Showing posts with label Apple Pie Motherhood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Apple Pie Motherhood. Show all posts

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Day After The Sabbath 117: Boston Tea Party (The Bosstown Sound)


Download from:  aftersabbath@live.co.uk


TDATS 117: Boston Tea Party [The Bosstown Sound] by Rich Aftersabbath on Mixcloud

This volume of TDATS is inspired by one of the enduring stories in the history of American rock; the "Bosstown Sound". It has been regarded from wildly varying viewpoints as a name made up for a scene that never existed, an unjustified hype, an authentic late ‘60s sound, a cynical industries’ marketing ploy that ended in a debacle, or a tragic end to something that could have blossomed and inspired a lot more great music. Probably the saddest part is that some Boston bands were unfairly tainted by the negative opinions, with their careers being hindered or even finished in the process.

Alan Lorber
Alan Lorber
It began with Alan Lorber, who has been a successful New York-based arranger, producer, musician and composer since the early ‘60s. One of his first successes in pop was creating The Mugwumps, a band which later split into The Lovin' Spoonful and The Mamas & the Papas. In 1968 Lorber devised a plan to use Boston as a geographical base from which to promote a number of his signings. He claims to have chosen Boston because of its convenient proximity to New York, where his Bosstown bands were recorded. A convienient fan-base existed in the 250,000 Boston college students and he claims there was a large number of clubs where artists could develop before touring nationally. There were also many college and commercial radio stations to promte at the grass-roots level. Just after announcing his plan to the trade press like Billboard and Variety, Newsweek carried the story, and coined the term "Boss-town Sound", adapted from “Motown”.

The Boston Tea Party 53 Berkeley St.
53 Berkeley St.
As a backdrop, Gary Burns recounts in his thesis “The Bosstown Sound” that Boston did have a genuine underground, kick-started in the early sixties by a healthy folk scene. A club called “The Boston Tea Party” (53 Berkeley St.) quickly became the main outlet for alternative rock after it opened in the winter of 1966. The Hallucinations playing with The Ill Wind, along with The Lost, were some of the first Tea Party shows to be announced in the underground Boston newspaper, Avatar. Some other important pre-'Bosstown' mid-sixties bands from the area were The (Rockin') Ramrods, The Remains and The Barbarians. The venue was also favoured by big-name visitors like The Velvet Underground, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy and Canned Heat.

The Boston Tea Party opening night poster
The Boston Tea Party opening night poster
Alan Lorber chose the MGM record label for his signed Boston bands Orpheus, Ultimate Spinach and Beacon Street Union for no other reason than the convenience of having used them for similar acts of his already. Almost immediately after the term “Bosstown” was coined, two things happened which would curse it for ever more and bring it to an abrupt end. Firstly, influential rock press like Rolling Stone and Crawdaddy took an immediate negative stance, claiming that the Bosstown sound was a cynical ploy constructed by MGM, to be played against the huge west-coast “San Francisco Sound”.

The spiel in the initial press advert read ”Where the new thing is making everything else seem yesterday. Where a new definition of love is helping to write the words and music for 1968. Three incredible groups, Three incredible albums. The best of The Boston Sound on MGM records.” It then showed the debut LPs of Beacon Street Union and Ultimate Spinach. Also the second LP from Orpheus, showing that the folk/pop sounds of Orpheus were already well-established before being connected to the campaign.

Billboard magazine - 20th January 1968
The first ad in the Boston Sound campaign
Beacon Street Union, Orpheus and Ultimate Spinach
Now it was hip to bash the Bosstown sound, even Boston musicians joined in the vitriol. Russell “Rusty” Marcus, late-joining bassist with Eden's Children was quoted as saying: "Boston could never support a music scene. You can't enjoy yourself if your body's sick, and Boston's sick, physically, psychologically sick. We're glad we're not just lumped together with the rest of the Boston Sound. [At that time, Eden's Children was one of the only "Bosstown" bands signed to a label other than MGM] I mean, MGM's trying to buy its way onto the charts.

Curb (center) with members of the Mike Curb Congregation and Davy Jones on a television special in 1972
Mike Curb (center) & members of
the 'Mike Curb Congregation'.
Davy Jones television special, 1972
Secondly, in 1969 the newly appointed MGM president Mike Curb (who later became a Reaganite politician and 42nd Lieutenant Governor of California) decided to wage a war on “drug bands”, with Rolling Stone reporting his derogatory comments about bands on his own label! In doing so he dropped many bands from the label, relegating them as "just a bunch of junk". Since then it has been speculated that this was a publicity stunt, and these were merely under-selling bands that were nearing end of contract anyway. The hip and trendy opinion-leaders like Rolling Stone made it acceptable to put down Boston bands. In Lorber’s words, “Nevertheless, the reaction triggered a national controversy which continued for more than a year. It became more trendy to talk 'Boston Sound' than to hear it. A snowball became an avalanche, with the artists buried under the outpouring that overshadowed the music, and eventually destroyed whatever future they might have had."

Countering this to some degree, Alan also wrote: "Strangely though, Boston Sound marketing was successful for Boston itself. Record outlets prospered. Revenues of rock 'n' roll radio multiplied. Circulation of local music papers doubled. Boston clubs experienced overflow attendance. For the groups, Orpheus' single Can't Find The Time was #1 in most US markets. The first Ultimate Spinach album sold 110,000 copies its first week out. All the Boston artists flourished creatively in a wonderful diversity of things political, things poetic, things classical and jazz, things of the time."

From the eighties onward, many people have studied what happened and why, including music executives trying to avoid another such marketing mess. Others have tried to defend the bands that they think were all unfairly tarred with the same brush, and recoup some respect. To make this volume I have used some great online resources that champions of the Bosstown Sound have put together. Respect goes to Paul ‘Blowfish’ Lovell for his “Rock in Boston 1967-69”. To Gary Burns for his Paper “The Bosstown Sound”, and Alan Lorber himself for writing about it all in the nineties, some of which you can read at Orpheus Reborn. Thanks also to Desdinova's “Re-evaluating The Bosstown Sound”.

Chevy Chase in Chamaeleon Church
Chevy Chase (2nd from rt)
in Chamaeleon Church
So, this volume is a collection of acts that were part of, or connected to, “The Bosstown Sound”. In TDATS tradition, I have chosen cuts from bands which played heavy at least some of the time. Narrowly missing the grade were Bear (youtube), The Freeborne (youtube) and Teddy & The Pandas (youtube).  Some important Bosstown names like Orpheus, Earth Opera, The Chamaeleon Church, Ill Wind, The Bagatelle and Flat Earth Society may have been good at what they did but do not have songs included here due to the styles they played. I used a band called Fat back in volume 10 (link) but that track ('Country Girl') is in my opinion the best one on their album and I couldn't decide on another. Towards the end of this volume there's a couple punky late-'70s acts. Although obviously not in the Bosstown Sound, I included them as their members were, and it gives some perspective on what influence the old Boston names had on future sounds.


bands in this volume

Quill
Quill
The opening track, "Thumbnail Screwdriver", is a catchy song with a rolling groove and charismatic group vocals, a great opener indeed. Quill's real names follow, but on the record they went by the psudonyms of Da-ank Khol, Ju-unk Khol, Phil Stan D' There, Red Rocket Rogers, R. Willy North. These pseudonyms are rumoured to have been an attempt at distancing themselves from their Boston roots, as by 1970 the "Bosstown Sound" was well and truly knackered.

The band enjoyed a brief flash of national exposure by playing at the Woodstock festival in August of 1969. The quintet was co-founded in 1967 by brothers John Cole (bass, guitar, vocals) and Dan Cole (vocals, guitar, trombone), who were the main song-writers. The rest of their lineup was Roger North on drums, Norm Rogers on guitar, and Phil Thayer on keyboards, sax, and flute. Most of the songwriting was handled by John and Dan Cole.

Quill LP (1970)
Quill LP (1970)
They were successful enough to get support spots for artists such as Jeff Beck, Deep Purple, Buddy Guy, and Janis Joplin, and their appearance at Steve Paul's Scene in New York City earned them a booking at Woodstock. Unfortunately they never made the cut for the movie, owing to a technical flaw in their footage. They did get signed to Cotillion Records, but the resulting debut album failed, maybe it would have fared better with the help of exposure from the Woodstock movie? John Cole left and the remaining members had their second album rejected by Cotillion. Quill had broken up by 1971 but they received exposure 38 years later when the "Woodstock 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur's Farm" CD contained two of the four songs they played there.

North drum kit
North drum kit
Roger North is probably the most well-recognized ex-member, with a continuing career and a stint with the Holy Modal Rounders. He also gained renown in percussionist circles as the inventor of North Drums, a kit with curved drum bodies that projected their sound outwards towards the audience, which he played from the late '60s onward. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon and plays in the Freak Mountain Ramblers.

Brother Fox & The Tar Baby
Track 2, "Steel Dog Man", starts as it means to go on with a stomping hard rock riff and tight playing, punctuated by glorious psych breaks, backed-up by earthy vocals that cut straight to the bone. Brother Fox and the Tar Baby featured the talents of former Profits guitarist Richie Bartlett, bassist Tom Belliveau, guitarist Dave Christiansen, drummer Bill Garr, singer Steve High and keyboardist Joe Santangelo. Dave Christiansen, Joseph Santangelo, Tom Belliveau and Richard Bartlett were previously in Front Page Review, also appearing in this volume. Belliveau  was also in Pugsley Munion (see vol59), and Bartlett was later in '80s new-wavers The Fools. They were signed by the small Oracle label, which released 1969's Bruce Patch-produced self-titled album. Christiansen was credited as writing all eleven tracks.

Brother Fox & The Tar Baby LP
This has a commercial edge and is a polished product, but it's done right and there's more than enough heaviness here too, over half the album is hard cuts with quite a unique take on combining late-'60s heavy psych with the chunky riffs and hammond organ of the freshly-emerging hard rock sounds of the times. This is what the first Boomerang album should have been like! (see Vol9)

The countrified feel, and high production quality with orchestration, shows that this was a serious stab at a successful album. The mellow tracks and ballads are all good, so make for a nicely diverse listen. The song-writing is consistently good, and the excellent vocals deserve a mention, sounding somewhat like Robert Plant in the heavier tracks. Highly recommended!

The Far Cry LP (1968)
The Far Cry LP (1968)
The Far Cry were a jazzy 7-piece with sax and hammond who made even less impact than most of the bands here. Of all the members, guitarist Paul Lenart reappeared some years later, on Beacon Street Union member Peter Ivers' second solo album. He also played on Keith Moon's "Two Sides Of The Moon" (1975). They play a groovy and flowing form of progressive jazz rock, which is a very unusual thing to have come from the US at this time. User "mekkipuur" at RYM says that they are "the American equivalent to the british heavy progressive groups like Catapilla, Van der Graaf Generator, Gnidrolog or Raw Material" which is a good comparison. Vocalist/Harmonica player Jere Whiting sings with wild abandon, making for one of the most distinctive elements of the record, being compared by some to Capt. Beefheart. I have used the track Hellhound, which has a nice shuffle going on and lots of great extended solos from the band.

The Fort Mudge Memorial Dump's 1969 self-titled album is something to get excited about. A great combination the heaviest Boston sound psych you'll find, with Caroline Stratton's vocals resembling Grace Slick and some killer guitar workouts from Dean Keady, which in places resemble Hendrix at his sludgy-wah'd best. The track I used here, "The Seventh Is Death", is one of the most ominous and longest from the album. It features an unusual, troubled male vocal performance which I presume is from one of the other listed members: James Deptula, Dave Amaral or Richard Clerici.

Fort Mudge Memorial Dump LP 1969
LP cover, 1969
For such a well formed, great-sounding record there is little information to go by but here's what is stated about them: "They were from Walpole, Massachusetts, that started playing by 1969, gathering a good number of fans. Although they were from Walpole, they got filed into the “Boston Sound”, among the Ultimate Spinach, the Beacon Street Union, Orpheus, Tangerine Zoo, ect." A few years ago I found this comment on a Fort Mudge blog post, but as yet I have been unable to verify any of it: "Uncle Rick said...Hi, I worked with Danny (name not Dean!) and Caroline in a band called "Lovelace" in the '70s and we played to packed houses throughout New England. In between was a band called "MadeinUSA" which also cut an album. Lovelace also included locals Chickie Depula on bass and Mick Bendenelli on drums. Caroline, Cindy Daily & Hope Moon on vocals and they kicked butt!"

Apple Pie Motherhood Band - Apple Pie LP 1969
Apple Pie Motherhood Band
'Apple Pie' LP 1969
Track 5 presents a whimsical song with funny, eccentric lyrics. "Grandmother Hooker" easily raises a smile. Psychedelic blues unit the Apple Pie Motherhood Band evolved out of garage outfit C.C. & the Chasers (link).  In 1965 they relocated from Boston to New York City, briefly adopting the name Sacred Mushroom (used on Vol108) and becoming house band at the Bitter End Café, backing acts ranging from Joni Mitchell to Neil Diamond to Kenny Rogers & the First Edition. The Sacred Mushroom moniker was deemed too drug-oriented for a deal with Atlantic, so a sarcastic comment from guitarist Ted Demos resulted in the name Apple Pie Motherhood Band, and their self-titled debut LP followed in 1968. The group relocated to Vermont to record the follow-up "Apple Pie", adding lead vocalist Bruce Paine, guitarist Michael Sofraine, and harmonica player Adam Myers to original members Dick Barnaby (bass, flute), Jack Bruno (drums), Ted Demos (guitar) and Jef Labes (keyboards).

'Apple Pie' LP rear
They were great musicians and their output was all over the board in terms of style and influence, using a lot of covers. This resulted in many great tracks and some mediocre ones, the second album is the heavier and more consistent. What they lack in originality and identity they make up for in exuberant and fun performances. They opened dates for the Jefferson Airplane, the Butterfield Blues Band, and the Chambers Brothers, but in 1970 they split. Demos, Soriphine and Bruno joined Shakey Legs (link) for one album, Labes later backed Van Morrison and Bonnie Raitt, and Bruno spent close to two decades as Tina Turner's touring drummer, then Elton John's. Paine briefly led Steamhammer in the UK, but was better known for acting work.

Eyes of the Beacon Street Union LP 1968
Eyes of the Beacon Street Union LP
1968
For the next track we have a real dancefloor-filler from one of the original MGM-signed Bosstown bands, Beacon Street Union. Having listened to their two albums, I was not bowled-over by their somewhat unfocused sounds, but I did dig "Sadie Says No". Formed in Boston in late 1966, they comprised of John Wright (vocals), Paul Tartachny (guitar, vocals), Robert Rhodes (keyboards), Wayne Ulaky (bass, vocals), and Richard Weisburg (drums). On his site, Paul Lovell writes: "The Union had a few stage tricks. Sometimes they would throw bags of flour around resulting in a low budget fog show. They always fooled me with this next trick no matter how many times I saw them. They would come on stage and we would all clap and yell. They would start plugging in and tuning up. It seemed to take a long time. Eventually your attention would drift and you would just talk to your friends. At some signal the whole band would slam into the opening chord to My Love Is (youtube) at full volume and SCARE THE BEJEEBERS OUT OF YOU."

Eagle (1970)
'Come Under Nancy's Tent' LP rear
The band members were in their early twenties when both albums were recorded and the press hostility against the Bosstown sound took its toll. They split after only two years together. Shepherded by Alan Lorber (along with the groups Ultimate Spinach and Orpheus), the group met with little success, although their first album The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union charted at #75 on May 4, 1968. The band relocated to New York, where, after a second album, The Clown Died in Marvin Gardens, Wright, Ulaky, Weisberg, and Rhodes recorded a further album as Eagle. This was a far-less psychedelic, countrified rock affair. Later in the 1970s, Wright went on to write and sing country music as leader of the Sour Mash Boys.  He died on December 4, 2011.

One of Alan Lorber's bands, Ultimate Spinach was one of the most well-known, and perhaps the most notorious, of the groups to be hyped as part of the "Bosstown Sound" in 1968. The name itself guaranteed attention, as one of the most ridiculous  "far out" names of the psychedelic era, even outdoing "The Peanut Butter Conspiracy". They were competent musicians with imagination, but their albums were derivative the West Coast psychedelic groups that were obvious inspirations.

On the first two of their three albums, Ultimate Spinach was completely under the control of leader Ian Bruce-Douglas, who wrote all of the material, sang most of the vocals, and played a wide variety of instruments, most frequently electric keyboards. Their self-titled 1967 debut was a serious attempt at psychedelia, but suffered at times from the overly-obvious trappings of the style and could sound like parody. Guitarist Barbara Hudson's great contributions in the vocal department did go some way in combating these problems, and in the end the album sold quite successfully.

1968's "Behold and See" LP was an all-round better, more consistent album and that is where I took the track I used here, "Mind Flowers". Although it's still quite derivative, this track has a couragously long running time and is supremely atmospheric, one of the trippiest songs I have ever heard. Bruce-Douglas quit after the second LP, but Lorber assembled a new lineup for their final album, with only Barbara Hudson remaining from that of the debut. Ted Myers (ex-The Lost and Chamaeleon Church) and guitarist Jeff Baxter (later to play with Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers) were introduced for the imaginatively-titled "Ultimate Spinach III" (1970). It was not quite as good as Behold and See, maybe mirroring the changing times it dropped most of the psychedelia completely. A straight-forward country/blues rock sound was adopted which made for a smoother, pedestrian experience, and a less distinctive album.

Eden's Children - Sure Look Real LP inside
Eden's Children
'Sure Looks Real' LP
I found the two albums of Eden's Children quite hard to like on the whole, but they have a few good songs, lots of endearing parts, and a fair amount of good heavy fuzz riffing. It would seem that they seriously lacked in the quality control dept. The production job done by Bob Thiele, who appears to have been quite an accomplished jazz producer since the '40s, is severely inconsistent and lacking in places, making a few of their songs sound embarrassingly amateurish. Being on the ABC label and coming around just after the first wave of the "Bosstown" bands, they are frequently mentioned in the same articles but have always been considered less connected to it. The band was a trio, comprising Richard "Sham" Schamach (vocals, guitar), Larry Kiley (bass) and Jimmy Sturman (drums), at times you'd think they were trying to emulate Cream, but not always unsuccessfully-so. Shortly after the second album, from which I have used the track "Toasted" (voted the best heavy riffer on the album in the TDATS fb group), Kiely left the band and was replaced by Russell “Rusty” Marcus, but they broke up later in 1969. As yet I have found no evidence of further musical efforts from the members.

Jolliver Arkansaw - 'Home' LP
Jolliver Arkansaw
'Home' LP (1969)
Track 9, "Lisa My Love", coasts in on a bouncy bass line with stabs of fuzz guitar. Jolliver Arkansaw were a development from Bo Grumpus, a band who's only album, "Before The War" (1968), was produced by one Felix Pappalardi (pr. Cream & The Youngbloods). "Produced" is probably an insufficient word to use as he also wrote, arranged and played Keyboards, Trumpet, Bass, Guitar, Percussion and Ocarina, so more or less a fifth member of the band. With him were N.D. Smart (drums) and Jim Colegrove (bass), who traveled from Ohio to team up with guitarists Eddie Mottau and Joe Hutchinson. That was a light psych-pop affair of little interest here, but in 1969 the band renamed to Jolliver Arkansaw and made an album called Home. Felix was back in the producer's seat for this one and for one song, Gray Afternoon (youtube), an additional lead guitarist was invited, none other than Leslie West. Apparently it was this early 1969 session that convinced Felix that Leslie was worth working with more closely, which led to the West solo album Mountain and the formation of the group of the same name, initially as a trio with the ubiquitous N.D. Smart. There is more information at thecoolgroove.com (link).

Track 10 finds its mark from the outset as a raving freak-beat monster, "No Reason Why". Along with The Remains, The Barbarians and The Rockin' Ramrods, The Lost were one of the more celebrated Boston bands of the '60s. Unlike those other groups, who were more prolific, The Lost only released a few singles during their short existence. They were pre-Bosstown Sound, but I have included them as their members crop up again in later bands.

The Lost
The Lost
They formed at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont in 1964. Originally the band, with Hugh Magbie as lead guitarist and singer, were among few interracial rock bands of the time. Changes ensued when they moved to Boston in late 1964 and Magbie quit to return to college. The Lost developed a lot of original material, from the imaginations of guitarist Ted Myers and keyboardist Willie Alexander (both mentioned elsewhere in this volume), recording a demo produced by Barry Tashian of The Remains that got them signed to Capitol. Their first single,"Maybe More Than You," was Dylanesque folk-rock, and got some sales and airplay in Massachusetts and New York.

A second single didn't appear for almost a year, although the band managed to open for numerous shows like the Beach Boys' 1966 Eastern tour. Capitol dropped them and in 1967 they split.

The Lost Tapes - Arf! Arf!
The Lost Tapes
Arf! Arf! Records
Main songwriter Ted Myers ventured into psychedelic music with the Chameleon Church (which had future star comedian Chevy Chase on drums), and was a member of the Ultimate Spinach in the band's final days. Keyboardist Willie Alexander and bassist Walter Powers were members of the name-only, Lou Reed-less Velvet Underground of the early '70s, Powers also playing in Listening, coming up. Willie has become a bit of a Boston legend, playing with an endless succession of local bands over time. The Lost did a lot of recording, at Capitol and elsewhere, in addition to their three singles in the mid-'60s, which eventually became available on Arf! Arf!'s Early Recordings and Lost Tapes CD in the '90s. Read some more here. There is a recent interview with Ted Myers here at It's Psychedelic Baby.

Saint Steven - Over The Hills LP 1969
Saint Steven
Over The Hills LP (1969)
Saint Steven was Steve Cataldo. He was previously a member of Front Page Review, who appear here next, a late-joiner to Ultimate Spinach and founding member of the post-punk/power pop Nervous Eaters. In 1969 he made a solo record called Over The Hills. This was an unusual experimental record with lots of things thrown in - psych, folk, hard rock, pop and sound effects in a psuedo-proggresive package. The record is split into two suites, Over the Hills (side A) and The Bastich (side B). It's all pleasant stuff, with a few fuzzy cuts like Ay-Aye Poe Day and Sun In The Flame. The Bastich pts 1 & 2 gives a good cross-section of what he was attempting, with it's pretentious choral intro and groovy psych guitar lead-out. It's not clear whether Steve played all the instruments himself, as nobody else is credited, but it was produced by John Turner who appears to have made some albums of his own. A highly collectible record due to it's rarity, it's worth a listen for Steve's great vocals, proto-prog concept and considered songs.

Front Page Review - Mystic Soldiers LP
Front Page Review
Mystic Soldiers LP
Track 12, "Prism Fawn", has a nice urgency to it, with atmospheric keyboards. Front Page Review rubbed shoulders with bands like Eden's Children, Beacon Street Union and Strawberry Alarm Clock. With Alan Lorber behind the controls, they recorded an album for MGM which was not released at the time. "Mystic Soldiers" is a prime example of late '60s US psych, featuring a young Steve Cataldo (as just mentioned, of Saint Steven & Nervous Eaters) on songwriting / vocals. All the right ingredients are there: wah-fuzz guitars, organ, phasing & effects. Steve wrote all of the material for the group, which played minor-keyed brooding stuff. After they broke up, he made the "Saint Steven" solo album mentioned previously, and later hitched onto the new wave by forming the Nervous Eaters (coming up here soon), who made a couple of LPs. Front Page Review's album was finally unearthed for CD release in 1997 by Big Beat.

Peter Ivers - Knight of the Blue Communion LP 1969
Peter Ivers' 1969 LP
'Knight of the Blue Communion'
Track 13, "Showroom Model", is an intriguing morsel of arty jazz rock that's indicative of the experimental boom of the late '60s. It's compelling and surreal, with off-kilter changes, but anchored by Peter Ivers' bluesy Harmonica. Peter Ivers was born in Boston in 1946. While studying at Harvard University, he played harmonica in The Beacon Street Union. After they split he surfaced as a member of The Street Choir before he signed to Epic in 1969 and issued "Knight of the Blue Communion", an unusual major-label releases for its time: A surreal parade of jazz, psychedelic, pop, classical and vaudeville vignettes with wildly eclectic arrangements and feverish rhythms. Featuring opera singer Yolande Bevan and electronic “modulations”, it evokes Frank Zappa’s most eccentric moments and the United States Of America at their most juvenile. Ivers recorded a follow-up, "Take It Out on Me" (Epic, 1971), but the label never released it, except for the single "Ain’t That Peculiar/ Clarence O’Day". Take It Out on Me has since been issued by Wounded Bird Records (link).

He signed to Warner Bros in 1974. Ivers and his co-producer, free jazz bassist Buell Neidlinger, delivered "Terminal Love", which at times sounded like Beefheart/Zappa. Indeed, Magic Band & Zappa collaborator Eliot Ingber appears on several tracks. A self-titled album for Warner followed in 1976. A year later, Ivers earned arguably his most enduring fame, writing and recording "In Heaven (The Lady in the Radiator Song)" for David Lynch's noir horror classic Eraserhead (youtube). (The song was later covered by Boston's The Pixies.) A 1980 single, "Love Theme from Filmex," was his last official musical release. In the early '80s, Ivers hosted New Wave Theatre, broadcast on the fledgling USA cable network as part of their Friday evening Night Flight anthology. The series provided early national TV exposure for Los Angeles area bands like The Blasters and Dead Kennedys. With his outrageous wardrobe, philosophical interview questions, and rapid-fire social commentaries, Ivers was a most unconventional host, and many of the artists featured on the show made their distaste for him painfully clear. Peter is reported to have played in an avant-garde jazz outfit called Girlz of Zaetar, which had a rehearsal tape issued in 2007 (youtube).


Ivers was bludgeoned to death in his L.A. apartment in 1983. Many suspected the murderer was a member of the local punk scene. Ivers' killer was never found, but in his memory, Harvard University initiated the Peter Ivers Visiting Artist Program. The retrospective "Nirvana Peter" appeared on Warner in 1985. Josh Frank and Charlie Buckholtz have written a book about Ivers' life, art and mysterious death, In Heaven Everything Is Fine: The Unsolved Life of Peter Ivers and the Lost History of New Wave Theatre (2008). On the basis of new information unearthed during the creation of this book, the Los Angeles Police Department has reopened their investigation into Ivers' death. Thanks to Jason Ankeny at Allmusic.com, eggcityradio.com and Wikipedia for all this info.

Willie "Loco" Alexander (born January 13, 1943) sang and played keyboards with The Lost, The Bagatelle and The Grass Menagerie. He became a member of The Velvet Underground in late 1971, joining fellow Grass Menagerie alumni Doug Yule and Walter Powers and replacing Sterling Morrison. With the Velvet Underground, Alexander toured Europe in support of the album Loaded. Reshuffles brought on by manager Steve Sesnick then ended Alexander's time with the band.

Willie Alexander
Willie Alexander in recent times
After leaving The Velvet Underground, he enjoyed a checkered career. He recorded three solo singles beginning in 1975, and formed the punk-oriented Boom Boom Band the following year. The group recorded two albums for MCA, but broke up in 1978. He released Solo Loco in 1982, and then formed The Confessions, who also recorded two albums, A Girl Like You and Autre Chose. Alexander continued in his solo status throughout the '80s, and formed the Persistence of Memory Orchestra in 1991. In addition to his storied music career, in 1994, Willie narrated a local film entitled Middle Street made by fellow Gloucester native, independent filmmaker Henry Ferrini. Willie has also contributed many songs to the soundtracks for Henry's other films. You can check out Willie's current activities etc at his site (link).

Nervous Eaters c. 1977
Nervous Eaters c. 1977
Track 15, "Just Head", is a chunk of killer Stonesy punk with cheeky lyrics and unstoppable momentum. The Nervous Eaters was one of the bands that kick-started the Boston punk scene at the end of the 70‘s and the birth of a local scene that would foster dozens of influential and successful American artists in the 80’s and beyond. That needs to be said because the "Eaters", as the group was affectionately referred to locally, never achieved much attention outside of Boston or New York City. Featuring singer, guitarist and songwriter Steve Cataldo, previously of Front Page Review and Saint Steven, the Nervous Eaters was considered the house band at Kenmore Square’s Rathskeller (aka "Rat") club by virtue of its many appearances there and a pair of 7” singles released on the club’s Rat Records. Before taking that name, they had dubbed themselves The Rhythm Assholes, while they backed Willie Alexander on his 1977 solo single "Kerouac", and in concert. One of those songs, “Loretta,” became and remains one of the city’s enduring rock and roll anthems powered by a scorching four-piece attack and Cataldo’s husky and fervent vocals.

Nervous Eaters, Steve Cataldo 2nd from left
Nervous Eaters, Steve Cataldo 2nd from left
Ric Ocasek of the Cars became a fan and he produced a ten-song demo for the band that enabled a deal with Elektra Records, also the home of his platinum-selling group. Unfortunately, some blaming the producer, their eponymous 1980 album completely lacked the heaviness and attitude of the band’s live shows and original singles. The album failed and the band stepped into the shadows. A 1986 reunion album "Hot Steel and Acid", for the French-based New Rose label, was subsequently issued by Boston's Ace of Hearts Records. It belatedly redressed the balance with the frantic scuzz of the early singles, but the chance of national fame was already well-passed. New incarnations of the band, still including Steve Cataldo, play sporadically up to this day and you can follow them on facebook (link).

Listening LP front 1968
Listening LP cover (1968)
Rounding this volume off nicely we have a slice of Hendrix-heavy 1968 psych called "See You Again". Vocalist/keyboardist Michael Tschudin led the band Listening, and the later-Velvet Underground bassist Walter Powers (previously of The Lost) and guitarist Peter Malick (aged only sixteen when joining) helped to make this album historic. Walter performed over the years with keyboardist Willie Alexander as members of The Lost, the aforementioned Velvets, and on Autre Chose, a live album from Willie. Peter Malick later became Otis Spann's guitarist and a member of the James Montgomery Band on Capricorn. The album runs the gamut from psych, pop, blues to jazz. Eight of the 11 tracks are written by Michael Tschudin, with three titles attributed to the group. A couple of tracks are top-tear stuff, "Stoned Is", being another of them, while the rest make for a consistently enjoyable listen front to back. Michael Tschudin appeared soon after in Cynara (link), who look pretty mean on the cover of their s/t 1970 album, which is disappointingly loungy commercial piano-based jazz/soul that never works up a sweat. Peter Malick became an acomplished blues player and since becoming a producer/engineer in the 2000s he has had a hand in starting Nora Jones' career (website).  Drummer Ernie Kamanis played guitar for Andy Pratt and Boz Scaggs and later had a solo career. Paul Lovell recounts some memories of Listening here.

See you again!
Cheers, Rich

Share via:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

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


Download from [mf] or [mg]
unzip password:  tdats


The Day After The Sabbath 108: Born Under A Bad Sign by Rich Aftersabbath on Mixcloud
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".

TRACKS
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)
        single
15. Black Cat Bones - Save My Love (1970)
        from album 'Barbed Wire Sandwich'

Juicy Lucy -
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
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
Chain
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 -
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
front
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
rear
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
single
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 -
Black Cat Bones - "Barbed Wire Sandwich" LP
Thanks for listenin'. Rich

Share via: