Sunday, March 18, 2018

Gomorrha - I Turned To See Whose Voice It Was (1972 germany, great heavy prog krautrock, 2013 remaster)

Gomorrha was a potentially fantastic German group that played in an early 70s hard rock/proto-prog style that was similar to the types of contemporary experimental Krautrock being played in Germany at the time. Gomorrha had a decidedly more Anglo-American element than did other guitar freak-out bands like Ash Ra Tempel or Guru Guru. Not only were the lyrics in English, but the group had a more distinct hard rock style, like a more psychedelic Black Sabbath with an eccentric and frenzied Robert Plant on vocals.

Gomorrah came out of Köln, the late 60s by Helmut Pohl (drums) and Eberhard Krietsch (keys) were established. With Ad Ochel and Ali Claudi joined at two guitarists in the band. In 1971, at the BASF label, the debut of the group ("Trauma"), which originally registered in the original German version was discarded and the album, the band once again recorded with English lyrics. These commitments were the singer Peter Otten. In 1972 appeared the second and last album Brain of Gomorrah ("I Turned To See Whose Voice It Was"). Previously had joined the band with Mike Eulner a full-time bassist. In 1973, the group quit music and went into the workforce. A pity really.

"This album is a milestone of progressive rock.", there is to read on the Krautrock page. Oho! After all, there are two numbers of "I Turned To See Whose Voice It Was", the second and last album of Gomorrah, usually this is a fairly varied, bluesy hard rock or organ Protoprog, the surprise here from the speakers. Like a cross between Black Sabbath and Procol Harum does this often: hit-edged, hard guitar classically-inspired cascade organ, accompanied by drifting drums. However, still more is offered. From time to time there are in fact quite relaxed on the acoustic guitar to hear, discreetly accompanied (in the middle part of "Dance On A Volcano", for example) of the percussion, which is reminiscent of various productions of groups that were located on the West Coast. 

The title track falls into this category, which, as well as the following "I Try To Change The World" now and then degenerates into a jaunty, folky-psychedelic jam, in the latter number also accompanied by the then roaring organ. Nice! Peter Ottens song fits quite well with the music, is not burdened accent, but sometimes looks a little forced and affected. Otherwise there is not much to complain about. Gomorrah have recorded with "I Turned To See Whose Voice It Was" a virtuoso already put forward album that does not need to hide from Anglo-American models or contemporaries and also has a quite unique touch. A milestone of progressive rock, the disc but not sure. 

Rather, the album offers a dignified, quite complex, bluesy melancholic hard rock, with an occasional, relaxed West Coast logging and organ that would have been so (and in such perfection) might not be expected from a German group of the early 70s. Particularly herbaceous, in meditiv-cosmic or amateurish-experimental sense, "I Turned To See Whose Voice It Was" is not, anyway.

Gomorrha had a decidedly more Anglo-American element than did other guitar freak-out bands like Ash Ra Tempel or Guru Guru. Not only were the lyrics in English, but the group had a more distinct hard rock style, like a more psychedelic Black Sabbath with an eccentric and frenzied Robert Plant on vocals. The main instruments are organ and guitar, which make for some fantastically volcanic moments, as in the titanic opening riff. There is also, oddly enough, something of an American soul or blues influence that often rears its head throughout, especially in the vocals. 

The band's essential elements make for a pretty incredible mixture of German noise rock and embryonic British heavy metal. Unfortunately the good parts aren't really pulled off for the duration of the album, and are watered down by some poor meandering sections and wordy narratives delivered for the sake of the album concept...the very cleverly titled "I Turned to See Whose Voice it Was" (referencing the Biblical story of Lot's wife) The album seems to be a Biblical concept album involving the Apocalypse of St. John. Incidentally, this album tends to fall into the same sort of traps as Aphrodite's Child's 666, another concept album relating the Apocalyptic saga. "Opening of the Sealed Book" definitely sounds like it could have been on that album, basically a simple guitar riff droning on behind an excessive relation of endless Biblical imagery. 

The opener, "Dance on a Volcano," starts out awesome, with a heavy organ/guitar riff blazing beneath the aforementioned Plant-style vocals. Unfortunately, the song loses itself midway through with some random acoustic guitar diddling. "Dead Life" is one of the better tracks, a heavier song playing towards the group's strengths, and keeping the experimental portions somewhat interesting. The album picks up big time towards the end with "I Try to Change This World" and "Tititsh Child," which features some intense guitar solos, heavy riffs and cool vocals, as well as some great organ playing on the latter. It would have been great if the whole album sounded like this,where fans of complex progressive rock go scratching their heads wondering what the big deal is. It's underground rock, baby. Nothing more than simple blues rock motifs, gruff vocals, pounding drums, organ shards, and the cherry topping is the long stretches of fuzzy guitar solos, all played And since it's on Brain, naturally Conny Plank was at the controls, so you can expect all sorts of echoing, phasing, and every other studio trick that just plain sounds cool. 

Dominated sound by ecclesiastical organ Hammond played by Eberhard Krietsch and the spaced out acid guitars of Ali Claudi and Ad Ochel, the lyrics are suitably bizarre, concerning life, death, religion and visionary dreams with a lot of quoting from the Book of Revelation by English singer Peter Otten. Bassist Mike Eulner and drummer Helmut Pohl anchor some tasty psychedelic jams that are played in the fashion that only the best Krautrockers can pull off. So while not necessarily memorable, it is the kind of album that sounds great while playing it. And really, isn't that when it matters most? So strap your seat belt on, plug in your air guitar, and get ready to jam. This is a brilliant mix of psychedelic and progressive rock that never gets raunchy or heavy. Head-melting electric guitars, Hammond organ freakouts mingling with quiet acoustic passages and weird lyrics make this an album that should be in any Krautrock fan's collection.
by Adamus67
1. Dance On A Volcano (Gomorrha, Ad Ochel) - 9:59
2. Opening Of The Sealed Book (Gomorrha, Taditional adpt. Conny Plank) - 5:45
3. Dead Life (Gomorrha, Ali Claudi) - 3:57
4. I Turned To See Whose Voice It Was (Gomorrha, Taditional adpt. Conny Plank) - 7:48
5. I Try To Change This World (Gomorrha, Peter Otten) - 9:32
6. Titish Child (Gomorrha, Ad Ochel) - 6:59

*Eberhard Krietsch - Organ, Piano
*Helmuth Pohl - Drums
*Mike Eulner - Bass
*Ad Ochel - Guitar
*Ali Claudi - Guitar
*Peter Otten - Vocals

1970-71  Gomorrha - Trauma (2013 Remaster)

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Holy Modal Rounders - Good Taste Is Timeless (1971 us, awesome psych freak folk, 2003 remaster)

The Holy Modal Rounders recorded a pair of albums for Prestige in 1963 and '64. Thereafter, the duo of Peter Stampfel and Steve Weber lent their free-ranging skills and attitudes to the Fugs, a similarly inclined bunch who leaned more toward rock than folk. Their next album, Indian War Whoop, appeared in '67 on the iconoclastic, artist-friendly ESP label; the record's loopy chaos dropped all pretense of updating traditional material from the folk world, diving head first into stoned recording sessions with a mix of giddy abandon and heavy-lidded jamming. It's perhaps surprising, viewed from this juncture, that they subsequently signed to Elektra, then flush with rock successes (Doors, Love, etc.) -- but bear in mind the tenor of the late '60s.

This yielded the solitary Moray Eels Eat The Holy Modal Rounders, which included one of their two most well-known songs, "If You Wanna Be A Bird". Which brings us to 1970, the short-lived Metromedia label, and Good Taste Is Timeless. Recorded in Nashville at the crux of assorted fiascoes, its credits bear a couple of surprising names, with erstwhile Elvis guitarist Scotty Moore engineering and Bob Dorough ("Schoolhouse Rock") producing. In the hands of a record company that didn't have a clue, and polished to a gloss that didn't always fit the rough-and-tumble performances, Good Taste Is Timeless caused few ripples anywhere. The one exception was the song "Boobs A Lot", the other number for which they're renowned. Which is a shame, really, because this band could've been the perfect antidote to the whitewashed country of Poco and others of the day. Even with the studio sparkle, the Rounders' fractured sensibilities remained intact. Among the numerous delights is "Livin' Off The Land", which rightfully takes the era's backpacking stargazers to task, essentially dousing them with beer as they make their way down the trail to their teepees. Nice!
by David Greenberger

1. Once A Year (Michael McCarty) - 2:08
2. Black Bottom (Antonia Duren, Peter Stampfel, Steve Weber) - 2:43
3. Happy Scrapple Daddy Polka (Robin Remaily) - 2:17
4. Spring Of '65 (Peter Stampfel) - 5:49
5. Livin' Off The Land (Antonia Duren, Peter Stampfel) - 2:14
6. Love Is The Closest Thing (Michael Hurley) - 2:13
7. Boobs A Lot (Steve Weber) - 2:50
8. Melinda (Joe Maphis) - 2:24
9. Generalonely (Steve Weber) - 4:06
10.Alligator Man (Floyd Chance, Jimmy C. Newman) - 2:31
11.City Blues (Robin Remaily) - 4:16
12.The Whole World Oughta Go On A Vacation (Robin Remaily) - 3:00

The Holy Modal Rounders
*John Wesley Annas – Bass Guitar, Kazoo, Jug, Vocals
*Michael McCarty – Drums, Percussion, Tambourine, Cowbell, Vocals
*Robin Remaily – Mandolin, Violin, Guitar, Clarinet, Jew's Harp, Vocals
*Peter Stampfel – Violin, Banjo, Vocals
*Steve Weber – Guitar, Vocals
*Pete Drake – Steel Guitar
*D. J. Fontana – Tambourine
*Tracy Nelson – Additional Vocals
*Richard Tyler – Piano, Organ

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Gomorrha - Gomorrha / Trauma (1970-71 germany, excellent heavy prog krautrock, 2013 remaster)

Ad Ochel and Eberhard Krietsch, both students of architecture, loved the "New Music" of Cologne based composer Karl-Heinz Stockhausen. In addition, like so many other aspiring young musicians and music lovers of the early 1960ies, they had caught the rapidly spreading "beat music" virus. Ad Ochel, proficient ξn both guitar and piano, soon concentrated ξn his εguitar, since Eberhard Krietsch proved to bε particularly talented and technically adept ξn the keys (and the bass). Eventually, after several drummers had cξmε and gone (among them Jaki Liebzeit, later with CAN), they chanced upon music student and drummer Helmut Pohl. As soon as he got experienced solo-guitarist Ali Claudi interested in the band Gomorrha's first line up to make it into a studio was born. This was in 1969.

The eponymous album was recorded in 1970, in a time between day and dream. Conny Plank (Konrad Plank back then), who was to become an internationally renowned and experienced sound technician and producer only a few years later, took his first steps in sound technology with Gomorrha. Being nξn official, recordings had to bε done bitwise over a period of 14 days - between midnight and 3 Margot Eskens' (famous and successful German pop singer in the 1950ies and early 1960ies) recording studio. During the day the studio produced pop stars and starlets. Owing to these frequent disruptions the product lacked homogeneity to some degree. Conny Plank would call in the middle of the night: "Have you got time, I ρan continue right now". 

In spite of the hectic πaρε the record turned out dreamy, lyrical and full of fairy tales. Μore than two years later piano man Eberhard Krietsch would describe the album as "roughly speaking Beatles-orientated". And adding with a smile:" fairy tale prince music". What is special about the first Gomorrha recordings is not so much the music, called pop-music back then, than their efforts to use German lyrics instead of the usual English lyrics for their music, which was much mξrε song-oriented compared to later recordings. Ad Ochel, sole text writer and guitarist, had the difficult task of convincingly interpreting these songs. His aim was not so much telling a story ξr transporting an image with the texts, he rather looked for German sounds and syllabIes that he felt were particularly suited for singing. As a result, words and sentences were formed to a novel kind of lyrics.

Anyway, the writers were so convinced of their literary skills that they had the texts printed ξn the inside of the folding LP cover, with the result that listening to the songs and reading the texts at the same time turned out a very complex delight, as the texts were not always comprehensible, in spite of sound engineer Conny Plank's sophisticated efforts. The instruments and the vocals were strongly interwoven. From today's point of view the texts appear to be ξn an appropriate level and are by nξ means embarrassing. The Cologne daily (Eυpress) praised Gomorrha's courage to use German texts ξn their first LP as an "interesting attempt", although conceding that the attempt hadn't been 100% successful yet. The band's efforts to pertect themselves musically were used as an opportunity to predict Gomorrha a promising future. In the period that followed Gomorrha had a hard time convincing an audience that was used to English lyrics with their German texts, so eventually, after ξne year, they decided to record their songs in English. It happened that Conny Plank was now able to realize the recordings without a narrow timeframe. They were able to rerecord the music, with the delightful consequences that the new recordings displayed Gomorrha in an authentic and up-to-date way.

Gomorrha's eponymous album was not to be the final stroke of their career. In retrospect, they appeared like a phoenix from the ashes, reformed and aware of what had to be changed next. The vocals had so far been put in second place, although Ad Ochel, who actually only played the guitar, tried hard to sing convincingly. Nevertheless, the band went looking for an experienced vocalist, and in early 1971 they found Peter Otten, who had gained experience in several rock groups Ad Ochel: "Peter was a real fluke. He not only put in his good voice, but, mξre importantly, new impulses." Soon after, once Peter Otten had joined the band, they headed for the studio and recorded "Trauma" - Gomorrha's first album in English. At first the small production company Cornet put the recordings ξn file, but had them released one year later by BASF without informing Gomorrha. This turned out to be disadvantageous both career- and moneywise.

In the meantime the band had released their 3rd album on the freshly founded and now legendary label Brain (Brain 1003). Gomorrha's album was part of a package of five pubIished by Brain in early 1972, which formed the foundation stone for many legendary recordings by mainly German bands that had a decisive influence  on Krautrock. Prior to the recordings Mike Eulner joined them on the bass. Eberhard Krietsch (keyboards and bass before) had bought a new Hammond organ on credit, enabling him to take over a part of the band's musical leadership. 'n the second half of 1971 Gomorrha had got themselves a new face. 'n early 1972 they went to the studio again. 

This time they had a contract with the record company Metronome, which had entered the German market with the specially founded label "Brain". 'n order to retain their persona' and musical freedom they only made a title contract. This meant that Gomorrha couldn't be forced to throw one or two LPs on the German market every year; the decision was purely theirs. As a result it was hardly surprising that, after the recording, they didn't know what was going to happen in the future and had no answers to the interviewer's questions with regard to their next album. They spent four entire days in the Windrose-Dumont studio in Hamburg for the recording of "I Turned o See Whose Voice It Was", together with their old friend Conny Plank on the controllers and as producer. This time things went much more smoothly, as the atmosphere in the recording studio wasn't as tense as three years before. The old friendship between technician and musicians was obviously bearing fruit on this LP. Like on the other albums, the band's music was text-based.

Eberhard commented aptly:"This doesn't mean, though, that a dramatic word is accompanied by a spectacular drumbeat. Μore correctly, the music reflects the text's overall mood. If the text is nasty, so is the music." Apocalyptic and at the same time redemptive images permeate "I Turned o See Whose Voice It Was". Dealing with this complex of themes and its musical realization was Ad Ochel's very personal concern. Is environmental pollution the beginning of the Apocalypse, was one of the pressing questions! If so, the bible scribes must have seen our planet earth as a very picturesque and clean place. The dazzling celestial phenomena, clean as a pin, will find it hard to make an impression on us through all the smog, soot and thick factory smoke. Still, the singer loves being fascinated by these stately phenomena appearing in his apocalyptic imagination: one of them, for example, standing between seven golden glowers, wearing a long robe, a golden belt round his chest, snow white hair, eyes flaming like fire, his feet shiny as brass, holding seven stars in his right hand, and so on. It is particularly these colorful images that come to life in the texts. Gomorrha do not think that music ρan contribute a lot to making the world a better place, so they desist from calling upon the audience to stop using plastic bags Social politics is not their intention. Says Helmut:" If I had political aims, it would never occur to me to make music. I'd stick with language." 

The apocalyptic mood doesn't keep the six musicians from making exciting music though. "The music is influenced by our mood, which in turn depends on our feelings, which ρan me very aggressive, but also very mild." They disapprove of making music just for the sake of music and don't go for gimmickry. Their music is played against the background of what they perceive and experience. They want to address the audience with what moves them, because this is the only way to achieve a convincing effect. In other words:" Our music has to hit us first before it ρan hit the audience." Brain's promotion text on the release of the album tried to classify the band's music in the field of "extended" rock with the following text:

Six musicians from Cologne got together under the name Gomorrha in order to make modern, electronic rock music beyond the usual Sabbath-Purple-Zeppelin cliches. Guitarist Ad Ochel:" We want to include electronics in our music, but in a controlled and directed way. We aren't set on freaking out with electronics at all," Gomorrha present their first album on the new Metronome label Brain, dedicated to German rock- and pop music. It contains six songs, which are the very personal statements of six musicians who do not harbor the ambition to be perfect instrumentalists in the traditional sense. They don't set great store by harmonics and other constricting schemata - their main emphasis is on the musical message.

"We play what we feel", says drummer Helmut Pohl. For example, the title song "I Turned o See Whose Voice It Was" is an adaptation of the biblical apocalypse. At the same time it is a description of what is, an evaluation of the current situation. "Danρe On ΐ Volcano", the second main piece on the LP. goes along the same lines. "Tititsh Child" describes Ad Ochel's experience with his little son, "I ry o Change The World" expresses resignation, while "Dead Life" by guitarist Ali Claudi, one of the best German blues guitarists ever, deals with environmental pollution, without however shedding light on the trendy aspects of the highly topical issue, "I Turned o See Whose Voice It Was" by the German band Gomorrha ρan be considered one of the most important recent releases in German pop in the "extended" field of rock, not only due to its clearly perceptible very personal musical message, but also owing to their (clearly perceptible) joy of playing.

Meanwhile the students of architecture had become architects. Job and family took up the biggest part of their time and attention. In 1973 Gomorrha were finished. The rerelease is dedicated to the late Eberhard Krietsch.
CD Liner Notes, Translation by Dr. Martina Hausler
1. Journey - 3:11
2. Trauma - 13:12
3. Yesterday - 3:45
4. Lola - 4:26
5. Dead Land - 3:28
6. Summer - 2:49
7. Rainbowlight - 2:42
8. Dance Of Circles - 3:07
9. Firehands - 3:14
10.Lola - 4:02
11.Totes Land - 3:26
12.Flammenhande - 3:11
13.Reise - 2:38
14.Regenbogenschein - 3:03
15.Gestern - 3:21
16.Kreiseltanz - 4:11
17.Sommer - 3:49
18.Trauma - 9:13
All music by Gomorrha, Wods by As Ochel
Bonus Tracks 10-18 German versions

*Ali Claudi - Guitar, Vocals
*Eberhard Krietsch - Bass, Keyboards, Organ, Vocals
*Peter Otten - Vocals
*Helmut Pohl - Drums, Flute
*Ad Ochel - Guitar, Vibraphone, Vocals

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Monday, March 12, 2018

The Hollies - Hollies (1974 uk, beautiful roots 'n' roll, folkish baroque soft rock, 2009 remaster with extra tracks)

A pop/rock band they might have been, but the Hollies had far more going for them than most of the British Invasion outfits that prospered in the wake of the Beatles. The band was notable among other reasons for the three-part Everly Brothers-inspired harmonies of lead singer Allan Clarke, guitarist Graham Nash and lead guitarist Tony Hicks, all of whom penned some of the group's material, not to mention Hick's ringing, often innovative licks, the superb drumming of Bobby Elliott, and the hit song contributions of outside composers such as Graham Gouldman.

Between 1963 and 1968, the Mancunian band that took its name from Buddy Holly scored time and again with the likes of 'Here I Go Again', 'I'm Alive', 'Look Through Any Window', 'Bus Stop' (the group's American breakthrough), 'Stop! Stop! Stop!', 'Carrie-Ann' and 'Jennifer Eccles'. When Graham Nash, feeling constrained by the Hollies' commerciality, departed to form Crosby, Stills & Nash, guitarist/vocalist Terry Sylvester filled his shoes and the band had further hits courtesy of 'Sorry Suzanne', 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother' and 'Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress)'.

By 1973, however, the Hollies' best days were firmly behind them... save for one remarkable exception. 'The Air That I Breathe', written by the team of Albert Hammond and Mike Hazelwood, was one of pop's all-time finest ballads. Hammond, who before Hazelwood's death in 2001, co-wrote with him for artists like Johnny Cash and Olivia Newton-John, recorded 'The Air That I Breathe' for his 1972 album It Never Rains In Southern California, and the following year Phil Everly covered it for his Star Spangled Banner long-player. It was the Everly version that producer Ron Richards, the man who'd signed the Hollies to EMI back in 1963, then brought into EMI Studios at Abbey Road for the band to work from.

Alan Parsons had been on staff at EMI for several years, and assisted and engineered on projects such as the Beatles' Let It Be and Abbey Road, Paul McCartney's earliest albums with Wings and, most famously, Pink Floyd's legendary Dark Side Of The Moon, not to mention a number of previous Hollies albums dating back to 1969's curious Hollies Sing Dylan venture, which had convinced Graham Nash to quit rather than get involved. 'The Air That I Breathe' was the sole standout on 1974's Hollies, among tracks like 'Rubber Lucy', 'Transatlantic West Bound Jet' and 'The Day That Curly Billy Shot Down Crazy Sam McGee', but the album was important to Parsons, at least, as the first to be engineered solely by him.

While the Hollies album was recorded in all three of EMI Studios' facilities — "At that time, nobody seemed to mind chopping and changing," Parsons remarks — the bulk of 'The Air That I Breathe' was tracked in Studio Three, whose control room at that time housed a 24-channel Neve console, Studer A80 tape machine and JBL 4320 monitors. The band was set up in the live area.

The mix took place in Studio Three, and again this was a formal process. "We'd sit down and go 'Right, we're going to mix this song today,'" says Parsons. "However, we probably wouldn't spend more than three hours on it. I remember in the case of 'The Air That I Breathe', the master machine that we mixed to had some kind of speed fluctuation problem. It might have been slipping on the capstan or something, but I actually took the master to a second generation and did a bit of pitch correction on it, which was quite daring, I suppose."

Released in early 1974, 'The Air That I Breathe' was a worldwide smash, peaking at number two in Britain and number six in the States. It would be the Hollies' last major hit single.
by Richard Buskin
1. Falling Calling (Allan Clarke, Terry Sylvester) - 3:14
2. Down On The Run (Colin Horton-Jennings, Tony Hicks) - 3:54
3. Don't Let Me Down (Allan Clarke) - 4:23
4. Love Makes The World Go Round (Allan Clarke, Terry Sylvester) - 3:46
5. The Day That Curly Billy Shot Down Crazy Sam McGee (Allan Clarke) - 4:28
6. It's A Shame, It's A Game (Colin Horton-Jennings, Tony Hicks) - 3:42
7. Rubber Lucy (Allan Clarke) - 4:16
8. Pick Up The Pieces Again (Terry Sylvester) - 4:00
9. Transatlantic Westbound Jet (Bobby Elliott, Terry Sylvester) - 3:17
10.Out On The Road (Kenny Lynch, Tony Hicks) - 2:56
11.The Air That I Breathe (Albert Hammond, Michael Hazlewood) - 4:15
12.Mexico Gold (Alexander, Campbell, Oerton) - 4:00
13.Tip Of The Iceberg (Kenny Lynch, Tony Hicks) - 4:09
14.Burn Fire Burn (Bobby Elliott) - 3:10
15.Born A Man (Tony Hicks, Kenny Lynch) - 2:58
16.No More Riders (Terry Sylvester, David Gordon) - 2:58
Bonus Tracks 12-16

The Hollies
*Bernie Calvert - Bass, Keyboards
*Allan Clarke - Vocals
*Bobby Elliott - Drums, Percussion
*Tony Hicks - Guitar, Vocals
*Terry Sylvester - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Pete Wingfield - Keyboards

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Atlanta Rhythm Section - Are You Ready! (1979 us, fine southern rock, 2012 remaster)

Both a tribute to ARS's popular success and a testimony to their musical abilities, the live album Are You Ready! was released in 1979. The cover images show how far the group had come-from the house band at a small studio outside Atlanta to playing to stadiums full of people. The album also documents the power that ARS could bring to a live performance. While their musical talents had been well documented with their studio recordings, their ability to give songs a different but equally enjoyable arrangement in concert comes through clearly. Overall, this is another classic work-a compilation of many great songs from their albums up through Champagne Jam played with great energy and skill

The album starts off with a grand opening for a band from Atlanta-the slowing building orchestral Tara's Theme from the film "Gone With the Wind." The announcer asks the crowd "are you ready?!" and the band breaks into Sky High. Songs two-four are all from the album Champagne Jam and keep up the pace and the energy. Songs five-seven go back to some of the group's earliest work-from the rocking Back Up Against the Wall to the incredible musical diversity of Angel to the ballad Conversation. Their biggest hit, Imaginary Lover, is followed by their first hit, Doraville. This leads into the concert classic Another Man's Woman. Two more songs documenting how ARS presented A Rock & Roll Alternative are followed by the closing cover of Long Tall Sally. It's a great live time. 
1. Prelude: Tara's Theme, Sky High (Max Steiner, Buddy Buie, Robert Nix, Ronnie Hammond, Dean Daughtry) - 6:05
2. Champagne Jam (Buddy Buie, Robert Nix, J.R. Cobb) - 5:14
3. I'm Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight (Buddy Buie, Robert Nix, Dean Daughtry) - 5:03
4. Large Time (Buddy Buie, Robert Nix, Barry Bailey) - 3:26
5. Back Up Against The Wall (Buddy Buie, J.R. Cobb) - 4:06
6. Angel (What In The World's Come Over Us) (Buddy Buie, Robert Nix, Barry Bailey) - 7:17
7. Conversation (Buddy Buie, J.R. Cobb) - 3:57
8. Imaginary Lover (Buddy Buie, Robert Nix, Dean Daughtry) - 5:38
9. Doraville (Buddy Buie, Robert Nix, Barry Bailey) - 4:09
10.Another Man's Woman (Buddy Buie, Robert Nix, Barry Bailey) - 14:33
11.Georgia Rhythm (Buddy Buie, J.R. Cobb, Robert Nix) - 5:40
12.So Into You (Buddy Buie, Robert Nix, Dean Daughtry) - 7:47
13.Long Tall Sally (Robert "Bumps" Blackwell, Enotris Johnson, Little Richard) - 3:41

The Atlanta Rhythm Section
*Barry Bailey - Guitar
*Ronnie Hammond - Vocals, Background Vocals
*Paul Goddard - Bass
*Dean Daughtry - Keyboards
*J.R. Cobb - Guitar, Background Vocals
*Roy Yeager- Percussion, Drums

1975-76  Atlanta Rhythm Section - Dog Days / Red Tape (2005 remaster) 

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Friday, March 9, 2018

Stray Dog - Stray Dog (1973 us, powerful heavy blues rock with some prog shades, 2009 remaster and expanded)

Drummer Randy Reeder, bassist Alan Roberts, and lead guitarist Snuffy Walden started their musical partnership as members of the Texas-based blues-rock band Aphrodite.  Formed in 1968, the trio spent five years touring extensively throughout the mid-west without much success.  

Their big break came in 1973 when Greg Lake (or Lake's manager Neville Chesters) spotted them playing in a Denver, Colorado club.  Lake (or his manager) offered the band a recording deal with ELP's newly formed Manticore label.  The deal included the provision the band immediately fly to the UK.  Roberts and Walden readily signed on leaving Reeder behind - he reappeared as a member of the band Bloodrock and Alexis.  In the UK the quickly auditioned for a new drummer, hiring former Road member Leslie Sampson and opting to change their name to Stray Dog. 

Produced by benefactor Greg Lake and the band, 1973's "Stray Dog" was one of those albums that somehow managed to fall through the cracks.  Critics largely panned it as mindless heavy metal, while fans simply ignored it. The band hit the road opening for ELP throughout Europe and the US (certainly a weird musical pairing that probably didn't do much to help sales), but as you'd expect, the album did little commercially.

With little promotional support from Manticore which was then distributed by Motown, the band did some local shows in support of the album.  Needless to say the collection vanished without a trace.  Within a couple of months Stray Dog was over.

After the band called it quits Walden joined a reunited Free where he replaced an incapacitated Paul Kossoff.  He also worked with Kossoff in Back Street Crawler.  He was a member of the Eric Burden Band, recorded some solo material and then went on to enjoy considerable success working in film and television - he's scored music for the likes of  "The Wonder Years", "thirtysomething" and "The West Wing". Roberts was briefly a member of Avalon.
1. Tramp (How It Is) (WG "Snuffy" Walden, Al Roberts) - 6:53
2. Crazy (WG "Snuffy" Walden) - 5:11
3. A Letter (WG "Snuffy" Walden) - 3:54
4. Chevrolet (WG "Snuffy" Walden, Billy Gibbons) - 3:52
5. Speak Of The Devil (WG "Snuffy" Walden, Al Roberts, Les Sampson) - 3:56
6. Slave (Al Roberts) - 6:13
7. Rocky Mountain Suite (Bad Road) (WG "Snuffy" Walden) - 8:28
8. Crazy (WG "Snuffy" Walden) - 5:43
9. The Journey (WG "Snuffy" Walden) - 13:57
10.Eric Takes A Walk - 1:48
11.Rocky Mountain Suite (Bad Road) (WG "Snuffy" Walden) - 9:38
12.Tramp (How It Is) (WG "Snuffy" Walden, Al Roberts) - 7:18
13.Dog's Blues (Including Guitar Solo) - 1:39
Tracks 8-11 Live At Reading Rehearsals, London 1973
Tracks 12-13 Live In Rome, Italy 1973

The Stray Dog
*Al Roberts - Bass, Keyboards, Vocals
*Les Sampson - Drums
*WG "Snuffy" Walden - Guitar, Vocals

1973  Stray Dog - Fasten Your Seat Belts 
Related Act
1972  Road - Road 

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Majority One - Majority One (1971 uk, fabulous swinging beat psych, 2007 remaster and expanded)

On some obscure releases of the early '70s, Majority One wrote and recorded material in the manner of some of the more foppish late-'60s British psychedelic pop, though the style had been out of fashion for a couple of years or so. The group evolved out of the U.K. band the Majority, who issued eight singles on Decca between 1965 and 1968 without reaching the British charts. After a lot of personnel turnover and a spell backing British singer Barry Ryan, the group moved to France and issued one final single as the Majority, "Charlotte Rose," though this was only released in some European territories. 

In 1970, still based in France, they changed their name to Majority One, issuing a few singles in 1970 and 1971 and a self-titled album in 1971, though the latter only came out in France and Holland at the time. With some similarities to the more lightweight efforts of the late-'60s Beatles, Bee Gees, and Moody Blues, Majority One's efforts passed unnoticed in their homeland, though their 1971 single "Because I Love" made the Top 20 in Holland, also becoming a hit in Italy and Brazil. Majority One also released some tracks under the names Black Label and Rocky Cabbage, but disbanded in the summer of 1971.
by Richie Unterberger

1971 saw Pink Elephant finance the band's debut album.  Produced by Jean-Pierre Rawson, the cleverly-titled "Majority One" pulled together the earlier singles and a slew of new studio material.  Graham had a fantastic voice that sounded good across the diverse spectrum of sounds.  While he didn't get a lot of spotlight time lead guitarist Mizen consistently added interesting color to the material and the Andrews/Long  rhythm section kept everything nicely in focus.  

'Feedback; actually opened up with a touch of Peter Mizen feedback guitar before morphing into a glistening slice of power pop.  For anyone who pays attention to that kind of stuff, the lyrics praised the values of feedback guitar (maybe not a big surprise, lead guitarist Mizen and rhythm guitarist Rob Long co-wrote the song).   Imagine The Hollies actually getting around to recording a truly rocking tune and you'd gave a feel for this one.  Great way to start an album !!! 

A beautiful, slightly lysergic-tinged ballad, 'Rainbow Rocking Chair' was quite pretty with some engaging Pink Floyd-styled imagery. Opening up with some heavily treated Graham vocals, 'A Cigarette a Cup of Tea' started out with a very heavy psych edge, but then the track switched directions, showing the band's affection for British music hall moves.  So now that we've started playing spot-the-influences, the gentle acoustic ballad 'Look Like Rain' sounded a bit like something Paul McCartney might had slapped on "The White Album", or perhaps recorded for his solo debut "McCartney".  The song itself had a very simple structure - Pete Mizen basically chanting the title over and over while accompanied by strumming acoustic guitars and some low-keyed percussion.  And it's also one of the tracks that burrows into your head and won't leave. 

Even though Graham's vocals sounded like they'd been recorded over a long distance phone line with a bad connection, 'Glass Image' sported one of the album's more commercial arrangements.  Kicked along by some Mizen fuzz guitar and a stuttering string arrangement, the song had a cool, jittery urgency that makes it easy to see why it was tapped as the band's first single. 'Depths of My Mind; was kind of cool for trying to meld a pop melody with a hard rock chorus.   Hearing Graham stretch out was also interesting in that he sounded a bit like an angry chipmunk on this one.   The freak-out sax solo at the end of the song was also mildly entertaining.

'I Don' Mind the Rain' was another track that sounded like it had a 1967 timestamp.  A pretty, acid tinged ballad complete with effects treated vocals, glistening backing vocals, and harpsichords, to my ears the song's always reminded me of "Revolver" era Beatles  - ah the summer of love. Probably because it served to show what these guys could have done with a little more leeway and time, 'Roger La Frite' was a killer rocker.  Built on an insidiously catchy hook and some tasty Mizen lead guitar, this one should have been tapped as a single. 

So what's the take away here?  Well, I'd say it's a great album that falls short of being a classic album by sounding a couple of years behind prevailing early-'70s tastes and by the absence of a truly original sound.  (In contrast, some of the material they released under the pseudonyms Black label and Rocky Cabbage had a far more '70 sound - check out 'I'm Leaving' or 'Freedom' .)  Nevertheless, song for song it's way better than a slew of better know releases.  Shame they didn't get a chance to record another set.
1. Feedback (Peter Mizen, Rob Long) - 3:27
2. Rainbow Rocking Chair (Rob Long) - 2:24
3. A Cigarette, A Cup Of Tea (Peter Mizen, Rob Long) - 2:49
4. I Nearly Died (Barry Wigley, Iain Sutherland) - 3:33
5. Looks Like Rain (Barry Wigley, Rob Long) - 2:49
6. Glass Image (Peter Mizen, Rob Long) - 2:43
7. Because I Love (Peter Mizen, Rob Long) - 2:09
8. Love Came Today (Barry Wigley, Iain Sutherland) - 2:41
9. Depths Of My Mind (Barry Wigley, Iain Sutherland) - 2:16
10.I Don't Mind The Rain (Barry Wigley, Iain Sutherland) - 3:32
11.I See Her Everywhere (Peter Mizen, Rob Long) - 2:30
12.Roger La Frite (Barry Wigley, Iain Sutherland) - 5:48
13.Revelation (Walter Andrews) - 0:38
14.Get Back Home (Rob Long, Barry Wigley) - 2:45
15.A Hard Days Night (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 3:33
16.Friday Man (Peter Mizen, Rob Long) - 3:09
17.Charlotte Rose (George Alexander) - 2:53
18.Letter From The Queen (Peter Mizen) - 2:43
19.No Matter What (Peter Ham) - 3:00
20.Freedom (Barry Wigley, Iain Sutherland) - 2:49
21.Birds Must Learn To Fly (Peter Mizen) - 4:34
Bonus Tracks 14-21

The Majority One 
*Larry Graham (Graham Wigley) - Vocals
*Rob Long - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Peter Mizen - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Walter Andrews - Bass (Tracks 1-13)
*Iain Sutherland - Drums, Percussion (Tracks 1-13)
*Chris Kelly - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
*Don Lill - Drums, Percussion
*Ken Smith - Bass

Related Act
1971-79  Sutherland Brothers And Quiver - The Very Best Of 

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Morgan Mason Downs - Morgan Mason Downs (1970 us, wonderful acoustic hippie folk, 2011 korean remaster)

Mad Morgan and Steve Downs had met in New Orleans and found brotherhood over two guitars and a gallon jug of red wine at a party.

At that time Mad was the leading actor in the Front Street Repertory Theatre in Memphis and had visited friends over the holidays in the New Orleans Repertory Theatre where Steve was appearing as Puck in a production of Shakespeare's A Midnight Summer Dream.

On returning to New York months later, they ran into each other aand began writing a Bradway musical together. They performed the songs from the show for music publishers who encouraged them to write and record an album.

Mad and Cass were lovers at the time. Cass had been recording with the Trout and left to begin singing with Mad and Steve. Morgan Mason Downs was born. Roulette records signed them for an album and the rest is history.
CD Liner Notes
1. Heather Morning - 4:12
2. Home - 3:49
3. Knowing - 3:10
4. Come With Me - 3:50
5. The Time Is At Hand - 4:37
6. Daffodil - 3:40
7. Ah, The World Goes Round - 2:40
8. Sea Song - 2:30
9. Day Of The Fair - 2:57
10.Lullabye - 3:07
Music and Words by Madison Mason, Stephen Downs.

*Cassandra Morgan - Vocals
*Madison Mason - Vocals, Guitar
*Stephen Downs - Vocals, Guitar

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Monday, March 5, 2018

The Marshall Tucker Band - The Marshall Tucker Band (1973 us, amazing jam sounthern classic rock, 2004 remaster with bonus track)

Taking a page from their Capricorn Records labelmates and Southern rock contemporaries the Allman Brothers, the Marshall Tucker Band issued a self-titled debut blending the long and winding psychedelic and jam band scene with an equally languid and otherwise laid-back country-rock flavor. Into the mix they also added a comparatively sophisticated jazz element -- which is particularly prominent throughout their earliest efforts. The incipient septet featured the respective talents of Doug Gray (vocals), Toy Caldwell (guitar/vocals), his brother Tommy Caldwell (bass/vocals), George McCorkle (guitar), Paul Riddle (drums), and Jerry Eubanks (flute/sax/vocals). Their free-spirited brand of Southern rock was a direct contrast to the badass rebel image projected by the Outlaws or Lynyrd Skynyrd. This difference is reflected throughout the 1973 long-player The Marshall Tucker Band. The disc commences with one of the MTB's most revered works, the loose and limber traveling proto-jam "Take the Highway."

The improvised instrumental section features some inspired interaction between Toy Caldwell and Eubanks. This also creates a unique synergy of musical styles that is most profoundly exhibited on the subsequent cut, "Can't You See." Caldwell's easygoing acoustic fretwork babbles like a brook against Eubanks lonesome airy flute lines. The remainder of the disc expounds on those themes, including the uptempo freewheelin' "Hillbilly Band." Unlike what the title suggests, the track is actually more akin to the Grateful Dead's "Eyes of the World" than anything from the traditional country or bluegrass genres. "Ramblin'" is an R&B rave-up that leans toward a Memphis style with some classy brass augmentations. 

The effort concludes on the opposite side of the spectrum with the tranquil gospel rocker "My Jesus Told Me So," offering up Caldwell's fluid guitar work with a sound comparable to that of Dickey Betts. "AB's Song" is an acoustic folk number that would not sound out of place being delivered by John Prine or Steve Goodman. This eponymous effort established the MTB's sound and initiated a five-year (1973-1978) and seven-title run with the definitive Southern rock label, Capricorn Records. 
by Lindsay Planer
1. Take The Highway - 6:15
2. Can't You See - 6:05
3. Losing You - 5:06
4. Hillbilly Band - 2:35
5, See You Later, I'm Gone - 3:08
6. Ramblin' - 5:07
7. My Jesus Told Me So - 5:32
8. AB's Song - 1:15
9. Everyday (I Have The Blues) (Live Version) - 12:33
All selections written by Toy Caldwell except Bonus Track #9 written by Peter Chatman

The Marshall Tucker Band 
*Toy Caldwell - Vocals, Electric, Acoustic, Steel Guitars
*Tommy Caldwell - Vocals, Bass Guitar
*George McCorkle - Electric, Acoustic Guitars
*Doug Gray - Vocals, Percussion
*Jerry Eubanks - Saxes, Flute, Vocals
*Jai Johanny Johnson - Congas
*Paul Hornsby - Austic, Electric Piano, Organ, Moog
*Fred Wise - Fiddle
*Oscar Jackson - Tenor Saxophone
*Samuel Dixon - Trumpet
*Donna Hall - Vocals
*Ernestine Jones - Vocals
*Ella Brown - Vocals

1973  The Marshall Tucker Band - Way Out West, Live From San Francisco (2010 remaster)
1974  The Marshall Tucker Band - Where We All Belong (2004 remaster with bonus track)
1975  Marshall Tucker Band - Searchin' For A Rainbow (2004 remaster and expanded)

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Saturday, March 3, 2018

Chuck And Mary Perrin - Life Is A Stream (1971 us, wondrous baroque folk, 2005 remaster and expanded)

I was the oldest of 12 children, so naturally my  passion for folk music spread to my younger brothers & sisters. But  it was my sister Mary, 4 years younger than me, who seemed taken by it  the most. Of course, it helped that she had this amazingly unique voice,  honest & natural in timbre, as well as a great ear for harmony. I  started encouraging her, working out songs with her, & teaching her  to play guitar.

One night I called her up on stage to join me for a song or two. A  month or so later, in August of 1965, the Illinois State Fair held a  statewide Folk Song Hullabaloo competition.  Lots of high-powered,  banjo-pickin’, four-part-harmony groups from across the state laid it  down in Springfield.  But Mary & I, a fledgling brother & sister  act from little Pekin, impressed the judges with our simplicity,  personality, & blood harmony.  We took home the first place  Governor’s trophy, a check for $500, and an all-expense paid recording  session in Nashville.  The very next day, the Pekin Times put our  picture holding the trophy on the front page.

That was the beginning of Chuck & Mary.  We knew we had something  special.  Mary was only 15 years old, but she started learning guitar in  earnest & matched my voracious appetite for all things musical,  particularly acoustic music. Most importantly, she began to write her  own songs. By the next summer, when the Webster’s Last Word Coffee house  opened, we were a solid act.

1971, We ran across Irving Azoff.  Just out of college at the University of Illinois, he had his fingers in everything entertainment in Illinois at the time. He managed REO Speedwagon, & would go on in later years to become a mega-manager for acts such as the Eagles & Steely Dan. He was friends with an independent radio promo man in Chicago named Peter Wright, who was starting up his own labels: Twinight Records (for blues)  & Sunlight Records (for pop/rock). Irving, who was livin large even back then, flew us up to Chicago in his private plane & introduced us to Peter who decided to produce an album of our material to release on Sunlight Records. 

We’d been recording in minimalist fashion. Now all of a sudden we were going into RCA’s studio complex on Wacker Drive to record on 16 track machines. We recorded the basic tracks for Life Is A Stream in January of 1971 using the talents of another of Peter’s signees, Chicago pop group THE NEW COLONY SIX as backup musicians. Notable is the keyboard work of Chuck Jobes, and the rhythm section of Dave Robin on bass and Billy Herman drums. Also appearing on guitar & dobro was Bruce Brown, who often toured with Chuck & Mary.  Peter had been a trumpeter with a big band background,  so his concept was to incorporate some creatively unique string & horn arrangements. He hired the great arranger  Hoyt Jones & gave him the tracks to score. They were performed in the studio by members of the  Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

During the next few years we continued touring, based out of Chicago, often opening for college concerts by Bill Withers, Richie Havens, and John Sebastian. We made a memorable cross country trip shepherded by  Daniel Markus, flexing the managerial skills that have made him infamous, even today. When we were in town, we worked often @ Richard Harding‘s Quiet Knight, paling around with other local folk performers getting started around this time, like Steve Goodman & John Prine.
1. Life Is A Stream (Instrumental) (Jeffrey P. Johnson) - 2:26
2. Bye, Bye Billy - 2:25
3. Ceremony (Edward Sheehy) - 2:47
4. On You Alone - 4:06
5. Eversince - 2:31
6. When You're Feeling Blue - 3:28
7. Corrine (Jeffrey P. Johnson) - 2:40
8. Dealer - 2:59
9. Dedication - 3:43
10.Picking Up The Pieces - 2:46
11.Horizons (Edward Sheehy) - 3:32
12.Life Is A Stream (Vocal) (Jeffrey P. Johnson) - 2:27
13.Mornings - 4:16
14.What Am I Doing Here - 2:35
15.Dedication (Demo) - 3:49
16.This One's For You - 4:46
17.As Long As I'm With You - 4:04
18.Take A Little Time - 3:07
19.Some People Know How To Live - 3:56
20.Mildred Metz - 2:37
21.The Time Has Come - 3:30
22.When You're Feeling Blue - 3:19
23.Little Lady - 1:56
All compositions by Chuck Perrin except where stated

*Mary Perrin - Vocals, Guitar
*Chuck Perrin - Vocals, Guitar
*Bruce Brown - Dobro Guitar
*Davis Robin - Bass
*Billy Herman - Drums
*Chuck Jobes - Keyboards
*Hoyt Jones - String, Horn Arrangements

1970  Chuck and Mary Perrin - The Next Of Kin (2011 korean reissue) 

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