Sunday, January 31, 2016

Review: Greetings From Ohio pt.1

Here's a compilation from a new label called Archives of Acid. No prizes for guessing what inspired that name hehe. It so-far plans to specialise in rare singles-only acts and for the first release it is concentrating on the state of Ohio. More locales are planned in the future. read more...

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Day After The Sabbath 129: Mother Trucker [female vox 5]



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Unzip password:  tdats


Here is the fifth Day After The Sabbath collection of '60s-'70s prog, psych and hard rock with female singers belting out the heavy sounds. Previous similar episodes were Vol17, Vol49, Vol71 and Vol97 and this one has worked out just as well as those, so enjoy!

TRACKS
01. Duck - Buried Alive In The Blues (1972)
       from album 'Laid'
02. Dead End 5 - Suurkaupungin Suudelma (1976)
       from album 'Dead Ends'
03. Fancy - She's Riding The Rock Machine (1976)
       from album 'Turns You On'
04. Genesis - Ten Second Song (1968)
       from album 'In The Beginning'
05. Grootna - I'm Funky (1971)
       from album 'Grootna'
06. Joy Unlimited - For You And Me (1971)
       from album 'Schmetterlinge'
07. Julian Jay Savarin - Stranger (1970)
       from album 'Waiters On The Dance'
08. Octopus - We're Loosing Touch (1976)
       from album 'Boat of Thoughts'
09. Susan Shifrin - 25 Miles (1971)
       single
10. Ten Wheel Drive - Pickpocket (1971)
       from album 'Peculiar Friends'
11. The Comfortable Chair - Ain't No Good No More (1968)
       from album 'The Comfortable Chair'
12. Punchin' Judy - Superwitch (1973)
       from album 'Punchin' Judy'
13. Velvet Night - Freak show (1970)
       from album 'Velvet Night'
14. Carol Grimes... and Delivery - Home Made Ruin (1970)
       from album 'Fools Meeting'
15. Mother Trucker - Love In Them There Hills (1975)
       from album 'Love Rock'

Duck was an Aussie mob fronted by Bobbi Marchini, and also had bassist Teddy Toi of The Aztecs, and guitarist Russel Smith of the Renee Geyer Band. Many of the players also played on the pretty cool John Robinson "Pity For The Victim" LP which is worth a listen. They open this with a blistering cover of a Paul Butterfield band track, "Buried Alive In The Blues". Bobbi's name appears soon after Duck on the Sven Libaek ‎record, "Grass - A Rock Musical". Libaek is a Norwegian who settled in Australia after touring there in The Windjammers.

Next up is a track from Dead End 5's debut LP "Dead Ends", they were a good n' heavy hard rock /punk band from Finland and this LP was re-issued recently by Svart Records (link). Singer Annika Andersson made a solo record in 1978 in a much lighter style, called "Itseteossa".

Fancy was one of the omnipresent guitarist Ray Fenwick's (see Vol103 and "Guitar Orchestra" on Vol112 ) many associated bands, and he actually lead this one over three albums in the late '70s, featuring the pipes of one Annie Kavanagh. She worked with Neil Innes after Fancy flat-lined.

Genesis was a short-lived LA psych band, not to be confused with the famous English band of course, that also had an album with the same name! The singer here was Sue Richman, who worked with Exile, Yucatan, Suzi Quatro and Savoy Brown later on.

Track five is from another west coast (Berkeley) psych band, Grootna, who's LP was produced by The Jefferson Airplane/Starship's Marty Balin. The singer is Anna Rizzo and the band exercise some funk on this track.

Mannheim's Joy Unlimited was originally called Joy & The Hit Kids. "Joy" is powerful singer Joy Fleming, and the band was quite productive in the '70s, making seven albums and collaborations. Joy maintained a solo career at the same time and made her most recent LP in 2007.

Half way now with a track from Julian Jay Savarin, an enigmatic character who was born in Dominica but moved to Great Britain in 1962. Before he was 30 he had made some albums as himself and with the band "Julian's Treatment", as well as embarking on a sci-fi novel trilogy "Lemmus: A Time Odyssey". 'Stranger' is from his solo record "Waiters on the Dance" which is based on one of the Lemmus books, which went by the same name. Julian played keyboards and his singer on both albums was Cathy Pruden, together with the rest of the band they made some excellent and unique prog which is way better than you'd expect from someone who is primarily a writer, that only briefly dabbled in music!

Thanks to rock.co.za - "This Dominican-born writer and keyboard player moved to England with his family in 1962. He soon realized that the science fiction trilogy that he'd been working on, would translate perfectly into rock context. He formed a band, called Julian's Treatment, with Australian vocalist Cathy Pruden, bassist John Dover, guitarist/flautist Del Watkins and drummer Jack Drummond, and they put together what has become one of the rarest progressive rock albums, "A Time Before This", in June 1970. Julian's Treatment unfortunately didn't last too long, and the band folded just after the album was released (on the rare Youngblood label). It would be two years before Julian Jay Savarin would attempt anything musically again. He set about recording "Waiters On The Dance", the album from which the featured track was taken, in 1973. ("Waiters On The Dance" was in fact part two of the aforementioned trilogy). Cathy Pruden, in the meantime, had left to go back to Australia to get married, and Savarin managed to secure the services of Jo Meek, formerly of the jazz/rock outfit Catapilla.(Interestingly, Anna, not Jo Meek, is credited as being the singer on both Catapilla's albums. Maybe they're one and the same lady, or maybe they're sisters? Either way, great, yet very different voice!). Roger Odell, formerly of CMU, came in on drums, John Dover was on bass, and Nigel Jenkins was on guitar. This was the last piece of music Julian Jay Savarin ever wrote, except for the soundtrack to a short film called "Face Of Darkness" in the early 80's. He has, however, written many books since. Roger Odell and John Dover went on to become Shakatak's rhythm section."

Octopus's first two albums, "The Boat of Thoughts" (1976) and "An Ocean of Rocks" (1977) feature heavy keyboard-orientated prog and are often compared to Camel. The band's lyrics on the first three albums are entirely in English although they came from Frankfurt. Singer Jennifer Hensel married Octopus guitarist Win Kowa (formerly of Streetmark) and to this day they work as a duo called Kowa (link).

Susan Shifrin is an American songwriter, having written songs recorded by Tina Turner ("Show Some Respect"), Heart ("Strangers of the Heart"), Cher ("All Because of You"), Meat Loaf ("Getting Away with Murder") and others. She even wrote a track on the Bill & Ted's soundtrack called "In Time". She made a handful of singles in the early seventies and the b-side of her first one, '25 Miles', is a wah wah and fuzz bass-powered soul rock belter!

Entering the third act and coming up now is a soul/funk/jazz rock juggernaut called Ten Wheel Drive, a New Jersey band fronted by the Polish-born, powerfully-voiced Genya Ravan (real name Genyusha Zelkovicz and aka Goldie Zelkowitz in her first band 'Goldie and The Escorts'). They managed four albums and delivered a few heavy tracks on each one, my pick being from their third LP, "Peculiar Friends". She is still active in music and there is a New York stage show just announced called 'Rock And Roll Refugee', employing no less than three actresses to portray her at various times.

The Comfortable Chair are another west coast psych band that online sources say was "discovered" by Jim Morrison, and produced by John Densmore / Robby Krieger. The album doesn't live up to the lofty expectations that may place on it, but there's some decent tracks like the opener 'Ain't No Good No More'. Singer Barbara Wallace doesn't show up in any more bands, from initial searches at least. Bass player Greg Leroy was soon to join Crazy Horse.

Ochsfan - "The group stayed around long enough to play themselves in the Bob Hope - Jackie Gleason film "How to Commit Marriage", but had disbanded by the end of the decade. Bernie Schwartz (the main song writer) made another film appearance, in 1972's "Hickey and Boggs", and cut a solo album entitled "The Wheel", which included the Comfortable Chair's Gene Garfin, before becoming a self-help author.  Garfin was also a member of the Rangers, a Stone Poneys offshoot, which never got beyond the demo stage.  Greg Leroy went on to join Crazy Horse, while Warner Davis became a member of the sadly overlooked Timber."

Punchin' Judy is an act for which I have been able to find very little info. The vocals are supplied by Barbara O'Meara, who also sung on the George Deacon & Marion Ross album "Sweet William's Ghost", made the same year as Punchin' Judy's only record. All the other members of the band throw up little in the way of interesting connections. I found a band going by the name (not confirmed as same band) had played at London's Marquee Club in 1975 (link) but that's about it for online presence of this mysterious name, who made a fairly good record in 1973. LP credits: Vocals – Barbara O'Meara, Bass Guitar, Vocals – Keith Evans, Drums, Percussion, Vocals – Alan Brooks, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals – John Phillips, Piano – Robin Langridge, Producer – John Whitehead, Engineer – Barry Hammond.

New York sextet Velvet Night made their sole LP in 1970, which consists mostly of covers, although they put their own stamp on them and come up with some cool sounds. Lynn Boccumini lays down some charismatic vocals and their fuzzy moves may not have been cutting edge for 1970, but they have something compelling about them. It would appear from the band's Surnames that they were all of Italian heritage and didn't do anything of note after this record, unfortunately.

Nearing the end now and a bit of a change with some Canterbury Scene sounds. The 'Delivery' portion of Carol Grimes and Delivery included three guys that would next be in Hatfield And The North; Phil Miller (guitar), Pip Pyle (drums) and Richard Sinclair (bass, vocals). Carol Grimes is still active and made a record most recently in 2013 (link). The instantly-catchy opening motif of the song I used here called 'Home Made Ruin' immediately reminded me of more than one '90s britpop era indie track, none of which I can quite put my finger on right now, but if I can I'll be right back! Maybe some readers out there can assist...

So this episode ends with the group that inspired its name, Mother Trucker. Some of the photo shoots of this "band" are so amusing they hint at being an exploitation exercise that used a few page 3 girls for its image...almost every album/single/promo picture of them seems to include different sets of (mostly) girls, in clothes that range stylistically from hippie, to disco Diva, to blouse-bursting carry-on "crumpet". Who knows what the facts are, and I am reluctant to find out as the truth is so often disappointing compared to the imaginings. All i'll say is, although the girls seem to like carrying guitars in some of the photos, the music comes across as funky, semi-disco vocal pop with a horn section (don't see any of them holding brass in the picture, don't see many bras either) that is catchy and good fun, as is the whole album "Love Rock". Long-live the seventies!




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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

White Summer [1976] album re-issue review

Here's a review of the first ever official re-issue of this album recorded in Michigan, 1976. The keen-minded of you may remember that I used a great track from this LP back on TDATS 44, "Ridin' High" (link). It's a fresh-sounding mix of Southern rock, psych and prog and you can read the full review here.





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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

TDATS #128: Sweet Home Birmingham, Alabama


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Password:  tdats


Many thanks to Garagehangover.com
We all know Birmingham UK was a hotbed for hard rock and heavy metal, with the likes of Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, so the obvious question (to me at least hehe) is, what about Birmingham, Alabama, USA? As a bit of fun, this has unearthed some cool records and here's the best selection I could come up with!

Alabama, along with all the south-east states, is deeply involved in the history of Southern rock and American rock. Although the city of Birmingham itself didn't throw up any internationally-famous bands, it had a thriving music scene. Formative bands in the '50s and '60s were garage bands like The Ramrods and The Vikings. Two are included here with a pair of great covers by The Outer Mongolian Herd and The Distortions. Also included are names like Hardrock GunterJerry Yester and Vic Upshaw, who were born in Birmingham but had further-reaching careers; Vic made singles in France for instance.

TRACKS
01. Crimson Tide - Turning Back (1978)
       from album 'Crimson Tide'
02. Sam Lay - Maggie's Farm (1968)
       from album 'Sam Lay in Bluesland'
03. Hardrock Gunter - I'll Give 'Em Rhythm (1955)
       single
04. The Outer Mongolian Herd - Hey Joe (1968)
       from comp 'Psychedelic States - Alabama Vol. 2'
05. Judy Henske & Jerry Yester - Snowblind (1969)
       'from album Farewell Aldebaran'
06. Vic Upshaw - Popcorn Crazy (1969)
       from EP "Dance the Popcorn"
07. Smith Perkins Smith - Save Me (1972)
       from album 'Smith Perkins Smith'
08. The Distortions - Smokestack Lightning (1966)
       from comp 'Psychedelic States - Alabama Vol. 2'
09. Backwater - Pair O' Dice (1976)
       from album 'Backwater'
10. Hotel - City Lights (1979)
       from album 'Hotel'


Crimson Tide

Crimson Tide self-titled LP 1978
We kick off with a killer track from Crimson Tide. Although their 1978 self-titled debut had a couple of harder cuts on it, and "Turning Back" is one of those, their second LP, "Reckless Love", is the most consistent. The kingpin of the outfit was guitarist Wayne Perkins (wiki), who started out as a session player in his teens, and in '60s Birmingham bands like The Vikings. After working in the famous Muscle Shoals scene, and a stint working in the UK in Smith Perkins & Smith, who made a record in 1972, he wound-up back home in The Alabama Power Band (originally started by his brother Dale, who was the drummer). They had changed name to "Crimson Tide" by the time of signing with Capitol.

The playing is impeccable through-out with nice slide guitar, but the band didn't last long after their second record. Wayne's session career continued as before, he made his first solo record in '95 and throughout his career has played for everyone from Don Nix to Bob Marley.

It's not too easy finding the whereabouts of the remaining guys, but keys-man Richard "Wolfie" Wolf is a Los Angeles-based music producer, remixer and composer, with numerous film, television credits too.

Alabama Record Collectors Association - "Wayne Perkins, through the help of drummer Jasper Guarino, became a session guitarist at a studio in Muscle Shoals owned by Quin Ivy at $100 a week. He later formed a band, Smith, Perkins and Smith for a very short time. He then was a member of several different bands, including the Gap Band. Wayne was even considered at one time to join the Rolling Stones, but was decided against because he wasn’t British, but did play on one of their albums in 1974.

Crimson Tide - Wayne Perkins center
One day Wayne Perkins went to hear his brother Dale's band, Alabama Power. "They had a great band and no songs," he says. "They had the vehicle and I had the gasoline. I had the connections in Hollywood after all these years." Perkins says that lawyers for the Alabama Power Company were not pleased with the band's name, so the group changed it to Crimson Tide. "I much preferred the name Alabama Power to Crimson Tide because that's sacrilege, to me. Crimson Tide is a great name but [the University of Alabama] was already using it." Crimson Tide released two albums on Capitol Records, the self-titled Crimson Tide in 1978 which provided the single “Love Stop,” and Reckless Love in 1979 and a single of the same name, the latter produced by Donald "Duck" Dunn, bassist for Booker T. and the MGs, with the MGs' Steve Cropper contributing guitar parts.

Crimson Tide became the house band at the Crossroads Club in Roebuck for a couple of years in the late '70s, where well-known acts such as Yes, Joe Cocker, or Rick Derringer, if they had performed elsewhere in town that day, often showed up to sit in. "That's one thing about the Crossroads Club. You never knew who would show up," Perkins says. Crimson Tide split up in 1979. Perkins later released a pair of solo CDs, Mendo Hotel in 1995 and Ramblin' Heart in 2005, as well as having his songs included on soundtracks for several films and TV shows. The members of the band were: Dale Perkins, Wayne Perkins, Greg Straub, Bobby Delander and J.J. Jackson. By the second album, Richard Fox, who played keyboards on both albums, was an official member."

Sam Lay

"Sam Lay in Bluesland" LP 1968
Sam Lay (born March 20, 1935, Birmingham, Alabama) is a drummer and vocalist, who has been performing since the 1950s. His drumming can be heard on over 40 recordings for the Chess Records label and 1968's "Sam Lay in Bluesland" was his first solo LP. His career began in 1957, as the drummer for the Original Thunderbirds. In the early 1960s, he began recording and performing with prominent blues musicians such as Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf, Eddie Taylor, John Lee Hooker, Junior Wells, Bo Diddley, Magic Sam, Jimmy Rogers, Earl Hooker, and Muddy Waters

In the mid 1960s he joined the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and recorded and toured extensively with them. Lay also recorded with Bob Dylan, most notably on the Highway 61 Revisited album. He drummed on the "Highway 61" track, so I guess he's more than qualified to do the great cover of  "Maggie's Farm" included here! Sam was featured in 'History of the Blues', produced by Martin Scorsese, and was inducted into the 2015 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.


Hardrock Gunter

Now to what is by far the earliest track I have ever included in these collections. Sidney Louie Gunter Jr. (b.27 February 1925), known as Hardrock Gunter, was a guitarist and performer who was there right at the formative stages of rock and roll and rockabilly at the turn of the '50s. His first teenage group was the Hoot Owl Ramblers. In 1939 he joined Happy Wilson's Golden River Boys and acquired his nickname "Hardrock" when a van trunk lid fell on him before a show and he never flinched. After wartime service he returned to work with the group, before leaving to become their agent and starting to appear on local TV.

As a popular local personality, he signed to Birmingham's Bama label. He recorded his own song "Birmingham Bounce" in early 1950 (youtube), the Golden River Boys being renamed the Pebbles on the record. A regional hit which produced over 20 cover versions, the most successful being by Red Foley, who reached no.1 with it on the Billboard country chart, and no.14 on the pop chart. Gunter's original version has become regarded as a contender for the first rock and roll record. It predates "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats (who were actually Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm) by a year. Gunter followed up with "Gonna Dance All Night", one of the first records to feature the actual words "rock'n'roll". Gunter signed to Decca, and his 1951 duet with Roberta Lee, "Sixty Minute Man," was one of the first country records to cross over to R&B audiences.

In 1953 he began working at a radio station, and also remade "Gonna Dance All Night" and recorded "Jukebox Help Me Find My Baby", both of which were issued by Sun Records and became regional hits. In 1958 he was one of the first musicians to use both echo and overdub on his recording of "Boppin' to Grandfather's Clock", released under the name Sidney Jo Lewis. He continued to record with limited success, and in the 1960s left the music business. He retired to Rio Rancho, New Mexico. In 1995 he began to perform again at festivals in England, Germany and the United States. He died aged 88 in 2013.


The Outer Mongolian Herd

This is a Birmingham band band I found by checking out 'Psychedelic States - Alabama Vol. 2' from Gear Fab Records (link). It's a great version of Hey Joe, but they certainly put their own garage twist on it. Here's what's written about it: "Hey Joe, The Outer Mongolian Herd (Bill Roberts), Third Story Music, BMI, 2:09 - Released on the Daisy (4847) label in Jan 1968 and b/w "I Wan't To Love You (Scared)". A mystery crew that recorded for a Birmingham-based label, these guys laid down one of the finer versions of "Hey Joe", a garage band staple that never sounds tired or dated." [Mike Markesich]


Judy Henske & Jerry Yester

Farewell Aldebaran LP front
This great track is here because Jerry Yester was Birmingham-born. Judy Henske & Jerry met while working in the West Coast folk scene in the early 1960s, Henske as an uncategorizable solo singer recording folk, blues, jazz and comedy, Yester as a member of the Modern Folk Quartet. They married in 1963. A few years later Henske's career was faltering as a result of ill-advised forays into cabaret while Yester had produced albums by Tim Buckley and The Association, and replaced Zal Yanovsky in The Lovin' Spoonful.

Judy Henske
The pair, with their new-born daughter, moved to Los Angeles in 1968. Henske shared a manager, Herb Cohen, with Frank Zappa, who suggested to her that she should put music to some of the verse she was writing. Yester, at this point, was working with Yanovsky on the latter's first solo album, and experimenting with new electronic and other sound effects. The couple combined to put together the Farewell Aldebaran LP, drawing on a varied selection of their musician friends, and it was issued on Zappa and Cohen's new label.

Farewell Aldebaran LP back
In the UK, the album was broadcast by John Peel who played Three Ravens on more than one occasion on Radio One. Henske and Yester went on to form a more conventional band, Rosebud, before they went their separate ways at the start of the 1970s. The album was reissued on CD by bootleg label Radioactive Records in 2005 (link).





Vic Upshaw

Vic Upshaw - Dance The Popcorn
Time for a funny novelty single which grooves and funks along in an addictive way. It seems that Vic was a dancer first before a musician, and his handful of records were related to dance moves and instruction. It would seem he was attempting to plug a dance called 'the popcorn' with this single! The most information I have found so far is unfortunately from his obituary. An American choreographer who brought modern jazz styles to France in the mid-1960's, he died on Nov. 5 1990. He was 50 years old. A spokeswoman for a dance society with which he worked said he died of a stomach disorder. Born in Birmingham, AL in 1940, Mr. Upshaw played minor roles in the 1958 film version of "South Pacific" and in the Judy Garland version of "A Star Is Born" before moving to France in 1964.

Mr. Upshaw designed dance routines for the Lido cabaret. His own dance group, the Vic Upshaw Six, was a staple for years on French television variety shows. He taught steps to some of France's best-known show-business personalities, including Catherine Deneuve, Sylvie Vartan, Pierre Mondy and Jean-Claude Brialy.


Smith Perkins Smith

As previously mentioned with Crimson Tide, the "Perkins" part of this trio was Wayne Perkins from Birmingham. The "Smiths" are American brothers Steve and Tim Smith. Steve Smith had played on southern soul tracks recorded by the likes of Sam & Dave, the Staples Singers and Wilson Pickett at the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Birmingham, Alabama. Arthur Alexander and Ben Atkins (the first white singer signed to Stax) had recorded songs written by the Smith brothers.

The album is mellow country rock affair, mostly acoustic, but there's a couple of electric tracks and "Save Me" is my pick here. Indeed, it was tapped for a single by Island. Smith Perkins Smith started a second album while residing in the UK, which wasn't released. Wayne Perkins had other distractions, including being asked by Island to add rock guitar to a reggae band they were trying to break. His solos on Concrete Jungle and Stir It Up helped Catch a Fire do just that for Bob Marley.

Smith Perkins Smith
Steve Smith was asked to produce Robert Palmer's solo debut. They'd met at Leicester University when Smith Perkins Smith supported Vinegar Joe – in which Palmer shared vocals with Elkie Brooks – but the production offer came out of the blue. His masterstroke of matching Palmer with Lowell George and the Meters for Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley, the album that out-funked Little Feat, confirmed his talents behind the mixing desk. Tim Smith too went into production and arranging, working with Lynyrd Skynyrd among others.



The Distortions

The Distortions - picture found at Garagehangover.com
Here's another track I have 'borrowed' from 'Psychedelic States - Alabama Vol. 2' (Gear Fab Records - link). Here's what it has to say - "Smokestack Lightning - The Distortions. (C. Burnett), ARC Music, BMI. Released on the SEA (102) label in April 1966 and b/w "Hot Cha". The band came from Birmingham and along with the Rockin' Rebellions, The Distortions were the city's top teen crowd-pleasers.

Their first three singles were issued on the SEA label. "Smokestack Lightning" was also issued on the Malcolm Z. Dirge label in August 1966 as the b-side to "Behind My Wall", an original tune and the band's biggest seller in Montgomery and Birmingham. This prompted several record label scouts to present signing offers to the group, with the Mercury label winning out. Mercury placed "Behind My Wall" on their Smash label subsidiary a couple of months later. The Distortions continued to perform well into the late sixties, releasing singles on Malcolm Z. Dirge and the Casino label from New Orleans in 1967 and Capitol in 1968, but all pale in the throes of "Smokestack Lightning". [Mike Markesich]

There's an account of The Distortions over at Garagehangover.com (here) which shows the band's changed appearance and outlook into the early seventies, including a couple of '70s tracks showing a decidedly more slick, funky approach.


Backwater

Backwater
Nearing the end, here's a change in tack with some live jazz rock. Backwater made two private press records. This track is taken from the 1976 self-titled debut, which has one side of studio tracks and another side from a live performance. I have selected "Pair O' Dice" from the live side. Jazz rock is not something i'll use to often on this blog but in this case a cool riff is a cool riff what ever the style! The quartet formed in 1975, playing clubs and working as session musicians in Birmingham. According to their surprisingly inclusive wiki page (link), the record sold quite well locally and saw them get support slots for the likes of B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, and Emmylou Harris (Harris hailing from Birmingham herself). Backwater released two records on their own amusingly-named label "Bongwater Records", the second is called "North Of The Mason-Dixon And The Heart Of Dixie" and also includes live/studio material.


Hotel

To close this volume we have a late-'70s AOR band called Hotel. Looking for similar from the Birmingham area, I found only one more band of this ilk, called Telluride, but they are way too soft for TDATS. Much of Hotel's music was very slick and commercial also, but the self-titled first of their two records has a good rocker on it called "City Lights". According to guitarist Tommy Carlton's website (link), he started out in sixties garage band The Swingin' Lampliters, and according to Hotel singer/pianist Marc Phillips' website (link), the band lasted from 1973 to 1982.

Hotel
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Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Day After The Sabbath - Best of 2015


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password:  tdats


The blog has now reached the ripe old age of six years! The past year of doing this has been a very enjoyable one - there's been two Dutch band profiles, Panda (119) and Blue Planet (127), a special and interview on the archival label World In Sound (114), a profile on krautrock producer Conny Planck (116), two heavy metal-inspired volumes; US (126) and NWOBHM (121), Scott Blackerby of The Acid Archives and Bad Cat Records (115) and a profile on The Gurvitz Brothers (125). Regional specials have honoured Spain again (123), Serbia (120), Portugal (113), Boston (117) and Iceland (124). Other themes have included Chicano rock (118) and a special on long prog tracks (122).

A year ago I promised I would be doing more interviews; I got an exclusive with the previously mysterious psych figure of Roy Rutanen and his band (link) and an exclusive with Jim Smith of Stonehouse (link). More exclusives came with Jaap van Eik of Panda (link) and Art Bausch of Blue Planet (link) and I spoke to four of the names appearing in Volume 126; Mike Gandia of Squadran, Danney Alkana of Alkana, Darren Welch of Axxe/Impeccable and Rob Griffin of Tyranny / Graven Image.

I hope that people still enjoy reading and listening to TDATS as much as I enjoy making it, here's to the on-coming year of many new ideas which are in the pipeline. As ever, please drop me a line via email or otherwise if you have any suggestions, and join up at the fb group where you can participate even more fully. My special thanks goes to the group admins that have increased greatly in number and efforts this year and been doing a great job there - you know who you are. Keep it PROTO guys :)

For what is now an annual round-up (last year's) of some of the best tracks appearing on the blog in the last year, here is a comp of fifteen tracks, one from each of the fifteen numbered volumes posted in 2015 so far. Enjoy!

TRACKS
01. Beatnicks - Back In Town (1972) - from v113
       single
02. Gold - No Parking (1970) - from v114
       single and W.I.S. retrospective 'San Francisco Origins'
03. Fanny - Place in the Country (1971) - from v115
       from album 'Charity Ball'
04. Lokomotive Kreuzberg - Comeback (1975) - from v116
       from album 'Fette Jahre'
05. Brother Fox and the Tar Baby - Steel Dog Man (1969) - from v117
       from album 'Brother Fox and the Tar Baby'
06. Yaqui - I Need A Woman (1973) - from v118
       from album 'Yaqui'
07. Panda - Medicine Man (1971) - from v119
       single
08. Pop Mašina - Vreme Za Nas (1975) - from v120
       from album 'Na Izvoru Svetlosti'
09. Fuzzy Duck - In Our Time (1971) - from v121
       from album ‘Fuzzy Duck’
10. Fusion Orchestra - Sonata In Z (1973) - from v122
       from album 'Skeleton In Armour'
11. Rockcelona - Queen, Friend And Dread (1979) - from v123
       from album 'La Bruja'
12. Svanfridur - My Dummy (1972) - from v124
       from album 'What's Hidden There?'
13. Gun - Runnin' Wild (1970) - from v125
       single
14. Asia - Law Of The Land (1978) - from v126
       from album 'Asia'
15. Cinderella - The Love That We've Got (1971) - from v127
       single
Beatnicks


Starting the volume is one of its heaviest tracks, from Lisbon's Beatnicks. They made some of Portugal's best and heaviest rock in the '70s, with the "Cristine Goes to Town / Sing It Along / Little School Boy" and "Money / Back in Town" singles. They introduced progressive/electronic influences on later singles (youtube) which were good but very different, by the time of 1982's Aspectos Humanos album they had been through major line-up changes and seem to have become an inoffensive progressive pop band. Oh well, listen to "Back In Town" and it's clear they had the chops to become Portugal's top hard rock act, it's original and brilliant from start to end! Final members Ramiro Martins (bass, guitar), Antonio Emiliano (keyboards) and Tó Leal (vocals, percussion) all appear to have made more music later but nothing of interest here.

There is an interesting article here (portugueseenglish), regarding the many changes the Beatnicks went through, including the brief membership of female singer Lena d'Água, and guitarist Manuel Cardoso, who was later in Tantra (coming later on here). Read Rock em Portugal's full Beatnicks bio here.



Gold

"A CD / LP combination. The CD contains 2 parts S.F. underground history with the first Gold line-up feat. lead singer Richard Coco. Their 45 record “NO PARKING” was already reissued on LP by Rockadelic and issued on the CD compilation “Nuggets from the Golden State”.

Part 1 (only on CD) are the Studio Sessions of Leo Kulka´s Golden State Recorders, 9 heavy guitar cuts (same as Rockadelic LP) with great congas and bizarre Rock´n Roll vocals and the previously unreissued 45-rpm flipside a 4:45 minute sensitive but totally unexpected version of Gershwin's "Summertime" produced by Country Joe McDonald (Country Joe and the Fish)."

"Part 2 of the CD is the vinyl release, a live set at the Fillmore-West Audition, a qualification gig for Bill Grahams club circuit, which was successfully passed - gigs at Winterland, Fillmore-West followed. These 42 minutes reach the highest level of power and a unique kind of heavy acid rock sound (especially the 6 min. killer version of “NO PARKING”) - Ed Scott´s hypnotic rhythm guitar, a mind blowing bass and drums create an outstanding and surrounding flow, Joe Bajza´s soaring solo guitar played in a kind of aggressive Cipollina / Jeff Beck style is brilliantly intense and brings true Sixties S.F. Hell´s Angels party feeling to your home. Detailed 12 page color booklet - 78 minutes of hot music reflect the “golden sprit” of the late60's early 70's in San Francisco....15 years later bands like Metallica, Slayer, Exodus…..continued these powerful Bay Area guitar excesses…"


Fanny

Scott's RYM review here.  "Penned by Barclay, 'Place In the Country' was one of the album's best rockers. Nice showcase for the group's harmony vocals.   rating: **** stars"

"1971's "Charity Ball" found Fanny continuing their partnership with producer Richard Perry. Featuring largely original material (the one exception being a dynamite cover of the Buffalo Springfield's 'Special Care;), this time around the band seemed interested in showcasing their more commercial edge. Material like the title track, 'What's Wrong with Me?' and 'You're the One' seemed to have been crafted with an ear to top-40 airplay.

That wasn't to imply the band couldn't rock as hard as their male competitors. Nickey Barclay's 'Cat Fever', 'Special Care' (which I'd argue crushed The Buffalo Springfield original), and 'Soul Child' were all rockers that were worth hearing. Add to that, Jean Millington had a powerful, soul-infused voice, while June Millington was an overlooked lead guitarist with a penchant for fuzz leads. Interestingly, listening to the album for the first time in years, I guess the biggest surprise came in terms of band contributions. Jean and June Millington were clearly the band's focal points, but  being responsible for over half of the material, keyboardist Nicole Barclay was clearly the band's creative mainstay."


Lokomotive Kreuzberg

Lokomotive Kreuzberg Fette Jahre (1972)
Lokomotive Kreuzberg
Fette Jahre (1972)
Track 4 brings something a little different to the party. Lokomotive Kreuzberg was a Berlin polit-rock band that started in 1972. Not speaking German, it's impossible for me to comment on the lyrics, but the music on their 1975 album "Fette Jahre", engineered by Conny, is captivating. They mix many styles, from symphonic prog, to folk, to funk, to hard rock. At all times it is played with extreme talent, these guys sure had the chops to compare with the best. I have chosen the hardest rocking track on the album, which was recorded at Conny's studio, but you can take your pick from it. Others, such as the title track "Fette Jahre" (youtube), are equally good.

I've not had a chance to check out all of their four albums. I certainly will but they may not be the easiest band to get into for non-German speakers, especially as they use a lot of spoken-word skits to get certain points across on their agenda.


Brother Fox and the Tar Baby

Brother Fox & The Tar Baby
Track 5, "Steel Dog Man", starts as it means to go on with a stomping hard rock riff and tight playing, punctuated by glorious psych breaks, backed-up by earthy vocals that cut straight to the bone. Brother Fox and the Tar Baby featured the talents of former Profits guitarist Richie Bartlett, bassist Tom Belliveau, guitarist Dave Christiansen, drummer Bill Garr, singer Steve High and keyboardist Joe Santangelo. Dave Christiansen, Joseph Santangelo, Tom Belliveau and Richard Bartlett were previously in Front Page Review, also appearing in this volume. Belliveau  was also in Pugsley Munion (see vol59), and Bartlett was later in '80s new-wavers The Fools. They were signed by the small Oracle label, which released 1969's Bruce Patch-produced self-titled album. Christiansen was credited as writing all eleven tracks.

Brother Fox & The Tar Baby LP
This has a commercial edge and is a polished product, but it's done right and there's more than enough heaviness here too, over half the album is hard cuts with quite a unique take on combining late-'60s heavy psych with the chunky riffs and hammond organ of the freshly-emerging hard rock sounds of the times. This is what the first Boomerang album should have been like! (see Vol9)


The countrified feel, and high production quality with orchestration, shows that this was a serious stab at a successful album. The mellow tracks and ballads are all good, so make for a nicely diverse listen. The song-writing is consistently good, and the excellent vocals deserve a mention, sounding somewhat like Robert Plant in the heavier tracks. Highly recommended!

Panda - Stranger Medicine Man

Decca 6100013
Stranger begins deceptively, with a heavy Sabbathian tri-tone metal riff, but quickly morphs into a Slade-elic glam stomper with a sing-along chorus and more flashes of flute, great fun.  B-side Medicine Man is built around a similarly heavy, lumpen riff to "Swingin' About", this time with no flute and forays into blues, it's another of their best heavy tracks.


Pop Mašina

I consider there to be a 'big three' of heavy Serbain bands from the former half of the '70s, YU Grupa and Smak have already appeared so now it's time for the last of that trio, Pop Mašina (Pop Machine). They were formed in Belgrade in 1972 by Robert Nemeček (bass, vocals - formerly of Dogovor Iz 1804 and Džentlmeni. The other formative members on their two studio albums were Mihajlo Popović (drums) and Zoran Božinović (guitar - formerly in Džentlmeni).


Na Izvoru Svetlosti LP 1975
Their 1973 debut LP "Kiselina" (Acid), had contributions from members of S Vremena Na Vreme, Grupa SOS and acoustic band Dag. Although excelling in their heavy rock tracks like "Svemirska Prièa," the band played an equal amount of acoustic pop and folk-infused songs in a similar approach to Led Zep's album 'III'. The second and final studio album "Na Izvoru Svetlosti" (At the Spring of Light) followed suit, having a little more emphasis on the hard rock, with a great opener which is the track I have used in this comp, "Vreme za Nas". Track 2 gives you a good idea of their stage show with a live-recorded blues workout. Over-all this album is more consistent and you can hear the improved arrangements and more confident playing.


Fuzzy Duck

Fuzzy Duck s/t 1971
Fuzzy Duck s/t 1971
A belated appearance from a record that that I surely should have used by now, as it's really good. This is the eponymous Fuzzy Duck LP, one of the older entries here, recorded in 1971. They play jazzy prog rock, with excellent musicianship, driving hammond organ and plenty of rocking riffs. Bassist Mick Hawksworth had previously been in Andromeda (Vol51) with John Du Cann, another similarly cool band. He was also in other TDATS bands, Killing Floor (see Vol7) and Toe Fat (Vol2). Drummer Paul Francis had been in The End, and briefly in this volume's opening band, Tucky Buzzard. The Duck enjoyed some radio play, including "A Big Word From D" and "Double Fine Woman", which were both favoured by BBC stations.

Fuzzy Duck in the studio
Fuzzy Duck in the studio
In the Esoteric Recordings CD re-issue Paul Francis stated that one of the major things that broke the band up was internal friction with guitarist and founder Graham White, which he regrets in retrospect. They managed to turf him out and replace him with Garth Watt-Roy (Steamhammer, The Greatest Show On Earth) who was a great guitarist, but it didn't go down well with the record company. After the Duck had quacked it, Graham White joined Capability Brown (Vol54), Paul teamed up with Chris Speading and Steve Harley, playing on a couple of Cockney Rebel LPs and Mick Hawksworth worked with Alvin Lee among others.


Fusion Orchestra

Fusion Orchestra - Skeleton In Armour line-up, clockwise from left, Dave Bell, Stan Land, Dave Cowell, Colin Dawson and Jill Saward
Fusion Orchestra - Skeleton In Armour
line-up. Clockwise from left, Dave Bell,
Stan Land, Dave Cowell, Colin Dawson
and Jill Saward
Fusion Orchestra might be of interest to Babe Ruth fans, or those of Room. Frequently-heavy prog with a great front woman in Jill Saward, who also played flute, keyboard and more. The sole album 'Skeleton In Armour' is good progressive rock, drawing in many influences from Canterbury scene to hard rock, thankfully the band has a great attack and this LP keeps up momentum throughout, as you can hear in tracks like the one appearing here, and "Have I Left The Gas On?".

On the album, she is joined by the three founding members Dave Bell (drums), Stan Land (2nd guitar) and Colin Dawson (lead guitar). Dave Cowell played bass. Later in the bands' life Colin Dawson quit, so Alan Murphy took over, he later played in English pop bands Level 42 and coincidentally, Go West, who cropped up in the last volume via Hustler drummer Tony Beard. Although the band had a good live reputation, with fans frequently enjoying Jill Saward's titillating stage antics at the Marquee in London, they did not achieve commercial success on EMI and didn't get the green light for a second album. Jill had the most successful career afterwards, in the pop group Shakatak, and surprisingly none of the other players were in notable bands later. Colin Dawson started Fusion Orchestra 2 in 2008, in which he is the only original FO member.


Rockcelona

Continuing into heavier territory, "Queen, Friend And Dread" from Barcelona's Rockcelona hits you hard.The LP it's taken from is like this all the way through, it never lets up. This unique and timeless collision between punk, heavy metal and garage rock recorded in 1979 is a real gem for anyone out there who looks for the ultimate in unrelenting fuzz. The group was founded in 1977 by Alfredo Valcárcel, and recorded only one album called "La Bruja" (The Witch).



Svanfrídur

Svanfrídur
Svanfrídur
Courtesy of Shadoks music (link) :- The Icelandic prog-rock band Svanfrídur released only one album, recorded six months after they played their first gig. This short-lived band rapidly rose to fame, receiving rave reviews for live performances, but in fact their music was way ahead of its time. They were unable to seal a recording contract so they formed their own label - Swan Records. When the album 'What’s Hidden There?' was released in autumn 1972 it got mixed reviews and sold only a few hundred copies, leaving the band with a great album but sadly not the income they had been hoping for. Recorded at London’s Majestic Studios the album was cut and pressed in England. Perhaps one of the best heavy prog / underground albums from Scandinavia with amazing guitar and all-English vocals. Would have been a famous and successful album on Decca UK.


Asia

Asia 1978
Not to be confused with the British "Asia", South Dakota's Asia made two LPs of heavy progressive rock and hard rock. They have an epic, regal quality to many of the songs, somewhat reminiscent of the kind of atmosphere conjured up by Led Zep's No Quarter or Kashmir for instance. They evolved from White Wing with members Michael English on vocals and multi-instrumentalist Mike Coates. Asia achieved some success playing the club circuit in the more urban areas of the upper Midwest. Their self-titled debut was recorded in two sessions at ASI studios in Minneapolis in 1978 and was privately released the same year.


Cinderella

Following is a snippet of the interiews I conducted with Art Bausch of Blue Planet and Betty Raadgever of Cinderella.

Cinderella in 1971
Me: Have you heard of the band Cinderella, that made a single in 1971?

Art: Yes, I did studio work with them on their first single, together with Aad and Peter. That was while Blue Planet was still going. I’ve been seen it on Youtube.

Me: Did you guys write the single or were you just brought it to the session?

Art: The main girl, Betty Raadgever wrote it. Their producer, Gerrit Jan Leenders, I did other work for him too. That’s how that started. My memory is good, especially of that period. Everything was so intense and every day was a party.

We take a brief diversion here to read some responses that Cinderella's Betty Raadgever kindly gave for this article.

Betty Raadgever
Me: Hi Betty, did Cinderella make any more music other than the single?

Betty: Cinderella did make more songs, but they are not recorded on a album, unfortunately. And of course I wrote a lot of songs after Cinderella for my other bands: Eyeliner and The Betty Ray Experience.

Me: I spoke to Art Bausch. I asked him about your Cinderella single and he confirmed that he, Peter and Aad Kreeft played on it. Did Blue Planet play on both sides?

Betty: Blue Planet played on both sides of the single, but I wrote the lyrics and music. Aad was a good friend of mine and we knew the other guys from Leiden/Oegstgeest, where we all came from. A very good band, Blue Planet!

Me: Did the other guys in Cinderella play or sing on it too (Renee, Bernardien, Nico)?

Betty; The singers on the record are Betty, Bernardien and Renee in the chorus. I am singing the lead, and the b-side, "The Love That We've Go", Bernardien sings. The guys from BP played all the music.

Me: Did Cinderella break up for any reason or did it change into a different band?

Betty: After four years I choose to switch bands and became lead singer of a hard rock band called "For Shame". Cinderella was over... After the hard rock period I had four other female groups: Trevira 2000EyelinerNasty Girls and The Betty Ray Experience. The other Cinderella members stopped playing in bands.

Me: Thanks Betty!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Blackhorse, Texas Southern Rock feature



Fox Huntin' has to be one of the best opening tracks on any album, ever! Baying hounds introduce one of the most driving riffs of all time, at first you think this might be Motörhead, but then the unmistakable Southern accents and bluesy leads come in and you find yourself in Southern hard rock heaven. Much of this 1979 album is on the verge of heavy metal, and that gives it a unique sound, there wasn't anything heavier than this in Southern rock at the time, that's for sure.

John Teugue  -  Gary James  -  Paul-Anthony Middleton
From Mineral Wells, Texas, power-trio Blackhorse self-released this record to sell at gigs. Gary James was on lead guitar, John Teague was on drums, Paul-Anthony Middleton was on bass and they all shared vocal duties. They made a name for themselves playing around the Dallas Fort Worth area, in clubs such as Motherload's, but their most-remembered gig was at KZEW's Zoo World free concert in the Dallas County Convention Center in 1980, clips of which can be found on Youtube. Along the way they supported other Southern heavyweights like Point Blank.

Live @ KZEW Zoo World 1980
Although the record is technically only a demo, the quality is remarkable. The fizzing guitars sound great, the playing is on the dime. The shared vocal duties, sometimes call and response, sometime in harmony, are perfect, and other than a couple of slower, but no less-good bluesy ballads, the pace never relents. Velvet Angel, The Party's Started, Hell Hotel and Dave's Song motor along and this is one record that doesn't tail off in intensity toward the end like so many others do.

There have been a couple of limited re-issues, an early '90s bootleg CD being the one that brought them to the wider attention of rock fans. 


One old fan remembers: "I worked as a bartender at Spencer's Corner in Ft. Worth late 70s and Blackhorse were once banned from the club because the rock n roll bar had a "No cowboy hats" policy and the drummer always wore one. Those dopes running the club (Spencer Taylor) would not back off the policy so Blackhorse wrote a tune (Spencer's Corner) that called them out. Eventually they played there again in 1979 I believe."

John Teague and Gary (under the name Jesse 'Ropeburn' James) reappeared in the mid-eighties in The Cauze (youtube). Unfortunately they were a very different proposition to Blackhorse, and made an album of silky smooth keyboard-laden AOR. But Blackhorse did reform in 2008 and play some shows, until Gary's untimely death in 2015. If you got to see them at any time you were very lucky indeed!

In the words of Blackhorse themselves: "Blackhorse is a three-piece of intense power and emotion whose concert apperances have been aptly hailed by critics as "kick-ass". This debut album is their story. So ... TURN IT UP and enjoy one of the best rock & roll albums ever".

Follow the Blackhorse facebook page.

Credits
Gary James – Lead guitar, vocals
John Teague – Drums, vocals
Paul-Anthony Middleton – Bass, vocals

Produced by Paul-Anthony Middleton
Associate Producer – Rick Hatfield
Engineer – Bob Hickey
Cover Art – Vicky Sheets

Tracks
A1. Fox Huntin'
A2. Lucille
A3. Velvet Angel
A4. The Party’s Started
A5. Momma Gonna Love You Tonight
A6. Cannot Find My Way Home
B1. Hell Hotel
B2. You've Got The Way
B3. Slow Down Tom
B4. Dave’s Song
B5. Spencer's Corner

Release infos
RYM
Discogs

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

TDATS #127: Blue Planet [inc. Cinderella and Art Bausch interview]


Download at [mf] or [mg] or [yd]
password:  tdats




The Netherlands was surely home to many rocking pop bands back in the early days, and Blue Planet was one of the best. Presented here is all the music they recorded. Something of a TDATS tradition now, we have another focus on a Dutch band that only made a few 45s. Blue Planet was cultivated in The Hague, a European rock mecca to rival London and Hamburg in its heyday. Their singles possess heaviness, deceptively wrapped in a hook-laden glam/pop disguise, a talent that many other Dutch bands of the time had. One major quality of BP which jumps out is the vocals of Ron Bausch. They have an emotive strength, but also vulnerability, that gets you straight away. Reminding maybe of Rod Stewart, minus the whiskey-soaked gravel.

Included below is an interview I conducted with the drummer of Blue Planet, Art Bausch. He was really helpful and more than happy to answer anything I asked. He has great enthusiasm for the times and says that he really enjoyed every minute of Blue Planet, even though after the big break of touring with Golden Earring, the band didn't realise its potential in the end, and there were a few sad consequences of the rock n roll life style. He still plays today. I also got a few answers regarding the early days from bassist Peter Wassenaar. Peter in particular painted a picture of the The Hague and Scheveningen being exciting and heady places to be for players and fans, with happening clubs like The Scala, Club 192 and The Flying Dutchman.

As is the case with other talented Dutch singles bands that have appeared here before, including Cobra (Vol111) and Panda (Vol119), some Blue Planet members are associated with Dutch bands that had greater success, and made albums. Guitarist Aad van der Kreeft was in InCrowd, The George Cash band, Big Wheel, Twelve O'Clock and later, Think Tank. He currently plays in Electric Blues (link). Drummer Art Bausch was in Barrelhouse, Trail, later in Livin' Blues, and still plays with The Oscar Benton Band. Bassist Peter Wassenaar was later in Galaxy Lin. All these guys have played in many other bands and musical projects up to the current day. Aad in particular, is an admired guitarist, and you only have to hear his understated, fluid ability, adding to every one of BP's songs, to see why.

I must say many thanks to Marc Emmerik of Dutch band Vitamin X (fb), who has always been a great help with this blog and in this case pointed me to some great newspaper articles and translations! Alex Gitlin's Nederpop Files (link) were also very useful as usual.


Blue Planet Discography

1970
I'm Going Man I'm Going / Nothing in the World
Philips 6075 105
'I'm Going Man I'm Going' was the band's first release and it was their most successful one too, reaching no 16 in the charts. It is grinding, melodic and memorable, Ron Bausch's vocals are immediately arresting and invoke sympathy. Flipside 'Nothing in the World' is heavier, starting out with a stomping riff and great guitar hooks from Aad.


Boy / Climb the Mountain
Philips 6075 110
'Boy' is another memorable track which has a story to tell of a young guy learning the ways of the world. Flipside 'Climb the Mountain' is a slower pensive tune which again highlights Aad's great double-tracked electric and acoustic guitar skills.



1971
Times and Changes / Please Don't Shake Me Baby
Philips 6075 128
The final Blue Planet single goes in a different direction and contains two upbeat country-flavoured tracks, with 'Please Don't Shake Me Baby' having the most grit. US Country rock had an influence in The Netherlands around this time.


Cinderella
From Town to Town / The Love That We've Got
Imperial 5C 006-24448
Although the cover shows a full, mostly-female band called Cinderella, all the music on this unique single was played by Art, Aad and Peter of Blue Planet. It was written by Betty Raatgever who started the band Cinderella. Both sides are fantastic, including a richly-shimmering folk ballad with a stella closing solo from Aad and a heavy glam stomper which could be mistaken for one of Blondie's heavier tracks.



Interview with Blue Planet drummer, Art Bausch

Following is a phone interview I took with Art about six months ago. Since then he has come back from a successful international run of shows with the Oscar Benton Band.

Art Bausch in recent times
Me: Hi Art.

Art: First I want to say it’s very nice that you from England are so interested in this period of music and Dutch bands. Back then in the ‘70s we were in our twenties and we learnt it from the old guys.

Me: It was all still relatively close to the days of the beginning of Rock n’ Roll in the 40s and 50s. Things hadn’t changed too much at that point. I’ve always been drawn towards the sound of the ‘70s, no digital technology in those days, you had valves and organic-sounding instruments and production.

Art: Yes, and it was very loud. Next to me I had 400watts bass equipment and on the other side I had 400watts guitar. The old Marshal amps. And my brother the singer had a 600 watt installation, we didn’t have a PA system at that time, but the drummer (myself) wasn’t mic’d up. Because it cost a fortune for drum heads and sticks and foot pedals, cymbals, because I just ruined them competing with the sound next to me, but, it worked haha.

Me: I noticed the BP singer had the same surname as you but I wasn’t completely sure that you were related.

Art: Ron Bausch was my older brother.

Me: How did you get into being a musician in the first place?

Art: Ah well, I can speak for my brother too. My father was a military man. He was an airplane mechanic. He was also a very talented young man, he came from Indonesia, from a family with money. He played classical violin. He came to Holland just before the war broke out in 1939. Just before he came to Holland at the age of fifteen, he had a scholarship arranged to study violin in the Hague but a week before he arrived by boat in Holland hell fell with his left hand through a window and hurt it so badly that violin was no option anymore. So he signed up for the army, pretending to be older than fifteen. So he went from playing music in to the army; he never spoke about that time very much but it wasn’t a very nice time.

So he came through the army first to Scotland, he was on a boat to protect the transport on the ocean from Murmansk in Russia to Scotland and then all those Indonesian guys came to Holland after the war, they still were in the army, so that’s how my father met my mother because she was a nurse somewhere where all those guys were, and they got married and this is the result. In the army he played guitar, piano, he sang and he had a big band. There was always music from all kinds of sources in the house where I grew up, from classical to Elvis. It comes from my father. When I was thirteen I had my first amateur band.

Jan Frederik Bausch, second from left, 1947

Me: So you started out as a drummer originally?

Art: Yes. As a small boy I was sitting next to the drummer from my father’s big band, we were in the Dutch part of New Guinea. My father rehearsed with his big band every Sunday in an airplane hangar, I was sitting next to the drummer with my sticks at 5 or 6 years of age.

Me: Were you in bands with your brother at the age of thirteen?

Art: No, my brother was a couple of years older than me, he was a very talented guy, he discovered for me Cliff Richard, Elvis Presley, Otis Reading and the old blues guys, that’s what I learnt from him. That was my start, which was a good one. Blue Planet was my first proper band, when I was just eighteen. Peter the bass player was seventeen. My brother and the guitar player met and they had a thing going while I was just playing at an amateur level. They were already rehearsing and working on the heavy stuff, Zeppelin, Free, and then one Sunday evening they came while I was playing with my band at that time in a very small venue in Leiden,  I was still living with my mother at the time, and suddenly I saw Peter and my brother and Art the guitar player there on the side of the stage and then I knew they were going to ask me. That was exciting.

I was not the first choice of drummer. They were not happy with the first guy, Jack Wolf. He wasn’t in to their groove, I met him shortly afterwards and he was very angry. Ron and Aad had a very clear idea of what they wanted by did not always agree with each other, they were both very talented guys and both had big egos which often came into conflict with each other. But it worked for a short while, we only existed for two years, three months.

Me: What clubs/gigs were you going to back then? What was the life like then?

Peter: The Hague was rock city #1 in the '60s (link) , with clubs and bars were everybody met after gigs, like The Scala, Club 192, The Factory and De Drie Stoepen [The Three Sidewalks].
In The Scala, drummers, bass players and guitarist all had their own corners. In Scheveningen (link)   there was The Flying Dutchman, you could see the bands playing by looking through the upper windows, the club was below street level. On the beach in Scheveningen were lots of people playing all kinds of instruments, mostly blues, I started playing the blues harp in 1966.

It was all great fun, we were young, and there were lots of things to do both in The Hague and Scheveningen. The well-known bands from The Hague were The Motions (Rudy Bennet and Robbie van Leeuwen later in Galaxy-Lin with me), Golden Earring, The Tielman Brothers, Shocking Blue.

I saw Fleetwood Mack playing in Club 192 back in 1968 even got their autographs in the dressing room, Jerremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan, Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood etc.

Blue Planet all rehearsed in a place called "Het Kraajenest" in de Jan Vossensteeg in Leiden, among other local bands from Leiden. The reason for forming this band, was the first album of Led Zeppelin, in a week we played all the songs from the album. Also of inspiration were J Geils band and Love, Buffalo Springfield, Moby Grape.

Me: Why the name "Blue Planet"?

Peter: During that period we all watched rockets go into space and, also to the moon (Bowie sang it; "planet earth is blue, and there's nothing"….in Space Oddity, later that year). It was a catchy and short name. Here in Holland bands changed their names; The Golden Earrings became Golden Earring etc.

Art: We started as opening band for Golden Earring. Their first appearance after their first American tour, and they had just changed from being a commercial band to what they are nowdays. They were getting very heavy, and our manager at that time arranged their homecoming gig in The Hague which was sold out of course, and we were the opening act. We played only for 35-40 minutes, to an audience of 2000 people. Bearing in mind that I had just come from playing gigs in Leiden to only 50 people. When we finished our set, George Kooymans and Rinus Gerritsen from Earring asked us to play their whole tour which was in 1970, it was 36 gigs in a row, with one evening off, at that time I learnt much.

Being professional is what I learnt from those guys. They were big and they had hits. Me and Peter were just enjoying the hard work. We had no money at all. My mother kept the band alive by feeding us and buying us equipment, we got a loan from my mother for a drum kit, that’s the way it was. The start of Blue Planet was just like a fairy tale, Golden Earring’s manager was also their producer, he said that BP was special, we had a sound, and he recorded "I’m going Man I’m Going" and produced our three singles. This guy was so big in the music world, he knew “This is gonna work”, and it worked, we went into the hit parade, and we had work.

Me: How did you get the gig with Golden Earring in the first place? That’s quite an achievement for a young new band.

Art: Because our manager at that time, Henk van Leeuwen, came from The Hague and he knew all those guys. He was very smart and he had a view. We played all weekend, Monday was our day off and Tuesday until Thursday we rehearsed, starting each day at 9am and leaving at 5pm. He told us we have to work hard. So after the Golden Earring tour we went to the studio and recorded “I’m Going Man” and “Nothing In The World”. The machine started working from Fred Haayen’s side (Earring manager) and the booking agency, and we had at that time the pirate music stations out at sea.

Freddy told us “this single is too long” and we said “this is what we have, we are not going to make a sale from two minutes and twenty seconds”. In the end everybody on the radio stations was playing I’m Going Man I’m Going haha. I still meet people when i’m out playing who ask me about my past and what my first band was, and I tell them I was in Blue Planet and they say “woo man, that was the first single I bought” haha.

Me: Was one of those pirate stations Radio Veronica?

Art: Yes, and the Red Bullet agency, Freddy Haayen, they had all kinds of business connections, and they were also rebels, who understood the need to get this music out there. They were very smart, they made a lot of money but also gave a lot of bands the chance to be on the air.

Me: Was it Freddy that negotiated Blue Planet signing to the Philips label? Many other Dutch bands I like were also on Philips.

Art: Yes at that time they were very progressive.

Me: Did Fred have a lot of input in your recording of the singles?

Art: Yes. First you give in a tape with the number and you say this is what we’re gonna do. Fred was very good in feeling the energy of the band and he didn’t want to change too much, he was very good.

Me: Did he suggest things in the studio to improve songs or did he come up with original ideas?

Art: He added the mellotron in I’m Going Man I’m Going. We were the first band with a mellotron as it was a new thing then. It was in the studio and he suggested using it.

Me: Who was playing the mellotron?

Art: It was a well known jazz pianist Cees Schrama.

Me: Did you talk to Cees much or did he just come in and do his own thing?

Art: It was different at those times, when those guys came in there was more animosity. He was not a studio player, you know, “Let me hear the number”, “OK, I think I do this, maybe that”. And we were all there, yeah it was quite an experience. We were living as rebels in hippy times, Rock n’ Roll...

Me: And he was from the more old-fashioned way of doing things?

Art: You could think at the time “You work in an office”, that’s what we thought, everybody with a suit was an office guy haha.

Me: Can you tell me about the 1970 TV clip of "I'm Going Man I'm Going"?

Art: It was late 1970, this was a promotion project named "Beat Behind The Dikes" to help Dutch groups to go international, directed by Bob Rooyens. It was recorded in Hilversum, and also outside on lake IJsselmeer.


After looking into "Beat Behind The Dikes", I found that other bands appearing included Golden Earring, Shocking Blue and Earth & Fire.



Me: So we have spoken quite a lot about your first single, do you have any favourite songs, like Boy or Climb The Mountain?

Art: Climb The Mountain is my favourite, of the ones we recorded. My brother came up with the lyrics, and he sings it very nice.

Me: Yes I do like your brother’s emotive singing on all the tracks, and his lyrical stories, one of the great things about the band. Who was the main song writer?

Art: My brother came with the rough guitar parts, then Aad would come in with suggestions. After that it would go to the rehearsal room where the whole band would have equal say in finishing it off. Everybody was at that time equal. Like I’m Going Man I’m Going, the first two chords are mine. And then the rest came, Pete had ideas....It was the new era, “We are all equal, and we are gonna change the world” and all that bullshit haha.

Me: Well, it worked for a while at least I guess!

Art: Yes, it worked for two years, don’t forget at that age there was a lot of dope going on, it was almost free, a couple of guys in the band enjoyed it very much...

Me: A bit too much?

Art: Yeah, Yeah and they went on to LSD, and speed, and blow. Everyone was going to change the world on LSD. I’ve been there once but I left, I thought “This is a crazy world, this is not my thing”.

Me: Yes abusing drugs usually ends badly.

Art: At that time, for example in Holland, Golden Earring was a totally clean band, they didn’t even get drunk. It was all healthy. And look at them now, they are on top of the world.

Me: Yes it’s respectable to be able to do that really. It’s very easy to give in to these temptations, especially when you’re in that atmosphere, of clubs and groupies and what have you.

Art: Yeah, and a lot of people come up to you “Eh, Eh do you want a pill, do you want a sniff?”. Not for me. That was that time you know, it was total anarchy.

Me: Sure, much more so than now.

Art: It’s also important for our story, as especially my brother and Aad, were doing a lot of speed which is a lot of fun when you are young and you can go for a day or four or five but it wears you out you know, and then they were finished, but there was drive in the band, we thought we were the best in the world you know. “We’re gonna make it”, but reality says we didn’t play sixteen times a month, we played four or five times.

Me: You think that's one of the reasons you didn’t last very long in the end was you weren’t playing enough?

Art: Yeah there was a lack of money, and those two egos of Ron and Aad were too big. They were quite arrogant.

Me: They used to argue?

Art: Yes. Later when the band was finished, years later, then you realise, talking to people, even now, going to my home town, people talk about “Do you remember that concert in the park? Beautiful weather, and you started at twelve o’clock in the night and you ended at three”. People remember. It had something special as a band, we gave a lot from the stage, there was energy.

Me: Can you tell us about the last single, 1971’s Times and Changes?

Art: It was our last record, it didn’t make an impression, nobody was interested. At that time there was no work, little money, our manager wasn’t getting things going. I called everybody together and said “This is the end, this is not what I want”, at that time I was very busy and I didn’t see a future. Aad was starting to get interest from other bands, and that was the moment it was finished.

1971 newspaper article, the band are quoted as saying their
third (and ultimately final) single "Times and Changes" is to
be in a less heavy style, with the goal of reaching a wider
audience. It also says that the band got good responses
playing in both France and Germany.

Me: I consider their final single to have a slight country influence, further away from hard rock than the previous two, but both the sides are great and really grow on you. American country rock was popular in Holland at the time. Bands such as Normaal and Dizzy Man's Band were introducing it into their songs. Mailer Mackenzie Band (listen) made two albums and were actually signed to US label Ampex, with reviewers comparing them to Creedence Clearwater Revival. Members of the band had a couple of links with Aad and Peter W. of Blue Planet, via The InCrowd, Big Wheel and The Motions.

Marc Joseph says of this style. "Southern/country rock was really popular in Holland in the late '60s/early '70s. Bands who were virtually unknown in the rest of the world were playing to sold out venues in Holland. Flying Burrito Brothers even received a gold album while in the US they were playing for 100-200 people."


Did Aad play on your last single single or did you have a replacement at the end?

Art: No, it was Aad. All three singles are with the same, original lineup.

Me: I read that a new guitarist came in at the end of the band's life, is that correct?

Art: Yes that is correct, our manager brought in Peter Dingemans to replace Aad. Very good player, at the time he was 22 with a wife and child, trying to decide if wanted to be a professional musician, but the magic was gone. The energy and the drive was gone.

Me: So Aad was the first guy to leave?

Art: Yes. He was a little bit older, he had played in Germany in night clubs and he had become a well respected guitarist in the Hague scene. He was also a guy who wanted to drive sports cars, and I found out years later that our manager was paying him a separate weekly wage that the rest of us did not know about. It was a dark side to Aad.

Me: Did he leave Blue Planet to go and play for another band?

Art: Yes, he played in a group who was from a record company, called Think Tank. And those guys were on the payroll. The record company had a lot of money for Think Tank, and those guys had nothing to do with Blue Planet, it was a commercial thing to make money. It was a different style of music as well, not as appealing to me.

Me: How long did the band last after Peter Dingemans joined?

Art: Around five or six months, and then it was over. It was a marriage which was doomed along with the band. A nice guy and a good player but from a different musical background.

Me: What background was he from?

Art: He was from a more hippy “be nice to each other” way of thinking and we were more arrogant. In Holland we had the nickname “the Dutch Zep”, the looks, the appearance on stage, we were the boss.

Me: So you decided that you were going to leave before the band broke up?

Art: I called everyone together and we had a meeting in a restaurant with the manager, I said “Boys it is over and I quit, I don’t see any future any more” and that was the end.

Me: Did you have songs that were never released or never recorded?

Art: No

Me: Why didn’t you make an album?

Art:  We got off to a great start with the I’m Going Man I’m Going single but didn’t keep the momentum. But of the lack of playing and lack of money, and the two egos who were in conflict all the time, we just never got to that point.

Me: Can you tell us about the equipment that you used?

Art: I had a West End hand-made drum kit which I couldn’t afford, my mother lent me the money. The drummer from Golden Earring drummer, Jaap Eggermont, who became a big producer, had a West End while we were opening for them. I went to the Hague and “West End” is the name of the street in English. There was a man who makes drum kits, a lot of Dutch drummers at that time played on a hand-made West End kit, they were beautiful, and very collectible now. I don’t have it any more.

Me: And the other guys?

Art: Peter Wassenaar had a Fender bass with an Orange combo. Aad played on a Marshal 200W double stack, he started with a Strat and then changed to a Gibson SG, a hard rock icon at the time.

Me: You mentioned Fred Haayen, he produced another band that I like called Cobra (see Vol111).

Art: Yes, same era, Cobra had this English singer, Winston Gawk. He was a very outgoing person on stage, while my brother Ron was a very introvert person, he didn’t move much, he just stood there and sang beautiful, his appearance was important to him. We played together on a few gigs, which definitely would have been at the Paradiso, Amsterdam, at least once. A big venue where you had to play.

Peter Wassenaar   -   Art Bausch   -   Ron Bausch   -   Aad Van Der Kreeft

The Leidsch Dagblad newspaper printed a story that on 10th July 1971 Blue Planet played a festival in Meerlo, with Cobra, Livin' Blues, Brainbox, Focus and Jug Session Group among others. All great bands, showing what circles Blue Planet were mixing in.

Me: Do you remember Big Wheel? I ask because their music reminds me a little of Blue Planet.

Art: Yes, Rob van der Zwan the guitarist was a very big fan of my brother, and at the same time as we had I’m Going... they had the single "If I Stay Too Long". The story on that single was that the producer sang on that single, not the singer Cyril Havermans.

Me: Cyril Havermans sang in Focus later on.

Art: Yes, that’s the circuit Blue Planet were into at that time, we did festivals with Focus, Cuby + Blizzards, Golden Earring. Are you interested in a Dutch group called the Shoes? They had 26 hits! They were older than us, they started off as young guys going to Germany when they were all around sixteen years of age, they did all the hard work you know? It’s so different now days, I was talking to a professional drummer in his thirties and he plays with whoever calls, you know, but in the early days you had a band, it was not done to play with other guys.

Me: I guess you have to be adaptable to make some money, play with a few different bands.

Art: Yes, but you lose your identity.

Me: Are you aware of a split single that Philips released with Big Wheel and Blue Planet?

Art: No, not at all! Someone clever obviously put that one out. I know the drummer Shell Schellekens a little, at that time we admired each other’s drumming.

Me: I’m Going... reached position sixteen in the Dutch hit parade, was that your biggest success?

Art: Yes, but we could have come higher up. But because of the long time it took for I’m Going to reach a high position, Philips decided not to press any more copies. In that week we could have entered the top ten, but It was not available any more.

Me: So it sold-out basically? Why would the label let that happen to a successful song?

Art: It happened because the labels become impatient, and decide to dedicate resources to newer releases. If they had been more patient with us we would have hit the top ten and things could have been very different for us...

Ron Bausch c.1976
Art: Another story also, my brother’s appetite for drugs was large and he had developed addictions. After Blue Planet he didn’t do anything. We tried to get him back on his feet, the family you know.

Me: So he was burnt out? He never worked in music again?

Art: He had plans, but he was going down and down. He never got out of it and he died at age 36 in 1983.

Me: I’m sorry to hear that Art, a cautionary tale.

Bassist Peter had this to say regarding Ron at the time they met: "Ron Bausch was a photo model and a singer with an extremely high vocal range. he was very thin and tall and drove an Austin mini cooper, he was what they then called a 'dandy', and always very sharply dressed"

The Leidsch Dagblad newspaper in 6th Februari 1976 had an article saying that Ron Bausch was in contact with record labels and had arranged a BP reunion LP. Clearly this never came to anything before he died.

Cinderella in 1971
Have you heard of the band Cinderella, that made a single in 1971?

Art: Yes, I did studio work with them on their first single, together with Aad and Peter. That was while Blue Planet was still going. I’ve been seen it on Youtube.

Me: Did you guys write the single or were you just brought it to the session?

Art: The main girl, Betty Raadgever wrote it. Their producer, Gerrit Jan Leenders, I did other work for him too. That’s how that started. My memory is good, especially of that period. Everything was so intense and every day was a party.

We take a brief diversion here to read some responses that Cinderella's Betty Raadgever kindly gave for this article.

Betty Raadgever
Me: Hi Betty, did Cinderella make any more music other than the single?

Betty: Cinderella did make more songs, but they are not recorded on a album, unfortunately. And of course I wrote a lot of songs after Cinderella for my other bands: Eyeliner and The Betty Ray Experience.

Me: I spoke to Art Bausch. I asked him about your Cinderella single and he confirmed that he, Peter and Aad Kreeft played on it. Did Blue Planet play on both sides?

Betty: Blue Planet played on both sides of the single, but I wrote the lyrics and music. Aad was a good friend of mine and we knew the other guys from Leiden/Oegstgeest, where we all came from. A very good band, Blue Planet!

Me: Did the other guys in Cinderella play or sing on it too (Renee, Bernardien, Nico)?

Betty; The singers on the record are Betty, Bernardien and Renee in the chorus. I am singing the lead, and the b-side, "The Love That We've Go", Bernardien sings. The guys from BP played all the music.

Me: Did Cinderella break up for any reason or did it change into a different band?

Betty: After four years I choose to switch bands and became lead singer of a hard rock band called "For Shame". Cinderella was over... After the hard rock period I had four other female groups: Trevira 2000, Eyeliner, Nasty Girls and The Betty Ray Experience. The other Cinderella members stopped playing in bands.

Me: Thanks Betty!

And back to Art...

Me: You were in the Oscar Benton Blues band after Blue Planet?

Art: Yes, straight after Blue Planet. We leave for Istanbul on the 9th of June 2015 and play on the 10th. Then we have a day sight-seeing and come back on the 12th. The youngest in that band is sixty three and the oldest is sixty eight haha. Can you imagine? This man made one major hit called "Bensonhurst Blues (1973)", used in French movie Pour la Peau d'un Flic (link) in 1981. He sold eleven million singles in Eastern Europe and Italy and France. But the man is not very healthy now, he is only 65. Three years ago came a German agency, saying hey, we want Oscar in Bucharest, and in Russia. Next we play in Istanbul. We will play an hour and fifteen minutes then an encore and that’s it. We are payed in advance and everything is payed for, we are very pampered. They only think we have to do is play well. It’s really fun. I originally played with those guys from 1972 to 1975, they are real friends, we kept in touch. Three years ago we got together again to play Bucharest, it would have been nice to be taken care of like that back in 1970!

I stopped being professional in 1990. The year before I was working from Monday to Friday in bands.

Me: can you name any other important bands you were in while you were a pro musician?

Art: Living Blues from 86 until 1990. I have also had my own bands, I had an old fashioned 12 piece soul band and we played the old stuff, the singer in this band was the singer in my first band from 1963, a guy from Indonesia. We did the old soul stuff you know; Otis Reading, which is the music I grew up with, is in my heart, this is what I want to do. So at the moment I am with Oscar Benton, I have another band called Johnny Feelgood (link).  This is a band that consists of six guys of similar ages who are all in other bands. My third band is called The Blues Factory (link), I am the oldest in that band with the rest aged down to 35, which makes it interesting. I am still ambitious but not to play 17 times a month.

Me: Did you ever stop playing to start a different career?

Art: Yes, in the early ‘80s I stopped because I was fed up with the whole thing, I sold my kits. But after 3-4 years I felt the urge to play again.

Me: What work did you do then?

Art: Since the late ‘80s to this day I have been a self-employed handy man. I have a van and a lot of experience by now, so I am very busy with that.

Me: Do you have any more Blue Planet stories to tell?

Art: Blue Planet was playing in Germany in the ‘70s. We all had long hair. During the day when we were just walking around we got a lot of shouts at us about being gay, and being weak. It did not happen while playing in the venues but it was from the general public, away from the scene. We were bullied on the streets.

Me: I guess it no different to anti-hippy sentiment that you could have experienced in any country back then. German, the UK, America, anywhere. Ironically German had many great rock bands back then, with long hair too haha!

Art: Our attitude was that we were going to change the world, no more politicians, we will look after ourselves. What happened?

Me: That dream didn’t work out in the end did, unfortunately.

Art: You can’t change the mechanism, you can’t change the system.

Me: You can’t change human nature. I guess things will always come back down to the same greed and self-preservation, it’s easy to see what’s wrong with that but I guess it’s also survival instinct that will always be there to some degree.

Art: I do what I can to make the world a better place and help people, that’s all you can do!

Well, many thanks to Art, Peter and Betty for making this article possible. Enjoy the music of these great musicians of the golden age of rock...
Rich

Art drumming in the Oscar Benton Band c.2013

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