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17.6.09

Pacific Gas and Electric




Pacific Gas and Electric - Get It On - 1968 - Kent

Pacific Gas and Electric were a great late sixties/early seventies soul blues band. The late Charlie Allen, with his gritty vocals added drive and excitement to this album, and Glenn Schwartz plays some terrific guitar leads. Check out the band's "Are You Ready" album which featured their huge hit with the sane title. Arguably "Get It On" is a better album. The "Get It On" LP was reissued on the Power label in 1969, and reissued on CD by Big Beat in 2008 with the subtitle "The Kent Record Sessions". This CD included 9 extra tracks of outtakes. There is info on PG&E's "Live 'N' Kicking at Lexington" album @ PG&E'/LNK&LEX

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

Wade in the Water - (Traditional)
Cry Cry Cry - Deadric Malone
Motor City Is Burning - Al Smith
Hunter - Al Jackson Jr. Booker T. Jones, Junior Wells
Long Handled Shovel - (Traditional)
Jelly Jelly - James Cotton
Stormy Times - Brent Block
Live Love - Tom Marshall

BAND

Charlie Allen R.I.P - vocals
Glenn Schwartz - guitar
Tom Marshall - guitar
Brent Block - bass, fuzz bass
Frank Cook - drums
Joe Sample - organ, piano

REVIEW

The debut album of the five-member Pacific Gas & Electric reveals a nimble little blues band with a great shouter for a lead singer. Far less lumbering than the band became on their better-known major-label recordings, the Modern release of Get It On begins with the kind of maximum R&B bang that few American rock groups beyond the MC5 or Young Rascals would have been able to muster: a six-minute version of "Wade in the Water" that careens through its six long minutes with power and just enough balance between control and chaos. (The track was billed as being recorded "live," but it was actually a studio creation with overdubs.) Lead singer Charlie Allen was a charismatic force up front, and lead guitarist Glenn Schwartz, a transplant from Cleveland and the James Gang, matched Allen's charisma with his solos. If they have a weakness on Get It On, it's the rhythm section, which despite including Frank Wilson of Canned Heat, can't always keep up with Allen or Schwartz, and sounds pretty stiff in comparison. [A 2008 reissue of Get It On on Ace added nine bonus tracks, most unreleased takes and some unreleased songs from the same sessions.] © John Bush, All Music Guide

BIO (Wikipedia)

Pacific Gas & Electric was an American rock band, best known for the song "Are You Ready?" released in 1970. The band's history dates from 1967 in Los Angeles. Self-taught guitarist Tom Marshall met bassist Brent Block at a party thrown by Block's former art teacher and formed a band then named "Pacific Gas and Electric Blues Band". It was one of the first multiracial bands to be part of the Los Angeles music scene. An early member was Charlie Allen (May 1, 1942 - May 7, 1990), a drummer from San Francisco, whose vocal abilities were so good that he moved from drums to lead singer, and was replaced on drums by Canned Heat's former drummer, Frank Cook, who had earlier signed to manage the band. In 1968, the band name was shortened to "Pacific Gas & Electric", and included Allen, Cook, Marshall, Block, and guitarist Glenn Schwartz (also of James Gang and All Saved Freak Band). They released their first album, Get It On, that year on the Power record label (it was subsequently released on Big Orange, Kent and United Superior as well). Although it only reached #159 on the album charts, someone at Columbia Records was listening, as they signed the band to a recording contract shortly after their appearance at the Miami Pop Festival in December of 1968. The next album, and the first released by Columbia, was simply called Pacific Gas and Electric (1969). However, it was the next release, Are You Ready, that included their first mainstream hit. The title track reached #14 in the summer of 1970, and featured the backing vocals of The Blackberries. Wholesale changes were in store for the group after recording the Are You Ready album. After a serious car accident, Cook was replaced on drums by Ron Woods, and he stayed on as manager. Schwartz announced his conversion to Christianity onstage during a concert and then later joined the All Saved Freak Band. Marshall also left, and the two were replaced by Frank Petricca on bass and Ken Utterback on guitar, with Brent Block moving to rhythm guitar from bass. This is the line-up that toured in support of Are You Ready. This version of the band recorded a self-titled album in 1971 (minus Block, who had left the band in late 1970), adding Jerry Aiello on keyboards, trumpet player Stanley Abernathy, sax players Alfred Galagos and Virgil Gonsalves, and percussionist Joe LaLa. At the request of the utility company sharing the same name, the band name was shortened to "P G & E". The band did countless concerts, often appearing with other big musical acts of the era. At one P G & E show, writer and film producer Lawrence Schiller filmed his documentary, The Lexington Experience. Disagreements with the owners to the rights to the music caused the film to be shelved after only a few showings, and the only copies known to exist are in Schiller's vault. They made more movie history when they appeared in, and provided music to, the Otto Preminger film Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon, starring Liza Minnelli. Their song "Staggolee" was also featured in the Quentin Tarantino film Death Proof. After 1972, the group's line-up became unstable, resembling more of an Allen solo project. One more album was forthcoming: ...Starring Charlie Allen in 1973 on the Dunhill label, featuring Allen and a host of studio musicians.

14 comments:

A.O.O.F.C said...

LINK

p/w aoofc

Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for PG & E, I like them ;-). I have PG & E and Are You Ready, not this first ;-) Jesus! I love their song Death Row # 172
Do you know this one?
Hope you have a good times, Miles (CZ)

A.O.O.F.C said...

Howzitgoin' Miles. Pity the band didn't record more albums. I've heard Death Row # 172. Great track. I think it's from 2nd album. Times are good 4 me, Miles. Hope you are ok, & ttu soon

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great old "album". It brings good memories. You have lots of great choices here...THANKS!

- MoonBear

A.O.O.F.C said...

Welcome back,MoonBear. A great "blast from the past". Shame there's not that much recorded output from PG&E, but quality is better than quantity. Thanks, & ttu soon

Paul Sabre said...

we,, actually, PG&E fans, they recorded 2 versions of "Death Row #172". You can find the other one on the 4th album from 1971. It's a little slower and bluisier than the 1st version.
I keep looking for a live version but have been unable to find one. Betcha Sony has one in the vault though.
I got a tiny little site about the band at pacific-gas-electric.com. The best thing is links here and there to email some of the members directly.
Best Always
Paul Sabre

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi, Paul. Thankd for comment. I had a look at your site....Good, concise, with lots of great info. I never heard a live version of "Death Row #172", but I'll bet there's one out there somewhere. All the best, and keep in touch

Paul Sabre said...

It's great to be here. Wish I could go back and fix all the typos in my previous post :)

Don't be fooled, Sony is sitting on much more live material than what they licensed to Wounded Bird for the "Live and Kicking" CD.

Just from that gig there's 5 reels of quarter track tape that's been mastered and 8 reels of unmixed multitrack tapes.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi, Paul. Thanks. I wish I could hear some of this stuff. The demand is out there. The same situation applies to other bands, but some of them have complete control over their work and refuse to release them. We'll keep watching for something new. Cheers, & TTU soon

Paul Sabre said...

Well, you COULD get a copy of Live and Kicking at Lexington... The only song they left off of the Columbia masters was "Bad Like Jesse James" due to "time constraints". What Wounded Bird didn't do is to go back and put in some crowd noise or some of Charlie's banter before and after the tunes.
Oh well, it was all for the allmighty buck anyways as neither Sony or Wounded Bird have given the band a penny for the 2 PG&E CD's Wounded Bird has released.
Wait
We're talking about "Get It On"!
Great CD!
Fantastic alternate tracks.
Ace Records actually gave the band money.
Plus, a 16 page historical booklet with rare photos, written by some jerk who likes to post on websites.

FlashG said...

Excellent blog. Do you have Are You Ready, the 2nd LP. I used to own it, but I got rid of it at some point when I needed cash (I still own about 4000 LPs, so I managed to keep a few). Also, how can I turn off the music that plays with your site. I like the tune, but at times I am doing other things and my only option is to turn on the mute in Vista. I am using Firefox. If there is no option other than mute, I'll use that when I need to.

Tanx again for the excellent blog. Keep up the great work.
FlashG

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi, FlashG. HNY! You can find "Are You Ready" on the great Orexis Of Death Blog @ http://orexisofdeath.blogspot.com/2008/09/pacific-gas-and-electric-are-you.html

On the right hand side of my blog, just under "Which Chick Do You Prefer", you should see a widget "Bob Gaynor's "Goin' Back Home". Use the second button on left on widget to stop music. Thanks for comment, and please keep in touch

FlashG said...

Tanx for the link to the PG&E Get Ready LP. Superb! I really appreciate you posting a reply so quickly. Ia'm sorry it took so long for me to reply. As to the widget, maybe it's because I'm getting older (at 56, I'm sure not getting younger), but I looked under the "Which Chick Do You Prefer" and could not find it anywhere. All I have below the "Which Chick Do You Prefer" is the SEARCH A.O.O.F.C. What am I missing? I would appreciate any assistance you can provide, I am using Firefox if that helps.

Tanx again

FlashG

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hiya, FlashG. I've moved widget! On RHS of blog, scroll down until UC THE NUMBER OF VISTORS HAS NOW REACHED.......The "Bob Gaynor" widget is below that. I don't know how it appears on Firefox. I do know I've chicks on the brain1 Thanks flashG. Let me know the outcome. HNY!!