Monday, June 13, 2016

The Beat Of The Earth - 1967 - This Record Is An Artistic Statement

The Beat Of The Earth
This Record Is An Artistic Statement

01. Beat of the Earth 21:30
02. Beat of the Earth 20:52

J.R. Nichols
Karen Darby
Morgan Chapman
Phil Pearlman
Phil Phillips
Ron Collins
Sherry Phillips

Private press 500 copies Produced by Phil Pearlman Assorted Beats: Karen Darby, Morgan Chapman, J R Nichols, Ron Collins, Bill and Sherry Philips, Artisic statement by Phil Pearlman

Man, the surf came crawling in and swept all of the hobos, junkies, and heads into a brick-walled Venice Beach basement infused with the scent of a dying star.  These California weirdos, led by surf-rocker Phil Pearlman, is exactly what Andy Warhol could've used for his west coast happenings.  Like Pearlman's Electronic Hole, the vibes of the Velvet Underground are clearly chiming through, but with the sensibility of wild hair flowin', bongo beatin' nighttime beach bonfire in place of Lou Reed's Chelsea gutter.  With wall-to-wall psychedelic reverb, primordial flute, and the occasional vocals presenting the unholy demon child of Lou Reed and Jim Morrison, this improvised strangeness delivers the psychedelic music promised on the back cover.

Back in my review of the Electronic Hole, I noted that the band oddly didn't function well on the more conventional tunes, while they shine on the jams.  Fortunately, that's all we're getting here, with each side making a blurry, rambling artistic statement.  At least when you consider that the tunes are named "This is an Artistic Statement Parts I and II."  Y'know, I'm not a fan of jam bands in rock.  The hallowed Grateful Dead tend to try my patience, especially after 30 minutes of "Dark Star."  Some rock bands earn their licence to jam (guess we've got to mention Can again).  I don't know if the Beat of the Earth quite earns the certificate, but this record is at least under serious consideration at the City Office of Psychedelia.

Switch the brain off of "focus" and let it all come down.  This is the west coast connection for all of the nutcases who want to connect the Velvet Underground, the 13th Floor Elevators, and the Beat of the Earth into a U.S. national nutcase of the sometimes uncomfortable beyond.  I mean, the Beat of the Earth doesn't have the songwriting or vocal presence of those admittedly better bands, but they do match them in scummy, trippy grooviness.


The Black Hippies - 1977 - The Black Hippies

The Black Hippies
The Black Hippies

01. Doing It In The Street - 5:12
02. I Have The Love On You - 5:44
03. Love (Sonny Orovie) - 4:11
04. The World Is Great - 9:05
05. You Are My Witness – 8:40

All songs by Edire Etinagbedia except where noted

Joseph Etinagbedia - Vocals, Guitar

Black Hippies were a Nigerian rock band in the mid-'70s led by songwriter Joseph Etinagbedia (aka Pazy). In their earliest incarnations, the band played a distinct style of harder rock, one that bore many of the trademarks of Nigerian music, from the raw, visceral vocal style to the psychedelic funk that touches every corner of the songs. This first, self-titled album was recorded in 1976 by producer Odion Iruoje and features five of the band's tunes from their earliest days, finding funky pre-disco rhythms playfully co-existing with light-headed fuzz guitar in Pazy's celebratory, somewhat psychedelic tunes. The band would shift gears with subsequent releases, going more in the direction of reggae than hard rock, but these five songs represent the band at an inspired beginning point where their take on hard rock was something truly unique.
by Fred Thomas

“Pazy (real name Joseph Etinagbedia) started playing music in the Fire Flies in the city of Warri in Nigeria in 1973. The area was in the midst of an oil boom, and like most bands on that scene, the Fire Flies played American and European pop hits mixed with Jazz and Highlife for the largely expat audiences in local clubs. Along with an influx of foreigners, the oil boom also gave rise to an emerging Nigerian youth market, and soon Pazy formed the Black Hippies to play the uniquely African style of hard rock that was favored by this new audience.

They quickly found success and were appearing alongside other Warri-based artists such as Tony Grey. In short time, they came to the attention of EMI and their legendary producer Odion Iruoje, who recorded this album. By the time it was released in 1977, though, Disco and Funk were starting to take over and the hard fuzzy rock of The Black Hippies first album was somewhat behind the times. As a result, the album was barely released and is now virtually unfindable, unseen by all but a few of the most hardcore collectors. Pazy would go on to form a new line up of the Black Hippies that played mostly Reggae but this remains by far the best album.

Featuring whiplash funk drumming, searing fuzz guitar, raw vocals and that uniquely West African organ sound, The Black Hippies first album is a definitive classic of the genre.

The Blues Right Off - 1970 - Our Bluesbag

The Blues Right Off
Our Bluesbag

01. One Mint Julie
02. Rushing Wish
03. Black Angel
04. Love's Gonna Show Up Someday
05. Leaving My Hometown
06. Born On The Highway
07. Miss D

Bass – G.C. (Jesus) Salvador*
Drums – "Fuffi" Panciera
Engineer, Mixed By – Ermanno Velludo
Flute – Paolo Zanella
Guitar, Vocals – Claes Cornelius

Recorded in Venice (Giudecca) 17-18 August 1970 with a Tandberg 62X

Limited to 500 copies

An incredibly rare album, Our blues bag changes hands for princely sums. It was privately pressed in 500 copies and housed in a cloth bag that was silkscreened with the band's and record name, and also contained a lithographic print by venetian artist Vittorio Basaglia.
No counterfeit exists, nor foreign reissues.
This not a review as such, it's info as to this crazy album & how it came about. Having peddled early demos to record companies in Italy and getting a flat "no thanks" at every turn, we decided to record and release on our own what became "Our Bluesbag". The cover is hand-printed (!!) by famous Venetian artist Vittorio Basaglia, inside a jute sac with an album title stencil and the final vinyl album was done in 500 copies... mine was lost years ago in a fire, though. The recording was done by Ermanno Velludo, one of those guys gifted with Golden Ears - he was to us what George Martin was for The Beatles, and a de facto fifth member of The Blues Right Off. We did it all in about 2 days, a lot of it being "first takes". Essentially, it is a live album, done in a painter's studio and not a proper recording studio! It rates 5 stars for our determination of "going against the grain" and for Ermanno's incredible sonic result. All the material is home-grown - no covers here. We sold copies on the street in Venice and at concerts and that "ultra-rare" tag is correct as it wasn't distributed through shops. We later found out that "Our Bluesbag" is now a legendary album and also expensive to get, if you can get one! If you're interested in more about those obscure days in Italy, check the site - under Artists/B there's more Blues Right Off info... In retrospect, it's kinda strange as to Italian "firsts" we accumulated:first "location studio" recording / releasefirst home-grown release / own-distribution in Italy first hand-made / hand-printed coverfirst Blues album in Italy Ermanno still has original tapes but we've resisted so far to re-release anything. So for those who haven't had the possibility to listen to the music here's a short description:it's a bit like John Mayall, vocally, as I haven't got a nasty, deep & growling voice - also, I figured that I wasn't exactly born in some Black US ghetto being Danish and very white in terms of looks. A song like "Born On The Highway" is about being a truckdriver going from coast to coast across the USA, endlessly. Another one is about the "Black Angel" of Berlin, then in the news. It's an attempt at having the Blues - anyone can "have the Blues" - you don't need to be Black, in other words. Claes Cornelius - on behalf of The Blues Right Off

The Brothers and Sisters - 1969 - Dylan's Gospel

The Brothers and Sisters 
Dylan's Gospel

01. The Times They Are A Changing 2:43
02. I Shall Be Released 4:18
03. Lay Lady Lay 3:38
04. Mr. Tambourine Man 4:03
05. All Along The Watchtower 3:30
06. The Mighty Quinn 3:30
07. Chimes Of Freedom 4:30
08. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight 2:21
09. My Back Pages 5:11
10. Just Like A Woman

Bass – Jerry O. Scheff
Drums – Gene Pello
Organ – Evelyn Freeman
Percussion – Joe H. Vaerga
Piano – Gene Page
Vocals [The Brothers] – Andrew Herd, Billy Storm, Chester Pipkin, Don Wyatt, Ed Wallace, Fred Willis, Jesse Kirkland, Joseph Green
Vocals [The Sisters] – Barbara Perrault, Brenda Fitz, Carolyn Willis, Clydie King, Edna Wright, Georgetta Finches, Ginger Blake, Gloria Jones, Gwen Johnson, Hazel Carmichael, Julia A. Tillman, Lolietha White, Marjorie Cranford, Merry Clayton, Oma Drake, Patrice Holloway, Ruby S. Johnson, Sherlie Matthews, Sherrell Atwood, Shirley Allen

Sometimes exploitative impulses yield good art. Despite the way it’s presented, Dylan’s Gospel, the sole album by the Brothers and Sisters (aka the Brothers & Sisters of Los Angeles, aka the Los Angeles Gospel Choir — it’s been reissued a few times), did not arise from a group of L.A. area gospel singers deciding what they really wanted to do was record some Bob Dylan songs. The idea came from producer and Ode Records chief Lou Adler, who can’t help but have noticed that the Edwin Hawkins Singers’ “Oh Happy Day” had recently become the first full-on black gospel choir recording to hit the Pop Top Five.
Adler’s choir and soloists had, indeed, mostly learned to sing in church. But the “Brothers and Sisters” were recruited from the L.A…

…backup-singer circuit—if you’ve seen 20 Feet from Stardom, you’ve seen a lot of their names, and if you’ve ever listened to classic-rock radio, you’ve heard their voices on other people’s records. Over two days in July, 1969, the group recorded churchified versions of 10 familiar Dylan tunes, including his then-current single “Lay Lady Lay”, a song that’s about as secular as Bob has ever gotten. This is formally the same kind of record as, say, a set of Imagine Dragons songs arranged as lullabies, rather than a direct antecedent to the terrific 2003 tribute-with-the-honoree’s-input Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan.

That said, it’s way better than it has a right to be: it’s always at least interesting, and often pretty delightful. If you didn’t catch the words, Dylan’s Gospel could pass as a solidly played, splendidly sung “contemporary gospel” record, and if you can overlook the choir keeping a straight face as they raise the roof about “her fog, her amphetamine, and her pearls”, it can pass as that even if you do catch the words. By the time Adler’s choir assembled, Dylan was still a decade away from writing overtly Christian songs, but he’d internalized the whole gospel songbook by the time he started writing his own stuff: the language of “Chimes of Freedom” and “The Times They Are A-Changin'” makes the stylistic transition beautifully. His lyrics were also open wide enough to interpretation that it wasn’t hard to come up with a reading of, say, “The Mighty Quinn” as an impassioned if slightly eccentric parable about Christ’s return, which is exactly how the great Merry Clayton delivers it here.

A few iffy aspects of the project reveal its origins as a cash-in. The vocalists are credited in a list, but the lead singers weren’t initially identified as such—”because of contractual obligations,” Adler claimed to Rolling Stone at the time. (The new reissue’s liner notes indicate that it’s definitely Gloria Jones on “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight”, for what that’s worth, and Honey Cone’s Edna Wright on “Lay Lady Lay”.) Master session bassist Jerry Scheff, who would play on Dylan’s Street-Legal nine years later, was identified on the original sleeve as “Jerry O. Scheft.” Some of the singers also don’t seem to have been too familiar with Dylan’s material: whoever sings the “My Back Pages” verse containing “mutiny from stern to bow” makes that line rhyme with “slow,” a mistake you’d only make if you were reading it off a lyric sheet and hadn’t noticed how every verse ends.

Still, sometimes exploitative impulses eventually yield things nobody anticipates. One of the Sisters on Dylan’s Gospel was Clydie King, who’d been recording hither and thither since she’d made her first single as Little Clydie as a 12- or 13-year-old in 1956. (If that’s not her ripping it up on “Mr. Tambourine Man” here, it’s somebody with a very similar voice.) King spent most of the 70s as a top-flight backup singer for rock bands: 11 years after she sang with Adler’s ad-hoc group, she started dating Dylan, and became his creative collaborator for the next few years, often singing solo during his gospel-era concerts and duetting with him on stage and on record. “Clydie’s one of the greatest singers ever,” Dylan said. “I get chills when I hear her just breathe.”

Of all the great back catalogs in the history of rock, Bob Dylan's is among the most covered, his acolytes ranging from The Byrds to Adele via Manfred Mann and Guns N' Roses. But something tells us you won't have heard anything quite like Dylan's Gospel by The Brothers and Sisters, a choir of Los Angeles session singers brought gloriously to the fore for a very special, one-off record.
Originally released in 1969 on Ode Records, this rare and sought-after album finds the California collective covering a clutch of Dylan classics in the era's revolutionary gospel style. Produced by Lou Adler, soon to work his magic on Carole King's mega-successful Tapestry, and arranged by Gene Page, noted for his work for Motown, the performers were largely unknown, but many went on to find great acclaim. Merry Clayton, the powerhouse singer best known for sparring with Mick Jagger on the Rolling Stones' Gimme Shelter (and star of the recent documentary 20 Feet from Stardom), appears here, as does Edna Wright of The Honeycones and Gloria Jones, who recorded the original version of Tainted Love in 1965.

The cast of 27 singers also includes Ruby Johnson, Shirley Matthews, Clydie King, Patrice Holloway, Julia Tillman and more. The tracks include some of the best-loved Dylan songs from the singer songwriter's most productive decade, including Lay Lady Lay, All Along The Watchtower, My Back Pages and Just Like A Woman.

The genesis of the project was Lou Adler, the music business visionary who staged the legendary Monterey International Pop Festival. He imagined a project that combined the songs of Dylan with L.A.'s most sought after session singers, most of which began their singing in the Baptist churches of South Los Angeles.

''Listening to Dylan's songs, I felt there was a gospel-like feel to them, both spiritually and lyrically,'' Adler says in the liner notes. ''So those two ideas, to work with these singers and to explore that side of Dylan - came together.''

Recording sessions at Sound Recorders Studios in Hollywood were a four-day party, with food, drink and far more musicians than were ordered, many of the singers bringing along cousins, mothers, partners and more. Carole King came to hear, as did Peggy Lipton and Papa John Phillips. It was a rock 'n' roll version of a gospel church.

''Lou just put on a big, crazy party,'' remembers Edna Wright. ''He had all these people together, all this raw talent. And we were there for nothing but the love of singing.''

1969 Ode records release. The project originally produced by the legendary Lou Adler, contains 10 tracks of Bob Dylan composed classics performed by The Brothers and Sisters.

The playing time totals 37 minutes, which by today's standards would be considered more of an EP then an LP.

The material was recorded at SRS in Hollywood, considered one of the top tier West Coast recording studios. The session was arranged and conducted by Gene Page, who also played a prominent role on piano. Mr. Page's professional reputation is well earned, having worked on more then 200 gold and platinum albums.

Armin Steiner, the Sound Engineer, worked on over 100 gold and platinum albums. In recent decades, Mr. Steiner expanded his musical career acting as the scoring engineer for countless major film soundtracks.

The session musicians were simply the best gospel/soul artists available, of special note, was the organist, Evelyn Freeman (Ernie Freeman's sister). She was an extremely talented gospel artist. Her 1958 Bell-Canto records release of" Didn't It Rain" is legendary within the music industry. The 1964 United Artist re-release of this tune went on to become a major hit throughout Western Europe, particularly in London and Paris.

Five decades later, it remains a cult favorite in dance clubs throughout Eastern Europe.

The vocalists, eight male and twenty females, were the top gospel/soul/ R&B singers on the planet. Examples include, Billy Storm who had already established his credentials with the R&B super group "The Valients". Jesse Kirkland continued to release successful solo albums with major labels as Columbia, ABC and A&M records. Chester Pipkin co-w rote the soul hit"Love is in the Air". He also co-founded the group"Africa" with Billy Storm. The group recorded and released the legendary album,"Music from Lil Brown".

Carolyn Willis, Shelly Clarke and Edna Wright (Darlene Love's sister) went on to create the wildly successful R&B group "Honey Cone". Clydie King, Merry Clayton and many other of the" Sisters" build their reputations ,through the decades, as in demand backup singers for major artists both in the studio and on tour.

These Bob Dylan compositions contained on this CD readily lends itself to a gospel/soul interpretation. The arrangements are brilliant and the vocals are both fiery and passionate.

Some examples include Merry Clayton's "The Mighty Quinn" and Edna Wright's soulful rendition of" Lay Lady Lay".

Gloria Jones sexy and soulful voice brings"I'll be your Baby Tonight" to a level even the composer may not have conceived. The musicians, featured vocalists and mighty chorus all conspire to elevate Dylan's work to a new musical plateau.

Art Wood's Quiet Melon - 1969 - Art Wood's Quiet Melon

Art Wood's Quiet Melon 
Art Wood's Quiet Melon

01. Diamond Joe
02. Engine 4444
03. Instrumental

Bass – Kim Gardner, Ronnie Lane
Drums – Kenny Jones
Guitar – Art Wood, Ron Wood
Organ – Ian Mclagan
Vocals – Rod Stewart

Quiet Melon was formed in July 1969 when the Jeff Beck Group folded. Lead singer Rod Stewart was left without a band and started hanging out with Ronnie Wood, his brother Art Wood and Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan. Art Wood got them a recording session at the Fontana studios, where he had a contract and, according to Art, recorded four songs - Diamond Joe, Engine 4444, Right Around The Thumb, and Two Steps To Mother. They delivered the tapes to Fontana who said the tracks weren't good enough and cancelled Art's contract. The group then got a promoter called Rufus Manning to try and get them a deal but nobody wanted to know. The group played quite a few gigs but the project soon folded and Art retired from the music business to become a Graphic Designer. At some point, Ronnie Lane was replaced by Kim Gardner who had been in the Birds and the Creation with Ronnie Wood. The remaining members - Ronnie Wood, Rod Stewart, Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan then inherited the name the Small Faces which was soon shortened to the Faces.

CD Single Cover