A.O.O.F.C
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Mizar6

babydancing




Get this crazy baby off my head!

APOLOGIES

Sorry about not re-posting. I've an illness in my family, but I will reply to all ASAP. For the time being, my beautiful friend, Eva is helping me out. Thank you for your understanding...Paul

29.9.07

Dr. John


drjohn-drjohnplaysmacrebennack1982




Dr. John - Dr. John Plays Mac Rebennack - 1982 - Demon Records UK

Dr. John was always respected as a consummate pianist, but he didn't make a solo, unaccompanied piano record until 1981's Dr. John Plays Mac Rebennack. The wait was well worth it. His music had always been impressive, but this is the first time that his playing had been put on full display, and it reveals that there's even more depth and intricacies to his style than previously expected. More importantly, the music simply sounds good and gritty, as he turns out a set of New Orleans R&B (comprised of both originals and classics) that is funky, swampy and real. © Thom Owens, All Music Guide

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

Side 1
Dorothy - Dr. John, Mac Rebennack
Mac's Boogie Woogie - Dr. John, Mac Rebennack
Memories of Professor Longhair - Roy Byrd
The Nearness of You - Hoagy Carmichael, Ned Washington
Delicado - Jack Lawrence, Waldir Azevedo
Side 2
Honey Dripper - Joe Liggins
Big Mac - Dr. John, Mac Rebennack
New Island Midnight - Mac Rebennack
Saints - Mac Rebennack
Pinetop - Stuart Saunders Smith

CREDITS

Dr. John (Keyboards), Vocals),
Victor Giordano (Engineer),
Bernie Grundman (Mastering),
Matt Walters (Mastering Supervisor),
Mac Rebennack (Piano),
Mac Rebennack (Vocals),
Jack Heyrman (Producer),
Eddie Levine (Producer),
Dean Roumanis (Engineer),
Nancy Jean Anderson (Adaptation),
Ed Levine (Producer),
Michael Tearson (Liner Notes)

25.9.07

Terry Evans


terryevans-walkthatwalk2000




Terry Evans - Walk That Walk - 2000 - Telarc

A terrific Blues-Soul album from the great blues vocalist, Terry Evans. Evans has given vocal support to legends like John Lee Hooker, Ry Cooder and John Fogerty, to name just three. Evans is a superb songwriter, and this is a true blues roots original. Check out the brilliant drumming from the legendary Jim Keltner. An excellent album, VHR by A.O.O.F.C

TRACKS

1. Walk That Walk
2. Story Of My Life, The
3. Stone's Throw Away, A
4. Dancin' With Your Belly Up
5. Don't Give Up
6. Let's Have A Ball
7. I'll Get Over You
8. I Want To Go Back
9. Credit Card Blues

PERSONNEL

Terry Evans - vocals, acoustic guitar
Jeff Alviani -- keyboards
Gil Bernal -- tenor saxophone
Phil Bloch -- tambourine
Ry Cooder -- guitar
Kenny Dew -- bass
Willie Green Jr. -- vocals
Jim Keltner -- drums
John "Juke" Logan -- harmonica
Jesse Samsel -- guitar
Ray Williams -- vocals

REVIEWS

Terry Evans has one of the most identifiable voices in blues and roots music, providing vocal support for the likes of John Lee Hooker, Ry Cooder and John Fogerty. In recent years, Evans has come to the forefront as a concert headliner with a stunning series of well-received recordings. Telarc is pleased to announce the label debut of the celebrated vocalist with the release of Walk that Walk, which includes guitar master Ry Cooder and the great session drummer Jim Keltner.
Walk that Walk draws on a rich musical legacy. Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi (Willie Dixon’s hometown), Terry Evans’ first exposure to music was in the church choir. He headed out to Los Angeles in 1962 and soon made his mark with a group called the Turnarounds. In the '70s, Evans performed with singer Bobby King as a soul duo, and eventually they became Ry Cooder’s principal back-up vocalists. Evans' breakthrough came during the movie Crossroads, where he sang on "Down in Mississippi" and the title piece during the film.
Voice-wise, Evans sounds almost as good on Walk that Walk as he did in the '60s, when he rolled out "The Birds and the Bees" and it broke nationally. He writes excellent songs and hires top-of-the-line backup names. Evans whoops it up on the harp-spiced "The Story of My Life," sets a spiritual tone on "Don’t Give Up," and wails in "Credit Card Blues." The album is rounded out with raspy, festive covers of “A Stone’s Throw Away,” “Dancin’ With Your Belly Up” and “Let’s Have A Ball.”
Produced by Joe Harley, Evans’ longtime producer, Walk that Walk features Cooder and Keltner on all nine tracks. Evans is also joined by keyboardist Jeff Alviani, saxophonist Gil Bernal, bassist Kenny Dew, harpist John “Juke” Logan, guitarist Jesse Samsel, and vocalists Willie Green, Jr. and Ray Williams. © Telarc International Corporation
Terry Evans is a bluesman from Vicksburg, Mississippi, the hometown of Willie Dixon. His new CD, Walk That Walk, finds the singer and guitarist carrying on in the tradition of masters like Dixon. Evans' breakthrough took place in the late '80s when he sang "Down in the Mississippi" and the title piece for the film Crossroads. © JAZZIZ Magazine Copyright © 2000, Milor Entertainment, Inc.
Unexpectedly catchy and fun. Sometimes the mix feels off, but there's soul here too often missing in modern blues. © laze , © 2001-2007 ADDreviews

BIO

Terry Evans has become a soulful, gospel-flavored vocalist fronting a band, but his career took many steps to reach that pinnacle. Like many blues artists, his first exposure to music was in church, where he sang in the junior choir. As is often the case, his parents allowed him to sing only gospel, but on the sneak, he listened to blues artists such as Elmore James, Little Walter, Albert King, and B.B. King.
His first break was as a member of a Southern vocal group, the Knights. From there, he moved to Southern California and began picking up guitar and writing songs. Among the songs he wrote were "Love Is a Precious Thing," which was recorded by Pops Staples, and "Hop, Skip, and Jump," recorded by Louie Jordan.
In the '70s, he performed as a duo with Bobby King, performing on the chitlin circuit to purvey their brand of Stax-styled soul and gospel. A hard-working performer, Evans continued with King while at the same time working as a background vocalist for Ry Cooder, both on Cooder's albums and in the touring band. Evans' breakthrough came during the movie Crossroads, where he sang lead on "Down in Mississippi" and the title piece during the film.
In 1993, Evans released his first solo album, Blues for Thought, on Pointblank. While providing backing vocal tracks for Lloyd Jones' Trouble Monkey, he attracted the attention of record producer Joe Harley, who then signed Evans to Audioquest. Evans recorded two fine albums with Harley, Puttin' It Down and Come to the River. Walk That Walk followed in early 2000; Mississippi Magic was issued a year later. © Char Ham, All Music Guide

Corea/Gadd/McBride


coreagaddmcbride-supertrio2006




Corea/Gadd/McBride - Super Trio - 2006 - Stretch/Universal Japan

2006 Japan-only release of this breathtaking trio of Chick Corea, Steve Gadd, and Christian McBride. All songs recorded live at the World Theater in Austin, Texas April 2005. A masterful jazz CD from three jazz legends. Incredible musicianship, and seven brilliant compositions from the legendary Chick Corea. I don't know if this album is available outside Japan, but if you come across it, buy it.

TRACKS

1 Humpty Dumpty
2 The One Step
3 Windows
4 Matrix
5 Quartet #2
6 Sicily
7 Spain

All songs composed by Chick Corea

PERSONNEL:

Chick Corea: piano;
Steve Gadd: drums;
Christian McBride: bass.

REVIEWS

The extraordinary Super Trio, one of Japan’s best-selling jazz albums this year, features Chick Corea, Steve Gadd and Christian McBride in a masterful performance. © 2007 Chick Corea www.chickcorea.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/69

He may be in his mid-sixties, but pianist Chick Corea hasn’t slowed down in the least. In the past five years there’s been a monumental three-week run at New York’s Blue Note, focusing a bright light on acoustic ensembles past and present and beautifully documented on the ten-DVD set Rendezvous in New York (Image Entertainment, 2005). Corea re-formed his powerhouse Elektric Band for an album—To the Stars (Stretch, 2004)—and tour. He reunited with members of Paco de Lucia’s band for a tour documented on the double live CD Rhumba Flamenco (Chick Corea Productions, 2005), available only at shows and on Corea’s website. The Ultimate Adventure (Stretch, 2006) hearkened back to the days of high concept albums like My Spanish Heart (Polydor, 1976) without sounding the least bit retro.
Why Super Trio is only being released in Japan is a mystery. This live set revisits material from Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (Solid State, 1968), Light as a Feather (Polydor, 1972), The Mad Hatter (Polydor, 1978), Friends (Polydor, 1978) and Three Quartets (Warner Brothers, 1981), focusing as much on Corea the composer as Corea the pianist. In the same way that recent trios led by guitarist Pat Metheny have drawn from a broad cross-section of writing from his entire repertoire, Super Trio is a reminder of how many memorable tunes Corea has written—many still becoming part of the collective musical unconscious.
Still, it’s not as if the trio doesn’t exercise broad liberty with the material. Take the open-ended version of “Matrix,” one of Corea’s earliest compositions, for example. Bassist Christian McBride’s opening solo, free though it may be, insidiously alludes to the familiar theme without giving away the store. Corea and drummer Steve Gadd join in on the free play; while Corea may have for the most part left the more obfuscated cerebralism of his pre-Return to Forever group Circle behind, it’s still part of his vernacular. The trio takes its time, stretching the source material every which way, never completely coalescing for the melody—instead, dancing around it for nearly fourteen minutes and proving just how malleable Corea’s writing can be.
Elsewhere the trio’s approach is more straightforward, but a playful exuberance makes the hard-swinging “Humpty Dumpty” and the more relaxed “The One Step” and “Windows” proof that the traditional format of head-solos-head need not be inherently confining. As vividly interactive as Keith Jarrett in his standards trio, but with an original songbook and more attention to form, Corea has always been a responsive player, but this trio may be the most informal-feeling group he’s had in years. Risk-taking may be a given, but the players are so finely attuned to one another that it never feels that way.
“Sicily” and “Spain” round out the set, referencing Corea’s strong Latin roots. There are plenty of sparks and moments of intensity, but Super Trio is ultimately an extremely approachable album that never sacrifices its sense of adventure and complete commitment. © John Kelman, May 3, 2006 , © 2007 All About Jazz

Puppet Jazz


puppetjazz2005

Puppet Jazz -- Rare Jazz, Funk, & Soul Instrumentals From West Germany In The 60s & 70s - 2005 - Sonorama (Germany)

Here is an absolutely superb collection of phasered funky & groovy tracks of the 60's & 70's from various German music libraries. Rarity of the work aside, though, the tunes are totally great - and really hard-hitting in a heavily electric vibe. Most numbers have really heavy drums coming into play with fuzzed out guitars, tripped out keyboards, and some occasional larger arrangements as well -- and there's often this cool flanged-out production on the tunes that further enforces the spacey quality of their grooves, in a way that makes for a really unique batch of tracks! . An absolute top quality compilation and an absolute must-own!

TRACKS

01. Don't Play That Game 1 - Klaus Weiss
02. UFO Invasion - Gerhard Narholz
03. Intercity - Fred Rabold
04. Brass Glitter - Ambros Seelos
05. Wake Up In The Morning - Edgar Schlepper
06. Sax On The Rocks - Gus Brendel
07. BL Special - Berry Lipman
08. Madison Square 1 - Eugen Illin
09. Last Time - Joe Haider
10. Watch Out 3 - Klaus Weiss
11. Exotic Drums - Berry Lipman
12. Beach Buggy - Bob Elger
13. Soul Lady - Klaus Esser
14. Easter Afternoon - Ady Zehnpfennig

REVIEW

Heavy funk from the German scene of the 70s -- and a whopping batch of tunes that were never issued to the public at large! Most of the work on this set is from obscure sound library sources -- recordings that were done by top-shelf players of the time, but only for use in broadcast media, and never distributed properly on record. Rarity of the work aside, though, the tunes are totally great -- and really hard-hitting in a heavily electric vibe. Most numbers have really heavy drums coming into play with fuzzed out guitars, tripped out keyboards, and some occasional larger arrangements as well -- and there's often this cool flanged-out production on the tunes that further enforces the spacey quality of their grooves, in a way that makes for a really unique batch of tracks! Titles include "Wake Up In The Morning" by Edgar Schlepper, "Sax On The Rocks" by Gus Brendel, "Brass Glitter" by Ambros Seelos, "Intercity" by Fred Rabold, "UFO Invasion" by Gerhard Narholz, "Don't Play That Game" by Klaus Weiss, "Madison Square" by Eugen Illin, "Last Time" by Joe Haider, "Watch Out 3" by Klaus Weiss, "Exotic Drums" by Berry Lipman, and "Soul Lady" by Klaus Esser.

Chicken Shack


chickenshack-thecollection1986



Chicken Shack - The Collection - 1986 - Castle

This British blues-rock group is remembered mostly for their keyboard player, Christine Perfect, aka Christine McVie, who would join Fleetwood Mac after marrying John McVie and changing her last name. Although they were one of the more pedestrian acts of the British blues boom, Chicken Shack was quite popular for a time in the late '60s, placing two albums in the British Top 20. The front person of Chicken was not Perfect/McVie, but guitarist Stan Webb, who would excite British audiences by entering the crowds at performances, courtesy of his 100-meter-long guitar lead. They were signed to Mike Vernon's Blue Horizon label, a British blues pillar that had its biggest success with early Fleetwood Mac. Chicken Shack was actually not far behind Mac in popularity in the late '60s, purveying a more traditional brand of Chicago blues, heavily influenced by Freddie King. Although Webb took most of the songwriting and vocal duties, Christine Perfect also chipped in with occasional compositions and lead singing. In fact, she sang lead on their only British Top 20 single, "I'd Rather Go Blind" (1969). But around that time, she quit the music business to marry John McVie and become a housewife, although, as the world knows, that didn't last too long. Chicken Shack never recovered from Christine's loss, commercially or musically. Stan Webb kept Chicken Shack going, with a revolving door of other musicians, all the way into the 1980s, though he briefly disbanded the group to join Savoy Brown for a while in the mid-'70s. © Richie Unterberger, © 2007 All Media Guide, LLC. All Rights Reserved


This is an excellent compilation CD, and is a good representation of Chicken Shack's music. Check out their great 1968 album, " 40 Blue Fingers, Freshly Packed And Ready To Serve ." If you can find it, listen to the 1970 Christine Perfect self titled solo album, which features a great version of Fleetwood Mac's "When You Say."

TRACK INFO.

1.The Letter
Running Time: 4:26
2.When The Train Comes Back
Running Time: 3:31
3.Lonesome Whistle Blues
Running Time: 3:02
4.You Ain't No Good
Running Time: 3:35
5.Baby's Got Me Crying
6.The Right Way Is My Way
7.Get Like You Used To Be
8.A Woman Is The Blues
9.I Wanna See My Baby
Date Performance: 1969, Running Time: 3:31
10.Remington Ride
11.Mean Old World
12.San-Ho-Zay
Date Performance: 1968-02-05, Running Time: 3:03
Comments: Recorded at CBS Studio, New Bond Street, London.
13.The Way It Is
14.Tears In The Wind
Date Performance: 1969-05-11, Running Time: 2:41
Comments: Recorded at Morgan Studios, Willesden, London. Chart: Billboard UK Top 50/40 Singles Peak Position: 29 Peak Dates: Sep 27, 1969 Weeks On Charts: 6
15.Maudie
16.Some Other Time
17.Andalucian Blues
18.Crazy 'Bout You Baby
Date Performance: 1969, Running Time: 3:03
19.Close To Me
Date Performance: 1969, Running Time: 2:40
20.I'd Rather Go Blind
Date Performance: 1969-02-12, Running Time: 3:14
Comments: Recorded at CBS Studio, New Bond Street, London. It's unknown who plays the Tenor/Alto/Baritone Saxes.


christineperfect-portrait

Christine McVie © Fleetwood Mac Photos © 2007 www.yottamusic.com/artistsFleetwood-Mac


ABOUT THE BAND

Along with late 60's early 70's blues based bands such as Savoy Brown, Fleetwood Mac and John Mayall's Bluebreakers, Chicken Shack was a big part of the genre. Originally formed in 1965, Chicken Shack started out as, more or less, a house band at the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany. They signed a recording contract with the newly formed Blue Horizon label in '67. That same year, former Sound Of Blue vocalist/keyboardist Christine Perfect, who was at one time considered one of the U.K.'s finest blues vocalist, joined. With the release of their debut album, 1968's Forty Blue Fingers Freshly Packed And Ready To Serve, and their 1969 follow up, O.K. Ken, Chicken Shack was in the forefront of the British Blues boom of the late 60's. Although Perfect would leave the group in the summer of '69 to join Fleetwood Mac (she would marry bassist John McVie), Chicken Shack would continue with a good live reputation as at this point their shows were mostly based around the guitar and soulful theatrics of Stan Webb who would keep the group together through many personel changes but by 1973, Chicken Shack had run it's course as Webb would join Savoy Brown. After staying with Savoy Brown for one album, Webb formed Broken Glass which at one time included guitarist Robbie Blunt (later with Robert Plant) and drummer Keef Hartley. Webb would reform Chicken Shack under his own name in '77. Like John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Savoy Brown, many musicians would pass through the various formations of Stan Webb's Chicken Shack through out the 80's. Through the 90's, Webb's Chicken Shack line up has remained pretty much intact as his devoted fans and fans of traditional British blues remain faithful.


BIO (Wikipedia)


Chicken Shack was a British blues band, primarily of the late 1960s, consisting of Christine Perfect (vocals and keyboards), Stan Webb (guitar and vocals), Andy Sylvester (bass guitar), and Alan Morley (drums). The band was formed in 1967 and reputedly named themselves after the chicken coop in Kidderminster where they rehearsed. Their first concert was at the 1967 National Blues and Jazz Festival at Windsor and they were signed by the Blue Horizon record label in the same year. Chicken Shack enjoyed modest commercial success, with Christine Perfect being voted Best Female Vocalist in the Melody Maker polls, two years running. Christine Perfect left the band in 1969 when she married John McVie of Fleetwood Mac. Pianist Paul Raymond, bassist Andy Sylvester, and drummer Dave Bidwell all left in 1971 to join Savoy Brown. Although the band went through several subsequent incarnations, it never equalled its earlier successes. However, Webb remains as its only constant band member.

Scarlet Runner


scarletrunner-groovethang2007




Scarlet Runner - Groove Thang - 2007 - Grooveyard Records

“Groove Thang”, featuring the awesome Jason Leroy, is an outstanding blues/rock album. It includes “guest” Craig Erickson on two exceptional jams, including the “title” track and am extended 13 minute version of the classic Hendrix - “Who Knows/Power of Soul” jam where Jason and Craig pay a superb tribute to Jimi. Jason Leroy, from Waterloo, Iowa, is a tremendously talented blues/rock guitarist, reminiscent of S.R.V., Johnny Winter, Rory Gallagher, Joe Bonamassa, Walter Trout, Craig Erickson, and Jeff Healey, and that's saying something.! Go and buy this album. It's a classic example of power blues rock. If you can find it, check out the Runner's "South Chain Gang" album, from 1996. Superb stuff.

TRACKS

1. Peace O' Mine
2. Let Me Be
3. Manic Depression
4. South Chain Gang
5. Take The Fall
6. Wrong Side
7. Me
8. Grinder
9. State Of Affairs
10. Crazy Chimpanzee
11. Groove Thang
12. Use Me Up
13. Dimples
14. Who Knows - Power Of Soul

BIO

Scarlet Runner is a Blues/Rock band comprised of Jason Christensen (18 in 1997) guitar and vocals, Jack Christensen (16 & little brother) bass/vocals, & Luke Rathe (18 & lifetime friend) drums/vocals. The band has been playing together since 1993.
Jason is an absolute show stopper, and along with his stunning and soulful guitar work and vocals, employs many jaw dropping antics right out of the Hendrix/Vaughan bag of tricks. Jason is the Midwest Regional winner of the Jimi Hendrix Electric Guitar Competition that was held at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago, and is awaiting being flown to Madison Square Garden to compete for the National Voodoo Chile Award that will be held during the Hendrix festival sponsored by the Hendrix family.
Jack plays bass with a driving force that keeps the band pulsating forward while Luke's tirades on the drums, as well as his grasp of tempo at any speed, is what makes this band Scarlet Runner. The band tours throughout seven states surrounding Iowa and is expanding their playing base all the time. They have played on shows with such blues greats as Koko Tayler, Ian Moore, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds, just to name some. The band has also played many shows with Texas blues rocker Chris Duarte who has, along with his band, befriended the boys and passes along valuable pointers as well as encouragement.
Scarlet Runner has played many notable clubs like The Grand Emporium in KC, The Zoo in Lincoln, NE, and The Blues Saloon in St. Paul. They have also played for crowds as large as 50,000 for the third straight year (headlining the last two) at the My Waterloo Days Laser Show and played with such bands as Rare Earth, Edgar Winter and Starship at the Wadina Rock Festival 25th anniversary concert. They have also played the huge Sturgis bike rally in S.D. The band was named semi-finalist in Musician Magazine's Best Unsigned Band Contest and also took first place in the tri-state area in the Dubuque, Iowa's battle of the bands. They were also voted Best Band In The Cedar Valley the last two years in a row in a readers poll of the Waterloo Courier.
In Oct. of 96 Scarlet Runner independently released a full length compact disc entitled "South Chain Gang" with 10 original songs as well as a cover of Hendrix's " Manic Depression". The Hendrix song was recorded in one take for the purpose of using it to send in for the Hendrix Competition but was dubbed too good to leave off the disc by the producer. The disc is receiving air play all over the U.S. and is being seriously looked at by different labels.
Scarlet Runner has many influences including, but not limited to, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Albert King, Ian Moore and Chris Duarte. They have compiled these influences and thrown in their own unique style to create a new powerful and aggressive musical approach.
The above bio was provided by the band. Go to web page at www.tooblue.net/scarlet.htm Copyright © 1997 by Ray M. Stiles, www.mnblues.com/profile/bio_srunner.html

24.9.07

Boston Blackie/Otis "Big Smokey" Smothers


bostonblackieotisbigsmokeysmothers-chicagosessionsvol1




Boston Blackie/Otis "Big Smokey" Smothers - Chicago Blues Session, Vol. 1 - 1998 - Wolf Records

First class Chicago blues album. Has anybody got any info on Boston Blackie? There is a Beanie Joe "Boston Blackie" Houston, a Boston Blackie, aka Bennie Joe Houston, born on 11/6/43, in Panola, AL, and a Milton Houston, aka Boston Blackie, born in Panola, AL. They were all guitarists/vocalists. I would love to set the record straight on the musician on this album. Any info appreciated. Check out more albums in this great series of Chicago blue's session albums.

TRACKS / PERFORMERS

1. I Can't Judge Nobody - Otis Smothers
2. Hello Little Schoolgirl - Otis Smothers
3. Sad Sad Day - Otis Smothers
4. Do The Thing - Otis Smothers
5. ABC Blues - Boston Blackie
6. Louise - Boston Blackie
7. Hey Baby - Boston Blackie
8. How Much More Long - Boston Blackie
9. Give Me Back That Way - Otis Smothers
10. Blues All Day Long - Otis Smothers
11. I've Been Drinking Muddy Water - Otis Smothers
12. ABC Blues Take 2 - Boston Blackie
13. Find Me Another Babe - Boston Blackie

CREDITS

Beanie Joe "Boston Blackie" Houston, (vocals, guitar)
Otis "Big Smokey" Smothers (vocals, guitar)
Eddie "Big Town Playboy" Taylor (guitar)
Luther Adams (guitar)
Birmingham Jones (harmonica)
Willie Kent (bass)
Michael Riley (bass)
Tim Taylor (drums).
Cleo Williams (drums)

CHICAGO BLUES SESSION VOL. 1 features tracks by Boston Blackie recorded in 1992 and by Otis "Big Smokey" Smothers in 1984.
Recorded at Odyssey Sound Studio, Chicago, Illinois on August 8, 1984 and ACME Recording, Chicago, Illinois on January 29, 1992. Includes liner notes by JoAnne Larson, Richard Shazvin & Sam Burkhardt.
Producer: John Primer; Willie Kent
Engineer: Ed Cody; Paul Smith

BIO (Otis "Big Smokey" Smothers)

The Chicago blues scene boasted its own pair of Smothers Brothers, but there was nothing particularly amusing about their tough brand of blues music. The older of the two by a decade, Otis "Big Smokey" Smothers was first to arrive in the Windy City from Mississippi in the mid-'40s. Howlin' Wolf liked the way he played enough to invite him into the Chess studios as his rhythm guitarist on several 1956-57 sessions (songs included "Who's Been Talking," "Tell Me," "Going Back Home," and "I Asked for Water"). Federal Records found Smothers's simple shuffle sound immensely appealing in 1960, recording 12 tracks by the good-natured bluesman with labelmate Freddy King handling lead guitar duties (King, Federal's parent logo, even issued a Smothers LP that's worth a pretty penny today). A four-song 1962 session that included "Way Up in the Mountains of Kentucky" and an updated version of the Hank Ballard & the Midnighters classic "Work with Me Annie" ("Twist with Me Annie") completed his Federal tenure. Apart from a 1968 single for Gamma ("I Got My Eyes on You"), Smothers didn't make it back onto wax until 1986, when Red Beans Records, a small Chicago outfit run by pianist Erwin Helfer and guitarist Pete Crawford, brought him back to the record racks with an LP called Got My Eyes on You that showed his style hadn't changed a whit with the decades. Smokey Smothers was a beloved Chicago traditionalist until the very end. © Bill Dahl, All Music Guide

Dave Hole


davehole-roughdiamond2007




Dave Hole - Rough Diamond - 2007 - Blind Pig

From Perth in western Australia, where the water goes down the drain in the opposite direction, and Dave Hole plays slide guitar over the top -- both figuratively and literally! The album contains some original rockers, plus covers from Robert Johnson, Buddy Holly, Elmore James and more. It grooves, rocks and slides and it’s a pleasure to discover all the little guitar inventions that Dave put in each and every song. A great blues rock album, and highly recommended by A.O.O.F.C. Try and listen to his " Slow Fuse Blues " album.

TRACKS

04:48 Rough Diamond Child
05:54 White Trash Girl
06:23 Something Inside Of Me
04:53 Can't Stop Loving You
04:13 Vintage Wine
05:16 Yours For A Song
04:35 Since I Met You Baby
04:09 I'll Get To You
06:25 I'm A King Bee
03:10 Think It Over
03:37 Rambling On My Mind

CREDITS

Dave Hole - Guitar, Vocals, Production
Roy Daniel - Bass
Bob Patient - Keyboards
Ric Eastman - Drums
John Villani - Engineering, Mixing
Don Bartley - Mastering
Peter Vroon - Photography
Al Brandtner - Design
Recorded at Northbridge Sound Studios, Perth, Australia.

REVIEWS

One of the great blues guitar heroes has come from that noted home of the blues, Perth, Australia, to share a Rough Diamond or two. Dave Hole, a slide guitar master, originates from Perth and for 20 years he paid his dues in the clubs of his native land. The dues-paying paid off, though, because by the time he burst onto the international scene, Hole was ready -- and he was equipped. He's a good writer. His original songs soar, with neat but natural metaphors and good progressions, and his solos will blow you away. Hole never seems to play what you're anticipating; he takes it in a different direction, playing against, rather than to, your expectations. When he covers the classics of the blues, such as "Since I Met You, Baby" or Elmore James' "Something Inside of Me" -- rather than going at them the way so many British companies go after Shakespeare, with way too much reverence and a respect for the past that will not allow them to invent -- he approaches them almost as though they were new compositions, "Since I Met You, Baby" benefits most from this approach. Rather than a standard song about the triumph of love, Hole makes it sound like a ray of sunshine that has poked through on a cloudy day, one that he hopes will remain. He pulls every bit of blues out of Robert Johnson's "Rambling on My Mind" and bring out all of the rock that lurks inside Buddy Holly's "Think It Over." If you have any feeling for contemporary blues, you have to hear Dave Hole. review © Michael Scott Cain, 9 June 2007, Rambles.NET
Dave Hole, an Australian artist, is well known for his guitar mastery. Since his recording debut fifteen years ago, Dave's records and live performances have drawn raves from countless international publications, and garnered legions of fans. "Nothing interferes with Hole's searing guitar when he is in full flight," said Rolling Stone magazine, while Guitar World added, "Hole produces solo upon blistering solo that is exhilaratingly relentless." His newest recording, Rough Diamond, amply reaffirms his title as the reigning master of the slide guitar. His fret-melting guitar riffs are infused with the same spirit as those of such blues and rock slide legends as Duane Allman, Johnny Winter, and Elmore James. © 1996-2007 Guitar Nine Records All Rights Reserved
After seven house-rocking albums for Alligator, Dave Hole moves to the Blind Pig label--America's other established blues indie--for this solid, if somewhat predictable, release. In certain respects, the journeyman Australian slide guitarist is comparable to stalwarts such as George Thorogood, since his discs are nearly interchangeable yet none disappoint. Both artists also rely heavily on well-chosen covers. The slide demon taps into tracks from obvious inspirations such as Elmore James, Slim Harpo, and Robert Johnson, along with rearranged tunes written by the far less obvious likes of Willy Deville ("White Trash Girl"), Ivory Joe Hunter ("Since I Met You Baby"), and even Buddy Holly ("Think It Over"). But Hole's originals are plenty sturdy, as demonstrated by the opening riff-rocker "Rough Diamond Child" and the atypically tender ballad "Yours for a Song." Still, it's the sizzling solos that drive these tunes, and Hole's scorching tone--something like a mix of James and Rory Gallagher--torches everything it touches. He makes the guitar sing, howl, moan, or cry depending on the mood, but never lets his molten leads overwhelm the songs. The album-closing version of "I'm a King Bee" stings like the titular bug as Hole buzzes and burns through a showcase that shifts from grinding to gentle and back. The no-frills, three-piece backing band provides able accompaniment--that is, they stay out of the way--as Hole's passionate playing proves that the blues can be powerful and potent, even from a continent away. © Hal Horowitz, Amazon.com

BIO

Dave Hole is a real self-taught man because it was difficult to get any blues records on a regular basis in Australia when he was a child. At first, only Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix albums were easily available, so he listened to their records over and over again, absorbing all he could from these blues masters.
Then, either by accident or by fate, Hole broke his little finger in a football game. The only way he could continue to play without pain was to play slide guitar and to put the slide on his index finger and hang his hand over the top of the guitar neck. When his finger healed, Hole never turned back.
After self producing his debut album in 1991, a review appeared in the American "Guitar Player" magazine in April of that year, followed by a July 1991 feature story which launched Hole to stardom. Then Alligator Records president Bruce Iglauer took a chance and signed the only non U.S. based artist in the label’s 30-year history.
It wasn’t just the critics who were paying attention. Metallica’s Kirk Hammett named Dave Hole as one of his favourite guitarists, saying, "His slide playing kills me." And when veteran rock and blues guitarist Gary Moore heard « Short Fuse Blues », he was so impressed he invited Dave to join him on two European tours.
Now, here is « Rough Diamond » the new album of the australian slide guitar master ! Dave cut it in Perth, his australian hometown, at Northbridge Sound Studios. © Bluesweb.com | Dixiefrog 2006

23.9.07

Emancipator


emancipator-soonitwillbecoldenough2007




Emancipator - Soon It Will Be Cold Enough - 2007 - Hydeout Productions ?

Do you like beautiful electronic epic instrumental hiphop beats?, then check out 'Soon It Will Be Cold Enough,' an album of beautiful, densely layered melodies, epic instrumentation, and brilliant tribal beat drum programming. A.O.O.F.C would welcome more info on Emancipator, musicians, record label, etc . If you are aware of any more albums, please post info.

TRACKS

1. Eve (5:43)
2. Soon It Will Be Cold Enough to (2:52)
3. First Snow (5:11)
4. Wolf Drawn (3:17)
5. Anthem (5:35)
6. Smoke Signals (3:45)
7. When I Go (5:34)
8. Periscope Up (2:58)
9. With Rainy Eyes (4:58)
10. Good Knight (5:05)
11. Lionheart (6:19)
12. Maps (4:20)
13. Father King (6:09)
14. The Darkest Evening of the Year (2:11)

CREDITS

Emancipator - Guitars / Keyboards / Samples / Production
Cindy Kao - Violin / Additional Vocals
Thao Nguyen - Vocals on "Soon It Will Be Cold Enough to Build Fires," "When I Go," and "Good Knight."

REVIEWS

Some albums just feel so good, so cool, you can’t help but feel good while listening to them.
Emancipator’s Soon It Will Be Cold Enough is such an album. Incorporating hints of jazz, electronica, trip-hop and down-tempo into its violins, keys, various samples and the occasional female voice, this 19-year-old college student has put together a release worthier of the attentions of a record label.
Taking a liking to music at an early age, the quality and professionalism of the production is in stark contrast to the fact this artist can’t even legally buy booze yet. “Eve” sweeps in with some modified harmony vocals then shows off both Emancipator’s piano skills as well as the beautiful violins of Cindy Kao, whose work is peppered throughout the 65-minute epic. “Soon It Will Be Cold Enough To Build Fires” plays around with some lovely acoustic guitars, a sampled horn and some left over vocal cuts from another track.
The rhythm of programmed drums and wash of beautiful violin on “Anthem” reminds me a little of Moby and DJ Shadow, the tribal beat opening and subsequent electronic bass on “Good Knight” feels like some of Bobby Cochran’s (Hands Upon Black Earth) best work, the driving bass and Kao’s violin on “Lionheart” feel like the soundtrack to dusk, while the voice of Thao Nguyen on “When I Go” sings “off key,” as she puts it, but really her style is addictive, sexy and the sound of her lovely speaking voice when she says, “You are nourishing. That’s what he said” gives me a chill.
The amount of work that went into this album is amazing. As Emancipator himself states, “ …instrumentation on the album was either played and recorded by myself, or was programmed from scratch using individual ‘oneshots,’ which are basically just recordings of single notes being played. Many of the melodies or bass lines were constructed in this way – by pitch shifting and moving around individual sounds like sound legos.”
The fact that this is funded not by a record label, but by a college student who does this in his spare time, is admirable. Pop onto his site you can even download some remixes (including his mash up remix pairing Sigur Ros with Mobb Deep. Hearing Mobb Deep rap “I’m only 19 but my mind is old” has so much added weight when melded like this). And, to boot, the music is damn cool. Highly recommended. John Dunphy , 16/4/07 © 2002-2006 Matthew Rowe. www.musictap.net/Reviews/EmancipatorColdEnoughCD.html

I’m not usually much taken with press releases, but I have to say Emancipator’s list of achievements is quite impressive
‘Emancipator escaped from the Underground Railroad Chain Gang in the 11th century. He invented the hot air balloon, with which he chartered the Amazon River. He invented wine.
Emancipator found the formula for the crystallization of ice during a quiet Japanese winter. He perfected the art of agriculture. He can climb trees faster than you.’
And not least amongst his achievements, in 2007 Emancipator released a pretty cool chill out album in the vein of Sigur Ros, Bent et al.
At first listen, ‘Soon It Will Be Cold Enough’ is a fluid amalgam of seminal lounge artists. The first track, ‘Eve’, for example, contains icy droplets of keyboard a la Mike Oldfield combined with wordless vocals that are melodically very similar to Royskopp’s ‘So Easy’, only here they are muffled and swathed in effects until they sound like winter wind.
‘Eve’ is followed by ‘Soon It Will Be Cold Enough to Build Fires’ which is, ironically, a much warmer track that throws in brief, soft snatches of brass and cut up vocals with the same sense of playful mischief as Nightmares on Wax, and creates a gently euphoric track.
‘Smoke Signals’ is a soft hopscotch of birdsong and electric guitar that skips and fizzes along while tracks such as ‘Anthem’ and ‘Lionheart’ contain entrancing threads of violin, at times with melody and tone as harsh as Chinese folk, at others more Western, pseudo-classical and occasionally dancing somewhere in between.
Thao Nguyen provides lazily sensual vocals for example on ‘When I Go’ where she sounds reminiscent of Roisin Murphy, an irresistible mix of ‘come hither’ allure and smoky, drawling indifference.
And by now, I seem to have covered the album in post-it notes pointing out perceived influences which does it a great disservice because throughout its fourteen songs, and complimenting its crisp, winter theme, there is a freshness to it all that comes not just from the clean production and sweet melodies, but from the sense that this is a small, windblown project hanging faint in the ether without marketing budget or the taint of faustian pacts with ad agencies involving car or telecommunication companies.
As a result, it’s a precious thing - a case of synchronicity between songs and themes and presentation. A small winter gem. © Irfan Shah, 08/01/2007, © CRUD MUSIC MAGAZINE/
2-4-7-MUSIC.COM 2006

Frankie Miller


frankiemiller-therock1975




Frankie Miller - [IMPORT] [EXTRA TRACKS] [ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED] - 2003 - Eagle Rock/Eagle

Frankie Miller was one of the hottest young singers to emerge during the golden age of seventies' rock. There were many great pop and rock singers hitting the headlines during those happy days. Rod Stewart, Paul Rodgers and Joe Cocker were all prime examples of successful artists who had their musical roots firmly ensconced in soul and the blues. Then Frankie was discovered singing on the thriving London pub rock scene in the summer of 1971, it seemed like he would soon take pride of place among the ranks of megastars. He had all the right qualifications. A powerful, raspy voice, cheeky good looks and a feisty attitude. He was determined to get to the top with the aid of the best possible backing bands and producers. However, the music business is always a hard nut to crack and, despite his best efforts, Frankie never quite got into the big league. Even so, at the peak of his career he scored at least two palpable hits and unleashed a succession of fine albums which reflected his impeccable tastes in good-time rock and soul. © www.alexgitlin.com/index.htm
This is a very good R&B/Soul/Rock album, reminiscent of the great John Fogerty in many ways. Check out Frankie's album, 'Once In A Blue Moon' (1972), where he is backed by Brinsley Schwarz. Frankie also sang with Bees Make Honey and Ducks Deluxe. If anybody has any info on albums by these groups, please post. It would be very much appreciated.

TRACKS

01.Fool in Love
02.Heartbreak
03.Rock
04.I Know Why the Sun Don't Shine
05.Hard on the Levee
06.Ain't Got No Money
07.All My Love to You
08.I'm Old Enough
09.Bridgeton
10 Drunken Nights in the City
11 Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever (Single A-Side) - Not on 1975 album
12 I'm Old Enough (Single B-Side) - Not on 1975 album

Tke album was originally released on Chrysalis and/or Repertoire in 1975, and one version contained the tracks, A Fool In Love (live), Hard On The Levee (live), Sail Away (live), Drunken Nights In The City (live), & Walking The Dog (With Rory Gallagher live). It's a pity they were not included on this CD issue. If you have any info on the 1975 album, please post info.

CREDITS

Elliot Mazer Producer
Stu Perry Percussion, Drums
Chris Stewart Bass
Mick Weaver Keyboards
Chrissy Stewart Guitar (Bass)
Frankie Miller Guitar, Guitar (Rhythm), Vocals, Main Performer
Chris Welch Liner Notes
Henry McCullough Guitar, Vocals (Background)

BIO

Blue-eyed soul singer Frankie Miller made his name on the English pub rock circuit of the early '70s, and spent around a decade and a half cutting albums of traditional RB, rock roll, and country-rock. In addition to his recorded legacy as an avatar of American roots music, his original material was covered by artists from the worlds of rock, blues, and country, from Bob Seger and Bonnie Tyler to Lou Ann Barton and the Bellamy Brothers. And Miller himself scored a surprise U.K. Top Ten smash in 1978 with "Darlin'," giving his likable, soulful style the popular airing many fans felt it deserved all along.
Frankie Miller was born November 2, 1949, in Glasgow, Scotland; he began singing with local bands beginning in 1967, in a style influenced by American soul singers like Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Otis Redding. After a few years, he moved to the more fertile music scene in London, where he soon met ex-Procol Harum guitarist Robin Trower in the summer of 1971. Impressed with Miller's talents as a raw soul belter in the vein of a Rod Stewart or Joe Cocker, Trower offered him a job as lead vocalist of his new band Jude. It wasn't to be Miller's big break, though; internal conflicts split the group apart by the following year, and Miller returned to the London pub rock circuit. During 1972, he made frequent appearances at the
-Tally Ho in Kentish Town, often sitting in with Brinsley Schwarz, and signed a solo record deal with Chrysalis. Using the Brinsleys as a backing band, Miller recorded his debut album, Once in a Blue Moon, that year. Though it wasn't a hit, it was reviewed respectably; more importantly, when Miller sent a copy to New Orleans RB legend Allen Toussaint, he was impressed enough to produce Miller's next album. Miller traveled to New Orleans in 1973 to record High Life with an authentic Toussaint-led backing band, resulting in one of his most acclaimed and artistically satisfying albums.
Upon returning to England, Miller assembled a Stax-style backing band -- dubbed simply the Frankie Miller Band -- featuring guitarist Henry McCullough, keyboardist Mick Weaver, bassist Chrissy Stewart, and drummer Stu Perry. This group traveled to San Francisco to record The Rock (named after Alcatraz), which was released in 1975. The band dissolved not long after, and Miller put together a new outfit called Full House, featuring guitarist Ray Minhinnett, keyboardist Jim Hall, bassist Charlie Harrison, and drummer Graham Deacon. They issued the aptly titled Full House in 1977, which, oddly enough, became fairly popular in Sweden. However, once again, Miller's backing band imploded, and he was back on his own for 1978's Double Trouble, which produced his first British Top 30 hit in "Be Good to Yourself." Late that year, Miller scored a runaway Top Ten hit in the U.K. with "Darlin'," a single included on his 1979 LP Falling in Love (aka Perfect Fit). (Typical of Miller's luck in the record business, his best-known song wasn't an original.) 1980's Easy Money was recorded in Nashville, and some of 1982's Standing on the Edge was recorded at Alabama's legendary ~Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. During this period, Miller also had a Scottish hit with his cover of Dougie McLean's "Caledonia." 1986's Dancing in the Rain was his final studio album.
In August 1994, Miller suffered a devastating brain hemorrhage that left him in a coma for five months. Unable to walk or talk upon his emergence, Miller rehabilitated himself enough to begin writing songs again; at a late-'90s benefit concert in Edinburgh, Miller's new collaboration with Will Jennings, "The Sun Goes Up, the Sun Comes Down," was performed by Bonnie Tyler, Paul Carrack, and Jools Holland. © Steve Huey, All Music Guide, © 2007 All Media Guide, LLC

Lizz Wright


lizzwright-salt2003




Lizz Wright - Salt - 2003 - Verve Resords

Vocalist Lizz Wright delivers jazz that harks back to such luminaries as Nina Simone and Abbey Lincoln on her debut Verve release, Salt. Still in her early twenties, Wright has a warm, dusky voice reminiscent of Cassandra Wilson and similarly to Wilson seems interested in tackling an eclectic mix of jazz standards, traditional folk, and R&B. Early on, a folky afterglow-Latin version of "Afro Blue" takes center stage followed by the gorgeous "Soon as I Get Home," which betters the version from The Wiz. Wright fairs equally well as a songwriter with about half the album filled with her soaring, bluesy ballads. There is a melancholy yet positive '70s vibe that eminates from songs like "Fire," which resonates lyrically as well as melodically much like the personal/sociopolitical writing of another of Wright's obvious inspirations, Terry Callier. Perhaps a little too low-key to register very high on the pop radio scale, but invested with enough sanguine emotionality and chops to make Salt easily recommended to fans of the neo-soul movement. © Matt Collar, All Music Guide

Check out her " Dreaming Wide Awake " album. It is also worthwhile listening to the work of Oleta Adams and Jill Scott, for a similar jazz/R&B/soul sound.

lizzwright-portrait2



TRACKS

01.Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly [05:07]
02. Salt [03:26]
03. Afro Blue [05:51]
04. Soon As I Get Home [04:26]
05. Walk with Me, Lord [04:06]
06. Eternity [03:34]
07. Goodbye [03:57]
08. Vocalise/End Of The Line [04:32]
09. Fire [04:14]
10. Blue Rose [04:05]
11. Lead The Way [04:23]
12. Silence [02:43]

CREDITS

Brian Blade - acoustic guitar
Sam Yahel - Hammond B-3 organ
Adam Rogers - acoustic, electric & bottleneck guitars
John Hart - acoustic guitar, guitar
Derrick Gardner - trumpet
Lizz Wright - vocals
Terreon Gully
Jeff Haynes - percussion
Crystal Garner
Sarah Adams
Vincent Gardner - trombone
Myron Walden - alto saxophone
Ron Carbone
Doug Weiss - acoustic bass
Kenny Banks - acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes piano

REVIEWS

The release of the long-anticipated debut from this talented, 20-something, Georgia-bred chanteuse shows that Norah Jones isn't the only "it girl" out there. Wright's cool contralto, which was previously heard on Joe Sample's The Pecan Tree, is a southern stew cooked with ample helpings of soul, jazz, R&B, and gospel. This CD, equally produced by Tommy LiPuma, John Cowherd, and drummer Brian Blade, features mostly mid-tempo renditions of a jazz-fusion ditty, a spiritual, a Broadway tune, a Latin number, light classical, and original compositions. Wright's vocal weight and fluent delivery echoes the talents of Lalah Hathaway, whether she’s putting her own sepia spin on Flora Purim's '70s gem "Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly," Mongo Santamaria's "Afro Blue" (with pianist Danilo Perez), or "Soon As I Get Home" from The Wiz. Though this record is a promising debut from Wright, one gets the sense that she’s a soul singer at heart, as evidenced by the down-home title tune. One thing's for sure: the road to Lizz Wright's future is wide open with no barriers in sight. © Eugene Holley, Jr. © 1996-2007, Amazon.com
A sweet young jazz singer -- steeped in the traditions of Dee Dee Bridgewater and Dianne Reeves, striking out on her own in a really solid debut album! The set's got a warm, jazzy feel -- lots of keyboards and piano in the backings, but done in a way that lifts up the voice of Lizz on a pillow of soul and spirituality. Tracks build from slow beginnings to a rich array of tones and colors -- done in a style that's emotive, but subtly so. Titles include nice covers of "Open Your Eyes You Can Fly" and "Afro Blue" -- plus "Soon As I Get Home", "Salt", "Fire", "Eternity", "Lead The Way", and "Silence". © 1996-2007, Dusty Groove America, Inc.

“My eyes burn, I have seen the glory of a brighter sun,” sings Lizz Wright. Lizz Wright’s musical recording Dreaming Wide Awake (2005), produced by Craig Street for Verve, is itself a bright light and it has become one of my favorite recordings of the last several years: the intelligence, honesty, and intimacy in Wright’s singing are what are most impressive, although I am fascinated by her understanding and presentation of musical tradition: of communal properties, of understood and accepted forms and meanings.

In an earlier recording by Lizz Wright, Salt (2003), produced by Tommy LiPuma, Brian Blade, and Jon Cowherd for Verve, Wright signaled her interest in various traditions—jazz, Broadway, and even classical: she announced herself a serious singer. In Salt’s “Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly,” a song of encouragement by the well-known jazz musician Chick Corea and Neville Porter—with the lines “see only what you want to see” and “open your eyes, you can fly” (lines that can suggest vision and adventure, or the self-delusion of a very false confidence)—Wright gives an open-hearted, fully voiced performance that is hard to turn away from. The next song, the title song “Salt,” with lines such as “How can you lose your song, when you’ve sung it so long, How can you forget your dance, when that dance is all you’ve ever had?” is an affirmation of culture, an affirmation that reminds me of Toni Morrison, who counseled women not to forget their ancient properties. “You can’t separate the two…just like the salt that’s in the stew,” sings Lizz Wright, who wrote the song “Salt,” a jazz ballad, which she sings passionately.

“Afro Blue,” a song written by Mongo Santamaria and Oscar Brown Jr., is a song made familiar by Abbey Lincoln, and it is the third song on Wright’s Salt album: with the song, its fame, and its quick piano notes and seemingly irregular drumbeats that crest with a soft cascade of cymbals, Wright seems to be identifying with the more visionary aspects of jazz. “Soon as I Get Home,” written by Charlie Smalls, one of the writers of the musical “The Wiz,” a retelling of The Wizard of Oz story, is a gesture toward Broadway and popular music. The song is about being lost and found and even refers to the Wiz, and what he might offer. It has a delicate but firmly structured arrangement and a performance that is warm and intense. “Walk with Me, Lord” is a traditional spiritual—an expression of spirit, a calling to the narrator’s god—and Wright sings it in a full, dark voice. Wright handles the song easily, with tenderness and strength, so easily that one imagines it is no challenge whatever. In the first four or five songs on Salt, Lizz Wright establishes her talent, her knowledge, and her right to our attention. She knows the traditions that exist, and can master them—and so the question is, Will she be emboldened by them, or trapped by them? Will she add to them, or simply keep them alive?

In her own song “Eternity,” the sixth song on Salt, Wright uses, in her lyrics, nature imagery (imagery that is matched by the photographs taken of her for the recording’s jacket by Bill Phelps: similar photographs by Phelps accompany Wright’s Dreaming Wide Awake). In “Eternity” the singer asks, “What is the gift that you possess? What is this strange happiness?” and states, “If the answer is you, I’ll have to have you for eternity.” She follows that with a carefully handled civil song of parting written by Gordon Jenkins called “Goodbye,” before giving us a combination “Vocalise/End of the Line” by Rachmaninov, and John Edmonson and Cynthia Medley: it begins with humming, and ends with sung lyrics about a relationship’s end—it’s a sad song—and it has violas and cellos. (Elsewhere, John’s last name is spelled Edmondson.)

Another one of Wright’s original songs follows, “Fire,” and it too has elemental imagery; and it is about love and what people give each other. “Blue Rose,” by Wright with Kenny Banks, and featuring an acoustic guitar, seems to compare a woman to a morning glory lost in a tangle of vine. A song about being led by faith, grace, and love is Brian Blade’s “Lead the Way,” and Wright’s directness and the spareness of the arrangement diffuses the sanctimony, and this surprisingly emerges as one of the set’s stronger songs. Wright closes with her own “Silence,” which almost seems a modern hymn, and is sung in a strong declamatory tone—and there is a short, mysterious line “silence is a song.”

Lizz Wright’s Salt is a collection made with care—it is elegant and intelligent, qualities that I always want, always relish, and am glad to find in the recording, even as I wonder about the limits of tradition. © Daniel Garrett All contents copyright © 2001- 2007 all rights reserved ( About the reviewer: Daniel Garrett is a writer whose work has appeared in or on AllAboutJazz.com, American Book Review, Cinetext.Philo, The Compulsive Reader, IdentityTheory.com, Offscreen.com, PopMatters.com, Review of Contemporary Fiction, WaxPoetics.com, and World Literature Today. ) www.compulsivereader.com/html/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1297

lizzwright-portrait



BIO

Born on January 22, 1980, in Hahira, GA. Education: Attended Georgia State University. Addresses: Management--Direct Management, 947 North La Cienaga Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90069, phone: (310) 854-3535, fax: (310) 854-0810. Website--Lizz Wright Official Website: http://www.lizzwright.net.
Since her 2002 breakthrough performance at a Los Angeles Billie Holiday tribute, Lizz Wright has been regarded as an important young talent in contemporary jazz. Wright inked a deal with seminal jazz label Verve soon after the Holiday performance. She released her debut album, Salt, in 2003, followed by Dreaming Wide Awake two years later. Her husky contralto voice and penchant for mixing jazz standards with pop, gospel, and soul numbers have earned her comparisons to such legends as Abbey Lincoln and Nina Simone, to young neo-soul singers like Jill Scott and Angie Stone, and to crossover artists like Norah Jones and Cassandra Wilson.
Wright was born on January 22, 1980, in the tiny south Georgia town of Hahira. The second of three children, she was raised in Hahira and in Kathleen, Georgia, by her parents, both ministers. Gospel music was a part of Wright's life from an early age, and she and her older brother and younger sister sang together in a gospel trio. Wright detailed her sheltered upbringing in a 2005 interview with Peter Culshaw of the London Daily Telegraph. "It was mostly Pentecostal and very strict," she told Culshaw. "Women were not allowed to wear colored nail varnish, do sports, or wear trousers. We had no television and I only heard the radio when my parents went out to a Bible study group. They liked a quiet, meditative house. I'd listen to radio dramas, which is where I got my love for storytelling. I had to create what I didn't have. I did listen to some pop music, but I didn't like it much."
Wright learned about jazz by listening to pianist Marian McPartland's weekly show on National Public Radio. "Marian's show was my first introduction to jazz and I loved it," she told George Varga of the San Diego Union-Tribune in 2004. "It was very ladylike and modern sounding to me, but still had a lot of colors and ideas from gospel and blues that I'd heard before. It's something that called out to me (because) it was sacred." The mixed-genre sound of contemporary gospel artists also made its mark. "The contemporary gospel movement really influenced me and that was mostly the artists out of Detroit, the Winan family, Hawkins family and Commission. These artists started taking on the sounds of R&B, soul, blues, and jazz, but still sang the gospel. It really got me through school. I wouldn't have made it with just quartet music or the spirituals," Wright said in a 2005 interview with Beatrice Richardson for JazzReview.com.
After high school, Wright studied music at Georgia State University in Atlanta, but dropped out when she decided her college education didn't merit the cost. She first drew attention in 1999, when she sat in on a jam session during the Atlanta Jazz Festival. After singing the two jazz standards she knew, the crowd asked for more. She responded with "Amazing Grace." One of the enthusiastic audience members was Ron Simblist, who introduced Wright to the gospel ensemble In the Spirit, which she joined in 2000. A friend of the wife of Verve Music Group president Ron Goldstein, Simblist also sent Goldstein some of Wright's recorded tunes. Simblist followed up with another demo a year later and helped secure Wright a deal. Around the same time, Wright appeared on the bill with Lou Rawls, Dianne Reeves, and others at Billie Holiday tributes in Los Angeles and Chicago. By all accounts, she stole the show. "Lizz Wright walked on stage at the Hollywood Bowl last summer a virtual unknown. Fifteen minutes later, she walked off a star," wrote Don Heckman in a 2003 article for the Los Angeles Times.
Wright began recording Salt in 2002, with John Clayton producing. Eventually, the sessions with Clayton were scrapped, however. "I had some more growing to do," Wright told Heckman in 2003. Veteran producer Tommy LiPuma, who has worked with numerous Grammy-winning artists, took over production duties, assisted by former Joni Mitchell and Wayne Shorter drummer Brian Blade. Salt was released in 2003. Due to the album's eclectic song selection, which included five originals written by Wright alongside jazz, Latin, and spiritual numbers, and even a song from the musical The Wiz, Wright immediately drew comparisons to crossover artists Norah Jones and Cassandra Wilson. "I don't fall in any of those traditional definitions of what a 'jazz singer' is," Wright told Varga. "But to me, jazz embraces a lot. It is a fusion, it is eclectic, and I don't know where it's going. But I definitely want to give back what I've gotten from jazz, which is a liberation (that results) from mixing things and seeing how they are connected."
Wright secured an opening slot on a tour with Ray Charles, and film director Spike Lee interrupted his own shooting schedule to direct the video for Salt's first single, the Chick Corea song "Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly." Salt became one of Billboard magazine's top ten contemporary jazz vocal albums of 2003, and the Associated Press named it one of the top ten albums of the year. Wright was named Best New Artist in the Jazz Times magazine readers' poll, and she performed at the Newport and Playboy jazz festivals. Still, some critics offered tempered praise. "Her only major failing at present is that the heady passion and sophistication she brings to her music is not yet matched by her abilities as a lyric writer, which sometimes veers toward mawkish sentiments and too obvious word rhymes. That weakness aside, her debut album impresses with its artistic maturity and welcome subtlety," wrote Varga.
Wright moved briefly to New York City, then settled in Seattle. She released Dreaming Wide Awake in 2005. Craig Street, who had worked on Jones's debut and Wilson's popular crossover album New Moon Daughter, produced the album, which was recorded in the Catskill Mountains with all the musicians playing together in one room. The album was hailed as a daring, honest effort. "'Awake' is a brave and naked album, wildly eclectic but always under control. It is at once slow-moving (like the rural South) and cosmopolitan (like New York and Seattle)," wrote Nick Marino in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Wright told Heckman that she has not determined her next direction. "[I] can't tell you that I've even really found myself yet. I really just want to continue to keep learning more music," she said. "I want to maintain my spirituality, and I want to be in an environment where I can grow. If I can have those things, everything else will take care of itself." © Kristin Palm, Copyright © 2007 Net Industries - All Rights Reserved www.musicianguide.com/biographies/1608004759/Lizz-Wright.html

Valerie Joyce


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Valerie Joyce - New York Blue - 2005 - Chesky Records

Along with enchanting interpretations of familiar jazz standards...Valerie breathes new life into pop nuggets like Tracy Chapman's "Baby Can I Hold You Tonight," Jimi Hendrix's melancholic "Little Wing" and the Beatles' "Golden Slumbers." Elsewhere, she turns in a smouldering "Fever," soars sensuously over an undulating samba flavored "Blue in Green," and swings serenely on "Weaver of Dreams," which features some robust alto sax work from Lawrence Feldman. She also resurrects her own "Oasis," a lilting waltz-time original from Reverie that has her ethereal voice fairly floating into the stratosphere. Not since Cassandra Wilson's Blue Light 'Til Dawn has a vocalist cast such an entrancing spell as Valerie Joyce does on New York Blue. Check out her 2003 album, " Reverie. "

TRACKS

1. It Never Entered My Mind
2. Blue in Green
3. Baby Can I Hold You
4. Fever
5. Oasis
6. Every Time We Say Goodbye
7. Moon and Sand
8. Little Wing
9. Weaver of Dreams
10. It's Easy to Remember
11. Darn That Dream
12. I Fall in Love Too Easily
13. Golden Slumbers

CREDITS

Valerie Joyce - Vocals
Andy Ezrin - Piano
Lawrence Feldman - Alto & Tenor Saxophone
Eugene Jackson - Drums
Jon Hebert - Acoustic Bass, tracks 4, 8, 9, 10 & 11
Tim Lefebvre - Acoustic Bass, tracks 1,2,3, 5,6,7,12 & 13
All Arrangements - Andy Ezrin, Valerie Joyce
Produced by David Chesky
Executive Producer - Norman Chesky
Recording, Editing and Mastering Enginee r- Nicholas Prout
Recorded at St. Peter's Church, Chelsea, NYC June 28-29, 2005

REVIEW

A new name but a great talent all the same. Time after time my trusty CD player has been subjected to great sounding but musically dubious recordings from assorted audiophile labels, which given their experience should know better. Well not this time. Valerie Joyce is a young Japanese - American jazz singer and pianist who has the talent and inherent musicial breath of vision, and plain good taste to make it big. She has a smoky intimate voice that works extremely well with the after hours feel of her sophisticated jazz-cabaret- style. Expect to hear more of this Lady. Valerie is joined by arranger and pianist Andy Ezrin. His arrangements and playing provide an uncluttered and entirely sympathetic setting for the singer's voice. The band, Lawrence Feldman- with his lovely warm sax tones that compare with the likes of Stan Getz and Benny..is a standout, Jon Hebert on acoustic bass plays with an understated but sure hand, while Eugene Jackson is the very model of discreet rhythm provider on drums, are simply superb. Tracks include 'Blue In Green', 'Fever', 'Little Wing' and a lovely cover of 'Baby Can I Hold You'. Recommended. Fans of Jacintha, Peggy Lee and Cassandra Wilson will find a lot to enjoy here. November 2005 © Vivante Productions Limited www.vivante.co.uk

BIO

Valerie Joyce has been performing as a musician on the Seattle music scene since 1994. Born in Japan to an American father and Japanese mother, she was exposed to classical music through her mother's piano playing and extensive record collection. Her music education began early, enrolling in solfege classes at the age of six. She started piano lessons at the age of eight. She attended an international school in Yokohama. In 1991 Valerie moved to Tacoma, Washington to attend the University of Puget Sound where she majored in Music Business. She was awarded a classical piano scholarship there and studied piano with Dr. Steven Moore and Dr. Duane Hulbert for four years. At college she sang in the vocal jazz choir directed by Dr. Moore and in her junior and senior years played piano in the college jazz band directed by Syd Potter. As a pianist in the big band, she even had the opportunity to play and perform with Stanley Turrentine. She took jazz improvization classes during the summer at the University of Washington with Michael Brockman and attended the Port Townsend Workshop and studied with Jay Clayton.

To help satisfy her growing interest in jazz, Valerie also studied jazz voice and piano with Jerome Gray on the weekends. The first jazz records that she discovered were Thelonious Monk's ''Brilliant Corners'', Dexter Gordon's ''Our Man in Paris'' and Miles Davis' ''Kind of Blue'' and the soundtrack to the movie '''Round Midnight''. Valerie was hooked on Jazz. She soon discovered many other great jazz records. During her sophomore year, she auditioned for the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and won a vocal jazz scholarship, but decided to complete her liberal arts education at the University of Puget Sound.

After graduating, she moved to Seattle which had a more vibrant music scene. She worked full time during the day at an exporting company and freelanced as a musician by night. She played in solo, duo, trio and quartet formats and played in Jay Thomas's big band as a piano player for four years.

In 2002, Valerie recorded "Reverie", with Seattle area musicians Jay Thomas, Milo Petersen, Joshua Wolff, Paul Gabrielson, and Phil Sparks, under her own label VJI Music, a project that featured four of her original compositions and modern renditions of classic standards. In 2003 Valerie also recorded a world jazz music project that was produced by Michael Wolff, which featured Badal Roy on tablas, Victor Jones on drums, John B. Williams and Mike Richmond on bass and Alex Foster and Dan Jordan on saxophones and flute. In 2004, a radio personality in Puerto Rico read a cd review of Reverie (Jazz Improv Magazine) and contacted musician Carlos Franzetti, who introduced her to Chesky Records in New York. Valerie was signed to Chesky records in October of 2004, and recorded New York Blue, her first album for Chesky in June of 2005, with musicians Andy Ezrin, Gene Jackson, Tim Lefevre, Jon Hebert and Lawrence Feldman. The album was released in Italy, Germany, Japan in other Asian countries in January of 2006. The record has been released in the United States in April of 2006. © 2002-2007 - Valerie Joyce

22.9.07

Michel Petrucciani


michelpetrucciani-live1991




Michel Petrucciani - Live [LIVE] - 1991 - Blue Note Records

A brilliant jazz album. Bebop jazz played in a nineties style with electric bass and
keyboards. The album is full of Charlie Parker and Miles Davis influences, and is an inspired work by the late great Michel Petrucciani and his awesome back up musicians. Check out the albums, Live at the Village Vanguard (1984), and Power of Three (1986) with Wayne Shorter and Jim Hall.

TRACKS

1.Black Magic
2.Miles Davis Licks
3.Contradictions
4.Bite
5.Rachid
6.Looking Up
7.Thank You Note
8.Estate

All songs written by Michel Petruccianiexept "Estate" written by Bruno Martino
Rec in Nov. of 1991 at The Arsenal in Metz, France

PERSONNEL

Michel Petrucciani - Piano
Adam Holzman - keyboards
Steve Logan - bass
Abdou M'Boop - percussion
Victor Jones - drums

BIO (Wikipedia)

Michel Petrucciani (December 28, 1962, Orange, France – January 6, 1999, Manhattan), was a French Jazz pianist. Michel Petrucciani came from an Italo-French family of a musical background. His father "Tony" played guitar and his brother Louis played bass. Michel was born with osteogenesis imperfecta which is a genetic disease that causes brittle bones and in his case short stature. It is also often linked to pulmonary ailments. In his early career his father and brother occasionally carried him, literally, because he could not walk far on his own unaided. In certain respects though he considered it an advantage as it got rid of distractions, like sports, that other boys tended to become involved in. At an early age he became enthusiastic about the works of Duke Ellington and wished to become a pianist like him. Although he trained for years as a classical pianist, jazz remained his interest. He had his first professional concert at 13. At this point in his life he was still quite fragile so had to be carried to and from the piano. In general his size meant that he required aids to reach the piano's pedals, but his hands were average in length. By age 18 he helped form a successful trio. He moved to the US in 1982. In the US he is credited with leading Charles Lloyd to resume playing actively and in 1986 he recorded a live album with Wayne Shorter and Jim Hall. He also played with diverse figures in the US jazz scene including Dizzy Gillespie. In 1994 he was granted a Légion d'honneur in Paris. His own style was initially influenced by Bill Evans although some compare him to Keith Jarrett. He is often deemed to be among the best jazz pianists to ever come from France.On the personal side he had three significant relationships. His first marriage to Italian pianist Gilda Buttà ended in divorce. He also fathered two children, one being a son named Alexandre. One of these children inherited his condition. He also had a stepson named Rachid Roperch. Michel Petrucciani died at 36 from a pulmonary infection. He was interred in Le Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

Eddie Costa


eddiecosta-thehouseofbluelights1959




Eddie Costa - The House of Blue Lights - 1959 - Dot Records

"The House of Blue Lights", by the obscure, but brilliant jazz pianist and vibist, Eddie Costa is one of the best piano trio albums ever recorded. If you can find his 1956 albun," Guys And Dolls Like Vibes", give it a spin. A terrific musician, whose music deserves more exposure.

TRACKS

a. The house of blue lights 10:01
b. My funny Valentine 6:58
c. Diane 4:28
d. Annabelle 4:07
e. When I fall in love 4:07
f. What's to ya 9:26

PERSONNEL

Eddie Costa, p;
Wendell Marshall, b;
Paul Motian, dm
Recorded January 29th, 1959, N.Y.C.


eddiecosta-portrait




BIO (Wikipedia)

Eddie Costa, (August 14, 1930 - July 28, 1962), was an American jazz pianist and vibraphonist born in Atlas, Pennsylvania, now based in Pittsburgh. He recorded on vibraphones with pianist Bill Evans. One notable recording with Bill Evans was "Guys and Dolls Like Vibes", now reissued as "Bill Evans and Eddie Costa, Complete Quartet" on CD. Eddie Costa died in a car accident on New York's Westside Highway on July 28, 1962, cutting short a very promising career. Like Clifford Brown, Eddie's another jazz man who left the stage at too young an age.

MORE BIO INFO

Eddie Costa emerged from an unlikely background into a heralded -- if too brief -- career in jazz. Born in a rural coal mining town, Costa studied piano with his brother Bill and developed a taste for the swing greats; later, exposure to Bud Powell turned him to bop. Self-taught on vibes, Costa became known as an excellent sight reader, which produced a lot of studio work. On piano, his trademark sound was the emphasis of the middle and lower registers while nearly ignoring the top two octaves. In addition to recording as a sideman with Tal Farlow, Woody Herman, Johnny Smith, the Bob Brookmeyer-Clark Terry Quintet, and Bill Evans, Costa led his own trio and quintet dates. Sadly, most of Costa's recorded output remains unavailable on CD, with the notable exception of the VSOP reissue of his Quintet LP. Costa died when his car careened off of a busy New York parkway in 1962. © www.vervemusicgroup.com

21.9.07

Passport


passport-passport1970




Passport - Passport [aka Doldinger] - 1970 - Atlantic Records

The groups first recording, "Passport" was released in 1970, and featured Doldinger on sax and keyboards, together with an electric rhythm section consisting of Olaf Kubler on second sax and flute, Jimmy Jackson on organ, Lother Maid on electric bass and Udo Lindenberg on drums. The result of the recording became a wonderful mix of jazz-rock and 70s jazzy fusion/funk.

Tracklisting:

A1.Uranus (6:35)
A2.Schirokko (5:44)
A3.Hexensabbat (4:27)
A4.Nostalgia (5:13)

B1.Lemuria's Dance (4:37)
B2.Continuation (9:53)
B3.Madhouse Jam (5:47)

CREDITS

Artwork By [Illustration + Design] - Wandrey's Studio, Hamburg
Bass [Electric] - Lothar Meid
Composed By - Klaus Doldinger
Drums - Udo Lindenberg
Organ - Jimmy Jackson
Producer - Klaus Doldinger
Saxophone [Tenor], Flute - Olaf Kübler
Saxophone [Tenor], Saxophone [Alt], Saxophone [Soprano], Synthesizer [Moog], Piano [Electric] - Klaus Doldinger

REVIEW

Passport is the creation of saxophonist Klaus Doldinger who has stated that Passport is not so much a set group but a label and a name for his many projects. Doldinger, who had started out playing dixieland back in the 1950's, by the following decade was a modern tenor-saxophonist who also worked in the studios. His mind has always remained quite open and in 1970 he formed Passport so as to explore the combination of advanced jazz improvising with rockish rhythms. Passport matches Doldinger's reeds (tenor, soprano, flute and occasional keyboards) with an electric rhythm section. The group's first recording (1970's Passport) also included Olaf Kubler on second tenor and flute, organist Jimmy Jackson, electric bassist Lother Maid and drummer Udo Lindenberg. Soon the group went through the first of several complete turnovers. The mid-1970's version usually teamed Doldinger with keyboardist Kristian Schultze, electric bassist Wolfgang Schmid and drummer Curt Cress and by 1978 it had changed drastically again. However, no matter who was in the rhythm section, Klaus Doldinger's lead voice and his band's musical direction remained consistent through the years. Passport has made numerous recordings, particularly for Atlantic. © Scott Yanow © 2007 All Media Guide, LLC. All Rights Reserved

BIO

The master of the German jazz and fusion/funk scene, Klaus Erich Dieter Doldinger was born on the 12th of may in 1936 in Berlin, Germany. He was from an early age interested in music and started, by the age of eleven, to play the piano and to take piano lessons. He began studying music at Robert Schuman Conservatoire in Dusseldorf, and at the age of 16 he traded the piano for the clarinet. The step from the clarinet to the saxophone was not very far, and soon the sax became his first and also most creative instrument. Doldinger's biggest influences during this period was jazz and in perticular jazz musicians as Sidney Bechet and tenorsaxophone player, 'Lucky' Thompson. His great interest in jazz soon drove him into Germany's absolute Dixieland circuits, and during the 1950s he came to perform and play with the famous German Dixieland band, Dusseldorf Feet farmers among others.Doldinger was however looking for something more and deeper within his music. He wanted a more direct and a more personal contact with the music and with his audience and that was something that either the Dixieland, nor the traditional jazz, was able to offer him. He therefore gave his influences from slick, cool and intellectual saxophone players as Lee Konitz and Stan Getz free space within his playing. He also got more involved in blues, be-bop and hard bop. He soon started playing with artists like Kenny Clarke, Ron Ellis, Roland Kovac Quintet and Werner Giertz Combo. In the beginning of the 60s Doldinger had developed his sax skills, and he was now recognized as a very gifted and talented saxophone player, which resulted in several performances with legendary musicians as organ player Johnny Griffin, Benny Bailey and trumpet player Donald Byrd among others.In 1962 he formed his own group, the Klaus Doldinger Quartet. After playing many years with Ingfried Hofmann, Doldinger had developed such a "black" sound in his saxophone that he among American jazz critics was known as "the black tenor from the Southside of Chicago", without any of the journalists knowing his German background. In 1964 Doldinger went on his first tour abroad. In 1970 he took another big step in his own musical career and formed his now legendary fusion group Passport, and by doing so, he wrote international jazz history. His intentions with Passport was to explore the combination of more rock-like-rhythms with advanced jazz improvisation.

Melanie Mason


melaniemason-liveatbluesalley2005




Melanie Mason - Live at Blues Alley - 2005 - Melanie Mason

The third release from blues guitarist/vocalist Melanie Mason, contains 14 songs - half of which are penned by Mason. A powerful live performance recorded at the legendary Blues Alley. Mason unleashes absolutel monster axe power. Her guitar playing is impeccable. " Live At Blues Alley " is Mason in her element. Inspired, powerful playing and one of the best sounding blues live records you will ever hear. If you're looking for great blues music, Melanie Mason Live At Blues Alley is a must have. Check out her great "Bendin' the Blues" album. Check out an interview with Melanie @ http://www.modernguitars.com/archives/001259.html

TRACKLIST

01 Crave
02 I'm Tore Down
03 Mississippi Blues
04 I'm In the Mood
05 Lonely Lonesome Gal
06 Work Your Magic
07 Born In the Country
08 Love's Slow Burn
09 Before You Accuse Me
10 Thrill Is Gone
11 Castles Made of Sand
12 Crossroads1
3 When Love Comes to Town
14 Gospel By the River

REVIEWS

"If Melanie Mason had leant against the door frame of Blues Alley, crooked her finger, winked her eye and thrown back her ginger curls she could not have made a more irresistible invitation than 'Crave,' the opening track of her live CD. Hot, sultry and sexy – if Mason wasn't breathless at the finish, the audience must have been. The 14 tracks on 'Live At Blues Alley' are split between six originals, seven covers and one hybrid, 'Born In The Country.'

As is usual with artists of this calibre, her own songs fit far more snugly than someone else's. The aforementioned 'Crave' and 'Mississippi Blues' are a natural product of her own sensuality...Melanie Mason is no slouch on lead guitar and the album is studded with magical moments, most notably on 'Love's Slow Burn,' a song so heavy with atmosphere it comes with it's own weather warning. As the album progresses, Mason and the band fall back on some old favourites, Hendrix's 'Castles Made Of Sand' and Robert Johnson's 'Crossroads.' Fittingly, the album finishes as it began, with a fabulous Melanie Mason original, 'Gospel By The River.'" © Eric Thom, Oct/Nov 2005 Blues Revue Magazine
"Melanie Mason doesn't stake her claim on her sultry looks; instead, she puts her sturdy guitar and vocals front and center. On her latest album, 'Live at Blues Alley,' she also shows she knows how to work a hook in her favor: Tracks such as 'Work Your Magic' do their stuff simply and effectively, and 'Crave,' with Mason's breathy vocal, is a radio single waiting to happen. Not shy about big covers, she tackles John Lee Hooker's 'I'm in the Mood,' cranking her feminine wiles to the max to make it her own. Elsewhere she bites off 'Thrill Is Gone,' Hendrix's 'Castles Made of Sand,' Robert Johnson's 'Crossroads,' and U2's 'When Love Comes to Town.'

There's a Southern sound here, and a potent link to the Delta. Inhibited Mason is not: Her guitar work on 'Thrill,' 'Castles,' and (especially) 'Before You Accuse Me,' where organist Tommy Lepson leaps to the fore on vocals, is eye-opening. And Mason can unleash absolutely monster axe when she needs to, as 'Love's Slow Burn,' minus the subtleties, demonstrates. She seems to shine brightest on her own compositions, such as 'Gospel by the River,' where her attack recalls Robert Cray even as her vocals cook up something uniquely hers.

Mason's band--Lepson on organ and vocals, Sam Goodall on bass, and ElTorro Gamble on drums--hits a deeper groove with another original, 'Mississippi Blues.' Here, Lepson provides a thick, solid base of B-3 upon which the bandleader addresses her stinging slide....Keep your eye on this lady...." © Eric Thom, Oct/Nov 2005 Blues Revue Magazine


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Melanie Mason © YvonneTaylor www.melaniemason.com/


BIO

One of the few female lead guitarists in the Northeast region, Melanie Mason continues to expand her popularity on the indie blues-rock scene as electric guitarist, vocalist and songwriter for the Melanie Mason Band. She also excels as a solo traditional acoustic blues artist, specializing in Delta and Piedmont-style country blues.
AWARDS AND HIGHLIGHTS
Since releasing her debut CD in 2001, Mason has been recognized in a number of ways:
International top-seller on CD Baby for over 6 years; current status: Guitar Blues (#1), Electric Blues (#2), Blues (#3), Acoustic Blues (#16)
Winner of 2005, 2004 and 2001 Best Blues Recording Awards, Washington Area Music Association (WAMA)
Featured lead guitarist in Emmy award-winning PBS WETA-TV ads promoting Martin Scorsese's "The Blues" film series. Check it out at www.sonicbids.com/melaniemason!
Winner of the 2003 D.C. Blues Society's International Blues Challenge Competition (Washington, D.C.)
Band competitor in the 2004 20th International Blues Challenge (Memphis, Tennessee)
Solo finalist (1 of 6 selected nationwide) in the 2007 Telluride Acoustic Blues Competition ( Telluride, Colorado)
"Mason is an artist clearly on the rise."
Elliott Gross, WPFW, 89.3 FM Washington, D.C.
© 2007 Melanie Mason www.melaniemason.com

Sir Joe Quarterman & Free Soul


sirjoequarterman-freesoul1973




Sir Joe Quarterman & Free Soul - Sir Joe Quarterman & Free Soul - 1973 - GSF Records

A funk classic. This one's a killer!-- with a hard funky wah wah sound as good as James Brown's best work on Polydor from the early 70s, and which should have made Joe a millionaire, not a lost legend of soul music. The band is sharp as a knife -- with hard drums, tight bass, and some simply amazing guitar riffing. But the best part is Joe -- as his vocals are hard and emotional, with just the right touches of righteousness to carry off the album's political messages, but not too much as to spoil the party that the band's having in the background! Every single track is a winner.

TRACKS

A1.(I Got) So Much Trouble In My Mind (6:19)
A2.I Made A Promise (4:18)
A3.The Trouble With Trouble (2:46)
A4.The Way They Do My Life (3:06)
Arranged By [Horns, Strings] - Tony Camillo

B1.Find Yourself (2:59)
B2.Gonna Get Me A Friend (2:04)
B3.Give Me Back My Freedom (3:34)
B4.I Feel Like This (2:57)
B5.Live Now Brothers (3:02)

CREDITS

Arranged By - Bill Tate (tracks: A1 to A3, B1 to B4) , Cotter Wells (tracks: A1 to A3, B1 to B4) , Sir Joe Quarterman (tracks: A1 to A3, B1 to B4)
Bass - Gregory C. Hammonds
Drums - Allen Stewart
Guitar - George R. Lee , Willie Parker Jr.
Keyboards - Karissa Freeman
Producer - Bill Tate , Cotter Wells , Sir Joe Quarterman
Saxophone - Leon Rogers
Vocals, Trumpet - Sir Joe Quarterman Notes: All selections composed by Joe Quarterman
Produced by Cotter Wells, Bill Tate and Joe Quarterman for Mantis Recording Corp.

BIO

Joe Quarterman was an unfairly overlooked funk and soul singer influenced by -- but not imitative of -- James Brown. Honing his chops in church choirs and various vocal groups, Quarterman earned the nickname "Sir" in high school while singing with a group called the Knights; he subsequently joined up with a female backing quartet as Sir Joe & the Maidens and cut a few records during the early '60s. Quarterman went on to play trumpet in the El Corols (aka the Magnificent Seven), whose highest-profile gig came as Garnet Mimms' backing band. In 1970, after playing jazz with the Orlando Smith Quintet, he formed a backing group called Free Soul, which featured lead guitarist George "Jackie" Lee, jazz-trained guitarist Willie Parker, fretless bassist Gregory Hammonds, keyboardist Karissa Freeman, drummer Charles Steptoe, and horn player Leon Rogers. Their first single, "(I Got) So Much Trouble in My Mind," was also their biggest, reaching the R&B Top 30 in early 1973. Quarterman's only LP, Sir Joe Quarterman & Free Soul, was released later that year on the small GSF label, and showed Quarterman to be an avatar of the kind of hard, socially conscious funk James Brown often recorded during the early '70s. Further singles followed, including "This Girl of Mine (She's Good to Me)," "I'm Gonna Get You," and "Thanks Dad," before Quarterman moved to Mercury in 1974. Unfortunately, the label issued only two singles, the fine "Get Down Baby" and "I'm a Young Man," before letting Quarterman go. Financial problems broke up the band, and Quarterman quit the business to return to college and earn his degree in architecture. Collectables reissued Quarterman's lone album on CD during the '90s, adding several non-LP singles as bonus tracks. © Steve Huey, All Music Guide

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes


southsidejohnny&theasburyjukes




Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes - The Best of Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes - 1992 - Legacy Rock Artifacts Series

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes were the second band after Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band to emerge from the New Jersey shore scene, and though they carried over a significant influence (and some key personnel) from their predecessors, they were a more generic white R&B horn band in the Memphis Stax Records tradition. This is a great album, and highly recommended by A.O.O.F.C

TRACKS/COMPOSERS

I Don't Want to Go Home - Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul
The Fever - Bruce Springsteen
This Time It's for Real - Steven Van Zandt
Love on the Wrong Side of Town - Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt
Without Love - Ivory Joe Hunter, Carolyn Franklin
Having a Party - Sam Cooke
Got to Get You off My Mind [Live] - Solomon Burke, J.B. Moore, Dolores Burke
Snatching It Back [Live] - Clarence Carter, George Jackson
Sweeter Than Honey [Live] - Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul
You Mean So Much to Me [Live] - Bruce Springsteen
Little by Little - Mel London
Got to Be a Better Way Home - Steven Van Zandt
This Time Baby's Gone for Good - Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul
I Played the Fool - Steven Van Zandt
Hearts of Stone - Bruce Springsteen
Take It Inside - Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul
Talk to Me - Bruce Springsteen
Next to You - Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul
Trapped Again - Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Lyon, Steven Van Zandt

CREDITS

Southside Johnny (Harmonica),
Southside Johnny (Vocals),
Southside Johnny (Main Performer),
Steven Van Zandt (Producer),
Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes (Performer)

REVIEW

Concentrating on the highlights from Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes' late-'70s albums, Best of Southside Johnny offers a good introduction to the hard R&B-influenced rock of the New Jersey band. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

BIO (Wikipedia)

Southside Johnny (real name John Lyon, born December 4, 1948 in Neptune, New Jersey) is an American singer, harmonica player, and songwriter, who usually fronts his band The Asbury Jukes.
Lyon grew up in Ocean Grove, New Jersey and graduated from Neptune High School. As an artist, Southside Johnny first achieved prominence in the mid-1970s as the second act to emerge from the Jersey Shore music scene and be considered part of the Jersey Shore sound, following Bruce Springsteen. Southside's first three albums, I Don't Want to Go Home (1976), This Time It's For Real (1977), and Hearts of Stone (1978), were Stax-influenced R&B arranged and produced by the co-founder of the band and Springsteen confederate Steven Van Zandt and largely featured songs written by Van Zandt and/or Springsteen. The Van Zandt-written "I Don't Want To Go Home" became Southside's signature song, an evocative mixture of horn-based melodic riffs and sentimental lyrics. Other notable songs included "The Fever","Talk to Me," "This Time It's For Real," "Love on the Wrong Side of Town," and the definitive version of Springsteen's " Hearts of Stone."
Southside has long been considered the Grandfather of "the New Jersey Sound." Jon bon Jovi has acknowledged Southside as "his reason for singing."
In 1982 the Rolling Stone Magazine voted the album Hearts of Stone among the top 100 albums of the 70's and 80's.
Cast under Springsteen's long shadow, national commercial success eluded Southside and the Jukes, and in 1979 they were dropped by their record company. Now working without Van Zandt, they released The Jukes in 1979 and Love is a Sacrifice in 1980. Neither of these achieved much success either. The band's first official live release also came out in 1980, the double album Reach Up and Touch the Sky.
During the 1980s Southside Johnny's recording contracts continued to change almost by album, but he continued to release records: Trash It Up (1983), a disco influenced album written by Billy Rush and produced by Nile Rodgers; In the Heat (1984) an album trying to reach out to "Adult Oriented Radio"; and At Least We Got Shoes (1986) where guitarist and Jersey shore fixture Bobby Bandiera, who often plays a custom guitar built by First Act Guitars took over songwriting and guitar work from Billy Rush and led the Asbury Jukes back to their original sound. Songwriting credits on At Least We Got Shoes also contain a song co-written by Bandiera and singer Patti Scialfa, who was known as a Jukes collaborator since the 1980 album Love is a Sacrifice and who became a member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band in 1984.
In 1988 Southside Johnny released his first solo record Slow Dance containing ballads and love songs, but also "Little Calcutta" which is still discussed as Southside's most political song of his career, describing the life and environment of the homeless in New York City.
More record label switches, Jukes personnel changes, tours and club dates followed.
His recording career was re-launched with the album Better Days (1991), which featured production by Van Zandt, songs by Springsteen, and vocal performances from Van Zandt, Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi. With Bobby Bandiera driving the band, the Jukes were gaining new energy for a world wide tour supporting the album. But once again, Southside Johnny's bad luck with the industry was shown when the record label went bankrupt while the tour was still rolling.
Southside performed the theme song for the 1990s sitcom Dave's World, a cover of Billy Joel's "You May Be Right."
Southside eventually relocated to Nashville taking a break from the music business. A few members of the Asbury Jukes would end up being part of The Max Weinberg 7 on the Late Night with Conan O'Brien television show, while some others went on tour and into the recording studio with artists like Jon Bon Jovi, Mink DeVille, Graham Parker, Robert Cray.
In 1998 Southside Johnny came back into the spotlight with an independent release titled Spittin' Fire, a live record with a semi-acoustic Jukes lineup released in France containing a 20 song set recorded during a series of 10 shows at the "Chesterfield Café" in Paris, France.
After a decade without a record contract Southside finally founded his own record label in 2001 under the name of Leroy Records, and started releasing and distributing his new records fully under his own control: Messin' with the Blues (2000), Going to Jukesville (2002), Missing Pieces (2004), Into the Harbour (2005).
Southside continues to perform, and maintains substantial audience followings in some regions of the U.S., such as New Jersey, New York, northeast Ohio, and abroad, in the UK and continental Europe, as 2002's Live At The Opera House DVD, filmed at a sell-out performance in Newcastle upon Tyne, demonstrates. As of 2005, he resides on the Delaware Bay. His annual appearances at Springsteen's Asbury Park holiday shows draw as much crowd excitement as Springsteen himself.

17.9.07

Gentle Giant


gentlegiant-outofthewoodsbbcsessions1976




Gentle Giant - Out Of The Woods:The BBC Sessions - 1996 - Varese

Though never as commercially successful as some of their peers (like Yes and King Crimson), Gentle Giant was one of the greatest and most influential progressive rock bands of the 1970s. Their style was marked by a heavy classical influence and unique use of vocal counterpoint. Their early albums are among the most sophisticated and complex works in the genre. Their music is an acquired taste. The band had a hardcore following but their complex educated music did not lend itself to commercialism. Their unique musical style covered rock, blues, jazz, & even Renaissance madrigals.! An incredible live band, they would play guitar quintets, percussion quintets, recorder quartets, a cello/violin/bass/drums combo, and acoustic guitar duels. This album covers some of their work from 1970 - 1975, and is worth listening to. This is a 128 kbps, so please make allowances for sound quality. If you are aware of a higher bitrate issue of this album, please post info, Check out their albums, Acquiring the Taste, & Octopus

TRACKS

1.City Hermit (first time on record!) (4:58) [21 July 1970]
2.Isn't It Quiet And Cold? (4:36) [21 July 1970]
3.Knots (2:14) Excerpt from Octopus [4 December 1973]
4.The Boys In The Band (2:59) Excerpt from Octopus [4 December 1973]
5.Organ Bridge (1:55) Excerpt from Octopus [4 December 1973]
6.The Advent Of Panurge (5:42) Excerpt from Octopus [4 December 1973]
7.Way Of Life (5:58) [4 December 1973]
8.Proclamation (6:03) [12 December 1974]
9.Experience (5:40) [12 December 1974]
10.Aspirations (5:01) [12 December 1974]
11.Cogs in Cogs (2:58) [12 December 1974]
12.Just The Same (6:09) [16 September 1975]
13.Free Hand (6:20) [16 September 1975]
14.On Reflection (5:56) [16 September 1975]

KEY PERSONNEL

Derek Shulman
Gary Green
Kerry Minnear
Ray Shulman
John Weathers

BAND MEMBERS

vocals, sax, recorder, keyboards, bass, drums, percussion Derek Shulman
(b. 11 Feb 1947, Glasgow, Scotland)
vocals, sax, trumpet, clarinet, recorder, percussion Phil Shulman
(b. 27 Aug 1937, Glasgow, Scotland), left early 1973
bass, trumpet, violin, vocals, viola, drums, percussion, recorder, guitar Ray Shulman
(b. 8 Dec 1949, Portsmouth, England)
guitar, mandolin, vocals, recorder, bass, drums, xylophone Gary Green
(b. 20 Nov 1950, Stroud Green, England)
keyboards, vocals, cello, vibes, xylophone, recorder, guitar, bass, drums Kerry Minnear
(b. 2 Jan 1948, Salisbury, England)
drums, percussion Martin Smith
(b. 17 Dec 1946, Southampton, England, d. 2 Mar 1997, Southampton), left Autumn 1971
drums, percussion Malcolm Mortimore
(b. 16 June, 1953), Autumn 1971-Spring 1972
drums, percussion, vibes, xylophone, vocals, guitar John Weathers
(b. 7 Feb 1947, Carmarthen, Wales), joined Spring 1972
Note that the members of the group were multi-instrumentalists who also switched instruments and sang five-part harmony on stage.

REVIEW

First, the short review. Every Gentle Giant fan should buy this album. Now, the longer review. :-)
Culled from the vaults of the BBC, Out Of The Woods (OOTW) is both a historical document and a damn good album. Not only does it contain a previously unreleased track, City Hermit, but also for the first time, we have legitimate live recordings of Isn't It Quiet And Cold?, Aspirations, Way Of Life, and Cogs in Cogs. The performances of all pieces range from very good to excellent. The sound quality is quite intimate, like listening to a private Gentle Giant concert in your own parlor or living room. The clarity is excellent. This is no scratchy, screechy bootleg.
OOTW begins with the unreleased City Hermit, written around 1970-71. It's a rocker that would have fit comfortably on their first album but lacks the sophistication that emerged in their second. Gentle Giant's blues roots are evident here, and though the lyrics are a bit silly, the piece works. I can't say it's one of my favorites, but fans will undoubtedly enjoy hearing this long-lost piece.
For me, the highlights of OOTW are Way of Life and Excerpts From Octopus. The performance of Way of Life is full of energy and excitement, showcasing a band in its prime. Excerpts From Octopus begins with a keyboard-heavy version of Knots, and segues into a wonderful acoustic guitar duet that's completely different from the version on Playing The Fool, featuring reworked parts from Boys in the Band, Experience, and even Edge of Twilight. It's outstanding. This is followed by Gentle Giant's patented recorder ensemble, complete with "Yankee Doodle." The final section, The Advent of Panurge, contains some excellent but subtle twists; Kerry hits a beautifully dissonant note at the end of "Look at my friend..." that made me jump and sigh.
The final three tracks, Just the Same, Free Hand, and On Reflection, are the least interesting on the album, but only because they are scarcely distinguishable from the originals. If you've heard Free Hand and Playing The Fool, there's little new here, and Derek's voice is distractingly overprocessed (electronically). One can also hear overdubbed sax parts which detract from the "live" feel. Still, it's nice to have studio versions of the arrangements that Gentle Giant used in concert.
Overall, OOTW is a vital album that belongs in every fan's collection.
Dan's ratings (out of 5 points):
Recording quality: 5
Performance: 4.5
Historical value: 5
Overall: 5
© Dan Barrett, 17 February 1997 www.blazemonger.com/GG/albums/reviews/ootw-barrett.html

LINER NOTES

In the 60s and 70s, the BBC regularly broadcast rock acts in program series such as Sounds of the Seventies, which were hosted by various well-known DJs. The acts often had to record their pieces in the BBC's own studios. This was due to an agreement with the Musicians' Union, which demanded that a certain amount of the music aired by the BBC should be live music. The BBC sessions were thus regarded as 'live in the studio' recordings; there was, however, no audience in the studio. The act contributed about twenty minutes of material, which was recorded and mixed during one evening, usually over a period of 10-12 hours. The result would be fairly good, although it would be unfair to compare it with the work recorded for an album.
According to Phil Shulman, Simon Dupree and the Big Sound did lots of BBC sessions in the latter half of the 60s. When Gentle Giant was formed by the core of that group, the three Shulman brothers, their management felt it was very important that the new group was presented on the air. As Simon Dupree was well known to the BBC, session contracts were easy to obtain for the newly-formed group. Gentle Giant had started gigging in the Spring of 1970, and by July they had already recorded their first session for the BBC, which was to be broadcast one month later.
The group recorded ten more sessions, up until 1975, all of about 20 minutes duration. However, no further sessions were to follow. This was because the Chrysalis management at this time didn't regard the work at the BBC as being especially important for Gentle Giant, combined with the fact that after 1976 the group had more or less given up on England, to concentrate on markets in the rest of Europe and North America instead.
This CD presents the first two (of three) tracks from the first session Gentle Giant recorded for the BBC. Additionally, the eight, tenth and eleventh (and last) session are included in their entirety.
Unfortunately, the contents of this CD is all that the BBC has been able to retrieve of Gentle Giant's work. The BBC habitually re-used old session tapes up to 1980, and, anyway, the agreement with the Musicians' Union only allowed them to be kept for six months. That we have been able to rescue a full CD's worth of material more than twenty years after the fact, is rather incredible. There may be people out there who have kept tapes from other sessions, whether from the production or from the broadcast itself; if so, Windsong would like to release these sessions also, if the quality is not too far below standard.
As it is, there are still two tracks recorded at the BBC that haven't made it to an album; Freedom's Child, recorded on the first session with the first two tracks on this album, and Hometown Special from the second session. Freedom's Child was also recorded as an unreleased single for Philips in the middle of 1970 and this tape may still exist, whilst Hometown Special survives on a tape recorded from one of the group's first gigs.
All of the 22 other tracks not rescued have been released on albums, and it would seem that they did not differ as much from the album versions as some of the versions included on this CD do. Some tracks were even recorded for more than one session, and the version of The Advent Of Panurge on this CD is, surprisingly, the fourth one recorded for the BBC.
The real gem on this CD is the track City Hermit, which has previously only been known to a few most ardent collectors in nth-generation tapes from early live shows. According to Kerry Minnear, the track wasn't included on the first album because it didn't fit in very well with what the group wanted to do. It was probably deemed a leftover from the late 60s, its structure is loose, and it doesn't contain the fine polyphonic vocals which were to be one of the group's trademarks. However, it portrays the group making a very early and energetic attempt to fuse organ fireworks with multipart harmony and bass riffs. And most importantly, it still rocks today.
The Excerpts from Octopus medley is rather interesting, as it differs in many ways from the same medley on the Playing The Fool live album. The guitar duet was jointly arranged by Ray Shulman and Gary Green, and the early version here was later expanded. The Organ Bridge is certainly different, and the recorder quartet within The Advent Of Panurge contains here their very popular arrangement of Yankee Doodle, which was not included on Playing The Fool.
The other songs also contain bits and pieces which make them slightly different from the album versions, the most notable difference being On Reflection, where the whole tune is rearranged with a different instrumentation and new sections.
All in all, the CD conveys the good fun and enjoyment which the group brought into their music, and shows that even though they had good reason to be content with their compositions, they continued to improve them for the purpose of live performance.
Together with Playing The Fool and the recently released BBC In Concert, this CD gives an excellent view of the live side of the band that delivered outstanding music whether on album or on stage. © Geir Hasnes

A SHORT HISTORY OF GENTLE GIANT

The three Shulman brothers had previously formed Simon Dupree And The Big Sound with three others in 1966. They cut 9 singles 1966-69 (and one as The Moles in 1968) and one album in 1967, all for Parlophone. The act played r’n’b and soul and ventured into psychedelia and pop.
After disbanding late 1969, the three brothers formed Gentle Giant Feb 1970, bringing drummer Martin Smith, who had joined Simon Dupree early 1969, with them. Kerry Minnear, who had graduated from the Academy of Music in 1969 with a degree in composition, joined them on keyboards and vocals, and guitarist Gary Green was brought in to complete the lineup in March.
The group were then signed to progressive label Vertigo. Their first album displayed their thorough arrangements, utilizing counterpoint and polyphony like no other groups within rock had ever done and would ever do until this day. Their multipart singing and use of classical instruments were in line with the current scene, only that they brought these aspects much farther.
The group toured extensively mostly in the UK and built a cult following. Their next album, Acquiring the Taste (1971), expanded their frontiers further, dipping into jazz, folk and complicated harmonies and chord progressions, but the satiric cover art and their vow inside to run the risk of being unpopular with their musical experimentation failed its target and gave them a somewhat pretentious image, which they never managed to get rid of. Nevertheless, the album impressed Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, who asked the group to support them on their European tour in early 1972.
Drummer Martin Smith then left to lead a quieter life as drummer in various outfits on the south coast. Young and aspiring Malcolm Mortimore replaced him and the next album, Three Friends, was recorded. This was the group’s first concept album with a rockier edge and longer compositions. As they were to embark on the promotional tour in the Spring of 1972, Mortimore had a motorcycle accident and John Weathers was brought in, to replace him pernamently. After recovering, Mortimore continued to play and record professionally, and still does
Weathers brought a solid foundation to the group’s complexity and they achieved enormous popularity particularly in Germany and Italy. They hastened back to record Octopus, their last album for Vertigo, with the famous Roger Dean cover, for many their ultimate achivement, displaying a versatility and blending the various styles into an ultra-progressive album. They then embarked on their first US tour with Black Sabbath, to promote Three Friends that had been released by Columbia with heavy promotion, but the two acts didn’t fit together. They were saved by Ian Anderson who asked them to support Tull on their US tour and the group finally broke through in the USA, though not on a large scale.
The group then went home to support Groundhogs and promote Octopus which was released late 1972. Sadly, in the USA the record company chose not to use the Dean cover, didn’t release the record until the following year, and then Phil Shulman handed in his resignation. He was 10 years older than the rest of the band and although the band’s musical leader, he chose his family above the music business and quit music altogether.
Black Sabbath had formed their own company World Wide Artists (WWA) to re-release their whole catalogue, and Gentle Giant now moved to WWA with a view to doing the same. Their fifth album, In a Glass House from 1973, was and is still awesome and among GG fans regarded as their best album, although the loss of Phil would come to mean toning down the gentler side and the use of the accoustic instruments. In the USA the record company refused to release the album on the ground that it was too eclectic and undigestible, but it then sold 250 000 on import. The group now headlined some of their tours and was particularly well received on the West Coast and in Canada.
The extensive touring continued and the next album, The Power and the Glory, brought their complex rhythmic and atonal experimentation to new heights. This album was released in the USA by Capitol and sold well, but the group was being ripped off by WWA in the UK, who folded shortly thereafter.
In 1975 Gentle Giant headlined most of their concerts and released Free Hand on Chrysalis which made it to top 30 in the UK and the top 50 in the USA, making it their best selling album ever. The album probably represents the height of their sophisticated techniques, the atonality had been toned down and the tremendous interplay was taken to its extreme.
To cash in on the success they rushed the recording of the next album and the end result, Interview, which was released in 1976, failed to some extent although charting in various European countries. It was based upon silly questions made by music journalists, but this backfired as it was too introspective and not as developed as previous albums. Some of the accoustic instruments had been excluded as the group opted for more of a rock image, but the cover art failed to reflect this. The group thus gave up on England after touring in the Summer.
A double live album, Playing the Fool, recorded at their European tour in the Autumn was released in 1977 and showed the group’s rearrangements of studio material for live purposes. It was stunning to know that the band members actually performed their incredibly complex tunes on stage. The album probably represents the group at their peak of popularity, and subsequently they made a decision to play their new material live before recording it.
At this time, many progressive acts had given up or given in to a more commercial style, and the Shulman brothers chose midway in making their next album to go for a simpler, more AOR oriented approach, to follow the musical trend. The Missing Piece, released at the end of 1977, contained their last progressive excursions and their first singles material, which, of course, failed to make the expected impression on the young.
Meanwhile, other progressive rock acts either gave up or gave in and the same happened to Gentle Giant. They quit touring for a while and recorded Giant for a Day, which contained short songs to cash in on the new wave and bring the group new fans while the cover art was deliberately made un-progressive to show the new direction. The record which was released in 1978 and its ill-conceived cover sadly show their lack of understanding basic rock’n’roll and appalled their fans while attracting noone else.
In 1979 the group made a final attempt to obtain commercial success with the hard-rock stadium oriented Civilian. It was released in 1980 accompanied by a US tour, but the approach failed once again and the group disbanded at the end of the tour.
Derek Shulman became A&R man for Atco and has been in the business on the executive side since. Ray Shulman and Gary Green made another attempt together under the band name Shout, but their only single released in 1982 bombed without a trace. Ray Shulman then made television and advertising music, in 1987 started producing and in 1994 started making computer games music. Gary Green only plays for a hobby, after having recorded with Eddie Jobson in 1983. Kerry Minnear played for a church until 1988 when he started composing TV series music and teaching music. John Weathers played with Welsh rockers Man until 1997 when he quit in order to play and record as a freelancer. Many attempts to bring the band together again have not brought fruit, apart from having resulted in re-releases of the whole catalogue on CD and thorough release of previously unreleased material.
The upsurge of interest in progressive rock music in the 90s has seen a renewed interest in the group and they arguably were surpassed by none in utilizing classical composition techniques within a rock framework. Their instrumental skill has made them a favourite musicians’ band and they have influenced a huge number of bands within the progressive rock context in the 90s. © Geir Hasnes, August 2001