The British Modbeats – Mod Is (1967)

FrontCover1.jpgFormed in 1963 by Fraser Loveman. They were a Beat/Mod band from St. Catharines, Ontario, The Modbeats got signed to the Red Leaf Label after finding popularity and acclaim within the Canadian Mod scene with the label hoping to use the band to ride the British Invasion wave at the time.

They disbanded in 1967 when Loveman left to start a new group, The Foundation.

The band was heavily influenced from bands and artists like Doris Troy, Cilla Black, Lulu, The Merseys, Manfred Mann, Spencer Davis Group, The Pretty Things, The Merseys, The McCoys, Chris Kenner, Cannibal And The Headhunters, Wilson Pickett.

I guess the most important musician in this short-lived Beat group was Fraser Loveman (November 01, 1946 – April 06, 2018) and so I include a intensive portrait of him (8 pages).

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Besides an inordinate amount of time spent studying 45rpm records and, rehearsing his singing via those records , Fraser had to spend a fair bit of time sewing these one of a kind, self invented fashions ! As a self taught artist in more ways than one, thousands of aural and, visual influences were dissected and, lovingly absorbed by the time he was 20 and, was becoming a known performer.

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Curtains that had been deaccessioned by some of the British Modbeats mommies were turned into giant bell bottomed trousers and, vests for himself and, his bandmates. Pre- Janis Joplin, perhaps influenced by British pop songstress Sandie Shaw, Fraser/Modbeats began a habit of performing in bare feet.

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At their mid 60’s gigs at Ontario teen dances at fairgrounds, community halls and, hockey arenas, their unexpected visual appearance and, garage band sound caused a furor that delighted the youngsters and, worried the older folks. Fraser’s well rounded vocal sound took some of the edge off of the raw vibe of the group. It was a highly original, exciting mix. Fraser’s affable dad managed his son’s new fangled singing group, The British Modbeats, who at one point, travelled all the way to New York City to perform with poppa in tow to supervise the tour.

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Because of his British roots (his family had moved to Canada in 1953) , Fraser travelled back to Britain in those days of “Swinging London” and, besides his already extensive knowledge of the roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll, he was, he was now hip to what was going on in the new music that was then emanating from England. Of course all of the new, 1960’s English popsters were influenced by the American 1950’s music that Fraser Loveman already knew so well. Relatives in Scotland also sent the latest UK records to him and, the record collection that Fraser’s older sister, Mae Loveman had started him on when he was a pre-teen was by then growing out of control. (johnmars.com)

The British Mod Beats wern´t the best Band in the Beat-Scene … but you´ll hear that they love this music … And that´s the most important thing about music ! And we can hear some strong cover versions (“L.S.D.”, “Somebody Help Me” and “More Love”)

This entry is dedicated to all these countless more or less unknown Beat Bands from this very important decade of music !

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Personnel:
Joe Colonna (bass)
Greig Foster (guitar)
Mike Gorgichuk (guitar)
Robbie Jeffrey (drums)
Fraser Loveman (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Whatcha Gonna Do About It (Payne/Carroll) 2.21
02. Love’s Just A Broken Heart (Lynch/Bendome/Shuman) 2.14
03. The Price Of Love (Everly Brothers) 2.07
04. Ain’t Nobody Home But Me (Scott) 2.22
05. L.S.D. (Taylor/May) 1.56
06. Land Of A 1000 Dances (Kenner) 2.49
07. Somebody Help Me (Edwards) 1.56
08. Sorrow (Feldman/Goldstein/Gottehrer) 2.31
09. More Love (Blaikley) 2.09
10. Try To Understand (Burton/Sawyer) 2.21
11. Don’t Answer Me (Zambrini/Enriquez/Callander) 2.19

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David Clayton-Thomas – Same (1969)

FrontCover1.jpgDavid Clayton-Thomas (born David Henry Thomsett, 13 September, 1941) is a Canadian Juno Award-winning musician and singer. As the lead vocalist for the band, Blood, Sweat & Tears he rose to fame, and maintained a busy solo career over the years as well.

Clayton-Thomas was born in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, UK, the son of a decorated Canadian soldier of World War II who met his piano-playing mother when she came to entertain the troops at a London hospital. They were married, and when the war ended, the family moved to Willowdale, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto, when Clayton-Thomas was not yet school-aged.

Growing up, he was taught music by his mother but had difficulties in what was a dysfunctional family. He left home in his early teens. He idolized the music of John Lee Hooker and began playing guitar and singing, and by the time he was 21 had his own band, The Shays. David Clayton-Thomas & The Shays recorded for Roman Records of Toronto. Clayton-Thomas released two albums on the record label, “A Go Go” (with The Shays) and “Like It Is” (with The Bossmen).

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In February 1966, he joined a new band, The Bossmen, fronted by the child prodigy, pianist Tony Collacott, who had played with Sarah Vaughan at New York’s Carnegie Hall at the age of 14. The group recorded a lone single, the jazz-rock song “Brainwashed,” which was a Canadian hit record in June 1966 and gave an indication of his future work.

The band broke up soon afterward and he traveled to New York. In October 1967, he joined forces with former members of the Toronto R&B outfit, Jon and Lee & The Checkmates and renamed them his new backing band, The Phoenix. The group started a residency at a New York nightclub, Steve Paul’s The Scene, but he was soon deported for working illegally in the States.

In February 1968, Clayton-Thomas formed a new band in Toronto, the David Clayton-Thomas Combine with former Bossmen guitarist Jack Mowbrey, ex-Phoenix bass player Peter Hodgson, and drummer Pat Little from Luke & The Apostles. The group recorded the original version of his hit “Spinning Wheel” but the band broke up a few months later when Clayton-Thomas was offered a more attractive offer from Bobby Colomby, the drummer with Blood, Sweat & Tears. (by wikipedia)

Clayton-Thomas02.jpgA few years before he joined Blood, Sweat and Tears, David Clayton-Thomas was the lead vocalist with the Shays in Canada. In 1964, David-Clayton Thomas and the Shays recorded the single “Boom Boom.” In 1965, the album “David Clayton-Thomas And The Shays: A Go-Go” was released in Canada. The songs on this “David Clayton-Thomas” album date from around that time. Young David’s vocals were somewhat raw, yet very strong. Even at that age, his gritty voice was best suited for covering blues songs. That makes the song selections on this album uniformly great. Below is the track listing for the album.

Later, David Clayton-Thomas became the lead vocalist of the Bossmen. In 1966, they had a number one hit single in Canada with “Brainwashed,” an anti-Vietnam war anthem. In 1968, David Clayton-Thomas became the lead singer of Blood, Sweat and Tears. The rest, as they say, is history. (by Michael King)

And yes, this a real great album from the early days of David Clayton-Thomas with great versions of classic Blues & R&B tunes !

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Personnel:
David Clayton-Thomas (vocals)
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a bunch of unknown studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. I Got A Woman (Charles) 4.30
02. Say Boss Man (McDaniels) 3.07
03. Who’s Been Talkin’ (Clayton-Thomas) 2.29
04. Call It Stormy Monday (Walker) 4.56
05. Done Somebody Wrong (Clayton-Thomas) 2.27
06. Tobacco Road (Loudermilk) 5.11
07. Boom Boom (Hooker) 2.38
08. Good Lovin’ (Kirkland/Taylor/Jesmet) 2.03
09. Poison Ivy (Leiber/Stoller) 2.12
10. Howlin’ For My Darling (Dixon/Burnett) 2.34

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Joni Mitchell – Hejira (1976)

FrontCover1.jpgHejira is the eighth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell.

The songs on the album were largely written by Mitchell on a trip by car from Maine back to Los Angeles, California, with prominent imagery including highways, small towns and snow. The photographs of Mitchell on the front and back cover were taken by Norman Seeff and appear against a backdrop of Lake Mendota, in Madison, Wisconsin, after an ice storm.

Characterized by lyrically dense, sprawling songs, and graced with the overdubbed fretless bass playing of Jaco Pastorius, whom Joni had just met, Hejira continued Mitchell’s journey beyond her pop records towards the freer, jazz inspired music she would implement on later recordings.

The album did not sell as well as its predecessors, peaking at No. 22 in her native Canada. It reached No. 13 on the Billboard 200 pop album chart in the United States, where it was certified gold by the RIAA, and No. 11 in the UK, where it attained a silver certification. Critically, the album was generally well received, and in the years since its release, Hejira has been considered one of the high marks of her career. (by wikipedia)

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Joni Mitchell’s Hejira is the last in an astonishingly long run of top-notch studio albums dating back to her debut. Some vestiges of her old style remain here; “Song for Sharon” utilizes the static, pithy vocal harmonies from Ladies of the Canyon’s “Woodstock,” “Refuge of the Roads” features woodwind touches reminiscent of those in “Barangrill” from For the Roses, and “Coyote” is a fast guitar-strummed number that has precedents as far back as Clouds’ “Chelsea Morning.” But by and large, this release is the most overtly jazz-oriented of her career up to this point — hip and cool, but never smug or icy. “Blue Motel Room” in particular is a prototypic slow jazz-club combo number, appropriately smooth, smoky, and languorous. “Coyote,” “Black Crow,” and the title track are by contrast energetically restless fast-tempo selections. The rest of the songs here cleverly explore variants on mid- to slow-tempo approaches.

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None of these cuts are traditionally tuneful in the manner of Mitchell’s older folk efforts; the effect here is one of subtle rolls and ridges on a green meadow rather than the outgoing beauty of a flower garden. Mitchell’s verses, many concerned with character portraits, are among the most polished of her career; the most striking of these studies are that of the decrepit Delta crooner of “Furry Sings the Blues” and the ambivalent speaker of “Song to Sharon,” who has difficulty choosing between commitment and freedom. Arrangements are sparse, yet surprisingly varied, the most striking of which is the kaleidoscopically pointillistic one used on “Amelia.” Performances are excellent, with special kudos reserved for Jaco Pastorius’ melodic bass playing on “Refuge of the Roads” and the title cut. This excellent album is a rewarding listen. (by David Cleary)

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Personnel:
Max Bennett (bass on 03. + 06.)
Larry Carlton (guitar on 01., 02, 04., 07. + 08.)
Chuck Domanico (basss on 08.)
Victor Feldman (vibraphone on 02.)
Chuck Findley (horn on 09.)
John Guerin (drums on 06., 08. + 09.)
Bobbye Hall (percussion on 01., 04. + 05.)
Jonui Mitchell (vocals, guitar)
Abe Most (clarint on 05.)
Jaco Pastorius (bass on 01., 05., 07. + 09.)
Tom Scott (horn on 09.)
Neil Young (harmonica on 03.)

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Tracklist:
01. Coyote 4.58
02. Amelia 5.57
03. Furry Sings The Blues 5.03
04. A Strange Boy 4.15
05. Hejira 6.36
06. Song For Sharon 8.28
07. Black Crow 4.12
08. Blue Motel Room 5.03
09. Refuge Of The Roads 6.37

All songs written by Joni Mitchell

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Old Beale Street  is coming down
Sweeties’ Snack Bar boarded up now
And Egles the Tailor and the Shine Boy’s gone
Faded out with ragtime blues
Handy’s cast in bronze
And he’s standing in a little park
With a trumpet in his hand
Like he’s listening back to the good old bands
And the click of high heeled shoes
Old Furry  sings the blues
Propped up in his bed
With his dentures and his leg removed
And Ginny’s there
For her kindness and Furry’s beer
She’s the old man’s angel overseer

Pawn shops glitter like gold tooth caps
In the grey decay
They chew the last few dollars off
Old Beale Street’s carcass
Carrion and mercy
Blue and silver sparkling drums
Cheap guitars eye shades and guns
Aimed at the hot blood of being no one
Down and out in Memphis Tennessee
Old Furry sings the blues
You bring him smoke and drink and he’ll play for you
lt’s mostly muttering now and sideshow spiel
But there was one song he played
I could really feel

There’s a double bill murder at the New Daisy
The old girl’s silent across the street
She’s silent waiting for the wrecker’s beat
Silent staring at her stolen name
Diamond boys and satin dolls
Bourbon laughter ghosts history falls
To parking lots and shopping malls
As they tear down old Beale Street
Old Furry sings the blues
He points a bony finger at you and says
“I don’t like you”
Everybody laughs as if it’s the old man’s standard joke
But it’s true
We’re only welcome for our drink and smoke

W. C. Handy * I’m rich and I’m fey
And I’m not familiar with what you played
But I get such strong impressions of your hey day
Looking up and down old Beale Street
Ghosts of the darktown society
Come right out of the bricks at me
Like it’s a Saturday night
They’re in their finery
Dancing it up and making deals
Furry sings the blues
Why should I expect that old guy to give it to me true
Fallen to hard luck
And time and other thieves
While our limo is shining on his shanty street
Old Furry sings the blues