Mar 14, 2013

THE YOUNG RASCALS - YOUNG RASCALS (ATLANTIC 1966) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve mono+stereo

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The ATLANTIC years 1
The history of '60s rock is littered with stories of great rock classics -- the Savages' album, the Thirteenth Floor Elevators' first two albums, the first two Chocolate Watch Band albums -- that should have been better known than they were. The Young Rascals is that rare example of a genuinely great album that got heard and played, and sold and sold. Apart from the presence of a hit ("Good Lovin'") to drive sales, every kid (and his girlfriend) in any aspiring white rock band on the East Coast in 1966 seemingly owned a copy. And it's easy to see why -- the Rascals' debut couples a raw garage band sound with compelling white soul more successfully than just about any record since the Beatles' Please Please Me. The band had three powerful singers in Felix Cavaliere, Eddie Brigati, and Gene Cornish, and an attack honed in hundreds of hours of playing dance clubs on Long Island and New York City. The result is a record without a weak moment or a false note anywhere in its 35 minutes: "Do You Feel It" shows them crossing swords stylistically with Smokey Robinson & the Miracles; "Just a Little" and "Like a Rolling Stone" show off their folk-rock chops; and "Slow Down," "Good Lovin'," "Mustang Sally," and "In the Midnight Hour" are all '60s rock & roll classics in these versions. "Like a Rolling Stone," in particular, now seems all the more compelling, pointing the way toward a future that included Hendrix's version of "All Along the Watchtower." The original Atlantic album was one of the label's best-sellers of the mid-'60s. [allmusic] Here

THE YOUNG RASCALS - COLLECTIONS (ATLANTIC 1967) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve mono+stereo


The ATLANTIC years 2
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The garage rock feel has been banished almost entirely from the group's second album, whose release followed a pair of disappointing singles ("What Is the Reason" and "Come On Up"). It also includes their first misjudgment on an album, Gene Cornish's too quiet, too introspective, and way-too-languid "No Love to Give," amid an otherwise wonderfully soulful body of music that picks up right where "In the Midnight Hour" from the prior album left off. Most of this record is among the most danceable white rock music of its period -- even the Eddie Brigati-sung cover of the then-current pop standard "More" has a certain rocking credibility. Their attempt at bluesy rock & roll, Cornish's "Nineteen Fifty-Six," a bit of a "Kansas City" rip-off, with a pair of crunchy guitar parts and Cornish singing lead, also comes off extremely well. They're even better with the more soulful tracks, however. "Land of 1000 Dances" was the best track on which to end this album, but it was Cavaliere and David Brigati's "Love Is a Beautiful Thing" that pointed to the future, showing the group moving toward the mix of sounds and sentiments behind "People Got to Be Free.[allmusic]
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Jun 13, 2012

THE PARADE - THE PARADE (A&M 1968) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve




Sunshine pop pioneers Parade teamed veteran songwriter and producer Jerry Riopelle (a former Phil Spector associate who'd played keyboards on sessions headlined by the Ronettes, the Righteous Brothers, and Ike & Tina Turner) with character actors Murray MacLeod (known for his work on television series including Hawaii Five-O and Kung Fu) and Allen "Smokey" Roberds. MacLeod and Roberds -- longtime friends and songwriting partners who occasionally collaborated with Roger Nichols of A Small Circle of Friends fame, leading to erroneous rumors that Roberds and Nichols were in fact one and the same -- met Riopelle while unsuccessfully pitching a song written for Spector to produce; the trio soon christened themselves Parade, co-writing "Sunshine Girl" and selling the song to A&M producer Chuck Kay. Recorded with session legends including drummer Hal Blaine, bassist Carol Kaye, and saxophonist Teenage Steve Douglas, "Sunshine Girl" cracked the Billboard Top 20 in 1967, emerging as one of the first and most successful records to embody the summery, harmony-rich sound that would later be dubbed sunshine pop. During the process of recording the follow-up, "She's Got the Magic," fellow actor Stuart Margolin -- later "Angel" on the classic TV series The Rockford Files -- joined Parade as well; the second single failed to repeat the success of "Sunshine Girl," however, missing the pop charts altogether. The same fate befell the group's third release, "Frog Prince," although in 1968, Parade climbed as high as number 127 with "Radio Song." After two more flops, "She Sleeps Alone" and "Hallelujah Rocket," the group dissolved. While Riopelle later signed to Capitol as a solo act, MacLeod and Roberds briefly signed to Epic as Ian & Murray; as Freddie Allen, Roberds also recorded an early version of Nichols' and Paul Williams' "We've Only Just Begun," later a worldwide smash for the Carpenters.[allmusic]
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EAST - EAST (CAPITOL 1971) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve




Criminally overlooked in the psychedelic scene of the early '70s, East was a Japanese band that made music seemingly right at home in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. Despite the usage of traditional Japanese instruments such as the koto, biwa, taisho-goto, and the shakuchi, they sounded more like authentic West Coasters than a quintet born on the Land of the Rising Sun. Performing lyrics in perfect English, and with enough of an Americana influence to sound at times like the Flying Burrito Brothers -- at other times, more like Love or Jefferson Airplane -- the five bell-bottom- and paisley-clad lads put out only one self-titled album in 1972 before disbanding.[allmusic]
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*First official cd-reissue on Capitol!
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THE HAPPENINGS FOUR - MAGICAL HAPPENINGS TOUR (CAPITOL 1968) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve




The history of Happenings Four is an important one, despite their musical contributions to the Group Sounds scene being mainly disappointing and trite. For they were one of the few bands with the guts to try to break the GS mould and bring something new on board. They began in 1964 as a quintet named Sunrise, and were led by brothers Kuni and Chito Kawachi, on organ and percussion respectively. Playing a Latin based rock, Sunrise was completed by bassist Pepe Yoshihiro, percussionist Pedoro Umemura and guitarist Hiroshi Satomi. In 1966, Miki Curtis discovered them and took them to Tokyo, where they signed to the mighty management team Asuka Puro. Vocalist and conga player Tome Kitegawa joined at this time, and they were booked into night clubs and cabaret to develop their act. In 1967, when guitarist Hiroshi left to form Hiroshi Satomi & Ichibanboshi (‘The First Star’), the Kawachi brothers decided to sack percussionist Umemura and changed their name to Happenings Four. Signing to the Watanabe Pro management team, they gained immediate interest because of their novel guitarless line-up. Their debut single was okay, but gained press attention because of its incredible sleeve design, by legendary pop artist Tadanori Yokoo.
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In 1968, the second single ‘Kimi No Hitomi O Mitsumete (Looking Into Your Eyes)’ fared better, as did a third ‘Alligator Boogaloo’. Inspired by Miki Curtis’ tendency to ham it up, Happening Four successfully played up to the Japanese cliche with hair in top knots, and kimonos, releasing their debut LP THE MAGICAL HAPPENINGS TOUR in a gorgeous fold out jacket, depicting the members on an 10,000 yen note. In early 1969, Kuna Kawachi offered up his own version of the sounds coming from Britain’s The Nice and Soft Machine with the second album CLASSICAL ELEGANCE : BAROQUE’N’ROLL. This LP contained heavy versions of Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel songs in a sleeve of imaginary bucolic bliss, in which a pink clad and moustachioed Jason King-styled shepherd groover rests upon the roots of ye olde oak tree as his flock of sheep graze quietly in the Bach-ground. Later in ’69, Kawauchi enlisted Nobuhiko Shinohara on keyboards and vocals to boost the prog credentials of the oputfit, who now altered their name to Happenings Four +1. The band split in 1972, whereupon Kawachi recorded commercials, and contributed to the Love Live Life +1 project, as well as recording his classic LP KIRIKYOGEN with members of Flower Travellin’ band.[Julian Cope]
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AFFINITY - AFFINITY (VERTIGO 1970) Jap mastering BLU-SPEC cd cardboard sleeve deluxe edition 2 cd set




Signed by Vertigo in 1970 on the crest of the jazz-rock wave, the short-lived Affinity released only one single and album before splitting. Comprised of young singer Linda Hoyle, bassist Mo Foster, guitarist Mike Jupp, keyboardist Lynton Naiff, and drummer Grant Serpell, a musical maturity was displayed, blending folk, jazz, soul, blues, and elements of contemporary psychedelia and progressive rock. Highly regarded by critics, who praised the young Hoyle's powerful vocals and Naiff's inherent organ skills, it looked as if the band were to have a healthy career. Derek Jewell of The Sunday Times wrote, "Naiff is already a virtuso, soul-style, and the whole group is probably the best new thing heard in the jazz-pop area this year." But although the seven-track album was well received, the band split soon after. To label their work under any one genre is a hard task, and the jazz-rock/blues-rock classification they are usually squeezed into is far from fitting. As with many other late-'60s progressive acts, Affinity was just getting their footing when they split.
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The self-titled album by the short-lived outfit Affinity displays a lot of potential, which if not wholly successful has an individuality separating them from their more jazzy and progressive peers. If Linda Hoyle's talent for fusing the vocal traits of Bessie Smith, Grace Slick, and Sandy Denny together semi-successfully is the defining point, then Lynton Naiff's pounding Hammond workouts fall somewhere between the exceptional and the overdone. With the addition of John Paul Jones' fine brass arrangements, which are to the fore throughout, a very soulful feel reminiscent of the latter work of Brian Auger, Julie Driscoll & the Trinity is created. And the album's variety of moods sustains interest throughout. "Coconut Grove" (the Lovin' Spoonful song) is given a similar slow treatment to Donovan's diversions into jazz on Sunshine Superman, notably "The Observation," while a heavier element is supplied by a few heavy Hammond numbers, with a take on Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" being the most impressive. Although over 11 minutes long, some complex progressive organ work similar to Caravan's David Sinclair is displayed, preventing it from becoming predictable. A forlorn baroque Harpsichord interpretation of the Everly Brothers' "I Wonder if I Care as Much" adds haunting quality to the set with Jones' string arrangements and Hoyle's vocals working hand in hand, and "Mr. Joy" allows the young singer to pay patronage to her heroine, Grace Slick, in which the Jefferson Airplane comparisons can really be heard. At times overambitious. And a plethora of cover versions given the progressive treatment instead of Affinity originals is a major letdown. But as an early work of post-'60s progression, this album is a pleasurable experience recalling the days when musicians and singers really worked hard at what they did.[allmusic]
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EDGAR WINTER - ENTRANCE (EPIC 1970) Jap DSD mastering cardboard sleeve sleeve




Although he's often skirted the edges of blues music, at heart, saxophonist, keyboardist and composer Edgar Winter is a blues musician. Raised in Beaumont, TX, the younger brother of ukulele player and guitarist Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter has always pushed himself in new directions, synthesizing the rock, blues and jazz melodies he hears in his head. As a consequence, his fan base may not be what it could have been, had he made a conscious effort -- like his brother Johnny -- to stay in a blues-rock mold over the years. He's one musician who's never been afraid to venture into multiple musical arenas, often times, within the space of one album, as in his debut, Entrance (1970 Columbia Records).
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Edgar Winter came out of the chute kicking with this remarkable record filled with jazz, blues and a little old-fashioned rock & roll. The record follows an established theme throughout its first side, stringing the songs together without breaks, highlighted by dreamy keyboard and sax work, plus Winter's smooth vocalizations. But jazz isn't the only thing Edgar brings to the party. His first recorded version of the old J.P. Loudermilk tune "Tobacco Road" has a few nice punches in it (although the live version with White Trash a few years later would prove the definitive one). "Jimmy's Gospel" plays on his early church influences, while "Jump Right Out" is the predecessor of half a dozen "jump up and dance" numbers Winter would pepper his records with in years to come.[allmusic]
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EDGAR WINTER - EDGAR WINTER'S WHITE TRASH (EPIC 1971) Jap DSD mastering cardboard sleeve




Perhaps one of his best-loved albums, Edgar Winter's White Trash combined funk, blues, R&B, and rock & roll to create one of the freshest sounds of the '70s. Touching on gospel with "Fly Away" and "Save the Planet," Winter and his band cover all the bases, climbing into the lower end of the Top 40 with "Keep Playin' That Rock and Roll." Winter's hauntingly beautiful "Dying to Live," featuring some of his best piano work, serves as a valid anti-war statement, written at the height of the Vietnam era, and the remainder of the record is filled with genuine rock & roll/boogie-woogie/blues that will keep your head bobbing and your toes tapping.[allmusic]
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Feb 26, 2012

SWEET MAYA - SWEET MAYA (PP 1977) Korean mastering cardboard sleeve




The story of Sweet Maya is one that spans 40 years and involves a set of relationships that have remained strong despite time and distance.
The first chapter started in 1968 when Gail met John. As she recalls it “I met John prior to graduation and my most favorite memories involve a trip to a nightclub to hear a hot band, John being invited on stage to jam, and his horn turning the crowd upside down!”
It was after Gail and John came to Kalamazoo that the third piece of the Sweet Maya puzzle moved into place. As Gail describes it “I met Janice Lakers in a music theory class, we were the top two students. We got together one evening to sing and that's all it took. In short time we formed a folk duo, both of us playing guitars and Janice doubling on flute and percussion. John was always on the sidelines of our duo, helping us with arrangements, and sitting in with us when he could.” It was with the formation of this trio that the core of Sweet Maya was formed and plans for expansion were laid. Tom Davis, a drummer John worked with in a previous group quickly followed by guitarist/bassist Tom Hill.
Thus Sweet Maya was born.
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Where there had only been two now there were five but the sound of the band continued to be a work in progress. Feeling the need for a dedicated bassist and a more driving sound, the core Mayans sent out a call to audition bass players from around the area. Many tried out and all had their advantages yet in the end one player stood out among the rest, securing a sought after place in a successful local band. The one selected was Mark Bowen completing the six member, multi-instrumentalist band.
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Maya strived towards continuous improvement and as the rhythm section continued to strengthen the inherent weakness became the lack of a solid guitar soloist. Tom Hill, who had several creative differences with the core group, left the band as Sweet Maya ushered in the last piece of the puzzle, Rob Hayes. This formed the band that most remember as Sweet Maya and its performances drew huge audiences earning it a reputation as one of the foremost musical groups in the mid-western United States.[htpp://www.sweetmayamusic.com/]
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An obscure bit of mellow soul and vocals from this lost 70s Michigan combo! The group have a sound that's almost a 70s take on the groove of Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 – one that uses dual vocals to expand the front end of many of the tunes, plus some lightly dancing electric rhythms that really step out with some great fusiony touches on the best numbers. There's a great groovy soul and soft rock vibe to it – and titles include "Surround Me", "Gotta Find Out", "Papa Taco", "People Suite", "Good Day", and "The Earth Has. [Dusty Groove America]
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The music of Sweet Maya (originally formed in 1972 in Kalamazoo, MI) is an extension of each member. As individuals they bring together diverse backgrounds; as a group they blend it all into a sound that is exciting and full of warmth. This six-piece group of multi-talented instrumentalists has five lead singers, four songwriters and four arrangers. The music that grows from the contact of such persons is evidenced in this album. It is Sweet Maya (the illusion) that flows through and shapes the many idioms of their music. It is Rob Hayes, Tom Davis, Janice Lakers, Gail Baker, John Chamberlin and Mark Bowen who convey the experience. Listed in the Japanese book Rare Groove A To Z on Rittor Music and recommended for funk/soul/soft rock fans. Perfect music for putting on a pair of rainbow-colored overalls and hanging out in a field, zoning out or blissfully grooving.
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It is really a very good album .... don't miss it!
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Feb 15, 2012

EDGAR WINTER'S WHITE TRASH - ROADWORK (EPIC 1972) Jap DSD mastering cardboard sleeve




Edgar was signed to Epic Records in 1970 after performing on his brother's Second Winter album. He recorded Entrance, his debut, which featured himself on most of the instruments. After radio success accompanying his brother on Johnny Winter And, he formed a large horn ensemble called White Trash. Although it was a short-lived group which broke up in mid-'72, Winter assembled another group to record two more albums for Epic Records, White Trash and Roadwork. Winter's single, "Keep Playing That Rock 'n' Roll," reached number 70 on the U.S. rock radio charts, and the album Roadwork hit number 23 on the album charts. By the summer of 1972, through constant touring, (and a ready willingness to do interviews, unlike his older brother), Winter formed the Edgar Winter Group in the summer of 1972. In January, 1973, Epic released They Only Come Out at Night, produced by guitarist Rick Derringer, which reached number three in the U.S. This album had Winter's most famous song, "Frankenstein," which reached number one in the U.S. in May of 1973. Later that year, "Free Ride" from the same album reached number 14. Although he's never matched that kind of commercial radio success again, Winter has continued to tour and record at a prolific pace. He relocated from New York City to Beverly Hills in 1989 to pursue movie score work, which he's had some success with, most notably with a slightly reworked version of "Frankenstein" for the movie Wayne's World II.
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The live follow-up to 1971's Edgar Winter's White Trash finds the group running through a handful of the tunes from their debut album, as well as rocking things up a bit with "Still Alive and Well" (a track later recorded by Edgar's brother Johnny) and "Back in the U.S.A." One of the most immortal lines for any live rock album has to be "People keep askin' me -- where's your brother?" The introduction of guest artist Johnny Winter by his brother Edgar sets the stage for a rousing rendition of Rick Derringer's "Rock & Roll, Hoochie Koo." The extended version of blues classic "Tobacco Road" is one of the finest moments on this album, which is itself a classic.[allmusic]
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JOHN'S CHILDREN - ORGASM (WHITE WHALE 1970) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 4 bonus




REQUEST 1
Because Marc Bolan -- soon to become T. Rex -- was briefly a member, John's Children are perhaps accorded more reverence by '60s collectors and aficionados than they deserve. Still, they were an interesting, if minor, blip on the British mod and psychedelic scene during their relatively brief existence (1965-1968), although they were perhaps more notable for their flamboyant image and antics than their music. Yardbirds manager Simon Napier-Bell recalled that they were "positively the worst group I'd ever seen" when he chanced upon them in France in 1966, yet he was conned into taking them on as clients. Not proficient enough to be trusted to play on their own records, their first single, "Smashed Blocked"/"Strange Affair," was recorded with sessionmen in late 1966. This disorienting piece of musical mayhem, opening with a crescendo of swirling organs and an otherworldly over-reverbed vocal, was one of the first overtly psychedelic singles. Their improbable saga was launched when the single actually reached the bottom depths of the U.S. Top 100, cracking the Top Ten in some Florida and California markets. The group's U.S. company, White Whale, requested an album, which they shelved when it was received -- an LP with the then-unthinkable title of Orgasm. The actual album consisted of mediocre studio material smothered in audience screams lifted from the A Hard Day's Night soundtrack, and was, bizarrely, actually released in 1971 (and reissued a decade later). Their second single, "Just What You Want -- Just What You'll Get"/"But You're Mine," reached the British Top 40 and featured a guitar solo by recently departed Yardbird Jeff Beck on the B-side. A brief German tour followed, during which they managed to upstage the headliners, the Who (with their theatrics, not their music).
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At this point, Marc Bolan joined the group for a time as their principal singer and songwriter; details are hazy, but he recorded at least one single with the group, "Desdemona" (which was banned by the BBC for the line "lift up your skirt and fly"), as well as several unreleased cuts that have surfaced on reissues. Bolan departed in a squabble with Napier-Bell, and the group released a couple more flop singles before disbanding in 1968. Their half-dozen singles rank among the most collectible British '60s rock artifacts, and the group -- who managed some decent modish power pop once they learned their way around their instruments a bit -- were acclaimed as pre-glam rockers of sorts by historians. Andy Ellison (the group's lead singer except during Bolan's brief tenure) recorded some decent pop singles at the end of the '60s, and members of John's Children were involved with the obscure British groups Jook, Jet, and Radio Stars in the '70s.[allmusic]
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The file contains:
A. The "Orgasm" album + 4 bonus
B. The John's Children singles with Marc Bolan & more
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PRINCIPAL EDWARDS MAGIC THEATRE - SOUNDTRACK (DANDELION 1969) Japanese edition cardboard sleeve + 2 bonus




Principal Edwards Magic Theatre's first album (not an actual soundtrack; "Soundtrack" was just the title) was a fitfully inspired but exasperating of-its-time affair. The sprawling troupe, with more than ten musicians contributing to the record, was at its best when doing a form of British folk-rock with a wistful quasi-medieval air. That's best heard on the epic 13-minute "The Death of Don Quixote," and also on "Sacrifice," and "Enigmatic Insomniac Machine." To drag in an obscure reference, at times they sound like a far more folk-oriented counterpart to the early-'70s British art rock band Julian's Treatment, another band with a haunting, female lead singer who made much of dramatic tunes with a faintly theatrical, fantastical, storytelling spin. However, the multi-sectioned, winding tunes require patience to sit through, and the mood is sometimes shot by the band's periodic shifts into lumpy blues-rock. Had the group been centered around Vivienne McAuliffe's strong quasi-Renaissance balladry vocals (and occasional Shakespearean narration) and their folkier material, they'd be a worthy footnote in British folk-rock. But both their songwriting and approach were too inconsistent for that, and when McAuliffe steps aside in favor of male vocals, the singing's far less memorable.[allmusic]
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PRINCIPAL EDWARDS MAGIC THEATRE - THE ASMOTO RUNNING BAND (DANDELION 1971) Japanese edition cardboard sleeve




Once the darlings of British DJ John Peel, who first released these two albums on his Dandelion label, Principal Edwards Magic Theatre epitomized the English intellectual take on music. Comprised of students at Exeter University, the 15-strong troupe was a multimedia event, with music, dancing, and a light show -- everything a bunch of young hippies could want, really. However, they were very much of their time, as the music hasn't aged too well. Certainly the word "pretentious" springs to mind with titles like "Enigmatic Insomniac Machine," "Pinky -- A Mystery Cycle," and "Weirdsong of Breaking Through at Last," while the use of ethereal female voices (mostly Vivienne McAuliffe), recorders, and plenty of acoustic guitars offers a medieval feel -- "Third Sonnet to Sundry Notes of Music," which is Shakespeare set to music, runs from plainsong, to an Elizabethan dance, to portentous early English opera, before heading into electric boogie territory -- all in just the first minute of a 13-minute song. It's all completely over the top, full of its own cleverness, and trying to be thoroughly portentous. By the time of The Asmoto Running Band in 1970, they'd cut down the song times a little, and producer Nick Mason from Pink Floyd focused them a bit more. But it's still music with a heavy emphasis on art for art's sake, and ambition that far surpasses technique (especially in the case of guitarist Root Cartwright). It's impossible not to find some degree of warmth for what's essentially an artifact of a time long past, especially if you ever saw them play live. However, sitting through the whole thing for sheer pleasure is impossible. File under curio.[allmusic]
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Jan 14, 2012

MANFRED MANN - AS IS (FONTANA 1966) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve mono+stereo




The FONTANA years 1
The departure of frontman Paul Jones left Manfred Mann with a large void to fill in the summer of 1966. Not only was Jones a charismatic vocalist, he was also a writer and one of Manfred Mann's key selling points with the record buying public. The group's record company, HMV, realised this and hedged their bets by signing Jones for a new solo deal, but dropping the band from its roster.
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In late 1966 while Jones was enjoying success with his first solo single, "High Time," a new version of Manfred Mann emerged with a cover of Bob Dylan's "Just Like A Woman" on Fontana. The new line up featured Mike D'Abo as vocalist (previously with A Band Of Angels) and was augmented by Klaus Voorman on bass, with Tom McGuiness switching to lead guitar. Despite the magnitude of this personnel change, the single was a top 10 hit and paved the way for this album, As Is.
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Released in October 1966, As Is continued the pop sensibilities of their previous album, Mann Made, with the group firmly removed from its original R&B roots. In addition to "Just Like A Woman," highlights included a humorous tribute to a hangover entitled "Morning After The Party" and a slick vibes led rendition of the jazz standard "Autumn Leaves." Like many mid sixties albums, As Is seems to be a collection of songs, rather than a complete entity like Pet Sounds or Sgt. Pepper.
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In this instance some of the material does appear to be filler, such as the banal "Box Office Draw" and the chaotic "Another Kind Of Music." The general feel of the album shows a band searching for a direction and does not seem as focused or disciplined as the Jones-led R&B material. Nevertheless there is some excellent playing, particularly from drummer Mike Hugg and Manfred Mann himself, whose jazz influenced style helped add a high brow dimension to the group.
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The album was a top 20 hit in the UK charts and consolidated the group's reputation, on which they would continue to build over the next three years[allmusic]
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MANFRED MANN - MIGHTY GARVEY! (FONTANA 1968) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve mono+stereo




The FONTANA years 2
This was the third album from the chapter two version of the Manfred Mann group featuring lead-singer Mike dAbo. The group is mostly known for their big and fine hit-singles during 1966-69 such as "Just Like a Woman", "Seme-detached Suburban Mr James", "Fox on the Run and of course the two included on this album "Mighty Quinn" and "Ha, Ha, Said the Clown".
Their albums are all fine examples of early British pop-rock at its finest and really worth seeking out. All band members were experinced, talented and capeable of playing very different instruments and musical styles. This obviously shows on their albums and there is a great variety in instrumentation on their albums.
"Mighty Garvey" is probably their most consistent with fine original material from Hugg and dAbo, and apart from the "comedy" tracks "Happy Families" they stay away from their tendency to put in a couply of jazz-tunes. Though "Happy Families" hardly are meant to be taken seriously, the opener sets a fine free-and-easy mood for the album.
Mike dabo's "No Better, No Worse" is a great Traffic inspired tune featuring Klaus Voorman's flute, which is also known from more of their hits.
"Every Day Another Hair Turns Grey" is Mike Hugg's sad melodic answer to Beatles' "Penny Lane" - fine lead and harmony vocals on this one.
"Country Dancing" is a song much in the same vein as the single "Ha, Ha, Said the Clown", though not as good - written by dAbo.
"It's So Easy Falling in Love" and "Each and Every Day" are other fine typical Manfred Mann songs; featuring the mellotrone which also often was used on their records. Written by Hugg.
"Mighty Quinn" is simply one the greatest singles released in the late 1960's - try compare with Bob Dylan's original, then you'll understand how big this band really was.
The funky "Big Betty" is my least favourite on the album - may give associations towards Steve Winwoods Spencer Davis days.
Mike dabo's "The Vicar's Daughter" is a beautiful song, with lyrics that some may find somewhat too sentimental; for me personally it's a favourite.
Guitarist Tom McGuinnes also contributed a song now and then; here he is featured with the surrelistic and experimental "Cubist Town" - though different the song works fine in the context.
Hugg's "Harry the One Man Band" is a little more of the same - art pop-rock - naive in the same way as Syd Barrett's early Pink Floyd songs....
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Manfred Mann always used the long-play format to showcase its virtuosity and range of influences away from the world of pop singles. This was evident early in the band's career with albums such as The Five Faces of Manfred Mann, which was a hardcore R&B album, far removed from the pop sensibilities of singles like "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" and "Sha La La." The contrast between this album and their singles output of 1968 is not quite as stark, as the LP contains pop material such as "It's So Easy Falling" and "The Vicar's Daughter." More unorthodox selections include "Cubist Town," "Harry the One-Man Band," and "Country Dancing," which showcase the eclectic side of the group. The album failed to chart in the U.K., which is surprising considering Manfred Mann's popularity in 1968 -- three British Top Ten singles. Perhaps the inclusion of one or two more hits like "Ha Ha Said the Clown" would have attracted more sales. In the U.S., the album was released as The Mighty Quinn and mixed some tracks from this album with older single material. The result is a more balanced affair, with the hits providing a welcome contrast to the more highbrow material. However, the U.K. record business was intent on not duplicating singles on albums -- a tradition that became rare in the 1970s.[allmusic]
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