Posts Tagged ‘ 1976 ’

Flaviola e o Bando do Sol

Flaviola e o Bando do Sol

Interest in Brazil’s 1960s/1970s music scene is pretty much dominated by Tropicalia these days, but behind this popular front lay a bevy of fantastic psychedelic rock albums that don’t otherwise fit in with the kaleidoscopic coastal sounds of folks like Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa or Os Mutantes. One of these is the self-titled release by Flaviola e o Bando do Sol, an ethereal slice of psychedelic folk music put together by many of the same cats who made Lula Côrtes and Zé Ramalho’s Paêbirú such an enduring classic.

There is a lazy, mellow vibe to the proceedings here that really puts you in a midnight, beach campfire vibe, with jangling acoustic guitars and wispy flashes of percussion bedding Flaviola’s warm, reassuring vocals. Flute, dulcimer, and what sounds like a harp also make appearances here, as well as several other instruments that sound distinctly Brazilian, though I’ll be damned if I can name them. The rare, rapid-fire semi-electric number “Asas” and the catchy “Balalaica” are definitely the numbers to play to Tropicalia fans, featuring the record’s most energetic rhythms, with Flaviola and friends cheerily chanting out the title on the latter (whether or not the song actually makes use of a Russian balalaika I have no idea). Slower pieces like “Noite” and the autoharp punctuated “Canção de Outono” are more personal numbers, with sleepy sways to them and delicate finger picking.

The record is pretty short, at just under half an hour long, so I’ll keep the review short in turn. After all, this isn’t exactly an album that you can say very much about, as it’s more about the magic of hearing all these simple acoustic sounds come together – there is nothing shocking or avant-garde here, simply beautiful music that is bound to stick with you long after the needle’s been lifted. British-based reissue label Mister Bongo has done us all a favor by repressing this one on 180 gram vinyl, though if that’s not your thing (and it should be) then they also have copies on compact disc. Don’t miss this one.

mp3: Canto Fúnebre
mp3: Do Amigo

:) Reissue | 2012 | Mr. Bongo | search ebay ]
:D Reissue | 2012 | Mr. Bongo | buy here ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

 

Racing Cars “Downtown Tonight”

Scene: a cold, draughty village hall in Corston near Bath, winter 1971. The entire audience of your correspondent and a dozen or so other slightly drunk teenage loonies giggle and cavort round the bare floor whilst on the stage a four-piece band manfully reconstructs, note-for-note perfect, the entire medley from the flip side of Abbey Road. The lead guitarist, a stubby, bearded Welshman called Morty, stands motionless behind his Les Paul at stage right. The members of Oswald Orange from the Rhondda are living the rock’n’roll lifestyle . . .

1977, and a South Wales band called Racing Cars appears on primetime TV show Top Of The Pops for the first and last time, playing their unexpected minor hit single, the maudlin ballad “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?”, inspired by Sydney Pollack’s 1969 film on the marathon jitterbug dance contests of the thirties’ depression. The lead vocalist and principal songwriter is a stubby, bearded Welshman called Morty, or Gareth Mortimer to give him his full moniker. Aside from Morty the most notable name amongst these assorted sons of the Rhondda is that of Ray Ennis, sometime trad jazz banjoist and member of the celebrated sixties Merseybeat ensemble, the Swinging Blue Jeans.

Racing Cars came together in 1973 and belatedly joined the London Pub Rock circuit early in ‘76, playing with a degree of sophistication and instrumental virtuosity that marked them out above most of their contemporaries. Landing a contract with Chrysalis Records, they cut their first album Downtown Tonight just in time to see it swept away by the punk explosion. Very much the right product at the wrong time, it deserved better treatment: the single was briefly in vogue a year on, but the album predictably failed to set the record shop tills alight. Residual popularity on the college circuit kept the band going for four further years and two further albums, but the one-hit-wonders tag would stick till the end.

Apart from the atypical, string-quintet-laden “Horses”, Downtown Tonight features the honest, solidly-constructed sort of electric guitar-based music that the Pub Rock genre is still regarded with affection for: rocking mid-tempo songs mixing blues, country, soul and funk inflections, a powerful twin-lead attack, solid rhythm section, occasional guest piano, and warm rough-cut vocal harmonies. Ennis in particular plays mean slide and crafts some fine harmony runs with partner Graham Hedley Williams on “Pass The Bottle”, as well as exhuming his banjo for some rapid three-finger picking against Williams’s Albert Lee-style Telecastering on the unashamedly honkytonk “Get Out And Get It”. The stirring opener “Calling The Tune” offers some fine pentatonic widdling over its simple riff structure, whilst “Four Wheel Drive” is a butt-kickin’ funk instrumental right out of the Average White Band’s fakebook. Add in the languid ballads of the title track and “Horses” and the unassuming, lo-fi production and all in all it’s a set that would have been a modest pleasure heard live and loud one evening in some smoky tavern.

Racing Cars reunited in 1988 for a modest second career which saw numerous personnel changes – only Morty and Williams eventually remaining from the original lineup – and produced two further albums before finally hanging up their instruments in 2009.

mp3: Calling the Tune
mp3: Get Out and Get It

:) Original | 1976 | Chrysalis | search ebay ]
:D Amazon |  2004 | Lemon | buy at amazon ]

Doc Watson “Doc and the Boys”

There’s little doubt folk and bluegrass lost one of its legends in Doc Watson, a self-taught founder of flatpicking and popularizer of traditional American music for 60 some years. While you can’t miss on any Doc record, this one is my go-to favorite.

Though Doc and the Boys was Doc’s highest charting LP (41 on US Country), little mention is heard of the record today. A lot of the early pickers are subjugated to compilations, best-ofs, and box sets. Fortunately, this LP comes from a time when singles were eschewed for album length statements, and Doc and the Boys delivers a rock solid 35:00 straight from the prime of that funky, in-the-groove Nashville country of the mid-70s.

Starting from the studio recording side, we get a smoking kickoff in “Darlin’ Corey,” Jim Isbell’s zip-tight rhythm dispelling any doubt that a drum kit belong in a bluegrass tune. Merle trades lines with Doc’s harp on the deep-in-the-pocket “Cypress Grove Blues” and Doc proves his gifts with a song on Tom Paxton‘s very sweet “Can’t Help But Wonder (Where I’m Bound),” an easygoing “Girl I Love,” and a bouncy number called “Natural Born Gamblin’ Man.” Side one closes with the hottest rendition of “Little Maggie” I’ve yet to hear. He may be known for his picking, but Doc may have had one of the best rounded and perfectly suited vocal tones in the history of country music. Such a comforting, deep, and rooted voice.

Recorded live at the Hub Pub in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, side two doesn’t skip a beat in its sound. It took me a year to even realize the sides were split between live and studio! If anything, the live atmosphere only adds to the octane in the picking and harmonies. In any case, tunes like the a capella “Southbound Passenger Train” clearly had to be recorded live and we are treated to honest takes on gems like Mississippi John Hurt’s “Spikedriver Blues” and a fine original from piano player Bob Hill in “Southern Lady.” Cash may have done better with “Tennessee Stud” but it’s nice to hear Doc close with a happy take on a hit.

If you’re a fan of “honest, down-to-earth” and damn good country music, track this one down. We’ll miss you, Doc!

mp3: Cypress Grove Blues
mp3: Spikedriver Blues

:D Reissue | 2003 | 2fer w/ Live & Pickin | buy here ]
:) Original | 1976 | United Artists | search ebay ]

Kaleidoscope (US) “When Scopes Collide”

Though it is generally written off as a failed reunion album, Kaleidoscope’s When Scopes Collide really does demand re-evaluation. Though the record was released six yearsafter Kaleidoscope’s disastrous swan song Bernice, this is not the work of a band that has lost its way. In fact, I would go so far as to argue that When Scopes Collide reveals a group that has not only gained a new lease on life, but has managed to reclaim some of the carefree, communal spirit that had, over time, become less and less apparent in their recorded output. Some of the credit here may be due to multi-instrumentalist Chris Darrow, who finally returns after having jumped ship in the wake of 1968’s A Beacon From Mars.

Some folks have criticized this album as being too “rock and roll,” presumably having hoped for a half hour of lysergic middle-eastern breakdowns. Might I remind these unfortunate listeners, however, that good-old-fashioned rock and roll was always a major part of the Kaleidoscope sound and, though their legend may have been cemented through their innovative use of eastern instruments and rhythms, their more exotic numbers were always outnumbered by their ventures into traditional American musical forms. The band’s strength has always lain in their willingness to cross-pollinate between east and west, whether by laying down whirring shahnai lines across an old Coasters novelty hit like “Little Egypt,” or arranging “Ghost Riders In the Sky” around a haunting oud and lap-steel duet.

Having said all that, however, I will admit that the most transcendent moment on this record does in fact come on the cut with the strongest middle-eastern influence. Solomon Feldthouse’s “It’s Love You’re After” is a hazy, nine-minute tapestry of saz, oud, kemenche, piano, doumbag, violin, gudulka and steel guitar. This may very well be one of the band’s great masterpieces; an epic descendant of earlier Kaleidoscope classics such as “Egyptian Gardens” and “Lie To Me.” Not even an awkward attempt at a percussion solo halfway through is able to dampen the magic.

This record was originally released on Michael Nesmith’s Pacific Arts Records, but in 2005 the German roots-music label Taxim reissued both When Scopes Collide and Kaleidoscope’s second reunion effort, Greetings From Kartoonistan…We Ain’t Dead Yet. It would appear that both are still available, though those of you in the Americas are probably going to have to fork over a little extra in shipping. It’s more than worth it, though; if you dug the first few Kaleidoscope records there’s a good chance you’ll find something to enjoy in this collection. Keep your mind open.

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“So Long”

:D Reissue | 2005 | Taxim | buy here ]
:) Original | 1976 | Pacific Arts | search ebay ]

Klaatu “3:47 EST”

In the late summer of the U.S. Bicentennial, an album was unleashed upon the public which caused much rumor-mongering and gossip within the music world. That album was 3:47 EST, the debut album by Canadian progressive/psychedelic group Klaatu.  The album was hailed superb by critics and fans alike.  Furthermore, what people couldn’t get over was the striking similarity between the style of some of the tunes on the album with The Beatles’ music.  Thus, the inevitable “did The Beatles reunite to make an album?” rumors began.

Supposedly, in 1966, The Beatles recorded enough material to fill an entire album that was intended to be a follow up to Revolver.  Of course, the master tapes were somehow “lost” from Abbey Road studios.  Dealing with Paul McCartney’s alleged “death” in a car accident, The Beatles didn’t want to be bothered with re-recording the album.  When a Paul McCartney look-alike stepped in to take “dead Paul’s” place, The Beatles decided to stop touring and began working on an entirely new album which turned out to be Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  1975 rolled around, and these very “missing” master tapes were rediscovered while researchers were gathering information for a future Beatles documentary entitled The Long And Winding Road (which became the Anthology series twenty years later).  The remaining Beatles decided it would be a great opportunity to release the recorded material as a proper album, sort of in tribute to the “late” James Paul McCartney.  They came to the conclusion that it would be best to release the album with no songwriting credits, and no photographs.  That way, the album could be purchased and enjoyed solely on its musical merits, and free of any Beatles-hype.

Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?  Well, maybe not completely…

When the record hit store shelves, people began wondering a bit.  Why was the album put out by Capitol records (which was the label The Beatles songs were released on in America and Canada)?  Why were there no pictures or names of the band members anywhere on the sleeve?  Why were there no proper production or songwriting credits given, only “Produced by Klaatu”, and “All selections composed by Klaatu”?  “Klaatu” was the name of the alien from the film The Day The Earth Stood Still, and why on Ringo Starr’s Goodnight Vienna album was there a photo of Ringo dressed as Klaatu, standing with Gort (the robot in the film) in front of the spaceship from the movie?  Is that just an odd coincidence?  Why did a few of the songs on the album have vocals which sounded a lot like Paul McCartney and John Lennon?  The questions go on and on.  I don’t want to waste any more of your time on this entire back-story.  There’s tons of information available on the internet.  What is for sure, however, is the pure listening joy this album delivers, no matter who was responsible for it!  (By the way, Klaatu was/is a real band from Toronto, Ontario.  They released several other critically-acclaimed albums, and went on tour.  They’re still performing today.)

“Calling Occupants (Of Interplanetary Craft)” starts off the album, and is probably Klaatu’s best remembered song, although it only stalled at #62 on Billboard’s Hot 100.  A year later, The Carpenters recorded the song, where it reached a respectable #32 on Billboard’s Hot 100.  A perfect piece of proggy-space pop, with a memorable shout-out to visitors from outer space.  “California Jam” is track two, and sounds more like early ’70s AM Bubblegum pop than The Beatles.  A good, uptempo power-pop tune, though.  The album continues with “Anus Of Uranus,” which is a bit of a heavier song with a silly title.  Side one finishes with the second highlight of the album (the first being “Calling Occupants”), “Sub-Rosa Subway”.  Now, this is where I can begin to understand The Beatles comparisons.  The singer certainly sounds a lot like Paul McCartney, and the basslines are undeniably McCartney-esque.  But still, the song sounds a bit too modern to have been supposedly recorded in mid-1966.  This is a song which you’ll probably find yourself putting on repeat.

The album continues being a blast to listen to.  The production is great, the songs are great, the music is great!  True, songs like “Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III” sound a bit like something the Muppets (Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem!) may have recorded, so you’re not going to find a life-changing album here by any means.  But, who cares?  This album finds its way to my turntable almost on a bi-weekly basis, when I want to listen to something fun and arrogance-free.  Pick it up if you have the chance.  You’ll be wanting to purchase their other albums after hearing this, which are just as much fun.  This record will put a smile on your face, for sure.

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“Sub-Rosa Subway”

:D Reissue | 2010 | Indie Europe/Zoom | buy here ]
:) Original | 1976 | Capitol | search ebay ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

Ry Cooder “Chicken Skin Music”

Not exactly a “lost” album, though hardly a classic – on first release in 1976 it struggled to position 177 on the Billboard album chart – Chicken Skin Music can now be seen as an early landmark in Ry Cooder’s lifelong odyssey to reinterpret and re-popularise the various roots musics of North and Central America. His first four solo releases had concentrated on the traditional musical styles of the United States’s poor blacks and whites: blues, country, rural folk and gospel. With this collection he widened his sweep to include cultures on the margins of American society, and in doing so produced one of the earliest forays by a “rock” musician, and the first of many by Cooder himself, into what we now call World Music. It’s now widely regarded as his finest work in a distinguished oeuvre.

Leonardo “Flaco” Jiménez is a virtuoso Tejano accordionist, playing a South Texas style that sprang from German polka and Mexican mariachi roots; since coming to wider prominence with Cooder, he’s enjoyed a long and successful career with Doug Sahm’s Texas Tornadoes. Cooder had played with him shortly before and asked him to contribute to his next recording. Jiménez accordingly graced several tracks on the album with his quicksilver button accordion motifs, giving a lively Tex-Mex topping to Cooder’s revolutionary revivals of the Nashville hit “He’ll Have To Go”, refashioned in a glorious baion rhythm with the accordion harmonised by alto sax in pure Mariachi fashion;  of Lieber and Stoller’s evergreen “Stand By Me”, rendered as a sombre spiritual; and of the hoary old Leadbelly chestnut “Goodnight Irene” in which the accordion fronts a traditional string band in a loping waltz. Cooder contributed to the Hispanic flavour with his newly-incorporated bajo sexto and tiple, as well as his usual electric and slide guitars.

The late Charles “Gabby” Pahinui was a master of Hawaiian lapsteel guitar, and Leland “Atta” Isaacs a virtuoso of the indigenous slack-key guitar style in which the instrument is tuned to one of a variety of open chords but is fretted fingerstyle rather than with a slide. Both were longtime heroes of traditional music in their home islands, and the lynchpins of the revival of Hawaiian roots music in the early 1970s. Cooder flew to Honolulu specifically to record with them: the sessions produced a relaxed Hawaiian rendition of Hank Snow’s old hit “Yellow Roses” and an effortless Western Swing instrumental version of Gus Kuhn’s venerable “Chloe”. Taking his cue from his hosts, Cooder added additional slack-key on the former, and on the latter he harmonised Pahinui’s C6 lapsteel with another, plus overlaying some toothsome mandolin work. Cooder would return the favour by playing on several Pahinui/Isaacs albums.

On the remaining tracks Cooder emulates his distinguished collaborators, adding slack-key guitar to a lilting rendition of the ancient spiritual “Always Lift Him Up” and a modest Cajun accordion – under Jiménez’s tutelage – to a sympathetic reading of Leadbelly’s anti-racist polemic “Bourgeois Blues”. He provides continuity with his earlier recordings by including rocking versions of the old minstrel songs “I Got Mine” and “Smack Dab In The Middle” performed in his accustomed style with faultless electric and slide guitar accompaniment. The presence of various buddies from the LA session Mafia – notably Chris Etheridge (bs), Jim Keltner (drs), George Bohannon (horns) – and his long-standing soulful backing vocal trio of Bobby King, Terry Evans and Herman Johnson ensure quality results throughout.

In more recent years Cooder’s campaign on behalf of the roots musics of America has finally achieved substantive commercial penetration with those of Cuba (Buena Vista Social Club) and Latino California (Chávez Ravine), whilst his urge to collaborate with musicians from more distant cultures has seen him work with Hindustani classical veena player H.M. Bhatt (A Meeting By The River) and the late and greatly lamented Mali multi-instrumental maestro Ali Farka Touré (Talking Timbuktu). They’re all excellent works. At 64 he shows no sign of slowing down and it’s impossible to second-guess what his next project will be. Whatever, you know it’ll be worth a listen.

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“Chloe”

:) Original | 1976 | Reprise | search ebay ]
;) MP3 Album | download here ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

The Nerves “One Way Ticket”

Just when you think you’ve heard every little yellow pill of power pop, every filthy pebble of over-amplified teenage angst from the past, and every nugget of garage-rock glory that’s come back from the grave, you stumble onto something that stands a cut above the rest, that stands the test of time, that sticks in your brain like flies on sherbet–you come across The Nerves.

The Nerves were formed in San Francisco in 1974 by Peter Case, Paul Collins, and Jack Lee. By this time the hippy-dippy Haight Street magic of the late 60s had given way to a neurotic street scene in a nervous, anxious city by the Bay. Specializing in raw rock n’roll tunes with perfect pop hooks, the band played with a frenetic frenzy that, in hindsight, very accurately predicated the official arrival of punk rock that would hit the air in just a few years, and quite arguably created the template for the power-pop scene that was yet to come. Appropriately named as they were, the band made music that was perfect for the time. However, after failing to hit the big time from the surprisingly insular scene in San Francisco, the band headed south to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles they fell in with the burgeoning punk scene, playing gigs with bands such as The Avengers and X at the Masque, the Whiskey, and other fabled Hollywood venues of the time.

Eventually, in 1976, the band made it into the studio to record a self-titled 4 song EP. This EP, which was distributed by the infamous Bomp! Records, ended up being the band’s only official release, as the band split nearly a year later without any time to deliver a follow up. After time this self titled 4 song EP became the stuff of legend, gaining a reputation amongst musicians in-the-know and record collectors as an irresistible slice of wax, a definite must own for fans of power-pop, punk, and garage rock. Copies always sell for a pretty penny and seem to practically never show up on Ebay, as if they are silently being passed down, from hand to hand by fanatics the world round. Fortunately for us, in 2008 Alive Records released One Way Ticket, which includes the self titled 4 song EP along with a handful of unreleased tracks, including live cuts, demos, and two songs that the band recorded for Bomp! that were intended to comprise a second release. Every studio recording made by The Nerves is included on this release.

Simply worth the price of admission alone for the fabled four song EP, “One Way Ticket” is almost too good to be true. The two cuts that were intended for the follow up release on Bomp! are incredible. “One Way Ticket” is an up-beat rocker to be reckoned with that recalls the early sound of The Beatles and showcases the singing and songwriting of bassist Peter Case (who had written and sung only one of the four songs on the initial EP), while “Paper Dolls” is yet another catchy tune delivered by guitarist Jack Lee that sounds like some lost Flamin’ Groovies outtake, only better! Both songs practically leap from the speakers with their infectious amphetamine energy, sounding more punk than most punk rock ever manages while showcasing pure golden California pop hooks. Case sounds practically frantic on the title-track, lamenting the insane urban environment of the time. When he sings “Get me outta here! “at the end of the hook he sounds fed up, like he’s had enough of the crazy narcotic, neurotic urban streets of post-war America.

Other standout tracks include, of course, the original version of “Hanging On The Telephone,” which reaches deep and just destroys Blondie’s later remake. The Nerves’ version seems to come from an altogether different place, with singer Jack Lee sounding desperate, pathetically pleading not to be left behind and forgotten–a (young) man at the end of his rope. Similarly, Case’s “When You Find Out” is a phenomenal slice of garage-rock glory that features an exceptionally smokin’ vocal performance from Case. Case sings it like he means it for real, and it’s the ultimate kiss-off when, amidst the minor chord jingle jangle of Rickenbackers and the thump and thud of Paul Collins’ drums, he sings “When you find out I was the one/It’s gonna be pretty hard on you”. On the other end of the spectrum is the upbeat pop tune “Working Too Hard.” With a sound influenced by The Kinks this tune shows a lighter side of the band and foreshadows the arrival of The Knack on the power-pop scene. The only complaint about this release is that some of the unreleased tracks suffer from the audio quality being a bit muddy, obviously due to the fact that most of these recordings were never intended to be released. The demo version of “Many Roads To Follow”, while interesting and catchy, definitely sounds like a demo–that is, not a completely finished song, and eventually has the affect of leaving one wishing for a proper studio version of the tune. Who knows, maybe more tapes will start being discovered in old suitcases.

This review couldn’t possibly be complete without mentioning the live tracks. This band delivers the goods, and then some. You can imagine them playing, peeling the paint off the walls of some bombed out North Beach dive to a bunch of burned out ex-flower-children assuredly watching in amazement, mouths agape and beers in hand or a bunch of jaded Angelino punks at a scuzzy Hollywood bar. These live tracks, which feature mostly guitarist Jack Lee on vocals, reek of beer and sweat and are valuable for the glimpse they provide of The Nerves’ live sound, which, after having become the stuff legends are made of, sounds to be markedly more punk sounding than any of the studio recorded material. All in all, the live tidbits really add to the overall package, providing a fuller view of the band.

Anyway you slice it One Way Ticket is a killer album, with the first six songs being practically perfect lost pop masterpieces. If you’re a fan of power-pop, garage rock, or punk this album is a must own and will surely became a new favorite within a matter a moments. If you’re a fan of rock music, period, you need this album. In the end, what’s so fascinating about The Nerves isn’t just their early input into power-pop, their involvement with the burgeoning Los Angeles punk scene, or the direct link they provide between garage rock and punk–but the fact that the first six tracks on this album sound like they could have been recorded yesterday by a handful of 22 year olds in a garage in San Francisco (ie. Girls, The Fresh and Only’s, etc…) or even at the turn of the century by a handful of 22 year olds in a basement in New York City.

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“Hanging On The Telephone”

:D CD Reissue | 2008 | Alive Records | buy from bomp | amazon ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

Mac Gayden “Skyboat”

Note: Today’s post comes from dk, author to one of the finest vintage music blogs around: dk presents. Don’t miss subscribing over there and look forward to some more Storm reviews from dk in the future.

The story of Mac Gayden’s Skyboat is one of bad promotion, bad cover art, and bad luck. Gayden was a top-notch Nashville session guitarist who made an uncredited appearance on Bob Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde, played the distinctive slide guitar on J.J. Cale’s ‘Crazy Mama’, and wrote hit songs such as ‘Everlasting Love’ (part of which he claims to have written on his grandmother’s piano when he was just five years old). This 1976 album is a pleasing amalgamation of many 70’s musical styles – country rock instrumentation, soulful vocals, pop sheen (string charts courtesy of Bergen White), and an overall singer-songwriter sensibility. Wedged stylistically between Cat Stevens and Poco, Skyboat should have been Gayden’s breakthrough.

Instead, paint-by-numbers promotion men in Los Angeles saw a Nashville artist and assumed Skyboat was a country record, which it most definitely is not. By pushing this album as country and sending it out exclusively to country stations, ABC Records effectively ensured its doom. And there’s no way to put this kindly – that album art is atrocious. The awkward creature flying across that cover is in no way representative of the 11 highly-polished cuts on this record, and certainly didn’t help its cause.

Opener ‘Morning Glory’ has hit written all over it. One of the great lost tunes of the ’70s, this song is so good that you’ll sing along the first time you hear it. Gayden shows off his considerable guitar chops in two places on this song, but particularly on his solo near its conclusion. Sublime stuff. ‘Gettysburg’ is a stirring, minor-key, banjo-tinged ode to the South that was recorded in a thunderstorm and sounds like a blueprint for Will Oldham’s career. Gayden lays down his own version of ‘Everlasting Love’ (since covered by nearly everyone, including U2), which ironically might be the least heard of the many versions in circulation. Elsewhere, ‘Don’t Look Back’ is a bold re-wiring of a Temptations’ song that makes perfect sense in this context, and ‘Diamond Mandala’ closes the album with 10 minutes of Appalachian fever dream that conjures Sandy Bull, Aaron Copland and Native American spirit dances.

Gayden told Mojo magazine in 2002 that “By the time [radio] realized the album [wasn't country] it was too late, and many stations refused to play the record because of ABC, not because of me. It put an end to my career… so I do have some bittersweet memories.” The memories might be bittersweet, but the music is pure nectar…

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“Morning Glory”

:D CD 2fer | 2008 | Big Beat | buy at amazon ]
:) Orig Vinyl |  1976 | ABC | search ebay ]

LP Giveaway: R.Stevie Moore “Phonography”

As I’ve posted over at AD , there’s a new issue of Phonography out. Here’s how R. Stevie describes Sundazed’s latest pressing:

“Premier. the audiophile pressing is shocking. pure warm loud lo-fi sound – zero vinyl surface detection. no turntable rumble, not one tick or pop, no static cling even. absolutely total quiet. and especially in the more silent passages. kinda hard to believe. it’s magic….don’t think it’s EVER sounded this good. A+++”

We love this record + luckily Sundazed got us a free LP to give away to a Rising Storm reader, SIGNED by R. Stevie himself. To enter for a chance to win, just leave a comment below (with a working email address). While you’re at it, tell us what’s your favorite cult classic, lo-fi, d.i.y, home-taped artist, album, song or anything (besides Stevie of course).

:) HD Vinyl | 2010 | sundazed ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

Roland White “I Wasn’t Born to Rock’n Roll”

During the early ’60s folk revival, The Kentucky Colonels were the hottest pickers around, for a minute. Led by brothers Roland White and Clarence White, in 1964 and ’65 they released their knockout instrumental record, Appalachian Swing!, and recorded some astonishing live performances, largely showcasing Clarence’s cutting-edge crosspicking and Roland’s speedy work on the mandolin. By 1965, Clarence was moving on to electric sessions, later joining Nasvhille West and The Byrds and Roland would soon join Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys, followed by Lester Flatt’s Nashville Grass.

On this 1976 release (three years after Clarence’s tragic death) Roland doesn’t quite abuse his mando like he did in the Colonel days, but instead turns out a wonderfully laid back collection of old-timers and gems from a well-steeped knowledge of bluegrass history. Alan Munde, Kenny Wertz, Roger Bush, and Dave Ferguson join Roland on a deeply traditional set, but one that digs up some of the lesser known tunes by Monroe (“Can’t You Hear Me Calling”), the Carter Family (“The Storms Are On The Ocean”), and Lester Flatt, whose “Head Over Heels In Love With You” appears on a White record for the first time since the brothers released their very first single, back when they were The Country Boys.

“Powder Creek” is the one original, an instrumental fiddle-tune written by Clarence and Roland in 1963 (on the Jersey Turnpike!), and recorded for the first time here. One of my favorite cuts is the previously unreleased bonus track, a smooth take on “She’s Her Own Special Baby” by songwriter, John Hadley (who also contributes “Doorstep of Trouble” and another fine one, “Same Old Blues Again”). Roland gives the standards one clean swoop in his eight-minute “Marathon,” a medley coasting through classics like “Love Please Come Home,” “Nine Pound Hammer,” “and “Shackles and Chains.”

What this album may be missing in ‘hot licks,’ it makes up for tenfold in charm. Released for the first time on CD from Tompkins Square, this has been spinning back to front in my old ride on these early summer days; a relaxed, endearing effort from a legend in his own right. The perfect kickoff to bluegrass season. Time to get pickin.

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“She Is Her Own Special Baby”

:D CD Reissue | 2010 | Tompkins Square | buy from amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1976 | Ridge Runner Records | search ebay ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]