Chicken Shack – Goodbye (1974)

LPFrontCover1Having lost fellow Chicken Shackers Bob Daisley (Bass) and Paul Hancox (Drums) to the rigours of touring just as the band’s now aptly-named sixth album, Unlucky Boy hit the streets, founder guitarist/vocalist Stan Webb went off in search of replacements – and quickly found them. in came pianist Dave Wilkinson, fresh from tinkling the ivories on singer/songwriter Roger Cook’s solo set, Minstrel In Flight, drummer Alan Powell and bassist Rob Hull, all of whom were rapidly schooled in Chicken Shack’s recent past.

Autumn was turning to winter, popular music in general was going about its eternal metamorphosis, and on the rock/blues vine the ‘progressive’ movement seemed to be winning out at the expense of pure blues. For all his bravado, to close friends Stan seemed to be less than enamoured of where his efforts’ most viable future possibly lay, and Deram still l had another album due. Webb was (and happily, once more as I wtite is} Chicken Shack. The dazzling guitarist and over-the-top entertainer had to date not been captured on vinyl strutting around his natural habitat – any stage – so it was logical that the ensemble’s contract be fulfilled with a live set.

The Pye Studios’ Mobile Unit was booked for the night and on 26th October 1973 it travelled to the Brunei University in the West of England to preserve forever events on the boards. Barry Murray of Murray Simmonds Productions – an organisation part-owned by Harry Simmonds, manager of Savoy Brown and brother of that outfit’s kingpin, Kim – look over Neil Slaven’s role as technical overseer. Stan’s wry sense of humour was apparent from the outset, as he introduced the fact that proceedings were being recorded along the lines of ” It’s an old geezer with a Philips cassette and a couple of Vidor batteries actually ” , before storming off into Everyday I Have The Blues.

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Chicken Shark were in good form, and quite apart from reprising a handful of numbers from their Deram days, Webb displayed his virtuosity on a variation of the old Bert Weedon hit Guitar Boogie Shuffle – now known as Webb’s Guitar Shuffle – before dosing the show with l.iitle Richard’s Tutti Frutti. The band’s disc outlet at home was expected to rush (he results inlo the shops, and indeed lacquers were cut, test-pressings made, and a domestic catalogue number, SML 1109) , allocated. The platter was never to sen4 li^ht of day in Britain.

Before it could be scheduled and alter only five months together, in January ’74 Stan announced to the press that Chicken Shack were no more and that he would be joining Savoy Brown. Deram understandably scrapped issue plans for Blighty – their parent, Decca, held Savoy Brown’s long-term disc agreement – although they’d originally intended to call Stan’s now-definite finale Chicken Shack Go Live an appellation it finally bears with this CD transfer.

The Savoyians being one of London U.S.A.’s biggest earners, they were not going to ‘isk possibly dissipating sales of Kim and Stan’s planned new venture, so Go Live was shelved there also, but Germany and Japan ultimately ensured the Shack’s farewell could be purchased by issuing Nova SDL 8008 and London K16P 9075 respectively, though signposted under the somewhat depressing end-of-everything alternative, Goodbye Chicken Shack Stan Webb and Kim Simmonds, along with a third guitarfst/frontman, Miller Anderson, plus Jimmy Leverton (Bass) and Eric Dillon (Drums) thence turned in one of Savoy Brown’s finest IP’s, Boogie Brothers (24th May I 974), and remained together for almost a year before Kim found himself on his lonesome once more.

As Jimmy and Eric went off to farm Utopian pastures new, Stan and Miller put together a band they named Broken Glass with ex-Shack cohort, keyboarder Tony Ashton, plus Robbie Blunt {Guitar}, Mac Poole (Drums) and Rob Rawlinson (Bass). After one eponymous album for Capitol in 1975 Glass fragmented (sorry, couldn’t resist that), and following a brief sojourn to take stock, Webb began assembling a new Chicken Shack .

With A multitude of personnel amendments and one-off recording deals littering his path throughout, the great man has remained a cherished part of the hint’s scene to this day, both at home and abroad. Regardless ol who is sharing his stage, Stan Webb in top gear is a formidable sight to behold and a guaranteed treat for the ears.

This C.D. gives an indication of the quality one might expect, although the songs on offer have naturally changed. Nevertheless, how much better that this revived artefact may today be more appropriately titled Chicken Shack Go Live than the unthinkable Goodbye.
Now where did I put those batteries? (by John Tracy)

Oh yes … Chicken Shack live … including these fucking good killer versions of “Going Down” and “Poor Boy” !

And as well should know .. Stan Webb plays till today …

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Personnel:
Rob Hull (bass)
Alan Powell (drums)
Stan Webb (guitar, vocals)
Dave Wilkinson (piano)

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Tracklist:
01. Intro/Everyday I Have The Blues (Chapman) 5.20
02. The Thrill Is Gone (King) 5.28
03. Going Down (Nix) 5.46
04. You Take Me Down (Webb) 5.06
05. Webb’s Boogie (Webb) 5.48
06. You’re Mean (King/Harris/Jemmott/Lovell/McCracken) 5.54
07. Poor Boy (Webb) 6.51
08. Webb’s Guitar Shuffle (Webb) 3.19
09. Tutti Frutti (LaBostrie/Penniman/Lubin) 2.29

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More Chicken Shack:

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Miles Davis – Big Fun (1974)

FrontCover1.jpgBig Fun is a compilation album by American jazz musician Miles Davis. It was released by Columbia Records on April 19, 1974, and compiled recordings Davis had made in sessions between 1969 and 1972. Largely ignored in 1974, it was reissued on August 1, 2000, by Columbia and Legacy Records with additional material, which led to a critical reevaluation. (by wikipedia)

Big Fun presents music from three different phases of Miles Davis’s early-seventies “electric” period.

Big Fun is one of the forgotten items in Miles Davis’s discography. Recorded with four different bands (one for each of its album-side-long cuts), it falls somewhere between the expansive soundscapes of Bitches Brew and the chugging, anarchic funk-noise of On The Corner. As Miles’s early-70s works are re-evaluated, and found to be far from the negligible sellout moves they were branded at the time of their initial release, this album’s reappearance is welcome indeed.

All of Davis’s 1970s studio albums were hewn from long jam sessions, held on as little as 24 hours’ notice with anywhere from five to eleven musicians. Three of the sessions which spawned Big Fun’s tracks were recorded in 1969, and one in 1972. (The reissue has been padded with four additional tracks from 1969, amounting to about 45 minutes of material, all of which is also available on the Bitches Brew 4-CD boxed set. Each of these tracks is moderately interesting, but none are as compelling as the original album cuts.)

Disc One begins with “Great Expectations,” a funk vamp featuring a thick bassline from Harvey Brooks. Ron Carter also plays bass on the track, but it is Brooks’s Fender electric which sets the tone for the piece. As with almost all of Miles’s material from these years, solos emerge from an overall groove rather than a chord progression; the music does not rise and fall as jazz, nor does it beat the listener over the head with the obtrusive crescendos of rock. Instead, like the early work of George Clinton’s Funkadelic, it ambles along at its own pace, each set of sounds arising organically from, and receding back into, the whole. “Ife,” the 22-minute cut which originally formed Side Two of the vinyl release, was recorded in 1972 and shows a marked aggressiveness, compared with the relatively mellow mood of the 1969-vintage “Great Expectations.”

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But it is not until “Go Ahead John,” the first cut on Disc Two, that aggression becomes a prime factor in the music. Though it dates from 1969, this cut, recorded with only a quintet, is the most forward-looking of all the original four Big Fun pieces. It begins with another thick groove, this one played by bassist Dave Holland, over which Steve Grossman plays a pleasant, if not astonishing, saxophone solo. About seven minutes in, though, John McLaughlin takes his solo, and the results are like nothing heard in jazz (or jazz-rock fusion) before or since. Producer Teo Macero drops McLaughlin and drummer Jack DeJohnette in and out of the soundmix repeatedly, creating a disorienting whapping sound in the listener’s ear from the drums, and causing McLaughlin to produce what has to go into the musical history books as one of the ugliest guitar solos ever to see release on a major record label. His guitar, already distorted, begins to vibrate and resonate in the ear like a dentist’s drill switched rapidly on and off. What he’s playing is not revolutionary, but the use (in 1969) of dub-like production techniques most definitely is. After this, even Miles himself (who takes the next solo) seems somehow deficient, not bringing as much innovation or aggression to the table as his producer and his guitarist. Certainly after “Go Ahead John,” the original album’s final cut, “Lonely Fire,” superb though it is, can only serve as anticlimax.

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Big Fun is being released in conjunction with Get Up With It and On The Corner, respectively one of Miles’s more beautiful albums (particularly “He Loved Him Madly,” a memorial to Duke Ellington) and probably the most controversial in his entire career. All three of these albums are, along with the other recordings from the 1970s, some of the most probing, insistently creative music Miles Davis ever made, and it is gratifying that they are finally getting the treatment they deserve. (by Phil Freeman)

Personnel:

much too much … today I´m to lazy to type all the musicians … sorry

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Tracklist:
01. Great Expectations 27.23
02. Ife 21.34
03. Recollections 18.55
04. Trevere 5.55
05. Go Ahead John 28.27
06. Lonely Fire 21.21
07. The Little Blue Frog 9.10
08. Yaphet 9.39

Music composed by Miles Davis

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Joe South – Games People Play (1969)

FrontCover1.jpgJoe South (born Joseph Alfred Souter; February 28, 1940 – September 5, 2012) was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer. Best known for his songwriting, South won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1970 for “Games People Play” and was again nominated for the award in 1972 for “Rose Garden”.

South started his pop career in July 1958 with the NRC Records novelty hit “The Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor”. After this hit, South’s music grew increasingly serious.

In 1959, South wrote two songs which were recorded by Gene Vincent: “I Might Have Known”, which was on the album Sounds Like Gene Vincent (Capitol Records, 1959), and “Gone Gone Gone” which was included on the album The Crazy Beat of Gene Vincent (Capitol Records, 1963).

South had met and was encouraged by Bill Lowery, an Atlanta music publisher and radio personality. He began his recording career in Atlanta with the National Recording Corporation, where he served as staff guitarist along with other NRC artists Ray Stevens and Jerry Reed. South’s earliest recordings have been re-released by NRC on CD. He soon returned to Nashville with The Manrando Group and then onto Charlie Wayne Felts Promotions. (Charlie Wayne Felts is the cousin of Rockabilly Hall of Fame Inductee and Grand Ole Opry Member, Narvel Felts.)

South was also a prominent sideman, playing guitar on Tommy Roe’s “Sheila”, Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde album, and Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools”. South played electric guitar on Simon & Garfunkel’s second album, Sounds of Silence, although Al Gorgoni and/or Vinnie Bell feature on the title track.

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Billy Joe Royal recorded five South songs: “Down in the Boondocks” (also covered in 1969 by Penny DeHaven), “I Knew You When”, “Yo-Yo” (later a hit for The Osmonds), “Hush” (later a hit for Deep Purple, Somebody’s Image with Russell Morris, and Kula Shaker), and “Rose Garden” (see below).

Responding to late 1960s issues, South’s style changed radically, most evident in his biggest single, 1969’s pungent, no-nonsense “Games People Play” (purportedly inspired by Eric Berne’s book of the same name), a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Accompanied by a lush string sound, an organ, and brass, the production won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Song and the Grammy Award for Song of the Year. South followed up with “Birds of a Feather” (originally “Bubbled Under” at No. 106 on February 10–17, 1968, more successful as a cover by The Raiders that peaked on the Hot 100 at No. 23 on October 23–30, 1971) and two other soul-searchers, the back-to-nature “Don’t It Make You Want to Go Home” (also covered eight months later by Brook Benton With The Dixie Flyers) and the socially provocative “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” (also covered by Elvis Presley in a Las Vegas era version, Bryan Ferry, and Coldcut).

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South’s most commercially successful composition was Lynn Anderson’s 1971 country/pop monster hit “Rose Garden”, which was a hit in 16 countries worldwide. Anderson won a Grammy Award for her vocals, and South earned two Grammy Nominations for it, as Best Country Song and (general) Song of the Year. South wrote more hits for Anderson, such as “How Can I Unlove You” (Billboard Country No. 1) and “Fool Me” (Billboard Country No. 3). Freddy Weller, Jeannie C. Riley, and Penny DeHaven also had hits on the Billboard country chart with South songs. In addition, other artists who have recorded South-penned songs include Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Loretta Lynn, Carol Burnett, Andy Williams, Kitty Wells, Dottie West, Jim Nabors, Arlen Roth, Liz Anderson, The Georgia Satellites, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, Ike & Tina Turner, Hank Williams Jr., James Taylor, the Tams, and k. d. lang, although most covered versions of South’s best known songs.

Photo of Joe SOUTH and Tommy ROE and Billy Joe ROYAL

The 1971 suicide of South’s brother, Tommy, resulted in him becoming clinically depressed. Tommy South had been his backing band’s drummer and accompanied South not only in live performances but also on recording sessions when South produced hits for other artists, including Royal, Sandy Posey, and Friend and Lover, including their #10 Billboard hit song “Reach Out of the Darkness.”[4] In an interview with Amy Duncan of Christian Science Monitor, South said, “I didn’t see myself doing [drugs] for the kicks. I did it more or less to keep going, and to tap into inspiration. I equated the chemicals with the inspiration.” South’s drug use resulted in a surly attitude toward audiences, and he left Capitol after two unsuccessful albums. South lived for a time in the 1970s on the Hawaiian island of Maui. He said, “I really kicked myself around for years … one of the main hang-ups was I just refused to forgive myself,” he told Duncan. “You know, you can go through drug treatment centers, and it’s not a permanent healing until it’s a spiritual healing.”

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No information is available about South’s first marriage, divorce or his first wife. In 1987, South married his second wife, Jan Tant. South said his second marriage helped turn things around, and his wife Jan Tant’s inspiration helped him return to writing songs and occasional appearances in public.

South fathered one child, son Craig South, who is a voice-over artist in Southern California.

South’s final recording, “Oprah Cried”, was made in 2009 and released as a bonus track on the re-release of the albums So the Seeds are Growing and A Look Inside on one CD.

South died at his home in Buford, Georgia, northeast of Atlanta, on September 5, 2012, of heart failure. He was 72. Both Joe and his second wife, Jan Tant, who died in 1999, are buried in Mount Harmony Memorial Gardens Cemetery, in Mableton (Cobb County), Georgia. (by wikipecdia)

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To some degree, Games People Play was a rushed album, issued to capitalize on the unexpected hit single title track (which had first been issued as an LP-only cut on South’s previous long-player, Introspect). Three songs that had appeared on Introspect (“Games People Play,” “Birds of a Feather,” and “These Are Not My People”) were placed on Games People Play as well, and some of the other songs (like “Untie Me” and “Concrete Jungle”) had been recorded by other artists as early as 1962. For all that, however, it was a pretty cracking good set of country-soul-rock, and if it was hastily thrown together, it certainly didn’t show in the songwriting, production, or performances. South’s sage, humanistic, and somewhat outside-looking-in view of the madding crowd came through forcefully in “Party People,” “These Are Not My People,” and “Birds of a Feather.” Wholehearted romantic lust and confusion laced his energetic recastings of “Untie Me” (first a hit for the Tams back in 1962) and “Hush” (which had just been a smash for Deep Purple), as well as the respectable Elvis Presley-meets-Neil Diamond-styled “Heart’s Desire,” which had the catchiness of a hit single. The dabs of psychedelia throughout the record — some electric guitar here, some weird echo there (both at once on “Hole in Your Soul,” the most avowedly strange track) — might have been trendy, but were nonetheless effective. Quite a lot of fine music not found on best-of compilations awaits South fans who have yet to discover this record. (by Richie Unterberger)

The “Games People Play” single .. from all over the world:

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Personnel:
Joe South (vocals)
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a bunch of unknown studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. Games People Play 3.35
02. Party People 4.25
03. Untie Me 2.39
04. Concrete Jungle 2.54
05. Hole In Your Soul 3.39
06. Hush 3.45
07. Birds Of A Feather 4.23
08. Hearts Desire 2.53
09. Leanin’ On You 2.51
10. I Knew You When 2.55
11. These Are Not My People 2.30
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12. Games People Play (instrumental version recorded by Harvey Mandel) 4.49

All songs written by Joe South

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Talkin’ about you and me, yeah
And the games people play
Oh, the games people play now
Every night and every day now

Never meanin’ what they say, yeah
Never say what they mean
First you wind away your hours
In your concrete towers

Soon you’ll be covered up in flowers
In the back of a black limousine
People walkin’ up to you
Singin’ glory hallelujah
Then they try to sock it to you, yeah
Oh, in the name of the lord

Na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na
Na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na
Talkin’ about you and me, yeah
And the games people play

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Joe South (February 28, 1940 – September 5, 2012)

REO Speedwagon – Same (1971)

LPFrontCover1REO Speedwagon (originally styled as R.E.O. Speedwagon) is an American Rock band from Champaign, Illinois. Formed in 1967, the band cultivated a following during the 1970s and achieved significant commercial success throughout the 1980s. Hi Infidelity (1980) contained four US Top 40 hits and is the group’s best-selling album, with over ten million copies sold.

Over the course of its career, the band has sold more than 40 million records and has charted thirteen Top 40 hits, including the number ones “Keep On Loving You” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling”. REO Speedwagon’s mainstream popularity waned in the late 1980s, but the band remains a popular live act. (by wikipedia)

After all those power ballads it’s easy to forget that REO Speedwagon started out as a by-the-numbers boogie band with 1971’s REO, kicking odes to the “Anti-Establishment Man” and a “Gypsy Woman’s Passion.” This is a band that’s quite different from the arena-conquering rockers of a decade later, but they were no different than their time, embodying almost every cliché of the era from the spacy hippie meditation of “Five Men Were Killed Today” to the numbing nine-minute venture into the heavy jams of the closing “Dead Ayear of rect Last,” where a flute is hauled out, presumably to compete with Jethro Tull.

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As captivating as they are, these are but detours from the main road of straight-ahead blues boogie, a road that hits its highlight early on with the rollicking shuffle “157 Riverside Avenue,” a piano-driven rocker that in no way points toward REO Speedwagon’s later strengths; if anything it sounds like a leaner Chicago fronted by a Rod Stewart wannabe in Terry Luttrell. There are a few other noteworthy moments scattered throughout — an able aping of the Jeff Beck Group on “Lay Me Down,” for instance — but this pretty much is generic ’70s hard boogie that needed a little more flair in some area, any area, to be memorable. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

And “Lay Me Down” was one of the first classic Songs by REO Speedwagon !

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Personnel:
Neal Doughty (keyboards)
Alan Gratzer (drums)
Gregg Philbin (bass)
Terry Luttrell (vocals)
Gary Richrath (guitar)
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Freedom Soul Singers (background vocals on 08.)

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Tracklist:
01. Gypsy Woman’s Passion 5:17
02. 157 Riverside Avenue 3:57
03. Anti-Establishment Man 5:21
04. Lay Me Down 3:51
05. Sophisticated Lady 4:00
06.  Five Men Were Killed Today
07. Prison Women 2:36
08. Dead At Last 10.09

All songs written by:
Neal Doughty – Alan Gratzer – Gregg Philbin – Terry Luttrell – Gary Richrath

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Ornette Coleman Quartet – Live At Jazz A Vienne (2008)

FrontCoverRandolph Denard Ornette Coleman (March 9, 1930 – June 11, 2015) was an American jazz saxophonist, violinist, trumpeter, and composer. He was one of the major innovators of the free jazz movement of the 1960s, a term he invented with the name of his 1961 album. His “Broadway Blues” has become a standard and has been cited as a key work in the free jazz movement.[2] He was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1994. His album Sound Grammar received the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for music. (by wikipedia)

And here´s a pretty good broadcast concert (French TV) …

Coleman is the creator of a concept of music called “harmolodic,” a musical form which is equally applicable as a life philosophy. The richness of harmolodics derives from the unique interaction between the players. Breaking out of the prison bars of rigid meters and conventional harmonic or structural expectations, harmolodic musicians improvise equally together in what Coleman calls compositional improvisation, while always keeping deeply in tune with the flow, direction and needs of their fellow players. In this process, harmony becomes melody becomes harmony. Ornette describes it as “Removing the caste system from sound.” On a broader level, harmolodics equates with the freedom to be as you please, as long as you listen to others and work with them to develop your own individual harmony. (by jazzbluesnews.space)

Recorded live at the Théâtre Antique de Vienne (Isère – Rhône-Alpes)

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Personnel:
Denardo Coleman (drums)
Ornette Coleman (saxophone, violon)
Tony Falanga (bass)
Al McDowell (bass)
Charnett Mack Moffet (bass)

OrnetteColeman03Tracklist:
01. Intro (Coleman) 0.34
02. Sleep Talking (Coleman) 6.34
03. 9/11 (Coleman)
04. Bach – 5 Bach Arrangements (Bach/Coleman) 12.26
05. Dancing Your Head (Coleman) 5.36
06. Song World (Pt. 1) (Coleman) 3.51
07. Song World (Pt. 2) (Coleman) 4.57
08. Song X (Coleman) 4.04
09. Lonely Woman (Coleman) 4.00

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Isère is a department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in eastern France named after the river Isère:

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Axel Zwingenberger, Dave Green & Charlie Watts – The Magic Of Boogie Woogie (2010)

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Axel Zwingenberger (born May 7, 1955) is a blues and boogie-woogie pianist, and songwriter. He is considered one of the finest boogie-woogie music masters in the world.

Zwingenberger was born in Hamburg, Germany, and enjoyed eleven years of conventional piano training. In 1973 he listened to recordings of boogie-woogie pianists Albert Ammons, Meade “Lux” Lewis, and Pete Johnson. He soon joined piano playing partners Hans-Georg Moeller, Vince Weber and Martin Pyrker, and word about the four friends began to spread. In 1974, he played at the First International Blues-and-Boogie Woogie Festival of the West German Radio Station in Cologne which was followed by Hans Maitner’s annual festival Stars of Boogie Woogie in Vienna.

By 1975, Zwingenberger received his first recording contract, issuing such solo recordings as Boogie Woogie Breakdown, Power House Boogie, and Boogie Woogie Live, as well as lending his talents to recordings by such artists as Lionel Hampton, Jay McShann, Big Joe Turner, Lloyd Glenn, Joe Newman, Sippie Wallace, Mama Yancey, Champion Jack Dupree, Sammy Price, Ray Bryant, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Vince Weber, and the Mojo Blues Band, among others.

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In addition to issuing other solo recordings, Zwingenberger continues to tour all over the world. He has also authored several publications about blues/boogie-woogie music and musicians as well as Boogie Woogie: Piano Solo, a book of 12 of his compositions, exactly transcribed.

Being a railfan since early childhood, he is also known for his photographs of steam locomotives, including some taken from within the machinery itself. Zwingenberger established a non-profit foundation within the German Foundation for the Protection of Historical Monuments which donates for the preservation of monuments on rails, including the world’s fastest operational steam locomotive, the German DR 18 201.

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In spring 2009, coordinated by young pianist Ben Waters from the UK, Zwingenberger renewed his relationship with Charlie Watts, drummer of The Rolling Stones. Together with bassist Dave Green, they played joint concerts billed as The ABC&D of Boogie Woogie. In June 2012 they released their first joint album The ABC&D of Boogie Woogie – live in Paris and presented it in New York by playing concerts at Lincoln Center and The Iridium Jazz Club. (by wikipedia)

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He’s the leading boogie woogie player, worldwide. To record his latest album he went to London where he was joined by two stellar players from the UK. A perfect set of recordings. Comes with a 32page booklet with liner notes in German and English. Great.

The magic of boogie woogie keeps on fascinating the audiences by its youthful freshness since more than 100 years, as well as exciting ever new generations of enthusiastic pianists. But it is more to it than just that: the boogie woogie is one of the most important roots of modern popular music, starting off with rock’n’roll. Charlie Watts, drummer of The Rolling Stones, has mentioned boogie woogie as a foundation of the Stones’ music.

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Axel Zwingenberger, together with Charlie Watts at the drums and Dave Green, the stellar double bass player, let shine the swinging magic of blues and boogie woogie in full glory. This is the pure joy of trio playing! Spontaneously created numbers alternate with boogie classics, and for the first time, Charlie’s drums’ artistry is featured in such an intimate setting.

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Personnel:
Dave Green (bass)
Charlie Watts (drums)
Axel Zwingenberger (piano)

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Tracklist:
01. Shepperton Strut (Zwingenberger) 2.51
02. Lagonda Ride (Zwingenberger) 4.03
03. Heathrow Jet (Zwingenberger) 3.39
04. Windsor Park Walk (Zwingenberger) 4.51
05. High Barn Stampede (Zwingenberger) 2.48
06. Blues, Indeed (Zwingenberger) 4.31
07. Honky Tonky Train Blues (Lewis) 4.46
08. V-Disc Stomp (Lewis) 3.04
09. Smashingly Blue (Zwingenberger) 5.49
10. Second Line Bounce (Zwingenberger) 2.47
11. Bass Goin’ Crazy (Ammons) 3.17
12. Careless Love Swing (Traditional) 3.37
13. Boogie Train Mystique (Zwingenberger) 4.21
14. Lady Be Good (Gershwin) 4.20
15. Boogie Asado (Zwingenberger) 3.24
16. How Long Blues (Traditional) 4.32
17. Boogie Woogie Rhythm Shop (Zwingenberger) 4.42
18. Sympathy For The Drummer (Zwingenberger) 4.26
19. Farewell Smile (Zwingenberger) 4.50

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Agnes Strange – Same (Strange Flavour) (1975)

FrontCover1Sometimes, albums become far more interesting because of their back story. Case in point: Agnes Strange. This heavy trio from Southampton, England, led by singer-guitarist John Westwood, somehow didn’t make a splash on the early ’70s boogie circuit despite their obvious similarities to beloved acts like the Groundhogs, Budgie and the almighty Status Quo. Despite some heavy names in their corner, including management company DJM (led by Dick James, who had made a mint off the Beatles’ publishing) and A&R folks at Pye Records, some bad luck and inexplicable business decisions led them off course. Foremost among these was a fundamental misunderstanding of the term “pub rock,” which led Pye to release Strange Flavour on a one-off label called Birdsnest, which was affiliated with a chain of theme pubs of the same name, owned by the beer manufacturer Watney’s. The existing heavy rock audience at the time reacted much as straight-edge punks would if McDonald’s and Sony BMG joined forced to release a hardcore album available only at fast food restaurants, and Strange Flavour disappeared without trace, as did Agnes Strange.

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Funny thing, though: it turns out that Strange Flavour is actually pretty good. Produced by Dave Travis, whose remarkably cheesy country albums from the ’60s are much beloved by Anglo-kitsch collectors, and engineered by Colin Thurston, who was about a half decade away from his heyday as a name post-punk and new romantic producer, Strange Flavour is comfortably pitched between the old and the new, or at least the new iterations of the old. “Clever Fool” is a basic bluesy shuffle that would sound right at home on one of Dave Edmunds’ Rockpile-era albums, while “Motorway Rebel” is tailor-made for the Foghat crowd, with its faux bluesy riffage and a hackneyed opening line “Well, I been to New York City/You know I been to L.A.” delivered in a voice that screams that its owner has never been further west than Liverpool.

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On side two, things get a lot spacier, culminating in the epic freak-out “Children of the Absurd,” complete with Pink Floyd-style sonar guitar pings and rampant wah-wah abuse. Westwood and his compatriots, bassist Alan Green and drummer Dave Rodwell, may not have been able to solidify a trademark Agnes Strange sound, but the “see if it works” variety and generally tasteful playing makes Strange Flavour an interesting listen for rock obscurantists and old boogie fans alike. This reissue features remastered sound, full liner notes of the whole odd story and four bonus tracks including the punchier 45 single mix of the anthemic opening track “Give Yourself a Chance.” (by Stewart Mason)

Hey boys … where are you now ???

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Personnel:
Alan Green (bass, vocals)
Dave Rodwell (drums, vocals)
John Westwood (guitar, vocals)
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Colin Thurston (background vocals)
Dave Travis (guitar, slide guitar, harmonica, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Give Yourself A Chance (single mix) (Westwood/Green) 3.29
02. Clever Fool (Westwood) 3.23
03. Motorway Rebel (previously unreleased) (Westwood) 4.04
04. Traveling (previously unreleased) (Travis) 2.54
05. Strange Flavour (Westwood/Green/Rodwell) 3.56
06 Alberta (Travis) 5.44
07. Loved One (Green) 6.00
08. Failure (Rodwell) 5.18
09. Children Of The Absurd (Rodwell/Green/Barber) 7.48
10. Odd Man Out (Westwood) 3.54
11. Highway Blues (Westwood) 5.31
12. Granny Don’t Like Rock ‘n’ Roll (Westwood) 5.22
13. Interference (Travixs) 1.44
14. Give Yourself A Chance (LP mix) (Westwood/Green)

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