Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Gregg Allman Band - Playin' Up A Storm (1977)

(U.S 1960 - 2017)
.
Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Gregg Allman was known for his long blond hair. He was raised in Florida by a single mother after his father was shot to death. Allman idolised his older brother, Duane, eventually joining a series of bands with him. Together they formed the nucleus of The Allman Brothers Band. The original band featured extended jams, tight guitar harmonies by Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, rhythms from a pair of drummers and the smoky blues inflected voice of Gregg Allman. Songs such as Whipping Post, Ramblin’ Man and Midnight Rider helped define what came to be known as Southern rock and opened the doors for such stars as Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band.

In 1975, Cher and Allman married three days after she divorced her husband and singing partner, Sonny Bono. Their marriage was tumultuous from the start; Cher requested a divorce just nine days after their Las Vegas wedding, although she dismissed the suit a month later.

Together they released a widely panned duets album under the name Allman and Woman. They had one child together, Elijah Blue, and Cher filed for legal separation in 1977. He recorded his second solo album, 'Playin' Up a Storm', with the Gregg Allman Band, and it was released in May 1977.

Sadly, Allman recently passed away (May 27, 2017) at the age of 69 of complications from liver cancer.

Cher & Gregg 1977
Album Review
'Playin’ Up A Storm' is the debut album under The Gregg Allman Band title and is Greg Allman’s overall second effort outside The Allman Brothers Band. “Playin’ Up A Storm” was released in 1977 on the Capricorn label and was produced by Lenny Waronker and Russ Titelman.

The “Playin’ Up A Storm” lineup consisted of Gregg Allman on vocals, acoustic guitar, organ and piano, Bill Stewart on drums, Neil Larsen on the fender rhodes, piano, electric piano and synthesizer, Ricky Hirsch on acoustic, electric and slide guitar, Steve Beckmeier on electric guitar, John Hug on electric guitar and lastly, Willie Weeks on bass.
  

According to my research “Playin’ Up A Storm” didn’t receive much attention back in 1977 despite Gregg Allman already being an established household name. I think it’s truly a shame it wasn’t represented and supported more back then but it’s even more saddening to know that almost 40 years later “Playin’ Up A Storm” is still practically under the covers.

“Playin’ Up A Storm” is a well blended mixture of Southern Rock, Pop, Blues, Jazz and some Soul. Consisting of nine tracks, the album has a very pleasurable and easy listening flow from start to finish. I think the musicianship is top notch, Gregg’s vocals are inviting and the production is both clear and polished.

There wasn’t a song that I found to be less likable than the other, in my opinion this album is a very solid effort from The Gregg Allman Band. There is one song that's had slightly more of an impact on me which is track five “Cryin’ Shame”. The song starts off low key with a hint of guitar, a smooth bass line, a friendly drum beat and a lonesome sounding keyboard while Gregg Allman's voice floats over top talking about the familiar tale of heartbreak. When the chorus comes around the band becomes more lively and both a organ and backup singers are then added to the mix. The song continues to build momentum and grab your interest more from there. The sweet spot of the song in my opinion is the keyboard solo more towards the end, it’s like golden rich honey pouring out of your speakers.

I do enjoy the album artwork, it’s simplistic and works but I also think it showcases how intimate the music is. A nice action shot of Gregg Allman is the main centerpiece showing his eyes closed and his fingers exploring the keyboard before him. Gregg having his eyes closed I think represents the intimate and soul touching, feel good music that lies ahead for the listener. Another attractive element of “Playin’ Up A Storm” is its long list of credits which include Dr. John and Ray Charles just to name a few. Those two paired with Gregg Allman makes a great threesome already but then add the other musicians and features of the album and you’ve got one genuinely great piece.

“Playin’ Up A Storm” is a gem of my album collection that I pull out from time to time and it never ceases to entertain. If you’ve heard of this album before but don’t recall its sound or passed it over back in the day, give it another shot. Or if you’ve never heard of it, treat yourself to some great music, go give it a listen. [review by By Daniel Watts at PhillyRockRadio.com]

.
This 'whipping' post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) and full album artwork from vinyl and CD media.  I purchased this album second hand in my late teens and always remember how impressed I was when I first heard the album. It was very different to the Allman Brothers material that I had heard previously, but it had such a laid back groove that I immediately feel in love with it. The B-side contains my favourite tracks but having said this, there isn't a bad track on the whole album. I therefore pay tribute to Gregg Allman with this post and hope you enjoy his solo material.
.
Track Listing:
01. Come And Go Blues - 4:48

02. Let This Be A Lesson To Ya' - 3:42
03. Brightest Smile In Town - 3:06
04. Bring It On Back - 4:49
05. Cryin' Shame - 3:44
06. Sweet Feelin' - 3:37
07. It Ain't No Use - 3:54
08. Matthew's Arrival - 3:50
09. One More Try - 3:53


The Gregg Allman Band is:
Gregg Allman - Vocals, Organ, Piano, Acoustic Guitar
Willie Weeks - Bass, Fender Rhodes
Steve Beckmeier - Guitar
Ricky Hirsch - Guitar, Slide Guitar
John Leslie Hug - Guitar
Neil Larsen - Synthesizer, Piano, Keyboards, Fender Rhodes, Horn Arrangements
Bill Stewart - Drums
Guest Musicians

Fred Beckmeier - Bass
Red Callender- Bass
Dr. John - Keyboards
Victor Feldman - Percussion
Venetta Fields - Background Vocals
Clydie King - Background Vocals
Milt Holland - Percussion
David Luell - Horn, Saxophone
Steve Madaio - Horn
Pat Rizzo - Horn
Sherlie Matthews - Background Vocals
Bill Payne - Synthesizer, Keyboards
.
Gregg Allman Band FLACs Link (195Mb)
.
Gregg Allman Band MP3 Link (81Mb)
.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Paul Norton - Under A Southern Sky (1990) plus Bonus Tracks

(Australian 1980 - 1994)
.
Paul Norton released his debut single "Stuck On You" in 1989 - it reached Top 10 nationally and received massive airplay all around Australia. Follow-up single 'Under A Southern Sky' also received Top 20 status. A talented solo performer and former band member of The Runners, Paul puts on a rocking performance in this post!

The other former Runner to release a solo album was former bass player Paul McNaughton, who launched his solo career under the name Paul Norton (having played a while with Wendy & The Rocketts). Norton experienced a far greater reception to his music than had Edwards. Norton’s debut single ‘Stuck On You’ struck #3 on the Australian charts in May ‘89. Two more top 40 singles followed with ‘I Got You’ (#34) and ‘Southern Sky’ (#32), both from Norton’s debut album ‘Under A Southern Sky (1990). A second album ‘Let It Fly’ was released in 1992 but yielded only a minor hit single with ‘When We Were Young’ (#80). Norton has gone to work in country music, and as musical director with the Australian Shakespeare Company, and still tours regularly. He runs his own website as well, with details of his career and current work.
.
Paul Norton Band (featuring Wendy Stapleton)
Album Review
Bit of a local identity in Victoria Australia is Paul Norton, who in Jan 1990 released this diverse slice of rock. Better known as the husband of Wendy Stapleton (Wendy And The Rockets fame), Paul has assembled some of the personnel from those sessions,namely Paul Muggfeton, Judie Tzuke, and Bob Noble, as well as wife Wendy.


Paul's vocal style has a lot in common with that other Aussie legend James Reyne (Australian Crawl) as well, the music is vaguely similar, whilst retaining a mid-west edge a la Henry Lee Summer, John Cougar Mellancamp or even Jimmy Barnes for that matter. The acoustic guitar is predominant throughout, with the songs basing their structure around it. For the most part, the production is quite full, but not overblown, allowing the acoustic nature to be embellished by subtle keyboards and restrained electric guitar.

1990 Single
As for the songs, well you can take your pick really, 'Stuck On You' could indeed stick on any Henry tee Summer album, while the epic 'Southern Sky' has some 'feel good', patriotic Aussie lyrics to it. 'God Is On My Side' has an undulating quality throughout, and wouldn't be out of place on a Dragon album, say from the 'Bondi Road' era. I quite liked the Stray Cats oriented 'Shake That Devil', very rockabilly, but good enough that Paul can get away with it on an album like this. The racy 'I Got You' pulses along nicely, supplemented with the right dose of keyboards. 'Means A Lot Of Work' is a stripped back affair, a sort of lazy and cruisy sounding track a la Australian Crawl or even early Dire Straits circa 'Communique'. The Mellancamp and Summer influences make their presence felt on the midwest sounding 'Hurricane', while there's a certain element of fun by the sounds of things going on with '96 Tears' as well as 'I Got The Wheels', harking back to classic Rolling Stones type rock.

In summary, I have to say, you don't see this album too often, and as it's a local Australian release, the chances of finding it outside of Australia is slim indeed. If you're into the above named artists, and like your rock with a bit of variety and swagger, then you need took no further. However, finding the album is a different story altogether. Found my CD copy at the market buried in amongst some pretty lame and unknown titles. Ah, the hunt can be worth it sometimes!  (Extract from glorydazemusic.com)
.
This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my rare CD - sourced after many, many years of searching. No, not the market this time and certainly not eBay where prices are $50 plus. This time, a garage sale in my own street, almost on my own doorstep.  Don't ya just love it.
Full album artwork along with 2 bonus tracks - the B-side track "Don't Say A Word"  (Stuck On You) and the acoustic version of Southern Sky, taken from the CD release of the same track. Enjoy.
.
Track Listing
01. Billy Billy
02. Stuck On You
03. Southern Sky
04. God on my Side
05. It's the End
06. Shake That Devil
07. I Got You
08. Means a Lot of Work
09. Hurricane
10. 96 Tears
11. I Got The Wheels
12. Don't Say A Word (Bonus B-Side)
13. Southern Sky (Bonus Acoustic Version)

Band Members:
Paul Norton - vocals, guitars, bass
Bob Noble - keyboards
Mark Greig - guitars
Rob Dean - guitars
Charlie Morgan - drums


Paul Norton FLAC link (355Mb)

Paul Norton MP3 Link (112Mb)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Various Artists - BBC Live in Concert 1967-69 (Bootleg)

(Various Artists 1967-1969)
.
During the late 60's, the BBC started to devote some of their prime time T.V to cash in on the quickly growing pop culture that was taking place in England and the US at the time.  This resulted in some wonderful audio and video archives of popular music artists at that time, recorded during the many Pop TV Shows that started to appear on the BBC. This bootleg is a sample of some of these recordings plus several one off documentary/ films, and features some classic names like Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, The Who and Cream. The quality of the recordings is pretty damn good considering most were made 50 years ago.
.
All Of My Loving (A Film Of Pop Music 1968)
U.K. TV documentary. Oct-1-68. Excellent quality. 16:9 widescreen. A very interesting documentary about how pop music has changed the world and how the world has changed pop music. Drugs, the Beatles, sex, fashion, the media, love, war and financial profit are all examined. Fantastic vintage footage assembled in a collage form creates a TV program as "mod" and "pop" as the music it describes.

Cool footage includes: the Beatles in the studio, 60s London, Liverpool, psychedelic imagery, Cream, Hendrix, the Who, Pink Floyd and more. Terrific footage of the Who performing in Peoria, Illinois and smashing their equipment to bits! Interviews of Paul McCartney (in his "Yellow Submarine-look" period) discussing the meaning of Beatle lyrics and Ringo Starr talking about studio tricks.
[extract from beatlevid.blogspot.com]

The featured BBC recording of Pink Floyd, performing "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" in 1968, was filmed on the balcony of The Tabernacle, a community hall close to All Saints Church Hall, in Notting Hill, London, is part of a program called "All My Loving".

Other artists included are The Beatles, Frank Zappa, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and many others, across a 55 minute film by Tony Palmer. First broadcast in November 1968 in black and white, the following year saw a colour broadcast, and one destined to put strain on the red guns of television tubes!

Anyone who is familiar with the three minute performance, knows that, with the exception of the very beginning, the recording was electronically treated to bathe the band in vivid red. A very interesting and effective trick, it complements the short but sweet performance well. [extract from brain-damage.co.uk]

Pop Goes The Sixties
Pop Go The 60s! was a one-off, 75-minute TV special originally broadcast in colour on 31 December 1969, to celebrate the major pop hits of the 1960s. The show was a co-production between the United

Kingdom's BBC and West Germany's ZDF broadcasters. It was shown on both stations on the same day, with other European stations broadcasting the programme either the same day or later. Although a co-production, it was primarily produced by the BBC and recorded at the BBC's Television Centre in London, in late 1969, featuring largely only British pop acts and hits.


The show (which went out at 10:35pm) was presented by Jimmy Saville and Elfi Von Kalckreuth. The two presenters introduced each act  but neither was present in the studio recording with the artists, their links being added later. Saville spoke English, whereas Elfi Von Kalckreuth speaks in German throughout.
The Rolling Stones song "Gimme Shelter" was the only track included in the show that had not been a hit single but instead an extremely popular album track.

Fleetwood Mac on Monster Music Mash
Monster Music Mash
BBC1 Monster Music Mash (1969) was a dedicated music series. "Pop. Blues, Folk and Whoopee!" - was introduced in front of a young-adult audience by ex-Animal Alan Price, supported by comedy jazz from Bob Kerr's Whoopee Band. Refreshingly, the weekly guests had the freedom to perform a few numbers and not just their latest hit. First up were Fleetwood Mac, playing "Oh Well", followed by, among others, Pentangle and the Moody Blues. There was also an early sighting of Slade playing their latest single "Martha My Dear". It was serious stuff to follow Wacky Races during children's hour but regrettably just one short series was produced. [extract from Rock & Pop On British TV by Jeff Evans]

Happening for Lulu Show
One common feature of all BBC shows was their strict rules on what artists could or could not do when performing live on BBC TV. Artists were told exactly what to play and for how long so improvisations were unheard of, well, that's until the Jimi Hendrix Experience were asked to perform on Lulu's popular evening show.
After a blistering performance of Voodoo Chile, on the Happening for Lulu show in January 1969, The Jimi Hendrix Experience stop midway through a half-hearted attempt at their first hit "Hey Joe". The trio break into Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love", in tribute to the recently disbanded group, until producers bring the song to a premature end.

According to the memoir of bassist Noel Redding, Lulu had been due to join Hendrix on stage to sing the final lines of Hey Joe, but the band wasn't too keen on the idea. The stunt (according to rock and roll legend) earned The Jimi Hendrix Experience a ban from performing on BBC television. Hendrix died the following year on 18th September 1970. [extract from www.bbc.co.uk]

Top Of The Pops
Top of the Pops, also known as TOTP, is a British music chart television program, made by the BBC and originally broadcast weekly between 1 January 1964 and 30 July 2006. It was traditionally shown every Thursday evening on BBC1, except for a short period on Fridays in mid-1973 before being again moved to Fridays in 1996, and then to Sundays on BBC Two in 2005.

Each weekly program consisted of performances from some of that week's best-selling popular music artists, with a rundown of that week's singles chart. Additionally, there was a special edition of the program on Christmas Day (and usually, until 1984, a second such edition a few days after Christmas), featuring some of the best-selling singles of the year. With its high viewing figures the show became a significant part of British popular culture.

The Cilla Show
Cilla was a BBC TV program hosted by British singer Cilla Black. It ran for eight series from 30 January 1968 to 17 April 1976.  The first series of the show started broadcasting on Tuesday, 30 January 1968, on the first show of which Black's guest was Tom Jones and the two music stars sang a duet together.
The UK's Eurovision Song Contest entry selection process was part of the Cilla show in both 1968 and 1973, when Black's close friend Cliff Richard was the featured artist performing all the songs shortlisted in the A Song For Europe segment

Cilla Black
Omnibus
Omnibus was an arts-based British documentary series, broadcast mainly on BBC1 in the United Kingdom. The program was the successor to the long-running arts-based series Monitor. It ran from 1967 until 2003, usually being transmitted on Sunday evenings.

Omnibus - Cream, Albert Hall on November 26,1961, Some 5,000 fans packed out each show, and Clapton expressed surprise when they received a warm and emotional ovation; "We hadn't played in England for over a year and had no idea we were so popular, I was amazed we played to such full houses. I didn't think anybody would remember us."
He was almost tempted to carry on with Cream when he realized the strength of feeling among their supporters. But the die was cast: He had to stand by his decision, Cream's farewell at the Royal Albert Hall was filmed for BBC TV by director Tony Palmer, who had first met Clapton and Cream on the recommendation of Jimmy Page. His documentary on the group was screened as part of the BBC Omnibus arts show on January 5,1969, The footage was later re-edited as a full-length film, An earlier Palmer documentary, 'All My Loving', had helped introduce the serious side of rock to a wider audience and paved the way for Cream to be so heavily featured on TV.  Palmer was music critic for the Observer Sunday newspaper and recalls that John Lennon had encouraged him to make All My Loving, "That film was essentially John Lennon's idea, I'd first met him while I was at University and met him again when I begin working at the BBC. He told me the problem with rock music on BBC TV was it was restricted to shows like Top of the Popa and Jukebox Jury.

"These were highly successful pop shows but only reflected what was in the Top Twenty and not the more serious side. John said it was terrible because he knew a lot of musicians who wouldn't appear on either of those programs because they didn't want to play three-minute pop songs behind gyrating nubile dancers. Much as we liked gyrating nubiles, this was understandable. Lennon said. It's your duty to get these people onto television. [taken from Clapton - Updated Edition: The Ultimate Illustrated History By Chris Welch]

The Moody Blues (Color Me Pop)
Color Me Pop
Colour Me Pop was a British music TV program broadcast on BBC2 from 1968–1969. It was a spin-off from the BBC 2 arts magazine show Late Night Line-Up. Designed to celebrate the new introduction of colour to British television, it was directed by Steve Turner, and showcased half-hour sets by pop and rock groups of the period. The program was a pioneering precursor to the better remembered BBC music program The Old Grey Whistle Test (1971–87). Unlike its successor, most of the editions of Colour Me Pop are lost.

Currently only the editions featuring The Small Faces, The Moody Blues, and The Move are held in the BBC archive, as well as the episode featuring The Chambers Brothers that was never broadcast. In addition, three songs from the Bonzo Dog Band edition survive. Most of the Small Faces edition was commercially released as part of the 'All Of Nothing 1965-1968 DVD' in 2009. The Moody Blues edition was released as part of their 'Timeless Flight' box set in 2013.

The Look Of The Week
Hans Keller was the resident music critic on 'The Look Of The Week', which was to all intents and purposes a spin-off from BBC2's proto-Parsons nightly critical chinwag Late Night Line-Up, aimed at bringing 'the arts' to an audience that might not normally have noticed them tucked away there. As such, Keller usually got to verbally joust with classical musicians, theatre impresarios and heavyweight jazzers, with The Look Of The Week's interactions with the pop scene - barely regarded even as a part of the 'arts' at that point - rarely venturing beyond the odd bit of opinionating from rent-a-viewpoint Russell Brand of his day Mick Jagger.
In an interview with a very early Pink Floyd, while holding a cigarette aloft, Keller presages their appearance on the show by saying:

“The Pink Floyd – you’re going to hear them in a minute and I do not want to prejudice you. Hear them and see them first and we’ll talk about them afterwards but four quick points I want to make before you hear them. The first is that what you heard at the beginning, that short bit, those few seconds, are really all I can hear in them, which is to say to my mind, there is continuous repetition and proportionally they are a bit boring. My second point is that they are terribly loud. You couldn’t quite hear because, of course, it isn’t as loud from your sets as it is here in the studio or as it was at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Friday" -  "I will ask them about that when we come to talk" he adds as if asking them if they'd mind stepping outside for a moment - "my third point is that perhaps I am a little bit too much of a musician to appreciate them. And the reason why that – why I say that – is that four, they have an audience, and people who have an audience ought to be heard. Perhaps it is my fault that I don’t appreciate them”.
And with a tilt of his head in the direction of the other end of the studio, it's over to some blobby amorphous light patterns and a spaceman voice intoning obscure intergalactic facts, and Pink Floyd delivering an astonishing performance of celestial travelogue "Astonomy Domine", then still some months from making its first public appearance on their debut album; to early fans of the band, this must have been one of the all time magic moments of the sixties. It's also the best surviving indication of what the original line-up sounded like live, the most accurate record of their famed but ephemeral light show (and yes, Barrett is playing his mirror-disc Telecaster, adding to the visual cacophony), and above all that it's simply a thrilling performance of a terrific song. And that's not all.

Syd Barrett
As they finish, Syd Barrett and Roger Waters politely set down their guitars and walk slowly over to some of those taller-sitting-down-than-standing-up stools as favoured by the likes of Bernard Levin, for a bit of a natter with Hans Keller. He opens by confronting the band members asking them why it all has to be so 'terribly loud', pointing out that he 'grew up with the string quartet' and as a consequence finds this kind of volume unbearable.

Waters and Barrett - both visibly cracking up - can only meekly offer that they like it that way, that they didn't grow up with the string quartet, and that it doesn't sound terribly loud to them, with Keller obliterating the latter two arguments but accepting that they see it as important to their art; often mistaken for a bit of stuffy pomposity, this is actually the prelude to a much longer interview. [extract from timworthington.blogspot.com.au]

Joe Cocker on How It Is
How It is
How It Is was a youth-orientated music and discussion program transmitted on BBC1 TV in 1968, on which John Peel was a co-host. The original series ran from July to December 1968; a short-lived follow-up, entitled How Late It Is to reflect its changed time slot, ran for ten episodes in spring and early summer of 1969. Both series were produced by Tony Palmer, who was also responsible for the 1968 TV films All My Loving and Cream Farewell Concert, which were shown in BBC1's arts series Omnibus, the former in particular provoking a controversy by linking the aggression of rock music to the violent political upheavals of the 1960s. Joe Cocker and his Greaseband performed on the How It Is in 1968, debuting his smash hit "With A Little Help From My Friends"

The Who
Twice A Fortnight
In 1967 a revolutionary comedy sketch show called Twice a Fortnight was broadcast on the BBC. It had sketches written and performed by (amongst other), pre-Monty Python Terry Jones and Michael Palin.  But it also featured performances from whoever was plugging their singles at the time. For example The Who, recorded for the pilot show 15th October 1967, a rather dizzy version of "I Can See For Miles".
.
This post consists of MP3's (320kps) mostly ripped from YouTube Clips. Basic custom artwork only.
.
Track listing
01. Pink Floyd - Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun - "All My Loving" (1968)
02. Donovan - The Lullaby Of Spring - "All My Loving" (1968)
03. The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter - "Pop Go The Sixties" (1969)
04. Fleetwood Mac - Oh Well - "Monster Music Mash" (1969)
05. Jimi Hendrix - Hey Joe/Sunshine Of Your Love - "Happening For Lulu" (1969)
06. Cream - Sunshine Of Your Love - "Omnibus" (1968)
07. Joni Mitchell - Big Yellow Taxi - "BBC In Concert" (Jan 1970)

08. Jimi Hendrix - Voodoo Chile - "Happening For Lulu" (1969)
09. The Equals - Baby Come Back - "Top Of The Pops" Show (1968)
10. The Hollies - I'm Sorry Suzanne - "Top Of The Pops" Show (1969)
11. Sandie Shaw - Long Live Love - "Top Of The Pops" Show (1965)
12. Lulu - Loves Loves To Love Love - "Top Of The Pops" Show (1967)
13. Tom Jones - Delilah - "Top Of The Pops" Show (1968)
14. Cliff Richard - Congratulations - "Cilla" Show (1968)
15. The Who - I Can See For Miles - "Twice A Fortnight" (1967)
16. Pink Floyd - Astronomy Domine - "The Look Of The Week" (1967)
17. Joe Cocker & The Grease Band - With A Little Help From My Friends - "How It Is" (1968)
18. Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band - Canyons Of Your Mind - "Color Me Pop" (1968)
19. The Mothers Of Invention - Oh, In The Sky - "Color Me Pop" (1968)
20. The Small Faces - Song Of A Baker - "Color Me Pop" (1968)
21. The Kinks - Days - "Pop Goes The Sixties" (1969)
22. The Moody Blues - Ride My See-Saw - "Color Me Pop" (1968)
23. Jimi Hendrix - Wild Thing - "All My Loving" (1968)

.
BBC Recordings 1967-69 Link (209Mb)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Donovan - In Concert (1984) Bootleg

(Scottish 1964 - Present)
.
The first British folk singer to crack the UK pop charts, Donovan (Phillips Leitch) made the Top 5 with his first single, Catch The Wind, early in 1965. By the end of that year the ‘British Bob Dylan’ had scored two more hit singles, two hit albums and a hit EP. As flower-power blossomed, so did Donovan as songs like "Mellow Yellow", "Sunshine Superman", "Hurdy Gurdy Man" and "Barabajagal" soaked up rock and jazz embellishments.

He stepped off the merry-go-round in the early 70s before it turned into a treadmill, and recorded and toured intermittently from there on.

Like a lot of 1960s folk-rock veterans, Donovan has found his biggest modern audience in new recordings of his classic hits. This British release is one of them, a 1990's release of an all-acoustic show from 1984, running for approx one hour and covering such material as "Sunshine Superman," "Jennifer Juniper," "Catch the Wind," "The Hurdy Gurdy Man," "Universal Soldier," "Atlantis," "Colours," "Cosmic Wheels," "Young Girl Blues," and "Wear Your Love Like Heaven," among others.


His voice is better here than it was for many a '60s performance, and the recording quality is excellent. The old Columbia 'Live In Concert' still has a certain dopey (in more ways than one) charm, having been recorded in the midst of flower power, but these performances are more engaging and include a bigger cross-section of his repertory. "Hurdy Gurdy Man," for example, works amazingly well without the psychedelic guitar of the studio original, complete with Donovan's wry recollections of his time with the Maharishi, the Beatles, Mia Farrow et al., and an extra verse associated with George Harrison; and "Sunshine Superman" (which includes Donovan's harmonica playing), "Cosmic Wheels," and "Atlantis" are better songs here than their originals.
.

Donovan's performing and recording became sporadic after this 1984 release until a revival in the 1990s with the emergence of Britain's rave scene. He recorded the 1996 album 'Sutras' with producer Rick Rubin and in 2004 made a new album, 'Beat Cafe'. Donovan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014.
.
This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from CD and includes full album artwork.  This recording was made in New York at Madison Square Gardens in 1984 and has also been released under various other bootleg titles, namely 'Colours' and 'Universal Soldier_Atlantis_Live' (see covers right)
The quality of the recording is very good and highlights Donovan's wonderful vocal and acoustic guitar prowess. All of his hits are here except "Mellow Yellow" - pity.
.
Track Listing
01 - Jennifer Juniper
02 - Catch The Wind
03 - Hurdy Gurdy Man
04 - Sunshine Superman
05 - Sadness
06 - Universal Soldier
07 - Cosmic Wheels
08 - Atlantis
09 - Wear Your Love Like Heaven
10 - To Susan On The Westcoast Waiting
11 - Colours
12 - Young Girl Blues
13 - Young But Growing
14 - Stealing
15 - Sailing Homeward
16 - Love Will Find A Way
17 - Lalena
18 - Make Up Your Mind To Be Happy

.
.
Donovan Live Link (144Mb)
 .
.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Babys - Broken Heart (1977)

(U.K 1975–1981, 2013–present).
.
The Babys' five album career spanned from 1976 through to 1980 but realised only two major hits — one of which, "Isn't It Time", is included on this, their second album.
The bands 'pretty boy' image was a calculated move but never took into account the overwhelming emergence of punk and as a result, the band led by English vocalist John Waite, was perceived as being stale, flat and faded.
Waite eventually carved out a fairly successful solo career, peaking with the emotive "Missing You", an Australian top 10 single in September 1984.

In hindsight, the comparisons between the Babys' and The Rasberries' careers are numerous, in so far as both are fondly remembered but at the time contemporary music was moving away from their respective images, a sad predicament, as the music, when all is said and done, should have been sole consideration.
.
Album Review
Broken Heart is a deceptively heavy combination of 70’s AM pop and FM muscle, and definitely the most satisfying listen in The Babys catalog.  This is a big, symphonic stab of searing guitar rock and sugar-laden pop gems.
Starting off with orchestral arrangement of “Wrong or Right,” John Waite’s voice is in impeccable form.  No matter where the guy took his music, no one can claim that Waite can’t sing, and here’s he’s inspired.  Over a gently strummed acoustic guitar, strings rising and falling in the background, Waite sings, “when he takes you babe/oh when he loves you babe/my whole world comes apart/when he loves you babe” with dripping feeling.  Nothing maudlin or whiny about it, this is the song of a man who’s heart and soul are torn apart by the loss of a woman. We've all been there, and Waite captures it dead on.  Then, midway in, when the band kicks in, the song elevates to a powerful mid-tempo rocker with a great and steady groove.  Guitars slash in amongst the strings, leading up to a true searing solo. Throughout the melody is captivating.  A truly stunning album opener.

Then, lest you think you got the album pegged as AM radio fodder, “Give Me Your Love,” percolates out next all mean, dirty, and nasty.  Nevison really spins the dials well here with a huge drum sound and a surprisingly heavy guitar tone.  Sure the lyrics are sappy 70’s pap, but there’s nothing sappy about those end-verse spasms of Stocker’s guitar.  Taking a tip Nevison must’ve picked up from working with Schenker on Light’s Out, Stocker totally surprises here.  Bring on that big drum sound and this is a true heavy melodic rocker of the first order.  “And If You Could See Me Fly,” is also totally huge in its sound; big and raucous and totally sleazy in guitar tone.  Waite really breaks it down to gruff up a rock-and-roll vocal here and I don’t know what Tony Brock is pounding on but his drums sound like they’re being beaten by ogres. Another big-time rock guitar riff and some more inspired electricity coming from Stocker’s fingertips and this song is simply mean and nasty. Perhaps more nasty than you ever thought The Babys could be.



And in between these two slabs of AM metal, we get the sublime beauty of “Isn’t it Time.” Following a delicate piano intro, Waite again sounds pristine. Bring in the flurry of gospel-tinged female backing vocals, raise the whole affair in a fury of strings and drums to that knock-em out chorus and we’ve got one of the best “lost” songs of 70’s radio. Forget the band on this one; this is all Waite carrying the song, giving his most soulful performance through 4:03 of pop perfection.

Perhaps one of the most unexpected aspects of the album is the weight of it.  If you were expecting that The Babys were simply bright AM fluff, you got another thing coming.  Think back to UFO’s "Lights Out" and think about how that album felt like no other of the day.  A certain melancholy and meatiness to it, a dark sobriety.  That’s all here again. Whether on the fun-as-a-kick-in-the-ass pop rocker of the title track “Broken Heart,” the gentle orchestral strains leading to the crunch of the power ballad, “I’m Falling,” the street-wise grit rock of “Rescue Me,” or on their big UFO “Love to Love”-stab at epic rock “A Piece of the Action,” Broken Heart is an infinitely listenable album.  Waite never lets up on those stellar vocals and while you may not think of The Babys as a guitar band, Wally Stocker has got the chops to prove you wrong.




Don’t go here expecting riff mad 70’s metal.  What we got is much more refined than that, and certainly more pop friendly.  But also don’t let the poppiness sway you, for on Broken Heart, The Babys show that in their heart and crotch they were truly a rock band, and a formidable one at that. [Review by Racer]
.

This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from CD and includes full album artwork from both LP and CD.  This album is a classic in my books and was a total surprise when I purchased the LP while "Isn't It Time" was still circulating on top of the Australian charts. With the exception of the filler track "Silver Dreams" (which wasn't even sung by John Waite) every track on this album is a killer and showed that The Baby's were more than just a one hit wonder.  I then pursued their first album which wasn't far off the mark and will also post this album in the near future, However, their follow up albums never really made the grade and I soon lost interest in the band.  
Anyhow, if you haven't heard this album then 'Isn't It Time' you did ?
.
Track Listing
01 - Wrong Or Right
02 - Give Me Your Love
03 - Isn't It Time
04 - And If You Could See Me Fly
05 - The Golden Mile
06 - Broken Heart
07 - I'm Falling
08 - Rescue Me
09 - Silver Dreams
10 - A Piece Of The Action

* Includes bonus video click "And If You Could See Me Fly"

The Babys are:
John Waite (Lead Vocals and Bass)
Michael Corby (Rhythm Guitar and Keyboards)
Wally Stocker (Lead Guitar)
Tony Brock (Drums and Vocals)
.
The Babys Link (109Mb)
.