The Murgatroyd Band (Spencer Davis Group) – Magpie + Twice A Week (1971)

frontcover1Let´s take a look back in the history of British TV Shows:

Magpie was a British children’s television programme shown on ITV from 30 July 1968 to 6 June 1980. It was a magazine format show intended to compete with the BBC’s Blue Peter, but attempted to be more “hip”, focusing more on popular culture. The show’s creators Lewis Rudd and Sue Turner named the programme Magpie as a reference to the magpie’s habit of collecting small items, and because of “mag” being evocative of “magazine”, and “pie” being evocative of a collection of ingredients.
The programme, made by Thames Television, was first transmitted on 30 July 1968 which was Thames Television’s first day of broadcasting, and was shown weekly until 1969. From that point, until it ended on 6 June 1980, it went out twice a week with approximately 1,000 episodes being made, each 25 minutes in duration. It was not fully networked to all other ITV companies until the autumn of 1969.
The first presenters were the former BBC Radio 1 disc jockey Pete Brady, Susan Stranks and Tony Bastable. Brady left the show in 1969 to be replaced by Douglas Rae, and Bastable left in 1972 when he was replaced by Mick Robertson. Jenny Hanley replaced Susan Stranks in 1974. This lineup remained until 1977, when Tommy Boyd replaced Rae.
Like Blue Peter, Magpie featured appeals for various causes and charities. Notably, however, it asked for cash donations rather than stamps or secondhand goods, familiar on Blue Peter. The cash totaliser was a long strip of paper which ran out of the studio and along the adjacent corridor walls. Unlike the BBC programme, Magpie was unscripted and the presenters were free to improvise the presentation of the show.
The show’s mascot was a magpie called Murgatroyd.
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Extremely rare promo Label

The theme tune was played by the Spencer Davis Group under the alias of The Murgatroyd Band, and composed by Eddie Hardin (lead voc., keyb.), Ray Fenwick (harm. voc., guit.) and Spencer Davis (harm. voc.guit.). The main lyric was cribbed from an old children’s nursery rhyme:

    One for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a girl
Four for a boy
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a story never to be told
Eight for Heaven
Nine for Hell
Ten for the Devil himself.
or, alternatively,
    Eight for a wish
Nine for a kiss, and
Ten for a big surprise!
The first seven lines of this song (from “One for sorrow” to “Seven for a secret never to be told”) have been used in the last verse of the song “Magpie”, by Patrick Wolf.
The rhyme refers to an old English superstition concerning the portent of the number of magpies seen together in a flock. The TV programme version altered the final lines to:
    Eight’s a wish and
Nine a kiss
Ten is a bird you must not miss.
(by wikipedia)
And here´s one of the rarest recordings by The Spencer Davos Group … the single to this TV Show ..
Side one is a more or less psychedelic track … and side two is fun, just fun !.
I guess they had to use the pseudonym “The Murgatroyd Band” because of the fact, they a in 1968/69 a contract with United Artists and not with Decca Records.
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The Magpie Crew
Personnel:
Spencer Davis (guitar, background vocals)
Ray Fenwick (guitar)
Eddie Hardin (keyboards, vocals)
Pete York (drums)
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Tracklist:
01. Magpie (Fenwick/Hardin/Davis) 2.26
02. Twice A Week (Hardin/York/Fenwick) 3.01

Savoy Brown – Getting To The Point (1968)

lpfrontcover1Getting to the Point is the second studio album by the British blues rock band Savoy Brown. It marks the debut of a vastly different lineup, still led by Kim Simmonds but fronted by new vocalist Chris Youlden.

It was released by Decca in 1968 with catalog number SKL 4935 and finds the group taking on more of the songwriting load, as opposed to their debut, which consisted mostly of covers. One of the covers is “You Need Love” by Willie Dixon, which served as a blueprint for “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin. Deram released the CD with three bonus tracks in 1990 with catalog number 820 922-2. (by wikipedia)

1967 saw Savoy Brown tour as backing band for Hooker’s UK tour and also open for Cream’s first London performance.
Extensive touring was followed by personnel changes after a drugs ‘bust’ which saw in new bassist Bob Brunning from Fleetwood Mac and singer Chris Youlden. Youlden was a true find, his rich, often mournful vocal harnessed to Simmond’s fluid guitar lines levered in home grown material from both men that trademarked the Savoy Brown sound, the line-up soon enriched by the arrival of bassist “Lonesome” Dave Peverett and drummer Roger Earle.
Getting to the Point followed in March 1968, the mix now reversed with just two covers and seven originals by Youlden and Simmonds. Initially something of a downer after “Shake Down”, the album picks up half way and begins to rattle along, showcasing an individual style and a growing dynamic within the band.
Winning contemporary media plaudits for the album, this chemistry was to grow to even better purpose with subsequent releases in the last gasps of the decade.(by Greville Rob)

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The first single with Chris Youlden (with the wrong line-up on the cover !)

Getting to the Point marks the debut of a vastly different lineup, still led by Simmonds but now fronted by new vocalist Chris Youlden. The pair got off to a good start by writing or co-writing most of the album. The playing is solid blues revival, and though Youlden’s vocals are often overly imitative of B.B. King and Muddy Waters, he has a confident voice and frontman persona. Originals like “Flood in Houston” and “Mr. Downchild” provide the highlights. (by by Keith Farley)

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US front+back cover

Personnel:
Roger Earl (drums)
Bob Hall (piano)
Rivers Jobe (bass)
Dave Peverett (guitar)
Kim Simmonds (lead guitar)
Chris Youlden (vocals)
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Bob Brunning (bass on 11. + 12.)
Hughie Flint (drums 11. + 12.)

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Tracklist:
01. Flood In Houston (Simmonds/Youlden) – 4:00
02. Stay With Me Baby (Peverett/Simmonds/Youlden) 2.35
03. Honey Bee (Morganfield) 6.25
04. The Incredible Gnome Meets Jaxman (Simmonds) 3.30
05. Give Me A Penny (Traditional) 4.20
06. Mr. Downchild (Simmonds/Youlden) 5.25
07. Getting To The Point (Simmonds) 4.20
08. Big City Lights (Hall/Youlden) 3.25
09. You Need Love (Dixon) 7.40
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10. Walking by Myself (Single A side, 1967) (Rogers) 2.25
11. Taste And Try, Before You Buy (Single A side, 1967) (Youlden) 2-21
12. Someday People (Single B side, 1967) (Simmonds) 4.35

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Still alive and well: Kim Simmonds in 2016

The Candymen – Bring You Candy Power (1968)

frontcover1Bring You Candy Power is the second and last album by the American Sunshine-Pop Band The Candymen.

The Candymen started as a Rockabilly influenced Pop Band in the Mid-60′s on the American State of Alabama, as The Webs. They were heavily inspired by figures like Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley, but also by the Pop Sound that had came with the new Generation, which ended up creating a very appealing sound to the Locals, leading to them being picked up by Local Producers to make a couple recordings and enabling them to live off their act. When Roy Orbison was looking for a Band to back him on his American Concerts, he chose The Webs to do it, leading to the name change to The Candymen. It was the worst moment in Orbison’s career, and although his Albums and Concerts were getting a lot of attention in Europe, his American gigs went unnoticed, and so did The Candymen, never getting a huge amount of attention from anyone (they had a reputation as a very good live Band it seems). ABC Records picked them up and recorded two LP’s with them (The Candymen and Bring You Candy Power), which never achieved any kind of success. Eventually, by the end of the 60′s, they merged into what was to become the Atlanta Rhythm Section. (by 60-70rock.blogspot)

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The Candymen with Roy Orbinson

The Candymen were really journeymen: several were formerly with Roy Orbison’s backing band, the Candy Men, and broke away to do their own thing. They got one minor national hit out of it: “Georgia Pines” got to #81(a bigger hit in their native south than anywhere else), but little else. Their debut Lp got to #195. Their only other album, THE CANDYMEN BRING YOU CANDYPOWER(ABC ABC/ABCS-633)didn’t chart at all. Why? Possibly because a good single(“Sentimental Lady”/”Ways”)didn’t take off, and the cover art suggested a psych band, while their name suggested the nascent bubblegum genre. Too bad, because it’s a pretty good Lp(“Sentimental Lady” is not to be confused with Bob Welch’s Fleetwood Mac/solo song, also very good).

This one’s a bit dated by “The Great Society” and a pity-me-I’m-headed-to-the-chair death song, “Goodbye Mama,” but otherwise has its moments, including Rodney Justo wailing on “Crowded Room”(which almost sounds like a tune-up for Three Dog Night), and a cover of Dylan’s “Memphis Blues Again.”

Three of the group would go on to help form the Atlanta Rhythm Section, which signed to Decca(it would take years for them to make it, and they’d go to Polydor to get there). The early ARS isn’t much unlike the Candymen sound, and a bit of southern cool followed these guys wherever they went. Solid musicians and decent songwriters, but at the time, America wasn’t interested. (by Ed Bishop)

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Personnel:
John Rainey Adkins (guitar)
Dean Daughtry (keyboards)
Billy Gilmore (bass)
Rodney Justo (vocals)
Bob Nix (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Ways (Buie/Adkins) 2.25
02. Great Society (Buie/Cobb) 2.23
03. Sentimental Lady (Buie/Cobb) 3.10
04. Crowded Moon (Buie/Cobb) 2.04
05. Candyman (Clark) 2.00
06. Blues At Midnight (Hunter) 3.16
07. The Memphis Blues Again (Dylan) 2.26
08. I’ve Lost My Mind (Gilmore/Buie/Adkins) 2.27
09. Goodbye Mama (Buie/Cobb) 2.56
10. Bottled Up (Buie/Adkins) 2.30
11. I’ll Never Forget (Gilmore/Buie/Nix) 2.02

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Lee Michaels – Recital (1968)

frontcover1After a somewhat uneven debut album, Lee Michaels found his footing on this record. Michaels, a keen student of R&B as well as classical music, was obviously able to wrangle a bit more artistic control at A&M, and it shows. Overdubs of piano, harpsichord, and organ by Michaels created a wonderful sonic depth, and along with John Barbata’s solid drumming, the result is staggering. Michaels was not exactly a singer/songwriter, but on this record, songs such as “Blind” and “Fell in Love Today” find a real voice for his R&B leanings. The record also contains the fabulous single “If I Lose You,” which should have been a Top 40 hit. In the end, Recital is a very funky pop album that was ahead of its time. (by Matthew Greenwald)

RECITAL is Lee Michaels second album, released on vinyl as A&M SP 4152. There are still some guitar solos, but this time out Lee is in the foreground playing harpsichord, organ and piano while belting out blues vocals with uptempo percussion. “Spare Change” is an instrumental experiment which is fascinating. Other great cuts are “The War,” “Grocery Soldier” and “If I Lose You.” This one was more of a critical than commercial success, but definitely worthwhile.(by an amazon customer)

Truth be told, this isn’t my favorite Lee Michaels production. In fact, it’s not even in second or third place. I’d rank Lee’s best to be ‘Fifth’, followed by his self-titled third album, followed by ‘Live’, a two disc vinyl release. That being said, how many 1960’s lee-michaelsartists made effective, prolific use of the harpsichord? Only an odd guy named Lurch who sat behind the pearly whites once a week comes to mind. Still, it’s the presence of the harpsichord and occasional piano displacing Lee’s compelling Hammond B3 organ runs that lowers my opinion of this, Lee’s sophomore effort from 1968. When I’m in the mood for some Lee Michaels, I’m in the mood for some thick, solid, boisterous organ propping up Lee’s wailing, bluesy vocals.

On the upside, Lee probably hits deeper notes with his lyrics on this release than he typically does. In fact, the flaming anti-Vietnam War rhetoric from ‘The War’ is some of the most scathing and provoking imagery of the era. Consider “How would you like to spend five years in jail for refusing to fight the war… How would you like to watch a baby burn, could you march on and kill one more?” The second track, ‘Time Is Over’ presents an appealing chorus of “Look at your wishes, remember they’re all that remain, and you will learn to love all of your fantasies”. Lee’s soulful, overdubbed wails accompany the lyrics over light and fragile harpsichord runs. Another lyrical coup is scored, oddly enough, on the 42 second blip known as ‘What Can He Do?’, which questions how a plain clothes cop can cope when “the whole world’s out on bail”? (Don Schmittdiel)

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Lee Michaels in 1971

Personnel:
John Barbata (drums)
Frank Davis (drums)
Larry Knechtel (bass)
Drake Levin (guitar)
Lee Michaels (keyboards, vocals, bass)

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Tracklist:
01. If I Lose You (Marks/Michaels) 2.21
02. Time Is Over (Michaels) 3.34
03. No Part Of It (Michaels) 2.11
04. Fell In Love Today (Michaels) 1.54
05. Blind (Michaels) 2.53
06. Grocery Soldier (Michaels) 2.32
07. What Can He Do (Michaels) 0.42
08. Basic Knowledge (Michaels) 3.29
09. Gonna Leave (Michaels) 2.24
10. The War (Michaels) 3.15
11. Spare Change (Michaels) 7.25

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More Lee Michaels:

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click on the pic

The Band – Music From The Big Pink (1968)

frontcover1Music from Big Pink is the debut studio album by the Band. Released in 1968, it employs a distinctive blend of country, rock, folk, classical, R&B, and soul. The music was composed partly in “Big Pink”, a house shared by Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson in West Saugerties, New York. The album itself was recorded in studios in New York and Los Angeles in 1968,[6] and followed the band’s backing of Bob Dylan on his 1966 tour (as the Hawks) and time spent together in upstate New York recording material that was officially released in 1975 as The Basement Tapes, also with Dylan. The cover artwork is a painting by Dylan.

The Band began to create their distinctive sound during 1967, when they improvised and recorded with Bob Dylan a huge number of cover songs and original Dylan material in the basement of a pink house in West Saugerties, New York, located at 56 Parnassus Lane (formerly 2188 Stoll Road). The house was built by Ottmar Gramms, who bought the land in 1952. The house was newly built when Rick Danko found it as a rental. Danko moved in along with Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel in February 1967. The house became known locally as “Big Pink’ for its pink siding. The house was subsequently sold by Gramms in 1977, and since 1998, it has been a private residence.

Though widely bootlegged at the time, the recordings Dylan and the Band made were first officially released in 1975 on The Basement Tapes, and then released in their totality in 2014 on The Basement Tapes Complete. By the end of 1967 The Band felt it was time to step out of Dylan’s shadow and make their own statement.

The Band’s manager Albert Grossman (who was also Dylan ‘s manager) approached Capitol Records to secure a record deal for a group still informally described as “Dylan’s backing band”. Stanley Gortikov at Capitol signed The Band—initially under the name The Crackers. Armed with news of a recording deal for the group, they lured Levon Helm back from the oil rigs where he had been working, to Woodstock where he took up his crucial position in the Band, singing and playing drums. Helm’s return coincided with a ferment of activity in Big Pink as the embryonic Band not only recorded with Dylan but also began to write their own songs, led by guitarist Robbie Robertson.

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After meeting with producer John Simon, the Band started to record their debut album in Manhattan at A&R Studios, on the 7th floor of 799 7th Avenue at 52nd Street in the early months of 1968. The Band recorded “Tears of Rage”, “Chest Fever”, “We Can Talk”, “This Wheel’s On Fire” and “The Weight” in two sessions. Robertson has said that when Simon asked them how they wanted it to sound, they replied, “Just like it did in the basement.”

Capitol were so pleased with the initial recording session, they suggested the group move to Los Angeles to finish recording their first album at Capitol Studios. They also cut some material at Gold Star Studios on Santa Monica Boulevard. The songs on Big Pink recorded in L.A. were “In A Station”, “To Kingdom Come”, “Lonesome Suzie”, “Long Black Veil” and “I Shall Be Released”.

Dylan offered to sing on the album, but ultimately realized it was important for the Band to make their own statement. Instead, Dylan signified his presence by contributing a cover painting. Barney Hoskyns has written that it is significant the painting depicts six musicians. The cover of Music From Big Pink was intended to establish the group as having a different outlook from the psychedelic culture of 1968. Photographer Elliott Landy flew to Toronto to photograph the assembled Danko, Manuel and Hudson families on the Danko chicken farm. A photo was inserted of Diamond and Nell Helm, who lived in Arkansas. The photo appeared on the cover with the caption “Next of Kin”.

The initial critical reception to the album was positive, though sales were slim. In Rolling Stone, Al Kooper’s rave review of Big Pink ended with the words, “This album was recorded in approximately two weeks. There are people who will work their lives away in vain and not touch it.”  which helped to draw public attention to it (even though Rolling Stone referred to them as “the band from Big Pink” instead of just “the Band”). The fact that Bob Dylan wrote one and co-wrote two of the songs on the album also attracted attention.

In 1968, “The Weight” peaked at #63 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart in the US. The song was a bigger hit elsewhere, peaking at #35 in Canada, and #21 in the UK. The album peaked at #30 on Billboard’s Pop Albums chart in 1968, and then recharted as a #8 hit on the Top Internet Albums chart in 2000 (see 2000 in music). “The Weight” gained widespread popularity, from the Band’s performance of it at Woodstock on 17 August 1969 and due partially to its inclusion in the film Easy Rider, though it was omitted from the soundtrack because of licensing issues. A cover version by the band Smith was included on the soundtrack album instead.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 34 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The laid-back feel of the album attracted the attention of other major artists. For example, Eric Clapton cites the album’s roots rock style as what convinced him to quit Cream, and pursue the styles of Blind Faith, Delaney and Bonnie, Derek and the Dominos and his debut album. George Harrison was also impressed by the album’s musicianship and sense of camaraderie, and Roger Waters called it the second “most influential record in the history of rock and roll”, after Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and said that it “affected Pink Floyd deeply, deeply, deeply.” (by wikipedia)

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None of the Band’s previous work gave much of a clue about how they would sound when they released their first album in July 1968. As it was, Music from Big Pink came as a surprise. At first blush, the group seemed to affect the sound of a loose jam session, alternating emphasis on different instruments, while the lead and harmony vocals passed back and forth as if the singers were making up their blend on the spot. In retrospect, especially as the lyrics sank in, the arrangements seemed far more considered and crafted to support a group of songs that took family, faith, and rural life as their subjects and proceeded to imbue their values with uncertainty. Some songs took on the theme of declining institutions less clearly than others, but the points were made musically as much as lyrically. Tenor Richard Manuel’s haunting, lonely voice gave the album much of its frightening aspect, while Rick Danko’s and Levon Helm’s rough-hewn styles reinforced the songs’ rustic fervor. The dominant instrument was Garth Hudson’s often icy and majestic organ, while Robbie Robertson’s unusual guitar work further destabilized the sound. The result was an album that reflected the turmoil of the late ’60s in a way that emphasized the tragedy inherent in the conflicts. Music from Big Pink came off as a shockingly divergent musical statement only a year after the ornate productions of Sgt. Pepper, and initially attracted attention because of the three songs Bob Dylan had either written or co-written. However, as soon as “The Weight” became a minor singles chart entry, the album and the group made their own impact, influencing a movement toward roots styles and country elements in rock. Over time, Music from Big Pink came to be regarded as a watershed work in the history of rock, one that introduced new tones and approaches to the constantly evolving genre. (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Rick Danko (bass, fiddle, vocals)
Levon Helm (drums, tambourine, vocals)
Garth Hudson (keyboard, clavinet, saxophone)
Richard Manuel (keyboards, drums, vocals)
Robbie Robertson (guitar, vocals)
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John Simon (horn, saxophone, piano)

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Tracklist:
01. Tears Of Rage (Dylan/Manuel) 5.24
02. To Kingdom Come (Robertson) 3.23
03. In A Station (Manuel) 3.35
04. Caledonia Mission (Robertson) 2.59
05. The Weight (Robertson) 4.39
06. We Can Talk  (Manuel) 3.07
07. Long Black Veil (Wilkin/Dill) 3.06
08. Chest Fever (Robertson) 5.19
09. Lonesome Suzie (Manuel) 4.04
10. This Wheel’s On Fire (Dylan/Danko) 3.14
11. I Shall Be Released (Dylan) 3.19
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12. Yazoo Street Scandal (outtake) (Robertson) 4.02
13. Tears Of Rage (alternate take) (Dylan/Manuel) 5.32
14. Katie’s Been Gone (outtake) (Manuel/Robertson) 2.47
15. If I Lose (outtake) (Poole) 2.30
16. Long Distance Operator (outtake) (Dylan) 3.58
17. Lonesome Suzie (alternate take) (Manuel) 3.01
18. Orange Juice Blues (Blues for Breakfast) (outtake) (Manuel) 3.40
19. Key To The Highway (outtake) (Broonzy) 2.28
20. Ferdinand The Imposter (outtake) (Robertson) 4.00

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The “Big Pink” house in 2006

Leonard Cohen – Live At The BBC (1968)

frontcover1Leonard Cohen, the hugely influential singer and songwriter whose work spanned nearly 50 years, died at the age of 82. Cohen’s label, Sony Music Canada, confirmed his death on the singer’s Facebook page.

“It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away,” the statement read. “We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries. A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief.” A cause of death and exact date of death was not given.

After an epic tour, the singer fell into poor health. But he dug deep and came up with a powerful new album

“My father passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles with the knowledge that he had completed what he felt was one of his greatest records,” Cohen’s son Adam wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone. “He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humor.”

“Unmatched in his creativity, insight and crippling candor, Leonard Cohen was a true visionary whose voice will be sorely missed,” his manager Robert Kory wrote in a statement. “I was blessed to call him a friend, and for me to serve that bold artistic spirit firsthand, was a privilege and great gift. He leaves behind a legacy of work that will bring insight, inspiration and healing for generations to come.” (by Richard Gehr, Rolling Stone)

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Leonard Cohen, 1960

To honor this great poet … here´s a rare album with early BBC recordings:

While Dylan was the transition point for protest music to move towards singer-songwriter, there were others too championing to focus on songs not politics. Canadian Leonard Cohen, with his brooding monotonous voice, was a talented poet who would never have won American Idol. But where he lacked a sweet voice, he made up for it with the intensity of his songs.

Together with younger artists Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro and Paul Simon, singer-songwriters moved to make songwriting an art form. Their efforts were recognised when mainstream acts covered their songs. All this happened in the whirlpool that rock music was creating.

These well-preserved sessions at the BBC in 1968 offer a fly-on-the-wall experience to witness a young Cohen singing practically the entire first album. The voice is fresh and deep, pushing the songs outside the Tin Pan Alley perimeter, and delving into poetry with a richness of words and subject. Today, they still have that raw appeal of a young artist at the peak of his powers.

Suzanne, So Long Marianne and Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye are beautiful love songs without catchy hooks. They got your attention with words and the emotions in the song.

Tagged to this 1968 session are three songs from a Top Gear show hosted by John Peel. The final track is a duet with British folk singer Julie Felix on Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye. The quality on these four tracks are still very good.

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The origin of this BBC session began when bootleg label Yellow Cat released Leonard Cohen – At The Beeb [YC 018] to a wider audience as a silver-disc bootleg. It ran slow and was a few generations from the master. Then Cohen fan “briggY” shared his much improved version on the Dime site.

Another music fan, JWB, took a copy and improved on the sound. He said: “I’ve remastered this torrent… removed all the pops and clicks (there were several per song and in between tracks)… restored the sound to true mono… and improved the EQ which really cleared up the sound… I did not use any compression or noise reduction tricks… I reduced hiss with some deft EQ moves while still maintaining clarity.”

But the original source was from a fan called “Artery”. This is how he came upon a copy: “This is most probably my transfer from Jim D’s cassette. I did it about 6 years ago. Jim wrote to a man at the BBC who sent him the cassette. He’d made a cassette audio copy for his own use I believe and indicated the videotape had been wiped.”

So for all who wanted to know, the video of this BBC show has been “destroyed”. Artwork for this comes from “luckburz”. Many thanks to all who had a part in preserving this show and improving upon it. By your actions, many others who were not there in ‘68 can now share the experience.

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Leonard Cohen with Julie Felix, 1968

Personnel:
Leonard Cohen (vocals, guitar)
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Julie Felix (guitar, vocals on 17.)
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The Stawbs
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Dave Cousins (banjo)

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Tracklist:
01. You Know Who I Am 3.48
02. Bird On The Wire 4.23
03. The Stranger Song 6.19
04. So Long Marianne 7.56
05. Master Song 8.03
06. There’s No Reason Why You Should Remember Me [improvisation] 1.42
07. Sisters Of Mercy 3.56
08. Teachers 3.59
09. Dress Rehearsal Rag 5.54
10. Suzanne 5.24
11. Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye 3.48
12. Story Of Isaac 4.12
13. One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong 3.58
14. Bird On The Wire 3.37
15. So Long Marianne 5.55
16. You Know Who I Am 3.10
17. Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye 3.12

All songs written by Leonard Cohen

Tracks 1-13 Recorded Spring 1968 at Paris Theatre, London
Tracks 1-5 Broadcast August 31, 1968 on BBC2 TV (”Leonard Cohen Sings Leonard Cohen”)
Tracks 6-13 Broadcast September 7, 1968 on BBC2 TV (”Leonard Cohen Sings Leonard Cohen”)
Tracks 14-16 Recorded August 11, 1968 & Broadcast on BBC Radio 1 (”Top Gear with John Peel”)
Track 17 Recorded January 27, 1968 & Broadcast on BBC2 TV (”Once More With Felix”)

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Rest In Peace

Cream – Farewell Concert (1969) (VHS rip)

frontcoverFarewell Concert is the live recording of the Cream’s final concert at the Royal Albert Hall on 26 November 1968. Aside from the band’s reunion concert in 2005 it is Cream’s only official full concert release on video. It was originally broadcast by the BBC on 5 January 1969. It was not released on video in the US until 1977. The opening acts for the concert were future progressive rock stars Yes who were just starting out and Taste, an Irish trio led by Rory Gallagher. (by wikipedia)

Although the members of Cream (Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce) ran into a number of disagreements which led to the band breaking up, they at least kept themselves together enough to go out in style, playing a farewell tour before calling it quits (of course they ended up reuniting later). This “Farewell Concert” took place on November 26, 1968 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, where they would eventually perform again in 2005.

The Cream Farewell Concert (produced by Robert Stigwood, who of course went on to produce the biggest music-oriented films of the 1970s including Saturday Night Fever and Grease) has been released on home video a number of times, both in the form of the videotaped presentation as shown on BBC television, and a longer version shown theatrically with the videotaped footage transferred to film and two additional songs (Steppin’ Out and Sitting on Top of the World) as well as a slightly different opening and closing than the TV version. Kino’s new DVD presents the latter.

The film is introduced with narration by Patrick Allen , who says that Cream have “given rock a musical authority which only the deaf cannot acknowledge.” Allen makes more comments in between songs, and also interspersed are four backstage interview segments with the band members. Jack Bruce tells of frustrations with his music teacher as a kid (he wrote a string quartet at age 14, which the teacher didn’t like), Eric Clapton demonstrates his guitar methods, and Ginger Baker does likewise with his drums. It’s quite interesting to hear that these guys have backgrounds in classical music, as growing up I was usually told by my parents and teachers that classical was “real” music while rock was “garbage”- of course, that only made me like rock music that much more.

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Many fans and the band members themselves have said that it wasn’t their best. Regardless, it has for a long time been the only visual record of a complete Cream performance. The music is enjoyable for the most part, kicking off with “Sunshine of Your Love” which remains a radio mainstay to this day. Most of the songs last for several minutes, as the band goes into long instrumental stretches between the sung verses. After the backstage segment with Ginger Baker, we get to see him perform a very long drum solo on stage.

The concert is shot with many of the era’s conventions, mainly lots of quick zooming in and out by the camera. There are very few long shots of the band on stage or of the audience, instead most of the show is dominated by close-ups which get to be disorienting after a while. Two songs are also accompanied by psychedelic liquid light over the picture, which definitely adds to the atmosphere.

movieposterAs mentioned earlier, the 4×3 presentation was taken from a film print consisting of footage originally shot on video (the backstage segments appear to have been shot on film.) Watching the result back on video looks a bit muddy and leaves one longing for the original video source at its native frame rate, but this is still faithful to how this version looked in theaters, and apparently the only source of the two songs that weren’t included in the TV version. The film is in decent shape except for a bit of dirt and scratches at the beginning and end of reels.

The Cream Farewell Concert is certainly worth checking out for its historical value, and while the music performances may not have been the band at its best, they’re still better than the best performances of many contemporary groups. (by Jesse Skeen)

Cream played two final shows at the Royal Albert Hall, on the twenty sixth of
November, 1968. Both shows sold out within two hours of the box office opening.
They shared the bill with two, as yet, unknown bands, Yes, and Rory Gallagher’s
band, Taste.
But it was Cream that the audience had come to hear, and when they were
announced, the crowd erupted in an emotional display of affection. The musicians
themselves would later admit that they were surprised at the reception, and regretted
that they had stayed away from home for so long a time.

While the shows were extremely well received, and the adoring audience called the
band back for three encores, Ginger didn’t feel that they were very good.

“Those shows, at the Royal Albert Hall were really not very good gigs. Its a shame
that that’s how most people remember us, because Cream was so much better than that”.

concertposterI tend to agree with Ginger on this one. The recordings of Cream in California, taken
from both the second and third tours are, in my opinion at least, far better than the
Albert Hall concerts. Back in November of ’68 however, that would have put me in
the minority.

Jon Cott of Rolling Stone reviewed the second show (said to be the better of the two), under the headline “GOD SAVE THE CREAM”.

“What was exhilarating about the sell-out farewell concerts was each member of the group’s affirmation of his special gifts – Bruce’s subtle whirlwind bass figurations…Baker’s plateaued drum sectionings and textural clarifications, and Clapton’s Apollonian elegance and control.

Each musical line was almost hyperesthetically precise (this especially holds for Baker’s drumming), and each line fitted tightly against the other – parallel lines.

Many persons missed that raunchiness and fuzziness of effect which Cream often used to express – a strained indulgence, I thought. What revealed itself at Albert Hall was the poised quality of the performance, the detachment, the structure looked down upon from the stars-a self-begotten music (Cream is / was three stars) whose brilliance seemed born of itself without labour, for everything seemed effortless”.

Mr. Cott’s article was probably perceived to be a “rave review”, and I have no doubt that it was meant to be. What strikes me about it, however, is that he appears to be unduly hung up on the band’s technique. He believes that the “raunchiness and fuzziness” Cream had
in the past expressed was nothing more than a “strained indulgence” rather than a sign of exuberant enthusiasm for the music they were playing. He praises their poised detachment, as if this were a good thing. Strange indeed to praise artists for being detached from their art.
Yet, that may be an odd tribute to the band. So good were Eric, Jack and Ginger that, even on their “bad nights”, they were still pretty damn good. (by Edward Uzenko)

Yes … maybe not the best concert,maybe not the best rock movie  .. but  … I love the introduction by Patrick Allen … and I love the raw sound of this movie … the sound of one of the best groups we ever had !

And don´t forget:

Forget the lyrics, forget the message … just play !

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Personnel:
Ginger Baker (drums)
Jack Bruce (bass, vocals)
Eric Clapton (guitar, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Introduction by Patrick Allen (including Sunshine Of Your Love)
02. Sunshine Of Your Love (Bruce/Brwon/Clapton)
03. Interview Jack Bruce
04. White Room (Bruce/Brown)
05. Politician (Bruce/Brown)
06. Crossroads
07. Interview Eric Clapton
08. Steppin´ Out (Bracken)
09. Sitting On The Top Of The World (Burnett)
10. Spoonful (Dixon)
11. Interview Ginger Baker
12. Toad (Baker)
13. Interview Jack Bruce
14. I´m So Glad (James)

Total time: 1.19.36

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