sábado, 29 de abril de 2017

John Mayall - Looking Back 1969

Reasonably interesting collection of non-LP singles from 1964 to 1968, featuring almost all of the notable musicians that passed through the Bluesbreakers throughout the decade. "Sitting in the Rain" (with Peter Green) showcases fine fingerpicking, the haunting "Jenny" is one of Mayall's best originals, and "Stormy Monday" is one of the few cuts from 1966 that briefly featured both Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce. AMG.

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Caetano Veloso - Araçá Azul 1972

Araçá Azul marks the end of Caetano Veloso's pop- and rock-oriented phase made up by his previous four studio albums. Araçá Azul is also the most experimental and "difficult" album that Veloso has ever made, and it bears few similarities to his earlier recordings. Many people who bought the album when it was newly released had expected it to be a natural and similar follow-up to 1972's Transa. After having listened to it, many of people got so disappointed with Araçá Azul that they actually went back to the stores where they had bought it and demanded a refund. On the other hand, Araçá Azul was very much acclaimed by critics. Typical tracks on the album are the fascinating "De Conversa," which doesn't have a melody or real lyrics, and the playful "Gilberto Misterioso." Another good track is the psychedelic, almost punk-styled "Eu Quero Essa Mulher." There is also the delicate and beautiful "Júla/Moreno" and the equally beautiful "Tu Me Acostumbraste," with lyrics in Spanish. These last two songs perhaps give a hint of what Veloso would soon produce on '70s masterpieces like JóiaBicho, and Cinema Transcendental. As a whole, though, this album, with all its experimentalism and sound effects, probably isn't something that one would put on while having friends visit, but for a fan of experimental music or for someone in the right mood, it's a very good record. AMG.

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Affinity - Affinity 1970

The self-titled album by the short-lived outfit Affinity displays a lot of potential, which if not wholly successful has an individuality separating them from their more jazzy and progressive peers. If Linda Hoyle's talent for fusing the vocal traits of Bessie SmithGrace Slick, and Sandy Denny together semi-successfully is the defining point, then Lynton Naiff's pounding Hammond workouts fall somewhere between the exceptional and the overdone. With the addition of John Paul Jones' fine brass arrangements, which are to the fore throughout, a very soulful feel reminiscent of the latter work of Brian Auger, Julie Driscoll & the Trinity is created. And the album's variety of moods sustains interest throughout. "Coconut Grove" (the Lovin' Spoonful song) is given a similar slow treatment to Donovan's diversions into jazz on Sunshine Superman, notably "The Observation," while a heavier element is supplied by a few heavy Hammond numbers, with a take on Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" being the most impressive. Although over 11 minutes long, some complex progressive organ work similar to Caravan's David Sinclair is displayed, preventing it from becoming predictable. A forlorn baroque Harpsichord interpretation of the Everly Brothers' "I Wonder if I Care as Much" adds a haunting quality to the set with Jones' string arrangements and Hoyle's vocals working hand in hand, and "Mr. Joy" allows the young singer to pay patronage to her heroine, Grace Slick, in which the Jefferson Airplane comparisons can really be heard. At times overambitious. And a plethora of cover versions given the progressive treatment instead of Affinity originals is a major letdown. But as an early work of post-'60s progression, this album is a pleasurable experience recalling the days when musicians and singers really worked hard at what they did. AMG.

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Blue Cheer - Vincebus Eruptum 1968

Rock & roll had grown louder and wilder by leaps and bounds during the '60s, but when Blue Cheer emerged from San Francisco onto the national rock scene in 1968 with their debut album, Vincebus Eruptum, they crossed a line which most musicians and fans hadn't even thought to draw yet. Vincebus Eruptum sounds monolithically loud and primal today, but it must have seemed like some sort of frontal assault upon first release; Blue Cheer are often cited as the first genuine heavy metal band, but that in itself doesn't quite sum up the true impact of this music, which even at a low volume sounds crushingly forceful. Though Blue Cheer's songs were primarily rooted in the blues, what set them apart from blues-rock progenitors such as the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds was the massive physical force of their musical attack. Jimi Hendrixthe Who, and the MC5 may have anticipated the sound and fury of this music, but Blue Cheer's secret was not just being louder than anyone else, but staying simple enough to give each member the space to do damage both as individuals and as a group. Paul Whaley's drumming combined a crashing dustbin tone with a constant, rolling pummel that suggested Ginger Baker with less finesse and more bludgeoning velocity. Dickie Peterson's basslines were as thick as tar and bubbled like primordial ooze as he bellowed out his lyrics with a fire and attitude that compensated for his lack of vocal range. And guitarist Leigh Stephens may have been the first genius of noise rock; Lester Bangs once wrote that Stephens' "sub-sub-sub-sub-Hendrix guitar overdubs stumbled around each other so ineptly they verged on a truly bracing atonality," and though that doesn't sound like a compliment, the lumbering chaos of his roaring, feedback-laden leads birthed a more glorious monster than many more skillful players could conjure. Put them together, and Blue Cheer's primal din was an ideal corrective for anyone who wondered if full-on rock & roll was going to have a place in the psychedelic revolution. From the opening rampage through Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" (which miraculously became a hit single), to the final one-two punch of "Parchment Farm" and "Second Time Around," Vincebus Eruptum is a glorious celebration of rock & roll primitivism run through enough Marshall amps to deafen an army; only a few of Blue Cheer's peers could come up with anything remotely this heavy (the MC5's Kick Out the Jams and side two of the Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat were its closest rivals back in the day), and no one could summon so much thunder with just three people. If you want to wake the neighbors, this is still the album to get, and it was Blue Cheer's simplest and most forceful musical statement. AMG.

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Milton Nascimento - Travessia 1967

Travessia, the debut album of Milton Nascimento that was first released in 1967, has been re-released several times through the years. It is a good sample of how Nascimento sounded before his Clube da Esquina phase, and the album largely consists of very slow, very gentle songs with long melodies. The general style is a fusion of jazz and traditional Brazilian music. One of the most popular tracks on the album is "Velho Amigo" -- a beautiful, nostalgic ballad with one of those elaborate, slow, but coherent and beautiful, melodies that are so typical of Nascimento's work. The most accessible song of the album (at least to a fan of Clube da Esquina) is the lyric-less "Catavento," which has a simple, but beautiful, flute melody played over a gentle, groovy jazz beat and with Nascimento's voice functioning as an extra backup instrument. "Catavento" is very representative of Nascimento's music, and, in some way, of the music from the Minas Gerais state. To many, Travessia is one of the artistic highlights of Nascimento's career, while others prefer the more pop-influenced Clube da Esquina phase that would soon follow. AMG.

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Blue Jug - Blue Jug 1975

Fronted by the team of Clint DelongBill Little, and Ed Ratzeloff, this band was mostly a concoction of the Capricorn label. As the Southern rock audience grew, A&R men noticed much of this audience was obsessed with roots music, from blues to country. At the same time, independent labels such as Flying Fish were doing well with concoctions such as Hillbilly Jazz, in which country fiddler Vassar Clements cut loose from the restrictions of old-timey music in a jamming setting. For the Blue Jug Band project, veteran fiddler Buddy Spicher was brought in, an important part of the overall sound, although he was sometimes not credited in band biographies -- what there are of them. Blue Jug, the album, was released by the most astrologically correct of record labels in 1975, with a feathery impact. If released anytime in the '60s, perhaps this might have had a chance -- jug band music was popular then, with hits such as "Winchester Cathedral" and "Walk Right In," and that seems to be the genre the record-buying public thought this album belonged in. The Ariola label reissued the album three years later, the combined results of a licensing exchange and critical buzz. The decision involving Spicher had been a good one, an example of how the "copycat" concept involving session men can lead to good playing opportunities for veteran musicians. AMG.

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Alan Trajan - Firm Roots 1969

Alan Trajan's sole album is in one sense very of its time, with the kind of organ/piano/hard rock guitar arrangements in vogue among numerous British artists in the late '60s. In another and perhaps more interesting sense, it's fairly peculiar, if only because it's difficult to imagine that such a downbeat album would have been thought by anyone to have stood much chance of being a success. Not that it sounds all that depressing or inaccessible, as Trajan has a slightly gruff and gravelly voice that's a little similar to those of Stevie Winwood and Gary Brooker, if somewhat strangled and not nearly as good (though of course not many singers were as good as that pair). As a songwriter, however, Trajan seems to have a quarter-glass-full worldview, projecting a kind of resigned, weary despair -- almost as if Procol Harum had been fronted by someone like Tom Waits (or early Randy Newman at his darkest). Even some of the song titles -- "One Tends to Get Bitter Now and Again," "Mental Destruction," "This Might Be My Last Number" -- reflect a man not keen to look on the bright side. For all that, though, the songs are fairly placid and attractive in their melodies and delivery, creating an interesting if strange tension. As light relief, perhaps, there's a relatively light cover of Bob Dylan's "Girl from the North Country" and two folk songs based on the interpretations Dylan gave them on his first two albums ("Highway 51 Blues" and "Corinna, Corinna"). On the other hand, the sole other cover, of David Ackles' "Down River," fits about as perfectly into Trajan's troubled, doom-clouded persona as anything he didn't write himself. So rare that even many '60s rock collectors had never heard of it, Firm Roots was reissued on CD in 2006. AMG.

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Byron Morris & Unity - Vibrations, Themes & Serenades 1978

Many jazz critics have dismissed the 1970s as a vast wasteland for jazz, but in fact, just the opposite was true. The 1970s were banner years for jazz -- not only because of the fearless explorations of fusion and soul-jazz innovators, but also because of all the interesting modal post-bop coming out. Recorded in 1975 and 1978, Vibrations, Themes and Serenades illustrates the richness of modal jazz and paints an impressive picture of that time. This was the second LP that Byron Morris recorded with Unity, and the band is quite cohesive on spiritually-minded pieces such as "Like a Galaxy of Stars," "Eyewitness News Bluze" and "ERAA," all of which feature the expressive vocalist Jay Clayton. Gratefully, three of the tracks on this record -- "Panamanian Aire," "Theme for Rahsaan" and Kenny Barron's "Sunshower" -- would be reissued on the 1994 CD Vibrations in Time. AMG.

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Alan Price - The Price To Play 1966

Price's first album (released in the U.K. only, although some tracks would come out in the U.S.) is a rather routine set of club R&B/soul. Fronting a six-piece that includes three horns, Price sticks mostly to covers of familiar American tunes like "Mercy Mercy," "Ain't That Peculiar," "I Can't Turn You Loose," and "Barefootin'" on this amiable, but hardly remarkable, set. Price's voice is appealing, but lacks power, and in all it sounds like a clump of covers ground out hurriedly to get an album on the market. Georgie Fame did this kind of thing better, though Price's approach isn't as jazz-oriented. The CD reissue on Repertoire doubles the length of the original LP by adding 12 bonus tracks from 1965-1967 singles, including the brilliant British hit "I Put a Spell on You." The other singles cuts, alas, aren't in the same league, though in general they're better than the ones that constituted The Price to Play. His cover of "Any Day Now" is decent, and the interpretation of Randy Newman's "Simon Smith and the Dancing Bear" (presented in two versions) would both give him a British hit and foretell a move into a much poppier direction. AMG.

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Barrelhouse - Barrelhouse 1974

In 1973, when Barrelhouse first came together as "Barrelhouse Bailey's Blues & Boogie Band," the musicians already had years of experience under their belts. Barrelhouse Bailey himself was none other than Han van Dam. It was his stage name in the Oscar Benton Blues Band, where Jan Willem Sligting was known as Jay Walker. The LaPorte surname also stems from this period and isn't the real last name of brothers Guus and John. The Oscar Benton Blues Band, along with Cuby & the Blizzards, was the premier blues group in the Netherlands in the late 60s and early 70s.

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808 Ridge - Community College Coffee House Crowd 1969

808 Ridge is presented as a record of coffee house sessions throughout the 1968-69 college year.
This record has , different music styles from different artists, a record without any conection between the songs.
This is a Various Artist Lp , very rare at these days and never reissued at any format.

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Ahmed Abdul Malik - Spellbound 1964

Spellbound, recorded in 1964, is double bassist and oud player Ahmed Abdul-Malik's final date as a leader, though given its contents, it shouldn't have been. Abdul-Malik, an American born musician of Sudanese descent, helped to bring the sounds of the Middle East to jazz in the '50s, incorporating oud and a different set of scales in his own recordings. His sidemen for this date are ubiquitous Duke Ellington Orchestra cornetist Ray Nance, who also plays violin here, drummer Walter Perkins, saxophonist/flutist Seldon Powell, the little known pianist Paul Neves, and oud player -- on two tracks -- Sudanese musician Hamza Aldeen (not to be confused with the Egyptian composer, oud and tar player Hamza el Din).  The program on this date is unusual: three of the five tunes here come from movie soundtracks. The opening title track is from the Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name and features a fine, gently swinging solo from Neves, and some excellent frontline and violin from Nance. "Never on Sunday," from the Greek film of the same name, is a showcase for Aldeen, who twins his lines with Nance's plucked violin, anchored by Abdul-Malik and PerkinsPowell's flute moves off into a solo before the piano and oud restate the theme followed by a saxophone, piano, and second flute break. It's breezy, easy, and it swings. The interplay between Nance's cornet break and Powell's tenor solo registers its emotion as Neves fills the melody with wonderful, spacious, right-hand arpeggios. Abdul-Malik's bass opens "Song of Delilah" from the film Samson & Delilah. He's followed in a complex melodic statement by flute, a gypsy jazz solo by Nance on violin, and finally, a gorgeous oud break based on a single chord -- with deep, responsorial bass from Abdul-Malik -- that eventually moves the tune into a grooving flute break. Closer "Cinema Blues" isn't from a film. Instead, it's a straight-ahead hard bop blues, with some fine muted cornet work, killer comps from Neves, and a fluid, mid-register solo by Powell, with a driving rhythm section. Spellbound isn't as groundbreaking as some of Abdul-Malik's earlier work, but it doesn't need to be: by this point, he had successfully melded jazz with Middle Eastern sounds into a seamless -- if somewhat exotically textural -- whole. The band fires on all cylinders under his inspired direction, making this a fitting sendoff to him as a bandleader. Musically, he saved one of his best for last.  AMG.

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Beggars Opera - Get Your Dog Off Me! 1973

Get Your Dog off Me, the final real studio album of Scots prog band Beggars Opera, was a disappointment when it came out -- and it remains one decades later. Indeed, they never captured the spirit of Act One in any of their further releases, and it's easy to see why they called this the end of the road (although guitarist Ricky Gardiner and mellotronist Virginia Scott kept the band name going with two German albums later in the decade). The dramatics, which had been quite sly before, descend into melodrama here, and there's a dearth of songwriting ideas (which was also true on the previous record, where the standout was a cover of "MacArthur Park"). They can still slip in a good hook here and there, and there's no fault in the playing, with Gardiner in particular showing himself to be an excellent, thoughtful soloist. But on the evidence of the material and arrangements here, this was a band past its sell-by date. The newer harmony style -- influenced by bands like the Eagles, is quite at odds with any kind of grandeur. This is really one just for the die-hard fans and obsessives. AMG.

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sábado, 15 de abril de 2017

Canned Heat and John Lee Hooker- Hooker'n Heat 1971

When this two-LP set was initially released in January 1971, Canned Heat was back to its R&B roots, sporting slightly revised personnel. In the spring of the previous year, Larry "The Mole" Taylor (bass) and Harvey Mandel (guitar) simultaneously accepted invitations to join John Mayall's concurrent incarnation of the Bluesbreakers. This marked the return of Henry "Sunflower" Vestine (guitar) and the incorporation of Antonio "Tony" de la Barreda (bass), a highly skilled constituent of Aldolfo de la Parra (drums). Sadly, it would also be the final effort to include co-founder Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson, who passed away in September 1970. Hooker 'n Heat (1971) is a low-key affair split between unaccompanied solo John Lee Hooker (guitar/vocals) tunes, collaborations between Hooker and Wilson (piano/guitar/harmonica), as well as five full-blown confabs between Hooker and Heat. The first platter focuses on Hooker's looser entries that vacillate from the relatively uninspired ramblings of "Send Me Your Pillow" and "Drifter" to the essential and guttural "Feelin' Is Gone" or spirited "Bottle Up and Go." The latter being among those with Wilson on piano. Perhaps the best of the batch is the lengthy seven-minute-plus "World Today," which is languid and poignant talking blues, with Hooker lamenting the concurrent state of affairs around the globe. "I Got My Eyes on You" is an unabashed derivative of Hooker's classic "Dimples," with the title changed for what were most likely legal rather than artistic concerns. That said, the readings of the seminal "Burning Hell" and "Bottle Up and Go" kept their familiar monikers intact. The full-fledged collaborations shine as both parties unleash some of their finest respective work. While Canned Heat get top bill -- probably as it was the group's record company that sprung for Hooker 'n Heat -- make no mistake, as Hooker steers the combo with the same gritty and percussive guitar leads that have become his trademark. The epic "Boogie Chillen No. 2" stretches over 11 and a half minutes and is full of the same swagger as the original, with the support of Canned Heat igniting the verses and simmering on the subsequent instrumental breaks with all killer and no filler. The 2002 two-CD pressing by the French Magic Records label is augmented with "It's All Right," with a single edit of "Whiskey and Wimmen." AMG.

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