Molly Hatchet – Take No Prisoners (1981)

FrontCover1Molly Hatchet is an American southern rock band formed by guitarist Dave Hlubek in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1971. They were a popular band during the late 1970s and early-to-mid 1980s among the Southern rock and hard rock communities. The band released six studio albums on Epic Records between 1978 and 1984, including the platinum-selling hit records Molly Hatchet (1978), Flirtin’ with Disaster (1979) and Beatin’ the Odds (1980). They also had successful hits on the Billboard charts, including “Flirtin’ with Disaster”, “The Rambler”, “Bloody Reunion” and “Satisfied Man”. Molly Hatchet has released eight more studio albums since their split with Epic in 1985, although none of them have been as successful as their early albums, nor charted in the United States.

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Molly Hatchet has experienced numerous lineup changes throughout their 51-year career. While its current lineup includes none of the members who played on the band’s first album, who are all deceased, keyboardist John Galvin has been a member of Molly Hatchet since 1984 (with the exception of a break between 1991 and 1994) and Bobby Ingram has been their guitarist since 1987, when he replaced founding member Dave Hlubek, who would rejoin the band 18 years later and stayed with the band until his death in 2017. Also included in the current lineup are drummer Shawn Beamer, bassist Tim Lindsey and vocalist Jimmy Elkins.

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Take No Prisoners is the fourth studio album by American southern rock band Molly Hatchet, released in 1981. This is the second and last studio album released with lead singer Jimmy Farrar and the last one with original bass player Banner Thomas and the last to feature drummer Bruce Crump until The Deed Is Done. “Respect Me in the Morning” is a duet between Farrar and Joyce “Baby Jean” Kennedy of Mother’s Finest. The album is also notable because actress Katey Sagal appears as a backup singer. (wikipedia)

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Molly Hatchet blazes across the face of rock & roll with another Southern/hard rock set, even paying homage to 1950s rock & roll with a cover of “Long Tall Sally.” Still, the band doesn’t seem able to recreate the intensity of its first couple of releases. “Respect Me in the Morning” appears to start off a set of powerful Hatchet tunes, but the ball gets fumbled halfway into the game. (by Michael B. Smith)

A reasonable album which contains 3 of Mollys best ever tracks, POWERPLAY, BOODY REUNION and the fantastic rocker LOSS OF CONTROL..Southern vocal drawls are as cute as ever and the guitar work is slick..This album does’nt quite have the woe factor of some of the others in their catalogue but its not a bad one either. (Steve Smith)

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Personnel:
Bruce Crump (drums)
Jimmy Farrar (vocals)
Dave Hlubek (guitar, slide guitar)
Steve Holland (guitar)
Duane Roland (guitar, slide guitar)
Banner Thomas (bass)
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Paulinho da Costa (percussion)
Joyce ‘Baby Jean’ Kennedy (vocals on 02.)
Tom Werman (percussion)
Jai Winding (keyboards)
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Tower Of Power horn section (horns on 01. + 06.)
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background vocals:
Mindy Sterling – Laurie Bono – Katey Sagal
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Tracklist:
01. Bloody Reunion (Farrar/Hlubek/Roland/Thomas) 3.58
02. Respect Me In The Morning (Farrar/Roland) 3.22
03. Long Tall Sally (Blackwell/Johnson/Penniman) 2.55
04. Loss Of Control (Crump/Roland/Thomas) 3.31
05. All Mine (Thomas) 3.59
06. Lady Luck (Hlubek) 3.29
07. Power Play (Holland) 3.45
08. Don’t Mess Around (Roland/Thomas) 3.00
09. Don’t Leave Me Lonely (Crump/Holland) 3.59
10. Dead Giveaway (Hlubek) 3.26

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A nice reminder of the Allman Brothers Band:
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More from Molly Hatchet:
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The official website:
Website

George Hatcher Band – Have Band Will Travel (1977)

FrontCover1The George Hatcher Band is an American Southern Rock band formed by vocalist/songwriter George Hatcher (born March 8, 1947 in Bennettsville, South Carolina)  after moving to England in the summer of 1975. Between 1976 and 1985, the group released 5 studio albums and one live in-studio EP.

Their first three releases were produced by Tom Allom and issued on United Artists. After a hiatus, Hatcher reformed the band with new members in the 2000s.

Before forming the group, vocalist George Hatcher was a member of Asheville, NC band Flatrock who recorded two albums for North Carolina-based label King Records with producer Shadow Morton. Neither album was released and because of contractual problems, Flatrock broke up and Hatcher travelled to the UK. Arriving in August 1975, the first musicians Hatcher connected with were Curved Air members, drummer Stewart Copeland (later to co-found The Police) and violinist Darryl Way Hatcher joined their project, Stark Naked and the Car Thieves, and played a few club shows before deciding to form his own band.

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Hatcher first met drummer Terry Slade, formerly of Renaissance, and then recruited guitarists Phil Swan, whom he knew personally, and John Thomas, whom he met in a club in Birmingham. Keyboardist Steve Wren and bassist Harris Joannou were recruited through friends and word of mouth.

While still unsigned, the group supported Man, Canned Heat and Dr. Feelgood around the UK. After playing a label showcase at Dingwalls at Camden Lock in London, they were approached by A&R executive Andrew Lauder who signed the group to a three-album deal with United Artists.  Through Lauder, the band was introduced to producer Tom Allom who expressed interest in working with the band. They entered Wessex Sound Studios in London in the summer of 1976 and recorded their debut album Dry Run with Allom at the helm. John McFee, aka John McSteel, later to join the Doobie Brothers, would play pedal steel guitar on “Sunshine (Shine Down On Me)”, with Tony Carr providing percussion. To promote the record, they supported label mates, Dr. Feelgood, on their September/October Stupidity UK tour[ and Continental Europe in November[5] as well as headlining their own shows.

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The band quickly turned to writing and rehearsing for the next album. On December 12, 1976, they decided to invite a few friends and record some tracks at Olympic Studios in Barnes, London with a live audience. According to Hatcher, some 250 people showed up by four o’clock in the afternoon and the band proceeded to record covers of Blind Willie McTell’s “Statesboro Blues”, based on the version popularized by the Allman Brothers Band, and Loggins and Messina’s “Good Friend” (which also appears on Dry Run), as well as a pair of originals, “Rockin’ in the Morning” and “Drinkin’ Man”, the latter written on the spot and recorded on the first take.  These 4 songs would make up the 1977 Have Band Will Travel 10″ EP.

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Hatcher started off the new year with more live work, including a show with UFO in late January at Friars Aylesbury. After supporting Frankie Miller on March 26, 1977 at The Apollo in Glasgow, Scotland, the band headed straight into Wessex Sound Studios through the month of May to record their sophomore album, Talkin’ Turkey, with Tom Allom producing once more. Expanding on their sound, Hatcher brought in musicians from the London Symphony Orchestra, returning guest players Tony Carr and John McFee, as well as McFee’s then Clover bandmate, Huey Lewis, credited as Huey Harp, on harmonica.  Talkin’ Turkey and Have Band Will Travel were released in short succession and the George Hatcher Band appeared on the popular BBC in Concert series, broadcast on June 18.[ They also played the massive Reading Rock Festival on August 27, 1977 with headliners Thin Lizzy topping the bill. Earlier that month, they had supported Ted Nugent during his 2-night stand at London’s Hammersmith Odeon and would return to the Hammersmith on October 25 as openers for AC/DC on their Let There Be Rock UK tour.

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Soon thereafter, Hatcher would dissolve the band due to members going in different directions in their personal and professional lives, with guitarist ‘Big’ John Thomas joining Welsh rockers Budgie. By 1978, Hatcher had put together a whole new line-up comprising guitarists James Morgan and Pete Gosling, keyboardist Geraint Watkins, bassist Vic Young, and drummer Mac Poole, best known for his earlier stints with Big Bertha and Warhorse. All but Morgan toured with Mickey Jupp on the “Be Stiff” Tour ’78 as Mickey Jupp & The Cable Layers, documented on Jupp’s 2004 archives release Live At The BBC. Signing a new record deal with German label Shark Records, Hatcher and his band headed to Germany where they recorded Rich Girl[18][19] with engineer and co-producer Manfred ‘Manni’ Neuner at Tonstudio Hiltpoltstein near Nürnberg. The album, a mix of originals and covers, was released under the shortened name George Hatcher and supported with a UK tour.

At the time, Hatcher began to contemplate a return to the U.S. traveling back and forth between England and his native North Carolina. In 1980, Hatcher assembled a new all-American line-up comprising guitarists Curt Stines and David Phelps, bassist Mike Parnell, keyboardist Tad Hough, and drummer Danny Howe. Reverting to the George Hatcher Band moniker, the group returned to Manni Neuner’s Tonstudio Hiltpoltstein in Germany to cut 1980’s Coming Home. They were joined by original GHB guitarist Phil Swan who made a guest appearance on 3 songs. The album’s epic 8-minute title track would become something of signature tune for the band as well as a strong fan favorite. Originally released on Shark and Kaleidoscope, respectively, the album was licensed stateside by The Goods Records in 1982. By then, Hatcher was firmly based in the U.S. again where the band would support major acts such as Black Sabbath, Scorpions, Ted Nugent, Molly Hatchet, The Outlaws, Cheap Trick, Billy Idol, Johnny Van Zant, Black Oak Arkansas, and The Kinks, often as the Charlotte Coliseum.

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The George Hatcher Band would record one final album for Trout Records in 1985. Recorded at the legendary Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith’s (of “Dueling Banjos” fame) studio in Charlotte, NC. Hindsight featured Hatcher, Stines and Howe in addition to newcomers Ace Philbeck on guitar, Joe Nims on bass, Ricky Kirby on keyboards, and Joey Dunlevy on keyboards and saxophone. Despite no longer recording new music, Hatcher would continue to tour through 2005, including playing in front of 80.000 people with 38 Special during Charlotte’s Speed Street festival in 2002, before putting music on hold and going to college to pursue a Masters Degree in psychology.  The band has since been re-activated and Dry Run and Coming Home were re-issued on CD in 2011 and released digitally.

Original GHB guitarist John Thomas passed away March 3, 2016 from pneumonia. Drummer Mac Poole who recorded the Rich Girl album with Hatcher died on May 21, 2015 after a long battle with throat cancer. (wikipedia)

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And here´s their live in the studio EP from the early days … this kind of fiery Southern Rock … just like I love it

Enjoy the power of the George Hatcher Band !…

Recorded live in Olympic Studio 1, Barnes. Sunday Dec 12th 1976
before an invited audience of friends, fans and free loaders

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Personnel:
George Hatcher (vocals)
Harris Joannou (bass, vocals)
Terry Slade (drums)
Phil Swan (guitar)
“Big” John Thomas (guitar, vocals)
Steve Wren (keyboards)

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Tracklist:
01. Statesboro’ Blues (McTell) 4.24
02. Rockin’ In The Morning (Hatcher/Joannou/Slade/Swan/Thomas/Wren) 5.38
03. Good Friend (Messina) 3.47
04. Drinking Man (Hatcher/Joannou/Slade/Swan/Thomas/Wren) 6.24

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More from the George Hatcher Band:
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The official website:
Website

The Allman Brothers Band – Summer Jam At Watkins Glen (1973)

FrontCover1The Allman Brothers Band were an American rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1969 by brothers Duane Allman (founder, slide guitar and lead guitar) and Gregg Allman (vocals, keyboards, songwriting), as well as Dickey Betts (lead guitar, vocals, songwriting), Berry Oakley (bass guitar), Butch Trucks (drums), and Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson (drums). Subsequently, based in Macon, Georgia, the band incorporated elements of blues, jazz, and country music, and their live shows featured jam band-style improvisation and instrumentals.

The group’s first two studio releases, The Allman Brothers Band (1969) and Idlewild South (1970) (both released by Capricorn Records), stalled commercially, but their 1971 live release, At Fillmore East, represented an artistic and commercial breakthrough. The album features extended renderings of their songs “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” and “Whipping Post”, and is considered among the best live albums ever made.

ABB_01

Group leader Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident later that year – on October 29, 1971 – and the band dedicated Eat a Peach (1972) to his memory, a dual studio/live album that cemented the band’s popularity and featured Gregg Allman’s “Melissa” and Dickey Betts’s “Blue Sky”. Following the motorcycling death of bassist Berry Oakley one year and 13 days later on November 11, 1972, the group recruited keyboardist Chuck Leavell and bassist Lamar Williams for 1973’s Brothers and Sisters. This album included Betts’s hit single “Ramblin’ Man” and instrumental “Jessica”. These tunes went on to become classic rock radio staples, and placed the group at the forefront of 1970s rock music. Internal turmoil overtook them soon after; the group dissolved in 1976, reformed briefly at the end of the decade with additional personnel changes, and dissolved again in 1982.

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The band reformed once more in 1989, releasing a string of new albums and touring heavily. A series of personnel changes in the late 1990s was capped by the departure of Betts. The group found stability during the 2000s with bassist Oteil Burbridge and guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks (the nephew of their original drummer) and became renowned for their month-long string of shows at New York City’s Beacon Theatre each spring. The band retired for good in October 2014 after their final show at the Beacon Theatre.

Butch Trucks died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on January 24, 2017, in West Palm Beach, Florida, at the age of 69. Gregg Allman died from complications arising from liver cancer on May 27, 2017, at his home in Georgia, also at the age of 69. The band has been awarded seven gold and four platinum albums, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Rolling Stone ranked them 52nd on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time in 2004.

ABB_04

The Summer Jam at Watkins Glen was a 1973 rock festival which once received the Guinness Book of World Records entry for “Largest audience at a pop festival.” An estimated 600,000 rock fans came to the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Raceway outside Watkins Glen, New York, on July 28, 1973, to see the Allman Brothers Band, Grateful Dead and The Band perform.

Concert Poster

The Band followed the Dead with one two-hour set. However, their set was cut in half by a drenching thunderstorm, in a scene again reminiscent of Woodstock, people were covered with mud. During the storm, keyboardist Garth Hudson performed his signature organ improvisation “The Genetic Method”; when the rain finally let up, the full Band joined Hudson on stage, and segued into their signature song “Chest Fever”.

Finally, the Allman Brothers Band performed for three hours. Their performance included songs from their soon-to-be-released album Brothers and Sisters. (wikipedia)

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Without any doubts …one of best Allman Brothers Band concerts ever !

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Personnel:
Gregg Allman (vocals, organ, guitar)
Dickey Betts (guitar, vocals)
Jai Johanny Johanson (drums)
Chuck Leavell (piano)
Butch Trucks (drums)
Lamar Williams (bass)

Alternate frontcover:
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Tracklist:
01. Bill Graham’s Introduction + Wasted Words (Allman) 5.30
02. Band introductio by Bill Graham 1.03
03. Done Somebody Wrong (James/Lewis/Levy) 4.12
04. Southbound (Betts) 7.44
05. Stormy Monday (Walker) 8.18
06. In Memory of Elizabeth Reed (Betts) 17.28
07. Come and Go Blues (Allman) 4.59
08. Trouble No More (Morganfield) 4.38
09. Blue Sky (Betts) 7.10
10. One Way Out (James/Sehorn) 10.55
11. Statesboro Blues (McTell) 4.17
12. Ramblin’ Man (Betts) 8.47
13. Jessica (Betts) 10.00
14. Midnight Rider (Allman) 3.11
15. You Don’t Love Me (Cobb)  / Les Brers in A Minor (Betts) 20.34
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16. Summer Jam At Watkins Glen (uncut version) 2.09.24

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More from The Allman Bothers Band:
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Various Artists – Midnight Rider (A Tribute To The Allman Brothers Band) (2014)

FrontCover1The Allman Brothers Band were an American rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1969[3] by brothers Duane Allman (founder, slide guitar and lead guitar) and Gregg Allman (vocals, keyboards, songwriting), as well as Dickey Betts (lead guitar, vocals, songwriting), Berry Oakley (bass guitar), Butch Trucks (drums), and Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson (drums). Subsequently, based in Macon, Georgia, the band incorporated elements of blues, jazz, and country music, and their live shows featured jam band-style improvisation and instrumentals.

The group’s first two studio releases, The Allman Brothers Band (1969) and Idlewild South (1970) (both released by Capricorn Records), stalled commercially, but their 1971 live release, At Fillmore East, represented an artistic and commercial breakthrough. The album features extended renderings of their songs “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” and “Whipping Post”, and is considered among the best live albums ever made.

AllmanBrothersBand1969

Group leader Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident later that year – on October 29, 1971 – and the band dedicated Eat a Peach (1972) to his memory, a dual studio/live album that cemented the band’s popularity and featured Gregg Allman’s “Melissa” and Dickey Betts’s “Blue Sky”. Following the motorcycling death of bassist Berry Oakley one year and 13 days later on November 11, 1972, the group recruited keyboardist Chuck Leavell and bassist Lamar Williams for 1973’s Brothers and Sisters. This album included Betts’s hit single “Ramblin’ Man” and instrumental “Jessica”. These tunes went on to become classic rock radio staples, and placed the group at the forefront of 1970s rock music. Internal turmoil overtook them soon after; the group dissolved in 1976, reformed briefly at the end of the decade with additional personnel changes, and dissolved again in 1982.

AllmanBrothersBand1969_02

The band reformed once more in 1989, releasing a string of new albums and touring heavily. A series of personnel changes in the late 1990s was capped by the departure of Betts. The group found stability during the 2000s with bassist Oteil Burbridge and guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks (the nephew of their original drummer) and became renowned for their month-long string of shows at New York City’s Beacon Theatre each spring. The band retired for good in October 2014 after their final show at the Beacon Theatre.

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Butch Trucks died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on January 24, 2017, in West Palm Beach, Florida, at the age of 69. Gregg Allman died from complications arising from liver cancer on May 27, 2017, at his home in Georgia, also at the age of 69. The band has been awarded seven gold and four platinum albums,[4] and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Rolling Stone ranked them 52nd on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time in 2004. (wikipedia)

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And here´s a fine “tribute album”:

This 12-song collection, helmed and herded by Florida guitarist John Wesley, features new performances of some of the band’s classic songs, including “Midnight Rider,” “Statesboro Blues,” “Ramblin’ Man,” and “Whippin’ Post” done by a host of guitarists and singers, Ronnie Earl, Debbie Davies, Eli Cook, Eric Gales, Pat Travers, among them. It’s fine as a tribute, but only underscores how influential and unique the Allman Brothers Band always was. Nothing tops the ABB versions of these songs, which really should come as no big surprise to anybody. (allmusicguide.com)

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Tracklist:
01. Pat Travers: Midnight Rider (Allman) 3.20
02. The Oak Ridge Boys, Tinsley Ellis, Kevin McKendree: Ramblin` Man (Betts) 4.54
03. Molly Hatchet: Melissa (Allman) 4.39
04. Artimus Pyle Band: Blue Sky (Betts) 4.25
05. Jimmy Hall & Steve Morse: Whipping Post (Allman) 5.21
06. Jim Eshelman, Roy Rogers & John Wesley: Jessica (Betts) 7.30
07. Robben Ford & Martin Gerschwitz: One Way Out (Sehorn/James) 4.46
08. Debbie Davis & Melvin Seals: Soulshine (Haynes) 6.42
09. Eli Cook: Statesboro Blues (McTell) 3.40
10. Eric Gales: In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed (Betts) 7.01
11. Commander Cody & Sonny Landreth: Southbound (Betts) 5.13
12. Ronnie Earl, Leon Russell & Reese Wynans: I’m No Angel (Allman) 3.42

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More from The Allman Brothers Band:
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Freddie Salem & The Wildcats – Cat Dance (1982)

FrontCover1Freddie Salem has been a touring & recording artist, session musician and producer for over 30 years! Freddie started performing professionally at the age of 16 as he played with various bands from the Midwest before joining The Chambers Brothers Band as their lead guitar player.In 1977, Freddie joined the popular southern rock-n-roll band, The Outlaws. For six years Freddie played lead guitar for ‘The Florida Guitar Army’ and wrote many songs on their albums which sold over 10 million copies worldwide, earning Freddie platinum and gold albums with Arista Records. The incredible guitar work and producer credits of Freddie Salem can also be heard on recordings with The Godz, The Zippers, Raging Slab, Snatches Of Pink, Michael Rank and more!His latest album, Freddie Salem & Lonewolf; “Black Cloud Rising”, will soon be released as Freddie continues to be one of today’s strongest and hardest working guitarists!

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This is Freddie Salem & The Wildcats first and last album ”Cat Dance” from 1982. While Freddie Salem is most famous for replacing Henry Paul in The Outlaws in 1977 and being part of metal icons The Godz, the man is one of the most impressive American rock guitarists to have emerged in the late ’70s / early ’80s, and should have been a contender for ‘arena guitar hero’ alongside the Ted Nugent, Joe Walsh, Todd Rundgren, etc.Signed by major label Epic, in 1982 Salem got a chance to record his own album and the result is a really good mix of classic rock, melodic hard rock, and southern fried rock stadium-ready rock n’ roll. Salem rips some awesome solos, it’s a solid vocalist, and his band it top notch.A pretty unknown album, but you’ll surprised by its quality.As a member of The Outlaws, Freddie injected feisty guitar pyrotechnics into the band’s most commercially successful albums like ‘Ghost Riders’ and ‘Los Hombres Malos’, before cutting loose to record a solo album.This was his debut, and so far only, solo album. Produced by himself it showcased Freddie in valedictory mood, looking to spread his wings with various shades of guitar-fueled mayhem.

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Recorded in New York City, the album captured a healthy mixture of Manhattan’s manic pace whilst still boasting a Southern rock tinge, proving that you can take the man out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the man. ‘Cat Dance’ is a fine album indeed, boasting a healthy selection of solid and memorable hard rock tracks and blessed with lashings of Freddie’s blistering guitar work, including hip thrusting riffs and lightning fast solos.Freddie had the goods to make it big, but unfortunately at time of the album’s release Epic was under re-structure and didn’t deliver promotion as hoped and was left to find its own audience. (metal-jukebox.net)

In other words: The heavy side of Southern Rock !

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Personnel:
Myron Grombacher (drums)
David Jackson (piano, synthesizer, vocals)
Freddie Salem (guitar, vocals)
Fernando Saunders (bass, background vocals)
Peter Wood (organ, synthesizer)
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John Peltz (vocals on 05.)
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Tracklist:
01. Dark Horizon (Jackson/Salem) (1.30) / London Town (Rundgren) (6.53) 8.19
02. Open My Eyes (Salem) 3.32
03. Long Gone (Salem) 3.42
04. Sunset (Second Chance) (Salem) 4.02
05. Got The Feelin’ (Salem) 4.12
06. Evil For Evil (Salem) 4.25
07. Rock ‘N’ Roll Woman (Stills) 4.37
08. Monica (Saunders/Salem/Grombacher/Wood) 3.45

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Charlie Daniels Band – High Lonesome (1976)

LPFrontCover1Charles Edward Daniels (October 28, 1936 – July 6, 2020) was an American singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist known for his contributions to Southern rock, country, and bluegrass music. He was best known for his number-one country hit “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”. Daniels was active as a singer and musician from the 1950s. He was inducted into the Cheyenne Frontier Days Hall of Fame in 2002, the Grand Ole Opry in 2008, the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009, and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.

Daniels died on July 6, 2020, at the age of 83 of a hemorrhagic stroke at Summit Medical Center in Nashville.

High Lonesome is the eighth studio album by Charlie Daniels and the fourth as The Charlie Daniels Band, released on November 5, 1976. Many of the tracks pay homage to pulp Western fiction and, with permission, the album’s title was named after the 1962 Western novel by Louis L’Amour. (wikipedia)

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Following Saddle Tramp by a matter of months, High Lonesome finds the Charlie Daniels Band retaining their focus on jamming — meaning not just long solos and improvisations, but a loose feel that brings in elements of a number of different Southern styles, blurring the line between country, rock, blues, and bluegrass. Compared to Saddle Tramp, which felt as wide-open and sunny as the plains or desert, High Lonesome is a little darker and denser, a byproduct of the Charlie Daniels Band playing harder as they up the rock quotient while simultaneously playing up cowboy myths. There are strong elements of the Allmans throughout the record, particularly when Charlie Daniels and Tom Crain trade off electric guitar leads and double-up on harmonies, and there’s a harder backbeat. Even better, there’s more of an emphasis on songwriting and tighter arrangements, which means that the Band’s improvistory fire is distilled into tight, concise four-minute bursts, which makes the record as a whole a more infectious, invigorating listen. Also, with Crain singing on “Tennessee” and a pianist taking lead on “Roll Mississippi,” this not only feels more like a band album, it has a welcome, loose, anything-goes feel, actually sounding like the work of a bunch of Southern renegades. If there are no true CDB classics outside of the title track and arguably “Carolina,” there are no bum songs, either, and the whole thing holds together well, perhaps because, unlike its predecessor, it plays as if it has a theme, thanks to the songs about cowboys and the Southern mythology, not to mention its focused arrangements and the muscular blues-rock guitar that ties it all together. All this makes High Lonesome a highlight in Charlie Daniels’ discography. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Tom Crain (guitar, vocals on 08., slide guitar)
Charlie Daniels (guitar, vocals banjo, fiddle, slide guitar)
Fred Edwards (drums, percussion)
Taz DiGregorio (keyboards, vocals on 06.)
Charlie Hayward (bass)
Don Murray (drums, percussion)
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Toy Caldwell (steel guitar on 07. + 08.)
George McCorkle (guitar on 01.)

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Tracklist:
01. Billy the Kid” (Daniels) 5.50
02. Carolina (Daniels/Crain/DiGregorio/Edwards/Hayward/Murray) 3.55
03. High Lonesome (Daniels/Crain/DiGregorio/Edwards/Hayward/Murray) – 5:03
04. Running With the Crowd (Daniels/Crain/DiGregorio/Edwards/Hayward/Murray) 4.02
05. Right Now Tennessee Blues (Daniels) 3.37
06. Roll Mississippi (Daniels/Crain/DiGregorio/Edwards/Hayward/Murray) 3.13
07. Slow Song (Daniels) 3.56
08. Tennessee (Crain) 4.43
09. Turned My Head Around (Daniels/Crain/DiGregorio/Edwards/Hayward/Murray) 3.52

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CharlieDaniels02Charlie Daniels (October 28, 1936 – July 6, 2020)

Sea Level – Ball Room (1980)

FrontCover1Sea Level was an American jazz fusion band from Macon, Georgia that mixed jazz, blues and rock and existed between 1976 and 1981. Initially it was an offshoot of The Allman Brothers Band, but as tensions grew between the loss of two of its founding members and personal grievances between Gregg Allman and other bandmates and associates, Sea Level took on a life of its own as an independent band.

After the initial breakup of the Allman Brothers Band when Gregg Allman and Dicky Betts left, most of the remaining members who evolved into Sea Level were the trio “We Three” comprising bassist Lamar Williams, drummer Jaimoe and Chuck Leavell (piano, keyboards, vocals). The trio would occasionally open shows for the group in 1975 and 1976. With the Allmans disbanding in 1976, the trio added guitarist Jimmy Nalls and named the band based on a phonetic pun of their new bandleader Chuck Leavell’s name: “C. Leavell.” They toured relentlessly, experimenting and refining their sound, eventually signing with Capricorn Records (home of the Allman Brothers) and recording their self-titled debut album in 1977.

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After the release of their first album, the group expanded to a septet with the additions of Davis Causey (guitar), George Weaver (drums, percussion) and Randall Bramblett (saxophones, keyboards and vocals). That configuration recorded the group’s second album, Cats on the Coast, in 1978 (with the leadoff track, “That’s Your Secret”,[1] reaching #50 on the Billboard Hot 100). By the time of the third album, On the Edge, Jaimoe and Weaver had both left, replaced by Joe English. The sextet of Bramblett, Causey, English, Leavell, Nalls and Williams recorded the fourth album, Long Walk on a Short Pier (1979), unreleased in the United States for nearly twenty years, adding percussionist Matt Greeley for their fifth and final album, Ball Room, issued on Arista in 1980. Their greatest hits album (CD) wrapped up their body of work, minus a handful of appearances on various compilation albums (mostly Southern Rock). They were also featured on a 1978 live Southern Rock album which included a live version of “Grand Larceny.”

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Leavell later emerged as a much sought-after session musician and producer, touring with Eric Clapton and eventually becoming a “permanent” session player touring with the Rolling Stones.

In 1998, he issued his debut solo LP, a Christmas album called What’s in That Bag? and more recently Forever Blue that includes solo versions of two classic Sea Level compositions: “Whole Lotta Colada” and “Song for Amy.” He also released Southscape, an album of Southern anthems that hearkens back to his Southern roots. (wikipedia)

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Ball Room was the last album released by Sea Level. All previous albums were done for Capricorn records, but since they went bankrupt, this album was made for the Arista label. Sea Level was a Chuck Leavell affair. So you know you won’t have to expect the rocky side of southern rock. Instead we get the rather sophisticated side of things. And singing most songs, again, is Randall Bramblett. Where they used to rely very much on jazzy, fusion skills, this leans towards the trends set in the early 80’s. I quite like this a lot, and I hope you will too… (by Skydog)

Yes, I do … enjoy this very special band …

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Personnel:
Randall Bramblett (keyboards, saxophone, vocals)
Davis Causey (guitar)
Joe English (drums)
Matt Greeley (percussion, vocals on 07.)
Chuck Leavell (keyboards, vocals)
Jimmy Nalls (guitar, slide-guitar)
Lamar Williams (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Wild Side (Causey/Bramblett) 4.06
02. School Teacher (Pridgen/Bramblett) 3.24
03. Comfort Range (Causey/Bramblett) 4.03
04. Anxiously Awaiting (Leavell) 4.39
05. Struttin’ (Williams) 4.16
06. We Will Wait (Causey/Bramblett) 3.59
07. You Mean So Much To Me (Causey/Bramblett) 3.48
08. Don’t Want To Be Wrong (Leavell) 4.19
09. Bandstand (Causey/Bramblett) 4.34

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Lamar Williams died from lung cancer in 1983.

Jimmy Nalls, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, died on June 22, 2017

Allman Brothers Band – Academy Of Music, New York (1972)

FrontCover1The Allman Brothers Band was an American rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1969 by brothers Duane Allman (founder, slide guitar and lead guitar) and Gregg Allman (vocals, keyboards, songwriting), as well as Dickey Betts (lead guitar, vocals, songwriting), Berry Oakley (bass guitar), Butch Trucks (drums), and Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson (drums). The band incorporated elements of blues, jazz, and country music, and their live shows featured jam band-style improvisation and instrumentals.

The group’s first two studio releases, The Allman Brothers Band (1969) and Idlewild South (1970) (both released by Capricorn Records), stalled commercially, but their 1971 live release, At Fillmore East, represented an artistic and commercial breakthrough. The album features extended renderings of their songs “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” and “Whipping Post”, and is considered among the best live albums ever made.

Group leader Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident later that year – on October 29, 1971 …  (wikipedia)

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And here´s a pretty good bootleg (a soundboard recording) of the Allman Brothers after the death of Duane Allman.

A few month later, Berry Oakley was involved in a motorcycle accident in Macon, Georgia, just three blocks from where Duane Allman had his fatal motorcycle accident the year before. Oakley was driving around a sharp right bend of the road on Napier Avenue at Inverness when he crossed the line and collided at an angle with a city bus making the bend from the opposite direction. After striking the front and then the back of the bus, Oakley was thrown from his bike, just as Allman had been, and struck his head.

Berry Oakley

Oakley said he was okay after the accident, declined medical treatment, and caught a ride home. Three hours later, he was rushed back to the hospital, delirious and in pain, and died of cerebral swelling caused by a fractured skull. Attending doctors stated that even if Oakley had gone straight to the hospital from the scene of the accident, he could not have been saved. He was 24 years old when he died, the same age as Allman. (by wikipedia)

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Personnel:
Gregg Allman  (keyboards, vocals)
Dickey Betts (guitar)
Jai Johanny Johanson (drums, percussion)
Berry Oakley (bass)
Butch Trucks (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Statesboro Blues (McTell) 4.26
02. Done Somebody Wrong (Lewis/Robinson/James) 4.06
03. Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More (Allman) 5.19
04. One Way Out (Sehorn/James) 6.58
05. Stormy Monday (Walker) 8.22
06. Trouble No More (Morganfield) 3.46
07 You Don’t Love Me (Cobbs) 13.13
08. Whipping Post (Allman) 13.28

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Marshall Tucker Band – Long Hard Ride (1976)

FrontCover1Long Hard Ride is the fifth studio album by The Marshall Tucker Band, released in 1976 and produced by Paul Hornsby. Guest performers included Charlie Daniels, John McEuen and Jerome Joseph. The title track was made into a short film that was played as a sort of movie trailer. It depicts the members of the band as a gang of cowboys. The album’s cover features Frank C. McCarthy’s painting “The Last Crossing”.

On Long Hard Ride, The Marshall Tucker Band’s country influences come to the fore, resulting in a strong record that failed to gain many hits. Still, the final product is well worth listening to — it’s one of their better releases. Be sure to listen for Charlie Daniels’ guest appearance. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

The Marshall Tucker Band seems to have been largely forgotten today but in the mid-1970s this band was one of the best Southern rock, country-rock outfits around.

Marshall Tucker had a very unique sound; they combined what was essentially a country and country-rock sound with elements of blues and jazz to create one of the most distinctive musical styles among the many successful bands that, at the time, were coming out of the south eastern U.S.

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Bands that come out of the South at the same time as Marshall Tucker included Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Charlie Daniels Band.

If you’re not familiar with the Marshall Tucker Band, there are three of their albums you should check out: Searchin’ For A Rainbow, Long Hard Ride and Carolina Dreams. All three are excellent. (by Mark Anderson)

Take a Great Ride with the MTB:
The Marshall Tucker Band have recorded a lot of great albums, and this one are among the best. I think that ALL the songs are very strong. The first melody is the title-song `Long Hard Ride`. Close your eyes and you`ll believe that you`re in the wild west! And then the band continues with seven more great songs, among these I will mention `Walkìn`the Streets Alone, `Windy City Blues` and `You Say You Love Me`. Well this cd means a lot to me. I remember that it was a christmas-gift to me back in 1976 or something like that, off course on lp. And now so many years after, it is still such a great album. (ny Henrik Lorenz)

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Personnel:
Tommy Caldwell (bass, background vocals)
Toy Caldwell (guitar, steel guitar, vocals on 02.)
Jerry Eubanks (flute, saxophone, background vocals)
Doug Gray (vocals, percussion)
George McCorkle (guitar, banjo)
Paul Riddle (drums)
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Charlie Daniels (fiddle)
Jerome Joseph (percussion)
John McEuen (banjo, mandolin)

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Tracklist:
01. Long Hard Ride (Toy Caldwell) 3.40
02. Property Line (Toy Caldwell) 2.55
03. Am I The Kind Of Man (Toy Caldwell) 4.11
04. Walkin’ The Streets Alone (Toy Caldwell) 4.55
05. Windy City Blues (Eubanks/Gray/McCorkle) 4.46
06. Holding On To You (McCorkle) 3.42
07. You Say You Love Me (Toy Caldwell) 3.50
08. You Don’t Live Forever (Tommy Caldwell) 3.51

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The Last Crossing

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Almost Brothers – A Band Of Roadies (2014)

FrontCover1On one hand, the vibe of A Band Of Roadies comes as no surprise: after all, the band comprised members of the Allman Brothers Band’s road crew circa ’73-’74, along with some other players from the Macon, GA music scene at the time. This mix of covers and originals – infused with bluesy, jazzy grooves and adventurous jams – is exactly what you might expect from offshoots of the ABB family.

What is a pleasant surprise, however, is the fact that this is a great album made by some solid players. After all, just because they lugged the Allmans’ gear, it doesn’t guarantee they could play it … but A Band Of Roadies stands on its own hind legs as a cool chunk of early 70s bluesrock recently rediscovered.

If you’re familiar at all with ABB history, you’ll recognize some of the band members: the late Twiggs Lyndon – the Allmans’ original road manager – plays guitar; longtime road crew member Joseph “Red Dog” Campbell (who passed away in 2011) mans the drums, along with soundman Michael Artz; Buddy Thornton (who handled front-of-house sound for the Allmans) plays bass. Virginia Speed’s talents on piano earned her a job as a keyboard tech for the ABB; her killer Steinway work and lead vocals on the classic “Fever” demonstrate just how good she was. And Dave “Trash” Cole was actually working on the farm that the Allmans owned in Juliette, GA when Lyndon discovered he was also a wicked guitar picker. Cole was hired on as an ABB guitar tech – and he was a natural for the Almost Brothers lineup.

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The Almost Brothers were birthed from the need to do pre-gig sound checks in the absence of the actual ABB members. As Chuck Leavell writes in the liner notes, “As we began to tour behind the release [of Brothers And Sisters ] in 1973 there were times when, for various reasons, the band wouldn’t or couldn’t make sound checks.” (Ahhhh … those “various reasons” …)

The Almost Brothers progressed from warming up gear (and often the crowd when the doors opened early) for the Allmans to playing their own gigs in and around the Macon area. When the ABB took 1974 off so Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts could burrow into their respective solo projects, the Almost Brothers got serious about playing in an effort to keep some money coming in.

The 10 cuts on A Band Of Roadies were recorded over a long weekend during that time period – the band was basically helping to break in the newly-revamped Capricorn Studios. The original masters of those sessions have disappeared, but the two-track studio tapes were recently unearthed. The format allowed for no re-mixing – simply basic EQ touchup and editing; but the raw, in-the-moment feel of this music makes up for any sonic flaws.

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The addition of band buddy Joe English on congas for the piano-driven blues romp “Driving Wheel” and the instrumental “Knurled Knob” (penned by Thornton) is a happenstance crystal ball view of what the Allmans’ sound would evolve into when percussionist Marc Quiñones joined them 17 years later.

Dave Cole’s vocals throughout the album are soulful – more Bobby Whitlock-style than Gregg Allman – and he and Lyndon complement each other well on guitar. They stand shoulder to shoulder on the signature riff of Memphis Slim’s “Stepping Out” before taking turns putting their own spins on the number. (A bit of pickin’ porn for you: Twiggs Lyndon was playing the late Duane Allman’s ’59 Tobacco Burst Les Paul for these sessions … listen for that tone.)

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The Allmans had their classic one-two punch of “Don’t Want You No More” into “It’s Not My Cross to Bear”; the Almost Brothers here take off on the shape-shifter instrumental “Modular Motion” before banging down a couple gears to grind out a cover of “Drifting”. Virginia Speed’s solo on Capricorn’s big ol’ Steinway here is a classic – unhurried, lovely and just raunchy enough to be sexy.

Cole leads the band through his self-penned “Is It Wrong” – a much gentler tune than the rest of the album, but a great, spacious opportunity for the band to get loose and glide. Swooping bass lines by Thornton weave around Speed’s rippling piano; the guitars bounce in and out of harmony lines; and guest Scott Boyer (from the band Cowboy) contributes some sweet pedal steel.

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“Complicated Shoes”, “Rainbow Chase” and “Compactor” are more Buddy Thornton instrumentals that prove what kind of players the Almost Brothers really were. Don’t expect aimless noodling over standard blues progressions; these songs all feature complex grooves that challenge the rhythm section, cool melodies and themes that allow Speed to work the keyboard, and perfect launchpads for Lyndon and Cole to blast off.

All in all, A Band Of Roadies is a great listen, regardless of the Allman connection. The fact that this music was created from a mix of service to the job at hand and a passion for the music that surrounded them makes the story of the Almost Brothers one that causes you to smile and shake your head. In another time; another setting … who knows what might have become of this band?

In the moment, it was set it up; get it right; tear it down; do it again. (by Brian Robbins)

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Liner notes by Chuck Leavell:
Back in “The Day”, when the Allman Brothers Band had recorded the “Brothers and Sisters” album and we were riding high with the LP reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Album Charts
and the song “Rambling Man” reaching No. 2 on the Singles chart, our road crew were riding high with us.
They were all very talented in their respective positions, and all very dedicated to us,
and to the fans that came to see us.
They were recognized by our peers and theirs as being the best road crew in the world,
and in my opinion that was certainly the case.
As we began to tour behind the release of the record in 1973, there were times when for various reasons the band wouldn’t or couldn’t make sound checks.
Our crew would sometimes do them for us, which was a great help and ensured that we would be comfortable when we hit the stage.
As time went on, they began to play more on their own, adding in some other players
that were in the Macon, Ga. area at the time.

The result of this was The Almost Brothers.
I can remember them rehearsing quite a lot, working up some cover tunes and writing some of their own. They were all having a great time, and were honing in their musical skills.
They became very popular around town, and created a reputation for themselves,
playing in some clubs and various other settings.
Fortunately, they also recorded some of their material, and after all these years,
our then house sound engineer, Buddy Thornton, has uncovered those two track tapes,
cleaned them up as much as possible with his expert skills, and herein is the result.
Listening to these recordings bring back some great memories for me, and all the musicians involved put their hearts and souls into the Almost Brothers.
They were all great folks to work with and I am so glad that we have this recording
to document this piece of history.
You can hear the fun they were having and the passion they put into their own band…so, listen and enjoy!

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Personnel:
Michael Artz (drums)
Joseph ‘Red Dog’ Campbell (drums)
Dave ‘Trash’ Cole (guitar, vocals)
Joe English (percussion)
Twiggs Lyndon (guitar)
Virginia Speed (piano, vocals on 07.)
T.T. Thornton (bass)
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Scott Boyer (steel-guitar on 09.)

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Tracklist:
01. Driving Wheel (Sykes) 4.01
02. Knurled Knob (Thornton) 2.59
03. Love You (Like A Man) (Smither) 4.33
04. Stepping Out (Slim) 2.23
05. Modular Motion/Drifting 5.34
05.1 Drifting (Thornton)
05.2. Drifting (Brown/Moore/Williams)
06. Complicated Shoes (Thornton) 2.43
07. Fever (Cooley) 3.54
08. Rainbow Chase (Thornton) 5.14
09. Is It Wrong (Cole) 4.46
10. Compactor (Thornton) 4.40

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