sexta-feira, 28 de novembro de 2014

Barry Goldberg - Two Jews Blues 1969

This is one of those late-'60s collaborations where I expected the world to explode when I put it on, and felt disappointed when it didn't. However, when you get past looking at players in the band, and listen to the music, there are a number of wonderful cuts. Enough of them for me to replace the vinyl with the CD. "Blues for Barry And..." is Bloomfield at his best with a solid band behind him cranking out this slow blues you wish wouldn't end. Barry Goldberg has always played a solid organ, whether withHarvey MandelCharlie Musselwhite, or out on his own. This is his chance to be the leader of an all-star lineup. My regrets are that it is only 35 minutes, and most importantly I would have liked to put all the guitar players together for a cut or two; they never get to play off one another. AMG.

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Creedence Clearwater Revival - Willy And The Poorboys 1970

Make no mistake, Willy & the Poor Boys is a fun record, perhaps the breeziest album CCR ever made. Apart from the eerie minor-key closer "Effigy" (one of John Fogerty's most haunting numbers), there is little of the doom that colored Green RiverFogerty's rage remains, blazing to the forefront on "Fortunate Son," a working-class protest song that cuts harder than any of the explicit Vietnam protest songs of the era, which is one of the reasons that it hasn't aged where its peers have. Also, there's that unbridled vocal from Fogerty and the ferocious playing on CCR, which both sound fresh as they did upon release. "Fortunate Son" is one of the greatest, hardest rock & rollers ever cut, so it might seem to be out of step with an album that is pretty laid-back and friendly, but there's that elemental joy that by late '69 was one of CCR's main trademarks. That joy runs throughout the album, from the gleeful single "Down on the Corner" and the lazy jugband blues of "Poorboy Shuffle" through the great slow blues jam "Feelin' Blue" to the great rockabilly spiritual "Don't Look Now," one of Fogerty's overlooked gems. The covers don't feel like throwaways, either, since both "Cotton Fields" and "The Midnight Special" have been overhauled to feel like genuine CCR songs. It all adds up to one of the greatest pure rock & roll records ever cut. AMG.

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The Byrds - Turn! Turn! Turn! 1965

The Byrds' second album, Turn! Turn! Turn!, was only a disappointment in comparison with Mr. Tambourine Man. They couldn't maintain such a level of consistent magnificence, and the follow-up was not quite as powerful or impressive. It was still quite good, however, particularly the ringing number one title cut, a classic on par with the "Mr. Tambourine Man" single. Elsewhere, they concentrated more on original material, Gene Clark in particular offering some strong compositions with "Set You Free This Time," "The World Turns All Around Her," and "If You're Gone." A couple moreBob Dylan covers were included, as well, and "Satisfied Mind" was their first foray into country-rock, a direction they would explore in much greater depth throughout the rest of the '60s. AMG.

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Black Heat - No Time To Burn 1974

Black Heat was a short-lived '70s funk band that recorded briefly for Atlantic. Keyboardist Johnell Gray, guitarist Bradley Owens, bassist Chip Jones, and percussionist Raymond Green issued one LP for Atlantic with a roster of guest stars that included David "Fathead" Newman. They had one single, "No Time to Burn," that cracked the R&B Top 50. AMG.

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Chicken Shack - That's the Way We Are 1978

This British blues-rock group is remembered mostly for their keyboard player, Christine Perfect, who would join Fleetwood Mac after marrying John McVie and changing her last name. Although they were one of the more pedestrian acts of the British blues boom, Chicken Shack was quite popular for a time in the late '60s, placing two albums in the British Top 20. The frontperson of Chicken was notPerfect/McVie, but guitarist Stan Webb, who would excite British audiences by entering the crowds at performances, courtesy of his 100-meter-long guitar lead. They were signed to Mike Vernon's Blue Horizon label, a British blues pillar that had its biggest success with early Fleetwood Mac.
Chicken Shack was actually not far behind Mac in popularity in the late '60s, purveying a more traditional brand of Chicago blues, heavily influenced by Freddie King. Although Webb took most of the songwriting and vocal duties, Christine Perfect also chipped in with occasional compositions and lead singing. In fact, she sang lead on their only British Top 20 single, "I'd Rather Go Blind" (1969). But around that time, she quit the music business to marry John McVie and become a housewife, although, as the world knows, that didn't last too long. Chicken Shack never recovered fromChristine's loss, commercially or musically. Stan Webb kept Chicken Shack going, with a revolving door of other musicians, all the way into the 1980s, though he briefly disbanded the group to joinSavoy Brown for a while in the mid-'70s. AMG.

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Alexis Korner - Both Sides 1970

By 1970, there were certain things you could count on with an Alexis Korner album. Those included an almost manic stylistic diversity that ran from near-trad jazz and blues to near-blues-rock; a top-notch cast of supporting musicians; and seriously inconsistent quality, in large part because of Korner's hoarse lead vocals. Both Sides has all of these, and remains one of his more obscure efforts, in part because it was issued only in Germany and Holland. Certainly Korner enlisted some top talent, including Free's Andy Fraser on bass; Paul Rodgers (also of Free) on backing vocals; Lol Coxhill on tenor and soprano sax; John Marshall on drums; and Ray Warleigh on sax. Give Korner credit, too, for trying to move with the times, including some nods to soul and heavy rock music along with the blues and jazz that were at his musical core, and making substantial use of a horn section within a loosely blues-oriented format. Still, it must be acknowledged that the material was both erratic and wildly eclectic in nature, including a cover of Curtis Mayfield's "Mighty-Mighty Spade and Whitey"; a generic soul-rock instrumental (the Korner-penned "Funky"); a Free cover "Wild Injun Woman" that was much better suited to Free themselves; and yet another cover, of the Staple Singers' "I See It," that couldn't help but pale next to the original. Adding to the unevenness are a couple of live cuts, one of them a jazzy eight-minute instrumental duet between Warleigh and bassist Colin Hodgkinson, the other a ragged, overlong twelve-minute performance of the traditional blues "Rosie." Korner came off best on the gentle folk-blues of his self-penned "To Whom It May Concern" and an interpretation of William Bell's "You Don't Miss Your Water (Til Your Well Runs Dry)" that, while again no match for other versions, is heartfelt and doesn't over-reach itself. The 2006 CD reissue of the album added historical liner notes by Korner biographer Harry Shapiro and nine bonus tracks from 1969 studio and BBC sessions. AMG.

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Crawler - Crawler 1977

This UK heavy rock band was an offshoot of Back Street Crawler, the band that had featured the late and legendary Paul Kossoff. Crawler comprised Terry Wilson Slesser (vocals), Geoff Whitehorn (guitar), John ‘Rabbit’ Bundrick (keyboards), Terry Wilson (bass) and Tony Braunagel (drums). They released two blues rock albums during the late 70s, which were ignored amid the punk rock explosion of the day (though the debut album’s ‘Stone Cold Sober’ was a particularly resonant piece). The group disbanded in 1978, with Whitehorn going back to session work and Slesser reappearing in Charlie. AMG.

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Jackson C. Frank - Blues Run The Game 1965

One of the most interesting and enigmatic cult figures of 1960s folk, Jackson C. Frank's reputation rests almost solely upon one hard-to-find album from the mid-'60s. A stronger composer than a singer, he nonetheless had an appreciable influence on many more famous performers of the decade, including Paul SimonSandy Denny, and Nick Drake.
Trauma and misfortune dogged Frank throughout his life. At the age of 11, a fire in his elementary school killed many of his classmates, and left him with burns over most of his body. He eventually recovered and learned to play the guitar, and hung around the early-'60s New York coffeehouse scene with John Kay, later of Steppenwolf. A large insurance settlement enabled him to travel to England after he turned 21, and it was there that he made most of his impact.
Frank shared a London flat with fellow American expatriates Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, who were briefly based there in the mid-'60s prior to their first hit, "The Sounds of Silence." Simon, then a struggling folk singer/songwriter himself, was impressed enough to produce Frank's self-titled album, released in the U.K. only. While Frank's voice was tremulously earnest, the quality of the compositions was often impressive, with a reflective, melancholic air that most likely influenced SimonAl Stewart(who made his recording debut on one of the LP's tracks, "Yellow Walls"), and Nick Drake (who covered one of the songs, "Here Come the Blues," on late-'60s home tapes that have been extensively circulated as a bootleg).
Frank's album was well-received in British folk circles, and several of his songs made their way into the repertoire of his friend Sandy Denny, who recorded a couple, "Milk and Honey" and "You Never Wanted Me," on her own debut LP. (She also recorded a version of "You Never Wanted Me" withFairport Convention, and a 1966 demo of "Blues Run the Game" appears on her Dark the Nightbootleg.) Frank, however, was unable to come up with a similar quality of material for a follow-up. This, combined with stage fright, depression, and an end of the funds from the insurance settlement that had enabled him to travel in high style, meant that he returned to the States in 1969 without releasing another album. Based in Woodstock, New York, Frank continued his songwriting, but family and depression problems resulted in homelessness by the mid-'70s. For most of the next two decades, Frank lived on the streets or hospitals, too discouraged to contact old friends and family. He was further hobbled by arthritis, inappropriate medication for his mental problems, and a shooting incident that left him legally blind in his left eye. In the mid-'90s, a sympathetic folk fan, Jim Abbott, helped Frank regroup from his setbacks by helping him gain more appropriate medical assistance and settle back in Woodstock, where he resumed songwriting, and occasionally performed. A 1995 profile in Dirty Linen magazine effectively "rediscovered" the missing legend, and legendary vintage recordings were finally issued on CD in 1996. Stricken with pneumonia, Jackson C. Frank died in March 1999 after a heart attack; he was 56 years old. AMG.

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Barefoot Jerry - Keys To The Country 1976

Guitarist Wayne Moss remained the one constant member of Barefoot Jerry on the band's recordings for Capitol, Warner Bros., and Monument during the '70s. Moss had played in several rock and R&B groups before he joinedBrenda Lee's backing band in the early '60s. Session work in Nashville brought him a credit on Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde in 1966, and he also played with the Escorts during the late '60s before forming Area Code 615 with several other Dylan alumni. The group recorded a self-titled album in 1970 and A Trip in the Country the following year, but musical commitments prevented them from touring. Area Code 615 played its only live show in 1970 at the Fillmore West, and broke up soon after. Moss was back in action by 1971, though, forming Barefoot Jerry with two members of Area Code 615 -- vocalist/guitarist Mac Gayden and drummer Kenny Buttrey -- plus keyboard player John Harris.
The group signed to Capitol and released Southern Delight in 1971. By the time of the following year's self-titled LP for Warner Bros., Russ Hicks and Kenny Malone had replaced Gayden and Buttrey. Another label change (to Monument) and additional lineup replacements (Si Edwards on drums, Dave Doran on bass, Fred Newell on vocals) characterized 1974's Watchin' TV, which featured Moss' friendCharlie McCoyBarefoot Jerry returned the favor on McCoy's country hits "Boogie Woogie" and "Summit Ridge Drive." The following year, after Barefoot Jerry recorded You Can't Get Off With Your Shoes On, Monument re-released both the Capitol and Warner Bros. albums on a double-LP set titledGrocery.
Moss assembled yet another group for Barefoot Jerry's 1976 update, Keys to the Country. His band included bassist Terry Bearmore, guitarist Jim ColvardWarren Hartman on various keyboards, andCharlie McCoy, who again made a guest appearance. The same members (sans McCoy) returned for a final album in 1977, Barefootin'Wayne Moss has continued to play and produce, especially for his friend McCoy.Guitarist Wayne Moss remained the one constant member of Barefoot Jerry on the band's recordings for Capitol, Warner Bros., and Monument during the '70s. Moss had played in several rock and R&B groups before he joinedBrenda Lee's backing band in the early '60s. Session work in Nashville brought him a credit on Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde in 1966, and he also played with the Escorts during the late '60s before forming Area Code 615 with several other Dylan alumni. The group recorded a self-titled album in 1970 and A Trip in the Country the following year, but musical commitments prevented them from touring. Area Code 615 played its only live show in 1970 at the Fillmore West, and broke up soon after. Moss was back in action by 1971, though, forming Barefoot Jerry with two members of Area Code 615 -- vocalist/guitarist Mac Gayden and drummer Kenny Buttrey -- plus keyboard player John Harris.
The group signed to Capitol and released Southern Delight in 1971. By the time of the following year's self-titled LP for Warner Bros., Russ Hicks and Kenny Malone had replaced Gayden and Buttrey. Another label change (to Monument) and additional lineup replacements (Si Edwards on drums, Dave Doran on bass, Fred Newell on vocals) characterized 1974's Watchin' TV, which featured Moss' friendCharlie McCoyBarefoot Jerry returned the favor on McCoy's country hits "Boogie Woogie" and "Summit Ridge Drive." The following year, after Barefoot Jerry recorded You Can't Get Off With Your Shoes On, Monument re-released both the Capitol and Warner Bros. albums on a double-LP set titledGrocery.
Moss assembled yet another group for Barefoot Jerry's 1976 update, Keys to the Country. His band included bassist Terry Bearmore, guitarist Jim ColvardWarren Hartman on various keyboards, andCharlie McCoy, who again made a guest appearance. The same members (sans McCoy) returned for a final album in 1977, Barefootin'Wayne Moss has continued to play and produce, especially for his friend McCoy. AMG.

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terça-feira, 18 de novembro de 2014

Robert Palmer - Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley 1974

Before becoming a slick, sharp-dressed pop star in the 1980s, Robert Palmer was a soul singer deeply rooted in R&B and funk. Those influences are on full display on his debut album Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley. With a backing band including members of Little Feat and the Meters, the music has a laid-back groove whether Palmer's covering New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint (the title track) or singing originals ("Hey Julia," " Get Outside"). While the music is tight and solid, it is Robert Palmer's voice that is revelatory -- he sounds supremely confident among these talented musicians, and they seem to feed off his vocal intensity. Fans of the Meters or people who want to discover the funky side of Robert Palmer should check this one out. AMG.

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Noah Howard - Live in Europe Vol 1 (1975)

One of free jazz's more enigmatic figures, alto saxophonistNoah Howard was documented so infrequently on record and spent so much time living in Europe that the course of his career and development as a musician remain difficult to trace, despite a late-'90s renewal of interest in his music.Howard was born in New Orleans in 1943 and began playing music in church as a child. He started out on trumpet (the instrument he played in the military during the early '60s) but subsequently switched to alto, and got in on the ground floor of the early free jazz movement. Most influenced byAlbert AylerHoward made his debut as a leader for the groundbreaking ESP label, recording a pair of dates in 1966 (Noah Howard Quartet and At Judson Hall). Dissatisfied with the reception accorded his music -- and the avant-garde movement in general -- in America, Howard relocated to Europe, where he initially lived in France. He played with Frank Wright in 1969, and in 1971, he recorded with Misha Mengelberg and Han Bennink (among others) on Patterns, which was issued on his own AltSax label. Howard recorded a bit for FMP in the mid-'70s, and in 1979 also did a track for France's Mercury division, "Message to South Africa," that went unissued due to its militancy. Howard flirted with jazz-funk sometime in the '80s and early '90s, a phase that went largely undocumented. He returned to free jazz in the late '90s and began recording for labels other than AltSax, including CIMP (1997's Expatriate Kin), Cadence (1999's Between Two Eternities), Ayler (Live at the Unity Temple), and Boxholder (2001's Red Star), returning to the AltSax label after the turn of the millennium with the release of 2003's Dreamtime and 2007's Desert Harmony (with Jordan's Amir Faqir). Thanks to the relative increase in visibility, Howard began to get more of his due as an early avant-garde innovator. He died suddenly on September 3, 2010 while vacationing in the South of France. AMG.

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Grateful Dead - The Grateful Dead 1967

The Grateful Dead's eponymously titled debut long-player was issued in mid-March of 1967. This gave rise to one immediate impediment -- the difficulty in attempting to encapsulate/recreate the Dead's often improvised musical magic onto a single LP. Unfortunately, the sterile environs of the recording studio disregards the subtle and often not-so-subtle ebbs and zeniths that are so evident within a live experience. So, while this studio recording ultimately fails in accurately exhibiting The Grateful Dead's tremendous range, it's a valiant attempt to corral the group's hydra-headed psychedelic jug-band music on vinyl. Under the technical direction of Dave Hassinger -- who had produced the Rolling Stones as well as the Jefferson Airplane -- the Dead recorded the album in Los Angeles during a Ritalin-fuelled "long weekend" in early 1967. Rather than prepare all new material for the recording sessions, a vast majority of the disc is comprised of titles that the band had worked into their concurrent performance repertoire. This accounts for the unusually high ratio (seven:two) of folk and blues standards to original compositions. The entire group took credit for the slightly saccharine "Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)," while Jerry Garcia (guitar/vocals) is credited for the noir garage-flavored raver "Cream Puff War." Interestingly, both tracks were featured as the respective A- and B-sides of the only 45 rpm single derived from this album. The curious aggregate of cover tunes featured on the Dead's initial outing also demonstrates the band's wide-ranging musical roots and influences. These include Pigpen's greasy harp-fuelled take on Sonny Boy Williamson's "Good Morning Little School Girl" and the minstrel one-man-band folk of Jessie "the Lone Cat" Fuller's "Beat It On Down the Line." The apocalyptic Cold War folk anthem "Morning Dew" (aka "[Walk Me Out in The] Morning Dew") is likewise given a full-bodied electric workout as is the obscure jug-band stomper "Viola Lee Blues." Fittingly, the Dead would continue to play well over half of these tracks in concert for the next 27 years. [Due to the time limitations inherent within the medium, the original release included severely edited performances of "Good Morning Little School Girl," "Sitting on Top of the World," "Cream Puff War," "Morning Dew," and "New, New Minglewood Blues." These tracks were restored in 2001, when the Dead's Warner Brothers catalog was reassessed for the Golden Road (1965-1973)box set.] AMG.

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