Friday, March 23, 2012

The Day After The Sabbath 65: Southern Heaven

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pass:  tdats
Volume 65 is a collection of southern rock and tracks with that southern feel. What ties bands that have been labelled as Southern Rock together? Rock music and its root in blues, jazz and folk/country, was largely evolved in the south of America, and Gregg Allman commented once that "Southern rock" was a redundant term, like "rock rock". The vocalist's accents (affected or not) and singing styles are definitely a common attribute in the music I studied for this comp, as is the large amounts of overtly love-lorn or romantic, sometimes teeth-clenchingly sappy lyrics, even on some of the hardest-rockers. I guess we can put this down to the romantic cowboy buried deep in the southern man...luckily he also loves the electric guitar, often more than just one can be heard battling it out in these songs.

Texas's Point Blank made six full-lengths in the 70s and 80s, and definitely made some of the heaviest southern rock I've found so far, plenty of metally riffs and dual guitar from Rusty Burns and Kim Davis can be found here-in! Albatross, reportedly from Salam, Virginia, are hard to find information on. Band member names I have found mentioned are Mike George (vocals), Henry Reid (keyboards) and Gary Ward (guitar). They made a great album dated at 1975 called "Rockin' The Sky" and it features plenty of good honest hard rock with some heavy prog touches like the hammond beefing it up, I highly recommend this. Georgia's Atlanta Rhythm Section were a relatively soft-rock act, sometimes described as skynyrd-lite. They had a slow ascent to a brief pinnacle of success in the late seventies and a performance at the White House for then-president Jimmy Carter, but are little-remembered since then. 'Join The Race' sure has a cool vibe, nice big, but laid-back riffs with some great instrumental interplay.

Brownsville Station hailed from Ann Arbor/Detroit and are chiefly remembered for their 1973 hit, "Smoking in the Boy's Room", which was further popularised by a cover version on Mötley Crüe's 1985 album "Theatre of Pain". They played a lot of styles, and often veered into harder ZZ-Top territory, the release I like in particular being 1977's eponymous LP with its great, fuzzy guitar sound. If you like 'Sleazy Louise', check out 'The Martian Boogie' on Vol57 too. Baby, from Amarillo, Texas, made a couple of albums in the 70s. Another of the more obscure acts here, they played good unpretentious hard rock and the cover of their independently-released eponymous debut from 1974 never fails to raise a smile.

Jacksonville, Florida's Blackfoot were another band who had a long career from the beginning of the 70s and only briefly attained some kind of success towards the end, by which time they moved further away from Southern rock and into hard rock. Originally called Hammer, they changed their name to Blackfoot to represent the American Indian heritage of bassist Greg T. Walker, drummer Jakson Spires and singer/guitarist Rickey Medlocke (Spires is part Cherokee, Medlocke part Sioux, and Walker part Eastern Creek, a Florida Indians tribe). I especially like the track I have used here "Big Wheels", it has excellent, inventive metallic guitar parts that at times have an almost Thin Lizish, NWOBHM feel, which is very impressive for 1975. At this time even Judas Priest was still peddling early-70s style hard rock.

Tallahassee, Florida’s Crosscut Saw made a great album in 1974, although one of the exponents of sappy lyrics as mentioned in the intro above, they can be forgiven for the stirring, bluesy rock and great sounds from Julien Kasper's constantly phased guitar. Half time, and high time for some proper country rock appreciation with the barn-storming Marshall Tucker Band, from Spartanburg, South Carolina. Signed up to Capricorn Records on their formation, which was the haven of many southern rock standard-bearers like the The Allman Brothers Band, and more surprisingly, the mighty Captain Beyond. They had a long career and are still playing now.

A very young Travis Wammack
Epitaph are a curve-ball inclusion here, a German band, oft described as krautrock, that was very obviously influenced by southern rock. I have used them once before on Vol10 and "Paradise For Sale" was a single b-side from 1973. They had a few tours in America towards the later 70s and like lots of bands here, began to aim for a more commercial stadium sound, they still play occasionally now. Born in 1946, Mississippi's Travis Wammack was a child prodigy guitarist. His first record was issued at twelve years old, at 17 he entered the American charts with an instrumental called "Scratchy". He was employed as a session musician for Fame records, and after a few unsuccessful solo albums he became Little Richard's band leader, he still plays today. This track is taken from his first album, and it shows what an all-round superb musician he was, only adding to the quality of the source material with his impressive voice and southern swagger. A great Travis article is here.

After Tony Bourge quite Budgie in 1978 he was replaced by a guitarist called John Thomas, who played all their subsequent albums until 2000. The reason for this mention is that before Budgie, John was bass player in the George Hatcher Band. George Hatcher was originally from South Carolina, after being a roadie and singer for a few minor acts he sought his fortune in London, UK and his first band was "Stark Naked and the Car Thieves." Two of his first band mates being drummer Stuart Copeland of the later famed Police and Darrell Way of Curved Air. He formed the George Hatcher Band in 1976, which also included Renaissance drummer Terry Slade (who feature on Vol49) There is a great interview with George here. He has since returned to the US where his band still plays.

Kid Dynamite was started by two former members of the Steve Miller Band. Two very rare LP's were released on two different labels, made even harder to find and make sense of by the fact they both came out in 1976 and were both self-titled. Whatever became of them, they made some soulful and slightly funky rock, and a footnote to the story is that their track "Uphill Peace of Mind" was sampled by Dr. Dre on "Nuttin But a G Thang" and by Ultramagnetic MC's on "Feelin' It". Swampgas were from New York and are another band without much history to go on. Their only album, from 1972, was a curious mix of southern influenced rock and pedestrian, mostly acoustic stuff. The two or three good tracks really are rather good though and I used one already on Vol57. Time for sappy lyrics number 2, over great hard rockin'. A very rare piece of Southern Rock from the Cajun areas of Louisiana, only 1000 copies of the self-titled Lafauci were pressed. The band was led by Sal Lafauci (vocals, drums & organ), other members were Chip Weil (bass), Steve Dodds (guitars) and Keith Guidroz (guitar). Guests were Billy Stroud (synthesizer) and Sonny Wall (piano, organ, synthesizer, etc).

Dirty Tricks
Memphis's Target were an early job for Survivor vocalist Jimi Jamison. They made a couple of albums from 1976-7 and 'Runaway' is taken from 1977's 'Captured'. Solid and groovy, sometimes verging on metallic, riffing a-plenty can be found here. This southern-fried volume ends on a UK band, Dirty Tricks. Many of you will be familiar with them already and they were a fave of co-conspirators LibertyCap's and Zischkale's comps. By the time of the third album, their sound had changed, becoming more commercial and further distanced from the first album which had a fair amount of Sabbath-inspiration. ‘Black Diamond’ had a great southern feel to it though. I just read an interesting fact that after Dirty Trick’s demise they rehearsed as Ozzy Osbourne’s backing band during his brief split with Sabbath in 1977, though that ended when Ozzy went back to Sabbath. Some more info on Dirty Tricks can be found here.

Track List:

01. Point Blank - Tattooed Lady (1977)
       from album 'second season'
02. Albatross - On The Run (1975)
       from album "rockin' the sky"
03. Atlanta Rhythm Section - Join The Race (1974)
       from album 'third annual pipe dream'
04. Brownsville Station - Sleazy Louise (1977)
       from album 'brownsville station'
05. Baby - Life's What You Make It (1975)
       from album 'baby'
06. Blackfoot - Big Wheels (1975)
       from album 'no reservations'
07. Crosscut Saw - One's Too Many (1975)
       from album 'mad, bad & dangerous to know'
08. The Marshall Tucker Band - Hillbilly Band (1973)
       from album 'the marshall tucker band'
09. Epitaph - Paradise For Sale (1972)
       single
10. Travis Wammack - Funk #49 (1972)
       from album 'travis wammack'
11. George Hatcher Band - I'm Calling (1977)
       from album "talkin' turkey"
12. Kid Dynamite - Music Man (1976)
       from album 'kid dynamite'
13. Swampgas - Eulogy (1972)
       from album 'swampgas'
14. Lafauci - My Woman (1978)
       from album 'lafauci'
15. Target - Runaway (1977)
       from album 'captured'
16.  Dirty Tricks - Black Diamond (1976)
       from album 'hit & run'

Thanks for listening! Rich

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Day After The Sabbath 64: Afterburner (Roadburn Special)

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Unzip password:  tdats
Here is Volume 64, the second part of the two-part special which started here. As before, I will leave it to the organiser of Roadburn festival in Tilburg, Holland, to explain some more :-

"We're huge supporters of Rich Stonerdoom's The Day After The Sabbath blog. It's the main source in our quest for obscure heavy 60s and 70s rock. Now, Rich has dedicated some of his compilations to Roadburn; these two special volumes include all the classic 70s bands that have played the festival so far, along with tracks from a host of Dutch rock novelties and obscurities, which we wholeheartedly endorse!" - Roadburn festival 2012.

Supersister
Supersister, from The Hague, started out in 1968 and along the way included ex-members of renowned Dutch bands Brainbox, Bintags and Livin'Blues, including drummer Herman van Boeijen who was also in 'Panda' later on this comp. They had a markedly different, more progressive approach than those bluesy bands and are often associated with the English Canterbury scene which they pre-dated by a couple of years. Centering on Robert Jan Stips' intense and at times evil sounding keyboards, 'She Was Naked' was a single that was not originally included on any of their 4 full-lengths, and it perfectly demonstrates their schizophrenic dark/light nature. Our first Roadburn appearance band is Leaf Hound, who played the fest in 2006, and will do so again this year to celebrate their 40th anniversary (though Pete French is the only original member). Leaf Hound's album, 'Growers of mushroom' was re-discovered in the 80s as a lost classic and at times has commanded silly money from record dealers. Evolving from Black Cat Bones, who originally included later-members of Free - Paul Kossoff and Simon Kirke, and guitarist Rod Price who departed to join Foghat, they were joined by vocalist Pete French with his cousin Mick Halls on guitar. French later left to join Atomic Rooster and then Cactus, so he really is something of a TDATS hero! I have been lucky enough to see him perform with Leaf Hound in London a few times in recent years and am glad to report his voice sounds as good as ever!

Panda were a short-lived act from Noord-Holland that included members of Turquoise, Tortilla, Cuby, Livin'Blues, Modesty Blaise, Bintangs and Tee Set. Herman Van Boeyen (drums) later formed Vitesse. They had a minor hit in 1971 with 'No Coockies', of which the b-side "Swingin' About" is interesting to us heavy-hunters, it's an unusual track with a lumbering sabbathian riff and cool flashes of sax and flute. Track four approaches, I have been aware of the Influenza single for a while now, but have always thought it was French, as that is what's usually stated. With the recent assistance of knowledgeable Dutch fans (take another bow Marc) I have confirmed that they were Dutch and drummer Pieter Voogt was in the successful symphonic prog band Ekseption. Both sides of the single "Astral Plane / Trick" are great pieces of West Coast-influenced dreamy psych. 

Speedtwins
Earth & Fire were a Dutch progressive pop group, who made some interesting stuff in their early career which betrayed hard rock influences. The track I've used here called 'Memories' was a single from 1972, it's like an Abba song (stay with me here) that is taken somewhere else entirely by Gerard Koerts' stabs of heavy distorted mellotron, and they went into even harder Sabbath territory with some of their b-sides like Lost Forever. With the presentable Jerney Kaagman fronting the group, I can't help being reminded of retro-minded contemporary bands like Blood Ceremony (who played Roadburn last year). In a slight diversion from the TDATS norm, we move on to some late 70s punk, Speedtwins (see interesting interview with frontman here) appeal to me as they have a rough distorted sound which lends a heavier and more 'rock' sound than average punk has, and their 1978 album 'It's More Fun to Compete' shows genuine don't-give-a-fuck humour beyond mere punk bandwagoneering. From its intro you'd be forgiven for thinking that 'Midnight Ladies' is going down some Sandinista-era Clash route but you'd be wrong...

Originally the "Sandy Coast Skiffle Group", Voorburg's Sandy Coast formed in the early 60s and after winning a Hitwezen Magazine-organised talent search, were awarded a Negram record contract. Being a band that followed the vogue sound of the times, they started out as a beat group with their '67 debut, then delved into some Beatle's and early-Floydish psych sound experimentation with 1968's 'From The Workshop'. With 1969's LP "Shipwreck", they didn't change their over-all sound too much, and remained quite mellow, except for a couple of important exceptions. With their 14 minute masterpiece 'Shipwreck', pre-dating the story-telling inclinations of Rick Wakeman's Journey To The Center of the Earth and Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds by a few years, they weave an epic mariner's tale of sea-going disaster. By drifting in and out of a heavy, repetitive 'Impossible Mission' theme-like central riff, they convey the ups and downs from a sailor's perspective. Ron Westerbeek's use of keyboards for atmosphere and sound effects, and Onno Bevoort's varied drumming combine to great effect and make for an exciting, tension-building trip. It leaves me wishing they had carried on with this proto-prog pomposity as it shows them in their element, and were a few years ahead of their time with it too.

First Utterance
There is scarce information on Fullhouse from Utrecht, they made two or three singles in the late sixties which were quite light affairs, but like a lot of acts back then, they let go with their less commercial intensions on a b-side. "The Wizard of Khu", like Panda's "Swingin' About", was one of these times, It also has some great aggressive vox and the same lurching quality that really gives the riffs a weighty feeling. Heavy stuff for 1968 and one of those tracks you can imagine a modern stoner rock/doom band having a lot of fun covering. Comus are our penultimate Roadburn band, they played the fest in 2010. They are a folk/art rock band making heavy use of violins and eastern percussion. Although being short-lived in their initial incarnation between 71-74, they are cited as influences by many notable musicians. Opeth have made direct references to their lyrics in more than one song and Current 93's folk-experimentalist David Tibett covered 'Diana' from the first album, 1971's "First Utterance", from which I have also taken "The Bite". They have plans to release new material this year, which will be the first in almost 40 years. Johnny Lion & The Jumping Jewels, from The Hague, started in the early 60's as an instrumental beat group. They achieved a reasonable level of chart success and in '65 a falling-out caused Johnny Lion to go it alone. Legal wrangling meant the remaining members were forced to change their name so they became JaysJays. Taking on Willem Duyn as singer they recorded a self-titled in 1966, from which "Cruncher" is taken. A heavy and reckless jam, Cruncher is the perfect name for it and you can just feel heavy-metal barriers being broken down as it plays out, ending on walls of feedback. Heavy stuff for '66 indeed.


Dragonfly
The core of Vlissingen's Dragonfly were brothers Rudy and Tonny de Queljoe, who moved from Ambon, an island in Indonesia, to The Netherlands in 1951. They went through a number of bands and names with singer Johnny Caljouw until settling with 'Dragonfly', and the addition of Huib Power (drums) plus Carlos van den Berg (guitar). Though showing more than enough potential for success, ultimately they only recorded two high quality singles, which were released together as the EP "4 Celestial Songs" in 1968. Disagreements and a falling out between band and manager led to show cancellations which they never quite recovered from, later the de Queljoe bros went on to Brainbox and Caljouw joined Machine. Machine can be found on Vol.10, and Brainbox on my first ever Dutch comp, vol35 from last year. Dragonfly are remembered for two things in particular, Rudy de Queljoe's fine Hendrixian guitar abilities, and each member’s trade-mark black and white face paint patterns, predating Kiss by a few years. We come to the final Roadburn band for this pair of comps, Guru Guru, who played in 2008. Like their friends Amon Düül, Can and Xhol Caravan, they were a formative Krautrock band that came out of the leftist political scene of the times, living in communes and promoting free thinking through free-form jazz rock. "Der Elektrolurch" is on their 5th, eponymous album from 1973.

Hans Dulfer
We near the end with Dordrecht's Inca Bullet Joe, who came from the remains of the well known Dutch psych group The Zipps. They only made one EP, but all three tracks are great, "Nothing Has Changed" maintains a constant steady rhythm, with glam stomp. It builds in intensity with layers of synth creating a basic melodic refrain. All these parts lend a unique and memorable over-all feeling that I really like. Again I must give props to Robin Wills' awesome blog for digging this rare 45 out. The end is come with Amsterdam's "Hans Dulfer and Ritmo Natural". After further reading I have discovered that Hans is something of an international celebrity within cross-over jazz and jazz fusion circles. Candy Clouds, from 1971, is one of his earliest, least-known works and has some fine jazz that rock fans who would normally steer clear of anything described using the word 'fusion' (myself included) need not be afraid of, it avoids the usual pitfalls of inaccessible jazz-prog wankery....the track 'Candy Clouds' begins with a simple, HUGE doom riff that brings Sabbath to mind, and his saxophone playing is stripped-down but never less than expressive.

Track List:

01. Supersister - She Was Naked (1970)
       single
02. Leaf Hound - Stagnant Pool (1971)
       from album 'growers of mushroom'
03. Panda - Swingin' About (1971)
       single
04. Influenza - Astral Plane (1971)
       single
06. Earth & Fire - Memories (1972)
       single
07. Speedtwins - Midnight Ladies (1978)
       from album 'it's more fun to compete'
08. Sandy Coast - Shipwreck (1969)
       from album 'shipwreck'
09. Fullhouse - The Wizard of Khu (1968)
       single
10. Comus - The Bite (1970)
       from album 'first utterance'
11. JayJays - Cruncher (1966)
       from album 'Jay-Jays'
12. Dragonfly - Celestial Empire (1968)
       from ep '4 celestial songs'
13. Guru Guru - Der Elektrolurch [edit] (1973)
       from album 'guru guru'
14. Inca Bullet Joe - Nothing Has Changed (1971)
       single
15. Hans Dulfer and Ritmo Natural - Candy Clouds [Pt. I] (1971)
       from album 'candy clouds'

Thanks for listening! Rich

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references:
Alex Gitlin's Nederpop Encyclopedia | Dutch Progessive Rock
Nederbeat | Dutch Sixties Beatgroups | Gooisch Pop Archief

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Vol 63 update: improved Mushroom

I have been kindly provided with a far superior sounding rip of the magnificent Mushroom track used on the Dutch Vol63,  I've added it to the main download, I have also made the single track available here if you don't want to download the entire comp again.

The second and final Dutch roadburn comp, vol 64, will be up in the next few days, those of you hankering for some more windmill-propelled doom, go get volume 35 if you haven't already, my first Dutch comp. Rich

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Volume 10 re-vamped: Lonesome Tree


I have improved volume 10 a little, by using some far-better sound quality versions of the Machine and Jukin' Bone tracks, adding more detail to the bios and giving it a title; Lonesome Tree. This is a great time to get it if you haven't already, re-listening to it last night reminded what an excellent, all heavy-riffing volume it is, made in the earlier days of the blog when proto-metal was my main focus. Allow me to take you back in time and get it here.
Enjoy! Rich.