Leon Russell – Leon Live (1973)

LPFrontCover1Leon Live would probably loom larger in the memories of more fans today if only it hadn’t come out after Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen (which was almost more a showcase for Russell and his band than it was for Cocker) and The Concert for Bangladesh, which, between them, gave everyone a lengthy preview of Russell’s live act. On the other hand, it is 100 minutes of Russell’s concert work in one place, which is either very compelling or a little too intense for most peoples’ tastes.

Russell was the leading white practitioner of big band rock in the early 1970s, and his sound was something new for most of the listeners he attracted — the Rolling Stones may have brought aboard a horn section and pianist to their stage act, but Russell was the real article, leading an octet (complete with two pianists) and five backup singers, doing a descendant of 1950s-style R&B of a kind that had been banished from the airwaves since the early 1960s, apart from some one-off successes like John Fred & His Playboy Band.

Russell plays an authentic, classic New Orleans-style R&B, melded successfully to Bob Dylan’s “The Mighty Quinn” (in the “Mighty Quinn Medley”) and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” among other then-recent rock songs — mostly he animates his music and his singers and, from the sound of it, his audience for 11 minutes at a clip, with a sound that manages to be massive yet highly articulate, his band’s pounding, driving impact leaving lots of room for Don Preston’s and Joey Cooper’s guitars to cut through. Appearing at the height of Russell’s fame, this was originally a triple LP and one of the most successful of its era. (by Bruce Eder)

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Personnel:
Chuck Blackwell (drums)
Ambrose Campbell (percussion)
Joey Cooper (guitar, background vocals)
Patrick Henderson (piano, vocals)
Leon Russell vocals, piano)
Don Preston (guitar, vocals, background vocals)
Carl Radle (bass)
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background vocals:
Black Grass – Phylliss Lindsey

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Tracklist:
01. Mighty Quinn Medley 11.44
01.1. I’ll Take You There (Bell)
01.2. Idol With The Golden Head (Leiber/Stoller)
01.3. I Serve A Living Savior (Watson)
01.4. Mighty Quinn (Dylan)
02. Shoot Out On The Plantation (Russell) 4.51
03. Dixie Lullaby (Stainton/Russell) 3.07
04. Queen Of The Roller Derby (Russell) 1.53
05. Roll Away The Stone (Dempsey/Russell) 3.57
06. It’s Been A Long Time Baby (Hooker/Paub) 3.20
07. Great Day (Traditional) 3.08
08. Alcatraz (Russell) 4.19
09. Crystal Closet Queen (Russell) 6.33
10. Prince Of Peace (Dempsey/Russell) 4.27
11. Sweet Emily (Russell) 3.07
12. Stranger In A Strange Land (Russell) 4.57
13. Out In The Woods (Russell) 9.15
14. Some Day (Traditional) 3.19
15. Sweeping Through The City (Caeser) 2.29
16. Jumping Jack Flash / Youngblood Medley 16.09
16.1. Jumping Jack Flash (Jagger/Richards)
16.2.Youngblood (Pomus/Leiber/Stoller)
17. Of Thee I Sing / Yes I Am (Russell) 10.26
18. Delta Lady (Russell) 3.55
19. It’s All Over Now Baby Blue (Dylan) 6.39

 

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Leon Russell
Leon Russell (born Claude Russell Bridges) April 2, 1942 – November 13, 2016)

Jan Akkerman – Tabernakel (1973)

frontcover1This album — which, despite being third in most discographies, was actually Jan Akkerman’s first official solo album — must have been a real shocker to a lot of Focus. Rather than working from the flashy, electric guitar side of the group’s sound, Akkerman chose to expand on the lute sound that he’d explored on Focus III’s “Elspeth of Nottingham.” Tabernakel represented Akkerman at his most formalistic, playing almost entirely in a classical idiom on lute and acoustic and electric guitars (with one brief side trip to the bass). The repertory is drawn largely from 16th century Tudor England, including compositions by John Dowland and Antony Holborne, rearranged by Akkerman and harpsichord virtuoso and scholar George Flynn. He gives one major concession to progressive rock in the form of the fuzz-laden reinterpretation of “House of the King,” which misses the flute part from the Focus original but is still worth hearing as a guitar showcase. Tabernakel is otherwise the real article as far as its classicism — the 14-minute-long “Lammy” comes close to being pretentious without quite crossing the line, and all of the album is a fascinating solo departure for the guitarist. What makes this album doubly intriguing is that apart from Flynn, Akkerman’s accompanists come entirely from the rock world: Tim Bogert, Carmine Appice, and veteran R&B drummer Ray Lucas, none of whom seems to skip a beat in their work here. Recorded at Atlantic Records’ studios in New York and released in 1974, when Focus was still near the peak of its fame, Tabernakel sold reasonably well at the time, but had been unavailable from the late ’70s until 2002, when Wounded Bird Records reissued it in a good-sounding CD edition. (by Bruce Eder)

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Personnel:
Jan Akkerman (guitar, lute, bass, harpsichord, piano, glockenspiel, percussion)
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Robert Alexander (trombone on 01. +08.)
Carmine Appice (drums on 04. + 10.)
Harold Bennett (flute on 01., 04. + 08.)
Lawrence Bennett (tenor vocals on 10.)
Eugene Bianco (harp on 08.)
Albert Block (flute on 08.)
Philip Bodner (oboe on 08.)
Tim Bogert (bass on 04. + 10.)
Raymond Crisara (trumpet on 01.)
Richard Davis (bass on 08. + 10.)
George Flynn (harpsichord on 08. + 10., glockenspiel on 08., piano on 08.)
Dominick Gravine (trombone on 01. + 08.)
Stephen M. Johns (tuba on 08.)
Elliot Levine (bass vocals on 10.)
Ray Lucas (drums on 01. + 10.)
Walter Kane (bassoon on 08.)
Josephine Mongiardo (soprano vocals on 10.)
Alan Rubin (trumpet on 08.)
Charles Russo (clarinet on 10.)
Russell Savakus (bass on 01. + 04.)
Daniel Waitzman (flute on 10.)
Joseph Wilder (trumpet on 01.)
William Zukof (countertenor vocals on 10.)
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cello:
Charles McCracken – George Koutzen – George Ricci – Gloria Lanzarone – Jesse Levy – Kermit Moore – Lucien Schmit
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viola:
Alfred Brown – David Sackson – Emanuel Vardi – Richard Maximoff – Selwart Clarke –  Seymour Berman
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violin:
Arnold Eidus – Carmen Malignaggi – David Kunstler – Elliot Rosoff – Frederick Buldrini – Gene Orloff – Guy Lumia – Harold Kohon – Harry Cykman – Joseph Malignaggi – Kathryn Kienke – Lewis Eley – Norman Carr – Raoul Poliakin
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french horn:
Earl Chapin – James Buffington – Ray Alonge – Tony Miranda
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George Flynn (conducter)
Gene Orloff (concertmaster)

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Tracklist:
01. Britannia (Dowland) 3.58
02. Coranto For Mrs. Murcott (Pilkington) 1,30
03. The Earl Of Derby, His Galliard (Dowland) 2.00
04. House Of The King (Akkerman) 2.25
05. A Galliard (Holborne) 2.13
06. A Galliard (Dowland) 1.35
07. A Pavan (Morley) 3.07
08. Javeh (Akkerman/Flynn) 3.24
09. A Fantasy (Laurencini Of Rome) 3.22
10. Lammy: (14.01)
10.01. I Am (Flynn/Akkerman)
10.02.Asleep, Half Asleep, Awake (Akkerman)
10.03. She Is (Flynn/Akkerman)
10.04. Lammy (Flynn/Akkerman)
10.05. We Are (Flynn/Akkerman)
10.06. The Last Will And Testament (Holborne)
10.07. Amen (Flynn/Akkerman)

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The Rolling Stones – It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll (1974)

frontcover1It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll is the 12th British and 14th American studio album by The Rolling Stones, released in 1974. It was the last Rolling Stones album for guitarist Mick Taylor and the songwriting and recording of the album’s title track had a connection to Taylor’s eventual replacement, Ronnie Wood. It also marked the 10th anniversary since the band’s debut album. The album has a firmer rock sound than the band’s previous album, the more funk- and soul-inspired Goats Head Soup. The album reached #1 in the US and #2 in the UK.

Work began on It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll following the Rolling Stones’ fall 1973 European tour. Production began in November at Munich, Germany’s Musicland Studios. According to guitarist Keith Richards, “We were really hot (off the road) and ready just to play some new material.”[1] The recording sessions were attended by Belgian painter Guy Peellaert, who Mick Jagger invited to do the album cover after seeing his work in the book Rock Dreams, which featured illustrations of various rock musicians such as the Stones. Peellaert eventually painted the band as “rock deities”, descending a temple staircase, surrounded by young girls and women worshipping them in Grecian clothing. The artist refused to sign a deal of exclusivity, and in 1974 provided another album art, David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs.

The album was at first developed as a half-live, half-studio production with one side of the album featuring live performances from the Stones’ European tour while the other side was to be composed of newly recorded cover versions of the band’s favourite R&B songs. Covers recorded included a take of Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away”, Shirley & Company’s “Shame, Shame, Shame”, and The Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”. Soon the band began working off riffs by Richards and new ideas by Mick Jagger and the original concept was scrapped in favour of an album with all-new material. The cover of “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” was the only recording to make the cut, while the “Drift Away” cover is a popular bootleg.

rollingstones1974_01It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll marked the Stones’ first effort in the producer’s chair since Their Satanic Majesties Request, and the first for Jagger and Richards under their pseudonym “The Glimmer Twins”. On the choice to produce, Richards said at the time:

“I think we’d come to a point with Jimmy (Miller) where the contribution level had dropped because it’d got to be a habit, a way of life, for Jimmy to do one Stones album a year. He’d got over the initial sort of excitement which you can feel on Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed. Also, Mick and I felt that we wanted to try and do it ourselves because we really felt we knew much more about techniques and recording and had our own ideas of how we wanted things to go. Goats Head Soup hadn’t turned out as we wanted to – not blaming Jimmy or anything like that… But it was obvious that it was time for a change in that particular part of the process of making records.”

Starting with this release, all future Rolling Stones albums would either be produced by them or in collaboration with an outside producer.

Most of the album’s backing tracks were recorded first at Musicland; solo vocals were recorded later by Jagger, about whom Richards would say, “he often comes up with his best stuff alone in the studio with just an engineer.”

The song “Luxury” showed the band’s growing interest in reggae music, while “Till the Next Goodbye” and “If You Really Want to Be My Friend” continued their immersion in ballads. Seven of the album’s ten songs crack the four-minute mark, a feature that would come to be disparaged during the rising punk rock scene of the late 1970s.

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Ronnie Wood, a longtime acquaintance of the band, began to get closer to the Rolling Stones during these sessions after he invited Mick Taylor to play on his debut album, I’ve Got My Own Album to Do. Taylor spent some time recording and hanging out at Wood’s house The Wick. By chance, Richards was asked one night by Wood’s wife at the time, Krissy, to join them at the guitarist’s home. While there, Richards recorded some tracks with Wood and quickly developed a close friendship, with Richards going as far as moving into Wood’s guest room. Jagger soon entered the mix and it was here that the album’s lead single and title track, “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)”, was first recorded. Wood worked closely on the track with Jagger, who subsequently took the song and title for their album. The released version of this song features Wood on twelve-string acoustic guitar.

It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll was Mick Taylor’s last album with the Rolling Stones, and he played on just seven of the ten tracks (he did not play on tracks 2, 3, and 6). Due to Taylor’s absence, Richards is responsible for the brief lead guitar break on “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”, the distorted electric guitar on the title track which includes the solo, and played both rhythm and lead guitar tracks on the “Luxury” studio recording. However, on the occasional live performances of “Luxury” during the Tour of the Americas ’75, lead guitar was provided by Ron Wood. Even though Mick Taylor is present on “Short and Curlies”, his slide guitar playing panned onto the right channel/speaker is mostly buried underneath Richards’ own lead guitar throughout most of the track which is panned to the left channel/speaker.

Similar to receiving no writing credits on the Stones’ previous album, Goats Head Soup, Taylor reportedly had made songwriting contributions to “Till the Next Goodbye” and “Time Waits for No One”, but on the album jacket, all original songs were credited to Jagger/Richards. Taylor said in 1997:

“I did have a falling out with Mick Jagger over some songs I felt I should have been credited with co-writing on It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll. We were quite close friends and co-operated quite closely on getting that album made. By that time Mick and Keith weren’t really working together as a team so I’d spend a lot of time in the studio.”

rollingstones1974_03
Taylor’s statement contradicts Jagger’s earlier comment concerning the album. Jagger stated in a 1995 Rolling Stone interview about “Time Waits for No One” that Taylor “maybe threw in a couple of chords”.

Alongside the usual outside contributors, namely Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins and unofficial member Ian Stewart, Elton John sideman Ray Cooper acted as percussionist for the album. Several songs were finished songs and overdubs and mixing were performed at Jagger’s home, Stargroves, in the early summer of 1974.

In July, the lead single, “It’s Only Rock ’n Roll (But I Like It)”, was released, and despite the familiar sound, it surprised many by failing to reach the top 10 in the US (although it did reach the top 10 in the UK). With its sing-along chorus, it has become a staple at Rolling Stones concerts. The B-side “Through the Lonely Nights” dates back to the previous year’s Goats Head Soup sessions. A cover of “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”, originally a 1966 hit by The Temptations, was released as the second single in the US only, where it also became a top 20 hit. Its parent album appeared in October with brisk initial sales, reaching number two in the UK (breaking a string of number-one albums that stretched back to 1969’s Let It Bleed) and number one in the US, where it eventually went platinum.

Reviews were largely positive, with Jon Landau calling It’s Only Rock ’n Roll “one of the most intriguing and mysterious, as well as the darkest, of all Rolling Stones records.”[12] However rock critic Lester Bangs disparaged the album in The Village Voice, much like Goats Head Soup, saying, “The Stones have become oblique in their old age, which is just another word for perverse except that perverse is the corniest concept extant as they realized at inception… Soup was friendly and safe. I want the edge and this album doesn’t reassure me that I’ll get it, what a curious situation to be stuck in, but maybe that’s the beauty of the Stones, hah, hah, kid? This album is false. Numb. But it cuts like a dull blade. Are they doing the cutting, or are we?”

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Author James Hector added that It’s Only Rock ’n Roll was a definitive turning point for the band. “The album marked the band’s decisive entry into a comfortable living as rock’s elder statesmen. From this point on, their youth culture importance vanished, and there would be few musical surprises in the future.” Hector concluded with “On It’s Only Rock ’n Roll, the band had become what they imagined their mass audience desired them to be. They were wrong.”

Instead of immediately touring to promote the album, the band decided to head back into the Munich studios to record the next album, to Mick Taylor’s disappointment and subsequent resignation from the band. A tour didn’t happen until the following summer in the US, the ‘Tour of the Americas ’75’, with future member Ronnie Wood taking Taylor’s place on guitar.

The title track became a permanent staple of the band’s live setlist, but apart from some performances of “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and “If You Can’t Rock Me” on the Licks Tour, none of the other tracks have been performed since 1977. “Till The Next Goodbye”, “Time Waits For No-One”, “If You Really Want To Be My Friend” and “Short and Curlies” have never been played live.

In order to promote the album, music videos were filmed for several of the songs. The most commonly seen video from the album was the video for “It’s Only Rock’n’Roll (But I Like It)”, featuring the band (in sailor suits) playing in a tent, which gradually fills with soap bubbles (Taylor is featured in the video but did not actually play on the recorded cut). Videos were also filmed for “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and “Till The Next Goodbye”.

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Personnel:
Mick Jagger (vocals; guitar on 04. + 10.)
Keith Richards (guitar, background vocals; bass on 01.)
Mick Taylor (guitar, slide-guitar, synthesizer on 05., congas on 07.,  bass on 10.)
Charlie Watts (drums)
Bill Wyman (bass, synthesizer on 10.)
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Ray Cooper (percussion)
Nicky Hopkins (piano on 04. – 06., 08. + 10.)
Charlie Jolly (tabla on 10.)
Ed Leach (cowbell on 02.)
Blue Magic (background vocals on 08.)
Billy Preston (piano on 01., 02., 10., clavinet on 02., organ on 08.)
Ian Stewart (piano on 03., 07. + 09.)

Basic track on “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)”:
David Bowie (background vocals)
Kenney Jones (drums)
Willie Weeks (bass)
Ronnie Wood (guitar, background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. If You Can’t Rock Me (Jagger/Richards) 3.48
02. Ain’t Too Proud To Beg (Whitfield/Holland) 3.30
03. It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It) (Inspiration by Ronnie Wood) (Jagger/Richards)     5.07
04. Till The Next Goodbye (Jagger/Richards) 4.39
05. Time Waits For No One (Jagger/Richards) 6.48
06. Luxury (Jagger/Richards) 5,03
07. Dance Little Sister (Jagger/Richards) 4.12
08. If You Really Want To Be My Friend (Jagger/Richards)  6.19
09. Short And Curlies (Jagger/Richards) 2.45
10. Fingerprint File (Jagger/Richards) 7.01

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Waldo de Los Rios – Navidad con Waldo de Los Rios (1973)

fronzcover1Waldo de los Ríos (7 Septembre 1934 – 28 Mars 1977) was an Argentine composer, conductor and arranger.

De los Rios was born as Osvaldo Nicholas Ferrara in Buenos Aires into a musical family; his father was a musician and his mother a well known folk singer; he studied composition and arranging at the National Conservatory of Music under Alberto Ginastera and Teodoro Fuchs. He was inspired by an eclectic range of music and formed a musical group called “The Waldos” which crossed folk music with electronic sounds. De los Rios turned to work in cinema and film sound tracks where his compositions were heard in the 1967 film Pampa Salvaje, for which he received a prestigious award from the Argentine Cinematographic Association. He relocated to the USA in 1958 and then to Spain in 1962.

He is best remembered for his ability to transform European classical music into pop music. His 1971 arrangement of Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, recorded with the Manuel de Falla orchestra, reached the top spot in the Dutch charts and scored a top 10 hit in several other European countries. In 1970, prior to this success, Waldo de los Rios had already climbed the charts around Europe and America with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ode To Joy, which he arranged and conducted for Miguel Ríos.

His record Mozart in the Seventies rearranged famous Mozart pieces in a contemporary style, with a large percussion section. Several tracks from it were used as theme tunes to BBC programmes of that era, including the theme to the BBC’s coverage of the Horse of the Year Show (his reworking of Mozart’s A Musical Joke). His re-working of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, used for many years as the theme to the Radio 4 quiz show Brain of Britain, was the subject of frequent complaints from classical music fans (with whom the show was popular) and presenter Robert Robinson described it on air as “Mozart plus sacrilege”.

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He also issued an album Symphonies for the Seventies which included Mozart’s Symphony no. 40 and other major composers including Dvořák’s New World. In 1971, he arranged and conducted the Spanish entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, “En un mundo nuevo” for Karina. The song landed a respectable second position and hit the charts in several European countries.

He was married to actress turned journalist/author Isabel Pisano (born in Montevideo, Uruguay, 1944). Pisano later documented part of his life in her autobiography El Amado Fantasma (Plaza y Janés, 2002).

A victim of an acute depression while working on “Don Juan Tenorio”, de los Rios committed suicide in Madrid in 1977. (by wikipedia)

And this is his beautfil Christmas … listen to the unique sound of Waldo de Los Rios.

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Personnel:
The Waldo de Los Rios Orchestra

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Tracklist:
01. Carol Of The Drum (Little Drummer Boy) (Davis) 3.38
02. The First Noel (Traditional) 3.00
03. Silent Night (Gruber) 3.29
04. It Came Upon The Midnight Clear (Traditional) 2.27
05. O Tannenbaum (Traditional) 2.30
06. O Come All Ye Faithful (Traditional) 3.00
07. Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem (Traditional) 2.54
08. White Christmas (Berlin) 2.06
09. Hark! The Herald Angels Song (Traditional) 3.12
10. Jingle Bells (Traditional) 2.53

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Darryl Way’s Wolf – Saturation Point (1973)

frontcover1The band’s second album, released a few scant months after their debut, found Darryl Way and co. still edging away from the Curved Air ideal, without doing anything to truly alienate that band’s loyal followers. Indeed, there were moments throughout Wolf’s career when they sounded more like the original Air than that band’s current incarnation ever could. Of course it’s the mad violin that best confirms the similarities, but one can only dream of how dramatic this band could have been had they only reached a wider audience. Listening to Saturation Point is like walking a tightrope, a taut, nerve-bending ride that takes you from the eccentric peaks of “The Ache” and “Two Sisters” (combined, one of the greatest album overtures of the year), to the boleric attack of “Toy Symphony,” a cut that raises the specters of Caravan and ELP, even as it shakes off comparisons with anything else. This was indeed the peak of Wolf’s musical career, an album that snagged all the high points from its predecessor, then mashed them with the experience that the live show brought into reach. (by Dave Thompson)

This is another forgotten jewel of the British progressive rock scene in the early 70´s … a fantastic instrumental album,, inspired by four true musicians !

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Personnel:
John Etheridge (guitar)
Dek Messecar (bass, vocals)
Ian Mosley (drums)
Darryl Way (violin, keyboards)

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Tracklist:
01. The Ache (Way) 4.50
02. Two Sisters (Way) 4.20
03. Slow Rag (Etheridge) 5.17
04. Market Overture (Way) 3.38
05. Game Of X (Etheridge) 5.48
06. Saturation Point (Way) 6.45
07. Toy Symphony (Way) 7.16
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08. A Bunch Of Fives (Single release B-side) (Etheridge) 3.31
09. Five In The Morning (Single release A-side) (Way) 2.40
10. Two Sisters (Single version) (Way) 3.21

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Single: A Bunch Of Fives /bw Five In The Morning

Bloontz – Same (1973)

frontcover1Bloontz was a short-lived rock band from Houston/Texas.

Braunagel’s first experience on the drums was playing his cousin’s drumkit as a child, before being mentored by his neighbor Willie Ornelas.
At the age of about 15 he bought his first drumkit and soon after became involved in the then-upcoming Houston R&B scene, honing his skills by playing in local joints and nightclubs.
After drumming in several local bands, including Soul Brothers Incorporated, Braunagel teamed up with Andy Chapman (vocals), David Kealey (guitars), Michael Montgomery (keyboards), and Terry Wilson (bass) to form The Bloontz All Star Blues Band. In 1971, the band moved to New York under the auspices of producer Ron Johnsen, shortening their name to Bloontz and scoring a contract with the Evolution label.
Bloontz recorded one album at Electric Lady Studios … (by wikipedia)

From a marketing perspective these guys were dead on arrival – unusual name, small label, bad cover art …  as the saying goes, three strikes and you’re out.   Add to that the few online references to the group haven’t been particularly kind to them.  One major online reference didn’t even get their nationality right – they’re shown as being British.  Shame history hasn’t been kinder since they were actually a pretty good album oriented rock outfit.

Based in Houston, Texas and originally known as The Bloontz All Star Blues Band, the group featured the talents of drummer Tony Braunagel, singer Andy Chapman, lead guitarist David Kealey, keyboardist Mike Montgomery, and former Blackwell bassist Terry Wilson.  They relocated to New York in 1972 and shortened their name to Bloontz, scoring a contract with the Evolution label.  Produced by Ron Johnsen, 1973’s cleverly-titled “Bloontz” wasn’t half bad.  Mind you, none of the nine tracks was going to win an award for originality, but in the AOR genre the songs (with three of the five members contributing material), were quite varied and the performances were virtually all enjoyable.  As lead singer Chapman had a voice that was near perfect for album oriented rockers – tough, rugged, but quite commercial.  Imagine Paul Rodgers had he been born and raised in Texas.  The rest of the band were also quite good with guitarist Kealey deserving special notice for his tasteful solos.

– With a rollicking melody, the opening rocker ‘The Joke’s On You’ sounded like an early stab at southern rock.  This was one of the album’s most commercial and radio-friendly outings.

– ‘Jason Blue’ was unlike anything else on the album.  Musically it was a bluesy rocker that to my ears sounded like a cross between David Clayton Thomas, Meatloaf, and early Steely Dan.  Yeah, you’ll simply have to hear this one to judge it yourself.  It was one of those songs that grew on you after awhile.

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– Yeah, the title was a grammatical challenge; the lyric remains a puzzle to me, and the song itself wasn’t all that great …  Still, ‘You Ain’t Your Body’ gave Kealey a chance to unleash a nice solo.

– ‘Arena’ was the kind of track a hair band like Whitesnake would have killed to have written.  Nice rocker with a great hook, interesting lyrics that should have appealed to any red blooded 17 year old male …

– Kicked along by Kealey’s screeching, but melodic lead guitar and one of Chapman’s grittiest vocals, ‘Long Way Down’ was a nice  ‘life-is-tough-as-a-rock-star’ ballad that was easily as good as anything Free had released.  That might explain why it was also tapped as an instantly obscure single.

– Penned by Montgomery, side two started with a great country-rocker in the form of ‘Prodigal’.  One of the album’s best melodies, this one gave Kealey a chance to show off his Telecaster moves …

– Co-written with Wilson’s former Blackwell partner John Rabbit Bundrick, ‘Sunshine’s Masquerade’ was the album’s first major disappointment.  A mid-tempo piece with an emphasis on Montgomery’s keyboards, this one simply never switched into first gear.    rating:

– ‘Ramon’ was one of those tracks that I didn’t particularly like the first couple of times around.  It struck me as being kind of cheesy, but the tune itself was quite good.

– Opening up with a pretty acoustic guitar ‘Light Up the World’ morphed into an overblown ballad (complete with female backing chorus) that showcased the worst aspects of Chapman’s voice – here he simply sounded shrill and shrieky.  Not a good way to close out the album.

TThe album did nothing commercially and the band subsequently broke up with

Braunagle and Wilson reappearing as members of Paul Kossoff’s Back Street Crawler.  (by badcatrecords.com) …

… and they recorded some of the songs from this album again … with the great Paul Kossoff … included the fantastic “Long Way Down”.

Maybe this album is not a lost classic, but it´s a real fine gem … And if you like Free or Paul kossoff´s Backsreet Crawler … then you have to listen !

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Very rare Promo-Single

Personnel:
Tony Braunagel (drums, percussion)
Andy Chapman (vocals)
David L. Kealey (guitar)
Michael John Montgomery (keyboards)
Terry Wilson bass, guitar)
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Jimmy Don (guitar on 02. + 09.)
Steve Radney (guitar on 01.)
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background vocals:
Linda Lawley – Margaret Dorn – Sharon Redd – Zenobia

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Tracklist:
01. The Joke’s On You (Braunagel) 3.15
02. Jason Blue (Montgomery) 3.33
03. You Ain’t Your Body (Wilson/Bundrick) 2.25
04. Arena (Montgomery) 2.30
05. Long Way Down (Montgomery) 3.53
06. Prodigal (Montgomery) 3.30
07. Sunshine Masquerade (Wilson/Bundrick) 3.10
08. Ramon (Wilson) 3.30
09. Light Up The World (Smith)

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Dedicated to the great Michael John Montgomery, who passed away in 1991

 

 

Back Door – Live At The BBC (1973)

frontcoverBack Door was a jazz-rock trio, formed in 1971.

Colin Hodgkinson first met Ron Aspery whilst the two were playing in Eric Delaney’s Showband. The two began to talk about forming their own band around 1969, and eventually Back Door came to fruition in 1971, with Tony Hicks joining on drums. Hodgkinson made an innovative use of the electric bass, making it a lead instrument rather than a part of a rhythm section.

Their unique brand of jazz-rock and Hodgkinson’s original playing was a hit at their regular venue; the Lion Inn on Blakey Ridge, Yorkshire. However, record labels were not keen and the band were repeatedly told “No singer, no contract”. Ever the innovators, the band decided to record their first album themselves. It was recorded on a 4-track Ampex mixing console in eight hours, and mixed in four hours the next day. Around 1,000 copies were first printed by RCA. The album was sold over the bar at The Lion Inn, and at a few record shops in the local area.

A copy of the record somehow made its way to the NME headquarters in London, and a superb review by Charles Shaar Murray was printed. After a few more reviews, the band passed an interview, and began playing a regular slot at The Senate in Peterlee, despite Aspery snapping a key off his saxophone moments before the audition. The band’s popularity increased when they were asked to play a two-week stint at Ronnie Scott’s club in London, opening for Chick Corea, a run that was eventually lengthened to three weeks. The record companies changed their tune, and after receiving many offers, the trio decided to sign with Warner Brothers. The band rejected an offer from Richard Branson (who was just starting up Virgin Records at the time) because, according to Hodgkinson, “they were successful – this other guy seemed really nice, but he had no track record”. Warner Brothers then re-released their debut album.

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In 1974, the trio went to New York City to record their second album, 8th Street Nites. The album was produced by former Cream producer, Felix Pappalardi. This was their first album to feature vocals, provided by Hodgkinson because “we needed a singer, and I was the least bad out of us.” Pappalardi himself also played on a few tracks. Warner Brothers duly released the record, and a tour of the United States supporting Emerson, Lake & Palmer followed. Subsequent tours (usually as the support act) included one with Alexis Korner in Germany, which led to a long-lasting collaboration between Korner and Hodgkinson, and The J. Geils Band in the US, and a few as headliners on the university circuit in the UK.

By the time they recorded their third LP, Another Fine Mess, Dave MacRae had joined the band on piano. He was a friend that Hicks made while in Australia. The band shifted style slightly on this album, and more effects, processing, and electronic sounds were used, although they were still defined as jazz-rock. McRae’s stint in the band only lasted about a year, however, and by the time they recorded Activate in 1976 he had departed the band, as had longtime drummer, Tony Hicks. The band hired Adrian Tilbrook as a replacement on drums, claiming they needed “a more hard-hitting drummer.” The album was produced by Carl Palmer.

After the release of Activate, the band played less and less together, and eventually broke up around 1977. Aspery went on to do work as a session musician, and Hodgkinson worked in a string of projects including The Spencer Davis Group, a stint playing live with Alexis Korner, as did Aspery, and a few outfits alongside Jan Hammer, then of The Mahavishnu Orchestra.

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The original line-up briefly reunited for what was initially one night at the Ronnie Scott’s 1986, although this was subsequently followed by a short tour of the UK.

In 2003, the original line-up reunited once again to record a new album. Askin’ the Way consists of 6 re-workings of favourite old songs, and 13 new recordings. Hicks also played accordion on this album on a couple of tracks.[4] The official launch took place in The Lion at Blakey Ridge, where the band had first started out back in 1971. The band then played a few more shows but Aspery had been suffering from an illness for quite some time, and decided that the rigours of the road were no longer for him.

On 10 December that year, Ron Aspery died at his home in Saltdean, Sussex.

The band played a few more concerts in 2005 with Rod Mason on saxophone, including the Guildhall venue at the Brecon Jazz Festival, Hull Jazz Festival, and further sold – out Blakey concerts in 2005.

Tony Hicks died in Sydney, Australia on 13 August 2006.

In 2007 Colin Hodgkinson formed a new trio under the name Colin Hodgkinson Group with Rod Mason (sax) and Paul Robinson (drums). In 2008 they released Back Door Too!, a mixture of old Back Door numbers and new material. (by wikipedia)

And this is the B-side of a BBC In Concert album, recorded live at the Paris Theatre, London and the band was introduced by the one and only Alexis Korner, who played with Colin Hodkginson many, many year.

Listen to this unique jazz-rock-blues trio … withthis unbelieveable sound … one of the finest jazz-rock bands we ever had … !

This is another item from my tape collection …

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Personnel:
Ron Aspery (saxophone, flute, keyboards)
Tony Hicks (drumss)
Colin Hodgkinson (bass, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Introduction by Alexis Korner 0.27
02. Folk Song (Hodgkinson/Aspery) 3.21
03. Introduction to the band 0.30
04. Roberta (Leadbetter) 2.57
05. Linin´ Track (Leadbetter) 4.10
06. Forget Me Daisy (Hodgkinson/Aspery) 2.39
07. Country Blues Nr. 1 (Hodgkinson/Aspery/Hicks)
08. His Old Boots (Hodgkinson/Aspery)
09. Walkin´ Blues (Johnson) 4.13
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09. Live At The BBC (complete show without editing)

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