Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Astral Projection - 1968 - The Astral Scene

The Astral Projection
1968 
The Astral Scene



01. (Astral Projection ... Leaving The Body) Overture / The Sunshine Seekers - 3:00
02. Plant Your Seed - 2:48
03. (Mind Flight) ... Overture The Airways Of Imagination - 3:23
04. The Happening People - 3:150
05. Accordion Pleated Mind - 2:32
06. (Astral Exploration) ... Oveture Dreams, Shadows And Illusions - 3:09
07. Whatta We Gotta Lose - 2:56
08. Something To Believe In - 2:47
09. Today, I Saw The Sunrise - 2:11
10. (Spiral Interiorization)...Overture - The Astral Scene - 4:07

*Syemour Barab - Cello
*Eugene Bianco - Harp
*Jay Berliner - Guitar
*Seymour Berman - Viola
*Lor Crane - Percussion
*Al Gorgioni - Rhythm Guitar
*Louis Haber - Violin
*Harold Keinz - Woodwinds
*Harry Lookfsky - Violin
*Hugh Mccracken - Lead Guitar
*Joseph Macho Jr. - Bass
*Boris Mnidney - Clarinet
*Dominick Mobardo - Trombone
*Joseph Newman - Trumpet
*Frank Owens - Keyboards
*Alan Raph - Bass Trombone
*David Sackson - Viola
*Buddy Saltzman - Drums
*James Sedlar - Trumpet
*Irving Spice - Violin



Bernice Ross and Lor Crane had enjoyed some mid-1960s successes as songwriters (Danny White's "White On White") and as producers.  Crane produced several of Chad and Jeremy's hit singles and albums.  1968 saw the pair dipping their creative toes into psych via the studio project The Astral Projection.  Musically "The Astral Scene" is an oddity falling somewhere between Curt Boetcher-styled sunshine pop, Association-styled top-40 and Animated Egg styled exploito.

Ross and Crane wrote all of the material but it was performed by an all star cast of sessions players including guitarists Al Gorgoni and Hugh McCrackin. Thematically tracks such as 'The Sunshine Seekers' and 'Plant Your Seeds' were highly orchestrated tying together as a full-fledged concept piece.  If you waded through the extensive back panel liner notes by Barbara Christensen, the plot line had something to do with the concept of escaping the physical body to experience spiritual embodiment.

Certainly something many of us ponder day in and day out ...  In spite of the goofy titles and lyrics ('Today, I saw The Sunrise') and the fact the arrangements were full of rather spacey instrumentation, virtually of the songs were quite commercial. It's easy to imagine stuff like '(Mind Flight) ... Overture The Airways Of Imagination' or 'The Happening People' having been adopted for some sort of 1960s television theme song.

This has absolutely nothing to do with the music, but the album's also kind of interesting in that it carries a dedication to 'Oric Bovar'.  Bovar's best known as a guru who attracted a following in Broadway circles.  Folks such as Carol Burnett, Marsha Mason, Bernadette Peters and Neil Simon fell under his spell and helped him to become quite popular for a short period of time.

Originally renowned for generating accurate astrological charts and prescribing medications that could provide one with inner peace, Bovar was actually a nut case.  Convinced he was Jesus Christ, he instructed his followers to start celebrating Christmas on August 29th (his birthday).  He started arranging marriages between followers, mandated strict diets for them and forbade extramarital sex among his followers.  Bovar also attracted attention in the Fall of 1976 when he tried to resurrect the body of a 29 year old disciple who had died of cancer.

Nothing wrong being positive, but Bovar and a couple of followers spent two months chanting over the decomposing body in a New York apartment.  Someone finally called the cops and he was arrested for violating city health ordnances.  In April 1977, a couple of hours before he was to appear in court Bovar decided he would jump of of a 10th floor window with the intention of appearing in court cloaked in resurrected glory.  Needless to say Bovar missed his court appointment.

A straight reissue of a 1968 album originally issued on Metromedia, The Astral Scene is one of those weirdly compelling pop albums that could have only emanated from the Age of Aquarius. A conceptual undertaking meant to reveal the wondrous cycle of the telepathic phenomenon of astral projection. The album somehow manages to communicate the complex precepts of astral experience in lay terms and remain deliciously frothy pop at the softest, most easy-listening end of the spectrum. It works the same sonic conceit as the Fifth Dimension (only in lily-white, soul-lite mode) or the stable of bands (the Association, Ballroom, Sagittarius, and Millennium) produced or helmed by Curt Boettcher, only without the countercultural credibility and legitimately trippy factor. That's because the album, as with dozens of similar efforts from the era, is really a quasi-exploitive cash-in project. Essentially a studio creation conceived and written by Bernice Ross and Lor Crane, who did not take part in the actual recording (although the latter co-produced). The playing was done by ace sessionmen (Al Gorgoni, Hugh McCracken, Frank Owens, Buddy Saltzman, etc.), and then the music overlaid with delicate strings, and a brass and woodwind section. In a sense, it entirely missed the thrust of the decade's more original and exploratory music that it meant to exploit. But in another cosmically ironic sense, it captures the heady era far more vibrantly than those more important artists, partly because the music of the Astral Projection is nowhere near as timeless as the music of those artists. And partly because the explosive creativity of the era filtered in weird and wonderful ways even down to the eternally unhip music business types responsible for this album, giving them carte blanche to experiment with the money formula, but not too much, thereby resulting in this odd hybrid of commercially minded but ultimately uncommercial music. Like most such efforts, it is wildly uneven and only intermittently successful, containing too much lightweight material and unbearably twee sentiment to take serious, but then that partial failure to execute its pretensions is perhaps the most intriguing aspect of such masterworks, and especially this one. Still, The Astral Scene is largely soft-pop ambience. Songs are scarely present (and as a result it's difficult to single out particular successes), which stands to reason since it is more studio exercise than artistic inspiration. Nevertheless, it has moments of pure delight that bring the '60s experience back in full technicolor.

John Ylvisaker - 1972 - Recorded at a Housewarming for Fritzie

John Ylvisaker 
1972 
Recorded at a Housewarming for Fritzie




01. Earth-Day Triology
02. Ballad of Jonathon Omar
03. Glory Halleluia
04. A Blues Passion: Gethsemane, Annanias, Blind, Soon One Morning, Emmaus

Bass [Added Later], Vocals, Guitar – John Ylvisaker
Lead Guitar – David Blakeley

On rear sleeve:
Guests at the party: (top to bottom, left to right) David Blakeley, Lora Peterson, Hal and Penny Dragseth, Doug Tuve, Carolyn and Bill Kees, Cheryl Egertson, Mandy, Jon-Marc and John Ylvisaker, Michael, Daniella and Reiner Sinjuschkin, Fritz and Renate Sinjuschkin.



Prepare to be jolted right from the start with one of the most guttural growls imaginable. What is this – a pirate drinking song? Tom Waits with a throat infection? By golly if this custom isn’t one of the most down-home lps ever made! As the title indicates, this is a live recording of two guitarists, a wailing harmonica, and a handful of guests gathered around a living room microphone and hamming it up (with bass mixed in later). It’s a marvelous blend of back porch acoustic blues, spirituals, and folk originals – a complete about face from John’s Avant Garde lps. Lots of lengthy twangy raw bluesy jamming backed by a party atmosphere of hoopin’ and hollerin’, clapping, singing along – indeed I know of one collector that’s gone so far as to say they must have been stoned! Titles like ‘Glory Hallelujah’, ‘Gethsemane’, ‘Emmaus’, and ‘Annanias’ (which stops cold in mid-song for a comical shouting match between Pilate and the Pharisees). You’d expect radical hippie types, but back cover photos of the participants (cleverly cut out into house windows) reveals your basic young adult and kids church bunch. Brilliant, sincere, and spontaneous – the absolute antithesis of Christian labels with their studios and producers – the mere thought of anything like this appearing on such is ridiculous. Bravo, John!

John Ylvisaker - 1968 - Follow Me

John Ylvisaker 
1968
Follow Me




01. The Birth 2:38
02. The Song Of The Stable Boy 2:37
03. John, The Baptizer 4:43
04 Nicodemus 3:18
05. Wade In The Water 2:40
06. The Rich Young Ruler 3:09
07. The Water Of Life 3:07
08. Judas Iscariot 3:27
09. The Victory Dance 2:00
10. Thomas 3:09
11. Peter And The Angel 2:30
12. Follow Me 3:10


Celesta, Organ, Piano – Dick Hyman
Double Bass – George Duvivier
Electric Guitar, Guitar [Classical] – Jay Berliner
Flute, Organ – Amanda Ylvisaker
Guitar, Guitar [12-string], Vocals – John Ylvisaker
Percussion – Paul Palmes

Recorded April 4, 1968. Words on A1, A3-B5 adapted from the Scripture.



Follow Me is a quieter album than Cool Livin’ and A Love Song, with no real psychedelic influences to speak of. No less of a treat though as John and Amanda perform twelve New Testament stories in song, updating traditional melodies through such diverse contemporary styles as folk, pop, rock, jazz, Caribbean and ragtime. Professional musicians again, including Dick Hyman on keyboards (piano, organ, celeste) and Jay Berliner on classical and electric guitar. Amanda harmonizes on the choruses and also contributes flute and organ. ‘Down By The Riverside’, ‘Wade In The Water’, ‘Song Of The Stable Boy’, ‘The Rich Young Ruler’, ‘The Water Of Life’, ‘Judas Iscariot’, ‘Peter And The Angel’, among others.

John Ylvisaker - 1968 - A Love Song

John Ylvisaker 
1968 
A Love Song




01. A Love Song 3:17
02. The Old Man and the New 4:18
03. Pharoah's Adopted Grandson, Moses 3:01
04. She Didn't Know 2:20
05. Noise of Solemn Assemblies 2:30
06. The Prophecy 3:10
07. Joseph 2:20
08. The Camel Swallowers 3:16
09. A Matter of Sobriety 3:45
10. Desolation 2:15
11. Palm Sunday 4:03
12. The Man for Me 2:33

Celesta, Organ, Piano – Dick Hyman
Double Bass – George Duvivier
Electric Guitar, Guitar [Classical] – Jay Berliner
Flute, Organ – Amanda Ylvisaker
Guitar, Guitar [12-string], Vocals – John Ylvisaker
Percussion – Paul Palmes

Recorded April 4, 1968.




A Love Song continues to present challenging music while drawing from Biblical material for its twelve songs, all united on varied aspects of the topic of love. ‘Noise Of Solemn Assemblies’ and ‘Joseph’ are classic examples of psychedelia dripping with acid organ, while ‘Palm Sunday’ has a more dream-like quality, Amanda’s flute work softly poised above spacey atmospheric guitar harmonics. ‘A Matter Of Sobriety’ pulls a Procol Harum maneuver with its classical cathedral organ and harpsichord accompaniment. Nods to the ‘60s sounds of Dave Brubeck and Ramsey Lewis can be found on ‘Pharoah’s Adopted Grandson Moses’ and ‘The Camel Swallowers’. Closes with a high-energy Johnny Rivers-styled rocker ‘The Man For Me’. Several top-notch musicians were enlisted, including jazz keyboardist Dick Hyman and guitarist Jay Berliner. Such uniqueness in lyric and composition (not to mention the professional sound) is rare in the Christian community, so if you get the opportunity, by all means experience John’s music. It’s extraordinarily groovy! A Swedish 1994 re-issue collected the edgier tracks from both Cool Livin’ and A Love Song, packaging them with the cover/title from A Love Song. See also Praise The Lord In Many Voices Part I, Happenings At The Gathering and Songs For Today.


John Ylvisaker - 1967 - Cool Livin'

John Ylvisaker
1967 
Cool Livin'




01. Cool Livin'
02. Tornado
03. Despair
04. Who Cares For The City?
05. Do You Know What I've Done?
06. My City
07. A Gay Cliche
08. Song Of Mary
09. The Man And His Dog
10. Highly Polished Tin
11. The Truth Comes Out
12. Let Loose

Acoustic Bass [String Bass] – Curtis Jerde
Flute, Organ – Amanda Ylvisaker
Percussion – Floyd Thompson
Percussion [Auxilliary] – Aurelio Grott
Piano – Bobby Lyle
Vocals, Electric Guitar, Electric Bass, Classical Guitar, Twelve-String Guitar – John Ylvisaker




“It’s cool, cool, cool livin’, when a person lives forgiven.” I had heard rumor that this lp and A Love Song by Lutheran musician John Ylvisaker (pronounced elvis-sacker) were the tops for the label. When Cool Livin’ first came my way those rumors was confirmed. My initial reaction was something along the lines of Perry Como on acid. John’s voice is rich, expressive and full of range – the kind of voice you’d be more likely to find crooning in the sixties adult pop scene. But that music – woah! Cool Livin’ transports the listener through a variety of contemporary styles, including ‘60s rock, psych, folk/beat, blues and jazz. Good electric guitar from John on the title track and ‘A Gay Cliché’, bending the strings a little here and there for that twangy garage vibe. Charges into full-fledged psychedelia on the experimental ‘Do You Know What I Have Done?’ which takes its theme from the account of Christ washing the disciples’ feet. Wife Amanda’s organ accompaniment figures heavily in the sound, bringing a trippy psych mood to ‘My City’, as well as forceful rock edges to ‘Tornado’ and ‘Who Cares For The City?’. Her keyboards even reveal some Sgt. Pepper influences on the unusual ‘Highly Polished Tin’. Totally switches gears for the gentle ballad ‘Song Of Mary’ and the pure jazz excursion ‘The Man And His Dog’ (featuring pianist Bobby Lyle). Hip original lyrics with a bit of beat-generation attitude, touching on such topics as despair, city life, confession, spiritual lingo, Jesus, poverty and racism, the church, plus a parable or two where you’ll have to delve a little deeper for the meaning. ‘Let Loose’ pokes fun at how we “do the church” with “our Sunday smiles and uptight clothes, our sermon ears and twinkle toes”, followed by the injunction to “let loose the love of God in you”. This is one swinging’ cut and it just might make you wanna pop up and do the twist or something. John really lets loose on his singing, too. No screaming or anything, but the dude is definitely expressive and he gets into it.  

John Ylvisaker - 1964 - Don't Cut The Baby In Half

John Ylvisaker 
1964 
Don't Cut The Baby In Half



01. The Prophecy
02. Joseph
03. Gifts
04. Rich Young Ruler
05. Water Of Life
06. Desolation
07. They Can't Kill Me (I've Already Died)
08. Anxiety
09. Don't Cut The Baby In Half
10. The Noise Of Your Solemn Assemblies
11. The Noodle In The Alphabet Soup
12. Dog Spelled Backwards
13. He's Got The Whole Baby In His Hands
14. O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing

Recorded in 1965 during a convocation at Northwestern Seminary in Minneapolis.

Bass – Paul Romstad
Flute – Amanda Ylvisaker
Organ – Steve Gronseth
Percussion – Mikkel Romstad
Photography By – Rohn Engh
Voice – Bill Strom




John Carl Ylvisaker is perhaps best known for his song, “I Was There To Hear Your Borning Cry”.   He was born in Moorhead, Minnesota and is a graduate of Concordia College located there. For more than 50 years John’s words and music have been a powerful influence on the development of new worship materials for the church, with his compositions appearing in hundreds of worship resources.  He is renowned for his paraphrase of biblical text and theological astuteness, as well as his ability to recognize or write tunes people in the pew can readily sing.

In addition to being an artist and composer, John’s past experience includes teaching high school music, directing church choirs, and serving as the producer of SCAN, an award-winning weekly radio program sponsored by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). John also has composed much of the original music for Lutheran Vespers radio broadcasts and ELCA videos, as well as theme songs for gatherings and events.

John has inspired audiences with his live performances and worship leadership at the many assemblies, conferences, and gatherings where he has appeared. Currently he is involved in producing recordings of his work. His copyrights cover more than 1,000 songs.

Just when you thought your John Ylvisaker collection might be nearing completion here comes this excruciatingly rare custom recording that reportedly has only a 100-200 press.  Many of the songs here are early acoustic renderings of titles that would later appear on his Avant Garde albums: ‘The Prophecy’, ‘Joseph’, ‘Desolation’, ‘Rich Young Ruler’, ‘Water Of Life’, ‘They Can’t Kill Me’, ‘Noise Of Solemn Assemblies’.  The performance features 12-string guitar plus bass, percussion, organ, a second male harmony (Bill Strom), and Amanda Ylvisaker on flute.  Side two introduces several otherwise unavailable cuts like ‘Anxiety’, ‘The Noodle In The Alphabet Soup’, and the title track.  Cool Livin’s ‘A Man And His Dog’ is done (here it’s entitled  ‘Dog Spelled Backwards’).  Portions recorded live before an audience at the Northwestern Seminary Convocation.  The verbal songs intros are preserved – he introduces ‘He’s Got The Whole Baby In His Hands’ as having “what they used to call a ‘nigger beat’ – they don’t call it that any more”.  Closes with a sing-along to the tune of ‘Michael Row The Boat Ashore’, after which John says “well that’s it”, followed by audience applause.  For those who don’t mind their Ylvisaker unplugged, this makes for another fine entry to his varied and distinguished catalog.

Crypto - 1974 - Crypto

Crypto 
1974
Crypto




01. Ribatejo (3:49)
02. Masogistic Bonus Point (4:48)
03. Funk For Farmers (5:24)
04. My Bonnie (6:33)
05. Gallfly (2:17)
06. Melon Cactus (3:03)
07. Awakening (5:56)
08. Tatus (7:32)
09. Nova Zembla (4:00)

- Wim Dijkgraaf /bass
- Peter Schön / piano, Mellotron, synthesizer
- Jan Nanning van der Hoop / drums, percussion
- Bert Devies / guitar


CRYPTO was a short lived jazz rock band from Zandvoort formed in 1973 and disbanded in 1975. It was led by Peter SCHON who had writting and production duties and played an array of keyboards and synths which shine on the record. They were comparable to funky fusion of PLACEBO while they lasted, and some of the members along with SCHON would work in another similar band called PUMPKIN

Gamma - 1974 - Darts

Gamma
1974
Darts




01. Wishing Like Children Part One 3:15
02. Wishing Like Children Part Two 2:11
03. Exposal 5:03
04. Endless 2:24
05. Goodbye Holiday 6:11
06. Darts 6:45
07. Anna's Mood 2:28
08. Heart Rythme 4:43
09. Your Face 3:30

Recorded 19, 20, 21, 22, 24 and 27 October 1974 at DALI PRESS STUDIO's B.V. Machineweg 8-12, Nederhorst den Berg. Holland.
Special thanks to Ralph Dragstra and Petra

Bass – Rob Goubitz
Drums, Percussion – Hans Van Der Schaft
Keyboards – Paul Poulissen
Guitar – Lex Bolderdijck (tracks: A2, A5, B1)
Percussion – Bob Martens
Guitar – Wouter Hasebos


"Darts" is quite a bit different and is a mix of sensual soft fusion with occasional loud guitar and organ leads. I like the mood of this one, and is quite pleasant. And for certain the better of the two efforts.

"Darts" is on the Pandora label (like Crypto) whereas the debut is considered one of The Netherlands' rarest private presses.

Gamma - 1973 - Alpha

Gamma
1973
Alpha



01. Gamma 6:15
02. I Had a Wonderful Dream 3:30
03. Dear Igor [Strawinsky] 2:40
04. Sphinx 5:00
05. Choo-Choo 2:55
06. Linda 4:00
07. Helena 3:30
08. Fandango 5:20

Frans Michiel: vocals, lyrics
Edgar Starink: lead guitar, flute, organ
Paulus Poulissen: electric piano, organ, piano, trumpet, flugelhorn
Phil Moolhuizen: rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar
Jean Michel: bass guitar
Tom van Dyke: percussion



Another little-known band from Holland,who's rare works "Gamma" (1972) and "Darts" (1974) definitely worth a spin.They were formed in 1970 by their leader organist/pianist Paul Poulissen and actually they worked more like a session group than a full-time band,as Poulissen is the only musician presented on both of their albums.

Their first release,entitled ''Alpha'',came out in 1973 and GAMMA's music can be defined as a mixed bag of brass rock and soft orchestral prog rock,bringing to mind bands like EKSEPTION (for the dominent horn section) and FOCUS (for the flute-driven classical-inspired passages).The musicianship is very nice,showing a band with talent and potential,but what actually spoils the whole effort are the unbearable vocals of Frans Te Spenke,who sings like if he was a singer coming out of a low-budget musical.Fortunately the album is mostly instrumental,ranging from brass-rock parts with horns and saxes and jazzy inteplays with piano/bass/drums on the front and JAN AKKERMAN-like guitars to classical soft instrumental themes with great flute work and and the awaited early 70's sound of slight psychedelic doses.

''Alpha'' won't blow your mind,but it is certainly an decent but lost progressive work of the Dutch scene,which will definitely reward your efforts to purchase it.

Kieran White - 1975 - Open Door

Kieran White 
1975 
Open Door




01. Open Up Your Door — 3:35
02. Cajun Moon — 3:35
03. Cold City Night — 5:10
04. I May Be Wrong — 4:52
05. Lay Your Love Down — 4:35
06. Cadillac — 4:29
07. Stone Ground — 3:29
08. Janie — 5:54
09. Dark Star — 4:30
10. Cargo County — 3:35

Personnel:
Kieran Raymond White — vocals, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, harmonica
Dave Sheen — drums, percussion, bass guitar
Chas Jankel — keyboards, electric guitar, harmony vocals
Jeff Driscol — saxes, flutes
Roger Bunn — acoustic bass
Tim Staffel — harmony vocals
Donal Lunney — synthesizers, acoustic guitar, harmony vocals, producer


This record makes me think what an album by Philip Lynott and Gordon Haskell would make together, with Steamhammer as their backing band.
Great, but restrained, vocals with with accomplished, but subtle musicians.
This is meant as a compliment to Kieran White. I only wish he would have made a few more albums after this one. Luckily, we have this one and his three with Steamhammer.
If this makes sense to you, buy the record.

Steamhammer - 1972 - Speech

Steamhammer 
1972
Speech



01. Penumbra
02. Telegram
03. For Against

- Martin Pugh: guitar, vocals
- Louis Cennamo: bass, vocals
- Mickey Bradley: drums

With:
- Garth Watt-Roy: clarinet, vocals




This could be a Mick Bradley's prelude . Listening to the album, you may, easily realize, that Mick Bradley should be among the 5 best Rock drummers .The song "Penumbra" was the prototype of Armageddon 's "Buzzurd"...In fac,t Armageddon just copied "Penumbra" . That was not a problem of course , because Bradley was dead and Pugh and Cennamo were Armageddon, together with Relf and Caldwell.The fact was that "Speech" came up in 1972 and Armageddon self titled album came up four years later. Too late for this kind of music , Punk was ready to change everything... The destiny was that Cennamo joined Steamhammer and after his first release with the band (Speech) , Mick Bradley died . Cenammo joined Armageddon and after their 1st and only release Keith Relf died...Tough luck.

Steamhammer - 1970 - Mountains

Steamhammer 
1970 
Mountains



01. I Wouldn't Have Thought (5:40)
02. Riding On The L&N* (10:12)
03. Hold That Train* (5:46)
04. Levinia (3:23)
05. Henry Lane (3:54)
06. Leader Of The Ring (2:55)
07. Walking Down The Raod (3:44)
08. Mountains (5:37)

* recorded live at the Lyceum Theatre, London

- Martin Pugh / guitars, vocals
- Kieran White / guitars, harmonica, vocals
- Mickey Bradley / drums
- Steve Davy / organ, bass, vocals

guest musicians:
- Keith Nelson / banjo (on Henry Lane)



This album is top of British blues rock excelence! A perfect crossover between stealthy, classic blues rock sounds and a hint of prog rock flavor. Steamhammer produced some fascinating and breathtaking material during their short-lived career in the British underground.
Wonderful songwriting, musical know-how, tasty moods - these terms perfectly define this album. Featuring excellent playing from one of the most underrated guitarists in the history - Martin Pugh. I can easily say he had his own style and his screaming signature tone, you know it when you hear it!! Kieran White supplies this album with robust, veteran blues vocals and rhythm guitar playing, which sits perfectly in the band mix, at times sounding like a Rhodes electric piano. Steve Davy, a young bass player with a strong jazz influence and a new drummer Mick Bradley provide a strong rhythmic fundation for the band's own sound.

My favorite tracks from the album... Every track is my favorite, but if I were to choose just one, a cover of a New York swing-blues classic "Riding On the L&N" leaves you speechless. This track has it all. An essential track in British blues history. A sign that blues is getting modern, that the new age for blues is comming. As an interesting fact - "Henry Lane" features something of a rarity in those days - a banjo! This gives the track a pleasant, folky feel.

Overall, I didn't even think about any other rating than 5 stars. This album is a must for progressive rock fans, showing boundaries of what the genre was and how interesting it could be. That said, hail Stemhammer - a criminally underrated band!

Steamhammer - 1970 - MK II

Steamhammer 
1970
MK II




01. Supposed To Be Free (5:59)
02. Johnny Carl Morton (4:38)
03. Sunset Chase (3:02)
04. Contemporary Chick Con Song (3:49)
05. Turn Around (3:36)
06. 6/8 For Amiran (3:04)
07. Passing Through (5:17)
08. Down Along The Grove (0:47)
09. Another Travelling Tune (16:23)
10. Fran And Dee Take a Ride (2:58)

Additional Tracks:
11. Junior's Wailing (single version) (3:30)
12. Windmill (4:28)
13. Autumn Song (4:09)
14. Blues For Passing People (6:26)

- Steve Jolliffe / flute, harpsichord, keyboards, saxophone (Alto), vocals, wind
- Kieran White / guitar, harmonica, Jew's-Harp, vocals
- Mickey Bradley / percussion, conga, drums
- Steve Davy / bass, guitar (bass), vocals
- Martin Pugh / guitar, guitar (electric), vocals



More blues-rock than prog-rock, Steamhammer's second album would see this powerful outfit begin to accomodate more progressive elements into their rough 'n' ready sound, yet also affirm their wonderfully earthy style thanks to that rare mixture of grit and polish that is rarely found in late 20th century rock music. By now featuring their 'classic' line-up of Kieran White(vocals, guitar), Steve Davy(bass), Martin Pugh(guitar) and Mick Bradley(drums) and augmented by wandering multi-instrumentalist and future Tangerine Dream member Steve Joliffe, 'MK II' rivals follow-up effort 'Mountains' for the title of best Steamhammer album thanks to it's nicely-judged brew of ever-so-slight psychedelic ingredients, heavy riffing, old-style blues workouts and the occasional complex musical workout(evident on the superb sixteen-minute epic 'Another Travelling Tune'. Though their progressive rock credentials are rather thin, Steamhammer's muscular blues-drenched musical course makes lightweight groups such as Greenslade, Curved Air and The Strawbs seem positively feeble, especially when the group let their musical imaginations run away with them. The group's real strength lies in guitarist Martin Pugh's dextrous playing and Kieran White's gruff vocals, yet this is very much band music made by men who have obviously been playing on the road for sometime. Later albums such as 'Speech' - their ill-judged foray into prog-rock proper - would find the line- up fragmenting and the original magic slipping away, yet, for a few brief years Steamhammer were genuinely the real deal, straddling the gaping chasm between blues and prog with genuine aplomb. Highly recommended.

Steamhammer - 1969 - Reflection

Steamhammer
1969
Reflection


01. Water, Pt. 1 (0:52)
02. Junior's Wailing(3:18)
03. Lost You Too (3:28)
04. She Is the Fire (3:10)
05. You'll Never Know (3:27)
06. Even the Clock (3:49)
07. Down the Highway (4:28)
08. On Your Road (2:43)
09. Twenty-Four Hours (7:28)
10. When All Your Friends Are Gone (3:49)
11. Water, Pt. 2 (1:44)

- Kieran White / vocals, harmonica, acoustic guitar
- Martin Pugh / lead guitar
- Martin Quittenton / guitar
- Steve Davey / bass
- Michael Rushton / drums



Steamhammer's debut is clearly entrenched into the second wave of British Blues Boom along with TYA , Savoy Brown , PG's Fleetwood Mac and others. However , this album has enough progressive overtones to indicate that the next albums will be of more interest for the scope of the site.

There are many fine moments on this album full of good interplay and good songwriting making this album a sort of example of progressive blues and proto-prog. The two part water is actually book-ending the album and some tracks such as Junior's Wailing , Even The Clock and 24 hours are very enjoyable. Hardly essential listening in the Archives's scope , this albunm remains a very pleasant spin in your deck. much better is to come, though.

Chris Youlden - 1974 - Citychild

Chris Youlden 
1974
Citychild




01. Conjure Wife- 3:40
02. Born And Raised In The City- 4:00
03. The Morning Light- 3:25
04. Keep Your Lamp Lit- 3:24
05. Little Cog In A Big Wheel- 3:54
06. Peace Of Mind- 3:23
07. Walking The Streets Again- 2:27
08. Spare Change- 3:44
09. Love And Pain- 5:49
10.It Ain't For Real- 3:09

*John Beecham - Trombone
*Dave Caswell - Trumpet
*Michael Cotton - Trumpet
*Rosko Gee - Bass
*Derek Griffiths - Guitar
*Suzanne Lynch - Vocals
*Jack Mills - Guitar
*Nick Newell - Saxophone
*Anna Peacock - Vocals
*Terry Stannard - Drums
*Pete Wingfield - Keyboards
*Joy Yates - Vocals
*Chris Youlden - Vocals




If you like Van Morrison's 'Brown Eyed Girl' and don't mind slick but  unexceptional guitar and keyboard backing, then upbeat songs like 'Conjure Wife, 'Keep Your Lamp Lit', 'The Morning Light' and 'Born and Raised in the City' might be right up your alley.  'Walking the Streets Again' and 'Peace of Mind' remind me of Fats Domino.  All very radio friendly.

Now these could have been contenders for 'Raw Sienna'.  The scary 'Little Cog in a Big Wheel' with its almost sinister riff and the album closer 'It Ain't for Real' with its 'Boogie Nights' type riff could have been 5-star tracks but for disappointing fade-outs while 'Spare Change' could have graced any Robert Cray album and benefited from his guitar as well.  'Love and Pain' is a slow bluesy song that stays just too long and exposes the limitations in Youlden's voice during the fade-out.  

I prefer 'City Child' to 'Nowhere Road' but rue the fact that guitar slinger Kim Simmonds is not around to give it that extra oomph.  Fortunately the lyrics are as sharp as ever.

Chris Youlden - 1973 - Nowhere Road

Chris Youlden 
1973
Nowhere Road



01. Nowhere Road - 4:51
02. One October Day - 2:25
03. Chink Of Sanity - 4:01
04. Crying In The Road - 3:38
05. Mamma Don't You Talk So Loud - 3:13
06. Standing On The Corner - 3:29
07. In The Wood - 4:14
08. Wake Up Neighbour - 2:39
09. Street Sounds - 4:31
10.Time Will Tell - 2:43
11.Pick Up My Dogs - 2:40

*Chris Youlden – Vocals
*Danny Kirwan – Guitar
*Chris Spedding – Guitar
*Ray Fenwick – Guitar
*Foggy Lyttle – Acoustic Guitar
*Andy Silvester – Bass
*Roy Babbington – Bass
*Bruce Rowland – Drums
*Mike Macnaught – Piano
*Pete Wingfield – Piano
*Sue Glover – Backing Vocals
*Sunny Leslie - Backing Vocals



Chris Youlden is one of the greatest vocalists of Britain's Blues. Your time with Savoy Brown in the late sixties and early seventies produced what critics and fans consider to be one of the best British blues.

Though this album may disappoint those hoping for a hard rocking Savoy Brown kind of time, "Nowhere road" still wins you over on Youlden's unique but likable vocals and charming musical roads that are taken here. The opening title track is a perfect example of a track that musically you may find disappointing but you may get the feeling you wouldn't have liked it so much had anyone else been singing it. "One October day" is a chirpy popped up blueser which is admittedly not one of the best moments, nor is the breathy swirling "Street sounds" and "Standing in the corner" is a whimsical skipper (featuring horns) I would not call a highlight and the funk of "Wake up neighbour" (which sounds faster than another funk on the record, "Cryin' in the road" (due to it's wah wah guitar noises) is one I admittedly skip occasionally but the rest is virtually as good as gold like the aforementioned "Cryin' in the road" with an irresistible up tempo rhythm guitar riff. Speaking of guitars, Danny Kirwan is listed as one of three guitarists playing on this album but it doesn't say which song(s) he's on but there are some songs where his playing is possibly detectable such as the fast rocking "Mama don't you talk so loud" and another speedy rock song (though admittedly weaker than "Mama...") called "Time will tell" which has loud piano watering it down somewhat but this track is the closest sounding to Savoy Brown you'll get on the album but even then, it sounds like the lighter (in comparison to the latter Youlden days of SB anyways) Dave Walker era Savoys, it still does rock though. The track on which I think I can hear Kirwan's playing the most is the mellow wah wah sounding "In the wood". More soothing pieces enclosed are the engaging echoing strummer "Chink of sanity" (save for the horn featured blasts in the bridges).and "Pick up my dogs and gone" which is light flute fronted pleasant fluff. Danny didn't do many guest appearances in his career, but he sure made a wise choice getting involved in the making of this record.
adamus67

Foghat - 1977 - Live

Foghat 
1977
Live




01. Fool For The City 5:28
02. Home In My Hand 4:56
03. I Just Want To Make Love To You 8:46
04. Road Fever 5:29
05. Honey Hush 5:38
06. Slow Ride 8:20

Bass, Vocals, Liner Notes – Craig MacGregor
Drums, Liner Notes – Roger Earl
Lead Guitar, Vocals, Liner Notes – Rod Price
Lead Vocals, Guitar – Lonesome Dave Peverett*
Liner Notes – Lonesome Dave*

Recorded With The RCA Mobile Unit, May 1977




After Peter Frampton and Kiss proved in the late 70's that you could throw a live album onto the market and not only sell it in tonnage, but establish your career with it, the floodgates were open. Not everyone fared as well as those two first waves, but one of the bands that did was Foghat. Their six song volume-splintering "Foghat Live" was what every good live album should be, energetic, powerful and adrenaline inducing.

There was no stagy sounding patter, no virtuosity overplayed musicianship, just a full-on party band at the peak of its power. Recorded as the band was becoming enormous in the states due to "Slow Ride" and the "Fool For The City" album, the band comes across like conquering heroes here. The call and response between the late Lonesome Dave Peverett and the late Rod Price on "Honey Hush" is astonishing to behold. It underscores that fact that Foghat is possibly one of the most underrated of the 70's rock bands. They could take old classics like Willie Dixon's "I Just Want to Make Love to You" and claim it as their own (and hit the top 40 with it), and at the same time, turn out an anthem like "Slow Ride," which remains a classic rock staple. As far as 70's classic rock is concerned, "Foghat Live" is essential.

Which then begs the question. Why isn't this and other Foghat albums being given the remaster treatment? And where is the double disc anthology they so richly deserve? C'mon Rhino, don't leave us in the cold here....

Foghat - 1976 - Night Shift

Foghat 
1976 
Night Shift




01.  Drivin' Wheel
02.  Don't Run Me Down
03.  Burnin' the Midnight Oil
04.  Night Shift
05.  Hot Shot Love
06.  Take Me to the River
07.  I'll Be Standing By

*Dave Peverett  - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Rod Price - Lead Guitar, Slide Guitar
*Nick Jameson - Bass
*Roger Earl - Drums




Night Shift is a great Rock And Roll album. Combining Southern Rock, Blues Rock, & Boogie Rock, and playing them with a Hard Rock crunch, Foghat came up with a great signature sound. NIGHT SHIFT features some excellent songs; "Drivin' Wheel" is a great uptempo rocker, "Don't Run Me Down" shows a nice tempo change from a midtempo verse to a fast and frantic chorus, and is another great song. "Burnin' The Midnight Oil" is a great straight-ahead Hard-Edged Rock And Roll song, while "Night Shift" is a fantastic Hard Boogie song with a great sense of groove.

 "Hot Shot Love" is a good Rock song with some nice dynamics, and their cover of "Take Me To The River" is actually a bit reminiscent of their version of "I Just Wanna Make Love To You." The album closes out with a solid Blues Rock song in "I'll Be Standing By." There's not even one bad song on the album. If you don't own any Foghat relaese, this is a good one to start with, along with Fool For The City.
by Erik Rupp

Foghat - 1975 - Fool For The City

Foghat
1975 
Fool For The City




01. Fool for the City
02. My Babe
03. Slow Ride
04. Terraplane Blues
05. Save Your Loving (For Me)
06. Drive Me Home
07. Take It or Leave It

*Lonesome Dave Peverett - Lead Vocals, Guitar
*Rod "The Bottle" Price - Guitar, Slide, Steel Guitar , Vocals
*Roger Earl - Drums, Percussion
*Nick Jameson -Bass, Keyboards, Guitar, Vocals



After building a solid core audience through relentless touring and a string of hard-rocking albums, Foghat finally hit the big time in 1975 with Fool for the City. It still stands out as the best album in the group's catalog because it matched their road-tested abilities as hard rockers to a consistent set of tunes that were both well-crafted and ambitious.

The tone for the album is set by its title track: This hard-rocking gem not only pairs riff-driven verses with an effective shout-along chorus, but also throws in a few surprising moments where the guitars are taken out of the mix completely and Nick Jameson's bass is allowed to take the lead in a funky breakdown. Fool for the City also produced an enduring rock radio favorite in "Slow Ride," a stomping rock tune that transcends the inherent cliches of its "love is like a car ride" lyrics with a furious performance from the band and a clever arrangement that works in well-timed automotive sound effects during the verses and plays up the band's ability to work an R&B-styled groove into their hard-rocking sound (again, note the thumping bassline from Jameson).

Further radio play was earned with "Take It or Leave It," an acoustic-based ballad that worked synthesizers into its subtle yet carefully layered arrangement to become one of the group's finest slow numbers. The album's other songs don't stand like the aforementioned selections, but they all flow together nicely thanks to a consistently inspired performance from the band and clever little arrangement frills that keep the group's boogie-oriented rock fresh (example: the witty spoken word bit at the end of "Drive Me Home"). All in all, Fool for the City is both Foghat's finest achievement in the studio and one of the high points of 1970s hard rock.

Foghat - 1974 - Rock And Roll Outlaws

Foghat
1974
Rock And Roll Outlaws




01. Eight Days On the Road - 6:08
02. Hate to See You Go - 4:39
03. Dreamer - 6:39
04. Trouble In My Way - 3:32
05. Rock and Roll Outlaw - 3:53
06. Shirley Jean - 3:46
07. Blue Spruce Woman - 4:08
08. Chateau Lafitte '59 Boogie - 6:17

*Roger Earl - Drums
*Rod Price - Lead Guitar, Vocal
*Tony Stevens - Bass
*Lonesome Dave - Lead Vocal, Guitar



Though "Energized" had reached gold status in the U.S., the band wasn't exactly happy with its production. "Tom Dawes was really talented, but his musical tastes differed from ours," Peverett says. "We wanted someone who understood the feeling of our music a little more."

The band found such a studio partner in Nick Jameson. Hailing from Philadelphia, Jameson had become part of the Bearsville family when Todd Rundgren worked with Nick's band "American Dream." From there, Jameson became an engineer, remixing some tracks on the "Foghat" album. He returned to produce and engineer the group's "Rock And Roll Outlaws" LP (1974), from which comes the melancholy midtempo track "Dreamer."

Foghat - 1974 - Energized

Foghat 
1974 
Energized



01. Honey Hush
02. Step Outsider
03. Golden Arrow
04. Home in My Hand
05. Wild Cherry
06. That'll Be the Day
07. Fly by Night
08. Nothin' I Won't Do

Foghat
*Dave Peverett - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Rod Price - Lead Guitar, Slide Guitar
*Tony Stevens - Bass
*Roger Earl - Drums



It jumps open with an unequivocal derangement of ol' Kansas City Joe Turner's "Honey Hush," in a marvelously shameless send-up of the Yardbirds. A rare cut that makes you discover how loud your equipment can go, it sets the album's tone. Ten Years After comes in for the same treatment with "Wild Cherry." Throw in a thankfully tasteless "That'll Be the Day" for an album than wins full points on irreverence alone.

In addition, Energized has a great "Step Outside" that reminds me of Three Dog Night, and an original "Home in My Hand" that's almost as good as the oldie of the same title everyone else is doing. It's a rude, raving riot of an album, from a group that's doing a bang-up job of closing the gap between where rock & roll has been and where it ought to be going.
by Greg Shaw, Rolling Stone, 1974

Foghat - 1973 - Foghat (Rock and Roll)

Foghat
1973
Foghat (Rock and Roll)




01. Ride, Ride, Ride - 4:24
02. Feel So Bad - 5:09
03. Long Way To Go - 5:07
04. It's Too Late - 3:52
05. What A Shame - 3:57
06. Helpin' Hand - 4:41
07. Road Fever - 4:22
08. She's Gone - 3:12
09. Couldn't Make Her Stay - 1:57

*Dave Peverett - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Rod Price - Lead Guitar, Slide Guitar
*Tony Stevens - Bass
*Roger Earl - Drum



Foghat's second album finds the group working its way towards the fusion of blues and hard rock that would make them an arena rock favorite. They were not yet the stadium kings they would soon become, but Rock and Roll benefits from a muscular production that gives the band a muscular sound worthy of their impressive live act.

A good example is the powerful album opener "Ride, Ride, Ride": Lonesome Dave Peverett wails over a boogie beat fortified by rumbling power chords as gospel-style backup vocalists cheer him on at the chorus. "Road Fever" is another choice rocker, a song about the rock & roll touring life (a recurrent Foghat song subject) that spices up its fuzz guitar rock with a rubbery bassline and a attractive but non-intrusive horn section.

The band manages to pull off a few surprises here and there that show they were looking forward: "Helping Hand" crossbreeds the band's boogie sound with acoustic country-rock touches to create a tune that sounds like the Eagles on steroids, and the power ballad "It's Too Late" succeeds despite its cliche lost-love lyrics, thanks to a sharp arrangement that shows off the sharp guitar interplay between Peverett and Rod Price. Any Foghat enthusiast will find plenty to enjoy on this disc.

Foghat - 1972 - Foghat

Foghat 
1972
Foghat




01. I Just Want To Make Love To You
02. Trouble Trouble
03. Leavin' Again (Again!)
04. Fool's Hall Of Fame
05. Sara Lee
06. Highway (Killing Me)
07. Maybellene
08. A Hole To Hide In
09. Gotta Get To Know You

*Dave Peverett - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Rod Price - Lead Guitar, Slide Guitar
*Tony Stevens - Bass
*Roger Earl - Drum

With
*Andy Fairweather Low - Backing Vocals
*Dave Edmunds -  Guitars
*John Ward -  Bass




In the 1970s Foghat's love of the blues led them to simplify rock at a time when many of their peers were adding synthesizers and complex arrangements. While critics complained that bands like Foghat and Grand Funk Railroad had dumbed down rock, fans raided record bins and flocked to concerts. "By the end of the decade," noted Richard Skelly in Goldmine, "the rock world had caught up to Foghat, and the group was clearing space on the wall for gold and platinum albums with increasing regularity." The group's success continued to build until 1978 when disco and punk pulled the plug on arena rock, leaving Foghat to limp into the early 1980s before calling it quits.

In 1971, singer Dave Peverett, bassist Tony Stevens, and drummer Roger Earl decided to break away from British blues-rock band Savoy Brown. "When we first left Savoy we were looking to rock out a bit more," Peverett told Skelly. They recruited lead guitarist Rod Price, and began to practice at the Country Club in England. The unnamed band generated a great deal of interest, leading Albert Grossman, Bob Dylan's legendary manager, to attend a practice session.

He liked what he heard and signed the new band to his label, Bearsville Records. After recording the band's first album in Rockford, Wales, the members still hadn't decided what to call themselves. They had considered Brandywine Track or Hootch, but rejected both in favor of the nonsensical name Foghat, which Peverett and his brother had dreamed up during a game of Scrabble.

Their self-titled LP rose to 127 on the American albums chart, and was bolstered when "I Just Want to Make Love to You" received airplay. It was only with their second release the following year that the band seemed to find its musical niche. The album, also called Foghat but referred to as Rock and Roll (thanks to clever cover art featuring a rock and a dinner roll), sported boogie-friendly cuts like "Ride, Ride, Ride" and "Road Fever." "Foghat's second album finds the group working its way towards the fusion of blues and hard rock that would make them an arena rock favorite,"

Savoy Brown - 1974 - Boogie Brothers

Savoy Brown 
1974 
Boogie Brothers




01. Highway Blues
02. Me And The Preacher
03. My Love's Lying Down
04. You Don't Love Me
05. Always The Same
06. Everybody Love A Drinking Man
07. Rock 'N' Roll Star
08. Boogie Brothers
09. Threegy Blues

*Jimmy Leverton - Bass, Vocals
*Miller Anderson - Lead, Rhythm, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Kim Simmonds - Lead, Rhythm, Slide, Steel, Acoustic Guitar
*Stan Webb - Slide, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Eric Dillon - Drums




Although the membership of Savoy Brown had always been a somewhat unstable institution - guitarist Kim Simmonds excepted - when the latter announced in 1973 that he was finaiy laying the group to rest there were many glum faces among blues enthusiasts around the world. Few believed that workaholic Kim would cease to function as a musician, but just before Christmas that term and when the Savoyians last album, LION'S SHARE (U.K.: Decca TXS 112. Re!.: 7th September 1973; U.S.: Parrot XPAS 71059), had barely departed the American Top 200, there were numerous shocked – and delighted - aficionados who heard that a new S.B. was about to be bom.

As expected. Simmonds was its leading light, but now the band would boast no less than three top-drawer axmen and frontlines with the recruitment of one-time Chicken Shack leader Stan Webb and Scot Miller Anderson. For most of their lifetime Savoy Brown had concentrated, very successfully, on the Stateside market, but as they built their act this time around Britain benefitted by receiving their early concert dates; indeed two of their five London gigs set box-office records with hundreds of fans having to be turned away as the “House Full” notices were erected. Kim was exuberant in his press conferences: "We re-formed to create a stronger image and more forceful music.

With this unit, I've already been told that I'm playing better than I've done for years. This is because members of the group are working for each other. The current band has possibilities that are boundless, a defined image. At last I believe Savoy Brown wilt achieve all the things I have always wanted it to." This latest incarnation was a quintet completed by bassist Jimmy Leverton and trap-rattier Eric Dillon, but how did it come about? Kim's brother/manager, Harry, approached the Glaswegian Anderson who, with Jimmy and Eric amongst others bitted as Hemlock, acted as a support act for one of Savoy Brown's recent cross-state crusades on the other side of the Atlantic.

Anderson's pedigree already included playing on such as Dave Cousins TWO WEEKS LAST SUMMER (A&M. 1972). and being a long-time kingpin of Keef Hartley's entourage, as well as issuing a solo album on Deram, BRIGHT CITY (U.K.: SOL 3. 10th September 1971; U.S.: DES 18062, April 1972), while Hemlock had been similarly-blessed by the Decca U.KTLondon Records U.S.A. offshoot when their eponymous LP effort was unveiled in Britain only as SML 1102 on 12th October 1973. Harry Simmonds took over the reigns for their business affairs also but, as Miter was wont to point out, the seven-piece Hemlock while being an excellent band technically somehow lacked excitement.

Since the three compatriots wished to stay together and hopefully progress, Simmonds proposal of Savoy Brown incumbency was soon accepted. Difton and Leverton had been in harness as a rhythm section for a long time, the former beginning his drumming obsession at 13 and being expelled from school for pursuing stick work at the expense of all else. At 15 he was signed by Gerry Dorsey - later to find superstardom as Engelbert Humperdinck - as skin-beater in the singer's regular backing crew, and from there he and Leverton liaised after becoming members of ex- Jimi Hendrix four-stringer Noel Redding's prefect.

Fat Mattress, which took them to see Uncle Sam. As Mattress failed to emulate the Hendrix Experience's acclaim, so both quit to spend two years in session work prior to throwing in their lot with Anderson. Leverton's pedigree was not dissimilar to Dillon's, both having served an apprenticeship in the seething hotbed of talent that was the German bierkellers of the 1960's; performing with Redding in The Loving Kind and clinching a spelt in Engetoert's band, so that when Noel requested he join Fat Mattress Jimmy recommended Eric too.

Keeping it in the family, eh? Anyway, by this means having restored Savoy Brown to a four-piece, it seemed a great idea to go the whole hog and get Stan Webb in on the act, since Chicken Shack were also in a state of turbulence and indecision. Webb, who was always somehow bigger than the group he fronted, but which he declined to headline his name over during their lengthy existence, liked the idea of pooling resources with his 'rival' Stmmonds when courted, and thus Savoy Brown Mk. Heaven-Knows-What bounced into view. Stiff signed to Decca/London, they wasted no time in getting the contents of their proposed long-player down on tape, the prolific Anderson penning most of the numbers to be promoted along with one from Stan, a brace from Kim and a tilt at Bias McDaniel - alias Bo Diddley's - YOU DON'T LOVE ME.

Cut in London at Island Records' Basing Street establishment, the whole shebang was christened, aptly, BOOGIE BROTHERS, and rush-released in America as London XPS 638, thereby removing them from the subsidiary Parrot imprint which had played host to Savoy wares to date. A single was pulled in EVERYBODY LOVES A DRINKING MAN - coupled with RIDE ON BABE from JACK THE TOAD - as 45-206, which failed to breach the best-setters, but on April 20th 1974 B.B. entered the chart to initiate an 8-week stay whose high point would be No. 101.

An accompanying tour there was greeted with the usual euphoric reception as Webb later recalled in print: 'Yen, it went well - we took Madison Square Garden in New York by storm...' In the United Kingdom Decca responded by scheduling their identical BOOGIE BROTHERS for May 24th unveiling as SKL 5186, thereby relegating the combo once again to the label's standard full-price series from the luxury TXS line which they'd latterly occupied.

Missing this time also was the attendant expansive gatefold sleeve. Decca declined to pull a seven-inch extract from the parent, but were exasperated that even with this powerful personnel a notation on the published hot sates register eluded the Brown's yet again. Sadly, future company policy would ensure this could never be bettered, for BOOGIE was to be the last of their 'official' albums ever accorded U.K. issue by The Supreme Record Company'; from that point onwards they became a truly American - and elsewhere - phenomenon.

Perhaps a little surprisingly, bearing in mind that Simmonds, Webb and Anderson were ail forthright figures, this Savoy Brown remained together for almost a year before fragmenting. In 1975 Stan and Miller went off to form Broken Glass with keyboarder Tony Ashton; Jimmy ensconced himself on Henry McCuHough's album for George Harrison's Dark Horse set-up, MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS, and Eric found himself playing with Dog Soldier - where Miller Anderson and Keef Hartley would at one time or another also put in an appearance.

And Kim? in '75 Mr. Simmonds re-united with ex-Savoyians Paul Raymond (Keyboards, Guitar. Vocate) and drummer/percussionist Dave Bidwell, bringing in also Andy Rae (Bass. Vocals) and, following Bidwll's tragic drug-related demise. Tommy Fame* as replacement, and headed back on down the road towards an LP billed as WIRE FIRE. That wheel was turning once more...
by John Tracy

Savoy Brown - 1973 - Jack The Toad

Savoy Brown 
1973
Jack The Toad



01. Coming Down Your Way 4:51
02. Ride On Babe 4:21
03. Hold Your Fire 4:16
04. If I Want To 3:56
05. Endless Sleep 5:30
06. Casting My Spell 4:09
07. Just Cos' You Got The Blues Don't Mean You Gotta Sing 5:45
08. Some People 6:03
09. Jack The Toad 6:40

Bass – Andy Pyle
Drums – Dave Bidwell (tracks: A1, A2, A5, B2, B4), Ron Berg (tracks: A3, A4, B1, B3)
Guitar – Paul Raymond (2) (tracks: A2)
Keyboards, Mellotron – Paul Raymond (2)
Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Harp – Kim Simmonds
Percussion – Barry Murray, Frank Ricotti, Ron Berg
Soprano Saxophone – Stan Saltzman
Vocals – Jackie Lynton, Kim Simmonds (tracks: A2)



Wow, how do you give this classic album a bad review? Yes, the amazing Dave Walker had just left the band after Lion's Share, and Kim hit the road with yet another line up. But oh my, the classics. With Jack(ie) Lynton leading vocals, Paul Raymond on drums, Dave Bidwell on drums and Andy Pyle holding down the basslines, Savoy turned out a haunting concept album of sorts.

"Coming Down Your Way" starts off the album with a good Jackie Lynton. Kim takes the vocal lead on "Ride On Babe" and you feel like you're on the mechanical horse on the album cover. The next song is the real blues gem, "Hold Your Fire". It's one of my favorite Savoy Brown songs of all time.

Paul Raymond borrowed a mellotron from the Moody Blues. The boys covered "Endless Sleep" from Jody Reynolds and made it their own... Lynton's raspy British vocals were perfect. The second half of the short release (46 minutes) has more laidback blues & smooth vocals from Kim Simmonds, including "Just Cos' You Got the Blues Don't Mean You Gotta Sing", a nearly 6 minute jam worth the price of the album alone.

And of course, there's the title song, "Jack the Toad" that they should have combined with the Red Rider's "Panama Red" (and the Beatle's Rocky Raccoon) and made into a movie. It's as magical as David Anstey's gatefold album cover, which folds down to give a full length cosmic cowboy with futurist guns and a mechanical horse in the background. I had a local artist make me a poster of this, and had Kim sign it after a concert in Colorado Springs. Kim invited me backstage to meet the band, and I have the utmost respect for the guy.

The tour premiered in the US before selling out most of Europe (with ZZ Top and Status Quo along the way). Not long afterwards, Dave Bidwell lost his battle with the bottle, and Kim got bored and disbanded the band. Another era lost. Another one started.

Jack the Toad is an essential piece of the Kim Simmond's catalog. If you're lucky enough to be a fan of his music, go on ebay and find a copy of the original 1973 LP, on London's Parrot label. You'll love it!

Savoy Brown - 1972 - Lion's Share

Savoy Brown 
1972 
Lion's Share




01. Shot In The Head
02. Second Try
03. The Saddest Feelings
04. I Can't Find You
05. Howling For My Darling
06. So Tired
07. Denim Demon
08. Love Me Please
09. Hate To See You Go

Bass Guitar – Andy Pyle
Drums – Dave Bidwell
Keyboards, Rhythm Guitar – Paul Raymonde
Lead Guitar, Harmonica – Kim Simmonds
Vocals – Dave Walker




While it can be safely stated that the band's previous effort Hellbound Train remains the pinnacle of the Dave Walker era and a strong link in the Savoy Brown discography, Lion's Share nonetheless follows up with some solid numbers of its own, many of which fall back comfortably to that fundamentalist blues sensibility which, for the most part, had been sitting on the backburner since the widely adored Chris Youlden set out for a solo career some years earlier.

The songs played on Lion's Share are a nice melting pot of covers and original compositions as usual, with Walker himself even making an admirable attempt at writing what he sings in the fun Chuck Berry style rocker "Denim Demon". The three Simmonds tunes here are also a safe bet as usual, with "Second Try" in particular being a steadfast highlight of the A-side with some fine fretwork thrown over a dreary blues shuffle. The keyboard-heavy "So Tired" busts the second side wide open with a disjointed ramble on the rigors of touring. Later on, the femme fatale ballad "Love Me Please" slithers along at a midnight creeper's pace, but agreeably so. Regarding the multitude of covers in attendance, the album's opener "Shot in the Head" is borrowed from Haffey's Whiskey Sour and is re-adapted nicely for the body of work at hand. There's also an infectious romp through the Chester Burnett/Willie Dixon composition "Howling For My Darling" and Little Walter's "Hate to See You Go" knocks around furiously, closing off the show as impeccably as it began.

Shortly after the album's release, the band lost yet another important member with Dave Walker jumping ship over to Fleetwood Mac for their Penguin album before his dismissal from that project as well. Consequentially, Lion's Share would punctuate the end of yet another phase in the band's timeline. However despite all of the incessant line-up changes and resulting creative rebirths throughout the years, the bottom line to remember here is that since its inception Savoy Brown has been and will essentially always be the Kim Simmonds Show. Even at the expense of critical favor Simmonds has kept the band running unapologetically in the face of changing trends and declining public interest, maintaining such a deathgrip on the blues that most every album following this one can and should only be reserved for the diehards. Although it didn't become a best seller or age terribly well by today's standards, ultimately Lion's Share serves if nothing else as a mile marker for a British blues band coming off a brief flirtation with commercial success, refocusing on what they always did best and to hell with the critics.

Savoy Brown - 1972 - Hellbound Train

Savoy Brown 
1972 
Hellbound Train




01. Doin' Fine 2:46
02. Lost And Loney Child 6:00
03. I'll Make Everything Alright 3:18
04. Troubled By These Days And Times 5:43
05. If I Could See An End 2:54
06. It'll Make You Happy 3:26
07. Hellbound Train 9:07

On the US LP, the title track on Side 2 ends abruptly, as if to add dramatic finality. On most cuttings, the song ends just as the cut is brought to the runoff groove. On the US CD, the song is faded out.

Kim Simmonds – guitar, harmonica, vocals
Paul Raymond – guitar, keyboards, vocals
Andy Silvester – bass
Dave Walker – vocals
Dave Bidwell – drums



Comprising the same lineup as Street Corner Talking, Savoy Brown released Hellbound Train a year later. For this effort, Kim Simmonds' guitar theatrics are toned down a bit and the rest of the band seems to be a little less vivid and passionate with their music. The songs are still draped with Savoy Brown's sleek, bluesy feel, but the deep-rooted blues essence that so easily emerged from their last album doesn't rise as high throughout Hellbound Train's tracks. The title cut is most definitely the strongest, with Dave Walker, Simmonds, and Paul Raymond sounding tighter than on any other song, and from a wider perspective, Andy Silvester's bass playing is easily Hellbound's most complimenting asset. On tracks like "Lost and Lonely Child," "Doin' Fine," and "If I Could See an End," the lifeblood of the band doesn't quite surge into the music as it did before, and the tracks become only average-sounding blues efforts. Because of Savoy Brown's depth of talent, this rather nonchalant approach doesn't make Hellbound Train a "bad" album by any means -- it just fails to equal the potency of its predecessor. But there is a noticeable difference in the albums that followed this one, as the band and especially Simmonds himself was beginning to show signs of fatigue, and a significant decline in the group's overall sound was rapidly becoming apparent.

Savoy Brown - 1971 - Street Corner Talking

Savoy Brown 
1971 
Street Corner Talking




01. Tell Mama
02. Let It Rock
03. I Can't Get Next To You
04. Time Does Tell
05. Street Corner Talking
06. All I Can Do
07. Wang Dang Doodle

Kim Simmonds – lead guitar, harmonica, vocals
Paul Raymond – keyboards, guitar (on track 1), vocals (on track 3)
Andy Silvester – bass guitar
Dave Walker – vocals
Dave Bidwell – drums


Street Corner Talking is a really good classic rock and roll album. If you like catchy rhythms, bluesy vocals and guitar playing that's both melodic and well-performed, you'll fall in love with this album right away.

"All I Can Do" is a lengthy blues jam that continues to amaze me every time. The vocal melody is fantastic in a deeply sincere kind of way ("All I can do is cry" is an insanely memorable line). The keyboard jam that takes up the first half is realy melodic, and the guitar jam during the second half initially didn't blow me away, but repeated listens now reveals a totally different reaction. I hear really soulful blues taking place in most of these licks. Amazing. "Wang Dang Doodle" has a totally cool verse melody with a butcher knife totin' Annie, but the "all night long" chorus feels relatively uninteresting. For whatever reason it reminds me of something the band KISS would do or actually, reminds me of the Rainbow song "All Night Long" (that would come out 7 years later) in both the melody and the lead singer resemblance (Graham Bonnet sounds like this a little bit). The guitar riff in the background, while reminiscent of several other 60's and 70's blues bands, is still really remarkable all the same. The keyboard work throughout the song is my favorite part, but overall this song is undoubtedly a few minutes overlong.

"I Can't Get Close to You" is more of the same- memorable guitar riff, and the verse melody has interesting lyrics about the lead singer being able to live forever, and stand against (and try to accomplish) all kinds of impossible odds and why is he doing this? Just to get close to you, babe! Makes sense, haha. Actually he *can't* get close despite having the ability to make it rain, fly like a bird in the sky and even being able to live forever (only IF his soul desires!) so... maybe he's not trying hard enough? Maybe it's not worth standing next to such a person if you have to go through *that* much trouble? Actually these lyrics are not only humorous but really appropriate and creative for the blues/rock genre, so I like them. And if my feelings aren't clear enough through all that rambling above, I really love the song.

"Time Does" has interesting lyrics considering Savoy Brown is still active to this day and the line about acknowledging growing older, how time will still exist after we're gone, and not living in the past with regrets greatly stand out to me. This is pretty fascinating as far as lyrical depth is concerned, since these guys are technically a blues rock band. Most artists in the same category wouldn't write such excellent and intelligent lyrics- they'd write generic and obvious lyrics instead. Not these guys apparently. On a strange note, there's an odd feeling of beauty and uncertainty that's probably unintentionally created when the lead singer mentions the time on the wall in one set of lyrics, and the keyboards play almost hypnotically during this part. A feeling of distinctiveness is created there, the trademark Savoy Brown sound or at least, one of a few trademark sounds that I've been able to pick up so far. "Tell Mama" is the perfect opener with blazing slide guitar and memorable vocals, especially the verse melody. A sound that I identify with American rock, especially southern rock, however these guys are British and it's amazing how well they can take that style and reshape it into their own.