack Song / Peaceful Sleep / You Can Keep The Good Life / Loner - 10:40
7. Love You - 4:22
All compositions by Dave Lawson

The Web
*Dave Lawson - Vocals, Keyboards, Piano, Organ, Mellotron, Harpsichord
*Lennie Wright - Drums, Percussion
*Kenny Beveridge - Drums, Percussion
*Tom Harris - Tenor, Soprano Sax, Concert, Alto Flute, Tambourine
*Tony Edwards - Electric And Acoustic Guitars
*John Eaton - Bass, Cabassa

1968  The Web - Fully Interlocking (2008 remaster) 
1970  Web - Theraphosa Blondi (2008 remaster) 
Related Act
1971  Samurai - Samurai (2008 Esoteric remaster) 

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Web - Theraphosa Blondi (1970 uk, beautiful jazz brass rock, 2008 remaster)



This reissue is the second of three albums The Web recorded before evolving into Samurai for one eponymous album. The Web’s last album I Spider and the Samurai album (reviewed here) both feature a pre-Greenslade Dave Lawson on keyboards and are well worth investigating for Greenslade, VDGG and early English progressive rock fans. 

Admirably wanting to move away from their soul band roots, they start off OK with the strident Like The Man Said and keep up the momentum with a fair cover of Sunshine Of Your Love, shoehorning some jazzy variations into the middle of the song. Unfortunately, the wheels come off the wagon here and you will have to make it past a version of Gilbert O’Sullivan’s overwrought and melodramatic 'Til I Come Home Again; a couple of novelty pieces – the percussive Bewala and the execrable Kilimanjaro, not to mention the hideous crooning of One Thousand Miles Away, before you reach the climactic pairing of Tobacco Road / America which, thankfully is not bad at all, if hardly an original choice of song to cover.

The two bonus tracks are a bit more like it, in an Afro/Jazz rock vein and quite enjoyable too.When the band are on form, as on the first two tracks and the last three, they manage to present a competent if unspectacular jazz rock blend, strong on saxes and flutes and with powerful vocals, and with the merest hint of the progressive direction they went on to pursue.
by Dave Sissons
Tracks
1. Like The Man Said (Lennie Wright) - 7:06
2. Sunshine Of Your Love (Pete Brown, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce) - 6:47
3. 'til I Come Home Again Once More (Gilbert O'Sullivan) - 3:01
4. Bewala (John L. Watson, John Eaton, Tony Edwards, Tom Harris, Dick Lee-Smith, Kenny Beveridge, Lennie Wright) - 2:31
5. One Thousand Miles Away (John Eaton) - 4:29
6. Blues For Two T's (Tom Harris) - 2:50
7. Kilimanjaro (John Eaton, Lennie Wright) - 3:49
8. Tobacco Road / America (John D. Loudermilk, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim) - 5:39
9. Afrodisiac (John L. Watson, John Eaton, Tony Edwards, Tom Harris, Dick Lee-Smith, Kenny Beveridge, Lennie Wright) - 3:20
10.Newspecs (Tom Harris) - 3:47
Bonus Tracks 9-10

The Web
*John L. Watson - Vocals
*John Eaton - Electric, Acoustic Guitars, Tambourine, Cabasa, African Drum
*Tony Edwards - Electric, 12-String Guitars, Military Bass Drum
*Tom Harris - Flutes, Tenor, Baritone Saxes, Bass Clarinet, Marimba
*Dick Lee-Smith - Bass, Chinese Tom Tom, Drums
*Kenny Beveridge - Drums, Percussion, African Drum
*Lennie Wright - Vibes, Congas, Claves, Marimba, Varitone, Drums, Xylophone

1968  The Web - Fully Interlocking (2008 remaster) 
Related Act
1971  Samurai - Samurai (2008 Esoteric remaster)

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Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Yardbirds - Live At The BBC (1965-68 uk, influential rhythm and blues, 2016 double disc remaster)



A selection of the Yardbirds BBC key live recordings, assembled with the assistance of the Yardbirds and the BBC, with several tracks now all together the first time on this newly restored and remastered 2LP set.

Many tracks have been expertly repaired from rare,hard-to-find and archive sources and now feature for the first time on these best available recordings in LP format.

Sourced from the BBC, this double LP covers numerous songs - including smash hits such as For Your Love , Heart Full Of Soul and Yardbirds classic stage favourites Too Much Monkey Business , Smokestack Lightning ,I'm A Man and Train Kept A-Rollin.

Guitar legends Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page feature alongside front man Keith Relf, Paul Samwell-Smith and Jim McCarty in these sessions, recorded by the world renowned broadcasting organisation for radio transmission and our LPs feature a selection of the best available Yardbirds BBC Radio One output from 1965-1968.

Authoritative sleeve notes contain new quotes from Yardbirds Jim McCarty and Paul Samwell-Smith. McCarty also adds his exclusive personal introduction for this set, looking back at those BBC years.All tracks recorded in Mono.
Tracks
Disc 1
1. I Ain't Got You (Calvin Carter) - 1:58
2. Interview, Keith Relf - 0:56
3. For Your Love (Graham Gouldman) - 2:22
4. I'm Not Talking (Mose Allison) - 2:32
5. I Wish You Would (Billy Boy Arnold) - 2:39
6. Interview, Paul Samwell-Smith - 0:59
7. Heart Full Of Soul (Graham Gouldman) - 2:27
8. I Ain't Done Wrong (Keith Relf) - 2:32
9. Heart Full Of Soul (Alternate version) (Graham Gouldman) - 2:24
10.Too Much Monkey Business (Chuck Berry) - 2:34
11.Love Me Like I Love You (Chris Dreja, Jeff Beck, Jim McCarty, Keith Relf, Paul Samwell Smith) - 2:54
12.I'm A Man (Ellas McDaniel) - 2:31
13.Evil Hearted You (Graham Gouldman) - 2:32
14.Interview, Paul Samwell-Smith - 0:52
15.Still I'm Sad (Jim McCarty, Paul Samwell Smith) - 3:01
16.Hang On Sloopy (Bert Russell, Wes Farrell) - 3:46
17.Smokestack Lightning (Chester Burnett) - 5:03
18.Interview, The Yardbirds - 0:47
19.You're A Better Man Than I (Brian Hugg, Mike Hugg) - 3:15
20.The Train Kept A-Rollin' (Howie Kay, Syd Nathan, Tiny Bradshaw) - 2:43
21.Smokestack Lightning (Edited version) (Chester Burnett) - 3:34
Disc 2
1. Shapes Of Things (Chris Dreja, Jim McCarty, Keith Relf, Paul Samwell Smith) - 2:29
2. Dust My Broom (Elmore James) - 2:34
3. You're A Better Man Than I (Brian Hugg, Mike Hugg) - 3:05
4. Baby, Scratch My Back (James Moore) - 3:18
5. Interview, Keith Relf - 0:48
6. Over, Under, Sideways, Down (Chris Dreja, Jeff Beck, Jim McCarty, Keith Relf, Paul Samwell Smith) - 2:15
7. The Sun Is Shining (Edited version) (Elmore James) - 2:46
8. Interview, Keith Relf - 1:21
9. Shapes Of Things (Alternate version) (Chris Dreja, Jim McCarty, Keith Relf, Paul Samwell Smith) - 2:21
10.The Sun Is Shining (Elmore James) - 3:34
11.Over, Under, Sideways, Down (Original TV version) (Chris Dreja, Jeff Beck, Jim McCarty, Keith Relf, Paul Samwell Smith) - 2:10
12.Comment, Jeff Beck's Guitar Playing - 0:16
13.Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine) (Bob Dylan) - 2:55
14.Little Games (Harold Spiro, Phil Wainman) - 2:27
15.Drinking Muddy Water (Chris Dreja, Jimmy Page, Jim McCarty, Keith Relf, Paul Samwell Smith) - 2:44
16.Think About It (Chris Dreja, Jimmy Page, Jim McCarty, Keith Relf, Paul Samwell Smith) - 3:13
17.Interview, Jimmy Page - 1:47
18.Goodnight Sweet Josephine (Tony Hazzard) - 2:36
19.My Baby (Jerry Ragovoy, Mort Shuman) - 2:51

The Yardbirds
*Jim McCarty - Drums
*Keith Relf - Lead Vocals, Harmonica, Guitar
*Chris Dreja - Rhythm Guitar, Bass
*Paul Samwell Smith - Bass
*Jeff Beck - Lead Guitar
*Jimmy Page - Lead Guitar, Bass

1963-68  Glimpses (five disc box set, 2011 release) 
1964  Five Live Yardbirds (2007 Repertoire digi pack) 
1968 The Yardbirds - Live Yardbirds! (2008 edition) 
Related Acts 
1969 Jeff Beck Group - Beck-Ola (2006 remaster and expanded)
1970 Jeff Beck - Rough And Ready (Japan remaster) 
1969 Renaissance - Renaissance (2008 remaster) 
1974  Renaissance - Turn Of The Cards
1977  Illusion - Out Of The Mist (2011 remaster)
1978  Illusion – Illusion (2011 remaster) 

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Blackfeather - Live Sunbury (1974 australia, exceptional classic roots 'n' roll jam rock, 2005 remaster)



In early 1972 Blackfeather with Johns, Ward and Wylde were joined by Billy Taylor (ex-Flake) on lead guitar. With Gil Matthews (of Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs) guesting on drums they recorded a cover version of Carl Perkins' 1956 single, "Boppin' the Blues" (July 1972). It became a number-one hit in Australia in October for four weeks. 

In September of that year a four-piece line-up of Johns, Ward, Wylde and Greg Sheehan on drums were recorded live at Melbourne Town Hall and the Q Club for the second Blackfeather album, Boppin' the Blues. It was produced by Howard Gable and released in December 1972. McFarlane noticed they "relied on dominant boogie-woogie piano as a substitute for guitar."

Wylde quit at the end of 1972; he was replaced by two guitarists, Lindsay Wells (ex-Healing Force) and Tim Piper, which returned Blackfeather to the harder, guitar-based style of the Robinson-era group. They performed at the second Sunbury Pop Festival in January 1973. The set was released in the following year as another live album, Live! (Sunbury). A track, "I'm Gonna Love You", appeared on Mushroom Records' inaugural release, the triple-album, Sunbury 1973 – The Great Australian Rock Festival (April 1973). 

The third Blackfeather single, "Slippin; & Sliddin'", a cover of Little Richard's track, was issued in February 1973; by which time Sheehan had quit and the group split in April. Johns briefly performed solo before joining former band mates, Penson and Ward, in Flake; which disbanded late in 1974.

This release is coupled with the "Boppin the Blues" album from 1972 which was the bands follow up to "Mountains of Madness" and gave the band their biggest hit in Australia with the title track.
Tracks
1. Get It On (Neale Johns) - 6:43
2. I'm Gonna Love You (Neale Johns) - 9:58
3. Still Alive And Well (Rick Derringer) - 3.32
4. Slippin' And Slidin' (Little Richard, Edwin Bocage, Al Collins, James Smith) - 4:26
5. Boppin' The Blues (Carl Perkins, Howard "Curley" Griffin) / Let's Twist Again (Kal Mann, Dave Appel) / I Just Love To Rock 'N' Roll (Neale Johns) - 14:35
6. Pineapple (Neale Johns) - 5:37
7. Gee Willikers (Neale Johns) - 4:55
8. Own Way Of Living (Neale Johns) - 8:03
9. Red Head Rag (Neale Johns) - 6:22
10.D.Boogie (Muma Roll) (Neale Johns) - 4:57
11.Boppin' The Blues (Carl Perkins, Howard "Curley" Griffin) - 6:33
12.Lay Down Lady (Neale Johns) - 4:11
Bonus tracks 6 - 12  from Boppin' The Blues 1972 album.

The Blackfeather
*Neale Johns - Vocals
*Lindsay Wells - Guitars (Tracks 1-5)
*Tim Piper - Guitars (Tracks 1-5)
*Warren Ward - Bass
*Warren Morgan - Piano
*Greg Sheehan - Drums
*Trevor Young - Drums
*Paul Wylde - Piano (Tracks 6-12)
*Billy Taylor - Guitar

1971  Blackfeather - At the Mountains of Madness (2010 remaster) 

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Mike Tingley - The Abstract Prince (1968 us, wonderful folk baroque psych, 2012 edition)



Mike Tinglay was from Anaheim, California, his sole release The Abstract Prince" was recorded at the Phonogram studios in Hiversum, Holland in February 1968. 

Folk baroque psych, sometimes sounds bit too mellow, but this was more or less usual for the time. Another point is the subject matter of the lyrics,  not just love themes for broken heart stories and the peace-love-dove messages that we'd expect, but also to political themed songs, like the marvelous title track. 

Mike remained in the music business for about a decade or so and then he worked as a winemaker in California.
Tracks
1. A Real Fine Time - 2:49
2. Begin The Sun - 2:54
3. Connected To Nothing - 1:43
4. Emotions And May - 2:58
5. Monotony's Message - 3:31
6. See The People - 2:15
7. Abstract Prince - 2:58
8. Of Sand - 1:29
9. Of Soul And Deed - 2:58
10.I Weep - 3:16
11.It's Time To Leave Her - 2:48
12.Crossroads - 1:57
Words and Music by Mike Tingley

*Mike Tingley - Vocals, Guitar

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Eric Andersen - Blue River / Stages The Lost Album (1972-73/90 us, amazing folk rock, 2014 double disc remaster)



This modestly influential master s/s from the Greenwich Village '60s set (he wrote Violets Of Dawn and Close The Door Lightly When You Go, to name but two titles), enjoyed a healthy modicum of success after a run of moderately well-selling LPs for Vanguard with his first album for Columbia, 1972's Blue River. Here it enjoys a timely reissue on BGO, in a two-disc set coupled with its intended followup Stages, of which, as the subtitle implies, the master tapes were initially lost (they subsequently turned up in the Columbia vaults in 1989, and were eventually released in 1991). I think this is the first time these two albums have appeared on CD coupled together in one sensible package, and all tracks have been remastered in 2014 for this new BGO release, the well-filled booklet for which, in addition to the original extra notes for Stages' 1991 appearance, contains a new essay by John O'Regan that grants a useful perspective on this often undersung figure who to date has released well over 25 albums yet without gaining mainstream recognition despite producing work of consistent, enduring quality. Blue River is often considered by critics to be Andersen's creative masterpiece, and contains a number of songs regarded by critics as central to his output, songs that display his quintessential, trademark quality of delicate "resigned fractured romanticism": Is It Really Love At All?, Sheila, Wind And Sand, and of course the disc's title song (which features some beautiful backing vocals courtesy of Joni Mitchell and Deborah Green Andersen). These are complemented by the Dylanesque More Often Than Not and the gospel-style arrangement of Round The Bend. The latest reissue of Blue River is usefully supplemented with the same two bonus tracks recorded at the album sessions which were a feature of the album's 1999 Sony Legacy CD edition: the tender Come To My Bedside, My Darlin' and the rollicking cajun-inflected cover of Hank Williams' Why Don't You Love Me?.

It's widely acknowledged that Stages is of such quality that if it had appeared at the time (instead of being lost) it might have given Andersen a degree of mainstream acceptance and capitalised on the success of Blue River. Its opening song, Baby I'm Lonesome, was a particularly lovely example of the classic country waltzer, and the gentle backdrop proved just perfect and an ideal template for the rest of the album, on which a host of top-drawer session musicians, including Leon Russell, David Briggs and Kenny Malone, were used commendably sparingly. The overall standard of Stages' songs was such that no fewer than six of its songs were deemed so worthy of not being lost that they were reworked for Andersen's 1975 Arista album Be True To You; these naturally included Moonchild River Song and Woman, She Was Gentle (which featured Joan Baez on backing vocal), and the evocative 8½-minute meditation Time Run Like A Freight Train. Sure, there were a couple of rather mundane rockers tucked in there amongst the exquisite gems, although the third rocker, Wild Crow Blues (in praise of Patti Smith), was more convincing. The three bonus tracks for this reissue are identical to those that graced the 1991 CD. The first, Dream To Rimbaud, is the pearl of the collection, and was recorded at the same time as the Blue River album, whereas the final three cuts (Make It Last, Lie With Me and Soul Of My Song) were recorded in late 1990, shortly after the 1989 comeback album Ghosts Upon The Road and just prior to the eventual release of the Stages tracks; the backing crew on these tracks includes Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Eric Bazilian, Andy Newmark and Shawn Colvin.

Together, these two albums represent Andersen's craft at a peak, encapsulating a mature, bittersweet attitude to life and love that was rarely equalled even amongst Andersen's peers. Congratulations to BGO on this expertly remastered and well presented new edition.
by David Kidman
Tracks
Disc 1 Blue River 1972
1. Is It Really Love At All - 5:20
2. Pearl's Goodtime Blues - 2:20
3. Wind And Sand - 4:28
4. Faithful - 3:14
5. Blue River - 4:44
6. Florentine - 3:29
7. Sheila - 4:35
8. More Often Than Not (David Wiffen) - 4:50
9. Round The Bend - 5:37
10.Come To My Bedside, My Darlin' - 4:57
11.Why Don't You Love Me (Hank Williams) - 2:45
All compostisions by Eric Andersen except where indicated
Disc 2 Stages: The Lost Album 1972-73
1. Baby, I'm Lonesome - 3:17
2. Moonchild River Song - 4:19
3. Can't Get You Out Of My Life - 2:53
4. Woman, She Was Gentle - 4:17
5. Time Run Like A Freight Train - 8:29
6. It's Been A Long Time - 3:20
7. Wild Crow Blues - 6:10
8. Be True To You - 3:06
9. I Love To Sing My Ballad, Mama - 2:55
10.Dream To Rimbaud - 6:22
11.Make It Last (Angel In The Wind) - 4:51
12.Lie With Me - 3:50
13.Soul Of My Song (Eric Andersen, Jonas Fjeld, Willie Nile, Ole Paus) - 3:55
All songs by Eric Andersen except where stated

Musicians
Blue River 1972
*Eric Andersen - Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Piano, Harmonica, Vocals
*David Bromberg - Dobro, Acoustic Guitar
*Andy Johnson - Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Vibraphone, Background Vocals
*David Briggs - Organ, Keyboards, Celeste
*Weldon Myrick - Steel Guitar
*Norbert Putnam - Bass
*Glen Spreen - Organ, Harpsichord, Keyboards, Woodwinds
*Eddie Hinton - Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
*Grady Martin - Gut String Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
*Kevin Kelly - Accordion
*Mark Sporer - Bass
*Kenneth Buttrey - Drums, Percussion, Tambourine
*Jim Mckevitt - Drums
*Rick Shlosser - Drums
*Deborah Andersen - Piano, Background Vocals
*Joni Mitchell - Vocals, Background Vocals
*Farrell Morris - Vibraphone, Background Vocals
*Jerry Carrigan - Percussion
*Millie Kirkham - Background Vocals
*Sonja Montgomery - Background Vocals
*Laverna Moore - Background Vocals
*Florence Warner - Background Vocals
*Temple Riser - Background Vocals
*The Jordanaires - Background Vocals
*The Holidays - Background Vocals

Stages: The Lost Album 1973
*Eric Andersen - Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Piano, Harmonica, Vocals
*Andy Johnson - Acoustic Guitar
*Leon Russell - Organ, Piano, Guitar
*David Briggs - Piano, Hammond Organ, Clavinet
*Rick Danko - Bass Guitar, Background Vocals
*Garth Hudson - Accordion
*Pete Drake - Steel Guitar
*Weldon Myrick - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Norbert Putnam - Upright Bass, Cello
*Eddie Hinton - Acoustic Guitar
*Grady Martin - Gut String Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
*Joe Spivey - Acoustic Guitar, Fiddle
*Kenny Malone - Drums, Percussion
*Kenneth Buttrey - Drums
*Deborah Andersen - Piano, Background Vocals
*Farrell Morris - Percussion
*Steve Addabbo - Synthesizer
*Eric Bazilian - Mandolin, Concertina, Background Vocals
*Tommy Cosgrove - Bass Guitar
*Teddy Irwin - Acoustic Guitar
*Mike Leech - Bass
*Charlie Mccoy - Percussion
*Andy Newmark - Drums
*Willie Nile - Electric Guitar
*Troy Seals - Electric Guitar
*Glen Spreen - Hammond Organ
*Reggie Young - Electric Guitar
*Jonas Fjeld - Acoustic Guitar, Electric Piano
*Dan Fogelberg - Background Vocals
*Joan Baez - Background Vocals
*Shawn Colvin - Background Vocals
*Florence Warner - Background Vocals

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