Get this crazy baby off my head!


Fever Tree

Fever Tree - Live At Lake Charles 1978 - 1999 - Shroom Records

The last live concert played by the reunited Fever Tree. Recorded via multi-track mobile truck in Louisiana 1978. The music is tasteful, guitar oriented rock and roll with the band playing a couple of older songs but mostly newer material. At times, the music reminds the listener of Santana, Jeff Beck, Hendrix, or even Steely Dan. Jazzy, muscular lead guitar that can stop and turn on a dime. Tight rhythm section adds to the band dynamics. © 1996-2011, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates

Another release on the mighty Shroom label. Shroom has been a champion of reissuing hopelessly obscure prog (Hands), fusion (Aurora), and now, with Fever Tree, psychedelic hard rock. Fever Tree apparently released a few records in the early 70s on a major label and then split up. They reformed for at least one final concert, 'cause we're looking at a recording of the band's last-ever gig. The instrumental "Taft Street Strut" starts things off with a progged-out groove in 5/8 and enough keyboards to keep fans of the label's other bands happy. The few songs after that, however, fall into a rather predictable Grand Funk Railroad or Black Oak Arkansas boogie style that's a bit disappointing after such a strong start. The keyboards in particular go AWOL at this point, only to reappear later on in the album. The main songwriter and the only band member to be profiled in the booklet is guitarist Michael Knust, so it's understandable that he's given center stage. The fascinating "Angelina" livens things up near the end of the album. A longer track with a delicate groove and a keyboard solo (huzzah!), this is a keeper. Their "Child in Time," I suppose. Things improve even more afterwards, with the jazzy "Party Time Anywhere" and the memorably Santana-ish rocker "Know I Care." A whole album of material of this quality would be very welcome. The sound quality seems to wane from track to track - surprising, since this is supposedly a recording of a single gig. Ah, here we go [from the liner notes] - "Three different brands of tape were used that night and that resulted in slight anomalies..." Those anomalies manifest themselves in the form of crap sound on some of the tracks and beautifully clear sound on others. A shame, since this robs the record of the continuity a live recording needs. It also robs the band of power and energy on the harder-rocking tracks. Fortunately, the better tracks are the ones where they stray from their boogie bar-band leanings and, er . . . get a little mellow. © Mike Thaxton © http://www.eer-music.com/reviews/Fever_Tree.html

An obscure album from an obscure band, originally from Houston, Texas, and HR by A.O.O.F.C. The late Fever Tree guitarist, Mike Knust said of this album, "It's got Rock and Roll, it's got Eric Johnson type stuff, it's got fusion/jazz, different time signatures, it's the proudest work that I've ever done. I recommend it if you like good music". Read an in-depth interview with Mike @ http://www.thepsychedelicguitar.com/knust.htm. Audio quality is as described above by Mike Thaxton. The tracks are @ 128 Kbps, but this album is well worth your time. Listen to Fever Tree's "Another Time Another Place" album which was re-released in 2006 along with the band's s/t album.



1 Mama Hang Around - Michael Knust 3:41
2 San Francisco Girls (Return of the Native) - Michael Knust, Scott Holtzman, Vivian Holtzman 6:55
3 Don't It Burn - Michael Knust 5:38
4 The Man Who Paints the Pictures - Michael Knust 5:38
5 Cruzzin' - Michael Knust 3:05


1 Puppetmaster - Michael Knust 4:30
2 Angelina - Vivian Holtzman 9:05
3 Party Time Anytime - Michael Knust 3:30
4 Know I Care - Michael Knust 4:24
5 Spirit - Al Jarreau 4:01
11 Taft Street Strut - Michael Knust 3:43 [Bonus Track] *

* Some early releases of this album did not include this track


Michael Knust RIP - Guitar
Kenneth Blanchet - Bass
Pat Brennan - Keyboards, Vocals
Robbie Parrish - Drums


A minor, if reasonably interesting, late-'60s psychedelic group, Houston's Fever Tree is most famous for their single "San Francisco Girls," with its dramatic melody, utopian lyrics, and searing fuzz guitar. Most of their best material, ironically, was written by their over-30 husband-wife production team, Scott and Vivian Holtzman, who had previously written material for Tex Ritter and the Mary Poppins soundtrack. These odd bedfellows produced some fairly distinctive material with more classical/Baroque influences and orchestral string arrangements than were usually found in psychedelic groups. Their pretty, wistful ballads (enhanced on their first album by arranger David Angel, who had also worked on Love's classic Forever Changes) endure better than their dirge-like fuzz grinders, which epitomize some of the more generic aspects of heavy psychedelia. Releasing four albums (the third of which, Creation, included guest guitar by future ZZ Top axeman Billy Gibbons), their records grew weaker and more meandering with time, and the group disbanded in 1970. © Richie Unterberger © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/fever-tree-p75818/biography


By and large Texas-based psych is viewed with great favor within collector's circles, but for some reason Houston's Fever Tree stands as a glaring exception to the rule. Given the band was actually quite talented, I've wondered why the disconnect and the only really answer I can come up with is that they were viewed as being early 'sell outs' via their contract with Uni Records. Fever Tree traces it's roots to the mid-1960s when Knust was still in high school, teaching guitar on the side. One of his students was E.E. Wolfe. Inspired by The Beatles (who wasn't), Knust suggested Wolfe might be interested in starting a band. He also suggested Wolfe might want to switch to bass. Jerry Campbell was a fellow guitar teacher and was invited to join. Dennis Keller was also taking guitar lessons at the same place. Knust was less than impressed with Keller's guitar chops, but liked his voice and approached him about handling vocals for a band. With the addition of kyeboardist Don Lampton and drummer John Tuttle the group began rehearsing as The Bostwick Vines, playing local school dances and clubs only to lose Campbell to the draft. With Knust taking over lead guitar the revamped band hooked up with local newspaper writer Scott Holtzman and his wife Vivian (the pair had previously written material for country artist Tex Ritter, The New Christy Minstrels, as well as the Mary Poppins soundtrack). The Holtzman's signed on as the group's manager, helping the band get together a repetoire of covers and original material. Holtzman also used his credentials to line up various club dates, including an opening slot on The Jefferson Airplane's 1966 Houston date. Holzman also arranged for the band to audition for Bobby Shad's Mainstream label, resulting in the Holtzman friend/keyboardist Rob Landes replacing original keyboardist Lampton and the release of their debut single on Mainstream 'Hey Mister' b/w 'I Can Beat Your Drum' (Mainstream catalog number 661). That was followed by 'Girl, Oh Girl (Don't Push Me)' b/w 'Steve Lenore' (Mainstream catalog number 665). Produced by the Holtzmans who also wrote most of the material with keyboardist Landis, "Fever Tree" should have been a massive commercial success. Admittedly these guys weren't the most original band out there, but their debut featured some great material, complete with blistering Knust guitar, acid soaked lyrics ('Unlock My Door'), enough pop smarts for them to score a hit with 'San Francisco Girls', and oodles of studio sound effects (yes that was a real Houston rainstorm they recorded on 'Come with Me (Rainsong)'). Geez a couple of the band members even sported turtle necks and there appeared to be at least one Nehru jacket on the cover. That left you to wonder why the album's been largely ignored over the ensuing years ... Shame 'cause it is good. The good news is that collectors can still find original copies at reasonable prices. Alright, what about the music? Musically the album was surprisingly diverse, bouncing all over the spectrum including a slice of Johann Sebastian Bach ('Imitation Situation1 (Toccata and Fugue)'), fuzz-propelled rockers ('Where Do You Go?) and even orchestrated pop ('The Sun Also Rises'). There were plenty of highlights. While it wasn't a major chart hit (# 91), 'San Francisco Girls' was probably the best San Francisco-themed song of the time. 'Man Who Painted Pictures', '' and '' were all top notch rockers. The band also deserved credit for their good taste in covers - Wilson Pickett, The Beatles, and The Buffalo Springfield. While lots of critics weren't particularly enamored with lead singer Keller's voice, I have to admit liking it. While he may not have had the greatest vocal range, Keller's ragged power was quite impressive and still sounds contemporary today (check out his throat searing cover of Wilson Pickett's 'Ninety Nine and a Half' (Won't Do'). He was certainly more talented than have of the grunge acts that clog today's tightly formatted radio stations. Yeah, it wasn't perfect. Some of the Dave Angel and Gene Page string arrangements were a bit saccharine and the freak out 'Filigree and Shadow' was simply boring. Propelled by the single and a national tour opening for the likes of The Jeff Beck Group, Pacific Gas and Electric, and Steppenwolf, the album peaked at # 156. In addition to the hit single, Uni tapped the album for a follow-up in the form of a nifty Neil Young/Buffalo Springfield cover: - 1968's 'San Francisco Girls (Return of the Native)' b/w 'Come with Me (Rainsong)' (Uni catalog number 55095) - 1969's 'Clancy (Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing)' b/w 'The Sun Also Rises' (Uni catalog number 55172). In between those two releases there was also a non-LP 45: - 1968's 'Love Makes The Sun Rise' b/w 'Filigree And Shadow' (Uni catalog number 55146). Recorded in an around the band's first national tour, 1968's "Another Time, Another Place" found the group continuing their partnership with the Holzmans who again produced and wrote most of the material. Reflecting growing confidence and comfort in a recording environment, the sophomore album was far stronger than their debut, material like 'Man Who Paints the Pictures, Part 2', 'Don't Come Crying To Me Girl' and '' avoided the debut's already somewhat dated pop and psych-flavored outings in favor of a heavier rock sound. That was a smart move since Keller's gruff delivery (he occasionally recalled a less coarse Jim Morrison), was perfectly suited for their more rock oriented repertoire. Having listened to the album for the first time in a couple of years, The Doors comparison wasn't half bad - anyone doubting the comparison need only check out 'Grand Candy Young Sweet'. The shift to a more rock oriented attack also played well to the band's instrumental strengths. Knust turned in a series of nice performances - check out his fuzz solo on their surprisingly effective cover of the old chestnut 'Fever'. That said the album wasn't perfect. Supposedly written in the wake of an acid trip and featuring a vocal from Knust, 'I've Never Seen Evergreen' served as the LP's psych number, while 'What Time Did You Say It Is In Salt Lake City' was a bland blues number, and the jazzy 'Jokes Are for Sad People' served as a needless showcased for the band's instrumental prowess (including a Landes flute solo). In spite of some flaws (notably on side two), well worth checking out.) While the LP proved a decent seller hitting # 86, the pressures of touring, business issues that left the band stuck with some massive touring bills, and personality conflicts saw Keller quit in late 1968. The band subsequently called it quits with Knust returning to Houston where he briefly formed the band Ark. After a year long separation, Uni management convinced the band to regroup and relocate to California. Again produced by husband and wife team of Scott and Vivian Holzman, 1969's "Creation" was actually far better than circumstances should have allowed. Reuniting in the wake of earlier and ongoing personality issues, the fact they were actually able to complete an album was quite an accomplishment. The fact that so much of the LP was worthwhile was even more impressive. With the Holzmans again responsible for the majority of the nine tracks, musically the set was far more diverse and commercial than the sophomore set. That was particularly true for three songs penned by Jancy Lee Tyler (anyone know who she was?). Complete with female backing vocalists, the opener 'Woman, Woman' spotlighted Keller doing his most commercial Jim Morrison vamp, while 'Wild Woman Ways' and 'Run Past My Window' would have sounded fine on top-40 radio. Sporting a pretty melody and a string arrangement, the Holzmans' 'Love Makes the Sun Rise' was even more radio-friendly. In case anyone was under the impression the group had completely sold out '' and '' were more conventional rockers, while 'Fever Glue' provided the mandatory blues number. Uni apparently did little in the realm of promotional support, though they tapped the album for a pair of singles in the form of: The Doorsy 'Catcher In the Rye' b/w 'What Time Did You Say It Is In Salt Lake City' (Uni catalog number 55202) and 'Love Makes the Sun Rise' b/w 'Filigree and Shadow' (Uni catalog number 55146 ). The band began touring in support of the LP, but the recently married Keller decided he'd had enough of it and opted out, returning to Houston. The band subsequently called it quits another time though that didn't stop Uni from releasing a posthumous single: - 1969's 'I Am' b/w 'Grand Candy Young Sweet' (Uni catalog number 55228). Though credited as a Fever Tree release, 1970's ironically-titled "For Sale" was little more than a collection of the earlier Mainstream sides (which may have been rerecorded) and leftover Uni-era odds and ends. A quick glance at the liner notes indicated the band had basically collapsed with keyboardist Rob Landis and drummer John Tuttle credited as 'formerly of Fever Tree'. Their places were taken by former Byrds drummer Kevin Kelley, keyboardist Grant Johnson, and various members of the Wrecking Crew and The Blackberries on ill thought out backing vocals. In an online interview guitarist Michael Knust expressed few memories of working on the LP. In fact the only track he seemed to have any recollections of were putting lead guitar on the group's cover of Love's 'She Comes In Colors'. Most of the material was less than impressive with Keller sounding particularly uninspired (on a couple of tracks like You're Not the Same Baby'' he actually sounded like he was singing with marbles in his mouth). As for the side long 'Hey Joe' cover - well ... it was long. For his part lead guitarist Michael Knust was all but absent from the proceedings. That left the two Mainstream songs ('Hey Mister' and 'Girl Don't Push Me') and the Love cover as the album highlights. Prodded by former manager Scott Holtzman, in 1978 guitarist Michael Knust returned to Houston and resurrected Fever Tree with with singer Dennis Keller. Fronted by Keller and Knust with support from new members Kenneth Blanchet (bass), Pat Brennan (keyboards/vocals) and Robbie Parrish (drums), the group began playing around Houston and the Gulf Coast club circuit. Unfortunately personality issues reared themselves and within a year both manager Holtzman and Keller been fired. Keyboardist Brennan stepped into pick up the vocals. The resurrected line up managed to struggle through a four track EP "Return" and a live set, before collapsing. "Live At Lake Charles 1978" captured the final performance of the resurrected late-1970s era Fever Tree (Robbie Parris - Pat Brennan - Michael Knust - Kenneth Blanchet). According to an interview with Fever Tree guitarist Michael Knust, the idea for a live set was his and he was responsible for contacting Charly Bickly of Buttermilk Music in arranging for the live recording. Ironically ensuing issues with respect to ownership of the resulting master tapes kept the album shelved for some 20 years. Essentially Knust with a cast of backing musicians, the album featured a mixture of revamped Fever Tree numbers and more recent Knust compositions. Several of those newer numbers reflected an unexpected jazz-rock fusion edge which was apparently a reflection of where Knust's personal interests had led him during the mid-1970s when he lived in Southern California. Following the album's release Knust moved back to Houston where he bought a home, built a small studio (Airtight Recording Studio) and began playing in local bands, including Special Forces. In the early 1990s he relocated to Austin where he continued his production work, as well gigging as part of the Michael Knust Band and The Knightsnakes. Unfortunately a pair of nasty car accidents severely damaged his playing hand, forcing him to undergo multiple surgeries and essentially re-learn the guitar. Sadly Knust reportedly died from a drug overdose in September 2003. He was only 54. I'm not sure what Dennis Keller is doing. Rob Landes was teaching at Florida's St. Thomas University, but appears to have moved on as of 2007 (I didn't see his name on the faculty listing). Drummer John Tuttle got out of music and found work in construction. Bassist John Wolfe also got out of music and found his calling in photography. Band managers Scott and Vivian Holtzman have also both passed on. There are a slew of posthumous 'best of' compilations. Some are legitimate, some questionable. © http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/FEVERtree.htm


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


p/w aoofc

spunkie said...

Well you did it again! where do you find these gems? great axe work on this one. Anyway to hear the older lps? Thanks for this one.

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

Hi,spunkie. It takes some research to dig this stuff out, but it's worth it. Thanks...P

mac said...

Great post, another obscure album, jazzier than I remember them,will need to go find my originals,thanks for sharing


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

Hi,mac. Fever Tree played some great jazz rock. Those originals are scarce. Thanks, & TTU soon...P