Posts Tagged ‘ 1966 ’

PODCAST 21 Dark in my Heart

THE RISING STORM!!

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1.  Hank Williams – Lonesome Whistle (1951) from Revealed: The Unreleased Recordings

2.  Lee Hazlewood – Dark In My Heart (1967) from Lee Hazlewoodism, Its Cause and Cure

3.  Addie Pray (Bill Lincoln from Euphoria) – Wings In The Wind (1970-1971) from Late For The Dance

4.  Elyse (with Neil Young) – Houses (1969) from Elyse

5.  The Youngbloods – Foolin’ Around (The Waltz) from The Youngbloods (1967)

6. J.J. Light – Gallup, New Mexico (1969) from Heya!

7.  Roscoe Holcomb – Coal Creek (date unknown) from An Untamed Sense of Control

8.  Buffy Sainte-Marie – Poppies (1969) from Illuminations

9.  Bert Jansch – Cluck Old Hen (1974) from LA Turnaround

10.  Graham Nash & David Crosby – Frozen Smiles (1972) from self-titled LP

11.  Ry Cooder – France Chance (1970) from Ry Cooder

12.  John Simon – Did You See? (1970) John Simon’s Album

13.  The Beau Brummels – One Too Many Mornings (1966) from Magic Hollow Box Set

14.  Space Opera – Blue Ridge Mountains (1972) from Space Opera

15.  Pearls Before Swine – Ballad to an Amber Lady (1967) from One Nation Underground

16.  Muleskinner – Muleskinner Blues (1972) from Muleskinner

17.  Tim Buckley – Song to the Siren – Morning Glory – The Tim Buckley Story

18.  The Band – The Rumor (1970) from Stage Fright

? and the Mysterians “96 Tears”

For an outfit whose very name professed a preference for anonymity, there’s a surprising amount of information available nowadays about this bunch of rockin’ Chicano chavales; check out their Wikipedia page for the full Monty. Question Mark himself has gone to considerable lengths to conceal his identity over the years, and why not? It’s one of rock’n’roll’s best-loved clichés. However, copyright registrations in the Library of Congress show his birth name as Rudy Martinez.

This, the first of their two albums, followed the runaway success of the single “96 Tears” as the title indicates, but it’s not the usual mid-sixties cash-in collection with a couple of hits padded out by inferior versions of “I’ve Got My Mojo Working” and “Summertime”. Of the twelve tracks, only one is a cover – “Stormy Monday”, the band’s inevitable contemporary bow to the blues – and the rest are originals, the writing mostly credited to all the band members. Simple stuff, mostly, with a limited palette of keys and chords, but at least they made the effort.

Of course they’re the quintessential R’n’B garage band, with the leanest, meanest sound around; they make Booker T and the MGs sound like the Electric Light Orchestra. The British Invasion influences are crystal-clear: the bass/guitar/organ interplay on the sparse twelve-bar “Up Side” shows a clear link from Eric Burdon’s original Animals, while the choppy rhythm of “You’re Telling Me Lies” is a direct steal from Doug Sahm’s own Invasion- derived “She’s About A Mover”. The more vehement of ?’s vocals, as on “96 Tears”, are a dead ringer for Van Morrison in his Them days. There’s also a closer-than-accidental resemblance to the Rolling Stones’ earliest American recordings that goes deeper than ?’s occasional Jagger impersonations. Play any of the Stones’ tracks recorded on their 1964 visit to Chess and released on the 5 x 5 EP (UK) or the 12 x 5 album (US) and you’ll see what I mean: that wiry, reverbed sound on the Stones’ “Confessin’ The Blues” as against the Mysterians’ take on “Stormy Monday”, or on the steady-rollin’ “Empty Heart” as against “Ten O’Clock”. The major differences are the forefronted Vox Continental on most of the Mysterians’ waxings and the undeniable fact that Bobby Balderama was no Brian Jones when it came to creative guitar playing.

So, derivative certainly. But, hey, if you really need originality, go play “Pet Sounds” or “Odessey & Oracle”. This is one to put on when your head’s woolly from the perplexing complexity of prog-rock and all you need is a fix of something raw and primal. For twice the strength, get the 2005 compilation Cameo Parkway – The Best Of which has the whole of this album and the follow-up Action – more of the same, though a bit denser sonically – carefully remixed from the originals, plus both sides of their valedictory non-album single. (Avoid other compilations, most of which contain re-recordings.)

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“I Need Somebody”

:) Original Vinyl | 1966 | Cameo | search ebay ]

Moby Grape “Live”

Something tells me, if I had been at San Francisco’s Avalon Ballroom in June of ’67 to witness Moby Grape at the height of their powers, scorching through their set of two-minute pop blasts, blaring triple-guitar action and five-part harmonies soaring, I might not have survived the night. None was the match of the mighty Grape in those days; the band was “flying musically” and easily the toughest act around. Moby Grape Live is the first official release to afford a glimpse into the raucous and entrancing stage performances of one of the most exciting, original, and underappreciated bands of the ’60s.

Separated into four sides, this double LP takes us to performances from the same weeks their infamously overhyped masterpiece Moby Grape was released, to their few high-octane minutes at the legendary Monterey International Pop Festival, jumping forward to a 1969 performance in Amsterdam featuring cuts from Wow and ’69, and ending back at the start: a full side of  “Dark Magic,” recorded New Years Eve, 1966. This one’s worth the purchase for Side 1 alone. The rabid energy of the band, issuing rapid-fire gems like “Rounder” and “Looper,”  hits a high point in “Changes” into “Indifference” featuring Jerry Miller’s careening lead guitar. Skip Spence turns in a beautifully honest vocal to cap the blistering set with “Someday.” The highlight for me, however, are the post-Skip tracks from 1969 on Side 3. “Murder in my Heart for the Judge” shows the band at their loosest, the slack and soul of the rootsier Grape a refreshing contrast. “I am Not Willing,” one of their best songs, gets a grooving drawn out treatment and it’s interesting to hear a matured group attack earlier hits “Fall on You” and “Omaha.” The closing 17-minute raga, “Dark Magic,” is more than a piece of rock music history, an actually listenable and fascinating performance, it features inspiring guitar leads, primitive electronic squeals, Skip’s far out vocal, and the driving force of sound that made Moby Grape one of the hottest band of the era.

Sundazed has curated an important document here. Hardcore Grape addicts should note much of this material has been featured on bootlegs over the years (notably the tracks from Monterey Pop and “Dark Magic”) but none of this has ever been officially released, and never with such pristine sound quality. David Fricke’s notes are the icing on the cake. After the essential debut record, this is the Moby Grape record I would recommend next.

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“Murder in My Heart for the Judge” (1969, Amsterdam)

:) 180 Gram Vinyl | 2-LP | 2010 | Sundazed | buy at sundazed ]
:D CD | 2010 | Sundazed | buy at sundazed ]

The Rolling Stones “Aftermath (UK)”

The Rolling Stones may still elicit the soubriquet “the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world”, but in my opinion they’ve produced in a 42-year recording history (to A Bigger Bang, 2005) just two albums really worthy of the full five stars. Both came in the 1960s when they were still comparatively young and hungry, and both interestingly represent periods of transition. Aftermath was a product of their move from faux American R’n’B garage band towards a British pop-psych sensibility motivated by the success of mid-period Beatles and the demand by their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, that they develop as songwriters; and Beggars’ Banquet the corresponding move back to their roots, post-psychedelia.

Aftermath was the Stones’ first album to comprise only their own compositions, and can be compared to Rubber Soul in its mix of adventurousness and commercial appeal. Although Jagger’s and Richards’ songs are in general not as strong harmonically as Lennon’s and McCartney’s – the Stones lacking the Fabs’ insight into such diverse musical fields as jazz, Tamla, country and showtunes, not to mention a studio Svengali of the calibre of George Martin – the best of them are right up there, and the eclectic instrumentation brought to bear by Brian Jones, Jack Nitzsche and the invisible “sixth Stone” Ian Stewart is every bit as effective as Martin’s baroque embellishments. “Under My Thumb”, “Take It Or Leave It” and “Out Of Time” were all considered commercial enough to be covered immediately as singles by high-profile acts. The eleven-minute bluesy jam “Going Home” (not the Ten Years After song) was unprecedented on a British pop album, yet works brilliantly in the context of the wider work. The one dubious quality is the mysogynous nature of many of the lyrics; “Stupid Girl”, “Thumb”, “Time”, “Dontcha Bother Me” and “Take It” unambiguously reveal Jagger’s prevailing frame of mind.

Despite the classic British Invasion sound of the album, it was recorded in RCA’s Hollywood studios and engineered by Dave Hassinger, who would fall out big-time with the Grateful Dead a year or two later but who got along famously with the Stones if his sleeve notes are to be believed. Production was, as usual, credited to Oldham, but Nitzsche was ever-present at the sessions and the hallmarks of his touch are all over the record. North American readers should note that Aftermath UK is a greatly superior artefact to the US release of the same name, benefitting from omission of the superfluous previous hit single and from the band’s preferred sequencing, not to mention offering fourteen tracks against the US version’s eleven.

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“Mother’s Little Helper”

:D CD Reissue |  2002 | Abkco | at amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl |  1966 | Decca | at ebay ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

Booker T. & the MG’s “In the Christmas Spirit”

In The Christmas Spirit

I love mining the cracks and depths of the rock era, hunting down lost or obscure gems, but I’m not about to put some rare junk or novelty crap on my Christmas mix. The holidays are a time for family entertainment and this jock aims to please the crowd. Mostly, I’m looking for classic tracks with the elusive “christmas sound,” that special magic that separates rushed covers of holiday standards from the true “christmas canon.”

Year after year, Booker T.’s In The Christmas Spirit is where it’s at. Famous as the legendary house band at Stax, the MG’s defined the sound of southern soul backing records for the likes of Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett, and Otis Redding. Even likely the men behind some of the artists on Atlantic’s classic Soul Christmas, cutting classic grooves like Otis’s “Merry Christmas Baby.”

This collection of souled-up instrumentals hits the pocket for me, and it’s versatile as a party record or lite background music. Easily essential this time of year.

Other perfect holiday records to recommend include Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift For You, The Beach Boys Christmas Album, the original Soul Christmas, and Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas.

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“Jingle Bells”

:) Vinyl Reissue | 2009 | Sundazed | buy at sundazed ]

Q. What records are on your Christmas mix?

The Enfields/Friends of the Family

The Enfields and early Friends of the Family

The Enfields were one of the countless garage bands competing for airplay in the 1960s. They released a series of quality local 45s before morphing into the more progressive Friends of the Family, of which by that time, principal songwriter Ted Munda was the only surviving member. The Enfields hailed from Wilmington, Delaware, where they were unquestionably the area’s top group.

In The Eyes Of The World” was their first Richie 45 released in late 65/early 66. This track is really a teenbeat gem with the great reverbed hollow-body guitar work of John Bernard and plenty of ghostly harmonies via Ted Munda and Charlie Berl. “In The Eyes Of The World” did not have a B-side but sold well locally, making Wilmington’s top 40 and established the group as a force to be reckoned with. The Enfields’ next number, “She Already Has Somebody/I’m For Things You Do” was a #4 local smash and perhaps their finest moment on vinyl. Very similar to the Dovers’ material from around the same time, “She Already Has Somebody” is a minor key folk-rocker with solid hooks, lots of nervous energy and fine guitar work. By the release of their third single the Enfields began branching out into harder, more aggressive sounds. “Face to Face,” another near classic from 1966, opens with a toggle switch guitar sound (probably influenced by the Who), features tough Taxman-like riffs and a brief psychedelic guitar solo. The single’s A-side, “You Don’t Have Very Far” is musically very strong but represents somewhat of a throwback to the 1965 folk-rock sound. This is definitely a “must own”45 from 1966!

After the Enfields broke up in 1967, Ted Munda formed Friends of the Family. He recruited Wayne Watson and Jimmy Crawford from local group the Turfs. They released one disappointing 45 in 1968 but thankfullly made it into the studio for two recording sessions. Munda and his new group recorded throughout 1967 and 1968, amassing about an album’s worth of material (11 songs). While these recordings barely reached the demo stage, the music is accomplished and worth your time. Tracks like the excellent “Last Beach Crusade,” “Together” and the 6 minute “Hot Apple Betty” are progressive and sound like a jazz influenced Left Banke. These three tracks were recorded in 1968 and show the Friends experimenting with lots of keyboards, challenging guitar solos, Zombies/Beatles’ influenced vocals and complex song arrangements. “Funny Flowers,” one of the earlier songs recorded in 1967, is just as appealing but more song-based (jangly folk-rock). “You See I’ve Got This Cold,” another highlight from the 1968 sessions, is a personal favorite that reminds me of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention. It’s full of psychedelic weirdness; check out the bizarre lyrics, tinkling piano, and trippy wah-wah. The band forged on into late 68 opening for The Who and Pink Floyd at the Philadelphia Music Festival. Eventually, Friends of the Family broke up and some years later Ted Munda formed Hotspur, who released an album on Columbia in 1974.

The best way to hear the Enfields/Friends of the Family saga is through Get Hip’s superb 1993 cd reissue, Classic Sounds of the 60s. Normally a patchwork reissue like this doesn’t work but Ted Munda rarely recorded anything bad, making The Enfields/and early Friends of the Family a very impressive release.

Update: Ted Munda is currently seeking financing to record a new album of original material. Get in touch with Ted here.

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“In The Eyes Of The World”

:D CD Reissue | 1993 | Get Hip | at Get Hip | at amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | search ebay ]

The Bobby Fuller Four “I Fought The Law”

I Fought The Law

The Bobby Fuller Four were an amazing Texas combo, one of the best pure rock n roll groups ever .  They were an anomaly in the mid 60s, a classic group who enjoyed top 40 hits throughout the British Invasion – a movement that nearly swallowed most American competitors whole and rendered the 50s style rock n roller irrelevant.  Few rock titans possessed the raw talent and drive of Bobby Fuller; he could write songs ready made for the radio, was a fine lead guitarist and early on, he produced his own records.   Fuller was also the owner of a teen club and various independent record labels, a true rock n roll entrepreneur from the genre’s early days.

Early on Fuller recorded in Texas for vanity labels Yucca, Eastwood, Exeter, and Todd.  It was during this early period (early 60s) that he was known as “The Rock N Roll King of the Southwest,” a crown he wore with pride.  In the mid 60s, Fuller relocated his group to California and recorded two albums for Mustang with Bob Keene producing.  I Fought The Law is probably the Four’s crowning achievement.  It’s a consistent record that saw Fuller shed his Buddy Holly influences and blossom into a first rate artist.

The album is known for its pounding top ten smash (and rightfully so) “I Fought The Law,” a classic outlaw anthem written by Sonny Curtis and recorded earlier by the Crickets (minus Buddy Holly).   Surely one rock’s best ever singles, this track was also a nod to Fullers’ 50s roots; the Bobby Fuller Four were perhaps the first group that borrowed from rock’s genesis or origins, the 1950s, and created a new style known as roots rock.  Other tracks are just as good, however.  “Never To Be Forgotten” is perhaps Fuller’s finest creation, with its propulsive fuzz bass (Randy Fuller played bass and was constant in an ever changing lineup), soaring vocals and vibrant tex-mex strumming.  I’ve never heard anything like it and in a weird way it manages to mix proto country-rock, tex-mex, and sunshine pop into a stunning musical statement (the production on this one is immaculate too).  Other tracks like the charging “Julie” and the Eddie Cochrane influenced “Saturday Night” are near classics that proudly display Bobby Fuller’s obsession with 50s style rock.  My favorite track, “Fool of Love,” was initially cut in 1964 as a single for Exeter during Fuller’s Texas Tapes era.  The Mustang version heard on I Fought The Law is something of a lost classic that’s a bit more polished and jangley when compared to the earlier Exeter single.  Other notables are “Let Her Dance” (a minor chart entry) and “Only When I Dream,” two great pop tracks with hooks galore and superb vocals.  These tunes compare favorably with Brian Wilson’s creations from around the same time;  “Let Her Dance” and “Only When I Dream” could have easily found a home on the Beach Boys’ Today album.  All tracks were written by The Bobby Fuller Four (mostly Bobby Fuller), quite an achievement for 1965.

Originals are expensive ($50-$100), which is suprising for a record that really isn’t rare and sold pretty well.  There are two cd versions of I Fought The Law, one by Ace (a twofer with KRLA King of the Wheels ) and the other on Never To Be Forgotten: The Mustang Years, an excellent box set.  There’s even a nice vinyl Mustang repress that’s easily available and highly recommended.

I Fought The Law was Bobby Fuller’s last LP before his tragic death and for this reason it remains a vital purchase.  More importantly, Fuller started to sound like himself; he was really coming into his own as a songwriter and creative force around the years of 1965/1966.  Check out the last Bobby Fuller Four single too, “My True Love” (B-side), for proof of Bobby’s growth as an original artist.  Real rock n roll lasts forever and nobody did it better than the Bobby Fuller Four.

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“Only When I Dream”

:D CD Reissue | search amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1966 | Mustang | search ebay ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

The Rationals “Think Rational/Fan Club LP”

Think Rational

The Rationals are the most important early Detroit/Ann Arbor group.   Although they only had a few huge regional hits, they were highly influential on the Detroit/Ann Arbor club scene and their music has aged gracefully.  Maybe not the first rock n roll group to hail from the Mid West region but certainly one of the best, The Rationals had a unique garage/teenbeat sound early on; eventually they would take a drastic left turn into hard soul and heavy Detriot rock n roll during the late 60s.

In the summer of 2009 Big Beat reissued all the group’s early singles and outtakes on double disc anthology Think Rational. This first time legit reissue of the group’s early years is not without its flaws.  For one, Big Beat did not include the group’s Not Like It Is single, instead we get an underdub of the Cameo 45 that’s about 30 seconds longer and without the handclaps.  Also, some of the Fan Club LP (only two were pressed back in 66/67!) is missing. Two instrumentals, Wayfaring Stranger (a very cool folk-rock surf instro) and Jam, plus alternate takes of some early singles are not included (Gave My Love, Little Girls Cry, and Look What You’re Doing).  While these 3 tracks are part of the original Fan Club LP the alternate versions aren’t all that different from the officially released singles (sound quality differs slightly on the alternate takes).  I’ve been told that the Fan Club LP will be released on vinyl sometime in the near future though I’m not sure which label will be doing the honors.  With that said, Think Rational is a great package, evenly divided between the group’s garage and soul eras.  Without doubt this is one of the best reissues of 2009.

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“Wayfaring Stranger”

:D 2CD Reissue | 2009 | 101 Distribution | purchase ]
:) Original Vinyl | The Rationals | search ebay ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

Hot Top 5 1960s Music Videos

HAAA, look at this. Our 1960s video list wound up in the hands of Sergio from Infomania on Current.tv and well, just watch…

 

Check out our original post and let us know about your favorite pre-mtv vids below.

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Before MTV revolutionized the music video format, rock & roll videos were mostly lip-synched reenactments or television appearances. In rarer instances, the filmmaker would push the limits to create an artistic match to the audio it intended to promote (‘promo clips‘). Here’s our 5 favorite pre-MTV promo clips, each with a video as boss as the song:


5. The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
This is on the line as it’s a studio lip-synch, but there’s something going on here. Clever camera angles that show the roles of each band member, stoic pacing around the studio, Alan Price pulsating on the Vox Continental, and Eric Burdon’s ice cold performance show this to be an inspired rock video, one of the earliest made.


4. The Kinks – Dead End Street (1966)
After writing the huge Kinks hit, Sunny Afternoon, Ray Davies wanted to write about something a little less sunny and came up with Dead End Street, a fantastic hard-edged single. They got to ham it up for this film, though the BBC refused to show it when they found their antics mixed with Great Depression photos to be in “poor taste.” It’s not hilarious today, but it was one of the first music videos to introduce a plot, of sorts.


3. The Masters Apprentices – Buried And Dead (1967)
This was a pioneering promo clip in Australia’s 1967, influencing many other bands to release videos for their songs. Slow motion and choppy edits of live footage are interspersed with a DIY back-story. This gritty little film nicely captures the feel of the song.


2. The Beatles – Rain (1966)
There’s not a lot of depth here (just the Beatles acting casual, digging their song), but the direction by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, is iconic in style. This clip has everything a traditional music video has like rhythmic back-and-forth edits and trippy B-roll of the band. Stands out amongst the crowd as the fab4 always did.


1. Bob Dylan – Subterranean Homesick Blues (1966)
Little needs to be said for the classic D.A. Pennebaker film that would elevate the promo clip to an artform. Bob Dylan drops increasingly inaccurate cue cards while Allen Ginsberg chats with Bob Neuwirth in the background in this groundbreaking piece of musical cinema vérité . It’s an all-time classic, recognized and imitated the world over.


Q: Let us know about your favorite 60s music videos.

The JuJus “You Treat Me Bad 1965-1967”

The Jujus

Of all the regional garage bands that were never given the opportunity to record an album, the JuJus were amongst the very best.  They formed in 1964 and played a mixture of frat rock, British Invasion influenced teenbeat and classic garage rock sounds all around the local clubs of Grand Rapids.  Their early tracks can be heard on the above 2009 Cicadelic reissue, it’s an excellent sampling of the group’s career.   The early tracks have saxophones, sappy lyrics and muddy sound but are good for what they are – great frat rock and teenbeat. 

In 1965 the group would cut vocalist/guitarist Ray Hummel’s “You Treat Me Bad/Hey Little Girl” for Fenton.  Fenton was a local label run by electronic/production genuis  Dave Kalmbach and business partner Bruce Smith.  Fenton would cut many, many garage classics but You Treat Me Bad stands out as one of the label’s best.  The vocals are snotty and the tempo is driving; You Treat Me Bad would eventually hit number 2 on local radio.   The JuJus second 45 was cut in Kingtones guitarist Phil Robert Jr.’s basement studio and issued in a picture sleeve on the United label in 1966.  Both sides of “I’m Really Sorry/Do You Understand Me” are superb.  Do You Understand Me has guitar lines straight out of the Stones’ Last Time and is achored down by a nice fuzz solo.  Both recordings sound very crude and primitive but hold a special place in many garage fans’ hearts – this was some of the best rock n roll being pumped out of Michigan at the time.

The JuJus lineup would change quite a bit from 1964 to 1967.  Eventually the group would break up after losing core band members Ray Hummel, drummer Bill Gorski and saxophone player Max Colley.  But before throwing in the towel they would cut a few more songs in 1967 for a possible single release.  The JuJus were constantly evolving and by this time they had grown into a more experimental unit.  They would record two songs that year:  Sometime Or Another and If You Really Love Me.  The latter was a nice slice of power pop with pretty vocal harmonies and a quality guitar oriented arrangement.  Sometime Or Another, a song that was good enough for an A-side release, was the JuJus at their most psychedelic and adventurous.  This track could compete with any “big group’s” best single and was notable for its distorted vocals, blazing fuzz guitar solo and introspective lyrics.  It sounded like a hit but was probably a bit downbeat and too experimental for top 40 radio. 

The above reissue is one of the best garage rock offerings I’ve heard in quite some time.  Cicadelic gives you the classic singles, a good 1965 Ray Hummel Fenton 45 ( in which he is backed by the JuJus) and a slew of quality outtakes.  There are no lame covers and the sound quality is excellent.  The JuJus were a great group whose music still burns brightly in the memories of Michigan locals.  This is mandatory listening for anyone interested in pure rock n roll.

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“I’m Really Sorry”

:D CD Reissue | 2009 | Cicadelic | buy from cicadelic ]