Saturday, December 3, 2016

After Tea - Jointhouse Blues (1970 holland, excellent heavy blues rock, 2002 remaster)



After Tea was founded in 1967 by Hans van Eijck (organ), Ray Fenwick (guitar) and Polle Eduard (bass/vocals) - all ex-members of the Tee Set - with drummer Martin Hage (ex-Don't). The group produced three moderate hits in 1967-1968: "Not Just A Flower In Your Hair", "We Will Be There After Tea" and "Snowflakes on Amsterdam", all in a psychedelic pop style.

Ray Fenwick left shortly after the recordings of the first LP, "National Disaster" (his work permit had expired) and returned to England to join the Spencer Davis Group. He was replaced by ex-Just Colours guitarist Ferry Lever.

In the Spring of 1968, Polle Eduard was arrested for possession of marijuana and incarcerated for a few months. His temporary replacements were singer Frans Krassenburg (ex-Golden Earrings) and bass player Henk Smitskamp (ex-Motions, to Livin' Blues). In the Summer of that year, the band scored a surprise hit under the pseudonym De Martinos with "Moest dat nou?" (recorded as a joke).

Martin Hage left later that year, replaced temporarily by Pierre van der Linden (later to Focus, Trace) and then permanently by Ilja Gort (ex-IQ 150).

Early 1969, the most important songwriter in the band, Hans van Eijck, left to rejoin the Tee Set. He was replaced by German keyboard player Uli Grün (ex-Boots). The group then switched to a more rock-oriented sound. Yet in 1970, Ferry Lever left (also to join the Tee Set) and was not replaced. The band continued as a three-piece for some time, but in 1971 After Tea finally folded. Polle Eduard and Uli Grün were then joined by guitarist Frank van der Kloot and drummer Shel Schellekens, calling themselves Drama. They scored a Top 20 hit with “Mary's Mama” which they subsequently refused to play live (as the whole thing was a concoction by producer Peter Koelewijn). However, in 1975, Polle Eduard, Ferry Lever and Ilja Gort reunited once more to record the single "Mexico" under the After Tea moniker. Polle Eduard continued his career as a songwriter by penning a few hits for Nico Haak and subsequently recorded an album of Dutch songs one year later, in 1976. Polle continued playing solo and in bands like The Rest (with Hans Vermeulen of Sandy Coast).

Ilja Gort worked as a producer for Basart Records before making a fortune composing music for commercials like the famous Nescafe tune. He now owns a vineyard in France producing his La Tulipe wines.

In 1970 After Tea  signed to Negram and made an outstanding album in October the same year with long bluesy numbers and high quality improvisations. Ray Fenwick is long gone. Hans van Eyck went back to the Tee Set and After Tea were Polle Eduard, Ferry Lever and now: Uly Grun (keyboards) and Ilya Gort (drums). As well as heavy numbers like "Jointhouse Blues" there were also softer songs. With "Sun" they scored another hit, but the follow up didn't chart, neither did the beautiful "Lovesong to Mother Earth". After Tea finally ended in 1971. On 24 November 1984 the group had a reunion concert in the Maaspoort in Den Bosch, complete with children's choir for "Not Just a Flower In Your Hair"...

After his stint with the Tee Set, Hans van Eijck concentrated on writing music for TV and became a successful record producer (Danny de Munck, Marco Borsato). Ferry Lever became a music teacher and a session player. He still plays in the band of singer Rob de Nijs. 
Tracks
1 Jointhouse Blues (Polle Eduard, Ulli Grun) - 5:26
2 You've Got To Move Me (Polle Eduard) - 5:26
3 I'm Here (Polle Eduard) - 3:41
4 Someday (Polle Eduard) - 5:44
5 Let's Come All Together (Ulli Grun) - 5:59
6 Trial, Punishment, The End (Polle Eduard, Ilja Gortm, Ulli Grun) - 25:17

The After Tea
*Ferry Lever - Guitar
*Ilja Gort - Drums
*Polle Eduard - Bass, Vocals
*Ulli Grün - Keyboards

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Warpig - Warpig (1970 canada, fascinating heavy rock with psych and prog shades, 2006 remaster)



Warpig's formation came the same as so many other rural Ontario bands of the mid 60's. Guitarist/singer Rick Donmoyer toiled in a number of groups, including The Turbines, The Kingbees (later The Wot) and Mass Destruction.

But by late '66 Donmore found himself looking for a new project, and hooked up with fellow Mass Destruction alumni Terry Brett on bass, Dana Snitch (keyboards/guitars) and drummer Terry Hook, all Woodstock, Ont. natives. Endless practices in the Hook basement led to Warpig a few months later. With a mix of influences rivalled by few in the area, the boys soon found themselves as a steady attraction on the Toronto independent scene for the better part of the next two years.

The band was seen by a label owner and were signed to FontHill Records in late 1968. They continued on the circuit, while writing original material and financing the recording of their first lp. With the production help of Robert Thomson, it finally saw the light of day in the spring of 1970. The album was full of raw power, with inspirational remnants from everything from the British Invasion to the surf sound, from Chet Atkins to Black Sabbath. Reminiscent of a less-structured Deep Purple album, tracks like the lead-off "Flaggit" and "Tough Nuts" gave you the unbridled passion of a young band doing it their way, while "Advance in 'A' Minor" showed the band's tight structure and classical influences, in what could only be described as 'early eclectic post psychadelic'. A common theme throughout the lp was the band's pounding rhythms and straight forward guitar licks.

A 45 of "Rock Star" b/w "Flaggit" made the rounds of the radio stations, and along with their live show,the following grew. FontHill was bought out by London Records in '71, leaving the band in the lurches as to their status for several months. The band carried on throughout the circuit, when they discovered they were without a label. London reissued Warpig's debut a year later, repackaged and remastered.

The group carried on, writing material while on the road and slipping into the recording studio when they could book some time. But what was supposed to be the band's second lp got shelved when they couldn't find a distributor. Upset with management and the band's general direction, Snitch left the Warpig tent in '73, followed by the complete breakup of the band a short while later. Everyone went on to do outside projects and their own things, Donmoyer carried on in the business for a few more years, most notably with the Toronto-based Ash Mountain.

By the new millennium more than one bootlegged Warpig CD found its way to the black market. In 2004 the four original members got together to see what would happen, and have since focused their energies on reforming fulltime. The band re-released their only album on Relapse Records in 2006.
Canadian-Bands With notes from Rick Donmoyer
Tracks
1. Flaggit - 3.09  
2. Tough Nuts - 2.20
3. Meody Withh Balls - 6.01  
4. Advance Am (Lyrics Defy Description) - 7.26  
5. Rock Star - 4.10  
6. Sunflight - 4.29  
7. U.X.I.B - 7.37  
8. The Moth - 5.09  
All songs by Rick Donmoyer, Terry Hook, Dana Snitch, Terry Brett

The Warpig
*Rick Donmoyer - Vocals, Guitar
*Terry Hook - Percussion
*Dana Snitch - Keyboards, Vocals
*Terry Brett - Bass

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hookfoot - Hookfoot (1971 uk, superb classic rock with blues folk and country traces, 2010 japan remaster)



Their first album, Hookfoot consisted of songs composed by Caleb, plus renditions of Stephen Stills and Neil Young songs. This first album was very innovative with Caleb switching between guitar and keyboards. It even included a great piano-based jazz instrumental ('Wim Wam') along with a killer tune ('Movies') that starts out with Quaye and Duck on acoustic and finishes with Wishbone Ash style double-lead electric.
Tracks
1. Bluebird (Stephen Stills) - 3:51
2. Mystic Lady (Caleb Quaye) - 5:05
3. Movies (Ian Duck) - 4:50
4. Nature Changes (Caleb Quaye, Ian Duck) - 5:15
5. Wim-Wom (Caleb Quaye) - 3:19
6. Don't Let It Bring You Down (Neil Young) - 2:49
7. Coombe Gallows (Caleb Quaye) - 3:08
8. Crazy Fool (Caleb Quaye, Ian Duck) - 4:48
9. Golden Eagle (Caleb Quaye) - 5:37
10.Bluebird (Revisited) (Stephen Stills) - 4:09

The Hookfoot
*Caleb Quaye - Guitars, Piano, Keyboards
*Ian Duck - Guitars, Mouthharp, Vocals
*Dave Glover - Bass Guitar
*Roger Pope - Drums, Percussion
With
*Dicky Birds - Whistling

1969  Hookfoot - A Piece Of Pye (2010 japan Remaster)
1973  Hookfoot - Roaring (expanded edition)

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Hookfoot - A Piece Of Pye (1969 uk, splendid bluesy country rock, 2010 japan Remaster)



Vocalist multi-instrumentalist Caleb Quaye was the mastermind fronting the largely forgotten Hookfoot.  Quayle started his professional musical career as a member of Long John Baldry's backing band Bluesology.  When Baldry decided to disband the group in 1967 Quaye struck out as a solo act releasing an obscure 45 on Philips 'Baby Your Phrasing Is Bad' b/w 'Woman of Distinction'.

When the single disappeared without a trace, Quaye turned to sessions and live working, including supporting former Bluesology keyboardist Elton John.   His work with John led to a steady paycheck as a house musician signed to Dick James Music (DJM) which also happened to have signed Elton John to a recording contract.  It also introduced him to fellow DJM employees Ian Duck, David Glover, and Roger Pope.  Duck, Glover and Pope had a lengthy history themselves having started out as members of The Soul Agents, The Loot, and The Final One.  With all four working together in support of various Elton John projects, in 1969 Quaye convinced them to join him in forming a band - Hookfoot and were promptly signed by DJM.

‘A Piece of Pye’ is a collection of earlier songs like, the bluesy filler ‘S.B.W.’ [Sonny Bow Williamson] and the guitar heroics tour-de-force jamthat is ‘Shoeshine Boy’ – oh, dear Lord how well I remember that one blowing my socks off when I first heard it as a teenager! The remaining material on ‘A Piece of Pye’ was completely new to me – early recordings by the sound of it, all of them credited to guitarist Caleb Quaye. 

You Better Get On’, a showcase bluesy groover that sounds like it might’ve been the highlight of their live set at the time, up to the standard of the stunning ‘The Way of the Musician’ debut 45 released on Page One in France which unfortunately remains un-re-released to this day. It’s must be a contender for some future late 60s compilation, surely, just as Caleb Quaye's 'Baby Your Phasing is Bad' recorded immediately pre-Hookfoot is a something of a staple requirement.

There's a fair bit of other un-re-released still languishing on 'B' sides of various singles as well, including 'Heart to Heart Talking', 'Red Man', 'Freedom (Nobody's Shoes), 'Hookfoot' (the song the band became named after, apparently due to drummer Roger Pope's habit of hooking his wayward kit back towards him while playing) and 'The Opener' (original B-side of 'Sweet Sweet Funky Music' from Good Times a' Comin'). Plus, the live album that I must confess had a hand in releasing via the SPM label in Germany back in the early 1990s is also overdue for some reissue attention.
by Phil McMullen
Tracks
1. A Peace One - 1:46
2. You Better Get On (Ian Duck, Dave Glover, Roger Pope, Caleb Quaye) - 7:16
3. Death Song (Ian Duck, Caleb Quaye) - 6:36
4. First Things First - 3:05
5. Wide Open Funky Spaces - 4:13
6. S.B.W (Ian Duck, Caleb Quaye) - 2:37
7. Shoe Shine Boy 12:13
8. A Peace Two - 0:55
All songs by Caleb Quaye unless as else stated

The Hookfoot
*Caleb Quaye - Guitar, Piano, Keyboards
*Ian Duck - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
*Dave Glover - Bass Guitar
*Roger Pope - Drums, Percussion

1973  Hookfoot - Roaring (expanded edition)

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Jukin' Bone - Whiskey Woman (1972 us, stunning hard blues rock, 2010 remaster)



In December 1966 Joe Whiting would go on to team with Auburn native the legendary Mark Doyle to form the "New Ridgewoods" and after adding  drummer Tom Glaister, bassist Barry Maturevity (a Ridgewood) and rhythm guitarist Chuck Baron plus changed their name to "Free Will". In the summer of 1967, Baron was replaced by John Dean and Bill Irwin added. In the spring of  1967 bassist Maturevitz was replaced by George Egosarian.

A year later Egosarian was replaced by John DeMaso. In 1969 Bill Irwin left and George Egosarian rejoined the band. Freewill zoomed onto the music scene first covering their home base playing  Lake Dances in Auburn, Fabins in Skaneateles, Jordan-Elbridge High School and at East High School (Auburn) where they were one of the first to play a concert at a sit down auditorium, rather than a gym. They exploded into the Syracuse market playing the Scene (Dewitt), Jabberwocky (SU Campus) and Country Tavern. 

Their music was based on British Blues playing Savoy Brown, Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall etc. They played the entire "Arthur" album by the Kinks and incredible melody by Spirit. We remember those famous Chuck Berry covers & Roy Orbison's version of "Candyman". They also performed  several originals as "Carry Me Home", "Ridin' With The Devil", and "Get That Shinning Sun". During this time period Free Will ventured to Connecticut recording several demo tunes in late 1969 . That session included the only recorded versions of the legendary songs "Are You Gone" and "State Police Googie" both originals.

With its lineup finally set in the fall of 1971, Free Will changed its name to "Jukin Bone."  Now with a recording contract with RCA Records the band entered Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland Studio in New York City in 1972  and recorded their first album for RCA "Whiskey Woman". Heavy guitar riffs, solid rhythm section and great vocals. It's worth noting that all tracks were recorded completely live with a small, invited audience. Unfortunately, the album went almost unnoticed, although the band got at least a chance to record their second album.
by Ron Wray, John D'Angelo, Pete Shedd
Tracks
1. Jungle Fever (Joe Whiting, Mark Doyle) - 4:47
2. Candy Man (Fred Neil, Beverly Ross) - 4:30
3. Spirit In The Dark (Aretha Franklin) - 4:22
4. Can't Judge What You Miss (George Egosarian, Mark Doyle) - 4:14
5. Whiskey Woman (Joe Whiting, Mark Doyle) - 4:17
6. Going Down (Don Nix) - 3:54
7. The Hunter (Booker T. Jones, Carl Wells, Steve Cropper, Donald Dunn, Al Jackson, Jr.) - 3:59
8. Got The Need (Joe Whiting, Mark Doyle) - 3:02
9. Let Loose (Joe Whiting, Mark Doyle) - 4:18

The Jukin' Bone
*Joe Whiting - Vocals
*Tom Glaister - Drums, Percussion
*John DeMaso - Bass, Percussion, Vocals
*Mark Doyle - Lead Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*George Egosarian - Electric, Acoustic Guitars

1972  Jukin' Bone - Way Down East (2011 remaster)

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Jukin' Bone - Way Down East (1972 us, awesome hard blues rock, 2011 remaster)



The second and final album by these upstate New York blues-rockers was more polished than their live-in-the-studio, occasionally drunk debut, Whiskey Woman, but that's actually to the music's detriment. While the band can definitely play, laying biting slide guitar over a funky bass groove on "Nightcrawler," and howling out a roaring lust anthem on "Cara Lynn," they really don't benefit from too much slickness. Like Cactus or Black Oak Arkansas, they were best when they tore it up in down 'n' dirty fashion, as Whiskey Woman amply demonstrated. 

The addition of electric piano helps a little on the swampy, Creedence-ish "Mojo Conqueroo," and they whip up a hot 'n' nasty, shoutalong version of "See See Rider" that's not quite as deranged-sounding as their take on Roy Orbison's "Candy Man" from their debut, but it's pretty raucous. But by the time the acoustic "Yes Is Yes" comes along, the band's limitations are apparent. Recommended to absolute die-hard '70s hard rock cultists; everyone else can get by just listening to Free, Humble Pie, Cactus, and Black Oak Arkansas. 
by Phil Freeman
Tracks
1. Cara Lynn (Joe Whiting, Mark Doyle) - 2:27
2. Way Down East (Joe Whiting, George Egosarian) - 3:10
3. Nightcrawler (John DeMaso, Joe Whiting, George Egosarian, Mark Doyle) - 4:32
4. Come On Home (Mark Doyle, Joe Whiting) - 2:25
5. Mojo Conqueroo (George Egosarian, Mark Doyle) - 5:51
6. See See Rider (Gertrude "Ma" Rainey) - 2:52
7. Can You Feel It (George Egosarian, Joe Whiting) - 3:11
8. Yes Is Yes (George Egosarian) - 2:52
9. Sayin' It Is Easy (George Egosarian, Mark Doyle) - 3:05
10.Johnny Lee's Mood (Bernard Besman, John Lee Hooker) - 5:07

The Jukin' Bone
*Joe Whiting - Vocals
*Danny Coward - Drums, Percussion
*John DeMaso - Bass, Percussion, Vocals
*Mark Doyle - Lead, Slide, Acoustic Guitars, Percussion, Piano, Vocals
*George Egosarian - Electric, Acoustic Guitars
*Kevin Shwaryk - Drums, Percussion (Track 8)

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Roy Buchanan - The Prophet (1969-71 us, solid blues rock, 2004 release)



In 1969 -- some three years before his self-titled debut solidified his stature as a pre-eminent string bender -- Roy Buchanan (guitar/vocals) signed with Polydor Records and began work on his first full-length platter. In 2004, three-and-a-half decades later, the audio archivists at Hip-O Select finally issued The Prophet: The Unreleased First Polydor Album (2004). Augmenting the 11-track running order that would have made up that disc, the single-CD package contains 30-plus minutes of previously vaulted outtakes, including tunes documented at an aborted March of 1971 session. 

Prior to garnering notoriety as "The World's Greatest Unknown Guitarist," Buchanan spent the '50s and early '60s as a support musician for a number of R&B outfits and served stints in both Dale Hawkins' and his Canadian cousin Ronnie Hawkins' respective combos. It was during a period that was marked by touring with the former that he first came to the attention of another rising performer named Charlie Daniels. By the late '60s the two crossed paths professionally as Buchanan was placed in the care of Daniels, whose recent roster boasted production credits for the likes of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.

Because of Buchanan's reluctance to travel away from his regular club gigs in and around the Baltimore, MD/Washington D.C. area, Daniels was only able to corral him long enough for a handful of studio dates in Nashville, Tennessee. Accompanying Daniels (guitar/vocals/harmonica) and Buchanan are Bob Wilson (keyboards), Karl Himmel (drums), Ernie Winfrey (timpani/percussion), future Charlie Daniels Band mainstay Joel "Taz" DiGregorio (vocals), as well as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young associate Tim Drummond (bass). Although four of the songs surfaced on the excellent career retrospective Sweet Dreams: The Anthology (1992), when restored to the original lineup they are given additional context, further demonstrating the breadth of Buchanan's chops. Of those making their incipient showing here, highlights include the heavy "Funky Junky," as it packs a punch that lies between Derek & the Dominoes à la "Got to Get Better in a Little While" and harder rocking units such as the Joe Walsh (guitar/vocals) era James Gang. 

"Day and Age" propels forward with a double-time rhythm, while the tune "Billie Joe Young" resumes the exploration of the guitarist's penchant for jazzier improvisations. There are also some great licks on "Pain" and the dark and edgy "I Desire You." However, it is the initially discarded reworking of T-Bone Walker's "Stormy Monday" and the all too brief "Jam" that may command listeners primary attention. The March of 1971 batch is worthy of equal (if not perhaps more) consideration as Buchanan emerges out from under Daniels' care as a masterful leader. "Roy's Bluz" burns with a simmering and scintillating groove, while the cover of Junior Walker's "Shotgun" immediately lays down the law with Buchanan's blistering opening flurry.

The medley pairing "After Hours" with "The Messiah Will Come Again" arguably outshines the two respective versions that subsequently appeared on the imaginatively titled Roy Buchanan (1972) and Second Album (1973). Those enthusiasts who thought they knew Buchanan's legacy will be nothing short of ecstatic to supplement what is quite possibly the single most crucial entry in his posthumous catalog. 
by Lindsay Planer
Tracks
1. Funky Junky - 2:06
2. Black Autumn - 4:25
3. Day And Age - 2:51
4. There'll Always Be - 4:50
5. Billy Joe Young - 4:38
6. Story Of Isaac (Leonard Cohen) - 5:48
7. Baltimore - 3:31
8. Sign On The Window (Bob Dylan) - 3:42
9. Humbug Down On The River - 2:34
10.Pain - 3:27
11.I Desire You - 5:55
12.Stormy Monday (T-Bone Walker) - 4:19
13.Jam (Roy Buchanan) - 2:19
14.Roy's Bluz (Roy Buchanan) - 7:10
15.Shotgun (Autry DeWalt) - 4:38
16.After Hours / The Messiah Will Come Again (Robert Bruce, Buddy Feyne, Avery Parrish, Roy Buchanan) - 6:53
17.Sweet Dreams (Don Gibson) - 5:20
All songs by Charlie Daniels exccept where stated

Musicians
*Roy Buchanan - Guitar, Primary Artist, Vocals
*Charlie Daniels - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
*Joel "Taz" DiGregorio - Vocals
*Tim Drummond - Bass
*Karl Himmel - Drums
*Bing McCoy - Piano
*Bob Wilson - Keyboards
*Ernie Winfrey - Percussion, Timpani
*Tom Zito - Drums
*Joe Bayliss - Organ, Vocal
*Don Monahan - Bass

1969-78  Roy Buchanan - Sweet Dreams The Anthology (double disc set)
Related Acts
1970  Charlie Daniels - Charlie Daniels
1972  Charlie Daniels - Te John Grease And Wolfman (2008 issue)
1973  Charlie Daniels - Uneasy Rider "Honey In The Rock" (2008 edition)

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

The New York Rock And Roll Ensemble - The New York Rock And Roll Ensemble (1968 us, marvelous baroque psychedelia)



Blending classical pieces and instruments with rock songs and instruments, the New York Rock 'n' Roll Ensemble earned the adoration of everyone from Leonard Bernstein to Eric Clapton. Their ambitious 1968 debut features She's Gone; Poor Pauline; The Seasons among others wonderful tunes.
Tracks
1. Intro - 0:20
2. Sounds Of Time (Clifton Nivison) - 2:43
3. Began To Burn (Brian Corrigan) - 2:48
4. Monkey (Michael Kamen, Martin Fulterman) - 2:58
5. Trio Sonata No. 1 In C Major 2nd Movement-Alla Breve Fugue (Johann Sebastian Bach) - 1:29
6. She's Gone (Brian Corrigan, Michael Kamen) - 2:34
7. Poor Pauline (Michael Kamen) - 2:48
8. "?" - 0:30
9. Mr. Tree (Clifton Nivison) - 2:27
10.You Know Just What It's Like (Michael Kamen) - 2:58
11.Studeao Atlantis (Michael Kamen, Martin Fulterman, Brian Corrigan, Clifton Nivison, Dorian Rudnytsky) - 3:02
12.Pick Up In The Morning (Brian Corrigan, Clifton Nivison, Dorian Rudnytsky) - 3:26
13.The Seasons: Fall/Winter/Spring/Summer (Michael Kamen, Martin Fulterman, Brian Corrigan, Clifton Nivison, Dorian Rudnytsky) - 7:09

The New York Rock 'N' Roll Ensemble
*Dorian Rudnytsky - Bass, Cello
*Martin Fulterman - Drums, Oboe
*Michael Kamen - Keyboards, Oboe, Vocals
*Clifton Nivison - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Brian Corrigan - Rhythm Guitar

1969-70  New York Rock 'N' Roll Ensemble - Faithful Friends / Reflections
1971-72  The New York Rock Ensemble – Roll Over / Freedomburger

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Asylum Choir - Look Inside (1968 us, vital freaky exciting psychedelia, 2007 remaster)



Long before Leon Russell became the albescent bearded high-priest of gritty rock’n’soul, he was a session musician in Phil Spector’s LA stable backing acts as diverse as The Byrds and Herb Alpert. Around this time Russell met the young Marc Benno, a talented blues guitarist just up from Austin, Texas who had moved to LA to also take up session work. Benno had been crashing in a closet at Russell’s place where a veritable who’s who of the 60’s rock scene would hang out and jam. It was here that Benno met Eric Clapton and many of the other famous musicians with whom he would collaborate later in his career. Benno described it as being “in the right place at the right time.” Russell and Benno decided to formally join forces as “Asylum Choir” and released the first of two LP’s in 1968, Look Inside the Asylum Choir, on the Smash imprint.

Look Inside the Asylum Choir rightly earns the oft overused label “psychedelic” for tracks such as “Icicle Star Tree” or “Death of the Flowers” which are psychedelic pop in the classical late 60’s sense, however musicians as diversely talented as Russell and Benno couldn’t help but include R&B, soul, ragtime and jazz elements along with numerous diegetic sound-bites and ironic lyrics into an eclectic musical collage that assumes a psychedelia of a higher order. The lofty words of 40+ years worth of hindsight don’t change the fact that the album was a commercial flop, despite favorable reviews from the groovy critics of the time. Perhaps the greatest commercial misstep was a marketing one: the album was originally released with a closeup photograph of a roll of toilet paper on the front cover. While perfectly in line with the deeply tongue-in-cheek lyrical irony of the album, the ablutional image offended the much more delicate sensibilities of the day.

It is this pervasive irony that both sets this album apart as a smart if gentle critique of the contemporary 60’s culture and dates much of the lyrical content. Despite this the album is quite enjoyable and musically delightful. The jaunty opener, “Welcome to Hollywood”, with its punchy horns and bouncy beat lyrically sticks a pin in Tinseltown’s balloon in jubilant vocal harmony. This is followed by the relatively straight honkey tonk ode to “Soul Food” and is a strong hint at the musical direction Russell would take later in his career. With the third track, “Icicle Star Tree”, the album takes a left turn into the sunshiny technicolor terain of psychedelic pop. The dreamy melody complete with abstruse and surreal lyrics floats over alternating cascades of shimmering keyboard and soulful telecaster for an overall heavily lysergic vibe. The album keeps this mood with the elegiac “Death of the Flowers” which tells the poignant story of Elaine “who is visibly moved by the death all around her…” The first side of the album closes with “Indian Style” that opens with a sound collage of tribal drumming eventually giving way to the sounds of cavalry, machine gun fire and war. This wordless statement abruptly ends as the upbeat honkey tonk song proper kicks in, evolving the initial statement with ironic lyrics about the mis-appropriation and commodification of indian culture by the flower children.

The second side opens with a six minute musical hodgepodge entitled “Episode Containing 3 Songs: N.Y. Op. Land of Dog Mr. Henri the Clown” that has a number of memorable moments such as a 30 second bit of “Mr. Henri the Clown” that is reminiscent of Beck’s “The New Pollution” off of Odelay, and witty lyrics about a flea who has a “little flea-osophy on organized insanity.” The heavy theme of the next track, “Thieves in the Choir”, is anticipated by the dolorous peal of church bells. The song warns of “Magic policemen who don’t need a reason to color your eye.” In deliberate contrast to this subject matter the song ironically borders on ebullient as Russell sings about how he “figured out, good guys with bullets are really quite bad.” The swinging blues closer “Black Sheep Boogaloo” rips it up pretty thoroughly, punctuated by Zappa/Beefheart-esque interludes of self-referential weirdness.

Despite its poor sales at the time, Inside the Asylum Choir remains an enjoyable listen both as a period piece and as an interesting insight into the future directions of two musicians of the highest caliber.
by Thom Klepach
Tracks
1. Welcome to Hollywood - 2:45
2. Soul Food (Leon Russell, Marc Benno, Bill Boatman, James Markham) - 2:10
3. Icicle Star Tree (Leon Russell, Marc Benno, Wally Wilson) - 3:03
4. Death Of The Flowers (Leon Russell, Marc Benno, Greg Dempsey) - 3:15
5. Indian Style - 3:46
6. Medley: N.Y. Op./Land of Dog/Henri The Clown - 6:07
7. Thieves in the Choir (Leon Russell, Marc Benno, Jerry Riopelle) - 4:04
8. Black Sheep Boogaloo - 2:29
9. Soul Food (Leon Russell, Marc Benno, Bill Boatman, James Markham) - 2:19
10.Welcome To Hollywood - 3:03
11.Icicle Star Tree (Leon Russell, Marc Benno, Wally Wilson) - 3:07
12.Indian Style - 3:44
All songs by Leon Russell, Marc Benno except where indicated
Bonus Tracks 9-12 Mono Single Versions

Musicians
*Leon Russell - Vocals, Piano, Organ, Guitar, Bass, Mandolin
*Marc Benno - Vocals, Guitars

Related Act
1973  Marc Benno And The Nightcrawlers - Crawlin

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Marc Benno And The Nightcrawlers - Crawlin (1973 us, magnificent driftin blues rock with young Stevie Ray Vaughan, 2006 release)



The original recordings of the infamous Texas blues-rock band featuring Stevie Ray Vaughan on lead guitar, Doyle Bramhall on drums, Tommy McClure on bass guitar and Billy Etheridge on keyboards, performing classics written by Marc Benno and the band. Concentrating on Benno's songwriting talents, the band took on a sound of their own and became underground legends in the Austin music scene of the 70's. The album, which also features Stevie's first instrumental, was recorded at Sunset Sound in Hollywood right before the Nightcrawlers went off on tour with J. Geils and Humble Pie. They returned from tour to find their label wasn't looking for another blues based project, and the album has sat unreleased until 2006! 
Tracks
1. Last Train (Irvin Benno, Marc Benno) - 2:04
2. Coffee Cup (Irvin Benno, Marc Benno) - 3:19
3. 8 Ball (Marc Benno, Doyle Bramhall) - 6:22
4. Take Me Down Easy (Marc Benno, Doyle Bramhall, Gordon de Witty) - 3:23
5. Love Is Turnin Green (Doyle Bramhall, Tommy McClure) - 5:38
6. Hot Shoe Blues (Irvin Benno, Marc Benno) - 2:06
7. Crawlin (Marc Benno, Billy Etheridge, Stevie Ray Vaughan) - 3:23
8. Friends (Marc Benno, Johnny Perez) - 4:32
9. Whole Thang (Marc Benno) - 1:57
10.World Keep Spinnin (Marc Benno) - 2:51
11.Long Ride Home (Marc Benno, Stevie Ray Vaughan) - 3:11

The Nightcrawlers
*Marc Benno - Fender Rhodes, Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Doyle Bramhall - Drums
*Gordon de Witty - Hammond B3, Moog Synthesizer, Organ
*Billy Etheridge - Keyboards
*Russ Kunkel - Drums
*Johnny Perez - Drums
*Lee Sklar - Bass
*Mike Utley - Keyboards
*Stevie Ray Vaughan - Guitar, Slide Guitar, Wah Wah Guitar

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