Saturday, December 3, 2016

Chetarca - 1975 - Chetarca


01. Death Of Rock & Roll Singer
02. Another Day
03. Diary
04. Chetarca
05. The Ocean Suite
06. The Sea
07. Wet Suit
08. Fisherman's Nightmare

Bruce Bryan - Synth
Geoff Gallent - Drums
Paul Lever - Vocals, Harmonica
Ian Miller – Guitar
John Rees - Bass, Violin
Andrew Vance - Keyboards, Vocals

Operating out of Melbourne in the mid-seventies, this band were a sort of Aussie equivalent to Emerson, Lake and Palmer. They only released one 45, ‘Another Day’, but it spent three weeks in the Top 100 peaking at No.75 in September 1975. No other Australian progressive album sounded like this one (which many now consider to be underrated). Musically, it is notable for no guitars - a dual keyboard assault of Andrew Vance (piano, organ) and Bruce Bryan (synthesiser) and Paul Lever's wailing harp and bluesy vocals. Side two is taken up with just one long track ‘Oceanic Suite’.
Taken from "Dreams, Fantasies and Nightmares" by Vernon Joynson, an extensive guide to Canadian / Australian / New Zealand and Latin American psych and garage music 1963 - 1976.
Not exactly of my taste but this LP is worth a listen especially for the 24 minutes long track "Oceanic Suite" ,with long complex dual synth compositions and interesting vocals, and the 8 minutes long "chetarca",with a psychotic synth solo leading to somekind of delirium.Otherwise the LP is synth driven progressive (sometimes too commercial for my taste) with blues-y vocals....Anyway,here it is for you to judge.

Charisma - 1970 - Beasts And Fiends

Beasts And Fiends

01. Street Theatre (Mocarsky) - 3:58
02. The No-Tell Motel (Mocarsky, Langlois) - 5:08
03. Dirty Pigs Don't Get Far In This World (Mocarsky, Langlois) - 2:38
04. Bizwambi: Ritual Dance Of The Reptiles (Charisma) - 4:50
05. Leopold's Ghost (Mocarsky, Langlois) - 4:57
06. The Age Of The Reptiles (Mocarsky, Langlois) - 3:26
07. Beasts And Fiends (Mocarsky, Langlois) - 8:08
08. Pray For Lockjaw (Charisma) - 3:22

Tom Majesky - Guitar, Vocals
Bernie Kornowicz - Bass, Guitar, Organ
Rich Tortorigi - Drums
Bob Mocarsky - Organ, Percussion

"Charisma came about from diverging roots emanating from 3 directions. The core of Charisma was Rich Tortorigi (drummer) and George Tyrell (bass player). Both were members of a New Britain, Connecticut soul band called The Mantiques. The Mantiques had been one of the three main horn-based bands in New Britain in the mid to late 60’s, along with Detroit Soul and The Paramounts. Paramounts drummer, Tyrone Lampkin went on to play with Gutbucket and the Parliament Funkadelics.

Before the recording of the second album, Mike DeLisa decided to go his own way, leaving the job of lead vocalist to guitarist Tom. Beasts and Fiends was recorded at the Record Plant in NYC during the summer of 1970. The lead engineer was the top engineer in the business: Jack Hunt (the Woodstock album, Electric Ladyland), assisted by Dave Ragno (the Woodstock album), and Tom Fly (the Woodstock album, former drummer of Lother and the Hand People). While credit was given to Bruce McGaw and Ed Vallone for production, fact is the album was produced by Charisma with interference run by Jack Hunt.

Charisma was offered the option to record a third album for Roulette Records, but let it pass by. Probably a mistake. Both albums sold better in Europe than they did in the USA. All income went to Roulette Records. Charisma got squat. Same old story.

It looked like Charisma was headed for a breakup as drummer Rich Tortorigi and keyboardist Bob Mocarsky decided to leave the band, but Tom and Bernie located drummer Jim Roselle and keyboardist Mike Reynolds and decided to give it another go. Jim recruited Paul Midney to play saxes and flute, and Ray Mase to play trumpet, piccolo trumpet and coronetto. For a while, Charisma became Midney, named after Paul (?!!), but ended up changing their name back to Charisma. Paul eventually ended up leaving the group to do his own thing in the world of meditation and Ray went on to play with the American Brass Quintet.

About this time Charisma, along with sound engineers Ron Scalise (now at ESPN) and Norman Campbell (now in California) began building a recording studio. Charisma spent the next few years in the studio. But to be able to do that they were forced to compromise their principles by playing commercial music to raise money to pay for the studio addiction.

Charisma auditioned several singers as front men and finally decided on Brian Salke. Brian was not allowed to do the few non-commercial gigs that came up once in a while, but he did appear on some of Charisma’s homegrown recordings. In 1976, Charisma disbanded, leaving one incomplete recording.
Rich Tortorigi-official

Brigg - 1973 - Brigg


01. Hey Mister - 3:16
02. Universe - 5:30
03. Took It Away - 3:35
04. New Found Rain - 2:37
05. If Only You Could See Me Now - 3:21
06. The War Is Over - 2:50
07. Linda - 5:40
08. And You Know - 2:45
09. Sneaker Tongue - 0:31

Rusty Foulke - Guitar, Vocals
Jeff Willoughby - Bass, Percussion, Flute, Vocals
Rob Morse - Guitar, Vocals

Rick Klinger - Percussion
Webb Kline - Keyboard

Outstanding 1973 from a Northumberland, Pennsylvania trio with an incredibly wasted vibe. Roughly half of this is heavy rock, like a second rate Grand Funk or Frost, and these songs are just mediocre, with "If Only You Could See Me Now" being the best by way of it's off kilter timing and phased-out wah guitar.

The other half is what we are all really here for: totally loaded, extended, spacey rural-vibe psych folk. "Universe" is the total kicker, loaded in opiate fueled cosmic ether. It's so slow and laid back that it almost moves backwards. Time has no meaning, or is lost completely.

Above the strummed acoustic bliss there are spaced out effects that just really make this fucker out, like if Jandek was really talented on You Walk Alone and tried to make a commercial (well, uh, sorta) sounding folkpsych album. Flutes appear on other tracks, giving this a Topanga Canyon hippie vibe at times. A totally great windowpane rainy day escapist monster.

While Willoughby and Foulke would go on to greater glory in the early 1980s with the well-known band Hybrid Ice (whose song “Magdalene” was famously covered by Boston on their album Walk On), this would be the last anyone would ever hear of Brigg.

Big Sleep - 1971 - Bluebell Wood

Big Sleep 
Bluebell Wood

01. Death Of A Hope
02. Odd Song
03. Free Life
04. Aunty James
05. Saint & Sceptic
06. Bluebell Wood
07. Watching Love Grow
08. When The Sun Was Out

Phil Ryan - Organ, Piano
Ritchie Francis - Bass, Piano, Vocals
John "Pugwash" Weathers - Drums, Vocals
Raymond "Taff" Williams - Guitar
Gary Pickford Hopkins - Vocals, Guitar

Big Sleep was a second-life 1971 formation of the British Psychedelic Rock band Eyes Of Blue.The two bands shared keyboardist Phil Ryan, singer/guitarist Gary Pickford-Hopkins, drummer John Weathers, bassist/pianist Ritchie Francis and Raymond Williams on guitar.Francis abandoned the guitar and had taken the place of Ray Bennett, who went on to join Flash, while Wlliams switched from bass to guitar duties.Their only album was recorded at the Chappell Recording Studios in London and released under the title ''Bluebell wood'' in 1971 on Pegasus.

Big Sleep had obviously kept many elements from the musical profile of Eyes Of Blue, but they also showed a tendency towards more sophisticated arrangements with a couple of longer tracks and a vast range of different influences, including Blues, Swing, classic Rock, Classical Music and organ-based Psychedelic Rock.Not much of an instrumental masturbation or excessive technical displays, but they were off to a different direction, which now was propelled by the meld of varied themes in the same track, passing from acoustic to electric sounds, always led by a love for refined and striking melodies.For example ''Saint & sceptic'' contains an extended orchestral delivery, arranged by Phil Ryan, backed up by some intense electric guitar and later flavored by Ryan's good organ work.Or the 11-min. title piece, which features light symphonic and jazzy lines, Hard/Psych guitar-based jamming and even some Mellotron- and flute-drenched gears.Somewhere between PROCOL HARUM and KING CRIMSON, producing different kinds of energetic levels and climate changes.A couple of leftover echoes from their previous stint like the short closers ''Watching love grow'' and ''When the sun was out'' sound closer to 60's Psych/Pop and are extremely outdated compared to the rest of the tracklist.

The band dissolved just weeks after the release of the album.Weathers went on to Hard Rockers Wild Turkey, became a stable member of Gentle Giant and later played with Man.Ryan became also a member of Man as well as The Neutrons, where he rejoined Ray Williams and Weathers, the latter met again with Hopkins on the aforementioned Wild Turkey.Only Francis followed a solo career, but this was way too short with just one personal record in 1972, titled ''Song bird''.

Decent Psych/Prog with emphasis on the psychedelic side, but certain influences from the emerging progressive wave.Cool and recommended listening, if you're after the interesting first steps of early-70's Prog/Art Rock.

Bacon Fat - 1971 - Tough Dude

Bacon Fat
Tough Dude

01. It the On the Wait - 3:41
02. Down The Road General Description of The - 3:22
03. of Betty - 2:05
04. Leaving the On Your yet Mind - 4:07
05. jivin 'the Business of The - 2:26
06. Shake Dancer - 2:42
07. the Travelling South - 3:01
08. to Evil - 2:45
09. Feeling the Blues - 4:04
10. the Pool Hall then by Sam - 2:56
11. Transatlantic the Blues - 4:08
12. Hurricane - 5 01

Bass Guitar – Jerry Smith
Drums – Dick Innes
Guitar – Buddy Reed
Guitar, Mandolin, Harmonica – Gregg Schaefer
Harmonica, Vocals – George Smith , Rod Piazza
Piano, Vocals – J.D. Nicholson

Main name with Bacon Fat was Rod Piazza, an ace harp player and singer, went on to bigger things with The Mighty Flyers 1980 to date.
Loving the simplicity of 70's blues, with no overdubs or crap harmonies, just the energy & sound of a live performance.
Enjoyed all 12 retro tracks, highlights for me were Betty, Blues Feeling, Transatlantic Blues & Hurrikane.
Will be checking more of Piazza's catalogue.

Bacon Fat - 1970 - Grease One For Me

Bacon Fat
Grease One For Me

01. Up the Line
02. Boom Boom (Out Goes the Lights)
03. Small's on 53rd
04. She's a Wrong Woman
05. I Need Your Love
06. Juicy Harmonica
07. Nobody but You
08. Telephone Blues
09. You're So Fine
10.Too Late

Rod "Gingerman" Piazza - Harp, Vocals
George "Harmonica" Smith - Harp, Vocals
Buddy Reed - Guitar, Vocals
Gregg Schaefer - Guitar
J.D. Nicholson - Vocals, Piano
Jerry Smith - Bass
Dick Innes, Jr. - Drums

Bacon Fat, originally the Southside Blues Band, was a Los Angeles, California blues band noted for a dual-harmonica-driven, Chicago blues sound.

Following the breakup of the Dirty Blues Band in 1968, Rod Piazza and George “Harmonica” Smith, whom Piazza credits with putting him “straight on the chromatic harp,” formed the Southside Blues Band. The band toured with Big Mama Thornton and, in 1969, released “George Smith of the Blues” (or, “… Of The Blues”, as it appeared on the album cover) as ‘George “Harmonica” Smith & His Blues Band.’ Originally released on World Pacific, the album was reissued in 1974 by ABC/Bluesway (BLS 6029), and in Germany in 1987 on Crosscut (CCR 1015). Smith’s “Juicy Harmonica” from this album is regarded as a chromatic harmonica classic; indeed, Piazza covered “Juicy Harmonica” on “Grease One for Me.”

Recorded on February 27 and 28, 1969 in Hollywood, personnel on “… Of The Blues” are listed as Smith and “Lightnin’ Rod” (Piazza) on harmonicas; Richard Davis, trumpet ; Jim Wynn and Ed Davis, saxes; Robert Schedel, piano; Marshall Hooks and Arthur Adams, guitars; and Curtis Tillman, bass. The drummer is not listed.

Shortly after the release of “…Of The Blues”, British producer Mike Vernon persuaded the band to move to Blue Horizon and to change their name. The band renamed themselves Bacon Fat, the title of an Andre Williams recording. The lineup of the band at this time, in addition to Smith and Piazza, were Buddy Reed, guitar; Gregg Schaefer, guitar; JERRY SMITH, bass; Dick Innes, drums; and J. D. Nicholson, piano.

Vernon decided to first record an already-scheduled gig opening for, and backing up Pee Wee Crayton, November 16, 1969, at the “Bar Paradise A Go Go” (widely known as “Small’s”), a club at E53rd St and Avalon Blvd in South-Central LA. These tracks were subsequently released in 1986 by Blue Moon as “Live at Small’s Paradise” (BMLP 1.029).

The following day, November 17, 1969, was spent at the Eldorado Recording Studio in Hollywood, recording tracks for Bacon Fat’s first album, “Grease One for Me”. On the 18th, Bacon Fat, plus guitarists Pee Wee Crayton and Marshall Hooks recorded 8 tracks that were released as “No Time For Jive” under “George Smith.” Smith appears on only one track of “Grease One for Me”; Piazza does not appear at all on “No Time For Jive”. Mike Vernon, the producer of both albums, maintains that the segregation of Smith and Piazza on these releases was coincidence and, in hindsight, it was probably a mistake to lose the dual-harp format that had made Southside/Bacon Fat successful in the first place.

Both “Grease One for Me” and “No Time For Jive” are long discontinued, but the tracks are available on “The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions” released under “George Smith & Bacon Fat” by Sony/BMG Europe (catalog 8287-68873724)

A tour of Europe to promote both “Grease One for Me” and “No Time For Jive”, originally planned for May, was delayed until November, 1970. While in the UK, Bacon Fat recorded the tracks for their second album. The sale of the Blue Horizon label to Polydor by CBS delayed the release of “Tough Dude” until March, 1971, allowing the excitement generated by the tour to fade. Bacon Fat broke up sometime in 1971.

After All - 1969 - After All

After All
After All

01. Intangible She 7:12
02. Blue Satin 3:46
03. Nothing Left To Do 7:04
04. And I Will Follow 4:46
05. Let It Fly 4:30
06. Now What Are You Looking For 3:02
07. A Face That Doesn't Matter 4:30
08. Waiting 4:20

Bass, Vocals – Bill Moon
Drums, Vocals – Mark Ellerbee
Guitar – Charles Short
Organ – Alan Gold

Throughout my musical journey my constant goal has been to find music that stands out from the crowd. It is a never-ending exploration that has been extraordinarily satisfying but invariably dissatisfies; where music is often very good but falls short of what I would deem remarkable. Anyone reading this can easily foresee what’s coming and yes, for me, this album does fall into that rarefied category of “lost classic”.

All but one of the songs were co-written by local poet Linda Hargrove and lead vocalist and drummer Mark Ellerbee. The former apparently went on to become a song-writer and performer in Nashville, presumably in the Country and Western genre, whilst the latter, according to other reviewers, sounds like the Blood, Sweat and Tears’ vocalist David Clayton-Thomas. He does, nevertheless, possess a baritone voice of somewhat similar tone to that of The Doors’ Jim Morrison, albeit without the control or finesse. Ellerbee has a bit of a wobble and a certain roughness but it’s a nice voice and one that melds perfectly with the music.

The keyboards of Alan Gold are an equal mix of Hammond organ and grand piano. The Hammond has a lovely tone here, reminiscent of Mark one Deep Purple, whilst the piano is predominantly a mix of a couple of influences/styles, particularly that of Jazz and J.S. Bach. These qualities accentuate the mellow nature of the album and are always of the highest quality and interest.

The rhythm outfit are very good, they also had a background in Jazz and that’s very evident in their style. The guitar work is good, whilst not hitting the quality of the keyboards, again fitting in perfectly with the album’s style and feel.

Their style? If pushed, I'd say late psych, early Proto-prog with a real Jazz sensibility but it's all just a game in semantics. Some tracks are stronger than others but there are certainly no clunkers and overall the album is very laid back with a fantastic groove. Of the latter I cannot stress its importance enough. It’s very mellow without sounding remotely cloying, a charge which could easily be levied at some mellow albums of the period. The most extraordinary factor is the amount of time the band would have had together, either to record or to rehearse the album. According to Ellerbee, they came together, wrote it as a concept, an intentional nod to the vibe of the time, recorded it over a couple of days and then went their separate ways. By all rights it should be a sprawling, incoherent mess. It is anything but and has a maturity that sounds like they had spent a great deal of time and effort over the endeavour. I, for one, would have expected that an album produced under the above circumstances would have been more frenetic and less assured. In their defence and of course to their benefit, they all had a sound and extensive musical pedigree with a couple of them being alumni of the Florida state school of music.

Audio quality: There are many aspects that make this album remarkable, not least the quality of the audio. According to the liner notes, which are brief but at least have authenticity as they are provided by Mark Ellerbee, the amount of studio time allotted to the band was all too brief. The budget was low, in fact they got a freebie from a producer friend.
It was recorded at a time when albums tended towards a stark quality, very different to what the modern ear has come to expect. Here the sound is warm and full, with a bass that is situated perfectly in the mix. Often older albums had the bass placed so far back that it could become all but inaudible, yet here it is on the same level as the other instruments and beautifully clear and deep. On extensive listening the reason for the clarity becomes apparent as this turns out to be a needle-drop, which is often the best way to get a great sound on CD for an older album, especially when the master tapes are likely to be long lost. It is one of the very best needle-drops I have in my possession, with only a small handful of clicks audible. It may have been de-clicked in production but either way, it sounds really good. Crucially, the very best aspect is the mix which sounds like it was done with modern ears in mind; in fact I’d confidently state this has one of the best mixes from the whole of the sixties!
It’s not perfect though, as there is a little studio echo present but that’s a minor quibble.