Monday, December 30, 2013

David Bromberg - Wanted Dead Or Alive (1974 us, exceptional mix of country, folk, blues, dixie, roots 'n' roll, 2004 reissue)



With their masterfully executed mix of America’s musical roots, the albums released by David Bromberg in the mid-1970s remain as much fun as they were more than a third of a century ago.

Though his work with Dylan (on New Morning, Self-Portrait, and the forgettable Dylan, which used discarded tracks from the previous sessions) had led to a contract with Columbia Records and members of the Grateful Dead had played on his first two albums, his roots-oriented approach was obscured by the soft pop-dominated hit parade of the early-1970s. 

Those who craved and understood great musicianship loved those albums, but sales were nowhere up to major label standards. Reaching into what he does best, Bromberg came up with an album full of spirit, high energy and musical diversity. Opening with a galloping reprisal of “The Holdup,” his collaboration with George Harrison, Bromberg and cohorts, including the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia, Keith Godchaux and Bill Kreutzmann and backup singers Tracy Nelson and the Sweet Inspirations, rarely let up. Bessie Smith’s 1929 blues hit, “Send Me To The ‘Lectric Chair,” Leiber and Stoller’s “Kansas City,” and a medley of Blind Willie McTell’s “Statesboro Blues” and L. Jordan’s “Church Bell Blues” are resurrected with new life.

A Dylan tune is thrown in, as well – “Wallflower,” which, although it had previously been recorded by Doug Sahm, with Bromberg on guitar, did not appear on a Dylan album until the release of The Bootleg Series – Volumes 1-3 (Rare And Unreleased) in 1991. While his vocals were anything but luscious, Bromberg’s deep, growl-like singing made every word heartfelt. Showing the depths of his songwriting with four self-composed tunes (“Someone Else’s Blues,” “Danger Man,” “The Main Street Moan,” and “The New Lee Highway Blues”), Bromberg uses the guitar picking styles that he had learned as a student and protégé of bluesman Reverend Gary Davis as springboards for discovery.
by Craig Harris
Tracks
1. The Holdup (D. Bromberg, George Harrison) - 3:06
2. Someone Else's Blue (D. Bromberg) - 8:02
3. Danger Man (D. Bromberg) - 3:09
4. The Main Street Moan (D. Bromberg) - 5:16
5. Send Me To The 'Lectric Chair (George Brooks) - 4:56
6. Statesboro Blues-Church Bell Blues (Blind Willie McTell, Luke Jordan, Arr. by D. Bromberg) - 5:12
7. Wallflower (Bob Dylan) - 3:00
8. Kansas City (Jerry Lieber, Mike Stoller) - 4:00
9. The New Lee Highway Blues (D. Bromberg) - 5:38

Personnel
*David Bromberg - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Steve Burgh - Bass
*Peter Ecklund - Trumpet, Mellophones
*Joe Ferguson - Alto, Baritone Saxophone
*Hungria Garcia - Timbales
*Jerry Garcia - Acoustic, Electric Guitar
*Keith Godchaux - Piano
*Jeff Gutcheon - Piano
*Bill Kreutzmann - Drums
*Phil Lesh - Bass
*Tony Markellis - Bass
*Steve Mosley - Bass
*John Payne - Alto Flute, Bass Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
*Neil Rossi - Fiddle
*Andy Statman - Mandolin, Tenor Saxophone
*Jay Ungar - Fiddle
*Winnie Winston - Banjo
*Jack Lee - Background Vocals
*Andy McMahon - Background Vocals
*Tracy Nelson - Background Vocals
*The Sweet Inspirations - Background Vocals

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Lucifer's Friend - Lucifer's Friend (1970 germany, powerful heavy prog, 2008 SPV edition)



A German band from the early Seventies who were successful abroad, even in the States? What sounded like wishful thinking at the time applied, at least for a few years, to Lucifer's Friend from Hamburg. Not only the enthusiastic press reactions to their 1970 debut, but also top positions in the readers' polls of major American music magazines surprised even experienced product managers in Germany. But when American TV stations started to enquire about the band, Lucifer's Friend found themselves faced with a problem that had remained hidden from most media representatives: the group existed only on paper, or rather in the studio. The musicians involved – Peter Hesslein (guitar), Peter Hecht (organ) and Dieter Horns (bass) - had disbanded their beat group, German Bands, two years previously and recorded - more or less as an experiment - a handful of songs, initially without a vocalist or any clearly defined concept of how to go on.

Between German Bands and Lucifer's Friend lay the foundation of the group, Asterix. Established in 1969, this act marked the arrival of the musicians Hesslein, Hecht, Horns and Joachim Reitenbach (drums, also ex-German Bonds) on the rock scene. Their first attempt failed, and the project was terminated after two unsuccessful singles and a self-titled debut album. What was left was the musicians' ambition to found a band which, according to the Zeitgeist, concentrated on rock instead of beat music. Their second try featured a different line-up and succeeded. Thanks to the single, Ride The Sky, and a rock sound that seemed tailor-made for American radio preferences, their eponymously titled debut album scored in a big way.

British vocalist John Lawton joined the group when the album production was already underway. The musicians had discovered him during a gig with his band Stonewall at the Top Ten live club at Hamburg's Reeperbahn and enlisted him as a studio musician. Lawton was also on board when Lucifer's Friend decided in view of the great reactions at home and abroad to turn their studio project into a regular band, performing live shows. The music on the debut turned out to be a mix of Anglo-American hard rock, blues, soul and early variations of what was to develop into heavy metal. 

The press praised the LP by this "super-dynamic German rock quintet with more than slight Led Zeppelin resemblances", yet album sales in Germany were very slow to start off with. Their career began to gain momentum when Chicago import record company Billingsgate – who Epitaph were to have an unpleasant encounter with later - licensed the album, sending out specimen copies to the country's most important radio stations. Suddenly WMMS, Cleveland's most popular radio station, discovered the catchy Ride The Sky, catapulting Lucifer's Friend to no.2 of the city's best-selling albums (directly behind Pink Floyd) and establishing the basis for a long period of success.

During the following years, Lucifer's Friend continued to produce successful rock albums with changing line-ups, but were unable to live from their music alone, some band members having to work with the Les Humphries Singers on the side. Following Mind Exploding (1976), Lawton left the band to join Uriah Heep, returning in 1981 to record the final album, Mean Machine, and was also involved in the unsuccessful comeback attempt, Sumogrip (1994), which featured a new version of Ride The Sky. Subsequently, Lucifer's Friend were put to rest permanently.
by Matthias Mineur
Tracks
1. Ride In The Sky (P. Hesslein, J. Lawton) - 2:55
2. Everybody's Clown (P. Hesslein, John O'Brien-Docker, J. Rietenbach, D. Horns, P. Hecht) - 6:12
3. Keep Goin' (P. Hesslein, J. Docker, D. Horns, P. Hecht) - 5:26
4. Toxic Shadows (P. Hesslein, J. Docker) - 7:01
5. Free Baby (P. Hesslein, D. Horns, P. Hecht, J. Lawton) - 5:28
6. Baby You're A Liar (P. Hesslein, J. Docker, D. Horns, P. Hecht, J. Rietenbach) - 3:55
7. In The Time Of Job When Mammon Was A... (P. Hesslein, J. Docker, D. Horns, P. Hecht) - 4:04
8. Lucifer's Friend (P. Hesslein, J. Docker, D. Horns, P. Hecht, Herbert Hildebrandt-Winhauer) - 6:12
9. Horla (Bonus Track) (P. Hesslein, D. Horns, P. Hecht, J. Rietenbach) - 2:53
10.Lucifer's Friend (Radio Edit) (P. Hesslein, J. Docker, D. Horns, P. Hecht, H. Hildebrandt-Winhauer) - 3:43

Lucifer's Friend
*Peter Hecht - Organ
*Dieter Horns - Bass, Vocals
*John Lawton - Lead Vocal
*Joachim Rietenbach - Drums
*Peter Hesslein - Guitar, Vocals

Related Act
1970  Asterix - Asterix

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