Wednesday, October 16, 2019

John Klemmer - Waterfalls (1972)

(U.S 1963 - Present)
Waterfalls is a live album by American saxophonist and composer John Klemmer (born 1946)  featuring studio enhanced live performances recorded in Los Angeles for the Impulse! label.
Picked up this LP based on the cover art alone not knowing who John Klemmer was and I was not disappointed. Some tasty, psych-tinged post-bop led by saxophonist John Klemmer. Waterfalls is a live recording, but the sound is studio-quality.

Really feelin' the echoplex on the sax, as well as the electric piano, which helps to make for a generally loose, mellow vibe.

This really is a wonderful classic from John Klemmer – one of those artists we've under-appreciated for years, but grow to love more and more as time goes by! The set's an incredibly soulful set of explorations played by Klemmer (on tenor, soprano, and Echoplex) with a group that includes Mike Nock on Fender Rhodes, Eddie Marshall on drums, Victor Feldman on percussion, and Wilton Felder on bass – definitely in the post-Coltrane mode, with long spiraling solos that explore both space and the outer sonic reaches, yet never too way-out, and never losing a subtle swing that makes the record sparkle with unimaginable appeal. One of those few hippy jazz classics that really works – and which arguably sounds better now than it did back in the 70s! Titles include "Centrifugal Force", "There's Some Light Ahead", "Waterfall", and "Utopia: Man's Dream".

Waterfalls, released in 1972, was John Klemmer's 6th album. While living in L.A. in the late 60's and early 70's at the height of the rock explosion, he did concerts with Janis Joplin etc. and local L.A. rock groups and musicians. He incorporated these new styles etc. in his recordings for Cadet Concept/Chess & Impulse! records, constantly breaking new ground, broadening & increasing his critical interest & acclaim & fan base.

Klemmer, the self-styled "Ambassador Of Cool," was a smooth jazz saxophone pioneer, composing and performing music back in the 70's that was smooth, hip and easy - way, way before Kenny G broke the world of smooth jazz saxophone wide open.

Waterfalls is a psychedelic Jazz recording of eight tracks with a cavalcade of shared Exotica particularities, envisioned by tenor saxophonist John Klemmer and his sextet, performed live at the Ash Grove Club in Los Angeles in June 1972 and, as the liner notes astutely claim, enchanted at The Village Recorder in the same city and month. The album offers a superb fusion of Exotica, Funk, Batucada and Ambient, but seriously, the Funk part of this list is probably the least
stringent force that wafts around this aquatic LP. The front artwork suggests a wonderful magic world full of vivacious trees and valleys, but this is simply not applicable in the given arrangements which burst at the seams when it comes to glittering moonbeams, nocturnal cascades and nightly rivers. This feeling is fueled in large parts by the use of an electric Rhodes piano and plinking cymbals in tandem with the saxophone.

While there is not even one birdcall in sight, let alone the probably expected inclusion of water drops or liquid field recordings, Waterfalls paints a galactic yet humane and inhabitable void of drenched landscapes. Even though it is recorded in front of a live audience, the sound quality is unbelievably crisp, with the few cheers and hand claps of the audience hailing from a curious distance, as if they cross-faded from a parallel universe into the intrinsic world which John Klemmer and his band create. The sextet comprises the talents of Mike Nock on said electric piano, Eddie Marshall on the drums, Victor Feldman on various sparsely used and not overly exotic percussion devices, bassist Wilton Felder, vocalist Diana Lee who appears in two tracks, and last but not least John Klemmer on the tenor or soprano saxophone. Luring, cleaning and seductive: here’s a closer look at John Klemmer’s Waterfalls.

"Prelude I" functions as the introduction to the cascading movements of Waterfalls. Sure, its title states exactly that, for it is the reason of any prelude to make the listener comfortable with the things to come, without letting him- or herself immerse all too densely in the unfolding structures. It is therefore no surprise that this is a proper solo; only John Klemmer is heard on the tenor saxophone whose heavily convoluted and labyrinthine spirals are given enough time to let the listener fathom out the backdrop of nullity and blackness. There is a strong wideness in this piece, but it is not erected via blurred reverberations rather than soaked echoes created via Echoplex electronics. The result feels emaciated yet rich, and it is this bewildering gallimaufry which the listener must swallow in order to reach the dreamier parts of John Klemmer’s Utopian gardens.

And eureka, "Waterfall I" is ameliorated by Wilton Felder’s thick bass riverbeds and the excited cheers of the audience which otherwise remains whisper-quiet and is blinded out completely during the performance. The feeling is laid-back and nocturnal, not yet as bright as the delicate artwork suggests. Victor Feldman only very cautiously ennobles the tenor saxophone-heavy coils with a cymbal and softened hi-hats once in a while, whereas Mike Nock’s Rhodes piano delivers glistening scintilla which superbly augment the moonlit spirit of purity. Notwithstanding the esoteric psychedelia, this is indeed a postmodern Exotica piece, one that grows larger during its climactic end which does not lead to a definite eruption rather than a stream of carefully maintained bliss… followed by the introduction of Mr. Nock on the piano. These instances might throw the listener out of the dreamworld, true, but Waterfalls I is simply too luring and enchanting to get hurt by these fragments of the real world.

Up next is the innermost core called "Utopia: Man’s Dream" which is divided into Part 1 and Part 2, having a total runtime of almost 13 minutes. The CD reissue merges both parts together, as it should be. Completely enthralling times are ahead of the listening subject: a cosmic mélange of languorous wind chimes, galactic Rhodes piano shards and yearning saxophone tones in tandem with Diana Lee’s vocal-related mimicry await the traveler. After approximately two minutes, the composition is revised by Eddie Marshall’s skillful drum protrusions. In the meantime, it turns out that Klemmer’s sax and Lee’s vocals are really glued to each other; there are several purely instrumental segues and interludes, but the temptress joins the silkened brazen effulgence time and again. The saxophone is clearly in the forefront, as is common in Klemmer’s album, and this fact does not diminish Mike Nock’s polyhedron piano crystals but only makes the backdrop a more interesting and luring underbrush to venture into. The aura is occasionally calcined by cheers and claps of the attendees, but only infrequently.

The moments of soothing quiescence are probably the most surprising revelation of "Utopia: Man’s Dream". And indeed, once the saxophone is mute and lets bassist Felder, pianist Nock and percussionist Feldman interact with each other at the end of Part 1, the ensuing interdependency takes both the song and its arrangement to new heights. Instead of high billows of rapture, a more reduced, carefully kindled luminousness is reached which partially reaches the colors of the front artwork, but otherwise nurtures the positively ashen moonlit tropicana. Part 2 is not much different and relies on the same four-note alterations of the main theme.

Speaking of the susurrant darkness: "There’s Some Light Ahead" addresses the missing cavalcades of colors by injecting them into the uplifting arrangement. Eddie Marshall’s drums are ubiquitous, the five-note main theme on the saxophone is gorgeously accompanied and then exchanged with glistening sparks of electric piano prowess and the accordant backing chords which mesh very well with the heavier drums and shakers, especially so since Klemmer’s tenor saxophone is replaced by a soprano one; this newly introduced device is at the same time played in a more soothing, not all too protuberant fashion. The result is a classic Funk escapade of the sumptuously poeticized kind, strongly mellow and pristine.

However, nothing prepares the listener for the following Centrifugal Force, a fast-paced, eclectic yet accessible maelstrom of Diana Lee’s chants, Mike Nock’s heftily crystallized electric piano prongs, Eddie Marshall’s cymbalscapes, Wilton Felder’s bouncing bass runlets and… the omission of John Klemmer for exactly three minutes. Despite the joyously upbeat wind chime-underpinned aqua adventure, this trip never feels forceful nor staggering. There are many Ambient segues hidden in the alcoves of the titular centrifugal force, and even though the listener as well as the band are absorbed and soaked into its very center, the tune always feels like a reverie and an breakneck voyage. The simultaneity of these feelings only makes it stronger. The album ends the way it began by offering reinterpreted versions of the first two tracks: "Prelude II" is strongly tied to the first prelude and features anyone but John Klemmer on a reverb-affected tenor saxophone.

"Waterfall II", however, differs in that it weaves the theme of Waterfall I into a more groovy, city-like beat structure without neglecting the phantasmagorical luminescence of the album. This very beat is not dropped before the Ambient half of the tune is over, and even then the ambience takes over time and again, rounding the album off with the endemic Rhodes piano glitters and mellifluous saxophone tones.

John Klemmer’s Waterfalls is a strong concept album with an admittedly bewildering last third – a second prelude? Really? – and an ever-sparkling physiognomy whose complexion is potentially gelid and frosty, but strikingly heated by the interplay between the sextet. John Klemmer is naturally heard most of the time, but he allows his fellow band members to bathe as well in the limelight by delivering highly melodious segues whose textural range is awesomely tempting. This is obviously no clear-cut Exotica album, but if the genre had not faded away during the middle of the 60’s, chances are that John Klemmer’s album would have provided one possible missing connection to the graceful, exhilarative and nocturnal moirés of the late 50’s indeed. I deem Mike Nock’s Rhodes piano as essential as the tenor saxophone, especially so since its purified omnipresence is, as the word already explicates, all over the album and rarely ever silent except in the two preludes.

This is a Jazz album alright, one with quickly vesiculating build-ups, ebullient shapes and structures, but there is never a dull moment or a designedly off-putting eclecticism that prevents birdcall-swarmed Exotica listeners from enjoying the coziness-augmenting textures. Sure, there are vintage listeners who do not want their beloved genre to be pestered with electronic devices. In this regard, they may well skip Waterfalls, but contemporary listeners in search of fast-paced, varied takes should pre-listen to Centrifugal Force and see whether it suits their fancy, whereas followers of the Ambient Exotica movement will be pleased with all other tracks.  [Exotica Review 255: John Klemmer – Waterfalls (1972). Originally published on Aug. 31, 2013 at]
This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from vinyl (another flee market gem) and includes full album artwork and label scans.  A nice jazz fusion recording, with occasional interactions from the live audience - not to be missed. Just love the album cover, very Psychedelic.
Note: because tracks 3 & 4 run into one another, I have recorded them as one track, so as not to interrupt the listening experience.
Track listing:
1. "Prelude I" - 3:33
2. "Waterfalls" - 4:19
3. "Utopia: Man's Dream, Part 1" - 8:47
4. "Utopia: Man's Dream, Part 2" - 3:50
5. "There's Some Light Ahead" - 4:29
6. "Centrifugal Force" - 5:59
7. "Prelude II" - 4:02
8. "Waterfall II" - 6:08
John Klemmer - tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, echoplex
Mike Nock - electric piano
Wilton Felder - electric bass
Eddie Marshall - drums
Victor Feldman - percussion
Diana Lee - vocals (tracks 3, 4 & 6)
John Klemmer FLACS Link (218Mb)

John Klemmer MP3 Link (94Mb)

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Painters and Dockers - Kiss My Art (1988)

(Australian 1982 - 1998. 2014 - Present)
Painters and Dockers are a band from Melbourne, Australia who formed in 1982 with five members, Vladimir Juric on guitars and backing vocals, Andy Marron on drums, Phil Nelson on bass guitar, Chris O'Connor on guitars and backing vocals, and mainstay Paul Stewart on lead vocals and trumpet. The unusual name was chosen early in the band's career when playing at a pub frequented by the 'Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union', the band had no name and chose Painters and Dockers for the event, and the name stayed with the band from then on.

In the earlier years, they were the headline act at the Port Melbourne Festival, and in a Government initiative called Rockin' The Rails, played songs from the back of a train, as it stopped at various Melbourne stations, including Ringwood, Camberwell and Flinders Street.

In 1984, Marron was replaced by Colin Buckler on drums, and they released their debut album, Love Planet, which was produced by veteran hard rocker, Lobby Loyde and released on Big Time Records in 1984 and contained the tracks, "Basia!", also released as a single in March 1985, and "The Boy Who Lost His Jocks on Flinders Street Station". Joining after the album's release were Mick Morris on tenor saxophone and Dave Pace on trumpet / backing vocals, and with Stewart the horn section was called the Brassholes.

A four-track EP, 'Kill Kill Kill' was released in 1985 containing cover versions of "Kill Kill Kill" originally by The Sacred Cows on "The Groovy Guru" episode of US comedy TV series, Get Smart. Their first single, "Basia!", released in March 1985 on Big Time Records, was a paean to Basia Bonkowski who was presenter of SBS' music television show, Rock Around the World from 1982 to late 1984.

The Painters and Dockers released seven albums between 1984 and 1994, which featured a selection of sarcastic and amusing singles, such as "Die Yuppie Die" and "Safe Sex" from their 1988 'Kiss My Art' album and the pro-queer and anti-monarchy "I Know Better Queens Than That" from 1994's 'The Things That Matter'. Several members of the band went on to form the highly successful Dili Allstars.

Their greatest chart success was achieved with 1985's Nude School which received air play on a number of commercial radio stations and which was marked by its controversial lyrics and video clip.

On 20 November 2009, early members, Paul Stewart, Chris O'Connor, Colin Buckler, Vladimir Juric, David Pace and Mick Morris, with Michael Badger (not an original member) reformed for a one-off show at the Prince Bandroom in St Kilda, Melbourne, where the band was inducted into The Age newspaper's EG Hall of Fame.

The band were back in the news on 9 October 2014 when Violent Soho frontman James Tidswell was not allowed to board a plane because he was wearing a Painters and Dockers black T-shirt printed with the name of the band's 1990 single 'Eat, Sh--, Die'. When he was told he could not get on the Virgin flight, Tidswell told Fairfax Media he was shocked when he was told new terrorism laws meant he could not wear the shirt on the plane. But a Virgin Australia spokesman said the T-shirt was simply deemed offensive, not a threat.

To belatedly celebrate the 30th Anniversary of their hit album Kiss My Art, Melbourne’s legendary/iconic/infamous/notorious Painters & Dockers are playing a rare show on the 18th October, 2019. 
I say belatedly because the show was meant to happen last year but singer/frontman/wildman Paulie Stewart ended up in hospital with bleeding on the brain. 

To celebrate, ILYOS remembers the Dockers classic Kiss My Art hits “Nude School” and “Die Yuppie Die”, and looks back at the band’s glory days with 20 points of interest, which we present, in keeping with the fact that they took their name from the infamous and soon outlawed Victorian waterside trade union, as the Painters & Dockers rap sheet.

Juke Gig Advert 1992
1. One of the Painters & Dockers’ very first shows was at St Kilda’s legendary Crystal Ballroom, opening for Nick Cave Man or Myth and a bunch of more serious St Kilda types. The band proceeded to unload a bucket of dead fish on the goth-punk groovers who were no doubt standing slack-jawed in the audience.

2. The Dockers’ longtime manager and record producer of choice was none other than Australian 60s/70s guitar God, Lobby Loyde, of Coloured Balls & Purple Hearts fame.

3. The Dockers’ hit “Nude School” made naughty reference to a map of Tasmania, which assumedly no one under the age of say 30 would understand.

4. The fourth single from Kiss My Art was “Safe Sex.” A few years’ later they became involved in Performers Releasing Information about Clean Syringes (PRICS), which promoted safe sex as well as safe drug use at the height of the AIDS/HIV epidemic. (see previous blog post)

5. Two decades later, in 2012, members of the band including frontman Paulie Stewart got together with several other musicians in a band called The Transplants to perform a special show for Organ Donation week. Most members of the Transplants, including Stewart, had had life-saving liver transplants. 
Paulie Stewart and the boys
6. They were joined at the gig, by another famous liver transplant recipient, the 'Human Headline' and now senator Derryn Hinch, who joined the band for a rousing version of the Dockers’ song “You're Going Home In The Back Of A Divi Van.” (A bit of a pub rocker, Hinch used to be a regular at gigs by Sydney’s Hitmen amongst others back in his drinking days.) 

7. The band’s deep social consciousness was perhaps spurred by the fact that Docker frontman Paul Stewart is, famously, the younger brother of television journalist Tony Stewart, who was one of five Australian journalists killed in East Timor by Indonesian troops. After they were killed, they became known as the Balibo Five, and their story is well known to all Australians who were around at the time. 
Painters And Dockers at the Corner Hotel, Richmond.

8. Honoring his older brother, Paulie became very involved in the East Timor cause early on and later went on to form the Dili Allstars in the early 1990s with East Timorese musicians. 

9. Paulie also followed his brother into journalism and was the Melbourne Herald Sun’s rock writer for years.

10. The Dockers’ hit “Basia” was a love song to the cool as a cucumber host of early SBS TV rock show Rock Around The World. It includes the pithy line "She's sitting there with her multi-colored hair / She's sitting there with that multi-cultured stare." (As an aside – Rock Around The World once showed an interview with David Lee Roth before Van Halen were super big here. When it cut back to Basia after the interview, she snidely but cluelessly quipped “Funny guy, that Van”!) 

11. The Docker’s first label Big Time Records – where their label mates included the Hoodoo Gurus – was funded by money made from Air Supply! We assume the Air Supply guys weren’t really paying attention. 

12. Also on Big Time with the Dockers were their buddies the Huxton Creepers, with whom they share management and many gigs. 

13. The title track of the Dockers’ covers EP, Kill Kill Kill, was a cover of a song that appeared in the legendary episode of Get Smart! that stared the brilliant Larry Storch as the Groovy Guru, an evil record producer who tried to do away with Max and 99 in his Echo Chamber. The made-up group of freaks playing the song in the show was called the Sacred Cows. The same episode also inspired the Dockers’ local contemporaries the Sacred Cowboys in their choice of name, and probably was influential in the Hoodoo Gurus choice of name too; the early Gurus’ classic “The Echo Chamber” is definitely inspired by that episode! 

14. The Kill Kill Kill EP also featured a cover of the Saints’ smashing “Know Your Product,” and it’s safe to say that the Dockers’ sound, which incorporated a lot of brass (provided by the Brassholes, natch) was heavily influenced by the Saints’ great second album Eternally Yours. 

15. Kill Kill Kill also featured covers of the Ramones “Do You Remember Rock’n’roll Radio?” and Supernaut’s “I Like It Both Ways” – great taste these boys! 

16. The Dockers once owned their own recording studio – Richmond Recorders, where Lobby Loyde kept busy working with other local bands – and even their own vinyl pressing plant where they pressed their own records!

Painters And Dockers Today
17. Early in their existence, the Dockers took part in a state government initiative called Rockin' the Rails, where they played songs from the back of a train, as it stopped at various Melbourne stations. We’re not sure how many commuters called in sick that day.

18. In 2014, James Tidswell from young grungers Violent Soho was barred from boarding a Virgin flight, because he was wearing an old Dockers “Eat, Shit and Die” T-shirt. “East, Shit & Die” is an old Dockers fan fave but no, it wasn’t a hit.

19. Their 1984 classic "The Boy Who Lost His Jocks on Flinders Street Station" wasn’t a hit either.

20. The two other singles from Kiss My Art – the ones we haven’t mentioned yet – were “Die Yuppie Die” and the tasteful “Love On your Breath.“ [taken from]

For the latest information and tour details on Painters & Dockers, see their Facebook Page.

This post consists of FLACs ripped from vinyl (thanks to gnowangerup) and includes full album artwork for both Vinyl and CD, plus label scans.  This album is loaded with great music and profound lyrics, which are guaranteed to offend even the most hardened blogger.  You really are going to enjoy this album if you haven't heard it beforeand if you are in Adelaide in a couple of weeks, you can catch them playing on their Kiss My Art 30th Anniversary Tour

Painters and Dockers - Kiss My Art 30th Anniversary Tour w/ guests The Lizards
8:00pm, Fri 18 October, 2019
HQ FRONT BAR, Adelaide, SA
For tickets see

Track Listing
01. Jacks' Car
02. Die Yuppie Die
03. Safe Sex
04. Bad
05. If He Beats You, Leave!
06. Love On Your Breath
07. Timing
08. I'm Selling Out
09. Meltdown
10. Nude School
11. Judas

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Cream - Swedish Radio Sessions (1967) Bootleg

(U.K July 1966  -  November 1968)
"Cream" The haughty-sounding name of the group formed by Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker in July 1966 was not without some justification. Guitarist Eric Clapton, aged 21. had already been dubbed "God" by a prophet on a North London wall for his playing with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. He'd demonstrated his purist principles a year earlier, quitting "the most blueswailin" Yardbirds when they'd dared to go pop with their "For Your Love" single. And he'd also played sessions with first generation bluesman like Sonny Boy Willamson and Champion Jack Dupree.

Drummer Ginger Baker, aged 26. had come from a trad jazz background with Acker Bilk and Terry Lightfoot before moving into the burgeoning R&B scene in the early '60s with Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated and the Graham Bond Organisation whose jazz-tinged R&B gained them a strong reputation in musical circles and the club circuit.

Bassist Jack Bruce, aged 23, had studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and had already played with Baker in Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated and the Graham Bond Organisation. He'd also briefly coincided with Clapton in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and as part of an all-star session band that also featured Steve Winwood and Paul Jones before a short spell in the pop limelight with Manfred Mann.

Cream's formation sent a frisson of anticipation through a music world for whom the "supergroup" concept - not to mention the cynical connotations - was still some years away Their first gig on 31 July at the Windsor Jazz & Blues Festival (the forerunner of the Reading Festival) fulfilled all expectations as the band revelled in the possibilities of fusing the festival's favoured musical styles with their own much-vaunted skills. So the comparatively understated, low-key pop of their first single. "Wrapping Paper", in October came as something of a surprise, despite the band's previously stated commercial intentions.

Their debut album, Fresh Cream, released on Robert Stigwood's Reaction Records in December 1966, was an affirmation of the band's original manifesto. The group written numbers, featured blazing nascent heavy metal rock riffs on tracks like "NSU" and "Sweet Wine" providing a foundation for some short, sharp, sonic blasts that utilised Jack Bruce's fierce counterpoint bass, Ginger Baker's thunderous rhythms on his elaborate double bass-drum kit and Eric Clapton's searing solos and ferocious feedback. They also gave a vivid demonstration of just how far you could take blues numbers like Howling Wolf's "Spoonful", Robert Johnson's "Four Until Late" and Skip James' "I'm So Glad" while staying true to the spirit of the originals.

They even found a viable commercial formula for their second single, "I Feel Free" (with lyrics supplied by underground poet Pete Brown), compressing their talents into a three-minute swirl of rhythms, vocal harmonies and controlled feedback guitar. It got them to Number 11 in the charts and onto BBC Television's Top Of The Pops where they found themselves on the same show as Jimi Hendrix who was performing "Hey Joe". Their careers were to run in parallel but while Hendrix's flamboyance gave him the edge in terms of media exposure, particularly in Britain, it was Cream that would make the first breakthrough in America.

Having tightened themselves as a group with gigs around Britain and Europe during the first part of 1967, Cream set their sights on America, Their initial attempts were somewhat misguided - a week-long 15-minute slot six times a day in front of screaming teenagers on DJ Murray The K's "Music In The Fifth Dimension" show at the RKO Theatre in New York with Hermans' Hermits, The Loving Spoonful and The Who was notably unsuccessful. But once they were put in front of audiences who wanted to listen rather than scream they were guaranteed a rapturous response.

Cream Publicity Shot For Polydor
They also got the opportunity to record their second album at New York's Atlantic Studios in May 1967 - with producer Felix Pappalardi and engineer Tom Dowd. The sessions may have been hurried - three and a half days in total according to Dowd, foreclosed when a chauffeur arrived to take them to JFK Airport - but Disraeli Gears flowed with a supreme, focused confidence that grew out of the quality of the material the band had prepared. The opening track, "Strange Brew", a sublime BB King-influenced blues, was the band's third UK single, reaching Number 17 in July. The B-side, "Tales Of Brave Ulysses", was Clapton's first extravagant flourish using the newly introduced wah-wah pedal (was it any coincidence that Hendrix's first wah-wah flurry on "Burning Of The Midnight Lamp" came out at the same time?). It was the epic "Sunshine Of Your Love" that was to become Cream's anthem -a pile-driving riff and climatic chorus that instinctively drew on the finest assets of the trio. The other tracks ranged across the ethereal, Byrds-like "Dance The Night Away", the attacking staccato of "SWLABR" (standing for "She Walks Like a Bearded Rainbow"*) and the steady rising crescendo of 'We're Going Wrong".

Disraeli Gears was released in November '67, towards the end of an extraordinary year of landmark albums that included The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper", The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds", Jefferson Airplane's "Surrealistic Pillow", Love's "Oa Capo", The Doors "The Doors", The Velvet Underground's "The Velvet Underground & Nico" and Pink Floyd's "Piper At The Gates Of Dawn".

Like them, Disraeli Gears perfectly catches the spirit of the moment which was epitomised by Martin Sharp's quintessential British flower-powered cover artwork. Cream had spent much of the summer of '67 playing concerts around Britain, including another appearance -this time top of the bill - at the Windsor Jazz & Blues Festival, but the last four months of the year were mainly spent in America, touring to increasing critical and popular acclaim as Disraeli Gears made the US Top 5, selling a million copies and fuelling the band's ascent to superstardom. The gilt edge to their rising status was provided by San Francisco which fervently took the band to its breast alongside its own myriad local heroes headed by The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane.

Sessions for Cream's third album, Wheels Of Fire, were spread over the course of a year from mid '67 to mid '68, with some basic tracks being laid down at London's IBC Studios before the bulk of the work was completed back at New York's Atlantic Studios, again with Felix Pappalardi and Tom Dowd, The relatively extended time the group were able to spend in the studio allowed them to sound more comfortable which was in turn reflected by the more sophisticated production. In addition the group's internal musical dynamic was changing. The Jack Bruce/Pete Brown partnership supplied four of the album's nine tracks including the monumental "White Room", Cream's other great anthem with its portentous descending chords and driving wah-wah guitar, the biting, stiff funk of "Politician" and the florid escapism of "Deserted Cities Of The Heart".

Jack Bruce
Ginger Baker teamed"up with avant garde jazz musician Mike Taylor for three tracks including the babbling but melodic "Those Were The Days" and "Pressed Rat And Warthog" which is as spaced out as it sounds, Clapton, who'd had four co-writing credits on the previous album, preferred to cover Howlin' Wolf's grinding blues "Sittin On Top Of The World" and Albert King's "Born Under A Bad Sign" (written by the Stax soul team of Booker T Jones and William Bell). However, he did write a winsome ditty with Martin Sharp called "/Anyone For Tennis" which was recorded for the soundtrack of the Savage Seven movie and released as a single in May '68.

To this studio album, Cream added a second album of live tracks recorded in San Francisco in March 1968 called "Live At The Fillmore" (even though three of the four tracks were actually recorded at the Winterland). It included a monstrous 17-minute version of "Spoonful" that defined the term "rock jam", "Toad" a 16-minute drum solo and a 4-minute 14-second exquisite encapsulation of the power and musical dexterity that was Cream at their very very best -"Crossroads". Robert Johnson's stark, eerie masterpiece was given a different but equally compelling intensity.

Eric Clapton
But even as "Sunshine Of Your Love" was giving Cream their first American Top 40 single in February 1968 (it would go on to reach Number 5 in the summer), rumours that the band were planning to split were rife. The sparks that had given Cream their mercurial quality and inspiration were now destroying the group as their increasingly fractured personalities clashed under the suffocating conditions of endless touring.

By the time Wheels Of Fire was released in August 1968, resplendent in another magnificent Martin Sharp design, Cream had effectively ceased to exist as a group except when they were on stage together. That did not prevent the album from being an instant smash hit, however. It topped the album charts in the US for four weeks. In the UK, Wheels Of Fire was released both as a double album and as a single "studio" album and both versions made the Top 10 - at Number 3 and Number 7 respectively.

Clapton, Bruce and Baker had had enough each other, however. Cream were finished, They agreed to a farewell tour, which started in America in October and bowed out in style at London's Royal Albert Hall on 26 November.
Just before their last tour, Cream recorded three tracks at London's IBC Studios including "Badge" which featured George Harrison (credited as "L'Angela Mysterioso" for contractual reasons) on rhythm guitar and Clapton on the trademark bridge riff (or "badge" as he misread it on Harrison's lyric sheet). These tracks, together with three more live tracks, made up the Goodbye album released in March '69, topping the UK charts and reaching Number 2 in the US.

By then, the three members of Cream had moved on - Clapton and Baker into Blind Faith and Bruce into his solo career.

This post is a radio broadcast performance recorded at the "Concert Hall" in Stockholm on Cream's short Scandinavian tour on 7th March, 1967. It established them in Scandanavia.
The 5 songs were later broadcast on Sveriges Radio's "Konsert Med Cream"

This bootleg has been promoted as an "excellent" quality recording. While it is good it does have some problems. Of the three "excellent' quality versions I have heard, all are sped up. The worst ranges from 7-15% over speed.
The performance includes the five songs that would become the closing elements of their extended improvisational sets later in the year.
It is interesting to note that Ginger Baker's name is advertised as 'Peter Baker' on this Swedish billboard poster, and his nickname was probably unknown in European countries at that time.

This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from a Koine CD (sourced sometime ago from cyberspace) and includes limited artwork. I have also chosen to include artwork from some alternative releases that also include live tracks from other concerts during their 1967 tour, and are readily available on the internet if you search Google.
Track reviews below by Graeme Pattingale

Concert Review
Track Listing
01 - NSU (Bruce) 4.06
Starts with Baker sounding like he's been slowed down but in fact he's marking time while Jack sorts out some hardware problem. EC joins in to fill out time and then jack joins in. Not a significant variation on the 'Klooks' or "Fresh Cream' versions except its harder and the solo starting to adopt the three way jamming elements.
02 - Stepping Out (Bracken) 4.09
A brief performance but shows Eric's continuing growth and increased interaction between all three.
03 - Traintime (Bruce) 5.55
The Graham Bond Organisation piece revived in a reasonably extended performance. Jack and Ginger have been doing this for years and its really a bravura piece for both of them.
04 - Toad (Baker) 6.52
Short and close to the 'Fresh Cream' recording. The later extended versions were criticised as excessive but this lacks the excitement of the musical development of those versions. Baker was not a teller of short stories.
05 - I'm So Glad (James) 4.58
This song was usually the frantic closer of their sets later in the year. This is a proto-rendition ending with the guitar feeding back as Eric leaves it leaning against the stack.

Cream were:
Eric Clapton - Guitar / Vocals 
Jack Bruce - Bass / Vocals 
Ginger Baker - Drums

Cream Swedish Radio Sessions MP3 (63Mb)

Cream Swedish Radio Sessions FLACs (181Mb)

Saturday, September 28, 2019

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: Mike Brady & Haley White - Up There Cazaly '99 (1999)

Before things get too serious at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song at the end of each month, that could be considered to be either Weird, Obscure, Cazaly or just plain Korny.....

"Up There Cazaly" is a 1979 song by Mike Brady, written to promote Channel Seven's coverage of the Victorian Football League (VFL). It was first performed by the Two-Man Band, a duo of Brady and Peter Sullivan, and has since become an unofficial anthem of Australian rules football.

The title refers to early 20th century ruckman Roy Cazaly. Known for his prodigious leap, Cazaly formed a famous ruck combination with South Melbourne teammates Fred "Skeeter" Fleiter and Mark "Napper" Tandy. It was ruck rover Fleiter who was the first to call "Up there, Cazaly!" when the ruckman flew for the ball. The catchcry was soon adopted by South Melbourne supporters and eventually entered the Australian lexicon as a common phrase of encouragement.

Released independently on Fable Records, the Two-Man Band's recording of the song became the largest-selling Australian single released up to that time, with over 250,000 copies sold. The song has been performed at many VFL/AFL Grand Finals, often by Brady himself and performed it perfectly today at the 2019 Grand Final Premiership between GWS (Giants) and Richmond (Tigers).
 It was the Tiger's day with a convincing win over GWS - final scores RICH 17.12.114 / GWS 3.7.25

Mike Brady Singing At The 2019 Grand Final
In 1999, Mike teamed up with a relatively unknown singer Haley White to re-record the hit once again. Ozzi Music Man contacted Mike Brady in 2016 to enquire about Haley and this is what he had to say....

"Hayley White was just sixteen when she and I recorded a version of "Up There Cazaly" in '99. She had a manager and they worked hard on launching a career for her. I don't think it was particularly successful but I'm sure she's still trying. I hope so.

2019 AFL Premiership Team - The Tigers
This month's WOCK on Vinyl post is a little early because I wanted to pay tribute to Mike Brady (for providing so many inspirational performances at our AFL Grand Finals and getting more than 100,000 people singing this sporting anthem) and to the 2 teams who battled it out for the AFL Premiership Cup today. Congratulations to the Richmond team for their win and commiserations to Greater Western Sydney who were playing their first Grand Final and showed great courage.
And so, the C in WOCK is for all footy players who aspire to be like Cazaly, striving to to their best for their footy team and fans, and demonstrating great Courage, even when the chips are down.

Track Listing
01 - Up There Cazaly '99 (Main Mix) 3:03
02 - Instrumental Mix 3:03
03 - Karaoke Mix 3:03
04 - Extended Video Mix 3:55

Released on Shock Records and produced by Doug & Mike Brady at Brighton Studios for BIB Productions

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Stray Dog - Selftitled (1973) + Bonus Live Tracks

(Texas 1970 - 1976)
Stray Dog were a blues-based hard rock band formed in Texas in the early 1970s. They recorded three albums before disbanding around 1976. The band originally formed in Texas under the name "Aphrodite". They moved to Denver, Colorado, where they became very popular. They were introduced to Neville Chesters, a former road manager for Emerson, Lake & Palmer, who convinced the band to go to London where, along with a friend and a former Tour Manager Lorenzio Mazzio, he introduced William 'Snuffy' Walden to Greg Lake, who signed them to ELP's label, Manticore Records. Randy Reeder was replaced by Leslie Sampson. Lake produced three tracks on the 1973 debut self-titled album, Stray Dog, with the band producing the remainder.  Sounding like a cross between Leslie West and Jimi Hendrix, Snuffy Walden's guitar licks and lightning fast frett work make this album compelling listening, especially the bonus live tracks. Interesting voice of Alan Roberts (a sort of a lower, mid-pitched Glenn Hughes)
Produced by benefactor Greg Lake and the band, 1973's "Stray Dog" was one of those albums that somehow managed to fall through the cracks.  Critics largely panned it as mindless heavy metal, while fans simply ignored it.  Shame.  True, musically these seven tracks didn't offer up anything particularly original, but the band's affection for conventional blues rock was obvious throughout the collection.  Walden was a spectacular Hendrix-influenced guitarist who managed to pull a unique, watery sound out of his instrument (recall he was picked to replace Paul Kossoff in Free).  There's hardly a song here that doesn't showcase a first-rate Walden lead.   He also had a surprisingly enjoyable voice.  Equally impressive, given they hadn't been playing together more than a couple of months at the time the album was recorded Roberts and Sampson provided watertight backing - Sampson's time with Noel Redding's band Road came through on a couple of tracks - check out his blistering performance on the second half of the opener 'Tramp (How It Is)'.

"Stray Dog" track listing:
1. Tramp (How It Is)   (Snuffy Walden - Alan Roberts) - 7:06
'Tramp (How It Is)' opened up with some Keith Emerson-styled church organ and Carl Palmer-ish percussion giving you the impression this was going to be an ELP-styled set of bombastic pretense ...  Luckily about a minute into the track, Walden announced a warning to 'fasten your seat belts' and the song spun off into a nifty slinky blues-rocker.  While Walden's lead work was amazing (the Roberts Sampson rhythm section kicked in big time during the second half of the tune), the big surprise on this one was how good his voice was.
'Snuffy' Walden

2. Crazy  (Snuffy Walden) - 5:10
Even though it was listed as a Walden original, 'Crazy' was apparently an updated version of Bloodrock's 'Crazy 'Bout You Babe' (taken from the "U.S.A." album).  Regardless of the song's pedigree, the result was a slinky, Hendrix-styled rocker.  Once again, Walden's raspy voice was the big surprise here.  One of my picks for standout performance.

3. A Letter  (Snuffy Walden) - 3:50
Showcasing Walden's acoustic guitar chops, 'A Letter' was a pretty, slightly psych-tinged and slightly wobbly ballad.  They certainly tried their best and the backing vocals were nice, but they just didn't sound all that comfortable on this one.

4. Chevrolet   (Billy Gibbons) - 3:56
The band's sizzling cover of ZZ Top's 'Chevrolet' moved things back in the right direction.  You won't forget the original, but overlooking the screechy female backing vocals this one wasn't bad.  Would have been a blast to hear it live ... Curiously a couple of website claim Walden took credit for co-writing this one with Billy Gibbons.  For what it's worth the album credits it solely to Gibbons.
"Cheverolet" was released as an A-Side Single with "You Know" on the B-Side.

5. Speak of the Devil  (Snuffy Walden - Alan Roberts - Leslie Sampson) - 4:15
The lone group composition, 'Speak of the Devil' demonstrated a mix of bar boogie and commercial AOR moves.  Nice, breezy melody, though the female backing vocalists were needless.

Al Roberts
6. Slave   (Alan Roberts) - 6:00
Penned by Roberts and showcasing Sampson on drums, 'Slave' found the band taking a somewhat tentative stab at a more progressive sound - imagine early Rush (sans the shrieky Geddy Lee vocals) and you'd have a rough idea of what this one sounded like.  Didn't do much for me at first, but it's consistently grown on me.

7. Rocky Mountain Suite (Bad Road)  (Snuffy Walden) - 8:24
'Rocky Mountain Suite (Bad Road)' started out as an acoustic ballad, but got a lot better a couple of minutes in when it morphed into a country-blues number showcasing some excellent Walden acoustic slide guitar.  The track took another sep in the right direction when it reinvented itself as a jumpy Walden-powered rocker.   For anyone interested, this one showcased Walden's best lead guitar work.
The band hit the road opening for ELP throughout Europe and the US (certainly a weird musical pairing that probably didn't do much to help sales), but as you'd expect, the album did little commercially. I won't go as far as calling it a lost masterpiece, but I will say that this was a pretty amazing debut.   Hard rock with a commercial edge ...  most bands would have killed to have released something nearly as good. [ review by RDTEN1]
In March 1973, the British music magazine, NME, reported that Stray Dog were to support ELP on their world tour, which was due to commence in Germany at the end of that month. Stray Dog's follow-up album, While You're Down There (1974), was co-produced by Austin Godsey and the band, which featured new members Tim Dulaine on second guitar and vocals, and keyboardist Luis Cabaza.  The additions of Dulaine and Cabaza radically changed the band's sound from blues-based power trio to a more subdued and commercial AOR rock sound. Much of the material on While You're Down There was written and sung by Dulaine, with founder Walden's contributions being reduced. Only two tracks, "I Would" and the instrumental "Worldwinds", retained a sound and stylistic approach reminiscent of their debut. Sampson had played previously in another power trio, Road, with Noel Redding, and American guitarist Rod Richards. They produced one self-titled 1972 album on the Rare Earth label.

With little promotional support from Manticore which was then distributed by Motown, the band did some local shows in support of the album.  Needless to say the collection vanished without a trace.  Within a couple of months Stray Dog was over.

After the band called it quits Walden joined a reunited Free where he replaced an incapacitated Paul Kossoff.  He also worked with Kossoff in Back Street Crawler.  He was a member of the Eric Burden Band, recorded some solo material and then went on to enjoy considerable success working in film and television - he's scored music for the likes of  "The Wonder Years", "thirtysomething" and "The West Wing". Roberts was briefly a member of Aalon.
This post consists of MP3 (320kps) which I found in cyberspace some time ago and I thought it was time to unleash this Stray Dog and give it a home on this blog.  Full album artwork for both Vinyl and CD formats is included, along with label scans and all photos displayed above.  The live bonus tracks were released with the 2014 CD release where Tracks 8-11 were recorded live at Reading Rehearsals, London 1973 and Tracks 12-13 were recorded live in Rome, Italy 1973. 
So folks, crank up the volume on ya amplifier and like Snuffy says in the opening track, 'fasten up your seat belts' cause this album is gonna give you the ride of ya life and rip ya throat out, both at the same time!
Track Listing
01. Tramp (How It Is)  (Snuffy Walden, Al Roberts) - 7:04
02. Crazy  (Snuffy Walden) - 5:12
03. A Letter (Snuffy Walden) - 3:54
04. Chevrolet (Billy Gibbons) - 3:50
05. Speak Of The Devil (Snuffy Walden, Al Roberts, Les Samson) - 3:52
06. Slave (Al Roberts) - 6:06
07. Rocky Mountain Suite (Bad Road)  (Snuffy Walden) - 8:27
[Bonus Live Tracks]
08. Crazy (WG "Snuffy" Walden)+ - 5:43
09. The Journey (WG "Snuffy" Walden)+ - 13:57
10. Eric Takes A Walk+ - 1:48
11. Rocky Mountain Suite (Bad Road) (WG "Snuffy" Walden)+ - 9:38 
12. Tramp (How It Is) (WG "Snuffy" Walden, Al Roberts)* - 7:18
13. Dog's Blues (Including Guitar Solo)* - 1:39

+ Tracks 8-11 Live At Reading Rehearsals, London 1973
* Tracks 12-13 Live In Rome, Italy 1973

- WG "Snuffy" Walden (William Garrett Walden) - guitar, vocals
- Al Roberts - bass, keyboards, vocals
- Les (Leslie) Sampson - drums, percussion, feet

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Donovan - Lady Of The Stars (1983)

(Scottish 1964 - Present)
By 1983, Donovan's albums were receiving little distribution in the UK and none in the US. His popularity had steadily decreased through the 1970s and early 1980s and mainstream record companies were not convinced that Donovan's albums could generate enough record sales to warrant release.

Donovan decided that to win over the record companies and reach his American and British fans, he would record new versions of both "Sunshine Superman" and "Season of the Witch" for inclusion on his next album. Both songs were released on the Sunshine Superman album in 1966 and Donovan's Greatest Hits in 1969. The name recognition of these two songs would give the record companies marketing leverage and guarantee release.

In addition to "Sunshine Superman" and "Season of the Witch", Donovan updated three other songs from his canon. Two of these songs, "Lady of the Stars" (written for Donovan's wife Linda Lawrence) and "Local Boy Chops Wood" (written about Brian Jones) were as well recorded and released on Donovan in 1977, "Boy for Every Girl" had been recorded for his 1973 album Essence to Essence. Donovan also included five new songs and titled the album Lady of the Stars for his wife Linda.

Lady of the Stars was released in Britain through RCA, and licensed in the US to Allegiance Records. It became the first Donovan album to receive a US release since Donovan in 1977.

Donovan with wife Linda
After this, Donovan took an extended hiatus from recording, and would not release another studio album until Sutras twelve years later.

Lady of the Stars has been the focus of many CD reissues since its original release. The reissues sometimes have a different track order, and the album has rarely gone under its original title. Some are designed to look like greatest hits albums (Golden Hits) or like a reissue of the 1966 studio album Sunshine Superman.

- Till I See You Again, released in July 1994 (Success 22534CD), from which this rip was taken.
- Sunshine Superman, released November 29, 1994 (Charly Records CDCD 1206). Shuffled track order. The album cover is from the same photo session as Donovan's 1967 album Wear Your Love Like Heaven.
- Golden Hits, (original track order) released February 23, 1996 (Masters Music MACD 61075-2, Holland/Intercontinental Records 1075, US).
- Sunshine Superman, released June 3, 1997, (Remember Records). Same track order as Charly Records release.
- Forever Gold, rel. January 18, 2000, St. Clair Records, St. Clair 5818.
- Golden Tracks, August 22, 2000 (Cleopatra 852).
This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my CD release entitled 'Till I See You Again'.  Full album artwork for both Vinyl and CD (see above) are provided along with label scans and the CD collage shown below. This is probably Donovan's strongest album, or at least his best post 60's, and reworking some of his biggest hits like "Season Of The Witch", "Sunshine Superman" and "Till I See You Again" demonstrates just how talented an artist he is.

One anomaly noted is the LP track "Boy For Every Girl" which is entitled  "For Everybody There Is A Girl" on the CD releases.  Same song - just a slightly different title.
Track Listing
1. "Lady of the Stars" – 4:37
2. "I Love You Baby" – 3:28
3. "Bye, Bye Girl" – 3:22
4. "Every Reason" – 3:05
5. "Season of the Witch" – 5:27
1. "Boy for Every Girl" – 4:39
2. "Local Boy Chops Wood" – 3:29
3. "Sunshine Superman" – 4:06
4. "Living for the Love Light" – 3:44
5. "Till I See You Again" – 3:14
Session musicians and guest appearances on this album include:

Guitar, Vocals, Written By: Donovan Leitch
Guitar: Pete Carr, Richie Zito
Keyboards: Barry Beckett, Bill Payne, William "Smitty" Smith, Jai Winding, Bruce Robb
Bass guitar: Bob Glaub, Leland Sklar, Wilton Felder, Jim Strauss
Drums: Rayford Griffin, James Gadson, Mike "Reedo" Reed, Paulinho da Costa (percussion)
Wind instruments: Jim Horn
Guests: Graham Nash and Bonnie Bramlett (backing vocals), Dave Mason (guitar), John Sebastian (autoharp)
Lady Of The Stars FLAC Link (235Mb)
Lady Of The Stars MP3 Link (82Mb)