Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Day After The Sabbath 129: Mother Trucker [female vox 5]

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Here is the fifth Day After The Sabbath collection of '60s-'70s prog, psych and hard rock with female singers belting out the heavy sounds. Previous similar episodes were Vol17, Vol49, Vol71 and Vol97 and this one has worked out just as well as those, so enjoy!

01. Duck - Buried Alive In The Blues (1972)
       from album 'Laid'
02. Dead End 5 - Suurkaupungin Suudelma (1976)
       from album 'Dead Ends'
03. Fancy - She's Riding The Rock Machine (1976)
       from album 'Turns You On'
04. Genesis - Ten Second Song (1968)
       from album 'In The Beginning'
05. Grootna - I'm Funky (1971)
       from album 'Grootna'
06. Joy Unlimited - For You And Me (1971)
       from album 'Schmetterlinge'
07. Julian Jay Savarin - Stranger (1970)
       from album 'Waiters On The Dance'
08. Octopus - We're Loosing Touch (1976)
       from album 'Boat of Thoughts'
09. Susan Shifrin - 25 Miles (1971)
10. Ten Wheel Drive - Pickpocket (1971)
       from album 'Peculiar Friends'
11. The Comfortable Chair - Ain't No Good No More (1968)
       from album 'The Comfortable Chair'
12. Punchin' Judy - Superwitch (1973)
       from album 'Punchin' Judy'
13. Velvet Night - Freak show (1970)
       from album 'Velvet Night'
14. Carol Grimes... and Delivery - Home Made Ruin (1970)
       from album 'Fools Meeting'
15. Mother Trucker - Love In Them There Hills (1975)
       from album 'Love Rock'

Duck was an Aussie mob fronted by Bobbi Marchini, and also had bassist Teddy Toi of The Aztecs, and guitarist Russel Smith of the Renee Geyer Band. Many of the players also played on the pretty cool John Robinson "Pity For The Victim" LP which is worth a listen. They open this with a blistering cover of a Paul Butterfield band track, "Buried Alive In The Blues". Bobbi's name appears soon after Duck on the Sven Libaek ‎record, "Grass - A Rock Musical". Libaek is a Norwegian who settled in Australia after touring there in The Windjammers.

Next up is a track from Dead End 5's debut LP "Dead Ends", they were a good n' heavy hard rock /punk band from Finland and this LP was re-issued recently by Svart Records (link). Singer Annika Andersson made a solo record in 1978 in a much lighter style, called "Itseteossa".

Fancy was one of the omnipresent guitarist Ray Fenwick's (see Vol103 and "Guitar Orchestra" on Vol112 ) many associated bands, and he actually lead this one over three albums in the late '70s, featuring the pipes of one Annie Kavanagh. She worked with Neil Innes after Fancy flat-lined.

Genesis was a short-lived LA psych band, not to be confused with the famous English band of course, that also had an album with the same name! The singer here was Sue Richman, who worked with Exile, Yucatan, Suzi Quatro and Savoy Brown later on.

Track five is from another west coast (Berkeley) psych band, Grootna, who's LP was produced by The Jefferson Airplane/Starship's Marty Balin. The singer is Anna Rizzo and the band exercise some funk on this track.

Mannheim's Joy Unlimited was originally called Joy & The Hit Kids. "Joy" is powerful singer Joy Fleming, and the band was quite productive in the '70s, making seven albums and collaborations. Joy maintained a solo career at the same time and made her most recent LP in 2007.

Half way now with a track from Julian Jay Savarin, an enigmatic character who was born in Dominica but moved to Great Britain in 1962. Before he was 30 he had made some albums as himself and with the band "Julian's Treatment", as well as embarking on a sci-fi novel trilogy "Lemmus: A Time Odyssey". 'Stranger' is from his solo record "Waiters on the Dance" which is based on one of the Lemmus books, which went by the same name. Julian played keyboards and his singer on both albums was Cathy Pruden, together with the rest of the band they made some excellent and unique prog which is way better than you'd expect from someone who is primarily a writer, that only briefly dabbled in music!

Thanks to rock.co.za - "This Dominican-born writer and keyboard player moved to England with his family in 1962. He soon realized that the science fiction trilogy that he'd been working on, would translate perfectly into rock context. He formed a band, called Julian's Treatment, with Australian vocalist Cathy Pruden, bassist John Dover, guitarist/flautist Del Watkins and drummer Jack Drummond, and they put together what has become one of the rarest progressive rock albums, "A Time Before This", in June 1970. Julian's Treatment unfortunately didn't last too long, and the band folded just after the album was released (on the rare Youngblood label). It would be two years before Julian Jay Savarin would attempt anything musically again. He set about recording "Waiters On The Dance", the album from which the featured track was taken, in 1973. ("Waiters On The Dance" was in fact part two of the aforementioned trilogy). Cathy Pruden, in the meantime, had left to go back to Australia to get married, and Savarin managed to secure the services of Jo Meek, formerly of the jazz/rock outfit Catapilla.(Interestingly, Anna, not Jo Meek, is credited as being the singer on both Catapilla's albums. Maybe they're one and the same lady, or maybe they're sisters? Either way, great, yet very different voice!). Roger Odell, formerly of CMU, came in on drums, John Dover was on bass, and Nigel Jenkins was on guitar. This was the last piece of music Julian Jay Savarin ever wrote, except for the soundtrack to a short film called "Face Of Darkness" in the early 80's. He has, however, written many books since. Roger Odell and John Dover went on to become Shakatak's rhythm section."

Octopus's first two albums, "The Boat of Thoughts" (1976) and "An Ocean of Rocks" (1977) feature heavy keyboard-orientated prog and are often compared to Camel. The band's lyrics on the first three albums are entirely in English although they came from Frankfurt. Singer Jennifer Hensel married Octopus guitarist Win Kowa (formerly of Streetmark) and to this day they work as a duo called Kowa (link).

Susan Shifrin is an American songwriter, having written songs recorded by Tina Turner ("Show Some Respect"), Heart ("Strangers of the Heart"), Cher ("All Because of You"), Meat Loaf ("Getting Away with Murder") and others. She even wrote a track on the Bill & Ted's soundtrack called "In Time". She made a handful of singles in the early seventies and the b-side of her first one, '25 Miles', is a wah wah and fuzz bass-powered soul rock belter!

Entering the third act and coming up now is a soul/funk/jazz rock juggernaut called Ten Wheel Drive, a New Jersey band fronted by the Polish-born, powerfully-voiced Genya Ravan (real name Genyusha Zelkovicz and aka Goldie Zelkowitz in her first band 'Goldie and The Escorts'). They managed four albums and delivered a few heavy tracks on each one, my pick being from their third LP, "Peculiar Friends". She is still active in music and there is a New York stage show just announced called 'Rock And Roll Refugee', employing no less than three actresses to portray her at various times.

The Comfortable Chair are another west coast psych band that online sources say was "discovered" by Jim Morrison, and produced by John Densmore / Robby Krieger. The album doesn't live up to the lofty expectations that may place on it, but there's some decent tracks like the opener 'Ain't No Good No More'. Singer Barbara Wallace doesn't show up in any more bands, from initial searches at least. Bass player Greg Leroy was soon to join Crazy Horse.

Ochsfan - "The group stayed around long enough to play themselves in the Bob Hope - Jackie Gleason film "How to Commit Marriage", but had disbanded by the end of the decade. Bernie Schwartz (the main song writer) made another film appearance, in 1972's "Hickey and Boggs", and cut a solo album entitled "The Wheel", which included the Comfortable Chair's Gene Garfin, before becoming a self-help author.  Garfin was also a member of the Rangers, a Stone Poneys offshoot, which never got beyond the demo stage.  Greg Leroy went on to join Crazy Horse, while Warner Davis became a member of the sadly overlooked Timber."

Punchin' Judy is an act for which I have been able to find very little info. The vocals are supplied by Barbara O'Meara, who also sung on the George Deacon & Marion Ross album "Sweet William's Ghost", made the same year as Punchin' Judy's only record. All the other members of the band throw up little in the way of interesting connections. I found a band going by the name (not confirmed as same band) had played at London's Marquee Club in 1975 (link) but that's about it for online presence of this mysterious name, who made a fairly good record in 1973. LP credits: Vocals – Barbara O'Meara, Bass Guitar, Vocals – Keith Evans, Drums, Percussion, Vocals – Alan Brooks, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals – John Phillips, Piano – Robin Langridge, Producer – John Whitehead, Engineer – Barry Hammond.

New York sextet Velvet Night made their sole LP in 1970, which consists mostly of covers, although they put their own stamp on them and come up with some cool sounds. Lynn Boccumini lays down some charismatic vocals and their fuzzy moves may not have been cutting edge for 1970, but they have something compelling about them. It would appear from the band's Surnames that they were all of Italian heritage and didn't do anything of note after this record, unfortunately.

Nearing the end now and a bit of a change with some Canterbury Scene sounds. The 'Delivery' portion of Carol Grimes and Delivery included three guys that would next be in Hatfield And The North; Phil Miller (guitar), Pip Pyle (drums) and Richard Sinclair (bass, vocals). Carol Grimes is still active and made a record most recently in 2013 (link). The instantly-catchy opening motif of the song I used here called 'Home Made Ruin' immediately reminded me of more than one '90s britpop era indie track, none of which I can quite put my finger on right now, but if I can I'll be right back! Maybe some readers out there can assist...

So this episode ends with the group that inspired its name, Mother Trucker. Some of the photo shoots of this "band" are so amusing they hint at being an exploitation exercise that used a few page 3 girls for its image...almost every album/single/promo picture of them seems to include different sets of (mostly) girls, in clothes that range stylistically from hippie, to disco Diva, to blouse-bursting carry-on "crumpet". Who knows what the facts are, and I am reluctant to find out as the truth is so often disappointing compared to the imaginings. All i'll say is, although the girls seem to like carrying guitars in some of the photos, the music comes across as funky, semi-disco vocal pop with a horn section (don't see any of them holding brass in the picture, don't see many bras either) that is catchy and good fun, as is the whole album "Love Rock". Long-live the seventies!

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  1. Great job. I need to find my Brit dictionary and look up "Page 3" and "Crumpet". Ummm "Carry On?"

  2. as usual what a treat, enjoyed it immensley

  3. I really hope that you are going to continue theses fantastics compilations, I listen again to since the beginning, really great, one of my favorits blogs. It's a Great Feeling Here !!
    Thank you very much.