ROD TAYLOR - Rod Taylor (1973)
I’ve seen Rod Taylor’s self-titled album listed on discographies for the Asylum label, but before running across a copy always half-assumed it was some sort of project by the Hollywood actor. Considering the relatively high quality of singer-songwriter releases that emerged on David Geffen’s label at the time, that of course was a silly (and incorrect) guess — but there still is a Tinseltown connection. This Rod Taylor has gone on to be better known as Roderick or R.L., and has numerous credits (mostly as a writer) on the Internet Movie Database. Digging a bit deeper, he also released various other albums as Roderick Falconer in the 1970s and ’80s.
The credits on Taylor’s album reveal one heck of an all-star cast assembled to help him get his first set of songsrecorded. Backing vocals are by Bonnie Bramlett and Joni Mitchell,, guitarists include Ry Cooder, Jesse Ed Davis and Andrew Gold, bassists Lee Sklar and former Stone Poney Kenny Edwards, drums by Jim Keltner and Russ Kunkel, pedal steel by Red Rhodes; organ by Little Feat’s Bill Payne and that’s probably only half the familiar names here. Happily, Taylor’s songs measure up to his backing cast. It’s a set of mostly laid-back country rock, led by Taylor’s bluesy, lived-in sounding vocals, but also dressed up with the occasional horn chart or psyched-out fiddling by folks such as David LaFlamme. And on a label unafraid to release records by distinctive and/or non-“pop” singing voices (at this point Asylum had already issued albums by Tom Waits and David Blue, along with Joni Mitchell, Judee Sill and J.D. Souther), Taylor is right at home.
SANDIE SHAW - Reviewing The Situation (1969)
Always Something There to Remind Me," hit number one in the U.K.; the single hit number 52 in the U.S., yet Shaw was never as big a star in the States as she was in the U.K. For the next three years, she had a string of hits most of them written by her producer Chris Andrews that kept her at the top of the charts. In 1967, Taylor began to move Shaw into cabaret territory; the approach proved a success when the Bill Martin/Phil Coulter song "Puppet on a String" hit number one. She recorded one more Coulter song, "Tonight in Tokyo," before returning to Chris Andrews. However, none of her further work with Andrews resulted in hit singles. Released in early 1969, her English version of the French "Monsieur Dupont" managed to crack the Top 20; it would turn out to be her last hit. In 1970, Shaw tried to become a family entertainer, yet those plans were scuttled by a failed marriage and scandalous rumors that circulated in the British newspapers. She subsequently retired for the rest of the '70s. Shaw returned to recording in the early '80s when BEF, a Heaven 17 side project, prompted her to record "Anyone Who Had a Heart," an old Cilla Black hit. The Smiths' lead singer Morrissey began championing her in interviews, as well, which led her to record a version of the band's "Hand in Glove" supported by the Smiths themselves; the single briefly appeared on the U.K. charts. Shaw recorded a version of Lloyd Cole's "Are You Ready to Be Heartbroken?" in 1986; like "Hand in Glove," it scraped the bottom of the pop charts. In 1988, she recorded an entire album, Hello Angel; although it featured songs by the Smiths and the Jesus and Mary Chain, it failed to make a large impression on the pop charts.
On her last album of the '60s, Shaw proved that she was hipper than a lot of people would have suspected. Moving away from the usual light pop and MOR, she chose a set of covers heavy on material by the likes of Bob Dylan, the Lovin' Spoonful, the Rolling Stones ("Sympathy for the Devil"!), Led Zeppelin's "Your Time Is Gonna Come" (double exclamation point!), Donovan, Dr. John, and the Bee Gees. Which doesn't mean it's a great album. It's thoughtfully arranged and energetically delivered, but Shaw's slight, wispy voice is as ill-suited for some of the material as a nun is for the mosh pit. Hearing her attempt even the slightest hint of funky menace, as on "Sympathy for the Devil" and Dr. John's "Mama Roux," is apt to induce snickers, however heartfelt the endeavor might have been. On the other hand, there's a nifty, slinky, jazzy cover of the Beatles' "Love Me Do," and her version of the Spoonful's "Coconut Grove" is also good. The 2004 CD reissue on EMI adds two bonus tracks: a cover of Paul McCartney's "Junk"" and "Frank Mills" from Hair.
CARAVAN - The World Is Yours: An Anthology 1968 - 1976 (2010)
Caravan are an English band from the Canterbury area, founded by former Wilde Flowers members David Sinclair, Richard Sinclair, Pye Hastings and Richard Coughlan in 1968. The band have never achieved the great commercial success that was widely predicted for them at the beginning of their career, but are nevertheless considered a key part of the Canterbury scene, blending psychedelic rock, jazz and classical influences to create a distinctive progressive rock sound. The band were originally based in Whitstable, Kent, near Canterbury, but moved to London when briefly signed to Verve Records. After being dropped by Verve, the band signed to Decca Records, where they released their most critically acclaimed album, In the Land of Grey and Pink, in 1971. Dave Sinclair left after the album's release and the group split up the following year. Hastings and Coughlan added new members, notably viola player Geoffrey Richardson, continuing on before splitting in 1978. The band reformed several times in the following decades, and Caravan still remain active as a live band in the 21st century, despite Coughlan's death in December 2013.
The thing with box-sets is that they either attract those already addicted or puts off those who are interested but are put off by the enormous wealth of out-takes and other stuff, generally of importance only to those already familiar with the originals. Well, generally speaking anyway. Accordingly it's hard rating box-sets because of that. But there are exceptions. Camel's "Rainbow's end"-box and this, "The world is yours", are both splendid examples of the ultimate box-sets. They attract both those already familiar and those interested, without alienating either. If you're new to Caravan, this is actually not a bad way to start. And if you're a Caravan-fan already, like me, it's quite a treat to own and dissect this wonderful compilation of studio- tracks, both previously released and some unreleased, and live recordings. It's the cream of prog-rock from one of the most endearing, most brilliant, most english of prog-bands.
OUTLAWS - Dixie Highway (2020)
Outlaws are an American southern rock/country rock band best known for their 1975 hit "There Goes Another Love Song" and extended guitar jam "Green Grass and High Tides" from their 1975 debut album, plus their 1980 cover of the Stan Jones classic "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky". Southern rock unit the Outlaws were formed in Tampa, Florida, in 1972 by singers/guitarists Hughie Thomasson and Henry Paul, bassist Frank O'Keefe, and drummer Monte Yoho. With the 1973 addition of guitarist Billy Jones, the lineup was complete, and after a year of intense touring the band became the first act signed to Arista under Clive Davis; the Outlaws' self-titled 1975 album spotlighted their Eagles-influenced harmonies and Allman Brothers-like guitar attack, yielding the Top 40 hit "There Goes Another Love Song."
The Dixie Highway originally connected Chicago to Miami – the first vital thoroughfare between the Midwest and the South – before eventually being replaced in the late 1920s by the U.S. Highway system. And while fragments of the original road still exist in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Ohio, it remains a route that carries echoes of its past as well as being an enduring symbol of American discovery, fortitude and pride. And on their new album Dixie Highway, southern rock icons The Outlaws take fans on what is literally and figuratively the ride of a lifetime.
THE FACES - 1970-1975: You Can Make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything... (2015) & Coast To Coast: Overture & Beginners (Live) (1973)
Faces were an English rock band formed in 1969 by members of the Small Faces after lead singer/guitarist Steve Marriott left that group to form Humble Pie. The remaining Small Faces Ian McLagan (keyboards), Ronnie Lane (bass), and Kenney Jones (drums and percussion) were joined by Ronnie Wood (guitar) and Rod Stewart (lead vocals), both from the Jeff Beck Group, and the new line-up was renamed the Faces.
1970-1975 - You Can Make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything includes: The First Step (1970), Long Player (1971), A Nod Is as Good as a Wink...to a Blind Horse (1971), and Ooh La La (1973), and features unreleased bonus tracks included with each album. These albums showcase that incredible range from bar stool anthems like Had Me A Real Good Time, Miss Judy s Farm, and Stay With Me, to tender ballads that will leave you crying in your beer like Ooh La La, Love Lives Here and Glad And Sorry. In addition to the studio albums, the collection also features a bonus disc that gathers up nine essentials tracks that didn t appear on proper albums, including the 1973 single Pool Hall Richard, a live performance of the Temptations I Wish It Would Rain from the 1973 Reading Festival, and Dishevelment Blues, a song that came free as a flexi-disc in copies of the British music magazine New Music Express. To deliver superior audiophile quality, each album was cut from the original analog master tapes.
Coast to Coast: Overture and Beginners is a 1973 live album credited to Rod Stewart/Faces. Stewart's practice was not giving concerts as a solo act at the time, but rather appearing jointly with the Faces, thus the dual crediting. The album presents only three numbers from the previous albums by the Faces, while presenting six from Stewart's solo releases. The two tracks that had not seen the light of day on either were renditions of "I Wish It Would Rain," first made famous by The Temptations, and "Jealous Guy," from John Lennon. The performance was recorded with replacement Faces bassist Tetsu Yamauchi, filling in for departed member Ronnie Lane. Lane had left soon after the release of Ooh La La, fed up at the group increasingly being presented as Stewart's backing band. Coast to Coast was recorded live on 17 October 1973 at the Anaheim Convention Center and was mixed at Air Studios in London. In an unusual arrangement, LP versions of the album were issued in the United States by Mercury Records (which at the time issued Stewart's solo albums), while cassette and 8-track configurations were issued by Warner Bros. Records, the Faces' erstwhile label—and with whom Stewart would sign as a solo artist following the Faces' demise. Long out of print in the United States, Coast to Coast is only available as an import from Japan. The Faces would disband within a year and a half of the album's release.
RICHARD MANUEL - Whispering Pines (2002)
Richard Manuel (1943 - 1986) was a Canadian composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist, best known as a pianist and lead singer of The Band. He was a member of the original band from 1967 to 1976 and the re-formed band from 1983 until his death. Manuel's singing alternated between a soul-influenced baritone that drew frequent comparisons to Ray Charles and a delicate falsetto. Though The Band had three vocalists sharing lead and harmony parts, Manuel was often seen as the group's primary vocalist.
Whispering Pines: Live at the Getaway is a live recording by Canadian singer Richard Manuel, chronicling two intimate live shows Manuel performed at The Getaway, a nightclub in Saugerties, New York on October 12, 1985. Released in Japan in March 2002, it is the first solo release from Manuel, who, unlike his former mates from The Band never recorded a proper solo album. Leaning on Ray Charles numbers alongside songs he sang with The Band, songs he had known for upwards of twenty years, the performance is laid-back, like a concert for friends and wellwishers. Joining Manuel are Rick Danko and Jim Weider, both fellow members of The Band, and harmonica player Sredni Vollmer. The album was re-released in 2005 on the Canadian Other People's Music label, with an additional four tracks, though this version lacks the alternate version of "Georgia On My Mind" that had ended the original release. Among the bonus tracks is a loose jam that features Manuel's dog, Mitzi, screeching out a vocal line while The Band plays a blues line behind.
One of the most influential of the early British progressive rock bands, Colosseum fused an adventurous approach to rock with strong jazz and blues influences and classical keyboard accents; they earned a loyal and lasting following though they never scored a major breakthrough hit. Colosseum were founded in 1968 by saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith, bassist Tony Reeves, and drummer Jon Hiseman; the three had previously worked with John Mayall, playing on his album Bare Wires, and Heckstall-Smith and Hiseman were formerly members of the Graham Bond Organisation. The first lineup was completed with the addition of Dave Greenslade on keyboards, Jim Roche on guitar, and vocalist James Litherland, who took over on guitar when Roche soon departed. After making their live debut in Scarborough, Colosseum earned a valuable ally in legendary BBC disc jockey John Peel, who featured the band on his Top Gear radio show.
Fontana Records signed the band, and their first album, Those Who Are About to Die Salute You, was released in 1969; it fared well in the charts, and the leadoff track, "Walking in the Park," was issued as a single, though it proved to be the only 7" from the group. Colosseum's second album, Valentyne Suite, appeared later the same year; it was the debut release from Vertigo Records, the influential progressive and hard rock label. (Vertigo and Fontana were both affiliated with the Dutch recording firm Philips.) Released in 1970, Daughter of Time featured a new lineup of the band; James Litherland left to form the band Mogul Thrash and Tony Reeves moved into production full-time, and Colosseum added guitarist Dave Clempson, bassist Mark Clarke, and lead vocalist Chris Farlowe. Another Colosseum album, The Grass Is Greener, appeared in 1970, but it was in fact a revised version of Valentyne Suite, released only in the United States and featuring four of the original selections from the LP and four new songs. In 1971, Colosseum jumped ship from Vertigo to the newly formed Bronze Records and recorded a handful of shows at Manchester University and the Big Apple club in Brighton; the band broke up before they could complete a studio album for their new label, and 1971's Colosseum Live would prove to be the last release from the group's first era.
In 1975, Jon Hiseman launched Colosseum II, a more jazz-oriented combo that also featured Gary Moore on guitar and Don Airey on keyboards; the new group released three albums before parting ways in 1978. In 1994, the Daughter of Time lineup of Colosseum reunited for a concert tour, and a live album was drawn from the concerts. The band issued a new studio album in 1997, Breads & Circuses, and Colosseum reconvened for periodic recordings and live shows in subsequent years. The group's final album was 2014's Time on Our Side, and the ensemble's last live appearance was made at a farewell concert the following year. Saxophonist Barbara Thompson (who was married to Jon Hiseman) frequently appeared with the reunited version of Colosseum, and became an official member of the group following the death of Dick Heckstall-Smith in 2004. Jon Hiseman died in 2018 at the age of 73.
THE BEATLES - Artifacts: The Definitive Collection Of Beatles Rarities 1958-1979 (1993)
Collecting some of the most significant bootlegs of the last 25-odd years in chronological order, Artifacts tells the complete Beatles story through 123 outtakes, live concert tracks, demos, overdub sessions, and rehearsals spread out across five discs with complete linear notes and full color photos. Music critic Bruce Eder writes in the All Music Guide, "One strongly suspects that the existence of this five-CD box, in tandem with a handful of other packages of this type, was largely responsible for getting Paul McCartney (and others) to take a serious look at what was in EMI’s vaults, resulting in the release of the Beatles’ Anthology series. "In 1993, however, this was the only game in town: 124 choice outtakes, live concert tracks, demos, overdub sessions, and rehearsals covering the group’s known recordings from 1958 through 1970 - it’s essentially a best-of the Beatles’ unauthorized output, from what were then the best-known sources of every track represented. The motto of Big Music, whoever they were, was 'Ain’t No Limits,' and they proved it on most of this set, which generally showed excellent selections and superb tape research, a true rarity for bootleg releases, especially on this scale - up to this time, the usual assumption by almost any producer had been that, with a box like this, people would accept quantity in lieu of quality, but on Artifacts there was no compromise of that type."
The first disc in the comprehensive Artifacts I series, The Early Years showcases several tracks recorded by the band before they even had a recording contract, as well as some gems from their Hamburg days. The disc covers the years 1958-63.
The second volume from the Artifacts I set, Beatlemania focuses on live performances and alternate takes (as well as some unreleased tracks) from the years 1964-65, when the band was at the height of their popularity. Includes several live BBC performances and songs from the bands appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Featuring songs from the Beatles highly experimental stage of their career, The Psychedelic Years features tracks laid down from the Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour sessions, including some demos that later surfaced on the White Album.
The fourth disc in the comprehensive Artifacts I series, Inner Revolution features tracks taken from various 1968 demos and recordings, as well as a few songs recorded in India while on study with the Maharishi.
This, volume 5 of the Artifacts I series, provides studio rehearsals and alternate takes from sessions for the Beatles final two studio albums. Includes several unreleased tracks and songs recorded during the band's famous rooftop concert.
JOHN PRINE - Great Days: The John Prine Anthology (1993)
Rhino's Great Days: The John Prine Anthology is an excellent summary of John Prine's prime period, from his sublime 1971 eponymous debut to 1991's Missing Years. This (appropriately) draws heavily from his early recordings (including the aforementioned debut), but it also does a terrific job of finding songs on uneven albums, while giving weight to such classic albums as Bruised Orange. Although those previously mentioned albums are all worthwhile on their own terms (as are many of Prine's other records), this provides a nearly flawless recap of his career so much so that it's not only for neophytes, but also reminds longtime fans why they loved him in the first place.
Allmusic critic Steven Thomas Erlewine called the album an excellent summary of Prine's, writing that "this provides a nearly flawless recap of his career - so much so that it's not only for neophytes, but also reminds longtime fans why they loved him in the first place." Music critic Robert Christgau also praised the compilation, writing "There aren't 41 best Prine songs. There are 50, 60, maybe more; the only way to resolve quibbles would be a bigger box than commerce or decorum permits...Prine's a lot friendlier than your average thriving old singer-songwriter (Young, Thompson, Cohen), and his disinclination to downplay his natural warmth or his folk-rock retro may make him impenetrable to victims of irony proficiency amnesia."
DEEP PURPLE - Whoosh! (2020)
"Whoosh!” sees Deep Purple for the third time joining forces with producer Bob Ezrin, who invited the band to Nashville to write and record new songs. Together they created the most versatile album in their collaboration. Deep Purple “stretched out in all directions” without any limitation, letting their creativity go. “Deep Purple is putting the Deep back into Purple” was the half-joking motto in the studio after the first songs made it clear that Ezrin and Purple were on their path to creating an album pushing the boundaries of time, while voicing their resentment about the current situation of the world and addressing all generations. In recent years, Deep Purple has progressively moved into new areas, piquing the interest of fans who were not born when the mighty Purple machine ruled the music world. Their holy grail of “In Rock” (1970), “Machine Head” (1972) and “Made In Japan” (1973) catapulted Deep Purple to the top in concert grosses and album sales around the world, with tracks such as “Smoke On The Water” ascending them to mega-status. The band’s 20th studio album “inFinite” has become one of their most successful albums ever, braking chart records accumulated by the hard rock legends over an impressive 50-year history.
RAY CHARLES - Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles (2011)
It’s easy, in retrospect, to map out Ray Charles' journey to musical icon status his one-of-a-kind talent became more evident each step of the way as he moved from Swing Time Records to Atlantic Records, and then on to ABC Records. Charles' first recording sessions from the late '40s and very early '50s featured an artist heavily influenced by Nat King Cole and Charles Brown and working in a pronounced pop direction. Charles recorded for several small West Coast labels during this time, but most notably for Jack Lauderdale's Swing Time Records. It wasn't until Lauderdale sold Charles' contract to Atlantic Records (for a mere $2,000) in 1952 that Charles began the legendary fusion of R&B and gospel that led to hits like "What'd I Say" and "I Got a Woman" that single-handedly created what became known as soul. Charles hit his stride at Atlantic, creating the signature synthesis of R&B, gospel, blues, country, and jazz that made him one of the most important and influential figures in pop music history. When ABC-Paramount offered him more creative freedom, ownership of his master recordings after five years, and his own label imprint, Tangerine Records (which Charles used to record some of his personal R&B favorites, including Percy Mayfield, Louis Jordan, and Little Jimmy Scott), Charles left Atlantic and signed with ABC in 1960, remaining with the label through 1972, by which time he was firmly established as an American treasure and icon, thanks to his enduring versions of songs like “Georgia on My Mind,” “Hit the Road Jack,” and “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” This expansive five-disc set collects the A- and B-sides of the 53 singles Charles released for ABC-Paramount between 1960 and 1972, along with select album tracks that were formatted for radio play at the time and a handful of live tracks from the period, to make a full survey of Ray Charles at his creative and commercial peak. He was always the Genius but these are the songs and performances that finally convinced America and the rest of the world.
ERIC CLAPTON - Eric Clapton (1970) [Deluxe Edition, 2006]
Happy Bday Eric!!!
Eric Clapton's first solo album, originally released in August 1970, represents one of rock history's most successful reinventions. After emerging as one of the seminal guitar heroes of the '60s (as a member of the Yardbirds, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream and Blind Faith), the English superstar decisively reestablished his musical priorities with Eric Clapton. The album marked Clapton's transition from flashy instrumental icon to well-rounded recording artist, downplaying sonic pyrotechnics in favor of a song-focused ensemble sound that would lay the groundwork for his massively successful solo career. For the occasion, Clapton surrounded himself with a new cast of American musicians, notably Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett and Friends, tapping into a rootsy musical foundation that provided an inspired framework for his talents. He struck up a musical and personal rapport with the Bramletts and the seasoned, roots-steeped musicians who comprised their band, including (future Derek & The Dominos members) keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, bassist Carl Radle, drummer Jim Gordon, as well as percussionist Tex Johnson, backup singer Rita Coolidge and horn players Jim Price and Bobby Keys. Two distinctive mixes of Eric Clapton were originally prepared one by the album's producer/co-writer/arranger Delaney Bramlett, and one by legendary producer/engineer Tom Dowd, who'd previously worked with Clapton on the Cream classics Disraeli Gears and Wheels Of Fire. Although Dowd's mix was the one ultimately released, many who've heard both have expressed a preference for Bramlett's version. Eric Clapton 2CD Deluxe Edition, explores in detail, this landmark recording, presenting a remastered version of the original album,along with a previously unreleased version of the album, as well as session out-takes, and related singles recordings.
ERIC CLAPTON - 1987 Royal Albert Hall: Romantic Isolation (2004) [Bootleg, Excellent]
It has become an Eric Clapton tradition to play an extended engagement of shows at the Royal Albert Hall. Normally a time to experiment with different themes and playing with different musicians, this began on the August tour with six shows. Mark Knopfer and Phil Collins on the final two shows joined the band and on January 8th Sting and Steve Winwood joined them onstage for the encores “Money For Nothing” and “Sunshine Of Your Love.” These shows were professionally recorded for a planned live album but Polydor, after releasing the Crossroads boxset and The Cream Of Eric Clapton were concerned about saturating the market with Clapton product. From the last three RAH shows “Miss You” from January 10th and “I Shot The Sheriff”, “Hung Up On Your Love”, “Tearing Us Apart” and “Layla” from January 12th were intended for this project. Poor sounding audience tapes exist for the concerts on January 6th and 8th, but almost complete soundboard did surface for the final three and various labels have utilized the tapes. The EC Is Here label attempted to create this project with The Unreleased Live Album 86/87 which includes “Holy Mother” and “Miss You” from the 10th, “Tearing Us Apart” from the 11th, and “Crossroads,” “White Room,” “Hung Up On Your Love,” and “Layla” from the 12th. The Electric Monkey label released The Unreleased Live Album 1986-87 with “Miss You” from the 10th and “Crossroads” and “White Room” from the 12th. Silver Rarities released the complete January 12th concert on On Tour 87 Parts 1 & 2. All three shows were released on 3 Nights (Zigzag Records) in 1999 and five years later Mid Valley released Romantic Isolation. The Mid Valley covers the same ground as the Zigzag release by presenting the three soundboard recordings in excellent quality but is cleaner than the others and can be considered to be definitive. British rhythm and blues revival act Big Town Playboys are the opening act for each of the nights and Clapton is joined on stage by Mark Knopfler, Nathan East (bass), Greg Phillinganes (keyboards), and on January 10th with Steve Ferrone on drums.
Romantic Isolation is packaged in a six disc fatboy jewel case. A two-sided insert has photographs of the master cassettes used, and the two four page inserts have the track listing and band line ups for each of the three concerts with period photographs. The front and back cover is a bit puzzling with a close up of Clapton’s hair. For those who love the late eighties Clapton, this is a fantastic release worth having.
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