The Dubliners – At It Again (Seven Deadly Sins) (1968)

FrontCover1Nearly three decades since they first came together during informal sessions at O’Donoghue’s Pub in Dublin, the Dubliners remain one of the most influential of Ireland’s traditional folk bands. Unlike their counterparts the Clancy Brothers, the Dubliners have never strayed from the raw looseness of the pub scene. According to Dirty Linen, “Whereas the Clancys were well-scrubbed returned Yanks from rural Tipperary, decked out in matching white Arab sweaters, the Dubliners were hard-drinking backstreet Dublin scrappers with unkempt hair and bushy beards, whose gigs seemed to happen by accident in between fist fights”.

Initially known as the Ronnie Drew Folk group, the Dubliners have gone through several personnel changes since they were formed in 1962. The original group featured Ronnie Drew on vocals and guitar, Luke Kelly on vocals and five-string banjo, Barney McKenna on tenor banjo, mandolin, melodeon, and vocals and Ciaren Bourke on vocals, guitar, tin whistle, and harmonica.The first change occurred in 1964 when Kelly left temporarily Singleand Bobby Lynch (vocals and guitar) and John Sheahan (fiddle, tin whistle, mandolin, concertina, guitar, and vocals) were added. The following year, Kelly returned and Lynch departed.

The Dubliners’ earliest recordings included appearances on multi-artist compilations The Hoot’nanny Show and Folk Festival: Festival Folk, released in 1964. Their first break came when they met Nathan Joseph, owner of Transatlantic Records, at the Edinburgh Festival in 1963. Signing with Joseph’s label, the group released their debut full-length album, The Dubliners, later the same year.

In 1967, the Dubliners recorded their breakthrough single, “Seven Drunken Nights,” based on Child Ballad number 273. Although its risque lyrics caused it to be banned from officially sanctioned radio stations, it became a Top Five hit after being aired by pirate radio station, RTE. With the song’s success, the band began touring throughout the world. In the early ’70s, the Dubliners toured in a production of Brendan Behan’s Cork Leg. (by Craig Harris)

And here´s the album with their hit “Seven Deadly Sins”:

At It Again is a studio album by The Dubliners and was released on the Major Minor label in 1968. It featured “The Irish Navy”, a satirical song with lyrics co-written by Ronnie Drew and Luke Kelly and set to music by John Sheahan. Barney McKenna and Ciarán Bourke also feature on the album. It was re-released under the title Seven Deadly Sins. The order of the tracks varies in different re-releases. (by wikipedia)

Another pretty good album by the legends Of Irish Folk !

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Personnel:
Ciarán Bourke (vocals, guitar, tin whistle, harmonica)
Ronnie Drew (vocals, guitar)
Luke Kelly (vocals, banjo)
Barney McKenna (irish tenor banjo, mandolin, melodeon)
John Sheahan (fiddle, mandolin, tin whistle, concertina)

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Tracklist:
01. Seven Deadly Sins (McLean) 2.47
02. Net Hauling Song (MacColl) 2.14
03. Nancy Whiskey” (Traditional) 2.40
04. Many Young Men Of Twenty (Keane) 2.25
05. Instrumental Medley: Paddy’s Gone to France/Skylark (Traditional) 2.04
06. Molly Bawn (Traditional) 3.15
07. The Dundee Weaver (Traditonal) 1.29
08. The Irish Navy (Drew/Kelly) 2.27
09. Tibby Dunbar (Burns/McLean) 1.48
10. The Inniskillen Dragoons (Traditional) 3.43
11. Instrumental Medley: The Piper’s Chair, Bill Hart’s Jig, The Night of St. Patrick (Traditional) 2.00
12. I Wish I Were Back In Liverpool (Kelly/Rosselson) 4.01
13. Darby O’Leary (Traditional) 2.41
14. Go To Sea No More (Traditional) 4.11

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Ekseption – Same (Classic In Pop) (1969)

FrontCover1.jpgEkseption was a Dutch rock band active from 1967 to 1989, playing mostly-instrumental progressive rock and classical rock. The central character in the changing roster, and the only band member present on every album, was conservatory-trained trumpeter Rein van den Broek (10 September 1945 – 11 May 2015). The band knew some commercial success in the 1970s, having Dutch top ten hit singles with their adaptations of Beethoven’s “Fifth” and Bach’s (Celebrated) “Air.” The second album, “Beggar Julia’s time trip” (1969), won the Dutch Edison Award for album of the year, and the first five albums all went gold.

Ekseption grew out of the high-school band The Jokers, which van den Broek formed in 1958. They changed their name to The Incrowd (after the Ramsey Lewis song) before discovering that name was already taken. Finally they settled on the name Ekseption in 1967. The group played jazz, pop and R&B covers, but in 1969, shortly after keyboardist Rick van der Linden joined, they were impressed by a gig of The Nice, and van der Linden decided to concentrate on producing classical rock, modern re-interpretations of classical works for rock band. Most of their subsequent albums contain both original songs and re-interpreted classical pieces.

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It quickly became evident that van der Linden had assumed leadership of the group, and in a 1972 press release interview accompanying advance copies of the album Ekseption 5 he openly said so. After 1973’s Trinity album he was asked to leave the group by his bandmates, and in the fall of that year he formed a new group Trace, during which time he was replaced by Dutch keyboardist Hans Jansen. Jansen took Ekseption in a jazzier direction, with two LPs of original compositions, but lackluster sales caused the band to break up in 1976. An offshoot band, named Spin, formed later that year and released two more albums, but success also eluded them.[2] In 1978 Trace and Spin merged to become Ekseption once again. Periodic reunions (with new members) appeared until van der Linden’s death in 2006. (by wikipedia)

And here´s their debut album from 1969:

“Ekseption’s idea to record well-known classical themes started in 1968, when the group visited a concert of a British group called The Nice. The six boys were impressed by the way The Nice mixed pop and classical music.
A few weeks after the concert Ekseption was invited to play with one of the finest symphony orchestras in Holland – the North Holland Philharmonic – at a big festival in Haarlem.
The obvious man with Ekseption to handle this project was 22 year old pianist Rick van der Linden, who is also one the promising young classical pianists in Holland. Rick, who finished Conservatory and has played piano recitals with well-known orchestras, started to arrange several classical themes for the festival.
Some weeks before the event, however, Ekseption was told that the orchestra refused to perform with a pop group. That part of the festival was cancelled, but Ekseption stuck to the idea and decided to use the arrangement of Beethoven’s “The 5th” for their new record.
“The 5th” was an instant smash hit and stayed for seven weeks in the national Top Ten. This LP was the result of requests for more ‘classical pop’ from Ekseption’s many fans.” (taken from the original liner notes)

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This was their first album, which consisted of covers of classical (which they were best known for), one original, and more. They do a cover of Beethoven’s “Fifth Symphony”, entitled “The 5th”, which actually became a hit. This is basically a rock version of the famous Beethoven composition, with organ, guitar, bass, drums, and horns. The song starts off with the famous symphony version (sounds like a recording sampled from a real symphony orchestra), but then quickly changes to a rock version. They do a cover of JETHRO TULL’s “Dharma For One”, which is quite a bit tamer than the original, not so aggressive. They even include the proper, Ian Anderson-like flute where needed (just like the original). “Little X-Plus” is a band original, and a nice piece with some jazz influence and nice use of flute. “Ritual Fire Dance” is a nice number complete with horns, some ’60s sounding guitar. They also cover George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”, which is truly the album’s high point. There’s also Bach’s “Air on G String”, which is the song that PROCOL HARUM borrowed for their hit “A Whiter Shade of Pale”. This of course, is the Bach composition done EKSEPTION style, with harspichord from Rick van der Linden, and horns, and you won’t mistake this for Procol Harum.

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EKSEPTION is one of those bands that don’t have much middle ground, you either dig the band or you don’t. It all depends how much you like the idea of a band “rocking the classics”. I still think this is much better than what Apollo 100 done (Apollo 100 was a British group who gave us the hit “Joy”, which was a pop take on Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”, and most of the rest of the stuff they did was rock versions of classical songs, and in my opinion, not as good as what EKSEPTION did). (by proghead)

I include a very rare single from 1967 … Ekseption before Rick van der Linden joined the band …

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Personnel:
Rein van den Broek (trumpet)
Cor Dekker (bass, guitar)
Huib van Kampen (guitar, saxophone)
Rob Kruisman (saxophone, flute, guitar, vocals)
Peter de Leeuwe (drums)
Rick van der Linden (keyboards)

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Tracklist:
01. The 5th (van Beethoven) 3.28
02. Dharma For One (Anderson/Bunker) 3.30
03. Little X Plus (v.d.Brock/Dekker/v.Kampen/Kruisman/d.Leeuwe/v.d.Linden) 3.34
04. Sabre Dance (Khachaturian) 3.50
05. Air (Bach) 2.55
06. Ritual Firedance (de Falla) 2.18
07. Rhapsody In Blue (Gershwin) 4.04
08. This Here (Timmons/Hendricks) 4.15
09. Dance Macabre, opus 40 (Saint-Saëns) 2.26
10. Canvas (Bennett) 2.31
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11. Talk About Tomorrow (van Kampen/Kruisman)
12. Mojo Ann (van Kampen/Kruisman)

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Rick van der Linden
(5 August 1946, Badhoevedorp, North Holland – 22 January 2006, Groningen)

The Kinks – The Village Green Preservation Society (1968) (Special Deluxe Edition 2004)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society is the sixth studio album by the English rock group the Kinks, released in November 1968. It was the last album by the original quartet (Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Pete Quaife, Mick Avory), as bassist Pete Quaife left the group in early 1969. A collection of vignettes of English life,[3] The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society was assembled from songs written and recorded over the previous two years.

Although the record is widely considered one of the most influential and important works by the Kinks, it failed to chart upon release, selling about 100,000 copies. In 2003 the album was ranked number 255 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. (by wikipedia)

Ray Davies’ sentimental, nostalgic streak emerged on Something Else, but it developed into a manifesto on The Village Green Preservation Society, a concept album lamenting the passing of old-fashioned English traditions. As the opening title song says, the Kinks — meaning Ray himself, in this case — were for preserving “draught beer and virginity,” and throughout the rest of the album, he creates a series of stories, sketches, and characters about a picturesque England that never really was. It’s a lovely, gentle album, evoking a small British country town, and drawing the listener into its lazy rhythms and sensibilities.

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Although there is an undercurrent of regret running throughout the album, Davies’ fondness for the past is warm, making the album feel like a sweet, hazy dream. And considering the subdued performances and the detailed instrumentations, it’s not surprising that the record feels more like a Ray Davies solo project than a Kinks album. The bluesy shuffle of “Last of the Steam-Powered Trains” is the closest the album comes to rock & roll, and Dave Davies’ cameo on the menacing “Wicked Annabella” comes as surprise, since the album is so calm. But calm doesn’t mean tame or bland — there are endless layers of musical and lyrical innovation on The Village Green Preservation Society, and its defiantly British sensibilities became the foundation of generations of British guitar pop. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Mick Avory (drums, percussion)
Dave Davies (guitar, background vocals, lead vocals on “Wicked Annabella”)
Ray Davies (vocals, guitar, keyboards, harmonica, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, accordion, oboe, flute)
Pete Quaife (bass, baclground vocals)
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Rasa Davies (background vocals)
Nicky Hopkins (keyboards, mellotron)

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Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. The Village Green Preservation Society 2.45
02. Do You Remember Walter? 2.23
03. Picture Book 2:34
04. Johnny Thunder 2.28
05. Last Of The Steam-Powered Trains 4.03
06. Big Sky 2.49
07. Sitting By The Riverside 2.21
08. Animal Farm 2.57
09. Village Green 2.08
10. Starstruck 2.18
11. Phenomenal Cat (spelled “Phenominal Cat” on the LP sleeve) 2.34
12. All Of My Friends Were There 2.23
13. Wicked Annabella 2.40
14. Monica 2.13
15. People Take Pictures Of Each Other 2.10
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16. Mr. Songbird (from 12 Track Edition) 2.24
17. Days (stereo mix from original 12-track edition released in France, Norway and Sweden) 2.53
18. Do You Remember Walter? (stereo mix from original 12-track edition released in France, Norway and Sweden) 2.25
19. People Take Pictures Of Each Other (stereo mix from original 12-track edition released in France, Norway and Sweden) 2.24

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CD 2:
01. The Village Green Preservation Society 2.45
02. Do You Remember Walter? 2.23
03. Picture Book 2:34
04. Johnny Thunder 2.28
05. Last Of The Steam-Powered Trains 4.03
06. Big Sky 2.49
07. Sitting By The Riverside 2.21
08. Animal Farm 2.57
09. Village Green 2.08
10. Starstruck 2.18
11. Phenomenal Cat (spelled “Phenominal Cat” on the LP sleeve) 2.34
12. All Of My Friends Were There 2.23
13. Wicked Annabella 2.40
14. Monica 2.13
15. People Take Pictures Of Each Other 2.10
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16. Days (single mix, mono) 2.55
17. Mr. Songbird (mono mix) 2.25
18. Polly (single mix, mono) 2.51
19. Wonderboy (single mix, mono) 2.49
20. Berkeley News (single mix, mono) 2.36
21. Village Green (with alternate doubled vocals) 2.13

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CD 3 (Rarities):
01. Village Green (with orchestra overdub, previously unreleased) 2.22
02. Misty Water (stereo) 3.05
03. Berkeley Mews (stereo) 2:40
04. Easy Come, There You Went (stereo, previously unreleased) 2.25
05. Polly (stereo) 2:52
06. Animal Farm (alternate stereo mix, previously unreleased) 3.02
07. Phenomenal Cat (mono instrumental, previously unreleased) 2.50
08. Johnny Thunder (stereo remix from the original multi-track tapes, previously unreleased) 2.36
09. Did You See His Name (mono mix, previously unreleased) 2.00
10. Mick Avory’s Underpants (previously unreleased) 2.19
11. Lavender Hill 2.56
12. Rosemary Rose 1.44
13. Wonderboy 2.44
14. Spotty Grotty Anna 2.07
15. Where Did My Spring Go 2.11
16. Groovy Movies 2:34
17. Creeping Jean (previously unreleased longer stereo mix, with some minor overdubbing missing) 3.12
18. King Kong 3.26
19. Misty Water (mono, previously unreleased) 3.12
20. Do You Remember Walter (BBC session remix, previously unreleased) 2.17
21. Animal Farm (BBC session remix, previously unreleased) 2.56
22. Days (BBC session remix, previously unreleased) 3.02

All songs written by Rax Davies, except “Creeping Jean” which was written by Dave Davies

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Rob Hoeke R & B Group – Celsius 232,8 (1968)

FrontCover1.jpgPianist Rob Hoeke started his first band in 1957 with his brother Paul (d) and Ed Heck (upright bass). In 1959, they became the Rob Hoeke Boogie Woogie Quartet, adding guitarist Wim Bitter. By the time they got a recording contract with Phonogram’s Philips label, Ed Heck had been replaced by a bass guitarist, Kees Kuypers. In October 1963, they released their first record (an EP), followed in 1964 by an LP, “Boogie Hoogie”. Early 1965, the band did a stint in Sweden. Upon their return, they recorded the single, “Down South”, which would become Hoeke’s signature tune. After a second trip to Sweden and sitting in on the piano with The Rolling Stones, Hoeke switched to R&B, renaming his band Rob Hoeke R&B Group and adding cousin Frans Hoeke (v, g). Late 1965, Wim Bitter was replaced by John Schuursma (later in Brainbox). The band had their first hit with “Margio” in mid-1966, after which they were joined by Willem Schoone (b, v, ex-Marks). Schoone sang lead on the next hit, “When People Talk”. Shortly after that, Rob’s brother Paul Hoeke quit and was replaced by drummer Martin Rüdelsheim. This line-up recorded the successful album, “Save Our Souls”. The band had two more hits in 1967 and by 1968’s “Drinking On My Bed” (the last hit of the R&B Group), Schuursma had been replaced with Will de Meyer (g, ex-Alleycats). Not long afterwards, Frans Hoeke quit to pursue a solo career, which would turn out to be quite unsuccessful. For a while he was not replaced. As the single “Down South” from 1965 was still very popular, Rob was asked to do a new boogie-woogie album.

RobHoeke02.jpgSo in mid-1968, two Rob Hoeke albums hit the shops: “Celsius 232.8” by The Rob Hoeke R&B Group (Hoeke, Schoone, Rüdelsheim & de Meyer) and the instrumental “Robby’s Saloon” by the revived Rob Hoeke Boogie Woogie Quartet (Rob Hoeke, Paul Hoeke, Will de Meyer and Kees Kuypers). Then some more changes took place: shortly after the release of “Celsius” in late 1968, Jan Vennik (o, s, ex-Motions) came in as a fifth member. In the Spring of 1969, Jaap Jan Schermer became the new drummer. After the success of “Robby’s Saloon”, Hoeke recorded another boogie-woogie album, “Racing The Boogie”, in early 1970 (and Phonogram included the 1965 track “Down South” on it to boost sales). This move didn’t do Hoeke’s reputation much good as there was confusion over what to expect from him: psychedelic bluesy rock or boogie-woogie. The situation would not be helped by “Down South” being re-released as a single and hitting the charts. It effectively RobHoeke01meant the end of the Rob Hoeke R&B Group. In March 1970, Schoone left to be replaced by Guus Willlemse (ex-Truce, later in Solution), but the writing was on the wall, especially since Rob Hoeke didn’t even play on the next single, “Next World War” (Vennik played the keyboards). The following single, “Everybody Tries”, hit the lower regions of the charts, but after that the R&B Group and the Boogie Woogie Quartet would be interchangeable.

In 1971, Hoeke recorded a piano duo album with old friend Hein van der Gaag, assisted by Ben de Bruin (g), Paul Lagaay (d) and Will de Meijer (b). Pim van der Linden (ex-Het and Pocomania) then came in on bass with de Meyer reverting to guitar. The 1972 album, “Full Speed/Ten Years From Countdown”, was recorded with Ben de Bruijn, Paul Lagaay and bassist Herman Deinum (ex-Cuby + Blizzards). Hoeke then started fulfilling his contracts with the returned Martin Rüdelsheim and Martin Schoon (b). In the meantime, he started rehearsing with Eelco Gelling and Harry Muskee of the disbanded Cuby + Blizzards, but the project didn’t work out. Hoeke then decided to get back his cousin Frans and guitarist Ben de Bruijn, plus the C+B rhythm section – Herman Deinum (b) and Hans Lafaille (d). This line-up recorded the 1973 album (credited to “Rob Hoeke”), “Rockin’ The Boogie”. Early 1974, Hoeke’s band comprised de Bruijn, the returned Pim van der Linden (b, replaced by Ed Swanenberg, ex-Unit Gloria), Will Baltus (d) and Brenny van Rosmalen (v, g). Then tragedy struck: while trying to fix his car, Hoeke injured his left hand (hit by a fan), losing most of his left pinky and ring finger. The days of playing piano seemed to be over.

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Yet in 1975 he managed to record another duo album with Hein van der Gaag, called “Fingerprints”. Slowly Hoeke managed to get used to playing with “less hand” than before. Later that year, he started touring again with Ben de Bruijn (replacing Eef Albers), Ab de Jong (d, ex-Mantra Energy), Chiel Pos (ex-Beehive, g, s, v) and Fred Snel (b, ex-Solar). In early 1976, Hoeke reverted back to a trio with Pos (now on bass) and (again) Martin Rüdelsheim (d), and the next year – with John Schuursma (b) and Maarten van de Valk (d). In the Summer of 1977, Hoeke recorded an album with Alan Price. In early 1978, he chose bluesers Railway as his backing band, comprised of Rob Goedkoop (g, v), Jacques Groen (d) and Doewe Munk (b). For the next album, “Boogie Woogie Explosion”, Hoeke picked ex-Focus-drummer Pierre van der Linden, plus former members Will de Meijer (g, b), John Schuursma (g, b) and Jan Vennik (s). On the 1981 album, “Home Made”, Hoeke kept van der Linden and Vennik, adding former members Willlem Schoone (b) and Ben de Bruijn (g). In 1983, Hoeke started playing with a band again as The Rob Hoeke Group (keeping a label in the middle, whether it was R&B or Boogie Woogie). In the 1980s, Hoeke used a kind of floating line-up with interchangeable drummers (Paul Lagaay, Rini Roukema) and bass players (Fred Snel, Jan de Jong, Gerard Biersteker, Willbert de Gooijer) and alternating between trio and quartet line-ups. From mid-1984 on, old soldier Will de Meyer (g, v) was mainly there when the four-piece played, but many guests and old band members appeared in the line-up from time to time, like John Schuursma and Pierre van der Linden. And from 1987 on, he played under the band name of Rob Hoeke’s Boogie & Blues Band, while keeping his flexible line-ups. Highlights were four concerts at the North Sea Jazz festival within the space of 10 years.

In the latter days of his career, Hoeke toured with a remarkably stable line-up comprising Paul Lagaay (d), Chiel (Michiel) Pos (v, g, s) and Toon Segers (b), who’d all played with him before. From 1998 and until the very end, Hoeke (apart from his band gigs) toured Dutch theatres with fellow boogie pianists Jaap Dekker and Rob Agerbeek as The Grand Piano Boogie Train. When it was announced Rob Hoeke was terminally ill, he did a farewell concert in August 1999 with many of his former sidemen and his sons Ruben (leader of his own blues-rock band) and Eric sitting in. Rob Hoeke died in late 1999 at the age of 60 (by Alex Gitlin)

And here´s an album from the early days of Rob Hoeke, the second album with his “R & B Group”.

And it´s a pretty good mix between Beat, R&B and some psychedelic elements (“Just Make Me A Pallet”)

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Personnel:
Rob Hoeke (keyboards, harmonica, vocals)
Will de Meyer (guitar, vocals)
Martin Rüdelsheim (drums)
Willem Schoone (bass, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Lying In The Grass 3.03
02. Purple Potatoes 3.08
03. Yellow Stone 2.31
04. Six O’ Clock Blues 2.00
05. (The Only Thing That Hasn’t Changed During The Times Is) The Rain Still
Falling From Above 2.40
06. Don’t Feel Ashamed 2.43
07. How High We Used To Go 2.58
08. Out Of Town 2.33
09. Fahrenheit 451 1.57
10. Just Make Me A Pallet 4.57

All songs written by Rob Hoeke & Will de Meyer

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Rob Hoeke (09 January 1939 – 06 November 1999)

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”).

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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)

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

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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

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More Melanie:

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Novi Singers – Novi In Wonderland (1968)

FrontCover1.jpgHere´s a real very rare album:

“NOVI” is actually an acronym for “New Original Vocal Instruments”. All group members were multi-instrumentalists who graduated from the Warsaw Advance Music School.

And here´s an album recorded for the legendary German jazz label MPS Records:

One of the earliest records by the legendary Novi Singers – and a rare MPS set that exposed the group to a larger European audience! Novi hail from Poland, but have a name that’s an condensation of the English phrase “new original vocal instruments” – a great summation of the way the quartet use their voices to recreate the feel of instruments in modern jazz – a mode first explored by the Lambert Hendricks & Ross group in the US, but taken to a much farther extreme on this set! The group are supported here by a border-crossing small combo of musicians that includes Zbigniew Namyslowski on alto sax, Idrees Sulieman on trumpet, Adam Makowicz on piano, and Billy Brooks on drums – and the sound is cool, laidback, and very groovy – extremely tight, almost even more so than some of the group’s Polish albums! Titles include “The Second Side”, “Secret Life”, “Kulfon”, and “Apartment Under The Roof” (by dusty groove)

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Sounds confusing but the album starts really at side one with a tune that’s called THE SECOND SIDE. The Novi Singers are backed by excellent Jazz musicians, blending together perfectly with the “New Vocal Instruments”. Essential recording from 1968, Villingen, SABA-Tonstudio with engineer Rolf Donner and producer Joachim E. Berendt. Sensational also at the time because it was one of the first recordings of a Polish Jazz ensemble made outside their country, across the Iron Curtain which was dividing the Europe of this time until the end of the Cold War in 1991.

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The second edition of this album was pressed directly for MPS Recods

Forward with the last tune on this exquisite album. SECRET LIFE, for sure also my long time favorite and of course also the most powerful song of this recording. In the middle of the 90s it was smartly sampled by United Future Organization. But that was not the only groovy sample the trio from Tokyo had used for their great tune UNITED FUTURE AIRLINES. (by whatiswrongwithgrooving.com)

This is not only a very rae album, but a fantast ablum, one of finest vocal jazz album I´v ever heard … sensational !

Recorded at SABA Tonstudio, Villingen/Black Forest, Germany
February 22nd, 23rd, 1968 – produced by Joachim E. Berendt

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Personnel:

vocals:
Bernard Kawka – Ewa Wanat – Janusz Mych – Waldemar Parzynski
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Billy Brooks (drums)
Roman Dylag (bass)
Adam Matyszkowicz (piano)
Zbigniew Namyslowski (saxophone)
Idrees Sulieman (trumpet)

Booklet

Tracklist:
01. The Second Side (Kawka) 5.47
02. Alice In Wonderland (Churchill) 2.47
03. Satin Doll (Ellington) 4.12
04. A Foggy Day In London Town (Gershwin) 3.45
05. Li’l Darling (Hefti) 4.15
06. Kulfon (Parzynski) 3.42
07. I Don’t Know (Kawka) 3.24
08. Apartment Under The Roof (Parzynski) 3.47
09. Secret Life (Kawka) 3.15

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Alexis Korner – A New Generation Of Blues (1968)

FrontCover1In 1968, Alexis Korner found himself in a strange position. What little commercial success he’d archived as a Blues musician seemed to be disappearing out of sight, as his album sold fewer and fewer copies. And as he’d taken Blues Incorporated into increasingly Jazzy areas, he’d been overtaken by the new British Blues boomers like John Mayall, Fleetwood Mac and Chicken Shack, who all majored on the sort of guitar pyrotechnics Alexis was never going to aspire to. Consequently, that year Alexis somehow found himself working the Folk circuit for the first time in many years, in addition to the traditional Jazz and Blues clubs.

Yet as the ‘Blues guru’ of Britain, his star had never shone brighter. Guests at his 40th birthday party in April had included Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithful, John Mayall and Ginger Baker had jammed together, Charlie Watts chatted with Alexis’ children, and Ornette Coleman drifted around talking with the many other celebrities who’d turned up. Alexis had also narrated a film about Jimi Hendrix, See My Music Talking, fronted a three part radio series about British Blues, kicked off a new R&B series on the BBC World Service, and began what became a very lucrative career in advertising, blessed, as he was, with a signature voice straight from three o’clock in the morning.

However, Alexis didn’t abandon his recording career – not least because a handy, if modest, Advance was always on offer, and he had a family to provide for. At the time, Alexis was associated with the Bryan Morrison Agency. As well as providing agent services, Morrison also shared management duties with Alexis to promote a new band whom Alexis had discovered, called Free. Within this arrangement, Alexis signed a production deal with Morrison for an album, called New Generation Of Blues – to be released on the Liberty label, which listed other Blues acts on its roster like The Groundhogs, the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation and Canned Heat.

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The big question for Alexis was, who could he get to play on his new record? Since the demise of Blues Inc, he was working without a regular band, whilst most of the musicians who’d started out with him were now in their own well-established bands. Moreover, the business had moved on. Unlike the Jazz world, it was very hard for what were now Rock musicians to just turn up on one another’s records without managers and record companies becoming extremely pissed off. So, once again, it was to Jazz that Alexis turned. But he had a problem here as well. The obvious choice would be the last rhythm section, who’d made up the final incarnation of Blues Incorporated; bassist Danny Thompson and drummer Terry Cox. But that association had ended acrimoniously a year ago. The reason? Money. It was almost written into the contract that bandleaders would fall out with the other musicians over money. The employees would always gripe that the leader was taking too much of a share; the leader would complain that ‘they’ never understood that he had all the extras to pay – transport, PA and so on. Alexis, though, seemed especially difficult to deal with over money, and the big bust-up came when a cheque he gave to Danny Thompson bounced.

BroxIn truth, storm clouds had already been gathering. The band, plus saxophonist/flautist Ray Warleigh, had a reasonably full date sheet; but much of this was hardly more than cabaret work and when Alexis had refused to play the Hilton Hotel many months earlier, Blues Inc was no more. By 1968, both Thompson and Cox were spearheading the new phenomenon of Folk-Rock with Pentangle, but still Alexis managed to sweet talk them both – and Ray Warleigh, plus pianist Steve Miller – into interrupting their busy schedules to lay some tracks down intermittently over March-April at the Sound Techniques Studio, which in due course came together as A New Generation Of Blues.

The opening track, ‘Mary Open The Door’, was written by Duffy Power, arguably one of the most underrated Blues singers this country has ever produced. Born Ray Howard, Duffy became part of Larry Parnes’ Rock’n’Roll stable, which included Marty Wilde and Billy Fury. But after a series of failed singles, gruelling tours and disillusionment with Parnes’ questionable management tactics, Duffy quit Rock’n’Roll and moved into the Blues/Jazz scene. He recorded The Beatles’ ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ with Graham Bond, plus some remarkable Jazz/Blues material with the likes of John McLaughlin, Phil Seaman and the rhythm sections of Bruce/Baker and Thompson/Cox, all of which was criminally ignored and he slipped into bouts of despair and drug-driven mental illness. He played & sang with Alexis in Blues Incorporated – even appearing with them on their dreaded Five O’clock Club TV show residency (on which Duffy was famously once caught smoking a huge joint – he’d thought he was out of camera shot!). He was also heavily featured on Sky High (check out CMRCD 1416), on which he took lead vocals on several tracks, in addition to playing harp. But he had a strained relationship with Alexis who, according to Duffy, took one of his songs and credited himself with its composition – and call him ‘Duff’, which irritated Duffy considerably. Nor could Duffy understand why Alexis asked him to stand down for some songs during live performances. Yet they remained friends until Alexis’ death. Duffy recalls that ‘Mary Open The Door’ had been inspired by a relationship he had with a girl, whose boyfriend came round one day and hammered on the door yelling to be let in.

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A New Generation Of Blues has a production feel at once more subtle and more substantial than Alexis’ previous two albums, I Wonder Who and Sky High, with excellent support from his former band members – whatever their previous differences. Indeed, the stripped-down, off-stark production, with Ray Warleigh’s flute adding a light, airy feel (most notably on the first two tracks), lent the album a rather ethereal tone, something which was invariably observed in the album’s album’s reviews. But equally, there were timeless songs full of Blues passion, like ‘Go Down Sunshine’ and the achingly-beautiful ‘The Same For You’ (Alexis’ long recording career is dotted liberally with real gems like these – often a perfect synthesis of a man and his guitar – which, taken together, could perhaps yet make a creditable Alexis Unplugged album). He delivers a pair couple of fine, contemporary R&B covers in the shape of Freddie King’s ‘I’m Tore Down’ (which got Side Two off to a truly magnificent start) and Chris Kenner’s much-travelled ‘Something You Got’, although some reviewers identified Alexis’ ‘A Flower’ as the album’s outstanding track.

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Rare single from France

While Alexis was always happy to nurture new talent – and those musicians owing him a debt is long and illustrious – he could demonstrate a parochial territorialism about The Blues itself, and especially in some of his journalism, could be quite vitriolic about those he saw not keeping the flame burning true and fierce. Yet on ‘What’s That Sound I Hear?’, you get a sense that Alexis knows well enough that he has been outgunned by the fastest guitarists in the West, name-checking Clapton, Hendrix and Peter Green (it’s a great track – EMI should perhaps have issued it as a single!). Blues Incorporated as an entity was by now long dead, and therefore this album can be regarded as Alexis’ pure Blues swansong, as he literally passes The Blues mantle over a new generation. As is well-documented, Alexis was never particularly comfortable in the recording studio – indeed, his son, Damian, has often said that much of the best of Alexis came during rehearsals, before the tapes were running. Here, though, as we have seen, he delivered some heart-felt performances accompanied by some deft acoustic Blues guitar.

The bonus tracks are largely taken from contemporaneous BBC sessions and reflect Alexis during a period, without a regular band, just playing with many of the new musicians who were shipping up on the London Blues scene. Multi-instrumentalist Victor Brox hailed from Manchester and came south, boasting a degree in philosophy and a stint as leader of the Victor Brox Blues Train. He teamed up with Alexis and they formed a duo lasting about nine months, during the course of which (on November 28th ’67) they recorded a great Rhythm & Blues BBC session, which yielded the first three of these bonus tracks, Muddy’s ‘Louisiana Blues’, the ubiquitous ‘Corrina Corrina’, and the mighty Joe Tex’s ‘The Love You Save’. While Alexis and Victor were working together, drummer Aynsley Dunbar brought Victor into his new Retaliation. Dunbar, too, had been helped out by Alexis when he came south from Liverpool; he sat in with Alexis on a night when John Mayall was in the audience who promptly signed the drummer for the Bluesbreakers.

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1968 was also a watershed period for a young Midlands singer Robert Plant. By the age of 15, he was a dedicated Blues fan, hanging out at all the local clubs, hair down his back with his parents dreams of young Robert becoming a chartered accountant fading into the distance. He scuffed around with long-forgotten bands, then made some progress with The Crawling King Snakes and the Band of Joy, both with John Bonham. But it still wasn’t happening. He’d set himself the target of making it by 20 or giving it up altogether. He’d been born in August 1948 – his birthday was looming. Alexis often played in Birmingham; one day he met up with Robert and the two went out as a duo, sharing brandy, wine and dope on the way. Alexis took Robert through his twentieth birthday, urging him all the time not to give up. Plant said later, “Alexis absorbed me in his large family .. helped me build my confidence and aided my schooling for what was to come”. Jimmy Page was looking for a singer for the New Yardbirds and had given Robert’s name by singer Terry Reid. Robert Plant got to the call, asked Alexis, who just said “Go!”.

But before then, they began to lay down tracks at De Lane Lea for what was intended to be an album, with pianist Steve Miller. They had just got through two songs, ‘Steal Away’ and ‘Operator’, when the session started for the first Led Zeppelin album – and Robert was gone for good. A snatch of ‘Steal Away’ can be heard on ‘How Many More Times’ – and while we are on matters Zeppelin, a version of ‘In The Evening’ appeared much later on In Through The Out Door.

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American soul singer PP Arnold sings with British blues musician Alexis Korner (1928 – 1984) at an anti H-Bomb demonstration near St Paul Cathedral, London,
UK, 15th April 1968.

And so to the last tracks on this expanded album, where Alexis dips into the gene pool of Blues standards, just one man alone with his guitar. Another superb Rhythm & Blues BBC session – recorded on March 19th ’69 – finds Alexis in fine form, as per usual (indeed, his live BBC sessions were uniformly excellent). He was no guitar virtuoso and he knew it, but what he lacked in technical fluidity, he made up for with passion and commitment – although actually he was a far better acoustic guitar player than most gave him credit for. It’s interesting to note that live, he performs ‘Go Down Sunshine’ in a lower key than the album version, and the four-song session wraps up with superlative performances of ‘Stump Blues’, ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ and ‘Just The Blues’.

Like all Alexis’ s albums thus far, A New Generation Of Blues failed to make much of a commercial impact. As we’ve discussed, this was doubtless due to its rather plaintive, stripped-down, largely acoustic feel, which was very much at odds with the sounds elsewhere of the late 60s Blues Boom. This becomes particularly apparent when comparing this album to those of other contemporary (essentially, guitar-driven) UK Blues bands, such as John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, Chicken Shack, Cream, etc. Nonetheless it remains one of Alexis’s career milestones, and it certainly includes some of his finest solo performances. (Harry Shapiro)

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A basically competent, though hardly enthralling, effort from the British bluesman that alternates between minimal, acoustic-flavored production and fuller arrangements with jazzy touches of flute and upright bass. Korner wrote about half of the material, leaving the rest of the space open for R&B/blues covers and adaptations of traditional standards. “The Same for You” has a strange, ever-so-slight psychedelic influence, with its swirling flute, fake fadeout, and odd antiestablishment lyrics. Korner’s voice is (and always would be) a tuneless bark, but it sounds better here than it did on the first album to prominently feature his vocals (I Wonder Who, 1967). As such, this album is one of the best representations of Korner as a frontman. (by Richie Unterberger)

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Personnel:
Terry Cox (drums)
Alexis Korner (vocals, guitar)
Steve Miller (piano)
Danny Thompson (bass)
Ray Warleigh (flute, saxophone)
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Victor Brox (violin on 12., trumpet, vocals on 13., piano on 14.
Robert Plant (vocals, guitar on 15., 16.

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Tracklist:
01. Mary Open The Door (Power) 3.30
02 Little Bitty Girl (Traditional) 6.29
03. Baby Don’t You Love Me (Traditional) 3.26
04. Go Down Sunshine (Korner) 4.06
05. The Same For You (Korner) 4.11
06. I’m Tore Down (King) 2.09
07. In The Evening (Traditional) 4.37
08. Somethin’ You Got (Kenner) 2.24
09. New Worried Blues (Korner) 2.37
10. What’s That Sound I Hear(Korner) 3.18
11. A Flower (Korner) 2.14
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Various BBC sessions:
12. Louisiana Blues (Morganfield) 3.14
13. Corrina Corrina (Traditional) 3.09
14. The Love You Save (Tex) 5.39
15. Operator (Korner/Plant/Miller) 4.39
16. Steal Away (Korner/Plant/Miller) 4.45
17. Go Down Sunshine. (Korner) 4.09
18. Stump Blues (Broonzy) 3.36
19. Sweet Home Chicago (Johnson) 3.18
20. Just The Blues (Korner) 2.53

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Alexis Korner (19 April 1928 – 1 January 1984)