Saturday, May 29, 2021

Robert Johnson - King Of The Delta Blues Singers - Vol II (1970) [Vinyl Rip]

Year: 1970 (LP 1970)
Label: Columbia Records (USA), PC 30034
Style: Blues, Delta Blues
Country: U.S. (May 8, 1911 - August 16, 1938, aged 27)
Time: 41:59
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 207 Mb

Who Was Robert Johnson?
Robert Johnson is considered to be one of the greatest blues performers of all time. His hits include "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom" and "Sweet Home Chicago," which has become a blues standard. Part of his mythology is a story of how he gained his musical talents by making a bargain with the devil. He died at age 27 as the suspected victim of a deliberate poisoning.

Early Life and Career Highlights...
Musician Robert Johnson was born on May 8, 1911, in Hazlehurst, Mississippi. A singer and guitarist, Johnson is considered to be one of the greatest blues performers of all time. But this recognition came to him largely after his death.
During his brief career, Johnson traveled around, playing wherever he could. The acclaim for Johnson's work is based on the 29 songs that he wrote and recorded in Dallas and San Antonio from 1936 to 1937. These include "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom" and "Sweet Home Chicago," which has become a blues standard. His songs have been recorded by Muddy Waters, Elmore James, the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton.

Mass Appeal...
Johnson came to the attention of many musicians and won over new fans with a reissue of his work in the 1960s. Another retrospective collection of his recordings released in the 1990s sold millions of copies.

But much of Johnson's life is shrouded in mystery. Part of the lasting mythology around him is a story of how he gained his musical talents by making a bargain with the devil: Son House, a famed blues musician and a contemporary of Johnson, claimed after Johnson achieved fame that the musician had previously been a decent harmonica player, but a terrible guitarist—that is, until Johnson disappeared for a few weeks in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Legend has it that Johnson took his guitar to the crossroads of Highways 49 and 61, where he made a deal with the devil, who retuned his guitar in exchange for his soul.
Strangely enough, Johnson returned with an impressive technique and, eventually, gained renown as a master of the blues. While his reported "deal with the devil" may be unlikely, it is true that Johnson died at an early age.

Death and Legacy...
Only 27, Johnson died on August 16, 1938, as the suspected victim of a deliberate poisoning. Several movies and documentaries have tried to shed light on this enigmatic blues legend, including Can't You Hear the Wind Howl? (1997) and Hellhounds on my Trail (2000).

(; Updated: Oct 8, 2020 Original: Apr 2, 2014)

01. A1 Kind Hearted Woman Blues (02:31)
02. A2 I Believe I'll Dust My Broom (03:00)
03. A3 Sweet Home Chicago (03:04)
04. A4 Rambling On My Mind (02:53)
05. A5 Phonograph Blues (02:42)
06. A6 They're Red Hot (03:00)
07. A7 Dead Shrimp Blues (02:37)
08. A8 Preachin' Blues (02:49)
09. B1 I'm A Steady Rollin' Man (02:36)
10. B2 From Four Till Late (02:26)
11. B3 Little Queen Of Spades (02:18)
12. B4 Malted Milk (02:22)
13. B5 Drunken Hearted Man (02:23)
14. B6 Stop Breakin' Down Blues (02:24)
15. B7 Honeymoon Blues (02:17)
16. B8 Love In Vain (02:30)

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Friday, May 21, 2021

Golden Earring - Switch (1975) [Vinyl Rip] (1st press)

Year: March 1975 (LP 1975 1st Press)
Label: Track Records (UK), 2406 117
Style: Rock
Country: The Hague, Netherlands (1961–2021)
Time: 36:04
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 254 Mb

Golden Earring was a Dutch rock band, founded in 1961 in The Hague as The Golden Earrings (the definite article was dropped in 1967, while the "s" was dropped in 1969). They achieved worldwide fame with their international hit songs "Radar Love" in 1973, which went to number one on the Dutch charts, reached the top ten in the United Kingdom, and went to number thirteen on the United States charts, "Twilight Zone" in 1982, and "When the Lady Smiles" in 1984. During their career they have had nearly 30 top-ten singles on the Dutch charts while releasing 25 studio albums.
The band went through a number of early line-up changes, though the band reached a stable line-up in 1970, consisting of Rinus Gerritsen (bass and keyboards), George Kooymans (vocals and guitar), Barry Hay (vocals, guitar, flute and saxophone), and Cesar Zuiderwijk (drums and percussion), which remained unchanged until the band broke up in 2021 following the diagnosis of Kooymans with ALS. A number of other musicians also appeared in short stints with the band over its history as well.

Formed in the Hague, Netherlands, in 1961, by George Kooymans (11 March 1948, the Hague, Netherlands; guitar/vocals) and Rinus Gerritsen (b. 9 August 1946, the Hague, Netherlands; bass/vocals) along with Hans Van Herwerden (guitar) and Fred Van Der Hilst (drums). The group, initially known as the Golden Earrings, subsequently underwent several changes before they secured a Dutch Top 10 hit with their debut release, ‘Please Go’ (1965). By this point Kooymans and Gerritsen had been joined by Frans Krassenburg (vocals), Peter De Ronde (guitar) and Jaap Eggermont (drums) and the revitalized line-up became one of the most popular ‘nederbeat’ attractions. Barry Hay (b. 16 August 1948, Fyzabad, India; lead vocals, flute, saxophone, guitar) replaced Krassenburg in 1966, while De Ronde also left the group as they embraced a more radical direction. The group’s first Dutch number 1 hit, ‘Dong-Dong-Di-Ki-Di-Gi-Dong’, came in 1968 and saw them branching out from their homeland to other European countries as well as a successful tour of the USA. Eggermont left the group to become a producer and was eventually supplanted by Cesar Zuiderwijk (b. 18 July 1948, the Hague, Netherlands) in 1969 as Golden Earring began courting an international audience with their compulsive Eight Miles High, which featured an extended version of the famous Byrds song.
After years of experimenting with various music styles, they settled for a straight, hard rock sound and in 1972 Golden Earring were invited to support the Who on a European tour. They were subsequently signed to Track Records and the following year had a Dutch number 1/UK Top 10 hit with ‘Radar Love’ which subsequently found its way into the US Top 20 in 1974. Despite this, they were curiously unable to secure overseas success, which was not helped by a consistently unstable line-up. Robert Jan Stips augmented the quartet between 1974 and 1976 and on his departure Eelco Gelling joined as supplementary guitarist. By the end of the decade, however, the group had reverted to its basic line-up of Kooymans, Gerritsen, Hay and Zuiderwijk, who continued to forge an imaginative brand of rock and their reputation as a top European live act was reinforced by Second Live. With the release of Cut in 1982, Golden Earring earned themselves a US Top 10 hit with ‘Twilight Zone’. This was followed by a triumphant tour of the USA and Canada, where further chart success was secured with ‘Lady Smiles’. With various members able to indulge themselves in solo projects, Golden Earring have deservedly earned themselves respect throughout Europe and America as the Netherlands’ longest surviving and successful rock group.
(Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.)

01. A1 Intro - Plus Minus Absurdio (03:06)
02. A2 Love Is A Rodeo (03:34)
03. A3 The Switch (05:28)
04. A4 Kill Me (Ce Soir) (06:20)
05. B1 Tons Of Time (04:22)
06. B2 Daddy's Gonna Save My Soul (04:15)
07. B3 Troubles And Hassles (04:17)
08. B4 Lonesome D (04:39)


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Friday, May 14, 2021

Electric Light Orchestra - Discovery (1979) [Vinyl Rip]

Year: 31 May 1979, Recorded March–April 1979, (LP 1979)
Label: Jet Records (UK), JETLX 500
Style: Pop, Rock, Disco
Country: Birmingham, England
Time: 39:14
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 258 Mb

The Electric Light Orchestra had actually lost money on their most recent tour, a grandiose jaunt that featured a giant replica of their iconic album-cover spacecraft. They'd also reached the end of a creative road with the out-sized construction – and success – of 1977's platinum-selling Top 5 smash Out of the Blue.
It was time to cut back – in this case literally. Discovery arrived on May 31, 1979, with a streamlined sound, and a winnowed-down lineup.
"I just lost my way, totally," Jeff Lynne told Rolling Stone in 1990. "In the beginning, ELO was supposed to be very avant-garde, very off the wall. And then, once I started having hits, it drifted from that. Suddenly, the record companies and managers were clamoring for hits. And I tried to cater to the fuckers. And it grew into this monstrous thing that I didn't want. I got to feel trapped, and I didn’t have a clue as to what was going on. It was a fuckin' drag.”
He started by trimming the lineup to a foursome also featuring drummer Bev Bevan, keyboardist Richard Tandy and bassist Kelly Groucutt. Discovery became the first ELO project without an orchestral component, marking the departures of Mik Kaminski, Hugh McDowell and Melvyn Gale.
ELO engineer Reinhold Mack played a key role in this shift. At one point, he told Lynne, "Let's do away with the strings, let's do away with the choirs and let's just boogie out for a night."
Bevan was also itching to try a more straight-ahead sound. "I got bored with it too," he told the Dayton Daily News in 1979. "In the studio, it's very restricting to work with this band. ... I've tried doing more drum fills to liven it up, but when you put the orchestra and choir on top, it starts to sound a mess – so I have to keep it real simple. I've gotten to the stage where I don't even enjoy recording anymore. It's so mechanical."
Then Lynne started trying something musically, a sound associated with contemporary acts like the Bee Gees rather than with the Beatles, ELO's most celebrated influence. The band's disco period was underway – and it started out with a bang. All backing tracks were laid down in a matter of days, once the group gathered for sessions in March and April 1979. After that, a massive post-production process got underway before Lynne finally filled in the lyrics.
"When everything was overdubbed to the hilt and the tracks were completely full, then Jeff would say, 'Okay, I'll have a shot at it,' and start singing," Mack told Sound on Sound in 2013. "That's just the way he worked. There weren't any guide vocals. In fact, the backing vocals would almost always be recorded before the lead vocal, which was the last thing to go on."
This abbreviated time frame would seem to indicate that they'd become a tighter-knit group. But Discovery – and, more importantly, ELO – had very much become a Jeff Lynne presentation. The problem was, nobody else knew just what his larger plan was.
"It was all inside Jeff's head,” Mack explained. "He'd tackle the backing line by line, saying, 'This goes here,' and 'Let's put a harmony on that.' Then I might say, 'Can you do a descending high harmony?' and he might say, 'Oh yeah, that's a pretty good idea! Let's try it.' Either it would be retained or he'd come up with something completely different, and the whole would evolve out of whatever he had in his mind."
The album's detours into the funk-infused dance music of the day ("Shine a Little Love," "Last Train to London") led Tandy to memorably quip that they should have called it Disco Very. Still, Bevan made no excuses.
(Full version -

01. A1 Shine a Little Love (04:39)
02. A2 Confusion (03:45)
03. A3 Need Her Love (05:13)
04. A4 The Diary of Horace Wimp (04:19)
05. B1 Last Train to London (04:34)
06. B2 Midnight Blue (04:21)
07. B3 On the Run (04:02)
08. B4 Wishing (04:11)
09. B5 Don't Bring Me Down (04:07)


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Friday, May 7, 2021

Barclay James Harvest - Baby James Harvest (1972) [Vinyl Rip]

Year: 10-11-1972 Abbey Road Studios, 1972 (LP 1972)
Label: EMI Records, Harvest Records (UK), SHSP 4023
Style: Art-Rock, Rock
Country: Oldham, England
Time: 37:28
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 228 Mb

The "baby" theme was the idea of Ian Cassie, one of the band's managers at the time. The photographer was Julian Cottrell, and the baby was his daughter, Boo! The title came from the finished artwork, although it is probably also a jokey reference to James Taylor's classic album from 1970, Sweet Baby James. Original copies have an inner sleeve listing the performers on each song, which is absent from later reissues.

Crazy (Over You)
Baby James Harvest has been described at different times by members of the band as a "schizophrenic" album. The reason for this is simply that the band were physically split during the recording, with Les, John and Mel at Strawberry in Stockport, and Woolly mostly working with the orchestra in London. On Les's opener, "Crazy Over You", Woolly does play some piano, but Les handles organ and Mellotron as well as the bass part.

Delph Town Morn
John's first contribution to the album is unusual in that it features not members of the orchestra, but a thirteen-piece brass ensemble. They were, in fact, band leader Syd Lawrence's brass section. It's a small world, because Syd's son is Martin Lawrence, who has also had a bit to do with the band down the years! The Delph Town of the title is, of course, the Saddleworth village where John was living at the time, and "Chris's son" in the first line is actually Les!

Summer Soldier
John's classic which closes side one of the album returns to one of his perennial themes: the futility of violence and a plea for peace. The background seems to be Northern Ireland, with the song's mention of bombers and soldiers being stoned, but, unfortunately it could equally apply to a dozen other situations. The second half of the song was arranged by Woolly, the only significant work that he did on the others' songs on this album.

Thank You
The whole of this album was written and recorded in a matter of four weeks or so, and "Thank You" was a late addition to the line-up. Despite the credit on the album, this is actually a John Lees song, and the lyric is just a musical credits list - the "who's who" has been stated before, but just one more time, those mentioned are:
Dixie - owner of a music shop in Huddersfield
Pete (Tattersall) - manager of Strawberry
Teddy (Meyers) - head of EMI Switzerland
Eddie (Buckley) - one of the road crew then
Ollie (Olwen Lees) - John's wife
Chris (Christine) - Les's girlfriend
Janet (Pritchard) - then Mel's wife
Snibbley - Ian Southerington
Heather (Crowe) - Dave Crowe's wife
Georgie - Middle name of Dave Crowe, one of the band's managers at the time
The waterfall - Dave and Heather's baby boy
Cassie - Ian Cassie, the band's other manager
Nicky (Mobbs) - head of Harvest Records
Ricky (Dixon) - of Kennedy Street Enterprises
Eric (Stewart) - member of Hotlegs and 10cc
Kev (Godley) & Lol (Creme) - of 10cc
Billy Bean's Machine - Kev and Lol's "gizmo" effects machine for electric guitars.

One Hundred Thousand Smiles Out
Les's beautiful song is about the isolation of an astronaut lost in space, a theme to which he subsequently returned in "Negative Earth". The "space race" was always in the news after the first manned expedition to the moon in 1969, and that interest was reflected in many other songs from that period on the same subject, for example David Bowie's "Space Oddity" and Elton John's "Rocket Man". Les again played the piano in Woolly's absence.

Moonwater (Poco Adagio)
In the meantime, Woolly was at Abbey Road in London, working on his own epic. The idea was to record the orchestral pieces, then take the tapes up to Stockport for the rest of the band to record their parts. However, when Woolly arrived, the tapes wouldn't play properly, so he had to get back on the train to London and do them again! Time was so short that the other three couldn't wait for him, so went ahead with their own songs. "Moonwater" was Woolly's "attempt to bridge the gap between Radios One and Three", and was dedicated to Gustav Mahler, whose work had a big influence on Woolly; the Countess was a Polish countess who worked for a London publishing company. The "additional material" by Les was actually a mellotron part taken from "Eden Unobtainable" - check it out on The Harvest Years!


01. A1 Crazy (Over You) (04:18)
02. A2 Delph Town (04:50)
03. A3 Summer Soldier (10:26)
04. B1 Thank You (04:26)
05. B2 One Hundred Thousand Smiles Out (05:57)
06. B3 Moonwater (07:29)

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Monday, May 3, 2021

Bad Company - Run With The Pack (1976) [Vinyl Rip]

Year: February 21, 1976 (LP 1976)
Label: Island Records (UK), ILPSP 9346
Style: Rock, Hard Rock, Blues Rock
Country: Albury, Surrey, England
Time: 36:45
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 252 Mb

There’s a particular scene in the award-winning 2000 Cameron Crowe film, Almost Famous. In that playful scene, “band aid,” Estrella Starr (played by Bijou Phillips) peers out the window of a hotel room and announces (excitedly) to her frolicking female companions, “Simon Kirke from Bad Company is by the pool!” Not only did the band’s co-founding drummer get a nod with that memorable quote, but the film’s fictional group, Stillwater, also bared a strikingly close stylistic resemblance to Bad Company — and for good reason. Straight out the gate, Bad Company achieved global notoriety as a supergroup, comprised of Mott the Hoople, Free and King Crimson alumni. And at the time the motion picture’s storyline would have taken place during the early to mid-‘70s, Bad Company was revving up as one of the biggest bands in the world.
Birthing such FM staples as “Bad Company,” “Can’t Get Enough,” “Movin’ On,” “Good Lovin’ Gone Bad,” “Feel Like Makin’ Love” and “Shooting Star,” the first two Bad Company LPs, Bad Company (1974) and Straight Shooter (1975) were stylistic companion records, and both enjoyed Top Ten, multi-platinum success. But with album #3, Bad Company stepped a smidge outside the “zone.” Arriving in stores worldwide 45 years ago today (February 21, 1976), Run with the Pack also was a chart-busting million-seller.
As if wrapped by Reynolds, the shiny silver packaging was eye-catching — the front cover image of papa wolf watching on as mama wolf nurses her pups. The inner gatefold photo depicted the band members holed up in a tiny apartment, surrounded by booze bottles, with a Bugs Bunny cartoon playing on the TV. Musically, the self-produced ten-song set oozed the signature Bad Company mystique. Down and dirty, sweet and soulful, bluesy and beautiful, each track is a bullet point highlight.
The record kicks off in fine fashion with a pair of tunes penned by co-founding guitarist, Mick Ralphs — the gritty and chunky, “Live for the Music,” coupled with “Simple Man” — a powerful track that smacks of such previous B.C. classics as “Bad Company” and “Feel Like Making Love.” Owning the notable line, “Freedom is the only thing that means a damn to me,” the song is polished by a convincing performance from co-founding frontman, Paul Rodgers, and accented by Ralph’s seemingly Neil Young-inspired guitar work.
Bursting with bona fide cock-rock swagger, “Honey Child” is brought to life by the punchy, defibrillator-like basslines of the late Boz Burrell. This one, when placed next to Rodgers’ slow and sultry, gospel-tinged heartbreak ballad, “Somebody Love Me,” makes for another magical yin and yang scenario.
Orchestrated magnificently, the piano-driven, riff-heavy title track was one of the record’s mightiest moments. But, it can be argued that the shiniest gemstone of this musical treasure trove is Rodgers’ masterpiece breakup ballad, “Silver, Blue and Gold.” The lyrics — engaging. The melody — enchanting. In fact, it could be said that if Run with the Pack housed only ONE single track, this should be the one. C’mon, everybody, let’s sing along — Give me silver, blue and gold. The colour of the sky I’m told. My ray-ay-ain-bow is overdue.
Crashing Casey’s Countdown in the spring of ‘76, the sexy-sounding remake of the 1957 boogie woogie Coasters classic, “Young Blood,” got MY young blood pumping — it still does. Conversely, in a similar stylistic fashion as “Seagull” (Bad Company, 1974), Rodgers’ “Do Right by Your Woman” is a marvelous, mid-tempo keeper.
While Run with the Pack still tastes fresh musically, at times, it smells as if its shelf life expired, back in the dark ages. Ralph’s turbo-charged “Sweet Little Sister” celebrated and glorified the band’s (now dated) sex, drugs & rock and roll lifestyle — Sweet little sister, you know you can’t resist her. She got it made in the shade, Lord yeah. Sweet little sister, your mama never missed her, ‘til she got laid, laid, laid, alright. Wow, even for an old rocker guy like me, it’s tough to imagine in today’s enlightened culture, that there ever was a time when that type of mentality was considered cool. However, Rodgers’ brooding “Fade Away” still holds up and provides a bluesy and effective closing punctuation point.
To this day, the impressive Bad Company catalogue remains iconic. And 45 years later, Run with the Pack still sparkles as one of the band’s grandest achievements.

01. A1 Live For The Music (04:00)
02. A2 Simple Man (03:37)
03. A3 Honey Child (03:19)
04. A4 Love Me Somebody (03:09)
05. A5 Run With The Pack (05:26)
06. B1 Silver Blue and Gold (05:07)
07. B2 Young Blood (02:42)
08. B3 Do Right By Your Women 222 (02:54)
09. B4 Sweet Lil' Sister (03:32)
10. B5 Fade Away (02:55)

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