domenica, gennaio 30, 2011

Edison Electric Band - Bless You, Dr. Woodward (1970 us hard prog)

Edison Electric Band - Bless You, Dr. Woodward

For a city renown for it's soul music scene, I'm always amazed at the number of good, but largely unknown 1960s and 1970s era bands that popped up out of Philadelphia. Add The Edison Electric Band to the list. It also happens that when I started collecting LPs back in the early 1980s, this was one of my first purchases - $1.00 at a local yard sale.
Bassist Dan Friedman and singer/drummer David Stock met in 1966 when they were attending The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Interested in forming a rock band they quickly recruited fellow students keyboardist Mark Jordan and lead guitarist Mark Ziegler. As The Thomas A. Edison Electric Band the quartet began playing local Philadelphia dances and parties, getting their first break when they were signed by Cameo-Parkway. The following the year they released their debut single:
- 1967's 'Methyl Ethyl' b/w 'The Name Of The Game' (Cameo-Parkway catalog number C-490)
While the single didn't do anything commercial, they were then hired to provide music for a quickie exploitation album on Cameo-Parkway's Wyncote budget label. Released in 1967 and credited to The Chimps, the album featured a collection of Monkees covers and throwaway garage numbers ("Monkey Business" Wyncote catalog W-9199).
Frustrated with their inability to break commercially the group followed the rest of the country, heading for San Francisco in 1968. Having shortened their name to The Edison Electric Band, in 1970 they scored a contract with Atlantic's Cotillion subsidiary, releasing their debut album; the Joel Dorn and Jack Shaw produced "Bless You Dr. Woodward". In an unfortunate turn of events during the recording sessions Ziegler broke his arm in motorcycle accident and T.J. Tindall (who'd already recorded a single as a member of the Trenton, New Jersey-based The Galaxies IV) was brought in as a replacement. Showcasing a largely original set of material, the album was quite diverse with the band taking shots at a broad array of genres including blues, country-rock, pop, and conventional rock. Showcasing Stack's likeable voice and a line up with more technical proficiency than most of the competition, virtually all of the performances were good, but the absence of a distinctive sound certainly didn't help their cause. In fact the set was so diverse at times you almost wondered whether it was the same band. It almost sounded like they were recording a marketing demo intended to showcase their ability to handle any genre.
- Opening up with a breezy pop melody, ''Ship of the Future' started the album with a surprisingly commercial orientation. Even better was Jordan's cool mid-song synthesizer solo. Not sure what he was playing, but it had a mesmerizing sound. rating: *** stars
- 'Over the Hill' began with an atmospheric church organ segment before morphing into a pretty mid-tempo ballad, and finally ending as an Allman Brothers-styled guitar workout. The track also served as a nice platform for Stack's attractive and commercial voice (which had just enough edge to be FM friendly). rating: *** stars
- Their instrumental cover of Percy Mayfield's bluesy 'Please Send Me' marked a sudden change in direction. Propelled by Jordan's piano, a nice Friedman bass, and a restrained Tindall solo, the results were attractive in a supper club kind of way. Nothing all that special. rating: ** stars
- 'Baby Leroy' found the band pursuing a nice blue-eyed soul feel. Imagine something Delaney and Bonnie might have recorded. rating: *** stars
- 'Royal Fool' started side two with a nice country-rock number. Pretty melody with a nice electric keyboard from Jordan made this one quite radio friendly. Stack turned in one of his best vocals on this one. rating: *** stars
- 'West Wind' was a standard and pedestrian blues-rocker. The first real disappointment, the best things here were Friedman's busy bass pattern and the nice call and response harmony vocals. rating: ** stars
- It's funny, I'm normally not a big R&B fan but their cover of Doc Pomus' 'Lonely Avenue' was one of the standout performances. Stack's hesitant vocals (it almost sounded like he was singing it phonetically), and Jordan's Hammond B-3 gave the song an interesting edge. Very nice ! rating: **** stars
- Another abrupt shift in musical direction, 'Island Sun' found the band turning in a Latin-flavored rocker. Sporting heavy percussion and some nice twin lead guitar, this one sounded like a Manassas outtake. rating: *** stars
- So why not take a stab at a heavy metal song? Okay, here's 'Smokehouse'. With Stacks spoken word segments this one sounded like a Black Oak Arkansas throwaway (not that wasn't a good thing). rating: ** stars
- Tacked on to the end of the album, Tindall's only contribution, the brief instrumental 'Lebanese Packhorse' was also the standout performance. It didn't even last a minute, but the track had an instantly appealing ominous feel. Wish they'd included a longer take. rating: **** stars
Cotillion also tapped the album for a single in the form of:
- 'Ship of the Future' b/w 'West Wind' (Cotillion catalog number 45-44071
Shame they weren't able to imprint more personality on the album. Largely panned by critics (bless his soul Robert Christgau was one of the few exceptions), the album didn't do much commercially and within a couple of months the band had called it quits.
From RYM (rdten1)

sabato, gennaio 29, 2011

Drops - Drops (dan 1975 jazz-prog)

Drops - Drops

Of the multitude of obscure fusion albums released in the mid 1970s, Drops is definitely in the top tier of that bunch. Foregoing the temptation to add US styled funk seems to be the separator, while the band focuses more on melody and composition rather than pointless solos. 5 piece group with all the requisite instrumentation (sax, flute, el. piano, synthesizer, guitar, bass and drums). While certainly not at the level of the best German fusion groups like Embryo or Missus Beastly, Drops is well worth considering especially if your tastes run more towards jazz than rock. Features two members from Thors Hammer. Drops is on the same label as Fred Israel and Buki-Yamaz.
From RYM (ashratom)

venerdì, gennaio 28, 2011

The Chocolate Watchband - No Way Out (1967 great psych garage)

The Chocolate Watchband - No Way Out

ok, so this isnt really a "Chocolate Watchband" album.
ok some of it is, but on half of these tracks, the lead vocals were handled by some session singer at the management's or label's or producer's request.
frankly that decision is plain baffling, because the singer used would clearly have been more suited to soul/motown music than a trippy garagey album and because the band's own singer (who sings on a handful of songs here and some fine singles) sounds like a snottier west-coast version of Mick Jagger.
Then there's the two instrumentals created by the producer that the band doesnt even play on.
sure the band were short changed by some of those decisions, especially the singer, but at the end of the day the finished record is actually really good.
its a mix of trippy garagey music, with some more overtly psychedelic moments such as the two aforementioned instrumentals, the bo diddley-meets-raga track of Gone And Passes By, the backwards ending of the title track and the trippy ending of Gossamer Wings.
Sure this could have been better if the band's own singer (should really put in the effort to look up his name here) had handled the vocals, but as it is this is a great psychedelic garage album.
From RYM (koeeoaddi_there)

martedì, gennaio 25, 2011

Et Cetera - Et Cetera 1976 (can prog)

Et Cetera - Et Cetera

There seems to be way too many prog rock bands who release one album and then disappear. Most likely they no longer had the finances to move on to the next album, so they had to go back to their day jobs. Or those unlucky to get started in the second half of the '70s, they had to go against punk rock and disco which were at their peak in the late '70s. Quebec's Et Cetera was one of many examples. They released their only album in 1976 and disappeared, although apparently the male keyboardist went and threw his credibility right down the toilet by playing for (yuck!) Celine Dion (much like Pollen's Claude Lemay), while some others ended up in a Genesis tribute, if I'm not mistakened, keeping the credibility of those band members.
This group's only album was released on the Apostrophe label, apparently a private label ran by the band, since one of their compositions on the album was entitled "Apostrophe".

Well, if you're a Gentle Giant fan, give this album a try. This is very much the French-Canadian answer to that band: lots of similar complex instrumental arrangements and ingenious vocal harmonies that are undeniably Gentle Giant influences. But there's also some big differences, for one thing, they featured a female vocalist named Marie Bernard Pagé, who handles some keyboard work. She even handled an Ondes Martenot, an early synthesizer prototype from the 1920. Et Cetera is the only prog band I know to use one, it's more associated with avant garde classical and sci fi (including the female chorus you hear on the original 1960s Star Trek TV theme song). The rest of the band consists of what you often expect in prog: Minimoog, string synths, piano, electric piano, Hohner clavinet, guitars (both electric and acoustic), bass, drums, flute, and sax. While I'm not familiar with the music of Maneige, that was one band Et Cetera is often compared with. There is the occasional acoustic passage that reminds me of Pollen during their more acoustic moments or perhaps Harmonium, while the more jazzy moments remind me a bit of Sloche when the Gentle Giant influences show up in that band (perhaps because Sloche used a similar setup of keyboards and they too had two keyboardists).

Clone bands might get a few running away, especially those who had a bad experience with Starcastle or Triumvirat (I realize as excellent as those bands are, many don't take to kindly to those bands, not just certain prog rock fans, but less surprisingly, the rock critics), but Et Cetera really did a great job with the Gentle Giant sound with their own touches. Great stuff and highly recommended. 

From RYM (Proghead72)

domenica, gennaio 23, 2011

Fat City - Reincarnation (1969 us psych folk)

Fat City - Reincarnation

Fat City's first album on ABC's Probe imprint is a good slice of psychedelic folk-rock. This is before they met and befriended John Denver. Reminds me of bands like Pidgeon and Jefferson Airplane.
From RYM (Sleepobsessed)

sabato, gennaio 22, 2011

Bifrost - Bifrost (dan 1976 hippe rock- prog)

Bifrost - Bifrost

The debut from last of the important Danish hippe-groups, before punk and new wave made their kind seem terribly obsolete.
By accident I witnessed their debut-concert as they were support for my beloved Blue Öyster Cult in - I think - 1975, before even this album was out. It was in their first and best incarnation with the guioar-player Finn Jensen, who also was a great singer in the John Lennon-mold. And way before Happy Mondays/Bez they had a guy, who just danced and play various percussion. He was called Anapurna and given a single song as well, "Narrens sang", which is included here.
This album is a fairly good representation of the Danish grass-roots hippie movement in its last stage. And as such quite enjoyable. But also almost unbearably naïve in places.
From RYM (Drifterdk)

venerdì, gennaio 21, 2011

Jupiter Sunset - Jupiter Sunset (fra 1972 psych prog)

Jupiter Sunset - Jupiter Sunset

The review below is probably a little bit exaggerating, but this is indeed a very good record, which occupies a thin line between popsike and proto-progressive. Usually referred to as a Moody Blues wannabes or something, Jupiter Sunset were in fact a highly talented band with a great knack for bright, infectuous melodies - Paul McCartney would have been proud to write some of the tracks from this album. The arrangements are top-notch as well, mostly based on guitars and keys (piano, organ, you name it), but also utilising strings and horn section when necessary. Recommended!
From RYM (levgan)

mercoledì, gennaio 19, 2011

El Shalom - Frost (1976 great kraurrock-prog)

El Shalom - Frost

Fairly typical mid-70's symphonic prog. Featuring a mix of English and German vocals, this is a decent blend of medium and hard prog with synthesizer and symphonic moves, as well as some heavy guitar. My track gradings are all pretty evenly spaced between C+ and B+, including the bonus tracks. Comes with the standard Garden of Delights booklet. Recommended.
From RYM (tymeshifter)

martedì, gennaio 18, 2011

Laser Pace - Granfalloon (usa 1973 prog - jazz exp)

Laser Pace - Granfalloon

Laser Pace is an american progressive rock band from early ,70,s who managed to release one album in 1973 named Granfaloon, issued by Takoma records. The music is very challenging and experimental combining progressive rock with funk, jazz and even other crossover moments giving to this album a special status in this genre . Featuring excellent musicians including the brilliant voice of Maureen O'Connor - who can sing in a wide range of sounds - definetly the cherry on the cake here. The guitar and mellotron moments are also very interesting and spacey, sometimes developing more jamming or jazzy moments, more towards the end of the album. I must admit that this album is one of the most underrated albums from that period, with simply brilliant vocal arrangements, not to be heared every day in prog music and yet they are quite unknow by wider public. The band after some popular and well recieved concerts decided to disband in 1976. In the years to come, the more recent ones Doug Decker will founded his own label the Decker productions where will be released this album on Cd in 2008. A very original album , fans of King Crimson, Zappa or at some point Samla Mammas Manna, will enjoy to the max this album, a real lost gem in vaults of time, that needs a wider recognition in progressive rock music. Recommended for sure, the cover art is simply superb and tells everyrhing what is inside the album, this Granfaloon really cooks all the way. 4 stars easy, one of the forgotten treasures from american scene.
From RYM (b_olariu)

lunedì, gennaio 17, 2011

Five by Five - Next Exit (1968 usa psych)

Five by Five - Next Exit

Led by 21 year old drummer Doug Green, the Texas-based Five By Five (I've also seen them listed as '5 x 5') boasted a young but immensely talented line up in rhythm guitarist Larry Andrew, lead singer Billy Merritt, keyboardist Tim Milam and lead guitarist Ronnie Plants. Signed by the Texas-based Paula label, the group debuted with a series of three impressive 45s:

- 1967's 'Shake A Tail Feather' b/w 'Tell Me What To Do' (Paula catalog number 261)
- 1967's 'Harlem Shuffle' b/w 'You Really Got A Hold On Me' (Paula catalog number 283)
- 1967's 'Fire' b/w 'Hang Up' (Paula catalog number 302)

The third single provided the group with a modest top-60 hit which was apparently enough for Paula to rush the group into the studio to record a supporting album. Produced by Gene Kent, 1968's "Next Exit" offered up a mix of the earlier singles and new studio material. Apparently not too comfortable with the band's creative talent, the focus was on better known material; in this case a mix of popular and lesser known hits. Green's wonderful 'Too Much Tomorrow' was the one exception and also provided the stand out track making you wonder how good the album would have been if they'd been given a little more creative freedom. Clearly determined to maximize commercial potential, the set covered virtually every musical niche imaginable including competent stabs at blue-eyed soul ('Soul Man'), conventional top-40 pop, and frat rock (their earlier 'Shake a Tail Feather' rave-up). Best of all were the band's stabs at psych oriented material. Their raw cover of Joe South's 'Hush' easily put Deep Purple's better known cover to shame. Similarly 'Nothing You Do', their wild take on Arthur Lee and Love's '7 and 7 Is' (be sure to check out the re-channeled stereo with a good pair of headphones), and the sitar propelled cover of The Sir Douglas Quintet's 'She Digs My Love' were all worth hearing. Paula also pulled another single from the album: 'Ain't Gonna Be Your Fool No More' b/w 'She Digs My Love'


sabato, gennaio 15, 2011

Taos - Taos (69-70 us psych)

Taos - Taos
Relatively cool Buffalo Springfield inspired major label release with a sprinkle of Beatlesque harmonies in spots. It steps up a notch due to the cult therapy inspiration and overall life values implied in the liner notes, which breathes limited showers and rice diets. Charmingly of its time, but wholly entertaining - an enjoyable listen in the realm of labelmates The Oxpetals. Production expirements in unexpected areas are a plus!
From RYM (latenight)

giovedì, gennaio 13, 2011

Seanor & Koss - Seanor & Koss (1972 us blues rock)

Seanor & Koss - Seanor & Koss

Funny how i dont like Savage Grace at all however this album has some really good tunes. Mystery Train (The Vocals Sound Like Mick Jagger) Babylon is a great song as is Matchstick (Matchstick has some pretty brutal lyrics). Check this out.
From RYM (classicrockman)

mercoledì, gennaio 12, 2011

Ballin' Jack - Buzzard Luck (1972 brass rock-jazz-fusion)

Ballin' Jack - Buzzard Luck

Really good jazzy rock stuff. The stand out tracks for me are "Contry Pine" and "Stay Awhile".
I love these bands that have both black and white players, lots of members, facial hair, horn sections, a flute and somewhere maybe some bongos. This combination can normally only lead to excellent soulful jazzy rock..
From RYM (

martedì, gennaio 11, 2011

Next... - Dusty Shoes (1971 can hard rock prog)

Next... - Dusty Shoes

Pretty decent obscure Canadian band playing music in a similar style to American bands such as Blues Image but maybe more (Slightly) proggy in places like the intro to the excellent title track which then goes off in a country/rural direction. Lots of good acoustic guitar work in places.
"Be Free" is a nice shorter commercial track with an attractive acoustic guitar riff. 


sabato, gennaio 08, 2011

Flying Island - Flying Island (1975 usa- jazz-prog fusion)

Flying Island - Flying Island

This all instrumental progressive jazz/rock fusion LP is worth investigating by all fans of prog. It features It features some fine use of elec. violin, flute, clarinet, elec. piano, and some wailin' wah-wah guitar on a mix of light and heavy mat'l. They're relatively obscure, and deserve better recognition. Grades - 2 B+'s, 5 B's, 2 b-'s, and a C+. I have heard reports they were from Colorado.
From RYM (tymeshifter)

venerdì, gennaio 07, 2011

The Killers - Good Bye(Uruguay hard rock hard -psych 1969)

The Killers - Good Bye
Bel disco! Un sanissimo hard rock con una fortissima venatura hard-heavy psych tipica del periodo (purtroppo è difficile reperire materiale proveniente dal sud america quindi le mie conoscenze sono un po' più limitate rispetto alla sana tradizione inglese/americana) L'unica pecca sono le bonus track (poco più che dei demo) che fanno calare l'attenzione verso il finale dell'album (sono un purista!!!)

giovedì, gennaio 06, 2011

Condello - Condello - Phase 1 (1968 great psych- heavy psych)

Condello - Condello - Phase 1
Surprisingly diverse & inventive album. Like the guys at Acid Archives noticed, it's sometimes like listening to some psychedelic comp because of the way it jumps from popsike to fuzz-driven garage stomps. Apart from 2 or 3 inferior tracks, it's a winner all the way through, thanks to great songwriting & production. I know it sounds like a cliché, but I would use the "lost treasure" tag for this. Minor lost treasure, OK, because of its lack of historical significance and the erratic "career" of Mike Condello. Those who only know the dreadful "Soggy Cereal" on Pebbles Volume 3 should lend an ear to this, they're in for a big surprise. There's a recent reissue - that claims to be remastered from original tapes and legitimate, but I'm not sure -, it's still in print, sounds very correct and I recommend it highly.
From RYM (sixtiesfan)

mercoledì, gennaio 05, 2011

Cookin' Mama - New Day (1972 heavy psych)

Cookin' Mama - New Day

Questo è un bel discuccio, non c'è che dire!sono rimasto un attimo interdetto nelle prime tracce ma col passare delle canzoni il tutto assume un sapore assai più deciso con una forte venatura heavy psych...sono rimasto piacevolmente sorpreso...consigliato!!!

martedì, gennaio 04, 2011

Watchpocket - Watchpocket(1972 usa psych prog)

Watchpocket - Watchpocket

Watchpocket started out as a solo effort by former Gants frontman Sid Herring. When The Gants called it quits in 1971 Herring relocated to Memphis where he quickly found friends at Jerry Williams and Steve Cropper's TMI Studio.
Credited to Watchpocket, the 1972 single 'Mammy Blue' b/w 'Who Will It Be' (TMI catalog ZS7 9005) attracted considerable local attention, leading TMI to finance a supporting album.
Co-produced by Ron Capone, Cropper, and Williams, 1973's cleverly-titled "Watchpocket" served to showcase Herring's impressive soulful growling voice (if there was ever a young white guy who sounded like a 70 year old blues singer it was Herring), as well as the considerable talents of the TMI studio players. Largely penned by Herring with support from former Gants drummer Don Taylor-Wood the collection literally dripped with blue-eyed soul. Imagine The Gants had they been allowed to record more original material and you'd know what to expect here. With the exception of the bland MOR ballad 'Who'll Take Care of Me', there literally was not a bad song on the album. - Boasting an infectious hook and memorable chorus, 'People All Around Me' was the perfect early-1970s sensitive sing-along. A great mandolin song for people who don't like mandolins.
- As good as Herring's vocals were on 'Four Walls' the real highlights came from Steve Cropper's blazing guitar. Cropper's always been known for his tasteful and economic runs, and while this one reflected both of those traits, this time out he cut lose. Fantastic performance and my only complaint is that the song faded out just as Cropper was going into overdrive.
- Had it been released a couple of years earlier, 'Love Shine' would have given The Box Tops a run for their money. One of the most commercial tracks on the album, but it already sounded somewhat old school at this point. Great support from The Memphis Horns.
- 'Good Time Tomorrow' was the song The Black Crowes were always trying to write. Blazing Memphis rocker with a hook that won't let go of your mind. J.A. Spell provided the killer keyboards. If you just have to wonder why this one was tapped as a single.
- I've always loved the opening guitar chords on this one; anyone know how they got the effect? Kind of a bluesy swamp-rocker this one was the perfect for Herring.
- Side two opened up with the one misstep; in this case 'Who'll Take Care of Me' was an MOR ballad that was clearly written with a ear to radio play. Tom Jones should have picked it up.
- Co-written with Cropper, the mid tempo rocker 'Back Porch of My Mind' was the album's standout performance. This one had everything going for it including a great melody, Herring at his most soulful, fantastic backing performances, and another dazzling display by Cropper. Once again the only complaint was that the song faded out just as Cropper was starting to roll.
- Ah, 'Love Will Be the Answer' found Herring tuning in his best Otis Redding imitation. The album's lone stab at old school soul, complete with prominent Hammond B3, and Gospel chorus, the results were wonderful.
- The album closer 'On the Run' was a complete mystery to me. Written and sung by Bill Hodges, the song had a distinctive mid-1960s garage feel that was unlike anything else on the collection. Different style, different singer, different feel it almost sounded like it was an old Gants track. It almost appeared that TMI tacked it on to ensure the album had sufficient running time, though you were left to wonder why they didn't just add the precursor 'Mammy Blue' single. That's not to say the song wasn't good ... fantastic lead guitar credited to Herring.
This was the album Delaney and Bonnie always hoped to make. Near perfect early-1970s Memphis rock !!! Unfortunately for some reason, TMI elected not to include the earlier single 'Mammy Blue' on the album. Combined with RCA's lukewarm support for the collection, the end result was little in the way of sales. Herring actually put together a touring version of Watchpocket, but outside of the local area the band did little and within a year he'd walked away from the project, returning to his native Mississippi.


lunedì, gennaio 03, 2011

CWT - The Hundredweight(1973hard rock prog)

CWT - The Hundredweight
A solid mix of guitar and organ, led by the very capable Graham Jones. Check out "Widow Woman" and " Steam Roller".

domenica, gennaio 02, 2011

Silmaril - The Voyage of Icarus (1974 folk psych xstian)

Silmaril - The Voyage of Icarus

Sono abbastanza deluso da questo disco...pensavo fosse un bell'esempio di psych-dreaming spych (a la Leopold per intenderci) invece il tutto risulta stucchevole e spesso assai noioso per i miei gusti...comunque è considerato un ottimo lavoro dai più...giudicate voi!

This wasn 't originally released in 1974! If you actually owned the CD then you'd know that this compilation consists of tracks from their 1973 release 'Given Time or the Several Roads' and from the unreleased 1974 album 'No Mirrored Temple'. To quote:
"The Voyage of Icarus captures the dark, mysterious, and achingly beautiful acid folk & Christian themed psychedelic sounds that emanated from 1973's highly collectable privately pressed album, Given Time... Or the Several Roads, and their dormant, unreleased follow up No Mirrored Temple."

From RYM (hairybreath)
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