Barbara Streisand – Superman (1977)

FrontCover1.JPGSuperman (1977) is the nineteenth studio album by American singer Barbra Streisand.

The single “My Heart Belongs to Me” became a hit in 1977, peaking at #4 on the US pop chart.

The album peaked at number 3 on the Top 200 LP Billboard album chart and on the UK Albums Chart at number 32. It has sold 2 million copies in United States and was certified 2× Platinum.

Two songs were written for the movie A Star Is Born but not used in the picture —”Answer Me” by Streisand, Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher; and “Lullaby For Myself” by Rupert Holmes. (by wikipedia)

Although it is merely a pastiche of songs, including two outtakes from A Star Is Born, Streisand Superman is clearly the best album Streisand has made in some time, possibly the best since Stoney End. While it lacks any kind of focus and occasionally disintegrates into a shopping-mall arrangement such as “I Found You Love,” Superman is ample evidence that Streisand actually can get away with singing whatever she chooses. (A Star Is Born was sufficient proof that she could succeed with absolute trash.)

The most remarkable track is “Don’t Believe What You Read,” which is nothing less than a flat-out rock song, written by Ron Nagle and Scott Mathews with Streisand, and given a superb arrangement by Jack Nitzsche. It’s driven by a fuzz-tone guitar, huge drums and Streisand’s vocal, which is derived, I think, from Stevie Nicks. This is the most modern track she’s ever done and, aside from Pete Townshend’s “They Are All in Love,” the only successful attack on the press any songwriter has been able to come up with. (It helps that Streisand, like Townshend, is attacking gossips rather than critics.) Nagle, a vastly underrated songwriter, has also turned in a terrific look at working-class marriage as a trap in “Cabin Fever,” which gets a similarly modern treatment and ranks with the best things here.

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Most of the rest is given over to the typical ballads, which, as usual, rise and fall on the strengths of their arrangements. Streisand still resorts to mannerisms (her phrasing is suffering from a case of arrested development, except on the two songs above) but the material is chosen skillfully enough to transcend that. Still, on the basis of “Don’t Believe,” “Cabin Fever” and the bluesy treatment of Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind,” it would be interesting to hear her work with a rock-oriented producer—Peter Asher, perhaps. (Dava Marsh, Rolling Stone No. 245)

And we hear musicians like Larry Carlton, Robben Ford, Harvey Mason, David Paich, Jeff Porcaro, Lee Ritenour and Fred Tackett amongst others.

And her version of the Billy Joel hymn “New York State Of Mind” is a real great one !

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Personnel:
Barbra Streisand (vocals)
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Israel Baker (violin)
Harry Bluestone (violin)
Mike Boddicker (keyboards, synthesizer)
Alan Broadbent (piano)
Dennis Budimir (guitar)
Larry Carlton (guitar)
Gary Coleman (percussion)
Robben Ford (guitar)
David Foster (keyboards)
Jay Graydon (guitar)
Ed Greene (drums)
Ralph Grierson (keyboards)
Plas Johnson (saxophone)
Harvey Mason (drums)
Scott Mathews (drums)
Lincoln Mayorga (piano)
Mike Melvoin (piano)
David Paich (keyboards)
Steve Paietta (accordion)
Jeff Porcaro (drums, percussion)
Reine Press (bass)
Emil Richards (vibraphone, percussion)
Lee Ritenour (guitar)
Fred Tackett (guitar)
Tommy Tedesco (guitar)
Gayle LeVant (harp)
David Wolfert (guitar)
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background vocals:
Augie Johnson – Clydie King – Jim Gilstrap – John Lehman – Julia Tillman Waters – Venetta Fields

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Tracklist:
01. Superman (Snyder) 2.48
02. Don’t Believe What You Read (Streisand/Nagle/Mathews) 3.33
03. Baby Me Baby (Miller) 4.21
04. I Found You Love (Gordon) 3.47
05. Answer Me (Streisand/Williams/Ascher) 3.14
06. My Heart Belongs To Me (Gordon) 3.21
07. Cabin Fever (Nagle) 3.10
08. Love Comes From Unexpected Places (Carnes/Ellingson) 4.11
09. New York State Of Mind (Joel) 4.40
10. Lullaby For Myself (Holmes) 3.16

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And here´s another version of “New York State Of Mind” (feat. Billy Joel) from 2014:

Colosseum II – Electric Savage (1977)

LPFrontCover1Two small changes in Colosseum II’s second album: Neil Murray left the group to join National Health (I believe), replaced by unknown John Mole, and most important the group became an almost-instrumental beast, which for their kind of music fit them best. If I say Almost-instrumental, it’s because Gary Moore sings on one track, sounding a bit like Steve Winwood, but let’s face it, Colosseum II doesn’t need a singer!! Coming with a bizarre electronic tribal neon artwork, Electric Savage heads further into RTF and Brand X fusion than ever before. If most of the music is still penned by Gary Moore, there is a tendency towards more democracy as Airey pens two himself, while Hiseman co-writes four.

Opening on Hackett-ian (solo) guitar lines, Put It This Way dives head first hard fusion filled with power riffs, Brand X-style. All Skin & Bone is a fantastic percussive track that uses the same Hackett-ian guitar and probably the album’s highlight. Rivers is the only sung track of the album, and as mentioned above, it sounds like a Steve Winwood solo track. The group also had a more progressive slant and here The Scorch is the prime example of it, where the group moves through a series of rhythm pattern and moods, but mostly doing so in a fury, as would indicate the title. Very classical exit of this track and a brilliant quartet, especially Hiseman.

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The flipside starts on the cheesy Lament, but it’s not an over-ripe camembert, either, just a slightly pompous facet of their prog moods, a bit the logical continuation of Scorch. Next up, Desperado returns to the 100 MPH fusion of Brand X that we’d visited in the album opener. The album closes on two Airey compositions, the first is a great crescendoing airy (pun intended) track, where Don & Gary exchange wild leads on a mid-tempo and background synth layers, while its alter ego Intergalactic Strut shines among a thousand galaxy, hinting at RTF’s seventh. If I say shine, there is a slight eclipse with

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While it was not so obvious on SNF, Moore has more problems being himself on such a blatant jazz rock album, than he does on a blues or hard rock album, and here , he’s more credible when either crunching riffs away or pulling blues wails from his axe, than really adding a jazzy blue note. When he does try, he seems either taken by Hackett or goes purelt classical. Incidentally, I was never a fan of Airey’s keyboard style (especially when playing in the Purpe galaxy), but for some reasons, in Col II, he was never more credible than here, and if some synth choices of his are questionable, but it’s got to do more with the era’s choice of arms, more than artistic choices. Outside a few loonies (like Mooney), Hiseman’s drumming is still miles ahead of many of his English peers (Bruford, Collins & Dunbar excepted) and he mixes himself a tad higher in the group’s overall sound, but it’s nothing shocking, on the contrary.. It even enhances his insane playing. Either this album or the following carbon-copy Wardance will be the perfect intro, but you’re wary of redundancy in your shelves, you’ll have to check whether you would need more than one. (by Sean Trane)

But … the original Closseum was for the history of British Jazz-Rock much more important …

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Personnel:
Don Airey (keyboards, clavinet)
Jon Hiseman (drums, percussion)
Gary Moore (guitar, vocals)
John Mole (bass)

Booklet1Tracklist:
01. Put It This Way (Moore) 4.56
02. All Skin And Bone (Moore/Hiseman) 3.47
03. Rivers (Moore/Hiseman) 5.51
04. The Scorch (Moore) 6.03
05. Lament (Traditional) 4.40
06. Desperado (Moore/Hiseman) 6.00
07. Am I (Airey) 4.17
08. Intergalactic Strut (Airey) 5.58

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Clifton Chenier – Clifton Chenier And His Red Hot Louisiana Band (1977)

FrontCover1.jpgLike many before me, my early interest as a teenager in jazz, funk and blues led me to the music of New Orleans. That interest piqued further when I found a collection of sides recorded for Atlantic by Professor Longhair in the 1950s at a public library , and then went out and bought everything I could get my hands on. Before long my ear wandered up the countryside to the bayous and swamps where music sounded a little different than in the city, namely to cajun and zydeco records. Not speaking any French, let alone Acadian or Creole, I couldn’t understand a word of much of it, yet I still felt like I connected to the music. Before the term ‘zydeco’ came into common musical parlance outside its region of origin, Clifton Chenier was said to have played “the blues accordion.” That description makes sense. Chenier, who had been recording since the early 60s, had a style capable of filling the space usually filled by a harmonica in a blues band and blending it with the piano or organ riffs you would expect from a keyed instrument. Reeds and keys together in one place. But his musical ladle also dipped into a stew containing fiddle tunes from around Louisiana’s “Cajun belt,” along with rhythm and blues, boogie-woogie, and early rock and roll music. His band briefly featured his brother Morris Chenier on fiddle in the 60s, but his lineups more typically counted on saxophone, electric guitar, bass, organ and piano to back him up. And he was always accompanied by his brother Cleveland on the washboard, who is credited with being the first washboard player to wear his instrument draped over the torso in a customized breastplate-type thing. Cleveland would tap out his rhythms using up to a half-dozen bottle openers in each hand.

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This particular album has quite a few tunes that are fairly straight forward blues, and “Hungry Man” may strike many as being eerily close to a certain McKinley Morganfield song. It is also from the period when a young Stanley Dural (aka Buckwheat Zydeco) was playing keyboards with Chenier. It might be Dural (who previously played in a funk band) whose influence we hear on the one tune that deviates a bit from the rest on this album. “Party Down (At The Blue Angel Club)” is positively funky with a taste of wah guitar and some delicious sax riffs. Between the ballads and the burners there is one tune that cries out for fiddle, the waltz-time “Tante Na Na,” but Chenier’s accordion carries the day with grace and grace notes. The song is kind of a staple in a lot of dance band repertoires and I’d be interested in knowing its origins if there is anyone out there who knows. (All the tracks are attributed to Chenier, which seems like a bit of legal fiction by the folks at Arhoolie). The next track (Do Right Sometime) disposes with everything but the drums, washboard and the sax which just plays rhythm, but the chord changes somehow still sound fleshed out.

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This is also a cool record because it catches Chenier’s band at an interesting time, riding a wave of mounting interest in the genre that he played a huge in creating. By the late 70s he could be found playing both the Montreux and New Orleans Jazz Festivals. But zydeco would become even more famous in the next decade, and Chenier himself would become the first zydeco musician to win a Grammy award. (flabbergasted-vibes.org)

Recorded April 25, 1977 at Sea-Saint Studios, New Orleans, La. except 04- which was recorded October 27, 1975 in Bogalusa, La.

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Personnel:
Joseph Bruchet (bass)
Cleveland Chenier (washboard)
Clifton Chenier (vocals, accordion)
tanley “Buckwheat” Dural (keyboards)
John Hart (saxophone)
Robert Peter (drums)
Paul Senegal (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Grand Prix 3.09
02. Hungry Man Blues 4.45
03. Parti De Paris 2.24
04. Take Off Your Dress 4.41
05. Party Down (At The Blue Angel Club) 4.36
06. Falksy Girl 3.57
07. Easy, Easy Baby 3.10
08. Tante Na Na 3.46
09. Do Right Sometime 3.41
10. Highway Blues 3.21

All songs written by Clifton Chenier

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Chenier Brothers performing at Jay’s Lounge and Cockpit, Cankton, Louisiana, Mardi Gras, 1975 (Clifton Chenier on accordion, brother Cleveland on washboard and John Hart on tenor saxophone):

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Paice Ashton Lord – BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert 1977 (1992)

CDFrontCover1Paice Ashton Lord was a short-lived British rock band featuring Deep Purple band members Ian Paice and Jon Lord with singer Tony Ashton. The band was formed in 1976, released its only album in 1977 and broke up in 1978.

After Deep Purple broke up in 1976, drummer Ian Paice and keyboard player Jon Lord created a new band, Paice Ashton Lord, with friend Tony Ashton, a British keyboardist and singer of Ashton, Gardner and Dyke. After extensive auditions they chose Bernie Marsden to play electric guitar and Paul Martinez as the band’s bassist.

Tony Ashton had previously played with Lord on the 1974 album First of the Big Bands and on Lord’s Gemini Suite project in 1971, singing lead vocals on one track. He collaborated on Lord’s solo work and Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover’s solo projects.

Soon after Ashton broke his leg falling off a stage in the dark at a London concert, the group was wound up. Lord, Marsden and later Paice joined David Coverdale’s Whitesnake. Martinez joined Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack for a short time, before joining John Otway for one album, and going on to play with Robert Plant. Later on, Paice played in Gary Moore’s band before he and Lord joined the re-formed Deep Purple in 1984.

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Tony Ashton died of cancer on 28 May 2001, as did Jon Lord, of pancreatic cancer, on 16 July 2012.

The band recorded their debut album Malice in Wonderland at Musicland Studios in Munich in September and October 1976. The record was released in February 1977. The music included elements of rhythm and blues, funk and soul, with several tracks featuring a brass section and backing vocals from Sheila and Jeanette McKinley.[2] Despite some critical appreciation, the album was not a great commercial success. A second album was planned but was not released.

PAL02Film of the band recording the album in the studio was later released as Lifespan.

The band appeared on the BBC2 & BBC Radio 1 simulcast series “Sight And Sound: In Concert”, in 1977, performing songs from “Malice In Wonderland”, plus “The Ballad Of Mr. Giver”, from Ashton & Lord’s 1974 album, First of the Big Bands. This recording was later released, subsequently with a DVD. (by wikipedia)

Recorded in 1977, on the tails of the post-Deep Purple supergroup’s Malice In Wonderland album, this extremely well-recorded broadcast catches the trio (and friends) stretching out in directions that the album itself never managed. On vinyl, after all, PAL sounded constricted, forever teetering on the brink of a no-holds-barred jam, but never quite mustering the strength to leap in. On stage, however, the improvisational instincts that Paice and Lord had built their very reputations upon were given full rein to spread and stretch.

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All but two songs from the album are included, and each is effortlessly superior to its studio counterpart — “Ghost Story” is especially effective, while the funky motions that Malice hinted at explode into view. One cannot simply marvel at what was included in the band’s live set, however; one should also applaud Paice Ashton Lord for what they didn’t play. At a time when other ex-Deep Purple-ers were blithely grafting great swathes of that band’s repertoire into their solo shows, PAL resolutely avoided even a hint of such things. (For Ashton fans, meanwhile, there’s no “Resurrection Shuffle” either.)
The result is what could (and should) have been a whole new beginning for the three mainmen of PAL, and one of the best live albums you’ll find anywhere in the Deep Purple family tree. (by Dave Thompson)

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Recorded live on 10th March 1977 at the Golders Green Hippodrome in London for the BBC’s In Concert-series.

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Personnel:
Tony Ashton (keyboards, vocals)
Jon Lord (keyboards)
Paul Martinez (bass)
Bernie Marsden (guitar)
Ian Paice (drums)
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Howie Casey (saxophone)
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unknown background vocals

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Tracklist:
01. A Ghost Story (Paice/Ashton/Lord) 4-31
02. On The Road Again, Again (Paice/Ashton/Lord/Marsden) 5.25
03. Silas And Jerome (Paice/Ashton/Lord) 4.00
04. Arrabella (Oh Tell Me) (Ashton) 4.43
05. The Ballad Of Mr. Giver (Ashton/Lord) 7.28
06. I’m Gonna Stop Drinkin’ (Paice/Ashton/Lord) 5.16
07. Steamroller Blues (Taylor) 5.21
08. Lord Remember The Good Times (Paice/Ashton/Lord/Marsden/Martinez) 6.28
09. Sneaky Private Lee (Paice/Ashton/Lord/Marsden) 7.36

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Unicorn – One More Tomorrow (1977)

FrontCover1And this is the story of Unicorn:

Fans of rock music from the 1970s may remember Unicorn, a local band, that made some great albums, but unfortunately never had the fame they justly deserved.

Unicorn’s bass player was Pat Martin, who grew up in Send. In 1963 he began making music with Ken Baker, a friend from St Bede’s School, in Send. During the summer holidays Pat would ride his bike from his home to Ken’s house in Ockham with his guitar. They then both plugged into a home-made amplifier that Ken’s uncle had made.

Pat says: “My dad thought that if continued to pursue my love of beat music, it might keep me away from what he termed ‘the yobs’ he said I was mixing with.

“He bought us some better equipment, became our manager and we soon recruited a drummer, Pete Perryer.”

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The band was originally called the Senders. They then became the Pink Bears, later changing their name to the Late. They played many gigs in and around the local area and not long after they had left school aged 17, they were performing as a living. In the early days various members came and went, including, Trevor Mee. He was a gifted guitarist, so Pat switched to playing bass guitar.

Other gigs Pat recalls playing with his band include the Stereo club that was above the Co-op store in Woking. He says: “We got a gig there as a replacement to another band. I don’t think it was a licensed premises, but there was a lot of good beat and rhythm ’n’ blues bands who played there.”

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Not only did Pat and his bandmates play at Woking’s famous Atalanta club, he saw many other bands there – some of whom are now legendary. He says: “I saw the Who, the Turtles, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Graham Bond Organisation, and Cream, who were playing their second-ever gig when I saw them there.”

Atalanta owner Bob Potter managed Pat’s band the Late for three years. Pat recalls: “We did an audition for him and he liked us as we sounded like the Hollies. We were signed to him from 1967 to 1969. He had a studio in Mytchett and when we had some free time we recorded some demo tapes there.

The Late

“Under his management we got gigs from Hampshire down to Cornwall and up to North Wales. We never made much money, but it was great fun.”

The band rehearsed in Pat’s dad’s garage, which he had converted into a studio for them. They called it The Shed. Some recordings they made in it, have now been released on CD.

After a while their bookings for gigs slowed up, but they were lucky in that they became singer Billy J Kramer’s backing band. It was regular money, but they quit after about nine months as the routine of playing a medley of all of Kramer’s hits every day became somewhat tiresome.

By this time band member Ken Baker was writing his own songs and they got a break when Transatlantic Records offered them a deal. Now named Unicorn, the album was titled Uphill All The Way and was released in 1971.

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Their style was soft rock with a country tinge plus lots of vocal harmonies. Gigs took them to countries in Europe such as Sweden and Italy where they were well received.

In 1973, David Gilmour, the guitarist in the world famous rock band Pink Floyd took Unicorn under his wing and the results were the albums Blue Pine Trees (released in 1974), Too Many Crooks and Unicorn2 (both released in 1976) and One More Tomorrow (1977).

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Pat recalls this as an exciting time as they toured the USA, playing support to such bands as Fleetwood Mac, Manfred Man’s Earthband, Billy Joel and Linda Ronstadt. Unfortunately, Unicorn never made it big in their own right and by 1977 the emergence of punk music meant only the biggest country-soft rock bands could survive.

Unicorn played its last gig that year in Canning Town, London, to an audience that was so small the band cut the performance short.

After driving lorries for a living and also driving a mobile library bus for a while, Pat has now retired, but music is in his blood and he still plays. (by David Rose)

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77’s One More Tomorrow proved to be the final Unicorn album. Capitol Records issued it first in the U.S., before Harvest brought it home to the U.K. in early 1978. While David Gilmour returned to helm the album, the record label also brought in Muff Winwood. Muff had played with his younger brother Steve in the Spencer Davis Group before transitioning into an A&R role at the Island and CBS labels. Winwood was enlisted by EMI (parent of Harvest and Capitol) to add a commercial sheen to the album. (The cover, a departure from the Hipgnosis-designed sleeve for Crooks reflected this as well.) Winwood recorded four tracks with the band which would supplement the Gilmour sessions, and in fact, his quartet of productions was selected to lead off the LP.

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Hoping for a hit, Winwood brought along a pair of songs from outside writers – the first time Unicorn had recorded non-original material since the band’s debut. Covering John Fogerty’s CCR (“Have You Ever Seen the Rain”) and Eagles pal Jack Tempchin (“Slow Dancing,” a contemporary hit for Johnny Rivers in 1977), Unicorn nonetheless sounded comfortable. Muff also helmed two Ken Baker songs – the catchy, upbeat “New Shoes” and smooth, ironic “Get Along Fine.” Surprisingly, Winwood’s productions fit snugly on the album with Gilmour’s; “The Night,” like “Get Along Fine,” would reside comfortably on a so-called “yacht rock” playlist. The SoCal-inspired country-rock of Crooks wasn’t abandoned entirely, cropping up on songs like “Eric,” “The Way It Goes” and the jaunty, breezy “British Rail Romance.”

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The Byrds’ influence is keenly felt on title track “One More Tomorrow,” with Baker adopting a natural drawl for his rueful lyrics. Baker’s bandmate Kevin Smith teamed with Roy St. John to pen the atmospheric “Magnolia Avenue.” One More Tomorrow was elegantly-crafted soft rock with impeccable musicianship guided, in large part, by David Gilmour’s deft and organic production touch, but like its predecessor, it failed to make a chart impact. After a brief parting of the ways between Baker and his bandmates, resulting in a handful of singles, Unicorn quietly broke up. The bandmates went their separate ways, though all remained involved in music, in one capacity or another.

This edition adds the non-LP B-sides “Give and Take” and “Nothing I Wouldn’t Do” plus three demos, and two performances from the same December 1975 radio session.

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Personnel:
Ken Baker (vocals, guitar, harmonica, keyboards)
Pat Martin (bass, vocals)
Peter Perrier (drums, percussion, vocals)
Kevin Smith (guitar)
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Howie Casey (saxophone on 10.)
Bill Livsey piano on 03., 04.)
Chris Pidgeon (keyboards, percussion on 03., 04.)

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Tracklist:
01. Have You Seen The Rain (Fogerty) 3.11
02. New Shoes (Baker) 3.02
03. Slow Dancing (Tempchin) 3.33
04. Get Along Fine (Baker) 3.29
05. British Rail Romance (Baker) 3.10
06. Eric (Baker) 4.19
07. One More Tomorrow (Baker) 3.14
08. So Hard To Get Through (Baker) 3.42
09. I’m Alright (When I’m With You) (Baker) 2.48
10. The Night (Baker) 4.29
11. The Way It Goes (Baker) 3.53
12. Magnolia Avenue (Smith/St.John) 3.26
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13. Nothing I Wouldn’t Do (Single B-side) (Baker) 4.51
14. Give & Take (Single B-side) (Baker) 3.54

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Larry Coryell & Philip Catherine – Twin House (1977)

LPFrontCover1Twin House is an album by American guitarist Larry Coryell and Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine that was released by Atlantic Records in 1977. The duo recorded a second album, Splendid, in 1978. (by wikipedia)

The first of two fine guitar duet recordings with Phillip Catherine. Of the two, Catherine’s sound is more rooted in the tradition of Django Reinhardt and tends to be more introspective. Coryell is his usual incorrigible self; however, Catherine’s presence seemed to inspire more experimentation and intelligent playing on Coryell’s part. As expected, this session will appeal primarily to guitarists — and for good reason, as both players exploit their chops — but it should be noted that the compositions here are quite memorable. Whether soloing over one riff (“Mortgage on Your Soul”), playing the blues (“Twin House”), or showing off (“Airpower”), this is an excellent collaboration and one of Coryell’s most ambitious performances. (by Robert Taylor)

I heard Larry Coryell and Philip Catherine together for the first time at the Berlin Jazz ConcertPoster.jpgFestival in 1975. Their creative compability, the enthusiasm and mutual understanding inspired me to take them into the Olympic Sound Studios in London to cut “Twin House” in just one day. This was only possible because both the music and the artists were ready to go on.

“Twin House” became one of those rare jazz records well recieved by both the record buying public and the critics. Two years later we were back in the studio recording the “Splendid Sessions”.

Both records were never before released on CD. I am grateful to the artists an my ex-colleagues at WEA, Germany, to let me release what I believe is the best of “Twin House” and “Splendid” on my ACT label. “Mortgage of Your Soul” was taken off and replaced by the previously unreleased track “Dance Dream”.

This record is dedicated to the memory of the great gipsy guitar player Django Reinhardt. (by Siegfried E. Loch, producer)

Excellent! Exceded Expectations!

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Personnel:
Philip Catherine (guitar)
Larry Coryell (guitar)
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Joachim Kühn (piano on 10.)

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Tracklist:
01. Ms. Julie (Coryell) 5.28
02. Homecomings (Catherine) 6.00
03. Airpower (Catherine) 4.05
04. Twin House (Catherine) 5.19
05. Gloryell (Webb) 7.20
06. Nuages (Reinhardt) 5.19
07. Twice A Week (Catherine) 4.46
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08. Dance Dream (Mikkelborg) 5.26
09. Snowshadows (Coryell) 3.32
10. Deus Xango (Piazzolla) 5.29
11. My Serenade (Reinhardt) 4.54
12. Father Christmas (Catherine) 2.40
13. The Train And The River (Giuffre) 4.49

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Woody Shaw With Anthony Braxton – The Iron Men (1977/1981)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Iron Men is an album led by trumpeter Woody Shaw which was recorded in 1977 but not released on the Muse label until 1981. The Iron Men was reissued by Mosaic Records as part of Woody Shaw: The Complete Muse Sessions in 2013.

This is a particularly interesting set by Woody Shaw because it teams the trumpeter with the great saxophonist Anthony Braxton and such forward-thinking players as altoist Arthur Blythe, pianist Muhal Richard Abrams, bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Joe Chambers. Highlights are versions of Eric Dolphy’s “Iron Man” and Fats Waller’s “Jitterbug Waltz” that are based on renditions Shaw had recorded with Dolphy back in 1963; the latter has Braxton playing clarinet. A couple of brief free improvisations by the trio of Shaw, Abrams and McBee in addition to Andrew Hill’s “Symmetry” and the trumpeter’s epic “Song Of Songs” round out this continually intriguing and adventurous program. (by Scott Yanow)

This album starts with Eric Dolphy’s “Iron Man” in a hard bop vein with exciting solo work from alto saxophonist Arthur Blythe, trumpeter Shaw, and pianist Muhal Richard Abrams. Michael Cuscuna’s liner notes indicate that Woody Shaw dedicated this LP to “Eric Dolphy, Andrew Hill, Jackie McLean,McCoy Tyner, Bobby Hutcherson and all the otheriron men.”

@ Keystone Korner, San Francisco CA 
11/10/1979

“Jitterbug Waltz” features Shaw with a more fluid tone on cornet, Anthony Braxton on clarinet, Abrams and bassist Cecil McBee with exciting solo work, in a standard take on Fats Waller’s classic tune. Shaw’s original composition “Song of Songs” lends an air of serious drama; there’s a Spanish bullfight intensity, presenting the trumpeter’s daring and flexible range. Saxophonists Blythe and Braxton follow Shaw’s stirring solo with a duet chorus, Blythe on alto and Braxton on soprano. Together, they weave more excitement into the piece before turning it over to the Abrams, who offers a hailstorm of a piano solo. For two brief trio numbers, “Diversion One” and “Diversion Two,” with piano and bass, Shaw eschews the hard bop idiom and picks up the flugelhorn to float a few examples of his pure, natural tone. Highly recommended. (Jim Santella)

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Personnel:
Muhal Richard Abrams (piano)
Anthony Braxton (clarinet, saxophone)
Joe Chambers (drums on 01. + 03..)
Victor Lewis (drums on 02 + 05.)
Cecil McBee (bass)
Woody Shaw (trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn)
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Arthur Blythe (saxophone (on 01. + 05.)

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Tracklist:
01. Iron Man (Dolphy) 6.23
02. Jitterbug Waltz (Waller) 8.25
03. Symmetry (Hill) 8.21
04. Diversion One (Shaw/Abrams(McBee) 2.59
05. Song f Songs (Shaw) 12.48
06. Diversion Two (Shaw/Abrams(McBee) 2.52

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