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Plain and Fancy

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

Friday, December 15, 2017

Mick Greenwood - Midnight Dreamer (1974 uk, marvellous folk soft rock, 2006 remaster)

Mick returned to the UK, and more touring with bands like Soft Machine and Curved Air, and performing at the Hammersmith Odeon with Jose Feliciano. The band underwent further changes with the addition of drummer Alan Eden and ex-John Mayall guitarist, Roger Dean. Mick then spent a little time away with an ancient tribe of musicians called Jajouka in the Moroccan mountains, visited previously by Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones and Ornett Coleman, before writing material for his third album, Midnight Dreamer.

This time around, Mick was holding the reigns of producer along with his engineer Vic Gamm at Sound Techniques. This now celebrated album with Mick on vocals, piano, keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars, also features Pat Donaldson on bass guitar, drummers William A. Murray, Gerry Conway and Barry De Souza, and backing vocals from Barry St.John, Sue Glover, Liza Strike, Bonny Hamilton and Kay Garner. Also featured are Kenny Wheeler on trumpet, Chris Hughs on Tenor Sax, Graham Smith on harmonica, and a further brass section comprising Eddie Mordue, Rex Morris, Duncan Lamont, Wally Smith, Rick Kennedy, Chris Smith, Creg Bowen and Johnny Huckridge. Superb arrangements by Steve Hamilton and Richard Hewson (who arranged the strings on The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby).

Through a chain of events, Greenwood became involved with the same record company and management as Fleetwood Mac, was inadvertently caught up in the political and legal wars of their separation, as witnessed by the tabloid coverage of the Old Bailey case. Even though the album was recognised, sadly the launch of Midnight Dreamer suffered as a result.

"Midnight Dreamer" originally released on Warner Brothers, charters Mick’s solid progression as he stepped into the role of producer/artist/writer. This celebrated album with Mick on vocals, piano, keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars, also features a star-studded lineup; Pat Donaldson, William A. Murray, Gerry Conway and Barry De Souza, and backing vocals from Barry St.John, Sue Glover, Liza Strike, Bonny Hamilton and Kay Garner.

What other talents does Mick Greenwood have up his sleeve? Not only does this album contain sensitive well written songs from across the spectrum, delivered  and performed with authority by himself and a host of top musos, but Mick has also produced with his engineer a rock solid piece of product with soul. Midnight Dreamer is a great third album by this guy. Highly recommended.
by Jonathon Teller, PlayTime Review

1. Black Roses - 2:56
2. Captain Life - 4:09
3. Writing On The Wall - 4:25
4. Easy Street - 4:43
5. Miss Morning - 3:52
6. Lady Midnight - 3:23
7. Diana Demons - 4:36
8. Deep Water - 3:48
9. Open Road - 2:12
All compositions by Mick Greenwood

*Mick Greenwood – Acoustic, Electric Guitars, Keyboards, Mixing, Piano, Vocals
*Gerry Conway - Drums
*Barry De Souza - Drums
*Pat Donaldson - Bass
*Kay Garner - Vocals
*Sue Glover - Vocals
*Bonnie Hamilton - Vocals
*Steve Hamiton - Brass Arrangement, String Arrangements, Vocal Arrangement
*Richard Hewson - Brass Arrangement, String Arrangements, Vocal Arrangement
*Ric Kennedy - Brass
*Duncan Lamont - Brass
*Eddie Mordue - Brass
*Reggie Wayne Morris - Brass
*William Murray - Drums
*Barry St. John - Vocals
*Chris Frazer Smith - Brass
*Wally Smith - Brass
*Liza Strike - Vocals
*Kenny Wheeler - Trumpet

1971  Mick Greenwood - Living Game 
1972  Mick Greenwood - ...To Friends (2006 japan remaster) 

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Doug Snyder And Bob Thompson - Daily Dance (1972 us, psychedelic instrumental experimental improvisation rock, 2010 mini LP reissue)

Less often than not, a sound recording will reach your ears that turns speculation into confirmation and leaves you wondering if it all really happened. TWS is usually the case when the bold soul finds itself face to face with the Daily Dance. The unlikely town of Washington Court House, between Columbus and Cincinnati in southern Ohio, was obviously the atmosphere needed to generate a document of such solidarity and perspective.

Snyder and Thompson were a guitarist and drummer respectively, and this is their vibratory postcard from nowhere. This duet has nothing to do with anything that has gone before, as even today it seems to dodge categorization. To the unseasoned ear, it might initially sound like a dilapidated cathedral of noise, but upon closer investigation you begin to realize the lack of pretension and sheer dazzle of its being.

The duo tear through seven "songs" with titles such as "Time Overlaps Itself," :'Soul And Universe" and "Truth Is A Pathless Land.'' They generate waves of energy through cascading feedback squall and drnrnbo bash and shimmer. A few tracks will start with something vaguely resembling a "groove," before they quickly deteriorate into their lonely Buckeye din. Daily Dance has much more in common with '90s groups like Fushitshusha or the Dead C than anyone operating in the US in the '70s.

Ya Ho Wa 13 and the likes included. This type of recording eventually achieves a sort of religious quality, where what was only thought of as a possibility becomes an undeniable reality pressed into a dark black circle of wax. An adventurous outing to say the least, and one that could only exist within the private press cosmos. Carefully repackaged and remastered by Cantor Records and Lion Productions, a greater andience now has the opportunity to reach what are indeed New Frontiers.
by Dante Carfagna, January 2009

1. Daily Dance - 10:29
2. Living With Crocodiles - 1:29
3. Time Overlaps Itself - 8:06
4. Unseen, Unheard - Rec. For 'daily Dance' - Prev. Unrel. - 1:56
5. Soul And Universe - 4:54
6. Hit And Run - 5:34
7. Truth Is A Painless Land - 2:47
8. Teenage Emergency - 8:28
All compositions by Doug Snyder, Bob Thompson

*Doug Snyder - Electric Guitar
*Bob Thompson - Drums, Percussion

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Monday, December 11, 2017

The Marshall Brothers Band - The Marshall Brothers Band (1975 australia, fine classic rock with prog touches, 2005 edition)

The Marshall Brothers Band are lesser-known Aussie proggers, quite possibly due to their lounge-act name, but also quite possibly due to their lounge-act music, certainly when compared to the likes of Aleph or the mighty Sebastian Hardie. The Marshall Brothers Band (produced by noted 'Tronnist Chris Neal).

There aren't any Marshall Brothers on the band, their name came after Rob Scott's wish to use the word "Brothers" like Allman Bros or Doobie Bros, so they called the band after Dave’s amplifier brand! 

Classical rock music influenced by King Crimson, Vanilla Fudge and Rick Wakeman. Their 1975 sole album sold quite well, spending eight weeks in the charts. 

1. Falcon 1959-1912 - 5:42
2. Bright Light Lady (David Hinds, Chris Browne) - 2:35
3. Pioneer Suite - 4:27
4. Mr. 'l' - 5:11
5. Come Out With Your Hands Up, Baby (Chris Neil) - 2:48
6. Flying High - 5:56
7. Summer Love (Chris Browne) - 5:28
8. Younger Now - 11:18
All songs written by Robert Scott except where indicated

The Marshall Brothers Band
*Chris Browne - Vocals
*John 'Funky' Halls - Drums
*David Hinds - Guitar
*Karl Hofman - Guitar
*John Rairty - Drums
*Robert Scott - Keyboards, Vocals
*Kevin Wyatt - Bass, Vocals

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Wooden Lion - Wooden Lion (1973 uk, great prog space downer rock, 2014 release)

Recorded over forty years ago by the original five-piece band, these insanely rare Wooden Lion tracks have, regrettably, been locked away for an eternity - until now that is. This dastardly and calculated act of betrayal compelled us to free the beast once and for all. In fact it is our sworn and solemn duty at AA Towers to bring you the best and the rarest recordings from the UK Underground of the late 60s and early 70s no matter how challenging the task. 

Not only was the vault securely locked but all keys were mercilessly destroved such is the breathtaking rarity of the sounds you are about to hear Mention the name Wooden Lion to most collectors of 70s prog and psych and more often than not you will be met with a baffled look.

For some though the name may trigger a garbled recital of weird and wonderful names; characters like The Captain, The Mad Molecule and Cardinal Biggies with tales of on-stage frippery and dark delight from long ago. The name fell into place when Roy Wood and Johnny Lyons disbanded Grope, their former band. The first Wooden Lion line-up comprised Roy Wood (electric guitar/6 and 12 string guitars), John Phillips (vocals), Johnny Lyons (bass), Gareth Kiddier (12 string guitar) and Wai Mansfield (drums).

It is this original quintet that was responsible for laying down the five tracks on this CD having been painstakingly re-mastered from a beyond rare acetate of which only one known copy exists. Housed in an adapted gatefold sleeve and customized to include rare pasted on photos and hand written lyrics the relic is an unsurpassed rarity.

As can be heard on these embryonic demos an early Hawkwind influence is apparent here and there whilst the gloomy vocal delivery is very much akin to the late 60s Basildon doom-metal merchants The Iron Maiden. Wooden Lion unleashed their melancholic theatrics and dark cosmic energy to captivated audiences across southern England on the pub and club circuit securing some useful support slots along the way especially at venues like the Dagenham Roundhouse where they opened up for SAHB.

By 1974 when the personnel had changed the band introduced some on stage gimmicks most notably a giant inflatable tube in a bid to gain increased attention not least from a record company or two. With appearances at various open air festivals including Windsor and Watchfield under their belts and another in a park in Basingstoke where they were banned due to excessive volume (yeah right), there was still no sign of a recording deal which only serves to make the earlier session in Hitchin all the more significant now. 

A session incidentally whereby the studio operatives were proposing to enter the tapes into a competition. Heard that one somewhere before! As the line-up continued to chop and change the band experimented by bringing in a synth player namely Alan Essex aka Cardinal Biggies who had occasionally performed with Hawkwind but things finally petered out as the punk scene reared its snotty nose in 1976 by which time the only two original members left were Roy and long standing drummer Wal. Roy then changed his name to Weard and joined circuit band Dogwatch who signed to Terry Murphy's Bridgehouse label.

The gods may have denied Wooden Lion their forty minutes of vinyl glory first time around but four decades on you can at last trip out to the very rarest UK cosmic doom album of the early 70s. This is the original Wooden Lion my friends, rescued from oblivion for you.
CD Liner-notes

1. She Paints Strange Pictures - 5:36
2. Hero - 1,11,111 - 5:36
3. Now The Day Is Over (Roy Wood, Gareth Kiddier, Johnny Lyons) - 5:34
4. Ice Maiden - 6:47
5. McAlistaire's Phantom - Parts 1,11,111 - 9:30
All songs by Roy Wood except track #3

The Wooden Lion
*John Phillips - Vocals
*Roy Wood - Lead, Slide Guitar, Vocals
*Johnny Lyons - Bass
*Gareth Kiddier - 12 String Acoustic Guitar
*Wal Mansfield - Drums

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Dave Miller Set - The Mr Guy Fawkes 1967-70

(Removed by Frenzy Music request)

Frenzy Music said... 
I request that you take down the post for The Dave Miller Set CD as released by RPM/Frenzy. It has taken 5 years to coordinate this release from Warner Music in Australia and ensure that Dave gets a good deal. Dave has had numerous problems in the last few years and is relying on healthy sales of this CD to help him through a difficult time. Thanking you in advance. Grant Gillanders (Frenzy Music) and Mark Stratford (RPM).

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Lee Pickens - Lee Pickens Group (1973 us, tight hard rock, 2010 digi pak remaster)

After leaving Bloodrock in '72, Lee Pickens put LPG together, and it certainly wasn't a commercial success. It was more of an artistic success. Comparing LPG to Trower's and Beck's as a better listening experience, it falls in between. LPG had all original songs written by the band, one titled "I Can't Stand it" has the same title as Trower's, both different but great tunes. LPG had a better vocalist then BBA, but James Dewar's vocals were miles ahead of both. 

Lee Pickens guitar work is great, and the songs the band wrote, give him plenty of room to explore his unique style and great tone. Lee's band is tight throughout, and all the players, Bass, Keyboard and Drummer add to the mix of funk, hard rock and country rock. One song, my favorite on LPG "It's Not Right" is a Funk Jazz-rock Monster. LPG may not have been a commercial success, but it was solid and Rockin', unfortunately , Capitol Records pulled the plug on Lee and LPG. A shame really, Lee was/is a great guitarist and that was the last time most of us heard his guitar sing.
by K. M. Barker

1. You'd Better Stop (Milton Walters) - 3:16
2. Sail Away (Lee Pickens) - 3:17
3. She's My Lover (Eddie Deston) - 4:16
4. It's Not Right (Milton Walters, Eddie Deston) - 5:28
5. I Can't Stand It (Eddie Deston) - 3:05
6. Hold On To Me (Eddie Deston) - 6:59
7. 2 Degress South (Charlie Bassman, Milton Walters) - 4:41
8. Ten After Never (Lee Pickens) - 3:13
9. Thumbs Up (Gary Owen) - 4:46

*Lee Pickens - Guitar
*Eddie Deaton – Vocals, Guitar, Organ
*Charlie Bassman – Drums, Congas, Vocals
*Gary Owen – Bass, Vocals
*Milton Walters – Keyboards, Vocals

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Southern Comfort - Southern Comfort (1971 uk, splendid folk country rock, 2017 reissue)

Southern Comfort haven t found the going easy since Ian Matthews left them 18 months ago, but they are anxious not to let it get them down. Their main problem is that the public have taken a long time to forget Matthews, and think of the split as being quite recent. They brought out one hasty album, Frog City, to offset Matthews' departure, but the new one has obviously had a lot more thought and planning out into it.

Gordon Huritley's pedal steel guitar and Mark Griffiths on mandolin do much to add to the individual charm of the album, and probably save it from becoming too near to pop. However, the group don't see themselves in that light at all. "We did some dates in Scotland recently," Mark Griffiths says, "but they weren't too good because it was obvious the audience were expecting a pop group, and didn't know what to make of us."

They did better in the States, where their type of music is going down well at the moment. Their first album was released there just before the tour with the Faces and Deep Purple, and sold well. To support the new album in Britain, they are making a short documentary film, playing some numbers from the album, to be shown in cinemas between the feature films. But they are still worrying about their receptions in this country.

"It's a really strange situation here. It's been a long time trying to forget about Ian, and we've found it hard trying to find a path for ourselves and be accepted. We don't see Ian as any opposition, although there must be some split loyalties among any fans we had. There was never any doubt about us carrying on when Ian left, although his departure was sudden. We've changed a lot, added different instruments. Now we use keyboards and mandolin, when before we depended more on the pedal steel.

We got over the voice difficulty. Too. Ian has a distinctive voice, but we think that Carl Barnwell has a good one too. Carl writes most of the material with me.

So now Southern Comfort are working their way round Britain, trying to build up their name, and face life without Ian Matthews. Ian is currently working with a new unit called Plainsong, and doesn’t see Southern Comfort as any kind of opposition or competition, because he is not choosing to look at things that way, although other might. In fact, his music with Plainsong is surprisingly different from what you might expect from him, after being conditioned to Southern Comfort.
Disc, January 22nd 1972

1. River Woman (Carl Barnwell) - 4:21
2. I Wanna Be Your Mama Again (Doug Sahm) - 3:46
3. Josephine's Biscuit (Carl Barnwell, Mark Griffiths) - 4:32
4. Moganbo/Devil's Canyon (Mark Griffiths) - 5:02
5. Cosmic Jig (Mark Griffiths) - 3:06
6. Lily Brown (Carl Barnwell) - 4:48
7. Russian River (Mark Griffiths) - 2:29
8. Ol' Rudd (Carl Barnwell) - 3:35
9. Harlem Girl (Carl Barnwell) - 4:12
10.I Don't Know (Mark Griffiths) - 2:50
11.Good Ol' 2-6-2 (Mark Griffiths) - 4:50

The Southern Comfort
*Andrew Leigh - Bass, Vocals
*Ray Duffy - Drums
*Carl Barnwell - Vocals, Guitar, Piano
*Mark Griffiths - Guitar, Vocals, Harp, Mandolin, Organ
*Gordon Huntley - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Ray Duffy - Percussion

Related Acts
1970  Andrew Leigh - Magician (2011 remaster) 
1970  Matthew's Southern Comfort - Later That Same Year (2008 remaster) 

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