Smetana Quartet – BBC Legends (Dovorak & Janacek) (2006)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Smetana Quartet (Czech: Smetanovo kvarteto) was a Czech string quartet that was in existence from 1945 to 1989.

The Smetana Quartet arose from the Quartet of the Czech Conservatory, which was founded in 1943 (during the Nazi occupation) in Prague by Antonín Kohout, the cellist. With Jaroslav Rybenský and Lubomír Kostecký as first and second violins, and Václav Neumann as violist, the group gave its first performance as the Smetana Quartet on 6 November 1945, at the Municipal Library in Prague. Neumann left to pursue conducting in 1947, at which point Rybenský went to the viola desk and Jiří Novák (who shared first violin desk with Josef Vlach, founder of the Vlach Quartet, under Vaclav Talich in the Czech Chamber Orchestra) came in as first violin.

By 1949 the group had official connections with the Czech Philharmonic. The first foreign tour was in 1949, to Poland, and the first recording was of a quartet by Bedřich Smetana in 1950. Rybenský was obliged to retire after ill health in 1952, and was replaced by Milan Škampa. The performers were appointed professors at the Academy of Musical Arts in 1967. Of their many recordings, those made at that time for German Electrola are considered particularly fine.

For many years this group, which has been called the finest Czech quartet of its time, played the Czech repertoire from memory, giving these works a special intensity and intimacy.

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The Smetana Quartet made the third commercial digital recording ever made, Mozart’s K.421 and K.458, in Tokyo April 24-26, 1972. They rerecorded the same repertoire ten years later in Prague.

Antonín Kohout trained the Kocian Quartet (founded 1972) and the Martinů Quartet (1976), though the latter’s members had been pupils of Professor Viktor Moučka, cellist of the Vlach Quartet. (by wikipedia)

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Some reviews are a pleasure to write and this is certainly one of them. The Smetana Quartet was formed in 1945 – the original personnel including conductor-to-be Václav Neumann as violist (until 1947) – with the last change in the Smetana’s line-up, until it disbanded in 1989, was in 1956, when Milan Škampa replaced Jaroslav Rybenský as the viola player. During the 1960s and 1970s I – like many others – picked up often ridiculously cheap LPs of the quartet in mainly Eastern European music. I came to admire the players’ unforced musicality, natural phrasing and rhythmic subtlety. This BBC Legends’ release features stereo recordings recorded from 1969 and 1975 – and the sound is very fine. There is a sense of both venues’ acoustic, a natural balance and very fine imaging and resolution. On the down side there are mild patches of what used to be called ‘wow and flutter’. But, unlike some of the Legends’ series, the sound does not get in the way of the music-making and the Queen Elizabeth Hall audience is virtually silent. In terms of technique the Smetana Quartet has occasional problems. Ensemble – by clinical modern standards – can slip, as can exactness of bowing and intonation, but these ‘lapses’ are few and far between.

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But when the musicians glide into Dvořák’s Terzetto, the sweet tone is beautiful, the expression urbane and there is a sense of conversation between the players. In this sadly neglected four-movement work the tempo changes and phrasing are natural and a quiet sense of melancholy imbues every bar – irrespective of tempo marking. Janáček’s ‘The Kreutzer Sonata’ – a great piece – opens with beautifully gradated dynamics that heighten the sense of French impressionism. The accelerandos in the Con moto second movement are seamlessly integrated, as they are in the finale, where the opening tempo is a genuine adagio that still moves inexorably forward. Indeed the whole performance captures every change of mood with integration. Dvořák’s masterly A flat Quartet is similarly outstanding, every tempo change is unforced and the rhythmic variation is brilliant. None of the tempos could be described as too leisurely. In the Molto vivace second movement there is a genuine sense of the dance and in the second section there is a disquieting sense of undulating emotion, and the Lento e molto cantabile third movement really does sing at a tempo that makes many other quartets sound self-indulgent. The finale has real high spirits and, as with the rest of the performance, it just sounds right – like any great performance you feel that this is the way the music should be played. So a wonderful CD, which captures a style of music-making that is – tragically – dying out, and an essential buy for all chamber music lovers. (by Rob Pennock)

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Personnel:
Antonín Kohout (cello)
Lubomír Kostecký (2nd violin)
Jiří Novák (1st violin)
Milan Škampa (viola)

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Tracklist:

Antonin Dvorák: Terzetto for 2 violins & viola in C major, B. 148 (Op. 74):
01. Introduzione. Allegro ma non troppo – attacca 4.39
02. Larghetto 5.36
03. Scherzo. Vivace – Trio. Poco meno mosso 4.33
04. Tema con variazioni. Poco adagio – Molto allegro – Moderato – Moderato e risoluto – Molto allegro 5.55

Leos Janáček: String Quartet No. 1 (“Kreutzer Sonata”), JW 7/8:
05.  Adagio – Con moto – Vivo 3.54
06. Con moto – Energico e appassionato – Tempo 1 4.04
07. Con moto – Vivace – Andante – Tempo 1 3.39
08. Con moto – Tempo 2 – Adagio – Maestoso (Tempo 1) – Più mosso, feroce 5.18

Antonin Dvorák: String Quartet No. 14 in A flat major, B. 193 (Op. 105):
09. Adagio, ma non troppo – Allegro appassionato 8.23
10. Molto vivace 6.31
11. Lento e molto cantabile 7.40
12. Allegro, non tanto 10.03

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Baker Gurvitz Army – Live At University Of Reading, UK (1975)

FrontCover1This is the first of a few shows recorded by the Baker Gurvitz Army for live broadcast on the BBC, and, later, the King Biscuit Flower Hour. Spearheaded by Cream skin-basher Ginger Baker, the BG Army had enormous promise when they formed, but, in the end, never lived up to the hype. But they should have; they had a great musical line up and a shit-hot Brit vocalist who was simply known as Snips.

This show, recorded at the University of Reading, features some strong performances, especially a version of the Jimi Hendrix classic “Freedom.” “Remember,” a bluesy ballad, which segues into “Memory Lane,” and features an always entertaining Ginger Baker drum solo. They close with a stunning rocker, “People,” the opening track from their second LP, Elysian Encounter.

After Cream disbanded in 1968 and Blind Faith embarked on one brilliant LP and tour in 1969, Ginger Baker suddenly found himself as a superstar without a band. He formed the rag-tag outfit known as Ginger Baker’s Airforce (which made two sloppy live albums and included such celebs as Traffic and Blind Faith’s Steve Winwood and Ric Grech; and ex-Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine), before going off to Africa to focus on rhythmic music.

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By the mid 1970s, however, Baker was back in England and needed to work. He had spent his fortune from Cream, and the various solo projects were so large in size that there was no way they could make money on the road. Baker realized he had to get back to basics and join a touring rock ‘n’ roll band.

Guitarist Paul Gurvitz and his brother, Paul, had long been mainstays on the UK club scene, first with Gun (in the late 60s), and later with a power trio named Three Man Army with ex-Rod Stewart drummer Tony Newman. Three Man Army (1971-1973) recorded three albums between Buddah and Warner Brothers Records, but disbanded when Newman left to accept a gig with David Bowie.

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When Three Man Army went looking for a new drummer, they connected with Baker, and hence, the Baker Gurvitz Army was born. They soon expanded their trio format into a five piece with the additions of keyboardist Peter Lemer and vocalist Snips (who had been in Sharks with guitarist Chris Spedding). The band recorded three studio albums and cut a live album that was released after they disbanded. Baker Gurvitz Army was signed to Atlantic Records in the US (the home of Cream and Baker’s solo work), and enjoyed marginal success between 1976 and 1977.

Like many hard rock acts from that period, as disco and pop music took over the music scene in the late 1970s, it made it hard for bands like the Baker Gurvitz Army to continue. By 1978, they had disbanded and Baker returned to making more eclectic music. (wolfgangs.com)

Recorded live at University Of Reading,Reading, UK 15th February 1975.

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Personnel:
Ginger Baker (drums)
Adrian Gurvitz (guitar, vocals)
Paul Gurvitz (bass, vocals)
Peter Lemer (keyboards)
Snips (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Introduction / Wotever It Is (A.Gurvitz) 6.49
02. The Gambler (A.Gurvitz) 4.17
03. Freedom (Hendrix) 6.10
04. For Phil (A.Gurvitz) 09:18
05. Remember (A.Gurvitz) / Memory Lane (A.Gurvitz/Baker) 14.47
06. Drum Solo (Baker) 6.01
07. Instrumental (A.Gurvitz) 2.16
08. People (A.Gurvitz) 7.57

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Stone Angel – Same (1975)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Stone Angel story probably begins in December 1972. Guitarists Ken Saul and Paul Corrick were rehearsing for a spot at the Great Yarmouth Folk Club Christmas party, but all they could come up with was a guitar duet version of ‘God rest ye Merry Gentlemen’. They invited singer Jill Child to join them, and worked on a couple of recently composed songs based on local legends, ‘Sanctuary Stone’ and ‘The Skater’. That first performance was so well received that the trio decided to continue, the following two years seeing them perform at clubs, concerts and festivals throughout East Anglia and occasionally further afield, while still doing the resident slot at their local club.
During the summer of 1973 a demo recording of some of their songs was made, on which Midwinter were joined by Dik Cadbury (of ‘Decameron’ and ‘Steve Hackett Band’ fame) on bass, and Mick Burroughes on percussion. This was never released at the time, and in fact the master tapes remained in a box in Ken Saul’s attic until they finally were issued by Kissing Spell in 1993 as the CD ‘The Waters of Sweet Sorrow’.

Midwinter came to an end with Jill’s departure to college, their farewell concert taking place back at the Yarmouth Folk Club on September 11th 1974. Some of their songs lived on, however, as a few months later Paul and Ken formed a new band, again including fellow musicians from the Yarmouth club. This new band had something of a rockier, more gothic, edge and a decidedly experimental approach to folk music: Stone Angel was born!

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Stone Angel’s first public performance was at the Wymondham Folk Club in October 1974, then again at the Yarmouth Folk Club on December 20th 1974. The line-up consisted of Joan Bartle on vocals, flute, recorders and crumhorn; Mick Burroughes on bass and percussion; Paul Corrick on electric guitars and harpsichord; Dave Lambert on fiddle and mandolin; Ken Saul on vocals, guitars and dulcimer. Building on the reputation of Midwinter, they began to appear at numerous clubs and festivals around the area.
For a variety of reasons a decision was made to produce a self-financed recording, and this took place in February 1975. The band was assisted in this project by Eddy Green, who from time to time had deputised for various personnel in the live performances. Only three hundred and fifty of the projected five hundred albums were ever produced, and unfortunately these suffered from rather poor sound quality. A busy schedule followed, with the album being hawked around the live gigs, until the end of the summer when both Paul and Mick departed for university and art college respectively.

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The resulting trio continued, but became entirely acoustic and more traditional in their choice of material, although still including ‘The Skater’ and ‘Black-sailed Traders’ in their set. The only recording from this period was a basic tape recording of a live concert in the village church at Filby, Norfolk, where Ken and Joan now lived. This too was to later be released on CD by Kissing Spell under the title ‘The Holy Rood of Bromholm’. After spells working in Botswana and Southampton, Dave Lambert emigrated to Australia, where he continued to play as a member of Adelaide-based band ‘The Legends’.

Ken and Joan carried on as a duo for a while, before becoming engaged in a slightly more serious project with early music. Then in 1985/86 they formed a new band with bassist Michael Wakelin and keyboard player Dave Felmingham, occasionally being joined on vocals by Carole Irwin. Reflecting their ‘middle earth’ tendencies, the name ‘Arkenstone’ was chosen, but after their second gig – a local version of Live Aid – so many former fans still referred to them as Stone Angel, that they decided to revert to the old title. Sadly, work commitments away from the area meant the band was short-lived. The next stage was to see a musical involvement with Broadlands Theatre Group, which entailed the composition and performance of original material for various productions. Around the same time, an article had appeared in the magazine ‘Record Collector’ with details of various privately released albums from the seventies, including the original Stone Angel LP. This was subsequently re-released on CD by Kissing Spell in 1994, alongside the previously unissued ‘ live’ recording and the earlier Midwinter album. All of this led to a renewed interest in the band, not only in the UK but also in Europe and the Far East.

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With a handful of local traditional songs, some original compositions – some dating from the mid-eighties ensemble – and a few fresh ideas, the ‘new’ Stone Angel re-formed in 2000, chiefly to record a new CD, ‘East of the Sun’. This latest incarnation comprised of Ken and Joan Saul, Dave Felmingham, Andrew Smith, and a re-called Michael Wakelin. By the time the recording was finished, one of the additional musicians, oboe and cor anglais player Richard Danby, had become a permanent member of the band, while Michael’s work commitments necessitated a substitution on bass by Robert Futter. They were then joined by Jane Denny, contributing additional vocals and assorted percussion, and original seventies bass man Mick Burroughes. It is this line-up that produced the album, ‘Lonely Waters’.

Sadly, Richard Danby died in tragic circumstances just as the recording of “Lonely Waters” was nearing its completion. His contribution to the band was greatly missed, but it was decided not to try and replace him, and the album was dedicated to his memory. Due to other commitments, Mick left shortly after the album was released. The vacancy on bass was filled by long-time friend and associate, Geoff Hurrell.

Work then began on another rather different and exacting project with Broadlands Theatre Group – an epic community production of “Green Man”. After much deliberation and a few drinks in that other-worldly time between Christmas and New Year, ideas were made material. Pip Sessions wrote the script and the band wrote songs and arranged and adapted traditional material. In October 2005 “Green Man – a pageant of ancient mysteries” was performed for two nights in Filby Church with Stone Angel playing live in the context of the play. Soon after this, the CD “Circle of Leaves” was produced – all the music from “Green Man” linked together with words from the drama. It was a moment never to be forgotten, when the whole cast was recorded for the final track “The Promise”. A concert version was later put together and premiered again in Filby Church.

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November 2009 saw Stone Angel celebrate their 35th anniversary with a concert at the Assembly House in Norwich. It was good to see fans and friends, old and new, from around the country – and indeed, the world – gather for this landmark occasion. Since then, Jane has departed for work and family reasons, leaving the remaining five-piece ensemble to record and release another new album “Between the Water and the Sky”. More recently (2014), the band celebrated their 40th anniversary with a short tour and another concert at the Assembly House in Norwich. In 2015 they marked the 40th anniversary of the release of the original Stone Angel album, recorded in February 1975. The story continues….. (taken from their website)

And here´s their debut album from 1975.

This, along with Midwinter’s “The Waters Of Sweet Sorrow,” is one of the all-time great underground UK psych/folk classics. Ethereal female vocals and acoustic guitars weave a melancholic cloak around the listener while lyrics evoke the mystery and magic of the British isles across the ages. Superb. (thousandfolded)

Or, in other words:

“One of the most remarkable acid folk albums…” (Record Collector)

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Personnel:
Joan Bartle (vocals, flute, recorder, crumhorn)
Mick Burroughes (percussion, bass, jew´s harp)
Paul Corrick (guitar, bass)
Dave Lambert (violin, mandolin)
Vocals, Flute, Recorder, Crumhorn –
Ken Saul (vocals, guitar, dulcimer, recorder)

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Tracklist:
01. The Bells Of Dunwich (Saul) 6.04.
02. The Skater (Saul) 3.13
03. Pastime With A Good Company (Henry VIII) 1.12
04. Traveller’s Tale (Saul) 5.41
05. Black Sailed Traders (Saul) 5.04
06. Stone Angel (Saul) 3.39
07. Galliard / Merrie England’s Musicke Box (Traditional) 2.02
08. The Gay Goshawk (Traditional) 7.08
09. The Black Dog (Saul) 5.42
10. The Holy Rood Of Bromholm (Saul) 4.03

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Stone Angel today:

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Brian Auger´s Oblivion Express – Live At Winterland (1975)

FrontCover1.jpgBrian Auger has always demonstrated a rare devotion and dedication toward developing new musical forms. Equally comfortable with pop, R&B, and jazz, Auger was a founding member of the group, Steampacket, which helped launch the careers of singers Long John Baldry, Julie Driscoll, and Rod Stewart. Partnering with Julie Driscoll, Auger formed the Trinity, which recorded some of the most intriguing albums of the late 1960s, achieving international recognition for their cover of Dylan’s “This Wheel’s On Fire” in 1968. Straddling jazz, rhythm & blues, folk, gospel and pop in equal measure, the Trinity albums refused to be categorized. Auger’s intention was to overlay soulful pop rhythms with jazz harmonies and solos and his late-1960s recordings exemplify this unique approach. Following the demise of the Trinity, he formed Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express at the dawn of the 1970s, another genre-defying group that would gain him much wider recognition, eventually entering the jazz, pop and R&B charts simultaneously. The Oblivion Express created high energy, jazz-inspired music, with Auger’s high energy Hammond organ style, in the tradition of Jimmy Smith, dominating the proceedings.

This performance, recorded at San Francisco’s Winterland, when Auger’s Oblivion Express opened for Fleetwood Mac, captures the band during a particularly interesting time and with its quintessential lineup. The band’s album Reinforcements had just been released and their stage repertoire here includes two fresh new band originals from that album, as well as three of the most impressive jazz-inflected covers from their earlier releases.

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Following Auger’s high-spirited introduction of the band members, they launch headfirst into the leadoff track from the new album with “Brain Damage.” A collaboration written by vocalist/guitarist Alex Ligertwood (who would soon be recruited as lead vocalist for Santana) and lead guitarist Jack Mills, this is an explosive opening number that explores a diverse range of influences resulting in a progressive jazz/rock fusion sound. Auger’s high energy Hammond organ style, in the tradition of Jimmy Smith, is exemplary, and the musicians maintain a tight, cohesive blend on the extended improvisations held togethre by percussionists David Dowle (who would later go on to record four early albums with Whitesnake) and Lennox Laington.

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Venturing back to material from the Second Wind album, they next deliver a tight rather economical performance of Eddie Harris’ “Freedom Jazz Dance,” before again stretching out on Wes Montgomery’s classic, “Bumpin’ On Sunset.” Here, the group establishes a relaxed, but nonetheless infectious groove, featuring Auger’s superb, yet never over-bearing technical abilities and the entire band reaching inspired heights. Like the best jazz bands, the Oblivion Express plays with deep feeling and a cohesiveness that is a rarity among rock bands of the mid-1970s.

They next return to the Reinforcements material for a crack at Clive Chaman’s “Foolish Girl.” A recruit from the Jeff Beck Group, Chaman is an outstanding and creative bass player and this composition ventures into the funk territory that would be explored by groups like the Average White Band and countless others as the decade progressed.

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The set concludes with a foot-stomping, full blown funky jazz blowout on a cover of Les McCann’s “Compared To What.” The original version of the song is a powerful example of black pop and soul that wasn’t afraid to address political issues; in this case the Vietnam War, and it is no less powerful in the hands of the Oblivion Express. Although lyrically the song is clearly dated to the late-1960s, Auger’s bluesy Hammond organ licks have a timeless appeal and he and the group’s offbeat humor are apparent throughout.

All through this performance, Auger’s technique is jaw-dropping and the amount of energy he and the group generates is unparalleled and relentless. The broad-minded musical attitude and skill of these musicians is never less than impressive and they manage to bridge the gap between rock and jazz-fusion in a way that remains inviting, accessible, and musically compelling. (wolfgangs.com)

Recorded live at the Winterland (San Francisco, CA), Nov 29, 1975
Excellent soundboard recording

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Personnel:
Brian Auger (organ, vocals)
Clive Chaman (bass)
David Dowle (drums)
Lennox Laington (percussion)
Alex Ligertwood (vocals, guitar, percussion)
Jack Mills (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Introduction / Brain Damage (Ligertwood/Mills) 15.56
02. Freedom Jazz Dance  (Harris) 5.59
03. Bumpin’ On Sunset (Montgomery) 14.45
04. Foolish Girl (haman) 8.26
05. Compared To What (McDaniels) 12.28

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Mal Waldron (feat. Steve Lacy) – Live At The Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany (1975)

FrontCover1Malcolm Earl “Mal” Waldron (August 16, 1925 – December 2, 2002) was an American jazz pianist, composer, and arranger. He started playing professionally in New York in 1950, after graduating from university. In the following dozen years or so Waldron led his own bands and played for those led by Charles Mingus, Jackie McLean, John Coltrane, and Eric Dolphy, among others. During Waldron’s period as house pianist for Prestige Records in the late 1950s, he appeared on dozens of albums and composed for many of them, including writing his most famous song, “Soul Eyes”, for Coltrane. Waldron was often an accompanist for vocalists, and was Billie Holiday’s regular accompanist from April 1957 until her death in July 1959.

A breakdown caused by a drug overdose in 1963 left Waldron unable to play or remember any music; he regained his skills gradually, while redeveloping his speed of thought. He left the U.S. permanently in the mid-1960s, settled in Europe, and continued touring internationally until his death.

In his 50-year career, Waldron recorded more than 100 albums under his own name and more than 70 for other band leaders. He also wrote for modern ballet, and composed the scores of several feature films. As a pianist,

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Waldron’s roots lay chiefly in the hard bop and post-bop genres of the New York club scene of the 1950s, but with time he gravitated more towards free jazz. He is known for his dissonant chord voicings and distinctive later playing style, which featured repetition of notes and motifs. (by wikipedia)

In 1972 Mal Waldron recorded n album with Steve Lacy, in 1974 recorded together the live album “Hard Talk” and in 1975 they jammed together at the legendary Berlin Jazz Festival.

Here´s a short, but brilliant broadcast recording … thanks to jazzrita for sharing the show at Dime.

Recorded live at the Jazztage. Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany; November 6, 1975
Very good FM broadcast.

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Personnel:
Allen Blairman (drums)
Steve Lacy (saxophone)
Manfred Schoof (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Mal Waldron (piano)
Jimmy Woode (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Intro (in German) 1.07
02. Hard Talk (Maldron) 21.31
03. Russian Melody (Maldron) 8.44

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Eric Quincy Tate – E.Q.T. (1975)

FrontCover1.JPGSouthern rock and roll, similar to the Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker, White Witch, Charlie Daniels, and Wet Willie.

The founding members of Eric Quincy Tate are Tommy Carlisle and Donnie McCormick. Tommy and Donnie met in 1963 when Tommy joined Donnie’s band “The Kings.” The band had several regional hits cutting for the Jox label in San Antonio, Texas. Tommy, Donnie, and two other members of “The Kings” served two years in The United States Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS Essex #9 from 1966-1968. While doing their tour of duty, the band performed at venues in England, Norway, Holland, Germany, Italy, Southern France, Sicily and on the Mediterranean island of Malta. Upon completion of duty in 1968, Tommy and Donnie returned to Corpus Christi, Texas and formed the band “Eric Quincy Tate.” “Eric Quincy Tate” was Donnie’s creation and is derived from three different sources according to Donnie: “ERIC” (Eric Burdon); “QUINCY” for Quincy, Massachusetts; “TATE” was the surname of a naval comrade on board Donnie’s ship.

While playing in Texas, EQT made a strong impression on songwriter/artist/producer Tony Joe White. White played an important role in getting the band heard by Capricorn Records in Macon, GA. Demos were recorded at Capricorn which caught the ear of legendary Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler. In late 1969 EQT inked a management deal with Phil Walden. They recorded their first album for Cotillion Records (subsidiary of Atlantic Records) with producers Tony Joe White, Jerry Wexler and Tom Dowd. The band then moved their base from South Texas to Memphis, TN. In 1970, their first album titled “Eric Quincy Tate” was released on Cotillion. The band moved to Atlanta, GA that same year.

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In the early 1970s, EQT performed free concerts in Piedmont Park in Atlanta with The Allman Brothers Band. EQT also performed with, among others, Little Walter, Ted Nugent, B.B. King (whom Tommy loaned an amplifier to at a concert in New York City in ’73), Johnny Winter, Wet Willie, Dr. John, Tony Joe White, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Papa John Creach, REO Speedwagon and YES.

In 1972 EQT’s second album “Drinking Man’s Friend” was released on the Capricorn label with producer Paul Hornsby (Marshall Tucker Band – Charlie Daniels Band). Eric Quincy Tate made its third release in 1975 on GRC Records in Atlanta, produced by Sonny Limbo and EQT. The GRC release was a split release; the (A) side of the LP was studio recorded and the (B) side was recorded live at the Chattahoochee River Raft Race. The live side captured EQT in their natural state, spontaneous and loaded with energy. During the GRC period, Tommy Carlisle had taken a leave from the band and Wayne “Bear” Sauls took over as the primary guitarist.

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In 1976 EQT released “Can’t Keep A Good Band Down” recorded live at The Whipping Post in Augusta, GA, with Sonny Limbo producing in association with Atlanta music icon Bill Lowery. Tommy left the band and went on tour in 1978 with “The Back Alley Bandits” (London Records producer Chips Moman).

On September 9, 2006, EQT reunited for a 37th Anniversary reunion show at Northside Tavern in Atlanta. The recordings on the new CD are the result of the show. The band performed for a packed house of excited fans both old and new. The evening was very special and magical. There was also a fireworks display in celebration of the band’s reunion. On tracks 9 through 13, Donnie plays his famous “Chicken Coop”. Donnie stated “never again”, as the last track on the disk fades out. “Thirty-Seven” is the last live recording made by Eric Quincy Tate. (wikipedia)

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And here´s their third album:

The GRC release was a split release; the (A) side of the LP was studio recorded and the (B) side was recorded live at the Chattahoochee River Raft Race. The live side captured EQT in their natural state, spontaneous and loaded with energy. During the GRC period.

And it´s time o discover another great Southern Rock group (listen to the legendary “Big Boss Jam” …)

Long live Southern Rock !

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Personnel:
David Cantonwine (bass)
Donnie McCormick (drums, vocals)
Joseph Rogers (keyboards, harmonica)
Wayne “Bear” Sauls (guitar, background vocals)
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Tommy Carlisle (slide guitar on 01. + 05.)
Jerome Joseph (percussion on 07. + 08.)

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Tracklist:
01. Honky Tonk Man (Hausey/Horton/Franks) 4.20
02. No Rollin’ Boogie (D.McCormick/Rogers) 3.43
03. Food, Phone, Gas And Lodging (Cantonwine) 2.44
04. Chattahoochee Coochee Man (D.McCormick) 2.27
05. Wide Open (M. McCormick) 3.58
06. Intro + Drivin’ Wheel (Sykes) 6.53
07. Big Boss Jam (Reed) 15.28

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Donnie McCormick (30 Oct 1944 – 11 Jan 2009)

Chick Corea & Return To Forever – No Mystery (1975)

LPFrontCover1No Mystery (1975) is the fifth studio album by jazz-rock fusion band Return to Forever.

All members of the group contributed compositions to this album. Side A contains heavily funk-influenced material composed by each member of the group, whereas Side B is filled by Chick Corea compositions. Chick Corea won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Jazz Performance, Individual or Group Grammy Award in 1975 for this album. (by wikipedia)

The fourth edition of Return to Forever was a band that emphasized the screaming wah-wah guitar of Al Di Meola and every electric keyboard Chick Corea could get his hands on to play furiously fast runs. Where the initial, airy Flora Purim/Airto/Joe Farrell edition gave way to the second undocumented group featuring Earl Klugh, and the third band with electric guitarist Bill Connors, this RTF was resplendently and unapologetically indulgent, ripping through riffs and charted, rehearsed melodies, and polyrhythms like a circular saw through a thin tree branch. Their immediacy and visceral power is why rock audiences were drawn to them, impressed by their speed-demon vagaries as much as their concern for musicality. Thank goodness No Mystery had more than its share of toned-down acoustic moments, as well as the powerhouse fighter jet stance that most of their fans craved. It’s not nearly as balanced as the previous album Where Have I Known You Before?, but expounds on those themes — inspired by Neville not Harry Potter — in a more progressive though louder manner.

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The bold, dancing, and funky “Dayride” in a higher octave and vocal-type keyboard range perfectly identifies the group sound in a scant three-plus minutes. The two-part, 14-minute “Celebration Suite” gives you a larger view of the classical Bartok/Chopin influence of Corea, and the dramatic medieval or regal stance they alchemized with so many keyboard sounds. It’s pseudo-funky, Spanish in a 6/8 rhythm, wailing with Di Meola leaping forth in true guitar hero form, with some group-oriented perfunctory subtleties and complex lines. The title track is the jewel, an acoustic romp through fields of flowers with Lenny White on marimba buoyed by a beautiful, lilting, memorable melody and shifting loud and soft dynamics — a classic in the repertoire and a fan favorite. The tromping beat of “Jungle Waterfall” supersedes Stanley Clarke’s lithe lines, while noise keyboards dominate the silly “Sofistifunk.” Corea’s acoustic piano is featured on the chordal, grandiose solo “Excerpt from the First Movement of Heavy Metal,” and in duet with Clarke. the improvised “Interplay” shows a more spontaneous rather than rehearsed side of these brilliant musicians. Over time, No Mystery yields mixed results, where initially they were viscerally driven and ultimately impressive. The next phase of the group, as indicated by this recording, would take them into even more technologically dominated music. (by Michael G. Nastos)

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Personnel:
Stanley Clarke (bass, organ, synthesizer, vocals)
Chick Corea  (keyboards, vocals, syntesizer, snare drum, marimba)
Al Di Meola (guitar)
Lenny White (drums, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. Dayride (Clarke) 3.25
02. Jungle Waterfall (Corea/Clarke) 3.03
03. Flight Of The Newborn (Di Meola) 7.24
04. Sofistifunk (White) 3.54
05. Excerpt From The First Movement Of Heavy Metal (Corea/Clarke/White/Di Meola) 2.45
06. No Mystery (Corea) 6.13
07. Interplay (Corea/Clarke) 2.17
08. Celebration Suite, Part I (Corea) 8.19
09. Celebration Suite, Part II (Corea) 4.37

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L to R: Stanley Clarke, Al Di Meola, Chick Corea –  Return To Forever performing in 1974 at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, New York.