sábado, 7 de dezembro de 2019

Trifle - First Meeting 1971

For early-‘70s British band Trifle, their First Meeting unfortunately proved to be their last. Fronted by singer/guitarist George Bean, the group only lasted long enough to make one album, which falls squarely into the "early prog" realm of bands like Colosseum and the Alan Bown, who relied more on jazz licks, R&B-based grooves, and post-psychedelic songwriting than on the shifting time signatures and orchestral rock epics that typified prog's full flowering. Accordingly, much of the heavy lifting on First Meeting is done by the horn section, though there's some fairly prominent organ work throughout as well. Still, even on the album's arguable centerpiece, the eight-minute "Is It Loud," there's nary an instance of self-indulgent soloing to be found; instead, ensemble work is the name of the game; in fact, there are moments on this track where Trifle achieves an almost Zappa-esque sound. But for all the arty/jazzy moves to be found on First Meeting, Trifle still keeps one foot in old-school rock & roll, as on "Old Fashioned Prayer Meeting," with guitar and piano pushing back at the horns for a distinctly R&B-influenced feel that could have found its way onto a contemporaneous album by the likes of, say, Chris Farlowe. The propulsive "Devil Comin'," driven along by fervent guitar strumming and tribal-sounding tom-toms, is one of the least horn-centric tunes, feeling more like a quirky Cream outtake. The original LP's closing track, "Candle Light," offers another unexpected turn, presenting a gently melodic acoustic-guitar-based ballad that seems like it was begging to be slathered with vocal harmonies and recorded by the Hollies. Like so many of the promising artists who recorded for the Pye label's Dawn imprint, Trifle never achieved a level of success that matched their skills, but at least the 2010 Cherry Red/Esoteric reissue of their lone album -- which appends both a 45 version of "Old Fashioned Prayer Meeting" and its B-side, a cover of Ewan MacColl's "Dirty Old Town" -- gives 21st century listeners a chance to experience First Meeting for themselves. AMG.


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Tyla Gang - Blow You Out 1975

Following the break-up of Ducks Deluxe, Sean Tyla formed Tyla Gang in late autumn of 1975 with his brother Gary, Phil Nedin (drums) and Peter O'Sullivan (bass) from Welsh band Jack Straw. In the spring of 76, the late Richard Treece from Help Yourself joined the band. Within a few months Gary Tyler and Treece left the band and Welshman Tweke Lewis, formerly of Man, became the new guitarist. They went into Pebble Beach studio in Worthing, and under the guidance of producer Tony Platt recorded 6 tracks including "Suicide jockey" and "Cannons of the Boogie Night" as well as "Styrofoam" and "Texas chainsaw massacre booogie". These latter two tracks were released as the "double B-side" 4th single on the legendary Stiff Records label. Tyla also produced Stiff's eighth single Plummet Airlines' "Silver Shirt" / "This Is The World".

In April 1977 two further tracks from that session were released ("Cannons of the Boogie Night" and "Suicide Jockey") on Skydog records. In 1977 the second Tyla Gang band was formed consisting of guitarist Bruce Irvine, bassist Brian "Kid" Turrington and drummer Mike Desmarais; Turrington and Desmarais having played together in The Winkies.

Although unsigned, the Gang attracted critical attention and played two Peel Sessions in 1977 (30 May and 4 October). They eventually signed a contract with the Californian-based Beserkley label in 1977 and released their first album, Yachtless in 1978. Reviewing the LP in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau wrote: "Punk has not been good for former Duck Deluxe Sean T. because it's meant urbanization. I have nothing against the slick, hooky power chords his pub-rock has evolved into, not in theory. But when his charming if overly mythic tales of fireballs and West Texas running boards evolve into 'The Young Lords' (give me a break, Bruce Springsteen) and 'On the Street' (give me a break, Bob Geldof), I begin to crave recognizable human detail.

Partway through recording their next album Moonproof, Turrington left and Whaley joined to finish the album and this line-up recorded a Peel Session on 9 August 1978. Richard Treece, another former member of Help Yourself also joined, before Beserkley's UK operation went bankrupt in 1979, and Tyla disbanded the Gang shortly after.

In 2010 the Tyla Gang reformed in their original line-up, touring Sweden during the fall. In 2013, they added John McCoy of Gillan and Mammoth fame to replace original member, Brian Turrington who had taken a leave of absence for personal reasons. The Gang has released two albums since their reformation, 2010's "Rewired", a compilation of lost studio and live recordings and as of 18 March 2013, a new studio album, Stereo Tactics. In 2015 The Tyla Gang released a live set, Live In Stockholm recorded at the Akkurat Bar in Stockholm, Sweden in 2013 on Angel Air Records and will be releasing a 3-CD anthology, Pool Hall Punks through Cherry Red Records in May 2016 to coincide with Sean's 70th Birthday Tour.

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Ugly Custard - Psicosis 1970

Recorded in London under an assumed name by legendary session musicians including Alan Parker, Roger Coulam, Herbie Flowers and Clem Cattini, and released with different artwork in Germany and Spain in 1970, before creeping out in the UK the following year, this cult classic is as enigmatic as they come. A moody blend of Hammond organ, distorted electric guitar and funky rhythms, it's also a lost treasure for beat diggers everywhere.

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sábado, 23 de novembro de 2019

Barry Melton - We Are Like The Ocean 1978

Barry "The Fish" Melton (born June 14, 1947) is the co-founder and original lead guitarist of Country Joe and the Fish and The Dinosaurs. He appears on all the Country Joe and the Fish recordings and he also wrote some of the songs that the band recorded. He appeared in the films made at Monterey Pop and Woodstock, and also appeared as an outlaw in the neo-Western film, Zachariah, and other films in which Country Joe and the Fish appear. An attorney and member of the State Bar of California, Melton has maintained a criminal defense practice since 1982.

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The Pretty Things - Electric Banana 1967

As chart activity became slim for the Pretty Things around 1967, they started a sideline of recording songs specifically for film soundtracks. This compilation features their vocal contributions to these projects, and consists mostly of fairly pedestrian psychedelic-tinged rock of a lower standard than either their 1967-68 singles or the S.F. Sorrow album. Highlights are the driving fuzzy rocker "Alexander" and an early version of the S.F. Sorrow track "I See You." AMG.

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Walter Egan - Fundamental Roll 1977

With an album cover that would make R. Kelly blush, (Egan appears on back cover getting frisky with a couple of high school cheerleaders) Fundamental Roll, the debut album from 70s one hit wonder Walter Egan proves that he was in fact much more than that. Initially Egan was interested in having Brian Wilson or Todd Rundgren produce his debut, but when neither became available his friend/engineer Duane Scott (who had worked with Egan on his previous band Wheels) suggested he get in touch with Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac. At the time Fleetwood Mac was riding their wave of success from the ‘White Album' and Lindsey was looking to cut his teeth in the studio as a producer. Buckingham enlisted fellow Fleetwood Mac member/ex-flame Stevie Nicks into the recording sessions to sing back up on six of the eleven tracks. The combination of Egan's warm soulful vocals coupled with Buckingham and Nicks gorgeous harmonies is undeniably great (the same formula would eventually give Egan his biggest success with 1978's "Magnet and Steel"). Dean Torrence of Jan and Dean fame also appears on backup vocals on the song "She's So Tough". But again its the chemistry between Walter, Lindsey, and Stevie that makes the record work and work well with such instantly catchy songs as the summertime pop of "Only The Lucky", the warm soft rock groove of "Won't You Say You Will", and the steamy "Yes I Guess I Am." Fundamental Roll is some of the best California Rock ever to be laid down on tape and is essential for fans of the Buckingham/Nicks version of Fleetwood Mac, who will feel right at home with Walter's perfect mesh of catchy pop-rock, soothing soft rock, and infectious mid 70s country rock. AMG.

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sexta-feira, 22 de novembro de 2019

Merryweather - Word Of Mouth 1970

Double album 1970 super jam in the Alman Bros vein from Neil Merryweather (pre-Mama Lion) and friends like Steve Miller, Dave Mason, Charlie Musselwhite and more. On the green Capitol label. Don't miss it!

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Warm Dust - Peace For Our Time 1971

Second album from this English brass rock band, that was a bit the answer to Chicago Transit authority mixed with some Caravan and some Dutch/Holland Solution. Actually it is interesting to note that England had The Greatest Show On Earth, If and Warm Dust (and to a lesser extent Colosseum) to answer to American's giants of brass rock (which automatically induced a jazz feel without being the typical jazz-rock): Blood Sweat & Tears, Chicago, Electric Flag and The Flock. None of course would match the New World's candidates for commercial success, but artistically the balance tips a whole lot more evenly. Lead by singer Les "Dansfield" Walker, the sextet had a double sax attack, even if both handled other duties (namely second keyboard and guitar), but as far as the proghead is concerned only first KB man Paul Carrack would face further success (first in new wave group squeeze, than later as a collab in later Steve Hackett albums), but their three albums are definitely worth a listen. Progarchives.

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The Doobie Brothers - Toulouse Street 1972

Toulouse Street was the album by which most of their fans began discovering the Doobie Brothers, and it has retained a lot of its freshness over the decades. Producer Ted Templeman was attuned to the slightly heavier and more Southern style the band wanted to work toward on this, their second album, and the results were not only profitable -- including a platinum record award -- but artistically impeccable. Toulouse Street is actually pretty close in style and sound at various points to what the Eagles were doing during the same period, except that the Doobies threw jazz and R&B into the mix, as well as country, folk, and bluegrass elements, and (surprise!) ended up just about as ubiquitous as the Eagles in peoples' record collections, especially in the wake of the singles "Listen to the Music" and "Jesus Is Just Alright." But those two singles represented only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what this group had to offer, as purchasers of the album discovered even on the singles -- both songs appear here in distinctly longer versions, with more exposition and development, and in keeping with the ambitions that album cuts (even of popular numbers) were supposed to display in those days. Actually, "Listen to the Music" (written by Tom Johnston) offers subtle use of phasing and other studio tricks that make its seemingly earthy, laid-back approach some of the most complex and contrived of the period. Johnston's "Rockin' Down the Highway" shows the band working at a higher wattage and moving into Creedence Clearwater Revival territory, while "Mamaloi" was Patrick Simmons' laid-back Caribbean idyll, and the title tune (also by Simmons) is a hauntingly beautiful ballad. The band then switches gears into swamp rock for "Cotton Mouth" and takes a left turn into the Mississippi Delta for a version of Sonny Boy Williamson II's "Don't Start Me Talkin'" before shifting into a gospel mode with "Jesus Is Just Alright." Johnston's nearly seven-minute "Disciple" was the sort of soaring, bluesy hard rock workout that led to the group's comparison to the Allman Brothers Band, though their interlocking vocals were nearly as prominent as their crunching, surging double lead guitars and paired drummers. And it all still sounds astonishingly bracing decades later; it's still a keeper, and one of the most inviting and alluring albums of its era. AMG.

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Juicy Lucy - Juicy Lucy 1969

If only one song can be said to encapsulate all that Juicy Lucy portended as their career got underway in the new decade of the '70s, it was "Who Do You Love?" The band's first single, spinning off their debut album, was as fast, mean, and dirty as any record could have been, a breakneck tour through the Bayou swamps and dirt-track roads of the American South powered by a razor-sharp guitar that would make your fingers bleed. And it gave the band a U.K. hit that still sounds fresh today. But Juicy Lucy were no one-trick pony. True, their debut album is remembered as much for its artwork (a mostly naked, fruit-draped lady) as for its content, but step inside and the group were locked firmly, and gleefully, into the free-freak movement of the age -- while Chuck Berry's "Nadine" was fed through a Hell's Angels nightclub jukebox, "Are You Satisfied" emerged as a festival chant spread out over six-and-a-half minutes, as mantra-like as (almost) anything the Edgar Broughton Band was doing at the time. The band's American roots are seldom far from the surface, of course: "Mississippi Woman" dripped oozing, cracked, croaky blues, and "Chicago North-Western" essentially offers up a history of the Midwestern railroads, while Glen Ross Campbell's steel guitar breathed Americana over everything it touched. But no matter how powerful Juicy Lucy may have been, it could not paper over the cracks that were already forming in the band themselves, and by the time they recorded their next album, the group that cut this one was already long gone. One can only dream of what they might have achieved had they stuck together. AMG.

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Canned Heat - Canned Heat '70 Concert Recorded Live In Europe 1970

This platter captures the 1970 incarnation of Canned Heat with Bob "The Bear" Hite (vocals), Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson (guitar/vocals/harmonica), Larry "The Mole" Taylor (bass), Aldolfo "Fito" de la Parra (drums), and newest addition Harvey Mandel (guitar), who had replaced Henry "Sunflower" Vestine (guitar) in 1969. They headed across the Atlantic in the spring of 1970 on the heels of "Let's Work Together" -- a Wilbert Harrison cover that charted within the Top Five in Europe. That outing yielded the combo's first concert disc, Live in Europe (1971) -- which had been issued almost a year earlier in the U.K. as Canned Heat Concert (Recorded Live in Europe) (1970). These are also among the final recordings to feature Wilson, whose increasing substance abuse and depression would result in an overdose prior to having re-joined the band for another stint in Europe in the fall of the same year. Indeed the brooding "Pulling Hair Blues" from this effort is marked not only by some decidedly dark and strung-out contributions, but more subtly, Hite's tentative introduction of Wilson -- indicating he had not been playing for the duration of the set. The Heat's performance style has shifted from the aggressive rhythm and blues of their earliest sides to a looser and more improvisational technique. The opener, Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup's "That's All Right Mama," is given a greasy mid-tempo groove over Hite's vocals . Mandel shines as his guitar leads dart in and out of the languid boogie. Although presented as a medley, "Back on the Road" is more or less an inclusive number with only brief lyrical references to "On the Road Again." Mandel's sinuous fretwork melds flawlessly with Wilson's harmonica blows. The powerful rendering of the aforementioned "Let's Work Together" is a highlight, with Canned Heat in top form as Wilson's electric slide riffs recall their seminal sound. AMG.

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Steamhammer - Reflection 1969

Reflection is also-ran late-'60s British blues-rock, with more rock-oriented takes on the kind of approach used by heroes Freddie King and B.B. KingB.B. King's "You'll Never Know," in fact, is covered here, though most of the material was penned by the band. Steamhammer doesn't put much of an original spin on its sources, or on the British blues-rock form, though this is competent and does generally have a moodier, more downbeat feel than most of the band's competition in the genre. The expressive qualities of Kieran White's voice, though, are limited, as though he's being pinched by something that keeps him from letting go too much. The best moments come when they venture just a little outside of the ordinary U.K. blues-rock model, particularly when Harold McNair adds some jazzy flute; "Down the Highway" sounds a little close to some of early Jethro Tull. Future Jefferson Starship member Pete Sears plays session piano. The 2002 CD reissue on Akarma adds two bonus tracks from 1969 singles, "Windmill" and "Autumn Song," which are more explicit forays into the more melodic jazz-blues-rock direction mined by the likes of Jethro TullColosseum, and Davy Graham in the late '60s, again with prominent flute. AMG.

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Al Stewart - Bedsitter Images 1967

Bedsitter Images unveiled a promising but tentative folk-rock singer/songwriter. Al Stewart's songs already displayed his talent for observational storytelling, though at this point he was detailing ordinary lives of British people and autobiographical romance, rather than epic historical incidents. Most of the cuts used a full orchestra, and although the folk-baroque approach worked for some folk-rock artists of the era like Judy Collins, here it seemed ill-conceived. The orchestration was twee, which made the already precious songs seem yet twee-er; Stewart has subsequently expressed regret over the decision to use such production. His work would have sounded better with straightforward folk-rock arrangements, or even as solo acoustic tunes. Despite its faults, it's fairly engaging, highlighted by the lengthy "Beleeka Doodle Day." Not only does that track eliminate the orchestration, it's also the best song on the album, with a characteristically haunting melody and more forceful, melancholy lyrics than those heard on most of the rest of the tracks. AMG.

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sábado, 16 de novembro de 2019

Al Kooper - Act Like Nothing's Wrong 1976

Kooper's sixth solo release opens daringly enough, with his own funky version of "This Diamond Ring," which he transforms completely from its Drifters-inspired origins. Most of the album is in a mid-'70s soul-funk vein, with Tower of Power turning up elsewhere and Kooper trying (with considerable success) to sound soulful on songs like "She Don't Ever Lose Her Groove" and "I Forgot to Be Your Lover." The playing throughout is excellent, with guitars by Kooper himself (who also plays sitar, Mellotron, organ, and synthesizer) as well as Little Beaver and Reggie Young, with Joe Walsh sitting in on one song, and horn arrangements by Kooper and veteran soundtrack composer Dominic Frontiere. The real centerpiece is the epic-length "Hollywood Vampire," which can't quite sustain its seven-minute length. The funkier numbers work, but some of the rest, like "In My Own Sweet Way," don't come off so well. This is two-thirds of a pretty fair album, and only lacks consistency. AMG.

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Blodwyn Pig - Basement Tapes 1969-74

A quirky detour of late-'60s British progressive/blues rock, Blodwyn Pig was founded by former Jethro Tull guitarist Mick Abrahams, who left Tull after the This Was album. Abrahams was joined by bassist Andy Pyle, drummer Ron Berg, and Jack Lancaster, who gave the outfit their most distinctive colorings via his saxophone and flute. On their two albums, they explored a jazz/blues/progressive style somewhat in the mold of (unsurprisingly) Jethro Tull, but with a lighter feel. They also bore some similarities to John Mayall's jazzy late-'60s versions of the Bluesbreakers, or perhaps Colosseum, but with more eclectic material. Both of their LPs made the British Top Ten, though the players' instrumental skills were handicapped by thin vocals and erratic (though oft-imaginative) material. The group were effectively finished by Abrahams' departure after 1970's Getting to This. They briefly reunited in the mid-'70s, and Abrahams was part of a different lineup that reformed in the late '80s; they have since issued a couple of albums in the 1990s. AMG.

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