Monday 21 April 2008

November 2007 pt.2

Friday, November 30, 2007

Amen Corner - The National Welsh Coast Live Explosion Company [1969]

The band was named after a 1954 play by James Baldwin.

Their first singles and album appeared on Decca's subsidiary label Deram, but they left at the end of 1968 to join Immediate, where they were instantly rewarded with a No. 1, "(If Paradise Is) Half as Nice" (originally a song by Italian songwriter Lucio Battisti) in early 1969, followed by another top five entry with the Roy Wood composition "Hello Susie".

After recording a live album, Farewell To The Real Magnificent Seven, and a final single, a rather premature cover version of The Beatles' "Get Back", they disbanded at the end of 1969.

While sax players Alan Jones and Mike Smith went on to form Judas Jump, guitarist and vocalist Andy Fairweather-Low led Dennis Byron (drums), Blue Weaver (organ), Clive Taylor (bass) and Neil Jones (guitar) into a new band, Fair Weather. The band scored a UK No.6 hit with "Natural Sinner" in 1970 and recorded one album before disbanding a year later.

Fairweather-Low went on to a successful solo career in the 1970s, notably with the top ten hit "Wide Eyed and Legless" (1975); he became a regular player with Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Roger Waters. He also worked with Strawbs and the Bee Gees. Blue Weaver also played keyboards for the Bee Gees from the mid-Seventies through to the Nineties [Wikipedia]

Track list;
01-Introduction; Macarthur Park
02-Baby Do The Philly Dog
03-You're My Girl (I Don't Want To Discuss It)
04-Shake A Tail Feather
05-So Fine
06-(Our Love) Is In The Pocket
07-Penny Lane
08-High In The Sky
09-Gin House
10-Bend Me Shape Me
11-(If Paradise Is) Half As Nice


Psychedelic Pop

Thursday, November 29, 2007

V.A. - Mayhem & Psychosis vols 1 & 2

Vol. 1
1 The Jelly Bean Bandits - Generation (Newburgh, NY, U.S.A.)
2 Holocaust - Savage Affection
(Chicago, IL, U.S.A.)
3 The Galaxies IV - Don't Lose Your Mind
(Trenton, NJ, U.S.A.)
4 The Magic Mushroom - I'm Gone
(San Diego, CA, U.S.A.)
5 The Monocles - The Spider & The Fly
(Greeley, CO, U.S.A.)
6 The Magic Plants - I'm A Nothing
(New York, NY, U.S.A.)
7 The Hysterics - Everything's There
(San Bernardino, CA, U.S.A.)
8 The Bruthers - Bad Way To Go
(Pearl River, NY, U.S.A.)
9 The Liverpool Set - Seventeen Tears To The End
10 The Leather Boy - I'm A Leather Boy
(Manhattan, NY, U.S.A.)
11 The Front Line - Got Love
(San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.)
12 The All Night Workers - Why Don't You Smile
(Syracuse, NY, U.S.A.)
13 The Cave Men - It's Trash
(Key West, FL, U.S.A.)
14 The Beatin' Path - Original Nothing People
(Reading, PA, U.S.A.)
15 The Dirty Wurds - Why
(Chicago, IL, U.S.A.)
16 The Bluethings - The Orange Rooftop Of Your Mind
(Hayes, KS, U.S.A.)
17 The Chob - We're Pretty Quick
(Albuquerque, NM, U.S.A.)
18 The Id - Boil The Kettle, Mother
(San Diego, CA, U.S.A.)
19 The Chocolate Moose - The Chocolate Moose Theme
(Dallas, TX, U.S.A.)
20 The Little Boy Blues - The Great Train Robbery
(Chicago, IL, U.S.A.)
21 The Bare Facts - Bad Part Of Town
(Portsmouth, OH, U.S.A.)
22 The Spades - You're Gonna Miss Me
(Austin, TX, U.S.A.)
23 Ravin' Blue - Love
(Nashville, TN, U.S.A.)
24 The Ruins - The End
(Lincoln Park, MI, U.S.A.)
25 Nobody's Children - Colours And Shapes
26 The Third Stone - True Justice
(Salem, OR, U.S.A.)
27 The Changing Tymes - Go Your Way
(Gate City, VA, U.S.A.)
28 The Barons - Now You're Mine
(Washington, DC, U.S.A.)
29 The Young Men - Go!
30 Riders Of The Mark - The Electronic Insides And Metal Complexion That Make Up Herr Dr. Krieg

Vol. 2
1 The Sparkles - Hipsville 29 B.C. (I Need Help)
(Lubbock, TX, U.S.A.)
2 The Burning Bush - Evil Eye
3 The Trespassers - Living Memories
4 The Purple Underground - Count Back
(Winter Haven, FL, U.S.A.)
5 Rain - E.S.P.
(Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A.)
6 The Fanatics - Woman
(Houston, TX, U.S.A.)
7 The Humane Society - Knock Knock (Who's There)
(Simi Valley, CA, U.S.A.)
8 The Rainy Days - I Can Only Give You Everything
(Detroit, MI, U.S.A.)
9 The Unrelated Segments - Where You Gonna Go?
(Detroit, MI, U.S.A.)
10 The Golliwogs - Brown-Eyed Girl
(El Cerrito, CA, U.S.A.)
11 The Clue - Bad Times
(Midland, TX, U.S.A.)
12 Bedlam Four - Hydrogen Atom (Or Mushrooms Are In)
(Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A.)
13 The Moonrakers - Baby Please Don't Go
(Denver, CO, U.S.A.)
14 The Ugly Ducklings - She Ain't No Use To Me
(Toronto, Canada)
15 The Show Stoppers - If You Want To, Why Don't You
(Rochester, NY, U.S.A.)
16 The Deepest Blue - Pretty Little Thing
(Ontario, CA, U.S.A.)
17 The Fountain Of Youth - Witness People
(Fredericksburg, TX, U.S.A.)
18 unknown - Voodoo
19 Larry Knight & The Upsetters - Everything's Gone Wrong
20 The Specktrum - Confetti
(Cranston, RI, U.S.A.)
21 Sentrifical Fours - You Put Me Through Changes
22 The Swingin' Apolloes - Slow Down
(Atlanta, GA, U.S.A.)
23 Oxfords - Don't Be A Dropout
(Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.)
24 The Trippers - Taking Care Of Business
(Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A.)
25 The Endd - Come On Into My World
(La Porte, IN, U.S.A.)
26 The Backdoor Men - Evil
(Goshen, IN, U.S.A.)
27 The Changing Tymes - The Only Girl I Love
(Gate City, VA, U.S.A.)
28 The Wanted - Sad Situation
(Detroit, MI, U.S.A.)
29 The Tribe - Fickle Little Girl
30 The XL's - Mary Jane
(Terre Haute, IN, U.S.A.)

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Incredible String Band - Live In Canada 1972

(From the Album The Circle Is Unbroken Studio & Live 67-72, & Also Released At the Chelsea Sessions)

The second disc here is from a Canadian gig in 1972 that featured Mike Heron and Williamson with four (then) new-ish members, including the band's equipment manager on drums and their soundman on bass. It was previously issued on CD as The First Girl I Loved in 1998 on Mooncrest. There is some debate here as well about the material being taken form various shows instead of a single concert. The original issue contained at least one cut, "Ithkos," that was from 1974. That song has been replaced by other bonus tracks from the same gig, or series of gigs: "Oh Did I Love a Dream," and "The Hag with the Money." The sound on this set is a bit more marginal, but the material and performances are lively and savvy.

Essentially, this two-disc compilation pairs the Incredible String Band's previously issued Chelsea Sessions 1967 (with one bonus track — a medley), with a live set from Canada in 1972. Therefore, it's not material recorded between the years, as the title would suggest, so much as from those years. (It should be said, for the sake of accountability, that perhaps "God Dog" may date later than the other cuts; no one seems to know.) The 1967 material is wonderful, coming as it does from the sessions that resulted in the band's second album 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion. Six tracks made the LP. Many of these tunes feature Robin Williamson debuting his material solo, accompanied only by his guitar. The sound on the first disc is great throughout.

Biography by Jim Powers
One of the most engaging groups to emerge from the esoteric '60s was the Incredible String Band. Basically the duo of Mike Heron and Robin Williamson, its sound was comprised of haunting Celtic folk melodies augmented by a variety of Middle Eastern and Asian instruments. Heron was a member of several rock bands in England in the early '60s, while Williamson and Clive Palmer played as a bluegrass and Scottish folk duo. Heron was asked to join as rhythm guitarist, and the trio named itself the Incredible String Band. The band was spotted at a club by Joe Boyd, who was opening a British wing of Elektra Records. The trio gave Boyd a demo tape of mostly American bluegrass standards with a few original songs, which impressed him more than the standards. The Incredible String Band, released in 1966, featured mostly original numbers enthusiastically played in American and Celtic folk styles. Following the album's release, Williamson spent several months studying music in Morocco, and Palmer left the group to travel to Afghanistan. For the String Band's second album,

The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion, exotic touches such as the Middle Eastern oud, Indian sitars, and tambouras began to permeate the group's sound. The band's lyrics also became more whimsical; highlights include Williamson's tale of insomnia "No Sleep Blues" and Heron's amorous "Painting Box."The press raved about the Incredible String Band, and their next album, The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter, was the band's brief flirtation with stardom. Although the music was less commercial than its predecessor, the LP reached the Top Ten in the British album charts and was also the group's highest Billboard chart placing in America, reaching number 161. The songs became less structured, as on the opening, "Koeeoaddi There," which changed tempo frequently as it cascaded joyously with sitars and jaw harp. The album's centerpiece, "A Very Cellular Song," was a suite of short pieces sewn together with the folk song "Bid You Goodnight." For Wee Tam and the Big Huge, the Incredible String Band was augmented by Williamson and Heron's girlfriends, Licorice McKechnie and Rose Simpson. The group also began to electrically amplify its instruments. This expanded lineup performed at the Woodstock festival in 1969, but due to circumstances it was not one of the band's most memorable performances. The Incredibles' slot was originally to be Friday night after Joan Baez; however, due to heavy rain, the band opted not to perform. Folksinger Melanie took the Incredibles' place and went down extremely well, writing her big hit "Candles in the Rain" about that moment. The Incredible String Band got a lukewarm reception the next afternoon between Creedence Clearwater Revival and Canned Heat.At the turn of the '70s, the Incredible String Band began to lose some of their momentum. The album Changing Horses was not as engaging as the band's previous collections, and the group's eclecticism became a liability rather than an asset. Bassist and pantomimist Malcolm LeMaistre joined in 1971 for U, a well-received stage show that did not translate as easily to record. The band made the transition to electric rock & roll in 1972.In 1974, following the album Hard Rope & Silken Twine, the Incredible String Band disbanded. Both founding members had prolific solo careers; Heron's took him in a rock direction, while Williamson explored his Celtic roots. For several years the band was seen as a dated anachronism. Recently, with the resurgence in interest in the psychedelic '60s as well as world music, the Incredible String Band's music has been rediscovered by new audiences won over by its mystical charm.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Fate - 1968 - Sgt. Death

Fate - 1968 - Sgt. Death

Another vintage previously unreleased Psychedelic wonder from 1967-1968. From the remains of legendary band "Euphoria's". Influenced by Doors and other West coast psychedelic bands. Eerie keyboards led psychedelia with great slashing guitar leads and biting vocals to Yardbirds like rave ups.

1.: Sergeant Death
2.: Simone
3.: Sexual Fantasy #8
4.: Having A Cigarette
5.: I Need A Woman
6.: Hungry Lovin' Blues
7.: Mannequin
8.: Tribute To The Bo
9.: Smoke And Stone

One of the few 1960s-era titles in the Rockadelic catalog, this piece of zeitgeist plays like a completely finalized album that could, and probably should, have come out back then. Archetypal ambitious mainstream psych with a New England slant a la St Steven while extensive use of keyboards recalls the 1st Mandrake Memorial; the all-bases-covered approach could appeal to fans of Food as well. Vocals are a bit too Morrisonesque/operatic, while the production and arrangements are impressive. Not a bad LP but spread a bit too thin for my tastes; the sarcastic anti-Vietnam title track is what makes it stand out. Die-cut sleeve design makes the reissue look like a local heavy metal LP. Band (or main guy) recorded a rare garage 45 as Euphoria's ID prior to this. Here is a description of the original album: "a no info test pressing, other than the words FATE SIDE 1 and FATE Side 2 written on it. Side one dead wax says "6 25 68 a 1", side 2 dead wax "2 1 69 b 1". The reissue rearranges the track order and has a somewhat different (less compressed) sound than the original disc. [PL]

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T. Rex - 1970 - A Beard of Stars

There was a big and obvious change to Tyrannosaurus Rex on their fourth album, A Beard of Stars, as Steve Took was replaced by Mickey Finn, with Marc Bolan remaining the true captain of the duo act as singer and songwriter. Of more significance was the change in the band's sound, moving into far more electric rock territory with much greater use of electric guitar, though Bolan's songs were still often grounded in the fairytale-like musings of his earlier work. It was still a ways off from his glam rock approach, but it was definitely more accessible than the relatively homespun elflike folk-rock of the earliest Tyrannosaurus Rex albums. It also made some effective use of organ and somewhat more pop-friendly, conventional tunes like "By the Light of the Magical Moon," "Elemental Child," and "A Daye Laye," though weirder items like "Wild Cheetah" and "Dove" bore a slight similarity to some of Syd Barrett's gentlest compositions.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

John Berberian & the Rock East Ensemble - 1969 - Middle Eastern Rock

Side 1
The Oud & The Fuzz


Side 2
Iron Maiden
Flying Hye

3/8 + 5/8 = 8/8

The Magic Ground

John Berberian: oud

Steve Pumilian: dumbeg
Souren Baronian: clarinet, sax, zills

Bob Tashjian: percussion & vocal

Joe Beck: lead guitar

Ed Brandon: rhythm guitar

Chet Amsterdam: bass

Bill LaVorgna: drum kit

One day I bought 3 records at a Goodwill for about a dime apiece -- two were psych-looking relics with groovy album covers by groups called Mandala and Central Nervous System. The third was this one, with it's silly arabs-and-camels-painted-on-a-girls-belly cover art. But surprisingly it turned out to be by far the best of that day's purchases. First of all, the title & cover art are totally deceptive: John Berberian and his crew are Armenian-Americans, not Arabs (though there is one song on here that is based on a traditional Arabic tune.) The "Rock East Ensemble" consists of 4 guys from Berberian's regular group along with 4 NYC session musician types who play in a more traditionally "American" rock/jazz style. In other words, this is a fusion record. Unfortunately marketed in a kind of crass way, but I got nuthin against Berberian's attempt to crossover from the "ethnic music ghetto" to the rocknroll masses. Because the result is a pretty wonderful record that defies categorization but is still fun to listen to, in fact I've thrown it on at parties.

"The Oud & The Fuzz" begins with a multi-percussive groove and some jazzy chords before Berberian begins soloing on the oud -- apparently he was the premiere oud player of his day, and I can believe it cuz he smokes. His style is rooted in an Asian tradition, the instrument sounds a bit like a sitar so to compare it to "raga" isn't half wrong. Only it's funkier, trance inducing spring-loaded rhythmic motiffs joyfully bouncing from the speakers. Then the dumbeg doubles up the beat (they don't play faster, just MORE) and Beck plays a fuzz guitar solo that is a little too slick for rock but too scuzzed for jazz. After his solo, he starts playing some chicken scratch funky afrochords such as you rarely hear outside of Fela records as the oud runs amok. Then the beat doubles up one more time and the oud & fuzz guitar leads go at it simultaneously.
The only track on the album in your standard 4/4 rock time (all the time signatures are helpfully provided in the liner notes), it's like high energy bellydance music and I can totally dig that it's not really acid rock, surf music, jazz, traditional Armenian or "Middle Eastern" music -- yet it is like all those things at once.
"Tranquility" is in 6/8 time, very mellow, sort of psychedelic with a ghostly flute riffing along. Add a overwrought hippy singing through a ton of reverb and it could be July or Jade Warrior! Also some sax playing which is refreshing in that it bears little relation to your standard jazz fare of the day -- though the "oriental honking" he's doing does start to sound like klezmer at times. "Chem-oo-chem" is a traditional Armenian tune, the only one on the record with vocals (in Armenian natch.) It's a catchy tune, sounds like something from "Fiddler on the Roof" and I can picture the band playing this at a wedding for the Armenians to dance to. There's a nice jam section in the middle with jazz/psych lead guitar and more of that honking not-jazz sax, and throughout the whole record the guy on the drum kit is snapping off these neat funky little licks in odd meters, so he deserves a comparison with Jaki Liebezeit!

"Iron Maiden" features the sax in snake-charmer mode, and more typically brilliant soloing on the oud by Berberian.
"Flying Hye" (Hye being Armenian for "Armenian") has an unusual loping groove (it's in 9/8 time) and features a cool descending riff on the oud. During Beck's solo he's obviously trying to imitate Berberian's style (and doing a pretty good job of it.) "3/8 + 5/8 = 8/8" is a reference to the way they subdivide the beats on this one -- actually the opening beat & guitar riff sounds a lot like the beginning of "Kobaia" off the first Magma album! Then it turns into another of those vaguely East-European klezmer jam type things. At times it begins to sound quite like the "Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin" jam on the Mothers' "Absolutely Free" album (which was also released on Verve FYI.) "The Magic Ground" is an actual traditional Arabic tune, the title and bouncy vibe make me think of the Meat Puppets for some reason (not that it sounds anything like that band, more like it conjures up surreal desertscape imagery similar to wot you find on Pups album covers.)

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Wimple Winch - The Story Of Just Four Men 1963-1968

Wimple Winch was an interesting British '60s group, weaving soul, intricate harmonies, and unusual whimsical lyrics into their original material. Starting out as Just Four Men, the Liverpool-area outfit was initially just one of the dozens of Merseybeat groups riding the Beatles' coattails, although they cut a couple of fair singles. Changing their name to Wimple Winch, they released three much more progressive singles that were popular locally, including the explosive raver "Save My Soul" and the dramatic story-song "Rumble on Mersey Square South." Arguably the most creative group to work from Liverpool after the Merseybeat boom dried up, they broke up in the late '60s, leaving a wealth of unreleased material. Much of that material, as well as their rare singles, eventually appeared on compilations of British Invasion and British psychedelic rarities in the '80s. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Magical Power Mako (Japan) - 1977 - Jump

Magical Power Mako (Japan) - 1977 - Jump

Tracks :
1. Jump To You
2. The Story Of Our Master
3. Give Me Present
4. Reat Light Down
5. So
6. Blue Wind
7. Elephant's Jungle
8. Jump
9. 21st Ocean

Magical Power Mako - A short biography :

Magical Power Mako was born on 1956 in the city of Shuzeni Izu , Japan. Mako was intrigued by music from childhood and begun his musical education at a very early stage of his life. His first concert performance, at the age of 16, was with his first band "Genge" playing in the famous 'Shibuya' club in 1973.

During the years of 1973 and 1974, Mako was invited to play with one the most famous contemporary composers of Japan, Mr. Toru Takemitsu, playing in three musical pieces composed by the master for three important films of the time, "Inheritance For The Future"; "Petrified Forest" "Himiko".

1973 was also the year in which Mako released his first LP, simply called "Magical Power".
In the album, Mako joined forces with Keiji Haino, one of the most interesting and controversial Japanese guitar players. The response was amazingly supportive and Mako had become an admirable artist in Japan over night, gaining a semi God like status and many followers.
"Magical Power" was both original and innovative, composed of new ideas unknown at the time. The album portrays a mix of folk and psychedelic music and as a whole, is considered to be a milestone in the Japanese progressive rock scene. In 1975, two years after his first LP, and after a recording period of three years (1972-1975)

Mako released his second LP, "Super Record". This album is considered to be Mako's best experimental journey through sounds and musical ideas. Strong elements of Japanese folk music play an important role in "Super Record along with psychedelic pieces with new sounds and enormous imagination.

"Jump", Mako's third LP came out in 1977 and had an easier style than his former ones. However, until today it is still considered as an amazing musical milestone one in which Mako's guitar work earned him a place among the greatest guitar player's in Japan's history.

In 1979, Mako released his fourth LP - "Welcome To Earth" As insinuated in the title, Mako thought himself to be like an alien out of space. "Welcome To Earth" was more electronic then his former LP\'s, and also less popular among his followers.

1982 saw Mako's fifth LP, "Music From Heaven". The album is considered to be masterpiece and one of Mako's best artistic achievements. The LP was released under a new Indie label named "Clear Records", in a very limited edition of 500 pieces. The musical feel of "Music from Heaven" is of German Krautrock rather than psychedelic music that were strongly presence in Mako's early work.

The 80's and the 90's work of Magical Power Mako were dedicated to varied fields of music. During 1991 Mako built his Studio, located in Fiji, Japan. Starting from 1993 he released numerous CD's, not categorized as Progressive rock.
His recent LP's are more into collages and soundscapes.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Neil Young - After The Gold Rush [1970]

In the 15 months between the release of Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and After the Gold Rush, Neil Young issued a series of recordings in different styles that could have prepared his listeners for the differences between the two LPs. His two compositions on the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album Déjà Vu, "Helpless" and "Country Girl," returned him to the folk and country styles he had pursued before delving into the hard rock of Everybody Knows; two other singles, "Sugar Mountain" and "Oh, Lonesome Me," also emphasized those roots. But "Ohio," a CSNY single, rocked as hard as anything on the second album. After the Gold Rush was recorded with the aid of Nils Lofgren, a 17-year-old unknown whose piano was a major instrument, turning one of the few real rockers, "Southern Man" (which had unsparing protest lyrics typical of Phil Ochs), into a more stately effort than anything on the previous album and giving a classic tone to the title track, a mystical ballad that featured some of Young's most imaginative lyrics and became one of his most memorable songs. But much of After the Gold Rush consisted of country-folk love songs, which consolidated the audience Young had earned through his tours and recordings with CSNY; its dark yet hopeful tone matched the tenor of the times in 1970, making it one of the definitive singer/songwriter albums, and it has remained among Young's major achievements. []

Track list;
01-Tell Me Why
02-After the Gold Rush
03-Only Love Can Break Your Heart
04-Southern Man
05-Till the Morning Comes
06-Oh, Lonesome Me
07-Don't Let It Bring You Down
09-When You Dance You Can Really Love
10-I Believe in You
11-Cripple Creek Ferry

Folk-Rock, Country-Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Vipers - 1984 - Outta The Nest !

That's both THEE, as in a '60s garage-rock affectation, and THE, as in a definitive. I recently went back and bought the enhanced CD version of The Vipers' debut album (originally released Christmastime '84 on vinyl on the PVC label) so I could more readily show my LP-lacking friends in Fresno what they've been missing these past two decades. Surprise! -- even though I knew the disc by heart, it was a mad, wild experience all over again listening to the CD cranked on the computer's surround sound. In the late '90s, Vipers frontman Jon Weiss was as responsible as anyone for the latter-day garage resurgence as the creator of the Cavestomp! music festivals in NYC (1997-2001), conjuring by alchemy a host of legendary acts we never thought we'd see in person (? and the Mysterians, The Remains, The Pretty Things, The Chocolate Watchband, Richard & the Young Lions, The Standells and most especially The Monks) and putting them on bills with neo-garage bands past, present and future (Fleshtones, Lyres, Plasticland, Chesterfield Kings, Fuzztones, The Swingin' Neckbreakers, The Mooney Suzuki and yes, The Vipers, too). And that's why Steve Van Zandt gives Weiss his propers every week on his radio show.
But back in the '80s, Weiss, a onetime Fleshtones saxman, was the gangly, youthfully nasal-voiced, maracas-wielding leader of a quintet that absorbed the sounds of many '60s rock, blues and psychedelic records, found out where the over-the-top point was, and then climbed over it, simple as that. Anyway, they had a cool, sleek name and, on this album, a sound to more than back it up.

The opening tune, "Nothing's From Today," with its chiming guitar opening the door into another dimension ... truth is, I preferred the original version (which appeared on Voxx Records' "Battle of the Garages Vol. 2" LP months before), with its dag nasty fuzz guitar intro; the "Outta the Nest" remake was maybe too clean. But looking back, it was a nitpick -- and besides, the enhanced CD has both takes. Then, there was the convincer -- track 2, "Now I Remember," an explosion of sight, sound, mind, drums, chimes and Eastern-influenced guitar madness, sent far over the wall midway through with a wailing scream from Weiss. The rest was just dessert (and just deserts): the brutal-nasty fuzz guitar line that provided the kick to The Standells' "Medication"; the romp-stomp of The Loved Ones' "Surprise Surprise"; the poppy, full-on, near-insane swirl of "Tellin' Those Lies"; "Cheated and Lied," which sounded like the theme to a '60s secret agent series; "Borrowed Time," commenced with a Middle Eastern guitar curlicue that set the tone to another agent-series-theme-in-wait; the appropriately gloomy overtones of "Dark as My Day" and "Not to Be in Love"; and the band's most sensitive song, the smart strummer "Tears (Only Dry)." In its time, this was a 12-song record that went 12-deep. But -- pick your favorite hot stove league reason -- "Outta the Nest!" didn't bust out beyond its rabid but limited audience. And sadly, for several reasons, this was good as it would get for The Vipers, who were done by the end of the '80s.
But good music is eternal; Weiss and music fiends like him have certainly demonstrated that over the years with their zeal to expose the great rock'n'roll of the '60s to the audience it deserves. Maybe someone should do the same good turn for The Vipers and get this disc and listen to what they've missed and then spread the word ...
by Fran Fried (Fresno, Ca. United States)

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Monday, November 19, 2007

T Swift & The Electric Bag - 1968 - Are You Experienced ?

T Swift & The Electric Bag (US) - 1968 - Are You Experienced ?

Tracks :
1 Are You Experienced ? (4:37)
2 What's Your Bag ? (2:09)
3 Free Form in 6 (2:07)
4 The Strut (2:25)
5 As I Grow into a Man (2:46)
6 Red Eyes (2:56)
7 A Jet (2:28)
8 Take It Easy Baby (3:05)
9 The Stinger (2:36)
10 Expo in Sound (4:34)

Review :
No one besides the folks who made Are You Experienced? knew exactly who T. Swift, let alone his Electric Bag, was. You could lay down good money, however, that Are You Experienced? is a psychsploitation toss-off. The record smacks of a group of grizzled, thirty-something, Sunset Strip sessionmen trying their hand at the groovy pop sounds of the day, on the strict orders of label suits with chic sideburns looking to make a quick buck off the amusements of the hippies and flower children. As cynical as that sounds, it doesn't take a Herculean stretch of the brainpan to imagine a quick, beer-fueled recording session leading to the music that graces the album. Whoever the faux-longhairs who made it actually were, though, in the process of laying down a half-dozen truly innocuous facsimiles of the way-out '60s sounds -- "A Jet" is a straight cop of the Box Tops' "The Letter," "Take It Easy Baby" literally is Classics IV's "Spooky" -- they somehow managed to stumble on a handful of startlingly inspired moments. "Free Form in 6," in particular, is a jolting freakout (think Chocolate Watchband by way of the Doors) that taps into some sort of zoned-out consciousness through its lulling jazz rhythms, fuzz bass, and ominous organ runs. Slightly less sublime but still outstanding are cuts like the surf go-go "The Stinger" and "Expo in Sound," while "What's Your Bag?" has a spooky acid-washed guitar solo amid its slick, sub-Byrdsian raga noodling. And there is something goose-pimple creepy about the lurching, minimalistic, otherworldly version of the Jimi Hendrix title track that belies its origin. Even the most contrived cuts on the album -- most in pale Booker T. mold -- are wonderful in the way that only the most disposable, plastic muzak of the '60s seems to be. The songs aren't suitable for more than a couple close listens, but they might be precisely the background soundtrack required for -- well, that can be left to the imagination. The mystery surrounding the band may be the only thing keeping most of us listening to this platter some 30 years after it was hatched in some swank boardroom or other, but it really does have a few moments worthy of at least a degree of attention. If most of it blows smoke in our faces, that seems to be all some latter-day psych fanatics listen for anyway.
~Stanton Swihart, All Music Guide

Biography :
T.Swift & the Electric Bag is yet another one of those psychedelic-era mysteries that has left barely a clue as to its true identity. The group's sole album doesn't contain any sort of playing credits, nor does it even own a precise release date, although it is a matter of public record that the LP originally appeared on Custom Records. Some sources list it as a product of the Summer of Love, but internal sources (and cooler heads) tend to place its appearance more realistically as sometime in the spring of 1968, which would have been a logical time frame corresponding with the cover of the Jimi Hendrix Experience's title song, as well as the less-than-subtle "interpolations" from the Box Tops and Classics IV that appear on the album. The more hopeful psychedelic devotees point to a conceivable connection with a band called Tom Swift & the Electric Grandmothers, who released a 45 on Sound Tex out of Houston in 1964. That connection is tenuous, at best, and not really even that. As none of the guilty parties has come forward in the decades since the album was initially recorded, it seems more likely that it is a product of cynical marketing rather than a product of genuine artistic exploration. Whatever the case, T.Swift is shrouded in a far-out haze that, at this point, is unlikely to lift.
~Stanton Swihart, All Music Guide

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sixtiesfan) :

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Samson - 1969 - Are You Samson

Samson was one of the more obscure outfits signed to Andrew Oldham's Immediate label, considering that they got to cut an entire concept album, Are You Samson?, which was released by the label in 1969. They played the Marquee Club, and were known around London, but never caught on. Keyboard man and singer Ian Kewley later worked with Strider and Limey, before hooking up with Paul Young. This Samson had no relationship to an early '70s English band of the same name.

Tracks :
1. Traffic (3:27)
2. Sleep (2:20)
3. Journey (3:10)
4. Fair (8:44)
5. The End Song (4:44)
6. Mars (4:46)
7. Venus (2:56)
8. Saturn (3:49)
9. Poem for Sam (4:25)
10. Wool and Water (4:24)

Originally released in November 1969 on Andrew Loog Oldham's subsidiary to his failing Immediate, Samson sank without trace, which was about as much as could be expected. Oldham's seemingly careless attitude of not even releasing a single to wet the record buyer's appetite however is now easier understood: Immediate was at its end; within weeks of Samson's debut release Oldham's empire went bankrupt! As the band were eagerly recording their carefully calculated work, Oldham had a lot more to worry about than whether the next album released on his subsidiary would be a big seller. With little assistance from the label, and practically no promotion, it's not surprising that the album had such low sales figures. But the poor turnover of this admittedly tackily sleeved album is by no means an indicator of the music contained within. Samson brought into their music a successful blend of harmonies which sound akin to the
Gregorian psych-era choral vocal parts of the Pretty Things and the Zombies, a touch of Deep Purple circa Shades of Purple, and a hint of the increasingly popular concept album. For sake of classification, their blending of Kinks-ish psych-pop with more progressive elements is befitting of the title progressive pop -- a contemporary handle used to describe everything from the Fox's For Fox Sake, Caravan's early work, and fellow north country lads the Koobas' 1969 album. If the later songs compiled on the superb Rubbles series appeal to you, Samson are well worth investigating.

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Wilson McKinley - 1971 - Spirit Of Elijah

Wilson McKinley - 1971 - Spirit Of Elijah

Tracks :
1 He
2 It's Up To You
3 Come On Home
4 One In The Spirit
5 Tree Of Life
6 His Eye Is On The Sparrow
7 All My Life
8 Crown Of Glory
9 I Need A Saviour
10 Spirit Of Elijah

"Spirit Of Elijah" 1971 (Voice Of Elijah 27977) [2-3]

Their really good one, west coasty Christian rock reminiscent of the best tracks on the Rainbow Promise LP and solid all through. Well-written songs combine perfectly with the jammy S F ballroom sound popular among the Jesus Music bands, recalling the mellow aspects of Moby Grape in particular. The epic, spine-chilling title track is especially good. A loose, understated live in the basement recording adds to the appeal. I personally rate something like Kristyl even higher, but this album is undoubtedly one of the classics from the era. The band sells a CD compilation of their 3 albums, with the "Elijah" tracks reportedly losing some of their magic in their cleaned-up state. [PL]
This isn't just the best Christian album I've heard. It may possibly be the best album in the laid-back West Coast late 60s/early 70s style I've heard, period. The crude recording style works in its favor, making it sound fresh and vital, like a great live recording (which it basically is.) While the fidelity isn't great, the instruments and vocals are completely clear, proof that expensive recording technology isn't necessary as long as something is recorded with common sense. The occasional bum note from the singers isn't enough to detract from the heartfelt and warm singing style, and the band really gets a groove going on every single song. The songs aren't heavy at all, but they rock with an energy and confidence that's completely arresting. A few songs are stolen (how un-Christian of them!) from well-known sources (Moby Grape, Moody Blues) but are given new, Christian lyrics. It's an interesting and successful gimmick, and these songs fit nicely in with a batch of killer originals. There's a mixture of slow and fast songs, but my personal favorite moment is the rave up in "Tree of Life." My favorite overall song, though, is the ballad "I Need A Savior," with its harmonies and lead guitar playing a perfect ringer for Let It Be-era Beatles. Unfortunately no direct reissue exists. A self-made best of CD contains much of this album, but it's definitely best heard as one coherent piece. [AM]

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Stealers Wheel - Ferguslie Park [1974]

Stealers Wheel was a Scottish folk/rock band formed in Paisley, Scotland in 1972 by former school friends Joe Egan and Gerry Rafferty.

In the beginning of the 1970s, the band was considered as the British version of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and, after two unsuccessful singles, came to worldwide fame with their hit "Stuck in the Middle With You". The track in the style of Bob Dylan and The Beatles reached the top ten of the single charts in Great Britain and the US in 1973 - number 6 in the USA, number 8 in UK - and sold over one million copies worldwide. Some decades later a dance version was a September, 2001 UK Top 10 hit for Louise, with a music video that drew heavily on the original song's appearance in the sound track of Reservoir Dogs.

The first two albums were produced by the well-known Leiber & Stoller, the last because of disagreements and managerial problems by Mentor Williams. All three had particularly striking, slightly surrealist sleeve designs by artist John Byrne.

Although the band's self-titled debut album sold quite well, (number 50 in the US-album-charts) and was critically acclaimed, Stealers Wheel could not repeat this success with following releases. In 1973/1974 the two singles "Everything Will Turn Out Fine" and "Star" would also reach the top 30 of both the UK and US charts, but only the latter track is still relatively popular today. Former Spooky Tooth member Luther Grosvenor (later of Mott the Hoople) participated in the recordings for "Everything Will Turn Out Fine" and replaced Rafferty who left the band for quite some time. By 1973, Coombes, Pilnick and Williams had all left en masse, Williams later went on to tour with Jethro Tull in 1978 teaming up with old acquaintances from Blackpool Ian Anderson and Barriemore Barlow.

Because Rafferty and Egan could not agree whether they should continue as a full band or duo, and because of artistic differences, there was a delay of over 18 months in the release of their third and last album. After frequent changes in the line-up, Stealers Wheel broke up in 1975, and their last album Right Or Wrong was released without a band to promote it. Almost two years after Ferguslie Park (1973), the group was hardly known and the two last single releases silently faded away in the charts.

In 1992 director Quentin Tarantino used the track "Stuck In The Middle With You" in the soundtrack of his debut film Reservoir Dogs, bringing new attention to the band. All three albums have been unavailable for years, but in 2004/2005 the British independent label Lemon Recordings (of Cherry Red) re-released them with remastered sound and new liner-notes. [Wikipedia]

Track list;
01. Good businessman
02. Star
03-04. Wheelin-Waltz
05. What more could you want
06. Over my head
07. Blind faith
08. Nothings gonna change my mind
09. Steamboat row
10. Back on my feet again
11. Who cares
12. Everything will turn out fine


Style; Folk-Rock

Friday, November 16, 2007

Jackie DeShannon - Laurel Canyon (1968)

If you like that "Laurel Canyon" sound, then you'll love this country-pop-easy listening album. Dr. John plays the keys, which alone makes it worth a listen. It's got a fun version of "Sunshine of Your Love" and souls up "The Weight" before Aretha got around to doing the same thing.
Get part 1 HERE.
Get part 2 HERE.


Broselmaschine - 1971 - Broselmaschine

1. Gedanken (5:06)
2. Lassie (traditional) (5:06)
3. Gitarrenstuck (2:03)
4. The Old Man's Song (5:26)
5. Schmetterling (9:31)
6. Nossa Boba (8:06)

Personnel :
- Jenni Schucker / vocals, flute, shells
- Willi Kismer / vocals, guitars, zither
- Lutz Ringer / metallophon, bass
- Mike Hellbach / congas, tabla, spoons, mellotron
- Peter Bursch / vocals, acoustic guitar, sitar, flute

Quite possibly the pinnacle of Krautfolk, Broselmaschine is certainly tops in the folk subgenre and is recommended to those interested in the lighter side of Krautrock. Broselmaschine combines the highly talented acoustic guitar playing of Peter Bursch (a master of the instrument who has published many instructional books on the subject), romantic vocals, and a mild Eastern influence highlighted by the use of sitar and flute. The album begins with 'Gedanken', a peaceful track with a slight renaissance-era feel, featuring acoustic and electric guitar, flute and romantic lyrics. Next the group performs the Scottish traditional 'Lassie' with multi-tracked vocal harmonies. Next, 'Guitarrenstuck', is a beautiful piece played with folk guitar and a soothing female vocal. 'The Old Man's Song' seems slightly out of place due to its use of wah-wah peddle, but this gives way to some rather ominous sounding Duul-ish acoustic guitar and folk percussion. 'Schmetterling' introduces an Eastern flavor to the album and is most notable for its sitar which reminds me a little bit of mid-period Popol Vuh. Bursch's guitar playing on this track is simply masterful and the track is given an extra boost from some atmospheric mellotron. 'Nossa Bova' stands out as a folk masterpiece with its incredible guitar work, folk percussion, and female vocals. This track has a peaceful quality similar to Paradieswarts Duul, the only difference being the musical ability of Broselmaschine's members. The album was produced by Rolf Ulrich Kaiser and engineered by Dieter Dierks and was first issued on Pilz in 1971.

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Broselmaschine - 1975 - Broselmaschine II
Peter Brusch Und Die Broselmaschine

Tracks :
1. Sofa Rock (6:16)
2. Gc (3:30)
3. Come Together (9:08)
4. Country Doddle (1:48)
5. Nah So ‘Was (2:37)
6. House Carpenter (4:31)
7. Wayfaring Stranger (6:53)
8. Standchen (1:12)
9. Mississippi Blues (3:29)

Personnel :
- Peter Bursch / acoustic guitar, vocals
- Willi Kissmer / guitar
- Klaus Dapper / flute, zither, saxophone, bass
- Mahendra Kapadia / tablas
- Jan Fride / congas, drums
- Roland Schaeffer / bass
- Mani Neumeier / percussion

Not too many collectors will be lucky enough to find this little obscurity as it has never been reissued. Those who seek it out should be made aware that sadly, this is not a rehash of the group's incredible 1971 debut. I liken it to Ax Genrich's (Guru Guru) equally obscure 1975 solo LP 'Highdelberg Supersession'. Peter Bursch and Willi Kissmer, the only remaining original members, formed the new Peter Bursch Und Die Broselmaschine in early 1975. The resulting self-titled album was recorded between February and July of that same year in Conny Plank's Neunkirchen Studio. The album features guest appearances by Roland Schaeffer and Mani Neumeier (Guru Guru) and Jan Fride (Kraan). The resulting music, while still retaining a strong folk-rock tendency, is much different than the atmospheric folk which dominated the legendary 1971 album. There are a few similarities however, most notably the inclusion of three traditional tracks ala 'Lassie' and the abundance of "ethnic" percussion. Musically, the emphasis is placed on Peter Bursch's highly talented acoustic guitar techniques, although Willi Kissmer's electric guitar steals the show at times. Standout tracks include 'Sofa Rock', a six-minute instrumental folk-rock jam with ethnic percussion, and 'Come Together', a laid-back track highlighted by flute, idyllic vocals and dreamy guitar passages. Peter Bursch Und Die Broselmaschine is well worth tracking down if you are a fan of the first album.

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Bio :
Inspired by the American folk music of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs and Joni Mitchell, German master of acoustic guitar Peter Bursch formed the first line-up of BROSELMASCHINE back in 1968 alongwith flautist/vocalist Jenni Schucker – a female singer with an irresistible whispy voice – Willi Kissmer on vocals, guitars and zither, Lutz Ringer on metallaphon and bass, and Mike Hellbach on congas, tabla and mellotron. Although many tracks bear German names, almost all are sung in English. The quintet disbanded after a first album in 1971 and Bursch, keeping only guitarist Kissmer from the original line-up, pursued his musical endeavours under the name of PETER BURSCH UND DIE BROSELMASCHINE, joined by percussionist Mani Neumeier (GURU GURU), drummer Jan Fride (KRAAN) and three other musicians.

Their eponymous LP is definitely their best: a wonderful acoustic album full of finesse of subtle Indian, Middle-Eastern flavour (sitar, tabla, flute) as well as Irish/Scottish traditional folk (mandolin, multi-voice harmonies). Their second album, released under the moniker PETER BURSCH UND DIE BROSELMASCHINE, unfortunately doesn’t even come close to the first. In spite of its decidedly folk flavour and many guest appearances, it is altogether different and less inspired, putting the emphasis on Bursch’s acoustic guitar techniques (although Kissmer’s electric guitar steals the show at times).

Chillum - 1971 -

Chillum - 1971 -

Superb early '70s mix of progressive rock and psychedelia from the band that included most of Secondhand. Dominated by the swirling keyboards of Ken Elliott, this sounds at times like early Floyd, ELP and early Deep Purple. Also includes five unreleased tracks. The band roll big joints on front cover. @133-184

Tracks :
1. Brain Surgeon's Intro
2. Brain Strain
3. Land Of A Thousand Dreams
4. Too Many Bananas
5. Yes! We Have No Pajamas
6. Promenade des anglais
7. Fairy Tale
8. Celebration
9. This Is Not Romance
10.Incubator (Take 1)
11.Incubator (Take 2)

Review :
Chillum was the third album by undeservedly lesser-known psychonauts Second Hand, or at least their twin enfants terribles, vocalist/keyboardist Ken Elliott and drummer Kieran O'Connor; it seems no-one can now remember why they also elected to use it as the band name. It's possible that the overt drug connotations were a deliberate attempt to piss someone off (record company? Society? Each other?), but that can only be a matter for conjecture.

The album opens with a side-long jam, Brain Strain, apparently recorded at guitarist Tony McGill's audition, which is remarkably good, all things considered. A brief proto-symphonic piece, Land Of A Thousand Dreams, is followed by a drum solo (Too Many Bananas), another lengthy jam (Yes! We Have No Pajamas), before a final short well-arranged piece in Promenade Des Anglais, making this more of a jamming album than anything else. Elliott's Mellotron work is confined (big surprise here) to the two short arranged pieces, with a major string part on the all-too brief Land Of A Thousand Dreams, and a minor one on closer Promenade Des Anglais, making this a bit of a minor effort in the Mellotron Canon, though at least it's audible where used.
[~From Planet]


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