Friday, June 24, 2016

Super Freego - 1982 - Pourquoi Es-Tu Si Mechant

Super Freego 
Pourquoi Es-Tu Si Mechant

01.Yekto Le Kreutre (3:40)
02. Il Y A (4:26)
03. Tu Peux Crever (4:14)
04. M'en Fous (3:30)
05. Dommage Tu Avais L'age (3:52)
06. A La Folie (3:52)
07. Rock II (5:16)
08. Tentative De Courgettes (2:54)
09. Pourquoi Es-Tu Si Méchant? (4:14)

- Karaki / bass, voices
- Hervé Dupon / guitars, keyboards
- M. Skolarczyk / voices
- Rockez Melendy / drums, percussion
- Max de Pol / guitars

Recorded at Studio Vénus (Longueville) 2/3 to 18/3/1982.
"A La Folie" recorded at Studio Synthesis (Boulogne) and mixed at Studio Vénus.

Ahhh, the mythical Super Freego, one of the rarest Zeuhl albums of the 80s.  Also, as it turns out, one of the most interesting, as Super Freego mixed their Zeuhl with New Wave, winding up sounding like some strange amalgam of Magma and the B-52s.  If that sounds about as appetizing as mixing peanut butter and pickles, well, it isn't; this album is fantastic.  Zeuhl is often thought of as being really "heavy" and "serious", so it's a great pleasure to hear an album that is unquestionably Zeuhl and yet is still a lot of fun to listen to.  I can't, of course, understand the lyrics, but this album definitely earns its place through its musical virtues alone.  Highly recommended.

If you ever wondered what it would sound like if The Human League or Missing Persons were a Zeuhl influenced group, then Super Freego gives you a window into that world. Stylistically it fits in the early 80s New Wave synth pop camp. Except all these irregular rhythms combined with the familiar male/female chanting clearly point to that most unique French school of music. And it gets weirder as you go through the album, that by Side 2 it's almost purely Zeuhl. I've seen a couple of YouTube videos that demonstrate that Super Freego were a far wilder group on stage than in the studio, which gives me some hope there might be some crazy Zeuhl music sitting in a canister somewhere. The only other album that even comes close to sounding like this is Eskaton's "Fiction", though that album is far closer to pure Zeuhl than Super Freego. Maybe Foehn's "Faeria", though Super Freego are much more intense.

From Mutant Sounds:

In passingly referencing this French zeuhl unit in one of my other reviews a while back, I referred to Super Freego's music as sounding like Planet Kobaia meets Planet Claire, as pithy a capsulization of the irreverent new wave inflections they bring to this often decidedly serious (bordering of sanctified) genre as I can manage to muster. Of course, their name alone is a bit of a giveaway vis a vis their playful attitude to the Magma mothership (Magma = heat, Super Freego i.e. Super Frigidaire = cold). This has earned them something less than adoration in certain humor deprived sectors of the prog geek universe. To these po-faced folks I say Feh! Super Freego are one of the most awesome zeuhl outfits of the whole period, their seemingly chalk and cheese mixture in truth picking up on a latent thread of show-bizzy wackiness in late model Magma, which in itself is a bit of a line in the sand in zeuhl quarters. Anyone that has ever caught Magma's early 80's Bobino concert footage will know precisely what I mean by this. Super Freego seize on some of this Rocky Horror Picture Show musical revue-style schtick (specifically Retrovision's high camp) and run for the hills with it. And, as it turns out, the hills are alive with the sound of...Rock Lobster.

Babe Ruth - 1976 - Kids Stuff

Babe Ruth 
Kids Stuff

01. Oh! Dear What A Shame 4:18
02. Welcome To The Show 5:13
03. Since You Went Away 3:37
04. Standing In The Rain 4:41
05. Sweet, Sweet Surrender 3:58
06. Oh! Doctor 3:42
07. Nickelodeon 2:46
08. Keep Your Distance 4:24
09. Living A Lie 6:06

Bass – Neil Murray (tracks: A3, B1, B5,), Ray Knott
Drums – Ed Spevock
Guitar, Vocals – Bernie Marsden
Percussion – Chris Karin* (tracks: A2, A3, B2), Tony Carr (tracks: A3, B2)
Piano, Organ, Synthesizer – Steve Gurl
Producer – Steve Rowland
Synthesizer [Moog], Organ – Don Airey (tracks: B1, B5)
Vibraphone [Vibes] – Frank Riccotti* (tracks: A3, A4)

I may as well make it clear from the outset that this is easily my favourite Babe Ruth album. That will surprise and possibly disappoint many Babe Ruth fans as they mostly see it as the weakest with the main protagonists from the band departed.

A brief explanation of how I came to purchase the album in the first place may explain all however.

Those of you that are old enough to remember the good old days of 'Record Shops' will know what I'm talking about here. The poor youngsters among you will just have to curse your bad luck for being born in a time of muti-national corporations where every High street in every town is exactly the same.

You see back in the seventies and eighties, and into the nineties too just about, things were very different. Sainsbury's, Tesco, Asda (Wal-mart) etc sold bread and cheese. If you wanted records you went to a record shop or in some places like Woolworths and Boots (yes Boots the Chemist) you went to the Record Department. Okay there were some National chains still like HMV but Virgin was an Independent little place, which was great for imports I seem to remember, and every town had a couple of good privately owned little record shops, some even had massive ones. The majority of these had secondhand sections too where you could dig out all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff that someone else had grown tired of. How many of you reading this (that is of course if anyone is reading this) can remember, like me, wading through the endless racks of secondhand albums in the gloriously named 'Record & Tape Exchange' in Camden and Notting Hill Gate among other places filling in gaps in the beloved collection. It may have been more time consuming but it was much more fun than downloading them from the internet like people do nowadays.

The other thing is that in those days musicians paid their dues. They made an album every year, they played in countless bands before hitting the big time. Touring up and down the country in a beat up Bedford van. So subsequently you would find albums in the secondhand racks and be surprised by the names of musicians you knew playing in bands you'd never heard of. Because they were so cheap you bought them and thats how you got to build up a proper eclectic collection rather than 50 issues of Now Thats What I Call Music and the three albums your favourite band have released in the last 10 years that a lot of people call a collection these days.

So back to 1981 then (for that is where we were about to go before i went off on that little rant !) there I am in the aforementioned Record & Tape Exchange in Camden and I pick up 'Kid's Stuff' look at the musicians credits on the back and see one Bernie Marsden. Crikey thinks the seventeen year old know all that was me, thats the guitarist out of Whitesnake I'll buy that it'll probably be good.

Well it was good, it still is good. Whenever I play it I think of afternoons spent in the secondhand record shop when I should have been studying. The smell of the cover reminds me of the shop and of carefree happy days when the only real concern you had was where to go on Saturday night. Twenty five years from now someone who is seventeen today isn't going to be able to do that with a downloaded MP3 file, but if i'm still around I'll still have all that vinyl and the memory of finding it.

This type of album wouldn't exist today, it would never have been made in the first place. The record company would have pulled the plug and no-one would have paid to make it or promote it. There were literally hundreds of great albums like this made in the seventies if you can get your hands on them. It's not brilliant, it's not revolutionary but its also not manufactured music by numbers. It is where the people involved were at the time, the ideas they had in their heads. They recorded them and put them out in the shops before they had time to tinker too much or decided they didn't think it worked. Subsequently the albums tend to be far more interesting and differ more from each other than modern day equivelants where they take three years to write an album and another year to promote it.

Short shelf lives meant it was easy to experiment. That's what this album is like ........ it is like no other i have. It certainly isn't like Whitesnake and it's never bothered me one bit.

Martin Leedham

Babe Ruth - 1975 - Stealin Home

Babe Ruth 
Stealin Home

01. It'll Happen In Time 5:33
02. Winner Takes All 3:56
03. Fascination 5:56
04. 2000 Sunsets 3:46
05. Elusive 6:40
06. Can You Feel It 4:13
07. Say No More 2:41
08. Caught At The Plate 2:54
09. Tomorrow (Joining Of The Day) 5:02

Bass – Dave Hewitt
Drums, Percussion – Ed Spevock
Keyboards – Steve Gurl
Producer – Steve Rowland
Vocals [Female] – Janita Haan*
Vocals, Guitar – Bernie Marsden

"Stealin´ Home" is the 4th full-length studio album by UK hard rock act Babe Ruth. The album was released through Capitol Records in 1975. Main composer and guitarist Alan Shacklock left the band after the third self-titled album and I was really worried how "Stealin´ Home" would sound without his contributions.

As it turns out "Stealin´ Home" isn´t stylistically that far away from it´s predecessor. "Stealin´ Home" is basically a rock/hard rock album and the music style isn´t completely unlike the music style of Wishbone Ash (without the twin guitar attack). A kind of softer hard rock style. The vocals by Jenny Haan sound like a female Geedy Lee (Rush). She is a very skilled singer with a great rock mama attitude. The only element on this album that links the music to the semi-progressive rock of the early releases is the inclusion of keyboards/synths on some tracks which gives the music a slight progressive touch, best examplified on the opening track "It´ll Happen In Time". I can appreciate most of the album but I especially enjoy the tracks that emphasize the harder rock side of the band´s sound. When they slow things down my fascination drops. A track like "Can You Fell It" with it´s reggae rhythms is where I say stop.

The sound production is enjoyable, warm and pleasant. Overall "Stealin´ Home" is a decent release by Babe Ruth even though I would listen to any of the first three studio albums before this one.

Babe Ruth - 1975 - Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth 
Babe Ruth

01. Dancer
02. Somebody's Nobody
03. A Fistful Of Dollars
04. We People Darker Than Blue
05. Jack O'Lantern
06. Private Number
07. Turquoise
08. Sad But Rich
09. The Duchess Of Orleans

Drums, Percussion – Ed Spevock
Grand Piano, Keyboards, Synthesizer [Moog] – Steve Gurl
Guitar, Bass [Fuzz] – Dave Hewitt
Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards [Mellotron], Synthesizer [Moog], Percussion, Vibraphone [Vibes] – Alan Shacklock
Vocals, Bells – Janita 'Jenny' Haan

After shipping the light-weight Amar Caballero LP, Babe Ruth sat dead-red on a hanging curve ball, sending a line-shot to the right/centerfield power alley with the release of their self-titled studio album in 1975.

Produced by Steve Rowland, the nine song Babe Ruth recording opens with the six-minute, hard rockin' "Dancer". Unlike the collection of mellow and funky cuts from Amar Caballero, Babe Ruth wasted no time gettin' back to ass kickin' action, with the Alan Shacklock penned "Dancer", which is chased by the amped-up "Somebody's Nobody". Little Janita Haan adds big vocals to the LP's second track, which breaks into a funky bass groove midway through the number. A pair of covers fill out side one, as Babe Ruth deliver a fast paced, in-you-face guitar onslaught remake of Ennico Morricone's "Fistful of Dollars", and a late night, slow blues cruise on Curtis Mayfield's "We People Darker Than Blue". Once more, "Jenny" Haan steals the spotlight with her vocal performance.

Side two of the Babe Ruth album kicks in with rapid fire riffing the drives the dirty deeds rockin' "Jack O'Lantern". Miss Haan brings a soulful singing style to the fore on the laid back cover of "Private Number", while "Torquoise", written by the Haan and bassist David Hewitt, carries a south-of-the-boarder vibe. Drummer Ed Spevock contributed the energized "Sad But Rich", and Shacklock's bluesy, five-minute ride on "The Dutchess of Oceans" brings Babe Ruth's third album to a close.

Babe Ruth - 1973 - Amar Caballero

Babe Ruth
Amar Caballero

01. Lady
02. Broken Cloud
03. Gimme Some Leg
04. Baby Pride
05. Cool Jerk
06. We Are Holding
07. Doctor Love
08. Amar Caballero (Sin Ton Ni Son)
  El Caballero De La Reina Isabella
  Hombre De La Guitana
  El Testament De 'Amelia

Bass [Fender] – Dave Hewitt
Keyboards – Chris Holmes
Percussion – Ed Spevock
Producer, Guitar – Alan Shacklock
Vocals – Jenny Haan

Flugelhorn – Ray Harris
Flute – Brian Warren
Organ – Chris Holmes
Piano [Steinway] – Dave Punshon
Saxophone [Baritone] – Bud Beadle
Saxophone [Tenor] – Steve Gregory
Trumpet – Ron Carthy
Electric Piano – Dave Punshon
Flute – Dave White, Steve Gregory,Duncan Lamont
Percussion [Mother Drum] – Gasper Lawal
Trombone – Keith Christie, Ray Premru
Trumpet – Ray Harris
Congas, Cowbell, Vocals – Angelito Perez
Trumpet – Ron Carthy
Violin – Raymond Vincent

Tracks A1 & A2: String section led by John Georgiadis.

Listening to 1974's "Amar Caballero" has always surprised me given it was recorded by a band that had a reputation as a hard rock entity.  Produced by front man Alan Shacklock, the album was crazy, all-over the musical spectrum.  Among the genres they managed to touch on - English folk-music ('Broken Cloud'), incidental film moves ('We Are Holding On'), funk (''Dr. Love''), and even jazz ('Lady').  Mind you, I like diversity as much as anyone else, but this one was simply schizophrenic.  It almost sounded like a demo tape from a band trying to showcase the fact they could function across any musical genre.  In this case the result was you were left wondering who the world they were ...  That wasn't meant as a criticism of the band's musical dexterity (particularly Dutch-born singer Janita Haan, new keyboardist Chris Holmes who replaced Dave Punshon (who'd gone off to join a religious group) and multi-instrumentalist Shacklock). but any semblance of a band 'sound' was lost across these eight tracks.

- 'Lady' opened up the album with a song that sounded like a mash-up between lite-jazz and Curtis Mayfield-styled blaxploitation soundtrack.  The clear star was Haan's crystal clear voice, followed in short order by Shacklock's wonderful jazzy lead guitar solo.   rating: *** stars
- With an ornate arrangement and heavy orchestration, 'Broken Ground' sounded like a mix of progressive and English folk moves.  Sounds weird and it certainly was, though once again Haan's fantastic voice managed to pull it off.    rating: ** stars
- With an ominous, highlight misogynist lyric 'Gimme Some Leg' shifted direction again - this time the band displaying their unique blend of hard rock, funk, and a touch of reggae.  I've always found Haan's shrill and screechy lead vocal hard to deal with, but given the song's dark, threat-of-rape lyric, maybe that was the intent.  I think the non-too-subtle message is people (particularly single women), should not hitch-hike ...    rating: *** stars
- Again showcasing Shacklock's tasty jazzy lead guitar, 'Baby Pride' found Haan and company dipping their collective feet into adult contemporary light jazz territory.   One of their prettiest melodies, underscored by the start arrangement.    rating: **** stars
- Their cover of The Capitol's 'Cool Jerk' was okay - a bit too jittery and hyperactive for my tastes, but you had to love Haan's voice and Ed Spevock's frenetic drumming.   rating: *** stars
- By this point in the album the band's wild musical twists and turns were no longer a surprise so the pretty balalaika-propelled instrumental 'We Are Holding On' really didn't sound that out of place.   Well, yeah, it actually did.  To my ears it sounded like a piece of incidental film music they' stitched into the middle of the album.  rating: ** stars
- 'Doctor Love' moved back to hard rock-meet-soul territory.  The song was actually pretty good with a cool funk baseline and a nice Shacklock lead guitar break.  On the downside, Haan resorted to her screechiest voice and the horns didn't add much to the track.   rating: *** stars
- A three part suite, 'Amar Caballero (Sin Ton Ni Son' was another effort all over the musical spectrum.
- 'El Caballero De La Reina Isabella' offered up another slice of pretty English folk music - very Fairport Convention-influenced.   rating: *** stars
- The instrumental 'Hombre De La Guitarra' showcased Shacklock's blazing guitar on a Latin percussion flavored slice of Flamenco-meets-Santana.   It wasn't rock and roll, but the song still made for one of the album's best performances.   rating: **** stars
- The closing instrumental 'El Testament De Amelia' added a Spanish flamenco to the feel , slowing things way down

Babe Ruth - 1972 - First Base

Babe Ruth 
First Base

01. Wells Fargo
02. The Runaways
03. King Kong
04. Black Dog
05. The Mexican
06. Joker
07. Wells Fargo (7 Inch Version)
08. Theme From 'For A Few Dollars More'

Bass – Dave Hewitt
Cello – Boris Rickleman, Clive Anstee, Manny Fox
Cello [Lead] – Peter Halling
Congas, Bongos, Cabasa [Kabasa] – Caspar Lawal
Drums, Percussion – Dick Powell
Electric Piano, Piano – Dave Punshon
Guitar, Vocals, Organ, Percussion – Alan Shacklock
Oboe – Harry Mier
Saxophone – Brent Carter
Vocals – Janita Haan

Formed as Shacklock (named after guitarist and main composer Alan Shacklock), Babe Ruth originated from Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK, fronted by the mad female singer Janita "Jenny" Haan and featuring also Dave Hewitt on bass, Dave Punshon on keyboards and Dick Powell on drums (replacing original drummer Jeff Allen), as they headed for their debut album ''First base'' (1972, Harvest).While by no means a progressive band, their debut contained some proggy vibes, coming as a mix of Hard/Psych Rock and Jazz Rock, a bit similar to Catapilla.A couple of tracks just rock hard, but the rest of the album is characterized by some unusual sax lines, lots of electric piano and organ and lyrical weirdness, often entering the free realms of instrumental jazziness, coming in contrast with Haan's ruspy vocals.''King kong'' and ''Black dog'' especially stand out for their delicate structures, tireless jazzy solos and harder moves on guitar, even if ''The mexican'' was the hit of the band.Soft grooves, angular guitars next to psychedelic keyboards and some decent interplays throughout.The album became gold in Canada and was also praised warmly in the USA, but failed to attract the British audience.These progressive touches faded away with each of the upcoming albums, as the band was struck by several line-up changes until its dissolution in 1976.They reformed in 2005 and recorded a brand new album, while continuing to perform live after 30 years.

You're ridin' shotgun with Babe Ruth... over land, to the Rio Grande. First Base comes up short of hitting for the cycle, but the group point the thin handle Louisville Slugger at the right field wall, and subsequently goes deep on the furious album opener, "Wells Fargo", making this disc well worth the price of admission. Rounding the bases behind a killer riff, accented by a scorching sax solo and the inspired vocals of lil' Jenny Haan, Babe Ruth take a vicious swing on "Wells Fargo", as they head for the Mexican border. It's a wild six-minute and thirteen-second at bat, that results in a round-tripper. Touch 'em all! Toss back a healthy shot of tequila, and chase it with "Wells Fargo" jacked to the max. In addition to the wild album opener, the six-song First Base recording features a collection of extended cuts that are highlighed by "The Runaways" and "The Mexican". At well over five-minutes, "The Mexican" is the shortest track from Babe Ruth's debut album, which evenly distributes three songs per side.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Pete Brown & Ian Lynn - 1977 - Party In The Rain

Pete Brown & Ian Lynn
Party In The Rain

01. Broken Windscreen Dance
02. White Room
03. Big City Cowboy
04. Walk into the Sun
05. Come Back
06. Still Have the Love
07. I Read the Funky Times
08. Party in the Rain
09. Old Rock Singer
10. Later Days of Time
11. Barbed Wire Nightdress
12. Summer Hills
13. Patterns

Pete Brown is perhaps best known for his song writing collaborations with Jack Bruce for both Cream and for Jack's solo albums. His lyrics for such classic songs as White Room, Sunshine of Your Love, Politician and I Feel Free have been hits for both Cream and artists such as David Bowie and Belinda Carlisle. These songs still feature as the highlights of stage shows by both Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce and have been used in soundtracks for such regarded films as Goodfellas and True Lies.

Pete Brown began his career as a professional poet in 1960, performing regularly with others such as Mike Horowitz (with whom he formed The New Departures poetry and jazz group). Highpoints in this period included Brown and Horowitz representing Britain at the Paris Biennale in 1961 and performances at The Royal Albert Hall in 1965 and 1966 with William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Robert Creeley.

Always a lover of jazz and blues, Pete was a regular feature of the burgeoning British Blues and R&B scene of the mid-Sixties. His friendship with pioneer Graham Bond led to him collaborating with both Graham and members of The Graham Bond Organisation; Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith. When Ginger Baker formed Cream with Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton in 1966, Pete was invited to collaborate on original material by Baker. Although the Baker / Brown partnership failed to bear fruit, Pete established a very productive partnership with Jack Bruce that was to continue throughout Cream's existence and into Jack Bruce's solo career.

Pete's first group was The First Real Poetry Band which featured John McLaughlin on guitar. Although the band recorded a series of demos for Polydor, a record deal was not forthcoming. Brown's first foray on vinyl was with The Battered Ornaments (featuring Chris Spedding on guitar) on the single The Week Looked Good on Paper in early 1969. The Ornaments were one of the earliest signings to EMI's progressive label Harvest and recorded the album A Meal You Can Shake Hands With in the Dark before Pete departed the group on the eve of their support slot on The Rolling Stones legendary Hyde Park concert in July 1969.

Upon leaving Battered Ornaments, Pete formed the band Piblokto! and recorded two excellent  albums for Harvest, (Things May Come and Things May Go, But The Art School Dance Goes on Forever and Thousands on a Raft) and several singles including Flying Hero Sandwich. Piblokto! were a popular attraction on the concert and festival circuit, particularly in France where the band attained chart success in both the single and album listings. The classic Piblokto! song Thousands on a Raft still features in Pete's live set to this day.

With Piblokto! folding in 1971, Pete Brown formed the outfit Bond and Brown with Graham Bond recording the excellent Lost Tribe EP and the album Two Heads are Better Than One.

Bond's erratic behaviour led to the band disbanding in 1973. Pete then worked as an A&R man for Deram records and recorded the highly regarded poetry album The Not Forgotten Association for the label and the unreleased single Night's in Armour / Barbed Wire Night Dress which featured contributions from Jeff Beck and Jack Bruce.

During this time Pete had also written extensively for Jack Bruce on the highly regarded  albums Songs For a Tailor, Harmony Row, Out of the Storm, How's Tricks and Jet Set Jewel (recorded in 1978 but unreleased until 2003 by Universal Music).

Pete,s last album in the 70,s was Party in the Rain with Ian Lynn. The advent of the Punk Rock explosion led to Pete opting to retire from performing and saw his energies diverted into screenplay writing alongside his lyric composition. In the 1980's Pete returned to performing and to producing. Since then he has worked with artists such as Vivian Stanshall, Dick Heckstall-Smith and Peter Green and recorded two albums with former Piblokto! and Man keyboard player, Phil Ryan (Ardours of the Lost Rake and Coals to Jerusalem).

At the end of the 1990's Pete formed Pete Brown and the Interocetors featuring Mo Nazam on Guitar,
David Hadley Ray on Bass, Dave Munch Moore on Keyboards and Simon Edgoose on Drums, whose live performances include material from Pete's work with Cream, Jack Bruce, Piblokto! and Phil Ryan. With the release of the forthcoming Live at the Borderline album Pete Brown and the Interocetors are currently planning extensive live work in 2004 alongside songwriting collaborations with Jack Bruce (on the albums Shadows in the Air and More Jack Than God) and artists such as Journey guitarist  Neal Schon.

Pete Brown continues to be the ultimate writer, composer and performer, always delivering the unexpected.

Pete Brown & Piblokto! - 1973 - My Last Band

Pete Brown & Piblokto!
My Last Band

01. High Flying Electric Bird
02. Broken Magic
03. Station Song Platform Two
04. Pete Brown and His Battered Ornaments - The Week Looked Good on Paper
05. Flying Hero Sandwich
06. Thousands on a Raft
07. My Last Band
08. Golden Country Kingdom
09. Living Life Backwards
10. Can´t Get Off the Planet

Pete Brown & Piblokto (all, except A4):
- Pete Brown - vocals, cornish slide whistle, tambourine, percussion, panpipes, trumpet, talking drum
- Jim Mullen - guitars, bass
- Dave Thompson - keyboards, soprano saxophone
- Roger Brunn - bass guitar
- Rob Tait - drums
- Roger Brunn - bass guitar
- Brian Breeze - guitar, panpipes
-  Phil Ryan - keyboards, trombone
- John Pugwash Weathers - drums

Pete Brown & His Battered Ornaments (A4):
- Pete Brown - vocals, trumpet
- Dick-Heckstall-Smith, George Khan - tenor saxophones
- Chris Spedding - guitar, harmonica, violin, chittarra
- Charlie Hart - violin, keyboards
- Butch Potter - bass
- Pete Bailey - congas
- Rib Tait - drums

Compilation of material issued on singles & LPs in 1970, except A4 (in 1968) & B4 (in 1969)

Before the cd-reissues came along, My Last Band was the rescue when playing "Thousands On A Raft" just was not enough. A friend of mine had "Art School Dance", and we pooled our Pete Brown collections, but then I moved...

Despite being billed as "Pete Brown and Piblokto", this Harvest Heritage vinyl also features a track by Brown and The Battered Ornaments, a mono recording of "The Week Looked Good On Paper".

A great little collection, with several interesting non-album tracks, like "Broken Magic" and "Flying Hero Sandwich", as well as "Art School Dance" highlights "Golden Country Kingdom" and "High Flying Electric Bird".

Pete Brown & Piblokto! - 1970 - Things May Come and Things May Go, But the Art School Dance Goes on for Ever

Pete Brown & Piblokto!
Things May Come and Things May Go, But the Art School Dance Goes on for Ever

01. Things May Come and Things May Go, But the Art School Dance Goes On for Ever 5:03
02. High Flying Electric Bird 4:15
03. Someone Like You 5:46
04. Walk for Charity, Run for Money 5:28
05. Then I Must Go On and Can I Keep 3:50
06. My Love Is Gone Far Away 2:47
07. Golden Country Kingdom 3:09
08. Firesong 5:59
09. Country Morning 6:47
10. Flying Hero Sandwich [bonus] 3:18
11. My Last Band [bonus] 5:05

Pete Brown (vocals, percussion)
Rob Tait (drums)
Jim Mullen (guitar)
Roger Bunn (bass)
Dave Thompson (organ)
Steve Glover (bass)
Brian Breeze (guitar)
Phil Ryan (keyboards)
John "Pugwash" Weathers (drums)

Never have I been more thankful for the phrase “the title track”.  The album’s ponderous title announces that this group must be taken on its own terms.  Perhaps due to this, Piblokto! never came close to “household name” status, especially in the States, but the group’s two albums are essential for anyone who has ever wondered what Jack Bruce’s post-_Harmony Row_ albums might have sounded like had he not taken the ill-advised detour that was West, Bruce, & Laing.  Brown doesn’t have the voice of his longtime songwriting partner Bruce, in fact, Brown has a voice in the manner that Neil Young and Willie Nelson do.  It’s serviceable, but you’ll either acquire a taste for it quickly, or never.

The material though, is largely superlative.  It’s a tribute to Brown’s talent that he could split his lyric writing efforts, and still come up with such an engaging set.  “High Flying Electric Bird” , with its inventive use of slide whistle, is an instant classic.  “Someone Like You” hides a slap at a former lover in pretty notes and uplifting imagery.  Unlike his previous band, the Battered Ornaments, Piblokto! is a top-rank outfit.  Guitarist Jim Mullen is particularly strong.

Although Brown has been quoted as saying that he had no use for the late ‘70’s punk movement, “Walk For Charity, Run For Money” has an insistent, punkish edge that anticipates that genre.  Roger Bunn’s basswork on “Then I Must Go, And Can I Keep” is reminiscent of Bruce’s busy virtuosity.  There’s not a bad track here, but be advised that there is little here that’s short and radio oriented.  The country-tinged “Golden Country Kingdom” comes closest, but Brown’s surrealistic lyrics are anathema to radio success.  It worked for “White Room”, but that was the exception, rather than the rule.  When Brown tries to be more accessible, he usually succeeds in simply making his surrealism sillier, as in the non-album “Flying Hero Sandwich”. 

The Piblokto! albums aren’t for those who are looking for easy listening music.  There’s a lot to appreciate here, if you’ll devote the time to the group’s catalogue that it deserves.  If you fail to give this your full attention, it’ll zoom over your head like an electric bird.

Pete Brown & Piblokto! - 1970 - Thousands on a Raft

Pete Brown & Piblokto!
Thousands on a Raft

01.  Aeroplane Head Woman 6:39
02.  Station Song Platform Two 3:37
03.  Highland Song 17:00
04. If They Could Only See Me Now - Parts One and Two 1:23
05. Got a Letter From a Computer 5:46
06. Thousands on a Raft 7:06

Pete Brown (vocals, percussion)
Rob Tait (drums)
Jim Mullen (guitar)
Roger Bunn (bass)
Dave Thompson (organ)
Steve Glover (bass)
Brian Breeze (guitar)
Phil Ryan (keyboards)
John "Pugwash" Weathers (drums)

The opening track of this album, “Aeroplane Head Woman” sounds like the kind of Cream / Traffic blend that Blind Faith was searching for.  It would be one of this band’s more commercial tracks if not for its nearly seven minute length, but therein lies the problem.  It’s not a repetitive “Hey Jude” kind of seven minutes.  It needs the time to tell its story.  Pete Brown seems to be searching for a way to make his material more accessible without compromising its artistic vision.

He succeeds on the album’s second track “Station Song, Platform Two”, which is absolutely the most beautiful lyric he’s ever written.  This is the kind of mix of poetry and rock that Liverpool Scene was aiming for, but couldn’t quite grasp.  Jack Bruce fans, you’re missing something if you don’t know this one.

Bruce fans' jaws will drop as well, at the opening notes of “If They Could Only See Me Now (Parts One and Two)” , as it features the same ringing guitar lines that open West, Bruce & Laing’s “Like A Plate”, before heading in a jazz-rock direction.

Most people who find fault with this album blame the 17-minute instrumental workout “Highland Song”.  Of course these are mostly the same people who’ll analyze every note of the 22-minute “Whipping Post”.  The virtuosity on display in both tracks is the same.  Piblokto! is progressive, rather than blues based, so “Highland Song” sounds more like Tasavillan Presidentti than it does the Allmans, but it holds my attention as well as Duane and Gregg do.

The album closes with Brown’s most evocative lyric in the title track.  It seems to begin with a nod to the circumstances of his dismissal from the Battered Ornaments before becoming a metaphor for the general animosity of the entire human condition. A beautiful Jim Mullen guitar solo makes it arguably Piblokto!’s finest hour, and a fitting way to end.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Rick Bishop - 1982 - Mister Hide

Rick Bishop
Mister Hide

01. Pent Up House
02. Mister Hide
03. Dorsai
04. Daria
05. The Theme
06. Four
07. Beth On My Mind

Rick Bishop: Bass
Larry Vigneault: Guitar
Tim Osborne: Drums
Mike McInnis: Keyboards

Doug Wainoiris: Guitar (3,4)
Mark Myers: Drums (3)

Now back to the great American tradition of furious guitar fusion.  This is a totally unknown album, undeservedly so, although when I glanced at RYM I saw the mighty osurec was well ahead of us on this.  There are definitely throwaway tracks though, namely, the standards that make up half of side 2 (which were written by Miles Davis).  The compositions by Rick are astonishing though, for the most part.  The music recalls Tony Palkovic, Tony DuPuis, note how the green cover of "Every Moment" is now blue here.

Ruth Brown - 1969 - Black Is Brown And Brown Is Beautiful

Ruth Brown 
Black Is Brown And Brown Is Beautiful

01. Yesterday 4:02
02. Please Send Me Someone To Love 2:57
03. Looking Back 4:07
04. Try Me And See 2:08
05. Miss Brown's Blues 7:00
06. My Prayer 3:49
07. Since I Fell For You 4:57
08. This Bitter Earth 3:54

Arranged By, Producer – Gary McFarland

Bass [Fender] – Chuck Rainey
Choir – Howard Roberts Chorale
Drums – Herbie Lovelle
Guitar – Billy Butler, Eric Gayle
Organ – Richard Tee

They called Atlantic Records "the house that Ruth built" during the 1950s, and they weren't referring to the Sultan of Swat. Ruth Brown's regal hitmaking reign from 1949 to the close of the '50s helped tremendously to establish the New York label's predominance in the R&B field. Later, the business all but forgot her -- she was forced to toil as domestic help for a time -- but she returned to the top, her status as a postwar R&B pioneer (and tireless advocate for the rights and royalties of her peers) recognized worldwide.

Young Ruth Weston was inspired initially by jazz chanteuses Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, and Dinah Washington. She ran away from her Portsmouth home in 1945 to hit the road with trumpeter Jimmy Brown, whom she soon married. A month with bandleader Lucky Millinder's orchestra in 1947 ended abruptly in Washington, D.C., when she was canned for delivering a round of drinks to members of the band. Cab Calloway's sister Blanche gave Ruth a gig at her Crystal Caverns nightclub and assumed a managerial role in the young singer's life. DJ Willis Conover dug Brown's act and recommended her to Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson, bosses of a fledgling imprint named Atlantic. Unfortunately, Brown's debut session for the firm was delayed by a nine-month hospital stay caused by a serious auto accident en route to New York that badly injured her leg. When she finally made it to her first date in May 1949, she made up for lost time by waxing the torch ballad "So Long" (backed by guitarist Eddie Condon's band), which proved to be her first hit.

Brown's seductive vocal delivery shone incandescently on her Atlantic smashes "Teardrops in My Eyes" (an R&B chart-topper for 11 weeks in 1950), "I'll Wait for You" and "I Know" in 1951, 1952's "5-10-15 Hours" (another number one rocker), the seminal "(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean" in 1953, and a tender Chuck Willis-penned "Oh What a Dream," and the timely "Mambo Baby" the next year. Along the way, Frankie Laine tagged her "Miss Rhythm" during an engagement in Philly. Brown belted a series of her hits on the groundbreaking TV program Showtime at the Apollo in 1955, exhibiting delicious comic timing while trading sly one-liners with MC Willie Bryant (ironically, ex-husband Jimmy Brown was a member of the show's house band).

After an even two-dozen R&B chart appearances for Atlantic that ended in 1960 with "Don't Deceive Me" (many of them featuring hell-raising tenor sax solos by Willis "Gator" Jackson, who many mistakenly believed to be Brown's husband), Brown faded from view. After raising her two sons and working a nine-to-five job, Brown began to rebuild her musical career in the mid-'70s. Her comedic sense served her well during a TV sitcom stint co-starring with MacLean Stevenson in Hello, Larry, in a meaty role in director John Waters' 1985 sock-hop satire film Hairspray, and her 1989 Broadway starring turn in Black and Blue (which won her a Tony Award).

Fine and Mellow There were more records for Fantasy in the '80s and '90s (notably 1991's jumping Fine and Mellow), and a lengthy tenure as host of National Public Radio's Harlem Hit Parade and BluesStage. Brown's nine-year ordeal to recoup her share of royalties from all those Atlantic platters led to the formation of the nonprofit Rhythm & Blues Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping others in the same frustrating situation. In 1993 Brown was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and 1995 saw the release of her autobiography, Miss Rhythm. Brown suffered a heart attack and stroke following surgery in October 2006 and never fully recovered, passing on November 17, 2006.

Tim Buckley - 2009 - Live At The Folklore Center, NYC - March 6, 1967

Tim Buckley
Live At The Folklore Center, NYC - March 6, 1967

01. Song For Jainie
02. I Never Asked To Be Your Mountain
03. Wings
04. Phantasmagoria In Two
05. Just Please Leave Me
06. Dolphins
07. I Can't See You
08. Troubador
09. Aren't You The Girl
10. What Do You Do (He Never Saw You)
11. No Man Can Find The War
12. Carnival Song
13. Cripples Cry
14. If The Rain Comes
15. Country Boy
16. I Can't Leave You Loving Me

All performances on this album previously unreleased.

Tracks 05, 10, 13-16 are Tim Buckley compositions previously unreleased on any studio or live album.

It's mindblowing that the folk iconoclast Izzy Young, founder of New York CItry's legendary Folklore Center, sat on this reel to reel tape of a very young Tim Buckley on his first trip to the Big Apple from the West Coast, for more than 40 years. Young was a promoter and was as close to a folk music purist as there was, and an integral part of the City's scene in the '50s and early 60s. Buckley's performance at the center was the result of a long, informal conversation, some lox and bagels; it was scheduled without having heard his record or hearing him sing(!) and in the same month as concerts by Spider John Koerner and Ramblin' Jack Elliott. Buckley was hanging out in N.Y.C. between the release of his debut album and the impending issue of the now-classic Happy Sad. According to Young in his liner essay, there were about 35 people in the audience. Along with the essay, there is a verbatim transcript of an interview between him and Buckley without the questions.
What transpires here (released through the visionary good graces of Tompkins Square Recordings) is the sound of Buckley emerging from the influence of the New York scene's sound and into the enigmatic one he would call his own. The performance here is electrifying. Buckley is picking his six-string guitar with as much passion as his singing (the opener is an incredible version of "Song for Janie"), and on other songs, he's beating the living hell out of his open-tuned, 12-string guitar to match (check "I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain"). Other well-known Buckley numbers are performed here and, as many times as we've heard them, sound completely fresh and new -- because they were new to him. There's the brief reading of "Phantasmagoria in Two," an excellent version of Fred Neil's "Dolphins," the wooly exuberance "Aren't You the Girl," (though it is sometimes off-key and even shrill) and the honest tenderness and vulnerability on display in "Carnival Song." And while this set is comprised of unreleased live material, the real treasure trove is that contains a whopping six songs -- all composed by Buckley -- that have never been issued before in any form. There is the uptempo "Please Just Leave Me"; the consolation ballad "What Do You Do (He Never Saw You)"; the broken love song "Cripples Cry"; the seductive ballad that is "If the Rain Comes"; the raucous "Country Boy," and the concluding pathos-fueled manic strum and thrum that is "I Can't Leave You Lovin' Me," with its killer falsetto in the refrain that leaves the audience clapping enthusiastically.
The final effect of this set is electrifying because of its raw, unfiltered, and even spontaneous performance. The sound quality and fidelity are fine since this was recorded on a single 1/4-inch tape recorder with a single mike; so guitar and voice are naturally balanced by the performer; add to this the natural warmth of the room. This is all evident in the ambience of the CD with very little tape hiss, miraculously. This surprise document is early proof of Buckley's genius at such a young age, and in a live setting, even without a producer. He could offer a completely new twist on what was considered "folk music" at the time, to a very conservative and tough audience, and burn down the house. This is simply a must for fans.

I am missing the Copenhagen live album, If anyone out there feels like helping out, I would most sincerely appreciate it!

Tim Buckley - 2001 - The Dream Belongs To Me

Tim Buckley 
The Dream Belongs To Me 
Rarities & Unreleased 1968-1973)

01. Song To The Siren 3:29
02. Sing A Song For You 5:42
03. Ashbury Park 2:48
04. Danang 6:30
05. Happy Time 3:15
06. Buzzin' Fly 6:40
07. Sefronia 3:38
08. Because Of You 4:47
09. The Dream Belongs To Me 4:55
10. Falling Timber 4:47
11. Stone In Love 2:59
12. Freeway Dixieland Rocketship Blues 4:40
13. Honeyman 2:58
14. Quicksand 5:39

Bass – Bernie Mysior (tracks: 7 to 14)
Bells – Carter C.C. Collins (tracks: 3, 5)
Congas – Carter C.C. Collins (tracks: 3, 5)
Double Bass – John Miller (2) (tracks: 3, 5)
Drums – Buddy Helm (tracks: 7 to 14)
Guitar – Joe Falsia (tracks: 7 to 14)
Guitar [Electric] – Lee Underwood (tracks: 1 to 4, 6)
Vibraphone – David Friedman (tracks: 3, 5)

Tracks 1, 2, 4, 6 recorded March 4 & 5, 1968 at Mayfair Studio, NY.

Tracks 3 & 5 recorded June, 17 and 18, 1968 at TTG Studios, Hollywood, CA.

Tracks 7 to 14 Recorded February 12, 1973 at The Sunset Recording Studios, Hollywood CA.

Tracks 7 to 14 are previously unreleased.

Tracks 9 and 10 are newly -2001- discovered compositions.

The folks at Manifesto have done an excellent job in keeping the music of Tim Buckley on the market over the past ten years, even going so far as to release three highly revealing new discs of live recordings. Nicely bookending Buckley's most productive years, The Dream Belongs to Me continued that streak. Split between two 1968 demo sessions and a similar tracking date from 1973, the music contained illustrates that quite a lot had happened to Buckley in the intervening years, both personally and musically. Included from the March and June 1968 tapes, previously released on an Internet-only offer, are working versions (and arguably better in some respects) of "Song to the Siren," "Buzzin' Fly," and the superior "Sing a Song for You," tunes that would see official release in much more developed form on mid-period Buckley albums like Happy Sad, Starsailor, and Blue Afternoon. From February 1973 came tunes of a much different pedigree. Gone was much of the wistful folksiness that marked Buckley's early tunes and the jazzy experimentation of his mid-career records, replaced by an obviously concerted effort to make more commercial music. Working versions of four songs from the album Sefronia are augmented by never-before-heard tunes "Falling Timber" and "The Dream Belongs to Me." While these tunes are interesting enough (even with a wildly phased guitar effect that gets a tad annoying), it is depressing to hear Buckley forcing himself to resolve the eclectic exploration he wished to continue with the pop-oriented material his record company was strong-arming him into doing at the time. The fact that his final album was titled Look at the Fool (self-directed no doubt) speaks volumes.

Tim Buckley - 1999 - Works In Progress

Tim Buckley
Works In Progress

01. Danang (takes 7 + 8 intercut)
02. Sing a Song for You (take 11)
03. Buzzin' Fly (take 3)
04. Song to the Siren (take 7)
05. Happy Time (take 14)
06. Sing a Song for You (take 8)
07. Chase the Blues Away (take 3)
08. Hi Lily, Hi Lo (take 7)
09. Buzzin' Fly (take 9)
10. Wayfaring Stranger (take 4)
11. Ashbury Park version 1 (take 8)
12. Ashbury Park version 2 (take 14)
13. Ashbury Park version 2 (take 25)
14. Dream Letter (takes 17-16 intercut)
15. The Father Song (take 3)
16. The Fiddler (rough mix)

Tim Buckley Composer, Guitar (12 String Acoustic), Primary Artist, Vocals
Carter C.C. Collins Bells, Congas
Jim Fielder Bass
Fast Eddie Hoh Bass
John Miller Bass (Acoustic)
Don Randi Piano
Lee Underwood Guitar (Electric), Liner Notes
Jerry Yester Piano

Damn, it's hard to believe that this came out seventeen years ago. I don't think I had even heard of Rhino's boutique subsidiary label when this CD was first issued until a friend of mine, who knew that I was a hardcore Tim Buckley fan, made me aware of this release. I first became a fan of this fantastic musician during my year as a study abroad student in England as the English often have better taste in American music than most Americans do. By the time I was done with college, I had acquired all of Buckley's albums. Despite his short lifespan, I wondered why such a relatively prolific artist did not have more unreleased material available. Sure, there were the excellent posthumous concert albums Dream Letter: Live in London 1968 and Live at the Troubadour 1969 that became available in the mid-1990s, but what about putting out some of his demos, outtakes, and alternate versions of songs from his studio releases?

My prayers were answered when Works in Progress became available. I could hardly wait until this disc arrived in the mail since Rhino Handmade releases are not available in stores. When it finally did show up in my mailbox, I turned off my phone and got in the proper mental state so I could devote my full attention to the enjoyment of this album. Keeping in mind that it consisted of, as the title indicates, works in progress - and not completed projects - I was, for the most part, extremely satisfied with my purchase.

For the most part, this collection consists of material recorded in 1968 that would eventually be polished and refined and appear on Happy/Sad, my favorite of Buckley's albums and arguably his best. If you're not familiar with this folk-jazz masterpiece, you need to track it down and listen to it right now. "Danang" and the three takes of "Ashbury Park" offer the listener an opportunity to hear how "Love from Room 109 at the Islander (On Pacific Coast Highway)" came into being. The first version of "Sing a Song for You" (track 2) features Lee Underwood's enchantingly mellow guitar work that is curiously absent from the released version that appears on Happy/Sad and here as track 6. The two embryonic versions of "Buzzin' Fly," probably my all-time favorite Tim Buckley song, are intriguing and demonstrate how he kept working this composition to ultimate perfection. "Song to the Siren" is yet another earlier version of the artist's oft-covered exercise in melancholia and bears great similarity to his performance in The Monkees epsidode "The Frodis Caper." "Happy Time" and "Chase the Blues Away" would both later find a home on Blue Afternoon (probably my second favorite Buckley album). These earlier recordings are both of high quality, althought the arrangements on the latter sound a bit cluttered. "Hi Lily, Hi Lo" is a rare example of Buckley doing material by a songwriter other than himself or Larry Beckett. Oddly enough, the original, with music by Bronislau Kaper and lyrics by Helen Deutsch, appeared in the 1953 film Lili, which may have been something he saw as a child. I always thought this song was just a bit too precious, both here and the similar version on Dream Letter: Live in London 1968, but even Buckley's lesser performances are better than most musicians at their best. "Wayfaring Stranger," an old folk song primarily associated with Burl Ives, also appears on Dream Letter, and both renditions are powerful and superb. "Dream Letter" (the song) is the same version that appears on Happy/Sad. As much as I like this piece, I don't understand why it and "Sing a Song for You" (take 8) are included on this release other than to serve as filler, even if it is filler of the highest order. Prior to the release of Works, "The Father Song" was a completely unknown compostion and had not appeared in any form anywhere else. Perhaps the rawest of the tracks that appear here, it is a mystery why Buckley did not develop this song further. Perhaps the possible subject matter - his allegedly strained relationship with his father or the fact that his own son Jeff had been born out of wedlock - was just too sensitive of a topic. Yes, the song is underdeveloped, but there is still an austere beauty to it. The CD closes with "The Fidler," which is actually an instrumental rough mix of the sublime "Phantasmagoria in Two" from Goodbye and Hello (probably my third favorite Buckley LP) and begs the question, "Isn't there any more unreleased material from the recording sessions for this album?"

The minor quibbles about tracks 6, 7, 8, and 14 aside, Works in Progress is an extremely enjoyable listening experience. The performances may, for the most part, be scraps and leftovers, but they are definitely gourmet scraps and leftovers that Tim Buckley fans will relish.

Tim Buckley - 1999 - Once I Was

Tim Buckley 
Once I Was

01. Dolphins
02. Honey Man
03. Morning Glory
04. Comming Home To You (Happy Time)
05. Sing A Song For You
06. Hallucinations / Troubador
07. Once I Was
08. I Don't Need It To Rain

Bass – Tim Hinkley (tracks: 1, 2)
Bongos – Carter C.C. Colins* (tracks: 3,4,5,6,7)
Double Bass – Nils Henning* (tracks: 8)
Drums – Ian Wallace (tracks: 1, 2)
Guitar – Charlie Whitney (tracks: 1, 2)
Guitar [Lead] – Lee Underwood (tracks: 8)
Guitar, Vocals – Lee Underwood (tracks: 3,4,5,6,7), Tim Buckley
Vibraphone – David Friedman (tracks: 3)

1 & 2: recorded for the Old Grey Whistle Test 21st May 1974.

3,4,5,6 & 7: recorded for the John Peel show 2nd April 1968.

8: recorded live in Copenhagen 10th December 1968.

Digitally remastered at Barefoot Studios.

This is an extremely rare live recording from 1968. It has been digitally re-mastered but listeners may notice a difference in sound quality.

All but one of these eight songs from 1968 and 1974 are from the BBC. Five of the tracks were recorded in April 1968 for the John Peel show, and previously released by Strange Fruit as the Peel Sessions CD. These feature Tim Buckley at his most melodic and intimate. As on his posthumously issued 1968 concert recording Dream Letter, the instrumentation is sparser than on his Elektra albums. On these sessions, he was backed only by longtime guitarist Lee Underwood and percussionist Carter Collins. This quintet of tunes features songs from his second and third albums, as well as a couple of cuts that didn't make it onto records in the '60s, highlighted by a ten-minute medley of "Hallucinations" and "Troubadour." There are also a couple of less vital cuts -- "Dolphins" and "Honey Man" -- from a May 1974 broadcast. Ending the disc is a previously unreleased, live 12-minute version of "I Don't Need It to Rain," recorded in Copenhagen in October 1968 with Underwood on guitar, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen on double bass, and David Friedman on vibes. It's a reasonable, jazzy number in sync with the mood of Blue Afternoon and Dream Letter, but the fidelity, from a tape "found in a box of disintegrating reel-to-reels at Tim's home," is muffled; a higher-energy and higher-fi version is on Live at the Troubadour 1969.

Tim Buckley - 1995 - Honeyman

Tim Buckley

01. Dolphins 3:47
02. Buzzin' Fly 7:20
03. Get On Top 4:40
04. Devil Eyes 7:34
05. Pleasant Street 8:19
06. Sally Go Round The Roses 5:53
07. Stone In Love 4:18
08. Honey Man 8:32
09. Sweet Surrender 8:27

Bass – Bernie Mysior
Drums – Buddy Helm
Guitar [Lead] – Joe Falsia
Keyboards – Mark Tiernan
Vocals, Acoustic Guitar – Tim Buckley

Subtitled as "RECORDED LIVE 1973".
Recorded live, 27 November 1973.

Honeyman is a previously unreleased live 1973 radio broadcast in excellent sound, that offers a valuable supplement to Tim Buckley's often disappointing final albums. Buckley's last LPs were marred by unsympathetic L.A. production, and this presents the material with much sparser, focused, and appropriate arrangements. As the songs originate mostly from the Sefronia and Greetings from L.A records (although a couple of songs from the '60s do appear), this couldn't be placed among his best work, or even among his best live albums (Dream Letter and Live at the Troubadour 1969 are both considerably better). Buckley's vocals are great, though, and if the tunes are sometimes too funky for their own good, this is generally good stuff, especially his riveting interpretation of Fred Neil's "Dolphins," which is probably worth the price of admission alone for Buckley fans.

Tim Buckley - 1994 - Live At The Troubadour 1969

Tim Buckley 
Live At The Troubadour 1969

01. Strange Feelin' 5:40
02. Venice Mating Call 3:27
03. I Don't Need It To Rain 11:06
04. I Had A Talk With My Woman 7:32
05. Gypsy Woman 14:31
06. Blue Melody 5:37
07. Chase The Blues Away 6:19
08. Driftin' 7:56
09. Nobody Walkin' 16:05

Bass – John Balkin
Congas – Carter C.C. Collins
Drums – Art Trip
Guitar – Lee Underwood
Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Written-By – Tim Buckley

Recorder At The Troubadour, L.A. September 3 & 4 1969.
Mixdown and editing at Penguin Recording.
Issued under licence from In-Discreet Inc.

A previously unreleased, recently unearthed recording that catches Tim Buckley at the time he began to incorporate jazz-influenced vocal improvisation and dense, impressionistic lyrics into his recordings. Backed by a small combo, Live at the Troubadour 1969 features loose numbers with bloodcurdling vocal scatting and instrumental jamming. The nine tracks on this 78-minute disc are mostly drawn from his Lorca and Blue Afternoon albums, and include two previously unavailable songs.

Tim Buckley - 1990 - The Peel Sessions

Tim Buckley 
The Peel Sessions

01. Morning Glory 3:17
02. Coming Home To You (Happy Times) 2:56
03. Sing A Song For You 2:29
04. Hallucinations/Troubadour 10:34
05. Once I Was 3:57

Carter C. C. Collins
Lee Underwood
Tim Buckley

Contains one John Peel session recorded at April 2nd, 1968

Recorded in April 1968 for the BBC, these five songs -- a short album, or long EP's, worth -- show Buckley at his most melodic and intimate. As on his posthumously issued 1968 concert recording Dream Letter, the instrumentation is sparser than on his Elektra albums. On these sessions, he was backed only by longtime guitarist Lee Underwood and Carter Collins on percussion. This set features songs from his second and third albums, as well as a couple of cuts that didn't make it onto record in the '60s. Highlighted by a ten-minute medley of "Hallucinations" and "Troubadour," it's a worthwhile addition to the Buckley canon.

Tim Buckley - 1990 - Dream Letter (Live in London, 1968)

Tim Buckley 
Dream Letter (Live in London, 1968)

01. Introduction 1:06
02. Buzzin' Fly 6:14
03. Phantasmagoria In Two 4:41
04. Morning Glory 3:44
05. Dolphins 6:50
06. I've Been Out Walking 8:18
07. The Earth Is Broken 7:00
08. Who Do You Love 9:27
09. Pleasant Street / You Keep Me Hanging On 7:58
10. Love From Room 109 / Strange Feelin' 12:18
11. Carnival Song / Hi Lily, Hi Lo 8:50
12. Hallucinations 7:15
13. Troubadour 6:05
14. Dream Letter / Happy Time 9:25
15. Wayfaring Stranger / You Got Me Runnin' 13:09
16. Once I Was 4:29

Bass – Danny Thompson
Guitar, Liner Notes – Lee Underwood
Vibraphone – David Friedman
Vocals, Acoustic Guitar [12 String] – Tim Buckley

Recorded July 10, 1968 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London England
Mastered from original tapes in January 1990 / A&M Mastering

This, like so many Enigma releases, was literally a dream project, and carries a lot of energy and love with it, in the music and the performance. Recorded in London in 1968, when Buckley was just beginning to be really successful and had yet to move out of his folk-oriented phase. The band he's working with here is simple -- Buckley's voice and fairly simple guitar; Lee Underwood providing subtle, almost jazz-like electric accompaniment; Pentangle's Danny Thompson sitting in on bass (with a minimum of rehearsal); and vibraphone player David Friedman. There's an assortment of songs from the three albums Buckley had released up to then, plus a couple that would turn up on later albums, and six songs that he never released in any form. This album, however, was released for the first time in 1989, and what you get is the complete concert -- no cuts, no edits, no rearranging. It's a spectacular piece of work, too. It's difficult to believe that the tape was made in 1968 -- there's almost no noise, the music seems perfectly recorded, and the ambience is breathtaking. Buckley's voice is right up front, hovering over the acoustic guitar, clear as a bell. It's a tribute to CD mastering wizard Bill Inglot, who co-produced the release, that it has such a gorgeous, broad sound. The instruments are carefully separated, clean, and glitch free; if there are tape dropouts here, one can't hear them. Musically, it's a spirited affair. Buckley is a beautiful singer, and had a broad selection of excellent, often breathtaking, songs. Even when the songs are a bit of a mish-mash, as happens with the unfortunately over-energetic "Who Do You Love" (one of the unreleased songs), you're caught by the vocal pyrotechnics he displays -- he can be seductive, and he can be a shouter, and he's always very, very good. Other than this, there's very little to say about Dream Letter. If you're at all interested in Buckley, or in various hybrids of folk music, then this album is a must. If you just want to hear one of hell of a good CD, check it out.

Tim Buckley - 1974 - Look At The Fool

Tim Buckley 
Look At The Fool

01. Look At The Fool 5:10
02. Bring It On Up 3:26
03. Helpless 3:18
04. Freeway Blues 3:10
05. Tijuana Moon 2:38
06. Ain't It Peculiar 3:34
07. Who Could Deny You 4:20
08. Mexicali Voodoo 2:23
09. Down In The Street 3:20
10. Wanda Lou 2:37

Bass – Joe Falsia
Clavinet – David Bluefield
Backing Vocals – Clydie King, Sherlie Matthews, Vanetta Fields*
Bass – Chuck Rainey (tracks: 1, 2, 6), Jim Fielder (tracks: 1 to 3), Jim Hughart (tracks: 5, 7, 8 to 10)
Cello – Jesse Erlich* (tracks: 1, 2)
Congas – King Errison* (tracks: 1 to 3, 6)
Drums – Earl Palmer (tracks: 1 to 10)
Electric Piano – Mark Tiernan (tracks: 1, 2, 6)
Guitar – Joe Falsia (tracks: 1 to 6, 8 to 10)
Guitar [12-string] – Tim Buckley (tracks: 2, 3, 7)
Horns – William Peterson*, Richard Nash*, Johnny Rotella*, Terry Harrington, Anthony Terran*
Organ – Mike Melvoin (tracks: 5, 7, 9)
Other [Discreetion] – Herb Cohen
Percussion – Gary Coleman (tracks: 5, 7 to 9)
Piano – Mike Melvoin (tracks: 1 to 3, 5, 7 to 10)

Tim Buckley's final album is a sad, burned-out affair, suffering from weak, poorly conceived material and washed-out soul-rock arrangements. Most troublingly, Buckley's voice -- the one asset he could always count on -- had itself begun to deteriorate. Here his vocals were distressingly thin, like torn socks that have gone through the laundry cycle one too many times.

On June 28, 1975, Buckley completed the last show of a tour in Dallas, Texas, playing to a sold-out venue with 1,800 people in attendance. Buckley celebrated the culmination of the tour with a weekend of drinking with his band and friends, as was his normal routine. On June 29, 1975, after a spirited evening, in both the metaphorical and alcoholic sense, Buckley decided to accompany long-time friend Richard Keeling back to his house in the hope of obtaining some heroin. After spending an hour or so at the house, Buckley, in his inebriated state, walked in on Keeling in flagrante delicto, causing an argument between the two.Keeling, with the aim of placating him, handed Buckley a large dose of heroin and challenged him to "Go ahead, take it all". Given Buckley's contrary and rebellious nature, he duly snorted all the drug laid out for him.

Following this, Buckley was in such a bad condition that friends chose to take him home rather than leave him to his own devices. Upon his return home, his wife Judy, seeing his inebriated state, laid him down on a pillow on their living room floor and proceeded to question his friends as to what had happened. A while later, Judy decided to move Buckley into bed, hoping he would recuperate by the morning. However, when she later returned to check on him, she found he had turned blue and was no longer breathing. Attempts by friends and paramedics to revive him were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Having diligently controlled his drug habit while on the road, his tolerance was lowered, and the combination of the drugs he took mixed with the amount of alcohol he had consumed throughout the day was too much. The coroner's report by Dr. Joseph H. Choi stated that he died at 9:42pm, June 29, 1975, from "acute heroin/morphine and ethanol intoxication due to inhalation and ingestion of overdose".Long time friend and lead guitarist, Lee Underwood, has stated that "on many previous occasions Buckley had ingested considerably more alcohol and drugs than this".

Tim Buckley - 1973 - Sefronia

Tim Buckley 

01. Dolphins 3:10
02. Honey Man 4:10
03. Because Of You 4:25
04. Peanut Man 2:52
05. Martha 3:10
06. Quicksand 3:22
07. I Know I'd Recognize Your Face 3:58
08. Stone In Love 3:27
09. Sefronia - After Asklepiades, After Kafka 2:15
10. Sefronia - The King's Chain 3:23
11. Sally Go 'Round The Roses 3:43

Bass Guitar – Bernie Mysior
Drums – Buddy Helm
Guitar – Joe Falsia
Keyboards – Mark Tiernan
Twelve-string Guitar, Vocals – Tim Buckley

Tim Buckley went deeper into white funk on Sefronia, despite two problems: white funk was not the forte of these L.A. session musicians and female backup vocalists, and not the style for which Buckley himself had the greatest empathy. His voice isn't as stunning as usual on his next-to-last album, but the bigger problem is the material, which is usually forced and pedestrian. Glimmers of quality can be heard on his cover of Fred Neil's "The Dolphins," and the strange two-part title track, which is a throwback to his more ambitious vocal workouts of times past.

Tim Buckley - 1972 - Greetings from L.A

Tim Buckley
Greetings from L.A.

01. Move With Me 4:49
02. Get On Top 6:35
03. Sweet Surrender 6:48
04. Nighthawkin' 3:21
05. Devil Eyes 6:51
06. Hong Kong Bar 7:13
07. Make It Right 4:06

Tim Buckley Composer, Guitar, Guitar (12 String), Primary Artist, Vocals
Carter Collins Conductor, Congas
Jesse Ehrlich Cello
Joe Falsia Guest Artist, Guitar, String Arrangements
Venetta Fields Guest Artist, Vocals
Jerry Goldstein Percussion
Ed Greene Drums
Harry Hyams Viola
Kevin Kelly Organ, Piano
Louis Kievman Violin
Clydie King Guest Artist, Vocals
Robert Konrad Guitar (12 String), Violin
William Kurash Violin
Paul Norros Saxophone
Reinie Press Bass
Chuck Rainey Bass, Guest Artist
Ralph Schaeffer Viola
Eugene Siegel Saxophone
Lee Underwood Guitar, Keyboards
Lorna Willard Guest Artist, Vocals

Stepping back from the swooping avant-garde touches of Starsailor for a fairly greasy, funky, honky tonk set of songs, the opening lines of Greetings from L.A. set the tone: "I went down to the meat rack tavern/And I found myself a big ol' healthy girl." Sassy backing vocalists, honking sax, and more add to the atmosphere, while Tim Buckley himself blends his vocal acrobatics with touches not unfamiliar to fans of Mick Jagger or Jim Morrison. The studio band backing him up might not be the equal to, say, War, but in their own way they do the business; extra touches like the string arrangement on "Sweet Surrender" help all the more. The argument that this was all somehow a compromise or sellout doesn't seem to entirely wash. While no doubt there were commercial pressures at play, given Buckley's constant change from album to album it seems like he simply found something else to try, which he did with gusto. "Get On Top," one of his best numbers, certainly doesn't sound like something aimed for the charts. The music may have a solid groove to it (Kevin Kelly's organ is worth a mention), but Buckley's frank lyrics and improv scatting both show it as him following his own muse.