Monday, December 5, 2016

Willis Jackson - 1977 - The Gator Horn

Willis Jackson 
The Gator Horn

01. Ungawa     8:32
02. You've Changed     4:45
03. Hello, Good Luck     7:35
04. The Gator Horn     5:05
05. This Is Always     5:30
06. Gooseneck     8:15

Bass – Dud Bascomb, Jr.
Congas – Buddy Caldwell
Drums – Yusef Ali
Guitar – Ivan 'Boogaloo' Joe Jones
Organ – Carl Wilson
Saxophone [Gator Horn] – Willis Jackson

Recorded at the Rosebud Studio, NYC - March 8, 1977

Virtually all of tenor saxophonist Willis "Gator" Jackson's albums for Muse in the 1970s (and fortunately, there are many of them) are well worth picking up. Jackson's basic tenor always contained plenty of soul, the potential of exploding, and an attractive warm sound. For this fine set, Gator alternates between romps (some of which are funky) and ballads ("You've Changed" and "This Is Always"). Excellent support is contributed by organist Carl Wilson, guitarist Boogaloo Joe Jones, bassist Dud Bascomb, drummer Yusef Ali, and Buddy Caldwell on conga.

Ivan Boogaloo Joe Jones - 1975 - Sweetback

Ivan Boogaloo Joe Jones

01. Confusion    6:33
02. Trouble In Mind    6:11
03. Sweetback    7:40
04. Have You Ever Been Mellow    7:20
05. Jamaica Farewell    3:26
06. You've Got It Bad, Girl    7:45

Alto Saxophone – Charles Bowen
Bass – Warren Giancaterino
Congas – Verdone "Turk" Banks
Drums, Percussion – Bud Kelly
Guitar, Producer – Ivan Joe Jones
Organ – Bobby Knowles
Percussion – James Valerio III
Tenor Saxophone – Ellsworth Gooding

Though the great Boogaloo Joe Jone's funkyness is never to be denied, not all of his albums were consistent (his solos, however were... potently so!) This one, however, was... and perhaps can be said to represent his peak for he dropped off the scene (he's still alive today... spoke to him a few years back... He actually speaks as fast as he plays the guitar and... sadly, said he doesn't really play anymore... outside the church.)

But let's travel back to 1975...

This album, finds Joe Jones in full form... with a (so far unidentified) ultra funked out rhythm section and selection of tunes that really let him spark out on that mean guitar of his... He's totally upfront... Though clearly its a funky soul Jazz album he's taking solos that would make even the most astute Martino/George Benson (pre-crossover fame) fan FLINCH with delight... Let's just say, he's totally off the wall on this one... with million mile an hour licks delivered with ridiculously breathtaking soul, potency and precision that sometimes make the guitar sound like its going to explode any second...

The strangest cut on the album is a Charles Earland type soul Jazz swinger version of... OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN's Have You Ever Been Mellow... Funkiest tune in my book is SWEETBACK a real booty shaker which at first sounds like a Reggae meets Soul Jazz tinged George Benson thing... - - like many of the tunes BOOGALOO JOE's solos are often extended and build to a ridiculous frenzy. (You've Got It Bad Girl and Confusion are also real high on my list!)

I can guess the rhythm section, but will spare myself the embarrassment...

Originally released on the ultra-obscure JODA label... I have to admit hearing this album for the first time recently, but can tell you... I know I'll be listening to it for years down the line and have been listening to it almost non-stop since I got it... wowzers... You don't get much better than this!

Ivan "Boogaloo Joe" Jones - 1973 - Snake Rhythm Rock

Ivan "Boogaloo Joe" Jones 
Snake Rhythm Rock

01. Hoochie Coo Chickie    5:26
02. Snake Rhythm Rock    5:34
03. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face    5:55
04. He's So Fine    6:33
05. Big Bad Midnight Roller    9:00

Bass – Jimmy Lewis
Drums – Grady Tate
Guitar – Ivan "Boogaloo Joe" Jones
Organ – Butch Cornell
Saxophone – Rusty Bryant

Somewhere between "funky" era Grant Green and plain funky Melvin Sparks lyeth the great Boogaloo Joe Jones. Its the early 70's... admittedly the organ thing is dying out, but labels are still desperate to capture the "young" generation... hence along cometh Boogaloo... a funky Jazz guitarist who is the epitome of both "soul" and "Jazz" and a sound that has the crispness of the old funky Blue Note sound... with a bit of extra bite added in. (Both these sessions were originally released on the Prestige label.)

An under-rated funky and bluesy Jazz gi-tah session man, Boogaloo's trademark was an ability to surround himself with some of the best sidemen he could and letting them do the job they already knew how to do (he told me this himself!) - - In many ways it worked too well... Since he's not all over the place, pretentiously showing off how complex he could play, its all too easy to write him off... but then if you listen closely... very closey you realize the precision of his razor sharp slick, simple and sharp ability to swing, groove and preach the blues. Many of the licks are so quotable, you almost write them off because they all just fit in like piece of pie and sound so GOOD you tend to think, "Well duhhhhh... it was meant to be there..." but then you realize that that

Boogaloo Joe Jones - 1973 - Black Whip

Boogaloo Joe Jones 
Black Whip

01. Black Whip    6:45
02. My Love    5:26
03. Freak Off    8:29
04. Daniel    4:20
05. The Ballad Of Mad Dogs And Englishmen    6:56
06. Crank Me Up    7:06

Bass, Electric Bass – Ron Carter
Drums, Percussion – Bud Kelly
Electric Piano – Sonny Phillips
Guitar – Ivan 'Boogaloo' Joe Jones
Organ – Bobby Knowles
Percussion – Jimmy Johnson
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Percussion – Dave Hubbard

Recorded at Broadway Recording Studios, New York City; July 25, 1973

Somewhere between "funky" era Grant Green and plain funky Melvin Sparks lyeth the great Boogaloo Joe Jones. Its the early 70's... admittedly the organ thing is dying out, but labels are still desperate to capture the "young" generation... hence along cometh Boogaloo... a funky Jazz guitarist who is the epitome of both "soul" and "Jazz" and a sound that has the crispness of the old funky Blue Note sound... with a bit of extra bite added in. (Both these sessions were originally released on the Prestige label.)

An under-rated funky and bluesy Jazz gi-tah session man, Boogaloo's trademark was an ability to surround himself with some of the best sidemen he could and letting them do the job they already knew how to do (he told me this himself!) - - In many ways it worked too well... Since he's not all over the place, pretentiously showing off how complex he could play, its all too easy to write him off... but then if you listen closely... very closey you realize the precision of his razor sharp slick, simple and sharp ability to swing, groove and preach the blues. Many of the licks are so quotable, you almost write them off because they all just fit in like piece of pie and sound so GOOD you tend to think, "Well duhhhhh... it was meant to be there..." but then you realize that that

As an added bonus, he's "production savvy" - - if you don't believe me, notice the things that are easy not to notice but one day you know... for example, a strange whistle going off at the end of a soul, the subtle addition of a shaking tambourine, or even a simple coupla note Wes'ish strum that builds to the equivallent of a musical orgasm.

Boogaloo Joe Jones - 1971 - What It Is

Boogaloo Joe Jones 
What It Is

01. Ain't No Sunshine    5:30
02. I Feel The Earth Move    6:10
03. Fadin'    7:00
04. What It Is    7:00
05. Let Them Talk    5:45
06. Inside Job    6:15

Bass – Jimmy Lewis
Congas, Bongos – Buddy Caldwell
Drums – Bernard Purdie
Guitar – Ivan 'Boogaloo' Joe Jones
Organ – Butch Cornell
Producer – Bob Porter
Tenor Saxophone – Grover Washington, Jr.

Using the same personnel as he did on his fifth Prestige album (1970s No Way!), Jones offers more good-natured funk-soul-jazz on this 1971 session. After getting a couple of contemporary pop covers (of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" and Carole King's "I Feel the Earth Move") out of the way, it's mostly Jones originals. On his slower moments, as in "Fadin'" and Sonny Thompson's "Let Them Talk," he shows the influence of straight jazz players such as Wes Montgomery; "What It Is" and "Inside Job" are more cut-to-the-chase funk riffs. Jones has his cult following, but as soul-jazz goes, this is kind of run of the mill: good for background, but not captivating foreground listening.

Boogaloo Joe Jones - 1971 - No Way

Boogaloo Joe Jones 
No Way

01. No Way
02. If You Were Mine
03. Georgia On My Mind
04. Sunshine Alley
05. I'll Be There
06. Holdin' Back

Grover Washington Jr. (tenor sax)
Butch Cornell (organ -4,6)
Sonny Phillips (organ, electric piano -1/3,5)
Boogaloo Joe Jones (guitar)
Jimmy Lewis (electric bass)
Bernard Purdie (drums)

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, November 23, 1970

Grover Washington, Jr. (tenor sax) and Bernard Purdie (drums) are the key accompanists on a set of pretty funky early-'70s soul-jazz. The covers of fairly straight pop numbers ("Georgia on My Mind," the Jackson 5's "I'll Be There") are kind of undistinguished. Better are the originals "No Way" and "Holdin' Back" (by Jones) and "Sunshine Alley" (by organist Butch Cornell), which have a more convincing groove. "No Way" is the toughest, with funk guitar lines betraying some influence from James Brown; "Holdin' Back" sounds a bit like a jazzy instrumental treatment of the kind of songs Marvin Gaye used to record in his early Motown days.

Look at that confident young man on the cover of No Way! Dressed in full funky regalia, caught in the action of playing a solid Gibson guitar, resolutely and in earnest. Boogaloo Joe Jones: sounds hip, dude. And the sleeve shows a man inclined to hit the big time. He wouldn’t, though. Boogaloo Joe Jones, sideman on a small number of soul jazz recordings, before disappearing into obscurity, nevertheless made a series of good albums for Prestige. No Way! is one of them.

It shows an uncanny ability to inject the blues, which is the basis of his style, into a repertoire of wide range. It might take a listen or two to connect the party-hardy, viciously outgoing funk of the title track to the sweet and sour white boy’s blues of If You Were Mine – recorded earlier by Ray Charles who’d gone c&w himself. But then it clicks.
In the former, there might be the risk of being blown away by the steamrolling tandem of funk jazz drum wizard Bernard Purdie and electric bassist Jimmy Lewis – a spicy stew – but Boogaloe Joe Jones devours it with relish and throws in punchy lines and fast-fingered licks. Its continuous climactic impulses might might wear one down a bit, but No Way! certainly rocks. Jones also does pretty well in the latter, in which his ‘twangy’ sound and inflected imitiation of the human voice is paramount to its innocent, hum-along charm. If You Were Mine also features a resonant solo by Grover Washington Jr.

So here we have a hip-shaking and eloquent recording of funk, blues, pop and country, jazzed up by a guitar player who, by the way, supposedly was nicknamed Boogaloo chiefly to avoid confusion with the likes of Philly Joe Jones and Jo Jones. Keep good company is what my grandma always used to say.

Boogaloo Joe Jones - 1970 - Right On Brother

Boogaloo Joe Jones
Right On Brother

01. Right On    5:40
02. Things Ain't What They Used To Be    7:00
03. Poppin'    6:03
04. Someday We'll Be Together    6:45
05. Brown Bag    5:05
06. Let It Be Me    5:29

Boogaloo Joe Jones - guitar
Rusty Bryant - tenor saxophone, alto saxophone
Charles Earland - organ
Jimmy Lewis - electric bass
Bernard Purdie - drums

Ivan Joseph Jones, also known as "Boogaloo Joe", (born November 1, 1940) is a jazz guitarist. He made his solo debut as "Joe Jones" on Prestige Records in 1967, but earned the name "Boogaloo Joe" following a 1969 record of that title. The nickname was meant to distinguish him from the other people with similar names in the music business, such as R&B singer Joe Jones, jazz drummers "Papa Jo" Jones and Philly Joe Jones, and the Joe Jones of the Fluxus movement. Later, he'd turn to billing himself as Ivan "Boogaloo Joe" Jones.

Jones recorded several albums in a soul-jazz vein for Prestige in the period from 1966 to 1978. In addition to leading his own group for recording purposes, Ivan Jones recorded with Richard 'Groove' Holmes, Houston Person, Harold Mabern, Wild Bill Davis and, most notably, Willis Jackson. Rusty Bryant, Charles Earland, and Bernard "Pretty" Purdie are among the sidemen also featured on Boogaloo's albums.

His sound and style clearly derived from the blues. But it was a solid understanding of rock that Jones brought to his style of jazz. He was influenced most by Tal Farlow and Billy Butler, but gravitated toward the rhythm and blues jazz Butler was popularizing with organist Bill Doggett's popular group.

While jazz went through some drastic changes during the dozen years of his recording career, Jones sound and style stayed remarkably consistent. His twangy tone coupled catchy chordal vamps with astonishing rapid-fire single-note playing. He could handle familiar pop covers ("Light My Fire," "Have You Never Been Mellow") and ballads. But he really excelled in the jazz-funk groove and proved himself a first-rate blues player.

Jones has lived in South New Jersey most of his life and mostly worked in and around the Atlantic City area with chitlin-circuit heroes like Wild Bill Davis, Willis Jackson and Charlie Ventura. Jones, who never won the notice of critics or great support from fans during his career,

If you like to groove, get this CD !!!! Bugaloo is an overlooked guitar god that never saw the fame he deserves... (Melvin Sparks and Grant Green fall into the same category)

If you play guitar, (or any instrument) you love to groove and love jazz, pick this up... There are some incredible lesson here to throw into your arsenal.

Joe Jones - 1969 - Boogaloo Joe

Joe Jones 
Boogaloo Joe

01. Boogaloo Joe    6:35
02. Atlantic City Soul    4:55
03. Boardwalk Blues    4:18
04. 6:30 Blues    6:22
05. Don't Deceive Me (Please Don't Go)    8:05
06. Dream On Little Dreamer    6:40

Drums – Bernard Purdie
Electric Bass – Eddie Mathias
Guitar – Joe Jones
Organ, Electric Piano – Sonny Phillips

Rec. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: August 4, 1969

Something of a B-list player in the annals of soul jazz guitar, Ivan Joseph Jones (a.k.a. Boogaloo Joe) still serves of up one of the more satisfying entries in the Legends of Acid Jazz series with this compilation of 1969's Boogaloo Joe and 1970's Right on Brother. While the "Boogaloo" moniker suggests a style limited to a cruder brand of funk, Jones is actually an articulate and versatile player. More than happy to play bluesy funk — which he does with clean, irresistible in-the-pocket-riffing and sure-handed rhythm work — he is also a fleet-fingered soloist, with a good bit of Grant Green and Pat Martino in his approach. Perhaps, his closest stylistic cousin is the early George Benson, but listeners will find that Jones digs down deeper, churns headier grooves, and offers a more committed brand of soul jazz than Benson does in his mid-'60s work.
Tenor saxophonist Rusty Bryant is a reliable presence on both sets ; however, the focal point is the axis of Jones, organists Sonny Phillips and Charles Earland, and, above all, drummer Bernard Purdie. Purdie takes the soul jazz drummer's role to a higher plane on these 12 tracks, masterfully exploiting his repertoire of distinctive fills and pick-up beats to punctuate the performances and create the foundation for some state-of-the-art groovesmithing. Amidst the funk is a sprinkling of ballads and blues that provide an effective change of pace while retaining much of the intensity of the more purely funk numbers.

Joe Jones - 1968 - My Fire (More of the Psychedelic Soul Jazz Guitar of Joe Jones)

Joe Jones 
My Fire (More of the Psychedelic Soul Jazz Guitar of Joe Jones)

01. Light My Fire
02. For Big Hal
03. St. James Infirmary
04. Take All
05. Time After Time
06. Ivan the Terrible

Joe Jones - guitar
Harold Mabern - piano
Peck Morrison - bass
Bill English - drums
Richie "Pablo" Landrum - congas

Jones recorded several albums in a soul-jazz vein for Prestige between 1966 and 1978. In addition to leading his own group for recording purposes, Ivan Jones recorded with Richard 'Groove' Holmes, Houston Person, Harold Mabern, Wild Bill Davis and, most notably, Willis Jackson. Rusty Bryant, Charles Earland, and Bernard "Pretty" Purdie are among the sidemen also featured on Jones' albums. I had forgotten a little bit about Joe I must admit, until a couple of weeks ago I saw a street musician playing some very smooth jazz sax at the shopping mall where I do my groceries and in between sets he was playing tracks from this album on a portable pickup... and my memory woke up and I remembered how sweet this Joe Jones albums are...

Joe Jones - 1968 - Introducing The Psychedelic Soul Jazz Guitar Of Joe Jones

Joe Jones 
Introducing The Psychedelic Soul Jazz Guitar Of Joe Jones

01. The Mindbender    4:50
02. There Is A Mountain    5:34
03. Games    4:20
04. Sticks And Stones    5:00
05. Blues For Bruce    5:50
06. The Beat Goes On    3:18
07. Right Now    3:19
08. Call Me    6:04

Joe Jones - guitar
Limerick Knowles Jr. organ (tracks 3, 5, 8 & 9)
Ron Carter - bass (tracks 1, 2, 4, 6 & 7)
Alexander Witherspoon - electric bass (tracks 3, 5, 8 & 9)
Ben Dixon (tracks 1, 2, 4, 6 & 7), Bud Kelly (tracks 3, 5, 8 & 9) - drums
Richie "Pablo" Landrum - congas (tracks 3, 5, 8 & 9)

Label reads THE MINDBENDER Joe Jones
Recorded at Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on March 15 (tracks 3, 5, 8 & 9) and December 12 (tracks 1, 2, 4, 6 & 7), 1967

Ivan Joseph Jones, also known as "Boogaloo Joe", (born November 1, 1940) is a jazz guitarist.[1][2] He made his solo debut as "Joe Jones" on Prestige Records in 1967, but earned the name "Boogaloo Joe" following a 1969 record of that title. The nickname was meant to distinguish him from the other people with similar names in the music business, such as R&B singer Joe Jones, jazz drummers "Papa Jo" Jones and Philly Joe Jones, and the Joe Jones of the Fluxus movement. Later, he'd turn to billing himself as Ivan "Boogaloo Joe" Jones.

Based in New Jersey, guitarist Ivan “Boogaloo” Joe Jones was one of the earliest of a new group of soulful players signed to Prestige in the late 1960s. Along with Houston Person and Charles Earland, they signposted the way for a funky blues-drenched jazz that would dominate the label’s releases over the following four or five years. Jones’ first record was released in early 1968. Its title, “Introducing The Psychedelic Soul Jazz Guitar Of Joe Jones”, was an attempt to cash in on current musical trends, but the record featured very good soul jazz, a formula repeated on his second album.

His next five LPs fitted into the funky soul jazz template proffered by the label, with Jones alternating languid comping with quick-fire improvisation. These albums are all sought-after collectors’ pieces. The title track of his final Prestige set, ‘Black Whip’, is his most in-demand number in the UK where it became a jazz dance classic.

Shanti - 1971 - Shanti


01. We Want To Be Free
02. Innocence
03. Out Of Nowhere
04. Lord I'm Comin' Round
05. Good Inside
06. Shanti
07. I Do Believe

Aashish Khan - Sarod
Zakir Hussain - Tabla, Dholak, Naal
Neil Seidel - Lead Guitar
Steve Haehl - Lead Vocal, Guitar
Steve Leach - Vocal, Bass
Frank Lupica - Drums
Pranesh Khan - Tabla, Naal

For a brief period in the late ’60s, Indian music seemed on the verge of crossing over into the Western pop mainstream. Rock bands ranging from the Rolling Stones to the Lemon Pipers began incorporating Indian instruments like the sitar and the tabla as colorful, sometimes sinister, accents to their songs. George Harrison collaborated with musicians from the subcontinent on Beatles tracks like “Love You To” and “Within You Without You,” as well as his soundtrack to the 1968 film Wonderwall. Sitar legend Ravi Shankar, familiar to hip Western audiences since the late ’50s, became a genuine star, collaborating with scores of rockers and playing Monterey Pop and Woodstock.

While Western musicians often used Indian motifs superficially, to inject a touch of the exotic or the worldly into otherwise straightforward pop, there were exceptions. One of these was the short-lived band Shanti, whose sole release, their 1971 self-titled album, has now been reissued on CD for the first time by Real Gone Music. Shanti (from the Sanskrit for “inner peace”) comprised young Indian musicians Aashish Khan (sarod) and Zakir Hussain (tabla, dholak, and naal), as well as the California-based Neil Seidel (lead guitar), Steve Haehl (lead vocal and guitar), Steve Leach (vocal and bass), and Frank Lupica (drums), whose backgrounds were in rock and jazz.

According to Seidel, speaking to Richie Unterberger in the liner notes for the reissue, Khan and Hussain viewed Shanti as a vehicle “to showcase the beauty of Indian music and promote it to the world.” The band would be “a mainstream pop thing with an Indian hook,” accessible to Western audiences primed by years of psych-pop with Eastern overtones. Khan and Hussain, the latter barely out of his teens, had already begun to develop reputations in their homeland, but both they and the American musicians were unknown in the States. They had an ally, however, in Richard Bock, a respected producer and co-founder of Pacific Jazz Records. Bock (who, incidentally, had previously recorded Hussain’s father Alla Rakha on a 1968 album with Buddy Rich) produced Shanti and helped the group get signed to Atlantic Records.

The songs on the seven-track album that resulted can be divided into three categories. The first includes “Good Inside” and “Lord I’m Comin’ Round,” the songs most steeped in Western pop. Here, the Indian instrumentation is minimized and largely reduced to decoration, as it was on trendy raga-rock records of the era. There’s not much about these records that distinguishes them from any number of West Coast rock bands of the era, whose ’60s psychedelia had begun transmuting into a rootsy, jazzier sound at the turn of the decade (e.g., the Grateful Dead).

The second category comprises pop songs that integrate Western and Eastern sounds in a more cohesive manner. The melody line to “Out of Nowhere” recalls the sort of tonalites characteristic of Indian music, while “I Do Believe” takes a free-form approach to structure and vaguely mystical lyrics (“how many years will it take till we learn / how to love, how the world turns? / it’s all in you”). There’s nothing inherently Indian about the songwriting of “We Want to Be Free,” but the density of the instrumentation sets it apart from the more pop-leaning songs on the record, especially given the prominence of Khan’s sarod, treated almost as a lead guitar.

This blurring of the boundaries between Western and Indian instruments is also a feature of the third categories of tracks on Shanti: a pair of lengthy instrumentals composed by Khan. These are the least pop-centric tracks on the record, instead foregrounding traditional Indian sounds and approaches. Even so, there’s a conscious effort to integrate both Western and Eastern styles. The focus is on the Indian instruments for most of “Innocence,” but they’re joined at times by the rock rhythm section, and Seidel adds a country-rock guitar solo in the middle of the song. On the virtuosic showcase “Shanti,” the lead guitar doubles the Indian motif in places, while the sarod in turn cycles around a pop hook. Appropriately, as the track that shares the band’s name, it is the most representative of their ethos, showing how these separate styles of music can coexist and intertwine, borrowing from each other without pandering.

This one album proved the only testament of Shanti. Atlantic dropped the group, and no other label picked them up for a second album. (According to Seidel, the group auditioned for Apple Records, on an invitation from George Harrison; Ravi Shankar supposedly convinced Harrison not to sign them.) Khan and Hussain would go on to have successful careers in both India and the US. Hussain in particular has continued pursuing Shanti’s melding of Eastern and Western sounds, collaborating with Mahavishnu Orchestra’s John McLaughlin in Shakti, and the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart in a series of projects since the early ‘70s. Even if the concept for Shanti never quite coalesced into a world-uniting pop phenomenon, however, it’s worth seeking out for those moments where its potential is realized, and a glimpse of a new musical world comes into view.

Contraband - 1971 - Time And Space

Time And Space

01. Shadow On The Mountain
02. Intune
03. Interlock
04. Reverie
05. To Miles
06. The One Who Knows
07. Crimson Sunsets
08. An Aborted Eddie Harris Tune

David Pritchard: guitar
Charles Orena: tenor and soprano saxophones, flute
Pete Robinson: piano, electric piano, organ, melodica, ring modulator
Bruce Cale: bass, electric bass, violin
Brian Moffatt: drums, percussion

Of two jazz groups utilizing the name Contraband, this was the first to be smuggled onto the jazz scene. Another Contraband became active in the late '80s, based out of the Netherlands appropriately enough. By then, the first Contraband was the equivalent of an empty stash box, having released only a single album on the Epic label in 1971. Guitarist David Pritchard, whose professional career began both early and with great hoopla as a teenage guitarist in the Gary Burton Quartet, formed Contraband in Los Angeles with pianist Pete Robinson.

Coming out at a time when the concept of a fusion between jazz and rock was still somewhat fresh, Pritchard and Robinson's effort was well received by the critics, including a generous allotment of four stars from Down Beat. Other performers on the record included reed player Charles Orena, percussionist Bruce Moffat, and Bruce Cale doubling on bass and violin. The group has been confused with other examples of musical Contraband, including both heavy metal and Celtic groups. Speaking of confusion, this is not the same Dave Pritchard who played in groups with Jeff Lynne in the late '60s.

Coronarias Dans - 1973 - Visitor

Coronarias Dans 

01 Se Det 5:15
02 Morning 8:13
03 Esrom 1:47
04 Don't Know 5:10
05 Visitor 3:23
06 Tied Waves 5:24
07 Sagittarius 1:10
08 Which Witch 8:48

- Peter Friis Nielsen / bass, double bass [electric double bass]
- Ole Streenberg / drums
- Claus Bøhling / electric guitar
- Kenneth Knudsen / electric piano, piano

By the time of "Visitor" (recorded from Feb-Nov 1973, but not released until 1975) the band is still focused squarely on the jazz aesthetic, but now they've added rock guitarist Claus Bohling (from Hurdy Gurdy), and his psychedelic shredding is a much needed boost, and distinguishes "Visitor" from other albums of its ilk. Claus would go on to help form Secret Oyster, and add the same style of guitar to all of their albums as well.

Coronarias Dans - 1970 - Breathe

Coronarias Dans 

01. Start Off
02. Stay
03. Smoke
04. The 21 Cms Song
05. Speaker
06. Breathe, Your Queen Has Gone

- Peter Friis Nielsen / bass,
- Claus Boje / drums
- Kenneth Knudsen / piano

- Claus Bohling / electric guitar

CORONARIAS DANS was one of the groups from which originated the more famous SECRET OYSTER, more specifically, keyboard player Kenneth KNUDSEN, drummer Ole STREENBERG and guitarist Claus BOHLING (from HURDY GURDY) would go on to play with SECRET OYSTER in the 70's. The band was founded in 1969 by KNUDSEN and bassist Peter FRIIS NIELSEN (around the same time they both played with the psychedelic DAY OF PHOENIX), and in the first line-up they featured Claus BOJE on drums. This formation released Breathe in 1970 which was a jazz album with loose connections to rock. Only on the next album Visitor would BOHLING's guitar style bring this group to stand out. Obviously recommended to fans of SECRET OYSTER and other similar instrumental fusion of the time.

Yaqui - 1973 - Yaqui


01. Sunrise
02. It’s Time For A Change (Es Tiempo Para Un Cambio)
03. Street Fight
04. She Caught The Katy (And Left Me A Mule To Ride)
05. I Need A Woman
06. Brown Baby
07. Mitote
08. Stop Wasting The Earth/Going Back To Mother Nature
09. Blue Harbor
10. Rich Keep Getting Richer
11. Sunset

George Ochoa — lead vocals, harmonica, Wurlitzer piano, rhythm guitar
Eddie Serrano — lead vocals, congas, toys
Ronnie Reyes — lead guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals
Larry Cronin — piano, organ, Moog synthesizer, vocals
Art Sanchez — bass, acoustic guitar, vocals
Rudy Regalado — drums, timbales, percussion, spiritual advice
Ray Rodriguez — drums, percussion

Yaqui was a rock band of the 70s from East LA Whose Roots Deeply went back into the golden age of the East LA music scene of the 60s, as did many other Eastside bands of the early 70s. Yaqui Recorded and released a self-titled album, "Yaqui" on Hugh Hefner's Playboy Records in 1973 That Was Extremely well Playa, well sung, with some very good songs.

The Zoo - 1968 - Presents Chocolate Mouse

The Zoo 
Presents Chocolate Mouse

01. Chocolate Moose
02. Written On the Wind
03. I've Been Waiting Too Long
04. Soul Drippin's
05. Get Some Beads
06. Ain't Nobody
07. Try Me
08. Love Machine
09. Have You Been Sleepin'
10. From a Camel's Hump

Murphy Carfagna - Rhythm Guitar
Mike Flicker - Drums, Percussion
Terry Gottlieb - Bass
Howard Leese - Lead Guitar
Ira Welsley - Vocals

Under the tutelage of Mike Cobb, 1968 found the band signed to Cobb's own Sunburst label. A single "Subset Strip" b/w "One Night Man" (catalog number )did little commercially, but attracted the attention of Bell Records which subsequently agreed to finance an LP. Produced by Cobb (who also contributed several songs), 1968's "The Zoo Presents Chocolate Moose" served as an interesting debut.

With all five members contributing material, the set was musically pretty varied. Straddling genres,'Chocolate Moose' offered up a distinctive garage influence; 'Get Some Beads' and 'From a Camel's Hump' found the band taking a stab at lightweight psych, while 'Soul Drippin's' showcased a penchant for blue-eyed soul . While you couldn't really consider them artistic innovators, the collection was still enjoyable andl worth hearing. The collection sold poorly and the band subsequently calling it quits.

The Travel Agency - 1968 - The Travel Agency

The Travel Agency
The Travel Agency

01. What's A Man - 5:06
02. Sorry You Were Born - 3:08
03. Cadillac George - 4:42
04. Lonely Seabird - 3:21
05. So Much Love - 3:02
06. Make Love - 2:25
07. That's Good - 6:57
08. I'm Not Dead - 2:17
09. She Understands - 3:10
10.Come To Me - 3:16
11.You Will Be There - 2:16
12.Old Man – 2:12

Steve Haehl - Guitar, Vocals
Michael S. Aydelotte aka Michael Sage - Bass
Francisco (Frank) Lupica - Drums

The Travel Agency formed in San Francisco and released their self-titled LP, produced by Bread's James Griffin,  on LA's Viva Records in 1968.

Drummer Frank (real name Francisco) Lupica joined  a little later, prior to the LP.  Lupica had previously been in Us, a Bob Segarini-led  garage band who'd recorded for the Autumn label in 1965  but whose sole 45 was not released due to a dispute over  arrangements between Segarini and the label they split soon after and Segarini went on to lead a succession of more successful  bands (Family Tree, Roxy, Wackers).

Side One is the stronger; the haunting and stately  neo-prog keyboard intro which blossoms into the poppy  What's A Man, strong fuzztone on Cadillac George,  and gentler love songs Lonely Seabird and So Much Love.  There are fast commercial rockers (Make Love and Old Man)  and catchy pop (That's Good). Perhaps because of this diversity  and the lack of band identity, thanks to the absence of  any member info or credits, the album was overlooked and remains underrated.

Steve Haehl and Frank Lupica reappeared  a couple of years later in Shanti, whose eponymous  Eastern-influenced LP was released in 1971. Two tracks thereon  were composed by non-member Mike Aydelotte, aka Michael Sage  when he was in Travel Agency. Lupica went on to a solo career and,  billed as Francisco, performed one-man shows all over California  playing numerous exotic instruments including a self-built electrified I-beam; adorned with keyboards and other devices, he dubbed it  the Cosmic Beam. In 1976 he released his proto-new age LP,  Cosmic Beam Experience.

In the same year he was musician and  composer for Tanka, a very short animated film about  Tibetan thank gas (images from the Tibetan Book Of The dead)  alongside former Shanti bandmates Ashish Khan and Pranesh Khan;

in 1979 he was sound effects creator for Star Trek The Motion Picture; and in 1998 his music was used and sampled in the film The Thin Red Line. He played viola the Deep Song CD by Ranee Lee.
by Max Waller with thanks to Jeff Jarema.

The Flame - 1970 - The Flame

The Flame 
The Flame

01. See The Light - 3:06
02. Make It Easy - 3:06
03. Hey Lord - 3:49
04. Lady - 3:28
05. Don't Worry, Bill - 3:17
06. Get Your Mind Made Up - 4:08
07. Highs And Lows - 4:49
08. I'm So Happy - 3:17
09. Dove - 2:18
10. Another Day Like Heaven - 5:42
11. See The Light (Reprise) - 1:28

All songs Fataar, Chaplin, Fataar, Fataar
Produced by Carl Wilson

Blondie Chaplin - Guitar, Vocals
Steve Fataar - Guitar, Vocals
Edries 'Brother' Fataar - Bass, Vocals
Ricky Fataar - Drums, Vocals

As the Flames, brothers Ricky. Steve ('Brother') and Edries Fataar, together with Blondie Chaplin, were one of South Africa's most popular 60s bands. Playing soulful cover versions with exotic touches that hinted at their Malaysian heritage, they had a string of local hits between 1964 and 1968, including a 14 week run at number one with a cover of Jerry Butler & The Impressions' For Your Precious Love.

When their ambitions began to stretch beyond South Africa, however, they decamped to the UK. where their LP Bunting Soul appeared on Page One in 1968. It failed to sell, but they still spent the next few months playing London club dates. The future seemed uncertain, until one night (probably in July 1969) Beach Boys guitarist AI Jardine happened to see them play Blaise's nightclub (where they had a residency).

Duly impressed, he brought fellow band member Carl Wilson along to see them the next night, and he promptly offered to produce an album for them, to appear on the Beach Boys' planned Brother Records imprint. The Flames gladly accepted, and later that summer they flew to California, where Carl rented them a beautiful house overlooking Sunset Boulevard. Work permits were slow to materialise, however, which allowed them not only to immerse themselves in LA's hedonistic atmosphere, but also to move away from the cover versions that had defined them thus far, and start honing their own material under Wilson's encouraging supervision.

The songs they came up with combined the punch of their live performances with the melody and craft of Paul McCartney - who, incidentally, name-checked them as one of his favourite groups around this time. Sessions finally began in October 1969 and. without the constraints of a tight studio schedule (a benefit of being produced by a superstar), they were given free rein to perfect their arrangements. Recording of the LP was completed the following July, and they embarked on a promo tour to support its October 1970 release (under the name 'Flame', to avoid confusion with James Brown's 'Famous Flames').

Heavily trailed in the music press, it came complete with a lavish poster and was the first album ever to be available in compatible quadraphonic sound. However, despite favourable reviews and having a minor hit (See The Light I Better  Get Your Mini! Made Up) which reached #95 on the Billboard chart in November 1970) – it sold badly. They undertook a support slot on a Beach Boys' US tour, but a second single (Another Day Like Heaven I I'm So Happy) also flopped.

The band soldiered on to make another LP, reportedly with fuller string and horn arrangements, but it was never released and, frustrated, they disbanded shortly afterwards. Ricky and Blondie promptly joined the Beach Boys, appearing on their Holland LP and touring extensively with them in the mid-70s. Ricky also went on to appear in the cult favourite Beatles parody The Rutles, as well as appearing as a sideman to Bonnie Raitt, Joe Walsh, Crowded House and others.

Blondie, meanwhile, became an in-demand session player, appearing on the Rolling Stones Bridges To Babylon album in 1997 and touring with them to this day. Edries and Steve found it harder to sustain careers in music, however. Steve now lives back in Durban, where he is still active in the local music scene, but Edries died tragically young in 1978, as did Carl Wilson (who succumbed to cancer in 1997).

Despite their lack of contemporary success, however, power pop aficionados and Beach Boy completists have always kept the Flame flickering, and it is to be hoped that this CD reissue will spread awareness of their superb music wider than ever before.

Sunday - 1971 - Sunday


01. Love Is Life - 6:10
02. I Couldn't Face You - 8:03
03. Blues Song - 4:17
04. Man In A Boat - 4:52
05. Ain't It A Pity - 3:52
06. Tree Of Life - 3:55
07. Sad Man Reaching Utopia - 10:50
08. Fussin And Fighting - 6:51

John Barclay - Guitar, Vocals
Jimmy Forest - Keyboards, Vocals
Davy Patterson - Vocals, Bass
Pete Gavin - Percussion

Although recorded in London, this album of very atmospheric and melodic progressive rock by what seems to be a Scottish crew was only released in Germany. The music is generally very thoughtful and in quite a few places bluesy. Still there is your usual share of guitar solos and organ riffs, at times provoking Beggars Opera at their least arty. The album is undoubtedly as good as most in this class and it is hard to understand why they couldn't secure a UK release. The cover depicts a miraculous painting by Lyonel Feininger, a sure sign of good taste.

 The opener, “Love Is Life”, is a rambunctious rocker with a relentless drum beat, great dynamic breaks and an underlying organ riff, kicking the doors open in style. “I Couldn’t Face You” is a ballad with an interesting bluesy melody and a piano-organ arrangement reminiscent of Procol Harum. Following the slow melancholy of “Blues Song”, there’s the odd “Man In A Boat”, a cod-psychedelic trip featuring once again Gary Brooker-like Hammond sound – slow-paced and majestic and set to an almost marching beat.

Mid-song it resolves into an energetic mid-paced rocker. “Ain’t It A Pity” captures and preserves for posterity the freewheeling spirit of the times perfectly – complete with free-flowing organ, piano and guitar parts and uninhibited, commanding and attention-grabbing vocals. “Tree Of Life” takes the pace down a notch but continues on in much the same style; and tells a story.

The most meandering track on this otherwise near-perfect album is “Sad Man Reaching Utopia” – clocking up at 10:51. Almost great, and a shame they didn’t go beyond this debut. The CD was “mastered” from a vinyl copy, as the original master tapes were most likely lost.

Rain - 1972 - Rain


01. Can YounHelp Me Sing My Song 01:54
02. To A Dreamer 03:59
03. Mother's Evil Child 03:02
04. Love Me Still 04:02
05. All Your Days Are Long 06:31
06. Let Our Hopes Run Our Dreams 03:34
07. Song To Barbara 05:19
08. You Take Me Higher 02:27
09. He Could Have Known 05:45
10. As I Played My Song (For You) 03:19

Cobb Bussinger - vocals, organ, pianos, celeste, synthesizer
Michael Kennedy - lead guitars, vocals
Ric Crinti - bass guitar, vocals
Frank Schallis - vocals, drums, percussion, acoustic guitar

Group of Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) with a single self-titled album. The quartet sang dreamily romantic mix of psychedelia and early progressive rock. Musical kitchen tucked Cobb Bussinger - child prodigy who started playing piano at three years and has recorded an album ("Rock Island", 1970) with two members of the team. Signing a contract with the label «Project 3 Records» passed without unnecessary friction and caused no fundamental differences between the parties «Rain» and firm management. The self-titled album, on which work began in 1971, was released in early 1972. Quality of musical material recorded during several hours of sessions, there were so many, that was originally supposed to release a double album. However, as a double debut - is not the best business decision to break the vinyl market, so stayed on a single album. With all the apparent positive qualities of this album, the disc waiting for a failure when released into the music market in the United States. Commercial failure, unfortunately, led to the collapse of one of the underrated bands early 70s. Cobb Bussinger later made a career of producer, actively develop and promote electronic keyboards, piano album released and a number of soundtracks.

Quiet World - 1970 - The Road

Quiet World 
The Road

01. The Great Birth
02. Theme/First Light
03. ThemeStar
04. Theme/Loneliness
05. Theme/Change Of Age
06. Christ One
07. Hang On
08. Christ Continued
09. Body To The Mind
10. Traveller
11. Let Everybody Sing
12. Theme/Children Of The World
13. Change Of Age
14. Love Is Walking

- Steve Hackett / electric & acoustic guitars, harmonica
- John Hackett / acoustic guitar
- Gill Gilberts / vocals
- Sean O'Mally / drums
- Eddy Hines / flute, saxophone
- Dick Driver / string & electric bass
- Phil Henderson / arranger, piano, trumpet, organ, recorder, vocals
- John Heather / composer, acoustic guitar, vocals
- Neil Heather & Lea Heather / composer

Recently I was reading a Genesis biography called Turn It On and it mentioned this little band where Steve Hackett (and his brother john) had played before he joined Peter Gabriel & co. As everything Genesis related interests me - specially their 70`s stuff - I went out to get this CD to see what is all about. I guess it was one of Hackett´s first recordings and it shows, for you´ll probably will not recognize his style upon hearing The Road. Even his brother John i sonly playing acoustic guitar here (he would change to the flute after being introduced to King Crimson´s debut album). There are some nice guitar solos but they are few and far between.
As for the group itself, Quiet World is shows a very strong influence (almost copycats, in fact) of The Moody Blues around the time of their Days Of Future Past. they did thrown in a few sax solos and bits of King Crimson here and there to spice it up a little bit. It´s also a concept album. As most of you know, this kind of undertaking was a novelty at the time and soon everybody was doing it, even if very few bands were talented enough to pull it off, at least convincingly. And, you guess it, Quiet World was not really one of them. The concept is silly, the songwriting is only average and the lyrics will make you think The Moody Blues wrote deep philosophy in comparison. Not that the album is bad. In fact, if you like MB and don´t care much for originality, you should try to listen to this album. On the plus side, I should mentioned that the songs are well arranged and orchestrated, and some vocals are impressive (echoes of early Bee Gees too). Maybe with time and experience they could produce something more consistent and original, but they broke up soon after this album was out and the Hacketts were already flexing their muscles for much bigger things.

Osmosis - 1970 - Osmosis


01. Of War And Peace (In Part) - 1:06
02. Beezlebub - 3:51
03. Thoughts Aften Stray - 2:50
04. Sunrise - 2:31
05. Shadows - 3:34
06. Adrift - 4:52
07. Sunlight - 2:32
08. Scorpio Rising - 2:58
09. Please Let Me Go - 4:24
10.Geoffery's Tune - 3:40
11.Of War And Peace (In Full) - 7:22
12.Sleep, My Love (Epilogue) - 1:52

*Charlie Mariano - Soprano, Alto Saxophones, Flute, Nagaswaram
*Bobby Knox - Lead Vocals
*Danny Comfort - Bass
*Lou Peterson - Drums
*Bobby Clark - Percussion, Drums, Vocals
*Andy Steinborn - Guitar, Background Vocals
*Charlie Bechler - Keyboards, Melodica, Tympani, Chimes

US psychedelic progressive rock with jazz influences feat. Charlie Mariano. Originally released on RCA this 1970 progressive Jazz rock outfit created a full blown rock based performance with two drummers. The wall of sound was amazing with alto and soprano saxophones- courtesy of the great Charlie Mariano, whose career since 1944 has included bebop with Shelly Manne and electronic fusion with Eberhard Weber’s Colours - wailing over the wall of sound. The mood ranges from spacey and saxy to (as evidenced on title track) full-on heavy stoner acid doom.

Beyond any labels or category. The music was pure.

Nothing sounded this innovative at it's given time. They opened for the Zappa bands and Miles Davis at " The Boston Tea Party" Boston. A great _Filmore style_ concert hall-club in Boston.

In this record and the live gigs....Mariano was playing Alto saxophone and soprano saxophone. Flute and nagaswaram.
Within a full blown rock based volume setting with two drummers. The wall of sound was amazing. Considering Charlie always played strong, this was a real event to hear.

This band....OSMOSIS was on a world based level with any major rock band.
 They could of easily had the cult following that Jerry Garcia did with the Grateful Dead or even the song writing
 influence that other major stars did in that time period. After all this was 1970. There was not a "Bitches Brew" recording
 by Miles Davis yet, and no Brecker or Sanborn sax sonics had yet to appear.

THIS BAND...was one of the pioneer bands of the day. And-one of the most interesting.
 Maybe someday RCA will see it's importance and put it on CD-reissue.

 As Mariano moved to Europe from Boston in 1970, the stage was being set for  some dramatic playing and world class saxophone innovations.

Noir - 1971 - We Had To Let You Have It

We Had To Let You Have It

01. Rain - 9:27
02. Hard Labour - 5:24
03. Beggar Man - 5:06
04. In Memory Of Lady X - 6:57
05. How Long - 6:27
06. The System - 7:19
07. Indian Rope Man - 3:36
08. Ju Ju Man - 3:56

*Tony Cole - Keyboards
*Barry Ford - Drums, Vocals
*Gordon Hunte - Guitar, Vocals
*Roy Williams - Bass

Apparently the title comes from Dawn themselves as the group spent hours in the studio, didn’t finish the record, and just up and left. This is a very difficult record to describe. To start with, it’s different than anything else I’ve heard from this period. Overall the record is heavy on the keyboards (organ, piano) and is VERY percussive in nature (no drum solos though). Plenty of good wah-wah and fuzz guitar solos as well. The 9 minute opener is dog slow with an almost gospel tinge to it (the vocals throughout have this spiritual, almost Native American feel). It picks up the pace considerably from there. Has a strong white boy R&B vibe, as if Rare Earth recorded an album for the Dawn label. Also hear slight references to Indian Summer as well.

I would have given six stars to the album if I only could. An album of pure gold and still almost total mystery - after so many years. In 1970 a band named "Noir" ("Black" in French) had spent ages recording this undisputable miracle for "Dawn" (that was the label of Mungo Jerry also). How did they get there, and where from, I don't know. They were: Barry Ford - lead vocals on half of the songs, drums & percussion; Tony Cole - lead vocals on other half, organ, piano and keyboards in general; Roy Williams - bass and vocals and Gordon Hunt - guitar and vocals. The band split before completing the album, and vanished from the studio - all attempts to disover their whereabouts failed. Barry Ford re-surfaced later with "Clancy" which recorded two albums for Warner, and had some following on London pub-scene, and after that performed with another obscurity, "Merger".
Anyway, music is difficult to identify, and this is ungrateful and absolutely unnecessary: several slow ballads which remind (somehow) Ken Hensley - like eponimous fatalistic lament of "Rain" with heart-breaking singing; philosophical sermon "In Memory Of Lady X"; tribal battle hymn of "Beggar Man" and spirituals-inspired "How Long"; solid prog of "The System". Add polyphonic vocal harmonies, virtuosos guitar and cool jazzy piano - total abandon and delight!
The music was too good to be left on a shelf, and the album was released by "Dawn" in 1971, to be re-issued on CD by "Arcangelo" in Japan.  One of the best albums of the 70s, I kid you not...

Mouse - 1973 - Lady Killer

Lady Killer

01. Going Out Tonight
02. You Don't Know
03. Electric Lady
04. All The Fallen Teen-Angels
05. Ashen Besher
06. We Can Make It
07. East Of The Sun
08. It's Happening To Me And You
09. Sunday
10. Just Came Back

Alan Clare Keyboards, Vocals
Alan Rushton Drums
Ray Russell Guitar
Jeff "Tain" Watts Guitar (Bass)

Angel Air continues to sweep up the furthest flung crumbs of the Ray Russell canon for reissue, and now they've finally swatted the Mouse onto CD. This quartet, comprising Russell, drummer Alan Rushton, keyboardist Jeff Watts, and singer Alan Greed released their sole album on EMI in 1973. Russell jokes in the booklet that "attempts to make a single were forgotten about an hour into the first session," but even so the compulsive "Electric Lady," a throbbing rocker or alternately, the bouncy pop-flecked "We Can Make It" both fit that bill. And even if "Going Out Tonight" was a little too quirky for singledom, it was still the perfect set opener on-stage or on record. Given free rein, however, the band were all to free to explore the byways of their own obsessions. "All the Fallen Teen Angels," for example, is proof positive that you really can put a reggae beat to any kind of music, even pompous, synth-driven pop/rock and it certainly is startling, but would you really want to hear it twice? "Asher Besher," in contrast, delves deep into Black Sabbath territory, "The Happening to Me and You" dips into psychedelia, while "Just Came Back" returns from Delta blues. But even with all its musical meanderings, this is a more commercial album than Russell lets on, and if only producer John Acock had exerted a bit more control, squashing the occasional over-long intro and more tightly focused the songs, Lady Killer would have made a killing in the charts. As is, it's still a fine set of '70s rock in a supple and subtle experimental mode.

Mighty Baby - 1971 - A Jug Of Love

Mighty Baby 
A Jug Of Love

01. Jug of Love (6:20)
02. The Happiest Man in the Carnival (7:09)
03. Keep On Juggin' (8:42)
04. Virgin Spring (9:20)
05. Tasting the Life (6:43)
06. Slipstreams (5:20)

- Alan King / guitars, vocals
- Ian Whiteman / piano
- Martin Stone / guitars
- Mike Evans / bass
- Roger Powell / drums

A solid four stars for this wonderful second Mighty baby album. Quite different in style compared to the first psychedelic (and also excellent) first album. The instrumentation is very pure, mainly guitar/piano. "Jug of love", the eponym opening track is a good example: a mellow and upbeat tune, sweet waves of guitar/piano with a fluid and spacey quality similar to QUINTESSENCE, without the religious, mystic fervor. "The Happiest Man in the Carnival" is another highlight, lot of guitar/piano/flute extatic moments and there's no doubt about the proginess! Cherry on the cake, singing is very pleasant and soft, with a tone which evokes Rick Wright at times. The general mood is hippy, meditative, and sligthly upbeat. A fantastic aerial feeling somewhere between QUINTESSENCE and POPOL VUH. "Keep On Juggin'" is another substantial piece with a more groovy bluesy feeling, trippy psychedelic guitar parts betray another major influence from the GRATEFUL DEAD. "Virgin Spring" is a charming evanescent, melancholic tune featuring superb piano/acoustic guitar parts and still that spacey, sound, "planant", as we say in french. Perfect! "Tasting the Life" shows a bluesier, down-to-earth facet of their sound and still featuring great guitar, while "Slipstreams"gently ends the record. The 2006 Sunbeam CD edition i own is good sounding (natural) and features good bonus, alternate and unreleased tracks "(Ancien traveller" is from the first era).

Mighty Baby - 1969 - Mighty Baby

Mighty Baby 
Mighty Baby

01. Egyptian Tomb (5:28)
02. A Friend You Know But Never See (4:24)
03. I've Been Down So Long (5:05)
04. Same Way From the Sun (5:37)
05. House Without Windows (6:10)
06. Trials of a City (5:58)
07. I'm From the Country (4:49)
08. At a Point Between Fate and Destiny (4:44)

- Alan King / guitars, vocals
- Ian Whiteman / piano
- Martin Stone / guitars
- Mike Evans / bass
- Roger Powell / drums

UK act MIGHTY BABY was formed in 1968, featuring several members of the newly disbanded outfit The Action. They hit the studio right away, and had an album ready by the end of '68, which eventually was released at the tail end of 1969 on the Head Records label.

During 1970 many of the members in the band converted to Islam, and when their second album A Jug of Love appeared in 1971, the alteration in religious and philosophical view by the band's members had also affected their stylistic expression, resulting in a vastly different sophomore effort.

This second production also proved to be the final albums to come from this band. In later years archival cocncert recordings have surfaced from time to time, capturing a band keen on improvisation while performing live.

An overlooked late-sixties psych-rock gem, Mighty Baby's self-titled 1969 debut somehow got lost amongst all the 'Atom Heart Mothers' and 'In The Court Of The Crimson Kings' upon it's initial release. Although a fairly straight-forward of R'n'B, folk, rock and psychedelic influences, which, technically-speaking at least, is closer in spirit to the likes of The Beatles, The Doors and Jefferson Airplane than it is to any of the genre's popular progressive rock acts, 'Mighty Baby' showcased an inventive and surprisingly-experimental outfit whose West coast-leanings contrasted nicely with their UK beat-group origins. Songs, such as the impressive, country- flecked rocker 'A Friend You Know But Never See' start as seemingly-simplistic late-sixties psych-tinged rock, before breaking headlong into complex, overlapping rhythms that spin off into Jerry Garcia-inspired oblivion and back again via semi-progressive instrumental passages that feature Cajun violins, bluesy-guitars and folk-pressed vocals. Fans of The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Wizards From Kansas, as well as early rainy-day UK psych purveyors The Move, Tomorrow and The Magic Mixture should find much to admire on this enjoyable album, and whilst there may not be the complex keyboard passages, rampant experimentation and surreal conceits that ordain the best 1970's prog, Mighty Baby's brand of all-encompassing Beatles-ish psych-folk-rock remains refreshingly unique.

Kennelmus - 1971 - Folkstone Prism

Folkstone Prism

01. I Don't Know 2:22
02. Patti's Dream 3:00
03. Dream Sequence 1:53
04. Dancing Doris 3:30
05. Goodbye Pamela Ann 3:45
06. Monologue 0:55
07. Black Sunshine 2:55
08. Think For Yourself 2:50
09. The Bug, Goat & The Hearse 0:43
10. Shapes Of Sleep 2:47
11. Cloud Of Lead 0:39
12. Mother Of My Children 2:47
13. 1001 Twice 1:08
14. Sylvan Shores 3:24
15. The Raven 4:57

Ken Walker (vocals, guitar, zither, melodica, electric piano, organ)
Bob Narloch (vocals, guitar, harmonica, tambourine)
Tom Gilmore (recorder, bass)
Mike Shipp (drums, percussion)

This really obscure Phoenix band released a late-period psychedelic album in 1971 that, by the standards of self-released LPs of the time, was several layers above the usual such offering. Largely (although not wholly) instrumental, their Folkstone Prism was an authentically oddball, occasionally goofy, and sometimes inspired blend of surf music, spaced-out psychedelia, and silly pop. The exotic dabs of melodica, zither, and special effects by multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Ken Walker added a cloud of eeriness: "I Don't Know" has keyboards straight off the Chantays' surf classic "Pipeline"; "Goodbye Pamela Ann" has scorching psychedelic guitar that sounds like a mating of the Electric Prunes and Haight-Ashbury, and "Mother of My Children" has vocals that sound like a Lee Hazlewood parody. Kennelmus, indeed, can be seen as spiritual forefathers of sorts to several post-punk Arizona bands -- Black Sun Ensemble, Friends of Dean Martinez, and Scenic -- that have made instrumental rock that can function as a quasi-psychedelic desert movie soundtrack. Of course, it's doubtful that those bands, or many others, were aware of Kennelmus, since their album was released in a pressing of 1000 in 1971, and is not even well known among collectors.

Kennelmus evolved from the more standard garage band the Shi-Reeves, who played British Invasion covers and surf music. Ken Walker changed the name to Kennelmus in 1969 (Kennelmus being his full first name), and with singer/guitarist Bob Narloch began recording Folkstone Prism in late 1970, with the help of bassist Tom Gilmore and drummer Mike Shipp. The record was very much the brainchild of Walker, who wrote all but one of the songs. Three of the four bandmembers worked at a pressing plant, making them one of the few, if not the only, group of their sort to literally help press their own recordings. An anomaly of its time (or any other), Folkstone Prism made little impact, and the band broke up around the mid-'70s, although the album was reissued on CD by Sundazed in 1999.

Innocuously described by the compiler of the Sundazed reissue CD liner notes as “the hardest working psychedelic surf band in Arizona”, Kennélmus laid down in the grooves of this collection some of the weirdest shit to be tracked to wax as psych gave way to its early seventies successors. The compositions are clumsy, the vocals almost totally unmusical, the instrumentation mostly wild and undisciplined and the studio production way over the top. Yet there’s something compulsive about this whacked-out mess of an album by a forgotten band that’s right up there with the Elevators, the Prunes and Syd Barrett. Or think Cold Sun, with the same peyote-driven woozy urgency and the trademark autoharp substituted with a melodica, and you won’t be a million miles out.

Morphing from Phoenix-based top forty/British Invasion covers outfit the Shi-Reeves, this four-piece, centred on the compositional and multi-instrumental talents of guitarist/keyboardist Ken Walker, took its name from his own unanglicised birth moniker: Kennélmus Walkiewicz. The album’s title was derived inexplicably (but probably under chemical influence) from Folkestone Prison, a minor penitentiary in the environs of the sedate Kentish seaside resort and Channel port, and was originally to have been Folkestoned Prism, but to avoid prejudicing potential radio exposure the “d” was left off. As it turned out they needn’t have worried; a vanity run of a thousand copies on small independent Phoenix International Records was all that surfaced and, as Walker relates, “It took a long time to sell out the original pressing . . . some of them were given away for sexual favours”.

It’s a schizophrenic son of a bitch, this record. Most of what would have been the first side is instrumental and – the psychedelic surf tag notwithstanding – these tracks exhibit to my ears a combination of the guileless chord sequences and melodies that Joe Meek was using with his instrumental combos a decade earlier and the sonic palette of Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti Western soundtracks, in the arrangements but also notably in the clean, springy lead guitar work, with a whiff of Lost In Space electronic frippery thrown in for good measure. “Dancing Doris” has an intermittent Middle Eastern zither riff that makes you want to scratch, and “Goodbye Pamela Ann” brazenly steals the jerky drum pattern from the Fabs’ “Tomorrow Never Knows”. When the vocals start to infiltrate on what was originally the flipside it’s clear that the band are off on a shamelessly lysergic expedition. The nearest thing to a conventional sung song is “Mother Of My Children” with its classic chat-up line refrain “woman, would you be the mother of my children?” “Think For Yourself” is a four-chord garage bash with melodica, wah-wah guitar and schizophonic stereo-split vocals, whilst “Shapes Of Sleep” is Beefheart’s Magic Band reflected in a distorting mirror and the hysterical plane-crash narrative of “Sylvan Shores” boasts wilfully out-of-tune bass guitar and an appropriately disintegrating outro. The lengthy closing “The Raven”, based on Poe’s verses of the same name, combines proto-punk vocals and chainsaw rhythm guitar with further primitive electronic squeals. The five “songs” are seamlessly segued with short intermissions incorporating backwards instrumentals, found sounds, vocal gibberish and a fake radio newsreel. It really shouldn’t work, but it all does, though it might take you several plays to rub down to the shine beneath the verdigris.

The band lasted around six years, but despite frequent gigging and a parallel career for Walker and fellow guitarist Bob Narloch as a folk club duo the album never raised major label interest and would remain their sole recorded product and a great rarity until reissued by Sundazed in 1999. Interestingly three of the band actually worked at Phoenix International’s pressing contractor and literally pressed their own album, probably a first in rock annals.