torsdag 19 september 2019

Mott The Hoople - The Hoople (Klassiker UK 1974)

290:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition. Klassiker och utgången utgåva för länge sedan. Bra platta till bra pris med 7 bonuslåtar.)

The Hoople is a 1974 album by British band Mott the Hoople. Its highest chart rating in the US was #28. A remastered and expanded version was released by Sony BMG on the Columbia Legacy label in Europe in 2006. It is the first album to feature Ariel Bender on guitar, replacing Mick Ralphs who left to form Bad Company.

Mott was so good that the sequel, appropriately named The Hoople, has been unfairly dismissed as not living up to the group's promise. No, it doesn't compare to its predecessor, but most records don't. The bigger problem is that Mick Ralphs chose to leave during the supporting tour for Mott, leaving Ian Hunter as the undisputed leader of the group and subtly changing the character of the band's sound. Even with Hunter as the band's main songwriter, Ralphs helped shape their musical direction, so without a collaborator in hand, Hunter was left without a center.

It isn't surprising that the record seems a little uneven, both in terms of songwriting and sound, but it's hardly without merit. "Roll Away the Stone," a leftover from Mott, is first-rate; "Crash Street Kidds" rocks viciously; "The Golden Age of Rock & Roll" is a pleasant spin on Bowie-esque nostalgia (think "Drive-In Saturday"); and Overend Pete Watts follows through on that theme with "Born Late '58," a perfectly credible rocker. This all makes The Hoople an entertaining listen, even if it doesn't compare to Mott's earlier masterpieces.

01."The Golden Age of Rock 'n' Roll" – 3:26
02."Marionette" – 5:08
03."Alice" – 5:20
04."Crash Street Kidds" – 4:31
05."Born Late '58" (Overend Watts) – 4:00
06."Trudi's Song" – 4:26
07."Pearl 'N' Roy (England)" – 4:31
08."Through the Looking Glass" – 4:37
09."Roll Away the Stone" – 3:10
Track listing note: On the original LP album release, side one was comprised of tracks 1-4; side two of tracks 5-9.

Bonus tracks
10."Where Do You All Come From" (Dale "Buffin" Griffin, Hunter, Mick Ralphs, Peter Watts) – 3:26 B-side of "Roll Away the Stone" single.
11."Rest in Peace" – 3:55 B-side of "The Golden Age of Rock 'n' Roll" single.
12."Foxy, Foxy" – 3:31 Non-LP single A-side.
13."(Do You Remember The) Saturday Gigs" – 4:20 Non-LP single A-side.
14."The Saturday Kids" – 6:03 (Work in progress mixes)
15."Lounge Lizzard" – 4:19 (Aborted single b-side)
16."American Pie/The Golden Age of Rock 'N' Roll" (Don McLean, Hunter) (Live) – 4:15 (Live from Broadway)

tisdag 10 september 2019

Sunforest - Sound of Sunforest (Great Prog-Folk UK 1969)

290:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Eition. En Mini LP som man inte ser så ofta. Bra Folk/Prog från 1969.)

Sound of Sunforest is the first and only studio album by psychedelic folk group Sunforest.

Two tracks from the album, "The Overture to the Sun" and "Lighthouse Keeper" were re-recorded by the band to be used in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. The soundtrack album credits the tracks to Terry Tucker and Erika Eigen, respectively. The track "The Overture to the Sun" was also used by the american neofolk/martial-industrial band Blood Axis for their song "Lord of Ages".

"Lighthouse Keeper" was also featured in television series The Maxx.

One track from the album, "Magician in the Mountain", was remixed in Mix Master Mike's mixtape Terrorwrist Delivery Service.

Sunforest were a sort of poppier, all-female American (albeit Uk-based) version of The Incredible String Band (albeit not so weird). Their lone 1969 album is a good period piece, full of warm and gentle beatlesque psycho-pop tunes, tinged with slight Renaissance reminiscences.

«Terry Tucker went to London with two girlfriends, Erika Eigen & Freya Houge, to become pop singers and were discovered almost right away in a working class cafe drinking tea. A man came in a fur coat from Decca Records, wanted to hear their songs and they went to the studio that night and recorded a demo. Two weeks later they wanted to record an album and he became their manager. They were his American girls. They recorded their one and only album Sound of Sunforest in 1969. 

Kubrick wanted them to record Overture for the Sun [and Lighthouse Keeper] for the soundtrack [to A Clockwork Orange]. It got recorded again, Terry wrote some changes in the arrangement for the film. Overture is instrumental, like a little renaissance piece. Terry wrote and arranged it, played harpsichord on it. Lighthouse Keeper is a song that Erica wrote and Terry sang backup on it and played the piano. Terry stayed in England about 12 years and came home to the US after the band broke up.» 

01.Overture to the Sun (1:40)
02.Where Are You (2:42)
03.Bonny River (2:41)
04.Be Like Me (2:10)
05.Mr. Bumble (1:49)
06.And I Was Blue (2:49)
07.Lighthouse Keeper (2:04)
08.Old Cluck (2:41)
09.Lady Next Door (2:26)
10.Peppermint Store (2:00)
11.Magician in the Mountain (4:09)
12.Lovely Day (2:45)
13.Give Me All Your Living (2:38)
14.Garden Rug (2:13)
15.All in Good Time (3:45)

fredag 6 september 2019

The Astronauts - Surfin' With The Astronauts (US 1963) Mini LP

290:- (24-Bit Limited remaster Edition. Gruppens 1:a album från 1963 och deras bästa. Fyra stjärnor hos AMG. Släpptes som Mini LP 2008 och är nu svår att hitta.)

The Astronauts were an American rock and roll band, who had a minor hit in 1963 with "Baja" and remained successful for several years, especially in Japan. They have been described as being, "along with...(the) Trashmen, the premier landlocked Midwestern surf group of the '60s." For most of their career, the band members were Rich Fifield, Jon "Storm" Patterson, Bob Demmon, Dennis Lindsey, and Jim Gallagher.

Along with Minnesota's Trashmen, the Astronauts (from Colorado) were the premier landlocked Midwestern surf group of the '60s. They recorded numerous singles and albums and achieved vast regional popularity, but only scored one modest national hit, "Baja." 

With little material of their own, they judiciously tapped heavyweights like Lee Hazelwood (who wrote "Baja"), Roger Christian, and Gary Usher, as well as covering tunes by Dick Dale and Henry Mancini. The group shone brightest on their instrumentals, which used mounds of Fender reverb and two rhythm guitars.

Considering that, by their own admission, the Astronauts had not only never played surf music, but had never heard of surf music before they were signed to record this album -- which was done in two days during May of 1963 -- the results are not only very good, but astounding. The long-player, which also marked only the group's second time in the recording studio (and the first for this version of the band), does what any good surf music album should do, imparting a sense of forward momentum and never letting up. From the opening cut, "Baja," the band acquits itself well on the instrumentals and decently on the vocal numbers, which include "Susie-Q," "Surfin' USA," and "Baby Let's Play House." 

No one was going to forget the Beach Boys, Dale Hawkins, or Elvis Presley over the renditions here, although in fairness, neither are they terrible -- just uninteresting if you know the originals. 

With one original here (the group-composed "Kuk"), the Astronauts were very much slaves to outside writers, but the band and its producer had a good sense of where to look for material. The result is an album that stands with the best of the surf albums of the period, even if it's not otherwise exceptional on its own terms.

01. Baja (Pronounced Ba-Ha)  02:27
02. Surfin' U.S.A.  02:15
03. Misirlou  02:04
04. Surfer's Stomp  02:38
05. Susie-Q  02:05
06. Pipeline  02:06
07. Kuk  02:07
08. Banzai Pipeline  02:14
09. Movin'  01:59
10. Baby Lat's Play House  02:29
11. Let's Go Trippin'  02:02
12. Batman  01:55

Aerosmith - S/T (Gruppens 1:a Album, US 1973) Mini LP

290:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition. Denna, det första albumet med gruppen har nu blivit myckt svår att hitta som Mini LP.)

Aerosmith is the self-titled debut album by American hard rock band Aerosmith, released in 1973.The album was recorded in two weeks at Intermedia Studio in Boston, Massachusetts.

The photo at right is the original cover, which misprinted the song "Walkin' The Dog" as "Walkin' The Dig." When a second pressing of the album was released in 1976, this error was corrected, and the cover replaced with a modified one made up entirely of the photo of the band members. This second pressing is the more commonly available version of the LP. When reissued on CD in 1993, a remastered version of the original first pressing artwork was used.

In retrospect, it's a bit shocking how fully formed the signature Aerosmith sound was on their self-titled 1973 debut — which may not be the same thing as best-executed, because this album still sounds like a first album, complete with the typical stumbles and haziness that comes with a debut. Despite all this, Aerosmith clearly showcases all the attributes of the band that would become the defining American hard rock band of the '70s. Here, the Stones influences are readily apparent, from the Jagger-esque phrasing of Steven Tyler to the group's high-octane boogie, but the group displays little of the Stones' deep love of blues here. Instead, Aerosmith is bloozy — their riffs don't swing, they slide. 

Single Released in Japan 1974
They borrow liberally from Led Zeppelin's hybridization of Chess and Sun riffs without ever sounding much like Zep. They are never as British as Zeppelin — they lack the delicate folky preciousness, they lack the obsession with blues authenticity, they lack the larger-than-life persona of so many Brit bands.

They are truly an American band, sounding as though they were the best bar band in your local town, cranking out nasty hard-edged rock, best heard on "Mama Kin," the best rocker here, one that's so greasy it nearly slips through their fingers. 

But the early masterpiece is, of course, "Dream On," the first full-fledged power ballad. There was nothing quite like it in 1973, and it remains the blueprint for all power ballads since. The rest of the record contains the seeds of Aerosmith's sleazoid blues-rock, but they wouldn't quite perfect that sound until the next time around.

01."Make It" (Steven Tyler) – 3:45
02."Somebody" (Tyler, Steven Emspack) – 3:45
03."Dream On" (Tyler) – 4:28
04."One Way Street" (Tyler) – 7:12
05."Mama Kin" (Tyler) – 4:25
06."Write Me" (Tyler) – 4:11
07."Movin' Out" (Tyler, Joe Perry) – 5:03
08."Walkin' the Dog" (Rufus Thomas) – 3:12

Tuff Darts - Tuff Darts! (New Wave, Punk US 1978) Mini LP

290:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition. Deras enda album, släpptes i England 1978 på "Sire" Etiketten.)

While the Ramones, Patti Smith, Television, and the Dead Boys were the biggest names to emerge from the first wave of New York's punk rock explosion in the mid- to late '70s, dozens of other bands were also making the scene at CBGB's and Max's Kansas City at the time, and Tuff Darts were among the first to make their mark. Playing tough-minded rock with pop hooks, hard rock riffs, and more than a little retro style, Tuff Darts first began making a noise on the New York club scene in the early '70s, where their punchy sound and suit-and-tie image earned them gigs opening for the New York Dolls. The band's original lineup was Robert Gordon on vocals, Jeffrey Salen and Bob Butant on guitars, John DeSalvo on bass, and James Morrison on drums; this edition of the band made its recording debut with three tracks on the 1976 compilation album Live at CBGB's, though before long Gordon would move on to a well-respected solo career as a rockabilly revivalist.

Gordon's departure was soon followed by drummer Morrison, who was replaced by percussionist John Morelli; Morelli in turn recruited a new singer for the group, Tommy Frenzy. With Frenzy at the helm, Tuff Darts scored a deal with Sire Records and released their self-titled debut album in 1978, which was produced by Bob Clearmountain and Tony Bongiovi and featured guest appearances from Ian Hunter and Eric Weissberg. A nationwide tour followed the album's release, but after returning to New York, Frenzy announced he was leaving Tuff Darts to form his own band, Big Spender, and it wasn't long before Tuff Darts broke up. The band's sole album, Tuff Darts!, was reissued on CD in 2002, and Frenzy, Salen, DeSalvo, and Morrison celebrated the occasion by reuniting for a handful of shows; Frenzy continues to perform with this Tuff Darts lineup, as well as recording and gigging as a solo act.

Although they only recorded one full-length record and a smattering of singles, Tuff Darts were a vital part of a thriving New York City community that featured Blondie, the Ramones, Talking Heads and Television as its elder statesmen. So it's with a bit of a surprise that more acknowledgement of the group's importance has been underwhelming. Fusing a little bit of new wave, power pop sensibilities and a rockabilly snarl, the group works its way through 13 storming numbers, taking very few pauses in between for regrouping. The songs are ferocious, and while not as comical as the Ramones, share equal footing with that band's brutal intensity. Above all, though, there's no denying that the band's output has held up over the years, and in some cases best many contemporary punk bands' albums today.

01. Rats  02:55
02. Who's Been Sleeping Here?  02:55
03. Here Comes Trouble  02:09
04. She's Dead  02:34
05. Phone Booth Man (P.B.M.)  03:33
06. (Your Love Is Like) Nuclear Waste  02:54
07. My Guitar Lies Bleeding in My Arms  03:14
08. Love and Trouble  03:44
09. Head Over Heels  02:39
10. Slash  03:27
11. Fun City  02:54
12. All for the Love of Rock & Roll  03:17

lördag 24 augusti 2019

Tudor Lodge - S/T (Bra och Eftertraktad Progressiv Folkrock UK 1971)

290:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition. Original Poster Relief Konvolut. Eftertraktad och utgången utgåva sedan länge. 6 år sedan jag hade ett exemplar till salu.)

On a bright summer day in 1971 in England, two young gents and a woman with a flute mounted the main stage at the Cambridge Folk Festival for their moment in the sun, remembered by all the band-members as their crowning achievement. "The whole atmosphere was still love and peace", the weather was fantastic, and despite nervousness that caused John Stannard's knee to bounce audibly and repeatedly against the microphone stand, Tudor Lodge poured out their honeyed harmonies and mesmeric spider web guitar background. The audience would remember and mention the set in almost every piece of writing about the band that appeared in the years after.

The beginning of our story, however, and indeed the truest setting for our heroes lies in more intimate surroundings, the folk clubs scattered over the English countryside. Tudor Lodge was born in the year 1968 from the temporary union of John Stannard and Roger Strevens as a performing folk duo. Roger's character included an unusual, off-the-wall sense of humor and John tended not to speak at all in performance, a strange juxtaposition that insured that they would be remembered even by the most fleetingly attentive members of any audience.

Perhaps fortunately, Roger decided that he had "had enough" sometime in late 1969 and abandoned John to a series of about six shows they had committed to play. With hopes of fulfilling his obligations to the several clubs, John approached a young guitarist he had observed playing in clubs on occasion, one Lyndon Greene, with the intention of asking him to fill in for Roger on their last few gigs. Lyndon had recently returned from a spell in Turkey, where he had been forging his own "hippie trail" through the psychedelic hinterlands, and was ripe for a new adventure. They agreed to finish out the six gigs together, and upon the successful conclusion of that run of shows saw no reason not to continue on.

Ann Steuart, the final member of the central triad, found John and Lyndon. Ann is American, grew up in New York City, and in high school participated in a performing band, originally called the "Utopians" and later "Guardians of the Rainbow". In 1969, Ann, her sister, and her mother joined her stepfather in England. Ann's stepfather had been refurbishing "narrow boats" and even a Chinese junk (!) for use in the extensive system of canals and locks laid out over the English countryside. As soon as Ann arrived, they began a family tradition of taking the junk out for "pub crawls" in which they would "crawl" up and down the Grand Union Canal, stopping at each pub along the way for a beer and conversation before piloting on. Ann would often drag her guitar onshore and play a three-song floor set, and the family also had the opportunity to see many of the local acts play, including John and Lyndon's. Tudor Lodge expanded to include Ann in Summer 1970.

The fully grown Tudor Lodge show toward the end of 1970 or in 1971 consisted of two sets, each about 45 minutes long. The whole group would play together through the first set, mostly songs that later found their way onto the group's Vertigo album. They often covered Buffalo Springfield's "Expecting to Fly", CSNY's "Helplessly Hoping", and either Joni Mitchell's "Nathan La Franeer" or "The Gallery". The first set usually finished with a humorous send-up of "Stay By Me Diana" or Buddy Holly's "Oh Boy" that began with John and Lyndon singing a cappella in traditional folk style and degenerated to Elvis Presley style to end in a truly wretched finale.

The second set began with several full-group songs, usually including "Willow Tree". Apparently they would begin the song with the dramatic intro heard on the album version. John notes that it was "very weird and out of context with the rest of the set - it was us doing our avant-garde bit." The second set would continue with solo performances by each member of the band. Ann usually played her song "Two Steps Back", either using a guitar as accompaniment, or a piano if the club had one. Lyndon usually played a guitar instrumental, the Incredible String Band's "Hedgehog Song" or John Sebastian's "She's a Lady". Several more full-group songs would follow, generally finishing the show with a version of Ralph McTell's "Kew Gardens", a 1970 live example of which graces this CD.
Covering Mr. McTell's song was without doubt a tip of the hat to the band's greatest and closest-to-heart inspiration. In addition to Ralph, Bert Jansch and John Renbourn were also "inspirational but not influences because we could never play to their standard." Very often Tudor Lodge was playing in the same clubs as their favorite musicians, the Troubadour and Les Cousins in London. The late show at Les Cousins began at midnight and ran to dawn, and all the musicians who had finished their earlier gigs showed up to drink, listen and play. In one evening, one might hear Ralph McTell, Al Stewart, Mike Cooper, John Martyn, Keith Christmas and Tudor Lodge under the same roof!

Beside the couple-of-nights-a-week hometown club shows, Tudor Lodge did several extended tours of more distant parts of England, making the rounds of, and filling small local clubs with listeners. Occasionally Tudor Lodge headlined in small theaters or played support for more famous bands like Genesis, Fairport Convention, or Steeleye Span. Stranger gigs also sometimes came their way, such as a poetry night at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm in honor of Cecil Day Lewis, where Tudor Lodge was hired to stand in for an absent Leonard Cohen. The band sat on stage in a semicircle with the various budding poets as each in turn declaimed his or her pearl of wisdom until the band's turn arrived to come forward to the podium and present the only musical offering of the evening, hastily practiced renditions of "Suzanne" and one of Mr. Cohen's other songs. Odd!

In December 1970, Karl Blore, the band's manager, arranged for an audition with the new record label, Vertigo Records. Most of Vertigo's cluster of bands were in the rock vein, and included well-known acts Black Sabbath and Uriah Heep, along with lesser known acts like Gentle Giant, Patto, Jade Warrior, and Colosseum. Many of the Vertigo albums released between 1969 and 1973 have come to be seen as the progenitors of both modern heavy metal and modern progressive rock, and the original LPs have become desperately sought-after objects for many collectors. Many collectors will buy a Vertigo album without having heard the band before, simply on the strength of the label, and this is one of the reasons that copies of the relatively obscure Tudor Lodge LP change hands for upwards of 175 pounds today. Being one of only two folk acts on the label, Tudor Lodge must have been a surprise to a few of those avid fans of the label.

Tudor Lodge auditioned in less than ideal surroundings for conveying the subtle nuances of harmony and song writing that were their stock in trade: in downtown Soho at the Marquee Club, squeezed in between two King Crimson sets! The sound person apparently cared little for changing the settings at the mixing board that he had prepared for the wildly raucous and electric King Crimson, and they had "nothing but feedback all the way through." However, the band went down well, and was signed to Vertigo Records, a major coup.
The album was recorded in a week or two in February of 1971. Danny Thompson and Terry Cox (both from the Pentangle) were hired by Vertigo to provide bass and drum tracks for the album, and learned all the songs on the spot. The unerring grace with which these two complement the Tudor Lodge musicians is certainly an astounding testament to their abilities as session men.

Within a couple of months, a single from the album sessions was released. The B-side of the single, Peter, Paul, and Mary's "The Good Times We Had", is included on this archival CD in its first re-release in any format. "The Good Times We Had" was briefly a part of Tudor Lodge's live set, but didn't settle in as a regular component. Shortly after the single, Vertigo released the album in a wonderful, intricately drawn, black and white four way foldout cover, which sold poorly during the year it was available.

After the album was released, the band began to find a somewhat larger following, and began to be invited to more of the larger venues than before as well as different types of venues. In the summer of 1971 they played that most venerable of all British folk festivals, the Cambridge Folk Festival, and in August played at the Weeley Festival in Clacton. Weeley attracted 150,000 attendants, and Tudor Lodge was sandwiched in between rock bands like Mungo Jerry, Barclay James Harvest, Mott the Hoople, the Pink Fairies and Brinsley Schwarz. The Hell's Angels were acting as security at the festival. At one point John remembers being forced to hide in his car while two Hell's Angels fought each other with iron bars just outside: "They left blood on the bonnet of my car to prove it!" Tudor Lodge was originally scheduled to play in the evening, but scheduling problems forced their set later and later until finally they played sometime near sunrise, largely "to a sea of sleeping bags with heads popping up now and then." Certainly the largest audience the band ever played for, but hard to know how many were actually aware of the treat.

In November 1971 Ann decided that it was time to take her leave; she had grown tired of the constant traveling and shortage of money. A six-week tour of Holland had been scheduled for January and February of 1972, so a replacement was needed in short order. Karl Blore was friends with many in the British folk scene, including the Richard Thompson / Sandy Denny / Fairport Convention axis, so he was able to contact and entice Linda Peters from that crew to sign on with Tudor Lodge. Linda started work with Tudor Lodge in December 1971, and the three tracks included on this CD were recorded toward the end of 1971 before the tour of Holland. "Morocco" was a regular part of the Tudor Lodge set even before Ann left the band, and was inspired by a week of evenings spent playing in a small holiday resort in Asila, a town near Tangier in 1971. "Look At Me" was a new Stannard song, and Carole King's "It's Gonna Take Some Time" was probably a song that Linda brought to the band. The band played 6 or 8 gigs in Holland and one or two in England upon their return before Linda decided it wasn't her cup of tea and departed for an illustrious musical career with Richard Thompson and solo. Linda's departure signaled the end of Tudor Lodge.

Soon after the breakup of the band, John Stannard gathered together all the Tudor Lodge folk and friends he could find and went into the studio to record a new set of songs he had been writing. In a single one-day session, the five songs that comprise tracks 6-9 and track 12 were recorded and mixed. The master reels have been lost, so these tracks were taken from a second or third generation normal bias cassette mix down tape, accounting for the inferior sound quality even after substantial equalization and adjustment performed in the digital domain. (One track, "We Are Today", is taken from a studio acetate and is better quality.) None of these songs were ever performed as part of the Tudor Lodge set, and John has played them live perhaps only once or twice over the years.

In the spring of 1972, Lyndon traveled to Berlin with Mike Silver, where he spent the next year playing gigs and recording album tracks with Mike as well as with the American John Vaughan. Over the many years since then he has played music, worked as a travel agent, as a second hand bookseller, in limited edition publishing, and at present is gearing up to live in Japan. Soon after leaving Tudor Lodge, Ann met Simon Baker, with whom she started a hotel barge business on the Thames, refurbishing boats and conducting vacation tours of the English waterways. Eventually the two moved to Jamaica and then New Hampshire in the U.S.A. John Stannard still lives in Reading, England.

However, the Tudor Lodge story does not end there. In 1981, Ann, Lyndon, and John discovered quite by chance that all three were living in Reading, and decided to play a reunion show. (One of the tracks on this CD, "Sundown Waker", is taken from a recording of the reunion show, overdubbed later by John and Lyndon.) Ann left for Jamaica soon thereafter, but John and Lyndon continued playing together. 

They recruited Lynne Whiteland, a local musician they admired and began playing weekly shows together. Lynne, Lyndon and John recorded track 10, "One More Drink", for this CD release. In 1985, Lyndon moved to Australia and John and Lynne were left to carry the torch as a duo. The very fine music that John, Lynne, and Lyndon have made in the 80's and 90's can be explored on the CD "Let's Talk" released by Cast Iron Records.

In an attempt to complete the circle, we have included John and Lynne's absolutely latest work as Tudor Lodge on this archival CD, tracks 4 and 5. Both tracks were recorded in February 1997 onto analog tape at the Outhouse Studio in Reading. Lynne and John wrote, arranged and recorded "Home to Stay" within 6 days of first deciding to record new material for the CD! In homage to the roots of their music, John and Lynne have also reprised "It All Comes Back To Me" from the Vertigo album in really one of the most wonderful performances on the CD. Play it for your friends and you may find yourself hoping that this little group of musicians continues to make music through many a year still to come.

01. It All Comes Back To Me (4:19)
02. Would You Believe? (2:29)
03. Reflection (3:17)
04. Two Steps Back (2:51)
05. Help Me Find Myself (4:19)
06. Nobody's Listening (3:30)
07. Willow Tree (3:20)
08. Forest (3:34)
09. I See A Man (3:00)
10. Lady's Changing Home (4:36)
11. Madeline (4:03)
12. Kew Gardens (2:18)

Mellow Candle - Swaddling Songs (Great & Rare Folkrock UK 1972)

290:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition. Klassad som en av de bästa albumen från England. Kostar en förmögenhet om du lyckas hitta ett original exemplar i mint skick. Mycket eftertraktat album.)

Mellow Candle were a progressive folk rock band. Principally Irish, the members were also unusually young, Clodagh Simonds being only 15 and Alison Bools (later O'Donnell) and Maria White 16, and still at school, at the time of their first single, "Feelin' High", released in 1968 on Simon Napier-Bell's SNB Records.

By 1972, the lineup had expanded to include Dave Williams on guitar, Frank Boylan on bass, and William Murray on drums. With this lineup in place, the band released their only album, Swaddling Songs (Deram Records), which was commercially unsuccessful at the time. Over the years, however, the lone album by the band has received considerable critical acclaim and original vinyl copies are now very valuable. 

Boylan was later replaced by Steve Borrill (ex-Spirogyra), but shortly afterwards the band split up. After the band's dissolution, Simonds worked with Thin Lizzy, Jade Warrior, and Mike Oldfield. Boylan played with Gary Moore, while Murray contributed to albums by Kevin Ayers, Amazing Blondel, Mike Oldfield, and Paul Kossoff.

In 1991, "Silver Song" was covered by All About Eve as a B-Side to some versions of their single Farewell Mr. Sorrow.

1996 saw the release of The Virgin Prophet, a collection of previously unreleased material by the band, including early versions of many of the songs later released on Swaddling Songs. Some of these sessions featured Richard Coughlan of Caravan on drums, although his sessions do not feature on "Virgin Prophet".

In 1996, Simonds recorded Six Elementary Songs, released in 1997 on the Tokyo-based Evangel Records.

In 1999, Simonds recorded a version of Syd Barrett's setting of the James Joyce poem "Golden Hair" for Russell Mills album "Pearl and Umbra". 2006-7 saw the participation of Simonds in a musical project called Fovea Hex, alongside Brian Eno, Roger Eno, film composer Carter Burwell, Andrew McKenzie of the Hafler Trio, Steven Wilson, Colin Potter (of Nurse With Wound), Robert Fripp, Percy Jones, and others. 

The project has been favourably reviewed by Pitchfork Media. Also in 2006, Simonds performed a version of "Idumaea" for Current 93's album Black Ships Ate The Sky, and a version of "Cockles and Mussels" for Matmos's ep "For Alan Turing".

In 2006, O'Donnell was reunited with Dave Williams and Frank Boylan on the album Mise Agus Ise. She followed this with the 2008 EP The Fabric of Folk on Static Caravan (a collaboration with English folk/rock band The Owl Service), and her debut solo album, Hey Hey Hippy Witch, released at the end of 2009 on Floating World.

Despite the fact that after thirty years "Swaddling Songs" is less of a challenge to listen to than it would have been in 1972, it still stands as a most brilliant documentation of the childhood lives of Clodagh Simonds and Allison Williams.

Having grown up in the strict Holy Child Convent School in Dublin, the two women were forbidden to listen to rock music, but listened covertly to Radio Luxembourg each night. Only when Simonds began writing a succession of hymnal pop tunes on her parents' piano did the two lives begin to converge.

Mellow Candle - UK Promo Copy Only 1972 (£620)

After several false starts, Mellow Candle began to record "Swaddling Songs" in 1971 after moving to London, when Simonds was only eighteen. Though apparently not many songs had been written by Simonds herself, the results were amazing even after thirty years.

"Heaven Heath" and "Messenger Birds", both written by Allison Williams (née O'Donnell) Simonds' longtime schoolmate, added a contrasting touch to the album. Retaining the hymnal flavour of Simonds' songs, they are nontheless much odder in their melodies and rhythma, especially "Heaven Heath"'s brilliant harpsichord line, but retain the accessible melodies and amazingly beautiful vocals. "Messenger Birds" sets the mystical tone of the album - remiscent in places of Kate Bush's work on "The Ninth Wave" in its tale of travelling across the sea.

"Sheep Season" with its long instrumental outro and "Silver Song" (once covered by My Bloody Valentine) show the typical Simonds style of haunting and atmospheric pop tunes, not at all folky in instrumentation or sound. "Dan The Wing" was an amazing drama about evil, beating Laura Nyro's "Eli And The Thirteenth Confession" or Kate Bush's "The Dreaming" for explicit imagery of the Devil. 

"Break Your Token" was an upbeat, festive rocker, whilst the amazing overlaying of a guitar solo and beautiful vocals on "Lonely Man" was worth the price of admission alone. The closer "Boulders On My Grave" continued in that vein with Clodagh and Allison repeatedly chanting "Do do do do", "La la la la" and "Na na na na" in perfect harmony.

The album's centrepiece, though, was the amazing, chilling, piano-only "Reverend Sisters", in which the women's beautiful voices matched Simonds' amazing piano line and lyrics describing brilliantly the women's strict religious upbringing and its effects on them - almost a taste of Tori Amos twenty years before the fact. "Reverend Sisters" was remarkably honest yet not a preachy attack on religion - it was a matter-of-fact tale that will always amaze those fortunate enough to hear it.

"Buy Or Beware" and "Vile Excesses" rounded of the album excellently. Because of the (for its time) very difficult lyrical imagery, "Swaddling Songs" never charted and would not have been warmly received by critics. Mellow Candle soon disbanded and Simonds spent most of the 1970s working as a session singer.

Nonetheless, the beautiful, almost medieval-like vocal harmonies in "Swaddling Songs" were and unlike anything else in rock. Though the album has been seen as a folk album, "Swaddling Songs" in fact lacked any normal "folk" characteristics and was basically pure pop in charcter. Yet, the medieval and intensely mystical atmosphere of the record makes it a true sonic marvel of beauty and simple melodies. Thus, original LP copies of "Swaddling Songs" have become a valuable rarity that stands as testimony to the music's worthiness.

01."Heaven Heath" (Alison Williams) – 3:00
02."Sheep Season" (Clodagh Simonds, A. Williams, David Williams) – 5:01
03."Silversong" (Simonds) – 4:26
04."The Poet and the Witch" (Simonds) – 2:51
05."Messenger Birds" (A. Williams) – 3:38
06."Dan the Wing" (Simonds) – 2:45
07."Reverend Sisters" (Simonds) – 4:21
08."Break Your Token" (Simonds) – 2:27
09."Buy or Beware" (D. Williams) – 3:04
10."Vile Excesses" (D. Williams, William Murray) – 3:14
11."Lonely Man" (Simonds) – 4:30
12."Boulders on My Grave" (Simonds) – 3:40  

onsdag 7 augusti 2019

Tear Gas - Selftitled (One of The Best Hardrock Ever, UK 1971)

350:- (SHM-CD Limited Remaster Edition.En av de bästa hårdrocks albumen från tidigt 70-tal. Exakt kopia med "Flip-Back" konvolut. Endast detta exemplar i lager.)

A Glasgow, Scotland progressive rock band formed in the late 60s, Tear Gas initially comprised Eddie Campbell (keyboards), Zal Cleminson (guitar), Chris Glen (bass, vocals), Gilson Lavis (drums) and Andi Mulvey (vocals). Mulvey had previously sung with local beat group the Poets. After changing from their original name, Mustard, they chose Tear Gas as a variation on the same theme. However, Mulvey was soon replaced by keyboard player and vocalist David Batchelor, and Lavis (who later played with Squeeze) by Richard Monro from Ritchie Blackmore’s Mandrake Root. 

It was this line-up who made their recorded debut with 1970’s Piggy Go Getter, an album typical of the time with its extended guitar and keyboard passages. However, they were more playful than some - ‘We were a really loud band. In fact we used to open with Jethro Tull’s ‘Love Story’, which started very softly and the crowd would drift towards the front. 

Then we’d turn the volume up and blow everyone out of the hall.’ Later in 1970 Hugh McKenna replaced Batchelor while his cousin Ted McKenna (ex-Dream Police) took over from Monro on drums. Itinerant musician Ronnie Leahy also contributed keyboards in Batchelor’s absence, though the group were by now living in penury six to a room in Shepherd’s Bush, London. A second album was recorded for release on Regal Zonophone Records but again met with a lacklustre response from the critics. Despite regular touring in an effort to establish themselves, it was not until they teamed up with Alex Harvey in August 1972 to become the Sensational Alex Harvey Band that they saw any real success.

Originally known as Mustard. Their first vocalist Andy Mulvey had previously been with The Poets. However, he was soon replaced by David Batchelor and around the same time Gilson Lavis (their original drummer, who later played with Squeeze) was replaced by Richard Monro from Ritchie Blackmore's Mandrake Root. This line-up recorded Piggy Go Getter, which made little impact. In 1970 Hugh McKenna took over Batchelor's vocal role and Ted McKenna (ex-Dream Police) relieved Monro on drums. They recorded a second album and tried to establish themselves on the underground scene but were going nowhere with their brand of tired boogie heavy rock, until they teamed up with Alex Harvey in August 1972 to become The Sensational Alex Harvey Band.

Formed in Glasgow at the close of the 1960s, the band featured Eddie Campbell (keyboards), Zal Cleminson (guitar), Chris Glen (bass, vocals), Gilson Lavis (drums) and Andi Mulvey (vocals).

Mulvey and Lavis were soon replaced respectively by keyboard player and vocalist David Batchelor, and Richard Monro. This line- up recorded the album “Piggy Go Getter”, in 1970. Some months later Hugh McKenna replaced Batchelor while his cousin Ted McKenna (ex-Dream Police) took over from Monro on drums.

This line-up of Tear Gas soon earned a reputation as a fine live act and the band’s self-titled second album was much stronger work than its predecessor, released in the UK on the Regal Zonophone label in 1971. Despite its excellence, the album failed to sell in significant quantities.

In August 1972 Zal Cleminson, Ted McKenna, Hugh McKenna and Chris Glen joined forces with vocalist Alex Harvey to form The Sensational Alex Harvey Band who would meet with success and record a series of inventive albums throughout the 1970s.

The Glasgow-based prog/heavy/rockers Tear Gas (originally known as Mustard) released their second album in 1971 establishing themselves on the underground scene.

Wullie Monro and Eddie Campbell left the band. Wullie joined Berserk Crocodiles (see Dream Police) and Ted McKenna from the freshly collapsed Dream Police replaced him. Eddie Campbell quit for whatever reason – perhaps just tired of touring – and was not instantly replaced. ‘Tear Gas’ released on the Regal Zonaphone label by this revised line up though Campbell appears on the ‘live in the studio’ medley of ‘All Shook Up & Jailhouse Rock’.

An un-credited Ronnie Leahy provides the keyboards elsewhere on the album. Leahy played with Glen, McKenna and Cleminson again in the early ’90s under the name of the ‘Sensational Party Boys’ – promoters mistook the name for a group of male strippers! ‘ Saw them in London in the Charing Cross Road Marquee (now a Weatherspoons) – a right good night..

Tear Gas’ has an odd front cover pic. Is it meant to signify anything? If so it was lost on us. All tracks are ‘hard ‘n heavy rock’ . Again not terribly memorable apart from ‘Love Story’, a highlight of the stage act, whose arrangement was visited again by SAHB on the ‘Penthouse Tapes’. One is left with the feeling that the band was a couple of years behind the times in their material and the union with Alex Harvey was the shot in the arm of originality they needed. ‘Tear Gas’ was reissued on CD by Renaissance, a US label, in the mid ’90s as RCD1005.

After the comercial failure of the ‘Tear Gas’ LP, Ted McKenna’s cousin, Hugh McKenna, was drafted in on keyboards and backing vocals but Davie Batchelor soon left to go into production – he produced the SAHB stuff – they all sound pretty good – but was famously dropped by Noel Gallagher during the making of Oasis’ first album.

A rumour persisted for a while that he had to quit Tear Gas because he was going deaf! Hugh took over the lead vocals and this is the line-up that returned to Glasgow to join up with Alex Harvey after an unsuccessful stint in London . The rest of that story is well-documented history.

Davey Batchelor - Vocals, Guitar
 Zal Cleminson - Lead Guitar
 Chris Glen - Bass, Vocals
 Ted McKenna - Drums

Guest Musicians
 Hugh McKenna - Keyboards
 Alex Harvey - Vocals

01. That's What's Real 06:02
02. Love Story 07:01
03. Lay It on Me 03:44
04. Woman for Sale 04:24
05. I'm Glad 05:49
06. Where Is My Answer 05:59
07. Jailhouse Rock & All Shook Up 05:49
08. The First Time 04:53

lördag 27 juli 2019

Jefferson Airplane - Takes Off (Classic 1st Album US 1966)

300:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition, klassiker, svår att hitta nu.)

Jefferson Airplane formed in San Francisco during the summer of 1965, emerging from the San Francisco Bay folk music boom (see American folk music revival). Although the Airplane was considered the pre-eminent San Francisco group of the period, Kantner was the only native San Franciscan.

The group's founder was singer Marty Balin, who had established a minor career as a pop singer in the early Sixties and made several recordings under his own name. In mid-1965 Balin raised funds to open a nightclub, The Matrix and met folk musician Paul Kantner at another local club, the Drinking Gourd.

Kantner started out performing on the Bay Area folk circuit in the early 1960s, alongside fellow folkies Jerry Garcia, David Crosby and Janis Joplin, and he has cited folk group The Kingston Trio as a strong early influence. He briefly moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1964 to work in a folk duo with future Airplane/Starship member David Freiberg (who subsequently joined Quicksilver Messenger Service).

Balin and Kantner then set about selecting other musicians to form be the house band at the Matrix. Balin heard female vocalist Signe Toly Anderson at the Drinking Gourd and invited her to be the group's co-lead singer; however Anderson became pregnant with her first child in late 1965, which led to her departure in late 1966.

Kantner next recruited an old friend, blues guitarist Jorma Kaukonen, originally from Washington, DC. Kaukonen had moved to California in the early 1960s and met Kantner while at Santa Clara University in California in 1962. Kaukonen was invited to jam with the new band and although initially reluctant to join, was won over after playing his guitar through a tape delay device that was part of the sound system used by Ken Kesey for his Acid Test parties. The original lineup was completed by drummer Jerry Peloquin and acoustic bassist Bob Harvey.

The origin of the group's name is often disputed. "Jefferson airplane" is slang for a used paper match split to hold a marijuana joint that has been smoked too short to hold without burning the hands - an improvised roach clip . An urban legend claims this was the origin of the band's name, but according to band member Jorma Kaukonen, the name was invented by his friend Steve Talbot as a parody of blues names such as Blind Lemon Jefferson. A 2007 press release quoted Kaukonen as saying:

"I had this friend [Talbot] in Berkeley who came up with funny names for people," explains Kaukonen. "His name for me was Blind Thomas Jefferson Airplane (for blues pioneer Blind Lemon Jefferson). When the guys were looking for band names and nobody could come up with something, I remember saying, 'You want a silly band name? I got a silly band name for you!'"
The group made its first public appearance at the opening night of The Matrix club on 13 August 1965. Peloquin was a seasoned musician whose disdain for the others' drug use was a factor in his departure a few weeks after the group began. Although he was not a drummer, singer-guitarist Skip Spence (who later founded Moby Grape) was then invited to take over.

They drew inspiration from The Beatles, The Byrds and The Lovin' Spoonful, gradually developing a more pop-oriented electric sound. The other members soon decided that Harvey's bass playing was not up to par, so he was replaced in October 1965 by guitarist-bassist Jack Casady, who was an old friend of Kaukonen's from Washington. Casady played his first gig with the Airplane at a college concert in Berkeley, California, two weeks after he arrived in San Francisco.

The group's performing skills improved rapidly and they gained a following in and around San Francisco, aided by reviews from veteran music journalist Ralph J. Gleason, the jazz critic of the San Francisco Chronicle; after seeing the band at the Matrix in late 1965 he proclaimed them "one of the best bands ever." Gleason's support raised the band's profile greatly, and within three months their manager Matthew Katz was fielding offers from record companies, although they were yet to perform outside the Bay Area.

Öppna bilden i "ny Flik" för 100%
Two significant early concerts featuring the Airplane were held in late 1965. The first was the dance at the Longshoremen's Hall in San Francisco on 16 October 1965, the first of many happenings in the Bay Area, and it was here that Ralph Gleason first saw the Airplane. At this concert they were supported by a local folk-rock group The Great Society, which featured Grace Slick as lead singer. Kantner met her for the first time that night. A few weeks later, on 6 November, they headlined a benefit concert for the San Francisco Mime Troupe, the first of many engagements for rising entrepreneur Bill Graham, who became their manager.

In November 1965 Jefferson Airplane signed a recording contract with RCA Victor, which included an unheard-of advance of $25,000. On December 10, 1965 it played at the first Bill Graham show at the Fillmore ballroom, supported by The Great Society and others, and it also appeared at Family Dog shows promoted by Chet Helms.

The group's first single was Balin's "It's No Secret" (a tune he had written with Otis Redding in mind); the B-side was "Runnin' Round The World", the song that led to the band's first major clash with RCA.

The debut LP Jefferson Airplane Takes Off was completed in March 1966, and Skip Spence quit the band. He was eventually replaced by Spencer Dryden from Los Angeles, who played his first show with the Airplane at the Berkeley Folk Festival on July 4, 1966.

Öppna bilden  i "ny flik" för 100%
Manager Matthew Katz was fired in August and the legal fallout continued for years. Balin's friend and roommate Bill Thompson was installed as permanent road manager and temporary band manager. Thompson, a friend and ally of the band, was a former Chronicle staffer who convinced reviewers Ralph Gleason and John Wasserman to see the band. Thanks to Gleason's influence, Thompson was able to book the group for appearances at the Berkeley Folk Festival and the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Jefferson Airplane Takes Off was released in September 1966. Folk music influenced the album, which included John D. Loudermilk's "Tobacco Road" and Dino Valente's "Let's Get Together", as well as original ballads "It's No Secret" and "Come Up the Years." The LP garnered considerable attention in the USA and became a gold album.

RCA initially pressed only 15,000 copies, but it sold more than 10,000 in San Francisco alone, prompting the label to reprint it. It was at this point that the company deleted "Runnin' All Over The World" (which had appeared on early mono pressings), because executives objected to the word "trip" in the lyrics. They also substituted altered versions of two other tracks ("Let Me In" and "Run Around") because of similar concerns. The original pressings of Takes Off featuring "Runnin' 'Round The World" are now worth thousands of dollars.

Signe Anderson gave birth to her daughter in May 1966, and in October announced her departure. Her final gig with the Airplane took place at the Fillmore on 15 October 1966. The following night, her replacement Grace Slick made her first appearance. Slick, a former model, was already known to the band - she had attended the Airplane's debut gig at the Matrix in 1965 and her previous group The Great Society had often supported the Airplane in concert.

Slick's recruitment proved pivotal to the Airplane's commercial breakthrough — she possessed a powerful and supple contralto voice, well-suited to the group's amplified psychedelic music, she was good looking, and her stage presence greatly enhanced the group's live impact.

The Great Society had recorded an early version of "Somebody To Love" (under the title "Someone To Love") as the B-side of the only single, "Free Advice"; it was produced by Sylvester Stewart (soon to become Sly Stone) but it reportedly took more than 50 takes to achieve a satisfactory rendition. The Great Society decided to split in late 1966 and played its last show on September 11. Soon after, Slick was asked to join Jefferson Airplane by Jack Casady (whose musicianship was a major influence) and her Great Society contract was bought out for $750.

The Acid Tests were a series of psychedelic parties held by Ken Kesey in the San Francisco Bay Area during the early 1960's, centered entirely around the use, experimentation, and advocacy of LSD, also known as "acid."

The name "Acid Test" was coined by Kesey, after the term "acid test". He advertised the parties with posters that read, "Can You Pass The Acid Test?", and the name was later popularized in Tom Wolfe's 1968 novel, "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test." Musical performances by the Grateful Dead (then the Warlocks) were commonplace, along with black lights, strobe lights, and fluorescent paint. The Acid Tests are notable for their influence on the LSD-based counterculture of the San Francisco area and subsequent transition from the beat generation to the hippie movement.

01. "Blues From an Airplane" (Marty Balin / Skip Spence) – 2:10
02. "Let Me In" (Marty Balin / Paul Kantner) – 2:55
03. "Bringing Me Down" (Marty Balin / Paul Kantner) – 2:22
04. "It's No Secret" (Marty Balin) – 2:37
05. "Tobacco Road" (Clay Warnick) 3:26
06. "Come Up The Years" (Marty Balin / Paul Kantner) - 2:30
07. "Run Around" (Marty Balin / Paul Kantner) – 2:35
08. "Let's Get Together" ( Chester Powers) – 3:32
09. "Don't Slip Away" (Marty Balin / Skip Spence) – 2:31
10. "Chauffeur Blues" (Lester Melrose) – 2:25
11. "And I Like It" (Marty Balin / Jorma Kaukonen) – 3:16

12. "Runnin' 'Round This World" (Marty Balin / Paul Kantner) - 2:25
13. "High Flying Bird" (Billy Edd Wheeler) - 2:35
14. "It's Alright" (Paul Kantner / Skip Spence) - 2:17
15. "Go To Her" (Early Version) (Paul Kantner / Irving Estes) - 4:09
16. "Let Me In" (Original Uncensored Version) (Marty Balin / Paul Kantner) - 3:31
17. "Run Around" (Original Uncensored Version) (Marty Balin / Paul Kantner) - 2:35
18. "Chauffeur Blues" (Alternate Version) (Lester Melrose) - 2:49
19. "And I Like It" (Alternate Version) (Marty Balin / Jorma Kaukonen) - 8:16
20. "Blues From An Airplane" (instrumental - hidden track) - 2:10