Sunday, March 28, 2010


A decent if not especially noteworthy Canadian psychedelic band who recorded for Capitol, probably around the late '60s; the sleeve indicates that they recorded at a Vancouver studio, making it reasonably likely that they were from British Columbia. They wrote their own material, and were extremely influenced by the San Francisco sound, with fluid guitars, harmonies, and an occasional country-folk bounce.

West Coast quintet Mother Tucker's Yellow Duck was formed in 1967 -- not as a group of musicians but as a collective consisting of Kathy Kay from Boston who was the original Mother Tucker, John Patrick Caldwell as The Yellow Duck (aka Raphael Red The Village Idiot), Bob O'Connor (aka Dogan Pink Foot/Sheldon O'Dogan), and Michael Goldman (aka Garnet Crystalman).

The only working musician at the time was O'Connor who got a job working with Hughie Lockhead and Charlie Faulkner in a group called Medusa. When Bob O'Connor left the group - Lockhead and Faulkner join Caldwell to form the band actual musical group Mother Tucker's Yellow Duck.

By 1968 they were signed to London Records and had little success with their first single, "I", but did have minor success with "One Ring Jane" in 1969. Later that year they would form their own Duck Records distributed by Capitol Records where they released several more singles through 1970. Roger Law would eventually be replaced by his brother Les and the band managed to tour with the likes of Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, Cream, and The Yardbirds. Alas, fame eluded them and they split up in 1971.

Donnie McDougall would go on to join The Guess Who in 1972 and recorded several albums with them. He wound up a truck driver living in White Rock, BC. In the mid-90's he would revive his career as member of The Best Of The Guess Who -- a touring tribute to his former band and eventually joined the reformed Guess Who in 2000; Caldwell left the music business; Roger Law died in a car accident; Faulkner joined the Wild Root Orchestra before leaving music to become a handyman only to return in recent years with the Kelowna, BC band Dog Skin Suit.

Tracks :

01 Starting A New Day
02 Love's Been A Long Time Coming
03 Middlefield County
04 True Blue
05 Natchez Theme (For Natchez)
06 Wood U Call It
07 Nightfowl
08 Did You Ever
09 Collin's Breakdown
10 A Play On Children

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Guitarist Wolf Hoffmann, formerly of the underrated German heavy metal band Accept, focused his love of classical music into a fascinating instrumental solo album, Classical. Yngwie Malmsteen is probably the only other metal guitarist who has tackled classical music in a serious way. A marriage of metal and classical, Classical includes interpretations of famous compositions by Georges Bizet, Edvard Grieg, Peter Tchaikovsky, Bedrich Smetana, Maurice Ravel, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Edward Elgar. Hoffmann plays all the guitars and he's joined by a handful of guests like Damn Yankees and Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Michael Cartellone, Giant and country music session bass guitarist Mike Brignardello, keyboardist Al Kooper, and bass guitarist Peter Baltes, a former Accept bandmate. In the liner notes, Hoffmann explains that he gives his versions a twist on the originals. Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" is transformed into flowing hard rock. Bizet's "Habanera" (from "Carmen") effectively weaves classical guitar and meaty electric guitar lines. Tchaikovsky's "Arabian Dance" (from "The Nutcracker Suite") is given a strong, dramatic rendering. An eight-and-a-half-minute version of Ravel's "Bolero" is Classical's stunning centerpiece thanks to several distinct guitar parts and a few fleeting sound effects. Beethoven and the blues? Hoffmann makes it work on the splendid "Blues for Elise," and Kooper's Hammond B3 organ helps. Elgar's familiar "Pomp & Circumstance" is bombastic to begin with, and Hoffmann pushes that feel even further. The guitarist's lone original on Classical, the terrific "Western Sky," cleverly changes tempos and instrumental patterns. Classical is a successful experiment, and hopefully Hoffmann will continue this kind of work. ~ Bret Adams, All Music Guide

Tracks :

01. Prelude (1:25)
02. In The Hall Of The Mountain Ki (3:14)
03. Habanera (5:14)
04. Arabian Dance (5:14)
05. The Moldau (4:54)
06. Bolero (8:17)
07. Blues For Elise (4:02)
08. Aragonaise (4:27)
09. Solveig's Song (3:45)
10. Western Sky (4:26)
11. Pomp & Circumstance (3:42)

Friday, March 26, 2010


As the elder statesman of British blues, it is John Mayall's lot to be more renowned as a bandleader and mentor than as a performer in his own right. Throughout the '60s, his band, the Bluesbreakers, acted as a finishing school for the leading British blues-rock musicians of the era. Guitarists Eric Clapton, Peter Green, and Mick Taylor joined his band in a remarkable succession in the mid-'60s, honing their chops with Mayall before going on to join Cream, Fleetwood Mac, and the Rolling Stones, respectively. John McVie and Mick Fleetwood, Jack Bruce, Aynsley Dunbar, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Andy Fraser (of Free), John Almond, and Jon Mark also played and recorded with Mayall for varying lengths of times in the '60s.

Mayall's personnel has tended to overshadow his own considerable abilities. Only an adequate singer, the multi-instrumentalist was adept in bringing out the best in his younger charges (Mayall himself was in his thirties by the time the Bluesbreakers began to make a name for themselves). Doing his best to provide a context in which they could play Chicago-style electric blues, Mayall was never complacent, writing most of his own material (which ranged from good to humdrum), revamping his lineup with unnerving regularity, and constantly experimenting within his basic blues format. Some of these experiments (with jazz-rock and an album on which he played all the instruments except drums) were forgettable; others, like his foray into acoustic music in the late '60s, were quite successful. Mayall's output has caught some flak from critics for paling next to the real African-American deal, but much of his vintage work -- if weeded out selectively -- is quite strong; especially his legendary 1966 LP with Eric Clapton, which both launched Clapton into stardom and kick-started the blues boom into full gear in England.

When Clapton joined the Bluesbreakers in 1965, Mayall had already been recording for a year, and been performing professionally long before that. Originally based in Manchester, Mayall moved to London in 1963 on the advice of British blues godfather Alexis Korner, who thought a living could be made playing the blues in the bigger city. Tracing a path through his various lineups of the '60s is a daunting task. At least 15 different editions of the Bluesbreakers were in existence from January 1963 through mid-1970. Some notable musicians (like guitarist Davy Graham, Mick Fleetwood, and Jack Bruce) passed through for little more than a cup of coffee; Mayall's longest-running employee, bassist John McVie, lasted about four years. The Bluesbreakers, like Fairport Convention or the Fall, was more a concept than an ongoing core. Mayall, too, had the reputation of being a difficult and demanding employer, willing to give musicians their walking papers as his music evolved, although he also imparted invaluable schooling to them while the associations lasted.

Mayall recorded his debut single in early 1964; he made his first album, a live affair, near the end of the year. At this point the Bluesbreakers had a more pronounced R&B influence than would be exhibited on their most famous recordings, somewhat in the mold of younger combos like the Animals and Rolling Stones, but the Bluesbreakers would take a turn for the purer with the recruitment of Eric Clapton in the spring of 1965. Clapton had left the Yardbirds in order to play straight blues, and the Bluesbreakers allowed him that freedom (or stuck to well-defined restrictions, depending upon your viewpoint). Clapton began to inspire reverent acclaim as one of Britain's top virtuosos, as reflected in the famous "Clapton is God" graffiti that appeared in London in the mid-'60s.

In professional terms, though, 1965 wasn't the best of times for the group, which had been dropped by Decca. Clapton even left the group for a few months for an odd trip to Greece, leaving Mayall to straggle on with various fill-ins, including Peter Green. Clapton did return in late 1965, around the time an excellent blues-rock single, "I'm Your Witchdoctor" (with searing sustain-laden guitar riffs), was issued on Immediate. By early 1966, the band was back on Decca, and recorded its landmark Bluesbreakers LP. This was the album that, with its clean, loud, authoritative licks, firmly established Clapton as a guitar hero, on both reverent covers of tunes by the likes of Otis Rush and Freddie King and decent originals by Mayall himself. The record was also an unexpected commercial success, making the Top Ten in Britain. From that point on, in fact, Mayall became one of the first rock musicians to depend primarily upon the LP market; he recorded plenty of singles throughout the '60s, but none of them came close to becoming a hit.

Clapton left the Bluesbreakers in mid-1966 to form Cream with Jack Bruce, who had played with Mayall briefly in late 1965. Mayall turned quickly to Peter Green, who managed the difficult feat of stepping into Clapton's shoes and gaining respect as a player of roughly equal imagination and virtuosity, although his style was quite distinctly his own. Green recorded one LP with Mayall, A Hard Road, and several singles, sometimes writing material and taking some respectable lead vocals. Green's talents, like those of Clapton, were too large to be confined by sideman status, and in mid-1967 he left to form a successful band of his own, Fleetwood Mac.

Mayall then enlisted 19-year-old Mick Taylor; remarkably, despite the consecutive departures of two star guitarists, Mayall maintained a high level of popularity. The late '60s were also a time of considerable experimentation for the Bluesbreakers, which moved into a form of blues-jazz-rock fusion with the addition of a horn section, and then a retreat into mellower, acoustic-oriented music. Mick Taylor, the last of the famous triumvirate of Mayall-bred guitar heroes, left in mid-1969 to join the Rolling Stones. Yet in a way Mayall was thriving more than ever, as the U.S. market, which had been barely aware of him in the Clapton era, was beginning to open up for his music. In fact, at the end of the 1960s, Mayall moved to Los Angeles. Released in 1969, The Turning Point, a live, all-acoustic affair, was a commercial and artistic high point.

In America at least, Mayall continued to be pretty popular in the early '70s. His band was no more stable than ever; at various points some American musicians flitted in and out of the Bluesbreakers, including Harvey Mandel, Canned Heat bassist Larry Taylor, and Don "Sugarcane" Harris. Although he's released numerous albums since and remained a prodigiously busy and reasonably popular live act, his post-1970 output generally hasn't matched the quality of his '60s work. Following collaborations with an unholy number of guest celebrities, in the early '80s he re-teamed with a couple of his more renowned vets, John McVie and Mick Taylor, for a tour. It's the '60s albums that you want, though there's little doubt that Mayall has over the past decades done a great deal to popularize the blues all over the globe, whether or not the music has meant much on record. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

Tracks :

01. Lil Boogie In The Afternoon
02. Mess Of Love
03. That Love
04. The Boy Most Likely To Succeed
05. Who's Next, Who's Now
06. Hale To The Man Who Lives Alone
07. There Will Be A Way
08. Just Knowing You Is A Pleasure
09. A Hard Day's Night
10. Old Time Blues

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


" After the dissolution of Pollen, Rivest produced this cycle of pretty, sometimes folky, song-based material. Helping him on the release is most of Pollen; Lemay, Lemoyne, even original drummer Courchesne. The direction is different from Pollen; it's as if you took the understated parts of their album such as "l'Indien" and built an album around them. While this leads to fewer displays of virtuosity, it is still recognizable territory for fans of the band, with Rivest's vocals and Lemay's keys as the strong points. "

Tracks : FLAC

1. Dimanche (2:21)
2. La Langue De Son Pays (4:23)
3. Voyage Au Tibet (7:30)
4. Clown d' Un Soir (3:34)
5. Messager Du Temps (3:11)
6. Toujours Plus Haut (3:51)
7. La Nuit (4:41)
8. Trouver Ma liberté (4:10)
9. Laisse Toi Donc Aller (3:07)

Bonus track on ProgQuebec release MPM16
10. Prendre Son Temps (3:33)

Sunday, March 21, 2010


East-West's eclecticism even further. Bishop moved into the lead guitar slot for the band's third album, 1967's The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw (a reference to Bishop's nickname). Displaying a greater soul influence, the album also featured a new rhythm section in bassist Bugsy Maugh and drummer Phil Wilson, plus a horn section that included a young David Sanborn. Pigboy Crabshaw proved to be the closing point of the Butterfield Band's glory days; the 1968 follow-up, In My Own Dream, was uneven in its songwriting and focus, and both Elvin Bishop and Mark Naftalin left the band before year's end. Still hoping for a breakout commercial hit, Elektra brought in producer/songwriter Jerry Ragovoy, a longtime R&B professional, which marked the first time they'd asserted control over a Butterfield recording. That didn't sit well with Butterfield, who wanted to move in a jazzier direction than Ragovoy's radio-friendly style allowed; the result, 1969's Keep on Moving, was another inconsistent outing, despite the return of Billy Davenport and an injection of energy from the band's new guitarist, 19-year-old Buzzy Feiten. 1969 wasn't a washout for Butterfield, though; his band was still popular enough to make the bill at Woodstock, and he also took part in an all-star Muddy Waters session dubbed Fathers and Sons, which showcased the Chicago giant's influence on the new generation of bluesmen and greatly broadened his audience.

After 1970's Live and the following year's studio effort Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smilin', Butterfield broke up his band and parted ways with Elektra. Tired of all the touring and personnel turnover, he retreated to the communal atmosphere of Woodstock, still a musicians' haven in the early '70s, and in 1971 formed a new group eventually dubbed Better Days. Guitarist Amos Garrett and drummer Chris Parker were the first to join, and with folk duo Geoff and Maria Muldaur in tow, the band was initially fleshed out by organist Merl Saunders and bassist John Kahn, both from San Francisco. Sans Geoff Muldaur, this aggregation worked on the soundtrack of the film Steelyard Blues, but Saunders and Kahn soon returned to the Bay Area, and were replaced by New Orleans pianist Ronnie Barron and Taj Mahal bassist Billy Rich. This lineup -- with Geoff Muldaur back, plus contributions from singer/songwriter Bobby Charles -- released the group's first album, Better Days, in 1972 on Butterfield manager Albert Grossman's new Bearsville label. While it didn't quite match up to Butterfield's earliest efforts, it did return him to critical favor. A follow-up, It All Comes Back, was released in 1973 to positive response, and in 1975 he backed Muddy Waters once again on The Woodstock Album, the last LP release ever on Chess.

Butterfield subsequently pursued a solo career, with diminishing returns. His Henry Glover-produced solo debut, Put It in Your Ear, appeared in 1976, but failed to impress many: his harmonica playing was pushed away from the spotlight, and the material was erratic at best. The same year, he appeared in the Band's farewell concert film, The Last Waltz. Over the next few years, Butterfield mostly confined himself to session work; he attempted a comeback in 1981 with legendary Memphis soul producer Willie Mitchell, but the sessions -- released as North-South -- were burdened by synthesizers and weak material. By this time, Butterfield's health was in decline; years of heavy drinking were beginning to catch up to him, and he also contracted peritonitis, a painful intestinal condition. At some point -- none of his friends knew quite when -- Butterfield also developed an addiction to heroin; he'd been stridently opposed to it as a bandleader, leading to speculation that he was trying to ease his peritonitis symptoms. He began to play more gigs in Los Angeles during the early '80s, and eventually relocated there permanently; he also toured on a limited basis during the mid-'80s, and in 1986 released his final album, The Legendary Paul Butterfield Rides Again. However, his addiction was bankrupting him, and in the past half-decade he'd seen Mike Bloomfield, Muddy Waters, and manager Albert Grossman pass away, each loss leaving him shaken. On May 4, 1987, Butterfield himself died of a drug overdose; he was not quite 45 years old. ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide

Tracks :

1. "Born in Chicago" (Nick Gravenites)
2. "Shake Your Moneymaker" (Elmore James)
3. "Blues With a Feeling" (Walter Jacobs)
4. "Thank You Mr. Poobah" (Mike Bloomfield, Paul Butterfield, Mark Naftalin)
5. "I Got My Mojo Working" (Muddy Waters)
6. "Mellow Down Easy" (Willie Dixon)
7. "Screamin'" (Bloomfield)
8. "Our Love Is Drifting" (Bloomfield, Elvin Bishop)
9. "Mystery Train" (Junior Parker, Sam Phillips)
10. "Last Night" (Jacobs)
11. "Look Over Yonders Wall"

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Following his critically acclaimed debut album 'Between The Minds', singer-songwriter Jack Savoretti, returns this July with his second album, the charmingly titled 'Harder Than Easy'.

Full of inspirational soul, rock and blues, the album takes you on a unique journey, showcasing Jack's remarkable talent and re-introducing him as one of the fore-most and significant artists in the musical world.

Keeping his signature sound yet displaying a new found raw, grittiness, this album exposes Jack Savoretti, the man, the musician, in all his glory.

Recorded in LA at the legendary Jackson Browne’s studio with members of Tom Waits band (Larry Taylor & Steve Hodges), the Counting Crows (Charlie Gillingham & David Immergluck) and The Suppliers (James Morrison's band). It was mixed by the Grammy award winning Jack Joseph Puig (U2, Snow Patrol, John Mayer, Klaxons), making this a record of musical supremacy.

Opening with the joyous and uplifting "Map of The World" which recalls echoes of early Van Morrison and Bob Dylan, Jack demonstrates an instant progression and song writing maturity beyond his 25 years. As lead track and first single to be taken from the album, it is the perfect starting point to swiftly draw you in and lead on to what may prove to be Jack's defining moment: "Wonder".

Heart-rendering and beautiful beyond compare, "Wonder" captures and carries you with its raw emotion, allowing you to experience every word and every line sung by Jack's signature sinuous and husky vocals, with bare affection. Its fragile yet powerful tone, rich in desire and full of sentiment acquires a worthy comparison to the likes of Damien Rice, Ray Lamontagne, Jeff Buckley and Ben Harper.

Another important affinity being Nick Drake, whose magnificent track "Northern Sky" is covered by Jack on this album out of admiration and via special request from Nick Drake's estate. Respectful and yet unparalleled, Jack breathes new life into an exceptional classic.

Moving swiftly on to the stunning "Lost America" and charming "Mother", the album continues to determine a diversity sure to satisfy fans and attract new listeners. The haunting "Russian Roulette" provides another album highlight, whilst title track "Harder Than Easy" surpasses all expectations with its outstanding grace. Featuring the additional vocal talent of Lucy Styles, "Harder Than Easy" delivers a melody and performance so heart aching and tender, it is impossible not to be moved.

Finishing on a bluegrass high with "Patriot", a track with Neil Young sensibilities; the album draws to a close. The journey is complete, the talent is proved, this is an album and an artist to discover and fall in love with.

Tracks :

(01). Map Of The World 3:56
(02). Wonder 4:23
(03). Northern Sky 3:34
(04). Lost America 3:48
(05). Mother 3:21
(06). Songs From Different Times 3:23
(07). Russian Roulette 4:36
(08). Breaking News 4:40
(09). Harder Than Easy 3:43
(10). Patriot 3:27

Thursday, March 4, 2010


This blues outfit formed in the Summer of 1967 in London. By the beginning of 1968, Tony Walker and Roger Pearce had both quit the music business. The next line-up was playing solid Chicago-styled blues. In July 1968, they turned professional. By now, Steve Rye had departed for Simon and Steve, and Tony McPhee, a friend of Dave Kelly's, came in on guitar. However, McPhee's stay was brief - a few month later he left to join The Groundhogs. Their two albums for Mercury are the most sought-after by collectors.Dummer followed this with Music Band, a venture with violinist Nick Pickett, which achieved little here but had a French hit with “Nine By Nine”.

Shortening their name to John Dummer, they signed to Vertigo, recording “Blue”, with a cover designed by Roger Dean. The music was still competent blues-rock, but nowhere near as good as their earlier, late-sixties offerings on Mercury. Then, teaming up again with his original guitarist Dave Kelly, Dummer recorded “Oobleedooblee Jubilee” with a country-influenced band. This was a dreadful album, and Dummer went on to hit the skins for another appalling (if commercially successful) band, Darts.Only his early albums are recommended. John Dummer's Famous Music Band's French hit, “Nine By Nine” can also be heard on Vertigo's 1971 compilation, “Heads Together, First Round”.

Taken from The Tapestry of Delights - The Comprehensive Guide to British Music of the Beat, R&B, Psychedelic and Progressive Eras 1963-1976, Vernon Joynson

Tracks :

Few Short Lines
Bullfrog Blues
Try Me One More Time
Money & Fame
Reconsider Baby
Riding At Midnight
Ain´t Gonna Work No More
Big Feeling
Memphis Minnie
Birds & Booze Blues
Skin Game


This group and their one and only album were once considered so hot, what with Nicky Hopkins, Alun Davies, and Jon Mark in the lineup, that a reissue in 1971 rated a full-page ad from the source label in Rolling Stone. In fact, it's a pleasant, well-played midtempo piece of late-1960s rock, with elements of British blues ("Side of the Road"), psychedelic harpsichords and flute ("Cobwebs"), and R&B, mid-1960s U.K. style. Alun Davies and Jon Mark are more than good enough guitar players and singers, but there nothing terribly special here in the way of songwriting. "Cobwebs" is the kind of amorphous, spacy brand of psychedelia that Donovan used to fill out his albums with, but with a bit more drive; "Dealer" is vaguely blues-ish rock driven by pseudo-profound lyrics. Jon Mark's "Rescue Me" is one of the better numbers here, dominated by Hopkins' organ playing and driven by a great beat, and carried by his attempts at a white soul vocal performance; it's no surprise for the neophyte to learn that all of these guys played with outfits like Zoot Money's Big Roll Band and the Cyril Davies All-Stars. And then there's "Gilbert Street," which shows some finesse and a robust vocal performance, and sustains interest for five minutes plus; this number must have been something to hear in concert, and a whole album like it would have lived up to a reputation stretching across the decades. It's also easy to see why this record never caught on at the time -- there isn't a real single here, or any memorable tunes, except for "Gilbert Street" -- and why it became a kind of FM standard among deejays seeking to annoy the hell out of listeners who couldn't get the record. [The Sony Music CD appears to be the first wholly legitimate compact-disc reissue of this album, which was heavily bootlegged on vinyl at one point and has also shown up on CDs of questionable origin. The sound is clean and clear, but otherwise not notable. There are no notes of any kind.] ~ Bruce Eder, All Music Guide

Tracks :
Laughed at Him
Rescue Me
Sweet Francesca
Side of the Road
Gilbert Street

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