Sunday, 2 July 2017

"Milk Of The Tree: An Anthology Of Female Vocal Folk & Singer-Songwriters 1966-73" by VARIOUS ARTISTS (June 2017 Grapefruit 3CD Box Set) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT 1970... - Exceptional CD Remasters  
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"...Give Her The Day..."

Like many collectors and fans of the late 60ts and early 70ts - I've been singing the praises of Cherry Red's 'Grapefruit' label for some time now. I acquired and reviewed two three-CD sets they did in late 2016 called "I'm A Freak, Baby" and "Let's All Go Down And Blow Our Minds" - wads of Heavy Psych, Hard Rock and 1967 Trippy Vibes.

Well here comes another threesome but this time with a more gentile theme and a far wider range. "Milk Of The Tree..." offers up 60 songs from female trailblazers primarily in the Folk and Folk-Rock fields between 1966 and 1973 – some well known names and many that shouldn't be forgotten. I've been looking forward to this Mini Box Set for some months now and in the main it hasn't disappointed. Here are the Ladies Of The Canyon...

UK released Friday, 30 June 2017 (7 July 2017 in the USA) - "Milk Of The Tree: An Anthology Of Female Vocal Folk and Singer-Songwriters 1966-73" by VARIOUS ARTISTS on Cherry Red/Grapefruit CRSEGBOX039 (Barcode 5013929183902) is a 60-Track 3CD Mini Box Set compilation of Remasters that plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (74:45 minutes):
1. Do You Believe - MELANIE (from the November 1972 US LP "Stoneground Words" on Neighborhood NRS 47005)
2. Blessed Are... - JOAN BAEZ (from the July 1971 US 2LP set "Blessed Are..." on Vanguard VSD 6570/1)
3. Light Flight - THE PENTANGLE (from the October 1969 UK 7" single on Transatlantic/Big T Records BIG 128, A-side)
4. Foolish Seasons - DANA GILLESPIE (from the October 1968 US Stereo LP "Foolish Seasons" on London PS 540)
5. Someone To Talk My Troubles To - JUDY RODERICK (from the December 1965 US LP "Woman Blue" on Vanguard VSD 79197)
6. Auntie Aviator - JOHN and BEVERLEY MARTYN (from the December 1970 UK LP "The Road To Ruin" on Island ILPS 9133)
7. Flying Away - THE SERPENT POWER (from the December 1967 US Stereo LP "The Serpent Power" on Vanguard VSD 79252)
8. It Could Have Been Better - JOAN ARMATRADING (from her debut November 1972 UK LP "Whatever's For Us" on Cube Records HIFLY 12)
9. Morning Morgantown - JUDE [featuring the Fickle Pickle] (Not originally issued, recorded mid 1970)
10. If Not By Fire - MANDY MORE (from the June 1972 UK LP "But That Is Me" on Phillips 6308 109)
11. Upstairs By A Chinese Lamp - LAURA NYRO (from the November 1970 US LP "Christmas And The Beads Of Sweat" on Columbia KC 30259)
12. I Thought I Knew The Answers - SUSAN PILLSBURY (from the November 1973 US LP "Susan Pillsbury" on Sweet Fortune SFS 804)
13. Give Her The Day - JAKI WHITREN (March 1973 UK 7" single on Epic S EPC 1338, A-side)
14. By The Sea - WENDY & BONNIE [Wendy & Bonnie Flowers] (from the June 1969 US LP "Genesis" on Skye Records SK 10060)
15. Come And Stay With Me - JACKIE DeSHANNON (from the November 1968 US Stereo LP "Laurel Canyon" on Imperial LP 12415)
16. Something Better - MARIANNE FAITHFULL (February 1969 UK withdrawn 7" single on Decca F 12889, B-side of "Sister Morphine")
17. An Everyday Consumption Song - SPIROGYRA [feat Barbara Gaskin on Lead Vocals] (from the April 1973 UK LP "Bells, Boots And Shambles" on Polydor 2310 246)
18. The Milk Of The Tree - POLLY NILES (not originally issued, recorded circa August 1969)
19. Chelsea Girls - NICO (from the October 1967 US LP "Chelsea Girl" on Verve V 5032)
20. Reverie For Roslyn - MARY-ANNE [Mary-Anne Paterson] (from the April 1970 UK LP "Me" on Joy Records JOYS 162)

Disc 2 (72:34 minutes):
1. Different Drum - THE STONE PONEYS [featuring Linda Ronstadt on Lead Vocals] (September 1967 USA 7" single on capitol 2004, A-side)
2. Please (MK. II) - ECLECTION (November 1968 USA 7" single on Elektra 45046, A-side)
3. Five Of Us - JADE [featuring Marian Segal on Lead Vocals] (from the July 1970 UK LP "Fly On Strangewings" on DJM Records DJLPS 407)
4. Who Has Seen The Wind? - THE SIMON SISTERS [Carly and Lucy Simon] (from the April 1969 US LP "The Simon Sisters Sing The Lobster Quadrille And Other Songs For Children" on Columbia CC 24506)
5. Jesus Was A Crossmaker - JUDEE SILL (October 1971 US 7" single on Asylum AS 11000, A-side)
6. January's Snow - THE WOODS BAND [featuring Gay and Terry Woods] (from the December 1971 UK LP on Greenwich GSLP 1004)
7. In My Loneliness - TRADER HORNE [featuring Judy Dyble on Lead Vocals] (from the March 1970 UK LP "Morning Way" on Dawn DNLS 3004)
8. Society's Child (Baby I've Been Thinking) - JANIS IAN (September 1966 USA 7" single on Verve Folkways KF 5027, A-side)
9. I Was - LILY & MARIA [Lily Fiszman and Maria Neumann] (from the October 1968 US LP "Lily & Maria" on Columbia CS 9707)
10. Feeling High - MELLOW CANDLE (August 1968 UK 7" single on SNB Records 55-3645, A-side)
11. Tomorrow Come Someday - TOMORROW COME SOMEDAY (from the January 1970 UK Privately-Pressed LP "Tomorrow Come Someday" on Sound News Productions SNP 97/98)
12. My Silk And Fine Array - JULIE COVINGTON (from the album "The Beautiful Changes" on Columbia SCX 6466)
13. Red Wine And Promises - NORMA WATERSON (November 1972 UK 7" single on Transatlantic/Big T Records BIG 507, A-side)
14. Mr. Fox - MR. FOX (from the November 1970 UK LP "Mr. Fox" on Transatlantic TRA 226)
15. The Dream Tree - BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE (from the September 1969 US LP "Illuminations" on Vanguard VSD 79300)
16. Munching The Candy - THE ACADEMY featuring POLLY PERKINS (March 1969 UK 7" single on Morgan Blue Town BTS 2, A-side)
17. Late November - SANDY DENNY (from the May 1971 LP "The North Star Grassman And The Ravens" on Island ILPS 9165)
18. Tomorrow Your Sorrow - HENDRICKSON ROAD HOUSE (from the December 1970 US LP "Hendrickson Road House" on Two: Dot Records HRH 81670)
19. Mornings - CHUCK & MARY PERRIN (from the January 1969 US LP "The Chuck and Mary Perrin Album" on Webster's Last Word Records WLW 2010)
20. Mr. Rubin - LESLEY DUNCAN (from the September 1971 UK LKP "Sing Children Sing" on CBS Records S 64202)

Disc 3 (76:44 minutes):
1. Come Into The Garden - CHIMERA (Not originally issued, recorded circa mid-1970)
2. Early Morning Blues And Greens - DIANE HILDERBRAND (from the December 1968 US LP on Elektra EKS 74031)
3. Rainy Day - SUSAN CHRISTIE (Not originally issued, recorded 1969)
4. Autumn Lullaby - BRIDGET St. JOHN (from the August 1969 UK LP "Ask Me No Questions" on Dandelion 63750)
5. Ballad (Of The Big Girl Now And A Mere Boy) - PRINCIPAL EDWARDS MAGIC THEATRE (December 1969 UK 7" single on Dandelion Records 4405, A-side)
6. Windy - RUTHANN FRIEDMAN (Not originally issued, recorded 1968)
7. The Lonely - DESIGN (from the January 1971 USA LP "Design" on Epic Records E 30224)
8. Mirage - SHELAGH McDONALD (from the November 1970 UK LP "The Shelagh McDonald Album" on B&C Records CAS 1010)
9. Aderyn Llwyd (Sparrow) – MARY HOPKIN (June 1969 UK 7" single on Cambrian CSP 703, A-side. A Gallagher & Lyle song)
10. Love Song - VASHTI BUNYAN (May 1966 UK 7" single on Columbia DB 7917, B-side of "Train Song")
11. Sandman's Song - ANNE BRIGGS (from the November 1971 UK LP "The Time Has Come" on CBS Records S 64612)
12. When Will I Be Loved – THE BUNCH [featuring members of Fairport Convention and Fotheringay including Sandy Denny and Linda Peters who duet on vocals here] (April 1972 UK 7" single on island WIP 6130, A-side. An Everly Brothers cover)
13. The Lady And The Well – CAROLANNE PEGG (from the April 1974 UK LP "Carolanne" on Transatlantic TRA 266)
14. Think Of Rain – MARGO GURYAN (from the October 1968 US LP "Take A Picture" on Bell Records 6022)
15. Story Of Our Time/Beneath This Sky – ITHICA [featuring Peter Howell and John Ferninando] (from the 1973 privately-pressed LP “A Game For All We Know” on Merlin Records HF 6)
16. Murdoch – TREES [featuring Celia Humphries (nee Drummond) on Lead Vocals] (from the February 1971 UK LP “On The Shore” on CBS Records 64168)
17. Banquet On The Water – THE SALLYANGIE [featuring Sally & Mike Oldfield] (from the December 1968 UK LP "Children Of The Sun" on Transatlantic TRA 176)
18. Banquet On The Water – THE SALLYANGIE [featuring Sally & Mike Oldfield on Lead Vocals and Guitars] (from the December 1968 UK LP "Children Of The Sun" on Transatlantic TRA 176)
19. Pass The Night – EMILY MUFF [featuring Kathy Bushnell and Janet Dourit] (Previously Unreleased, recorded April 1972)
20. Morgan The Pirate – MIMI FARINA (from the December 1968 US LP "Memories" on Vanguard VSD 79263)

Compiled and Managed by reissue champs JOHN REED and DAVID WELLS - the 42-page booklet is a feast on both the eyes and the grey matter. Page after page of DAVID WELLS liner notes go deep into the artists and their backgrounds whilst rare 7" single picture sleeves, publicity photos, label repro's, acetates, demo copies, trade adverts all illuminate the text. It's a huge amount of effort and the details often amaze and amuse in equal measure. The mastering has been done by SIMON MURPHY over at Another Planet Music and naturally with so many disparate sources - the Audio varies like wildfire - gorgeous one moment to hissy-acceptable the next. But overall the quality is really good and with many of these ladies recorded by major labels - way better than that...

Disc 1 (Jackie DeShannon pictured) opens on a wee beauty - the slow and moving "Do You Believe" where Melanie Safka warbles out a passionate vocal that feels like a lost epic that shouldn't have gotten overlooked. "...In the shadow of God they sleep...blessed are the huddled hikers staring out at falling rain..." - Joan Baez writes of a confused generation in the double-album "Blessed Are..." - a song where parents are weeping for the young ones who've died in someone else's war far away. Perhaps dreaming of sexier things Dana Gillespie gives us the Simon & Garfunkel-cute "Foolish Seasons" - a very hooky melody where she wishes she could die in the ice cold of her winter heart. Getting older and thinking of all the things she's done - Judy Roderick comes on like a young Joni in "Someone To Talk My Troubles To" while the brilliant "Auntie Aviator" from John and Beverley Martyn only makes me want to absolutely anything on Island Records by the great man and his lovely wife. Yorkshire lass Judith 'Jude' Willey finally gets her demo of Joni Mitchell's "Morning Morgantown" an airing here with the Fickle Pickle acting as her backing band and Mandy More too - but I find both tracks generally weak to what went before.

Not so the soaring Laura Nyro song "Upstairs By A Chinese Lamp" that feels older and wiser than 1970. A rather lovely discovery comes in the form of "I Thought I Knew The Answers" by Susan Pillsbury – a 1973 track that features guitarist Jay Berliner and Bassist Richard Davis who’d famously played on Van the Man’s "Astral Weeks" in 1968. Pillsbury and her vocal style is similar to Tim Buckley (in a good way) and Wells is right to say that Jaki Whitren deserved chart success with the lovely and moving "Give Her The Day" (I used to see the 1973 Epic LP "Raw But Tender" in the racks of Cheapo Cheapo where you couldn’t give it away). Barbara Gaskin and her airy Lead Vocals gives the Acid-Folk of "An Everyday Consumption Song" a period whimsy no man could. The title track for the Box Set turns out to be a John Barry cover – the flipside of “Goldfnger” from way back in 1964 – another lightweight jangle. "Reverie For Roslyn" is a pretty Disc 1 finisher - but the best here for me is the Marianne Faithfull B-side to "Sister Morphine" called "Something Better" – just as brilliant and stinging as the A-side that would eventually become immortalised on "Sticky Fingers" in 1971 by The Stones.  Another discovery on a first disc full of them...

Disc 2 (Buffy Sainte-Marie pictured) opens with the familiar Mike Nesmith melody of "Different Drum" by The Stone Poneys - a band that of course featured future superstar Linda Ronstadt on Lead Vocals (as brilliant a single as ever came out of the late 60's). I can't say I'm enamoured with either the dreadful Simon Sisters or Eclection tracks - might have been better to use the beautiful "My Luv Is Like A Red, Red Rose" with a killer Carly vocal. But those are forgotten once you clap your ears on "Five Of Us" by Jade - or Silver Jade as they're sometimes known. Fronted by a superb vocalist in Marian Segal - the album-track feels like it's Mellow Candle "Swaddling Songs" good and worth every penny of its £200 Rare Record Price Guide valuation. I would have used "The Kiss" instead of "Jesus Was A Crossmaker" - but any Judee Sill is good news in my books. The Gay and Terry Woods Traditional cover of "January's Snows" bears a close resemblance to the melody of the gorgeous "She Moves Through The Fair" and even if it is a bit hissy and badly recorded - it's full of feel and is the kind of Folk-Rock find collectors get weak at the knees about.

Janis Ian shows her extraordinary writing chops in "Society's Child..." - a tune she penned at 14 about a mixed couple who get the authority's interracial tights in a tangle - it's baroque melodrama rhythms incredibly poignant and wise for a song cut in August 1965. Lily Fiszman and Maria Neumann get their (rather hissy) moment with "I Was" - a love song that trembles under the weight of its own search for tenderness. Unreleased or not Tomorrow Come Sunday is fey-Nico and probably better left in the can. Julie Covington successfully blends William Blake with guitar-led Folk Rock on the excellent "My Silks And Fine Array" (great audio too). Updated English Folk starts to show up a lot on Disc 2. "...Fell in the street in a drunken heap...I don’t nobody helping me..." moans Norma Waterson in the brill boozy ballad "Red Wine And Promises" – shameless and gut-hurting real like cheap red wine and the painful morning light. More misery follows as a poor maid falls fowl of the sly and violent "Mr. Fox" who cuts a girl only to have his comeuppance at the teeth of ravenous dogs (nice).

You forget how powerful Buffy Sainte-Marie's voice can be especially when she wraps that tremble around the worries and yearnings of women waiting for their sailor men to return unharmed and whole - long for one who is longing for me in "The Dream Tree". Dodgy substances surface in "Munching The Candy" where The Academy sings with a smile on their collective flower-painted faces. Uber rarities ahoy with Chuck & Mary Perrin and Hendrickson Road House - two US groups the first of which contained Sue Eakins and the second Chuck Perrin of The Shaggs. The HRH track is almost Jazz-Folk with great guitar work while "Mornings" is simple acoustic-guitar and voice folk with a superb lead from Mary Perrin - like The Mamas & Papas doing unplugged - undoubtedly a highlight on here. "Mr. Rubin" comes from Lesley Duncan's wonderful "Sing Children Sing" album from 1971 - a woman whose 'don't vote against love' voice and songwriting talent graced Elton's "Tumbleweed Connection" and Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon". Coupled with Sandy Denny's "Late November" - both highlight the sheer talent and emotional reach amongst the English ladies.

Disc 3 (Vashti Bunyan pictured) opens with an unreleased cut from Lisa Bankoff and Francesca Garnett fronting Chimera as 'children of the sun'. The shadows of Grace Slick's Jefferson Airplane and Sandy Denny's Fairport Convention fill the trippy Folk-Rock soundscape as the guitars and voices chime (Pink Floyd's Drummer Nick Mason was the band's manager). "Early Morning Blues And Greens" brings the musical vibe firmly into Laurel Canyon Americana as Diane Hildebrand awakes to freshly scented sycamores and cold bare feet on someone's hardwood floor (this song was featured on the "Forever Changing: Elektra Records..." 5CD Box Set in 2006). I've lovely and reviewed the Bridget St. John material - her Nico-like vocals beguiling again here. The fey hippy 'he walks like a child' track by Principal Edwards Magic Theatre will probably bring some out in a flute-induced rash - better is a trio of goodies from The Association/Jefferson Airplane associated Ruthann Friedman, the wistful acoustic harmony-vocal of Design in their Jimmy Webb-sounding "The Lonely" which has very clever brass jabs and 5th Dimension big choruses. But best is Shelagh McDonald whose "Mirage" track features of wad of cult luminaries - Keith Christmas and Andy Roberts on Guitars, Keith Tippett on Piano with Tristan Fry on Vibes. It even has Robert Kirby who did Nick Drake’s work as the Arranger. It's driving flick-guitar vs. vibes rhythm feels like Fairport crossed with a jazzy Pentangle. I can so hear why this 1970 debut and the "Star Gazer" from 1971 both attract the interest of so many collectors (they clock in at £200 each in 2017 if you can find copies).

The Mary Hopkin track which is a Welsh version of a Gallagher & Lyle song called "Sparrow" has to be one of the most bizarre covers I've ever heard and unfortunately isn't likely to be to anyone’s tastes. Darling of the thousand-pound-LP club Vashti Bunyan gets her moment too from 1966 with the B-side "Love Song" - a pretty ditty that was too lightweight at the time to get noticed. I'm kind of shocked at how good the Bonnie Dobson track is - "Winter's Going" cleverly mixing Sitar and Strings to create a very cool tie-dye hip shaker. Back in the realms of serious money - Anne Briggs' 1971 LP "The Time Has Come" on CBS Records has been escalating in value for years to a point where it now commands a £500 pricetag. But "Sandman's Song" is again a tad underwhelming. Not so the rather brill and strangely poignant cover of The Everly Brothers classic "When Will I Be Loved" by the UK Folk Supergroup 'The Bunch'. Featuring a mishmash of Fairport Convention, Fotheringay and Matthews Southern Comfort at its playing core – out by the mikes The Bunch had the gorgeous vocal-duetting of Sandy Denny and Linda Peters. I recall the Island Records single and album were poo-poo'd at the time by purists - but in hindsight the whole project and this cover in particular have turned out to be lambasted material that absolutely deserves a second go-round. Other winners include Celia Humphries fronting the much-revered Trees on "Murdoch" (the very definition of UK Folk Rock) and an amazingly pretty "Banquet On The Water" by a 15 and 18-year brother and sister team called Sally and Mike Oldfield as The Sallyangie (his playing was utterly extraordinary even then and you can so hear Tubular Bells brewing under the surface).

To sum up - at times "Milk Of The Tree..." is truly wonderful and will definitely get you in touch with the feminine side of your record collection. But at other times and despite all the right credentials being there - the song-selection on each disc just firmly refuses to fly – so for me it’s four stars instead of five.

But having said that there's more than enough here to be seriously impressed and genuinely look forward to Volume 2. Hats off to all involved and big-time praise to all the women and artists who opened the doors all those years ago...

Thursday, 22 June 2017

"I'm A Freak, Baby... A Journey Through The British Heavy Psych and Hard Rock Underground Scene 1968-1972" by VARIOUS (July 2016 Grapefruit 3CD Mini Clamshell Box Set of Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

This Review Along With 100s Of Others Is Available in my
SOUNDS GOOD E-Book on all Amazon sites
THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT 1970... - Exceptional CD Remasters  
Just Click Below To Purchase for £3.95
Thousands of E-Pages - All Details and In-Depth Reviews From Discs 

(No Cut and Paste Crap)

"...Hot Smoke And Sassafras..."
Trying to reach into every musically uncharted corner whilst still pleasing everybody and taking no prisoners on content while you do it - "I'm A Freak, Baby..." isn't going to please your Auntie Flo's Sunbury-On-Thames Bridge Class as background music. But over at Lemmy's house they'll be breaking out the beer-crates in celebration while a visiting Ozzy Osbourne polishes his upside-down cross with glee and lines up blood-drained headless bats for guest snacks.

Getting a 3CD compilation like this right is a tall order and truthfully a rare achievement (and musically it won't be for everyone for damn sure). But Cherry's Red's 'Grapefruit' label has been grabbing collectors by the small people for some time now and impressing with beautifully presented and collated retrospectives that touch on underground areas most major labels can’t be assed with (then or now).

Rocking and Heavy Psyching like a marauding beast - 2016's "I'm A Freak, Baby..." amply shows the reason why devotees to off-the-beaten-track music are whispering the 'Grapefruit' name in hushed tones. I've been a reviewer and Rock Music lover for more decades than I care to remember and even armed with a fairly deep level knowledge - there are bands and titles on here that I've never heard of nor seen in my 20-years as a Rarities Buyer for Reckless in London's Soho (a busy place I can assure you with a high turnover of what's genuinely rare). Unreleased recordings, acetate albums and tracks from privately pressed LPs and Singles of only 30 or 99 copies sit nestled amidst actual chart hitters like Deep Purple, The Move and Hawkwind. The whole mad lot is present and they're damn good too.

There's a ton of stuff to wade through here so once more my Imperial Leather friends unto the hairy-assed mushroom layers of Heavy Psych and Hard Rock. And pass the Vosene Extra Strength and neck-brace darling - we're going to need both. Going underground - here are the overhead details...

UK released 29 July 2016 (7 August 2016 in the USA) - "I'm A Freak, Baby... A Journey Through The British Heavy Psych and Hard Rock Underground Scene 1968-1972" by VARIOUS ARTISTS on Cherry Red/Grapefruit CRSEGBOX032 (Barcode 5013929183209) is a 3-CD 48-Track Mini Clamshell Box Set of Remasters that plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (78:24 minutes):
1. All In Your Mind - STRAY (from the June 1970 UK debut LP "Stray" on Transatlantic TRA 216)
2. Cast A Spell - THE OPEN MIND (August 1969 UK 7" single on Philips BF 1805, B-side of "Magic Potion")
3. Hot Smoke And Sassafras - THE MOOCHE (May 1969 UK 7" single on Pye 7N 17735, A-side. A Bubble Puppy cover version)
4. My Son's Alive - CRUSHED BUTLER (1970 recording not originally issued - Jesse Hector and Alan Butler later formed The Hammersmith Gorillas)
5. Going Down - CHICKEN SHACK (from the February 1972 UK LP "Imagination Lady" on Deram SDL 5)
6. Father Of Time - CYCLE (from the October 1971 UK LP "Cycle" on SRT Records 71143, private pressing, 99 copies only)
7. I'm Coming Home - THE DEVIANTS (from the June 1968 UK LP "Ptooff!" on Underground Impresarios IMP 1)
8. Do It - THE PINK FAIRIES [feat Twink] (January 1971 UK 7" single on Polydor 2058 089, B-side of "The Snake")
9. Time Machine - FACTORY (February 1971 UK 7" single on oak RGJ 718, A-side, 99 copies only. Featured Andy Qunta later of Icehouse)
10. Cherry Red - GROUNDHOGS (from the March 1971 UK LP "Split" on Liberty Records LBS 83401)
11. I'm A Freak - WICKED LADY (early 1972 recording not originally issued - featuring Martin Wearer of Dark)
12. Rock My Soul - CHARGE (from the January 1973 UK LP "Charge" on SRT Productions 73275)
13. Sweet Mistress Of Pain [aka "Kiss Of The Velvet Whip"] - HAWKWIND ZOO [Hawkwind] (late 1969 recording at Abbey Road not originally issued)
14. Nightmare - STONEHOUSE (from the November 1971 UK LP "Stonehouse Creek" on RCA SF 8197. Featured Jim Smith and Ian Snow later with Asgaerd on The Moody Blues label Threshold Records) 
15. Falling - THE IRON MAIDEN [not the British heavy metal band] (November 1971 UK 7" single on Gemini GMS 006, A-side)
16. Apocalypse - BARNABUS (recorded November 1971, previously unissued)

Disc 2 (79:58 minutes):
1. Bogeyman - WRITING ON THE WALL (from the November 1969 UK LP "The Power Of The Picts" on Middle Earth MDLS 303)
2. Fireball - DEEP PURPLE (from the August 1971 UK LP "Fireball" on Harvest SHVL 793)
3. Primitive Man - JERUSALEM (from the March 1972 UK LP "Jerusalem" on Deram SDL 6. Produced by Ian Gillan of Deep Purple)
4. Love In The Rain - EDGAR BROUGHTON BAND (from their July 1969 UK debut LP "Wasa Wasa" on Harvest SHVL 757)
5. Trust - HELMUT (Previously Unreleased 1970 recording. Featured Terry Aitken later with Prog Rock group 'Elegy')
6.  Rhubarb - SECOND HAND (from the March 1969 UK LP "Reality" on Polydor 583 045)
7. Dream - LITTLE FREE ROCK (from the December 1969 UK debut LP "Little Free Rock" on Transatlantic TRA 208)
8. Skullcrusher - IRON CLAW (Not originally issued, recorded 5 December 1970)
9. Zero Time - DARK (from the July 1972 UK LP "Dark Round The Edges" on SIS Studios 0102, 30 copies only plus 2 test pressings)
10. Jehovah - THE VELVET FROGS (not originally issued, recorded late 1969 - featured Dennis Muchmore and John Carrod later with The Method)
11. Brontosaurus - THE MOVE (March 1970 UK 7" single on Regal Zonophone RZ 3026, A-side)
12. STACK WADDY - Bring It To Jerome (from the February 1971 debut album "Stack Waddy" on Dandelion Records DAN 8003. A Bo Diddley cover)
13. Mr. Make Believe - SAMUEL PRODY (from the 1971 German LP "Samuel Prody" on Global 6306 906. Features Tony Savva later with Rusty Butler. Produced by Roy Thomas Baker of Queen fame)
14. Flash - BARE SOLE (Not originally issued, recorded 1969)
15. Street Walking Woman - THE PHOENIX (Previously unissued, recorded 1969)
16. Go, I'm Never Gonna Let You - SKID ROW (from their July 1971 2nd and last album "34 Hours" on CBS Records S 64411. Featured Brush Shiels, Noel Bridgeman and a young Gary Moore on Guitar)

Disc 3 (74:57 minutes):
1. Race With The Devil - THE GUN (October 1968 UK 7" single on CBS Records 3764, A-side. Featured Adrian and Paul Gurvitz later with The Baker-Gurvitz Army)
2. Heart Without A Home - BLONDE ON BLONDE (from the November 1970 UK LP "Rebirth" on Ember Records NR 5049)
3. Ascension Day - THIRD WORLD WAR (from the February 1971 debut LP "Third World War" on Fly Records HIFLY 4. Featured Jim Avery of Thunderclap Newman and Terry Stamp)
4. Street - EGOR (from the 1971 Various Artists showcase LP for new bands "Oddsocks" on Splat DBR 4286)
5. Escalator - SAM GOPAL (from the January 1969 UK LP "Escalator" on Stable Records SLE 8001. Featured Lemmy of Motorhead and Viv Prince of The Pretty Things)
6. Gypsy - URIAH HEEP (from the June 1970 UK debut LP "Very 'Eavy... Very 'Umble" on Vertigo 6360 006)
7. Garden Of My Mind - THE MICKEY FINN (December 1967 UK 7" single on Direction 58-3086, A-side. Mickey Waller and Danny Peyronel would later form Heavy Metal Kids with Gary Holton)
8. Think About It - THE YARDBIRDS (March 1968 USA 7" single on Epic 5-10303, B-side of "Goodnight Sweet Josephine". Features Jimmy Page on Lead Guitar)
9.  Trying To Find My Way Back Home - MORNNG AFTER (from the January 1971 UK LP "Blue Blood" on Sky Records 71014. Features Norman Hume [aka Norman Beaker] later with Aynsley Dunbar's Retaliation)
10. Yellow Cave Woman - VELVETT FOGG (from the January 1969 UK LP "Velvett Fogg" on Pye Records NSPL 18272)
11. Too Old - ANDROMEDA (from the September 1969 UK LP "Andromeda" on RCA SF 8031. Features John Du Cann and Mick Hawksworth of The Attack)
12. The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown) - FLEETWOOD MAC (May 1970 UK 7" single on Reprise RS 27007, A-side)
13. Twisted Trip Woman - SWEET SLAG (from the February 1971 UK LP "Tracking With Close-Ups" on President PTLS 1042)
14. Occult - THE KULT (Previously unissued recording, recorded circa May 1969)
15. Born On The Wrong Side Of Time - THE TASTE (March 1969 UK 7" single on Polydor 56313, A-side)
The Irish Rock band famously featured Rory Gallagher on Lead Guitar and Vocals. Originally the B-side of "Blister On The Moon" - "Born..." was initially entitled "Born On The Wrong Side Of Town" and came with a different mix on Major Minor Records MM 560 in April 1968. The song was retitled and re-recorded for the April 1969 debut "Taste" LP on Polydor 583 042.
16. Hollis Brown - FUSION FARM (from the December 1971 UK LP "Rush Job" on SRT 71169. A cover of Bob Dylan's "Ballad Of Hollis Brown". Shortened their name to Farm and signed to Spark Records for one 45 in February 1974 - "Fat Judy").

Compiled and Annotated by DAVID WELLS with JOHN REED as Project Manager - these are names well known to fans and collectors alike. I know John Reed personally from my days with Reckless and his days suffering for the Record Collector magazine where he literally compiled those first Rare Records Price Guides. His knowledge of British Music is frankly frightening and especially the Avant Garde and Underground scenes and along with the hugely experienced David Wells who does the superlative liner notes - it goes a long way to explaining why this compilation is so good.

ANDY MORTEN at Pepperbox did the gorgeously laid-out design with the 35-page booklet being a feast for the eyes and brains. You get page after page of photos for each act (some of these are so obscure), singles and album sleeves pictured – key players acknowledged and so on. In-between the text are posters, flyers, gig cards, buttons and other tasty memorabilia. Each CD card sleeve has a different festival photo where some unwashed inebriated reprobate is wigging out to another three-day long guitar solo - Weeley Festival, August 1971 for Disc 1 - Glastonbury Festival, June 1971 for Disc 2 and The Isle Of Wight Festival, August 1970 on Disc 3...

SIMON MURPHY over at Another Planet Music has done the Mastering and considering the disparate sources - the Audio is fantastic - suitably grungy, hard rocking and even Punk when it needs to be. And the set is dedicated with warmth to two sad losses in 2015 - Ian 'Lemmy' Kilmister and John Whittington. To the music...

Accounts are opened with "All In Your Mind" from Stray - a fantastic nine-minute amalgamation of both box set subtitles - Heavy Psych and Hard Rock. The lads from Shepherd Bush were mere teenagers when they recorded it and you can so hear their Small Faces/Humble Pie fixation in that driving Steve Marriott riffage. England's uber metal merchants IRON MAIDEN would pay Stray and Del Bromham's song the ultimate accolade by recording it as a cover nearly two decades later - landing on the B-side of The Maid's "Holy Smoke" in 1990. We trip back a couple of years to 69's "Cast A Spell" - a proper kick-ass Rocker with The Open Mind more than justifying its £600 (2018) Record Collector Rare Record price tag. Another corking B-side then hits you - The Mooche covering a Bubble Puppy song delightfully called "Hot Smoke And Sassafras". The deeply Atomic Rooster grind of "My Son's Alive" from Crushed Butler feels more early Punk than its 1970 recording date indicates. Forsaking his Blues-Rock and R&B sound for four albums on England's Blue Horizon Records - Stan Webb's Chicken Shack was a power-trio by 1972 and their powerful cover of Don Nix's "Going Down" sledgehammers home this new direction. A huge meaty guitar piles down on the riff as John Glascock (of Toe Fat) and Paul Hancox (of The Mindbenders) try to keep up on Bass and Drums. The batty and very Velvet Underground "I'm Coming Home" from The Deviants features Mick Farren shouting about walking up your stairs until I reach your landing - but that's not before the band go into a proper full-on fuzz-guitar melt down that would make The Stooges terminally envious. Standing naked with newspapers covering their crown jewels - the four members of The Pink Fairies are clearly proud of the very Rock 'n' Roll "Do It" - a spunky rocker Twink would resurrect on Chiswick Records in the Punk explosion of 1977 and 1978. Although I've never been enamoured with the Hawkwind track - other highlights on Disc 1 include the almost Canned Heat boogie of The Groundhog's "Cherry Red" with Tony McPhee letting rip on that guitar - Plymouth's Stonehouse rocking like MC5 on the overlooked album track "Nightmare" on RCA in 1971 - and the impossibly rare Barnabus track where there's said to be only four copies of their double-album "Beginning To Unwind" in existence.

Disc 2 opens with a knees-up Mother Brown moment as an accordion and a deranged man whoop-start "Bogeyman" by Writing On The Wall - only to be quickly replaced with an 'armies of the night' doomer driving rhythm that is surprisingly Funky in its own way. I can remember when this 1969 Middle Earth Records LP used to shift for a ton - nowadays you're looking at £400+. CD number two also introduces familiar British band names and their chart-busting rockers - Deep Purple's utterly brilliant "Fireball" lets Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord do their thing on Guitar and Organ (that intro sound is apparently an air-conditioner and no one seems to know why) while ex Idle Race man Jeff Lynne injects new vitality into The Move on their chunky little raver "Brontosaurus". Primitive and at times hard-to-take Heavy Rock comes in the shape of Deram's Jerusalem and Harvest's Edgar Broughton Band but I suspect most will be shocked at the Heavy-cool of "Trust" - a previously unreleased dinosaur of its own by the sexily-named Hellmut (though rough-sounding it's a find ala Sabbath). Speaking of the Sabbs - their doomy influence is everywhere - from the frankly loony power-rocker "Rhubarb!" by Second Hand to the 'their name liveth' Iron Claw who apparently incorporated the entirety of Black Sabbath's debut into their live act. Peter Illingworth of Lancashire's Little Free Rock rocks out on his axe for the rather excellent "Dream" while Mancunians Stack Waddy dream of Bo Diddley on their Rock-R&B cover of "Bring It To Jerome" (great drum sound). And that's the already extraordinary playing of a 19-year old Gary Moore on Skid Row's groovy and vital "Go, I'm Never Gonna Let You Go" from their second and last album for CBS - "34 Hours" - titled after the amount of time it took to record the album. 

Adrian and Paul Gurvitz of Gun were dreaming no doubt of Ginger Baker and laughing gas when they penned the galloping "Race With The Devil" - though it's not a tune I've ever really liked if I'm honest. Disc 3 continues in suitably madcap fashion with the very cool sitar-rock feel to "Heart Without A Home" from Blonde On Blonde - named as you've no doubt guessed after Dylan's monumental 1966 double-album. The incendiary guitar solo at its core is the stuff that Heavy Rock fans dream of and it comes roaring out of your speakers with huge production values too. I don't know if I'd have chosen "Ascension Day" by Third World War - but I reviewed this brilliant and largely forgotten pre-Punk album put out by Esoteric Recordings not so long ago on a typically great CD reissue. Featuring a clearly socially aware and very angry Terry Stamp - I would have gone for the "M.I. 5" track instead - but whichever you song you chose - this 1971 Third World War LP on Fly Records defies its age, label and date. Instead of John Kongos or T. Rex it feels like a 1976 and 1977 album - a full six years before Punk exploded across the UK.

But even that is trampled on by the wonderfully named 'Egor' whose "Street" will have Heavy Rock fans reaching for the superlatives right soon. Apparently a resident band at The Plough and Harrow Pub in Leytonstone back in the day - Egor recorded a showcase LP for new bands album called "Oddsocks" and the astonishing "Street" was their lone contribution. It opens with a World War II air raid siren (I kid you not) and then launches into the most savage riffage you've ever heard - like the band had been mainlined "Fun House" by The Stooges for 12-months straight and amidst a whiskey-fuelled mayhem session added a Harmonica as well. Wow is the only appropriate response! I love The Mickey Finn and I can completely understand why their singles render collectors weak at their very knobbly knees. "Garden In My Mind" is a fantastic rocker that feels way ahead of its December 1967 release date and the band contained Mickey Waller on Guitar and Danny Peyronel on Keyboards who along with another hero of mine Gary Holton would form The Heavy Metal Kids in the Seventies (auf weidersehen pet).

For sure you will 'need' to be seriously into Heavy Psych and Hard Rock to get the toppermost of the poppermost out of "I'm A Freak, Baby..."

But if you are – you may need to postpone that trip to Elveden Forest Center Parc with a Physiotherapy Nurse from E17's Whipps Cross and order in a double-strength neck-brace from Amazon. Because after three discs of this mighty sucker – you’re gonna need both...

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

"Move Into The Light: The Complete Island Recordings 1969-1971" by QUINTESSENCE (April 2017 Esoteric Recordings 2CD Anthology - Paschal Byrne Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

This Review Along With 100s Of Others Is Available in my
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THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT 1970... - Exceptional CD Remasters  
Just Click Below To Purchase for £3.95
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Featuring the album "Quintessence" from 1970

"...Letters To Infinity..."

Time wounds all heals. Time will tell. It's time to stop talking about time.

In the late 60ts and early 70ts – in tandem with free festivals, coloured bread and promiscuous sex - Notting Hill Gate’s Quintessence were at the forefront of the Indian Eastern Mysticism craze that was sweeping the UK and everywhere else for that matter. Suddenly we were all idealistic hippies - obsessing over joss sticks, fat scented candles, tie-dye shirts, bellbottom pants, beads, bangles, peace-symbols and travels to Goa with a stick of gum in your jeans, a begging bowl in your hand, a flower in your hair and a seriously dopey smile on your face (shoes and bras optional).

I suppose it is way too easy to slag off those doe-eyed days of mushroom madness (I was a fan myself and have the embarrassing tassel-shirt photos to prove it) - but in the blunt and brutal light of 2017 - musically not everything that emerged from marijuana clouds in Notting Hill Gate has weathered the decades that well. Having said that and despite as I say the absolutely dated nature of some of these recordings – if you crave lavish artwork, counter-culture ideas, meandering Sitars and Tablas and Tamboura notes all mixed up into a flute-driven ganga-soaked Shiva-Rock – then there is much to love and cherish on offer here. Hell there’s even a bit of Hawkwind drone madness in the guitar passages of album number two...

On top of that this surely has to be the most sumptuous and best-sounding 2CD anthology of the Quintessence legacy to date - brought to us with Hindu Love Oneness by those blissed-out but talented folks over at Cherry Red's Esoteric Recordings (stop smoking those chubby roll-your-owns boys). Time to sort out your Raja Rams from your Hare Hares. Here are the Swami details...

UK released 28 April 2017 (5 May 2017 in the USA) - "Move Into The Light: The Complete Island Recordings 1969-1971" by QUINTESSENCE on Esoteric Recordings ECLEC 22584 (Barcode 5013929468443) is a 2CD anthology of Remasters that plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (65:49 minutes):
1. Giants [Side 1]
2. Manco Capac
3. Body
4. Gange Mai
5. Chant  [Side 2]
6. Pearl And Bird
7. Notting Hill Gate
8. Midnight Mode
Tracks 1 to 8 are their debut album "In Blissful Company" - released November 1969 in the UK on Island ILPS 9110 Q (No US release). Produced by JOHN BARHAM - it didn't chart. The UK album was released in a gatefold 12-page-booklet sleeve (said to have been one of the most expensive made at the time) - all of which is reproduced in the CD booklet.

9. Move Into The Light
10. Notting Hill Gate
Tracks 10 and 9 are the non-album A&B-sides of a UK 7" single released October 1969 on Island WIP 6075

11. Jesus, Buddah, Moses, Guaranga
12. Sea Of Immortality
13. High On Mt. Kailash (Excerpt from Opera)
14. Burning Bush (Live)
15. Shiva's Chant
Tracks 11 to 15 are Side 1 of their second studio album "Quintessence" - released June 1970 in the UK on Island Records ILPS 9128 (no US Release). Produced by JOHN BARHAM - it peaked at No. 22 on the UK LP charts.

Disc 2 (69:23 minutes):
1. Prisms
2. Twilight Zones
3. Maha Mantra
4. Only Love
5. St. Pancras (Live)
6. Infinitum
Tracks 1 to 6 are Side 2 of their second studio album "Quintessence" - released June 1970 in the UK on Island Records ILPS 9128 (no US Release). Produced by JOHN BARHAM - it peaked at No. 22 on the UK LP charts.

7. Jesus, Buddah, Moses, Guaranga (Live)
Track 7 exclusive to the UK Island Records label sampler double-album "Bumpers" - released October 1970 on Island IDP 1.

8. Dive Deep [Side 1]
9. Dance For The One
10. Brahman
11. The Seer [Side 2]
12. Epitaph For Tomorrow
13. Sri Ram Chant
Tracks 8 to 13 are their 3rd studio album "Dive Deep" - released March 1971 in the UK on Island Records ILPS 9143. Produced by QUINTESSENCE except for "Brahman" by JOHN BARHAM - it peaked at No. 34.

The 24-page booklet is a feast for the eyes. Fans will know that as much as their sound - the sheer visual opulence of the Quintessence albums on Island were enough to get you interested. Esoteric have smartly repro'd the 12-page booklet of black and white photos that centred the inner gatefold sleeve of "In Blissful Company" - said at the time to be the most expensive sleeve ever made - certainly at the independent Island Records. The colour gatefold inner of "Quintessence" is here (candles, mirrors and long white gowns ahoy) as are superb new liner notes from noted writer MALCOLM DOME that include interviews with the key players - Shiva Shankar (Australian vocalist and flutist Phil Jones) and Maha Dev (Dave Codling on Guitar) with reminiscences from Jeremy 'Jake' Milton - formerly the drummer with Junior's Eyes.

But the big news is new 2017 Remasters from original tapes by PASCHAL BYRNE - a name that's been on a huge number of quality reissues - East Of Eden, Fairport Convention, Gordon Giltrap, John Kongos, Man, John Martyn, John Mayall, Mike Oldfield, Spooky Tooth, Taste, T. Rex and many more. There is huge presence on those live guitar-tracks like "Burning Bush" on the second LP and power on those droning sitar songs like "Midnight Mode" on the debut. The soft and quieter passages on the near eleven-minute "Dance For The One" from the third album are beautifully clear too. A nice job done overall...

Things don't have the most promising of starts with "Giants" - Shiva's voice as deadpan as it can get. But things improve with "Manco Capac" - a Bass and Flute opening clear as a bell as the singer goes on about spaces and spirits. The pace steps up into really interesting on "Body" - a trippy floating song that trashes about with guitars and flutes - shadows of "Nursery Cryme" Genesis in those strums. But I must admit my heart lies in Side 2's "Notting Hill Gate" - a catchy little sucker and a dead-ringer for a single (it turned up on the "Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal" 3CD Box Set from 2005 covering Island Records more eclectic years) - and the fabulous nine minutes of "Midnight Mode" where halfway through the song – it just goes into four minutes of Sitar-droning - the most brill trippy sound that you’ve ever heard - filling your living room like a Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab recording of a Buddhist monastery at lunchtime.

The songwriting seem to take a leap forward with the excellent "Quintessence" album of June 1970 - their first platter to chart in Blighty. "Sea Of Immortality" sounds huge but even better is the crickets/chant song that is "High On Mt. Kailash (Excerpt from Opera) - a swirling drone of Sitars and echoed voices singing in Indian - all of it sounding sexily mystical. The short but pretty "Shiva's Chant" is another winner - itself quickly followed by the echoed flutes of "Prisms" - a stunner for all those sampler fiends out there. "Twilight Zones" speaks of echoes and reflections in the cosmos while "Maha Mantra" is exactly what it sounds like – a live recorded of ‘Hare Hare Krishna’ chanting by devotees banging their Tablas and shaking their bells as they shuffle past the suits going into Oxford Street’s HMV to buy Britney Spears. Another highlight is the almost Gong guitars of "St. Pancras" recorded at the same March 1970 gig that gave up the live version of "Jesus, Buddah, Moses, Guaranga" on the "Bumpers" double-album label sampler. "Infinitum" ends the LP on layered voices giving it some serious '2001: A Space Odyssey' outtakes.

After the head-first dip into Eastern sounds on "Quintessence" - the acoustic "Dive Deep" takes you by surprise - a love so sweet - it will make us all high. Way better is what I think is their masterpiece - the complicated, layered and beautiful in parts "Dance For The One" - a song that captures all the best parts of the band. And the Remaster rocks. "Brahman" offers more audio delight - guitars strumming as the singer informs us of fathomless fountains and worlds within our reach. "Epitaph For Tomorrow" opens well but soon descends into eight-minutes of hippy-enlightenment that feels more Association pop than Quintessence insights. The eight minutes of "Sri Ram Chant" is fantastic - great sound - rich soundscapes - that unique swirl they got as the Vena and Tabla combined with voices singing Indian chants - calls for Universal love.

For sure Quintessence will not be for everyone and there are those who will snigger and poo-poo both them and the times they reflected. But as I said before - there is so much to love here and Esoteric Recordings are to be praised for having the Third Eye balls to put it out there - and in such style too.

Move into the light. I think I’ll move into my man cave with my good buddy - Shiva-Rock...

Sunday, 11 June 2017

"Rock Festival/Ride The Wind/Good And Dusty" by THE YOUNGBLOODS from 1970 and 1971 (April 2017 Beat Goes On Reissue - 3LPs Remastered onto 2CDs) - A Review by Mark Barry...

This Review Along With 100s Of Others Is Available in my
SOUNDS GOOD E-Book on all Amazon sites
THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT 1970... - Exceptional CD Remasters  
Just Click Below To Purchase for £3.95
Thousands of E-Pages - All Details and In-Depth Reviews From Discs 
(No Cut and Paste Crap)

Featuring the album "Rock Festivals" from 1970

"...Come On People...Let Your Light Shine..." 

Despite releasing seven quality albums between 1967 and 1972 on two huge record labels - RCA Victor and Warner Brothers - New York's 'The Youngbloods' and their principal songwriter Jesse Colin Young never really meant diddlysquat in the UK (where I live). The live albums "Rock Festival" and "Ride The Wind" were both given limited British releases in 1970 and 1971 on those tasty-looking WB Tan labels with the Raccoon Records logo up in the corner – but they elicited no real interest amongst the Blighty buying public - thereby leaving the third studio album disc offered to us here ("Good And Dusty" from late 1971) as a US-only release on original vinyl...

But this rather fabulous and timely reissue by England's Beat Goes On Records seems determined to correct the error of our frankly callous and musically myopic ways. What you get here are the first three of four albums they did with Warner Brothers/Raccoon Records – that trio issued in 1970 and two from 1971. The first and second platters are live sets as already mentioned (the third is studio) with the 2nd LP "Ride The Wind" actually recorded late November 1969 in New York but not released until July 1971.

The opening duo showcase the band in very different styles of play – bopping and ready to boogie like the audience shown on the rear sleeve of "Rock Festival" - while the second is stripped back and more Richie Havens Rock-Soulful Folk-Soul than standard Rock. And stylistically different or not (anyone looking for the 1969 pop hit "Get Together" should look elsewhere) - given the crude technology of the time - both records were expertly recorded even though they are largely live. Their final and fourth album "High On A Ridge Top" on Warner Brothers BS 2653/Raccoon No. 15 from December 1972 is unfortunately outside the remit of this release.

Beautifully remastered onto 2CDs and amped up with a classy card slipcase and expanded booklet - here are the rocky raccoons...

UK and USA released 14 April 2017 - "Rock Festival/Ride The Wind/Good And Dusty" by THE YOUNGBLOODS on Beat Goes On BGOCD 1284 (Barcode 5017261212849) offers 3LPs from 1970 and 1971 Remastered onto 2CDs and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (57:57 minutes): 
1. It's A Lovely Day [Side 1]
2. Faster All The Time
3. Prelude
4. On Beautiful Lake Spenard
5. Josiane
6. Sea Cow Boogie [Side 2]
7. Fiddler A Dram
8. Misty Roses
9. Interlude
10. Peepin' 'N' Hidin' (Baby What You Want Me To Do)
11. Ice Bag
Tracks 1 to 11 are their fourth album "Rock Festival" – recorded live between March and July 1970 - it was released October 1970 in the USA and December 1970 in the UK - both on Warner Brothers WS 1878/Raccoon No. 1. Produced by BOB MATTHEWS (Engineered by Betty Cantor of Grateful Dead fame) - it peaked at No. 80 in the USA (didn't chart UK).

12. Ride The Wind [Side 1]
13. Sugar Babe
14. Sunlight
Tracks 12 to 14 are Side 1 of their fifth album "Ride The Wind" - released July 1971 (recorded live November 1969) in the USA on Warner Brothers BS 2563/Raccoon No. 4 and December 1971 in the UK on Warner Brothers K 46100. Produced by CHARLIE DANIELS - it peaked at No. 157 in the USA (didn't chart UK).

Disc 2 (63:24 minutes):
1. The Dolphin [Side 2]
2. Get Together
3. Beautiful
Tracks 1 to 3 are Side 2 of their fifth album "Ride The Wind" - released July 1971 (recorded live November 1969) in the USA on Warner Brothers BS 2563/Racoon No. 4 and December 1971 in the UK on Warner Brothers K 46100. Produced by CHARLIE DANIELS - it peaked at No. 157 in the USA (didn't chart UK).

4. Stagger Lee [Side 1]
5. That's How Strong My Love Is
6. Willie And The Hand Jive
7. Circus Face
8. Hippie From Olema No. 5
9. Good And Dusty
10. Let The Good Times Roll
11. Drifting And Drifting [Side 2]
12. Pontiac Blues
13. Moonshine In The Sunshine
14. Will The Circle Be Unbroken
15. I'm A Hog For You Baby
16. Light Shine
Tracks 4 to 16 are their sixth (fifth studio) album "Good And Dusty" - released December 1971 in the USA on Warner Brothers BS 2566/Raccoon No. 9. No producer listed - it peaked at No. 160 in the USA (no UK release).

THE YOUNGBLOODS on all three albums were:
JESSIE COLIN YOUNG - Lead Vocals, Guitars, Bass and Kazoo
LOWELL 'Banana' LEVINGER - Guitars and Piano

EARTHQUAKE ANDERSON - Harmonica (only on "Good And Dusty")
MICHAEL KANE - Bass, French Horn, Vocals, Cornet (only on "Good And Dusty")

The card-slipcase adds a classy feel to the release (standard these last few years with BGO reissues) and the 12-page booklet features original album credits and a new appraisal of their legacy by noted Music Historian JOHN O'REGAN. He discusses their '67 to '72 recordings - post 80's and 90's reunions and Jessie Colin Young's subsequent solo career in Country Music - there's even the lyrics to the brilliant "Ride The Wind" live set and some black and white photos of the three and four-piece line-ups looking young, cheerful and waving enthusiastically at their adoring audience.

But the really big news here is superlative new Audio Transfers from licensed WEA tapes by BGO's resident Engineer ANDREW THOMPSON. I'm always wary of live sets especially from the Sixties and early Seventies where sound was problematical to say the least. Yet both of these sets and especially the Charlie Daniels Produced "Ride The Wind" LP have a clarity that defies their age big time. The studio album "Good And Dusty" is superb too and on tracks like the beautiful "Light Shine" (a return to the glory of the "Get Together" melody) – it’s spectacular. Let's get to the music...

Although "Rock Festival" is supposedly a 'live' LP of new material recorded at various venues like 'The Family Dog' in San Francisco and 'Barn' in Santa Clara - it's clear to me that the lead-off song "It's A Lovely Day" is a studio cut provided by Jessie Colin Young. Warner Brothers tried its pretty melody as a 45 in May 1971 with the LP finisher "Ice Bag" on the flipside - but Warner Brothers 7499/Raccoon S 4 didn't trouble too many charts (its UK equivalent on Warner Brothers K 16098 fared the same). While "Faster All The Time" is a good Levinger bopper - the one-minute "Prelude" and the near six-minutes of the keyboard instrumental "On Beautiful Lake Spenade" both feel like ambling wastes of time. Things improve with Colin Young's "Josiane" – another warm melody that I can’t help but feel should have been a studio cut. "Sea Cow Boogie" turns out to be 20-seconds of Bass-playing nonsense leading into a leery version of the Traditional boozing shanty "Fiddler A Dram". Saving the day comes a warmly recorded cover of Tim Hardin's "Misty Roses" - sung by Colin Young - it's a tiny bit hissy but incredibly intimate and touching in a way that none of the prior tracks do (first decent crown response too). Banjos ahoy for Banana’s "Interlude" – a two-minute instrumental that actually works. As if arriving from another album or a boisterous Chicken Shack gig over in London – they then offer us a Harmonica-warbling cover of Jimmy Reed’s "Peepin..." – great fun but wildly out of place with the rest of the record. We then go discordant Trout Mask Replica Captain Beefheart with two minutes of strained nonsense called "Ice Bag".

After the ragbag that is "Rock Festival" – the six long workouts of "Ride the Wind" come as a welcome relief. As I’ve already said – the second live record is more Rock-Soulful than standard Rock. Young singing, Banana hitting the keys, Bass solos that Funk with the drums – it feels like Richie Havens scatting in front of an appreciative crowd with a hip band of likeminded musicians backing him up. They deconstruct their own songs and offer them up in Funky new incarnations - the Fred Neil masterpiece "Dolphins" gets a moody work over too as does their sunshine slice of Sixties gloriana "Get Together". In my mind the album is the very definition of lost classic - and that Charlie Daniels Production is incredible - each keyboard note and cymbal tap leaping out of your speakers with clarity that defies its age. And Young's singing enters another place - Soulful as well as melodious. Hell - there are times when the finisher "Beautiful" feels like Phil Upchurch live on funky guitar with Al Kooper singing out front - Young urging the people to feel beautiful and reach out (yeah baby). 

Excepting four originals - "Hippie From Olema No. 5" by Lowell 'Banana' Levinger (it's actually a close re-write of Merle Haggard's "Okie From Muskogee"), "Good And Dusty" by all four members of the band and two Jessie Collin Young entries in "Drifting And Drifting" and the lovely single "Light Shine" - the other nine tracks on the "Good And Dusty" studio album are all cover versions. Most are old Blues & R&B Classics - Lloyd Price's rabble-rouser "Stagger Lee" - the gorgeous pleading Soul of Roosevelt Jamison's "That's How Strong My Love Is" made famous by O.V. Wright and Otis Redding (a genuine highlight on here) - the Coasters Leiber & Stoller winner "I'm A Hog For You Baby" - Sonny Boy Williamson's Chess brawler "Pontiac Blues" - Leonard Lee's "Let The Good Times Roll" made famous by Louis Jordan - the spiritual "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" in shimmering Staple Singers style - all rounded off with a sneaky take on the saucy "Willie And The Hand Jive" made infamous by Johnny Otis.

On top of all that is "Moonshine Is The Sunshine" - a Jeffery Cain song that initially turned up on his debut LP "For You" in 1970 on Warner Brothers WS 1880. All three of The Youngbloods had played on that album - only the second LP on the Raccoon Label imprint - and they repaid him by covering his song here. The other goodun on here is Carol Miller's lovely ballad "Circus Face" - Banana playing that Mandola so sweetly (I'm amazed this hasn't been covered more). The album's best moment comes last with Colin Young's lovely "Light Shine". Warner Brothers tried it as a 45 in March 1972 with the equally Soulful "Will The Circle Ever Be Broken" on the flipside - but despite the French horns, sweet guitar picking melody and the overall strength of both sides - Warner Brothers WB 7563 did no business.

As "Light Shine" plays out this gorgeous-sounding twofer - you're left with an abiding impression that even though some of the material isn't blazing and brilliant like the sun (that first album isn’t great) - there's an awful lot of genuine musical sunshine on these three albums that we clearly missed out on. More importantly The Youngbloods and their Warner Brothers output warrants a return to in 2017.

Well done to BGO for getting this wee lysergic Rock-Soulful nugget out there. "Good And Dusty" indeed...