Saturday, March 25, 2017

Ashton Gardner And Dyke - Ashton Gardner And Dyke (1969 uk, stunning jazz prog rhythm 'n' blues)

The debut album by one of Britain's lesser-starred supergroup is a markedly different beast than fans of their former bands, the Remo Four and Creation, might have expected. Heavily influenced by the trio's shared love for jazz-rock, its nine songs are moods as much as music, only occasionally stepping out into something instantly recognizable -- distinctive covers of the Bee Gees' "New York Mining Disaster 1941" and Mose Allison's "Young Man Blues" are highlights. But the album peaks with its closing track, "As It Was in the First Place" a lengthy Ashton adaptation from the classical "Adagio from Concierto de Aranjuez."

With an arrangement borrowed from the Modern Jazz Quartet's own interpretation of the piece (among Tony Ashton's idols, few were more significant than MJQ's John Lewis), Ashton and Roy Dyke had already had one stab at the track, recording it with producer George Harrison during the last days of the Remo Four. The new version completely rewired that earlier performance, and stands as one of the pinnacles of British jazz-rock. The single "Maiden Voyage" offers another, while the group's sense of humor is well-evidenced by the similarly titled and themed pieces "Billy and his Piano Without" and "Billy and His Piano With." 
by Dave Thompson
1. Rolling Home - 3:31
2. Why Did You Go - 2:59
3. The Falling Song - 3:31
4. Young Man Ain't Nothing In The World These Days (Mose Allison) - 4:04
5. Billy And His Piano Without - 4:00
6. Maiden Voyage - 3:56
7. New York Mining Disaster 1941 (Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb) - 5:03
8. Picture Sliding Down The Wall - 4:40
9. Billy And His Piano With - 3:49
10.Vaggsang - 1:38
11.As It Was In The First Place - 6:30
12.Maiden Voyage, Long Version - 5:23
13.See The Sun In My Eyes (Melouny) - 3:26
14.Resurrection Shuffle - 3:17
15.Can You Get It - 3:32
All songs written by Tony Ashton except where noted
Bonus Tracks 12-15

*Tony Ashton - Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Vocals
*Kim Gardner -  Bass
*Roy Dyke - Drums

1970  Ashton, Gardner And Dyke - The Worst Of  
1971  Ashton, Gardner and Dyke - Let It Roll / Live  
Related Acts
1967-68  Remo Four - Smile  
1964-66  The Creation - How Does It Feel To Feel  
1964-66  The Birds - Collectors' Guide To Rare British Birds

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Mason Proffit - Movin' Toward Happiness (1971 us, amazing folk psych rural rock, 2006 edition)

Based in Chicago, Mason Proffit played a style of country-rock that owed less to the more pop-oriented style of L.A. bands like Poco than it did to the newly bluegrass-happy Grateful Dead of American Beauty and its emerging offshoot, the New Riders of the Purple Sage. Despite the pedal steel guitar, fiddle, banjo, and Dobro, the Talbot brothers, who led the group, were less about a new Nashville than about a fusion of the Old West with hippiedom. They lamented the plight of Native Americans in "Flying Arrow," and while they could pick a mean hoedown on "Old Joe Clark," their version somehow managed to express antiwar sentiments. 

They recognized the connection between the cowboy myth and the independent spirit of truck drivers, and they managed to mix it all in with a sort of primitive Christianity. In this, they were very much of their time. Mike Cameron's "Good Friend of Mary's" fit into the emerging Jesus cult that identified the Christian savior as a kind of proto-hippie, preaching peace and love while wandering the country in long hair and sandals, and the Talbots sang it with their warm tenor harmony in complete sincerity. Such music wasn't going to make it far out of the early '70s, but in 1971 it was perfectly appealing, and Movin' Toward Happiness managed to make the national charts despite being released on the band's own label, suggesting that they had the potential to appeal beyond a cult.
by William Ruhlmann
1. Michael Dodge -  2:58
2. Hard Luck Woman -  2:56
3. Children -  2:51
4. Hokey Joe Pony -  2:24
5. Flying Arrow -  3:30
6. Old Joe Clark -  4:02
7. Let Me Know Where You're Goin' -  2:29
8. Melinda -  3:40
9. Good Friend Of Mary's (Mike Cameron) -  2:46
10.He Loves Them -  3:33
11.Everybody Was Wrong -  5:20
All compositions by John Talbot, Terry Talbot

The Mason Proffit
*Terry Talbot - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*John Talbot - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Vocals
*Tim Ayres - Bass
*Art Nash - Drums, Percussion
*Ron Schuetter - Guitar, Vocals

1969  Mason Proffit - Wanted (2006 issue)
1971  Mason Proffit - Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream (2006 isuue)
1973  Mason Proffit - Bareback Rider (2006 issue)  
1974  Mason Proffit - Come And Gone

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Man Made - Man Made (1972 canada, sensational psych brass rock with prog shades, 2010 remaster)

After Illustration disbanded, the individual members went their separate ways. Some toured with a production of Jesus Christ Superstar, while others, such as Roger Homefield, went on to record with such notable musicians as Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, and The Miami Sound Machine. Several of the members of Illustration got back together in the following years with various bands, among which were Fox, The Michel Comeau Blues Band, and Man Made. Of these groups, Man Made achieved some critical and commercial success. 

It was a smaller band than Illustration and had an altogether new sound. They met with Gilles Talbot and producer Andre Perry and recorded a self-titled album on the Good Noise label, which was released in 1972. Man Made continued to play in Montreal with other musicians, including Jerry Mercer of April Wine, Rene Hamelin, Bob Baines, Denis Comeau, Gilles Beland, Roger Walls, and Gerry Labelle. In 1977, the members of Man Made anonymously recorded a disco single entitled “Dracula Disco” for songwriter Gerry Bribosia. However, the band never recorded a second album under their own name and disbanded by the end of the 1970s. 
1. Man Made - 19:50
2. Carnival - 5:10
3. Reflections - 3:09
4. Evolution - 3:15
5. Keep On Moving - 2:21
6. Country Company - 2:42
All selections written by Jean Ranger, Billy Ledster

Man Made
*Billy Ledster - Vocals, Electric Piano
*Jean Ranger - Organ, Synthesizer, Backing Vocals
*Richard Terry - Bass, Backing Vocals
*Claude Roy - Drums
*Roger Walls - Horns, Flute
*Michel Como - Vocal
*P.J. Lauzon - Guitar
*Jerry Mercer - Drums
*Glenn Higgins - Saxophone
*Denis Comeau - Flute
*Richard Provencial - Drums

1970  Illustration - Illustration (2006 Remaster)

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Illustration - Illustration (1970 canada, significant jazz brass rock, 2006 remaster)

For those who care for music labels, “big band jazz-rock” was a popular musical genre that began in the late 1960s. Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago are the bands that typically come to mind. But these were by no means the only bands to fall under this label. Among such others were Archie Whitewater and The Ides of March; however, arguably the least known of these bands, and today unjustly forgotten, was the Montreal-based Illustration. Bands that end up long forgotten often deserve it for various reasons, but the lack of notoriety Illustration now suffers is certainly undeserved. Illustration was an excellent group that demonstrated superior musicianship in every way, but after only one formal record release, poor management led to the band’s untimely demise. 

Formed at the Fontaine Bleu in St. Jean, Quebec in 1968, Illustration was essentially the combination of two other bands playing throughout Ontario and Quebec at the time: The Phoenix of Ayre’s Cliff and The Jades.  

The Phoenix of Ayre’s Cliff originally began as The Dynamics, a group formed by guitarist Jimmy Mann. Throughout the mid-sixties, the band underwent various makeovers, beginning with Jimmy Mann’s departure and eventual return. Chan Romero, famous for his song “Hippy Hippy Shake,” replaced Jimmy Mann in the interim period, during which time the band was known as Romero and The Reputations, but subsequently left the band while the group was in Quebec. The Dynamics eventually became The Phoenix of Ayre’s Cliff, whose members were Hans Stamer on vocals, Bob Deutscher on guitar, Norman Burgess on saxophone, Kenny Brabant on drums, Ken Folk on bass, and Richard Terry on organ.

The Jades originally began as The Flaming Stars in the early 1960s and were led by drummer Don Carpentier. This band played together for nine years throughout Quebec and Ontario appearing at such notable venues as the Esquire Show Bar in Montreal. Billy Ledster was the vocalist for the band with Rene Hamelin on guitar and Johnny Ranger on organ. 

By the late 1960s, members of The Phoenix of Ayre’s Cliff wanted to return to Western Canada, where most of them were from. Richard Terry and Norman Burgess, however, wanted to form a bigger group with which to go the United States. In particular, Richard Terry was intrigued by the Chicago-based group, The Mob, namely that band’s use of brass in its line-up, and wanted to do something similar. Norman Burgess had heard The Jades play before and thought they had the right sound. He proposed the idea of he and Richard Terry joining The Jades to realise their vision of a big band sound. When the two met organist Johnny Ranger and vocalist Billy Ledster from The Jades, who were performing at the Fontaine Bleu in St. Jean, Quebec in 1968, they agreed to form a new group, which, at Richard Terry’s suggestion, came to be called The Sound Syndicate. Don Carpentier and Rene Hamelin had different interests and declined to participate in the new band. With Johnny Ranger on organ, Richard Terry moved over to bass, and the band quickly began to grow adding Claude Roy on drums, who had previously played with The Jades, Benoit Perreault and Paul Perkins, from Boston, on trumpet, Garry Beattie, who had briefly played with The Phoenix of Ayre’s Cliff, on guitar, and Gerry Labelle on saxophone. The group was managed by Don Seat of Boston and began playing regularly at the Fontaine Bleu whereupon trumpeter Leo Harinen joined the group to replace Paul Perkins. 

The Sound Syndicate had quickly developed into a nine-member group and was still expanding. While playing at Lucifer’s in Boston one evening in 1969, trombonist Roger Homefield sat in with the band and found himself a new member by the end of the night. Continuing to play various clubs along the east coast of the United States, the band was in Seaside Heights, New Jersey when Gerry Labelle left to pursue work in Chicago. In need of new saxophone player, the band acquired Donald Sanders, whom Richard Terry knew from the early 1960s, and his wife, Scherri Saint James, who contributed additional vocals to the band.  

Having now eleven members, The Sound Syndicate was heard by manager Barry Wolfe who introduced the band to producer Alan Lorber. Alan Lorber was impressed with what he heard and signed the band for a one-record deal with Janus Records. The group began recording its debut album at A&R Studios in New York in late 1969. Eager to play their music, the band continued to perform at numerous venues on the east coast. The band once again changed personnel as Glenn Higgins joined the band to replace Donald Sanders who had left for Nashville to pursue other interests, and Billy Shiell joined the group in Miami adding a third trumpet. Prior to the band’s upcoming record release, Alan Lorber had a particular concept in mind and suggested that the band change their name. The band adopted their new name, Illustration, while playing at the Stock Market Club in St. Petersburg, Florida. 

During this time, the group shared the stage with some notable performers. While playing at the Newport Hotel in Miami, Florida the band backed up Ike & Tina Turner and later performed with Joe Cocker, Rod Stewart, Miles Davis, H.P. Riot, and Funkadelic. The band also enjoyed critical acclaim with a very positive review in the June, 1970 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine and similarly positive reviews from John Wilson, a jazz critic for the New York Times, Dave Bist, a music columnist for the Montreal Gazette, and Dennis Washburn, a music columnist for the Birmingham News. As well, the band’s first single, “Our Love’s a Chain,” did quite well on Canadian radio reaching at least as high as 12 on the hit parade.

However, by late 1971 many of the members were growing increasingly weary of what they perceived to be poor management. Despite having enough material for their next album and an offer from Warner Bros. Records, the prospects for the group were fading. While in Montreal, Quebec, Illustration was approached to record some music for a French-Canadian film called Après Ski, produced by Jean Zaloum. Five songs were recorded at RCA Victor Studios in Montreal and released on the soundtrack to the film. According to Johnny Ranger, the group recorded the five songs without any overdubs and within a short time of just a few hours. However, the band was never credited for its contribution to the film due to legal constraints until the album was re-released in 2012 by Disques Pluton. Shortly after recording the soundtrack the group disbanded.

It is unfortunate that Illustration did not last. Their music was sophisticated and their musicianship was excellent. The band played with a unified musical soul that gave them a unique sound that was distinctly their own. No other band could match the power of Illustration’s six-member horn section. Clearly, talent does not always guarantee commercial success, for if it did, Illustration would have gone much farther and would be well-known today. As it happens, they are today almost completely forgotten but for a few who recall their music. In 2012, for example, the soundtrack to the film Après Ski was remastered and re-released on the Pluton label in Quebec, where that music has remained sought after and has enjoyed somewhat of a cult status. Many of the former members of Illustration, however, continue to be active in music today; and in spite of their brief stint, their music remains as impressive today as ever it was. 
1. Upon The Earth (Donald Sanders) - 2:10
2. Our Love's A Chain (Johnny Ranger, Donald Sanders) - 2:30
3. Distant (Richard Terry, Billy Ledster) - 3:49
4. I Don't Want To Cry (Luther Dixon, Chuck Jackson) - 3:17
5. Life Tasters, Time Wasters (Johnny Ranger) - 2:31
6. The Road (Billy Ledster) - 2:53
7. Home (Bernie Miller, Lesley Miller) - 4:26
8. Was It I (Donald Sanders) - 2:21
9. Box Of Glass (Billy Ledster) - 5:06
10.Thelicia (Donald Sanders) - 3:21

The Illustration
*Richard Terry - Bass
*Garry Beattie - Guitar
*Billy Ledster - Vocals
*Johnny Ranger - Organ, Piano
*Claude Roy - Drums
*Donald Sanders - Tenor Saxophone
*Norman Burgess - Baritone Saxophone
*Roger Homefield - Trombone
*Benoit Perreault - Trumpet
*Leo Harinen - Trumpet
*Scherri Saint James - Additional Vocals

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Zoldar And Clark - Zoldar And Clark (1977 us, tremendous prog rock, 2008 remaster)

From 1976 to 1978, many albums were released on what is known as "tax scam" record labels, which were sometimes subsidiaries of larger record labels. These albums were printed in very small quantities, but the label would claim that thousands were printed and didn't sell so they could claim them as a major tax deduction. The scam supposedly ended when the tax loophole that allowed it was closed. Most of these albums were from unreleased tapes that these record companies owned or purchased or took, some of which were demos or unfinished albums, and very often the bands themselves didn't even know of their existence as band and song names were changed.

Zoldar & Clark is actually Jasper Wrath in disguise. They recorded two albums after Jasper Wrath that were both released as tax scam albums under the names Arden House and Zoldar & Clark. I've yet to track down Arden House's album Coming Home to listen to that one, but reviews seem to state that it's the weakest of the three. The original album release of Zoldar & Clark contained only 7 tracks, and all songs are excellent, extremely accessible progressive rock with crystal clear lyrics and production like Jasper Wrath. Standouts are the very trippy instrumental "Lunar Progressions," and the 6 and a half minute "The Ghost of Way," which is one of the best songs I've ever heard, full of incredible singing, multiple time changes, tremendous musical diversity and even the occasional mellotron thrown in for good measure.

To add to the confusion, not only has Zoldar & Clark been released on CD in its original 7-track format, but it also exists as an 11-track CD called The Ghost of Way, which contains only 5 of the 7 original tracks, 1 track from the Jasper Wrath album, 1 track from the Arden House album, and 4 tracks unique to that collection, and again, every song is more of the brilliant, accessible progressive rock that would appeal even to people who aren't usual fans of the genre. It's worth getting both versions to have all the tracks as this is essential stuff that would appeal to a very wide audience.
by Gary Bearman
1. Lunar Progressions (Instrumental) - 4:57
2. The Ghost of Way - 6:32
3. Roland Of Montevere - 7:52
4. Touch The Sky - 5:15
5. Father - 5:10
6. Now Is The Time - 4:52
7. The City - 2:58
8. You - 2:43
9. Somewhere Beyond The Sun - 8:50
10.To Be Alive - 3:51
11.The Dream - 5:13

Zoldar And Clark
*Jeff Batter - Piano, Synths
*Jeff Cannata - Drums, Woodwinds, Guitar, Vocals
*James Christian - Vocals, Guitar
*Robert Giannotti - Guitar, Flute, Vocals
*Michael Soldan - Piano, Synths, Mellotron, Vocals
*Phil Stone - Bass, Flute, Vocals
*Scott Zito - Guitar, Keys, Vocals

1971  Jasper Wrath - Jasper Wrath (2009 remaster)  

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Jasper Wrath - Jasper Wrath (1971 us, awesome prog rock, 2009 remaster)

Jasper Wrath grabs you right away with crystal clear vocals and production, and a very melodic and accessible sound. It doesn't get too instrumentally adventurous, but stays very enjoyable throughout with well –crafted songs. "Look to the Sunrise" is an enthusiastic and upbeat opener. "Mysteries (You Can Find Out)" contains some nice guitar and great lyrics about ancient cities. "Autumn" contains some nice flute, which really comes to the fore in the excellent 7-minute "Odyssey" that closes out Side 1 - a very trippy and spacy track.

Side 2 opens with "Did You Know That," and has a very ‘70's good-timey feel. "Drift Through Our Cloud" contains some nice tribal percussion for a change of pace. The five-minute "Portrait: My Lady Angelina" is a beautiful track, and the eight-minute "Roland of Montevere" is a fitting complex and dramatic closer with a very baroque feel. This is a very solid and enjoyable effort by a band that was going places. 
by Gary Bearman
1. Look to the sunrise (Jeff Cannata, Phil Stoltie) - 2:58
2. Mysteries (you can find out) (Jeff Cannata) - 3:53
3. Autumn (Jeff Cannata, Michael Soldan) - 4:55
4. Odyssey (Jeff Cannata, Phil Stoltie) - 7:09
5. Did you know that (Jasper Wrath, Joey Levine) - 2:57
6. Drift through our cloud (Jasper Wrath, Phil Stoltie) - 3:36
7. Portrait: My Lady Angelina (Jeff Cannata, Michael Soldan) - 5:07
8. Roland of Monteverre (Jeff Cannata, Michael Soldan, Robert Gianotti) - 7:55

The Jasper Wrath
*Michael Soldan - Keyboards, Vocals
*Jeff Cannata - Drums, Percussion, Guitar, Woodwinds
*Robert Gianotti - Guitar, Flute, Vocals
*Phil Stone - Bass, Vocals

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Paladin - Paladin (1971 uk, excellent fusing of prog rock jazz and latin, 2007 remaster)

Brainchild of ex-Terry Reid members Peter Solley and Keith Webb, Paladin was born to fuse. But even with their wildly eclectic sound -- incorporating Cuban rhythms, jazz, rock, and psychedelia, the quintet aimed at a surprisingly accessible sound, and should have been a commercial monster. Paladin inked a deal with Bronze and released their eponymous debut album in 1971, a set that still quivers with creativity. Recorded live in the studio, the entire album has an immediacy to it, with even the downtempo numbers filled with energy. 

The opening "Bad Times" shows they mean business, the Latin rhythms underpinning an organ melody and a rousing chorus Traffic would have ground to a halt for, but before the almost seven-minute song comes to the end, the band bounces into a Santana-esque jam led by the raging, psychedelic, acid-drenched organ, which gets an even bigger workout on the rocking "Fill Up Your Heart," a song which must have been absolutely lethal live. "Dance of the Cobra" slithers through so many genres it's hard to keep track -- Latin, funk, and jazz, for openers, and then guitarist Derek Foley strides in with a fiery solo before Webb launches into an extended big-band drum extravaganza, which he deftly transforms into rock, before the band goes out with a psychedelic flourish.

That number's breathtaking, "Third World" is groundbreaking. It's obviously inspired by the Last Poets, an exuberant drum and percussion piece in a Latin/Afro-beat mode, over which the vocalists chant/rap a series of () - sadly inaccurate) predictions for the years to come, ending with a sashay of jazzy R&B piano. That latter styling predominates across the bluesy, Southern tinged "Carry Me Home," another splendid number aimed straight at arena audiences. "Flying High" soars straight towards the airwaves, a luminescent pop number whose reggae undertones are so subtle they could almost go unnoticed. But there's no mistaking "The Fakir"'s ethnic origins, an exotic slice of Arabesque that swirls around the evocative melody like a dervish. As diverse as it is, Paladin's infectious rhythms and strong melodies pull the album together, and the excitement never lets up. 
by Jo-Ann Greene
1. Bad Times (Peter Solley) - 6:50
2. Carry Me Home (Pete Beckett, Lou Stonebridge) - 3:23
3. Dance Of The Cobra (Keith Webb) - 7:39
4. Third World (Peter Solley) - 3:54
5. Fill Up Your Heart (Peter Solley) - 5:40
6. Flying High (Peter Solley) - 5:02
7. The Fakir (Lalo Schifrin) - 4:47

The Paladin
*Lou Stonebridge - Vocals, Electric Piano, Harmonica
*Peter Solley - Organ, Violin, Grand Piano
*Keith Webb - Drums, Percussion
*Derek Foley - Lead Guitar, Slide Guitar, Vocals
*Pete Beckett - Bass, Vocals

Related Acts
1966-69  Terry Reid - Superlungs / The Complete Studio Recordings (two disc set)
1967  Donovan - A Gift From A Flower To A Garden (2008 remaster)
1967-69  Ruperts People - Magic World Of Rupert's People (2001 Circle limited edition)
1970  Philamore Lincoln - The North Wind Blew South (2010 remastered edition)
1972  Bond And Brown - Two Heads Are Better Than One (2009 remaster) 

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Good God - Good God (1972 us, intense jazz prog rock, 2012 remaster)

The early 1970's was a fertile period for the fusion of jazz and rock. Stanley Clarke, Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea along with "The Prince of Darkness" Miles Davis himself were making ground breaking albums. Good God certainly fits that description even though it did not get much attention at the time.

Featuring the keyboards of Cotton Kent along with Zeno Sparkles, guitar and vocals, Greg Scott, saxophones, John Ransome, bass and Hank Ransome drums, this album really cooks with a selection of tracks that still sound fresh almost forty years later.

Mainly instrumental with some vocal accents and one actual song the tight arrangements are inventive and hold your interest after repeated listening. Good God has a sound all their own. Standout tracks include "Glaorna Gavorna", featuring the British tenor man from John Mayall's band Johnny Almond, "King Kong", the Frank Zappa Classic, and a killer version of John McLaughlin's "Dragon Song"
1. A Murder Of Crows (Larry Cardarelli) - 6:24
2. Galorna Gavorna (Cotton Kent) - 5:11
3. King Kong (Frank Zappa) - 8:53
4. Dragon Song (John McLaughlin) - 4:20
5. Zaragoza (Cotton Kent) - 6:31
6. Fish Eye (Larry Cardarelli) - 8:37

The Good God
*Zeno Sparkles "Larry Cardarelli" - Guitar, Vocals
*Cotton Kent - Keyboards, Soprano Saxophone, Marimba, Vocals
*Greg Scott - Soprano, Alto, Tenor Saxophones
*John Ransome - Bass
*Hank Ransome - Drums, Vocals
*Johnny Almond - Tenor Saxophone
*Bruce Solomon - Trombone
*Bob Martin - French Horn
*Bob Shemenek - Trumpet
*Larry Washington - Conga

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Help Yourself - 5 (1973 uk, exceptional folk prog classic rock, 2004 release)

Formed in London in 1969, Help Yourself released four very fine albums which drew heavily on the sound of West Coast outfits like Buffalo Springfield and Quicksilver Messenger Service.

In 1973 they began recording their fifth album. However, these sessions were never completed, the album was never released, and the band split later that year.

That legendary 'lost 5th album' has been highly sought after by collectors ever since.

After the band split, Malcolm Morley joined 'Man', while the rest of his former colleagues teamed up with 'Deke Leonard's Iceberg'.

Eventually, in the winter of 2002, the original Help Yourself band members, augmented by drummer Kevin Spacey, gathered once more to finally complete their fifth album. 
1. Light Your Way (Malcolm Morley) - 3:49
2. Cowboy Song (Martin Ace) - 6:59
3. Monkey Wrench (Dave Charles, Ken Whaley, Malcolm Morley, Richard Treece, Sean Tyla) - 1:12
4. Romance In A Tin (Malcolm Morley) - 4:35
5. Grace (Malcolm Morley) - 3:43
6. Martha (Sean Tyla) - 3:24
7. Monkey Wrench (Reprise) (Dave Charles, Ken Whaley, Malcolm Morley, Richard Treece, Sean Tyla) - 1:46
8. The Rock (Malcolm Morley) - 6:00
9. Willow (Malcolm Morley) - 3:18
10.Alley Cat (Ken Whaley, Robert Catelinet) - 5:38
11.Duneburgers (Dave Charles, Ken Whaley, Richard Treece, Sean Tyla) - 4:37

*Deke Leonard - Guitar
*David Charles - Drums, Vocals
*Sean Tyla - Guitar
*Malcolm Morley - Guitar, Keyboards, Piano, Vocals
*Kevin Spacey - Drums
*Richard Treece - Guitar
*Ken Whaley - Bass, Vocals

1971-73  Help Yourself - Reaffirmation An Anthology (2014 Remaster)  
Related Acts
1969  Man - Revelation (2009 remaster and expanded)  
1969  Man - 2 Ozs Of Plastic With A Hole In The Middle (2009 Esoteric remaster)
1971  Ernie Graham - Ernie Graham (2014 japan remaster)  

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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Nils Lofgren And Grin - 1+1 / All Out (1971-72 us, spectacular classic rock with folk and country drops, 2007 remaster)

1+1 was the second album from Grin, an LA based band fronted by Nils Lofgren (who originally hailed from Washington, DC). This lp followed their rock solid, self-titled debut album from 1971. 1+1 sounded stronger, more confident and clearly displayed Lofgren’s talent as a musician and songwriter.

Lofgren had always believed in straight ahead rock n roll though some of the songs on this lp veer towards roots rock and orchestrated pop rock. The first side of the original lp featured mid tempo rockers while side 2 was devoted to Emitt Rhodes/Paul McCartney-like ballads. It was yet another hard luck record from the era, and even though 1+1 had many shining moments, it still did not sell well. White Lies opened 1+1 on a firey note with sharp Lofgren vocals, Moody Blues-like harmonies and sparkling rustic accoustic guitars. The first half of this lp is really a record for classic rock fanatics and will surely appeal to fans of Todd Rundgren and Crazy Horse. Moon Tears, End Unkind and Please Don’t Hide are ballsy, hard hitting and tasteful, making it hard to believe that Lofgren is known for who he has played with (Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young) rather than that of his own music.

Most of the rock n roll heard on this record is much stronger than what you would hear on your local classic rock radio station. For pop obsessives side 2 had some lost gems. Hi, Hello Home has some pretty banjo and is a folk-rocker that strongly recalled the Buffalo Springfield classic A Child’s Claim to Fame. Other tracks such as Just A Poem, Sometimes and the excellent harpsichord/strings ballad Soft Fun have a lost romanticism that really penetrates the soul.

There are no weak moments on this lp and as solid as it is, Lost a Number is the one track that exists outside the box. It’s a timeless classic, a heartbreaking piece of lost love with beautiful accordian playing and a catchy melody. In a perfect world, had this wonderful power pop song been released as a single, it would have been a hit record. Lofgren went on to release a few more records with Grin and some fine critically acclaimed solo works throughout the 1970’s.
by Jason Nardelli

1+1 was recorded in an independent studio called Wally Heider’s in Los Angeles. “As the thing took shape, we realized that the batch of songs that we had were almost half and half — gentler and hard,” recalled Lofgren. “I don’t remember whose idea it was, but we all started batting around, ‘Well why don’t we just use it as a strength?’” The decision was made to have all the soft songs on one side and the up-tempo numbers on the other. This process also gave the new album its title: 1+1. “It was just a function of the Rockin’ Side and the Dreamy Side,” Lofgren said.

The cherry on the album’s icing is Briggs’ fabulous wide-screen production technique. 1+1 is described by the New Musical Express Encyclopedia Of Rockas “one of the lost classics of rock” because criminally, it failed to sell. “White Lies,” which opens the Rockin’ Side, became Grin’s only Top 40 chart entry.

By the time Grin released their third album, they had an additional guitarist. “My brother Tom Lofgren joined the band,” Lofgren said. “We just realized we had the rough, sparse thing covered as a trio, but now our music was getting a little more melodic and open and we really needed a fourth member.”

All Out (1973) is a thoroughly enjoyable record, if a little lightweight compared to its stunning predecessor. It was to be the band’s last record for Spindizzy, the controversial departure of Clive Davis making the band unhappy with the label. They ended up on A&M, but their final album, Gone Crazy (1974), is something of a damp squib, not just sales-wise but — for the first time — artistically. A&M pulled the plug.
by Patrick Prince, Editor of Goldmine
1. White Lies - 3:28
2. Please Don't Hide - 4:00
3. Slippery Fingers - 4:09
4. Moon Tears - 2:17
5. End Unkind - 4:01
6. Sometimes - 2:37
7. Lost a Number - 3:09
8. Hi, Hello Home - 2:28
9. Just a Poem - 2:40
10.Soft Fun - 5:39
11.Sad Letter - 3:11
12.Heavy Chevy - 3:34
13.Don't Be Long (Roger McGuinn, Harvey Gerst) - 2:20
14.Love Again - 4:06
15.She Ain't Right (Nils Lofgren, Bob Gordon) - 3:27
16.Love or Else - 3:42
17.Ain't Love Nice - 2:09
18.Heart On Fire - 4:58
19.All Out - 3:07
20.Rusty Gun - 2:20
21.Just To Have You - 2:18
All songs written by Nils Lofgren except where stated.

*Nils Lofgren - Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
*Bob Berberich - Drums, Vocals
*Bob Gordon - Bass, Vocals
*Graham Nash - Vocals (Track 8)
*David Blumberg - Orchestration (Tracks 9, 10)
*Tom Lofgren - Guitars, Background Vocals (Tracks 11-20)
*Kathy McDonald - Vocals (Tracks 11-20)

1971  Grin - Grin (2005 remaster)

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