terça-feira, 29 de agosto de 2017

Bill King - Goodbye Superdad 1973

While growing up in Jefferson, Indiana, King he devoted much of his time as a youth to studies with W.C. Handy’s former pianist Eva Smith, the Louisville Academy of music’s Don Murray, and Indiana University saxophonist/educator Jamey Aebersold. As a teenager he had won sixteen first place awards in classical piano and clarinet competitions. In 1963 he won a scholarship to Oscar Peterson’s Advanced School of Contemporary Music and in 1964 another scholarship to Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.
By 1966, King had relocated to New York and began performing with local community orchestras and big bands. He was a member of The Shadows in 1966 when they hit the Billboard Top 50 with 'Moanin’. This led to work encounters with The Shangri-Las, Dick and Dee Dee, Freddy Cannon, The Dovells, and Ronnie Dove. He opened for The Beach Boys on three occasions, and appeared with the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars. By 1968, King had left his house piano gig at Louis Jordan's club in Greenwich Village and relocated to Los Angeles where he became Linda Ronstadt’s Music Director and pianist alongside the late Andrew Gold. A year later, he joined Janis Joplin’s Kozmic Blues Band.
King relocated to Toronto for the first time in 1969, signing a recording contract with Capitol Records who would release two albums over the next few years (‘Goodbye Superdad’ and ‘Dixie Peach’) with King as leader. The song "Goodbye Superdad" was the first of many charting singles hits for him which peaked at No. 39 on in June 1973.
He returned to Los Angeles in 1976 as Music Director for vocalist Martha Reeves. While on a European tour with Reeves, he was persuaded to join The Pointer Sisters and spent the next year touring Japan and the USA as their Music Director. He moved back to Toronto permanently in the late ‘70s to form the rock group Kearney, King, and McBride who re-christened themselves China for their self-titled album on Epic Records
Mark Sutherland approached King about doing an experimental poetry project set to music in 1985. The result was a cassette and an LP under the name The BarKING Boys & Yes Girls.
In 1987, he focused on more jazz oriented pursuits, establishing a publishing and record company - Night Passage Records - to release recordings of the Bill King Quartet and Quintet respectively. He also started a syndicated radio show called 'The Jazz Report' which ran from 1989 through 1991.
With partner Greg Sutherland they founded ‘The Jazz Report‘ Magazine and began the Radioland Record label in 1992, signing a major manufacturing and distribution deal with Verve/Polygram Canada a year later.
In the '90s he created the The Jazz Report All-Stars which showcased some of Toronto's top drawer jazz musicians. King now runs the Beaches Jazz Festival in Toronto and his photo collection can be seen on the walls Toronto's Rex Hotel.

listen here

Muddy Waters - Hard Again 1977

After a string of mediocre albums throughout most of the 1970s, Muddy Waters hooked up with Johnny Winter for 1977's Hard Again, a startling comeback and a gritty demonstration of the master's powers. Fronting a band that includes such luminaries as James Cotton and "Pine Top" Perkins, Waters is not only at the top of his game, but is having the time of his life while he's at it. The bits of studio chatter that close "Mannish Boy" and open "Bus Driver" show him to be relaxed and obviously excited about the proceedings. Part of this has to be because the record sounds so good. Winter has gone for an extremely bare production style, clearly aiming to capture Waters in conversation with a band in what sounds like a single studio room. This means that sometimes the songs threaten to explode in chaos as two or three musicians begin soloing simultaneously. Such messiness is actually perfect in keeping with the raw nature of this music; you simply couldn't have it any other way. There is something so incredibly gratifying about hearing Waters shout out for different soloists, about the band missing hits or messing with the tempos. Hey this isn't pop music, it's the blues, and a little dirt never hurt anybody. The unsung star of this session is drummer Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, whose deep grooves make this record come alive. The five-minute, one-chord "Mannish Boy" wouldn't be nearly as compelling as it is if it weren't for Smith's colossal pocket. Great blues from one of the dominant voices of the genre. AMG.

listen here

Bobby Patterson - It's Just A Matter Of Time 1972

Like many other Dallas-based rhythm & blues musicians, Bobby Patterson is a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist who continued the deep soul tradition of people like Otis Redding, Joe Tex, and Wilson Pickett. But unlike some of these other singers, Patterson has worked in all aspects of the record business: as a songwriter, producer, promotion man, and label owner. Patterson began performing when he was ten, playing guitar and drums. While still in his early teens, he formed a band called the Royal Rockers, who won talent contests in and around Dallas. In 1957, one of the talent contests led to a trip to California to track a single for Liberty Records, which was never released. Patterson then went on to nearby Arlington College, where one of his classmates was the son of a local record company owner. In 1962, Patterson recorded "You Just Got to Understand" for Abnak Records. The single wasn't terribly successful, but it convinced the label's owner, John Abnak, to start a soul division, called Jetstar Records. Patterson recorded for Jetstar for the next six years, becoming a talented songwriter, producer, and promotion man in the process. Patterson's regional hits, all self-penned, on the Jetstar label included "Let Them Talk" (also popularized by Little Willie John), "I'm Leroy, I'll Take Her" (an answer song to Joe Tex's "Skinny Legs and All"), "Broadway Ain't Funky No More," "T.C.B. or T.Y.A.," "My Thing Is Your Thing," "The Good Old Days," and "I'm in Love With You."
In 1969, after a string of regional hits, Abnak Records folded and Patterson recorded his own self-produced album. Shortly after that, he quit recording under his own name to produce and promote records for other artists. As a producer, Patterson worked with Fontella BassChuck JacksonTed Taylor, Shay Holiday, Roscoe Robinsonthe MontclairsTommie Young, and Little Johnny TaylorPatterson's songs have been recorded by Albert King ("That's What the Blues Is All About") and the Fabulous Thunderbirds, who scored a hit with his "How Do You Spell Love?"
In 1995, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy gave Patterson's visibility a boost, recording his song "She Don't Have to See You (To See Through You)," on Down by the Old Mainstream, an album from his side project Golden Smog. A year later, Pattersonhit the comeback trail as an artist, recording and releasing an album, Second Coming, for the soul revivalist label Ichiban. A second new album, I'd Rather Eat Soup, was released by Big Bidness Records in 1998, and while both new albums showed Patterson's voice and songwriting chops were in fine shape, they didn't do much business. But after appearances at several blues festivals and the annual vintage R&B and rock showcase the Ponderosa Stomp, Patterson's cult following grew, and in 2013 he teamed with producer Zach Ernst to cut a new album in the vintage soul style. In 2014, Patterson and Ernst struck a deal with Omnivore Recordings to release the album, and I Got More Soul! arrived in July 2014. AMG.

listen here

Caetano Veloso - Jóia 1975

Jóia was released simultaneously with Qualquer Coisa in 1975, and bears resemblance both to that album and Caetano Veloso's previous and highly experimental studio album Araçá Azul. As on Qualquer Coisa, the sound is quiet, soft, and mainly acoustic. If anything, Jóia comes across as even more soft and quiet than Qualquer Coisa. There are many very beautiful melodies on the record, and two of the finest are "Lua, Lua, Lua" and "Guá." Unlike Qualquer Coisa, almost all of the songs here are Veloso originals, but there is also an unusual interpretation of "Help!," the famous Beatles song. The soft general tone of the album and some experimental tracks perhaps make Jóia less directly accessible than other Veloso classics, like for example his next album, Bicho. Nevertheless, the album is a great one and, to many people, one of the best Veloso has ever recorded. AMG.

listen here

Oriental Sunshine - Dedicated To The Bird We Love 1970

Yet another mysterious and long-lost psych-folk album, Dedicated to the Bird We Love, originally released in Norway at the dawn of the '70s and then re-released by Sunbeam in 2006, is a more worthy candidate than most for its status, if not truly a unique artifact. It's a pleasant enough listen which mixes and matches its styles in an easygoing fashion. Thanks in part to the strong quality of Nina Johansen's voice, an obvious comparison point might be the Shocking Blue, but Oriental Sunshine's brief is less fierce, hook-driven hits than a more contemplative ramble. That said, this isn't a spare guitar-and-nothing-else effort either -- opener "Across Your Life" has a surprisingly thick, busy sound deep in the mix, with drums, sitar, keyboards, and more turning into a roiling bed of music at once agitated and strangely serene. This depth becomes a hallmark of the album, as Johansen and Rune Walle's singing steps to the fore with the key melodies while the music unobtrusively fills out the sound. Sometimes the mix does get calmer in overall comparison, as on songs like "Visions," but it provides a gentle variety to the album as a result. Flute and sitar appear often enough to be core to the sound rather than simply window dressing, though admittedly neither are used in strikingly unique fashion -- as with the album as a whole, the result is an enjoyable niche rather than a lost masterpiece flat-out, and once or twice, as with the introduction to "Unless," the effect feels more clichéd than anything else. (The lyrics themselves veer there at points too, but never to the point of distraction.) AMG.

listen here

Carl Harvey - Ecstasy Of Mankind 1979

Harvey was born in Jamaica and emigrated to Toronto, Ontario, Canada with his family at an early age. He began playing guitar aged 13 and also played the tuba at school. Harvey was initially inspired by Jimi Hendrix: "The first time I heard Purple Haze I knew that I wanted to get a sound from the guitar that I had never heard coming from a straight guitar amp setup. Another pivotal point came with the release of the Cream's "White Room" and Jimi's "Voodoo Child" (Slight Return) sealed it." Harvey joined the Toronto funk and soul band The Crack of Dawn, which was signed by Columbia Records and had hits in Canada with "It's Alright" and "Keep the Faith" in 1976. In the mid-1970s, Harvey visited Jamaica regularly and recorded as a member of Bunny Lee's house band The Aggrovators, playing on albums such as Kaya Dub, Jackie Mittoo's In Cold Blood and King in the Arena, and also played guitar on Willi Williams' Messenger Man. In 1978, he went into the studio with Lee to record several tracks where he played improvised guitar over some of Lee's classic rhythms. These were released in 1979 as the album Ecstasy of Mankind on the British label Cancer, without Harvey's knowledge. Harvey had returned to Canada, and was first told about the album by Mittoo, who had seen it for sale in London. Although the record was unavailable for many years, it was released by Rhino Records in 1994, who fraudulently sold it as a Lee "Scratch" Perry album, under the title Guitar Boogie Dub. The album was given a wider release, with correct title and credits, in 2005 by Makasound Records. In the 1980s, he became the lead guitarist of Toots & the Maytals, and has been with the band for over twenty-five years. He also toured with his own band, with Jackie Mittoo, and worked as a record producer, producing four albums by Messenjah (two of which were nominated for Juno Awards), and recordings by the Juno-winning Kim Richardson and Sway. Harvey released a second solo album, The Times, in 2005.

listen here

Paper Bubble - Scenery 1969

This quite obscure British pop-folk-rock effort might hold some interest for intense fans of British folk-rock of the late 1960s and early '70s, if only because it was produced by two members of one of the major bands in that genre (Dave Cousins and Tony Hooper of the Strawbs). Compared to the Strawbs, however -- and, for that matter, most British folk-rock acts -- Paper Bubble were far more lightweight. Emphasizing the close, merry harmonies of guitarists Terry Brake and Brian Crane, many of the tracks have a bouncy, singalong feel that's too happy-go-lucky, in fact, if you're in the wrong mood, though there are occasional breaks into more wistful numbers. Though bassist Neil Mitchell was the only other member of the group, the sound is thickened with some piano, light orchestration, and vague psychedelic textures. Like much American sunshine pop of the period, however, it has an upbeat vibe that verges on the sappy at times, even if this particular record isn't too strongly related to the sunshine pop style, with an innocent childlike escapist quality found in much British psychedelia of the time. And like many such efforts, it has pleasant surface qualities, but lacks memorable depth or truly standout compositions. In this context, the least characteristic track, "Mother Mother Mother," rocks like the devil, with berserk organ breaks, effective distorted electric guitar licks, a hard cheery folk-rockin' verve absolutely missing from the rest of the LP. It's the standout number on the record -- and was, in fact, anthologized in 1983 on the Broken Dreams, Vol. 3 compilation of psychedelic British rock rarities -- but, unfortunately, was the only hint of such brazen energy Paper Bubble ever displayed. AMG.

listen here

Caroline Peyton - Intuition 1977

Released to some critical acclaim but little else -- not surprising for any effort in 1977 that only appeared on a tiny regional label well removed from any wider distribution -- Caroline Peyton's second solo effort is all the more unusual for not getting a major-label release at the time. Effortlessly nestling in the sonic space outlined by performers ranging from Bonnie Raitt and Linda Ronstadt to Fleetwood Mac, but with a style all its own, Intuition avoids basic genre classification for its own easygoing blend; if not as exploratory in general like other peers or even some of her earlier efforts, it's still warm and winning for those inclined to the sounds of that era. Peyton's excellent singing, honed by years of performing, ranges from the sweet to the sassy and back again, and any number of moments, like her vocal break on "Together," showcase her talent readily. The standout song, "Call of the Wild," is a rich number given moving but not overwhelming backing from other musicians; with Peyton's performance on the chorus the killer touch, it almost foretells later efforts from groups like Bel Canto in its blend of serene folk and electronics. Perhaps the most intriguing sign of how she engaged her music and the time comes with the "disco number" -- and it does have to be said that Peyton's singing, while still excellent, doesn't quite have the heft that such a performance would require. But unlike any number of dull moves at the time from people with no funk in their system at all, "Party Line," while definitely polite and loungey in feel, almost feels more like a quietly reflective Philly soul number thanks to its stop-start feel breaking up the straight-up pulse. AMG.

listen here

Parliament - Mothership Connection 1976

evolving band lineups, differing musical approaches, and increasingly thematic album statements reached an ideal state, one that resulted in enormous commercial success as well as a timeless legacy that would be compounded by hip-hop postmodernists, most memorably Dr. Dre on his landmark album The Chronic (1992). The musical lineup assembled for Mothership Connection is peerless: in addition to keyboard wizard Bernie WorrellBootsy Collins, who plays not only bass but also drums and guitar; the guitar trio of Gary ShiderMichael Hampton, and Glen Goins; and the Brecker Brothers (Michaeland Randy) on horns; there are former J.B.'s Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker (also on horns), who were the latest additions to the P-Funk stable. Besides the dazzling array of musicians, Mothership Connection boasts a trio of hands-down classics -- "P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)," "Mothership Connection (Star Child)," "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)" -- that are among the best to ever arise from the funk era, each sampled and interpolated time and time again by rap producers; in particular, Dr. Dre pays homage to the former two on The Chronic (on "The Roach" and "Let Me Ride," respectively). The remaining four songs on Mothership Connection are all great also, if less canonical. Lastly, there's the overlapping outer-space theme, which ties the album together into a loose escapist narrative. There's no better starting point in the enormous P-Funk catalog than Mothership Connection, which, like its trio of classic songs, is undoubtedly among the best of the funk era. AMG.

listen here

James Gang - Thirds 1971

The James Gang Rides Again set the stage for the group's third album to propel them to Top Ten, headliner status, but that didn't happen. The band was on its last legs, rent by dissension as Walshbecame the focus of attention, and the appropriately titled Thirds reflected the conflict. Among the nine original songs, four were contributed by Walsh, two each by bass player Dale Peters and drummer Jim Fox, and one was a group composition. But it was Walsh's songs that stood out. His "Walk Away," was the first single, and it climbed into the Top 40 in at least one national chart, the group's only 45 to do that well. "Midnight Man," the follow-up single, was another Walsh tune, and it also made the charts. The Foxand Peters compositions were a step down in quality, particularly Peters'. But the problem wasn't just material, it was also musical approach. James Gang Rides Again had emphasized the band's hard rock sound, which was its strong suit. But they had never given up the idea of themselves as an eclectic unit, and Thirds was their most diverse effort yet, with pedal steel guitar, horn and string charts, and backup vocals by the Sweet Inspirations turning up on one track or another. At a time when Walsh was being hailed as a guitar hero to rank with the best rock had to offer, he was not only submerging himself in a group with inferiors, but also not playing much of the kind of lead guitar his supporters were raving about. As a result, though Thirds quickly earned a respectable chart position and eventually went gold, it was not the commercial breakthrough that might have been expected. AMG.

listen here

sábado, 19 de agosto de 2017

The Small Faces - Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake 1968

There was no shortage of good psychedelic albums emerging from England in 1967-1968, but Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake is special even within their ranks. The Small Faces had already shown a surprising adaptability to psychedelia with the single "Itchycoo Park" and much of their other 1967 output, but Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake pretty much ripped the envelope. British bands had an unusual approach to psychedelia from the get-go, often preferring to assume different musical "personae" on their albums, either feigning actual "roles" in the context of a variety show (as on the BeatlesSgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album), or simply as storytellers in the manner of the Pretty Things on S.F. Sorrow, or actor/performers as on the Who's TommyThe Small Faces tried a little bit of all of these approaches on Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake, but they never softened their sound.
Side one's material, in particular, would not have been out of place on any other Small Faces release -- "Afterglow (Of Your Love)" and "Rene" both have a pounding beat from Kenny Jones, and Ian McLagan's surging organ drives the former while his economical piano accompaniment embellishes the latter; and Steve Marriott's crunching guitar highlights "Song of a Baker." Marriott singing has him assuming two distinct "roles," neither unfamiliar -- the Cockney upstart on "Rene" and "Lazy Sunday," and the diminutive soul shouter on "Afterglow (Of Your Love)" and "Song of a Baker." Some of side two's production is more elaborate, with overdubbed harps and light orchestration here and there, and an array of more ambitious songs, all linked by a narration by comic dialect expert Stanley Unwin, about a character called "Happiness Stan." The core of the sound, however, is found in the pounding "Rollin' Over," which became a highlight of the group's stage act during its final days -- the song seems lean and mean with a mix in which Ronnie Lane's bass is louder than the overdubbed horns. Even "Mad John," which derives from folk influences, has a refreshingly muscular sound on its acoustic instruments. Overall, this was the ballsiest-sounding piece of full-length psychedelia to come out of England, and it rode the number one spot on the U.K. charts for six weeks in 1968, though not without some controversy surrounding advertisements by Immediate Records that parodied the Lord's Prayer. Still, Ogdens' was the group's crowning achievement -- it had even been Marriott's hope to do a stage presentation of Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake, though a television special might've been more in order. AMG.

listen here

Novos Baianos - Acabou o Chorare 1972

Os Novos Baianos was an important group in Brazilian music in the '60s and '70s -- from which came several successful solo artists: Moraes MoreiraBaby Do Brasil (then Baby Consuelo), Pepeu Gomes (a virtuoso in rock guitar and choro mandolin), and Paulinho Boca de Cantor. Other support musicians for their recordings included here had already constituted a band called A Cor Do Som, which also had some international success playing electric choro. This is their second album, released in 1972. The work displays a strong influence from João Gilberto, with whom they had been together in the preceding year (clearly felt in Moraes' "Acabou Chorare"). But it is not related to bossa nova in any way, consisting of explorations of the group's compositions in acoustic and electric settings, with freshness and originality. The album has some important songs, including "Brasil Pandeiro," a classic by Assis Valente rejected by Carmem Miranda that deals with the appreciation for Brazilian music by American people; "Preta Pretinha"; "Acabou Chorare"; and "Besta é Tu." AMG.

listen here

The Kinks - Muswell Hillbillies 1971

How did the Kinks respond to the fresh start afforded by Lola? By delivering a skewed, distinctly British, cabaret take on Americana, all pinned down by Ray Davies' loose autobiography and intense yearning to be anywhere else but here -- or, as he says on the opening track, "I'm a 20th century man, but I don't want to be here." Unlike its predecessors, Muswell Hillbillies doesn't overtly seem like a concept album -- there are no stories as there are on Lola -- but each song undoubtedly shares a similar theme, namely the lives of the working class. Cleverly, the music is a blend of American and British roots music, veering from rowdy blues to boozy vaudeville. There's as much good humor in the performances as there are in Davies' songs, which are among his savviest and funniest. They're also quite affectionate, a fact underpinned by the heartbreaking "Oklahoma U.S.A.," one of the starkest numbers Davies ever penned, seeming all the sadder surrounded by the careening country-rock and music hall. That's the key to Muswell Hillbillies -- it mirrors the messy flow of life itself, rolling from love letters and laments to jokes and family reunions. Throughout it all, Davies' songwriting is at a peak, as are the Kinks themselves. There are a lot of subtle shifts in mood and genre on the album, and the band pulls it off effortlessly and joyously -- but it's hard not to hear Dave Davies' backing vocals and have it not sound joyous. Regardless of its commercial fate, Muswell Hillbillies stands as one of the Kinks' best albums. AMG.

listen here

Mahavishnu Orchestra - Birds of Fire 1972

Emboldened by the popularity of Inner Mounting Flame among rock audiences, the first Mahavishnu Orchestra set out to further define and refine its blistering jazz-rock direction in its second -- and, no thanks to internal feuding, last -- studio album. Although it has much of the screaming rock energy and sometimes exaggerated competitive frenzy of its predecessor, Birds of Fire is audibly more varied in texture, even more tightly organized, and thankfully more musical in content. A remarkable example of precisely choreographed, high-speed solo trading -- with John McLaughlinJerry Goodman, and Jan Hammer all of one mind, supported by Billy Cobham's machine-gun drumming and Rick Laird's dancing bass -- can be heard on the aptly named "One Word," and the title track is a defining moment of the group's nearly atonal fury. The band also takes time out for a brief bit of spaced-out electronic burbling and static called "Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love." Yet the most enticing pieces of music on the record are the gorgeous, almost pastoral opening and closing sections to "Open Country Joy," a relaxed, jocular bit of communal jamming that they ought to have pursued further. This album actually became a major crossover hit, rising to number 15 on the pop album charts, and it remains the key item in the first Mahavishnu Orchestra's slim discography. AMG.

listen here

Bert Myrick - Live 'n Well 1965

BBE is delighted to present a gem from the tiny yet highly influential catalogue of Strata Records. Preceding New York’s Strata East, Detroit’s original Strata label issued only a handful of underground titles in the early 70’s, making it a ‘holy grail’ imprint among jazz lovers and record collectors the world over.

Released by Strata in 1974, Bert Myrick’s ‘Live ‘n Well’ was originally recorded by Strata founder and former Blue Note artist Kenny Cox at a concert which took place almost a decade previously, at the student union of the University Of Michigan back in 1965. Led by drummer Bert Myrick, the album highlights a quintet of highly talented players at the height of their powers. Featuring Will Austin on bass, Kenny Cox on piano and Ronnie Fields on tenor sax, the performance also stars George Bohanon, a now-legendary player who spent 7 years with Motown Records as lead trombonist before being named “Most Valuable Player”. by the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Probably best known for the iconic 14 minute epic “Scorpio’s Child” (composed by Strata owner Kenny Cox), ‘Live ‘n Well’ captures tour de force performances from a collection of Detroit’s finest musicians, destined to go their separate ways soon after the recording was completed. Legend has it that Bert Myrick was inspired to pursue his passion for the drums by friend and mentor Elvin Jones (the drummer on John Coltrane’s classic ‘A Love Supreme’), who would open windows at his shows so that Bert and his friends could enter without paying. This kind of heavyweight tutelage would certainly explain Myrick’s impeccable, highly expressive playing on ‘Live ‘n Well’. Remembered fondly for his powerful hands and gentle demeanor, Bert Myrick passed away in 2010 at the age of 80. bbemusic.com.

listen here

Chicken Shack - The Collection 1970

Collection contains the cream of Chicken Shack's uneven albums and provides a perfect introduction to the British blues band. AMG.

listen here