Humble Pie – Joint Effort (2019)

FrontCover1A showcase for former Small Faces’ frontman Steve Marriott and one-time Herd guitar virtuoso Peter Frampton, the hard rock outfit Humble Pie formed in Essex, England in 1969. Also featuring ex-Spooky Tooth bassist Greg Ridley along with drummer Jerry Shirley, the fledgling group spent the first several months of its existence locked away in Marriott’s Essex cottage, maintaining a relentless practice schedule. Signed to the Immediate label, Humble Pie soon issued their debut single “Natural Born Boogie,” which hit the British Top Ten and paved the way for the group’s premiere LP, As Safe as Yesterday Is.

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After touring the U.S. in support of 1969’s Town and Country, Humble Pie returned home only to discover that Immediate had declared bankruptcy. The band recruited a new manager, Dee Anthony, who helped land them a new deal with A&M; behind closed doors, Anthony encouraged Marriott to direct the group towards a harder-edged, grittier sound far removed from the acoustic melodies favored by Frampton. As Marriott’s raw blues shouting began to dominate subsequent LPs like 1970’s eponymous effort and 1971’s Rock On, Frampton’s role in the band he co-founded gradually diminished; finally, after a highly charged U.S. tour which yielded 1971’s commercial breakthrough Performance: Rockin’ the Fillmore, Frampton exited Humble Pie to embark on a solo career.

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After enlisting former Colosseum guitarist Dave “Clem” Clempson to fill the void, Humble Pie grew even heavier for 1972’s Smokin’, their most successful album to date. However, while 1973’s ambitious double studio/live set Eat It fell just shy of the Top Ten, its 1974 follow-up Thunderbox failed to crack the Top 40. After 1975’s Street Rats reached only number 100 before disappearing from the charts, Humble Pie disbanded; while Shirley formed Natural Gas with Badfinger alum Joey Molland, and Clempson and Ridley teamed with Cozy Powell in Strange Brew, Marriott led Steve Marriott’s All-Stars before joining a reunited Small Faces in 1977.

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In 1980, Marriott and Shirley re-formed Humble Pie with ex-Jeff Beck Group vocalist Bobby Tench and bassist Anthony Jones. After a pair of LPs, 1980’s On to Victory and the following year’s Go for the Throat, the group mounted a troubled tour of America: after one injury-related interruption brought on when Marriott mangled his hand in a hotel door, the schedule was again derailed when the frontman fell victim to an ulcer. Soon, Humble Pie again dissolved; while Shirley joined Fastway, Marriott went into seclusion. At the dawn of the 1990s, he and Frampton made tentative plans to begin working together once more, but on April 20, 1991, Marriott died in the fire which destroyed his 16th century Arkesden cottage. He was 44 years old. (by Jason Ankeny)

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And here´s a Humble Pie album that’s remained in the vaults since 1975.

Joint Effort comes out on Feb. 8, and finds the band recording in its own Clear Sounds studio between 1974 and 1975. But the album was ultimately rejected by their label at the time, A&M.

The LP’s title reflects the work made by Steve Marriott and bassist Greg Ridley on a project outside of the band at the time. But after a stretch where Marriott unsuccessfully lobbied to be Mick Taylor’s replacement in the Rolling Stones and the group saw its U.S. profile raised due to Eat It and Smokin’, they reconvened with guitarist Dave Clempson and drummer Jerry Shirley.

In addition to never-before-heard originals, Joint Effort contains covers of songs recorded by the Beatles (“Rain”), Betty Wright (“Let Me Be Your Lovemaker”) and James Brown (“Think”). The first two tracks eventually made their way onto Street Rats, the last album Humble Pie made with the classic lineup.

“Everything was so self-destructive at that point,” Shirley recalled of that period. “Everybody was doing everything in a dozen different directions and nothing was getting done. … Steve’s way of dealing with things was buying an ounce of coke every other day and burying himself in his studio. When you’ve got nothing but carte blanche studio time and all the coke in the world, all you do is record.” (Dave Lifton)

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As someone who has always been a huge fan of Humble Pie and all things Steve Marriott the news that a new album that had “remained in the vaults since 1975 will finally be released next month” was like several Christmases coming all at once. ‘Joint Effort’ duly arrived for review and as I tend to do when I review, I read nothing about it and did not research anything until I’d had a few spins and got my initial thoughts down.

Recorded in their own Clear Sounds Studio between 1974 and 1975, the album we have here contains the music put together by Steve Marriott and Greg Ridley as a side project before Pie gained momentum again due to the classic albums ‘Eat It’ and ‘Smokin” taking hold in the U.S. As a result Pie regrouped with Dave ‘Clem’ Clempson and Jerry Shirley and the recordings were ultimately rejected by A&M.

Sounded great, but even glancing at the tracklisting that first time made me wonder if maybe this collection of “never-before-heard originals, (and) covers of songs recorded by the Beatles (“Rain”), Betty Wright (“Let Me Be Your Lovemaker”) and James Brown (“Think”)” was indeed something new.

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I mean re=recorded versions of ‘Rain’ and “Let Me Be Your Lovemaker’ were both on the bands 1975 album ‘Street Rats’ then as soon as the metaphorical ‘needle hit the groove’ I realised that this album hasn’t exactly languished in the vaults since 1975 – I already had a copy of it titled ‘Running With the Pack’ which saw release on Alchemy Entertainment a mere 20 years ago in 1999! Not only that the Alchemy release also contained four live tracks from what was then at the time Humble Pie’s last show in the States in 1973.

Of course if you’re a ‘Pie’ fan then you’ll still be interested if you haven’t picked up that prior release (or the limited edition reissue on the same label in 2003). The sessions (or demos as Alchemy perhaps more correctly called them) feature the line-up of Steve Marriott, Greg Ridley, Dave ‘Clem’ Clempson, and Jerry Shirley, and do see the band focussing more on the Rhythm and Blues and Soul aspects of their sound than the harder edged Rock.

The one and only Dave  Clempson:
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Notwithstanding the fact that these sessions are 50% covers (and you have to remember that Pie were the masters of taking a song and twisting it to make it their own), there is some great material here.

After the blazin’ funk of ‘Think’ which to me just reconfirms that Marriott had one of the best soul voices out there come the soulful ‘This Ol’ World’ and ‘Midnight Of My Life’ which do suggest a more soulful future for the Pie. But it’s Betty Wright’s ‘Let Me Be Your Lovemaker’ that really outshines here – all blues fueled hard rocking bluster that sees Ridley take lead vocal (‘Street Rats’ sees and even heavier version of the song).

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The Beatles ‘Rain’ gets the party treatment and the best original here – ‘Snakes & Ladders’ returns to the hard rock, and ‘Good Thing’ adds more blues, before the emotion, piano and blues of the again Ridley sung ‘A Minute Of Your Time.’ We close with a funky rocker from Marriott ‘Charlene’ and an instrumental take on the song that kicked us off in ‘Think 2.’

Oddly despite the line-up at the time the cover shot of this ‘re-issue’ prominently features Peter Frampton (who left the band four years before this album was recorded) rather than ‘Clem’ Clempson who replaced him in the band, it’s rather poor form from the label.

The big mystery of course is why this album was shelved in the first place as it’s just as good as the albums that followed it. (Mark Diggins)

And … I just can’t understand why they used pictures from the Peter Framptron period for the cover and the booklet.

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Personnel:
Dave Clempson (guitar)
Steve Marriott (guitar, vocals, keyboards, harmonica)
Greg Ridley (bass, vocals)
Jerry Shirley (drums, percussion)
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unknown brass section
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Tracklist:
01. Think (Brown) 3.47
02. This Ol’ World (Ridley/Marriott) 3.28
03. Midnight Of My Life (Marriott) 4.04
04. Let Me Be Your Lovemaker (Wright/Reid/Clarke) 4.49
05. Rain (Lennon/McCartney) 5.55
06. Snakes & Ladders (Marriott) 3.59
07. Good Thing (Ridley/Marriott) 1.56
08. A Minute Of Your Time (Ridley) 3.47
09. Charlene (Marriott) 4.14
10. Think 2 (Brown) 3.35

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More from Humble Pie:
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Betty Davis – They Say I’m Different (1974)

FrontCover1Betty Gray Davis (born Mabry; July 16, 1944 – February 9, 2022) was an American singer, songwriter, and model. She was known for her controversial sexually-oriented lyrics and performance style, and for being the second wife of trumpeter Miles Davis. Her Allmusic profile describes her as “a wildly flamboyant funk diva with few equals … [who] combined the gritty emotional realism of Tina Turner, the futurist fashion sense of David Bowie, and the trendsetting flair of Miles Davis”.

Betty Gray Mabry was born in Durham, North Carolina, on July 16, 1944. She developed an interest in music when she was about ten, and was introduced to various blues musicians by her grandmother, Beulah Blackwell, while staying at her farm in Reidsville. At 12, she wrote one of her first songs, “I’m Going to Bake That Cake of Love”. The family relocated to Homestead, Pennsylvania, so her father, Henry Mabry, could work at a steel mill, and Betty graduated from Homestead High School. She decided to pursue a career in showbusiness after watching her father dance like Elvis Presley.

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When she was 16, Betty left Homestead for New York City, enrolling at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) while living with her aunt. She soaked up the Greenwich Village culture and folk music of the early 1960s. She associated herself with frequenters of the Cellar, a hip uptown club where young and stylish people congregated. It was a multiracial, artsy crowd of models, design students, actors, and singers. At the Cellar she played records and chatted people up. She was a friend and early muse to fashion designer Stephen Burrows, who also studied at the FIT at the time. She also worked as a model, appearing in photo spreads in Seventeen, Ebony and Glamour.

In New York, she met musicians including Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone. The seeds of her musical career were planted through her friendship with soul singer Lou Courtney, who reputedly produced her first single, “The Cellar”, though the existence of that record has been questioned. She secured a contract with Don Costa, who had written arrangements for Frank Sinatra. As Betty Mabry, she recorded “Get Ready For Betty” b/w “I’m Gonna Get My Baby Back” in 1964 for Costa’s DCP International label. Around the same time, she recorded a single, “I’ll Be There”, with Roy Arlington for Safice Records, under the joint name “Roy and Betty”.

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Her first professional gig came after she wrote “Uptown (to Harlem)” for the Chambers Brothers. Their 1967 album was a major success, but Mabry focused on her modeling career. She was successful as a model but felt bored by the work—”I didn’t like modeling because you didn’t need brains to do it. It’s only going to last as long as you look good.”

In 1968, when she was in a relationship with Hugh Masekela, she recorded several songs for Columbia Records, with Masekela doing the arrangements. Two of them were released as a single: “Live, Love, Learn” b/w “It’s My Life”. Her relationship with Miles Davis began soon after her breakup from Masekela. She featured on the cover of Miles Davis’ album Filles de Kilimanjaro, which included his tribute to her, “Mademoiselle Mabry”, and she introduced him to psychedelic rock and the flamboyant clothing styles of the era. In the spring of 1969, Betty returned to Columbia’s 52nd St. Studios to record a series of demo tracks, with Miles and Teo Macero producing. At least five songs were taped during those sessions, three of which were Mabry originals, two of which were covers of Cream and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Miles attempted to use these demo songs to secure an album deal for Betty, but neither Columbia nor Atlantic were interested and they were archived into a vault until 2016 when they were released in the compilation, The Columbia Years, 1968–1969, by Seattle’s Light in the Attic Records.

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After the end of her marriage with Miles, Betty moved to London, probably around 1971, to pursue her modeling career. She wrote music while in the UK and, after about a year, returned to the US with the intention of recording songs with Santana. Instead, she recorded her own songs with a group of West Coast funk musicians including Larry Graham, Greg Errico, the Pointer Sisters, and members of Tower of Power. Davis wrote and arranged all her songs. Her first record, Betty Davis, was released in 1973. She released two more studio albums, They Say I’m Different (1974) and her major label debut on Island Records Nasty Gal (1975). None of the three albums were a commercial success, but she had two minor hits on the Billboard R&B chart: “If I’m in Luck I Might Get Picked Up”, which reached no. 66 in 1973, and “Shut Off the Lights”, which reached no. 97 in 1975.

Davis remained a cult figure as a singer, due in part to her unabashedly sexual lyrics and performance style, which were both controversial for the time. She had success in Europe, but in the U.S. she was barred from performing on television because of her sexually aggressive stage persona. Some of her shows were boycotted, and her songs were not played on the radio due to pressure by religious groups and the NAACP. Carlos Santana recalled Betty as “indomitable – she couldn’t be tamed. Musically, philosophically and physically, she was extreme and attractive.”

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In 1976, Davis completed another album for Island Records before being dropped by the label. She spent a year in Japan, spending time with silent monks. In 1980, Davis’ father died which prompted her return to the US to live with her mother in Homestead, Pennsylvania. Davis struggled to overcome her father’s death, and subsequent mental illness. She acknowledged that she suffered a “setback” at the time, but stayed in Homestead, “accepted” the end of her career, and lived a quiet life.

The tracks from Davis’ final recording sessions in 1979 were released on two bootleg albums, Crashin’ from Passion (1995) and Hangin’ Out in Hollywood (1996). A greatest hits album, Anti Love: The Best of Betty Davis, was also released in 1995.

In 2007, Betty Davis (1973) and They Say I’m Different (1974) were reissued by Light in the Attic Records. In 2009, the label reissued Nasty Gal and her unreleased fourth studio album recorded in 1976, re-titled as Is It Love or Desire?. Both reissues contained extensive liner notes and shed some light on the mystery of why her fourth album, considered possibly to be her best work by members of her last band (Herbie Hancock, Chuck Rainey, and Alphonse Mouzon), was shelved and remained unreleased for 33 years.

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In 2017, an independent documentary directed by Philip Cox entitled Betty Davis: They Say I’m Different, was released, which renewed interest in her life and music career. When Cox tracked Davis down, he found her living in the basement of a house with no internet, cell phone, or car. He said: “This wasn’t a woman with riches or luxury. She was living on the bare essentials.”

In 2019, Davis released “A Little Bit Hot Tonight”, her first new song in over 40 years, which was performed and sung by Danielle Maggio, an ethnomusicologist who was a friend and associate producer on Betty: They Say I’m Different.

As a model in 1966, Betty met jazz musician Miles Davis, who was 19 years her senior.[31] He was separated from his first wife, dancer Frances Davis, and was dating actress Cicely Tyson. Betty began dating Miles in early 1968, and they were married that September.[31] During their year of marriage, she introduced him to the fashions and popular music trends of the era that influenced his music. In his autobiography, Miles credited Betty with helping to plant the seeds of his further musical explorations by introducing the trumpeter to psychedelic rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix and funk innovator Sly Stone. The Miles Davis album Filles de Kilimanjaro (1968) features Betty on the cover and includes a song named after her.

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In his autobiography, Miles said Betty was “too young and wild”, and accused her of having an affair with Jimi Hendrix, which hastened the end of their marriage.[33] Betty denied the affair stating, “I was so angry with Miles when he wrote that. It was disrespectful to Jimi and to me. Miles and I broke up because of his violent temper.”[23] After accusing her of adultery, he filed for divorce in 1969. Miles told Jet magazine that the divorce was obtained on a “temperament” charge. He added, “I’m just not the kind of cat to be married.” Hendrix and Miles remained close, planning to record, until Hendrix’s death. The influence of Hendrix and especially Sly Stone on Miles Davis was obvious on the album Bitches Brew (1970), which ushered in the era of jazz fusion. It has been said that he wanted to call the album Witches Brew but Betty convinced him to change it.

Davis briefly dated musician Eric Clapton, but she refused to collaborate with him.

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In 1975 Davis’ lover Robert Palmer helped her secure a deal with Island Records. Shortly thereafter she released her album Nasty Gal.

Davis died from cancer at her home in Homestead, Pennsylvania, on February 9, 2022, at the age of 77.

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In 2017, a documentary was released entitled Betty: They Say I’m Different.

The live action/animated TV series Mike Judge Presents: Tales from the Tour Bus ended its 2018 season with an episode focusing on Davis’ controversial career.

Davis’ music has been featured in television series including Orange Is the New Black,[42] Girlboss, Mixed-ish, and High Fidelity.

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They Say I’m Different is the second studio album by Betty Davis. It was released in 1974.[1]

The Wire placed They Say I’m Different in their list of “100 Records That Set the World on Fire (While No One Was Listening)”. In 2017 a documentary called “Betty: They Say I’m Different” was released. (wikipedia)

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Betty Davis’ second full-length featured a similar set of songs as her debut, though with Davis herself in the production chair and a radically different lineup. The openers, “Shoo-B-Doop and Cop Him” and “He Was a Big Freak,” are big, blowsy tunes with stop-start funk rhythms and Davis in her usual persona as the aggressive sexual predator. On the title track, she reminisces about her childhood and compares herself to kindred spirits of the past, a succession of blues legends she holds fond — including special time for Bessie Smith, Chuck Berry, and Robert Johnson. A pair of unknowns, guitarist Cordell Dudley and bassist Larry Johnson, do a fair job of replacing the stars from her first record.

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As a result, They Say I’m Different is more keyboard-dominated than her debut, with prominent electric piano, clavinet, and organ from Merl Saunders, Hershall Kennedy, and Tony Vaughn. The material was even more extreme than on her debut; “He Was a Big Freak” featured a prominent bondage theme, while “Your Mama Wants Ya Back” and “Don’t Call Her No Tramp” dealt with prostitution, or at least inferred it. With the exception of the two openers, though, They Say I’m Different lacked the excellent songs and strong playing of her debut; an explosive and outré record, but more a variation on the same theme she’d explored before. (by John Bush)

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Personnel:
Errol “Crusher” Bennett (percussion)
Mike Clark (drums
Betty Davis (vocals)
Cordell Dudley (guitar, background vocals)
Pete Escovedo (timbales)
Jimmy Godwin (guitar)
Larry Johnson (bass)
Hershall Kennedy (keyboards, clavinet, trumpet, background vocals)
Buddy Miles (guitar)
Fred Mills (keyboards, background vocals)
Carlos Morales (guitar, background vocals)
Nicky Neal (drums, background vocals)
Victor Pantoja (percussion)
Merl Saunders (piano)
James Allen Smith (keyboards)
Ted Sparks (drums)
Willy Sparks (drums, background vocals)
Tony Vaughn (keyboards, clavinet, keyboards, vocals)
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background vocals:
Debbie Burrell – Elaine Clark – Mary Jones – Trudy Perkins

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Tracklist:
01. Shoo-B-Doop and Cop Him 3.53
02. He Was A Big Freak 4.09
03. Your Mama Wants Ya Back 3.27
04. Don’t Call Her No Tramp 4.07
05. Git In There 4.47
06. They Say I’m Different 4.12
07. 70’s Blues 4.58
08. Special People 3.25
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The Record Plant Rough Mix (released in 2007):
09. He Was A Big Freak 4.44
10. Don’t Call Her No Tramp 4.33
11. Git In There 4.36
12. 70’s Blues 5.08

All songs written by Betty Davis

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Günter Schickert – Samtvogel (1974)

OriginalFrontCover1Though his name barely registers among most of the Krautrock intelligentsia, Gunter Schickert was both prolific in the background and an important artist. Along with the better-known Achim Reichel, Schickert pioneered the echo guitar, where the repeated guitar tones create unique, multi-layered textures that take the instrument quite beyond the ordinary.

Schickert was active through much of the ’60s in the Berlin free jazz scene, though it wasn’t until 1974 that his first album, Samtvogel, came out, self-released by Schickert in a small batch. The album was unique enough that it was quickly snatched up by the legendary Brain label, and they reissued the record the next year. Samtvogel is quite similar to Manuel Göttsching’s solo-guitar album, Inventions for Electric Guitar, where guitar sounds are layered and layered on top of each other to create new hypnotic textures.

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In 1973, Schickert founded the trio GAM, with guitarist Axel Struck and percussionist Michael Aleska, and with Schickert on guitar, vocals, and trumpet, this group created a unique sort of freaked-out space rock. GAM recorded some jam sessions in 1976, which were finally released on cassette in 1986 and titled Gam 1976, and an unreleased album called Eiszeit in 1978.

At this time Schickert was also creating music for a theater company, and even performing live on-stage in some of the productions. He also served as a roadie for electronic music pioneer Klaus Schulze, and sometimes played live with Schulze as well. Schickert’s second solo album, Uberfallig, came out in 1979 on Sky Records, this time with Charles Heuer on drums to augment Schickert’s echoed guitar textures.

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In the ’80s, Schickert’s work in theater production continued, and he also took part in a couple of bands, No Zen Orchestra and Ziguri Ego Zoo. A third album under his own name, this one a completely solo effort with him on guitar, tapes, vocals, percussion, and trumpet, 1993’s Kinder der Wildnes only came out on cassette, though it showed that Schickert was expanding into a wider range of musical styles. Another collection, Somnabal, was released in 1995 on CD with music from throughout the decade-and-a-half before that. Though his recordings are few and hard to track down, especially the debut Samtvogel, Schickert is an innovative music creator who deserves more notice. (by Rolf Semprebon)GünterSchückert5An album considerably closer to the krautrock sound and very early Tangerine Dream albums than Gunter Schickert’s second album.

Samtvogel (Velvet Bird) is a bit more electronic sounding than the follow up album, but also displays much more of a krautrock type of compositional development. “Apricot Brandy” and “Kriegsmaschinen, Fahrt Zur Hölle” both echo the Can album Future Days mainly because of the repetitive traditional krautrock guitar playing and dreamy incomprehensible vocals that sounds more like another instrumental touch than true vocalizing. Almost the entire first half of “Kriegsmaschinen, Fahrt Zur Hölle” is mostly Conrad Schnitzler-inspired experimental industrial gurgling that gradually builds up into an explosive guitar loop that has a somewhat avant tone.

The main attraction of Samtvogel is the 21+ minute long closer track “Wald” which is exceptionally aquatic in nearly the same way that Edgar Froese’s Aqua except with Schickert’s delayed guitar loops. It’s quite a proggy track with plenty of development while remaining hypnotically repetitive, maintaining it’s under-water adventure type of atmosphere that fans of Boris’ Flood should find comforting. An aura of mystery surrounds the rather gloomy intermittent build-ups with dark melodicism in the guitar loops, until the track eventually gives way to lonely delayed staccato guitar plucking.

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To pick a favorite between Gunter Schickert’s two albums, I would have to choose Samtvogel for its much more mysterious and slightly avant electronic approach to krautrock styled early electronic music. It contains everything that I’d expect and hope for from a German electronic artist in the ’70s, plus the incredibly soothing aquatic elements and the chord choices made result in an extremely delightful album and one I’ve the best I’ve experienced in a while. While I hesitate to call it a masterpiece, this is definitely an album to be recommended to all fans of this type of music and I’d personally place this album beside Edgar Froese’s best work in terms of quality. (by colorofmoney91)

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Personnel:
Günter Schlickert (guitar, vocals, echo device)

The Brain Label Edition:
BrainEdition

Tracklist:
01. Apricot Brandy 5.56
02. Kriegsmaschinen, fahrt zur Hölle 16.31
02.1. Komm doch in meine Fabrik
02.2.Sagt der Personalchef
02.3. Kriegsmaschinen bau’n
02.4. Dafür gibt’s das meiste Geld
03. Wald 21.18

Music: Günter Schickert

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The reissue on Brain Records, 1980:
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Stephen Michael Schwartz – Same (1974)

FrontCover1Stephen Michael Schwartz, a composer / recording artist who performs live music throughout the world to a wide range of audiences both young and old, joins a unique group of musicians who have made a living with their music for over forty years.

Stephen’s reputation as a superlative singer-songwriter-performer came into focus as one of the three original members of the award-winning children’s musical group, PARACHUTE EXPRESS. The first group ever to be signed to Walt Disney Records Music Box Series, PARACHUTE EXPRESS released six albums and performed on some of the biggest stages while associated with Disney. Their roots came from a long-lasting partnership with San Francisco-based Gymboree Corporation, providing music for their Play & Music Centers throughout the world and where Stephen, to this day, continues to appear with over 100 cities in China under his belt.

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To date, Stephen and Parachute Express have sold well over a half million CD’s, securing a rarified position in the world of children’s entertainment. As founding member of the group, Stephen co-wrote and produced twelve award-winning albums, receiving numerous prestigious awards including first place in the International Songwriting Festival, the NAPPA Award, the Parents’ Choice Gold Award, the Indie Award and the Toy Industry Association’s Toy of the Year Award and performed at The White House over half a dozen times and at The Kennedy Center where he shared the stage with President Clinton. Stephen also was the main composer and sang the title song for the popular PBS animated show, “JAY JAY THE JET PLANE”. He has also created Book and Tape projects for “Hello, Kitty” (Sanrio), produced various Disney products including “Mickey Mouse’s Greatest Hits” and had the honor of being chosen to co-write and produce the highly acclaimed “Tales From The Rails”, for The Smithsonian Institute featuring country music star, Trace Adkins.

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As an accomplished live performer, Stephen continues to perform to sold-out venues throughout the world and has shared the stage with such children’s music luminaries as Raffi, Sharon, Lois and Bram, Mister Rogers, Bob McGrath from Sesame Street, and even Kermit the Frog.

Stephen has continued performing and writing his own music with four solo CDs, all of which have garnered multiple awards and much critical acclaim.

“Stephen’s lyrics are Broadway-quality, with sparkling rhymes and clever, evocative wordplay. The melodies are among the best out there, anywhere”.

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Other achievements in his illustrious career include a solo recording contract with RCA Records at age 20, starring in two television sit-coms, “Please Stand By” for NBC and “The Music Shoppe” (Cable), and winning six Ovation award nominations (one win) for his musical, “It Came From Beyond!”. Co-written with Norman Thalheimer and Cornell Christianson, “It Came From Beyond” made it’s Off-Broadway debut in 2019.

Whether acting, writing, singing or producing, Stephen has shown his talents to be as varied as his creativity is boundless. His original compositions, filled with both humor and sensitivity along with his unusual talent to engage and put an audience totally at ease, make Stephen Michael Schwartz an unforgettable experience … no matter what your age. (taken from his website)

Singles

And here´s his debut album:

The album drew industry attention to Stephen’s talent both as a songwriter and a solid vocal performer. The single, “ROCK ME AWAY”, generated favorable airplay on local FM stations around the country and classified Stephen’s musical genre as “Funk/Soul”.

Given the musical climate at the time and disco’s stronghold on radio play, one song off the album that received the most “buzz” was “GET IT UP FOR LOVE”.

It was just the beginning of a long and fruitful recording career. (Stephen Michael Schwartz)

A real good Pop album with many catchy melodies and “Musical Storm ” comes with a real great bass line ! A typical product of the Seventies.

Check the lineup !

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Personnel:
Larry Carlton (guitar)
Wilton Felder (bass)
Ed Greene (drums)
Bobbye Hall (percussion)
Jim Horn (horns)
Jim Keltner (drums)
Michael Omartian (keyboards)
Dean Parks (guitar)
Reinie Press (bass)
Stephen Michael Schwartz (vocals, guitar)
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Kim Carnes (vocals on: B3)

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Tracklist:
01. Easily (Metter) 2.48
02. Rock Me Away (Moore) 3.27
03. Love Me Busybody (Schwartz) 2.32
04. Finest Thoughts (Schwartz) 2.49
05. Long Tail Cat (Dixie Holiday) (Loggins) 3.25
06. Doctor’s Daughter (Schwartz) 2.40
07. You Say It’s Me (I Think Maybe It’s You) (Schwartz) 3.04
08. Get It Up For Love (Doheny) 4.06
09. Musical Storm (Schwartz) 2.28
10. I Believe I’m Gonna See You Again (Schwartz) 3.07
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11. Now That I´m Without You (Schwartz) 2.40
12. Da Doo Run Run (Barry/Greenwich/Spector.) 2.36

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Acqua Fragile – Mass-Media Stars (1974)

FrontCover1Acqua Fragile was an italian progressive rock band, active from 1971 to 1975. The band was established in the city of Parma. Bernardo Lanzetti, leader and vocalist of the band, is best known for his work with Premiata Forneria Marconi and has played in many other progressive rock acts, including neoprogressive band Mangala Vallis.

The first lineup of the band, named “Gli Immortali” (“The Immortals”) comprised Bernardo Lanzetti (vocals), Gino Campanini (electric guitar), Piero Canavera (drums), Maurizio Mori (keyboards) and Franz Dondi (bass guitar). Of those, Dondi was the most established musician, as he had formerly played in another small band, “I Moschettieri” (“The Musketeers”) which had released a single and opened for Rolling Stones.

At the beginning of the 1970s, Gli Immortali were noticed by members of the PFM (one of most successful italian rock bands of the times), and PFM’s manager Franco Mamone adopted Lanzetti’s group as well, which had by then changed its name to “Acqua Fragile”. With Mamone’s help, Acqua Fragile were hired to open for progressive rock prominent acts such as Soft Machine, Uriah Heep and Gentle Giant.

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In 1973 the band released a first, eponymous album for independent record label Numero Uno. This debut work was clearly inspired by British progressive rock bands Genesis and Gentle Giant, and had English lyrics, something quite unusual for Italian bands at the time, even more so since the album was not released outside of Italy. Even Lanzetti’s voice sounded very much like that of Peter Gabriel.

The next album Mass Media Stars (1974) was released in both Italy and the United States, a move that was intended to leverage from PFM’s recent success overseas. At about the same time the new keyboardist Joe Vescovi (formerly with The Trip) moved in. Shortly thereafter Lanzetti, leader and vocalist of the band, left to join PFM for their next album Chocolate Kings. The band replaced Lanzetti with Roby Facini (former member of Top 4 and Dik Dik), but this did not revive the success of Acqua Fragile. The band eventually split in 1975.

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After the breakup, Acqua Fragile members pursued independent projects. Lanzetti has had a relatively successful solo career and later joined neoprogressive group Mangala Vallis. Dondi and Canavera played in several groups (including a Beatles tribute band). Dondi has recently[when?] founded a new project, called “Acqua Fragile Project”, as a revival act in honor of Acqua Fragile. (wikipedia)

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And here´s their second album:

This is such a catchy and melodic album that is played at a very high level and includes vocals in English from Bernardo Lanzetti. I don’t even detect an accent which might be because at 14 years of age he spent a year living in Texas, then a few years later he would go back for another 6 months. He knows the English language well. I’m surprised he doesn’t have a Southern drawl though (haha). He does kind of warble when he sings which I find amusing. It reminds me of the vocalist on the SPLIT ENZ debut. Mellotron on 4 of the 6 tracks doesn’t hurt.

“Cosmic Mind Affair” sounds good when it kicks in before 1 1/2 minutes. The keyboards sound amazing 2 minutes in and check out the vocals that follow. Guitar after 2 1/2 minutes. A calm before 5 minutes then it kicks back in one more time. I must admit I tired of this song very quickly. “Bar Gazing” has acoustic guitar and vocals reminding me of GENESIS. It kicks in after 2 minutes. Some nice intricate electric guitar around 3 minutes. Harmonies follow. I like it !

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“Mass-Media Stars” has so much going on here early on. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in and i’m really reminded of YES on this one including the guitar. “Opening Act” opens with vocals only then the music and vocal melodies follow. Harmonies and vocals are next and themes are repeated on this one. “Professor” opens with the guitar and drums standing out. Vocals a minute in and it’s uptempo.Tempo changes will continue to be contrasted. “Coffee Song” ends it in a great way after two so-so tunes. Intricate guitar to start then the vocals take over as the guitar is strummed. Mellotron joins in. The bass and drums become prominant. Beautiful stuff. Love how he warbles here. (by Mellotron Storm)

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Personnel:
Gino Campanini (guitar, mandolin, vocals)
Piero Canavera (drums, percussion, guitar, vocals)
Franz Dondi (bass)
Bernardo Lanzetti (vocals, guitar)
Maurizio Mori (keyboards)
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Claudio Fabi (piano on 04.)

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Tracklist:
01. Cosmic Mind Affair 7.17
02. Bar Gazing 5.04
03. Mass-Media Stars 6.49
04. Opening Act 5.33
05. Professor 6.47
06. Coffee Song 5.49

Music: Piero Canavera
Lyrics: Bernardo Lanzetti

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Mountain – Live At The Felt Forum, New York (1974)

FrontCover1Mountain was an American hard rock band that formed on Long Island, New York, in 1969. Originally comprising vocalist and guitarist Leslie West, bassist and vocalist Felix Pappalardi, keyboardist Steve Knight and drummer N. D. Smart (soon replaced by Corky Laing), the band broke up in 1972 and has reunited frequently since 1973. Best known for their cowbell-tinged song “Mississippi Queen”, as well as the heavily sampled song “Long Red” and their performance at the Woodstock Festival in 1969, Mountain is one of many bands to be commonly credited as having influenced the development of heavy metal music in the 1970s. The group’s musical style primarily consisted of hard rock, blues rock and heavy metal.

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he studio work Avalanche (July 1974), for which Laing returned to play drums and David Perry became the new second guitarist (from November 1973 to September 1974), would be Mountain’s final album with Pappalardi as a participant;[7] the group broke up again after playing a final show at Felt Forum in New York City on December 31, 1974. (wikipedia)

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And here´s their final concert !

This was most likely Mountain’s very last show with the “original” lineup, recorded on New Year’s Eve 1974 at the NYC Felt Forum within the Madison Square Garden complex.

Though formed in 1969, Mountain first disbanded in February 1972 after a tour of the UK. After West, Bruce & Laing and Leslie West’s Wild West Show in June and July 1973, Felix Pappalardi and Leslie West reunited and hired Bob Mann and Alan Schwartzberg for a Japanese tour in August 1973.

At the beginning, this might have been regarded as a one-off undertaking. However, this tour yielded the Twin Peaks double album that was originally planned as a Japanese-only release but was released worldwide in 1974. Alas, the Japanese shows and this resulting album did not represent Mountain adequately by any means.

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After the tour, West insisted that Corky Laing be part of the band if they were to continue. Pappalardi agreed but demanded in return – much to West’s dismay – that the band took on David Perry as an additional guitarist (to avoid the Mountain look and not sound too much like Cream [he had produced three albums for the group]). It seemed the band’s original organ player, Steve Knight, was not considered.

In a nutshell, this four-piece toured from late 1973 to September 1974, and recorded the band’s last album, Avalanche, in January 1974. The few existing recordings from this period showed a revitalized band with some refreshing new and up-to-the-mark material.

After their September 1974 tour, it seemed West finally succeeded in convincing Pappalardi to condense the band to his favourite trio format. Pappalardi obviously gave in and it was left to West to phone Perry to give him the bad news. Perhaps it was already decided at this point that their autumn/winter 1974 tour would be the band’s farewell which may have made it easier for Pappalardi to actually concede.

The band kicked off their last tour on October 3, 1974 with a phenomenal show at NYC’s Radio City Music Hall. Fortunately there is a decent audience recording of this in circulation and it’s worth getting hold of. On this tour, Mountain were the main act when they played mid-sized venues and, for larger venues, they were the support act, for instance, they supported new stars the J Geils Band.

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One can only hope that West was indeed happy on this tour – at least, this recording demonstrates a still extra-tight band. They even came up with an otherwise not-to-be-found rendition of Ten Years After’s I’m Going Home, perhaps a nod to their colleagues (both bands often appeared in festivals together) who were also, at that time, on the verge of splitting.

The sound quality for this recording is superb, it’s a first generation off-the-master copy, and it’s a complete recording of the show. Close listening reveals that it must be an audience recording but it is indeed so well recorded that one may mistake it for a soundboard tape. The late Rich Demartino, a long-time friend of West – and who was close to the band from the very beginning – was in possession of this show. (Hope he is having a good time up there with Felix!) As he told this reviewer in 1996, he regarded this recording so highly that he had tried to sell it to Sony – which owned Mountain’s Windfall Records catalogue – as an official release. However, that did not materialize.

Enjoy Mountain at their last and “creamy” peak! (Thomas Schmid)

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Personnel:
Corky Laing (drums)
Felix Pappalardi (bass, vocals)
Leslie West (guitar, vocals)

Mountain03Tracklist:
01. Introduction / Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On (Williams) 6.25
02. Theme For An Imaginary Western (Bruce/Brown) 5.27
03. Thumbsucker (Pappalardi/Collins) 5.48
04. You Better Believe It (West/Laing) 10.20
05. Nantucket Sleighride I (Pappalardi/Collins) 16.06
06. Nantucket Sleighride II (Pappalardi/Collins) 4.41
07. Medley: 16.11
07.1. Leslie West’s Solo (West)
07.2. Roll Over Beethoven (Berry)
07.3. Drum Solo (Laing)
07.4. Going Home Jam (Lee)
08. Mississippi Queen (West/Laing/Pappalardi/Rea) 6.37

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More from Mountain:
More

Felix Pappalardi:
December 30, 1939 – April 17, 1983

Leslie West:
October 22, 1945 – December 23, 2020

Steve Ashley – Stroll On (1974)

FrontCover1Steve Frank Ashley (born 9 March 1946) is an English singer-songwriter, recording artist, multi-instrumentalist, writer and graphic designer. Ashley is best known as a songwriter and first gained public recognition for his work with his debut solo album, Stroll On (Gull, 1974). Taking his inspiration from English traditional songs, Ashley has developed a songwriting style, which is contemporary in content while reflecting traditional influences in his melodies, poetry and vocal delivery.

Stroll On is the debut album by British singer-songwriter Steve Ashley. It was released in April 1974 in LP format on Gull Records and was critically acclaimed in the UK, being awarded “Contemporary Folk album of the Year” in the leading monthly folk magazine, Folk Review.[5] It has been described as “a masterful, beautifully textured and gentle epic” and “a masterpiece of its kind – a beautiful, rich and deeply atmospheric collection of very English songs, like a musical impression of Dickens, Victorian Christmas cards and Thomas Hardy’s Wessex with a running concept concerning seasonal change”.[6] According to the music collectors’ magazine Goldmine, it is “one of the key albums in the SteveAshley01entire history of English Folk Rock”.

An extended version with three additional tracks, Stroll On Revisited, was released in 1999 as a CD on Market Square Records.

In 1971 Austin John Marshall arranged a production and publishing deal for Steve Ashley with Harbrook Music which gave Ashley free access to recording time at London’s Olympic Studios to record his first album. At this time Marshall also played the early demo tapes to music critic Karl Dallas, who interviewed Ashley for Melody Maker.

Acting as producer for Harbrook Productions, Marshall hired Robert Kirby to create string arrangements for many of Ashley’s songs. He also hired a number of musicians to back Ashley, including members of Fairport Convention and Pentangle, plus a section of the London Symphony Orchestra, directed by Kirby. By the late summer of 1971 the first version of Ashley’s debut album was completed and offered to a number of major and independent labels.

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By the spring of 1972 however, the album was still unplaced with a label, and then Ashley was invited by Ashley Hutchings to join the first touring ensemble of The Albion Country Band. This line-up included ex-Fairport members Hutchings, Simon Nicol and Dave Mattacks, plus American fiddler Sue Draheim and ex-Young Tradition singer, Royston Wood. Sharing the lead vocal role with Wood, Ashley performed a few of his own songs plus a number of folk songs, including a 17-verse ballad, “Lord Bateman”. The Albion Country Band was signed to Island Records but the band broke up before recording, after just nine months together.

In November 1972, Ashley signed a solo recording deal with Gull Records and, with a few track changes, his long-delayed first album was finally released in April 1974, entitled Stroll On.

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The original track listing was changed prior to release when the deal with Gull was signed and “Silly Summer Games” was re-recorded, while “Love in a Funny Way” was removed along with “Spirit of Christmas” to make way for “Lord Bateman” (with the Albion Country Band).

After its UK release in April 1974 the album was also licensed for release in the Netherlands and Belgium through Dureco; in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland through the German record label Teldec; and in Australia and New Zealand through Astor Records. In 1975 the album was licensed for manufacture and distribution in the United States and Canada through Motown.

“Old Rock ‘n’ Roll”, with “Fire and Wine” on the B side, was issued in 1974 as a single in the UK and in New Zealand.

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Stroll On was met with widespread critical acclaim in the UK. In The Daily Telegraph, Maurice Rosenbaum declared: “Ashley’s own songs are the product of an extraordinary gift for creating material of true folk quality” and, in Melody Maker, Karl Dallas hailed it as “the finest album since folk became contemporary”. At the end of 1974 it was awarded “Contemporary Folk album of the Year” in the leading monthly folk magazine, Folk Review.

Music journalist Colin Harper described it as “a masterful, beautifully textured and gentle epic” and “a masterpiece of its kind – a beautiful, rich and deeply atmospheric collection of very English songs, like a musical impression of Dickens, Victorian Christmas cards and Thomas Hardy’s Wessex with a running concept concerning seasonal change”.

The June 1999 issue of Mojo magazine featured the original Stroll On in its regular full-page series “Buried Treasure”.

Lee Blackstone, writing in RootsWorld, said: “Stroll On: Revisited is a classic album in every sense. The musical guests run the gamut of the English folk-rock scene, but, mind you, this isn’t a case of spoiled broth. Rather, Stroll On manages to be a well-orchestrated calendar album, with the play of seasons the overarching theme… Incredibly, the entire album has worn remarkably well and it bears the stamp of timelessness that the best British folk-rock can conjure… As a debut album, Stroll On is remarkably mature, and Ashley’s magical achievement can now be savored again.”

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Keith Hadad, reviewing the album on Record Crates United, said: “[T]he range of influences on Stroll On is daringly unique. British and American folk and rock traditions have been seamlessly blended in with elements of Irish and classical music as well… Ashley’s starkly echoing vocals [on “Springsong”] sometimes harken back to Celtic choral singing while Kirby’s string arrangement is reminiscent of the Pastoral composers, like Ralph Vaughan Williams. Meanwhile the only percussion present in the song is a tabla being played in the traditional Hindustani style… [it] works beautifully here, making this an absolute highlight of the record.”

Alan Rose, for The Living Tradition magazine, said: “‘Stroll On’ was released in 1974 amid critical acclaim, which all these years later seems eminently justified. The very first track led to his alternative title of ‘The Fire and Wine Guy’, and after twenty-five years its lush harmonies, electric arrangement and sound philosophy ensure that its magic is undiminished… Ashley’s songs are packed with life-affirming, earth-touching sentiments, deceptively simple at first hearing but unfolding at each repeat to display deeper meanings with staggeringly intelligent and original use of language.” (wikipedia)

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Personnel:
Steve Ashley (vocals, guitar, harmonica, whistle)
Richard Byers (guitar, mandolin, background vocals)
B. J. Cole (pedal steel guitar)
Claire Dawson (background vocals)
Brian Diprose (bass)
Barry Dransfield (fiddle)
Thom Friedlein (bass)
Chris Karan (tablas)
Dave Mattacks (drums)
Redd McReady (harpsichord)
Lea Nicholson (concertina)
Dave Pegg (bass, mandolin)
Daryl Runswick (bass)
Danny Thompson (bass)
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Albion Country Band Mk1 1972:
(Ashley Hutchings, Royston Wood, Steve Ashley, Simon Nicol, Sue Draheim and Dave Mattacks) on 10.)

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Tracklist:
01. Fire And Wine (Ashley) 4.36
02. Finite Time (Ashley/Menday) 2.54
03. Silly Summer Games (Ashley) 4.51
04. Springsong (Ashley) 3.30
05. Monkey Puzzle Tree (Ashley) 2.58
06. Farewell Green Leaves (Ashley) 4.28
07. Morris Minor (Ashley) 1.35
08. Candlemas Carol (Ashley) 3.03
09. John Donne Song (Donne/Ashley) 5.24
10. Lord Bateman (Child 53; Roud 40) (Traditional) 8.45
11. Follow On (Ashley) 3.31

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Steve Ashley is a unique performer whose voice can convey great power and great tenderness. He has performed since the 1960s, when he was popular in the folk clubs of West London, and his style might be described as folk-influenced social commentary. He is one of the great treasures of English music. (ukfestivalguides.com)

Still alive & well: Steve Ashley and his website from 2020:
website

Eddie Harris – Is It In (1974)

FrontCover1Eddie Harris (October 20, 1934 – November 5, 1996) was an American jazz musician, best known for playing tenor saxophone and for introducing the electrically amplified saxophone. He was also fluent on the electric piano and organ. His best-known compositions are “Freedom Jazz Dance”, recorded and popularized by Miles Davis in 1966, and “Listen Here.”

Is It In is an album by American jazz saxophonist Eddie Harris recorded in 1973 and released on the Atlantic label. It reached number 100 on the Billboard 200 chart. (wikipedia)

Eddie Harris makes a radical turn toward electronic R&B on this popping, enterprising LP of grooves, humorous one-off vignettes, and other eclectic pursuits. Driven by a Eddie Harris02jpgstandard drum kit and tacky-sounding electric bongos, some of Harris’ most irresistible grooves (“Funkaroma,” “Look Ahere”) can be found here. The title track, a Ronald Muldrow/Harris collaboration, is an ingenious self-contained little piece, a chugging machine-driven rhythm, a catchy guitar riff, and a great brief repeated chorus. Harris resurfaces as a competent piano player (with overdubbed electric sax) on the down-home “House Party Blues” and as usual, he plugs another electronic innovation into his sax on “Space Commercial,” an eerie pitch-tracking device designed by Robert Moog, inventor of the Moog synthesizer. (by Richard S. Ginell)

This is a high quality eclectic jazz set unmistakably from the mid Nineteen Seventies. The grooves are downhome and pure, Is it in and Funkorama are all time party funk classics. Lonely Lonely Nights is a superb slow jam. Great record. (by Gern Stroman)

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Personnel:
Eddie Harris (saxophone, varitone, piano, vocals)
Billy James (drums, percussion)
Ronald Muldrow (guitar, guitorgan)
Rufus Reid (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Funkaroma (E.Harris/James/Muldrow/Reid) 4.57
02. Happy Gemini (S.Harris) 3.00
03. Is It In (Muldrow) 3.35
04. It’s War (E.Harris/James/Muldrow) 6.212
05. Space Commercial (Harris/James/Muldrow) 5.31
06. Look A Here (S.Harris) 3.49
07. These Lonely Nights (S.Harris) 5.47
08. House Party Blues (Harris/Muldrow/Reid/James) 8.04
09. Tranquility & Antagonistic (S.Harris) 4.16

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Eddie Harris (October 20, 1934 – November 5, 1996)

Joe Walsh – So What (1974)

OriginalFrontCover1Joseph Fidler Walsh (born November 20, 1947)[2] is an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. In a career spanning more than 50 years, he has been a member of five successful rock bands: James Gang, Barnstorm, Eagles, the Party Boys, and Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. Walsh was also part of the New Zealand band Herbs. In the 1990s, he was a member of the short-lived supergroup The Best.

Walsh has also experienced success both as a solo artist and as a prolific session musician, being featured on a wide array of other artists’ recordings. In 2011, Rolling Stone placed him at the No. 54 spot on its list of “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.

In the mid-1960s, after attending Kent State University, Walsh played with several local Ohio-based bands before reaching a national audience as a member of the James Gang, whose hit song “Funk #49” highlighted his skill as both a guitarist and singer. Roger Abramson, a concert producer and artist manager, signed the James Gang to a management agreement with BPI in Cleveland. After leaving the James Gang in 1972, he formed Barnstorm with Joe Vitale, a college friend from Ohio, and Kenny Passarelli, a bassist from Colorado, where Walsh had moved after leaving Ohio. While the band stayed together for three albums over three years, its works were marketed as Walsh solo projects. The last Barnstorm album, 1974’s So What contained significant guest contributions from several members of the Eagles, a group that had recently hired Walsh’s producer, Bill Szymczyk.

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At Szymczyk’s suggestion, Walsh joined the Eagles in 1975 as the band’s guitarist and keyboardist following the departure of their founding member Bernie Leadon, with Hotel California being his first album with the band. In 1998 a reader’s poll conducted by Guitarist magazine selected the guitar solos on the track “Hotel California” by Walsh and Don Felder[5] as the best guitar solos of all time. Guitar World magazine listed it at eighth of the Top 100 Guitar Solos.

Besides his work with his several bands, he has released twelve solo studio albums, six compilation albums and two live albums. His solo hits include “Rocky Mountain Way”, “Life’s Been Good”, “All Night Long”, “A Life of Illusion” and “Ordinary Average Guy”.

As a member of the Eagles, Walsh was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, and into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001. The Eagles are considered to be one of the most influential bands of the 1970s, and they remain one of the best-selling American bands in the history of popular music. His creative contribution to music has received praise from many of the best rock guitarists, including Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, who said, “He has a tremendous feel for the instrument. I’ve loved his style since JoeWAlsh01the early James Gang.” Eric Clapton said that “He’s one of the best guitarists to surface in some time. I don’t listen to many records, but I listen to his.”[8] The Who’s guitarist, Pete Townshend, said “Joe Walsh is a fluid and intelligent player. There’re not many like that around.”

So What is the third studio album by the American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Joe Walsh. It was released in late 1974 on ABC-Dunhill Records.

It contains hard rock songs such as “Welcome To The Club” and a remake of the Barnstorm track, “Turn To Stone”. It also contains more introspective material such as “Help Me Through the Night” and “Song For Emma”.

On a few tracks, Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and Randy Meisner of Eagles contributed backing vocals. Over a year and a half later, Walsh would be drafted into Eagles to replace founding member Bernie Leadon, playing on their best-selling studio album Hotel California.

Two months before the release of the album, Walsh was asked about the album, and he said “I know this album’s going to be an important one for me, but it’s not easy to just crank them out anymore, I’ve got, what, six or seven albums out. I don’t want the next album to sound like a bunch of outtakes from Smoker. I want it to be the difference between Revolver and Sgt. Pepper. I’ve held back [the album’s release] until that development was there, even though the record company’s been screaming for it. I want it to be a big, big step… in thoughts, vocals, playing and maturity.”

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Don Henley wrote the lyrics for “Falling Down” with Henley providing backing vocals on “Falling Down” and “Time Out”. The album features three of the four members of Eagles; Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Randy Meisner providing backing vocals for “Turn to Stone” and “Help Me Through The Night”. This would be the first time that the band members would appear on an album with the future Eagle.

“Song for Emma” was written as a memorial for Walsh’s almost-three-year-old daughter who had been killed in a car crash on April 1, 1974, four weeks shy of her third birthday. The accident was caused by a drunk driver who hit the Porsche driven by his girlfriend with Emma in the car. Later, Stevie Nicks wrote “Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You” for Walsh after visiting Emma’s grave with him.

Producer Bill Szymczyk had the following written on the run out groove of the vinyl “THAT’S NO BANANY, THATS MY NOZE” on the first pressings of the vinyl. (by wikipedia)

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Joe Walsh’s catalog by this point was two albums strong and of a consistently high quality. Despite a change of lineup for So What — a wide range of musicians is used, including the Eagles’ Don Henley — the sound is very similar to previous releases. A number of classic Walsh tracks are featured, including a more polished version of “Turn to Stone,” originally featured on his debut album, Barnstorm, in a somewhat more riotous style. “Help Me Thru the Night,” Walsh’s mellowest song to date, is helped along by some fine lead and backing vocals from the band. So What sees Walsh in top form as a guitarist. Most of the nine tracks feature solos of unquestionable quality in his usual rock style. The classic rock genre that the man so well defined with his earlier albums is present here throughout, and it is pulled off with the usual unparalleled Joe Walsh ability. (by Ben Davies)

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Personnel:
Dan Fogelberg – guitar, vocals
Guille Garcia (percussion)
Bryan Garofalo (bass, background vocals)
Ron Grinel (drums)
Russ Kunkel (drums)
Kenny Passarelli (bass, vocals)
J.D. Souther (guitar, background vocals)
Leonard Southwick (harmonica)
Tom Stephenson (keyboards)
John Stronach (vocals)
Joe Vitale (flute, drums, keyboards)
Joe Walsh  (guitar, vocals, synthesizer, bass, piano, mellotron)
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background vocals:
Jody Boyer – Glenn Frey – Don Henley – Randy Meisner

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Tracklist:
01. Welcome To The Club (Walsh) 5.15
02. Falling Down (Walsh/Henley) 5.00
03. Pavanne For The Sleeping Beauty (Ravel) 2.03
04. Time Out (Walsh/Trebandt) 4.25
05. All Night Laundry Mat Blues (Walsh) 1.04
06. Turn To Stone (Walsh/Trebandt) 3.51
07. Help Me Through The Night (Walsh) 3.43
08. County Fair (Walsh) 6.48
09. Song For Emma (Walsh) 4.28

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Growl – Same (1974)

FrontCover1Growl: Formed 1969, United States, Disbanded 1974. Produced by Robert Duffey on Frank Zappa and Herb Cohen’s label, a cross between rock and hard rock. Dennis Rodriguez, Harry Brender, Gene Lucero and Danny McBride were previously in Utopia (not the Todd Rundgren group)….~
Growl is an underestimated blues-inspired hard rock outfit from Los Angeles (?), which recorded its first album as Utopia* (Utopia) in 1969 (released on Kent in 1970; re-issued on vinyl and CD by Akarma). Original line-up of Utopia was: Harry Brander A.Brandis on guitar & vocals, Frank Krajnbrink on guitar, Gene Lucero on bass, Danny McBride on drums and Dennis Rodriguez – lead vocals and harmonica. Rodriguez also wrote most of Utopia’s original compositions. By 1974 Frank Krajbrink was replaced by Mark Small (guitars) and Richard Manuputi took over the vocals.

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The band went to Paramount Studios to record new songs, so for the new album released in 1974 (on Discreet Records) they used 5 songs from “Utopia” and 5 new numbers, among them high-octane version of Paul Butterfield’s “Shake Your Money Maker”, classic “Hound Dog” and quite uninspiring version “I Just Want To Make Love To You” of Willie Dixon (many critics/reviewers mention live version by Foghat, which means that they don’t know the smashing performance by Mungo Jerry).The rest of the songs were written by Dennis Rodriguez (except Working Man credited to Richard Manuputi).
Although Growl doesn’t sound as innovative and original as the headliners of that kind of hard rock (ZZ Top or BTO), it’s a solid and tight band, very macho, which should have been great on stage. Maybe not a must, but I like it. This re-issue on Lion Records (Germany) is quite affordable. (johnkatsmc5.blogspot.com

*This Utopia was not related/connected in any way to Todd Rundgren; the debut album was recorded in 1969, and not 1967…by. Golovanov Alexey…amazon….~

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Personnel:
Harry “A.Brandis” Brender (guitar, background vocals)
Geno Lucero (bass)
Richard Manuputi (vocals)
Danny McBride (drums)
Dennis Rodriguez (guitar, vocals)
Mick Small (guitar)

Alternate frontcover:
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Tracklist:
01. Shake Your Money Maker (James) 3.19
02. Young & Crazy (Rodriguez) 2.13
03. I Wonder (Rodriguez) 3.27
04. Working Man (Manuputi) 4.32
05. Sadie (Rodriguez) 3.26
06. Hound Dog (Stoller/Leiber) 3.06
07. Take My Life (Rodriguez) 2.56
08. Things Ain’t Better (Rodriguez) 3.15
09. Who’s This Man (Rodriguez) 3.20
10. I Just Want To Make Love To You (Dixon) 3.02

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