Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pink Fairies - Kings Of Oblivion (1972-73 uk, stunning jagged proto punk, 2002 remaster and expanded)

This was The Pink Fairies’ last stand right before the rot of inactivity from lack of funds set in and cancelled their Polydor contract. An album of soaring Marshall Superfuzz anthems and Ladbroke Grooves, this was their last album while they were still (for a short time, anyway) a cohesive unit. The undertow of Paul Rudolph leaving in 1972, the sacking Mick Wayne after one shite single and a tour cancelled after a few gigs left The Fairies down to just the rhythm section of drummer Russell Hunter and bassist Sandy Sanderson. Their old friend Mick Farren suggested a replacement guitarist he knew from years earlier who had performed at the Phun City festival he had organised. 

The guitarist was none other than Larry Wallis, who had moved onto later-period Blodwyn Pig and then UFO before Farren’s suggestion. Lazza Wallis: a true Pink Fairy if there ever was one! He brought not only his cranked Stratocaster riffing and a good sense of structured songwriting to hang his flowing reckless guitar style upon, but a gleeful sense of humour and overall wiseacre rock and roll sensibility. “City Kids” (co-written by Wallis and Sanderson) is a street punk anthem of raving, speeding, hanging out and when Wallis sings the line “Park the car/And ruuuuuun” it’s about as “Under My Wheels”-era Alice Cooper as it gets. “I Wish I Was A Girl” begins another musical fray with soaring intro guitar and Russell Hunter spraying all his cymbals like a Merseybeat Ringo on methedrine and if that’s Sanderson on bass it was his most pronounced playing ever on record. 

An elongated bridge in the middle continues as Wallis’ guitars have now four-folded into an overdubbed, pile driving ecstasy, yet it’s beyond mere boogie as the momentum keeps plateau-ing up and up. Lazza’s guitar is not only melody but rhythm as well, as Hunter and Sanderson keep getting in and out of sync and overcompensate with just thrashing it out. The title gets repeated over and over as a faded mantra to the back of this rough and ready work out. “When’s The Fun Begin?” is a Notting Hill Gate doper weaving down a deserted West London street, the only light his blurred vision can see is the reflection of street lights on the wet tarmac. It’s coiled and tense yet opiate-slackened at the same time, and Hunter’s bashing over Wallis’ foot-controlled police siren solo make the bust inevitable as the vocals are shoved into the back of a police van -- the last words a panned, repeated phrase on the fadeout.

By this time the album has such a weirdly energetic and wasted atmosphere, you wonder how they can JUST keep it from falling apart. Larry Wallis’ structured songwriting and stunningly raw liquid-feel guitar playing keeps the sole surviving rhythm section busy, and the riotous instrumental, “Raceway” is where the three-man Fairies blast-out in a mid-sized hall at full volume with bright white overhead spotlights flicker on and off in an off-beat pattern catching the three longhairs in the act of proceeding to pummel their disbelieving audience. If Russell Hunter had four arms, he still wouldn’t be hitting half as many cymbals as he does here while multiple Wallis solos are bending in the air over the trio.

The coda is a flurry of high-pitched “Axe Victim” riffing, but trapped in a mandrax haze at twice the speed. “Chambermaid” and “Street Urchin” round out an album most people weren’t expecting from The Pink Fairies at this point in time: a strong, vibrant testimony to their no-bullshit rock and roll. And live it was even shatteringly LOUDER than before, which is damn near incomprehensible and frightening to even think about. 
by The Seth Man
1. City Kids (Larry Wallis, Duncan Sanderson) - 3:42
2. I Wish I Was A Girl (Larry Wallis) - 9:38
3. When's The Fun Begin? (Larry Wallis, Mick Farren) - 6:09
4. Chromium Plating (Larry Wallis) - 3:44
5. Raceway (Larry Wallis) - 4:05
6. Chambermaid (Larry Wallis, Duncan Sanderson, Russell  Hunter) - 3:14
7. Street Urchin (Larry Wallis) - 7:02
8. Well, Well, Well (Single Version) (Mick Wayne) - 3:56
9. Hold On (Single Version) (Mick Wayne, Duncan Sanderson, Russell  Hunter) - 4:06
10.City Kids (Alternate Mix) (Larry Wallis, Duncan Sanderson) - 3:38
11.Well, Well, Well (Alternate Mix) (Mick Wayne)- 3:20

The Pink Fairies
*Larry Wallis - Guitar, Vocals
*Duncan Sanderson - Bass, Vocals
*Russell Hunter - Drums

1971  Pink Fairies - Never Never Land (2002 extra tracks issue)  
1974-78  Wayne Kramer And The Pink Fairies - Cocaine Blues (2016 edition)

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wilkinson TriCycle - Wilkinson TriCycle (1969 us, great psych rock with blues and acid folk shades, 2007 reissue)

Signed by CBS's Date subsidiary,1969's "Wilkinson Tri-Cycle" was co-produced by Warren Schatz and Stephen Schlake.  Musically the set offered up an engaging mix of heavy blues-rock ('Leavin' Trunk' and 'Antique Locomotives') more trippy, pseudo-psych attack ('What Of I' and the atypical heavily orchestrated 'Pourscha Poe') and occasional unexpected jazzy touches. In the negative column the trio lacked a truly distinctive lead singer (the limited liner notes didn't credit vocalists) and their overall sound was occasionally a bit thin giving the impression this was recorded quickly and without a lot of post-production touch up. 

Positives included some great guitar work from Mello - check out his work on the rocker '9-5 '59' and with the exception of the heavily orchestrated 'David's Rush' the material boasted surprisingly memorable melodies. Curiously, a couple of reference works I've seen describe material like 'Pourscha Poe' and 'Yellow Wall' as being Beatlesque (always a creative kiss of death). Wrong. Think along the lines of late-1960s San Francisco bands and you'll be closer to the mark.  Unfotunately Date did nothing to promote the album so sales proved limited with the band calling it quits before they could release anything else.  Too bad since these guys had considerable talent. 
1. What Of I (Richard Porter) - 5:08
2. Leavin' Trunk (S. J. Estes) - 3:24
3. David's Rush (David Mello) - 5:12
4. Pourscha Poe (Richard Porter) - 4:28
5. Antique Locomotives (David Mello) - 5:24
6. 9-5 '59 (Richard Porter) - 5:49
7. I Like Your Company (David Mello) - 5:49
8. Yellow Wall (Richard Porter, David Mello, Michael Clemens) - 3:49

The Wilkinson TriCycle
*Michael Clemens - Drums
*David Mello - Guitar
*Richard Porter - Bass

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Christie - For All Mankind (1971-75 uk, exceptional classic rock with country traces, 2005 extra tracks remaster)

This album, coupled with their live gigs, has shown that Christie have a lasting potential which may not have been all that evident in their brace of international gold-plated singles Yellow River and San Bernadino. Indeed, Christie are one of the few British bands to have achieved an enviable worldwide acceptance in the past few years.

But it could well be that this success has slightly inhibited the thinking of the group's namesake Jeff, for on this new album it appears that he is striving to encompass both the commercial and heavy markets — a commendable but also dangerous line to follow.

It is still the immediacy of pop which is the mainstay of the industry. There is absolutely no disgrace to sell millions of singles and keeping an equal number of people entertained.

Christie have made the first inroads, and this album shows that collectively they have the ability to exploit this asset to their utmost advantage. It would be a pity if they allowed their judgement to be swayed by the inverted snobbery of others who are perhaps less successful.

For All Mankind is perhaps the first time Christie have recorded to their own personal satisfaction, and is an album which should gain them a degree of respect to add to their reputation for discovering the secret of commercial success.

With a bit of thought, more experience and careful production, their next album could well prove to be a blinder, for between them, Jeff, Vic Elmes and Paul Fenton produce some excellent instrumental work.

The plaintive title track and If Only are commendable and make a good contrast to the hardness of Martian King and Magic Highway.
New Musical Express, July 1971
1. Magic Highway (Vic Elmes) - 5:39
2. Man Of Many Faces - 2:18
3. Picture Painter - 3:07
4. Martian King - 5:25
5. For All Mankind - 4:14
6. Peace Lovin' Man - 3:05
7. My Baby's Gone - 5:42
8. Country B. Sam (Vic Elmes) - 3:11
9. I Believe In You - 4:51
10.If Only - 4:22
11.The Dealer (Down And Losin') (Bob Ruzicka) - 2:56
12.Pleasure And Pain - 2:43
13.Alabama - 3:41
14.I'm Alive - 3:13
15.Guantanamera (José Martí, Julian Orbon, Jose Fernandez, Herminio García Wilson) - 4:52
16.Navajo (Wake Up Navajo) (Kenny Young, Richard Kerr) - 4:02
17.The Most Wanted Man In The Usa (Peter Yellowstone, Roberto Danova) - 3:02
18.Rockin' Suzanna - 3:02
All songs by Jeff Christie except where stated
Bonus Tracks 11-18

The Christie
*Jeff Christie - Bass, Vocals
*Vic Elmes - Guitar, Vocals
*MIke Blakley - Drums
*Lem Lubin - Bass
*Paul Fenton - Guitar
*Danny Krieger - Guitar
*Tony Ferguson - Guitar
*Roger Willis - Drums
*Graham Whyte - Guitar
*Roger Flavell - Bass

1970  Christie - Christie (2005 Remastered and Expanded)

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Christie - Christie (1970 uk, marvelous classic rock, 2005 digipak remaster and expanded)

Christie was a UK band built around singer-songwriter Jeff Christie, and fleshed out with drummer Mike Blakely, and Blakely’s former Acid Gallery bandmate Vic Elmes on guitar. The band’s one brush with fame was their first single, “Yellow River,” which reached #23 in the U.S., supported an album that sold well, and produced three separate videos (see below!). 

The follow-up single, the country-tinged “San Bernadino,” scraped its way to #100, keeping the band (technically, at least) from being labeled a one-hit wonder. The album stretches out on the pop-inflections the band found in Creedence Clearwater Revival’s roots sound, and though they didn't manage any more chart singles, neither did they load up on filler. With a lucky break, or better promotion from their U.S. label, the band could easily have been remembered for more than “Yellow River.” If you like early ’70s country-rock from Gallery, the Stampeders, as well as their more famous peers, you should check this out. This 21-track  reissue expands upon this straight up digital reissue of the album’s original thirteen tracks.
1. Yellow River - 2:46
2. Gotta Be Free - 3:11
3. I've Got A Feeling - 2:49
4. New York City (Mike Blakley, Vic Elmes) - 3:07
5. Inside Looking Out - 2:42
6. Put Your Money Down - 2:43
7. Down The Mississippi Line - 2:52
8. San Bernadino - 3:12
9. Country Boy - 2:38
10.Johnny One Time - 3:25
11.Coming Home Tonight - 2:58
12.Here I Am - 2:37
13.Until The Dawn - 2:39
14.Everything's Gonna Be Alright - 2:37
15.Freewheelin' Man - 2:54
16.Inside Looking Out (Single B-side Version) - 2:42
17.Iron Horse - 2:52
18.Every Now And Then (Vic Elmes) - 3:19
19.Fools Gold - 3:10
20.California Sunshine (Lem Lubin) - 3:06
21.Born To Lose (Vic Elmes) - 2:47
All songs by Jeff Christie except where stated
Bonus Tracks 14-21

The Christie
*Jeff Christie - Bass, Vocals
*Vic Elmes - Guitar, Vocals
*MIke Blakley - Drums
*Lem Lubin - Bass
*Paul Fenton - Guitar
*Danny Krieger - Guitar

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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Ashton Gardner And Dyke - Ashton Gardner And Dyke (1969 uk, stunning jazz prog rhythm 'n' blues)

The debut album by one of Britain's lesser-starred supergroup is a markedly different beast than fans of their former bands, the Remo Four and Creation, might have expected. Heavily influenced by the trio's shared love for jazz-rock, its nine songs are moods as much as music, only occasionally stepping out into something instantly recognizable -- distinctive covers of the Bee Gees' "New York Mining Disaster 1941" and Mose Allison's "Young Man Blues" are highlights. But the album peaks with its closing track, "As It Was in the First Place" a lengthy Ashton adaptation from the classical "Adagio from Concierto de Aranjuez."

With an arrangement borrowed from the Modern Jazz Quartet's own interpretation of the piece (among Tony Ashton's idols, few were more significant than MJQ's John Lewis), Ashton and Roy Dyke had already had one stab at the track, recording it with producer George Harrison during the last days of the Remo Four. The new version completely rewired that earlier performance, and stands as one of the pinnacles of British jazz-rock. The single "Maiden Voyage" offers another, while the group's sense of humor is well-evidenced by the similarly titled and themed pieces "Billy and his Piano Without" and "Billy and His Piano With." 
by Dave Thompson
1. Rolling Home - 3:31
2. Why Did You Go - 2:59
3. The Falling Song - 3:31
4. Young Man Ain't Nothing In The World These Days (Mose Allison) - 4:04
5. Billy And His Piano Without - 4:00
6. Maiden Voyage - 3:56
7. New York Mining Disaster 1941 (Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb) - 5:03
8. Picture Sliding Down The Wall - 4:40
9. Billy And His Piano With - 3:49
10.Vaggsang - 1:38
11.As It Was In The First Place - 6:30
12.Maiden Voyage, Long Version - 5:23
13.See The Sun In My Eyes (Melouny) - 3:26
14.Resurrection Shuffle - 3:17
15.Can You Get It - 3:32
All songs written by Tony Ashton except where noted
Bonus Tracks 12-15

*Tony Ashton - Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Vocals
*Kim Gardner -  Bass
*Roy Dyke - Drums

1970  Ashton, Gardner And Dyke - The Worst Of
1971  Ashton, Gardner and Dyke - Let It Roll / Live
Related Acts
1967-68  Remo Four - Smile
1964-66  The Creation - How Does It Feel To Feel  
1964-66  The Birds - Collectors' Guide To Rare British Birds

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Mason Proffit - Movin' Toward Happiness (1971 us, amazing folk psych rural rock, 2006 edition)

Based in Chicago, Mason Proffit played a style of country-rock that owed less to the more pop-oriented style of L.A. bands like Poco than it did to the newly bluegrass-happy Grateful Dead of American Beauty and its emerging offshoot, the New Riders of the Purple Sage. Despite the pedal steel guitar, fiddle, banjo, and Dobro, the Talbot brothers, who led the group, were less about a new Nashville than about a fusion of the Old West with hippiedom. They lamented the plight of Native Americans in "Flying Arrow," and while they could pick a mean hoedown on "Old Joe Clark," their version somehow managed to express antiwar sentiments. 

They recognized the connection between the cowboy myth and the independent spirit of truck drivers, and they managed to mix it all in with a sort of primitive Christianity. In this, they were very much of their time. Mike Cameron's "Good Friend of Mary's" fit into the emerging Jesus cult that identified the Christian savior as a kind of proto-hippie, preaching peace and love while wandering the country in long hair and sandals, and the Talbots sang it with their warm tenor harmony in complete sincerity. Such music wasn't going to make it far out of the early '70s, but in 1971 it was perfectly appealing, and Movin' Toward Happiness managed to make the national charts despite being released on the band's own label, suggesting that they had the potential to appeal beyond a cult.
by William Ruhlmann
1. Michael Dodge -  2:58
2. Hard Luck Woman -  2:56
3. Children -  2:51
4. Hokey Joe Pony -  2:24
5. Flying Arrow -  3:30
6. Old Joe Clark -  4:02
7. Let Me Know Where You're Goin' -  2:29
8. Melinda -  3:40
9. Good Friend Of Mary's (Mike Cameron) -  2:46
10.He Loves Them -  3:33
11.Everybody Was Wrong -  5:20
All compositions by John Talbot, Terry Talbot

The Mason Proffit
*Terry Talbot - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Piano, Vocals
*John Talbot - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Vocals
*Tim Ayres - Bass
*Art Nash - Drums, Percussion
*Ron Schuetter - Guitar, Vocals

1969  Mason Proffit - Wanted (2006 issue)
1971  Mason Proffit - Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream (2006 isuue)
1973  Mason Proffit - Bareback Rider (2006 issue)  
1974  Mason Proffit - Come And Gone

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Man Made - Man Made (1972 canada, sensational psych brass rock with prog shades, 2010 remaster)

After Illustration disbanded, the individual members went their separate ways. Some toured with a production of Jesus Christ Superstar, while others, such as Roger Homefield, went on to record with such notable musicians as Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, and The Miami Sound Machine. Several of the members of Illustration got back together in the following years with various bands, among which were Fox, The Michel Comeau Blues Band, and Man Made. Of these groups, Man Made achieved some critical and commercial success. 

It was a smaller band than Illustration and had an altogether new sound. They met with Gilles Talbot and producer Andre Perry and recorded a self-titled album on the Good Noise label, which was released in 1972. Man Made continued to play in Montreal with other musicians, including Jerry Mercer of April Wine, Rene Hamelin, Bob Baines, Denis Comeau, Gilles Beland, Roger Walls, and Gerry Labelle. In 1977, the members of Man Made anonymously recorded a disco single entitled “Dracula Disco” for songwriter Gerry Bribosia. However, the band never recorded a second album under their own name and disbanded by the end of the 1970s. 
1. Man Made - 19:50
2. Carnival - 5:10
3. Reflections - 3:09
4. Evolution - 3:15
5. Keep On Moving - 2:21
6. Country Company - 2:42
All selections written by Jean Ranger, Billy Ledster

Man Made
*Billy Ledster - Vocals, Electric Piano
*Jean Ranger - Organ, Synthesizer, Backing Vocals
*Richard Terry - Bass, Backing Vocals
*Claude Roy - Drums
*Roger Walls - Horns, Flute
*Michel Como - Vocal
*P.J. Lauzon - Guitar
*Jerry Mercer - Drums
*Glenn Higgins - Saxophone
*Denis Comeau - Flute
*Richard Provencial - Drums

1970  Illustration - Illustration (2006 Remaster)

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Illustration - Illustration (1970 canada, significant jazz brass rock, 2006 remaster)

For those who care for music labels, “big band jazz-rock” was a popular musical genre that began in the late 1960s. Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago are the bands that typically come to mind. But these were by no means the only bands to fall under this label. Among such others were Archie Whitewater and The Ides of March; however, arguably the least known of these bands, and today unjustly forgotten, was the Montreal-based Illustration. Bands that end up long forgotten often deserve it for various reasons, but the lack of notoriety Illustration now suffers is certainly undeserved. Illustration was an excellent group that demonstrated superior musicianship in every way, but after only one formal record release, poor management led to the band’s untimely demise. 

Formed at the Fontaine Bleu in St. Jean, Quebec in 1968, Illustration was essentially the combination of two other bands playing throughout Ontario and Quebec at the time: The Phoenix of Ayre’s Cliff and The Jades.  

The Phoenix of Ayre’s Cliff originally began as The Dynamics, a group formed by guitarist Jimmy Mann. Throughout the mid-sixties, the band underwent various makeovers, beginning with Jimmy Mann’s departure and eventual return. Chan Romero, famous for his song “Hippy Hippy Shake,” replaced Jimmy Mann in the interim period, during which time the band was known as Romero and The Reputations, but subsequently left the band while the group was in Quebec. The Dynamics eventually became The Phoenix of Ayre’s Cliff, whose members were Hans Stamer on vocals, Bob Deutscher on guitar, Norman Burgess on saxophone, Kenny Brabant on drums, Ken Folk on bass, and Richard Terry on organ.

The Jades originally began as The Flaming Stars in the early 1960s and were led by drummer Don Carpentier. This band played together for nine years throughout Quebec and Ontario appearing at such notable venues as the Esquire Show Bar in Montreal. Billy Ledster was the vocalist for the band with Rene Hamelin on guitar and Johnny Ranger on organ. 

By the late 1960s, members of The Phoenix of Ayre’s Cliff wanted to return to Western Canada, where most of them were from. Richard Terry and Norman Burgess, however, wanted to form a bigger group with which to go the United States. In particular, Richard Terry was intrigued by the Chicago-based group, The Mob, namely that band’s use of brass in its line-up, and wanted to do something similar. Norman Burgess had heard The Jades play before and thought they had the right sound. He proposed the idea of he and Richard Terry joining The Jades to realise their vision of a big band sound. When the two met organist Johnny Ranger and vocalist Billy Ledster from The Jades, who were performing at the Fontaine Bleu in St. Jean, Quebec in 1968, they agreed to form a new group, which, at Richard Terry’s suggestion, came to be called The Sound Syndicate. Don Carpentier and Rene Hamelin had different interests and declined to participate in the new band. With Johnny Ranger on organ, Richard Terry moved over to bass, and the band quickly began to grow adding Claude Roy on drums, who had previously played with The Jades, Benoit Perreault and Paul Perkins, from Boston, on trumpet, Garry Beattie, who had briefly played with The Phoenix of Ayre’s Cliff, on guitar, and Gerry Labelle on saxophone. The group was managed by Don Seat of Boston and began playing regularly at the Fontaine Bleu whereupon trumpeter Leo Harinen joined the group to replace Paul Perkins. 

The Sound Syndicate had quickly developed into a nine-member group and was still expanding. While playing at Lucifer’s in Boston one evening in 1969, trombonist Roger Homefield sat in with the band and found himself a new member by the end of the night. Continuing to play various clubs along the east coast of the United States, the band was in Seaside Heights, New Jersey when Gerry Labelle left to pursue work in Chicago. In need of new saxophone player, the band acquired Donald Sanders, whom Richard Terry knew from the early 1960s, and his wife, Scherri Saint James, who contributed additional vocals to the band.  

Having now eleven members, The Sound Syndicate was heard by manager Barry Wolfe who introduced the band to producer Alan Lorber. Alan Lorber was impressed with what he heard and signed the band for a one-record deal with Janus Records. The group began recording its debut album at A&R Studios in New York in late 1969. Eager to play their music, the band continued to perform at numerous venues on the east coast. The band once again changed personnel as Glenn Higgins joined the band to replace Donald Sanders who had left for Nashville to pursue other interests, and Billy Shiell joined the group in Miami adding a third trumpet. Prior to the band’s upcoming record release, Alan Lorber had a particular concept in mind and suggested that the band change their name. The band adopted their new name, Illustration, while playing at the Stock Market Club in St. Petersburg, Florida. 

During this time, the group shared the stage with some notable performers. While playing at the Newport Hotel in Miami, Florida the band backed up Ike & Tina Turner and later performed with Joe Cocker, Rod Stewart, Miles Davis, H.P. Riot, and Funkadelic. The band also enjoyed critical acclaim with a very positive review in the June, 1970 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine and similarly positive reviews from John Wilson, a jazz critic for the New York Times, Dave Bist, a music columnist for the Montreal Gazette, and Dennis Washburn, a music columnist for the Birmingham News. As well, the band’s first single, “Our Love’s a Chain,” did quite well on Canadian radio reaching at least as high as 12 on the hit parade.

However, by late 1971 many of the members were growing increasingly weary of what they perceived to be poor management. Despite having enough material for their next album and an offer from Warner Bros. Records, the prospects for the group were fading. While in Montreal, Quebec, Illustration was approached to record some music for a French-Canadian film called Après Ski, produced by Jean Zaloum. Five songs were recorded at RCA Victor Studios in Montreal and released on the soundtrack to the film. According to Johnny Ranger, the group recorded the five songs without any overdubs and within a short time of just a few hours. However, the band was never credited for its contribution to the film due to legal constraints until the album was re-released in 2012 by Disques Pluton. Shortly after recording the soundtrack the group disbanded.

It is unfortunate that Illustration did not last. Their music was sophisticated and their musicianship was excellent. The band played with a unified musical soul that gave them a unique sound that was distinctly their own. No other band could match the power of Illustration’s six-member horn section. Clearly, talent does not always guarantee commercial success, for if it did, Illustration would have gone much farther and would be well-known today. As it happens, they are today almost completely forgotten but for a few who recall their music. In 2012, for example, the soundtrack to the film Après Ski was remastered and re-released on the Pluton label in Quebec, where that music has remained sought after and has enjoyed somewhat of a cult status. Many of the former members of Illustration, however, continue to be active in music today; and in spite of their brief stint, their music remains as impressive today as ever it was. 
1. Upon The Earth (Donald Sanders) - 2:10
2. Our Love's A Chain (Johnny Ranger, Donald Sanders) - 2:30
3. Distant (Richard Terry, Billy Ledster) - 3:49
4. I Don't Want To Cry (Luther Dixon, Chuck Jackson) - 3:17
5. Life Tasters, Time Wasters (Johnny Ranger) - 2:31
6. The Road (Billy Ledster) - 2:53
7. Home (Bernie Miller, Lesley Miller) - 4:26
8. Was It I (Donald Sanders) - 2:21
9. Box Of Glass (Billy Ledster) - 5:06
10.Thelicia (Donald Sanders) - 3:21

The Illustration
*Richard Terry - Bass
*Garry Beattie - Guitar
*Billy Ledster - Vocals
*Johnny Ranger - Organ, Piano
*Claude Roy - Drums
*Donald Sanders - Tenor Saxophone
*Norman Burgess - Baritone Saxophone
*Roger Homefield - Trombone
*Benoit Perreault - Trumpet
*Leo Harinen - Trumpet
*Scherri Saint James - Additional Vocals

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Zoldar And Clark - Zoldar And Clark (1977 us, tremendous prog rock, 2008 remaster)

From 1976 to 1978, many albums were released on what is known as "tax scam" record labels, which were sometimes subsidiaries of larger record labels. These albums were printed in very small quantities, but the label would claim that thousands were printed and didn't sell so they could claim them as a major tax deduction. The scam supposedly ended when the tax loophole that allowed it was closed. Most of these albums were from unreleased tapes that these record companies owned or purchased or took, some of which were demos or unfinished albums, and very often the bands themselves didn't even know of their existence as band and song names were changed.

Zoldar & Clark is actually Jasper Wrath in disguise. They recorded two albums after Jasper Wrath that were both released as tax scam albums under the names Arden House and Zoldar & Clark. I've yet to track down Arden House's album Coming Home to listen to that one, but reviews seem to state that it's the weakest of the three. The original album release of Zoldar & Clark contained only 7 tracks, and all songs are excellent, extremely accessible progressive rock with crystal clear lyrics and production like Jasper Wrath. Standouts are the very trippy instrumental "Lunar Progressions," and the 6 and a half minute "The Ghost of Way," which is one of the best songs I've ever heard, full of incredible singing, multiple time changes, tremendous musical diversity and even the occasional mellotron thrown in for good measure.

To add to the confusion, not only has Zoldar & Clark been released on CD in its original 7-track format, but it also exists as an 11-track CD called The Ghost of Way, which contains only 5 of the 7 original tracks, 1 track from the Jasper Wrath album, 1 track from the Arden House album, and 4 tracks unique to that collection, and again, every song is more of the brilliant, accessible progressive rock that would appeal even to people who aren't usual fans of the genre. It's worth getting both versions to have all the tracks as this is essential stuff that would appeal to a very wide audience.
by Gary Bearman
1. Lunar Progressions (Instrumental) - 4:57
2. The Ghost of Way - 6:32
3. Roland Of Montevere - 7:52
4. Touch The Sky - 5:15
5. Father - 5:10
6. Now Is The Time - 4:52
7. The City - 2:58
8. You - 2:43
9. Somewhere Beyond The Sun - 8:50
10.To Be Alive - 3:51
11.The Dream - 5:13

Zoldar And Clark
*Jeff Batter - Piano, Synths
*Jeff Cannata - Drums, Woodwinds, Guitar, Vocals
*James Christian - Vocals, Guitar
*Robert Giannotti - Guitar, Flute, Vocals
*Michael Soldan - Piano, Synths, Mellotron, Vocals
*Phil Stone - Bass, Flute, Vocals
*Scott Zito - Guitar, Keys, Vocals

1971  Jasper Wrath - Jasper Wrath (2009 remaster)  

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Jasper Wrath - Jasper Wrath (1971 us, awesome prog rock, 2009 remaster)

Jasper Wrath grabs you right away with crystal clear vocals and production, and a very melodic and accessible sound. It doesn't get too instrumentally adventurous, but stays very enjoyable throughout with well –crafted songs. "Look to the Sunrise" is an enthusiastic and upbeat opener. "Mysteries (You Can Find Out)" contains some nice guitar and great lyrics about ancient cities. "Autumn" contains some nice flute, which really comes to the fore in the excellent 7-minute "Odyssey" that closes out Side 1 - a very trippy and spacy track.

Side 2 opens with "Did You Know That," and has a very ‘70's good-timey feel. "Drift Through Our Cloud" contains some nice tribal percussion for a change of pace. The five-minute "Portrait: My Lady Angelina" is a beautiful track, and the eight-minute "Roland of Montevere" is a fitting complex and dramatic closer with a very baroque feel. This is a very solid and enjoyable effort by a band that was going places. 
by Gary Bearman
1. Look to the sunrise (Jeff Cannata, Phil Stoltie) - 2:58
2. Mysteries (you can find out) (Jeff Cannata) - 3:53
3. Autumn (Jeff Cannata, Michael Soldan) - 4:55
4. Odyssey (Jeff Cannata, Phil Stoltie) - 7:09
5. Did you know that (Jasper Wrath, Joey Levine) - 2:57
6. Drift through our cloud (Jasper Wrath, Phil Stoltie) - 3:36
7. Portrait: My Lady Angelina (Jeff Cannata, Michael Soldan) - 5:07
8. Roland of Monteverre (Jeff Cannata, Michael Soldan, Robert Gianotti) - 7:55

The Jasper Wrath
*Michael Soldan - Keyboards, Vocals
*Jeff Cannata - Drums, Percussion, Guitar, Woodwinds
*Robert Gianotti - Guitar, Flute, Vocals
*Phil Stone - Bass, Vocals

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