Sunday, August 31, 2014

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

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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 - Goin' 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 Goin' 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 Goin' Down, as a single taken from the album "The Alabama State Troopers Road Show", a traveling road show 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. 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]

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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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Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Day After The Sabbath 103: A Mad Man Roams Tonight

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password:  tdats
Many of the great bands I have used before had talented individual members who went out there and made albums of their own. In a few examples here, these guys had busy careers that are as interesting and notable as the respected bands they played in. For example, Wynder K. Frog (Mick Weaver) made albums before working with the bands that had success, which in his case included the Keef Hartley Band and Juicy Lucy. This takes you into the interesting world of session musicians and those who were talented and in-demand.

On the other hand, some of the artists here are not known to have had prolific careers outside of their main band, but for one reason or another had the rare opportunity to helm a solo record.

Researching this subject has revealed a bunch of great music, and in this selection I have chosen tracks that range from 1970 to 1975, covering hard rock, southern rock, jazz-rock, blues and prog.

TRACKLIST
01. Peter Tilbrook of The Masters Apprentices
       A Mad Man Roams Tonight - Single (1971)
02. Mike Harrison of Art and Spooky Tooth
       Maverick Woman Blues - from album "Rainbow Rider" (1975)
03. Mick Abrahams of Jethro Tull, Blodwyn Pig & Screaming Lord Sutch
       Awake - from album "Mick Abrahams" (1971)
04. Peter Kaukonen of Hot Tuna & Jefferson Starship
       Up Or Down - from album "Black Kangaroo" (1972)
05. Wynder K. Frog of Keef Hartley Band & Juicy Lucy
       Howl In Wolf's Clothing - from album "Into The Fire" (1970)
06. Ray Fenwick of After Tea & Ian Gillan Band
       Stateside - from album "Keep America Beautiful, Get a Haircut" (1970)
07. Cliff Bennett of Toe Fat
       Movin' And Travelin' On - from album "Cliff Bennett's Rebellion" (1971)
08. Ken Hensley of Uriah Heep, The Gods, Toe Fat, Head Machine & Weed
       Stargazer - from album "Eager To Please" (1975)
09. Lee Pickens Group of Bloodrock
       Thumbs Up - from album "LPG" (1973)
10. Marz of JeronimoAtlantis
       Lord Have Mercy - from album "The Dream Is Over" (1972)

Peter Tilbrook was in Adelaide's The Masters Apprentices (vol 21) from '67 to '68, playing guitar and bass. He was in earlier bands, and has had a solo career since, which you can read about here. He has since appeared at Masters' reunions too. His single from 1971, "A Mad Man Roams Tonight", is a fun track that gives this comp its name. I got this info from Peter himself:

The band [for this single] was quite a well-known line up.
Steve Hopgood [Masters Apprentices drummer]
John Bywaters [The Twilights bass player] who I am in a band with today - THE TWILIGHT ZONE
Tony fahse [Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons] as second guitarist
Peter Tilbrook  [Masters Apprentices] on vocals and guitar


Mike Harrison was formative keyboardist/vocalist of Spooky Tooth. He made three solo albums which did not carry on in the vein of Spooky Tooth's heavier stuff, but the track Maverick Woman Blues from his 3rd album Rainbow Rider certainly did! It is a cover of the excellent band Moloch, who first appeard in TDATS in Vol54.


Mick Abrahams was guitarist/vocalist in bands such as Jethro Tull and Blodwyn Pig. "Awake" is taken from his 1971 album "Mick Abrahams". He made more albums with the "Mick Abrahams Band" and in 1975 he made an instructional LP "Have Fun Learning" The Guitar With Mick Abrahams...One of Britain's top rock band and session guitarists.


Peter Kaukonen is the younger brother of guitarist/bassist and vocalist of Hot Tuna & Jefferson Starship; Jorma Kaukonen. Although he was not a full time member of those bands like his brother, he did play with both of them on occasion.  He made a solo album in 1972 called "Black Kangaroo". It's chock full of his great Hendrixian guitar playing.


Wynder K. Frog was the band of Mick Weaver, a keyboard player who later worked with Keef Hartley Band (Vol 74) & Juicy Lucy (Vol 100). To this day he has also worked with Miller Anderson (Vol 74), Janis Joplin and Dave Gilmour to name a few.


Ray Fenwick was an English session guitarist who played in many bands, including After Tea (Vol 63), Ian Gillan Band and the Tee-Set. His sole album from 1970 was called "Keep America Beautiful, Get a Haircut" and the track 'Stateside' is a long piece of great rock-opera.


Cliff Bennett was guitarist/vocalist in Toe Fat (Vol 16) as was Ken Hensley (following) also in Toe Fat. He helmed Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers in the early sixties, the Cliff Bennett Band in 1968 and Cliff Bennett's Rebellion in 1971, on which I found "Movin' and Travelin' On".


Ken Hensley was a keyboard player who was quite prolific, playing in bands such as Uriah Heep, The Gods, Toe Fat, Head Machine, Weed, Blackfoot and The Hensley Lawton Band. He made two good solo albums in the '70s; Proud Words on a Dusty Shelf (1973) and Eager to Please (1975). "Stargazer" is taken from Eager To Please.


Lee Pickens was formative guitarist in Bloodrock (see vols 1 and 30), he made one southern rock-infused album in 1973 called "LPG".


Finally, we have Marz. He was Rainer Marz of German bands Jeronimo (Vol 5) and Atlantis. He made one LP entitled 'Marz' in 1972.



Thanks for listening! 
Rich

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

TDATS 102: Dance With The Devil [Cozy Powell Special]


Download from: [mf] or [mg]
password:  tdats
What we have here is a collection of the best and heaviest tracks from the early career of the legendary English drummer, Cozy Powell. Born Colin Flooks in 1947 in Cirencester, he started out in The Corals, playing in a local youth club. He spent a few years cutting his teeth on the German circuit and on return to the UK his career advanced very quickly. He gained a reputation as a great drummer, session work jobs and offers from respected bands and musicians were many and frequent. His career is quite unbelievable in summary, reading like a hard rock hall of fame. The stage name 'Cozy' was borrowed from the jazz drummer Cozy Cole.

Julie Felix Clotho's Web LP 1972
Julie Felix
Clotho's Web LP (1972)
Most of you will know him from his contributions in heavy metal heroes like Rainbow, Whitesnake, Black Sabbath and the Michael Schenker Group, but he started out in more modest forrays. From the mid-sixties he honed his skills in beat groups like The Sorcerers and Young Blood, heavy psych with The Ace Kefford Stand, heavy funk soul in the brief, final incarnation of the Jeff Beck Group, and hard blues rock with Big Bertha and Bedlam.

Throughout these early times he also worked as a session drummer for diverse projects from folk singer Julie Felix, Donovan, Bob Sargeant, Ten Years After keyboardist Chick Churchill, Tony Ashton/Jon Lord and Harvey Adams to name a few. The Ace Kefford Stand was a vehicle for Ace who was previously the founding bassist/singer of successful Birmingham mods The Move. His story is a sad one, the rock lifestyle was too much for him and psychological problems curtailed his career for good. With Cozy he recorded an album's worth of material that was only released recently. This band would morph into Big Bertha (including Leaf Hound's Pete French), then Bedlam, both in this comp.
Below: 
Televised performance of 1974 single "The Man In Black".
With Bernie Marsden on the Les Paul and Don Airey on keys



John Bonham & Cozy Powell
John Bonham & Cozy Powell
I have chosen the best of his work from the early period. This covers 1969-1974, and will satisfy TDATS fans out there who can accept a bit of heavy folk and even glam mixed in with the usual big riffs. A few of these are Cozy Powell solo singles, with the likes of 'Dance With The Devil' (which reached #3 in the UK singles chart during January 1974) and 'And Then There Was Skin' designed to showcase Cozy's skills with drum and rhythm based tunes. Cozy worked with a bunch of great musicians in his singles and solo albums, and his never-released sessions dubbed 'Cozy Powell's Hammer'. Some of these were Bernie Marsden, Don Airey, Tony Martin, Gary Moore and Jack Bruce.

Ritchie Blackmore, Ronnie James Dio, Cozy Powell in Rainbow
 Ritchie Blackmore, Ronnie James Dio, Cozy Powell in Rainbow
Cozy tragically died in a car crash in 1998, at the age of 50. He clearly had plenty more to offer the world of rock. He was continuously prolific throughout his career, in the '80s and '90s he worked with Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey, Brian May, "Emerson, Lake and Powell", Cinderella, Warlock, Glenn Tipton & Pete Entwistle in "Tipton, Entwistle & Powell", Peter Green and Yngwie Malmsteen. At the time of his death, the English record producer Micky Most said: "Musically speaking he was one of the best drummers we've ever had in this country. He was a great guy, a fantastic musician and he always had a perfect disposition, always great fun. I spent a lot of time with Cozy in the Seventies and we went over to Detroit recording together. We had a lot of laughs and it was always a pleasurable experience to be around him. He was great fun. [The last time I saw him] he seemed in very good form. He was always a very `up' guy. Cozy worked with some of the greatest people and he was renowned as a great asset through both his attitude and his playing. It's a great loss. We're all gutted."

Further reading: www.cozypowell.com, biographydiscographywikipedia

There's a nice interview with cozy discussing his techniques and his early days here, and there's some welcome news about a planned Cozy Powell documentary here.

Tracklist:
1. Cozy Powell - Mistral (1974)
       Single
02. The Ace Kefford Stand - Gravy Booby Jamm (1969)
       Single
03. Big Bertha - Munich City (1970)
       Single
04. Big Bertha - Funky Woman (1970)
       Single
05. Jeff Beck Group - Ice Cream Cakes (1972)
       from album "Jeff Beck Group"
06. Julie Felix - Clotho's Web (1972)
       from album "Clotho's Web"
07. Bedlam - The Fool (1973)
       from album "Live In London 1973"
08. Bedlam - The Beast (1973)
       from album "Bedlam"
09. Donovan - Wild Witch Lady (1973)
       from album "Cosmic Wheels"
10. Cozy Powell - And Then There Was Skin (1973)
       Single
11. Cozy Powell - Dance With The Devil (1973)
       Single
12. Bob Sargeant - King Of The Night (1974)*
       from album "First Starring Role"
13. Cozy Powell's Hammer - Instrumental #2 (1974)
       from archival "Lost Reel Masters"
14. Cozy Powell's Hammer - Living a Lie (1974)
       from archival "Lost Reel Masters"

*A point of note on track 12: "King Of The Night". This great song also appears in a more heavy guitar-orientated version on the Bobby Harrison (Procol Harum, Freedom, Snafu) solo album 'Funkist' from the same year, on which Bob Sargeant also played. The song is credited to Bobby Harrison and Bob Sargeant.

RIP Cozy!

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Monday, May 5, 2014

JODO and 'Guts' Interview with Rod Alexander


Jodo 'Guts' LP - 1971
Jodo's "Guts" LP is a favourite album which I found way back, and have often wondered about as there is so little information out there, making it something of an enigma. Spurred on by recently finding an original copy of the LP, I have contacted Rod Alexander, founding member and guitarist of Jodo. The word 'Jodo' is the name of a Japanese martial art using a short staff, read on though, as this may not be the reason for the band's name... (n.b. according to liner notes on the Green Bullfrog Sessions, Jodo's former name was 'Biskit').

The 1971 album 'Guts' is a really great blues rock album, with catchy songs and great performances from all the members. There's healthy doses of heavy riffs to keep you grooving, along with those is plenty of canny pop sensibility and some earthy blues, even some topical lyrics on race issues in the track "There's Still Time". All round, it's one of those albums which makes you think, "This band had the chops to contend with the big boys, and be successful. How come they seem to have been completely passed-by at the time, and more or less forgotten now?". It's a slick, well executed set, clearly catching on to the blues rock boom of bands like Cream and Led Zep, but in there with the seriously big riffs is an accessible and light-hearted angle, with a spirit of fun that's evident when compared to those two giants.


There are a few things that have helped to shroud Jodo in mystery. The first being the cryptic album cover, showing an old picture of a man with a bicycle. It gives away nothing about the band, no band pictures and barely any credits, a ploy which may have worked for Pink Floyd, but isn't going to do any favours for a little-publicised band's first album. Another is that they were seemingly an English band, but their sole album was never released in the UK, only in he US and bizarrely, in New Zealand, all to little fanfare.

Jimmy Bilsbury (L) with Earl Jordan (R),
whilst both in The Les Humphries singers
Further searching finds that vocalist Earl Jordan later released at least one solo album, and was a member of a German singing troupe that has been referenced in TDATS before, The Les Humphries Singers. This group, started by Englishman Les Humphries, also included John Lawton, who was the singer in Lucifer's Friend (see Vol2 and Vol30) and Uriah Heep for a spell. Earl also contributed vocals to the jam album par-excellence, "The Green Bullfrog Sessions" (see Vol13 and Vol59). If allmusic.com is correct, he also contributed on a Starlight Express soundtrack LP. Earl seems to have worked on a few musicals, including the Eddie Hardin/Roger Glover-helmed prog rock opera "The Butterfly Ball" (1974), a clip from which shows Earl singing Old Blind Mole. I am not sure that the audio is Earl's voice there though.

Drummer Brian "Chico" Greenwood has come up from time to time in my searches also. He played on the Trifle album I used on the brassrock Vol93 and he is credited on many albums of the period, including those from acts such as MoonriderJasperAceNicky James, The Electric Banana and Phil May.

William E. Kimber 45 (1968)
William E. Kimber 45 (1968)
Vocalist William E. (Bill) Kimber has been hard to find background on, it appears he was in South Africa for some time in the former half of the sixties, singing and playing rhythm guitar in The Couriers. I have also found some evidence of solo UK singles made just after that. After Jodo, he and Rod Alexander formed a duo called Axe, who made a few singles between '72-'74, at least one of which ("Running Wild") included Chico Greenwood.  I have been unable to confirm this, but I think Bill quit being a performer in the latter part of the '70s and is the same Bill Kimber who went into music publishing/ management, becoming A&R manager for RCA records and having success working with well-known pop acts like The Bay City Rollers, Bucks Fizz and most notably, signing The Eurythmics. I found some of this information here.


Jon Taylor in Little Free Rock (far left),
+ (l-r): Peter illingworth, 'Lord' Eric Carboo, Paul Varley
Bassist Jon Taylor is the most elusive member. He played in "Jasper" with Chico, and awesome band Killing Floor (see Vol7). He was also a belated, but important member of Litttle Free Rock, and the story of how he joined them can be found at The Official Little Free Rock Web Site.





Rod (center)
Rod (center)
As for Rod himself, I found a useful account of his career here. After starting out with local Cumbrian bands, he moved to London. Amongst other things, he caught a break with Australia's top artiste Johnny Young and toured Australia and Europe. After Jodo he had a lot of work, including Joe Brown's band, Blackwater Junction, session work with the likes of Brotherhood of Man, Mike Berry and Johnny Howard's 18 piece big band. While still producing and writing music, Rod entered other types of work such as music management, and a stint with Europe's distributor of Fender guitars, Arbiter. Rod continues in music with Triangle Writers UK and the Alexander Dale Band (fb).





Interview with Rod Alexander


Rod Alexander
Rod Alexander
Here's a few questions which Rod very kindly answered, exclusively for TDATS. This helps to expose some of Jodo's long-held secrets.

Q01. Hi Rod, thanks for doing this! How and why did you become a musician, and why guitar/bass as preferences?
Rod: I first heard Les Paul & Mary Ford in a cinema with my mother. I was very young, but remember asking her what instrument was playing. I had previously shown no interest in music. Then years later, in my teens I started listening to Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Elvis, & Buddy Holly. Here in the U.K., we had Cliff Richard & the Shadows, & Johnny Kidd & the Pirates.

Hearing solos by Cliff Gallup, Scotty Moore, & James Burton was a huge influence, & U.K. records such as "Move It" By Cliff Richard, & "Shakin' All Over" by Johnny Kidd sealed my interest. From then on, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks, Hollies, Who, Cream, Hendrix, Led Zep….

I moved to London from the Lake District, & after working in a music shop for a while got into the session scene as well as doing gigs with the likes of Helen Shapiro, Mike Berry, Peter Sarstedt, Joe Brown, & Carl (Kung Fu Fighting) Douglas, whose band I was in for 2 years, & Dave Curtis, who went on to write "Ray Of Light" for Madonna.

I was also in bands that supported the Moody Blues, Martha & the Vandellas, Little Walter, Koko Taylor, Small Faces, Ben E. King & others. I got really into Crosby, Stills, & Nash with their superb harmonies, & Stills guitar playing.

Later on I was into Dire Straits, Gary Moore, Level 42, & ZZ Top. Electric guitar was the only instrument for me. I am however very interested in vocal harmony.


Green Bullfrog Session
Green Bullfrog Session
Q02. How and where did the members of Jodo meet? What prompted the formation of the band?
Bill Kimber & I met when I was recording at Polydor studios in London. We formed an act called "AXE". It was basically a writing & production idea.

However, we had a minor hit with a single called "Running Wild". Axe also released "People Come, People Go", & "You'd Better Keep Outa My Way".

I had known & worked with drummer Chico Greenwood for several years. Chico told me about bass player Jon Taylor, who he had worked with in a blues band called "Union Blues" [aka "Jasper"].

I met Earl when we both worked on the "GREEN BULLFROG SESSIONS" album.

JODO was essentially a 5 piece. We had tried several keyboard players, but used a session player on some tracks of the "GUTS" album.


Q03. What's the story on the band's name and the LP art work?
In the U.S., a homeless person or someone of unknown identity is known as a "John Doe". I think it was Derek Lawrence who suggested the name by shortening "John Doe" to Jo Do...hence JODO!!.....the man on the bike. According to my vinyl copy of "Guts", sleeve design was by Virginia Clark....photography by Bruno Shreck.


Q04. Did Jodo play any gigs or festivals?
AXE & JODO both played some live gigs in & around London, But where & When I cannot remember.


Derek Lawrence
Derek Lawrence
Q05. How did Jodo get signed to the Decca/MCA label?
I met Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple. He came to one of our rehearsals, liked the band, & recommended us to producer Derek Lawrence, who then produced the "GUTS" album.


Q06. Could you confirm the band members and production credits?

JODO line up:
Rod Alexander - Lead guitar & Backing vocals
Chico Greenwood - Drums & Percussion
Earl Jordan - Lead vocals
Bill Kimber - Lead Vocals
Jon Taylor - Bass guitar

   Derek Lawrence - Producer
   Martin Birch - Engineer
   Louie Austin - Assistant engineer


Q07. “Guts” was recorded at De Lane studios, London. When was this? Can you describe the session, and some stand-out memories of doing it?
The album was recorded over 3 sessions in 1971. Fortunately, we were very well rehearsed, so the initial tracks went down quite well. There were a few guitar solos to do, & a few harmony guitar overdubs. The vocals were done very quickly, both Bill & Earl had plenty of studio experience. There are one or two mistakes on it, but we left them as we felt we had a good raw "live" feel.


Q08. What equipment did you and he band use?
As far as equipment goes, Jon Taylor played a Fender Precision bass, Chico played a conventional Premier drum kit. I was a one guitar man. The Gibson SG Special was superb...Ritchie asked me to sell it to him!! If I ever had to play acoustic guitar, I used an Ovation. I played my Gibson through a Marshall 50watt amp with one Marshall 4 x 12. I don't think I used any effects except perhaps a Vox wah pedal. We basically cranked up the volume & did it!!


Q09. Jodo’s music is fantastic, all the members’ performances gel brilliantly. It has heavy blues sounds like contemporaries Cream and Led Zep (One Night Stand, Nightmare), an upbeat pop edge (Rat Race, Seventeen) and slow-burning blues (Pushing). Earl Jordan's vocal performance is charismatic and excellent, as is Bill Kimber's. Can you explain your thoughts on the bands’ versatility and what influenced the sound of Jodo? What was the song-writing process of the band? And who was the creative leader(s) of the band, if there was one?
Thanks for you kind comments on the music. All the members of JODO were very experienced, so playing together was great. There was a lot of session work about at that time, so we had all played various types of music. Main influences were diverse; Cream, Deep Purple, Peter Green, Tony Joe White, B.B.King...

The interplay between the two main vocalists was tremendous on live gigs. What a pity we didn't do more of them!

The writing was all done by Bill Kimber & myself, with the occasional help from various members. I used to come up with the riffs & arrangements, Bill would come up with either a title or theme, then we would finish the song off together. We had written quite a lot together before JODO.


Q10. Do you have any favourite Jodo songs, if so why? Can you remember anything about playing any of them, ones which were hard to play, or most fun to play for instance?
3 tracks bring back memories; It's No Good...Kimber & I thought it would be good if the lead vocal was done in octaves. Only trouble was I wanted it in a particular key (I think E), so I could get that nice crungey feel to the track. When we went back to do the vocals, neither Earl nor I could reach the high notes, so poor Bill bravely did it by sheer brute force & effort (no voice processors in those days!!) I still feel for him when I hear that track.

Seventeen....Kimber got his own back on me on this. I came up with the lead intro phrase after listening to a couple of Blackmore tracks. When I had got a decent take of it, Bill said "now why don't you track it in harmony?" It was a bit of a struggle but I managed it.

Wish You'd Never Been Born....I just love the manic feel to this. The SG was a great guitar to play, & just loved to scream its head off. Amp was flat out.


Martin Birch c.1982, with Steve Harris of Iron Maiden
Martin Birch c.1982 (r)
with Steve Harris (l) of Iron Maiden
Q10. How did engineer Martin Birch (Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden) and producer Derek Lawrence (Deep Purple, Green Bullfrog, Wishbone Ash, Angel) get involved? How much input did they have in the session and the resulting album?
We have to thank Ritchie Blackmore for the introduction to Derek Lawrence, & for the chance to play on the GREEN BULLFROG SESSIONS. Martin Birch proved to be tremendous in the studio…A great guy to work with.


Q12. An observation I have seen others make quite a few times is that Guts wasn't released in the UK, do you know why? I have seen issues from the US, New Zealand and Germany, but never the UK.
I don't know what happened about the U.K. release. I didn't even know it had been released in New Zealand. I think the CD version is produced in Germany. I have tried for several years to get information from PRS & MCPS regarding sales, but without success.


Rat Race/Wish You'd Never Been Born
promo 45
Q13. “Rat Race / Wish You'd Never Been Born” were pressed on a 45. Was it released as a single or was it for promo only?
Don't know. I think it was promo only.


Q14. Do you think Jodo had the potential for more success than you ultimately had?
The band was certainly good enough, but there were a lot of other good U.K. bands around too. In retrospect, we probably should have gone to the U.S. The band would have worked as a unit, we rehearsed a lot & sounded good, but with no U.K. release, we all headed off our separate ways. JODO were only together for 2 years. The decision to split was totally amicable. We never started a 2nd album.


Q15. What have you done since Jodo, in music or otherwise, and would you like to tell us about anything you are doing now?
Over recent years I have carried on gigging, recording, & writing, as well as working as a consultant in both publishing & Musical instrument retail. I produced 2 CDs under the name of Triangle Writers UK, featuring highly talented female vocalist Jen Molineaux. Titles were "POINT OF ORDER", & "IT'S MY CITY", & recently wrote & produced "OUT OF CONTROL" CD by the Alexander Dale Band.


Q16. Can you tell us what you know about the other members’ careers after Jodo? I saw that Earl made at least one solo album, and joined the Les Humphries singers.
I think Bill is still involved in music management. I did hear that Earl was doing very well in one of the top West End Musical shows. Chico bought a hotel, and enjoys living in the West Country. Jon moved to New York.


Q17. Finally, do you have any great Jodo memories or stories (amusing or otherwise) that you think would give readers some more insight into the times and the band? 
So long ago, I can't remember any stories that are printable. However, one incident springs to mind; We set off on a gig, somewhere in Sussex. On arriving, we were greeted by a charming elderly man who informed me "I just love the music of the Islands".

I was puzzled for a few seconds, then realised he had tried to book a Hawaiian band!! The guys all looked at me in amazement...it was too late to get anyone else, so I said" turn right down & lots of guitar solos". Somehow we got away with it...the old chap was happy, & we all got paid.
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Thanks to Rod for his time, thanks to the band for the great music, and thanks to you for reading. Hopefully one day there will be a decent re-issue of Guts, in a nice package with some history and photos. Join JODO here on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/JODO/615226075230642

Earl Jordan in recent times
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