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 ├Żlowek 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:
1. Listen
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
10. Peace
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)

I'll keep this post short since I don't know much about Mr. Tinker. I'm pretty sure that this is his only release, at least under the Tinker name. I have some suspicions, though, that that isn't his given name since there's a liner not on the back of the LP that is either written by "E. Greenburg" or written to thank "E. Greenburg" (the last line is "Thank you E. Greenburg"). But perhaps I'm reading too much into that.
Tinker wrote most of the material ("Silver Love Line" and "Midway" are by Paul McNeil), sang, and, if the photo on the back cover is to be believed presumably played piano and guitar. "Man From Birmingham" was released as the single. The records is a nice, albeit somewhat typical, late-60's pop outing with some semi-psychedelic lyrics, a dash of country twang, a little bit of current events, some harmonica, and melodies that are pleasant if not particularly memorable. I like it and hopefully you will as well.
Here's a tracklist:
1. An Everday Thing
2. Again, Again
3. Midway
4. Man from Birmingham
5. Silver Love Line
6. Anything You Ask
7. You Could Get High
8. A Very Ordinary Man
9. Dee Anne
10. Son
Play it again here.

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
3. Clouds
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 put out three albums of soulful rock in the late 60s/early 70s--the 2nd and 3rd of which (the most soulful) are presented here for your listening pleasure thanks to the kind contributions of two of your fellow blog readers. (Note: For others of you who have some hard-to-find MP3 copies of good music that is not in-print and never issued on vinyl, drop me a line if you want to see it posted here in like fashion).

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
  1. Travelin' High (With the Lord)
  2. This Feelin' Won't Last Long
  3. Ballad of a Well-Known Gun
  4. Do You Really Have a Heart
  5. Dry Dream
  6. Underdog
  7. River
  8. Lo and Behold
  9. Mother Earth

& for Pollution II

  1. Hospitals
  2. Vegetable Soup
  3. Polly
  4. The End
  5. How Does It Feel
  6. Why
  7. Sharecropper's Blues
  8. Allen P. Ader
  9. Just the Way
  10. Foolhearted Woman

Get Pollution I here (m-fire) or here (r-share) & Pollution II here (r-share)

NOTE: There's a new recording of Pollution I up with better sound quality. If you enjoyed the album before, you should grab the new file.

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:
A Side
Hurry, Tuesday Child
Hair Of Spun Gold
New York Mining Disaster, 1941
Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
The House Of The Rising Sun
B Side
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.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Aesop's Fables - In Due Time (1969)

This one has been a long time coming, as this was promised about a year ago and this is the 2nd time I recorded it.
Aesop's Fables only released this one album on Chess Record's Cadet Concept imprint and as such it's one of only a couple of real rock records on Cadet Concept (the other I know about is the 1st Status Quo album). The music is inconsistent and varied in style. A lot of it falls into the horn rock genre popular at the time (e.g., Blood Sweat & Tears, Rare Earth), which is not my favorite style of rock music and biased me against actually posting this for a while, but there are some other tracks that go into blue-eyed soul and psychedelic territory and are more to my liking. The band is excellent especially when one or all hit a groove like the organ freak out on "In the Morning" and pretty sublime, psychedelic jamming on "And When It's Over." Lyrically I'm not as impressed. They also cover "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" and (to greater effect) Bert Sommer's "And When It's Over."
Robert Gallo who turned out a lot of tax write-off releases has his hands all over cowritting a lot of the songs, as well as arranging and producing. The band consists of
Ronny Alterville -- bass, guitar, backing vocals (1967-69)
Sonny Bottari -- vocals, percussion (1967-69)
Robert DiMonda -- flute, sax, backing vocals (1967-69)
Joe Fraticelli -- sax (1967-69)
Frank Krepala -- guitar, backing vocals (1967-69)
Louis Montaruli -- trumpet, trombone (1967-69)
John Scaduto -- vocals, drums (1967-69)
Barry Taylor -- keyboards (1967-69)
And here's a tracklist
1.) Lift Up Your Hearts (Barry Taylor - Ronny Alterville)
2.) What Is Soul (Robert Gallo)
3.) In Due Time (Robert Gallo - Segal)
4.) In the Morning (John Scaduto - Robert Gallo - Ronny Alterville
5.) Everyone's Talking (Robert Gallo - Segal)
6.) Spoons Full of Sand
1.) The Sound of Crying (Sonny Bottari - Barry Taylor - Ronny Alterville - Heins)
2.) What Is Love (Robert Gallo)
3.) Look Out (B. Bottari - Barry Taylor)
4.) I'm Gonna Make You Love Me (Jerry Ross - Kenny Gamble - Williams)
5.) And When It's Over (Bert Sommer)
You can hear the music here.
I should note that you may hear a bit of distortion, especially in the quieter moments. I don't want to go into the whole story--as I know I complain about my computer set-up too much already--but I recently installed an exterior upgrade for my Creative sound card and it has a number of useless features one of which (the 24-Bit Crystallizer) was accidently turned on during recording. Suffice it to say I won't be using it again.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Some News & New Releases

Just wanted to let fans of Andy Zwerling and Monte Dunn & Karen Cruz know that the former has a new album and the latter a reissue.
Andy's new record, Hold Up the Sky, is now available from the artist's Web site and you can sample some tracks on his myspace page. Like his previous releases it features some great pop songs done in a variety of pop styles, ranging from a sort of jazz-lounge track to a couple nice indie pop numbers. Lyrically it may be a bit darker but it all fits together well. I recommend it highly.
Also, the Monte Dunn & Karen Cruz has been reissued on Fallout Records, which is the new imprint from the owners of Repertoire Records. However, like Repertoire I suspect Fallout is a bootleg label and doesn't pay any royalties so I'm not in any hurry to take down the rip I posted, which is my usual policy when one of these records gets a CD reissue. I may do so in a month or so or just won't repost when that link expires.
Finally, I'm set-up again to do some recording from vinyl and as I write this I'm copying the Aesop's Fables lp. Expect to see it posted in a week or 2. After that, I'll try and keep up with a new post every month.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bobby & Laurie - Exposiac (1967)

Bobby Bright & Laurie Allen were an Australian duo who started performing in the beat-pop vein in 1965. Exposiac is their last record and from what I've read is a major departure from their earlier work venturing into country rock territory with some nice psychedelic and pop flourishes as well as a couple tracks that try to capture a Dylanesque sound. Most of the tracks are originals but there are also nice covers of High Noon and Long Black Veil. All-in-all it's a great record from a group that I expect is pretty unknown to American audiences (not sure how well they were distributed in other parts of the world).

The duo broke up soon after this, although they reformed a couple years later (in 1969) and released a couple singles, also in a country vein. As their discography shows, they also put out a few solo releases. Sadly, Laurie Allen passed away in 2002.

Their backup band, the Rondells, included Wayne Duncan [bass], Barry Rogers [rhythm guitar], John Sullivan [rhythm guitar], Roger Treble [lead guitar], and Gary Young [drums, vocals].

Thanks to Micko at the Midoztouch board (you can find the link in the blog list to right of your screen) for supplying this rip. It's a nice high quality variable bit rate rip from vinyl, as always.

Also, note that the ID-tags for the tracks are incorrect but the seperate files are (to the best of my knowledge) labelled correctly. The file also contains one track, I Want Woman, that was recorded for this album but not included on it.

You can get the music here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A request and a promise

First, I wanted to let people know I will have another post (although not my own rip) before the month is over. So expect some new music soon & that's a/the promise.

Second, as you are probably aware (if you read my last post) I lost a number of the rips I had previously posted here. Many of these I could get from the blog itself but there are a few that are not available and, in order to repost them, I'm hoping some of you can supply me with copies. The posts I'm looking for are (1) the Sidewalk Swingers, (2) Rosemary Haddad, and (3) Andy Zwerling. If you don't want to post a link in the comments, drop me an email (you can get the address through my blogger profile). Thanks in advance.

Finally, some news on a couple blog-related topics. I recently got my copy of Kathe Green's Run the Length of Your Wildness from Rev-Ola. It sounds great and I suggest you all buy it. The liner notes refer to this blog, although not by name, as the place the Rev-Ola producer 1st came across this great release. It's nice to now we had a hand it getting it rereleased. Bruce Murdoch also has a new CD coming out, although I still am looking for it myself and when I find out where you can get a copy I'll let you know.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The End of My Blog?

Aaaarrrrrgggggghhhhh! My external hard drive, on which was stored my music rips along with a hell of a lot of other stuff appears to be dead. I had just about finished fixing the Aesop's Fables lp I had promised to post but that's not going to happen now. I could rerip a whole bunch of records and perhaps I will but right now I feel pretty discouraged. So at the very least expect a few months hiatus before I return to blogging. My brain hurts.

UPDATE: Upon reflection and after receiving words of encourgement I will be returning to blogging but definitely need some time to rerip, etc.--so expect a new share in 2 or 3 months (most likely the Aesop's Fables record, since I had promised that).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bill Hershey & the Almonds - Is There a Doctor in the House/Yogi Man's Bikini

I didn't have time to rip & post an album for you this month, so I dragged out a very-obscure and pretty scratchy single for your audio enjoyment. I can tell you nothing about Bill Hershey & his Almonds except that they recorded this for Gulf Records (which gave it the catalogue number 27). I'm guessing its from the early 60s. Bill Hershey and his gang sound like they could have performed at the Wolf's Den (see picture) and would have fit right in on one of the Las Vegas Grind compilations. These songs include Yogi Berra imitations (or maybe Yogi bear imitations), silly Dracula voices, and lyrics that touch on fun subjects like bikinis and doctors. What can I say except "It's a gas!" Listen here. I'll be back next month with a full album for ya.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Toby Ben - Wake Up To the Sunshine (1968)

This month's post (and I am on a monthly posting schedule until further notice) is courtesy of "abracadabra" who kindly provided a rip of this soulful, 60's rock record released on the Venture label. Toby Ben was the stage name of the singer who has since recorded under his real name, Jon Ben Berger.
This record features a combination of blues- and soul-inspired music and hippie sensibility that should have given it a wide audience at the time of its release but apparently did not. Perhaps the fact that he recorded for a label best known for its soul records may have hindered him. His about love, loss, hippie chicks (Salliey is a classic in the latter category), the war (Draft Call), and the joy of living (Peace, Wake Up to the Sunshine) are all well-written and touch on the appropriate topics of the day. I also like his vocals, which have a very soulful quality.
Jon Ben Berger's musical career started on the East Coast, where he performed as a folk singer at the Gaslight & the Bitter End. He later headed west to San Francisco where he formed the group Burning Bush and then as Toby Ben. He went back to New York at some point thereafter and was involved in collaborative projects with members of the Phillip Glass Ensemble, director and dancers from Merce Cunningham's troupe. Nowadays he lives and performs in Stockholm, Sweden and has new material available (check the prior link). There's a video online for a cool blues song he did recently for a film about St. Francis (I think) that's definitely worth checking out as well.
You can get the music here.
One other note, I am trying to regularly update the links, which I consider an important part of the blog. A lot of blogs are disappearing and others are going private--in both cases I'm deleting the links. I'm also deleting ones that haven't updated for a year or so. At the same time, there are a lot of new blogs out. The newer ones, in case you weren't aware, can be found at the bottom of the list for each letter but not at the very bottom (as that's where I tend to put blogs that don't feature full albums). If you enjoy this or any other releases please leave a comment or send an email. I think that if I got more comments/emails I might post more often.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

John Wood - Turn Of The Century & I'll Come Back

I must apologize for taking so long between posts but I'm extremely busy with life right now & will continue to be for the next couple months, so don't expect regular posts for a while. I will try to get one up every month--but even that's not a promise.

So what about this record? I guess you could call it "lounge" music. It's certainly instrumental and as the liner notes proclaim"It's not rock, jazz, folk, country, or western." The musical selections include compositions by Herbie Hancock, Burt Bacharach, Riz Ortolani & Joe South (and one original number) and are performed by a trio of keyboards (John Wood), guitar (John Koenig) & drums (John Guerin). The performance is often eerie and sometimes just weird (in a good way). Overall a unpolished (and poorly mixed) gem well worth a listen.

Here's the tracklist:

A1. And I'll Come Back (1:58)
A2. Rose Garden (1:57)
A3. One Teardrop (Una Lagrima) (2:20)
A4. Green, Green, Grass Of Home (2:50)
A5. Till Love Touches Your Life (1:55)
A6. Maiden Voyage (3:05)

B1. She Loves (Her Oleander Tree) (3:14)
B2. A Ray Of Sunshine (Un Rayo De Soil) (2:17)
B3. Alfie (2:35)
B4. (Impressions Of) Throb (5:37)
B5. Love Means (You Never Have To Say You're Sorry) (2:00)

And you can get the music here.