Friday, January 20, 2017

Grand Funk - 1974 - Shinin' On

Grand Funk
Shinin' On

01. Shinin' On 5:56
02. To Get Back In 3:53
03. The Loco-Motion 2:45
04. Carry Me Through 5:27
05. Please Me 3:35
06. Mr. Pretty Boy 3:04
07. Gettin' Over You 3:55
08. Little Johnny Hooker 4:56

Bonus Tracks
09. Destitute And Losin'
10. Shinin' On (2002 Remix)

Bass – Mel Schacher
Vocals, Drums, Percussion – Don Brewer
Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica, Guitarrón – Mark Farner
Vocals, Organ, Clavinet, Piano, Synthesizer [Moog], Mellotron – Craig Frost
Guitar – Todd Rundgren (on track 4)

Producer, Engineer – Todd Rundgren

Featuring 3D gimmick cover with 3D glasses affixed.
Also issued with a 3D 12" x 24" cardboard poster, and a
custom printed inner-sleeve with credits,
photos, tour, and Fan Club Information.

After racking up their biggest success to date with We're an American Band, Grand Funk Railroad decided to keep a good thing going by retaining Todd Rundgren as their producer and continuing to push their sound in a pop/rock direction. The end result has its moments but is not as strong as We're an American Band. Although the songs are tight and benefit from a strong performance by the group, the material simply isn't as inspired this time out: songs like "Please Me" and "Getting Over You" are energetic but lack the infectious hooks and clever arrangement touches that would make them stick in the listener's memory. Shinin' On's best songs are the ones that became its single releases: the title track infuses its hard-driving, spacy rock groove with some surprisingly ethereal vocal harmonies and the cover of "The Loco Motion" turns this dance classic on its ear with a stomping beat and a screeching guitar lead from Mark Farner. Other tracks make up for their lack of hooks by experimenting with the group's sound in interesting ways: "Mr. Pretty Boy" is a creepy slow blues that features an atmospheric Mellotron backing and "To Get Back In" is a full-fledged soul song built on thick combination of organ and horns. In the end, Shinin' On is too unfocused and uneven to win over non-fans but Grand Funk Railroad fans will find plenty to enjoy on this album.

Grand Funk - 1973 - We're An American Band

Grand Funk 
We're An American Band

01. We're An American Band 3:25
02. Stop Lookin' Back 4:51
03. Creepin' 7:01
04. Black Licorice 4:43
05. The Railroad 6:07
06. Ain't Got Nobody 4:19
07. Walk Like A Man 4:03
08. Loneliest Rider 5:19

09. Hooray 4:05
10. The End 4:11
11. Stop Lookin' Back (Acoustic Mix) 3:04
12. We're An American Band (2002 Remix) 3:32

Bass – Mel Schacher
Organ, Piano [Electric], Keyboards [Clavinet], Synthesizer [Moog] – Craig Frost
Vocals, Drums, Percussion – Don Brewer
Vocals, Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Piano [Electric], Congas – Mark Farner

Producer, Engineer – Todd Rundgren

Recorded at Criteria Studios, Miami, FL on June 12,14,15, 1973.

Included in original release was a set of four round stickers with band and album name, and custom black inner-sleeve.

Grand Funk Railroad were huge during the first half of the ’70s. Every album they released between 1969 and 1975 went either gold or platinum, and in 1971 they even beat the Beatles‘ box-office record at Shea Stadium, selling out the venue in less than 72 hours.
With manager Terry Knight at the helm, Grand Funk were on a skyward trajectory. But it wasn’t a bump-free ride. In 1972, the band began to question some of Knight’s decisions and eventually fired him.
With Knight out of the picture, Grand Funk started to focus on redefining their music, moving away from the harsher sounds of their early records toward a more commercial style. So they called upon Todd Rundgren to help them get there. He helped polish ‘We’re an American Band’ for the pop charts. As producer, Rundgren smoothed out some of the band’s raw edges that helped define them during the first few years.
The album kicks off with the classic title track. Written by drummer Don Brewer, the song tells tales of road glory, with a cast of characters that includes legendary groupie Connie Hamzy (“doin’ her act”), blues great Freddie King (who gets a nod for his poker skills) and “chiquitas in Omaha.” On top of all this, they promised to come to your town and help you party down too. How many other bands had that on their to-do tour list?
‘Stop Lookin’ Back‘  gets into a heavy funk groove, with keyboardist Craig Frost and the rhythm section of Brewer and bassist Mel Schacher providing some solid support. Meanwhile, ‘Creepin’‘ buoys its steady R&B with an environmental center. Guitarist Mark Farner, a green advocate long before it became a thing, sings, “Hey, everybody, won’t you lend me your ear? / There’s something to fear / Men getting rich off raping the land / I can’t understand why we don’t take them in hand.” A killer guitar solo adds drama and tension.
The rocker ‘Black Licorice’ recalls the band’s early days, but with seriously smoothed-out production. Still, Farner cuts loose on both vocals and guitar. He’s also in fine form on ‘The Railroad,’ a haunting number about the grind of day-to-day work. The riff-heavy ‘Ain’t Got Nobody‘ features some soulful backing vocals, while ‘Walk Like a Man,’ the album’s second hit single, struts out in full peacock fashion. It’s one of Grand Funk’s finest songs, full of bravado but backed up by ace playing and forceful vocals. The album ends with ‘Loneliest Rider,’ about Native Americans and sung by Farner, who can trace part of his heritage to the people. The ceremonial drum beat that ends the song is quite fitting.
The album, which was originally released on gold vinyl (as was the title single), became a massive hit, reaching No. 2 for two weeks. The singles ‘We’re an American Band’ and ‘Walk Like a Man’ climbed to Nos.1 and 19, respectively. The LP went on to define the band and the next phase of its career. The following year they released another Top 5 album and their second No. 1 single. The Railroad were on a roll.

Grand Funk - 1972 - Phoenix

Grand Funk 

01. Flight Of The Phoenix 3:34
02. Trying To Get Away 4:10
03. Someone 4:02
04. She Got To Move Me 4:47
05. Rain Keeps Fallin' 3:21
06. I Just Gotta Know 2:49
07. So You Won't Have To Die 3:17
08. Freedom Is For Children 6:02
09. Gotta Find Me A Better Day 4:06
10. Rock 'N Roll Soul 3:27

11. Flight Of The Phoenix (2002 Remix With Extended Ending)

Bass – Mel Schacher
Fiddle [Electric] – Doug Kershaw
Organ, Clavinet, Harpsichord, Piano – Craig Frost
Vocals, Drums, Congas, Percussion – Don Brewer
Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica – Mark Farner

Recorded at Sound Shop, Nashville
Mixed at Quadraphonic, Nashville
Mastered at Sterling Sound, New York

Having scored four consecutive Top Ten albums in the previous two years, Grand Funk Railroad may not have seemed to casual observers like a band who needed to rise phoenix-like from the ashes, but the title of the band's seventh album referred to its re-emergence after a litigious split from manager/producer Terry Knight. Now, they were producing themselves, and they added organist Craig Frost, credited here as a sideman, though he went on to join the band formally. The biggest change, however, was a musical maturity. After releasing five studio albums in a little over two years, Grand Funk waited more than a year before releasing Phoenix, and in that time they managed to come up with more variety than they had displayed before. "Someone," for example, was a surprisingly gentle ballad, and "Rain Keeps Fallin'" was stronger melodically than most of songwriter Mark Farner's previous efforts. Unlike earlier albums, Phoenix didn't seem like one rudimentary rocker after another, which made it Grand Funk's most listenable album so far. And that's not to say it didn't rock, as the leadoff instrumental, "Flight of the Phoenix," and the Top 40 hit that closed the set, "Rock 'n Roll Soul," demonstrated. Unfortunately, Farner's lyrical abilities had not increased, while his self-importance had. "I Just Gotta Know," "So You Won't Have to Die," and "Freedom Is for Children" all contained political exhortations expressed in simple-minded terms, the worst being "So You Won't Have to Die," in which Farner, later to become a Christian artist, claimed Jesus had spoken to him on the subject of overpopulation. After such cringe-inducing foolishness, the band's return to rocking with "Rock 'n Roll Soul" could only be welcomed.

Grand Funk - 1971 - E Pluribus Funk

Grand Funk 
E Pluribus Funk 

01. Footstompin' Music 3:45
02. People, Let's Stop The War 5:13
03. Upsetter 4:09
04. I Come Tumblin' 5:42
05. Save The Land 4:12
06. No Lies 3:55
07. Loneliness 8:38

Bonus Tracks:
08. I'm Your Captain (Closer To Home)
09. Hooked On Love
10. Get It Together
11. Mark Says Alright (Live)

Bass – Mel Schacher
Drums, Percussion, Vocals – Don Brewer
Guitar, Organ, Harmonica, Vocals – Mark Farner

Tracks 8 through 11 are previously unreleased bonus tracks. 8 through 10 are a live medley.
Recorded at Cleveland Recording Company Studios in September 20 & 21, 1971.
Tracks 8 to 11 recorded live in Dayton, OH, April 27, 1971.
Track 11 recorded live in Detroit , MI, April 29, 1971.

Grand Funk Railroad took longer than usual to make their fifth album, Survival, in early 1971, but when they came to make their sixth, E Pluribus Funk, that September, they spent less than a week at the effort. The rush shows. The album, made by a band by now popular enough to sell out Shea Stadium (depicted on the back of the album, its cover designed to look like a silver coin), consisted of a series of simple rock tunes with lyrics devoted to the joys of music itself ("Footstompin' Music"), social concerns generically expressed ("People, Let's Stop the War," "Save the Land"), and claims of romantic betrayal ("Upsetter," "No Lies"). Lead singer Mark Farner wailed in his limited tenor, joined in unison by drummer Don Brewer, and the rhythm section played in plodding lockstep. Farner added guitar and organ parts that emphasized the simplicity and repetitiveness of the musical patterns. "Loneliness," the concluding track, made a failed attempt at grandeur by adding a symphony orchestra. Six albums in, Grand Funk were still primarily a live band, able to achieve intensity, but with little sense of the varying dynamics and musical textures that might make a studio album interesting to listen to beyond being a souvenir of their live show.

Grand Funk - 1971 - Survival

Grand Funk 

01. Country Road 4:20
02. All You've Got Is Money 5:12
03. Comfort Me 6:44
04. Feelin' Allright 4:25
05. I Want Freedom 4:32
06. I Can Feel Him In The Morning 7:13
07. Gimme Shelter 6:19

Bonus Tracks
08. I Can't Get Along With Society [2002 Remix] 5:41
09. Jam (Footstompin' Music) 4:41
10. Country Road [Unedited Original Version] 7:38
11. All You've Got Is Money [Unedited Original Version] 8:19
12. Feelin' Alright [Unedited Original Version] 5:57

Bass – Mel Schacher
Drums – Don Brewer
Guitar – Mark Farner

Released with 3 5x6 color photo inserts of each members.
Orange label with purple C at the top of the label. Issued in a textured cover.
As Grand Funk on cover but Grand Funk Railroad on label.

The power trio era’s little engine that could, Grand Funk Railroad, had been defying odds stacked against them since day one, perplexing highbrow critics and thrilling concert audiences with their relatable, working-class rock and roll. But, deep down, the Michigan natives knew it was still all about Survival.
That was the title that vocalist/guitarist Mark Farner, bassist Mel Schacher and drummer/vocalist Don Brewer ultimately selected for their fourth studio LP, which followed the same, strenuous recording schedule that had seen its predecessors punctually recorded and released in six months intervals.
And yet, by now, Grand Funk’s undeniable commercial prosperity was such that they could afford all of six weeks in the studio with their manager, producer and overall taskmaster Terry Knight. The resulting material certainly reflected this with better production and smoother arrangements to go with typically varied songwriting, but not a lot of it. Only five originals and a pair of covers comprised the sum total of Survival’s contents.
“Country Road” locked into a hypnotic riff for the duration, “All You’ve Got is Money” was a mean, mean blues filled with tormented screams and hell-raising guitar strangling. “Comfort Me” was the album’s anthemic number, inevitably fueled by Age of Aquarius idealism, without coming off nearly as full of itself as most of Grand Funk’s peer group.
A laid-back, soulful cover of Dave Mason’s “Feelin’ Alright” and another, growling hard rock version of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” acknowledged the absence of an obvious single – though both were eventually released as such. And the false start and studio banter prefacing “I Want Freedom” (a highlight that embodied prog-rock at its least pretentious), plus a random, if rather morbid, conversation between kids preceded the almost religious “I Can Feel Him in the Morning” – clearly serving as padding for the overall shortness of songs.
Not that any excess ammunition was needed to give most of the period’s music critics a reason to sharpen their knives for action. Indeed, Robert Christgau, the self-proclaimed ‘Dean of American Rock Critics,’ echoed most pundits’ sentiments by dismissing Grand Funk’s latest as “For about a year I’ve been saying that people aren’t stupid, that there has to be something new about this music, and of course there is — it Americanizes Led Zeppelin with a fervent ingenuousness that does justice to the broad gestures of mass art. But now I read where various men of taste, having reached similar conclusions, claim in addition actually to like the stuff. That’s going too far.”
And yet, Survival was another commercial success, climbing to No. 6 in the U.S., No. 4 in Canada and No. 9 in Australia — figures that either matched or bettered Grand Funk’s previous LP, Closer to Home, and, thus, gave no hint that the Grand Funk gravy train was in danger of derailing anytime soon.
In fact, not until the band’s fifth album, E Pluribus Funk, released barely six months later, would the wear and tear of Mark, Don and Mel’s punishing work schedule and their relationship with manager Terry Knight begin to show – eventually threatening Grand Funk’s Survival, several years further down the line.

Grand Funk - 1970 - Live Album

Grand Funk
Live Album

01. Introduction 2:30
02. Are You Ready 3:24
03. Paranoid 6:20
04. In Need 9:50
05. Heartbreaker 6:58
06. Inside Looking Out 12:22
07. Words Of Wisdom 0:55
08. Mean Mistreater 4:40
09. Mark Say's Alright 5:10
10. T.N.U.C. 11:45
11. Into The Sun 12:10

The album's gatefold cover depicts a photograph of the band at the Atlanta International Pop Festival during the weekend of the 4th of July 1970, but none of the music was actually recorded there. The album was recorded at several Florida venues during June 1970.

Bass – Mel Schacher
Drums, Vocals – Don Brewer
Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals – Mark Farner

Producer – Terry Knight

After bursting onto the music scene in 1969 with their rock-solid debut On Time, Grand Funk Railroad rapidly started turning heads and ears to their bare-boned, no-frills hard rock and roll. Those ears they turned, however, were not those of your local music critic, but rather of your everyday rock fan. The tag of “people’s band” stuck for a reason: critics be damned, the fans loved ’em.
Both On Time, and the follow-up simply titled Grand Funk, were released in 1969 and both made good showings, their debut hitting Top 30 and the sophomore just missing Top 10. A few singles released fail to bring them to radio, but their reputation as a live act continued to grow. Their third album, Closer To Home, found the band finally hitting pay dirt, hitting the Top 10 and going gold. It also spawned the classic title song as a single, which smashed into the Top 30 and has remained one of the band’s signature songs.
Aside from their own abilities as performers, part of their rise to prominence was due to manager Terry Knight. Once a singer with the Pack (which also featured Grand Funk members guitarist Mark Farner and drummer Don Brewer), Knight had turned to management and was a ruthless force in getting his clients on the map.
Capitalizing on the band’s reputation as a live attraction, it was decided to release a document of a Grand Funk concert. Simply titled Live Album, the two-record set was released in November 1970 and sold over half a million copies in its first week of release. The recordings were culled from a handful of dates on the band’s summer 1970 tour.
Unlike countless ‘live’ albums over the years, Live Album truly is a live, warts and all, no-frills recording. So much so, that it is, at times, a brutal ride. The collection featured live renditions of highlights from the three studio albums,some stretched out in a concert setting, including a rousing take on the Animals‘ “Inside Looking Out” which clocks in at close to 15 minutes.
Live Album did nothing to change their status with the music press, but that mattered little to Grand Funk Railroad. Their legion of fans continued to grow leading up to their legendary appearance at Shea Stadium in 1971, where they sold out the venue in a couple of days, and making headlines for the fast sell and beating the Beatles attendance record there. The LP remains a raw, solid document of the band firmly in their element.

Grand Funk - 1970 - Closer to Home

Grand Funk 
Closer to Home

01. Sin's A Good Man's Brother 4:35
02. Aimess Lady 3:25
03. Nothing Is The Same 5:10
04. Mean Mistreater 4:25
05. Get It Together 5:07
06. I Don't Have To Sing The Blues 4:35
07. Hooked On Love 7:10
08. I'm Your Captain 9:47

09. Mean Mistreater (Alternate Mix) 4:33
10. In Need (Live) 11:30
11. Heartbreaker (Live) 7:17
12. Mean Mistreater (Live) 5:22

Bass – Mel Schacher
Drums, Vocals – Don Brewer
Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals – Mark Farner

Producer – Terry Knight

On this, their third album, Grand Funk Railroad's own unique sound became fully evolved. The band had started with re-written and refined material from their days as another group when they debuted as GFR in 1969 with "On Time." With their second album, "Grand Funk," the band gave birth to a unique entity of music: a hybrid of edgy hard rock, quirky pop, and soulful blues. However, their music, though catchy, was still very infantile. It was clear that the band was still learning to crawl. With "Closer to Home," they officially carved their niche into the musical world with a vengeance. The pulsating rhythms of Mel Schacher's bass, the primal yet deeply spiritual melodies of Mark Farner's guitar, and the much-underrated beat of Don Brewer's drumming came together to paint a picture of how society should be.
The songs, though sometimes mistaken for party fare, are very conceptual. One the A Side, the band examines the world as it was in 1970 (and still is today): a cold place where humanity is in danger of being wiped out by its own desires. On the B Side, Mark Farner's lyrics shift from an observation to a warning: that our best chance for survival as a species depends on adopting an attitude of peace, love, and mutual respect and tolerance for one's neighbors, be they friend or foe. This idea is slowly built upon until it reaches a head with the band's magnum opus: "I'm Your Captain," a ten-minute tour de force of quiet yet explosive rhythms, and some of Farner's best lyrics. The band spends the last half of the song pleading with society to find its way back to the light (accompanied by a flutist and a string section, a first for the group).
What really makes these songs stand out from Farner's earlier efforts is more of a devotion to words with a meaning. In the past, songs that touched upon Farner's personal philosophy were often outnumbered by songs that had more of a pop feeling to them, as far as lyrics were concerned. His abilities as a songwriter matured, so that even on songs like "Aimless Lady," the words and music do a better job of blending into a symmetrical whole. This idea is carried into the next song about a broken releationship: "Mean Mistreater." This song is entirely about rhythm, as Mark Farner takes off his guitar and trades it for an organ. Combined with Schacher's bass and Brewer's fiery percussions, you won't even notice that the guitar is gone. As for the rest of the songs, there is a purity to the band's musicianship that is more refined than it was on earlier albums. Don Brewer manages to keep the beat without hitting the cymbals every five seconds, and both he and Mel Schacher feed Mark Farner a rhythm which Farner uses to sculpt magnificent chords on his guitar: every bit as edgy as the last album, but with just the right amount of pop. And as for Mel Schacher: if his bass doesn't get your feet tapping (especially on "Nothing Is The Same"), you might be legally dead. All in all, the band delivers more than just a message that people must learn to live in harmony. They're saying: "Look out, world. We've learned how to rock, and we're not taking any prisoners."

In June 1970, Grand Funk Railroad officially arrived at the rock stardom station with their third album released in less than a year, Closer to Home. The record took the Michigan-bred band — whose career up to this point reflected more of a grass-roots, blue-collar movement — to new heights, and made singer and guitarist Mark Farner, bassist Mel Schacher and singer and drummer Don Brewer one of music’s biggest and most durable bands.
Since coming together in 1969, after many years working with different groups, Grand Funk Railroad released their debut album, On Time, that August. It was quickly followed by their self-titled second LP (a.k.a. the Red Album) in December. Barely six months later, they issuing their third record, Closer to Home. All of this done during a period of intense touring and promotion that consumed most of the band’s time. Yet somehow the trio managed to take a creative leap, delivering its most mature, polished and confident album of its young career.
After disarming fans with the acoustic intro “Sin’s a Good Man’s Brother,” Grand Funk hit with one of the era’s most wicked riffs (anyone doubting Grand Funk’s contribution to heavy metal, here’s your proof), before settling into the floating reverie of “Mean Mistreater” and “Get it Together”‘s soulful congregation.
“Aimless Lady,” “Nothing Is the Same” and “I Don’t Have to Sing the Blues” feature the band’s muscular and hard-driving groove rock, while the 10-minute closer, “I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home),” breaks new ground with flute, strings and even ocean swells and seagull squawks. Along with the song’s wistful lyrics, the track connected with American working-class kids, many of whom associated the song with the Vietnam war.
Even some of the nation’s harshest rock critics were starting to warm up to Grand Funk, with the Village Voice‘s Robert Christgau (who was known for his disdain of most things that had to do with hard rock) asking, “What’s happening to me? I’m getting to like this group’s records, which present as pure a concept of hard rock as you’ll find anywhere.”
Who could argue with the results? As Capitol Records went into promotional overdrive, Closer to Home quickly became Grand Funk’s third album to strike gold (and, later, platinum), soaring to No. 6 on the U.S. chart.
Moreover, the band’s aggressive manager, Terry Knight, demanded that the label spend $100,000 to have a single, massive billboard erected in Times Square to advertise both the LP and the band’s upcoming show at Shea Stadium, which sold out in less than 72 hours. But more than anything, it’s the music that spoke the loudest, and it continues to do so today.

Grand Funk - 1969 - Grand Funk

Grand Funk 
Grand Funk

01. Got This Thing On The Move 4:35
02. Please Don't Worry 4:16
03. High Falootin' Woman 2:58
04. Mr. Limousine Driver 4:25
05. In Need 7:53
06. Winter And My Soul 6:35
07. Paranoid 7:35
08. Inside Looking Out 9:29

09. Nothing Is The Same (Demo)
10. Mr. Limousine Driver (Extended Version)

Bass – Mel Schacher
Drums, Vocals – Don Brewer
Guitar, Piano, Harmonica, Vocals – Mark Farner

Producer – Terry Knight

Things moved a lot more quickly at the end of the ’60s. Rock ‘n’ roll bands played and played, hitting the studio in between their many road trips. Grand Funk Railroad were no different.
Shortly after they were signed to Capitol Records in 1969, the group performed at such events as the Atlanta Pop Festival, the Texas International Pop Festival and the Strawberry Fields Festival in Canada. They released their debut album that summer. And in between tour dates, the group rushed back into the studio to record its second album, which would hit shelves before the end of the year.
Recorded in October, and released just two months later, ‘Grand Funk’ (also known as the Red Album) would help cement the band’s reputation as one of the heaviest of the era. Drummer Don Brewer, bassist Mel Schacher and guitarist/singer Mark Farner were influenced by groups like Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, but they brought something distinctly American to the music. Rising from the grit and grime of Flint, Mich., working class to the core, the aggressive and harsh tones of their hometown couldn’t help but find a way into Grand Funk’s music.
The album kicks off in a blast of sonic fuzz with ‘Got This Thing on the Move,’ with a riff packed full of distortion as well as soul. (The song actually dates back to Farner and Brewer’s days in their pre-Grand Funk band the Pack.) They keep things moving with the funky ‘Please Don’t Worry’ and ‘High Falootin’ Woman,’ which nails a bluesy boogie groove that became familiar in their music.

Grand Funk - 1969 - On Time

Grand Funk 
On Time 

01. Are You Ready 3:25
02. Anybody's Answer 5:15
03. Time Machine 3:40
04. High On A Horse 2:35
05. T.N.U.C. 8:40
06. Into The Sun 6:25
07. Heartbreaker 6:30
08. Call Yourself A Man 3:00
09. Can't Be Too Long 6:30
10. Ups And Downs 4:50

11. High On A Horse (Original Version) 4:25
12. Heartbreaker (Original Version) 6:53

Bass – Mel Schacher
Guitar, Piano, Harmonica, Vocals – Mark Farner
Drums, Vocals – Don Brewer

One of the 1970s' most successful hard rock bands in spite of critical pans and somewhat reluctant radio airplay (at first), Grand Funk Railroad built a devoted fan base with constant touring, a loud, simple take on the blues-rock power trio sound, and strong working-class appeal. The band was formed by Flint, MI, guitarist/songwriter Mark Farner and drummer Don Brewer, both former members of a local band called Terry Knight & the Pack. They recruited former ? & the Mysterians bassist Mel Schacher in 1968, and Knight retired from performing to become their manager, naming the group after Michigan's well-known Grand Trunk Railroad.

They performed for free at the 1969 Atlanta Pop Festival, and their energetic, if not technically proficient, show led Capitol Records to sign them at once. While radio shied away from Grand Funk Railroad, the group's strong work ethic and commitment to touring produced a series of big-selling albums over the next few years; five of their eight releases from 1969 to 1972 went platinum, and the others all went gold. Meanwhile, Knight promoted the band aggressively, going so far as to rent a Times Square billboard to advertise Closer to Home, which turned out to be the band's first multi-platinum album in spite of a backlash from the rock press. However, Grand Funk Railroad fired Knight in March of 1972, who promptly sued; the band spent most of the year in a court battle that ended when they bought Knight out.

Keyboardist Craig Frost joined the group for the Phoenix LP at the end of 1972. Following that album, the band's name was officially shortened to Grand Funk, and the group finally scored a big hit single (number one, in fact) with the title track of the Todd Rundgren-produced We're an American Band. The follow-up, Shinin' On, contained another number one hit in a remake of Little Eva's "The Loco-Motion." However, following Grand Funk's next album, All the Girls in the World Beware!!, interest in the group began to wane. Reverting back to Grand Funk Railroad, they remained together in 1976 solely to work with producer Frank Zappa on Good Singin', Good Playin'. Farner left for a solo career, and the remainder of the band released an album as Flint with guitarist Billy Elworthy.

Grand Funk Railroad re-formed in 1981 with Dennis Bellinger on bass and released two albums; only Grand Funk Lives even managed to scrape the bottom of the charts. The group disbanded again, with Brewer and Frost joining Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band and Farner embarking on a new career as a CCM artist; his "Isn't It Amazing" was a number two gospel hit in 1988. In 1997, Grand Funk Railroad reunited once again to record a benefit album titled Bosnia; two years later, Capitol issued a three-disc box set retrospective, Thirty Years of Funk: 1969-1999

Grand Funk Railroad's 1969 debut is a wildly uneven affair. Although the exuberant energy and power-trio theatrics that would fuel their 1970s hits are in place, the group's songwriting and arranging abilities are very much in their infancy. The biggest problems in terms of songwriting are the often-amateurish lyrics: "Anybody's Answer" is a sincere but muddled attempt at a message song that expends a lot of energy without ever focusing on a particular target and "Heartbreaker" is a love lament that is content to trot out a series of well-worn heartbreak clichés. In terms of arrangements, the band often places an aimless jam where a tight instrumental break should be. The standout example of this problem is "TNUC," a loose-limbed tune that wears out its welcome with an overlong and unstructured drum solo. Despite these problems, there are some strong tunes in the mix: "Are You Ready" is an exuberant rocker built on one of Mel Schacher's trademark walking basslines and "Into the Sun" is a clever tune that starts as a mellow mid-tempo jam before blossoming into a stomping rocker with a funky guitar riff. Both of these sturdy tunes appropriately became mainstays of Grand Funk Railroad's live show for many years to come. "Time Machine" is another highlight, a bluesy shuffle built on Mark Farner's wailing vocals and a catchy, stuttered guitar riff. All in all, On Time is way too patchy of an album to please the casual listener but provides a few hints of and contains enough worthwhile moments to please the group's fans.

It took a while, but Grand Funk Railroad‘s August 1969 debut ‘On Time’ found its way — slowly, but steadily, becoming a million seller. Of course, this band’s core members were used to taking the long route.
In fact, throughout the second half of the 1960s, Grand Funkers Mark Farner (vocals/guitar), Don Brewer (drums/vocals), and Mel Schacher (bass) had held down jobs with a series of hard-working but underpaid Michigan-based psych- and garage-rock bands: Schacher with one-hit-wonders ? and the Mysterians (of ‘96 Tears‘ fame), and Farner and Brewer backing up their future manager in Terry Knight and the Pack.
It was Knight who reportedly named the group after Michigan’s Grand Trunk Railroad line, and then helped them formulate a simple plan of attack: Why not apply themselves to creating a quintessentially American expression of the then-widely popular power trio format, in ways the Cream-inspired Mountain and even Jimi Hendrix’s anglicized Experience never could?
And that’s precisely what happened. The fledgling Grank Funk subsequently stole the show at the 1969 Atlanta Pop Festival, then found themselves immediately scooped up by Capitol Records and fast tracked into the studio. Knight would oversee production on the cheekily named ‘On Time.’
Unfortunately, the first single ‘Time Machine’ barely broke into the Top 50 and, with the exception of its rousing ‘Are You Ready’ and the hypnotic ‘Heartbreaker,’ the bulk of ‘On Time’ consisted of often-tentative blues rockers. None of it lingered for long in Grand Funk’s live repertoire. Meanwhile, radio stations generally turned a deaf ear, and critics panned the band.
It didn’t matter. Grand Funk Railroad’s album sales and career momentum were driven, then as now, by the fans they’d converted out on the touring trail. Within a couple of years, ‘On Time’ would achieve platinum status, anyway.

Captain Beyond - 2016 - 4-30-72

Captain Beyond 

Etched image

1. I Can't Feel Nothin' (Part 1) / A. As The Moon Speaks (To The Waves Of the Sea) / B. Astral Lady / C. As The Moon Speaks (Return) / D. I Can't Feel Nothin' (Part 2)
2. Dancing Madly Backwards (On A Sea Of Air) / A. Armworth / B. Myopic Void

A gorgeous etched white vinyl pressing of selections from an unreleased 1972 concert performance from by space rock supergroup, Captain Beyond!
Comes packaged in a clear acetate jacket silkscreen printed with silver ink and purple acetate insert!

Live archive release containing selections from an unreleased 1972 concert performance by space rock supergroup, Captain Beyond! Comes packaged in a unique, silk screened gatefold wallet with silver ink, hand numbered and limited! (only 600 made, hand numbered)

Item comes in a beautiful purple and silver cd package. Silver actually looks like it was painted on. Also comes with a postcard picture of the band in concert. As another reviewer said, it is by far the best live recording of this great band who lasted for far too short a period of time. All of these songs are from the stunning self titled debut. Rod Evans' voice sounds clear and brilliant. Bobby Caldwell pounds away hard and the drums are out front. If you have Bobby Caldwell as your drummer, you better make sure he can be heard. Rhino nails the difficult chore of playing the lead and rhythm guitar parts. Lee Dorman is more in the background but the cool bass lines can be heard. I love the sound as it duplicates the studio record but has the rough edges of a live recording. Rod can be heard frequently knocking on the cow bell.

Captain Beyond - 2013 - Live In Texas October 6, 1973

Captain Beyond
Live In Texas October 6, 1973

01. Intro
02. Distant Sun
03. Dancing Madly Backwards (On A Sea Of Air)
04. Armworth
05. Myopic Void
06. Drifting In Space
07. Pandora's Box (It's War)
08. Thousand Days Of Yesterdays
09. Frozen Over
10. Guitar Solo
11. Mesmerization Eclipse
12. Drum Solo
13. Mesmerization Eclipse (Reprise)
14. Stone Free

Bass, Backing Vocals – Lee Dorman
Drums – Bobby Caldwell
Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals – Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt
Lead Vocals, Tambourine – Rod Evans

Recorded at University Of Texas, Arlington, TX, October 6, 1973.

Although they never achieved the level of success that their talents deserved, Captain Beyond still left one heck of a footprint on the '70s rock landscape for those willing enough to track it down.
This recording features the original line-up of Rod Evans (ex-Deep Purple) on vocals, Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt (ex-Iron Butterfly) on lead guitar, Lee Dorman (ex-Iron Butterfly) on bass, and Bobby Caldwell (ex-Johnny Winter) on drums.
From the outset I should point out that the sound quality is strictly 'bootleg' only, so much so that Rhino's guitar is barely audible during the beginning of opening track 'Distant Sun', although this fault is rectified somewhat as the track progresses.
The band play a selection of tracks from the two albums they had made up to this point - 1972s 'Captain Beyond' and 1973s 'Sufficiently Breathless' - as well as two previously unavailable tracks, 'Pandora's Box' (a slow-burning, atmospheric, spoken-word piece which eventually hurtles towards rock meltdown) and 'Stone Free' (a Jimi Hendrix cover which closes the show).
Sound limitations notwithstanding, the band are on fine form throughout, making this an essential purchase for CB diehards, although the first-time buyer would be advised to check out their three classic albums first.
There are, of course, typically 'seventies' moments to be found, such as Caldwell's thirteen minute drum solo or Rhino's (much shorter) guitar interlude.
Yes, it sounds as rough as the term 'bootleg' implies, but nevertheless, this 60-minute+ CD is a priceless snapshot of this amazing band at the peak of their powers, although as I said earlier, this CD is for the dedicated few. Become one of them. Then try this.

Captain Beyond - 2013 - Live Anthology

Captain Beyond 
Live Anthology

Live In Montreux - September 18, 1971
101. I Can't Feel Nothin' (Part 1)
102. As The Moon Speaks (To The Waves Of The Sea)
103. Astral Lady
104. As The Moon Speaks (Return)
105. I Can't Feel Nothin' (Part 2)
106. Dancing Madly Backwards (On A Sea Of Air)
107. Armworth
108. Myopic Void
Live In Miami - August 19, 1972
109. I Can't Feel Nothin' (Part 1)
110. As The Moon Speaks (To The Waves Of The Sea)
111. Astral Lady
112. As The Moon Speaks (Return)
113. I Can't Feel Nothin' (Part 2)
114. Dancing Madly Backwards (On A Sea Of Air)
115. Armworth
116. Myopic Void
117. Thousand Days Of Yesterdays (Intro)
118. Frozen Over

Live In New York - July 17, 1972
201. Dancing Madly Backwards (On A Sea Of Air)
202. Armworth
203. Myopic Void
204. Thousand Days Of Yesterdays (Intro)
205. Frozen Over
206. Dawn Explosion Jam
207. Mesmerization Eclipse (Including Drum Solo)
Live In Los Angeles - May 26, 1977
208. Distant Sun
209. Dancing Madly Backwards (On A Sea Of Air)
210. Armworth
211. Myopic Void
212. Breath Of Fire (Part 1)
213. Breath Of Fire (Part 2)

Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals – Lee Dorman
Drums – Bobby Caldwell
Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals – Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt
Lead Vocals – Willy Daffern (tracks: 2-8 to 2-13)
Lead Vocals, Tambourine – Rod Evans

1000 copies... straight copy of legendary "Completer"bootleg

Captain Beyond made two, count 'em, two albums with Rod Evans on lead vocals. They are probably two of the very best albums from that time period. Each dedicated to a different member of the Allman Brothers band who passed during the time of the recordings (perhaps a good thing they didn't record a third, and never mind the later third album; no Rod Evans and not nearly the sense of reckless experimentation that went into their songwriting), each displayed a great combination of amazing musicianship, great songwriting and an energy that is sorely lacking today.
So those of us obsessive about this band always wanted more - we wanted proof that they were as good live as they were in the studio.
These bootlegs give us that - at a very high price... not a high money price, but at the price of some really bad recordings.
Sadly there is a bootleg live video floating around of the band playing (it is the first 'set' on these CDs) and Cleopatra (the releasing label) didn't bother to get hold of those tapes, which have better sound quality.
Using Audacity I have managed to go in and improve the quality to some level; sampled and removed much of the hiss and then restored some of the high end... but there is only so much I can do with free software and a decent computer. Cleopatra should have thrown some dollars at this project; if I can make it better a pro could have made it almost listenable.
But I gave this five stars because of what I learned about the band from these recordings. They were tight; they were inventive; they were everything I ever wanted them to be live. And best of all I was able to figure out some of the lyrics which were a) cryptic and b) ridiculously poorly translated for the Japanese CD reissues of the first two albums. I had no idea, for instance, that Rod was singing "I no longer saw colors, only grey, only grey" on 'Armsworth'.
These bootlegs are good enough for me to have heard that. If you are reading this it is because you love Captain Beyond; in which case buy a copy. If you have no idea about what Captain Beyond was then stick to the first two studio albums.

Captain Beyond - 1977 - Dawn Explosion

Captain Beyond  
Dawn Explosion

01. Do Or Die 3:39
02. Icarus 4:14
03. Sweet Dreams 5:30
04. Fantasy 6:05
05. Breath Of Fire
a) A Speck Within A Sphere 3:07
b) Alone In The Cosmos 3:15
06. If You Please 4:15
07. Midnight Memories 4:00
08. Space Interlude 0:50
09. Oblivion 2:12
10. Space Reprise 0:53

Bass, Ensemble [String], Vocals – Lee Dorman
Drums, Percussion [All], Vocals – Bobby Caldwell
Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Slide Guitar – Rhino
Lead Vocals – Willy Daffern

Captain Beyond has a rather legendary status in the ranks of hard '70s rock. Their fame is actually in the "cult status" category. Dawn Explosion, their third album, was a good disc, but really did not live up to the greatness of the first two releases. Still, in showcasing the group's unique blend of hard rock, psychedelia, and progressive-type arrangements, there is definitely some strong material present. The hard-edged and frantic "Icarus" and the nearly ethereal, building mini-epic "Breath of Fire (Part 1 and Part 2)" can arguably stand up to most of the material on the other releases. Where they falter here is on such songs as "If You Please" and "Midnight Memories," which seem to be trying to reach toward accessibility, but come much closer to banality and mediocrity. This disc cannot take away from the tremendous glory of the other albums, though, and several of the tracks certainly still hold up well.

Captain Beyond - 1973 - Sufficiently Breathless

Captain Beyond  
Sufficiently Breathless

01. Sufficiently Breathless 5:15
02. Bright Blue Tango 4:11
03. Drifting In Space 3:12
04. Evil Men 4:51
05. Starglow Energy 5:04
06. Distant Sun 4:42
07. Voyages Of Past Travellers 1:46
08. Everything's A Circle 4:14

Dedicated to the memory of Berry Oakley

Acoustic Guitar, Lead Guitar, Slide Guitar – Rhino
Bass – Lee Dorman
Congas, Timbales, Percussion – Guille Garcia
Drums, Backing Vocals – Marty Rodriguez
Electric Piano, Piano – Reese Wynans
Lead Vocals, Harmony Vocals – Rod Evans

Captain Beyond's second album must have confused the diehards. Where their self-titled debut had upheld the basic progressive heavy rock blueprint of lengthy instrumental explorations, constant tempo changes, and opaque, yet cinematic lyrics, Sufficiently Breathless downplays them for a subtler, song-oriented production. The predominant mood is snappy and businesslike; no track runs over five and a half minutes. This newfound conciseness certainly benefited such heavy-rocking efforts as "Distant Sun," even as the band stuck to their diverse guns on the moody, acoustic title track and the sleek Latin funk rock of "Bright Blue Eyes" and "Everything's a Circle." The results were intelligent and self-assured, yet the band's never-ending bad luck again intervened when vocalist Rod Evans quit in late 1973, leaving the album adrift. The band would proffer a markedly different style on their return four years later, but anyone dismissing progressive heavy rock as an oxymoron should definitely check out this album first.

Captain Beyond - 1972 - Captain Beyond

Captain Beyond 
Captain Beyond

01. Dancing Madly Backwards (On A Sea Of Air) 4:08
02. Armworth 2:50
03. Myopic Void 3:37
04. Mesmerization Eclipse 3:45
05. Raging River Of Fear 3:48
06. Thousand Days Of Yesterdays (Intro) 1:30
07. Frozen Over 3:55
08. Thousand Days Of Yesterdays (Time Since Come And Gone) 4:05
09. I Can't Feel Nothin' (Part I) 3:07
10. As The Moon Speaks (To The Waves Of The Sea) 2:30
11. Astral Lady 1:15
12. As The Moon Speaks (Return) 2:16
13. I Can't Feel Nothin' (Part II) 1:11

Bass, Backing Vocals, Piano – Lee Dorman
Drums, Percussion [All], Backing Vocals, Piano, Vibraphone [Vibes], Bells – Bobby Caldwell (2)
Lead Guitar, Slide Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Rhino
Lead Vocals – Rod Evans

Captain Beyond is a one-of-a-kind progressive album with rock, heavy metal, and jazz influences with a "space rock" lyrical bend. Formed by former members of Deep Purple (Rod Evans, vocals), Iron Butterfly (Rhino, lead guitar, and Lee Dorman, bass), and Johnny Winter (Bobby Caldwell, drums) Captain Beyond is an album that flows from riff to riff, drumbeat to drumbeat, often with various time signatures within the same song. Taking a tip from the Moody Blues, songs flow directly into each other without benefit of any lag time between selections. Taken as a whole, the album is kind of a rush, as quick, riff-laden guitar lines predominate for a few songs before slowing down temporarily into a lull until the next takeoff. Lyrically, the album differentiates itself by exploring themes of the outer world and meanings of existence, often with references to the moon, sea, sun, and so on. Listeners may get the feeling of taking a journey to space in a rocket ship headed for destination unknown. Musically, the album is superior in all aspects. Rod Evans has a strong rock voice, Rhino plays an enormous amount of hook-laden guitar lines, and Lee Dorman plays complex basslines (for example, at the end of "As the Moon Speaks-Return") that lead to typically rhythmic, nimble Bobby Caldwell drumming. The tightness between musicians is enormous, never lets up for long, and leaves the listener feeling like the ride should continue for the indefinite future.

This is THE great overlooked early 1970s hard rock masterpiece. From beginning to end (with only one hitch, discussed below), this is a consummate performance. There is a power and consistency hardly ever found on debut albums. What's more, the production is remarkably sophisticated for its time, particularly in terms of the guitar work, which is chiefly reminiscent of Jimmy Page, and in some respects an advance over his work, but also thanks to richly-layered vocal harmonies of the sort that normally don't work in hard rock.

When it comes to the question of why this LP wasn't more successful when it came out, the first factor is clearly the lack of record company support. Hard rock was, in 1971-72, far from being as popular in the US as in the UK. It wasn't until the big breakthrough Deep Purple made in 1973 - the year 'Smoke On The Water' became an FM radio staple - that it was seen as capable of generating megabucks. In 1972 CB's record company was also riding high on the success of the Allman Brothers' Eat A Peach album, and therefore more interested in exploiting 'Southern rock' than the kind of hard rock found on CB's album. Had CB been a British band, history would probably have turned out very differently.

The second factor is the track order. With a debut album by a rock act, my view is that the track order should knock the listener's socks off by putting all the really powerful tracks on the first side, leaving the more mellow or experimental stuff for side two. Although the track order was obviously carefully put together, the result is an album whose magnificence fully reveals itself only after 6-8 listens, which is more than many merely curious listeners are likely to give an album by a new band. If the first three or four tracks had been the really powerful ones, most would have been blown away.

The big mistake, in my view, was putting 'Armworth' second and 'Myopic Void' third. 'Armworth' is one of the growers on the album, while 'Myopic Void' isn't really a track of at all - it just sounds like the extended fade out from a song we never got to hear. I took ages to discover the album myself because I kept tuning out during 'Myopic Void.' I reasoned that any band that put a track like this third on their album had nothing much to say. How wrong I was!

For those who, like me, are obsessed with track order - and I am convinced that many albums have been let down by unfortunate choices in this department - try the following sequence for a much more powerful result. This will have your computer speakers smoking

The Oxford Circle - 1997 - Live At The Avalon 1966

The Oxford Circle 
Live At The Avalon 1966

01. Mystic Eyes
02. Since You've Been Away
03. You're A Better Man Than I
04. Soul On Fire
05. I Got My Mojo Working
06. Baby Please Don't Go
07. Foolish Woman
08. Troubles
09. We Gotta Get Out Of This Place
10. Today
11. Silent Woman
12. Little Girl
13. Hoochie Coochie Man
14. I'm A Man
15. Foolish Woman
16. Mind Destruction
17. The Raven
18. Troubles

Front cover shows left to right: Dehner Patten, Paul Whaley, Jim Keylor, Gary Lee Yoder
Inlay card shows the group at The Door, Reno, May 1966 - left to right: Paul, Dehner, Jim and Gary

Tracks 1-14 recorded live at The Avalon Ballroom 1966
All tracks except 15 & 16 previously unissued.
Stereo except tracks 14-18 Mono

*Gary Lee Yoder - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
*Jim Keylor  - Bass, Vocals
*Paul Whaley  - Drums, Vocals
*Dehner Patten  - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Mac Rebennack  - Organ

To the uninitiated, the name Oxford Circle may only be recognisable from a faded Fillmore or Avalon poster, where they once shared the bill with the Dead, Quicksilver or Big Brother. Amongst the cognoscenti, however, their name is mentioned in the hushed, awed tones reserved for only the truly great. Amazing to think that such immense repute stems from the outfit's sole recorded legacy, the $500-rated single Foolish Woman / Mind Destruction. But all it takes is one listen to this masterpiece of throbbing punk hysteria, and its demented, off-the wall flipside, to vindicate the legend of the Circle.

Contrary to public opinion, the Circle were not in fact a San Francisco band. Rather, they hailed from the university town of Davis, just outside state capital Sacramento. Gary Lee Yoder, Dehner Patten, Jim Keylor and Paul Whaley had been kingpins in the over-populated northern California teen scene ever since they got together in late 1964 as the Hide-Aways. One year later they had become the Oxford Circle, in deference to their trademarked interpretation of the blueswailing English punk sound. Patten tore off spiky, spindly leads with dexterity; bassist Keylor and drummer Whaley constituted one hell of a powerhouse rhythm section; and the Circle were fronted by the soulful, full-blooded warbling of Yoder, who was also not averse to writhing around the stage floor or coaxing ear-splitting electronic noises from his Gibson.

Sensing the constrictive nature of their immediate environs, the Circle frequently journeyed south to San Francisco. There, their tight and dynamic stage show quickly got them booked at the ballrooms, and the combo would regularly blow their more illustrious contemporaries off the boards. No further evidence is needed than Live At The Avalon 1966, where Family Dog honcho Bob Cohen's dynamic recordings capture the Circle at the peak of their powers.

 From the nine-minute improvised feedback assault of Mystic Eyes that opens the disc, via ripping takes on punk staples such as You're A Better Man Than I, Baby Please Don't Go and I'm A Man, through to Yoder's tuff originals like Soul On Fire and Since You've Been Away, Live At The Avalon firmly establishes the Circle as the pre-eminent psychedelic garage band, bar none. And it crystallises that brief but magic moment when punk fury took on an experimental zeal and mutated into something quite breathtaking indeed.

The personnel may have graduated to projects more feted - Whaley to Blue Cheer, Yoder and Patten to Kak - but the Oxford Circle was its constituents' finest hour. Live At The Avalon tells the story of this fascinating band in an exhaustively annotated and lavishly illustrated package.

In addition to the incredible live material, both sides of the crazy World United single are included, as well as a further two tracks from an aborted 1967 demo session held in Hollywood (and featuring Mac 'Dr John' Rebennack on organ).

A must-have for the aficionado, but essential too for any fan of well-recorded, kickass 1960s garage rock & roll. Check it out!
by Alec Palao

Silver Metre - 1970 - Silver Metre

Silver Metre 
Silver Metre

01. Ballad Of A Well Known Gun 3:39
02. Naughty Lady 4:30
03. Gangbang 4:42
04. Country Comforts 3:23
05. Superstar 3:45
06. Sixty Years On 4:20
07. Compromising Situation 3:46
08. Cocklewood Monster 5:15
09. Nightflight 4:15
10. Dog End 3:52

Bass, Organ, Piano – Pete Sears
Drums – Mick Waller
Guitar – Leigh Stephens
Vocals – Jack Reynolds

Silver Metre was a short-lived, San Francisco-based outfit formed by Leigh Stevens, previously with Blue Cheer, and Mick Waller from the Jeff Beck Group. Together with Tom Cowan and Pete Sears, the band released one album in 1970. The album, recorded in England, is basic heavy rock with a spattering of psychedelia. A mix of originals and covers songs, it includes three Elton John/Bernie Taupin compositions: "Country Comforts," "Now They've Found Me," and "Sixty Years On." While the album did not make much impact upon its original release on the small National General label in the U.S., it is of interest to collectors because of the early Waller-Stevens connection. Stephens and Waller would later move on to the British-based band Pilot, a short-lived early-'70s outfit, while Pete Sears was later in Stoneground and Jefferson Starship.

I am not a big fan of the A side of this record. Elton John's "Now They've Found Me" is a bizarre opener and a bit boring. "Naughty Lady" picks up the pace a bit, but still leaves much to be desired. "Gangbang" would have been an okay track if it would have been edited. "Country Comforts" oddly enough sounds like it could have been on Blue Cheer's "Oh! Pleasant Hope," which is not a terrible album, but not a great one by any stretch of the imagination. "Superstar" might be even more of a bizarre cover than Elton John's "Now They've Found Me" and even less of a success. But...

The B side is killer! All is forgiven in my book with "Sixty Years On." I am a sucker for heavy psych ballads and this track is a smoker, even if it is an Elton John song. Not to mention that the lyrics seem much more convincing when sung by Jack Reynolds than Elton. Stephen's guitar work is on the money on this track too. The track ends all too soon leaving me wishing that the jam would have been stretched out across the entire A side.

"Compromising Situation" is a strong track with a punky glam edge to it. "Cocklewood Monster" is the second choice cut on the record. Its a good rockin' track with some tension and dissonance in the riffs which comprise the verses. Definitely one of the more unique songs on the record. "Night Flight" has some interesting syncopation going on in it as well. Stephens is rather contained on the track but it works. The closer, "Dog End" is really the only let down on the second side.

In all honesty, the record as a whole is probably really worth two and a half stars. It makes me wonder if the label wasn't pushing side A as a means to make Silver Metre a commercial success and limiting the band's input. The B side is just so damn good though that I gave it my rather biased four star rating. I like what I like, what can I say?

Randy Holden - 1997 - Guitar God 2001

Randy Holden 
Guitar God 2001

01. Space Surf Rider
02. Sail on Love
03. Prayer to Paradise
04. I'll Take Your Blues Away

Randy Holden guitar, vocals
Randy Pratt Bass
Darren Lyons Drums
Phil Weiss Drums on "Sail On Love"
Rachel Stavach Vocals on "I'll Take Your Blues Away"

Well, here it is 2001 and Randy is blazing his own path, producing and releasing his own music via the Internet. He told me before I received the CD that I would love it. He was right on the money. I was in awe of the guitar playing on this CD. The third track "Prayer To Paradise" is over twenty-two minutes long. My god, that's an entire CD for some folks ! It's a cosmic ride of instrumental fire. Holden reaches down real deep and lets his guitar do all the talking. What you will hear will leave your mouth agape wondering why you haven't heard of this great musician. Using middle-eastern flavored high-powered rock, Holden cuts loose an unembellished arsenal of crunching, power driven chords that will leave you in disbelief of what you heard when it finally ends. I thought of Hendrix, Zappa, and Dick Dale while I was taking in this awe-inspiring journey of rock nirvana. If that wasn't enough, "I'll Take Your Blues Away" kicks in to close things out. A female vocalist by name of Rachel Stavage sets the song ablaze with her authoritative vocal style. Holden's playing on this number is scorching, and truly befitting of blues-rock number.

Hang on to your a**. This guy will blow you away. If you like hard rocking guitar jams, you will think you died and went to heaven when you hear this CD.

Randy Holden - 1997 - Guitar God

Randy Holden 
Guitar God

01. Dark Eyes (Part I) 5:08
02. Wild Fire 5:41
03. Scarlet Rose 4:06
04. Pain In My Heart 4:41
05. Hell And High Water 5:42
06. No Trace 4:20
07. Got Love 4:03
08. Blue My Mind 4:14
09. Castle In The Sky 5:15
10. Dark Eyes (Part II) 5:05

Acoustic Guitar [12 String] – Dave Depraved
Artwork – Susan Candia
Bass – Robert Baur
Drums – Paul Whaley
Lead Vocals, Guitar, Producer, Written-By – Randy Holden
Vocals – Rachel Pratt

Recorded 1993 at Pie Studios, New York
Vocals & Mixing at Adamos Studio, West Minister, CA

Randy Holden - Guitarist, known for passionate virtuoso guitar styles held several bands including "Fender IV", "Sons of Adam", "Other Half", "Blue Cheer", (its third LP New Improved! (1969), "Randy Holden - Population II", "Randy Holden - Guitar God", and "Randy Holden - Guitar God 2001", and latest release 2008 "Randy Holden - Raptor" (the first of the next generation of new releases to come).

Arriving Earth July 2 1945 in Pennsylvania, Randy grew up on the move. He was set on playing guitar from a young age, and says his childhood had a profound effect on the music he was to create in the future. His first band was "the Iridescents", who played R&B rock covers typical of the time 1957-60. He played out of the Baltimore area during those years and eventually founded the "Fender IV" Instrumentally based, with Surf Music they released a transitional single with the Fender IV sound, "Mar Gaya" with "Sons of Adam" B side "You Better Tell Me Now" (1964-65) and previous to that "Malibu Run" and "Everybody Up" in (1964).

Being absorbed in surf guitar in 1963-64, saturating his sound with reverb reminiscent of Dick Dale his sound transitioned in his next band, the "Sons of Adam, who were virtually the same band with a change of drummers. Being the commanding band of the area at the time, they attained second bill to the Rolling Stones first Los Angeles show at the Long Beach Sports Arena. Holden took instant note of the dry reverb-less overdriven sound of Keith Richard's Les Paul guitar driven through the same amp Holden used at the time a Fender Dual Showman amp set up. This show changed his own attitude towards sound. Holden's experimentation with feedback and pre-amps set a new course that would eventually wind into psychedelia.

The Sons of Adam came to a close as the direction of music began to change while the vision in Randy was set on investing in new and better gear to reach sounds never before heard. Not satisfied with playing the club circut for no greater purpose than earning a living, but set on blazing new frontiers in musical sound, Randy continue pursuing the siren song that ever was calling his name. Volume was on the rise. like a wave whose magnitude was yet to be known, Electricity was the heart and core of the otherwise near silent electric guitar, through which Music was brought to life by a single guitar that previously took an entire orchestra to create such a voluminous sound by moving air waves. Evermore volume was a natural quest for Randy who sensed evermore was still to be discovered. To play music merely for the sake of eking out a meager living in beach bars, while being a place to start, was not a place end. Had legendary Sons of Adam the fortune to have the proverbial hit record that may have led to a whole other story.

A brief moment the Yardbirds needed a new lead guitar on the departure of Jeff Beck, but the band was to break up before space, time and distance could be brought together.

A new band, which became the Other Half, drew Randy's interest, were able and willing to advance volume to the next level. As part of The Other Half's live stage show, they would plug the half dozen Fender Dual Showman 100 watt amps in tandum, with Randy doing an experimental solo performance as parts of the band's set, (Keeping in mind this is 1966). The audience response exceeded all expectations.

The Other Half would do only one album that received sparse attention. Exit The Other Half, Enter Blue Cheer. Blue Cheer were the new kids on the block, who began playing the same shows as the Other Half were playing, and were the only other musicians who were interested in, and seemed to love playing at a volume level that Randy was using. Blue Cheer entered the scene an instant hit record of the classic "Eddie Cochran fifties hit "Summertime Bues. Paul Whaley extraordinary drummer for Blue Cheer knew Randy from the Sons of Adam time when Paul wanted the drum throne with the Sons of Adam. Blue Cheer came to replace Leigh Stevens with Randy who then went on to tour with Blue Cheer for the next year, across the US and Europe and back again.

Halfway through recording what would become the 3rd Blue Cheer album, circumstances that seemed to be a common affliction to many bands dealing with mismanagement of finances, and addictions that became more important than the music, brought Randy to pull the plug from his amps, and part company with Blue Cheer. The album subsequently titled "New Improved Blue Cheer" was released anyway regardless there was no contract between the record labeland Randy. The abrupt close of the door for the band left what would become a curiosity for many to fans who had no idea what happened. The album went on to become a sought after collectors item, with many wondering what might have been, had the problems plagueing Blue Cheer been able to be dealt with, and the "New Improved" album been completed with Randy (1969.

When the management of Blue Cheer told Randy he could not have the amps he wanted to use, and wanted Randy to "tone it down" ... imagine hell freezing over ha ha ha, you aren't serious - are you ? of all bands to imagine being told to "tone it down" this called for a sanity check. Randy set off once again with the goal of creating the music only he seemed to hear within his own mind vision, and the way he wanted to play it.

Exit Blue Cheer, Enter "Randy Holden Population "II" with Chris Lockheed, as a two man band immortally voluminized in the annuls of the only Power Duo to have ever existed in Rock Music.

After parting Blue Cheer, Randy was approached by drummer (and keyboardist) Chris Lockheed, who also played both drums and keyboard. For no apparent reason, Randy asked Lockheed if he could do both at the same time, Lockheed responded "he could"! Randy was sponsored with Sunn amplifiers. He received his legendary sixteen 200 Watt amplifiers. From then on, he had real volume. The new power duo was christened "Population II" that defined astronomical galactic star clusters that were formed of Heavy Metal. A better shoe would be difficult to find to define what this new stellar power duo intended to do, as well as reside as a link to the origins of of creation, Adam, his wife Eve, and the two Sons of Adam.

Intense rehearsing and creating followed, and subsequently they recorded a self-titled album. (a little known trivia attached to the band was the change to the name "Lucifer" after Chris noted the word in a dictionary he was holding and suggested it as a name, that was nixed, until a second occasion months later Chris was again leafing a dictionary and noted the word again appearing, and again suggested it as a name. Randy asked Chris if he remembered he did this very same thing some months before, but Chris had no memory of that event. On that fuse of innocence Randy determined there was something magical that needed discovery, and they elected to change the band name to ""Lucifer". Randy checked with a church to learn what biblical references alluded to the well known figure, which everyone seemed to know, at the same time none seemed to know much of anything. It became a curious interest, but Alas, as with the same allegory to the angelic creation fallen from heaven, it was not to be. A new album cover had been designed, and the name formalized, then came the fall.

The Record company failed to release the new album, remaining secretive about it, while Randy reviewed his contract, found there was no guaranteed release clause, to his amazement, having left the legal details to the (sic) professionals. Nor would the record label release Randy from the contract. A meeting was arranged with his CPA and Robert Stigwood to negotiate a release, but the label remained toic and silent. the big guns got up and walked out commenting the chair was a pompous idiot. As with all things that come to an unexpected sudden end, with the album not being released, Randy went bankrupt. The situation was worsened when his equipment manager sold all his gear. Holden was left with nothing, ending what some believed should have been something to behold, but became as sand in the sea, and so it was there the eyes of his mind wandered. the call of the muse that had always been central to his soul would seek another window to release the energy that had been kept contained.

Nearly a quarter of a century later, he was sought out, and coerced into playing again by a loyal fan. The realization of the love affair, the cycle of creation ignited once more.

After the extended hiatus, he recorded Guitar God in 1994 with his old band mate Paul Whaley on drums, and a friend of Paul's on Bass, Robert Bauer. Advancing from the side lines, Captain Trip Records requested and was granted a limited release of 2000 copies to distribute in 1996.

Recorded in 1997 "Guitar God 2001" followed released on his own label Guitar God Records.

Randy Holden has been called Rock music's long lost guitar great of the 60's and 70's era, but the path to fame never quite materialized in the form of the proverbial hit record, the medium to launch international acclaim in those times.

He spent years as a painter and found a passion in the seas game fishing, out of whose horizons beckoned he sail the world. After more adventures than this small note may portray, he unexpectedly returned to music. His aim was, and is "Comprehension of the depth of our souls emotives, communication surpassing words". His epic music is a testament to his dedication and skill. And as one fan wrote - that moment in "Fruit and Icebergs (Conclusion)" will last forever.

"The primal element of formative rock is rebellion against oppression of the soul". - RH.