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Monday, October 16, 2017

The Age Of Reason - The Age Of Reason (1969 us, fine rough soulful psych rock, 2016 edition)

Pressed in minute quantities by Arlington-based Georgetowne label, 1969's "The Age of Reason" lay largely forgotten until it appeared in one of Austrian vinyl collector Hans Pokora's books - 1001 Record Collectors Dreams.  Like anything listed in one of Pokora's books, the album's subsequently become a high priced, in-demand release. 

This late-1960s release is also a pretty good example of hype and rarity taking precedence over quality. That's not to imply the album's bad, rather for the big bucks it commands, you could certainly find a couple of more enjoyable releases. 

The band apparently came together in 1967, featuring the talents of keyboardist Tommy Didly, former The Telstars bassist Terry Gorka, drummer Bill Manning, and lead guitarist Billy Windsor.  

Two years later they were apparently back in the Washington, D.C. area, releasing what may have been a vanity project on the small Arlington, Virginia-based Georgetowne label.  Produced by drummer Manning, "The Age of Reason" offered up a mixture of late-1960s FM covers (Dylan, Savoy Brown Blues Band, Ike Turner) and band originals.  The players were all pretty good with keyboardist Didly featured on most of the songs.

Best of the lot was their opening Dylan cover.  Showcasing a couple of band originals, side two was marginally better with Manning's 'The View From Tom Thompson's Cell' standing as one of the best performance.   Elsewhere the biggest surprise was their cover of  'Temptations Bout To Get Me'.  The result was a totally unexpected knockout slice of blue-eyed soul.  Shame they didn't record more in this vein.

1. This Wheel's On Fire (Bob Dylan, Rick Danko) - 4:14
2. Stay With Me Baby (Chris Youlden, Kim Simmonds, Dave Peverett) - 4:31
3. I'm Blue (Ike Turner) - 4:05
4. Don't Try To See Through Me (N.R. Colbertson) - 4:51
5. The View From Tim Thompson's Cell (Bill Manning) - 4:22
6. Letter To Home (Tommy Dildy, Bill Manning) - 4:57
7. Bang Bang (Sonny Bono) - 5:09
8. Temptations Bout To Get Me (Jimmy Diggs) - 4:07

The Age Of Reason
*Tommy Dildy - Keyboards, Vocals
*Terry Gorka - Bass
*Bill Manning - Drums, Vocals
*Billy Windsor - Guitar, Vocals
*Danny Gatton - Guitar

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Mordicai Jones - Mordicai Jones (1972 us, raw blues country roots 'n' roll, feat Link Wray, 2010 korean remaster)

In the early '70s, first-generation rock guitar hero Link Wray was looking to make a comeback, and after his self-titled 1971 album for Polydor -- in which he set aside the raw, feral guitar tone of his early instrumental hits for a more casual country blues mood -- failed to make an impression with record buyers, Wray and his buddies decided to try making an end-run around the charts with this album. The Mordicai Jones of the title was actually Bobby Howard, who played piano and mandolin on the Link Wray sessions and whose strong, blues-leaning voice lacked the idiosyncrasies of Wray's TB-ravaged instrument; on the surface, "Mordicai Jones" seemed like a more appealing frontman than Link (who by this time was already 44 years old), and his name was on the front cover when the album hit the stores. 

However, the music had the same casual and laid-back tone as the Link Wray sessions, and Link kept his trademark barking axe just as far under wraps as he did on his own album. However, the album has a tough and heartfelt vibe that sets it apart from the more pastoral country-rock albums of the time -- while lots of musicians were talking about getting back to the land, Mordicai Jones sounds like music made by folks who actually worked the farm they lived on, and the rough and flinty energy of these sessions wears a lot better than what most of their contemporaries were doing. Link also plays some fine slide guitar, too, even if "Rumble" fans might wish for more meat. Cuts from Mordicai Jones later surfaced on the compilation Guitar Preacher: The Polydor Years, and it was included in its entirety on Wray's Three Track Shack. 
by Mark Deming

1. Walkin' In The Arizona Sun - 2:56
2. Scorpio Woman - 3:49
3. The Coca Cola Sign Blinds My Eyes (Link Wray, Bobby Howard, Yvonne Verroca) - 6:23
4. All I Want To Say - 3:14
5. All Because Of A Woman - 3:19
6. On The Run (Link Wray, Bobby Howard, Yvonne Verroca) - 5:46
7. Son Of A Simple Man - 4:24
8. Precious Jewel (Roy Acuff) - 2:17
9. Days Before Custer - 4:01
10.Gandy Dancer (Link Wray, Bobby Howard, Yvonne Verroca) - 3:33
All songs by Link Wray, Yvonne Verroca except where stated

*Link Wray - Electric Guitar, Dobro, Steel Guitar, Bass Guitar
*Doug Wray - Rhythm Guitar, Proccnail Can Percussion, Vocals
*Mordicai Jones (a.k.a. Bobby Howard) - Lead Vocals, Piano, Mandolin, Harp
*Bill Hodges - Organ, Piano, Scratcher Percussion, Vocals
*Steve Verroca - Drums, Vocals
*John Grummere - Electric Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Norman Sue - Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Ned Levitt - Foot Stomp, Hand Claps, Vocals

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Grinderswitch - Pullin' Together (1976 us, excellent southern boogie rock, 2010 remaster)

Grinderswitch was a white blues-rock band that never rose above being a second-tier Capricorn Records act, not remotely as popular as the Allman Brothers or the Marshall Tucker Band. But Dru Lombar (vocals, guitar, slide guitar), Larry Howard (guitar), Stephen Miller (keyboards), Joe Dan Petty (bass), and Rick Burnett (drums) built a loyal following in the tens of thousands playing music that was influenced by British blues outfits like John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream and T.S. McPhee's Groundhogs, but also the real article, especially Albert King and Booker T. & the MG's -- Lombar sounded more Black than any White rock singer you've ever heard. 

They could have been a more soulful and exciting competitor to Canned Heat, but they weren't lucky enough to appear in hit festival movies or get the right single out at the proper time. Working in the commercial shadow of better-known acts, they counted as fans members of the Marshall Tucker Band and a lot of other musicians who felt they deserved a break. The group failed to emerge as much more than a top regional act and an opener for the Allmans and Charlie Daniels, among others, despite recording seven album between 1972 and 1982, first for Capricorn and later for Atlantic.
by Bruce Eder

1. Higher Ground - 3:47
2. I'm Satisfied - 3:25
3. That Kind Of Women - 4:12
4. Kill The Pain - 5:38
5. You're So Fine (Willie Schofield) - 3:33
6. Open Road - 4:11
7. Fact Of Life (Stephen Miller) - 2:27
8. Nobody Can - 3:04
9. As Sure As Tomorrow - 3:33
All compositions by  Rick Burnett, Larry Howard, Dru Lombar, Stephen Miller, Joe Dan Petty except where stated

The Grinderswitch
*Rick Burnett - Drums
*Larry Howard - Lead, Acoustic Guitars, Vocals
*Dru Lombar - Lead, Slide Guitars, Vocals
*Stephen Miller - Keyboards, Vocals
*Joe Dan Petty - Bass, Vocals
*Jimmy Hall - Harmonica
*Jerry Joseph - Congas

1974  Grinderswitch - Honest To Goodness
1975  Grinderswitch - Macon Tracks (2009 edition) 
1977  Grinderswitch - Redwing (2010 edition)

Related Acts
1968 Linn County - Proud Flesh Soothseer 
1969 Linn County - Fever Shot 
1970  Linn County - 'Till The Break Of Dawn
1969-70/72  Elvin Bishop - Party Till The Cows Come Home

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Christopher Kearney - Christopher Kearney (1972 canada, outstanding bluesy folk classic rock, 2016 SHM remaster)

Canadian born, Christopher Kearney’s career began with the support and encouragement of Gordon Lightfoot, who saw Christopher first perform at the age of 22 in Montreal. Within a year Christopher signed with Gordon’s Early Morning Productions and moved to Toronto.

Shortly thereafter Christopher inked a deal with Capitol Records and went on to record three albums on that label, Christopher Kearney,Pemmican Stash,and Sweetwater.

During this time period after a successful concert tour across Canada and a closing performance at Massy Hall in Toronto Christopher was asked to represent Canada at the Rio International Song Festival in Brazil.

A few years later Christopher joined forces with Bill King and Danny McBride and formed the band China.

Inking a new deal with CBS Epic and Charlie Daniel’s Production Company in Nashville, China joined forces with Bob Dylan’s Grammy Award producer Bob Johnston and Christopher was back in the studio.

During this project many other great players joined forces with Chris and the other members of China including Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Albert Lee, Jay Graydon, Lee Ritenour, Andy Newmark, Abe Laborial, Danny Lanois, and Paulino Da Costa. 

In the early 90’s Christopher moved to Puerto Vallarta Mexico and resided there until 2005.

Within a year or so of returning to California he was writing once again and back in the studio. In 2007 a new set of sessions began and by the fall of that year "Just A Step Away" was completed.

Rich musically and lyrically strong this offering from Christopher paints wonderful visuals of not only just the writer as he navigates through life's twists and turns but it also honestly touches on all of us. At close listening,the chances are very good that you will remember,see,or think of someone you know.

Excellent well crafting songwriters have always been a real commodity, and it is in that is category that Christopher quite comfortably belongs.

1. Country Lady - 3:09
2. Loosen Up - 2:31
3. Let It Be Gone (Henry McCullough) - 3:41
4. Speical Day - 3:36
5. Long Old Train (John Schanck) - 4:50
6. House Of D (Chris Rawlings) - 4:11
7. Rocking Chair Ride - 2:33
8. Everything Here (Frank Thomas Talton) - 2:27
9. 20% Off - 2:53
10.Get Back Home - 2:49
Music and Lyrics by Christopher Kearney except where stated

*Christopher Kearney - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
*Josh Onderisin - Acoustic, Electric Guitar
*David Bromberg - Slide Guitar, Dobro
*Cguck Aarons - Electric Guitar
*Jim Ackley - Keyboards
*James Rolleston - Bass
*Scott Lang - Bass
*Terry Clarke - Drums
*Diane Brooks - Vocals
*Steve Kennedy - Vocals
*Rhonda Silver - Vocals

1973  Christopher Kearney - Pemmican Stash (2014 korean remaster) 

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Carol Grimes - Warm Blood (1974 uk, excellent funky boogie rock, 2017 korean remaster)

Born in Lewisham, South East London, Carol Grimes had spent her early life as a busker. She eventually realised her talent one day in 1964 outside a pub in Hastings Old Town. Carol Grimes came to prominence in 1969 as a member of Delivery associated with the Canterbury Scene. 

During the 1970s she performed regularly on the London blues circuit with her band The London Boogie Band. At the same time she released her first solo album Warm Blood, the first release on the Virgin's Caroline label (CA2001), backed by session musicians in London and Nashville. The cover was taken in her Notting Hill flat. The following year saw the release of a follow-up blues album recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis and Goodyear Studios in Nashville which pictured her on the cover alongside her son Sam.

By the end of the decade, Grimes had moved to a more jazz-inspired style, including a lot of scat singing. In 1984 she formed Eyes Wide Open. Now known mainly as a solo artist she also does theatrical work and teaches voice. She lives in Folkestone.
CD Liner-Notes

1. That's What It Takes (McLintan) - 3:12
2. High Hill Country Rain (J.J. Walker) - 4:04
3. Taxes On The Farmer (Traditional Arr. Ry Cooder) - 2:33
4. All For One (Mack Gayden) - 3:31
5. Ray, Ray, Ray (Bob Wilson, Alan Orange) - 2:52
6. Lost My Faith (In Everything But You) (Ron Cornelius) - 2:36
7. Warm Blood (Lloyd Perata) - 3:57
8. You're The Only One (Bob Wilson) - 2:32
9. Somebody Sleeping In My Bed (Allen Jones, Bettye Crutcher) - 3:09
10.Southern Boogie (D. Skinner) - 2:43
11.Don't Want You On My Mind (Bill Withers) - 2:11
12.Wait For Me Down By The River (Bob Johnson) - 2:56

*Carol Grimes  - Vocal
*Ron Cornelius  - Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
*Mack Gayden  - Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Banjo
*Bob Wilson  - Piano, Organ, Vibraphone, Arrangement
*Tommy Cogbill (Miss-Credited As Codbill)  - Bass
*Kenny Buttrey  - Drums
*Karl Himmel  - Drums
*Roger Ball  - Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Brass Arrangement
*Malcome Duncan  - Tenor Saxophone
*Henry Lowther  - Trumpet
*Tommy Eyre  - Organ
*John "Rabbit" Bundrick  - Organ, Background Vocals
*Snazzy Sam Mitchell  - Dobro, Guitar
*Gaspar Lowell  - African Drum, Percussion
*Graham Bell  - Background Vocals, Harp
*Archie Leggit  - Background Vocals
*Jess Roden  - Background Vocals

Related Acts
1970  Delivery - Fools Meeting 
1972  Uncle Dog - Old Hat (2005 japan remaster)

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Bob Brown - Willoughby's Lament (1971 us, tremendous progressive jazzy folk country rock, 2016 issue)

In December 1971, Billboard magazine wrote, “Willoughby’s Lament conveys a quiet tenderness and charm.” With this album, D.C. singer-songwriter Bob Brown delved deeper into the jazz and classical-influenced folk sound established on The Wall I Built Myself, his 1970 debut. Willoughby’s Lament was chapter two for Brown, and the musician’s craftsmanship and experience lent the LP a spiritual energy that remains intact decades later.

One of the record’s most transcendent tracks is “In These Flames.” He wrote this powerful song in 20 minutes while fighting the flu, and folk legend Richie Havens covered it on his 1971 album The Great Blind Degree. Havens and Brown hit it off after a chance encounter in 1966. Havens signed Brown to his MGM label, Stormy Forest, and produced his first two albums.

Brown picked up the guitar at 14 and began playing in D.C. coffeehouses before graduating from high school. He put together his core ensemble—guitarist Orin Smith and multi-instrumentalist Joe Clark—while a freshman at the University of Maryland. That’s also where Brown met his muse, Pamela, and where he completed the compositions for The Wall I Built Myself.

After completing his debut, Brown added two new musicians to his band, violist Rusty Clark and drummer Rob Windsor. In the summer of 1970, when Brown started writing Willoughby’s Lament, he brought the band to a Baltimore club called the Classroom. The Baltimore venue, like D.C.’s esteemed Cellar Door, attracted its share of regulars and luminaries, among them rising star Emmylou Harris. Brown and Harris would go on to split a concert bill at George Washington University.

Iconic D.C. radio personality Don “Cerphe” Colwell conducted his first of many interviews with Brown for progressive rock station WHFS. “Usually, you’ve got musicians who can either write or sing or play or maybe two out of those three things. But Bob could do all three things really well. He was a great writer, great singer, and great player, and he was great onstage,” says Colwell. “Listeners found and gravitated toward him, loved his music like I did.” Colwell says he played The Wall I Built Myself on the air “quite a bit.”

As Brown worked on Willoughby’s Lament, his relationship with Pamela dissolved. The break-up inspired “Death in Dreams,” a stark lamentation influenced by Neil Young. Brown spent most of the writing process while on the road opening for Havens, who was riding high off his star-making performance at Woodstock. They traveled to college towns—Kansas City, Bloomington, Madison—and played for crowds as large as 10,000.

Brown’s biggest show with Havens took place in October 1971. Brown and his ensemble flew to London for a sold-out show at the iconic Royal Albert Hall. “It was the crowning jewel for opening acts,” says Brown.  The show was a break from the Willoughby’s Lament sessions recorded at RKO General Studios in New York because of Havens’ fascination with recording on 35-millimeter film.

Havens brought in peerless bassist Eddie Gomez, who was discovered by pianist Bill Evans and performed with jazz legends Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Herbie Hancock. Brown was blown away by Gomez’s intuitive musicianship. He synchronized with Joe Clark, Orin Smith, and Rusty Clark and added a new dimension to Brown’s music by progressing the alchemical, haunting interplay among band members.

Havens offered Brown the assistance of a handful of famous studio musicians, including renowned Grammy winning composer Jan Hammer. Brown turned down the offer. “I didn’t think anybody else could do what Joe and Orin could do,” Brown says.

Like The Wall I Built Myself, the intimacy of Willoughby’s Lament, combined with Brown’s soulful vocals, creates a mix of raw tenderness and power. This was a departure for Brown, who explored a new realm by focusing on the piano. This style expresses the influence of his pianist grandmother, who played classical music for him when he was a child. Brown also expanded his sound on the title track, a two-part suite featuring a string ensemble arranged by Jeff Kaufman.

Willoughby’s Lament fulfilled Brown’s two-album deal with Stormy Forest, and he parted ways with the label in 1972. Brown moved to New York and lived in the Chelsea Hotel as he continued to write and perform. He went on to record three more albums—two with renowned producer and engineer George Massenburg and one with Greenhouse and the Eagles’ Steuart Smith. None of these records saw the light of day, and Brown abandoned his career in the early 1980s.

Brown eventually found success in the hospitality industry. Today he’s a trainer, author, and keynote speaker, using his insights to help companies like Disney, Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton. Brown tours the world as a consultant, which is how he met his wife, Judith. As his second career took off, Brown’s music didn’t entirely disappear. His records have long been out of print and hard to locate, but in recent years fans have come out of the woodwork to find the LPs and the man who made them.

Tompkins Square has rescued The Wall I Built Myself and Willoughby’s Lament from oblivion with these official reissues. More than 40 years have passed, but the albums still hold the effervescent spark that made Brown’s work irresistible. The records carry the spirit of his close collaborators who have since passed—Joe Clark, Orin Smith, David Franks, and Richie Havens.

Together they brought the work of Bob Brown to life, and since then the world continues to seek out his special brand of magic. For producer and future collaborator Mark Greenhouse, Brown’s music remains unparalleled, and Willoughby’s Lament was life-changing. “It was a lovemaking event—the songs, the music, the sound, the composition and the instrumentation caressed me, entertained me, excited me, and steered me into a life of music,” says Greenhouse. “Each time I listened I heard something new, always discovering something unpredictable and unexpected.”
by Leor Galil

1. If I Live Alone - 3:24
2. Interlude - 2:12
3. Baby Child - 5:37
4. Of Breath And Skin - 2:15
5. Willoughby's Lament (Part I) - 1:46
6. In These Flames - 3:44
7. Kindly Leave My Heart - 2:51
8. Death In Dreams - 4:03
9. For Pamela - 4:15
10.Light Of Children Come - 6:17
11.Willoughby's Lament (Part II) - 1:16
All compositions by Bob Brown 

*Bob Brown - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Piano
*Richie Havens - Backing Vocals
*Aleta Greene - Backing Vocals
*Eddy Gomez - Bass
*Rob Windsor - Drums
*Eric Oxendine  - Electric Guitar
*Orin Smith - Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
*Bill Keith  - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Rob Windsor  - Percussion
*Joe Clark - Piano, Percussion, Vibraphone
*Rusty Clark – Viola
*Lorna Beard - Violin

1970  Bob Brown - The Wall I Built Myself (2016 remaster)

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Marc Benno - Minnows (1971 us, splendid guitar swamp blues rock, 2016 SHM remaster)

Marc Benno has been giving blues, rock n roll, and pop music an unmistakable Texas flavor for years. A singer/songwriter who plays the guitar and piano, Benno is a strong force behind some of rock and blues greatest talents making them sound even better. The list of legends he’s worked with includes The Doors, Eric Clapton, Lightnin' Hopkins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bill Wyman, Georgie Fame, Rita Coolidge, Eddie Murphy, Leon Russell and many more!

In the 60's, after performing in Dallas with Steve Miller, Boz Scaggs, the Eagles, first known as Felicity and The Moving Sidewalks, aka ZZ Top, Benno headed to Los Angeles to further his career. That put him in the right place at the right time!

Marc Benno recorded a pair of albums with Leon Russell as a duo under the name The Asylum Choir. These recordings are considered rock classics by Billboard Magazine. Benno was then picked to play guitar on an album by the psychedelic rock greats The Doors. The sessions were for the classic L.A. Woman (1971), the group’s last LP before Jim Morrison’s death.

Benno recorded four albums for A&M Records in Hollywood in the 70’s. Eric Clapton played guitar on two tracks from Benno’s 1979 album Lost in Austin, recorded in London, produced by Glyn Johns who was famous for producing The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

He toured with Rita Coolidge as lead guitarist and band leader opening for The Byrds at Royal Albert Hall in London!

After two years serving as Lightnin' Hopkins bandleader and lead guitarist, Benno formed Marc Benno & The Nightcrawlers, opening shows across America for Humble Pie and The J. Geils Band. One of the Crawlers was a young guitarist named Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Benno’s career got an unexpected boost in 1985, when his song «Rock & Roll Me Again”, recorded by The System for the movie Beverly Hills Cop, won a Grammy for Best Composition for a Motion Picture Soundtrack!

Marc received serious airplay from Freeform radio during the early '70s. Enough, in fact, that A&M Records kept him for four records. David Anderle, around since the '60s Elektra days, and at the time well established, produced three of Benno's albums. Minnows was the best in many ways, it contained a handful of wonderfully introspective, well-crafted songs; "Speak Your Mind" and the stunning "Don't Let the Sun Go Down," were classics. Marc's vocals showed a certain vulnerability not heard on other releases. Personnel were picked from the A&M/Shelter/Oklahoma Mafia/Leon Russell stable, except for the interesting appearance by Clarence White.
by William Ashford 

1. Franny - 2:59
2. Put A Liitle Love In My Soul - 2:54
3. Stone Cottage - 4:49
4. Speak Your Mind - 4:56
5. Back Down Home - 4:42
6. Good Times - 2:46
7. Baby I Love You - 3:06
8. Baby I Like You - 6:35
9. Before I Go - 4:48
10.Don't Let The Sun Go Down - 2:57
All songs by Marc Benno

*Marc Benno - Guitar, Organ, Piano, Marxophone, Vocals
*Jesse Ed Davis - Guitar, Slide Guitar
*Gary Illingsworth - Organ, Piano
*Carl Radle - Bass
*Jerry Scheff - Bass
*Chuck Domanico - Acoustic Bass
*Jimmie Lee (Jim) Keltner - Drums, Percussion
*Nick De Caro - Accordion
*Jerry Mcgee - Guitar
*Clarence White - Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
*Bobby Womack - Guitar
*Rita Coolidge - Background Vocals
*Venetta Fields - Background Vocals
*Clydie King - Background Vocals

1970  Marc Benno - Marc Benno (2012 korean remaster)
1973  Marc Benno And The Nightcrawlers - Crawlin (with young Stevie Ray Vaughan, 2006 release) 
1968  The Asylum Choir - Look Inside (2007 remaster)
1971  Leon Russell And Marc Benno - Asylum Choir II (japan SHM 2016 remaster) 

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Jesse Ed Davis - Keep Me Comin' (1973 us, singular melt of electrified blues, Southern fried rocked up r'n'b, greasy funk, freaky soul jazz and country rock, Japan 2017)

Charismatic Jesse Ed Davis was truly one of the rare breed known as a “guitarist’s guitarist.” On session after session in the late 1960s and 1970s, he epitomized the concept of playing for the song, drawing deeply from country, blues, rock, and R&B influences without mimicking anyone. He recorded with three of the Beatles and blues giants John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Albert King. He appeared in the film Concert for Bangladesh and played sessions with Eric Clapton, Gene Clark, Neil Diamond, John Trudell, and many others. He released three solo albums on major labels. And yet despite these accomplishments, Jesse Ed Davis remains best known for his work on the early Taj Mahal albums and for being “the guy who inspired Duane Allman to play slide guitar.”

True, Jesse created the signature riff used by Duane for the Allman Brothers Band’s “Statesboro Blues,” as well as the bottleneck on Eric Clapton’s “Hello Old Friend.” But slide was just one facet of Davis’ widespread talent. He created many memorable hooks. Playing fingers-and-pick country on his trademark Telecaster, he could fire off multiple-string bends and double-stops as naturally as a Nashville cat. In blues settings, he made every note count, like a B.B. King or Mike Bloomfield. He delved into jazz. His uncanny feel for rock led to his becoming John Lennon’s guitarist of choice for the Rock ’n’ Roll album.

With his handsome features, long black hair, and moddish clothes, Davis cut a dashing figure onstage. He was one of very few Native Americans to achieve prominence in pop music, and today, almost three decades after his untimely death, he’s regarded as a hero by many young Native Americans.

Early in 1973, Jesse played guitar and sang backup on Bryan Ferry’s These Foolish Things, featuring many Roxy Music alumni, and joined a star-studded cast for Rod Taylor’s self-titled release on Asylum. He next played on Arlo Guthrie’s The Last of the Brooklyn Cowboys, which also featured Ry Cooder and Clarence White. He also released his third and final solo album, the self-produced Keep Me Comin’, which was devoid of guest stars. Instead, Davis relied on studio stalwarts – drummer Jim Keltner, bassist Bob Glaub, and keyboardist James Gordon. He co-composed four of the songs with John Angelo, calling his “Who Pulled the Plug” one of “the great Okie classics.”

Jesse Davis spent his final days living in Long Beach, California, where he sometimes counseled at the American Indian Free Clinic. On June 22, 1988, he was found dead in a laundry room in Venice, California, reportedly of a heroin overdose. His body was returned to Oklahoma for a traditional Comanche burial. In 1998, his first two solo albums were issued on CD by Warner/Japan.

In 2002, Jesse Ed Davis was inducted along with Dave Brubeck and Patti Page into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. “Whether it was blues, country, or rock,” stated the official citation, “Davis’ tasteful guitar playing was featured on albums by such giants as Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, John Lennon, and John Lee Hooker, among others.” For a kid who used to imitate Elvis in front of a mirror, Jesse Ed Davis had truly come a long way.

1. Big Dipper - 1:41
2. She's A Pain (Jesse Davis, John Angelos) - 2:52
3. Where Am I Now (When I Need Me) (Jesse Davis, John Angelos) - 3:16
4. Natural Anthem - 5:37
5. Who Pulled The Plug? (John Angelos) - 5:02
6. Ching Ching China Boy (Jesse Davis, John Angelos) - 2:57
7. Bacon Fat (Andre Williams) - 4:32
8. No Diga Mas (James Gordon) - 0:44
9. 6:00 Bugalu - 6:01
10.Keep Me Comin' (Jesse Davis, John Angelos) - 4:06
All songs by Jesse Davis except where stated

*Jesse Ed Davis - Guitar, Vocals
*John Angelos - Harmonica, Vocals
*Gary Barone - Flugelhorn, Trumpet
*George Bohannon - Trombone
*Bobby Bruce - Fiddle, Violin
*Billy Davis - Vocals
*Oma Drake - Vocals
*Jacques Ellis - Trombone
*Felix "Flaco" Falcon - Percussion
*Bob Glaub - Bass
*James Gordon - Clavinet, Keyboards, Piano
*Howard E. Johnson - Baritone Sax
*Jerry Jumonville - Alto Sax
*Jim Keltner - Drums
*Chris ODell - Vocals
*Bill Plummer - Double Bass
*Russell Saunkeah - Vocals
*Clifford Scott - Tenor Sax
*John Smith - Tenor Sax
*Julie Tillman - Vocals
*Bobby Torres - Congas
*Carolyn Willis - Vocals

1970  Jesse Davis (japan edition)
1972  Ululu (2003 japan HDCD remaster)

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Magna Carta - In Concert (1971 uk, peerless folk silky rock, 2014 remaster)

One of the six Magna Carta albums that went gold in Europe, In Concert was recorded live in Amsterdam in 1971, and remains one of the most atmospheric concert recordings of its age. A wonderful venue (the Concertgebouw), an appreciative audience, and a genuinely intimate selection of songs result in performances that cannot even be compared to their studio counterparts.

They're not better, they're not worse, they're just delightfully different, spun with a spontaneity and warmth that truly place the listener stage center. "Airport Song" opens the proceedings, of course, but the band was preaching to the converted that night -- every song is received as a conquering hero, and the band responds with equal generosity. 

A playful "Banjo Man," a haunting "Seven O'Clock Hymn," an eerie "Ring of Stones" -- every track is a highlight, while the newly arrived Davey Johnstone, making his recorded debut with the band, shines so brightly that it's hard to believe he was still unknown at the time. 
by Dave Thompson

1. Introduction - 0:51
2. Airport Song - 3:39
3. Speech - 0:39
4. Time For The Leaving - 4:25
5. Speech - 0:26
6. The Boatman (Davey Johnstone) - 3:10
7. Speech - 1:07
8. Sea And Sand - 4:19
9. Speech - 0:39
10.Banjo (Traditional) - 4:36
11.Speech - 1:02
12.Old John Parker - 2:49
13.Speech - 0:47
14.Seven O´Clock Hyme Midwinter - 12:51
15.Speech - 0:41
16.Country Jam (Chris Simpson, Guy Stuart, Davey Johnstone) - 1:48
17.Speech - 0:21
18.Ring Of Stones - 5:42
All songs written by Chris Simpson except where indicated

Magna Carta
*Chris Simpson - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Glen Stuart - Vocals, Glockenspiel, Harmonium
*Davey Johnstone - Acoustic, Electric Guitars, Mandoline, Sitar, Banjo, Vocals

1969  Magna Carta / Times Of Change
1969-2006  Tomorrow Never Comes-The Anthology (2007 double disc remaster)

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Rare Earth - Live In Chicago (1974 us, high energy classic rock with funky vibes, 2014 remaster)

In the early days before they became Rare Earth, two of this legendary band's founding members, Gil Bridges and Pete Rivera, were playing together around Detroit in a band called the Sunliners, a name they took from the car Gil drove at the time, a 1956 Ford Sunliner. They played top forty-style music including many popular Motown hits at their club dates, which led the band inevitably into its trademark, crossover musical terrain halfway between rock and R’nB. 

Not long after they changed their name to Rare Earth, their manager's friend convinced Barry Gordy's wife, Margaret, to see the band play live. She loved them, and Rare Earth would become the first band recruited by Motown for its fledgling rock music label that was so new it didn't have a name. Improbably, this groundbreaking imprint took the name of the first act it signed, Rare Earth Records.

Rare Earth had recorded the album Dreams/Answers for the Verve label in 1968 and that LP already featured several reinterpretations of soul and R’n’B songs blended with psychedelic rock, including the memorable harpsichordinfused mashup of two Supremes tunes, "Stop/Where Did Our Love Go," and an early version of their breakthrough single, "Get Ready." But when they recorded their first album for Motown their revised take on "Get Ready" had evolved into a solid, 21-minute rocking tour-de-force. The three-minute version of this song that gave the LP its title became a mega hit.

Ecology was their second release on Rare Earth Records and it featured another Temptations cover, "(i Know) I'm Losing You," which was also a hit, plus the driving, popular single, "Born to Wander." "I Just Want To Celebrate" was a highlight of their next album, One World, and it became the band's signature dosing number in concerts, as it is on the Live In Chicago album. A double LP Rare Earth In Concert was released in 1971, followed by Willie Remembers comprised of all band composed original songs. 

Then Rare Earth teamed up with the legendary Motown producer Norman Whitfield for the studio album Ma. Whitfield had produced the band's version of "(I Know) I'm Losing You" on Ecology and during their studio sessions he would constantly encourage the band to play on and on in ultra-long versions of the classic Motown songs they covered, stretching them out with the extended jams and improvisations that became Rare Earth's calling card. Ma included the song "Big John Is My Name" that is heard in the Live In Chicago set.

When Rare Earth decided to put out a second live album they recorded their concert at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago, a hall where the band had previously performed many times. According to original member, saxophonist and vocalist, Gil Bridges, "We had many loyal fans in Chicago and our Arie Crown Theater shows always sold-out. We always enjoyed a good response from Chicago audiences" The night in 1974 when they recorded Live In Chicago is no exception - the crowd sounds ecstatic, even singing along on "I Just Want To Celebrate." But through personnel changes and a long stretch since Rare Earth had a strongselling album, Live In Chicago was never released - untii now!

Rare Earth continues to tour with two longtime members performing Gil Bridges and Ray Monette. The other members in the current lineup have been with the band for over 20 years. Today, in 2014 - just as 40 years ago in 1974 - there is nothing in the world like the elemental live sound of Rare Earth!
CD Liner-notes

1. Hey, Big Brother (Dino Fekaris, Nick Zesses) - 7:54
2. Born To Wander (Tom Baird) - 8:29
3. Big John Is My Name (Norman Whitfield) - 7:20
4. (I Know) I'm Losing You, Pt. 1 (Cornelius Grant, Edward Holland Jr., Norman Whitfield) - 7:53
5. (I Know) I'm Losing You, Pt. 2 (Cornelius Grant, Edward Holland Jr., Norman Whitfield) - 11:42
6. Get Ready (Smokey Robinson) - 14:37
7. I Just Want To Celebrate (Dino Fekaris, Nick Zesses) - 10:55

Rare Earth
*Pete Rivera - Drums, Lead Vocal, Percussion
*Mike Urso - Bass, Vocals
*Gil Bridges - Saxophone, Flute, Vocals
*Ray Monette - Guitars, Vocals
*Mark Olson - Keyboards, Vocals
*Ed Guzman - Conga, Percussion

1968  Dreams/Answers (2017 remaster)
1969-74  Fill Your Head (three cds box set, five studio albums plus outtakes and alternative versions)
1971  One World  (2015 audiophile remaster)

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