A.O.O.F.C
recommends
Mizar6

babydancing




Get this crazy baby off my head!

Rapidshare has locked my account and deleted hundreds of my files. Sorry about the inconvenience, & thanks for all your support and encouragement. Paul

What's On Your Mind?

30.11.08

Caravan




Caravan - Canterbury Comes To London: Live From Astoria - 1997 - HTD/Castle/Transatlantic

Caravan were one of the great "Canterbury Rock" bands to emerge from England in the late sixties. They produced a unique blend of progressive psychedelic rock and jazz, and made some great albums. They were never a commercial band, and have always played what THEY like. It's not easy, and was never easy to retain your musical integrity, and Caravan never achieved the fame they deserved, although they have had a loyal hard core following for nearly forty years now. "Live From Astoria," recorded in September 1997 at The Astoria, London, England, is a great album and proves the amazing innovativeness of this great band. Check their debut s/t "Caravan", and their outstanding 1971 "Land Of Grey And Pink" albums. Their "Waterloo Lily" album is a brilliant English jazz rock album. N.B: "Caravan - Canterbury Comes To London" has been re-issued in many editions, on various labels, but of them have the same tracks. For music in the same genre, check out albums by "Matching Mole" and "Hatfield and the North."

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

01 Memory Lain, Hugh - Hastings
02 Headloss - Hastings
03 Nine Feet Underground - Coughlan, Hastings, Dave Sinclair,Richard Sinclair
04 The Dog, the Dog, He's at It Again - Hastings
05 Cold as Ice - Hastings
06 Somewhere in Your Heart - Hastings
07 I Know Why You're Laughing - Hastings
08 Liar - Hastings
09 For Richard - Coughlan, Hastings, Dave Sinclair,Richard Sinclair
10 Golf Girl - Coughlan, Hastings, Dave Sinclair,Richard Sinclair

MUSICIANS

Doug Boyle (Guitar), (Guitar (Electric))
Pye Hastings (Guitar), (Vocals)
Jim Leverton (Bass),(Vocals)
Dave Sinclair (Keyboards)
Geoffrey Richardson (Flute), (Mandolin), (Viola), (Spoons)
Richard Coughlan (Drums)
Simon Bentall (Percussion)
Rob Williams, Dave Woolgar (Recorders)

REVIEW

Rarely do reformations of classic rock bands equal the work of the unit to gain initial notoriety. Since their semi-permanent reunion in the '80s, Caravan have not only reworked some of their most beloved works on studio releases such as All Over You and the follow-up, All Over You Too, but the band has also made numerous live recordings highlighting enthusiasts favorites as well as newer material, such as Pye Hastings ballad "Cold As Ice." Canterbury Comes to London is one of the better live performance recordings to feature core band members (Pye Hastings, Geoffrey Richardson, Dave Sinclair and Richard Coughlan) as augmented by other non-Caravan alumni. Notable for their tenure in this incarnation is lead guitarist Doug Boyle -- who is probably best known as Robert Plant's post Robbie Blunt solo axe man. Jim Leverton is another addition whose long and varied residencies include Fat Mattress, Savoy Brown, and Juicy Lucy. Sadly, percussionist Simon Bentall's augmentations seem consistently out of place. The glaring chime crescendos during "Golf Girl" or the needless, yet incessant, tambourine fills and bongo fury which obscure an otherwise striking rendition of "Memory Lain, Hugh" and "Headloss" bear the deepest scars. Conversely, his restraint on "Nine Feet Underground" is duly noted. Enthusiasts whose interest began to wane in Caravan's post- Cunning Stunts era will, at the very least, be pleasantly surprised at the residual intensity and attack which are readily displayed throughout this live set. Immediately the togetherness of the band is demonstrated during the multi-rhythmic passages of "Headloss," as well as throughout "For Richard." There are no lagging tempos, forgotten lyrics, or neglected solos here. Caravan's motifs of musical economy while providing multi-hued sonic canvases are alive and well as Canterbury Comes to London. © Lindsay Planer, All Music Guide

ABOUT CARAVAN

Caravan was one of the more formidable progressive rock acts to come out of England in the 1960s, though they were never much more than a very successful cult band at home, and, apart from a brief moment in 1975, barely a cult band anywhere else in the world. They only ever charted one album in their first six years of activity, but they made a lot of noise in the English rock press, and their following has been sufficiently loyal and wide to keep their work in print for extended periods during the 1970s, the 1990s, and in the new century. Caravan grew out of the breakup of the Wilde Flowers, a Canterbury-based group formed in 1964 as an R&B-based outfit with a jazzy-edge. The Wilde Flowers had a lineup of Brian Hopper on guitar and saxophone, Richard Sinclair on rhythm guitar, Hugh Hopper playing bass, and Robert Wyatt on the drums. Kevin Ayers passed through the lineup as a singer, and Richard Sinclair was succeeded on rhythm guitar by Pye Hastings in 1965. Wyatt subsequently became the lead singer, succeeded by Richard Coughlan on drums. Hugh Hopper left and was replaced by Dave Lawrence then Richard Sinclair, and Dave Sinclair, Richard's cousin, came in on keyboards. Finally, in 1966, Wyatt and Ayers formed Soft Machine and the Wilde Flowers dissolved. In the wake of the earlier group's dissolution, Hastings, Richard Sinclair, Dave Sinclair, and Richard Coughlan formed Caravan in January of 1968. The group stood at first somewhat in the shadow of Soft Machine, which became an immediate favorite on the London club scene and in the press. This worked in Caravan's favor, however, as the press and club owners began taking a long look at them because of the members' previous connections. A gig at the Middle Earth Club in London led to their being spotted by a music publishing executive named Ian Ralfini, which resulted in a publishing deal with Robbins Music and then, by extension, a recording contract with MGM Records on their Verve Records imprint, which the American label was trying to establish in England. Their self-titled debut album was a hybrid of jazz and psychedelia, but also enough of a virtuoso effort to rate as a serious progressive rock album at a time when that genre wasn't yet fully established; along with the the Nice albums on Immediate and The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles & Fripp, it planted the roots of progressive rock. The Caravan album never sold in serious numbers, and for much of 1968 and early 1969, the members were barely able to survive -- at one point they were literally living in tents. And then, to add insult to injury, the record disappeared as MGM's British operation shut down in late 1968. Out of that chaos, however, the group got a new manager in Terry King and, with the help of a fledgling producer named David Hitchcock (who'd seen the band in concert), a contract with England's Decca Records, which was a major label at the time. Their Decca debut album, If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You, released in early 1970, was a major step forward and, indeed, a milestone in their history, establishing the mix of humor and progressive sounds, including classical, jazz, and traditional English influences that would characterize the best of their work over the next six years. Moreover, with Decca's then-formidable distribution behind it, the album got into stores and was heard and even sold well on university campuses. Suddenly, Caravan was an up-and-coming success on the college concert circuit, even making an appearance on British television's Top of the Pops. With national exposure and a growing audience, the group was at a make-or-break moment in their history. They rose to the occasion with their second Decca LP, In the Land of Grey and Pink, which showed off a keen melodic sense, a subtly droll wit, and a seductively smooth mix of hard rock, folk, classical, and jazz, intermingled with elements of Tolkien-esque fantasy. The songs ranged from light, easy-to-absorb pieces such as "Golf Girl" to the quietly majestic "Nine Feet Underground," a 23-minute suite that filled the side of an LP. One of the hardest-rocking yet musically daring extended pieces to come out of the early progressive rock era, "Nine Feet Underground" didn't seem half as long as its 23 minutes and it was a dazzling showcase for Pye Hastings' searing lead guitar and Dave Sinclair's soaring organ and piano work. Although few observers realized it at the time, the suite's length pointed up a problem that the group faced fairly consistently -- in contrast to most progressive rock outfits of the era, Caravan was inventive enough to justify extending even the relatively simple songs in their repertory to running times of six or seven minutes, and they were also extremely prolific. Those two situations meant that they were frequently forced to leave perfectly good songs off their albums and to edit those that they did issue. Most listeners didn't find this out until a wave of Caravan reissues arrived in 2001 with their running times extended 10-25 minutes each by the presence of perfectly good, previously unissued songs and unedited masters of previously released songs. Keyboard player and singer Dave Sinclair left the group's lineup in 1971, joining his ex-Wilde Flowers bandmate Robert Wyatt in the latter's new group, Matching Mole, and he was succeeded by Stephen Miller of the jazz-based band Delivery, who lasted through one album, Waterloo Lily" (1972), moving them in a much more bluesy direction. Friction between the members resulted in Miller's departure and the exit of Richard Sinclair, who subsequently put together Hatfield and the North. When the smoke cleared, Caravan was back as a five-piece which included Geoff Richardson on the electric viola, which added a new and rich timbre to their overall sound. By the time they cut their next album, For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night, Dave Sinclair was back on keyboards. The album was a success, as was its follow-up, Caravan & the New Symphonia, a live 1973 performance accompanied by a full orchestra, released the following year. The group was poised to try for a breakthrough in America and, toward that end, took on Miles Copeland as their manager. They ended up on a 50-date tour of the United States and Canada where the response was positive. They also released a new album, Cunning Stunts, that became their first chart LP, not only in England but also in America (albeit at number 124) and most of Europe as well. Unfortunately, Cunning Stunts, for all of its sales success, was an ending rather than a new beginning -- the group parted company with Decca Records after its release. They recorded Blind Dog at St. Dunstan's for the Copeland-owned BTM Records the following year, and Better by Far for the Arista label the year after that, but by that time, their moment seemed to have passed, and they seemed increasingly out-of-step with the burgeoning punk rock boom. Caravan ceased activity in the early '80s, following the release of The Album and Back to Front, both recorded for Kingdom Records, owned by their former manager Terry King. Their history seemed to have ended, and then in 1990, the original quartet of Pye Hastings, Richard Sinclair, Dave Sinclair, and Richard Coughlan were reunited for what was supposed to be a one-off concert for a television special. The performance and the sales of an accompanying live album proved so encouraging that Caravan came together once more for a second career. The group has been back together in one lineup or another ever since, (mostly filled out by ex-members of Camel, among other latter-day personnel), with new recordings emerging steadily. Equally important, someone at English Decca (by then part of Polygram, which became part of MCA) took it upon themselves to raid the vaults in 1999-2000 and prepare vastly expanded reissues of the group's entire Verve/Decca catalogs. The result was the availability of more Caravan music and more of their classic '60s and '70s recordings than had been in print at any time in their history. © Bruce Eder, All Music Guide

BIO (Wikipedia)

Caravan are an English band from the Canterbury area, founded by former Wilde Flowers members David Sinclair, Richard Sinclair, Pye Hastings and Richard Coughlan. Caravan rose to success over a period of several years from 1968 onwards into the 1970s as part of the Canterbury scene, blending psychedelic rock and jazz to create a distinctive sound like their contemporaries Soft Machine. Caravan still remains active as a live band in the 21st century. Following the dissolution of their former band, Wilde Flowers, David Sinclair, Richard Sinclair, Pye Hastings and Richard Coughlan formed Caravan in 1968. The band became the first British act to sign for American record label, Verve, who subsequently released the band's debut LP, Caravan, later the same year. After this Verve closed their rock and pop division, causing Caravan to move to Decca Records for the release of If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You in 1970, from which the title track gained the band an appearance on Top Of The Pops, and then Deram (Decca's progressive subsidiary) for 1971's In the Land of Grey and Pink. After the third album's release Sinclair chose to leave the group, to be replaced by Steve Miller. The change in keyboardist caused a change in musical direction, and the band's next album, Waterloo Lily, was distinctly more jazz influenced than earlier work. This caused some unrest for followers of the group, and the band disintegrated soon after Waterloo Lily's release, leaving just Hastings and Coughlan. The duo recruited viola player Geoffrey Richardson, bassist Stu Evans and keyboardist Derek Austin and toured extensively. This line-up did not make any recordings before Evans was replaced by John Perry and Dave Sinclair rejoined the group in 1973. The resulting album For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night was cited as a return to form and is now heralded as one of the group's finest moments. A regular cult favourite, the band's chart performance in the UK and US was minimal, charting one album, Cunning Stunts at US#124. In the UK, Cunning Stunts (#50) and Blind Dog at St. Dunstan's (#53) were their only hits. A loyal following has ensured steady back catalogue sales and a lengthy live career for the band, who continue to this day featuring founder members Pye Hastings (guitar, vocals, songwriting) and Richard Coughlan (drums). Caravan's best-known recording is the 1971 set In the Land of Grey and Pink, their second album for Decca. 30 years after it's release this album finally received a platinum disc for sales of over 100,000. It has been said of that album that it "showed off a keen melodic sense, a subtly droll wit, and a seductively smooth mix of hard rock, folk, classical, and jazz, intermingled with elements of Tolkien-esque fantasy".A fair summary of Caravan's late sixties to late seventies work. Prolific and inventive, the band appeared to have too many ideas to produce direct, radio-friendly singles. 21st century reissues of their albums featured lengthy tracks, previously unissued, demonstrating the huge amount of releasable material that had failed to make their 1970s albums. The band were largely dormant in the eighties until a 1990 reunion, planned as a one-off for television, restarted their career. Latterly they have also achieved steady sales and a fan following with the support of the more eclectic corners of radio, like BBC Six Music's "Freak Zone" and the growing re-emergence of progressive rock. They released Unauthorised Breakfast Item album in 2003.

27.11.08

Jimmy Witherspoon and Eric Burdon




Jimmy Witherspoon and Eric Burdon - Guilty - 1971 - MGM Records

The collaboration of Eric Burdon and the late Jimmy Witherspoon proved to be a good combination on this album. There are some good songs here, and even if there are a few "ordinary"songs here, they are never boring, and quite enjoyable, mainly due to the excellent musicianship. A well avove average blues album.The Italian e-zine Viceversa ranked it number 97 on their top 100 albums of all time. The album was recorded shortly after Eric Burdon left WAR, and Lee Oskar and Harold Brown, from War lend out very experienced hands on the album. 5 of these tracks were recorded on location at San Quentin Prison, with Ike White on guitar and the San Quentin Prison Band providing great support. This album was re-released as "Black & White Blues" in LP format in 1976 (LA Records GG 58001) and on CD in 1999 (ARG Records/BMG). Buy Jimmy Witherspoon's great "Blowin' in from Kansas City" album, and check out War's "The World Is A Ghetto" album @ WAR/WIAG which features War members, Lee Oskar, Papa Dee Allen, and Harold Brown, who are also on "Guilty." It is also worth listening to Eric Burdon's 1977 "Survivor" album, and any "Best Of The Animals" compilation.

MUSICIANS

Eric Burdon: Vocals
Jimmy Witherspoon: Vocals
Bob Mercereau, Lee Oskar: Harmonica
Papa Dee Allen: Congas
Harold Brown, George Suranovich: Drums
Charles Miller: Tenor Saxophone
Howard Scott, John Sterling: Guitar
Lonnie Jordan, Terry Ryan: Piano, Organ
B.B. Dickerson, Kim Kesterson: bass

…and on location with the Far Out Remote Unit - San Quentin Prison Band (featuring Ike White on guitar)

TRACKS / COMPOSERS
Side 1
I've Been Drifting/Once upon a Time - J.Witherspoon/E.Burdon
Steamroller - James Taylor
The Laws Must Change - John Mayall
Have Mercy Judge - Chuck Berry
Going Down Slow - James Ogden

Side 2
Soledad - Eric Burdon/J.Sterling
Home Dream - Eric Burdon
Headin' for Home - Eric Burdon/ K. Kesterson /J.Sterling
The Time Has Come - J.Witherspoon/T.Edwards



BIO (JIMMY WITHERSPOON)

One of the great blues singers of the post-World War II period, Jimmy Witherspoon was also versatile enough to fit comfortably into the jazz world. Witherspoon was born on August 8, 1920, in Gurdon, AR. As a child, he sang in a church choir, and made his debut recordings with Jay McShann for Philo and Mercury in 1945 and 1946. His own first recordings, using McShann's band, resulted in a number one R&B hit in 1949 with "Ain't Nobody's Business, Pts. 1 & 2" on Supreme Records. Live performances of "No Rollin' Blues" and "Big Fine Girl" provided 'Spoon with two more hits in 1950. The mid-'50s were a lean time, with his style of shouting blues temporarily out of fashion; singles were tried for Federal, Chess, Atco, Vee Jay, and others, with little success. Jimmy Witherspoon at the Monterey Jazz Festival (HiFi Jazz) from 1959 lifted him back into the limelight. Partnerships with Ben Webster or Groove Holmes were recorded, and he toured Europe in 1961 with Buck Clayton, performing overseas many more times in the decades to follow; some memorable music resulted, but Witherspoon's best 1960s album is Evening Blues (Prestige), which features T-Bone Walker on guitar and Clifford Scott on saxophone. As the '70s began, Witherspoon decided to take a short break from live performances, settled in Los Angeles, took a job as a disc jockey, and continued making records. In 1971 Witherspoon teamed up with former Animals vocalist Eric Burdon for the album Guilty. Unfortunately it sold poorly. By 1973 his short retirement from live performances was over. Witherspoon was ready to get back on the road and assembled an amazing band featuring a young Robben Ford on lead guitar. Those live shows had received positive reviews, rejuvenating Witherspoon's move toward a definite rock/soul sound. He traveled to London in 1974 to record Love Is a Five Letter Word with British blues producer Mike Vernon. Vernon had produced critically acclaimed British blues albums by John Mayall, Fleetwood Mac, and Ten Years After. By the early '80s, Witherspoon was diagnosed with throat cancer. Although he remained active and was a popular concert attraction, the effect of the disease on his vocals was obvious. Witherspoon passed away on September 18, 1997, at the age of 74. © Bob Porter, Scott Yanow & Al Campbell, All Music Guide



BIO (ERIC BURDON)

As the lead singer of the Animals, Eric Burdon was one of the British Invasion's most distinctive vocalists, with a searingly powerful blues-rock voice. When the first lineup of the group fell apart in 1966, Burdon kept the Animals' name going with various players for a few years. Usually billed as Eric Burdon and the Animals, the group was essentially Burdon's vehicle, whom he used to purvey a far more psychedelic and less R&B-oriented vision. Occasionally he came up with a good second-division psychedelic hit, like "Sky Pilot"; more often, the music was indulgent, dating almost immediately. Burdon's real triumphs as a solo artist came at the beginning of the '70s, when he hooked up with a bunch of L.A. journeyman soul/funksters who became his backing band, War. Recording three albums worth of material in the year or two that they were together, the Burdon/War records could ramble on interminably, and would have benefited from a lot of editing. But they contained some spacey funkadelia of real quality, especially their number three hit single "Spill the Wine," which was almost recorded as an afterthought in the midst of sessions dominated by exploratory jams. The band was already big stars on record and stage when Burdon, for reasons unclear to almost everyone, quit the band in 1971. War defied expectations and became even bigger when left to their own devices; Burdon, after recording an album with veteran bluesman Jimmy Witherspoon, cut a series of generally desultory solo albums. He recorded off and on after that, at times with the Animals, but has never come close to reaching the heights of his work with the early Animals and War. © Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

Guru Guru




Guru Guru - Hinten - 1971 - Ohr

Guru Guru's second album starts off on a chaotic note, but "Electric Junk" soon resolves itself into a full-on band jam and takes it from there, showing again that the band readily trod the fine line between merely skilled and truly inspired. There's always a nagging sense on this album that the group is but one step away from prog rock wank of the worst kind, but then there'll be a thick blast of righteous noise or a suddenly lovely dark chime that feels more Blue Oyster Cult than Emerson, Lake & Palmer, say. This can even happen out of nowhere, like the odd spoken word pronouncements interrupting the attempted drum solo on "Electric Junk" or the open-ended electronic moans and echoed calls during the floating midsection of "Space Ship." "The Meaning of Meanings" has the most "way deep, man" feeling on the whole album, as the title perhaps demonstrates, but even it has room for a rather bizarre midsection where the lyrics aren't sung or shouted as much as groaningly sighed over a slowly building full-band burst. Neumeier's drumming here is actually some of his best, while Genrich sounds like he's inventing some of Daniel Ash's feedback freakouts years in advance. The oddest number of the four mostly is such due to the name -- one would figure that calling a song "Bo Diddley" and clearly chanting the title at various points during the song would mean a full-on rave-up in the rock legend's vein. Anything but! There's enough of a smoky feel going on to suggest the influence the likes of Quicksilver Messenger Service incorporated, say, but a Diddley-beat workout this isn't, though there are a few game attempts here and there to try -- sort of. © Ned Raggett, All Music Guide

1971 classic second album of progressive psychedelic acid rock from the legendary German group. Quite rockish like their first album, with good guitars. Considered to be a krautrock classic. Check out the band's "Kanguru" and "Tango Fango" albums, and for music in a similar vein, check out Can's great "Tago Mago" album.

TRACKS

A1 Electric Junk (10:58)
A2 The Meaning Of Meaning (12:09)
B1 Bo Diddley (9:56)
B2 Space Ship (11:05)
Recorded at Star-Studio, Hamburg in July 1971
All tracks composed by Guru Guru

BAND

Bass, Performer [Radio], Voice - Uli Trepte
Composed By, Producer - Guru Guru
Electronic Drums, Cymbal, Gong, Kalimba, Voice - Mani Neumeier
Guitar, Voice - Ax Genrich

REVIEWS

Perhaps the greatest and most meaningful cover of all-time! For those of you who aren't aware, the English translation for 'hinten' is behind; hence, Mani Neumeier's (presumably) hairy ass with Guru painted on each cheek. Building upon the strength of their first album, 'Hinten' is more structured than its predecessor and contains an infectious mixture of psychotic percussion, throbbing bass, guitar riffs and solos out the hinten, Mani's obscure psycho babble vocals, and awesome studio effects courtesy of Konrad Plank's engineering brilliance. In all the album contains four extended tracks, all but one topping the ten-minute mark. 'Electric Junk' kicks off the album with a lightning fast Hendrix-style guitar riff which I'm sure made Genrich's contemporaries, including Hendrix, cringe with envy. The remainder of the track plays like an acid trip gone horribly awry. 'The Meaning Of Meaning' is a slower track featuring some ferocious distorted guitar. Towing the narrow line between genius and idiocy, 'Bo Diddley' features a tight bass line, wild percussion and a nonstop guitar freak out which will make you stand up and scream "Bo Diddley". Transcending musical boundaries, 'Space Ship' guides the listener on a journey into an acid riddled brain writhing in agony due to an overdose. This album features some of the freshest and most original jamming ever heard; it is safe to say that Ax Genrich's brilliant axe-work is second to none. Play this sucker loud! © [5/5 Doug] © www.geocities.com/krautrockgroup/GuruGuru.html#1973

Despite possessing one of the most tasteless album covers I've ever seen, the second album in Guru Guru's classic early 70s trilogy is another fine example of bombed out Krautrock bliss. Fittingly, it's sort of in between the complete deep space mayhem of their revolutionary UFO and the more (relatively) structured, riff-oriented blitzkrieg of KanGuru. Once again, newcomers to the genre might find it difficult to get into. While the rhythmic drive of the album is a little more logical than the thrilling cacophony of UFO, the frenetic, soaring guitar and sheer irreverence will send those not attuned to the style screaming away in droves. The goofy, addictively eccentric vocal style of the band makes its first appearance here, making itself known through strange grunts and spoken word nonsense. Musically, the album begins at a point that isn't too dissimilar from Hendrix or Cream; ball busting riffs and wailing, psychedelically inspired guitar solos. However, Guru Guru takes this approach into the stratosphere, complementing it with free form structures, strange electronics and often straight up noise. While the album doesn't provoke the same kind of priceless "what the fuck?" reaction as UFO, or provide the same level of sheer enjoyment as its follow-up, KanGuru, it's not a terrible starting place in that it strikes a middle ground between the two, and might be the most representative of the band's early style. . © Greg Northrup [January 2002] © 2003, The Giant Progweed

ABOUT GURU GURU

Formed in 1970, Guru Guru was a German prog rock outfit whose largely instrumental work set the group squarely within the boundaries of what is commonly referred to decades later as Krautrock. While guitarist Ax Genrich, Uli Trepte, and keyboardist/drummer (and Cluster collaborator) Mani Neumeier remained the core of the band throughout its ten-year existence, a number of other musicians passed through the band's ranks, including Cluster co-founder Hans-Joachim Roedelius, who played keyboards on 1976's Mani und Seine Freunde, and keyboardist Ingo Bischof, who assumed increasing control of the group until its 1979 dissolution following the release of Hey Du, recorded under the name the Guru Guru Sun Band. © Jason Ankeny

BIO (Wikipedia)

Guru Guru is a German Krautrock band formed in 1968 as The Guru Guru Groove by Mani Neumeier (drums) and Uli Trepte (bass) later joining Jim Kennedy (guitar). In time for their debut in 1970, Ax Genrich had replaced Kennedy to solidify the classic Guru Guru line up.Guru Guru was both related to the free jazz music scene and both worked with Swiss female pianist Irène Schweizer. Neumeier already won several Jazz-prizes. The band was influenced by rock music, such as Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, The Who, Rolling Stones and early Pink Floyd. Among the band's friends were Amon Düül, Can and Xhol Caravan, with whom Guru Guru played jam sessions. Frontman Mani Neumeier (drummer and singer) has an original style of playing drums, and is known in the European jazz rock-scene. He was also involved in numerous other projects, as Tiere der Nacht, The Psychedelic Monsterjam, Damo Suzuki's Network, Globe Unity Orchestra, Harmonia, Acid Mothers Guru Guru, Voodootrance & Lover 303. Guru Guru's live performances in the late 1960es and early 1970es were politically left-oriented. They organized concerts together with the Socialist German Student Union, read political texts between the songs, and sometime played at the jails. Their shows were extravagant and anarchistic, some of the musicians lived together in a commune in German Odenwald region, experimented with hallucinogens (one of their songs is titled The LSD March/German: Der LSD-Marsch). Mani Neumeier is one of the organizers of the annual Krautrock-Festival Finkenbach. Guru Guru released over 20 LPs, and over 500,000 copies of their records were sold (all releases together). The band played numerous live concerts, appeared in films, radio and television. In 1976 Guru Guru was the first German band to play live in the TV-show WDR-Rockpalast.

26.11.08

Blood, Sweat & Tears Featuring David Clayton-Thomas




Blood, Sweat & Tears Featuring David Clayton-Thomas - New City - 1975 - Columbia (Canada)

In 1975 , David Clayton-Thomas returned to the great jazz rock band, Blood, Sweat and Tears. This album was named "Blood, Sweat & Tears featuring David Clayton-Thomas." It contained 50 percent cover tunes (Janis Ian, Randy Newman, the Beatles, Blues Image) and 50 percent originals, including "Yesterday's Music," a song from a Clayton-Thomas solo album. It was the first BS&T album in many years to get favourable reviews. After the album's release, BS&T gained a new lease of life, and the band experienced renewed popularity. "Got To Get You Into My Life" peaked at US #62, and the album hit #47. During this period, a live album was recorded and released in Europe and Japan as "In Concert".In the U.S.A the album was later released as "Live and Improvised." In later years, the album has received many less than favourable reviews, and looking back on the groups back catalogue, it was certainly not one of their strongest releases. This is not to say that the album is bad. It contains many good songs from top writers like Allen Toussaint, Janis Ian, Randy Newman, and Lennon &l McCartney. Clayton-Thomas' voice is as good as ever, and some of the musicians are Grade A, like Joe Giorgianni, and George Wadenius. "Ride Captain Ride" and the unneccesary "Takin' It Home" are probably the weakest tracks on the album. It is unfair to make comparisons, but in the mid-seventies, the music scene was changing. Blood, Sweat & Tears' music had certainly changed, and like so many bands, found it virtually impossible to improve on earlier albums. Nevertheless, if you are not familiar with BS,&T's other works, you may like this album. Check out their brilliant "Blood, Sweat & Tears" and "Child Is Father To The Man" albums. There is info on the band's "Nuclear Blues" album @ BS&T/NUCBS and check out their "More Than Ever" album @ BS&T/MTE Read this great band's bio @ BS&T/BIO/WIKI

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

"Ride Captain Ride" (Skip Konte, Franke Konte, Mike Pinera, Carlos Pinera) – 5:06
"Life" (Allen Toussaint) – 4:24
"No Show" (Ron McClure) – 5:15
"I Was a Witness to a War" (D. Meehan, Bobby Scott) – 5:13
"One Room Country Shack" (John Lee Hooker, Traditional) – 2:24
"Applause" (Janis Ian) – 7:47
"Yesterday's Music" (Clayton-Thomas, William Smith) – 4:14
"Naked Man" (Randy Newman) – 4:00
"Got to Get You into My Life" (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) – 3:22
"Takin' It Home" (Bobby Colomby) – 1:37

MUSICIANS

David Clayton-Thomas – vocals
Dave Bargeron - trombone, tuba, baritone horn, bass trumpet
Bobby Colomby - drums, percussion, background vocals
Joe Giorgianni – trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet
Tony Klatka - trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet
Ron McClure – bass Bill Tillman – saxophone, background vocals
George Wadenius – guitar, background vocals
Larry Willis – keyboards
Mike Corbett – background vocals

REVIEW

In the late '60s and early '70s, Blood, Sweat & Tears was at the forefront of the rock with horns movement. But after lead singer David Clayton-Thomas' 1972 departure, both he and the band lost their commercial footing. New City finds Clayton-Thomas reconvening with Blood, Sweat & Tears after a three-year absence. Jimmy Lenner, who produced hits with the Raspberries, Grand Funk Railroad, and Three Dog Night, is behind the boards for this 1975 album. It does sound promising, but, in all honesty, New City fortunes seemed doomed from the start. The cover of the Blues Image's "Ride Captain Ride" turns out to be more than a perfunctory exercise and gives the band a chance to show its jazz chops, and Clayton-Thomas wails to his heart's content. Allan Toussaint's "Life" gets an irreverent and funky treatment. Strangely enough, the workouts on here pale in comparison to the ballads. The best track, the poignant "I Was a Witness to a War," is delicately arranged in the perfect key for Clayton-Thomas' subdued vocals. Janis Ian's "Applause" sustains interest, even as Clayton-Thomas' dramatic flourishes make Richard Harris seem remote. After a few ho-hum tracks, this closes with an energetic but anti-climatic cover of the Beatles' "Got to Get You Into My Life." Although New City failed to get the band back to the top of the charts, a listener might be pleasantly surprised to hear that the band did proceed through the '70s accordingly. © Jason Elias, allmusic.com

BIO

For a brief period at the end of the '60s and the start of the '70s, Blood, Sweat & Tears , which fused a rock & roll rhythm section to a horn section, held out the promise of a jazz-rock fusion that could storm the pop charts. The band was organized in New York in 1967 out of the remnants of the Blues Project by keyboard player/singer Al Kooper and guitarist Steve Katz of that group and saxophonist Fred Lipsius . The rhythm section consisted of bassist Jim Fielder and drummer Bobby Colomby and the horn section was filled out by trumpeters Randy Brecker and Jerry Weiss and trombonist Dick Halligan . Al Kooper came up with the name when he was on the phone with a promoter, while gazing at a Johnny Cash album cover. The album was called, "Blood Sweat & Tears". The inspiration for the band name did not come from Winston Churchill's quote, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat", as was widely reported at the time. Their first gig was at the Village Theater (which later became the Fillmore East) as the opening act for the James Cotton Blues band. A couple of weeks later the band opened for Moby Grape at the Cafe A Go Go. They were a huge success and three record labels were willing to sign the group. They decided to sign Columbia, a label that Kooper already had a relation-ship with. In December 1967 they began recording their first album "Child Is Father To The Man", which was released on February 21 1968. The critics loved it and compared it to the Beatles "Sgt. Pepper" and the Beach Boys "Pet Sounds". The album was considered as a mile stone in rock music and was awarded a Grammy nomination, but only hit # 47 in the charts. Al Kooper began working on the next BS&T album, searching for songs for follow-up material. On the first album, Kooper was given free hands to do what he could for BS&T. On the second album Katz and Colomby wanted to take a more active part in the development of the band and both of them wanted to get a new, better, stronger vocalist. After meeting with Kooper he decided to leave the band after their last gig at the Garrick Theatre in New York. Also Randy Brecker left the band to join the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Band. He was replaced by Chuck Winfield. Jerry Weiss left as well, his place being taken by Lew Soloff. Dick Halligan took over the organ and Jerry Hyman was added on trombone. Now they started searching for a new singer. Laura Nyro, who happened to be dating Jim Fielder at the time, was invited to a rehearsal, but she decided not to join the band. Steven Stills was also approached, but he was busy working with Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield on the "Super Sessions" album. Bobby Colomby then told the others of a virtually unknown singer named David Clayton-Thomas, and convinced them that his Blues-tinged style seemed perfect for the band. Clayton-Thomas had some hits in Canada with "the Bossmen" and sang briefly with a band called "Flying Machine". Born in Surrey, England, on Sept. 13th, 1941 as David Henry Thomsett of British-Canadian parents, the family moved to Toronto, Canada when he was age six. David had a troubled adolescence and was jailed a half-dozen times for vagrancy, parole violations and petty theft. While other teenagers in suburban Toronto were attending high school proms, David was a street kid, a loner, sleeping in parked cars, stealing food and clothing, learning how to survive and fight behind bars. When he was at Millbrook Reformatory he learned to play the guitar. An old guitar had been left behind by an outgoing inmate, and David claimed it. He began to practice alone, late into the night, and for the first time in his life he had a dream, a plan for the future. After his release, David made music his life, and steadily honed his skills in one band after another until Blood, Sweat and Tears approached him in 1969. The band also hired James William Guercio to produce their next album. If their first effort was a loose jazz blending melted together with rock, this album had a clearer delineation between jazz and rock. Straight-ahead rock songs and a jazzy part in the middle of each song. This was the formula that really did catch the fancy of the public. The album was released on December 11 1968 and launched three gold singles, "You've Made Me So Very Happy," "And When I Die" and "Spinning Wheel". The L.P. garnered five Grammy awards, including Album of the Year and Best Performance by a Male Vocalist. Suddenly B,S&T were as big as any band could be. Offers poured in for major concerts, TV appearances and jazz and rock festivals from coast to coast. They even played at the original Woodstock Festival. The month following Woodstock they began working on their next album. Before the album was released, they had to make a goodwill tour to East Europe, because Clayton-Thomas who was a Canadian citizen didn't have a green card. The members didn't like the idea of making a goodwill tour for the Nixon-administration but they had no choice if they wanted to keep Clayton-Thomas in the band. The tour was a major disaster. On the fist night, in Bucharest, the young Romanian audience jumped to its feet and shouted "USA". The Police responded by loosing attack German shepherds on the audience. The communist government gave orders to B,S&T, " more jazz ...less rhythm". After the return from the tour, their third album, "Blood, Sweat & Tears 3", struck gold upon it's release. The album contained a lot of high points, such as Goffin-King's "Hi-De-Ho", Laura Nyro's "He's A Runner", Traffic's "40,000 Headmen" and Clayton-Thomas' "Lucretia MacEvil" along with one of Steve Katz finest songs, "The Battle". On the album was also a version of Jagger-Richards' "Sympathy for the Devil", with an arrangement by Dick Halligan. "Hi-De-Ho" was released as a single and reached #14 in the charts. Jazz magazines praise their precision, their arrangements, and their musicianship. Contrary, rock critics call the group "slick and inflexible". Clayton-Thomas replied to the criticism."This band does more free blowing on stage than practically any rock band, but we do it within a very literate and educated framework. A lot of people say, it sounds so precise. Well that's the way these guys play. If you go to Juiliard for five or six years, you learn to play precisely." In September, "Lucretia MacEvil" was released as the next single and peaked at #29 in the charts. November saw the group play its first concert with a full symphony in New Orleans. They also recorded music for a Barbra Steisand, George Segal movie, "The Owl and the Pussycat". In January 1971, the group begin recording its next release in San Francisco. They recruited jazz writer/saxman/composer Don Heckman to co-produce. The sessions seem to drag on, with takes mounting up to the dozens. In a brief break from the recording, Blood, Sweat & Tears became one of the first rock bands to play Las Vegas, for which they received a lot of criticism. The band was charged with being hollow and pretentious, swapping its original rock audience for older, cabaret-oriented listeners. They were called a"lounge act" and that they had sold their soul for the money. Back in the studio again, they ask Al Kooper to come and help out with the album. Kooper, Colomby and Roy Halee co-produced the rest of the album. "B,S&T 4" was released at the end of June and it's the first album with mostly original tunes. It turns gold in a month. This time even the rock critics are impressed. Two singles are released from the album, "Go Down Gamblin'" and "Lisa, Listen To Me", neither of which do well on the pop charts. About this time, the band seemed to split into three separate fractions: the rockers, including most of the rhythm section; the jazzers, Colomby and most of the horn section; and the Vegas star, Clayton-Thomas. Each believes that the band has gone too far in the other direction. In January 1972, the split is total. David Clayton-Thomas leaves the band for a solo career. The decision was mutual, their musical ambitions were too different. Fred Lipsius left the band. The next month David Clayton-Thomas is replaced by the blind singer Bobby Doyle, once leader of the Bobby Doyle Trio. Joe Henderson replaces Fred Lipsius and guitarist George Wadenius, a member of the Swedish group "Made in Sweden", joins the band. The new lineup fails to gel and they start to look for another lead singer. Jerry Fisher is at this time recording singles in New York with "New Design", a subsidiary of Columbia Records (the BS&T label). His newly tracked recording session prompted an invitation to have a jam session with the group. After that, he's invited to join the band. Prior to joining BS&T, Jerry Fisher performed the nightclub circuits in Las Vegas, Tahoe, parts of his native Oklahoma and Texas. He had a sizeable following and was considered by one Texas music critic as "probably the greatest white blues singer in the business". All these changes mean time rehearsing and reorganizing instead of recording and Columbia Records releases a "Greatest hits" package. Eleven selections, seven singles chart entries, plus two album tracks from the celebrated debut album when Al Kooper lead the group, and two more from the Grammy-winning multi-platinum second album.The album contained the singles edits of the songs. The personal changes continued. Joe Henderson is replaced by Lou Marini Jr. Dick Halligan calls it a day and Larry Willis takes over as keyboard player. In the summer of '72, Blood, Sweat & Tears went in the studio again to record a new album. This time they choose mostly covers. At the end of August, the first new material to be released in 13 months, the single "So Long Dixie" is released, but stalls out at #44. The album is released a month later. A discouraged Steve Katz leaves the band along with Chuck Winfield, who is replaced by Tom Malone. There is no replacement for Steve Katz. As touring continued, Blood, Sweat and Tears begin gathering material for yet another album and in the spring of 1973 they are once again in the studio to record. The result "No Sweat" was released in June the same year and contained both originals and cover songs. The album this time is more rocking with "Roller Coaster" released as a single. The LP scores at #42 and another single, "Save Our Ship" is released from the album. The touring continues and so are the personal changes within the band. Longtimer Jim Fielder leaves and is replaced by Ron McClure, Lou Marini JR is replaced by Bill Tillman. Tom Malone leaves and Tony Klatka takes over. Lew Soloff also leaves the band. Jerry LaCroix, formerly a member of the Edgar Winter group, joins the band on sax and flute. He also sings, but Jerry Fisher is still the lead singer. In March and April 1974 the band spend most of the time in the studio for their forthcoming album and in July, "Mirror Image" is released. A song called,"Tell Me That I'm Wrong" is released as a single but only reaches #83. The album flops at #149. Jerry LaCroix didn't feel comfortable within the band, and he couldn't' handle Bobby Colomby. Basically he didn't care for Blood, Sweat and Tears style and he did not like to share lead vocal duties. He was more interested in his solo album "The Second Coming", that he recently had recorded. He once said that one of the reasons for him to join was that they ware going on a world tour and he hadn't seen the world. While they were in Australia he decided to quit. When they came back, he left the group after a gig in Central Park. Luther Kent, a blues singer from New Orleans was recruited as a new leadsinger, together with Jerry Fisher. Luther Kent had been singing with The Greek Fountains, a busy, popular band in demand regionally, then criss-crossed America with his own, 9-piece r&b band, "Blues, Inc". His voice could be described as powerful, rough and whiskey-drenched. Blood, Sweat and Tears never did any recordings with Luther Kent, who eventually quit to form "Trick Bag" with guitarist Charlie Brent. As 1975 began, David Clayton-Thomas returned to Blood, Sweat and Tears. Joe Giorgianni was added on trumpet, flugelhorn and in sessions during February, they recorded new songs for an album. 50 percent cover tunes (Janis Ian, Randy Newman, the Beatles, Blues Image) and 50 percent originals, including a song from one of Clayton-Thomas solo albums ("Yesterday's Music"). The L.P. called "New City" is released in April, and on the cover it says "Blood, Sweat & Tears featuring David Clayton-Thomas", to let people know that now it's the same band that made all those hits a few years ago. It's the first BS&T album in many years to get favourable reviews. Live bookings began to increase in quality and quantity, and the band experienced renewed popularity. Their revival of the Beatles "Got To Get You Into My Life" peaked at US #62, and the album hit #47. During this period, a live album was recorded and released in Europe and Japan as "In Concert". It's the same album that later was released as "Live and Improvised" in the U.S.A. In August 1976, an album called "More Than Ever" was released, but it was a disappointing seller. This was the weakest album they ever have put out, despite guest vocals by Patti Austin. It stalls at #165 and Columbia Records dropped the band. At this time, Bobby Colomby, B,S&T's sole remaining original member calls it a day. In 1977 the band is signed to ABC records and in November the same year, they recorded "Brand New Day". The album garnered positive reviews, but was not a major seller. The group continued to tour and personnel continued to fluctuate. In January 1978, they toured Europe. The band members at that time were, Clayton-Thomas on vocals, Dave Bargeron tuba, Anthony Klatka and Chris Albert trumpet, Gregory Herbert saxophone, Randy Bernsen guitar, Larry Willis keyboards, Neil Stubenhaus bass and Bobby Economou on drums. After a concert in Amsterdam, Gregory Herbert took an overdose of cocaine and died. The band returned home and separated. In late 1979, David Clayton-Thomas reformed a new Canadian version of Blood, Sweat & Tears with Bobby Economou. On guitar he recruited Robert Piltch, one of Canada's finest young guitarists and his brother David on bass. The other members were: Bruce Cassidy from Bruce Cassidy Band on trumpet, and arranger. Earl Seymour - Saxophone, Flute, Vernon Dorge - Alto, soprano sax, flute, Richard Martinez - Organ, piano, clavinet. Signed to MCA Records in 1980, this incarnation of Blood, Sweat & Tears first album was called "Nuclear Blues" and featured cover versions of Jimi Hendrix's "Manic Depression" and Henry Glover's blues classic, "Drown In My Own Tears". But the face of music had drifted away from the style that made Blood, Sweat and Tears popular and the band disbanded again later the same year. The Group faded from view for pretty much the next five years, with Colomby and Clayton-Thomas occasionally getting together for a few live shows here and there. In 1985, David teamed up with hard-driving young manager, Larry Dorr, formerly a tour manager with he band. Larry convinced David that there was still life in the once proud name Blood, Sweat & Tears, and that with the right musicians, good management, and strong leadership, it could once again be an attraction on concert stages around the world. They recruited musical director/trumpeter Steve Guttman, graduate of Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and Blood, Sweat & Tears began performing with prestigious American symphonies like the Detroit, the Houston, the Oklahoma City Symphony Orchestras. Larry Dorr was right. A revitalized BS&T under his direction and David's leadership came storming back to the concert stages of the world, playing international jazz festivals, symphonies, concert halls and casino show rooms. In the late 80's the personnel of the band stabilized and they became a regular group again. Due to legal hassles over use of the name "Blood, Sweat and Tears"' there haven't been any new albums released. In 1994, David Clayton-Thomas and Blood Sweat & Tears horn section: Jerry Sokolow - trumpet, Steve Guttman - trumpet, Tim Ries - Sax and Charlie Gordon - Trombone, made a record with the Hungarian jazz drummer Leslie Mandoki. The album was called "People". In 1996 David Clayton-Thomas was induced into the Canadian Music hall of Fame. and later recorded an album that was called "The Uptown Album". It was recorded live at Ornette Coleman's Harlem studio and was produced by David himself. It was released in Canada in November 1997 and in the US and the rest of the world in January 1998. In 1997 another album called "People In Room no. 8" was released. Later in 1998, David recorded a solo album called "Bloodlines" that featured some of the musicians that had been in Blood Sweat and Tears over the years. Blood, Sweat and Tears continued to tour and even though David Clayton-Thomas is regarded as "the voice of Blood, Sweat & Tears", it is the skill and the musicianship of all those very talented musicians that have passed through the band that made this group so special. In 2007, they were sharing the stage with Chuck Negron, formerly of Three Dog Night, in a series of shows across the US. © www.classicbands.com/bst.html

24.11.08

Daryl Hall And John Oates




Daryl Hall And John Oates - Beauty On A Back Street - 1977 - RCA

Beauty on a Back Street isn't quite as accomplished as its two predecessors, yet it is more ambitious and diverse, as Hall & Oates begin to add some arena-rock conventions to their sound, particularly distorted guitars and anthemic choruses. On War Babies they had tried a similar attack, but on Beauty on a Back Street, the duo's songwriting was stronger, which meant that the instrumental approach didn't overwhelm the actual songs. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine, allmusic.com

Hall & Oates "Beauty On A Back Street" received many mixed reviews on it's release in 1977. It was not the typical "blue eyed soul" release so characteristic of the duo, but was more in the "Rock'n'Soul" vein. If you're looking for a "Sara Smile," you won't find it here, although their famous "Philly-Soul" is not abandoned completely. Hall & Oates, during this "Saturday Night Fever" disco period of the seventies were perfectly capable of releasing an album of catchy, upbeat numbers to suit the musical trends of the time, but on "Beauty On A Back Street," they presented a more rock-oriented album, on the slightly experimental side. The album should be judged on these criteria. It is a very underrated album, and needs to be reassessed. There are some great songs here, with musicians like Tom Scott and Jeff Porcaro helping out. A really good album, and a change from the usual commercial output of Hall & Oates. This post is a 192 vinyl version, but sound quality is ok. Listen to their classic "Abandoned Luncheonette," and "Private Eyes" albums. There is info on Hall & Oates' "War Babies" album @ H&O/WB and the duo's "Ooh Yeah !" album @ H&O/OY

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

A1 "Don't Change" (Hall, Oates) (3:37)
A2 "Why Do Lovers Break Each Other's Heart?" (Sara Allen, Hall) (3:16)
A3 "You Must Be Good for Something" (Hall, Oates) (3:32)
A4 "The Empytness" (Oates) (3:35)
A5 "Love Hurts (Love Heals)" (Oates) (3:11)

B1 "Bigger Than Both of Us" (Hall, Oates) (4:31)
B2 "Bad Habits and Infections" (Hall) (6:03)
B3 "Winged Bull" (Hall) (4:39) (Covered by Hanoi Rocks in 2004)
B4 "The Girl Who Used to Be" (Marvin Hamlisch, Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman) (4:10)

CREDITS

Daryl Hall - vocals, synthesizer, guitar, vibraphone
John Oates - vocals, dulcimer, synthesizer, guitar, piano
Tom Scott - tenor saxophone
Christopher Bond - synthesizer, guitar, arranger, conductor, string arrangements
Gary Coleman - percussion
Scott Edwards - bass
Jim Hughart - bass
Tommy Mottola - background vocals, direction
Jeff Porcaro - drums
Lee Sklar - bass

ALBUM NOTE

A big departure from their trademark blue-eyed Philly Soul sound, BEAUTY finds Hall and Oates edging closer and closer to guitar-driven rock. The one big exception here is the title track, a beautiful soul song in their best "She's Gone" style, with a gorgeous string section coda. "Winged Bull," on the other hand, is a droning, quasi Middle Eastern-sounding folk rocker obviously modeled on Led Zep's "Kashmir." Even further afield, "You Must Be Good For Something" is a dissonant bit of proto-New Wave pop, complete with tick-tock rhythm (a la the Cars), while "Bad Habits and Infections," is a prog-rock mini-suite in a style not too dissimilar from Yes.

REVIEW

Along with “Along The Red Ledge”, this one is one of the most over-looked albums in their catalogue.. As an amazing follow-up to their previous smash albums - Daryl Hall and John Oates (The Silver Album) and Bigger than Both of Us (Friday Music 1976) Beauty had the reputation of a transitional album with more of a harder edged sonic quality, while maintaining the rock and soul approach, making their trademark sound the much emulated style it is to this day. With the punk rock influence hitting the shores with new albums, as well as bombastic soul efforts, plus arena rock achievements from mega superstar bands., this hit-making duo from Philadelphia knew they had to keep the fans satisfied. So, they reached back to the some of their recognizable star formula and created one of the most enduring and artistically pleasing efforts in their large catalog of albums. With clever arrangements and natural players like Scotty Edwards and Leland Sklar on bass, the late great Jeff Porcaro on drums and the jazz legend Tom Scott on sax, this album hits its stride with the first hit single Why Do Lovers Break Each Other s Heart? With the correct balance of Philly soul, 50 s doo-wop, and crunchy almost Mick Ronson style guitar riffs, this tune was just the beginning of what was happening in the studio as the album was being caught on tape. A little departure from their previous hit singles, Hall s lead vocal truly captures the lyric with a tonal quality that is reserved only for pros. As another successful follow-up at radio, Don t Change again relies on some heavier guitar patterns in just the right places, while Daryl belts out another incredible vocal performance. Truly, this was one of the most memorable tunes on this project. To gravitate towards a more familiar space, their rock n soul trademark sound comes home once more with Bigger Than Both Of Us. The beat of the string arrangement, the horns, the mighty drum sound, the strong vocals.... it just worked out to be another high-point track and album clincher for the duo. © Not Lame Recordings



ABOUT HALL & OATES

From their first hit in 1974 through their heyday in the '80s, Daryl Hall and John Oates' smooth, catchy take on Philly soul brought them enormous commercial success — including six number one singles and six platinum albums — yet little critical success. Hall & Oates' music was remarkably well constructed and produced; at their best, their songs were filled with strong hooks and melodies that adhered to soul traditions without being a slave to them by incorporating elements of new wave and hard rock. Daryl Hall began performing professionally while he was a student at Temple University. In 1966, he recorded a single with Kenny Gamble and the Romeos; the group featured Gamble, Leon Huff, and Thom Bell, who would all become the architects of Philly soul. During this time, Hall frequently appeared on sessions for Gamble and Huff. In 1967, Hall met John Oates, a fellow Temple University student. Oates was leading his own soul band at the time. The two students realized they had similar tastes and began performing together in an array of R&B and doo wop groups. By 1968, the duo had parted ways, as Oates transferred schools and Hall formed the soft rock band Gulliver; the group released one album on Elektra in the late '60s before disbanding. After Gulliver's breakup, Hall concentrated on session work again, appearing as a backup vocalist for the Stylistics, the Delfonics, and the Intruders, among others. Oates returned to Philadelphia in 1969, and he and Hall began writing folk-oriented songs and performing together. Eventually they came to the attention of Tommy Mottola, who quickly became their manager, securing the duo a contract with Atlantic Records. On their first records — Whole Oates (1972), Abandoned Luncheonette (1973), War Babies (1974) — the duo were establishing their sound, working with producers like Arif Mardin and Todd Rundgren and removing much of their folk influences. At the beginning of 1974, the duo relocated from Philadelphia to New York. During this period, they only managed one hit — the number 60 "She's Gone" in the spring of 1974. After they moved to RCA in 1975, the duo landed on its successful mixture of soul, pop, and rock, scoring a Top Ten single with "Sara Smile." The success of "Sara Smile" prompted the re-release of "She's Gone," which rocketed into the Top Ten as well. Released in the summer of 1976, Bigger than the Both of Us was only moderately successful upon its release. The record took off in early 1977, when "Rich Girl" became the duo's first number one single. Although they had several minor hits between 1977 and 1980, the albums Hall & Oates released at the end of the decade were not as successful as their mid-'70s records. Nevertheless, they were more adventurous, incorporating more rock elements into their blue-eyed soul. The combination would finally pay off in late 1980, when the duo released the self-produced Voices, the album that marked the beginning of Hall & Oates' greatest commercial and artistic success. The first single from Voices, a cover of the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," reached number 12, yet it was the second single, "Kiss on My List" that confirmed their commercial potential by becoming the duo's second number one single; its follow-up, "You Make My Dreams" hit number five. They quickly released Private Eyes in the summer of 1981; the record featured two number one hits, "Private Eyes" and "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)," as well as the Top Ten hit "Did It in a Minute." "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" also spent a week at the top of the R&B charts — a rare accomplishment for a White act. H20 followed in 1982 and it proved more successful than their two previous albums, selling over two million copies and launching their biggest hit single, "Maneater," as well as the Top Ten hits "One on One" and "Family Man." The following year, the duo released a greatest-hits compilation, Rock 'N Soul, Pt. 1, that featured two new Top Ten hits — the number two "Say It Isn't So" and "Adult Education." In April of 1984, the Recording Industry Association of America announced that Hall & Oates had surpassed the Everly Brothers as the most successful duo in rock history, earning a total of 19 gold and platinum awards. Released in October of 1984, Big Bam Boom expanded their number of gold and platinum awards, selling over two million copies and launching four Top 40 singles, including the number one "Out of Touch." Following their contract-fulfilling gold album Live at the Apollo with David Ruffin & Eddie Kendrick, Hall & Oates went on hiatus. After the lukewarm reception for Daryl Hall's 1986 solo album, Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine, the duo regrouped to release 1988's Ooh Yeah!, their first record for Arista. The first single, "Everything Your Heart Desires," went to number three and helped propel the album to platinum status. However, none of the album's other singles broke the Top 20, indicating that the era of chart dominance had ended. Change of Season, released in 1990, confirmed that fact. Although the record went gold, it only featured one Top 40 hit — the number 11 single, "So Close." The duo mounted a comeback in 1997 with Marigold Sky, but it was only partially successful; far better was 2003's Do It for Love and the following year soul covers record Our Kind of Soul. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine, allmusic.com

BIO (Wikipedia)

Hall & Oates is a popular music duo made up of Daryl Hall & John Oates. The act achieved its greatest fame in the late 1970s and early-to-mid 1980s. They specialized in a fusion of rock and roll and rhythm and blues styles which they dubbed "Rock and Soul". They are best known for their six #1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100: "Rich Girl", "Kiss on My List", "Private Eyes", "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)", "Maneater", and "Out of Touch", as well as many other songs which charted in the Top 40. They last reached the pop top forty in 1990 and then slowly faded from public view, though they did not formally break up. They have continued to record and tour with some success. In total, the act had thirty-four singles chart on the US Billboard Hot 100. As of 2006, Hall and Oates have seven RIAA platinum albums along with six RIAA gold albums. A greatest hits compilation was released in 2001 from Bertelsmann Music Group. The BMG collection was expanded in 2004 and reissued the following year, after BMG merged with Sony. In 2003, Daryl Hall and John Oates were voted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame. Forty years after they first met in Philadelphia -- and twenty years after they became the single most successful duo of all time -- Daryl Hall & John Oates continue to record and perform together their distinctive and enduring blend of soulful sounds. Starting out as two devoted disciples of earlier soul greats, Hall & Oates are soul survivors in their own right. They have become such musical influences on some of today’s popular artists that the September 2006 cover of Spin Magazine’s headline read: “Why Hall & Oates are the New Velvet Underground”. Their artistic fan base includes Rob Thomas, John Mayer, Brandon Flowers of the Killers, Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie and MTV’s newest hipsters Gym Class Heroes who dubbed their tour “Daryl Hall for President Tour 2007”. Daryl Hall & John Oates first met back at Philadedelphia's Adelphi Ballroom in 1967. Both were attending Temple University, but they first discovered their shared passion for soul music during a show at which both of their groups -- The Temptones and The Masters, respectively -- were on a record hop bill with a number of then nationally known soul acts like the 5 Stairsteps and Howard Tate. When a gang fight broke out inside the Ballroom, the pair met each other in a service elevator while trying to get out. Hall had already become a fixture in the Philly soul scene, recording a single with Kenny Gamble and the Romeos featuring future Gamble, Leon Huff and Thom Bell. Hall – now considered one of the great soul singers of his generation -- became a protégé of the Temptations at the young age of 17. Oates too had performed with a number of R&B and doo-wop groups on the Philadelphia scene, and recorded a single with famed Philly soul arranger Bobby Martin. In the early 1970’s Hall & Oates began performing as a duo, and a year later -- with the help of manager Tommy Mottola -- they signed to the legendary soul label Atlantic Records. The group’s major label debut Whole Oats -- produced by legendary producer Arif Mardin who had already worked with The Rascals and Dusty Springfield -- combined the group’s soul and folk influences, but failed to make a significant commercial impact. That breakthrough would come with the duo’s following effort, 1973’s Abandoned Luncheonette, still considered one of the group’s finest albums by many of their admirers. Abandoned Luncheonette’s acoustic soul sound was groundbreaking and widely acclaimed, and the album’s stunning standout track “She’s Gone” would become a #1 R&B smash on the Billboard Magazine charts for Tavares in 1974, and eventually become a pop hit for Hall & Oates when it was re-released in 1976. Hall & Oates took a rather dramatic turn with their third album, 1974’s War Babies, a rockier and more experimental song cycle recorded with producer Todd Rundgren. Leaving Atlantic, Hall & Oates signed with RCA Records and in 1975 released the Daryl Hall and John Oates (also unofficially known to fans as The Silver Album) which yielded the duo’s first critical and commercial smash “Sara Smile” .The group’s 1976 follow- up Bigger Than Both Of Us yielded the infectious “Rich Girl,” the group’s first #1 on the Pop Singles chart, and a track that once again artfully combining their rock and soul influences into a cohesive whole. The group continued to experiment and expand their rock n’ soul sound with ambitious albums like 1978’s Along The Red Ledge (with David Foster as producer) and 1979’s X-Static. During that same period, Hall recorded and released on RCA his critically acclaimed first solo album Sacred Songs with experimental guitar innovator Robert Fripp. In 1980, Hall & Oates’ released the Voices album which would prove a true watershed moment in their illustrious career. Producing themselves for the first time, Hall & Oates created the template for a brightly infectious but still soulful sound that would help them become one of the dominant group’s of the Eighties. Voices included the group’s second #1 on the Pop Singles chart, “Kiss On My List,” as well as significant hits in “You Make My Dreams” and a cover of the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.” In addition, “Everytime You Go Away” from the Voices album became a #1 hit in America and around the world when later covered by British soul singer Paul Young in 1985. 1981’s Private Eyes album featured two more #1 hits, the title track and “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) ”and the Top Ten “Did It In A Minute.” This remarkable run continued with 1982’s H2O and more smashes in the form of "Maneater," “Family Man” and “One On One.” Two more hits -- “Say It Isn’t So” and “Adult Education” -- were included on the smash anthology Rock ‘n Soul, Pt. 1 that was released in 1983. Big Bam Boom continued the duo’s momentum with the help of another #1 hit, “Out Of Touch.” Having achieved so much together -- including appearing on the “We Are the World” recording session, at Live Aid and performing and recording at the Apollo Theater along with former Temptations David Ruffin and Eddie Kendrick -- Hall & Oates took a hiatus to focus on individual efforts in the mid-Eighties. Hall recorded and released his second solo effort, Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine, produced by his now long time friend, Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics. The album would produce another hit for Hall in “Dreamtime”. The pair would then reunited to record their final 2 albums for Arista Ooh Yeah and Change of Season. In the past decade, Hall & Oates have toured consistently and with considerable success around the world, and have continued to record both together and separately with impressive results including Hall’s third solo album, Soul Alone. Sensing the change in the business, they abandoned the major labels and released independently Hall’s fourth solo album, Can’t Stop Dreaming and the duo’s 1997’s Marigold Sky –– with both receiving considerable acclaim. Forming their own label, U-Watch Records, 2003’s Do It For Love rightly marked a major return to form with the album being embraced as the group’s finest in many years. It also had considerable commercial success with the passionate title track reaching #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Charts, while “Forever For You” also hit the Top Ten on the same chart. Most recently, Hall & Oates saluted their deep soul roots with 2004’s Our Kind Of Soul – an album that found them recording inventive re-workings of some of their favorite soul classics like the Spinners’ “I’ll Be Around” and the Four Tops’ “Standing in the Shadows of Love,” as well as three new originals with a decidedly classic soul feel, “Let Love Take Control,” and “Don’t Turn Your Back on Me”. 2004 also saw Hall & Oates’ body of work inducted together into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. In 2006, Hall & Oates released their first ever full Christmas album on U-Watch entitled Home For Christmas, a soulful seasonal effort highlighted by a cover of Robbie Robertson's “Christmas Must Be Tonight” and two moving originals-- “No Child Should Ever Cry At Christmas” written by John Oates and the albums title track written by Daryl Hall with Greg Bieck and longtime Hall & Oates player and collaborator T-Bone Wolk. The single “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” became the #1 Holiday song of the 2006 season, The fortieth anniversary of their first meeting finds Daryl Hall & John Oates very much at the height of their powers making their own kind of soul, with a new generation of musicians recognizing not only their historic track record of success, but also their continuing influence and achievements.

The Groundhogs




The Groundhogs - Hoggin' the Stage - 1995 - Receiver

A brilliant live recording from the Groundhogs. This album was originally released as a double LP, on the Psycho label in 1984, with live recordings from Leeds, and London in 1971, and Stockholm in 1976. This album had the extra tracks, "Live Right," and "Love You Miss Ogyny." It also included an EP, with the tracks, " Cherry Red/Split Part 2," and "Light My Light." The album was also released in 2006, on the Talking Elephant label as "Hoggin' the Stage Plus" with 15 tracks, including live bonus material. The Groundhogs began in 1964, when Tony McPhee and Pete Cruikshank formed John Lee's Groundhogs to back John Lee Hooker on a British tour. They released the great blues album, Blues Obituary, in 1969. After that, they became more heavy prog rock orientated, and, starting with 1970's Thank Christ For The Bomb, they had three Top Ten albums during the early Seventies. The Groundhogs never achieved the status of many far less talented bands, but they are a very important part of psychedelic / blues / progressive rock. Check out Tony McPhee's 1973 "Two Sides of Tony McPhee " album, and buy The Groundhog's great 1972 album, "Who Will Save the World? The Mighty Groundhogs." There is info on the Groundhogs rare "Extremely Live" 1988 album @ GHOGS/EXLIVE and Tony McPhee's "Foolish Pride" album @ TMCPHEE/FP Read about this great underrated band @ GHOGS/BIO/WIKI

TRACKS / COMPOSERS / LOCATIONS / DATES

1 Cherry Red McPhee - Recorded Live in Leeds, 13/3/1971
2 Garden McPhee- Recorded Live in Leeds, 13/3/1971
3 Split, Pt. 1 McPhee- Recorded Live in Leeds, 13/3/1971
4 Groundhog Blues Davenport- Recorded Live in Leeds, 13/3/1971
5 Eccentric Man McPhee - Recorded Live in Stockholm, 1976
6 Split, Pt. 2 McPhee- Recorded Live in Stockholm, 1976
7 Mistreated Townsend - Recorded Live In London, 1971
8 Still a Fool Waters -- Recorded Live In London, 1971
9 Boogie With Us McPhee - Recorded Live in Stockholm, 1976
10 Your Love Keeps Me Alive McPhee - Recorded Live in Stockholm, 1976


BAND

Rick Adams - Guitar (Stockholm)
Mick Cook - Drums (Stockholm)
Pete Cruickshank - Bass (Leeds/London)
Ken Pustelnik - Drums (Leeds/London)
Martin Kent - Bass (Stockholm)
Tony McPhee - Guitar/Vocals




BIO

The Groundhogs were not British blues at their most creative; nor were they British blues at their most generic. They were emblematic of some of the genre's most visible strengths and weaknesses. They were prone to jam too long on basic riffs, they couldn't hold a candle to American blues singers in terms of vocal presence, and their songwriting wasn't so hot. On the other hand, they did sometimes stretch the form in unexpected ways, usually at the hands of their creative force, guitarist/songwriter/vocalist T.S. (Tony) McPhee. For a while they were also extremely popular in Britain, landing three albums in that country's Top Ten in the early '70s. The Groundhogs' roots actually stretch back to the mid-'60s, when McPhee helped form the group, named after a John Lee Hooker song (the band was also known briefly as John Lee's Groundhogs). In fact, the Groundhogs would back Hooker himself on some of the blues singer's mid-'60s British shows, and also back him on record on an obscure LP. They also recorded a few very obscure singles with a much more prominent R&B/soul influence than their later work. In 1966, the Groundhogs evolved into Herbal Mixture, which (as if you couldn't guess from the name) had more of a psychedelic flavor than a blues one. Their sole single, "Machines," would actually appear on psychedelic rarity compilations decades later. The Groundhogs/Herbal Mixture singles, along with some unreleased material, has been compiled on a reissue CD on Distortions. After Herbal Mixture folded, McPhee had a stint with the John Dummer Blues Band before reforming the Groundhogs in the late '60s at the instigation of United Artists A&R man Andrew Lauder. Initially a quartet (bassist Pete Cruickshank also remained from the original Groundhogs lineup), they'd stripped down to a trio by the time of their commercial breakthrough, Thank Christ for the Bomb, which made the U.K. Top Ten in 1970. The Groundhogs' power-trio setup, as well as McPhee's vaguely Jack Bruce-like vocals, bore a passing resemblance to the sound pioneered by Cream. They were blunter and less inventive than Cream, but often strained against the limitations of conventional 12-bar blues with twisting riffs and unexpected grinding chord changes. McPhee's lyrics, particularly on Thank Christ for the Bomb, were murky, sullen anti-establishment statements that were often difficult to decipher, both in meaning and actual content. They played it straighter on the less sophisticated follow-up, Split, which succumbed to some of the period's blues-hard-rock indulgences, putting riffs and flash over substance. McPhee was always at the very least an impressive guitarist, and a very versatile one, accomplished in electric, acoustic, and slide styles. Who Will Save the World? The Mighty Groundhogs! (1972), their last Top Ten entry, saw McPhee straying further from blues territory into somewhat progressive realms, even adding some mellotron and harmonium (though the results were not wholly unsuccessful). The Groundhogs never became well-known in the U.S., where somewhat similar groups like Ten Years After were much bigger. Although McPhee and the band have meant little in commercial or critical terms in their native country since the early '70s, they've remained active as a touring and recording unit since then, playing to a small following in the U.K. and Europe. Richie Unterberger, allmusic.com

23.11.08

Jack Bruce




Jack Bruce - Shadows In The Air - 2001 - Sanctuary Records

His now-weathered visage may not be as recognizable as that of his old Cream mate Eric Clapton, but Jack Bruce's voice doesn't require much in the way of an introduction. The man with the pipes behind such '60s proto-metal touchstones as "White Room" and "Sunshine of Your Love" (both revisited here, with Clapton in tow, no less!) long ago left rock stardom behind, but he's still a respected bassist and vocalist who serious musicians love to accompany. Here, in addition to Clapton, he enlists the likes of Gary Moore, Vernon Reid, and Dr. John. Despite the two Cream classics and a third selection culled from his days in the short-lived '70s supergroup West, Bruce & Laing, the bulk of Shadows in the Air consists of new material cowritten and coproduced by Bruce and past collaborator Kip Hanrahan. This isn't the tossed-off stuff one has come to expect from rock stars on the comeback trail, as the likes of the anti-music-biz screed "52nd Street" attests ("Their teeth are made of sharpened gold / Though their smiles are polished white"). Stardom may be a distant memory for this erstwhile rock god, but, judging by this 15-song outing, serious music certainly isn't. © Steven Stolder, © 1996-2008, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates

Jack Bruce never became a megastar like some of his contemporaries, like Eric Clapton, but Jack, with his distinctive voice, unique bass style, and often cryptic songs has had a very successful career, maybe not commercially, but in the sense that he has created some brilliantly original rock, blues, jazz, world-music, and even avant-garde recordings. He is one of the most innovative musicians on the music scene today, constantly turning out great solo albums, and also some wonderful recordings in collaboration with other great musicians. Many of these albums have been shamefully neglected by the media. "Shadows In The Air" leans heavily on Latin rhythms, and is just another example of the versatility of Jack Bruce. Even with the Latin flavour, the sound on this album is often reminiscent of early sixties British blues and seventies jazz fusion. There are shades of early Santana, especially the rhythm section, and even Jack Bruce's great Cream. This album also features the Creme da la creme of modern day blues and rock artists, including Dr. John, Eric Clapton, and Gary Moore. This album needs to be heard by more people. Jack Bruce is one of the all time greats of blues rock, but it is often forgotten that he is also an accomplished jazz artist. As a teenager in his native Scotland, Jack took up jazz bass, and won a scholarship studying cello and composition at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. "Shadows In The Air" is a wonderful example of the diversity of Jack Bruce's music, and is HR by A.O.O.F.C. Check out his "Songs for a Tailor" and "Harmony Row" albums. There is info on Jack Bruce's "I've Always Wanted To Do This" album @ JBRUCE/IAW2DT and check out the BBM (Baker, Bruce, & Moore) album, "Around The Next Dream" @ BBM/ATND It is worth reading the great man's biography @ JBRUCEBIO/WIKI

TRACK DETAILS

1 Out Into The Fields (5:22) (with Vernon Reid)
Written-By - Laing* , West*
2 52nd Street (3:59) (with Vernon Reid)
3 Heart Quake (5:31) (with Gary Moore)
4 Boston Ball Game 1967 (2:01)
Saxophone [Alto] - Miguel Xenon
Saxophone [Tenor] - Mario Rivera (2)
Trombone - Papo Vasquez*
Trumpet - Pirro Rodriguez
5 This Anger's A Liar (3:21) (with Dr. John)
6 Sunshine Of Your Love (4:31) (with Eric Clapton)
Written-By - Clapton*
7 Directions Home (4:30)
8 Milonga (4:53)
9 Dancing On Air (4:02)
10 Windowless Rooms (5:08) (with Dr. John/Reid)
11 Dark Heart (5:59) (with Gary Moore/Reid)
Accordion - Jimmy McDonald
12 Mr. Flesh (2:13) (with Vernon Reid)
13 He The Richmond (3:19)
14 White Room (5:48) (with Eric Clapton)
Guitar, Synthesizer - Malcolm Bruce
15 Surge (1:58)

CREDITS

Bass - Andy Gonzalez (tracks: 4, 6)
Congas - Milton Cardona (tracks: 2 to 4, 6 to 8, 11, 14) , Richie Flores (tracks: 4, 6, 14)
Congas, Timbales, Percussion [Quinto] - Changuito Luis Quintana*
Drums - El Negro Horacio Hernandez* , Robby Ameen*
Guitar - Gary Moore (tracks: 3, 11) , Vernon Reid (tracks: 1, 2, 5, 10, 12, 13)
Piano, Organ - Dr. John (tracks: 5, 10)
Violin - Alfredo Triff (tracks: 1, 7, 8, 14)
Vocals, Arranged By, Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Bass, Producer - Jack Bruce
Vocals, Guitar - Eric Clapton (tracks: 6, 14)
Guitar, Synth. - Malcolm Bruce
Alto Sax - Miguel Zenon
Written-By - Bruce* , Hanrahan* (tracks: 2, 5, 7, 8, 10 to 12, 15) , Brown* (tracks: 1, 3, 4, 6, 9, 13, 14)

REVIEWS

Most of the world knows Jack Bruce as the guy who sang and played bass for Cream, the archetypal supergroup that made a guy named Clapton into a deity and rock improvisation an okay thing to do. Cream, however, only accounts for a tiny slice of Bruce's forty-year career -- which is better represented by solo outings like this fifteen-track set of low-octane, Latin-jazz-rock grooves. Listen to the somnolent, noirish anti-ballad "Heart Quake" (a slow dance for the nightbreed that would've made the perfect soundtrack when Tim Leary's ashes got shot into space) or the speakeasy brooder "This Anger's a Liar" (featuring Dr. John on the ivories), and you'll get the point. Remodeled versions of "Sunshine of Your Love" and "White Room" can virtually be dismissed as publicity-grabbers, though old mate Slowhand pitches in with his usual high-caliber guitar slinging. Self-indulgent? Sure. But when you get to Bruce's level you've earned the right to dabble a little. © ADRIAN ZUPP, (July 9, 2001), © 2008 Rolling Stone

Bruce the Tender and Bruce the Sleek remaking his classics in a strange way? Bruce's first album of the 3rd millennium is definitely a huge step-up from the miserable synth-drenched Somethin Els, although on the whole, I count it as yet another failed attempt to really get me spiritually involved in the man's solo career. But there's something really endearing on this album, something that does pinch and prick your spirit a bit. Or maybe just... put it this way: Shadows In The Air is a record that really convinces me Bruce still got it, whichever way you prefer to understand the 'it' - I prefer to understand it in the sense that Bruce still remains a pretty talented, intelligent, and skilled musician and composer, even if he still lacks the true ability to put his talent into an entirely satisfying musical form. The album itself is rather strange. About a third of the tracks on here are remakes of Bruce's earlier classics, both from the Cream years (predictable 'Sunshine Of Your Love' and 'White Room', with Eric Clapton guest playing on them and even guest singing on 'Sunshine') and from later on (two numbers from Songs For A Tailor and a bunch of stuff I'm not familiar with). This leaves us with the burning question - was Bruce too skint on new material, so he had to rely on early efforts? After all, you know it's 2001, nobody remembers the old stuff anyway. On the other hand, this hypothesis seems unprobable seeing as how Bruce is really a prolific composer and never really had any problems with creating new songs out of nothing (quite often, that would even be a pretty exact definition). So a better hypothesis is just that Bruce was so pleased with his backing band he wanted to try a hand at the old standards. Which is all the more probable considering that it's about the best backing band Bruce ever had since Cream at least. Clapton, Dr John and Gary Moore guest on only a few of the tracks, and they're all great, but it doesn't really give one a true idea of the band's sound; neither does the guitar playing of Vernon Reid, an accomplished technician in his own rights. Most of the other musicians are of Latin origin, and that gives all the proceedings a distinct Latin flavour, but it's nowhere near a generic salsa-drenched anti-climactic odour. A few of the tracks do display serious Latin influences, but all too often, Jack has the song based on a funky riff or on a feedback-drowned heavy blues rhythm or on a moody piano accompaniment. And moreover, the good news is that the drumming being handled by Latin guys at least delivers us from the evil-sounding "post-Nineties drum sound", you know, the one which sounds okay in theory because the drummer is accomplished and all but in reality sounds tinny and flat and fake and artificial. (See Clapton's Reptile and Dylan's Love And Theft for further references). The drumming on the album is perfect, which is probably the best compliment for a 2000's album I can handle. Anyway, the general good news is the album sounds GREAT. Every song sounds GREAT - emotional, uplifting, whatever. Besides, Bruce's singing has never been better. His heartful delivery on 'Out Into The Fields' and 'Heart Quake' makes me shed tears, and really, anybody who complains about the man's vocal abilities should listen to this stuff just to get the picture of Jack's real singing, when he's not trying to use his voice as a squeaky dissonant nuclear bomb. Great drumming, great bass lines, great everything. The BAD news is that nothing is memorable. Not a single song is! Apart from the classic Cream numbers, of course, which stand head and feet above everything else and still make me wonder how after penning such top-of-the-stage melodies Bruce could have spent the next thirty years of his career wallowing in songwriting mediocrity. They're pretty well arranged and performed as well, by the way, but they're also somehow unsatisfying - they don't strain too far from the original versions to show a different interpretation, but they're notably inferior to the originals anyway. At least they don't sound like self parodies, and that's kinda nice to know, too. The newly composed numbers (mostly credited to Bruce and Kip Hanrahan, the album's producer) are quite diverse, nevertheless, and don't even hint at any kind of adult contemporary sellout of yore. Too good. '52nd Street' has a paranoid riff backing it up that almost seems to remind me of King Crimson's 'Thela Hun Ginjeet', and that's a positive association. Is this 'funk' in a certain sense? Probably it is. 'Heart Quake', as I already said, touches those chords in your heart that go straight to the center that's responsible for communication with the heavenly forces; Bruce's piano playing and singing are perfectly in accord with each other and move deep... too bad there's no hook per se. 'This Anger's A Liar' is one of those "clean-cut" "newly-polished" modernistic blues pieces that both the genre's purists and the genre's haters despise so much, but I am neither so I prop it up. Bruce is good at blues. 'Directions Home' is pretty weird in that the main piano melody seems to be playing it slow in ballad tempo, but the percussion rhythm is a fast samba! Certainly gives you some food for thought. 'Milonga' could be a throwaway ballad, but Bruce's classical, almost Chopin-like (or Bizet-like?) piano stylizations are definitely worth a listen. 'Windowless Rooms' is another blues tune that's pretty similar to 'This Anger', but with more energetic guitar. 'Dark Heart' I can only call an "Aggressive Ballad", and remark that once again Bruce tries to merge the unmergeable (soft mild piano melody with a frantic Latin beat) and manages to create something, eh, uh, artistically important, I guess (by the way, I hope you have already noticed that using the word 'artistic' is a brilliant way of getting yourself out of the dangerous situation of having absolutely NOTHING to say. "How was that song, man?" "Uh, I dunno... I guess it was ARTISTIC'. Even better is the word combination 'artistic statement', but that one should only be used in extreme cases.) Anyway, 'Dark Heart' is absolutely unmemorable even despite the Gary Moore guest solo, but interesting in an artistic way. And 'Mr Flesh' has this poppy bassline and this POPPING funky rhythm that's pretty funny. And finally, 'Surge' is just a little bit of Bruce mumbling over a drum solo. GREAT drum solo from all of these Latin dudes. I must conclude by saying I don't get the point of the album at all. If there is one, of course. If there's none, I guess it's just Jack having fun with a bunch of Latin guys. They sure met in the right place at the right time. I can only shiver trying to imagine how this stuff would have sounded in the hands of whoever recorded and produced Somethin Els. As it is, Bruce is currently in a far better position than Clapton - if he keeps it up with these guys, he's at least guaranteed to present us with entertaining production for the rest of his life. Passable, but entertaining. Best song: I could say SUNSHINE OF YOUR LOVE, but wouldn't that reel too much of nostalgia? Overall rating = 10. © Only Solitaire, George Starostin's Reviews, http://starling.rinet.ru/music/jbruce.htm#Air



BIO

Although some may be tempted to call multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and composer Jack Bruce a rock & roll musician, blues and jazz are what this innovative musician really loves. As a result, these two genres are at the base of most of the recorded output from a career that goes back to the beginning of London's blues scene in 1962. In that year, he joined Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated. Bruce's most famous songs are, in essence, blues tunes: "Sunshine of Your Love," "Strange Brew," "Politician," and "White Room." Bruce's best-known songs remain those he penned for Cream, the legendary blues-rock trio he formed with drummer Ginger Baker and guitarist Eric Clapton in July 1966. Baker and Bruce played together for five years before Clapton came along, and although their trio only lasted until November 1968, the group is credited with changing the face of rock & roll and bringing blues to a worldwide audience. Through their creative arrangements of classic blues tunes like Robert Johnson's "Crossroads," Skip James' "I'm So Glad," Willie Dixon's "Spoonful," and Albert King's "Born Under a Bad Sign," the group helped popularize blues-rock and led the way for similar groups that came about later on, like Led Zeppelin. Bruce was born May 14, 1943, in Lanarkshire, near Glasgow, Scotland. His father was a big jazz fan, and so he credits people like Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller among his earliest influences. He grew up listening to jazz and took up bass and cello as a teen. After three months at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, he left, disgusted with the politics of music school. After traveling around Europe for a while, he settled into the early blues scene in 1962 in London, where he eventually met drummer Ginger Baker. He played with British blues pioneers Alexis Korner and Graham Bond before leaving in 1965 to join John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, whose guitarist was Eric Clapton. This gave him time to get his chops together without having to practice. With Manfred Mann, who he also played with before forming Cream, Bruce learned about the business of making hit songs. The group's reputation for long, extended blues jams began at the Fillmore in San Francisco at a concert organized by impresario Bill Graham. Bruce later realized that Cream gave him a chance to succeed as a musician, and admitted that if it weren't for that group, he might never have escaped London. After Cream split up in November 1968, Bruce formed Jack Bruce & Friends with drummer Mitch Mitchell and guitarist Larry Coryell. Recording-wise, Bruce took a different tack away from blues and blues-rock, leaning more in a folk-rock direction with his solo albums Songs for a Tailor (1969), Harmony Row (1971), and Out of the Storm (1974). In 1970 and 1971, he worked with Tony Williams Lifetime before putting together another power trio with guitarist Leslie West and drummer Corky Laing in 1972, simply called West, Bruce & Laing. After working with Frank Zappa on his album Apostrophe in 1974, Bruce was at it again in 1975 with the Jack Bruce Band, where members included keyboardist Carla Bley and guitarist Mick Taylor. Again on the road in 1980 with Jack Bruce & Friends, the latter version of the group included drummer Billy Cobham, keyboardist David Sancious, and guitarist Clem Clempson, formerly of Humble Pie. In the early '80s, he formed another trio, B.L.T., this time with guitarist Robin Trower, before working with Kip Hanrahan on his three solo albums. Through decades, Bruce has always been a supreme innovator, pushing himself into uncharted waters with his jazz and folk-rock compositions. Bruce's bluesiest albums would have to include all of his work with Cream, the albums B.L.T. and Truce with Robin Trower, some of his West, Bruce & Laing recordings, and several of his albums from the 1980s and early '90s. These include Willpower (PolyGram, 1989); A Question of Time (Epic Records, 1989), which includes guest performances by Albert Collins, Nicky Hopkins, and Baker; as well as his CMP Records live career-retrospective album, recorded in Cologne, France, Cities of the Heart (1993). Bruce released Monkjack in 1995, an album of his jazz piano compositions which he performs with organist Bernie Worrell, issued on the CMP Record label. © Richard Skelly, All Music Guide