Friday, June 23, 2017

The Mystery Trend - So Glad I Found You (1966-67 us, marvelous folk psych garage rock, extra tracks edition)



If the Airplane and the Dead were the Beatles and Stones of San Francisco's mid-1960s rock heyday, then the Mystery Trend were its Zombies or Left Banke, peddling craftsmanship and high quality pop songs in an era of burgeoning indulgence. Ahead of anyone else except perhaps the Charlatans, the Trend was the first alternative rock group in the Bay Area, debuting in May 1965.

Unlike the ex-folkies and beatniks that comprised the rest of the scene, the group, led by keyboardist and songwriter Ron Nagle, were older and came from an art school background, eschewing the jams and free-form modality of other local groups for concise ensemble arrangements. "The kind of writing that was going on in San Francisco then, to me, it was dogshit" says Nagle."Everyone was into this wankingsoloingpsychedelic-droneout. It was very uncool to play three minute pop songs." Nagle and guitarist Bob Cuff were turning out gems like Carl Street and Words You Whisper by the dozen, to the general indifference of crowds at countercultural hotspots like the Matrix or Fillmore.

Consequently, the Trend was a neurotic, uptight set of individuals who lent their quirky pop a garage-band edge. Shows were few and far between for these musical outcasts who preferred cocktails to acid, and Burt Bacharach to Ravi Shankar. In late 1967, while all around were being signed up in a major label feeding frenzy, the group quietly broke up. Nagle went on to release the classic cult album "Bad Rice" before pursuing his chosen vocation as a world-renowned ceramic artist.

The combo's sole vinyl legacy was the barnstorming 1967 single Johnny Was A Good Boy, but for years rumours have persisted of an unreleased album recorded for Kingston Trio manager Frank Werber's Trident Productions. So Glad I Found You finally uncovers these legendary sessions to reveal what could have been, and it's a remarkable batch of material. The bright Spoonful-esque jangle of Ten Empty Cups and One Day For Two reflects an innate pop sensibility that is in stark contrast to fuzz-toned neuroses- laid-bare like Mercy Killing and What If I. There's eclectic covers like Smiley Lewis' Shame Shame Shame and the Who's Substitute, majestic mood music with the bossa nova Mambo For Marion, and a forgotten masterpiece in the epic So Glad I Found You.

And in addition to collecting together the Mystery Trend's entire studio recordings, all resplendent in crystal-clear stereo from the original master tapes, So Glad I Found You adds a brace of illuminating demo cuts, including the cryptic Wake Up Cryin' and erstwhile guitarist Larry West's bewitching Lose Some Dreams, to fully tell the story of this unique group. In tried-and-tested Nuggets fashion, there's the usual bevy of pictures and memorabilia, to illustrate a lengthy sleeve note that draws upon the recollections of several band members. With this long-awaited compilation, a significant chapter, not just in the San Francisco 1960s chronology but in pop music history in general, has finally been closed.
by Alec Palao
Tracks
1. Carl Street (Ron Nagle) - 2:50
2. So Glad I Found You (Bob Cuff, Ron Nagle) - 2:20
3. Words You Whisper (Bob Cuff) - 2:23
4. Johnny Was a Good Boy (Bob Cuff, Ron Nagle) - 2:44
5. One Day for Two (Bob Cuff, Larry Bennett, Ron Nagle) - 2:08
6. Carrots on a String (Bob Cuff, Ron Nagle) - 1:57
7. Ten Empty Cups (Bob Cuff, Ron Nagle) - 2:21
8. Mercy Killing (Ron Nagle) - 3:02
9. Mambo for Marion (Bob Cuff, Ron Nagle) - 2:03
10.Substitute (Pete Townshend) - 3:00
11.There It Happened Again (Bob Cuff, Ron Nagle) - 2:28
12.Shame, Shame, Shame (Miss Roxie) (Ken Hopkins, Reuben Fisher) - 2:26
13.House on the Hill (Bob Cuff, Ron Nagle) - 2:22
14.From the Collection of Dorothy Tate (Ron Nagle) - 2:14
15.Carrots on a String (audition version) (Bob Cuff, Ron Nagle) - 2:05
16.What If I (Ron Nagle) - 2:46
17.Wake Up Cryin' (Ron Nagle) - 3:00
18.Lose Some Dreams (Larry Walorny) - 3:03
19.Empty Shoes (Bob Cuff, John Luby, Ron Nagle) - 4:08
20.Let Me See with My Eyes (Bob Cuff) - 5:51
21.Carl Street (audition version (Ron Nagle) - 2:36

The Mystery Trend
*Larry Bennett - Bass
*John Luby - Drums, Vocals
*John Gregory - Guitar
*Ron Nagle - Vocals, Clavinet, Piano, Organ
*Bob Cuff - Vocals, Guitar
*Larry West - Guitar (Tracks 17-19)

Related Act
1971  Stoneground - Stoneground

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Rock Workshop - Rock Workshop (1970 uk, exciting jazz blues prog rock, 2002 bonus tracks remaster)



Formed in 1970, this fluid but short-lived jazz rock group formed by Ray Russell (guitar) and featured several of the UK’s leading young jazz musicians, and originally included Harry Beckett (trumpet/flugelhorn), Bob Downes (saxophone), Bud Parkes (trumpet) and Tony Roberts (trumpet/woodwind), Derek Wadsworth (trombone) Alan Greed (vocals) and Brian Miller (keyboards), Daryl Runswick (bass), Alan Rushton and Robin Jones (drums).

Several were involved in other, simultaneous projects, notably solo albums by Downes and Russell and session appearances for albums at that time by Jack Bruce, Keef Hartley and Harvey. Wadsworth and Parkes appeared on the latter’s solo album, Roman Wall Blues, and Harvey who appears on just four of the eight songs on its debut album, but the presence of both a couple of subsequently familiar songs and a vocal workout to rival anything on Framed or Next establish them among his finest performances.

A savage rearrangement of the traditional "Wade in the Water" and his own (with fellow Workshop-per Ray Russell) "Hole in Her Stocking" are both bruising R&B stampers, punctured by howling horns and a guitar riff, in the first-named case, that could have escaped from "Walk Don't Run," Blood, Sweat & Tears-style. Harvey himself is in breathtaking form, utterly undistinguishable from the showman who brought listeners "Vambo," and the only regret is that he is confined to just the four songs -- the remainder of Rock Workshop, while certainly a blistering blur of hot and sweaty jazz-soul-boogie, also sinks into anonymity by comparison, just another white English fusion band honking and stomping around the room. Indeed, there are moments when the sound effects that open and link the songs are more interesting than the songs themselves.

Nevertheless, Rock Workshop remains a key passage in Alex Harvey's career, all the more so in its 2002 CD incarnation, where the original LP is appended by half a dozen bonus tracks, including alternate takes of "Hole in Her Stocking" and "Born in the City," plus a couple of songs that didn't make the album itself. (Despite the track listing's claims to the contrary, incidentally, Harvey does not sing the prettily Traffic-like "Primrose Hill.") 
by Dave Thompson
Tracks
1. Ice Cold (R. Shepherd, Ray Russel) - 2:58
2. Wade In The Water (Traditional) - 3:45
3. Hole In Her Stocking (Alex Harvey, Ray Russel) - 4:09
4. He Looks At Me / Mooncross Grove - 10:19
5. Spine Cop - 3:47
6. Born In The City - 3:01
7. Theme For Freedom - 7:34
8. You To Lose (R. Cameron, Ray Russel) - 6:41
9. Spine Cop (Alt Version) - 3:50
10.Hole In Her Stocking (Alt Version) (Alex Harvey, Ray Russel) - 5:31
11.Born In The City (Alt Version) - 2:47
12.You To Lose (Alt Version) - 5:25
13.Primrose Hill (R. Shepherd, Ray Russel) - 5:41
14.Return Of The Goddess - 5:40
All songs by Ray Russell except where noted
Bonus Tracks 9-14

Personnel
*Harry Beckett - Horn
*Bob Downes - Wind
*Alan Greed - Keyboards, Vocals
*Alex Harvey - Vocals
*Robin Jones - Drums
*Brian Miller - Keyboards
*Tony Roberts - Wind
*Daryl Runswick - Bass
*Alan Rushton - Drums
*Ray Russell - Guitar
*Derek Wadsworth - Trombone

Related Acts
1969-71  Paul Korda - Passing Stranger (2012 remaster and expanded)
1973  Mouse - Lady Killer  
1972-73  The Sensational Alex Harvey Band - Framed / Next 
1974-75  The Sensational Alex Harvey Band - The Impossible Dream / Tomorrow Belongs to Me
1975-76  The Sensational Alex Harvey Band - Live / The Penthouse Tapes
1976-78  The Sensational Alex Harvey Band - Stories / Rock Drill
1969  Keef Hartley Band - The Battle Of North West Six (2008 remaster) 
1969  Sweet Pain - Sweet Pain

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Gulliver - Gulliver (1969 us, charmy sunny folk blue eyed soul with young Daryl Hall, 2002 remaster)



Brought together by manager/producer John Madara, Gulliver was one of the first shots at corporate music. With a line up consisting of Temple University student/vocalist Daryl Hall, drummer Jim Helmer, bassist Thomas Sellers and guitarist Tim Moore, the group had more than it's share of talent quickly attracting the attention of Elektra. 

Largely penned by Moore, the album found the quartet trying to find a path between conventional rock ("I'm Really Smokin'" and "Flogene") and early stabs at blue-eyed Philly soul ("Every Day's a Lovely Day" and "Over the Mountain"). On the other hand, Hall's voice was instantly recognizable and most of the songs sported decent melodies ("Lemon Road").

The album proved a commercial flop and the group quickly disbanded, though not before recording a couple of demos with guitarist John Oates. Hall went on to enjoy gigantic success as a member of Hall and Oates.
Tracks
1. Everyday's A Lovely Day (Tom Sellers, Tim Moore, Daryl Hall) - 2:49
2. I'm Really Smokin' (Jim Helmer, Daryl Hall) - 2:28
3. Christine (Barry, Tom Sellers, Daryl Hall) - 1:51
4. Rose Come Home (Jim Helmer, Daryl Hall) - 3:41
5. Enough / Over The Mountain (Tim Moore) - 4:33
6. Angelina (Tim Moore) - 3:13
7. Flo Gene (Tim Moore) - 2:23
8. Lemon Road (Tim Moore) - 3:09
9. Seventy (Tom Sellers, Tim Moore) - 3:14
10.A Truly Good Song (Tim Moore) - 4:33

The Gulliver
Tom Sellers – Bass, Keyboards
Jim Helmer – Drums
Tim Moore – Guitar, Vocals
Daryl Hall – Keyboards, Vocals

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Monday, June 19, 2017

H.Y. Sledge - Bootleg Music (1971 us, fine hard rock, psych, and gentle ballads, 2015 edition)



Calling Valparaiso, Florida home, H.Y. Sledge featured the talents of singer/keyboardist Michael Ewbank, multi-instrumentalist Billy Jones, former Wilkinson Tri-Cycle guitarist Richard "Dickie Porter, bassist Jan Pulver, and drummer Monte Yoho.  Pulver had previously been a member of Those Five, while Jones and Yoho had been members of the Tampa-based Dave Graham Band.  Interestingly, only credit Ewbank, Porter, and Pulver were credited on the album liner notes, which also fail to provide any writing credits.

Signing a recording contract with Shelby Sumpter Singleton Jr.'s SSS International label, the group made their debut with 1971's "Bootleg Music". Co-produced by Ewbank and Porter, the album wasn't  the most original collection you've ever heard.  The band were certainly talented with a couple of decent singers and an excellent bassist.

Their sole album was originally issued in the summer of 1971.
Tracks
1. Citation On Liberty - 5:21
2. Such An Easy Day - 3:01
3. Canadian Exodus - 7:39
4. Cellophane Lady / Nowhere To Go - 3:54
5. Ride The Waves - 4:06
6. I'm Your Brother  - 3:28
7. Tamara - 2:18
8. Day Of Realization - 2:06
9. It's In The Air  - 4:46
10.Finding It - 2:28
All songs by Michael Ewbank, Richard Porter, Jan Pulver

The H.Y. Sledge
*Michael Ewbank - Vocals, Keyboards
*Billy Jones - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
*Richard "Dickie Porter - Vocals, Lead  Guitar, Keyboards
*Jan Pulver - Vocals, Bass, Percussion
*Monte Yoho - Drums, Percussion

1969  Wilkinson TriCycle - Wilkinson TriCycle (2007 reissue) 
1973  Outlaws – Anthology / Live 'n' Rare (2012 four disc set) 

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

J.J. Cale - In Session At The Paradise Los Angeles Featuring Leon Russell (1979 us, excellent classic blues roots rock, 2003 remaster)



Almost like a fly on the wall, we are witness to the young J.J. Cale and Leon Russell, stretching out among friends in Russell’s Paradise Studios in Los Angeles, in June of 1979. In a 21 song set, they are having the time of their lives, and we are left to watch in wonder. Joining Cale and Russell are his wife, Christine Lakeland, along with Marty Green, Nick Rather, Jimmy Karstein, Bill Boatman and Ambrose Campbell.
by Keith Hannaleck

There isn't a bad track on this album. The playing is way more muscular than on his records. The band just lays right into it from the opening track Nowhere to Run and never lets up. You will not believe the bass pouring out of your speakers. The beat is big thumping tremendous and propels the whole album. The drums and guitars are crisp. The solos are tasty. The mood is very relaxed and the band is having a great time. 

The standout track for me is Going Down  where they, ahem, take it up a notch. The energy on that track is just phenomenal, which is saying something since we've already heard the band in a rip-snorting version of JJ's signature song Cocaine. Studio owner, Leon Russell, lets it rip on piano and kinda snarls out of the side of his mouth. Then the saxes take over with a wailing chorus the whole backed up with fer-ro-cious rhythm guitar. It ain't all up-tempo though, JJ can sing a ballad with the best of ‘em viz Sensitive Kind.
by Ray Chowkwanyun
Tracks
1. Nowhere To Run - 2:43
2. Cocaine - 2:58
3. Ten Easy Lessons - 4:20
4. Sensitive Kind - 3:33
5. Hands Off Her - 3:39
6. Louisiana - 2:38
7. Going Down (Don Nix) - 5:14
8. Roll On - 2:51
9. No Sweat - 3:13
10.Crazy Mama - 3:13
11.Fate Of A Fool - 2:55
12.Boilin' Pot - 3:36
13.After Midnight - 4:13
14.Same Old Blues - 2:55
15.Don't Cry Sister - 3:05
16.Call Me The Breeze - 3:22
17.Ever Lovin' Woman - 2:34
18.Katy Kool Lady - 2:39
19.Lies - 3:19
20.Don't Wait (Christine Lakeland Cale) - 3:31
All songs written by J.J. Cale except where stated

Personnel
*J.J. Cale - Guitar, Vocals
*Leon Russell - Piano, Organ, Vocals
*Christine Lakeland - Guitar, Harmonica, Backing Vocals
*Larry Bell - Piano
*Marty Grebb - Horn
*Nick Rather - Bass
*Jimmy Karstein - Percussion, Drums
*Bill Boatman - Guitar
*Ambrose Campbell - Percussion, Drums
*Pat ‘Taco’ Ryan - Brass
*Shamsi Sarumi - Percussion

Related Acts
1968  The Asylum Choir - Look Inside (2007 remaster)
1972  Leon Russell - Carney

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Christine Perfect - The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions (1969 uk, beautiful blues melodic rock, 2008 remaster)



Christine McVie (nee Perfect) is one of the great unsung talents of British blues and pop. Her work with Fleetwood Mac is often overshadowed by her more showy counterparts, Lindsay Buckingham, Peter Green or Stevie Nicks. She provided the spine to their material, and especially added a consistency during the group's wilderness years between 1970 and 1975 (for those of you who haven't had the pleasure, check out her contributions to 1973's Mystery To Me album).

This release is her oft-reissued Christine Perfect album, recorded for Mike Vernon's Blue Horizon label in the period between her leaving Chicken Shack and before she joined her husband-to-be John McVie in Fleetwood Mac. McVie herself has frequently played down the record. Although certainly not a major work, it is a pretty textbook example of pleasant blues rock as the 60s became the 70s. To be honest, her tracks sound pretty much like later Fleetwood Mac album material, which given the presence of John McVie on bass and Danny Kirwan on guitar, is fairly understandable. Her version of Kirwan's When You Say is a standout, easily giving Fleetwood Mac's Then Play On version a run for its money. Perfect's piano work here strives to distil the very essence of the blues.

It is the additional material that highlights her at her best: the demo, Tell Me You Need Me, that was also demoed by Fleetwood Mac is by far and away the best track here. The song underlines the pleasure of her best work; languid, expressive, soulful. With three BBC session recordings here as well, The Complete Blue Horizon Recordings, although hardly essential, is a very welcome listen. 
by Daryl Easlea
Tracks
1. Crazy 'Bout You Baby (Walter Jacobs) - 3:01
2. I'm On My Way (Deadric Malone) - 3:08
3. Let Me Go (Leave Me Alone) - 3:34
4. Wait And See - 3:13
5. Close To Me (Christine Perfect, Rick Hayward) - 2:39
6. When You Say (Danny Kirwan) - 3:14
7. And That's Saying A Lot (Chuck Jackson, W. Godfrey) - 2:57
8. No Road Is The Right Road - 2:48
9. For You - 2:45
10.I'm Too Far Gone (To Turn Around) (Album Version) (Clyde Otis, Belford Hendricks) - 3:25
11.I Want You (Tony Joe White) - 2:23
12.Tell Me You Need Me (Previously Unreleased) - 3:20
13.I'm Too Far Gone (To Turn Around) (Single Version) (Clyde Otis, Belford Hendricks) - 3:16
14.Hey Baby (Previously Unreleased BBC Sessions) - 2:33
15.It's You I Miss (Previously Unreleased BBC Sessions) - 3:44
16.Come Into The Sun (Previously Unreleased BBC Sessions) - 2:43
All songs by Christine Perfect except where stated

Personnel
*Christine Perfect - Organ, Piano, Vocals
*Martin Dunsford - Guitar
*Chris Harding - Drums, Flute, Percussion
*Rick Hayward - Guitar
*Danny Kirwan - Guitar, String Arrangements
*John Mcvie - Bass
*Terry Noonan - Horn Arrangements, Trumpet
*Andy Silvester - Bass
*Top Topham - Guitar
*Derek Wadsworth - Horn Arrangements, Trombone
*Bud Parkes - Trumpet
*Geoff Drixcoll - Tenor Sax
*Dave Coxhill - Baritone Sax

Related Acts
1968  Chicken Shack - 40 Blue Fingers, Freshly Packed And Ready To Serve (2013 extra tracks reissue)  
1968-71  Fleetwood Mac - The Best Of Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Leon Russell - Carney (1972 us, fascinating fairly straightforward roots rock and twisted psychedelia, japan issue)



What Leon has given us is a song cycle that eloquently elaborates the daily vicissitudes of his fulfilled dream of popstardom. While the 8 1/2 motif is hardly new to rock, no one, with the exception of the Dylan of Blonde On Blonde, has captured the ambivalence inherent to the pop hero's situation any more sagaciously or incisively than Russell.

Carney (carnival barker) is certainly Leon's most gentle and personal statement, in which even the hardest rocker ("Roller Derby") seems tame when compared to earlier efforts like "Roll Away the Stone" or "Pisces Apple Lady." Like "8 1/2," the record is as much a view of one small, often ugly corner of contemporary society as it is an interior monologue. Leon touches upon a first love lost to junk ("Me And Baby Jane"), prying grafters from a certain prominent periodical ("If the Shoe Fits"), a pasquinade that sounds like an Asylum Choir number and confusion over whether or not the show must, indeed, go on ("Tightrope").

Leon's marble-mouthed, drawling vocals are a joy throughout, which comes as quite a treat to one who thoroughly detested much of his previous caterwauling (such as his Godawful mistreatment of George Harrison's "Beware Of Darkness"). He renders selections like "Tightrope" and the double-tracked vocal on "Out In The Woods" with just the right amount of tension and "Manhattan Island Serenade" and "This Masquerade" (a lovely melody whose tonic is the same as the Matt Dennis-Earl Brent chestnut, "Angel Eyes") with unabashed, yet understated tenderness. There is none of the cloying quality in Russell's voice and phrasing that somewhat marred his delicate "A Song For You," which was on the first solo album and is the most poignant lyric he has penned to date.

The production is hardly lavish, considering Leon's penchant for doing the large-scale gospel-influenced numbers, and the instrumental backing by this Shelter people troupe (which might be considered to be Russell's repertory company) is superbly subtle, especially John Gallie's organ work.

Like Fellini's Guido, Leon Russell will continue to partake in "the lonely game" he plays because it is his lifeblood, not to mention that he has managed to play it with consummate skill and shrewdness. Perhaps Carney is no more than another cool calculation on the part of its creator, but one comes away from the album secure in the knowledge that Leon is capable of exuding more wit, charm and candor than almost anyone else working in his medium.
by James Isaacs, 9-14-1972 
Tracks
1. Tight Rope - 2:59
2. Out In The Woods - 3:35
3. Me And Baby Jane - 3:52
4. Manhattan Island Serenade - 3:25
5. Cajun Love Song - 3:08
6. Roller Derby - 2:22
7. Carney - :47
8. Acid Annapolis (Leon Russell, Don Preston) - 2:47
9. If The Shoe Fits - 2:21
10.My Cricket - 2:55
11.This Masquerade - 4:22
12.Magic Mirror - 4:56
All songs composed by Leon Russell except where indicated

Musicians
*Leon Russell - Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Piano
*Don Preston - Guitar, Vocals
*Joey Cooper - Guitar
*Carl Radle - Bass
*Chuck Blackwell - Drums
*Jim Keltner - Drums
*John Gallie - Organ

1968  The Asylum Choir - Look Inside (2007 remaster)

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

T.I.M.E. - T.I.M.E. (1968 us, great psych classic rock, 2012 extra track remaster)



T.I.M.E. stands for Trust In Men Everywhere. Debut album of this underrated US psychedelic band ( which evolved out of a very fine, garage-pop psych band Hardtimes ) was released in 1968 by Liberty Records in attractive die-cut, gatefold cover. It contained great mixture of very catchy and memorable songs based on rich vocal harmonies and strong guitar-organ interplay and being somewhere between garage rock and pop-psych.

The music itself was very diverse, ranged from dark, atmospheric heavier tracks to much lighter sounds. It´s worth noting that the main influences to the band were The Beatles, The Byrds, The Hollies and Buffalo Springfield. 
Tracks
1. Tripping Into Sunshine - 2:20
2. Label It Love - 2:28
3. Finder's Keepers - 3:13
4. Love You, Cherish You - 2:32
5. Make It Alright - 2:02
6. Let The Colors Keep On - 2:11
7. You Changed It All - 2:31
8. I Really Love You - 2:38
9. Make Love To You - 3:37
10.I Can't Find It - 2:59
11.What Can It Be - 2:20
12.Take Me Along - 3:07
13.What Would Life Be Without It (Single) - 2:32

T.I.M.E.
*Larry Byrom - Guitar
*Bill Richardson - Guitar
*Nick St. Nicholas - Bass
*Steve Rumph - Drums.

1969  T.I.M.E.- Smooth Ball (2010 remaster)
Related Act
1969  Steppenwolf - Monster (2013 japan SHM issue)
1970  Steppenwolf - 7 (2013 japan SHM remaster)
1970  Steppenwolf - Live (2013 japan SHM bonus tracks remaster)  

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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Larry Coryell - Coryell (1969 us, impressive hard guitar jam psych prog jazz rock)



Issued in 1969 on Vanguard Records (mostly known as a folk label) this was Coryell’s second solo release. “Coryell” has also been decades out-of-print on vinyl, though reissued overseas (several times) on CD.

“Sex” opens the album with Coryell’s unusual vocal style though it is immediately apparent that the band is percolating with Rainey’s popping bass lines and Purdie’s poundings, Coryell’s solo is generational but very tasteful, as are his piano comps. “Beautiful Woman” is as ballad like as you could expect from Coryell, especially during his vocal passages, the tune moderately upshifts into appealing landscapes as Coryell (and Ron Carter’s bass) lead the proceedings with a smart and sparky jam; (*) note how Coryell really lifts off during the outro fade. 

On the LP version “The Jam with Albert” is an instrumental extravaganza closing side one: It’s rhythmic, melodic, and chaotic in a good way. Purdie’s and Stinson’s bass are not only locked tight, they are intertwined setting the foundation for Coryell’s bombastic rock-jazz guitar explorations that are borderline psychedelic and hypnotic; it’s a killer 9:20 track! “Elementary Guitar Solo #5” originally opened side two’s LP, draws from J.S. Bach’s classical origins.

Shortly after the theme is initiated, Rainey, Purdie and Mike Mandel’s piano veer towards improvisational rock, (note Rainey’s bass lines – wow), as Coryell gradually pushes the pedal and accelerates. At the end there is a fitting (second) nod to Bach, too. Julie Coryell’s “No One Really Knows” brings back husband Larry’s singing, but it doesn’t last long with an (instrumental) directional deviation as a nice (somewhat spacey) jam unravels. 

“Morning Sickness” originates as a fascinating instrumental that finds Rainey and Purdie in familiar surroundings setting their funky and signature styles – becomes unhinged when Coryell rips into another creative guitar solo in tandem with the famous rhythm section. The finale is the second Julie Coryell inclusion, this time instrumentally, it is the first time I noticed Jim Pepper’s flute; “Ah Wuv Ooh” is a very well written well thought out song that is also pretty and bright.
by Bob Putignano

Larry Coryell died Sunday, February 19th 2017, in New York City. Coryell, 73, passed away in his sleep at his hotel from natural causes. He’d performed his last two shows on Friday and Saturday, February 17 and 18, at the Iridium in New York City.
Tracks
1. Sex - 3:51
2. Beautiful Woman - 4:32
3. The Jam With Albert - 9:20
4. Elementary Guitar Solo #5 - 6:49
5. No One Really Knows (Julie Coryell) - 5:07
6. Morning Sickness - 5:20
7. Ah Wuv Ooh (Julie Coryell) - 4:22
All songs by Larry Coryell except where noted

Musicians
*Larry Coryell - Guitar, Vocals, Piano
*Bernard Purdie - Drums
*Albert Stinson - Bass
*Ron Carter - Bass, Guitar
*Chuck Rainey - Bass, Guitar
*MIke Mandel - Organ, Piano
*Jim Pepper - Flute

Related Act
1968  The Appletree Theatre - Playback (2009 remastered)  

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

T.I.M.E.- Smooth Ball (1969 us, fantastic heavy psych classic rock, 2010 remaster)



Hard Times was a 1960s psychedelic garage rock band originally featuring Rudy Romero (vocals), Lee Keifer (vocals, guitar), Bill Richardson (lead guitar), Bob Morris (bass guitar), and Paul Wheatbread (drums). After relocating to L.A. to work with manager Florence Stanley, they made frequent appearances on Dick Clark's local TV show Where The Action Is and were the house band for a time at the Whisky A Go-Go.

They signed with World Pacific Records (a division of Liberty Records) in 1966, releasing several singles. Lee Keifer departed for a solo career (replaced by Larry Byrom) before their debut (and only) album Blew Mind was released by World Pacific in 1967.

After Bill Richardson quit, with only singer Rudy Romero, bassist Bob Morris, and drummer Paul Wheatbread remaining from Hard Times, the group released a single under the name New Phoenix, "Give To Me Your Love" b/w "Thanks" (World Pacific, 1968), produced by Mama Cass. After Rudy Romero left to launch his own solo career, the band split for good. Drummer Paul Wheatbread became a founding member of Gary Puckett and the Union Gap.

Guitarist Bill Richardson joined fellow former Hard Times player Larry Byrom in a psychedelic rock band named T.I.M.E. (Trust In Men Everywhere), alongside former Sparrows (aka Steppenwolf) member Nick St. Nicholas and drummer Steve Rumph.

Signed to the Hard Times' old label World Pacific Records, T.I.M.E. released a debut self-titled full-length in 1968, promoted with singles for "Make It Alright" and the non-album track "What Would Like Be Without It." After its release, St. Nicholas quit to rejoin the Sparrow (by then renamed Steppenwolf) and was replaced by Richard Tepp (Richard and the Young Lions), while Steve Rumph was replaced by Pat Couchois.

A sophomore album recorded with producer Al Schmidt, Smooth Ball, was released by Liberty Records in 1969. More psychedelic and hard rock than their debut effort, the album is highlighted by the ten-minute jam track "Morning Come."

Bill Richardson, who also managed local movie theaters, later became known as lounge singer and OB karaoke host Jose Sinatra.
Tracks
1. Preparation G - 0:52
2. Leavin' My Home - 3:07
3. See Me As I Am - 5:46
4. I Think You'd Cry - 4:20
5. I'll Write A Song - 4:20
6. Lazy Day Blues - 1:44
7. Do You Feel It - 2:30
8. Flowers - 2:39
9. Morning Come - 10:03
10.Trust In Men Everywhere - 5:01
All songs arranged by T.I.M.E.

The T.I.M.E.
*Bill Richardson - Acoustic, Electric Guitars, Vocals
*Larry Byrom - Acoustic, Electric Guitars, Vocals
*Pat Couchois - Drums
*Richard Tepp - Bass Guitar

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Magna Carta - Magna Carta / Times Of Change (1969 uk, bright gifted harmonically psych folk)



In progressive rock circles, Magna Carta are a bit like the Little Engine That Could -- from relatively modest beginnings in 1969, they've endured across 36 years and counting, even as their louder, more heavily amplified rivals from the same era have long since been consigned to history. Acts such as King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer may be better (and much more widely) known, but Magna Carta have stayed together, making music decades longer. 

The group was founded in 1969 by Chris Simpson (who also sang) and Lyell Tranter on acoustic Gibson guitars and Glen Stuart singing harmony. Formed in London, they made their debut at the Coalhole Folk Club in Cambridge, and coming off of the enthusiastic response to the ten songs they did that night, Magna Carta were rolling. They were not, strictly speaking, a pure folk group even then, but utilized folk and traditional elements very heavily in their songwriting and sound, in a manner similar to that adopted by John David Gladwin and Terry Wincott of the Amazing Blondel at approximately the same time. 
by Bruce Eder
Tracks
1. Times Of Change - 2:50
2. Daughter Daughter - 4:08
3. Old John Parker - 2:47
4. I Am No More - 4:14
5. Ballad Of Francis Alabadalejo - 5:22
6. Spinning Wheels Of Time - 3:23
7. Romeo Jack - 3:39
8. Mid Winter - 3:35
9. Shades Of Grey - 3:13
10.Emily Thru' The Window Pane - 3:31
11.Sea And Sand - The Isle Of Pabay - 3:25
12.Seven O'Clock Hymn - 6:18
13.Seven O'Clock Hymn / Mid Winter (Live) - 12:50
All Music and Lyrics by Chris Simpson

The Magna Carta
*Glenn Stuart - Vocals
*Chris Simpson - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Lyell Tranter - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Additional Musicians
*Harold Mcnair - Flute
*Johnny Van Derek - Fiddle
*Danny Thompson - String Bass
*Frank Hedges - Percussion
*Tony Carr - Percussion
*Spike Heatley - String Arranger

1969-2006  Magna Carta - Tomorrow Never Comes-The Anthology (2007 double disc remaster)  

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Friday, June 2, 2017

Paul Jones - Crucifix In A Horseshoe (1971 uk, amazing psych soft rock with prog and glam tinges)



As lead singer of Manfred Mann during their early run of hits such as "Doo Wah Diddy Diddy," "Pretty Flamingo," and many, many others, Paul Jones was far more influential than people realize. Artists such as Arthur Lee have cited him as a primary influence, and for that fact alone, he should be recognized. After leaving Mann in 1966, Jones made one of the greatest cult films of all time, 1967's Privilege. 

This, though, his solo debut, is another step altogether. Always one of the more literate rockers of his era, Jones spends most of his time on this album making fun of stardom and all that goes with it. Hotel rooms, groupies, and the general grind of it all is the subject matter here, and it's all quite a bit of fun. As far as the music goes, much of it is more laid-back than anything Jones did with Manfred Mann, with a lot of country leanings.

Thomas Jefferson Kaye's production is a bit heavy-handed -- which is not much of a suprise. But in the end, it is an interesting record, sounding very much like a roots-oriented David Bowie record, slashing the tires of a car named "stardom." 
by Matthew Greenwald
Tracks
1. Life After Death (Paul Jones) - 3:21
2. Motel Blues (Loudon Wainwright III) - 4:00
3. And You Say I'm Too Dependent On My Mind (Paul Jones) - 6:01
4. Construction Worker's Song (Paul Jones) - 5:30
5. Song (For Stan Stunning And The Noodle Queen) (Paul Jones) - 3:40
6. The Pod That Came Back (Paul Jones) - 4:13
7. The Mighty Ship (Artie Resnick, Pat Poor) - 3:40
8. Who Are The Masters (Kris Resnick, Paul Jones, Rupert Holmes) - 3:32
9. Strangely Human Sound (Kris Resnick, Rupert Holmes) - 3:47

Musicians
*Paul Jones - Vocals
*Joy Askew - Vocals
*Roy Babbington - Bass
*Bobby Bloom - Vocals
*Gary Boyle - Guitar
*Buzz Brauner - Oboe
*Charlie Brown - Guitar
*Garnett Brown - Trombone
*Selwart Clark - Viola
*Bert Collins - Trumpet
*Don Corrado - French Horn
*Richard Crooks - Percussion, Vocals
*Joe Grimaldi - Tenor  Sax
*Jim Herd - Viola
*Artie Kaplan - Baritone Sax
*Thomas Jefferson Kaye - Acoustic  Guitar, Vocals
*Nisar Ahmad "George" Khan - Alto  Sax
*Kenneth Kosek - Fiddle, Acoustic  Guitar
*Martin Kupersmith - Acoustic  Guitar
*Weird Harold Liberman - Trumpet
*Dave Macrae - Keyboards
*Gene Mcdaniels - Vocals
*Roy O'temro - Drums
*Graham Preskett - Violin
*Robert Rizzo - Bass
*Vicki Sue Robinson - Vocals
*Kenith Vance - Vocals
*Joanne Vent - Vocals
*Ted Wender - Piano

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Magna Carta - Tomorrow Never Comes-The Anthology (1969-2006 uk, brilliant melodic melt of silky rock folk and blues, 2007 double disc remaster)



Magna Carta was founded in April, 1969, and is one of the longest running bands in the world today.

The band has seen a number of personnel changes, but the common factor has always been Chris Simpson. Song writer, poet, accoustic guitar player and vocalist, he has been largely responsible for the band's unique sound, and has had uncanny success in gathering high quality musicians around him. He founded the band with Lyell Tranter, guitarist, and Glen Stuart, vocalist extraordinaire, and their first professional gig was at the Cambridge Folk Festival. A year later the band cut the first of their 30 odd albums, six of which have gone Gold, and three Silver.

The essence of Magna Carta for the last twenty years has been Chris Simpson and Linda Simpson. Chris has been singing with Linda since 1984. They have been joined in recent years by Matt Barnhoorn, an outstanding Dutch fiddle player. In concert and on record they play with a variety of fine musicians, some of whom have been associated with Magna Carta for a long time. They continue to tour extensively.
This lavishly packaged, sprawling anthology is a fitting summary of Magna Carta’s varied discography. In the late 60s there were several approaches to folk music. Some, such as Fairport Convention, mined the traditional music of the past to reveal the rough vitality at its heart.

Others used the style and instrumentation - acoustic guitars, mandolins to create what was really soft-focus pop. This is not to denigrate the music that they created: those who took the latter course, like Magna Carta, had a lasting impact which can still be heard in the music of artists from David Gray to Badly Drawn Boy. Magna Carta’s early music was extremely pretty and indebted to Simon & Garfunkel and even Peter, Paul & Mary, but Chris Simpson’s songwriting always has a distinctive English flavour and, even when almost insufferably twee - Autumn Song, delights with its period charm and ravishingly beautiful warm sound.

The music ranges from folk-pop to rock and blues, and although the 80s pick offer some distractingly period keyboards, this carefully compiled selection provides an excellent overview of a songwriter quietly dedicated to his art.
by William Pinfold
Tracks
Disc 1
1. Midwinter - 3:32
2. Airport Song - 3:43
3. Elizabethan - 2:38
4. Autumn Song/Epilogue - 4:14
5. Time For The Leaving - 4:09
6. Sponge (Davey Johnstone) - 2:22
7. Wayfarin' - 3:47
8. Roll On - 3:07
9. Wish It Was - 3:35
10.Two Old Friends - 3:35
11.Father John - 6:43
12.Isn't It Funny - 2:34
13.Nothing So Bad - 3:50
14.Mixed Up Sensations/Old Man - 5:38
15.I'm Gonna Take You Down - 3:22
16.You Are Only What You Are - 3:43
17.Stop Bringing Me Down - 3:48
18.One Man's Heaven - 4:30
19.You And I - 4:27
20.Forever - 2:56
Words and Music by Chris Simpson except where stated

Disc 2
1. Slowbone - 3:01
2. Love On The Wire - 4:17
3. Visions In A Crowd - 5:00
4. Putting It Back Together - 3:15
5. Highway To Spain - 3:54
6. Danny - 3:05
7. Wild Geese - 4:21
8. Sting Of The Gin - 3:18
9. Wind On The Water - 5:03
10.Midnight Blue - 4:14
11.Blues For A Long Road Home - 3:50
12.For The Gypsy - 3:56
13.Pictures In My Pillow - 4:19
14.No Truth In The Rumour - 4:11
15.Winterlude/Ulysses - 7:02
16.Greenfields - 4:48
17.Columbus - 5:35
18.Seasons In The Tide - 4:52
Lyrics and Music by Chris Simpson

Personnel
*Chris Simpson - Vocals, Guitar
*Rick Wakeman - Keyboards
*Glen Stuart - Vocals
*Lyell Tranter - Guitar, Vocals
*Davey Johnstone - Guitar, Vocals
*Stan Gordon - Guitar, Vocals
*Tom Hoy - Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals
*Nigel Smith - Bass, Keyboards, Vocals
*Graham Smith - Vocals, Bass
*Pick Withers - Drums
*Robin Thyne - Vocals, Guitar, Percussion
*Lee Abbot - Bass, Vocals
*Tom Mcconville - Fiddle, Vocals
*George Norris - Guitar, Vocals
*Al Fenn - Guitar, Vocals
*Doug Morter - Guitar, Vocals
*Paul Burgess - Drums
*Matthew Letley - Drums
*Linda Taylor - Vocals, Guitar
*John Carey - Fiddle
*Simon Carlton - Guitar, Vocals
*Gwyn Hughes Jones - Keyboards, Vocals
*Matt Barnhoorn - Violin, Mandolin, Guitar

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Panta Rei - Panta Rei (1973 sweden, amazing heavy prog experimental jazz rock, 2011 remaster)



Panta Rei is attributed to Heraticlus thoughts about change. Panta Rei meaning everything flows in ancient Greek. And this is exactly what you get in this album. Originally issued on the Harvest label in 1973, this is a wonderful stream of trippy Heavy Swedish prog with an intensely groovy jazz-rock & fuzz oriented approach that comes close to Frank Zappa circa “Hot rats”, with some spacey-freaked-out atmospheres and an underlying Canterbury feel.   

The guitar work is predominant and menacing, whereas the all English lyrics and the rich musical texture that feeds on layers of flutes, maracas, timbales, harmonica and impressive percussion, make for a truly majestic album.
Tracks
1. Five Steps (Georg Tolin, Lars Holmer) - 3:11
2. White Bells (Georg Tolin) - 6:53
3. Five O'Clock Freak (Thomas Arnesen) - 9:44
4. The Knight (Georg Tolin, Thomas Arnesen, John Hogman) - 13:44
5. The Turk (Lars Eriksson, Thomas Arnesen) - 4:10

Panta Rei
*Thomas Arnesen - Guitar, Keyboard, Percussion, Accordion
*Leif Östman - Guitar, Percussion
*Cary Wihma - Bass, Percussion, Vocals
*Tomo Wihma - Drums, Percussion
*Georg Trolin - Vocals, Percussion, Tambourine, Harmonica, Siren
*Göran Freese - Tenor Saxophone, Percussion
*Gunnar Lindqvist - Flute

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Epsilon - Epsilon Off (1974 germany, essential hard prog rock)



Epsilon was founded 1970 in Marburg, Germany, by members of Orange Peel and Nosferatu (the vocalist / guitarist Michael Winzkowski), the band Epsilon published three LPs between 1971 and 1974. Their self title can be considered as their best, a nicely varied and achieved combination between heavy blues rockin' sections and coherent progressive skills. 

Their second 'Move on' (1971) represents a more mainstream rock album with a few enjoyable moments. With the album 'Epsilon off' (1974) the band turn to a straight heavy rockin' trip.
Tracks
1. I've Been Moving - 4:16
2. A New Day - 3:35
3. On the Road - 5:55
4. Ode to John - 3:55
5. Behind the Boarder (Heinrich Ochs, Johan Daansen) - 1:14
6. Logo-Motive - 5:57
7. Let's Sit Down - 3:45
8. Open Your Eyes - 3:06
9. Sadness - 3:46
10.I Know How (Armin Bannach, Johan Daansen) - 3:12
All songs written by Michael Winzkowski, Johan Daansen except where noted.

The Epsilon
*Johan Daansen - Guitar, Vocals, Piano, Percussion
*Heinrich Mohn - Bass
*Hartmut Pfannmüller - Drums, Bongos, Percussion
*Michael Winzkowski - Vocals, Guitar, Percussion
With
*Richard Bergmann - Trombone
*Conny Jackel - Trumpet
*Ralph Wildheiss - Flute

1971-72  Epsilon - Epsilon / Move On (2003 remaster)
Related Act
1970  Orange Peel - Orange Peel (2004 remaster) 

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Orange Peel - Orange Peel (1970 germany, significant heavy prog krautrock, 2004 remaster)



Orange Peel's first single "I Got No Time" / "Searching For A Place To Hide" (not including on their full length debut release)  featured Michael Winzkowski (also of Nosferatu and Epsilon), and they proved quite seminal, with Heinrich Mohn later following Winzkowski to Epsilon, Peter Bischof moving on to Emergency, and Curt Cress becoming amongst the most prolific of drummers. Orange Peel's LP was amongst the most psychedelic of heavy progressive albums, not least side one's opus "You Can't Change Them All", a veritable masterwork of heavy riffing organ rock, kind of Egg and Pink Floyd jamming Krautrock style, featuring vast guitar excursions, and Peter Bischof's gutsy blues vocals.

And then there's "We Still Try To Change" encompassing half of the second side, which trips out beyond the realms of side one's opus, The odd track out is an unusual arrangement of "Tobacco Road".

The  album is not only one of the earlier heavy krautrocks efforts, but also of great historical interest. It´s one of the first albums to be made in the legendary Dierks Studio in Cologne and also marked the start of then 17 years old drummer Curt Cress. The music on the album belongs to the category of vintage progressive rock with a lot of extended instrumental solos, not leased on "You can´t change them all" covered the whole side one of the original album (now completed with the 7" track "I Got No Time"). 

Orange Peel offers everything an album from this genre should... crazy frenzied guitar work , heavy organ whisps and tons of nice heavy keys, mind altering music and instrumentation, with great drum and bass interplay all creating a true heavy psychedelic monster. Four long exploratory tracks with tons of vintage keyboards creating a wonderful wall of sound. This is a classic album of the early krautrock era.
Tracks
1 You Can't Change Them All (Hänf, Ralph Wiltheiß) - 18:16
2 Faces That I Used to Know (Heinrich Mohn, Curt Cress, Leslie Link, Ralph Wiltheiß, Peter Bischof) - 3:13
3 Tobacco Road (John D. Loudermilk) - 7:17
4 We Still Try to Change (Heinrich Mohn, Curt Cress, Leslie Link, Ralph Wiltheiß, Peter Bischof) - 10:05

The Orange Peel
*Peter Bischof - Vocals, Percussion
*Curt Cress - Drums, Percussion
*Leslie Link - Guitar
*Heinrich "Heini" Mohn - Bass
*Ralph Wiltheiß - Organ

Related Act
1971-72  Epsilon - Epsilon / Move On (2003 remaster)

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Peter Kaukonen - Black Kangaroo (1972 us, great hard psych guitar rock, 2007 bonus tracks edition)



Peter Kaukonen is the younger brother of Jefferson Airplane’s Jorma Kaukonen. He was born in September 1945, Topeka, Kansas, USA. and began his career playing blues and folk prior to forming a bluegrass group in 1964 while studying at the University of Stockholm in Sweden. Having moved to California, Kaukonen became member of Petrus. The group recorded an unissued album for A&M Records before folding after which Kaukonen moved to San Francisco.

He enjoyed close ties with Jefferson Airplane, playing on spin-off releases Blows Against The Empire and Sunfighter, before recording for the group’s Grunt label. Kaukonen’s group, Black Kangaroo, formed in 1971, initially comprised of Mario Cipollina (bass) and Bill Gibson (drums), both later of Huey Lewis And The News. However, Peter Kaukonen: Black Kangaroo featured Larry Knight (b. Larry Weissberg; bass) and Joey Covington (drums; ex-Hot Tuna /Jefferson Airplane). Their only album is a hard-edged collection, showing the influence of Jimi Hendrix and Johnny Winter, with whom Kaukonen worked briefly when Black Kangaroo split up in 1972.

Kaukonen was offered the role of bass player in Jefferson Starship but opted to work as a solo artist. He recorded Traveller, an all-instrumental set, between 1980 and 1984. It did not secure a commercial release, although Kaukonen sold cassette copies at his live appearances. He also revived Black Kangaroo on two occasions. In 1977 he fronted a line-up completed by Stable Brown (bass) and a drummer dubbed ‘Stavros’. A third version, featuring Keith Ferguson (bass) and Jimmy Gillen (drums) was active at the end of the 70s, but it folded when Ferguson left. He later helped form the Fabulous Thunderbirds. 
by James Chrispell
Tracks
1. Up Or Down - 3:50
2. Postcard - 5:20
3. What We All Know And Love - 4:48
4. Billy's Tune - 4:58
5. Barking Dog Blues - 4:05
6. Dynamo Snackbar - 3:57
7. Prisoner - 4:57
8. That's A Good Question - 5:12
9. Solid To The Ground - 3:34
10.Solitary Confinement - 2:33
11.Unsatisfactory Sex - 3:48
12.Up Or Down - 4:41
13.Kangaroo Kommercial - 0:34
All songs by Peter Kaukonen

Personnel
*Peter Kaukonen - Guitar, Vocals
*Terry Adams - Cello
*Nick Buck - Keyboards
*Joey Covington - Drums, Vocals
*Diane Earl - Vocals
*Peter Marshall - Bass
*Mark Ryan - Bass
*Shelley Silverman - Drums
*Larry Weisberg - Bass

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Mad River - Mad River / Paradise Bar And Grill (1968-69 us, extraordinary psych folk rock with experimental touches, 2000 reissue)



In the onslaught of innovative San Francisco Bay Area psychedelic bands that recorded in the late 1960s, it was inevitable that some would get unfairly overlooked. Foremost among them were Mad River, whose two Capitol albums made barely a ripple saleswise. Overexposure of the San Francisco scene, however, was likely only part of the reason for their commercial failure. For Mad River were one of the hardest psychedelic bands to get a handle on, their eclecticism, oblique lyrics, and tortuous multi-segmented songs defying quick summarization. It may not have helped that Mad River's brand of psychedelia was decidedly dark, often venturing into distraught visions in stark opposition to the feel-good stereotype of the San Francisco Sound. 
    
Mad River formed in late 1965 in Yellow Springs, Ohio, arriving in Berkeley in early 1967 after a detour to Washington, DC. In some ways they were a natural fit for the Bay Area rock community, with their affinity for winding, Eastern-influenced minor-key melodies, somewhat in the manner of Country Joe & the Fish (with whom Mad River often shared bills). Their knack for glistening, wavering interlocking guitars -- particularly those of lead axeman David Robinson and second lead guitarist Rick Bockner -- was somewhat reminiscent of those heard in Quicksilver Messenger Service, though Mad River played with more frenetic angularity. What set them aside most, however, was lead singer and primary songwriter Lawrence Hammond's nervous quaver of a voice. 
    
These qualities were already in place on their rare 1967 debut EP, released on the small local Wee label. All three of its tracks -- "Wind Chimes" (to be re-recorded on their debut album), "A Gazelle" (to be redone as "Amphetamine Gazelle" on the first LP), and the outstanding anti-war song "Orange Fire" (never to be recorded by the band on their albums) -- can be heard on the Ace compilation The Berkeley EPs. Through the EP and live performances, Mad River drew strong grass-roots support in the Bay Area, partly through playing events associated with San Francisco radicals the Diggers. They also had a renowned fan in author and poet Richard Brautigan, who gave the band food to tide them over in rough times. 
    
Capitol Records, as part of a big push to sign San Francisco bands that saw them net Quicksilver and Steve Miller, landed Mad River in 1968. With Nik Venet -- producer of some of Capitol's more adventurous acts, like Fred Neil, Hearts & Flowers, and the Stone Poneys -- they recorded the self-titled debut LP that stands as their best work. The don't-you-dare relax mood was immediately set by the opening cut, "Merciful Monks," Hammond singing (as he does throughout the album) as though someone's just given him the hot foot. The band charged through ominous ever-shifting jagged chords, snaky guitar sustain leads, and almost improvisational-sounding shifts among dissonant melodies and variegated rhythms. Mad River were blending elements of avant-garde jazz, Indian music, blues, and folk into acid rock, sometimes sounding more aligned with the Mothers of Invention's odder instrumental passages than with the typical Bay Area act. 
    
Even when easing into more placid realms, as on "High All the Time," Hammond's pained high-pitched vocals gave the music a vaguely sinister, disquieting air, as though the record had caught the band at the very moment when a blissful psychedelic trip was turning sour and nightmarish. Certainly the manic "Amphetamine Gazelle," in both its speed-freak spoken opening and crazed stop-start rhythms, came across as the jittery rumination of someone who'd ingested one too many of a volatile substance.  "Eastern Light," which closed side one of the LP,  was  psychedelic  love song as 
funereal march, the exotic vibe embellished by Hammond's recorder. 
    
Hammond also added recorder to "Wind Chimes," a nifty illustration of the group's facility for haunting minor-keyed soloing. "War Goes On" did perhaps itself go on too long, maybe reflecting the hopeless endlessness of the Vietnam quagmire in 1968. Mad River concluded with a too-short, wary grace note on the beautiful folk ballad "Hush Julian," although Hammond's as-ever spooked-out singing made this children's lullaby sound as ghostly as the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. 
   
Mad River was a critical and commercial flop, not conventionally melodic enough to gain oodles of airplay, its obtuse adventurousness requiring several listenings to even begin to absorb. Their second and final album, 1969's Paradise Bar and Grill , was for the most part an abrupt about-face from the debut. Produced by Jerry Corbitt of the Youngbloods (both Corbitt and fellow Youngblood Lowell "Banana" Levinger add some steel guitar), the tracks largely retreated into calm country-rock, spurred by ex-folkie Hammond's love of country artists such as Merle Haggard. At the same time, the band's propensity for inscrutable acidic tunes with hard rock guitar and impossible-to-hum melodies did rear its head occasionally, making for an extremely diffuse record that seemed torn between several artistic paths. 
    
The instrumental opener, "Harfy Magnum," indicated the band may have been listening to John Fahey, with its similar avant-garde-tinged folk guitar. Hammond got to stretch his sorrowful pipes to the max on the country-rock title track, and Richard Brautigan provided the words and spoken narration for "Love's Not the Way to Treat a Friend," backed by mellow folk picking. (Mad River, mindful of Brautigan's kindness when they were starving, had used some of their Capitol advance to pay for the printing of Brautigan's collection of poems, Please Plant This Book.) Having prepared the listener for an easygoing country-rock record, on "Leave Me/Stay" the band then veered back into the agonized hard rock that had typified the previous LP. This was an extremely downcast romantic lament, as if the desperation of Mad River's "Eastern Light" had been followed by the desertion Hammond seemed to have feared all along. The jarring roller coaster ride continued with the good-time uptempo honky-tonker "Copper Plates" (chosen as the single, which stiffed, of course) and the quasi-classical guitar-and-recorder instrumental "Equinox." 
    
The second side of the LP was no more predictable, "They Brought Sadness" being yet another discombobulated lyric punctuated by twisting, occasionally atonal guitar. "Revolution in My Pocket" broke up strutting funk-rock verses with odd stretches of serene folk guitar and wordless humming, segueing into "Academy Cemetery," an instrumental showcase for squiggly electric guitar leads backed by Latinesque drumming. And what could follow that, of course, but another homespun slice of rustic country-rock, "Cherokee Queen"? It is hard to imagine exactly how Capitol planned to market such an all-over-the-place effort, yet the album did peek into the charts, although it only reached #192. 
    
Frustrated by their lack of recognition, Mad River broke up by the end of the 1960s, most likely victims of the daring recklessness of their musical experimentation. Yet this disc, combining both of their Capitol albums, testifies to their place among the most durable and intriguing San Francisco bands of their era. 
by Richie Unterberger
Tracks
Mad River 1968
1. Merciful Monks - 3:39
2. High All The Time - 4:07
3. Amphetamine Gazelle - 2:57
4. Eastern Ligh (Lawrence Hammond, Greg Dewey) - 7:58
5. Wind Chimes (Mad River) - 7:16
6. War Goes On - 12:26
7. Hush Julian - 1:12
Paradise Bar And Grill 1969
8. Harfy Magnum (David Robinson) - 2:41
9. Paradise Bar And Grill - 3:39
10.Love's Not The Way To Treat A Friend (Richard Brautigan, David Robinson) - 2:02
11.Leave Me Stay - 7:12
12.Copper Plates - 2:33
13.Equinox (Rick Bockner) - 1:51
14.They Brought Sadness (Greg Dewey, Lawrence Hammond) - 4:54
15.Revolution's In My Pockets - 6:07
16.Academy Cemetery (Mad River) - 3:13
17.Cherokee Queen (Carl Oglesby) - 4:08
All compositions by Lawrence Hammond except where stated

The Mad River
*David Robinson - Lead, Lead, 12 String Guitars, Banjo, Tambourine
*Rick Bockner - 2nd Lead, 12 String, Guitars, Vocals
*Lawrence Hammond - Lead Vocals, Bass, Lead, 12 String, Acoustic Guitars, Piano
*Tom Manning - 12 String Bass, Vocals
*Greg Dewey - Drums, Vocals, Fence, Worms Recorder
With
*Ron Wilson - Congas
*Jerry Corbitt - Hawaiian Steel Guitar
*Lowell "Banana" Levinger  - Pedal Steel Guitar

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Wabash Resurrection - Get It Off! (1974 us, tough and raw classic rock with southern smell)



Wabash Resurrection sound like a garage Lynyrd Skynyrd after a heavy night with Crazy Horse. The best tracks are definitive shit-kicking-rural-mullet-toting pick-up-truck-drivin’ rawk. Naturally they look the part on the cover. Launches with “Pigsty Blues” which seems to be about “keeping yer sheeet good and your feet flat on the ground”, essential for one’s health and well being don’t you know. 

The second track, “A Soldier’s Lament” is perhaps the best, and could be straight off the Rayne LP, thudding drumming and really groovy Crazy Horse style guitar with perfectly subdued, downer vocals. On the amazing “In Heat” they really nail it on the head with the lines: “I dig those Rhythm and Blues/Don’t try to tell me ‘bout no astral projections/I got horse shit on my shoes". You can just picture the lead singer in his cowboy hat peering skeptically at the hippie chick as she warbles on about the Age of Aquarius. 
from "Acid Archives"
Tracks
1. Pigsty Blues (Larry Lemons) - 3:43
2. A Soldier's Lament (Doug Oakley) - 4:41
3. Feelin' Good (Bud Bailey, Doug Oakley) - 5:17
4. Country Heartache (Larry Lemons) - 4:41
5. In Heat (Doug Oakley) - 4:47
6. The Angel Came And Went (Bud Bailey) - 2:58
7. Society Woman (Bud Bailey, Doug Oakley) - 4:13
8. You Need Someone (Bud Bailey, Doug Oakley) - 6:53

The Wabash Resurrection
*Bud Bailey - Vocals, Guitar
*Larry "Pipes" Lemons - Bass
*Doug Oakley - Drums, Vocals

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Weight - One Man's Queen Is Another Man's Sweat Hog (1970 us, remarkable melt of psych blues and classic rock, 2016 korean remaster)



Weight consisted of Brian Cassidy (vocals-bass), Peter Masi (vocals-keyboards-guitar-harmonica), Toni Christmas (guitar-vocals), and Noel Cassidy (drums-washboard-vocals).

The album described in some circles as “progressive psych” starts off with “The Night The Pig Got Loose”, featuring a hilarious account of a drug bust told in an Arlo Guthrie sort of way, and then shifts to a ballad musically similar to Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” with the weird title of “Mr.M, Mr.N, and Mr.C (With Help From Mr.D)” (maybe the Mr.D is Dylan they’re referring to).

As the album progresses, it has some nice guitar/organ interplay similar in style to the Allman Brothers, so it leans to Southern Rock as much as it does to a progressive style. 
by Max Collodie
Tracks
1. The Night The Pig Got Loose - 4:37
2. Mr. M, Mr. N. And Mr. C (With Help From Mr. D) - 4:27
3. I'm Sure We're Gonna Die - 8:53
4. Overhead Ego - 3:47
5. Disillusion # 1 - 3:00
6. Open Up Your Gate - 3:38
7. The Reason Why We're Here - 5:23
All songs by Peter Masi

The Weight
*Brian Cassidy - Vocals, Bass
*Noel Cassidy - Drums, Washboard, Vocals
*Toni Christmas - Guitar, Vocals
*Peter Masi - Vocals, Keyboards, Guitar, Harmonica

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