Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sage - 1970 - Sage By Sage

Sage By Sage

01. My Girl - 3.10
02. Lovely Lady - 4.06
03. Don´t Stop Loving Me - 4.09
04. No One But You - 3.52
05. I´m Satisfied With You - 3.26
06. I Believe In You - 4.26
07. Morning Dove - 5.54

John Cameron - guitar
Hilda Williers - bass
Ray Williers - guitar
Rodger Stephan – drums

This ultra-rare album of psyche and southern rock from Miami outfit, Sage, Sage By Sage appeared on the Illusion label (CM2004) in 1970. Not much is known about either the band or its label, although it is widely rumoured that Illusion was some sort of a tax scam with albums by Sage and stable mates Hopney being given away or destroyed immediately upon release. There probably is more than just a small grain of truth in this rumour, as this particular album is spectacularly rare and almost never comes up for sale. Sage By Sage is a strong album with some first-rate playing and excellent song writing. There's the decidedly southern boogie feel of the Allman Brothers about much of the instrumentation on the album, with the songs being reminiscent of, amongst others, Dr Hook or the Sutherland Brothers."

Relatively Clean Rivers - 1975 - Relatively Clean Rivers

Relatively Clean Rivers
Relatively Clean Rivers

01. Easy ride
02. Journey through the valley of O
03. Babylon
04. Last flight to Eden
05. Prelude
06. Hello sunshine
07. They knew what to say
08. The persian caravan
09. A Thousand Years

*Phil Pearlman: guitar, bass, vocals, flute, harmonica and synthesizer
*Kurt Baker: guitar, vocals
*Dwight Morouse: drums, effects

Additional Accompaniment:
*Hank Quinn: drums on persian caravan
*John Alabaster: conga on persian caravan

A tremendous mid-1970's rural psych album that sounds like it was recorded in late 1968, Relatively Clean Rivers has that hippie commune Springfield/Manson Family/Dead vibe down pat. Although most often compared to The Dead, only the record's first cut, "Easy Ride" really sounds much like them, with it's acoustic/electric guitar mix and American Beauty era vocal styles. It's a great song, but the rest of the album is much different and a little bit better, spewing out wasted Topanga Canyon folkpsych with wacked out commune lyrics. Production is great and the musicianship is stellar, so we don't really get much of that 'real people' vibe prevalent in many other records with that 'rural' feel, but this still more than holds up. There really is nothing else quite like this, and the smashed lysergic hippie trip present here is anything but a novelty. You can totally feel the Canyon here, and these folks never did wind up leaving. The original vinyl is long gone, with only two pressings of 500 each supposedly, but my Radioactive Label CD reissue is nice, with a clear reproduction of the lyrics and liner notes and a nice, warm pseudo-analog sound. Great stuff......

Rain - 1971 - Live, Christmas Night

Live, Christmas Night

01. Tulane - 3:42
02. Billy Goat - 4:31
03. Boogie With Me Mama - 5:28
04. C. C. Rider - 8:11
05. Movin' On - 7:00
06. Tater Pie - 4:03
07. Built For Comfort - 7:22

*Brad Morse - Vocals
*Helmut Getto - Guitar
*Ted Paris - Bass
*Mich Guerin - Drums
*Gary Culotta - Piano

 Rain formed in New York City, somewhere round 1970. Guitarist Helmut Getto and singer Bard Morse where mates in a previous band called The Invisible Sideshow, together with John Castronova, and Kit Nelson who where members also for N.Y. Rochsester's band called The Quirks, between 1964 to 1967.

Rain recorded and self-released this Live album from a concert Christmas night at the Mariner Hotel. The album did well and soon after their released the single "No Money", and went on to a studio to prepare their full lenght album, but i suppose it has been forgotten and lost in some drawer.

Their sound is classic rock mixed with smokey blues rock,  featuring  knock-out rockers like “Billy Goat” and Chuck Berry’s “Tulane.”  The band toured regionally, and opened for bigger acts at the time like Nazareth and The Amboy Dukes.

Orphan Egg - 1969 - Orphan Egg

Orphan Egg
Orphan Egg

02.That's the Way Love Is
03.Mourning Electra
04.Bird Dog
05.It's Wrong
06.Ain't That Lovin' You Baby
07.Look at Me
08.Deep in the Heart of Nebraska
09.Don't Go to Him
11.Unusual State of Mind
12.Rock Me Baby

Orphan Egg:
Jim Bates - vocals
George Brix - drums
Pat Gallagher - guitar, vocals
Dave Monley - guitar, harpsichord
Barry Smith - bass

Nice little forgotten psych gem from this American group. Some of the songs are pretty typical of the genre (not that there's anything wrong with that) but the top class fuzz guitar improves this album significantly.

Orphan Egg album originally released on gnp subsidiary carole in 1968 - formed in 1967 in San Jose Orphan Egg was one of the lengthy list of bay area groups inspired by the psych movement spreading its tentacles from the sounds spiritual home in San Francisco. The album which also boasts some strong uk beat psych influences features lashings of incredible heavy fuzz guitar psych on a number of tracks. Aside from a handful of covers the self-penned tunes really are the stand-outs here with the feisty fuzz guitar bass drums a little recorder & a smattering of harpsichord combining along with beautiful trippy vocals to produce an ethereal floating psych sound.

One St. Stephen - 1975 - One St. Stephen

One St. Stephen
One St. Stephen

01. November Edgar 07:33
02. November 02:38
03. You May Be Religious 02:20
04. Nightly Drift 06:03
05. Old Man 02:15
06. Junkie's Lament 02:01
07. Twelth St Shuffle 03:26
08. Richer You Get 03:02
09. Cash In The Rocks 04:42

One St. Stephens (aka Don L. Patterson)
Bill Blechschmid
Terry Finneran
Danny Lawson
David Pierce
Franklin Reynolds
Bruce Roberts
Charles Squires

Another private pressing, this time one that first saw the light of day on the Owl label in 1975. This is an album which is generally regarded as one of the finest heavy acid psych albums of its time.

One reviewer described it thus: 'Side 1 opens and closes with extended, awesome moody psychers which will blow you away. Poe, heroin and Jim Morrison all help shape the One St. Stephen outlook, which results in one of the more distinct late autumnal moods [ever] manifested on vinyl. Good vocals, some howling fuzz and occasional use of Moog in typical '70s acidhead fashion'.

Don L. Patterson wrote the music and lyrics, was lead vocalist, played electric guitars, directed and produced the album 'One St. Stephen' in March of 1975. The music was originally intended for a film Don was developing with the working title 'The Devil's Reservation'. Due to a famous Jazz musician with the same name, Don used the alias of One St. Stephen.

The music was recorded at the legendary Owl Studios (Columbus, Ohio), using the same 8-channel analog recording deck that was used to tape the audio at Woodstock in 1969. Because everyone who heard the LP wanted a copy, Don pressed a very limited amount from Queen City Record Company (Cincinnati Ohio). He also designed the album sleeve and label. The response by regional disc jockeys was phenomenal.

The album got a lot of regional air play. A few months later, Don was offered a recording contract from two major record companies in New York City. Don was asked to tour. Don was never interested in the world of rock and walked away from a music future. Since then the album has been sought by record collectors around the world and bootlegged twice in Europe.

One St Stephen has been issued on CD before (on an unknown Austrian label in the '90s), but that particular version erroneously included 2 tracks by a completely different band (St Steven, from Boston), so this is the first time that this highly-regarded album has appeared in its original form.

Oasis - 1973 - Oasis


01. Wake - 3:40
02. Caught Away - 3:00
03. Runaway Life - 4:31
04. To Be Born Again - 3:13
05. Indeed Candide - 2:24
06. I Didn’T Like To Tell Her - 5:10
07. We Are People - 5:54
08. Every Way Of A Man - 3:02
09. High Revs - 5:23
10.Other Side - 3:48
11.Queen Of My Life - 4:58

*Joel Siegel - Vocal, Guitar
*Sherry Fox - Vocal
*John Yager - Lead Guitar
*Ted Teipel - Organ
*Carl Tassi - Drums
*Kelly Bryan - Bass

 Although this album was pressed in Canada and lists no home base for the group on the cover, it is known that they were based in Marin County (San Francisco Bay Area).

This private pressing is this band's only foray into the market place with only about 150 copies pressed.

Released in 1973 and only in Canada this album sounds like the West Coast scene mixed with Allmans country styled guitars,and CSN harmony song structures and a female joint lead vocalist with a pitch to die for. Which is defined as "psychedelic" by some record dealers in Europe.

The group was previously known as RJ Fox, who saw a double CD issue of their early seventies material issued in Summer 1994: RJ Fox: Retrospective Dreams (Black Bamboo).

Shelly Fox was previously in Cookin Mama and Stephen Barncard also worked with Chet Nichols and David Crosby.

Kelly Bryan had earlier been in the short-lived Grootna, and later played on a couple of albums by Jesse Colin Young.

Nova Local - 1967 - Nova 1

Nova Local
Nova 1

01. $5 a Ticket 2:55
02. If You Only Had the Time 2:20
03. Yascha Knew Deli Intimately 0:35
04. A Visit From It, the King 1:15
05. Tobacco Road 6:35
06. Hitch Hike 2:50
07. Morning Dew 5:33
08. Forgotten Man 2:19
09. Dear Jimi 0:45
10. And I Remember 2:13
11. John Knight's Body 2:12

Randy Winburn (vocals, guitar)
Phil Lambeth (guitar)
Joe Mendyk (guitar)
Jim Opton (bass)
Cam Schinhan (keyboards)
Bill Levasseur (drums)

The Nova Local was a band created in 1964 by five students attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The story of the Nova Local is one that upon first hearing seems far-fetched, but in the realm of cult music, comes off perfectly normal.

The Nova Local cut their performing chops playing for fraternity parties around the campus of UNC and local clubs around town. When bassist Jim Opton's fraternity sponsored a charity event - booking Chad and Jeremy, a popular English folk duo to perform at the university - Opton needed a band to open the show. Opton figured he would get his band, The Nova Local, to perform based on their reputation around campus and because they were "cheap."

The only part of the deal that brought Chad and Jeremy to UNC was for Rob Heller, who worked at William Morris Agency which worked for Chad and Jeremy, was to come and listen to the Nova Local play.

Heller signed the band right after the concert and they were put in contact with producer Elliott Mazur. According to an interview from Oldish Psych and Prog Blog, bassist Jim Opton said, "We got a recording contract with Decca, I don't know how, but Rob put that deal together with Elliott, and the next thing you know, we are in the studio with all kinds of famous people that had us in awe for the first 35 seconds or so."

In December of 1966, the band was invited to New York to record their first album primarily based off their performances around the Chapel Hill area. Very few bands in the history of music have been signed to a record contract after one performance, especially after a performance at a college show.

"I do know that somebody thought were kind of special," said Opton, "because the studio was absolutely closed to visitors while we were there and we were not allowed to take home raw tape to play for anyone."

The album, Nova 1, was released in April of '67 to almost nonexistent fanfare, but, overtime, like any great cult artifact, has gained in popularity considerably since than.

It's sad, really, that the album was not recognized when it was first issued because the music contained within is actually pretty good. The album is a prime example of the burgeoning psychedelic music that would dominate rock music in the latter half of decade. But don't be fooled by misconceptions of the acid-rock scene or by the trippy, drug-induced, cartoony cover.

The sound still hangs on to that raw element many college bands possessed, but after I listened to the record for the first time, I was stunned by the maturity of how the band sounded. There is a confidence and originality in arrangements of certain songs. Take a listen to their cover version of "Tobacco Road," a song about growing up in North Carolina.

The arrangement is brave when you compare it to the original version sung by The Nashville Teens, or even the popular bluesy British band The Animals' hit single, and the Nova's version is far superior than the Jefferson Airplane's studio recorded version, a extremely popular psychedelic band in 1967.

Nova 1 is one of the first albums to feature a predominate fuzz bass on songs, a technique made popular with The Beatles. The album contains some fantastic guitar tones, especially on the opening track "$5 a Ticket," where the sibilant guitar chords add a grungy feel, lending to the garage band sound.

But just like any great thing, it too shall come to pass, and after the album was released, The Nova Local disbanded and disappeared into obscurity forever. It's a shame that such a promising band with a fairy-tale story didn't fair well in the music business, but then again, maybe they're better for it. Maybe they would have recorded another album, another failure, and then become just another has-been band. Instead, we're left with a golden nugget of an album, one that creeps from the shadows every so often and receives the recognition it deserves.

Music Box - 1972 - Songs Of Sunshine

Music Box
Songs Of Sunshine

01. Songs Of Sunshine - 4:18
02. Caillavie - 3:53
03. Harmonium Joe - 3:21
04. Leezie Lindsey - 5:29
05. Calico Shoeshine Boy - 2:45
06. The Happy King - 4:58
07. The Magic Cloak - 2:34
08. Seaside Sunshine - 2:58
09. Tom Thumbs Blues - 6:34
10.Downstairs On The Floor - 3:24

All titles by Rob Armstrong unless as else stated.

*Rob Armstrong - Six, Twelve String Guitars, Vocals
*Colin Armstrong - Six String, Electric Guitar, Vocals
*Pip - Glockenspiel, Recorder, Organ, Percussion, Vocals

 Echoes of the mid '60s folk rock boom, and whimsical lyrics with a twist of Dylan (his "Tom Thumb's Blues" is the only non-original song on the album) were perhaps at odds with the sounds of that era. Whatever the reasoning, the album quickly disappeared... shame. Here is an album about a more intimate, predominantly acoustic music. Flutes, chimes, and gentle organ sounds. It spins tales of faraway lands, sand, sea, castles, kings, queens and even Peter Pan.

Bet you thought only Donovan made 'em like that? Songs of Sunshine is incense & innocence, folk rock 'n' flowers! Well played, tastily arranged... and overlooked. But that was then, and things change.... we're now probably far enough away for the mid '60s to be the early '70s anyway, and if you can remember those times, well, you weren't there, as the saying goes...or something like that.

Rob Armstrong, the leader of the group, became a renowned luthier after the short-lived Music Box project, and you can hear the care and love of the acoustic guitar in the music.

The lyrics combine whimsy and fantastical stuff, basically pedestrian but the key is the feel of the tunes,(very pretty version of a traditional tune, "Leezie Lindsey.") the album also has tasteful bass playing and organ and glockenspiel and such things.

McDonald & Sherby - 1969 - Catharsis

McDonald & Sherby

01. Addoranne - 10.06
02. Sharks Around Blood - 5.27
03. Run And Hide - 4.17
04. Space Beam - 4.35
05. Swim Free - 15.01
06. Drivin´ Me Crazy - 5.18

Guy McDonald: Lead Guitar, Vocal, Synthesizes
Stan Shelby: Lead Vocal, 12 String Guitar

Back Up Musicians:

Sly Williams
Dan Dropick
Monty Edwards
Dan Olson

McDonald & Sherby's sole contribution to the canon of 20th century music was Catharsis, an album which originally appeared on the appropriately-named Omniscient label (Omniscient Records 1426S) Some have speculated that given the band's prog/psych leanings, Catharsis was probably recorded in the '70s, although the accepted wisdom is that the album was made at Minneapolis's Sound 80 Studios on 1969. The album consists of six long tracks with a decidedly heavy guitar-based vibe, all well- recorded and delivered with considerable aplomb.

The Small Faces - 2014 - Here Come The Nice

The Small Faces
Here Come The Nice 
(4CD + 4LP Box Set Charly Records Amazon Exclusive)

Small Faces Singles (Worldwide As Bs & EPs)

01. Here Come The Nice 02:57
02. Talk To You 02:06
03. (Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me 02:17
04. Something I Want To Tell You 02:08
05. Get Yourself Together 02:19
06. Become Like You 01:57
07. Green Circles 02:33
08. Eddie's Dreaming (B-Side Edit) 02:44
09. Itchycoo Park 02:46
10. I'm Only Dreaming 02:23
11. Tin Soldier 03:21
12. I Feel Much Better 03:57
13. Lazy Sunday 03:04
14. Rollin' Over (Part II Of Happiness Stan) 02:15
15. Mad John (Single Version) 02:08
16. The Journey (Single Version) 02:55
17. The Universal 02:45
18. Donkey Rides, A Penny A Glass 02:49
19. Afterglow Of Your Love (Single Version) 03:23
20. Wham Bam Thank You Mam 03:28

Original Immediate single versions
Taken from original mono master tapes

Small Faces In The Studio (Olympic, IBC & Trident Sessions - Part 1)

01. Shades Of Green (Mono) 00:40
02. Green Circles (Take 1 / Mono) 01:06
03. Green Circles (Take 1 Alt Mix 1 / Mono) 02:49
04. Anything (Tracking Session / Stereo) 03:48
05. Anything (Backing Track / Stereo) 03:09
06. Show Me The Way (Stripped Down Mix / Stereo) 02:13
07. Wit Art Yer (Tracking Session / Mono) 02:52
08. Wit Art Yer (Backing Track / Stereo) 02:30
09. I Can't Make It (Alt Mix / Stereo) 02:29
10. Doolally (Tracking Session / Mono) 04:11
11. What's It Called? (Overdub Session / Mono) 00:36
12. Call It Something Nice (Take 9 / Stereo) 02:06
13. Wide Eyed Girl (Take 2 / Stereo) 01:45
14. Wide Eyed Girl On The Wall (Alt Mix / Stereo) 03:30
15. Donkey Rides, A Penny A Glass (Stripped Down Mix / Stereo) 03:26
16. Red Balloon With A Blue Surprise (Take 5 / Stereo) 00:49
17. Red Balloon (Alt Mix / Stereo) 04:31
18. Saieide Mamoon (Tracking Session / Stereo) 09:36

All tracks previously unreleased versions
Taken from original studio multitrack and session master tapes

Small Faces In The Studio (Olympic, IBC & Trident Sessions - Part 2)

01. Wham Bam Thank You Mam (Alt Mix / Stereo) 03:26
02. I Can't Make It (Stripped Down Mix / Stereo) 02:36
03. This Feeling Of Spring (Take 1 / Stereo) 01:46
04. All Our Yesterdays (Backing Track / Mono) 02:12
05. Talk To You (Alt Mix / Stereo) 02:24
06. Mind The Doors Please (Mono) 05:04
07. Things Are Going To Get Better (Stripped Down Mix / Stereo) 02:46
08. Mad John (Tracking Session / Stereo) 04:01
09. A Collibosher (Take 4 / Stereo) 03:33
10. Lazy Sunday Afternoon (Early Mix / Mono) 03:02
11. Jack (Backing Track / Stereo) 03:38
12. Fred (Backing Track / Stereo) 03:09
13. Red Balloon (Stripped Down Mix / Stereo) 01:35
14. Kolomodelomo (Take 1 / Stereo) 02:47
15. Donkey Rides, A Penny A Glass (Alt Mix / Stereo) 03:36
16. Jenny's Song (Take 2 / Stereo) 04:04

All tracks previously unreleased versions
Taken from original studio multitrack and session master tapes

Alternate Small Faces (Out-takes & In-concert)

01. Itchycoo Park (Take 1 Stereo Mix) 02:53
02. Here Come The Nice (Take 1 Stereo Mix) 03:03
03. I'm Only Dreaming (Take 1 Stereo Mix) 02:27
04. Don't Burst My Bubble (Mono) 02:26
05. I Feel Much Better (Stereo) 03:58
06. Green Circles (Take 1 Italian Version / Mono) * 02:45
07. Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow (Alt Mix / Stereo) * 01:54
08. Piccanniny (Alt Mix / Stereo) 03:04
09. Get Yourself Together (Alt Mix / Stereo) * 02:21
10. Eddie's Dreaming (Take 2 Alt Mix / Stereo) * 02:46
11. (Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me (Take 2 Alt Mix / Stereo) * 02:11
12. Up The Wooden Hills To Bedfordshire (US Alt Mix / Mono) * 02:02
13. Afterglow Of Your Love (Alt Single Version / Mono) * 03:38
14. (If You Think You're) Groovy (Mono / The Lot - P.P. Arnold & Small Faces) 02:57
15. Me You And Us Too (Mono) 03:33
16. The Universal (Take 1 Stereo Mix) 02:47
17. Rollin' Over (Live / Stereo) 02:29
18. If I Were A Carpenter (Live / Stereo) 02:29
19. Every Little Bit Hurts (Live / Stereo) 06:12
20. All Or Nothing (Live / Stereo) 04:05
21. Tin Soldier (Live / Stereo) 03:19

All tracks rare or * previously unreleased versions
Taken from original studio and session master tapes
Live tracks recorded at Newcastle City Hall 18 November 1968
Taken from Pye Studios master tape, pitch and speed corrected

It goes without saying that such a comprehensive and relatively expensive release caters specifically to fans of the group. There is, I believe, little doubt that the number of fans of the group is significantly larger than the limited 3000 copies this classy boxset is released in.

The majority of people will probably be most interested in the music itself and about this, it can in brief be said , "Great - and outstanding sound" . There has been a huge research work done in order to find the best sources of all these tracks, which in many cases are the original multi-track tapes. It is also clear that The Small Faces recorded their music under unusually good conditions; for their time. It's amazing how clean and clear it all sounds. Everything is remastered and many songs have been remixed from the master tapes, which means that you notice details that were previously to various degrees hidden in the mixes.

What's on the four CDs then? CD 1 is the most easy go go to as it contains the group's singles A's and B's released during 1967-69. Not many groups can cope with such a variety of great songs, and this also applies to B-sides , which in many cases might as well have been A-sides. Particularly interesting is "Mad John" which is without Stan Unwin 's narrative and which has a different fadeout .

CD2 and CD 3 give a fine insight into the group working with their music. Some of the cuts are short fragments while others are full versions of the songs in new mixes, often without fade outs and therefore often longer than the known versions. Although you meet new and previously unheard of titles in the track list you should be aware that these are titles in most cases cover the early stages of well-known songs . There are very fine new and finished mixes of "I Can't Make It ," "Call it Something Nice ," "Wide Eyed Girl on the Wall", " Red Balloon", "Wham Bam Thank You Mam" , "Just Passing" ( This Feeling of Spring ), "Talk To You", "Collibosher", " Donkey Rides , A Penny , A Glass" , "Autumn Stone" ( Jenny 's Song ) and several others. Also interesting to hear a version of "Green Circles" with Steve Marriott as lead singer .

On CD 4 there are also a lot of great and interesting stuff and this CD is like CD 1 very listenable . These alternative versions are in most cases on par with the known ones, and in some cases maybe even better. Here I will highlight "Me You and Us Two" , a song previously erroneously released as "Wham Bam Thank You Mam" . The guitar riff is indeed the same but it has completely different lyrics, and it features Nicky Hopkins on piano. Interesting also to hear the single version of "Afterglow" at the correct pace.

The live numbers have all been previously released , but these are cleaner mixes and correct speed pitches.

In addition to the four CDs the box includes a very informative book, which include the exciting story of the extensive research of locating all the best sources for the music.

There is also a reprint of two rare French EPs and two singles. One is a promtion single that was made for the first Immediate album , while the other include an acetate called "Mystery" , which is an early version of "Something I want to tell you" . Moreover there are reprinting of various old fan-articles and a couple of posters. And then there are personally handwritten signings by Kenney Jones and Ian Maclagan .

I am in no way in regret this investment and I can highly recommend it. The first CD with the singles has been released separately, so if you find it too costly with a whole box , you can instead chose "Greatest Hits , The Immediate Years 1967 - 1969"

The Small Faces - 1999 - The BBC Sessions 1965 - 1968

The Small Faces
The BBC Sessions 1965 - 1968

01. Whatcha Gonna Do About It 2:16
02. Jump Back 1:41
03. Baby Don't You Do It 2:28
04. Shake 3:13
05. Sha-La-La-La-Lee 2:49
06. You Need Love 2:36
07. Hey Girl 2:08
08. E-D 4:14
09. One Night Stand 1:57
10. You'd Better Believe It 2:24
11. Understanding 2:34
12. All Or Nothing 3:04
13. If I Were A Carpenter 2:31
14. Lazy Sunday 3:18
15. Every Little Bit Hurts 4:01
16. Rare Interview With Steve Marriott 1 0:47
17. Rare Interview With Steve Marriott 2 1:01
18. Rare Interview With Steve Marriott 3 1:26
19. Rare Interview With Steve Marriott 4 1:00
20. Rare Interview With Kenny Jones 1:17

A solid compilation of 1965-68 BBC performances. It's heavier on their early mod years than their later psychedelic ones, which are essentially only represented by three songs from a 1968 broadcast (of which only one, "Lazy Sunday," is an original). Still, this has energetic (and, by the standards of BBC archive tapes from the 1960s, good-sounding) versions of the early singles "Whatcha Gonna Do About It," "Sha-La-La-La-Lee," "Hey Girl," and "All Or Nothing," as well as a few first album-era songs, highlighted by "You Need Love," the template for Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love." "Whatcha Gonna Do About It," from a 1965 broadcast, is a particularly incendiary performance, about the equal of the hit single version. As for songs that are otherwise unavailable on Small Faces releases, there are just a couple, and they're good ones. "Jump Back" is a heavy mod-soul cover of a song first done by Hadda Brooks, and later covered by Gene Vincent, though the Small Faces most likely learned it from Rufus Thomas' soul version. One thing's for sure: although Steve Marriott is given the songwriting credit in the liners, he did not compose it (it's been credited to both Brooks and Thomas on other reissues). There's also a mighty fine cover of Brenda Holloway's soul ballad "Every Little Bit Hurts" from 1968, with P.P. Arnold (uncredited on the sleeve) on backing vocals. This does miss some BBC cuts that have shown up on bootlegs (notably a cover of "You Really Got a Hold on Me"); perhaps good-fidelity tapes could not be found. What they did find blows previous bootlegs of Small Faces BBC sessions away, soundwise.

The Small Faces - 1968 - Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake

The Small Faces
Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake

The Mono Album
101. Ogden's Nut Gone Flake 02:35
102. Afterglow (Of Your Love) 03:30
103. Long Agos And Worlds Apart 02:36
104. Rene 04:02
105. Song Of A Baker 03:12
106. Lazy Sunday 03:04
107. Happiness Stan 03:37
108. Rollin' Over 02:14
109. The Hungry Intruder 02:14
110. The Journey 04:03
111. Mad John 04:20
112. HappyDaysToyTown 02:59

201. Ogden's Nut Gone Flake (Early Session Version - Mono) 02:49
202. Afterglow (Alternate USA Mix - Stereo) 03:03
203. Long Agos And Worlds Apart (Alternate USA Mix - Stereo) 02:36
204. Rene (Early Session Mix - Stereo) 04:30
205. Song Of A Baker (Alternate USA Mix - Stereo) 03:00
206. Lazy Sunday (Alternate USA Mix - Stereo) 03:05
207. Happiness Stan (Backing Track - Mono) 02:38
208. Bun In The Oven (Early Session Mix - Mono) 02:13
209. The Fly (Take 4 - Instrumental Version - Stereo) 02:02
210. Mad John (Take 7 - Early Session Version - Stereo) 02:20
211. HappyDaysToyTown (Alternate USA Mix - Stereo) 04:19
212. Kamikhazi (Take 7 - Backing Track Version - Mono) 02:17
213. Every Little Bit Hurts (Early Session Mix - Mono) 03:56
214. Ogden's Nut Gone Flake (Alternate Take - Phased Mix - Stereo) 02:25

The Stereo Album
301. Ogden's Nut Gone Flake 02:27
302. Afterglow 03:29
303. Long Agos And Worlds Apart 02:35
304. Rene 04:30
305. Song Of A Baker 03:15
306. Lazy Sunday 03:06
307. Happiness Stan 03:33
308. Rollin' Over 01:53
309. The Hungry Intruder 02:13
310. The Journey 04:12
311. Mad John 04:13
312. HappyDaysToyTown 02:50

Regarded as one of the all time great albums of the ‘60s, Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake was by far the most successful of Small Faces albums; enjoying a six-week run at the top of the UK charts during June and July 1968. The concept album mixes heavy rock, psychedelia, soul, and sheer cheekiness into a melange that is truly addictive. Stanley Unwin’s narration, is without question a triumph of boldness, surrealism and musical bravura.
The award-winning sleeve was based on an old Victorian era tobacco tin. This circular, multi-layered construct became such a talking point that it threatened to eclipse the music within. The title, a contemporary twist on the original smoking brand, was the band’s suggestion for a blend of the future, when it was assumed that marijuana would be available legally.  They spent many happy hours leafing through the Ogdens’ archive, searching for the right blend of Victoriana, before Steve came up with the mischievous, censor-dodging ‘Nut Gone’ title.

The Small Faces - 1967 - The Small Faces (Immediate)

The Small Faces
The Small Faces - Immediate

Original Mono Album
101. (Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me 02:16
102. Something I Want To Tell You 02:07
103. Feeling Lonely 01:32
104. Happy Boys Happy 01:36
105. Things Are Going To Get Better 02:37
106. My Way Of Giving 01:55
107. Green Circles 02:33
108. Become Like You 01:58
109. Get Yourself Together 02:19
110. All Our Yesterdays 01:49
111. Talk To You 02:06
112. Show Me The Way 02:06
113. Up The Wooden Hills To Bedfordshire 02:02
114. Eddie's Dreaming 02:55
Bonus Tracks - Mono
115. Here Comes The Nice 02:57
116. Itchycoo Park 02:46
117. I'm Only Dreaming 02:23
118. Tin Soldier 03:21
119. I Feel Much Better 03:57
120. (Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me - Alternate Mix 02:05
121. Eddie's Dreaming - Alternate Mix 02:42
122. Green Circles - Take 1: Alternate Mix 3 02:35

Original Stereo Album
201. (Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me 02:15
202. Something I Want To Tell You 02:10
203. Feeling Lonely 01:34
204. Happy Boys Happy 01:35
205. Things Are Going To Get Better 02:38
206. My Way Of Giving 01:58
207. Green Circles 02:46
208. Become Like You 01:57
209. Get Yourself Together 02:16
210. All Our Yesterdays 01:52
211. Talk To You 02:07
212. Show Me The Way 02:08
213. Up the Wooden Hills to Bedfordshire 02:04
214. Eddie's Dreaming 02:57
Bonus Tracks - Stereo expert * Mono
215. Just Passing 01:15
216. Itchycoo Park 02:48
217. Here Comes The Nice 03:03
218. Don't Burst My Bubble 02:25
219. Things Are Going to Get Better - Alternate Version 02:34
220. I Can't Make It - Session Version 02:10
221. Green Circles - Alternate Take 2 * 02:43
222. Tin Soldier 03:22
223. (If You Think You're) Groovy - Backing Track * 03:09

Informed by beat, soul and incipient psychedelia, it’s the tension between Marriott’s cocky instantaneity and Lane’s measured reflection that really lies at the heart of the second Small Faces album. The magnificent and irresistible Itchycoo Park gave the band their only US Top 20 hit and reasserted the Small Faces’ supremacy as a singles act.
Coming on the back of the speedily stoned Here Come The Nice (June 1967), and the track reached No. 3 in Britain at the height of the Summer of Love. A long-time favourite for Small Faces connoisseurs, the album rather suffered from being released in the same month as The Beatles’ headline-hogging Sgt. Pepper – hence its latter-day status as a hidden gem.

The Small Faces - 1967 - From The Beginning

The Small Faces
From The Beginning

101. Runaway 02:45
102. My Mind's Eye 02:03
103. Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow 01:54
104. That Man 02:14
105. My Way Of Giving 01:59
106. Hey Girl 02:16
107. (Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me 02:18
108. Take This Hurt Off Me 02:16
109. All Or Nothing 03:03
110. Baby Don't You Do It 02:00
111. Plum Nellie 02:31
112. Sha La La La Lee 02:55
113. You've Really Got A Hold On Me 03:17
114. What'Cha Gonna Do About 02:01
Bonus Tracks:
115. Almost Grown 03:01
116. Understanding 03:14
117. I Can't Dance With You 03:14
118. I Can't Make It - Session Version 02:12
119. Just Passing 01:15

201. Runaway - Alternate Mix (Stereo) 02:40
202. That Man - Alternate Mix (Mono) 02:14
203. Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow - Alternate Mix (Mono) 01:52
204. My Mind's Eye - Alternate Mix (Electronically Processed Stereo) 02:02
205. Picanniny - Backing Track (Mono) 03:03
206. Hey Girl - Alternate Version (Mono) 02:14
207. Take This Hurt Off Me - Different Version (Mono) 02:15
208. Baby Don't You Do It - Different Version (Mono) 01:59
209. All Or Nothing - Alternate Mix (Electronically Processed Stereo) 03:03
210. Understanding - Alternate Mix (Electronically Processed Stereo) 02:47
211. Talk To You - Take 5 Backing Track (Mono) 02:31
212. All Our Yesterdays - Take 7 Backing Track (Mono) 02:00
213. (Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me - Alternate Take 2 (Mono) 02:10
214. Show Me The Way - Take 3 Backing Track (Mono) 01:05
215. I Can't Make It - Take 11 Backing Track (Mono) 02:28
216. Things Are Going To Get Better - Take 14 Session Version (Mono) 02:34

From the Beginning was released by Decca following the band’s departure to Immediate. The album came out 3 weeks before Small Faces, the authorised self-titled Immediate LP, and the album remains part one of a two-part Small Faces bonanza that month. From The Beginning provided an untidy summation of the previous, action-packed 12 months. It’s certainly the rogue in the Small Faces’ pack, but clearly of the loveable variety.
What this collection manages to do is demonstrate the way the band were developing and maturing in their sound. They tackled Del Shannon’s Runaway and even released the Christmas hit My Mind’s Eye which got to number four in the charts.

The Small Faces - 1966 - The Small Faces

The Small Faces
The Small Faces

101. Shake 02:53
102. Come On Children 04:17
103. You Better Believe It 02:20
104. It's Too Late 02:36
105. One Night Stand 01:49
106. What'Cha Gonna Do About It 01:57
107. Sorry She's Mine 02:47
108. Own Up Time 01:46
109. You Need Loving 03:57
110. Don't Stop What You're Doing 01:54
111. E Too D 03:01
112. Sha La La La Lee 02:57
113. I've Got Mine 02:52
114. What's A Matter Baby 02:55
115. Grow Your Own 02:18
116. Patterns 02:03

201. Come On Children - Alternate Version (Mono) 03:29
202. Shake - Alternate Version (Mono) 02:54
203. You Better Believe It - Alternate Version (Mono) 02:50
204. It's Too Late - Alternate Mix (Electronically Processed Stereo) 02:36
205. Sorry She's Mine - Alternate Mix (Electronically Processed Stereo) 02:46
206. Own Up Time - Alternate Version (Mono) 02:28
207. E Too D - Alternate Version (Mono) 03:16
208. I've Got Mine - Alternate Mix (Electronically Processed Stereo) 02:52
209. Grow Your Own - Alternate Mix (Electronically Processed Stereo) 02:17
210. Sha La La La Lee - Stereo Version 02:53
211. Don't Stop What You're Doing - Alternate Version (Mono) 02:03
212. Patterns - Alternate Mix (Electronically Processed Stereo) 02:04
213. What's A Matter Baby - Alternate Mix (Mono) 02:54
214. What'Cha Gonna Do About It - Alternate Version (Mono) 02:08

The Small Faces spring ’66 debut LP represented a three-pronged alliance between the band’s concert set which they’d been perfecting since May 1965, a couple of Tin Pan Alley-style gifts bestowed on them, and a clutch of callow but surprisingly assured originals.
Hot under the collar and hastily executed, Small Faces had pop, soul and very little in the way of 12-bar rock’n’roll; which was rare for a beat combo. Above all, the record caught the flavour of those changing times.

Maypole - 1970 - Maypole


01. Glance at the Past (Welsh) - 1:25
02. Show Me the Way - 2:09
03. Henry Stared - 6:32
04. Changes Places - 3:40
05. Under a Wave (Welsh) - 5:46
06. Look at Me - 4:24
07. Johnny (Mace) - 4:26
08. Comeback - 4:24
09. You Were (Welsh) - 2:51
10.In the Beginning (Ross) - 4:37
11.Dozy World - 3:06
12.Stand Alone - 7:11
13.Who Was She - 3:12
14.All in the Past - 5:41
All songs by Dennis Tobell except where indicated
Bonus tracks 13-14

*Dennis Tobell - Guitar, Vocals
*Paul Welsh - Drums
*Steve Mace - Vocals, Guitar
*Kenny Ross - Vocals
*John Nickel - Bass
On bonus tracks only
*Carey Altshuler - Keyboards
*Chuck Burke - Bass, Vocals
*Alan Wall - Drums
*Guille Garcia - Percussion

 The Story of Maypole was about freedom, people being natural, true to themselves and the others around them. We told the truth about things and what we saw. The beauty, the ugliness, the injustice, of the times.The plight of hungry hearts on their journey seeking to find true happiness. Maypole was not a typical group. Our approach was artistic and on a spiritual level.

Demian's guitar style has been compared to Jimi Hendrix,Frank Marino, and Carlos Santana. The reality is, that Demian was playing just as long as the afore mentioned players. His influences were what was going on around him. The hardships of his early life made him sensitive and thoughtful about life.He was run over by a bus in Baltimore when he was just 4 years old and suffered severe injuries. Long rehabilitation helped to build his concentration, endurance and his character. His ability to make his guitar sound in so many different ways is what made the guitar interesting for him. A way to express himself with no boundaries.He lives in Germany at the moment,where his new version of The Maypole is based.

Dennis Tobell- Under the stage name of Denny Romans, later to be known as Demian Bell. Principle writer and Lead Guitarist and Vocals. Born near Chicago, to a show business Father and Mother, grew up in Maryland, Ohio, and California. First started piano at age 7, then guitar at 13. First professional gig at 14, with 'The Rogues' at the Gold Horse Saloon in Folsom California. He was a member of 'The Moss' a Baltimore Blues band that won many competitions known as 'Battle of The Bands' at 15. He founded the 'Psychedelic Propellor' at 16, in Baltimore Md. Played with 'Van Morrison' and 'Moulty and the Barbarians' at 18 and 'Maypole' when 20, with Paul Welsh.

Paul Welsh- Drummer and writer and co-founder with Dennis Tobell. Born in Frankfurt Germany, to a French mother and American father. Raised in Towson , Maryland. A brilliant student in History, Literature, Languages and music. His first love was music as he saw it, as a tremendous way to communicate with the masses. Playing drums since age 10, he first played with 'The Paupers', 'Daddy Warbucks'and then with 'Maypole' Paul commited suicide in 1988.

Steve Mace- Writer, singer and second guitarist. Born in Baltimore, raised in Towson , Paul and Steve were next door neighbors all their lives. He also was a member of the 'Paupers', 'Daddy Warbucks', before joining 'Maypole'

Kenny Ross- Singer, songwriter. Born in Baltimore and grew up in the Govans area of Baltimore. Kenny was also a member of 'The Paupers' with Paul and Steve. Kenny passed away in May 2005.

John Nickel- Bass Guitar was born in Baltimore, was from the Essex area of Baltimore, and played in many area bands before joining 'Maypole'.

We could give a hoot about making a hit single and even though they tried to push us to do it. It was the music we felt and believed in. We weren't concerned with song lengths and snappy hook lines , we were searching for a whole new way to express ourselves.We played with power and conviction, inside of many new styles. Some of these things are universal. Genres are nonsense. Music is music, and you'd be amazed at all the ways there are to play it. Why limit yourself? That's a form of slavery."

Demian and Paul had met in 1966 while both playing on the same bill together in different bands at a local Baltimore teen center. Demian in the "Psychedelic Propellor" and Paul in "The Paupers". They liked each others playing, became friends, and had many occasions to talk about music and to jam together. In late 1969 after Demian returned from Boston, they decided to form a new group.

They would call it "Maypole" after the famous story by Nathaniel Hawthorne called the "Maypole of Merry-Mount" which describes how some Puritans went off into the woods to erect a Maypole and danced around it in complete violation of the rules of the day. They were arrested and punished for the crime of dancing and basically having a good time. They saw the parallel to the times they were living and the principle of freedom that it represented.

After some session they fired their manager. Their new managers were London Records promo men who knew how to get airplay and did a great job. The band did dozens of interviews on the air and played concerts to try and promote an album that had no company behind it. because Colossus went bankrupt. Without the support of a solvent record company the record could go no farther. They did several TV shows in the Baltimore Washington area.

The high points were, that they could push any button on the car radio and a "Maypole" song was playing at the same time in the Baltimore, Washington, and Virginia area. The review by legendary record-rater Bill Gavin, spoke of a "Great Band". "The American Led Zeppelin"as he called them. Dave Marsh of "Rolling Stone Magazine" spoke well of their record. They did some local and national TV shows.They toured with Bob Seeger, Nils Lofgren and Grin, Elephant's Memory,and several other acts. There was no one to distribute the album. It showed up in cut-out bins years later.But the music refused to die. It became a collectable. Showing up in record collecting guides throughout the 80's and 90's Finally reaching upwards of $250.00 usd per copy on EBay.

Then we had a chance to re-issue the legal versions. In early 2006 it was released on Gear Fab on CD, and later in October 2006 on Anopheles on Clear Vinyl with the sound and artwork restored to better than original condition.
by Dennis Tobell

Major Arcana - 1976 - Major Arcana

Major Arcana
Major Arcana

01 Western Wind 5:03
02 Dark Trip to Edge City 4:13
03 Shake Me 3:32
04 Steal Your Love Back Home 4:27
05 Deanna Durbin Blues 4:39
06 Down Under Blues 4:58
07 Papa Doc 5:51
08 Back in the Spirit 4:39
09 Fran's Blues 5:16
10 Greensleeves 3:25

Collectors have long known about Milwaukee's Major Arcana, but I'm surprised it hasn't attracted more mainstream attention. 

Jim Spencer originally made his name as a writer/publisher, responsible for a series of early-1970s underground magazines, including Freek.  He also found time to record a pair of mid-1970s solo LPs that attracted local attention, but did little on the national scene.

1973's "Landscapes" Toth Records STS-1000
1974's "2nd Look" Akashic AST-1001

In 1974 he decided to form a band, recruiting the talents of bassist Michael Burdecki, lead guitarist Randall Dubis, and percussionist Jim Kitchen.  Released on Spencer's own A Major Label (which also released the highly sought after Anonymous album), "Major Arcana" served as a showcase for Spencer who handled all of the vocals and was credited with writing, or co-writing nine of the ten songs (the one exception being a cover of the traditional 'Greensleeves').  Propelled by Spencer's likeable voice (for some reason every time I listen to the LP I think of Jack Black in 'High Fidelity'), musically the album was hard to describe since it bounced all over the horizon including stabs at conventional blues, commercial ballads, folk-rock, Dr. John-styled funk ('Papa Doc') and even jazzy interludes. Curiously lots of reviews have slapped a 'psych' label on the LP.  Frankly that's the one genre I just don't hear much of - maybe a little in side two's 'Down Under Blues' and the closing 'Greensleeves'.  Maybe I'm simply going deaf ...   In spite of some cheesy synthesizers, co-written with Milwaukee poet Charles Dynzof (aka Chuck Simmons), 'Western Wind' started the album off with a stunning ballad, with 'Shake Me' and 'Steal Your Love Back Home' turning in equally engaging mid-tempo pop pieces.  It wasn't perfect.   'Deanna Durbin Blues' and 'Fran's Blues' were okay, if unexceptional blues numbers.  Interestingly guitarist Dubis went on to pursue the genre in his post-Major Arcana career (see below).  Elsewhere, courtesy of buddy Sigmund Snopek III, the flute interludes quickly became an irritant.  Still, the album's loose, low tech feel more than compensated for the somewhat fragmented musical lineup, making it a perfect LP to play on one of those cold, rainy or snowy Sunday mornings when you can't get much energy going. 

Depending on which source you use, between 1,000 and 2,500 copies were pressed.  Regardless, the LP's hard to find.  Original copies are also worth owning for the cool Denis Kitchen cover art (the only album cover he's ever done), as well as the hard to find Peter Poplaski poster insert. 

On a related note, in 1999 Kitchen had artist Roger May convert the original print into 3D.  I believe he had 100 copies printed (I own #76) and he sells signed artist print copies for $50 over the internet.

Suffering from a number of personal issues and apparently heavily into drugs, Spencer died of a stroke.  He was only 39 years old.

Before going out of business in 2007, the UK-based Radioactive label booted the LP in CD format (Radioactive catalog number RR-149CD).

In the late-1970s Dubis moved to Denver, Colorado where he ended up touring with a number of local acts including the late Son Seals and Sonny Rhodes.  He also formed The Randall Dubis Band which has released a series of albums (I'll admit to never having heard his solo work)..

Magi - 1976 - Win Or Lose

Win Or Lose

01. Win or Lose - 5:13
02. Undecided Man - 5:11
03. I Didn't Ask You - 5:51
04. Steven Jam - 4:48
05. Fryin' Away - 6:56
06. Snow Bound - 4:56
07. Runnin' Low - 5:43
08. Everytime I'm with You - 4:42

*Tom Stevens - Bass, Vocals
*Steve Vanlaningham - Guitar
*Larry Stutzman - Guitar, Vocals
*Jerry Wiggins - Drums
*John Gaut - Vocals

This north Indiana outfit ruled the roost in the “Michiana” region in the mid-’70s, attracting huge crowds whenever they played live. Often compared with Led Zeppelin, this 5-piece outfit rocked the area with a tight and raw sound that combined in-your-face hard rock with undisguised psychedelic tendencies and lashings of fuzz.

It must be said the boys didn’t do themselves any favours by issuing their only known album with a cover reminiscent of a Journey photo shoot, but regardless of their dubious hair and sense of dress, Magi certainly deserved more than the obscurity into which they ultimately lapsed.

Win Or Lose, recorded at Uncle Dirty’s Sound Machine studios in Michigan in 1976, and which boasts a series of solid songs propelled by a tight rhythm section and some more-than respectable vocals, is always reviewed enthusiastically: “superb heavy rock fuzz spectacular with some psych feel” “ rare Led Zep-like masterpiece of killer rock ” “hard ro c k i n ’ with a psych edge that makes it totally unique” In another place or time this band could have been huge.

As it is, we only have this one incredibly rare album to judge them by, but based on the evidence, Magi definitely receives an unqualified thumbs-up.  About a decade later Tom Stevens became one of the Paisley Underground's most active musicians, forming the Long Ryders and been a part of  Danny and Dusty's outfit.

Judy Henske & Jerry Yester - 1969 - Farewell Aldebaran

Judy Henske & Jerry Yester
Farewell Aldebaran

01. Snowblind - 3:07
02. Horses On A Stick - 2:10
03. Lullaby - 2:55
04. St. Nicholas Hall - 3:35
05. Three Ravens - 3:30
06. Raider - 5:12
07. One More Time – 2:17
08. Rapture - 4:09
09. Charity - 3:17
10. Farewell Aldebaran - 4:21

Judy Henske – vocals
Jerry Yester - vocals, guitar (01, 02, 08, 10), piano (02-10), harmonium (02), toy zither (03), Marxophone (03), Chamberlain Tape Organ (04), orchestra (05, 10), organ (07, 08), banjo (08), bass (10), Moog synthesizer (10), producer
Zal Yanovsky - bass (01, 10), guitar (01, 10), producer
Larry Beckett - drums (01)
John Forsha - 12-string guitar (02, 05, 09)
Joe Osborn - bass (02, 09)
Dick Rossmini - guitar (02, 09)
Eddie Hoh - drums (02, 09)
David Lindley - bowed banjo (06)
Jerry Scheff - bass (06)
Toxie French - drums (06, 07, 10)
Herb Cohen – executive producer

Here's one that easily qualifies as a cult classic and (to the best of our knowledge), still hasn't seen a legitimate CD release (the Italian Radioactive released a boot copy in 2005)..

By the mid-1960s Judy Henske had carved out a reputation as a well known and rather successful folk artist.  She'd also married former Lovin' Spoonful bassist Jerry Yester, with whom she soon had a baby girl.  For his part, with the demise of the Spoonful, and a couple of solo singles, Yester originally turned his attention to production, working with the likes of The Association and The Turtles.  He also began writing material with Henske. 

Signed to Frank Zappa's newly formed Straight Records (Henske's manager Herb Cohen was also Zappa's manager), the two brought in former Spoonful cohort Zal Yanowsky to co-produce 1969's "Farewell Aldebaran".  With Henske handling the lyrics and Yester furnishing the music, the resulting album was highly eclectic.  Showcasing Henske's surprisingly versatile voice (anyone expecting fragile folk or top-40 pop was in for a major surprise), the LP found the duo effortlessly bouncing across musical genres.  While folk ("Lullaby") and pop ("Horses on a Stick") weren't entirely abandoned, the emphasis was on psych (check out the nifty country-cum-psych "Raider") and hard rock ("Snowblind") sounds.  Not everything worked; the couple occasionally sounding like they're simply trying too hard, but roughly half of the selections were worth hearing a couple of times.  In spite of strong reviews, the album sold few copies; a fact no doubt aided by Straight's minimal promotional support.  (The album was originally released with a gatefold sleeve.)

Joseph - 1970 - Stoned Age Man

Stoned Age Man

01. Trick Bag
02. I Ain't Fattenin' No More Frogs for Snakes
03. Cold Biscuits and Fish Heads
04. Stoned Age Man
05. I'm Gonna Build a Mountain
06. Mojo Gumbo
07. The House of the Rising Sun
08. Gotta Get Away
09. Come the Sun Tomorrow

What can we say except ...Classic Stoner (heavy fuzz) bluesrock!!!This is a rare album indeed and much sought after, originallyreleased on the Scepter label (SPS 574) in 1970 and recordedin Memphis at the legendary American Sound Studios.

The “Joseph” was in fact Joseph Long or Joseph Longeria,discovered by the albums producer and A & R man SteveTyrell playing in Houston in a battle of the blues competition!!This is the only know foray into recording that Longeria madeand he was a superb guitar player to boot!!Stoned Age Man contains some of weirdest lyrics ever written.

This one doesn't show up too often, but from time to time you'll see it as a big dollar item on psych lists. That's kind of a misnomer since Joseph Longeria's album is actually more blues-rock oriented than traditional psych. Maybe we're just being too anal here ... Regardless, he's a helluva guitar player and the album's well worth the asking price.
We'll be real honest and admit we can't tell you much about this guy. Different reference works show him as being from Texas, or Tennessee. What little we do know is lifted from the liner notes accompanying his sole album, so take the information with a grain of salt. A&R man/producer Steve Tyrell apparently discovered Longeria playing in a Houston, Texas battle of the blues bands competition. Signing him to a contract with Scepter Records (a surprising choice given the label's fondness for MOR acts such as Dionne Warwick), Joseph's 1970 debut "Stoned Age Man" was recorded in Memphis' famed American Studios. Produced by Chips Moman, Mark James and Glen Spreen, the latter two were also credited with co-writing the majority of the nine tracks. So what's the album like? As we said earlier, the bulk of the album has a bluesy feel to it. Longeria doesn't have much of a voice, but his ragged growl and blazing guitar compliment one another, giving tracks such as "Trick Bag", his adaptation of "The House of the Rising Sun" and the title track considerable kick. The collection's also pretty cool in that Longeria writes some of the strangest lyrics we've ever heard - check out the bizarre "I Ain't Fattenin' No More Frogs for Snakes" and the sitar-propelled "Cold Biscuits and Fish Heads".
As far as we can tell, this is Longeria's only foray into recording. Anyone know what happened to him?

Jeff St John's Copperwine - 1971 - Joint Effort

Jeff St John's Copperwine
Joint Effort

01. Cloud Nine 6:22
02. Sing a Simple Song 4:25
03. Fanciful Flights of Mind 3:23
04. Any Orange Night 7:26
05. You Don't Have to Listen 5:00
06. I've Been Treated Wrong 3:09
07. Days to Come 4:10
08. Reach Out 5:22
09. Can't Find My Way Home 4:19
10. Train 2:18
11. I Remember 5:54
12. Environment in 3 Parts
 a. At the Party Mrs. Prothero
 b. How Many People
 c. Highway

Harry Brus - Bass
Ross East - Guitar, Vocals
Johnny Green - Guitar
Barry Kelly - Piano, Clarinet
Wendy Saddington - Vocals
Jeff St. John - Vocals
Peter Figures - Drums
Alan Ingham - Bass
Phil Wooding - Guitar

Copperwine was a Sydney-based band, who played between 1969-72. Two of their songs, ‘Freedom Blues’ and ‘Teach Me How To Fly’ can also be heard on ‘Great Hits From Australia's Great Stars’; ‘Keep On Growing’ has re-emerged on ‘12x12’, and ‘Cloud Nine’ has resurfaced on ‘So You Want To Be A Rock'n'Roll Star’ (3-CD).

‘Joint Effort’ is a psychedelic/progressive crossover album with some soul influences. It includes a surging, organ-based cover of The Temptations' ‘Cloud Nine’ and competent versions of Sly and The Family Stone's ‘Sing A Simple Song’ and Blind Faith's ‘Can't Find My Way Home’. There's lots of good self-penned material too; a long instrumental ‘Any Orange Night’, the fragile psychedelic-tinged 'Fanciful Flights Of Mind' and 'Days To Come'. A worthwhile album.

'Cloud Nine' and 'Days To Come' were culled for ? 45 release, but surprisingly failed to chart. This situation was corrected by the follow-up, a cover of The Rotary Connection hit 'Teach Me How To Fly'. This brought them a significant hit and had a good flip side too in the soul-influenced 'Freedom Blues'. The band toured relentlessly during 1971 and appeared live with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. They also released another good single, the delicate ‘Hummingbird’. By late 1971, friction had emerged between Jeff St. John and Copperwine. He left them early in 1972 to form his own band and pursue a solo career. Alan Ingham had earlier played with Glen Ingram and The Hi-Five.

Damião Experiença - 1974 - Planeta Lamma

Damião Experiença
Planeta Lamma

01. 1308 Registrou gravou rose Olíria Experiença
02. Que dor eu sinto
03. A vida é sempre assim
04. Linguagem do povo do infinito ao universo de rose 1999
05. Loucura total 1999 a Damião Experiença
06. Amente astrologica 1999
07. Planeta lamma
08. Minha dor
09. Som planeta lamma
10. Planeta bicho
11. Mundo no espaço
12. Meu passado ? meu presente
13. Linguagem do planeta lamma música do planeta lamma

Born in 1935 in a small town in the state of Bahia, Brazil, at the age of 13 Damião runs away from home to escape the violence of his abusive parents, who would hit him with a cane, and thus he travels as a stowaway aboard a ship to Rio de Janeiro. There, he goes to live in the zone amidst hustlers & prostitutes, and discovers the world early; as he starves, he decides to join the Brazilian Navy for a living. He leaves job after job, and it is on the street he becomes a man. He haunts whorehouses & seedy dens, decides to live with a woman in a makeshift house in a slum, and deserts the navy. Regretted, he comes back after a couple of weeks, but is sentenced to one year in prison, one month of which kept isolated in solitary confinement. When released, he is no longer the same; it was there in jail he knew the Planeta Lamma (Planet Lamma). He had gone in as Damião Ferreira da Cruz and went out as Damião Experiença.

He starts painting, paints a canvas titled Planeta Lamma, and learns music while in prison with his cell mates, we are in the Brazil of the early 1960’s, shortly before a dictatorial regime which would rule the country for 20 years following a military putsch, those are the times of hippies, communal life styles, lsd, psychedelia, Tropicalia, student movements, repression, torture, exiles. Damião is in the middle of this turmoil. Also, according to other versions, it is said that he had been imprisoned for pimping.

Released from prison, he gets a new job in the Brazilian Navy, this time as a radar operator, and after a few years on this he retires because of a work accident, being considered handicapped; actually, Damião fell from the mast & hit his head, which for some might have caused his turbulent mental state & the obscurity of his songs, as for others he is gifted with a profound world view, being actually a sage.

Damião is back to the streets & to the profession he had embraced still in his teenage years: pimping. He uses the money gained with prostitution to recording & producing his records, the first of them issued in 1974, titled Planeta Lamma, a one-man vinyl nugget in which he plays an acoustic guitar with only one string, a sort of rattle attached to it so as to create a percussive effect, and a harmonica with a neck rack. Such a superb album, it was thoroughly recorded in the Planet Lamma dialect, a language he himself learnt (or invented?).
For those who ask, such dialect really exists, it is bona fide & Damião himself can talk to you whenever you want to in this language. He sings the songs from all the records, and often speaks in such dialect, even getting to translate whole phrasings. Does he know it by heart? Who knows?

Imagine a hardcore/grindcore Bob Dylan who learnt music while in prison, busking around with an apocalyptic look & dreadlocks in the tropical sun of 1970s Rio de Janeiro, skreighing in a strange tongue he himself invented, pouring out the pains of existence, Dadaist occultism, conspiracies, & defending lesbianism, besides working as a pimp to produce his 100% independent records. Imagine Antonin Artaud, the creator of the Theatre of Cruelty, re-emerging from a nine-year season in hell in psychiatric institutions & being injected into Bongo Joe’s or Captain Beefheart’s veins to shake up & rape all the pillars & panes of all our deepest fears & hypocrisies – Boom. Now forget any associations & try to focus on the real thing, that is, Damião Experiença, the cat who’s been around.

Planeta Lamma (or “Planet Lamma”) is ex-pimp & Navy officer Damião’s debut album , released in 1974, and most intriguingly, this outlandish dada psych folk-core gem recorded with a one-string acoustic guitar, burning with tribal rattles, harmonica, aggressively raw throat vocals alternating with ethereal holler-mood glossolalias, was composed just after Damião was released from prison following a turbulent runaway life of starvation & pimping on the streets; legend says he was sentenced to one year in prison, one month of which kept isolated in solitary confinement, after deserting his job in the Brazilian Navy – it was there, therefore, locked inside the darkest depths of existence, that he first experienced the so-called Planet Lamma (along with its alien language) which would later make up his aesthetics throughout his works. He had gone in as Damião Ferreira da Cruz, his christian name, and emerged as Damião Experiença. (as I’ve just read a recent report on BBC saying: “As two men in Louisiana complete 40 years in solitary confinement this month, the use of total isolation in US prisons is high. What does this do to a prisoner's state of mind?” – can you picture what’s like?) But oh no, compared to Damião Experiença’s track “Planeta Lamma”, i.e., bands such as Ratos de Porão or G.G. Allin sound like spoilt boys playing with Barbies & fake blood!!!

Most known for his innovative art concept, completely stranger to any established paradigms, Damião Experiença’s lyrics as well as his approach on instruments have no parallels in the history of Brazilian art. On the other hand, even with the recent reverential wave from some Brazilian indie musicians & filmmakers over his strikingly way-out work & originality, which helped to pull him back from a 10-year self-exile, the 77-year-old cult legend still remains underrated & hailed by both public & critics, let alone he is often treated as a crusty bum or madman whenever he’s seen in the street (although we have to admit that he himself has somehow “contributed” to such “vip” treatment, which doesn’t justify at all the censorship on his music & person though). Actually, Damião rarely gives interviews & refuses to sign contracts, besides he dislikes journalists & media in general. Also, due to his unyielding attitudes towards music & art, his obscurity, life style & visual, he has also been often linked to other genial “freaks” such as Jandek, Frank Zappa, Sun Ra, George Clinton, Fela Kuti & Moondog, to whom I would also add (or mix in) Arte Povera, candomblé, voodoo, psych, punk & grindcore, Mississippi country blues, noise, experimental, and all that is unconventional & outsider. Damião evokes elements & nuances from all these, yet one needs to listen to his records to discover how & where these links intertwine.

According to an unofficial bio, the aesthetic of his musical work also incorporates surrealistic lyrics, a dialect (that from Planet Lamma), an autobiography, collages on his records covers based on his totally out-of-this-world look, which consists of elements picked from the streets & attached to his clothes, kind of banners, packages, lights parts, newspaper cuts, pins & scraps. The themes & characters that haunt his records are beyond any explanations, ranging from faraway marine riots to Isabelita Peron, Bob Marley, Adolf Hitler, Fidel Castro, former Brazilian president Getulio Vargas, all mixed up to Communism, abortion, dictatorship, drugs, music, police violence, virginity, marriage, hunger, semiotics, Rastafarian culture &, of course, the names of planets created by himself.

But whatever, now go & listen to the “Old Sage of the Streets” & help his work bridge the gap between the obscurity & ignorance still surrounding it & some fair degree of recognition. Even if Damião himself doesn’t give a shit…

This, his first record, introduces the universe to Damião's invented Planeta Lamma. On all of his records, D sing-howls exclusively in his own invented dialect---Portuguese with very odd phrasings, and some esoteric borrowings from an uncharted ether. A pop Brazilian Sun Ra with total disregard for tradition.

Here, Damião uses just one string on his guitar, and a bongo tied to the mouth of the guitar for crude percussive effect. He frequently chimes in with screechy harmonica solos. The lyrics seem primarily invested in semi-linear stories of slutty women and cuckolded men. For the parts in straight Planeta Lamma dialect, I'll need an interpreter, and other than Damião himself, I don't know where to look for one.

So, yes, way off the wall...carnival geek gazers may get into this for voyeuristic reasons, while samba adherents may want to leave this iconoclast a wide berth. But what strikes me after a few minutes of listening when my hair has settled back down and my ears have adjusted to the assault, is how the cadences, voice and rhythms are very Sertanejo northeast cowboy Brazilian (Damião's origins) at heart, and that once your brain absorbs that reality, you realize that Damião is to Sertanejo something like the Legendary Stardust Cowboy is to Country & Western.

Jake Holmes - 1970 - So Close, So Very Far To Go

Jake Holmes
So Close, So Very Far To Go

01. So Close 3:31
02. A Little Comfort 3:26
03. I Sure Like Her Song 2:00
04. We're All We've Got 2:32
05. Her Song 3:38
06. So Very Far to Go 2:52
07. The Paris Song 2:45
08. I Remember Sunshine 1:56
09. Django & Friend 3:37
10. Population 2:42

For far longer than I care to remember, singer/songwriter Jake Holmes has never gotten his due. For those of you who know of him, I'm sure that you'll agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment. For those of you who don't know him, or have never heard of him, I would have to say: You really DO know him. You listen to his voice or music dozen of times each day!
And, even though he has never been a "household name" to the general public, his voice and his jingle-writing talents went "household" back in the early 1970's. In fact, the presitigious Songwriter's Hall of Fame inducted Jake Holmes into their ranks for his music for commercials. He is the only advertising writer to achieve that distinct honor.

Some of his more famous and memorable jingle campaigns include:

"Be All That You Can Be"
(US Army)

"I'm A Pepper"
(Dr. Pepper)

"Come See The Softer Side Of Sears"
(Sears, Roebuck & Co.)

"With Charmin Ultra, Less Is More" (Cha-cha-cha!!!)
(Charmin, P&G)

"The Best A Man Can Get"

"Raise Your Hand If You're Sure!"
(Sure, P&G)

You get the point! This list could go on forever with just some of the better-known jingle campaigns he wrote and sang for. Some of us have long compared him to lots of the well-known jingle legacy talent in Los Angeles like Tom Bahler, John Bahler, Ron Hicklin and Jackie Ward-Smith. But, to be fair, he is more like that whiz-bang 1960's ad agency genius Hugh Heller PLUS all the best LA jingle writers and singers ... all rolled into ONE person. A genuine one-man band and one-stop shopping for the advertising clients who employ him and his fellow talents at Park Avenue's legendary Three Tree Productions.

Jake Holmes - 1968 - A Letter To Katherine December

Jake Holmes
A Letter To Katherine December

01. Saturday Night - 2:12
02. Late Sleeping Day - 3:22
03. Chase Your Eyes - 3:28
04. The Diner Song - 2:29
05. High School Hero - 3:18
06. Moving Day  - 2:38
07. Leaves Never Break - 4:41
08. It's Always Somewhere Else - 2:30
09. Sleeping Woman - 3:12
10.Houston Street - 4:29

Words and Music by Jake Holmes.

*Jake Holmes - Vocals, Guitars
*Ted Irwin - Lead Guitar
*Charlie Fox - Horns, Strings Arragments

After the non-success of his debut, the record execs must've had a collective cow when Jake Holmes strolled into the office with the tapes for this follow-up LP under his arm. Indeed, one wonders what kind of secret Hoover files Holmes held on the Tower guys, who previously had recorded entire Chocolate Watchband LP sides with session men, but allowed Holmes complete artistic freedom and strange, uncommercial 45 picks to boot.
Again, the front sleeve is very nice-looking and what you might expect from a would-be Tim Hardin, but over on the back a reference to Poulenc amidst fluffy poetry should set alarm buzzers ringing. Drop the vinyl on the turntable and... yes, Mr Holmes has decided to do a Zappa, get serious, and create like, satire, you know. So what you get is acute observations on topics like "High School Hero" and "Saturday Night" set to music which sounds like what you'd expect to hear at a Paris art gallery in 1915. I shit you not; this is early modernist classical with Chuck Berry lyrics. Whew! Except with Chuck B you never got the vibes of a bitter outsider getting back at jocks & bullies from the elevated position of the Artist, which is what Jake delivers. After the triumphant 'He didn't graduate!' that concludes "High School Hero" you can almost see the ugly smile on Holmes face, like if the Cheshire Cat had paid a visit. Despite the freak value this stuff essentially sucks, proving the once-promising J H guilty on charges of taking too little acid and falling in love with his own ideas.
But like a suede-clad James Bond he then finds salvation at the very brink of death, opening side 2 with what is not only the high-point of the LP but of his entire career, or anyone's career (we're talking Scorpio Tube levels here); viz, the extended LSD-drenched showstopper titled "Leaves Never Break". Some may know this from the "Growing Slowly Insane" CD compilation and can proceed right to the end of this review, those that still remain should consider the prospects of a 2nd bardo merger between C A Quintet and the Deep at the operating table. The celebrated "Dazed & Confused" seems a mere sketch for this desperate slab of torment, as Jakey mutters and yells about the disintegration of his mind while evil dual fuzz guitars impatiently lurk in the wings. Surely a dispatch from the lands of utmost psychedelia, this track almost - but only almost - makes the LP. You owe it to yourself to hear it, anyhow.

Jake Holmes - 1967 - The Above Ground Sound Of Jake Holmes

Jake Holmes
The Above Ground Sound Of Jake Holmes

01. Lonely - 2:39
02. Did You Know - 2:52
03. She Belongs To Me - 2:14
04. Too Long - 2:47
05. Genuine - 3:58
06. Confused - 3:51
07. Penny’s - 2:38
08. Hard To Keep My Mind On You - 2:02
09. Wish I Was Anywhere Else - 2:51
10.Signs Of Age -  4:02

All songs by Jake Holmes

*Jake Holmes - Vocals, Guitars
*Ted Irwin - Lead Guitar
*Rick Randle - Bass Guitar

 When folk-rock singer/songwriter Jake Holmes opened for The Yardbirds in New York in August 1967, little did he suspect that one of his songs, Dazed And Confused, would be “commandeered” by guitarist Jimmy Page and become one of his next band’s major live showpieces.

The band in question is of course Led Zeppelin, and although The Yardbirds did incorporate the song into their live set, it is the Led Zep version that provided Holmes with his 15 minutes of fame, although Mr Page, clearly suffering from a temporary bout of amnesia, forgetfully claimed the song writing credit himself. Holmes had done the rounds of the New York folk scene, working in bands with the likes of Tim Rose before going solo.

This, his first recording, originally appeared on the Tower label (ST 5079) in 1967. The album is considered a folk-rock masterpiece, and was described at the time as “a songwriter, three guitars and a mirror”. The guitars of Holmes, Ted Irwin (later to play with Elliot Murphy, Roy Buchanan and various country singers) are the only backing for Holmes’ voice and the 10 short tracks are outstanding, but especially the sparer, stripped-down original version of Dazed And Confused.

Jake  was born December 28, 1939 in San Francisco, California, and before went solo, he performed in a trio with Tim Rose and Richie Hussan, in a group called The Feldmans.

J. D. Blackfoot - 1974 - The Song Of Crazy Horse

 J.D. Blackfoot
The Song Of Crazy Horse

01. The Song Of Crazy Horse / Ride Away - 18:46
02. I've Been Waitin' - 4:29
03. Miss Sally - 3:37
04. One Man's Story - 3:43
05. Almost Another Day - 3:47
06. Hey Johnny D.J. - 2:41
07. Flushed You From The Toilets Of My Heart - 4:09
09. Comin' Down - 3:49

*J. D. Blackfoot - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Bells
*Frank Gibson - Drums, Percussion
*Billy Kristian - Bass
*Mike Walter - Piano
*Bob Jackson - Electric Guitar
*Jimmy Slogget - Sax
*Tony Baker - Sax, Organ
*Sonny Manahera - Pedal Steel Guitar
*John Durzo - Bass
*Sterling Smith - Piano
*Daniel Waldron - Trash Can
*J. Huff - Violin
*Sue Moore - Background Vocals

Blackfoot was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 9, 1944, but spent most of his early years in Columbus until age 8 when his father got an office job with the Atomic Energy Commission and moved his family to Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Oak Ridge was a very secret place in those days.

After graduating from high school, he joined the Maryland National Guard, but since he was again spending most of his time in Bladensburg, where he had few friends, he became something of a loner. Then, one Saturday, he was walking past a music store and saw a $78 Kay guitar and amplifier in the window and bought the package. He also purchased a chord chart. Immediately, he took his treasures home, learned three chords and wrote two songs before the weekend was over.

After he had mastered the Kay guitar enough to play tunes, Blackfoot and a buddy found a third player and formed a trio called the Starfires. The trio played one gig and broke up because the drummer moved to California. Music then became a private thing for the young man. He didn’t share it with anyone, didn’t attempt to join another group, just kept on truckin’ for the next couple of years with no particular direction in mind.

In 1965, his father died of a cerebral hemorrhage while on a business trip to Charleston, South Carolina, and Blackfoot’s mother moved back to Columbus, which is where his father was buried.

A short time later, the 21-year-old, who had no real ties in Maryland, headed for Columbus, too. Since there were no openings in the Ohio National Guard at the time, he transferred to the Air Force Reserve and served with an air police unit in Wilmington, Ohio, from 1966 until 1970.

So, in 1967, when Blackfoot was already 23 years old and had never performed in public except for that single gig with the Starfires, he learned that a local band called the Ebb Tides was looking for a singer/rhythm guitar player. The group was scheduled to do an 18-state summer tour of the county fair circuit.

In 1970’s “The Ultimate Prophecy,” which now demands top dollar if you can find a copy, was done in two takes over a single weekend at Mercury Recording in New York.

His second album "The Song of Crazy Horse" was recorded in New Zealand in 1973 and won New Zealand’s R.A.T.A. (Recorded Arts Talent Award) Album Of The Year award for 1974. The title track is a 20 minute saga about the life of the Oglala Sioux Chief Crazy Horse. It was released in 24 countries on the Fantasy label and to this day is still captivating new listeners around the world. The album received spotlight picks in Billboard, Cashbox, and Record World magazines.

History and English teachers often use The Song of Crazy Horse in their classroom when teaching about the American west and Native American history. Wherever radio stations were willing to play a 20 minute track, The Song of Crazy Horse instantly made the phone lines light up. In St. Louis, MO, KSHE FM has played The Song of Crazy Horse on its Sunday classics show for 38 years.