Moby Grape – Truly Fine Citizen (1969)

OriginalFC1Truly Fine Citizen is the fourth studio album by American rock band Moby Grape. It was released on July 30, 1969, by Columbia Records. After completing the album, the band went on hiatus until 1971 when they reunited with Skip Spence and Bob Mosley to record the reunion album, 20 Granite Creek.

After the departure of Bob Mosley, the remaining trio headed to Nashville where they cut this album in just three days with legendary Columbia Records producer Bob Johnston. This album fulfilled the band’s contract with Columbia Records. At the time, the band was in the midst of legal disputes with their manager, Matthew Katz, with the result that certain songs written by band members were instead credited to their road manager, Tim Dell’Ara. In particular, songs written by Jerry Miller and Don Stevenson became Tim Dell’Ara songs, to counter Matthew Katz withholding royalties on previous recordings.

Replacing Bob Mosley on bass was famed Nashville session musician Bob Moore, who had played bass on many Elvis Presley sessions and was one of the founders of Monument Records, for many years the recording home of Roy Orbison.

In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, music critic Robert Christgau gave the album a “C+” and wrote, “In which what should have been America’s greatest rock group gasps its last. Quite mediocre, despite a couple of lovely Peter Lewis songs.” (by wikipedia)

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1969’s Truly Fine Citizen was the last gasp for the original incarnation of Moby Grape. The departures of guitarist Skip Spence and bassist Bob Mosley had reduced the once-mighty band to a trio, and sessionman Bob Moore had to be brought in to fill out the lineup. Columbia Records decided Moby Grape needed a break from producer and studio collaborator David Rubinson, and they were sent to Nashville to record with Bob Johnston, best known for his work with Bob Dylan. Johnston reportedly began the sessions by announcing the album had to be recorded in a mere three days, and if the musicians didn’t like it they were free to leave. And Moby Grape were in the midst of an ugly legal dispute with their manager that resulted in most of the songs on the album being credited to Tom Dell’ara, their road manager. Given all this, it’s a pleasant surprise that Truly Fine Citizen isn’t a disaster — it’s a loose but amiable set of sunny psychedelic MobyGrape02pop-rock with a decided country influence. Guitarists Peter Lewis and Jerry Miller had already shown their country leanings on Moby Grape ’69, and here it comes to the forefront with some solid Nashville-style picking, and their harmonies with drummer Don Stevenson remain one of the highlights of the group’s sound. There are a few good songs on board, including “Looper” (which had been in the Grape’s repertoire since their earliest days), the sunny “Changes, Circles Spinning” and the title cut, a tribute to a mystic healer the band had met on the road. But Truly Fine Citizen was basically a rush job recorded to finish out Moby Grape’s contract with Columbia, and too much of the time that’s just what it sounds like, despite the obvious talent of the musicians, and the jazzy “Love Song, Pt. Two” and “Now I Know High,” which at 6:14 meanders twice as long as the album’s second longest tune, are clear filler on an album that’s barely over a half-hour long. Moby Grape were still capable of making a good album when they cut Truly Fine Citizen, but they scarcely had the opportunity to demonstrate that. (by Mark Deming)

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Personnel:
Peter Lewis (vocals, guitar)
Jerry Miller (lead guitar, vocals)
Don Stevenson (drums, vocals)
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Bob Moore (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Changes, Circles Spinning (Lewis) 2.30
02. Looper (Lewis) 3.06
03. Truly Fine Citizen (Dell’Ara) 1.51
04. Beautiful Is Beautiful (Dell’Ara) 2.33
05. Love Song (Dell’Ara) 2.25
06. Right Before My Eyes (Lewis) 2.06
07. Open Up Your Heart (Dell’Ara) 2.39
08. Now I Know High (Lewis) 6.14
09. Treat Me Bad (Dell’Ara) 2.20
10. Tongue-Tied (Miller/Spence) 2.04
11. Love Song, Part Two (Dell’Ara) 2.46
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12. Rounder (live) (Spence) 2.03
13. Miller’s Blues (live) (Miller/Mosley) 6.07
14. Changes (live) (Miller/Stevenson) 4.20
15. Skip’s Song (“Seeing” demo) (Spence) 3.30
16. Looper (demo, previously unreleased) (Lewis) 2.10
17. Soul Stew (Instrumental, previously unreleased) (Mosley) 2.22
18. Cockatoo Blues (“Tongue-Tied” demo, previously unreleased) (Miller/Spence) 3.42

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Charles Lloyd´s Kindred Spirits – Jazz Middelheim (2019)

FrontCover1.jpgIt may seem a bit of a paradox to still describe 81-year-old American saxophonist Charles Lloyd as a jazz innovator. But the fact is that Lloyd continues to search tirelessly for new paths and forms of expression rather than producing a resume of his long career. »I refer to myself as a sound-searcher,« says Charles Lloyd. »The deeper I dive into the ocean of sound, the more I become aware that I need to dive down even deeper.« Thus as recently as 2016 he founded the alternative country and Americana band The Marvels, recording the album »Vanished Gardens« with the new band’s pedal-steel-guitar sounds and roots rock singer Lucinda Williams; for many critics, this is one of the top records in Lloyd’s large discography.

In addition to two members of The Marvels, Charles Lloyd is accompanied by guitarists Julian Lage und Marvin Sewell. »Kindred Spirits« is the title of the programme with which the five musicians celebrate jazz music’s inexhaustible powers of innovation.

Charles Lloyd01And here´s a review of his show at the Ronnie Scott´s Jazzclub, London (1 August 2019)

Charles Lloyd’s first appearance at Ronnie’s with a truly amazing group was a very special event. Lloyd’s Kindred Spirits group comprised a cohort of the highest calibre. Two extraordinary guitarists, Julian Lage and Marvin Sewell, and on bass and drums, two of Lloyd’s long-time co-musicians, the in-demand rhythm section of Reuben Rogers and Eric Harland, and, leading it all, the unmistakeable, 81-years-young Charles Lloyd on tenor sax and flute. From the moment he stepped on stage it was clear that he just loved to be playing in a small club, and he did not hold back – a strong musical presence making sure attention was paid to detail all-round, guiding with a gentle, knowing intelligence with roots in a lifetime of just living the music.

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The guitarists had very different styles, so complemented each other inspiringly. Lage light, super fast and furiously florid, Sewell, sharp, raw and hitting the blues streak – they just kept upping the ante every time they soloed! Not quite duelling, but… and Harland’s drum solo was one of those that redefines what a drum solo is – none of that ‘just bash away’ – he focused on a beat and worked round it meticulously and, later, Lloyd joined him, not without humour, wielding metallic green maracas for a brief percussive duet that lightened the tone. Similarly, Rogers on electric bass didn’t take the easy route, lots of space and then he just turned it up.

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Great playing from all five – never a dull moment, with Lloyd imposing his large, all-embracing presence with a gentle touch and many big smiles – just like his playing, which combined the imposingly forceful, demanding attention, and the gracefully mellifluous, with gorgeous phrasing trickling up and down the hill with every note he played – with a memorably devastating tenor sax solo outtro to their second number that really flew. The flute was Lloyd’s other instrument of choice, setting up the mood for the finale to a brilliant 80 minute set, ending on a carnival note, throwing jazz, chunky funk and a demon Latin undercurrent in to the melting pot with glorious glee! (by Geoff Winston)

And here´s is his show from the Park den Brandt … Excellent stuff !

Thanks to Steven (who recorded the show); and to gideon77 for sharing it at Dime.

Recorded live at Jazz Middelheim. Park Den Brandt, Antwerp, Belgium; August 16, 2019. Very good FM broadcast.

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Personnel:
Gerald Clayton (piano)
Eric Harland (drums)
Charles Lloyd (saxophone, flute)
Reuben Rogers (bass)
Marvin Sewell (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Radio intro 1.51
02. Deverish Dance 19:54
03. All My Relations 10.44
04. How Can I Tell You 19.40
05. Little Anahids Day 11.04
06. Untitled 1 10.58
07. Untitled 2 14.19
08. Crowd 0.14
09. Radio outro 1:03

Music composed by Charles Lloyd

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Cream – Goodbye (1969)

OriginalFC1Goodbye (also called Goodbye Cream) is the fourth and final studio album by Cream, with three tracks recorded live, and three recorded in the studio. It was released in Europe by Polydor Records and by Atco Records in the United States, debuting in Billboard on 15 February 1969.[3] It reached number one in the United Kingdom and number two in the US. A single, “Badge”, was subsequently released from the album a month later. The album was released after Cream disbanded in November 1968.

Just before Cream’s third album, Wheels of Fire, was to be released, the group’s manager Robert Stigwood announced that the group were going to disband after a farewell tour and a final concert at the Royal Albert Hall in November. Just before the start of their farewell tour in October 1968, Cream recorded three songs at IBC Studios in London with producer Felix Pappalardi and engineer Damon Lyon-Shaw. The songs “Badge” and “Doing That Scrapyard Thing” featured Eric Clapton using a Leslie speaker, while all three recordings featured keyboard instruments played by either Jack Bruce or Felix Pappalardi. The group started their farewell tour on 4 October 1968 in Oakland, California and 15 days later on 19 October the group performed at The Forum in Los Angeles where the three live recordings on Goodbye were recorded with Felix Pappalardi and engineers Adrian Barber and Bill Halverson.

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The original plan for Goodbye was to make it a double album, with one disc featuring studio recordings and the other with live performances much like Wheels of Fire, but with a lack of quality material on hand the album was only one disc with three live recordings and three studio recordings.

The original LP release of the album was packaged in a gatefold sleeve with art direction handled by Haig Adishian. The outer sleeve featured photography by Roger Phillips with a cover design by the Alan Aldridge ink Studios, while the inner sleeve featured an illustration of a cemetery by Roger Hane that had the song titles on tombstones.

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In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, music critic Ray Rezos felt Cream deserved to depart with a better album. He wrote that most of the live songs sound inferior to the original recordings and that the studio tracks are marred by the same flaw as on Wheels of Fire, namely the presence of blues playing on songs whose compositions were not blues in his opinion. Nonetheless, Goodbye was voted the 148th best rock album of all time in Paul Gambaccini’s 1978 poll of 50 prominent American and English rock critics.

Robert Christgau also reacted favourably to the album, citing it as his favorite record from the group. J. D. Considine was less impressed in The Rolling Stone Album Guide (1992), deeming Goodbye an incomplete record with “exquisite studio work” but mediocre live performances.(by wikipedia)

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After a mere three albums in just under three years, Cream called it quits in 1969. Being proper gentlemen, they said their formal goodbyes with a tour and a farewell album called — what else? — Goodbye. As a slim, six-song single LP, it’s far shorter than the rambling, out-of-control Wheels of Fire, but it boasts the same structure, evenly dividing its time between tracks cut on-stage and in the studio. While the live side contains nothing as indelible as “Crossroads,” the live music on the whole is better than that on Wheels of Fire, capturing the trio at an empathetic peak as a band. It’s hard, heavy rock, with Cream digging deep into their original “Politician” with the same intensity as they do on “Sitting on Top of the World,” but it’s the rampaging “I’m So Glad” that illustrates how far they’ve come; compare it to the original studio version on Fresh Cream and it’s easy to see just how much further they’re stretching their improvisation. The studio side also finds them at something of a peak.

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Boasting a song apiece from each member, it opens with the majestic classic “Badge,” co-written by Eric Clapton and George Harrison and ranking among both of their best work. It’s followed by Jack Bruce’s “Doing That Scrapyard Thing,” an overstuffed near-masterpiece filled with wonderful, imaginative eccentricities, and finally, there’s Ginger Baker’s tense, dramatic “What a Bringdown,” easily the best original he contributed to the group. Like all of Cream’s albums outside Disraeli Gears, Goodbye is an album of moments, not a tight cohesive work, but those moments are all quite strong on their own terms, making this a good and appropriate final bow. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Ginger Baker (drums, percussion)
Jack Bruce (bass, vocals, keyboards on 06.)
Eric Clapton (guitar, vocals)
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George Harrison (guitar on 04.)
Felix Pappalardi (piano on 04, mellotron on 04. + 05, bass on 06.)

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Tracklist:
01. I’m So Glad (James) 9.12
02. Politician (Bruce/Brown) 6.18
03. Sitting On Top Of The World (Vinson/Chatmon) 5-ß4
04. Badge (Clapton/Harrison) 2.49
05. Doing That Scrapyard Thing (Bruce/Brown) 3.17
06. What A Bringdown (Baker) 4.02
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07. Anyone For Tennis (The Savage Seven Theme) (Clapton/Sharp) 2.39

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