Sunday, April 30, 2023

W.O.C.K ON Vinyl: Barry Humphries - Savoury Dip (1971)

Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song / album at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.

Barry Humphries, the man responsible for some of Australia’s most loved characters including Dame Edna Everage, Sir Les Patterson and Sandy Stone, has exited stage left for the last time. Humphries, 89, died on Saturday 22nd May at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital, where he had been treated for various health issues. For weeks the comic had brushed aside concerns about the seriousness of his condition.

With over ​70 years on the stage, he was an entertainer to his core, touring up until the last year of his life and planning more shows that will sadly never be. His audiences were precious to him, and he never took them for granted. Although he may be best remembered for his work in theatre, he was a painter, author, poet, and a collector and lover of ​a​​​​rt in all its forms.​

He was also a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and a friend and confidant to many. His passing leaves a void in so many lives but the characters he created, which brought laughter to millions, will live on.

Humphries was initially admitted to hospital in February after falling in his Sydney apartment and injuring his hip, requiring a “painful” hip replacement. In March, he was adamant he would soon be back on his feet and planned to tour the country. Despite grueling sessions with a physiotherapist, Humphries never returned home and his condition began to deteriorate.

Throughout his lengthy career Humphries has written scripts, produced films, and worked as a landscape painter. never wavering from his Australian roots and love of all things Melburnian.

Humphries true calling came with his one-man satirical stage revues where he’d perform as a multitude of characters he’d created.  Humphries once said “I found that entertaining people gave me a great feeling of release, making people laugh was a very good way of befriending them. People couldn’t hit you if they were laughing.”

His first outing as 'Dame Edna Everage' came in 1955, where he’d perform as the character for a skit during the Olympic Hostess stage show at Melbourne University’s Union Theatre on 12th December 1955.  Humphries initially conceived 'Dame Edna' as a dowdy, small-minded housewife, but over the character’s four decades of existence has evolved into a global superstar, appearing in numerous shows in London’s West End, Australia, the USA and on television.

Other characters included the gentle senior, Sandy Stone, of Anzac Drive and the constantly-offensive Sir Les Patterson.

Amongst his many stage and television specials were A Night with Dame Edna, An Evening’s Intercourse with Dame Edna, Edna: The Spectacle, Back with a Vengeance, The Dame Edna Treatment, Dame Edna Live: The First Last Tour plus Ally McBeal, The Life & Death of Sandy Stone, Jack Irish, The Kangaroo Gang and appearances on talk shows such as Parkinson, The Graham Norton Show, The Don Lane Show and more.

This month's W.O.C.K on Vinyl pays tribute to this great comedian and entertainer with a posting of his 1971 LP entitled 'Savoury Dip'.  This compilation album  features 6 sketches: 'Edna's Hymn' (written 1968), 'Wendy the One-eyed Wombat (written 1969), 'Highett Waltz' (written 1958), 'Great Big Fish' (written 1970) and 'Barry Humphries at Las Vegas' (1971); and a single 17min sketch on side two 'Sandy Claus' (written 1965). All sketches were written by Barry Humphries; musical accompaniment to 'Wendy the One-eyed Wombat' was written by Stanley Myers.  The album was made in Australia by Parlophone, a company of the EMI group, in 1971. The cover was designed by Mark Strizic.

I decided to rip the album to MP3(320) because a majority of the recordings on this LP are dialogue, so FLAC would make no difference to the quality of the listening experience.

This album certainly ticks the Obscure box (you won't find it posted elsewhere) for W.O.C.K status, but it also ticks Creative and Comical boxes as well, as Humphries was a genius in both categories. 

VALE Barry Humphries

* For other Barry Humphries releases, see previous posts

Track Listing
A1 Edna's Hymn (1968) 5:13
A2 Wendy The One-Eyed Wombat (1969) 1:17
A3 Highett Waltz (1958) 3:41
A4 Great Big Fish (1970) 2:36
A5 Barry Humphries At Las Vegas (Recorded Live At The Las Vegas Sanitorium, Melbourne, 4 a.m., Ash Wednesday, 1971)   5:25
B1 Sandy Claus 17:18

Friday, April 21, 2023

Pavlov's Dog - Has Anyone Here Seen Sigfried (2007)

(U.S 1972–1977, 1990–present)

Pavlov's Dog
is the kind of band you love or you hate, everything is black or white, there are no tones of gray, especially because of the peculiar voice of their lead singer David Surkamp, who sounds a lot like Geddy Lee with extra helium singing in the style of Edith Piaff (he has the typical trembling voice of French singers). It was Surkamp's vocals that drew me to the band in the first case, closely followed by the backing strings (violin) and clever guitar work. Yes - I love the band.

There are two versions about the birth of the band, according to Mike Safron, he and Siegfried Carver decided to create Pavlov's Dog, but the best known version is that they started from the ashes of a small band named 'High On A Small Hill' where David Surkamp and Rick Stockton played. But the important thing is that the original lineup was formed in St. Louis Missouri by David Surkamp (vocals and guitar), David Hamilton (keyboards), Doug Rayburn (mellotron and flute), Mike Safron (drums and percussion), Rick Stockton (bass guitar), Siegfried Carver (violin) and Steve Scorfina (lead guitar) between 1972 and 1973, calling themselves the St. Louis Hounds

Before they released their first album, the band recorded some tracks at a studio in Pekin Illinois which in opinion of the members of the band were really good, only a few tracks from the Pekin Tapes reached their first album but caught the attention of the executives of ABC Dunhill Records who gave them an incredible advance of US$ 650,000.00 in 1974. "Pampered Menial" saw the light in 1975 and the first thing that gained attention was the incredible art cover that featured engravings by Sir Edwin Landseer who had died almost 100 years before the band was formed. 

The music is simply amazing, as most USA bands they mixed Symphonic Progressive with Hard Rock, with excellent tracks as the instrumental Preludin, Julia and Late November. In some moment after the recording of the album, Pavlov's Dog signed with Columbia Records (there are many versions to choose), so Pampered Menial was released twice, almost simultaneously. The reaction of the people was diverse, they loved or hated the band, specially David Surkamp's voice but the album reached a moderate success.

Almost immediately they went back to the studio (this time in New York and England) and recorded their second album "At the Sound of the Bell" in clear reference to Pavlov's's experiments with dogs, this time with Tom Nickeson playing acoustic guitar. Siegfried Carver left shortly after the release of this album. According to most fans "At the Sound of the Bell" is Pavlov's Dog magnum opus, but I stay with "Pampered Menial", which is less progressive than the second release but much more innovative and original.

The third album of the band is called "Third" which was released as bootleg versions after Columbia cut their link with the band and gave copies of this release to the members, the most famous one entitled "Pavlov's Dog – Has Anyone Here Seen Sigfried?" (as featured in this post).
The curious title 'Has Anyone Here Seen Sigfried' is a reference to original violin player Sigfried Carver, who left Pavlov`s Dog after the first album, and vanished not to be seen any more.

Even though "Has Anyone Here Seen Sigfried" was never really finished, the material's actually more memorable than on its predecessor. It's also slightly more mainstream, with tracks like Trafalger (nice spelling!) and Suicide sounding familiar on replaying. Rayburn's Mellotron work is clustered around the middle of the album, with heavy strings, plus occasional choir and flutes on tracks 4-7, with maybe the best use being the string part on the lush, instrumental While You Were Out. Songs like "Only You" or "Jenny" breath the spirit of "Pampered Menial".

The bonus tracks contain a rare and previously unreleased compilation of live and studio recordings from 1974 to 1977.

The band officially split after a successful farewell concert at a St. Louis riverboat known as The Admiral, where they managed to reunite all the original members including Siegfried Carver, sadly there are no tapes of that reunion which in words of Rick Stockton was their best show ever. [some extracts from]

David Surkamp talks about the Great Lost Pavlov's Dog Album

So this is what you want to hear about, huh? Okay, I suppose it is worth a shot. Those were heady days, and more than a little depressing for your former poet and singer.

Pavlov's Dog had been touring in support of "The Sound of the Bell," bringing its melodic romanticism to some of the strangest venue's your narrator could have imagined in his youth. Yet we were living it! Concert dates with Nektar, Slade, Kraftwerk, Blue Oyster Cult, Journey, ELO, Thin Lizzy, Peter Frampton, ad nausea I left the band tired, restless and completely discontent.

The rhythm section had been salvaged, with Kirk Sarkesian more than capably handling the drum chores in the wake of Mike Safron and Bill Bruford's exits. David Hamilton was handling the piano in the studio, with Tom Nickeson holding it down on tour, in addition to his vocals and guitar duties. Me, I was just plain unhappy with the record company, management and agencies all pushing for a "Hit". Now lets be a triffle honest here, shall we? I write love songs, this is not the Brill Building
Major Plan Concocted! Bring in new producers (Krugman and Perlman - help meeeeeee!). The band decides they are songwriters (even the roadies), and everybody wants to sing!  Did I want to vomit - you betcha!

"Painted Ladies" and "Trafalgar" in minutes, not our best work. "Falling In Love" and "Jenny" were tossed out, spent seconds of pleasure on that pair. "Only You", "I Love You Still" and "Suicide", were squarely where my heart was.

The recording began in St. Louis at Technosonic Studios, not far from both my boyhood and present homes. Mark Spector and John Jansen co-producing this awful mess. I came equipped with my bulldog Charlie and Telecaster guitar each day, and amid wrestling bouts with Mark (yes...really), I managed to get the basic tracks recorded with the band spinning out of control.

Overdubs were not pretty. Steve Scorfina is singing "It's All For You", a song he had from his REO Speedwagon days, and Tom came up with a quick instrumental exit track for the album, "While You Were Out". I'm singing the Jefferson Airplanes' "Today", (is this somebody's idea of the 'Hit'?) and hating my every waking moment. It was time to ditch this scene, David and Douglas escape to New York....with the master tapes!
Time to bring in the ringers!  Jeff Baxter takes a masterful turn on the guitar solo on "Painted Ladies", thanks Jeff!

Jack and Elliot Randall compose some melodic harmony guitars for "Falling In Love", "Jenny" and elsewhere. Jim Maelen contributed some terrific percussion and smoothing quite a few bad patches. That's Elliott on the solo in "Falling In Love"; he said he really liked the song and I didn't. O well.....
In any case, the gothic intrigue of "Only You" still holds measure with me today (I love Scorfina's tragic pathos on the solo), as does "Suicide". Is that where the unfortunate rumours of my untimely demise stem? I still perform "I Love You Still", from time to time. I enjoy the way my voice sounds!  Also, "Only You", occasionally. It still maintains the potential and penchant for a it goes. Just David. [Liner Notes]

This post consists of FLACS ripped from CD (remastered in 2007), but originated from one of the master tape copies given to each band members in 1977.  Full album artwork is included as usual.  

Track List
01 Only You 4:33
02 Painted Ladies 3:22
03 Falling In Love 3:27
04 Today 3:08
05 Trafalgar 3:10
06 I Love You Still 4:04
07 Jenny 4:07
08 It's All For You 3:50
09 Suicide 2:03
10 While You Were Out 2:38
Bonus Tracks - Unreleased Live And Studio Recordings
11 Song Dance (Live) 6:29
12 Of Once And Future Kings (Live) 6:50
13 Natchez Trace (Live) 4:18
14 A Little Better (Live, Previously Unreleased) 2:18
15 A Look In Your Eyes (Live, Previously Unreleased) 4:27
16 Julia (Live) 2:55
17 She Came Shining (Live) 4:37
18 Did You See Him Cry (Live) 6:06
19 Theme From Subway Sue (Previously Unreleased Early Version) 5:40
20 I Wait For You (Previously Unreleased 1977 Studio Recording) 1:44

Lead Vocals – David Surkamp
Bass – Rick Stockton
Drums – Kirk Sarkisian
Keyboards – Doug Rayburn
Keyboards, Guitar, Backing Vocals [Harmonies] – Tom Nickeson
Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar – Steve Scorfina
Violin – Sigfried Carver (tracks: 11-15)
Vocals – Steve Scorfina (tracks: 8)

Tracks 11-15 recorded live at Ambassador Theatre, St. Louis in 1975.
Tracks 16-18 recorded live at Ford Auditorium, Detroit in 1976.
Track 19 previously unreleased early version recorded at Pekin Studios.
Track 20 previously unreleased song recorded in 1977, performed by David Surkamp and Doug Rayburn.

Pavlov's Dog Link (485Mb) New Link 05/09/2023

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Graham Parker And The Rumour - The Parkerilla, Live (1978) plus The Pink Parker 12" EP (1978)

 (UK 1974 - Present)

British rocker Graham Parker teamed up with a feisty bar band called The Rumour in the mid-1970s, joining an intense, immediate “pub rock” movement that blossomed into the punk rebellion. Parker recorded several albums with The Rumour, gaining considerable critical attention, then broke with the band and made solo records and toured through the next decade and into the 1990s. Though he has never achieved large-scale pop success, Parker has proved that persistence goes a long way; as many critics have remarked, he has managed to chart his maturity while remaining a vital pop artist—no mean feat.

Parker’s music grew from an amalgam of diverse influences: soul, reggae, the rootsy early records of fellow Brits the Rolling Stones, and the folk-rock poetry of Bob Dylan and Van Morrison, among others. Yet, as Musician’s Geoffrey Himes wrote after noting some of the singer’s forebears, “Parker doesn’t so much sound like anybody as he sounds like everybody. All his influences are subordinated to the emotional directness of his songs. Thus they sound totally original and quite new. 

For all his traditionalism, he is often considered the founding father of England’s new wave.” Tom Lanham of CD Review described the young Parker’s musical emergence: “With his backup band, The Rumour, this frail, diminutive guy with the big, brash barracuda of a voice combined mod Phil Spector-ish pop chops with the urban footstomp vernacular of classic American soul and the lyrical viewpoint of a poor but streetwise white kid whose garage could no longer hold him.” [extract from]

No Longer A Rumour
(Roadrunner Article: Oct, 1978 by Donald Robertson)
Airport press conferences are a bummer, I decided after attempting to talk to Graham Parker and The Rumour at Adelaide Airport on the day of their concert last month. For one thing the group were obviously tired and wasted after a storming Melbourne concert the night before ('One of the best concerts we've ever done' said guitarist Martin Belmont), and in the time permitted it was hard to get beyond the superficial

'How's the tour been going? / What will you be doing when you leave here?' type of questions.

Nevertheless some interesting snippets were gleaned from the diminutive one. It transpires that Mr Parker's performing roots lie in the British pubs where Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac and Jo Anne Kelly among others, were resurrecting the sounds of Chicago and the Mississippi Delta.

"I remember seeing Jethro Tull when they were still a blues band", Parker laughed.

How long have you been writing songs then?

"Since I was thirteen, but only good stuff in the last few years."

What do you think you would have been if you hadn't been a rocksinger?

"Probably working towards being one. If I didn't make it, probably doing a job that involved as little effort as possible".

Parker also revealed that he's written a novel, which he describes as a Science Fiction/Fantasy/Comedy and for which he is at present looking for a publisher.

Perhaps the hardest thing to come to terms with in talking to Graham Parker is how such a small quiet man can transform himself into a raging stage presence, who pours so much energy into his performance. I think the full significance of calling his live album 'The Parkerilla' only dawned on me at the airport. For on stage Parker does become a monster, a manic Mr. Hyde to his normal Dr. Jekel !

He also comes over as someone who totally believes in himself and who is right into what he is doing. He had a hectic schedule whilst in Australia, doing two days of press in Sydney, before going to New Zealand (where he completely slayed les Kiwis) in addition to interviews in every Australian city he played. Far from complaining he seemed to revel in the attention. So miffed, is Parker, at the sloppy treatment he has received from his American record company, Mercury, that he has written a song called 'Mercury Poisoning' which he performs on stage with obvious relish (I couldn't make out the words, but more on that later). So he was clearly pleased with the groundwork done by Phonogram here on his behalf.

Whether Parker and the Rumour will stay with Mercury/Phonogram when their present contract expires is a matter of speculation. One of the Rumours (ouch!) is that the band will sign with manager Dave Robinson's Stiff label. As the Rumour (A recording band in their own right) are at present without a contract and are hoping to release their second album early next year perhaps there will be an announcement soon. One pointer to the bands recording future is that Stiff Records recently took out a full page ad in the British music paper New Musical Express advertising The Parkerilla (an act that obviously delighted the rest of the Stiff catalogue).

But getting back to the subject of the Australian tour I asked guitarist Martin Belmont how Australian audiences had been reacting to the band's performances.

"Really well. Very enthusiastic, especially in Melbourne". "Yeah, they really liked us in Melbourne", put in Parker. The people came along to have a good time and got up and danced. We love that. We love to see the audience getting involved. It inspires us".

Have you seen many Australian bands while you've been here?

"Yeah, we've seen The Sports, cos they've been supporting us. They're very good, I like them. We went to see Midnight Oil, but I don't remember much of that - I got too pissed".

What's your favourite band album?

"The next one!"

Are you happy with any of your other albums?

"No, I'm not happy with anything".

Are you being serious?

"No, I'm being profound."

How did you find playing with Dylan at the Blackbush concert?

"It was great", replied Parker. "Yeah, he really enjoyed playing with us" chipped in the modest Martin Belmont.

And what are you doing when you leave Australia?

"We are going to Japan for five days, then back to England to record the new album".

I spent the rest of the day in a state of suppressed excitement. I'd been looking forward to the concert for weeks, cos as I wrote last issue, I'd seen Graham Parker and the Rumour demolish Bristols Colston Hall last year along with New Jersey's favourite sons, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. The Parkerilla had whetted my appetite, but I wanted that experience again. I must admit I was a trifle disappointed that The Sports weren't supporting Graham Parker at the Apollo especially now that they have certified living legend, ex-Bleeding Heart and High Rise Bomber Martin Armiger strumming with them, but Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons more than made up for that. It was the best performance I have ever seen the band give. 

They came on like men with a point to prove and if the four hundred people bopping at the front of the stage were any indication, they succeeded admirably. The crowd didn't really settle down until the Falcons were half way through their set, but once they did there wasn't a still head or untapping foot in the house. Joe Camilleri leapt around the stage as if his legs were coiled springs, Wilbur Wilde, who looked a dead ringer for Animal from 'The Muppets' drank three bottles of beer and lit a cigarette in the middle of a solo, but still managed to pump out the meanest baritone sax this side of Murray Bridge, especially during some searing sax duets with Joe himself. And the rest of the band packed real muscle too. They should be proud of themselves. 

It's very hard for a support band to capture an audience's attention, but the Falcons had the masses on their feet screaming for more I noticed Bob Andrews and Martin Belmont at the side of the stage checking them out and they seemed to be digging it too. Let's hope the word gets back to Dave Robinson (Graham Parker and The Rumour's manager and head of Stiff records.)

With the audience perfectly primed, I felt sure Parker would put in a pulsating performance. It was exactly the same scenario that I'd witness­ed in Britain - a superb support band whipping up audience excitement and Parker and the Rumour having to pull out all the stops to top that. Well, unfortunately it didn't quite turn out that way for me. A lot of the blame can be laid on the venue - the sound was bouncing off the wall behind me, and the mix was very muddy, a fact that was most apparent when Parker sang his unrecorded songs, 'Protection' and 'Mercury Poisoning'.

The lyrics were completely unintelligible. And once I'd noticed that 'other things became apparent. The keyboards and the brass kept getting lost and there was a lot of feedback floating around. But it wasn't just the technical hassles that were bugging me. The band kept hitting their stride during certain numbers - 'Back to Schooldays' and 'Heat Treatment' to name but two, but then they seemed to lose it again. It struck me as an uneven performance. I'm sure that if I'd been down the front with the dancers my impression would have been different - everyone that I've talked to since the concert has said that they really enjoyed it, and quite a few said that it was the best concert they have ever seen. But most of the people I talked to, also said that they would have much preferred to see the band in a more intimate setting. Maybe if the floor of the Apollo had been cleared and there had been more room for dancing it would have been better. I would' have dearly loved to have seen the band play the Bombay Rock in Melbourne with the Sports (where they played under the pseudonym of 'Ernie Schwarz'!)

The format of the show was identical to what the band was doing 18 months ago, probably because this was the first time they have been out here, and was obviously designed to have the maximum impact. But second time round I found the spoken song introductions too formal and the stage dramatics a little labored. Parker has said that he tries to break down the barrier between audience and performer and he succeeded with the front half of the audience. Unfortunately I was in the back half.

I went to the Apollo Stadium with definite expectations. By and large, those expectations were met, but never were they exceeded. I went there already a fan, and came away still a fan. A lot of people went there who were not fans, but when the last, strains of 'Pouring it all out' faded away, they had been converted. And that's what live performance is all about, isn't it?

After the concert I went to the Tivoli, as is my haunt on a Friday evening. It was the wrong thing to do. No disrespect to Smokestack Lightening or Mickey Finn, but the drop in musical quality from the Parker performance, which I'd just been criticising, to that coming from the Tivoli stage was vast. Maybe Parker hadn't been that bad after all, I mused.

The Pink Parker EP

‘The Pink Parker’ EP was Graham Parker's second-highest charting LP/EP reaching #24 on the UK singles charts in 1977 with the tracks ‘Hold Back the Night’ and ‘(Let Me Get) Sweet on You.’ These tracks reached #58 and #107 respectively on the US hot 100.

The 7" sleeve art has a real ‘Stiff’ feel to it, looking like it could have easily been released by that indie label during the period. This may not be a total coincidence; Parker would have several recordings on the label between 1980-1982 including ‘The Up Escalator’ in 1980 (SEEZ23.) 

In 1975 (two years before this EP’s release) Parker recorded several demo tracks with Dave Robinson; Robinson would found Stiff Records shortly thereafter. Nick Lowe produced for Parker around this time and also acts as producer for the two live tracks on this EP. Lowe (probably best known for his1979 hit ‘Cruel to Be Kind’) was the first ever artist to release a single on Stiff (BUY1- ‘So It Goes’) in 1976.

Also of note on this sleeve is the weird black dot at the lower left on the front, which looks totally out of place. The EP was originally released in the UK on the Vertigo label; when released in the US in 1977 by Vertigo the art made it through with only minor regional changes. A year later the EP was re-released in the US, this time by Mercury. They hastily covered up the original Vertigo logo and called it a day. The backside of the sleeve fared a little better, as the ‘artist’ tasked with making the modifications took more care when swapping out the various logos.

Other than these few cosmetic differences, the sleeve art on all three is basically the same. Oh, did I mention that fans in the US and Australasia got the better end of the deal as their versions (both Vertigo and Mercury) were released on neon PINK VINYL. The rip contained here is taken from my Pink 12" EP which is in absolute 'mint condition', having been played maybe half a dozen times over the past 45 years. 

Graham Parker was pretty well promoted as an artist at the beginning of his career. A pink vinyl 7-inch/12inch EP was a cool idea, and it seemed like the labels keep the product pumping. The Pink Parker is really just a cleverly disguised package for a new song, a terrific cover of The Tramps’ Hold Back the Night. Parker and the band give it an enthusiastic reading that squeezes even more musical joy from the original idea.

The rest of the EP contains a “new” song that sounds like a leftover from Heat Treatment, (Let Me Get) Sweet on You, plus a pair of tracks from the promotional live record, 'Live at the Marble Arch'. The two new songs were eventually added as bonus tracks to Heat Treatment. Generally, cover tunes aren’t my bag, but I think “Hold Back the Night” is the best thing Parker has done to date. Hard to believe he never did a full album of covers, since this and his version of Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back” are awesome.

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my Vertigo Vinyl and includes full album artwork and label scans.  It is interesting to note that the original release is a single LP with each side holding over 26mins of music, with surprisingly little volume loss.  The album also showcases a studio version of their current single at the time "Hey Lord, Don't Ask Me Questions".

I have chosen to include as a bonus their infamous 'Pink Parker EP' which provides a live rendition of "White Honey" (not included in the Parkerilla live set). You might like to swap it out with the studio recording of "Hey Lord......" to make this Parkerilla a fully live album.

Parkerilla Track Listing
01  Lady Doctor 2:59
02  Fools Gold 4:30
03  Tear Your Playhouse Down 3:31
04  Hey Lord, Don't Ask Me Questions 5:33
05  Heat In Harlem 7:33
06  (Sweet On You) Silly Thing 3:13
07  Gypsy Blood 5:01
08  Back To Schooldays 2:51
09  Heat Treatment 3:14
10  Watch The Moon Come Down 5:14
11  New York Shuffle 3:11
12  Soul Shoes 3:15
13  Hey Lord, Don't Ask Me Questions (Studio Version)  3:52

Lead Vocals, Guitar – Graham Parker
Bass – Andrew Bodnar
Brass – The Rumour Brass
Drums, Backing Vocals – Steve Goulding
Guitar, Backing Vocals – Martin Belmont
Guitar, Slide Guitar, Backing Vocals – Brinsley Schwarz
Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Bob Andrews

The Pink Parker Track Listing
01 Hold Back The Night      3:04
02 (Let Me Get) Sweet On You     2:36
03 White Honey (Live*)   3:17
04 Soul Shoes (Live*)    3:02

*Live tracks taken from the 'Marble Arch’ Bootleg

New Lin k 013/10/2023

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Crosby and Nash - Wind On The Water (1975)

 (U.S  1970 - 2015)

By the time of the release of Wind On The Water by Crosby and Nash in September 1975 both musicians were what could reasonably be described as 'Rock Royalty'. David Crosby and Graham Nash had both enjoyed illustrious careers, both as solo artists and as members of highly influential bands starting in the sixties and right through the early seventies.

In the sixties Graham Nash had been a member of the British band The Hollies and also in the sixties David Crosby was a member of The Byrds. Along with Stephen Stills they formed 'Crosby Stills and Nash' in late 1968 and in 1969 released their debut album. Within months of releasing that album they had added Neil Young (from Buffalo Springfield)  to the group and became 'Crosby Stills Nash and Young' (CSNY). The band managed to make just one album in the seventies (Deja Vu) before splitting after touring caused friction between the members and they all headed off into solo projects. Both Crosby and Nash released critically acclaimed solo albums (Crosby's 'If Only I Could Remember My Name' and Nash's 'Songs for Beginners').

Following the solo albums in 1971 Crosby and Nash, who had a strong friendship decided to make their debut recording as a duo. This album, the self-titled David Crosby and Graham Nash album of 1972, was a massive success both critically and commercially where it broke into the Billboard top 5.

It was to be another three years however before the duo would reconvene to record a follow up. It was not that the duo was lazy or even that there wasn't a demand. There was however a bigger demand for CSNY and during late 1973 it was decided to reunite for a series of concerts throughout the world. Most of these concerts took place in stadiums such was the demand for the band.

Once the tour was over however it was decided to attempt to record another CSNY album, something that had already been attempted in 1973. Studio sessions were booked for December 1974 and all members had prepared material for the album. Tensions however once again got the better of the band with Neil Young being the first to bail out. It almost came to blows between Graham Nash and Stephen Stills following an argument where stills took a razor blade to the master of one of Graham's songs. Graham Nash threw him out of his house where the recording sessions were taking place and the sessions were abandoned.

Just two songs had been finished and both of those songs (Wind On The Water and Homeward Through The Haze) would be re-recorded for the forthcoming Crosby and Nash album. The album was recorded through out 1975 with four songs (Marguerita, Wind On The Water, Carry Me and Mama Lion) being recorded in just one afternoon at the Village Recorders studio in Westwood. Even Graham Nash was amazed !

"Four Masters in one day - in our world that's unheard of"

Three of the songs would make the cut for Wind On The Water and the fourth "Marguerita" would be held back for the follow up album 'Whistling Down The Wire', which was released in 1976.

Another song recorded on Wind On The Water was "Fieldworker", a Graham Nash song inspired by the struggle of fieldworkers trying to get decent working conditions. Crosby and Nash would play a benefit concert for the fieldworkers and ally that to a Save the Whale benefit in December 1974 where two songs from the album ("To The Last Whale" and "Fieldworker") would be featured.

Although the album took some nine months to finally pull together the end result was hugely successful, making number 6 in the Billboard chart following its release on the 15th of September 1975 and was the impetus for the duo to embark on a lengthy tour to promote the album in late 1975 with musicians in the band that played on the album including Russ Kunkel, Tim Drummond, David Lindley and Danny Kortchmar. There were other high profile musicians who also guested on Wind On The water including James Taylor, Carol King and Jackson Browne who supplied backup vocals throughout and at one particular concert at Anaheim in late November Carol King joined Crosby and Nash onstage to sing backing vocals to "Carry Me".

The tour was an extensive one taking in a series of concerts across America and also at the end of 1975 Japan where the duo were accompanied by David Lindley and Craig Doerge. Throughout the tour audiences were left in no doubt as to strength of Wind On The Water with no less than eight of the albums eleven tracks being featured in a set that included songs from Graham and David's solo albums and selected highlights from the CSN/CSNY catalogue.

Whilst continuing to work with each other during the seventies and beyond both with CSN and CSNY, not to mention solo works, it is the mid period seventies work from Crosby and Nash that still resonates for a large part of the fan base and Wind On The Water was the second of three excellent studio albums from the duo between 1972 and 1976 [Liner Notes by Jon Kirkman]

Wind on the Water Album Review 
(by Jason Elias.
As two of the most distinctive artists from the '60s and '70s given their work in CSNY, Crosby & Nash also did great work as a duo act. Wind on the Water was released in 1975 after the previous year's CSNY reunion tour and the dissolution of their contract at Atlantic. In many respects, this alliance made perfect sense. When it was just the two of them, they were often more likable. Crosby wasn't as much of a blowhard and Nash became more pragmatic. 

Wind on the Water's virtues are apparent with the first song, the warm and pensive single "Carry Me." "Homeward Through the Haze," "Low Down Payment," and "Naked in the Rain" are gems that all but sum up their complicated harmonic and melodic style. 

Besides Crosby & Nash being on their game, the studio players here are impeccable. Lovers of '70s pop/rock will love to hear players like Danny Kortchmar and David Lindley effortlessly doing their identifiable riffs. James Taylor, Carole King, and Jackson Browne also showed up for these sessions, but do not intrude or overshadow Crosby & Nash. 

Without a doubt, despite the strong production, the stars of the show here are Crosby & Nash. The album concludes with "To the Last Whale...: Critical Mass/Wind on the Water." The song is not only a testament to the album's skill at making the complex seem effortless, but it also gets its point across without being mushy. 

Wind on the Water has an instant classic, lived-in sound and is a definite must-have.

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my near new vinyl which I acquired sometime in the 80's. Of course full album artwork and label scans are included.  Note that liner notes were taken from the 2008 Troubadour CD release.

My favourite tracks on this album are the Nash tracks "Take The Money And Run" and "Love Work Out", while "Carry Me" is Crosby's stand out track in my opinion

Track Listing
01 Carry Me 3:34
02 Mama Lion 3:15
03 Bittersweet 2:37
04 Take The Money And Run    3:23
05 Naked In The Rain 2:25
06 Love Work Out 4:50
07 Low Down Payment 4:53
08 Cowboy Of Dreams 3:27
09 Homeward Through The Haze  4:04
10 Fieldworker 2:45
11 To The Last Whale... 5:30
   a. Critical Mass
   b. Wind On The Water

The Band:
Acoustic Guitar – James Taylor, Joel Bernstein
Bass – Leland Sklar, Tim Drummond
Drums – Russ Kunkel, Russell Kunkel
Electric Guitar – David Crosby, Graham Nash, Danny Kootch
Keyboards – Graham Nash, Craig Doerge, Carol King
Fiddle – David Lindley
Slide Guitar – David Lindley, Ben Keith
Vocals – David Crosby, Graham Nash
Backing Vocals - Carol King, Jackson Browne, James Taylor

Crosby and Nash Link (138Mb) New Link 06/09/2023

Saturday, April 8, 2023

REPOST: Airlord - Clockwork Revenge

(New Zealand 1976-78)
Airlord are one of the more original late 70s progressive bands. From the unlikely country of New Zealand, Airlord emerged with a pretty crazy bent on classic era Genesis. The vocals are most reminiscent of Gabriel, whereas the guitars play in a more hard rock style, with an occasional blazing solo. The keys (organ, synthesizer, Mellotron) and compositions aren't as elaborate or as complex as classic Genesis or Marillion, but Clockwork Revenge is a refreshing take on a classic idea. The album featured a nice gatefold cover (see below) with lyrics and graphics in the inner. Hopefully Aztec / Sandman will consider reissuing this one.
Airlord were one of the many New Zealand bands who headed for Australia to attempt to make their fortune; sadly, like so many others, they failed. Airlord had a fairly symphonic sound, although they never seem to go far enough over the top to really stand out from the crowd.

Airlord 1976
Airlord was formed in Wellington in 1976, played the pubs and flew to Australia the following year, recorded an excellent albeit ignored album, 'Clockwork Revenge', and disbanded in 1978. The group failed to secure a large New Zealand audience, largely because they performed original material. Airlord had to escape to Australia to earn a decent living, and although they were never a top draw card across the Tasman, their lifespan was a lot longer than had they stayed in New Zealand.

.Before Airlord, Steve MacKenzie had teamed up with Reece Kirk to form a duo called Friends. They released two singles, one in 1974 and the other in 1975. Reece had also released a single by himself in 1972.
In 1979, after Airlord had disbanded, Steve MacKenzie and Alan Blackburn formed Machine with Tony Jax on drums and Steve Kulak on bass. They released one single in 1981 called "They Destroy Me" [extracts from ]
The album opens with the sound of a wind up toy and then quickly jumps into a 'high energy piece' that is reminiscent of a Genesis classic such as Gentle Giant, featuring 'clown like' garble and rambling guitar & keyboard licks.  "Pictures in a Puddle" slows down the pace with its graceful vocal harmonies and is quickly followed by the symphonic masterpiece "Ladies of the Night" which is probably the best track on the album.

The remaining tracks on the album have their own highlights and as a whole, this album grows on you with every listen. I can't recommend this album enough if you haven't heard it before, but take note that this is the only album released by Airlord, so be prepared for that 'wanting more' feeling !

Special Note:  Not to be confused, there was another band from Newcastle (Aust) called   Air  Lord who also formed in the 70's but continued playing into the 80's.

This post consists of FLACs ripped from a remastered CD release and includes full album artwork for both vinyl and CD, along with various photos.

** New improved FLAC files and artwork **
Tracks Listing
 01. Clockwork Revenge (6:39)
02. Pictures In A Puddle (4:03)
03. Ladies Of The Night (9:46)
04. Earthborn Pilgrim (4:58)
05. Out Of The Woods (7:18)
06. Is It Such A Dream (5:11)
07. You Might Even Be (4:27)

Band Members:
Steve MacKenzie (guitar, vocals)
Ray Simenauer (guitar, vocals)
Brad Murray (bass, vocals)
Alan Blackburn (keyboards)
Rick Mercer (drums)

Airlord Link (243Mb)  
New Link 06/09/2023

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Felix Pappalardi - Don't Worry, Ma (1979)

(U.S 1964 - 1983)

As a producer, Felix Pappalardi is perhaps best known for his work with British psychedelic blues-rock power trio Cream, beginning with their second album, Disraeli Gears. Pappalardi has been referred to in various interviews with the members of Cream as "the fourth member of the band" as he generally had a role in arranging their music. He also played a session role on the songs he helped them record. He also produced The Youngbloods' first album.

As a musician Pappalardi is widely recognized as a bassist, vocalist and founding member of the American hard rock band/ heavy metal forerunner Mountain, a band born out of his working with future bandmate Leslie West's soul-inspired rock and roll band The Vagrants, and producing West's 1969 Mountain solo album. The band's original incarnation actively recorded and toured between 1969 and 1971. Felix produced the band's albums, and co-wrote and arranged a number of the band's songs with his wife Gail Collins and with Leslie West.

Pappalardi was forced to retire because of partial deafness, ostensibly from his high-volume shows with Mountain. He continued producing throughout the 1970s and released a solo album and recorded with Japanese hard rock outfit Blues Creation.

In 1978 there were rumours that Pappalardi was reuniting with former Mountain drummer Corky Laing and joining Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson in a new supergroup. If that had happened it would have been fantastic but sadly it was pure rumour. Instead he did something completely unexpected: he made a soul album.

William Ruhlmann writes: '1979's Don't Worry, Ma was a Pappalardi solo effort, the follow-up to his 1976 album Felix Pappalardi & Creation, in which he teamed with a Japanese rock quartet. 

This time, he employed a bunch of New York super-session musicians, only acting as singer with a basic band consisting of guitarist Eric Gale, keyboardist Richard Tee, bassist Chuck Rainey, and drummer Bernard Purdie (who also, amazingly, was the credited producer instead of Pappalardi), plus a collection of strings, reeds, and horns, as well as a trio of female backup singers.

'Nor had Pappalardi, as he usually did, co-written original material with his wife and lyricist, Gail Collins. Instead, this is a collection of covers including the leadoff track, the folk-blues standard "Bring It with You When You Come," the folk standard "Water Is Wide," Tommy Tucker's 1964 R&B hit "Hi-Heel Sneakers," and, in a funk arrangement, Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love" (for which Pappalardi produced the original recording). The arrangements are in a bluesy, funky style, for the most part, suggesting Memphis soul or James Brown's band”.'

Wife Kills Pappalardi

Pappalardi was married to Gail Collins. She contributed lyrics to many Mountain songs and co-wrote Cream’s “World of Pain” with Pappalardi and “Strange Brew” with Pappalardi and Eric Clapton. Both songs are in Cream’s Disraeli Gears.

As Gail Collins, her artwork appears on the album covers, Climbing!, Nantucket Sleighride, Flowers of Evil, Mountain Live: The Road Goes Ever On, Twin Peaks and Avalanche.

Gail Collin's Artwork
On April 17, 1983, Gail Collins shot Pappalardi once in the neck and killed him. She claimed it was an accident. On September 21 of that year, a jury found her guilty of criminally negligent homicide. She was sentenced to four years, however she only served two years of the sentence in the end.

The judge in the case seemed annoyed by the verdict, making a point of reminding jurors, "She called her attorney instead of calling for help -- she was concerned with her own well-being," and giving her the maximum sentence under the law.

Collins died on December 6, 2013 in Ajijic, Mexico, where she had apparently "lived as a recluse" while "undergoing experimental cancer treatments." [extract from]

For a full account of the story, including statements by Leslie West and Corky Laing, take a look at musicdayz

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my cassette tape (still plays faultlessly) and includes full album artwork for all media (vinyl, CD, tape).   This album was a real surprise when I first heard it - some essence of Mountain still exists but musically this is a refreshing collection of funky, soulful covers. In particular, his remake of Cream's megahit "Sunshine Of Your Love" is a highlight.  

Track Listing
01. Bring It With You When You Come (Traditional) - 3:43
02. As The Years Go Passing By- 4: 11
03. Railroad Angels - 4:35
04. High Heel Sneakers - 4:45
05. The Water Is Wide - 3:00
06. Sunshine Of Your Love - 4:34
07. Caught A Fever - 4:35
08. White Boy Blues - 3:59
09. Farmer's Daughter - 4:12
The Band:
Vocals - Felix Pappalardi
Bass – Chuck Rainey, Felix Pappalardi
Drums, Timpani, Tambourine – Bernard Purdie
Guitar – Eric Gale
Piano, Organ – Richard Tee

New Link 06/09/2023