Friday, September 17, 2010


For those who know or have heard of John Denver, his life, his songs, and his experiences have been legendary. Bursting onto the scene in the early '70s, Denver used his skill of folk-rock and mastery of composition to bring light and heartfelt spirit to the world of music. This compilation is remarkably engineered and produced. "I've been looking forward to this for a long, long time," said Denver during this live recording for RCA at the California Universal Amphitheater in August/September of 1974. He also tells the audience, most attentive to say the least, that he worked on his songs late into the evening on the beach's lifeguard stands the first time he arrived in California in the late '60s. It was a long journey to the top of singing stardom, just eating in order to play for people in the early days. This is a different record from those of his individual ones. It is here that Denver is backed up by a phenomenal orchestra conducted by Lee Holdridge. Dick Kniss is there to back him up on bass guitar. Steve Weisberg adds the electric guitar, steel pedal, and dobro. Herb Lovelle sits in on drums, Hal Blaine adds the percussion, and John Sommers puts added touches with rhythm guitar, banjo, fiddle, and mandolin. The album begins with Denver's song of encouragement, "Farewell Andromeda." "Welcome to my morning/Welcome to my happiness/It pleases me to have you here for just a little while," sings Denver. Then it's off to the races with the uptempo Beatles cover "Mother Nature's Son," in which Denver received much praise for playing, keeping the spirit of the Fab Four alive. "Summer" takes the listener to their favorite vacation spot in the midst of a memory-filled season. He throws in Randy Sparks' song "Toledo" for laughs. The artist receives from the audience a strong reception for the hilarious tune. A song about Denver's uncle, "Matthew," brings to the listeners a lesson "that joy is the thing you should be raised on/And love is just a way to live and die." Denver gives the audience his version of Jim Connor's "Grandma's Feather Bed," another crowd pleaser. After quite an entertaining ending, he introduces his beautiful song "Annie's Song" in sentimental fashion, a song written and played in love of his wife. As the record seems to show, the list of songs flow with a great emphasis of highs and lows, such like the momentum of a roller coaster. It is after the soothing, sweet ballad for Annie that Denver puts on all the stops, pressing full forward with the intense and passionate tune "The Eagle and the Hawk." This song has the theme of the environment written all over its melody, as does nearly all of the artist's work. Another ballad is played with sheer eloquence and sincerity by Denver, "My Sweet Lady." This is certainly an album filled with the artist's best, and one must wonder how he manages to fit all these tunes into one concert for the listeners' enjoyment. A wonderful version of "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" ignites the audience with another rousing of applause, as do "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and his most well-known hit, "Rocky Mountain High." This is a must even for the casual John Denver listener. Only by fully taking in the music can listeners see his vision of good music and passion for protection of the environment. -- Shawn M. Haney

Tracks :

1. The Music Is You
2. Farewell Andromeda (Welcome To My Morning)
3. Mother Nature's Son
4. Summer
5. Today
6. Toledo
7. Matthew
8. Rocky Mountain Suite (Cold Nights In Canada)
9. Sweet Surrender
10. Grandma's Feather Bed
11. Annie's Song
12. The Eagle And The Hawk
13. My Sweet Lady
14. Annie's Other Song
15. Boy From The Country
16. Rhymes & Reasons
17. Forest Lawn
18. Pickin' The Sun Down
19. Thank God I'M A Country Boy
20. Take Me Home, Country Roads
21. Poems, Prayers And Promises
22. Rocky Mountain High
23. This Old Guitar

Monday, September 13, 2010


Jones became infatuated with the bohemian image of Woody Guthrie and Jack Kerouac and grew his hair long. His mother had started calling him Wizzy after the Beano comic strip character "Wizzy the Wuz" because at the age of nine Raymond was a budding Musician. The nickname stuck throughout his school years and when he formed his first band "The Wranglers" in 1957 the name became permanent. Bert Jansch later said "I think he's the most underrated guitarist ever". In the early 1960s he went busking in Paris, France, and there mixed in an artistic circle that included Rod Stewart, Alex Campbell, Clive Palmer (Incredible String Band) and Ralph McTell. After a couple of years in Paris he married and returned to England to raise a family. In 1965 his only single was released: Bob Dylan's "Ballad of Hollis Brown". By this time the skiffle boom was over but one of the stars of that movement, Chas McDevitt, used Jones' guitar-playing on five albums in 1965 and 1966. Another musician on those sessions was the bluegrass banjo-player, Pete Stanley. In 1966 Jones and Stanley released an album Sixteen Tons of Bluegrass, but this partnership broke down in 1967, as Jones then turned solo.
Jones started to became a singer-songwriter. His first solo album was Wizz Jones in 1969. Up to 1988, ten solo albums followed and he played on Ralph McTell’s single "Take It Easy" in 1974. In a way Ralph was repaying Wizz for his help in getting McTell established on the scene, Steve Tilston was also guided by Wizz, through the easy stages of his career. Wizz was once described a having 'a right hand worthy of Broonzy', the Broonzy in question is of course Legendary Country Blues Guitarist Big Bill Broonzy. Jones is quite proud of his 'Musicians' Musician' status on the scene, always he couldn't be bothered with proper fame! Most of his recordings from this period are long out of print. A brief excursion as a member of the traditional folk band Lazy Farmer in 1975 produced an album that was reissued in 2006. Wizz has always maintained a high level of popularity in Germany, since the mid - 1970's, he stills tours mainland Europe every year. The early 1990s were a quiet period. He almost disappeared from public view. When in the mid-nineties he appeared on the Bert Jansch television documentary Acoustic Routes, there was renewed interest in his work. In 2001 he led John Renbourn and other members of Pentangle on the album Lucky The Man. In 2007 The Legendary Me and When I Leave Berlin were reissued on CD by the Sunbeam record label.

Around this time I was gigging with banjo player Clive Palmer at places such as Les Cousins in Greek Street, Soho. It was there that I met Roy Harper who had recently recorded his first album "Sophisticated Beggar" for producer Pierre Tubbs. Pierre had told Roy that he was looking for artists with original material to record for Liberty and United Artists records. Roy's retort had been "Pierre why don't you record some ORIGINAL PEOPLE like Wizz Jones and Clive Palmer?"

So that was how I got to make my first solo LP (Pierre went on to record Clive as part of Henry Bartlett's group "The Famous Jug Band").

I even persuaded one of my old busking friends Long John Baldry to write the sleeve notes.

It was also the first time I recorded the fine Alan Tunbridge song "A Common Or Garden Mystery" with Beverley Martyn and it was my plan to make that the title of the album. However I was over-ruled and persuaded to climb on to a diesel engine at Clapham Junction for the photo shoot for the LP sleeve!

Tracks :

1. "Teapot Blues"
2. "Shall I Wake You from Your Sleep?"
3. "A Common or Garden Mystery"
4. "I've Got a Woman with One Leg"
5. "Shukkin' Sugar Blues"
6. "Earl's Court Breakdown"
7. "Oh My Friend"
8. "Blues and Trouble"
9. "Can't Stop Thinkin' About It"
10. "Dazzling Stranger"
11. "At the Junction"
12. "American Land"
13. "I Wanna See the Manager"
14. "Corrine's Blues"
15. "Grapes of Life"
16. "Guitar Shuffle"

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Self-described as the Partridge Family and Redd Foxx on one album, Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, otherwise known as Flo & Eddie, presented one of the more eclectic duos in the history of rock & roll. Their friendship and musical partnership, which began in their high school choir in Westchester, CA, led at first to a surf band called the Crossfires, which changed its name tothe Turtles after its members graduated high school. The Turtles had some of the sweetest, most feel-good sounds in pop music, but underneath the melodic pop there was always an undercurrent of mischief. When the band broke up in 1970, Volman and Kaylan became members of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention, which provided them a perfect breeding ground for their quirky ways. Performing under the name the Phlorescent Leech & Eddie, they eventually shortened their moniker to Flo & Eddie. They recorded seven solo albums, eventually producing inexplicably weird reggae albums, but their real name was made by their radio show, which started out in the mid-'70s in Detroit, but eventually ended up on KROQ in California and was syndicated by nearly 50 stations at its peak. Flo & Eddie scored two low-budget films, Dirty Duck and Texas Detour, and, surreally enough, also worked on music for several kids' television shows, including the animated series Strawberry Shortcake and the Care Bears. ~ Stacia Proefrock, Rovi

Tracks :

Flo & Eddie Theme
Thoughts Have Turned
It Never Happened
Burn The House
Lady Blue
Strange Girl
Who But I
I Been Born Again
Goodbye Surprise
Nikki Hoi
Really Love
Feel Older Now
Goodby Surprise
Feel Older Now
There You Sit Lonely

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