Saturday, July 31, 2021

Big Brother and the Holding Company (Janis Joplin) - Sex, Dope & Cheap Thrills (2xCD) (1968)

Year: August 12, 1968 (CD 2018)
Label: Columbia / Legacy Records (Mexico-???), 19075863522
Style: Rock, Blues Rock
Country: San Francisco, California
Time: 79:42, 68:32
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 395, 388 Mb

Back in 1968, when Big Brother & the Holding Company made their second album, the LP they planned to release was scuttled by the record company.
The title was shortened from Sex, Dope and Cheap Thrills to just Cheap Thrills, and the studio songs they recorded were mixed in with audience sounds to give listeners the impression it was a concert album – partly because San Francisco bands were known for their powerhouse live shows at the time. Plus, one actual live song was thrown onto the record at the end.
It was kind of a mess, but Cheap Thrills managed to shed most of these behind-the-scenes problems when it came out in August 1968 and rocketed to No. 1, making Big Brother's singer and focal point – the still-unknown Janis Joplin – a star. And even though the rest of the band could be sloppy in its approach at times, Cheap Thrills turned into one of the era's greatest albums and a landmark showcase for the thrilling Joplin.
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, nearly 30 songs from the sessions are collected on Sex, Dope and Cheap Thrills, a re-imagining of sorts of that milestone record. More than two dozen of the tracks are previously unreleased – including a live "Ball and Chain," the sole original Cheap Thrills concert recording – and various versions chart the progression of certain songs. So, this new take on an old classic turns out to be more companion than replacement.
And even if the songs that ended up on Cheap Thrills don't sound all that different in these discarded versions, a few stand out, like a run-through of "Piece of My Heart" that includes a more scarred and tortured Joplin performance, and an early stab at "Summertime" that works out some of the kinks in real time. And the set-opening "Combination of the Two" – Sex, Dope and Cheap Thrills plays out like the original album during its first part, so this was Cheap Thrills' first song too – is nearly as good as the one that's been around for half a century.
Still, the star here – just like on the original LP – is Joplin, delivering her breakthrough performance with a confidence that pretty much just barrels through the rest of the band's shortcomings. Her ragged voice doesn't so much swing as it hammers; there's real passion here as her tributes to her blues and R&B heroes move from cautious reverence to total takeover.
She charges through "Roadblock" and gets soulful on "Farewell Song," two songs from the sessions that didn't make the final album and which sorta summarize the Big Brother and the Holding Company aesthetic in 1968. Not long after Cheap Thrills' release, Joplin – her stock considerably risen – and guitarist Sam Andrew left to form the Kozmic Blues Band and, effectively, plant the seeds of her solo career.
Sex, Dope and Cheap Thrills includes some studio chatter and rough takes that take you inside the studio as the band's classic album was being made. But in the end, these two discs don't offer anything you can't get from the single LP. Still, it captures a couple of months in 1968 before the storm hit and changed everything for the group and, more importantly, its up-and-coming singer.

01. Combination Of The Two (Take 3) (05:33)
02. I Need A Man To Love (Take 4) (08:05)
03. Summertime (Take 2) (04:10)
04. Piece Of My Heart (Take 6) (04:55)
05. Harry (Take 10) (01:12)
06. Turtle Blues (Take 4) (04:47)
07. Oh, Sweet Mary (04:23)
08. Ball And Chain [Live] (07:28)
09. Roadblock (05:43)
10. Catch Me Daddy (Take 1) (05:34)
11. It's A Deal (Take 1) (02:42)
12. Easy Once You Know How (Take 1) (04:35)
13. How Many Times Blues Jam (05:26)
14. Farewell Song (Take 7) (05:02)

01. Flower In The Sun (Take 3) (03:13)
02. Oh Sweet Mary (06:55)
03. Summertime (Take 1) (03:14)
04. Piece Of My Heart (Take 4) (04:07)
05. Catch Me Daddy (Take 9) (03:15)
06. Catch Me Daddy (Take 10) (04:22)
07. I Need A Man To Love (Take 3) (07:08)
08. Harry (Take 9) (01:11)
09. Farewell Song (Take 4) (04:27)
10. Misery'n (Takes 2, 3) (03:58)
11. Misery'n (Take 4) (04:58)
12. Magic Of Love (Take 1) (03:19)
13. Turtle Blues (Take 9) (03:59)
14. Turtle Blues (Last Verse Takes 1, 3) (04:35)
15. Piece Of My Heart (Take 3) (04:32)
16. Farewell Song (Take 5) (05:12)



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Love Affair - The Everlasting Love Affair (1968) CD

Year: December 1968 (CD Unofficial Release)
Label: Dogtoire Records (Russia), DG 2312
Style: Rock, Pop
Country: London, England
Time: 76:30
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 431 Mb

Love Affair was a London-based pop and soul group formed in 1966. The group had several UK Singles Chart Top 10 hits, including the number one success, "Everlasting Love".
Love Affair's first single, "She Smiled Sweetly", written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, released on Decca Records flopped, but the band reached the top of the UK Singles Chart in January 1968 with "Everlasting Love". By this time the group had relocated to CBS Records. The song was first recorded by Robert Knight, whose version had reached No. 13 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the autumn of 1967, and it was previously offered to Marmalade, who turned it down. On the B-side was a cover version of "Gone Are the Songs of Yesterday", which was written by Phillip Goodhand-Tait. After its success, Goodhand-Tait saw an opportunity and signed a contract with Love Affair's managers John Cokell and Sid Bacon. Goodhand-Tait went on to write more songs for Love Affair.
Ellis had a similar vocal style to Steve Marriott of the Small Faces, and the production was similar to a Motown soul record. Controversy ensued when the group admitted they had not played on the record, but that all the work was done by session musicians, although such a practice had long since been common. Their first recording of the song, produced by Muff Winwood, had featured them playing all the instruments. But the record label rejected this version in favour of one produced by Mike Smith, recorded with a recording studio rhythm section, strings, brass, flutes and backing vocalists, arranged by Keith Mansfield – and Ellis as the only member of the group to be heard. The backing vocals were provided by four female singers who became well known in their own right: Kiki Dee, Madeline Bell, Lesley Duncan and Kay Garner (as one of the Ladybirds). The bass part was played by Russ Stableford and Clem Cattini played drums.
Four further Top 20 hits followed, "Rainbow Valley", "A Day Without Love" (both 1968), "One Road" and "Bringing on Back the Good Times" (both 1969). At the end of that year, they released the album, The Everlasting Love Affair.
The group became frustrated at being treated like teen idols, unable to hear themselves on stage because of the constant screaming and at being pigeonholed as a "pop group". All the A-sides featured heavy orchestral and brass arrangements behind Ellis's vocals, with minimal participation from the others, although they wrote and played on the heavier B-sides themselves.
As Ellis wrote in the booklet notes to a later compilation CD, Singles A's and B's, "In an attempt to break the mould we recorded a song far removed from the anthemic-like previous hits." The song was called "Baby I Know". Released at the end of 1969, competing with releases from other big names for a place in the charts over Christmas, it failed completely. Ellis felt the band had run its course and he left in December 1969 for a solo career: "We never really made it big anywhere but Britain and I think that if we had started to happen in America, I wouldn't have left". The rest of the band soldiered on without any further success, continuing briefly as L.A. with new vocalist, August Eadon (aka Gus Yeadon). Further releases likewise never charted.
In 1971 they recorded the song "Wake Me I Am Dreaming", cover of "Mi ritorni in mente", written by Lucio Battisti for music and by Mogol for the original text in Italian.
The group has since been revived, though sometimes without any original members, for cabaret dates; and Ellis has also performed live with a reconstituted Steve Ellis's Love Affair.
Love Affair's first hit song, "Everlasting Love", was used in the film, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. However, the CD of the soundtrack contained Jamie Cullum's cover version, instead of the Love Affair version used in the film. Cullum's version is played over the end credits.

01. Everlasting Love (03:02)
02. Hush (03:40)
03. 60 Minutes (Of Your Love) (03:38)
04. Could I Be Dreaming (03:20)
05. First Cut Is The Deepest (03:23)
06. So Sorry (03:11)
07. Once Upon A Season (04:01)
08. Rainbow Valley (03:50)
09. A Day Without Love (03:13)
10. Tobacco Road (03:54)
11. The Tree (02:47)
12. Handbags & Gladrags (03:52)
13. Build On Love (02:30)
14. Please Stay (04:16)
15. Tale Of Two Bitters (02:35)
16. Gone Are The Songs Of Yesterday (02:56)
17. Some Like Me (03:23)
18. I'm Happy (02:19)
19. One Road (03:11)
20. Let Me Know (02:31)
21. Bringing On Back The Good Times (03:24)
22. Another Day (04:13)
23. Un Giorno Senza Amore (03:12)


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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The Rolling Stones - Flowers (Japan Edition) (1967) CD

Year: 26 June 1967 (CD 2006)
Label: ABKCO, Universal Music (Japan), UICY-93025
Style: Classic Rock, Rock, British Rhythm and Blues
Country: United Kingdom
Time: 37:20
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 214 Mb

Flowers is the second compilation album by the Rolling Stones, released in the summer of 1967. The group recorded the songs at various studios dating back to 1965. Three of the songs had never been released: "My Girl", "Ride On, Baby" and "Sittin' on a Fence", the first of which was recorded in May 1965 during the sessions for "Satisfaction", and the other two of which were recorded in December 1965 during the first lot of Aftermath sessions. The rest of the album tracks either appeared as singles or had been omitted from the American versions of Aftermath and Between the Buttons.
The title refers to the album's cover, with flower stems underneath the portrait of each of the band members. Bassist Bill Wyman claims that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards deliberately arranged the stem of Brian Jones's flower so that it had no leaves, as a prank.[citation needed] The portraits are from the British version of Aftermath. Flowers reached number three in the US during the late summer of 1967 and was certified gold.

Here’s the original track listing for Flowers:

1. “Ruby Tuesday” -- A great song, and the most 1967-sounding (complete with double-bass and recorder)...because it had already been released in 1967, on Between The Buttons. Rip-off #1
2. “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?” -- The last single from 1966, mostly forgotten now, but it’s a winner: A total electric freak-out, awash in feedback, with chaotic mariachi-style horns going crazy in the background.
3. “Let’s Spend The Night Together” -- Again, great song. Again, already on Between The Buttons. Rip-off #2.
4. “Lady Jane” -- Already on Aftermath. Inclusion here a total mystery. Rip-off #3.
5. “Out Of Time” -- Formerly only available on the British version of Aftermath. A sibling to “Under My Thumb,” utilizing the same lead instruments: the marimba (a type of African xylophone), and fuzz bass, and with the same quasi-misogynistic lyrical themes.
6. “My Girl” -- Previously unreleased, and with good reason. It’s terrible. It’s the oldest track here, dating from the May 1965 sessions that also produced “Satisfaction.” Whoever thought it would be a kick for them to do a half-assed run-through of this Temptations classic should be boiled in patchouli oil. I suspect it was their loopy “producer”/manager Andrew Loog Oldham (fired around the time of Flowers' release), because it was he that supervised the hasty overdubbing of a string section in the fall of 1966. It still wasn’t deemed releasable, until London Records, nosing around in the vaults, decided to put it on Flowers. Even though it had never been heard before, I’m going to call this rip-off #4, because no one should have heard it. Ever.
7. “Backstreet Girl” -- From the British version of Between The Buttons, and a highlight of that album, which lacked the one-two punch of “Ruby Tuesday” and “Let’s Spend The Night Together.” Those were only a single in Britain (confused yet?). Gentle accordion flourishes give this a Parisian atmosphere.
8. “Please Go Home” -- Also from the U.K. Between The Buttons. Not much substance here, but it certainly sounds cool -- a Bo Diddley-style guitar shuffle drenched in swirling echo.
9. “Mother’s Little Helper” -- The opening track of the British Aftermath. Even though it had the droning Indian instrumentation found on psychedelia of a slightly later era, its propulsive amphetamine rush and clattering percussion meant it was anything but mellow.
10. “Take It Or Leave It” -- Buried on Side Two of the British Aftermath, it was a universal consensus that this flat, melody-free acoustic lament was the weakest track on that otherwise fine album. Naturally, it was given top priority for Flowers over other more worthy choices. I say, rip-off #5.
11. “Ride On, Baby” -- Previously unreleased track from the Aftermath sessions. Exotic instrumentation included a harpsichord and Japanese koto, both played by multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones, who by the time of Flowers’ release, was already being edged out of the band due to his druggy unreliability. Conspiracy theorists after the fact noticed that Brain’s flower stem on the cover was missing its leaves.
12. “Sittin’ On A Fence” -- Another previously unreleased Aftermath outtake, this dark folk tune with delicate finger-picked guitar work has always been one of my favorite early Stones songs.

01. Rolling Stones, Ruby Tuesday (03:17)
02. Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow? (02:35)
03. Let's Spend the Night Together (03:38)
04. Lady Jane (03:08)
05. Out of Time (03:42)
06. My Girl (02:39)
07. Backstreet Girl (03:26)
08. Please Go Home (03:19)
09. Mother's Little Helper (02:47)
10. Take It or Leave It (02:47)
11. Ride On, Baby (02:53)
12. Sittin' on a Fence (03:02)


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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The Pentangle - Sweet Child (1968) CD

Year: 1 November 1968 (CD 1988)
Label: Line Records (Germany), TACD 9 00552 O
Style: Folk, Folk Rock, Rock
Country: United Kingdom
Time: 73:03
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 376 Mb

Where Fairport Convention found ways of merging traditional British folk music with the emerging rock sounds of the ’60s and ’70s, Pentangle took that same music and gave it a jazz-and-blues twist, whether via their original songs, well-worn trad material like “Let No Man Steal Your Thyme” or, as on the live section of this double album, interpretations of Charles Mingus and Furry Lewis compositions. Pentangle were among the leading lights of British folk-rock. I’m tempted to say ‘are’ because the band have sometimes reformed in both altered configurations and the original one, although the latter is now an impossible proposition, given that Bert Jansch and John Renbourn have died. Sweet Child was the second in a run of excellent albums they made for the Transatlantic label before moving to Reprise (who’d issued their albums in the US from the start) for 1972’s Solomon’s Seal which brought to a close their first chapter as a band. If you’re a newcomer to the Pentangle fold, then great pleasures await you.
Sweet Child was the group’s only double-album, made so by its first two sides being taken up by a triumphant 29th June 1968 concert at the Royal Festival Hall, London. The group’s repertoire was already so large that barely any of the tracks from the live performance were duplications of songs from their studio albums – a reflection not only of the band’s adventurousness but also their audience’s ability to accommodate it. On the third and fourth side of Sweet Child, they unveiled their second album proper. These were the days of recorded product being demanded at breakneck speed. Their debut had appeared in May 1968. Sweet Child came in November the same year.
Both LPs were produced by American Shel Talmy, who would remain on board for the following year’s Basket of Light, the band’s bestseller. Talmy was a native of Chicago who’d moved to London in the early 1960s and joined Decca, telling tall tales of producing the Beach Boys to open doors. He eventually helped both the Kinks and the Who forge their distinctive sounds. Having an American producer, inclined to understand the breadth of Pentangle’s musical tastes where a more staid Decca alumnus might not have, was a masterstroke for the band. Encompassing everything from jaunty folk dances to experimental jazz, their albums had an appealing air of mysticism (emphasized by their medieval- and occult-tinged front covers) and a simultaneous earthiness. As is so often the case, what on paper were incongruous musical ingredients in practice worked beautifully together.
Quite why Pentangle haven’t ended up being seen in the same light as Fairport Convention is apparent if you move a little farther ahead in their discography. Listen to “Sally Free and Easy”, the first track on 1972’s Solomon’s Seal, and you’ll hear how little they changed during their classic run of albums. By contrast, Fairport shifted gears with each release from 1968’s Fairport Convention up to and including 1975’s Rising For the Moon, and although there were missteps along the way, they hit an unrivalled peak with Unhalfbricking and Liege & Lief. Consequently, music history favors them over Pentangle.
However, as they demonstrate on the original songs in the studio segment of Sweet Child, Pentangle had the edge when it came to intricate rhythms, musicianship and challenging time signatures. Their sound was prettier, cooler, more ornamental and decorous. An unmistakable jazz sensibility informs their work, giving it a smokiness and a distinctive urbanity. Listen, for example, to the way the title track of Sweet Child builds in intensity as Terry Cox cycles through a series of utterly dazzling rhythm patterns. “Sovay”, the tale of a female highwayman, is a bracing little trad number and there’s even a musical tribute to Moondog, the fabled blind street musician who recorded for Columbia. The high point, however, is “The Trees They Do Grow High”. Its mournful melody is expertly painted by lead vocalist, Jacque McShee (she sounds like an immaculately played woodwind instrument, almost flawless), while Cox delivers his finest, most thrilling percussion arrangement.
Having a voice as clear and swooping as McShee’s and guitarists as nimble as Renbourn and Jansch, were just a few of the numerous aces up the band’s sleeve. They also had, in Danny Thompson, an exceptional double bassist. Pentangle didn’t put a foot wrong during their first run of albums and Sweet Child was a remarkable second statement. As it re-emerges on vinyl for its fiftieth birthday, it deserves nothing less than a warm welcome. Real Gone’s ventures into vinyl have included excellent outings for Tim Buckley’s final two albums, and although they seem to favor digital sources, care is taken to make the final result sound and look pleasing.
( (By Charles Donovan. 7 September 2018)

01. Market Song (04:17)
02. No More My Lord (04:37)
03. Turn Your Money Green (02:44)
04. Haitian Fight Song (03:41)
05. A Woman Like You (04:11)
06. Three Dances (05:02)
07. Watch the Stars (03:28)
08. So Early in the Spring (03:22)
09. No Exit (02:24)
10. The Time Has Come (04:04)
11. Bruton Town (06:19)
12. Sweet Child (05:14)
13. I Loved a Lass (02:41)
14. Three Part Thing (02:27)
15. Sovay (02:50)
16. In Time (05:09)
17. In Your Mind (02:16)
18. I've Got a Feeling (04:27)
19. The Trees They Do Grow High (03:47)


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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Grand Funk Railroad - Good Singin' Good Playin' (1976) CD

Year: August 9, 1976 (CD 1999)
Label: Hip-O Records (U.S.), HIPD-40144
Style: Rock, Hard Rock, Pop
Country: Flint, Michigan, U.S.
Time: 51:12
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 341 Mb

On Second Thought: Grand Funk Railroad – Good Singin’ Good Playin’ (1976)
Rising from the ashes of Terry Knight and the Pack, a Flint, Michigan-based band that cut a string of singles and two full-length albums worth hunting down, Grand Funk Railroad was one of the hottest acts of the early 1970s. Despite the grim reality most critics despised the band, for reasons I could never personally fathom, the kids loved them and bought cartons and cartons of their records.
Weaned on a delicious diet of James Brown, Motown, the Rolling Stones and the Animals, Grand Funk Railroad added a bucket of bulk to these influences, resulting in a powerful melding of vanilla soul and hard rocking bravado. Along with Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, the band has often been cited heavy metal pioneers.
Grand Funk Railroad’s mission was to play super loud, high energy rock that generated a community feeling. Indeed, their music was performed at deafening volumes and their songs encouraged people to let loose and have fun. Some of their tunes also addressed social concerns of the day.
Fronted by the muscular vocals and grinding guitar aerobics of Mark Farner, the band’s sound was comparably robust. Mel Schacher’s driving bass lines crashing into Don Brewer’s thunderous drum fills were joyous noise to many an ear. Come 1972, keyboardist Craig Frost joined Grand Funk Railroad on a permanent basis, providing their fare with a bit of extra color and depth.
Originally issued in April of 1976, and reissued by Hip-O Records in 1999, Good Singin’ Good Playin’ was the band’s final studio album of the decade. Grand Funk Railroad actually dismantled shortly before the disc was released and would not record together again until staging a brief reunion five years later.
Produced by Frank Zappa, Good Singin’ Good Playin’ contains all the expected accessories associated with the band’s music, from the slaving rhythms to the chest-beating choruses to the heated jams. Not quite as wild and reckless as they were in the distant past, Grand Funk Railroad had already adopted a sleeker and tighter pose prior to the birth of Good Singin’ Good Playin,’ but still rocked like an earthquake.
Although nothing on the album equals the immediate intensity of classics such as “I’m Your Captain,” “Mean Mistreater,” “I Can Feel Him In The Morning,” “Footstomping Music,” “Heartbreaker,” “Take Me,” “Bad Time,” “We’re An American Band,” “Shinin’ On” or “Some Kind Of Wonderful,” the tunes are smartly executed and the melodies are seductive enough for the brain to retain.
What’s especially fascinating about Good Singin’ Good Playin’ is that a lot of the songs carry a pop metal bent (think Sammy Hagar, Loverboy and so forth) and you have to remember the record was made before the term was even officially coined. The strongest offering on the disc is perhaps the big and bouncy “Just Can’t Wait” that sort of recalls a non-countrified version of the Doobie Brothers.
Funky, soulful and soaking with sweat, “Can You Do It” is a cool old-school styled dance number, while “Out To Get You,” “Goin’ For The Pastor” and “1976” are fueled by brash and rash grooves cast of a genuine rock and roll spirit.
Not the best Grand Funk Railroad album in the box, but definitely overlooked and underrated, Good Singin’ Good Playin’ certainly lives up to is title.
( (November 28, 2012 by Beverly Paterson)

01. Just Couldn't Wait (03:28)
02. Can You Do It (03:17)
03. Pass It Around (04:59)
04. Don't Let 'Em Take Your Gun (03:40)
05. Miss My Baby (07:20)
06. Big Buns (00:30)
07. Out To Get You (04:44)
08. Crossfire (04:19)
09. 1976 (04:20)
10. Release Your Love (03:52)
11. Goin' For The Pastor (05:24)
12. Rubberneck (previously unreleased) (bonus)* (05:15)


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Friday, July 23, 2021

Jerusalem - Jerusalem (Japan Edition) (1972) CD

Year: 1972 (CD 25 April 2017)
Label: Belle Antique (Japan), BELLE 172717, R-1730426JV
Style: Hard Rock, Rock
Country: Britain
Time: 70:12
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 420 Mb

The five-member band released one self-titled album worldwide in 1972 on Deram Records (UK catalogue number: SLD 6), produced by Ian Gillan of Deep Purple.[1] Their only other release that decade was a 45 rpm 7 inch single, the non-album "Kamikaze Moth" backed with "Frustration" from the LP.
They gigged throughout Europe and shared the same stage as bands such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Status Quo. They also played at some of the major festivals in Europe.
Although Jerusalem signed with Deram, Nick Mobbs, head of EMI's Harvest Records label also wanted them; he later became head of A&R for EMI and was the first person to sign the Sex Pistols. Founders of the band, Paul Dean and Ray Sparrow, eventually split the band, and formed a three piece with Bob Cooke called Pussy, who released a single on Deram called "Feline Woman". Jerusalem's debut album was re-issued by Universal as a Japanese CD (2005), and has also become available through many rock music websites.
In 2007, Dean revealed that the original 2" multi-track masters of the album would be re-mastered, re-mixed and re-released in January 2009. The album and single will be available on CD and vinyl, published by Rockadrome Records, and will include extra materials like bonus tracks, blog, history, etc. The Jerusalem CD was released in 2009, vinyl in 2011 and the first ever release of the Pussy album (CD) was released in 2012, all by Rockadrome Records.

Ian Gillan's thoughts about the band and working with the album (as printed on the back side of the album's sleeve):
This is the first album by Jerusalem, a band which excites me very much; they are rough, raw and doomy with their own strong identity. As they are young and a bit green, they don't follow many rules, so their material is almost crude - but still immensely powerful in content.
I believe that, whenever possible, the work of writers and players in their formative stages should be recorded; before inhibition and self-consciousness set in, before fire and aggression die down, and while they are still absorbing influences and doing things which others might consider 'uncool'. Most important though, before they might develop that self-imposed rigidity which afflicts so many. I hope none of these things happen to Jerusalem, we'll have to wait and see, this album is just in case.
I hope you like it as much as I do.

01. Frustration (05:18)
02. Hooded Eagle (04:49)
03. I See The Light (03:55)
04. Murderer's Lament (03:40)
05. When The Wolf Sits (04:57)
06. Midnight Steamer (04:42)
07. Primitive Man (05:55)
08. Beyond The Grave (06:09)
09. She Came Like A Bat From Hell (05:43)
10. Kamikaze Moth (Non-LP Single Track) (02:46)
11. Primitive Man (Demo Version) (06:56)
12. Beyond The Grave (Demo Version) (07:15)
13. Hooded Eagle (Single Version) (04:04)
14. I See The Light (Mono Version) (03:58)


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Monday, July 5, 2021

Eric Burdon and The Animals - Love Is (Japan Edition) (1968) CD

Year: December 1968 (CD 2013)
Label: Polydor Records (Japan), UICY-75625, SE-4591-2
Style: British Rhythm and Blues, Rock
Country: Newcastle, England (11 May 1941)
Time: 74:30
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 433 Mb

Burdon & company's "Love Is . . . " is probably one of their most polarizing albums. On the one hand, it is probably their slickest production and most coherent "concept album" statement -- on the other hand it is a ridiculously overproduced piece of hippy silliness with some surprisingly sloppy moments in the playing and singing. I like it for both reasons!
"Love Is . . . " is a double album with 8 tracks, nearly all of which are covers. The "New Animals" who play on the LP include "Zoot Money" and Andy Summers, later of The Police (these two had previously recorded an interesting psychedelic single together as Dantalion's Chariot, more on that below.)
Track 1 is "River Deep, Mountain High" the Phil Spector tune which was a hit for Ike & Tina. It kicks things off in a rousing fashion, Burdon doing his best white-man-soul vocalizing plus groovy wish-I-was-Black adlibs like "I love you baby like a flower loves the spring / I love you baby like Aretha Franklin needs to sing." Supremely over-arranged in high sixties style, the song climaxes with a wonderful psych-out bridge section where a platoon of acid munchkins chant "tina tina tina tina-nee-na-na" (as in Tina Turner of course).
Track 2 is a Sly Stone cover, "I'm An Animal", chosen for obvious reasons (Burdon is "an Animal", get it?) IMHO, one of the least interesting Sly tunes which gains little by this remake, the only twist being a floaty electronic piano & gentle wah guitar extended bridge with Eric jiving something about "creation! creature! animalism! brute!"
Track 3 is one of the originals - "I'm Dying, Or Am I?" with Zoot doing the call-and-response thing with Eric. More high sixties subCream wah guitar dueling with psuedo-spanish acoustic guitars and lots keyboard overdubbage and some extremely out-of-tune background harmonies, plus ye oldest 60's trick in the book: verses in 4/4 time and choruses in 3/4 for that carnival effect. "God knows I'm dying / my body can't keep up with my mind."
Track 4 is a bonafide kitsch classic that would fit right in with William Shatner's rock'n'roll massacres - Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" is given the all-out syke-ee-delick treatment. Martial snare rolls, superquiet to superloud dynamics-via-overdubs, unnecessary acid guitar licks, the MOST out-of tune (and echo-drenched) harmonizing on an album that is chock full of tuneless harmonizing (all the Animals are credited with vocals - bless Eric for his democratic leanings in this respect - how punk!) Plus Eric gives a wonderfully overdramatic reading of what are essentially very corny lyrics. He goes back and forth between a hoarse whisper during the verses and a full-throated roar on the chorus. Verdict: Hilarious!
Track 5 is nearly as wonderful - Traffic's "Coloured Rain" extended to nearly ten minutes. Where the original was light and hippy-dippy, Eric's reading is again hilariously over-serious. Extended grooovy raga guitar solo in the middle complete with riffing horn section, and more of that outasite, outatune backup harmonizing (is all that echo supposed to hide whoever it is that's always a little flat??)
Track 6 is "Too Love Somebody" by the Gibbs, here sounding a bit like Vanilla Fudge (slow with droney organ.) Points off for hiring a blackgirl soulchorus - I dig it more when the guys in the band sing!
Track 7 is a ten minute blues opus "As The Years Go Passing By" - lougey piano jazz plus sub-Hendrix acid blues guitar with Eric at his gauche best/worst, sing-speaking in a ridiculous "black accent."
The climactic two-part 17-minute-plus monster that took up all of side 4 of the original LP is comprised of a medley of covers: first, "Gemini" originally by Quatermass - Eric and Zoot call-and-response again, the lyrics describing the contradictory nature of guess which zodiac sign: "I am black and I am white" etc. Highlight is the overblown (even by the standards of this record) bridge where Eric uses the duality of stereo to schizo-whisper stuff to himself like "there is only one side" - "no there are two sides" - back and forth from left & right speakers. Eventually it transitions into the poppier "The Madman" (a remake of "The Madman Running Through The Fields", the aforementioned Dantalion's Chariot single), which is about how the "straights" are like, crazy, man, and features some cool backwards cymbals and a delightful Barrett-Floydish bridge: "isn't that the madman running through the fields? / isn't that the madman, wonder how he feels?"
This album is both a classic of the high-sixties groovy style and a hilariously dated campy relic right down to the silly photomontage cover art (the band in negative, giant size towering over the grand canyon with an oversize moon in the background).
( (Reviewed by Dog 3000, 06/02/2003ce)

01. River Deep, Mountain High (07:25)
02. I'm An Animal (05:37)
03. I'm Dying, Or Am I? (04:30)
04. Ring Of Fire (04:53)
05. Coloured Rain (09:41)
06. To Love Somebody (06:57)
07. As The Years Go Passing By (10:22)
08. Gemini (11:54)
09. The Madman (Running Through The Fields) (05:24)
10. River Deep, Mountain High (Single Version) / Bonus Track (07:42)


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Saturday, July 3, 2021

Wicked Lady - Psychotic Overkill (1972) CD

Year: 1972 (CD 1 June 2012)
Label: Guerssen Records (Spain), GUESSCD041
Style: Rock, Hard Rock
Country: Northamptonshire, England
Time: 58:41
Format: Flac Tracks 16/44,1 kHz
Size: 252 Mb

Although little is known about this trio on fire, the reports are mainly limited to the shenanigans on stage, the use of extreme feedback and, more generally, of a quite experimental sound to the limits of psychedelia, mean?ng that there should’nt be audiophile who appreciates bands such as Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Cream, and others who enjoy a wider assessment, to not be aware of their existence, let alone because it is a mix of the three, if you are going to put them in a mold for us to communicate. This reference is therefore imperative, precisely because they are considered quite underestimated so to speak. An era far enough away, in which far from finger-pointed were musicians who lived unconventionally, as long as their overall attitude was reflected in their music, which was happening in a highly entertaining and positive way, I must say.
The music, well, this second sample of the band, which was the same year they released the album and after split up, has a strong early psy rock element, an equally green dbeat let me say (for those who understand how Motorhead have influenced the sub-genre) in ‘I’m A Freak’, a doom aesthetic and the resulting fuzzy guitars of Martin Weaver to give the pulse to the whole masterpiece, hopefully we reach ‘Voodoo Chile’, a cover of the well-known one, hence the slightly altered title, that should ‘tie the sweet’, and then, ‘Sin City’, a statement of the soul for what rock ‘n’ roll is all about, written by guys who have experienced it with all of them, quite low-key, probably in order to share it profoundly, quite confused by the lifestyle maybe in order to persuade it more, or not, I don’t know. Former drummer, Dick ‘Mad’ Smith, after the dissolution of the band, I learn, about 28, goes crazy, and the rest were probably a little too dazed and, unfortunately, couldn’t make it, there’s always the impediment of mere luck that comes with it, however they had a cult following of bike gangs, who certainly had a great time seeing them live so, I suppose I envy them ...
Next huge highlight, although from beginning to end the record is to be taken as a life experience, is the 21minute epic ‘Ship Of Ghosts’, which I read they played repeatedly in the same set, enough times to get them off stage by the owner of the venue and the public, that couldn’t take it anymore…Either way, the character of the band and the reason to be interested in listening to them are summarized very successfully in the following, from the first track of the album, if the stupid prologue is not enough for you:

No ones knows the way that I feel
Life today seems so unreal
All thoughts turn from white to black
Well, leave your number I’ll call you back
I’m a freak baby, on a losing streak
And I’m coming after you

( (by Stefanos Panopoulos - December 17, 2019)

01. I'm a Freak (05:03)
02. Tell the Truth (05:10)
03. Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) (04:43)
04. Why Don't You Let Me Try Your P.C.P. (05:04)
05. Sin City (07:07)
06. Passion (09:31)
07. Ship of Ghosts (22:00)


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