38 SPECIAL -The First Four... (1977/80)
Initially, 38 Special were one of many Southern rock bands in the vein of the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd; in fact, the group was led by Donnie Van Zant, the brother of Skynyrd's leader, Ronnie Van Zant. After releasing a couple of albums of straight-ahead Southern boogie, the band revamped their sound to fall halfway between country-fried blues-rock and driving, arena-ready hard rock. The result was a string of hit albums and singles in the early '80s, highlighted by "Caught Up in You," "If I'd Been the One," "Back Where You Belong," and "Like No Other Night." 38 Special's popularity dipped in the late '80s as MTV-sponsored pop and heavy metal cut into their audience. Though the band had their biggest hit in 1989 with the ballad "Second Chance," it proved to be their last gasp they faded away in the early '90s, retiring to the oldies circuit.
Donnie Van Zant (vocals) formed the Jacksonville, Florida-based 38 Special in 1974 with Jeff Carlisi (guitar), Don Barnes (guitar, vocals), Ken Lyons (bass), Jack Grondin (drums), and Steve Brookins (drums). Three years later, the band signed with A&M Records and released their eponymous debut. Neither 38 Special nor its follow-up, Special Delivery, received much attention, but the group began to build up a following through their constant touring. Bassist Lyons left before the recording of 1979's Rockin' into the Night, the album that demonstrated a more melodic, driving sound; he was replaced by Larry Junstrom. The album became a moderate hit, but 1980's Wild-Eyed Southern Boys was a genuine hit, going platinum and generating the Top 40 "Hold On Loosely." Special Forces, released in 1982, was even more popular, spawning the Top Ten single "Caught Up in You." Tour de Force (1983) and Strength in Numbers (1986) were both successes, and the band continued to be a popular touring outfit. Barnes and Brookins left in 1987; Barnes was replaced by Danny Chauncey.
While Strength in Numbers had been popular, it didn't stay on the charts as long as its predecessors. Flashback, the 1987 greatest-hits album, was moderately successful, but the band took precautions to retain its audience by recording the polished Rock & Roll Strategy. Released in 1989, the album slowly became a hit on the strength of "Second Chance," an adult contemporary-oriented ballad that reached the Top Ten. Rock & Roll Strategy became the band's final big hit. Barnes returned to the band in 1991 and the group added drummer Scott Hoffman and keyboardist Bobby Capps. Even with the extensive retooling and the support of a new label, Charisma, 1991's Bone Against Steel failed to gain much attention. .38 Special didn't release another album for six years. In the summer of 1997, they issued a comeback effort titled Resolution on Razor & Tie Records. Live at Sturgis followed on CMC in 1999.
EC & RJ
Ten years after his first all-blues album, From the Cradle, Eric Clapton released Me and Mr. Johnson, an album-length tribute to his hero, the legendary bluesman Robert Johnson. Not that this is the first time Clapton has paid tribute to Johnson. Throughout his career, Clapton has not only drawn on Johnson for inspiration, but he has covered his songs at pivotal moments: "Ramblin' on My Mind" on his classic album with John Mayall, Bluesbreakers; "Four Until Late" on the first Cream album; and, most memorably, the rampaging cover of "Crossroads" on Wheels of Fire that became his anthem and arguably his defining moment. Considering this long history, perhaps a full-length tribute was inevitable, yet Me and Mr. Johnson still is welcome, in part because it's been a long time since this guitarist has sounded so comfortable and relaxed, as if he was having fun making music. With the possible exception of the spotty yet charming B.B. King duet album Riding With the King, this is simply the most enjoyable record he's made since From the Cradle, and in some respects it's a better blues album than that since it never sounds as doggedly serious as that guitar-heavy affair. Given the somber, sometimes chilling lyrics Johnson wrote - Clapton admits that "At first [his music] scared me in its intensity," an accurate summary of the haunting nature of those 29 sides the bluesman cut in the '30s - it's a little ironic that this tribute winds up being fun, not somber, but the light touch makes for a better album. That lightness comes from the deep love Clapton holds for this music, since the enthusiasm and enjoyment he and his band - all the old regulars like Andy Fairweather-Low plus Billy Preston on keyboards - give the performance results in the album's light, infectious feel. While that does result in versions of "If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day" and "Hell Hound on My Trail" that sound anything but haunted, they do sound nicely next to the up-tempo rave-ups of "They're Red Hot," "Last Fair Deal Gone Down," and "Stop Breaking Down Blues" since all of them sound like Clapton is having a hell of a good time. Some might take issue with this, and others may find the album too slickly produced -- admittedly, blues albums should never boast a credit for Pro Tools, as this does - but this is a heartfelt tribute that's among Clapton's most purely enjoyable albums.
It appears that Eric Clapton had more Robert Johnson in his blood than he thought - or perhaps it was planned this way. This DVD/CD set (and really, it's not the other way around despite the packaging), showcases Clapton mining the Robert Johnson vein ever more deeply in no less than four different settings. The DVD features 19 acoustic and electric performances recorded in rehearsal spaces in Dallas and in England, as well as in the 508 Park Ave. in Dallas, a studio Johnson himself recorded in, in 1937. There is one more segment, a recorded solo acoustic in a hotel room in California. The band that joins Clapton in the rehearsal studios is comprised of guitar master Doyle Bramhall, organist Billy Preston, Steve Gadd on drums, pianist Chris Stainton and Nathan East on bass. The electric performances, particularly "Milkcow's Calf 's Blues," "Stop Breakin' Down Blues," and especially "I Wish I Had Possession Over Judgment Day," have some real life and stomp in them. Of the acoustic tracks, "Terraplane Blues" works best. The DVD also contains a selection of behind-the-scenes footage that will be of interest only to those fans who need to see everything. The CD contains 11 cuts culled from the DVD and the sequencing is in some ways preferable.
Like a supernova, Roger "Syd" Barrett burned briefly and brightly, leaving an indelible mark upon psychedelic and progressive rock as the founder and original singer, songwriter, and lead guitarist of Pink Floyd. Barrett was responsible for most of their brilliant first album, 1967's The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, but left and/or was fired from the band in early 1968 after his erratic behavior had made him too difficult to deal with (he appears on a couple tracks on their second album, A Saucerful of Secrets). Such was his stature within the original lineup that few observers thought the band could survive his departure; in fact, the original group's management decided to keep Syd on and leave the rest of the band to their own devices. Pink Floyd never recaptured the playful humor and mad energy of their work with Barrett.
After a period of hibernation, Barrett re-emerged in 1970 with a pair of albums, The Madcap Laughs and Barrett, which featured considerable support from his former bandmates (especially his replacement, David Gilmour, who produced most of the sessions). Members of Soft Machine also play on these records, which have a ragged, unfinished, and folky feel. Barrett's eccentric humor, sly wordplay, and infectious melodies range from brilliant to chaotic on his solo work. Lacking the taut power of his recordings with the Floyd in 1967, they nevertheless remain fascinating and moving glimpses into a creative psyche gone awry after (it is theorized) too much fame and too many drugs too early. With increasing psychological problems, Barrett withdrew into near-total seclusion after these albums and never released any more material.
Although they attracted little attention upon their release, his albums also attracted a cult audience. Barrett's music and mystique achieved a lasting influence that continues to grow over two decades later. Latter-day new-wave psychedelic acts like Julian Cope, the Television Personalities, and (especially) Robyn Hitchcock acknowledge Barrett's tremendous influence on their work. The Barrett cult became large enough to warrant the release of an entire album of previously unreleased material and outtakes, Opel, in the late '80s, as well as his sessions for the BBC. As for the man himself, after 1973 he remained hidden away at his mother's home in Cambridge, turning away both curious fans and any offers to play music (though he did show up at sessions for Pink Floyd's 1975 album Wish You Were Here, and once the band recognized him, they declined his offer to participate). The occasional photo of Barrett surfaced over the years, revealing him to be a perfectly normal, if grumpy, looking fellow. After battling diabetes for several years, Barrett died peacefully in July 2006 at the age of 60.
BUFFALO - The Last Three (1974/77)
Buffalo was an Australian rock band formed in August 1971 by founding mainstay Dave Tice on lead vocals (ex-Head). Fellow founders, also from Head, were Paul Balbi on drums, John Baxter on guitar, and Peter Wells on bass guitar; together with Alan Milano on lead vocals (ex-Mandala). Milano left after their debut album, Dead Forever (June 1972), and Balbi was replaced on drums by Jimmy Economou. Their next two albums, Volcanic Rock (July 1973) and Only Want You for Your Body (June 1974), were also issued by Vertigo Records. After 1975 line-up changes resulted in a more commercial sound and the group disbanded in March 1977. Australian musicologist Ian McFarlane noted that there was "nothing subtle about Buffalo's primal, heavyweight sound, but it was delivered with a great deal of conviction combining the dense, heavy riffing with the progressive blues chops the band certainly captured the arrogant disposition of the times in a bold and thunderous fashion". Alongside Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs and Blackfeather, Buffalo pioneered Australia's heavy metal, pub rock and psychedelic rock movements. Peter Wells died on 27 March 2006, aged 58.
Buffalo's third album "Only Want You For Your Body", the last with the classic line-up of Dave Tice (Count Bishops), John Baxter, Pete Wells (Rose Tattoo) and Jimmy Economou, was released in 1974. With six further Tice/Baxter classics, including "I'm A Skirt Lifter, Not A Shirt Raiser" and "Kings Cross Ladies", the album cemented Buffalo's reputation as Australia's premier hard rock band. The wildly tasteless cover design featured an obese, screaming, semi-naked woman shackled to a torture rack. On the back cover, the band revelled in their role as leering, lascivious Aussie yob rockers, with Tice wearing a devilish grin while clad in his black leather strides 'n' braces and brandishing a bullwhip. It was just a bit of harmless fun, yet outraged record store managers across the land refused to stock the record, some eventually placing it in a brown paper bag to hide the offending images.
Mother's Choice is the fourth album for Australian rock band Buffalo, recorded during 1975 and 1976 and originally released in 1976 by Vertigo Records. After the dismissal of founding guitarist John Baxter at the end of 1974, the band underwent both a major line up change, and a shift towards more commercially oriented hard rock in a bid to attain greater radio airplay (which had eluded them up to this point) and mainstream acceptance. However, Mother's Choice received a backlash both critically and commercially. Also in contrast to Volcanic Rock and Only Want You For Your Body, the artwork Mother's Choice was overtly conservative. Whilst partly a result of the band striving for mainstream appeal, it was also partly in reaction to the management of Phonogram Records (parent company to the Vertigo label) objecting to two working titles for the album – Songs for the Frustrated Housewife and Thieves, Punks, Rip-Offs & Liars. The album was remastered and reissued in December 2006 by Australian record label Aztec Music on CD with additional tracks.
Average Rock 'n' Roller is the fifth and final studio album for Australian rock band Buffalo, recorded in 1976 and originally released in 1977 on the Vertigo label. The album was remastered and reissued in December 2006 by Australian record label Aztec Music on CD with additional tracks – which are solo recordings by vocalist Dave Tice, originally released as a single during 1976.
TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND - I Am The Moon (2022)
Tedeschi Trucks Band invite you to experience "I Am The Moon", an expansive, inspired, and ambitious musical journey that propels the treasured American ensemble into new and thrilling creative territory. During the pandemic and its corresponding isolation, Tedeschi Trucks Band, one of the music’s most admired and successful live music draws, was searching for something to hold on to; a way to connect to each other and their craft. They had come off a triumphant performance of Derek and the Dominoes’ classic Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs with Trey Anastasio at the LOCKN’ Festival, which subsequently led to the release of the band’s acclaimed live album, last summer’s Layla: Revisited. Looking for an idea, TTB vocalist Mike Mattison turned to Layla’s rich source material for inspiration: Layla and Majnun, the legendary ninety-page narrative poem of star-crossed lovers by 12th Century Sufi poet Nizami. As a writing exercise, Mattison challenged the group to delve into the poem’s deeper themes. As he pointed out, Clapton’s “Layla” only used one element of the poem - Majnun’s love-madness - whereas the poem itself contains multitudes: family drama, classism, isolation, judgment, and the severe cost of single-minded mania, even in the cause of love. (Indeed, Layla and Majnun is believed to be the inspiration behind Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet and many other eastern and western literary classics.)
Challenge accepted. With a burst of creativity and focus over the course of the next year, the band wrote and recorded the best material of their career: an electric and vibrant conceptualization that spans the richness of American music as only they can. The prolific sessions were so successful, they ended up with a little over two hours of essential music. Despite its sprawling nature, the tracks on "I Am The Moon" are concise and visceral, epitomizing and enhancing the collaborative nature of the storytelling. The first volume, I. Crescent saw release on June 3, II. Ascension followed on July 1; III. The Fall, on July 29; and IV. Farewell on August 26.
VANILLA FUDGE - Box Of Fudge (2010)
Vanilla Fudge is one of those strange conundrums in popular music. They made a name for themselves by mastering the art of covering other artists’ music and turning it into something completely off the Richter scale. Their own compositions were just as compelling, yet far and wandering off the beaten psychedelic path. Altogether, their style was heavy, soulful, multifarious and incredibly melodic. The Fudge are also noted for opening doors for other influential groups, namely Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Their initial run was brief and scattered, but the impact is undeniable. So much so that they deserve any and all accolades coming their way, including a comprehensive box set. In this case, Rhino’s Box Of Fudge hits the mark and then some. Beautifully packaged in a replicated candy-wrapper case, Box Of Fudge comprises four CDs of some of rock’s most audacious recordings. An informative essay by seasoned journalist and songwriter Barry Alfonso accompanies pages of rare photos that accurately capture the essence of the band’s principal members - organist Mark Stein, bassist Tim Bogert, guitarist Vince Martell, and drummer Carmine Appice.
CD 1 & 2 are tracks taken from the band's studio albums. CD 3 & 4 is an unreleased recording from the Fillmore West in 1969 and the last three tracks are previously unreleased from the Atlantic Recording Studio just prior to the band breaking up.
BAD COMPANY - The Swan Song Years 1974-1982 (2019)
Bad Company’s success seemed preordained upon the British rock supergroup’s formation in 1973. Each of the members came into the band with established musical pedigrees: guitarist Mick Ralphs from Mott the Hoople; singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke from Free; and bassist Boz Burrell from Mott the Hoople. At a time in the 1970s when rock became so bombastic (i.e., progressive rock) and theatrical (i.e., glam rock), Bad Company were the polar opposite of their arena-rock brethren. Their brand of guitar-driven rock was minimalist and back-to-basics while heavily rooted in American blues and soul. Their lyrics, mostly penned by Rodgers and Ralphs, reflected a blue-collar sensibility that was also steeped in romantic American West outlaw imagery. And while Rodgers distinguished himself as a formidable frontman, there wasn’t one main person in Bad Company who dominated over the others. It’s a contrast to other bands whose lead singer and guitarist are the focal points. In a way, Bad Company were kind of the anti-rock stars, even though most people easily lumped them with the other ‘corporate’ rock bands of the era. There’s no denying that the original Bad Company were reliable when it came to rock radio airplay. Each of their albums had at least one bonafide single fueled by Ralphs’ power riffs, Rodgers’ bluesy voice, and Burrell and Kirke’s solid rhythm playing. On the 45th anniversary of the release of their first album, a new box set, The Swan Song Years 1974-1982 collects all of Bad Company’s six albums fully-remastered in a clamshell box. The title of the set is a reference to the band’s output for Swan Song Records, Led Zeppelin’s label; Zep’s manager, the late and inimitable Peter Grant, also managed Bad Company.
DEEP PURPLE - Hard Road: The Mark 1 Studio Recordings 1968-69 (2014)
Rock music has taken giant strides since the tail end of the 60s, when the three albums that comprise this box set – Shades Of Deep Purple, The Book Of Taliesyn and the self-titled Deep Purple – were originally released. And so, it turns out, has the dark art of rock journalism. The informative 48-page booklet that accompanies this release is full of Purple-related music-paper clippings from back in the day - and a chucklesome assortment they are, too. “Excellent organ and guitar, and a lot of trouble taken with material and arrangements,” is one reviewer’s assessment of Taliesyn. “Not outstanding by any means, so I can’t be too hopeful about it,” another scribe shrugs about the single Emmaretta, while admitting the presence of “some startling wowing guitar work”. Still, despite the rudimentary nature of the writing, another journo hits the nail firmly on the head with his evaluation of Shades Of: “This new group digs playing around with sound just for fun.”
Purple may have enjoyed early singles-chart success in the US with their blistering interpretation of Joe South’s Hush, but in truth their first few records are the sound of a band suffering a severe identity crisis. The Mk I line-up – with Rod Evans on vocals and Nick Simper on bass – was trying frantically to identify a distinct and unique musical direction in a world where the fledgling heavy rock genre was still judged to be ‘undergound’; hence the confused nature of this trio of beasts. Having said that, Purple still deliver some remarkable moments. The aforementioned Hush remains mould-breaking; if Ritchie Blackmore’s mercurial guitar still sounds breathtaking today, imagine how utterly ear-boggling it must have been in ’68. Similarly, Mandrake Root retains its ambience of stalking menace, and Shield is a delightful reminder of how Jefferson Airplane might have played the Department S theme tune. There are also moments of madness. Shades Of opens with And The Address, which sounds like a score Blackmore rescued from Joe Meek’s wastepaper basket; the terminally confused Taliesyn reaches its nadir with a progged-up, 10-minute version of River Deep, Mountain High; April, from Deep Purple, begins like a fledgling Concerto For Group And Orchestra before Purple suddenly remember they’re supposed to be a rock band and metamorphose into Vanilla Fudge. The good stuff just about outweighs the bad, and bonus features including mono mixes, out-takes and B-sides make this a comprehensive, well-rounded collection.
LED ZEPPELIN - Boxed Set 1 & 2 (1990/93)
It was the first compilation of songs by the band (not counting Coda, which some sources list as a studio album) and the selection and remastering of the tracks were supervised by Jimmy Page. Atlantic Records released it on 7 September 1990 on several formats: four compact discs, six vinyl records, or four cassette tapes. A 36-page booklet was also included with the release. This set contains two previously unreleased tracks and one new mix. "Travelling Riverside Blues" was recorded on 24 June 1969 at the BBC Maida Vale Studio. "White Summer/Black Mountain Side" was recorded at the Playhouse Theatre, London on 27 June 1969. The "Moby Dick/Bonzo's Montreux" mix took place at the Atlantic Synclavier Suite in New York, in May 1990. It also includes the band's only non-album B-side, "Hey, Hey, What Can I Do" of the 1970 single "Immigrant Song", previously unavailable on compact disc. To differentiate this box set from a set of selections taken from it, the Remasters box set released the following month, in some markets this release is listed under the title The Complete Collection. To further the confusion, in both cases this is different from The Complete Studio Recordings box set released three years later, which includes all nine of the band's studio albums on ten discs, with the three extra tracks appended to Coda, along with the 1969 recording "Baby Come On Home", first released on the two-disc Led Zeppelin Boxed Set 2.
Led Zeppelin Boxed Set 2 is a double album released by Atlantic Records on 21 September 1993. This box set features the rest of the English rock band Led Zeppelin's catalogue not included in the 1990 4-CD box set Led Zeppelin, all digitally remastered, including the previously unreleased studio track "Baby Come On Home". A 54-page booklet was also included with the release. Between this box set and the 4-CD box set every track from the band's nine studio albums are featured along with two BBC live recordings; the band's only non-LP b-side; and one studio outtake.
BO GRUMPUS - Before The War (1968) & JOLLIVER ARKANSAW - Home (1969)
Bo Grumpus were a trippy, sometimes edgy folk-based psychedelic band that came out of Boston in 1967. Their story goes back to the mid-'60s and guitarists Eddie Mottau and Joe Hutchinson, who had been performing as Two Guys from Boston. In the latter guise, they had crossed paths in the mid-'60s with Noel "Paul" Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary, who ended up producing their one and only single, which was released on the Scepter label. They had performed as far away as Dayton, OH, which was where drummer N.D. Smart heard them. They later asked him in, to form a trio, and he agreed and brought Jim Colegrove in on bass, the two Ohioans relocating to Boston. The quartet, initially working as the Bait Shop, made their debut at a bistro called the Loft on Charles Street. Mottau and Hutchinson knew Felix Pappalardi, a New York-based musician who had played bass on their duo recordings, and who had lately moved up to producing, most notably the work of the Youngbloods.
This is a long lost gem from 1968 by a little know, somewhat psychedelic group called Bo Grumpus. Nothing special about this album, originally issued on Atco Records, other than it has never been issued on CD before and fans from this era have been asking for it.
Jolliver Arkansaw was the group originally known as Bo Grumpus – they were a quartet formed in Boston as the Bait Shop, who moved to New York and took the name Bo Grumpus at the suggestion of producer Felix Pappalardi and his wife. They recorded one highly regarded album on Atco under that name before a label switch to Bell Records led to legal complications that forced them to relinquish the name Bo Grumpus. "Jolliver Arkansaw" was the new name under which the group - Eddie Mottau (guitar), Joe Hutchinson (guitar, keyboards), Jim Colegrove (bass), and Ronnie Blake (drums) - recorded their next album, Home, which was released in 1969. The group broke up early the next year. Mottau, Hutchinson, and Colgrove have all enjoyed long subsequent careers in music.
KGB - KGB & Motion (1976)
KGB was a short-lived American rock band, one of the late 1970s supergroups. The name is made up of the first letters of the three main actors, Ray Kennedy (vocals), Barry Goldberg (keyboards) and Mike Bloomfield (guitar); Goldberg and Bloomfield had previously played together on The Electric Flag. The rhythm section included Ric Grech (bass, formerly Family , Blind Faith and Traffic) and Carmine Appice (drums, formerly Vanilla Fudge , Beck, Bogert & Appice). The members of KGB (sometimes also written as KGB) received lucrative contracts from the record company MCA in 1975 to found a supergroup. The debut album, titled KGB (starring Appice, Grech, Goldberg, Bloomfield, and Kennedy) was released in 1976 but flopped with both critics and buyers. The music magazine Sounds complained that the group lacks a musical interest group. In 1976 the second album Motion appeared with Appice, Goldberg, Kennedy, Ben Schultz and Gregg Sutton. Mike Bloomfield refused to go to Los Angeles , where the shooting was taking place; his post was in Sausalitorecorded and mixed in. In an interview, he made derogatory comments about the project, which came to an early end after 18 months.
MARK FARNER - 4 Solo Albums (2 CDs)
Mark Farner is an American singer, guitarist and songwriter, best known as the lead singer and lead guitarist for Grand Funk Railroad. He took guitar lessons during his school years and put various high school bands together. In 1969, he started the original Grand Funk Railroad trio band with his teenage friends Mel Schacher and Don Brewer. They first appeared at the opening of the Atlanta International Pop Festival in July 1969. Mark Farner's unmistakable voice and songwriting talent was the driving force behind the band's success in the early 1970's. The Grand Funk Railroad made 12 platinum and 15 gold albums.
After Grand Funk disbanded in 1977, Farner released his first self titled solo project the following year. In 1978, Farner released No Frills. In 1981, Grand Funk reuinited to record a brand new album, Grand Funk Lives for Full Moon for Warner Bros. Records, and a What's Funk which was released the following year. In 1988, Farner returned with Just Another Injustice on Frontline Records. His third Frontline released was 1991's Some Kind of Wonderful, witch featured a revamped version of the Grand Funk classic of the same name. Farner enjoyed success with the John Beland composition "Isn't it Amazing", which earned him a Dove Award nomination and reached #2 on the charts.
CHRIS SPEDDING - The RAK Years (2017)
Guitarist/Singer/Songwriter Chris Spedding has been a mainstay of the British session scene since the late 60s, playing with just about everyone from Nucleus, Jack Bruce, John Cale, Elton John, Mike Batt, to Paul McCartney & The Bay City Rollers (anonymously!). In the late 70s he moved to the States and worked with Robert Gordon, Jerry Harrison, Dick Rivers and Johnny Hallyday. Since 2001, Spedding has been playing live with Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry, The War Of The World and R.Gordon / D.Rivers, Herbie Flowers, Charlotte Glasson among others...
Excellent four CD set rounding up guitar supremo Chris Spedding's time with RAK Records between 1975-1980. Includes the hit single 'Motor Bikin' which reached #14 in the UK charts in 1975. Also features one of the first UK Punk singles, Chris's 'Pogo Dancing' which he recorded with The Vibrators. Disc One is his self-titled debut for RAK which featured the aforesaid 'Motor Bikin" plus the 'Guitar Jamboree', 'Jump In My Car' and 'New Girl In The Neighborhood' singles and was produced by Mickie Most. The second CD contains the Hurt album from 1977, produced by Chris Thomas, and which features the 'Get Outa My Pagoda' and 'Silver Bullet' singles. Guitar Graffiti is Disc Three, self-produced and featuring the 'Video Life', 'Bored Bored' and 'Gunfight' singles. The final disc is the I'm Not Like Everybody Else album from 1980. The booklet features detailed liner notes by 70's expert Phil Hendricks and comes with pictures of all the relevant singles. Each of the CD's comes in a card wallet depicting the original LP artwork.
IAN GILLAN - Cherkazoo And Other Stories... (1998)
As perhaps the crowning glory in Spitfire/Eagle's extensive Ian Gillan reissue series, Cherkazoo & Other Stories is at once both the most eagerly anticipated volume by hardcore fans and the lone disc in the series to appeal to a larger audience than Gillan fanatics. Nothing on the collection has been previously been released, yet it is all legendary among Deep Purple and Gillan followers. The first eight tracks (six songs, two dialogues) of the compilation are all taken from the previously unreleased soundtrack to Cherkazoo, a children's story Gillan labored over in the early '70s as Deep Purple were riding the crest of their popularity. The remainder of the record is devoted to sessions Gillan cut between his departure from Purple in 1973 and the beginning of his solo career in 1976. Both items are equally sought-after among collectors, but outside listeners will undoubtedly be taken with Cherkazoo, a delightful collection of psychedelic pop and whimsical British music hall numbers. These are utterly charming songs, sounding like Sgt. Pepper's-era Beatles or early pre-Space Oddity Bowie, and having all the appeal of the best obscure British psychedelia: high praise indeed. The early solo sessions find Gillan in more familiar territory, namely hard rock. That doesn't mean it's predictable, however. On these songs, he's willing to play around, whether that means returning to early inspirations (including a fine cover of Elvis Presley's "Trying to Get to You"), or stretching out with organ solos or dipping into orchestrated pop, such as "Music in My Head," which sounds like a great forgotten AM radio hit. There's more variety here than on Machine Head, yet it never sounds as contrived or forced as early Ian Gillan Band records occasionally do. It won't necessarily satiate those who just love the psychedelic pop that dominates the first half of the compilation, nor will it please those who just want hard rock, but all of the music on Cherkazoo & Other Stores makes a convincing case for Gillan's musical strengths. As a matter of fact, it's one of the most satisfying records in his catalog.
Digitally remastered two CD digipak edition of this 1998 album from Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan. Cherkazoo & Other Storeis is a collection of 18 extremely rare solo tracks recorded between 1973 and 1975.
THE WHO - The Ultimate Collection (2002)
Following in the footsteps not only of Universal's many Ultimate Collection, but also the Beatles 1 a groundbreaking collection in the sense that it proved that a collection that contains all the hits will actually sell on CD (thereby proving the cynical ploy of leaving hits off a compilation in order to sell catalog is flawed) the Who's 2002 compilation The Ultimate Collection attempts to collect all their hits, all their anthems in one place. It fits that bill very well, providing all the big items from "I Can't Explain" to "Emenince Front" as it spans two discs and 35 tracks. Sure, fans will find personal favorites missing, whether it's "A Quick One While He's Away" or "Athena," while collectors will note that it contains everything from the previous attempt at an exhaustive CD compilation, 1996's My Generation: The Very Best of the Who, but it doesn't matter, because this is the best summation of their career for a general audience yet assembled. It functions as both an introduction and as the one Who album listeners who just want the hits will need.
The Ultimate Collection is a 2002 two-disc greatest hits set by the Who with both singles and top hits from albums, all of which have been remastered. The compilation was released by Polydor Records internationally and on MCA Records in the U.S. It was certified gold by the RIAA on 15 July 2002 and platinum on 13 March 2008.
THE AMERICAN DREAM - The American Dream (1970)
Anyone owning an FM radio in the Philadelphia area in the eary 70s will be familiar with the American Dream. They opened for a lot of major bands at the Electric Factory (RIP) as well as having their own rabid following when they were headliners at other venues. This is their sole album, although rumors back in the day indicated that a 2nd LP was nearly finished before record company issues derailed its release. There was a prior CD release of this album on Pony Canyon records from Japan that was in circulation for a while but mercifully is hard to come by these days. Avoid it in favor of this Kismet version, as some glaring inconsistencies on that one have been remedied with this pressing, the most notable being the unexplained slowing down of the second "side" which made the last two or three songs sound particularly different than their vinyl counterparts. This compilation was Todd Rundgren's first foray in production (of other bands), predating the Band's "Stage Fright" by a year, and his work here is unremarkable, though if he had the same players and today's technology available, I think this would outdo the best of today's "pop" output hands down. Nick Jameson was one of the American Dream's three guitar players, and went on to have a pretty successful career as bassist/vocalist for some of Foghat's more popular, mid 70s albums.
Todd Rundgren produced this lost Philadelphia band’s only album back in 1970 off the Ampex record label. The American Dream’s album blends power pop, lite psychedelia, blazing hard rockers, folk-rock and roots music effectively throughout its 12 songs.
SIR DOUGLAS QUINTET - The Best Of The Sir Douglas Quintet...Plus! (2000)
The Sir Douglas Quintet was an American rock band, formed in San Antonio in 1964. With their first hits, they were acclaimed in their home state. When their career was established (subsequent to working with Texas record producer Huey Meaux), the band relocated to the West Coast. Their move coincided with the burgeoning San Francisco psychedelic rock scene of the mid 1960s to early 1970s. Overall, the quintet were exponents of good-times music with strong roots in blues and Texas-regional traditions. Arguably the greatest and most influential Tex-Mex group ever, the Sir Douglas Quintet epitomized Texas' reputation as a fertile roots music melting pot and established the career of Tex-Mex cult legend Doug Sahm. The Quintet mixed country, blues, jazz, R&B, Mexican conjunto/norteńo music, Cajun dances, British Invasion rock & roll, garage rock, and even psychedelia into a heady stew that could only have come from Texas. Although they went largely underappreciated during their existence (mostly in the '60s), their influence was far-reaching and continues to be felt in Texas (particularly the similarly eclectic Austin scene) and beyond; afterward, Sahm embarked on a frequently fascinating solo career and reunited with the Quintet or its individual members several times over the years.
Remastered Reissue of their 1966 Debut plus Bonus Tracks of all Non Album B-Sides from that Era.
LIVING DAYLIGHTS - Let's Live For Today: The Complete Recordings (2022)
Led by Garth Watt-Roy and his younger brother (future Blockhead) Norman, five-piece Harlow band Living Daylights signed with Beatles publisher Dick James in 1967. Paired with a studio production team that included Caleb Quaye, the band were given a song that James published, 'Let's Live For Today', as their debut single. Released in April 1967, it entered Radio London's Fab Forty after being championed by the pirate station's DJ John Peel. Also issued in America, the song showed significant sales potential, and Dick James decided the band should record an album that would be rushed out if the single became a success. Unfortunately, 'Let's Live For Today' lost out to a cover version by American band The Grass Roots, who scored a US Top Ten hit. Without a hit to support it, the Living Daylights' album failed to appear, and the band split after a second single failed to find favour.
55 years later, that album finally gains a release, with mono and stereo mixes joined by their UK singles and American and Japanese versions. 'Let's Live For Today: The Complete Recordings' is a vital addition to the pantheon of British psychedelic pop albums from the epochal year of 1967.
TOMMY BOLIN - The Ultimate: Redux (2008)
Rediscover the genius of the legendary guitarist and mega talented Tommy Bolin (Deep Purple/James Gang/Billy Cobham) with his all-new deluxe 3- disc set The Ultimate: Redux. As the new home for the Tommy Bolin Archives, Inc., Friday Music, and TBA Inc. have put together this incredible thirty-one track collection for the serious Bolin collectors and new fans of classic rock guitar with a clever mix of rock, fusion and blues. He was truly the consummate guitarist and his influence has been felt by many. With the help of Tommy's brother, Johnnie Bolin, producers Joe Reagoso and Michael Drumm managed to cull over forty hours of unreleased tapes, sessions, live material, demos, unreleased masters, and have come up with the best Bolin music ever presented in one place. The remastering process was full of surprises as Reagoso attests I was going over the playback of Hard Chargin' Woman, and there is this Echoplex break that seemed like World War Ten was just beginning. I mean I never heard anything like it. It went from a this blues belter, to this unbelievable echoplex break....then back to a small blues combo sound.....without Bolin missing a step...it just blew my mind. I played it for some other guitarists and they were equally knocked out. This is one for the history books folks. In addition to all of the various stages of his career presented in this package, the Bolin family has also shared never before seen photographs from Tommy s own collection. Full color photographs also grace each CD, and make this pleasing for the eyes, as well as the ears. As an introduction to the box set, the legendary guitarist Steve Vai put his appreciation of Tommy Bolin into the written word, which graces the packaging as well. The producers have also provided an informative essay in the booklet, which also brings another side to the life of this artist rarely told by others. The music speaks for itself. Hard core Bolin fans will finally get a glimpse of the Energy sessions from 1972. This was some rare Holy Grail material, but now with the proper distribution in place, these ill-fated sessions will get a chance to be heard by music lovers everywhere. The live material is second to none; his Tommy Bolin Band performances of You Told Me That You Loved Me , Post Toastee plus the rare outtakes of Crazed Fandango , Cucumber Jam and the simplicity of Slow Driver will keep the listener amazed for years to come.
His time on earth was tragically short, but he left his fans an abundance of incredible works as this collection proves, with over 3 hours of unreleased tracks, sessions, rehearsals, live performances, and personal recordings. As Johnnie Bolin recalls The local clubs wouldn t book Tommy. The owners couldn t make any money at the bar. Everyone was listening to Tommy play the guitar in awe. People are still in awe and this album will make a lot of fans happy for years to come! Enjoy! All newly remastered by Joe Reagoso (Deep Purple, David Lee Roth, Paul Rodgers, Johnny Winter, Canned Heat) All recordings are official Tommy Bolin Archives owned and approved masters.
V.A. - Mister Bolin's Late Night Revival - What If (2010)
It's hard to listen to the music of Tommy Bolin and not wonder what could've been if the exceptionally talented (and versatile) guitarist hadn't succumbed to a senseless drug overdose at the age of 25 - just as his career appeared to be taking off. In a recording career that lasted only several years, Bolin not only touched upon several styles (blues-rock, ballads, fusion, funk, reggae, and heavy metal), but showed that he could master each one - as evidenced by his two solo albums and various recordings with the likes of Zephyr, Billy Cobham, Alphonse Mouzon, the James Gang, Deep Purple, and Moxy.
Mister Bolin’s Late Night Revival features renditions of 17 previously unreleased tracks written by guitar legend Tommy Bolin prior to his untimely passing in 1976. Features Eric Martin, Doogie White, Jeff Pilson, Shooting Star, and many more.
JACK BRUCE - Can You Follow? (2008)
Jack Bruce (1943 – 2014) was a Scottish musician and composer, known primarily as a member of the British rock trio Cream. Bruce maintained a solo career that spanned several decades and also played in several musical groups. Although particularly famous for his work as a vocalist, bass guitarist and songwriter, he also played double bass, harmonica, piano and cello. He was trained as a classical cellist and considered himself a jazz musician, although much of his catalogue of compositions and recordings tended toward blues and rock and roll. The Sunday Times said that "many consider him to be one of the greatest bass players of all time.
Can You Follow? - 2008 six CD box, a career retrospective from the legendary Rock musician. One of Britain's greatest popular musicians, Jack has spent 50 years as a professional musician. Aside from his work with Cream, Jack has collaborated with numerous artists with a stubborn refusal to compromise his music, be it working in the worlds of Jazz, Blues, Rock or ethnic music. Compiled with the full involvement of Jack, Can You Follow is the most comprehensive celebration of Jack's musical achievements ever, drawing on his many fine solo albums and more. The set also includes 14 tracks by Cream (including previously unreleased mono mixes) and Jacks' collaborations with Blues Incorporated, Graham Bond Organization, John Mayall, Manfred Man, Frank Zappa, BBM and much more. Housed in a deluxe set with a 68 page booklet with an exclusive interview and many unpublished photos.
Scrapomatic, the debut disc from guitarist/songwriter Paul Olsen and Derek Trucks Band vocalist Mike Mattison, contains a dozen tracks worth of lovely soul-blues pop. The disc starts extremely strongly with two excellent cuts - a lively original titled "Moanin'" and a reading of Mississippi John Hurt's "Let the Mermaids Flirt With Me" - that are augmented by an exhilarating cadre of New Orleans musicians. After that, the disc settles down a little -- just as well executed, though not quite as invigorating or original. Mattison is a great vocalist with fine control, never relying too much on histrionics to deliver his point. Lawrence Sieberth's arrangements are broad, containing a nice mix of voices - trombone, accordion, violin, mandolin, and guitars. Like other releases on the Artists House imprint, the disc contains a bonus DVD brimming with extra stuff - interviews, sheet music, commentary, and the like - that potentially robs the disc of any artistic autonomy it might've had. It is a new form of presentation, not wholly musical, that seems to exist entirely for its own sake.
The two guys in Scrapomatic get a little more, well, scrappy on their sophomore release. Vocalist Mike Mattison and guitarist Paul Olsen work a stripped downed sound to reveal the gospel and Delta roots beneath their gritty swamp blues. This baker's dozen of tracks veers from the near vaudeville jazz of "Lotus" to the acoustic churchy strains of "Tired Weak Legs," the latter aided by Kristina Beaty's lovely vocals. Mattison's gruff yet malleable vocals add to the bluesy feel of the songs. His singing, which occasionally hits a Prince-styled falsetto as on the R&B drenched "Monkey Card," is consistently riveting, even when he moves too far into Tom Waits territory on the tuba enhanced opening "Louisiana Anna." Beaty takes lead on a stirring duet ballad "The Other Side" and her Susan Tedeschi-styled voice meshes well with Mattison's similarly throaty approach. A rearranged cover of the old Replacements punk track "God Damn Job" is revelatory as this version digs into the frustration at the heart of the song's rather simplistic lyrics. "Long Way Home" even brings some rustic folk-country to the equation. But it's on the slow, grinding backwoods blues like the self-explanatory "Raw Head and Bloody Bones" and "Horsemeat," both led by Olsen's greasy lead lines, that the duo best connects with its material. Despite, or maybe because of, its eclectic nature, Alligator Love Cry defines Scrapomatic as a tough and talented act comfortable in a variety of genres all infused by a rugged blues base. Mattison is a terrifically talented singer, secure with diverse styles, and guitarist Olsen likewise snakes around these often dissimilar tunes with panache and intensity. Veteran jazz/blues producer John Snyder's work here, as on the group's debut, is characteristically exemplary. He frames these songs with a lean atmosphere while highlighting the duo's synergistic vocal-guitar interplay.
Three releases in, Scrapomatic's core/founding duo - singer Mike Mattison and guitarist/singer Paul Olsen - finds its elusive groove by refusing to be typecast as a blues band. While blues remains at their core, Mattison and Olsen revel in the nooks, crannies, and extremities. They mix and match styles, even within the same tune, to encompass rustic acoustic folk, country, soul, R&B, swamp, roots rock, gospel, and even a hint of '80s punk-pop. Despite the group's eclectic nature, this is its most focused set yet. As if to assert their independence, Mattison and Olsen have replaced veteran producer John Snyder, who worked on Scrapomatic's first two discs. Mattison and engineer/mixer Jeff Bakos are co-producers here, and they keep the sound raw yet commercially viable. Olsen takes a few lead vocals, most noticeably on his closing ballad, "Good Luck with Your Impossible Dream," but it's Mattison's soulful, malleable rasp that jumps out of the speakers. He can be sweet or salty, mournful or magnanimous, innocent or intense, and he uses his remarkable range, sometimes sliding into falsetto, to express the emotional core of these often lyrically obtuse songs. There are spiritual overtones in the jaunty "The Fire Next Time" and "He Called My Name," but the themes seem to question religion rather than promote it. Drinking is also a recurring motif ("Drink House," "The Old Whiskey Show," "Drunken Spree"), but more in a descriptive sense. Mattison calls in boss Derek Trucks to add some of his distinctive snaky slide guitar lines on two tracks, which in the case of "I Want the Truth" helps push the song into Southern rock territory with more than a touch of gospel. The set rolls, rocks, sways, and lurches, and is never predictable, with some tunes changing tempos and groove within their conservative playing times. An obscurity from '80s punk-popper Robert Hazard, "I Just Wanna Hang Around with You," rides an uptempo catchy riff, and even though it's the disc's most energetic moment, slots into the unpredictably rootsy flow. Drop the laser anywhere in these 13 cuts and you'll not only land on a winner, but a tune you'll likely return to in order to peel back its lyrics and hum along with its melody. That's the sign of a successful album, and with Sidewalk Caesars Mattison and Olsen have captured their diverse influences in original tunes that pulse with authority, conviction, and - above all - personality.
SPIRIT - It Shall Be - Ode & Epic Recordings 1968-1972 (2018)
2018 five CD clamshell box set by the legendary American band Spirit. Formed in Los Angeles in 1967 from the remnants of The Red Roosters, Spirit was one of the great bands to emerge on the US West Coast in the psychedelic era. Featuring the talents of 16 year old guitarist Randy California (who had played guitar with Jimi Hendrix in New York the previous year), his step-father drummer Ed Cassidy along with Jay Ferguson (vocals, percussion), John Locke (keyboards) and Mark Andes (bass), Spirit signed to producer Lou Adler's newly established Ode Records label in late 1967. Their self-titled debut album appeared some months later and demonstrated the breadth and diversity of the band covering psychedelic, rock and jazz influences and featuring such legendary cuts as 'Fresh Garbage', 'Uncle Jack', 'Topanga Windows', 'Mechanical World', 'Elijah' and 'Taurus' (the subject of a court case decades later when it was alleged Led Zeppelin had taken the musical structure of the piece as a basis for 'Stairway to Heaven'). The band's follow-up album, The Family That Plays Together, spawned the hit single 'I've Got a Line on You' and was one of their finest works thanks to material such as It 'Shall Be', 'Aren't You Glad', 'Silky Sam' and 'Darlin' If'. Leading up to the recording of 1969's Clear album Spirit recorded the soundtrack to Jaques Demy's film The Model Shop. In 1970 Spirit recorded the classic The Twelve Dreams of Doctor Sardonicus for Epic Records, from which the single 'Animal Zoo' was taken and included excellent material such as 'Nature's Way', 'Mr Skin', 'Space Child', 'Morning Will Come' and 'Soldier'. Sadly, the original line- up of Spirit fell apart some months later leaving just Ed Cassidy and John Locke to assemble a new incarnation of Spirit for 1972's Feedback, which saw brothers Al and John Staehely join the band on bass and drums respectively. Spirit went on hiatus soon after, although California and Cassidy would continue to tour and record as Spirit on and off until California's untimely death in 1997.
EDDIE BOYD & HIS BLUES BAND [Featuring Peter Green] - Eddie Boyd And His Blues Band (1967)
Eddie Boyd (1914 – 1994) was an American blues pianist, singer and songwriter, best known for his recordings in the early 1950s, including the number one R&B chart hit "Five Long Years". He recorded for Bluebird Records, accompanying such musicians as Sonny Boy Williamson, Jazz Gillum, Muddy Waters, and Tampa Red, before making his first recordings under his own name, in 1947. He decided to produce his own recordings, and took two demos to Joe Brown at J.O.B. Records, who agreed to re-record the tracks. In May 1952 he recorded "Five Long Years", which became a huge hit, topping the Billboard R&B chart for seven weeks late in the year. He signed with Parrot Records, which then sold his contract to Chess Records. Boyd had two further hits for Chess in 1953, "24 Hours" and "Third Degree" (co-written by Willie Dixon), both of which reached number three on the R&B chart...
This album from the late 60's features Eddie Boyd backed by some of the best British blues musicians of the time. Player on this album include John Mayall, Tony McPhee, Peter Green, John McVie (Peter and John later known for their involvement with Fleetwood Mac) and Aynsley Dunbar - one of rock's most definitive drummers having played with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, the Jeff Beck Group, Frank Zappa, and Journey before joining Jefferson Starship for three albums. The album was produced by the legendary Mike Vernon.
PETER GREEN SOLO 1970/83
Peter Green was regarded by some fans as the greatest white blues guitarist ever, Eric Clapton notwithstanding. Born Peter Greenbaum but calling himself Peter Green by the age of 15, he grew up in London's working-class East End. Green's early musical influences were Hank Marvin of the Shadows, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Freddie King, and traditional Jewish music. He originally played bass before being invited in 1966 by keyboardist Peter Bardens to play lead in the Peter B's, whose drummer was a lanky chap named Mick Fleetwood. The 19-year-old Green was with Bardens just three months before joining John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, whose rapidly shifting personnel included bassist John McVie and drummer Aynsley Dunbar. A keen fan of Clapton, Green badgered Mayall to give him a chance when the Bluesbreakers guitarist split for an indefinite vacation in Greece. Green sounded great and, as Mayall recalls, was not amused when Clapton returned after a handful of gigs, and Green was out.
When Clapton left the band for good six months later to form Cream, Mayall cajoled Green back. Fans were openly hostile because Green was not Clapton, although they came to appreciate Clapton's replacement. Producer Mike Vernon was aghast when the Bluesbreakers showed up without Clapton to record the album A Hard Road in late 1966, but was won over by Green's playing. On many tracks you'd be hard-pressed to tell it wasn't Clapton playing. With an eerie Green instrumental called "The Supernatural," he demonstrated the beginning of his trademark fluid, haunting style so reminiscent of B.B. King.
When Green left Mayall in 1967, he took McVie and Fleetwood with him to found Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac. Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan joined shortly afterward, giving Fleetwood Mac an unusual three-guitar front line. Green was at his peak for the albums Mr. Wonderful, English Rose, Then Play On, and a live Boston Tea Party recording. His instrumental "Albatross" was the band's first British number one single and "Black Magic Woman" was later a huge hit for Carlos Santana. But Green had been experimenting with acid and his behavior became increasingly irrational, especially after he disappeared for three days of rampant drug use in Munich. He became very religious, appearing on-stage wearing crucifixes and flowing robes. His bandmates resisted his suggestion to donate most of their money to charity, and he left in mid-1970 after writing a harrowing biographical tune called "The Green Manalishi."
After a bitter, rambling solo album called The End of the Game, Green saddened fans when he hung up his guitar, although helped the Mac complete a tour when Spencer suddenly joined the Children of God in Los Angeles and quit the band. Green's chaotic odyssey of almost a decade included rumors that he was a grave digger, a bartender in Cornwall, a hospital orderly, and a member of an Israeli commune. When an accountant sent him an unwanted royalty check, Green confronted his tormentor with a gun, although it was unloaded. He went to jail briefly before being transferred to an asylum. Green emerged in the late '70s and early '80s with albums In the Skies, Little Dreamer, White Sky, and Kolors, which variously featured Bardens, Robin Trower drummer Reg Isidore, and Fairport Convention drummer Dave Mattacks. He reprised the Then Play On Mac standard "Rattlesnake Shake" on Fleetwood's solo 1981 album, The Visitor. British author Martin Celmins wrote Green's biography in 1995. Psychologically troubled, on medication, and hardly playing the guitar for most of the '90s, the reclusive Green resumed sporadic recording in the second half of the decade. He surfaced unexpectedly from time to time, most prominently on January 12, 1998, when Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In a rare, perfect moment, Green jammed with fellow inductee Santana on "Black Magic Woman." Peter Green died in his sleep at his home on July 25, 2020; he was 73 years old.
BLUES IMAGE (1969/70)
Blues Image was formed in Tampa, Florida in 1966 by singer-guitarist Mike Pinera, singer-drummer Manuel "Manny" Bertematti, singer-percussionist Joe Lala, keyboardist Emilio Garcia, and bassist Malcolm Jones. They were later joined by keyboardist Frank "Skip" Konte when Emilio Garcia left the band to become a pilot. Blues Image moved to Miami in 1968, where they were instrumental in helping promoters form the most innovative music venue in South Florida, Thee Image. Blues Image became the house band at the club, which featured bands like Cream, Grateful Dead, and Blood, Sweat & Tears. The band moved to Los Angeles and signed with Atco Records, releasing their self-titled debut album in February 1969. Their second album, Open (April 1970), included the single "Ride Captain Ride." Written by Pinera and Konte, it featured Kent Henry on guitar solo and fills, Pinera playing solo at the end. The album sold over one million copies, and earned a gold record from the R.I.A.A. in August 1970. It was Blues Image's only charting hit, making the group a one-hit wonder.
Pinera left the band to join Iron Butterfly in the fall of 1969, during the recording of Open, and was replaced by singer Denny Correll and guitarist Kent Henry. The band broke up after the release of their third album, Red White & Blues Image, in May 1970. The various members of Blues Image went on to become parts of other rock bands. Bertematti later played and recorded with New Cactus Band and toured with Iron Butterfly, Chi Coltrane, and Bobby Womack. Pinera also played with Iron Butterfly, New Cactus Band, Ramatam, and Alice Cooper. Konte joined Three Dog Night, and Lala played with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Lala's percussion work also figures prominently on the Stephen Stills/Chris Hillman led group, Manassas. Henry played lead guitar with Steppenwolf prior to their break-up in 1972. Correll later recorded a series of successful contemporary Christian music (CCM) albums, helped expand the genre's commercial appeal, and achieved airplay with several singles on CCM radio during the late 1970s and early 1980s. He died in 2002. Gary Dunham, who also toured with the last incarnation of Blues Image, also became a solo CCM artist. Pinera has released several solo albums, including In the Garden of Eden. Joe Lala died of complications from lung cancer on March 18, 2014, at the age of 66.
ZIOR (MONUMENT) [1971/72]
"Zior" was short-lived and misfortunate British cult band, which contributed a lot to spreading the seeds of future obsession with occult and magic (or magick, if you prefer it this way).One should be warned immediately that music-wise "Zior" had two "faces": live band on stage, re-creating black mass and trying to enchant and entrance themselves and the audience; the band of happening (and in this aspect similar to "Hawkwind" or "Magma" - live gig had more importance and was more impressive than the studio work); and, second, an assembly of creative musicians in the sudio. These two parts correspond to two stages in brief history of "Zior": competent but not exceptional hard-rock - 12 songs of the first and only official "Zior" (per se) 1971 album, and second level of existence - so called 2nd album, which somehow was sneaked to Germany and first released there in 1973(without musicians knowing about it and approving). This second step to posterity is represented also on lengthy jam sessions, which appeared in 1971 under the moniker "Monument" - First Monument because of legal issues (the musicians are not credited with their names either). The second stage of "Zior" musical history, covered by 8 bonus tracks on the CD, is absolutely outstanding accomplishement in hard rock/psychedelia/progressive. The importance and the origins of "Zior" are in turbulent year of 1968: end of Trotskyite prseudo-revolution in Paris with its utopian slogan "Interdit d'interdire" ("forbidden to forbid"), brutal attacks on exponents of counter-culture in the USA, culminating in shameful assault on the youths of Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The summer of love was over, and flower power couldn't be the answer anymore. The answer was found either in drug-induced psychedelia, or new escapist religions. New barbarian tribes started invading the grounds of mellow mods and rockers, and these new tribes were looking for new shamans and medicine men. "Zior" cannot be properly understood separately from this socio-cultural phenomenon.
Many musicians turned to occult and magic, especially to the teachings of The Great Beast, English occultist and mystic Aleister Crowley (1875-1945) - Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, was unknown in the UK. The new shamans were not "Black Widow" ( Sacrifice - the debut album is just silly, and has nothing to do with doom, heavy metal and whatever), the new faith was in the first efforts of "Black Sabbath", "Zior", "Iron Claw" ( Iron Claw - Iron Claw ) or in "Coven" ( Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls ). "Coven", by the way, was totally differet kettle of fish, they "blessed" the world with the "Sign of Horns" - long before heavy metal. Shock-theatre of Alice Cooper didn't exist either. By the end of the 60s "Zior" - Keith Bonsor, John Truba, Barry Skeels and Peter Brewer - built up a reputation of an outrageous undergroung band and in 1971 issued debut album on small "Nepentha" label. How seriously they were involved in occult and magic is questionable, but the songs on the first album are promissing, but not really impressive - honest foot-stomping hard-rock, repentitive tribal beat and chanting. The band, however, had a huge potential - listen to the "Monument", rumoured to be recorded during one drunken session (which is not true). Should it be issued on, let's say, "Harvest" and labelled "Purple", the critics and press would be drooling and praising it as a work of genious. According to "Zior" it was "more fan than serious approach". But music is excellent, completing high-octane tunes of the second album. Needless to say that the society was less than willing to accept self-proclaimed occultists, and dishonest agent contributed to the misfortunes of the band... Numerous "posthumous" LPs and CDs are mainly bootlegs ( Zior ... Plus ) or "Every Inch A Man" - whether on Mason or Akarma labels.
STRETCH - Live At The BBC [The Peel Sessions] (2016)
With lead singer Elmer Gantry of Velvet Opera fame and former Curved Air guitarist Kirby forming a dynamic front line, Stretch was always a band with great power and potential. They were one of the hottest ‘live circuit’ bands born out of the fury of the 1970s rock scene. Armed with powerful songs and fronted by top class performers, Stretch epitomised the best of the UK’s touring and recording outfits in an era when great ‘live’ rock ruled. They released a succession of fine albums that helped launch their career, but one of their great strengths were their ‘live’ shows, and where better to showcase their talents than at the BBC, recorded by some of the world’s finest engineers? These performances were part of respected BBC DJ John Peel’s sessions. The ‘behind-the-scenes’ reminiscences are recounted in the comprehensive CD liner notes by Stretch biographer Campbell Devine, which includes new interviews with original band members Elmer and Kirby. Expertly restored and remastered. The best in the business!
PAUL KANTNER, GRACE SLICK & DAVID FREIBERG - Baron Von Tollbooth & The Chrome Nun (1973)
Credited to Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, and David Freiberg, Baron von Tollbooth & The Chrome Nun was the first album made by these erstwhile members of Jefferson Airplane since the breakup of that group. Like such other spin-off projects as Blows Against the Empire and Sunfighter, this one featured a supporting cast of San Francisco Bay Area musicians including present and former members of a variety of groups, such as the Grateful Dead (lead guitarist Jerry Garcia, percussionist Mickey Hart, and lyricist Robert Hunter, who wrote the words to "Harp Tree Lament"), Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (singer David Crosby), and the Flying Burrito Brothers (bassist Chris Ethridge), as well as other former members of the Airplane and future members of Jefferson Starship. The Pointer Sisters even guested on one track. Despite the co-billing, the album's guiding force was Slick, who sang on every track and wrote or co-wrote six of the ten songs, though there was still room for the unbilled Jack Traylor to write, play acoustic guitar, and sing lead vocals on the song "Flowers of the Night," a celebration of monarchial overthrows throughout history. Perhaps more outside songwriting should have been employed, since the compositions here were second-rate. The public was catching on, too: Kantner's Blows Against the Empire had reached the Top 20, but Baron von Tollbooth didn't come near the Top 100. The team would attempt one more splinter project, Slick's "solo" album Manhole, before reorganizing as Jefferson Starship in 1974 with the notable return of singer/songwriter Marty Balin.
THE RED DEVILS - King King (1992)
The Red Devils were a Los Angeles-based blues rock band who were active from 1988 to 1994. With their no-frills approach and singer Lester Butler's convincing Chicago-style blues harp, they were a popular fixture on the Los Angeles club scene and toured the U.S. and Europe. The band released a live album, a four-song EP, and recorded songs with Mick Jagger and Johnny Cash. By 1994, the band had broken up, although some members occasionally perform with guest musicians as the Red Devils or their earlier name, the Blue Shadows. In 2017, such a lineup toured and recorded Return of the Red Devils in the Netherlands.
This debut album, originally released in 1992, is named after Blues-Rock band The Red Devils' favourite Hollywood spot, which also happens to be the place where they cut this live album. During the recordings with legendary producer Rick Rubin, they were introduced to Mick Jagger and Johnny Cash, who would later record songs with them and occasionally join them on stage at the Los Angeles club. The stars were aligned for a bright future for The Red Devils, but unfortunately internal frictions and substance abuse problems put an end to their career in 1994. Their only full length album, King King is seen as a true Blues classic.
IF - Europe '72 (1997) & Anthology 1970-72 [What Did I Say About The Box Jack?] (2008)
If was a British progressive rock and jazz rock band formed in 1969. In the period spanning 1970–75, they released eight studio-recorded albums and undertook 17 tours of Europe, the US and Canada. If was Great Britain's contribution to the jazz-rock movement begun and popularized in the late '60s/early '70s by Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago. Formed in 1969 by Melody Maker jazz poll winners Dave Quincy, Dick Morrissey, and Terry Smith, the band never found popular success in the United States. However, If produced several albums noteworthy for placing jazz players in a pop/rock band context and producing a true fusion of the two genres without diluting the players' improvisational skills. Unlike most of their horn-band contemporaries, If had no brass players in the band, relying solely on the saxophones of Dick Morrissey and the flute and saxophones of Dave Quincy. But what really gave If its unique sound were the vocals of J.W. Hodgkinson and the guitar of Terry Smith. Hodgkinson's vocal timbre was unusual smooth, flexible, and strong in the high end, sounding like no other vocalist. Smith's trebly guitar sound was also unique, combining a rocker's use of sustain with the jazz fluency of Wes Montgomery and Django Reinhardt. The original incarnation of If produced five excellent albums between 1970 and 1972, but these albums failed to find an audience. Morrissey soldiered on with the If name for two more albums with a totally different lineup and a more rock-type sound, but these, too, went nowhere. Drummer Dennis Elliott was later a member of the platinum-selling rock band Foreigner.
Europe '72, released in 1997, is a compilation album of live performances by British jazz-rock group If. It features material from their first four LPs that was recorded live on tour and before studio audiences. The extensive liner notes, giving an exhaustive background on the band, were written by UK music critic Chris Welch.
Anthology 1970-72: 2008 UK issue 12-track digitally remastered CD album. If became the pride of the jazz-rock scene when they conquered Europe & the US with their dynamic and sophisticated live performances. These tracks have been compiled in consultation with If saxophonist & composer Dave Quincy, with material taken from studio and live albums, presented in sealed digipak sleeve, housed in screen printed clear plastic slipcase with liner notes from respected writer and journalist, Chris Welch
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