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Monday, January 22, 2018

Tim Buckley - Tim Buckley (1966 us, miraculous psych folk, disc 1 of the 2017 eight cds box set)

On October 2017, Rhino released Tim Buckley: The Complete Album Collection, an eight-CD box set that brings together the body of music the singer-songwriter recorded between 1966 and 1972.

This set includes all seven of Buckley’s studio albums from that era, as well as Works In Progress, the 1999’s compilation of his 1967/68 recordings.

Considered a minor figure of several distinct late-’60s L.A. music scenes, Buckley never had a huge following, his songs were seldom covered, and, as he never made the same album twice, few of the fans who started out with him were still around by the time he blinked out in a haze of heroin and morphine after a long 1974 tour and more than a year of being clean and sober. He was 28. (His last words: “Bye bye, baby.”)

His name never makes the lists of his rock-casualty contemporaries Jimi, Janis, and Jim. But he deserves more remembrance than he ever got: Buckley burst on the Los Angeles and national scenes in 1966 in an explosion of earnestness, grace, and light, with all the pure passion of ’60s youth. With his powerful lyrics, amazing gifts for melody and harmony, and his five-octave voice swooping and shape-changing like Yma Sumac in drag, he was unprecedented.

That light began to dim almost immediately, as the rest of Buckley’s short life became a struggle to balance the demands of his art and his habit, and his outlook grew ever more seamy and narrow as he grew up far too fast in an age when there was a lot of that going around. And it never helps if you’re marketably talented. But his first six LPs were remarkable in their variety and integrity—some of them brilliant, at least one of them horrendous. I don’t think anyone likes all of them.

The first, Tim Buckley, like the next three, was released on Jac Holzman’s Elektra label, before that company was snapped up by Warners. On it a 19-year-old singer/songwriter performs, in pretty advanced mid-’60s folk-rock style, some of the most, by turns, heroic, tender, passionate, innocent songs you’ve never heard, performed with deft deference—the album opens with the chiming dissonances of “I Can’t See You,” then there’s the pastel “Valentine Melody,” the mounting cry of “Aren’t You the Girl,” the seance of “Song Slowly Song,” and much more. Lean string charts by Jack Nitsche, keyboards by Van Dyke Parks. Elektra hasn’t yet reissued Tim Buckley. They should, and you should buy it.
by Richard Lehnert

1. I Can't See You - 2:42
2. Wings (Tim Buckley) - 2:33
3. Song Of The Magician - 3:07
4. Strange Street Affair Under Blue - 3:12
5. Valentine Melody - 3:44
6. Aren't You The Girl (Tim Buckley) - 2:06
7. Song Slowly Song - 4:15
8. It Happens Every Time (Tim Buckley) - 1:51
9. Song For Jainie (Tim Buckley) - 2:45
10.Grief In My Soul - 2:07
11.She Is - 3:07
12.Understand Your Man (Tim Buckley) - 3:05
All songs by Larry Beckett, Tim Buckley unless as else stated

*Tim Buckley - Guitar, Vocals
*Lee Underwood - Guitar
*Jim Fielder - Bass Guitar
*Van Dyke Parks - Piano, Celesta, Harpsichord
*Billy Mundi - Drums, Percussion
*Jack Nitzsche - String Arrangements

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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) 

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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

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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 

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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) 

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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)

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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) 

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