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Plain and Fancy

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Lisa Miller - Within Myself (1968 us, a vital missing piece to the great jigsaw puzzle of psych pop, 2010 remaster)



There's some sort of pop culture Rorschach test to be constructed around the question of whether a fan of esoteric '60s pop records would be intrigued or thoroughly repelled by the notion of an album of polished pop songs, with overtones of psychedelia and sunshine pop and starring a vocalist who was all of 11 years old when she did the recording sessions. But Lisa Miller wasn't an ordinary child entertainer; she cut some sides for Motown's VIP subsidiary when she was only eight, and by the time she turned 15, she was the voice of Mary Magdalene on the original recording of the Christian rock opera Truth of Truths (interesting casting, that).

 Miller's first album, 1967's Within Myself, is a surprisingly solid and ambitious album from a performer of such a tender age; Miller had a strong, rich voice and sang with a confidence and technique that would be the envy of many artists three times her age. Truth to tell, Within Myself hardly sounds like the work of a little girl, and the slightly gimmicky arrangements on songs like "Mechanical Man" and "Fool on the Hill" (the latter Beatles' cover featuring a truly egregious Moog synthesizer) seem to add a novelty element to the reminder that we're listening to an 11-year-old kid, as songs like "I'll Hit a Lucky Streak" (in which she imagines what dating boys will be like) or "Be Like A Little Child" make clear. Within Myself was produced by Kay Lewis and Helen Lewis (respectively, Lisa's mother and aunt), who also wrote most of the songs, and though a significant share of the material and the arrangements could be politely described as dated (and who suggested that an 11-year-old should cover "White Rabbit"?), the studio band is bold and dynamic on all tracks and Miller's vocals more than keep up with them. 

Canterbury Records, who financed the sessions and released Within Myself, went out of business within a few weeks of the album's release, and the majority of the small press run were used as promotional copies; it's hard to imagine how the album would have fared in the marketplace, given how mature and assured it sounds despite the artist's youth, but fans of vintage pop will find this a fascinating curio from a vocalist who didn't need the gimmick factor of her age to impress a listener.
by Mark Deming


Tracks
1. To Sir With Love (Don Black, Mark London) - 2:35
2. Little Bird - 3:12
3. Mechanical Man - 2:58
4. Be Like A Little Child - 2:33
5. I'll Hit A Lucky Streak - 2:50
6. Utopia - 3:43
7. White Rabbit (Grace Slick) - 2:11
8. Fool On The Hill (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 2:28
9. Beggar Boy - 2:53
10.Within Myself - 2:39
11.Love Is - 2:41
12.The Loneliest Christmas Tree - 2:15
All songs by Kay Lewis, Helen Lewis except where stated

*Lisa Miller - Vocals

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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Supa - Supa's Jamboree (1971 us, awesome classic rock with country folk traces, 2016 korean remaster)



Richard Supa! I can't say enough about him. Supa is a Brooklyn kid who got his basic training playing guitar in soul bands—often he was the white member -while IK- was attending the University of Miami. He dropped out of school in his junior year and headed hack to \ew York. There he became a member of the Rich Kids-one of those legendary Long Island bands like the Rascals and the Vanilla Fudge—and he stayed for nearly five years.

Over the next couple years, Supa wrote a lot of songs, put together a group that never jelled and spent several months playing one of the leads in the Broadway company of "Hair." Now he has himself a new group. Supa's Jamboree, made up of some very together musicians.

The result is an extremely tight album The musicianship is first rate. They have the power and control to start off quietly on a number and build to a rip roaring finish, one of the things the Stones do so well.

The material, all written by Supa, is varied and consistently good and the singing well that's really something to take notice of- Richard Supa is a singer to he reckoned with. My favorite. “Li’l Jessie”, a hard driver that really sums up the album.
by Phil Flamm

Richard "Richie" Supa (born Richard Goodman in Massapequa Park, New York) is an American songwriter and guitarist best known for his work with Aerosmith and Richie Sambora.

Richard Supa released several albums under his own name, including "Supa's Jamboree" (1971, Paramount 6009), "Homespun" (1972, Paramount PAS 6027), "Lifelines" (1976, Epic PE34277) and "Tall Tales" (1978, Polydor PD-1-6155). Richard's song "Stone County Wanted Man" which appeared on the "Supa's Jamboree" album, was recorded by Johnny Winter for his "Saints and Sinners" album.

A longtime friend of Aerosmith, he has made a number of musical contributions to the band and has offered moral support. He temporarily replaced Joe Perry when he left the band in 1979 until a replacement was found. Additionally, he helped co-write several songs, including the hits "Chip Away the Stone" (1978), "Lightning Strikes" (1982), "Amazing" (1993), and "Pink" (1997), among others.

Supa co-wrote most of the songs on Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora's second solo album Undiscovered Soul. He also wrote the song "Misery" for the album Missundaztood by Pink, on which Aerosmith's singer Steven Tyler  features, and Sambora also collaborated and co-wrote the song "My Interpretation" "Your Sympathy" and "Instant Martyr" from Mika's debut album Life in Cartoon Motion. He also co-wrote "Back on Earth" for singer Ozzy Osbourne.

Supa is now the Director of Creative Recovery at Recovery Unplugged Treatment Center where he uses music to help addicts in recovery.


Tracks
1. Good Ol' Country Boo - 4:08
2. Zam Pam Poogee - 4:54
3. Burned - 3:22
4. Walk Through Country Sunshine - 4:40
5. Stone Country - Wanted Man - 3:46
6. Unwritten Words - 3:46
7. Li'l Jessie - 3:48
8. For Those Overcome - 5:41
All Songs by Richard Supa

Musicians
*Richard Supa - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Vocals
*Liberty DeVitto - Drums, Percussion
*Ivan Elias - Bass
*Jonathan Hipps - Keyboards, Organ
*Dean (Ox) Doughtry - Keyboards, Organ
*Howie Emerson - Guitar
*J.R.Cobb- Acoustic Guitar
*Barry Bailey - Electnc Guitar
*Robert Nix - Drums
*Paul Goddard - Bass

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Sunday, August 7, 2016

Concept - Invasion (1976-79 canada, exciting hard experimental prog space rock, 2008 remaster)



The Humanist Advent "Concept" brought up from its very beginning by Peter Riden to those days, surges with the released album titled "Concept's invasion".

Peter Riden, leading force of the Humanist Advent and mastering the process of recording the new L.P., is, besides his significant singing, heard on guitars and responsible for: "Concept's invasion", an open declaration of the up coming destiny of "Concept".

Then "Condensed Energy" stunts in its direct lyrical means. And the whole strength of the Humanist Advent Concept is transcribed through the play of the four members with "World of Conviction", on Riden'Star Music.

It has to be underlined at first that although almost every single informator avoided intentionally Peter Riden, some others attempting any discredit on his "Unlimited goals", few at least remained faithfull and honest to his "Concept" and who better than his very friends along with since over six full years. 

They are:
Pier Heiken, whose determination brought him up as one of the finest drummers you can find, so suitable for the group and add him some capabilities on keyboards and soft singing. Then comes Robert C. Schwelb, the keyboard specialist added to his very personal way to sing and a strong contribution on the album with pieces as: "Light to live, Love to give" and his significative "Conquest" as to remind up his publisher label "Conquest Music" related to BMI and PRO copyright.

Also is Marc Ulus playing some strings as bass, guitar, and windwood, meaning flute, sax. His fully six years with Concept, although he is the last acquirance amongst the group, are reflected through the combination of the introductive piece of the album: "What's good, What's bad" and the so called: "Oh! I would like" on the flip side. "Angelyric Music" is his very personal publishing named acquisition and seems to suit him well. So is his singing.

The album completely produced by Concept on their own label "Reveal", is the result of a long and precise work, and it brings a complete new dimension to what used to be music for specific groups, and Concept addresses itself to the whole of human being and beyond.
CD Liner-Notes


Tracks
1. What's Good, What's Bad (Marc Ulus) - 3:16
2. Light To Live (Love To Give) (Robert C. Schwelb) - 4:40
3. Concept's Invasion (Peter Riden) - 5:06
4. Condensed Energy (Peter Riden) - 5:17
5. Conquest (Robert C. Schwelb) - 11:16
6. Oh! I Would Like (Marc Ulus) - 4:43
7. World Of Conviction (Peter Riden) - 7:02
8. Eliminate The Bill (Bonus) (Peter Riden) - 3:05
9. Pour Une Paveur (Bonus) (Marc Ulus) - 3:26

The Concept
*Marc Ulus - Bass, Guitar, Sax, Flute, Vocals
*Robert C. Schwelb - Keyboards, Vocals
*Peter Riden - Vocals, Guitar
*Pier Heiken - Drums, Keyboards, Vocals

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Jimmy Campbell - Jimmy Campbell's Album (1972 uk, wonderful sensitive folk soft rock, 2009 remaster)



Jimmy Campbell's third and final album for Philips, 1972's Jimmy Campbell's Album was a contractual obligation and he spent just one day in a London recording studio laying down 12 songs. With only two microphones, Jimmy's vocals and acoustic guitar were recorded in one session. Musician Michael Snow had appeared with Campbell and Kinsley on Rockin' Horse's superb 1971 power pop-infused album "Yes It Is" and was commandeered by Jimmy's manager Hal Carter to bring these recordings up to release standard.

Snow cleaned up the original master tape and brought in arranger Ron Carthy, and the rhythm section of Billy Kinsley and Stan Gorman, to augment the recordings. Snow would also replace most of Campbell's erratic guitar playing with his own, as well as adding piano, organ, vibraphone and some occasional electric guitar. Campbell would later thank Snow for not "overdoing" the production.

Despite Snow's majestic efforts, the album still has a "demos" feel to it and is a rather subdued and patchy affair in comparison to the previous albums. Songs such as the sparse 'Snow Covered Street', 'Paris, You're In Paris' (which benefits from the overdub of a musette accordian), 'Something In The Wind' and 'It Never Rains But It Pours' do possess a certain ragged charm, but overall this album is recommended to dedicated fans only and is certainly not the place to start for a Jimmy Campbell novice.

The album also includes 'Salvation Army Citadel' (covered by both Sgt. Will Scruffham and Rolf Harris) and 'Baby, Walk Out With Your Darling Man' - a personal favourite of Jimmy's, written about his wife Yvonne, which was recorded to better effect by Rockin' Horse. There are certainly songs here that could have grown into something much better had they been fully realised.

Jimmy Campbell's Album sank with little fanfare or support from Philips and that was Campbell's career pretty much finished. He would continue to write songs and occasionally play with a house band at local Liverpool venues. The Swinging Blue Jeans recorded some of his songs on their 1979 album "Jump N' Jeans", but Campbell would never record for another record label. He passed away in 2007 after suffering with emphysema.

Esoteric mark Jimmy Campbell's musical legacy magnificently with these three sumptuous reissues. The booklets are packed with original artwork, photographs, memorabilia and detailed sleevenotes by Campbell expert Mark A. Johnston. 
by Jim Henderson 


Tracks
1. By The Light Of A Lamp - 2:40
2. Salvation Army Citadel - 3:04
3. Snow Covered Street - 3:41
4. Paris, You're In Paris - 2:18
5. Darling Sweetheart - 3:11
6. April Morning - 2:41
7. Something In The Wind - 3:04
8. Maudie - 3:14
9. Baby, Walk Out With Your Darling Man - 4:29
10.It's Just Like A Girl - 3:03
11.It Never Rains But It Pours - 2:10
12.When You're Coming Home - 3:51
Words ans Music by Jimmy Campbell

Personnel
*Jimmy Campbell - Vocals, Guitar
*Michael Snow - Piano, Organ
*Stan Gorman - Drums
*Billy Kinsley - Bass, Backing Vocals

1969  Jimmy Campbell - Son Of Anastasia (2009 remaster bonus track issue)

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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Jimmie Spheeris - The Dragon Is Dancing / Ports Of The Heart (1975-76 us, brilliant folk jazz prog silk rock, 2014 double disc set remaster)



One of Jimmie Spheeris' Epic titles of the 1970s was his third album, a classic titled The Dragon Is Dancing. The album was produced by Henry Lewy, a well-respected producer/engineer who had an impressive track record when he entered the studio with Spheeris in 1975. 

In addition to working with Joan Baez, Neil Young, and Procol Harum, Lewy was the engineer on many of Joni Mitchell's best albums. Lewy always had an ear for singer/songwriters, and he proves to be quite an asset to Spheeris on reflective, contemplative gems like "In the Misty Woods" and "Blue Streets." Between Spheeris' heartfelt singing and writing and Lewy's imaginative production, The Dragon Is Dancing never fails to hold the listener's attention. 
by Alex Henderson

"Tonight we're going to take your mind on a ride outside this universe," Jimmie Spheeris' trademark half whisper taunted the throng of 10,000 rowdy Cheech and Chong fans. In the ensuing 10 seconds, he had their attention riveted to his haunting piano intro for "The Nest".

Jimmie's hushed, airy tones, banshee wails and snake charmer vocal riffs sent rapturous thrills through many enormous crowds in the early '70s, initially impatient audiences of unruly kids who came to see big name hard rock acts, only first to be surprised and tamed by a true dream weaver.

It was my great fortune to be sometimes part of his troupe of time-travelling gypsies; a band consisting of piano, guitar, bass, flute and myself on viola, endeavoring to conjure up a whole orchestra to carpet Jimmie's musical visions. Wherever Jimmie performed, his listeners were drawn into his unusual world.

He invoked a similar spell in the studio, always singing his own songs: artfully fashioned gems that could only originate from Jimmie Spheeris. On his fourth album, Ports of the Heart, he added to this delicious mix some classic songs by other writers. The vocal magic continued as if they were songs of his own creation. I still can feel the sensation from one summer evening session, as if my mind were floating in an air-cooled stream, as Jimmie wafted the melody of Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry", backed by Jim Cowger's sonorous sax lines. Another unforgettable session had Jimmie playacting the romantic mood of an earlier classic, "It's All in the Game", composed in 1912 from a poem written near the turn of the century.

Most of the album, of course, is filled with songs of colorful vision, fantasy and sensuous life, all written by Jimmie, straight from his unmistakable creative world. When I listen to it now the music brings on the memory of how it felt in the living room of Jimmie's Venice, California beach house, where the room seemed always to glow from the spark of his most recent creations and with the energy and affection he inspired in his many close friends.

I'd have thought by now that another singer would have achieved something similar to his unique voice, in the way that artists from prior eras become major influences on younger singers. So far, no one has.
by David Campbell


Tracks
Disc 1 The Dragon Is Dancing 1975
1. The Dragon Is Dancing - 3:14
2. Sighs In A Shell (Jimmie Spheeris, Michael Mallen) - 3:21
3. Tequila Moonlight - 3:24
4. Snake Man - 2:44
5. Love's In Vain - 4:32
6. Lost In The Midway - 3:09
7. Eternity Spin - 4:35
8. Sunken Skies - 3:31
9. Summer Salt - 2:52
10.In The Misty Woods - 3:13
11.Blown Out - 4:00
12.Blue Streets - 3:47
Music and Lyrics by Jimmie Spheeris unless as else indicated


Disc 2 Ports Of The Heart 1976
1. Child From Nowhere - 3:12
2. Emerald And The Dream Dance - 3:20
3. It's You They're Dreaming Of - 2:58
4. Captain Comes Cold - 2:33
5. Bayou Eyes - 3:43
6. It's All In The Game (C. Sigman, C. Dawes) - 3:12
7. Hills In My Head - 3:49
8. Whirlpool - 3:02
9. Sweet Separation - 3:08
10.So Darkly Fall The Shadows - 3:28
11.Nightingale Come Sail - 2:44
12.I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry (Hank Williams) - 4:11
Music and Lyrics by Jimmie Spheeris unless as else stated

Musicians
The Dragon Is Dancing 1975
*Jimmie Spheeris - Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Vocal
*Bart Hall - Drums, Percussion
*Johnny Pierce - Bass
*Geoff Levin - Electric, Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Jim Cowger - Flute, Sax
*Chick Corea - Electric Piano, Mini-Moog
*Jane Getz - Piano
*Mike Mallen - Acoustic Guitar
*Paul Lewinson - Arp, Piano
*Dorothy Remsen - Harp
*Henry Lewy - Birds, Percussion
*Morgan Ames - Backing Vocals
*Jim Cowger, Chuck Findley, Robert Findley - Horns
*Gary Barone, Jonathan Ellis - Horns

Ports Of The Heart 1976
*Jimmie Spheeris  -  Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Voices
*Chick Corea -Electric Piano
*Johnny Pierce - Bass
*Stanley Clarke - Bass
*Bart Hall, John Guerin - Drums
*Jim Cowger - Sax, Soprano Sax, Flute, Clarinet, Piano
*Geoff Levin - Guitars
*David Campbell - Viola
*Jay Ellington Lee - Arp
*Robin Williamson - Oud
*Dan Orbach - Mandolin
*Emile Pandolfi - Piano
*Richard Feves - Bowed Bass
*Charles Veal, Robert Dubow, Gordon Marron, Mary Ann Ringgold - Strings
*Haim Shtrum, Janice Gower, Sheldon Sanov - Strings
*Lya Stern, Mareia Van Dyke, Dan Neufeld - Strings
*Pamela Goldsmith, Paul Polivnick, Ronald Strauss, Rollice Dale - Strings
*Arthur Royval, Ronald Cooper, Dennis Karmazyn  - Strings
*David Spelz, Richard Feves - Strings
*Jackson Browne, Geoff Levin, Johnny Pierce - Backing Vocals

1971-73  Jimmie Spheeris - Isle Οf View / The Original Tap Dancing Kid (2008 remaster)

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Rainbow Ffolly - Sallies Fforth (1968 uk, beautiful orchestrated swinging psychedelia, 2005 remaster)



Spectromorphic Iridescence from a Tube of Smarties
For years, Rainbow Ffolly Sallies Fforth, PMC 7050 (stereo PCS 7050), has been the ultimate mystery album for collectors. Mint copies change hands at upwards of £120, an Italian bootleg has been issued, and yet the group members have remained anonymous. Time to unffold the tale of the Rainbow Ffolly, a band influential on the careers of the Moody Blues, possibly the Who and even the Beatles.

The Ffolly's story, with its incredible string of 'ffirsts', is unique amongst groups of the time. Only when it reaches the part where the band is forced to split through lack of income does the tale become the sadly-familiar 'Sixties shot-at-stardom that failed'.

Rainbow Ffolly, an art college band, evolved in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, from a group called Force Four. Jonathan Dunsterville picked the new name to conjure up the eye-searing colours associated with psychedelia, doubling the 'f' on Ffolly in tribute to Wally Ffolks, jazz clarinettist and creator of the 'Flook' cartoon strip.

Roger Newell and Stewart Osborn were neighbours who had known each other since the age of three. Later in life they both took up the guitar, but according to Roger: "We found there were loads of guitarists better than us, but few bass players and few drummers."

Roger shrewdly moved to playing bass and Stewart, to drums. In book-binding classes at college, John became intrigued by Stewart's habit of carrying sticks in his pockets and drumming on the desk when he got bored.

"This bloke in evening class going 'chika chika chika bash bash bash!'... (had) to be an interesting character," John realised. "He could play trills and things that no other drummer could do at the time, so I thought, 'that'll do'!"

John and his brother, Richard, came from a musical family, John's guitar skills stemming from finding a ukulele in the loft at the age of eleven. The brothers honed their talents by copying Elvis and the Everlys. When John first considered Roger for the band, he rejected him because he "only looked about thirteen" and was dwarfed by his guitar. Alan Thomas subsequently became Force Four's bassist, leaving after a year or so because he was not in tune with the others' art school ideas. By this time, Roger, whom John describes as "a perfect bass player," had "doubled in size" and finally passed the audition.

Roger recalls seeing John entertaining a group of people in the local park, and thinking:
"'Wow! He plays Scotty Moore stuff!' And (John) 'picked', which was not a style currently in vogue."

Group manager, John Sparrowhawk's claim to fame was that he was the vocalist on the 'Light up a Richmond' cigarette commercial, fondly remembered by Sixties pirate radio aficionados.


Tracks
1. She's Alright - 3:42
2. I'm So Happy - 2:33
3. Montgolfier '67 - 2:37
4. Drive My Car - 2:15
5. Goodbye - 3:54
6. Hey You - 2:05
7. Sun Sing - 3:57
8. Sun And Sand - 4:02
9. Labour Exchange - 1:55
10.They'm - 1:55
11.No - 2:58
12.Sighing Game - 3:06
13.Come On Go - 2:57
14.Go Girl (Mono Single Version) - 2:41
15.Drive My Car (Mono Single Version) - 2:09
All tracks written by Jonathan Dunsterville

Rainbow Ffolly
*Jonathan Dunsterville - Vocals, Guitar
*Richard Dunsterville - Vocals, Guitar
*Roger Newell - Vocals, Bass
*Stewart Osborn - Vocals, Drums

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Next Morning - The Next Morning (1971 trinidad, stunning psych rock)



The late-1960s found guitarist Scipio Sargeant having left his native Trinidad for New York City.  Living in Brooklyn his lightening quick guitar began attracting attention, including that of  fellow Trinidadian/guitarist Bert Bailey.  Discovering a shared interest in hard rock, the pair decided to form a band, quickly recruiting keyboardist Earl Arthur, brother/drummer Herb Bailey and singer Lou Phillips.  With Scipio switching to bass the quintet began attracting attention on the city's club circuit.

Almost signed by Columbia, the group ended up with a recording contract on the Roulette Records affiliated Calla label.  Recorded at New York's Electric Lady Studios, their 1971 debut "The Next Morning" was produced by Dick Jacobs and clearly drew inspiration from Jimi Hendrix.  Propelled by Arthur's insane keyboards and Bert Bailey's wicked feedback drenched guitar, self-penned material such as "Changes of the Mind", "Life Is Love" and "Back To the Stone Age"  offered up impressive slices of Hendrix-styled heavy rock. The overall performances were quite attractive, making for a first-rate set that should appeal to all guitar rock lovers.


Tracks
1. The Next Morning (Lou Phillips, Scipio Sargeant, Bert Bailey) - 4:56
2. Life (Lou Phillips, Bert Bailey) - 2:57
3. Changes Of The Mind (Lou Phillips, Scipio Sargeant, Bert Bailey) - 6:01
4. Life Is Love (Lou Phillips, Earl Arthur) - 5:33
5. Back To The Stone Age (Lou Phillips, Scipio Sargeant, Bert Bailey) - 5:28
6. Adelane (Lou Phillips, Bert Bailey) - 2:51
7. A Jam Of Love (Lou Phillips, Scipio Sargeant, Herbert Bailey, Bert Bailey, Earl Arthur) - 4:24
8. Faces Are Smiling! (Lou Phillips, Bert Bailey) - 6:28

The Next Morning
*Earl Arthur - Keyboards
*Bert Bailey - Guitar
*Herbert Bailey - Drums
*Lou Phillips - Vocals
*Scipio Sargeant - Bass, Guitar

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