Foghat – Fool For The City (1975)

FrontCover1Fool for the City is the fifth album released by English rock band Foghat, released in 1975. This was their first platinum album and features, along with the title track, their signature song “Slow Ride”.Fool for the City is the fifth album released by English rock band Foghat, released in 1975. This was their first platinum album and features, along with the title track, their signature song “Slow Ride”.

The album cover shows drummer Roger Earl sitting alone on a soap box fishing down a manhole in the middle of East 11th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenue) in New York City, near the address of Foghat’s American office. The back cover features skeptical bystanders observing Earl’s unusual activity and the other members of the band either asking him what he is doing or trying to dissuade him from it. In a 2014 interview, Earl explained how the picture was taken:“ It was a Sunday morning and I hadn’t slept. […] It was Nick Jameson’s idea […] since I have this penchant for fishing. Anyway, we lift up the manhole cover and I’m sitting on a box. Almost immediately a couple of New York’s Finest come by in their patrol car. They’re looking at us and they wind the window down. We’re like, “Oh shit.” They yell out, “Hey! You got a fishing license?” and then start laughing. So they come over and say, “What the fuck are you doing?” They took some pictures with them handcuffing me. I love New York’s finest.

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After building a solid core audience through relentless touring and a string of hard-rocking albums, Foghat finally hit the big time in 1975 with Fool for the City. It still stands out as the best album in the group’s catalog because it matched their road-tested abilities as hard rockers to a consistent set of tunes that were both well-crafted and ambitious. The tone for the album is set by its title track: This hard-rocking gem not only pairs riff-driven verses with an effective shout-along chorus, but also throws in a few surprising moments where the guitars are taken out of the mix completely and Nick Jameson’s bass is allowed to take the lead in a funky breakdown. Fool for the City also produced an enduring rock radio favorite in “Slow Ride,” a stomping rock tune that transcends the inherent clichés of its “love is like a car ride” lyrics with a furious performance from the band and a clever arrangement that works in well-timed automotive sound effects during the verses and plays up the band’s ability to work an R&B-styled groove into their hard-rocking sound (again, note the thumping bassline from Jameson).

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Further radio play was earned with “Take It or Leave It,” an acoustic-based ballad that worked synthesizers into its subtle yet carefully layered arrangement to become one of the group’s finest slow numbers. The album’s other songs don’t stand like the aforementioned selections, but they all flow together nicely thanks to a consistently inspired performance from the band and clever little arrangement frills that keep the group’s boogie-oriented rock fresh (example: the witty spoken word bit at the end of “Drive Me Home”). All in all, Fool for the City is both Foghat’s finest achievement in the studio and one of the high points of 1970s hard rock. (by Donald A. Guarisco)

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Personnel:
Roger Earl (drums, percussion)
Nick Jameson (bass, keyboards, guitar, vocals)
Lonesome Dave Peverett (vocals, guitar)
Rod “The Bottle” Price (guitar, slide guitar, steel guitar, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01- Fool For The City (Peverett) 4.32
02. My Babe (Hatfield/Dixon/Medley) 4.37
03. Slow Ride (Peverett) 8.13
04. Terraplane Blues (Johnson) 5.44
05. Save Your Loving (For Me) (Price/Peverett) 3.32
06. Drive Me Home (Peverett) 3.55
07. Take It Or Leave It (Jameson/Peverett) 4.56

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The Alexis P. Suter Band – Love The Way You Roll (2014)

FrontCover1The Alexis P Suter Band is a five piece ensemble fronted by the eponymous Ms Suter. With a growing reputation for incendiary live performances, particularly in the North-Eastern USA where they are based, Love The Way You Roll – the APSB’s sixth album – should be the catalyst that helps introduce the band to a wider audience.

Love The Way You Roll is fine slab of modern guitar-led electric blues-rock. Opening with the riff-based “Nuthin’ In The World”, Jimmy Bennett’s heavily over-driven guitar has echoes of Hendrix in his soloing style, particularly in the outro solo as he bends and releases his strings with abandon.

The most distinctive aspect of the ASPB however is Suter’s deep, husky, powerhouse of a voice. She began singing in her church choir in Brooklyn as a four-year-old, and the gospel influence is still evident in her tone, particularly on ballads such as “Anything”, which also features some lovely organ from John Ginty, or “Waiting”. Blessed with a deep bass/baritone voice, Suter is a highly impressive singer, capable of convincingly conveying deep emotional turmoil, whether it be the pure lust of “Big Mama” or the anger and resignation of “You Don’t Move Me No More.” She is well-supported throughout by Bennett’s warm, choppy guitar playing and the solidly swinging rhythm section of Peter Bennett (bass) and Ray Grappone (drums/percussion), together with Vicki Bell’s voice (which adds lovely touches to songs like “Hang On” and “Them Days”).

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Of the 12 songs on the album, various members of the band contribute 10 of the songs in different writing combinations. They cover a wide range of styles, from the funky blues of “It Ain’t Over” (with the memorably assertive lyrical punchline at the end of each verse that “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings”) to the R’n’B/pop ballad of “Them Days” and the Black Crowes-esque “Hang On.” The memorable title track features a rumbling bass and drum backing with distant and discordant slide guitar framing Suter’s voice of abandon.

VickiBellThe two covers on the album are Big Mama Thornton’s classic “You Don’t Move Me No More” (which is given a rock and roll re-interpretation with excellent jungle drums from Grappone) and Slim Harpo’s “Shake Your Hips”. The one-chord groove of the latter can be tricky to nail convincingly, but the APSB turn in a fine modern version, with Suter and Bell’s voices combining magically.

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Ben Elliott at Showplace Studios, Love The Way You Roll is a very enjoyable release and well worth checking out by fans of modern electric blues and blues-rock (by Rhys Williams)

Enjoy this album … you´ll hear nothing but the blues – very heavy blues-rock !

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Personnel:
Vicki Bell (vocals)
Jimmy Bennett (guitar)
Peter Bennett (bass)
John Ginty  (keyboards, vibraphone)
Ray Grappone (drums, Percussion)
Alexis P. Suter (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Nuthin’ In The World (Bell/Suter) 3.48
02. 25 Years (Bell/Suter) 3.51
03. Anything (Bell/Suter) 4.58
04. Big Mama (Bell/Suter) 3.57
05. Love The Way You Roll (Bell/Bennett/Grappone/Suter) 3.45
06. Gonna Love You (Bell/Bennett/Suter) 3.50
07. Waiting (Bell) 3.52
08. You Don’t Move Me No More (Thornton) 2.49
09. It Ain’t Over (Bell/Bennett/Grappone/Suter) 2.47
10. Hang On (Bell) 4.25
11. Them Days (Bell/Suter) 3.34
12. Shake Your Hips (Harpo) 4.46

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Ten Years After – Recorded Live (1973)

FrontCover1Recorded Live is the third live album by British blues rock musicians Ten Years After, which was released as a double LP in 1973.

This album, containing no overdubs or additives, was recorded over four nights in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Frankfurt and Paris with the Rolling Stones’ mobile recording truck and later mixed from sixteen tracks to stereo at Olympic Studios in London. The album was rereleased as a CD in 2014, with seven previously unreleased tracks. (by wikipedia)

It may not be the best live album in the world, but it’s certainly in the race for one, together with a couple dozen other notorious records – although as of now, it’s been somewhat overshadowed by the even superior Fillmore East. However, if you can’t locate that archive release or are upset with the price of the double CD, I’d strongly recommend any TYA novice to start here (that is, if you’re able to tolerate speedy, but lengthy guitar jams; otherwise, you’d be much better off with either Ssssh or Space In Time, although I actually doubt that otherwise you’d be interested in TYA at all), especially because not only does this record stand as a ‘great live’ record, it also stands for a ‘greatest hits live’ record. Just look at the track listing!

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It’s interesting, too, to compare this record with Undead. You’ll see how ‘huge’ they have grown – almost in every sense. From a secluded club scene to large arenas in major European capitals; from a homemade lousy equipment to the Rolling Stones mobile; from half-hour gigs to extended concerts; from half-obscure jazz covers to international hits; finally, from the raw, unpolished, even though mighty energetic tones to a well-polished, professional, intoxicating ‘wall-of-sound’. Just compare the two versions of ‘I’m Going Home’ on both records and you’ll see the difference. Some may regret the loss of that original ‘raw’ sound, but I say I don’t mind. I like both albums, but Recorded Live is longer, has more songs and doesn’t have any embarrassments like the lengthy slow uninteresting blues of ‘Spider In My Web’ and the stupid drum solo on ‘Summertime’. Sure, it was recorded at a rather late period in the band’s career, when they were already almost spent creatively and on the brink of dissolution, but it is a well-known fact that live playing and “general creative state” are two absolutely different things.

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Live playing and its quality depend on quite a few factors, including, simply speaking, the particular mood of the band’s members on the day of the gig, which, in turn, may depend on the weather or the expression on that guy in the front row’s face. Luckily, most of the performances on this album were drawn from moments when the band seemed to be in relatively high spirits.

For the record, the album does feature a lengthy run-through of their most driving and famous numbers. Practically none of them are superior to the studio recordings, but none are inferior, either. On the other side, the live performance does give them a ‘spontaneous’ edge which might make them more suitable for some listeners. They kick off with ‘One Of These Days’ (wow! but somebody cut down that ending jam, please!), only to continue with the unforgettable riff of ‘You Give Me Loving’: what a wise choice from their worst record so far, and I don’t even mind that Alvin messes up the lyrics because they were so convoluted in the first place. Later on, the band, as usual, breaks in some of the oldies, like ‘Help Me’ and ‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl’.

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On the way, Alvin displays some cute little tricks, like showing his prowess at classical guitar (‘Classical Thing’), resurrecting the ‘Skoobly-oobly-dooboob’ ditty (‘Scat Thing’) and just playing the fool (‘Silly Thing’). The two highlights of the show are, of course, a terrific fifteen-minute version of ‘I Can’t Keep From Crying’, which is again transformed into tons of different things on the way, including even a few lines from ‘Cat’s Squirrel’ and even ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ – sic!, and ‘I’m Going Home’. The former also was the central point for showing Alvin as a ‘guitar experimentator’ – in particular, he liked to tune his guitar and play it at the same time, which sometimes resulted in a truly awful, ear-destructive sound which I kinda like nevertheless. And the latter (‘I’m Goin’ Home’, that is) is predictably close to the Woodstock version, except that the various sections are interspersed in a different way and the drums are much more prominent. And damn the stupid audience that mars the opening chords with its silly applause! Otherwise, though, it’s simply a superb version: with all the ‘boo-boo-babys’ in place, and the old rockabilly classics medley in the middle. It does seem a bit worn off as compared to the Woodstock version, but you can excuse the guys: after all, the piece was like a stone around their neck, and it’s a wonder they were still able to do it with enough authenticity and patience.

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For me, the only letdown on the album is the seven-minute ‘Slow Blues In C’. They should have left things like that to the Allman Brothers. But then again, it’s just a minor flaw in an almost flawless seventy-minute record! Be forgiving! This doesn’t sound like the Allmans at all! And I don’t have anything against the Allmans, I just don’t have a lot in favour of them doing similar things. They put me off to sleep. Berk. Ever heard ‘Mountain Jam’? How many times do you have to sit through these thirty minutes to dig it? Ah, if only everything these guys played were akin to their version of ‘You Don’t Love Me’… This record, on the other hand, is instantly amiable and friendly – and it features lots of guitar jams, too. But these kids are so frantic, so full of energy and they love the stuff they’re playing so much you’ll be sure to be caught in the fun. This is no Yessongs, either – just your basic love for dat electro guitar sound. And no ‘supergroup’ hype, either – they just play and they don’t give a damn. I like it when a record doesn’t have balls. (by George Starostin)

I can´t agree with this negative opinion to “Slow Blues In C” or to “MountainJam” by the great Allman Brothrs Band …

This album is one of the finest Ten Years After live albums ever recorded !

And enjoy all these bonus tracks … listen to “Standing At The Station” (featuring a long and wild organ solo by Chick Churchill or “Jam” (including a great bass solo by Leo Lyons !) or “I Woke Up This Morning” …  and you´ll know what I mean … that was the freedom of music in the Seventies …

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The cover of Ten Years After’s 1973 album Recorded Live depicts a giant reel-to-reel recorder, which certainly captures the era when this double-LP set was recorded. Approaching the end of their run — only one more album would come, 1974’s Positive Vibrations — Ten Years After were deep into the thick of ’70s arena rock, so everything they played on-stage wound up stretching well beyond the five-minute mark, sometimes reaching upward of 11 minutes. Everything on this double-LP places improvisation over groove — a sentiment that is accentuated on the 2013 expansion, which winds up running 21 tracks over two discs, adding bonus outtakes to the original double-LP set. The best parts here are the improvisations, particularly Alvin Lee’s long, languid guitar solos, but this album — either in its original incarnation or in its expansion — is a distinctly ’70s creation: it’s unhurried and indulgent, reveling in its slow, steady march to a virtuosic, never-ending guitar solo. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Chick Churchill (keyboards)
Alvin Lee (guitar, vocals, harmonica)
Ric Lee (drums)
Leo Lyons (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. One of These Days (A. Lee) 6.20 (Frankfurt)
02. You Give Me Loving (A. Lee) 6.10 (Frankfurt)
03. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl (Willamson) 7.27 (Frankfurt)
04. Hobbit (R. Lee) 8.36 (Frankfurt)
05. Help Me (Willamson/Bass) 10.49 (Amsterdam)
06. Time Is Flying (A. Lee) 5.36 (Frankfurt) (bonus track)
07. Standing At The Station (A. Lee) 11.51 (Frankfurt) (bonus track)
08. Jam (A. Lee/R. Lee/Churchill/Lyons) 18.09 (Amsterdam) (bonus track)
09. Help Me” (Williamson/Dixon/Bass) 12.06 (Paris) (bonus track)
10. I Woke Up This Morning” (A. Lee) 4.26 (Rotterdam) (bonus track)
11. Sweet Little Sixteen (Berry) 4.24 (Frankfurt) (bonus track)
12. Jam (A. Lee/R. Lee/Churchill/Lyons) 16.33 (Frankfurt) (bonus track)

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13. Classical Thing (A. Lee) 0.53 (Paris)
14. Scat Thing (A. Lee) 0.57 (Paris)
15. I Can’t Keep From Cryin’ Sometimes (Part 1) (Kooper) 1.57 (Paris)
16. Extension On One Chord (A. Lee/R. Lee/Churchill/Lyons) 10.45 (Paris)
17. I Can’t Keep From Cryin’ Sometimes (Part 2) (Kooper) 3.12 (Paris)
18. Silly Thing (A. Lee) 1.09 (Frankfurt)
19. Slow Blues in ‘C’ (A. Lee) 8.14 (Frankfurt)
20. I’m Going Home (A. Lee) 10.54 (Frankfurt)
21. Choo Choo Mama (A. Lee) 3.21 (Frankfurt)

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Canned Heat – The New Age (1973)

FrontCover1The New Age is the ninth studio album by Canned Heat, released in 1973. It was the first album to feature the talents of James Shane and Ed Beyer. Clara Ward also appears on the album in her very last recording. Influential Rock Critic Lester Bangs was fired from Rolling Stone for writing a “disrespectful” review of this album upon its release:

Hey, kids and bluesbusterbrowns of all ages, guess who’s back? No, not the Plaster Casters Blues Band – it’s Canned Heat! The originators of Boogie in the flesh! And it sure is refreshing to see ’em too, what with all these jive-ass MOR pseud-dudes like John Lee Hooker ripping off their great primal riffs and milking ’em dry.
How did we love Canned Heat? Let’s count the ways. We loved ’em because they scooped out a whole new wrinkle in the monotone mazurka; it wasn’t their fault that a whole generation of ten zillion bands took it and ran it into the ground sans finesse after Canned Heat had run it into the ground so damned good themselves. We loved ’em because they’ve always held the record for Longest Single Boogie Preserved on Wax: “Refried Boogie” from Livin’ The Blues was 40-plus minutes of real raunch froth perfect for parties or car stereos, especially if they got ripped off – and a lot of it was even actually listenable. We loved ’em because Henry Vestine was an incredible, scorching motherfucker of a guitarist, knocking you through the wall. And we loved ’em because Bobby Bear was so damned weird you could abide his every excess.

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But Canned Heat disappeared from the sets for awhile there, just sorta flapped up and boogied into the zone and what was really sad was that nobody missed ’em. Even though they were always real fine journeymen, they never made a wholly and entirely good album, of course, but they’ve consistently had their moments. And The New Age, which of course is no new age at all, has just as many of ’em as any of the others. There’s “Keep It Clean”, a happy highho funk churn like unto their cover of Wilbert Harrison’s “Let’s Work Together”, which means it could very well be hitbound. There’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll Music”, Bear Hite’s obligattortilla in deference to the traditions, his utter lack of imagination, and all that. He’s been listening to some old New Orleans R&B this time, so it’s OK even if he does still sing like a scalped guppy.

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“Framed” is just a reprise in new drag of their classic about being busted in Denver that was on Boogie with Canned Heat, and that was just a new-drag on old Bo Diddley and “Jailbait” riffs. “Election Blues” is the required slow blues chest retch. “So Long Wrong” is one more low down blackboned gutgrok funk-lurking album-closer boogie just like lotsa their other yester highlights. Vestine still knows how to play so’s to make you feel like ringworms are St. Vitusing in your heartburn, and Hite scrapes your intestines widdat bass good as Mole Taylor ever did. “Lookin for My Rainbow” even has Clara Ward and her jive bombers just for a tintype taste of authenticity, but it’s boring as old View Master slides and most of the rest of the songs are just some kinda nondescript clinkletybonk tibia-rattling in pursuit of yeehah countryisms so let ’em dry rot in the grooves.
Buy this album if you’ve gotta lotta money or don’t care much what you blow your wad on, but don’t pass up any of the really cosmic stuff like the Stooges for it or the shadow of Blind Lemon Jefferson will come and blow his nose on your brow every night. (Lester Bangs – Rolling Stone # 136)

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Bob Hite proved fat was really where it’s at for good rocking white men who play blooze’n’boogie. Okay, all that bulk killed him in the end, but the output of Bob and the varied Canned Heat line-ups, particularly through 1966 to 1974, proved even more substantial than The Bear’s waistline.

New Age was a pretty ironic title even on its release in 1973. Don’t be fooled, even though this is a pretty mellow album by Heat standards, it’s not lift music for stressed-out executives.

Even if the Great White Blues Boom had already disappeared up its own bottleneck, New Age’s roots are very much 12-bar, though most of the tracks are self-penned and confident enough not to be imitative of the Chicago style that originally brought Canned Heat both fame and infamy.

Instead, New Age is framed by the opening whip-crack pace of “Keep It Clean”, and ends with “Election Blues”, all slide and bar-room keyboards. The former is a song of hope that Richard Nixon would get thrown out of power, the latter a bitterly laidback post-election blues. The boys knew then the New Age wasn’t gonna come, but even big Bob didn’t know just how bad it would get. (by Randy Bones)

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Personnel:
Ed Beyer (piano)
Bob Hite (vocals)
Richard Hite (bass)
Adolfo de la Parra (drums)
James Shane (guitar)
Henry Vestine (guitar)
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Clara Ward (vocals on 05.)

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Tracklist:
01. Keep It Clean (B,Hite) 2.46
02. Harley Davidson Blues (Shane) 2.38
03. Don’t Deceive Me (B.Hite) 3.12
04. You Can Run, But You Sure Can’t Hide (Beyer) 3.15
05. Lookin’ For My Rainbow (Shane) 5.24
06. Rock And Roll Music (B.Hite) 2.29
07. Framed (Leiber/Stoller) 5.07
08. Election Blues (Beyer) 6.04
09. So Long Wrong (Shane) 5.36

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Joe Bonamassa – A New Day Yesterday (2000)

FrontCover1A New Day Yesterday is the debut studio album by American blues-rock musician Joe Bonamassa. Recorded at Pyramid Recording Studios in Ithaca, New York, it was produced by Tom Dowd and released on October 24, 2000 by independent record label Okeh in tandem with Epic Records and 550 Music. The album registered at number 9 on the US Billboard Top Blues Albums chart and spawned the singles “Miss You, Hate You” in 2001 and “Colour and the Shape” in 2002.

Taking its title from the song of the same name by British progressive rock band Jethro Tull, a recording of which is featured on the album, A New Day Yesterday features six original tracks written by Bonamassa and others, in addition to six cover versions of songs by classic blues and rock artists. The album was reviewed positively by critics, who praised Bonamassa’s performances throughout on both the original and cover songs, identifying it as a strong debut release.

Joe Bonamassa recorded his debut album at Pyramid Recording Studios in Ithaca, New York, working with producer Tom Dowd, and engineers Alex Perialas and Jason Arnold. His backing band included bassist Greg “Creamo” Liss and drummer Tony Cintron, with a number of guest musicians also contributing to the recordings (including guitarists Rick Derringer and Leslie West, and keyboardists Gregg Allman and David Borden). A New Day Yesterday was released on October 24, 2000 by Okeh in tandem with Epic Records and 550 Music.[2] “Miss You, Hate You” was released as the first single from the album in 2001, including a music video which received airplay on shows including Chicago, Illinois-based JBTV and Brockton, Massachusetts-based Rage. “Colour and the Shape” was issued as a promotional single in 2002.

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After an initial low-key release, A New Day Yesterday “caught the ears of veteran record executives”, according to CNN’s Simon Umlauf, and was rereleased in September 2001 by Medalist Entertainment.[5] Later reissues would follow in 2004 and 2009 by J&R Adventures (Bonamassa’s own record label), in 2005 by Provogue Records and in 2012 by Mascot Records.[6][7] All later releases include the original full-length version of “Miss You, Hate You” as a bonus track.[6][7] The album was promoted on a North American concert tour throughout 2001, the final date of which (December 12, 2001) was recorded for the 2002 live album A New Day Yesterday Live.

Despite being released almost two years earlier, A New Day Yesterday debuted at number 9 on the US Billboard Top Blues Albums chart in the week of August 17, 2002. Bonamassa’s second studio album So, It’s Like That would enter the chart at number 2 just two weeks later. The album has the lowest peak position on the chart, with all of Bonamassa’s future releases reaching higher than number 9.

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A New Day Yesterday received positive reviews from critics. AllMusic’s Eduardo Rivadavia described the album as “a fine debut by guitar ace Joe Bonamassa”, claiming that it proves the guitarist and vocalist to be “much more than a traditional bluesman”.[12] Rivadavia highlighted several songs on the album, including “A New Day Yesterday”, the cover of which he dubbed “a jaw-dropping performance”, the singles “Miss You, Hate You” and “Colour and the Shape”, which he described as a “jolting double whammy” and “the most obvious standouts”, and “If Heartaches Were Nickels”, which he suggested featured “a tense, riveting performance”.[12] In a review of the album’s lead single “Miss You, Hate You”, Chuck Taylor of Billboard magazine praised Bonamassa as “a bold talent, who rises above narrow radio formatics”, outlining that the song “throws in all the ingredients of a classic rock moment, led by a thrush of driving guitars … and a vocal that sounds like sandpaper against velcro”. (by wikipedia)

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Personnel:
Joe Bonamassa (guitar, vocals)
Tony Cintron (drums)
Creamo Liss (bass)
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Gregg Allman (vocals, organ on 10.)
Len Bonamassa (guitar on 09.)
David Borden (keyboards on 08.)
Rick Derringer (vocals, guitar on 06.)
Leslie West (vocals, guitar on 10.)
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background vocals on 05. + 13.)
Annie Burns – Jeannie Burns

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Tracklist:
01. Cradle Rock (Gallagher) 3.50
02. Walk In My Shadows (Rodgers/Kossoff/Kirke/Fraser) 3.27
03. A New Day Yesterday (Anderson) 4.45
04. I Know Where I Belong (Bonamassa) 5.38
05. Miss You, Hate You (rock radio remix) (Bonamassa/Feldman) 3.39
06. Nuthin’ I Wouldn’t Do (For A Woman Like You) (Kooper) 5.10
07. Colour And The Shape (Bonamassa) 5.03
08. Headaches To Heartbreaks (Bonamassa) 4.56
09. Trouble Waiting (Bonamassa/Steve Tyrell/Stephanie Tyrell) 3.25
10. If Heartaches Were Nickels (Haynes) 7.51
11. Current Situation (Bonamassa) 3.35
12. Don’t Burn Down That Bridge (Jones/Wells) 4.21
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13. Miss You, Hate You 8long version) (Rock Radio Remix) 6.04

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Gary Hoey – Deja Blues (2013)

FrontCover1Deja Blues is an interesting collection of blues tunes that features the blues skills of the talented rock and surf style guitarist Gary Hoey. Most people know him as an instrumental guitar player along the lines of a Steve Vai or Joe Satriani because of his billboard hit “Hocus Pocus,” or possibly know him from his Ho Ho Hoey Christmas albums, or have seen trading licks on tour with Jeff Beck, Ted Nugent, Peter Frampton, and Dick Dale. Let’s set the record straight – Gary is not a one trick rock guitar shredder.

The album has many Gary Hoey originals, some of which feature great guest appearances, including James Montgomery on “Boot Hill Blues,” Jon Butcher on the Texas Shuffle “Almost Over You,” Johnny A on “She’s Walking,” and finally, Frank Hannon on the southern rocking “Got to Believe.” There are a couple of covers of traditional blues songs where Gary makes the blues rock. “Going Down” is a down, dirty rockin’ take on the Don Nix penned classic recorded by everyone from the late great Freddie King to Led Zeppelin and Pearl Jam. Along with that is the lightly distorted Albert King classic “Born Under A Bad Sign.” An interesting track at the end is “Hold Your Head Up High” which features some slide guitar playing. If you close your eyes and forget who you’re listening to you might confuse this with an outtake form a Derek Trucks Band release.

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There are two stand out tracks on this album though. “Stranger” is an atmospheric mysterious blues where the tones clearly set the mood for one of the lyrics when Gary sings about being “like a stranger in my own town.” The best work on here though is when Gary lets his guitar do all the work on the instrumental slow blues title track – “Deja Blues.” The tension builds and reaches what you think is the peak at each chorus only to be taken to another level with another solo and then finally releases you back to the original slow blues jam.

If you’re looking for an album that straddles that fine line of blues and rock without turning into nothing but a guitar shredders excuse to solo than this fits the bill. It’s always interesting to see how artists who are mostly known for a different style of playing interpret the blues. Deja Blues does the blues justice with his pyrotechnic fretboard fluidity and ability to blend them with his rock background without losing the feeling and intent. (by bluesrockreview.com)

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Personnel:
Gary Hoey (guitar, vocals, bass, keyboards)
Matt Scurfield (drums)
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Johnny A. (guitar, slide-guitar on 05.)
Jon Butcher (guitar on 03.)
Frank Hannon (slide-guitar on 08.)
James Montgomery (harmonica on 01.)

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Tracklist:
01. Boss You Around (Hoey) 3.08
02. Boot Mill Blues /Hoey) 3.00
03. Almost Over You (Hoey) 4.44
04. Going Down (Nix) 3.40
05 She’s Walking (Hoey) 3.26
06. Stranger (Hoey) 4.22
07. Born Under A Bad Sign (Jones/Bell) 3.59
08. Got To Believe (Hoey) 3.40
09. Deja Blues (Hoey) 4.22
10. Hold Your Head Up High (Hoey) 4.17

 

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Bakerloo – Same (1969)

FrontCover1And here´s another band from the Midlands:

Bakerloo (previously The Bakerloo Blues Line) was an English heavy blues-rock trio, established by Staffordshire guitarist David “Clem” Clempson, Terry Poole and others in the late 1960s, at the high point of the influence of The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream. Although the group was prominent only for around a year (1968-9) and released only one album it played an important part in the history of the genre, especially in view of its members’ subsequent involvement with Colosseum, Humble Pie, May Blitz, Graham Bond, Vinegar Joe, Judas Priest and Uriah Heep.

The Bakerloo Blues Line was formed in February 1968 by David “Clem” Clempson and Terry Poole, who worked with several drummers, including John “Poli” Palmer and John Hinch, before settling with Keith Baker. Under the management of Jim Simpson, they began performing regularly at Henry’s in Birmingham and joined Simpson’s U.K. ‘Big Bear Ffolly’ tour with Earth (the future Black Sabbath), Locomotive and Tea And Symphony. The group appeared as the support act for Led Zeppelin’s debut at London’s famed Marquee Club on 18 October 1968.

TerryPooleAfter simplifying the name to “Bakerloo” the group signed to Harvest Records in mid-1969. Their first release was a single, “Drivin’ Bachwards”/”Once Upon a Time” (HAR 5004) that July. The A-side is an arrangement of the J.S. Bach tune Bourrée in E minor. This record appeared just prior to the release of a similar song, Bourrée, by Jethro Tull, on their second album Stand Up in August 1969.

The single A-side also appeared on their self-titled album in December.

The album Bakerloo (Harvest SHVL 762) was further promoted by the inclusion of “This Worried Feeling,” a slow blues number, on the 1970 Harvest double sampler album Picnic – A Breath of Fresh Air and by sessions for the BBC. The album was produced by Gus Dudgeon. Notable tracks included Last Blues, a heavy rocker, and the album’s closer, Son of Moonshine, a driving metal blues. Other tracks contained “progressive” classical and jazz elements.

While reviews for the debut LP were favorable, the group itself was in disarray at the end of 1969. By the time the record was released, the Clempson-Poole-Baker lineup had decided to go their separate ways. Clempson initially sought to form a new blues-rock power trio, one that reportedly included drummer Cozy Powell, before electing to replace James Litherland as the guitarist in Colosseum. Poole and Baker also moved on, forming May Blitz with Jamie Black on vocals and guitar, although both departed before the band was signed to Vertigo Records.

Poole later played with several other bands, including Graham Bond and Vinegar Joe, while Baker bounced from Supertramp to Uriah Heep. Clempson would continue to achieve greater fame with Colosseum and, in 1971, as Peter Frampton’s replacement in Humble Pie. (by wikipedia)

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One of the first acts signed to the fledgling Harvest label in 1969, Bakerloo were very much a product of their time, a hard-hitting progressive blues band whose predilections ranged from a straightforward assimilation of Willie Dixon to some positively dazzling flashes of instrumental prowess. Guitarist Dave Clempson’s “Big Bear Folly,” the opening cut on the band’s first and only album, is a dazzling Ten Years After-style showcase, while a jazzy variation on a theme of Bach, the aptly titled “Driving Bachwards,” proves that the band wasn’t averse to messing with the classics, either. The quartet’s virtuosity occasionally overwhelms the songs themselves, although there is no shortage of gripping atmosphere. Bassist Terry Poole unleashes an almost sepulchral vocal across the stygian “Last Blues,” a seven-minute marathon that swiftly develops into a full-fledged heavy rocker, punctuated by mood shifts that amount to separate movements — it’s a magnificent piece, rendered with both musical precision and some of producer Gus Dudgeon’s most inspired washes and effects. Impressive, too, is “Son of Moonshine,” a distorted metal effort that clocks in at double that length and combines Clempson’s intensive guitar soloing with a desperately driving blues rhythm. Period comparisons with Cream and early Led Zeppelin really weren’t that far off the mark. Bakerloo were not long for this earth — Clempson quit to join Colosseum shortly after the album’s release; Poole reappeared alongside Graham Bond; drummer Keith Baker departed for Uriah Heep; and Bakerloo itself disappeared off the shelves fairly quickly. (by Dave Thompson)

And here Dave Clempson in his own words about his time with Bakkerloo (taken from an interview with psychedelicbabymag.com, 2012) :

I want to go back in time to your childhood. Where did you grew up and what are perhaps some influences that made an impact on you?

I grew up in Tamworth, in the UK Midlands… my earliest influences were the bands that would be playing in the local working mens’ clubs, where my family would go on Sunday evenings for a drink… I was always very excited about seeing those bands, the “hip” ones would be playing the latest Shadows tunes, and I especially loved to see and hear the electric guitars they had – electric guitars weren’t so common around that area in those days! The best band was called The Wanderers, and the guitarist had a white Stratocaster – I would just sit there gazing at that!

Was Bakerloo your first band or were you in any other bands?

Vipers.jpgMy first band was formed with friends at school, we were called “The Vipers”, and we played a lot of gigs at the working men’s clubs I just mentioned

Let’s talk about Bakerloo. How did you guys came together to form this powerful trio?

A local guy called David Mason asked me to join his band, which was called “The Pinch”, and which had a drummer called John Hinch – Mason wasn’t the world’s best bass player and he was soon replaced by a local boy called Terry Poole! John left the band soon after, and then Terry and I began a long quest to find the drummer of our dreams; we got through quite a few including Pete York and Poli Palmer, before we found Keith Baker, who was just what we’d been looking for – a drummer with a great rock feel and attitude but also the chops to play more adventurous stuff!

Harvest Records signed you up and in 1969 you released a single and your selftitled LP. I would like if you could share some of the strongest memories from recording and producing this LP?

The main memory is that it was my first real experience of recording, and there was a lot to learn! It was the first production by Gus Dudgeon, who had engineered some of my favourite albums, including the legendary Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton.

What gear did you guys use and in what studio did you record?

It was recorded in Trident studios in London, I played my ’58 Les Paul goldtop through a Laney stack.

Why did you choose the name? Did it have a deeper meaning for you or was it just a coincidence?

Our manager came up with the name when he was travelling on the Bakerloo line on London’t underground – it didn’t have any special meaning, it just sounded cool!

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Tell us about concerts. Where did Bakerloo play and with who?

After John Peel heard us play in Birmingham we appeared on his radio show, which was incredibly influential and the only chance to hear good music on the BBC! Soon after that we were booked by all the best blues clubs around the UK, such as the Roundhouse and the Marquee, where we supported Led Zeppelin on their first UK date!

What happened next. I know you joined Colosseum and after that you were in Humble Pie. How did that happened and what are some memories from playing in this two great bands?

Bakerloo supported Colosseum at a gig at Cambidge University, and when Bakerloo split up soon after Jon Hiseman called me and asked me to audition for Colosseum – I got the gig! I have a lot of wonderful memories of that time – Bakerloo had mostly just gigged in the UK, but now I started playing all over Europe which was very exciting … ”

And the rest ist history …

This album is still a killer  … listen to “Son Of Moonshine ” in the style of Cream (including “Cat´s Squirrel”) !

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Personnel:
Keith Baker (drums)
Dave ‘Clem’ Clempson (guitar, vocals, harmonica, harpsichord, piano)
Terry Poole (bass, vocals)
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Jerry Salisbury (trumpet on 03.)

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Tracklist:

01. Big Bear Folly (Clempson/Poole) 3.58
02, Bring It On Home (Dixon) 4.18
03. Drivin’ Bachwards (Bach) 2.09
04. Last Blues (Clempson/Poole) 7.06
05. Gang Bang (Clempson/Baker/Poole) 6.18
06. This Worried Feeling (Clempson/Poole) 7.00
07. Son Of Moonshine (Clempson/Poole) 14,55
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08. Once Upon A Time (Clempson/Poole) 3.40
09. This Worried Feeling (alternte take) (Clempson/Poole) 5.45

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Bakerloo