Archive for May, 2008

Terry Reid (self-titled)

It’s amazing how such a perfect stroke of rock n-roll can hide in the shadows. Terry Reid’s albums are an instantly likable mix of blues, rock, and blue-eyed soul. Excellent juke box fodder, you could drop a quarter on a random song from his catalog and feel confident in any bar around. Maybe classic rock radio would give the boy a spin if he hadn’t turned down that lead-singer gig for Led Zeppelin.

I guess it’s lucky for us that Terry recommended Robert Plant for the job (he was busy opening for the Stones). Needless to say, the kid can belt. One of the great unsung voices of rock, in fact. The leadoff track on this record is an aptly titled Donovan cover, Superlungs My Supergirl. Most of the rest are fine originals, shining on the toned down folk numbers, May Fly case in point.

Another case of classic management problems, Terry would remain under the radar, unhelped by Mickie Most’s contractual obligations. Reid’s music gathered some renewed interest thanks to Rob Zombie, particularly via his ultra-horrifying film, The Devil’s Rejects, soundtracked with a bunch of classic Terry Reid joints. I can firmly agree you won’t be disappointed with any Terry Reid purchase ventured, even the confusing mix of his early albums on Astralwerks, Superlungs.

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“Superlungs My Supergirl”

I’m posting Terry’s 2nd, self-titled album above for its lovely 1969 grit, but his other albums, notably River and Seed of Memory, are every bit as essential. They take a more manicured 1970s approach, adding bass groovers and horns, with Seed of Memory approaching superfunk on side two, but damn if they won’t get ya. Here’s two from a personal favorite, River:

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“Dean”

😀 CD Reissue / Download | 2005 | Astralwerks | buy from amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1969 | Epic | search ebay ]

Al Kooper “I Stand Alone”

I Stand Alone

Al Kooper’s debut should really be heard by more people. This record was released by Columbia in 1968, sometime after Kooper had left the original Blood, Sweat and Tears. Casual listeners know Kooper as a mid-60’s Bob Dylan sideman, sometimes Mike Bloomfield/Shuggie Otis collaborator, respected record producer and keyboard player in the legendary underground New York City group, the Blues Project. Kooper left behind many fine solo records in the late 60’s and 70’s but I Stand Alone is something special, a disc that captures it’s place and time very well.

I Stand Alone is one of those records that’s inventive in a post Sgt. Pepper way, ambitious in its wide array of styles, experimental within a pop context and bound to confuse at least a few listeners. It’s amazing that Kooper’s solo work and the first Blood, Sweat and Tears record have never been reassessed for the great records they are. I Stand Alone is a strong listen all the way through, divided evenly between originals and well chosen covers. The disc opens with the title track, which was recorded in Nashville and is one of Kooper’s signature tunes. Had this strange but wonderful Nashville blue-eyed soul hybrid been released as a single it may have had a chance at reaching the charts. About half the tracks are in a pop sike vein. Kooper does a nice job covering Nilsson’s One and stretches out with the Kooperfone on an excellent reading of Traffic’s Coloured Rain. Song and Dance for the Unborn, Frightened Child is somewhat similar to one of the more arty, psychedelic cuts on Blood, Sweat and Tears debut, it’s an excellent, elaborate production though and proof that strings and horns can work well in the rock n roll format. Other tracks see Kooper cover classics by Sam & Dave (Toe Hold), Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff (Hey, Western Union Man) and Bill Monroe (Blue Moon of Kentucky). Blue Moon of Kentucky, which Elvis also covered in 1969, is a wild bluegrass rockabilly take on the classic that was clearly a homage to the Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo.

All the covers are great and Kooper gives his own individual stamp on each song but of course it’s the originals that grab your attention. The Stonesy swagger of Camille and the dreamy Impressions-like I Can’t Love A Woman are killer soul songs and two of Al Kooper’s best in this particular style. Another classic on the album, Right Now For You, sounds like a really good British psychedelic track with very trippy Kooperfone which sounds well ahead of it’s time. This is an undeniably great album by an artist who should really be looked at with the same esteem as say a John Cale, Captain Beefheart or Frank Zappa. Al Kooper is one of New York’s great musicians and his contributions to rock music have been tremendous. In 2008, Raven reissued I Stand Alone with Kooper’s 1969 followup lp, You Never Know Who Your Friends Are on compact disc. Both lps are a must.

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“I Can Love A Woman”

😀 CD Reissue | 2008 | Raven | buy from Raven | buy from amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1968 | Columbia | search ebay ]

Funkadelic “Free Your Mind… And Your Ass Will Follow”

Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow

It really doesn’t get any better than this, Funkadelic’s 1970 sophomore release off the Westbound label. Formed in 1968, Funkadelic was one of two bands on two different record labels fronted by George Clinton (the other group being Parliament, of course).

Some years back George Clinton had this to say about his two pioneering funk groups, “Parliament was more orchestrated with horns and complicated vocal arrangements while Funkadelic was more a straight up rock band with a heavy rhythm section.” He also added, “what we knew from Motown and what we’d seen with Sly, and everybody else… We were able to take that and make a real classy jazz funk and then be as silly as we were.” The early Funkadelic sound was more rock oriented with lots of insane guitar soloing and creative keyboard work coming from both Eddie Hazel and Bernie Worrell. George Clinton produced and provided vocals on this fine psychedelic masterwork which many feel is Funkadelic’s most “out there” recording. There are all kinds of zany production tricks at work here from the stereo panning on I Wanna Know If It’s Good For You to super phased vocals that smear Some More. Some More may be the album’s most conventional cut though it’s still a great experimental soul number with lots of reefer madness and a nice bluesy arrangement.

Clinton’s lyrics are pretty sharp and humorous throughout the album and there is no doubt that Hazel’s guitar playing was heavily influenced by Jimi Hendrix. For example, songs like I Wanna Know If It’s Good For You and Friday Night, August 14th have tons of feedback and wah-wah that recall late period Hendrix, specifically the Band of Gypsies. Hazel was surely one of the great guitarists of his generation and one can also hear a little Curtis Mayfield in his playing. But Funkadelic were first and foremost orginal artists and legend has it that George Clinton and the group engulfed an enormous amount of drugs during the album’s recording sessions. Other fine tracks like Funky Dollar Bill represent the group’s funky, good time side, a sound they would develop with great success on future releases.

Funkadelic were one of the great Detroit groups and nothing in the rock n roll or soul cannon resembles their early catalog. The song arrangements and performances on this lp are much looser and less pop oriented than other psychedelic soul masterpieces like Psychedelic Shack by the Temptations or Sly Stone’s Stand! Easy to find on cd or vinyl, this is truly an inspirational recording and one of the greatest psychedelic releases ever.

mp3: Friday Night, August 14th

😀 CD Reissue | 2005 | Westbound | buy from amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1970 | Westbound | search ebay ]

Sync: “Devilman” + Vox Populi

| Video

http://youtube.com/watch?v=cVwZK-qtPdg

mute youtube.
run video as soon as the intro starts fadeout.

mp3: Les SinnersDon’t You Run Away

Mono vs. Stereo || “Psychedelic Sounds…”

Psychedelic Sounds...

Preference towards monaural or stereophonic sound is often a point of contention. Most folks agree tho, that when it comes to the debut from Roky’s pioneering Texas psych garage band, Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators, the original mono mix takes top slot. Sundazed definitely thinks so, offering a brand new hi-def mono vinyl, carefully restored from a copy of the long-lost master tapes and the mint IA original (all the details here).

Compare these versions of the powerhouse lead-off track, from Collectable’s stereo CD and the Sundazed mono vinyl LP:

mp3: You’re Gonna Miss Me (Stereo) [ Collectables | 1996 ]
mp3: You’re Gonna Miss Me (Mono) [ Sundazed | 2008 ]

So what’s your take? Hit us up in the comments.
Any other releases you know sound better in mono or stereo?

:) Mono Vinyl Reissue | 2008 | Buy at Sundazed Store ]

Paul Siebel “Woodsmoke and Oranges”

Woodsmoke and Oranges

Certainly a musician’s musician kind of record, Woodsmoke and Oranges ought to have a shot on anyone’s shelf. Siebel’s debut is a laid-back set of incredibly strong songs, maybe nothing to knock you out on the first listen, but iron solid in its replay value and a proud, essential piece of any songwriter, folk, or country rock collection.

She Made Me Lose My Blues kicks off with one of the hottest intro licks I’ve ever heard from the pedal steel. Can’t complain about that sound, can you? Paul may not possess one of the all-time vocal deliveries, but with tunes as nice as this it just doesn’t matter, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. A ton of better known artists wanted to give a try on these gems, particularly a fine little lament called Louise (mp3s), which has been covered by Plainsong, Leo Kottke, and Jerry Jeff Walker, among others. A nice country rock groover in Nashville Again with some jazz-influenced changes on Miss Cherry Lane and Ballad of Honest Sam. A soft rainy ending, Long Afternoons, tightly seals the deal on this record’s necessity to a larger audience than a small circle of folk collectors.

Woodsmoke was recorded on the quick with top-shelf musicians including the fantastic David Bromberg, Richard Greene (Muleskinner), and one Weldon Myrick on steel. The 2004 Rhino reissue includes 1971’s equally good follow-up, Jack Knife Gypsy, boasting an astoundingly impressive personnel.

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“She Made Me Lose My Blues”

😀 CD Reissue | 2004 | Rhino | buy from amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1970 | Elektra | search ebay ]

PODCAST 4 True Grit

The Rising Storm Podcast - Country Rock Special

Running Time: 59 Minutes | File Size 54.0 MB
Download: .zip | .mp3
To subscribe to this podcast: http://therisingstorm.net/podcast.xml [?]

 

PLAYLIST

Clip from: Hank Snow “The Blue Velvet Band”

Buck Owens “Before You Go”
Fairport Convention “If (Stomp)”
Guilbeau and Parsons “Your Gentle Ways Of Loving Me”
Ernie Chaffin “Feelin’ Low”
Everlys “You Done Me Wrong”

Clip from: The Dillards “Sundown”

Merle Haggard “The Longer You Wait”
Buffalo Springfield “A Child’s Claim to Fame”
James Carr “My Adorable One“
Byrds “Wasn’t Born To Follow”

Clip from “True Grit” 1969 (John Wayne & Robert Duvall)

Brinsley Schwarz “Hymn To Me”
Wynn Stewart “Wishful Thinking”
Euphoria “Through A Window”

Clip from: The Dillards “Sundown”

Gene Clark “Tried So Hard”
Webb Pierce “Groovie Boogie Woogie Boy”
Flying Burrito Brothers “Wheels”
Louvin Bros “Cash On The Barrelhead”
Mickey Newbury “The Future Is Not What It Used To Be”

Clip from: Hank Snow “Answer To The Blue Velvet Band”

Hearts and Flowers “Rosana”
Lee Hazlewood “By The Way (I Still Love You)”

Classic Closer
Rolling Stones

Clip from: The Dillards “Sundown”

Classic Gear: Classic Effects

Crybaby (Wah-Wah Pedal)Vox Clyde McCoy

The Wah Pedal is often the first tool added to a budding guitarist’s arsenal, the old standby for waka-jawaka rhythms or a classic Hendrix sound. Moving the pedal up and down alters the tone, specifically the filter, of your sound. Playing guitar leads while adjusting the pedal can give the notes an expressive, mouthy quality, almost like the guitar was trying to say the word ‘wah’ or ‘wow.’ Jimi’s guitar style is one of the smoothest in history, but he couldn’t have pulled off Voodoo Child without a wah-wah.

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Jimi Hendrix – Voodoo Child

Space Echo (Tape Delay)Space Echo

A beautifully designed effects box, the Space Echo RE-201 is the most well-known and sought after tape delay. A delay or echo unit continuously records whatever sound you are feeding in there, and repeats it back, creating an echo that is adjustable via speed and depth controls. Modern effects units accomplish this via digital recording, but what makes tape delay so cool is that it actually records and plays back pure analog from a looping piece of magnetic tape.

The Space Echo was king of a long line of tape delay units including the Echoplex, Binson Echorec, Meazzi Echomatic and many other fine specimens. Check out the Binson Echorec all over Gandalf’s self-titled debut, notably the vocal for Golden Earrings.

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Gandalf – Golden Earrings

Mutron III

Mu-Tron III (Envelope Filter)

An Envelope Filter (or Follower) is a hard effect to describe sonically, but easy to place categorically. It’s kind of an instant-funk stomp-box that supplies an automatic ‘wah’ to your playing. This effect was developed in 1972, by Mike Beigel and Aaron Newman when they decided to see if they could create new products from parts of the synthesizer. Stevie W first used the Mu-Tron in combination with his clavinet for Higher Ground and Jerry Garcia also owes a large debt to this little box for a piece of his signature guitar sound.

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Grateful Dead – Shakedown Street

 

Eventide Harmonizer H949

Eventide Harmonizer (Harmonizer)

Tony Visconti famously described the Eventide Harmonizer to David Bowie as an effect that “fucks with the fabric of time.” This was one of the first digital effects boxes and was capable of changing the pitch of a signal without sacrificing the tempo. This meant you could sing or play guitar into the Eventide, and what you played could be doubled at a higher or lower pitch (harmonized). Get fancy with the tweaking and all manner of wild, early-digital sounds were possible.

Tony Visconti kept this machine a secret when producers tried to ask how he got such unique drum sounds on Low, the first record to use the Eventide. Crunchy drums aside, it’s clear his use of this awesome rack unit was pretty liberal all over Low.

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David Bowie – Speed Of Life

Double Zappa |FZ| 1971-72

This would have been good to post two days ago, considering the original Mothers chose their band name on Mother’s Day. The label tacked on “Of Invention” in an attempt to lessen the weird. By 1971, Zappa’s ever evolving band — now fronted by Flo & Eddie, the lead singers from The Turtles — proudly reclaimed their simpler title and re-upped the weirdness to a frenzied degree. To me, these two live albums from the age of 200 Motels are the most fun picks from the discography.

Fillmore East (1971)
FZ kept extensive archives of his live recordings, and Cal Schenkel’s pencil-scribbled cover (“He made me do it!” pleading on the back) must be an homage to one of the actual reels. Opening with a tasty instrumental reworking from Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Fillmore East becomes a stage play of sorts, with the Turtles assuming the role of one of Frank’s long-lived obsessions: starstruck groupies looking to get their “rocks off.” What Kind of Girl Do You Think We Are is genius for its seemingly off-the-cuff yet fully orchestrated vocals, riffing all sorts of mayhem over a modified blues. And before this, the Mud Shark fits a memorable rock n roll tale over a soulful little groove. The sound they had by this show is wild: a combination of organ, Rhodes piano, Don Preston’s Minimoog, and Zappa’s gritty guitar all the while complemented by the over-the-top falsettos of Flo & Eddie (whose voices you might recognize from T-Rex’s Slider album). As usual, Zappa’s band is on top of its game.

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“The Mud Shark”

😀 CD Reissue | 1995 | Zappa Records | buy from amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1971 | Reprise | search ebay ]

Just Another Band From LA (1972)
“Billy was a mountain. Ethel was a tree growing off of his shoulder.” It just astounds the mind what Zappa was able to accomplish in his lifetime; case in point: the 25-minute, fully developed performance piece on side one of this record, Billy The Mountain. As a canned recording, it’s more road trip fare than casual listening, but it must have been quite a lucky few to have seen it performed live, a bizarre tale complete with character acting, theme songs, sound effects, and very catchy refrains. Side two rounds out the experience with harder rock interpretations of early Mothers classics like Call Any Vegetable and Dog Breath. Two new tracks, Eddie, Are You Kidding and the perverted Magdalena are suitably ridiculous for one of the Mothers’ nuttiest incarnations.

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“Call Any Vegetable”

😀 CD Reissue | 1995 | Zappa Records | buy from amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1972 | Bizarre | search ebay ]

Kaleidoscope (US) “Incredible!”

Incredible!

Kaleidoscope was an important architect of the American rock n roll sound. This group introduced ethnic sounds that were new and exciting back in the 60s and also featured some fine techinical players in David Lindley and Chris Darrow. Incredible! was their last really good album that saw the departure of Darrow, one of the group’s founders and a key component to Kaleidoscope’s special sound. Darrow explained a while back:

“The root of the problem, was a combination of business hassles and the fact that we weren’t a success commercially. The effect was astonishing; friends started acting like enemies…and, in the end, I just passed. I said ‘that’s it…I’m going,’ at which point David said ‘you’re fired anyway’ – it was he who fired me. So I quit and got fired at the same time. It just ceased to satisfy me all of a sudden – something had to give, and the obvious solution was a change in personnel.”

Darrow went on to release a few solo efforts and contribute some fine material to the late 60s/early 70s Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. His departure was a major blow but the group rallied and released what many feel is their most consistent record to date. Side Trips (1967) and A Beacon From Mars (1968-) were both excellent, eclectic records with more of a psychedelic feel though Incredible saw the band maturing, incorporating elements of cajun, blues and bluegrass into an already diverse mixture of music styles. They never abandon psychedelia though, and turn in two outstanding eastern rockers, the funky Lie To Me, which had serious radio potential and the cosmic 11-minute Seven-Ate Sweet. These tracks bookend Incredible though blues rockers Killing Floor and Cuckoo are just as strong and highlight some fine harmonica playing and nice subtle fuzz guitar work. Other tracks like the stark instrumental Banjo are inventive and show us how good a banjo player David Lindley was.

Fans of psychedelia and roots music are urged to seek out Kaleidscope’s first three albums and non-lp singles, these are all “must haves.” Kaleidoscope is one of America’s greatest lost groups, they were always ambitious, trying out new ideas and never giving in to commercial demands.

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“Lie To Me”

😀 CD Reissue | 1994 | Edsel | buy from amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1969 | Epic | search ebay ]