domingo, 6 de janeiro de 2019

It's A Beautiful Day - Marrying Maiden 1970

The second long-player from It's a Beautiful Day is an exceedingly more pastoral effort than the band's self-titled debut. As many of the Bay Area groups -- most notably the Grateful Dead with Workingman's Dead and American Beauty -- had begun to do, the band realigns its sound from the dark psychedelia and proto-prog of its earlier works and into a lighter and earthier country-flavored rock. Marrying Maidendoes, however, continue highlighting both the sextet's stellar instrumental proficiencies as well as vocals -- featuring the entire band -- throughout. "Don and Dewey," the album's opener, is a hot-steppin' spotlight for David LaFlamme's classically trained violin work. Presumably, the tune is an ode to the late-'50s/early-'60s R&B duo of the same name. The track has distinct hints of the concurrent contributions that LaFlamme had been making in an incipient incarnation of Dan Hick & His Hot Licks. It likewise sets the tenor for the remainder of the disc's down-home feel. The cover of folkie Fred Neil's "The Dolphins" is notable for Fred Webb's honky tonk piano fills and LaFlamme's vocals, recalling some of the earliest New Riders of the Purple Sage sides. One of the more solidly unifying factors linking the NRPS and It's a Beautiful Day is the guest appearance by Jerry Garcia, who is featured on two numbers. As he had done on Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's "Teach Your Children," Garcia lends a few distinct pedal steel guitar riffs to the perky "It Comes Right Down to You." The track also features former Charlatan Richard Olsen on, of all things, clarinet. Another sign of the times is the pickin' and grinnin' on the appropriately titled "Hoedown" -- on which Garcia adds some fiery banjo fretwork. AMG.

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Isao Suzuki - Touch 1975

Isao Suzuki & His Fellows featuring Kunihiko Sugano and the prominent leader of the Jazz Rock style during the eighties in japan, guitarist Kazumi Watanabe. Recorded in the late 1975 at Tokyo Epicurus Studio, released under Three Blind Mice label, "Touch" consists in an eclectic selection of styles ranging from Swing, Bossa Nova to Jazz rock (the opening song over 11 minutes with the Kazumi's long guitar riff), all involving various remarkable inspirational grooves from Suzuki. Titles include "Touch" composed by Mr. Suzuki, "On The Trail" from Jazz composer & concertmaster Ferde Grofé, "She's Funny That Way" to the bossa arrangements (based on a original composition of Richard Whiting) with an expanded solo of Kunihiko Sugano, and the representative song of the Thelonious Monk's genius, the jazz standard "Round about Midnight".

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Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (1968)

With its endless, droning minor-key riff and mumbled vocals, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is arguably the most notorious song of the acid rock era. According to legend, the group was so stoned when they recorded the track that they could neither pronounce the title "In the Garden of Eden" or end the track, so it rambles on for a full 17 minutes, which to some listeners sounds like eternity. But that's the essence of its appeal -- it's the epitome of heavy psychedelic excess, encapsulating the most indulgent tendencies of the era. Iron Butterfly never matched the warped excesses of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," either on their debut album of the same name or the rest of their catalog, yet they occasionally made some enjoyable fuzz guitar-driven psychedelia that works as a period piece. The five tracks that share space with their magnum opus on In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida qualify as good artifacts, and the entire record still stands as the group's definitive album, especially since this is the only place the full-length title track is available. AMG.

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