V.A. - Looking Through A Glass Onion: The Beatles Psychedelic Songbook 1966-72 (2020)
Everybody’s got one, everybody’s got one. A Beatles cover, I mean. It is well known that many of the best-loved Beatles songs were never singles. The band tended to leave their singles off their albums so as not to short-change fans. This policy created rich opportunities for pop hopefuls chasing a sure-fire hit. Each new Beatles release was trailed by a flurry of cover versions vying for chart success and as the original records became more progressive, the covers followed suit. Looking Through A Glass Onion – The Beatles Psychedelic Songbook 1966-72, a new 3CD set from Grapefruit, collects 68 such interpretations, many previously unreleased. The set has been compiled by David Wells, and is adorned by kaleidoscopic collages by Andy Morten utilising, amongst other things, artwork by Yellow Submarine designer Heinz Edelmann, the Walrus and the Carpenter as rendered by Lewis Carroll’s illustrator John Tenniel and a typeface based on Joe Ephgrave’s calligraphy for the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band drumskin. It’s an attractive evocation of the world these songs live in.
ARETHA FRANKLIN & KING CURTIS - Don't Fight The Feeling: Live At Fillmore West (2005)
The four CDs in this Rhino Handmade set available only over the Internet unfortunately contains the complete concerts of Aretha Franklin and King Curtis' stand at the Fillmore West in March of 1971 (not February as identified on the original LPs). Franklin's performances at the Fillmore were her first, and producer Jerry Wexler came up with the idea of using studio players in lieu of her regular band. Franklin had worked with Curtis previously in the studio and the players he brought to the table included Cornell Dupree, drummer Bernard Purdie, Pancho Morales on congas, bassist Jerry Jemmont, and electric pianist Truman Thomas. In addition, the band enlisted Billy Preston to play organ and also enlisted the aid of the Memphis Horns. In other words, this was a group that could actually push the Queen of Soul out onto a ledge and was a match for her vocal power.
The Mermphis Horns introduced the shows each night and then brought Curtis and his band out for an opening set. And from night one, as compiled and heard on his Live at Fillmore West album, these sets were smoking, in the pocket, and greasy, with highlights like "Whole Lotta Love," "Them Changes," "Whiter Shade of Pale," and a burning cover of "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)." When Franklin does walk onto the stage, she struts and goes into high gear with "Respect." Her performance on that opening night includes amazing renditions of "Spirit in the Dark" (with Ray Charles guesting), "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "Love the One You're With" (also with Charles), and "Dr. Feelgood." The original album is augmented with tunes that didn't make the cut, including the oft-bootlegged "Call Me." In listening to these shows, what is striking is realizing that the majority of the Live at Fillmore West LP was taken from the last night of performances. The previous two evenings here then are startling in contrast, often in intensity and sometimes in sheer grit. The opening night's read of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" is superior to either of the others, though sonically it's a bit thinner. Another gem is the version of Bobby Bland's "Share Your Love With Me." That was left off the original album. In all there are 42 unreleased performances In addition to wonderful between-song banter and inside jokes, the true flow of the shows, the enthusiasm of the audiences, and raw, in-your-face performances put this set in a league of its own. There are also a few decent photographs and an authoritative yet friendly liner essay by British critic David Nathan. This is a limited edition and most likely won't be on the Rhino Handmade shelves long. Aural history can be dry at times and of interest to those who have a penchant for such things. Aretha Franklin and King Curtis' Don't Fight the Feeling is as saucy as it gets.
V.A. - Willie Nelson: American Outlaw - All-Star Concert (2020)
This once-in-a-lifetime concert event took place Saturday, January 12, 2019 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN. This historic event honored living legend Willie Nelson and featured his greatest hits performed by today’s biggest superstars. Willie: Life & Songs Of An American Outlaw featured star-studded performances by Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss, The Avett Brothers, Bobby Bare, Chris Stapleton, Dave Matthews, Emmylou Harris, Eric Church, George Strait, Jack Johnson, Jamey Johnson, Jason Isbell, Jimmy Buffett, John Mellencamp, Kris Kristofferson, Lee Ann Womack, Lukas Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Margo Price, Micah Nelson, Nathaniel Rateliff, Norah Jones and The Little Willies, Ray Benson, Rodney Crowell, Sheryl Crow, Steve Earle, Sturgill Simpson, Susan Tedeschi & Derek Trucks, and Vince Gill. This major event was filmed and recorded for a major broadcast special slated to air on A&E Network in 2019. Performance highlights include “Willie Got Me Stoned” (Performed by Jack Johnson) and Nelson classics such as “Whiskey River”(Performed by Chris Stapleton), “Me and Paul” (Performed by Eric Church), “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain” (Performed by Vince Gill), along with duets “The Harder They Come” (with Jimmy Buffett), “Crazy” (with Dave Matthews), “You Were Always On My Mind” (with Chris Stapleton and Derek Trucks), “After The Fire Is Gone” (with Sheryl Crow), and an All-Star performance of “On The Road Again.” In addition to these star-studded performances, music history was made when Nelson and George Strait performed together for the very first time on “Sing One With Willie” and “Good Hearted Woman.” “Willie and his songs mean everything to music artists and fans alike. Like Willie, they have inspired us to remain true to ourselves in every possible way. This incredible lineup of artists on this show is a testament to that,” says Blackbird Presents CEO Keith Wortman.
LUCINDA WILLIAMS - Runnin' Down a Dream: A Tribute to Tom Petty (2020)
Lucinda Williams is a daughter of the American South, born in Louisiana, who is proud of her heritage while also understanding the contradictions and the baggage that come with that. Tom Petty was a native Floridian who also loved the South without harboring illusions about it, and so it makes sense that Williams would be a Petty fan, and not simply as one gifted songwriter respecting another. As part of her Lu’s Jukebox series, designed to help independent music venues shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, Williams has cut a set of her favorite Tom Petty tunes, and Runnin’ Down a Dream: A Tribute to Tom Petty is long on songs about Southern life, including “Gainesville,” “Down South,” “Rebels,” “Southern Accents,” and “Louisiana Rain.” It’s on these songs that she seems most committed, with a sense of shared experience informing her vocals and adding depth to her delivery. That said, Williams sounds very much at home on all of the 13 songs she covers; “You Wreck Me” feels like it was written with her defiant vulnerability in mind; she brings a sweet and subtle funk to “Wildflowers,” and she and her band make the most of the killer groove at the heart of “You Don't Know How It Feels.” Williams recorded this material live in the studio with her road band backing her up, and that was the right approach for this music—if the wobble in her voice is more pronounced than it once was, it works like a charm in this context, and the players find their way through the melodies with assurance, control, and joyous force. The simplicity of Runnin’ Down a Dream is one of its virtues; these covers were documented with love and without overthinking the process, and hearing Williams explore the world inside Petty’s songs will engage fans of either artist.
THE NEW YORK ROCK & ROLL ENSEMBLE
The New York Rock & Roll Ensemble was a rock band active in the late 1960s and early 1970s, whose music was described as "classical baroque rock".
An apocryphal tale says Juilliard Music Conservatory-trained musicians Michael Kamen, Marty Fulterman, and Dorian Rudnytsky decided in the late '60s in New York that they could make bigger bucks as rock stars than as classical musicians. The results of this legendary experiment were inconclusive. Forming the New York Rock and Roll Ensemble, they broke with tradition on their first two albums -- 1968's self-titled debut and Faithful Friends the next year by using classical music instruments in rock songs and using rock instruments on classical pieces. This fusion, daring at the time, impressed legendary conductor Leonard Bernstein so much that he invited the group to appear at one of his Young People's Concerts with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. For their third Atco release, Reflections, they collaborated with Greek composer Manos Hadjidakis, best known for scoring music for the movie Never on Sunday. Rhythm guitarist Brian Corrigan departed after the third album, and pedal steel guitar player Hank Devito joined. The band then shortened its name to New York Rock Ensemble and switched to Columbia. Released in 1971, Roll Over was their most overtly rock album to date and their biggest seller, although they fell well short of Led Zeppelin on the Billboard charts. The band dispersed after Freedomburger, although Rudnytsky, Fulterman, and Corrigan had one final shot with Flattering Foe.... Devito surfaced years later as a stalwart player in the bands of Rodney Crowell and Rosanne Cash. Only Kamen fulfilled the original trio's objective of successfully melding classical and pop music to make big bucks. After being music director for David Bowie's Diamond Dogs tour, he went on to a thriving career scoring films. After his score for Brazil gained him wide exposure, he hit the mother lode composing music for the Die Hard and Lethal Weapon series. In 1991, Kamen earned an Academy Award nomination for "(Everything I Do) I Do it for You," the Bryan Adams monster international pop smash hit from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Kamen has also worked with Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, Liona Boyd, Sting, Rod Stewart, Metallica, Kate Bush, Belinda Carlisle, the Chieftains, the Cranberries, Roger Daltrey, Eurythmics, John Mellencamp, Jim Croce, and many others.
ALAN WILSON - The Blind Owl (2013)
Alan Wilson (1943 – 1970) was an American musician, best known as the co-founder, leader, co-lead singer, and primary composer of the blues band Canned Heat.
His was the voice of the Woodstock generation who asked “baby, do you want to go” in the classic Canned Heat anthem “Going Up the Country.” Now Severn Records presents The Blind Owl, a two-CD compilation featuring Alan Wilson’s greatest works with the legendary band he helped form in 1965. Packaged in digipack format with cover art created by Josh Hunter, illustrator of The 27s book, The Blind Owl features 20 songs that clock in at over 60 minutes of satisfying electric blues boogie. In addition to the iconic “Going Up the Country” are the reflective “My Time Ain’t Long,” Little Walter’s “Mean Old World,” and the band’s breakout recording “On the Road Again” from their critically acclaimed Boogie with Canned Heat. Painfully awkward, the eccentric Wilson battled anxiety and bouts of depression as heard in “My Mistake” and “Change My Ways.” He was keenly attuned to environmental issues and in almost prophetic foretelling wrote about man’s negative impact on the planet in his lamenting “Poor Moon,” a theme found in many of his works. Fan favorite “Time Was” (still being performed by Canned Heat today) sheds light on tensions within the band, as the upbeat “Shake It and Break It” adapts lyrics from a song penned by Charley Patton, another of Wilson’s musical heroes. Dr. John serves as guest keyboardist on “An Owl Song” and the set concludes with “Childhood’s End,” the last installment of a nine part psychedelic symphony Wilson termed “Parthenogenesis.” In September of 1970 Wilson’s body was found on a hillside behind bandmate Bob Hite’s California home. An overdose of barbiturates cut his life short making him an unwitting member of the infamous 27 Club. Who knows what might have been for the Blind Owl. All that is certain is that his legacy remains strong today despite an early demise as proven in this collection of remarkable recordings. Alan Wilson: The Blind Owl is a must for any serious blues collector as well as fans of 60’s psychedelic rock.
GROUNDHOGS - Thank Christ For Groundhogs: The Liberty Years 1968-1972 (2010)
The Groundhogs are a British blues band founded in late 1963, that toured extensively in the 1960s, achieved prominence in the early 1970s and continued sporadically into the 21st century. Tony McPhee (guitar and vocals) is the sole constant member of the group, which has gone through many personnel changes but usually records and performs as a power trio.
2010 three CD set that contains their first five albums for Liberty Records (1968-72) plus bonus tracks. With a career that spans an impressive five decades, the Groundhogs are a veritable British Blues-Rock institution. With a line-up cemented around Peter Cruickshank on bass guitar, Ken Pustelnik on drums and fronted by singer, guitarist and principle songwriter Tony (T.S.) McPhee, this bluesy power trio were joined by harmonica toting Steve Rye for their full length debut, Scratching The Surface released on Liberty Records in 1968. With a reputation hard won by their incessant touring schedule, the band recorded Blues Obituary as a three piece in 1969, followed by Thanks Christ For The Bomb (1970), then hitting #5 with their most successful record, Split, in 1971 and rounded off by the fabulously titled Who Will Save The World? The Mighty Groundhogs (1972).
U.K. - U.K. (1978) & Danger Money (1979) & Night After Night [Live] (1979)
Featuring members of Yes, King Crimson, Roxy Music, and Soft Machine, U.K. was one of the most prominent progressive rock supergroups of the late '70s. Various members of U.K. - guitarist Allan Holdsworth, keyboardist/violinist Eddie Jobson, bassist/vocalist John Wetton, and drummer Bill Bruford - had all played together in their previous bands, but when the group formed in 1977, it was the first time all of the musicians had played together. Although the lineup was unstable - Holdsworth and Bruford left after one album, with former Frank Zappa drummer Terry Bozzio replacing Bruford - and the group was short-lived, the band maintained a dedicated cult following years after their early-'80s breakup. Prior to the formation of U.K., Bruford and Wetton had recently played together in King Crimson, and Holdsworth had played guitar on Bruford's debut album, 1978's Feels Good to Me. Shortly after the recording of Feels Good to Me, Bruford, Holdsworth, and Wetton formed U.K., adding former Roxy Music member Eddie Jobson to the lineup. U.K. released their eponymous debut in 1978 and the album captured the attention of progressive rock and jazz fusion fans, as did the record's supporting tour. At the conclusion of the tour, Holdsworth and Bruford left the group to form Bruford, leaving keyboardist Jobson as the band's leader. U.K. didn't hire another guitarist, but they did have Terry Bozzio replace Bruford. The new lineup of U.K. released Danger Money in 1979 and followed the album with a tour. Once the tour was completed, the group broke up. The posthumous live album Night After Night was released shortly afterward. Following the disbandment of U.K., Eddie Jobson became a member of Jethro Tull, Terry Bozzio formed Missing Persons, and John Wetton formed Asia with fellow progressive rock stars Steve Howe, Carl Palmer, and Geoffrey Downes.
U.K. is the debut album by the progressive rock supergroup U.K., released in May 1978 through E.G. Records and Polydor Records. It features John Wetton, Eddie Jobson, Bill Bruford, and Allan Holdsworth. "In the Dead of Night" and "Mental Medication" were both edited for single release. The album was well received by FM album rock radio and by the public during the summer of 1978. The LP sold just over 250,000 copies by 1 September 1978, with further sales through the rest of the year.
Danger Money is the second and final studio album by the progressive rock supergroup U.K., featuring John Wetton , Eddie Jobson and Terry Bozzio. It was released by E.G. Records / Polydor in March 1979. Early versions of "The Only Thing She Needs", "Caesar's Palace Blues" and "Carrying No Cross" (which had the opening chords to "Danger Money" in its intro) had been performed on tour throughout 1978 by the band's original line-up with Bill Bruford and Allan Holdsworth. "Rendezvous 6:02" and "Nothing to Lose" were both edited for single release.
Night After Night is a live album recorded by the British band U.K. It features the trio lineup of Eddie Jobson, John Wetton, and Terry Bozzio. Recorded in late May and early June 1979 at Nakano Sun Plaza Hall and Nippon Seinenkan, Tokyo, Japan, it is UK's third album and their first live recording, released in September 1979 in support of the band's US tour supporting Jethro Tull (which Eddie Jobson joined after UK's split) and later headlining European tour.
[ERIC BURDON &] WAR - 1970/71
Eric Burdon Declares "War" is the first of two original albums by funk band Eric Burdon & War, released on MGM Records in April 1970. It peaked at number 18 on record charts in the USA, number 50 in the UK, and number 7 in Australia. The back cover includes this declaration: "We the People, have declared War against the People, for the right to love each other". The album received a gold record award. All tracks written by War (Papa Dee Allen, Harold Brown, Eric Burdon, B.B. Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan, Charles Miller, Lee Oskar, Howard E. Scott) except where noted. Memphis Slim composed music under the name of Peter Chatman which was actually his father's name; on the original album the composer credit is misprinted as "P. Chapman".
The Black-Man's Burdon is a double album by funk band Eric Burdon and War, released in December 1970 on MGM Records. It was the last album by the group before Burdon left and the remaining band continued as War. The title is a pun on The Black Man's Burden, an expression which refers to black slavery, used as the title of a book by E. D. Morel (1920) in response to the poem, "The White Man's Burden" (1899) by Rudyard Kipling, which refers to (and champions) western imperialism (including its history of slavery). The album includes two suites based on songs by other artists: "Paint It Black" by The Rolling Stones, and "Nights in White Satin" by The Moody Blues, augmented by additional sections composed by the group. (Two similar suites appeared on the group's first album.) The extra material is mostly instrumental, except for "P.C. 3" (P.C. referring to Police Constable, a common abbreviation used in the United Kingdom), a risqué poem recited (and probably written) by Burdon over the music. Two other songs include a children's chorus credited as Sharon Scott and the Beautiful New Born Children of Southern California. Richie Unterberger of Allmusic says the album is "Composed mostly of sprawling psychedelic funk jams" and "it does find War mapping out much of the jazz/Latin/soul grooves...".
War is the third album by funk group War, and their first following the departure of singer Eric Burdon and the group's name change from the original Eric Burdon & War. It was released in March 1971 on United Artists Records, their first for the label. The album did not gain much attention upon release, but sales and critical acclaim picked up after their subsequent hit albums throughout the 1970s, the next appearing later in 1971. One single was taken from the album: "Lonely Feelin'" backed with "Sun Oh Son", which did not chart. Of the other songs, "War Drums" includes a chant of the band's name and appears to be an attempt at a group theme song; and "Fidel's Fantasy" generated some controversy over its spoken word monologue criticizing Fidel Castro.
All Day Music is the fourth album by funk group War, released November 1971 on United Artists Records. All tracks composed by War (Papa Dee Allen, Harold Brown, B.B. Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan, Charles Miller, Lee Oskar, Howard E. Scott), except where indicated. "Slipping Into Darkness", issued in November 1971 (backed with "Nappy Head"), War's first big hit since their name change from Eric Burdon and War, was on the Billboard Hot 100 for 22 weeks and so tied with Gallery's "Nice to Be With You" for most weeks on that chart all within the calendar year 1972. (The spelling was changed slightly to "Slippin' into Darkness" for the single, and is also used on a CD edition of the album.) It became a gold record, and Billboard ranked it as the No. 23 song for 1972. A subtitle for "Nappy Head" claims it is the theme from Ghetto Man, but there does not appear to be any notable film or television series with this title, and it may refer to a series that never went into production. "Baby Brother" is a live track recorded at the Hollywood Bowl, June 30, 1971, at an event called the United Artists 99 Cent Spectacular; a studio version of this song retitled "Me and Baby Brother" appeared on a later album, Deliver the Word (1973).
IMELDA MAY - 11 Past The Hour (2021)
Imelda May is an Irish singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Although known primarily as a singer, she also plays the bodhrán, guitar, bass guitar and tambourine. Described as "a unique vocal talent," May is known for her musical style of rockabilly revival and has also been compared to female jazz musicians such as Billie Holiday.
11 Past the Hour is the sixth studio album by Irish singer-songwriter Imelda May. The album was released on 16 April 2021 by Decca Records. It is May's first album release in four years, following her previous album Life Love Flesh Blood (2017). "Just One Kiss", the first single from the album and a duet with Oasis member Noel Gallagher and featuring the Rolling Stones member Ronnie Wood, was released on 29 January 2021.The goal of the album is to show Imelda May returning to her most honest self. Truthful beauty, feminine intuition. Intelligence. Visually, we should be showing a soft sense of warm spirited grittiness. Intimate. At home. Behind the curtain Imelda's radiant smile and illuminating laughter. A nod to her roots. Irish Heritage & inherent connection to storytelling. Imelda's words as a lyricist/poet/writer & overall thread to her Irish roots as a storyteller is a key thread within the campaign.
MOM'S APPLE PIE - Mom's Apple Pie (1972) & #2 (1973)
Mom's Apple Pie was an American ten-member rock band from Warren, Ohio. They were best known for their album cover and for the voice of lead singer Bob Fiorino. The band released two albums, Mom's Apple Pie in 1972 and Mom's Apple Pie II in 1973. A third album was recorded but was not released until 2011. Their manager was Larry Patterson, and they recorded on a record label owned by Terry Knight, Brown Bag Records. The band enjoyed a successful career nationally and toured extensively across the United States. Venues included a wide array of college campuses, clubs, concert halls, the Whiskey A-Go-Go in Los Angeles and Madison Square Garden. They performed with such artists as The Doobie Brothers and David Bowie. Patterson booked the demo session with record producer Kenny Hamann at the Cleveland Recording Company. Pia Knight, Terry's wife, overheard the demo being played in one of the rooms in the back of the recording studio and convinced her husband to sign the group.
Both albums have become favorites among collectors, due in part to the self-titled first album's risqué cover artwork, which contains a subtle depiction of female genitalia. The cover, designed by Nick Caruso, was banned shortly upon the album's release and an alternative cover was released, making both versions highly sought-after among collectors. The same picture was used, but the artist added a miniature brick wall, topped with razor wire, covering up the vulva in the pie, policemen looking in the windows, and a tear running down the woman's face. The third unreleased album tapes have been discovered by Patterson.
VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR - The Box (2000)
The sad fact about box sets is that there's always a fan out there who thinks they could have compiled a better one. An even sadder fact is that they're often correct, and the very notion of anthologizing Van Der Graaf Generator was a fraught one for that very reason. More, perhaps, than any other band of the early-'70s prog era, VDGG polarized their fans as much as the band's blatantly inhospitable sound outraged outsiders. They cut just eight studio albums, and all eight possess a wholly different character, all the more so since the band actually broke up midway through the sequence. Past compilations, then, sensibly dealt with one or other of those eras -- The Box, contrarily, swallows the entire beast whole, 34 tracks over four stuffed discs, and it gets full marks for courage, whatever its other sins may be. Unfortunately, there are quite a few other sins. From the collectors point of view, the most apparent flaw is the absence of any genuinely new material. Leaving aside two songs drawn from past posthumous collections, in official terms a dozen tracks are previously unreleased, including eight BBC radio sessions dating back to 1968, and four live performances from an August, 1975, show in Rimini, Italy. Unfortunately, not only have these long been available on two of the precious few VDGG bootlegs in circulation, but they're also taken from precisely the same source tapes, with apparently little effort made to clean them up. It's disappointing, too, that the especially hiccup-heavy 1968 session should be preferred over even a fleeting examination of the group's earliest strivings -- the original demos which the (genuinely luxurious) booklet discusses, the maiden "People You Were Going To"/"Firebrand" 45, the Aerosol Grey Machine debut album. On the plus side, several of these performances are spectacular, regardless of sound quality. VDGG were never going to top the pristine majesty of the studio take of "Refugees" (from 1970s The Least We Can Do Is Wave to Each Other album), but a 1971 radio session at least shows them trying. The closing "The Sphinx in the Face," from the band's 1977 John Peel broadcast, too, is a magnificent indication of the oft-times chilling energies at the group's disposal. But the highlight has to be the churning live rendition of "In the Black Room/The Tower," a song best associated with vocalist Peter Hammill's solo output, but drafted into the VDGG arsenal following their 1975 reunion. A vicious, Byronic nightmare set to trauma-inducing turbulence and oft-times impossible time signatures; even with bootleg hiss and ambient crackle, it's like stepping barefoot into a snuff movie. The gig itself must have been terrifying. VDGG's first incarnation bows out midway through disc two with the purgative "A Plague if Lighthouse Keepers," the side-long monolith which highlighted 1971's Pawn Hearts album. Perhaps surprisingly, we get the regular LP version here -- surprisingly, because an astonishing live rendition exists, taken from a Belgian TV performance and, in its own way, it is actually superior to the official take -- plus, how many other rock bands are there who could so cleanly execute a multi-layered, multi-part 23 minute opus from memory? Probably about as many as would announce their comeback with the likes of "Lemmings" and "Man Erg," excerpts from the Rimini concert which informed the audience that whatever else may have changed during VDGG's absence, their ability to grind skulls between slabs of sonic cement was not one of them. Yet it cannot be denied that such moments become few and far between as discs three and four progress. Hammill, the band's chief lyricist, was conducting his own solo career parallel to the final VDGG albums and, while nobody would ever accuse him of keeping the best songs for himself, the fact that he did have another outlet ensured there was no longer anything to counteract his bandmates' long-held penchant for excruciatingly convoluted art rock -- a balance, of course, which was crucial to the original group's versatility. Of course there are still moments of sublime magic: the neo-classical vastness of "Wondering" would have dignified any earlier VDGG album, while "Sleepwalkers," "The Wave," and another live performance, "Sci-Finance" (from the group's final release, the in-concert Vital), all offer further insights into the passions which the group's memory still stirs. But too much of these final discs sounds are portentously overbearing today; too much is simply way too much, and the discerning ear retreats back to discs one and two -- or, better still, to the original albums from which the best cuts were culled: The Least We Can Do and Pawn Hearts, of course, but also the savage majesty of 1971's H To He, Who Am the Only One, and, yes, even to Aerosol Grey Machine. Place those four albums in a box together, and you might never need to buy another record again. You certainly won't be needing The Box.
SAGITTARIUS - Present Tense (1967) & Blue Marble (1969)
Although it only reached number 70 in the national charts, Sagittarius' 1967 single "My World Fell Down" is one of the great experimental psychedelic pop gems of the era. Sounding very much like a lost Beach Boys classic from the "Good Vibrations"/SMiLE era, the record had beautiful California pop harmonies, exquisite symphonic orchestration, and a downright avant-garde middle section of carnival and bullfight noises. It was perhaps too weird to become the Top 40 smash it deserved to be, but in any case, Sagittarius would have had a difficult time launching a successful career, as the group didn't really exist. It was a studio project of noted producer Gary Usher, who wrote several great Beach Boys songs with Brian Wilson and produced classic albums by the Byrds.
Usher made the recordings that came out under the Sagittarius name in his spare time, with help from such prominent friends as Beach Boy Bruce Johnston and Glen Campbell (who sings lead on the "My World Fell Down" single). The most important of Usher's associates, however, was fellow songwriter/producer/singer Curt Boettcher, who has a cult following of his own for the sunshiny California pop with a touch of psychedelia that he produced during the era, especially as part of the Millennium. Boettcher wrote and sang much of the material that ended up on Sagittarius' 1968 Columbia album, Present Tense. Unlike the "My World Fell Down" single (included on the LP in a brutally edited version), the album wasn't reminiscent of the Beach Boys at their best and most progressive. It was California good-time pop with a mild dab of psychedelia, relentlessly and sometimes annoyingly cheerful, although immaculately crafted and produced, particularly in the layered harmony vocals. Not as commercial as the Association (with whom Boettcher also worked), it still had a lot more in common with the Turtles and the Mamas & the Papas than Pet Sounds or the Byrds. Although it only sold in the neighborhood of 40,000 to 50,000 copies, the record has a cult following, and has been reissued several times, usually with numerous bonus tracks.
COWBOY - 1970/77
Cowboy was an American country rock and southern rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1969. The group's main members consisted of songwriters Tommy Talton and Scott Boyer, alongside a rotating group of musicians. They released four albums on the Capricorn Records label in the 1970s: Reach for the Sky (1970), 5'll Getcha Ten (1971), Boyer and Talton (1974), and Cowboy (1977). The song "Please Be with Me"–perhaps their best-known song–featured a performance from Duane Allman. It was also later covered by Eric Clapton on his album 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974). The group's sound has been compared to Hearts & Flowers, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Pure Prairie League. Steve Leggett of Allmusic considered Cowboy "one of Capricorn Records' and Southern rock's best-kept secrets during the genre's golden age in the 1970s. Cowboy was formed in 1969 in Jacksonville, Florida by singer-songwriters Scott Boyer and Tommy Talton, with pianist/guitarist Bill Pillmore, bassist George Clark, guitarist Pete Kowalke, and drummer Tom Wynn rounding out the original lineup.
The six musicians, all from around the Orlando/Jacksonville area, rented a home in Jacksonville where they lived and rehearsed together. Previously, Boyer had played with Duane Allman and his brother, Gregg, in the folk-rock group the 31st of February. Duane, at that point of the Allman Brothers Band, sested them to Phil Walden, owner of Capricorn Records. Leggett writes that the band's lineup was ever-changing during this time, besides "Talton and Boyer, both of whom became de facto members of the Capricorn house band, playing with the Allman Brothers, Gregg Allman, Alex Taylor, and Bonnie Bramlett." Their debut album, Reach for the Sky, was released in 1971, and their second, 5'll Getcha Ten, followed later that year. The latter album featured "Please Be with Me", which featured Allman on dobro. Eric Clapton later covered the song for his album 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974).
By 1972, much of the original Cowboy lineup departed. "People just started moving in different directions. I don't remember there being any animosity about it," Talton recalled in 2014. He and Boyer continued on as Cowboy, supporting Gregg Allman on his first solo effort Laid Back in 1973, and accompanying him as his backing band on its ensuing tour, which was captured on the 1974 live album The Gregg Allman Tour. The band's third album, Boyer & Talton, saw release the same year. Their final, self-titled record was released in 1977.
THE STONE PONEYS - 1967/68
Before becoming a solo act, Linda Ronstadt was the lead singer of the Stone Poneys, an L.A.-based trio with an acoustic folkish sound and strong original material. The band's focal point and greatest asset was Ronstadt's clear, powerful singing. Originally recording in a coffeehouse folk style not far removed from Peter, Paul and Mary, the group rocked up its sound slightly and scored a Top 20 hit with "Different Drum," written by Mike Nesmith of the Monkees, in 1967.
The Stone Poneys is the debut studio album by the Stone Poneys; other than an early single of "So Fine" that was produced by Mike Curb in 1965, this album marks the first official recordings by Linda Ronstadt. Whether intended or not, the front cover photo appears to show the band as a more modern version of Peter, Paul and Mary with several of the songs sung in the same three-part harmony.
Evergreen, Vol. 2 is the second album from the Stone Poneys, released five months after The Stone Poneys. It was the most commercially successful of the Stone Poneys' three studio albums. In a departure from the first album, Linda Ronstadt was the lead vocalist on almost all songs, with only occasional harmony vocals. The exception is the title song, "Evergreen" (also released on the B-side of the album's first single, "One for One"). Kenny Edwards sang lead on "Part One", while "Part Two" is an instrumental. Both parts have a psychedelic rock feel and feature sitar playing (also by Edwards). The album contains the band's biggest hit, "Different Drum", written by Mike Nesmith prior to his joining The Monkees. The Stone Poneys' version went to No. 12 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart (with 'featuring Linda Ronstadt' on the single label; she was the only band member on the track).
Linda Ronstadt, Stone Poneys and Friends, Vol. III is the third and final studio album by The Stone Poneys, released on April 29, 1968. Singer Linda Ronstadt would release her first solo album the following year. While ostensibly a Stone Poneys album, Vol. III represents a transition and a shift in focus from the first two releases by the band, formed in 1965 as a harmony group with Ronstadt as an occasional soloist, to the singer's solo career. Billing Ronstadt as the lead singer (in concert bookings as well as on the third album) was demanded by Capitol Records executives and encouraged by producer Nik Venet, who all saw her potential as a solo artist with the recording and subsequent success of "Different Drum," a single from the previous album. The song, 'featuring Linda Ronstadt', was backed by outside musicians instead of her bandmates Kenny Edwards and Bobby Kimmel – creating tensions in the band that would worsen, irrevocably damaging morale. Edwards quit the group during the recording sessions for their third album, following a brief tour in early 1968; and Kimmel would leave later that year.
NRBQ - High Noon: A 50-Year Retrospective (2016)
NRBQ is an American rock band founded by Terry Adams (piano), Steve Ferguson (guitar) and Joey Spampinato (bass). The group was formed around 1965. Adams disbanded the group for a time, and they re-formed in 1967. It is known for its live performances, containing a high degree of spontaneity and levity, and blending rock, pop, jazz, blues and Tin Pan Alley styles. Its current membership comprises the quartet of pianist Adams, bassist Casey McDonough, guitarist Scott Ligon, and drummer John Perrin. Some of the more notable members in the band's long history are singer, writer and bassist Joey Spampinato, guitarists Al Anderson and Johnny Spampinato; drummers Tom Staley and Tom Ardolino; and vocalist Frank Gadler. The abbreviation "NRBQ" stands for New Rhythm and Blues Quartet (originally Quintet).
The first ever career-spanning boxed set, produced and compiled to celebrate 50 years of the New Rhythm and Blues Quartet - NRBQ! Founded in 1966 in Louisville, Kentucky, NRBQ has given their dedicated fan base decades of great recordings and exceptional live shows in countless festivals, clubs, colleges, and concert halls. No style of music is safe around NRBQ - their first Columbia album, for example, ranged from Eddie Cochran to Sun Ra and their own diverse compositions have been covered by artists including Bonnie Raitt, Dave Edmunds, She And Him, Steve Earle, Los Lobos, and Widespread Panic. There are very few bands that have lasted for half a century, and the list of those that are still at the top of their creative game is even smaller. Their legendary live shows are programmed on the spot, drawing on their own classics (“Me And The Boys,” “RC Cola And A Moon Pie,” “Wacky Tobacky,” “Ridin’ In My Car,” “12 Bar Blues” and “Christmas Wish”) along with great new material and countless other surprises. Their fans include Keith Richards, Wilco, The Replacements, Elvis Costello, R.E.M., and Bob Dylan among others and their songs have been featured on The Simpsons, Weeds, and Wilfred. With more than 30 albums recorded, they have proven themselves to be peerless musicians, songwriters and performers. So to celebrate NRBQ, Omnivore Recordings is proud to present High Noon: A 50-Year Retrospective consisting of five CDs of hits, rarities, concert staples and previously unissued gems (106 songs in all), all lovingly remastered, alongside extensive booklet notes and many previously unseen photos. After so many years of brilliant, unpredictable, joyfully exciting musical explorations on stage and in the studio, it’s time to honor NRBQ. Fifty years of celebrating is worth celebrating!
JACKSON BROWNE - The First 4... (1972/76)
Jackson Browne, in full Clyde Jackson Browne, German-born American singer, songwriter, pianist, and guitarist who helped define the singer-songwriter movement of the 1970s. Born in Germany to a musical family with deep roots in southern California, Browne grew up in Los Angeles and Orange county. His interest in music led to his membership in the fledgling Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and to late-1960s stints in New York City as a backing musician for Nico of the Velvet Underground and for Tim Buckley. He was first noticed as a songwriter, and his compositions were recorded by performers such as Tom Rush, the Byrds, and Linda Ronstadt before he recorded his eponymous debut album in 1972 (featuring the Top Ten hit “Doctor My Eyes”). Part of a coterie of musicians that established Los Angeles as the home of country rock, Browne cowrote several songs for the Eagles (most notably “Take It Easy”). Profoundly influenced by Bob Dylan and in the tradition of Jack Kerouac and Thomas Wolfe, Browne created a protagonist whose quest for love, understanding, and justice was a mythic extension of his own experience...
Jackson Browne [or Saturate Before Using] is the eponymous debut album of singer Jackson Browne released in 1972. It peaked on the Billboard 200 chart at number 53. Two singles were released with "Doctor, My Eyes" peaking at number 8 on the Pop Singles chart and "Rock Me on the Water" reaching number 48. Browne had found minor success as a songwriter but had not yet obtained his own recording contract. After he sent a demo of "Jamaica Say You Will" to David Geffen in early 1970, Geffen began looking for a record deal for Browne. Geffen ended up founding his own label, Asylum Records, and signed Browne. The album was certified as a Gold record in 1976 and Platinum in 1997 by the RIAA.
For Everyman is the second album by American singer-songwriter Jackson Browne, released in 1973. The album peaked at number 43 on the Billboard 200 chart and the single "Redneck Friend" reached number 85 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In 2012, the album was ranked number 450 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. For Everyman marked the debut of multi-instrumentalist David Lindley's long association with Browne. Guest artists included David Crosby (harmony on the title track), Glenn Frey (harmony on "Redneck Friend"), Elton John (credited as Rockaday Johnnie, piano on "Redneck Friend"), Don Henley (harmony on "Colors of the Sun"), Joni Mitchell, and Bonnie Raitt.
Late for the Sky is the third studio album by American singer–songwriter Jackson Browne, released by Asylum Records on September 13, 1974. It was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1975. It peaked at number 14 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart. In 2021, the album was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry. In 2000 it was voted number 594 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums. In 2003, the album was ranked number 372 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, Browne's highest ranking. In a 2012 update it ranked at 377. The album was certified as a Gold record in 1974 and Platinum in 1989 by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
The Pretender is the fourth album by the American singer-songwriter Jackson Browne, released in 1976. It peaked at No. 5 on Billboard's album chart. The singles from the album were "Here Come Those Tears Again", which reached No. 23, and "The Pretender", which peaked at No. 58. The Pretender was released after the suicide of Browne's first wife, Phyllis Major. The album has production by Jon Landau and a mixture of styles. The album was certified as a gold record in 1976 and platinum in 1977 by the RIAA. It reached multi-platinum in 1997 and 2006.
THE WHO - 30 Years of Maximum R&B (1994)
This exemplary four-disc box takes the high road, attempting nothing less than an honest reconstruction of the Who's stormy, adventurous, uneven pilgrimage. While offering an evenhanded cross-section of single hits and classic album tracks, 30 Years garnishes the expected high points with B-sides, alternate and live versions of familiar tracks, and the quartet's earliest singles as the High Numbers. Reinforcing the package's documentary agenda are interview and stage-patter sound bites. What emerges is a fascinating chronicle of how the Shepherd's Bush mods journeyed from the giddy, explosive concision of their January 1965 debut single, "I Can't Explain," to the discursive, knotty sweep of creative architect Pete Townshend's "rock operas," Tommy, Quadrophenia, and the uncompleted, unreleased Lifehouse. The Who's swift evolution into rock visionaries is traced chronologically, meaning the band's original immersion in "maximum R&B," which forged their earliest club dates, doesn't surface on record until midway through the sequence, on key tracks from their thundering Live at Leeds album. Fans may quibble over the relative weight given specific albums, but the shape of the Who's career and their passionate identification with their audience are rendered faithfully. So, too, is Townshend's skill at mingling issues of faith and identity with generational manifestoes and sly broadsides. And there's ample evidence of the quartet's outsize musical power; the sheer volume and violence that earned them notoriety early on is matched by a lyricism that deepens by mid career. Given the candor of the presentation, it's not surprising that 30 Years reaches its zenith midway through the set or that the last song (a reunion of the surviving trio covering Elton John) can't help seeming anticlimactic.
In July 1994, to mark the thirtieth anniversary of The Who’s first record release (as The High Numbers), Polydor/MCA released a four CD box set containing all their best known work, several rarities and a number of previously unreleased recordings. The package was extremely well received by critics. Q magazine in the UK gave it a maximum five star rating and described it as the best box set ever produced by any artist; similarly, Rolling Stone in the US gave it a maximum five stars too.
CHEAP TRICK - In Another World (2021)
It’s hard to tell if Cheap Trick still want you to want them, since a lot of In Another World, the band’s 20th full-length, fails to launch. Sure, there are the big choruses, bigger guitar riffs, and smart-alecky Nielsenisms that their die-hard cult craves, but at the same time, songs like “The Summer Looks Good on You” and “Light Up the Fire” sound like Cheap Trick by Numbers. At their most prosaic, they sound like they’re unimaginatively paying tribute to their formative influences. This is nothing new for the band, whose Beatles worship is a big part of why their power pop hit so hard in the Seventies, but these days, more often than not, it feels like they’re relying on muscle memory. The group sounds positively comfortable with adorning their Who-like arena-rock riffs with Beatlesy vocal harmonies on “Summer” and obliquely cribbing a line like “If mountains fall into the sea, I thought there’d still be you and me” from Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You” for their own Zeppeliny ballad, “So It Goes.” “The Party” is their paean to Hendrix, while “I’ll See You Again” worships at the altar of Beach Boys harmonies, right down to Brian Wilson-esque falsettos. But there are some reminders of Cheap Trick’s early greatness. “Passing Through” has a vaguely Middle Eastern feel (and distant John Lennon–style backups to boot) but its easygoing riff and some impressionistic Rick Nielsen guitar noise elevates it above Sgt. Pepper worship. And the upbeat “Here’s Looking at You,” which Linda Perry cowrote, sounds more like an extension of their “Dream Police” days with its gargantuan “No way out of here alive/Won’t give up without a fight” chorus and its sparkling keyboards than any particular homage. And, as always, Nielsen knows that he can always spin his multi-necked wheel-of-fortune guitar around to find a solo that could save an otherwise ordinary song (“Boys & Girls & Rock & Roll,” their cover of John Lennon’s “Gimme Some Truth,” which ironically also features the Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones on guitar). But with 19 other Cheap Trick albums of varying quality to choose from, nothing on In Another Planet sounds truly out of this world.
EDWARDS HAND [PICADILLY LINE] - 1967/71
The British group might be more famed for evolving into Edwards Hand, who had a couple albums produced by George Martin. Before that, however, Picadilly Line put out an obscure album on CBS, 1967's The Huge World of Emily Small, in the lightest and poppiest side of the British pop-psychedelic style. They also did a couple non-LP singles, one of which, "Yellow Rainbow," was written by then-Hollie Graham Nash.
Rod Edwards and Roger Hand formed this breezy, psychedelic pop outfit after briefly recording as The Picadilly Line. Sadly, this album never made it to a British release as their record label folded, which subsequently took their EMI deal and UK distributor contract away at precisely the wrong time. This is therefore a genuine lost UK '60s gem that received glowing reviews upon its release in the U.S. It makes its debut here on CD. Recorded on four track tape at EMI St. Johns Wood in late '68, with Geoff Emerick and George Martin during a break in the sporadic White Album sessions, you can hear the benefits from Martin and Emerick's vast experience, technical skills and orchestral arrangements. There is plenty of swinging London vibes and whimsical vocals here, as well as dreamy vocal harmonies and elaborate electric and acoustic arrangements very much of the era.
The Beatles connection is obviously strong, and much of this material is reminiscent of late '60, early '70s Paul McCartney as well as Donovan -- with its chirpy, evocative lyrics, harmonies and warm arrangements -- but there is also a late Small Faces/Kinks vibe in their lyrical descriptions of old London Town. Other late '60s comparisons would certainly include Kaleidoscope (UK) and the early orchestrated material by The Strawbs. This exact limited edition reissue is housed in a reproduction of the original sleeve (featuring a sleeve note from George Martin) and packaged in a jewel case. Re-released with full consent of the producer and band.
STARZ - Greatest Hits Live (2003) + Solo Albums (1976/78)
Starz is an American heavy metal and power pop band from New Jersey, United States. Despite a lack of major commercial success, the band has a lasting cult following and has been cited as a major influence by bands such as Mötley Crüe; Poison; Bon Jovi; and Twisted Sister.
They had it all - songs that managed to be both rocking yet melodic (think a merger of Cheap Trick, Aerosmith, and Kiss), a hunk of a frontman, a pyro-heavy stage show the featured lots of shooting sparks, the same management as Kiss but for whatever reason, Starz just didn't hit the big time. The group's roots can be traced back to the early-'70s pop band Looking Glass, which scored a number one hit single, "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" in 1972. And it was Looking Glass' rhythm section that would be transplanted to Starz bassist Peter Sweval and drummer Jeff Grob (who went under the colorful name Joe. X. Dube upon becoming a member of Starz) who were joined by guitarists Richie Ranno and Brendan Harkin, as well as singer Michael Lee Smith (brother of '70s teen heartthrob Rex Smith). Signed to Capitol Records, the label issued the self-titled debut from Starz in 1976, followed by Violation in 1977, Attention Shoppers! in 1978, and Coliseum Rock in 1979. Along the way, the group issued their share of arena-worthy anthems ("Detroit Girls," "Violation"), had some close calls with songs that should have been hit singles ( "Cherry Baby," "Sing It, Shout It"), opened for the era's biggest bands (Bob Seger, Ted Nugent, Rush), and Ranno even guested on Gene Simmons' 1978 solo album. But Starz just didn't translate to the masses, and by 1980, they were kaput. In the wake of their split, the group retained a sizable cult following, as quite a few hair metal acts later in the decade were quite vocal about their Starz fandom (Poison, Cinderella, Bon Jovi). A steady stream of releases from the vault appeared especially after the launch of the official Starz website -- including a live set recorded in 1978 that has been reissued several times over the years, Live in Louisville, which offers proof that Starz could easily stand alongside the era's big boys of rock (despite including some of the most ridiculous stage raps you'll ever hear on a live recording). The early 21st century saw all of the group's studio albums remastered and reissued via Rykodisc, which resulted in Starz reuniting for live shows something they've sporadically done ever since.
BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD - Buffalo Springfield Box Set (2001)
One of the most beloved folk-rock bands of the '60s, Buffalo Springfield are known these days primarily for their hit "For What It's Worth," but in their brief heyday they were one of the most important groups around. The fact that they numbered among their members Neil Young and Stephen Stills doesn't hurt their seminal status any, but the songs themselves are virtually indestructible. From the aforementioned non-protest anthem to the sunny, melodic "Bluebird" and the burning psychedelia of "Mr. Soul," these guys were at the vanguard of so many '60s pop styles it's scary. This long-awaited, much-embraced box includes an abundance of previously unreleased tracks (demos, outtakes, even some never-before-heard compositions) that make it a must for hardcore fans. And any fan of '60s rock who's taken by the considerable charms of the aforementioned tunes is probably already well on their way to becoming a hardcore fan.
Box Set is the first and only comprehensive career retrospective for seminal '60s band Buffalo Springfield. This 4-CD box (6 x 12 inch box) contains 88 tracks, including familiar recordings as well as 36 demos, remixes, and other previously unreleased material, all spanning Buffalo Springfield's brief but intensely creative existence between 1966 and 1968. This collection also includes historical essays by Pete Long and Ken Viola, supplemented by rare photos and memorabilia, vintage newspaper and magazine clippings, a complete discography, and a listing of the band's concert appearances. Produced by the group members themselves. Discs 1-3 are sequenced chronologically, from the band's earliest demos to their demise; more than half of these tracks have never been available commercially. Disc 4 features newly remastered versions of Buffalo Springfield's first two albums in their Buffalo Springfield: Stephen Stills (vocals, guitar, piano, electric piano, organ, bass, congas, tambourine); Neil Young (vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano, electric piano, organ); Richie Furay (vocals, guitar); Dewey Martin (vocals, drums); Bruce Palmer (bass).
RARE BIRD - Studio Discography 1969 - 1974
Rare Bird were an English progressive rock band, formed in 1969. They had more success in other European countries. They released five studio albums between 1969 and 1974. In the UK, they never charted with an album but charted with one single, the organ-based track "Sympathy", which peaked at number 27. It sold one million copies globally. The history of Rare Bird began when Graham Field placed an advertisement for a pianist in a musical periodical. He got thirty replies and formed a group called "Lunch". He met Dave Kaffinetti in November 1968, and together they formulated the basic ideas for Rare Bird. In August 1969, they finally found the ideal rhythm section in Steve Gould, Chris Randall and Mark Ashton. Field and Kaffinetti had originally envisaged that the band would be a four-piece and were looking for a singer/bass player. Gould and Randall, who had both previously been members of the Pop-Psych band "Fruit Machine", applied to the advert as vocals/guitar and bass respectively and were taken on. Lunch played a few gigs; one notable one was at the Tilbury Working Mens Club for the princely sum of five pounds. The band had no van and they managed to get amps, drums, guitars and Hammond organ into their cars.
The gig was marred by Randall receiving a bad electric shock whilst on stage. It later turned out that the founders of the band were more interested in Steve Gould and convinced him to play bass. Randall was now high and dry and was kicked out of the band. Two weeks later, they had signed management and agency contracts, and three weeks later, were in the studio recording their debut album. Before joining Lunch, Randall and Gould had previously written a song called "To the Memory of Two Brave Dogs". Rare Bird included this song in their debut album, renaming it "Iceberg" but Randall received no credit on the L.P. Along with Van der Graaf Generator and The Nice, they were one of the first bands that signed to Charisma Records, the record label that Tony Stratton-Smith had founded.
Their late 1969 release "Sympathy" reached No. 1 in Italy and in France, sold 500,000 copies in France and over one million globally. It became their only UK hit single, reaching No. 27 and staying on the chart for 8 weeks. A 1970 cover version of the track by The Family Dogg reached number two in the Netherlands. The song returned to the UK chart in 1992 when a version by Marillion reached No. 17. In 2001, the track was sampled by Faithless in their song "Not Enuff Love", named after a chorus line in "Sympathy". The first album released by "Lunch" in 1969 was called "Rare Bird", which now also became the band's new name. In early 1971, Graham Field left Rare Bird to form a short-lived solo project, Fields. Later members included Fred Kelly (drums), Nic Potter (bass), Andy "Ced" Curtis (lead guitar, vocals), Paul Holland , and Paul Karas (bass, vocals) on the Epic Forest album with Andy Curtis and Fred Kelly appearing on the album Somebody's Watching. The band finally split up in 1975.
EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER - The Return Of The Manticore (1993)
It's hard not to mention progressive rock without bringing up Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Ever since their first major live gig at The Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, they've been a staple in symphonic rock history. The Return of the Manticore is a beautifully packaged four-disc set that gathers essential tracks, covering ELP's best albums and offering up some re-recorded favorites as well. The first disc begins with an alternate version of 1986's "Touch and Go" that emphasizes Carl Palmer's presence. The disc also includes a cover of "Hang on to a Dream," originally by Keith Emerson's former band The Nice, and King Crimson's pièce de résistance "21st Century Schizoid Man." A new recording of the Crazy World of Arthur Brown's "Fire" rounds out Disc 1's novelties. The remaining discs overflow with ELP's greatest creations, pleasing the most avid fan and saturating the curious beginner. A new, extended recording of "Pictures at an Exhibition" is a must-hear, accompanied by a choir and recorded in full surround sound. A stunning unreleased version of "Rondo" and a bizarrely entertaining adaptation of "Bo Diddley" are also highlights. The improved, remastered sound stands out on "Karn Evil 9," "Fanfare for the Common Man," and "Knife Edge." "Prelude And Fugue," previously unreleased, finds Emerson molesting the piano, releasing all its unbridled energy. An excellent collection, Return of the Manticore bridges ELP's symphonic work with their classical work, and unites their dazzling electronic pieces with their ragtime and blues efforts. The band's essence, as well as each member's individual talents, stands out on every song, defining the sole purpose of a box set.
The Return of the Manticore is a 4-disc retrospective on the career of the band Emerson, Lake & Palmer. It was released in 1993, and features several new recordings of previously released songs, most notably a studio recording of "Pictures at an Exhibition," presented in Dolby Surround Sound. Also, a live recording of Dave Brubeck's "Rondo" features on disc 2; the track, although performed by ELP in concert from the band's inception (as it had been by Keith Emerson's previous band The Nice), was previously unreleased on any live or studio album by ELP. The box set is a fairly comprehensive cross-section of the band's history, offering tracks from all of ELP's studio and live albums (at the time of release), as well as new ELP renditions of hits previously recorded by bands they were members of prior to forming ELP. The set's original release was part of a wave of remastered releases under the band's new label Victory Music. After that label became defunct, the set was re-released on Rhino Records.
THE AU GO-GO SINGERS - They Call Us Au Go-Go Singers (1964)
They Call Us Au Go-Go Singers is the only studio album by The Au Go-Go Singers a nine-member folk group formed in New York City in 1964. The album was released in 1964 on Roulette records, it was released in the UK on Columbia records. The album is notable for featuring some of the earliest recordings of future Buffalo Springfield members, Stephen Stills and Richie Furay, two years before they formed Buffalo Springfield. Stills and Furay met while performing in folk clubs in Greenwich Village, alongside Furay’s former college classmates Bob Harmelink and Nels Gustafson. They were seen by songwriter Ed E. Miller, the credited co-writer of the Serendipity Singers' hit "Don't Let the Rain Come Down". In early 1964, Miller was preparing a revue, America Sings, which chronicled the history of folk music in America, and sested that the four, together with an existing group, the Bay Singers – Roy Michaels, Mike Scott, Fred Geiger and Jean Gurney – and Michaels' girlfriend Kathy King, provide the music in the show. Although the show only ran for two weeks, Miller secured a contract with Roulette Records for the nine-strong group to record an album, which they did with producers Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore. After seeing the show, club owner Howard Solomon signed the group for a residency at his Cafe au Go Go nightclub on Bleecker Street. By the time the LP was released in late 1964, the ensemble had become known as the Au Go Go Singers. As well as appearing at the club, they also made TV appearances, and performed at other venues. Their album, They Call Us Au Go-Go Singers, featured Stills' lead vocals on Billy Edd Wheeler's song "High Flying Bird", and Furay singing Tom Paxton's "Where I'm Bound". The album overall is described at Allmusic as "predictably bland, professional and well executed group hootenanny folk music". The album also included songs by Jesse Fuller, John Stewart, and Lee Hays.
SWEETWATER - Sweetwater (1968) & Just For You (1970)
Sweetwater was an American rock band originally from Los Angeles, California. They were the act scheduled to open the Woodstock festival in 1969; however, due to being stuck in traffic folksinger Richie Havens' trio (Daniel Ben Zebulon, percussion, Paul "Deano" Williams, guitar, backing vocals) performed first. Sweetwater was eventually flown in to Woodstock by helicopter and performed next, becoming the first band to perform at the festival.
An unusual rock group in both the size of their lineup (which numbered eight), the instrumentation employed, and the eclectic scope of their material, Sweetwater didn't quite get the first-class songs or breaks necessary to make them widely known. Lead singer Nansi Nevins was backed not just by conventional guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards, but also flute (Albert Moore), conga (Elpidio Cobian), and cello (August Burns). Their self-titled debut album was the kind of release that could have only been the product of the late '60s, with the music flying off in all directions, and a major label willing to put it out. Sweetwater blended Californian psychedelia with jazzy keyboards and a classical bent, especially in the flute and cello, but did not cohere into a readily identifiable aesthetic, or write exceptional songs, although they were okay. Perhaps Reprise was willing to give such a hard to market and classify band a shot, figuring that in the midst of psychedelic rock scaling the charts that would have seemed unimaginably weird just a couple of years before, who knew what would sell now? Sweetwater was formed from a group of friends that jammed at coffeehouses in Los Angeles in the mid '60s. Harvey Gerst, who had written a Byrds song with Roger McGuinn ("It Won't Be Wrong"), was an unofficial member of sorts, sometimes acting as road manager and playing guitar. For their debut album they were produced by Dave Hassinger, who had worked, as recording engineer and producer, with the Rolling Stones, Electric Prunes, and the Grateful Dead. In the late '60s they opened for a lot of big-time acts, and played a bunch of festivals without breaking into the headliner ranks. In fact, they were the very first band to take the stage at Woodstock.
CACTUS - Tightrope (2021)
70s classic rock legends Cactus came to be known as The American Led Zeppelin, a moniker they owned by virtue of their explosive blues rock stylings, subdued yet undeniably brilliant musicianship, not to mention their energetic and vivacious stage presence which made them a staple of arena rock venues around the globe. Now the band have returned with a smashing new album called “Tightrope” that strikes a delicate balance between powerful, driving rockers and more complex, heady album tracks. Still led by iconic drummer Carmine Appice alongside long-time members Jimmy Kunes on vocals and Randy Pratt on harmonica; “Tightrope” is according to Appice: “one of the best Cactus albums we’ve ever done. From playing to production and songs, we really took a step up!”...They are joined by new lead guitarist/vocalist Paul Warren (ex-Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Joe Cocker) and James Caputo on bass. “Tightrope” will also give long-time Cactus fans a reason to cheer as it includes special guest appearances from original Cactus guitarist Jim McCarty and singer Phil Naro!
SIMON & GARFUNKEL - Collected Works (1981)
The most successful folk-rock duo of the 1960s, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel crafted a series of memorable hit albums and singles featuring their choirboy harmonies, ringing acoustic and electric guitars, and Simon's acute, finely wrought songwriting. The pair always inhabited the more polished end of the folk-rock spectrum and was sometimes criticized for a certain collegiate sterility. Many also feel that Simon, as both a singer and songwriter, didn't truly blossom until he began his own hugely successful solo career in the 1970s. But the best of S&G's work can stand among Simon's best material, and the duo did progress musically over the course of their five albums, moving from basic folk-rock productions into Latin rhythms and gospel-influenced arrangements that foreshadowed Simon's eclecticism on his solo albums.
Collected Works is the first box set released by Simon & Garfunkel in 1981. It contains all five of their Studio albums: Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., Sounds of Silence, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, Bookends, and Bridge over Troubled Water. Originally released in 1981 as a 5-LP box set, it was reissued as a 3-CD set in 1990.
WISHBONE ASH - Tracks 1, 2 & 3 (2002-2007)
Tracks 1 is a live compilation for one of the UK's finest & busiest rock bands. The album spans the band's career from 1972 to 2001 & features a mixture of rare & previously unreleased tracks.
Tracks 2 is a live album that spans the band's career from 1972 to date. Not one live concert but a collection of live material from over the years, features 24 tracks including 2 bonus tracks, 'Mercury Blues' & 'Steppin' Out' (both rare audience recordings from Holland 2002), all rare & previously unreleased versions from 1972-2002, blazed by the famous twin guitar sound of one of the world's finest rock bands.
Following Up on their Success of their Last Two Volumes Tracks 1 and 2 (Both Double CD's) "Tracks 3" Brings the Music Right Up to Date and Packs in More Material Than Ever Before with this Special Three CD Release. Late in 2004, the Band were Joined by Finnish Guitar Slinger Muddy Manninen, who Replaced Fellow Finn Ben Granfelt. Wishbone Ash Introduced Manninen to a Receptive Crowd at the Annual UK Ashcon in October 04, and Us Fans Came Out to Get a Look at the New Guitar Duo in Action on a Late Fall Tour. "Tracks 3" Essentially Embraces the Guitar Work of the Bands Last Three Members Martin Birch, Ben Granfelt and Muddy Manninen Along with Tipping Its’ Hat to the Past.
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