Friday, February 27, 2009


Producer's Note - by Hal Willner.
"Monk's Mood" according to Steve Lacy, was originally titled "That's the Way I feel Now". So, instead of trying to come up with something as clever at the time, we made it the working title for this album. Somehow it stuck; and somehow it seems appropriate.

The idea for the album came soon after Monk passed away in 1982. At all the tribute concerts I attended, only musicians from the jazz world were represented. It didn't seem quite right. Though Monk's music is categorized as jazz, it transcends the limitations of categories. I kept thinking about how far Monk's influence has ranged. For example, when NRBQ performs, rarely does a set go by without the band playing at least one Monk composition. Donald Fagen salutes Monk in almost every interview he gives. So why were these artists and others who loved Monk's music not invited to pay their respects? Surely an oversight rather than a slight. With this in mind I decided to produce an album of Monk's compositions with performers from various musical genres.

First I contacted Terry Adams, of NRBQ, and Donald Fagen. Both immediately sparked to the idea. Then I discussed the project with Carla Bley and Steve Lacy. They were very supportive and enthusiastically agreed to take part. A week later, Joe Jackson expressed interest. Thanks to Mediasound Studio's belief in the project (as well as some trusting musicians), a few sessions were recorded even before there was a deal. Then A&M Records picked up the project, and a few months later it was finished.

In retrospect, some incredible things happened during the sessions. At Joe Jackson's "'Round Midnight" session (which was recorded with all seventeen musicians playing live), Ken McIntyre's and Bob Cranshaw's enthusiasm was really something to witness. They were truly touched by Joe's love for Monk. When I played the Chris Spedding/Peter Frampton version of "Work" for Steve Lacy, he asked to hear it again. As we listened, a smile appeared on Lacy's face; he was very impressed that they actually played the song right - something he claimed he didn't do on his earlier recording of it.

The last session to be recorded was Barry Harris' version of "Pannonica," and Barry brought along the Baroness Nica de Koenigswater, for whom it was written. The feeling in that studio from both of them was an unbelievable way to end the recording of the album. I thank them both.

Throughout the making of this album I sensed a great feeling of mutual respect between the jazz and rock musicians. All of the artists were encouraged to record their pieces as they would for their own albums. Everyone was supportive of one another and the different styles worked together because the love for Monk's music was ever present.

I want to thank everyone who participated in the making of the album; I hope they're pleased with the result. Thanks to John Telfer for helping to make it happen. And to Jeff Gold and Gil Freisen at A&M for their enthusiasm. Special thanks to Karen White for helping in such an enormous way at the beginning - without her this album would not exist at this time.

Thanks to the owners and staff of Mediasound. And to Doug Epstein - I hope this is the first of many projects we do together.

Thanks to the Masked Announcer for the thunder. And special thanks to Steve Lacy for his enormous contribution to the record - he kind of ended up being the narrator. And finally to Thelonious Monk, for all he did to change the way many of us feel now. I hope he approves.

Tracks :

* Thelonious, Bruce Fowler & Phil Teele - tmbs, Tom Fowler - bass, Chester Thompson - drums.
* Little Rootie Tootie, NRBQ and the Whole Wheat Horns
* Reflections, Steve Kahn - guitars & Donald Fagen - synthesizers.
* Blue Monk, Dr John - piano
* Misterioso, The Carla Bley Band with special guest Johnny Griffin.
* Pannonica, Barry Harris - tack piano.
* Ba-lue-Bolivar-Ba-lues-are, Was (Not Was)
* Brilliant Corners, Mark Bingham, Brenden Harkein & John Scofield - guitars, Steve Swallow - bass, Joey Barron - drums.
* Ask Me Now, Steve Lacy - soprano, Charlie Rouse - tenor.
* Monk's Mood, Sharon Freeman - french horn.
* Four In One, Todd Rundgren - synthesizers, keyboards, guitar & drum machines; Gary Windo - alto.
* Functional, Randy Weston.
* Evidence, Steve Lacy - soprano, and Elvin Jones - drums.
* Shuffle Boil, John Zorn - game calls, alto and clarinets, Arti Lindsay - guitar & vocal, Wayne Horvitz - piano, organ, celeste & electronics, M E Miller - drums.
* In Walked Bud, Terry Adams & Friends. Terry Adams - piano, Roswell Rudd - trombone, Pat Patrick - alto, John Ore - bass, Frankie Dunlop - drums.
* Criss Cross, Shockabilly: Eugene Chadbourne - guitar, Mark Kramer - keyboards etc., David Licht - drums. (not on cassette)
* Jackie-ing, same personnel as Brilliant Corners plus David Buck - trumpet, Don Davis - clarinet, Mars Williams - clarinet & tenor, Ralph Carney - bass sax & whistle.
* 'Round Midnight, Joe Jackson - piano, and strings.
* Friday the Thirteenth, Bobby McFerrin & Bob Dorough - vocals, Dave Samuels - vibes, marimba & percussion.
* Work, Chris Spedding & Peter Frampton.
* Gallop's Gallop, Steve Lacy - soprano.
* Bye-Ya, Steve Slagle - alto, Dr John - piano, Steve Swallow - bass, Ed Blackwell - drums.
* Bemsha Swing, Steve Lacy - soprano, Gil Evans - electric and acoustic pianos.

Link : @

No artwork

Thursday, February 26, 2009


As much as collectors and critics can try to approach obscure albums on their own merits without unfairly comparing them to the giants of their era, sometimes a band's inspiration is just too blatant to ignore. So let's lay it on the line here: the Group Image's sole LP would not have existed were it not for the prior existence of the early Jefferson Airplane albums and concerts. It's not just the male-female vocal blend, with Sheila Darla approaching her singing very much like Grace Slick did, or the very specific echoes of Jorma Kaukonen's wiggly guitar tone. There are also echoes of specific Airplane songs, sometimes in passing references to the Airplane's arrangements of "The Fat Angel" or "Coming Back to Me," and sometimes in more obvious cops of "3/5 of a Mile in Ten Seconds," "It's No Secret," and (particularly in "Hiya") the Airplane's arrangement of "The Other Side of This Life." It's not all a trip in Jefferson Airplane economy class, but alas, there are also heavy imprints of the Mamas & the Papas, albeit in a more acid-folk-rock style, and a bit of the harmonies of the Association and the good-time cheer of the Lovin' Spoonful. If you're just an absolute sucker for those sounds, the record has its pleasant qualities as a psychedelicized folk-rock album of sorts, with heavily West Coast-influenced bittersweet melodies that are broken up by some freakier passages with jazzy tempo changes and searing distorted guitar. It's not just a lack of originality that disqualifies the record as a notable obscurity, however, but the fairly unexceptional quality of the songs, though it's better than many such largely forgotten psychedelic releases.

Tracks :

1. Hiya
2. Way to Love You All the Time, A
3. Moonlit Dip
4. Voices Calling Me
5. New Romancing
6. Aunt Ida
7. Banana Split
8. My Man
9. Grew up All Wrong
10. Treat, The

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Marsupilami followed up their excellent debut with this ambitious concept album about the extremely brutal and sadistic culture of ancient Rome. They had now also got an additional member on flute and saxophone, while keyboardist Leary Hasson (probably vocalist Fred Hasson's brother) had expanded his set of equipment to include Mellotron and el-piano beside the organ and piano, something that made their sound even better. Producer Peter Bardens also contributed with some percussion. The opener "Prelude to the Arena" opens with some vibrating organ sounds that leads right into a surprisingly heavy part with screaming and partly narrative vocals from Hasson, followed by wild drumming and guitar. But it quickly slows down to a melodic and harmonic part before a beautiful theme played on flute appears, and here we also hear the first tones of the holy Mellotron. The song then goes into a fast and catchy vocal part followed by a solo on el-piano and finally ends with the opening riff again. This is classic 70's progressive rock at its best, and the high standard lasts for the rest of the album. "Peace of Rome" is stuffed with themes that varies from mellow and beautiful to faster and more disharmonic stuff. The most complex track is undoubtedly the 13-minute "The Arena". The lyrics on the record are naturally full of gladiators, violence, fights in the arena, martyrs and evil emperors, and the band manages to capture all this drama very well in the music. The 11-minute "Time Shadows" starts with some echoing narration that sounds EXACTLY like what Michael Moorcock would do on Hawkwind's superb "Warrior on the Edge of Time" four years later. After that, the track goes into a jam where new member Mandy Reidelbanch is allowed to stretch out on saxophone. This is very efficiently followed by some themes from "Peace of Rome" and "The Arena". The album closes with "Spring" that is based around a nice melody on flute, but also features lots of chanting vocals and long duels between the two female flutists in the band. Marsupilami would unfortunately broke up after "Arena", but they left behind two obscure classics of 70's progressive rock.

Tracks :

1. Prelude To the Arena (5:23)
2. Peace Of Rome (7:01)
3. The Arena (12:55)
4. Time Shadows (11:16)
5. Spring (9:16)

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Sunday, February 22, 2009


Luther James Grosvenor (born 23 December 1946 in Evesham, Worcestershire) is an English rock musician, who played guitar in Spooky Tooth, briefly in Stealers Wheel and, under the pseudonym "Ariel Bender", in Mott the Hoople. Luther first began playing in local bands in his hometown of Evesham. He met Jim Capaldi, later known from Traffic, with whom he formed a group called Deep Feeling. Later he joined a group called The V.I.P.'s, in which Keith Emerson played for some time. The V.I.P.'s were renamed into Art, and by 1967 into Spooky Tooth. The years with Spooky Tooth (1967 to 1970), Stealers Wheel (1973) and Mott the Hoople (1973 to 1974) were the most successful years in his musical career. After leaving Mott the Hoople, Luther published a few solo albums, and formed a group called Widowmaker, that existed until 1977. In the 1990s Luther Grosvenor returned in a Spooky Tooth reunion. In 2005, he revived his pseudonym, forming the Ariel Bender Band. In 2007 and 2008 he is performing under the name Ariel Benders Mott The Hoople performing Spooky Tooth and Mott The Hoople classics as well as cover stuff. Retrieved from ""

Tracks :

01. Ride On
02. Here Comes the Queen
03. When I Met You
04. Love the Way
05. Waiting
06. Rocket
07. Under Open Skies

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Friday, February 20, 2009


Georgia's Dixie Dregs were one of the most popular fusion bands of the mid-'70s. By the time of this 1977 debut, fusion had become a distinct genre apart from the ... Full Descriptionjazz-rock that preceded it. On the surface, it may seem like hairsplitting, but fusion differs from jazz-rock in that it is really neither jazz nor rock, but its own unique paradigm with its own rules and trademarks. The Dregs were one of the first American bands to make that distinction, and certainly one of the few to do it with such prowess and individuality. The most unique aspect of the Dregs' sound, however, is the down-home country flavor that's added to the complex rhythmic and harmonic melee.

On such classic tunes as "Refried Funky Chicken," the band's Georgia roots are apparent, adding an earthy whimsy to a style that's often seen as too high-minded. The interactions among electric violinist Allen Sloan, guitarist and main (at this early juncture, sole) composer Steve Morse, and keyboardist Steve Davidowski (the famed T Lavitz had not yet arrived) are full of fire and ingenuity. While the Dregs' later albums may be more sophisticated, FREE FALL has an energetic freshness that can't be denied.

Originally released on Capricorn (189).

The Dixie Dregs: Steve Morse (guitar, banjo, guitar synthesizer); Allen Sloan (electric violin, viola, strings); Steve Davidowski (keyboards, synthesizer); Andy West (bass); Rod Morgenstein (drums, percussion).

Tracks :

01. Free Fall (4:41)
02. Holiday (4:26)
03. Hand Jig (3:18)
04. Moe Down (3:49)
05. Refried Funky Chicken (3:17)
06. Sleep (1:54)
07. Cruise Control (6:15)
08. Cosmopolitan Traveler (3:02)
09. Dig The Ditch (3:52)
10. Wages Of Weirdness (3:46)
11. Northern Lights (3:14)

Artwork Included

Thursday, February 19, 2009


My band was called The Point. The name came from the Harry Nilsson LP (remember "Me And My Arrow?"). All the members of The Point were from Livermore and attended LHS. Moving to L.A. was a calculated move because we couldn't relate to the Bay Area music scene at that time. To tell you the truth even though I'm a Bay Area boy I always felt more comfortable in L.A. and still do. Something to do with the vibe. I know, I know, you probably think I'm sick. I have a definite connection to both worlds and maybe that's why I ended up right in the middle on the Central Coast.
The Point's career spanned 1978 - 1985. During that time we played the club circuit all over So. Cal. We were a part of what was known as "The Paisley Underground" which was a group of 60's influenced bands that populated L.A. at that time. That scene was vibrant but completely overshadowed by post punk, disco, and dinosaur rock according to today's rock history. The only band out of the "Paisley Underground" to really hit the big time were the Bangles. When I knew them they were still the Bangs and playing the same clubs we were. We recorded a self titled four song EP released in 1980 that was acclaimed in print by the L.A. Times (who compared us to Love and The Beau Brummels)but sold very few copies. In 1983 our lone LP Magic Circle was released on the Warfrat label and did quite well. It garnered a good amount of radio play in certain FM markets, and rode high on the Independent/College charts for a short time. In late 1983 L.A.'s Music Connection magazine published their annual "Players Poll" Top Ten in which L.A.'s musicians vote for their fave bands. To our amazement we placed number 9. By the way in the same poll Red Hot Chili Peppers were number 7, and Los Lobos only made Honorable Mention! At that time they were just struggling club bands like my own.
Magic Circle ended up getting a European distribution deal and was released in France and Italy. At the absolute height of my modest music career I heard that Dennis had died. I was so wrapped up in my own sex, drugs, and rock and roll scene that I was too numb to really feel what he had meant to me. By that time I hadn't seen him in years. But I do remember feeling his potential was unrealized and frustrated that no one would ever know what a genius he really was. I hoped that someday someone would tell the world about his importance and waited year after year for the story to come out.
Back to The Point. As high as we were riding in 1983, it turned into a glass ceiling in 1984. We continued plugging away in L.A. and also played a few shows in the Bay Area that year, Mabuhay Gardens in S.F. and a HUGE outdoor show in Livermore that drew over a thousand people. But the momentum from the previous year seemed to disappear quickly. By '85 I'd had enough and surprised my partners by bowing out. The band never played a show without me and all went their seperate ways. We still are close and actually re-united in late '85 for a three song set at a friends wedding reception and then again in 1996 and '99 for ragged but fun acoustic sets at Livermore friends parties. There you have a brief but relatively accurate history of The Point. Jon Stebbins © 2002

Tracks :

Magic Circle
You're the Fix I Need
She's Gone Too Far
All My Life
She's Only For Me
I Like Girls
Streets of Warsaw

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John Hiatt made his first recording as a member of White Duck, a likable if unspectacular country rock band. Hiatt was on board for the band's second and final album In Season in 1972. The four band members (Hiatt, Don Kloetzke, Mario Friedel, and Paul Tabet) each contribute songs as singers and songwriters. Hiatt's two songs are the record's high points. "You Caught Me Laughin' " sounds like the type of song that would turn up on one of Hiatt's first two solo albums; the other one, "Sail Away", sounds almost like vintage Hiatt. If a John Hiatt box set ever comes to exist, "Sail Away" would be deserving of inclusion.

The songs contributed by Mario Friedel are almost as good as Hiatt's. Nearly half of the songs are written and sung by Don Kloetzke (who has a white duck sitting on his lap in the back cover photo); the quality of his contributions is inconsistent. Kloetzke shines on "Thank You" and "A Girl Who", but he overindulges on "Bull Island Boogie" and "Looney Tune", two oddball novelty songs in which Hiatt is not a credited player.

Overall, In Season makes for very pleasant listening, and should be regarded as more than just a curiosity piece for Hiatt's fans. The music on this record alternately resembles that of the Band and the Flying Burrito Brothers, but is more upbeat than either.

Tracks :

1. Carry Love (Don Kloetzke)
2. Firewater (Mario Friedel, Skip Rogers)
3. You Caught Me Laughin' (John Hiatt)
4. Thank You (Don Kloetzke)
5. Sail Away (John Hiatt)
6. Bull Island Boogie (Buzz Cason, Don Kloetzke)
7. Honey, You'll Be Alright (Do What Ya Gotta Do) (Paul Tabet, Mario Friedel)
8. Lazy Days (Mario Friedel)
9. A Girl Who (Don Kloetzke)
10. Again (Mario Friedel)
11. Looney Tune (Don Kloetzke)

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Hamana´s debut album, recorded in 1974, was issued on the local Phoenix label, Canyon Records. To most of the 60´s psychedelic rock/folk fans this is almost an unknown album, original pressings seem to be disappeared, only a few copies are known in collectors hands. Bruce Hamana, a native American, is member of the Indian Hopi Tribe and went in 1969 to college near San Francisco to live -in the white man's world. Instead of traditional native American themes he felt like writing modern, revolutionary, contemporary music. The result you hear on this album is powerful and melodic, and expresses perfectly the sunny California peace, love & freedom feeling, but also contains a social-critical message: 'One of these days everything is gonna change, things you take for granted will be taken away from you' - The music itself is emotive with strong vocals, lots of West Coast psychedelic guitar flashes, with a touch of garage flair and a smidgin of loner folk style. This album should appeal to fans of Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Byrds, X.I.T, Neil Young, Buffalo Springfield, Garrett Lund : almost unbelievably, on these recordings all instruments, bass, guitars, vocals and drums have been played by Hamana himself, to get overdubbed and to become finally a tasty and atmospheric stereo acoustic/electric mix.

Tracks :

The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth
Why Can't I Understand
Be Free With Me
I Remember
On the Road
One Night
Future Goodbyes
Show Me
Message to the Crystal
Shine On
Peace is Within you

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Although this is not a current selection (which actually was origianlly recorded back in 1973), Tower of Power will remain one of funk/R&B's premier bands which used a massive horn section to highlight their work.

On this CD, the noteworthy "What is Hip?" stands out as their rocking, syncopated, break-induced tunes. AOR lit into this one, as well as the soulful "So Very Hard To Go." Both these individual tunes are worth the price of the CD, but it doesn't stop there.

AOR never quite latched onto "Soul Vaccination" but that doesn't detract from the signature sound of ToP. The horn section is what drove ToP, and to this day I cannot think of another band that accomplished what ToP was able to do, when it was able to do it.

Tower of Power still receives airplay, but on a much smaller scale, considering this style of music is now considered as what ToP said in their song "What is Hip?": "What you think might really be passe'."

It is unfortunate that ToP is not still riding the airwaves in it's former glory, but since times and tastes have changed with the generations, we can only hope that ToP will remain an icon to older boomers who remember hard-driving funk and R&B.
By R. S. Gilbert

Tracks :

1. What Is Hip? (LP Version)
2. Clever Girl (LP Version)
3. This Time It's Real (LP Version)
4. Will I Ever Find A Love? (LP Version)
5. Get Yo' Feet Back On The Ground (LP Version)
6. So Very Hard To Go (LP Version)
7. Soul Vaccination (LP Version)
8. Both Sorry Over Nothin' (LP Version)
9. Clean Slate (LP Version)
10. Just Another Day (LP Version)

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Marián Varga and Fedor Frešo had previously played in Bratislava's premier flower-power pop band Prúdy, along with Pavol Hammel.

Marián Varga's musical concept for Collegium Musicum had some common ground with the classical rock of Procol Harum, Moody Blues, The Nice and Deep Purple's Concerto For Group & Orchestra. An EP named "Hommage a J. S. Bach" (on Panton) became their 1970 recordingdebut. Their first album (recorded in October 1970) also incorporated elements of jazz, blues and beat in a manner similar to Colosseum circa 1969 (and also had some brass arrangements). Marián Varga's organ was the principal instrument, playing motifs mostly derived from classical music. In addition to two of Varga's compositions (both more than 13 minutes in length) they also included a version of Haydn's "Concerto In D" with a string orchestra.

Konvergencie was released before the end of 1971, a double album with only one track each side. "P. F. 1972" showcased Marián Varga's distinctive organ style, sometimes in dialogue with ace guitarist František Griglák, soon to form Fermáta, the Slovakian equivalent of Mahavishnu Orchestra or Iceberg. The track was divided into several interrelated sections, including one sung by a children's choir. "Suita Po Tisíc A Jednej Noci" (The Thousand And One Night Suite) was a free interpretation of themes from Rimsky-Korsakov's famous "Scheher-azade" performed live with a lot of extended organ and guitar solos. "Piesne Z Kolovratu" was a suite of small songs inspired by Czechoslovakian folk music and with lyrics written by the poet Kamil Peteraj. They have a soft and romantic feel and are blended together by elegant musical ornaments. Those who enjoy this track should check out the first Prúdy-album (from 1969) and the later collaborations with Pavol Hammel. "Eufónia" was a more experimental track with Varga squeezing out even stranger noises from his organ than Mike Ratledge had done before him.

When Griglák left Collegium Musicum, the others made an album with Pavol Hammel. He had been singer and guitarist of the beat-pop group Prúdy of which Marián Varga had also been a member. Zelená Pošta (1972) was credited only to Hammel and Varga, but was very much a group effort with Fedor Frešo handling production. This is another collection of short songs connected to a suite, and again with lyrics by Kamil Peteraj.

Collegium Musicum's next move was a superb live album recorded by the powerhouse trio of Varga, Freso and Hájek. The 1975 album was also partly recorded live, this time adding a guitar player again. These two albums display the group closest to the classical rock idiom with free interpretations of themes by Bartok and Prokofiev, but mostly original compositions and crafty improvisations. Within this field, few others have done it better!

For the next two years, Varga and company made two more albums with with Pavol Hammel, Kamil Peteraj and others. Na Druhom Programe Sna (1976) featured noted guitarist Radim Hladík and is an excellent cycle of 13 songs, interspersed with the characteristic Collegium Musicum instrumental framework. This is just as good as their "own" albums. Cyrano Z Predmesta (1978) was a kind of pop opera with two female and two male singers, strings and brass. Some instrumental segments are good but the vocals are too close to pop music.

1978 also saw the release of a new album credited to Collegium Musicum (with long time member Fedor Frešo returning from Modrý Kfekt). Continuo was an attempt to renew their old formula using the latest synthesizer technology. Varga played long, experimental solo parts (trustworthy old themes but played in strangely bended keys), alternating with more steady rock rhythms and vocals. Two tracks went beyond 16 minutes but are in many ways overshadowed by their previous attempts. Still this is quite a good album.

On A Ona (1979) had a much stronger orientation towards conventional rock than its predecessor and lacked a bit of distinction. It contained nine tracks in all and a couple of them are still quite good.

Ten years after Konvergencie, Varga concluded the Collegium Musicum years with another double album named Divergencie (1981). This was, similarly, a work in four main parts (the separation created by old vinyl albums could be an advantage). While this skeleton was very much the same, the musical fleshing was more indicative of Varga's recent efforts. The eminent guitar player Luboš Andršt graced the jazz-rock side "Refrény". Old partner Pavol Hammel was once again the featured vocalist on this and "P. F. (1982. 1983...)", a sweet attempt to combine pop, folk music and progressive rock with orchestra and choir. "Musica Concertante" was a more serious and academic composition (mainly for symphony orchestra) written by Varga in collaboration with Vojtech Magyar. This was a remarkably successful fusion of classical and rock music, sounding like a revision of Martinu's symphonies. Parts of "Sadza Do Obálky" (a new song cycle by Varga and Peteraj) represented the most song-oriented and ordinary material. Overall, this was one of the best Collegium Musicum albums, totally different from the EL&P-oriented material of the mid-seventies. Varga's solo album Stále Tie Dni (1984) was certainly different too, with experimental compositions (including a 20-minute war requiem) centered around synthesizers and vocoders. Marián Varga's group was undoubtedly the leading progressive rock band from Bratislava.

Tracks :

01. Domáca úloha (M. Varga)
02. Z ďatelín (M. Varga - K. Peteraj)
03. Tenis (M. Varga - K. Peteraj)
04. Smutná ranná električka (M. Varga - M. Válek)
05. Krajina bielych dievčat (P. Hammel - K. Peteraj)
06. Páví ples (M. Varga, P. Hammel - B. Filan)
07. Cesty bláznov (M. Varga - B. Filan)
08. Nechtiac (M. Varga - B. Filan)
09. Slnečnice (M. Varga - K. Peteraj)
10. Pošta (M. Varga, P. Hammel - K. Peteraj)

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Sunday, February 15, 2009


A veteran of the New York coffee house circuit who recorded with Jimi Hendrix, Buzz Linhart recorded this classic debut in London in 1968. Featuring backing from Welsh psychedelic favourites the Eyes Of Blue, it's a superb collection of acid-influenced folk and pop, including the epic, sitar-tinged raga Sing Joy, and is sure to appeal to all fans of hippie singersongwriting.

Tracks :

1.Yellow Cab
2.Willie Jean
3.Step Into My Wildest Dreams
4.Wish I Could Find
5.Sing Joy
6.End Song

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Saturday, February 14, 2009


Released in late 1969, Aurora was the finale of a two-album career at Capitol (Crazy Horse Roads came out earlier that year), but this San Jose trio had been a singles act on RCA as far back as 1966. This is supposed to be the better of the pair, but that recommendation is good only for 1) a few joyful minutes of fine Lennonesque disdain on “The Kibitzer,” 2) some nice phasing and reverb on “Inca Treasure” and 3) a loose-but-definite air of late-sixties punky improvisation. The band is admirably tight, but their material largely confined to Beatle-scrapings with a pellet or two of Moby Grapeshot. Jim McPherson wasn’t the worst singer a big-label sixties psych act had on offer--Mad River’s Lawrence Hammond had a voice to crisp an aardvark’s nosehairs--but he’s wildly uneven and hippie-hammy. To say the cover of Lincoln Chase’s swamp-rot standard “Jim Dandy” was ill-advised would be to detonate a twenty-megaton understatement. Stained Glass cracked up about the time this record hit the shops, but McPherson managed to retain enough of Capitol’s interest to record a solo album. In 1971, he and John Cipollina (late of Quicksilver Messenger Service) formed Copperhead, who was signed by Columbia’s Clive Davis for over one million dollars. In 1973, their eponymous lone release sank like the Empress of Ireland. (Ron Garmon)

Tracks :

1. Gettin' On's Gettin' Rough
2. Jim Dandy - Stained Glass, Chase, Lincoln
3. A Common Thief
4. The Kibitzer
5. Inca Treasure
6. Daddy's Claim
7. Sweetest Thing
8. Mad Lynn Ball
9. The Necromancer

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Friday, February 13, 2009


The wonderful world of Crazy Horse Roads, released in 1968 by Stained Glass, has been unjustly forgotten with the passing of time. The band started out life covering Beatles songs in San Jose, California. Their first single, a cover of the Beatles’ If I Needed Someone was released in 1966. It was a respectable cover of the Beatle’s classic though the flip was better, being a moody folk-rock original.

The single tanked, prompting the band to quickly release the self-penned My Buddy Sin later on that year. My Buddy Sin was an excellent folk rock song with wailing harmonica, soaring harmonies, sharp lyrics and an acid tinged production. This single failed to attract attention despite it’s quality, forcing the band to record a brill building classic for their next 45.

In the 1960’s, artists and rock bands depended on the success of the single to grant them artistic and creative control/freedom (making albums). We Got A Long Way To Go was a huge local hit, well executed, pleasant enough and professional, though betraying the band’s roots and creative aspirations. A few other decent though commercially unsuccessful singles followed in the psychedelic pop vein. Eventually the band was granted freedom to record two albums on the Capital label.

Crazy Horse Roads is a unique effort, and much different from their jam oriented Aurora album. There are some solid psych pop songs (Night Cap, Twiddle My Thumbs and Fingerpainting), soul rock (Two Make One and Fahrenheit), galloping country-rock (Horse On Me) and hard folk-rockers (Light Down Below, Doomsday, I Sing You Sing, and Soap and Turkey). Doomsday really stands out as the lost mini classic though, with some huge vibrating fuzz riffs, hard strumming accoustic guitars, tight harmonies and a psychedelic production. Night Cap is also a really good bouncy, twisted psych pop song with a British influence. You never know whats coming next throughout the album and the band’s sound resembles Moby Grape, HMS Bounty and Buffalo Springfield.

Aurora, released the following year (1969), is only half a good album finding the band indulging in a guitar based San Fransisco ballroom style. Jim McPherson, the founding member of Stained Glass, went on to form Copperhead with Quicksilver’s John Cippolina. Together they made one expensive (for the time), quality album that was overlooked in it’s day. Oh, and by the way, this album is housed in arguably the greatest cover of the 60’s.

By Jason (

Tracks :

1. I Sing You Sing
2. Finger Painting
3. Soap and Turkey
4. Twiddle My Thumbs
5. Fahrenheit
6. Nightcap
7. Horse on Me
8. Two Make One
9. Light Down Below
10. Piggy Back Ride and the Camel
11. Doomsday
12. If I Needed Someone - (Bonus Track)
13. How Do You Expect Me to Trust You? - (Bonus Track)
14. My Buddy Sin - (Bonus Track)
15. Vanity Fair - (Bonus Track)
16. We Got a Long Way to Go - (Bonus Track)
17. Corduroy Joy - (Bonus Track)
18. Scene in Between, A - (Bonus Track)
19. Mediocre Me - (Bonus Track)
20. Lady in Lace - (Bonus Track)

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Thursday, February 12, 2009


Number nine bread street is a pub, an obscure little building found down a narrow once-cobble street, A collection coin flip from Wakefield cathedral, almost hidden in the shadows. Number nine bread street and it's five thirty, late afternoon the five door bolts are drawn. A yellow block of light falls on the pavement. Inside the glass globes blaze, the coal fire crackle is the only sound to break this early silence. Soon the news boy will enter over the pale dunes of deal sawdust lying on the flagged floor. This is an old pub clinging to an old tradition.

The setting is peacful, nothing until six o'clock, six thirty when the door again opens and number nine bread street gradually shrugs to life. Pearls of drizzle on cropped hair and a guitar. The one long bar with its elbow-rubbed sheen stands the press of customers, more talk and blue curls of tobacco smoke haze drifts over all.

A banjo glints next to the guitar, a whistle of music, the regular voices tune up with a burst of laughter. The singing begins, a crowd of likely and unlikely characters range their voices through the rafters.

Number nine bread street, this is another night here, the place resounds with song and local talk while strangers are bearing lovely ideas away in odd corners

Number nine bread street is a record

Tracks :

1.) The Travelling People Kev Slatter (McColl-Seeger)
2.) Girl for all Seasons Dave Nuttall (Parfitt)
3.) Yes, You Gotta Gotta Walk Jane Westlake (Traditional)
4.) Love Minus Zero Ivor Lloyd-Morgan (Dylan)
5.) Painting a Lady Bob Hart (Levon-Hart)
6.) North Country Cinderella Chris Coombs
7.) No Lions, No Trumpets Bob Hart (Levon-Hart)
8.) Stroke Two (Aside Chris Coombs
9.) Doing the Rounds Piff Parfitt
10.) Summertime Ivor Lloyd-Morgan (Gershwin)
11.) Beatuful Strangers Jane Westlake (Levon-Hart)
12.) College Girl Piers Johnson (Levon-Hart)
13.) Song of Black Glass Bob Hart (Levon-Hart)
14.) Corrina Corrina Chris Coombs (Traditional)

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Jim Capaldi struck out on his own following the break-up of Traffic and the result is the upbeat Short Cut Draw Blood. This album produced hit singles in the form of such tracks as "It's All Up to You," "Love Hurts" and the FM staple "Johnny Too Bad." Aided by a wide variety of musician friends and dipping into a wide range of musical styles, there is something for everyone on Short Cut Draw Blood. While some cuts still have a thrown together sound to them, this album holds together even better than his first release. A fine look at the mid-'70s in terms of just how wide a variety of music could be contained on one album by one personality. ~ James Chrispell, All Music Guide

Tracks :

1. "Goodbye Love"
2. "It's All Up To You"
3. "Love Hurts" (Boudleaux Bryant)
4. "Johnny Too Bad"
5. "Short Cut Draw "
6. "Living on a Marble"
7. "Boy With A Problem"
8. "Keep On Trying"
9. "Seagull"

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009


The Web are perhaps best known for their progressive rock classic I Spider (available on Esoteric Recordings), an album of innovation that continues to draw comparisons with the work of Van Der Graaf Generator at that time. The Web began life as a jazz and soul influenced outfit, fronted by singer John L. Watson, enjoying Top Ten hit singles throughout Europe.

By the time of Theraphosa Blondi the band underwent a metamorphosis, with their music taking on more Jazz and Progressive influences, resulting in an excellent album that is rightly seen as a precursor to both the album I Spider and the band'sevolution into the group Samurai.

Tracks :

1. Like The Man Said / Sunshine Of Your Love 13:54
2. ´Til I Come Home Again Once More 3:02
3. Bewala 2:32
4. 1000 Miles Away 4:34
5. Blues For Two T's 2:51
6. Kilimanjaro 3:54
7. Tobacco Road / America!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Marsupilami's debut album is about as ungainly as the group's name in its strident, mordant, early progressive rock. There was a very large undertow of obscure albums with morose melodies, fuzz guitars, and organ at the end of the 1960s and very beginning of the 1970s. Marsupilami falls squarely into that bag, although it's differentiated from the American records of that type by a sort of British-European seriousness and early prog rock-jazz touches, particularly in Jessica Stanley Clarke's flute. The songs are long, winding, and portentous, with touches of the gothic and the funereal, especially in the organ and Dave Laverock's bowed guitar (particularly on the closer "Facilis Descencus Averni"). They're rather samey-sounding and unmemorable, though, and not so dark as to be as truly chilling as they might have wished. If you're looking for something in the same general ballpark that's almost equally obscure, Julian's Treatment's A Time Before This album (also from 1970) is much better than this LP, which was reissued on Get Back in 1999. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

Tracks :

01-Dorian Deep
02-Born To Be Free
03-And The Eagle Chased The Dove To It's Ruin
04-Ab Initio Ad Finem (The Opera)
05-Facilis Descensus Averni

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Monday, February 9, 2009


The album opens with the rocker "Down the Road", which isn't really prog, but smokes nonetheless. Then we get the title track, which is not just the best song on the album, it's probably Kansas' best song, and should by all rights be considered a prog classic. All the elements are there - overall symphonic sound, multiple sections, long instrumental breaks, heady politically/environmentally conscious lyrics and great composition. Whenever someone gratuitously bashes Kansas, I always wonder if all they've heard is "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Dust in the Wind", and have never had the pleasure of a track like "Song For America". One of my favorite concert moments was getting to see Kansas play at a tiny bar and standing five feet away from Phil Ehart as he tore through the impressive drum parts of this song. To this day, I'm convinced that Mr. Ehart is possibly the most underrated drummer in rock.

Unfortunately the best track is followed immediately by what is probably the worst. It's a melodramatic, overblown tale of a grieving widower who's wife's ghost comes back to comfort him (with suitably bombastic and emotional music to match). Even when I was a hard-core Kansas fan I never liked this song - it just seems like the blueprint for way too many bad neoprog songs.

"Lonely Street" is a down-and-dirty blues tune (in 11/8 if I'm counting correctly) that's about as dark lyrically as anything the band ever did. The narrator tells of how he killed a man for raping his woman. Steve Walsh goes for the gusto on this one, and those who dislike his voice would hate it. But it's another highlight in my book. The guitars smolder and smoke, and the violin adds some nice touches. I just wish the lyric "So half crazed I shot him, and I cried in the blood on that jail house floor" had been changed to "killed" instead of "shot". How would the protagonist have gotten a gun in jail? A nitpick I know, but it's always bugged me.

"The Devil Game" kind of foreshadows the days of the early 80s, when Kerry Livgren would take over control of the band and turn it briefly into a Christian rock group. Except that this song is a fairly good rocker (if you can overlook the "don't let the devil use you" lyrics), while most of Kansas' early 80s work is not so hot.

The album ends with another lengthy track, "Incomudro". I seem to remember reading somewhere that the name came to Livgren in a dream, and doesn't really have any particular meaning. The song is another big, bombastic number with long instrumental, symphonic prog sections and occasional philosophical lyrics. Not a bad track, but in all my years as a Kansas fan I never thought "you know, I really need to hear Incomudro today". There's a big drum solo that's a bit disappointing given Ehart's skill, and finally the song and album end in grand prog fashion with the music speeding up until it finally reaches an explosion (literally).

If you don't mind a bit of the "classic rock" sound with your symphonic prog, and you haven't bought this album yet, give it a try. The band's other early work would probably also appeal (everything from the self-titled first album through the live Two For the Show).

review by Bob Eichler

Tracks :

1. Down the road (3:43)
2. Song for America (9:59)
3. Lamplight symphony (8:11)
4. Lonely street (5:43)
5. The devil game (5:03)
6. Incomudro - Hymn to the Atman (12:12)

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Saturday, February 7, 2009


Crosby, Stills & Nash is the eponymous first album released by Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1969 on the Atlantic Records label. It spawned two Top 40 hits, "Marrakesh Express" and "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," which peaked respectively at #28 the week of August 23, 1969, and at #21 the week of October 25, 1969, on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The album itself peaked at #6 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart.

The album was a very strong debut for the band, instantly lifting them to stardom. Along with the Band's Music From Big Pink of the previous year, it helped initiate a sea change in popular music away from the ruling late sixties aesthetic of bands playing blues-based rock music on loud guitars. Crosby, Stills & Nash presented a new wrinkle in building upon rock's roots, utilizing folk, blues, and even jazz without specifically sounding like mere duplication. Not only blending voices, the three meshed their differing strengths, Crosby for social commentary and atmospheric mood pieces, Stills for his diverse musical skills and for folding folk and country elements subtly into complex rock structures, and Nash for his radio-friendly pop melodies, to create an amalgam of broad appeal. Eventually going multi-platinum, in addition to the abovementioned singles, Crosby, Stills & Nash features some of their best known songs in "Wooden Ships" and "Helplessly Hoping." "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" was composed for Judy Collins, and "Long Time Gone" was a response to the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

This album proved very influential on many levels to the dominant popular music scene in America for much of the 1970s. The success of the album generated gravitas for the group within the industry, and galvanized interest in signing like acts, many of whom came under management and representation by the CSN team of Elliot Roberts and David Geffen. Strong sales, combined with the group's emphasis on personal confession in its writing, paved the way for the success of the singer-songwriter movement of the early seventies. Their utilization of personal events in their material without resorting to subterfuge, their talents in vocal harmony, their cultivation of painstaking studio craft, as well as the Laurel Canyon ethos that surrounded the group and their associates, established an aesthetic for a number of acts that came to define the "California" sound of the ensuing decade, including The Eagles, Jackson Browne, post-1974 Fleetwood Mac, and others.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 259 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

The album has been issued on compact disc three times: mastered by Barry Diament at Atlantic Studios in the mid-1980s[1]; remastered by Joe Gastwirt at Ocean View Digital and reissued on August 16, 1994; reissued again by Rhino Records as an expanded edition using the HDCD process on January 24, 2006.

Tracks :

1. "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" (Stills) – 7:25
2. "Marrakesh Express" (Nash) – 2:39
3. "Guinnevere" (Crosby) – 4:40
4. "You Don't Have to Cry" (Stills) – 2:45
5. "Pre-Road Downs" (Nash) – 3:01
6. "Wooden Ships" (Crosby, Stills, Paul Kantner [uncredited]) 5:29
7. "Lady of the Island" (Nash) – 2:39
8. "Helplessly Hoping" (Stills) – 2:41
9. "Long Time Gone" (Crosby) – 4:17
10. "49 Bye-Byes" (Stills) – 5:16

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

FOX - FOX 1975

The band was founded by songwriter and producer Kenny Young, who had composed the song "Under The Boardwalk" for the Drifters in 1964. Young had worked off and on with Australian singer Susan Traynor for a number of years in the United States.

As an uncredited member of the Charmettes, produced by Young, Traynor had scored a minor hit single with "Please Don't Kiss Me Again" and she had later appeared on Young's album Last Stage For Silverworld, where she was listed as "Amanda". Both Traynor and Young then relocated to England in 1968, after Young had written a song for Reparata and the Delrons called "Captain of Your Ship", which had been a British hit.

He then discovered Northern Irish singer Clodagh Rodgers on a television show, who had recently released a single called "Play The Drama Till The End". The partnership produced three years of hit singles, beginning with "Come Back And Shake Me". With this, Rodgers became something of a blueprint for Fox, as she recorded demos of some of the songs which would eventually surface on the first Fox album in 1975, as well as earlier Young tunes.

Meanwhile, Susan Traynor was in a folk group called Wooden Horse, which released two albums before breaking up. After his success with Rogers, Young founded Fox with Irish singer Herbie Armstrong, recruiting Traynor as lead singer. She adopted the stage name Noosha, a scrambled version of her own name, and a glamorous image inspired by Marlene Dietrich, wearing elegant dresses to contrast with the scruffy looks of the rest of the group.

The band's self-titled debut album was released on GTO Records in 1975 to critical acclaim. The lead single, "Only You Can", was a Top 10 UK single, the follow-up "Imagine Me Imagine You" also reached the top 30 and "He's Got Magic" was a hit in some European countries. Also the track Love Ship was played extensively on Radio Caroline, and was subsequently adopted as one of their theme tunes in the 1970's. Shortly after the release of their first album, the band made a cameo appearance in the film Side By Side.

However, Noosha was relegated to backing vocals for half the songs on the late 1975 follow-up album, Tails Of Illusion, with the other songs sung by Young. The album enjoyed neither the critical nor the sales success of its predecessor; without Noosha's distinctive voice, casual listeners did not associate the songs with the band that had recorded "Only You Can". Roger Taylor of Queen added backing vocals to the song "Survival".

The band returned to the charts in April 1976 when "S-S-S-Single Bed" was a surprise Top 5 UK hit and topped the Australian charts. Again, though, the band failed to capitalize upon its momentum, and the weaker accompanying album Blue Hotel, which was only released the following year, failed to yield any further singles, even though Noosha was reinstated as lead singer on all its tracks.

Noosha Fox left the band after Blue Hotel. Armstrong and Young continued to work together in the band Yellow Dog, while Armstrong went on to work with Van Morrison and Solley later joined Whitesnake. Noosha launched a solo career, and her first single, "Georgina Bailey", written and produced by Young, briefly entered the Top 40 in the UK (reaching number 31) in 1977. However, its title and subject matter (about a girl whose uncle turns out to be gay) were reminiscent of Rod Stewart's then-current single "The Killing of Georgie", and the single's relatively weak chart placement meant that her planned solo album, already partly recorded, was shelved.

In 1979, Noosha Fox tried again to start her solo career with a single, "The Heat Is On", on Chrysalis Records. It flopped, but a cover version by ABBA's Agnetha Fältskog was a big European hit four years later. Noosha recorded several singles in the early 1980s for the Earlobe label but none were successful, and she evidently retired from the music business, but not returning to Australia as many believe.

Fox reformed briefly in 1980, releasing the New Wave-influenced "Electro People", written as the theme music for the Kenny Everett Show. The band considered a reunion in the early 1990s, but the tracks recorded at this time were unreleased until 2004, when they appeared as bonus tracks on the Tails of Illusion CD.

It was reported in 2007 on BBC Radio 4's "The Music Group" that Noosha Fox is recording a solo album of electropop, and has her own website.

Tracks :

Love Letters
Imagine Me Imagine You
The Joggler
Patient Tigers
Only You Can
The More
He's Got Magic
Pisces Babies
Love Ship
Red Letter Day
Out of My Body
If I Point At The Moon
Georgina Bailey
Pretty Boy

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Produced by Gary Katz, recorded by Roger Nichols this album contains the hit single "Rikki don't lose that number" which became the band's biggest hit, reaching #4 on the charts right after the release of the album. Pretzel logic also includes a Duke Ellington's cover (East St. Louis Toodle-oo) and a tribute to saxophonist Charlie Parker (Parker's band). The album has been placed, in 2003, at #385 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
For sure, Pretzel logic was a unique beast when it hit the record stores. Back in 1974 it was impossible to listen to something similar. It was an incredibly fresh mixture of pop, jazz and rock, with lyrics so strange that it was/is sometimes hard to understand the whole meaning of the song (hence the title "Pretzel logic", I assume!!!).
While their first two albums were mostly rock-oriented and -inspired, this "Pretzel logic" has a more jazzy taste. Nonetheless it lacks the somewhat cold atmosphere of the subsequent Becker & Fagen albums: perfect in every detail, food for mind more than food for soul. Don't get me wrong: I simply love all their albums but some of their juvenile freshness has started to lack after Pretzel logic was released. This might be caused by the decision to stop live performances (they stopped touring after Pretzel logic) but, in some sense, the duo started to talk more to the mind than to the heart.

The reason why I've decided to include Pretzel logic into our list of audiophile recordings is simple: this album, besides being an excellent recording considering it dates back to 1974, is a good test for any system that aims to reproduce a lively swing. If your system is not adequate in the "timing" department then this album would sound boring and lifeless. Try following the simple rhythm of the title track or of "Barrytown" (my two faves): you shouldn't be able to stop your feet from stomping! These tracks are groovy to the n-th power! The bass lines of the title track - doubled by Jeff Porcaro's powerful drumming - are purely sensual, they are simple but extremely powerful and SHOULD be easy to follow, during the whole track. If they get lost among the rest of the instruments, something in your system needs a reality check.
The same applies to "Barrytown", a song that possesses a joyous pace that should be naturally reproduced by your system. The song is only apparently simple: try to follow the patterns of the keywords and of the electric guitar...they are quite intricated indeed! Try to follow each one separately. Is it easy or confusing? [Answer: it should be EASY]. Another song with an urge is "Monkey in your soul": again PRaT ability of the system is under severe test here!
On the other hand, the slow rhythm of the hit "Rikki don't lose that number" sounds a bit a-la Joe Jackson if I may ...only years before Joe published his first album! Its opening keyboard riff, directly taken from '64 Horace Silver's "Song for my father", is extremely catchy and involving, the system should preserve its slow and almost hypnotic cadence. Again, try to refrain your feet from stomping!

This album is also a good test for vocals. You shouldn't expect the quality you can hear on modern audiophile recordings (which are more real than real, actually) but there should be NO trace of harshness or distortion, even during choirs. Voices should come out natural and easy on the ear. Actually, the whole album should sound easy, it's something you should be able to listen many times in a row (being 35 minutes long, that's not difficult!).
Overall dynamics isn't anywhere near the best today's recordings so don't expect goose bumps in this specific department. This relaxed atmosphere makes the album even easier to enjoy. Finally, 3D soundstaging, being Pretzel logic a 1974 pop/rock recording, isn't impressive. Width, height and depth of the virtual are clearly limited. Not the same applies to focus and precision, which are quite good even by today's standards.
( )

Tracks :

1. "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" – 4:30
2. "Night By Night" – 3:36
3. "Any Major Dude Will Tell You" – 3:05
4. "Barrytown" – 3:17
5. "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo" (Duke Ellington, Bubber Miley) – 2:45

Side 2

1. "Parker's Band" – 2:36
2. "Through With Buzz" – 1:30
3. "Pretzel Logic" – 4:28
4. "With A Gun" – 2:15
5. "Charlie Freak" – 2:41
6. "Monkey In Your Soul" – 2:31

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Monday, February 2, 2009


Pure Prairie League is an American country-rock band whose roots began between 1964 and 1969 in Waverly, Ohio with Craig Fuller, Tom McGrail, Jim Caughlan and John David Call. The band's name was chosen by McGrail after a 19th century temperance union mentioned in the 1939 film Dodge City. The band has had a long run, active from the early 1970s through to the early 1980s, and reborn in the mid 2000s.

Although the band has its roots in Waverly, Ohio, it was actually formed in Columbus, Ohio, and had its first success in Cincinnati. Although Fuller, McGrail, Caughlan, and Call had played together off and on since high school, the first Pure Prairie League recording was a George Ed Powell penned composition, "Down to Pieces" with Powell (acoustic guitar and vocal), Fuller (lead guitar and vocal), McGrail (drums), Kenny May (bass) and David Workman (pedal steel guitar). The original stage band was Fuller, McGrail, Powell, Phil Stokes on bass, and Robin Suskind on guitar and mandola. Steel guitar player, John Call, joined the band in 1970. His steel guitar improved the country songs and sparked guitar duels with Fuller that contributed greatly to the rock/country, signature sound of the band. Caughlan, who had played drums and guitar with Fuller, Call and McGrail in earlier bands, took over on drums when McGrail quit the band just before their first album. Lanham replaced Stokes who left at the same time. After the eponymous first album release and a nationwide tour in 1971, the band split up with Call, Caughlan, and Lanham leaving before the second album. This left Fuller and Powell to record Bustin' Out in Toronto with Billy Hinds (drums) and Michael Connor (piano) would become regulars in the Pure Prairie League line-up for years to come. Michael Reilly, the longtime bass player and front man for the band, joined the band for the Two Lane Highway album and plays with the current band.

By far Pure Prairie League’s biggest hit is Craig Fuller’s ode to an on-again/off-again relationship, "Amie", from the 1972 Bustin' Out LP. Over the years "Amie" has become part of the standard reportoire for legions of cover acts, as the singalong nature and multi-part harmony of its chorus lends itself well to audience participation. Other hits for the band include "Two Lane Highway", "I'm Almost Ready", and the musically less-representative pop song, "Let Me Love You Tonight". The latter two feature Vince Gill on vocals, who sang and played guitar with the band in the early 1980s before moving on to become one of Nashville, Tennessee’s biggest stars. Meanwhile, Craig Fuller took a stint as lead singer for the jam/funk/rock band Little Feat in the late 1980s. But after almost a twenty year gap the fourteenth Pure Prairie League album "All In Good Time" was released in 2006, composed primarily of Fuller songs, as was the very first back in 1971.

Tracks :

1. Tears
2. Take It Before You Go
3. You're Between Me
4. Woman
5. Doc's Tune
6. Country Song
7. Brand New Harmony Songs
8. It's All on Me
9. That'll Be the Day
10. I Can Only Think of You
11. Sun Shone Lightly
12. Long Cold Winter
13. Lucille Crawfield
14. Gimme Another Chance
15. Aren't You Mine
16. You Are So Near to Me
17. Out in the Street
18. Goin' Home

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Pure Prairie League is an American country-rock band, the roots began between 1964 and 1969 in Waverly, Ohio with Craig Fuller, Tom McGrail, Jim Caughlan and John David Call. The band's name was chosen by McGrail after a 19th century temperance union mentioned in the 1939 film, Dodge City. The band has had a long run, active from the early 1970s through to the early 1980s, and reborn in the mid 2000s.

Although the band has its roots in Waverly, it was actually formed in Columbus, Ohio (sixty miles north of Waverly), and had its first success in Cincinnati. Although Fuller, McGrail, Caughlan, and Call had played together off and on since high school, the first Pure Prairie League recording was a George Ed Powell penned composition, "Down to Pieces" with Powell (acoustic guitar and vocal), Fuller (lead guitar and vocal), McGrail (drums), Kenny May (bass) and David Workman (pedal steel guitar). The original stage band was Fuller, McGrail, Powell, Phil Stokes on bass, and Robin Suskind on guitar and mandola. Steel guitar player, John Call, joined the band in 1970. His steel guitar improved the country songs and sparked guitar duels with Fuller that contributed greatly to the rock/country, signature sound of the band. Caughlan, who had played drums and guitar with Fuller, Call and McGrail in earlier bands, took over on drums when McGrail quit the band just before their first album. Lanham replaced Stokes who left at the same time. After the eponymous first album release and a nationwide tour in 1971, the band split up with Call, Caughlan, and Lanham leaving before the second album. This left Fuller and Powell to record Bustin' Out in Toronto with Billy Hinds (drums) and Michael Connor (piano) would become regulars in the PPL line-up for years to come. Michael Reilly, the longtime bass player and front man for the band, joined the band for the "Two Lane Highway" album and plays with the current band.

PPL’s biggest hits include Fuller’s "Amie"; "Two Lane Highway", and the musically less-representative pop song, "Let Me Love You Tonight". Vince Gill, who sang and played guitar with the band in the early 1980s and recorded an updated version of "Amie" for their greatest hits album, moved on to become one of Nashville, Tennessee’s biggest stars. A fourteenth album was released in 2006, composed primarily of Craig Fuller songs, as was the very first back in 1971. They also are known to have a Norman Rockwell cowboy named "Sad Luke" appear on most of their album covers.

Tracks :

2.Angel #9
3.Leave My Heart Alone
4.Early Morning Riser
5.Falling In And Out Of Love
7.Boulder Skies
9.Call Me, Tell Me

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

CCS - CCS II 1972

Tracks 1 to 10 are their 2nd album - which as well as their 1970 debut - was simply called "CCS" on the original vinyl LP - here it's called CCS II for CD purposes. It was originally released in April 1972 on Rak Records SRAK 503 and on the strength of the March 1972 7" single "Brother" - the album charted at 23, the only one of their three LPs to break the UK Top 50. Great sleeve too. (Their first album in the USA was called "Whole Lotta Love" released in April 1971 - named after their hit cover version of the Zeppelin classic - see paragraphs below).

Tracks 11 and 12 are the bonus tracks:
11 is "Mister What You Can't Have" which is the non-album B-side to "Brother" on RAK 126
(it's a John Cameron original - great fun track)
12 is "Sixteen Tons" which is the non-album A-side of RAK 141 issued in 1972. It's B-side is the Peter Thorup original "This Is My Life" - it's Track 7 on the album. However, the single version is shorter and different. It has Thorup vocals only, while the album version includes both Thorup and Korner. If you want the single mix (unfortunately not included here), it's on the superb EMI CD "A's B's & Rarities" which also sports 2 previously unreleased CCS tracks not on any of these Repertoire issues. Well worth seeking out that. Back to the A though. I've always thought CCS's version of "Sixteen Tons" to be one of 'the' great lost Seventies gems - and for soul boys looking for a funky rock track to fill out that cool 70's CD-R, this is the place to look. It's a cover version of the Tennessee Ernie Ford 1950's classic which was followed quickly by a Platters version - this fabulous take on that famous 'shovelling coal' song borrows a bit from both of those versions and it's a song that whenever we play it in the shop, it has customers coming to the counter asking "who's this, who's this?"

The huge ensemble group CCS was the brain-child of British Blues Boom Godfather ALEXIS KORNER who along with Danish singer PETER THORUP and British arranger JOHN CAMERON pulled together the cream of brass/flute-playing session-men of the time and went after the BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS market for funked-up rock. Deciding right from the start to include cover versions ala B, S & T, they did a fantastic brassed-up take on Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" that not only complimented the original, but also defined that "CCS" sound. So when the new BBC pop program "Top Of The Pops" needed a cool new theme song, they took this winner from their 1970 debut album, dropped the flute intro and the vocal middle and end - and a theme song legend was born. That mixture of cover-versions given the CCS treatment alongside JOHN CAMERON and ALEXIS KORNER originals continued on this LP. "Black Dog" is another Zeppelin cover from IV, "I Want You Back" was made famous by The Congregation and The Jackson 5 while the "Whole Lotta Rock `N' Roll" track is a 5-part medley of Chuck Berry, Little Richard and a reprise of Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love".

But the best bit is the SOUND. Repertoire re-issues are always good in my book, but this licensed-from-EMI remaster is exceptional. I'd expected wads of hiss, but the transfers are very clean - and given the amount of brass coming at you, muscular to a point where you have to sometimes reach for the volume control! A really great job done.

When CCS folded, both Korner and Thorup teamed up with King Crimson's BOZ BURRELL and IAN WALLACE to form SNAPE who issued some albums in Europe which were good too. But my heart is with the fab C.C.S. Highly recommended to those who love their Seventies with a bit of balls and a sense of humour.
( By Mark Barry at Revival Records, Berwick Street )

Tracks :

1. Brother
2. Black Dog - CCS, Jones, John Paul [1
3. I Want You Back - CCS, Gordy, Berry Jr.
4. Running Out of Sky
5. Whole Lotta Rock'n'roll - CCS,
6. School Days - CCS, Berry
7. This Is My Life - CCS, Thorup
8. Misunderstood
9. Maggie's Song
10. City
11. Mister What You Can't Have
12. Sixteen Tons - CCS, Travis, Merle

Link : @

Ripped by : evermoreblues
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