Feb 16, 2010


Rainman is the name of a soloproject by Frank Nuyens, a former member of the Dutch group Q’65. He recorded the album ‘Rainman’ in 1971, a collection of songs influenced by British folkrock and songwriters from the American Westcoast.
He released this solo debut in Holland on Negram in 1971 in between stints in Q65. The title track is a saucer-eyed headnodder with excellent CSNY harmonies, and congas, flute and piano add a psychedelic Bee Gees vibe to "Natural Man", suggesting Nuyens kept his ear to the undergound UK radio of the day. "Don't" is soothing, acoustic Tull, and the rest of the album beams with laidback folk with psychedelic flourishes, like the Lennonesque "You Will Be Freed By Me" and the dreamy melancholia of "Get You To Come Through."
Elsewhere, "They Didn't Feel" is a marvellous blend of Neil Young and The James Gang with a touch of "No Expectations" tossed in for good measure, and there's a rockabilly twang to "The Joy That Is Inside."
The package completes with the chirpy pop of the non-LP single, "The Bird." So, while fans of Q65's heavy blues may be disappointed, Nuyens has expanded his palette enough to attract a wider audience, not just fans of cult, Dutch psychedelic r&b.-- Jeff Penczak


A mindblowing mixture of pop, psych and electronica, this mysterious 1969 studio project was recorded in Toronto and New York by youthful vocalist Terry Black, who’d had six top 40 hits in Canada as a teenager, as well as recording the cult Black Plague LP in 1966. Veering from the catchy pop of Priscilla and soul-inflected Second City Blues to the experimental The Emperor and freaky Lighting Frederick’s Fire, the album features one of the greatest psychedelic tracks of all time in the fuzz blow-out Fool Amid The Traffic, and makes its long-overdue CD debut here. 1. An Eye for An Ear 2. Rap 3. Second City Song 4. Power 5. Exiles 6. Fool Amid the Traffic 7. Priscilla 8. Lighting Frederick's Fire 9. The Emperor 10. Does It Feel Better Now?
"Alright so this is a lost gem from 1969 by vocalist Terry Black, at least that is what they tell me. Who you ask? The pigeons that live in my brain… no just kidding I read it on the album notes. It’s a pretty odd mixture of psych-rock-soul-and some early electronics. Apparently Terry Black was some of hit maker as a teenager. And then released this oddity later on. So I had to go and listen to these hits and they are pretty good in that teen idol Paul Anka kind of way. This is really nothing like them.

It is pretty strange. I think he was trying to shake off his teen idol days or something, or maybe just smoking a whole lot of reefer. It’s really all over the place, not really sitting comfortably in any one genre. “Second City Song” is like totally Stax records, and it actually sounds good. Though An Eye For an Ear sounds very much like a product of it’s times. As odd as it is, it really doesn’t sound out of place being from the late 1960s. Like even though it absolutely reflects the values musical styles, and forms of that era, it sounds very odd and progressive. Like at the same time very much a music of it’s time, but also wholly looking towards the future.

And of course the lyrics are very hippie dippy, like what if soldiers carried flowers.. etc. I wonder if it has something to do with Terrence being unable to make it as a teen idol in the United States, so there is this bitterness with the industry, but also that maybe he couldn’t quite get what people wanted. And perhaps this being recorded in Toronto sort of segregated it from the what was happening, I mean there was a big psychedelic/hippie thing going on in Toronto at the time, but maybe being removed from everything he was just trying to create some sort of giant fuck you to the industry in all it’s forms.

Or maybe this was just an attempted cash grab that didn’t quite work, which would also explain the strangeness inherent on it. Maybe the weirdness is jus at disassociation from the music, like maybe this Terrence never really got the style, and didn’t care to. Who knows. Could be any number of reasons, but really I’m just wondering here. Because I find it actually very good. So much bluesy soul stuff on here, just really intriguing. Then “Fool Amid the Traffic” is also a great just totally a psychedelic masterpiece, totally warped and echoy and so stoned out. With some of that great wah wah guitar on it. Oh yeah." [reviewed by Matthew Rich]

Feb 8, 2010

STEAMHAMMER - STEAMHAMMER (CBS 1969) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 2 bonus

The self-titled debut from Steamhammer has been issued under a number of titles -- the most famous of which is Reflection -- all of them including an identical track list and in essence, are one and the same. The numerous and short-lived incarnations of the band began on this long player and spilled over onto a subsequent 7" single with an edit of "Junior's Wailing" b/w the non-LP track "Windmill". For these sides Steamhammer features the talents of: Kieran White (vocals/harmonica/acoustic guitar), Martin Pugh (lead guitar) Martin Quittenton (guitar), Steve Davey (bass) and Michael Rushton (drums). Like Chicken Shack, Fleetwood Mac, Cream, Ten Years After and a plethora of other late ‘60s British rock groups, Steamhammer had been influenced by the mostly American-made R&B. However, a conspicuously high ratio of original material separated them from many of their more prominent contemporaries. They also included a few somewhat obligatory covers, such as the seven-plus minute workout on Eddie Boyd's "Twenty-Four Hours" as well as a high and mighty rendition of B.B. King's "You'll Never Know". Other standout sides come from within the band and include the trippy and slightly progressive "Even The Clock" as well as the jazzy syncopation of "Down the Highway" -- with Harold McNair (flute) of Donovan fame making some notable contributions to the latter. The previously mentioned "Junior's Wailing" should not be missed as it sports a heavy-duty and otherwise propulsive blues shuffle. Every subsequent Steamhammer long player was accompanied by a personnel change that yielded a tremendous stylistic vacillation from release to release. Their subsequent effort, MK II, would venture farther out into a progressive and jazz-fusion style akin to that of Egg or Gong than to the electric blues-based found on this platter.[allmusic]

JOHN ENTWISTLE - WHISTLE RYMES (TRACK 1972) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 4 bonus

After making a surprisingly effective debut with Smash Your Head Against the Wall, Who bassist John Entwistle consolidated his solo success with Whistle Rymes. Like its predecessor, this album combines catchy, straightforward, pop-tinged rock with dark, often bitingly sarcastic lyrics; good examples include "Thinking It Over," a witty, waltz-styled tune about a potential suicide having second thoughts while preparing to jump off a building, and "Who Cares," a punchy, piano-driven rocker about a man who deals with the problems of life by refusing to take it seriously. However, Entwistle's finest achievement in this respect is "I Feel Better," a devastatingly sarcastic tune that features the singer putting down an ex-lover by listing all the things all the things he does to get back at her. Viciously witty yet full of emotion, this poison-pen gem ranks up there with Harry Nilsson's "You're Breaking My Heart" as one of rock's ultimate post-breakup songs. Whistle Rymes further benefits from a stylish production job by Entwistle that judiciously adds extra instrumental layers to the album's basic rock style to subtly broaden its sonic palette; for instance, "Thinking It Over" is anchored by a thick synthesizer bassline and "I Wonder" allows Entwistle to indulge his skill with brass instruments by overdubbing himself into a virtual big band brass section. It's also interesting to note that this album features a pre-solo fame Peter Frampton turning in some searing guitar riffs throughout the disc. All in all, Whistle Rymes is an entertaining and consistent rock album that balances energy with ambition. It may be a little too dark and eccentric for the general listener, but is well worth the time for any hardcore Who fan.