Showing posts with label Earth and Fire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Earth and Fire. Show all posts

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Day After The Sabbath 71: Stormbird [female vocals 3]

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pass:  tdats
Volume 71 is my third collection (after #17 and #49) of tracks with female vox. It gets underway with two concise and heavy singles.

Parojoma's 'Crystallized Insanity' is a 1971 single a-side from Canada, and I thank my friend's excellent channel for bringing this catchy slice of groove to my attention just in time to give it pride of place. There is little information to go on, it was on the London label and writing credits go to M. & R. Bartolucci, with P. Cardone. Production is by Ben Kaye & Art Phillips. No mention of the players of songstress, though back in those days female session singers were often not credited.

Think's single is another for which I cannot find the singers name, but the music is some strong pop with a wicked, heavy low-ended chorus and brass embellishments. The main players here were Mike Ballew (gtr) and Danny Wilder (bs) who were previously in The Brothers and later in 'Red, Wilder, Blue'.

C.K. Strong
C. K. Strong's tag line goes :- "Only the strong survive. Out of the hundreds of west coast bands that were formed during the last few years, only a handful have gained national recognition. You can understand why. It takes a group that is both musically and personally strong to overcome the hustles and hassles involved. C. K. Strong has more than survived. Their début album exudes vibrant rock and blues. And a chick singer named Lynn Carey who effortlessly explores every note of her three-octave vocal range. C. K. Strong. Darwin scores again". The more observant of you will remember Lynn's vocal contributions on the Neil Meryweather Vol68, and I will be using another track from this album on the movie comp i'm doing, as one of the tracks was used on the classic Russ Meyer exploitation movie 'Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls'.

Valeria Mongardini was an Italian pop singer with a raw voice which she used to out-sleaze The Guess Who on this great cover of "American Woman". The backing arrangement is from Tony Mimms, a Glasgow-born producer and musician who emigrated to Italy with a band called The Primitives, which also included drummer Pick Withers, later of Dire Straits fame.

Sun is a special discovery to me, a guy called "Daru Blues" with a channel on youtube kindly sent me the album in mp3 after I spent an age searching for it, and I was not disappointed. They were originally from Wollongong, near Sydney, Australia. They made one enigmatic, ultra-collectable album; progressive blues and jazz wth great musicianship plus a secret weapon in the form of Renée Geyer with her unique vocal power and swagger, belying her tender age of 18. Renée (who was later replaced in Sun by Starlee Ford, a singer who appeared in the original Australian production of the rock musical Hair) went on to great solo acclaim but never bettered her performance here I think.

'6 Feet Under' started out as 'The Marc 5' in 1966 in Colonia, New Jersey. Later known as the Sonix, they never recorded an album proper and this track is taken from the 1998 Arf! Arf! Records retrospective. One-time drummer Hector "Tico" Torres was ejected in 1970 before the addition of the female singer on this track 'What Would You Do', though it may have been a good move for him financially as he went on to be a founding member of Bon Jovi. Growling fuzz, stabbing keys and wah grooves pervade through this awesome track.

Sharon Tandy was a sexy and soulful Johannesburg-born singer who teamed up with Brit freak-beaters Les Fleur de Lys (see their own original version of 'Hold On' in Vol70) on more than one occasion. Having had plenty of breaks, performing often on UK t.v. and even getting signed to Stax in 1966 to cut earthy Southern soul with Booker T & The MGs and Isaac Hayes, she never really made it and was back to a comparatively small career in South Africa by 1970. This version of Hold On features some totally scorching guitar and her trademark earthy vocals.

The John Bassman Group started life as a school band in Landgraaf, a municipality in south-eastern Limburg and also where one of Holland's biggest rock fests resides, Pinkpop. Their single album 'filthy sky' was a curious affair, a mix of country-tinged blues tracks, and west coast style psych tracks, these being the ones which frequently hit the mark with awesome fuzzy wah guitar and charismatic vox from Diana Leemhuis. John Theunissen and the 'bassman' Theo Wetzeis later joined Pussycat, who had a novelty hit with "Mississippi" in 1975. You've gotta love the fuzz-wah chops of "His Name Was Tom".

Earth & Fire (1970)
Earth & Fire were a Dutch progressive pop group, who made some interesting stuff in their early career which betrayed hard rock influences, unfortunately they became a more commercial pop/disco group of far less interest in the later 70's. Singer Jerney Kaagman later became president of the Dutch musician's union and was recently a judge on the Dutch "Idols" talent show. The track I've used here called Lost Forever was the 1971 'Storm and Thunder' single b-side and is definitely the most Sabbath-heavy thing they did. The best album to look for is the 1993 Repertoire re-issue of their 1971 eponymous debut, which includes the heavy b-sides like 'Memories' that I also used on the Roadburn comp Vol64.

Ruby Starr was discovered by Black Oak Arkansas frontman Jim Dandy, working in a bar in Evansville, Indiana. Over her career she performed with them, Blackfoot and Mountain, along with a number of backing bands and solo projects. One of them was called 'Ruby Starr And Grey Ghost' and included members of Target (see Vol65), the 'Grey Ghost' in question being a reference to confederate civil war hero General Mosby. "Burnin' Whiskey" is a good southern-rocker with a hint of Deep Purple grinding hammond.

Pesky Gee
Pesky Gee formed in Leicester, UK and the core of the band was basically Black Widow before they went occult. There's a great interview with Saxist/ Flautist Clive Jones here describing the transition. This heavy, grungy track 'Where Is My Mind?', a Vanilla Fudge cover, benefits greatly from Kay Garrett's husky tones. Californians Ivory made one album, and 'Silver Rains' is the excellent highlight, Christine Christman's voice swims in the lysergia of Mike McCauley's keys and Kenny Thomure's guitar. Unfortunately, McCauley's Vietnam draft cut their career prematurely short.

She Trinity
The She Trinity are something of a novelty, being one of the only all-girl bands I have ever used on any comp, they were started by a trio of Canadian musicians who found their way to England. There were brief name changes and shake-ups. The final combo was  Robyn Yorke (drums) ,  Eileen Woodman (keys),  Pauline Moran (bass), and Inger Jonnsson on guitar. Pau;line Moran would go on to later acclaim as a stage/screen actress. They released a cover of 'Hair' in 1970, for which 'Climb That Tree' was the b-side, which itself was played by the UK band The Onyx, with vocals from She Trinity. Sweet Pain was an all-star blues session album. Singer Annette Brox recorded a 45 in 1965 and an album in 1974, Dick Heckstall-Smith had recorded a solo album. He also played with Graham Bond Organisation, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Colosseum. 'Sick and Tired' is a ripping slab of bluesrock!

And so this volume ends with L.A. pop-rockers 'Smith', who's strongest asset was their most frequent vocalist, Gayle McCormick, an accomplished female blue-eyed soul belter. Here is their version of old reliable 'I Just Wanna Make Love To You', a 1954 blues song written by Willie Dixon and first recorded by Muddy Waters. It appears for around the third time on this blog; maybe another theme idea is forming....

Track List

01. Parojoma - Crystallized Insanity (1971)
02. Think - California (Is Getting So Heavy) (1969)
03. C. K. Strong - Stormbird (1969)
       from album "c.k. strong"
04. Valeria Mongardini - Addio Città Vecchia [The Guess Who cover] (1970)
05. Sun - Vendetta (1972)
       from album 'sun 1972'
06. 6 Feet Under - What Would You Do (1970)
       from retrospective "in retrospect 1969-'70"
07. Sharon Tandy - Hold On [with Les Fleur De Lys] (1967)
08. John Bassman Group - His Name Was Tom (1970)
       from album 'filthy sky'
09. Earth & Fire - Lost Forever (1971)
       from repertoire re-issue of  'earth and fire'
10. Ruby Starr And Grey Ghost - Burnin' Whiskey (1975)
       from album 'ruby starr & grey ghost'
11. Pesky Gee - Where Is My Mind [Vanilla Fudge cover] (1969)
       from album 'exclamation mark'
12. Ivory - Silver Rains (1968)
       from album 'ivory'
13. She Trinity - Climb That Tree [with The Onyx] (1970)
14. Sweet Pain - Sick And Tired (1969)
       from album 'sweet pain'
15. Smith - I Just Wanna Make Love To You (1969)
       from album 'a group called smith'

Marmalade-Skies | Ready steady girls
Museum of Canadian Music | 70sheavyrockfan

Thanks for listening! Rich

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Day After The Sabbath 64: Afterburner (Roadburn Special)

Download here: [mf] or [mg]
Unzip password:  tdats
Here is Volume 64, the second part of the two-part special which started here. As before, I will leave it to the organiser of Roadburn festival in Tilburg, Holland, to explain some more :-

"We're huge supporters of Rich Stonerdoom's The Day After The Sabbath blog. It's the main source in our quest for obscure heavy 60s and 70s rock. Now, Rich has dedicated some of his compilations to Roadburn; these two special volumes include all the classic 70s bands that have played the festival so far, along with tracks from a host of Dutch rock novelties and obscurities, which we wholeheartedly endorse!" - Roadburn festival 2012.

Supersister, from The Hague, started out in 1968 and along the way included ex-members of renowned Dutch bands Brainbox, Bintags and Livin'Blues, including drummer Herman van Boeijen who was also in 'Panda' later on this comp. They had a markedly different, more progressive approach than those bluesy bands and are often associated with the English Canterbury scene which they pre-dated by a couple of years. Centering on Robert Jan Stips' intense and at times evil sounding keyboards, 'She Was Naked' was a single that was not originally included on any of their 4 full-lengths, and it perfectly demonstrates their schizophrenic dark/light nature. Our first Roadburn appearance band is Leaf Hound, who played the fest in 2006, and will do so again this year to celebrate their 40th anniversary (though Pete French is the only original member). Leaf Hound's album, 'Growers of mushroom' was re-discovered in the 80s as a lost classic and at times has commanded silly money from record dealers. Evolving from Black Cat Bones, who originally included later-members of Free - Paul Kossoff and Simon Kirke, and guitarist Rod Price who departed to join Foghat, they were joined by vocalist Pete French with his cousin Mick Halls on guitar. French later left to join Atomic Rooster and then Cactus, so he really is something of a TDATS hero! I have been lucky enough to see him perform with Leaf Hound in London a few times in recent years and am glad to report his voice sounds as good as ever!

Panda were a short-lived act from Noord-Holland that included members of Turquoise, Tortilla, Cuby, Livin'Blues, Modesty Blaise, Bintangs and Tee Set. Herman Van Boeyen (drums) later formed Vitesse. They had a minor hit in 1971 with 'No Coockies', of which the b-side "Swingin' About" is interesting to us heavy-hunters, it's an unusual track with a lumbering sabbathian riff and cool flashes of sax and flute. Track four approaches, I have been aware of the Influenza single for a while now, but have always thought it was French, as that is what's usually stated. With the recent assistance of knowledgeable Dutch fans (take another bow Marc) I have confirmed that they were Dutch and drummer Pieter Voogt was in the successful symphonic prog band Ekseption. Both sides of the single "Astral Plane / Trick" are great pieces of West Coast-influenced dreamy psych. 

Earth & Fire were a Dutch progressive pop group, who made some interesting stuff in their early career which betrayed hard rock influences. The track I've used here called 'Memories' was a single from 1972, it's like an Abba song (stay with me here) that is taken somewhere else entirely by Gerard Koerts' stabs of heavy distorted mellotron, and they went into even harder Sabbath territory with some of their b-sides like Lost Forever. With the presentable Jerney Kaagman fronting the group, I can't help being reminded of retro-minded contemporary bands like Blood Ceremony (who played Roadburn last year). In a slight diversion from the TDATS norm, we move on to some late 70s punk, Speedtwins (see interesting interview with frontman here) appeal to me as they have a rough distorted sound which lends a heavier and more 'rock' sound than average punk has, and their 1978 album 'It's More Fun to Compete' shows genuine don't-give-a-fuck humour beyond mere punk bandwagoneering. From its intro you'd be forgiven for thinking that 'Midnight Ladies' is going down some Sandinista-era Clash route but you'd be wrong...

Originally the "Sandy Coast Skiffle Group", Voorburg's Sandy Coast formed in the early 60s and after winning a Hitwezen Magazine-organised talent search, were awarded a Negram record contract. Being a band that followed the vogue sound of the times, they started out as a beat group with their '67 debut, then delved into some Beatle's and early-Floydish psych sound experimentation with 1968's 'From The Workshop'. With 1969's LP "Shipwreck", they didn't change their over-all sound too much, and remained quite mellow, except for a couple of important exceptions. With their 14 minute masterpiece 'Shipwreck', pre-dating the story-telling inclinations of Rick Wakeman's Journey To The Center of the Earth and Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds by a few years, they weave an epic mariner's tale of sea-going disaster. By drifting in and out of a heavy, repetitive 'Impossible Mission' theme-like central riff, they convey the ups and downs from a sailor's perspective. Ron Westerbeek's use of keyboards for atmosphere and sound effects, and Onno Bevoort's varied drumming combine to great effect and make for an exciting, tension-building trip. It leaves me wishing they had carried on with this proto-prog pomposity as it shows them in their element, and were a few years ahead of their time with it too.

First Utterance
There is scarce information on Fullhouse from Utrecht, they made two or three singles in the late sixties which were quite light affairs, but like a lot of acts back then, they let go with their less commercial intensions on a b-side. "The Wizard of Khu", like Panda's "Swingin' About", was one of these times, It also has some great aggressive vox and the same lurching quality that really gives the riffs a weighty feeling. Heavy stuff for 1968 and one of those tracks you can imagine a modern stoner rock/doom band having a lot of fun covering. Comus are our penultimate Roadburn band, they played the fest in 2010. They are a folk/art rock band making heavy use of violins and eastern percussion. Although being short-lived in their initial incarnation between 71-74, they are cited as influences by many notable musicians. Opeth have made direct references to their lyrics in more than one song and Current 93's folk-experimentalist David Tibett covered 'Diana' from the first album, 1971's "First Utterance", from which I have also taken "The Bite". They have plans to release new material this year, which will be the first in almost 40 years. Johnny Lion & The Jumping Jewels, from The Hague, started in the early 60's as an instrumental beat group. They achieved a reasonable level of chart success and in '65 a falling-out caused Johnny Lion to go it alone. Legal wrangling meant the remaining members were forced to change their name so they became JaysJays. Taking on Willem Duyn as singer they recorded a self-titled in 1966, from which "Cruncher" is taken. A heavy and reckless jam, Cruncher is the perfect name for it and you can just feel heavy-metal barriers being broken down as it plays out, ending on walls of feedback. Heavy stuff for '66 indeed.

The core of Vlissingen's Dragonfly were brothers Rudy and Tonny de Queljoe, who moved from Ambon, an island in Indonesia, to The Netherlands in 1951. They went through a number of bands and names with singer Johnny Caljouw until settling with 'Dragonfly', and the addition of Huib Power (drums) plus Carlos van den Berg (guitar). Though showing more than enough potential for success, ultimately they only recorded two high quality singles, which were released together as the EP "4 Celestial Songs" in 1968. Disagreements and a falling out between band and manager led to show cancellations which they never quite recovered from, later the de Queljoe bros went on to Brainbox and Caljouw joined Machine. Machine can be found on Vol.10, and Brainbox on my first ever Dutch comp, vol35 from last year. Dragonfly are remembered for two things in particular, Rudy de Queljoe's fine Hendrixian guitar abilities, and each member’s trade-mark black and white face paint patterns, predating Kiss by a few years.

We come to the final Roadburn band for this pair of comps, Guru Guru, who played in 2008. Like their friends Amon Düül, Can and Xhol Caravan, they were a formative Krautrock band that came out of the leftist political scene of the times, living in communes and promoting free thinking through free-form jazz rock. "Der Elektrolurch" is on their 5th, eponymous album from 1973.

Hans Dulfer
We near the end with Dordrecht's Inca Bullet Joe, who came from the remains of the well known Dutch psych group The Zipps. They only made one EP, but all three tracks are great, "Nothing Has Changed" maintains a constant steady rhythm, with glam stomp. It builds in intensity with layers of synth creating a basic melodic refrain. All these parts lend a unique and memorable over-all feeling that I really like. Again I must give props to Robin Wills' awesome blog for digging this rare 45 out. The end is come with Amsterdam's "Hans Dulfer and Ritmo Natural". After further reading I have discovered that Hans is something of an international celebrity within cross-over jazz and jazz fusion circles. Candy Clouds, from 1971, is one of his earliest, least-known works and has some fine jazz that rock fans who would normally steer clear of anything described using the word 'fusion' (myself included) need not be afraid of, it avoids the usual pitfalls of inaccessible jazz-prog wankery....the track 'Candy Clouds' begins with a simple, HUGE doom riff that brings Sabbath to mind, and his saxophone playing is stripped-down but never less than expressive.

Track List:

01. Supersister - She Was Naked (1970)
02. Leaf Hound - Stagnant Pool (1971)
       from album 'growers of mushroom'
03. Panda - Swingin' About (1971)
04. Influenza - Astral Plane (1971)
06. Earth & Fire - Memories (1972)
07. Speedtwins - Midnight Ladies (1978)
       from album 'it's more fun to compete'
08. Sandy Coast - Shipwreck (1969)
       from album 'shipwreck'
09. Fullhouse - The Wizard of Khu (1968)
10. Comus - The Bite (1970)
       from album 'first utterance'
11. JayJays - Cruncher (1966)
       from album 'Jay-Jays'
12. Dragonfly - Celestial Empire (1968)
       from ep '4 celestial songs'
13. Guru Guru - Der Elektrolurch [edit] (1973)
       from album 'guru guru'
14. Inca Bullet Joe - Nothing Has Changed (1971)
15. Hans Dulfer and Ritmo Natural - Candy Clouds [Pt. I] (1971)
       from album 'candy clouds'

Thanks for listening! Rich


Alex Gitlin's Nederpop Encyclopedia | Dutch Progessive Rock
Nederbeat | Dutch Sixties Beatgroups | Gooisch Pop Archief

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