segunda-feira, 25 de abril de 2016

808 Ridge - Community College Coffee House Crowd 1969

Coffee house night at Allegheny Campus, Community College of Allegheny Country, was never planned. It evolved, in a Darwinian manner, from the sperum guitar and fungi fingers of student "Harry Waller".
It germinated in a dark, quiet corner of the college cafeteria, from that lone specie, into other guitars. Other fingers, other voices and other rooms until, life a Frankenstinian monster, it had to be contained. The best plan for containment seemed to be periodic feedings of unhibited expression, guitar playing, singing, poetry, or any form of creative expressioni.
Feeding times usually the first and third Thursday of each month during the college year.
Thus, Coffee House Night was born, It soon became an established tradition at the college, the place where any student could 'do his own thing'.

808 Ridge is presented as a record of coffee house sessions throughout the 1968-1969 college year.
Most compositions are original, all arrangements are original and certainly all performers, students at the college, are hopeful that this, their original recordings, will please you.

"I am very proud of this, their first album. If my pleasure with any indications of their success, it will not be their last, collectively as the 808 Ridge or individually".
T.W. Halligan, Director of Students Activities.

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Pop Five Music Incorporated - Odisseia: Obra Completa 1968-1972

Portuguese rock band, first cd all covers but second cd with their own originals songs, and excellent ones, take it, try it!

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Dave Mason - It's Like You Never Left 1973

After a protracted legal battle with Blue Thumb Records, Dave Mason finally signed to Columbia and released the hopefully titled It's Like You Never Left, his first new studio solo album in more than three years. Mason received prominent vocal assistance from Graham Nash, who helped turn tracks like "Every Woman" into singers' showcases. (Other guests included Stevie Wonder and George Harrison.) The songs had all the catchiness, but not as much of the individual flavor of Mason's best work. And the modest commercial acceptance the album enjoyed made it apparent that he would have to rebuild some career momentum. (Originally released by Columbia Records as Columbia 31721, It's Like You Never Left was reissued on CD by One Way Records as One Way 26077 on July 18, 1995.) AMG.

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Cal Tjader - Roots Of Acid Jazz (1961-67)

In apparent response to the sampling of old Latin jazz records by hip-hop artists, Verve raided its Cal Tjader archive to come up with this fiercely grooving collection drawn from nine of his Verve albums. For all of producer Creed Taylor's '60s penchant for fashioning two- to four-minute cuts aimed at airplay, he allowed Tjader's groups considerable room to stretch out on several of the tracks included here, particularly on the live "Los Bandidos" and the hypnotic collaboration with pianist Eddie Palmieri, "Picadillo." More importantly, Tjader's records with Taylor were more varied in texture than his earlier discs, venturing now and then from his solid Afro-Cuban base into Brazilian rhythms, soul, big-band backings, and '60s pop touches. Among the best cuts included here are "Sambo Do Suenho" -- which has a killer bossa/Afro-Cuban rhythm stoked by Grady TateArmando Peraza and Ray Barrettoworking in terrific symmetry -- Peraza's fast, hard-swinging "Maramoor Mambo," and Horace Silver's"Tokyo Blues," as spearheaded by Lalo Schifrin's driving big band. AMG.

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D. Beaver & Combinations - Combinations 1973

David Beaver's music career started out as keyboardist in Memphis Garage Pop/Blue Eyed Soul band The Gentrys whom he joined during the late sixties while they were struggling to get a hit to follow up their most known song "Keep On Dancing". By 1970, Beaver was bored with The Gentrys pop style and went on to form the much more progressive outfit Edgewood. An album, "Ship Of Labor" was released in 1972 on Steve Cropper's TMI Records label. This album has too much pseudo classical and jazzy leanings for my taste, but if you're curious you can check it out in full here.
Soon after the release of "Ship Of Labor" Edgewood split and Beaver formed another group named D Beaver. Joining him from his previous band was Pat Allen Taylor (guitar, backing vocals) and studio musicians; Tommy Cathey (bass, vocals), Jimi Jamison (lead vocals), Carl Marsh (guitar, backing vocals) and Joel Williams (drums, percussion, guitar).
A self produced album entitled "Combinations" was released in 1973, again for the TMI label and distributed by RCA. All of the songs were written solely by Beaver with the exception of This was a much poppier affair than Edgewood, although it is still a little prog but in an experimental sounds sense as opposed to pretentious noodling. The LP is very similar to Todd Rundgren's "A Wizard, A True Star" which was also released in 1973 but with catchier songs. My personal highlights on Combinations include the Hammond Organ driven, opening track "I Wanna Show You", the Abbey Road-like "Another Bad Year" and "The Wizard Of Menlo Park" which wouldn't sound out of place on The Family Tree's Miss Butters album. "42nd All-Star Review" is the kind of 10cc/Wings/Pilot pop which is just perfect for this blog.

D Beaver split shortly after the Combinations album and this, according to the BadCatRecords website, was due to them being dropped by RCA. Apparently some of the musicians carried on for a while as session men before joining more successful bands, but Beaver appears to have swapped the music business for a lucrative career in banking.

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Barrino Brothers - Livin' High Off The Goodness Of Your Love 1973

The Barrino Brothers was an American soul music group formed in High Point, North Carolina, in the late 1960s. The group was composed of three brothers, Nathaniel, Perry, and Julius Barrino, and a friend named Robert Roseboro. In 1972, they signed a recording contract with the former Motown team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, who had their own imprint, Invictus Records. They subsequently began recording their debut album, entitled Livin' High Off the Goodness of Your Love. While still in production of the complete album, two of the songs were released regionally in the US: "I Shall Not Be Moved", and "Try It, You'll Like It". At that time, due to distributor, and other political matters beyond the group's control, their only two releases never got sufficient airplay, and their complete album was never released in the US. One other song, titled "Trapped In a Love", was released as the B-side to the Honey Cone song "Sunday Morning People". Later in the seventies, The Barrino Brothers' catalog was sold to music moguls in Japan.

The Barrino Brothers are uncles to R&B singers Fantasia and Ricco Barrino, the former of whom is an American Idol winner, while the latter is signed to Grand Hustle Records.

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Baby Face Willette - Behind The 8 Ball 1964

Behind the 8-Ball was Baby Face Willette's second album for Argo, his second of 1964, and -- unfortunately -- the last one he would record as a leader, for reasons that aren't well-documented. Compared to his past releases, Behind the 8-Ball is short on original compositions (only two of eight tracks), but the emphasis here is more on Willette's deep roots in gospel and R&B, two circuits he worked extensively during his pre-Blute Note dues-paying days. This perhaps accounts for the brevity of the album -- only two cuts top the five-minute mark -- but it also provides a chance to hear Willette at his most soulful, playing the music he grew up with. Willette is again joined by guitarist Ben White, plus new drummer Jerold Donavon, who are usually solid if nothing special; Willette's Hammond B-3 is the star. On the R&B side, Willette's short, self-penned title track is strongly reminiscent of the very early rock & roll era, and his cover of Big Joe Turner's "Roll 'Em Pete" features some nifty trade-offs withWhite. From the gospel side of the equation, altoist Gene Barge makes his only appearance on the traditional standard "Amen"; there's also the R&B-ish waltz "Sinnin' Sam" and an extended take on "Just a Closer Walk," which had recently been recorded in similar fashion by Willette's former Blue Note compatriot Grant Green. Elsewhere, Willette throws a curveball with his lengthy original "Song of the Universe"; a confused White seems to have difficulty keeping up with the hyperspeed waltz time, butWillette tosses out lightning-quick leads and riffs with a light, nimble touch. Again, it's not quite as good as his Blue Notes (with their stellar supporting casts), but for a look at Willette's roots, Behind the 8-Ballis a solid acquisition, and worth tracking down for devotees as a Japanese CD reissue. AMG.

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sábado, 9 de abril de 2016

Grand Funk - Survival 1971

By the time Grand Funk Railroad came to make Survival in January 1971, Cleveland Recording had moved to new quarters, and the group had become a national phenomenon, its last two albums Top Ten million-sellers. They spent a relatively luxurious six weeks or so on the record, and the results showed; Survival was the best-sounding and the best-played album they had yet made. Such assessments are, of course, relative, however. The group's playing remained rudimentary, especially in the rhythm section, and its sense of song construction was simple and repetitious. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Mark Farner sang in a strained, limited tenor lyrics that yearned for basic satisfactions ("Comfort Me," "I Want Freedom"), then led the lengthy instrumental passages with either simple guitar patterns or simple organ patterns. The band's choice of covers, Traffic's "Feelin' Alright" and the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter," indicated taste (and that they were short of material), but their interpretations were inferior. This may have been Grand Funk's first real studio album, but they still sounded like they hadn't quite figured out how the studio differed from the stage and what added dynamics might be necessary to make a recording successful. AMG.

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The Groop - The Groop 1969

Although their music was featured in the classic film Midnight Cowboy, Los Angeles's the Groop made only one album, this self-titled 1969 outing. The good folks at Sundazed released the album on CD for the first time almost 38 years later, and it's a gem of late-'60s harmony-laden pop with elements of folk and lightly lysergic psychedelia. AMG.

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Serge Gainsbourg - Vu De L'Exterieur 1973

Serge Gainsbourg's fascination with the noisier bodily functions has been well-documented, both by his biographers and by his own records. Who else, after all, would commission Sly & Robbie to lay down their earthiest, dubbiest reggae rhythm, then punctuate it with nonstop farting noises ("Evguenie Sokolov" from 1981's Mauvaises Nouvelles des Etoiles album)? Who else would write a novel about a gas-stricken painter who turns his body-burps to his artistic advantage? And whose else could conceive an album dedicated in its near-entirety to...well, the song titles tell that story: "La Poupee Qui Fait" translates as "The Doll That Goes to the Toilet," the title track documents the messier consequences of anal sex, and "Des Vents, des Pets, des Boums" means, simply, "Wind, Farts, Booms." "Titicaca" is, of course, smuttily self-explanatory. So, it's dirty, filthy, scatological fun, but it's all wrapped so smoothly, so sweetly, and so irresistibly seductively that even the backing musicians -- a team of crack English musicians led by Alan Hawkshaw -- were not aware what he was singing about. The melodies are as lush as any, the performances as immaculate, and the soundscapes as varied. Vu de l'Exterieur ranges from gentle rock to mild funk, from dreamy ballads to heart-stopping tunefulness, and it's all delivered so romantically straight-faced that one cannot help but shudder for all those suave non-French-speaking lotharios who woo their ladies with low lights and Gainsbourg. "Sensuelle et Sans Suite" might feel like a beautiful Beatlesque ballad, but that's where the resemblance ends. Lyrically, it laments -- you guessed it -- the barrage of flatulence that bedeviled a one-night stand. It is a joyful album and one of Gainsbourg's best, edging the critically acclaimed (but possibly overrated) Melody Nelson and possibly nudging Aux Armes Etcaetera. And higher praise than that would be difficult to find. AMG. listen here

Barclay James Harvest - Gone To Earth 1977

Barclay James Harvest had streamlined their sound considerably after leaving the Harvest label, culminating (so many felt) in the mellifluous music of Gone to Earth. Their pretensions to progressive rock all but abandoned, BJH here invites comparison to contemporaries like Supertramp, REO Speedwagon, and Fleetwood Mac (some of whom were similarly tagged with the prog rock label early on). Even at their most ornate, songwriters John Lees and Les Holroyd were simple balladeers at heart, and the decision to unclutter their arrangements allows the material's intrinsic beauty to shine through with clarity. For this reason, Gone to Earth is regarded by many as the band's best album, and judged on a song-by-song basis, it's hard to argue against it. Lees' "Hymn" and "Poor Man's Moody Blues" swell from simple beginnings to majestic heights, while Holroyd provides a cache of catchy rock songs, incorporating Beach Boys' harmonies on "Spirit of the Water" and "Taking Me Higher," soaring with the Eagles on "Friend of Mine," and even dabbling in reggae on the popular "Hard Hearted Woman." Again, the album's lone orchestral moment comes from Wolstenholme, the transcendent "Sea of Tranquility." (The keyboardist, whose once-omnipresent Mellotron now played a diminished role in the band's sound, left after the subsequent tour, releasing the first of several solo albums in 1980.) Although the songs are almost uniformly light on their feet, the lyrics reveal some heavy thoughts: Lees' "Lepers Song" laments "The end of the line's where I'm at/'Cos there's nothing left to be," and "Spirit of the Water" deals with killing seals for coats. Fortunately, it's not the uneasy alliance you might expect. Rarely has the band sounded so comfortable in the studio, and the result is as lovely a record as they've made. AMG.  listen here

Johnny Hallyday - La Généeration Perdue 1966

France's first and only full-fledged rock star, Johnny Hallyday was still a distinctly French phenomenon, never achieving worldwide recognition (partially because a good chunk of his repertoire consisted of French-language covers of early American rock hits). Other French artists may have been influenced by rock & roll, but none was as beholden to the original sources, or as enduringly successful, as Hallyday. Moreover, his appropriations of Elvis Presley and James Dean captured the French imagination, but -- language barrier aside -- were often too stylized and imitative to resonate with audiences used to the genuine article. Yet even if his musical interpretations lacked some of the punch of their sources, his sense of rock & roll style, with all its rebellious trappings, was impeccable. His stage presence was undeniably electric, and his life was the stuff of which tabloid reporters' dreams are made: high-profile romances (and breakups), cocaine use, chronic tax problems, a taste for auto racing and motorcycles, and other assorted fallouts from life in the fast lane. In the end, though, Hallyday's appeal rested on a central balancing act: he may have been fascinated by a foreign cultural phenomenon, but he managed to maintain his essential Frenchness. His covers provided a way for American rock & roll to conquer France, adapting it to fit the country's own sensibilities without threatening its well-protected cultural autonomy. His later move into quintessentially French balladry helped increase his cross-generational appeal, and somewhat mirrored the career trajectory of his hero Elvis. With a career of several decades behind him, and sales figures in the tens of millions, the unconditionally adored Hallyday still ranks among France's greatest cultural icons.
Having adopted the name Johnny Hallyday, he caught his big break in late 1959, when an appearance on the Paris Cocktail television show led to a record contract with Vogue.Hallyday released his first single, "Laisse les Filles," in early 1960. Its follow-up, "Souvenirs, Souvenirs," became his first major hit, and when he performed at France's first rock festival at the Palais de Sport in early 1961, he set off a near-riot that led to a ban on rock & roll shows for several months. He switched from Vogue to Philips later that summer, and issued the smash LP Salut les Copains, which kicked off the so-called "yé-yé" era of French pop and made him a full-fledged teen idol. His tour of France that year touched off a hysteria not unlike the furor surrounding Elvis in the States. Toward the end of the year, Hallyday took French citizenship, appeared in the film Les Parisiennes, and had an enormous hit with "Viens Danser le Twist," an adaptation of Chubby Checker's "Let's Twist Again." Hallyday's success continued to snowball over the next few years, mixing American covers (as on the LP Johnny Hallyday Sings America's Rockin' Hits) with more traditional French pop: "Retiens la Nuit" (penned by Charles Aznavour), "Elle Est Terrible," "Be Bop a Lula," "Pas Cette Chanson," and two of his biggest hits, "L'Idole des Jeunes" and "Da Dou Ron Ron." The year 1963 found him starring in the film D'où Viens-Tu, Johnny?, which was directed by Noel Coward and co-starred fellow pop star Sylvie Vartan.
In 1964, Hallyday was called for military service, and much as it had for Elvis, his acceptance of his duty helped make him more respectable in the eyes of the mainstream public. Shortly before his induction, he completed another single, "Le Pénitencier," an adaptation of "House of the Rising Sun." Stationed in Germany, he married Sylvie Vartan in April 1965, and was discharged late that year. Initially, Hallyday found it difficult to recapture his career momentum; the rock & roll fad had already begun to pass in France, and even Elvis had been eclipsed by emerging stars like the Beatles and Bob Dylan. The socially conscious single "Cheveux Longs, Idées Courtes" didn't quite give Hallyday the credibility he'd hoped for. His son David (later a singer in his own right) was born in August 1966, but not long after, a deeply depressed Hallyday attempted suicide. After his recovery, he issued the despairing single "Noir, C'est Noir" as a commentary on the near-tragedy. He also assembled a more R&B-influenced touring band called the Blackbirds, headed up by British guitarist Mick Jones (later ofForeigner) and drummer Tommy Brown; their October gig at the Olympia in Paris featured a then-unknown opening act called the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Hallyday covered the Hendrix version of "Hey Joe" in 1967 (the same year he started racing cars), and dabbled in slightly heavier psychedelic rock over the next couple of years. His title song for the 1968 film A Tout Casser (in which he also starred) featured Jimmy Page as a session guitarist, as did the aptly titled "Psychedelic." The year 1969 saw the release of Que Je T'aime, a distinctly Cream-influenced rock record with a hit title track, as well as Je Suis Né Dans la Rue, a darker and more personal record that featured contributions from the Small FacesSteve Marriott and Ronnie Lane. In 1970, Hallyday flirted with a flower-child image via the single "Jesus Christ (Est un Hippie)," but quickly backed away from the posture. He continued to tour internationally and appear in movies, including 1971's L'Aventure, C'est L'Aventure; that year he also scored a major hit with "Oh Ma Jolie Sarah."
Hallyday collapsed on-stage during an August 1980 concert, and his marriage to Vartan broke up for good by the end of the year; rumors about his private life swirled, and one paper erroneously reported his death in early 1981. Late that year, he married model Babeth Etienne, a union that lasted not much more than two months. Not long afterward, he struck up a romance with actress Nathalie Baye, who bore him a daughter, Laura, in late 1983. Meanwhile, his lyricist, Michel Mallory, was replaced first by Pierre Billon, then Michel Berger, a writer grounded more in traditional cabaret and pop than rock & roll. Berger was partly responsible for 1985's "Quelque Chose de Tennessee," which became one of Hallyday's biggest and best-known hits.Hallyday also revived his flagging movie career in 1985 by teaming with legendary French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard for Détective; he would continue to appear regularly in films through the early '90s. His romance with Baye ended in 1986, but that year he dominated the charts with the Jean-Jacques Goldman-penned album Gang, one of his biggest latter-day successes thanks to hits like "Laura," "L'Envie," "Je Te Promets," and a duet with Carmel, "J'oublierai Ton Nom." Released in 1989,Cadillac featured two songs by Hallyday's son David, who would shortly go on to his own singing career.
Further hit albums followed in 2005 and 2007 in the shape of Ma Vérité and the bluesy Le Cœur d'un Homme, which featured a track written for him by Bono. Shortly after its release, he announced that in 2009 he would retire from live performance after a farewell tour. After recording another successful album, Ça Ne Finira Jamais, in 2008, he was cast as the lead in Hong Kong director Johnnie To's first English-language film, Vengeance. In 2009, he underwent surgery for colon cancer, and his successful recovery must have made him reconsider his decision to quit the stage, for in 2012, after the release of yet another new studio album, Jamais Seul -- which received heavy international promotion -- he played three high-profile North American dates, in Los Angeles, Québec City, and New York. One year later, in 2013, L'Attente made it ten straight French chart-toppers for Hallyday, and he celebrated his 70th birthday in June of that year with several landmark events, including the collection Best of 70e AnniversaireRester Vivant, produced by Don Was, had no trouble debuting at number one upon its release in late 2014. AMG.

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Bob Weir - Heaven Help The Fool 1978

Issued half a decade after his first solo LP, Ace (1972), Heaven Help the Fool is the antithesis ofGrateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir's debut effort. Although initially dismissed by critics and Deadheads alike as a slick, soulless, L.A.-sounding disc, the passage of time has somewhat mitigated that assessment -- but not by very much. One of the primary factors in the decidedly over-produced and at times uncomfortable-sounding approach can be directly attributed to the absence of his Grateful Deadbandmates. This is in direct contrast to Ace -- which was, in reality, a full-blown Dead album in disguise. Another common thread is producer Keith Olsen. As he had done with the Dead's Terrapin Station (1977) long-player the previous year, Olsen obscures some uniformly interesting melodies with disco-laden arrangements, the most blatant offenders being "Wrong Way Feelin'" and a reworking ofMarvin Gaye's "I'll Be Doggone." They're abused with synthesizer-drenched rhythms and disposable, generic backing vocals. Even the array of studio talent -- which includes Waddy Wachtel (guitar),David Foster (keyboards), fellow Bay Area Sons of Champlin-founder Bill Champlin (keyboards),Mike Porcaro (bass), Tom Scott (woodwinds), and former Elton John bandmembers Nigel Olsson(drums) and Dee Murray (bass) -- is unable to salvage a majority of the material on Heaven Help the Fool. However, it is Weir's uniformly strong original compositions -- penned with longtime lyrical collaborator John Barlow -- and well-conceived choice of cover tunes which suffer the most. Those wishing to hear infinitely more tolerable interpretations of tracks such as "Bombs Away," "This Time Forever," "Shade of Grey," and Lowell George's "Easy to Slip" should seek out Weir/Wasserman Live(1998). Likewise, the more industrious enthusiast might even wish to locate the Grateful Dead's very occasional live versions of "Heaven Help the Fool" and "Salt Lake City."  AMG.

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Flower Travellin' Band - Kirikyogen 1970

Originally envisioned as a female-fronted Japanese heavy rock cover act called the Flowers by entertainer and "entrepreneur" Yuya Uchidathe Flower Travellin' Band would eventually chart their own course, becoming an underground influence on later metal acts, and counting one Julian Cope as a disciple. As the Flowers, (original) vocalist Remi Aso, guitarist Hideki Ishima, bassist Jun Kowzuki, and drummer Joji Wada released their debut, Challenge, in 1969. Consisting entirely of cover versions of Western pop/rock songs, the album got attention not necessarily from the music, but from the fact that the entire band was photographed in the nude on the cover.
In 2007 the Flower Travellin' Band reunited -- without the involvement of Yuya Uchida and with the addition of keyboardist Nobuhiko Shinohara -- and released the album We Are Here the following year. However, in March 2010 the group ceased its activities upon the announcement that vocalist Joe Yamanaka had been diagnosed with lung cancer. Yamanaka died from the disease on August 7, 2011; he was 64 years old.Uchida and Aso left after the first album, leaving the band to reorganize with new vocalist Joe Yamanaka, and allowing it to explore more original and experimental avenues. Their first album as the Flower Travellin' BandAnywhere, was released in 1970. The album featured five covers, includingMuddy Waters' "Louisiana Blues" and Black Sabbath's "Black Sabbath." Again, the bandmembers appeared nude on the cover; the difference this time was that they were on motorcycles.Their first wholly "original"-based full-length, Satori, was released in 1971. Made in Japan was released in 1972, and a double live and studio set, Make Up, came out in 1973, before the band would go on a hiatus lasting over three decades. By the end of this phase of their career, the Flower Travellin' Band were opening for prominent acts such as Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Recordings made before the band issued Anywhere would be released in the mid-'70s under the title Kirikyogen, and 1995 would see a bootleg release of early material under the title From Pussies to Death in 10,000 Years of Freakout. AMG.

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