Melanie – Born To Be (1968)

FrontCover1.jpgBorn to Be is the singer Melanie’s debut album, released on Buddah Records in 1968.

Following Melanie’s success at the Woodstock Festival in 1969 Buddha repackaged and reissued the album as My First Album.

Born to Be, Melanie Safka’s 1969 debut, is an intriguing curate’s egg. Neither Melanie, nor her producer-husband Peter Schekeryk, seem sure exactly where her strengths lie, so she is cast in a number of roles: Piaf-imitating chanteuse (“In the Hour”), soul-searching, angst-heavy troubadour (“Momma Momma”), giggling novelty figure (“Animal Crackers”) and children’s entertainer (“Christopher Robin Is Saying His Prayers”). Stranger still, half the time the experiment works; the small ensemble, led by her own enthusiastic (if thoroughly inexpert) guitar playing creates an arty, coffeehouse ambience in which Melanie’s idiot-savant act flourishes. But the less said about her attack at “Merry Christmas” the better. (by Charles Donovan)

It’s hard to believe this album was released almost 37 years ago. Listening to it on today, I was struck by how fresh and challenging the performances are: “Born To Be” is really an inspired debut album. Those unfamiliar with Melanie’s work except for her hits are in for a real surprise with this album. Most of the arrangements are orchestral, and her youthful sounding voice paints a stark contrast with the complexity of her songwriting (as in “I Really Loved Harold,” “Momma Momma,” and “I’m Back In Town”).

Melanie

Significantly, Melanie delivers a definitive cover version of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Dylan wrote in the first installment of his autobiography, “Chronicles,” that seeing the Brecht/Weill show “The Threepenny Opera” (as presented by the Theatre de Lys in New York City) helped to bring about the expanded vision needed to write “Mr. Tambourine Man,” as well as other songs. Hearing Melanie’s rendition, I think that she unconsciously tapped into that same thought process that produced such a striking performance, which sounds as if it came out of “The Threepenny Opera.” For those of you who are lucky enough to find this disc, it is well worth buying. You get a glimpse of an artist introducing herself and her work to the world: “Born to Be…Melanie.” (by Charles)

AlternateFrontCoversAlternate frontcovers

Personnel:
Melanie (guitar, vocals)
+
a bunch of unknown studio musicians

BackCover1.jpg

Tracklist:
01. In the Hour (Safka) 3.12
02. I’m Back in Town (Safka) 2.23
03. Bobo’s Party (Safka) 3.52
04. Mr. Tambourine Man (Dylan) 4.28
05. Momma, Momma (Safka) 3.48
06. I Really Loved Harold (Safka) 4.14
07. Animal Crackers (Safka) 2.17
08. Christopher Robin Is Saying His Prayers (Fraser/Milne/Safka) 2.37
09. Close To It All (Safka) 3.24
10. Merry Christmas (Traditional/Safka) 2.49

LabelB1

*
**

IfIHad

More Melanie:

MoreMelanie.jpg

Advertisements

Michael Gatley – Gately’s Cafe (1972)

 

FrontCover1.JPGIt´s hard to find some informations about Michael Gatley.

Michael Gately is unknown purely for reasons unknown. He shares the same melodic stage and songwriting prowess as Harry Nilsson and Curt Boettcher (of Millenium/Sagittarius) yet he’s basically never been mentioned anywhere as far as I’ve ever read. He’s largely replaced the latter artists as my unconscious wafting into head, bits of chorus sung aloud while aimlessly wandering song source. AKA highest melody regards. He recorded two singles, released two unbelievably good solo albums within the same year then disappeared without a trace.

It took a long time to find out more about the mysterious A.M. Gately and his recording career. It turns out that he wrote and recorded mostly under the name Michael Gately, releasing several singles (perhaps the least obscure with Robert John, a rather lovely Beach Boys inflected bit of sunshine pop called If You Don’t Want My Love) and two US albums, Gately’s Cafe (1971) and Still Round (1972), both on the Janus label.

Single

Both LPs feature contributions from Gately’s regular collaborator Al Kooper (for whom he seems to have returned the favour, appearing as a writer, arranger and backing vocalist on Kooper’s own records) but despite his links to better-known musicians, a berth on a major label, and the fact that it’s clear he was a highly distinctive singer-songwriter, with plenty of commercial promise, it seems none of Gately’s various releases left the kinds of mark they deserved to, and Gately himself eventually died of a heart condition in 1982 at the age of 39.

Before is death in 1982 aged 39, Gately was working as the night recepcionist in Record Plant studio in Hollywood.

On this firt album he was accompanied by musician from british group Hookfoot (some of this musician are in the Elton John Band, too).

BackCover1

Initialy the sound is soft, melancholy, whimsical, almist aimless. Then Gatley´s intensity manifests itself, given purpose and direction by a superb Al Kooper production. Hßghlights are his own “Karo” and “Love Of My Life” and “Color All The World” oenned jointly with Robert John who also handeld background vocals. Reaction to this deut LP should bbe  immediate favorable. (Billboard, January 1972)

Booklet01A

Personnel:
Ian Duck (guitar)
Herbie Flowers (bass)
Michael Gately (vocals, guitar)
Robert John (background vocals)
Al Kooper (keyboards)
Roger Pope (drums)
Caleb Quaye (guitar)
+
Jerry Goodman (violin)
Paul Kossoff (guitar)

Inlet.JPG

Tracklist:
01. Introduction (My Heart Sings) (Gately) 2.07
02. The Way Your Love Is Going (Gately) 3.18
03. Love Of My Life (Gately(John) 3.22
04. Karo (Gately) 2.00
05. Lonesome Song (‘Bout Someone Who’s Gone He’s Got To Carry On I Wonder Can He Make It?) (Kooper/Major) 3.05
06. The Piano Player’s (Kooper) 4.33
07. Sometimes I Get A Notion (Gotta See The Country) (Gately) 2.10
08. You’re What’s Been Missing From My Life (Gately(John) 3.00
09. Hook Another Horse (To Your Love Carriage) (Gately) 3.52
10. Over Now (Gately(John) 2.51
11. Color All The World (Gately(John) 5.13

PromoLabelA1

 

*
**

Booklet05.JPG

Michael Gately
(October 28, 1942 in New Jersey – April 12, 1982 in Los Angeles, California)

 

Jackson Browne – Saturate Before Using (1972)

FrontCover1.jpgJackson Browne is the eponymous debut album of singer Jackson Browne released in 1972. It peaked on the Billboard 200 chart at number 53.[1] Two singles were released with “Doctor My Eyes” peaking at number 8 on the Pop Singles chart and “Rock Me On the Water” reaching number 48.[2]Jackson Browne is the eponymous debut album of singer Jackson Browne released in 1972. It peaked on the Billboard 200 chart at number 53. Two singles were released with “Doctor My Eyes” peaking at number 8 on the Pop Singles chart and “Rock Me On the Water” reaching number 48.
Browne had been having minor success as a songwriter but was still unable to obtain his own recording contract. He sent a demo of “Jamaica Say You Will” to David Geffen in early 1970 and Geffen began looking for a record deal for Browne. Geffen ended up founding his own label, Asylum Records, instead and signing Browne.
The album was certified as a Gold record in 1976 and Platinum in 1997 by the RIAA.

The album is often mistakenly called Saturate Before Using, because the words appear on the album cover, which was designed to look like a water bag that would require saturation in order to cool its contents by evaporation. For this very reason, Asylum Records executives suggested to no avail that the words be removed from the album Single1cover and nearly rejected the cover art outright. However, the initial pressings not only included the text, but the cover carried a burlap-like feel to further the water bag theme.
The confusion over the title returned when the album was converted to CD format, when the words appeared on the spine of the jewel case as the album title.
Browne told the story of the cover’s creation and spoke of the title’s confusion in an interview with the album designer Gary Burden for his 2002 DVD Under The Covers: “I remember being on the phone with Gary… talking about what the album cover should be, and I happened to be in a room that had a water bag on the wall. It was just one of the things that I collected driving around on trips and stuff. And I was looking at this bag as he was saying ‘what do you think it ought to be?’ I was thinking, ‘well, it could be a water bag.’ … it said ‘saturate before using’ on the front … ‘You know, Gary, on mine, it says this on the back.’ And you said, well, so?’ And ‘if you put it on the front, people are going to think that’s the title.’ And you said, ‘don’t be ridiculous. Who would think that was the title?’ I said, ‘Yeah, you’re right.’ So, not only does everyone think that’s the title of that album, but my record company thinks that’s the title of the album.”

Publicity photo donated to the Rock Hall Archives
Jackson Browne received positive reviews from most critics. In his review for Allmusic William Ruhlmann praised the album as “An auspicious debut that doesn’t sound like a debut” and “the album has long since come to seem a timeless collection of reflective ballads touching on still-difficult subjects…and all with an amazingly eloquent sense of language. Jackson Browne’s greater triumph is that, having perfectly expressed its times, it transcended them as well.” Rolling Stone rated the album 6 of 10 stars and stated “Browne’s debut lays the groundwork for future heart-and-soul excavations. ‘Doctor My Eyes,’ an early hit single, communicates the subdued, subtle power of his half-spoken melodies, while ‘Rock Me On the Water’ and ‘Song for Adam’ foreshadow the free-ranging contemplation to come.”

The original 1972 review in Rolling Stone stated “Jackson Browne’s sensibility is romantic in the best sense of the term: his songs are capable of generating a highly charged, compelling atmosphere throughout, and–just as important–of sustaining that Single2pitch in the listener’s mind long after they’ve ended.” Ed Kelleher wrote in Circus in 1972: “Though others have done him justice, Browne is his own best interpreter. He just eases back and lets the song come. He has the soul of a poet and the stance of a troubadour. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he has not fallen victim to the trap of over-production–the record has been crafted with care and purity.”
Music critic Robert Christgau gave the album a B grade, however, was ambivalent about the whole album, writing, “The voice is pleasant, present, and unpretentious, and when I listen assiduously I perceive lyrics crafted with as much intelligence and human decency as any reasonable person could expect. Unfortunately, only critical responsibility induces me to listen assiduously. It’s not just the blandness of the music, but of the ideas as well, each reinforcing the other.” (by wikipedia)

JacksoneBrowne02

One of the reasons that Jackson Browne’s first album is among the most auspicious debuts in pop music history is that it doesn’t sound like a debut. Although only 23, Browne had kicked around the music business for several years, writing and performing as a member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and as Nico’s backup guitarist, among other gigs, while many artists recorded his material. So, if this doesn’t sound like someone’s first batch of songs, it’s not. Browne had developed an unusual use of language, studiedly casual yet full of striking imagery, and a post-apocalyptic viewpoint to go with it. He sang with a calm certainty over spare, discretely placed backup — piano, acoustic guitar, bass, drums, congas, violin, harmony vocals — that highlighted the songs and always seemed about to disappear. In song after song, Browne described the world as a desert in need of moisture, and this wet/dry dichotomy carried over into much of the imagery. In “Doctor My Eyes,” the album’s most propulsive song and a Top Ten hit, he sang, “Doctor, my JacksoneBrowne03eyes/Cannot see the sky/Is this the prize/For having learned how not to cry?” If Browne’s outlook was cautious, its expression was original. His conditional optimism seemed to reflect hard experience, and in the early ’70s, the aftermath of the ’60s, a lot of his listeners shared that perspective. Like any great artist, Browne articulated the tenor of his times. But the album has long since come to seem a timeless collection of reflective ballads touching on still-difficult subjects — suicide (explicitly), depression and drug use (probably), spiritual uncertainty and desperate hope — all in calm, reasoned tones, and all with an amazingly eloquent sense of language. Jackson Browne’s greater triumph is that, having perfectly expressed its times, it transcended those times as well. (The album features a cover depicting Browne’s face on a water bag — an appropriate reference to its desert/water imagery — containing the words “saturate before using.” Inevitably, many people began to refer to the self-titled album by that phrase, and when it was released on CD, it nearly became official — both the disc and the spine of the jewel box read Saturate Before Using.) (by William Ruhlmann)

JacksoneBrowne04

Joni Mitchell + Jackson Browne

Personnel:
Jackson Browne (guitar, piano, vocals)
David Campbell (viola)
Jim Gordon (organ)
Leland Sklar (bass)

+
Jesse Ed Davis (guitar on 04.)
Craig Doerge (piano on 05., 09. + 10.)
Jimmie Fadden (harmonica)
David Jackson (piano on 08.)
Sneaky Pete Kleinow (pedal steel-guitar on 08.)
Russ Kunkel (drums, congas on 04. + 07.)
Albert Lee (guitar on 02. + 07.)
Clarence White (guitar on 01.)
+
background vocals:
David Crosby – Graham Nash

BackCover1.jpg

Tracklist:
01. Jamaica Say You Will 3.26
02. A Child In These Hills 4.00
03. Song For Adam 5.23
04. Doctor My Eyes 3.17
05. From Silver Lake 3.52
06. Something Fine 3.49
07. Under The Falling Sky 4.10
08. Looking Into You 4.19
09. Rock Me On The Water 4.15
10. My Opening Farewell 4.45

All songs written by Jackson Browne
Leah Kunkel composed the vocal counter-melody on 05.

LabelB1

*
**

Country Joe McDonald – Superstious Blues (1991)

FrontCover1Country Joe was a legendary agit-prop performer in the heydays of Berkeley’s student riots. If his beginnings were political, he soon discovered San Francisco’s hippies and LSD and managed to web his political stance to acid-rock’s visionary format. (Translated by Ornella C. Grannis)

Joe McDonald was the musician who inherited, for a brief season, Bob Dylan’s and the Fug’s charisma.
McDonald found himself in the right place at the right time: the protest marches for peace that arose in 1964 at Berkeley, on the opposite side of the San Francisco Bay.
Born to a Jewish mother and a communist father, McDonald moved to Berkeley in 1962 – after a four year stint in the Marines – to become a sarcastic spokesman for the anti-war movement. He was a folk singer by trade and a politician at heart. He employed the idea of the “rag baby”, a sort of musical announcement to be distributed at concerts. The first of such announcements came in the form of an EP in 1965.
His style fused Woody Allen’s sarcastic debate, Bob Dylan’s caustic complaints and the Fugs’ satire with the happy sound of jug-band. McDonald’s engagement in 1965 of an electric band, The Fish (the fish in Mao Zedong’s Red Book are the revolutionaries) with eighteen-year old prodigy Barry Melton at the guitar and David Cohen at one of the first Farfisa organs accompanying the singers’ bitter polemics, allowed an expansion of style into blues and rock and roll.. His notoriety was centered on campus, but he never got the full attention the hippies of the Bay: his religion was politics, not acid.

CountryJoeMcDonald01
The repertory of Country Joe, as he was billed on his records, stretched from Vaudeville to the dreamy ballad to the instrumental jam. The album Electric Music For Mind And Body (Vanguard, 1966), was the manifesto of his hip socialism, in particular the ferocious Fugs-style satire Superbird, the bitter fairy tale Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine (practically a campus adaptation of Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone), the tragic Death Sound Blues. But as a testimonial to McDonald’s unusual eclecticism, the album also features Sad And Lonely Times, a country interlacing of guitars and vocal harmonies, and the hoarse blues Love. The Fish adopted the amateurish sound of a jug band, electrified as folk-rock demanded, crusty as the rebellious spirit of the campus required and coarsened by drugs, with ragged tambourines, uneven singing, and squealing guitars.

CountryJoeMcDonald02
The true genius of McDonald reveals itself in the most surreal pieces, such as Happiness Is A Porpoise Mouth, a melancholy waltz articulated by Spanish chords of the acoustic guitar and a simple organ. Bass String is the most stoned and hallucinatory, a mini acid symphony that expands and rarefies itself until nothing remains of the identity of its sound. In these experimental miniatures is evident the influx of the psychedelic society: elastic tempo, stretched vowels, piercing screams, random noise. The height of the record and also the apex of Country Joe’s psychedelia is Grace, a lyric serenade of echoes, bells, thumps, pizzicatoes, drops and many other little slow background noises alongside a Japanese lullaby, refracted like a maze of deforming mirrors. More creative yet are the instrumentals. Section 43, sinister and vaguely oriental, orchestrated for harmonica, Farfisa, tom-tom and pealing guitars, remains to date a masterpiece of acid rock. The Masked Marauder alternates between an instrumental lead by a cheesy Farfisa, a Vaudevillian march, and a theme that sounds like a film soundtrack by Morricone. Overall, this is an album that uses politics as a pretext, an album that in reality stands more for the psychedelic spirit of the San Francisco hippies than for the revolutionary spirit of Berkeley’s radicals.

More populist than Dylan and more musical than the Fugs, Country Joe found the right balance between politics and music with the album that followed: I Feel Like I’m Fixin To Die (Vanguard, 1967). In it, the arrangements are more sophisticated (with plenty of CountryJoeMcDonald03sound effects and atypical instruments distributed between the grooves) and the sound is crisper. The three ring circus fanfare that gives its name to the album, and even more so the irreverence of the “Fish Cheer”, is one of the everlasting examples of political song, the target obviously being Vietnam, and also the best introduction to the work of these jester/acrobats of rock. The rest of the album is not expressed in such a surreal mode, the best mode for this artist. Instead, it fluctuates, soft and tranquil, in benevolent melancholy. It’s subdued by ballads: Who Am I, ecstatically suspended in one of McDonald’s slow-motion vocals, Pat’s Song, an imitation of Donovan adapted to Cohen’s ceremonial organ, and Janis, a tender serenade with a harpsichord that fuses waltz, rag, country and western.
Much more radical are the acid excesses of Magoo, sung with dilated and refracted march-like vocals and accompanied by the sound of a storm, and of Thought Dream, a slow piece to which the organ confers a religious tone. The instrumentals have lost the calliope spirit of the Farfisa, having adopted instead that sound of the Grateful Dead’s acid jams, as in Eastern Jam.The form is transfigured in the swoon of Colors For Susan, a piece of liquid, transcendental guitar music, punctuated by casual thumps, that constitutes although without words, one of the best made Indian prayers of hippie music.
In the 1968 McDonald participated in the Chicago protests. The year after he triumphed at Woodstock. Also in 1969 he was arrested for greeting the audience in his usual way (“F-U-C-K”). His politics were now prevailing, and his music was languishing after a couple of mediocre albums of political songs.
McDonald went back abruptly to the folk of his roots at at time when everybody was doing the same. The results were unimpressive: Together (Vanguard, 1968) and Here We Go Again (Vanguard, 1969) include Rock And Soul Music, Good Guys Bad Guys, Rocking Round The World.

CountryJoeMcDonald04
Thinking Of Woody Guthrie (Vanguard, 1969) reprised ten songs of the great father of the song of protest, done according to the dictates of Nashville, the great father of musical fascism.
McDonald’s last political forays are to be found in War War War (Vanguard, 1971), in particular in Man From Athabaska and The Call, and on the noble Paris Sessions (1973), a tribute to contemporary events in the name of a vibrant rock and roll,with a mostly female line-up that included Dorothy Moscowitz of the United States of America.
McDonald continued to release a series of impressive albums well into the 80s: Paradise With An Ocean View (1975), Love Is A Fire (Fantasy, 1976) Goodbye Blues (1977), Rock And Roll Music From The Planet Earth (Fantasy, 1978), the acoustic On My Own (Rag Baby, 1980), and many others.
Superstitious Blues (Rykodisc, 1991) is music for “retired” hippies.
Bevis Frond brought him back on the scene for a tribute album, Eat Flowers & Kiss Babies (Woronzow, 1999). (www.scaruffi.com)

And here is one of his superb solo-album … called “Superstious Blues”.

This excellent comeback album finds McDonald in acoustic mode, accompanied by Jerry Garcia for some strong picking on a thoughtful collection of songs. (by William Ruhlmann)

BackCover2

Personnel:
Terry Adams (cello)
Stephen Barsotti (bass)
Barry Flast (bass, piano)
Peter Frankel (guitar)
Jerry Garcia (guitar, slide-guitar)
Kirk Felton (drums)
Sandy Rothman (dobro)

Booklet01A

Tracklist:
01. Standing At The Crossroads () 4.23
02. Eunecita () 4.13
03. Superstitious Blues () 3.58
04. Tranquility () 3.36
05. Starship Ride () 3.09
06. Cocaine (Rock) () 3.48
07. Blues For Breakfast () 3.38
08. Clara Barton () 3.37
09. Blues For Michael () 6.52

All songs written by Country Joe McDonald

CD

*
**

CountryJoeMcDonald05

Still alive and well: Country Joe McDonald in 2017

Cat Stevens – Catch Bull At Four (1972)

FrontCover1.jpgCatch Bull at Four is the sixth studio album by Cat Stevens. In the United States it spent three weeks at number one on Billboard’s album chart. The title is taken from one of the Ten Bulls of Zen.

The song “Sitting” was released as a single in 1973, reaching 16 on the Hot 100 Charts. It’s a song about meditation, and the apprehensions that may result from the experiences involving self-realization.

 

Catch Bull at Four was well received both commercially and critically. Rolling Stone was satisfied with the “gorgeous melody and orchestration”, while simultaneously disappointed by the lack of a single track comparable to “Morning Has Broken” from Teaser and the Firecat. (by wikipedia)

Catch Bull at Four began with a statement of purpose, “Sitting,” in which Cat Stevens tried to talk himself into believing that he hadn’t stalled, beginning to worry that he might be falling behind schedule or even going in circles. It may be that Stevens’ recent experiences had contributed to his sense that he was running out of time. Though he was CatStevens01never a directly confessional writer, one got the sense that his disaffection with the life of a pop star was reasserting itself. And while he was touring unhappily around the world, the world was still going to hell in a handbasket. Yet Stevens was still motivated by his urge to help mankind mend its ways. Love provided some comfort, but for the most part, the singer who had seemed so excited on his last album now sounded apprehensive. Stevens set his reflections to a mixture of musical styles that included traces of old English folk songs, madrigals, and Greek folk music along with more typical rock stylings, all performed with the stop-and-start rhythms that added drama to his performances. Nevertheless, Catch Bull at Four was a more difficult listen than its three predecessors. Coming off the momentum of Teaser and the Firecat, it roared up the charts to number one, but stayed in the Top Ten fewer weeks than its predecessor. Fans who had been stirred by Stevens’ rhythmic tunes and charmed by his thoughtful lyrics were starting to lose interest in his quasi-religious yearnings, busy arrangements, and self-absorbed, melodramatic singing. His career still had a ways to go, but as of Catch Bull at Four, he had passed his peak. (by William Ruhlmann)

CatStevens02

Personnel:
Gerry Conway (drums, percussion, background vocals)
Alun Davies (guitar, background vocals)
Alan James (bass, background vocals)
Jean Roussel (keyboards)
Cat Stevens (vocals, guitar, keyboards, mandolin, synthesizer, pennywhistle, drums, percussion)
+
C.S. Choir (background vocals on 06. + 07.)
Lauren Cooper (backgound vocals on 03.)
Linda Lewis (backgound vocals on 03.)
Jeremy Taylor (guitar on 07.)
Andreas Toumazis – bouzouki on 07.)

Booklet

Tracklist:
01. Sitting (Stevens) 3.16
02. Boy with A Moon & Star On His Head (Stevens) 5.58
03. Angelsea (Stevens) 4.31
04. Silent Sunlight (Stevens) 3.01
04. Can’t Keep It In (Stevens) 3.00
05. 18th Avenue (Kansas City Nightmare) (Stevens) 4.24
06. Freezing Steel (Stevens) 3.39
07. O Caritas (Toumazis/Taylor/Stevens)
08. Sweet Scarlet (Stevens) 3.47
09. Ruins (Stevens) 4.17

Labels

*
**

More Cat Stevens:

MoreCatStevens

And here you´ll find a rare Cat Stevens songbook from 1971

Songbook

Harry Chapin – Greatest Stories Live (1976)

FrontCover1.JPGGreatest Stories Live is the first live album by the American singer/songwriter Harry Chapin, recorded over three nights at three California venues, and released in 1976. Certain elements had to be re-recorded in the studio due to technical problems with the live recordings. The original LP release featured three new studio tracks, two of which (“She Is Always Seventeen” and “Love Is Just Another Word”) were excluded from the CD release. “A Better Place to Be” was released as a single, and did manage to crack the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The album is popular for its extended cut of “30,000 Pounds of Bananas”, infamous for Chapin’s recounting of his brothers’ remarks after hearing the original ending: “Harry…it sucks.” The quote became so popular with Harry Chapin fans that concert shirts were sold with the quotation on it. (by wikipedia)

HarryChapin01

Recorded in November 1975, Greatest Stories Live showcases the legendary live performance styles of acoustic troubadour and noted activist Harry Chapin. Recorded over three nights on-stage in California, the double-LP set features all the hits as well as a few notable album cuts that put the musician’s musical and personal skills out on the line for all to see. There are the obvious inclusions of touching hits, like “W*O*L*D,” “Taxi,” and of course the father-son anthem “Cats in the Cradle.” “Mr. Tanner” and the heartfelt “I Wanna Learn a Love Song” also come across great in the live environment, a setting that was clearly the singer/songwriter’s forte. Chapin has a fantastic rapport with the audience throughout the set, and it comes through with incredible results on his humorous banter before and during the rousing and set-highlighting “30,000 Pounds of Bananas,” a great track about Scranton, PA, and a runaway fruit truck. Sure it may sound a little hokey, but Chapin is a true showman and the fun he has on-stage transfers directly into the joy of listening to the record. A fine musician and individual, Chapin’s Greatest Stories Live comes close to living up to its name and is a fitting document of a man whose boundless joy and insight shined through in his music. (by Peter J. D’Angelo)

HarryChapin02.jpg

Personnel:
Ed Bednarski (carinet)
Ron Bacchiocchi (snthesizer, percussion, clavinet)
Harry Chapin (uhtar, vocals)
Stephen Chapin (ynthesizer, piano, vocals)
Tom Chapin (guitar, banjo, vocals)
Howie Fields (drums)
Paul Leka -(piano, clavinet)
Michael Masters (cello)
Tim Moore (piano)
Ronald Palmer (guitar, vocals)
Don Payne (bass)
Tim Scott (cello)
Ken Smith (percussion)
Bob Springer (percussion)
Allan Schwartzberg (drums)
John Tropea (guitar)
Doug Walker (bass, guitar, vocals)
Doug Walker (bass, guitar, vocals)
John Wallace (bass, vocals)
+
b
ackground vocals:
Christine Faith – Cheryl Ferrio – David Kondziela – Mark Mundy – Kathy Ramos – Frank Simms – George Simms – Betsy Wager – Sue White 

Booklet1

Tracklist:
01. Dreams Go By (H.Chapin) 4.54
02. W·O·L·D (H.Chapin) 5.01
03. Saturday Morning (T.Chapin) 3.05
04. I Wanna Learn A Love Song (H.Chapin) 5.04
05. Mr. Tanner (H.Chapin) 5.17
06. A Better Place To Be (Chapin) 9.58
07. Let Time Go Lightly (S.Chapin) 4.56
08. Cat´s In The Craddle (H.Chapin) 4.04
09. Taxi (H.Chapin) 6.52
10. Circle (H.Chapin) 7.21
11. 30,000 Pounds of Bananas (H.Chapin) 11.27
+
12. The Shortest Story (Studio track) (H.Chapin) 2.25

*
**Labels

Two different Labels

HarryChapin03
Harry Chapin (December 7, 1942 – July 16, 1981)

Dave Evans – Sad Pig Dance (1974)

FrontCover1.jpgThe British guitarist Dave Evans, a real dazzler of a fingerpicker, has been recording since the early ’70s. His first entirely instrumental album was released in 1974. Entitled Sad Pig Dance, it might have attracted only farmers and policemen’s ball attendees, but nonetheless managed to do a great deal to set up Evans’ reputation in a somewhat crowded genre. This player’s compositions, particularly his harmonic frameworks, are quite different than better-known players such as John Renbourn or Bert Jansch; he sometimes sounds as if he is playing all of their guitars at once. What he is actually playing is a guitar he built himself, so any and all compliments for this unmistakably cavernous sound should go to Evans himself.

His great instrumental talents — including techniques involving alternate tunings and percussion-like sound effects — have continued to be an obsession among guitarists from the new age crowd to free improv noise guitar deviates; this fact tends to overshadow Evans’ work as a singer/songwriter. It was in this mode that he first presented himself to the listening public on the 1971 album entitled The Words in Between. It has been correctly pointed out by several critics that those were the days when a songwriter armed with a guitar was expected to really be able to play, not just to be a strum and humbum. It was Evans’ picking, not his singing, that attracted fellow guitarist and record label manager Stefan Grossman who, in the late ’70s, began documenting a variety of guitarists including Evans on the Kicking Mule label. Most of Evans’ best music from the ’70s has been reissued.

DaveEvans01.jpg

If you consider yourself an expert on folk but aren’t familiar with Dave Evans, it isn’t surprising. The acoustic guitarist never became well known, although not because of a lack of talent–Evans’ talent is obvious on 1974’s Sad Pig Dance, his first session for Kicking Mule. On this unaccompanied solo guitar outing (which was produced by Stefan Grossman), Evans’ focus is instrumental folk that incorporates elements of rock and Mississippi Delta blues. The British guitarist plays with a lot of warmth and feeling on such reflective, earthy originals as “Sun and Moon,” “Morocco John” and “Raining Cats and Dogs,” and he is equally appealing on Bert Jansch’s “Veronica” and jazz improviser Jimmy Giuffre’s “The Train and the River,” which lends itself nicely to a folk setting. Sad Pig Dance was out of print for many years, but in 1999, Fantasy reissued it on CD and added nine bonus tracks from 1976-78–four of them were originally heard on 1976’s Take A Bite out of Life. Unfortunately, recording albums wasn’t how Evans would end up earning a living; the 1980s and 1990s found him paying the bills by building and repairing instruments in Belgium. But the fact remains: Evans brings a lot of charisma to Sad Pig Dance. (by Alex Henderson)

DaveEvans02.jpg

One way that guitarists expand the harmonic possibilities of their instrument is through the use of open tunings. By tuning the guitar differently than the standard EADGBE arrangement (for instance, to an open chord), a whole new world of sounds and textures becomes available.

New age guitarists were quick to adopt this method to create beautiful melodies that went nowhere. Dave Evans, however, was one who coupled his love for open tunings with his knack for writing good songs and came up with a terrific album in Sad Pig Face, originally released in 1974 at the height of the finger-picking guitar movement. Evans is a minor figure on a scene dominated by Davey Graham, Bert Jansch, and others, and this is about all the recordings of his currently available. However, this is quite an album to rest his legacy upon, a near perfect recording full of strong melodies and nimble playing.

Evans manages to take a slew of diverse influences, from blues to rock to jazz and meld them into a style that never seems disconnected. Evans’ pieces are frequently lyrical and whimsical, form the playful “Chaplinesque” to the unconventional “Morocco John.” “Stagefright” is the rare long guitar instrumental that never wears thin and “Jessica” foreshadows the ambling musing of new age guitarists a decade later (yet in a much more interesting way.) There are twenty-three songs here, all of which demonstrate the vast range of possibilities for folk guitarists to explore. Those who play the guitar will be pleased to know that tablature for eleven of the songs here is included for study.

Sad Pig Dance is a marvel of an album, the kind that is so good it transcends its genre and just becomes good music. It’s an odd title for album so filled with pleasures. (by David Rickert)

DaveEvans03.jpg

Personnel:
Dave Evans (guitar)

BackCover.jpg

Tracklist:
01. Stagefright 3.44
02. Chaplinesque 1.11
03. The Train And The River 2.29
04. Veronica 2.21
05. Captain 2.37
06. Knuckles And Busters 2.37
07. Medley: Mole’s Moan (The Gentle Man Trap) 3.04
08. Sad Pig Dance 1.34
09. Raining Cats And Dogs 2.51
10. Braziliana 1.48
11. Sun And Moon 3.27
12. Steppenwolf 2.54
13. Morocco John 1.44
14. Sneaky 4.07

Music composed by Dave Evans

LabelB1.jpg

*
**

DaveEvansToday.jpg