Archive for November, 2010

Felt “Felt”

Not much is known about this mysterious hard rock/psych group.  Felt hailed from Alabama and released their only album on the Nasco label in 1971.  Formed in the late 60s, Felt’s lineup featured two solid guitarists in Myke Jackson and Stan Lee.  The latter would eventually play guitar for the legendary (and great) late 70s/early 80s punk band, the Dickies.  Other group members were bassist Tommy Gilstrap and drummer Mike Neel.

Their album is a sterling example of late 60s/early 70s American underground rock n roll – a very strong disc.  Felt alternates between crunchy blues based rock (with biting teenage vocals) and Beatlesque psych.  Their ten minute epic, “The Change,” is two or three songs wrapped into one.   Most bands would never be able to pull a trick like this off but Felt gets by on great musicianship and interesting arrangements: plenty of potent guitar solos, fresh organ interplay, blistering drums and brooding hard rock vocals.  “Weepin Mama Blues” and “World” are similar cuts with more of a blues influence – solid early 70s hardrock with none of the histrionic wailing or 10 minute guitar solos that plagued so many LPs of the era.  The remaining half of this disc sports more of a psych feel.  “Look At The Sun” is a downbeat popsike gem while “Now She’s Gone” and “Destination” are great tracks that feature jazzy time signatures and good psychedelic guitar work.   Felt is definitely a keeper without any real weaknesses – a solid 4 star album.

Akarma reissued this lost gem several years ago.  Flawed Gems followed Akarma in 2010 with a bootleg version of Felt.

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“Look At The Sun”

😉 MP3 Album | download amzn ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1971 | Nasco |  search ebay ]
😎 Spotify link | listen ]

PODCAST 24 Roots Rock


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1.  Go and Say Goodbye – Buffalo Springfield (1966)

2.  The Lost World – Peter Grudzien (1960’s)

3.  Eight Days A Week – Spur (1969/1970)

4.  Make You Mine – Fingletoad, Strange and Siho (1970)

5.  Cold, Cold World – Blaze Foley (1975-1978-)

6.  Ain’t No Use – Moby Grape (1967)

7.  Goin’ Down To Texas – Moby Grape (1971)

8.  You Been Cheatin’ On Me Honey – Riley (1971)

9.  You Just May Be The One – The Monkees (1967)

10.  Innocence Song – Cowboy (1971)

11.  Going To Nevada – Bluebird (1970)

12.  Here Comes The Blues Again – Delbert McClinton and Glen Clark (1972)

13.  The Seventh Son – Dion (1965)

14.  You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere – Bob Dylan and The Band (1967)

15.  Just Me And Her – Whistler, Chauncer, Detroit And Greenhill (1968-)

16.  Last One Asleep – Wilson McKinley (1969)

17.  Rat Faced Dog – Little Feat (1970)

18.  Faithless Lady – Cambridge (1977)

Steve Young “Seven Bridges Road”

If you’re a fan of country-rock, Americana, or the 70s Outlaw Movement, you know that Steve Young is no run-of-the-mill artist.  1969’s Rock, Salt and Nails was a fine debut but on this disc Young comes into his own as a songwriter.  One could make the case that this is Young’s best LP, though the next 3 records that follow Seven Bridges Road are also very good.

Confusingly, there are three versions of Seven Bridges Road, each one featuring a slightly different song lineup.  For my money the 1971/1972 Reprise version (the green album) is the best, but the Blue Canyon (1975) and Rounder LPs (1981) each have something to offer fans.  Recording originally commenced in Los Angeles with Ry Cooder on hand but then sometime later, sessions were moved to Nashville.  Things didn’t go so smoothly down in Nashville.  Steve Young recalls: “These sessions were a clash of vibes.  Some pickers were into it.  Others, I had to fight it out.  There was a lot of friction between those Nashville players and me because of the way they were used to doing things, but it came out quite well.”

Seven Bridges Road is full of incredible performances.  Young’s songwriting is stronger than ever this time around, his singing is often compelling and the musicians that support him are in excellent form.  The title cut and “Lonesome On’ry and Mean” (a big hit for Waylon Jennings) are outlaw classics that have made other artists lots of money.  That being said, much of this album’s strength is in it’s variety: “Come Sit By My Side” is gorgeous folk-rock, there are two hard driving, boozy country-rockers in “Long Way To Hollywood” and “The White Trash Song”, the gutbucket country of “Many Rivers” and quirky Americana (“Ragtime Blue Guitar” and “One Car Funeral Procession”).  Seven Bridges Road is one of the truly great country-rock records.

Seven Bridges Road (Reprise):

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“One Car Funeral Procession”

:) Original Vinyl | 1972 | Reprise | search ebay ]

Luke Gibson “Another Perfect Day”

Along with Bruce Cockburn’s debut, Another Perfect Day was one of True North’s first releases in 1971/1972.  Prior to this disc, Luke Gibson fronted Luke and the Apostles, a legendary garage blues group who released an excellent punker in 1967 titled “Been Burnt.”   From here, Gibson went on to play in Kensington Market, a psych pop group who released two intriguing albums in the late 60’s (Aardvark is a great psych pop effort).  Disagreements and drug abuse killed off the Kensington Market.  From here, Gibson revived the Apostles once more in 1970, releasing another good hard rock 45 titled “You Make Me High.”  It was a popular record for the time but not enough to change the struggling group’s fortunes, so Gibson decided to embark on a solo career.

Listeners must’ve been shocked when they heard Another Perfect Day. The LP isn’t the psych, garage, or hardrock that colored Gibson’s past records.  The vocals are informed by hardrock and country-rock rather than folk or honky tonk.  This gives the music a sparse but ballsy quality – it’s what makes Another Perfect Day so unique.  Some tracks like “See You Again” and “All Day Rain” have electric guitars but for the most part this record is quiet acoustic music.  “Full Moon Rider” one of the album’s key tracks, is a riveting piece of music that features fiddle, superb vocals and a hard rocking ambience.  Other highlights are “Lobo”, a beautiful heartfelt country tune, the world weary title track and the trippy acoustic harpsichord laced gem “Angel.”  Great vocal performances, accomplished musicianship, a good backwoods vibe and strong songwriting make this one of the best discs I’ve heard in quite some time.  Long thought of as one of the best singer songwriter albums to come out of Canada, Another Perfect Day is the real deal – authentic stuff.

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😀 CD Reissue | 2010 | True North |  buy at true north | amazon ]
😎 Spotify link | listen ]

Atomic Rooster “Death Walks Behind You”

Although it provided the background to my formative years as a musician, I’d be the first to admit that the late sixties/early seventies first wave of British progressive hard-rock veered wildly between creative sophistication and plodding self-indulgence. For every Led Zeppelin, there was a Black Sabbath; for every Deep Purple, an Edgar Broughton Band. (My apologies to adherents of those two combos.) Somewhere in the middle came the curiously-named Atomic Rooster, whose constantly changing line-up centred on keyboard wizard Vincent Crane released a series of undistinguished albums plus one genuine gem, the sophomore effort Death Walks Behind You.

Classically-trained organist and pianist Crane had been the instrumental cornerstone of wigged-out psych outfit The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, as witness his Hammond histrionics on their eponymous long-player. The Rooster should have satisfied Crane’s search for his own direction but, bedevilled by impatience, musical perfectionism and manic depression, he changed his style and his fellow musicians almost from year to year in search of a constantly moving and unattainable target. The second, and best, line-up teamed Crane with guitarist/vocalist John Cann, a.k.a. Du Cann, and drummer Paul Hammond. Cann had seen through the psychedelic era with Five Day Week Straw People and Andromeda and offered crunching rhythms and flyaway bluesy leads not unlike Ritchie Blackmore, whilst Hammond was a teenage tub-thumper with no real CV but just the sort of no-frills, aggressive style that Crane’s prevailing riff-tastic compositions demanded. In the best Jimmy Smith tradition, Crane played the bass lines on his pedals and on the bass-boosted low keyboard register of his B3. Between them they could sound as full as Deep Purple with two musicians fewer, and usually did.

At first sight slightly unnerving with its Dark Side imagery, but actually surprisingly accessible and in places even commercial – “Tomorrow Night” would become a top twenty single in the UK – Death Walks combines mostly straightforward but tightly-executed riff-based chord structures and bass lines with formulaic Gothic horror-inspired lyrics, overlaying these with energetic, optimistic soloing by the two frontmen. The net result is surprisingly “up” if you don’t take the words too seriously and aren’t put off by the cover art featuring William Blake’s “Nebuchadnezzar” and clichéd shots of the band in a graveyard. Mostly eschewing the possibilities of overdubbing in the studio, the tracks are largely played live, as evinced by the BBC radio session versions of two of the same tunes offered on the CD reissue as bonus tracks. (I recall hearing that actual session back in the day, and it’s clear that the trio was a hot live act.) The lightest moment is provided by “Tomorrow Night” with its catchy riff, singalong refrain and brief, soaring solos, whilst the title track is the most ponderous, starting with eerie piano arpeggios and creaking into the most leaden of descending chromatic chord sequences. Cann kicks off the surprisingly funky “Sleeping For Years” with what became his trademark feedback introduction. The oddly titled “Vug” and “Gershatzer” are instrumentals on which the band’s undoubted musicianship is given free rein, Cann and Crane exchanging lines in fine conversational style on the former while the latter confirms that Crane wasn’t far behind Keith Emerson in the deranged virtuosity stakes.

Death Walks proved the commercial and artistic zenith for all three band members. Crane carried an ever-mutating Rooster into the eighties before taking his own life in 1989. Hammond was badly injured in a road accident in 1973 and played only at intervals thereafter. Cann formed a praiseworthy and briefly popular hard-rock quartet, Bullet, a.k.a. Hard Stuff, but moved post-punk   into uninspired power-pop which considerably diluted his talent. Recently he’s overseen the reissue of the Rooster catalogue and associated items on the excellent Angel Air label.

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“Sleeping for Years”

😀 CD Reissue | 2009 | Castle | buy here ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1970 | B&C | search ebay ]

uReview: The Allman Brothers Band

12345678910 (48 votes, average: 8.02 out of 10)

These guys any good? Is this album a good choice for a start? Where’s the sweet spot?
I need schooling on these Brothers.

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“Come And Go Blues”

😉 MP3 Album | download here ]
:) Orig Vinyl |1973 | Capricorn | search ebay ]
😎 Spotify link | listen ]