Friday, January 23, 2015

The Day After The Sabbath 114: World In Sound [label interview]

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Those of you that spend a lot a lot of time looking for obscurities in the realm of '60s/'70s rock will no doubt be familiar with some of the independent record labels that are re-issuing lost gems. They are of course one of the essential driving forces that keep the interest going in this scene, frequently revealing new artists' work that was previously lost in the vaults of old studios or forgotten in shoe boxes in dusty attics. Myself and everyone else who shares this stuff is indebted to them for making this music known and accessible. I list all the labels that I have used music from so far in the 'recommended' section on the right, so please check that out at some point.

Chris Peters
I was recently contacted by someone who works for one of these labels. He is Chris Peters (link), singer and guitarist for the contemporary heavy psych band 'Samsara Blues Experiment'. There is another great interview with him here at ItsPsychedelicBaby (link). One of his other pass-times is assisting in the running of the independent label that his band is signed to, called 'World In Sound', aka 'WIS' (website). Originally started in 1998 by founder Wolf, the label began as a '60s-'70s rarity re-issue label, and has since branched out into signing current bands. In a recent vision-shift it has just moved on to its first '80s re-issue, as you will read below. I have used music from WIS re-issued acts more than a few times in this blog before, Fear Itself (Vol97), Ellison (Vol12), Darius (Vol108) and Goldenrod (Vol31) to name a few. Therefore I was more than happy to join-in with Chris's suggestion of doing a spotlight on the label, which is what volume 114 of TDATS has become.

What you get here is fifteen tracks which I have chosen as some of my personal faves from the WIS 'relics from the past' catalogue. This includes a few names that have appeared before in TDATS, and I am glad to say the rest have not, making for a very fresh set for you guys out there and some new discoveries to me. Label-owner Wolf has given us his opinions on the tracks. He also took part in an interview, which will be great for those of you interested in the world of re-issue labels and what it's like to run one. The majority of tracks are from albums, with two 45s, from Purple Canteen and Protein Bros. These are taken from the WIS obscure 45s comp, "Psychedelic Minds vol. 1" (link).

TRACKS with Wolf's comments (there's more detailed artist info at end of article)
01. Protein Bros - Drainpipe (1971)
        from album 'Psychedelic Minds Vol.1'
        Pure Euphoria! Also heavy as hell and should make everybody want to dance and freak
02. Gold - No Parking (1970)
        from album 'San Francisco Origins'
        For that period heavy as hell and in my opinion at least as powerful as "Ace of Spades"
03. Dragonwyck - The Vision (1970)
        from album 'Dragonwyck'
        Kind of a heavy punk version of the Doors' "Break on Through"
04. Purple Canteen - Brains In My Feet (1968)
        from album 'Psychedelic Minds Vol.1'
        Fuzziest Fuzz ever
05. Fred - By The Way (1971)
        from album 'Fred'
        Incredible music! An album which should be in each and every good '70s collection
06. Strawberry Window - Mercury (1967)
        from album 'Strawberry Window'
        The raw, intense roots of Westcoast heavy blues rock
07. Fear Itself - For Suki (1969)
        from album 'Fear Itself'
        Perfect culmination of teenage blues and distorted heaviness. Dramatic
08. Headstone - Ragin' River (1974)
        from album 'Still Looking'
        It was their later stuff, it´s a bonus track, a good 70s rocker, a ZZ-Top, AC/DC-like
        stomper, but the more excessive material is the album and the 45s.
09. Mystic Siva - Eyes Have Seen Me (1970)
        from album 'Mystic Siva'
        Mystic Siva were awesome performers. Checkout their live album “Under the 
        Influence”, incredible to me that they were just 16 on average when doing this. Most of
        their songs are really DIE HARD, which was also the major aspect in '80s thrash metal.
10. Jeff Simmons - I'm In The Music Business (1970)
        from album 'Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up'
        "I'm in the Music Business," in which the main character resorts to acting in a porn flick
        to pay his rent when his career as a musician goes nowhere. Frank Zappa produced the
        album and Simmons would later join The Mothers.
11. Freeman Sounds & Friends - If I Could Only (1970)
        from album 'Heavy Trip'
        A very epic heavy rock tune, heavy blues, haunting and unforgettable with stunning
        melodies and forceful guitar work. If it would have been released in 1971 it could have
        been a hit. It also has a bit of Krautrock flair
12. Psiglo - Cambiarás al Hombre (1974)
        from album 'Psiglo II'
        Theatrical South American prog psych at its best! Great rhythm changes and hammond
        riffs, mind-blowing guitar solo
13. Stoned Circus - Trust (1970)
        from album 'Revisited'
        Great! I invited them to Germany in 2005 and they came with original line up. It was
        pure and authentic!
14. Sproton Layer - The Blessing Of The Dawn Source (1970)
        from album 'With Magnetic Fields Disrupted'
        More than incredible! Roger Miller from Mission of Burma on Bass - super heavy -
        combines the hypnotic Syd Barrett feeling with late 70s punk. This is a work of 3
        brothers (all of them performed in "Destroy all Monsters") and the trumpet intro sounds
        like in a Sergio Leone western movie! I saw them live in 2014 and am still mind-blown,
        all people were smiling
15. Cosmic Dealer - Child Of Tomorrow (1973)
        from album 'Child Of Tomorrow'
        The Netherlands had a few spectacular bands with a typical "Dutch vibe" in songwriting.
        Shocking Blue were the heroes, and their heavy songs are just WOW! "Child Of
        Tomorrow" is a perfect heavy/pop rock song with cool Westcoast-feeling and from 2:28
        min. marching into the unexpected! Awesome! In my opinion that part could have been
        more extended to a real freakout, but it´s a song and not a jam. Still, in one word:
references Galactic Ramble Sproton Layer

Interview with label boss, Wolf

Q1. Hi Wolf, welcome to TDATS. Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself. Is 'Wolf' a nickname? Where are you from and where do you live in Germany?
Wolf is the short version of Wolfgang. I grew up here, close to Heidelberg in the south western part of Germany. For university I moved up 300 km north to Cologne, then returned and started my label as a hobby in 1998. Besides sports, music was always a true love of mine. My parents' musical taste plus the time I grew up as a kid (early-mid 70s) had a huge impact on my NOW-taste. It was Elvis, Pat Boone, '60s orchestra stuff and the Ennio Morricone Western or Jerry Cotton soundtracks, Joe Meek, who all had an epic, monumentally haunting feeling but catchy arrangements.This is what I call "dark euphoria" and what I see as one part of the World In Sound-philosophy.

Then in the 1980s I was a teen and at first owned only one vinyl; a 50s/60s Rock&Roll comp featuring Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Fats Domino - my next album was Judas Priest “Defenders of the Faith”… It was a great period for music and in retrospect the years 1983 - 1989 was the last serious revolutionary movement in rock history, when I had the ultimate pleasure of seeing Metallica with Cliff Burton in 1985, opening for Venom. Of course, most of the other acts that I saw live were a great experience. Almost every concert was a total blast and a happening with maximum tension - now days I often miss that magic. I feel mostly disappointed about today's LIVE heavy music scene. I ask myself sometimes, if the time to be truly euphoric is gone? Or is it that maybe the term 'euphoria' deserves a new definition?

Q2. Are you a musician yourself?
No I never played music but was always a passionate and conscious listener, hunting for intense and catchy music. I did professional sports for about half of my life (swimming).

Q3. Can you tell us some of the major events and influences in your life that led you to start "World in Sound"?
There was always the passion to discover great music and that is a lifetime quest and still growing. My major motivation was to dive deeper in the local US-underground scene while collecting 60s/70s original vinyl and 45 records at the end of the '90s. This was the period when lots of bootlegs flooded the market but also “popular” re-issue labels had been founded to create a renaissance with a look back to underground music history.

One day near the end of 1998, I decided spontaneously to release music on limited vinyl and to find the band members, with the hope to get more unreleased music and exciting biographies. And further, I had the intention of producing high quality releases, as an alternative for super expensive original albums, like Mystic Siva, Darius or Modulo 1000. I found several bands who just did rare 45 records, like Fred, and I was mind-blown (and still am) when I listened to their unreleased music for the first time.

Q4. Can you describe some of key moments in the development of the label since it started?
There were too many impressing moments to describe one as a key. It was a constant growth and it was always awesome, when after a difficult search for the original artists I had the right guy on the phone. Also meeting some of these guys and talking about their passion, what efforts they put in their music, was highly inspiring.

It was important for WIS to start with CD-releases in 2001, because by that it reached more international popularity. The next important step was to add contemporary groups on the label and most of the latest releases are really good albums, but especially live on stage most of my bands are really challenging.

Also, the jam-project Obskuria gave me an opportunity to produce albums and learn about studio work. I enjoyed the whole process of the production, from sharing ideas to recording, cutting, mixing and mastering it. It was a project with musicians from my label, Tom Brehm from Dragonwyck and the La Ira De Dios band, plus a keyboardist from my area. They jammed like hell and with the help of my sound-engineer we cut these jams to songs. It was a lot of fun and I still listen to it and I am mind-blown.

Q5. You cover a wide range of styles with WIS. TDATS is mainly about heavy stuff like hard rock and heavy prog/psych, but WIS equally features stuff like folk and experimental artists. Could you tell us what your favourite styles in old rock are, including some of your favourite artists from those times?
When people say heavy, I assume that they mean riff-orientated, doomy, less melodic and tight rock, like a hardcore-style kind of sound - Though I think true heaviness should also work on people´s minds and not just on their body, for me it´s more about intensity which is created by exciting layers, catchy melodies, fast(er) rhythms and a climax that every good song should have, plus unexpected movements which are floating into euphoric and hypnotic realms. I can not really tell you which styles I like. Before I already mentioned my "heroes" - the '80s thrash metal and punk movement was the strongest and most influential style, I have lived for - maybe also because of the chance to see all these great bands live on stage. Back then I took all my pocket money to the local record store ;-). I can for sure say that I'm not into most new styles, like Sludge, modern Doom or Nu-Metal, all that is too boring for me.

Q6. Personally, I think the short transitional period between the 60's and 70's was the best and most creatively interesting time in rock history. What are your opinions on why there was such a creative explosion during those times and what other periods interest you most up until the current day?
I totally agree with you, also 1955-1963 was spectacular when Rock & Roll and a serious youth movement opened up the gate - that heated people up for more freedom in music. Especially the fact that bands wrote their own songs, made the '60s/'70s movement this exciting and the naivety and passion of discovering something new drove it to the limit.

Compared to today the quality of dynamics in the productions had way more magical spirit due to the influences of classical/jazz orchestra music, which means the knowledge about music and how things work on the listener was at a higher level. Also that gave interesting crossover albums like Deep Purple the chance to combine classical movements with heavy rock and in the end it sounded like one big orchestra.

Q7. How do you choose the artists to reissue with WIS? Do you choose them all yourself, or do you have assistance or recommendations?
If I want to listen to an album over and over again, I want to release it. Of course I have friends who I "use" as test-listeners, also Chris Peters (from Samsara Blues Experiment and Electric Magic Records) consulted me for some releases, or forwarded to me bands like Postures and Sun And The Wolf. But my experience is, not to listen too much to other people, or think too long about things. It has to hit me from the first note or needs at least 50% of these "WOW"-songs. I think there are either way too many releases on the market, and I receive at least 2-3 demos a week, so I hope that every release is chosen well-enough to not end up in the 0.99ct special sale boxes (which is much less than the production cost).

Q8. How did you get together the obscure 45s that you used in your various artist comps like ''Psychedelic Minds Vol.1''.
They are all in my collection, good stuff ain't it? For a long time I've been thinking of a Vol. 2, so be prepared!

Q9. Do you have any interesting stories regarding how you found out about their lost work, or how you got in contact with any of the artists?
There were too many stories in that field of “detective-research”. Once I tried to locate Florencio Vargas from San Antonio TX. He's on the Psychedelic Minds sampler with the group Sangre Mexicana, a killer song! So, there was a search-website which displayed the ages of people and I called the oldest person with the surname "Vargas", out of 100 hits, who was a 91 year old woman, and asked if she could help me. She was so nice, we talked for more than 10 mins and joked and a few days later I got an E-Mail from Florencio. Most of the WIS releases have been realized after similar web-research for phone numbers and then calling the musicians to find out about an existence of tapes, deals and other things. I have also brought musicians together who lost track of each other, by releasing their music.

Q10. Could you tell us three artists reissued by WIS that are particular favourites of yours, and why?
A tough question, for me every album has at least one “must-have-listened-at-least-once-in-a-lifetime” song!

Fred is for sure one of the most musically-talented bands you'll find in my reissue catalogue. I love especially their self-titled debut, and feel sadness that they were not discovered in 1971. I met three of them in person.

Mystic Siva were awesome performers. Checkout their live album “Under the Influence”, incredible to me that they were just 16 on average when doing this. Most of their songs are really DIE HARD, which was also the major aspect in '80s thrash metal.

There are many, many more album highlights like Easy Chair, Cold Sun, The Id, Phantasia, Fear Itself, Dragonwyck, CK Strong, Headstone, The Head Shop, Gold ... They all developed their “own” remarkable sound and great songs.

Q11. What is the future for WIS? Do you have any other types of project in mind, like books for instance?
I guess the future will be good - several great albums are in the pipeline. With Samsara Blues Experiment this year we will have the first well-promoted US tour of a WIS-artist, and they will be the first WIS-artist at Hellfest in France. I hope that soon other WIS bands can follow.

In 2015 WIS will re-release Blind Illusion's "The Sane Asylum" album, a thrash metal band with psychedelic influences. It will also be the first '80s release in the WIS catalogue. With the new mastering I hope to bring out the 70s psych appeal better than you hear it on the original release. I love open and natural dynamics and sound. According to my knowledge it was Les Claypool's [of Primus] first ever album release. Just yesterday I received unreleased 1979 bonus tracks from guitarist Mark Bierdermann, who is the band leader and founder and... WOW! I hope the WIS fans will see that thrash metal also had psychedelic aspects... and also for you, as a reviewer for heavy progressive music, I think it´s a nugget, if you don´t know about it yet.

I´d also like to set up a festival with only WIS-bands this year.

A book is possible but only by spoken interview and someone else writing it. Could be very interesting though. Do you have any plans in writing a book, btw?

Rich: Possibly, if I can can come up with an original aspect that hasn't been done for a book before.

Q12. Could you tell us about some of your favourite current or new artists from around the world?
A tough question too, the last “current” band that knocked me out was Portishead. Compared to what I have seen live on stage and heard on album during the past 30 years I prefer looking back in time, than searching for current music I could like. I don´t want to sound ignorant and don´t doubt that awesome albums are around today, but I found none by coincidence yet ;-). Btw. I quit collecting about 10 years ago. But I was totally surprised by Black Sabbath's last tour.

Q13. What have you learnt from your experiences of running WIS? Do you have any useful advice for rock fanatics who are considering starting a label or similar project themselves?
I have learned that I would do the same again and I enjoyed the time when I researched a lot in historical music. I also enjoy working with young talented bands who look forward to their best years of making music. I motivate them to find ways to knock the fans out and recommend exciting inventive music for them to listen to. An artist's job is to entertain the fans and a label's job is to entertain collectors by picking the best artists and providing the best "product" in regard to our WIS-special LP-releases for example. If the choice of artists is great, your products will be sought-after as soon they are out of print!

Q14. Finally, do you have anything further to say to TDATS and WIS fans out there?

ROCK ON! WIS will never compromise in the choice of artists, and hopes to release more challenging albums. 

Thanks Wolf!

Artist profiles taken from World in Sound

Protein Bros - 'Drainpipe' & Purple Canteen - 'Brains In My Feet'
both on 'Psychedelic Minds Vol.1 (Heavy Underground 67-71)' LP (link)

These are two tracks taken from the WIS comp, "Psychedelic Minds Vol.1 (Heavy Underground 67-71)" (link).

Protein Bros. from Malibu set the Californian surf dream to music. Rick Henn and Dennis Dragon had produced the soundtrack for Hal Jespen's 'A Sea for Yourself' in 1973. It includes a different instrumental version of 'Drainpipe' and was released a bit later than this 45rpm. Both releases came out on Rural Records.

Producer Joe Lee remembers, Purple Canteen from Jonesboro, Arkansas recorded a few songs around 1967/68. As a friend to these musicians' parents, Lee lent his support to the band and recorded them in his own studio. Purple Canteen's 45rpm was released on Lee's label Alley Records who also released the more popular freakbeat band 'The Esquires'.

Gold -'San Francisco Origins' LP (link)

A CD / LP cobination. The CD contains 2 parts S.F. underground history with the first Gold line-up feat. lead singer Richard Coco. Their 45 record “NO PARKING” was already reissued on LP by Rockadelic and issued on the CD compilation “Nuggets from the Golden State”.

Part 1 (only on CD) are the Studio Sessions of Leo Kulka´s Golden State Recorders, 9 heavy guitar cuts (same as Rockadelic LP) with great congas and bizarre Rock´n Roll vocals and the previously unreissued 45-rpm flipside a 4:45 minute sensitive but totally unexpected version of Gershwin's "Summertime" produced by Country Joe McDonald (Country Joe and the Fish).

Part 2 of the CD is here the vinyl release, a live set at the Fillmore-West Audition, a qualification gig for Bill Grahams club circuit, which was successfully passed - gigs at Winterland, Fillmore-West followed. These 42 minutes reach the highest level of power and a unique kind of heavy acid rock sound (especially the 6 min. killer version of “NO PARKING”) - Ed Scott´s hypnotic rhythm guitar, a mind blowing bass and drums create an outstanding and surrounding flow, Joe Bajza´s soaring solo guitar played in a kind of aggressive Cipollina / Jeff Beck style is brilliantly intense and brings true Sixties S.F. Hell´s Angels party feeling to your home. Very detailed 12 page color booklet - 78 minutes of hot music reflect the “golden sprit” of the late60's early 70's in San Francisco....15 years later bands like Metallica, Slayer, Exodus…..continued these powerful Bay Area guitar excesses…

Dragonwyck - 'Dragonwyck' LP (link)

This release is the first of WIS's Dragonwyck trilogy. The group from Cleveland (OH) was a promising band in that area, opened shows for bands like Foghat, Golden Earring, Edgar Winter Group etc. The mood of the music is dark, mystic and strongly influenced by the spirit of the times and the hippie age……"anything goes"! - Shortly after highschool in 1970, the 5 guys recorded 7 tracks, released a test pressing on Pama Records in an edition of only 85 copies. It was reissued in the 1990's by Rockadelic Records as limited edition on LP and CD, since then this band is a milestone for all heavy psychedelic music collectors.

Jim Morrison and The Doors brought main inspiration to Dragonwyck´s music, with the small difference; the songs are heavier and more progressive; the sound is not just dominated by great vocals, there are lots of freaked out heavy guitar solos and swirling Hammond B3 organ, which brings the individual note to the music. The core of musicians started as Sunrise in 1968 and released one 45 record.

Fred - 'Fred' LP (link)

"Fred" was for sure one of the most talented 70´s groups without an album - enjoy their early works, they're released for the first time. In 1971, as the war in Vietnam continued, some college students in rural Pennsylvania formed a band and left school behind. That year, they published a 45 rpm single (a love song - Salvation Lady) and recorded most of the music on this album, which contains cryptic lyrics and heavenly vocals floating over fuzzed-out guitar, crafty keys, drums and bass like a freight train, and a serene electric violin freshly liberated from the bonds of classical training.

Influenced by the likes of Procol Harum, The Band, Traffic, Jethro Tull, It´s A Beautiful Day, Frank Zappa, and King Crimson, they bring a unique sensibility and style to their 10 original pieces, uncannily as fresh today as they were when they were first recorded. The release includes liner notes and photos.

Strawberry Window - 'Strawberry Window' LP (link) 

Strawberry Window hailed from the San Francisco Bay Areas East Bay music scene in the mid 60’s and were truly one of the “early birds” and innovators who made their own distinct brand of Rock-N-Roll. They played in a heavy-psychedelic-garage style, sounding somewhat reminiscent of the Jefferson Airplane, (early) Mad River, Buffalo Springfield, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Frumious Bandersnatch. These previously unreleased recordings have survived for the last four decades in a box on a shelf in a band member's closet.

Meticulous care and detail has been taken to master these recordings with a fresh, open approach, while ensuring that the sound and integrity of the vintage songs remained intact. The music of this guitar based quartet ranges from catchy electric folk tunes and “West Coast” garage rock to raw energetic acid jams lasting over 10 minutes.

Fear Itself - 'Fear Itself' LP (link) 

The album was originally released in 1969 on Dot-Records but didn't receive too much attention - maybe it appeared as a "too" freaked out heavy version of Jefferson Airplane or Big Brother & the Holding Co. The group started back in Atlanta Georgia in 1967 as a quartet with two guitars, played true Psychedelic sounds, recorded with Tom Wilson at the Record Plant in NYC, and moved to Woodstock (NY). The 10 album tracks contain 2 arrangements of traditional tunes all others are originals reflecting true electric heavy blues with a strong Hendrix feel, duelling guitar work and an outstanding female voice/vocals/screams...lots of intense stereo effects.

The group performed at Woodstock Festival in 1968 (one year before...) and played the hottest venues of NYC such as Filmore East. Ellen McIlwaine, the founder of the group made an international solo career as blues-singer and slide guitarist sharing the bill with Jimi Hendrix (main influence), Laura Nyro, Howlin' Wolf, Weather Report, Taj Mahal, George Thorogood, Tom Waits, Chicago, Bruce Springsteen and played a series of concerts with Johnny Winter.

Headstone - 'Still Looking' LP (link) 

This reissue by Headstone, a hard rock quartet from Indiana was their only album release. Their sound is strong and melodic with guitar/organ leads and catchy vocals. Their natural float creates a hypnotic atmosphere. At all their musical spirit is closer to the end 60s blend, than the recording year 1974 reflects, and sometimes they remind of the early Bloodrock stuff. Acid Archives (Patrick Lama): "The opening seven minute title track is a killer journey through local underground guitar psych, and there's plenty more good stuff aboard including some more lyrical moves. Underrated LP, solid all-way through, better than many $1000 LPs."

They were discovered by a local producer from Ohio, who owned the label "Starr-Records" and went there to record "Still Looking" (further they released in 1975 two non-lp 45 records; three "45-rpm songs are bonus tracks on the LP version; on CD you´ll find in total 6 bonustracks on the CD incl. 2 previously unreleased tunes). A hard rock album with several of flashes of the upcoming" new wave of British Heavy Metal (NWoBHM).

Mystic Siva - 'Mystic Siva' LP (link)

This album is remastered and remixed from the original first generation master tape, while the original album in 1970 was taken from a second generation tape; it had included overdub guitar solos on the three songs, to get more of the intended intensity into mix but in the end the original album sound did not reach the expectations of the group, it was too sterile instead of a more natural sound with the distortion and feedback.

This issue here is the real thing, you will hear it like it was intended in 1970. The four Sivas put 60s hippie garage psychedelic rock music on a darker and higher level of intensity, while the slower atmospheric tunes remind of the Doors, Jimi Hendrix or Iron Butterfly, the heavy cuts are unexpectedly crazy, mind blowing and hypnotic with flashes of the later upcoming rural 1980s thrash punk/metal vibe. After 43 years these original album recordings express at its best the challenging and inventive concept of Mystic Siva´s music. 11 original songs with a total running time of 46 minutes incl. a 16 page booklet with liners and other memorabilia.

Jeff Simmons - 'Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up' LP (link)

There are two albums from the Straight label years of Zappa´s multi-talented 'sideman', Jeff Simmons. In 1968 in Seattle Herb Cohen and Frank Zappa was in the audience after his sound check, and was listening to “Easy Chair”, Jeff´s group. Fascinated by his talent, he was signed for Straight records. Both albums, Lucille and Naked Angels were recorded in 1969.

'Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up' contains 10 heavy Blues-Rock and Folk tunes. Jeff is playing a hard-driven and groovy bass, piano, organ and accordion and singing in a style similar to that of Jack Bruce with Cream.

Simmons presented a brace of strong, harmonically sophisticated songs that have some of the explosive, multi-hued impact of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The album was produced by Chris Huston (Led Zeppelin II, Undertakers, Young Rascals) and Frank Zappa under the synonym “La Marr Bruister”, who wrote the title track, played lead guitar on two tracks and co-wrote "Wonderful Wino”. Contains  memorabilia from Jeff´s vaults (posters, photos, liner notes).

Lucille was rated in Mojo Magazine as the 2nd best release on Straight Records. Strange Things Art Magazine mentions it as “the closest in execution to contemporary Mothers”, but Jeff´s individual talent made this album to a lost classic. To the right is a cutting from the UK's Melody Maker, December 5th 1970. It is one of the only articles written about Jeff, many thanks to Richard Morton Jack of Flashback magazine. (link)

Freeman Sound & Friends - 'Heavy Trip' LP (link)

I used a great cover of "16 Tons" from these guy back in Vol108. World In Sound presents another group that represents the late 60s, early 70s heavy psychedelic era scene in northeast Ohio, USA (the same region that Dragonwyck is from). 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. This special collection of original songs and sounds is an exciting bit of rock history that documents some of the charm, wit and depth of talent that made FREEMAN SOUND the special local hit they were.

This release includes 12 great, quality 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 17 minute "Heavy Trip #70", the Hendrix-like "Tomorrow Is Plastic" and what we would venture to say is the heaviest version of Merle Travis' "16 Tons" ever recorded! This band broke up before they were able to make the most of their popularity. With this previously unreleased album, they may be taking up where they left off.

Psiglo - 'II' LP (link)

First vinyl reissue of this heavy progressive masterpiece from Uruguay. The second release of Psiglo is Uruguays rarest rock album, that was recorded in 1974 and first released in 1980 in an edition of only 200 copies. Contains long progressive tracks with heavy guitars pounding organ and creative arrangements. Second album of our SONDOR series with legendary records and recordings from Uruguay!

Stoned Circus - 'Revisited' LP (link)

This is an outstanding piece of US psychedelia - Stoned Circus - started in 1968 in Kansas City and became soon one of the hottest local acts. The powerful sound with male and female lead vocals has a strong “Jefferson Airplane” feeling, feat. a magic B3 organ and stunning heavy guitars. Not to be confused with the “Stone Circus” that recorded for the Mainstream label. This material was unreleased and found in the archives of Cavern Sound Studios where the “Wizzards from Kansas” recorded.

Rockadelic Records released these recordings as limited LP version in 1994 which is long sold out. Songs include “Gotta find Way”, “Try Love”, “New World”, “Trust”, and a fabulous coverversion of Zeppelin’s “Gonna Leave You”… Originally recorded in 1970 and for the first time on CD taken from the original masters including an 8p. with cool artwork, bio and photos. Highly recommended, reflects the honest summer, peace & love feeling!

Sproton Layer - 'With Magnetic Fields Disrupted' LP (link)

Sproton Layer was a psychedelic rock band based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which thrived from the fall of 1968 through the summer of 1970. They began under the name “Freak Trio” - three hyperactive brothers, Laurence, Ben, and Roger Miller who became, at the young ages of 14 - 16, addicted to Pink Floyd´s “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” when it came out in '67. Their unique and euphoric creation of music ranges from progressive-acid-punk to heavy psychedelia with catchy chord changes and Spaghetti Western Ennio Morricone flashes.

The energy of "With Magnetic Fields Disrupted", which was recorded in 1970, are strong, intense space music episodes of destruction and rebirth. Journalist Michael Azerrad described their recordings in his book OUR BAND COULD BE YOUR LIFE as "...a valuable document of an amazing band that sounded like Syd Barrett fronting Cream". The album was first released in 1991 by New Alliance Records, but it did not catch much recognition among the '60's collector freaks. Here is the next chance to discover the whole story of one of the “almost forgotten” US underground art-performance groups. Forty minutes long, the album was remastered from the original tapes.

Features extended band info and about four dozen artifacts including drawings, set lists, photographs, journal entries and more. After Sproton Layer, all Miller brothers contributed to numerous bands such as Destroy All Monsters, Mission Of Burma, and M3 …

Cosmic Dealer - 'Child Of Tomorrow' LP (link)

This is the second previously unreleased album by the Dutch psychedelic hard rock band Cosmic Dealer. Their first album “Crystallization” from 1971 is an outstanding and rare masterpiece for all psych collectors and for sure one of the best Euro-Underground rock albums of the 70s. In 1971 the band was shortly disband but found together in 1973 with a few line-up changes but kept the same musical intention: heavy psychedelic, progressive and guitar driven hard rock, with catchy song writing, a few US-Westcoast flashes but also extended instrumental jam excursions.

This album contains 6 songs which were recorded in 1973, plus 3 demos from 1971 and as bonus you´ll find 7"EP with 4 live cuts (25 mins) and was recorded in 1971, including the title track from their debut Crystallization. The album is is carefully re-mastered to catch the real spirit of the beautiful and intense music and contains a poster and a with lots of photos and liner notes.

Thanks Chris and Wolf, and thanks for reading! Rich

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Day After The Sabbath 113: Acid Nightmare [Portugal pt.1]

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The first new volume for the new year, and it's a country that has had no exposure anywhere on the blog yet, Portugal. After a tricky start I found more than enough tdats-friendly cuts for one volume, so this is part 1, a selection of the heaviest offerings. The forthcoming second part will be a more eclectic set. This is all good stuff, passing through the late '60s groovy beat of Quarteto 1111, the proto-metal heavies Beatnicks and Heavy Band, the nasty prog of Tantra, to the heavy metal of Xeque Mate and NZZN. The cover art is an interpretation of Adamastor. It's a mythological character that symbolised the forces of nature that Portuguese sailors had to confront during the country's time of its explorations. It was famed by the poet Luís de Camões in his classical 1572 work, "Os Lusíadas".

In a similar way to Franco's Spain, the fascist 'Estado Novo' political regime (over-thrown in 1974) was a particular hindrance on rock music. Patriotic, traditional folk and pop music was encouraged and the PIDE security agency (wiki) was used to censor and destroy music that was deemed subversive. It is clear there were very few rock releases for a country of Portugal's size, although there seems to have been a healthy-enough beat scene in the '60s to enable the creation of the four "Portuguese Nuggets" volumes (link). Bands such as SheiksThe Chinchillas, Banda 4 and Quinteto Académico are some of the '60s bands that laid the groundwork for Portuguese rock. It would appear that after 1974 progressive rock made a belated start, with names like Tantra, Quarteto 1111, Petrus Castrus and Banda do Casaco starting to catch up with the times, the first two of those appear in this volume. Another good CD to look at if you want to investigate more seventies sounds is "Psychadelic Portugal" (link).

Festival de Vilar de Mouros
Festival de Vilar de Mouros
The first proper rock festival in Portugal was 1971's Festival de Vilar de Mouros on the 7th & 8th of August, which had between 20,000 and 30,000 visitors. The event was enjoyed by the crowds who had never seen such a thing before, but the organisers needed to sell 50,000 tickets to break-even, and it was not put on again until 11 years later.  There's lots to read in Portuguese here: link1, link2, link3. The two big international names appearing were Manfred Mann and Elton John. Quarteto 1111 and Pop Five Music Incorporated, who are both in this comp, were there. Also appearing were Objectivo and Psico, who will both be in the next one.

01. Beatnicks - Back In Town (1972)
02. Beatnicks - Money (1972)
03. Quarteto 1111 - Bissaide (1969)
       'Nas Terras Do Fim Do Mundo' single
04. Xarhanga - Acid Nightmare (1973)
       from single and retrospective album 'Bota Fora'
05. Xarhanga - Wish Me Luck (1973)
       from single and retrospective album 'Bota Fora'
06. Arte & OfÍcio - Lobster Society (1979)
       from album 'Faces'
07. Xeque Mate - Vampiro Da Uva (1981)
08. Tantra - Maquina da Felicidade (1977)
       from album 'Mistérios e Maravilhas'
09. Heavy Band - Beggarman (1972)
10. Heavy Band - Funky (1972)
11. Go Graal Blues Band - The Fault Is Her Own (1979)
       from album 'Go Graal Blues Band'
12. Go Graal Blues Band - They Send Me Away (1980)
13. Pop Five Music Incorporated - Stand By (1971)
14. Pop Five Music Incorporated - Page One (1970)
15. José Cid - Doce E Fácil Reino Do Blá, Blá, Blá (1972)
       from 'Green Windows' album and 'Cantiga Portuguesa' single
16. NZZN - Vem Daí (1981)

Perolas do Rock'n'Roll | Euro Pop Music Rock em Portugal
Portuguese 80s Metal | RateYourMusic |

Starting the volume is one of its heaviest tracks, from Lisbon's Beatnicks. They made some of Portugal's best and heaviest rock in the '70s, with the "Cristine Goes to Town / Sing It Along / Little School Boy" and "Money / Back in Town" singles. They introduced progressive/electronic influences on later singles (youtube) which were good but very different, by the time of 1982's Aspectos Humanos album they had been through major line-up changes and seem to have become an inoffensive progressive pop band. Oh well, listen to "Back In Town" and it's clear they had the chops to become Portugal's top hard rock act, it's original and brilliant from start to end! Final members Ramiro Martins (bass, guitar), Antonio Emiliano (keyboards) and Tó Leal (vocals, percussion) all appear to have made more music later but nothing of interest here. There is an interesting article here (portuguese, english), regarding the many changes the Beatnicks went through, including the brief membership of female singer Lena d'Água, and guitarist Manuel Cardoso, who was later in Tantra (coming later on here). Read Rock em Portugal's full Beatnicks bio here.

Quarteto 1111 c. 1969
Lisbon's Quarteto 1111 did not make a lot of music of interest to tdats, but the song I've used, "Bissaide", is a grooving monster, and they were a cornerstone band in Portuguese rock. They began in the 1960s, influenced by the sounds of The Shadows, as many new bands were. According to an article at, the first Quarteto 1111 LP was banned by the PIDE for founding member José Cid's subversive lyrics and song titles. They made ground-breaking orchestral and symphonic pop singles in a similar vein to The Moody Blues, of which "A Lenda De El Rei D. Sebastião" (youtube) is particularly remembered. After the fascist regime's demise, they made an album in 1975 called "Cantamos Pessoas Vivas". It was Portugal's first proper progressive rock album. The band broke up and keyboardist/singer José Cid, who had already made some solo albums by this time, continued Quarteto 1111's prog legacy with the LP "10.000 Anos Depois Entre Vénus e Marte" (10,000 Years Later Between Venus and Mars) in 1978. There'll be more on José later. Read Rock em Portugal's full Quarteto 1111 bio here.

Xarhanga Acid Nightmare single 1973
Acid Nightmare single 1973
(l-r) Júlio Pereira (
Rui Venâncio (drums)
Carlos Patrício 
Carlos Cavalheiro 
We move on to the next crazy-heavy track, this comp's namesake, from Lisbon's Xarhanga. 'Acid Nightmare' is a screaming slab of Deep Purple worship. Carlos Cavalheiro trys to hit the high notes like Ian Gillan, and sometimes he even manages it! There's really nothing else from Portugal to compare with at the time. Their singles were recorded in the PolySom studio in Lisbon. The band was Júlio Pereira, (keyboards, piano, guitar, ex-Petrus Castrus), Carlos Cavalheiro, (vocals, to Alarm ) and Carlos Patrício (bass). Rui Venâncio drummed on the first single (included here) and Zé da Cadela (ex-Objectivo) drummed on the second single "Great Goat / Smashing Life (In a City)". There is very little additional information on Xarhanga, but Júlio Pereira and Carlos Cavalheiro made an album in 1975 called "Bota Fora" which was a different kind of affair, not hard rock but latin-flavoured progressive rock with prominent piano and keyboards. This album was re-issued in 2008, with all the Xarhanga singles as a bonus, by the 'Portuguese Progressive Pearls' label.

Arte & Ofício
Arte & Ofício
For track 6 we come to the first band that is not from the capital, Lisbon. Arte & Ofício were from the next largest city, Porto. They included veteran Álvaro Azevedo (drums, vocals) who was in Pop Five Music Incorporated and Psico, both of which will appear later. Singer António Garcez was also in Roxigénio in the '80s, who's first album I checked out and wasn't very impressed by. Arte & Ofício don't have anything in common with Pop Five Music Incorporated or Psico. They are humorous, often slickly funky, sometimes progressive, and don't rock that much other than the track I used here and a few others on the debut 'Faces' album, "Young Chicks", "Contradiction" and "All We Have To Do" are pretty good. Side one is where it's at. They do have a certain quirky something though, the playing is all top-notch and they sound like they are enjoying what they do, which goes a long way in making a record enjoyable to listen to. "Lobster Society" is funny and might be the first time I have ever heard what sounds like a genuine fart incorporated into a song, not to mention the burping and helium vocals. The recording session would have been amusing to watch at least.

Xeque-MateIt's time for some heavy metal with Porto's Xeque-Mate. They formed in 1981 and managed to get a single out the same year, making it one of Portugal's first metal releases. Many thanks to the great archive at Portugal 80s Metal (link) for the following info: Originally they were Francisco Soares (vocals), António Soares (guitar), Aurélio Santos (bass) and Joaquim Fernandes (drums). From the 6 demo tracks they recorded in Lisbon at Arnaldo Trindade studios, "Vampiro Da Uva" and "Entornei o Molho" were released as the single on label Metro-Som in 1981. The single got them an appearance on national TV RTP2. They entered the Grande Maratona do Rock Português (Great Marathon of the Portuguese Rock), along with Jarojupe (link), Bico d`Obra (link), NZZN, TNT (link). The 3 day marathon was organized by the "Musicalíssimo" newspaper, between December 18th and 20th 1981 at the Pavilhão do Cevadeiro, Vila Franca De Xira. After an album in 1985, the band split in 1989. They reunited in 2007 and have played a few times since. Read a lot more information here.

Tantra Mistérios e Maravilhas 1977
Tantra - Mistérios e Maravilhas LP - 1977
At the half-way mark now and it's time for some pure progressive rock in the vein of Yes or Genesis, from Lisbon's Tantra. Having more or less completely missed out on hard rock in the early '70s, late in the game compared to other countries, Portugal showed a flair for prog rock in the late '70s. Tantra was one of the first examples. The song used here, "Maquina da felicidade", is the centerpiece of their debut LP, "Mistérios e Maravilhas". It's a cool track, keeping the attention over its 13 minute length and getting quite nasty. The whole album is very impressive, even more so for a debut from apparently inexperienced musicians. The band was started by guitarist Manuel Cardoso and keys player Armando Gama. Cardoso was in the previously-mentioned Beatnicks for a short time. In fact, Tantra's first shows were supporting Beatnicks. The name Tantra came from Cardoso's interest in Yoga.

Final album
"Humanoid Flesh"
Maybe taking a few queues from Peter Gabriel, Cardoso started wearing rubber sci-fi monster masks on stage (you can see him wearing one of a character from "Soylent Green" on the final album). Gama was replaced by Pedro Luís for the second album, 1979's "Holocausto". This album was slicker, with less heaviness and more emphasis on electronics, prog heads may dig it but it's not as interesting as the debut to me. Things took a real nose dive in in 1981 with the final album, "Humanoid Flesh". Song titles like "Girl in my Head" and "What Have Your Eyes Done to Me" will attest that they took some bizarre U-turn into New Wave, making an album that seems to be a failed attempt to emulate the qualities of The Cars. The album totally bombed and they were finished. I guess Cardosa was trying to go with the times, and the general loss of interest in prog, but his next electro-pop project as "Frodo" was just as bad and it now appears to be totally forgotten. Read Rock em Portugal's Tantra bio here.

Heavy Band Beggarman single
Heavy Band
Beggarman single
Details regarding Heavy Band are very sketchy, especially in English. The band was Filipe Mendes (guitar), Zé Nabo (bass), João Heitor (drums) and São Paulo-born Fernando Girão (vocals). Mendes was previously in Chinchillas, and would later be in Psico and Roxigénio. Girão moved to Portugal when he was 17 and initially joined Pentágono, then Heavy Band. According to wikipedia (link) Heavy Band briefly moved to Angola in the early '70s and adopted some African influence, but I can't say I can hear it in Beggar Man. They recorded two singles, the second one was called "Your New Motel" but seems to have been made up of five 'movements' spread over both sides (link), unfortunately I haven't been able to hear it anywhere yet.

Go Graal Blues Band
Go Graal Blues Band
On to track 11, and one of the only bluesrock bands that released anything in Portugal in the '70s. Starting in 1977, by the time of their 1979 debut album Lisbon's Go Graal Blues Band had stabilised as Paulo Gonzo (vocals, harmonica), João Allain (guitar), Raul Barrigas dos Anjos (drums), Augusto Mayer (Harmonica), António Ferro (bass), J. Esteves (guitar) and João Cordeiro (lead vocals). it had mostly old school blues tracks, but there were a couple of up tempo ones like the opener "Baby, I wanna..." and the one I used here, "The Fault Is Her Own". In 1980 and '81 the band produced some singles with a tougher sound, including "They Send Me Away". "Lay Down" even had a gruff, almost punk sound to it like Dr. Feelgood. The next album was in 1982, with only Paulo Gonzo and João Allain remaining, According to the biography at Rock em Portugal (link), 1983's 'Blackmail' EP was the heaviest thing they recorded, and their final album was the "more mature sounding" So Down Train in 1987. Paulo Gonzo continued a solo career. Rock em Portugal points out that none of the Graal Band records have ever been re-issued, which is a great shame for the legacy of Portugal's bluesrock band. Read Rock em Portugal's Go Graal Blues Band bio here.

Pop Five Music Incorporated
Pop Five Music
Next up is Porto's Pop Five Music Incorporated (PFMI). They started in 1967 and originally had singer António Brito (later known as Tozé Brito) before he left the band for Quarteto 1111. He would also play in Green Windows with José Cid, and the pop quartet Gemini, as well as a solo career. PFMI made a wide range of music styles through their career, going from the typical Beatles/Hendrix covers that pop bands would often do, to BS&T horn rock, to heavier stuff like Hush (popularised by Deep Purple) and their own hard rock like the track I used here, "Stand By" (listen here). The group even had a European hit with one single, the incredibly groovy "Page One", which became the theme tune to the Radio Renascença (link) show called "Page One". The double CD "Odyssey - Complete Works 1968-1972" (link) is the thing to aim for, it has every song ever released by the band, including the entire "A Peça" album from 1969. The band split in 1972 and drummer Álvaro Azevedo later appeared in the previously-mentioned Arte & OfÍcio. Many thanks again to Rock em Portugal (link) for most of the details here. Read Rock em Portugal's PFMI bio here.

José Cid c.1978
José Cid c.1978
For the penultimate track, keyboard player/singer José Cid (b. 1942, Chamusca) finally makes his appearance. He was involved in many bands as you have read in this article already including Os Babies, Conjunto Orfeão, Green Windows and Quarteto 1111. He had also been writing and playing solo music and music for others since 1960. Not much of his music is suitable for tdats but I had to include his 1972 single, "Doce E Fácil Reino Do Blá, Blá, Blá", a fun and very rocking track. By 1980 he had become a household-name pop star, even entering the Eurovison Song contest, but in 1978 he made a symphonic concept prog album called "10.000 Anos Depois Entre Vénus E Marte" (10,000 Years after between Venus and Mars) which regularly gets rave reviews over at (link). What's funny on that site is that many of his other solo "pop" albms are listed there too, almost all with zero reviews and 0.00 scores, then bang in the middle is the 10.000 Anos album with 142 ratings and a 4.25/5 score. As mentioned before, he was in the innovative group Quarteto 1111 and the 10.000 Anos LP was harking back to the days towards the end of that band when it branched out into prog rock. I'll go back to José Cid's and Quarteto 1111's prog for the next Potuguese volume.

The comp comes to an end, and it does so with some more heavy metal, this time from Cascais, Lisbon's NZZN. Coincidentally, their only album, from 1982, was produced by a Scotsman Mike Sergeant, who had worked with many of the other names in this comp, like Quarteto 1111, Green Windows, José Cid, and a band that will be in the next volume, Objectivo. Read some more about NZZN here. Thanks for reading!

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Best of 2014

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The Day After The Sabbath: Best of 2014 by Rich Aftersabbath on Mixcloud
A few things to say for the new year. Firstly, it's not long since I posted Volume 112, a themed selection of UK rock in an american country rock style, so if you haven't seen it, here it is. For those interested, I was kindly invited to do a telephone interview about TDATS with DJ Lucille for her Italian radio show 'Lucyfer', at 'Controradio' on 4th January. This streamed world-wide at It will be repeated there on Sunday 8th January at 11pm CET, and for locals on 93.6 FM in Florence, 98.9 FM in Pisa, Lucca and Livorno (Tuscany West Coast). (more info)

On to today's post.....this is a quickly-made, fun downloadable comp of many of the best, most interesting, and most-worthy-of-further-investigation finds for the blog in 2014. There's quite a few picks from Volume 112, for which I found a ton of new bands. There's the great discovery of East-West Pipeline which was on biker movies, and the single made by Cobra called Super Woman, which was released under the band name 'Island'. There's a couple from the Indonesian Vol106 which turned out great and one of Mik Kay's great choices from Vol110, Bulbous Creation. I've added individual Youtube clips below for some quick listens. Below them I have included the band write-ups previously done for the blog.

Thanks for reading in 2014 and as usual, there's lots more in store for 2015. Happy new year, Rich.

01. Guitar Orchestra - Last Chicken In The Shop (1971) on Vol112
       from album 'Guitar Orchestra'
02. Heads Hands & Feet - Hot Property (1971) on Vol112
       from album 'Tracks'
03. East-West Pipeline - Unlocked (1972) on Vol109
       from Bury Me An Angel OST
04. Ellis - Your Game (1972) on Vol112
       from album 'Riding On The Crest Of A Slump'
05. Holy Mackerel - The Boy And The Mekon (1972) on Vol112
       from album 'Holy Mackerel'
06. Island / Cobra - Super Woman (1971) on Vol111
07. 60,000,000 Buffalo - Royalty Rag & Cocaine Shuffle (1972) on Vol97
       from album 'nevada jukebox'
08. Benny Soebardja and Lizard - Circle of Love (1977) on Vol106
       from album "Gimme a Piece of Gut Rock" [The Lizard Years]
09. Fort Mudge Memorial Dump - Crystal Forms (1969) on Vol97
       from album 'Fort Mudge Memorial Dump'
10. Jellybread - Green Eyed Gypsy Queen (1972) on Vol112
       from album 'Back To Begin Again'
11. Joe Soap - Get Out From Under (1973) on Vol103
       from album 'keep it clean'
12. Ray Fenwick - Stateside (1970) on Vol103
       from album "Keep America Beautiful, Get a Haircut"
13. Shark Move - Evil War (1972) on Vol106
       from album "Ghede Chokra's"
14. Bulbous Creation - Let's Go to the Sea (1970) on Vol110
       from album 'You Won't Remember Dying'
15. Martha Velèz - Feel So Bad (1969) on Vol97
       from album 'fiends & angels'
16. Lee Pickens Group - Thumbs Up (1973) on Vol103
       from album "LPG"

Guitar Orchestra - on Volume 112

Heads Hands & Feet - on Volume 112

East-West Pipeline - on Volume 109

Ellis - on Volume 112

Holy Mackerel - on Volume 112

Island / Cobra - on Volume 111

60,000,000 Buffalo - on Volume 97

Benny Soebardja and Lizard - on Volume 106

Fort Mudge Memorial Dump - on Volume 97

Jellybread - on Volume 112

Joe Soap - on Volume 99

Ray Fenwick - on Volume 103

Shark Move - on Volume 106

Bulbous Creation - on Volume 110

Martha Velèz - on Volume 97

Lee Pickens Group - on Volume 103

Band Bios

For track 1 is a very special find indeed. Actually more than just special, it's some kind of one-time-only occurrence almost without precedent. I came across the album by the name of "Guitar Orchestra" while looking into the side-projects of Mick Grabham and Ray Fenwick. I tracked it down and have been knocked over by the quality of stella musicianship that it contains. The story is that guitarist Ray Fenwick (The Spencer Davis Group) and guitarist Mick Grabham (of Cochise, previously of Plastic Penny) met up one day through ex-Plastic Penny drummer Nigel Olsen, when he joined Spencer Davis Group.

Ray and Mick got on well straight away and soon formulated a plan, in the finest of '70s rock excess, to make a touring band and album dominated by many expert guitarists. Four lead guitarists were initially planned, but as it never amounted to a live entity, the multiple guitar layers and harmonies were over-dubbed by Ray and Mick. Mick claims that the idea was inspired by a 1962  LP called "Guitars'a Plenty", made by the George Barnes Guitar Choir (link). Also invited in were Dee Murray (Elton John Band) on bass and Tony Newman (May Blitz, Three Man Army) on drums. Vocals were mainly provided by John Gilbert of Cochise. Tim Renwick also guests on the album, he was mentioned at the beginning as a member of Quiver - on a small side note, Tim was a key supporting guitarist for Pink Floyd in all their shows since Momentary Lapse of Reason, up until Live 8, and a great job he did too. Dave Gilmour produced an early Quiver album, as one of his first production credits.

Mike Grabham - Ray Fenwick
Mike Grabham - Ray Fenwick
The end result is a fascinating collection of mostly instrumental guitar-heavy blues, with lots of harmonised guitar parts and hints of country and progressive rock. The set opens with a nine minute rendition of Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance March", while impressive it is the most self-indulgent piece. The rest of the LP is played with equal skill and the songs themselves are genuinely good, with the likes of "Ghost Town" being particularly affecting, aided by John Gilbert's impassioned performance. The same can be said for the song I have picked for this comp, "Last Chicken in the Shop", a perfect choice as it's one of the most country flavoured tracks, and one of the heaviest. This is not some guitarist's show-off collection, it sounds like a fully-formed band, like a hard rock Eagles album that never-was. Lost to the vaults after being made, it was not officially released until 1997 by AngelAir. This is without doubt one of the most impressive curios I have ever found. Looking into the talents that made it, the best of Ray Fenwick, John Gilbert or Mick Grabham's previous works don't have anything to quite compare, so there was clearly a great chemistry happening when they all got together for this. It's a shame will not see more of it!

Personally speaking, the story of Heads Hands & Feet is a bit of a sad tale of missed opportunity that I find to be poignant. Still, the band was made up of seasoned musicians who's careers would continue without the band. They evolved from a studio-only band's record put out under the name of "Poet And The One Man Band", which was overseen by Tony Colton. By this point Tony had become an industry name. He was a band-leader, writer, arranger and producer who had made many of his contacts while frequenting The Flamingo Club in Soho, especially the Flamingo Allnighter on Friday nights. There's an incredible interview with Tony you can read here that recounts the many personalities that he was acquainted with.

Head Hands & Feet was the logical conclusion for Poet And The One Man Band, a band that Tony had gotten together as support for some of his clients. For instance, they played behind Shirley Bassey on her 5 million-selling album "Something". Variously they were Albert Lee (gtr), Jerry Donahue (gtr), Pat Donaldson (bass), John Bell (clarinet), Speedy Aquaye (percussion), Barry Morgan (drums), Peter Gavin (drums), Raymond Barry Smith (gtr) and Tony (lead vocals). A number of piano/organ players were involved: William Davies, Roger Coulam, Nicky Hopkins and Mike O'Neill. Track 8 in this comp is from Poet's album which was made in 1969.

Most of those names, with the addition of Chas Hodges, were to make up Heads Hands & Feet. Chas, from Edmonton, north London, had been in many beat bands by this stage, including Cliff Bennett's Rebel Rousers, and Joe Meek's house band The Outlaws (with Ritchie Blackmore). He also took part in the Green Bullfrog Sessions (See Vols 13 & 59) with a whole bunch of names including Albert Lee and Rod Alexander of Jodo (See tdats interview with Rod here). HH&F were snapped up by record labels, with their ready-made credentials and mass appeal which was seen as ripe for the US, they were reputedly offered the biggest advance in the history of rock, half a million dollars from Capitol in the US. In the UK they were on Island records. HH&F never realised their full potential, even though they made three albums proper, and after a faltering start they imploded within 4 years of forming. For fascinating details into the times, read the interview I mentioned previously.

c.j. flanagan and tony colton
C.J. Flanagan and Tony Colton
Most of the band continued productive careers in music, Chas became one half of the 'Rockneys' Chas 'n' Dave and Albert Lee's guitar virtuosity has gained him notoriety playing with big names like Joe Cocker (RIP), Emmylou Harris and Eric Clapton. Despite remaining productive in the industry, Tony admits he was hit extremely hard by the failure of HH&F.  At the time he was also burdened with marital problems, he lost interest in making it big, sinking into periods of drug and alcohol addiction. His resurgence occured after US country artist Ricky Scaggs won awards with a 1984 cover of the old HH&F favourite, "Country Boy". Tony has since been re-building a successful career up to this day, in US country music. Reports that he has a side-line as a Dustin Hoffman look-alike remain unconfirmed however...

Bury Me An Angel (1972) promo shot
Bury Me An Angel (1972) promo shot
In my searches for good rock in biker movies, I came across East-West Pipeline on two soundtracks. They made some great songs and I was intrigued as to whether they were a real band or just something made up for the sake of the film scores, as is sometimes the case. The movies were Angels Die Hard (1971), and it's much lesser-known and lower budget spin-off, Bury Me An Angel (1972). In fact, East-West Pipeline are credited with the entire score of Bury Me An Angel (BMAA), whilst their name is on about half the songs in Angels Die Hard (ADH). The two best songs I have found from them are "You Could Be" in ADH, and the untitled intro song in BMAA, which I will call "Unlocked" for now, and it's the opening track in this comp. They are both grungy, heavy and just plain great tracks, with lots of attitude and character. The kind of thing that comes out of the blue and makes your ears twitch, and wonder what happened to the obvious talent that made them. Although there are not many complete 'songs' on the BMAA soundtrack, all the music in the movie is really good and hints at enough having been recorded to make a great album, which never apparently happened. 

This got me looking for any possibility of contacting the band members, to find out more. By luck I found a minor entry in an old website about Colorado bands, Colorado Music Page. In there it says that their original name was Magic Myce: "The original members were me, Walt Rawlins, Bill Cone, Gordy Peterson and Ray Styes. We played at the Exodus, Family Dog, Tulagis, Kelker Junction and many other places around Colorado from 1967 until we left for California in '69. We had a local single that was played a lot on the radio, Angel Baby, which was a remake of the old '50s song. Once we got to California we played a lot around local clubs there and recorded some movie soundtracks, Angels Die Hard and Bury Me an Angel. Angels Die Hard had a soundtrack album released but they didn't do that for the other one. The name of the band was changed to the "East-West Pipeline" when we did those. Later we changed the name of the band again in California to "Bedlam" which lasted until we broke up out there in about 1974.Walt Rawlins---guitar, Bill Cone------guitar, Gordy Peterson--?,  Ray Styes---?"

Bury Me An Angel VHS cover
Bury Me An Angel VHS cover
I am not sure who the "me" referred to in the above is. It may be Walt Rawlins or Bill Cone. On further investigation I found this: "The Angels Die Hard soundtrack on UNI contains the only commercially released East-West Pipeline recordings. They also did the soundtrack for another biker flick (Bury Me An Angel) but no album was released. The band was originally from Denver, then moved to California in 1969. Changed their name from Magic Myce/Majic when they moved out west, later changing it again in the early '70s to Bedlam. Their guitarist Bill Cone was previously in The Moonrakers, who have been discussed here recently. Later on, he acted in the horror movie classic Phantasm."

My searches came to an end, with some evidence that Walt Rawlins unfortunately passed away in 2010. The final lead is that Walt and Ray were both once involved in a Colorado band called Willie & the Po' Boys, although I don't think that Ray still is. They have a facebook group here where I have not had luck in contacting Ray Styes as yet.

We move on to Ellis, a band which produced two records, the debut being by far the best. The key members were namesake Steve Ellis (vocals - ex-Love Affair) and 'Zoot' Money, real name George Bruno Money (Keyboards, The Animals, Humble Pie). There's a definite Faces vibe about the LPs, not only in Steve's 'Rod Stewart' rasp, but in their good time bar-room sound. The self-depreciatingly titled debut  LP "Riding On The Crest Of  A Slump" was produced by Roger Daltrey, who Eliss was renting from and living next to at the time.

Ellis - Riding On The Crest Of A Slump
Riding On The Crest Of A Slump
I have used the track 'Your Game', with it's southern rock sound. The guitar embellishments provided by Andy Gee (real name Gröber) really push it to another level. Complementing the band along with Andy (ex-Peter Bardens), was Jimmy Leverton (bassist, ex-Fat Mattress - later replaced by Nick South) and drummer Dave Lutton. Ellis quit after the second album, which he admits was lacklustre, feeling they'd been ignored in favour of the Epic label's more established stars like Jeff Beck, Argent and Donovan. There's a good read here on Steve's website, where he talks about Ellis, using the previously-mentioned Eggs Over Easy as a backing band, his friendship with Keith Moon and almost losing his ability to walk in a dockyard accident. Steve and Zoot would soon pair up again on the first Widow Maker album in 1976.

Holy Mackerel LP
Holy Mackerel LP
This took me a while to track down, and I have now managed to find it, to my great satisfaction. While looking up UK bands online that had been tagged 'country rock', I discovered a completely new one to me, called Holy Mackerel. I did a youtube search for it to see if I could get a quick listen, and low and behold, I soon find a song with "Holy Mackerel - Members of Samuel Prody and Orang-Utan" in the title. Now, alarm bells start ringing. As many of you may know, Orang-Utan was the one-shot London band who recorded a great session one day in 1971.

They got stitched-up by a dodgy producer, who released it as an album in the US without telling any of them, keeping all the profits to himself of course. He even made up the artwork, and the name Orang-Utan, for the sake of the cover. There is a little more on the subject in an interview with guitarist Mick Clarke at It's Psychedelic Baby magazine (link). The connection between Orang-Utan and Holy Mackerel is singer Terry Clark. Now, Terry Clark links another band to Holy Mackerel, Jason Crest. This was a singles-only late '60s psych band who made some average stuff in their time, up until a final acclaimed heavy single in 1969; A Place In The Sun / Black Mass (youtube). Vocalist Terry, Roger Siggery (drums) and Derek Smallcombe (guitar) were all members of Jason Crest, and they all moved on to form Holy Mackerel afterwards. The final associated act is Samuel Prody, an English band that included Derek Smallcombe, which recorded one album in Germany, that has some pretty good heavy stuff on it (youtube).

Holy Mackerel band
Holy Mackerel band
The story goes that this group added a second lead guitarist Chris Ware, a bass player Tony Wood, and then relocated to the Lancashire countryside to practice for an album of rural rock. The result was the self-titled Holy Mackerel album, which was released by CBS in 1972. It's great! There's no doubt that the guys had a definite idea about what they wanted with Holy Mackerel, it certainly is no re-hash of Orang-Utan, Jason Crest or Samuel Prody. It's a mainly up-beat set of country rockers, with a glam edge, and a couple of ballads. Although the country aspect is of the american flavour, it still maintains a very English feel also, making this quite a unique sounding record. Don't expect any Sabbath heaviness, or any other typical hard rock moves, it's got a fresh, melodic sound of it's own, with a glam energy and urgency that rocks all the way! Apparently Holy Mackerel recorded a second album which was shelved after the band was dropped by it's label. But they did release three singles after the first album. One of which, 'Gemini', was for the second album, which was posthumously released in 1993 (link).

Judy Roderick & Bill Ashford
A huge thanks to Record-Fiend blog for this article on 60,000,000 Buffalo: "Upon the demise of the '60s, it was not uncommon for the folkies of that decade to embrace the rural rock movement of the early '70s. That is, if they hadn't already picked up electric instruments and started rockin' after the release of Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home in 1965. In the case of Judy Roderick, who had put out two highly regarded mostly acoustic albums for Columbia and Vanguard in the mid-1960s, Nevada Jukebox was the product of a 1971 recording session with her new group, 60,000,000 Buffalo. Her signature voice was still there, although years of woodshedding in her adopted home state of Colorado throughout the latter half of the 1960s clearly had an effect on her delivery, which showed the influence of Janis Joplin and other female vocalists of similar ilk. The album photography shows her looking somewhat like a less appealing Bonnie Bramlett along with a man who is probably either bassist Brent Williamson or guitarist Don DeBacker [Edit: It's actually Bill Ashford]. What a pity that the ravages of living through the 1960s deprived Roderick of her elfin beauty that was readily apparent on the cover of her Woman Blue LP.

Nevada Jukebox - LP front (1972)
The story behind the group's name is unclear. Perhaps it has something to do with the number of buffalo that lived on the North American continent prior to their near extinction brought about by the colonization of white people. I've read that some folks compare this group with another Colorado band, Zephyr (which featured a very young Tommy Bolin on lead guitar). But other than the superficial fact that the two outfits both featured female lead vocalists (Zephyr's was the caterwauling Candice Givens), I don't think they have much in common in regard to music. While Zephyr was very much a rock and blooze band, Roderick's folk background clearly had a strong influence on 60,000,000 Buffalo's more rootsy sound.

Nevada Jukebox - LP rear (1972)
Most of the album's songs were written by Roderick and her husband William Ashford. The opening cut, the brief "Royalty Rag" segues into the cowbell-laden and quintessentially early 1970s ode to blow, "Cocaine Shuffle." "Canyon Persuasion" is a pleasant laid back piece featuring Roderick's strummed acoustic guitar and DeBacker's Leslie speaker-amplified electric instrument. "Lovely Ladies" is more of an all-out rocker with some somewhat herky-jerky time signatures, while "Denver Dame" may very well be an autobiographical piece that deals with Roderick's life experiences in Colorado. The traditional "Maid of Constant Sorrow" is definitely Nevada Jukebox's highlight and, in fact, just might be the heaviest version of this particular song ever committed to wax. Folk rock was a dying breed by the time this album came out, but bands like this weren't going to let the genre go down without a fight. Seriously, this rendition of this venerable warhorse fuckin' rocks, especially with the outstanding guitar interplay between Roderick and DeBacker. "Shake It and Break It" is a decent cover of a song originally done by prewar Delta blues legend Charlie Patton and features the boys in the band - DeBacker and Williamson - handling the lead vocal duties. More early 1970s vibes and plenty of cowbell are to be found on the rock-meets-folk-meets-country-meets-funk piece "Callin' You Down." After a fine arrangement of the traditional "Country Girl Again," there is some really nice slide guitar work on "American Money Blues." The closer, "Do What I Tell Me To," is a tune in the same bag as "Cocaine Shuffle" and "Callin' You Down" - definitely a product of its time."

Benny Soebardja The Lizard YearsBenny Soebardja, born 1949 in Tasikmalaya, Jawa Barat, was an important guitarist who started out in The Peels in 1966. This was one of the first bands to get over-seas recognition. His resume also includes Shark Move, Giant Step, and briefly, Fantastique Group. Fantastique Goup was a pop group that made a few albums, and similarly to AKA, made some music in the "Qasidah Modern" style, this being a great one: Allahu Akbar. Benny made three highly sought-after solo records in the '70s, which were independently released. Strawberry Rain has re-issued them all; each album separately, and all together as "Benny Soebardja - The Lizard Years". The Lizard part of the name comes from Benny's backing band, an ensemble which contained members of both Giant Step and Harry Roesli’s Philosophy Gang. Benny had no label influence while recording these offerings, making them true private press recordings, and the spirit of his excellent work with Shark Move and Giant Step pervades it all. 

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

We'll go straight to Jellybread's country-funktastic "Green Eyed Gypsy Queen". I find the first three Jellybread albums to be unremarkable, pedestrian, straight-blues. They got a real shot in the arm for the fourth, "Back To Begin Again". Maybe the name says it all. They do sound like a different band, beginning again, and the addition of Rick Birkett on guitar (ex-Accent see Vol57) and Kenny Lamb (drums) must have been a contributing factor. On this one they play predominantly hard, funky, country-tinged tunes, with much more attitude in Paul Butler's vocals. Maybe spurred on by the harder hitting music?

Jellybread - Back To Begin Again
Jellybread - Back To Begin Again
Here's what Allmusic (link) has to say about them: "Formed at England’s Sussex University by pianist Pete Wingfield, Jellybread was originally completed by Paul Butler (guitar/vocals), John Best (bass), and Chris Waters (drums). In 1969 the quartet secured a recording contract with the exemplary Blue Horizon Records label and although largely unadventurous, their albums offered a highly competent grasp of black music, including both blues and soul. They provided stellar accompaniment on Lightnin’ Slim's London Gumbo and B.B. King in London, but the unit dissolved in 1971 with the departure of Wingfield and Waters. Newcomers Rick Birkett (guitar, ex-Accent) and Kenny Lamb (drums) joined for Back to Begin Again, but Jellybread broke up when the set failed to make commercial headway. However, Wingfield enjoyed success as a solo artist, session pianist, and member of Olympic Runners." He's also played with Alan Parsons rhythm section, Dexy's Midnight Runners, Paul McCartney, The Hollies and Van Morrison.

John Tennent and David Morrison
Tennent & Morrison
Joe Soap
On to some more conventional rocking with a Stonesy number from Joe Soap. This band was a project of singer/guitarists John Tennent and David Morrison, who had released an album the year before as the duo 'Tennent & Morrison', which included a lot of musicians from Stone the Crows. Along for the ride came guitarist Jimmy McCulloch (Thunderclap Newman, Stone The Crows, Wings), violinist Mik Kaminski (ELO), drummer Gerry Conway (Jethro Tull, Fairport Convention, The Pentangle) and Jeff Pearce on bass.

The folk influences from some of this impressive lineup come through, but mostly the album is upbeat, fun and immediately likable rock, and rock it does in many places. Mik Kaminski's violin is not mainly at the forefront, but grooves away in perfect unison with McCulloch's cocky riffs to make it impossible to sit still listening to tracks like "Come Out From Under", which integrates the violin in a similar way to East of Eden on tracks like "Northern Hemisphere" (See Vol74).

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

Bulbous Creation
I was sure that I had used Bulbous Creation on TDATS before, but looking back it seems I did not, so thanks Mik for the reminder about this brilliant album! Here is another find from the vaults of obscurity by Rockadelic. Nicely, the tapes were found at the same Cavern Sound studio in Missouri that Rockadelic found the Crank tapes, a favourite of mine. The whole album has a dark, almost gothic feel to it, but it is most certainly top, heavy fuzz-psych all the way. The track Mik has recommended here, 'Let's Go To The Sea', is a long and explorative piece with some truly trippy delay madness around the half-way mark, worthy of the best in prog and krautrock of the times.This band was not just another bunch of bonehead crunchers and it's a shame we will never get to see what they might have become if they hadn't disappeared...

Martha Veléz is an American singer and actress of Puerto Rican descent. Veléz is the former wife of trumpet player Keith Johnson. Her son is performance artist, writer-poet, and singer Taj Johnson. Taj appeared as series regular for two years on Parker Lewis Can't Lose. Her brother is the percussionist Gerardo Velez, who has worked with Spyro Gyra, Patti LaBelle, Jimi Hendrix and Van Morrison. Her first album 'Fiends & Angels' was a blues-psych-jazz-rock session where she was backed by the stellar line up of UK blues-jazz-rock musicians, inc. Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Brian Auger, Paul Kossoff, Chris Wood, Mitch Mitchell, Johnny Almond, Rick Hayward, Chris Mercer, the whole Chicken Shack and most of the Keef Hartley Band.

Cheers guys.

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