Paul Brett Sage – Same (1970)

usfrontcover1Paul Brett (born 20 June 1947, Fulham, London) is an English classic rock guitarist. He played lead guitar with Strawbs (though he was never actually a member), The Overlanders, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera, The Velvet Opera, Tintern Abbey, Fire, Roy Harper, Al Stewart, Lonnie Donegan, and switched to twelve-string guitar in the 1970s.

His first twelve-string guitar suite, Earth Birth, was released on his own label, Phoenix Future, and was produced by artist Ralph Steadman of Fear and Loathing fame. Critical acclaim led to Brett being signed on a four-album deal with RCA Records. His K-tel Romantic Guitar album went platinum in the UK, but Brett stopped recording soon afterwards. He started recording again in 2000, with long-time friend and fellow twelve-string guitarist, John Joyce.

Brett wrote for music magazines Melody Maker, Sound International and International Musician and continued working in the music industry in the later part of his career. He now writes a regular column for Acoustic, a magazine specializing in acoustic guitars. He is also the Associate Editor and Features Writer for Music Maker and Live in London magazines.

He has appeared on BBC Television’s Antiques Road Show and Flog It in the mid-2000s. (by wikipedia)

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And this is his wonderful debut album from 1970:

Tying together many of the musical threads of their day, Paul Brett Sage was a progressive band in the best sense of the word, with an adventurous sound that was accessible to all, though they never lost sight of their origins. The group grew out of the folk duo of guitarist/singer Paul Brett and percussionist Bob Voice, and their eponymous debut album sees Paul Brett Sage retain a folksy bend, which reaches grand agit-folk heights on “Trophies of War.” Elsewhere, Brett’s fiery licks and solos, particularly on the anthemic “3D Mona Lisa,” paints rock right across the backwoods vista. Evocative flamenco-tinged guitar sizzles around “The Sun Died,” while Brett’s aggressive performance on both 12-string and electric guitar creates a “Warlock” worthy of the modern age. With the band’s prominent use of percussion, Nicky Higginbottom’s haunting flute, their strong melodies, and infectious choruses, Paul Brett Sage hovers between folk, rock, world, and pop; an album that deftly manages to be all things to all people. (by Dave Thompson)

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Alternate frontcover from Italy

Personnel:
Paul Brett (guitar, vocals)
Dick Dufall (bass)
Nicky Higginbottom (flute, saxophone)
Bob Voice (drums, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. 3D Mona Lisa (Royce) 3.18
02. The Sun Died (Brett) 4.00
03. Little Aztec Prince (Voice) 4.22
04. Reason For Your Asking (Brett) 4.09
05. Trophies Of War (Brett) 3.43
06. The Tower (Brett) 5.14
07. The Painter (Brett) 4.11
08. Mediterranean Lazy Heat Wave (Voice) 3.16
09. Warlock (Brett) 5.41

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Single sleeves from UK, France, Germany & Australia

More Paul Brett:

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Harry Chapin – Verities & Balderdash (1974)

frontcover1Verities & Balderdash is the fourth studio album by the American singer/songwriter Harry Chapin, released in 1974. (see 1974 in music). “Cat’s in the Cradle” was Chapin’s highest charting single, finishing at #44 for the year on the 1974 Billboard year-end Hot 100 chart. The follow-up single, “I Wanna Learn a Love Song,” barely entered the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart. A third single, “What Made America Famous?”, failed to chart. The album was certified gold on December 17, 1974.

The album was advertised with the slogan: “As only Harry can tell it.”

The album was the first and only work by Chapin to exclusively use professional studio musicians, rather than his touring band, as had been the case in previous projects. (by wikipedia)

Verities & Balderdash is a very strange and wonderful album. “Cat’s in the Cradle” was the driving force behind the album’s sales, but there’s a lot more to appeal to listeners, along with enough personal, topical material to make it seem a bit didactic at the time, but Chapin was cultivating a politically committed audience. Verities & Balderdash walked several fine lines, between topical songwriting and an almost (but not quite) pretentious sense of its own importance, humor and seriousness, and balladry and punditry, all intermingled with catchy, highly commercial ballads such as “I Wanna Learn a Love Song” (which is about as pretty a song as he ever wrote). Chapin is in good voice and thrives in the more commercial sound of this album, which includes lots of electric guitars and overdubbed orchestra and choruses. He still loves to tell stories — most are like little screenplays, with “Shooting Star” offering details and textures and a sense of drama akin to a finished film (in the manner of “Taxi”). The “haunt count” on this album is extremely high, boosted by gorgeous ballads like “She Sings Songs Without Words.” “What Made America Famous” may be the one song that comes off as dated, a parable — perhaps reflecting the near-meltdown of politics surrounding the Nixon resignation of 1974 — about long-haired teens and crew-cutted firemen who discover a mutual dependence and respect for each other and reconciliation; it seems like ancient history and probably will be incomprehensible to anyone born after 1968.

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Chapin also lapses into excessive dramatics in the finale, which shamelessly borrows a couple of lines from one song out of the musical 1776. The album also offers a pair of humorous numbers on “30,000 Pounds of Bananas” and “Six String Orchestra,” not the most significant songs in Chapin’s repertory, but both adding balance to the mood. Producer Paul Leka (the commercial genius behind Steam’s “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”) retained some elements of the relatively lean sound that characterized Chapin’s debut album, embellishing it only enough to give the album some potentially wider commercial appeal. Even the cover art seems to reflect the two delightfully contradictory thrusts of this album: an image of Chapin posed like Uncle Sam on the military recruiting poster with a wry smile on his face.(by Bruce Eder)

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Personnel:
Ron Bacchiocchi (synthesizer)
Harry Chapin (guitar, vocals)
Don Grolnick (piano, harpsichord)
Don Payne (bass)
Allan Schwartzberg (drums)
John Tropea (guitar, sitar)
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Jim Chapin (drums on 04.)
Steve Chapin (piano on 04., 05. + 07.)
Tom Chapin (banjo on 04.)
Zizi Roberts (vocals)
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background vocals:
George Simms – Frank Simms – Dave Kondziela
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Tracklist:
01. Cat’s In The Cradle (S.Chapin/H.Chapin) 3.44
02. I Wanna Learn A Love Song (H.Chapin) 4.19
03. Shooting Star (H.Chapin) 4.02
04. 30,000 Pounds Of Bananas (H.Chapin) 5.45
05. She Sings Songs Without Words (H.Chapin) 3.31
06. What Made America Famous? (H.Chapin) 6.53
07. Vacancy (H.Chapin) 4.00
08. Halfway To Heaven (H.Chapin) 6.10
09. Six String Orchestra (H.Chapin) 5.25

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What a wonderful parody of rock musicians:

The very day I purchased it
I christened my guitar
As my monophonic symphony
Six string orchestra
In my room I’d practice late
They’d leave me alone
My mother said, “You’re nothing yet
To make the folks write home”

I’d play at all the talent nights
I’d finish, they’d applaud
Some called it muffled laughter
I just figured they were odd
So I went up for an encore
But they screamed they’d had enough
Or maybe I just need a group
To help me do my stuff

And so I’d dream a bass will join me
And fill the bottom in
And maybe now some lead guitar
So it would not sound so thin
I need some drums to set the beat
And help me keep in time
And way back in the distance
Some strings would sound so fine

And we would play together
Like fine musicians should
And it would sound like music
And the music would sound good
But in real life I’m stuck with
That same old formula
Me and my monophonic symphony
Six string orchestra

Oh, I write love songs for my favorite girl
And sing them soft and slow
But before I get to finish
She says she has to go
She’s nice and says “Excuse me
I’ve got to find a bar
I think I need refreshment
For I hear you play guitar”

Oh I sent a demo tape I made
To the record companies
Two came back address unknown
One came back C.O.D
Of course I got form letters
All saying pleasant things
Like suggesting I should find a trade
Where I would not have to sing

And so I’d dream a bass will join me
And fill the bottom in
And maybe now some lead guitar
So it would not sound so thin
I need some drums to set the beat
And help me keep in time
And way back in the distance
Some strings would sound so fine

And we would play together
Like fine musicians should
And it would sound like music
And the music would sound good
But in real life I’m stuck with
That same old formula
Me and my monophonic symphony
Six string orchestra

I’ve been taking guitar lessons
But my teacher just took leave
It was something about a break down
Or needing a reprieve
I know I found my future
So I will persevere
And hold onto my dream of
Making music to their ears

And so I’d dream a bass will join me
And fill the bottom in
And maybe now some lead guitar
So it would not sound so thin
I need some drums to set the beat
And help me keep in time
And way back in the distance
Some strings would sound so fine

And we would play together
Like fine musicians should
And it would sound like music
And the music would sound good
But in real life I’m stuck with
That same old formula
Me and my monophonic symphony
Six string orchestra

Oh finger tip
Oh some day, I’m gonna be a star

Rory Gallagher – Live In Europe (1972)

frontcover1Live in Europe is the third album by Irish blues guitarist Rory Gallagher, released in 1972. It is a series of live recordings made by Gallagher during his European tour. Unusual for a live album it contains only two previously released songs (“Laundromat” and “In Your Town”). All the other songs are either new Gallagher songs or Gallagher’s interpretation of traditional blues songs.

Live in Europe was released at the end of the British “blues boom” that began in the 1960s. Sparked by bands such as the Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, and Cream fans and musicians were fascinated by authentic Chicago blues artists such as Muddy Waters. Gallagher had an extensive knowledge of this kind of music. Although he tended to play down arguments about what was “pure” blues. In an interview at the time he said:

“If there was one fault with the boom in the 1960s, it was that it was very straight-faced and very pontificatory, or whatever the word is. It used to annoy me that there was an attitude of ‘Thou shalt not play the blues unless you know who played second acoustic guitar behind Sonny Boy Williamson the first on the B-side of whatever.’ That kind of thing gets music nowhere, it’s like collecting stamps. I mean, I buy books on the blues and I check out the B-sides and I know who plays on what records and that’s fine. But then you’ve got to open that up to the rest of the people. Because that kind of snobbery defeats the purpose; it kills the music.”

Rather than live versions of his most popular songs there are only two songs on the album that were previously recorded by Gallagher in the studio, “Laundromat” from his first album and “In Your Town” from his Deuce album. All the other songs are Gallagher’s versions of classic blues songs. The album starts with what was to become a signature song for Gallagher, Junior Wells’ “Messin’ With the Kid”. The song “I Could’ve Had Religion” was Gallagher’s salute to what he called the “redemption style blues” of the Robert Wilkins and Gary Davis. After hearing the song on this album Bob Dylan expressed interest in recording it and assumed it was a traditional blues number rather than an original song by Gallagher.

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Blind Boy Fuller’s “Pistol Slapper Blues” is next. Gallagher then shows his versatility, swapping his Stratocaster for a mandolin and performing the song “Going to My Home Town” with the audience stomping their feet and cheering in response as Gallagher sings “do you want to go?”. The finale is the straight ahead hard rocking “Bullfrog Blues” written by William Harris. Gallagher switches back to the electric guitar and the full band and gives bassist Gerry McAvoy and drummer Wilgar Campbell, a chance to solo. With the CD release two additional blues songs were added: “What in the World” and “Hoodoo Man”.

Most critics agree that Live in Europe is one of Gallagher’s finest albums. It was his highest charting album to date reaching 101 in the Billboard 200 for 1972. The album was his first major commercial success and provided his first solo top ten album. It won him his first Gold Disc. In the same year of 1972 he was Melody Maker’s Guitarist/Musician of the Year, winning out over Eric Clapton.

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The live album Live in Europe/Stage Struck captures Rory Gallagher at his finest, as he tears his way through many of his very best songs. Though the performance quality is a little uneven, there are gems scattered throughout the record, including smoking versions of “Messin’ with the Kid” and “Laundromat.” (by Thom Owens)

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Personnel:
Wilgar Campbell (drums)
Rory Gallagher (guitar, harmonica, mandolin, vocals)
Gerry McAvoy (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Messin’ With The Kid (Wells) 6.25
02. Laundromat (Gallagher) 5.12
03. I Could’ve Had Religion (Traditional) 8.35
04. Pistol Slapper Blues (Fuller) 2.54
05. Going To My Hometown (Traditional) 5.46
06. In Your Town (Gallagher) 10.03
07. Bullfrog Blues (Traditional) 6.47
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08. What In The World (Traditional) 7.40
09. Hoodoo Man (Traditional) 6.02

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