quinta-feira, 25 de abril de 2019

Fat Mattress - II 1970

In the manner of many second albums, Fat Mattress' sophomore outing was similar to, but also inferior to, their debut. Again, Noel Redding didn't take as much as a leadership role as some listeners might have expected given his prior stardom as bassist in the Jimi Hendrix Experience. In fact, he's less of a presence on this record, at least as a composer, his contributions in that regard limited to three songwriting co-credits. And again, the mood is breezy folk-rock-psychedelia with a dash of early progressive rock, though some of the songs on side one, in particular, have a heavier feel than most of the first album. The songs aren't even up to the debut's modest standard, however, and the lingering feeling is that of a tolerable but fairly anonymous '60s-turning-into-'70s band with a Transatlantic feel. There's a bit of jazzy influence à la Traffic in songs like "Roamin'" and "At the Ball," and there are some pleasant vocal harmonies. But there's not a single standout tune, and though Redding and his bandmates were no doubt straining to avoid being the answer to a trivia question as to what one of the members had done after playing in one of the world's biggest groups, that's what this music ends up being. AMG.

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Forever More - Yours Forever More 1970

Forever More was a late 1960s and early 1970s Scottish progressive rock band, featuring Alan Gorrie and Onnie Mair (aka Onnie McIntyre), who would later go on to form the Average White Band. Mick Travis (born Michael Strode, on 24 May 1948 in Oldbury, West Midlands) was also a member of the band. Drummer Stewart Francis joined Glencoe and appeared on Roger Daltrey's Ride a Rock Horse album. They recorded two albums, Yours - Forever More and Words on Black Plastic, the latter featuring future Average White Band tenor saxophone player, Malcolm Duncan.

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Zephyr - Going Back to Colorado 1971

The second and last Zephyr LP to feature wunderkind guitarist Tommy BolinGoing Back to Coloradois a '70s rock sleeper, popular only among obsessive Bolin fans. Singer Candy Givens refines her Joplinesque delivery on the 1971 Warner Bros. release, but fails to define a sound of her own. Hippy-drippy moments like those on "Miss Libertine" come off as a little naïve, and the entire recording lacks a unique vision. When Bolin rips it up on tracks like "See My People Come Together," all the revolutionary clichés become tolerable. Unfortunately, most of this album's material is tired, and Givens' delivery is too derivative. Bolin has his share of shining moments, but they are not quite in keeping with his band's "free love" aesthetic, and ultimately the choice licks are wasted on Going Back to Colorado. Fans of the guitarist should still snatch this record up when they can, if for no other reason than to chart Bolin's musical development. AMG.

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Harold Mckinny - Voices And Rhythms Of The Creative Profile 1974

One of the most righteous albums ever issued by the always-righteous Tribe Records label of Detroit – a really collective effort, one that features ensemble vocals and spiritual jazz – all pulled together by pianist Harold McKinney! The album showcases a group named Voices Of The Creative Profile – formed by McKinney to accompany his Creative Profile instrumental group – and the overall style is a great blend of spiritual soul jazz that gives equal time to the voices and instruments in the set. Gwen McKinney heads up the vocal ensemble, and other players on the set include Wendell Harrison on flute, Marcus Belgrave on trumpet, Billy Turner on percussion, and Ed Pickins on bass. Also features some cool moog from Darryl Dybka – and titles that include "In The Moog", "Freedom Jazz Dance", "Dolphin Dance", "Heavenese", "Ode To Africa", "Out Of The Blues", and "Cornerstone".

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Dana Gillespie - Foolish Seasons 1967

Although she would eventually become most known as a blues singer, at the outset of her recording career in the mid- to late '60s, Dana Gillespie flirted with pop/rock, folk-rock, and mildly psychedelic baroque pop. All of those styles can be heard on her obscure 1968 debut album, Foolish Seasons, which was oddly issued in the U.S. but not in the U.K., despite the heavily British-European cast to the production and arrangements. The melange of approaches makes for an indecisive direction and uneven quality in certain respects. Yet at the same time, it makes the record an undeniably interesting, at times even exhilarating, a slice of eclectic late-'60s Swinging London-tinged pop. Very roughly speaking, Gillespie echoed the material and vocals of fellow British woman pop/rock singers such as Marianne Faithfull and Dusty Springfield at points, though her voice was at once both huskier and smokier than the young Faithfull's, and gentler and more whispery than Springfield's. The styles tried on for size include the breezy psych-pop of "You Just Gotta Know My Mind," a Donovan composition that Donovan himself never recorded; the very Faithfull-esque (in the good sense) wispy folk-pop of "Tears in My Eyes" and Gillespie's own composition "Foolish Seasons"; the sunshine pop-influenced orchestral arrangements of "Life Is Short" and "London Social Degree," both penned by cult British pop/rocker Billy Nicholls; the gothic Euro-pop of "Souvenirs of Stefan," which vaguely recalls the likes of Françoise Hardy; and the downright catchy, sexy, mod pop of "No! No! No!" Further unexpected turns are taken with the almost pre-goth blues-pop death wish "Dead," and the haunting, eccentric cover of Richard Fariña's "Hard-Lovin' Loser." Sure, there are a couple of icky-sweet pop clunkers along the way (including Gillespie's sole other self-penned number on the album, "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not"). On the whole, though, it's an extremely likable (if somewhat stylistically confused) album, with nonstop unpredictably luscious and imaginative production. The U.K. 2006 CD reissue on Rev-Ola has thorough historical liner notes, including many quotes from Gillespie herself. AMG.

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East Coast - East Coast 1973

This is a funky soul album by the group "East Coast", released on drummer Bernard Purdie's short-lived label Encounter Records in 1973. This is clearly a live party band recorded pretty straight-up in the studio. Hammond B3 organ with full tremolo versus a distorted-wah-wah guitar anchor a heavy sound. A tough brass section pushes through, while Blackmon's drums are all cymbal crashes. 22-year-old Gwen Guthrie has a strong soulful voice, which she obviously needed over this sort of density. 

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Eagle - Come Under Nancy's Tent 1970

From the remnants of Beantown's pseudo-psychedelic Beacon Street Union flew the equally short-lived Eagle. After issuing two virtually unheard long-players, the BSU were unceremoniously dropped by their record company in late 1968. By 1970, John Lincoln Wright (vocals), Robert Rosenblatt(keyboards/brass), Richard Weissberg (drums/percussion), and Wayne Ulaky (bass) had honed their sound in a much more earthy fashion, creating an accessible vibe, contrasting the over-produced sound of their former incarnation. However, they did maintain the strong melodic sensibility that had driven the better material from both Eyes of the Beacon Street Union (1968) and The Clown Died in Marvin Gardens (1968). In keeping with the current trends, Come Under Nancy's Tent (1970), which was ultimately Eagle's sole release, blends both solid and otherwise aggressive electric rock with the lilting countrified sound of the singer/songwriter and early-'70s folk movement. "Pack Up" commences the effort with a driving, propulsive Bo Diddley beat and traveling rhythm. "Brown Hair" stands as one of the better sides on the disc, with its easier acoustic melody. This counters the noir brooding of "City Girl" and the exemplary and slightly trippy "Comin' Home Day." There are a couple of straight-laced rockers as well -- "Snake in the Grass" has a danceable groove that is uncannily similar to the Routers' early surf instrumental "Let's Go," and "Separated" is likewise an uptempo toe-tapper. In 2003, Come Under Nancy's Tent was issued on CD as part of the three-disc State of the Union box set, restoring the title after over 30 years of being out of print. AMG.

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Zoot - Zoot Out 1970

Masters of pretty decent mainstream pre-Sgt. Peppers Australian pop. Zoot are primarily known these days for their lead guitarest, Rick Springfield. before he became a teen idol, Springfield fronted this group, who while never making it much bigger than their home base of Australia, still made quite an impact. Sounding something like a combination of early Bee Gees, mid-period Hollies, and maybe some Iveys (proto-Badfinger), Zoot were masters of the three minute single at a time when most practitioners were abandoning the field. One of their finer efforts here is the Jackie Lomax-written, "You Better Get Going," which is almost as catchy as anything the Bee Gees ever cut in the 1960's. AMG.

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Aphrodite's Child - It's Five O'Clock 1969

Aphrodite's Child's second LP was in some ways both a continuation of and departure from their debut album, End of the World. There were some grandiose keyboard-based sub-British psychedelic tracks that could have fit in well on the previous record. The title song's celestial organ, for instance, is much like that on heard on U.K. psychedelic records of the period such as Rupert's People's "Reflections of Charlie Brown," though it's more sentimentally romantic than virtually anything a British band would have released, especially in its vocal delivery. Yet on other cuts, the group took on a markedly different character, whether it was mildly rousing social consciousness ("Wake Up"), pretty fair stomping power pop-psych ("Let Me Love, Let Me Live"), and, least successfully, good-time country-rock ("Take Your Time") and gravelly vaudevillian soul ("Good Time So Fine"). "Funky Mary," on the other hand, is a really cool departure into almost experimental soul-rock, its phased vocals backed by an almost musique concrète wash of bashing drums, Latin-African-flavored bongos, and jazzy vibraphone. If it's guiltier pleasures you're looking for, the unreservedly heart-tuggingly sad "Marie Jolie" is their best (if most saccharine) pop ballad with Mediterranean gondola balladeer overtones complete with accordion solo, though it's End of the World's "Rain and Tears" that the group's most remembered for in that department. "Such a Funny Night," which follows right after that, steers the boat back to pop-psychedelia in the twee British mold. Like their first album, then, it's a very uneven record, but one whose best half or so is pretty enjoyable psych-turning-into-prog with Greek accents to both the vocals and melodies, even if it's never going to be classified as especially hip. AMG.

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Haillan Rovert - Silent Thoughts 1973

Another Aussie rarity. Haillan Rovert (ie Trevor Nalliah) is a 70s singer-songwriter. More conventional arrangements than Glenn Cardier (refer earlier post) this lush, psych tinged album contains some beautiful songs as well as some more up tempo numbers. Haillan Rovert WEA or some financial backer must have believed in Haillan as this sounds like a expensive production, features an number of renowned musicians backing him and it has Howard Gable on production (who I have always considered to be attached to EMI). In Australia it was rare for an unknown Artist to receive this level of investment. If you like well crafted, easy on the ears psych pop or just like the rare then this is for you. Update: Trevor Nalliah is alive and well and recording.

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George Harrison - All Things Must Pass 1970

Without a doubt, George Harrison's first solo recording, originally issued as a triple album, is his best. Drawing on his backlog of unused compositions from the late Beatles era, Harrison crafted material that managed the rare feat of conveying spiritual mysticism without sacrificing his gifts for melody and grand, sweeping arrangements. Enhanced by Phil Spector's lush orchestral production and Harrison's own superb slide guitar, nearly every song is excellent: "Awaiting on You All," "Beware of Darkness," the Dylan collaboration "I'd Have You Anytime," "Isn't It a Pity," and the hit singles "My Sweet Lord" and "What Is Life" are just a few of the highlights. A very moving work, with a slight flaw: the jams that comprise the final third of the album are somewhat dispensable, and have probably only been played once or twice by most of the listeners who own this record. Those same jams, however, played by Eric ClaptonCarl RadleBobby Whitlock, and Jim Gordon (all of whom had just come off of touring as part of Delaney & Bonnie's band), proved to be of immense musical importance, precipitating the formation of Derek & the Dominos. Thus, they weren't a total dead end, and may actually be much more to the liking of the latter band's fans. AMG.

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The 31 Flavors - Hair 1969

In the late '60s, a bunch of mysterious psychedelic exploitation albums were released by the budget Crown label in the U.S. Issued under different band names (The Firebirds,Underground Electrics, 31 Flavors, etc.), they were recorded by an anonymous group of studio musicians. Hair by 31 Flavors is the counterpart to Light My Fire by The Firebirds. Along with demented raw garage covers of "Hair" and "Aquarius," it contains some of the heaviest, fuzzed-out exploitation sounds ever committed to vinyl. You can hear echoes of Blue Cheer, Hendrix and Sabbath, featuring proto-doom, heavy-psych bombs like "Distortions of Darkness."

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segunda-feira, 22 de abril de 2019

David Porter - ...Into A Real Thing - (1971) @ 320

David Porter parted ways with his songwriting partner Isaac Hayes in 1969 but the pair remained close -- close enough that Hayes produced Porter's 1970 debut, Gritty, Groovy, & Gettin' It. A year later, Hayes was busy with his own recording career so Porter turned to his new partner Ronnie Williams to collaborate on 1971's Into a Real Thing, but he hardly left Hayes behind. Isaac's influence is clearly felt on the opening "Hang on Sloopy," a bubblegum AM pop number inexplicably turned into a not-bad soul slow-burner, but the rest of the record finds Porter splicing this new progressive sound with the sound of Stax, tending to dress his tightly constructed songs in vivid, progressive color. Porter dips into lush soul ("Thirty Days") and cinematic funk ("Grocery Man") with enough variety to give this record appealing momentum, meaning that knockout songs are the main thing it lacks: the tunes are well crafted but the revival of Chuck Jackson's "I Don't Want to Cry" shows how the rest of this enjoyable album doesn't grab you by the throat. Ace's 2015 expansion adds three songs from the sessions, including the previously unreleased "Gotta Get Over the Hump" and "Somebody's Trying to Ride Piggy Back," a tune excavated in 1999 that's better than most of the record. AMG.

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Charles Mingus - Mingus Moves 1973

On this Atlantic LP, Charles Mingus introduced his new group which at the time included trumpeter Ronald Hampton, tenor-saxophonist George Adams, pianist Don Pullen and his longtime drummer Dannie Richmond. Together this excellent quintet performed seven recent compositions including one ("Moves") that features the vocals of Honey Gordon and Doug Hammond. Only three of the pieces are by Mingus but all of the music is greatly influenced by his searching and unpredictable style. AMG.

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Thin Lizzy - Thin Lizzy 1971

Thin Lizzy was originally conceived as a power trio in the image of Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, but Eric Bell lacked the charisma of those groups' guitarists, forcing vocalist/bassist Philip Lynott to take center stage from day one. Despite his already poetic, intensely personal lyrics, Lynottwas only beginning to develop as a songwriter, and the band's unfocused, folk-infused early efforts are a far cry from their mid-'70s hard rock glory. Recorded on a shoestring budget, their self-titled debut is surprisingly mellow; many songs, such as "Clifton Grange Hotel" and "The Friendly Ranger of Clontarf Castle," sound confused and unfinished. Quiet ballads like "Honesty Is No Excuse," "Eire," and "Saga of the Ageing Orphan" abound, while supposed rockers such as "Ray-Gun" and "Return of the Farmer's Son" fall remarkably flat. In fact, Lizzy only bare their claws on "Look What the Wind Blew In," a gutsy rocker that hints at things to come. AMG.

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