David Munrow – The Mediaeval Sound (1970)

FrontCover1David John Munrow (12 August 1942 – 15 May 1976) was a British musician and early music historian.

Munrow was born in Birmingham where both his parents taught at the University of Birmingham. His mother, Hilda Ivy (née Norman) Munrow (1905-1985), was a dance teacher and his father, Albert Davis “Dave” Munrow (1908-1975), was a lecturer and physical education instructor who wrote a book on the subject.

Munrow attended King Edward’s School until 1960. He excelled academically and was noted for his treble voice. He was lent a bassoon and returned in about a fortnight, able to play it remarkably well.
Munrow’s career was inspired by the loan of a crumhorn in 1961

In 1960, Munrow took a gap year and went to Peru to teach English at Markham College in Lima under the British Council student teacher scheme. He reached Lima by train from São Paulo and later spent some time touring Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and Chile, immersing himself in the traditional music of Latin America and collecting folk instruments. He returned home to Britain with a number of Bolivian flutes and other obscure instruments.

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While reading English for his master’s degree at Pembroke College, Cambridge, he became involved in musical performance, playing South American instruments in a students’ autumn-term concert organised by Christopher Hogwood. A professor of music, Thurston Dart, was intrigued by Munrow’s performance and encouraged him to explore links between Latin American folk instruments and early European instruments. While visiting Dart’s study, Munrow noticed a crumhorn hanging on the wall; Dart suggested he borrow it and this eventually inspired Munrow to commence an independent study of early musical instruments.

Starting from his ability as a pianist, singer and bassoonist, Munrow taught himself to play many older instruments. He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company as a bassoonist but soon played instruments of Shakespeare’s time. Although he displayed talent on a wide variety of instruments, he had a particular lasting influence as a recorder player. His English style of discreet and controlled expression contrasts with the greater tonal flexibility of the Continental style espoused by the Dutch recorder player Frans Brüggen and others.

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By 1967 he was appointed a lecturer in early music at the University of Leicester, having married Gillian Veronica Reid the previous year. With Christopher Hogwood he formed the Early Music Consort, whose core members were experts on their particular instruments. Sometimes other professional musicians were employed when necessary, such as Nigel North and Robert Spencer, both highly regarded lutenists. From 1968, he toured the world, unearthing obscure instruments in every country he visited. He commissioned reconstructions of instruments related to the cornett and rackett from, amongst others, Otto Steinkopf. Two television programmes made him a household name: The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970) and Elizabeth R (1971). He also scored the feature film adaptation of the former, Henry VIII and His Six Wives, in 1972.

The early music revival was born following Munrow’s success with his soundtrack for The Six Wives of Henry VIII, which contained authentic music played on original instruments, and generated worldwide enthusiasm for music and instruments from the renaissance period. Subsequently, demand for such historical instruments increased dramatically, resulting in Munrow’s encouragement for the formation of a business specialising in this area, which is still trading as The Early Music Shop, based in Saltaire, West Yorkshire. Munrow was a loyal and enthusiastic customer of the Early Music Shop, having helped the founder, Richard Wood, create the business’s name, and travelling immediately to the music store to be re-equipped with a variety of historical instruments after losing his entire collection in a theft.

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Munrow’s two contributions to film music were for British directors:

Ken Russell’s The Devils (1971). Munrow’s contribution included numbers from Terpsichore, Michael Praetorius’s collection of French dance music. It complemented an original score by Peter Maxwell Davies.
Zardoz (1974), written and directed by John Boorman. This included arrangements of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 for early music instruments.

During his relatively short life, Munrow released over 50 records, some of which are now available on CD. In addition to his recordings with the Early Music Consort, he recorded with Michael Morrow’s Musica Reservata, Alfred Deller and the King’s Singers. He recorded Bach and Monteverdi many times, but his widest influence was in the Medieval and Renaissance periods. His three-record set with the Early Music Consort, The Art of the Netherlands, issued in 1976 (EMI SLS5049), was particularly influential in popularising the genre.

On BBC Radio 3 he presented Pied Piper, a multi-ethnic and centuries-spanning spread of music from Monteverdi to the Electric Light Orchestra rock group. Munrow also had dealings notably with the Young Tradition and Shirley and Dolly Collins.

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Apart from his regular radio slot and other programmes, he appeared on television, most notably on BBC 2 in a series entitled Ancestral Voices in a London studio, and on ITV’s Early Musical Instruments, filmed on location at Ordsall Hall in Salford. He also wrote one book entitled Instruments of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. This originally accompanied a record set of the same name.

Munrow’s personal interests were travel, sailing, jazz and antiques. He was also a linguist. In addition, he wrote some articles on music, especially for his own recordings.

In 1976, Munrow hanged himself while in a state of depression; the recent deaths of his father and father-in-law, to whom he dedicated his sole book, are thought to have contributed to his decision to take his own life. He had, however, attempted suicide by drug overdose the previous year.

His death was noted to be a tragic loss to the early music movement, as no-one sufficiently followed in his footsteps.

The original line-up of the Early Music Consort: Christopher Hogwood, David Munrow, James Tyler, Oliver Brookes and James Bowman:
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Munrow perhaps did more than anyone else in the second half of the 20th century to popularise early music in Britain, despite a career lasting barely 10 years. This was underscored when NASA’s Voyager space probe committee selected one of his Early Music Consort recordings for the Voyager Golden Record, a gold-plated copper record that was to be sent into space. “The Fairie Round” from Paueans, Galliards, Almains and Other Short Aeirs by Anthony Holborne was included among a compilation of sounds and images which had been chosen as examples of the diversity of life and culture on Earth. Two discs were launched into space in 1977, the year after Munrow’s death.

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Munrow left behind him not only his recordings but a large collection of musical instruments. The Munrow Archive at the Royal Academy of Music holds a collection of his letters, papers, TV scripts, scores, musical compositions and books. The collection is accessible to the public. The online catalogue of the British Library Sound Archive reveals his many recording entries, and those of many other notable people.

Information about the life and work of David Munrow can be found in obituaries about him in 1976 (particularly the OUP journal Early Music), and in the following sources: a detailed piece in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography by Christopher Hogwood; The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians; The Art of David Munrow, a record set with a biography by Arthur Johnson, the producer of Pied Piper; and on the old vinyl sleeve of the Renaissance Suite. (wikipedia)

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Garklein Flötlein, Kortholt, Rauschpfeife, Nicolo Shawm, Basset Rackett, Crumhorn, and Gemshorn…
these are just some of the fascinating instruments whose sounds you will hear on this recording.

David Munrow begins by introducing them one by one, with a spoken explanation followed by a demonstration. Then hear these instruments played together in three varied programs: Music at the Court of King Henry VIII, Elizabethan Popular Tunes, and a Suite of Renaissance Dances. Before his untimely death David Munrow pioneered and was to become the acknowledged master of medieval instruments, performing on television, film, and making further recordings.

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“This recording is an attempt to illustrate the astonishing range and variety of woodwind instruments before 1600. To regard these instruments as primitive, as mere forerunners of their modern counterparts, is a vast delusion. The end of the sixteenth century represents a culmination of over 500 years of artistry and industry in making and developing musical instruments in Europe. All their families of instruments possessed remarkably individual timbres, and the professional musicians who played them were highly skilled; there is plenty of testimony to their accomplished technique, prodigious feats of improvisation and surprising versatility. After 1600, some of these exotic instruments disappeared. Others were transformed; the shawm was refined into the oboe, the dulcian into the bassoon”. David Munrow

In these instruments and these tunes lie the foundations of the baroque. (baroquemusic.org)

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Personnel:
David Munrow (all woodwind instruments)
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Christopher Hogwood (regal harpsichord)
Gillian Reid (percussion)

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Tracklist:

David Munrow introduces early woodwind instruments:
01. Danse Royale – French 13 Century 0.52
02. Dance Tune – Scottish c. 1250 1.39
03. Motet ‘Vertias Arpie” – French Before 1316 0.51
04. Gymel ‘Jesu Cristes Milde Moder’ – English c. 1270 1.38
05. Carol ‘Nowell Sing We’ – English 15th Century 3.01
06. Piper’s Fancy – English Traditional 1.32
07. Ballade ‘Ja Nuns Hons Pris’ (Coeur-de-Lion) 1.37
08. Saltarello – Italian 14th Century 1.59
09. Postillon – 16th Century 1.46
10. Alarm – 16th/17th Century 1.36
11. Wat Zal Men Op Den Avond Doen’ – 16th Century 0.13
12. Bicinium ‘Je Nose Etre Content’ (Certon) 0.53
13. ‘Wat Zal Men Op Den Avond Doen’ – 17th Century 1.31
14. Pavana ‘Desiderata’ (Benusi) 1.07

Band One: Music at Henry VIII’s Court:
15. Helas Madame (Henry VIII) 1.33
16. Si Fortune 1.20
17. Consort 1.06
18. Taunder Naken (Henry VIII) 2.22
19. If Love Now Reigned (Henry VIII) 0.27
20. En Vray Amoure (Henry VIII) 1.23

Band Two: Elizabethan Popular Tunes:
21. La Volta 1.55
22. Kemp’s Jig 1.41
23. Tower Hill 1.35
24. A Bergomask 1.04
25. Bouffons 2.01

Band Three: Suite of Renaissance dances:
26. Ungarescha (from “Il Primo Libro De Balli”) (Mainerio) 1.57
27. La Bouree (from “Terpsichore”) (Praetorius) 1.33
28. Basse Danse (‘Bergeret Sans Roch’ from the “Danserye”) (Susato) 1.31
29. Ronde ‘Mon Amy’ (from the ‘Danserye’) (Susato) 1.22
30. Galliard ‘La Rocha El Fuso’ 1.08
31. Ballets Des Baccanales Et Des Feus (from ‘Terpsichore’) (Praetorius) 0.51

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Colosseum – Transmissions – Live At The BBC (CD 1 + 2) (2020)

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Colosseum are an English jazz rock band, mixing blues, rock and jazz-based improvisation. Colin Larkin wrote that “the commercial acceptance of jazz rock in the UK” was mainly due to the band. Between 1975 and 1978 a separate band Colosseum II existed playing progressive rock.

Colosseum, one of the first bands to fuse jazz, rock and blues, were formed in early 1968 by drummer Jon Hiseman with tenor sax player Dick Heckstall-Smith, who had previously worked together in the New Jazz Orchestra and in The Graham Bond Organisation, where Hiseman had replaced Ginger Baker in 1966. They met up again early in 1968 when they both played in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, during which time they played on the Bare Wires album. Childhood friend Dave Greenslade was quickly recruited on organ, as was bass player Tony Reeves who had also known both Hiseman and Greenslade since being teenage musicians in South East London. The band’s line-up was completed, after lengthy auditions, by Jim Roche on guitar and James Litherland (guitar and vocals), although Roche only recorded one track before departing.

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Their first album, Those Who Are About to Die Salute You, which opened with the Bond composition “Walkin’ in the Park”, was released by the Philips’ Fontana label in early 1969. In March the same year they were invited to take part in Supershow, a two-day filmed jam session, along with Modern Jazz Quartet, Led Zeppelin, Jack Bruce, Roland Kirk Quartet, Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, and Juicy Lucy.

Colosseum’s second album, later in 1969, was Valentyne Suite, notable as the first release on Philip’s newly launched Vertigo label, established to sign and develop artists that did not fit the main Philips’ brand, and the first label to sign heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath.

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For the third album, The Grass Is Greener, released only in the United States in 1970, Dave “Clem” Clempson replaced James Litherland. Louis Cennamo then briefly replaced Tony Reeves on bass, but was replaced in turn by Mark Clarke within a month. Then Hiseman recruited vocalist Chris Farlowe to enable Clempson to concentrate on guitar. This lineup had already partly recorded the 1970 album Daughter of Time.

In March 1971, the band recorded concerts at the Big Apple Club in Brighton and at Manchester University. Hiseman was impressed with the atmosphere at the Manchester show, and the band returned five days later for a free concert that was also recorded. The recordings were released as a live double album Colosseum Live in 1971. In October 1971 the original band broke up. (wikipedia)

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“This is the BBC Radio 1 Service. We proudly present one of the world’s greatest bands… Colosseum!” Fans tuning into their wireless sets during the great age of progressive rock would have been thrilled to hear the announcer introduce one of their favourite bands about to hit the airwaves. They wouldn’t be disappointed. Few bands played with such power, fire and intensity whether in a club, at a festival or even in the confines of a radio station studio. Led by drumming legend Jon Hiseman, Colosseum was guaranteed to give an exciting performance as soon as the red recording light went on and the engineer gave the thumbs up. Even so, it seemed like a fleeting moment, once the broadcasts were over, never to be heard again. But here is the exciting news.

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Many of the shows when Colosseum roared into epic arrangements like ‘Walking In The Park,’ ‘Daughter Of Time’, ‘Tanglewood ’63’ and ‘Rope Ladder To The Moon’ were captured on tape for posterity, not only by the BBC but by listeners armed with their own home recorders. So now it is Repertoire’s turn to proudly announce the release of an amazing 6CD set Transmissions Live At The BBC featuring shows like John Peel’s ‘Top Gear’ and ‘Sounds Of The 70s’, and comprising some 60 tracks recorded between 1969 and 1971. We hear the earliest version of Colosseum with founder members Jon Hiseman, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Dave Greenslade and Tony Reeves joined by guitarist/vocalist James Litherland. Later classic line-ups include Dave Clempson on guitar with Chris Farlowe (vocals) and Mark Clarke (bass) with guest appearances by Barbara Thompson (sax/flute) and the New Jazz Orchestra. This vast treasure trove of material has been rescued from the BBC and Colosseum archives, along with rare recordings by fans and enthusiasts. It has been painstaking collected, collated, restored and digitalised by the combined forces of historian and archivist Colin Harper, Jon’s daughter Ana Gracey and Repertoire’s own audio genius the mighty Eroc. With liner notes by Repertoire’s Chris Welch including new interviews with Dave Greenslade, Tony Reeves and Chris Farlowe, this promises to be the biggest classic rock album release of the year. So ‘The Machine Demands A Sacrifice’? Here it is! (press release)

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I have just taken delivery of this set & am very impressed. I haven’t listened to a note though – that goes without saying. What I wish to comment on is the packaging. The box is beautifully made & the 6 discs & booklet fit snugly so whole thing takes up a minimum of space (& apart from the actual discs, contains no plastic) so it will easily be stored with other CDs. Would that all CD boxed sets were like this. (The Duckmeister)

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Superb collection of high class radio broadcasts. Brings me back to those fabulous days when I heard them when first broadcast when I was a teenager. Brilliant music. (Bob Mitchell)

Without any doubts: a must for every serious Colosseum collector !

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Personnel:

From Top Gear Januar 1969 to Radio 1 Jazz Workshop July 1969:
Dave Greenslade (organ, vibraphone)
Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone)
Jon Hiseman (drums)
James Litherland (guitar, vocals)
Tony Reeves (bass)
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Barbara Thompson (saxophone, flute on Top Gear July 1969)

from Top Gear November 1969 to Sounds of the 70’s April 1970:
Dave Clempson (guitar, vocals)
Dave Greenslade (organ, vibraphone)
Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone)
Jon Hiseman (drums)
Tony Reeves (bass)
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Barbara Thompson (saxophone, flute on Top Gear November 1969

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Tracklist:

CD 1:

Top Gear, 19 January 1969:
01. The Road She Walked Before (Heckstall-Smith) 2.51
02. Backwater Blues (Leadbetter) 5.01
03. A Whiter Shade Of Powell (Pale) (Brooker/Bach) 2.46

Symonds On Sunday, 16 March 1969:
04. Walking In The Park (Bond) 3.23
05. Interview with Jon Hiseman 1.00
06.Beware The Ides Of March (Reeves/Hiseman/Heckstall-Smith/Litherland/Greenslade) 4.08
07. Plenty Hard Luck (Reeves/Hiseman/Heckstall-Smith/Litherland/Greenslade) 2.41

Johnnie Walker, 24 May 1969:
08. Elegy (Reeves/Hiseman/Heckstall-Smith/Litherland/Greenslade) 3.04
08. Walking In The Park (Bond) 4.19
10. Butty’s Blues (Reeves/Hiseman/Heckstall-Smith/Litherland/Greenslade) 5.59
11. I Can’t Live Without You (Litherland) 4.48

Top Gear, 6 July 1969:
12. Elegy (Reeves/Hiseman/Heckstall-Smith/Litherland/Greenslade) 2,51
13. The Grass Is Greener (Heckstall-Smith/Hiseman) 7.25
14. Hiseman’s condensed history of mankind 2.30
15. February’s Valentyne (Heckstall-Smith/Hiseman(Greenslade) 6.18

Symonds On Sunday, 20 July 1969:
16. Elegy (Reeves/Hiseman/Heckstall-Smith/Litherland/Greenslade) 3.07
17. The Road She Walked Before (Heckstall-Smith) 2.24
18. Walking In The Park (Bond) 3.41
19. Butty’s Blues (Reeves/Hiseman/Heckstall-Smith/Litherland/Greenslade) 3.12

CD 2:

Radio 1 Jazz Workshop, 17 July 1969:
01. Elegy (take 1) (Reeves/Hiseman/Heckstall-Smith/Litherland/Greenslade) 3:01
02. I Can’t Live Without You (Litherland) 4.45
03. Walking In The Park (Bond) 4.17
04. Those About To Die (take 1) (Reeves/Hiseman/Heckstall-Smith/Litherland/Greenslade) 6.29
05. Butty’s Blues (take 1) (Reeves/Hiseman/Heckstall-Smith/Litherland/Greenslade) 6.50
06. Mandarin (Reeves/Greenslade) 6.32
07. The Grass Is Greener (Heckstall-Smith/Hiseman) 2.02

Top Gear, 22 November 1969:
08. Interview with Dick Heckstall-Smith 1.41
09. Lost Angeles (Greenslade/Heckstall-Smith)  8.47
10. Arthur’s Moustache  6.26

Unknown Session late 1969 / early 1970:
11. Jumping Off The Sun (Taylor/Tomlin) 3.29
12. Theme For An Imaginary Western (Bruce/Brown) 3.57
13. Take Me Back To Doomsday (Greenslade/Clempson/Hiseman) 2.32
14 Lost Angeles (partial) (Farlowe/Greenslade/Heckstall-Smith) 1.28
15. Angle 3:52
16. The Machine Demands A Sacrifice (Hiseman) 2.44

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Box front + backcover:
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Coming soon: CD 3 + 4, 5+ 6 + booklet

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Bob Dylan – New Morning (1970)

FrontCover1New Morning is the eleventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on October 21, 1970 by Columbia Records.

Coming only four months after the controversial Self Portrait, the more concise and immediate New Morning received a much warmer reception from fans and critics. Most welcome was the return of Dylan’s familiar, nasal singing voice. While he has a slightly nasal tone to his voice on “Alberta #1” from Self Portrait, this was the first full album with his familiar voice since John Wesley Harding in 1967, when he began singing with a country croon. In retrospect, the album has come to be viewed as one of the artist’s lesser successes, especially following the release of Blood on the Tracks in 1975, often seen as a fuller return-to-form.

It reached No. 7 in the US, quickly going gold, and gave Dylan his sixth and last UK number 1 album until Together Through Life in 2009. The album’s most successful song from a commercial perspective is “If Not for You”, which also was recorded by George Harrison, who had played guitar on a version of the song not released until 1991’s The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3, and was also an international hit for Olivia Newton-John in 1971. Bryan Ferry also included the song on Dylanesque.

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Dylan discusses the recording of New Morning at length in one chapter of his autobiography, Chronicles, Vol. 1. Several alternate, preliminary forms of the album have been documented, including tracks which later appeared on the unauthorized album 1973 Dylan. He has played only four of the album’s twelve songs in concert; “If Not for You”, “If Dogs Run Free”, the title track and “The Man in Me”. “If Dogs Run Free”, made its live debut on October 1, 2000, within weeks of the 30th anniversary of the album’s original release.

New Morning was released just four months after Self Portrait and there was some speculation that it was recorded hastily and rushed out as an immediate response to the scathing criticism that surrounded Self Portrait. In fact, much of New Morning was already complete when Self Portrait was officially released.

“I didn’t say, ‘Oh my God, they don’t like this, let me do another one,'” Dylan said in 1975. “It wasn’t like that. It just happened coincidentally that one came out and then the other one did as soon as it did. The Self Portrait LP laid around for I think a year. We were working on New Morning when the Self Portrait album got put together.”

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During the March sessions that yielded most of Self Portrait, Dylan attempted three songs that he later rerecorded for New Morning: “Went to See the Gypsy”, “Time Passes Slowly”, and “If Not for You.” A number of performances were recorded, but none to his satisfaction.

After work on Self Portrait was virtually completed, Dylan held more sessions at Columbia’s recording studios in the Columbia Studio Building at 49 East 52nd Street in New York, beginning May 1, 1970.[1][2] Held in Studio B, the first session was accompanied by George Harrison, bassist Charlie Daniels, and drummer Russ Kunkel. A large number of covers and old compositions were recorded in addition to several new compositions. The results were rejected, although “Working on a Guru” and alternate versions of “Time Passes Slowly” and “If Not For You” have since been released.

Sometime in the spring of 1970, Dylan became involved with a new play by poet Archibald MacLeish. A musical version of The Devil and Daniel Webster was titled Scratch. “New Morning”, “Father of Night” and others were all written for the production. Though Dylan enjoyed talking with MacLeish, he was never confident about writing songs for the play. “Archie’s play was so heavy, so full of midnight murder, there was no way I could make its purpose mine,” he would later write.

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Eventually, a conflict with the producer over “Father of Night” prompted Dylan to leave the production, withdrawing his songs in the process. Al Kooper, who is credited as co-producer of New Morning, would later say that these three songs were “pretty much the fulcrum for [New Morning]… That got him writing a little more.”

The next session for New Morning would not be held until June 1. By this time, Dylan had written several new songs, including “Three Angels”, “If Dogs Run Free”, “Winterlude”, and “The Man in Me”.

Dylan vacated Studio B and moved into Studio E, both of which were in the Columbia Studio Building, where he stayed for the remaining sessions. For five straight days, ending on June 5, Dylan recorded most of New Morning; he even recorded a number of covers with the intention of including a few on New Morning. The June 1 session was devoted entirely to covers, but Peter La Farge’s “Ballad of Ira Hayes” was the only one given any serious consideration for inclusion. The June 2 session produced a solo piano rendition of “Spanish Is the Loving Tongue”; Al Kooper felt it was a strong candidate for New Morning, but it was ultimately set aside. Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles” and the traditional “Mary Ann” were also recorded on June 2, with “Mr. Bojangles” receiving serious consideration for inclusion.

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On June 9, several days after those initial June sessions, Dylan accepted an honorary doctorate in music from Princeton University. Dylan did not enjoy the experience, and it inspired him to write a new song, “Day of the Locusts”.

Weeks later, a session held on June 30 was dedicated to recording new versions of “Blowin’ in the Wind,” but those recordings were left on the shelf.

Bob Johnston was still credited with production, but by July he was absent and would not return. Instead, Dylan and Kooper created the preliminary sequence for New Morning. The process was wrought with frustration, possibly the result of the negative criticism over Self Portrait. The first sequence of New Morning included a few covers as well as a new version of “Tomorrow is a Long Time,” an original composition dating back to 1962.

Meanwhile, Kooper convinced Dylan to record orchestral overdubs for “Sign on the Window” and “New Morning”. An overdub session was held on July 13, but Dylan left those overdubs out of the final mix. These alternate mixes would later appear on Volume 10 of the Bootleg Series. Kooper then convinced Dylan to record overdubs for versions of “Spanish Is the Loving Tongue”, “If Not For You” and “Went to See the Gypsy”. That overdub session was held on July 23, but Dylan would ultimately reject these recordings.

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“When I finished that album I never wanted to speak to him again,” Kooper said. “I was cheesed off at how difficult [the whole thing was]…He just changed his mind every three seconds so I just ended up doing the work of three albums…We’d get a side order and we’d go in and master it and he’d say, ‘No, no, no. I want to do this.’ And then, ‘No, let’s go in and cut this.’… There was another version of ‘Went to See the Gypsy’ that was really good… It was the first time I went in and had an arrangement idea for it and I said, ‘Let me go in and cut this track and then you can sing over it.’ So I cut this track and it was really good… and he came in and pretended like he didn’t understand where to sing on it.”

Dylan ultimately decided to re-record “If Not for You” and “Time Passes Slowly”, holding one final session on August 12. During that session, he also recorded “Day of the Locusts”, which by now had been finished. For the album’s final sequencing, these three recordings were placed at the beginning of New Morning, while covers of “Ballad of Ira Hayes” and “Mr. Bojangles” were dropped.

While New Morning neared completion, Dylan and his manager, Albert Grossman, formally dissolved their business relationship on July 17, 1970. Grossman retained certain rights from previous agreements, including royalties on work produced under his management, but their publishing company, Big Sky Music, would be replaced by Ram’s Horn Music before the end of 1971, putting an end to any joint ownership in publishing. Dylan would gain complete control over his personal management and his own music publishing. (wikipedia)

taken from Stuart Hoggard + Jim Shields – Bob Dylan – An Illustrated Discography (1978):
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Dylan rushed out New Morning in the wake of the commercial and critical disaster Self Portrait, and the difference between the two albums suggests that its legendary failed predecessor was intentionally flawed. New Morning expands on the laid-back country-rock of John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline by adding a more pronounced rock & roll edge. While there are only a couple of genuine classics on the record (“If Not for You,” “One More Weekend”), the overall quality is quite high, and many of the songs explore idiosyncratic routes Dylan had previously left untouched, whether it’s the jazzy experiments of “Sign on the Window” and “Winterlude,” the rambling spoken word piece “If Dogs Run Free” or the Elvis parable “Went to See the Gypsy.” Such offbeat songs make New Morning a charming, endearing record. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
David Bromberg (guitar, dobro)
Harvey Brooks (bass)
Charlie Daniels (bass)
Ron Cornelius (guitar)
Bob Dylan (vocals, guitar, organ, harmonica,  piano on 02., – 05., 08., 10. + 12.)
Buzz Feiten (guitar)
Al Kooper (keyboards, guitar, french horn)
Russ Kunkel (drums)
Billy Mundi (drums)
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background vocals:
Hilda Harris – Albertin Robinson + Maeretha Stewart – background vocals on 06.)

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Tracklist:
01. If Not for You 2.41
02. Day Of The Locusts 3.58
03. Time Passes Slowly 2.44
04. Went To See The Gypsy 2.52
05. Winterlude 2.26
06. If Dogs Run Free 3.39
07. New Morning 3.59
08. Sign On The Window 3.41
09. One More Weekend 3.13
10. The Man In Me 3.06
11. Three Angels 2.05
12. Father Of Night 2.04

All songs written by Bob Dylan

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Christine Perfect – The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions (2008)

FrontCover1Christine Anne McVie (née Perfect; born 12 July 1943) is an English singer, songwriter, lead vocalist and keyboardist of Fleetwood Mac, which she joined in 1970. She has also released three solo albums. She has a contralto voice. Her direct but poignant lyrics focus on love and relationships. AllMusic describes her as an “Unabashedly easy-on-the-ears singer/songwriter, and the prime mover behind some of Fleetwood Mac’s biggest hits.” Eight of her songs appeared on Fleetwood Mac’s 1988 Greatest Hits album.

In 1998, McVie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Fleetwood Mac, and received the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. The same year, after almost 30 years with the band, she opted to leave and lived in semiretirement for nearly 15 years. She released a solo album in 2004. In September 2013, she appeared on stage with Fleetwood Mac at London’s O2 Arena. She rejoined the band in September 2014 prior to their On with the Show tour.

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In 2006, McVie received a Gold Badge of Merit Award from Basca, now The Ivors Academy. In 2014, she received the Ivor Novello Award for Lifetime Achievement from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, and was honored with the Trailblazer Award at the UK Americana Awards in 2021. She is also the recipient of two Grammy Awards.

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McVie was born in the Lake District village of Bouth, Lancashire, and grew up in the Bearwood area of Smethwick near Birmingham. Her father, Cyril Percy Absell Perfect, was a concert violinist and music lecturer at St Peter’s College of Education, Saltley, Birmingham, and taught violin at St Philip’s Grammar School, Birmingham. McVie’s mother, Beatrice Edith Maud (Reece) Perfect, was a medium, psychic, and faith healer. McVie’s grandfather was an organist at Westminster Abbey.

Although McVie was introduced to the piano when she was four, she did not study music seriously until age 11, when she was reintroduced to it by Philip Fisher, a local musician and school friend of McVie’s older brother, John. Continuing her classical training until age 15, McVie shifted her musical focus to rock and roll when her brother, John, came home with a Fats Domino songbook. Other early influences included The Everly Brothers.

Christine Perfect05McVie studied sculpture at Moseley School of Art in Birmingham for five years, with the goal of becoming an art teacher. During that time, she met a number of budding musicians in Britain’s blues scene. Her first foray into the music field came when she met two friends, Stan Webb and Andy Silvester, who were in a band called Sounds Of Blue. Knowing that McVie had musical talent, they asked her to join. She often sang with Spencer Davis. By the time McVie graduated from art college, Sounds of Blue had split up, and as she did not have enough money to launch herself into the art world, she moved to London and worked briefly as a department-store window dresser.

In 1967, McVie learned that her ex-bandmates, Andy Silvester and Stan Webb, were forming a blues band, Chicken Shack, and were looking for a pianist. She wrote to them asking to join. They accepted and invited her to play keyboards/piano and to sing background vocals. Chicken Shack’s debut release was “It’s Okay With Me Baby”, written by and featuring McVie.

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She stayed with Chicken Shack for two albums, during which her genuine feel for the blues became evident, not only in her Sonny Thompson-style piano playing, but also through her authentic “bluesy” voice. Chicken Shack had a hit with “I’d Rather Go Blind”, which featured McVie on lead vocals. McVie received a Melody Maker award for female vocalist in both 1969 and 1970. McVie left Chicken Shack in 1969 after marrying Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie a year earlier. (wikipedia)

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And the rest is history ….

Christine McVie (nee Perfect) is one of the great unsung talents of British blues and pop. Her work with Fleetwood Mac is often overshadowed by her more showy counterparts, Lindsay Buckingham, Peter Green or Stevie Nicks. She provided the spine to their material, and especially added a consistency during the group’s wilderness years between 1970 and 1975 (for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, check out her contributions to 1973’s Mystery To Me album). This CD is her oft-reissued Christine Perfect album, recorded for Mike Vernon’s Blue Horizon label in the period between her leaving Chicken Shack and before she joined her husband-to-be John McVie in Fleetwood Mac. McVie herself has frequently played down the record. Although certainly not a major work, it is a pretty textbook example of pleasant blues rock as the 60s became the 70s.

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To be honest, her tracks sound pretty much like later Fleetwood Mac album material, which given the presence of John McVie on bass and Danny Kirwan on guitar, is fairly understandable. Her version of Kirwan’s When You Say is a standout, easily giving Fleetwood Mac’s Then Play On version a run for its money. Perfect’s piano work here strives to distil the very essence of the blues. It is the additional material that highlights her at her best: the demo, Tell Me You Need Me, that was also demoed by Fleetwood Mac is by far and away the best track here.

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The song underlines the pleasure of her best work; languid, expressive, soulful. With three BBC session recordings here as well, The Complete Blue Horizon Recordings, although hardly essential, is a very welcome listen. (by Daryl Easlea)

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Personnel:
Martin Dunsford (bass)
Chris Harding (drums, percussion, flute)
Rick Hayward (guitar)
Christine Prfect (vocals, keyboards)
Top Topham (guitar)
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Dave Coxhill (saxophone on 08.)
Geoff Driscoll (saxophone on 08.)
Danny Kirwan (guitar on 06.)
John McVie (bass on 06.)
Terry Noonan (trumpet on 01., 02., 08.)
Bud Parkes (trumpet on 08.)
Andy Silvester (bass on 05.)
Derek Wadsworth (trombone on 08.)
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unknown string section
unknown trumpet, trombone, saxophone (on 01., 02.)

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Tracklist:
01. Crazy ‘Bout You Baby (Jacobs) 3.02
02. I’m On My Way (Malone) 3.09
03. Let Me Go (Leave Me Alone) (Perfect) 3.35
04. Wait And See (Perfect) 3.14
05. Close To Me (Perfect/Hayward) 2.40
06. When You Say (Kirwan) 3.15
07. And That’s Saying A Lot (Jackson/Godfrey) 2.58
08. No Road Is The Right Road (Perfect) 2.49
09. For You (Perfect) 2.45
10. I’m Too Far Gone (To Turn Around) (album version) (Hendricks/Otis) 3.26
11. I Want You (White) 2.23
12. Tell Me You Need Me (previously unreleased) (Perfect) 3.20
13. I’m Too Far Gone (To Turn Around) (single version) (Hendricks/Otis) 3.17
14.Hey Baby (previously unreleased BBC sessions) (Perfect/Vernon/Webb) 2.34
15. It’s You I Miss (previously unreleased BBC sessions) (Perfect) 3.45
16. Gone Into The Sun (previously unreleased BBC sessions) 2.45

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More from Christine Perfect:
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Gary Wright – Gary Wright’s Extraction (1970)

FrontCover1Gary Malcolm Wright (born April 26, 1943) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and composer best known for his 1976 hit songs “Dream Weaver” and “Love Is Alive”, and for his role in helping establish the synthesizer as a leading instrument in rock and pop music. Wright’s breakthrough album, The Dream Weaver (1975), came after he had spent seven years in London as, alternately, a member of the British blues rock band Spooky Tooth and a solo artist on A&M Records. While in England, he played keyboards on former Beatle George Harrison’s triple album All Things Must Pass (1970), so beginning a friendship that inspired the Indian religious themes and spirituality inherent in Wright’s subsequent songwriting. His work since the late 1980s has embraced world music and the new age genre, although none of his post-1976 releases has matched the popularity of The Dream Weaver.

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A former child actor, Wright performed on Broadway in the hit musical Fanny before studying medicine and then psychology in New York and Berlin. After meeting Chris Blackwell of Island Records in Europe, Wright moved to London, where he helped establish Spooky Tooth as a popular live act. He also served as the band’s principal songwriter on their recordings – among them, the well-regarded albums Spooky Two (1969) and You Broke My Heart So I Busted Your Jaw (1973). His solo album Footprint (1971), recorded with contributions from Harrison, coincided with the formation of Wright’s short-lived band Wonderwheel, which included guitarist Mick Jones. Also, during the early 1970s, Wright played on notable recordings by B.B. King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ringo Starr, Harry Nilsson and Ronnie Spector, while his musical association with Harrison endured until shortly before the latter’s death in 2001.

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Wright turned to film soundtrack work in the early 1980s, including re-recording his most popular song, “Dream Weaver”, for the 1992 comedy Wayne’s World. Following Spooky Tooth’s reunion tour in 2004, Wright has performed live frequently, either as a member of Starr’s All-Starr Band, with his own live band, or on subsequent Spooky Tooth reunions. Wright’s most recent solo albums, including Waiting to Catch the Light (2008) and Connected (2010), have all been issued on his Larklio record label. In 2014, Jeremy P. Tarcher published Wright’s autobiography, Dream Weaver: Music, Meditation, and My Friendship with George Harrison. (wikipedia)

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And here´s his first solo album:

Gary’s first break away from Spooky Tooth finds him not straying too far from the source. A couple of good songs start (” Get on the Right Road”) and finish (“I’ve Got a Story”) the set. The middle has a few good moments but nothing chart breaking. This is certainly not “Dream Weaver” country and that in itself may be a good thing. (otismidnight)

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The sound is enormous. Especially since it is original material from 1971. But a look at the booklet clarifies: “Restored and Remastered by EROC at the Ranch”. All right, eh?
Titles like “Get On The Right Road”, “Sing A Song”, “The Wrong Time”, “Over You Now”, “Too Late To Cry” and “I’ve Got A Story” still inspire me today. Simply knitted prog rock, melodic choruses with insane memory value, exciting arrangements – simply a beautiful journey through time.

The labels of a re-issue from Canada:
Labels (Re-Issue)

If you take a closer look at the track list, you will notice that a person is telling his story. The path of an unknown musician who set out to achieve fame and success.

“It’s been a long march for Gary Wright since the day he arrived in London at the height of the swinging Sixties. As he sings on the final track of his historic album… I’ve Got A Story”. (Chris Welch)
Listen to this story. It’s worth it. Sonically. And musically anyway.

Without any doubt … a hidden treasure !

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Personnel:
Mick Abrahams (guitar)
Trevor Burton (bass)
Mike Kelly (drums)
Hugh McCracken (guitar)
Jim Price (piano)
Bob Uribi (guitar)
Klaus Voormann (bass)
Alan White (drums)
Gary Wright (keyboards, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Get On The Right Road (Wright) 3.25
02. Get Hold Of Yourself (Wright) 3.08
03. Sing A Song (Wright) 3.12
04. We Try Hard (Wright) 2.31
05. I Know A Place (Wright) 5.03
06. The Wrong Time (Wright/McCracken) 3.33
07. Over You Now (Wright) 3.44
08. Too Late To Cry (Wright) 3.50
09. I’ve Got A Story (Wright/McCracken) 5.28

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Another rare re-issue (Pickwich Records, USA):
Pickwick Issue

Christmas 2021 (16): The London Sound 70 Orchestra And Chorus – The Sounds Of Christmas (1970)

FrontCover1The London Sound 70 was a pure studio project with a lot of unknown studio musicians … under this name some LP’s were released at that time.

And here is their Christmas album … and it is one of the best easy listening albums with Christmas music I have ever heard.

And so I dedicate this post to all those unknown studio musicians who gave us this music …

This album is not only a rarity, but also a damn good album….listen for example to ” Twelve Days Of Christmas “!

Listen to the album to convince yourself !

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Personnel:
The London Sound 70 Orchestra And Chorus

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Tracklist:
01. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas 3.47
02. I Saw Three Ships 2.45
03. Happy Holiday 3.07
04. Silent Night 3.19
05. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! 2.26
06. The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) 3.34
07. Little Donkey 3.35
08. The Little Drummer Boy 3.18
09. Mary’s Little Boy Child 2.48
10. Jingle Bells 2.00
11. All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth) 2.49
12. Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer 2.22
13. Sleigh Ride 2.45
14. Twelve Days Of Christmas 2.56
15. O, Tannenbaum 2.15
16. Christmas Alphabet 2.09
17. Deck The Hall 2.49
18. White Christmas 2.07
19. The First Noel 3:08
20. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus 3:07
21. Silver Bells 3.14
22. The Holly And The Ivy 3.31
23. I’ll Be Home For Christmas 2.47
24. Frosty The Snowman 2.16
25.I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day 2.32
26. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen 2:.35
27. Oh, Little Town Of Bethlehem 2.51
28. Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town 2.39
29. Adeste Fideles (Oh Come, All Ye Faithful) 3.55
30. Winter Wonderland 2.17

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Creedence Clearwater Revival – Pendulum (1970)

FrontCover1Creedence Clearwater Revival, also referred to as Creedence and CCR, was an American rock band formed in El Cerrito, California. The band initially consisted of lead vocalist, lead guitarist, and primary songwriter John Fogerty; his brother, rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty; bassist Stu Cook; and drummer Doug Clifford. These members had played together since 1959, first as the Blue Velvets and later as the Golliwogs, before settling on the Creedence Clearwater Revival name in 1967.

CCR’s musical style encompassed roots rock,  swamp rock, blues rock, Southern rock, country rock, and blue-eyed soul.[8] Belying their origins in the East Bay subregion of the San Francisco Bay Area, the band often played in a Southern rock style, with lyrics about bayous, catfish, the Mississippi River and other elements of Southern United States iconography. The band’s songs rarely dealt with romantic love, concentrating instead on political and socially conscious lyrics about topics such as the Vietnam War. The band performed at the 1969 Woodstock festival in Upstate New York, and was the first major act signed to appear there.CCR1

CCR disbanded acrimoniously in late 1972 after four years of chart-topping success. Tom Fogerty had officially left the previous year, and John was at odds with the remaining members over matters of business and artistic control, all of which resulted in subsequent lawsuits among the former bandmates. Fogerty’s ongoing disagreements with Fantasy Records owner Saul Zaentz created further protracted court battles, and John Fogerty refused to perform with the two other surviving members at Creedence’s 1993 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Though the band has never officially reunited, John Fogerty continues to perform CCR songs as part of his solo act, while Cook and Clifford have performed as Creedence Clearwater Revisited since the 1990s.

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CCR’s music is still a staple of U.S. classic rock radio airplay; 28 million CCR records have been sold in the U.S. alone. The compilation album Chronicle: The 20 Greatest Hits, originally released in 1976, is still on the Billboard 200 album chart and reached the 500-weeks mark in December 2020. It has been awarded 10x platinum.

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Pendulum is the sixth studio album by American rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival, released by Fantasy Records on December 9, 1970[1]—their second album release of that year. A single from the album, “Have You Ever Seen the Rain”/”Hey Tonight”, was released in January 1971.

Pendulum is their only album to not contain any cover songs; all tracks were written by John Fogerty. It was the last album the band recorded with Tom Fogerty, who would leave the band to start a solo career. It was also the last album to feature John Fogerty as the record’s sole producer.

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The most sonically adventurous CCR album, Pendulum is noted for its widespread use of saxophone and keyboards, in contrast to the group’s previous albums, which were dominated by guitar. Among several lesser-known Fogerty songs (“Pagan Baby”, “Sailor’s Lament”, “It’s Just a Thought”, “Born to Move”) were two top-ten hits, “Hey Tonight” and “Have You Ever Seen the Rain”. Both songs reached number eight in 1971. It also contains an uncharacteristic venture into avant-garde psychedelia, the closing instrumental “Rude Awakening #2”.

The album was recorded at Wally Heider Studios in San Francisco, and took a month to complete—an unusually long time for the band. On previous albums, the group had rehearsed songs before entering the studio. However, on Pendulum the members learned the songs in the studio.[6] The first take of a song was performed by the whole band,[7] with various members going in later for a wide variety of instrumental and vocal overdubs, including a saxophone section played entirely by John Fogerty, as well as extensive use of keyboards by Fogerty and Cook.(wikipedia)

The US Labels:
USLabels

During 1969 and 1970, CCR was dismissed by hipsters as a bubblegum pop band and the sniping had grown intolerable, at least to John Fogerty, who designed Pendulum as a rebuke to critics. He spent time polishing the production, bringing in keyboards, horns, even a vocal choir. His songs became self-consciously serious and tighter, working with the aesthetic of the rock underground — Pendulum was constructed as a proper album, contrasting dramatically with CCR’s previous records, all throwbacks to joyous early rock records where covers sat nicely next to hits and overlooked gems tucked away at the end of the second side. To some fans of classic CCR, this approach may feel a little odd since only “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” and maybe its B-side “Hey Tonight” sound undeniably like prime Creedence. But, given time, the album is a real grower, revealing many overlooked Fogerty gems. Yes, it isn’t transcendent like the albums they made from Bayou Country through Cosmo’s Factory, but most bands never even come close to that kind of hot streak.

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Instead, Pendulum finds a first-class songwriter and craftsman pushing himself and his band to try new sounds, styles, and textures. His ambition results in a stumble — “Rude Awakening 2” portentously teeters on the verge of prog-rock, something CCR just can’t pull off — but the rest of the record is excellent, with such great numbers as the bluesy groove “Pagan Baby,” the soulful vamp “Chameleon,” the moody “It’s Just a Thought,” and the raver “Molina.” Most bands would kill for this to be their best stuff, and the fact that it’s tucked away on an album that even some fans forget illustrates what a tremendous band Creedence Clearwater Revival was. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Stu Cook (bass, piano, kalimba, percussion)
Doug Clifford (drums, percussion)
John Fogerty (vocals, lead guitar, keyboards, saxophone, percussion)
Tom Fogerty (guitar, percussion)

BookletTracklist:
01. Pagan Baby 6.21
02. Sailor’s Lament 3.34
03. Chameleon 3.11
04. Have You Ever Seen The Rain? 2.38
05. (Wish I Could) Hideaway 3.33
06. Born To Move 5.38
07. Hey Tonight 2.33
08. It’s Just A Thought 3.35
09. Molina 2.36
10. Rude Awakening #2 (instrumental) 6.13
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11. 45 Revolutions Per Minute (Part 1) 3.14
12. 45 Revolutions Per Minute (Part 2)  7.17
13. Hey Tonight (live in Hamburg September 17, 1971) 2.28

(Tracks 11 and 12 are musique concrète tracks (in the vein of “Revolution 9”), including tongue-in-cheek interviews with band members)

All songs written by John Fogerty

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More from Creedence Clearwater Revival:
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Michael Nesmith & The First National Band – Magnetic South (1970)

FrontCover1Robert Michael Nesmith (December 30, 1942 – December 10, 2021) was an American musician, songwriter, actor, producer, and novelist. He was best known as a member of the pop rock band the Monkees and co-star of the TV series The Monkees (1966–1968). His songwriting credits include “Different Drum”, which became a hit for Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys.

After the break-up of the Monkees, Nesmith continued his successful songwriting and performing career, first with the seminal country rock group the First National Band, with whom he had a top-40 hit, “Joanne”, and then as a solo artist. He often played a custom-built Gretsch 12-string electric with the Monkees and afterwards.

In the early 1980s, he was asked to help produce and create MTV, but had prior commitments with his production company. In 1981, he won the first Grammy Award for Video of the Year for his hour-long television show, Elephant Parts. He was also an executive producer of the film Repo Man (1984).

The Monkees in 1966 (Nesmith at bottom right):
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As he prepared for his exit from The Monkees, Nesmith was approached by John Ware of The Corvettes, a band that featured Nesmith’s Texas band mate and close friend John London. London played on some of the earliest pre-Monkees, Nesmith 45s, as well as numerous Monkees sessions, and had 45s produced by Nesmith for the Dot label in 1969. Ware wanted Nesmith to put together a band. Nesmith’s interest hinged on noted pedal steel player Orville “Red” Rhodes; their musical partnership continued until Rhodes’s death in 1995. The new band was christened Michael Nesmith and the First National Band and recorded three albums for RCA Records in 1970.

Nesmith’s First National Band is now considered a pioneer of country-rock music. Nesmith wrote most of the songs for the band, including the single “Joanne”, which received some airplay and was a moderate chart hit for seven weeks during 1970, reaching number 21 on the Billboard Top 40. Nesmith is considered one of the pioneers of country rock.[18] He also had moderate commercial success with the First National Band. Their second single, “Joanne,” hit number 21 on the Billboard chart, number 17 on Cashbox, and number four in Canada, with the follow-up “Silver Moon” making number 42 Billboard, number 28 Cashbox, and number 13 in Canada. Two more singles charted (“Nevada Fighter” made number 70 Billboard, number 73 Cashbox, and number 67 Canada, and “Propinquity” reached number 95 Cashbox), and the first two LPs charted in the lower regions of the Billboard album chart. No clear answer has ever been given for the band’s breakup.

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Magnetic South is the first solo album by American singer-songwriter Michael Nesmith during his post-Monkees career. Released by RCA Records in 1970, the album peaked at Number 143 on the Billboard Pop Albums charts and Number 49 in Canada. Magnetic South is considered an early example of country rock. A single, ” Joanne/One Rose” was taken from the album and reached Number 21 on the Billboard singles charts and Number 6 on the Adult Contemporary charts, and also reached #5 on the Australian chart. It was the highest position of Nesmith’s solo career.

Nesmith formed the backing group “The First National Band” and gave them billing on both the cover and label of the record. Band member John London had previously played bass on several Monkees tracks and appeared as an extra on several episodes of the TV show, while Red Rhodes had played on a few 1969 Monkees tracks, notably “Steam Engine.”

Five of the album’s eleven tracks are from Nesmith’s career with The Monkees. The first four tracks were recorded in 1968-69 for The Monkees, while “Hollywood” was also recorded in 1968 but first demoed by Nesmith for possible inclusion on The Monkees 1967 album Headquarters. As Nesmith would attempt to distance himself from The Monkees, he did, however, dedicate the album to Bert Schneider, David, Micky, and Peter (as well as to Lester Sill). Nesmith would not allude to or mention the Monkees by name again until The Michael Nesmith Radio Special, nine years later.

RCA producer Felton Jarvis was given production credit even though he did no actual production work — the credit is primarily a thanks to Jarvis, given that he’d helped sign The First National Band to RCA Records. Jarvis would also be the only person listed as a producer of Michael Nesmith albums other than Nesmith himself.

Magnetic South didn’t set the world on fire commercially, but did succeed in reinventing Nesmith and helping him escape from his image as a Monkee. During one of the band’s first gigs, they played alongside Gram Parsons and the brand new Flying Burrito Brothers. Nesmith recalls how others seeing a former Monkee decked out in a Nudie suit with a steel player in tow must have been laughable to seasoned Country devotees, such as Parsons. However, their unique sound was enough to win over the LA club scene and create a new image for Nesmith. (wikipedia)

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Anyone who’d been listening closely to the songs Michael Nesmith wrote while a member of the Monkees (or heard his hard to find 1968 solo debut for Dot) already knew that Nesmith had a soft spot for country music. But when Nesmith left the pre-Fab Four to form the First National Band, he dove head first into the twangy stuff, and if he wasn’t the first guy to merge country and rock (Gram Parsons easily beat him to the punch on that), he was certainly doing it well before country-rock became the next big thing, and Magnetic South made it clear he had his own distinct way of bringing the two genres together. Nesmith put together a top-flight band who sound at once relaxed and thoroughly committed, whether easing through a laid-back number like “Joanne” or kicking up some dust on “Mama Nantucket”; O.J. “Red” Rhodes’ pedal steel work is superb throughout, while bassist John London and drummer John Ware offer strong, unobtrusive support (the great Earl P. Hall also sits in on piano).

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And though the phrase “cosmic cowboy” wasn’t coined for Nesmith, it could have been; here, he indulges himself in a consciously poetic and philosophical lyrical style that’s a good bit more abstract than one would expect from a former Monkee, though Nesmith’s dry sense of humor is always lurking around the corner, ready to rescue him when he slips too deep into pretension. Mixing a country sound with a rocker’s instincts and blending airy thoughts on the nature of life and love with iconography of life in the West that brought together the old and the new, Michael Nesmith reveled in contradictions on Magnetic South, making them sound as comfortable as well-worn cowboy boots and as fun as a Saturday night barn dance. It’s a minor masterpiece of country-rock, and while the Eagles may have sold more records, Nesmith yodels a hell of a lot better than any of them. (by Mark Deming)

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Personnel:
John London (bass)
Michael Nesmith (vocals, guitar)
Red Rhodes (pedal steel-guitar)
John Ware (drums)
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Earl P. Ball (piano)
Glen Hardin – piano, keyboards, tracks 12-16

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Tracklist:
01. Calico Girlfriend (Nesmith) 2.36
02. Nine Times Blue (Nesmith) 1.36
03. Little Red Rider (Nesmith) 2.39
04. The Crippled Lion (Nesmith) 3.13
05. Joanne (Nesmith) 3.11
06. First National Rag (Rhodes) 0.22
07. Mama Nantucket (Nesmith) 2.39
08. Keys To The Car (Nesmith) 2.56
09. Hollywood (Nesmith) 5.07
10. One Rose (Del Lyon/McIntyre) 3.27
11. Beyond The Blue Horizon (Whiting/Harling/Robin) 5.50
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12. Hollywood (alternate version) (Nesmith) 2.26

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Twink – Think Pink (1970)

LPFrontCover1John Charles Edward Alder (born 29 November 1944), also known as Twink, is an English drummer, actor, singer, and songwriter who was a central figure in the English psychedelic movement.

In 2006, Alder converted to Islam, and changed his name to Mohammed Abdullah. However, he still records under the name Twink.

Think Pink is the 1970 debut album (recorded 1969) by English psychedelic musician Twink. It was produced by Mick Farren and featured members of The Pretty Things, The Deviants, plus Steve Peregrin Took of Tyrannosaurus Rex. It was released on Sire Records in the US in 1970 and Polydor Records in the UK in early 1971 (as a warm-up for the release of the Pink Fairies’ debut album Never Never Land.) The final two tracks were the only commercial release of any songs written by Took until 1990, ten years after his death.

The track “Fluid” was sampled by Gnarls Barkley on their track “Would Be Killer” from the hit album The Odd Couple and Tyler, the Creator on the track “Boyfriend” from the physical release of his album Igor. (wikipedia)

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“Think Pink” is one trippy, hobbity mindfuck of the highest water. It’s a complex and varied album where no two songs are the same, but seem to be examples of sub-genres entire ALBUMS could be fashioned from. Come to think of it, it’s probably the last high-water mark of old-school psychedelia the moment before it gave up the ghost. And Twink had steadily worked his way through a succession of bands that by the time he was in The Pretty Things, making many musical acquaintances via The Pretties’ management, the Bryan Morrison Agency, who also handled The Deviants and Tyrannosaurus Rex. Soon enough they had performed enough gigs together to force Morrison to circulate a letter to these three bands requesting that they refrain from ever showing up at each other’s gigs ever again. Because if there was havoc to be caused, it WAS caused, and if there was none to be found, it would be located immediately.

LP review, Record Mirror 30 Jan 1971:
Review Record Mirror 1971

When Twink left The Pretties, he assembled a virtual roll call of London underground musicians: Viv Prince, Wally Waller, John Povey, Victor Unitt, The Deviants, Quiver bassist Honk, John “Junior” Wood (ex-Tomorrow) and Steve “Peregrine” Took. This album owes a grand debt to Paul “Black George” Rudolph for his uncredited arrangements and outstandingly effortless yet complex Stratocaster noise guitar burn-outs (which populate “Think Pink” in sheer and blissful abundance) are huge, soaringly hard and were barely hinted at on the third Deviants album. And the sessions yielded all things loose, crazy and hardened post-psychedelic. There is even a surprisingly manic funk out rare for even white dopers at the time as well as acoustic numbers that don’t sound the least bit obligatory, raga-based chants and group sing-alongs. Along with Rudolph, the other main inspiration for “Think Pink” was undoubtedly Twink’s pretty, blonde and Kohl-eyed girlfriend Silver, who appears on both the back cover and the album with an unforgettable vocal interlude.

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The album opens with “The Coming Of The Other One,” a vocal incantation as screeching backwards sitars, further vocal mantras and randomly hit percussion float through the air and clang in a dark, incense-filled basement from “Performance” with Steve Took emitting fear-inducing animal noises in a dark corner. It fades as sitars race back in time, and the air clears and gets brighter with the remake of Twink’s minnow-psych pop A-side for The Aquarian Age, “Ten Thousand Words In A Cardboard Box.” A celebration of “a thousand colourful shadows dancing around my head/Rejoicing to the waking of the dead…” over heavily recorded drums as Rudolph covers the drums and telephonically-phased vocals with underpinning streams of pink cirrus clouds at daybreak noise/guitar. But Rudolph winds up shanghai-ing the piece into a soaringly free-noise hurricane as he peels riff after riff out of his bottomless Strat.

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“Standing Tiptoe On The Highest Hill” is a chilly, overcast autumn morning with swelling mellotron, muted guitar and somber drums, bursting your heart when the grim (yet sung angelically-echoed) lines come in and it dawns on you that this is the acoustic grandfather of Joy Division’s “Decades.” Backward noise/guitar streaks by Rudolph transform the whole piece into a coiled and curling jam out that cuts out to let the song descend quietly back into the sand and it’s seaweed-strewn grave.

The “Aquarian Age” single:
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“Fluid” ends the album side, an instrumental stripped bare of everything but genitals. Slow bass, guitar and drums crack out an undulating and repeating rhythm as Twink and Silver coo to each other, barely touching and letting their vocal vibrations do the work of a thousand fingers. It’s Joy Division again, only a decade earlier and this time it’s “I Remember Nothing.” This is just side one, but side two is just as fantastically charged up and out there, reaching its apex with the Took-damaged, “The Sparrow Is A Sign.” (by The Seth Man)

LPBackCover1Personnel:
Wally Allen (piano on 05.)
Mick Farren (vocals on 07.)
Dave “Boss” Goodman (vocals, percussion on 09.)
John “Honk” Lodge (bass on 05. + 07.)
John Povey (sitar on 01., mellotron on 02., 04. + 08.)
Viv Prince (drums on 06.)
Paul Rudolph (guitar, vibraphone, vocals, percussion on 08., bass on 10.)
Silver (vocals on 05., 07. + 09., percussion on 09.)
Steve Peregrin Took (pixie horn on 01., vocals on 01., 09. + 10., percussion on 06., 07. + 09.,  guitar on 10.)
Twink (vocals; drums. guitar on 08.)
Victor Unitt (guitar on 05. + 07.)
John “Junior” Wood (bass on 02., 04. + 08.)

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Tracklist:
01. The Coming Of The Other One (Alder) 3.42
02. 10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box (Alder/Wood) 4.29
03. Dawn Of Magic (Alder) 1.45
04. Tiptoe On The Highest Hill (Alder) 5.18
05. Fluid (Alder) 4.06
06. Mexican Grass War (Alder) 5.27
07. Rock An’ Roll The Joint (Alder) 2.42
08. Suicide (Alder) 4.23
09. Three Little Piggies (Alder/Took) 3.12
10. The Sparrow Is A Sign (Alder/Took) 2.24
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11. 10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box (single A side Aquarian Age) (Alder/Wood) 3.25
12. Good Wizard Meets Naughty Wizard (single B side Aquarian Age) (Alder/Wood) 4.40
13. 10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box (alternate version) (Alder/Wood) 3.25
14. Dawn Of Magic (alternate version) (Alder) 3.25
15. Fluid (alternate version 1) (Alder) 3.40
16. Fluid (alternate version21) (Alder) 4.20
17. Rock An’ Roll The Joint (alternate version) (Alder) 2.15
18. Suicide (alternate version) (Alder) 3.10

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The US labels:
US Labels

Mohammed “Twink” Abdullah, 2017:
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Quatermass – The John Peel BBC Session (1970)

QuatermaFrontCover1ss were a British progressive rock band from London, active between 1969 and 1971. A related band, Quatermass II, was active in the mid-1990s.

The trio consisted of bass player and vocalist John Gustafson, keyboardist J. Peter Robinson and Mick Underwood on drums. Underwood had previously played with Ritchie Blackmore in the Outlaws, while Gustafson had been a member of Cass and the Casanovas, the Big Three, the Seniors, and the Merseybeats. Underwood later became drummer with Episode Six, and was joined by Gustafson after Roger Glover (and Ian Gillan) left to join Deep Purple. The band took its name from Professor Bernard Quatermass, a fictional scientist who had been the hero of three science fiction serials produced by BBC Television in the 1950s, and were signed to Harvest Records.

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The group formed as a power trio with Hammond organ as the main instrument. Their first and only album sold itself through “…compactness, wealth of ideas, forceful lead vocals and complicated arrangements, enriched by pianist Robinson’s tasteful use of classical strings which are on display along with spacious keyboard passages at their height in the mold of The Nice.” One track, “Laughin’ Tackle”, includes 16 violins, 6 violas, 6 cellos, and 3 double bass, arranged by Robinson, and a drum solo by Underwood. Underwood remained in close contact with Blackmore, and visited Deep Purple in the studio while they were recording In Rock.

The group split in early 1971. Gustafson formed a new band, Hard Stuff (Bullet) with ex-members of Atomic Rooster.

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The band’s song “Black Sheep of the Family”, a cover of Chris Farlowe, was the first track to be recorded by Rainbow, having been rejected for the Deep Purple album Stormbringer.[6]

In 1994, Underwood, and founding Deep Purple member Nick Simper joined in a project titled Quatermass II. Gustafson contributed two songs on their album, Long Road (1997), which also involved Gary Davis and Bart Foley on guitars, with Don Airey on keyboards.

And here´s a wonderful BBC broadcast recording (one of these legendayry John Peel Sessions !) inclduing this heavy and hissing organ by Peter Robinson.

What a great group … criminally underrated … one of the finest bands from this period … if you like organ/bass/drums trios !

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Personnel:
John Gustafson (bass, vocals)
Peter Robinson (keyboards)
Mick Underwood (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Black Sheep Of The Family (Hammond) 3.19
02. Laughing Tackle (Robinson) 10.49
03. Make Up Your Mind Now (Hammond) 9.09
04. One Blind Mice (Gustafson/Robinson/Underwood) 6.16

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More from Quatermass:
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