Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Day After The Sabbath 106: Tanah Dosa [Indonesia]

Download from: [mf] or [mg]
unzip pass:  tdats

"Indonesia, due in large part to the restrictions imposed by its past dictator Suharto, is better known for the coffee it exports than for the music created on this island nation." - npr.org

Bands had it hard in Indonesia in the sixties - Koes Bersausara were imprisoned for three months for making western-style rock! After release, into a new regime which was more lenient towards their music, they made the album To The So-Called "The Guilties" (1967). The track 'Poor Clown' is considered to be about ex-President Sukarno, who's old regime was responsible for their imprisonment.

Welcome to volume 106, the first part of my attempt at exposing the early hard rock, psych and prog of Indonesia. The cover art is an interpretation of Leyak, "Leyak are said to haunt graveyards, feed on corpses, have power to change themselves into animals, such as pigs, and fly. In normal Leyak form, they are said to have an unusually long tongue and large fangs. In daylight they appear as an ordinary human, but at night their head and entrails break loose from their body and fly."

Let's get this cleared up right at beginning, there were very few out-and-out TDATS-heavy bands making records in the '60s and '70s, maybe enough to be counted on one hand and most of them were short-lived; AKA, Shark Move, God Bless, Giant Step and SAS Group are maybe the main contenders. This opinion is of course based only on the bands' recorded output, unfortunately I'll never have the luxury of watching bands such as AKA live, which by all accounts could have been quite an experience with their heavy riffing and late front-man Ucok Harahap's famed stage antics. Of all these, Shark Move was probably the most contemporary-minded heavy band (for all of its one album) in Indonesia; they were apparently taking notice of the developments of Deep Purple and Uriah Heep when they were happening. Other bands, while good, seemed a few years behind the sounds of their western inspirations. This is undoubtedly due in part to the restrictive environment for rock, a hang-over from the '60s.

A mention must go to Now-Again records' great 2011 compilation "Those Shocking Shaking Days", which is one of the best starting points to find out about Indonesian rock. Also to Strawberry Rains' awesome AKA retrospective "AKA: Hard Beat". Hearing "Do What You Like" from this was one of the inspirations for making some Indonesian comps.

TRACKS
01. Harry Roesli - Jangga Wareng (1976)
       from album "Titik Api"
02. Shark Move - Evil War (1972)
       from album "Ghede Chokra's"
03. Superkid - Trouble Maker (1976)
       from album "Troublemaker"
04. D'lloyd - Meninggu Dam Mencari (1972)
       from album "D'Lloyd"
05. Duo Kribo - Mencarter Roket (1978)
       from album "Vol 4: Duo Kribo original soundtrack"
06. Black Brothers - Tanah Dosa (1979)
       from album "Volume Perdana"
07. Giant Step - Childhood and the Seabird (1975)
       from album "Mark 1"
08. C'Blues - Tinggal Kenangan (1973)
       from album "Volume 2: Ikhlas"
09. The Gembell's - I'm Really Down (1972)
       from album "Pahlawan Yang Dilupakan"
10. Deddy Dores - 9 Tahun
       from album "Donny and the Road"
11. Benny Soebardja and Lizard - Circle of Love (1977)
       from album "Gimme a Piece of Gut Rock" [The Lizard Years]
12. The Singers - Oh Tuhan (1968)
       from album "First Album"
13. God Bless - Rock di Udara (1975)
       from album "Godbless"
14 Golden Wing - Hari Yang Mulia (1975)
       from album "Volume 2 : Senyum Harapan"

references


AKA, from Surabaya, East Java, made some fantastically heavy tracks from 1970 onward, but never made a heavy album. The feeling pervades that some bands operated like a production line, knocking out albums to order. Koes Plus (which is what Koes Bersausara became) for example made about 35 LPs between 1969 and 1980 alone! They often had utilitarian names like "Pop Melayu Vol. 4", "Hard Beat Vol. 2" or merely "Volume 14". Koes Plus would make one album all of a particular style ("Pop Melayu" being pop music in the Malay language and style) and for the next they would concentrate on something different like hard rock, as in the two "Hard Beat" volumes. 

The afore-mentioned AKA treated their albums in a similar way, they would hedge their bets on record and include a couple of excellent hard rockers along-side what I presume they considered mass-appeal pop songs. This makes for a schizophrenic listening experience indeed! In 1970 AKA made an album entitled "Qasidah Modern" which was entirely in the Qasidah Modern style, at type of Islamic pop based on Arabic religious poetry, which during those times extolled a virtuous life and offered moral advice to teenage pop fans that may otherwise be corrupted by the vices of rock n' roll.

The history of hard rock and prog starts with some formative '60s bands, which were the launch pads for many enduring names in Indonesian rock. These included Koes Bersaudara (later known as Koes Plus), The Peels, The Steps and The Rollies. Secluded along-side these is Panber's (made up of the four Pandjaitan brothers), which was probably the most popular band in the country in its heyday, and is still going.

Many of the bands mentioned above appear in this volume, and more will be in the next one planned for Indonesia. In the case of pop bands like Koes Plus, Panber's, The Gembell's and The Peels, I have attempted to find the most suitable tracks for your heavy-loving ears, as these bands generally made mellow music. To punctuate the rock I have included some diversions like the all-girl "The Singers", some joyous folk rock from D'lloyd and a psych ballad from C'Blues. A brief mention goes to The Tielman Brothers, the main instigators of what became known as Indo Rock. Their wild shows with dual guitar pyrotechnics made a big impression in northern Europe. This was rock n' roll played by youngsters of Indonesian descent who's families had re-located to Europe, The Netherlands being one of the main hotbeds due to it's colonial ties with Indonesia. Check out TDATS vol 64 for Dragonfly, some more ex-pat Indonesians in The Netherlands.


Bands In this Volume

01. The comp starts with some real cultural flavour. Bandung's Harry Roesli is an important name in progressive rock in Indonesia. He made experimental albums in the '70s, as well as rock albums with The Gang of Harry Rusli. He touched on Dylan-style protest rock and also folk styles, which is demonstrated by the track I used here. On his 1976 solo album "Titik Api" he used a host of traditional instruments, to unique effect on our opening track, Jangga Wareng, a traditional arrangement of Gamelan mixed with prog. Gamelan is Javanese ensemble music which uses mostly gong and xylophone-type percussive instruments.

02. Moving on to Bandung's Shark Move, for some Deep Purple worship of a high order. The band was Benny Soebardja (vocals, lead guitar), Bhagu Ramchand (vocals), Sammy Zakaria (drums, vocals), Janto Diablo (vocals, bass, flute) and Soman Loebis (vocals, keyboards, piano, percussion). Good friends Benny and Soman (who first got together in garage band The Peels) started the band, which recorded the album Ghede Chokra's in 1972 with only 100 vinyls pressed. Later it would be pirated on cassette tape, the main format in idonesia in the later '70s, and re-issued in the 2000's after re-discovery around the globe. It was a truly unique sound for an Indonesian band. Standing out from the sweetly pleasant pop music of the times, it must have been a real blast for anyone first hearing it. Nobody else had recorded anything this advanced or progressively heavy in the country at that point. Tragedy struck soon after the albums' release and Soman was killed in a traffic accident. No doubt very upset, and unable to find a suitable replacement for his keyboard skills, Benny folded the band. Benny then started up Giant Step, which fortunately reprised Shark Move's legacy and became an equally important prog band.

03. Bandung's Superkid, formed in 1976, was a power trio super-group consisting of Jelly Tobing (drums, vocals. ex-The Minstrels, ex-C'Blues), Dedy Stanzah [Deddy Sutansyah] (bass, vocals. ex-Giant Step) and Deddy Dores (keyboards, guitar, vocals. ex-Giant Step, ex-God Bless). Most of those names mentioned; C'Blues, Dedy Stanzah, Deddy Dores, Giant Step and God Bless will appear again on this volume, and in the next Indo comp. Along with AKA and SAS Group, Superkid were one of the heaviest, brashest rock bands of the later '70s, and they continued into the '80s. The track i hvae used here is from their 1976 album 'Troublemaker'. It has more than a ring of 'Immigrant Song' about it...

04. D'Lloyd, another band that did not play TDATS type stuff, made a lot of albums. On a quick listen through, I was charmed by this track from their debut album. It begins with some storming flute prog, fuzz guitar, and continues in a melon collie psych arrangement, featuring nice violin and organ. The band is lead by Syamsuar (Sam) Hasyim and they are still around. Some more info here in Indonesian.

05. I have written about Duo Kribo previously in Vol98, which is dedicated to them. 'Duo Kribo' literally means 'frizzy duo', a name which makes sense when you look at both frontmens' wild hairdos. The band made four albums around 1977-79 and had good success, selling many thousands of cassette tapes (the predominant format in Indonesia back then). They are usually referred to as Vol. 1 to 4, though it seems some of them were sub-titled in some formats, with names like "Neraka Jahanam" ("Blasted" or "Savage Hell") and "Pelacur Tua" (Old Whore). The final one was a soundtrack to a rock'n'roll movie called 'Duo Kribo' that starred both singers. The movie was lost for decades but prints have been recently recovered and restored

Duo Kribo was started by singers Ucok Harahap, after he left AKA, and Achmad Albar, who was the front man of God Bless. I have been able to deduce that a lot of the Kribo guitar duties were carried out by Ian Antono of God Bless, but I'm not sure about the rest of the musicians as they are rarely mentioned or credited.

06. The Black Brothers, from Papua Barat, are listed at RYM as Marthy Messet (lead vocals), Sandhy Betay (backing vocals), Hengky MS (guitar), Jochie Phiu (keyboards), Amry Tess (trumpet), David (saxophone), Benny Betay (bass) and Steve MR (drums). They played mostly pop and Reggae, but this nicely fuzzy rocker is from their 1979 album 'Perdana'. 'Tanah Dosa' means 'Land of Sin' and is sung in Tok Pisin, the language of Papua New Guinea.

07. Following on from Shark Move, Bandung's Giant Step was started in 1972 by Benny Soebardja (guitar). Their sound carried directly on from Shark Move in the vain of Deep Purple-ish heavy prog. Benny had been in one of Indonesia's early bands, The Peels. They were short-lived, but they were one of the first bands to gain acclaim abroad, in Singapore and Malaysia for instance. Giant Step had many members through it's 20+ years existence, including previously mentioned names, Dedy Stanzah, (bass, 1971-72), Deddy Dores (keyboards, 1972-76) and Jelly Tobing (drums, 1985-92). The band also included Harry Soebardja (guitar, 1978-85) who I'm guessing was Benny's brother (unconfirmed) and Yockie Suryoprayogo (keyboards, 1971-72) who was a keyboardist of note, playing in God Bless and Contrapunk. He gained more notoriety in the late '70s and '80s, with soundtracks and solo albums. Wikipedia claims that during a low point of drug use in the '70s, Yockie stole and sold a ring belonging to Harry Roesli to fuel his habits.

08. Bandung's C'Blues included Soleh Soegiarto (trumpet) and Utte M. Thahir (bass), who were the founders of Freedom of Rhapsodia soon after. The rest of the band was Adjie Bandy (sax, violin, vibe, vocals), Idang (drums, leader vocals), Mamat (organ, vocals, former band The Comets), Nono (bass, vocals, former band Djoko Dolok) and Bambang (guitar, vocals). Later on Mamat left and Yongky (organ, alto sax, vocals) joined. I am trying to find out if 'Yongky' is the afore-mentioned Yockie Suryoprayogo but have been unable to thus far....the hard thing about researching Indonesian bands is the lack of information out there (especially in English), compounded by the fact that multiple spellings are often used for some peoples' names. Violinist Adjie Bandy later formed Contrapunk, a self-proclaimed “bach-rock” symphonic prog group who will probably appear on the next Indonesian comp. C'blues made two albums. Again they are quite mellow affairs, and not serving any heavy nuggets, but I was  taken with the track 'Tinggal Kenangan' (Living Memories) from the second LP 'Ikhlas', with its haunting organ work and violin.

09. There are two good tracks on the first album from Surabaya's The Gembell's. These are the two with english names, and "I'm Really Down" is one of them. Unfortunately (for us) these are the two heaviest tracks I could find, over five albums or more, as they pursued a pleasant pop sound. Their name come from an abbreviation of the Indonesian for "Joy of Learning". Having met as students, early on they moved to Singapore and made a name for themselves there. Moving back to their homeland, it is said that the band always used a lot of social comment in their songs. One song called "Peristiwa Kaki Lima" criticized the negative affect that trade and industry was having on the appearance of their once beautiful home city Surabaya, and it was banned from radio. The Gembell's made 10 albums. There is an interview with the band's leader Victor Nasution, here.

10. Deddy Dores was primarily a Keyboardist but has also been credited with guitar on some of the many albums he's worked on. He was in Giant Step, Superkid, God Bless, Fantastique Goup, Freedom Of Rhapsodia and the Deddy Stanzah band. I found this solo record on Henk Madrotter's extremely cool blog, specialising in Indonesian rarities. I do not know what year it was made, but it sounds like the right time period for TDATS. "9 Tahun" is based on groovy acoustic guitar, with Deddy's vintage synths over the top.

11. Benny Soebardja, born 1949 in Tasikmalaya, Jawa Barat, was an important guitarist who started out in The Peels in 1966. This was one of the first bands to get over-seas recognition. His resume also includes Shark Move, Giant Step, and briefly, Fantastique Group. Fantastique Goup was a pop group that made a few albums, and similarly to AKA, made some music in the "Qasidah Modern" style, this being a great one: Allahu Akbar

Benny made three highly sought-after solo records in the '70s, which were independently released. Strawberry Rain has re-issued them all; each album separately, and all together as "Benny Soebardja – The Lizard Years". The Lizard part of the name comes from Benny's backing band, an ensemble which contained members of both Giant Step and Harry Roesli’s Philosophy Gang. Benny had no label influence while recording these offerings, making them true private press recordings, and the spirit of his excellent work with Shark Move and Giant Step pervades it all. 

He was truly one of the pioneers of prog in Indonesia with the level of talent and inventiveness that can only be compared to two or three other acts at the time, and stands up with the international greats of the seventies. The track I used here, "Circle of Love", demonstrates this with awesome soloing and twisting progressive passages. Over at Psychedelic Baby blog there's a great interview with Benny; here.

12. The Singers were an all-girl garage band that started 1967, one of the few along with the better-known Dara Puspita (who will appear on the next Indo comp) and others like Yanti Sisters, The Beach Girlsa and Sitompul Sisters. They were Tuty Thaher (bass), Sally Sardjan (organ), Henny Purwonegoro (drums) and Shinta Dungga (guitar). The Ballad "Oh Tuhan" [Oh Lord] is a delightful adaptation of "House of The Rising Sun" and makes for a nice mellow break in proceedings. One of their garage tracks "Hand of 1000 Dances" was used on the compilation "Java-Java: Indonesia Screaming Fuzz, Garage Stomp, Indo-Rock, Beat Surf Vol. 2"



13. God Bless only made one album in the '70s, but it's one of the best. Similarly to Shark Move and Giant Step, which it had strong ties to, the music was very much influenced by Deep Purple's organ-heavy prog. God Bless counted these familiar names amongst its ranks at various times; Soman Loebis, keyboards 1973-74 (Shark Move, The Peels), Achmad Albar, vocals (Duo Kribo), Deddy Dores, keyboards 1973 (Giant Step, Superkid, Freedom Of Rhapsodia, Deddy Stanzah band) and Yockie Suryoprayogo keyboards, 1973-76, 1988-2002 (Giant Step, Contrapunk). As one of the only bands up to the job, they were selected to support Deep Purple's show in Jakarta in 1975, a show which had some tragic consequences. They were more active in the '80s and have issued albums sporadically up to 2009. They have appeared on stage as recently as July 2011.

14. To close this volume we have Palembangs' Golden Wing. They arose from the break ups of the The Black Stone and The Pioneers, around 1970. In June of 1975 Golden Wing supported God Bless at the Balai Sidang Convention Center in Jakarta. The track used here is called "Hari Yang Mulia" (Day of Majesty) and may have traditional/religious roots, but I have been unable to confirm that. Many thanks to rockmaniac at RYM for sending me a higher quality rip of this track, it's an awesome sweeping psychedelic ballad and a perfect way to end this volume...

Thanks for listening! Rich

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Day After The Sabbath 105: Goin' Down [covers special]

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unzip password:  tdats

Freddie King's 'Getting Ready...' LP
feat. 'Going Down'
Welcome to a tribute to one of the eternally durable and most frequently-covered rock songs of all time. It has the fast chugging riffage that made it perfect for any hard rock bands that were looking for a good blues song to cover back in the early days, which I guess is why it happened so often. What inspired this volume of TDATS is the frequency with which I have run into it, a large number of previous TDATS-appearing bands have recorded it.

I had always absent-mindedly presumed it was a blues standard, by some famous bluesman from way back. On formulating this comp, first investigations found that person was probably Freddie King in 1971, which seemed a good enough answer, although he was a later-generation blues player. While coincidentally listening to the great Moloch album soon after, I noticed that they had a version of Going Down, but the album was made in 1969. This really confused me! So at this point it became a real mission to find out what was going on...

There's no wasting time with an intro in the Freddie King version of this song. It seems he set the president with that urgent, repetitive nature of the opening D chord, followed by the descending scale, getting down to business straight away and sounding mean as hell with it. It definitely has that essence of what is now called heavy metal, which is what I dig about it so much, and it's clear a lot of early heavy bands agreed!

Track List
01. Walter Rossi - Goin' Down (1976)
       from album 'Walter Rossi'
02. Booker T. & The M.G.'s - Slim Jenkins' Place (1967)
       from album 'Hip Hug-Her'
03. Moloch - Going Down (1969)
       from album 'Moloch'
04. Stone The Crows - Goin' Down (1971)
       from album 'BBC Live In Paris 1971'
05. Freddie King - Going Down (1971)
       from album 'Getting Ready...'
06. Chicken Shack - Going Down (1972)
       from album 'Imagination Lady'
07. Freedom - Going Down (1972)
       from album 'Freedom Is More Than a Word'
08. Dixie Peach - Going Down (1975)
       from album 'Dixie Peach'
09. Jukin' Bone - Going Down (1972)
       from album 'Whiskey Woman'
10. Karthago - Going Down (1976)
       from album 'Live At The Roxy'
11. Tommy Bolin & Energy - Goin' Down (1972)
       from album 'The Energy Radio Broadcasts 1972'
12. Incredible Hog - Goin' Down (1973)
       from reissue 'Volume 1 +4'
13. Hydra - Going Down (1974)
       from album 'Hydra'
14. Don Nix - Going Down (1972)
       from album 'The Alabama State Troupers Road Show'

The history of the song is entwined with producer/writer/musician Don Nix, the band Moloch, and the bluesman Freddie King. So entwined in fact, that it's been hard to get to the bottom of it. Most people familiar with the song will say that it's a Freddie King original, but it's not the case. Listen to the Tommy Bolin track in this comp, even he introduces it as a Freddie King song. The first time it appeared on record was the s/t album from Memphis's "Moloch" in 1969. At the time, Moloch guitarist Lee Baker was friends with Don Nix, who produced Moloch's sole album, and has writing credits on most of its tracks.

Don Nix has a connection to Freddie King also...having started out as saxophonist in Memphis R&B group The Mar-Keys, he became an important figure in "Memphis soul", producing for the associated Stax and Ardent labels. The Mar-Keys would evolve into R&B legends "Booker T. and the M.G.'s", which included such names as Steve Cropper. Freddie King's 1971 album 'Get Ready...' was produced by Don, with him writing two tracks (including Going Down) and co-writing two others.

Lee Baker
Regarding Moloch, I recently got in touch with the last-surviving member, bassist Steve Spear. He had this to tell me: "I remember being in the old Ardent studios on National with Moloch. I can’t remember what I played on (we are talking late 60’s).  Lee Baker played bass on the tunes I didn't play on. I didn't play on the single [that came out in 1972 after the album]. Don Nix actually recruited me for bass after the original bassist, Mike Reddock I think his name was, bowed out. As you know Don was in the Mar-Keys and Lee was in some of the early bands in Memphis. They both had an affinity for Furry Lewis. So I would assume that’s how they knew each other. I was the youngest in the band so I didn't know the earlier history of those guys. 


Steve Spear in recent times
I’m involved in a project right now with Don. He is producing an album for Danny Green in Memphis. Drummer Joel Williams and I played on 4 tracks, 3 of which made it to the album. I think they are seeking a deal with Sony."

Amongst other projects, Steve currently plays in "Down 2 Five". Following the tragic murder of Lee Baker in 1996, I have found some information regarding his later band Mud Boy and the Neutrons and Moloch, here,  for those who are interested.

Just to make things even clearer, in 1972 Don sang and released his own version of Going Down, as a single taken from the album "The Alabama State Troopers Road Show", a travelling revue designed to showcase the talents of various Southern musicians who had been signed to the Elektra imprint.

So where does this leave us when trying to get down to the roots of this song? I am very grateful to TDATS fb group member Robbert, for pointing out that the instrumental track "Slim Jenkins' Place", on the 1967 Booker T and the M.G.'s album "Hip Hug-Her", has the same bass line as Goin' Down. Writing credits on that track go to Al Jackson, Booker T. Jones, Donald Dunn and Steve Cropper. The track is included in this comp. Could it be that Don adapted this short instrumental into his own thing with Goin' Down? It sure looks that way, as he is not credited as writer of "Slim Jenkins' Place". With the record being on the Stax label, maybe he did however have some indirect input...

Also included here are versions from some bands that will be well-known to TDATS readers; Walter Rossi (Vols 523), Chicken Shack (Vols 20 & 74), Freedom (Vols 79 & 100), Jukin' Bone (Vol 10) and Incredible Hog (Vols 463). The Incredible Hog version is taken from the Rise Above Relics reissue Vol 1 +4.

Along for the ride come some new-to-TDATS names that some readers may think it's well about time...



Stone The Crows
The awesome pipes of Maggie Bell and Stone The Crows introduce the only female-vocalled version here; "Stone The Crows were formed after Maggie Bell was introduced to Les Harvey by his elder brother, Alex Harvey. After playing together in the Kinning Park Ramblers, they rejoined in a band named Power, later renamed Stone the Crows (after a British/Australian English exclamation of surprise or shock) by Led Zeppelin's manager, Peter Grant. The band was co-managed by Grant and Mark London. London was associated with Lulu as the co-writer of her signature song, "To Sir With Love" and was also married to Lulu's manager, Marion Massey. London had also managed the predecessor band Cartoone, which featured Les Harvey on guitar, and in which Peter Grant had a financial interest.

Original line-up.
Maggie Bell, vocals. Les Harvey, guitar. Colin Allen, drums; ex-Zoot Money's Big Roll Band and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, later performed with Focus. James Dewar, bass; later performed and sang with Robin Trower's band. John McGinnis, keyboards. The band's first two albums were recorded by this line-up, with Bell's vocals "reminiscent of Janis Joplin".

Second line-up
McGinnis and Dewar left in 1971, to be replaced by Ronnie Leahy and Steve Thompson. Jimmy McCulloch would subsequently replace Harvey as lead guitarist following Harvey's accidental on-stage death by electrocution at Swansea's Top Rank Suite in May 1972. As he was the band's primary songwriter as well as Maggie Bell's romantic partner, Harvey's death almost led to the Stone the Crows' breakup.

Stone the Crows ultimately broke up in June 1973. Peter Grant would continue to manage Maggie Bell's career following the band's breakup, with Bell subsequently recording two solo albums under Grant's tutelage, Queen of the Night (1974) and Suicide Sal (1975), and a 1981 album with the Grant-managed band Midnight Flyer. Bell may be best known, however, for her session work on Rod Stewart's 1971 album Every Picture Tells a Story, in particular her co-lead vocal with Stewart on the album's title track (credited as "vocal abrasives"). Jimmy McCulloch joined Paul McCartney's group, Wings, in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1974."

Dixie Peach LP rear cover
Dixie Peach (link) made one album in 1974. Their version of Goin' Down here is one of the most different sounding ones, having a long build-up and a slower vibe over-all. "Dixie Peach from Ohio, playing Southern blues-rock, has risen again. Formed in 1972 by slide guitarist extraordinaire, singer and songwriter Ira Stanley with Steve Williams (keyboards), Mike “Roscoe” Rousculp (bass), Tony Paulus (guitar, keyboards) and Jerry Barnhart (drums), they released one album (out of print) before breaking up in 1975. Reforming in 1998 and releasing Butta in 2002, they jam out better than ever, their spicy-as-barbecue sound featuring the  original members save for drummer Steve Benson. Beginning in 1973, Dixie Peach started touring full time and played gigs from Buffalo, New York to Tampa, Florida and released its first album in 1974. Dixie Peach has been an opening act for many national artists including Joe Walsh, Lee Roy Parnell, Johnny Winter, Cheap Trick, Tesla, Larry Carlton, Roy Buchanan, Spirit, New York Dolls, Billy Cobham, Blue Oyster Cult, and many others."

Jukin' Bone.
L-R: Mark, Tom, Joe, George & John, 1970
With a nice fast n' heavy interpretation, we have Jukin' Bone. Taken from Ron Wray :- "With its lineup finally set in the fall of 1971, [NY Syracuse band] 'Free Will' changed its name to "Jukin' Bone."  Now with a recording contract with RCA Records the band entered Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland Studio in New York City in 1972  and recorded their first album for RCA "Whiskey Woman".  Now a lineup change as drummer Tom Glaister married and left the band. He was replaced by two drummers Kevin Shwaryk & Danny Coward

Their album "Way Down East"  followed (1973) along with two singles "Whiskey Woman" (1972)  and "Cara Lynn' (1972). One very important fact of note, Jukin' Bone was one of the most electrifying live bands you will ever see. They went on tour, but never received enough promotion across the country, although they perhaps came very close to national stardom. 

Their November-December 1972 tour consisted of the following stops- Alabama (Montgomery & Huntsville), Arkansas (Ft Smith), Iowa (DesMoines), Kansas (Wichita), Louisiana (Monroe, Shreveport), Minnesota (Duluth, Minn,-St Paul), Missouri (Columbia), North Carolina (Ashville), North & South Dakota, Tennessee (Memphis), Texas (Austin, Dallas, Harlingen, Houston, Odessa, San Angelo, Waco) and Wisconsin (Madison, Sheboygan).


 July 14, 1973, drummer Danny Coward departed leaving Jukin Bone just a four man group (Mark Doyle, Joe Whiting, John DeMaso & Kevin Shwaryk). In the fall of 1973, Jukin Bone', one of Syracuse's greatest groups, disbanded. Mark Doyle went to play with DUV (Dave Hanlon, Rick Cua) and David Werner, Joe Whiting joined Bobby Comstock on tour and the rest went their separate ways."

Berlin's Kathago, generally known for fusion/funk rather than hard rock or blues, played this cover live in 1976, available on their 'Live at the Roxy' LP. Allmusic :- "Just months after their formation in Berlin in 1970, Karthago began recording music for their first album. Karthago's sound was influenced more by North American rock than by anything that was coming out of Europe, composed of a tapered and rather simplistic mixture of light funk and freestyle jazz with a basic rock & roll substratum for everything else to rest on. Within the album's nine tracks are melodies that are accommodating and recognizable, quite different than what was otherwise coming out Germany's music scene in the early '70s.

"String Rambler," "Black Fire," and "Morning Surprise" best represent Karthago's breezy, undemanding air, led by the bright organ playing of Ingo Bischoff and fastened by Wolfgang Brock's unmitigated drum work. "Why Don't You Stop Buggin' Me" and the shimmering "wow" of "But I Know"'s keyboard-guided intro lead into some electrifying pieces, with comparisons to Steppenwolf, Procol Harum, and even early Chicago arising from the melodies. Although labeled as a progressive band, Karthago's sound is more along the lines of German rock rather than prog, with shorter song lengths and a tendency to balance out the keyboards, guitar, and percussion equally throughout their music. After their fourth album in 1976, Karthago broke up, with Gerald Hartwig joining the more prominent Guru Guru and Bischof hooking up with Kraan. Second Step (1973) and 1974's Rock 'N' Roll Testament begin to show signs of commercial leanings, but their last installment, entitled Live at the Roxy, is just as impressive as their debut album."


Tommy Bolin's Energy
Energy were formed in 1971 in Boulder, Colorado when Tommy Bolin and Bobby Berge left Zephyr (see Vol 49). They appear with a Radio broadcast, having never released an official LP. The members in the most well-known lineup were: Tommy Bolin: guitar, Jeff Cook: vocals & harmonica, Tom Stephenson: keyboards & vocals,  Stanley Sheldon: bass and Bobby Berge: drums. "Energy didn’t release any official albums or singles, but did complete a number of studio recordings, some of which appeared later on Tommy Bolin ArchivesCD releases. The first lineup of the band featuring Steig concentrated on long intense jams, often featuring Steig’s flute more than Tommy’s guitar. The band’s appeal was notably widened after adding a vocalist, beginning with Gary, then Jeff and later Max. The greatest amount of existing live material features Jeff Cook, and shows the band ranging from slow blues to rocking blues to hard rock to marathon fusion jams, often in one performance. 

Their studio output showed a band that would have made the big time if they had the power of a record deal. Some of the material written by Tommy with John Tesar and Jeff Cook went on to be used by Tommy in later bands. “Got No Time for Trouble” and “Praylude/Red Skies” were used in James Gang, “Lady Luck” with Deep Purple and “Dreamer” was used on Teaser." Lot's more information here at the official Bolin website.

Hydra LP 1974
Hydra are a band that I am still saving for another southern rock comp. They supply a nice southern rock interpretation here with great enthusiasm and cool vocals! "Hydra debuted in 1974 via the release of the group's self-titled album. With the Dallas, Texas to New Orleans "Glitter Queen" setting the LP in motion, many would have expected that the song was recorded by a glam group. By contrast, Hydra rolled out of the deep South, where the un-glam NASCAR, grits and guns defined the slower-paced way of life. Nevertheless, "Glitter Queen" is a strong intro track that is competently chased by "Keep You Around" and "It's So Hard". A cover of "Going Down" and the lengthy "Feel the Pain" fill-out the rock 'n' boogie side A. The upbeat "Good Time Man" continues the down home party groove, and the shortest track from the album, "If You Care to Survive" is delivered with aggression. The seven-minute-plus "Miriam" closes the Hydra LP with a mellow arrangement. As part of the Capricorn Records family, Hydra should have been a larger player from the proud '70s Southern rock scene."

Alabama State Troupers Road Show LP cover
To finish off, we have Don Nix himself giving us the ultimate rendition of Goin' Down. A rip-roaring live stage performance. Toward the end of the song, Don admits he's been 'down' since he was two years old, and ad-libs the phrase "A chicken ain't nothin' but a bird, and a bird ain't nothin' but a fowl", which seems to come from an old Cab Calloway song called "Chicken Ain't Nothing But a Bird". Then he goes on to state how Furry Lewis (blues hero of Don Nix who was part of The Alabama State Troupers) hasn't been kept down for 78 years. Does this shed more light on the origins of Going Down? He also Allmusic :- "Don Nix had deep Southern soul and blues roots, getting his start playing with Steve Cropper and Donald Duck Dunn in the Mar-Keys. These roots aren't as evident on his 1972 project Alabama State Troupers as his association with Leon Russell, whose pioneering work can be heard all over Road Show, the double-LP that captures the wild revue Nix took across America in 1972. Cut firmly from the same cloth that Russell provided for Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs & Englishmen revue, along with the similar Delaney & Bonnie band, the Alabama State Troupers is a careening rock & roll outfit that touches upon soul, country, gospel, and, in its occasional frontman Furry Lewis, blues. 

Lewis stepped into an absence left by Lonnie Mack, a superficially more suitable match for Nix, co-vocalist Jeanie Greene, and the Mt. Zion Band & Choir, but Lewis gives this an unexpected sense of community and heritage, emphasizing how the Alabama State Troupers stretch back far. That said, Road Show is very much an album of its time. Specifically, it is part of the Leon Russell axis, sounding like a kissing cousin to Delaney & Bonnie due to Nix's traded vocals with Greene, but its attitude is slightly closer to Mad Dogs & Englishmen, often feeling so overstuffed that it is about to burst. Nix isn't a vocalist of Cocker's stature, nor is Greene close to Bonnie Bramlett, which makes the wildcard of Lewis all the more compelling; he gives them gravity but also a bit of mischief. Nevertheless, the star in Alabama State Troupers isn't who is on the mike but rather the group itself, a collective that plays the kind of rambling, raucous American music that was briefly in vogue in the early '70s. Few have picked up this thread since, but that may be why it still sounds vital: it's teeming with passion, conviction and ideas that are still potent years after the music has receded into history."

Thanks for listenin', and keep Goin' Down!

Rich

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Day After The Sabbath 104: Onsta la Yerbita [Peru]

Download from: [mf] and [mg]
password:  tdats
Here is my first collection from Peru, and fourth Latin volume after 84 (Brazil), 89 (Mexico) and 43 (general). I was initially planning to make only one, but I have found so much good stuff that this is part 1 of at least two volumes. Similarly to when I made the Brazilian Vol84, I was bowled over by the talent and enthusiasm of the bands that this South American country produced. Also like Brazil, and some of the other countries I have covered, these musicians had a hard time to work under hardline government rule.

After the military coup in October 1968, rock was outcast by the government of General Juan Velasco Alvarado. A highly anticipated Carlos Santana concert was banned in 1971 and other concerts in important venues were cancelled. However, AM Radio stations such as Miraflores, Radio 1160, and Radio Atalaya continued to play rock. Also, record companies continued to release LPs of rock bands (such as Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix) in Peru. The movie Woodstock was shown in Lima every two or three years. As a result, bands here such as Pax were cut short in their prime and did not get to develop their obvious talents until the situation changed.

Mag and "El Virrey" logos
Mag and "El Virrey" logos
Two old labels to check out when looking for Peruvian rock are Mag (including Tarkus, Traffic Sound, Laghonia, Telegraph Avenue on its roster) and "El Virrey" - Warner's Peruvian subsidiary (Gerardo Manuel & El Humo, El Polen, The St. Thomas Pepper Smelter). Some of these bands are covered here, and some will be in the next Peruvian instalment. Another highly recommended label is the Lima-based Repsychled, who specialise in re-issuing Peruvian rarities.

The title of this volume is taken from a Los Destellos track. "Onsta la Yerbita" means "Were's The Green Leaf", although i'm not entirely sure what kind of leaf this refers too...

Tracks
01. Introduccion (1972)
       from album 'Concierto en Rock'
02. Los Texao - Stone (1970)
       Single
03. New Juggler Sound - Glue (1968)
       Single and album ‘Glue’ (as Laghonia)
04. We All Together - Follow Me If You Can (1974)
       From album ‘Volumen II’
05. Smog - Wiched Man (1971)
       Single
06. El Alamo - Malos Pensamientos (1971)
       From album ‘Malos Pensamientos’
07. Los Nuevos Shain's - Wicked World (1969)
       Single
08. Pax - Pig Pen Boogie (1970)
       Album ‘May God and Your Will Land You and Your Soul Miles Away’
09. Los Destellos - Onsta la Yerbita (1971)
       From album ‘Constelacion’
10. Los Saicos - Fugitivo de Alcatraz (1965)
       Single
11. The Mad's - Fly Away (1971)
       from archival release ‘Molesto’

references

Gerardo Manuel Rojas
Gerardo Manuel Rojas
The introductory ditty is the un-credited opener from a 1972 LP called 'Concierto en Rock' [Rock Concert]. It appears to have been a collection of contemporary rock recorded in Peru. luizcore.wordpress.com claims that it was originally released on the 'El Virrey' label and produced by Gerardo Manuel Rojas. Gerardo is an important figure in Peruvian rock, he was in some of the country's first groups like Los Doltons, Los Shain's, The (St. Thomas) Pepper Smelter and 'Gerardo Manuel y El Humo'. Although called 'Rock Concert', and having screaming audience sounds on each track, the LP was not recorded at a live event, it is a collection of singles. www.incarock.com states that the LP was also released as Polydor 2403006 in 1973.

The acts appearing on it are Los Ringers, Cacique, Litta Diaz, La Maquina del Tiempo, Los Belkings, El Polen, Cacique, Gerardo Manuel y el Humo, El Ayllu, El Trebol and Elisa Diaz. The story goes that The Ringers were an L.A. band that temporarily relocated while on tour, recording the LP 'Before & After' in Peru on the El Virrey label. So far I have been unable to find any pictures of the 'Concierto en Rock' LP, let me know if you can help out!

Los Texao
Los Texao
Next up is a single from 'Los Texao'. A Texao is a Peruvian flower which is commonly associated with the province of Arequipa, where the band originated. They were Feño Humbser (guitar), Víctor Dibán (bass), Edgar Manrique (drums), Juan Núñez (vocals), Julio Torres (keyboards) and Adolfo Ballón (percussion). They only released 3 singles. The group’s sound was described as the ‘niebla’ [fog] sound because they made heavy use of echo and reverb which was a new thing for Peruvian bands. There is an interview in Spanish with the drummer here. English translation here.

Laghonia
Laghonia
Next up is three songs all connected to one of the most important Peruvian bands, from the San Miguel District, Lima. They formed in 1965 as ‘The New Juggler Sound’, and changed their name to Laghonia around the time of their first album in 1969. Laghonia continued until 1972 and four members; Saúl Cornejo (lead guitar), Carlos Salom (organ), Manuel Cornejo (drums) and Ernesto Samamé (bass) started the band ‘We All Together’. This new band advanced further from the psych of Laghonia into the progressive rock you can hear on the track ‘Follow Me If You Can’.

Smog - Wiched Man 45
Smog - Wiched Man 45
Briefly existing alongside We All Together was ‘Smog’ which included two of it’s members, Ernesto Samamé on bass (also of Laghonia) and Eduardo Vásquez on drums. Smog only made one single, and the B side to the bluesy ‘Time For The Blues’ was the track included here, ‘Wiched Man’, which has a rawer sound. After Smog and We All Together split, another band arose called Sudamérica.  This act comprised Saul Cornejo (guitar), Manuel Cornejo (drums) and Ernesto Samamé (bass), all of Laghonia/We All Together, and Felix Varvande of We All Together/Smog. As yet I have only found one recorded track by Sudamérica; a psychedelic balled called ‘Yo no sé señor',  which is included on the excellent compilation; “Back to Peru: The Most Complete Compilation of Peruvian Underground 1964-1974 Vol II”.

Track 6 is from a 1971 album called ‘Malos Pensamientos’ [Bad Thoughts] made by El Alamo, from Chachapoyas. The band was Tino Pow Sang (guitar), Luis Iturri (guitar, vocals), Arturo Montenegro (bass), Jaime Salinas (organ) and Ricardo Allison (drums). The title track included here is an astral psychedelic ballad with an engrossing atmosphere!

Pax (l-r) Pico (gtr), Miguel Flores (dr),
Jaime "Pacho" Orue Moreno (vox),
Marc Aguillar (bass)
Next we have two tracks from connected bands. Los Shain’s were one of the most notable Peruvian beat bands, starting in 1963 and making many records. Started by brothers Juan Luis and Raul Pereyra, by 1965 they had added guitarist Pico Ego Aguirre and singer Gerardo Manuel Rojas (mentioned previously). Towards the end of Los Shain’s, Pico became interested in the emerging hard rock of bands like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, and with ‘Los Nuevos Shain's’ in 1969 he started to cover these bands, as you can hear from track 7. This is one of the earliest recorded Black Sabbath covers I have ever heard, the only other bands I'm aware of that did it this early were Johannesburg's Suck (see Vol47), and Iron Claw (See Jim Ronnie interview and Vols 7 / 25).

Pax LP 1970
Pax LP 1970
In 1970 he started a new band called Pax [eng. Peace] to specialize in this sound, and they made the first ever Peruvian hard rock LP, “May God and Your Will Land You and Your Soul Miles Away”. Pig Pen Boogie is by far the heaviest track in this volume; crunching incendiary blues rock with the doom atmosphere of Sabbath. I also used “A Storyless Junkie” back in TDATS 43. In 1975 Pico put Pax on hold as the military dictatorship made it very hard to maintain a hard rock band, and they have come back in various forms from time to time. Pico also played on Gerardo Manuel's two "Gerardo Manuel & El Humo" albums, which he tells more about  in an interview here on the awesome Psychedelic Baby blog.

Los Destellos
Los Destellos
Track 9 from Los Destellos [The Flashes] brings some welcome latin flavour to this volume. They are described as a ‘Cumbia Peruana’ band. According too RYM this is “(Also known as: Chicha, Andean Tropical Music ) A variation of Colombian Cumbia originating in Peru in the 1960s. It was developed by the Andean people who migrated to the cities and was originally influenced by Psychedelic Rock. During the 1980s it gained popularity and became known as the music of the outcasts (due to lack of recognition from the middle and upper classes). In the 1990s, it gained influences from other music styles such as Tex-Mex, Salsa and Merengue. During this time it also became more popular outside of Peru, most notably in Ecuador, Bolivia and Argentina”. ‘Onsta la Yerbita’ is taken from their 1971 album ‘Constelacion’ and this wonderful 6 minute jam with trippy psychedelic guitar work has a cosmic feel indeed.

Los Saicos
Los Saicos
For our penultimate track we go back in time a little further to 1965, for some great garage punk courtesy of ‘Los Saicos’ [A Spanish interpretation of ‘The Psychos’]. Rolando Carpio (guitar), Erwin Flores (vocals, rhythm guitar), Pancho Guevara (drums) and César Castrillón (bass) formed the band in 1964 in Lince, Lima. This is about as heavy as anything you’ll hear from that time, the vocals impressively so!

They were at one time the most popular band in Peru and in 2011 the late guitarist’s son made a band documentary called Saicomania. In 2006 the remaining members started some reunion shows, reportedly the first time they had played since 1966, and the last one played was 2011 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The Mad's - Molesto LP
The Mad's - Molesto LP
The closer of this set is from Lima’s “The Mad’s”. They counted in their ranks drummer Richard ‘Bimbo’ Macedo who was previously in Pax. The rest of the band included Manolo Ventura (lead guitar), younger brother Alex Ventura (rhythm guitar), Toño Zarzar (guitar), Fernando "El Loco" Gadea and singer Bill Morgan. The band was discovered by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger in a happening Lima club called Club Tiffany, and on an invitation they opened shows for the Stones and recorded some tracks in their mobile studio, Stargroves. Unfortunately things didn't work out and the band fell apart without the sessions seeing release. Last year the great Lima label Repsychled records issued some of these tracks, and some recorded in Peru, in an album called Molesto [eng. “Annoyed”]. ‘Fly Away’ is an ambitious and adventurous 7 minute track which gleefully fuses western rock with latin rhythms.

Thanks for listening!
Rich

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Castle Farm interview with Steve Traveller


Steve Traveller is the drummer of Castle Farm, a band from around Romford in northeast London. I first discovered them on a compilation called Cosmarama - Blow Your Cool 2 and was immediately taken with the hard rockin', glam-infused single 'Hot Rod Queen'. A while later, a fan of the band contacted me via Youtube and gave me the welcome news that the Castle Farm "Studio Sessions 1971-72" album was digitally released around December last year. I got it straight away and, in one of those precious moments of finding an obscurity leading to something really exciting, was ecstatic to find that the promise of Hot Rod Queen was reinforced by a set of skillful and varied hard rock and blues, some proto-metal, and Tex Benike's killer slide guitar. Just check this out for confirmation:

.

After hearing this I knew I had to get something down here on Aftersabbath, and had my second happy discovery, a mention of Castle Farm on Robin Wills' ever-great PUREPOP blog and a lead on one of it's members, drummer Steve Traveller.

Founding members:
Denny Newman: vocals
Gram 'Tex' Benike: guitars
Steve 'Spyder' Curphey: Bass
Steve Traveller: drums

Additional members:
John Aldrich: guitar, vocals
Roger Curphey: bass (replacing his brother Spyder, in late 1971)


So that's the brief intro over, and here is the resulting interview with Steve. If you like what you hear (you will), the album can be purchased on Amazon, iTunes and other such sources. 'Studio Sessions 1971-72' on: Spotify web player.

Steve Traveller
Steve Traveller
Q01. Hi Steve, thanks for doing this! Firstly, how and why did you become a musician, and why did you choose drums in particular?

I guess it started when I was in the Boy Scouts. I wanted to be in the marching band and play the bugle, but they didn't have a spare one so they gave me a side drum! But I took to drumming like a duck to water, and then I built my own kit at home out of biscuit tins with knitting needles for sticks!


Q02. How and where did the members of Castle Farm meet? What prompted the formation of the band?

I was in a local 'pop' outfit and we fired the lead guitarist after he didn't turn up for a gig one Easter. We didn't have a bass player, so I was left with just a not very inspiring pianist and rhythm guitarist. So I put a postcard ad in the window of a local music shop and the next thing Steve 'Spyder' Curphey and Gram 'Tex' Benike turned up on my doorstep. They were both at Barking Tech college at the time, and really looked the part - proper long-haired rock band material. They came round and we jammed in my parents' front room - and we blew each other away! Spyder and Tex were into the same stuff I was. They pulled in a singer they knew from the college and Castle Farm was born. We made our way through a couple of relatively uninspiring singers before we met Denny Newman in a pub we used to use in Brentwood. Denny was on our wavelength, and a fantastic singer. A little while later Den introduced us to his mate John Aldrich, who was a brilliant guitarist, and we traded up to be a five-piece, with John bringing so much more colour and depth to the band's music.


Q03. Around the times you joined Castle Farm, what musical scenes and artists/acts were you digging?

It was the end of the sixties and I had grown up with The Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Who, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Taste, etc. There were these amazing drummers coming through - Keith Moon, Ginger Baker, Jon Hiseman, Ian Paice, John Bonham, Glenn Cornick, etc. I was influenced to some degree by all of them.


Q04. Did Castle Farm play any live gigs or festivals? Which bands were billed along with you?

We soon established a loyal following in the Brentwood and Romford areas, playing the King's Head in Romford and St Theresa's Hall in Brentwood, and then we were gigging regularly all over London and throughout Essex and Kent. Latterly we moved on to the university and college circuit, bought a six-wheel Tranny from Badfinger, and were on the road as far as Winchester and Leeds. We supported Rory Gallagher, Deed Purple, Savoy Brown Blues Band, Climax Blues Band, Quintessence and many others. One of our best gigs was at the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend, supporting Atomic Rooster - I remember the band coming and standing in the wings during our set to watch us. We had a residency at the Esplanade in Southend too, where a nascent Dr Feelgood even supported US!


Castle Farm 1971
Castle Farm 1971
Q05. Can you describe recording the singles like Hot Rod Queen/Mascot that Castle Farm released, and some memories of doing so?

We had become very frustrated with the record industry, which in those days was in the habit of signing promising bands and then leaving them on the shelf to stop them being a threat to the acts they were promoting. We got caught up in one of these scams, and it was a huge hassle to get out of the contract. But we had a great following, and knew that we could sell records, so we decided to fund our own single. We had met a guy called Hedley Leyton, who had worked with John Hiseman's Colosseum on their live album, and he helped us produce it. We had 2,000 copies pressed, distributed them through local record shops, and they sold out within a few weeks.


Castle Farm Hot Rod Queen / Mascot single
Castle Farm Hot Rod Queen / Mascot single
A second version of Hot Rod Queen was recorded for release alongside "Jewels of Fire", which only made it to acetate. Here is some further info that Steve posted previously on PUREPOP: "There are two different versions of 'Hot Rod Queen'. The two tracks on the single were recorded at Tangerine Studios in London on 15th Feb 1972 and mixed down on 22nd Feb 1972. 

'Jewels Of Fire' was recorded on 25th March 1972 at Pye No. 1, and produced/engineered by Miki Dallon. We then went back to Pye No. 1 on 13th April 1972 to re-record 'Hot Rod Queen' as Miki was interested in reworking it.

The version of HRQ that you have here [link below] is actually an edited version of the original recording, which ran to over four minutes - Miki being a 'pop' producer with a strict timing policy. We much preferred the longer version!". Both versions of Hot Rod Queen are included in "Studio Sessions 1971-72".



Q06. How did the recent posthumous release “The Studio Sessions 1971-72” come about?

A few years ago someone told me that 'Hot Rod Queen' was on a prog/psych compilation album, so I bought a copy in HMV, initially feeling chuffed that Castle Farm's music was still remembered! But then I felt a little less charitable when I realised there was some scavenging company (Start Entertainments Ltd) out there stealing copyrighted work and making money without permission. A quick trawl around the internet revealed that in fact 'Hot Rod Queen' had had a new lease of life and was even being featured on American college radio playlists! Given this new interest I uploaded Hot Rod Queen' and 'Mascot' onto YouTube, and then set about getting the illegal downloads taken down from iTunes, Amazon, etc. At the same time I had recordings of six tracks from an earlier session, and two from a later one ('Jewels Of Fire' and an alternative take of "Hot Rod Queen'), which I had cleaned up as best I could. These represented the best of the Castle Farm recordings that still existed, so I thought they would make a nice little download package.

Here is some further information from Steve, found at PUREPOP: "I have pulled together the best examples I have of the band's recordings, but unfortunately these only exist in either acetate or cassette tape format, the original master tapes having been lost over time.

I've cleaned up the tracks for digital transfer as much as possible, with the help of my son Paul, who's a sound engineer, and has worked wonders replacing the intro to 'You Go Your Way', which was lost on a chewed up cassette tape, and tidying up a less than perfect drum fill on 'Jewels Of Fire', which we didn't have time to correct in the studio, and has bugged me for over 40 years!

All the tracks were recorded in one or two takes with minor overdubbing - most were self-funded and we were on a very tight budget!"


John Aldrich
Q07. Do you have any favourite Castle Farm songs? Can you remember anything about playing any of them?

 '(Maybe A Little Black) Witch' was usually our opener, and got everyone rocking from the start. I think 'Jewels Of Fire' is about the best thing we ever recorded, with absolutely stunning dual-guitar work from Tex and John, but I guess our real signature number was a really heavy, slowed down, crunching 20 minute version of 'Summertime Blues' that tended to end our shows. The improvised middle section and drum solo were always journeys into the unknown, but never failed to bring the house down!



Q08. Castle Farm’s music is fantastic, all the members performances gel brilliantly. While it’s generally got heavy blues style, there's early metal/punk songs like “(Maybe a Little Black) Witch” and “Lunatic”, a glam vibe like ‘Hot Rod Queen’, and ballad/relaxed songs like ‘All In A Day, All In A Year’ and 'You Go Your Way'. Can you share your thoughts on the band’s versatility and what influenced the sound of Castle Farm?

I like to think 'Lunatic' was six years ahead of its time with its punk vibe, but although we saw ourselves as a rock'n'roll band ('Highway 61', 'Rock Me Baby', etc.) we all had so many musical influences and appreciated so many different styles, and we really liked to mix it up to make the shows more interesting.  


Q09. For the sake of those into drum tech, what equipment did you use in castle Farm?

After using a second-hand Ludwig kit in the early days that I bought off Spyder for 50 quid, I progressed to a Premier 2000 double kit in 1971. This is now regarded as a classic kit, and would be worth a fortune now in good condition. But mine led a hard but exciting life, both in my hands and my son's, from as soon as he was tall enough to reach the pedals. Paul soon overtook me in terms of drumming prowess - check this out


Q10. What was the song-writing process of the band? Who was the creative leader, if there was one?

Tex and Spyder came up with most of the ideas for our own songs, and we would just play around with concepts and each add our own ideas and build them up at rehearsals.


Q11. “Island In The Sun” is packed with killer slide guitar, it’s a real trip. Who played that, and what can you tell me about that song?

Tex was, and still is, one of the best slide players I've ever seen. It's his riff and his song, and it was great to watch him really getting into it at live gigs.


Q12. Did you intend on making more music, or an album, and why did it not happen? What were the future plans for Castle Farm at the time of the singles?

Yes, we would have carried on, but we were getting into other things - Spyder had left the band at the end of 1971 and his brother Roger joined us on bass. That was just before we recorded 'Hot Rod Queen', and we went on to do 'Jewels Of Fire' and then carried on gigging until the end of 1972.


Roger Curphey
Q13. Why did the band end?

We would love to have 'made it' big, but we'd given it three years and needed to get out and earn some regular money!


Q14. Do you think Castle Farm had the potential to last longer and be more successful?

I think it had the potential - we just lacked the lucky break!





Denny Newman
Q15. What have you and other members done after Castle Farm, in music or otherwise?

I went into advertising, Tex moved to his native US, Denny carried on with music and now lives in Germany, fronting a great little blues band which has worked as Mick Taylor's backing band (Google 'Denny Newman'), Spyder went into a very successful T-shirt business but is sadly no longer with us. We've had the odd reunion over the years, the last one being at the 100 Club in London for a memorial concert for Spyder in 2008.


Q16. Do you have any great Castle Farm memories or stories (amusing or otherwise) that you think would give readers some more insight into the times and the band?

Loads of great memories, but one of my favourites was when we were booked to support Barclay James Harvest at the Basildon Arts Centre. BJH couldn't make it, so instead they booked a band called Slade - previously a skin-head band in the late sixties but now embarking on a glam-rock course. They were managed by Chas Chandler (ex Animals bass player and Jimi Hendrix's manager) who was strutting around the place in a pink and yellow kaftan, looking a bit of a prat! Basildon was part of our stomping ground and our fans were out in force, so we were really getting into it and were overrunning a bit. But just when we got into our second encore Chas Chandler pulled the plug on us. Tex was absolutely furious - he jumped off the stage, went round the back and found Chandler and gave him the biggest smack on the nose you ever saw. Great times!

Thanks for your time Steve! Let's hope we see and hear more of Castle Farm one day...


If anyone has questions for me or Steve regrading Castle Farm, drop a line to TDATS at the usual address.




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