Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Big Lost Rainbow - Big Lost Rainbow (1973 us, delightful jazzy progressive folk rock, Gear Fab edition)




It is not hard to figure out why record labels wouldn't touch Big Lost Rainbow and why it stood no chance of gaining a widespread audience at the time of its 1973 release date. The album runs completely counter to the pompous hard rock that was plastered all over the airwaves at the time, and is far too subtle and mature for mass consumption. Although their initial gig was played before a crowd of 10,000, Big Lost Rainbow were not cut out for the arena. 

Their music requires a much more intimate setting and response, and their sole album is a surprising musical delight constructed out of elements of folk, jazz, and classical music, all of which expose gorgeous, supple melodies, mostly composed by lead vocalist and guitarist Ridley Pearson. The album brings to mind the best aspects of soft, early-'70s folk-pop, but unlike much of that genre, there is a genuine sorrow (as opposed to anger) threaded throughout the music; a sorrow, perhaps, brought about by the changing times but not the least bit cynical. It is, instead, a sort of celebratory sentimentality. 

The songs are all exceedingly strong. Big Lost Rainbow infuse the music with an uncanny emotional resonance whether they are expressing joyous or melancholy sentiments. The opening cut, "Sail" (written by Otis Read), is powered by harmonies nearly equal to those of Crosby, Stills & Nash, while "Oh! Idaho" is a lilting, upbeat tune that soars with scatty harmonies à la Seals & Crofts. Even the upbeat songs, though, are not exactly bouncy. 

The album is entirely drum-less, so acoustic guitar, piano, bass, and cello are all up front with Pearson's vocals, which sound like a gentler, more somnolent Jonathan Edwards or James Taylor. When the mood is slowed down, the songs are incredibly touching. "Slow Rider" has a hint of the Bee Gees in their most heartbreakingly fragile and evocative melodic moments. And the gorgeous "Allegiance of Apathy," the one song included from the group's 1992 reunion, offers not only evidence that the members still have the magic but also a perfect, poignant closing for the album. 

Overall there is a tender, communal hippie vibe to the album, very sunny and optimistic without descending into silliness and entirely avoiding jadedness. There is a sense of lost innocence and the process of growing wiser, as if the band is singing a lullaby to the wistfulness of youth. From beginning to end, Big Lost Rainbow is romantic and lovely. 
by Stanton Swihart
Tracks
1. Sail (Otis Read) - 3:09
2. I Go Alone - 4:20
3. Lady Love - 4:11
4. Brothers - 2:58
5. Ocean - 5:02
6. Idaho - 2:18
7. It's Over Now - 3:44
8. Morning Sunshine (Bradbury, Pearson) - 2:44
9. Lady Of Music (Pearson, Berenson) - 13:08
10.Always On The Eve - 4:24
11.Patricia Jane Moon - 3:51
12.Slow Rider - 3:31
Words and Music by Ridley Pearson except where indicated

Big Lost Rainbow
*Ridley Pearson - Guitar, Piano, Vocals, Saxophone
*Otis Read - Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*Robin Pfoutz - Cello
*Adam Berenson - Piano
*Tony Morse - Flute
*Jacques Bailhe - Bass, Vocals, Guitar
with
*Steve Patt - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Charlie Read - Backing Vocals

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Cream - Disraeli Gears (1967 uk, historical heavy blues psych, japan SHM two disc set)




Cream teamed up with producer Felix Pappalardi for their second album, Disraeli Gears, a move that helped push the power trio toward psychedelia and also helped give the album a thematic coherence missing from the debut. This, of course, means that Cream get further away from the pure blues improvisatory troupe they were intended to be, but it does get them to be who they truly are: a massive, innovative power trio. 

The blues still courses throughout Disraeli Gears -- the swirling kaleidoscopic "Strange Brew" is built upon a riff lifted from Albert King -- but it's filtered into saturated colors, as it is on "Sunshine of Your Love," or it's slowed down and blurred out, as it is on the ominous murk of "Tales of Brave Ulysses." It's a pure psychedelic move that's spurred along by Jack Bruce's flourishing collaboration with Pete Brown. 

Together, this pair steers the album away from recycled blues-rock and toward its eccentric British core, for with the fuzzy freakout "Swlabr," the music hall flourishes of "Dance the Night Away," the swinging "Take It Back," and of course, the old music hall song "Mother's Lament," this is a very British record. Even so, this crossed the ocean and also became a major hit in America, because regardless of how whimsical certain segments are, Cream are still a heavy rock trio and Disraeli Gears is a quintessential heavy rock album of the '60s. Yes, its psychedelic trappings tie it forever to 1967, but the imagination of the arrangements, the strength of the compositions, and especially the force of the musicianship make this album transcend its time as well. 
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Tracks
Disc 1
1. Strange Brew (Eric Clapton, Felix Pappalardi, Gail Collins Pappalardi) - 2:46
2. Sunshine of Your Love (Clapton, Jack Bruce, Pete Brown) - 4:10
3. World of Pain (Pappalardi, Collins) - 3:03
4. Dance the Night Away (Bruce, Brown) - 3:34
5. Blue Condition (Ginger Baker) - 3:29
6. Tales of Brave Ulysses (Clapton, Martin Sharp) - 2:46
7. Swlabr (Bruce, Brown) - 2:32
8. We're Going Wrong (Bruce) - 3:26
9. Outside Woman Blues (Blind Joe Reynolds, arr. Clapton) - 2:24
10.Take It Back (Bruce, Brown) - 3:05
11.Mother's Lament (Traditional, arr. Clapton, Bruce, Baker) - 1:47
12.Lawdy Mama  (Version 2) (Traditional, arr. Clapton) - 2:00
13.Blue Condition (Alternate Version) (Baker) - 3:13
14.We're Going Wrong (Bruce) - 3:49
15.Hey Now, Princess (Bruce, Brown) - 3:31
16.Swlabr (Bruce, Brown) - 4:30
17.Weird of Hermiston (Bruce, Brown) - 3:12
18.The Clearout (Bruce, Brown) - 3:58
Tracks 1-11 Stereo
Tracks 12-13 Outtakes
Tracks 14-18 Demos
Disc 2
1. Strange Brew (Eric Clapton, Felix Pappalardi, Gail Collins Pappalardi) - 2:46
2. Sunshine of Your Love (Clapton, Jack Bruce, Pete Brown) - 4:10
3. World of Pain (Pappalardi, Collins) - 3:03
4. Dance the Night Away (Bruce, Brown) - 3:34
5. Blue Condition (Ginger Baker) - 3:29
6. Tales of Brave Ulysses (Clapton, Martin Sharp) - 2:46
7. Swlabr (Bruce, Brown) - 2:32
8. We're Going Wrong (Bruce) - 3:26
9. Outside Woman Blues (Blind Joe Reynolds, arr. Clapton) - 2:24
10.Take It Back (Bruce, Brown) - 3:05
11.Mother's Lament (Traditional, arr. Clapton, Bruce, Baker) - 1:47
12. Lawdy Mama (Version 1) (Traditional, arr. Clapton) - 2:04
13. Blue Condition (Alternate Version) (G. Baker) - 3:12
14.Strange Brew (Clapton, Pappalardi, Collins) - 3:00
15.Tales of Brave Ulysses (Clapton, Sharp) - 2:55
16.We're Going Wrong (Bruce) - 3:25
17.Born Under a Bad Sign (Booker T. Jones, William Bell) - 3:03
18.Outside Woman Blues (Reynolds) - 3:18
19.Take It Back (Bruce, Brown) - 2:17
20.Politician (Bruce, Brown) - 3:59
21.Swlabr (Bruce, Brown) - 2:32
22.Steppin' Out (James Bracken) - 3:37
Tracks 1-11 Mono
Tracks 12-13 Outtakes
Tracks 14-22 BBC recordings

Cream
*Ginger Baker - Drums, Vocals
*Jack Bruce - Bass, Harmonica, Keyboards, Vocals
*Eric Clapton - Guitar, Vocals

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