Country Joe McDonald – Superstious Blues (1991)

FrontCover1Country Joe was a legendary agit-prop performer in the heydays of Berkeley’s student riots. If his beginnings were political, he soon discovered San Francisco’s hippies and LSD and managed to web his political stance to acid-rock’s visionary format. (Translated by Ornella C. Grannis)

Joe McDonald was the musician who inherited, for a brief season, Bob Dylan’s and the Fug’s charisma.
McDonald found himself in the right place at the right time: the protest marches for peace that arose in 1964 at Berkeley, on the opposite side of the San Francisco Bay.
Born to a Jewish mother and a communist father, McDonald moved to Berkeley in 1962 – after a four year stint in the Marines – to become a sarcastic spokesman for the anti-war movement. He was a folk singer by trade and a politician at heart. He employed the idea of the “rag baby”, a sort of musical announcement to be distributed at concerts. The first of such announcements came in the form of an EP in 1965.
His style fused Woody Allen’s sarcastic debate, Bob Dylan’s caustic complaints and the Fugs’ satire with the happy sound of jug-band. McDonald’s engagement in 1965 of an electric band, The Fish (the fish in Mao Zedong’s Red Book are the revolutionaries) with eighteen-year old prodigy Barry Melton at the guitar and David Cohen at one of the first Farfisa organs accompanying the singers’ bitter polemics, allowed an expansion of style into blues and rock and roll.. His notoriety was centered on campus, but he never got the full attention the hippies of the Bay: his religion was politics, not acid.

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The repertory of Country Joe, as he was billed on his records, stretched from Vaudeville to the dreamy ballad to the instrumental jam. The album Electric Music For Mind And Body (Vanguard, 1966), was the manifesto of his hip socialism, in particular the ferocious Fugs-style satire Superbird, the bitter fairy tale Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine (practically a campus adaptation of Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone), the tragic Death Sound Blues. But as a testimonial to McDonald’s unusual eclecticism, the album also features Sad And Lonely Times, a country interlacing of guitars and vocal harmonies, and the hoarse blues Love. The Fish adopted the amateurish sound of a jug band, electrified as folk-rock demanded, crusty as the rebellious spirit of the campus required and coarsened by drugs, with ragged tambourines, uneven singing, and squealing guitars.

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The true genius of McDonald reveals itself in the most surreal pieces, such as Happiness Is A Porpoise Mouth, a melancholy waltz articulated by Spanish chords of the acoustic guitar and a simple organ. Bass String is the most stoned and hallucinatory, a mini acid symphony that expands and rarefies itself until nothing remains of the identity of its sound. In these experimental miniatures is evident the influx of the psychedelic society: elastic tempo, stretched vowels, piercing screams, random noise. The height of the record and also the apex of Country Joe’s psychedelia is Grace, a lyric serenade of echoes, bells, thumps, pizzicatoes, drops and many other little slow background noises alongside a Japanese lullaby, refracted like a maze of deforming mirrors. More creative yet are the instrumentals. Section 43, sinister and vaguely oriental, orchestrated for harmonica, Farfisa, tom-tom and pealing guitars, remains to date a masterpiece of acid rock. The Masked Marauder alternates between an instrumental lead by a cheesy Farfisa, a Vaudevillian march, and a theme that sounds like a film soundtrack by Morricone. Overall, this is an album that uses politics as a pretext, an album that in reality stands more for the psychedelic spirit of the San Francisco hippies than for the revolutionary spirit of Berkeley’s radicals.

More populist than Dylan and more musical than the Fugs, Country Joe found the right balance between politics and music with the album that followed: I Feel Like I’m Fixin To Die (Vanguard, 1967). In it, the arrangements are more sophisticated (with plenty of CountryJoeMcDonald03sound effects and atypical instruments distributed between the grooves) and the sound is crisper. The three ring circus fanfare that gives its name to the album, and even more so the irreverence of the “Fish Cheer”, is one of the everlasting examples of political song, the target obviously being Vietnam, and also the best introduction to the work of these jester/acrobats of rock. The rest of the album is not expressed in such a surreal mode, the best mode for this artist. Instead, it fluctuates, soft and tranquil, in benevolent melancholy. It’s subdued by ballads: Who Am I, ecstatically suspended in one of McDonald’s slow-motion vocals, Pat’s Song, an imitation of Donovan adapted to Cohen’s ceremonial organ, and Janis, a tender serenade with a harpsichord that fuses waltz, rag, country and western.
Much more radical are the acid excesses of Magoo, sung with dilated and refracted march-like vocals and accompanied by the sound of a storm, and of Thought Dream, a slow piece to which the organ confers a religious tone. The instrumentals have lost the calliope spirit of the Farfisa, having adopted instead that sound of the Grateful Dead’s acid jams, as in Eastern Jam.The form is transfigured in the swoon of Colors For Susan, a piece of liquid, transcendental guitar music, punctuated by casual thumps, that constitutes although without words, one of the best made Indian prayers of hippie music.
In the 1968 McDonald participated in the Chicago protests. The year after he triumphed at Woodstock. Also in 1969 he was arrested for greeting the audience in his usual way (“F-U-C-K”). His politics were now prevailing, and his music was languishing after a couple of mediocre albums of political songs.
McDonald went back abruptly to the folk of his roots at at time when everybody was doing the same. The results were unimpressive: Together (Vanguard, 1968) and Here We Go Again (Vanguard, 1969) include Rock And Soul Music, Good Guys Bad Guys, Rocking Round The World.

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Thinking Of Woody Guthrie (Vanguard, 1969) reprised ten songs of the great father of the song of protest, done according to the dictates of Nashville, the great father of musical fascism.
McDonald’s last political forays are to be found in War War War (Vanguard, 1971), in particular in Man From Athabaska and The Call, and on the noble Paris Sessions (1973), a tribute to contemporary events in the name of a vibrant rock and roll,with a mostly female line-up that included Dorothy Moscowitz of the United States of America.
McDonald continued to release a series of impressive albums well into the 80s: Paradise With An Ocean View (1975), Love Is A Fire (Fantasy, 1976) Goodbye Blues (1977), Rock And Roll Music From The Planet Earth (Fantasy, 1978), the acoustic On My Own (Rag Baby, 1980), and many others.
Superstitious Blues (Rykodisc, 1991) is music for “retired” hippies.
Bevis Frond brought him back on the scene for a tribute album, Eat Flowers & Kiss Babies (Woronzow, 1999). (www.scaruffi.com)

And here is one of his superb solo-album … called “Superstious Blues”.

This excellent comeback album finds McDonald in acoustic mode, accompanied by Jerry Garcia for some strong picking on a thoughtful collection of songs. (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Terry Adams (cello)
Stephen Barsotti (bass)
Barry Flast (bass, piano)
Peter Frankel (guitar)
Jerry Garcia (guitar, slide-guitar)
Kirk Felton (drums)
Sandy Rothman (dobro)

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Tracklist:
01. Standing At The Crossroads () 4.23
02. Eunecita () 4.13
03. Superstitious Blues () 3.58
04. Tranquility () 3.36
05. Starship Ride () 3.09
06. Cocaine (Rock) () 3.48
07. Blues For Breakfast () 3.38
08. Clara Barton () 3.37
09. Blues For Michael () 6.52

All songs written by Country Joe McDonald

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Still alive and well: Country Joe McDonald in 2017

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Eric Clapton – 24 Nights (1991)

ECFrontCover124 Nights is the fifth live album by Eric Clapton, recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England, in 1990 and 1991. It was released on 8 October 1991.

The album is a “best of” from the 42 concerts Eric Clapton did at the Royal Albert Hall in those two years. Clapton set a record by playing a run of 24 nights at the London Royal Albert Hall between 5 February and 9 March 1991, following an 18-night run in 1990. Clapton reportedly was not satisfied with the 1990 concert recordings and delayed the release of a CD until after the “24 Nights” of the 1991 dates. These concerts were performed with 4 different instrumental formations, 4-piece, blues, 9-piece and orchestra nights, the last featuring the National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Michael Kamen. The cover illustration is by Peter Blake.

The 4-piece recordings “Running on Faith”, “White Room” and “Sunshine of Your Love” included on the CD and DVD were recorded on 24 January 1990. The band consisted of Clapton with bassist Nathan East, drummer Steve Ferrone and keyboardist Greg Phillinganes. The Blues Band titles “Worried Life Blues”, “Watch Yourself” and “Have You Ever Loved a Woman” Clapton recorded with Buddy Guy and Robert Cray were shot and recorded on 5 February 1990. The last of the 1990 live recording session took place on 9 February 1990 recording the Orchestra Night. “Bell Bottom Blues”, “Hard Times” and “Edge of Darkness” were used on both the CD and video recording.

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On 10 February 1991, Clapton recorded “Badge” for the CD release. Eight days later the concert for “Pretending”, “Bad Love”, “Old Love” and “Wonderful Tonight” featuring the 9-piece band lineup took place. “No Alibis”, “I Shot The Sheriff” and “Cocaine” had been released on various CD singles of “Wonderful Tonight” since. The versions of “Old Love”, “Wonderful Tonight” and “Pretending” (2nd solo only) on the “24 Nights” video are different from their album counterparts, but they were not taken from the previous night’s show. They may even have been taken the year before. The song “Hoodoo Man” featuring Jimmie Vaughan was recorded on 28 February 1991. (by wikipedia)

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Eric Clapton, who had not released a live album since 1980, had several good reasons to release one in the early ’90s. For one thing, his spare backup band of keyboardist Greg Phillinganes, bassist Nathan East, and drummer Steve Ferrone was his best live unit ever, and its powerful live versions of Cream classics like “White Room” and “Sunshine of Your Love” deserved to be documented. For another, since 1987 Clapton had been playing an annual series of concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London, putting together various special shows (blues nights, orchestral nights, etc.). 24 Nights, a double album, was culled from two years of such shows, 1990 and 1991, and it demonstrated the breadth of Clapton’s work, from his hot regular band to assemblages of bluesmen like Buddy Guy and Robert Cray to examples of his soundtrack work with an orchestra led by Michael Kamen.

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The result was an album that came across as a lavishly constructed retrospective and a testament to Clapton’s musical stature. But it made little impact upon release (though it quickly went gold), perhaps because events overcame it — three months later, Clapton’s elegy for his baby son, “Tears in Heaven,” was all over the radio, and a few months after that he was redefining himself on MTV Unplugged — a live show as austere as 24 Nights was grand. Still, it would be hard to find a more thorough demonstration of Clapton’s abilities than the one presented here. (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Eric Clapton (guitar, vocals)
Nathan East (bass, vocals)
Steve Ferrone (drums)
Greg Phillinganes (keyboards, background vocals)
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Alan Clark (keyboards on 14.)
Ray Cooper (percussion on 09. – 15.)
Richard Cousins (bass on 05. – 07.
Robert Cray (guitar on 05 – 07.
Buddy Guy (guitar, on 05. – 07
Johnnie Johnson (piano on 05. – 08.
Chuck Leavell (keyboards on 08. – 15.)
Jamie Oldaker (drums on 05. – 08.
Phil Palmer (guitar on 09. – 15.)
Jerry Portnoy (harmonica on 08.)
Ed Shearmur (keyboards on 14. + 15.)
Joey Spampinato (bass on 08.)
Jimmie Vaughan (guitar on 08.)
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background vocals (on 09. – 15.)
Katie Kissoon – Tessa Niles
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The National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Micheal Kamen (on 14. + 15.)

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Tracklist:
01. Badge (Clapton/Harrison) 6.51
02. Running On Faith (Williams) 6-49
03. White Room (Bruce/Brown) 6.10
04. Sunshine Of Your Love (Bruce/Brown/Clapton) 9.07
05. Watch Yourself (Guy) 5.39
06. Have You Ever Loved A Woman (Myles) 6.52
07. Worried Life Blues (Merriweather) 5.28
08. Hoodoo Man (Wells) 5.40
09. Pretending (Williams) 7.08
10. Bad Love (Clapton/Jones) 6.25
11. Old Love (Clapton/Dray) 13.01
12. Wonderful Tonight (Clapton) 9.07
13. Bell Bottom Blues (Clapton) 6.38
14. Hard Times (Charles) 3.45
15. Edge Of Darkness (Clapton/Kamen) 6.29
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Claudio Abbado & Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra – New Year´s Concert In Vienna (1991)

FrontCover1.jpgHere´s the history of this classic event on the first day of a year:

The first New Year’s Concert took place during the darkest chapter of the history of Austria and that of the Vienna Philharmonic. In the midst of barbarism, dictatorship and war, at a time of constant worry regarding the lives of members and their families, the Philharmonic sent an ambivalent signal: the net income from a concert dedicated to compositions by the Strauss dynasty which was performed on December 31, 1939, was donated entirely to the national-socialistic fund-raising campaign “Kriegswinterhilfswerk”. On January 1, 1941, a Philharmonic matinee entitled “Johann Strauss Concert” was performed. Taking place in the middle of the war, many regarded this as an expression of Viennese individuality, but it was also misappropriated for the national-socialistic propaganda of the “Großdeutscher Rundfunk”. Clemens Krauss conducted these concerts until the end of the war. In the years 1946 and 1947, Josef Krips (1902-1974) replaced Krauss, who returned in 1948 after the expiration of his two year conducting ban which had been imposed by the allies, and who conducted seven more New Year’s Concerts until 1954.

Clemens Kraus

The international popularity of the New Year’s Concert may create the impression that the orchestra’s performance of the music of the Strauss dynasty extends back to Johann Strauss, Sr., und therefore to the beginning of the orchestra’s history. In fact, however, for an extended period of time, the Philharmonic generally ignored the most “Viennese” music ever written. Probably the musicians did not wish to jeopardize the social advancement they had experienced upon the introduction of the Philharmonic concerts by associating themselves with “popular music”. This attitude toward the Strauss dynasty changed only gradually. One determining factor for this reassessment was that the members of this unique family of composers enjoyed the highest respect among major composers such as Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner and Johannes Brahms. In addition, the Philharmonic musicians themselves had several direct encounters with Johann Strauss, Jr., which provided them the opportunity to observe the significance of this music and experience first-hand the charismatic personality of its creator, which had enraptured all of Europe. (by http://www.wienerphilharmoniker.at)

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And here´s the New Year´s Concert from 1991, conducted by Claudio Abbado (the second and last time).

The regularity of the Vienna New Year’s Day Concert is almost matched these days by the regularity of the appearance of the CD recording some five or six weeks later. This year, mindful of the year’s major musical obsession, the programme departs from convention by including some Mozart dances, notably the captivating Schliitenfahrt (“Sleigh ride”). Schubert gets a look in, too, though I’m not convinced that Bruno Maderna’s modernistic touches in the first of the D735 Ecossaises are really in keeping with the occasion. Give me the delightful version by the Willi Boskovsky Ensemble (Vanguard/Pinnacle (0 VCD72016, 9/90) any time!

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For the rest, there is a commendable quota of less hackneyed but highly attractive items, with contributions from all four major members of the Strauss family and Joseph Lanner. The presentation of the two themes heard in counterpoint towards the end of Johann’s Waldmeisler Overture is hauntingly done, and the waltzes by Lanner and Josef Strauss are among their respective composers’ best. The one major curiosity is the Carmen-Quadrille, arranged by Eduard Strauss on themes from Bizet’s opera. Abbado tried something similar a couple of years ago, with Johann’s Quadrille on Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera, but I don’t think he really succeeds any more now than then in making the result sound convincing as a dance.

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Generally Abbado’s performances are lively and free from conventional mannerisms, if also slightly free with the rhythms and dynamics. The recorded sound is a shade raw, especially in so far as the percussion is rather prominent at times, but no doubt that is considered an appropriate representation of the occasion. I’ve been spoilt recently by hearing the reissue of Carlos Kleiber’s 1989 concert, which I’d recommend to anyone wanting a single New Year Concert. But those who enjoy hearing An derschOnen, blauen Donau and the Radetzky-Marsch year after year will need no encouragement to obtain this latest offering. (by Gramophone, 4/1991)

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Personnel:
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado

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Tracklist:
01. Waldmeister Ouverture (Johann Strauss) 9.26
02. Kontretranz Kv 609 No. 1 (Mozart) 0.57
03. Kontetranz Kv 609 No. 3 (Mozart) 1.18
04. Deutscher Tanz (Mozart) 2.40
05. Die tanzende Muse (Josef Strauss) 4.05
06. Polka (Schubert) 1.39
07. Galopp (Schubert) 1.33
08. Die Werber (Lanner) 7.20
09. Seufzer-Galopp (Johann Strauss) 1.51
10. Aquarellen (Josef Strauss) 7.51
11. Freikugeln (Johann Strauss) 2.29
12. Carmen-Quadrille (Eduard Strauss) 4.58
13. Kaiser-Walzer (Johann Strauss) 10.43
14. Furioso- Polka (Johann Strauss) 2.15
15. Stürmisch in Lieb’ und Tanz (Johann Strauss) 2.09
16. An der schönen, blauen Donau (Johann Strauss) 9.29
17. Radetzsky-Marsch (Johann Strauss) 3.24

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Dick Heckstall-Smith – You Don’t Know Dick (2004)

DHSFrontCover1This book is a fascinating read and well worth the cover price of £16.95, because it includes a CD of 7 previously unreleased examples of Dick’s playing, with bands that cover a large spectrum of jazz and blues. The book shows Dick to be a well educated and highly intelligent individual, equally at home in Blues, Jazz and Contemporary Music bands.

In the semi-pro world where I played during the same period, it was the guys who could not hack the Jazz or Dance Band scene that formed the blues bands. The London scene must have been very different however, Dick and his contemporaries would have been capable of holding their own in any scene.

The life and times of musicians in any touring band are always interesting and Dick’s tales of his adventures, musical and otherwise, with The Graham Bond Organisation, Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated, John Mayall’s Bluesbrakers and Jon Hiseman’s Colosseum make for a most interesting read.

Dick’s commentaries on his life and times are frank and detailed, but interestingly although he opens up to his readers on some matters, there is a reserve that somehow prevents the reader from getting a real measure of Dick until the whole of the book has been read. Whether this is intentional or it just happened that way I don’t know.

I have known other very highly talented musicians who have difficulty in coping with those things that us mere mortals find easy, one who springs directly to mind and may have been known to Dick was Brian Gray Brian was an enormously talented saxophone player but he struggled to make a living and eventually gave the business up. Dick on the other hand has ploughed on but always had to live from hand to mouth.

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Pete Grant’s part of the book attempts to analyse why this should have happened to someone as talented as Dick. His conclusion that the public are never sure whether he is in the blues world or the contemporary music world is probably correct. Before the UK public hand over their money, they want to be more certain of what they are going to get. The fact that a very large sector of the public prefer the Tenor playing of Stan Getz and Zoot Sims to that of John Coltrane, may also be a contributing factor.

The clearest insight into Dick that we get is where he writes about racism and proves quite rightly in my opinion that there can be no alternative but to classify people as those we like and those we don’t, colour race and creed have nothing to do with it. Having said that however people like people like themselves! (by Don Mather) (*)

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And here´s this very rare CD (“not for sale seperately from the book”). Maybe I will scan this book later ..

And this is not onyl a very rare CD, bit a great tribute to one of he finest Bristish Jazz musicians ever: Mister Dick Heckstall-Smith.

Listen and enjoy !

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Tracklist:
01. The Deluxe Blues Band: Heatwave (McGrath/Heckstall-Smith) 4.10
02. Dick Heckstall-Smith: Aquamarine (1) (Heckstall-Smith) 10.46
03. Jon T-Bone Taylor’s Bop Brothers: Try (Green/Plotel) 5.13
04. Dick Heckstall-Smith:  Il Collingdale (1) (Heckstall-Smith) 20.26
05. The Hamburg Blues Band: Woza Nasu (2) (Heckstall-Smith) 16.14
06. The Wentus Blues Band: Looking Back (3) (unknown) 4.38
07. The Graham Bond Organisation: Only Sixteen (4) (Bond) 3.20

(1): previously unreleased live recording, Newcastle, 1991 (Heckstall-Smith)
(2): previously unreleased live recording, Flensburg/Germany, 2002
(3): previously unreleased live recording, Helsinki/Finland, 2002
(4): previously unreleased live recording, Broadcat, 1965

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(*) Don Mather plays Tenor Sax and Clarinet and runs a Big Band and a Quartet and Quintet in Coventry, he was for five years Chairman of the Coventry Jazz Festival Committee, during which time the festival joined the big league. Don is a member of the Musicians Union and a Coventry Branch Committee man. His jazz tastes are catholic, but he confesses to be sometimes bemused by some so called ‘contemporary jazz’.

Ross Traut & Steve Rodby – The Duo Life (1991)

FrontCover1Ross Traut is a Chicago electric guitarist and bassist play original contemporary fusion; pleasant and nonthreatening. (by Michael G. Nasto)

And Steve Rodby is an american bassist, born December 1954 in Joliet, Illinois, with a seperate career as producer / mixer / editor working out of his Rodby Studios.

And this is their second and last album …

The Duo Life features bassist Steve Rodby and guitarist Ross Traut performing instrumental versions of some pop classics (Bacharach/David’s “Don’t Make Me Over” and a Gershwin medley from Porgy and Bess), along with jazzier tunes by Wayne Shorter and Chick Corea, plus three very nice originals. The arrangements are stripped down, with little or no overdubs. The highlight is the album-opener — a gorgeous version of the Stylistics’ “People Make the World Go Round” (penned by Thom Bell and Linda Creed). The Duo Life is a great album to listen to while relaxing by a fireplace. The music doesn’t overwhelm the listener; it becomes part of the ambience. (by Tim Griggs)

Ross Traut & Steve Rodby01It’s been 26 years or so and yet this recording remains listenable. A solid duo recording without the excesses of some duo recordings where, in order to exhibit virtuosity, times get ragged or things get frenetic and irrelevant. This recording exhibits no such excesses. Instead the song is the thin here. Subtlety, space, ambience and melody. It’s a beautiful recording. Yes, languid. Yes, quiet. Ross Traut is an underrated guitarist who obviously, finds the most direct way to communicate the feeling of the song. He improvises nicely but never to excess Steve Rodby has a way of playing that shows why he has been vital in many of the great recordings he has been on. He lends support and pacing without ever overpowering the songs.

“I Love You Porgy/Bess, You Is My Woman, Now”, “People Make The World Go Around”, “Some Other Time”, “Downstream”, “Desert Air” and “Fall” are real high points. (by ND)

What a great album, recorded by a real underrated duo !

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Personnel:
Steve Rodby (bass)
Ross Traut (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. People Make The World Go Round (Bell/Creed) 4.23
02. Some Other Time (Comden/Green/Bernstein) 5.55
03. Don’t Make Me Over (Bacharach/David) 5.00
04. Fall (Shorter) 3.30
05. Trout Stream (Traut) 4.42
06. Music From Porgy And Bess:
06.1 I Loves You Porgy (Gershwin)
06.2 Bess, You Is My Woman (Gershwin) 11.06
07 Down Stream (Traut) 6.23
08. Desert Air (Corea) 5.02
09. Three Wishes (Traut/Rodby) 6.05
10. It’s Gonna Take A Miracle (Randazzo/Weinstein/Stallman) 5.41

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Mick Abrahams – All Said And Done (1991)

FrontCover1Mick Abrahams’ return album, “All Said and Done”, is as fine as anything he has ever done. This is an excellent blues album, with fourteen tracks comprised of seven tunes written by Mick (two of which were collaborations with Gordon ‘Mississippi’ Murphy), two new arrangements of traditional pieces, and five covers of older blues pieces.

The pieces written by Mick are quite good, starting with “Road Roller” which opens the album. Then there is the absolutely fantastic “All Tore Down” which is probably my favorite tune that Mick has ever done. Another noteworthy piece is “Dear Jane” which is very similar to “Dear Jill” from his days in Blodwyn Pig. Another great piece is the title song of the album “All Said and Done”, which is one of the two pieces which Gordon Murphy co-wrote.

While Mick’s pieces are very strong, one cannot ignore the cover tunes like “Black Night” by Jessie Mae Robinson, “Let Me Love You Baby” by Willie Dixon, and “I Wonder Who” by Alexis Korner. There are also two new arrangements of classic blues pieces. The first is “Billy The Kid” (originally by Reverend Andrew Jenkins), and the second is an amazing 11+ minute version of “Cat’s Squirrel” (originally by Charles Isaiah Ross) which has become Mick’s signature piece. (Dave_42)

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Personnel:
Mick Abrahams (guitar, vocals)
Bruce Boardman (piano)
Clive Bunker (drums, percussion)
Pete Fensome (bass)
Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone)
Dave Lennox (piano)
Gordon Murphy (saxophone)
Nigel Pegrum (drums, percussion)
Andy Pyle (bass)
Jim Rodford (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Road Roller (Abrahams) 3.07
02. Watch Your Step (Parker) 3.51
03. Billy The Kid (Traditional) 3.33
04. Let Me Love You Baby (Dickson) 3.12
05. Black Night (Robinson) 6.24
06. All Tore Down (Abrahams) 5.22
07. Redways Of Milton Keynes (Abrahams) 3.59
08. Long Gone (Murphy/Abrahams) 3.14
09. Rock Me Right (Abrahams) 3.25
10. So Much Trouble (McGhee) 3.25
11. Dear Jane (Abrahams) 4.00
12. I Wonder Who (Korner) 6.46
13. All Said And Done (Murphy/Abrahams) 3.16
14. Cats Squirrel (Traditional) 11.25

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Dana Gillespie & Joachim Palden – Boogie Woogie Nights (1991)

FrontCover1“I believe the blues should be sung by an older person because it’s about emotions and experience. I couldn’t do”I believe the blues should be sung by an older person because it’s about emotions and experience. I couldn’t dojustice to it when I was younger because my voice didn’t have the edge it needed to convey the emotion, nor did Ihave the first hand experience to sing about blue themes convincingly.”

But after 45 years in music and over 60 albums Dana Gillespie is well qualified to sing the blues. A career that combined radio, theatre, film and sport (she was once British junior water-skiing champion) with music, Dana has been in the public eye since recording her first album at the age of 15. Her music has evolved from folk in the 60s through 70s Bowie-esque glam-rock to the raunchy in-your-face blues she performs today.

Dana Gillespie has been dedicated to the blues from an early age: “I discovered the blues when I went to the American Folk Blues Festival in 1962 and also to see the Yardbirds at the Marquee Club. I was in my early teens and hadn’t heard anything like it before – blues wasn’t easily available in the UK back then”. Bessie Smith especially inspired her because of her combination of sly, funny and bawdy lyrics. “Blues was my first musical love because it’s earthy, spiritual and honest.”

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In 1964 she recorded for Pye, with Donovan on guitar and became a regular on the folk circuit. She recalls: “[at that age] I was doing folk because I couldn’t afford a band and I hadn’t found my musical niche”.In those early years Dana got to know many of the top bands and people in the music business. Most shared her love of blues, and played their own version of it. Bob Dylan who was an old friend of Dana from the 60s  showed interest in her music in 1997, when he invited her to support him on his UK tour, which included a   sell-out show at Wembley. After a swathe of singles on Pye and two LPs for Decca, she moved to RCA and   made WEREN’T BORN A MAN in 1973, some titles being produced by David Bowie, whose management,   Mainman, also took care of her career.

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While her career in music was simmering away, she became better known for her appearances in London’s   West End theatres, in shows such as the first run of Jesus Christ Superstar (playing Mary Magdalene), The   Who’s “Tommy” (playing the Acid Queen) and the rock Othello, “Catch My Soul”. She also appeared with   Dudley Moore in the film version of “The Hound Of The Baskervilles” and starred in Ken Russell’s “Mahler”   among other movies. Her second RCA LP, AIN’T GONNA PLAY NO SECOND FIDDLE was just beginning to take off when her management company decided she should move to the USA, where she played and toured extensively for two years. Dana hosted a radio blues show in New York at the same time, which gave her the opportunity to learn more about the roots of the music.

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She has continued her interest in radio in Austria where she recently completed a 11-year stint hosting a weekly, international world music show on Blue Danube Radio called”Globe Trotting With Gillespie”. In the 80s, Dana toured Europe several times with the “Stars Of Boogie Woogie” tour,  singing either with the Mojo Blues Band or with Axel Zwingenberger. Her time with the  Mojo Blues Band, a purist outfit that backed all the American blues musicians visiting  Europe, lasted three years. “I lived, slept and breathed blues, because that was all they did.  It was a great experience.” She also developed her interest in Indian and Arabic music,  recording the single “Move Your Body Close To Me”, an Indian-influenced song with  synthesiser backing. It shot to #1 in Europe. (from the DG website)

But here you can hear Dana Gillespie as one of the finest female blues singers (like Maggie Bell) together with the Austrian musician Joachim Palden and his group Mojo Blues Band.

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This is a live recording … the show was recorded at the legendary Jazz-Land Club (December 1990) in Vienna.

If you like Blues & Boogie Woogie … then you should listen …

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Personnel:
Dana Gillespie (vocals)
Helmut Mejda (drums)
Joachim Palden (piano)
Christian Plattner (saxophone)
Martin Wichtl (saxophone)

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Tracklist:
01. My Man Stands Out (Yates) 3.43
02. Boogie Woogie For Spann (Instrumental) (Palden) 4.19
03. St. Louis Blues (Handy) 7.27
04. Blues Train (Instrumental) (Wichtl) 3.56
05. One Track Mind (Gillespie/Palden) 3.23
06. Empty Bed Blues (Smith) 6.21
07. I Want You To Be My Baby (Jordan) 3.59
08. Cry To Me (Russel) 5.17
09. No One (Gillespie/Palden) 5.43
10. You’re Moving Me (Benton/Otis) 3.11

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