Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Day After The Sabbath 108: Born Under a Bad Sign [Blues 3]

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Welcome to #108, this has been in gestation for a while so I managed a pretty quick turn around once i'd perfected it, if you haven't had a chance to get the previous Volume 107 (Austrian special) from a few days ago yet, here it is.

This is the the third bluesy volume of TDATS, which now makes for these so far; Vol54, Vol79 and Vol108. Take your pick from 15 tracks of seriously heavy, or seriously psychedelic bluesrock, all guaranteed to have you strutting and mooching all the way down to your local speakeasy. We have UK, US, German and Australian acts joining the party, ranging from 1968 to 1975, with all but two acts being new to TDATS. They include the band that evolved into Leaf Hound, a guy who would later be in proto-punks The Tubes, and a guy who was in Noel Redding's band, but quit the music industry for 14 years to become a commander in the Royal Navy.

What can I say about the importance of bluesrock to everything TDATS that hasn't already been said? Mostly associated with heavy R&B acts that emerged in the UK around the mid-'60s, The Blues Breakers, The Yardbirds and Cream sure have a lot to answer for, and Hendrix was playing his part too. This boom lead to tracks such as Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love" and Hendrix's "Fire" or "Purple Haze", which have some of the most all-time influential riffs upon what became heavy metal. Around the same time there was Blue Cheer in San Francisco, cranking out super-heavy stoned interpretations of the blues. Of course even Black Sabbath themselves started out as "The Polka Tulk Blues Band".

01. Juicy Lucy - Willie The Pimp (1970)
        from album 'Lie Back And Enjoy It'
02. The Sacred Mushroom - You Won't Be Sorry (1969)
        from album 'The Sacred Mushroom'
03. Darius - Ancient Paths (1968)
        from album 'Darius'
04. Chicken Bones - Feeling (1975)
        from album 'Hardrock In Concert'
05. Growl - I Wonder (1974)
        from album 'Growl'
06. Tangerine - A.J.F. (1971)
        from album 'The Peeling Of Tangerine'
07. Apple Pie Motherhood Band - Born Under a Bad Sign (1968)
        from album 'The Apple Pie Motherhood Band'
08. Majic Ship - Free (1970)
        from album 'Majic Ship'
09. Chain - Black & Blue (1971)
        from album 'The History of Chain'
10. Dave Carlsen - Big Jake (1973)
        from album 'Pale Horse'
11. Freeman Sound & Friends - 16 Tons (1970)
        from album 'Heavy Trip'
12. Magic Sand - You Better Be Ready (1970)
        from album 'Magic Sand'
13. Warren S. Richardson Jr. - Stella (1969)
        from album 'Warren S. Richardson Jr.'
14. White Mule - Hundred Franc Blues (1970)
15. Black Cat Bones - Save My Love (1970)
        from album 'Barbed Wire Sandwich'

Juicy Lucy - "Lie Back And Enjoy It" LP pull-out
Juicy Lucy - "Lie Back And Enjoy It" LP pull-out
Juicy Lucy was a short-lived commercial blues band that counted Mick Moody in its ranks, later of Whitesnake and other acts. The band was started by The Misunderstood (See Vol62) members Ray Owen, Glenn Ross Campbell (Steel guitar) and Chris Mercer (saxophone). Paul Williams puts on a great vocal performance here, he was the second singer for the band after Ray Owen left for a solo career. Their cover of 'Willie The Pimp' is fantastic, it really shows the combined talents of the band, along with the great slide guitar of Glenn Ross Campbell. In my opinion they never made a classic album, but it's clear they had the abilities. The original is a Frank Zappa song, from the 'Hot Rats' album, and Stackwaddy also did a cool version.

The Sacred Mushroom LP
The Sacred Mushroom LP
Sacred Mushroom are up next with a concise little psych blues rocker, here is AllMusic.com's review: "Led by future Pure Prairie League member Larry Goshorn (guitar/vocals) and featuring brother Danny Goshorn (vocals) -- Sacred Mushroom were a short-lived rock/blues quintet based in Cincinnati, OH. Their efforts coalesce on this, the band's self-titled debut (and only) long-player. The album contains a blend of proficient originals as well as a pair of well-chosen cover tunes, such as the blues standard "Mean Old World" and the Kinks' "I'm Not Like Everybody Else." While their name conjures images of late-'60s psychedelic or acid rock, Sacred Mushroom's roots were decidedly more bluesy than trippy. Likewise, their harder-edged performance style is well served by the tight and somewhat pop-driven arrangements, resembling artists such as the Allman Joys, Kak, or the pre-Blue Öyster Cult Stalk-Forrest Group. A few of the Larry Goshorn-penned tunes are certifiably lost classics. These include the up-tempo rocker "Catatonic Lover," which features some lyrical chord changes reminiscent of "3/5's of a Mile in 10 Seconds" by Jefferson Airplane, and the Chicago blues-style waltz "All Good Things Must End." The latter is highlighted by some inspired harp playing from Rusty Work. The opening track, "I Don't Like You," is a funky rocker spotlighting the Goshorn Brothers' tight harmonies as well as Larry's distinctive lead electric guitar licks. Another standout is their reworking of "I'm Not Like Everybody Else." The track retains a timeless pop sensibility that incorporates interweaving acoustic and electric guitar lines. "Lifeline," the most extended track on the disc, recalls the electric blues of seminal Fleetwood Mac or Stan Webb's Chicken Shack. Along the same lines is the blues boogie rendering of "Mean Old World," which might easily be mistaken for an obscure version by a mid-'60s lineup of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. After decades of poorly manufactured European bootleg reproductions, Larry Goshorn has reissued Sacred Mushroom.

Darius LP (1968) front
Darius LP (1968) front
Darius comes in on track 3 with a really nice trad blues-sounding track with plenty of grunt in the guitar dept. Thanks to RDTEN1 at RYM and badcatrecords.com for his opinions on the next act: "So what can I tell you about this guy Darius? Well his given name was Robert Joe Ott and he was apparently originally from Cleveland, Ohio, but in the mid-1960s relocated to Los Angeles where he attracted the attention of the Hollywood-based Chartmaker label.  Released in late 1968 "Darius" was co-produced by Pat Glasser and Butch Parker.  Personally I don't hear the Jim Morrison comparisons that some reviewers allude to, but Darius had a voice that was quite commercial and was well suited to material like the should've-been-hits 'Dawn' and 'I'm the Man''.  Featuring ten original efforts, songs like 'Shades of Blue', 'Ancient Paths' and 'Hear What I Say'  offered up a great blend of dark pop and psych moves.

Darius LP (1968) rear
Darius LP (1968) rear
Interestingly, while there was nothing wrong with Darius 'I'm hurt' and 'love is unfair' lyrics, the key ingredient in making the album so good was the support he got from his un-credited backing band - fellow Chartmaster recording act Goldenrod (See Vol31).  Lead guitarist Ben Benay, drummer Toxey French and bassist Jerry Scheff may have been studio professionals who were best known for their work with Elvis Presley, but on this album they cut loose, decorating tracks like 'Mist-Veiled Garden' and 'Blow My Mind' with some amazing fuzz guitar, sitar, and other period accompaniment.  Killer !!!  (Always loved the egomaniacal back cover photo...  You can tell that Darius was sure he was about to become a major star!)"

Chicken Bones - Hardrock In Concert LP (1976)
Chicken Bones
"Hardrock In Concert" LP
(1976) front
The next belter is a mostly-instrumental, galloping jam from Germany's Chicken Bones. Taken from Silverado Rare Music: "The title of Chicken Bones' album Hardrock In Concert (1976) says it all! There are six "very hard rocking tracks" included therein, performed in the good old tradition of the early seventies heavy progressive scene. Most of the album is instrumental, and offers Rainer Geuecke plenty of opportunities to reveal his musical skills. The two longest tracks are the highlights: "Water" with the whisper of the sea and some beautiful acoustic guitar and "Factory Girl" which was in a more typical hard rock vein. This album has an excellent and well-balanced sound for a private release. The recordings were done in only one week live in the studio - or more probably a barn!

Chicken Bones "Hardrock In Concert" LP (1976) rear
Chicken Bones
"Hardrock In Concert" LP
(1976) rear
These were an obscure heavy progressive act, who almost certainly had their roots in the late-1960's, and were definitely inspired by Jimi Hendrix and early British bands, like Back Sabbath, Tractor, et al., but were notably much more free and improvised. Despite the title of their album, Chicken Bones were not at all mundane hard rock, but were highly creative and often moved very close to May Blitz, early UFO or Cargo, but with lots of nice moves and flowery guitar work-outs. Basic, and gutsy admittedly, Chicken Bones were a lot better than the reputation that preceded them, and their album became quite a sought after obscurity. Chicken Bones existed in various forms for around a decade, afterwards ending up as the vastly inferior more metal oriented Revanche, then eventually disbanding in the 1980's.

Growl LP (1974) rear showing band
Growl LP (1974)
rear showing band
Growl are up next with a piece of great hard rock, full of blues attitude. They were formed in 1969, originally as 'Utopia' (not the Todd Rundgren group), under which name they made one album in that year (see Vol44). The s/t Growl LP was produced by Robert Duffey on Frank Zappa and Herb Cohen's DiscReet label in 1974, which seems to have been the year of the band's demise too. Both the Utopia and Growl albums are a mixed bag of rock 'n' roll, hard rock, and blues rock, but there are some worthy tracks. "I Wonder" is one of the best. Dennis Rodriguez (guitar, vocals), Harry Brender A. "Brandis" (guitar, backing vocals), Geno Lucero (bass) and Danny McBride (drums) were the guys previously in Utopia. Later Growl additions mentioned on RYM were Frank Krajnbrink (guitar, 1969-74), Richard Manuputi (vocals, 1974) and Mick Small (guitar, 1974). I have been unable to find much more info on the band.

Tangerine roll in with a Blue Cheerful vibe and guitar sound. From the Rockasteria page: ''The Peeling of Tangerine'' is the Gear-Fab CD reissue of their ultra-rare LP from 1971, recorded at the famous WRS Recording Studios in Pittsburgh, PA.

The Peeling of Tangerine
The Peeling of Tangerine front
Led by the multi-instrumentalist Ferraro brothers Al and Crash (they mainly played guitar), Tangerine started playing together in the late '60s. In many ways, The band recalls a slightly heavier Santana; the music is full of Latin chord progressions, salsafied and tribal drumming and percussion, and Al Ferraro's rousing guitar work, as well as some of the dynamics of early '70s psychedelia and soul. The band doesn't stake out their own musical ground and the songs are not altogether distinctive enough; more often than not, they sound like unstructured (but not formless) jams passing for songs. In the other hand, those jams are often scintillating, with a slight mysterious lurch -- had they been honed in and further fleshed out, they had the makings of blazing tunes. Underused lead vocalist Al Ferraro is a blue-eyed soul shouter along the lines of Steve Winwood, and the band can really cook.

The Peeling of Tangerine rear
The Peeling of Tangerine rear
Side 2 of the LP is where it's at, and is made up primarily of a heavy jams in the Iron Butterfly, Blue Cheer mold. The 13-minute final cut, "My Main Woman," perhaps summarizes both Tangerine's abilities and excesses best. The song contains gorgeous passages of snaking guitar lines, hyper drumming, and rumbling bass as well as joyous percussive parts, but those parts can go on far longer than taste would merit, thus losing the momentum and drive of the song for short spells before regaining its footing which was reminiscent of Iron Butterfly. Of this final track, Record Collector magazine says: "Al Ferraro’s fine, gutsy vocals crop up too infrequently, but his low-definition, fuzzball guitar soloing is everywhere, not least on My Main Woman, 13 long minutes of aimless grunt. The conga solo is the highlight – which surely speaks volumes."

The Apple Pie Motherhood Band LP (1968)
Apple Pie Motherhood Band
 LP (1968)
At the mid-point is The Apple Pie Motherhood Band with the namesake of this volume, and an excellent psychedelic cover of this classic blues song it is too. Review from Allmusic.com - "The Apple Pie Motherhood Band were a Boston collective with a formative heavy blues base and equally earthy  psychedelia. With Atlantic Records staff producer Felix Pappalardi behind the console, the results were a reflection of the ever-changing pop/rock soundscape. Although the band's lineup kept changing, the ensemble credited here includes Dick Barnaby (bass), Jack Bruno (drums), Joe Castagno (guitar), Ted Demos (guitar), and Jeff Labes (organ/piano). Marilyn Lundquist (vocal) was temporarily filling the vocalist's void, her dulcet tones grace several songs. The thoroughly-explored reading of Albert King's "Born Under a Bad Sign" is an obvious homage to British supergroup trio Cream.

The best of the band can be heard on the seven-plus minute slice of psych medley that links the group-penned instrumental "The Ultimate" to a blue-eyed soulful interpretation of Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon's "Contact." The number was a return to the Apple Pie Motherhood Band's prototype C.C. & the Chasers -- whose single "Put the Clock Back on the Wall" b/w "Two & Twenty" were both from the Bonner/Gordon songbook. The Apple Pie Motherhood Band would continue with a revolving door personnel for another year and release their swan song Apple Pie (1970) shortly before breaking up at the dawn of that decade.

Majic Ship LP (1970)
Majic Ship LP (1970)
'50s singer Johnny Mann discovered Majic Ship, and many of their earliest recordings veered toward a sort of garage-pop hybrid that was, at best, pleasant. One Tokens-produced side, "Green Plant," on the other hand, hinted that the hearts of the members of the band lay in garage-psych heavy rock. When it came time to record their self-titled debut album in 1969, the music was much more in that vein.

Gear Fab's "The Complete Recordings" CD collects all of the band's official recordings, including early singles and demos. Majic Ship prominently featured Gus Riozzi's organ and Mike Garrigan's distinctive hard rock holler. The other noted members are Tom Nikosey (guitar), Philip Polimeni (guitar), Rob Buckman (drums) and Ray Rifice (guitar). The sound was only a few steps removed from fellow New Yorkers Vanilla Fudge, and like that band, Majic Ship also made use of popular songs by other artists. Two of the most interesting songs on the collection are covers of the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody" and a medley of Neil Young's "Down by the River" and Stephen Stills' "For What It's Worth." The real starting point on the CD is "It's Over." It is here that the band began to display the heavy, nearly over-the-top rock sound.

Majic Ship LP (1970) insert
Majic Ship LP (1970) insert
Psychedelic Baby Review - "Majic Ship's existence came to a dreary end in 1971 when their equipment was claimed by a fire. 1999 saw the Mike Garrigan and Tommy Nikosey reunite, resulting in an album titled "Songwaves Project" that also included Cher, ex- Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor, Dave Amato from REO Speedwagon, and drummer Ron Wikso, who has played with everyone from Foreigner to David Lee Roth to Cher to Randy Meisner to Denny Laine. Although the disc is poppier than "Majic Ship," it's still strongly recommended and adds a nice touch to the band's legacy."

Chain - Towards The Blues LP 1971
Towards The Blues LP (1971)
Classic Aussie band Chain appear in TDATS for the first time, with a slow-burning track suitable for a 'chain' gang. This is a live rendition but I'm not sure from when or where exactly, it is found on 'The History of Chain' album (1974). They formed in Melbourne as The Chain in late 1968 with a lineup including guitarist, vocalist Phil Manning; they are sometimes known as Matt Taylor's Chain after lead singer-songwriter and harmonica player, Matt Taylor. The band was named by Australian blues Singer, Wendy Saddington, after the song "Chain of Fools" by Aretha Franklin.

Their January 1971 single "Black & Blue", which became their only top twenty hit, was recorded by a Chain line-up of Manning, Taylor, drummer Barry Harvey and bass guitarist Barry Sullivan. The related album, Toward the Blues, followed in September and peaked in the top ten albums chart. They are Australia's defining bluesrock band, and you can read plenty more about them here at Milesago.

Dave Carlsen - Pale Horse LP
Dave Carlsen - Pale Horse LP
Dave Carlsen's real name is Dave Clarke. He made his first solo record "Pale Horse" under the Carlsen pseudonym (apparently to avoid confusion with The Dave Clark Five's leader) in 1973, with assistance from Keith Moon and Noel Redding. After this he was a formative member of The Noel Redding Band (two LPs), and also briefly the "Jimmy McCulloch & White Line" band (one LP). After various other musical collaborations, none of which yielded much, Dave Clarke joined the Royal Navy in 1979. He saw active service in the Falklands War and elsewhere and retired as a Commander in 1992. He has been lead singer and lead guitarist with The Kast Off Kinks since 1994. (wikipedia)

Freeman Sound
Freeman Sound LP
At track 11 is a really heavy cover of a bluesy country classic, Merle Travis's Sixteen Tons. It was in Motherheast, Ohio USA, in 1969, midway between the towns of Warren and Cortland, that five determined young musicians, Ray Escott - Lead Vocals, LJ Fortier - Drums, John Harrow - Lead Guitar, Vocals, "Buster" McCarthy - Bass, Vocals, and Kurt Sunderman - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals, started getting together in the damp basement of LJ's parents home on Sunday mornings in an effort to try to carry on with their dreams of being in a successful Rock band. Having won the Starshine Productions' "Battle of the Bands" in 1970, the five-member Freeman Sound was established as the most popular of several bands (including Morly Grey), that had records released on the Starshine label.

Freeman Sound never made an official LP, but the World In Sound archival release "Freeman Sound And Friends - Heavy Trip" includes 12 tracks with bio and photos. You'll get stoned on some mind-bending vocals backed by instrumentation that includes some very intense, heavy fuzz and wah pedal guitar sounds, solid drums and a screaming organ, with flashes of famous British groups. Prepare to get off on cuts like the heaviest version of Merle Travis' "16 Tons" ever recorded!

Magic Sand LP (1970)
Magic Sand LP (1970)
Thanks to tymeshifter for his research on The Magic Sand at RYM. "One of the enduring mysteries of psych record collecting has been the nature of the relationship between The Hooterville Trolley and this band. The Trolley's single "No Silver Bird" (See Vol50) has long been an icon of the genre, but that single represented the sum total recorded output of that band, at least under that name. When it was discovered that the exact same track turned up on this album, retitled as "Get Ready to Fly", rumors began to fly instead. The most common and widely believed was that the Trolley, or at least one member, became The Magic Sand. After recording this album, they wanted to give their earlier masterpiece another outing, so they included it here, despite its being completely out of place in this setting. But that scenario did nothing to explain why the song writing credits went to Ernie Phillips on the single, and someone named A.Klein on this album, the latter name never having been associated with The Hooterville Trolley. Well, I am proud to announce that, having just returned from an investigative sojourn, I am finally able to put the subject to rest. The bass guitarist from the Trolley, one Don Kinney, passed away several years ago. But I was able to track down his sister, who put me in contact with his first wife, who was married to him during those critical years.

The Hooterville Trolley - "No Silver Bird" single
The Hooterville Trolley
"No Silver Bird" single
She told me this story: "No Silver Bird" was originally written by Ernie Phillips. The band was dissatisfied with his version, and sort of punched it up a little bit on their own. The song was recorded in Norman Petty's famed studios in Clovis, NM, at a time shortly after he had just acquired a new mellotron. He was eager to use this new piece of equipment and the band were happy to oblige, literally drenching their song with psychedelic keyboards. They cut two versions of the song that day. The studio time had been paid for by their so-called manager, one Tommy Benvinedez, who insisted on rights to the music they recorded that day, for which he would pay royalties should anything ever come of it. It was Tommy B. who was behind the Magic Sand project. There was no real band by this name. It was entirely a studio project put together by Benvinedez incorporating all sorts of stuff, the exact sources of which are unknown. Some may have been recorded specifically for this album. Other tracks, such as The Trolley's, he just had laying around and decided to throw on here (incidentally, the version that appears on the album was the second take recorded at Petty's studios that day, and not the one on the single). Consequently, the styles of music are all over the place, from country to rock, and everything in between, and  don't even sound to be recorded during the same time frame. Overall, this one is a bit of a disappointment, despite the inclusion of such a notable track. But don't be afraid to check it out for some hidden gems you might discover on your own."

Warren S. Richardson Jr. LP front
Warren S. Richardson Jr. LP
From the PHROCK blog (RIP): "A bunch of on-line references question whether Warren S. Richardson Jr. is in fact former Tubes guitarist Bill Spooner. Given that Spooner's website includes the album in its discography section I'd say the answer is yes. By the way, here's the link to his website: http://www.billspooner.com. As a word of warning, anyone expecting to hear something along the same lines as The Tubes patented weirdness is going to be majorly disappointed by this album. In 1967 Richardson-nee Spooner contributed lead guitar to Michael Condello's "Condello" LP. A couple of years later Condello apparently repaid the favour by producing 1969's cleverly-titled "Warren S. Richardson Jr.".

Warren S. Richardson Jr. LP rear
Warren S. Richardson Jr. LP
Richardson was credited with penning all six tracks and material like 'Reputation'' and 'Shady Lady' offered up a pretty good set of fuzz-propelled hard rock. Nothing here is particularly original and you may well feel like you've heard some of this stuff elsewhere, but Spooner had a voice that was well suited to the genre and this was one of those rare albums that actually seemed to benefit from the addition of horns (courtesy of Owen Eugene Hale, Richard Lewis and Joseph Ray Trainer). In case anyone cared, perhaps because it strayed a little bit from the predominantly hard rock formula, excluding the needless and seemingly endless drum solo, the psych-tinged 'Wind and Rain' struck me as the standout effort on the album."

White Mule
White Mule
White Mule is another name for illicitly-made booze like moonshine, white lightning, mountain dew, hooch, and Tennessee white whiskey. Whether or not this was the intended meaning for the band at track 14 I don't know. Harlow, UK's White Mule were Geoff Carpenter on guitar and vocals, John "Culley" Culleton on bass, John "Gypie Mayo" Cawthra on guitar and vocals and John Glasgow on drums. Brian Wren replaced John Glasgow on drums. Bruce Trotter came on board as an extra vocalist and Yanni Flood-Page was added as a second guitar after that. They toured Europe a lot and released two singles, Looking Through Cats Eyes (credited to Flood-Page) and a Mungo Jerry cover "In The Summertime". There are three different versions of their singles listed at 45cat, all of which have 'Hundred Franc Blues' as the b-side. According to bandtoband.com, John Cawthra was later in Dr. Feelgood and a late version of Yardbirds.

Blues Before Sunrise
Blues Before Sunrise
White Mule evolved from Blues Before Sunrise, who "formed around 1967 and were, Jeff Carpenter, guitar, John 'Culley' Culleton, bass, Bruce Trotter, vocals, and John Glasgow on drums. In 1968 Jeff and John left to be replaced by Brian Wren on drums and Gypie Mayo on guitar and vocals. They quickly changed their name to White Mule. Jeff later played with Sheena Easton on her early hits and albums."

White Mule - In The Summertime / Hundred Franc Blues single
White Mule
In The Summertime /
Hundred Franc Blues
Alias were a jamming unit circa 1975-1977 consisting of White Mules' Brian Wren, drums, "Culley", bass, Bill Sharpe, keyboards and Gypie Mayo on guitar. Alias were often seen jamming in the Triad in Bishop's Stortford, or The Orange Footman. "We'd hit a groove and just go with it, usually a funky thing, and play the bollocks off it and quite often end up in a psychedelic miasma. Great fun" - Gypie Mayo. Guests often included Roger O-Dell, drums, Keith Winter on guitar. Brian Wren was later in another Harlow band, Red Express. Roger, Keith and Bill Sharpe went on to form Shakatak in the 80's and have a string of hits. Thanks to the Harlow Band Archive for most of this White Mule information, I really didn't think I was going to find anything on them.

Black Cat Bones band
Black Cat Bones band
Closing this set, Black Cat Bones (named after a Hoodoo charm associated with blues music) shouldn't need too much introduction here. A band that were familiar on the London pub circuit, they are well-known to have included Paul Kossoff and Simon Kirke before they left for Free. After many line-up changes and the album "Barbed Wire Sandwich" the final death knell came. The last remaining members Derek and Stuart Brooks were joined by vocalist Pete French and guitarist Mike Halls from the Brunning / Hall Sunflower Blues Band. After adding drummer Keith George Young, the outfit became the hard rock band Leaf Hound in 1970 (see vol1 and vol64). Again, Leaf Hound shouldn't need to much of an introduction here, the "Growers Of Mushroom" LP is one of the best heavy underground records ever.

Black Cat Bones - "Barbed Wire Sandwich" LP
Black Cat Bones - "Barbed Wire Sandwich" LP
Thanks for listenin'. Rich

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