domingo, 28 de fevereiro de 2021

John Mayall - Blues from Laurel Canyon 1968

Mayall's first post-Bluesbreakers album saw the man returning to his roots after the jazz/blues fusion that was Bare WiresBlues from Laurel Canyon is a blues album, through and through. Testimony to this is the fact that there's a guitar solo only 50 seconds into the opening track. Indeed, Mayall dispersed the entire brass section for Blues from Laurel Canyon, and instead chose the solid but relatively limited backing of Mick Taylor (guitar), Colin Allen (drums), and Stephen Thompson (bass). Instantly, it is apparent that John Mayall hasn't lost his touch with the blues. "Vacation," the album's opener, reminds one exactly why this artist is so celebrated for his songwriting ability. The staggering Mick Taylor (here still in his teens) truly proves his worth as a blues guitarist, while Steve Thompson (also in his late teens) works superbly with one of the genre's most interesting drummers, Colin AllenBlues from Laurel Canyon is as unerring as Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton, and equally as musically interesting. Not only is this one of the finest John Mayall albums, it is also a highlight in the blues genus. AMG.

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Eire Apparent - Sun Rise 1969

 For an album that never had a hit to drive it, by a group that isn't too well-remembered on its own terms, Eire Apparent's Sunrise is amazingly well known, at least as an artifact among Jimi Hendrix fans, owing to the fact that the guitarist produced it (and played on parts of it). But one wonders how many people have ever actually listened to the album -- as it turns out, it's a pleasing, tuneful, and occasionally bold psychedelic pop/rock excursion, similar in many ways to the YardbirdsLittle Games album, except that Eire Apparent were apparently far more comfortable with psychedelic pop stylings here than Keith RelfJimmy Page, et al., were on that Yardbirds record. The mix of lyrical acoustic and electric guitar sounds, some tasteful light orchestrations (strings and horns), and trippy lyrical conceits all work extremely well; this is a surprising psychedelic pop release, gently trippy most of the way through with a few searing contributions by HendrixAlmost as important are the hints one gets of Ernie Graham's subsequent songwriting range in an embryonic form on numbers such as "Rock & Roll Band" and "Magic Carpet" -- his work is rootsier and mostly more accessible than that of Mick Cox, the other major songwriter in the group (though he does make a pleasing contribution with "Let Me Stay"). Between their best songs, the group's overall musical facility, and Hendrix's contributions, the whole album ends up extremely strong and consistent, and well worth hearing on its own terms, even if it wasn't breaking any new ground musically. The record should have done better than it did, but its release by Buddah (which had virtually no presence in England) limited its overseas impact -- and, in any case, the group had lost most of its British audience by then. Also, American radio probably didn't know where to place it, since it straddled both the pop and psychedelic categories (and in very bold terms), along with elements of roots rock. And it missed an opportunity as well -- the original LP release was missing the single B-side "Rock & Roll Band," which covered a lot of the same territory that the Hollies were to parlay into a Top Ten hit a couple of years later with "Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress)." Juxtapose that with numbers like "The Clown" -- which plunged into psychedelic/metal in a pop framework that distantly echoes both Hendrix's music and that of the Yardbirds of "Happenings Ten Years' Time Ago" -- and one can see the range this group had. It's all admirable music, but was apparently too tough to sell easily without a hit single to pull people in. And it's all still worth hearing, even four decades on. [The 1991 Repertoire Records CD included "Rock & Roll Band" as a bonus track.] AMG.

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The Jihad - Black And Beautiful... Soul And Madness 1968

"Black & Beautiful, Soul & Madness was the first word-music record I did completely devoted to this form. One piece on a New York Art Quartet side earlier, but Black & Beautiful was recorded at my home and in the small theater my wife, Amina, and I built there The Spirit House (33 Stirling St.) shortly after I had returned home to Newark, NJ, after the implosion of the Harlem based Blacks Arts Repertory Theater-School. Spirit House, like the Black Arts, was created to present Black theater, poetry, music and political dialogue. B&B was not the only side done on those premises, under the record label we created, Jihad A Black Mass with Sun Ra & His Myth Science Arkestra was another. Sonny's Time Now with Sonny Murray and Donald Ayler the third. B&B featured Yusef Iman, an actor I met at the Black Arts who began to come to the Spirit House after the Arts folded. Yusef was a member of the Spirit House Movers & Players which we shortened to The Spirit House Movers (inspired by the dudes in a bar we went to who worked for a moving company). The singing group B&B, the Jihad Singers, was an R&B singing group that Yusef was a member of, the lead singer Freddie Johnson, who I never saw again after the record date. All the musicians were local. Singer Aireen Eternal was Yusef's wife. In our mind we wanted to create world-music that reflected the Motown vibe so popular in the late-'60s. 'Beautiful Black Women' used Smokey Robinson's 'OOOH Baby, Baby' as a model. 'Black And Beautiful' was created by Yusef & Freddie and seemed a classic R&B du-wop send-up. But we also had a clear vision of what we wanted to say regarding the Afro-American struggle for equal rights and self-determination, at least we thought of ourselves as cultural workers, revolutionary artists 'pushing the program' as some of our cultural nationalist comrades were wont to say. I think you can feel our excitement and commitment." - Amiri Baraka, September, 2009.

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Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity - Streetnoise 1968

The final collaboration between singer Julie Driscoll (by that time dubbed as "The Face" by the British music weeklies) and Brian Auger's Trinity was 1969's Streetnoise -- it was an association that had begun in 1966 with Steampacket, a band that also featured Rod Stewart and Long John Baldry. As a parting of the ways, however, it was Trinity's finest moment. A double album featuring 16 tracks, more than half with vocals by Driscoll, the rest absolutely burning instrumentals by Trinity. (Auger on keyboards and vocals, Driscoll on acoustic guitar, Clive Thacker on drums, and Dave Ambrose on bass and guitars.) "Tropic of Capricorn," an instrumental Auger original, kicks off in high gear. It's a knotty prog rock number that contains elements of Memphis R&B. it sounds better than it reads; it twists and turns around a minor key figure that explodes into solid, funky grit with Thacker double timing the band. Driscoll enters next with "Czechoslovakia," a wide-open modal tune that hints at the kinds of music she would explore in the very near future on her debut 1969 and later, with future husband Keith Tippett. Broken melody lines and drones are the framework for Driscoll to climb over and soar above, and she does without faltering before she slides into the traditional gospel tune, "Take Me to the Water." And this is how this record moves, from roiling progressive rock instrumentals and art songs, done rock style, to inspired readings of the hits of the day such as "Light My Fire," "Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In)" from Hair, and one of most stirring readings ever of Laura Nyro's "Save the Country" that closes the album. "Indian Rope Man," is a burning, organ-driven churner that fuses Stax/Volt R&B funkiness with psychedelic rock and jazz syncopation. Driscoll's vocal is over the top; she's deep into the body of the tune and wrings from it every ounce of emotion from it. Auger's organ solo is a barnburner; reeling in the high register, he finds the turnarounds and offers his own counterpoint in the middle and lower one with fat chords. The rhythm section keeps the groove, funking it up one side and moving it out to the ledge until the coda. Another steaming rocker is "Ellis Island," with it's dueling Fender Rhodes and organ lines. it may be the finest instrumental on the album. "Looking in the Eye of the World" features Driscoll in rare form, singing in her voice's lower register accompanied only by Auger's piano on a blues moan worthy of Nina Simone. Streetnoise was a record that may have been informed by its era, but it certainly isn't stuck there, especially in the 21st century. The music sounds as fresh and exciting as the day it was recorded. This is a must-have package for anyone interested in the development of Auger's music that was to change immediately with the invention of the Oblivion Express, and also for those interested in Driscoll's brave, innovative, and fascinating career as an improviser, who discovered entirely new ways of using the human voice. Streetnoise is brilliant. AMG.

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The Chico Hamilton Quintet - Gongs East! 1958

The best-known of all the 1950s Chico Hamilton Quintet sets, this is also the only early Hamilton music that has been fully reissued on CD. At the time, the drummer's group also included cellist Nate Gershman, guitarist Dennis Budimir, bassist Wyatt Ruther and the young Eric Dolphy on alto, bass clarinet and flute. Dolphy has quite a few short solos on this rewarding music, and the highlights of the date include "Beyond the Blue Horizon," "Passion Flower," Gerald Wilson's "Tuesday at Two" and the exotic "Gongs East." Recommended. AMG.

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Elastic Band - Expansions On Life 1968

From North Wales, Elastic Band were one of the exponents of the UK psychedelic rock scene from the late 60’s and featured Andy Scott who would go on to become guitarist with the famous Sweet. Other members were August Eadon (Gus) who went by the name Ted Yeadon when he was a member of Elastic Band, Sean Jenkins (drums) and Mike Scott (bass - Andy's brother). The band broke up in 1969 when Yeadon accepted an offer to join Love Affair.
They released an album (LP record) entitled Expansions On Life [1969/1970] on the Decca Nova label.
Gus Eadon joined the band Zzebra in 1974.

The starting point for Sweet guitarist Andy Scott, The Elastic Band emerged from the ashes of mid-60s Welsh soul revue the Silverstone Set to make a couple of highly-regarded 1968 mod pop/blue-eyed soul singles for Decca. But a year on the underground gig circuit supporting the likes of Hendrix and Pink Floyd impacted significantly on the bands musical direction. When they returned to the studio in the summer of 1969, it was to cut Expansions On Life, a dazzling 50-minute collection of late psychedelic/early progressive rock moves which suggested that the new-look Elastic Band could be genuine contenders. Inexplicably, though, Decca delayed its release until March 1970, by which time the band had fallen apart, lead singer Ted Yeadon having left in December 1969 to replace Steve Ellis in the Love Affair. As a result, Decca barely promoted the album, which duly sank without trace. * File under: 60's Psych * Established for the last couple of decades as a heavy duty rarity amongst collectors of vintage British psychedelia and progressive rock. First-ever official UK reissue Includes bumper 20-page booklet, extensive liner notes, restored artwork and master-tape sound as well as some priceless photographs * Features all four tracks from the bands equally collectable 45s, including the regularly compiled psychedelic pop nugget 8 Hours Of Paradise.

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Amiri Baraka & The Sun Ra Myth-Science Arkestra - A Black Mass 1968

A Black Mass is a curious piece that was extremely limited when it was first released in 1968 on Leroi Jones' (Amiri Baraka) Jihad records. Recorded at Spirit House, Jones' house/theater in Newark, this live performance of Jones' dramatic piece dedicated to Malcolm X -- and to a lesser extent, the Nation of Islam -- would have originally only been found in black nationalist bookstores in a few cities. Fans of Sun Ra & the Arkestra may be disappointed, as Ra and company never play more than a few notes here and there. Unfortunately, it's difficult to make out certain key elements of the dialogue, obviously essential to grasping the full understanding of Baraka's play. This is more a historical literary piece than a musical one, just as worthy of serious examination, albeit with strained ears. AMG.

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terça-feira, 23 de fevereiro de 2021

Chris Stainton & Glen Turner - Tundra 1976

Multi-instrumentalist Chris Stainton has been a major presence on the British music scene since joining Joe Cocker's backing group, the Grease Band, in 1966. Although he wasn't a part of the classic lineup of the free-standing version of that group, his longtime association with Cocker during the latter's prime years made him very much in demand as a player, mostly on keyboards but also on the bass. He was born Christopher Stainton in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England in 1944, and attended Rowlinson Technical School in Sheffield. He began playing bass in the late '50s, initially with a group called Johnny Tempest & the Mariners, who later evolved into the Cadillacs. After that apprenticeship, he chanced to cross paths with a childhood friend, John Robert Cocker, who was by then pursuing a career in rock & roll as Joe Cocker, and in need of a new backing group. Stainton became the anchor of that band, contributing as a songwriter in tandem with Cocker as well as playing the bass. The group went through several transitions between 1966 and 1969, in the process evolving from a jazz-oriented sound to more of a hard R&B sound, and Stainton relinquished the bassist spot to Alan Spenner (late of Wynder K. Frog) and switched to keyboards. The resulting "classic" version of Joe Cocker's Grease Band impressed critics and audiences nearly as much as the singer did, and Stainton was part of the lineup that toured the U.S. in 1969 and played a renowned set at Woodstock that August, which has since been released in its entirety. When Cocker abandoned the Grease Band, owing to personal and management considerations, Stainton remained with him and was part of the legendary Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour, memorialized in articles, on a triple-LP album, and in a documentary film. By that time, however, he'd also established himself as a top session musician, and had appeared on albums and singles by Spooky Tooththe WhoLeon Russell, et al., in addition to rejoining the Grease Band in the mid-'70s and running his own group, the Chris Stainton Band. His recording and performance work since, mostly on keyboards but occasionally featuring his bass work and guitar playing, has crossed the musical spectrum, from Maddy Prior to Esther PhillipsB.B. KingBryan Ferry, and Bill Wyman's Rhythm KingsStainton's most visible 21st century work, in addition to Wyman's group, has also included concert appearances with Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood. Although he isn't as busy in the new century as he was in the old, Stainton's work, for so many top 20th century artists in their prime years, has made him a ubiquitous presence on numerous best-of, greatest-hits, and anthology compilations associated with British rock (and, to a lesser degree, blues) in recent years. AMG.

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Shocking Blue - Scorpio's Dance 1970

Shocking Blue's second album was partly recorded in New York and continues the band's exploration of Americana and country music, although its style is firmly rooted in rock. "Alaska Country" is one of the most obvious references to America, but "Sally Was a Good Old Girl" is a cover of an early-'60s country hit by songwriter Hank CochranShocking Blue's rendition chugs along in a rock groove that reveals the source of its material with a touch of banjo. As always, the focal point is the inimitable voice of Mariska Veres, but songwriter/guitarist Robby VanLeeuwen shows no sign of a sophomore slump. There isn't an obvious hit single candidate like the previous album's "Venus," but Scorpio's Dance makes up for it with solid consistency. "Daemon Lover" is moody and mesmerizing, and the title track is a spaghetti western soundtrack in search of a film (the cover photo, appropriately enough, was shot in a cactus field). "I Love Voodoo Music" is colored with bongos and jungle sound effects, while "Water Boy" sees the return of VanLeeuwen's sitar. It's a diverse collection of songs that reveals the group's artistic growth but, in America at least, saw no chart action. AMG.

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Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin - Je t'Aime... Moi Non Plus 1969

This collection of vintage 1960s orchestral pop from the master of surreal Gallic eroticism includes kitsch masterpieces like "69 Annee Erotique" and Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg's chart-topping "Je T'Aime (Moi Non Plus)," in a procession of jazzy instrumentals accompanied by Gainsbourg's throaty, Gitanes-coated vocals and the pertly sexy interpolations of his stunning wife. AMG.

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The Sons Of Champlin - Loosen Up Naturally 1969

Although the Sons of Champlin made their recording debut with the single "Sing Me a Rainbow" on Verve Records in 1967, it has taken them another two years to release this, their first album, which means they are late out of the starting blocks as far as psychedelic San Francisco rock bands are concerned. They try to make up for that with a major statement, a double-LP running over an hour. They also distinguish themselves immediately in terms of their instrumentation and arranging style. If the San Francisco sound is defined by simple folk-style song structures extended by long guitar solos, this is something entirely different. The Sons take their inspiration from R&B and jazz, to which they then apply the psychedelic treatment. There is a talented lead guitarist in Terry Haggerty, but he has to fight for space in the songs with Bill Champlin, who plays organ and saxophone, as well as multi-instrumentalist Geoff Palmer, whose arsenal also includes saxophone, though he may also break out a mean vibraphone, as he does in "Get High." The horns are unusual in a San Francisco band and incline toward the coming sound of Blood, Sweat & Tears, although that outfit is far more pop-oriented. The Sons are perhaps better understood as fundamentally a jazz band, with their multiple soloists and complicated arrangements. Over all the furious playing, Champlin displays a gritty R&B vocal style, but the melodies are less important than the arrangements and the soloing. Champlin's lyrics tend toward the philosophical with many references to being "free," and when he uses that word, he clearly is not just referring to personal liberty, but also to "free" playing, which is what the band does, particularly on the sidelong closing track, appropriately called "Freedom." Loosen Up Naturally, like many other double albums, probably could have been boiled down to a strong single LP, but the very concept of the band on this recording, as embodied in the title, is to spread out and blow, and that takes some space. The Sons of Champlin give the listener a lot to take in on their full-length debut, and they give themselves several interesting directions to pursue in the future. AMG.

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Stillrock - Stillrock 1969

A rock album released on Stax's Enterprise subsidiary that was produced by Donald Duck Dunn and Don Nix, and featuring material by Nix and Don Preston ...   sounds like an interesting way to spend a couple of hours ... Before recording as Stillrock (I've also seen it referenced as Still Rock'), guitarist/singer Don Preston, guitarist Bobby Cochran, bassist Casey Van Beek, and drummer Bob Young had recorded and album as Don Preston and the South ("Hot Air Through a Straw"). 

Perhaps because the name wasn't particularly cool, by 1969 the group had reinvented themselves as Stillrock, signing a contract with Stax's short-lived Enterprise subsidiary.   Co-produced by Donald Duck Dunn and Don Nix, the album showcased some real talent though much of the impact was lost across the eclectic mixture of genres that graced the eleven tracks.  As lead singer, Preston had an extremely likable voice.  He was far from a great singer, but seemed to know his limitations and made the most of his range and capabilities.  The rest of the band was also pretty impressive with bassist Van Beek turning in a series of impressive performances. The band was also willing to experiment with some interesting musical mash-ups - check out the country-meets-psych 'Lost City Child'.   And to a large extent that was the big problem here.  It was simply hard to figure out who these guys were.  Bouncing around between country, pop, psych, rock, etc. left you wondering if they were simply auditioning as a wedding act.   That's not to take away from the album's strengths. Badcatrecords.

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Paul Chambers - Go 1959

The first of two Vee-Jay label dates by the acclaimed modern jazz bassist Paul Chambers is a fine exercise in hard bop, split between showcasing his compositions and famous standards. Alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard are on the front line, perhaps for the only time in their storied careers, and work well for the most part. Pianist Wynton Kelly and either drummers Philly Joe Jones or Jimmy Cobb complete the quintets. The advantage in buying this reissue is that the second CD is comprised exclusively of outtakes from the originally issued tracks, and many of them have extended solos. Of the covers, "There Is No Greater Love" features a chuckling and cajoling Adderley, very happy for the fortune smiling on him, while "Just Friends" has the two horns playing this chestnut pretty much straight, with counterpointed stop-start techniques chirping at the rhythm section, and a young Hubbard offering his best solo. "I Got Rhythm" brings Cobb to the team, as a modal base from Kelly and Chambers buoys the wailing horns. Of the originals, Hubbard and Adderley sound mismatched on the 6/8 to 3/4 calypso-swing "Julie Ann," where their harmonics don't quite synch up. Their teamwork pays off royally during "I Heard That" and the classic hard bopper with Cobb "Ease It," where the tempo persists, but the horns grow quieter and quieter in mezzo piano range to near-nothingness -- the epitome of cool. There's another classic here, as "Awful Mean" is emotionally neither, but instead cures Adderley's brief once-through melody statement into a vintage shuffle. The alternate take of this one is two-and-a-half minutes longer. "I Heard That" is called a "remake" though the original is just fine, and the second "remake" of the ballad "Dear Ann" (one of three attempts included) extends Chambers on his arco bowed bass melody, both pieces adding a ramped uptempo. This recording and 1st Bassman offer different aspects of Chambers as a leader, with the latter album having him take on more responsibility as a lead melodicist. After having played with the game-changing bands of Miles Davis and John ColtraneChambers died far too young ten years hence in January of 1969 but left behind a memorable 15-year legacy, well represented by this recording where he was in his early prime. AMG.

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Joshua - Opens Your Mind 1969

When you think of 60's music from California the town of Sacramento doesn’t immediately come to mind. but the state capitol had a fertile music scene that has given birth to mind melters Blue Cheer who paved the way for other locals like Joshua.

Fronted by singer Mick Martin, Joshua were at the center of a scene that, for the most part, ignored the flower power shenanigans going on up north and worshipped at the altar of heavy Rock & Roll. Along with other locals like Slo Loris and Jericho, Joshua created guitar lead, blues-based rock music with lyrics that reflected the current events of the day, war & drugs.

While the band never released any music back in the day, they did record an LP’s worth of material along with some legendary live shows that took place at the University of California at Davis. Anti-war feelings that still ring true today can be heard on cuts like “The Fist”, “G.I. Peace” and “No Country”. while expanding your mind with drugs is exposed on cuts like “Please Excuse Me” and The Title Track, “Open Your Mind”.

With heavy guitar crunchers in a style that will remind you of one of our earlier release, Stone Garden. it comes in a thick gatefold cover with liner notes by Mick Martin and lots of photos that compliment the mind-blowing, full-color front cover. This is a totally unknown band that is not to be confused with any other band by the same name that may have released LPs in the past. One more thanks to Rockasteria.

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sábado, 20 de fevereiro de 2021

Atomic Rooster - Death Walks Behind You 1970

"Devil's Answer" might be the record for which Atomic Rooster are remembered, but it was their second album that posted warning that they were on the verge of creating something dazzling -- simply because the record itself is a thing of almost freakish beauty. With only organist Vincent Crane surviving from the original lineup, and John Du Cann coming in to relieve him of some of the songwriting duties, Death Walks Behind You opens at a gallop and closes with a sprint. The title track is effectively spooky enough for any Hammer horror aficionado, all descending pianos and Psycho-screaming guitars, while "Gershatzer," a duet for organ and percussion, proves that new drummer Paul Hammond is more than a match for the departed Carl Palmer. It's in between these dramatic bookends, however, that Rooster truly peak, with the stately "VUG," the pensive "Nobody Else," and the truly amazing "Tomorrow Night" (one of the scariest love songs ever let loose on the U.K. chart) all impressing. Crane's liner notes, incidentally, remind us that the album packed a different version of the hit, with an extended ending that descends into unimagined chaos -- a shocker for the pop kids, perhaps, but a fabulous bridge into the succeeding "7 Streets." Possibly the best evidence for this being Atomic Rooster's masterpiece, however, comes not simply from what's on the album, but for what has been left off. An excellent repackaging and remastering job restores the original artwork in all its gatefold glory, but you'll search in vain for bonus tracks -- not because there were none to add, but because they simply wouldn't fit. Sit through Death Walks Behind You, after all, and you really won't need any more surprises. AMG.

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Isao Suzuki - Orang-Utan 1975

Bassist Isao Suzuki's popularity shot up to stratosphere with the release of Blow Up from the Three Blind Mice label. By the time he recorded this, fourth album for the label, he was actually the winner of the Swing Journal Readers' Poll. And this rather strangely titled album doesn't disappoint.

Suzuki had a knack for surrounding himself with superb musicians and playing brilliant, groovy music that is firmly rooted in the jazz tradition. This time, he picked as the all-important horn player Kenji Mori whose superb playing on alto sax, bass clarinet and flute strongly remind us of Eric Dolphy. The guitar genius Kazumi Watanabe turns in wonderfully nuanced performances in every setting. Also, not insignificantly, Mari Nakamoto--one of the best female jazz vocalists Japan has ever produced--appears as a guest and sings Shirley Horn's "Where Are You Going?" with excellent results.

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Mephistopheles - In Frustration I Hear Singing 1969

Taking its name from 16th century Faustian legend—Mephistopheles was the devil to whom Faust sold his soul—this six-piece outfit emerged from the psychedelic underground and recorded one album, the strangely titled In Frustration I Hear Singing. This 12-song lp, lost and found from the vaults of Reprise Records, is prototypical late ‘60s psychedelia, a musical exercise in odd song titles (“The Cricket Song,” “The Girl Who Self-Destroyed”), bizarre lyrical content (“Listen to the crickets/listen everyday/listen to the crickets/tell me what they say”) and awkward rock instrumentation (“Do Not Expect a Garden” features a trumpet; “Vagabond Queen” is saddled with a flute). 

Mephistopheles features an expert ensemble of skilled musicians with a strong sense of melody. The guitar work, especially on songs like “Dead Ringer” and the title track, is particularly impressive. Guitarist Fred Tackett has been a member of Little Feat since 1988. Rockasteria.

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Spooky Tooth - It's All About 1968


This full-length debut from British blues-rockers Spooky Tooth has a tone similar to Traffic with its psychedelic take on the influential pop and soul music of the '60s. A few cover tunes including Janis Ian's "Society's Child" and the Nashville Teens' "Tobacco Road" are included, but original songs like the soulful ballad "It Hurts You So" and "Bubbles" (with its Beach Boys sensibility) are the real standouts. The cheery, psychedelic "It's All About a Roundabout" is the catchiest number by far. On this dreamy cut, vocalist/keyboardist Gary Wright demonstrates some sharp melodic and compositional instincts. Although Spooky Tooth eventually became better-known for their straightforward blues-rock, the trippy pop of It's All About counts as a career highlight for the group. Fans of late-'60s British rock are definitely advised to check out this impressive release. AMG.

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