Sunday, December 29, 2013
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Addiss & Crofut - ST (Columbia, 1967)
Here's another in my sporadic posts, and one I have mixed feelings about. Addiss and Crofut were certainly versatile and ahead of their time in their multicultural approach to folk music, but they often strike me as bland and somewhat emotionless. Still the album has its moments, Sita Ram's raga-folk sound is quite pleasing, for instance, and they have the good sense to cover a Fred Neil song.
The duo seemed to have played a lot of college campuses in the early/mid 60s (according to my google search) and had a gig touring the world on a State Department junket. According to a 1963 press release, Robert Kennedy singled them out for praise. So they were performing a while before they released this, their first album. A 2nd album, Eastern Ferris Wheel, is their best release to my ear and can be heard on the Record Fiend blog. Bill Crofut passed away in the late 1980s but Addiss appears to still be around, although I'm not sure what, if any, involvement he still has in music.
Anyway, it's late so I won't ramble. Here's the tracklist
A1 Simple Gifts
A2 War of Words
A4 Malaysian Flute
A5 Sita Ram
A6 Blues on the Ceiling
B1 A Ballad from Vietnam
B2 I Sing of a Maiden
B3 Non norbis, Domine
B4 To Have a Wife
B5 Mail Myself to You
B6 Crusader's Song (pts. 1 &2)
B7 Joys of Love (Plaisir d'Amour)
Here's the music.
I did recently record a few records to my computer, and while it takes a bit of time to clean them up and get them ready for posting there will be more posts coming including Nils-Aslak Valkeapaa, Vida E Inspiracion, John & Anne Ryder & Elmerlee Thomas).
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Randy Holland - Cat Mind (Mother Record Corp., 1972)
Monday, March 14, 2011
Just a quick post with a bit of news and one crass plug.
The crass plug first. I was lucky enough to be asked to contribute some reviews to the book Endless Trip, an American/Canadian companion volume to Galactic Ramble. But even if that weren't the case I would still highly recommend it. A fantastic collection of reviews, both new and vintage, of 60s & 70s era pop, psych, folk, prog, rock, r&b, & even some jazz. It's bigger than your phonebook, even if you live in a major metro area, containing over 3000 reviews, both well-known and obscure. Click the book title to order your copy.
Also, I'm making a major effort to update my links. Getting rid of dead blogs and adding cool new ones. If anyone wants to help by reporting dead links, new links for old blog, or just new good blogs to add, please do. Since every time I check I link I have to go back over the past year's posts (it's been that long since I checked most of them), it takes a while.
Even better, I expect to have a new post up within a week, Randy Holland's Cat Mind album--some very tasty private press, loner rock.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Stephen Spano - Eye to Eye (Adelphi, 1975)
Monday, September 06, 2010
Blog Update: Not Dead Yet
Sunday, June 06, 2010
Fiebre Amarilla - Fiebre Amarilla (unknown, mid-70s?)
Something different this time. I don't know much about the band or the record, and would probably never have heard it if it hadn't been for the anonymous person up the street who through away a nice little collection of Central and South American lps from the 1970s (thanks, whoever you are). A number of the LPs are pretty cool Latin rock, but many have been reissued in their home countries. That doesn't seem to be the case with this one by Fiebre Amarilla (yellow fever, in English).
Fiebre Amarilla is from El Salvador and is still performing today, but from what I can tell (see Youtube videos below) they've evolved into a more staightforward Latin/Salsa outfit, although still quite good. On this, which I suspect is their 1st album (it's at least self-titled) they perform in a wider variety of styles. In addition to some salsa (including a Joe Cuba cover), you can hear some stone cold funk (check their version of the Beatles' "I Gotta Feeling"), some boogie-rock (check "You'll Belong to Me"), and even a bit of prog-rock ("Introduction"). The band is talented and they some nice vocal harmonies. Songs are in Spanish and English. The whole is a varied and quite tasty release.
Whoever left the album for me didn't place it in the correct sleeve, so I have no cover images for this LP. The picture above is from the sleeve in which I found the record, but is another Fiebre Amarilla album. You can, however, see the band as well as their autographs.
Here is a tracklist
1. Introduction (Fiebre Amarilla)
2. Let It Bring the Music (Jorge Rivera)
3. I Gotta Feeling (Lennon & McCartney)
4. La Cartera (D.A.R.)
5. Hecho Y Derecho (Joe Cuba)
6. Por Que No Llegaste Ayer? (German Mangandi)
7. Mananas de Abril (Ele Juarez)
8. Sembre un Poema (German Mangandi & Tony Delgado)
9. Si Yo Canto (Jorge Rivera)
10. You'll Belong To Me (German Mangandi)
Give a listen here.
Here you can check out a couple more recent performances from the group:
Friday, April 30, 2010
Billie Joe Becoat - Reflections from a Cracked Mirror (1969)
Billie Joe Becoat released two LPs, of which this is the first, before leaving the music scene and inventing the 2-wheeled drive bicycle (which, I'm pretty sure, was a much more profitable enterprise). He is another fine African-American folk singer, who has been unjustly overlooked. On this album he sings about people setting the cities on fire, about being abandoned by his lover, and about the lives of the poor and dispossessed. Although he's not without a sense of humor about it too--check his satirical Dylan rewrite on "Hi Fiddle De Fi" and the pointed irony on tracks like "I've Got Everything I Need" and "I'm a Good Man, a Fine Man." The arrangements are fairly sparse, consisting of Becoat's acoustic guitar and harmonica and a rhythm section of acoustic bass and occassional tamborine. His voice is pretty good too. But it's the verbal play of Becoat's songs that are the real highlight here. Give it a listen.
As an aside, the record was produced by Ray Shanklin who was a composer for Ralph Bakshi's Fritz the Cat and Heavy Traffic (both great soundtracks).
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Just a quick update. Actually, I'm not on vacation, although I did get to spend a few days in a hotel while our heat and electricity were off. Now I'm back home buried under 3 feet of snow.
Anyway, it's been a busy winter and I haven't had the energy to post some new music. If you regularly check the blog I'd say come back when Spring arrives--I hope to have another post up sometime in April.
Until then, check the links. I will continue to (slowly) update them and eliminate the dead ones.
Happy new year and all that.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Rabbi Abraham Feinberg - I Was so Much Older Then... (1969)
This is a record that should have made it into Roger Bennett and Josh Kun's And You Shall Know Us by the Trail of Our Vinyl, but didn't. Rabbi Feinberg was a leftie, Reform rabbi from Toronto who got some counterculture cred singing along with John & Yoko on "Give Peace a Chance." He even suggested a couple of lines for the song. Soon after he recorded this album for Vanguard. The back cover of which has a couple of photos of him with John & Yoko in case you missed the story at the time. It also features some biographical information detailing his education, his early singing career as Anthony Frome, the "Poet Prince of the Airwaves," and his peace activism. You can read other versions of his bio here and here.
Rabbi Abraham (or Tony) Feinberg covers a number of excellent songs including Buffalo Springfield's "Flying on the Ground," the Bee Gees' "Words," and Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" as well as some really old oldies like Brahms' "Lullaby." And while he doesn't have a bad voice, he doesn't really have much of a feeling for most of the material. He told John Lennon that he couldn't keep time with "today's music," but I don't think that's the problem. He keeps time OK, but he just sounds too too formal, too classical for this material. Still, there are some interesting (if perhaps a bit dated) production touches on the record, like the echoey background vocals on "I Shall Be Released" and the little spoken political pieces that link the songs (there is no blank space between numbers, so it may sound like some of them end pretty abruptly). And the record does grow on you (or at least grew on me) after repeated listenings--so in spite of its general oddness you may find some things to like.
Here's the tracklist
1. Simple Child Loved
2. Story of Isaac
3. Flying on the Ground
4. Warm Traitor's Breath
6. I Shall be Released
8. Bells of Saint-Pierre
9. Torna a Surriento
10. Brahams Lullaby
And you can get the music here or here. Enjoy.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Barry Mann - Angel, Angel Down We Go ST (1969)
Well, as you may have guessed I'm not posting the Hoover album I promised last time--it turns out it's already available on the excellent PUZZLEDOYSTER blog and I suggest you go over there and grab it ASAP.
Instead, I'm filling a request for an album I didn't post before because it had been available elsewhere--in this case on the 7 Black Notes blog, which unfortunately is no longer active. Since I lost my own recording of this when my hard drive crashed a while back, I am reposting the recording that appeared on 7 Black Notes.
So what about Angel, Angel Down We Go? Well if you're interested in the movie (starring Jennifer Jones and Roddy McDowall, as well as featuring Lou Rawls and Holly Near) I suggest you check out IMDB's page on it. Or check out the trailer. The soundtrack, which may or may include all the music from the film (I have to confess to never having seen the movie) features music by Barry Mann, composed sans songwriter partner, wife and lyricist Cynthia Weil. Mann has co-writing credits for many memorable songs. If you're not familiar, check the Mann & Weil web site. Mann's soundtrack credits are perhaps not as impressive--although the duo did pen most of the music for the classic teen-exploitation flick, Wild in the Streets (a personal favorite).
I'm not certain what I'll be posting next but upcoming posts will include Len Novy, Casey Anderson, Line Renaud, Randy Holland, Rabbi Abraham Feinberg, Florence Warner, and Pete Fountain (I got about 20 of his records at the thrift store recently). Stay tuned.
Sunday, August 02, 2009
Bobby Paris - Let Me Show You The Way (1968)
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Len Chandler - To Be a Man & The Lovin' People
Of these 2 albums, To Be a Man, is the first and (to my ears) weaker of the two. It's a more traditional folk album, featuring him and his guitar, but is perhaps too traditional, and while I don't believe he cops any of the riffs here it does sound like a lot of other records you may have heard before. Chandler's faults as a perfomer are also more glaring--his vocals are often too formal and I, for one, wish he would loosen up a little (as he does sometimes on the other release). His guitar playing is fine but not exceptional, and his songs are also a bit generic at times. He's at his best here on bluesy, uptempo numbers like "Feet First Baby" (about an ornery natural-born fighter) and on the satirical "Hide Your Heart, Little Hippie.” When he tries to be poetic he meanders and the results are kind of confusing (as on “Shadow Dream Chaser Of Rainbows” which goes from images of “moths deep inside [him]” and the “fires [he's] been drawn to, to learn” to people following rainbows for an imaginary pot of gold, which really isn’t as valuable as a shadow because soulless people have no shadows, or something to that effect.
On The Lovin’ People, he has the benefit of a good backing band consisting of Pretty Purdie on drums, Artie Butler on organ & piano, and Joe Mack and Bill Salter on bass. The band, who play both loose and funky without ever sounding sloppy, helped produce a more laid back vibe and Chandler sounds more relaxed than he did on the earlier album. He has some better songs on this one, too, such as the title cut warm, poppy number about...well, “Lovin’ People,” on which the presence of a chorus (made up on the spot of people who had gathered to provide assistance to a mothers’ help organization) also helps temper Chandler’s unfortunate tendency towards over-earnestness. “The Naked Fool” is about a relationship gone bad, which doesn’t have anything new to say but will have a few toes tapping. “Sold Out, No More Reservations” is an interesting number about a male groupie, and “Bound to Fly” has a nice soaring quality, and Chandler’s lyrics and delivery mesh well on it. If anything the problem here is that Chandler is sometimes eclipsed by his backing band—check “Behind Your Eyes” where the band goes off on some nice free jazz-psychedelic tangents while Chandler seems to be trying to channel Sammy Davis, Jr.
Here's the tracklist for To Be a Man
- To Be A Man
- Feet First Baby
- Nancy Rose
- Missionary Stew #2
- Keep On Keepin' On
- Shadow Dream Chaser Of Rainbows
- Hide Your Heart, Little Hippie
- Roll, Turn, Spin
- Time Of The Tiger
- Takin' Me Away From You Train
- Quittin' Time
And here's the list for Lovin' People
- Bound to Fly
- The Naked Fool
- The Lovin' People
- The Warmth of You Beside Me
- And Still I Dream
- Behind Your Eyes
- Touch Talk
- Sold Out, No More Reservations
- I Couldn't Keep From Carin' After All
- The Language of Love
To Be a Man was transferred from a mono copy of the album and the Lovin' People (apparently) from a stereo copy (at least the MP3s are encoded in stereo). The first album is encoded at VBR-extreme and the 2nd at 192k, and I've made available as one DL HERE. I hope you'll enjoy them.
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Seraffyn - Of Love, Of War, Of Many Things (1964)
Seraffyn (last name Mork) is, according to his record cover, the "last, great troubador." Now he is certainly not the last, and is greatness is arguable (although the album is entertaining enough), but he certainly seems to have been a troubadour, and a wandering one at that (again according to the record cover). He also was born & raised in New England (not Old Scotland), graduated from Harvard and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and in 1953 won the Folksong Award at the International Eisteddford in Wales.
Seraffyn does a fine job at singing and occassionally speaking his way through some good folk material, an Edward Lear poem, and a song from the Fantasticks (i.e., Early One Morning). Most of the material, though, is British (as from the British Isles) with some particularly stirring tracks on the first side. A few of the selections, particularly the version of the Owl & the Pussycat (a guy has a romantic dinner and sings to his girlfriend, "What a beautiful pussy you are? WTF?) fall short of the standard set by the first few tracks and seem a bit silly by comparison. Still the record is a notch above your average folk record from the period and one has to wonder what happened to Seraffyn, who does not appear to have released anything after this.
Here's the tracklist
1. The War Song of Dinas Fawr (Men of Harleach)
2. Will Ye No Come Back Again
3. The Bonnie Earl O'Mowry
4. The Song of Wandering Aengus
5. Try to Remember
6. Early One Morning
7. The Road to the Isles
8. Little Tiny Boy
9. The Cowboy's Lament
10. The Owl and the Pussycat
11. Cock Robin
The recording is in mono & the MP3s are encoded with a high quality VBR. Unfortunately there are a couple brief skips (covered over as best I could) on the track "Little Tiny Boy." Listen here or here.
Friday, May 15, 2009
John Blair - Mystical Soul (1971)
Some time ago I mentioned that I had this record but decided not to post it because it was up on another blog (headfonehaus) that is sadly gone. The recording that I'm posting here comes from that site, since mine was lost when my hard drive crashed. I hope headfone won't mind--props to him.
I'm posting this in response to a blog reader request. So here and here you can hear John Blair's 1st album Mystical Soul released in 1971 on the A&R label. John Franklin Ellington Blair (his full name & yes he was supposedly related to the aristocratic Ellington) was (he passed away in 2006) a singer, violinst, martial artist, poet & inventor of the "Vitar" (a combination acoustical guitar and violin). He put out 3 albums of his own unique mix of jazz, soul, and pop-rock music and this is his first. You can hear his 3rd album, We Belong Together, over at the My Jazz World blog. The album features some nice covers (Burt Bacharach, Beatles, etc.) and fine original numbers. I hope you'll enjoy it. I certainly did.
I hope to be back in a couple weeks with a post of an excellent folk record from Seraffyn, the Last Great Troubador.
Saturday, May 09, 2009
So what happened to this month's post?
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Hank & Lewie Wickham With Johnny Dagucon - ST (1971)
I'm really pressed for time this month (and probably will be for the next couple as well) so I'm not going to write much about this one. The fact is that I don't know much that I could relay to you anyway. There were a couple songs from this posted on a blog (I forgot which) a couple years back but that post/blog seems to have disappeared. I can also point you to the Wickham brothers Web site for more information about the brothers. You can also pick up some reissued material and some newer releases on CD there, as well as books like How to Play Guitar Well Enough To Screw up Your Life.
I can say this is an enjoyable outing of folk-country-rock stylings released on the King label (better known for its country & soul music). The Wickham's original material tends to be songs of quiet longing and love, many quite good and there are also a number of choice cover songs (including excellent versions of Love's Message to Pretty and Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now--2 of my alltime favorites). They play their guitars well enough and the Wickham that sings listened to plenty of Elvis' records, although he lacks Elvis' voice.
Here's the tracklist:
But You Know I Love You
Both Sides Now
Tu Solo TuI
Blow the Ashes Away
Fire & Rain
Yesterday, When I Was Young
A Day in the Life of a Fool
Message to Pretty
I should apologize for the late (for March) post and while I'm at it the crappy cover photo. And the sound on this isn't quite as good as I'd like. I may be wrong but I think my turntable seems to be getting worse. Perhaps someone who knows more about audio hardware can clue me in, but will a bad stylus pick up more noise? Will putting a good stylus on a 3rd rate turntable be a better investment than upgrading to a 2nd rate turntable? Anyway, despite the imperfections I hope you enjoy this album.
Friday, February 06, 2009
Musical Theatre - A Revolutionary Revelation (1970)
Admist all this weirdness and between the spoken word exchanges, there are some pretty cool songs here. Computer World is probably my favorite (sort of a watered down version of Lothar & the Hand People's "Machines") and the Lee Harvey Oswald montage, Reflections in the Life of an Assassin is pretty cool too. The band, made up of some competent session musicians plays it with a straight face (although not as straight as the Mystical Voice & the Revolutionists). Here's the personnel listed on the record:
- Written and conceived by Jay Darrow
- Paul Griffin - Organ/Piano
- Al Gorgoni, Dave Spinozza, Bill Snyker - Guitars
- Jimmy Johnson - Drums
- Chuck Raney - Fender Bass
- Jack Jennings - Percussion
- The Musical Theatre - Revolutionists
- Howard Newhouse - Mystical Voice
Jay Darrow is the main instigator of this fantastic excursion into teen angst & desire. In addition to writing the script he's cowriter on most of the songs (in most cases along with G. Shayne). I don't know much about him, though, other than the fact that he is also listed as a producer on a number of pop/rock singles during the late 60s by bands like the Harbingers, the Plebian Rebellion, & that counter-culture icon Anita Bryant.
Because the spoken interludes fill up the space between the songs I have not seperated the tracks the way I usually do. Also, this is still a pretty noisy recording and my attempts at noise reduction don't seem to have worked as well as they usually do. Unforunately I think this is because my crappy turntable has gotten crappier. I'm going to try to get a new stylus sometime soon, which will hopefully help. I hope you enjoy this weirdness released in 1970 on the Metromedia label.
And here's the tracklist:
You Only Reap What You Sow
Reflections in the Life of an Assassin
There Must Be a Better Way of Life
A Love Pill
Before the Apple
I've Seen God in Many Places
A Revolutionary Revelation
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Orriel Smith - A Voice in the Wind (1963)
Friday, December 12, 2008
Brenda Wootton - Carillon (1979)
This month I'm presenting another lp courtesy of a listener, in this case Dave (AKA Jukebox, AKA cathaven) who kindly recorded his vinyl copy of this rarity and sent it my way.
Brenda Wootton is a Cornish folk singer who recorded about a dozen albums between the late-60s and the early-80s. A number of the songs have a pop sensibility more than a pure folk sound, but her excellent voice and good selection of material make the pop songs (like Apple Wine) work as well as the folk numbers. On some of her releases, she sings in Cornish and sometimes Breton (both are Celtic languages, about which I know very little) but all the songs here are in English, although some originate in Cornwall nonetheless.
I first discovered Brenda Wootton through the ýlowek scavel-cronek blog, which has, between African lps and Jackie Chan soundtracks posted 4 of her releases so far. If you like this record, I recommend you take a look at his postings (and even if you don't you should check out his great blog).
You can listen to this one here.
Thanks again to Dave and if anyone else out there has some recordings of vinyl lps that have never made it to CD that you'd like to share drop me a line. I'm hoping there will be another folk post coming at the end of the month: Orriel Smith's hauting 1963 album A Voice in the Wind.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Hilton Valentine - All in Your Head (1969)
Here's one I can't believe never made it on CD, or if it did I can't find any record of it. Not even some limited, edition Japanese paper sleeve issue. I know it didn't sell well at the time of its release but it's really an excellent record full of introspective, semi-psychedelic, beautiful pop songs and some great guitar work. Unfortunately I'm a little pressed for time and so probably won't be able to do it justice--suffice it to say if you like the music here, then you'll REALLY like this one.
Hilton Valentine was born in 1943 in North Shields, Northumberland, started playing guitar in a skiffle band (The Heppers) moved on to a more rock'n'roll/R&B sound with The Wildcats and ended up the lead guitarist for the Animals, one of the finest & (as Valentine notes) most poorly managed bands of the British Invasion.
He left the Animals in 1966 when they became Eric Burdon & the Animals and, except for some supporting gigs (on the Keith Sheilds' single Hey Gyp & another single by Natasha Pyne) didn't record again until this 1969 solo release on Capitol/EMI. He then went on another long recording hiatus & didn't release another solo outing until It's Folk 'N' Skiffle recorded under the name Skiffledog, which you should definitely check out (you can listen to samples at the link I just gave). You can see his whole discography here.
Valentine is still performing today, as Skiffledog and along with Eric Burdon and his Web site has more info. You can see a recent performance on Youtube.
Hilton Valentine is a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and deserving of many other accolades and honors (whether he's gotten or not). But then again, this record deserved to be a hit, so music, like life, ain't always fair.
Here's a tracklist:
2. Everything Returns to Me
3. It's All in Your Head
4. Little Soldiers
5. Eyes of a Child
6. Sitting in the Sun
7. Is There Anything but Love
8. Land of Children
9. Run, Run, Run
11. Girl from Allemagne
This is now available on CD, so the link is down.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Bill Tinker - Inside Out! (Tower, 1968)
Friday, November 14, 2008
WTF happened to my blog colors?
So I woke up this morning and the colors on my blog had all changed. I've tried to search through blogger help to find out how to change them back & have not gotten any answers. Short of changing/updating my template (which will cause a bunch of other problems), I'm not sure what I can do. I'd like the blue backgroun back again but what I really want is to be able to read the title of the blog! Perhaps some kind blogger out there has some suggestions.
BTW, expect a new post this weekend. Also, if you haven't checked the links list recently I've been adding links for a lot of great, new blogs as well as some weird, not-so-great ones.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Jackie Washington - Morning Song (1967)
Jackie Washington has had a long and storied career that's still going strong today, and he has performed folk, blues, rock, jazz, and a little bit o soul, performing with the likes of Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Clark Terry, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, Lonnie Johnson, and Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee.
Jackie Washington was born in Ontario in 1919 and began performing at age 5, singing with The 4 Washington Brothers (the other 3 being his brothers Ormsby, Harold & Doc). By the early 60’s he had started playing folk music and made his way to Greenwich Village, signing soon after with Vanguard Records and appearing on their 1961 compilation New Folks (along with the Greenbriar Boys, Hedy West & David Gude). His first, self-titled solo album appeared in 1962. This was his 4th album and the last of his 1960s recordings. If you want more info on his Vanguard years, you can see a pretty complete discography of that era here.
This was his 4th album and the last of his 1960s recordings. While his first 3 albums featured him performing solo, on Morning Song he ventured more into pop and folk rock territory and was accompanied by Mitch Greenhill & John Nagy on electric guitars, Alvin Rogers on drums and Seldon Powell on alto, with some string accompaniments conducted by Felix Pappalardi.Washington is not remembered today by most Americans (Canadians may have a different perspective) as a top-tier folk artist but he was well known and respected in the early 60s folk scene. Supposedly Bob Dylan, even cribbed from Washington’s arrangement of “Nottamun Town” on the track “Masters of War.”
On the All Music Guide site, Richie Unterberger pans the album (as he does many albums it seems) complaining that the “songs are not good, moving, or very melodic, and his voice is pleasant but no more than adequate.” But while it’s not Dylan or even Fred Neil, I certainly find much to like about the record. There are some really excellent tracks here, including the mock-Dylan satire “Long Black Cadillac” (which Unterberger, ignoring the history between Dylan and Washington, calls a “silly-sounding Bob Dylan sound-alike”) and “A Night in June” (for which he has more appreciation). And while a few of the other tracks are certainly duds, the overall effect is entertaining and just different enough from the standard folk fare of the era to be worth a listen or more. But don't trust my review either, listen to the music and make up your own mind.
Here’s a tracklist:
1. Morning Song
2. Long Black Cadillac
4. Harry The Rat
5. You Can't Buy Me Back
6. Well Taken Care Of
7. Lily Of The West
8. Phone Call
9. Blue Balloon
10. A Night In June
11. Hello, Anne
12. Esta Navidad
In the future, I hope to feature some other releases by African-American folk singers (I know, technically Washington is African-Caribbean-Canadian) like Leon Bibb and Casey Anderson. Next post, however, will be some cool late-60's pop music from Bill Tinker.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Pollution - I (1971) & II (1972)
Pollution was the brainchild of guitarist and songwriter James Quill Smith (aka Smitty), who appears to have organized the band and wrote a good deal of the songs they recorded. With most of the rest of their material written by other members of the group. On Pollution I, the band consisted of Dobie Gray (Percussion & Vocals), Ronnie Barron (Piano), Terry Furlong (Guitar), Jerry Jumonville (Saxophone), Dennis Kenmore (Percussion & Background Vocals), John Lambert (Bass & Vocals), Richard Lewis (Trumpet, Keyboards & Background Vocals), Christiaan Mostert (Flute, Keyboards, Saxophone & Background Vocals), James Quill Smith (Guitar, Harmonica & Vocals), Tata Vega (Percussion & Vocals), and Mike Reiley (Background Vocals). The lineup changed somewhat for Pollution II, most notably Dobie Gray was absent, but I don't have the full lineup for that one.
The band was managed by Max Baer Jr., son of the onetime World Heavyweight champion and the actor who played Jethro on the Beverly Hillbillies. This didn't appear to help their career as much as one might expect since, by all accounts, he was a lousy manager. He did better as a movie producer having put out some profitable gems like Macon County Line & Ode to Billie Joe.
James Quill Smith still performs and has a recent CD. Vocalists Dobie Gray (who appears on the 1st but not the 2nd of these) and Tata Vega (who appears on both) both went on to productive careers that continue to this day, and at least some of the other band members are still playing music as well. Pianist Ronnie Barron, in addition to his musical efforts, also went on to play the sleazy bartender in Steven Seagal's Above the Law.
Prophesy Records, which issued both of these albumes, was distributed by Atlantic that only had a few releases including a couple Kraut rock bands, a Clifton Chenier album & Quincy Jones' soundtrack for The Hot Rock--odd selection to say the least.
Interestingly, Pollution I won a Grammy for it's cover (done by Gene Brownell). It's a good cover but I like the one for Pollution II better. On the other hand, I prefer the music on the 1st one.
The music on both releases is soul-inspired rock with horns and occassional nods to country rock. I wouldn't call it psychedelic but it definitely draws on 60s era rock as well as period social concerns. The first album is is the funkiest of the two, in part because of the contribution of Dobie Gray, who has a much more soulful sound than the vocalists on the 2ns album.
The first album is in mono and encoded at 128 kbps. The second is at 192 kbps and is in stereo. Both have some clicks and pops and the first album was over-modulated, although I did lower the volume some distortion remains.
Tracklist for Pollution I
- Travelin' High (With the Lord)
- This Feelin' Won't Last Long
- Ballad of a Well-Known Gun
- Do You Really Have a Heart
- Dry Dream
- Lo and Behold
- Mother Earth
& for Pollution II
- Vegetable Soup
- The End
- How Does It Feel
- Sharecropper's Blues
- Allen P. Ader
- Just the Way
- Foolhearted Woman
Coming next is Jackie Washington's Morning Song album.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Stephen Whynott - From Philly To Tablas (1977)
Here's a somewhat odd release that I think some of you will enjoy. I think it sometimes gets categoirzed as psych-folk but I think that's a bit misleading, there are definitely folky elements and some psychedelic or at least proggy ones too but there are also some jazz influences and the whole thing has a definite downer vibe. At times it reminds me of Tim Buckley, although Whynott's vocals are not in the same league.
The record appears to tell the story of a trip across the US, but it's a pretty uneventful trip. Whynott goes a few places, meets a few people, and manages to sound wistful about it all. There's a girl in Rock Springs who sings, then some flying without a plane, then some other woman who reminds him of a lioness, and then a trip into the mountains while it's raining. The lyrics are kind of trippy and a little annoying, at times, because they don't seem to be really saying anything. However, the overall effect works--you come away feeling something listless and removed.
The record does feature tablas as well as some other odd percussion. It was issued on the Music is Medicine Label in 1977. I haven't been able to find out much about Whynott but he did record four albums after this one: Apology to the Animals, Calico, Geography & Lost Land. Some of these you can pick up on CD if you search for them. This album is also available at a reasonable price.
One note: I'm not sure if I correctly assigned the Gamelan interlude between tracks 4 & 5 on side A to the correct location (with track 4). The Gamelan sound seems to come in again in track 5 but the only silence I could find was between the Gamelan interlude and track 5. The music is encoded as high quality variable bit rate MP3s and the file includes my own crappy photos of front & back covers. You can get it here. (I'm trying massmirror one more time since they seem to be up again & all of my attempts to post on sharbee failed).
I will be posting again this month, as a regular blog reader Mark has made his recordings of the two albums by the group Pollution (featuring Dobie Gray and others) available. My next post after that will likely be a Jackie Washington album (Morning Song) followed by the sole Bermuda Jam album.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Douglas Leedy - The Electric Zodiac (1969)
In my ongoing attempt to surprise readers, here's something quite different than anything I've posted before. While this is presented as psychedelic music among some record sellers (who will present almost anything as psychedelic) it's really early, avant-garde electronic music from a major figure in the development of computer music. His hair is on the long side, though, and he was influenced by Indian classical music, which also had a big influence on the direction psychedelic music took during this period.
At the time of the recording, Leedy was on the UCLA music faculty and he apparently designed and constructed the Electronic Music Studio there. Prior to that he had been a classmate (at UC Berkeley) and fellow traveler of Terry Riley & LaMonte Young (Pauline Oliveras was a student there too). Although, he had more classical training and less jazz experience, his music also has a modal and repetitive nature (at least on this release) that links him to those better known composers.
More information on Leedy's career is available online here and here and you can read an interview with him from 1974 here. If you want to hear more of his music there's also an orchestral piece, the Quaderno Rosiniano, performed by the San Francisco Chamber Music Society available here.
So what about this record? As the cover notes, it is "A continuum of music of the cosmos resting in a momentary position of influence composed and arranged for Moog and Buchla synthesizers and Ognob Generator by DOUGLAS LEEDY. There is no beginning there is no end no side one no side two." Personally, I'm not sure I see any relationship to the Zodiac in the music, although there may be some esoteric calculation in use relating to astrology. It is a pretty great piece of early electronic/moog music, very cyclic in nature and not overly dissonant (as some of the more early, avant-garde, electronica can sometimes be).
Because of the nature of the music I was not comfortable doing much in the way of noise reduction so you may hear more than the usual level of clicks and pops (it wasn't as clean a copy as I would have liked either). Still I hope you enjoy it (here).
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Deena Webster - Hurry, Tuesday Child (1968)
I was kind of surprised to find that this record hadn't been blogged before (at least that I could find). It's bad enough that it hasn't been reissued on CD. So even though I have some of my own records to get ready for posting I thought I'd take a few minutes to put this one up for you. As suggested, it's not my recording, but was done by FolkPhile (from vinyl) some time ago. FolkPhile is a great collector and poster who has been around in file sharing circles for a long time, posting in newsgroups and sharing in other places as well. So thanks to her (?) for this one.
And what about the record? It was issued on Parlophone in 1968 and features some excellent covers of contemporary folk/pop selections (the Flower Lady, NY Mining Disaster 1941, Colours, etc.) and older, popular folk numbers (House of the Rising Sun, Geordie) accompanied by the guitar playing or by string orchestra (under the direction of Arthur Greenslade). Deena is a British folk singer in the popular style of the day (think early Marianne Faithful or Bridget St. John). Perhaps not an original approach but all well performed. Deena has a great voice and is perhaps a little unemotional at times, but that's nit-picking really. Overall an excellent and unjustly forgotten record.
There's not much information available on the Web about Deena. The only Web page devouted to her is in German and, if the number of Google hits is any indication, she also appears to be popular in Japan.
Here's a tracklist:
Hurry, Tuesday Child
Hair Of Spun Gold
New York Mining Disaster, 1941
Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
The House Of The Rising Sun
Who Will Buy
The Flower Lady
Summer Day Reflection Song
Tangles Of My Mind
The Last Thing On My Mind
And you can get the music HERE (reposted).
Sunday, August 17, 2008
More news and requests
UPDATE: Got the Joe Clark & Tony George but I still need a copy of my Rabbit McKay post. I hate to resort to extortion but I have a lot of new records to post & little desire to do so if no one can help by reposting this.
I wanted to let people know about another new release by an artist whose first (full-length) album was posted here. Bruce Murdoch, one of the most under-rated folk singers to come out of the 1960s, has a new CD entitled Matters of the Heart, which you can purchase from his Web site. In an interesting contrast to the new Andy Zwerling release I mentioned a couple weeks ago, Murdoch's new music is less political (in the macro sense) and more hopeful than his first album. The songs, while introspective and melancholy at times, still seem to be largely songs of love and acceptance (even in the face absence). You can also preview some tracks on the Web site. For what it's worth, my recommendation is that you get a copy now.
I also need to request a couple of the albums I posted here: Rabbit McKay's Bug Cloth and Joe Clark & Tony George's One Man Bands. My recordings for both of these were lost when my hard drive crashed and I'd like to repost them. I recently heard from Tony George's daughter and am hoping to get some further information on that obscure release. I know plenty of people downloaded both of these, so here's your chance to contribute to the blog by either leaving a repost link in the comments or emailing me one. Thanks, BTW, for the person who reposted Rosemary Haddad.
Finally, I've recorded a few new albums and will try to get at least one up per month over the rest of the year. Next up, by request, is Douglas Leedy's early computer music classic, The Electric Zodiac.
P.S., I forgot to mention that the Bobby & Laurie record I posted will soon be reissued on CD, so grab it now. I'll be taking it down & letting you know where to get the CD when it comes out.