sexta-feira, 31 de dezembro de 2021

Happy New Year 2022!!!

One more year is gone, and what a year! Anyway, more to come yes!!! Thanks to all visitors, new ones and those who come frequently for some time.  B., Alfred, Adriana, Mauro Filipe, Vasily, E.W., Snakeboy, Mara, George, Bill (24hrDejaVu), Zapata, and so many more. So, thanks for sharing life around!!! Happy New Year 2022!

terça-feira, 28 de dezembro de 2021

Manfred Mann Chapter Three - Volume 1 1969

It's light years from the airy pop of "Do Wah Diddy Diddy," recorded by the hit-making first group formed by South African Manfred Mann and Mike Hugg in 1963. This is as much jazz as rock. There's hardly any guitar, but a swaggering horn section compensates. Imagine a darker, moodier Traffic with Mann manning the organ instead of Steve WinwoodHugg's raspy vocals are featured on the first album recorded with the new band. The standout tracks are the album-opening "Travelling Lady" and "Time," but they are hardly the only strong ones. AMG.

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Colosseum - Live 1971

Live albums are dangerous things. While the good ones capture the raw excitement of a show, all too often they expose a band's weaknesses, the ones that get covered in the studio -- a singer who's not so good and instrumentalists who really can't cut it. But Colosseum, by the time they made their live album (the CD version comes with an extra track, "I Can't Live Without You," that wasn't on the original vinyl), were a seasoned outfit with some top-notch performers. In veteran Chris Farlowe they had a blues belter who could also turn his hand to jazz. Dave "Clem" Clempson was a rock guitarist first and foremost, but not limited to that, and bassist Mark Clarke was exactly the elastic foil drummer Jon Hiseman needed in the rhythm section. And they make the most of their abilities here, giving everything extended workouts, from Jack Bruce's "Rope Ladder to the Moon" to a seemingly off-the-cuff (though probably carefully rehearsed) "Stormy Monday Blues." Of course, like any faithful live album, it has its flat moments, notably the guitar and vocal solos in "Skellington," which were probably fun to the live audience, but seem interminable and unnecessary on record. Apart from that, this is an album with plenty of delights -- the way the band arranges songs, with interesting duets in the fills, and the way the solos flow from one instrument to another -- with Dick Heckstall-Smith's harmonizing saxes on "Tanglewood '63" being the biggest standout. But Clempson shows incredible chops throughout, upfront in his spotlight exposures without being over the top (usually). With good material, some towering performances, and a powerful atmosphere, this is everything you could hope for from a live album. It makes you wish you could be there, while offering the next best thing -- not a bad deal, all in all. AMG.

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Buzzy Linhart - The Time To Live Is Now 1971

Buzzy Linhart's first of two albums for Kama Sutra, three if you include the band Music's on the Buddah-distributed Eleuthera Records, 1971's The Time to Live Is Now has the songwriter playing with different styles and sounds in a setting that is not as refined as the Eddie Kramer co-produced Music album or Barry Beckett and Roger Hawkins' production of 1974's Pussycats Can Go Far. But don't blame the artist for that. In an exclusive interview for the All Media Guide conducted on February 28th, 2002, Linhart revealed some of the secrets of The Time To Live Is Now: Bill Takas and Luther Rix, the bass player, and drummer, are "world-class jazz and classical musicians."  Bill Takas spent nine years on the Tonight Show, and they co-founded Ten Wheel Drive (with Genya Ravan; see the Construction #1 LP). "We had been performing eight-to-ten months as a trio, sometimes with was supposed to be more [produced] like 'Pussycats' (Pussycats Can Go Far)...but [record exec] Neil Bogart played this for a group of 30-something pros for Buddah/Kama Sutra, and they got up out of their chairs and danced to it." That resulted in the late Neil Bogart deciding he wanted to release the roughs -- the rough vocals, the rough mix, even with a 32,000 dollar budget, which was pretty good at that point in time. They called this "rock-folk," rock with a jazz tinge as opposed to "jazz-rock" that was Blood, Sweat & Tears. Even in its raw form, it is great stuff. Linhart lifts lines from here and there. Four lines from the Beatles' 1968 hit "Lady Madonna" are taken almost verbatim in the title track -- "Who buys the money, when you pay the rent" -- while the strange "Cheat Cheat Lied" is fused with Percy Mayfield's "Hit the Road Jack," Linhart lifting a melody and line from Blind Faith's "Presence of the Lord." On the following album, Buzzy (also called "The Black Album" as his 1969 outing on Phillips was also titled Buzzy), he's more blatantly lifting "What the World Needs Now Is Love" for his "Rollin' On" title. When he goes into Chester Powers' 1963 composition "Let's Get Together," you think he's absconding with lyrics and melody again, but it's actually a very cool cover of the Youngbloods' "Get Together," which hit for them in 1967 and 1969. It is charming, as is the first appearance of "Friends," the Barry Manilow-produced hit for Bette Midler in 1973, re-cut by Buzzy on Pussycats Can Go Far and the only appearance here of friend Moogy Klingman, in the capacity of co-writer. Most of the material is by Linhart, "Good Face" being co-written with future Music bandmemberDoug Rodrigues, while drummer and co-producer Luther Rix pens and sings "Comin' Home." The group covers Jordan Kaplan's "There's No Need" with the legendary Ken Ascher on piano, and Jeannie Linhart does a vocal harmony on "The Love's Still Growing," but other than that, it's the three-piece unit producing and performing on this Kama Sutra debut album. Todd Rundgren would come onboard to mix "The Black Album," 1972's Buzzy, which would replace Takas with Danny Trifan on bass, and add Jeff "Skunk" Baxter on guitar, but The Time to Live Is Now remains an important, albeit raw, document of a major talent emerging from the early '70s. AMG.

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terça-feira, 21 de dezembro de 2021

Canned Heat - Future Blues 1970

The final Canned Heat album to feature co-founder Alan WilsonFuture Blues was also one of their best, surprisingly restrained as a studio creation by the band, the whole thing clocking in at under 36 minutes, as long as some single jams on their live discs. It was also one of their most stylistically diverse efforts. Most of what's here is very concise and accessible, even the one group-composed jam -- Alan Wilson's "Shake It and Break It" and his prophetically titled "My Time Ain't Long" (he would be dead the year this record was issued), which also sounds a lot like a follow-up to "Going up the Country" until its final, very heavy, and up-close guitar coda. Other songs are a little self-consciously heavy, especially their version of Arthur Crudup's "That's All Right, Mama." Dr. John appears, playing piano on the dark, ominous "London Blues," and arranges the horns on "Skat," which tries for a completely different kind of sound -- late-'40s-style jump blues -- than that for which the group was usually known. And the band also turns in a powerhouse heavy guitar version of Wilbert Harrison's "Let's Work Together." AMG.

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King Crimson - In The Court Of The Crimson King 1968

The group's definitive album, and one of the most daring debut albums ever recorded by anybody. At the time, it blew all of the progressive/psychedelic competition (the Moody Bluesthe Nice, etc.) out of the running, although it was almost too good for the band's own good -- it took King Crimson nearly four years to come up with a record as strong or concise. Ian McDonald's Mellotron is the dominant instrument, along with his saxes and Fripp's guitar, making this a somewhat different-sounding record from everything else they ever did. And even though that Mellotron sound is muted and toned down compared to their concert work of the era (e.g., Epitaph), it is still fierce and overpowering, on an album highlighted by strong songwriting (most of it filled with dark and doom-laden visions), the strongest singing of Greg Lake's entire career, and Fripp's guitar playing that strangely mixed elegant classical, Hendrix-like rock explosions, and jazz noodling. Lineup changes commenced immediately upon the album's release, and Fripp would ultimately be the only survivor on later King Crimson records. AMG.

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Air - Air Time 1977

First among many ensembles in different genres that have chosen the name Air, this trio specializing in collective improvisation grew directly from the membership of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Throughout 11 albums that appeared over a span of one dozen years this group operated in modes comparable to that of the Art Ensemble of Chicago and at times some of Albert Ayler's early trio realizations. Its inception occurred in 1971, when saxophonist Henry Threadgill agreed to fulfill a request from the theater department at Chicago's Columbia College to devise modern arrangements based upon ragtime compositions of Scott Joplin (a concept borne to fruition by Anthony Braxton and Muhal Richard Abrams in 1976). Threadgill joined forces with bassist Fred Hopkins and drummer Steve McCall, and named the trio ReflectionAlthough they parted ways the following year, the cooperative unit reassembled in New York in 1975 and chose the elemental name Air. This and their collective penchant for spontaneous creativity resulted in a string of exciting albums with titles like Air SongAir RaidLive Air (combining material recorded at Studio Rivbea in New York City's Soho and at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor), Air Time, and Open Air Suite, which has the distinction of being one of the few record albums ever decorated with a painting of a baboon's big blue ass on the cover. Released in 1979, Air Lore returned to the unit's initial itinerary of Scott Joplin, now interspersed with melodies by Jelly Roll Morton

Following Air Mail (which includes the sound of Threadgill's own invention, the hubkaphone, an instrument made out of hubcaps) and 80 Degrees Below '82McCall left the group in 1982 to work with Cecil Taylor and Roscoe Mitchell. His replacement was Pheeroan akLaff, a dynamic individual from Detroit who would ultimately be replaced by Andrew Cyrille within months of the group's dissolution. Rechristened New Air, the trio was recorded live at the 1983 Montreal Jazz Festival but made only one other album, Air Show No. 1, in collaboration with vocalist Cassandra Wilson. By the time this recording was made available in 1987, Air had ceased to exist as Threadgill emerged as a leader of his own larger ensembles, issuing records like X-75, Vol. 1When Was That?, and Just the Facts and Pass the Bucket and in the 21st centuryrecording and performing with his bands, Carry The Day and Zooid. Steve McCall was felled by a stroke in May of 1989 and Fred Hopkins passed away ten years later. AMG.

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Quicksilver Messenger Service - Quicksilver 1971

One of the group's better albums, despite coming so late in their history that it was ignored by almost everyone. "Hope," "Fire Brothers," and "Don't Cry for My Lady Love" are among the best songs the group ever cut, and "I Found Love" is one of the prettiest, most upbeat songs ever to come from any classic San Francisco band. Some of the rest is self-indulgent, but that's what this era of music was about -- the guitar pyrotechnics of "Song for Frisco" and "Play My Guitar" make them both more entertaining than their somewhat bland melodies; the latter song, in particular, sounds like a Marty Balin/Jefferson Airplane outtake that would have been right on target about four years before the release date of this album. The whole record feels that way, a throwback to the psychedelic era circa late 1967. It's also very much a folk-rock record, with a rich acoustic guitar texture on many of the songs. For the record, since the CD reissue has no personnel information, the band at this point was Dino Valenti (guitar, vocals), Greg Elmore (drums), Gary Duncan (vocals, guitar), Mark Ryan (bass), Mark Naftalin (keyboards), and Chuck Steaks (keyboards). If you ever wondered what the Airplane might have done as a follow-up to Surrealistic Pillow with Marty Balin still singing lead, this is it. AMG.

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Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Emerson, Lake & Palmer 1970

Lively, ambitious, almost entirely successful debut album, made up of keyboard-dominated instrumentals ("The Barbarian," "Three Fates") and romantic ballads ("Lucky Man") showcasing all three members' very daunting talents. This album, which reached the Top 20 in America and got to number four in England, showcased the group at its least pretentious and most musicianly -- with the exception of a few moments on "Three Fates" and perhaps "Take a Pebble," there isn't much excess, and there is a lot of impressive musicianship here. "Take a Pebble" might have passed for a Moody Blues track of the era but for the fact that none of the Moody Blues' keyboard men could solo like Keith Emerson. Even here, in a relatively balanced collection of material, the album shows the beginnings of a dark, savage, imposingly gothic edge that had scarcely been seen before in so-called "art rock," mostly courtesy of Emerson's larger-than-life organ and synthesizer attacks. Greg Lake's beautifully sung, deliberately archaic "Lucky Man" had a brush with success on FM radio, and Carl Palmer became the idol of many thousands of would-be drummers based on this one album (especially for "Three Fates" and "Tank"), but Emerson emerged as the overpowering talent here for much of the public. AMG.

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Blonde on Blonde - Reflections On A Life 1971

Blonde on Blonde, taking their name from the then-new Bob Dylan album of that title, were spawned in 1967 out of a Welsh blues-rock band called the Cellar Set. Gareth Johnson played the guitar, sitar, and lute, while Richard Hopkins handled the bass, piano, harpsichord, cornet, celeste, and whistle, and Les Hicks played the drums. The addition of Ralph Denyer made them into a quartet with vocals; and Simon Lawrence, an alumnus of Roy Harper's and Al Stewart's early recordings, was with them briefly, as well, on 12-string guitar. The group took part in the Middle Earth Club's Magical Mystery Tour, which brought them an initial splash of press exposure. They were also fortunate enough to open for the Jefferson Airplane on the latter group's British tour. All of this activity led to an approach by Pye Records producer Barry Murray, who got them signed to the label, and through whom they released their debut single "All Day, All Night" b/w "Country Life." Though decidedly guitar-based in their sound, the band's music also used psychedelic pop arrangements that gave it an almost orchestral majesty which, when coupled with Johnson's sitar and lute embellishments and Hopkins' harpsichord and other unusual keyboards -- with Hicks getting into the act on the tabla -- gave them an appealingly exotic sound. Their live performances were frequently divided, à la Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, into acoustic and electric sets, in order to show off their full range.The group issued their first album, Contrasts, in 1969, on the Janus label -- that record showed more of the early but burgeoning influence of progressive rock, while retaining their early psychedelic coloration. That same year, the band played to the largest single audience of its entire history when they appeared at the first Isle of Wight Festival. They also issued their second single "Castles in the Sky" b/w "Circles'" and the LP Rebirth, both on the Ember label, which featured a new lineup -- Denyer had exited the band to form Aquila, ceding his spot in Blonde on Blonde to singer-guitarist David ThomasRichard Hopkins was replaced in mid-1971 by bassist-guitarist-banjo player Graham Davis, and it was this lineup that recorded their third LP, Reflections on a Life, at Rockfield Studios. It failed to sell any better than their prior releases, however, and the group broke up in 1972, shortly after that album's release. The group's albums are recognized as collector's items on vinyl, and their first album, in particular, is a beguiling mix of psychedelia and progressive rock. But their debut single, "All Day, All Night," is regarded in many quarters as their most significant release, a classic of late-'60s psychedelic pop/rock. AMG.

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David Allan Coe - Penitentiary Blues 1969

David Allan Coe's debut album, released in 1969 shortly after his release from prison, is in its way a wonder. Penitentiary Blues is far more a blues album than it is a country record, musically styled after the dark, loungy blues of Charlie Rich and Jerry Lee Lewis in his Mercury period as well as the rawer mercurial blues of Bo DiddleyLightnin' Hopkins, and Tony Joe White. The subject matter is far darker and foreshadows the subjects and themes of Coe's later country records. The title cut mentions everything from working for the first time to taking blood tests in his heroin veins. "Cell 33" is a wide-open rocking shuffle with Jerry Lee Lewis piano coming out of the backdrop of a muddy mix and playing solo after choogling guitar riff over lines like: "They'll find me hangin' here tomorrow/If they don't come with the key." Musically, Coe was wrapped in the blues, particularly the barroom tradition. At the time, his band was clearly not capable of handling the more sophisticated honky tonk songs he would be writing shortly thereafter, some appearing on his next recording, Requiem for a Harlequin. This is redneck music, pure and simple, fresh out of hell and trying to communicate the giddiness of reprieve as well as its horrors to the listener. There's an obsession with hoodoo imagery and death, with self-loathing and boasting, and the contradictions in a man who doesn't want to go back to prison but who seems resigned to the fact he will because he's been inside so long (for Coe it was almost 20 years), he has no idea how to live on the outside. There are hints and traces of the lyrical genius Coe would display later, but taken as a whole, Penitentiary is thoroughly enjoyable as a rowdy, funky, and crude blues record full of out-of-tune guitars, slippery performances, and an attitude of "f*%$ it, let's get it done and get it out," which was a trademark of Plantation Records during the era. Penitentiary Blues is a set of voodoo blues from a future country legend and pariah. AMG.

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David Bowie - Aladdin Sane 1973

Ziggy Stardust wrote the blueprint for David Bowie's hard-rocking glam, and Aladdin Sane essentially follows the pattern, for both better and worse. A lighter affair than Ziggy StardustAladdin Sane is actually a stranger album than its predecessor, buoyed by bizarre lounge-jazz flourishes from pianist Mick Garson and a handful of winding, vaguely experimental songs. Bowie abandons his futuristic obsessions to concentrate on the detached cool of New York and London hipsters, as on the compressed rockers "Watch That Man," "Cracked Actor," and "The Jean Genie." Bowie follows the hard stuff with the jazzy, dissonant sprawls of "Lady Grinning Soul," "Aladdin Sane," and "Time," all of which manage to be both campy and avant-garde simultaneously, while the sweepingly cinematic "Drive-In Saturday" is a soaring fusion of sci-fi doo wop and melodramatic teenage glam. He lets his paranoia slip through in the clenched rhythms of "Panic in Detroit," as well as on his oddly clueless cover of "Let's Spend the Night Together." For all the pleasures on Aladdin Sane, there's no distinctive sound or theme to make the album cohesive; it's Bowie riding the wake of Ziggy Stardust, which means there's a wealth of classic material here, but not enough focus to make the album itself a classic. AMG.

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sábado, 18 de dezembro de 2021

Eric Quincy Tate - Drinking Man's Friend 1972

Eric Quincy Tate were not a person, they were a band -- a quartet of down-and-dirty swamp rockers, Naval reservists stationed in Quincy, MA, but based down South, playing regularly in Texas where they were discovered by Tony Joe White, who shared a similar taste for blues, R&B, and soul. White helped get them signed to Capricorn and produced their self-titled 1971 debut, which sank into collector cult status not too long after its release and remained there until Rhino Handmade reissued it in 2006. Upon that reissue, the record was revealed as a real lost gem, something that could hold its own with Tony Joe White's own classic Monument albums, of which it's very reminiscent. Like Tony JoeEric Quincy Tate is pure swamp pop, mixing up soul, blues, country, and rock & roll into a dynamite concoction of thick, funky roots rock. EQT could really play, which makes the fact that they didn't play on their debut all the stranger. When EQT entered the studio, the quartet found the Dixie Flyers -- the name of engineer Stan Kesler's studio band at the Sounds of Memphis studio -- all set up, ready to play. Only vocalist/drummer Donnie McCormack and guitarist Tommy CarlisleEQT's two songwriters, were allowed to play on the album, with the Memphis Horns added later as overdubs. According to Bill DeYoung's liner notes to the 2006 Handmade reissue, nobody remembers who made the decision to use the Dixie Flyers as the core band -- Tony Joe White and Jerry Wexler share producing credits with Tom Dowd, who worked on the final bit of the record -- and the decision to use studio pros is a bit odd, as the three demos, alternate takes, and unreleased cuts featured on the reissue showcase a gritty Southern rock & roll band, one that was looser and funkier than the one that finished record, but all the more appealing because of it. The Eric Quincy Tate reissue is also graced with the presence of none other than Duane Allman, who happened to be in the studio as a guest of Wexler, so he played some impromptu slide on the demo for "Goin' Down," unveiled here for the first time. It's not just Allman who gives the demos a dirtier, bluesier feel: without the overdubs of the horns and the tight attack of the Dixie Flyers, this is lean, hard rhythmic rock instead of the punched-up soul of the finished album. Not that there's anything wrong with the original Eric Quincy Tate as an album -- far from it, really. McCormack and Carlisle were fine songwriters with an ear for blending soul, blues, and rock so there were no borders between the styles, and the Dixie Flyers helped give the music an assured momentum that made it more commercial in 1971, even if the album went nowhere on the charts. Despite its lack of success, Eric Quincy Tate has aged very well -- the songs sound like buried gems and the music itself is the kind of deeply rooted roots rock that sustains its appeal, even increases it, upon repeated plays. Thankfully, Rhino Handmade put this back into circulation -- perhaps as a limited edition that went out of print quickly, but it helped spread the word and whet the appetite for the group's other two, equally forgotten albums. AMG.

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