Dec 28, 2009
BRIAN AUGER & THE TRINITY - DEFINITELY WHAT? (MARMALADE 1968) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 3 bonus
Brian Auger was raised in London, where he took up the keyboards as a child and began to hear jazz by way of the American Armed Forces Network and an older brother's record collection. By his teens, he was playing piano in clubs, and by 1962 he had formed the Brian Auger Trio with bass player Rick Laird and drummer Phil Knorra. In 1964, he won first place in the categories of "New Star" and "Jazz Piano" in a reader's poll in the Melody Maker music paper, but the same year he abandoned jazz for a more R&B-oriented approach and expanded his group to include John McLaughlin (guitar) and Glen Hughes (baritone saxophone) as the Brian Auger Trinity. This group split up at the end of 1964, and Auger moved over to Hammond B-3 organ, teaming with bass player Rick Brown and drummer Mickey Waller. After a few singles, he recorded his first LP on a session organized to spotlight blues singer Sonny Boy Williamson that featured his group, saxophonists Joe Harriott and Alan Skidmore, and guitarist Jimmy Page; it was Don't Send Me No Flowers, released in 1968.
By mid-1965, Auger's band had grown to include guitarist Vic Briggs and vocalists Long John Baldry, Rod Stewart, and Julie Driscoll, and was renamed Steampacket. More a loosely organized musical revue than a group, Steampacket lasted a year before Stewart and Baldry left and the band split. Auger retained Driscoll and brought in bass player Dave Ambrose and drummer Clive Thacker to form a unit that was billed as Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and the Trinity. Their first album, Open, was released in 1967 on Marmalade Records (owned by Auger's manager, Giorgio Gomelsky), but they didn't attract attention on record until the release of their single, "This Wheel's on Fire," in the spring of 1968, which preceded the appearance of the song on the Band's Music from Big Pink album. The disc hit the top five in the U.K., after which Open belatedly reached the British charts. Auger and the Trinity recorded the instrumental album Definitely What! (1968) without Driscoll, then brought her back for the double-LP, Streetnoise (1968), which reached the U.S. charts on Atco Records shortly after a singles compilation, Jools & Brian, gave them their American debut on Capitol in 1969. Driscoll quit during a U.S. tour, but the Trinity stayed together long enough to record Befour (1970), which charted in the U.S. on RCA Records, before disbanding in July 1970...
Every era needs its crooner, and in the early '60s, it was Bobby Vinton. Vinton's sentimental balladeering and orchestral, middle-of-the-road arrangements were a throwback to a decade earlier, before rock & roll had found its mass market. If Vinton is sometimes identified with a rock & roll audience, it's only because his music was bought by young listeners for a time, and because he still catches some airplay on oldies stations. What he sang was vocal pop, landing some of the biggest hits of the early '60s with "Roses Are Red (My Love)," "Blue on Blue," "There! I've Said It Again," "Mr. Lonely," and "Blue Velvet," the last of which has become his signature song in the wake of its notorious prominence in David Lynch's Blue Velvet.
Vinton originally aspired to lead a big band, and made big band versions of contemporary hits on his first recordings in the early '60s. When he began singing, however, he was quickly successful, reaching number one with "Roses Are Red (My Love)" in mid-1962. The syrupy, saccharine arrangements set the mold for his emotional, occasionally mournful hits throughout the early '60s. 1963 was his banner year, as he hit number three with "Blue on Blue," and then topped the charts with "Blue Velvet" and "There! I've Said It Again."
"There! I've Said It Again" was knocked out of the number one spot by the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand." But the British Invasion, surprisingly, didn't spell commercial death for Vinton, as it did for so many other balladeers and teen idols. Indeed, he had one of his biggest hits (and his final number one), the sobbing "Mr. Lonely," in late 1964.[allmusic]
When Dion began recording in the late '50s, it was as the lead singer of a group of friends who sang on Bronx street corners. Billing themselves as Dion & the Belmonts (Dion had released a previous single with the Timberlanes), their first few records were prime Italian-American doo wop; "I Wonder Why" was their biggest hit in this style. His biggest single with the Belmonts was "A Teenager in Love," which pointed the way for the slightly self-pitying, pained odes to adolescence and early adulthood that would characterize much of his solo work.
Dion went solo in 1960 (the Belmonts did some more doo wop recordings on their own), moving from doo wop to more R&B/pop-oriented tunes with great success. He handled himself with a suave, cocky ease on hits like "The Wanderer," "Runaround Sue," "Lovers Who Wander," "Ruby Baby," and "Donna the Prima Donna," which cast him as either the jilted, misunderstood youngster or the macho lover, capable of handling anything that came his way (on "The Wanderer" especially).
In 1963, Dion moved from Laurie to the larger Columbia label, an association that started promisingly with a couple of big hits right off the bat, "Ruby Baby" and "Donna the Prima Donna." By the mid-'60s, his heroin habit (which he'd developed as a teenager) was getting the best of him, and he did little recording and performing for about five years. When he did make it into the studio, he was moving in some surprisingly bluesy directions; although much of it was overlooked or unissued at the time, it can be heard on the Bronx Blues reissue CD.[allmusic]
Dec 20, 2009
The MC5 had a promising beginning which earned them a cover appearance on Rolling Stone magazine in 1969 even before their debut album was released. They developed a reputation for energetic and polemical live performances, one of which was recorded as their 1968 debut album "Kick Out The Jams". Their initial run was ultimately short-lived, though within just a few years of their dissolution in 1972, the MC5 were often cited as one of the most important American hard rock groups of their era. Their three albums are regarded by many as classics, and their song "Kick Out the Jams" is widely covered.
While lacking the monumental impact of "Kick Out the Jams", the MC5's second album is in many regards their best and most influential, its lean, edgy sound anticipating the emergence of both the punk and power pop movements to follow later in the decade. Bookended by a pair of telling covers -- Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" and Chuck Berry's "Back in the U.S.A." -- the disc is as much a look back at rock & roll's origins as it is a push forward into the music's future; given the Five's vaunted revolutionary leanings, for instance, it's both surprising and refreshing to discover the record's emotional centerpiece is a doo wop-inspired ballad, "Let Me Try," that's the most lovely and gentle song in their catalog. The recurring theme which drives Back in the USA is adolescence, its reminiscences alternately fond and embittered -- while cuts like "Tonight," "Teenage Lust," "High School," and "Shakin' Street" celebrate youth in all its rebellious glory, others like "The American Ruse" and "The Human Being Lawnmower" condemn a system which eats its young, filling their heads with lies before sending them off to war. Equally gripping is the record's singular sound -- produced by Jon Landau with an almost complete disregard for the bottom end, Back in the USA captures a live-wire intensity 180 degrees removed from the group's live sound yet perfectly suited to the material at hand, resulting in music which not only salutes the power of rock & roll but also reaffirms it.
Dec 18, 2009
MIKE BLOOMFIELD/AL KOOPER/STEVE STILLS - SUPER SESSION (COLUMBIA 1968) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 4 bonus
"Super Session" grew out of a single nine hour jam in 1968 by guitarists Stephen Stills and Mike Bloomfield and multi-instrumentalist Al Kooper. Kooper and Bloomfield had both previously worked in support of Bob Dylan, in concert and appearing on his ground-breaking classic, Highway 61 Revisited.
Kooper, fresh from having assembled and recorded the inaugural incarnation of Blood, Sweat & Tears, booked two days of studio time with Bloomfield in May 1968 in Los Angeles. They recruited keyboardist Barry Goldberg and bassist Harvey Brooks, both members of the band that Bloomfield was in the process of leaving, Electric Flag, and well-known session drummer "Fast" Eddie Hoh. On the first day the quintet recorded the first side of the album, tracks one through five of the CD version; the next day, Bloomfield, who was a heroin addict, abruptly disappeared after suffering an attack of what was euphemistically referred to as "chronic insomnia." Kooper hastily called on Stephen Stills to sit in for Bloomfield on what would become the second side of the album, tracks six through nine, including a lengthy cover version of Donovan's "Season of the Witch."
Some overdubbed horns were later added while the album was being mixed, which were eventually subtracted from the bonus tracks on this CD version. The album, which cost just $13,000 to make, was a top-20 hit which garnered a Gold Record award. Kooper forgave Bloomfield, and the two of them made several concert appearances after the album was released. One of these concerts was made into the live album "The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper".
Dec 11, 2009
Mega rare album from the Dartmouth, Massachusetts fivepiece outfit which was released originally on the Laurel label (Laurel 331098) in 1969.Up-Down is an album of largely self-penned material (only 2 covers, one of which is a strong version of The Spencer Davis Group’s hit, Gimme Some Lovin’) with The Leaves Are Turning Brown, complete with cheesy psych organ and wonderfully earnest vocals, is the stand out track!
Up-Down is a beat-garage concept album detailing the highs and lows of a summer vocation romance, with, as you would expect, loads of moody teenage angst and lashings of self pity. The songs are all catchy, and there are a couple of good ballads.Summer Sounds was one of the best groups of its genre and consequently a number of the band’s tunes have been comp’d, although this is the first time that this album, with it’s ultra cool cover, has been reissued.
Track Listing: 1. Small World 2. Hard To Please 3. Lonely Beach 4. Gimme Some Lovin’ 5. One Last Kiss 6. The Leaves Are Turning Brown 7. Summer 8. I Love You 9. First Date 10. You Told Me...
Dec 6, 2009
Born October 14, 1940, Lucknow, India. Britain's most successful home-grown pop star (though born in India, his parents were British) first came to fame in 1958 with his debut disc "Move It", a rock 'n' roll number in the Elvis Presley mould. However, like Elvis himself, Cliff's output quickly settled down into a string of inoffensive, largely middle-of-the-road recordings, while his squeaky clean, teen-heart-throb image was put to use in a series of exuberant, innocent, and thinly-plotted film musicals including "The Young Ones" (1962) and "Summer Holiday" (1963).
The late '70s saw him surprisingly re-invented as a mildly-heavy rocker, and he finally achieved the US recognition that had eluded him for so long when "Devil Woman" reached the top ten there. In 1979 he released "We Don't Talk Anymore", which became his biggest-selling single worldwide, and more hits followed. In 1983, he marked his 25th anniversary in the business with a retrospective album "Silver" and new material in unusual styles...
Dec 2, 2009
Eric Burdon & the Animals were nearing the end of their string, at least in the lineup in which they'd come into the world in late 1966, when they recorded Every One of Us in May of 1968, just after the release of their second album, The Twain Shall Meet. The group had seen some success, especially in America, with the singles "When I Was Young," "San Franciscan Nights" and "Sky Pilot" over the previous 18 months, but had done considerably less well with their albums. Every One of Us lacked a hit single to help drive its sales, but it was still a good psychedelic blues album, filled with excellent musicianship by Burdon (lead vocals), Vic Briggs (guitar, bass), John Weider (guitar, celeste), Danny McCulloch (bass,12-string, vocals), and Barry Jenkins (drums, percussion), with new member Zoot Money (credited, for contractual reasons, as George Bruno) on keyboards and vocals. Opening with the surprisingly lyrical "White Houses" — a piece of piercing social commentary about America in early 1968 — the record slid past the brief bridge "Uppers and Downers" and into the extended, John Weider-authored psychedelic mood piece "Serenade to a Sweet Lady," highlighted by Briggs' superb lead acoustic guitar playing and Weider's subdued electric accompaniment. This is followed by the acoustic folk piece "The Immigrant Lad," a conceptual work that closes with a dialogue, set in a workingman's bar, in which two Cockney workers, voiced by John Weider and Terry McVay, talk about their world and their lives. "Year of the Guru" is another in a string of Jimi Hendrix-influenced pieces by this version of the Animals, showing the entire band at the peak of their musical prowess, and Burdon — taking on virtually the role of a modern rapper — generating some real power on some surprisingly cynical lyrics concerning the search for spiritual fulfillment and leaders. "St. James Infirmary" recalls "House of the Rising Sun," as both a song and an arrangement, and is worthwhile just for the experience of hearing this version of the group going full-tilt as a rock band. And then there is "New York 1963 — America 1968," an 18-minute conceptual track with a center spoken word section featuring not a group member, but a black engineer named Cliff, who recalls his experience as a fighter pilot during World War II, and tells of poverty then and now — although the opening section starts off well enough musically, amid Burdon's sung recollections of coming to America and his fixation on the blues and black music in general, and the closing repetition of the word "freedom" anticipates Richie Havens' famed piece (actually an extension of "Motherless Child") from Woodstock, the track is too long and unwieldy for any but the most fanatical listener to absorb as more than a curiosity of its time...
This Birmingham band started in 1967 & they released a couple of commercial singles on "CBS" which are now of little interest before moving to "President" in 1968.....
Their later singles, "Dont Torture Your Mind", "Woman Of The Green Lantern" & a couple of more were in a different class to anything else they made before...Their 1969 album is also quite interesting...
They can also be heard on "The Best Of President, Vol 2". Dave Pegg was later with Ian Cambell Group & The Uglys & together with Eastwood and Hill was later in "Fairport Convention" & "Fotheringay".
Eastwood also had a solo 45, Blackbird Charlie/My Sun (President PT 209) in 1968...