Monday, October 24, 2016

TDATS 132: Punk Rockin' Granny [Irish Punk, Hard Rock and Glam]

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Here's a fun selection of the later-seventies tracks I discovered while making last-week's Irish volume. This is decidedly punk flavoured, with a bit of hard rock, power pop and glam for good measure. The majority of tracks here are from Northern Ireland, where there was somewhat of a punk movement occurring at the time. A couple of labels to look up for these and other singles are Rip Off Records and Good Vibrations. Thanks to Clint at the tdats fb group for pointing-out the 2013 movie "Good Vibrations", about the label (link).


No Sweat - You Should Be So Lucky (1978)
       singleand compilation "Belfast Rock"
Xdreamysts - Dance Away Lover (1978)
Rudi - No.1 (1978)
Moral Support - Sin (1979)
       single and album 'Zionic Bonds'
Reform - Salt Away (1974)
       from album 'All For One'
Midnite Cruiser - Rich Bitch (1977)
Detonators - Cruisin' (1978)
       from album 'Belfast Rock'
The Duggie Briggs Band - Punk-Rockin' Granny! (1977)
East Coast Angels - Punk Rockin' (1977)
Pretty Boy Floyd & the Gems - Rough, Tough, Pretty Too (1978)
       single and compilation "Belfast Rock"
The Outcasts - Frustration (1979)
       from album 'Self Conscious Over You'
Bernie Tormé - All Nite (1979)
       from album 'Punk Or What (77-79)'
Cobra - Graveyard Boogie (1978)
       single and compilation "Belfast Rock"

No Sweat from Belfast. Members: Clive Culbertson (vocals, bass, guitar), David Stuart (keyboards), Michael Katin (guitar), Ricky Bleakley (drums). The B-side to this single is also very good, in a style more akin to Thin Lizzy. In fact it sounds like Lizzy playing with Cheap Trick!

Xdreamysts from Derry. They made some cool singles in the later '70s, and an album in '81 with a more commercial Power Pop sound. Uel Walls (vocals, guitar), John Doherty (guitar), Roe Butcher (bass) and Brian Moffatt (drums).

Rudi from Belfast. Brian Young (guitar, vocals), Ronnie Matthews (guitar, vocals), Gordon Blair (bass guitar), Graham Marshall (drums) and Paul Martin (keyboards). Raw punk on the Good Vibrations label which released some good singles at the time.

Moral Support from Belfast. Headed by Andy McCarroll who was a Christian singer/song writer. What ever your opinion of the subject matter, Moral Support played pretty damn well!

Reform from Limerick. Appearing in the previous TDATS, here's another track from their sole album and one of the better ones. These guys are the closest I have found to an early Irish glam/proto punk band. If you know more drop me a line!

Midnite Cruiser from Portadown. Paul Maxwell (vocals), Crow (guitar), Peege (guitar), Rodney (guitar), Jimmy (bass) and Ger (drums). Another obscure Northern Irish band that made a single in the late '70s. Some good pop punk here.

Detonators from Belfast. Cruisin' is a great driving track that has a real US proto punk Stooges sound. These guys don't seem to have released anything officially, but they were included on a period compilation of Belfast Punk called "Belfast Rock" (1978). Recommended!

The Duggie Briggs Band from Portadown. Punk Rockin' Granny. I think that says it all. Duggie Briggs Band also released a worthy EP in '78 called 'The Duggie Briggs Flashes on It Again'. My rip of this single was very tinny so I have boosted the bass a bit.

East Coast Angels from Dublin. A very rare single here, apologies for the less than stella sound quality on this one, I have attempted to make it sound a bit less murky by boosting the midrange a bit. Although this is called Punk Rockin' it's more of a bonehead cruncher. Good stuff.

Pretty Boy Floyd & the Gems from Belfast. Another band I discovered on the 'Belfast Rock' album. According to various sources they were originally a show band called Candy and were still playing as such at the same time as Pretty Boy Floyd, so some people never accepted them as punk.

The Outcasts from Belfast. These guys recorded two Peel sessions and were successful enough to make three albums.

Dublin's Bernie Tormé was also on the last TDATS, here's another track from the '70s rarity album of his, "Punk Or What". You can buy it derectly from Bernie at his Bandcamp and he is still making music now.

Cobra from Belfast. The final band that were on the 'Belfast Rock' album, Graveyard Boogie is the b-side to the 'Looking for a Lady' single. Both sides of it are great, not so much punk really, they could even be described as one of Northern Ireland's first entries in the NWOBHM.

Cheers from the Punk-Rockin' Granny!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Day After The Sabbath 131:Land Beyond The Wave [Ireland]

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It's about time for an Irish volume! [Edit: there is now a second one:- Vol 132] Ireland certainly did not have a lot of hard rock music in the '60s and '70s. There are the couple of internationally-known names like Thin Lizzy & Them, but making this volume was a bit like doing the New Zealand ones, in that I have had to use a fair amount of artistic license to find an hours-worth of music to satisfy this blog's remit. The country's political problems in the past certainly did nothing to help matters and during the magic period of the late '60s to the late '70s those problems were at a peak.

I have been looking for years to finish this off and have probably found enough for part 2 in the future, there are a few missing here like Horslips and Mushroom that some may protest about but I have plans to include those on the blog later.

There are a few invaluable sites for Irish rock that I must thank. is a great resource with rare tracks to download, and between them, and detail pretty much every vintage Irish band that ever existed.


- Joe O'Donnell - For Trades And Hospitality & House Of Warriors (1977)
       from album 'Gaodhal's Vision'
- Skid Row - Night Of The Warm Witch (single version) (1971)
       from album '34 Hours'
- Cromwell - Guinness Rock (1975)
       from album 'At The Gallop'
- The Radiators From Space - Electric Shares (1977)
       from album 'TV Tube Heart'
- Andwella's Dream - Sunday (1969)
       from album 'Love And Poetry'
- Reform - Back To The Wall (1974)
       from album 'All For One'
- Eire Apparent - Here I Go Again (1968)
- Bernie Tormé - Anyway Anyhow Anywhere (The Who cover) (1979)
       from album 'Punk Or What'
- Fruupp - Decision (1973)
       from album 'Future Legends'
- Granny's Intentions - Maybe (1970)
       from album 'Honest Injun'
- Light - Ray's Song (1978)
       from album 'Light'
- Plattermen - Cat's Eye (1972)
       from album 'Old Devil Wine'
- Jimi Slevin & Firefly - Child Of Peace (1978)
       from album 'Getting There'
- Turner & Kirwan of Wexford - Father 'Reilly Says Goodbye (1977)
       from album 'Absolutely And Completely'

Joe O'Donnell is a classically trained violinist from Limerick. He pioneered the design and use of electric violin and his impressive CV looks like a who's who of UK prog rock, not just Irish rock. He has appeared with a few of the other acts in this volume, including Granny's Intentions and Rory Gallagher, as well as a host of prog / rock names like East Of Eden, Rare Bird, Trees, Headstone, Jade Warrior and Henry McCullough. He has also maintained a solo career and folk and ceilidh to this day with 'Joe O'Donnell's Shkayla'.

In 1977 he made a solo record called Gaodhal's Vision which featured the talents of Rory Gallagher on many of the tracks, and that is where the opener for this volume comes from. 'House Of Warriors' has some brilliant violin riffing which shows the instrument can rock just as much as guitar!

Skid Row are probably second to Thin Lizzy in status as an early Irish blues rock / hard rock band, although SR had a more experimental jam rock approach than Lizzy. Like Lizzy, the players involved during the band's short recording career include many recognisable names, such as Phil Lynott who sung in the late '60s before being thrown out by formative bass player,  Brendan "Brush" Shiels.

After Lynott was gone Gary Moore received his highest amount of acclaim by that point as SR's singer/guitarist for both the band's two official studio albums. Drummer Noel Bridgeman was in Granny's Intentions (which Moore also was) and post-Moore guitarist Paul Chapman played in many other bands including Lone Star and UFO. I have used 'Night Of The Warm Witch' from the second Skid Row album, '34 Hours'.

Brush Sheils and Noel Bridgeman of Skid Row

Dublin's Cromwell were one of the few hard rock bands to release a full album, aside from the well-known names this was quite a rarity in Ireland. They released five singles and according to they were on the road for at least five years. In '72 they supported a Rory Gallagher tour. Cromwell was Patrick "Pat" Brady (guitar, vocals), Michael Kiely (guitar, bass, vocals), Derek Dawson (drums), Mick O'Hagan (vocals), and Desmond Kiely (bass). O'Hagen replaced Kiely and himself left in '73, the band continued as a trio, sharing vocal duties.

The album 'At The Gallop' is not up to the level of Lizzy / Skid Row in terms of musicianship for instance but it's a rare example of a mid-'70s Irish hard rock LP, and it has a few decent tracks. As such it is now very collectible and commands high prices. I have used a track that was recorded a few years before the LP was released, the band's first single, 'Guinness Rock'. Brady and Kiely continued after Cromwell as an acoustic duo, 'The Establishment'.

Dublin's The Radiators From Space are described in many places as Ireland's first punk band. They had a great album called TV Tube Heart in 1977, the same year that The Boomtown Rats made their debut. Although Ireland had seemingly missed out on producing a lot of established, recorded hard rock acts in the '70s, that was certainly made-up for in the punk explosion. Suddenly punk bands were popping up everywhere and the Irish spirit certainly found an affinity with the likes of The Sex Pistols and The Damned.

According to The Radiators organised one of Ireland's first Punk events, The Belfield Punk festival in 1977, and played with The Undertones, The Gamblers, Revolver and The Vipers. The Radiators split in '81 with various members continuing with Eric Bell, ex-Pogues members, and have reformed from time to time, notably to support U2 in 2005.

Lead by singer/guitarist David Lewes, Andwella's Dream started as 'The Method' in Belfast. By 1968 they had moved to London and recorded their highly-rated CBS album, 'Love and Poetry'. Around 1970 there were some lineup changes and as 'Andwella' they recorded two more albums on he CBS imprint, Reflection. I have used the track 'Sunday' from Love and Poetry, it's quite heavy with some nice Hendrixian guitar.

Limerick's Reform evolved from local showbands in the late '60s, and made some of Ireland's first glam rock. They were a popular hard-working ballroom act and although they made a fair number of singles and appeared on TV more than once, they didn't release an LP until 1979. It seems by then the time had passed, and 1984 was the last time they played.

According to, Reform leader Don O'Connor complained in an interview that Irish pop magazines like Spotlight were concentrating solely on new flash-in-the-pan Dublin bands and ignoring hard-working rural bands like Reform, making it impossible for such acts to achieve national success.

Eire Apparent started out in Belfast as the final 1960s incarnation of 'The People', including Henry McCullough. After moving around (reportedly sharing a farmhouse near Blackpool at one time with Lemmy's early band The Rockin' Vicars) they found significant success in Dublin, and sought greater success by relocating to London. While there they got co-signed by Soft Machine manager Mike Jeffery and Hendrix manager Chas Chandler, after a performance in the famous UFO club. This landed them a support slot on a Hendrix/The Move/Pink Floyd tour.

Hendrix befriended them, producing and playing on their only album, 1968's 'Sun Rise', which was put out by US label Buddah Records after they made a name there supporting Hendrix, Soft Machine, The Animals etc. The band appears to have had problems caused by it's fanbase being spread too thinly and failed to really nail it in either the UK or US. After personnel changes, they disbanded in 1970. Various members would go on to play with acts such as Freedom, Sam Apple Pie, T.Rex, Pretty Things, Wings and others. My favourite track is a b-side which was not on the album, 'Here I Go Again', and that is what appears here!

Dublin's Bernie Tormé (aka Bernard Tormay) is a guitarist with an interesting career, most famous for playing with Gillan, Atomic Rooster and Ozzy. His career has spanned decades of rock including blues, punk, hard rock and metal. One of his early bands was Dublin hard rockers 'Urge' in the early '70s and in the late '70s he started forming various projects with and without his name on them. He even joined Dee Snider's Desperado (with Clive Burr ex-Iron Maiden) in the late '80s.

I have chosen a track from an album of late-'70s Tormé rarities called 'Punk or What', covering a Who classic with metallic punk aplomb. Bernie still regularly plays live and has just made a new album called 'Black Heart'. Bernie on Bandcamp.

Belfast's Fruupp were one of Ireland's only symphonic progressive rock acts, and there were very few. I have used a track from their debut album 'Future Legends'. Apparently they started out as a hard rock act before taking progressive tendencies and the weighty guitar parts in 'Decision' would seem to confirm that.

Fruupp moved to London in 1971 and were received well, supporting heavyweights like King Crimson, playing frequently in Europe and home from home, Germany, where I would say their style was very well-suited. Unfortunately it would seem that after an impressive four albums inside three years they still hadn't made it big enough to justify the efforts and they disbanded in 1976.

Belfast's Light were active in the late seventies and made a self-titled album with a couple of decent tracks. This is what the back cover says, rather hyperbolically: "Anyone who remembers THEM or Chicago-based band TRUTH cannot fail to recall the playing of one of the world's great guitarists JIM ARMSTRONG. Following the demise of TRUTH in 1971, Armstrong retreated from the international scene to gig at a more relaxed pace in native Belfast.

There was some writing and recording work with Brian Scott and Bernie MacDonald in 1973, to be followed by concert performances with an occasional band called LIGHT, which included George O'Hara and Albert Mills. The breakthrough came in March 1977 when the band came together to play regular sessions at Ireland's premiere rock venue, THE POUND. at the invitation of promoter Dermot Moffatt. The last fifteen months have seen LIGHT established as Ireland's finest rock band, possibly the best ever".

Omagh's Plattermen were a showband that originated in the '50s. By the early '70s they had become a BS&T style horn rock band that incorporated hard rock. After a couple in the '60s, they made the album 'Old Devil Wine' in 1972 with a couple of decent tracks including 'African Wah Wah' and the one included here, 'Cat's Eye'.

After that album, one more single was recorded. For this one they used the moniker 'Hammer', and it was released by Vertigo. Unfortunately it's not as good as Cat's Eye, but they were still attempting to continue with a heavier sound.

Jimi Slevin & Firefly made one album in 1978. Dubliner Jimi Slevin was in notable bands Peggy's Leg and also briefly Skid Row near it's end. At the age of 19 he started blues rockers Crossroads in 1969, then joined Alice in 1970, before starting Peggy's Leg in 1972. In the mid-'70s he started The Jimi Slevin Band, which made the album 'Getting There' in 1978, credited to Jimi Slevin & Firefly. He went solo in 1980. Since then he has made some solo albums and started a label/studio called Riteroad Music, but the 'Getting There' LP remains the main point of interest for hard rock fans. He shows some good talent which is reminiscent of Thin Lizzy at their melodic moments.

Turner and Kirwan of Wexford finish off this set. Both Turner and Kirwan grew up in Wexford Town. They recorded a single as Aftermath circa 1971 released on Irish Polydor which gained some airplay. This is now very difficult to locate.

The duo moved to New York City in the early 1970s and became Turner and Kirwan of Wexford, playing the Irish pubs and clubs around the city. They developed a style which mixed Irish traditional folk music with full-blown progressive rock, creating some great music in the process! Father 'Reilly Says Goodbye is a beautiful closer for this compilation! Thanks for listening.

references ¦ ¦ ¦

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Runnin' On Fumes Vol1 - Stoner Doom, Sludge and Southern

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A brief detour from the usual TDATS fair, normal service will be resumed shortly! This is a comp of awesome stoner rock, doom and sludge from 1992 to 2005, much of which has whiskey-soaked southern flavour. Hope you enjoy!

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Day After The Sabbath 130: Bad Bad Woman

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A tribute to the bad bad wicked crazy unfaithful two-timing evil-hearted devil woman, muse of many a vintage hard rockin' track, including twelve acts new to the blog.

01. (Sopworth) Camel - Evil Woman (1969)
       from album 'Underage'
02. Rog & Pip - Evil Hearted Woman
       from album 'Our Revolution'
03. Omega Plus - Unfaithful Woman (1969)
       from album 'How To Kiss The Sky'
04. Helix - Crazy Women (1979)
       from album 'Breaking Loose'
05. Silence - Devil Woman (1971)
06. Night Sun - Crazy Woman (1972)
       from album 'Mournin'
07. The Kelly - Evil Woman (1971)
       from TV show 'Hit Scene' 15/4/71
08. Beggars Opera - Two Timing Woman (1973)
09. BZN - Bad Bad Woman (1971)
       from album 'The Bastard'
10. Melvin McRae Band - Evil Woman (1976)
       from album 'Queen of Hearts'
11. Frantic - Wicked Woman (1971)
       from album 'Conception'
12. Mandrake - Cold Hearted Woman (1978)
       from album 'Mandrake'
13. Bone - Naggin' Woman (1972)
       from 'British Music Archive 1972 - 73'
14. Bandit - Evil Woman (1975)
       from album 'Bandit'

Camel - Underage
Camel - Underage
Beginning this is a cover of a song written by Larry Weiss and first recorded by Guy Darrel in 1967. There have been loads of covers of "Evil Woman" (not to be confused with Crow's completely different song of the same name, covered by Sabbath), at least five before 1970 alone, including versions by Spooky Tooth, The Troggs, Lou Rawls and Chris Britton. Larry Weiss recorded his own version on a solo LP in 1974.

Camel (aka Sopworth Camel) appears to have been a band of English musicians that relocated to Italy for a short time where they made the album of covers, 'Underage'. They were Pete Huish (Drums), Martin Fischer (Guitar, Vocals, Piano, Organ, Harpsichord), Dave Sumner (Lead Guitar, Vocals) and Alex Jackson (Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Piano). Dave Sumner seems to have been in a lot of Italian bands and Alex Jackson is also known as Alex Ligertwood, of Santana, Brian Auger's Oblivion Express and others.

Rog & Pip - Our Revolution
Rog & Pip - Our Revolution
Rog & Pip is guitarist Roger Lomas and Singer/Guitarist Pip Whitcher. They were both in Coventry's The Sorrows and recorded some singles together afterwards, under names like Rog & Pip, The Zips and Renegade. This track is taken from the retrospective archival LP "Our Revolution" which was put out by Rise Above Relics in 2013 (link), containing all the singles and a full album's worth of unreleased '70s material. Roger Lomas became a producer in the 1980s, linked with many Ska bands.

There's a load of great tracks on it and it's well-worth getting, Rise Above describes it thus: "Combining the heaviness of Black Sabbath and early Led Zeppelin with the anthemic/aggro pop chants of Slade and The Sweet, Our Revolution is a Proto-Metal blast of Hard-Glam that finally sees the light of day."

Omega Plus - How To Kiss The Sky
Omega Plus
How To Kiss The Sky
Omega Plus was certainly one of the earliest heavy acts from France to make an album, and it's a good one. The trio included guitarist and composer Claude Engel (website), who played on the first album by prog legends Magma as well as making his own records. Also playing on Omega Plus's LP was Claude's multi-instrumentalist brother Marcel (website) and Gérard Lévy on bass. "Unfaithful Woman" is an unholy marriage of hard-rocking psych and prog, a real winner!

Ashatrom's review at RYM :- "Featuring Claude Engel on guitar (later with Magma, Dayde, Univeria Zekt and many others), this is generally considered France's first psychedelic record (see also Dickens, Octopus 4 and Popera Cosmic). Interesting to note that Engel himself, on his website at least, does not even reference this album. I don't know why not, as it's not a bad example of the Hendrix psych sound, and with the addition of flute, adds more than the usual copyist acid psych rock that many American band were doing during this time. Also includes one long free rock improvisation that's pretty interesting. A short record, that doesn't even break the 30 minute mark.

Helix - Breaking Loose
Helix - Breaking Loose
Helix is from Kitchener, Ontario, this is an original track from their 1979 debut LP "Breraking Loose". The most recent of many LPs is "Bastard of The Blues" (2014) and they are still playing now, minus original album guitarist Paul Hackman, who tragically died in an accident 1992.

Wiki - "Helix is a Canadian hard rock/heavy metal band. They formed in 1974, and are best known for their 1984 single "Rock You". The original lineup was formed by drummer Bruce Arnold, and consisted of lead vocalist Brian Vollmer, guitarists Ron Watson and Rick "Minstrel" Trembley, keyboardist Don Simmons, and bassist Keith "Bert" Zurbrigg.

However, their most well known lineup, and the one that recorded "Rock You", was the 80s version of the band: Vollmer on vocals, accompanied by guitarists Brent "The Doctor" Doerner and Paul Hackman, bassist Daryl Gray, and drummer Greg "Fritz" Hinz. The history of the band has been marked by many lineup changes, with Vollmer being the sole constant member and only remaining member of the original lineup. Although Hackman was killed in a tour bus accident in 1992, the surviving members of the 80s lineup reunited in 2009 for an album and have continued to tour since 2011."

Silence - Mother's Game / Devil Woman
Mother's Game/Devil Woman
Silence was a dutch band that made a great single in 1971. Devil Woman is an original song and here's what Robin Wills over at the great Purepop blog wrote about it - "Holland’s Silence max out on the snotty attitude with this great 2-sider. Mother's game is tough and crunchy with some amusing lyrics “ I have a cup of tea and a piece of pie..” “I’m riding in a train in vain, yes baby it’s your mother’s game....” (sic). There’s a neat tempo shift at the end with a dual lead which is most effective and probably a Hans Van Hemert touch. Devil Woman is like a proto-punk Communication Breakdown which reminds of Pantherman in its vocal delivery. It also has a spooky middle break and some clumsy drumming. Not much is known about Silence.

They were from Dordrecht (home to the Zipps and Inca Bullet Joe -another fine Hans Van Hemert production) and although Hans  has good recollections of his Dump or Cardinal Point productions, his recall of these sessions are lost in the mists of time.  This appears to be the 2nd Silence release (The Future of Our Sister Felicity being the first?). The recording session took place on the 23rd of January 1971 and also included covers of Gimmie Shelter and Paranoid, but as far as I can see these seem to be unreleased."

Night Sun - Mournin'
Night Sun - Mournin'
Many classic English bands came to mind when I first heard Night Sun's Mournin' LP, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and King Crimson being three of the most obvious. This may be a bold claim, but it’s justifiable to say that Night Sun could have become as renowned as any of them, if they had continued and expanded on the promise shown by Mournin'. Engineered by famed krautrock figurehead Conny Planc (Scorpions, Kraftwerk, Ash Ra Tempel), the band dissolved very soon after the LP was released, with little promotion or appreciation.

Many thanks to long-time blog follower Richard (aka Sadness) for bringing this Australian band to my attention right at the last innings. It's another great cover of Crow's Evil Woman. As-yet it has been hard to find info on Kelly (or The Kelly) apart from a few youtube videos of two great songs, this one and Blodwyn Pig cover 'See My Way' (link), from appearances on ABC TV's "Hit Scene" and NSW TV's  "Happening 71" respectively. It doesn't appear that either of these tracks were released on record. If anyone out there knows any more about The Kelly please drop me a line! Folk rock, Australian rock & more says :- "known Kelly members were : Andrew Boucaut (v) 1971-74, Rod Olson (g) 1971-74, Jeff Prime (b) 1971-74, Damien Robb (g) 1971-74, Mick Stewart (d) 1971-74, Alan Stirling (k) 1971-74 and Doug Stirling (k) 1971-74 (he also had played in Adderley Smith Blues Band and Levi Smiths Clefs)."

Beggars Opera - Two Timing Woman
Beggars Opera
Two Timing Woman
Beggars Opera was a prog band from Glasgow that made a few albums in the seventies and reappeared later on. Founding member Ricky Gardiner has continued to make albums under the name. This track is a single that was not originally on any albums and it's one of the heavier songs from Beggars Opera, who may well have popped up earlier on this blog if they had made more tracks like the excellent 'Two Timing Woman'. Hard rock with great brass!

BZN (Band Zonder Naam "Band Without a Name") was from Volendam in The Netherlands. Bad Bad Woman is a track from their first album with a hard glam edge, a lot of fun.

Melvin McRae Band - Queen Of Hearts (1976)
Melvin MacRae Band was Melvin McRae (guitar, vox), Rauni Osterman (drums) and Hannu Takala (bass)which is the same as the final lineup of another Finnish band which came before, Yellow, minus Helge Koskela. Melvin was apparently from the UK but so far I've drawn blanks on how he ended up in Finnish bands and what happened to him afterwards. There's a few great tracks on the album "Queen Of Hearts" (1976) which is a mix of hard rock and boogie rock.

Frantic - Conception
Frantic - Conception
Formed in Montana, later moving to LA, Frantic started out as The Frantics. As Frantic they made an album in 1971 called "Conception" which is often described as hard rock but it sounds very dated for 1971, it has more in common with sixties pop music. There's some nice songs, like Wicked Woman, Baby and Midnight to Six Man, but I wouldn't call it hard rock by any stretch of the imagination. Quite good pop music structures with a heavy edge on some of the tracks. Allmusic says :- "Formed in 1965 in Billings, Montana, the Frantics were a sextet who drew their influences from Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, and, later, Jim Morrison (note the Lizard Records imprint for their second album).

They were a little on the heavy side in terms of their musical approach, and were ambitious -- they played throughout the United States and relocated several times, to New Mexico and then to Colorado Springs, Colorado, before settling in Los Angeles in 1969. The group released a pair of singles, "La Do Da Da" b/w "Route 66" and "Midnight to Six Man" b/w "Shady Sam." They also cut two albums, Relax Your Mind, which dated from 1968 and was unreleased until the '90s, and a second album, Conception, late in their history. At around that same time, they dropped the "s" from their name and worked as Frantic."

Mandrake - self titled
Mandrake - self titled
Mandrake was on Crazy Cajun Records, and I read somewhere that I can no longer find that this was a tax scam label, but I don't know anything else on that subject. The record is great, heavy rock with a southern flavour, bits of funk, and slide guitar, from Texas. The whole thing is pretty consistent, and seems to be attracting quite high prices now. Get it if you can find it, bar broom brawling stuff with a raw sound and loads of great geetarin!

Bone - Fairview Studios
Bone - Fairview recordings
Bone was a UK act, which it's said in various places online recorded music that was never released, at Fairview Studios, Willerby, near Hull, East Yorkshire. They have one track on a Fairview archival release here, and there are other internet download-only "bootlegs" going around that were apparently ripped from, which is inactive at the moment due to site improvements. The music from Bone is pretty much all good UK garage rock demos with some hard blues rock, and Naggin' Woman is one of the better tracks on it.

Bandit - self titled
Bandit - self titled
Bandit from the US made one self titled album in 1975, listed in The International Encyclopedia of Hard Rock & Heavy Metal (1983), by Tony Jasper and Derek Oliver. The credits read: Bass Guitar, Steel Guitar, Vocals - Kevin Barnhill, Drums, Percussion - Danny Gorman, Electric Guitar, Vocals - David Della Rossa, Guitar, Vocals - Joey Newman, Lead Vocals - Timothy Eaton  and Producer - Bob Monaco. According to Discogs, Kevin Barnhill was also in the band Hollywood Stars, who made a '70s album that was shelved until recently. I have encountered it before and it's pretty good. Joey Newman had played on the highly rated Blue Mountain Eagle album in 1970, as well as making a solo record in 1980 called "Into His Favor". This track is the "other" Evil Woman, the one originally written/recorded by Crow and covered by a whole bunch of bands, including Sabbath of course!

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Review: Greetings From Ohio pt.1

Here's a compilation from a new label called Archives of Acid. No prizes for guessing what inspired that name hehe. It so-far plans to specialise in rare singles-only acts and for the first release it is concentrating on the state of Ohio. More locales are planned in the future. read more...

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

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

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TDATS #129: Mother Trucker by Rich Aftersabbath on Mixcloud

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

White Summer [1976] album re-issue review

Here's a review of the first ever official re-issue of this album recorded in Michigan, 1976. The keen-minded of you may remember that I used a great track from this LP back on TDATS 44, "Ridin' High" (link). It's a fresh-sounding mix of Southern rock, psych and prog and you can read the full review here.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

TDATS #128: Sweet Home Birmingham, Alabama

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128: Sweet Home Birmingham, Alabama [Vintage Birmingham Alabama] by Rich Aftersabbath

Many thanks to
We all know Birmingham UK was a hotbed for hard rock and heavy metal, with the likes of Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, so the obvious question (to me at least hehe) is, what about Birmingham, Alabama, USA? As a bit of fun, this has unearthed some cool records and here's the best selection I could come up with!

Alabama, along with all the south-east states, is deeply involved in the history of Southern rock and American rock. Although the city of Birmingham itself didn't throw up any internationally-famous bands, it had a thriving music scene. Formative bands in the '50s and '60s were garage bands like The Ramrods and The Vikings. Two are included here with a pair of great covers by The Outer Mongolian Herd and The Distortions. Also included are names like Hardrock GunterJerry Yester and Vic Upshaw, who were born in Birmingham but had further-reaching careers; Vic made singles in France for instance.

01. Crimson Tide - Turning Back (1978)
       from album 'Crimson Tide'
02. Sam Lay - Maggie's Farm (1968)
       from album 'Sam Lay in Bluesland'
03. Hardrock Gunter - I'll Give 'Em Rhythm (1955)
04. The Outer Mongolian Herd - Hey Joe (1968)
       from comp 'Psychedelic States - Alabama Vol. 2'
05. Judy Henske & Jerry Yester - Snowblind (1969)
       'from album Farewell Aldebaran'
06. Vic Upshaw - Popcorn Crazy (1969)
       from EP "Dance the Popcorn"
07. Smith Perkins Smith - Save Me (1972)
       from album 'Smith Perkins Smith'
08. The Distortions - Smokestack Lightning (1966)
       from comp 'Psychedelic States - Alabama Vol. 2'
09. Backwater - Pair O' Dice (1976)
       from album 'Backwater'
10. Hotel - City Lights (1979)
       from album 'Hotel'

Crimson Tide

Crimson Tide self-titled LP 1978
We kick off with a killer track from Crimson Tide. Although their 1978 self-titled debut had a couple of harder cuts on it, and "Turning Back" is one of those, their second LP, "Reckless Love", is the most consistent. The kingpin of the outfit was guitarist Wayne Perkins (wiki), who started out as a session player in his teens, and in '60s Birmingham bands like The Vikings. After working in the famous Muscle Shoals scene, and a stint working in the UK in Smith Perkins & Smith, who made a record in 1972, he wound-up back home in The Alabama Power Band (originally started by his brother Dale, who was the drummer). They had changed name to "Crimson Tide" by the time of signing with Capitol.

The playing is impeccable through-out with nice slide guitar, but the band didn't last long after their second record. Wayne's session career continued as before, he made his first solo record in '95 and throughout his career has played for everyone from Don Nix to Bob Marley.

It's not too easy finding the whereabouts of the remaining guys, but keys-man Richard "Wolfie" Wolf is a Los Angeles-based music producer, remixer and composer, with numerous film, television credits too.

Alabama Record Collectors Association - "Wayne Perkins, through the help of drummer Jasper Guarino, became a session guitarist at a studio in Muscle Shoals owned by Quin Ivy at $100 a week. He later formed a band, Smith, Perkins and Smith for a very short time. He then was a member of several different bands, including the Gap Band. Wayne was even considered at one time to join the Rolling Stones, but was decided against because he wasn’t British, but did play on one of their albums in 1974.

Crimson Tide - Wayne Perkins center
One day Wayne Perkins went to hear his brother Dale's band, Alabama Power. "They had a great band and no songs," he says. "They had the vehicle and I had the gasoline. I had the connections in Hollywood after all these years." Perkins says that lawyers for the Alabama Power Company were not pleased with the band's name, so the group changed it to Crimson Tide. "I much preferred the name Alabama Power to Crimson Tide because that's sacrilege, to me. Crimson Tide is a great name but [the University of Alabama] was already using it." Crimson Tide released two albums on Capitol Records, the self-titled Crimson Tide in 1978 which provided the single “Love Stop,” and Reckless Love in 1979 and a single of the same name, the latter produced by Donald "Duck" Dunn, bassist for Booker T. and the MGs, with the MGs' Steve Cropper contributing guitar parts.

Crimson Tide became the house band at the Crossroads Club in Roebuck for a couple of years in the late '70s, where well-known acts such as Yes, Joe Cocker, or Rick Derringer, if they had performed elsewhere in town that day, often showed up to sit in. "That's one thing about the Crossroads Club. You never knew who would show up," Perkins says. Crimson Tide split up in 1979. Perkins later released a pair of solo CDs, Mendo Hotel in 1995 and Ramblin' Heart in 2005, as well as having his songs included on soundtracks for several films and TV shows. The members of the band were: Dale Perkins, Wayne Perkins, Greg Straub, Bobby Delander and J.J. Jackson. By the second album, Richard Fox, who played keyboards on both albums, was an official member."

Sam Lay

"Sam Lay in Bluesland" LP 1968
Sam Lay (born March 20, 1935, Birmingham, Alabama) is a drummer and vocalist, who has been performing since the 1950s. His drumming can be heard on over 40 recordings for the Chess Records label and 1968's "Sam Lay in Bluesland" was his first solo LP. His career began in 1957, as the drummer for the Original Thunderbirds. In the early 1960s, he began recording and performing with prominent blues musicians such as Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf, Eddie Taylor, John Lee Hooker, Junior Wells, Bo Diddley, Magic Sam, Jimmy Rogers, Earl Hooker, and Muddy Waters

In the mid 1960s he joined the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and recorded and toured extensively with them. Lay also recorded with Bob Dylan, most notably on the Highway 61 Revisited album. He drummed on the "Highway 61" track, so I guess he's more than qualified to do the great cover of  "Maggie's Farm" included here! Sam was featured in 'History of the Blues', produced by Martin Scorsese, and was inducted into the 2015 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

Hardrock Gunter

Now to what is by far the earliest track I have ever included in these collections. Sidney Louie Gunter Jr. (b.27 February 1925), known as Hardrock Gunter, was a guitarist and performer who was there right at the formative stages of rock and roll and rockabilly at the turn of the '50s. His first teenage group was the Hoot Owl Ramblers. In 1939 he joined Happy Wilson's Golden River Boys and acquired his nickname "Hardrock" when a van trunk lid fell on him before a show and he never flinched. After wartime service he returned to work with the group, before leaving to become their agent and starting to appear on local TV.

As a popular local personality, he signed to Birmingham's Bama label. He recorded his own song "Birmingham Bounce" in early 1950 (youtube), the Golden River Boys being renamed the Pebbles on the record. A regional hit which produced over 20 cover versions, the most successful being by Red Foley, who reached no.1 with it on the Billboard country chart, and no.14 on the pop chart. Gunter's original version has become regarded as a contender for the first rock and roll record. It predates "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats (who were actually Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm) by a year. Gunter followed up with "Gonna Dance All Night", one of the first records to feature the actual words "rock'n'roll". Gunter signed to Decca, and his 1951 duet with Roberta Lee, "Sixty Minute Man," was one of the first country records to cross over to R&B audiences.

In 1953 he began working at a radio station, and also remade "Gonna Dance All Night" and recorded "Jukebox Help Me Find My Baby", both of which were issued by Sun Records and became regional hits. In 1958 he was one of the first musicians to use both echo and overdub on his recording of "Boppin' to Grandfather's Clock", released under the name Sidney Jo Lewis. He continued to record with limited success, and in the 1960s left the music business. He retired to Rio Rancho, New Mexico. In 1995 he began to perform again at festivals in England, Germany and the United States. He died aged 88 in 2013.

The Outer Mongolian Herd

This is a Birmingham band band I found by checking out 'Psychedelic States - Alabama Vol. 2' from Gear Fab Records (link). It's a great version of Hey Joe, but they certainly put their own garage twist on it. Here's what's written about it: "Hey Joe, The Outer Mongolian Herd (Bill Roberts), Third Story Music, BMI, 2:09 - Released on the Daisy (4847) label in Jan 1968 and b/w "I Wan't To Love You (Scared)". A mystery crew that recorded for a Birmingham-based label, these guys laid down one of the finer versions of "Hey Joe", a garage band staple that never sounds tired or dated." [Mike Markesich]

Judy Henske & Jerry Yester

Farewell Aldebaran LP front
This great track is here because Jerry Yester was Birmingham-born. Judy Henske & Jerry met while working in the West Coast folk scene in the early 1960s, Henske as an uncategorizable solo singer recording folk, blues, jazz and comedy, Yester as a member of the Modern Folk Quartet. They married in 1963. A few years later Henske's career was faltering as a result of ill-advised forays into cabaret while Yester had produced albums by Tim Buckley and The Association, and replaced Zal Yanovsky in The Lovin' Spoonful.

Judy Henske
The pair, with their new-born daughter, moved to Los Angeles in 1968. Henske shared a manager, Herb Cohen, with Frank Zappa, who suggested to her that she should put music to some of the verse she was writing. Yester, at this point, was working with Yanovsky on the latter's first solo album, and experimenting with new electronic and other sound effects. The couple combined to put together the Farewell Aldebaran LP, drawing on a varied selection of their musician friends, and it was issued on Zappa and Cohen's new label.

Farewell Aldebaran LP back
In the UK, the album was broadcast by John Peel who played Three Ravens on more than one occasion on Radio One. Henske and Yester went on to form a more conventional band, Rosebud, before they went their separate ways at the start of the 1970s. The album was reissued on CD by bootleg label Radioactive Records in 2005 (link).

Vic Upshaw

Vic Upshaw - Dance The Popcorn
Time for a funny novelty single which grooves and funks along in an addictive way. It seems that Vic was a dancer first before a musician, and his handful of records were related to dance moves and instruction. It would seem he was attempting to plug a dance called 'the popcorn' with this single! The most information I have found so far is unfortunately from his obituary. An American choreographer who brought modern jazz styles to France in the mid-1960's, he died on Nov. 5 1990. He was 50 years old. A spokeswoman for a dance society with which he worked said he died of a stomach disorder. Born in Birmingham, AL in 1940, Mr. Upshaw played minor roles in the 1958 film version of "South Pacific" and in the Judy Garland version of "A Star Is Born" before moving to France in 1964.

Mr. Upshaw designed dance routines for the Lido cabaret. His own dance group, the Vic Upshaw Six, was a staple for years on French television variety shows. He taught steps to some of France's best-known show-business personalities, including Catherine Deneuve, Sylvie Vartan, Pierre Mondy and Jean-Claude Brialy.

Smith Perkins Smith

As previously mentioned with Crimson Tide, the "Perkins" part of this trio was Wayne Perkins from Birmingham. The "Smiths" are American brothers Steve and Tim Smith. Steve Smith had played on southern soul tracks recorded by the likes of Sam & Dave, the Staples Singers and Wilson Pickett at the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Birmingham, Alabama. Arthur Alexander and Ben Atkins (the first white singer signed to Stax) had recorded songs written by the Smith brothers.

The album is mellow country rock affair, mostly acoustic, but there's a couple of electric tracks and "Save Me" is my pick here. Indeed, it was tapped for a single by Island. Smith Perkins Smith started a second album while residing in the UK, which wasn't released. Wayne Perkins had other distractions, including being asked by Island to add rock guitar to a reggae band they were trying to break. His solos on Concrete Jungle and Stir It Up helped Catch a Fire do just that for Bob Marley.

Smith Perkins Smith
Steve Smith was asked to produce Robert Palmer's solo debut. They'd met at Leicester University when Smith Perkins Smith supported Vinegar Joe - in which Palmer shared vocals with Elkie Brooks - but the production offer came out of the blue. His masterstroke of matching Palmer with Lowell George and the Meters for Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley, the album that out-funked Little Feat, confirmed his talents behind the mixing desk. Tim Smith too went into production and arranging, working with Lynyrd Skynyrd among others.

The Distortions

The Distortions - picture found at
Here's another track I have 'borrowed' from 'Psychedelic States - Alabama Vol. 2' (Gear Fab Records - link). Here's what it has to say - "Smokestack Lightning - The Distortions. (C. Burnett), ARC Music, BMI. Released on the SEA (102) label in April 1966 and b/w "Hot Cha". The band came from Birmingham and along with the Rockin' Rebellions, The Distortions were the city's top teen crowd-pleasers.

Their first three singles were issued on the SEA label. "Smokestack Lightning" was also issued on the Malcolm Z. Dirge label in August 1966 as the b-side to "Behind My Wall", an original tune and the band's biggest seller in Montgomery and Birmingham. This prompted several record label scouts to present signing offers to the group, with the Mercury label winning out. Mercury placed "Behind My Wall" on their Smash label subsidiary a couple of months later. The Distortions continued to perform well into the late sixties, releasing singles on Malcolm Z. Dirge and the Casino label from New Orleans in 1967 and Capitol in 1968, but all pale in the throes of "Smokestack Lightning". [Mike Markesich]

There's an account of The Distortions over at (here) which shows the band's changed appearance and outlook into the early seventies, including a couple of '70s tracks showing a decidedly more slick, funky approach.


Nearing the end, here's a change in tack with some live jazz rock. Backwater made two private press records. This track is taken from the 1976 self-titled debut, which has one side of studio tracks and another side from a live performance. I have selected "Pair O' Dice" from the live side. Jazz rock is not something i'll use to often on this blog but in this case a cool riff is a cool riff what ever the style! The quartet formed in 1975, playing clubs and working as session musicians in Birmingham. According to their surprisingly inclusive wiki page (link), the record sold quite well locally and saw them get support slots for the likes of B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, and Emmylou Harris (Harris hailing from Birmingham herself). Backwater released two records on their own amusingly-named label "Bongwater Records", the second is called "North Of The Mason-Dixon And The Heart Of Dixie" and also includes live/studio material.


To close this volume we have a late-'70s AOR band called Hotel. Looking for similar from the Birmingham area, I found only one more band of this ilk, called Telluride, but they are way too soft for TDATS. Much of Hotel's music was very slick and commercial also, but the self-titled first of their two records has a good rocker on it called "City Lights". According to guitarist Tommy Carlton's website (link), he started out in sixties garage band The Swingin' Lampliters, and according to Hotel singer/pianist Marc Phillips' website (link), the band lasted from 1973 to 1982.

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