In The Land Of FREE we still Keep on Rockin'

Plain and Fancy

"I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I am free"

Friday, January 19, 2018

Indian Puddin And Pipe - Indian Puddin And Pipe (1969 us, impressive psych prog jazz rock, 2017 reissue)

Indian Puddin'and Pipe emerged from the Pacific Northwest in 1966, as West Coast Natural Gas. The name would soon be erased by mogul Matthew Katz in favor of Indian Puddin' and Pipe for his Fifth Pipedream-Volume One production venture in 1968. Their story played out against the politics of the music industry, at the height of psychedelia and in its heart - San Francisco. The previously unreleased recordings also included here represent the second chapter in the band's career and show how they survived to create something fundamentally more inspiring. For a band that were cruelly denied a proper recording contract at the time, Indian Puddin'and Pipe have since become an integral part of Bay Area music history through emotive songs that will stand the test of time.

Seattle's Indian Puddin'and Pipe emerged from a robust music scene in 1966 as West Coast Natural Gas. Amidst a scene in the Pacific Northwest that boasted the likes of The Fabulous Waiters, The Kingsmen. The Dynamics and The Sonics, guitarist Kris Larson and bass player and ex-Standells Dave Burke teamed up with drummer Jeff La Brache. a virtual veteran of the local music scene whose pedigree thus far displayed some highly credible 45s. While Larson was a relative newcomer to the scene, Burke, and La Brache's past experience in bands such as The Imperials, City Limits and The Riddlers (aka Rocky and The Riddlers; Batman b/w Flash and Crash from 1966) gave WCNG a formidable advantage against their neighbourhood counterparts. Other initial members included Steve Guinn and Dean Herrick, both of whom were replaced by Mike 'Kep' Kepley and Chuck Bates who shared an apartment with Doug Hastings of the Daily Flash. However, trouble flared when Bates suddenly Left to join the military and Kepley contracted hepatitis, a dire situation that inadvertently helped shape the future of the band when lead singer Pat Craig and lead guitarist Steve Mack arrived to help out.

On the 11th May 1966, the new recruits were given an opportunity to contribute with a four song demo featuring covers of The Yardbirds' Mister, You're A Better Man Than /.The Zombies You Make Me Feel Good, The Critters' Younger Girt and The Byrds' He Was A Friend Of Mine in a small Seattle studio. The addition of Mack in particular, undoubtedly helped in beefing up the sound early on while Kris Larson's accompanying 12-string would always bear the effective, hallmark credentials of their later sound. The major reshuffle had also prompted relocation, with the new line-up opting to move to San Francisco where the band felt more comfortable with the creative angle of the Bay Area. Aside from Blaise Lewark's notable BFD clubs where WCNG would share a stage with The Daily Flash, The Magic Fern, Crome Syrcus et al,  the Bay Area's natural vibe drew the band into what was now, fast becoming the place to be. 

It took no time for notorious producer Mathew Katz (whose litigation with the Airplane and Moby Grape lasted 20 and 39 years, respectively) to invite the band into the studio to record their debut single for his San Francisco Sound outlet. Kris Larson's Go Run and Play and Steve Mack's A Favor were demoed  (with Pat Craig's The Jumping Frog being shelved) and selected for release in November 1967. It brazenly bore the badge of Katz's input, immediately  tying it in with Katz' other luminaries; It's A Beautiful Day, Melvin Q Watchpocket, Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape. In 1968, they recorded four songs for Katz's latest psychedelic concept; Fifth Pipedream Volume One, a vehicle for Katz's productions featuring Black Swan, Tripsichord Music Box, It's A Beautiful Day, and Indian Puddin'and Pipe.

Katz structured his contracts so that different line-ups could appear under a given group's name, anytime and anywhere he desired. A line-up of Indian Puddin'and Pipe had already been in existence, but Katz would nevertheless rechristen West Coast Natural Gas with the name as well, moving Pat Craig on to keyboards and recruiting vocalist Lydia Mareno for what to some, would become the definitive version of the group. Steve Mack's Two's A Pair and Water or Wine, coupled with Pat Craig's Beyond This Place and Hashish were recorded at Coast Recorders, Bush Street, San Francisco, but by the time the songs were committed to wax, the band had already splintered making West Coast Natural Gas, a mere footnote in Seattle music history. In late 1968, Pat Craig and Steve Mack got back together and reformed a new and more eclectic version of Indian, Puddin' And Pipe, a name that they had inadvertently adopted, but one that sounded more in line with what they were setting out to achieve musically.

Amongst the crop of new recruits came Pianist and saxophone player Dennis Lanigan and guitarist Rex Larsen.two former members of Gary Philippets' Front Line whose Cot Love still resonates loudly today with its garage punk fan base. Alongside Lanigan, bass guitarist Steve "Warthog" Jackson, percussionist Rick Ouintanal (Don Ellis Orchestra), Lydia Moreno and David Savage would help Craig and Mack in their new venture, but not before adding Paul Trousdale. Trousdale was a known figure to Craig and Mack from the earlier WCNG days in Seattle where his group Brave New World (It's Tomorrow b/w Cried from 1966). It would be this expanded and more eclectic line-up that returned to the favored Coast Recorders' studios in San Francisco in 1969 to conjure up an irresistible ambience in a handful of mesmerising songs. 

By this point in the decade, music had changed dramatically with Bay Area groups like Blue Cheer, Gold, and Mt. Rushmore becoming increasingly loud and bombastic. The likes of Joy of Cooking, Sons of Champlin, Mad River, Ace of Cups, All Men Joy, Zephyr Grove, and Birth would revel in other realms of volume while Indian Puddin'and Pipe walked a different path to glory. With a set of new recordings in the can, the band appeared alongside several profile acts such as Quicksilver Messenger Service on 1st August 1969 with local hopefuls Phananganang. However, a collective this size would soon be drawn apart due to external commitments. A headlining slot at the Straight Theatre on New Year's Eve with All Men Joy and Congress of Wonders, would similarly announce the end of the road for the band whose journey from Seattle had been an education in 'the industry of human happiness'. These songs are not mere flashbacks or pieces of the past to digest casually, they demonstrate a yearning to progress whilst finding fluency in their surroundings, and offer the listener much more than a mere chapter in the Bay Area history books.

They offer an evocative sobriety that reaches far beyond the period they emanated from. They have travelled, and survived as a testament to the combined individuals whose legacy will tread time. Whilst some members drifted onto another path in life, the journey for people such as Paul Trousdale would continue, with Pat Thrall (PatTravers Band) in a 1972 venture called Cookin' Mama. Lydia Moreno went on to join Stoneground in 1972 for their Stoneground 3 LP. Pat Craig and Steve Mack stayed on to join former Hot Tuna/Jefferson Airplane drummer Joey Covington in his 1973 side project Joe E. Covington's Fat Fandango for' Jefferson's Grunt Records outlet. Craig later formed new wave rockers, the Tazmaniar Devils.

1. Morning Delight - 5:03
2. A Penny - 3:44
3. Shadowlarks - 9:55
4. Mr. Blue - 6:44
5. Spirit - 11:28
6. Planetary Road - 4:45
7. Two's A Pair - 4:15
8. Beyond This Place - 2:32
9. Hashish - 3:03
10.Water Or Wine - 3:40

The Indian Puddin And Pipe
*Steve "Warthog" Jackson - Bass, Vocals
*Barry Lewis - Drums
*Dennis Lanigan - Alto Sax, Piano, Vocals
*Rex Larsen - Guitar, Vocals
*Rick Quintanal - Drums
*David Savage - Trumpet
*Jack Ellis - Trombone
*Lydia Moreno - Vocals

Related Acts
1966-68  West Coast Natural Gas - Two's A Pair (2012 edition) 
1971  Stoneground - Family Album (Double Disc) 

Free Text
the Free Text

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Folklords - Release The Sunshine (1968 canada, dreamy glorious folk psych, 2008 remaster)

The Folklords actually got their start sometime around early 1968 when guitarist Tom Martin and bassist Paul Seip, who had been aping sounds from across the pond with their mod cover band the Chimes of Britain, decided to move things in a much more westerly direction. As the renamed Folklords, they added Martin's wife Martha Johnson on vocals and autoharp and recorded an insanely obscure seven-inch for their own COB label ('Forty Second River' b/w 'Unspoken Love').

Release the Sunshine came out later that year on Jack Boswell's Allied imprint, but curiously slipped under the radar at the time, garnering absolutely no mention at all in any of the Canadian music publications of the day. What's more, Boswell's teenage son Craig was a last-minute stand-in after the band's original drummer went mysteriously AWOL from these recording sessions, thus forever forfeiting his own brief fifteen minutes of fame.

Though it is steeped - or mired, take your pick - in the sober, overly earnest folk traditions of the early sixties, Release the Sunshine thankfully manages to untether itself somewhat with some dreamy folk motifs and sweet harmonies that recall the very early, pre-Grace Slick Jefferson Airplane. Add to that Johnson's haunting vocals and delicately played autoharp and the results are some interesting, if hardly essential, psych-folk.

Collectors have parted with upwards of 500 dollars for those few surviving originals of Release the Sunshine, so Pacemaker's 2008 CD reissue, which was meticulously remastered from the original tapes and which includes both COB sides, is definitely worth searching for. 
by Michael Panontin

Fourteen perfect examples of dreamy, sunshine-infused pop psychedelia with a folk ben, originally released by independent Canadian label Allied Records in 1968.

Leader Tom Waschkowski (credited on the album as Tom Martin). He graciously offered us a band history, lyrics, some terrific photos, and best of all, a rare pre-album single that the trio had self-released. This allows us to offer up as perfect a reissue of this album as humanly possible.

The Folklords “Release the Sunshine” is a captivating album, a notion shared by the many collectors world-wide who fight for original copies, which are few and far between. 

1. Jennifer Lee - 3:30
2. Don't Hide Your Love From Me - 3:03
3. Child (Paul Seip) - 3:50
4. Unspoken Love (Paul Seip) - 2:15
5. Windows - 4:28
6. Forty Second River - 3:27
7. Pardon Me Judas - 3:17
8. Thank You For Your Kindness (Paul Seip) - 3:11
9. We'll Love Like Before - 2:23
10.Suzanne Marie (Paul Seip) - 4:07
11.Don't Look Back (Paul Seip) - 3:00
12.The Slave - 3:12
13.Forty Second River - 3:15
14.Unspoken Love (Paul Seip) - 3:01
All words and Music by Tom Waschkowski unless as else stated

The Folklords
*Craig Boswell - Drums
*Martha Johnson - Vocals, Autoharp
*Tom Martin “Tom Waschkowski” - Vocals, Bass
*Paul Seip - Vocals, Guitar

Free Text
the Free Text

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Hearts And Flowers - Now Is The Time For Hearts And Flowers (1967 us, majestic folk psych rock, 2017 korean remaster)

I first got wind of this superb group via a label catalog by the late, great Bam Caruso Records in 1985. I collected all the releases on that label during that time period, so naturally I grabbed a copy of "Now Is The Time For Hearts & Flowers" by Hearts & Flowers despite the fact I had never before heard of them. I trusted Bam Caruso completely as they had never let me down thus far.

Bam Caruso sort of specialized in all things beat & psychedelic so I was a little surprised when my ears got their first taste of Hearts & Flowers. They had a sound that was much more in step with bluegrass, country and folk than the then current psychedelic scene. However as I began to explore their music on a deeper level they were as psychedelic as anybody, they just didn't beat you over the head with it. There are moments on this album that actually remind me of the more reflective numbers on the 13th Floor Elevators "Easter Everywhere" album, most notably "Dust" & "I Had To Tell You."

When I first listended to Hearts & Flowers I was immediately transported to the hills of Kentucky or West Virginia. So it came as a surprise when I learned the group were based in Los Angeles, California via Hawaii. One of the group's lead voices Larry Murray had once been in a bluegrass group with future Byrd/Burrito/Manassas member Chris Hillman called the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers. Murray had teamed up with Rick Cunha who he had met in Hawaii, the duo eventually met singer Dave Dawson and Hearts & Flowers were born (having relocated to the Los Angeles area.)

Hearts & Flowers were very unique by the fact that they were not overtly influenced by the British Beat Invasion and did not employ the traditional rock rhythm section, although they originally operated without a bassist and drummer (they would eventually include bass and drums on their recordings, the drummer on this album has the same style as session drummer Eddie Hoh, but that's just a guess on my part.) Hearts & Flowers were signed to the mighty Capitol label and were teamed with Beach Boys production veteran Nick Venet.

"Now Is The Time...For Hearts & Flowers" was first issued in 1967 and it is a near flawless collection of original material and inspired covers. Larry Murray's "Now Is The Time" opens the set and provides a brief introduction to the band. "Save Some Time" is the first proper number and sets the tone for the brilliance that is to come, this number resembles the criminally underrated Beau Brummels during their "Bradley's Barn" & "Triangle" era. I'm also reminded of The Dillards, Gosdin Brothers & The Charlatans.

"Try For The Sun" is a Donovan song that Hearts & Flowers practically re-invent, you'd swear the song was written tailor-made for them, their cover is both vibrant and incredibly moving. "Rain, Rain" is a Larry Murray original that is a complete knockout and easily as good as the group's inspired choice of covers, Murray's voice is a dead ringer for Beau Brummels lead singer Sal Valentino. Another highpoint of the number is Hearts & Flowers totally unique vocal harmonies. "View From Ward 3" was lifted as a 45 (which of course flopped), this number features another group trademark Dave Dawson's hypnotic use of the autoharp, Dawson uses the instrument throughout the album and it gives the music the same spooky effect as Tommy Hall's "electric jug" moves with the 13th Floor Elevators. "Rock & Roll Gypsies" closes out side one in fine form, this one was also issued as a 45 and it could have drawn some chart action on the country or pop charts had it been promoted (which it wasn't), this number has a semi-rock beat married to the group's faultless harmonies and picking.

Side two opens with an original take on Tim Hardin's classic "Reason To Believe" which reminds me of the mid-60's Warner Bros. sides by the Everly Brothers. "Please" is actually a cover of obscure West Coast psychedelic group The Kaleidoscope (a song from their classic 1967 album "Side Trips."), I actually prefer Hearts & Flowers version in that the group's harmonies brighten an already great song. "1-2-3 Rhyme In Carnivour Thyme" is a light-hearted group original written by Rick Cunha, I know this might sound crazy but this song actually reminds me of the English group The Kaleidoscope (no relation to the USA group.)

"I'm A Lonesome Fugitive" is a Merle Haggard number that is probably the most C&W track on the record, this version is pretty true to the original and manages to capture the classic "Bakersfield" sound with ease. "Road To Nowhere" is a Carole King/Gerry Goffin number (also covered dramatically by UK group White Trash) that just might be the best track on the album. Hearts & Flowers make this classic song their own with Dave Dawson's signature autoharp colors, a creepy banjo in the background and the Hearts' everpresent soaring vocal harmonies (a female voice is added on this track and it is rumored to be Linda Ronstadt.)

The record closes with a spledid cover of Hoyt "Pusherman" Axton's "10,000 Sunsets" which has Dave Dawson pushing his autoharp in all directions against the eerie vocal harmonies. I think this song is most psychedelic piece on the record (though not in the traditional sense of the term.) So there you have it, "Now Is The Time...For Hearts & Flowers" is one of the most original records of it's era and of course that is saying a lot. 
by Dave Furgess

1. Now Is The Time (Larry Murray) - 1:26
2. Save Some Time (Martin James Cooper) - 2:43
3. Try For The Sun (Donovan Leitch) - 2:46
4. Rain Rain (Larry Murray) - 2:36
5. The View From Ward 3 (Martin James Cooper) - 3:00
6. Rock And Roll Gypsies (Roger Tillison) - 2:23
7. Reason To Believe (Tim Hardin) - 2:10
8. Please (Mark Freedman, David Feldthouse) - 3:02
9. 1-2-3 Rhyme In Carnivour Thyme (Rick Cunha) - 2:17
10.I'm A Lonesome Fugitive (Casey Anderson, Liz Anderson) - 2:48
11.Road To Nowhere (Carole King, Gerry Goffin) - 3:30
12. 10,000 Sunsets (Hoyt Axton) - 2:37

The Hearts And Flowers
*Larry Murray - Guitar, Vocals
*Dave Dawson - Guitar, Vocals
*Rick Cunha - Guitar, Vocals
*Terry Paul - Bass
*Dan Woody - Drums

1970  Larry Murray - Sweet Country Suite 

Free Text
the Free Text

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

John Hammond, Jr. - Mirrors (1967 us, astonishing blues rock, 2016 remaster)

Blues Hall of Fame inductee John Hammond is a giant of 20th century blues, a talented songster whose work has preserved countless blues, gospel, and folk tunes that otherwise might have disappeared from the great Americana songbook. The son of famed Columbia Records A&R legend John Hammond (who discovered Dylan and Springsteen and was an early champion of Delta bluesman Robert Johnson), the young Hammond began playing guitar in high school and dropped out of college to pursue his musical vision. Living in Greenwich Village in the early-to-mid-60s, Hammond hung around and made music with fellow travelers like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Duane Allman.

Hammond has released roughly three-dozen albums since his self-titled 1962 debut, including a critically-acclaimed collection of material by singer/songwriter Tom Waits, 2001’s Wicked Grin. Known as a skilled interpreter of song, Hammond possesses an enormous knowledge of, and deep insight into the material he performs. Signed to the venerable Vanguard Records label early in his career, Hammond recorded so much material during his initial sojourns into the studio that Vanguard was releasing albums long after he’d left the label. Mirrors is one such work, a Frankensteined-production that cuts ‘n’ pastes various performances but somehow comes together as a cohesive album. The original side one is entirely ‘electric,’ Hammond joined in the studio by friends like Charlie Musslewhite and a pre-Band Robbie Robertson and Levon Helm; side two is strictly ‘acoustic.

Hammond’s rowdy cover of Billy Boy Arnold’s ‘I Wish You Would” spanks the planks from note one. Jimmy Lewis’s fluid bass line opens the song, Musselwhite’s greasy harp jumps in soon thereafter as Hammond growls out the vox above as funky a rhythm as you’d hear in the mid-60s. Hammond’s guitar battles with Robertson’s while the greatest master of the Telecaster, Michael Bloomfield, toils away in the background on piano. Hammond’s take on the great T-Bone Walker’s “They Call It Stormy Monday” is workmanlike but, considering how often the tune’s been covered by literally everybody in the blues biz, Hammond’s languid vocals and subdued instrumentation seem rather lackluster by comparison.

Much more interesting is the unusual reading given Piedmont bluesman Blind Willie McTell’s “Statesboro Blues.” Best known as performed by the Allman Brothers Band, Hammond’s spry take pre-dates Duane Allman’s by a half-decade and has a decidedly rockabilly tint that features guitarists Billy Butler and James Sprull chicken-pickin’ joyfully behind Hammond’s twangy vocals. A cover of Mose Allison’s “I Just Got Here” stands at the crossroads of the Delta blues and big city jazz, and Hammond’s gruff vocals slip and slide across Barry Goldberg’s minimalist keyboard riffs.

A full-band version of Robert Johnson’s “Traveling Riverside” closes out the album’s ‘electric’ side with a bang, the rhythm section of bassist Lewis and drummer Helm laying down a locomotive groove atop which Hammond’s roaring vocals and Musselwhite’s raging harp dance alongside Robertson’s nimble fretwork. The ‘acoustic’ side of Mirrors offers just Hammond and his guitar, an engaging pairing that delves deeply into the traditional acoustic blues that Hammond adores. A pair of Johnson’s songs open the side, slow-burning “Stones In My Passageway” provided ethereal vocals and haunting guitar, effectively capturing the original emotion of the Delta blues classic.

A cover of Johnson’s “Walking Blues” is more upbeat, with Hammond’s gritty vocals and aggressive, percussive guitarplay providing a (then) contemporary sheen to the muddy Delta gem. “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” is a Rev. Gary Davis song, done up nicely here with some elegant fretwork and reverent vocals effectively mixing blues and gospel and taking the song dangerously close to Son House’s darkly-emotional turf. Casual blues fans all know Blind Willie Johnson’s “Dark Was The Night,” but they don’t know that he had a much deeper songbook of blues and gospel treasures. Hammond tackles Johnson’s “Motherless Willie Johnson” (a/k/a “Motherless Children”), his reading differing greatly from Eric Clapton’s better-known cover, the song performed here with reckless abandon that successfully channels the original’s emotional energy.
by Rev. Keith A. Gordon

1. I Wish You Would (Billy Boy Arnold) - 2:51
2. They Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just As Bad) (T-Bone Walker) - 4:11
3. Statesboro Blues (Blind Willie McTell) - 3:23
4. Keys To The Highway (Big Bill Broonzy, Charles Segar) - 3:15
5. I Just Got Here (Mose Allison) - 4:37
6. Travelling Riverside (Robert Johnson) - 2:55
7. Stones In My Passway (Robert Johnson) - 3:12
8. Walking Blues (Robert Johnson) - 2:57
9. Death Don't Have No Mercy (Traditional) - 3:19
10.Motherless Willie Johnson (Blind Willie Johnson) - 2:22
11.When You Are Gone (Blind Boy Fuller) - 2:34
12.Rock Me Mama (Traditional) - 2:27
13.Get Right Church (Traditional) - 1:53

*John Paul Hammond - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocal
*Michael Bloomfield - Guitar, Piano
*William "Billy" Butler - Guitar
*Bobby Donaldson - Drums
*Barry Goldberg - Organ
*Levon Helm - Drums
*Eric Garth Hudson - Organ
*Jimmy Lewis - Bass
*Charlie Musselwhite - Harmonica
*Robbie Robertson - Guitar

1965  John Hammond - So Many Roads (2005 remaster)
1967  John Hammond - I Can Tell (with bonus tracks)
1968  John Hammond - Sooner Or Later 
1970-72  John Hammond - Source Point / I'm Satisfied (2007 remaster)
1973  Bloomfield, Hammond, Dr.John - Triumvirate (Japan expanded edition) 

Free Text
the Free Text

Friday, January 5, 2018

Rare Earth - In Concert (1971 us, outstanding soulful psych rock with funky vibes, 2017 Vinyl LP groove design audiophile remaster)

The performances from which this album is comprised must have been an embarrassment of riches. That's one way of explaining how this live double-LP set came to be released -- that and the fact that Rare Earth's peak years coincided with the commercial heyday of the live album. Whatever the reason, In Concert was the most expansive live recording ever issued by Motown Records.

What's more, it all works in terms of being an honest representation of this band -- not that they compromised much in the studio, where their rendition of "Get Ready" ran 20 minutes, but playing to an audience was what they'd been about from the start, and everything here resonates with the joy of that process. And in addition to capturing the band in top form, the recording itself provided a beautifully vivid sound picture, every instrument and voice captured spot-on, all the more amazing considering the size of this band and the complexities of their sound -- flutes, guitars (acoustic and electric), keyboards, saxes, percussion, and more are all here in close detail, but nothing more solid in the mix than John Persh's lead bass work in the middle section of the 23-and-a-half-minute "Get Ready."

Their reshaping of "What'd I Say" also works well as a concert number, and pretty much everything here is a joyous celebration of what this band and their era were about -- the group-credited jam "Thoughts" isn't the most interesting moment here, but it does avoid the pitfalls of the most excessive work of its period and can sustain its ten-minute length without trouble. The passage of time has also allowed one to appreciate the full technical range of this record -- by 1971, live recording had become so sophisticated that the producers were even able to give an expansive stereo sound picture, which came out well on the vinyl and is even better on digital reissues. 
by Bruce Eder

1. I Just Want To Celebrate (Dino Fekaris, Nick Zesses) - 4:42
2. Hey, Big Brother (Dino Fekaris, Nick Zesses) - 7:24
3. Born To Wander (Tom Baird) - 4:25
4. Get Ready (Smokey Robinson) - 23:34
5. What'd I Say (Ray Charles) - 6:30
6. Thoughts (Eddie Guzman, Gil Bridges, John Persh, Ray Monette, Mark Olson) - 10:47
7. (I Know I'm Losing You) (Cornelius Grant, Edward Holland Jr., Norman Whitfield) - 14:03
8. Nice To Be With You (Mark Olson, Peter Hoorelbeke, Ray Monette) - 2:25

Rare Earth
*Gil Bridges - Woodwinds, Vocals, Percussion, Flute
*Ray Monette - Guitars, Vocals
*Mark Olson - Keyboards, Vocals
*John Persh - Bass, Vocals
*Pete Rivera - Drums, Lead Vocals, Percussion
*Ed Guzman - Congas, Percussion

1968  Dreams/Answers (2017 audiophile remaster)
1969-74  Fill Your Head (three cds box set, five studio albums plus outtakes and alternative versions)
1971  One World  (2015 audiophile remaster)
1974  Live In Chicago (2014 audiophile remaster)

Free Text
the Free Text

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

High Mountain Hoedown - High Mountain Hoedown (1969 us, awesome classic rock with blues folk and country shades, 2010 korean remaster)

Formed by Jerry Williams (vocals and guitar] along with Rex Ludwick (drums) and Jerry McDonald (bass) in 1968, High Mountain Hoedown made a record deal with a producer & promoter Charles Greene who also worked with Buffalo Springfield and Sonny and Cher in 1969. Soon the band got into the studio and recorded self titled album and released under Etcetera Records.

There were severe law battles between Charles Greene and CBS Records over band as CBS immediately noticed the talent of the band when they listened to a demo tape. However, CBS failed to make a deal. The band soon broke up and the three musicians went separate ways-Jerry became a solo musician and released a couple of records, Rex later worked with Willie Nelson and Jerry McDonald is MIA.
CD Liner Notes

1. My Thoughts - 3:21
2. Pickin` Berries - 2:59
3. Nellie - 2:25
4. Song #8 - 2:27
5. I`ll Finish My Song - 2:18
6. Goodnight Irene (Huddie Ledbetter, John Lomax) - 3:09
7. The Weight (Jaime Robertson) - 4:32
8. My Lady - 2:49
9. Nadine (Chuck Berry) - 3:05
10.Voodoo Woman - 2:22
11.Brown Eyed Handsome Man (Chuck Berry) - 2:42
All compositions by Jerry Lynn Williams except where stated

The High Mountain Hoedown
*Jerry Williams - Vocals, Guitar
*Rex Ludwick - Drums
*Jerry McDonald - Bass

1970  High Mountain - Canyon (2016 koream remaster)
1972  Jerry Williams - Jerry Williams (2010 korean remaster) 

Free Text
the Free Text

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Jackson Browne - Running On Empty (1977 us, masterpiece, 2016 japan remaster)

This was actually my first Jackson Browne's LP in my records collection, since the day of it's first release back in 1977, (I had some cassettes with his previous releases but not a vinyl record),  I was in my late teenage years, and I loved this album from the first spin, still do 40 years later, his magnificent voice, the melodies, music, lyrics, the all atmosphere, the  band, the arragements and the production, all these classify it as a masterpiece (in my humble opinion).
Happy new year to everybody.

Jackson Browne said:
“I thought making a live record would be something to do while I tried to come up with another LP of songs like The Pretender. That’s what happens when you get recognition. You go, ‘OK, great, let’s try to do something more like that.’ But that’s not what you were doing when you did it in the first place. You were just doing what you wanted to do next. And Running On Empty became my most successful record.

For the first time I was getting paid enough to take this band who’d been on my albums [Russ Kunkel, Lee Sklar, Craig Doerge and guitarist Danny Kortchmar] on tour. They were huge fans of David Lindley, and they’d been on recording dates with him, so they were the most accommodating of bands with what David and I already had going on. My favourite thing was recording in motel rooms… we actually sang in the shower. That album was about a shared common experience that we all had touring, that we all knew pretty well. Most of those ideas came from us touring with different people. Stagehands to this day come up and say, ‘”The Load-Out” is our anthem.’

1. Running On Empty (Jackson Browne) - 5:31
2. The Road (Danny O'Keefe) - 4:46
3. Rosie (Donald Miller, Jackson Browne) - 3:41
4. You Love The Thunder (Jackson Browne) - 3:55
5. Cocaine (Rev. Gary Davis) - 4:56
6. Shaky Town (Daniel Kortchmar) - 3:41
7. Love Needs A Heart (Jackson Browne, Lowell George, Valerie Carter) - 3:30
8. Nothin' But Time (Howard Burke, Jackson Browne) - 3:37
9. The Load Out (Bryan Garofalo, Jackson Browne) - 5:36
10.Stay (Maurice Williams) - 3:22

*Jackson Browne - Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Rosemary Butler - Vocals
*Craig Doerge - Piano, Keyboards
*Doug Haywood - Background Vocals
*Danny Kortchmar - Lead Guitar, Harmony Vocals
*Russ Kunkel - Drums, Snare Drum, Cardboard Box, Hi Hat
*David Lindley - Lap Steel Guitar, Fiddle, Vocals
*Leland Sklar - Bass
*Joel Bernstein - Background Vocals

1972  Jackson Browne - Saturate Before Using
1973  Jackson Browne - For Everyman (2004 remaster)
1974  Jackson Browne - Late For The Sky ( 2014 remaster)

Free Text
the Free Text

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Tyla Gang - Pool Hall Punks / The Complete Recordings (1976-79 uk, stunning powerful pub boogie rock with punk attitude, 2016 three disc box set remaster)

Collection of the Ducks Deluxe mainman Sean Tyla’s follow-up late 70s band, featuring both the officially released albums, plus singles, demos and live tracks. Ian Canty revisits that time when Pub Rockers magically trans-morphed into New Wavers and wonders why the Gang were left behind….

Shortly after the final demise of Ducks Deluxe towards the end of 1975, Sean Tyla convened a new group to go back to the original, “no-holds barred” idea of the Ducks, which had been rather smoothed over on their two albums for RCA. The stripped-down, tough street rock that the Tyla Gang specialised in seemed purpose-built to run alongside the coming Punk explosion and their meaty, slightly Beefhearty debut single “Styrofoam” was one of the first few records issued on Stiff into the bargain. Sean himself was insulting bone-idle hippy audiences while John Lydon was still a lank-haired Hawkwind fan and by the first LP the line up included veterans of pioneering Glam/ProtoPunk/Pub Rock group the Winkies in bassist Brian Turrington and drummer Mike Desmarais.

The Tyla Gang received favourable mentions in “Sniffin’ Glue” but as was his want, Tyla shied away from any active engagement with the UK New Wave, apart from the necessary rubbing shoulders on the live circuit. Their two tracks from the fondly remembered “Hope And Anchor Front Row” comp LP, which are a more than fair demonstration of their live power of the time, end this collection on a fitting note. One can’t help but feel that the live arena was their natural habitat – their no-nonsense, thoroughly authentic aggression combined with great playing and catchy tunes would have marked them out as “difficult to follow” I’m sure.

First album “Yachtless”, released on Matthew Kaufman’s Beserkley label in 1977, makes up part of the first disc presented here and definitely marked them out as contenders even if it didn’t sell that much. Here they threw an occasional twelve bar boogie and Velvets’ rhythm guitar chug into the already potent, hard rockin’ brew. With strong numbers like “On The Street” and “The Young Lords”, it “ticked all the right boxes” as current parlance would have it. Possibly lacking quite the lyrical finesse of his Pub Rock contemporaries like Nick Lowe or Graham Parker, this may have possibly thwarted Sean and the Tyla Gang reaching the same level of success they attained during this period. Maybe the beard didn’t help either? We were living in fashion-conscious times then that was for sure. But the LP itself is very good and the early singles tracks are also a delight, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre Boogie” tapping into the kind of “sick joke” side of Punk and “The Young Lords” focussing on those heady greaser gang days of the late 50s for imagery and inspiration.

The follow up “Moonproof” (which follows on here on Disc 2) was not quite as strong as the debut, it appeared that now Tyla coverted the US audience via adding a strong Springsteen influence to the formula. You can understand why he choose to look to America, as there were few takers unfortunately for his brand of Rock n Roll in the rapidly changing UK Pop environment of 1978. It didn’t come off sadly, though “Suicide Jockey” is effective (though probably not as tough as on the original Skydog outing, featured as an extra on disc one here). 

Though this second LP didn’t meet with a great deal of commercial success, the Gang was made of stern stuff and started demoing material for a projected third long player and some of these tracks that were salvageable are presented here on disc 2 as part of this collection. These offerings do not deviate much from their standard sound with perhaps a little extra in the way of slide guitar and although they have their merits they are more low-key than their fiery recordings of a couple of years earlier. One exception is when they delve right back to their very early days for “Amsterdam Dog”, though on the whole it is the sound of a band out of time. Around this time they also recorded incognito as Speedballs and Spitballs (both of which figure amongst the bonus tracks), but the response was the same and as Beserkley closed up shop in 79 so did the Tyla Gang with Sean opting for a solo career mostly based stateside.

A third disc here brings together the three John Peel sessions from 77/78 that still crackle with raw energy. With a similar vim and vitality to Eddie The Hot Rods’ work at around the same time and a hint of Thin Lizzy, the Tyla Gang here bring home the feeling of the importance of life right now, the break from the normal that only Rock n Roll allows, that hot night when anything was possible in perfect vivid, live colour. Perhaps there was not quite the killer hit single track among the material like the Rods’ “Do Anything You Wanna Do”, but the spirit is there in spades. With a little luck who knows what they could have done? At this point they certainly appeared a better option than another bar room band of the time, Dire Straits, who went onto global fame with their torpid VHS symphonies.

Along with the surfeit of bonus tracks, this all adds up to a great collection of everything the Tyla Gang recorded in their original incarnation (but they did have a well received revival just a few years back). They may not have been the first word in originality, but in 1977 at least they were very close to being the last word in unpretentious Hard Rock.
by Ian Canty

Disc 1 Yachtless 1976-77
1. Hurricane (Sean Tyla, Bruce Irvine) - 3:18
2. Dust On The Needle - 4:37
3. On The Street - 2:57
4. New York Sun - 3:16
5. Speedball Morning - 3:04
6. Don't Shift A Gear - 3:03
7. Lost Angels - 3:45
8. The Young Lords (Version 2) - 3:20
9. Whizz Kids (Sean Tyla, Bruce Irvine) - 3:31
10.Don't Turn Your Radio On - 3:45
11.Styrofoam - 2:38
12.Texas Chainsaw Massacre Boogie - 3:32
13.The Young Lords (Version 1) - 3:28
14.Suicide Jockey - 4:53
15.Cannons Of The Boogie Night - 3:29
16.It's Only Rock And Roll (But It Gets Up Your Nose) - 4:30
17.Mad Muchachos - 4:10
18.Pool Hall Punks - 2:59
19.I Don't Want Your Love (Live In France 1977) - 3:21
20.Fireball (Live In France 1977) - 4:11
21.Gonna Take Me Away (Live In France 1977) (Sean Tyla, Brian Turrington) - 4:48
All songs by Sean Tyla except where stated

Disc 2 Moonproof 1978-79
1. Tropical Love - 3:25
2. Oakland Red - 3:03
3. It's Gonna Rain - 3:28
4. Did You Hear It On The Radio - 2:54
5. Rodeo (Sean Tyla, Bruce Irvine) - 3:00
6. Spanish Street - 3:04
7. No Roses (Michael Dasmarais, Sean Tyla) - 3:19
8. American Mother (Sean Tyla, Bruce Irvine) - 3:18
9. Suicide Jockey - 3:05
10.Flashing In The Subway (Sean Tyla, Bruce Irvine) - 2:34
11.Speedball Jive - 1:44
12.Jungle Of Love - 3:40
13.Bar Du Telefon - 5:04
14.Amsterdam Dog - 4:20
15.Chasing The Dragon - 3:38
16.Out On The Run - 3:47
17.Whaleback Boogie (Sean Tyla, Bruce Irvine) - 3:50
18.Moonlight Ambulance - 3:38
19.On The Street - 2:46
All songs by Sean Tyla except where noted
Track 11 as The Speedball
Track 19 by Das Luftwaffegaschaft

Disc 3 BBC Sessions And Rarities 1977-78
1. The Young Lords - 3:30
2. Don't Shift A Gea - 3:06
3. Whizz Kids (Sean Tyla, Bruce Irvine) - 3:33
4. Speedball Morning - 3:22
5. On The Street - 3:13
6. Don't Turn Your Radio On - 3:23
7. Styrofoam - 1:57
8. Dust On The Needle - 4:32
9. No Roses (Michael Dasmarais, Sean Tyla) - 3:55
10.It's Gonna Rain - 3:07
11.Spanish Streets - 3:07
12.Moonlight Ambulance - 3:40
13.Paris Boogie - 3:28
14.Hold On To My Love - 2:58
15.Keep From Movin' On - 2:09
16.Bad Moon Rising (John Fogerty) - 2:24
17.Knock On Wood (Steve Cropper, Eddie Floyd) - 1:48
18.Walking The Dog (Rufus Thomas) - 6:34
19.Don't Shift A Gear - 2:56
20.Young Lords - 3:27
21.On The Street - 2:58
22.Styrofoam - 2:05
All songs by Sean Tyla except where indicated
Tracks 16-17  by  The Spitballs

The Tyla Gang
*Sean Tyla - Guitar, Vocals
*Michael Desmarais - Drums, Percussion
*Bruce Irvine - Guitar
*Brian Turrington - Bass, Mandolin
Additional Members
*Peter O'Sullivan - Bass
*Deke Leonard - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Ken Whaley - Bass

1974-75  Ducks Deluxe - Ducks Deluxe / Taxi To The Terminal Zone (double disc set) 

Free Text
the Free Text

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Philippe Debarge With Pretty Things - Rock St Trop (1969 france / uk, superb guitar acid psych rock, 2017 remaster)

Back in the stone age of rock ‘n’ roll – the year 1969, to be exact – Phil May (vocals) and Wally Waller (bass) of British rock legends the Pretty Things were approached with an unusual offer. Flown to St. Tropez by rich French playboy Philippe DeBarge, the bandmates met with the young millionaire at the DeBarge family estate. DeBarge had long harbored dreams of rock ‘n’ roll stardom, and he wanted to record an album with the Pretty Things as his backing band. 

In December 1968, the Pretty Things released S.F. Sorrow, the album that has since become known as the band’s psychedelic-era masterpiece. By the following August, however, the album was selling slowly, founding guitarist Dick Taylor had left the band, and the PTs’ future was uncertain. So May and Waller took DeBarge up on his offer, writing songs for and recording DeBarge’s album at Nova Studios in London during September 1969 with DeBarge singing lead vocals, May on backing vocals, and the band – including Waller, keyboardist Jon Povey, drummer ‘Twink’, and new guitarist Vic Unitt (from the Edgar Broughton Band) providing the music. 

When S.F. Sorrow sales picked up months after its release, EMI wanted to follow up with a new album from the band, who subsequently put the DeBarge project on the back burner in order to work on what would become their 1970 album, Parachute. The album remained lost for almost 40 years when it was discovered by musician and Ugly Things zine publisher Mike Stax, who had found two acetates of the album and had it mixed and mastered, releasing it in 2009 on his own Ugly Things label. Stax even enlisted the classic Pretty Things line-up – including guitarist Dick Taylor – to record a new song titled “Monsieur Rock (Ballad of Philippe)” as a bonus track for The Pretty Things/Phillip DeBarge CD.

On September 1st, 2017 Madfish released this obscure album as Rock St. Trop, billed to Phillipe DeBarge with the Pretty Things. Remastered for CD and featuring rare photos and new liner notes by Waller, the album features a 20-page booklet and bonus songs, including “Monsieur Rock.” Influential far beyond their often meager album sales, the Pretty Things seldom made a musical mistake during the 1960s and ‘70s and aside from being chummy with superstars like Led Zeppelin and David Bowie, the PT’s influenced bands as diverse as the Clash and the Libertines, among others, and this long-lost album is a welcome addition to the band’s catalog.
by Rev. Keith A. Gordon

Philippe DeBarge passed away on February 3rd 1999, on the front cover photo of this release, he sits on the left side, with a guitar in his hands, next to him is Johnny Hallyday who also left to join heaven's big band, few days ago (December 6th 2017), and the charming girl sitting in front of them is the one and only one, Brigitte Bardot.

Merry Christmas my friends with health and lots of music in your life. Keep on Rockin'. 

1. Hello, How Do You Do - 4:06
2. You Might Even Say - 4:03
3. Alexander (Dick Taylor, John Povey, Phil May, Wally Waller) - 2:59
4. Send You With Loving - 3:05
5. You're Running You And Me - 4:55
6. Peace - 1:44
7. Eagles Son (Dick Taylor, John Povey, Phil May, Wally Waller) - 3:21
8. Graves Of Grey - 0:48
9. New Day - 4:09
10.It'll Never Be Me (Dick Taylor, John Charles Alder, John Povey, Phil May, Wally Waller) - 4:35
11.I'm Checking Out - 3:45
12.All Gone Now - 2:18
13.Monsieur Rock (Ballad Of Philippe) - 5:41
14.Lover - 1:41
15.Silver Stars - 3:35
All compositions by Phil May, Wally Waller except where stated
Bonus Tracks 13-15

*Philippe DeBarge - Lead Vocals
*Phil May - Vocals
*Wally Waller - Bass, Vocals
*Victor Unitt - Guitar, Vocals
*John Povey - Keyboards, Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
*John Charles Alder - Drums

Related Acts
1964-66  The Pretty Things - The EP Collection...Plus 
1967  The Pretty Things - Emotions (Japan remaster)
1968  Tomorrow - Tomorow (Expanded reissue)
1970  Twink - Think Pink (2013 remaster and expanded) 
1971  Pink Fairies - Never Never Land (2002 extra tracks issue) 

Free Text
the Free Text

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Paul Brett - Paul Brett (1972 uk, amazing folk silk rock, 2016 korean remaster)

Paul Brett is well known as an exponent of the 12-string guitar. The list of people he has played with is impressive indeed - much in demand for sessions, tours etc., he has played for a host of folks, from Max Bygraves to Status Quo, from Barclay James Harvest to Lonnie Donegan, from Crazy World of Arthur Brown to short-lived psych-pop outfit Tintern Abbey. With the latter he recorded the highly collectable single which is their only output.

From a Strawbs' point of view he has circled round the band - playing with various soon-to-be Strawbs - without ever actually joining.

Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera had grown out of r'n'b band Five Proud Walkers and recorded their first album and their first two singles, with the eponymous leader on guitar and vocals. In early 1969, Elmer left the band, as did guitarist Colin Forster, and Hud and John recruited Paul and Johnny Joyce (formerly with the Levee Breakers) to join them as a slightly more acoustically oriented outfit. They later shortened their name to simply the Velvet Opera and recorded the band's second album Ride A Hustler's Dreamand a number of singles. It was that incarnation which played at the opening night of Dave Cousins' White Bear-based Hounslow Arts Lab on 1 July 1969.

In late 1969, he recorded the lead guitar on Strawbs' "The Vision Of The Lady Of The Lake" for the Dragonfly album.

After Velvet Opera, Paul was involved in the recording of The Magic Shoemaker album by Fire - Dave Lambert, Dick Dufall and Bob Voice. Dave Cousins guested too, on banjo. The album was disappointing sales and production-wise and Lambert decided to split with long-time associates Dufall and Voice, who promptly hooked up with Paul to form Paul Brett's Sage, adding Stuart Cowell as lead guitarist which recorded three albums for Pye and Dawn (Pye's progressive label). Dave Lambert guested on piano and organ on several tracks on Schizophrenia, and Rod Coombes drummed on one track. Paul King, later to play alongside Lambert in the King Earl Boogie Band, played harmonica on a track on Jubliation Foundry.

From 1973 onwards Paul began to concentrate on a solo career, releasing a couple of attractive song-based solo albums on Bradleys Records, backed by violinist/guitarist Mike Piggott, adding multi-instrumentalist Dave Griffiths for the second. Rod Coombes popped up again on drums on the first. Bradleys made a push to establish him, releasing several singles from the albums.

A privately pressed album Phoenix Future followed in 1975, before Brett turned to the genre which is now his trademark, the twelve string guitar instrumental. Earth Birth, his critically-acclaimed first 12 string guitar suite, was released first released on his own label, then led to a 4 album deal with RCA, where it was the first release in 1977. Rod Coombes guests again on Interlife (1978), and Johnny Joyce plaus on two tracks on Eclipse (1979).

He then released some high-selling "easy listening" guitar albums on the K-Tel label and a number of music library releases, before concentrating on other activities - live show production including holiday/cruise work, music journalism. His longtime interest in collecting guitars led to his becoming a Marketing Consultant for Aria Guitars, who went on to develop a range of Paul Brett signature guitars.

1. The Ant - 2:17
2. Mr. Custer - 3:07
3. Goodtimes, Hardtimes - 3:31
4. 18 Years - 2:41
5. Handful Of Rain - 4:55
6. Atiques, Flowers And Music Box Dancers - 2:52
7. The Spanish Main - 4:34
8. Jim Crow - 3:22
9. Motherless Child On A Merry-Go-Round - 2:34
10.Here Comes The Sun (George Harrison) - 2:50
11.Who Am I - 3:47
12.March Of The Giant Hedgehogs - 3:28
All songs written by Paul Brett except where indicated

*Paul Brett - Acoustic, Electric Guitars, Timpani
*Mike Piggott - Violin, Acoustic Guitar
*Delyle Harper - Electric Bass, Double Bass
*Rob Young - Flute, Piano, Organ
*Jim Toomey - Percussion
*Rod Coombs - Percussion
*Geoffrey MacClean - Percussion

1970  Paul Brett's Sage - Paul Brett's Sage (2007 japan edition)
1971  Paul Brett's Sage - Jubilation Foundry (2007 Japan remaster)
1972  Paul Brett's Sage - Schizophrenia (2007 Japan remaster)
Related Acts
1969  Velvet Opera - Ride A Hustler's Dream 
1968-70  Fire - The Magic Shoemaker (2009 bonus tracks remaster) 

Free Text
the Free Text