martedì 15 giugno 2021

CLOSED! (maybe)

 The Blog closes, has no feedback, no comments and few visits. The time I can devote is limited and all this certainly does not encourage. See you soon, maybe. 

lunedì 7 giugno 2021

Minnesoda/Copperhead - 1970's (Minnesoda Music Digipack) 1970

Biography Minnesoda did an obscure but fairly interesting self-titled jazz-rock album for Capitol in 1972, produced by Bob Johnston (famous for his work with Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, Simon & Garfunkel, and numerous others). The record was in limited respects like the first recordings of Chicago and, more distantly, Blood, Sweat & Tears in its jazz-rock-with-vocals format. Minnesoda, however, had a substantially greater funk flavor, and a speedier, more aggressive edge to their material, though they didn't have the pop-friendly melodies of the more renowned bands. Half of Minnesoda's eight members were on horns, with tenor saxophonist Dave Gustafson playing flute as well, adding to the rock band-as-big-band feel.

A couple of the musicians in Minnesoda had performed with name acts prior to the album. Trombonist Don Lehnhoff had played with Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. Much more unexpectedly, trumpeter Eddie Shaw had in the 1960s been the bassist for the Monks, the 1960s band of ex-GIs who recorded an album of ludicrously minimalist, furious pre-punk in Germany in the mid-1960s a record that was unknown by 1972, but which by the 1990s had an avid cult following.

Minnesoda were at first called Copperhead, but without the band's knowledge, they were renamed Minnesoda (in a nod to their Minnesota origins) for the Capitol album. (They were no relation to another band called Copperhead, including ex-Quicksilver Messenger Service guitarist John Cipollina, that also recorded in the early 1970s.) Johnston recorded a second album with the band that went a little further into jazz, and further away from any rough similarities with Chicago, although they were still present. But Johnston was unable to get the album released, and Minnesoda remained their only issued LP.

01.City Streets 3:58
02.Electric Lady 3:13
03.Open Letter 2:56
04.Ever So Sunshine 3:15
05.Blue Before I'm Cold 3:39
06.Children Of The Spaces 3:40
07.Speak Your Piece 3:17
08.Dancing In Rhyme 3:04
09.Orange Lady 4:45
10.Rainbows Alt Take 6:41
11.Waiting Line 2:55

John Elms - vocals
Charles Dahle - guitar
Wayne Cafarella - bass
Dave Gustafson - tenor saxophone
Don Lehnhoff - trombone
Ed Shaw - trumpet
Rick Warneke - tenor saxophone
Bob Anderson - drums

martedì 1 giugno 2021

Tranquility - Silver (Epic Sony Music Japan) 1973


Biography Tranquility were the brainchild of Ashley Kozak, former Donovan manager turned record producer in the early 1970's.  His idea was to form a group that played a "hybrid of pop, rock and English folk music", (like Donovan then!).  So Tranquility were formed in 1971 based around the song writing talent of Terry Shaddick. The band went through many line up changes throughout their three year life span and members included Eric Dillon, Kevin McCarthy, Berkeley Wright, Tony Lukyn, Jim Leverton, John Perry and Bernie Hagley, all of whom had played in other psych and prog bands previously.

1972 saw the release of their first album "Tranquility" for Epic records.  A very mellow affair with a strong West Coast hippy vibe floating throughout the ten tracks. An album to listen to on a lazy summers day.  There is also a not too obvious McCartney influence that you might not pick up on the first listen as the record breezes along, notably on tracks "Lady Of The Lake" and "Black Currant Betty".It's easy to see why the Americans dug this band so much on their support tour of the states in 1972 and the demand for an extra two months worth of dates even before a record had been released over there. Tranquility were far more popular in the states than their home land where they couldn't get arrested. Comments left on YouTube prove that the band must have been a pretty good live act as fans are still leaving messages, reminiscing about their six part harmonies during those Byrds support concerts.

The band returned to London to record their second album "Silver" released again on Epic in 1973.  "Silver" follows on from their first album in a similar direction albeit more polished and tighter thanks to the extensive touring.  Some tracks bordering on lightweight funk (sounds bad but trust me, it works!) with clavinet and mellotron giving the tracks a more fuller sound than the previous album. The title track sums up the typical Tranquility sound, angelic vocal harmonies that drift around a good comparison would be the band America.  My personal favourite "Can I See You" sees the band playing the type of mellow, post-psychedelic goodness that I seem to be blowing all my wages these days. The Beatles influence turns up again on "Dear Oh Dear" and "Nice and Easy", both tracks chosen as leading single to promote the album in the UK where the where it flopped just like the first one did.  Even the hope of sales in the US never materialised.

One last attempt at success in the form of a single, "Midnight Fortune" b/w "One Day Lady", this time for Island records also failed to sell in numbers and so the band called it a day in 1974. Terry Shaddick would eventually find success as co-writer, along with Steve Kipner, of the Olivia Newton-John hit single "Physical" which I've just found out was originally intended for Rod Stewart.  Ya learn summat new every day!

01.Eagle Eye 3:57
02.Can I See You 5:46
03.Linda 4:06
04.Whip Wheel 5:19
05.The Driver's Engine 3:42
06.Couldn't Possibly Be 4:21
07.Nice And Easy 3:17
08.Dear Oh Dear 3:24
09.Silver 7:24
10.The Tree 1:07

Bernard Hagley - Bass Guitar, Flute
Paul Francis - Drums, Percussion
Tony Lukyn - Electric and Acoustic Pianos, Clavinet, Vibes, Organ, Mellotron, Vocals
Terry Shaddick - Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Lead Vocals
Berkeley Wright - Lead Guitar, Vocals
Kevin McCarthy - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals

sabato 29 maggio 2021

Eagle - Come Under Nancy's Tent (Akarma Digipack) 1970

Biography From the remnants of Beantown's pseudo-psychedelic Beacon Street Union flew the equally short-lived Eagle.
After issuing two virtually unheard long-players, the BSU were unceremoniously dropped by their record company in late 1968. By 1970, John Lincoln Wright (vocals), Robert Rosenblatt (keyboards/brass), Richard Weissberg (drums/percussion), and Wayne Ulaky (bass) had honed their sound in a much more earthy fashion, creating an accessible vibe, contrasting the over-produced sound of their former incarnation. However, they did maintain the strong melodic sensibility that had driven the better material from both Eyes of the Beacon Street Union (1968) and The Clown Died in Marvin Gardens (1968). In keeping with the current trends, Come Under Nancy's Tent (1970), which was ultimately Eagle's sole release, blends both solid and otherwise aggressive electric rock with the lilting countrified sound of the singer/songwriter and early-'70s folk movement. "Pack Up" commences the effort with a driving, propulsive Bo Diddley beat and traveling rhythm. "Brown Hair" stands as one of the better sides on the disc, with its easier acoustic melody. This counters the noir brooding of "City Girl" and the exemplary and slightly trippy "Comin' Home Day." There are a couple of straight-laced rockers as well "Snake in the Grass" has a danceable groove that is uncannily similar to the Routers' early surf instrumental "Let's Go," and "Separated" is likewise an uptempo toe-tapper. In 2003, Come Under Nancy's Tent was issued on CD as part of the three-disc State of the Union box set, restoring the title after over 30 years of being out of print.

01.Pack Up 3:56
02.Come In, It's All For Free 2:58
03.Brown Hair 3:26
04.Dance On Little Beauty 2:15
05.City Girl 2:59
06.Kickin' It Back To You 2:36
07.Separated 3:30
08.We Got A Good Thing Goin'/Get A Hit And Run 3:36
09.Snake In The Grass 3:12
10.Comin' Home Day 3:09
11.Working Man (Non LP-Single) (Bonus Track) 3:02

John Lincoln Wright - Vocals
Robert Rosenblatt - Keyboards, Brass
Richard Weisberg - Drums, Percussion
Wayne Ulaky - Bass
Paul Tartachny - Lead & Rhytym Guitars
Bobby Hastings - Bass

martedì 25 maggio 2021

CMU - Space Cabaret (Strange Days Records) 1973

Biography Founded in Cambridge, UK in 1971 - Disbanded in 1973. CMU, also known as CONTEMPORARY MUSIC UNIT were an UK band active in the early 1970's. They were fusing various aspects of art-rock, jazz-rock and folk with a nod to the psychedelic rock. A unique (at the time) characteristic of the band was a combination of female and male vocals, making an interesting blend. The male vocalist was James Gordon (who was also participating with percussion in the band),the female vocalist being Larraine Odell (later of RED EXPRESS, still active in various jazz projects nowadays). Other members were keyboardist Terry Mortimer (who also played some violin), Ian Hamlett (guitar, flute), Ed Lee (bass) and Larraine's husband Roger Odell (on drums). The band released their debut 'Open Spaces' for Transatlantic in 1971. The record is an unpretentious mixture of psychedelia and blues, with some bizarre sonic patches here and there. They changed their line-up drastically for the following album: instead of Mortimer, Gordon and Lee, the band hired Richard Joseph on acoustic guitar (and vocals), Steve Cook on bass and Leary Hasson on keyboards (Hasson came from MARSUPILAMI, which was also on Transatlantic label). Reinforced with new members, and a moderate shift in their sound (the presence of Mellotron and spacey synthesizers), the band released their second (and last) album titled 'Space Cabaret' in 1973. This effort was much more elaborate, complex and original. By the 1975, the band was no more. Both Transatlantic vinyl were re-released on CD's.
CMU are often compared to Arthur Brown and AFFINITY; but fans of CURVED AIR might also enjoy the music of CMU. Both albums are worth checking, especially the second.

01.Space Cabaret 1:56
02.Archway 272 6:18
03.Song From the 4th Era 2:21
04.A Distant Thought, a Point of Light 6:49
05.Doctor, Am I Normal? 4:56
06.Dream 9:42
07.Lightshine 10:26
Bonus tracks
08. Heart Of The Sun 3:11
09. Doctor, Am I Normal? (single version) 5:00

Larraine Odell - vocals
Richard Joseph - vocals, acoustic guitar
Ian Hamlett - acoustic (7) & electric guitars
Leary Hasson - keyboards
Steve Cook - bass
Roger Odell - drums

mercoledì 8 agosto 2018

The Flame - Psychedelic Essentials (2011 Purple Pyramid) 1970

Biography The Flame are most known for their connections to the Beach Boys, though they'd been active for quite some time in a much different part of the world than Southern California before they came to the Beach Boys' attention. Originally known as the Flames, the group with brothers Ricky Fataar, Steve Fataar, and Edries Fataar, as well as Blondie Chaplin was a popular act in their native South Africa in the mid- to late '60s, moving to London near the end of the decade to try to break into a larger market. Still using the name the Flames, they put out an obscure album in the U.K. in 1968, Burning Soul. In July 1969, they were seen at the London nightclub Blaise's by Beach Boys guitarist Al Jardine, who brought the band's other guitarist, Carl Wilson, to see them the following night. Wilson offered to produce an album for the band on the Beach Boys' label, Brother, in California, although it wasn't until the late '70s that the LP was released. By this time, the group was using the name the Flame to avoid confusion with James Brown's backup singers, the Famous Flames.

Abbey Road The album (also called The Flame) didn't actually sound much like the Beach Boys, instead bearing a quite prominent late-'60s Beatles influence in the intricately arranged vocal harmonies and guitars, as well as showing traces of other, more hard rock-oriented late-'60s British acts. Cuts such as "Don't Worry, Bill," "Another Day Like Heaven," and "Highs and Lows," in fact, came about as close as anyone did to simulating the feel of Abbey Road, though the material wasn't as brilliant as that penned by the Beatles. Although a single from the album, "See the Light," made the bottom reaches of the national charts, a second album was recorded but not released, the band breaking up shortly afterward. Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin were absorbed into the Beach Boys for some recordings and touring in the mid-'70s, and Ricky Fataar, in addition to acting and recording as part of the Beatles parody group the Rutles, played on numerous sessions (mostly as a drummer). Chaplin has also had a busy session career, mostly notably in the studio and on-stage with the Rolling Stones since the late '90s.

01.See The Light 3:06
02.Dove 2:18
03.Make It Easy 3:06
04.Get Your Mind Made Up 4:10
05.Don't Worry, Bill 3:17
06.Lady 3:28
07.I'm So Happy 3:17
08.Another Day Like Heaven 5:42
09.Hey Lord 3:49
10.Highs And Lows 4:49
11.See The Light (Reprise) 1:28

Brother Fataar - Bass, Vocals
Ricky Fataar - Drums, Vocals
Blondie Chaplin - Guitar, Vocals
Steve Fataar - Guitar, Vocals

sabato 4 agosto 2018

April Wine - Electric Jewels (Aquarius Records) 1973

Biography April Wine formed in late 1969 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but vocalist/guitarist Myles Goodwyn, guitarist David Henman, drummer Ritchie Henman, and bassist Jimmy Henman soon moved to Montreal. "Fast Train," their first hit, appeared in 1971, the same year as the self-titled debut album. Jimmy Henman left soon after and was replaced by Jimmy Clench. The next year brought the band's first Canadian number one single, "You Could Have Been a Lady," from On Record. David and Ritchie Henman left before the next album, Electric Jewels, could be recorded; they were replaced by Jerry Mercer and Gary Moffet. After April Wine Live (1974) and Stand Back (1975), Steve Lang replaced Clench, who left to join Bachman-Turner Overdrive and later Loverboy. In 1976, The Whole World's Goin' Crazy became the first Canadian album to go platinum and their resulting tour was the first to gross one million dollars. Forever for Now appeared in 1976, followed by April Wine Live at the El Mocambo in 1977. Guitarist Brian Greenway was added that same year, making the band a sextet. After 1978's First Glance and 1979's Harder...Faster, "Just Between You and Me" became April Wine's biggest U.S. hit. The single (one of three Top 40 American singles by the band) propelled 1981's Nature of the Beast to platinum record status. Power Play followed in 1982, and 1984's Animal Grace was their last album. Myles Goodwyn recorded his first self-titled solo album in 1988. Four years later, all the original members regrouped for a Canadian tour, which convinced them to resume recording. "If You Believe in Me," the band's first single in eight years, was followed by 1993's Attitude.

About Electric Jewels With April Wine's third release, the band was just beginning to make a real name for itself, thanks to "You Could Have Been a Lady"'s Top 40 marking on the charts the previous year. Electric Jewels didn't spark a hit, although the power-driven guitar punch of "Weeping Widow" gained a moderate amount of radio play in Canada, as did the semi-ballad "Lady Run, Lady Hide." This album, like most of April Wine's early material, consisted of a three-tiered formula; two or three strong tracks, two or three so-so rock and rollers or ballads, and two or three unnecessary time fillers. As far as the band's lineup goes, both David and Ritchie Henman had left, replaced by guitarist Gary Moffet, and Gerry Mercer, who took over the drumming duties -- and Moffet's playing does give April Wine an added boost, which is noticeable on a number of cuts. "I Can Hear You Callin'" and "Just Like That" show the greatest potential outside of "Weeping Widow" and "Lady Run, Lady Hide," but both Goodwyn and the rest of the band were still experimenting with their writing, and, more importantly, how heavy of a rock band they were going to be. When all is said and done, the better tracks from Electric Jewels and the two albums that precede it can best be heard on most of April Wine's compilations.

01.Weeping Widow 3:57
02.Just Like That 3:12
03.Electric Jewels 6:01
04.You Opened My Eyes 4:52
05.Come On Along 4:31
06.Lady Run, Lady Hide 3:01
07.I Can Ear You Callin' 3:31
08.Cat's Claw 4:48
09.The Band Has Just Begun 4:12

Myles Goodwyn - lead vocals, guitars, mandolin, piano, mellotron
Jim Clench - vocals, bass, arp
Gary Moffet - guitars, vocals
Jerry Mercer - percussion, vocals

venerdì 29 giugno 2018

Cochise - Cochise (2002 Kissing Spell) 1970

Biography There was a lot of talent involved in the making of Cochise's debut album. Guitarist Mick Grabham went on to play in Procol Harum; bassist Rick Wills would later join Foreigner; B.J. Cole would be an in-demand pedal steel player on many sessions over the next few decades; drummer Willie Wilson would play with Pink Floyd; Dick Taylor, who'd just left the Pretty Things, produced; and Storm Thorgerson of Hipgnosis (famous for working on Pink Floyd LP covers) designed a striking and, for the period, daring cover of a woman's unadorned breasts. The credits on a résumé don't always guarantee an outstanding album, however, and Cochise is one of those '60s-turning-into-'70s records that treads an uneasy line between eclectic diversity and a lack of direction. It's so-so period 1970 British rock, distinguished just slightly by a more country-ish flavor than the norm, courtesy of Cole's pedal steel. It's not country-rock, however, and some of the songs in fact owe little or nothing to the form. Numbers like "Painted Lady" and "Moment and the End" are tense, meandering hard rock tunes; the latter cut, in fact (as well as sections of some others, like "Velvet Mountain") sounds kind of like late-'60s/early-'70s Guess Who LP filler. There's a wistful rural feel to parts of the material that suggests some promise, but that mood's shattered by an unnecessary, pedestrian heavy rock cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "59th Street Bridge Song."

01.Velvet Mountain 3:28
02.China 3:57
03.Trafalgar Day 5:11
04.Moment And The End 6:00 
05.Watch This Space 3:59
06.59th Street Bridge Song 3:42
07.Past Loves 3:41
08.Painted Lady 7:06
09.Black Is The Colour 0:56

Stewart Brown - guitar, vocals
B.J. Cole - dobro, guitar, pedal steel, cello, steel guitar
Mick Grabham - organ, guitar, piano, keyboards, vocals
Rick Wills - bass, vocals
John "Sly" Wilson - percussion, drums, vocals

Welcome to Electric Music for a Mind and Body

Welcome to Electric Music for a Mind and Body
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