Showing posts with label Freedom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Freedom. Show all posts

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Day After The Sabbath 105: Goin' Down [covers special] *UPDATED*

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Freddie King's 'Getting Ready...' LP
feat. 'Going Down'
Welcome to a tribute to one of the eternally durable and most frequently-covered rock songs of all time. It has the fast chugging riffage that made it perfect for any hard rock bands that were looking for a good blues song to cover back in the early days, which I guess is why it happened so often. What inspired this volume of TDATS is the frequency with which I have run into it, a large number of previous TDATS-appearing bands have recorded it.

I had always absent-mindedly presumed it was a blues standard, by some famous bluesman from way back. On formulating this comp, first investigations found that person was probably Freddie King in 1971, which seemed a good enough answer, although he was a later-generation blues player. While coincidentally listening to the great Moloch album soon after, I noticed that they had a version of Going Down, but the album was made in 1969. This really confused me! So at this point it became a real mission to find out what was going on...

There's no wasting time with an intro in the Freddie King version of this song. It seems he set the president with that urgent, repetitive nature of the opening D chord, followed by the descending scale, getting down to business straight away and sounding mean as hell with it. It definitely has that essence of what is now called heavy metal, which is what I dig about it so much, and it's clear a lot of early heavy bands agreed!

Track List
01. Walter Rossi - Goin' Down (1976)
       from album 'Walter Rossi'
02. Booker T. & The M.G.'s - Slim Jenkins' Place (1967)
       from album 'Hip Hug-Her'
03. Moloch - Going Down (1969)
       from album 'Moloch'
04. Stone The Crows - Goin' Down (1971)
       from album 'BBC Live In Paris 1971'
05. Freddie King - Going Down (1971)
       from album 'Getting Ready...'
06. Chicken Shack - Going Down (1972)
       from album 'Imagination Lady'
07. Freedom - Going Down (1972)
       from album 'Freedom Is More Than a Word'
08. Dixie Peach - Going Down (1975)
       from album 'Dixie Peach'
09. Jukin' Bone - Going Down (1972)
       from album 'Whiskey Woman'
10. Karthago - Going Down (1976)
       from album 'Live At The Roxy'
11. Tommy Bolin & Energy - Goin' Down (1972)
       from album 'The Energy Radio Broadcasts 1972'
12. Incredible Hog - Goin' Down (1973)
       from reissue 'Volume 1 +4'
13. Hydra - Going Down (1974)
       from album 'Hydra'
14. Don Nix - Going Down (1972)
       from album 'The Alabama State Troupers Road Show'
15. Don Nix - Going Down (year unknown) *** NEW ADDITION 16/12/2014
       from Phillip Rauls archive of radio broadcasts
You can download track 15 on it's own here if you do not wish to download the whole thing again.

[EDIT: An new track has been added to this comp today, 16th December 2014. This was found here, in a short piece from the youtube channel of record industry veteran Phillip Rauls. In it he presents another Don Nix-recorded version of the song, at the beginning of which, Don says he wrote it for Elvis Presley, who did not record it. Interestingly, even Don doesn't mention that Moloch were the first act to record it, and he himself says it was Freddie King. If you look in the comments of the youtube clip, you'll see Larry Changes (claiming to be a one-time Moloch member) asking why Phillip omitted to mention Moloch's version. Phillip says that the reaction to Moloch's version was so slight that it wasn't worth mentioning!

In reply to that, Larrry says: "When I was in Moloch (also played w/ Raspberry in Alamo, & Tarp & Jay Spell in Money), we weren't too 'current' on sales & airplay, but we found time for endeavors like kickin' Johnny Winter's arse at the shell (3 encores to his 2)... when other cats boasted of doin' a couple of Freddie King songs, we were able to say Freddie did a couple of ours. His favorite was Same Old Blues... he loved PhilipDale's vocals; first question he asked me was,"WHO is singin' vocals on that Same Old Blues song?" PhilipDale's vocals was how we got that third encore at the Shell, doin' 'Phil's Blues']

The history of the song is entwined with producer/writer/musician Don Nix, the band Moloch, and the bluesman Freddie King. So entwined in fact, that it's been hard to get to the bottom of it. Most people familiar with the song will say that it's a Freddie King original, but it's not the case. Listen to the Tommy Bolin track in this comp, even he introduces it as a Freddie King song. The first time it appeared on record was the s/t album from Memphis's "Moloch" in 1969. At the time, Moloch guitarist Lee Baker was friends with Don Nix, who produced Moloch's sole album, and has writing credits on most of its tracks.

Don Nix has a connection to Freddie King also...having started out as saxophonist in Memphis R&B group The Mar-Keys, he became an important figure in "Memphis soul", producing for the associated Stax and Ardent labels. The Mar-Keys would evolve into R&B legends "Booker T. and the M.G.'s", which included such names as Steve Cropper. Freddie King's 1971 album 'Get Ready...' was produced by Don, with him writing two tracks (including Going Down) and co-writing two others.

Lee Baker
Regarding Moloch, I recently got in touch with the last-surviving member, bassist Steve Spear. He had this to tell me: "I remember being in the old Ardent studios on National with Moloch. I can’t remember what I played on (we are talking late 60’s).  Lee Baker played bass on the tunes I didn't play on. I didn't play on the single [that came out in 1972 after the album]. Don Nix actually recruited me for bass after the original bassist, Mike Reddock I think his name was, bowed out. As you know Don was in the Mar-Keys and Lee was in some of the early bands in Memphis. They both had an affinity for Furry Lewis. So I would assume that’s how they knew each other. I was the youngest in the band so I didn't know the earlier history of those guys. 

Steve Spear in recent times
I’m involved in a project right now with Don. He is producing an album for Danny Green in Memphis. Drummer Joel Williams and I played on 4 tracks, 3 of which made it to the album. I think they are seeking a deal with Sony."

Amongst other projects, Steve currently plays in "Down 2 Five". Following the tragic murder of Lee Baker in 1996, I have found some information regarding his later band Mud Boy and the Neutrons and Moloch, here,  for those who are interested.

Just to make things even clearer, in 1972 Don sang and released his own version of Going Down, as a single taken from the album "The Alabama State Troopers Road Show", a travelling revue designed to showcase the talents of various Southern musicians who had been signed to the Elektra imprint.

So where does this leave us when trying to get down to the roots of this song? I am very grateful to TDATS fb group member Robbert, for pointing out that the instrumental track "Slim Jenkins' Place", on the 1967 Booker T and the M.G.'s album "Hip Hug-Her", has the same bass line as Goin' Down. Writing credits on that track go to Al Jackson, Booker T. Jones, Donald Dunn and Steve Cropper. The track is included in this comp. Could it be that Don adapted this short instrumental into his own thing with Goin' Down? It sure looks that way, as he is not credited as writer of "Slim Jenkins' Place". With the record being on the Stax label, maybe he did however have some indirect input...

Also included here are versions from some bands that will be well-known to TDATS readers; Walter Rossi (Vols 523), Chicken Shack (Vols 20 & 74), Freedom (Vols 79 & 100), Jukin' Bone (Vol 10) and Incredible Hog (Vols 463). The Incredible Hog version is taken from the Rise Above Relics reissue Vol 1 +4.

Along for the ride come some new-to-TDATS names that some readers may think it's well about time...

Stone The Crows
The awesome pipes of Maggie Bell and Stone The Crows introduce the only female-vocalled version here; "Stone The Crows were formed after Maggie Bell was introduced to Les Harvey by his elder brother, Alex Harvey. After playing together in the Kinning Park Ramblers, they rejoined in a band named Power, later renamed Stone the Crows (after a British/Australian English exclamation of surprise or shock) by Led Zeppelin's manager, Peter Grant. The band was co-managed by Grant and Mark London. London was associated with Lulu as the co-writer of her signature song, "To Sir With Love" and was also married to Lulu's manager, Marion Massey. London had also managed the predecessor band Cartoone, which featured Les Harvey on guitar, and in which Peter Grant had a financial interest.

Original line-up.
Maggie Bell, vocals. Les Harvey, guitar. Colin Allen, drums; ex-Zoot Money's Big Roll Band and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, later performed with Focus. James Dewar, bass; later performed and sang with Robin Trower's band. John McGinnis, keyboards. The band's first two albums were recorded by this line-up, with Bell's vocals "reminiscent of Janis Joplin".

Second line-up
McGinnis and Dewar left in 1971, to be replaced by Ronnie Leahy and Steve Thompson. Jimmy McCulloch would subsequently replace Harvey as lead guitarist following Harvey's accidental on-stage death by electrocution at Swansea's Top Rank Suite in May 1972. As he was the band's primary songwriter as well as Maggie Bell's romantic partner, Harvey's death almost led to the Stone the Crows' breakup.

Stone the Crows ultimately broke up in June 1973. Peter Grant would continue to manage Maggie Bell's career following the band's breakup, with Bell subsequently recording two solo albums under Grant's tutelage, Queen of the Night (1974) and Suicide Sal (1975), and a 1981 album with the Grant-managed band Midnight Flyer. Bell may be best known, however, for her session work on Rod Stewart's 1971 album Every Picture Tells a Story, in particular her co-lead vocal with Stewart on the album's title track (credited as "vocal abrasives"). Jimmy McCulloch joined Paul McCartney's group, Wings, in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1974."

Dixie Peach LP rear cover
Dixie Peach (link) made one album in 1974. Their version of Goin' Down here is one of the most different sounding ones, having a long build-up and a slower vibe over-all. "Dixie Peach from Ohio, playing Southern blues-rock, has risen again. Formed in 1972 by slide guitarist extraordinaire, singer and songwriter Ira Stanley with Steve Williams (keyboards), Mike “Roscoe” Rousculp (bass), Tony Paulus (guitar, keyboards) and Jerry Barnhart (drums), they released one album (out of print) before breaking up in 1975. Reforming in 1998 and releasing Butta in 2002, they jam out better than ever, their spicy-as-barbecue sound featuring the  original members save for drummer Steve Benson. Beginning in 1973, Dixie Peach started touring full time and played gigs from Buffalo, New York to Tampa, Florida and released its first album in 1974. Dixie Peach has been an opening act for many national artists including Joe Walsh, Lee Roy Parnell, Johnny Winter, Cheap Trick, Tesla, Larry Carlton, Roy Buchanan, Spirit, New York Dolls, Billy Cobham, Blue Oyster Cult, and many others."

Jukin' Bone.
L-R: Mark, Tom, Joe, George & John, 1970
With a nice fast n' heavy interpretation, we have Jukin' Bone. Taken from Ron Wray :- "With its lineup finally set in the fall of 1971, [NY Syracuse band] 'Free Will' changed its name to "Jukin' Bone."  Now with a recording contract with RCA Records the band entered Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland Studio in New York City in 1972  and recorded their first album for RCA "Whiskey Woman".  Now a lineup change as drummer Tom Glaister married and left the band. He was replaced by two drummers Kevin Shwaryk & Danny Coward

Their album "Way Down East"  followed (1973) along with two singles "Whiskey Woman" (1972)  and "Cara Lynn' (1972). One very important fact of note, Jukin' Bone was one of the most electrifying live bands you will ever see. They went on tour, but never received enough promotion across the country, although they perhaps came very close to national stardom. 

Their November-December 1972 tour consisted of the following stops- Alabama (Montgomery & Huntsville), Arkansas (Ft Smith), Iowa (DesMoines), Kansas (Wichita), Louisiana (Monroe, Shreveport), Minnesota (Duluth, Minn,-St Paul), Missouri (Columbia), North Carolina (Ashville), North & South Dakota, Tennessee (Memphis), Texas (Austin, Dallas, Harlingen, Houston, Odessa, San Angelo, Waco) and Wisconsin (Madison, Sheboygan).

 July 14, 1973, drummer Danny Coward departed leaving Jukin Bone just a four man group (Mark Doyle, Joe Whiting, John DeMaso & Kevin Shwaryk). In the fall of 1973, Jukin Bone', one of Syracuse's greatest groups, disbanded. Mark Doyle went to play with DUV (Dave Hanlon, Rick Cua) and David Werner, Joe Whiting joined Bobby Comstock on tour and the rest went their separate ways."

Berlin's Kathago, generally known for fusion/funk rather than hard rock or blues, played this cover live in 1976, available on their 'Live at the Roxy' LP. Allmusic :- "Just months after their formation in Berlin in 1970, Karthago began recording music for their first album. Karthago's sound was influenced more by North American rock than by anything that was coming out of Europe, composed of a tapered and rather simplistic mixture of light funk and freestyle jazz with a basic rock & roll substratum for everything else to rest on. Within the album's nine tracks are melodies that are accommodating and recognizable, quite different than what was otherwise coming out Germany's music scene in the early '70s.

"String Rambler," "Black Fire," and "Morning Surprise" best represent Karthago's breezy, undemanding air, led by the bright organ playing of Ingo Bischoff and fastened by Wolfgang Brock's unmitigated drum work. "Why Don't You Stop Buggin' Me" and the shimmering "wow" of "But I Know"'s keyboard-guided intro lead into some electrifying pieces, with comparisons to Steppenwolf, Procol Harum, and even early Chicago arising from the melodies. Although labeled as a progressive band, Karthago's sound is more along the lines of German rock rather than prog, with shorter song lengths and a tendency to balance out the keyboards, guitar, and percussion equally throughout their music. After their fourth album in 1976, Karthago broke up, with Gerald Hartwig joining the more prominent Guru Guru and Bischof hooking up with Kraan. Second Step (1973) and 1974's Rock 'N' Roll Testament begin to show signs of commercial leanings, but their last installment, entitled Live at the Roxy, is just as impressive as their debut album."

Tommy Bolin's Energy
Energy were formed in 1971 in Boulder, Colorado when Tommy Bolin and Bobby Berge left Zephyr (see Vol 49). They appear with a Radio broadcast, having never released an official LP. The members in the most well-known lineup were: Tommy Bolin: guitar, Jeff Cook: vocals & harmonica, Tom Stephenson: keyboards & vocals,  Stanley Sheldon: bass and Bobby Berge: drums. "Energy didn’t release any official albums or singles, but did complete a number of studio recordings, some of which appeared later on Tommy Bolin ArchivesCD releases. The first lineup of the band featuring Steig concentrated on long intense jams, often featuring Steig’s flute more than Tommy’s guitar. The band’s appeal was notably widened after adding a vocalist, beginning with Gary, then Jeff and later Max. The greatest amount of existing live material features Jeff Cook, and shows the band ranging from slow blues to rocking blues to hard rock to marathon fusion jams, often in one performance. 

Their studio output showed a band that would have made the big time if they had the power of a record deal. Some of the material written by Tommy with John Tesar and Jeff Cook went on to be used by Tommy in later bands. “Got No Time for Trouble” and “Praylude/Red Skies” were used in James Gang, “Lady Luck” with Deep Purple and “Dreamer” was used on Teaser." Lot's more information here at the official Bolin website.

Hydra LP 1974
Hydra are a band that I am still saving for another southern rock comp. They supply a nice southern rock interpretation here with great enthusiasm and cool vocals! "Hydra debuted in 1974 via the release of the group's self-titled album. With the Dallas, Texas to New Orleans "Glitter Queen" setting the LP in motion, many would have expected that the song was recorded by a glam group. By contrast, Hydra rolled out of the deep South, where the un-glam NASCAR, grits and guns defined the slower-paced way of life. Nevertheless, "Glitter Queen" is a strong intro track that is competently chased by "Keep You Around" and "It's So Hard". A cover of "Going Down" and the lengthy "Feel the Pain" fill-out the rock 'n' boogie side A. The upbeat "Good Time Man" continues the down home party groove, and the shortest track from the album, "If You Care to Survive" is delivered with aggression. The seven-minute-plus "Miriam" closes the Hydra LP with a mellow arrangement. As part of the Capricorn Records family, Hydra should have been a larger player from the proud '70s Southern rock scene."

Alabama State Troupers Road Show LP cover
To finish off, we have Don Nix himself giving us the ultimate rendition of Goin' Down. A rip-roaring live stage performance. Toward the end of the song, Don admits he's been 'down' since he was two years old, and ad-libs the phrase "A chicken ain't nothin' but a bird, and a bird ain't nothin' but a fowl", which seems to come from an old Cab Calloway song called "Chicken Ain't Nothing But a Bird". Then he goes on to state how Furry Lewis (blues hero of Don Nix who was part of The Alabama State Troupers) hasn't been kept down for 78 years. Does this shed more light on the origins of Going Down? He also Allmusic :- "Don Nix had deep Southern soul and blues roots, getting his start playing with Steve Cropper and Donald Duck Dunn in the Mar-Keys. These roots aren't as evident on his 1972 project Alabama State Troupers as his association with Leon Russell, whose pioneering work can be heard all over Road Show, the double-LP that captures the wild revue Nix took across America in 1972. Cut firmly from the same cloth that Russell provided for Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs & Englishmen revue, along with the similar Delaney & Bonnie band, the Alabama State Troupers is a careening rock & roll outfit that touches upon soul, country, gospel, and, in its occasional frontman Furry Lewis, blues. 

Lewis stepped into an absence left by Lonnie Mack, a superficially more suitable match for Nix, co-vocalist Jeanie Greene, and the Mt. Zion Band & Choir, but Lewis gives this an unexpected sense of community and heritage, emphasizing how the Alabama State Troupers stretch back far. That said, Road Show is very much an album of its time. Specifically, it is part of the Leon Russell axis, sounding like a kissing cousin to Delaney & Bonnie due to Nix's traded vocals with Greene, but its attitude is slightly closer to Mad Dogs & Englishmen, often feeling so overstuffed that it is about to burst. Nix isn't a vocalist of Cocker's stature, nor is Greene close to Bonnie Bramlett, which makes the wildcard of Lewis all the more compelling; he gives them gravity but also a bit of mischief. Nevertheless, the star in Alabama State Troupers isn't who is on the mike but rather the group itself, a collective that plays the kind of rambling, raucous American music that was briefly in vogue in the early '70s. Few have picked up this thread since, but that may be why it still sounds vital: it's teeming with passion, conviction and ideas that are still potent years after the music has receded into history."

Thanks for listenin', and keep Goin' Down!


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Monday, March 24, 2014

The Day After The Sabbath 100: Reel Ravers (at the movies)

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Welcome to the big 100! Here we have a comp of songs that appear in movies. There'll be more movie-related TDATS later with different themes, as it's a subject that interests me a lot and i've been on the look out for a long time now. You may think rock in the movies is not unusual or hard to come by, but in these examples the bands and the songs are lesser-known, good, heavy, and being seen played in the movie. Finding all these together is a harder task than I realised it would be when I started! A big thanks must go to the people who helped with some of the much-needed nuggets of information at the TDATS fb group, along with the amazing cameo lists at

Most of the films here are generally thought of as "exploitation movies"; movies that exploit a certain fad of the times, either in movie-making in general or else in popular culture at large. One example of a genre that you may think is a good source is the (road) rash of biker flicks that were popular for a few years from the late sixties onward. I certainly did find a good amount which had some great soundtrack music, but no examples where bands appear in person. I decided biker movies deserve their own volume later.

Soon after I first posted this, somebody made this comment. "It would be interesting to see not the songs in the movies, but the way Hollywood in general portrays "hard rockers". because it's cringing to watch. According to Hollywood, long-haired rockers are really the filth of the earth. dumber than poles, nasty and crazy.. Sad, really....stereotypes galore, "hairy biker rocker type" has become the villain everyone loves to hate."

My response was: "I agree, that is a subject that deserves a lot more attention.....there's a whole book right here. Most movies aimed at a general audience are about stereotypes though, what ever the subject. Exploitation movies especially, by definition. All the biker movies that had cool music and evil raping/murdering bikers - playing on the fact that rock did, and still does to some degree, play up to and thrive on the bad boy image."

Where possible I used tracks taken from the band's album or the movie's soundtrack LP. In the cases of Mystic, Luke Zane, The Bored, Atlantis, Forever More and Juicy Lucy, I extracted the audio from the best quality source (that I could get my hands on) of the movies themselves. "The Bored" suffers more than the rest from the fact that the sound quality of the movie itself was never good, and the only versions available at the moment are VHS bootlegs.

01. Mystic - The Mark Of Death (1973)
from "Horror Hospital"
02. Magic - Sorcerer's Advice (1978)
from "Trick Rock 'n Roll"
03. The Standells - Riot On Sunset Strip (1967)
from "Riot On Sunset Strip" and album "Try It"
04. Luke Zane - Liar (1970)
from "Ich - Ein Groupie"
05. The Bored - Night of Bloody Horror (1969)
from "Night Of Bloody Horror"
06. The Mops - Goiken Muyo (Ilja Naika) (1971)
from "Stray Cat Rock: Wild Measures'71" and Mops album "Iijanaika"
07. Atlantis - Maybe Someday (1978)
from "The Alien Factor" and 45rpm single
08. James Gang - Country Fever (1969)
from "Zachariah"
09. David Lucas & Michael Greer - Water (1970)
from "The Secret Garden Of Stanley Sweetheart"
10. Forever More - 8 O'Clock & All's Well (1970)
from "Permissive" and album "Yours"
11. The Pretty Things - Blow Your Mind (1969)
from "What's Good For The Goose" and album "“Even More Electric Banana”
12. Michel Pagliaro - J'ai Marché Pour Une Nation (1970)
from "Finalement" and single
13. Freedom - Born Again (1969)
from "Nerosubianco" (aka Attraction)
14. Juicy Lucy - Slow Down (1971)
from "Bread"
15. Moby Grape - Never Again (1969)
from "The Sweet Ride" 

Psych-Out poster
Psych-Out poster
One of the things that makes these appearances interesting is the way they show how rock music was regarded in mainstream consciousness, or at least in that of the movie industry. The movie has been used as a vehicle for big acts from the beginning; Elvis, The Beatles, The Monkeys etc, that's common knowledge, but the counter-culture revolution of the sixties was the time for smaller bands in movies. Beat groups in light mid-'60s teen movies were a common sight, and psych bands in serious movies about the revolution like Medium Cool were too.

Often you'll see what Hollywood's idea of a psychedelic rave is; lots of naked, body-painted go-go dancers, mop-haired revellers manically thrashing their limbs around, monged-out hippies smoking joints on the periphery and bands bathed in liquid light shows trying their best to mime to a backing track and look like they're getting into it. A pair of psychedelic exploitation movies are prime examples; The Trip (1967) and Psych-Out (1968), which are available on a double-bill DVD. The Trip was written by Jack Nicholson and starred Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, pre-dating the trio's work in Easy Rider by a year or so. Psych-Out starred Jack Nicholson (who was also in a few low-rent biker flicks at the time, as was Bruce Dern who was also in The Trip).

The Trip poster
Both these films had psychedelic music sequences in Sunset Strip clubs. Psych-Out boasts the amusing sight of Jack Nicholson fronting fictitious band "Mumblin' Jim", miming guitar to a Purple Haze-inspired riff which was in reality recorded by Colorado band "The Boenzee Cryque". In The Trip, Gram Parsons' country rockers "International Submarine Band" were filmed in a club, but their performance was dubbed over with The Electric Flag's "Fine Jung Thing", a band which was commissioned to make the soundtrack in replacement of original contender International Submarine Band. The resulting LP was Electric Flag's first full album.

How was hard rock and heavy prog/psych represented? It came about in the lower-budget, underground movies of less mainstream appeal. Very few world-renowned heavy bands were in films in the '60s and '70s, but a young Yardbirds appeared in Michelangelo Antonioni's "Blow-Up". As hard rock's popularity increased in the '70s, random band appearances became even less frequent, reflected by the lack of mid-late '70s songs in this volume.

Slade In Flame poster
Slade In Flame poster
There were a few movies made specifically about music and successful bands, in documentary format or mock-band stories for example. Some well-known examples are The Who in Tommy and "Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park", but these are not TDATS territory.

A good one to check out is Slade's "In Flame" which gives an uncompromisingly honest view of the rock'n roll industry and provided more than a few queues for This Is Spinal Tap. Another is "200 Motels", which was a surreal story that revolved around Frank Zappa's band. I have avoided those and stuck mostly to movies that had character-driven plots, in which the bands are lesser-known and appear in a few scenes, like Moby Grape in "The Sweet Ride" and The Bored in "Night Of Bloody Horror", or had more central roles as characters in the plot like Forever More in Lindsey Shonteff's "Permissive" and Sorcery in Brian Trenchard-Smith's "Stunt Rock". There are a few examples here of music that was performed by musicians that did not make up an existing band but were brought together for the sake of the film, like Mystic in "Horror Hospital" and the band in "The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart".

The Litter in Medium Cool
The Litter in Medium Cool
An interesting side story, and one which exemplifies the industry's sometimes fickle treatment of the rock bands themselves, is Haskell Wexler's Medium Cool. Excellent heavy psych band The Litter performed a full set for a club scene, only to have music from Frank Zappa's debut dubbed over the top in the finished movie. I contacted The Litter singer Zippy Caplan and unfortunately he cannot remember or recognise which song they were actually playing in the scene. There is a live Litter EP floating around on various archival releases which is all the tracks they recorded during the shoot. I had an idea to dub it back over the footage but I was unable to visually match any of the songs up as the flashes of the band are too brief . So it seems we'll never know now.

Horror Hospital poster
Horror Hospital poster
So let's get down to (movie) business, and track 1 of this volume. Horror Hospital is an English movie made in 1973. It was directed by Antony Balch, who is most well-known for this movie and some collaborative work with William S. Burroughs, with whom he always dreamed of bringing “The Naked Lunch” to the screen, but never did. The lead role is played by Robin Askwith, who is most famous for the “Confessions” series of sex comedies, and he still has roles in UK TV shows now. In the movie a disgruntled song writer goes for a break with a hippie-themed travel company “Hairy Holidays” and finds out the true intentions of the mad doctor who uses it to lure young people for his ominous uses…

The band shown in the film, which you can hear our protagonist Jason complaining about for using a song of his without credit, is rumoured to be three guys from UK pop/psych group Tangerine Peel: Warwick Rose (Bass),  James Gaynor (Guitar) and John Warwick (Drums). The song 'Mark of Death' was written by Warwick Rose under the pseudonym “Jason deHavilland”.

I found an unsubstantiated claim on an internet forum that The Mark Of Death was released on a single b-side under a different band/song name, but haven’t been able to establish the truth of this yet. Some cursory searching revealed that Warwick Rose was involved in a number of acts after Tangerine Peel, like Ro Ro and Warwick, in which Alan Ross (Ex-Tangerine Peel) had some involvement also.  Alan Ross had a complex post-Tangerine Peel career too, but I have not found any clues as to whether the postulated b-side was on any Rose, Warrick or Ross related singles…

Stunt Rock poster
Stunt Rock poster
In 1978 English/Australian director Brian Trenchard-Smith had the idea to sell a movie using the appeal of death-defying stunts mixed with rock music. He already had experience of making stunt documentaries, and chose Australian stunt man Grant Page as the star, who he’d worked with before. He travelled to the US and found a band. Almost recruiting Foreigner, he eventually made a deal with Los Angeles hard-rockers Sorcery, who had already developed a bombastic stage show of their own involving demons and wizards, and had been supported by the then up-coming band Van Halen.

Sorcery was made up mostly of musicians that had connections with show business and also did session/jingle work, although they were a bona-fide band, headlining their own shows. Lead guitarist/keyboardist and main song writer Richard Taylor had also played with Legs Diamond (see Vol29) Their stage show incorporated battles between costumed wizards which were complemented by extravagant stage effects and set-pieces. The movie has a thin plot which is used to hold together what is effectively a feature-length montage of quality hard rock, amusing stage antics and heroic old-school stunts. Something to get the Beavis and Buttheads in us all whooping with pleasure!

Sorcery’s efforts were cut on two LPs during their existence, which ended in 1987: Stunt Rock, and the soundtrack to 1984 slasher movie “Rocktober Blood”. The latter was a far inferior effort which apparently only had three proper Sorcery-written tracks, none of which were quite up to the standard of Stunt Rock. The quality of Stunt Rock’s music proved they had potential, and one wonders where they could have gone if they had wanted to escape the shady world of soundtrack work and become a proper signed band. There is an ancient official website here on which some DVDs and CDs of Sorcery rarities were available but it has not been updated for years.

Riot On Sunset Strip poster
Riot On Sunset Strip poster
1967’s “Riot On Sunset Strip” is one of the first and defining counter-culture exploitation movies. It was rushed for release within 6 weeks of the Sunset Strip curfew riots which occurred in late 1966. Club-going revellers who were frequenting the strip in larger and larger numbers were getting the goat of local residents and businesses by amassing on the side-walks, making noise and holding up traffic. Police were patrolling the area in larger numbers as a result, and inevitably friction occurred between the opposing sides.

It came to a head one night during a protest against the authorities’ plans to control the situation by forcing closure of one of the central coffee houses, Pandora’s Box. Revived from years past, the kids had been subjected to an archaic curfew law banning under-18s from the main drag after 10pm, and a rally about all these things was arranged for November 12 1966. Over 1000 young people attended the march and the strip ground to a standstill amid sign-waving and verbal protests. It’s suggested that the violence started after a car full of off-duty marines didn't take kindly to being held up and started throwing punches. It ended with a city bus being ransacked, rocks and missiles thrown at the police and multiple arrests. One of the detained was Henry Fonda, and Jack Nicholson was another attending representative of the Hollywood set.

The Standells and The Chocolate Watchband are two bands that performed as themselves in Riot On Sunset Strip, and the title track for the movie by The Standells is what I have included here. It’s one of the seminal garage punk songs, with the spirit of punk in every part of it, from the simple but unforgettable riff to the snotty, chanted vocals.  There are two interviews here at the great Psychedelic Baby webzine that have some comments about making the movie from members of both The Standells and The Chocolate Watchband.

Ich - Ein Groupie DVD cover
Ich - Ein Groupie DVD cover
Moving across the pond to Europe now, we have an exploitation movie called "Ich - Ein Groupie". This time it comes from the perspective of a female rock groupie, played by German actress/comedienne Ingrid Steeger. Her character travels around Europe on the trail of English band Luke Zane, because she believes she has fallen in love with the singer, Stewart West. On the way she descends into the usual excesses of drugs, lustful desires of rock musicians, devil worship and Swiss biker gangs.

Ingrid Steeger became a household name in the mid '70s due to her success in German TV comedies, the first one being a sketch show called Klimbim (Trans: Odds & Ends). Soon after, her past activities in naturist magazine photo shoots and cheap pornographic 8mm movies, as well as more professional soft material like "Ich - Ein Groupie", was revealed when distributors attempted to cash in on her fame by releasing them anew. She successfully took legal action to block them, and the public didn't take offence to her past. Her third TV series with director Michael Pfleghar (with whom it was later revealed she'd had an affair while married to a cameraman) flopped and her career nosedived. She remained well known but in parody. Her notoriety became the tabloid press kind, with stories of career failures and relationship strife, punctuated with occasional appearances in TV and theatre. After reaching a very low point in the last decade, in which she was living off unemployment benefits, the story has brightened and she has regained some professional acceptance and success in the theatre.

This movie is a bit of goldmine, as it has no less than three early and obscure hard rock bands playing in it (plus other genuine acts playing other styles), two of which have appeared in TDATS comps already; Birth Control and Murphy Blend. I chose to use the band who appear in the opening scene, credited as "Luke Zane". This is the band who's singer Ingrid's character falls for, and they play a bluesy hard rock song which I guess is called "Liar" as this is the main lyric. I attempted to find out if "Luke Zane" has any connection to real bands, but drew a blank, until..... After reading this article, front man Stuart West got touch, and had this to say: "Luke Zane was a strange band who sounded a lot better than we did in that film. Liar and Blues Train( which you can barely hear in the orgy scene in the film) where the only two tracks ever recorded. There where clashes of musical direction, I wanted to record some songs I had written, bluesy and prog rocky stuff, two of the band said it was not cool to record, so it never happened. I left the band in 72 and played with various bands. Luke Zane split up in 73.

The members where Steve Brown(guitar) Mick Melia(drums- good guy!) Steve Lynch(bass and dope!!) and myself vocals and sometimes bass/guitar. A good band when initially formed with Kevin Gorrin(drums- later to Magnum) Tiny Duncan( bass-later to many goodbands) found it difficult to get gigs due us not being "commercial" enough. We carried on doing bluesy, progy stuff and finally got a good following on Uni scene, blues clubs etc. Clem Clemson got us to play in Switzerland, which was a good move for us resulting in the film and gigs through out Europe. The name? Means nothing really. We where struggling for a name and I think Tiny was reading a Zane Grey novel and came up with Luke Zane."

 Birth Control (see Vol3 & Vol73) plays "No Drugs" from their debut LP and Murphy Blend (See Vol73) have an unidentified jam in an Amsterdam club.

From one of the worst films included in this comp comes a very obscure nugget of heavy psych, but luckily the movie is of the “So bad it’s Good” variety. The Bored play for a full 4 and a half minutes in the club scene in 1969's “Night Of Bloody Horror”, during which the anti-hero of the movie hilariously gets beaten up on the dance floor without anyone noticing. The film was an ultra-low budget slasher and the plot is an unashamed “Is he/Isn't he the killer?” Psycho rip-off about a guy who suffers from blinding blackout head-aches and an oppressive, controlling mother. The lead role of Wesley is played by Gerald McRaney, who may be known to US TV viewers as Maj. John D. 'Mac' McGillis in early-'90s TV series "Major Dad".

Night of Bloody Horror poster
Night of Bloody Horror poster
The scene in which we are interested is where our protagonist is sitting in a bar. As usually happens in these movies, luckily for us, the camera turns to a rock band for a few minutes which has absolutely nothing to do with the plot. In this case we can see the band’s kick drum inscribed with the name “The Bored”, and they churn out a heavy dose of swampy-riffed, rhythmic psych, howled vocals and swirling keys. Unfortunately the sound quality of this movie is terrible, with ancient VHS reproductions being the only versions available at the moment on DVD, but maybe that suits the band fine in this case as the sludgy sound gives it an almost modern edge, boy I’d sure have liked to see this band live back in the day. If what we see here can be relied on, I think they could have held their own in a stoner-rock gig even now.

Nothing is known or documented about this gone-for-ever band, except for a few comments that I found on a forum which I hope are all true. Apparently the members were Jay Wilson (on bass), Toad, BJ and Bobby. They came from New Orleans where they used to get together in a bar called The Gunga Den, and at some point they supported Vanilla Fudge. Much later on Jay W. emigrated to Australia. Let’s hope something else comes up and I’ll certainly be doing my best to get some more facts. I found a long-defunct web page, started by Jay in Grafton NSW, but I have been unable to get any further:

For track 6 we move onto a Japanese movie. It is part of the “Stray Cat Rock” series, which was a set of 5 films made between 1970 and ’71. As many of the movies in this comp, they were exploitation movies, but their country of origin gives them a very different feel. Something that stands out is the style and quality of their execution. Urban Japan of the early seventies, in the cool hues that these films use, looks sleek and modern, even by today’s standards. Of course, the stories themselves were just as silly and nonsensical as most exploitation movies.

Wild Measures '71 cast
Wild Measures '71 cast
“Pinky Violence”  is a term used to describe the genre that these movies are associated with, which has been defined elsewhere as “sexed up, bad girl action films by the Toei studios.” It is true that all the Stray Cat Rock movies have strong female leads. The first in the series, “Delinquent Girl Boss”, is about an all-girl biker gang. The combination of director Toshiya Fujita and actress Meiko Kaji would go on to greater cult-acclaim with 1973's "Lady Snowblood", which is cited as a major influence on Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill".

Through most of the films there are appearances by real Japanese music acts of the day, which are generally not of much interest to TDATS, with one exception being a band called The Mops. The clip I have used is from the final instalment of the series, “Wild Measures '71” ( also known as “Crazy Rider '71”, “Beat '71” or “Bôsô shudan '71”)  and at one point The Mops appear randomly on the back of a flat-bed truck, seemingly in the middle of a tense part of the plot involving a sniper and organised criminals. They play their hilariously quirky piece, and drive off again just as quickly as they appeared while an amused group of on-lookers wave them off, and the bemused criminals scratch their heads, crazy! The song is great fun while still being pretty heavy, and can be found on The Mops' third album “Iijanaika” (1971).

The Alien Factor VHS cover
The Alien Factor VHS cover
I thank fellow rock obscurity enthusiast Adam Kriney, drummer in The Golden Grass, for the next piece of low-budget fun. In a great example of how these things can turn up in the least-expected places, a Maryland band called Atlantis appears in a Baltimore bar scene in monster slasher movie “The Alien Factor” (1978) and plays an entire song. Now it seems to me there’s a few reasons why directors may choose to do this. Is it a good way to pad out a few minutes of reel for the easy amusement of drive-in crowds? I’m sure it is. If you can’t afford to catch the zeitgeist with a popular band, why not use one that’s willing to offer it’s services for free in return for a little celluloid immortality.

Here’s some more info on Altantis that I patched together from a few internet sources: “The Who-like ‘Maybe Someday’ is a little-known garage single from a Baltimore band later known as The Lon Talbot Group.

Atlantis "Maybe Someday" 45
It appeared in the Don Dohler, sci-fi/horror flick The Alien Factor. The flipside ‘Moby Shark’ is a novelty fuzztone garage tune with wild stereo effects with lyrics that parody the ‘Jaws’ movies of this era. Singer/Songwriter Lon Talbot (David Aquino) recorded and gigged through the 70's as Atlantis, with various line-ups. They usually performed as a power trio, playing both original music and covers of the early British Invasion/Mod bands like The Who, The Kinks, The Yardbirds and Manfred Mann.

The single was released around the same time as the film, receiving some college radio airplay, especially on Towson State University's WCVT. In the early 80's the band became ‘The Lon Talbot group’, and played in Baltimore's early new wave scene in clubs like The Marble Bar and No Fish Today.”

Zachariah poster
Zachariah poster
The James Gang wrote two songs for 1971’s ‘Electric Western’ Zachariah, and they appear in the movie playing both. The one I have chosen here is ‘Country Fever’. It’s a fantastic hard rocker. In my opinion easily one of the best that The James Gang ever made. Neither of the songs appear on a James Gang album, but both are on the soundtrack LP and Country Fever was included on a best-of collection. ‘Laguna Salada’ is played by the band in the opening scene, and it certainly has a Wild West feel. The image of the band rocking out in the desert while our hero Zachariah (actor John Rubenstein) practices his gun-slinging is a striking and memorable one.

A couple of other interesting musical footnotes in this movie is the appearance of jazz drummer Elvin Jones and film composer Michael Kamen when he was a member "The New York Rock n Roll Ensemble". The whole band play in a bizarre scene where Zachariah beds a girl while surrounded by the naked band as they play. In fact the whole film is quite bizarre, one of those ones where you definitely won't get very far if you wonder what's going on or why any of it is happening, you just have to go with it. The other lead role in Zachariah is played by Don Johnson of Miami Vice fame. A few of his early roles were in exploitation movies, including “A Boy And His Dog” which was a great post-apocalyptic sci-fi that I've have liked for a long time. More on Don Johnson for the next track…

The Magic Garden of Stanely Sweetheart poster
The Magic Garden of
Stanely Sweetheart poster
His first big screen role was in “The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart“, a counter-culture exposé which had some cool music scenes in it. Andy Warhol himself referred to the film as "the quintessential, most truthful studio-made film about the '60s counterculture". The song I have used is from a drugged-out party scene about half-way through the movie. It shows a band playing a groovy psychedelic song called "Water", with one of the story’s characters singing in the anonymous band. From what I can gather this song was written by composer David Lucas and sung by actor/comedian Michael Greer who played the character of Danny.

Michael is remembered as being one of the first openly-gay actors in Hollywood (although not part of his character in this movie) and his great acting skills were limited to obscure movie roles as a result. He was apparently a talented singer/keyboard player too. The soundtrack LP for this movie had some other interesting tracks on it, including Crow (see Vol60)  and “Eric Burdon & War”. This movie was recommended to me by Johnny of The Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, thanks man!

Permissive poster
Permissive poster
Next up is a Scottish band that has appeared in TDATS before, Forever More (see Vol25). After two albums they would morph into The Average White Band, but before that they played the role of the band at the center of 1970’s groupie exploitation film "Permissive". This movie is a desolate account of the relationships and dramas of the groupie girls that cling on to a travelling rock band. The sometimes graphic scenes are at times on the verge of soft core pornography but the real theme of the film is the hopeless and pathetic life of the girls that choose the life of groupies, competing for the affections of their favourite band members, while being taken advantage of by others in the business.

The song I used is “8 O'Clock & All's Well”. This was a track on Forever More’s first album, 1970’s “Yours”, but I chose to lift the audio out of the movie as they recorded a version for it which is faster and harder than the LP.

What’s Good For The Goose poster
What’s Good For The Goose poster
UK band The Pretty Things, who developed from a mod/r&B group into a psychedelic rock band, played a couple of songs in a club rave-up scene the UK sex comedy “What’s Good For The Goose”. The movie starred famous English slapstick actor Norman Wisdom, whose popularity was well-past its peak by the time it was made in 1969, in fact it was his last ever big screen role. It’s an awkward but endearing attempt to mix Wisdom slapstick, carry-on style sex farce, teen counter-culture and midlife crisis apologia.

The Pretty Things show up a few times, at the center of the hippie mob who descend on seaside town Southport at the same time that Norman Wisdom is driving there for a business conference. On the way he is cajoled into picking up a couple of free-spirited hitch-hiking girls, who are young enough to be his daughters. They show him a few things which disrupt his stayed life as a typical 2.4 children commuter dad.

The Pretty Things had a secret life as “The Electric Banana”, which was the name they used to record a number of library music records for De Wolfe Music, a company that syndicated recordings worldwide for commercial use in film, television and radio. Some say this was a purely money making exercise to help subsidise their ailing career and lessening record sales. The music appearing in What’s Good For The Goose was on the third of five E.B. records, “Even More Electric Banana”. Julian Cope wrote an extensive review of the album on his web site here.

Finalement soundtrack LP
Finalement soundtrack LP
Singer/guitarist Michel Pagliaro was the first Canadian artist to score top 40 hits on both the anglophone and francophone pop charts in Canada. He appeared in the movie “Finalement...”, in a dance club scene playing the song “J'ai Marche Pour Une Nation” (I Walk For A Nation). This was originally a single of his in 1969. The movie appears to have been a fairly unremarkable romantic comedy (I may be wrong as I haven’t been able to see the whole thing, and it’s in French), but the song is an excellent slice of catchy pop rock with a wicked hard rocking riff. Michel was also in Montreal bands Les Rockers, Les Chanceliers and Ouba. There’s lots of commentary on this hard-to-find film here, in French.

Nerosubianco (aka ‘Attraction’ worldwide), is an avant-garde film from experimental Italian director Tinto Brass. It was filmed in London and Tinto commissioned an English band to make the soundtrack. He chose Freedom, which had connections to a few other notable bands, Clark Hutchinson by bassist Walt Monagan (see Vol74), and Procul Harum by singer Bobby Harrison (see Vol57). Bobby Harrison (who had a later solo album that I intend to use in later vols) and early Freedom member Ray Royer had both been in the original incarnation of Procol Harum for their début 'Whiter Shade Of Pale', but were ejected soon after for Robin Trower and Barry Wilson.

What became Freedom’s first album, Nerosubianco (Black on White), was the soundtrack. I have chosen a track called Born Again. The band appeared playing it in the movie, one minute on an open top bus driving through London, then on a horse and cart. This song carries on into a surreal scene of scientists studying sexual activity. It’s a great psych track which verges on hard rock towards the end, and Freedom changed drastically on their second album to go in the direction of heavy blues rock.

Bread press book
Bread press book
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). 

They appeared in a movie called Bread, playing at an outdoor gig. The movie was recently restored and re-issued by the BFI as a special feature with “Permissive”, mentioned previously with Forever More. Paul Williams puts on a great vocal performance, he was the second singer for the band after Ray Owen left for a solo career. Two bands play for the home-made festival at the end of the film, Crazy Mable, and Juicy Lucy, who got involved through screen writer Suzanne Mercer’s marriage to Chris Mercer, the band’s sax player. A band called The Web also played, but did not make it into the cut of the movie that is now available.

Here is a minor adaptation of the BFI’s comments on the movie: “Five hippies pitch their tent in the grounds of a young aristocrat's estate. They end-up there unwittingly, thinking it’s a suitable camping spot for an over-night stay while hitch-hiking home from the Isle of Wight festival. During the festival they were upset by the profiteering surrounding it and their minds are on ways to make money from a similar endeavour but in a more hippie-friendly way. The aristocrat befriends the group and accepts their offer to paint his house while he is away. The group decides to use the grounds to stage a pop festival.

An unusual mixture of pop festival documentary and saucy teen comedy, Bread was exploitation filmmaker Stanley A. Long's second attempt at what he called a "counter culture gimmick movie". His first, Groupie Girl (1970), produced by Long, was based upon the real-life exploits of the film's co-writer, Suzanne Mercer. Her encounters with rock musicians, as salaciously filtered through the distinctively seedy vision of director Derek Ford, had given Groupie Girl the grimy ring of truth, and the film made a lot of money. Unfortunately, despite its title - contemporary slang for cash - the more light-hearted Bread did not.

Groupie Girl (aka I Am a Groupie) poster
Groupie Girl poster
(aka "I Am a Groupie")
I considered the movie Groupie Girl for this comp, and there was a soundtrack LP made. It contains music from real bands Opal Butterfly, English Rose and Virgin Stigma. The history of Opal Butterfly recounts that Lemmy of Motörhead was a member for a short time in his pre-HawkVVind days, as mentioned in his autobiography "White Line Fever", but this was before the movie. Opal Butterfly did not appear in the film, they just provided the theme tune and background tunes, although singer Ray Majors did have a cameo. After a bit of searching it seems that Virgin Stigma were made up for the movie. They were part of the plot and appeared playing in one scene, in a studio.

The film was a tale similar to Permissive, but in this case the story of only one groupie, rather than a competing entourage. English Rose was a short-lived London band that later included Neil Peart, when he was living in the UK before Rush existed. Neil mentions this briefly on his website here. Their contributions to the soundtrack, "Yesterday's Hero / To Jackie", were released on a single. The music for Groupie Girl wasn't of much relevance to TDATS, but it may show up again later.

The first century TDATS comes to an end, and it's been a sweet ride. Moby Grape close proceedings. They appeared in the surfer-biker-psychedelic exploitation movie The Sweet Ride, playing the great song “Never Again” at a Sunset Strip nightclub called The Tarantula. Thanks for watching, stay tuned for more! Rich

The Sweet Ride poster
The Sweet Ride poster
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Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Day After The Sabbath 79: Dusty Track [heavy blues special]

Download from : [mf] or [mg]
password:  tdats
Dose o' blues number two....which now makes for three so far; Vol54Vol79 and Vol108. A few screaming, agonising blues crucifixions mixed in with the usual unstoppable fuzz, coming at you like the train that just keeps'a rolling.......

Arthur Lee
Arthur Lee was the guitarist with LA's psych band Love, he also made a few solo albums along the way before his unfortunate death from leukaemia in 2006. Our intro track is from the time of his first, 1972's 'Vindicator', and is included on the bonus-tracks version. It's such a great riff in this track and it's almost like doom rock, and we all know that blues and doom are pretty much the same thing....Fun Fact: "Lee’s [pre-Love] composition, 'My Diary' was his first to do well. It was written for R&B singer Rosa Brooks who performed and recorded it. The song included a man by the name of Jimi Hendrix (think you may have heard of him) on the electric guitar. Lee had seen him play with the Isley Brothers and asked for him. This is considered by many to be the first known studio recording of Jimi Hendrix playing guitar."

Track 2 is from a fave album of mine by the UK's Jodo. I have never been able to find a lot of info on them, though the members are Earl Jordan (vocals), Jon Taylor (guitar), Rod Alexander (bass) and William E. Kimber (drums). They made one very accomplished hard bluesy rock album in 1971 called 'Guts'. Earl Jordan is known to have sung in the 'Green Bullfrog' sessions with members of Deep Purple that I used back on Vol59. Guts is chock-full of awesome playing, swaggering riffs, and was engineered by Martin Birch who later worked with big names like Sabbath and Iron Maiden.

Mahogany back cover
Mahogany were a UK band who's guitarist John Mackay was also in a pub band called Brewers Droop with a young Mark Knopfler. I have not found much info on Mahogany but have found a scan of the album's  rear jacket with liner notes so here it is word-for-word, by american journalist/critic 'Marion Fredi Towbin' : "Produced by Tony Clarke, Engineered by Robin Thompson. There has been a lot of talk lately of a blues revival, nourished in Britain and overflowing to our shores. Names like John Mayall, Jo-Ann Kelly and Eric Clapton have become increasingly well-known and respected Stateside, and appearances by British blues artists have drawn S.R.O. crowds at the Fillimore East and West as well as the numerous smaller clubs and concert auditoriums throughout the United States. Now there's a new British blues group to reckon with, MAHOGANY. On This, their début Epic album, MAHOGANY proves that original blues material (they composed everything on the album), if played with skill and vitality, can elicit from an audience that pure gut level reaction - "I've-Been-There-Too" - which has always been the earmark of the blues. 
       MAHOGANY is comprised of four young performers, each of whom has had extensive musical experience prior to joining the group: Stephen Darrington (organ), Joseph Southall (bass), John Mackay (lead guitar, lead vocalist) and Paul Hobbs (drums). Although there are only four members of MAHOGANY, their musical skill is considerable; between three of them they play no less than ten instruments including trumpet, violin and classical guitar. (Drummer Paul Hobbs says somewhat apologetically that he only plays drums as they are, for him, "a lifetime.")
       (As I write this, I'm listening to MAHOGANY, drinking a fine English Tea, and thinking about the American Revolution--the 18th-century one. What, I wonder, would our great-great grandaddies--who severed their lives so totally from that of British subjects--think of our 20th-century coming together?)
       Back to the blues . . . like the great blues artists (and I'm thinking Muddy Waters in particular), MAHOGANY'S  music doesn't bring you down. Organist Stephen Darrington describes his compositions as "innumerable drunken 12 bar blues" filled as they are with wronged lovers, drinking bouts, packing up and parting times--but like the best of blues they're exhilarating, cathartic, and sometimes even happy."


I found the Hurriganes while researching for the Finnish TDATS (w.i.p), they are not really heavy enough to fit usually but this track goes nicely in this comp, they were apparently a very important band in Finland and highly regarded. 'It Aint What You Do' is taken from their most popular album, 1974's 'Roadrunner'.

The 5th track is from a Dutch (Nijmegen) band called Cobra. They shared drummer Cor van der Beek with another band that appears here later, Livin' Blues, and made a string of singles between 70-73. 'Midnight Walker' is the b-side to the more commercial 'The War Will Be Over Soon'.

Track 6 comes from another UK band, Ipsissimus. It seems they took their name from the tenth level of Aleister Crowley's magical order, the A∴A∴ 'Lazy Woman' is an absolute stormer and this band had talent. The single a-side was an equally-cool cover of the Rupert's People/The Fleur de Lys track Hold On. It was produced by Norman Smith of Beatles/Pink Floyd fame and I thank this page for the information.

Track 7 and we are half-way through. I must thank my online friends over at Sonidos Primitivos, they post albums and make the odd compilation of their own too, and it was this one on which I heard 'The Underground Electrics'. They are apparently yet another name used by the heavy fuzz psych-exploitation session band I used back on Vol16, 'The 31 Flavors', aka 'Firebird'. They made one Crown label album 'Hey Jude' as the electrics and you can find more info at HeavyPsychManBlog or RedTelephone66. 'The Syndicator' is a simplistic song but the sound is as crunchy as a peanut butter sandwich made with extra bolts.

Track 8 gives this volume it's name. Freedom were a UK band that had connection to a few other notable bands, by Clark Hutchinson bassist Walt Monagan (see Vol74), and Procul Harum (singer Bobby Harrison). Bobby Harrison and early Freedom member Ray Royer had both been in the original incarnation of Procol Harum for their début 'Whiter Shade Of Pale', but were ejected soon after for Robin Trower and Barry Wilson.

So, by the time of the 2nd album, 'Freedom', which I have used here, the lineup stabilised to a heavy blues power trio with a really strong three-part harmony thing going on as Walt Monaghan (bass), Roger Saunders (guitar) and Bobby Harrison (drums, vocals) were all great singers. 'Dusty Track' is a long song with a relaxed pace, but that riff never tires...

No prizes for guessing where the The Illinois Speed Press were from. They started life as The Rovin' Kind and moved to California. By the time the band had recorded their first album the core of the band was Paul Cotton (guitar, vocals) and Kal David (guitar, vocals) and they played together to give the band a very cool dual guitar sound, credited as inspiring Ronnie Van Zant and Gary Rossington to form Lynyrd Skynyrd. They were a regular at the Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood, and played at the first Newport Pop Festival, held in Costa Mesa, California, which was the first festival to record an attendance of over 100,000 paying rock fans. Kal David also played on the 'Merryweather & Carey' album that is featured in the TDATS Neil Merryweather special; Vol68. Paul and Kal have played some reunion shows under the speed press name in recent years.

Livin' Blues
Livin' Blues (from Den Haag, Holland) were a long-lasting blues troupe (recording into the 90's) who's lineup over the years was like a who's who of Dutch rock history, touching on Brainbox, Cobra (as mentioned previously), Shocking Blue, Q65, Sandy Coast and Gold Earring to name just a few. The track I have used here is two consecutive tracks that appeared on their third album, 1971's 'Bamboozle'. I particularly like the way 'Overture' morphs into a progressive jam around the halfway mark, but keeps the bluesy harmonica the whole time.

Next up is Boston's Dirty John's Hot Dog Stand. The album 'Return From the Dead' is a rollicking good-time blast of horns, blues and psych. It has recently been re-issued on the UK Kismet label. I have found a few brief accounts of this very short-lived curiosity: "Ace guitarist Kenny Paulson played on early rock classics such as Suzy Q by Dale Hawkins, and Tallahassee Lassie by Freddie Cannon before his career was derailed by heroin addiction. Following debilitating stints in jail and hospital in the late 1960s, he cleaned up and formed this quartet with former Ill Wind guitarist Carey Mann. Their sole album of guitar-led rock was released in June 1970, though sadly Paulson succumbed to his addiction in 1981."

"Good ole boy blues bar rock with gruff vocals- still the kinda thing you can hear coming out of an unlit local dive on some endless afternoon whenever the door swings open. Fuzz is definitely in evidence & one song is particularly Blue Cheer-ish & has sharp breakbeats as well (a version of 'Blue Skies'). Kenny Paulson played in Dale Hawkins' band & on Freddy Cannon records, & this band pairs him up with a guy from Ill Wind."

"A strange and crude psychedelic blues-rock album from a short-lived band based in Boston circa 1969-1970. One member (PJ Colt) later released a solo album in 1976 (associated with "Skunk" Baxter of Ultimate Spinach, Steely Dan and Doobie Brothers fame). Several vocalists ranging from a growly split-octave style to white-bread blues style to rock-n-roll howl style. An intriguing record on an unlikely label (Flying Dutchman). Mostly original compositions with a couple of covers (Blue Skies, Next Time You See Me). The originals range from hard-rock Led Zeppelin riff-based arrangements (I Won't Quit), to Johnny Winter style white-bread blues (Hard Drivin' Man). Some are beyond comparison (Waiting For Yesterday, River) and have melodic but unusual chord structures and are steeped in psychedelic washes of wah-wah or slap-back guitars and elaborate horn arrangements. The album is extremely rare, and even more so because a manufacturing error resulted in many copies with only one playable side." [The Dragonfly @ RYM]

Ernie Joseph
Big Brother Ernie Joseph was a Californian commune/family type group who recorded their first album in Hollywood. Before Big Brother, singer-guitarist Ernie Joseph was known as Ernie Orosco and was in many Santa Barbara outfits including Ernie and The Emperors, Ernie's Funnys and Giant Crab (for Giant Crab see Vol27). I have used their rip-roaring cover of a blues standard "St. James Infirmary Blues" which was popularised by Lois Armstrong but actually has roots in an English folk song about a soldier who uses his money on prostitutes, and then dies of a venereal disease! Ernie Joseph puts in an impassioned performance on this track which sounds like it must have been one of his career-best.

Burning Plague
Nearing the end now, we have a Belgian (Brussels) band called Burning Plague. They emerged from the split of Brussels band 'Four Of A Kind', the other splintering group that resulted was Kleptomania (see Belgian special Vol61). They made one album which  is now regarded as one of the very best of it's kind from Belgium and during their brief spot in the lime-light they played festivals like Belgium's premier Bilzen Rock & Jazz festival in 1970. Even so, English-born guitarist / singer / main composer Michael Heslop was disappointed with the CBS label support so dismantled the band and joined Doctor Downtrip (see Vol46 and Vol61), who made a few great tracks but didn't really go anywhere with their 3 albums which grew less and less interesting.

So another volume ends, I hope you enjoyed this dose of blues catharsis, and it plays out with 'Bad Luck Feeling' from The Meating, a really excellent progressive blues single. I thank the brilliant Aussie blog Rock On Vinyl for this info: "The Australian blues veteran, Matt Taylor has been playing his brand of Australian-twinged blues music since the mid-'60s. His first band, the Bay City Union, was formed in March 1966 and was one of Australia's first traditional Chicago blues bands. They issued one single, "Mo'reen"/"Mary Mary," in April 1968 before breaking up in July 1968 due to a general lack of interest in blues bands. Taylor briefly sang with the Wild Cherries before forming the Horse, and then briefly stepped in as lead singer with Cam-Pact for a two-week tour of Sydney during early 1970. He then joined blues band Genesis in February, who released a collaborative single with Carson County Band, titled "Bad Luck Feeling"/"Back Home" under the banner the Meating. They toured until August 1970 when Taylor left to join Chain."

Track list:

01. Arthur Lee - You Want Change for Your Re-Run (1972)
       from album 'vidicator'
02. Jodo - Nightmare (1971)
       from album 'guts'
03. Mahogany - Best Woman, Best Friend (1969)
       from album 'mahogany'
04. Hurriganes - It Ain't What You Do (1974)
       from album 'roadrunner'
05. Cobra - Midnight Walker (1971)
06. Ipsissimus - Lazy Woman (1969)
07. The Underground Electrics - The Syndicator (1968)
       from album 'hey jude'
08. Freedom - Dusty Track  (1971)
       from album 'freedom'
09. The Illinois Speed Press - Get In The Wind, Pt. II (1969)
       from album 'the illinois speed press'
10. Livin' Blues - Bamboozle / Overture (1972)
       from album 'bamboozle'
11. Dirty John's Hot Dog Stand - And Now I'm Comin' Home (1970)
       from album 'return from the dead'
12. Big Brother Ernie Joseph - Saint James Infirmary (1971)
       from album 'confusion'
13. Burning Plague - Life Is Nonsense (1970)
       from album 'burning plague'
14. The Meating - Bad Luck Feeling (1970)

Thanks for listening! Rich

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