Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Ben Webster - 1954 - The Consummate Artistry of Ben Webster

Ben Webster 
1954 
The Consummate Artistry of Ben Webster


01. Tenderly
02. Jive At Six
03. Don't Get Around Much Anymore
04. That's All
05. Bounce Blues
06. Pennies From Heaven
07. Cottontail
08. Danny Boy

Alto Saxophone – Benny Carter (tracks: A1 to A4, B2)
Bass – Ray Brown
Drums – Alvin Stoller (tracks: A1 to A4, B2), J.C. Heard (tracks: B1, B3, B4)
Guitar – Barney Kessel (tracks: B1, B3, B4), Herb Ellis (tracks: A1 to A4, B2)
Piano – Oscar Peterson
Tenor Saxophone – Ben Webster
Trumpet – Harry Edison (tracks: A1 to A4, B2)


In the summer of 1980 still fresh from all the horrible things that happened that spring in Havana, my mother and I traveled to the Netherlands to spend the summer with my grandparents in The Hague. When we arrived at their home, fresh cup of tea in hand my grandparents presented me with a welcome present... A Walkman! As a 12 year old boy I was happy as a tick on a fat dog! My own personal stereo! My grandfather still had no idea what kind of music his grandson was into at that moment, Deep Purple In Rock and Black Sabbath's first albums would not get back into their homes until a couple of days later, but I digress... The old man didn't know what music to add to the Walkman for me to learn how to use it, so he ran to his study room  and came back with a cassette that had Deodato's Second on one side and Ben Webster's first on the other side telling me "One side has stuff youngsters used to like not so long ago and the other had one of Grandpa's favorite musicians". When everybody went to bed I must have listened to that tape five or six times, mind being blown by the clarity of the sound of the music coming thru' headphones. So here we stand quarantined and sharing music and stories almost four decades later, the old Walkman is still alive and well at my parents house, mom still uses it every now and then (Fuck! They don't make shit like they used to anymore!!) so does the tape because my dad enjoys listening to the Deodato side of it. A CD copy of Ben Webster's first safely resides with the rest of my collection here in Amsterdam. Why all this story telling? Today my Grandfather would have been 99 years old. He led an interesting life,  survived the Second World War with a wife and a couple of small ones reasonably unscathed, fought the Dutch for independence, smuggled weapons, printed newspapers in exile, His picture even appeared in Life magazine in 1949 with a small interview (One of my prized possessions!) he later became a diplomat and that came with another thousand stories he would tell me while as a kid I sat in his work room listening to post war Jazz and Big Bands from the war years. Reading and listening to music where important parts of forming one's culture, so he never hesitated in either getting me one or another when I was a kid, I am sure he had some sort of opinion about the long haired freaks on the covers of the album (and the scantly clad ladies) but he never voiced them directly to me. So today I the old man would have been 99, I give Ben's first another spin and remember how his room smelled when I was a kid and he told me all those great stories about his life and the life of others he considered great(and not to forget, the great battles of the South Pacific). In case you wonder, ciggies, coffee, books, LP's and old socks that's how it smelled. I hope that the beloved band of brigands that usually makes it's way to my corner of the net will also enjoy this album which in some way was the start of all of this. Happpy birthday old man we miss you. 

Izak Mahdi in all his youthfull cool

Recorded over two sessions in 1953 with a mix of personnel for both but Oscar Peterson is on piano with Ray Brown on bass present right throughout on what could be considered Ben's debut album, "King Of The Tenors". Yes it is his debut but after all the years with Duke Ellington and playing beside his mentor Johnny Hodges he is an old hand by this time. Tenor saxophone tones are what make Jazz such an interesting listen as with many other brass and woodwind instruments due to the fact the great players are indentified are soon as they put they're horn to their mouth because they have they're own sound and Ben Webster's tone is unmistakeable with that coarse, rough sound that emanated from his tenor and another bonus is Ben could play a ballad like no other with a beautiful warm and most important of all emotional approach. All the musicians from both sessions were playing in Norman Granz's, Jazz At The Philharmonic at the time of the recording and that familarity was brought to the two sessions with a seamless gorgeous album being created. Harry "Sweets" Edison is on trumpet for four of the ten numbers with Herb Ellis, guitar, Benny Carter, alto saxophone and Alvin Stoller, drumming in five tracks and the other session is reduced from a septet to a quintet with J.C. Heard drumming this time around with Barney Kessel replacing Herb Ellis on guitar and Harry with Benny on horns dropped. Norman Granz supervised the recording giving that classic Jazz sound that many of his recordings comprised stretching right back to those early Kansas City Big Band days with Lester Young which is exactly where Ben Webster started in the early 1930's.

"Tenderly" is the opening number with "Sweets and Benny dropped from the septet(who are there for next three, following) is an old standard that Ben played during his time with Duke Ellington and Ben comes in first with his coarse breathy blues sound right throughout during this old waltz that was put to 4/4 time. Ben was nicknamed "The Brute" but even so he wrings this one right out with a stunning interruptation and plays right throughout. "Jive At Six" is right on the title as it does jive with Ben coming in first, big and bold as usual with Harry "Sweets" Edison laying down great mute with his trumpet and then Ben storms back taking his sax right to the limit but always keeping perfect space so every note with every beautiful coarse nuance comes through loud and clear. Here is another old standard co-written by Ben's former associate the Duke himself with "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" with Ben putting the compostion down superbly never straying too far with always perfect interrupatation. The ballads are something else when Ben played them and one can hear that light breathy approach that Lester Young played them with and Ben is exactly the same, as it was in the Young Family Band with Lester that Ben played early in his career. "Poutin" is one of Ben's own compositions and a great Blues jaunt with Ray Brown's Bass keeping time right under that tenor of Ben's. The record flip starts with "Bounce Blues" another Ben composition with Harry "Sweets" Edison playing some stunning muted trumpet for his solo folllowed by more stunning musicianship when Barney Kessel gets a shot on guitar but Ben's tenor is big and bold and it keeps you right on him. "Pennies From Heaven" with "Cottontail" are Ben's bread and butter with more top shelf standard Jazz maintaned and one last interesting point on the album is Ben Webster's take on the old Celtic folk song "Danny Boy" which I will add I do prefer the folk approach but Ben still gets his money's worth with the tune and unlike Count Basie's later take does not make hash of it.( Sorry Count).

There is an alt take of "Billie's Bounce" added to this LP release which was not on the original. Oscar Peterson is superb right throughout and when one looks back you could say that he ran Verve Records house band and this is how I love Oscar the most when he did all those classic studio sessions in the fifties behind so many Jazz greats which he, himself is today. Essential Jazz that anyone, Jazz fan or not will like. King of the tenors I will leave that for you to decide but Ben was his own man with his own beautiful gruff but yet, so tender sound

Monday, March 30, 2020

Agape - 1972 - Victims Of Tradition

Agape
1972
Victims Of Tradition


01. Voyaging Pilgrim 2:56
02. Walking Over The Hill 3:21
03. Wouldn't It Be A Drag? 7:33
04. Jazz Jam Part 1 2:49
05. The King Of Kings 4:30
06. The King Is Christ 4:09
07. Change Of Heart 4:28
08. You Reap What You Sow 6:07
09. Oasis 3:37

Fred Caban - Lead vocals, guitars
Mike Jungman - Drums, percussion,vocals
Jim Hess - Keyboards
Richard Greenburg - Bass.


"Victims Of Tradition" is the second album from this early 70s Christian psych rock group. Agape was from California and preaching the gospel using a psych rock format and musically it's pretty good. Fred Caban wrote the lyrics, music and supplies the vocals on all the tracks. Fred was a young guitarist from Azusa, CA, who became a born-again Christian shortly after graduating from high school in 1968. 
In an effort to help evangelize his peers, Caban formed the band with bassist John Peckhart and drummer Mike Jungkman. They were one of the earliest Christian rock bands, established in a time when the music they played was still being shunned by established churches (the few they approached for concerts rejected the loud music they played, despite the message). 
Agape performed wherever they could, on beaches, in schools, and in parks, and released their debut album "Gospel Hard Rock" in 1971. 
The band added keyboardist Jim Hess and released "Victims of Tradition" in 1972, which featured a more progressive approach, as well as a front cover that pictured the group performing in a graveyard. 
Their second album is more laid back than the first but both are equally sought- after. 
Agape’s second album is a  very different but equally good work.  Victims Of Tradition has a more complex song structure than the detub –  more of a progressive feel with keyboards (courtessy of Jim Hess) playing a bigger role, even delving into jazz fusion on ‘Jazz Jam (Part 1)’ and ‘You Reap What You Sow’.  As far as heaviness goes though, the album still hits just as hard.  ‘Wouldn’t It Be A Drag’ is my favorite here: a lengthly seven-minute outing that includes a two-minute drum solo, as well as solos for bass (from newcomer Richard Greenburg), guitar and electric piano before culminating in cacophonous bursts of noise. ‘The King Is Christ’ is a beautiful predominately acoustic piece – it almost sounds like the guitar solo was recorded backwards.  ‘Change Of Heart’ keeps that heavy Hendriux blues-rock sound alive.  As with Gospel Hard Rock, this is lyrically very evangelistic.  Not just God-loves-you sloagans – these guys present the gospel.  Much rarer than their debut and thus selling for mucho dinero these days.  Classic b&w cover photo of the band playing their instruments in a graveyard.  Not many lps around that sound this unique, creative and on fire.  Classic rock indeed.  Re-issued on CD in 1996 with the bonus track ‘Oasis’.


Agape - 1971 - Agape

Agape
1971
Agape


01. Blind
02. Happy
03. Believe
04. Man
05. Trust
06. Freedom
07. Choose
08. Blood
09. Rejoice

Bass – John Peckhart
Drums, Organ – Mike Jungkman
Guitar, Vocals, Lyrics By, Music By – Fred Caban
Producer – Marlin Jones
Producer, Engineer – Wally Duguid

First pressing with different back cover (live shot of band). No mention of Mark records anywhere on sleeve or label. Also, no printing on spine.


One of the first hard rock Jesus music bands formed around the talent of Fred Caban during the early stages of what became known as the Jesus People movement. Born and raised in California, the counterculture’s music scene offered an intimate glimpse into rock 'n 'roll life-styles of such guitar phenoms as Jimi Hendrix, after whom the budding musician patterned his style. 
Upon graduating from an Azusa high school in the spring of 1968, he and his bandmates squeezed into a small Volkswagen van in search of venues to perform. One night, while they stopped in at a Huntington Beach called the Lightclub, they met and were befriended by a group of enthusiastic teenagers whom Caban described as being "totally immersed with the message of Christ." 
The Lightclub coffeehouse by this time had been taken over by David Berg and family, the genesis point of what would eventually become the Children of God. After accepting a small Gospel of John, the band proceeded to find shelter for the night. As was the testimony of many other transients, contact with "Christianized" hippies intensified Caban's personal search for truth. Though not totally understanding the "Lightclubber's” message, he began praying for an introduction to "whomever was out there."

When Caban returned to the van he shared his experience and found that fellow bandmate Jeff Newman had also undergone a spiritual conversion. The two fledgling Christians returned to the coffeehouse where they were both baptized. The next day the group returned to Azusa. 

Within months of his conversion, Caban formed another band naming it Agape, the Greek word for God's love. Having previously established himself as a guitarist of some merit in the Azusa area, the three member outfit, which included Mike Jungkman on drums and Ms. Lonnie Campbell on bass, capitalized on his name to gather initial crowds. During the days immediately following each of their respective conversions, Agape's vision became evangelistic - desiring to share their experience with their peers. 
Where previously their goals had been to gain the attention of local recording companies, Agape functioned as one of the first musical missionary, Jesus people bands. Of their stage protocol and evangelistic fervor Caban stated, "We'd play one or two songs - we'd jam,. we'd blow them away - and then boom, we'd start preaching.....and people would actually stick around and listen." 
Within six months a group of 50 young converts had joined the trio as a loose amalgamation of spiritually searching teenagers who gathered together for Bible studies and strategy sessions to promote the band's concerts. Caban recalled that it was a totally spontaneous gathering of friends; "It never dawned on us to enter a church. There was no structure but we didn't know that. We were just enjoying what was happening and taking it one day at a time.” During the formative stages of their initial phase of recruitment the band members functioned as the unofficial leadership. 

Agape played a number or venues throughout the California area including a number of performances at Hollywood Presbyterian’s Salt Company coffeehouse. Their appearances there ran concurrent with the ascendancy of another premier Jesus musician. Both Agape and Larry Norman blossomed as Jesus music forces at the same time. At one point the singer invited Agape into a recording studio in an attempt to help them with their own recording career. Though nothing permanent came from this meeting, Agape eventually approached local record producer Martin Jones with the desire of recording an album. Offered free studio time between midnight and 6:00 am, Agape recorded Gospel Hard Rock [1971]. 

It was during the recording of this first release that the band met Ron Turner, who was studying at Azusa Pacific College with the hopes of entering the ministry. Raised in the Presbyterian church, Turner was mentored by Don Williams, then youth pastor of the Hollywood First Presbyterian Church. During his studies, Turner was a youth pastor at Arcadia Community Church which opened up to the band’s small entourage to join for worship service and concert performances. For a period of three years, Turner increasingly took on more responsibility in the group, initially speaking at the band’s performances, but eventually becoming the shepherd figure over the growing congregation. Meeting regularly in Covina Park, the loosely structured group grew to over 500. 

As a musical entity, the Agape hard rock gained a large following throughout the west coast, sharing stages with other Jesus music bands like Love Song and JC Power Outlet, playing the popular Gazzari's Hollywood-A-Go-Go, and invited to share the bill at the first California Jesus Festivals held at the Hollywood Palladium in 1971. Though some believed their music was a compromise in it's close imitation of other 'worldly' rock bands, none of the members backed down from their vision of what they felt their music should project. Caban states, "We were basically a secular rock band that became Christians. 

When we got on stage we played it as hard as we did before. But where we had previously been selfish and desiring fortune and fame, we now sang about our faith in Jesus Christ. Nothing on the outside changed. We had been transformed from within." Jesus music historian Paul Baker wrote of Agape that, "they played Jesus rock at it's crustiest - music which cut through the thickest defenses of the non-Christian rock fans. For those to whom hard rock music was language, Agape... spoke clearly



Agapè - 1972 - Le Troisième Seuil

Agapè
1972
Le Troisième Seuil


01. Ouverture (5:36)
02. Camarade (3:15)
03. Vous Etes Pas Tannés De Crever (3:22)
04. Avez-Vouz Vu Passer Une Colombe (4:16)
05. Le Jugement Dernier (5:39)
06. Le Temps Des Partances (2:59)
07. Le Printemps Des Pauvres (4:28)
08. Eden (5:22)
09. Le Troisième Seuil (3:07)
10. La Fin Des Temps (6:11)

Gilles Bergeron / guitar
Jean Bourassa / effects
Yves Chevalier / keyboards
Claude Duchesneau / trumpet
André Dumont / vocals
René Depere / keyboards
François Kirouac / guitar, bass, glockenspiel
Marc Lebel / guitar
Michel Martel / percussion
Jacques Mercure / bass
Carole Paquin / bass


Despite being mentioned and acknowledged in chronicles, Québécois band AGAPE remains an unknown star in its galaxy. Their sole legacy resides in a very rare 1972 album called Le Troisième Seuil. I think that even the 11 artists of this ensemble fall into anonymity, apart from this singularly work. André Dumont provides the vocals, Michel Martel is the percussionist, trumpeter Claude Duchesneau adds a tuned flavor in seldom occasions and Jean Bourassa works on a small, recognizable load of effects. Meanwhile, three guitarists (Gilles Bergeron, Marc Lebel, François Kirouac), two bassists (Jacques Mercure, Carole Paquin) and two keyboardists (Yves Chevalier, René Depere) certainly add up to an interesting band format. Ending up uncredited is a melodic flute, airing one of the album's first pieces.

Opinions so far converge that AGAPE's one-off mostly presents psych prog, the sound being much alike the early 70s or perhaps a year or two earlier. It's not a hybrid though, because the folk is possessive, even outside the pure progressive rock margins, with acoustic songs, ballads or half-narrative chants, the melody being accompanied just as chaste, mostly by the guitars. Psych lies instead in bit muzzier accents, Martel's sharp beats or the keyboard register (apparently containing heavier Jaculian organs). Apart from this trickier categorization, Le Troisième Seuil's impact is simpler, pleasant, bit absorbing.

What a bizarre UFO this sole privately-released (n 72 ) album from Agape is an eleven-man formation that apparently knew how to capture their sound, because the production is very credible. Graced with a very "pro" artwork, evoking meditation over a sinister background, the back cover in a no-less interesting pagan-time drawing, enhancing the music as well as Bourassa's electronic (and others) effects. . The group consisted of two bassists, two keyboardist, two guitarists, one trumpet blower, André Dumont's vocals a percussionist and a multi-instrumentalist.

Most likely referring to the third stage (Troisième Seuil) of enlightenment, Agape's musical world is a very wild one, starting out like a cross of UFO landing and organ concerto in some wild pagan feast, turning into a mock mass. The singer takes over on harpsichord and sings a light and enlightened folk rock tune, reminiscent of early Floyd, and a little while later of Syd or Dashiell Hedayatt's Obsolète. In the next track, the Hedayatt reminiscence are repeatedly present to the pint that one wonders if it isn't the same artist that moved to Canada. Overall the album, the music wanders from folk rock to psychedelic rock and ahippy-trippy lo-fi

Indeed yet another real unearthed raw gem form La Belle Province where the ideas are so numerous, that had they exploited them better, they would've had enough to make another disc. Nevertheless, Agape's sole album is yet to have seen a legit Cd reissue, something that I hope will be remedied our friends at ProgQuebec. Maybe not essential, but certainly worth a hearing.


Antônio Adolfo & A Brazuca - 1971 - Antônio Adolfo & A Brazuca

Antônio Adolfo & A Brazuca
1971
Antônio Adolfo & A Brazuca


01. Panorama2:46
02. Cláudia2:51
03. Tributo a Victor Manga4:42
04. Pela cidade3:27
05. Grilopus Nº 1 (1ª Parte)0:21
06. Que se dane3:35
07. Atenção! Atenção!2:34
08. Cotidiano2:09
09. Transamazônica3:13
10. Cortando caminho3:30
11. Grilopus Nº 1 (2ª Parte)0:23
12. Caminhada2:48

Antonio Adolfo: piano, electric piano, arranger
Luiz Claudio Ramos: guitar
Luizão Maia: bass
Paulo Braga: drums
Bimba: vocals
Luiz Keller: vocals
 Milton Miranda: producer
                                           


A very, VERY well recorded and surprisingly gruff/intricate sunshine and mushrooms MPB album with a whole lotta hairy man hollering, shrill fuzz guitar, and a phenomenal rhythm section backed with big ass three and four part harmonies. Also features a lady singer who'll occasionally bring things back down to bossa nova earth and a couple of much softer/straighter tracks. But there are some great tunes and massive grooves here. If we discard the two twenty second long tracks, there are ten actual songs here and I didn't like three of them. I wasn't expecting that sort of consistency ratio, particularly coming off their not-very-exciting debut.

And it's been on CD for years now. Mind you, it's not the easiest CD in the world to find, but it is on CD. And of the three comps this group have been on that're catalogued here, two of them feature B3 here. And B3 isn't even sorta the best song on this thing. So its obscurity is a bit confusing. It's way the hell worth finding if you're any sort of fan of grittier, more "grown up" sounding MPB.

Antônio Adolfo & A Brazuca - 1969 - Antônio Adolfo & A Brazuca

Antônio Adolfo & A Brazuca
1969
Antônio Adolfo & A Brazuca


01. Juliana
02. Futilirama
03. Moça
04. Dois Tempos
05. Vôo Da Apolo
06. Porque Hoje É Domingo
07. Maria Aparecida
08. Psiu
09. A Cidade E Eu
10. Pelas Ruas Do Meu Bairro
11. Teletema

Antonio Adolfo: piano, electric piano, arranger
Luiz Claudio Ramos: guitar
Luizão Maia: bass
Paulo Braga: drums
Bimba:vocals
Luiz Keller: vocals

Originally released 1969 by Odeon.


Listening to this breezy offering of carefree carioca tunes, I get the impression that – had he been inclined to move to the United States and and start recording anglophone versions of Brazilian hits – Antônio Adolfo could have beat Sérgio Mendes at his own game.  But Adolfo was a busy guy in the 1960s, playing in various jazz-bossa and bossa-jazz combos and even backing up Elis Regina and Milton Nascimento for a short while.  The first of two records with his short-lived group Brazuca, this one is immediately accessible and charming, if a bit less adventurous than their second album.  The back cover features blurbs from celebs, a bit like book endorsements, from the likes of Carlos Imperial and Roberto Carlos, who likens them to an old tradition with a new sound.   Adolfo and his writing partner Tibério Gaspar were frequent contenders in the televised song competitions of the day – they won 2nd place with “Julianna”, featured above.  The whole album is very much of its time, its mini-skirt and Vespa vibe has a certain innocence to it where you would hardly know there is a dictatorship going on in the country where this was recorded.  Lyricist Gasper, who passed away to little fanfare last February, says as much in “Hoje é domingo,” where the listener is encouraged to leave their troubles behind and enjoy the nearly-universal day of peace and quiet.    Insisting on carrying on with a smile is its own kind of resistance, I guess.  Adolfo and Gasper were responsible for quite a few songs in Brazil when that became huge hits for other artists.  “Teletema”, which closes this album (it is followed by bonus tracks on the CD) is one of those.  It was featured in a telenovela in a cloying version by “Regininha” later in the year, but I prefer the original

They also wrote the funky BR-3 for Toni Tornado, but probably their best-known hit was ” Sá Marina” as recorded by Wilson Simonal.   You can go google that one up yourself but I feel obliged to share this cool clip of Stevie Wonder singing an anglicized version of it on Brazilian TV, renamed “Pretty World,” when Simonal’s version was still fresh in the collective memory. It starts out  a little shaky but quickly picks up.  I like his cute “obrigado” when he finishes.  For those interested, you can find the whole hour-long TV special on YouTube as well.  YouTube has kind of made blogs like mine a bit obsolete, hasn’t it?  I mean you can find anything there, what do you need me for?  Anyway, I still soldier on.

If the album is guilty of anything, it may be excessive cuteness.  Dois Tempos is a kind of musical pun, a composition combining two time signatures with lyrics sketching a portrait of a person who seems to inhabit both a vanished past and contemporary space tinged with uncertainty, a sepia-toned photograph come to life, a sort of decadently picturesque anachronism.   It’s a bit precious, and while some listeners may be charmed by that very quality, it’s one the group largely shed on the second album.  Even the obligatory song dealing with space flight (because its 1969), Vôo da Apolo, starts like its going to blast off into some sort of exciting space bossa-funk number, but then kind of settles into something more pedestrian. On the second album, Adolfo and company would  push the envelope a little further with songs like Transamazônica, named after the pharaonic project of constructing a massive highway connecting parts of the Amazon region with the rest of the country.  The lyrics there are nothing special really, but musically the group is bolder and taking more chances.  But don’t let me sour anybody on this very fine album, because it’s  solid.  It just happens to be one of those cases where I was introduced to what I consider their superior effort first, so I can’t help making the comparisons between the two.  And idiosyncratic, impressionistic descriptions of long-player albums is what has made this blog tick for nine year so don’t expect me to change things too much now!  Anyway, enjoy this groovy debut from Antônio Adolfo e A Brazuca.

Arthur Adams - 1977 - Midnight Serenade

Arthur Adams 
1977
Midnight Serenade 


01. When I'm Away From You 5:15
02. Beale Street 3:26
03. Midnight Serenade 4:28
04. I'm In Like With You 3:23
0 .5 eggae Disco 4:27
06. Love And Peace 5:15
07. Shake A Loose 5:01
08. Right On Time 2:37
09. Music Feels Good To Me 4:13

Arthur Adams - Guitar, Vocals
Mayo Tiana - Trombone
Sidney Muldroll (probably Muldrow) - French Horn
Steve Madaio - Trumpet
Dennis Christianson - Trumpet
Bob Carr - Baritone Sax
Jim Coile - Tenor Sax
Steve Beckmeier - Guitar
Steve Hines - Guitar
Hillary Hamburg - Keyboards
Ronnie "Mean Green" Green - Bass
Robert "The Popper" Griffin - Drums
Vance Tenort - Percussion
Augie Johnson - Vocals
Greg Matta - Vocals
Debbie Shotlaw - Vocals
Pam Alexander - Vocals


This is the third solo effort by venerable blues/jazz/funk session man Arthur Adams. Having seen his first, second and fourth floating around I thought I'd fill another blank for the booty-bumpin' blogosphere.

Although the line-up doesn't jump out out at you like it did on his previous effort, Home Brew, don't front. Most of these cats were assembled from Blue Thumb/Fantasy stalwarts and the roster includes a good portion of Side Effect/L.A. Boppers. Produced by the Crusaders' Wayne Henderson, with whom Arthur maintained a close working relationship for many years, it's definitely a product of its time and place. Although it features some fancy fretwork and catchy compositions, it's very much a pop-oriented outing with a bit less of the raw blues or fiery funk that earned Adams his rep as a smokin' session man in the 60s and early 70s.


Official Site Bio
Arthur Adams was born in a small town in Medon, Tennessee; twelve miles from Jackson, Tennessee. Jackson is eighty-four miles north of Memphis, Tennessee. Arthur attended Tennessee State University for one year, then, joined Jimmy Beck's Band in the early sixties. He traveled throughout the south and moved to Los Angeles, California in the late sixties where he began his recording and writing career. His first album "It's Private Tonight" is on Blue Thumb records. "Home Brew" and "Midnight Serenade" are both on Fantasy records. "Back on Track" is on Blind Pig records, and "Soul of the Blues" is on PMRC records.

Arthur has played and recorded with B.B. King, wrote the song "Mean and Evil" and "Something Up My Sleeve" for B.B. King. He also wrote the song "Love and Peace" for Quincy Jones' grammy award-winning Walking In Space album, "Somebody Is Gonna Miss Me" for Sam Cooke on the Twistin the 'Nite Away album, "Truck Load of Loving" for Albert King, played guitar on the Nick of Time album for Bonnie Raitt, Jimmy Smith's album Root Down, Jerry Garcia's Garcia, the Crusaders' Street Life (as well as Pass The Plate, Hollywood and almost all of their 70s output), Johnnie Guitar Watson, Dr. John and many more (including Charles Kynard's Woga, Gene Ammons' Free Again, David Axelrod's Marchin', Bobby Bryant's Swahili Strut, Phil Upchurch's Darkness, Darkness, Letta Mbulu's Letta, Cal Tjader's Demasiado Caliente and Lowell Fulsom's seminal Tramp to name but a few).

Arthur appears in the movie "Town & Country", starring Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn where played and sang the song "I Can't Stand the Rain". Arthur's freight train guitar and soul-steeped vocals, combined with his prolific predilection for writing great material (often in conjunction with award-winning composer Will Jennings), are all brilliantly showcased on his Blind Pig debut Back On Track, his first album in two decades. The set features two sparkling duets ("Got You Next To Me" and "The Long Haul") pairing Adams with his principal stylistic influence, the great B.B. King, and his regal presence is quite an honor for his long time friend Arthur.


AMG Bio by Bill Dahl
As house bandleader at B.B. King's Los Angeles blues club, Arthur Adams cranks out searing blues for the well-heeled tourists who trod the length of Universal Studios' glitzy City Walk. But the great majority of his transient clientele can't begin to imagine the depth and variety of the guitarist's career. The shaven-headed Tennessee native began playing guitar in the mid-'50s, taking early inspiration from the man whose name adorns the club that later employed him (Howard Carroll, axeman for gospel's Dixie Hummingbirds, also was a principal influence). He studied music at Tennessee State University, playing briefly with the school's resident jazz and blues aggregation.

Touring as a member of singer Gene Allison's band, Adams found himself stranded in Dallas, where he dazzled the locals with his fancy fretwork. Relocating to L.A. in 1964, he began to do session work for jazz great Quincy Jones, and cut singles for the Bihari Brothers' Kent label and Hugh Masekela's Motown-distributed Chisa imprint. His late-'60s R&B sides for the latter were co-produced by Stewart Levine and featured support from most of the Crusaders. Adams' 1970 debut LP for Blue Thumb, It's Private Tonight, was co-produced by Bonnie Raitt and Tommy Lipuma.

Adams continued to record solo albums through the late '70s, but by the '80s he retreated from the forefront, only ocasionally moonlighting as a session guitarist for various groups. In 1992, he wrote two songs for B.B. King's There Is Always One More Time album and 1999 saw Adams' first solo release in 20 years with Back on Track, which featured King as a guest guitarist. In 2004, Adams continued rebuilding momentum with the release Soul of the Blues.

Arthur Adams - 1975 - Home Brew

Arthur Adams 
1975
Home Brew


01. Home Brew 4:56
02. Do What Cha Doin' 2:55
03. The Blues 4:37
04. We've Got An Understanding 3:06
05. That's The Way You Move 3:03
06. Keep On Dancing 3:32
07. First-Class Woman 4:02
08. Chicago Sidewalk 3:20
09. Bumpin' Around 2:33
10. That's The Way It's Gonna Be 4:08

Bass – James Jamerson (tracks: A1, A4 to B5), Kent Brinkley (tracks: A3), Wilton Felder (tracks: A2)
Clavinet – Jerry Peters (tracks: A1, A2, B1), Joe Sample (tracks: A5, B4)
Drums – Stix Hooper* (tracks: A2, A3), Earl Palmer (tracks: A1, A4 to B5)
Electric Piano – Joe Sample (tracks: A1, A2, A4 to B3, B5), Lanny Hartley (tracks: A3)
Flugelhorn – Oscar Brashear (tracks: B2)
Flute – Ronnie Laws (tracks: B2, B5)
Guitar – Al Vescovo* (tracks: A2, A3), Arthur Adams, Dennis Coffey (tracks: A1, A4 to B6)
Horn [Baritone Horn] – George Bohanon (tracks: B2)
Organ – Jerry Peters (tracks: A3)
Piano – Joe Sample (tracks: A3)
Soprano Saxophone – Ronnie Laws (tracks: A4, B5)
Strings – Jerry Peters (tracks: A4, B2)
Synthesizer – Jerry Peters (tracks: B1, B2), Joe Sample (tracks: B3)
Tambourine – Wayne Henderson (tracks: A2, A5)
Tenor Saxophone – Ronnie Laws (tracks: A1 to B1, B3 to B4)
Tom Tom – Wayne Henderson (tracks: A2)
Trombone – George Bohanon (tracks: A1 to B4)
Trumpet – Oscar Brashear (tracks: A1 to B4)
Vocals – Arthur Adams (tracks: A1 to A5), Wayne Henderson (tracks: A1)

"This is the first real rhythm 'n' blues album in a long time."
Wayne Henderson


Arthur Adams' second album Home Brew may boast a production that's a little too slick, but there's no disguising the fact that the record is an appealing collection of driving blues, distinguished by some unpredictable jazzy flourishes that keep things interesting, even when the songwriting is uneven.

Arthur Adams - 1972 - It's Private Tonight

Arthur Adams
1972
It's Private Tonight


01. I'm Going Home 03:03
02. Happiness (Is All I See) 03:28
03. Get on the Ground 03:38
04. Everything I Ever Wanted in a Girl 03:27
05. You Hit the Nail on the Head 03:57
06. Go-On and Do That 03:21
07. I Can't Believe My Eyes 03:15
08. It's Private Tonight 03:47
09. I'll Never Be The Same 03:14
10. I Gotta Help My People 04:52

Recorded in Los Angeles, California on July 24, 26, 27 and August 14, 16, 17, 1972

Vanetta Fields, Clydie King, Sheril Matthews: vocals
Arthur Adams: guitar, vocals
Wilton Felder: bass
Phil Upchurch: guitar
Paul Humphrey: drums
Bobbye Hall: congas
Gene Estes: vibraphone
Joe Sample: piano, organ, clavinet
Paul Hubinon, Chuck Findley, Ernie Watts, Jackie Kelso, George Bohanon, Mike Altschul, Bill Green: Brass
Sid Sharp: strings


Arthur Adams (born December 25, 1943) is an American blues guitarist from Medon, Tennessee. Inspired by B.B. King and other 1950s artists, he played gospel music before attending college. He moved to Los Angeles, and during the 1960s and 1970s he released solo albums and worked as a session musician. In 1985 he was tapped to tour on bass guitar with Nina Simone, and he staged a comeback in the 1990s when he released Back on Track, and became a respected Chicago blues player and bandleader in B.B. King's clubs.

A prolific songwriter, with a blues style that incorporated a variety of genres, and a vocalist with a funky, soul-driven sound, Adams is known for his collaboration with many of blues' elite and continues to perform to date.

At the age of six, he sang in the church choir, but did not begin playing the guitar until he was a teenager. In the mid-1950s, he learned the instrument from his mother, by copying her finger positions. He was inspired by artists such as B.B. King, Howard Carroll of Dixie Hummingbirds, Elmore James and Muddy Waters, which he listened to on the radio.

Adams formed a group with his cousins, called the Gospel Travelers, who toured Tennessee and Arkansas. The group was disbanded when he moved to Tennessee to attend the State University, where he studied music and played in the school's resident jazz and blues band.

Afton - 1977 - First Day of Summer

Afton 
1977
First Day of Summer


01. Life Light 5:42
02. Sara 3:58
03. Henry 5:13
04. Summer Night 2:00
05. Hitchhiking 4:45
06. Younger Days 3:17
07. Never Trust a Woman 5:15
08. On the Way 3:33

Dane "Do Do" Williams (electric guitar, vocals),
Jim Dooley (keyboards, saxophone, acoustic guitar, vocals),
Donnie Hughes (bass, vocals),
Robert Campbell (drums, percussion, vocals),
Skipper (percussion, vocals),
Jeff K. Baldwin (string arrangements, keyboards, vocals),
Mike Ketchum (acoustic guitar, vocals),
Boo - (banjo).


 Their sole album was released in 1977, and is very rare nowadays. It is fairly polished, country flavored southern rock, with a slick vocalist and great guitar on most cuts. Their sound is often reminiscent of The Charlie Daniels Band (if they were any good), and containing elements of Lynard Skynard and Molly Hatchet as well. This record [i]is[i] good, and consistently so. Finally reissued to boot!

 A manageable, committed fan base is ready to spend enormous sums on this small country rock album. Prices of more than € 250.00 are not uncommon.

I got away quite well with just under € 70.00. (Amsterdam Waxwell Records - great location, but you should really only do it with a clear turnip, otherwise it will be expensive because it is simply too tempting.)

I have to admit: I am a little disappointed with the music! It has long been known among collectors that high prices are paid for rare exotics and the actual quality of the music does not necessarily have to be relevant. The main thing is that it is rare, maybe a private press, then it will be really expensive. So here too - with one exception, as we will see.

As soon as we put the needle into the groove we hear country rock, in the style of the seventies. Reminiscent of many German average hits of the time at the first casual listening. In the 70s, the Germans apparently made good use of the below-average American mainstream - some of them still do today. The first three tracks can therefore be checked off under "heard a thousand times".

The first (and unfortunately only) listener is "Summer Night"; last title of the A-side. A really nice, calm and thematically complex folk rock song with acoustic guitar and a vintage string synth, good vocals and fine lyrics. Exotic chords, good lecture! Fits!

The B-side also starts pretty well with "Hitchhiking". A mid-tempo country rock song with piano, guitars and a flexible bass that likes to beat capers. Unfortunately that's about it.

The saxophone strikes again at "Younger Days" - and anyone who knows my reviews knows that I do not necessarily count this instrument as one of my favorites. Therefore consequently: weakest song of the album. "Never Trust a Woman" and "On the Way" can no longer lift the level due to their conservative and uninspired country rock structure.

But then the magic happens and a couple of days later you come back for another spin, and another, and then another. and it grows on you and after a week or so it has crawled into your top 100 and it becomes your go to album at the end of another day of quarantine while you raid your booze cabinets... 

Accolade - 1971 - Accolade 2

Accolade
1971
Accolade 2


01. Transworld Blues (3:22)
02. The Spider to The Spy (2:33)
03. Baby, Take Your Rags Off (3:17)
04. Cross Continental Pandemonium Theatre Company (11:02)
05. Snakes In a Hole (3:25)
06. The Time I´ve Wasted (2:37)
07. Sector Five Nine (2:20)
08. If Only I´d Known (2:08)
09. William Taplin (4:55)
10. Long Way to Go (5:07)

- Malcolm Poole / contrabass, fiddle
- Ian Hoyle / drums
- Brian Cresswell / flute, alto saxophone
- Wizz Jones / vocals (2, 5, 8, 9)
- Mike Moran / piano (3, 10)
- Don Partridge / vocals, acoustic guitar, vibraphone


The band chose the mundane title '2' for their second and final studio release, but that's about the only thing that's ordinary on this record. I find it hard to believe only a single Japanese CD of dubious lineage exists as a reissue of this excellent studio work. In fact, I find it hard to believe the band isn't better known and more revered by progressive music fans today considering the quality of the work and the relative success many of its members have found since the group disbanded in the early seventies.
There are several lineup changes here and all are reflected in the more electric, poppy and often bluesy sound as opposed to the heavy jazz-meets-folk vibe of their first record. Gordon Giltrap was gone by the time the quartet (plus a couple of part-time members) reentered the studio to record these ten tracks. He did contribute one original composition though with the somewhat depressing faux biography "William Taplin". Raymond "Wizz" Jones (Lazy Farmer) adds a layer of vocals on several tracks and also contributed a song, the very folksy "If Only I'd Known". And a young Mike Moran gives the band's sound an added dimension with piano on a handful of tracks, where keyboards were not a part of their debut release. The eclectic bassist Eden Abba had by this point gone off to munch tree bark or whatever and was replaced by Malcolm Poole who also plays violin to rather muted but decent effect here and there.

Like I said, the songs here have moved considerably away from the decidedly jazz-infused folk motif of the band's earlier sound. This is immediately apparent on the opening "Transworld Blues", a clever tale of a world-traveling bard written by the perennial busker Don Partridge, who was probably reminiscing of his earlier days wandering around Europe playing for change at street corners and parks (Partridge also penned the more folksy "The Time I've Wasted" as another busker biography later on the record). Despite the acoustic guitar/flute opening this works out to be more of a whimsical blues number that lumbers along like a lazy train ride through bucolic countryside on a hazy spring afternoon.

The dynamic of new musicians and influences are manifest on the next track, a short and slightly acid-folk leaning number titled "The Spider to The Spy" which was apparently written for a television series although not one I'm not familiar with. Partridge wrote this song too and dominates with two-tracked vocals of himself and an unoriginal but deftly-delivered electric guitar riff, but the sound is more akin to pop-rock of that era and clearly the arrangement was tweaked in the studio by some of the fresh blood in the band's lineup (probably Jones in particular).

Partridge completes his trifecta offering with the light jazz vocal number "Baby, Take Your Rags Off" that features piano for the first time and recalls the cooler and more laconic tracks on the first album.

Given the times (very early seventies), the eleven-minute plus and weirdly titled "Cross Continental Pandemonium Theatre Company" probably shouldn't be a surprise. This sprawling hodge-podge of sounds was a group compositional effort by the band and was clearly a studio creation including the widespread noodling that is generally a sign that a group has entered the studio without all their material solidly locked down. Poole is the star here with his gripping bass fiddle, while Partridge weaves a folk tale that seems to transcend both style and time. The song starts off as a tight folk-rock number but becomes increasingly jazzy (eg., improvisational) as it meanders along toward its anticlimactic ending. Brian Cresswell's flute is omnipresent here as it is throughout the album, but the addition on this particular song adds a dimension that really cements the band's unique jazz/folk style.

I'm not sure why the band chose to include "Snakes in a Hole" which isn't much more than a fairly accurate cover of this obscure Made in Sweden tune that was originally released only a couple years prior. Perhaps this was their attempt to garner some radio attention in Europe at the time, but musically it adds little to the album.

I suppose every band needs a sci-fi space-rock number in their repertoire, and "Sector Five Nine" gave Accolade theirs with a brief ditty that regales the listener with a weird future- vision that includes regulated sex and apparently humanoid cannibalism, all delivered to an upbeat tempo with pleasant acoustic strumming and flute work that can't quite find the groove. Odd but entertaining.

The band seems to portend their own future with the pleasant light-rocking "Long Way to Go" to close the album, but unfortunately for them that future would not include their mutual association as the group broke up before this record even managed to be fully distributed.

None of the songs here stand out the way "Nature Boy" or "Ulysses" did on their first record, but every song offers something and none are even close to being filler, even the Made in Sweden cover. That one is the only track that would make me consider something less than a four (out of five) star rating, and given the excellent musicianship throughout and the clearly progressive nature of the album in-total, I would say that's not enough to drop off another star. Very well recommended to all manner of progressive music fans if you can find it.

Accolade - 1970 - Accolade

Accolade
1970
Accolade


01. Maiden Flight Eliza
02. Starting All Over
03. Prelude To A Dawn (Instrumental)
04. Never Ending Solitude
05. Nature Boy
06. Gospel Song
07. Calico
08. Ulysses
09. Go On Home

Acoustic Guitar, Vocals – Gordon Giltrap
Contrabass, Fiddle – Malcolm Pool
Drums – Ian Hoyle
Flute – Brian Cresswell
Guitar, Vibraphone [Vibes] – Don Partridge



ACCOLADE were a short-lived band (1969-1971) whose musical emphasis was on combining acoustic instrumentation and light jazz/fusion arrangements with bucolic British folk lyrics and sensibilities. They released just two albums and a single in their brief tenure, though managed to tour throughout most of their active existence. The original lineup consisted of woodwind player Brian Cresswell, singer/guitarist Gordon Giltrap, drummer Ian Hoyle and guitarist Don Partridge.

The band's first album included their most lasting contribution to music in the form of a version of American bassist eden ahbez' (aka George Aberle aka Eden Abba) "Nature Boy", a languid and complex folk tale first recorded by NAT KING COLE in the 1940's, and since covered more than seventy times, including by MILES DAVIS, HARRY CONNICK JR, CELINE DION, JAMES BROWN, JOSE FELICIANO, the GATHERING's Annie Haslam, and most recently by the Greek psych band WILL-O-THE WISP. The song has charted as a single five times in that period.

Pool would depart the band after a 1970 tour incident in Sweden involving Partridge, touring briefly with COLOSSEUM before leaving the music business altogether for a career in graphic design (Giltrap had already left by that time and would go on to a lucrative solo career). Guitarist Wizz Jones would join for the band's second album, which was released only in the UK; and they dissolved shortly after its release.

ACCOLADE existed but for a brief period and failed to achieve popular success despite a wealth of individual talent in the group. Their recorded legacy however, earns them a place in the Progarchives and is a collection well worth seeking out,


This is one of those albums that, like Incredible String Band’s ‘The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion’ or the Pentangle’s debut, helped really define the understated range of progressive folk music in the late sixties; this despite becoming a rather obscure and little-known bit of the genre’s history. The nine all-acoustic tracks showcase a style of jazz-tinted folk that incorporated some of the finest nuances of singer-songwriter stylings, rock tempo, jazzy improvisation and British folk into something that had little parallel in its day. The result is an album that grows in appeal with every listen even forty years after its release.
One thing should be noted though; this was not a band made up of grammar school chums or unknown amateurs. In fact, virtually everyone in the band was an established musician of some merit prior to its formation in late 1968. Guitarist Gordon Giltrap had already released a couple solo folk albums and was on his way to a lengthy and prolific career. Founder Don Partridge had been (and would become again) a street musician who had to his credit a couple of unlikely hit singles on the late sixties British charts (“Rosie” and “Blue Eyes”). And bassist Malcolm Poole, who would replace original bassist Eden Abba (more about him later) somewhere between the beginning of these studio sessions and the band’s second album, was an alumnus of the Artwoods, a mid-sixties blues-rock band that included future Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord and Ron Wood’s older brother Arthur in its lineup. Drummer Ian Hoyle was a relative unknown but would go on to appear on at least one Wizz Jones album, and flautist/ saxophonist Brian Cresswell appears to have been the only formally educated musician in the group.

I’m not really clear on the background of the band’s formation, but there was clearly an attempt with their music to jazz-up (literally) British folk music with some rock and varied arrangements, while at the same time keeping a focus on acoustic instrumentation and storytelling lyrics in the finest tradition of British and other Anglo folk music. The net result, like I said before, will grow on prog folk fans with repeated listens.

One band I would point to as appearing to have been influenced by this group’s music is the modern Greek folk band Will-o-the Wisp. That band’s vocalist Aggelos Gerakitis bears a striking resemblance to Accolade’s Partridge, and their cover of bassist Eden Abba’s original “Nature Boy” reinforces my suspicion that at least a couple members of that band have this record in their collection.

Speaking of Abba, his song “Nature Boy” appeared for the first time (to the best of my knowledge) as a Nat King Cole single in 1948. It has since of course been covered by scores of artists, has appeared in numerous films and television series, and became the title of a biography about Abba’s life written shortly after his death due to an auto accident in 1995. There’s a fascinating person if you ever feel like digging into his history.

The most interesting thing about the tracks on this album is the palpable amount of familiarity you feel with them even on the first playing. From the opening “Maiden Flight Eliza” with its lively flute and West Coast harmonizing, to the closing languid ballad “Go on Home” and its almost America (the band) sounding peacefulness; this album is full of comfortable, comforting and casual folk music imbued with just enough modern touches to make it still palatable years after its initial release (and possibly even more so considering how little impression it made back in 1969/1970).

Top tracks are without a doubt “Nature Boy” and the lengthy, rambling folk pseudo-biographical sketch “Ulysses”. This album and these songs could never be made today; only the diversity and free-thinking air of the times allowed them to come into being even then, and frankly too few music fans of those times appreciated the simple and sincere beauty of these songs even then.

I don’t suppose this qualifies as a masterpiece, but it certainly deserves recognition as one of the seminal works of the progressive folk genre, and I suspect it is much more well-known to many modern folk musicians today than it is to fans of their music. Well worth seeking out, and highly recommended to prog folk fans of nearly every stripe, but near-essential for any serious prog folk lover.

Academy - 1972 - Academy

Academy
1972
Academy


01. River 3:50
02. Come Along 2:40
03. Violence 2:25
04. Finding Oneself 2:25
05. My Friend 3:50
06. I'm Going Fine 3:20
07. Got To Get Myself Together 4:00
08. Here's To The Children 3:10
09. Don't Take Love For Granted 3:35
10. Lack Of Someone Dear 2:45


Bass Guitar, Flute – Jacques Gassard
Lead Guitar – Geny Detto
Lead Vocals – Ann Calvert
Rhythm Guitar, Twelve-string Guitar – Marco Mercuri



Academy was a group formed in France, but only Jacques Cassard was born in the country. The other members of the quartet were American, Italian and Greek. The group was active in the early 70s and has just launched a rare album in 1972, disbanding soon after.
The selt-titled is divided into 10 folk rock songs, with light touches of psychedelia and remembering English bands of the time. The instrument is basically acoustic and dominated by acoustic guitars and percussion, with some good points of guitar and flute. The female vocals of Ann are another highlight, impressive and fitting very well to sound and always in English. A work that deserves attention from all folk rock and female vocals fans.

Abrakadabra - 1978 - Abrakadabra

Abrakadabra
1978
Abrakadabra



01. Basta't Rock n' Roll
02. Musikero Sa Bangketa
03. Itaga Mo Sa Bato
04. Batugan
05. Bote-Dyaryo
06. Kulay Kayumanggi
07. Laki Ng Ulo
08. Bagong Salta
09. Pagputi Ng Uwak
10. Habang May Buhay
11. Sweet Love (Bonus)

Alex Mallilin (vocals)
Manuel "Jun" Mallilin (bass, vocals)
Michael Ambas (drums)
Vincent Gella (guitar)


Obscure band coming from Philippines. The sextet Abrakadabra was probably formed in the late 70 by brothers Alex and Manuel "Jun" Mallilin, other members are unknown (information about the drummer Michael and guitarist Vincent Both Gella are not accurate). They released one album in 1978 and had some local success until the early 80s, with songs like Bote-Dyaryo. In 2012 it was re-released on CD, but only locally and with a bonus. 
The self-titled is divided into 11 short tracks, bringing a sound heavily influenced by bands of Pinoy rock, late '70s hard, a little glam (as seen on the cover) and commercial music at various times. The instrument is simple and straightforward, with nervous guitar and good drums/bass work; the lyrics are all in the local language (expecting "Sweet Love") and talks about social and day by day issues, according to some sites. 

Mick Abrahams - 1972 - At Last

Mick Abrahams 
1972 
At Last


01. When I Get Back 5:02
02. Absent Friends 4:47
03. Time Now To Decide 2:26
04. Whole Wide World 3:51
05. Up And Down (Part 1) 2:00
06. Up And Down (Part 2) 2:15
07. Maybe Because 8:00
08. The Good Old Days 4:12
09. You’ll Never Get It From Me 3:36

Bass – Walt Monaghan
Drums, Percussion – Ritchie Dharma
Guitar, Vocals – Mick Abrahams
Keyboards, Mandolin, Vocals – Bob Sargeant
Saxophone [Tenor, Soprano], Flute, Clarinet – Jack Lancaster



2nd album by UK guitarist Mick Abrahams with the Mick Abrahams Band, which was expanded to a quintet for this album with the addition of Mick's partner in Blodwyn Pig, reedman Jack Lancaster. Lancaster's return marked a change in the band's overall sound, which was now quite similar to that of Blodwyn Pig, being more Jazz influenced as opposed to the last album being more Bluesy. The rest of the band's lineup is identical to the one, which recorded the previous album. Lancaster is the main soloist on this recording, with Abrahams keeping a relatively low profile, but he did write most of the music here, with the rest written by keyboardist Bob Sargeant. Altogether the album is another splendid effort by Abrahams and his team, with great compositions and splendid musicianship, which unfortunately didn't help much to gain any popularity. Disillusioned by the music business, Abrahams quit the scene completely for two decades, reappearing only in the early 1990s with a new edition of the Mick Abrahams Band, which released several albums since. This is a must for all Blodwyn Pig / Abrahams fans and a splendid piece of British Jazz-Rock Fusion.

Mick Abrahams - 1971 - Mick Abrahams

Mick Abrahams 
1971
Mick Abrahams


01. Greyhound Bus - 4:50
02. Awake - 8:49
03. Winds Of Change - 4:50
04. Why Do You Do Me This Way (Abrahams, Sargeant) - 3:31
05. Big Queen - 4:28
06. Not To Rearrange (Abrahams, Sargeant) - 3:26
07. Seasons - 15:03
by Mick Abrahams except where stated

Personnel
*Mick Abrahams - Guitar, Mandolin, Pedal Steel, Guitar Steel, Vocals, Slide Guitar
*Bob Sargeant  - Organ, Guitar, Piano, Keyboards, Vocals
*Ritchie Dharma - Percussion, Conga, Drums
*Walt Monaghan - Guitar  Bass, Vocals
                                       

Pink labels with big " i " white logo


The roots of Mick Abrahams' musical career were typical of aspiring guitarists in the mid-sixties, taking in stints with R&B groups like The Hustlers, The Toggery Five, Screaming Lord Sutch, Neil Christian's Crusaders (replacing Jimmy Page) and his own McGregor's Engine.

By late 1967 Mick had become a founder member of Jethro Tull, and throughout 1968 the band built up a reputation based on the already distinctive blues guitar of Abrahams and the flute playing and wild stage persona of Ian Anderson. The band's unique blend of blues, jazz and rock was reflected in their first album This Was, an immediate UK chart hit. However, having two such strong personalities as a twin focus was always going to be a recipe for musical incompatibility, and at the end of 1968 Abrahams jumped ship.

After quitting Jethro Tull Mick formed his own band, called Blodwyn Pig. They released two albums "Ahead Rings Out" (1969) and "Getting To This" (1970). At that stage Blodwyn Pig looked destined for great things - but the old ogre of musical differences reared its ugly head, and Abrahams left his own band. Blodwyn Pig soldiered on for a while, but Mick's presence had been too vital a factor in their success, and the Pig died.

The early seventies saw Mick on 'Top Of The Pops' and 'In Concert' on Radio One with The Mick Abrahams Band, showcasing two fine guitar-driven rock albums in (A Musical Evening With) Mick Abrahams and At Last. The band enjoyed success throughout Europe but record company support was less encouraging and, after a short-lived Blodwyn Pig reunion in 1974 (immortalised via another Radio One live broadcast), a disillusioned Mick Abrahams effectively quit the music business.

1st album by British guitarist / vocalist Mick Abrahams, one of the most underrated guitar players in the history as far as I'm concerned. Abrahams first achieved recognition as a founding member of Jethro Tull, with the release of their debut album "This Was", where he plays some incredible guitar licks, which earned him comparisons with "God" Eric Clapton. A personality clash and musical differences between Abrahams and Ian Anderson led to his decision to leave Jethro Tull and form the brilliant Blodwyn Pig, one of the earliest and best Jazz-Rock / Blues Fusion bands ever. The original Blodwyn Pig lineup lasted just under two years and recorded two outstanding albums, breaking up prematurely. Abrahams then formed the Mick Abrahams Band, which is featured on this album. In later years Abrahams was to reform Blodwyn Pig and record several more album with that group (from the 1990s on) as well as leading the Mick Abrahams Band. His amazing guitar playing is unfortunately only recognized by a relatively small circle of fans, although in retrospect his consistently excellent performances in the last five decades are quite unparalleled. This album was recorded soon after the demise of the original Blodwyn Pig and features a great lineup of Mick on guitar, Bob Sargeant on keyboards and guitar, Walt Monaghan on bass and Ritchie Dharma on drums. The material, all written by Abrahams, is a great example of Blues-Rock, the genre in which Abrahams feels most comfortable. The album lost nothing of its charm and beauty and is certainly worth of an honorable place in any serious record collection.


Juan Amenábar - 1974 - Amacatá:Electromúsica Para Este Fin De Siglo

Juan Amenábar 
1974 
Amacatá: Electromúsica Para Este Fin De Siglo



01. Amacata
02. Sueño de un niño
03. Ludus Vocalis
04. Preludio En High Key
05. Klesis

Composed By – Juan Amenábar


Juan Amenábar Ruiz is regarded as one of the first to experiment with electronic music not only in Chile but in Latin America.

This influential electroacoustic composer started to experiment with tape music in 1953, encouraged by his father, architect Alfredo Amenábar Ossa (member of the Santiago Bach Society.) In 1957, influenced by the visits Pierre Boulez (1954) and Werner Meyer-Eppler (1956) paid to Chile, he co-founded the Experimental Sound Workshop at the Universidad Católica. He studied under Luis Vilches (oral technique), Jorge Urrutia Blondel (musical composition and instrumentation) and Lucila Césped (harmony) at the National Conservatory of the Universidad de Chile. He presided the National Composers Association from 1971 to 1979, is responsible for establishing a Chilean Composer Hall at the National Library and founded the Cabinet for Electro-acoustic Art Music (GEMA) in 1991.

"Los peces" (1955-57) is considered a groundbreaking piece of electroacoustic work, and with the help of architect Pedro Burchard, they used the Fibonacci numeric series together with manipulated piano sounds to create the work. Other works include "Misa litúrgica para coro y orquesta" (1964), "Klesis" (1968), "Música continua" (1969), "Preludio en High Key" (1970), "Sueño de un niño" (1970), "Amacatá" (1972), "Ludus Vocalis" (1973), "Central el Toro" (1974) and "Juegos" (1976).

This  Electro Music for this Turn of the Century is a compilation of (home studio produced) works presented publicly in their respective year(s) of composition in Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, the U.S. and Spain between 1968 and 1973, released by the Asfona label (No. VBPS 463).

The pieces clearly illustrate the interests of the composer, both in the investigation and development of the new sound media as well as their corresponding/structured musical use.

"Klesis", the last track on side-B was (again, like with his seminal 1957 "Los Peces") elaborated using the Fibonacci numeric series. It also contains portions of a child's voice reading verse 20 from chapter 3 of the Apocalypse.

"Amacatá" (a child's vocal deforming of "Atacama" -as in the Chilean desert-), and "Ludus Vocalis" are also based on mathematical combination.

The liner notes allude to the (stereo) kinetic-sound effect (this is, sound movements in space, perceivable in a certain loudspeaker/listening space set up) and to the manipulations of the human voice as a central formal structure element.

As an overview of the man's (more tape-based) work, it is beyond question, although it looks like pretty hard to come by.

Juan Cristian Amenábar is responsible for the sleeve, Ricardo Moraga for the master tape and Hernán Ramirez for the photograph on the back cover.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Abedul - 1979 - Nosotros

Abedul
1979
Nosotros


01. Flash 05:44
02. Ultimos Momentos 04:47
03. Walking 03:59
04. Sobre Fuego 03:27
05. The Monster and the Butterfly 04:56
06. Impresion 04:58)
07. Renacer de la Aurora 03:50
08. 84 H.D.G. 02:43

Albert Aranega - Keyboards
Narcis Baiges - Vocals
Pedro Castro - Bass
Jose L. Perez - Guitar
Lluis Visiers - Drums



Abedul is one of the forgotten and very rare bands coming from Spain in late '70's. It took , to tell the truth almost 4 years to find this album, last year in octomber it was in my hands. So, what we have here a mix of symphonic moments and some very almost discoteque sound melted with some hard rock moments in places. I like it at first listning, very uptempo in some parts and aswell a a lot of instrumental passages remind me in places of ZZTop, same drumming and same attitude, only the genre is diffrent. Is not an extrordinary album, but worth some spind from time to time. The vocal arts are ok, nothing over the top but ok, the instrumental passages are the cherry on th cake here, pieces like Ultimos momentos or Renacer de la Aurora. I will give 3 stars, a good one in my opinion, even is unnoticed and damn hard to find, this band and album desearve at least a propper consideration from time to time. Almost gone into oblivion Abedul manage to pull some reviews here and there, and that is a good thing, because like that the band will find new listners from younger generation. 3 star, good but totaly non essential.



Aaron - 1974 - Music by Aaron

Aaron
1974
Music by Aaron


01. Will You Go There With Me 4:44
02. Lovin' Woman 2:50
03. Like The Season 4:40
04. You're Coming Down 4:15
05. You're Coming Down 2:04
06. Family Circle 4:23
07. Dreamin' 4:02
08. I Hear Them Singing 4:08
09. Tims 3:37

Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals – Tommy Laughlin
Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals [Background Vocals] – Chuck Page
Guitar, Timbales, Valve Trombone, Lead Vocals, Vocals [Background Vocals] – Cham Laughlin
Keyboards, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals [Background Vocals] – Mark Pond



Here's another obscurity I'd like to know more about.  Unfortunately, there's next to nothing on the web about this short-lived quartet from Prince Georges County Virginia.  What little I can tell you comes from the scant liner notes on their album.  

Judging by the photos on the back cover of their album I'm guessing that these guys were still in their late teens when they recorded their sole album.  Showcasing the talents of singer/guitarist Cham Laughlin, brother/bassist Tommy Laughlin, drummer Chuck Page and singer/keyboardist Mark Pond, 1974's "Music By Aaron" was recorded at Richmond, Virginia's Eastern Studios.  Apparently a vanity project meant for distribution to family, friends and sales at local concerts, I've seen at least one on-line reference that says only 500 copies were pressed.   Regardless of the actual number pressed, this album is pretty obscure and when it shows up on dealer lists, it typically commands some pretty big prices.  Those dealer lists also tend to slap a psych label on the album.  Let me warn you that the psych content is pretty low - basically non-existent  SO if it wasn't psych, what did it sound like ?  Cham Laughlin was credited with most of the nine tracks, though all three of the other members co-wrote material.  Musically the set was impressive on at least a couple of counts.  First, the album sounded remarkably professional and well produced for such a young band.  Heard on quality headphones the album's fidelity matches lots of big ticket productions.  The album's also surprisingly diverse.  The opener 'Will You Go There with Me' has always reminded me of something out of The Marshall Tucker Band catalog.  The mid-tempo rocker 'Lovin' Woman' sported some nice jazzy keyboard and guitar moves.  Showcasing some nice harmony work, the ballad 'Like the Season' would have made a nice single.  Personal favorites - the bluesy rocker 'You're Coming Down' (though it's too bad they had to split the song between side one and two of the album) and the should've been a hit 'Dreamin''.   Yeah, it wasn't the most original set I've ever heard, but track for track these guys were impressive; even more so given their age. 

- Opening up with some tasty phased guitar, 'Will You Go There with Me' showcased the band's sterling harmonies.  Kicked along by an insidiously catchy Laughlin guitar figure, as mentioned above, musically this one sounded like Marshall Tucker trying to play a true rock song.  Great opener.   rating: **** stars 
- I've always been a sucker for funky guitar and keyboard numbers and that's exactly what 'Lovin' Woman' offered up.  Hard to imagine a skinny white guy from Virginia sounding as gritty and soulful as Cham Laughlin did on this number.  That said, there secret weapons on this one came in the form of Tommy Laughlin's hyperactive bass pattern and Mark Pond's keyboards.  Only complaint with this tune stemmed from the abrupt ending.   rating: **** stars 
- Penned by the Laughlin brothers, 'Like the Season' started out as a pretty acoustic ballad.  Nice enough, the song actually improved as it went along and more instrumentation was added to the arrangement. For what it is worth, I think Mark Pond handled lead vocals on this one.   rating: *** stars 
- 'You're Comin' Down' was a pounding, jittery, keyboard-propelled rocker.  Almost a jam track, the song had a very '70s vibe with lots of space for each member to take a solo.  The funny thing is that whereas jam tracks are just plain dull, this one kicked butt.   The only shortcoming here was that due to the songs length it was divided across the album's two sides.  A bit of better planning would have resulted in a track listing that kept the song intact.  rating: **** stars 
- An easy going, breezy ballad, 'Family Circle' was the song that initially did little for me.  Other than a nice acoustic guitar solo, the song actually struck me as coming awfully close to MOR radio fodder.  So as the saying goes - never trust your first impressions.  Over time this one's grown on me and what I initially thought was MOR 
- Opening up with some nice Pond keyboards, 'Dreamin'' was easily the album's most commercial tune.  Imagine a Chicago song written by Robert Lamm without the irritating horn arrangements ...   Another catchy melody; great hook, sweet harmony vocals, a killer Laughlin guitar solo ...  this one would have sounded perfect slotted in mid-1970s top-40 radio.   rating: **** stars 
- I'll be honest and tell you the mid-tempo ballad  'I Hear Them Singin'' was the one track I could do without.  Again, the track was nice enough, but at this point the album would have benefited from another rocker.    rating: ** stars 
- Showcasing an interesting combination of Latin percussion, cheesy synthesizer, and Uriah Heep-styled organ, the closing instrumental 'Tims' sounded like the band had spent quite a bit of time listening to Santana albums.  Quite different from the rest of the album, but very interesting.   rating: *** stars   

Most hardcore record collections are familiar with Hans Pokora's Record Collectors Dreams reference books.  "Music By Aaron" is listed in one of Pokora's books (I think it was in the fifth volume), and while it is certainly hard to find, it deserves to be listed not only for it's rarity, but because it is so damned good.  Well worth looking for ...  I'm surprised someone hasn't reissued the album. 

Cham Laughlin seems to be the member who remained most involved in music, teaching songwriting seminars and operating a sound studio in Prince Georges County, Virginia (Aaron Enterprises) where he produced albums for the likes of Jason Burton and Stephanie Tucker Little.  Sadly he died of cancer in January 2009.   

Chuck Page also appears to have remained active in music continuing to collaborate with Laughlin as a songwriter. 

Odd postscript - I owned a copy of this album for years and sold it about five years ago.  I instantly regretted selling it and kept my eyes out for a replacement eventually finding one.  The replacement album arrived on January 5th, 2012.  By odd coincidence, Laughlin died on January 5th, 2009.