Nick Gravenites & Animal Mind – Don´t Feed The Animals (1994)

FrontCover1Nicholas George Gravenites (born October 2, 1938) is an American blues, rock and folk singer, songwriter, and guitarist, best known for his work with Electric Flag as their lead singer, Janis Joplin, Mike Bloomfield and several influential bands and individuals of the generation springing from the 1960s and 1970s. He has sometimes performed under the stage names Nick “The Greek” Gravenites and Gravy.

Gravenites was born in Chicago, into a Greek-speaking family; his parents were from Palaiochoriton, Arcadia, in Greece. After his father died, he worked in the family candy store before he was enrolled at St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy; he was expelled shortly before he was due to graduate. He then attended the University of Chicago, met Paul Butterfield and Mike Bloomfield, became a fan of blues music, and learned guitar.

He regularly patronised clubs where Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Guy and other leading blues musicians played. Gravenites spent time both in Chicago and San Francisco in the early 1960s. He wrote the song “Born in Chicago”, which became the opening track on the Paul Butterfield Blues Band debut album, and, with guitarist Bloomfield, co-wrote the title track of their second album, East-West; the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.

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Gravenites played in clubs with Mike Bloomfield, Charlie Musselwhite and others, and settled in San Francisco in the mid 1960s. In 1967 he formed the Electric Flag with Bloomfield. Gravenites also wrote the score for the film The Trip and produced the music for the film Steelyard Blues. According to author and pop music critic Joel Selvin, Gravenites is “the original San Francisco connection for the Chicago crowd.”

Gravenites is credited as a “musical handyman”, helping such San Francisco bands as Quicksilver Messenger Service and Janis Joplin’s first solo group, the Kozmic Blues Band. He wrote several songs for Joplin, including “Work Me, Lord” and the unfinished instrumental track “Buried Alive in the Blues”. Gravenites was the lead singer in the re-formed Big Brother and the Holding Company (without Joplin) from 1969 to 1972. He also worked extensively with John Cipollina after producing the first album by Quicksilver Messenger Service. He and Cipollina formed the Nick Gravenites–John Cipollina Band, which toured throughout Europe.

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Gravenites produced the pop hit “One Toke Over the Line” for Brewer & Shipley and the album Right Place, Wrong Time for Otis Rush, for which he was nominated for a Grammy Award. He and John Kahn produced the 1970 album Not Mellowed with Age, by Southern Comfort (CBS S 64125). Gravenites often used pianist Pete Sears in his band Animal Mind, including on his 1980 Blue Star album, on which Sears played keyboards and bass.[citation needed]

In the early 1980s, Gravenites performed and recorded with a revolving group of San Francisco Bay area rock, blues, and soul musicians called the Usual Suspects. Their first album, The Usual Suspects, was released in 1981. Gravenites and Sears played together in front of 100,000 people on Earth Day 1990 at Crissy Field, San Francisco. Sears also joined him for a tour of Greece. Gravenites still performs live in northern California. He was inducted to the Blues Hall of Fame in 2003 for his song “Born in Chicago”. He has toured with the Chicago Blues Reunion and a new Electric Flag Band.[citation needed]

Gravenites is featured in the documentary film Born in Chicago, in which he and several other Chicago natives tell of growing up with blues music in Chicago. The film was shown at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, in 2013. He currently resides in Occidental, California (by wikipedia)

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And here´s a great live recording with his group “Animal Mind”:

Excellent recording, live in Bodega Bay, it captures his late 90s sound at an energetic time. Involving well-balanced sound, the most repeatable CD imho. They played locally regularly, so the band’s chops are up and there is a happy barroom groove. (Though I do have a positive bias because I used to see him every Friday back then.) Good times. (by Gecko)

Nick Gravenites came out of the Chicago blues scene, along with Paul Butterfield and Michael Bloomfield. Those two are long gone now, but Nick is still delivering the goods. This is a fine live cd of Nick and his band Animal Mind doing some of Nicks own timeless blues tunes and many others. Any fan of the blues and any fan of Nicks rich vocals should enjoy this cd very much. (by Philly Mike)

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Personnel:
Mark Adams (harmonica)
Roy Blumenfeld (drums)
Nick Gravenites (guirtar, vocals)
Doug Killmer (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. You Can’t Hurt Me 4:14
02 Gypsy Good Time 7:57
03 Big Bad Etta 7:27
04 Funky News 6:45
05 Wintry Countryside 10:56
06 Blue Highway 6:04
07 My Party 6:47
08 Key To The Highway 4:48
09 Six Weeks In Reno 4:39
10 Southside 5:19
11 Burried Alive In The Blues 5:19

All songs written by Nick Gravenites,
except 08., which was written by Charlie Segar & Big Bill Broonzy

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John Cipollina – Nick Gravenites Band – At Rockpalast (2009)

FrontCover1.jpgOn November 28, 1980, guitarist John Cipollina and singer/guitarist Nick Gravenites performed together at the Kleine Westfalenhalle in Dortmund, Germany; the four-man band they co-led was billed as the John Cipollina/Nick Gravenites Band and also included Al Staehely on bass and Marcus David on drums. It isn’t hard to understand why Cipollina and Gravenites got along well musically. Both had been part of the dynamic Bay Area rock scene of the 1960s, although Gravenites was originally from Chicago; Cipollina was a founding member of Quicksilver Messenger Service, whose self-titled debut album was produced by Gravenites in 1968. Cipollina and Gravenites had blues-rock credentials as well as hard rock credentials, and both blues-rock and hard rock (along with some psychedelic rock) are important parts of the equation on this 73-minute CD (which focuses on the November 28, 1980 show in Germany).

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Cipollina and Gravenites’ compatibility is never in question in Dortmund, where they clearly enjoy a strong rapport on smokers like “Southside,” “My Party,” “Hot Rods and Cool Women,” and “Bad Luck Baby.” Cipollina sounds inspired by Gravenites’ lead vocals, and Gravenites sounds inspired by Cipollina’s electric guitar playing. That is not to say that Gravenites sings lead on all of the material; “Small Walking Box” is an instrumental, but even when Gravenites doesn’t sing, Cipollina is obviously enjoying his guitar playing. This CD is a lively example of the sort of excitement that can come about when musicians who have a lot of common ground get together. (by Alex Henderson)

In other words: A hell of a record and these guys really knew how to party …

Recorded live at the Westfalenhalle, Dortmund/Germany
November 28, 1980

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Personnel:
John Cippollina (guitar)
Marcus David (drums)
Nick Gravenites (vocals, guitar)
Al Staehely (bass, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Rockpalast Intro (Mayfield) 0.15
02. Southside (Gravenites) 2.53
03. Junkyard In Malibu 7:45
04. Signs Of Life (Staehely) 4.11
05. My Party (Gravenites) 4:07
06. Small Walking Box (Gravenites) 10.16
07. Pride Of Man (Cipollina) 4.39
08. Bad Luck Baby (Gravenites) 7:09
09. Hot Rods And Cool Women (Staehely) 4.11
10. I’ll Pull The Trigger (Gravenites) 3.52
11. Keep On Running (Edwards) 4.28
12. Buried Alive In The Blues (Gravenites) 8.14
13. Who Do You Love (McDaniels) 11.26

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John Cipollina (August 24, 1943 – May 29, 1989)

VA – Muddy Waters – All-Star Tribute To A Legend (2011)

FrontCover1A number of Blues artists exerted a huge influence on the development of modern popular music, collectively characterizing the approach to amplified music in the late 1940s and early ’50s.

The single most influential one was undoubtedly Muddy Waters. From 1948 until 1955 he pioneered and guided the way, in style, substance and sound, eloquently defining the aggressive, swaggering, Delta-rooted sound with his declamatory vocals and piercing slide-guitar attack, releasing a great number of groundbreaking and timeless, classic records.

His inspired and fundamental music continues to reverberate as excitingly and forcefully through the music of today as it did 50 years ago. (by spincds.com)

And here´s a real great tribute album:

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Recorded on October 11, 1997 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington D.C., an impressive All-Star cast of Blues musicians, including Muddy’s own son Bill Morganfield, turned out to pay homage to the Legendary Muddy Waters, the King of Blues. Features special guests, John Hiatt, Peter Wolf, Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Charlie Musslewhite, Robert Junior Lockwood, Big Bill Morganfield, Nick Gravenites, Mem Shannon and Phoebe Snow.

What a concert, what a line-up !

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Personnel:
Barry Goldberg (keyboards)
Tom Cosgrove (guitar)
Steve Holley (drums)
Johnnie Johnson (piano)
Bob Margolin (guitar)
Charlie Musselwhite (harmonica, vocals on 04.)
Paul Ossola (bass)
G.E.Smith (guitar)
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Robert Gravenites (vocals on 06.)
Buddy Guy (guitar, vocals on 03.)
John Hiatt (guitar, vocals on 08.)
Keb’ Mo’ (vocals, guitar on 09.)
Big Bill Morganfield (vocals, bass on 12.13.)
Robert Junior Lockwood (vocals on 11.)
Mem Shannon (guitar, vocals on 07.)
Phoebe Snow (vocals on 10.
Koko Taylor (vocals on 01. + 02.)
Peter Wolf (vocals on 05.)

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Tracklist:
01. Koko Taylor: I’m Ready 3.57
02. Koko Taylor: Long Distance Call 3.00
03. Buddy Guy: She’s 19 Years Old 7.49
04. Charlie Musslewhite: I Got A Rich Man’s Woman 4.47
05. Peter Wolf: Rollin’ & Tumblin’ 2.33
06. Robert Gravenites: Forty Days & Forty Nights 3.36
07. Mem Shannon: Gypsy Woman 3.15
08. John Hiatt: The Same Thing 4.44
09. Keb’ Mo‘: I Can’t Be Satisfied 3.44
10. Phoebe Snow: Just To Be With You 4.48
11. Robert Junior Lockwood: Mean Red Spider 4.13
12. Big Bill Morganfield: Hoochie Coochie Man 5.01
13. Big Bill Morganfield: Got My Mojo Working 2.51
14. Muddy Waters: Trouble No More 2.43
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15.Hidden track (musicians talk about Muddy Waters)

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Muddy Waters

McKinley Morganfield (April 4, 1913 – April 30, 1983)
better known as Muddy Waters