Showing posts with label Short Cross. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Short Cross. Show all posts

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Day After The Sabbath 60: Where There's Muck


Download here: [mf] or [mg]
unzip password:  tdats
TDATS 60 is a collection of tracks that feature brass instruments. Not often associated with hard rock, I set myself this challenge and found some really great music in the end. There was a bit of a "Brass Rock" movement within the progressive scene around the late 60s/early 70s with bands like Blood Sweat & Tears and Chicago being at the commercial forefront. Then there were the lesser-known acts like the UK's Heaven, CWT, and Walrus who embellished their hard rock and heavy jazz sounds with brass.

We start with a real rarity that I must credit an online friend of mine, Marc, for bringing to my attention as I surely would not have found it any other way. Jeff Sturges' Universe was a hard rock big band recorded live at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas in 1971. Sturges was a member of the One O'Clock Lab Band at North Texas State and went on to become musical director for Tom Jones. Dean Parks, guitarist of the ensemble, was also a member of The One O'clock Lab Band before moving to Los Angeles to work with Sonny and Cher in 1970. Dean is best-known through his many contributions to albums by Steely Dan.

Next up is Minnesota's Crow, and yes, they were the originators of Evil Woman. It appeared on their 1969 album Crow Music, a song soon to be immortalised as Black Sabbath's first single in 1970. Strangely enough, it was also covered by Ike and Tina Turner as 'Evil Man'. Kent, UK's "CWT" made an album of brass-flecked hard rock in 1970 called The Hundredweight, lead by the gravelly-voiced Graham Jones, and the next track is one of my favourites on this volume, that I found on a compilation which celebrates a famous 1971 Mexican rock festival, Festival Rock y Ruedas de Avándaro. División Del Norte used horns-a-plenty, in their energetic mix of sounds. The name "División del Norte" (Eng: Northern Division) came from an armed faction formed following the call to arms from Francisco Madero at the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution in 1910.

The Blood, Sweat & Tears track is taken from their 4th album "BS&T 4". It the heaviest track from this otherwise pop/jazz rock orientated New York ensemble, recorded at a time when they were losing their underground credibility having taken part in a United States Department of State-sponsored tour and recorded a soundtrack for a Barbra Streisand movie, The Owl and the Pussycat. Southampton, UK's Iguana were a very short-lived act who managed to get one album recorded on the Ploydor label before being adopted as Jess Roden's backing band for a few years, effectively ending their own original music writing. Lillestrøm, Norway's Undertakers Circus recorded two albums of brass'n'roll, they are one of the only non-english singing bands here and Birmingham, UK's Galliard had two albums on the Deram/Nova label, which concentrated on the new progressive rock movement of the time, and is a planned theme for a forthcoming comp...

The Alan Bown (originally The Alan Bown Set, and later just 'Alan Bown') trod the well-worn path from 60s psych to early seventies proto-prog, and featured some nice arrangements with the emotive vox of Alan Bown himself. At one point they also included the afore-mentioned Jess Roden, on their 1968 album "The Alan Bown!". This track is taken from the next album 'Listen' which developed a slightly harder edge. Having found Sandston, Virginia's Short Cross for vol53, they are perfect contenders for this one too. An equal mix of blues, hard rock and extra instrumentation, with musicianship and a big production that belies the band's small label and humble origins...doomed to fade into obscurity.

Track 12 features versatile keys man Brian Auger, who had a commercial day job with his backing band The Trinity and collaborations with Julie Driscol (of 'This Wheels on Fire' fame), and a prog night life with bands like Mogul Thrash (see vol20) and his solo 'Oblivion Express' work. Black Cat is a great fun track.

Portsmouth, UK's Heaven debuted at the Isle of Wight festival and were managed by its organiser Rikki Farr. Their debut (and final) double-album "Brass Rock 1" was an ambitious affair which experimented a lot, with patchy results but it does have some of the hardest rocking brass rock I have found so far. Get a load of the dirty bass in "Number 2". The comp ends on a track from a band called 'Room' that regulars here will know I like a lot, I have been awaiting a reason to use this one. Cemetery Junction [Parts I and II] is a gargantuan song of wide vision that distils Room's hard rock, blues and jazz tendencies perfectly into 8 and half minutes of proto-prog bliss. There's even a hint of Sabbath's jazzy swing in the riffs, awesome stuff!

Track List:

01. Jeff Sturges and Universe - Never In My Life (Mountain cover) (1971)
       from album"jeff sturges and universe"
02. Crow - Evil Woman / Gonna Leave a Mark (1969)
       from album "crow music"
03. CWT - Simon's Effort (1973)
       from album "the hundredweight"
04. División Del Norte - It´s A New Day (1971)
       from compilation "festival rock y ruedas de avándaro" (2002)
05. Walrus - Who Can I Trust (1970)
       from album "walrus"
06. Blood, Sweat & Tears - Go Down Gamblin' (1971)
       from album "bs&t 4"
07. Iguana - Iguana (1972)
       from album "iguana"
08. Undertakers Circus - Mor Norge (1973)
       from album "ragnarock"
09. Galliard - Skillet (1969)
       from album "strange pleasure"
10. The Alan Bown - Curfew (1970)
       from album "listen"
11. Short Cross - Nothin' But a Woman (1972)
       from album "arising"
12. Brian Auger & The Trinity - Black Cat (1968)
       single
13. Heaven - Number Two (1971)
       from album "brass rock 1"
14. Room - Cemetery Junction [Parts I and II] (1970)
       from album "pre-flight"

Thanks for listening! Rich

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Friday, October 21, 2011

The Day After The Sabbath 53: I Was Alone

Download from: [mf] or [mg]
password:  tdats
Volume 53 is another general collection of great tracks from my travels through the vaults. It does so happen that all these are from the US though....

Liquid Smoke were a Long Island, New York group that made one great album in 1970, one highlight of which is this hard rock/psych crossover track "Lookin' For Tomorrow". Another NY band, "Elephants Memory", had a long and interesting career, at one time backing John Lennon and Yoko Ono on "Some Time In New York City" and "Approximately Infinite Universe". They recorded the crazy track "Mongoose" during their hard rockin' phase and actually had quite a hit with it.

Bohemian Vendetta were yet another NY group, they had a difficult start, going through three different names, "Like Stoned" was their first ever demo and immediately showcased their peculiarly heavy psych with pounding drums. Zerfas were an Indianapolis, Indiana outfit who created some unusual music laden with sound effects, and they hit on their best formula with the stark lyrics of "You Never Win". Macabre were no less than an early incarnation of Pentagram, but Bobby Liebling's usual vagueness regarding the beginnings of the band make it hard to know exactly when or by whom this great track "Be Forewarned" was recorded. It does show a markedly different "heavy psych" sound compared to the Stone Bunny or Pentagram recordings.

Sandston, Virginia's Short Cross made one 1971 album, "Arising", showing some surprisingly accomplished and well structured hard rock/blues with frantic horns, and Dallas's The Exotics made some stabbingly heavy psych in 1968 with this volume's title track, "I Was Alone". In 1971 Texan psych band the Playboys of Edinburg changed their name to Poe and created a very cool concept album called "Up Thru The Spiral", the album chronicles the life and thoughts of Edgar Cayce, a man who could put himself into some kind of self-induced sleep state to traverse space and time. Sundance were a West Coast Rock band that put one rocker "Chico Woman" on their sole s/t album from 1971.

Three Dog Night may be familiar to you with a fair few hits under their belt, mostly cover versions (I found them originally via their Hoyt Axton "The Pusher" cover) but this little hard-rocking groovy instrumental is by far my favourite track of theirs, and following them we have none other than James Gang/Deep Purple Guitarist Tommy Bolin, with his 2nd apperance since #49 and a heavy number from his 1976 album "Private Eyes". Leo & The Prophets take us on one final heavy 60's psych trip with "Tilt-A-Whirl" before a very early and, you'll find, surprising harder-rocking closer "Dead At Last".

Track List:

01. Liquid Smoke - Lookin' For Tomorrow (1970)
02. Elephant's Memory - Mongoose (1970)
03. Bohemian Vendetta - Like Stoned (1966)
04. Zerfas - You Never Win (1973)
05. Macabre - Be Forewarned (1971)
06. Short Cross - Wastin' Time (1972)
07. The Exotics - I Was Alone (1968)
08. Poe - Automatic Writing / Sons Of Belial (1971)
09. American Eagle - On The Rack (1970)
10. Sundance - Chico Woman (1971)
11. Three Dog Night - Fire Eater (1971)
12. Tommy Bolin - Shake The Devil (1976)
13. Leo & The Prophets - Tilt-A-Whirl (1967)
14. Dead At Last (1971)

Thanks for listening! Rich
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