Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Day After The Sabbath 71: Stormbird [female vocals 3]

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Volume 71 is my third collection (after #17 and #49) of tracks with female vox. It gets underway with two concise and heavy singles.

Parojoma's 'Crystallized Insanity' is a 1971 single a-side from Canada, and I thank my friend's excellent channel for bringing this catchy slice of groove to my attention just in time to give it pride of place. There is little information to go on, it was on the London label and writing credits go to M. & R. Bartolucci, with P. Cardone. Production is by Ben Kaye & Art Phillips. No mention of the players of songstress, though back in those days female session singers were often not credited.

Think's single is another for which I cannot find the singers name, but the music is some strong pop with a wicked, heavy low-ended chorus and brass embellishments. The main players here were Mike Ballew (gtr) and Danny Wilder (bs) who were previously in The Brothers and later in 'Red, Wilder, Blue'.

C.K. Strong
C. K. Strong's tag line goes :- "Only the strong survive. Out of the hundreds of west coast bands that were formed during the last few years, only a handful have gained national recognition. You can understand why. It takes a group that is both musically and personally strong to overcome the hustles and hassles involved. C. K. Strong has more than survived. Their début album exudes vibrant rock and blues. And a chick singer named Lynn Carey who effortlessly explores every note of her three-octave vocal range. C. K. Strong. Darwin scores again". The more observant of you will remember Lynn's vocal contributions on the Neil Meryweather Vol68, and I will be using another track from this album on the movie comp i'm doing, as one of the tracks was used on the classic Russ Meyer exploitation movie 'Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls'.

Valeria Mongardini was an Italian pop singer with a raw voice which she used to out-sleaze The Guess Who on this great cover of "American Woman". The backing arrangement is from Tony Mimms, a Glasgow-born producer and musician who emigrated to Italy with a band called The Primitives, which also included drummer Pick Withers, later of Dire Straits fame.

Sun is a special discovery to me, a guy called "Daru Blues" with a channel on youtube kindly sent me the album in mp3 after I spent an age searching for it, and I was not disappointed. They were originally from Wollongong, near Sydney, Australia. They made one enigmatic, ultra-collectable album; progressive blues and jazz wth great musicianship plus a secret weapon in the form of Renée Geyer with her unique vocal power and swagger, belying her tender age of 18. Renée (who was later replaced in Sun by Starlee Ford, a singer who appeared in the original Australian production of the rock musical Hair) went on to great solo acclaim but never bettered her performance here I think.

'6 Feet Under' started out as 'The Marc 5' in 1966 in Colonia, New Jersey. Later known as the Sonix, they never recorded an album proper and this track is taken from the 1998 Arf! Arf! Records retrospective. One-time drummer Hector "Tico" Torres was ejected in 1970 before the addition of the female singer on this track 'What Would You Do', though it may have been a good move for him financially as he went on to be a founding member of Bon Jovi. Growling fuzz, stabbing keys and wah grooves pervade through this awesome track.

Sharon Tandy was a sexy and soulful Johannesburg-born singer who teamed up with Brit freak-beaters Les Fleur de Lys (see their own original version of 'Hold On' in Vol70) on more than one occasion. Having had plenty of breaks, performing often on UK t.v. and even getting signed to Stax in 1966 to cut earthy Southern soul with Booker T & The MGs and Isaac Hayes, she never really made it and was back to a comparatively small career in South Africa by 1970. This version of Hold On features some totally scorching guitar and her trademark earthy vocals.

The John Bassman Group started life as a school band in Landgraaf, a municipality in south-eastern Limburg and also where one of Holland's biggest rock fests resides, Pinkpop. Their single album 'filthy sky' was a curious affair, a mix of country-tinged blues tracks, and west coast style psych tracks, these being the ones which frequently hit the mark with awesome fuzzy wah guitar and charismatic vox from Diana Leemhuis. John Theunissen and the 'bassman' Theo Wetzeis later joined Pussycat, who had a novelty hit with "Mississippi" in 1975. You've gotta love the fuzz-wah chops of "His Name Was Tom".

Earth & Fire (1970)
Earth & Fire were a Dutch progressive pop group, who made some interesting stuff in their early career which betrayed hard rock influences, unfortunately they became a more commercial pop/disco group of far less interest in the later 70's. Singer Jerney Kaagman later became president of the Dutch musician's union and was recently a judge on the Dutch "Idols" talent show. The track I've used here called Lost Forever was the 1971 'Storm and Thunder' single b-side and is definitely the most Sabbath-heavy thing they did. The best album to look for is the 1993 Repertoire re-issue of their 1971 eponymous debut, which includes the heavy b-sides like 'Memories' that I also used on the Roadburn comp Vol64.

Ruby Starr was discovered by Black Oak Arkansas frontman Jim Dandy, working in a bar in Evansville, Indiana. Over her career she performed with them, Blackfoot and Mountain, along with a number of backing bands and solo projects. One of them was called 'Ruby Starr And Grey Ghost' and included members of Target (see Vol65), the 'Grey Ghost' in question being a reference to confederate civil war hero General Mosby. "Burnin' Whiskey" is a good southern-rocker with a hint of Deep Purple grinding hammond.

Pesky Gee
Pesky Gee formed in Leicester, UK and the core of the band was basically Black Widow before they went occult. There's a great interview with Saxist/ Flautist Clive Jones here describing the transition. This heavy, grungy track 'Where Is My Mind?', a Vanilla Fudge cover, benefits greatly from Kay Garrett's husky tones. Californians Ivory made one album, and 'Silver Rains' is the excellent highlight, Christine Christman's voice swims in the lysergia of Mike McCauley's keys and Kenny Thomure's guitar. Unfortunately, McCauley's Vietnam draft cut their career prematurely short.

She Trinity
The She Trinity are something of a novelty, being one of the only all-girl bands I have ever used on any comp, they were started by a trio of Canadian musicians who found their way to England. There were brief name changes and shake-ups. The final combo was  Robyn Yorke (drums) ,  Eileen Woodman (keys),  Pauline Moran (bass), and Inger Jonnsson on guitar. Pau;line Moran would go on to later acclaim as a stage/screen actress. They released a cover of 'Hair' in 1970, for which 'Climb That Tree' was the b-side, which itself was played by the UK band The Onyx, with vocals from She Trinity. Sweet Pain was an all-star blues session album. Singer Annette Brox recorded a 45 in 1965 and an album in 1974, Dick Heckstall-Smith had recorded a solo album. He also played with Graham Bond Organisation, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Colosseum. 'Sick and Tired' is a ripping slab of bluesrock!

And so this volume ends with L.A. pop-rockers 'Smith', who's strongest asset was their most frequent vocalist, Gayle McCormick, an accomplished female blue-eyed soul belter. Here is their version of old reliable 'I Just Wanna Make Love To You', a 1954 blues song written by Willie Dixon and first recorded by Muddy Waters. It appears for around the third time on this blog; maybe another theme idea is forming....

Track List

01. Parojoma - Crystallized Insanity (1971)
02. Think - California (Is Getting So Heavy) (1969)
03. C. K. Strong - Stormbird (1969)
       from album "c.k. strong"
04. Valeria Mongardini - Addio Città Vecchia [The Guess Who cover] (1970)
05. Sun - Vendetta (1972)
       from album 'sun 1972'
06. 6 Feet Under - What Would You Do (1970)
       from retrospective "in retrospect 1969-'70"
07. Sharon Tandy - Hold On [with Les Fleur De Lys] (1967)
08. John Bassman Group - His Name Was Tom (1970)
       from album 'filthy sky'
09. Earth & Fire - Lost Forever (1971)
       from repertoire re-issue of  'earth and fire'
10. Ruby Starr And Grey Ghost - Burnin' Whiskey (1975)
       from album 'ruby starr & grey ghost'
11. Pesky Gee - Where Is My Mind [Vanilla Fudge cover] (1969)
       from album 'exclamation mark'
12. Ivory - Silver Rains (1968)
       from album 'ivory'
13. She Trinity - Climb That Tree [with The Onyx] (1970)
14. Sweet Pain - Sick And Tired (1969)
       from album 'sweet pain'
15. Smith - I Just Wanna Make Love To You (1969)
       from album 'a group called smith'


Thanks for listening! Rich

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  1. jippiie, cant wait to plug it in:) thx

  2. D/L ing now. If it's as good as the other's it will be a monster. Thanks.

  3. I also discovered Sun (through the track Message) on Darublues. Did you know his account is suspended as of lately? Due to copyright infringement or something like that. A shame really, cause I did a lot of music exploring on that channel. I stumbled upon your post looking for the Sun-album and downloaded the compilation. I might have to check out the rest of your blog, seeing the list of names on the right ;-) thx for this one. As with Sun, the search continues.

    1. Roel, PM me if you want the album in mp3