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Plain and Fancy

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


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Roger Morris - First Album (1972 us, amazing country folk, slight rock, korean remaster with extra tracks)



Roger Morris’ First Album, released by Emi/Regal Zonophone in 1972, stakes a claim as one of the most American sounding British-folk albums of the seventies. Along with the painfully obscure solo album by Ernie Graham, First Album is one of a handful of rustic singer-songwriter lps of the era that landed unjustly under the radar. 

Owing much to the back-to-the-roots sound and vibe of The Band, Bobby Charles, and Hungry Chuck, and falling somewhere in between the British folk of the late 60s, the British country-rock of the early 70s, and the pub rock renaissance that would follow several years later, this album features contributions from a host of talented British musicians, including: the popular De Lisle Harper; Glen Campbell of Juicy Lucy and The Misunderstood; Family’s John Weider; Rod Coombes of Strawbs and later, Stealer’s Wheel; Chris Mercer; Terry Stannard of Kokomo; and Bruce Rowlands of the Greaseband. Obviously, the playing on this album is top notch. Furthermore, Morris comes across as a surprisingly accomplished songwriter.

On album opener “Taken for Granted” Morris mourns the loss of past loves to the tune of a folky country-rock number that calls to mind the early work of Help Yourself, as well as Ian Matthews. “Golightly’s Almanac” has a funky Bearsville ragtime feel, complete with a Tuba holding down the low end and a catchy horn part, sounding very similar to The Band’s “Rag Mama Rag” or Hungry Chuck’s “Hats Off America.” Morris’ vocals, which can sometimes be hit or miss, really excel on “Showdown”, one of the standout tracks of the set.  “Northern Star” features some tasty pedal steel and fiddle riffing courtesy of talented multi-instrumentalist John Weider, while “Livin’ On Memories” sounds similar to “Orange Juice Blues” off of The Basement Tapes, with Morris taking a cue from Richard Manuel’s vocal phrasing.

Morris’ account of one man’s experience in the years after the Civil War ,“All My Riches,” is his equivalent to The Band’s epic “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” Morris’ tune, while not a total failure, never comes close to reaching the heights of The Band’s legendary song. If there’s any complaint to be made about First Album, it would be that Morris’ influences are worn right on his sleeves. However, this was in fact his first album, so you’ve gotta give the guy a break for letting his influences show a little bit.

Needless to say, First Album is essential listening for fans of the rustic Americana The Band perfected on their first three records, as well as fans of Silver Pistol era Brinsley Schwarz, early McGuiness Flint and Help Yourself, and Matthews Southern Comfort. Simply one of the best obscure British folk/Americana flavored singer-songwriter lps of the era, this one is worth tracking down. 

Although this, his first lp, was virtually ignored upon its initial release, Roger would later find his audience when he went on to achieve international recognition as the guitarist in The Psychedelic Furs. In 2009 Bella Terra Presents released a tastefully remastered limited edition cd reissue featuring four previously unreleased bonus tracks that were recorded just a year after First Album, as well the original album artwork and a lyric sheet insert.
by D.A. Glasebrook


Tracks
1. Taken For Granted - 2:59
2. The Vigil -  4:10
3. Golightly's Almanac - 3:11
4. Showdown - 3:11
5. All My Riches - 3:14
6. The Trail Of Tears - 3:08
7. Northern Star - 3:13
8. Livin' On Memories - 2:43
9. Poor Lucy - 4:53
10.First Snow - 2:42
11.Let The Four Winds Blow - 3:58
12.Idaho -  4:39
13.Mississippi Story - 4:10
14.Down The Meadow - 3:27
15.The Number I Need - 3:11
16.Copenhagen Moon - 4:15
Words and Music by Roger Morris

Musicians
*Roger Morris - Piano, Guitars, Vocals
*Lisle Harper - Bass
*Bruce Rowlands, Terry Stannard, Rod Coombes - Drums
*Tommy Eyre - Piano, Organ, Piano Accordion
*Keith West - Guitar, Vocal Harmonies
*Glen Campbell - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Johnny Almond, Chris Mercer - Saxes
*John Weider - Guitar, Fiddle
*John Tuck - Vocal Harmonies

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Creative Rock - Gorilla (1972 germany, magnificent jazz brass rock)



With a good deal more invention and a powerful lead singer, their debut Gorilla was barely recognisable as German rock, yet despite this it was still rather good, full of complex brass arrangements and a most energetic rhythm section. LADY PIG followed in a similar, but heavier vein, with a bit more experimentation.

The last we know of Creative Rock was that in 1975 they were touring with an adventurous rock ballet production called “Die Creative Rock-Dekadenz-Show”. After that they transformed into Flight. Rainer Erbel is still active (2006) with the project “Steve Haggerty”. 
by Steven Freeman and Alan Freeman


Tracks
1. Natron (K. Weber, M.M. Maas, R. Erbel) - 6:17
2. A Horseman's Morningsong (Hauff, M.M. Maas, R. Erbel) - 5:00
3. Tapeworm (K. Weber, R. Erbel) 5:30
4. Hear What I'm Talking (K. Weber, R. Erbel) 5:20
5. Blind People (K. Weber, R. Erbel) 9:10
6. This World Between 6 And 8 A.M. (K. Weber, R. Erbel) 4:47
7. Wunderbar (M.M. Maas, R. Erbel) - 6:40
8. Preussens Gorilla (Conny Plank, K. Weber) - 2:13

Creative Rock
*Rainer Erbel - Vocals
*Hubertus Kreutner - Trumpet, Vocals
*M.M. Maas - Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Gunter Schmeide - Bass, Guitar
*Heiko Steinsiek - Drums, Percussion
*Rudiger Stremmel - Saxophone, Vocals
*Klaus Weber - Guitar, Percussion

1974  Lady Pig

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