Jul 13, 2011

COLLAGE - COLLAGE (CREAM 1970) Korean mastering cardboard sleeve

Collage was an obscured outfit released only one album in 1970 on Cream records.
Twelve cool soft rock tracks are backed up by brass,fuzz guitar and chorus which strongly reminds of Free design,Beau Brummels and Beach Boys. Highly recommended for soft rock enthusiasts.[Big Pink Music Review]

JACKSON HEIGHTS - KING PROGRESS (CHARISMA 1970) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve

Formed by former Nice bassist and vocalist Lee Jackson when The Nice split in 1969. The name was taken from a district of New York. Musically they were more pop-orientated than The Nice, but they built up a good live reputation through relentless touring. Their debut album on Charisma made little impact although it did contain a fine version of an old Nice favourite Cry Of Eugene and another highlight was a similarly gentle, atmospheric song Insomnia.It would be the only album that included Charlie Harcourt (who would later go on to join Cat Mother & the All Night Newsboys and Lindisfarne), Tommy Slone, and Mario Enrique Covarrubias Tapia who would leave shortly after the album was released. The group re-emerged a couple of years later on Vertigo with 5th Avenue Bus, an album of melodic, well constructed and somewhat orchestrated pop-orientated material. This format was repeated on Ragamuffin's Fool, which was housed in a poster sleeve. After a final effort, Bump And Grind, they disbanded, but in 1974 Jackson formed Refugee, who cut an album for Charisma. After this he disappeared from the music scene for good.

JOHNNY WINTER - JOHNNY WINTER (COLUMBIA 1969) Jap DSD mastering cardboard sleeve + 5 bonus

When Johnny Winter emerged on the national scene in 1969, the hope, particularly in the record business, was that he would become a superstar on the scale of Jimi Hendrix, another blues-based rock guitarist and singer who preceded him by a few years. That never quite happened, but Winter did survive the high expectations of his early admirers to become a mature, respected blues musician with a strong sense of tradition.
Winter's debut album for Columbia was also arguably his bluesiest and best. Straight out of Texas with a hot trio, Winter made blues-rock music for the angels, tearing up a cheap Fender guitar with total abandon on tracks like "I'm Yours and I'm Hers," "Leland Mississippi Blues," and perhaps the slow blues moment to die for on this set, B.B. King's "Be Careful with a Fool." Winter's playing and vocals have yet to become mannered or cliched on this session, and if you've ever wondered what the fuss is all about, here's the best place to check out his true legacy.[allmusic]

JOHNNY WINTER AND - JOHNNY WINTER AND (COLUMBIA 1970) Jap DSD mastering cardboard sleeve + 2 bonus

After two late-'60s albums on Columbia, Johnny Winter hit his stride in 1970 working with Rick Derringer and the McCoys, now recruited as his sidemen and collaborators (and proving with just about every note here how far they'd gotten past "Hang on Sloopy"). In place of the bluesy focus on his first two albums, Winter extended himself into more of a rock-oriented mode here, in both his singing and his selection of material. This was hard rock with a blues edge, and had a certain commercial smoothness lacking in his earlier work. Derringer's presence on guitar and as a songwriter saw to it that Winter's blues virtuosity was balanced by perfectly placed guitar hooks, and the two guitarists complemented each other perfectly throughout as well. There wasn't a weak moment anywhere on the record, and if Johnny Winter And wasn't a huge commercial success, it was mostly because of the huge amount of competition at the time from other, equally inspired players, that kept numbers like the Winter originals "Prodigal Son" and "Guess I'll Go Away" as well as Derringer co-authored pieces such as "Look Up" from having the impact they should have had on FM radio.[allmusic]

IAN MATTHEWS - JOURNEYS FROM THE GOSPEL OAK (MOONCREST 1974) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 7 bonus

In 1972, several years after leaving both Fairport Convention and his own group, Matthews Southern Comfort, Iain Matthews was once again struck with a case of musical wanderlust and decided to pack in his solo career and form a new group, Plainsong. At the time, Matthews still owed an album to Vertigo Records, and rather than give them Plainsong's debut, he booked a studio for five days and cut a solo album dominated by covers of songs from American tunesmiths, with only two original songs appearing on the set. By all rights, the album that resulted should have been a tossed-off trifle (especially since Vertigo opted not to release it after all, eventually selling it to the independent Mooncrest label), but Journeys from Gospel Oak turned out to be one of Matthews' most satisfying solo efforts, a lovely fusion of airy country rock and pastoral British folk that captured some of Matthews' most beautiful and heartfelt vocal work. Matthews' two new songs, "Knowing the Game" and "Franklin Avenue," are fine tunes inspired by his experiences in the music business, but the covers he chose for the set are inspired; he manages to bring something fresh and affecting to well-worn numbers like "Do Right Woman" and "Sing Me Back Home," and lesser known compositions like "Bride 1945" and "Things You Gave Me" prove his interpretive instincts were to be reckoned with. The compact band Matthews put together for the sessions is superb: Jerry Donahue's lead guitar is subtle but gently reinforces the country accents of the melodies, and bassist Pat Donaldson and drummer Timi Donald (who played on many of Richard Thompson's early solo sessions) give the tracks a rock-solid foundation. Journeys from Gospel Oak is a simple album, but there's something deeply satisfying in its elegance, and it captures a soulful and touching spirit that's found in Iain Matthews' best music.[allmusic]

DICK HECKSTALL-SMITH - A STORY ENDED (BRONZE 1972) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 5 bonus

Rather than a story ended, Dick Heckstall-Smith's debut album was in some ways a continuation of the stories written by his previous bands Colosseum and the Graham Bond Organisation, for the record was recorded with the assistance of several of his past associates from those two groundbreaking British blues-rock-jazz groups, including Mark Clarke, Dave Greenslade, Chris Farlowe, and Jon Hiseman (who both played drums and produced) of the just-disbanded Colosseum, as well as Graham Bond. Pete Brown, who'd worked with several of the musicians who sprang from the Graham Bond Organisation crowd, co-wrote most of the songs with Heckstall-Smith; Chris Spedding and famed Elton John sideman Caleb Quaye contributed guitar. As often happens on solo projects stuffed with contributions by famous friends, however, the album was something of a disappointment in comparison to the leader's respectable track record. It sounds like a slightly heavier, slightly jazzier Colosseum, with songs that strain and tumble over themselves where the best Colosseum tracks had a powerful glide. Vocals were never Colosseum's strong suit, but the singing here, particularly on those tracks paced by Farlowe's blustery bellow, really drags the lyrically ambitious (and at times convoluted) material down. It might have been better to have had Pete Brown himself sing on those numbers he co-composed, as he was capable of projecting a real sense of his lyrics in spite of his vocal limitations. Instead, listeners are left with a confused-sounding (and at times grating) set that doesn't add up to the sum of the individual talents, though in the most melodic and laid-back number ("What the Morning Was After"), you get a hint of the kind of moody songs that Brown helped craft for Jack Bruce's early solo recordings. [The 2004 U.K. expanded CD reissue on Castle adds three pretty well-recorded live tracks from the touring band Heckstall-Smith assembled shortly after A Story Ended was recorded, including versions of two of the songs from the album ("Moses in the Bullrushourses" and "The Pirate's Dream"), as well as a cover of a Paul Butterfield song ("No Amount of Loving") not on the LP. The CD also adds a couple of previously unreleased studio recordings (credited to Manchild) laid down by the band in early 1973, although the album for which these were intended was never finished due to an injury to Heckstall-Smith.]

OPEN ROAD - WINDY DAZE (GREENWICH GRAMOPHONE 1970) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 2 bonus

"Produced by legendary rock producer, Tony Reeves (ex-Colosseum bassist), Open Road were the very first progressive group to be signed to the Greenwich Gramophone Company (a subsidiary of Chapter One Records) in 1971. Their music reflects feelings of anti-establishment prevalent amongst the young at that time, and was quite visionary in its approach.
The members of the band consist of 'Candy' John Carr - Drums, Percussion and Vocals. Barry Husband - Acoustic and Lead Guitar, Bass and Vocals. Simon Lanzon - Keyboards, Piano, Accordion and Vocals and Mike Thomson - Bass, 12 String Guitar and Vocals. Producers - Tony Reeves and Open Road. Engineers - Robin Black and George Chiantz. Recorded at Olympic Sound Studios and Morgan, April 1971. Cover Design - Scribble, Doug Smith and Open Road.[chapter one records]