segunda-feira, 15 de agosto de 2016

Marc Benno - Marc Benno 1970

Marc Benno came up playing guitar in various bands in Austin, TX, in the late '60s, then moved to Los Angeles, where he hooked up with Leon Russell and formed the duo Asylum Choir, which released one album in 1968 and recorded a second before splitting up. (The second Asylum Choir album was released in the wake of Leon Russell's commercial success in 1971 and hit #70 in the charts.) He made four albums of mainstream pop/rock in the 1970s, the most successful of which was the third, Ambush, in 1972. Here his first album.

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The Lijadu Sisters - Mother Africa 1977

One of the more popular acts in the Nigerian music scene of the 1970s, the Lijadu Sisters produced a handful of albums showcasing their tight harmonies and inventive incorporation of synthesizers and modern pop forms into funky Afro-beat grooves. Twins Taiwo and Kehinde were born in the northern Nigeria town of Jos on October 22, 1948. Second cousins of Fela Kuti, the two girls were drawn to music at a very early age, listening to records, singing, and writing songs together from their early childhood into their teenage years. Beginning as backing vocalists for studio sessions, the sisters eventually released a single under their own name, 1968's Iya Mi Jowo. In 1971, still working as session singers, the sisters met Cream/Africa 70 drummer Ginger Baker, and Taiwo and Baker soon started dating. The twins performed with Baker's band Salt at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games before the relationship fizzled out. With the assistance of multi-instrumentalist and producerBiddy Wrightthe Lijadu Sisters would make four albums for Decca's Afrodisia imprint: 1976's Danger, 1977's Mother Africa, 1978's Sunshine, and 1979's Horizon Unlimited. These vibrant collisions of pop, reggae, and Afro-beat influences defined the sisters' unique hybrid sound and rocketed them to immense popularity in Nigeria, as well as gaining them the attention of a broader audience internationally. Throughout the '80s, their reach grew overseas, including appearances on British television and a repackaging of earlier songs in the form of U.S. labelShanachie's 1984 collection Double Trouble, as well as numerous visits to the States for performances. By 1988 the sisters had relocated permanently to Brooklyn, with several offers of record deals on the table. Nothing panned out with any of these offers, however, and the two shifted gradually from a focus on music to deepening their practice of their Yoruba religion and the herbal remedies related to it. In 1996, Kehinde suffered severe spinal injuries as the result of a fall down a flight of stairs. Recovery was long and painful, and all efforts formerly put toward creative endeavors were redirected to overcoming Kehinde's medical issues. In the years that followed, the sisters stayed out of the public eye completely, turning down all interviews and other press requests. Several of the duo's tracks popped up in the 2000s, including "Life's Gone Down Low," which appeared on a Luaka Bop compilation and was also sampled without clearance by New York rapper Nas. In the early part of the 2010s, after rejecting many labels seeking to reissue their work, the Lijadu Sisters agreed to work with Knitting Factory Records. The N.Y.C. label re-released all four of the sisters' classic late-'70s Afro-beat albums, and though it had been decades since their last public performances, plans were made for the sisters' return to the stage in 2012. AMG.

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Mystic Siva - Mystic Siva 1970

Mega  Monster Rare Private original first pressing by Michigan Garage Phychedelic Beast..!

This legendary US ‘60s psych monster that under the right influences will destroy your head!This quartet from Detroit (1970) created one of the most wanted artefacts in the psychedelic collectors scene. The music was recorded in 1970. With an average age of 17 those "teenage Sivas” showed best quality in songwriting playing their instruments and creating an own sound.Awesome US psychedelia Masterpiece: Spooky go-go organ, acidy guitar lashes, strong powerfull vocals..

Mystic Siva’s only album, released in 1972, is a collector’s holy grail in the psyche garage scene. The band had a great name that matched their spooky, minimalist sound, the album sleeve design is unforgettable, and the lack of information on the band itself added to their mystique. The kind of ingredients that record collectors love.

Originally released by the local label in Detroit, VO Records (VO 19713), this has been counterfeited a few times, though the best version is the most recent by World In Sound (RFR-002). I bought this version, and it is a killer package- ultra heavyweight gatefold sleeve you could beat someone to death with, luscious orange drenched graphics, and a thick vinyl slab that’s a pleasure to hold. And bloody expensive for a reissue- but worth it.

There’s not a lot of information on the band. Search their name on wikipedia and you get a lot on Hindu gods, nothing on Detroit garage punks. The info sheet that came with the reissue casts a little light on the band- they formed in 1967, were in their early teens- not old enough to drive to shows, let alone play clubs, and only got round to recording this in 1972. They recorded their sound through a single channel due to faulty studio equipment, hence the primitive sound, but that kind of added to the weird psychedelic vibe that mellows with age.

The track ‘Eyes Have Seen Me’ is a mix of minimalist funky guitar, swirling organs and raw garage punk vocals. The guitar playing wasn’t ever going to be to the standard of Jorma Kaukonen or Barry Melton, but you can feel the effort going in to get those riffs working. Not much happens in the song and whole passages just get repeated, but it’s epic in it’s own acidic way- the epitome of the underground garage freakbeat sound.

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Paul Korda - Passing Stranger 1971

Paul Korda had worked within the orbit of Immediate Records for some years before recording his debut album for a division of Warner Bros. -- a fact that greatly complicated his situation when the album was pulled over Immediate's claim that he was still under contract to them. It's a pity that the record more or less died on the vine back when, because Korda made a powerful debut, working in the mode of a soulful singer/songwriter, well able to rock out on "To Love a Woman," amid a brace of softer ballads surrounding it. With Chris SpeddingAndy Roberts, and Ray Russell handling the electric guitar chores, while Doris TroyNanette Newman, and Madeline Bell sang backup, this was more a full-blown rock affair than some introspective songwriter's confessional, in any case. Between Korda's impassioned vocals and the fully-realized rock production, the record should have done better than it was allowed to -- luckily, it's been reissued on CD in Japan, which at least gets the music out there to be heard by those interested enough to look for it. AMG.

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Moving Gelatine Plates - The World of Genius Hans 1972

On their second album, the Moving Gelatine Plates revisit much of the musical territory established on their debut. The World of Genius Hans is a solid offering of jazz-influenced progressive rock, but it gives the impression that the band used up their best ideas on their first record. Many of the melodies aren't as alluring as those on the debut, and others sound like half-hearted rehashes of earlier songs. One example is the title track, in which the band recycles a theme from "Gelatine" off of their debut. Despite these flaws, The World of Genius Hans does have some redeeming moments. "Moving Theme" blows by with shifting tempos and frantic melodies simultaneously delivered by saxophone and electric guitar. While most of the album moves along at a more modest pace, this track captures the energy that made their debut so impressive. The Moving Gelatine Plates also begin to incorporate more elements into their music that are akin to German Krautrock. The snarling distortion and atonal percussive elements on tracks like "We Were Lovin' Her," as well as the vocal stylings throughout the album, bring to mind German bands like Faust and Amon Duul II. Although The World of Genius Hans isn't quite as fresh or engaging as the band's debut, it does make for a better listen than much of the like-minded progressive rock from the period. AMG.

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Suncokret - Moje Bube 1977

The band was formed in 1975 by former Zajedno member Bora Đorđević (vocals and acoustic guitar), a former U Cvetu Mladosti member Nenad Božić (vocals and acoustic guitar) and female singers Snežana Jandrlić and Vesna Rakočević. After release of the single "Kara Mustafa", Vesna Rakočević left the band and joined Zdravo, and Bilja Krstić and Gorica Popović became new Suncokret members. At the half of 1976, they were joined by bass guitarist Bata Sokić.

The band released several successful singles, some of them inspired by traditional songs. In 1976, they appeared in Mića Milošević's film Tit for Tat, and some of their songs were used in the film. They performed at the 1976 BOOM Festival in Belgrade, and a live version of their song "Moj đerdane" ("(Oh) My Necklace") was released on the BOOM '76 live album.

Their debut album Moje bube (My Bugs) was released in 1977. Album featured previously released "Kara Mustafa" and "Moje tuge" ("My Sadnesses"), humorous songs "Vuk i krava" ("Wolf and Cow") and "Oglas" ("Ad") and ballads "Uspavanka" ("Lullaby"), "Ni sam ne znam kada" ("I Myself Don't Know When") and "Prvi sneg" ("First Snow"), the latter, written by Dušan Mihajlović "Spira", becoming one of Suncokret's signature songs. A live version of "Prvi sneg" was released on the BOOM '77 live album. After the album was released, keyboardist Duško Nikodijević and drummer Ljubinko Milošević became band's permanent members. In 1978, the band members refused to perform Đorđević's song "Lutka sa naslovne strane", so Đorđević and Biljana Krstić left the band and joined Rani Mraz, Đorđević remaining in Rani Mraz shortly and in 1979 forming hard rock band Riblja Čorba which will eventually become one of the top acts of the former Yugoslav rock scene.

Snežana Jandrlić continued to lead new, electricized Suncokret lineup, which featured Sokić, Nikodijević and former Tilt members Dušan "Duda" Bezuha (guitar) and Vladimir Golubović (drums). After Golubović and Bezuha left the band, bass guitarist Branko Isaković and drummer Ivan "Vd" Vdović became new Suncokret members, but after only two singles released, the band disbanded due to the members' discord.

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The Jimmy Castor Bunch - It's Just Begun 1972

This 1972 outing set the tone for the Jimmy Castor Bunch's 1970s success through an effective and distinctive mix of funk, pop hooks, social commentary, and gonzo comedy. It's Just Begun also helped the group score a million-selling crossover hit single with "Troglodyte." This memorably whacked-out funk jam is built on an infectious fuzz-guitar hook and features Castor detailing the romantic adventures of a caveman who meets up with Bertha Butt, a comic character that would continue to appear on his albums for many years to come. The album also included a b-boy favorite in its title track, a salsa-inflected funk excursion whose breakbeats continued to be spun by DJs well into the 1980s. Beyond these favorites, the group knocks out a relentless stream of thick, funky grooves as Jimmy Castor tackles everything from morality ("You Better Be Good (Or the Devil Gon' Getcha)") to philosophy ("L.T.D.," which stands for life, truth, and death). To add variety, Castor also throws in "My Brightest Day," a sweet, horn-accented ballad, and "I Promise to Remember," an updated slice of doo wop that Castor originally penned for Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. The album's all-things-to-all-people sense of ambition occasionally overwhelms the final product: for instance, "Creation," the dissonant orchestral instrumental that bookends the album, doesn't really have any reason to be there. Despite these quibbles, It's Just Begun is an important and influential release from a sadly underrated group and well worth a listen for anyone interested in the roots of 1970s funk. AMG.

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Barbara Dane & The Chambers Brothers - Barbara Dane & The Chambers Brothers 1966

It must have seemed strange to some fans during the folk era (late '50s to the mid-'60s) that soulful singers like the Chambers Brothers could get by with using electric guitars even before Dylan brought one to Newport in 1965. Acoustic guitars, however, pretty much faded into the background when a powerful vocal group like the Chambers Brothers cut loose, and this was also true of any singer with a deep, resonate voice like Barbara Dane. The joining of Dane and the Chambers Brothers in 1966 as the revival was fading from sight was an inspired pairing. Dane's a gutsy vocalist, and the addition of a backing vocal group, keyboards, and tasteful guitar work ripens her presentation to a new fullness. This is immediately obvious on both the album's opener, "It Isn't Nice," and its follow-up, "You've Got to Reap What You Sow." Both songs are deeply anchored to the civil rights movement, and while a few references to current politicians date the material, the power of the music is undeniable. With Dane's voice pouring out of the left speaker and the soulful harmony of the Chambers Brothers pouring out of the right speaker, the music blends, builds, and finally expresses both spiritual breadth and depth. Listening to "You Can't Make It By Yourself," one hears how Dane's voice benefits from lots of cushioning, of how her compatriots allow her a safe place from which to launch her vocals. Certain pieces like "Pack Up Your Sorrows" work less well, mostly because the quick timing works against both artists' strengths. Overall, though, Barbara Dane & the Chambers Brothers is a wonderful album that surpasses its historical status by offering a lovely blend of good songs, spare arrangements, and superb singing. AMG.

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Witch - Lazy Bones!! 1975

On collectors' ‘70s African rock radar, Zambia doesn't even register as a blip. There are sound reasons for that: lack of artists of international stature to draw attention to the country's local scene; very poor recording conditions (much poorer than the facilities available at the time in Lagos, Nigeria, for instance); a very small local market that called for small press runs that had no opportunity of spreading around. Still, a few LPs have been reissued, among them Lazy Bones!! by five-piece Witch (which actually stands for We Intend To Cause Havoc). Originally released in 1975, this album seems to draw its inspiration from the British Invasion of a decade earlier. The African factor plays a surprisingly small part here -- this is no Afro-funk -- and is limited to some of the beats (they groove in a flexible, natural way that few European bands have achieved) and to lead guitarist Chris Mbewe's sharp fuzz tone. In fact, Mbewe is the only serious reason to seek out this album; his lines are occasionally wild and original, in an acid rock kind of way. Sadly, his talent doesn't compensate for singer Emanyeo Jagari Chanda's mediocre performance. One can do with the poor sound and the average songwriting, but his charisma-less delivery robs Lazy Bones!! of its potential appeal. That said, "Black Tears," "Tooth Factory," and "Lazy Bones" are fun and energetic songs. AMG.

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Sky Farmer - Amazing Grace 1971

You were either on the Mountain Bus, or you were not. Those who did like Gear Fab's 1998 reissue of the Chicago band's sole album -- and perhaps even some of those who did not -- should find the even more satisfying Amazing Grace, which collects the various recordings made by the post-Mountain Buscommunal band Sky Farmer, to be a welcome treat. From the time the original band was litigated out of existence until its reshuffling and re-emergence with the music found on this archival release, the members of Sky Farmer discovered an even more liberating range of stylistic eclecticism (Mountain Bus certainly started them on the road in that regard) and a more pronounced sense of self-deprecation (for all the moments of aw-shucks insouciance on Sundance, there were corresponding stretches of solemn jamming during which the band took itself quite seriously indeed). Amazing Gracehas some of the same attributes and characteristics as Sundance, but in other ways it is a whole new gumbo of coalescing musical impulses. The early rock & roll piano that opens up "Okooch Farewell," for instance, abruptly gives way during the chorus to a variety of swinging, laid-back hippie funk only endemic to the weird and uncategorizable post-Woodstock '70s. Much of the rest of the album is saturated by this brand of loose rock & soul groove ("Torch Poem"), with Annie Hat's voice at times recalling Maria Muldaur or the blue-eyed wail of Bonnie Bramlett. But there are also traces of blues ("Out of Hand"), R&B, and particularly jazz, especially during the extended cosmic jams, as well as festive Latin rhythms and nods to zydeco ("Señorita") and even some country licks ("Playboy After Dark"). And it is not a little bit -- say, psychedelic? -- hearing a bunch of longhairs covering a Merle Haggard song. Good songs (mostly), often excellent playing, it's worth the rediscovery. AMG.

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Pidgeon - Pidgeon 1969

Pidgeon's obscure, sole self-titled album is most notable for marking the recording debut of Jobriath(here billed as Jobriath Salisbury), who five years later became notorious as a failed glam rocker whose debut solo album didn't come close to justifying its hype and promotional budget. In Pidgeon, however, he was just an ordinary if somewhat effete pop-psychedelic singer/songwriter, also playing keyboards and guitar on the record. Falling on the somewhat heavier and more psychedelic side of sunshine pop, perhaps, it's a record of unsatisfyingly busy, restless songs, written by Jobriath with lyricist Richard T. Marshall. Many of the tracks employ tinny harpsichord and male-female harmonies (with autoharpist Cheri Gage) that are blatantly imitative of the Mamas & the Papas; occasionally, there are more distant echoes of Jefferson Airplane, with Jobriath sometimes faintly approaching the stridency of Marty Balin's vocal style. At times, it's like hearing an unholy collision of the Mamas & the Papas and the Left Banke, but without the rigorous structure and concision John Phillips and Michael Brown were able to bring to those group's compositions and arrangements. Certainly the slightly melodramatic high lead vocals are identifiably Jobriathian even at this stage, but this is really only for serious collectors of either Jobriath or late-'60s Californian psychedelic pop. AMG.

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quarta-feira, 3 de agosto de 2016

Syd Barrett - The Madcap Laughs 1970

Wisely, The Madcap Laughs doesn't even try to sound like a consistent record. Half the album was recorded by Barrett's former bandmates Roger Waters and Dave Gilmour, and the other half by Harvest Records head Malcolm Jones. Surprisingly, Jones' tracks are song for song much stronger than the more-lauded Floyd entries. The opening "Terrapin" seems to go on three times as long as its five-minute length, creating a hypnotic effect through Barrett's simple, repetitive guitar figure and stream of consciousness lyrics. The much bouncier "Love You" sounds like a sunny little Carnaby Street pop song along the lines of an early Move single, complete with music hall piano, until the listener tries to parse the lyrics and realizes that they make no sense at all. The downright Kinksy"Here I Go" is in the same style, although it's both more lyrically direct and musically freaky, speeding up and slowing down seemingly at random. Like many of the "band" tracks, "Here I Go" is a Barrett solo performance with overdubs by Mike RatledgeHugh Hopper, and Robert Wyatt of the Soft Machine; the combination doesn't always particularly work, as the Softs' jazzy, improvisational style is hemmed in by having to follow Barrett's predetermined lead, so on several tracks, like "No Good Trying," they content themselves with simply making weird noises in the background. The solo tracks are what made the album's reputation, though, particularly the horrifying "Dark Globe," a first-person portrait of schizophrenia that's seemingly the most self-aware song this normally whimsical songwriter ever created. Honestly, however, the other solo tracks are the album's weakest tracks, with the exception of the plain gorgeous "Golden Hair," a musical setting of a James Joyce poem that's simply spellbinding. The album falls apart with the appalling "Feel." Frankly, the inclusion of false starts and studio chatter, not to mention some simply horrible off-key singing by Barrett, makes this already marginal track feel disgustingly exploitative. But for that misstep, however, The Madcap Laughs is a surprisingly effective record that holds up better than its "ooh, lookit the scary crazy person" reputation suggests. AMG.

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Rolf Kühn Quintett - Solarius 1965

Rolf Kuhn's style has evolved through the years. The clarinetist started out playing in German dance bands in the late '40s. He worked with radio orchestras starting in 1952 and moved to the U.S. in 1956.Kuhn subbed for Benny Goodman on a few occasions during 1957-1958, played in the Tommy Dorsey ghost band (1958), and worked in a big band led by Urbie Green (1958-1960). In 1962, Kuhnreturned to Germany, where he has explored more adventurous styles of jazz (including dates with his younger brother, keyboardist Joachim Kuhn) but still occasionally shows off his ties to swing. Kuhnrecorded with an all-star group called Winner's Circle (1957), Toshiko Akiyoshi (1958), and as a leader starting in 1953, including a 1956 New York quartet date for Vanguard. AMG.

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The Falcons - Fever 1970

Largely a top twenty covers band, originally modelled on The Shadows, The Falcons were formed in the Summer of 1960 and played at The Burnside Club Rosyth in their early days (transporting their gear in a pram!). Trevor Forster (a Rosyth Dockyard electrician) originally joined on tenor saxophone in 1961 (though he was a clarinet player who didn't then play sax!) then took over vocals from Dusty Love when he left to join the merchant Navy. The (semi-professional) Falcons rode the beat-group wave to local fame at The Kinema Ballroom in Dunfermline (where they also rehearsed), playing there some 255 times. They also played at US Air-Force bases on a French tour. At one time they were able to play for four hours without repeating material.

They made their BBC radio debut on 12th March 1964 and appeared on Scottish Television a week later. Trevor left the band in 1964 for a position with The Red Hawks for a year before leading his own Edinburgh-based eight-piece band and rejoining The Falcons in 1967. The band split in 1968 sometime after their last ballroom appearance on Sunday 18th of August, re-emerging as 'The JB Memorial' until late 1971. Trevor then played as a duo with Dougie Wright which evolved into the band 'Scope' for ten years.

Following the 'Sixties Experience' gig to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the building of the ballroom extension in 1964, Trevor was inspired to reform the band. He got some friends together in late 2004 / early 2005 and were unleashed to the public after some six months of rehearsals in late July 2005, with Falcons old & new, playing local venues with a repertoire including covers from the 60s, 70s & 80s by The Move, The Small Faces (or 'Wee Coupons' as Davie likes top call them), Pink Floyd, The Eagles ('their cousins'), The Hollies and many others. Original bassist Peter 'Bud' Heaps now plays with rock n roll outfit 'Des & The Dingoes'.

They've recorded a couple of live albums which are now available. I've seen them at The Carnegie Hall Dunfermline with 'Lights Out By Nine' & 'The Stevie Agnew Band' on 29th September 2006 and at PJ Molloys in Dunfermline on Friday 29th December 2006 and they were absolutely top drawer. Do yourself a favour and see them soon.

Sadly, Pete Hunter (originally from Lumphinnans) died in the Victoria Hospice Kirkcaldy on December 18th 2007. He had moved house from Norwich to rejoin the band in 2006. Early in 2008, drumming duties were taken up by relative youngster Wayne Robertson and the story rocks & rolls on.

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SOD - Face The Music 1972

SOD were a horn-rock band originally out of the Vegas area. Their debut album, simply titled SOD, begins with a massive drum break that makes it a prized possession for those who collect such things. Interesting album.

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Peggy's Leg - Grinilla 1973

The Irish quartet Peggy's Leg issued a rare 1973 album, Grinilla, pressed in a quantity of only 500 copies, and sold primarily to fans in their region. The record's a dull fusion of progressive rock with mellower folk-rock-ish sounds, dominated by lengthy multi-sectioned tracks, and prone to some simplistic hippie-dippy lyrical philosophizing. Lead guitarist Jimi Slevin went on to join Skid Row. AMG.

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The Funkees - Now I'm A Man 1976

Has there ever been a band as aptly named as The Funkees? Formed after the Biafran War to raise spirits in the east, they quickly conquered the dance floors of Lagos and in 1973 headed to London, playing at Ronnie Scott’s and tearing up the local scene.
Now I’m A Man captures the band at the height of their London-era pomp. Africans were making soca, West Indians were playing afro-funk and discolypso blasted from boom boxes across West London. The Funkees soaked it all up and delivered back, funkier, tighter and louder.
Bookended by two Santana-esque jams, ‘I’m A Man’ and ‘303’, The Funkees second album delivers slow burning Afrobeat (‘Mimbo’), urgent jungle bongo chants (‘Salam’) and straight-ahead floor-fillers (Dance With Me.) Little wonder that legendary BBC Radio 1 DJ, John Peel, recorded not one, but two sessions with them.
A year later, The Funkees were no more. Jake Sollo joined Osibisa. Sonny Akpabio and Harry Mosco pursued successful solo careers. (A PMG reissue of Country Boy is coming soon.) But on Now I’m A Man they burned brightly as Nigeria’s most talented, inventive and funky band.

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