V.A. - Woodstock 50th: Back To The Garden [50th Anniversary Experience, 10 CD Edition] (2019)
Woodstock 50th: Back to the Garden is the ultimate collector’s set for fans of the summer of love and its legendary music. Filled with bonus goodies, unforgettable live performances, and previously unreleased tracks, this is a wonderful overview of the music that defined a generation. All audio has been fully restored; expect superior performances from Janis Joplin, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, CSN, and Sly & the Family Stone, etc. with crystal clear sound. Essential listening, whether you were there or you just wish you were there.
ATLANTA RHYTHM SECTION - The Polydor Years (8CD Box Set) 
Often described as a more radio-friendly version of Lynyrd Skynyrd or the Allman Brothers, the Atlanta Rhythm Section was one of many Southern rock bands to hit the upper reaches of the charts during the late '70s. Hailing from the small town of Doraville, Georgia, the beginning of the Atlanta Rhythm Section can be traced back to 1970. It was then that a local recording studio was opened, Studio One, and the remnants of two groups (the Candymen and the Classics Four), became the studio's house band. One of the facility's head figures, Buddy Buie, soon began assembling the session band singer Rodney Justo, guitarist Barry Bailey, bassist Paul Goddard, keyboardist Dean Daughtry, and drummer Robert Nix. After playing on several artists' recordings, it was decided to take the band a step further and make the group of players a real band, leading to the formation of the Atlanta Rhythm Section. Buie soon became an invisible fifth member of the fledgling band; he served as their manager and producer, in addition to providing a major hand in the songwriting department. Finding time between sessions to record their own original material (which was initially, entirely instrumental), an early demo wound up landing the band a record deal. The group's first few albums failed to generate much chart action (1972's Atlanta Rhythm Section, 1973's Back Up Against the Wall, 1974's Third Annual Pipe Dream, 1975's Dog Days, and 1976's Red Tape), but it was during this time that Justo was replaced with newcomer Ronnie Hammond, which would eventually pay dividends for the group. Although they had gained quite a bit of radio airplay down south, their record company began to put pressure on the quintet to deliver a single that would break them nationally. The demand worked the Atlanta Rhythm Section scored a Top Ten single, "So Into You," on their next release, 1976's A Rock and Roll Alternative, which was the group's first album to reach gold certification. But this wouldn't be the group's commercial peak, as they scored the highest charting album of their career in 1978, the Top Ten Champagne Jam, which spawned two hit singles "I'm Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight" and "Imaginary Lover." To keep up their high profile, the Atlanta Rhythm Section soon became one of the hardest touring bands of the entire Southern rock genre (including a performance at the White House for then-president Jimmy Carter). But the group's commercial success would be fleeting it appeared as soon as mainstream rock fans embraced the Atlanta Rhythm Section, they just as quickly forgot about them. Each subsequent album 1979's Underdog and live set Are You Ready, 1980s The Boys from Doraville, and 1981's Quinella sold less than the previous one, resulting in the band's split shortly thereafter. In the wake of their split, the Atlanta Rhythm Section has reunited sporadically for tours (although only a few original members would be present), and issued their first all-new studio album in more than a decade in 1999, Eufaula. Additionally, some of country-rock's biggest names have gone on to record Atlanta Rhythm Section covers - Travis Tritt, Wynonna Judd, and Charlie Daniels, among others.
BOBBIE GENTRY - Girl From Chickasaw County [8CD Box Set] (2018)
Like her signature song "Ode to Billie Joe," Bobbie Gentry is an enigma by choice. "Ode to Billie Joe" deliberately leaves out details that would spell out the story and Gentry removed herself from public view sometime in the late '70s for reasons that have never been fully disclosed. Many have tried to track her down because her cult not only persisted into the 21st century, it even grew so much so that an observer would be forgiven if they believed Gentry was something of an outsider artist instead of a mainstay on television who hosted a variety show of her own. There was a pair of worthy efforts to get to the heart of the Gentry mystery in the 2010s Tara Murtha wrote an excellent 33 1/3 volume about 1967's Ode to Billie Joe, while the Gentry episode of Tyler Mahan Coe's podcast Cocaine & Rhinestones is enthralling but the crowning jewel of that revival is The Girl from Chickasaw County: The Complete Capitol Masters, an eight-disc box set that contains everything she recorded for the label, including all seven of her albums, plus 75 unreleased tracks.
To listeners who only know Gentry through "Ode to Billie Joe" or perhaps her hit duets with Glen Campbell ("Let It Be Me," "All I Have to Do Is Dream") or "Fancy," the minor 1969 hit that Reba McEntire revived in 1991, this may seem like overkill, but a cursory listen of the first disc of The Girl from Chickasaw County will prove that false. What makes Gentry so compelling is how she straddled the divide between nascent Americana and show biz, rooting her music in the former while striving for the latter. Certainly, "Ode to Billie Joe" pulsates to the languid rhythms of the south, its eccentricity accentuated by its spectral arrangement, and several of her earliest records tap into this eccentric rhythm, including her version of Jim Ford's "Niki Hoeky." Gentry would keep circling back to this thick, swampy sound again and again, but she'd keep layering on strings, horns, and other studio accouterments that were in fact there from the beginning. All the while, she demonstrated an equal fascination with sentiment and spookiness, working a territory somewhere between Glen Campbell and Tom T. Hall ("Casket Vignette" is impossible to imagine without the latter), slowly moving into adult contemporary without ever losing her deep eccentricity. All the spare demos, overblown outtakes, and show-bizzy live tracks on The Girl from Chickasaw Country wind up emphasizing how Gentry effortlessly embraced these contradictions, her music gaining a richness as she simultaneously pandered and wandered. Much of the music embodies the excesses of its time it's hard to see a record as mannered and elliptical as Patchwork being released at any point that wasn't 1971 but even if it sounds tied to its time, it also exists outside of it; it's music that feels lush and haunting, saccharine and genuine, arty and authentic all at once. All of this can be gleaned from Gentry's individual ouvre, but the rarities deepen her work and add to the mystery, making The Girl from Chickasaw County a box set as endlessly beguiling as Bobbie Gentry herself.
WISHBONE ASH - Melodic Sounds (2009)
Wishbone Ash are a British rock band who achieved success in the early and mid-1970s. Their popular albums included Wishbone Ash (1970), Pilgrimage (1971), Argus (1972), Wishbone Four (1973), There's the Rub (1974), and New England (1976). Wishbone Ash are noted for their extensive use of harmony twin lead guitars, which had been attracting electric blues bands since Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page had played together in the Yardbirds in 1966. Their contributions helped Andy Powell and Ted Turner to be voted "Two of the Ten Most Important Guitarists in Rock History" (Traffic magazine 1989), and to appear in the "Top 20 Guitarists of All Time" (Rolling Stone). Melody Maker (1972) described Powell and Turner as "the most interesting two guitar team since the days when Beck and Page graced The Yardbirds". They have been cited as an influence by Iron Maiden founder and bassist Steve Harris, as well as Thin Lizzy and other dual guitar bands. Formed in Torquay, Devon, in 1969, out of the ashes of trio The Empty Vessels (originally known as The Torinoes, later briefly being renamed Tanglewood in 1969), which had been formed by Wishbone Ash's founding member Martin Turner (bass & vocals) in 1963 and complemented by Steve Upton (drums and percussion) in 1966. The original Wishbone Ash line-up was completed by guitarists/vocalists Andy Powell and Ted Turner. In 1974, Ted Turner left the band, and was replaced by Laurie Wisefield. The band continued on with strong critical and commercial success until 1980. There followed line-ups featuring former bass players from King Crimson (John Wetton), Uriah Heep (Trevor Bolder), and Trapeze (Mervyn Spence), Wisefield left in 1985. In 1987, however, the original line-up reunited for several albums – Nouveau Calls, Here to Hear and Strange Affair – until 1990, when Upton quit the band. After Martin Turner was replaced in 1991, the band recorded The Ash Live in Chicago, before Ted Turner left in 1993. This left Andy Powell as the sole remaining original founding member of Wishbone Ash to continue the band on into the future.
This 4cd box set is essentially a repackage of the 3cd compilation "Backbones" with the addition of extra tracks from the "Illuminations " album making CD 1 in this set the entire Illuminations album. This is an excellent overview of the the later Andy Powell incarnation of Wishbone Ash up until 2004 including tracks from 3 of their later studio albums and the 2 live "Tracks" collections.
MARTIN BARRE - Back to Steel (2015) & Roads Less Travelled (2018)
Martin Barre is an English rock musician best known for his work with progressive rock band Jethro Tull, with whom he recorded and toured from their second album in 1969 to the band's initial dissolution in 2012. In the early 1990s he went solo, and has recorded four studio albums and made several guest appearances. He has also played the flute and other instruments such as thesaxophone, mandolin, both on stage for Jethro Tull and in his own solo work.
Martin Barre is one of those guitarists who often misses out on the awards and recognition but who, when you hear him, is one of the best musicians around. This album celebrates 50 (yes 50) years of playing saxophone and guitar and returns him to his roots, playing electric guitars with steel strings. Right from the title track he mixes it up, playing with fluidity and flexibility whether he is playing rock or edging towards prog and throws in some sterling melodies and riffing alongside his songwriting which is generally excellent. The main instrument throughout is Barre’s guitar but his vocals are pretty tasty, especially on numbers like Bad Man where his growled vocals go perfectly against a resonator acoustic. Back To Steel is pure rock with shrieking guitar set against a dark and heavy bass line while Hammer reaches an almost jazz like melody. When he softens his stance, as he does on the lovely Chasing Shadows, he shows a remarkable lyrical side to his playing.
With The Jethro Tull Christmas Album being the last studio album he worked on for Jethro Tull, even though he only played on one song. While in Jethro Tull, he started his solo career in 1992 with his debut solo work (A Summer Band, a rare, limited edition album featuring live tracks). Since then he has recorded six further studio albums with Road Less Travelled being his eighth solo album. For this album, Barre works with musicians from the area in which he lives in England, Devon.. His band includes: Dan Crisp (vocals), Alan Thompson (bass/fretless bass), Darby Todd (drums), Becca Langsford (vocals/backing vocals), Josiah J (Percussion/Hammond), Aaron Graham (drums), Alex Hart (vocals/backing vocals) Buster Cottam (“stand up” bass). They deserve a great deal of credit, as their performance is the best thing about this album.
JON ANDERSON - The Mother's Day Concert (2007) & The Living Tree in Concert: Part One [with Rick Wakeman] (2011)
Jon Anderson is an English singer and songwriter, best known as the lead singer of the progressive rock band Yes, which he co-founded in 1968 with bassist Chris Squire. He was a member of the band across three tenures between 1968 and 2008. Anderson is a current member of Yes Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman. Anderson is also noted for his solo career and collaborations with other artists, including Vangelis as Jon and Vangelis, Roine Stolt as Anderson/Stolt, and Jean-Luc Ponty as AndersonPonty Band. He has also appeared on albums by King Crimson, Tangerine Dream, Iron Butterfly and Mike Oldfield.
This album documents a 1996 solo concert by Yes singer Jon Anderson, and finds the helium-voiced prog-rock legend tackling a wealth of tunes from the Yes canon as well as some songs from his collaborations with Greek keyboard wizard Vangelis. While the sound quality is somewhat questionable (it sounds suspiciously like an audience recording), the tunes themselves are unimpeachable. Anderson is in fine voice, delivering spirited versions of Yes classics like "And You And I" as well as Jon & Vangelis tunes such as the percolating "State of Independence."
Having worked together on and off since 1971's groundbreaking YES masterwork 'Fragile,' Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman have traveled similar musical paths that have eventually and happily led their careers back together again. The duo began performing live together in the UK in 2006 playing both classics from the YES catalogue and selected tracks from the pair's individual solo releases. In 2009 Anderson and Wakeman recorded the highly anticipated album 'The Living Tree' which garnered rave reviews worldwide. In 2010 it was announced that Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman were to tour together once more at the end of the year. The wildly successful tour featured material from their time with YES, but more importantly material from the duo's new CD 'The Living Tree.' A collection of live highlights from the tour were compiled and overseen by Jon and Rick for the upcoming release 'Anderson / Wakeman - The Living Tree In Concert Part One.'
DELBERT McCLINTON AND SELF-MADE MEN + DANA - Tall, Dark, & Handsome (2019)
Roots music visionary" (Rolling Stone) Delbert McClinton returns with a swaggering and swingin’ new album, Tall, Dark & Handsome. Featuring 14 new, original new songs - all written or co-written by Delbert - the album dives deep into the blues, Americana and beyond, bursting with horns, fiddle, accordion, blazing guitar work, back-up singers and McClinton’s charismatic rasp, proving Lyle Lovett’s claim that “if we could all sing like we want to, we’d all sound like Delbert McClinton.”
Tall, Dark & Handsome features Delbert’s band the Self-Made Men + Dana: Dana Robbins (saxophone), Jack Bruno (drums), Mike Joyce (bass), Bob Britt (guitar), James Pennebaker (guitar), Kevin McKendree (keyboards), Dennis Wage (keyboards). It’s evident from the first downbeat that McClinton and company had a blast making the record, shining a raucous light on the swinging, jazzy virtues of Texas blues. Opener “Mr. Smith” is a joyous shuffle. “If I Hock My Guitar” is sly and self-deprecating, the story of a down n’ out axe-man who weighs his craft with a visit to the pawn shop. The album hurtles forward with a red hot energy, with only a couple cool breaths along the way, like on “Any Other Way,” a ballad that starts with “Just another lovely day / a low-flying angel got in my way.”
ZEPHYR - Zephyr (1969) + Going Back To Colorado (1971) + Sunset Ride (1972) 
Zephyr was a hard rock band formed in 1969 in Boulder, Colorado by guitarist Tommy Bolin, keyboardist John Faris, bass guitarist David Givens, drummer Robbie Chamberlin, and vocalist Candy Givens. Although the charismatic performances by Candy Givens were the focal point for the band, the flashy guitar work of Tommy Bolin is what the band is best remembered for. After Bolin left, he was replaced by Jock Bartley, and the band recorded the album Sunset Ride, their second for Warner Brothers Records. On Sunset Ride, Candy Givens displayed her gifts as a singer, composer, and harmonica player. The album was produced by David Givens, who wrote most of the songs. As a result of his stint with Zephyr, Bartley went on to a successful career with Gram Parsons and Firefall. Drummer Michael Wooten went on to play for several years with Carole King and was a founding member of the jam band Left Over Salmon. Various versions of Zephyr continued to play in Colorado until the death of Candy Givens in 1984. The release of "Heartbeat" in 1982 was promoted with a music video that incorporated early examples of computer animation combined with live action. Other Zephyr members include Otis Taylor, who played bass during the mid-1970s, Kenny Wilkins (drums), guitarist Zack Smith (founder of the band Scandal), and Eddie Turner, who played guitar in the last version of the band during the early 1980s. Candy and David Givens, Bolin, and Faris were founding members of the Legendary 4Nikators. Taylor and Turner were later additions to band. Taylor was noted for playing motorcycle on stage during "Leader of the Pack" and performing in a kilt and Turner for his renditions of Jimi Hendrix songs. In 2014, David Givens and record producer Greg Hampton released a limited edition boxed set that included a remastered version of the "bathtub" album, two albums of live material (most of it previously unreleased), and a booklet with liner notes by Givens and photos from his private collection.
RORY GALLAGHER The First 3....(2017 High Resolution Remasters) 
Rory Gallagher's solo debut picks up where On The Boards left off - it's a solid, but significantly less raucous, blues rock outing with ten original tunes that were far more than skeletons for his incisive Strat picking. "Laundromat," "Hands Up," and "Sinner Boy"'s distinctive riffs were early concert favorites, but the album's ballads were some of Gallagher's strongest. "For the Last Time," "Just the Smile" and the acoustic "I'm Not Surprised" mixed strains of Delta blues with strong melodic sensibilities into songs of rare poignancy, especially for an artist who was best known for his scorching leads. In this respect Gallagher was an early model for Eric Clapton, whose solo career followed a similar path. Interestingly, Gallagher seems rather restrained throughout his debut, holding back the fret-burning in favor of strong songs. He opens up on the album's jazzy, seven-minute finale "Can't Believe It's You" which even features an alto sax, an instrument Gallagher all but abandoned on later albums. 2000's reissued, remastered version of the disc includes two additional tunes, Muddy Waters' slow Delta blues number "Gypsy Woman" and Otis Rush's fast Chicago shuffle "It Takes Time," both cut at the same sessions. "Gypsy Woman"'s slashing slide guitar and vocals sound as impassioned any other track; shuffle "It Takes Time" isn't quite as impressive but still shows how comfortable Gallagher is with straight blues. Brother/compiler Donal Gallagher's track notes are short but illuminating, and the remastered sound, although not as vibrant as on later reissues of Gallagher's catalog, is a big improvement over any existing version of this consistently superb album.
Released in November 1971, just six months after his solo debut, Rory Gallagher's second album was the summation of all that he'd promised in the wake of Taste's collapse, and the blueprint for most of what he'd accomplish over the next two years of recording. Largely overlooked by posterity's haste to canonize his next album, Live! In Europe, Deuce finds Gallagher torn between the earthy R&B of "Used to Be," a gritty blues fed through by some viciously unrestrained guitar playing, and the jokey, country-billy badinage of "Don't Know Where I'm Going," a too-short snippet that marries Bob Dylan to Ronnie Lane and reminds listeners just how broad Gallagher's sense of humor was. Reflecting the laid-back feel of Rory Gallagher, "I'm Not Awake Yet" is a largely acoustic piece driven as much by Gerry McAvoy's gutbucket bass as by Gallagher's intricate playing; "There's a Light", too, plays to Gallagher's sensitive side, while stating his mastery of the guitar across a protracted solo that isn't simply spellbinding in its restraint, it also has the effect of adding another voice to the proceedings. But such notions of plaintive melodicism are utterly exorcised by the moments of highest drama, a sequence that peaks with the closing, broiling "Crest of a Wave." With bass set on stun, the drums a turbulent wall of sound, and Gallagher's guitar a sonic switchblade, it's a masterpiece of aggressive dynamics, the sound of a band so close to its peak that you can almost touch the electricity. Of course, that peak would come during 1972-1973 with the albums upon which Gallagher's reputation is today most comfortably set. Deuce, however, doesn't simply set the stage for the future, it strikes the light that ignites the entire firestorm.
Kicking off with the furious "Walk on Hot Coals" where Rory Gallagher's stinging guitar and Lou Martin's insistent piano pounding spar within the context of one of Rory's classic rockers, the album presents a well rounded picture of Gallagher's eclectic influences. A jaunty, acoustic run through Big Bill Broonzy's "Banker's Blues" (oddly credited to Gallagher), the ragtime "Unmilitary Two-Step" as well as an unusually straightforward country tune "If I Had a Reason" with Rory on lap-steel and Martin doing his best honky-tonk, effectively break up the blues-rock that remains the soul of the album. The album's centerpiece, a brooding "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" finds the band locked into a swampy groove for over eight minutes as Gallagher abbreviates his own solo providing room for Martin's aggressive piano. On "Hands Off" the guitarist even picks up saxophone, and he shows off his spooky Muddy Waters' inspired slide on the train ching "Race the Breeze," one of the guitarist's best tunes. The final two bonus tracks tacked on for this reissue don't add much of interest; an early, shuffle version of "Stompin' Ground" lacks the tension of the song that later showed up as the only studio tracks on the live Irish Tour 1974 album, and Roy Head's "Treat Her Right" sounds like a soundcheck warm-up, which it probably was. Concise track-by-track liner notes from Rory's brother Donal provide useful background information, and the remastered sound taken from the original tapes is a revelation, with Gallagher's guitar parts and especially vocals, clear and precise in the spiffed up mix.
V.A. - Rhythm, Country & Blues (1994)
Rhythm, Country and Blues is an album featuring duets between R&B and country music artists on classic songs. It was released by MCA Records on March 1, 1994. The album debuted at #1 on Top Country Albums and #15 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts.
Rhythm Country & Blues is one of those various artists collections that always works better on paper than it does in practice. The intent behind the album was to demonstrate that there wasn't much difference between country and soul, either in terms of songwriting or performance. In order to prove this theory, the producers came up with a series of 11 duets featuring one country musician and one R&B musician, and had the duos sing classic songs. So, Rhythm Country & Blues is filled with duets like Conway Twitty and Sam Moore's "Rainy Night In Georgia," and Al Green and Lyle Lovett's "Funny How Time Slips Away," Clint Black and the Pointer Sisters' "Chain of Fools," Aaron Neville and Trisha Yearwood's "I Fall to Pieces," and George Jones and B.B. King's "Patches." Given all that talent, the album should have been a stunner. Instead, it's merely competent. It suffers from forced duets like Patti LaBelle and Travis Tritt, an overly-familiar selection of songs, and too-slick production. Rhythm Country & Blues sold well intially because a well-orchestrated publicity campaign but, in retrospect, that marketing plan was the most memorable thing about the entire project.
THE SENSATIONAL ALEX HARVEY BAND - British Tour '76 (2004) & Live at the BBC 
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band was one of the most unconventional bands that were part of the 1970s glam rock era. Fronted by Alex Harvey accompanied by Zal Cleminson on guitar, bassist Chris Glen, keyboard player Hugh McKenna and drummer Ted McKenna, their music veered from glam rock to experimental jazz, around a core of experimental and avant-garde rock, dealing with themes from environmentalism to chinese take away food. While they achieved a critically acclaimed status in the UK & Scotland, they strled to make a huge impact in the United States.
British Tour '76 is not an expanded version of the original Live album, despite the similarity in track listings, but a remarkable document of the band's next major tour, in support of the newly released SAHB Stories album. History relates that the group was on the way out now, and certainly its subsequent decline was precipitous. Here, however, Alex and the lads aren't simply firing on all cylinders -- they're enacting one of the finest shows any British stage had ever seen. Their seething reinvention of "Amos Moses," the bicentennial gift "Boston Tea Party," and the so-compulsive "Dance to Your Daddy" are the new album's contributions to the show; elsewhere, it's business as usual, as the SAHB dig back into their earliest fare for a mighty "Isabel Goudie" and the inevitable thunder of "Faith Healer"; "Tomahawk Kid," "Vambo," and the encore hit "Delilah" are all present and deliriously correct, but the highlight has to be "Framed," with Alex in full comic Hitler mode, and delivering a routine that you simply couldn't get away with today. That doesn't stop it from being hysterically funny, though, as well as serving as a potent reminder that good taste and great rock & roll have rarely been comfortable bedfellows.
Two discs of 1972-1977 BBC performances by the Sensational Alex Harvey Band with excellent sound are collected on this set, though it's not quite as lengthy as you might assume, adding up to about an hour and a half in all (with only about half an hour on the second disc). There aren't great surprises in store for those familiar with Harvey's BBC work during this, his commercial peak. As was also true of his records, his reputation as a truly sensational live visual performer isn't quite mirrored by this audio-only document. Too, the only song that doesn't appear on his studio releases of this time is a 1972 cover of "Dance to the Music," which might be energetic but certainly wouldn't give Sly & the Family Stone cause to worry. Disc one is entirely devoted to two performances at BBC's Paris Theatre, one in November 1972 and the other in October 1973, where they run through the bulk of the material from the SAHB's first couple albums. Some of his most celebrated songs, like "Framed" and "The Faith Healer," are naturally included, as well as his oddball cover of the early rock & roll hit "Giddy Up a Ding Dong," though Harvey's manic-tinged vocals are more impressive than the period hard rock backing. Side two actually features 1973-1975 performances from the BBC television shows The Old Grey Whistle Test and Top of the Pops rather than radio spots, and the two songs from a December 1973 OGWT appearance an anguished cover of Jacques Brel's infamous "Next" and a second version of "The Faith Healer" that utterly outclasses the one on the first disc from just two months earlier are the highlights of the collection, though this "The Faith Healer" is actually a live Harvey vocal fronting a pre-recorded backing track. His 1975 U.K. Top Ten hit "Delilah" (from a 1975 OGWT broadcast) is another highlight, but take note that the final and least essential two tracks, from a 1977 appearance on the same program, are the SAHB without Harvey.
HUNDRED SEVENTY SPLIT - The Road: Live (2015)
‘Hundred Seventy Split’ is an exciting, high energy Blues/Rock power trio showcasing the combined talents of Joe Gooch on guitar/vocals, Leo Lyons on bass and Damon Sawyer on drums: Leo Lyons and Joe Gooch are former members of the band “Ten Years After’. The pair initially formed a song-writing partnership to write for TYA and have continued writing together ever since. Their debut record ’The World Won’t Stop’ was released in 2010. Leo and Joe resigned from Ten Years After at the end of 2013. To celebrate a new beginning Hundred Seventy Split have released their second CD simply titled, HSS. Their live shows have already proved popular with TYA fans. The band perform TYA classics alongside new material in their show. ‘Hundred Seventy Split’ was formed to play music that rocks outside of the TYA box.
STEVE YOUNG - Rock Salt & Nails (1969) & Lonesome, On'ry & Mean (1994)
A singer, tunesmith, and purveyor of what he dubbed "Southern music" a brew of country, folk, rock, blues, gospel, and Celtic styles Steve Young was a songwriter's songwriter, an acclaimed performer whose work found its greatest commercial success in the hands of other artists and earned him praise from the likes of Waylon Jennings, Townes Van Zandt, and Lucinda Williams. Born in Georgia and raised throughout the South, by his teens Young was already playing guitar and writing his own songs. In the early '60s, he moved to New York City and became affiliated with the burgeoning Greenwich Village folk music scene. After a brief return to Alabama, where he'd spent time growing up, he settled in California in 1964. On the West Coast, Young found work as a postal carrier while striking up friendships with the likes of Stephen Stills and Van Dyke Parks. A tenure with the psychedelic folk unit Stone Country yielded an eponymous 1968 LP, and a year later Young issued his solo debut, Rock Salt & Nails, a country-rock excursion featuring cameos by Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman, and Gene Clark. He moved to Reprise in 1971, and, with the title track of that year's Seven Bridges Road, he offered perhaps his best-known composition, popularized through a series of covers by artists like the Eagles, Joan Baez, Rita Coolidge, and Ian Matthews. He had another tremendous success when Waylon Jennings covered "Lonesome, On'ry and Mean" in 1973, turning it into a signature anthem of the outlaw country movement; later on, Hank Williams, Jr. notched a hit with "Montgomery in the Rain." As for his recording career, Young released 1975's Honky Tonk Man on the tiny Mountain Railroad label before his songwriting success earned him a shot with RCA. The result arrived with two excellent albums, 1976's Renegade Picker and 1978's No Place to Fall. Despite his success as a songwriter, Young flirted with the charts but never rose beyond a devoted cult following. He spent the majority of the 1980s touring the world, garnering a reputation as a standout live performer, and released occasional records like 1982's To Satisfy You, 1987's Look Homeward Angel, and 1990's Long Time Rider, the latter two of which were recorded in the Netherlands. The trend continued into the next decade, and in 1991 he issued his first concert recording, Solo/Live, an acoustic collection summarizing his career to date along with pop and soul covers like "You Don't Miss Your Water" and "Drift Away." A second LP on Watermelon, Switchblades of Love, followed two years later and continued his creative renaissance, but he fell silent for much of the rest of the '90s. In early 2000, he finally returned with Primal Young on the Appleseed label. Songlines Revisited, Vol. 1 appeared in 2006. In the latter years of his career, Young made occasional live performances and spent his spare time in his home recording studio. Young died in Nashville on March 17, 2016. His son Jubal Lee Young, a singer and songwriter in his own right, posted a eulogy online. "While it is a sad occasion, he was also the last person who could be content to be trapped in a broken mind and body," Jubal wrote of his father. "He was far too independent and adventurous. I celebrate his freedom, as well, and I am grateful for the time we had. A true original."
Rock Salt and Nails is a highly regarded cult country-rock-folk record, in part because some of the supporting musicians are highly regarded pioneers of the form: Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman, and Gene Clark all appear on the album. While it is not among the very best of such late-'60s hybrids, it is pretty good, though too low-key to command the kind of wide interest (by cult standards, anyway) that someone like Clark or Parsons does. Steve Young has an unusually convincing reedy voice, never overdoing the melodramatics yet establishing a dramatic atmosphere that admits hints of blues, soul, and swamp pop. When distant, mournful strings are added to his more anguished and somber songs, like "Seven Bridges Road," "Holler in the Swamp," and "Kenny's Song," there's an effective multi-dimensionality rare in early country-rock. Other songs, particularly the covers of old country tunes, are less striking. It's an interesting release, though, that's quite rewarding for fans of more adventurous country-rock fusions.
Lonesome, On'ry & Mean collects the highlights from Young's first six albums, including the original versions of his three most famous songs: "Seven Bridges Road," "Lonesome On'ry and Mean," and "Montgomery in the Rain." Although Young's earliest work is a curious (but enjoyable) mix of Steppenwolf and the Moody Blues, beginning about the time of his third album Seven Bridges Road, Young's original voice establishes itself, and from that point the writing, as well as the performances, are compelling. Young never enjoyed any commercial success himself, but this shows why he was considered with such high regard among his peers.
THE LOVIN' SPOONFUL - What's Up Tiger Lily (1966) + Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful (1966) 
As he explains in "Introduction to Flick," the first track on this soundtrack album, Woody Allen took a Japanese spy film, 1964's Kagi No Kag, and dubbed it into English with his own comic dialogue to create 1966's U.S. release What's Up, Tiger Lily? (The new title is, of course, a play on that of the 1965 film What's New Pussycat.) He also hired the Lovin' Spoonful to score the new version, and even inserted some footage of the band playing into the picture. The Spoonful worked up a few new songs, notably "Pow," billed as the movie's theme, which had John Sebastian's most humorous lyric ("I've always been the guy with the finger in his nose when the passport picture gets taken/When the big boys took me out stealin' chickens, it was me caught holdin' the bacon"), and "Fishin' Blues." Otherwise, they played instrumental versions ("Lookin' to Spy" is really "Coconut Grove" without words.) Their good-natured folk-rock music fit the new tone of the film well.
Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful is the third album (excluding one soundtrack album) by the folk rock band The Lovin' Spoonful, released in 1966. It peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart. Hums was a deliberate attempt by the band to record in a variety of styles. They composed and played in the pop, country, jug-band, blues and folk styles. It would ultimately be the last full project by the original lineup. It was recorded in New York with the exception of "Lovin' You' which was recorded in Los Angeles. The album managed to spawn four charting singles for the band, including the No. 1 hit "Summer in the City". "Rain on the Roof", "Nashville Cats", and "Full Measure" also appeared on the Pop charts, all but the last making it to the Top 10. Bobby Darin had a Top 40 hit with a cover version of "Lovin' You". Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash later covered "Darlin' Companion" in 1969 on Johnny Cash at San Quentin.
THE LOVIN' SPOONFUL - Do You Believe In Magic (1965) + Daydream (1966) 
Right on the tails of the Beau Brummels and the Byrds, the Lovin' Spoonful were among the first American groups to challenge the domination of the British Invasion bands in the mid-'60s. Between mid-1965 and the end of 1967, the group was astonishingly successful, issuing one classic hit single after another, including "Do You Believe in Magic?," "You Didn't Have to Be So Nice," "Daydream," "Summer in the City," "Rain on the Roof," "Nashville Cats," and "Six O'Clock." Like most of the folk-rockers, the Lovin' Spoonful were more pop and rock than folk, which didn't detract from their music at all. Much more than the Byrds, and even more than the Mamas & the Papas, the Spoonful exhibited a brand of unabashedly melodic, cheery, and good-time music, though their best single, "Summer in the City," was uncharacteristically riff-driven and hard-driving. More influenced by blues and jug bands than other folk-rock acts, their albums were spotty and their covers at times downright weak. As glorious as their singles were, they lacked the depth and innovation of the Byrds, their chief competitors for the crown of best folk-rock band, and their legacy hasn't been canonized with nearly as much reverence as their West Coast counterparts. Leader and principal songwriter John Sebastian was a young veteran of the Greenwich Village folk scene when he formed the band in 1965 with Zal Yanovsky, who'd already played primitive folk-rock of a sort with future members of the Mamas & the Papas in the Mugwumps. Sebastian already had some recording experience under his belt, playing harmonica (his father was a virtuoso classical harmonica player) on sessions by folkies like Tom Rush and Fred Neil. The Spoonful were rounded out by Steve Boone on bass and Joe Butler on drums. After some tentative interest from Phil Spector (who considered producing them), they ended up signing with Kama Sutra. Sebastian's autoharp (which would also decorate several subsequent tracks) helped propel "Do You Believe in Magic?" into the Top Ten in late 1965. The Lovin' Spoonful were torn asunder by a drug bust in 1967. Boone and Yanovsky were arrested in California for marijuana possession, and evidently got out of trouble by turning in their source. This didn't sit well with the burgeoning counterculture, which called for a boycott of Spoonful product, although the effect on their sales may have been overestimated; most of the people who bought Spoonful records were average teenage Americans, not hippies. Yanovsky left the band in mid-1967, to be replaced by Jerry Yester, former producer of the Association. The band had a few more mild hits, but couldn't survive the loss of John Sebastian, who effectively closed the chapter by leaving in 1968, although the group straggled on briefly under the helm of Butler. Sebastian went on to moderate success as a singer/songwriter in the 1970s. Live at the Hotel Seville, the first new Lovin' Spoonful album in three decades, was released in 1999.
JIMMIE SPHEERIS - Isle Of View (1971) + The Original Tap Dancing Kid (1973) 
Jimmie Spheeris (1949 - 1984) was an American singer-songwriter who released four albums in the 1970s on the Columbia Records and Epic Records labels. His debut LP, Isle of View, was issued on Columbia in 1971 and made him the subject of a rabid cult following, a fan base boosted with the 1973 release of The Original Tap-Dancing Kid. In tandem with producer Henry Lewy, Spheeris resurfaced in 1975 with The Dragon Is Dancing, but after The Ports of the Heart appeared a year later, he found himself without a recording contract, and excepting a 1980 single, "Hold Tight," he released no new music for close to a decade. Finally, in 1984, Spheeris returned to the studio to begin work on his comeback LP; tragically, he was killed by a drunk driver on the morning of July 4, 1984, just hours after the record's completion. The album, simply titled Spheeris, was privately issued later that same year.
THREE MAN ARMY - A Third of a Lifetime (1970) & Mahesha (1974)
Three Man Army was a forgettable British hard rock band of the early '70s, playing period guitar-slanted music that sounded like warm-up fodder for bigger stadium acts. The constants in the lineup were Adrian Gurvitz and Paul Gurvitz, both of whom had been in Gun. After Gun expired, Adrian went to America to play with Buddy Miles, while Paul formed Parrish & Gurvitz. The pair reunited, however, to record the debut Three Man Army album, A Third of a Lifetime, using several different drummers (including Miles, Carmine Appice from Vanilla Fudge, and Mike Kellie from Spooky Tooth). Tony Newman, formerly of Sounds Incorporated and the Rod Stewart Group, joined for the next (and final) two Three Man Army albums. While there were rehearsals for a fourth LP, it was never started, as Newman left to join David Bowie's band and the Gurvitz brothers teamed up with Ginger Baker to record three albums as the Baker Gurvitz Army.
The first Three Man Army album, despite its confidently trio-based title, actually teamed Paul Gurvitz and Adrian Gurvitz with a number of different drummers, including Buddy Miles, Spooky Tooth's Mike Kellie, and Vanilla Fudge's Carmine Appice. Though the Gurvitzes were able at mimicking the cliches of early-'70s hard rock, their material was ordinary to the point of dullness, and their guitar soloing stereotypical almost to the point of unwitting self-parody. A good number of British bands in the Led Zeppelin-Deep Purple spectrum did this kind of stuff better. There were occasional glimmers of something that went outside the genre's narrowest bounds a bit of pop harmonizing in "Three Man Army," acoustic guitar flavorings for "Agent Man" and "See What I Took," blues-soul organ improvisation in "Midnight," a strange lyrical grounding for "Butter Queen" ("if your name is Barbara, how come they call you butter queen?" they ask rhetorically). The two best tracks were the least typical "Together" is much more Beatlesque early-'70s rock with a hippie attitude (and a synthesizer) than it is hard rock, and "A Third of a Lifetime" is a genuinely pretty orchestrated instrumental ballad.
For Three Man Army's second album, their power trio lineup stabilized with the recruitment of Tony Newman for the drummer's chair (the first album, A Third of a Lifetime, had featured several drummers). A Third of a Lifetime had been journeyman early British hard rock with a few glimpses of more satisfyingly gentle and melodic moods. Unfortunately, Mahesha put even greater emphasis on their pedestrian hard rock chops and even more pedestrian material, which at its best could only approximate a sub-Led Zeppelin (as the chorus of "Come Down to Earth" certainly does). Sure, you could hear differing inflections from time to time, like the funky rhythm of "Can't Leave the Summer," the tender pop melodics in sections of "Take a Look at the Light," and weirdest of all the pompous instrumental arrangement of "My Yiddish Mama," which segues into the far more conventional strutting hard rock of "Hold On." Ultimately, however, it's bottom-bill fare that brings to mind images of restless audiences starting to catcall for the headliners. Mahesha was also issued by Reprise under the title Three Man Army.
LUCIFER'S FRIEND - Too Late To Hate (2016) & Black Moon (2019)
Lucifer's Friend is a hard rock band, formed in Hamburg in 1970 by guitarist Peter Hesslein, singer John Lawton, bassist Dieter Horns, keyboardist Peter Hecht, and drummer Joachim Reitenbach. The group was an early practitioner of heavy metal and progressive rock; they also incorporated elements of jazz and fusion into their music, especially in their fourth album Banquet of 1974. Beyond heavy metal, the band has been cited, too, as one of the pioneers of doom metal, helping to define both genres due to their heavy sound and dark oriented lyrics of their acclaimed debut Lucifer's Friend of 1970, and returning to their roots in 1981 with Mean Machine, although more influenced by speed metal. Although Lucifer's Friend played a lot of musical styles during their career including hard rock, soul, funk rock, jazz fusion, AOR and progressive rock, they also ventured into early heavy metal on their 1970 self-titled debut as well as some of their early '80s material. Originally the band was called Asterix and released a self-titled psychedelic-oriented album in 1970, but the name was soon changed to Lucifer's Friend. In August of 2014, John Lawton announced the reunion of the band's original lineup to tour in 2015 after almost 40 years since their last gig.
2016 release from the veteran rock band. Original members John Lawton (ex-Uriah Heep), Peter Hesslein and Dieter Horns thrilled fans when they put Lucifer's Friend back together in 2015. They've been headlining rock festivals ever since, but this is their first true new studio album since 1981! A bonus live version of "When You're Gone" joins "Demolition Man," "I Will Be There," "Sea of Promises," "Tears" and more.
If ‘Black Moon’ doesn’t quite reach the heady heights/atmosphere of the early 1970s when John Lawton released a string of albums pre-Uriah Heep, we still have no right to expect a brand new offering in 2019. Lucifer’s Friend also features the two original members Peter Hesslein and Dieter Horns who both have the distinction that they formed the basis of James Last’s rhythm section and a parallel career playing “non-stop dancing” with the German pop bandleader.
STEPPENWOLF - Steppenwolf Live (1970) & For Ladies Only (1971)
Steppenwolf Live is primarily a collection of recordings from a single concert early in 1970 at the Santa Monica Civic Center by Steppenwolf staged in support of their 1969 album Monster. Released in April 1970 by Dunhill Records, it contains Steppenwolf's well-known hits: "Born to Be Wild", "Magic Carpet Ride" and "The Pusher", as well as most of the songs from Monster, including the top 40 hit live version of "Monster". The song "Hey Lawdy Mama" was recorded in the studio, but edited in a manner to segue directly into "Magic Carpet Ride", thus retaining the album's "live" feel. On original LP copies of Steppenwolf Live, "Hey Lawdy Mama" and "Magic Carpet Ride" are banded together as a single track, with a total running time of 7:13. A differently edited version of "Hey Lawdy Mama", incorporating a fade-out instead of the segue, was released as a single. The songs "Twisted" and "Corrina, Corrina" are also studio versions which were eq'd and given some delay effects to match the actual live recordings and overdubbed with audience sounds at the beginning and ending of the songs. The Bag by Kustom is one of the earliest talk boxes. These devices route the guitar signal from the driver of a speaker through a plastic tube held in the player's mouth. The sound of that is picked up from a stage microphone. John Kay was one of the first professional musicians to use a talk box having done so in 1969 studio recordings.
For Ladies Only is a political concept album mainly about feminism but with several more conventional songs about romance as well, both unusual themes for Steppenwolf. Some critics saw the album as sexist, citing the lyrics of the songs and a photo of a car shaped like a penis alongside the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the gatefold. The album saw the band hinting toward the progressive rock movement that was popular at the time with more complex arrangements and sophisticated keyboard playing, particularly on the title track. Like their previous album, it was accompanied by two minor hit singles which fell just short of the Top 40. Lead guitarist Kent Henry from Blues Image, replaced Larry Byrom prior to recording this album. The album was Steppenwolf's last of new material released prior to the band's initial breakup in February 1972.
PETER FRAMPTON BAND - All Blues (2019)
The Peter Frampton Band’s kicks off their first night of touring with a No.1 album, with their new album All Blues debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard Blues Albums chart. This marks the first-ever all blues album for the legendary rocker, who was inspired to record All Blues after playing a number of classic blues tunes live while he toured with Steve Miller Band. All Blues also marks Frampton’s best overall sales numbers and chart positions since the release of his album Fingerprints in 2006.
Along with his bandmates Adam Lester, Rob Arthur and Dan Wojciechowski, All Blues also features guest appearances from Sonny Landreth, Steve Morse, Kim Wilson and Larry Carlton. All Blues captures the live energy of Frampton’s road band in the studio for the first time. The covers record sees Frampton and the band putting their own spin on iconic blues tracks including ‘Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover’ by Bo Diddley, BB King’s ‘The Thrill Is Gone’, ‘Georgia On My Mind’ by Ray Charles and ‘She Caught The Katy’ by Taj Mahal, among others.
BIG BROTHER feat. ERNIE JOSEPH
What do we know about these guys? Not much. Under his given name Ernie Orosco, front man/singer/guitarist Joseph had previously played with a number of Santa Barbara, California-based acts including Ernie and the Emporers and Ernie's Funnys. He'd also recorded a pair of interesting late-'60s albums as a member of Giant Crab (see separate entries). Following the breakup of Giant Crab, Orosco/Joseph apparently relocated to Los Angeles, where he formed Big Brother (not to be confused with Janis Joplin's original outfit). Backed by guitarist Cory Colt, drummer Steve Dunwoodle (aka Steve D.) and multi-instrumentalist brother Ruben (aka Ruben the Jet), the quartet attracted the attention of the small All American label.
Produced by Bill Holmes who'd handled production for the two earlier Giant Crab LPs, 1970's "Confusion" came as a major change in direction to anyone familiar with Orosco/Joseph's earlier pop/lite-psych moves. With all four members received writing credits, material such as 'Heart Full of Rain', 'L.L.A. (Lubricated Love Affair)' and the bluesy 'Heavy Load' offered up a set of Hendrix-styled guitar pyrotechnics. Elsewhere, the heavily phased 'E.S.P.' (sounding like a strange reworking of The Pretty Thing's 'L.S.D.') was actually a reworking of Giant Crab's final single. Given the abundance of guitar rockers, at least to our ears, the standout track was the atypical ballad 'Wake Up In the Morning'. Sweet and sincere, its a beautiful effort. Sure, it ain't the most original LP you'll hear this year and parts of the percussion heavy closing suite 'Gravus Delictum (Unforgiveable Sin)' drag, but the performances were enthusiastic and its an album I play on a regular basis. (Courtesy of Dan McClean, the LP also sports a great black and silver period piece cover).
Supposedly "South East Tour" was originally released in 1971 under All American catalog number AA-5773-LPD. Not that we're experts or anything, but we've never seen an original copy of the album which probably makes Akarma's 1998 reissue your only real choice if you want to hear this set. The title and packaging certainly give you the impression this is a live set, but that's not really the story here. Half of the ten tracks are pulled from Joseph's earlier band - A Giant Crab Comes Forth. (I'm too lazy to pull the LP, but I think the songs are all pulled the first Giant Crab LP). The other five selections are billed as previously unreleased efforts, but tracks such as "Keeping the Faith" and "How Many Times" don't sound like concert recordings to our ears. In terms of quality, the new stuff varies from ponderous boogie ("Satisfied Woman") to mildly entertaining ("Truthfulness"). To be honest, Giant Crab tracks such as the fuzz guitar propelled "Hotline Conversation" and the blue-eyed soul-ish "Save Me (Save Me)" provide the highlights.
MIKE COOPER - Five Albums On Three Discs (2019)
For the past 40 years Mike Cooper has been an international musical explorer, performing and recording, solo and in a number of inspired groupings and a variety of genres. Initially a folk-blues guitarist and singer songwriter his work has diversified to include improvised and electronic music, live music for silent films, radio art and sound installations. He is also a music journalist, writing features for magazines, particularly on Pacific music and musicians, a visual artist, film and video maker, collector of Hawaiian shirts and appears on more than 60 records to date.
This important release showcases a musician influential in the blues boom of the 1960s who, by the 1970s, was adapting that form to other styles. From the next decade and still today, the self-taught Mike Cooper has been in the avant-garde of world fusion music allied to the electronic revolution while never ignoring formative roots. Not easy to categorise (like this untitled box-set!) because always applying his vision to a known or less known format, simply-put Cooper is an improvising outsider always in the swim. Quite a legacy, and quite a voyage!
GALLIARD - Strange Pleasure (1969) + New Dawn (1970) 
Galliard were in on the ground floor of the British progressive rock movement, releasing their debut album, Strange Pleasure, in 1969 and mixing jazz, rock, folk, and psychedelic influences. The following year, New Dawn pretty much picked up where its predecessor left off, with one key exception. The band had initially featured two wind players, Dave Caswell and John Smith; though Smith was absent from New Dawn, a whole brace of additional horn players had been brought in to augment the sound. This was during the period when the likes of Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears (and their British equivalents) were starting out, and brass-rock was all the rage. That's not to sest that Galliard were trying to ride the brass-rock gravy train -- their work is too skilled and varied for that -- but simply that they were right in time for the Zeitgeist. Some cuts, like "New Dawn Breaking" and "Open Up Your Mind," make full use of the horn section, coming off like a cross between early Chicago and jazzy U.K. prog rockers Colosseum, but that's far from the dominant sound on this eclectic outing. Lead guitarist Richard Pannell's sitar work on "Ask for Nothing" contributes to a swirling Eastern atmosphere that seems soaked in a kind of psychedelic afterglow from the late ‘60s. "Winter -- Spring -- Summer" is an ambitious suite full of shifting dynamics and settings, while the gentle, acoustic-based "And Smile Again" echoes Jethro Tull or the more folk-oriented moments of Traffic. "Premonition" is a straight-up jazz-rock instrumental pushed along by Tommy Thomas' congas, where Pannell and the horns get to stretch out a bit. Closing track "In Your Mind's Eyes" opens with a couple of minutes of atmospheric, otherworldly tones before bringing things home with a blast of bold-faced, brass-filled prog rock. The striking thing is just how good Galliard were at all of the varied styles they attempt on New Dawn, but sadly, it was to be their last album.
RUMPLESTILTSKIN - Rumplestiltskin (1970)  & Black Magician (1972) 
A uniquely talented British heavy rock band, Rumplestiltskin was the brainchild of American producer Shel Talmy. It was his idea to form a 'supergroup' that might rival the highly successful outfits that dominated the early Seventies, such as Status Quo and Led Zeppelin. Although "Rumplestiltskin' wasn't a hit, it was nevertheless a serious project, as can be heard on the eight powerful tracks on this CD re-issue of a classy album, first released in 1970. The band also featured singer Peter Lee Stirling, who later scored a hit single with "Beautiful Sunday" under the name of Daniel Boone. Original vinyl artwork in square CD digi- sleeve format (card wallet - no plastic) plus inserted fold-out poster. Booklet with authoritative and extensive liner notes by respected author and journalist Chris Welch. Expertly remastered - superb sound.
Their second release "Black Magician" have opted for a smoother, more sophisticated sound. If you're fan of lighter prog fare find stuff to love here. An incredibly rare second album by Rumplestiltskin, an unusual progressive rock studio project, originally put together by producer Shel Talmy. Their debut album was released in 1971 and featured an all star cast of top session players. Among them were Alan Hawkshaw, Alan Parker, Herbie Flowers, Peter Sterling and legendary drummer Clem Cattini. This 1972 follow up has a strong magical theme and the nine tracks include such potent items as Lord Of The Heaven and The Earth , Can t You Feel It and I Am The Last Man . A tenth bonus item is a version of the old Karl Denver hit Wimoweh . As an example of session men taking their cue from young prog rockers, this album provides an insight into how record industry professionals responded to the challenges of the Seventies. Clem Cattini tells the story of the band in the fascinating CD liner notes.
LYNYRD SKYNYRD - Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991 (1991) & The Last Rebel (1993)
Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991 is the sixth studio album by American Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. It was the band's first new studio album since 1977's Street Survivors and the first following a 1977 plane crash that claimed the lives of three members of the band. Lead vocalist Ronnie Van Zant and lead guitarist Steve Gaines perished in a 1977 plane crash in Mississippi, and Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991 is the first album to feature their replacements, vocalist Johnny Van Zant and guitarist Randall Hall. It also marks the return of original guitarist Ed King, who parted ways with the band while touring in support of Nuthin' Fancy in 1975. It was also the final Lynyrd Skynyrd album to feature drummer Artimus Pyle, who survived the crash. Guitarist and founding member Allen Collins also survived the 1977 plane crash but died in 1990 from chronic pneumonia. "Smokestack Lightning" was released as a single with accompanying music video and met with moderate success.
The Last Rebel is the seventh studio album by Lynyrd Skynyrd, released in 1993. It is the last album to feature drummer Kurt Custer and the last to feature guitarist Randall Hall.
ROBBIE ROBERTSON - Testimony (2016)
Released as a companion to Robbie Robertson's 2016 memoir of the same name, Testimony is the singer/songwriter's own take on his musical history an 18-track compilation that samples from every era of his career, from his time supporting Ronnie Hawkins to his stabs at moody trip-hop. While the book ends when the Band disbands, Testimony finds space for selections from his solo career five songs total, with 1991's Storyville earning the largest play and the electronica aspects of 1998's Contract from the Underworld of Red Boy and 2011's How to Become Clairvoyant diminished. Still, the Band naturally figures heavily into the equation here, but Robertson avoids his biggest hits along with some of his best-known songs. Instead, he culls heavily from the Band's Live at the Academy of Music 1971 performance it's better known as the 1972 LP Rock of Ages and the 2005 Band box A Musical History, which is where all the early cuts from Levon Helm & the Hawks and the Robertson-sung "Twilight (Song Sketch)" were first released. If Testimony is light on rarities, what matters is context. By piecing together all these elements of his career including his time backing Hawkins ("Come Love") and Bob Dylan ("Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" from Before the Flood) he paints a fairly rich portrait of his musical achievements, so Testimony does indeed wind up being a musical memoir.
THE HOLLIES - At Abbey Road 1963 - 1989 (1997/98)
Until the likes of Rhino or Columbia/Legacy get their chnace to put out a definite Hollies anthology, this is the best choice for someone looking to get the full flavor of the best British harmony band, and one of the most reliable 60s hit machines this side of Creedence Clearwater Revival. The Hollies deserve to be mentioned in the same reverential tones reserved for the Who, the Stones, the Kinks and even the Fab Ones, and the At Abbey Road trilogy is ample proof of their deserved place in that pantheon of British Invasion groups. 72 tracks on 3 discs covering three dfecades, and alnost too much good stuff to handle at one sitting. Disc One has all their earliest singles and B-sides, up to the songs that broke them big in the states Bus Stop and Stop! Stop! Stop! The vocal belnd of Alan Clarke, Tony Hicks and Graham Nash, who were also a formidable writing team. Disc Two has the remainder of their US sixties hits (except fro Jennifer Eccles, for some reason), especially their best US smash, the anthemic "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother). Disc Three is less comeplete, omitting quite a few singles, possibly because they were not recorded at Abbey Road. You won;t find "Long Cool Woman" on this collection, for example, but you will find "The Air That I Breathe" and their cover of Springsteen's "Sandy" which easily somokjes the Boss's original version. Throughout, you get ample proof that Tony Hicks, who has been with the group since its first single, is one of the great unbsung guitar heroes of British rock. He has such versatily and such a sense of the right sound to flavor the mix that re really beings up there with the likes of George Harrison, Brian Jones and Pete Townsend.
THE ALLMAN BETTS BAND - Down To The River (2019)
Down To The River is the highly anticipated debut album from the Allman Betts Band recorded at the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. The album was produced by Matt Ross-Spang. The Allman Betts Band consists of Devon Allman (guitar/vocals), Duane Betts (guitar/vocals), Berry Oakley Jr. (bass), Johnny Stachela (guitar), John Ginty (keyboards), R Scott Bryan (percussion), and John Lum (drums).
In the summer of 2018, Duane Betts joined the Devon Allman Project on a tour as Allman and Betts performed their own original material along with a few Allman Brothers Band covers. The two began writing music together on the back of their tour bus for a new album. Allman (the son of Gregg Allman) and Duane (the son of Dickey Betts) made a phone call to Berry Oakley Jr. (son of Berry Oakley) and the Allman Betts Band was born.
DAVE MASON - Alone Together (1970) & Headkeeper (1972)  & It's Like You Never Left (1973) & Dave Mason (1974) 
David Mason is an English singer-songwriter and guitarist from Worcester, who first found fame with the rock band Traffic. Over the course of his career, Mason has played and recorded with many notable pop and rock musicians, including Paul McCartney, George Harrison, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Steve Winwood, Fleetwood Mac, Delaney & Bonnie, Leon Russell and Cass Elliot. One of Mason's best known songs is "Feelin' Alright", recorded by Traffic in 1968 and later by many other performers, including Joe Cocker, whose version of the song was a hit in 1969. For Traffic, he also wrote "Hole in My Shoe", a psychedelic pop song that became a hit in its own right. "We Just Disagree", Mason's 1977 solo US hit, written by Jim Krueger, has become a staple of US classic hits and adult contemporary radio playlists. In 2004, Mason was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a founding member of Traffic. Within the same year, Dave started a new electric guitars company with business partner and Industrial Designer Ravi Sawhney. RKS Guitars was showcased at the 2004 NAMM show in Anaheim, CA.
Alone Together was the debut solo album by Dave Mason. Performing with Mason was a roster of guest musicians, including Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, Leon Russell, Jim Capaldi, Rita Coolidge, Carl Radle and Jim Gordon. Billboard Magazine (1970) wrote, "Mason with help from friends Jim Capaldi and Leon Russell proves his mastery of the rock idiom once and for all. The lyric content and music content of every song catches the senses of the listener and creates excitement". Bill Shapiro of the Rock and Roll Review (1991) says, Mason's "reputation as a composer, guitarist, and singer of the first rank is both merited and in evidence here". The song, "Only You Know and I Know", received a good deal of album-oriented rock radio airplay and reached number 42 in the USA, a major commercial success.
Dave Mason's solo career, which had started so promisingly with Alone Together in 1970 and taken an odd, but pleasant detour with Dave Mason & Cass Elliot in 1971, hit a speed bump in 1972, when he entered into a dispute with his record label, Blue Thumb during preparations for a new album. As a result, Blue Thumb put together the half-a-studio-album Mason had completed with half of a live album and issued the consumer-confusing Headkeeper, which Mason denounced publicly and asked fans not to buy! Heard today, it's still a confusing album, though the first five tracks are enjoyable music in the manner of Alone Together and the last five are well-performed concert versions of such favorites as "Feelin' Alright?" and "Pearly Queen."
After a protracted legal battle with Blue Thumb Records, Dave Mason finally signed to Columbia and released the hopefully titled It's Like You Never Left, his first new studio solo album in more than three years. Mason received prominent vocal assistance from Graham Nash, who helped turn tracks like "Every Woman" into singers' showcases. (Other guests included Stevie Wonder and George Harrison.) The songs had all the catchiness, but not as much of the individual flavor of Mason's best work. And the modest commercial acceptance the album enjoyed made it apparent that he would have to rebuild some career momentum.
Dave Mason is a 1974 album by Dave Mason and was released on the CBS Records label. Using his touring band, which included keyboard player Mike Finnigan and guitarist Jim Krueger, Dave Mason turned in a strong pop/rock collection on his second, self-titled Columbia album. "Show Me Some Affection" was one of those songs that should have been a hit single, Mason recut a fuller version of "Every Woman," originally heard on It's Like You Never Left, and the album also included Mason's version of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower," in an arrangement patterned after the one by Jimi Hendrix, on which Mason had played six years earlier.
PRE PURPLE PEOPLE - Rarities From The Late Beat Age (2001)
This anthology gathers 23 odds and ends that assorted one-time members of Deep Purple recorded before joining Deep Purple, sometimes as session musicians. As such it's more of a useful compendium of missing bits and pieces for Deep Purple fans than it is an even, high-quality listen, but musically it's not bad, with the occasional above-average cut. Ritchie Blackmore's represented by two Joe Meek-produced instrumentals on a rare 1965 single, as well as session work on a couple of Bob Dylan Basement Tapes covers that ended up on a 1968 single by Boz (aka Boz Burrell, who eventually joined King Crimson and Bad Company). Blackmore's also heard on an unremarkable lightly psychedelicized 1968 pop single by Anan, and Blackmore, Ian Paice, and Jon Lord play on four 1968 songs by Sun Dragon, again in a jaunty psych-pop style that's heavier on the pop than the psych. More interesting are four rarities by Episode Six, the 1960s British Invasion band that included Ian Gillan. That band's catalog is well-represented by a couple of other CDs, but this quartet of tunes is not on those. "Have You Ever Been There" is a previously unreleased folk-pop ballad by Roger Glover; "Love Hate Revenge" is heard in its American single version, with a different psychedelic instrumental break of weird oscillating sounds; and "I Am a Cloud" and "I Am the Boss," taken from a March 1969 radio broadcast, are different from the versions that show up on the Episode Six compilation The Radio One Club Sessions. Santa Barbara Machine Head was an early supergroup of sorts featuring Ron Wood, Jon Lord, and drummer Twink, although their three tracks (previously on the compilation Blues Anytime, Vol. 3) are routine heavy blues-rockers. The Maze, with Paice on drums, made subpar harmony pop on the 1967 single included here. Finally, the Government included future Deep Purple singer David Coverdale; the four songs here were on a self-pressed 1971 EP, consisting of unremarkable heavy horn-rock covers of hits by Chicago, the Boxtops, Cher, and the Rolling Stones.
THE DOORS - An American Prayer (1978) [1995, Remastered with Bonus Tracks]
Jim Morrison (December 8, 1943 - July 3, 1971)
An American Prayer is the ninth and final studio album by the Doors. In 1978, seven years after lead singer Jim Morrison died and five years after the remaining members of the band broke up, Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger, and John Densmore reunited and recorded backing tracks over Morrison's poetry (originally recorded in 1969 and 1970). Other pieces of music and spoken word recorded by the Doors and Morrison were also used in the audio collage, such as dialogue from Morrison's film HWY: An American Pastoral and snippets from jam sessions. The album received mixed reviews and still divides critics, yet it has managed a platinum certification in the US. When the album was originally released, longtime Doors' producer Paul A. Rothchild labeled the album a "rape of Jim Morrison". Rothchild claimed that he had heard all of the reels of master tapes from both the 1969 and the 1970 poetry sessions, insisting that the three remaining Doors failed to realize Morrison's original intent for an audio presentation of the poetry. Morrison himself, prior to leaving for Paris, had approached composer Lalo Schifrin as a possible contributor for the music tracks meant to accompany the poetry, with no participation from any of the other Doors members. In addition, he had developed some conception of the album cover art work by January 1971, and was in correspondence with artist T. E. Breitenbach to design this cover in the form of a triptych (a three-paneled painting with various images embedded in each panel).
THE COCKNEY REBEL - A Steve Harley Anthology (2006)
The Cockney Rebel – A Steve Harley Anthology is a remastered three-disc box-set anthology by Steve Harley, released in 2006. The anthology features material from Cockney Rebel, Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel and Harley's solo career. It covers all of Harley's albums, spanning over 33 years, from 1973's The Human Menagerie to 2005's The Quality of Mercy. The anthology was released by EMI Music UK. It was released on CD in the UK only. Today, the physical CD release is out-of-print. The anthology was compiled by project manager Nigel Reeve and designed by Chris Peyton. The album's sleeve notes were written by Geoff Barton of Classic Rock magazine. Barton is a long-term fan of Harley. The final track on Disc 3, the live song "Only You", is highlighted as being previously unreleased, although it had originally appeared on the 1999 live album Stripped to the Bare Bones. Following its release, Harley spoke of the anthology in an October 2006 diary entry for his official website: "The Anthology is selling here in bucket-loads. I can't deny I'm proud of it. EMI have done a good job in all respects. You can't please everyone, but the 42 tracks seem a pretty fair reflection of my career so far." He later added in a January 2007 entry: "The Anthology release was the equivalent of the gold watch for long-service, but gave me lots of warm feelings."
BERT SOMMER - The Road To Travel (1968)
Bert Sommer (1949 – 1990) was an American folk singer, songwriter and actor. He was briefly a member of baroque pop group The Left Banke, co-writing and singing lead on the "Ivy Ivy"/"And Suddenly" single in 1967. At Woodstock, Sommer's performance of Simon & Garfunkel's "America" received a standing ovation. He wrote "We're All Playing In The Same Band" at and about Woodstock, and his recording peaked at #48 on the Billboard Hot 100 on 12 September 1970. Sommer also played Woof in the original Broadway production of Hair in 1969-70 (his hair is on the playbill for Hair) and "Flatbush" of Kaptain Kool and the Kongs on The Krofft Supershow in 1976. He did not reprise the role in the second season. Sommer died in Troy, New York on July 23, 1990, after a long battle with a respiratory illness. His last performance was in Troy on June 11, 1990, with his friend Johnny Rabb.
BORDERLINE - Sweet Dreams and Quiet Desires (1973) & The Second Album (1974) 
Composed of brothers Dave and Jon Gershen and Jim Rooney, Borderline was at the center of the fertile '70s Woodstock scene. And when we say the center, we mean the center; not only did Rooney manage Albert Grossman's Bearsville Sound Studio, where Sweet Dreams and Quiet Desires was recorded in 1972, but it seems like virtually every famous musician in a 10-mile radius played on the record, including Neil Young's favorite sideman Ben Keith, fiddlers supreme Vassar Clements and Ken Kosek, drummer Billy Mundi, saxophonist David Sanborn, Band producer John Simon on piano and Band members Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson (billed as 'Dick Handle' and 'Campo Malaqua,' respectively) on keyboards. The reclusive Van Morrison even chipped in with a personal testimonial. So, how come most folks haven't heard of, much less heard, this record? Well, usually in these cases, it's the record label's fault; and considering that Borderline's Sweet Dreams and Quiet Desires came out on an imprint of United Artists, Avalanche, that only survived long enough to release a small number of records, it's a pretty safe bet that promotion of the album was nil. The story gets even worse for Borderline recorded a year later in 1973, The Second Album (featuring such sidemen as the Brecker Brothers and Amos Garrett) was shelved by United Artists and didn't even see release until 2001, when EMI Japan dropped a now out of print and very expensive CD mastered from the only audio source they could find, a copy of an old acetate. Both records are considered country rock classics, eminently tasteful and redolent of that mellow, wistful, early '70s Woodstock vibe and both see an American CD release for the first time on this Real Gone release. Even better, we found the thought-to-be-lost original two-track album master tapes for both albums and remastered them at Capitol Studios (the Japanese CD of Sweet Dreams released in 2000 did not use the original mix)! Throw in new notes by Richie Unterberger featuring quotes from the three original members and photos from Jon Gershen's private archive and this release is an essential missing thread in the Americana music tapestry.
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