segunda-feira, 26 de outubro de 2020

V.A. - The Harvest Bag - Harvest Records 1971

 

The Harvest Bag (1971 UK 10-track label sampler LP featuring a selection of progressive acts from the Harvest label, including The Edgar Broughton Band, Grease Band, BJH, Roy Harper, East Of Eden & more.

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Zephyr - Sunset Ride 1973

There are two kinds of Zephyr fans; those who think the band died when Tommy Bolin left, and those who know it didn't. Zephyr's second and final Warner Bros. album (and third album overall) featured Boulder, Colorado guitar slinger Jock Bartley in place of Bolin, the replacement of Bobby Berge and John Faris, and one of the few known recorded appearances of Bobby Notkoff, other than his work with Neil Young, for whom he created the heart-wrenching violin break on "Running Dry." Without Bolin, the band took a decided turn toward jazz. This is a stunning album, featuring unknown classics like "Moving Too Fast," "Chasing Clouds," and "Winter Always Finds Me." Lead singer Candy Givens died in 1984, and this album is perhaps her most passionate legacy. AMG.
 

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V.A. - Heads Together - First Round Vertigo Records 1971

Like the liner notes rightly suggest, this is not a label sampler in the usual meaning. No top-selling acts draw the cart, no Black Sabbath, no Uriah Heep, no Colosseum, no Juicy Lucy. Moreover, there are five otherwise unavailable tracks on this sampler, so it seems natural to have a closer look at these. The track by Sunbird sounds vaguely like the old Nirvana, even like Bronco. The Jimmy Campbell track is non-LP and on par with the best of his album and therefore an asset. Folkie Carthy makes an unexpected appearance and this is a classic version of a classic tune, excellent. Pete Aikin plays a self-penned song that sounds traditional too but is quite inspired. Only the Lassoo track sounds like the ''new'' Nirvana and is expendable. From the already issued tracks, the best cut by Tudor Lodge is very welcome too, as this is a much cheaper way to get hold of this marvelous cut than trying to secure their sole and not so very exciting album.

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Sun Ra - Astro Black 1973

One of a handful of albums Sun Ra released on Impulse in the early '70s, Astro-Black provides a reasonably comprehensive picture of where the Arkestra was around the time, drawing to the end of their ultra-free period and beginning to investigate some traditional jazz forms. The opening title track explores some of Ra's spacier side, sounding a bit like a calmer alternative to his well-known "Space Is the Place" with June Tyson's ethereal vocals and the leader's ghostly synthesizer. "Discipline '99'" is a relaxed, bluesy number, although, as was often the case, one could argue that the band is a bit too relaxed and the piece does plod a little. But this is followed by a lively African-percussion-driven work, "Hidden Spheres," which, along with the propulsion provided by the great, underappreciated bassist Ronnie Boykins, is a fine example of Ra's band at their most enjoyable. "The Cosmo-Fire," the 18-minute track that closes the album, is a sprawling affair, a smorgasbord of Arkestra once again held in place by Boykins' bass, serving as a solid stem off of which Sun Ra launches abstract organ and vibraphone explorations and the rest of the band wails and sputters. Again, the performance is loose, but in a way that enhances the otherworldly effect that Ra strove for. Astro-Black isn't by any means the finest work by this musician, but is a decent introduction to his unique sound world. AMG

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Zuider Zee - Zeenith 1975

There are sadly way too many stories out there similar to the tale of the boys in Zuider Zee. A Memphis-based power pop band that started recording in the early 1970s, Columbia Records released their one and only album in 1975, a self-titled LP that should have been big, considering the success of other power pop like Cheap Trick, Badfinger and The Raspberries. The band also curiously opened for the Sex Pistol in Memphis – one of only a handful of U.S. shows before Johnny Rotten and his pals saw their band implode spectacularly just a few shows later. But, Columbia never even bothered to release a Zuider Zee single to radio. Combine that label apathy with a bizarre stabbing of their bassist as he caught thieves trying to break into their van to steal equipment, Zuider Zee dissolved by the late ‘70s.

Thankfully, the saviors of the forgotten and criminally under looked, the folks behind Light in the Attic Records, have re-released a lost Zuider Zee gem; Zeenith is a completely remastered set of a dozen songs recorded by the band between 1972 – and- 1974. None of these songs have ever been officially released until now.

The album manages to seamlessly bridge the Glam Rock world with Power Pop. Though a handful of tracks sound a little dated, like the organ-drenched opener “Haunter of the Darkness,” for the most part, the album boasts a timeless quality making this record just as relevant more than four decades later than it should have been if it got a proper release in the ‘70s. The band impressively wields razor sharp pop hooks as easily as they toss out harmonies that would make The Beatles jealous. This stellar set is completed with a dense booklet of photos and liner notes from writer/musician Alec Palao putting the band’s (should have been) legacy in proper perspective. It may have taken decades, but the band is finally getting the attention they deserved all along. newnoisemagazine.com.

 

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V.A. - Warner Brothers Loss Leaders - Non-Dairy Creamer 1971

A Rare 1LP Loss Leader Anomaly. The arrival of this single LP Loss Leader was a bit unusual, and curious that it rarely showed up in any of the WB’s inner sleeve and brochure advertisements, so it’s been largely forgotten about over the years. Which is a shame, because it’s an excellent off-beat release, and you can enjoy it. Many of the artists here are of the low-profile variety – as Little Feat was still new in 1970 and Peter Green was freshly on his own after leaving Fleetwood Mac. So, the quietly progressive acoustic offerings that dot Non-Dairy Creamer, along with the lack of big star power, lend this album its own subdued vitality and charm. Rosebud is a short-live group featuring Jerry Yester (Modern Folk Quartet, Lovin’ Spoonful) and soon to be ex-wife Judy Henske; Ohio Knox features Peter Gallway, late of the 5th Avenue Band; Zephyr is young Tommy Bolin’s first signed band; Ron Nagle is produced by Jack Nitzsche and Tony Joe White was just on Letterman recently performing with The Foo Fighters.

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Quicksilver Messenger Service - What About Me 1971

Musically, there is little to delineate the fifth long-player from Quicksilver Messenger ServiceWhat About Me, from their previous effort, Just for Love. Not surprisingly, material for both was initiated during a prolific two-month retreat to the Opaelua Lodge in Haleiwa, HI, during May and June of 1970. The quartet version of Quicksilver Messenger Service -- which had yielded the band's first two LPs -- expanded once again to include Dino Valenti (aka Chester A. Powers, Chet Powers, and most notably on this album, Jesse Oris Farrow) as well as British session keyboardist Nicky Hopkins. The additional talents of Mark Naftalin (keyboards) were incorporated when Hopkins was unavailable. This began his short stint with Quicksilver Messenger Service, which lasted through their sixth LP, Quicksilver (1972). The most apparent change in Quicksilver Messenger Service's sound can be directly attributed to the return of Valenti. The group has departed the long, free-flowing improvisations that prevailed on both their self-titled debut and follow-up, Happy Trails. The songs are now shorter and more notably structured, with an added emphasis on Valenti's compositions. The title track, "What About Me," became an ethical and sociological anthem with challenging and direct lyrical references to the political and social instability of the early '70s. Valenti, whose songwriting credits on this disc are both numerous and attributed to his Farrow persona, also comes up with some passable introspective love songs, such as "Baby Baby" and "Long Haired Lady," as well as a couple of interesting collaborations with Gary Duncan (bass/vocals). The psychedelic samba "All in My Mind" also highlights the often overlooked percussive contributions from Jose Reyes. Two of the more distinguished entries on What About Me are John Cipollina's raunchy blues instrumental "Local Color" -- replete with a driving backbeat reminiscent of their take on the Robert Johnson standard "Walkin' Blues" -- as well as Nicky Hopkins' emotive "Spindrifter." AMG.

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Tymepiece - Sweet Release 1971

Tymepiece evolved out of the '60s Australian band the Blue Diamonds, who did one of the great-'60s punk singles from Australia (or indeed any country), "I Want, Need, Love You." By the late 1960s, Tymepiece had developed a more mature but duller sound, influenced by the psychedelic and progressive trends of the day. Their sole album, 1971's Sweet Release, is a wide-ranging but unexceptional record of typical, early-'70s not-mainstream-but-not-way-underground rock. When it was reissued on CD by the Australian Vicious Sloth Collectables label, five bonus cuts were added from non-LP singles recorded between 1968 and 1971. AMG.

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Tyrone Davis - Can I Change My Mind 1969

After launching his career as a blues singer, Tyrone Davis helped usher in a new era for Chicago soul with his Dakar debut, Can I Change My Mind, teaming with arrangers Don Myrick and Willie Henderson to create a collection of lilting, effervescent R&B grooves sweeter than sugar. Although entries like "Knock on Wood," "Slip Away," and "Call on Me" are rooted in the earthy, rough-edged traditions of Memphis soul, Can I Change My Mind is strikingly urbane: with its loping rhythm, squiggly guitar licks, and buoyant horns, the smash title cut embodies the album in microcosm, but even the sad songs soar, lifted by the sheer vibrancy of the arrangements. And while you can pull the boy out of the blues, you can't pull the blues out of the boy -- Davis' poignant vocals wring genuine emotion from the lyrics but deftly avoid theatricality at every turn. AMG.
 

WigWam - Being 1974

Wigwam have the rare distinction of being the only '70s band from Finland to have made any impact outside the country, as well as being an incubator for the country's top prog musicians -- the only catch was that the anticipated massive breakthrough never happened. 
Being was their masterpiece, a rock opera of progressive ideology and pop music. Imagine John Lennon, collaborating with Stevie Wonder, circa Songs in the Key of Life-era. AMG.
 

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Phillip Ranelin/ Wendell Harrison - A Message From The Tribe 1972

 

Trombonist Phil Ranelin was one of the Detroit jazz scene's unsung heroes, releasing several excellent, politicized albums that blended post-Coltrane avant-garde jazz, post-Bitches Brew psychedelia, hard bop, funk, and African rhythms. Ranelin was born and raised in Indianapolis, and later moved to New York and then Detroit, where he started out as a session man for Motown artists like Stevie Wonder. In 1971, along with saxophonist Wendell HarrisonRanelin co-founded a band, magazine, and record label conglomeration known as the Tribe, which used experimental jazz as a vehicle to raise African-American political consciousness. That year, Ranelin also issued his first album as a leader, Message from the Tribe. A fine clarinetist and tenor saxophonist, Wendell Harrison has been an important force in Detroit during the past several decades. He began on clarinet when he was seven, started playing tenor in high school, and studied with Barry Harris. In 1960, he moved to New York, playing with Jack McDuffElvin JonesSonny StittGrant Green, and Sun Ra, in addition to being in Hank Crawford's band for over four years. In 1970, Harrison moved back to Detroit, started doing session work, and became a jazz educator. He has formed several labels (Tribe, Rebirth, and WenHa), recording frequently and utilizing such sidemen as Leon ThomasMarcus BelgraveKirk LightseyCharles Tolliver, and (with his Clarinet EnsembleJames Carter. He has several standouts in his catalog. Among them are An Evening with the Devil (1975), Reawakening (1985), Forever Duke (1991), Eighth House: Riding with Pluto (2002). In the fall of 2012, Luv N' Haight-reissued the highly regarded 1981 album Organic Dream.  AMG.

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domingo, 18 de outubro de 2020

Mortimer - Mortimer 1968

Mortimer was a short-lived psych-pop group that originally hailed from New York. In 1968, the bandmembers found themselves in London, working with record producer Daniel Secunda (brother of Procol Harum manager Tony Secunda) after signing a production deal with Secunda's B.B. & D. Productions, Inc. The group's self-titled album, from which two singles were released, was released by Philips. There are several standout tracks, including the Baroque "Where Dragons Guard the Doors" and the softer vocal harmonies of "Singing to the Sunshine" and "Life's Sweet Music." AMG.

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Wayne Shorter - Juju 1965

Fulfilling the potential promised on his Blue Note debut, Night DreamerWayne Shorter's JuJu was the first great showcase for both his performance and compositional gifts. Early in his career as a leader, Shorter was criticized as a mere acolyte of John Coltrane, and his use of Coltrane's rhythm section on his first two Blue Note albums only bolstered that criticism. The truth is, though, that Elvin JonesReggie Workman, and McCoy Tyner were the perfect musicians to back ShorterJones' playing at the time was almost otherworldly. He seemed to channel the music through him when improvising and emit the perfect structure to hold it together. Workman too seemed to almost instinctively understand how to embellish Shorter's compositions. McCoy Tyner's role as one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time was played here as well, and his light touch and beautiful, joyful improvisations would make him a much better match for Shorter than Herbie Hancock would later prove to be. What really shines on JuJu is the songwriting. From the African-influenced title track (with its short, hypnotic, repetitive phrases) to the mesmerizing interplay between Tyner and Shorter on "Mahjong," the album (which is all originals) blooms with ideas, pulling in a world of influences and releasing them again as a series of stunning, complete visions. AMG.

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Satin Whale - Desert Places 1974

Satin Whale formed in 1971 and featured here is their rather spirited first album, Desert Places, released in 1974. A collection of mostly organ and guitar instrumentals that sound like they have rehearsed arrangements but maintain excitement throughout with memorable tones and musicianship. There’s sporadic vocals, flute and sax from multi-instrumentalist Dieter Roesberg, driving grinding organs from Gerard Dellman with fluid bass lines from Thomas Brück (I think he may be the lead singer, too). The line up is completed by the handy Horst Schöffgen on drums.

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Quicksilver Messenger Service - Quicksilver Messenger Service 1968

Quicksilver Messenger Service's debut effort was a little more restrained and folky than some listeners had expected, given their reputation for stretching out in concert. While some prefer the mostly live Happy Trails, this self-titled collection is inarguably their strongest set of studio material, with the accent on melodic folk-rock. Highlights include their cover of folksinger Hamilton Camp's "Pride of Man," probably their best studio track; "Light Your Windows," probably the group's best original composition; and founding member Dino Valenti's "Dino's Song" (Valenti himself was in jail when the album was recorded). "Gold and Silver" is their best instrumental jam, and the 12-minute "The Fool" reflects some of the best and worst traits of the psychedelic era. AMG.