lördag 29 oktober 2016

Nick Gravenites - My Labors (Klassiker med Mike Bloomfield, US 1969)


240:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition. Nick's 1:a soloalbum med bl.a Mike Bloomfield. Kanonplatta som bör finnas i varje rocksamling. Utgången utgåva sedan 2008, så passa på!)

This is a strong major-label debut that the Chicago-born San Francisco bluesman was unable to capitalize on. Most of the tracks are from the same session that produced Live at Bill Graham's Fillmore West by Mike Bloomfield. 

Gravenites, an exceptional songwriter and decent singer, benefits from the presence of the amazing Bloomfield. He elevates the fierce "Moon Tune" to dizzying heights with two dazzling, lengthy solos. Quicksilver Messenger Service backs former producer Gravenites on several studio tracks.


BIOGRAPHY: The name Nick Gravenites is probably familiar mainly to aficionados of '60s Chicago blues and San Francisco blues-rock and psychedelia of the same era, but not to a wider audience, because although Gravenites was an important contributor to the music during its heyday, he has unfortunately been sparsely recorded and often worked behind the scenes over the years. More people are likely to know him for the dozens of great songs he wrote: "Born in Chicago" (Paul Butterfield), "Buried Alive in the Blues" (Janis Joplin), "East-West," "Work Me Lord," "Groovin' Is Easy," "Bad Talkin' Bluesman," and literally hundreds of others. Gravenites' compositions have been recorded by Paul Butterfield, Janis Joplin, the Electric Flag, Elvin Bishop, Charlie Musselwhite, Big Brother & the Holding Company, James Cotton, Otis Rush, Jimmy Witherspoon, David Crosby, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Tracy Nelson, Howlin' Wolf, Roy Buchanan, Pure Prairie League, and others. He also made quite a name for himself as a producer, working on albums by Otis Rush, James Cotton, Michael Bloomfield, Janis Joplin, and others. Gravenites' sessionography is extensive; he's contributed to more than 50 albums as a singer, guitarist, bandleader, and/or producer.

The son of first-generation Greek immigrants, Gravenites grew up on Chicago's South Side and entered the University of Chicago in 1956. He began to play guitar in college, was immediately drawn to the university's large folk music club, and shortly thereafter began hanging out in the blues clubs. He met Paul Butterfield, who was still in high school, through the university's folk music club, though Butterfield never attended the University of Chicago. They began playing acoustic blues and folk songs together at campus-area coffeehouses. Also in the late '50s, he became friends with both black and white blues players then hanging out in the Chicago blues clubs, musicians like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Mike Bloomfield, and Charlie Musselwhite.

A Long Time Comin' In the late '50s he began making periodic trips to San Francisco, and spent nearly ten years commuting between Chicago and San Francisco before finally settling in Northern California in the mid-'60s. Gravenites was a key player and impresario on both the Chicago blues scene and the emerging blues-rock and psychedelic rock scene in San Francisco. In 1967, he formed a short-lived but legendary band, the Electric Flag, with guitarist Bloomfield, organist Barry Goldberg, bassist Harvey Brooks, and drummer Buddy Miles. the Electric Flag made their first performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, and their first album, A Long Time Comin', made the Top 40; the group continued to record into the mid-'70s. Gravenites continued to perform through the 1970s and '80s around San Francisco and Northern California, filling his live shows with raw, burning, very economical guitar playing and soulful singing. His solo and collaborative albums during this period include My Labors (CBS, 1969), the Steelyard Blues soundtrack (Liberty, 1973), Junkyard In Malibu (Line, 1980), and Blue Star (Line, 1980).


Buried Alive in the Blues A mid-'90s album with his group Animal Mind, titled Don't Feed the Animals, was released by Taxon Records, and Gravenites joined Bob Margolin and others in a Kennedy Center tribute concert to bluesman Muddy Waters, taped in the fall of 1997 for airing on PBS. During the 2000s Gravenites could be found along with a host of other blues and blues-rock luminaries -- including Harvey Mandel (Canned Heat, John Mayall), Barry Goldberg (Electric Flag), Tracy Nelson (Mother Earth), Corky Siegel (Siegel-Schwall Band), and Sam Lay (Butterfield Blues Band) -- in Chicago Blues Reunion, an aggregation featured on the CD/DVD set Buried Alive in the Blues (recorded at an October 2004 concert in Berwyn, IL), released in 2005 by Out the Box Records. [Allmusic.com]

Singer and songwriter, bandleader and producer, raconteur and poet of the blues; Nick Gravenites is one of those seminal sixties figures whose contributions to American music cannot be measured solely by his discography. Although often overshadowed by such famous friends as Janis Joplin and Michael Bloomfield, Gravenites' 40 year career links the folk revival of the fifties with the Chicago blues scene of the early sixties and the post- 1965 West Coast psychedelic rock explosion.


He has worked with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Janis Joplin and Big Brother and The Holding Company, Mike Bloomfield and the Electric Flag, and John Cipolina and Quicksilver Messenger Service. He has written songs and produced records for a host of Chicago blues legends including Otis Rush, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, James Cotton and Buddy Guy. But My Labors is the only Nick Gravenites solo album ever issued by a major label (in 1969, as US Columbia 9899).


To quote one of his best-known songs, Nick Gravenites was "Born In Chicago" in 1938. The son of Greek-American immigrants, he grew up in the city's Brighton Park section, where his father George was a candy maker. Nick described his childhood in this ethnic "white ghetto" in a fascinating memoir of his early years, first published in Blues Revue (1995-96). In addition to the pop tunes on the radio, he heard records of Greek string bands and - after the death of George Gravenites in 1949 - listened to his mother "sing and cry her pain in the sad, melismatic style we Greeks call metaloyia... music I will never forget."  

By early 1967, Gravenites had relocated to the Bay Area and become a vital participant in the burgeoning San Francisco scene. With Mike Bloomfield and Barry Goldberg, he co-founded a new horn-powered band called the Electric Flag. Which made its stage debut in June '67 at the Monterey Pop Festival. With Buddy Miles on drums and Harvey Brooks on bass, this group - although never effectively captured on record - was for a too brief time one of the most exciting and accomplished stage bands in American rock. As the Flag's front man, Gravenites conveyed a tough, bluecollar charisma.


A mostly-live a l b u m . My Labors had its genesis in the studio, and three songs from those sessions were included on the original LP. But in January and February 1969, Nick Gravenites participated in a series of live recordings at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, portions of which were issued the following October as Live At Bill Graham's Fillmore West. [Rockasteria]

Musicians:
 Michael Bloomfield - Lead Guitar
 Mark Naftalin - Piano
 Ira Kamin - Organ
 John Kahn - Bass
 Bob Jones - Drums
 Dino Andino Conga
 Noel Jewkis - Tenor Sax
 Gerald Oshita - Baritone Sax
 Snooky Flowers Baritone sax
 John Wilmeth – Trumpet
 Nick Gravenites – Vocals, Guitar

01. Killing My Love - 5:19

02. Gypsy Good Time - 4:30
03. Holy Moly - 3:55
04. Moon Tune - 8:55
05. My Labors - 2:55
06. Throw Your Dog A Bone - 2:57
07. As Good As You've Been To This World - 2:41
08. Wintry Countryside - 13:12

Bonus Tracks:
09. Work Me Lord - 13:15
10. Born In Chicago - 4:25

"Work Me, Lord" is a song from Janis Joplin's I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! album, her first after departing the Big Brother and the Holding Company. It was a part of Joplin's set at Woodstock Festival in 1969. This song was written for Janis by Nick Gravenites.

"Born In Chicago" Nick wrote this song for the debut album album by the Butterfield Blues Band released in 1965.