Oct 27, 2009

CARAVAN - IN THE LAND OF GREY & PINK (DERAM 1971) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 5 bonus

In the Land of Grey and Pink is considered by many to be a pinnacle release from Caravan. The album contains an undeniable and decidedly European sense of humor and charm. In addition, this would mark the end of the band's premiere lineup. Co-founder David Sinclair would leave Caravan to form Matching Mole with Soft Machine drummer and vocalist Robert Wyatt in August of 1971. As a group effort, In the Land of Grey and Pink displays all the ethereal brilliance Caravan created on their previous pair of 12" outings. Their blending of jazz and folk instrumentation and improvisational styles hints at Traffic and Family, as displayed on "Winter Wine," as well as the organ and sax driven instrumental introduction to "Nine Feet Underground." These contrast the decidedly aggressive sounds concurrent with albums from King Crimson or Soft Machine. In fact, beginning with the album's title, there seems to be pastoral qualities and motifs throughout. Another reason enthusiasts rank this album among their favorites is the group dynamic which has rarely sounded more singular or cohesive. David Sinclair's lyrics are of particular note, especially the middle-earth imagery used on "Winter Wine" or the enduring whimsy of "Golf Girl." The remastered version of this album includes previously unissued demos/alternate versions of both tracks under the titles: "It's Likely to Have a Name Next Week" and "Group Girl," respectively. The remastered disc also includes "I Don't Know Its Name (Alias the Word)" and "Aristocracy," two pieces that were completed, but shelved in deference to the time limitations imposed during the days of wine and vinyl. The latter composition would be reworked and released on Caravan's next album, Waterloo Lily...

Oct 21, 2009

MICHAEL DEACON - RUNNIN' IN THE MEADOW (MUSTARDSEED 1975) Jap/Korean mastering cardboard sleeve + 4 bonus

"Folky singer-songwriter obscurity. You 'll hear a little light rock, a little blues, a little pop, and a little jazz. It is a "bread and butter" USA mix of some of the freshest songs weve heard in a long time, particularly "Yahoo!" - the title song from this signature album. It is truly a song that defies description. It moves, it lifts, it raises your spirit like no other popular song has ever done. There are 11 other offerings total, and better yet, each one of them has that unmistakable Michael Deacon touch that makes a song like "Yahoo!" so endearing; and the vocal quality, musical tightness, lyrical lilt - its there throughout this masterpiece. Enjoy this lovely album at face value. Then look just below the surface - you may be surprised at what you find." [net]

GYPSY - GYPSY (UNITED ARTISTS 1971) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 8 bonus

They were from Leicester, U.K. but the San Francisco sound of the late '60s is all over the group Gypsy. John Knapp (vocals/guitar/keyboards), Robin Pizer (guitar/vocals), Rod Read (guitar/vocals), David McCarthy (bass/vocals) and Moth Smith (drums) came together in 1968 and released a single on Fontana as Legacy before changing the group's name to Gypsy. Their self-titled debut was released by United Artists in 1971 and soon Rod Read left and was replaced by Ray Martinez. Little attention was paid to the band's 1972 sophomore album, Brenda & the Rattlesnake, and when the band handed in their third album in 1973, United Artists wasn't interested and it remained unreleased.

John Knapp - vocals, guitar, keyboards
David McCarthy - bass, vocals
Robin Pizer - guitar, vocals
Rod Read - guitar, vocals
Moth Smith - drums
Ray Martinez - guitar, vocals

Gypsy (UAS 29155) 1971
Brenda And The Rattlesnake (UAS 29420) 1972

What Makes A Man A Man/I Want To Be Beside You (UP 35202) 1971
Changes Coming/Don't Cry On Me (UP 35272) 1971
Brand New Car/You Know Better Than Me (UP 35462) 1972
Let's Roll/Without You (UP 35546) 1973


Oct 8, 2009

JOHN ENTWISTLE - SMASH YOUR HEAD AGAINST THE WALL (TRACK 1971) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 9 bonus

Smash Your Head Against the Wall is the debut solo album by John Entwistle of The Who, released on Track Records. Its bizarre cover strangely resembles an Egyptian sarcophagus - but it is in fact Entwistle wearing a death mask while looking through the chest X-ray of a lung cancer patient, a parody of anti-smoking advertisements of the era.
The album itself offers a more downbeat and aggressive view of life than even the Who had to offer at their most pessimistic, as witnessed in the title track (aka "My Size"), and the closing track, "I Believe In Everything", which ends with a seemingly impromptu chorus of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", to end a sometimes uncompromising album on an unexpectedly happy note. The album also features a remake of Entwistle's Who classic "Heaven and Hell" with Who roadie Cyrano Langston providing some acid-drenched guitar. Who bandmate Pete Townshend once said about the album, "We learned more about John from him making an album than we did in all the years he'd ever played bass with us", a reference to both his quiet demeanor and his then-mostly unknown capabilities as a songwriter.
As many longtime fans of the Who know, the band was truly a vehicle for the songwriting of guitarist Pete Townshend. Despite the strength of the band as a 'unit' and the importance of each of the original member's personalities and quirkiness added to the mix, it was Townshend who wrote the majority of the quartet's songs since the very beginning. With Townshend knee-deep in his 'rock opera' phase (TOMMY, the aborted LIFEHOUSE, and QUADROPHENIA), there was little room for the songwriting talents of the other members.
As history has thus far indicated, bassist John Entwistle was the only other member with even average songwriting skills. With an armful of tunes piling up on the backburner, he assembled his first true solo album in 1971, SMASH YOUR HEAD AGAINST THE WALL. It's a dark feast of gallows imagery and grim rockers. Featured is the perrenial "Heaven and Hell" (a track the Who had been performing in concert for some time), as well as a cover of Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl," and the album opener "My Size."

TEN YEARS AFTER - STONEDHENGE (DERAM 1968) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve + 4 bonus

Ten Years After is a British blues-rock quartet consisting of Alvin Lee (born December 19, 1944), guitar and vocals; Chick Churchill (born January 2, 1949), keyboards; Leo Lyons (born November 30, 1944) bass; and Ric Lee (born October 20, 1945), drums. The group was formed in 1967 and signed to Decca in England. Their first album was not a success, but their second, the live Undead (1968) containing "I'm Going Home," a six-minute blues workout by the fleet-fingered Alvin, hit the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Stonedhenge (1969) hit the U.K. Top Ten in early 1969. Ten Years After's U.S. breakthrough came as a result of their appearance at Woodstock, at which they played a nine-minute version of "I'm Going Home." Their next album, Ssssh, reached the U.S. Top 20, and Cricklewood Green, containing the hit single "Love Like a Man," reached number four. Watt completed the group's Decca contract, after which they signed with Columbia and moved in a more mainstream pop direction, typified by the gold-selling 1971 album A Space in Time and its Top 40 single "I'd Love to Change the World." Subsequent efforts in that direction were less successful, however, and Ten Years After split up after the release of Positive Vibrations in 1974. They reunited in 1988 for concerts in Europe and recorded their first new album in 15 years, About Time, in 1989 before disbanding once again. In 2001, Ric Lee was preparing the back catalog for rerelease when he discoverd the Live at the Fillmore East 1970 tapes. He approached Alvin about getting back together to promote the lost album, but Alvin Lee declined. The rest of the band was up for it, though, and together with guitarist Joe Gooch, Ten Years After started touring again. In addition to touring the world, this new incarnation recorded their first new material in about a decade and a half and released Now in 2004 and added the live double CD set Roadworks in 2005. ~ William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide