Curved Air – Air Cut (1973)

LPFrontCover1Curved Air are an English progressive rock group formed in 1970 by musicians from mixed artistic backgrounds, including classical, folk, and electronic sound.

The resulting sound of the band is a mixture of progressive rock, folk rock, and fusion with classical elements.

Curved Air released eight studio albums, the first three of which broke into the UK Top 20, and had a hit single with “Back Street Luv” (1971) which reached number 4 in the UK Singles Chart.

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Air Cut is the fourth studio album by Curved Air and was recorded in 1973, following the departure of three of the band’s founding members. Only Sonja Kristina and Mike Wedgwood remained in the band from their previous album and Air Cut took them in a more rock-oriented direction. (wikipedia)

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I’ve only recently got into this band, which is mainly known because of its charismatic female vocalist, Sonja Kristina Linwood – together with Renaissance’s Annie Haslam, one of the few women singers on the original prog scene. Though they are considered by many as mere second-league contenders, this is an unfair prejudice, because from what I’ve heard so far their best output is an excellent example of early Art Rock, rich with diverse influences – folk, psychedelia, classical and even harder-edged rock.

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“Air Cut” (recently released on CD after a wait lasted several years) is widely recognised as their best effort, and with very good reason – the most important of which being the presence of an androgynously beautiful, 17-year-old keyboardist and violinist by the name of Edwin “Eddie” Jobson. Without any offence to his predecessors, violinist Darryl Way and keyboardist Francis Monkman – both outstanding musicians and composers – Jobson is the real ace in the hole of this record. His contribution on a compositional level is essential, his performance nothing short of spectacular, especially as regards the keyboard parts. His sophisticated playing complements Sonja’s hauntingly wistful vocals to perfection, and one cannot help but wonder how he could be such an accomplished musician at such young age.

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With the exception of the rather average, though mercifully short “World”, all the tracks on this album are very strong, ranging from the out-and-out hard rock of opener “The Purple Speed Queen” (a fantastic, typically ’70s title) and the equally hard-edged, though more complex “U.H.F.”, to the acid-folk-influenced “Elfin Boy”, featuring lovely accapella vocals at the beginning. The band show remarkable versatility, with Kirby’s biting electric guitar injecting a supplementary dose of power in their sound, and bassist Mike Wedgwood (who would later join Caravan, stepping into the daunting shoes of one Mr Richard Sinclair) offering a strong vocal performance which provides a perfect foil to Kristina’s sensual tones in the album’s two closing tracks, powerful rockers “Two-Three-Two” and “Easy”.

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However, the real highlight of the album is the 10-minute-plus epic “Metamorphosis”, which highly deserves to be included in the pantheon of the best-ever ’70s prog tracks. It is a showcase for Eddie Jobson’s astonishing talents, and undeniably one of his finest hours. His performance on the grand piano gives the likes of Emerson and Wakeman a run for their money; later, he switches effortlessly from piano to organ in order to match Kristina’s commanding voice and the march-like rythm provided by the drums. Utterly mesmerising. Jobson’s violin skills are instead best demonstrated by the stunning instrumental “Armin”, which sees all the instruments interweave seamlessly to create a dynamic bravura piece.

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After Jobson left the band, Curved Air would never again be able to match “Air Cut” ‘s extremely high standards – which was a pity, as this album shows they had the potential to become a major league band. Even though the latter was never to be, any self-respecting prog fan should get hold of this album to get an earful of really original, skillfully played and intriguing music. Four solid stars for this one. (by Raff)

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Personnel:
Kirby Gregory (guitar, bass on 04., background vocals)
Eddie Jobson (violin, keyboards, synthesizer, harpsichord, background vocals)
Sonja Kristina (vocals, guitar on 02.)
Jim Russell (drums)
Mike Wedgwood (bass, guitar on 04., vocals on 07. + 08., background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. The Purple Speed Queen (Kirby/Kristina) 3.21
02. Elfin Boy (Kristina/Jobson) 4.13
03. Metamorphosis (Kristina/Jobson) 10.41
04. World (Wedgwood) 1.35
05. Armin (Jobson/Wedgwood/Kirby/Russell) 3.42
06. U.H.F. (Kirby) 5.07
07. Two-Three-Two (Wedgwood) 4.12
08. Easy (Kristina) 6.40

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Passport – Handmade (1973)

FrontCover1Passport is the creation of saxophonist Klaus Doldinger, who has stated that Passport is not so much a set group but a label and a name for his many projects. Doldinger, who had started out playing Dixieland back in the 1950s, by the following decade was a modern tenor saxophonist who also worked in the studios. His mind has always remained quite open and in 1970 he formed Passport to explore the combination of advanced jazz improvising with rockish rhythms. Passport matches Doldinger’s reeds (tenor, soprano, flute, and occasional keyboards) with an electric rhythm section. The group’s first recording (1971’s Passport) also included Olaf Kübler on second tenor and flute, organist Jimmy Jackson, electric bassist Lother Meid, and drummer Udo Lindenberg.

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Soon the group went through the first of many complete turnovers. The mid-’70s version usually teamed Doldinger with keyboardist Kristian Schultze, electric bassist Wolfgang Schmid, and drummer Curt Cress, and by 1978 the group had changed drastically again. However, no matter who was in the rhythm section, Klaus Doldinger’s lead voice and his band’s musical direction remained consistent through the years. Passport has released numerous albums, initially for Atlantic and subsequently via recordings and reissues for WEA and its subsidiaries and licensees, through into the 21st century, including 1996’s Passport to Paradise, 1997’s Passport Control (on Connoisseur), 1998’s Move, 2000’s Passport Live, and 2003’s Back to Brazil. (by Scott Yanow)

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Here is their 4th album:

This 1973 album is another great recording from German jazz rock band Passport that fits nicely with the definitive albums released by from the band including Looking Thru (1974) and Cross Collateral (1975). As a fan of progressive rock and jazz rock I personally find their interpretation of the jazz rock style very enjoyable.

The lineup on Handmade includes bandleader Klaus Doldinger (tenor and soprano saxophones, mini-moog synthesizer, electric piano, and mellotron); Frank Roberts (Fender electric piano and Hammond organ); the great Curt Cress (drums); and Wolfgang Schmid (electric bass guitar and guitars). The album was produced by none other than Deiter Derks, who worked with a number of German experimental rock groups (e.g. Cosmic Jokers etc.).

The playing on this album is excellent and is in keeping with what you might expect from an instrumental jazz rock album: superb ensemble work and excellent soloing on saxophones, electric piano and other instruments associated with the genre.

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However, there is the prog rock side of the equation too, which includes spacier sections played on the mellotron/mini-moog synthesizer, harmonies/melodies associated with European prog rock, and on occasion, some heavy riffs played in unison on several instruments. Come to think of it, there are also some fairly psychedelic/experimental sections too. I find the overall combination very appealing. The seven tracks on the album range in length from 2:39 to the lengthy title track (9:26).

This album is recommended to those folks that like their jazz rock on the proggier side. Other albums by Passport that might prove enjoyable include Looking Thru and Cross-Collateral , which present a refinement of the basic formula presented on Handmade. Other bands operating in a similar vein include Return to Forever ( Where Have I Known You Before , 1974 and Romantic Warrior , 1976). (J.Park)

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Personnel:
Curt Cress (drums)
Klaus Doldinger (saxophone, piano, mellotron)
Frank Roberts (keyboards)
Wolfgang Schmid (bass, guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Abracadabra 7.23
02. The Connexion 5.38
03. Yellow Dream 4.22
04. Proclamation 2.42
05. Hand Made 9.31
06. Puzzle 4.08
07. The Quiet Man 4.37
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08, Handmade (live Doldinger Jubilee Concert 1974) 6.10

Music composed by Klaus Doldinger

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Freddie Roulette – Sweet Funky Steel (1973)

FrontCover1Frederick Martin Roulette (born May 3, 1939) is an American electric blues lap steel guitarist and singer. He is best known as an exponent of the lap steel guitar. He is a member of the band Daphne Blue and has collaborated with Earl Hooker, Charlie Musselwhite, Henry Kaiser, and Harvey Mandel. He has also released several solo albums. One commentator described Roulette as an “excellent musician”.

A short documentary of Freddie Roulette appears on the video-sharing site YouTube that chronicles Roulette’s time with the Daphne Blue Band. The online Blues encyclopedia, “All About Blues Music,” describes Roulette’s long tenure with the Daphne Blue Band and notes: “Freddie has also released an album, ‘Daphne Blue: Legendary Blues Instrumentals’ which contains 15 excellent tracks, which [Freddie] considers to be among his finest works.”

Roulette’s family was originally from New Orleans, but he was born and raised in Evanston, Illinois. He learned to play the steel guitar in high school. He started playing in clubs in Chicago in his teens, and in 1965 began work in Earl Hooker’s backing band, touring and performing with him until 1969.

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Hooker’s band, with the pianist Pinetop Perkins, the harmonica player Carey Bell, the vocalist Andrew Odom, and Roulette, was “widely acclaimed” and “considered one of the best Earl had ever carried with him”. Roulette performed on several of Hooker’s singles; his 1967 album, The Genius of Earl Hooker; and the 1969 follow-up, 2 Bugs and a Roach.

Roulette later developed a friendship with Charlie Musselwhite and (credited as Fred Roulette) recorded with him on the 1969 album Chicago Blue Stars. He toured with Musselwhite and backed him on the albums Tennessee Woman and Memphis, Tennessee, before relocating to the San Francisco, California, area where he has lived ever since. He played there in a band with Luther Tucker and recorded with Earl Hooker’s cousin John Lee Hooker.

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After leaving Chicago for the San Francisco Bay area, Roulette began “teaming up with the 14-year-old guitarist Ray Bronner (‘Daphne Blue Ray’), and some veterans from Chicago in the band Daphne Blue, Freddie was often joined by ‘Big Moose’ (Johnny Walker), ‘Pinetop Perkins’ and Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown at gigs and on record.” “Freddie released an album, Daphne Blue: Legendary Blues Instrumentals, which contains 15 excellent tracks, which he considers to be among his finest works.”

In 1973, Roulette released his debut solo album, Sweet Funky Steel, which was produced by the guitarist Harvey Mandel. Don “Sugarcane” Harris played on several tracks. Over the next twenty years, Roulette continued to perform with other musicians and occasionally led his own band, while also working full-time as an apartment manager. On the 1996 album Psychedelic Guitar Circus, he worked in a group with Mandel, Kaiser and Steve Kimock. Grammy nominee, producer/composer Larry Hoffman brought Freddie to Chicago where the artist recorded his 1997 solo album, Back in Chicago: Jammin’ with Willie Kent and the Gents, with Willie Kent and Chico Banks, on Hi Horse Records.

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The album won an award from Living Blues magazine as Best Blues Album of 1997. Following that album’s success, Roulette began performing widely at blues festivals and recorded the 1998 album Spirit of Steel, featuring the Holmes Brothers and produced by Kaiser. He also contributed to Kaiser’s album Yo Miles, a tribute to Miles Davis.

Roulette’s solo album Man of Steel (2006) featured guitar playing by Will Bernard and David Lindley; Kaiser also played guitar and produced the album.[15] It was recorded in Fantasy Studios, in Berkeley, California, and included strains of jazz, country, soul and reggae in the overall blues setting. In the same year, Roulette played locally in a small combo including Mike Hinton.

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Roulette has played at numerous music festivals over the years, including the Long Beach Blues Festival, the San Francisco Blues Festival (1979), and the Calgary Folk Music Festival (2000). He continues to play club dates in the San Francisco area, often with Mandel. In 2012, Jammin’ With Friends was recorded at three separate studios with various musicians. It was produced by Michael Borbridge, who also played drums on all the tracks.

As of 2015, Roulette still played with Daphne Blue, with Blue Ray Bronner.

In February 2019, the Chicago Reader published an article on Roulette and his band members, along with sound clips, titled: “The Secret History of Chicago Music: Pivotal Musicians That Somehow Haven’t Gotten Their Just Dues.” (wikipedia)

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Freddie Roulette coaxes all manner of sweet, funky feeling out of his doubleneck lap steel guitar on his debut solo album:

Prior to Sweet Funky Steel, Roulette had played with Charlie Musselwhite and the Chicago Blue Stars, whose 1969 debut LP kicks off with the “Fred Roulette” composition, “I Need Your Loving.”

Billboard included this album as an “Also Recommended” pick (under ‘jazz’) in its September 29, 1973 issue with these words of praise:

How fascinating (and sad) that Freddie Roulette would release his groundbreaking album Sweet Funky Steel in 1973 — and then issue no other recordings for over 20 years. One gets the sense that this album may have been a bit ahead of its time and had to wait for the rest of the world to catch up.

With the release of Psychedelic Guitar Circus (1994), Back in Chicago (1996), Spirit of Steel (1999), Man of Steel (2006) and Jamming with Friends (2012), it would seem that the artist and his audience have, at last, found each other. zeroto180.org)

Yes … this album is a true gem !

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Personnel:
Victor Conte (bass, guitar)
Coleman Head (guitar)
Paul Lagos (drums)
Freddie Roulette (pedal steel-guitar)
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Richard Aplanap (saxophone on 02. + 08.)
Lonnie Castille (drums on 04., 05. + 08.)
Bruce Conte (guitar on 08.)
Don “Sugarcaine” Harris (violin on 04. + 08.))
Harvey Mandel (guitar on 03.)
Randy Resnick (guitar on 04. + 05.)

FreddieRoulette06Tracklist:
01. Smoked Fish (Conte) 3.09
02. Joaquin (Roulette) 3.50
03. Del Conto Shuffle (Conte) 5.04
04. Cause And Effect (Roulette) 4.04
05. Mr. Roulette (Resnick) 3.13
06. Million Dollar Feeling (Head) 3.31
07. Springtime (Head) 4.02
08. Alleluia (Lobo) 4.20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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REO Speedwagon – Ridin´ the Storm Out (1973)

OriginalFC1REO Speedwagon (originally stylized as R.E.O. Speedwagon) is an American rock band from Champaign, Illinois. Formed in 1967, the band cultivated a following during the 1970s and achieved significant commercial success throughout the 1980s. The group’s best-selling album, Hi Infidelity (1980), contained four US Top 40 hits and sold more than 10 million copies.

Over the course of its career, the band has sold more than 40 million records and has charted 13 Top 40 hits, including the number ones “Keep On Loving You” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling”. REO Speedwagon’s mainstream popularity waned in the late 1980s, but the band remains a popular live act.

Ridin’ the Storm Out is the third studio album by REO Speedwagon, released in 1973. It peaked at number 171 on the Billboard 200 chart in 1981, and reaching platinum status in 1989. It was the first album to feature Mike Murphy on vocals. The sessions started out with Kevin Cronin, but he left the band before the album was finished, due to creative differences. The title track would later become a hit for the band on their live album, after Cronin had returned to the band. The song refers to the band being stuck in a harsh winter blizzard after a show in Boulder, Colorado, at a bar named Tulagi’s (now closed).

The album includes a new composition by Stephen Stills, “Open Up”, which was never recorded by Stills himself or any of his bands, though “Know You Got to Run” from Stephen Stills 2 is essentially an embryonic version of the song. “Know You Got to Run” consists of only verses and uses a sombre acoustic folk arrangement, while “Open Up” includes a chorus and uses an up-tempo rock arrangement. (by wikipedia)

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REO Speedwagon began to come into its own with its third album, Ridin’ the Storm Out. Over the years, the record became a platinum-seller, due to the strength of their series of opening shows for more successful rock acts, but it originally charted at number 171. While the group still had elements of their bar band boogie, they began to streamline their approach on this album. Although it only resulted in one minor hit, with the title track scraping the bottom of the singles charts, the record was one of their most consistent efforts. by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Neal Doughty (keyboards)
Alan Gratzer (drums)
Mike Murphy (vocals)
Gregg Philbin (bass)
Gary Richrath (guitar, vocals on 04.)
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Gene Estes (percussion)
Guille Garcia (percussion)
Joe Walsh (slide guitar on 02., 05. + 08.)
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background vocals:
Gloria Jones – Carolyn Willis – Oma Drake

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Tracklist:
01. Ridin’ The Storm Out (Richrath) 4.13
02. Whiskey Night (Richrath) 4.44
03. Oh Woman (Richrath) 2.48
04. Find My Fortune (Richrath) 2.54
05. Open Up (Stills) 3.32
06. Movin’ (Cronin 3.22
07. Son Of A Poor Man (Richrath) 3.45
08. Start A New Life (Richrath) 3.50
09. It’s Everywhere (Cronin) 3.26
10. Without Expression (Don’t Be The Man) (Reid) 3.53

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Inti Illimani – Viva Chila ! (1973)

FrontCover1Inti-Illimani (Spanish pronunciation: [in.ti.ji.ˈma.ni]; from Quechuan inti and / Aymara illimani) are an instrumental and vocal Latin American folk music ensemble from Chile. The group was formed in 1967 by a group of university students and it acquired widespread popularity in Chile for their song Venceremos (We shall win!) which became the anthem of the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende. At the moment of the September 11, 1973 Chilean coup they were on tour in Europe and were unable to return to their country where their music was proscribed by the ruling military junta. In Europe their music took on a multifarious character, incorporating elements of European baroque and other traditional music forms to their rich and colourful Latin American rhythms – creating a distinctive fusion of modern world music. They are perhaps the best internationally known members of the nueva canción movement. Their name means ‘Sun of the Illimani.’ In Aymara Illimani is the name of a mountain in the Bolivian Andes.

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The group was formed by students at Universidad Técnica del Estado at Santiago, Chile in 1967. In 1973 as they were on tour abroad, General Augusto Pinochet launched a coup d’etat and took power. Having heard of the numerous extra-judicial killings of many fellow artists by Chile’s army, they took up residence in Italy, resulting in “the longest tour in history” for Inti-Illimani as they lived in de facto exile. They continued their efforts supporting Chilean democracy internationally; magnitizdat copies of their work continued to be widely distributed in Chile. In September 1988, days after they were no longer banned from Chile, they began touring Chile again. They helped organize the voting down of the referendum that would have re-elected Pinochet. Recently, they were actually supported by Chile as representatives of Chilean culture.

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In the past the group was musically led by Horacio Salinas and politically led by Jorge Coulon. However, in 2001 there was a controversial split of the group, which started when three key members left the group (José Seves, Horacio Durán and Horacio Salinas). They were replaced by Manuel Meriño (from Entrama), Cristián González and Juan Flores. Due to the importance of departed members, many called into question the ability of the remainder to carry on the Inti-Illimani name. Meanwhile, the three departed members started their own group they call Inti-Histórico. From 2005 there are two groups:

Inti-Illimani New (Coulon brothers)
Inti-Illimani Histórico (José Seves, Horacio Durán and Horacio Salinas) (by wikipedia)

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And here´s is their 13th album, but the first, they recorded in exile in Italy.

And it´s a sad album, because list their homeland and it´s a strong album, because this musicans were ready to fight against the dictator Augusto Pinochet … and they won ! What a great, proud sucessful story !

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Personnel:
Horacio Salinas Alvarez (guitar, Charango, percussion, quena, panpipes, cuatro, tiple)
Max Berru Carrion (guitar, percussion)
Jorge Coulon Larranaga (guitar, tiple, panpipes, rondador)
Jose Seves Sepulveda (guitar, charango, percussion, quena, panpipes)
Jose Miguel Camus Vargas (percussion, quena, panpipes)
Horacio Duran Vidal (guitar, charango, panpipes, cuatro, tiple)

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Tracklist:
01. Fiesta De San Benito (Traditional) 3.34
02. Longuita (Strumentale) (Traditional) 1.53
03. Canción Del Poder Popular (Rojas/Advis) 2.57
04. Alturas (Salinas) 2.56
05. La Segunda Independencia (Lena) 2.30
06. Cueca De La C.U.T. (Pavez/Traditional) 1.43
07. Tatati (Salinas) 3.27
08. Venceremos (Iturra/Ortega) 2.24
09. Ramis (Traditional) 2.16
10. „Rin“ Del Angelito (Parra) 3.19
11. Subida (Bailecito) (Cavour) 1.57
12. Simón Bolívar (Anónimo/Lena) 2.46

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Alternate frontcovers:
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And in 2017 they celebrate their 50th anniversary … what a great concert:

Almost Brothers – A Band Of Roadies (2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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AlmostBrothers

Rory Gallagher – Lausanne Radio (1972)

FrontCover1William Rory Gallagher (2 March 1948 – 14 June 1995) was an Irish blues and rock multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer. Born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal,[3] and brought up in Cork, Gallagher recorded solo albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s, after forming the band Taste during the late 1960s. His albums have sold over 30 million copies worldwide.

Gallagher received a liver transplant in 1995, but died of complications later that year in London at the age of 47.

After the break-up of Taste, Gallagher toured under his own name, hiring former Deep Joy bass player Gerry McAvoy to play on Gallagher’s self-titled debut album, Rory Gallagher.

It was the beginning of a twenty-year musical relationship between Gallagher and McAvoy; the other band member was drummer Wilgar Campbell. The 1970s were Gallagher’s most prolific period. He produced ten albums in that decade, including two live albums, Live in Europe and Irish Tour ’74. November 1971 saw the release of the album Deuce.

In the same year he was voted Melody Maker’s International Top Guitarist of the Year, ahead of Eric Clapton. However, despite a number of his albums from this period reaching the UK Albums Chart, Gallagher did not attain major star status.

Gallagher played and recorded what he said was “in me all the time, and not just something I turn on …”. Though he sold over thirty million albums worldwide, it was his marathon live performances that won him greatest acclaim. He is documented in Irish Tour ’74, a film directed by Tony Palmer. (by wikipedia)

And here´s another fine bootleg from this period. This entry is dedicated to all Rory Gallagher fans all over the world !

Thanks to Stef; Jeff James; and to kmr_78 for sharing the show at Dime.

Recorded live at the Pavillion des Sports, Lausanne, Switzerland; June 3, 1972. Swiss Radio Session. Very good FM broadcast.

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Personnel:
Rod de’Ath (drums)
Rory Gallagher (guitar, vocals)
Gerry McAvoy (bass)

Alternate frontcover:
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Tracklist:

Lausanne, June 3, 1972:
01. Going To My Hometown (end only) (Gallagher) 1.35
02. Intro 0.24
03. In Your Town (Gallagher) 9:24
04. Used To Be (Gallagher) 3:46
05. Interview 2.06
06. Hoodoo Man (Gallagher) 7.50
07. Intro 0.18
08. Messing With The Kid (Wells) 5:04
09. Intro 2.29
10. I Could’ve Had Religion (Traditional) 7.45

Popgala; Vliegermolen, Voorborg, Holland TV (SBD); March 10, 1973:
11. Messing With The Kid (Wells) 7:50
12. Hands Off (Gallagher) 6.07

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More Rory Gallagher:
More

Traffic – Live At Winterland (1973)

FrontCover1Traffic were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham, in April 1967 by Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood and Dave Mason. They began as a psychedelic rock group and diversified their sound through the use of instruments such as keyboards like the Mellotron and harpsichord, sitar, and various reed instruments, and by incorporating jazz and improvisational techniques in their music. Their first three singles were “Paper Sun”, “Hole in My Shoe”, and “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush”.

Traffic disbanded in 1969, during which time Winwood joined Blind Faith, then reunited in 1970 to release the critically acclaimed album John Barleycorn Must Die. The band’s line-up varied from this point until they disbanded again in 1974. A partial reunion, with Winwood and Capaldi, took place in 1994.

Traffic were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. (by wikipedia)

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Despite some dodgy edits, this is one of the best Traffic bootlegs. A soundboard warts ‘n’ all recording rumored to have once been the property of famous rock promoter Bill Graham. Great playing with the Muscle Shoals augmented line-up as on “On the Road”. The major plus about this recording is the inclusion of tracks that never made the aforementioned official live album – Roll Right Stones, Evening Blue, Empty Pages, 40,000 Headmen, and Rock ‘n’ Roll Stew. The sound quality on this set ranges from very good to excellent, with the bass and drum sound appearing much more dominant than on “On the Road”; the telepathy between the musicians is as good as it gets, thus making this a must for anyone’s collection. If there was any justice in the world, this would be available by doctor’s prescription! (winwoodfans.com)

Recorded live at th Winterland, San Francisco, CA January 26th 1973

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Personnel:
Rebop Kwaku Baah (percussion)
Barry Beckett (keyboards)
Jim Capaldi (drums, percussion, vocals)
Roger Hawkins (drums)
David Hood (bass)
Steve Winwood (keyboards, guitar, vocals)
Chris Wood (saxophone, flute)

Alternate frontcovers:
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Tracklist:
01. Shootout At The Fantasy Factory (Capaldi/Winwood) 6.14
02. Rock n’ Roll Stew (Capaldi/Winwood) 7.43
03. Roll Right Stones (Capaldi/Winwood) 13.16
04. Empty Pages (Capaldi/Winwood)  5.36
05. Evening Blue (Capaldi/Winwood) 5.34
06. 40.000 Headmen 40,000 Headmen 5.27
07. Glad (Winwood) 10.10
08. Freedom Rider (Capaldi/Winwood) 6.11
09. Tragic Magic (cut) (Wood) 1.55
10. (Sometimes I Feel So) Uninspired (Capaldi/Winwood) 12.03
11. Light Up Or Leave Me Alone (Capaldi/Winwood) 9.43

Steve Winwood
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Chris WoodChris Wood ( (24 June 1944 – 12 July 1983)

Jim CapaldiJim Capaldi (2 August 1944 – 28 January 2005)

John Martyn – Solid Air (1973)

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Iain David McGeachy OBE (11 September 1948 – 29 January 2009), known professionally as John Martyn, was a British singer-songwriter and guitarist. Over a 40-year career, he released 22 studio albums, and received frequent critical acclaim. The Times described him as “an electrifying guitarist and singer whose music blurred the boundaries between folk, jazz, rock and blues”.

Martyn began his career at age 17 as a key member of the British folk music scene, drawing inspiration from American blues and English traditional music, and signed with Island Records. By the 1970s he had begun incorporating jazz and rock into his sound on albums such as Solid Air (1973) and One World (1977), as well as experimenting with guitar effects and tape delay machines such as Echoplex. He struggled with substance abuse and domestic problems throughout the 1970s and 1980s, though continued to release albums while collaborating with figures such as Phil Collins and Lee “Scratch” Perry. He remained active until his death in 2009.

Solid Air is the fourth studio album by British folk singer-songwriter John Martyn, released in February 1973 by Island Records.

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The album was recorded over eight days and features instrumental contributions by bassist Danny Thompson and members of Fairport Convention. “Solid Air”, the title track, was dedicated to a friend of Martyn’s, Nick Drake, who would die of an antidepressant overdose 18 months after the album was released. Martyn said of the track “It was done for a friend of mine, and it was done right with very clear motives, and I’m very pleased with it, for varying reasons. It has got a very simple message, but you’ll have to work that one out for yourself.” The album features an avant-garde cover of Skip James’ “Devil Got My Woman,” here retitled “I’d Rather Be the Devil” and performed with heavy use of Martyn’s Echoplex tape delay effect.

“May You Never” became something of a signature song for Martyn, becoming a staple of his live performances. Released in November 1971 as a single in an early form, the song JohnMartyn02was re-recorded during the Solid Air sessions.[8] Eric Clapton covered “May You Never” on his 1977 album Slowhand. When Martyn was presented with a lifetime achievement award by Phil Collins (a collaborator of Martyn’s) at the 2008 BBC Folk Awards, In 2006, Martyn performed the album live in its entirety as part of the All Tomorrow’s Parties-curated Don’t Look Back series and subsequently toured the UK.

A remastered CD was issued by Universal Records in October 2000. This CD was packaged in a card slipcase, and featured a remastered version of the original album with the addition of a live version of “I’d Rather Be The Devil”. Solid Air was given a further remastering and repackaging when a double CD reissue curated by John Hillarby was released in 2009, and which included several alternate studio and live versions.

The album cover is an example of schlieren photography demonstrating the ‘solid’ nature of air.

Solid Air was rated as the 67th Greatest British Album Ever by the British music magazine Q, and was also included in their list of Best Chill-Out Albums Of All Time. The album is included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery. It was voted number 826 in Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums 3rd Edition (2000).  (by wikipedia)

Single

Solid Air is one of the defining moments in British folk, in the same league as Fairport Convention’s Liege & Lief, Richard & Linda Thompson’s Shoot Out the Lights, and Michael Chapman’s Rainmaker. Martyn stepped out of his comfort zone to record and produce it, including not only jazz and blues but rock and plenty of sound effects, and featuring Rhodes piano on some of its tracks, dismaying some fans while winning a ton more for its genre-blurring presentation. A number of its cuts — such as the title track (written for Martyn’s friend, Nick Drake), “Over the Hill,” “I’d Rather Be the Devil,” and “May You Never” — remained staples in his live sets until the end of his life. (by by Thom Jurek)

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Personnel:
Neemoi “Speedy” Acquaye (percussion)
John “Rabbit” Bundrick (keyboards, clavinet)
John Martyn (guitar, vocals, keyboards on 09.)
Dave Mattacks (drums)
Dave Pegg (bass)
Danny Thompson (bass)
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Tristan Fry (vibraphone on 01.)
Tony Coe (saxophone on 01. + 06.)
Sue Draheim (violin on 02.)
Simon Nicol (autoharp on 02.)
Richard Thompson (mandolin on 02.)

Booklet
Tracklist:
01. Solid Air (Martyn) 5.47
02. Over The Hill (Martyn) 2.51
03. Don’t Want To Know (Martyn) 3.02
04. I’d Rather Be The Devil (James) 6.19
05. Go Down Easy (Martyn) 3.36
06. Dreams By The Sea (Martyn) 3.18
07. May You Never (Martyn) 3.43
08. The Man In The Station (Martyn) 2.55
09. The Easy Blues (Martyn) 3.22

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JohnMartyn03John Martyn (11 September 1948 – 29 January 2009)