Dave Mason – Headkeeper (1972)

FrontCover1.jpgHeadkeeper is a 1972 album by Dave Mason. Originally released on Blue Thumb Records as Blue Thumb 34 (a subsidiary of Famous Music Group), Headkeeper was reissued by MCA Records as MCA 712, then reissued on CD in 1988 as MCAD-31326).

In late 1971, Mason began recording Headkeeper. He envisioned a double album with one disk containing new studio recordings and the other live recordings with his new band. The live tracks had been recorded at some highly regarded dates at the Troubadour club in Los Angeles.

Mason thought that since he was Blue Thumb’s most successful artist, they should renegotiate his contract. When they refused, he slipped into the studio and took the master tapes of the recordings made to date.

Producer Tommy LiPuma then assembled an album from two-track safety masters that Mason did not take which Blue Thumb released. Mason publicly denounced the release as a “bootleg”.

Mason eventually signed a deal with Columbia Records who bought out his Blue Thumb contract.

Blue Thumb issued Dave Mason Is Alive in 1973 with remaining tracks from the Troubadour set. (by wikipedia)

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Dave Mason’s solo career, which had started so promisingly with Alone Together in 1970 and taken an odd, but pleasant detour with Dave Mason & Cass Elliot in 1971, hit a speed bump in 1972, when he entered into a dispute with his record label, Blue Thumb during preparations for a new album. As a result, Blue Thumb put together the half-a-studio-album Mason had completed with half of a live album and issued the consumer-confusing Headkeeper, which Mason denounced publicly and asked fans not to buy! Heard today, it’s still a confusing album, though the first five tracks are enjoyable music in the manner of Alone Together and the last five are well-performed concert versions of such favorites as “Feelin’ Alright?” and “Pearly Queen.” (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Felix “Flaco” Falcon (percussion)
Rick Jaeger (drums)
Mark Jordan (keyboards)
Dave Mason (guitar, vocals)
Lonnie Turner (bass)
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background vocals:
Rita Coolidge – Spencer Davis – Kathi McDonald – Graham Nash

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Tracklist:

In the studio:
01. To Be Free (Mason) 3.17
02. In My Mind (Mason) 3.15
03. Here We Go Again” – 1:56
04. A Heartache, A Shadow, A Lifetime (Mason) 3.34
05. Headkeeper (Mason) 4.37

Live recordings:

06. Pearly Queen (Capaldi/Winwood) 3.35
07. Just A Song (Mason) 3.00
08. World In Changes (Mason) 4.47
09. Can’t Stop Worrying, Can’t Stop Loving (Mason) 3.02
10. Feelin’ Alright (Mason) 5.44

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The Band – Philadelphia Academy Of Music (1969)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Band ! … while this bootleg is a little distant-sounding (let me remind you that this is live audience recording from nineteen-fricken’-sixty-nine!) it’s a stunning document that derives from the absolutely sweetest period in The Band’s history. That is, of course, the time following the recording of both Music from the Big Pink and the eponymous follow-up, The Band. This is the time after The Band’s collaboration with Bob Dylan had rocked the world (and resulted in The Band’s having three Dylan compositions – two of which were rare co-writes – in the set; “Tears of Rage”, “This Wheel’s on Fire” and `I Shall Be Released`. Of course The Band`s own song-writing was at its absolute peak in this time as the slew of songs branded into our consciousness from this set list like, `The Weight`, `Cripple Creek`and `The Night They Drove old Dixie Down` prove. (by musicruinedmylife.blogspot)

This one is absolutely essential for any Band fans – recorded a month after the release of the second album, the band is in fine form. The recording itself is remarkable for a mono audience tape from the late sixties. All the instruments are well balanced and clear, and the audience is present but never overpowers the music. Spectral analysis shows that it is lossless and as far as I know it’s never been shared in any form before. I got the show in a private trade over a decade ago – apparently, my source got it from the original taper who was concerned about possible bootlegging and requested that the recording keep a low profile. I’ve abided by that request for years, but this show is too great to keep it hidden for any longer.  (mrbun2729)

Attention please: This is a bootleg … an audience recording from 1969 … !

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Personnel:
Rick Danko (bass, vocals)
Levon Helm (drums, tambourine, vocals)
Garth Hudson (keyboard, clavinet, saxophone)
Richard Manuel (keyboards, drums, vocals)
Robbie Robertson (guitar, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. This Wheel’s On Fire (Danko/Dylab( 5.04
02. We Can Talk (Manuel) 2.48
03. Don’t Ya Tell Henry (Dylan) 3.26
04. Caledonia Mission (Robertson) 3.40
05. Chest Fever (Robertson) 3.45
06. I Shall Be Released (Dylan) 4.28
07. Lovin’ You (Riperton/Rudolph) 3.16
08. The Weight (Robertson) 4.21
09. Long Black Veil (Dill/Wilkin) 2.52
10. Tears Of Rage (Dylan/Manuel) 5.28
11. Don’t Do It (Holland/Dozier/Holland) 4.13
12. Unfaithful Servant (Robertson) 4.10
13. Up On Cripple Creek (Robertson) 3.67
14. Slippin’ and Slidin’ (Penniman/Collins/Smith) 3.35
15. Look Out Cleveland (Robertson) 3.27
16. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Robertson) 4.02

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Bread – Same (1969)

FrontCover1.jpgBread is the self-titled debut album by soft rock band Bread, released in 1969.

Bread peaked at #127 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart. The re-recorded track “It Don’t Matter to Me” was issued as a single after the release of Bread’s second album, On the Waters, and the #1 success of “Make It with You” in the summer of 1970. “It Don’t Matter to Me” peaked at #2 and #10 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary and Pop Singles charts, respectively.

The album’s cover, with whimsical depictions of the band members photos on paper currency, refers to contemporary slang equating “bread” to money. (by wikipedia)

Hi, kids! Here’s another great group, made just as you like ’em! Straight from LA, group capital of the world!! You’re gonna love ’em! You’ve got to if you like the Beatles, Byrds, Bee Gees, Buffalo Springfield, Johnny Rivers, Van Dyke Parks, Randy Newman, or male clotheshorses with giant collars.

Make no mistake, kids, this album is no synthetic bullshit. The three boys in the group wrote all their own songs, and we’re proud of them. They also played all their own instruments, everything from guitars to recorders to Moogs, and their lyrics have the simple eloquence of all folk poetry: “I looked into my morning mirror/And it revealed some things to me that I had not been able to see/I saw someone that I’m not sure I want to be/An empty, lonely face was staring back at me …”

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Isn’t that touching? Ah, but you should hear the music that goes with it—the epitome of Taste. “A highly refined amalgam of the sweetest, most successful elements in both rock and country and western”. Oh, by the way, all you “over-thirties” will love this album too. It never descends to the grating noise and unspeakable vulgarities so many groups find necessary to get attention today. These boys are real professionals. Guaranteed never to hit a bad note. Of course, there will be some cynical critics who’ll say that Bread’s music is bland, one-dimensional, repetitious and even bubble-gummy. But we need not listen to these malcontents—they’d probably rather just watch some maniac smash his guitar to bits on his amplifier or something anyway. Why expect people with no respect for high musical standards to like this album? And let me say that the standards are the very highest: those of “Family Doctor,” for example, were set by the Band, while “Don’t Shut Me Out” should please all you Buffalo Springfield fans, and “London Bridge” could easily have been written by the Bee Gees and arranged by Van Dyke Parks. All of the boys sing: just imagine a combination of the Everly Brothers, Marty Balin and Johnny Rivers singing harmony together. Wheh!

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Bread’s songs are mostly about love (just good old rock and roll), but they have not shut their eyes to all the misery and injustice in the world today. Dig, for instance, this stark evocation of alienation: “I drug myself outside to face the people that I knew would be there/And though they walked along pretending not to care/I knew behind my back they’d point and laugh and stare …’

Buy this album today. You’re sure to get your money’s worth: twelve highly polished numbers, just like a year’s supply of hit singles! Catchy, bright, snappy, wholesome. A new incarnation of images you’ll love forever. It might be best to let the boys themselves have the last word: “I’m driftin’ down the street/Askin’ of all I meet/Don’t you know me from somewhere / Hazel eyes and curly hair …?” (Rolling Stone 1060, No. 41. Lester Bangs)

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Personnel:
David Gates (bass, guitar, percussion, piano, violin, keyboards, viola, vocals, synthesizer)
James Griffin (vocals, guitar, percussion, keyboards)
Robb Royer (guitar, percussion, piano, piano, recorder, flute, bass, background vocals)
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Ron Edgar (drums)
Jim Gordon (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Dismal Day (Gates) 2.22
02. London Bridge (Gates) 2.32
03. Could I (Griffin/Royer) 3.32
04. Look At Me (Gates) 2.44
05. The Last Time (Griffin/Royer) 4.11
06. Any Way You Want Me (Griffin/Royer) 3.16
07. Move Over (Griffin) 2.37
08. Don’t Shut Me Out (Gates) 2.40
09. You Can’t Measure the Cost (Gates) 3.23
10. Family Doctor (Griffin/Royer) 2.15
11. It Don’t Matter To Me (Gates) 2.43
12. Friends And Lovers (Griffin/Royer) 3.55

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Don McLean – Believers (1981)

FrontCover1.jpgBelievers is a studio album by American singer-songwriter Don McLean, released on October 29, 1981.

The album leads off with a re-recording of “Castles in the Air”, a song which originally appeared on McLean’s 1970 debut album Tapestry. Released as a single, it reached #7 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and #36 on the Hot 100 chart. (by wikipedia)

Who would have expected that Believers — part of the second phase of Don McLean’s career — would not only be one of his strongest albums of his whole career, but a solidly competitive singer/songwriter effort, even as late as 1981? Or that it holds up on CD in the 21st century? It would be easy to say that Believers is worth picking up just for McLean’s re-recording of “Castles in the Air” — ten years after he first wrote and recorded it, McLean gave the song more warmth and feeling than the earlier rendition and, in doing so, proved just how special the song was to him. But the remainder of the album is every bit as strong, if not as familiar as “Castles in the Air” (which became a worldwide hit in this version): the slightly bluesy “Isn’t It Strange,” an irony-laced lament about love that is wryly clever in its bittersweet exploration of men’s and women’s foibles; “Left for Dead on the Road of Love,” a punchy roots rock-style number that recalls John Fogerty; and the very bluesy “Believers,” with what sounds like a National Steel guitar, mixing ’30s and ’80s sounds in a very neat, tight, and catchy package, which pretty well sums up this album. Believers did fairly well at the time of its release, owing to the presence of “Castles in the Air,” and this album is about as essential listening as any of his best United Artists albums. (by Bruce Eder)

Listen to “Sea Man !!!! One of the finest Songs Don McLean ever composed !

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Personnel:
David Briggs (piano)
James Capps (guitar)
Jerry Carrigan (drums)
Steve Chapman (guitar)
Gene Chrisman (drums)
Ray Edenton (guitar)
Don McLean (vocals, guitar)
Bob Moore (bass)
Leon Rhodes (bass)
Billy Sanford (guitar)
Dennis Solee (saxophone)
Hargus “Pig” Robbins (piano)
Jerry Shook, (guitar)
Ronald Vaughn (percussion)
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The Sheldon Kurland Strings
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The Jordanaires (background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Castles In The Air (McLean) 3.43
02. Isn’t It Strange (McLean) 4.18
03. Left For Dead On The Road Of Love (McLean) 2.57
04. Believers (McLean) 6.15
05. Sea Man (McLean) 4.11
06 I Tune The World Out (McLean) 3.33
07 Love Hurts (Bryant) 3.08
08 Jerusalem (McLean) 4.44
09 Love Letters (Heyman/Young) 3.59
10 Crazy Eyes (McLean) 2.58
11 Sea Cruise (Smith) 3.03
12 Dream Lover (Darin) 3.47

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Tim Hardin – Nine (1974 )

FrontCover1.jpgNine is an album by folk artist Tim Hardin, recorded in England and released in 1973. It was Hardin’s final finished studio album.

After the termination of his contract with Columbia, Hardin signed with GM Records. He had previously attempted to record “Shiloh Town” during the aborted Nashville sessions in 1968. The song was based on a traditional song, recorded previously by Richie Havens. The track “Blues on the Ceiling” was erroneously credited to Hardin and “While You’re on Your Way” and “Never Too Far” were re-workings of his songs from his first album. The album was his last complete studio recording and was not released in the US until 1976. (by wikipedia)

Recorded in England during 1973, Tim Hardin’s Nine album — which was actually his seventh or eighth, depending upon how and where one started counting and what one counted — has a most unexpected complement of players, including Peter Frampton, Andy Bown of Status Quo, future Strawbs member John Mealing, Jimmy Horowitz, Lesley Duncan, Sue Glover, and Madeline Bell, and also the most heavily produced sound of any of his records. Tim Hardin 1 and Tim Hardin 2 may have had orchestral accompaniment dubbed on, but here Hardin is working with a full electric band and a coterie of backup singers, and some orchestral and sax accompaniment. The resulting album is not that far from Hardin’s classic Verve Records releases in terms of content, a mix of confessional originals interspersed with a handful of covers, of which the best is a wrenchingly moving interpretation of James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain.”

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This proved to be Hardin’s final finished studio album, and there is a real sense — for all of the thick electric band sounds all over this record — of someone singing his insides out. Some of what’s here is a shadow of the kind of writing that he did a decade earlier, although none of it is dull or predictable, and other songs, such as “Person to Person,” possess haunting resonances from those early days. It’s all surprisingly good listening, and that goes double for fans of Hardin, though they may also be disturbed by some of what they hear and read. The album’s original closer, “While You’re on Your Way,” expresses a depth of longing and sadness that could easily have been Hardin’s musical epitaph.  (by Bruce Eder)

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Personnel:
Andy Bown (bass)
Bob Cohen (guitar)
Mike Driscoll (drums)
Tim Hardin (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
Jimmy Horowitz (keyboards)
David Katz (violin, strings)
John Mealing (piano)
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Peter Frampton (guitar on 02. + 03.)
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background vocals:
Liza Strike – Sue Glover – Madeline Bell

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Tracklist:
01. Shiloh Town (Traditional/Hardin) 2.56
02. Never Too Far (Hardin) 3.02
03. Rags And Old Iron (Brown/Curtis) 4.44
04. Look Our Love Over (Hardin) 4.53
05. Person To Person (Brown/Hardin) 3.38
06. Darling Girl (d’Albuquerque) 4.15
07. Blues On The Ceiling (Neil) 3.02
08. Is There No Rest For The Weary (Troiano) 3.11
09. Fire And Rain (Taylor) 4.31
10. While You’re On Your Way (Hardin) 3.28
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Tim Hardin (December 23, 1941 – December 29, 1980)

On December 29, 1980, Hardin was found on the floor of his Hollywood apartment by longtime friend Ron Daniels. He died of a heroin overdose. His remains were buried in Twin Oaks Cemetery in Turner, Oregon.

Strawbs – Ghosts (1975)

FrontCover1Ghosts is the 7th studio album by English band Strawbs.

Ghosts was the last album by the Strawbs to appear while the band was on its upward curve of commercial success; a more lyrical follow-up to Hero and Heroine, it was the group’s last thrust at wide-audience appeal, with a hoped for-hit (“Lemon Pie”) that didn’t materialize. The group’s mix of acoustic guitars, electric lead and bass, and Rod Coombes’ heavy drumming was very compelling on this, their smoothest album. The title track introduction, mixing multiple overdubbed harpsichords, acoustic guitars, and church bells was a gorgeous beginning, and the melodies only got better further into the album. The hauntingly beautiful “Starshine/Angel Wine” was a magnificent successor to “Lay Down” off of Bursting at the Seams, with a moment of Led Zeppelin-like flash from Dave Lambert’s playing in the break, while “The Life Auction” was a bigger, bolder follow-up to “The Hangman and the Papist.” The original finale, “Grace Darling,” is probably the prettiest tune Dave Cousins ever wrote. Alas, Ghosts would be the group’s last record to be released before the changes in music — with the introduction of punk rock in the middle of the ’70s — began hemming them in, and they never again put out an album with as much panache as this. Previously available on CD only from Japan, in 1998 Ghosts was reissued by A&M in England with a sharp, clean digital sound that greatly enhanced the rich textures of the playing, and one bonus track, Coombes’ unexpectedly lyrical “Changes Arrange Us,” which had previously been available only as a single B-side (by Bruce Eder)

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Personnel:
Rod Coombes (drums, percussion background vocals)
Dave Cousins (vocals, guitar, recorder)
Chas Cronk (bass, guitar, background vocals)
John Hawken (keyboards, harpsichord, synthesizer)
Dave Lambert (vocals, guitar)
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Claire Deniz – cello on “Starshine/Angel Wine”
Robert Kirby – choral arrangements

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Tracklist:
01. Ghosts (Cousins) 8.31
01.1. Sweet Dreams
01.2. Night Light
01.3. Guardian Angel
01.4. Night Light
02. Lemon Pie (Cousins) 4.03
03. Starshine/Angel Wine (Cronk) 5.15
04. Where Do You Go (When You Need A Hole To Crawl In) (Cousins) 3.02
05. The Life Auction 6.52
05.1. Impressions Of Southall From The Train (Cousins/Hawken)
05.2. The Auction (Cousins/Lambert)
06. Don’t Try To Change Me (Lambert) 4.28
07. Remembering (Hawken) 0.54
08. You And I (When We Were Young) (Cousins) 4.04
09. Grace Darling (Cousins) 3.55
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10. Changes Arrange Us (Coombes) 3.55

(Unusually, Rod Coombes sings lead vocals on this track and plays guitar)

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Alan Hull – Pipedream (1973)

FrontCover1Pipedream is the first solo album from Lindisfarne singer Alan Hull.

James Alan Hull (20 February 1945 – 17 November 1995) was an English singer-songwriter and founding member of the Tyneside folk rock band Lindisfarne.

Hull was born at 68 Sutton’s Dwellings, Adelaide Terrace, Benwell, Newcastle Upon Tyne. He began piano lessons at the age of nine, and guitar lessons two years later. He attended Rutherford Grammar School, Newcastle after passing the eleven-plus in 1956 and was given a guitar at the age of twelve. Hull wrote his first song soon afterwards.

He became a member of the band The Chosen Few alongside keyboard player Mick Gallagher in 1962. He supported himself by working as a window cleaner one year by working as a nurse at a mental hospital and as a driver for Newcastle Co-op TV Department while appearing as a folk singer and guitarist in local clubs before helping to form Brethren and Downtown Faction, which evolved into Lindisfarne in 1970. He also released a one-off solo single, “We Can Swing Together”, which was re-recorded with the group on their first album, Nicely Out of Tune, and became a regular favourite in their stage performances.

AlanHull2As the group’s most prolific songwriter and joint lead vocalist, Hull came to be regarded as its leader. In 1972, dissatisfied with the sound and critical reception of their third album Dingly Dell, he considered leaving the group but instead he and joint lead vocalist Ray “Jacka” Jackson formed a new six-piece Lindisfarne the following year, leaving the three other original members to form Jack The Lad. He also released his first solo album, Pipedream, the same year and published a book of poems, Mocking Horse. Alan Hull appeared in “Squire”, an episode of the BBC’s Second City Firsts drama series.

Lindisfarne disbanded in 1973 and Hull released a second solo album, Squire, then formed the short-lived Radiator, which also included drummer Ray Laidlaw of Lindisfarne and Jack the Lad. In March1977 the original line-up of Lindisfarne reformed after a well-received series of sold-out Christmas shows at the Newcastle City Hall in 1976 which was broadcast on local radio. Thereafter he combined his musical career as front man of the group with a solo career.

He was also a staunch Labour Party activist. For a time he was secretary of his local constituency Labour Party. He performed in Blackpool to coincide with the Labour Party conference in 1990 and played at numerous benefit concerts for striking or redundant miners and shipyard workers.

AlanHull3In January 1994, he recorded Back to Basics, a live all-acoustic survey of the best of his songwriting from 1970 onwards.

On 17 November 1995, whilst working on a new album, Statues & Liberties, Alan Hull died suddenly of a heart thrombosis, at the age of 50. After his death, Hull’s ashes were scattered at the mouth of the River Tyne.

On 19 July 2012, following a public campaign led by Barry McKay, Lindisfarne’s manager during the 1970s, an Alan Hull memorial plaque was unveiled on the front of Newcastle City Hall, at a ceremony attended by hundreds of fans, and broadcast and filmed by Sky and ITV Tyne Tees

This album was first released in 1973 following the breakup of Lindisfarne. It spent three weeks in the UK album chart, peaking at #29.

Pipedream was rereleased in 2005 with a number of new bonus tracks to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Hull’s death.

The cover artwork is based on a painting by René Magritte. (by wikipedia)

The debut solo album by the Lindisfarne frontman, cut shortly after that band’s initial breakup, Pipedream is very much the son of its father, a faintly folky collection of songs that, one presumes, were originally intended for the next Lindisfarne album before events finally overtook them.

As usual with Alan Hull’s post-Dingly Dell output, nothing here truly leaps out to grab your attention; rather, Pipedream is a meditative, reflective collection characterized as much by Hull’s often-plaintive vocal than by any particular melody. But “Country Gentleman’s Wife,” “Song for a Windmill” and the gorgeous “Justanothersadsong” are latter-day Hull jewels, while the biting “The Money Game” reflects on the end of the band with grandiose venom. (by Dave Thompson)

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Personnel:
Ken Craddock (keybords, harmonium,  guitar)
Colin Gibson (bass)
Alan Hull (vocals, guitar, piano, harmonium)
Ray Jackson (harp, mandolin, vocals)
Ray Laidlaw (drums)
John Turnbull (guitar)
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Dave Brooks (saxophone on 08.)

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Tracklist:
01. Breakfast 3.37
02. Justanothersadsong 2.53
03. Money Game 2.48
04. STD 0632 3.10
05. United States Of Mind 3.06
06. Country Gentleman’s Wife 3.37
07. Numbers (Travelling Band) 3.55
08. For The Bairns 2.28
09. Drug Song 3.10
10. Song For A Windmill 2.47
11. Blue Murder 5.06
12. I Hate To See You Cry 3.28

All songs written by Alan Hull

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