Neil Young – After The Gold Rush (1970)

FrontCover1.jpgAfter the Gold Rush is the third studio album by Canadian musician Neil Young, released in September 1970 on Reprise Records. It is one of four high-profile albums released by each member of folk rock collective Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in the wake of their chart-topping 1970 album Déjà Vu. Gold Rush consists mainly of country folk music, along with the rocking “Southern Man”,[6] inspired by the Dean Stockwell-Herb Bermann screenplay After the Gold Rush.

After the Gold Rush peaked at number eight on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart; the two singles taken from the album, “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” and “When You Dance I Can Really Love”, made it to number 33 and number 93 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100. Despite a mixed initial reaction, it has since appeared on a number of “greatest albums” lists.

Initial sessions were conducted with backing band Crazy Horse at Sunset Sound Studios in Los Angeles amid a short winter 1970 tour that included a well-received engagement with Steve Miller and Miles Davis at the Fillmore East. Despite the deteriorating health of rhythm guitarist Danny Whitten, the sessions yielded two released tracks, “I Believe In You” and “Oh, Lonesome Me.”

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Most of the album was recorded at a makeshift basement studio in Young’s Topanga Canyon home during the spring with Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young bassist Greg Reeves, Crazy Horse drummer Ralph Molina and burgeoning eighteen-year-old musical prodigy Nils Lofgren of the Washington, D.C.-based band Grin on piano. The incorporation of Lofgren was a characteristically idiosyncratic decision by Young: Lofgren had not played keyboards on a regular basis prior to the sessions. (Along with Jack Nitzsche, Lofgren would join an augmented Crazy Horse sans Young before enjoying success with his own group, solo cult success and a 25-year membership in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band). The Young biography Shakey[8] claims Young was intentionally trying to combine Crazy Horse and CSNY on this release, with members of the former band appearing alongside Stephen Stills (who contributed backing vocals to “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”) and Reeves. The cover art is a solarized image of Young, walking past the New York University School of Law campus, passing an old woman. The picture was taken by photographer Joel Bernstein and was reportedly out of focus. It was because of this he decided to mask the blurred face by solarizing the image. The photo is cropped; the original image included Young’s friend and CSNY bandmate Graham Nash.

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Songs on the album were inspired by the Dean Stockwell-Herb Bermann screenplay for the unmade film After the Gold Rush. Young had read the screenplay and asked Stockwell if he could produce the soundtrack. Tracks that Young recalls as being written specifically for the film are “After the Gold Rush” and “Cripple Creek Ferry.”[11] The script has since been lost, though has been described as “sort of an end-of-the-world movie.” Stockwell said of it, “I was gonna write a movie that was personal, a Jungian self-discovery of the gnosis… it involved the Kabala (sic), it involved a lot of arcane stuff.” Graham Nash claims that “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” was written for him about the pains he was going through with his break up from Joni Mitchell.

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According to the Neil Young Archives, After the Gold Rush was released on September 19, 1970. One month later, on October 24, the lead single “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

It was voted number 62 in Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums 3rd Edition (2000). (by wikipedia)

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In the 15 months between the release of Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and After the Gold Rush, Neil Young issued a series of recordings in different styles that could have prepared his listeners for the differences between the two LPs. His two compositions on the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album Déjà Vu, “Helpless” and “Country Girl,” returned him to the folk and country styles he had pursued before delving into the hard rock of Everybody Knows; two other singles, “Sugar Mountain” and “Oh, Lonesome Me,” also emphasized those roots. But “Ohio,” a CSNY single, rocked as hard as anything on the second album. After the Gold Rush was recorded with the aid of Nils Lofgren, a 17-year-old unknown whose piano was a major instrument, turning one of the few real rockers, “Southern Man” (which had unsparing protest lyrics typical of Phil Ochs), into a more stately effort than anything on the previous album and giving a classic tone to the title track, a mystical ballad that featured some of Young’s most imaginative lyrics and became one of his most memorable songs. But much of After the Gold Rush consisted of country-folk love songs, which consolidated the audience Young had earned through his tours and recordings with CSNY; its dark yet hopeful tone matched the tenor of the times in 1970, making it one of the definitive singer/songwriter albums, and it has remained among Young’s major achievements. (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Jack Nitzsche (piano)
Nils Lofgren (guitar, piano, vocals)
Ralph Molina (drums, vocals)
Greg Reeves (bass)
Billy Talbot (bass)
Danny Whitten (guitar, vocals)
Neil Young (vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica, vibraphone)
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Bill Peterson (flugelhorn)
Stephen Stills (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Tell Me Why (Young) 2.58
02. After The Gold Rush (Young) 3.45
03. Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Young) 3.07
04. Southern Man (Young) 5.30
05. Till The Morning Comes (Young) 1.15
06. Oh, Lonesome Me (Gibson) 3.50
07. Don’t Let It Bring You Down (Young) 2.57
08. Birds (Young) 2.33
09. When You Dance I Can Really Love (Young) 4.03
10. I Believe In You (Young) 3.25
11. Cripple Creek Ferry (Young) 1.31

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Well I dreamed I saw the knights in armor comin’
Sayin’ something about a queen
There were peasants singin’ and drummers drummin’
And the archer split the tree
There was a fanfare blowin’ to the sun
That was floating on the breeze
Look at Mother Nature on the run
In the 1970s
Look at Mother Nature on the run
In the 1970s

I was lyin’ in a burned out basement
With the full moon in my eyes
I was hopin’ for replacement
When the sun burst though the sky
There was a band playin’ in my head
And I felt like getting high
I was thinkin’ about what a friend had said
I was hopin’ it was a lie
Thinkin’ about what a friend had said
I was hopin’ it was a lie

Well, I dreamed I saw the silver space ships flyin’
In the yellow haze of the sun
There were children cryin’ and colors flyin’
All around the chosen ones
All in a dream, all in a dream
The loadin’ had begun
Flying Mother Nature’s silver seed
To a new home in the sun

Miller Anderson – Through The Mill (2016)

FrontCover1.jpgMiller Anderson (born 12 April 1945, Houston, Renfrewshire, Scotland) is a UK-based blues guitarist and singer. In the formative years of the 1960s, before either of them achieved significant success, he worked extensively with Ian Hunter in bands such as The Scenery and At Last The 1958 Rock ‘n’ Roll Show (later called Charlie Woolfe) and is referenced in the title track of Hunter’s 1976 album All American Alien Boy (“well I remember all the good times me and Miller enjoyed, up and down the M1 in some luminous yo-yo toy”). Anderson would later guest on two Hunter solo albums.

Apart from pursuing his own solo career, he was a member of the Keef Hartley Band (this band played with Miller in Woodstock). Other groups Anderson has been associated with are; the Spencer Davis Group, Broken Glass, The Dukes, Mountain, Savoy Brown, T.Rex and Chicken Shack. In early 2006, he joined The British Blues Quintet with Maggie Bell, Zoot Money, Colin Hodgkinson and Colin Allen.

In the Spring of 2016 Anderson returned to the studio and in July 2016 released a new album, Through The Mill. (by wikipedia)

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In 2018 and 2019 he toured with Pete York´Rock & Blues Circus (featuring, Zoot Money, Roger Glover and Albie Donnelly) and played many gigs with his own Miller Anderson Band.

This album from 2016, recorded with established media composer Jeremy Sherman, is a varied collection of 12 original compositions ( one co-written with Sherman ) taking in Blues, Rock, Folk , Americana & Latin.

His partner on this album was Jeremy Sherman:

Jeremy Sherman has spent over 30 years playing in a wide variety of bands in the UK and abroad, taking in such styles as Ska, Folk, Jazz, Cajun, Country, Rock, and Blues. Over the past 10 years, he has pursued and developed his love of writing and recording his own material for a variety of Film, TV, and Commercial projects.

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Jeremy also produces CDs for local musicians and his own Celtic/Americana/World outfit. A completely self-taught musician, he is proficient on electric and acoustic guitars, dobro, bass, and keyboards. (by radiosparx.com)

Top notch Miller Anderson effort. I have most of his work and this one is right up there with the best of them. Better with age just like fine wine. A must have for fans and a good place to start if you are new to Miller Anderson. (Bill)

On other word: Another superb album by one of the most criminally underrated musician … hew´s a realo unknown hero …

His mixture of Folk, Jazz, Cajun, Country, Rock, and Blues is unbelieveable good !

And the song “Broken Glas” was recorded in 1975 for a rare Stan Webb project called “Broken Glass” (s real fantastic album) featuring Miller Anderson.

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Personnel:
Miller Anderson (vocals, guitar, harmonica)
Jeremy Sherman (keyboards, synthesizer, guitar, pedal steel-guitar, banjo, dobro, drums, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. Strange Days (Anderson) 4.35
02. John Sugrue (Anderson)4.23
03. Where Is Your Heart (Anderson/Sherman) 4.59
04. Through The Mill (Anderson) 4.11
05. Life Is All We Have (Anderson) 4.29
06. Broken Glass (Anderson) 3.33
07. Old Friends (Anderson) 4.07
08. The Island (Let Yourself Go) (Anderson) 3.52
09. Here Come The Tears (Anderson) 4.17
10. Nobody Knows (Anderson) 4.14
11. A Hard Road Down (Anderson) 4.08
12. Wintertime Blues (Anderson) 2.29

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Unicorn – One More Tomorrow (1977)

FrontCover1And this is the story of Unicorn:

Fans of rock music from the 1970s may remember Unicorn, a local band, that made some great albums, but unfortunately never had the fame they justly deserved.

Unicorn’s bass player was Pat Martin, who grew up in Send. In 1963 he began making music with Ken Baker, a friend from St Bede’s School, in Send. During the summer holidays Pat would ride his bike from his home to Ken’s house in Ockham with his guitar. They then both plugged into a home-made amplifier that Ken’s uncle had made.

Pat says: “My dad thought that if continued to pursue my love of beat music, it might keep me away from what he termed ‘the yobs’ he said I was mixing with.

“He bought us some better equipment, became our manager and we soon recruited a drummer, Pete Perryer.”

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The band was originally called the Senders. They then became the Pink Bears, later changing their name to the Late. They played many gigs in and around the local area and not long after they had left school aged 17, they were performing as a living. In the early days various members came and went, including, Trevor Mee. He was a gifted guitarist, so Pat switched to playing bass guitar.

Other gigs Pat recalls playing with his band include the Stereo club that was above the Co-op store in Woking. He says: “We got a gig there as a replacement to another band. I don’t think it was a licensed premises, but there was a lot of good beat and rhythm ’n’ blues bands who played there.”

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Not only did Pat and his bandmates play at Woking’s famous Atalanta club, he saw many other bands there – some of whom are now legendary. He says: “I saw the Who, the Turtles, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Graham Bond Organisation, and Cream, who were playing their second-ever gig when I saw them there.”

Atalanta owner Bob Potter managed Pat’s band the Late for three years. Pat recalls: “We did an audition for him and he liked us as we sounded like the Hollies. We were signed to him from 1967 to 1969. He had a studio in Mytchett and when we had some free time we recorded some demo tapes there.

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“Under his management we got gigs from Hampshire down to Cornwall and up to North Wales. We never made much money, but it was great fun.”

The band rehearsed in Pat’s dad’s garage, which he had converted into a studio for them. They called it The Shed. Some recordings they made in it, have now been released on CD.

After a while their bookings for gigs slowed up, but they were lucky in that they became singer Billy J Kramer’s backing band. It was regular money, but they quit after about nine months as the routine of playing a medley of all of Kramer’s hits every day became somewhat tiresome.

By this time band member Ken Baker was writing his own songs and they got a break when Transatlantic Records offered them a deal. Now named Unicorn, the album was titled Uphill All The Way and was released in 1971.

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Their style was soft rock with a country tinge plus lots of vocal harmonies. Gigs took them to countries in Europe such as Sweden and Italy where they were well received.

In 1973, David Gilmour, the guitarist in the world famous rock band Pink Floyd took Unicorn under his wing and the results were the albums Blue Pine Trees (released in 1974), Too Many Crooks and Unicorn2 (both released in 1976) and One More Tomorrow (1977).

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Pat recalls this as an exciting time as they toured the USA, playing support to such bands as Fleetwood Mac, Manfred Man’s Earthband, Billy Joel and Linda Ronstadt. Unfortunately, Unicorn never made it big in their own right and by 1977 the emergence of punk music meant only the biggest country-soft rock bands could survive.

Unicorn played its last gig that year in Canning Town, London, to an audience that was so small the band cut the performance short.

After driving lorries for a living and also driving a mobile library bus for a while, Pat has now retired, but music is in his blood and he still plays. (by David Rose)

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77’s One More Tomorrow proved to be the final Unicorn album. Capitol Records issued it first in the U.S., before Harvest brought it home to the U.K. in early 1978. While David Gilmour returned to helm the album, the record label also brought in Muff Winwood. Muff had played with his younger brother Steve in the Spencer Davis Group before transitioning into an A&R role at the Island and CBS labels. Winwood was enlisted by EMI (parent of Harvest and Capitol) to add a commercial sheen to the album. (The cover, a departure from the Hipgnosis-designed sleeve for Crooks reflected this as well.) Winwood recorded four tracks with the band which would supplement the Gilmour sessions, and in fact, his quartet of productions was selected to lead off the LP.

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Hoping for a hit, Winwood brought along a pair of songs from outside writers – the first time Unicorn had recorded non-original material since the band’s debut. Covering John Fogerty’s CCR (“Have You Ever Seen the Rain”) and Eagles pal Jack Tempchin (“Slow Dancing,” a contemporary hit for Johnny Rivers in 1977), Unicorn nonetheless sounded comfortable. Muff also helmed two Ken Baker songs – the catchy, upbeat “New Shoes” and smooth, ironic “Get Along Fine.” Surprisingly, Winwood’s productions fit snugly on the album with Gilmour’s; “The Night,” like “Get Along Fine,” would reside comfortably on a so-called “yacht rock” playlist. The SoCal-inspired country-rock of Crooks wasn’t abandoned entirely, cropping up on songs like “Eric,” “The Way It Goes” and the jaunty, breezy “British Rail Romance.”

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The Byrds’ influence is keenly felt on title track “One More Tomorrow,” with Baker adopting a natural drawl for his rueful lyrics. Baker’s bandmate Kevin Smith teamed with Roy St. John to pen the atmospheric “Magnolia Avenue.” One More Tomorrow was elegantly-crafted soft rock with impeccable musicianship guided, in large part, by David Gilmour’s deft and organic production touch, but like its predecessor, it failed to make a chart impact. After a brief parting of the ways between Baker and his bandmates, resulting in a handful of singles, Unicorn quietly broke up. The bandmates went their separate ways, though all remained involved in music, in one capacity or another.

This edition adds the non-LP B-sides “Give and Take” and “Nothing I Wouldn’t Do” plus three demos, and two performances from the same December 1975 radio session.

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Personnel:
Ken Baker (vocals, guitar, harmonica, keyboards)
Pat Martin (bass, vocals)
Peter Perrier (drums, percussion, vocals)
Kevin Smith (guitar)
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Howie Casey (saxophone on 10.)
Bill Livsey piano on 03., 04.)
Chris Pidgeon (keyboards, percussion on 03., 04.)

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Tracklist:
01. Have You Seen The Rain (Fogerty) 3.11
02. New Shoes (Baker) 3.02
03. Slow Dancing (Tempchin) 3.33
04. Get Along Fine (Baker) 3.29
05. British Rail Romance (Baker) 3.10
06. Eric (Baker) 4.19
07. One More Tomorrow (Baker) 3.14
08. So Hard To Get Through (Baker) 3.42
09. I’m Alright (When I’m With You) (Baker) 2.48
10. The Night (Baker) 4.29
11. The Way It Goes (Baker) 3.53
12. Magnolia Avenue (Smith/St.John) 3.26
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13. Nothing I Wouldn’t Do (Single B-side) (Baker) 4.51
14. Give & Take (Single B-side) (Baker) 3.54

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Fairport Convention – Across The Decades (2003)

FrontCover1Fairport Convention are a British folk rock band, formed in 1967 by Richard Thompson (guitar, vocals), Simon Nicol (guitar, vocals), Ashley Hutchings (bass guitar), and Shaun Frater (drums, percussion), with Frater replaced by Martin Lamble after their first gig. They started out heavily influenced by American folk rock and singer-songwriter material, with a setlist dominated by Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell songs and a sound that earned them the nickname ‘the British Jefferson Airplane’. Vocalists Judy Dyble and Iain Matthews joined them before the recording of their self-titled debut in 1968; afterwards, Dyble was replaced by Sandy Denny, with Matthews leaving during the recording of their third album.

Denny began steering the group towards traditional British music for their next two albums, What We Did on Our Holidays and Unhalfbricking (both 1969); the latter featured fiddler Dave “Swarb” Swarbrick, most notably on the song “A Sailor’s Life”, which laid the groundwork for British folk rock by being the first time a traditional British song was combined with a rock beat.

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However, shortly before the album’s release, a crash on the M1 killed Lamble and Thompson’s then-girlfriend, Jeannie Franklyn; this resulted in the group retiring most of their prior material and turning entirely towards British folk music for their seminal album Liege & Lief, released the same year, with this style being the band’s focus ever since. For this album Swarbrick joined full-time alongside Dave Mattacks on drums. Both Denny and Hutchings left before the year’s end; the latter replaced by Dave Pegg, who has remained the group’s sole consistent member to this day; and Thompson would leave after the recording of 1970’s Full House.

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The 1970s saw numerous lineup changes around the core of Swarbrick and Pegg – Nicol being absent for the middle of the decade – and declining fortunes as folk music fell out of mainstream favour. Denny, whose partner Trevor Lucas had been a guitarist in the group since 1972, returned for the pop-orientated Rising for the Moon album in 1975 in a final bid to crack America; this effort failed, and after three more albums minus Denny or Lucas, the group disbanded in 1979. They played a farewell concert in the village of Cropredy, Oxfordshire, where they had held small concerts since 1976, and this marked the beginning of the Cropredy Festival (since 2005 known as Fairport’s Cropredy Convention) which has become the largest folk festival in Britain, with annual attendances of 20,000.[8] The band was reformed by Nicol, Pegg, and Mattacks in 1985, joined by Maartin Allcock (guitar, vocals) and Ric Sanders (fiddle, keyboards), and they have remained active since. Allcock was replaced by Chris Leslie in 1996, and Gerry Conway replaced Mattacks in 1998, with this lineup remaining unchanged since and marking the longest-lasting of the group’s history. Their 28th studio album, 50:50@50, released to mark their 50th anniversary, was released in 2017, and they continue to headline Cropredy each year.

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Despite little mainstream success – with their only top 40 single being “Si Tu Dois Partir”, a French-language cover of the Dylan song “If You Gotta Go, Go Now” from Unhalfbricking – Fairport Convention remain highly influential in British folk rock and British folk in general. Liege & Lief was named the “Most Influential Folk Album of All Time” at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2006, and Pegg’s playing style, which incorporates jigs and reels into his basslines, has been imitated by many in the folk rock and folk punk genres.[9] Additionally, many former members went on to form or join other notable groups in the genre, including Fotheringay, Steeleye Span, and the Albion Band; along with solo careers, most notably Thompson and Denny.[10] Hers ended with her death in 1978, though she is now regarded[by whom?] as Britain’s finest female singer-songwriter, and her song “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?” – recorded by Fairport on Unhalfbricking – has become a signature song for herself and the band. (by wikipedia)

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Across the Decades is an apt title for a band that’s as much an institution as anything. With more than 35 years under their belt, Fairport have a huge catalog to cherry-pick from for what’s essentially a best-of release. Be warned, however, that there’s nothing from the classic Sandy Denny/Richard Thompson lineup that helped invent British folk-rock. Instead, this picks up in 1971, although there are cuts from Denny’s second, mid-’70s stint with the band. However, the bulk comes from later on, although many of the names are familiar, as is a great deal of the material; the pieces are played with plenty of energy and skill — probably more skill than when some of them were first rolled out.

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But they stand the test of time, as do many of the songs, several of which are written in styles influenced by the tradition. Purists might well turn their noses up at some of this, and demand compilations that trawl all the way back in the band’s history, and, to be fair, there was a magic about some early lineups that’s not completely evident here. However, that’s not to decry any of this, especially at a budget price for a double-CD set. It’s not the perfect introduction to Fairport, but for those curious about the slightly later years, this is a good way to sample that. (by Chris Nickson)

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Personnel:
Various Fairport Convention line-ups

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Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. The Hexamshire Lass (Traditional) 2.37
02. Hens March Through the Midden/The Four Poster Bed (Traditional) 2.46
03. Sloth (Swarbrick/Thompson) 13.03
04. It’ll Take A Long Time (Denny) 5.31
05. Firs An Feathers (Swarbrick) 4.50
06. Cell Song (Mattacks/Nicol/Pegg/Swarbrick) 3.58
07. Who Knows Where The Time Goes (Denny) 6.29
08. Ballad Of Ned Kelly (Lucas) 3.46
09. The Deserter (Traditional) 4.31
10. Both Sides Now (Mitchell) 3.08
11. Walk Awhile (Swarbrick/Thompson) 4.09
12. Rosie (Swarbrick) 4.10

CD 2:
01. How Many Times (Thompson) 3.30
02. My Feet Are Set for Dancing (Lesurf) 4.03
03. Angel Delight (Mattacks/Nicol/Pegg/Swarbrick) 4.32
04. Red And Gold (McTell) 6.43
05. Open the Door Richard (Dylan) 4.59
06. It Takes A Lot To Laugh (Dylan) 5.44
07. I’ll Keep It With Mine (Dylan) 6.27
08. Tam Lin (Traditional) 7.58
09. Who Knows Where The Time Goes (Denny)
10. Doctor Of Physik (Swarbrick/Thompson) 3.50
11. The Naked Highwayman (Tilston) 4.44
12. Meet On The Ledge (Thompson) 5.31

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P.F. Sloan – Child Of Our Times (2011)

FrontCover1.jpgP.F. Sloan was jaw-droppingly prolific in the years 1965 to 1967, not only writing, producing, and playing on numerous fine hit and non-hit pop and folk-rock records by other artists, but making two good solo albums. It didn’t stop there: he also recorded quite a few unreleased demos, 20 of which make their first appearance on this compilation. Most of these were recorded and released by someone or other, and in one case (“Miss Charlotte”) redone by Sloan himself later in the 1960s. No one sings Sloan like Sloan, though, and it’s quite a treat to hear him as the performer on these largely outstanding, rousingly melodic pop-rockers. Some are well known (“You Baby” and “Can I Get to Know You Better” were hits for the Turtles, “Another Day, Another Heartache” did okay for the Fifth Dimension, and, of course, “Secret Agent Man” was big for Johnny Rivers), and others not so well known, but in the same class (“Child of Our Times,” the Beatlesque “You’re a Lonely Girl,” “I’ve Got No More to Say”). Although these were demos, the production is sometimes as state-of-the-art as anything in L.A. in the mid-’60s, and the fidelity, performance, and arrangements are up to release quality on almost everything. The only reason this rates just a little below his first two solo albums is that it’s lighter on the personal folk-rock and social consciousness statements (“Child of Our Times” being an exception); much of this is like a link between L.A. folk-rock and L.A. sunshine pop. It’s very good, though, and enthusiastically recommended to anyone who enjoys the albums that Sloan did release in the mid-’60s. (by Richie Unterberger)

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If you put up a twenty-track collection by any of the major artists young P. F. Sloan wrote or produced for (Mamas & Papas, 5th Dimension, Herman’s Hermits, Grass Roots et al) it could never compare to CHILD OF OUR TIMES for sheer song excellence or cohesiveness. If you put up the same by Bob Dylan you’d be hard-pressed to match the writing, production and performance. And like Dylan, P.F. Sloan’s originals usually outshine the glossier versions which followed. With the discovery of these tapes (as well as his released catalog) P.F. Sloan can proudly stand with Dylan, The Byrds and all others who’d claim to define the folk-rock genre.

Don’t be put off by the shabby cover and subtitle which suggests sub-standard demos which really sound like demos – the production values here are much better than most hit albums from the period. These “demos” represent a classy and fully self-realized musical vision of writing, production and performance: Sloan and partner Steve Barri knew their stuff and weren’t running a garage band. The sound is nice and unexpectedly consistent – a pared-back (and very contemporary) version of Deep West Coast Sixties. Full and rhythmically-driven, but without the fruity strings and “sweetening” employed at the time to send tracks into the Top 40.

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Sloan personalizes every cut with a masculine aloofness which works so well for songs like the title track. With a disarming lack of pretense this bittersweet iconoclast is presenting his songs the way they should be heard. His original “See Ya Round On The Rebound” is definitive, and should never have been sung by girls. “Cling To Me” is as sweet a song as any guy can do without pouring on the syrup. P.F. Sloan is more the voice of a complex young troubadour than the angry protestor he’s often dismissed as. He doesn’t have to assume stylized vocals- the songs and productions are of such consistently high quality that a Dylanesque posture would diminish them.

CHILD OF OUR TIMES should be seen and listened to for what it actually is – or, more rightly – what it should have been: two brilliant LPs which went unreleased, but which may be better today than forty years ago. It really is that good. (by Rick)

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West Coast songwriter P.F. Sloan’s songs have always been more famous than his own recordings. Writing solo and with Steve Barri, Sloan penned some of the mid-60s most memorable radio hits for the cream of California’s pop acts, including “Secret Agent Man” (Johnny Rivers), “Eve of Destruction” (Barry McGuire), “Where Were You When I Needed You” (The Grass Roots), and “You Baby” (The Turtles), to name just a few. After a stint working for Gary Usher (with Barri as The Fantastic Baggys), the pair of songwriters were hired by Lou Adler for his Trousdale publishing company, and subsequently recorded these demos.

Sloan and Barri hit an amazing stride at Trousdale, and the tracks collected here include fully-produced versions of songs eventually recorded by a wide variety of other artists. Sloan’s original version of “You Baby” is missing the final polish of the Turtles’ hit single, but all the hooks are here, and Sloan’s voice has a winning innocence. The same can be said for “Another Day, Another Heartache,” which fleshed out the harmony arrangement used on the subsequent hit by The Fifth Dimension.

The rest of the album is as good as anything Sloan wrote or produced for himself or for others. His demo of the Turtles album track “I Know That You’ll Be There” has a surging folk-rock sound, and the bubblegum soul of “Can I Get to Know You Better” fits Sloan better than either Betty Everett (who recorded it as a B-side) or The Turtles. The early version of “Look Out Girl” featured here has its propulsive acoustic rhythm guitar in place, but the vocal and guitar break are more rocking than the Sloan/Barri re-recording with The Grass Roots.

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The demos are split between pure-pop and folk-rock. Among the latter, the confessional “See Ya Round on the Rebound” (waxed by both Shelly Fabares and Sandy Posey) is terrific, the acoustic-guitar based “I’ve Got No More to Say” (recorded later by the Grass Roots) sounds as if it were written for the Mama and Papas, and “Troubled Mind” is a brilliant acoustic pop-folk-blues that appears to have gone uncovered. Capping the set is a previously undiscovered demo of “Secret Agent Man,” recorded as a theme submission for the television program under its original title “Danger Man.” Most of the lyrics later recorded by Johnny Rivers are in place, but Sloan had to tinker slightly to fit the renaming.

Archivist Andrew Sandoval’s dug up a superb set of tapes that are clear and present, and resonate with the quality of top-flight Los Angeles studios. All tracks are mono except for 8, 9, and 14, but given the AM radio orientation of the era, this is how these songs were meant to be heard. Sandoval’s song notes are excellent and provide the demos a great deal of context. This is a must have for fans of 60s pop. (by hyperbolium)

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Personnel:
P.S. Sloan (vocals, guitar)
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a bunch of unknown studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. You Baby (Barri/P.F. Sloan) 2.37
02. I Know That You’ll Be There (Barri/P.F. Sloan) 2.21
03. Another Day, Another Heartache (Barri/P.F. Sloan) 2.34
04. Miss Charlotte (P.F. Sloan) 2.34
05. Is It Any Wonder (Barri/P.F. Sloan) 2.50
06. Can I Get to Know You Better (Barri/P.F. Sloan) 2.36
07. Look Out Girl (Barri/P.F. Sloan) 2.23
08. See Ya ‘Round on the Rebound (P.F. Sloan) 2.35
09. Child Of Our Times (P.F. Sloan) 3.57
10. I’ve Got No More To Say (Barri/P.F. Sloan) 2.18
11. Cling To Me (P.F. Sloan) 2.59
12. I Don’t Wanna Say Goodnight (Barri/P.F. Sloan) 2.37
13. My First Day Alone (Barri/P.F. Sloan) 2.49
14. Troubled Mind (P.F. Sloan) 2.20
15. Spinning Wheel (P.F. Sloan) 3.07
16. It’s Too Late Baby (Barri/P.F. Sloan) 2.30
17. You’re A Lonely Girl (Barri/P.F. Sloan) 2.52
18. Say It Again (Barri/P.F. Sloan) 2.07
19. Baby I Can’t Stop Myself (Barri/P.F. Sloan) 2.53
20. Danger Man (Secret Agent Man) (Barri/P.F. Sloan/P.Sloan) 2.32

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P. F. “Flip” Sloan (born Philip Gary Schlein;
September 18, 1945 – November 15, 2015)

Randy Holland – Cat Mind (1972)

FrontCover1.jpgRandy Holland (1943-2011) was born in Boulder, Colorado and was raised in Kansas City, Missouri, and Westfield, New Jersey. Randy was an art and music advocate his whole life. His album “Cat Mind” was a four star pick in Billboard in 1972. This is a very nice rock release, with some folk and country inflections, and a good loner vibe. It’s not (contrary to some catalogues) psychedelic, but Hollands’ dark and somewhat snotty delivery and some smokin’ guitar make it stand out from the pack. (by discogs.com)

There are many different kinds of records. Some latch onto you almost immediately and either stand the test of time or else slip away as easily as they came. Randy Holland’s 1972 album Cat Mind is the other kind; those unusual and sometimes uneven records that take more than one listen to fully appreciate. Released on the independent Mother Records label, it can probably be said that Cat Mind never had a chance at real commercial success. But hell, we’re not interested in the commercial success here – we’re after good records, wherever they ended up and in whatever condition. And Cat Mind is a good record.

Looking at that stark, black and white cover shot you’re probably expecting a good deal of grit here, and the opening cut doesn’t disappoint in that department. The off-kilter flower child stomp of “Bless the Naked Days” also wastes no time introducing the listener to Holland’s rough and nasally voice; a voice which he tends to push to the limits, and often far beyond. Depending on where you’re coming from, I reckon this could either be an acquired taste or a real attraction.

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Following this first number, “Colors of Sad” is bizarrely saccharine, and it’s this vivid contrast between wildness and melancholy which perhaps defines this record more than anything else. Holland tilts mercilessly between incisive, jagged rock and roll numbers and melodramatic country cuts, with very little sense of transition or artistic compromise. His uncredited backup band really shines, especially on the former, where they lay down some of the most righteous country-stained rock this side of
Wray’s Shack Three Track. The hot swamp growl of “Muddy Water” is a real highlight, as is the weird title track, graced with scorching Davie Allan-style guitar work and an insistent rhythm section. Holland’s forays into the tamer side of Americana are more hit-and-miss, giving us both the warm and gentle “Ladybug” and an unfortunately overwrought reading of Mickey Newbury’s “Remember the Good”.

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Fortunately, however, even the most underwhelming cuts are outweighed by the grittier numbers, and the overall quality and unique character of Cat Mind really does warrant it the kind of reissue treatment afforded so many other lost jewels of the period, such as Vernon Wray’s Wasted. As it stands, it isn’t all that hard to track down a used copy for a decent price. And what ever happened to Randy Holland?

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From what it looks like, he retired his attempts at making it in the music scene not long after cutting this record and moved to Las Vegas, where he opened an art gallery and devoted the rest of his days to painting and poetry. He passed away a few years ago, truly making this his one and only album. (by therisingstorm.net)

All articles in this entry are from the Billboard Magazine, 1972 and I would like to dedicate this entry to all these beautiful loosers in the history of Rock music.

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Personnel:
Randy Holland (guitar, vocals)
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a bunch of unknown sudio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. Bless The Naked Days (Holland) 3.05
02.  Colours Of Sad (Holland) 4.49
03. Song For A Rainy Tuesday (Alpaugh) 3.03
04. Make Me Flowers (Holland/Bishop) 2.43
05. Muddy Water (Wright) 3.16
06. I’ll Remember The Good (Newberry) 3.01
07. Cat Mind (Holland) 2.56
08. Indian Blues (Holland) 3.19
09. Ladybug (Alpaugh) 2.34
10. Take My Hand (Holland) 3.39

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Randy Holland passed away Jan. 7, 2011. He was born in Boulder, Colo., in 1943, was raised in Kansas, Mo., and Westfield, N.J. He attended the University of Denver where he majored in philosophy. His mother, Cobbie Holland, was an excellent amateur artist who won many awards in New Jersey and regional competitions. Randy was an art and music advocate his whole life. His album “Cat Mind” was a four star pick in Billboard in 1972. While his business life turned to the Casinos of Las Vegas in 1977, where he remained until 1995, his artistic life in music and art remained active. He owned and operated the Randy Holland1Temecula Art Gallery in Temecula, Calif., from 1995-1999. During the course of three short years, the Gallery provided the community with top notch art shows, a wide variety of performing art, as well as support for the many assistance organizations in the valley. He was past-president of the Arts Council of Temecula Valley; on the board of The American Cancer Society, and Dorland Mountain Arts Colony. He was appointed by the City of Temecula to the Old Town Redevelopment Advisory Committee, and was a 1997 Temecula “Good Neighbor.” Randy is survived by his brother, Dutch Holland; his daughter, Robbie Hansen, her husband Joel, and grandsons, Dylan and Tristan all of Las Vegas. He also has two sons, Mark in Reno, and Shawn in Phoenix, with two more grandchildren Madison and Sawyer. (obits.reviewjournal.com)

Bob Dylan – In The Summertime – Live In Drammen, Norway (1981)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Bob Dylan World Tour 1981 was a concert tour by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. The tour lasted from June 10, 1981 to November 21, 1981 and consisted of 54 concerts in three legs: 31 in North America and 23 in Europe. The tour promoted the release of Dylan’s 1981 album Shot of Love.

The tour started on June 10, 1981 in Chicago, Illinois. Dylan performed a further three concerts in the United States before travelling to Europe.[5] The European leg of the tour started on June 21 in Toulouse in France and consisted of twenty three concerts, the largest number of concerts taking place in England where eight shows were performed. All shows from July 1 onwards were recorded by members of Dylan’s crew.

Tourposter1981.jpgThe European tour ended in tragedy in Avignon, France where a member of the crowd fell into the electric cables before the first song and caused total power loss. Dylan and the band improvised an unplugged instrumental until the power was restored and ‘Saved’ was started from the beginning. In the accident two people were killed, but the show went ahead despite the incident.

Dylan returned to the United States in October to perform twenty three concerts there. Dylan also performed four concerts in Canada. The tour came to an end in Lakeland, Florida on November 21 after fifty-four concerts. (by wikipedia)

And here´s a pretty good soundboard recording from his concert at the at the Drammenshallen, Drammen, Norway; July 10, 1981 (Concert # 13 of The Europe Summer Tour 1981. 1981 concert #17.)

This 2 CD package is an absolute ‘must have’ for fans of the gospel period. Both shows are smooth, full, warm, and well mixed in a fantastic quality; right from the soundboard.

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Personnel:
Tim Drummond (bass)
Bob Dylan (vocals, guitar)
Jim Keltner (drums)
Steve Ripley (guitar)
Willie Smith (keyboards)
Fred Tackett (guitar)
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background vocals:
Clydie King – Carolyn Dennis – Regina McCrary – Madelyn Quebec

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Tracklist:
01. The Times They Are A-Changin’ 5.11
02. Gotta Serve Somebody 4.12
03. I Believe In You 5.04
04. Like A Rolling Stone 6.44
05. Till I Get It Right  3.46
06. Man Gave Names To All The Animals 4.54
07. Maggie’s Farm 1.09
08. Girl From The North Country 5.50
09. Ballad Of A Thin Man 3.28
10. In The Summertime 3.41
11. Slow Train 5.37
12. Let’s Begin  3.38
13. Lenny Bruce 4.38
14. Mr. Tambourine Man 5.44
15. Just Like A Woman 4.22
16. Forever Young 4.37
17. Jesus Is The One 3.55
18. Heart Of Mine 5.11
19. When You Gonna Wake Up 5.31
20. In The Garden (with band introduction) 9.29
21. Blowin’ In The Wind 5.55
22. It Ain’t Me, Babe 5.59
23. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door 5.44

All songs written by Bob Dylan
except “Till I Get It Right” which was written by Red Lane & Larry Henley and Let’s Begin, which was written by  Jim Webb

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