Spencer Davis & Band – 24 Hours (1988)

FrontCover1For a musicians who is used to working as a side man, the Spencer Davis Band experience comes as a pleasant surprise: Instead of being told exactly what to play by the star of the show, any band member finds that he is a star of the show as well.

This recording represents the first time the first time Spencer has brought an L.A. … band to Europe.

The circumstances in which the music on this recording envovled are a perfect example of Spencer´s “everybody is star” approach. In thirty-five days we performed in twenty-eight cities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. We then spent some days in a very fine studio outside Freiburg im Breisgau, recording material we´d been doing on stage plus a few things prepared just for these recording sessions.

The result is a very special for us all: five weeks of twenty-four hours a day “Rock N Roll Living”, captured in digital stereo (no overdubs) (ny Bobby Crew, taken from the liner notes)

In other words: This is one of the best Spencer Daivs album after his great albums from the 60´s  … Perfect L.A. rock … from the Eighties … listen, listen, listen !

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Personnel:
Bobby Crew (keyboards, vocals)
Spencer Davis  (vocals, guitar)
Bob Metzger (guitar)
Billy Ruff (drums)
David Wintour (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. 24 Hours (Harrison/Tree) 5.31
02. Lady Cop (Harrison/Tree/Fosson) 4.19
03. Sensitive Kind (Cale) 5.01
04. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress (Webb) 4.36
05. On The Green Line (Winwood) 3.37
06. Pockey Way (Neville/Porter/Modeliste/Nocentelli) 5.03
07. I’ll Take Your Love (Williams) 6.09
08. Don’t Want You No More (Hardin/Davis) 4.41
09. Strong Love (Malone/Silvers/Brown) 2.54
10. Route 66 (Troupe) 3.35
11. Easy Rider (Traditional) 5.20
12. Knock On Your Door (Crew/Tree) 3.36
13. Spiral Times (Metzger/Crew) 3.34

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Thom Rotella – Without Words (1990)

FrontCover1A technically skilled guitarist, Thom Rotella is capable of playing both commercial jazz and in a style influenced by Wes Montgomery. When he was six he started playing for the fun of it on his grandfather’s guitar and he began serious guitar lessons when he was ten. As a teenager, Rotella played rock but soon discovered jazz through Wes Montgomery’s recordings. He went to Ithaca College (as a classical guitar major), and at Berklee he often studied under Gary Burton (1970-1972). Rotella left Berklee to tour with a lounge band, moved to Los Angeles and, with Tommy Tedesco’s guidance, he became a studio musician. However after a few years he missed playing live music and in 1984 Rotella moved to New York where he continued working in the studios but also had the chance to appear in clubs. In 1987 he recorded his first solo album for DMP. The three albums that Rotella cut for DMP (1987-1990) all sold well in the commercial market. Eventually the guitarist became so involved in the jingle business that he moved back to L.A. A 1996 Christmas album for Telarc led to Thom Rotella being signed to the label and recording 1997’s Can’t Stop. A five-year period of silence marked the time between albums, but in 2002 Rotella returned with the light and airy A Day in the Life.

On this CD guitarist Thom Rotella sought to follow in the footsteps of Earl Klugh. Rotella’s attractive acoustic guitar is featured on some upbeat and moderately funky originals that are instantly forgettable with an anonymous sounding group of L.A. studio veterans. There are several potential TV theme songs in this batch. Lightweight is the best description for the pleasant set of background music. (by Scott Yanow)

That´s what I call “easy listening jazz-fusion”

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Personnel:
Alex Acuna (percussion)
Abraham Laboriel (bass)
Thom Rotella (guitar, mandolin)
Jim Studer (keyboards)
Carlos Vega (drums)
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Phil Ayling (recorder on 07., 10.)
Mike Lang (keyboards on 04., 05., 07. + 10.)
Jolyon Pegis (cello on 08.)

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Tracklist:
01, Since I Met You (Studer/Rotella) 4.53
02. Machu Picchu (Rotella) 5.37
03 . Only Love (Rotella) 4.40
04. In Your Arms (Rotella) 5.15
05. Island Nights (Rotella) 4.22
06. Cycles (Rotella) 4.14
07. Cardiff By The Sea (Rotella) 5.10
08. Without Words (Rotella) 3.25
09. Carnaval (En La Playa) (Studer) 3.48
10. (Look) In The Mirror (Rotella) 4.58
11. Somewhere Over The Rainboxw (Harburg/Arlen) 3.45

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The young Thom Rotella

Harvey Mandel – Snakes And Stripes (1995)

FrontCover1Harvey Mandel, “The King Of Sustain”, has been cited as a major influence by many of today’s music superstars. The critics call him “an unsung hero,” “a hugely influential but almost forgotten giant of instrumental rock” and “the best known unknown in pop guitar.”

Known as “The Snake” and “The King of Sustai” because of his long, writhing guitar leadS, Mandel was one of the first rock guitarists to employ the two-handed fretboard tapping technique, and is internationally recognized as a major influence on those who followed.

“Snakes And Stripes” goes back to the twelve bar basics of Mandel’s complete mastery of the blues guitar, and simultaneously reestablishes is 3-D approach to changing instrumental effects. The six instrumental tracks show liquid direction and applied theory with intermittent supernova explosions of notes. “Future Blues” by Willie Brown and later reworked by Canned Heat is covered with a full horn section and female lead vocalist, and “Tears For Eric” employs many of the licks that led Barry Goldberg to give The Snake his nickname

Back to a more varied approach — encompassing Latin, funk, jazz-rock, and even country (“Country Rose”) — with nice results. Nine insturmentals and only two vocals (reprising Canned Heat’s “Future Blues” and Pure Food & Drug Act’s “My Soul’s on Fire”), handled by Lori Davidson, on this live-in-the-studio audiofile set. Mandel’s nod to B.B. King on “Mashed Potato Twist” is worth the price of admission. (by Dan Forte)

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Personnel:
Mike Carabello (drums, percussion)
Lori Davidson (vocals)
Greg Errico (drums)
Tom Fugelstad (trumpet)
Tom Fugelstad (trumpet)
Karl Perazzo (percussion)
Tony “Macaroni” Lufrano (keyboards)
Harvey Mandel (guitar)
Michael Ray (fiddle)
Mike Rinta (trombone)
Bobby Strickland (flute, saxophone)
Squid Vicious (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Under Fire (Mandel) 4.32
02. Future Blues (Hite/Mandel/Parra/Taylor/Wilson) 3.28
03. Tears For Eric (Mandel) 3.57
04. Poquito Dinero (Gross/Lufrano/Mandel) 5.20
05. Special Delivery  (Gross/Mandel) 2.37
06. Miami Rain (Mandel) 3.44
07. My Soul’s On Fire (Conte/Harris/Lagos/Mandel/Resnick) 4.55
08. Mashed Potato Twist (Davis/Josea) 2.28
09. Country Rose See (Mandel) 3.08
10. Bud Monster (Mandel) 4.30
11. United Snakes Of America  (Mandel/Scott/Lufrano/Strickland/Fuglestad/Rinta/Jensen)   6.44

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Diana Krall – When I Look in Your Eyes (1998)

FrontCover1When I Look in Your Eyes is the fifth studio album by Canadian singer Diana Krall, released on June 8, 1999 by Verve Records. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of the Year, the first time in 25 years that a jazz album was nominated in that category, and won two awards for Best Jazz Vocal and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical at the 42nd Grammy Awards. (by wikipedia)

With this CD, the young Canadian singer/pianist/arranger joins forces with producer Tommy LiPuma, who places his orchestral stamp on eight of the 13 tracks. It is the latest attempt to push Krall to an even wider pop/smooth jazz audience than she already enjoys. After all, Nat Cole, Wes Montgomery, and George Benson, among others, went this route. Wonder if she’d agree the cuts sans strings were more fun and challenging? Krall does get to it with central help from bassists John Clayton and Ben Wolfe, drummers Jeff Hamilton and Lewis Nash, and guitarist Russell Malone, all stellar players. Krall’s voice is sweet and sexy. She’s also flexible within her range and at times a bit kitschy, mostly the hopeless romantic. On this CD of love songs, it’s clear she’s cool but very much in love with this music. Bob Dorough’s “Devil May Care” and the insistent “Best Thing for You” really click. Favorites are a decent Shearing-esque “Let’s Fall in Love” with vibist Larry Bunker; a suave slow bossa on the opening number, “Let’s Face the Music”; the lusher-than-lush title track; and especially an incredible horn-fired fanfare intro/outro on the hip “Pick Yourself Up.” Some might call this fluff or mush, but it depends solely on your personal taste. This will certainly appeal to Krall’s fans, lovers, and lovers at heart. (by Michael G. Nastos)

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Personnel:
John Clayton (bass)
Jeff Hamilton (drums)
Diana Krall (piano, vocals)
Russell Malone (guitar)
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Chuck Berghofer – bass on 13
Alan Broadbent (piano on 13.)
Larry Bunker (vibraphone on 03. + 06,)
Pete Christlieb (saxophone on 13.)
Lewis Nash (drums on 06. + 08.)
Ben Wolfe (bass on 02., 06., 08. + 09.)

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Tracklist:
01. Let’s Face The Music And Dance (Berlin) 5.18
02. Devil May Care (Dorough) 3.20
03. Let’s Fall In Love (Koehler/Arlen) 4.19
04. When I Look In Your Eyes (Bricusse) 4.31
05. Popsicle Toes (Franks) 4.28
06. I’ve Got You Under My Skin (Porter) 6.10
07. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love (McHugh/Fields) 2.32
08. I’ll String Along with You (Harry Warren, Al Dubin) 4.45
09. East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon) (Bowman) 4.57
10. Pick Yourself Up (Kern/Fields) 3.02
11. The Best Thing For You (Berlin) 2.37
12. Do It Again (Gershwin/DeSylva) 4.35
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13. Why Should I Care (hidden track:) (Eastwood/Sager/Thompson-Jenner) 3.44
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Don Nix – Skyrider (1979)

FrontCover1Don Nix (born September 27, 1941, Memphis, Tennessee) is an American songwriter, composer, arranger, musician, and author. Although cited as being “obscure”, he is a key figure in several genres of Southern rock and soul, R&B, and the blues. He was instrumental in the creation of the distinctive “Memphis soul” developed at Stax Records.

A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Nix came from a musical family (his brother, Larry Nix, became a mastering engineer for Stax and for the Ardent Recording Studios in Memphis). Don Nix began his career playing saxophone for the Mar-Keys, which also featured Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn and others.[1] The hit instrumental single “Last Night” (composed by the band as a whole) was the first of many successful hits to Nix’s credit. Without Nix, the Mar-Keys evolved into Booker T. & the M.G.’s.

As a producer, Nix worked with other artists and producers, such as Leon Russell of Shelter Records, Gary Lewis and the Playboys in Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars, the Beatles’ George Harrison and John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. One notable achievement was the collaboration with Harrison, Russell and many others in the production of The Concert for Bangladesh, a star-studded benefit concert at Madison Square Garden in 1971.

Throughout his career, Nix worked behind the scenes as producer, arranger, musician and in other roles for artists such as Lonnie Mack, Furry Lewis, Freddy King, Albert King, Delaney, Bonnie & Friends, Isaac Hayes, the Staple Singers, Jeff Beck, Brian May, Eric Clapton and many others. He wrote and produced albums for solo artists and for groups, such as Don Nix and the Alabama State Troupers, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and Larry Raspberry and the Highsteppers. (by wikipedia)

And this another brilliant albu by Don Nix … he´s one of these forgotten heroes of rock/soul/blues/southern rock … What a shame !

This album included one of his best Songs … “Maverick Woman Blues” (original written in 1969) … but the best version ever recorded was the version of ex-Spooky Tooth singer Mike Harrison (soming soon in this blog !)

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“Music that touches the soul. That creates emotion. Music that is real, be it the blues or some variation thereof. The blues encapsulates all of it. Like I said in the beginning, it really all comes from the blues.” (Photo: Danny Green with Levon Helm and Don Nix)

Personnel:
Ernie Chapman (bass)
John Fry (accordion)
Len Groome (keyboards)
Roy Halle (slide-guitar)
Rob Kendrick (guitar, slide-guitar)
Don Nix (guitar, vocals, saxophone)
Darell Norris (drums)
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Memphis Horns (horns)
William C. Brown lll Choir (background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Skyrider (Nix) 3.16
02. Nobody Else (Moore) 3.05
03. Maverick Woman Blues (Nix) 4.06
04. Do It Again (Nix/Kendrick) 5.54
05. Long Tall Sally (Johnson/Penniman/Blackwell) 3.58
06. I´ll Be In Your Dreams (Nix/Kendrick) 3.38
07. On The Town Again (Green/Nix/Kendrick) 2.52
08. All For The Love Of A Woman (Nix) 4.17

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Sara K. – Tell Me I´m Not Dreaming (1995)

FrontCover1Sara K. (full name Sara Katherine Wooldridge) is an American singer-songwriter based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her music includes genres like blues, folk as well as jazz. She has released audiophile albums[1] and played a custom 4-(bass)-string acoustic guitar. She withdrew from the music business in 2009.

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in a family surrounded by music: her mother sang in a church choir, her father in a barbershop quartet, her brother played in a band, and her sister also played the guitar. However, her family considered music a hobby, not a job option.

In the early 1970s, at the age of 15, she started playing the guitar, using one her sister had left behind. She took this flamenco guitar, took off the remaining regular strings, and put four bass strings on instead (tuned to an open A). This gave it a fuller tone than a conventional acoustic guitar while not sounding as deep as a bass. She used this tuning from then on, making it one of her trademarks.

Although the era of acoustic solo performers was on the decline in the late 1970s, she stayed on that course. After graduating and moving out, she spent a few years playing whenever and wherever possible, be it “happy hours”, back-up vocals for country music and jingles, or her own demo tapes. When realizing that she didn’t entirely fit the contemporary scene in Dallas, she moved to New Mexico.

After having moved to the small mountain town Ruidoso, New Mexico, she became leader of the band Sara K. and the Boys Without Sleep. From 1978 to 1983, they toured mainly New Mexico and Los Angeles. She also toured with country musician Gary Nunn for two years.

After moving to Santa Fe, she teamed up with several musicians and put out her debut album, Gypsy Alley (1989) with Mesa/Bluemoon. Many of its songs’ topics come from the almost fifteen years she had lived a somewhat nomadic lifestyle, moving around a lot. These years had ended when she rented a place on that very same Gypsy Alley (off Canyon Road, Santa Fe), won a goldfish on a country fair, and got her dog Bebe (who himself is mentioned numerous times in her songs).

“Furthermore, Sara K. comes across as authentic, she “has lived these stories, is right in the middle of them and relates them from the heart—warm, personal and moving.” The album won her immediately the New Mexico Music Industry Coalition’s “Best Album Award”,

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One of the musicians she worked with on Gypsy Alley was guitarist Bruce Dunlap, who was also signed to New York-based Chesky Records, a record label aimed mainly at audiophiles. He helped to bring her to the label and she remained signed to Chesky for more than ten years, up to 2001. For Sara K. herself, this opened up a whole new era marked by contrasts—between her southwestern homebase Santa Fe and Chesky’s hectic New York, between the familiar analogue recording equipment and the new digital/audiophile one, and between the dream of fame and wealth and the realities of the record industry.

With Chesky, Sara K. recorded six albums, Closer Than They Appear, Play On Words, Tell Me I’m Not Dreamin’, Hobo, the live album No Cover, and What Matters. In the end, Chesky also compiled a “Best of” album of Sara K. called The Chesky Collection. Sarah also makes an appearance on Chesky Records sound system benchmarking record, The Ultimate Demonstration Disk.

In the meantime, she toured Europe and had planned to but never did move to San Francisco. At the end of her contract obligations with Chesky, Sara got the feeling that she had “been ripped off in many directions by labels and touring companies”.

On her last tour through Germany under the Chesky contract, the owner of the German label Stockfisch Records, Günter Pauler, was called to be her sound specialist. He took the opportunity to give her a tour of his studio and offer her a record contract along with the prospect of having guitarist Chris Jones as guest musician, which she signed.

The cooperation with Chris Jones proved to be congenial. Her first Stockfisch release, Water Falls (2001), was followed by a tour that year, which in turn provided material for both a live DVD and the live album Live in Concert (2003). The latter won her the German music magazine AUDIO/stereoplay’s “Hifi Music Award 2003” for audiophile CDs.

In 2006, the third album with Stockfisch was released, Hell or High Water. It features ten new tracks, again with Chris Jones on guitar and dobro. Jones died of Hodgkin’s lymphoma just shortly after recording and before the release of the album.

She released her fourth Stockfisch album Made in the Shade in 2009, containing several new versions of her Gypsy Alley album songs.

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With the release of her 2009 album, she announced her withdrawal from music business. In a note to her fans on her label’s website, she stated:

After many years on the road and writing music, I’ve decided to stop touring and recording. It’s hard to explain why but I hope you will understand. I had a good run but I think it’s over. It’s just too much for too little these days. Made in the Shade explains it as best as I know how.(Sara K., 2009)

And this is one of her great albums for Chesky Records:

“Listening to this just completes a nice day. Sara not only gives us a little glimpse on the talented world, but also takes you away to a high level of music where only the best of the best exists. A total acoustic experience with dazzling showdowns of talent, not only vocal but also instrumental!!! For an audiophile taste only!!!” Truly a masterpice!!! (by Sotilla)

And listen to a real great version of “Whipping Post” from The Allman Brothers Band !

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Personnel:
Hul Cox (guitar)
Bruce Dunlap (guitar)
Randy Landau (bass)
Sara K.(vocals)
Steve Shehan (percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. What You Don’t Know (Sara K.) 4.33
02. Easy Street (Sara K.)  4.00
03. Out Of My Hands (Sara K.) 4.16
04. Whipping Post (Allman) 3.28
05. Big Yard, No Pets (Sara K.)     3:17
06. Fortune Ladie’s Eyes (Sara K.)     4:09
07. J. J  (Sara K.)    3:25
08. You’ve Walked That Way Before (Sara K.)    2:05
09. Love Is Strong (Sara K.)    4:09
10. Free Will (Sara K.)    3:17
11. Leave The Leavin’ Up To Me (Sara K.)     4:06
12. Tell Me I’m Not Dreamin’ (Sara K.)    5:14
13. Vincent (McLean) 4.07

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Hot Tuna – Double Dose (1978)

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Double Dose was the eighth album by the American blues rock band Hot Tuna, and their third live album. The album was originally released as a double-LP as Grunt CYL2-2545. After their 1977 tour, Jorma Kaukonen moved on to a solo career and Jack Casady joined the new wave band SVT. Hot Tuna would not perform together again until 1983. The album had its highest peak at #92 on the Billboard charts. (by wikipedia)

Hot Tuna, then a quartet with the official addition of keyboardist Nick Buck, released this two-LP live album, its first concert material in seven years, and having thus summed things up, broke up as the album hit record stores. Double Dose gave a good sense of mature Hot Tuna as a vehicle for the musical interests of Jorma Kaukonen, who used the entire first side as an acoustic solo set, then included the excellent “Genesis” from his solo album Quah on side B. Elsewhere, the electrified group alternated between Kaukonen’s best Hot Tuna compositions and blues and rock standards. It was produced by Felix Pappalardi (Cream, Mountain), who gave Hot Tuna its best recorded sound; even though it’s a “live” record, there seems to have been a lot of studio overdubbing. (by William Ruhlmann)

This is a damn hot blues-rock power album !

Recorded live by Wally Heider Recording at Theatre 1839, San Francisco
Additional recording at Wally Heider Studios, San Francisco

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Personnel:
Jack Casady (bass)
Jorma Kaukonen (vocals, guitar)
Bob Steeler (drums)
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Nick Buck (keyboards, background vocals on 08.)

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Tracklist:
01. Winin’ Boy Blues (Morton) 5.57
02. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning (Davis) 3.08
03. Embryonic Journey (Kaukonen) 1.56
04. Killing Time In The Crystal City (Kaukonen) 6.35
05. I Wish You Would (Arnold) 4.20
06. Genesis (Kaukonen) 4.16
07. Extrication Love Song (Kaukonen) 4.26
08. Talking ‘Bout You (Berry) 5.34
09. Funky #7 (Kaukonen/Casady) 8.49
10. Serpent Of Dreams (Kaukonen) 6.43
11. Bowlegged Woman, Knock Kneed Man (Rush/Carter) 4.51
12. I See The Light (Kaukonen) 5.49
13. Watch The North Wind Rise (Kaukonen) 4.58
14. Sunrise Dance With The Devil (Kaukonen) 5.38
15. I Can’t Be Satisfied (Morganfield) 4.58

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