Friday, 30 November 2018

Finest Westcoast Of The Sixties: Moby Grape - The Very Best Of - Vintage (1967-69) (Columbia, Legacy 1993) 2 CD


It's hard to imagine a better-produced package of Moby Grape's work than this two-disc, 48-track condensation of their best late-'60s recordings. The first disc of this set centers around their entire 1967 self-titled debut LP (included in its entirety), which mixed blues, country, and folk influences with hard-charging psychedelic rock & roll.
The result was one of the Summer of Love's more enduring works. The second disc boils their wildly inconsistent 1968-69 material down to a fairly strong and coherent selection. While it doesn't match the peak of the group's initial burst, it features some strong folk and country-rock originals that wear much better in the absence of the bloated jams and half-baked hard rock that could make their albums a chore to sit through.
Each disc includes interesting demos, outtakes, and live performances that round out the legacy of this prodigiously talented but ill-fated band, which was overcome by internal strife and label/management difficulties after their promising debut.(Richie Unterberger, allmusic.com)



I completely second the review by Mr. Unterberger (and that's not often the case, lol) about this double disc release from one of my favourite westcoast bands of the sixties. Highly recommended. Enjoy.(Frank)

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Thursday, 29 November 2018

Sixties Pop Rock; The Tremeloes - Boxed (2000 BR Music) 4 Disc


When UK chart-toppers Brian Poole And The Tremeloes parted company in 1966, few would have wagered that the backing group would outdo the lead singer. Remarkably, however, the relaunched Tremeloes went on to eclipse not only Poole, but the original hitmaking act.


 At the time of their reconvening in 1966, the lineup was comprised of Rick West (b. Richard Westwood, 7 May 1943, Dagenham, Essex, England; guitar), Alan Blakley (b. 1 April 1942, Dagenham, Essex, England, d. 1995; rhythm guitar), Dave Munden (b. 2 December 1943, Dagenham, Essex, England; drums) and Alan Howard (b. 17 October 1941, Dagenham, Essex, England; bass). In May of 1966 Howard was replaced by Mike Clark; however, a mere three months later his spot was taken by Len ‘Chip’ Hawkes (b. 2 November 1946, London, England), whose lead vocals and boyish looks gave the group a stronger visual identity.


 In order to keep up with the times, the group members abandoned their stage suits in favour of Carnaby Street garb and fashionably longer hair. Their second-generation debut for Decca Records was a cover of Paul Simon’s ‘Blessed’, which proved unsuccessful. Seeking more commercial material, they moved to CBS Records and covered ‘Good Day Sunshine’ from the Beatles’ Revolver. In spite of radio play, it too failed to chart, but their third release ‘Here Comes My Baby’ (a Cat Stevens composition) smashed into the Top 20 on both sides of the Atlantic.

 An astute follow-up with ‘Silence Is Golden’, previously the flip side of the Four Seasons’ ‘Rag Doll’, proved a perfect vehicle for the Tremeloes’ soft harmonic style and gave them their only UK number 1 and their highest US chart entry (number 11). Having established themselves as a hit act, they notched up an impressive run of hits during the late 60s including ‘Even The Bad Times Are Good’, ‘Suddenly You Love Me’, ‘Helule Helule’ and ‘My Little Lady’.


 At the end of the decade, the Tremeloes seemed weary of their role in the pop world and broke away from their usual Tin Pan Alley songsmiths to write their own material. Their first attempt, ‘(Call Me) Number One’, was an impressive achievement, probably superior to the material that they had recorded since 1967. 
When it reached number 2 in the charts, the group members convinced themselves that a more ambitious approach would bring even greater rewards. Overreacting to their dream start as hit writers, they announced that they were ‘going heavy’ and suicidally alienated their pop audience by dismissing their earlier record-buying fans as ‘morons’.

 Their brief progressive phase was encapsulated in the album Master, which won no new fans but provided a final Top 20 single, ‘Me And My Life’. Thereafter, they turned increasingly to cabaret, where their strong live performances were well appreciated.

 In 1974 Chip Hawkes went to Nashville, USA, to pursue an ultimately unsuccessful solo career (his son Chesney Hawkes would enjoy a brief moment in the spotlight in the late 80s). Blakley left the following January, and Aaron Woolley and Bob Benham were brought in as replacements.


The Tremeloes continued to record on an occasional basis, with albums being released by DJM Records and their old label CBS. They were still active in the new millennium, with Munden and West joined by Joe Gillingham (keyboards/vocals) and Davey Freyer (bass/vocals).

 In September 2006 Poole and the band reunited after 40 years for a tour of the UK. The latest version of the Tremeloes featured Munden, Hawkes, West and newer members Gillingham and Jeff Brown.

The Tremeloes were another big British mainstream pop band during the second half of the sixties, whose most famous song was and is probably ''Silence Is Golden''. The band was also more of a 'single' band and it was in this market that their biggest sales were. In my opinion the band was musically more of a European pop band than a 'classic' Brit pop band. Those who like mainstream pop music of the sixties (and that's meant positively) will certainly not be disappointed with the band. Enjoy.(Frank)
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The Troggs - Hip Hip Hooray 1968/70/73 (2004 Repertoire)



Hip Hip Hooray is actually a retitled and slightly resequenced reissue of the Troggs' 1968 U.K. album Mixed Bag (which never came out in the United States), tacking on 11 CD bonus cuts from 1970 and 1973 singles. The original title Mixed Bag was an appropriate description of this rather scrapheap assembly, as it wasn't really a regular album.
Instead, it was a budget-priced compilation matching eight songs that appeared on British and American singles in 1968 with four others that made their first appearance on the LP. Although all but one of the tracks was a Troggs original ("Hip Hip Hooray" being the lone exception), and although there were a few solid cuts, overall it was disappointing due to the weakness and surprisingly low energy of many of the songs.
"Hip Hip Hooray" was somewhat puerile bubblegum, and "Little Girl," a small British hit, was a lame attempt by Reg Presley to keep milking the pop ballad style he'd used the much better effect in earlier hits like "Love Is All Around."
In brighter news, the old salacious Troggs sound surfaced to good effect in "Say Darlin'"; "You Can Cry if You Want To" was one of Presley's better soft numbers; and both "Purple Shades" and "Maybe the Madman" were two of the band's best ventures into psychedelia, albeit of the rather tongue-in-cheek sort. All of the best numbers, however, were the ones most likely to show up on later best-of compilations, making Hip Hip Hooray only of interest to collectors and completists.
Repertoire certainly does such collectors a service, however, by adding a pile of rare 1970 and 1973 singles onto the disc, as well as three tracks from Reg Presley solo singles of the era. Alas, none of the bonus cuts are too good or memorable (the heavy "Feels Like a Woman" is the most well known), documenting a period when the band's original force and raunch were getting diluted amid a clutch of substandard material.(R. Unterberger, allmusic.com)

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60s influenced Garage/Mod/Pop: The Galileo 7 - Tear Your Minds Wide Open! (2017 Damaged Goods)


If you include the very limited live album "Live-O-Graphic", The Galileo7 already have their fifth album in the shops. Allan Cockford, the bustling Medway-Beat-heed, longtime sidekick of PRISONERS-boss Graham Day (among others SOLAR FLARES, GOALERS), Billy Childish (MIGHTY CAESARS, BUFF MEDWAYS etc.) sweeps over the six strings with ease. Mole, the "new one" on the drums, finally gives the Seven the necessary Keith Moon flair, a real Loony! The fact that gentlemen around fifty play here sounds astonishing at first, they produce an energy that one might expect from a teenage band. As ever, The Galileo7 are deeply rooted in the mid-sixties beat sound, which they pimp out with psychedelic sprinkles. So "Mystery train" sounds like a forgotten number of Syd Barrett's PINK FLOYD, and also "The mask" offers wonderfully dreamy acid folk in the style of the "Rubble" samplers. But when Cockford and his colleagues get up to speed, they're not far away from their Medway beat colleagues LEN PRICE 3. A dream of an album has succeeded The Galileo7 here. (Gereon Helmer, ox-fanzine.de)



The Galileo7 are a band that uses quotes from the sixties in their songs as naturally as hardly any other band and sounds so natural that you think we are in the sixties. And this is also due to the excellent production. The album is a little more than a year old now and belongs to the Top 3 of the last year for me in this direction. As already mentioned in the review, the new drummer 'Mole' has brought the band one step forward again. Those who like this music will have a lot of fun with this album.(Frank)
You can buy the album HERE



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Sagittarius - The Blue Marble 1969 (2008 Sundazed) & Bonus Tracks



The second and final album from Sagittarius was the first for the ambitious Together Records in 1969, but the label folded soon afterward, leaving The Blue Marble virtually unheard for over 30 years. Like its predecessor Present Tense, The Blue Marble is producer Gary Usher's (the Beach Boys, the Byrds) take on the decidedly late-'60s sunshine pop genre, and features members of the Millennium, including the legendary Curt Boettcher.


The record opens with an interesting, intermittently discordant version of the Beach Boys' paean to childhood empowerment, "In My Room" (which Usher co-wrote with Brian Wilson). A new plaything, the Moog synthesizer, is employed on many of the numbers, and the results are distracting, leaving this period music even more dated.


It's as if Usher used Robert Moog's invention to spruce up the weaker songs, instead of letting the tune carry the track. The country-tinged "Will You Ever See Me" showcases what Sagittarius could do with a strong melody, while the tempo-shifting "Gladys" is an intriguing anomaly of dark psychedelic pop. (Bart Bealmear, allmusic.com)


'Blue Marble' was often referred to as Sagittarius' weak second album. That's doing the album injustice. Of course it was the weaker of the two albums compared to the previous one. But nevertheless it is a strong Popsike album. Usher and everyone involved in the album also went their own way with 'Blue Marble' and didn't strain the clichés that many other bands of this genre used again and again. And who would have needed a second debut album from Sagittarius? Enjoy.(Frank)




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Saturday, 24 November 2018

The Feminine Complex - Livin' Love 1969 (2004 Rev-Ola)


An obscure and quite possibly fictitious all-girl '60ss garage band from Nashville, Tennessee, the Feminine Complex comprised singer/guitarist Mindy Dalton, bassist Jean Williams, vocalist/tambourine player Judi Griffith, organist Pame Stephens, and drummer Lana Napier. According to legend, the group was formed by Williams and Napier in 1966 while both were sophomores at Nashville's Maplewood High School. Originally named the Pivots, a moniker suggested by the girls' basketball coach, they made their debut at a school talent show -- after recruiting teammates Dalton and Griffith -- dressed in matching pantsuits and performing covers of contemporary hits.  After adding Stephens, the quintet rechristened themselves the Feminine Complex and began making regular appearances at Skateland, then Nashville's hottest summer teen hangout.





In a local scene otherwise dominated by male combos like the Anglo Saxons, the Feminine Complex quickly earned a cult following, and soon they were touring throughout Tennessee. They caught the attention of A&R vet Dee Kilpatrick, who'd just formed the Athena Records label. The Feminine Complex was the label's first signing, and in 1969, the band's debut LP Livin' Love was released. However, by the time the album appeared the group had already disintegrated -- Stephens, who'd graduated high school, ultimately chose college over rock & roll, and both Williams and Napier quit soon after. Dalton and Griffith briefly forged on as a duo, but by late 1969 the Feminine Complex was no more.


 In 1996, the hip indie label TeenBeat reissued Livin' Love, followed a year later by the rarities collection To Be in Love, both rumored to be not vintage recordings but instead the work of latter-day pranksters.(Jason Ankeny, allmusic.com)



Great pop album of the late sixties. Highly recommended to sixties pop music lovers. Enjoy.(Frank)

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Paul Jones - The Paul Jones Collection - Vol.1-3 & 'Crucifix In A Horse Shoe' (1991-1998 RPM)



Bio:
As lead singer of Manfred Mann from 1963 to 1966, Paul Jones was one of the best vocalists of the British Invasion, able to put over blues, R&B, and high-energy pop/rock with an appealing mix of polish and soul. That made the mediocre, at times appalling quality of his late-'60s solo recordings, on which he pursued a far more MOR direction, an all the more perplexing disappointment.



As early as 1965, the press was speculating that Jones -- the only one of the Manfreds with any conventional heartthrob appeal -- would be leaving the group for a solo career. Jones and the group denied these rumors for quite some time, but Paul did in fact hand in his notice around late 1965, although he stayed with Manfred Mann through much of 1966 while they arranged for a replacement.


The lure of going solo was not purely musical; Jones also wanted to pursue opportunities in the acting field, landing a big role right away as a lead in the '60s cult movie Privilege, which unsurprisingly cast him as a pop singer. Jones also sang a few songs in the film, the best of which was the ominous, hymn-like "Set Me Free," which was covered by Patti Smith in the mid-'70s.


Jones rang up a couple of British Top Ten hits in late 1966 and early 1967 with "High Time" and "I've Been a Bad Bad Boy," although his solo recording career would never get off the ground in the U.S. Both of these were straight MOR pop tunes that sounded much closer to Tom Jones than the Paul Jones of old.


 Unfortunately, the brassy British pop arrangements of Mike Leander (most noted for his work on Marianne Faithfull's early records) and weak -- at times perversely selected -- material characterized his late-'60s records. After those first two Top Ten singles, he wasn't even that successful in Britain, let alone America, where he was soon forgotten.

 Showcase
Jones at least wasn't starving for work, moving his focus from records to acting in the theater, which he continued to do steadily over the next few decades. He did eventually re-embrace his blues roots as singer for the low-key Blues Band, as well as participating in some Manfred Mann reunion performances. A new album, Showcase, appeared in 2001 from Hallmark Records, followed eight years later in 2009 by Starting All Over Again from Collectors' Choice. Starting All Over Again was the first of two new Paul Jones albums produced by Carla Olson.

The second, Suddenly I Like It, followed in 2009. Both albums featured the same backing band: Jake Andrews on guitar, Tony Marsico on bass, Mike Thompson on keyboards and Alvino Bennett on drums and were recorded in Los Angeles. Both combined R&B, blues and pop songs and featured guests including Eric Clapton, Joe Bonamassa and Jools Holland. (Richie Unteberger, allmusic.com)

Here are the complete three Paul Jones RPM volumes and like i wrote in the headline the also from RPM in 1991 re-released album 'Crucifix In A Horseshoe' from the year 1971.  It's here inside the Vol.4.
If you don't know Paul Jones you will get here a cross section of sixties pop music like Blue Eyed Soul, R'n'B, Pop, Psychedelic Pop.The Crucifix album delivers early seventies pop rock tinged with Country, R'n'B, Soul and Blues sounds. Enjoy.(Frank)


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Crucifix In A Horseshoe (2010 RPM release)

Notes From The Underground - Notes From The Underground 1968 (2006 ace, Vanguard)


Notes from the Underground's sole album was bound to draw comparisons with early Country Joe & the Fish, if only because they shared the same label and producer, and also came from Berkeley. Like the Fish and several other Bay Area psychedelic bands, they unpredictably blended jug band music, blues, good-time novelty-tinged humor, jazz, and electric hard rock.
But where the Fish and others were able, at their best, to pull this off to create an intoxicating brew, Notes from the Underground sound relatively strained and eclectic-for-the-heck-of-it. The album's not without its fun moments and some period charm, like the brooding, driving "Why Did You Put Me On," with its very '60s-sounding organ swoops. Other highlights are "Tristesse," whose gentle folk-rock is slightly reminiscent of the early Youngbloods, and a rock treatment of Herbie Hancock's "Cantaloupe Island."
But the lack of strong vocals and tunes keeps it out of psychedelia's front ranks, and the abundance of forced-sounding jollity unflatteringly dates much of the material.(Richie Unterberger, allmusic.com)


I was never a huge fan of the sixties West Coast movement as such. Musically, of course, there were some very good bands that I still love today. But I'm not a real expert of the hippie scene of that time, from which bands as the Notes From Ungerground emerged. Enjoy. (Frank)

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