Thursday, December 14, 2017

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

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



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

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

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

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

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

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Saturday, December 9, 2017

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday, December 8, 2017

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

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



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

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

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

*Mike Tingley - Vocals, Guitar

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

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



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

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

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

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

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

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Monday, December 4, 2017

Mott The Hoople - Fairfield Halls Live (1970-71 uk, superb classic hard rockin' live set, 2007 remaster)



Prior to the release of the (at the time, disappointing) Live album in 1974, the only officially available record of Mott the Hoople's live prowess was one track tacked onto the end of 1971's Wildlife album, a protracted take on "Keep a Knockin'" that was, apparently, the only salvageable cut from a projected full live album. The rest, producer Guy Stevens insisted, was so marred by technical problems as to be unusable. However, 36 years later listeners would discover that Stevens was a lot of things, but -- at least on this occasion -- he wasn't necessarily honest. Fairfield Halls, Live 1970 captures the full concert, from the tumultuous opening "Ohio," all ragged guitars and Verden Allen's foreboding organ, through a dynamite "Rock and Roll Queen" and three slabs from the then-forthcoming Mad Shadows, and on to the closing oldies, "Keep a Knockin'" and "You Really Got Me." 

And, alongside the Fillmore tapes recorded earlier in the year, at last the true magic of the original Mott the Hoople has been unleashed, a rock band that could have redefined "rock" if only more breaks had gone its way. Less exciting, but filling up the disc regardless, five tracks recorded five months later in Sweden (and previously available on the same label's All the Way from Stockholm to Philadelphia: Live 71/72 set) repeat "Thunderbuck Ram" but do add a Himalayan "Walkin' with a Mountain," "Laugh at Me," and "The Original Mixed Up Kid" to the brew, plus a volcanic cover of Mountain's "Long Red" that will leave you reeling. As if the rest of the disc hasn't already battered you hard enough. 
by Dave Thompson
Tracks
1. Ohio (Neil Young) - 5:00
2. No Wheels To Ride (Ian Hunter) - 7:45
3. Rock 'N' Roll Queen (Mick Ralphs) - 5:18
4. Thunderbuck Ram (Mick Ralphs) - 4:56
5. When My Mind's Gone (Ian Hunter) - 6:42
6. Keep A Knockin' (Richard Wayne Penniman) - 8:28
7. You Really Got Me (Ray Davies) - 8:55
8. Long Red (Leslie West, Felix Pappalardi, John Ventura, Norman Landsberg) - 4:22
9. The Original Mixed-Up Kid (Ian Hunter) - 4:37
10.Walking With A Mountain (Ian Hunter) - 7:08
11.Laugh At Me (Sony Bono) - 5:46
12.Thunderbuck Ram (Mick Ralphs) - 4:42
Tracks 1-7 Recorded 13th September 1970 at Fairfield Halls, Croydon, England
Tracks 8-12 Recorded 16th February 1971 at the Konserthuset, Stockholm, Sweden

Mott The Hoople
*Pete Overend Watts - Bass Guitar, Vocals, Guitar
*Dale "Buffin" Griffin - Drums, Backing Vocals, Percussion
*Ian Hunter - Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Bass Guitar
*Mick Ralphs - Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards
*Verden Allen - Organ, Backing Vocals

1966/90  Doc Thomas Group And The Silence - The Italian Job / Shotgun Eyes
1969-72  Mott The Hoople - Two Miles From Heaven (2003 issue)
1969  Mott The Hoople - Mott The Hoople (2003 bonus tracks remaster)
1970  Mott The Hoople - Mad Shadows (2003 Extra Tracks Remaster)
1971  Mott The Hoople - Wildlife (2003 japan bonus tracks remaster)
1971  Mott The Hoople - Brain Capers (bonus tracks remaster)
1972  Mott The Hoople - All The Young Dudes (2006 bonus tracks remaster)
1973  Mott The Hoople - Mott (2006 remaster and expanded)
1974  Mott The Hoople - Hoople (2006 remaster and expanded)
1975  Mott - Drive On (2006 edition)

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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Mott - Drive On (1975 uk, tough glam classic rock, 2006 edition)



After the departure of both Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson from Mott The Hoople in 1974, remaining members Overend Watts (bass), Morgan Fisher (keys) and Dale Griffin (drums) formed the spin-off band Mott with guitarist Ray Major and vocalist Nigel Benjamin. Intending to be harder hitting, but still emphasising their links to their illustrious past, the band went straight into the studio to launch themselves with the self-produced 'Drive On'.

Commercial Rock and Roll was the order of the day; not a million miles away from whence they came but with the joyous vocals of Benjamin pushing mostly Watts-written tunes like 'By Tonight', 'Monte Carlo', 'The Great White Wail' and 'She Does It' into a Rockier direction. The Pop side of the band was still evident on the inventive 'Stiff Upper Lip' and the infectious 'It Takes One To Know One', along with quality ballads 'I'll Tell You Something', 'Here We Are' and 'Apologies', all based around Fisher's great piano work and Benjamin's heartfelt vocals. 

Watts sang the excellent 'Love Now' himself, and this version also features the single b-side 'Shout It All Out', a laid-back tune that's just as musical as anything else here. Produced by the band themselves, 'Drive...' was a rough diamond with many appealing qualities.
by Phil Ashcroft
Tracks
1. By Tonight - 3:45
2. Monte Carlo - 4:35
3. She Does It - 3:26
4. I'll Tell You Something - 4:30
5. Stiff Upper Lip - 4:34
6. Love Now - 2:48
7. Apologies - 0:50
8. The Great White Wail - 5:09
9. Here We Are - 5:28
10.It Takes One To Know One (Dale Griffin) - 4:28
11.I Can Show You How It Is (Pete Overend Watts, Dale Griffin) - 2:51
All songs by Pete Overend Watts, except where stated

The Mott
*Nigel Benjamin - Lead Vocals, Rhythm, Acoustic Guitars
*Ray Major - Lead, Slide Guitars, Backing Vocals
*Morgan Fisher - Piano, Backing Vocals, Organ, Synthesizer
*Pete Overend Watts - Bass, Vocals
*Dale "Buffin" Griffin - Drums, Backing Vocals, Percussion

1966/90  Doc Thomas Group And The Silence - The Italian Job / Shotgun Eyes
1969-72  Mott The Hoople - Two Miles From Heaven (2003 issue)
1969  Mott The Hoople - Mott The Hoople (2003 bonus tracks remaster)
1970  Mott The Hoople - Mad Shadows (2003 Extra Tracks Remaster)
1971  Mott The Hoople - Wildlife (2003 japan bonus tracks remaster)
1971  Mott The Hoople - Brain Capers (bonus tracks remaster)
1972  Mott The Hoople - All The Young Dudes (2006 bonus tracks remaster)
1973  Mott The Hoople - Mott (2006 remaster and expanded)
1974  Mott The Hoople - Hoople (2006 remaster and expanded)

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Bill Fay - Time Of The Last Persecution (1971 uk, remarkable prog folk rock, 2005 remaster)



"Enigmatic" was the tag oft-times tossed 'round Bill Fay, whose loyal cult following grew significantly over the years. Signed to Decca, the singer/songwriter and pianist released two albums in the late '60s and early '70s; their haunting, darkly shadowed songs were never meant to appeal to the masses, even at the height of the psychedelia-streaked introspection sparked by the soul-searching of the day. 

While the Beatles flew off to meet the Maharishi, Fay fell under the spell of a 19th century compendium of commentaries on the Biblical books of Daniel and Revelations, which would inspire his second album, Time of the Last Persecution. But before the born-agains jump on to the Fay bandwagon, they should be warned that the artist was equally influenced by the ravaging events of the day. The title track, "Time of the Last Persecution," was written in an immediate and visceral response to the killings of four students at Kent State.

Even in 1971, the intensity of Fay's lyrics -- reflecting his commentaries in their poetical language, their highly introspective nature, the brooding quality of the music, all exquisitely enhanced by Ray Russell's evocative blues guitar work -- left most reviewers cold and confused. In truth, the album would have slotted much more neatly into the coming firestorm that descended on Britain later in the decade, and would have provided a surprisingly supple bridge between the apocalyptic visions of roots reggae and the political polemics of punk. 

The set certainly contains all the fire and fury of the latter movement, as well as the deeply dread atmospheres of the former. By 2005, with the rise of evangelicalism and Christian rock, Persecution no longer sounds so obscure or out of place; it is, however, a personal journey of spirituality, not a platform from which to proselytize. For all its dark vision, it's the possibility of peace and hope that shines through the gloom, and as for all the seeming quietude of the music, it thunders, too, with a power and emotion that speak in volumes as loudly as Fay's striking lyrics. 
by Jo-Ann Greene
Tracks
1. Omega Day - 3:14
2. Don't Let My Marigolds Die - 2:26
3. I Hear You Calling - 2:57
4. Dust Filled Room - 2:03
5. 'Til The Christ Come Back - 3:08
6. Release Is In The Eye - 2:41
7. Laughing Man - 3:15
8. Inside The Keepers Pantry - 2:29
9. Tell It Like It Is - 2:32
10.Plan D - 3:12
11.Pictures Of Adolf Again - 2:27
12.Time Of The Last Persecution - 3:54
13.Come A Day - 2:27
14.Let All The Other Teddies Know - 2:31
Lyrics and Music by Bill Fay

Personnel
*Bill Fay - Vocals, Piano
*Ray Russell - Guitar
*Alan Rushton - Drums
*Darryl Runswick - Bass
*Nick Evans - Trombone

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Matthews Southern Comfort - Later That Same Year (1970 uk, marvelous folk country rock, 2008 remaster)



Ian Matthews left Fairport Convention in 1969, and while the U.K.'s greatest folk-rock band was beginning to reinvent itself in a more traditional and very British direction, Matthews began digging deeper into the American influences that had marked his old band's first era. Later That Same Year, the second album from Ian's new group Matthews Southern Comfort (it was released in late 1970, a mere six months after their debut, hence the title), is a beautiful set of songs that splits the difference between West Coast folk-rock and early country-rock, with Gordon Huntley's pedal steel and Roger Coulam's lending an air of sunny sadness that dovetails beautifully with Matthews' silky tenor. 

Matthews wrote three of the songs on Later That Same Year, and they rank with the album's finest moments, especially the ethereal harmonies of "And Me" and the graceful simplicity of "My Lady," but Matthews also borrows some excellent material from American writers, including a cover of Neil Young's "Tell Me Why" that remains faithful while creating a languid mood of its own, a fine, poignant take on Jesse Winchester's "Brand New Tennessee Waltz," and two by Al Anderson, which date from the latter days of the Wildweeds before he joined up with NRBQ (and "Mare Take Me Home" and "And When She Smiles" show Big Al was already a songwriter of no small talent and Matthews handles both tunes beautifully). 

While country influences run all through the album, Matthews had the smarts not to try to emulate a Nashville production or arrangement style, and instead the album suggests the shadows of Tim Buckley or early Crosby, Stills & Nash while adding an English pastoral subtext all their own. After Later That Same Year, Matthews parted ways with Southern Comfort to record solo and later form Plainsong, but you'd never guess that this album was recorded by a band on its last legs -- this is subtle but confident music that comes from a handful of artists working at the height of their skills. [Before the release of Later That Same Year, Matthews Southern Comfort released a cover of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" as a single, and it became a sizable hit in both America and Europe; it was added to the American edition of the album when it was released in the States in 1971.
by Mark Deming
Tracks
1. To Love (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) - 4:42
2. And Me (Ian Matthews) - 4:37
3. Tell Me Why (Neil Young) - 2:03
4. Jonah (Carl Barnwell) - 4:13
5. My Lady (Ian Matthews) - 1:37
6. And When She Smiles (She Makes The Sun Shine) (Alan Anderson) - 2:16
7. Mare, Take Me Home (Alan Anderson) - 3:44
8. Sylvie (Carl Barnwell) - 5:40
9. The Brand New Tennessee Waltz (Jesse Winchester) - 2:59
10.For Melanie (Carl Barnwell) - 6:45
11.Road To Ronderlin (Ian Matthews) - 2:21
12.Woodstock (Joni Mitchell) - 4:30
13.The Struggle (Ian Matthews) - 3:50
14.Parting (Ian Matthews) - 2:54
15.Scion (Howard Blaikley, Ian Matthews) - 3:28
Bonus Tracks 12-15

The Matthews Southern Comfort
*Ian Matthews - Guitar, Vocals
*Carl Barnwell - Guitar
*Gordon Huntley - Steel Guitar
*Keith Nelson - Banjo
*Mark Griffiths - Bass
*Andy Leigh - Bass
*Roger Coulam - Piano
*Ray Duffy - Drums
*Tristan Fry - Vibraphone

1971  Ian Matthews - Tigers Will Survive (2012 remaster)  
1971  Ian Matthews - If You Saw Thro' My Eyes (2012 Remaster)
1972  Plainsong - Plainsong (2013 Japan Remaster)

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