JOHNNY WINTER - The First Four... (1969/70)
Johnny Winter (1944 - 2014) was an American singer and guitarist. Winter was known for his high-energy blues rock albums and live performances in the late 1960s and 1970s. He also produced three Grammy Award–winning albums for blues singer and guitarist Muddy Waters. After his time with Waters, Winter recorded several Grammy-nominated blues albums. In 1988, he was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and in 2003, he was ranked 63rd in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".
The Progressive Blues Experiment is the debut album by American blues rock musician Johnny Winter. He recorded it in August 1968 at the Vulcan Gas Company, an Austin music club, with his original trio of Tommy Shannon on bass guitar and John "Red" Turner on drums. The album features a mix of Winter originals and older blues songs, including the standards "Rollin' and Tumblin'", "Help Me", and "Forty-Four". Local Austin, Texas-based Sonobeat Records issued the album with a plain white cover in late 1968. After Winter signed to Columbia Records, the rights were sold to Imperial Records, who reissued it in March 1969. The Imperial edition, with a new cover, reached number 40 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
Johnny Winter is Johnny Winter's second studio album. Columbia Records released the album in 1969, after signing Winter to the label for a reported $600,000. As with his first album, The Progressive Blues Experiment, Winter mixes some original compositions with songs originally recorded by blues artists. The album reached number 24 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
Second Winter is the third studio album by Texas blues guitarist Johnny Winter, released in 1969. The original plan was to edit the songs from the recording session into one album but it was later thought that all the recordings were good enough to be released. The album was released as a "three-sided" LP, with a blank fourth side on the original vinyl. Two more songs, "Tell the Truth" and "Early in the Morning" were left unfinished but released on a 2004 re-release of the album.
Johnny Winter And is the fourth studio album by Texas blues guitarist Johnny Winter, released in 1970. Besides Winter, the group included guitarist Rick Derringer, bassist Randy Jo Hobbs and drummer Randy Zehringer, all former members of the McCoys. This was the first album released with Rick Derringer as a sideman. It was also the name of his band for a short time.
Formed in Liverpool, England, in 1973 by singer Dave Lloyd, guitarist Mick Devonport, bassist Keith Mulholland, and drummer John Mylett, hard rockers Nutz distinguished themselves as one of the decade's most undistinguished second-tier acts. None of their four albums for A&M -- 1974's Nutz, 1975's Nutz Too, 1976's Hard Nutz (introducing keyboard player Kenny Newton), or 1977's Nutz Live Cutz -- fared particularly well, and occasional support tours with Black Sabbath and Budgie (not to mention a Friday night slot at the 1976 Reading Festival) also failed to further their cause. By 1979 the band was sputtering to a halt, but when their song "Bootliggers" was surprisingly chosen for inclusion on 1980's Metal for Muthas (a compilation of emerging New Wave of British Heavy Metal talent like Iron Maiden, Praying Mantis, and Samson), Nutz decided to cash in on the younger generation by reinventing themselves as Rage. This barely disguised new version of Nutz (not to be confused with the German power metal trio that appeared a few years later) ejected their keyboard player, recruited additional guitarist Terry Steers, and went on to record three more albums before finally breaking up in 1984.
The first album by Nutz was an interesting and varied affair in which the band played with several different styles without losing their identity. Many of the songs use acoustic or progressive rock introductions to lead into blues-rock pieces, sometimes in very inventive ways. There are also some very successful progressive folk songs, a direction the band dropped after this album. It's a shame, as the catchy, carnival-like "Round and Round" sested that this band could have done some fine things with the style. It's a track that bears repeated listening, the parade-ground drumming overlaid by acoustic and electric guitars and a simple but urgent vocal line. Here and throughout the album the vocal harmonies are impressive, more so than on any of their later works. Nutz got everything right on their first album, but somehow failed to build on this solid foundation.
The second Nutz album was a bit more basic than the first, with more of a focus on blues-based hard rock and a slicker, more professional feel. Still, the band managed to keep things interesting with acoustic textures and some interesting time changes in the course of the album. The instrumentation bears comparisons to Led Zeppelin in spots, though vocalist Dave Lloyd's appealing bluesy rasp is from a whole different tradition than Robert Plant's. The rest of the band fills in with some effective harmonies, and there are moments when their hook-laden hard rock shows a sophistication that is above most of their peers. The weak spot is the songwriting, which is fairly throughout. The sole exception is "Dear Diary," a lovely little piece that shows that the band can give a delicate performance to more personal material. On the whole, Nutz Too is a pleasant listen, though not quite as memorable as the albums that came before or after.
The last studio album from Nutz shows some lyrical growth from their sophomore effort, and is also improved by the presence of keyboard player Kenny Newton. The band turns in their usual bluesy boogie rock with progressive elements, but with a bit more vigor and nuance than usual. There are some interesting transitions between songs and some genuinely inventive arrangements. Nutz never did have the consistency to be a major act, but Hard Nutz shows that they did have a good set of rock instincts, and if they only had had a first-rate songwriter, they could have gone far.
GRAHAM NASH - The First Four... (1971/86)
Graham Nash is a British-American singer-songwriter and musician. Nash is known for his light tenor voice and for his songwriting contributions as a member of the English pop/rock group the Hollies and the folk-rock supergroups Crosby, Stills & Nash and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Nash became an American citizen on 14 August 1978 and holds dual citizenship with the United Kingdom and the United States. Nash is a photography collector and a published photographer. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1997 and as a member of the Hollies in 2010. Nash was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours List for services to music and to charity. Nash holds four honorary doctorates, including one from New York Institute of Technology, one in Music from the University of Salford in 2011 and his latest Doctorate in Fine Arts from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Songs for Beginners is Graham Nash's debut solo studio album. Released in May 1971, it was one of four high-profile albums (all charting within the top fifteen) released by each partner of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in the wake of their chart-topping Déjŕ Vu album of 1970, along with After the Gold Rush (Neil Young, September 1970), Stephen Stills (Stephen Stills, November 1970) and If I Could Only Remember My Name (David Crosby, February 1971). It peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart, and the single "Chicago" made it to No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has been certified a gold record by the RIAA.
Wild Tales is the second solo studio album by Graham Nash, released on Atlantic Records in 1974. It peaked at No. 34 on the Billboard 200. Nash blamed its failure to chart higher in the United States on a supposed lack of support and promotion from Atlantic Records. Following the protracted breakup of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in late 1974 and early 1975, Nash left the label and signed a contract with ABC Records as a duo with his CSNY partner David Crosby. Contrary to later reports, the darker tone of this album was not inspired by the murder of Nash's then-girlfriend, Amy Gossage, by her brother, an event that occurred more than a year after the release of this album and the dissolution of their relationship. Rather, Nash was in a somber mood in the wake of the failures of his earlier relationships with Joni Mitchell and Rita Coolidge, and the unwillingness at the time of the other members of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young to reunite for a new album.
Earth & Sky is the third solo studio album by Graham Nash, released in February 1980 on Capitol Records.
Innocent Eyes is the fourth solo studio album by Graham Nash, released in 1986. The influence of reggae shows in the hit song "Chippin' Away." The album reached No. 136 on the Billboard charts.
THE SMALL FACES - The Darlings of Wapping Wharf Launderette: The Immediate Anthology (1999)
Surely not another Small Faces compilation CD. Well what makes this one different? To put it simply, it was only recently that the group succeeded in securing their royalties and that was only after Ronnie and Steve had both died. Therefore much of the Small Faces material released more recently is legitimate and the band receive their dues. Furthermore, the tracks have been remastered, giving them a clarity and power not evident on the budget issues. Recommendation: no matter how much Small Faces you have in your collection, the is the definitive anthology covering the years on Immediate Records. This also scores over the previously available Immediate Years boxed set as it contains virtually no filler. There is one version of each track from the Immediate recordings with the exception of the heavy rocker Wham Bam Thank You Mam (wrongly labelled as Wham Bam Thank You Man) which is an alternate stereo mix and the US single version of Mad John. There are also two recording that were previously unavailable, The War of the Worlds and Take My Time. These are both instrumentals and actually add little to the existing body of work on this CD. The PP Arnold single (If You Think You're) Groovy is included as it is a Marriott/Lane composition and features backing by the band. This is a great track.
As stated earlier, The Darlings of Wapping Wharf Launderette contains all the Immediate tracks including singles, album tracks and some rarities. The entire contents of the Small Faces, the first album on Immediate (Making Time September 1997) follows the singles I Can't Make It and its b-side Just Passing and Here Come The Nice. There is then a short break for the two excellent singles Itchycoo Park and the absolutely stunning Tin Soldier. The latter may be less well-known but it is by far and away the most popular Small Faces tracks with reader of Room for Ravers, the Small Faces Web page and it was recently voted tenth best single of all time by readers of the UK magazine Mojo. Tin Soldier combines the great elements from all four members of the band. If you don't know this one you haven't lived. By the way, it's PP Arnold on the backing vocals here. What comes next shows just how far the Small Faces were able to progress given their new freedom, if not cash, through the Immediate deal. Ogden's Nut Gone Flake was partly new Small Faces album and partly concept, much better than even Sergeant Pepper by the way. The tracks finishing disc one of this CD set represent side one of Ogden's, the true highlights being Afterglow (Of Your Love), a song Marriott thought was little more than a soppy love song, and Ronnie Lane's Song of a Baker. The best-known song though finishes the disc. Lazy Sunday is one of the band's best known songs even though they did not want it released as a single. They felt, maybe correctly, that it made the band more music hall then rock or psychedelic. Great track though! Disc two starts with the concept second side of Ogden's. The narration is by Stanley Unwin and this adds an important element to the story of Mad John. Like some of the tracks on side one of Ogden's, we can again witness the roots of heavy rock through songs like Rollin' Over. After the high of Ogden's it was difficult for the band to progress. Marriott moved towards heavier rock and eventually Humble Pie and the remainder of the band teamed up with Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart to form the Faces. However, they managed to complete some wonderful songs, many of which were issued as The Autumn Stone, a compilation of latter work and a strong track itself. A personal favourite is the cover of Tim Hardin's Red Balloon. The remainder is made up of rarities and oddities but there is some good material here. So this is the best recorded version of the Immediate material and stands head and shoulders above the earlier budget reissues. If you weren't a fan before, you will be afterwards.
COPPERHEAD - Copperhead (1973)
Copperhead was an American rock and roll group founded by guitarist John Cipollina, after leaving the band Quicksilver Messenger Service in 1970. Copperhead originally consisted of Cipollina on lead guitar, Gary Phillips on vocals and second guitar and organ, Jim McPherson on vocals, piano and bass, Pete Sears on piano and bass, and David Weber on drums. Copperhead was originally signed to the Just Sunshine recording label but, in 1972, (Sears left to fly back to England and record with Rod Stewart and play in a band with Nicky Hopkins; bassist Hutch Hutchinson replaced him) it was signed to a major-label record deal by Clive Davis at Columbia Records and recorded its debut album entitled, Copperhead, released in 1973. The first album was a commercial failure, and Columbia refused to release their second album and Copperhead disbanded.
RONNIE MONTROSE - The First Four Solo... (1978/90)
Guitarist Ronnie Montrose began his career as a backing musician, playing with Van Morrison, Boz Scaggs, and Edgar Winter. He finally formed his own band in 1973. Named after the guitarist, Montrose also featured vocalist Sammy Hagar, bassist Bill Church, and drummer Denny Carmassi; they released their debut album in 1974, and Church was replaced by Alan Fitzgerald shortly after its release. Arriving the following year, Paper Money confirmed the band's status as one of the more popular hard rock acts of its era. However, Hagar was fired after completing the Paper Money tour. Bob James replaced him and keyboardist Jim Alcivar joined the band, yet Montrose's next two albums - 1975's Warner Brothers Presents Montrose and 1976's Jump on It - were commercial failures.
Ronnie Montrose broke up the band after the release of Jump on It and began his own solo career with the all-instrumental Open Fire (1978). Montrose then formed another hard rock group, Gamma, which recorded three albums between 1979 and 1982. After they broke up in 1982, Montrose picked up his solo career once again. He released a rather low-key album, Territory, in 1983, following it four years later in 1987 with the hard-rocking and impressive Mean (attributing it to Gamma). The Speed of Sound appeared in 1988, with The Diva Station, a semi-instrumental mesh of soul, pop, metal, and jazz, arriving in 1990.
Montrose began putting more of his time into production work, but continued to release solo albums, including Mutatis Mutandis (1991), Music from Here (1994), Mr. Bones (1996), Roll Over and Play Live! (1999), and Bearings (1999), before reuniting Gamma for a fourth album in 2000. Montrose continued his production and session work, and would tour regularly over the last dozen years of his life, despite battling prostate cancer during the late 2000s. A self-inflicted gunshot ended his life on March 3, 2012. Montrose's final studio LP, which he had been working on prior to his death, was released in 2017; 10x10 was a guest-packed affair featuring the core trio of Montrose, Styx bassist Ricky Phillips, and Kiss drummer Eric Singer, with appearances by Sammy Hagar, Phil Collen, Glenn Hughes, Tommy Shaw, and Edgar Winter.
MICK ABRAHAMS BAND - A Musical Evening With The Mick Abrahams Band (1971) & At Last (1972)
The roots of Mick Abrahams' musical career were typical of aspiring guitarists in the mid-sixties, taking in stints with R&B groups like The Hustlers, The Toggery Five, Screaming Lord Sutch, Neil Christian's Crusaders (replacing Jimmy Page) and his own McGregor's Engine. By late 1967, Mick had become a founder member of Jethro Tull, and throughout 1968 the band built up a reputation based on the already distinctive blues guitar of Abrahams and the flute playing and wild stage persona of Ian Anderson. The band's unique blend of blues, jazz and rock was reflected in their first album This Was, an immediate UK chart hit. However, having two such strong personalities as a twin focus was always going to be a recipe for musical incompatibility, and Abrahams jumped ship at the end of 1968. While Tull sailed a new course away from the blues under Captain Anderson, Mick formed his own band, dubbed Blodwyn Pig by a stoned hippy friend just back from the Buddhist trail. Their two albums, 1969's Ahead Rings Out and 1970's Getting To This, were a delightful amalgam of the 'progressive blues' of This Was and the jazzier influences of saxophonist Jack Lancaster, and both albums spent several weeks in the UK Top Ten charts. America also embraced the band in the course of two tours there.
At that stage Blodwyn Pig looked destined for great things - but the old ogre of musical differences reared its ugly head, and Abrahams left his own band. Blodwyn Pig soldiered on for a while, but Mick's presence had been too vital a factor in their success and the Pig died. The early seventies saw Mick on Top Of The Pops and In Concert on Radio One with The Mick Abrahams Band, showcasing two fine guitar-driven rock albums in (A Musical Evening With) Mick Abrahams and At Last. The band enjoyed success throughout Europe, but record company support was less encouraging and after a short-lived Blodwyn Pig reunion in 1974 (immortalised via another Radio One live broadcast), a disillusioned Mick Abrahams effectively quit the music business.
V.A. - No Nukes: From The Muse Concerts For A Non-Nuclear Future (1979)
No Nukes: The Muse Concerts For a Non-Nuclear Future was a 1979 triple live album that contained selections from the September 1979 Madison Square Garden concerts by the Musicians United for Safe Energy collective. Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, Bonnie Raitt, and John Hall were the key organizers of the event and guiding forces behind the album.
This was the first official appearance of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's much ballyhooed live act on record, and their "Detroit Medley", a staple of the encores of their regular shows, achieved considerable album-oriented rock airplay. Otherwise the album did not get much radio attention, as many of the artists held back their best-known material from appearing on it or emphasized collaborative performances. The album was certified a gold record by the RIAA in September 1980. It was reissued as a two-CD set by Elektra Records in October 1997.
RICK DERRINGER - Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo (1996) + Live (2001)
Rick Derringer is an American guitarist, vocalist, producer and songwriter. He came to prominence in the 1960s as founding member of his band, The McCoys. At that time, they were taken to New York City to record what became the number one hit song "Hang on Sloopy". The McCoys then had seven songs that charted in the top 100, including versions of "Fever" and "Come on Let’s Go". In March 1974, Derringer had another major hit with his own song, "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo". He has worked extensively with the brothers Edgar and Johnny Winter, playing lead guitar in their bands, and also producing all of their gold and platinum disc recordings. He has worked with Steely Dan, Cyndi Lauper and "Weird Al" Yankovic, producing Yankovic's Grammy Award-winning songs "Eat It" and "Fat". "Eat It" included Derringer's guitar solo, which emulated Eddie Van Halen's solo on Michael Jackson's "Beat It". The work he did with Yankovic convinced Vince McMahon, the president of the World Wrestling Federation, that Derringer should be the producer of The Wrestling Album (1985) and then the follow-up, Piledriver: The Wrestling Album II (1987). The albums included the entrance song for Hulk Hogan, "Real American", and the Demolition tag team, "Demolition".
Rock & Roll Hoochie Coo: Best of Rick Derringer collects all of Derringer's biggest hits and his album-rock staples, making it an excellent retrospective of his heyday as a popular arena rocker in the mid-'70s.
Rock & Roll Hoochie Coo - Live: 2001 release with live recordings from the 1983 King Biscuit Flower Hour vaults.
JETHRO TULL - Nightcap (1993)
Nightcap: The Unreleased Masters 1973–1991 (1993) is a double compilation album by Jethro Tull released on 22 November 1993. It contains much of the band's previously unreleased material. The first disc contains material recorded in August 1972, much of which was re-recorded and re-arranged for the band's sixth album, A Passion Play (the lyrics of "Critique Oblique" and "Scenario" actually refer to the "passion play" in question). The songs "Scenario", "Audition" and "No Rehearsal" initially appeared on the 20 Years of Jethro Tull box set as a single track entitled "The Chateau d'Isaster Tapes". This humorous title is also used on Nightcap as the title of the entire first disc. The material on the first disc was mixed and arranged as the aforementioned three tracks were on the 20 Years box set with numerous flute overdubs by Ian Anderson, but excludes the songs "Big Top" and "Sailor". All "Chateau d'Isaster" material was included as part of the 2014 re-release of A Passion Play, without any overdubs. The second disc contains unreleased material recorded between 1974 and 1991, in particular extra songs from the sessions for The Broadsword and the Beast. Most, but not all, of these songs also appear as bonus tracks on remastered versions of Jethro Tull's 1970's albums. The album was produced in limited quantities with proceeds going to charity.
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