Jun 25, 2009

GARY OGAN & BILL LAMB - PORTLAND (ELEKTRA 1972) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve

Most people don't recognize the name Gary Ogan although he's shared the stage with many superstars. He's a mainstay of the Portland music scene. Inspired by the Beatles, he developed his talents early with his high-school basement band. Just after graduation he recorded for his first major record label. But despite his association with the likes of Leon Russell and Michael McDonald, he's spurned the short cut to fame, choosing instead to stay true to his music.
As a veteran of 35 years in the music business, and CEO / manager of the new Portland, Oregon based music conglomerate, Sound Ground, Gary maintains a youthful enthusiasm in his quest for new music and fresh projects. From his first major label release on Elektra Records in 1972, called Portland, Gary has created an ever-evolving world of activity. Moving to Los Angeles in 1977 to sign with Leon Russell’s Paradise Records on the Warner Brothers label, Gary released his first self-titled album that year, co-produced with Russell. He also co-produced Leon and Mary Russell’s duet album, Make Love to the Music, and toured the U.S. extensively with them, including shows at Radio City Music Hall and the Universal Amphitheater.
A close cousin to the first album by Aztec Two-Step from 1972, this is one of those classic records that has continued to escape almost everyone. As a fan of this album from day one I can tell you that it deserved to remain in my list of favorite albums even though the original mastering was not quite on par with so many of my other cherished records from that era...[net]

HARPERS BIZZARE - ANYTHING GOES (WARNER BROS 1967) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 2 bonus

Harpers Bizarre's second album, released in 1967, is a joy for pop music lovers, and the best of their four Warner Brothers releases. The opening, "This is Only the Beginning," establishes a faux radio broadcast typical of the 1940's, leading directly into the opening verse of "Anything Goes," sung by Cole Porter himself! This segues into the group's performance of the song (featuring Van Dyke Parks on piano; check out his later work, both solo and with the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson), and is followed by another Cole Porter tune, "Two Little Babes In the Wood," again featuring Porter's own voice on the intro. Naturally, these two songs sport some of the cleverest lyrics ever written. These are followed by the first of two songs by one of the 20th century's greatest songwriters, Randy Newman, "The Biggest Night of her Life," a sweet, uptempo song with an instrumental break the flapper set will love. Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen's title song from the movie "Pocketful of Miracles" is a pure joy, and is followed by another Randy Newman song, "Snow," a beautiful, moody, emotional piece. This is followed by a cover of the big band-era classic, Glenn Miller's "Chattanooga Choo Choo," in a sparkling arrangenment that pays homage to the original. "Hey You In the Crowd," an original by Ted Templeman and Dick Scoppettone of the group, is an unptempo charmer presented in a faux-live-on-stage style. Doug Kershaw's classic "Louisiana Man" and the Edith Piaf classic "Milord" both get top-flight treatments here, followed by another Templeman/Scoppettone original, "Virginia City". "Jessie" by Jimmy Griffin (later to be a member of Bread, and to win an Oscar for co-writing "For All We Know" from the movie "Lovers and Other Strangers") is an urban mood piece with a melody that owes a lot to George Gershwin. David Blue's "You Need A Change" is a lost gem, and makes you wonder why Blue never won wider acceptance. The original album closes with "High Coin," by the brilliant Van Dyke Parks. It's unusual, as you would expect from Parks, but the Harpers handle it with aplomb.There are two bonus tracks, "Malibu U," by Don and Dick Addrisi (of "Never My Love" fame), the theme from a frothy little TV series of the day; and the 45rpm version of Kenny Rankin's "Cotton Candy Sandman," a different version of which would appear on the LP "Harpers Bizarre 4". (Neither of these bonus tracks has appeared on LP or CD before.) The arrangements on this album are absolutely top-notch, and much credit goes to Perry Botkin, Jr., Nick de Caro, Bob Thompson, and Van Dyke Parks, as well as Ron Elliott of the Beau Brummels, a group which also spawned the Harpers' own John Petersen...[net]

Jun 21, 2009

HARPERS BIZARRE - FEELIN' GROOVY (WARNER BROS 1967) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 2 bonus

If any group and song was the prototype for sunshine pop, it would be Harpers Bizarre and their hit version of "Feelin' Groovy". Their high range choir boy harmonies, positive themed material, and sophisticated arrangements were all part of the genre's model.
Along with Spanky and Our Gang, The Association, The Sunshine Company, The Free Design, The Cowsills, and the Fifth Dimension, Harpers Bizarre produced music that poured out of AM radios in the 1960's.
"Feelin' Groovy featuring 59th St. Bridge Song" was the first LP release for the group in 1967.
The production pattern ,set on this release, was as follows: regardless of the song style, each song is gussied up in the Harpers Bizarre sound of Ted Templeman and Dick Scoppettone's voices singing soft and high; lush background harmonies weaving in and out of orchestration with strings, flutes, oboes, horns; and John Petersen drumming with brushes to tie it all together.
The title song reached #13 on the charts in 1967 and its soaring Van Dyke Parks composed follow up "Come to The Sunshine" reached #37 that same year.
The LP contained a catchy version of "Happy Talk" from the musical "South Pacific"; a couple of smooth pop nuggets ("Come Love"and "Raspberry Rug"); and three Randy Newman tunes("Simon Smith and The Amazing Dancing Bear", "Happyland", and "The Debutante's Ball").
Bonus tracks include two original songs recorded when the group was known as The Tikis-"Bye Bye Bye" and "Lost My Love Today". The vocals are similar, but the accompaniment is pure British Invasion garage guitar and drums.
Additional personnel: Van Dyke Parks, Randy Newman (piano).
Mojo (Publisher) (3/02, p.120) - "...Whether drawing on folk, country, soul, Roaring Twenties or baroque influences, they liked to put the 'shh!' into kitsch....They are fascinating....Their lush vocals and elaborate orchestrations are strangely affecting....highly enjoyable..."

THE LOVE GENERATION - MONTAGE (IMPERIAL 1968) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve

Of the many sunshine pop groups that proliferated in Southern California in the late '60s, the Love Generation were one of the most wholesome and downright sunniest. "Sunniest" is not necessarily synonymous with "best," even for a genre called "sunshine pop." The Love Generation's records were about as over-the-top as their name in their smiley-face, see-no-evil, upbeat, even anodyne harmonized pop/rock, commercial enough to often be mistaken for commercial jingles. Taking the advances of sunshine pop godfathers and godmothers the Mamas & the Papas to the most saccharine extremes (with echoes of the Beach Boys and the Association as well), the Love Generation released three albums in 1967 and 1968, getting small hit singles with "Groovy Summertime" and "Montage From How Sweet It Is (I Knew That You Knew)." The Love Generation were not quite as faceless as some acts plundering this territory, though, as much of their material was written by brothers John Bahler and Tom Bahler. The arrangements were densely crafted blends of male-female vocal harmonies and orchestrated pop/rock that put quite a bit of frosting on the incessantly chipper tunes.
At its outset, the group was a sextet of the Bahler Brothers, ex-New Christy Minstrels member Ann White, Marilyn Miller (who had supplied Sally Field's singing voice on the Gidget TV show), Mitch Gordon, and Jim Wasson. John Bahler took the greatest share of the lead vocals, and session musicians played the instruments. The lyrics often tapped into the most optimistic and innocuous traits of the early hippie generation, with references to love-ins, sunshine (naturally), summer, dreams, candy, and magic peppering not just the words but the song titles: "Fluffy Rain," "Meet Me at the Love-In," "Consciousness Expansion," "Love and Sunshine," "Candy," "Magic Land," and "Love Is a Rainy Sunday" were just some of them.
The group really existed in name only by the third and last album, Montage, on which only the Bahlers and producer/arranger Tommy Oliver were listed in the liner notes. Gordon, White, and the Bahlers all sang as studio backup vocalists in subsequent years, with Tom Bahler writing songs for others including Cher ("Living in a House Divided") and Michael Jackson ("She's Out of My Life"), as well as co-writing "We Are the World." The Bahlers might be most famous/notorious, though, for recording and supplying several songs used in early episodes of The Partridge Family, several of them appearing (with the Bahlers' lead vocals) on the Partridge Family's first album. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

Jun 17, 2009

FOTHERINGAY - FOTHERINGAY (ISLAND 1970) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 7 bonus

The folk rock group Fotheringay was formed in 1970 by singer Sandy Denny upon her departure from Fairport Convention. The band drew its name from Fotheringhay Castle, where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned in England. Said castle was also the inspiration for the song "Fotheringay", which Fairport Convention had included on their 1969 album What We Did on Our Holidays, before Denny's departure from the group.
Two former members of Eclection, Trevor Lucas and Gerry Conway, and two former members of Poet and the One Man Band, Jerry Donahue and Pat Donaldson (bass), completed the line-up responsible for what was long assumed to be the quintet's only album. This folk-based set included several Denny originals, notably "Nothing More", "The Sea" and "The Pond and The Stream", as well as meticulous readings of Gordon Lightfoot's "The Way I Feel" and Bob Dylan's "Too Much of Nothing". Although criticized contemporaneously as constrained, Fotheringay is now viewed as a confident, accomplished work. During the year of its original release, however, the album failed to match commercial expectations, and pressures on Denny to undertake a solo career—she was voted Britain's number 1 singer (two years consecutively) in Melody Maker's readers poll—increased.
Fotheringay disbanded in 1971 during sessions for a projected second album. Some of its songs surfaced on Denny's 1971 debut album, The North Star Grassman and the Ravens. Lucas, Conway and Donahue resurfaced in Fairport Convention in 1972 to record the Rosie album (on which some Fotheringay material was also used). However, Conway played on three tracks only and began session work afterwards. Both Conway and Donaldson have worked with Richard Thompson, among many others. Lucas and Donahue stayed with Fairport (the Nine album came out in 1973) for another couple of years, with Sandy Denny rejoining in 1974...

Jun 15, 2009

IAN MATTHEWS - MATTHEWS' SOUTHERN COMFORT (UNI 1970) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 1 bonus

Matthews grew up in a working-class family in Scunthorpe. He sang with several minor bands during the British pop music explosion of the mid-1960s. He moved to London in 1966, taking a job in a Carnaby Street shoe shop. That year, he formed a trio, The Pyramid, which recorded one single, "Summer Of Last Year/Summer Evening," in January 1967 released as Deram 111. A remaining song, "Me About You," surfaced on Iain's Orphans & Outcasts Volume 3 cd in 1999. The Pyramid may be England's only surf band, albeit a short-lived one.
Not long afterwards, he was recruited by Ashley Hutchings as a male vocalist for Fairport Convention, where he duetted first with Judy Dyble, but more famously with Sandy Denny. In 1969, as Fairport's music veered much more toward British traditional influences, Matthews found out he had not been invited to a recording session and, after a short discussion with Ashley Hutchings, he headed off in his own musical direction.
With Thompson, Nicol, and Hutchings from Fairport Convention, plus drummer Gerry Conway (of Fotheringay, and later to join Fairport) and pedal steel player Gordon Huntley, he recorded his first solo album, Matthews' Southern Comfort, whose sound was rooted in American country music and rockabilly; this was his first significant experience as a songwriter, although the band also covered the likes of Neil Young and Ian and Sylvia. He then formed a working band using the name of his first album and recorded Second Spring and Later That Same Year. The band went through several different lineups and toured extensively for the next two years, to general critical acclaim. They had one commercial success: a cover version of "Woodstock" (written by Joni Mitchell) was a number one hit single in the UK and saw heavy airplay in Canada reaching #5, as well as reaching #23 in the US. After this, Matthews split with Southern Comfort, who went on to release three albums of their own on Harvest Records....[wiki]

Jun 11, 2009

DAVE DEE,DOZY,BEAKY,MICK & TICH - IF NO-ONE SANG (FONTANA 1968) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 10 bonus

The third DDDBM&T album!
One more left!!!!....lol
As the sound of 'Swinging London' evolved from the mod rock and pop scene, so did Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich (DD, D, B, M & T), which featured Dave "Dee" Harman (guitar/vocals), Trevor "Dozy" Davies (bass), John "Beaky" Diamond (rhythm guitar), Michael "Mick" Wilson (drums), and Ian "Tich" Amey (lead guitar). The quintet's third long-player, If No One Sang (1968), reflects the progression within the genre and is arguably the combo's most musically satisfying and eclectic outing. It would likewise be the final full-length platter that they would issue prior to Dee's departure in the summer of 1969. Although success in the States remained elusive, they continued to produce hits throughout England and Germany. Specifically, the nonsensical "Zabadak" and the chart-topping "Legend of Xanadu" became definitive entries in their catalog. True to their previous hits, the songwriting team of Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley — who also managed the band — centered their material on catchy, if not somewhat quirky, melodies with highly singable choruses. However the title composition, "If No One Sang" — which bookends the effort with a pair of renderings — demonstrates DD, D, B, M & T's versatility. The dark chord progressions and solitude of the desolate acoustic guitar and solo vocal immediately suggest the more mature tenor of the material. The introspective and slightly baroque ballad "Where From, Where To?" as well as the lightly orchestrated samba-tinged cover of Tim Hardin's "If I Were a Carpenter" are other examples of the more thoughtful and reflective nature of the tunes. "Time to Take Off" is a punchy, driving waltz arrangement that propels the melodies Latin-flavored overtones. Considerably more theatrical is the overtly Mediterranean sound of the aforementioned "Legend of Xanadu," which also became a showstopper thanks to the dramatic crack of Dee's whip. If No One Sang was issued on CD with ten supplementary sides, consisting of non-LP singles, as well as Italian versions of both "Zabadak" and "Save Me," the latter of which is titled "Follemente Vivo."

Jun 7, 2009

ASSOCIATION - BIRTHDAY (WARNER BROS 1968) Jap mastering + 3 bonus

Birthday is a strong record. Vocally, the intricate harmonies shine, and there is a lyrical depth on some songs that challenge the Association's reputation as a mere pop group. Granted, there are some light moments, such as the opening cut, "Come On In" (though the vocals do stand out on this cut). And "Toymaker" and "Hear in Here" show the vocal limitations of the lead singers. But "Like Always" does an excellent job of wryly commenting on the loss of a relationship, with the usual fine vocal interplay. "The Time It Is Today" mixes the political and personal in an effective way. And "Everything That Touches You" (their final Top Ten ) is one of their finest love songs, if not one of their best songs, period. The vocals are as intricate as the arrangement, and the sincerity of the lyrics is very apparent. Production by Bones Howe gives the record a very commercial, clean sound that fits well with the material presented. ~ Michael Ofjord, All Music Guide
Released in March 1968, Birthday was probably the Association's most pop-sounding album, as producer Bones Howe and the group polished their trademark harmony sound to a brilliant sheen. And, like on Insight Out, studio musicians extraordinaire Blaine and Larry Knechtel lent expert accompaniment. This album spawned the top 10 hit "Everything That Touches You" and another top 40 hit in "Time for Livin'". Later that year, the group released a self-produced single, the harder-edged "Six Man Band". This song is also one of the three bonus tracks here...


Ry Cooder's Ceyleib People are arguably one of the more innovative groups of the late 60s. Taking the loping blues romp of Captain Beefheart and filtering it through Indian music, the group created a very short album, what would be an EP now, of two 10-11 minute parts. For 1967, this is definitely hippy experimental music, hopping from guitar riffs to sitar drones to mellotron rambling and back without regard for convention. It's almost as if there was an intent to fuse the influences of Ravi Shankar with those of the old blues legends, except that rarely is there any true juxtaposition of both styles, instead one will start out and then give way to another, segment by segment. It's as if someone gave a studio the masters for several Ravi Shankar and Captain Beefheart albums, asked them to splice them together, and then left, only to have the engineer play a joke by adding parts of Days of Future Passed in as well. Overall, it's a pretty successful experiment especially considering its age.
The reissue of the album gives you two new versions of the two pieces, "Aton" and "Aton II," supposedly processed, but not really sounding all that much different from the first two.
While this might not have been so impressive had it been from a few years later, its presence in 1967 is quite prescient...[Mike McLatchey Gnosis 2000]
Amazing psych-raga bluesy rock from this underrated "classic" project by Ry Cooder. With a lot of inventions and variations, this music conciliates eastern buzzing ragas to rocking energy and synth progressive orchestrations. The opening track (divided into 5 parts) features a catchy bluesy vibe, nice percussions parts and evocative, dreamy like flute passages. Rapidly, the composition explores in a meditative style sitar / flute combinations...after 3 minutes, we have the return of Ry Cooder's typical guitar sound, communicating with inspired "ethereal" keyboards and buzzing sitar strings. It finishes with violin like strings with some expeditive classical covers...really enigmatic and passionate song. The second composition (for 6 parts) also alternate bluesy rock interludes and raga sonorities...featuring very catchy melodies and rhythms. Impressive bluesy-folky-psych raga fantasias!..[net]

Jun 3, 2009

HONEYBUS - STORY (DERAM 1969) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 13 bonus

Their debut single, "Delighted to See You," which was cut with the help of Roulettes members Bob Henrit and Russ Ballard, sounded more like the Beatles than anything heard in British pop/rock since the Searchers had faded from view in early 1966. The B-side, "The Breaking Up Scene," could have been the work of the Jimi Hendrix Experience or the Creation. Actually, if anything, they sounded a great deal like the Bee Gees, who had just begun establishing themselves as something more than Beatles sound-alikes -- the difference was that the Bee Gees were a performing band as well as a top-notch studio outfit, fully capable of doing (and willing to do) most of their output on-stage Then Honeybus hit with their third release, "I Can`t Let Maggie Go," in March of 1968, which rode the British Top 50 for three months and peaked at number eight. One of the most fondly remembered examples of psychedelic pop/rock to come out of England in 1967, with a richly textured, reed-dominated arrangement (with a bassoon very prominent and a break played on oboes and clarinets) and a pleasant McCartney-esque lead vocal surrounded by gentle high harmonies, all wrapped up in a melody that wore well on repeated listening. The record should have made the group, but instead it shattered them. All three of the songs are on this cd.
"Honeybus` sole album was recorded in 1969 and released in early 1970, by which time "I Can`t Let Maggie Go" was fading from the memory of the British public, original leader Pete Dello was long gone, and the band themselves had been inactive for months. It`s therefore not entirely representative of what the group was about. They did show themselves to be one of the few bands that could emulate the lighter and quieter sides of the 1968-69 Beatles with a degree of competence, although as is usual when the Beatles were imitated, the songs and execution were much more lightweight than what the Beatles themselves recorded. At times it sounds like Badfinger without the muscle or occasional outstanding songs that made Badfinger recall the Beatles without sounding like tepid wannabes. The Beatlesque harmonies are nice and the lyrics sometimes clever, and the arrangements are tasteful, sometimes employing substantial traces of country music and subtle orchestration.

Jun 1, 2009

FAIRPORT CONVENTION - FAIRPORT CONVENTION (A&M 1969) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 3 bonus

The best British folk-rock band of the late '60s, Fairport Convention did more than any other act to develop a truly British variation on the folk-rock prototype by drawing upon traditional material and styles indigenous to the British Isles. While the revved-up renditions of traditional British folk tunes drew the most critical attention, the group members were also (at least at the outset) talented songwriters as well as interpreters. They were comfortable with conventional harmony-based folk-rock as well as tunes that drew upon more explicitly traditional sources, and boasted some of the best singers and instrumentalists of the day.
Sandy Denny's haunting, ethereal vocals gave Fairport a big boost on her debut with the group. A more folk-based album than their initial effort, What We Did on Our Holidays was divided between original material and a few well-chosen covers. This contains several of their greatest moments: Denny's "Fotheringay," Richard Thompson's "Meet on the Ledge," the obscure Joni Mitchell composition "Eastern Rain," the traditional "She Moves Through the Fair," and their version of Bob Dylan's "I'll Keep It With Mine." And more than simply being a collection of good songs (with one or two pedestrian ones), it allowed Fairport to achieve its greatest internal balance, and indeed one of the finest balances of any major folk-rock group. The strong original material, covers of little-known songs by major contemporary songwriters such as Dylan and Mitchell, and updates of traditional material were reminiscent of the blend achieved by the Byrds on their early albums, with Fairport Convention giving a British slant to the idiom. The slant would become much more British by the end of the 1960s, though, both gaining and losing something in the process.
Confusingly, What We Did on Our Holidays was titled Fairport Convention in its initial US A&M release, with a different cover from the U.K. edition, although Fairport's very first US album from 1968 had used the title Fairport Convention but on a different label (Cotillion), as well. This reissue adds three bonus tracks from the same era, one from a BBC broadcast, one from a non-LP B-side, and one a studio outtake....