Tuesday, 23 August 2016

There has been a whole lot of talking about the recent passing of Glenn Yarbrough lately and plenty of demand for some of his tunes so, time for another little something special for my latest contribution...
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 12, 1930, Yarbrough grew up in New York City. After he left high school, he attended St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, where he roomed with Jac Holzman and began performing after he and Holzman attended a concert by Woody Guthrie.
During the Korean War he served in the United States Army as a codebreaker before joining the entertainment corps. After military service, he moved to South Dakota, helped organize square dances, and started appearing on local television shows. By the mid-1950s, he started performing in clubs in Chicago, where he met club owner Albert Grossman and performers including Odetta and Shel Silverstein. One of Elektra Records' first artists, he was one of the first singers to record the traditional "The House of the Rising Sun", of which would later become a groundbreaker hit for British group The Animals.
Yarbrough moved to Aspen, Colorado, and ran a club, the Limelite, and formed a folk group with Alex Hassilev and Louis Gottlieb. They released their first album, Limeliters, on Holzman's Elektra label in 1960. He left the Limeliters for a solo career in the mid-1960s.
His most popular single, and the one perhaps he is most well-known today is "Baby the Rain Must Fall" (the theme tune from the film of the same name), which entered the US Cashbox chart on March 27, 1965 and reached #12 in Pop and #2 in Easy Listening. According to Chartmasters of Covington, Louisiana, the song was one of the all time top 100 of the year. Though only reaching #82 in Australia, “The Honey Wind Blows” was Yarbrough’s highest charting single at #22, debuting on 24 October 1964.
But, seeing as this is the home for all singles/EP’s/albums that never made it to Compact Disc, here to download is Glenn’s follow-up single, "Jenny’s Gone And I Don’t Care" backed by "An Acre Of Gal To A Foot Of Ground" (RCA 47-8447).
Among other career highlights, Yarbrough provided vocals for the Rankin/Bass Productions animated versions of The Hobbit (1977), singing songs such as The Greatest Adventure, The Road Goes Ever On as well as The Return of the King (1980) singing "Frodo of the Nine Fingers" in addition to singing the title song in the 1966 holiday classic, The Christmas That Almost Wasn't. Yarbrough also performed Utah Composer Michael McLean's Forgotten Carols, creating a CD of the show as well as taking it on the road to local audiences in the 1990s.
Yarbrough was also an accomplished sailor who owned and lived aboard three different sailboats: Armorel, all teak and still in operation; Jubilee, which Yarbrough helped build, taking three years; and the Brass Dolphin a Chinese junk design, and has, according to Yarbrough, sailed around the world except for the Indian Ocean.
Sadly, Yarbrough lost his ability to sing due to complications from throat surgery at the age of 80. In his last year or so of life, he suffered from dementia and was cared for by his daughter Holly in Nashville, Tennessee. He died on August 11, 2016 at the age of 86. Holly recorded the album Annie Get Your Gun with her father in 1997. mp3

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Peter Frederick “Fred” Wedlock was born in the old Bristol Maternity Hospital in Southwell Street, Kingsdown, Bristol, on 23 May 1942. He was brought up in Redcliffe, where his father ran the York House pub. He sang in the church choir at St Mary Redcliffe. Wedlock was educated at Bristol Grammar School in the 1950s. He represented the school and the Old Bristolians playing hockey.
After attending Swansea University, he taught in the East End of London during the 1960s and then at South Bristol College, before taking up music full-time in the 1970s. Wedlock was a regular performer at the Bristol Troubadour Club and he played the folk circuit, both prior to, and in the wake of, his single chart success, with performances at clubs and festivals all over the world. He also presented many programmes on West Country TV. including a leading role in Bristol Old Vic's production of Up the Feeder, Down the Mouth, a theatrical history of Bristol Docks, written by A. C. H. Smith. In 2001 the production was restaged on the waterfront. He also appeared in several productions for Bristol theatre company, The Ministry of Entertainment, most recently in December 2009.
Wedlock's albums include The Folker (1971) (notable for the title track parody of "The Boxer" by Simon and Garfunkel), Frolicks (1973), Out of Wedlock (1978), The Oldest Swinger in Town (1981) and Fred Wedlock Live (1982). In early 1981 his single "Oldest Swinger in Town" – here for download – reached number 6 in the UK Singles Chart, #13 in Zimbabwe, #30 in New Zealand and #70 in Australia (Rocket 6000 632).
His daughter, Hannah Wedlock, was an occasional member of the Pigsty Hill Light Orchestra, another Bristol-based outfit, whom Fred made his support band at an early stage of their career. She now performs with the Blue Note Jazz Band. His grandfather, Billy Wedlock, captained Bristol City F.C. and was a regular for England in the early 20th century. The Wedlock stand at Ashton Gate is named in his honour. He lived at Amesbury near Timsbury, Somerset where for many years he contributed to village life by providing entertainment and helping with raising funds for local projects.
On a sad note, it was announced on 4 March 2010 that Fred Wedlock had died, in hospital in Bath, Somerset, following a heart attack, after having contracted pneumonia. Dick Greener of Strawbs Web, the website of folk rock band The Strawbs, said that he was "A huge comic talent, and an all round thoroughly nice guy, I know... those who have seen Fred in the past during his long and successful career, would want to pass on their condolences to Fred's family." Derek Cleverdon, chairman of the Variety Club Children's Charity South West, said Fred was also devoted to charitable causes. "He performed on numerous occasions for the Variety Club, and raised thousands of pounds for us over the years."
A large number of people attended a funeral service held at St Mary Redcliffe church on 15 March 2010. Family and friends paid homage with tributes and songs. A local press report said that "he filled Bristol's largest church to capacity." mp3

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Stealers Wheel are a Scottish folk rock/rock band formed in Paisley, Renfrewshire, in 1972 by former school friends Joe Egan and Gerry Rafferty. Their well-known hit is "Stuck in the Middle with You".
The band broke up in 1975 and re-formed without Egan or Rafferty in 2008.
For a short time, Rafferty joined the Scottish folk group The Humblebums alongside Tam Harvey and future comedy idol Billy Connolly, (see Post #11) performing as a trio. However, the nature of the act had changed and Harvey departed shortly afterwards. The remaining duo broke up in the early 1970s after recording two albums of material: The New Humblebums and Open Up the Door, the former graced by a cover by John "Patrick" Byrne, marking the beginning of a long working relationship between Byrne and Rafferty.
Connolly would then embark on his solo career, eventually transitioning from folksinger with a comedic persona to fully-fledged comedian, while Rafferty recorded a low impact solo album, Can I Have My Money Back?, then would go on to form Stealers Wheel with Joe Egan, whom he met when they were teenagers in Paisley. They were initially joined by Roger Brown, Rab Noakes and Ian Campbell in 1972. However, that line-up only lasted a few months and by the time the band was signed to A&M Records later that same year, Brown, Noakes and Campbell had been replaced by Paul Pilnick, Tony Williams and Rod Coombes.
This line-up recorded their self-titled debut album Stealers Wheel (October 1972), which was produced by the influential American songwriters and producers Leiber & Stoller, and was a critical and commercial success, breaking the Top 50 in the US Billboard 200 and Australian Top 100 album charts, along with their hit single "Stuck in the Middle with You" coming from the album. On 7 November 1972 the band appeared on BBC 2's Old Grey Whistle Test, performing "I Get By" and "Late Again".
By the time the first album was released Rafferty had left the band to be replaced by Luther Grosvenor, who remained with the band for much of 1973 on tour. DeLisle Harper also replaced Tony Williams on tour. However, due to the success of the album and its single "Stuck in the Middle With You", reaching No. 6 in the US Billboard Hot 100, No. 8 in the UK Singles Chart and No. 16 in Australia in 1973, selling over one million copies worldwide and awarded a gold disc, Rafferty was persuaded to return, albeit Grosvenor, Coombes and Pilnick leaving the band. With so many changes in the band's line-up they officially became a duo, with backing musicians as needed on tour and in the studio.
Later in 1973, the single "Everyone's Agreed That Everything Will Turn Out Fine" had modest chart success, though only reaching a feeble #90 in the Australian charts. So, here for download is the original single version which is a substantially different recording than on the follow-up album, Ferguslie Park (except titled as "Everything Will Turn Out Fine"), and all subsequent CDs (A&M AMK 5190).
As the follow-up proved to be a commercial failure, tensions increased between Rafferty and Egan as they could not agree on which studio musicians to use on the third album, Right Or Wrong, and with Leiber & Stoller also having business problems, Stealers Wheel disappeared for eighteen months. By the time it was released in 1975, Stealers Wheel had ceased to exist. The last album, because of disagreements and managerial problems, was produced by Mentor Williams. All three albums had sleeve designs by artist John Byrne, and have been unavailable for a number of years. Although, in 2004 and 2005 the British independent record label Lemon Recordings, of Cherry Red, re-released them with remastered sound and new liner-notes.
After 1975, the group was hardly known, and the two last single releases faded away in the charts. Both Rafferty and Egan recorded songs which included lyrics referring to the acrimonious history of Stealers Wheel and a Best of Stealers Wheel album was released in 1990. In 1992 director Quentin Tarantino used the track "Stuck in the Middle with You" in the soundtrack of his debut film Reservoir Dogs, bringing new attention to the band. In September 2001 a dance version of "Stuck in the Middle with You" was a UK Top 10 hit for Louise, with a music video that drew heavily on the original song's appearance in the soundtrack of Reservoir Dogs.
However, legal issues after the break-up of Stealers Wheel meant that, for three years, Rafferty was unable to release any material.  After the disputes were resolved in 1978, he recorded his second solo album, City to City, with producer Hugh Murphy, which included the song with which he remains most identified, "Baker Street". According to Murphy, interviewed by Billboard in 1993, he and Rafferty had to beg the record label, United Artists, to release "Baker Street" as a single: "They actually said it was too good for the public." It was a good call: the single reached #3 in the UK and #2 in the US. The album sold over 5.5 million copies, toppling the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack in the US on 8 July 1978. Rafferty considered this his first proper taste of success, as he told Melody Maker the following year:
"...all the records I've ever done before have been flops. Stealers Wheel was a flop. 'Can I Have My Money Back?' was a flop. The Humblebums were a flop... My life doesn't stand or fall by the amount of people who buy my records."
Rock on, Gerry Rafferty (16 April 1947 – 4 January 2011). mp3
Been putting in a whole lot of thought what to do to celebrate my 150th post, and here it is... one of my all-time favourite bands, none other than – the Steve Miller Band! :)
In 1965, after moving to Chicago to play the blues, Steve Miller and keyboardist Barry Goldberg founded the Goldberg-Miller Blues Band along with bassist Roy Ruby, rhythm guitarist Craymore Stevens, and drummer Maurice McKinley. The band was contracted to Epic Records after playing many Chicago clubs. They also appeared on Hullabaloo with The Four Tops and The Supremes.
Miller left the group to go to San Francisco, where the psychedelic scene was flourishing. He then formed the Steve Miller Blues Band. Harvey Kornspan, managing partner, wrote and negotiated the band's landmark contract ($860,000 over five years as well as $25,000 of promotion money that was to be spent at the band's discretion) with Capitol/EMI Records then-president Alan Livingston in 1967. Shortly after, the band's name was shortened to the Steve Miller Band in order to broaden its appeal. The band, consisting of Miller, guitarist James Cooke, bassist Lonnie Turner, drummer Tim Davis (who replaced the departing Lance Haas on drums) and Jim Peterman on Hammond B3 organ, backed Chuck Berry at a gig at the Fillmore West that was released as the live album, Live at Fillmore Auditorium.
Guitarist Boz Scaggs joined the band soon after and the group performed at the Magic Mountain Festival and the Monterey Pop Festival in June.
S.M.B. are best known today for a string of (mainly) mid-1970s hit singles that are staples of classic rock radio, as well as several earlier acid rock albums. In February 1968, the band recorded their debut album, Children of the Future, then went on to produce the follow-up albums Sailor, Brave New World, Your Saving Grace, Number 5 and Rock Love. The band's Greatest Hits 1974–78, released in 1978, sold over 13 million copies. Another relative success was the 5-track album, Circle Of Love (featuring the 16-minute-long “Macho City” which takes up one whole LP side). It went Gold in the US and Canada.
And of course spawning from that album is the track up for download in edit form, “Heart Like A Wheel”. However, I’m not quite sure why they included “Jet Airliner” as the B-side along with its interlude (“Threshold”) 4 years after its original release. Although I will say it is without a doubt one of their all-time diamonds, and being the fan that I am, who am I to question them (Mercury 6000 747). :)
The band continues to produce more albums and in 2014 toured with the rock band Journey. In 2016, Steve Miller was inducted as a solo artist in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. mp3

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Who should mark a comeback to the Jungle: it’s our old friend, Huey Lewis! And in case you missed out the notes on Huey’s success story, you can check them out back at Post #18. :)
Now, we take a trip back to Mr. Lewis’ early ‘hood and pre-News times...
In 1972, singer/harmonica player billed as "Huey Louis", and keyboardist Sean Hopper, joined the Bay Area jazz-funk band, Clover. They recorded several albums in the 1970s, and in the middle of the decade they transplanted themselves to England to become part of the UK pub rock scene for a time. Without Lewis (but with Hopper), they eventually became the original backing band for Elvis Costello's first album, My Aim Is True. Lewis also worked with Irish band Thin Lizzy, contributing harmonica to the song "Baby Drives Me Crazy", recorded onstage for the Live and Dangerous album. Lizzy bassist/vocalist Phil Lynott introduces Lewis by name during the song. The band returned to the Bay Area by the end of the 1970s.
Clover's main competition in the Bay Area jazz-funk scene was a band called Soundhole, whose members included drummer Bill Gibson, saxophonist/guitarist Johnny Colla, and bassist Mario Cipollina (younger brother of John Cipollina). Like Clover, Soundhole had spent time backing the famous singer and recording artist, Van Morrison.
After getting a singles contract from Phonogram Records in 1978, Lewis recruited Hopper, Gibson, Colla, and Cipollina to form a new group, Huey Lewis & The American Express. Though they played gigs under this name, they recorded a demo at Different Fur Music in San Francisco during the Monday Nite Live sessions in the winter of 1978, and in 1979 they recorded the single "Exodisco" (a spinoff version of the theme from the film Exodus), released in the UK, credited simply as American Express. The B-side, "Kick Back", was a song that had previously been performed live by Lewis and his former band, Clover. And here they are for download in yet another 12-inch fixture (Mercury 9198 168) – thanks to DaveL for this forgotten gem.
Later in 1979, the band wooed guitarist Chris Hayes and moved to Chrysalis Records which occurred when their demo tape attracted the attention of Pablo Cruise’s manager, Bob Brown, who helped them land a record deal with the label. Of course, Chrysalis did not like the name 'American Express', fearing trademark infringement charges from the credit card company, so then the band changed their name to, lo and behold, Huey Lewis & The News. The rest, as they say, is history.
Fun fact: Before the band’s first gig they had been looking for other catchy band names, one of them being The Fools – a name they rapidly dropped when an English band with the same name released a single during that period. mp3
Post 148 – Bryan Adams – Let Me Take You Dancing b/w Don’t Turn Me Away (12”), 1978
Bryan Guy Adams was born 5 November 1959 in Kingston, Ontario, Canada to British parents who immigrated to Canada from Plymouth, England in the 1950s. Adams' father, a Sandhurst officer in the British Army, joined the Canadian Army and later spent time as a United Nations peacekeeping observer for Canada, which led to him becoming a Canadian foreign-service diplomat. Adams travelled with his parents to diplomatic postings in Portugal (where he attended the American International School of Lisbon) and Vienna, Austria, during the 1960s, and to Israel during the early 1970s. He has a brother, Bruce.
By age 17, Adams was involved in the Vancouver studio scene, working as a background vocalist for the CBC and backing local artists and with Motown keyboardist Robbie King, whom Adams attributes as having given him his first salaried session.
In 1978, at age 18, Adams met Jim Vallance through a mutual friend in a Vancouver music store. Vallance was the former drummer and principal songwriter for Vancouver-based rock band Prism and had recently quit that band to focus on a career as a studio musician and songwriter. They agreed to meet at Vallance's home studio a few days later, which proved to be the beginning of a partnership which still exists to this very day.
Later in 1978, Adams signed to A&M Records for one dollar. Some of the first demos written in 1978 have surfaced over the years, most notably "I'm Ready" (recorded for both the album Cuts Like A Knife and for the much-later MTV Unplugged) and "Remember," which was recorded on his first album. Both songs were covered by other artists even before his debut was released.
Of course, also in that year he recorded the disco song "Let Me Take You Dancing," which made the Canadian RPM chart in March 1979 and its b-side, "Don't Turn Me Away". "Straight From The Heart" was also written during this period. The song was later recorded for Adams's third album Cuts Like A Knife in 1983 and released as a single, which rose him to fame in North America and becoming Adams's first U.S. Top 10 record in 1983.
It wasn’t long that in 1984 he would become a universal star thanks to his groundbreaker album Reckless which produced some of his best-known songs including "Heaven", "Run to You" and "Summer of '69" (but that’s another story and another future post). *LINK IN PROGRESS*

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Another one for all you disco fans...
Led by German producer/composer Bernt Möhrle, Chilly was a popular German Euro disco/rock band at the end of the 1970's and the beginning of the 1980's. Möhrle’s creations set a new standard in Disco music in the late 70's and early 80's.
And here for download in 12” fashion is their lively version of "For Your Love", originally written by Graham Gouldman (the 10cc man earlier featured on Post #139) and performed by The Yardbirds in 1965. Included is the B-side “C’mon Baby”, one of Möhrle’s compositions. Both songs spawn from the band’s debut album, For Your Love – which is yet to mark an official CD release.
Between 1979 and 1983 Chilly released four more albums; Come To L.A., Showbiz, Secret Lies and Devil’s Dance along with a handful of singles, but none quite enjoyed as much success as their predecessor. The band called it a day in 1984. mp3

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

After the 1983 break-up of The Beat (known as The English Beat in North America), Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger decided to continue working together in a new venture. They joined up with keyboardist Mickey Billingham (Dexys Midnight Runners), guitarist Mick Jones (The Clash), bassist Horace Panter (The Specials) and drummer Stoker (Dexys Midnight Runners/The Bureau) to form a quasi-supergroup of the UK punk/ska/mod scene. The band was dubbed General Public and was signed to Virgin Records in the UK and I.R.S. Records in North America.
The band recorded and released the album All the Rage in 1984. Jones left General Public part way through the recording process, but he is listed in the album's inner sleeve credits as a group member (although he did not appear in any of the band photographs). Jones' replacement, guitarist Kevin White, also played on the album and was also listed an official group member. White's picture also appeared on the album's back cover.
The band had a minor UK hit with the eponymous track "General Public", which reached No. 60. The single's B-side "Dishwasher" (an instrumental mix of "Burning Bright" from All The Rage) became a surprise Top 40 hit in the Netherlands, after its use as a closing theme tune to the pop radio show Avondspits.
Of course, later in the year, the band would fare even better in North America, where their second single "Tenderness" was a #11 hit in Canada and #27 in the US. It was also their only song to chart in Australia, although peaking at #50 but staying in the Top 100 for 19 weeks. The song is featured in the John Hughes films Weird Science (1985) and Sixteen Candles (1984), and most notably in Amy Heckerling's Clueless (1995).
But, more importantly, here it is for you to download, again in 12” extended format. Tracks are as follows: “Tenderness [Longer Version]”, Tenderness [Shorter Version]” and “Limited Balance [Longer Version]” (Virgin VS 67312). Not exactly sure what the "longs" and "shorts" entail but as far as I know, I’ve not seen these versions appear on CD anywhere.
For the follow-up album, White and Stoker were replaced by brothers Gianni and Mario Minardi on guitar and drums, respectively. Hand to Mouth was significantly less successful than their debut album, and the band dissolved soon after its release.
Roger and Wakeling worked on various solo projects for the next few years, before reconstituting General Public in 1994 to perform a cover version of The Staple Singers hit "I'll Take You There" for the Threesome film soundtrack. The new line-up retained only vocalists Wakeling and Roger from previous incarnations; the vocal duo was now backed by Michael Railton (keyboards), Randy Jacobs (guitars), Wayne Lothian (bass), Thomas White (drums), and Norman Jones (percussion).
"I'll Take You There" was a Top 40 hit in the US and Canada and a minor hit in the UK (No. 73). Jacobs and White then left the group, and new drummer Dan Chase was brought in. The sextet released the album Rub It Better for Epic Records in 1995, recorded in the USA with the aid of record producer Jerry Harrison. Guests on the album included Mick Jones, Saxa, Pato Banton and Chris Spedding; ex-band members Horace Panter and Stoker also participated in the album's creation, co-writing one song apiece (Stoker also received an "additional recording" credit). Sales were less than earlier albums, however, and Roger became tired of travelling to America, and they soon broke up again.
Since 2004, Dave Wakeling has toured the US with a full backing band as The English Beat. They often perform General Public tracks. mp3
Active from years 1981 to 1985, UK synthpop group Re-Flex were formed in the early 1980s by musicians John Baxter on vocals and lead guitar and Paul Fishman on keyboards and backing vocals. The band's earliest line-ups also included Francois Craig on bass and vocals, John Hodges on guitar, and two successive drummers: Phil Gould and Mark King, who would both go on to form Level 42. Following King's exit, Roland Vaughn Kerridge took over on drums and later, after Craig's departure, musician Thomas Dolby introduced the band to ex-Gloria Mundi bass player Nigel Ross-Scott, thus completing Re-Flex's final and perhaps best-known line-up.
In late 1982, the band recorded their debut album, The Politics of Dancing, which was released in 1983 through EMI. The album, produced by John Punter of Roxy Music fame, was a moderate success, charting at No. 53 in the United States, No. 58 in Germany and No. 34 in New Zealand but failed to crack the Australian Top 75. The album was later re-released in 1993, in CD format for the first time, by One Way Records.
The album's title track, released as a single in late 1983, met with much greater success, and became a big international hit in 1984, reaching the Top 40 (and in some cases the Top 20) in numerous countries: No. 24 in the United States and No. 8 in the U.S. dance chart, No. 28 in the UK, No. 9 in Canada, No. 25 in West Germany and No. 12 in Australia and New Zealand. It was also a success over in Switzerland, South Africa, Israel, the Netherlands, Spain, and Italy.
However, the next single from the album, “Hitline”, here for you to download in extended form (EMI ED-79), delivered the exact opposite result of its predecessor – it did not chart anywhere. Four further singles were released from the album but had very little to below-par international success. During the peak of the band’s career, they toured Europe and the United States, where, on their first visit, they supported The Police (see Post #1).
Recorded in late 1984 and planned for a release in February 1985, Humanication was to be Re-Flex's follow-up album. The only single released from the album, "How Much Longer" (a minor hit in Germany), on the topic of environmentalism, and featured Sting on backing vocals. Despite positive response, the record was pulled by EMI and deemed too political by the US company. Soon after, the band left EMI. Demo versions of the Humanication album were leaked out, although it would not be officially released for another 25 years.
In spite of the turmoil, Re-Flex continued to record together, working on a new project entitled Jamming The Broadcast. During this period, the band also recorded two tracks, "Life's Too Dangerous" and "Revolution Now," for the soundtrack to the 1987 film Superman IV. After recording was completed, the group ceased actively working together, but never officially disbanded.
In mid-September 2010, Re-Flex released a six CD box set put together by Paul Fishman, in conjunction with Roland Vaughan Kerridge, entitled Re-Fuse. The set included a remastered version of The Politics of Dancing and five CDs of other previously unreleased material (including Humanication) which pre- and post-dates Politics. But what’s interesting is one of the named discs, Music Re-Action, does include 12” mixes of "Hitline" and "Flex It!" but the time lengths appear longer than on the download so, something new to add to the can of worms. :)
According to a September 2012 interview with Paul Fishman, drummer Roland Vaughan Kerridge died in February of that year after undergoing three rounds of surgery for a brain tumour. Fortunately, "Roly" (Kerridge) was able to record one final song in a brief reunion of the classic Re-Flex line-up (minus bassist Nigel Ross-Scott) prior to his death. Fishman states that the band intends to release this final track, "Vibrate Generate" as a single and the title track of a new compilation album. mp3

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Originally named The Kreed, the band changed their name to The Look when they moved to London. A UK pop group from Ely, Cambridgeshire, their lead singer and frontman was Johnny Whetstone. The group would release their first single "I Am The Beat" in late 1980 and hit number 6 in the UK Singles Chart, and here for you to download with “You Do Those Things To Me”, a non-album B-side (MCA MCA 1674).
While the follow-up single "Feeding Time" was a minor UK hit at no. 50, their third single "Tonight" failed to reach the charts. The singles, and self-titled album, were all released on the MCA Records label. Further singles including "Three Steps Away" all missed the UK Top 75. The group soon moved to Towerbell Records, an indie label.
The Look disbanded in 1983 but reunited after a long absence in April 2005 with a new album, entitled Pop Yowlin', on Angel Air Records. It received a warm critical reception, including a rating of 4 out of 5 stars from Allmusic. A new album, "Tunes and Stories" was released in 2012, featuring Alex Baird from The Jags on drums.
The band’s bassist, Gus Goad, toured with Ian Hunter's Rant Band from 2000 to 2004 and in 2006 he appeared in the Identity Parade on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, a British comedy panel game show with a pop music theme that aired between 1996 and 2015.
The band is currently still active and performing in live shows. mp3

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Richard Hudson (born 9 May 1948, Tottenham, London, England) was a member of Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera, in which he played drums and sitar and sang. In 1970, he joined Strawbs, along with band-mate John Ford (born 1 July 1948, Fulham, London, England) whose unusual percussive style of bass playing caught the eye of Strawbs' leader and main writer Dave Cousins during a performance at Cousins' folk club in Hounslow. Ford's influence on the band, primarily known as a folk-rock group, shifted them into a new direction in the progressive/art rock scene.
In late 1972 they recorded the album Bursting At The Seams, which included the band’s biggest hit single "Part of the Union", a song that is widely considered to be a working man’s proud folk anthem. Although the song’s writing credits are given to Richard Hudson and John Ford, the song may be an adaptation of the Woody Guthrie/Almanac Singers' song "Union Maid". Both album and single made their way to number 2 in the UK charts.
In 1973 after a 52-date UK tour to promote the album, there were acrimonious exchanges (which both parties now regret). The harder rock style was also evidenced by Cousins' solo album recorded that summer, with guests such as Roger Glover from Deep Purple and Jon Hiseman from Colosseum. However, during the course of a US tour, tensions came to a head and Hudson and Ford then left to form their duo, Hudson-Ford. Hudson at this point switched from playing drums to guitar and sang more lead vocals.
Active from years 1973 till 1977, they had released 4 singles and 5 albums. Their first album Nickelodeon featured session musicians including famed keyboardist Rick Wakeman. And one of the singles from that album here for you to download is their Top 10 UK chart hit, “Pick Up The Pieces*”, with a non-album flipside, “This Is Not The Way (To End A War Or To Die)” (A&M K 5267).
Two years after the duo’s split, they re-surfaced in 1979 billed as The Monks, a punk project of sorts also picked up by EMI, with the surprise novelty double platinum hit, "Nice Legs, Shame About the Face" (covered by Australian pub rock group, Dave & The Derros) from the album Bad Habits. Ford also developed an alter ego in High Society with classic 1930s-style melodies, releasing a self-titled album in 1984. In 1986, Ford relocated to the U.S., and started working on his solo project and shows.
Hudson would rejoin Strawbs for their 1987 album Don't Say Goodbye and stayed on for 1991's Ringing Down the Years on which he co-wrote two tracks with bass player Rod Demick and guitarist Brian Willoughby. In recent years he has played live gigs with Strawbs and continues to play with The Good Old Boys, alongside original Deep Purple bassist Nick Simper.
Ford has toured and played with musicians over the years such as Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Ritchie Blackmore, The Eagles, Frank Zappa, Marc Bolan/T. Rex, Blue Öyster Cult, ZZ Top, Rush, REO Speedwagon, Steppenwolf, King Crimson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Billy Preston, Cat Stevens, Roy Harper and Dave Mason. His versatility has let him play a wide range of venues from folk clubs to large scale international rock venues. mp3

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Not to be confused with John Braden the writer, producer, and director of motion pictures and television programs on Broadway (born April 18, 1949, Little Rock, Arkansas – died May 22, 2004, Pilot Point, Texas)...
Born John Stuart Braden, Jr. in Asheboro, North Carolina on January 17, 1946, he was a musician as well as a writer and producer of children's records for Kid Stuff Records in the 80's. He also created several narrative stories and songs for various Atari games including Asteroids, Missile Command, Super Breakout, and Yars' Revenge. He had nine gold records with Kid Stuff, and produced song and narrative albums for Masters of the Universe, Barbie, Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Pony, Flash Gordon, Marmaduke, Pink Panther and more. He was said to have worked on "dozens" of musicals (one of them being a promotional theatrical production at Westbeth in Greenwich Village) and often collaborated with arranger Jeff Waxman, Jeff Tambornino (writer) and John Vaccaro (director).
In his early years, Braden graduated from Southwest Miami High School in 1965. He hitchhiked to New York City shortly after graduating high school and lived there for the rest of his life. Braden made his living from music his entire life, and continued to pursue what truly inspired him, which was clearly composing, performing, and producing music. Not cut out for the 9-to-5 life, here provided is a classic story according to his sister, Georgia:
“He applied for one job as a Western Union bike delivery guy, in the late 60's, early 70's, and at the end of the interview, he told us the man said, "well, John, I like you - I just need to ask you one more question....have you ever shot up marijuana?" John replied, "well, I've smoked marijuana, but the only thing I've ever shot up is heroin." Needless to say, he did not get the job.”
In 1967, however, drummer Walter Michael Harris met Braden through composer/performer John Herbert McDowell and recalls playing a "clip-clop" beat on "Carriage House Song" and brushes on "Mr. Bojangles" on a group of demo recordings that likely helped Braden eventually sign his record deal. He was signed to A&M Records by Michael Vosse, who would also co-produce Braden’s eponymous album which hit shelves in early '69 (A&M SP-4172). It was recorded in late '68 at A&M Studios in Los Angeles, which is near La Brea and Sunset at the old Charlie Chaplin Studios. Noted musicians Chris Ethridge and Sneaky Pete of The Flying Burrito Brothers (a band which Vosse similarly served as their manager), as well as famed muso Ry Cooder, Richard Bell (keyboardist for Janis Joplin and The Band), jazz musician Paul Horn and folk musician Bruce Langhorne contribute to this LP.
One of the songs appearing on the album, "Song to Raymondo", which was originally penned and sung by Braden, it was released as a single in Australia in 1970 by the Sydney band Autumn and met with some success. They would then release their album named after the song including the cover in 1971. Although Braden’s debut failed to break any ground, whether he knew it or not, he ended up with some of the best rock musicians of the era on his record. The songs are mostly originals, with Bob Dylan's "I Want You" being one of the only 2 covers.
Two singles (or 45's as I like to call them) were released, apparently both in 1969: one in the U.S. and a second in Australia. The U.S. release contained Braden's other cover of the traditional "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" and his own composition "Hand Me Down Man" (A&M 1066). The Australian release contained "Carriage House Song" and "Wild Birds" (AMK-3036) and all songs are here on this very album for you to download. Thanks again Garry for this long-lost treasure.
Sadly, John Braden died on 22 July 1987 of complications from pneumococcal meningitis, after a 7 week-long coma, at Cabrini Medical Center in Manhattan. He was survived by his mother, Millicent Browning of Asheville, N.C., and his sister, Georgia Rohan of Miami. He was 41 years old and living in Manhattan at the time.
Fun fact: Regarding finding Braden's album today, one copy up on eBay sold as high as $40. For one time, a Blog had the entire album up for digital download, but the whole site had been taken down years ago. Also following his self-titled record was a demo which is suspected to be his follow-up album. Nothing is specified on whether it was recorded and rejected by the record label, or if it was possibly recorded with hopes of getting a new label. Wow. Something definitely worth keeping an eye out for. mp3
So far, we’ve had quite a few obituaries spring about the Jungle, this time a birthday AND obituary chain of events. Born on this very day was Justin “Jud” Strunk, Jr. from Jamestown, New York, who would be 80 years of age if he were alive today.
Raised in Buffalo, New York, as a small boy his showmanship became evident. After he learned to play the banjo, Strunk began entertaining locals and went on to wide recognition after appearances on national television network shows such as Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
Although much of Strunk's material was humorous, his most popular song was not. So, here to remember our old friend by is "Daisy a Day", which he wrote and recorded in 1972. A gentle, sentimental ballad in 3/4 time, it describes the relationship between a boy and girl that ultimately grow old together. For every day of their lives, he gives her a daisy as a sign of their love. In the last verse, she has died, but her widower husband continues to make daily visits to her grave. While the song made the Billboard Top 20 on both the country and pop music charts, it hit the top of the Australian charts, staying at the #1 rung for two weeks. Thanks to those who helped fix up this gem (MGM 2006 197).
When Strunk performed this song on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (seated on a stool and accompanying himself on banjo), a bizarre decision was made to film his performance on a set resembling a lunar landscape, apparently to remind the audience that this song had been played on the moon. Jud Strunk was a regular member of the Laugh-In cast during its last season; he often reported fictitious sporting events direct "from Farmington, Maine."
Strunk also wrote three humorous songs that made it into the country music charts, and he toured with the Andy Williams Road Show. One of these songs, "The Biggest Parakeets in Town," was a tongue-in-cheek story of a woman who is a bird fancier. Its central joke is the unspoken pun of "parakeets/pair o'tits" used in the title. Other singles, such as "Next Door Neighbor's Kid" and the patriotic "My Country," appeared on various Billboard surveys. Strunk also scored a songwriting hit with “Bill Jones' General Store”, the title track of his 1971 album of a similar name; Canadian musician Tommy Hunter charted in the top 20 on the country and adult contemporary charts in Canada with the song.
Strunk became a folk hero in Maine, and in 1970 he narrowly lost the election for Senate seat in the state legislature. He was also a private pilot and purchased a 1941 Fairchild M62-A.
On 5 October 1981, he suffered a heart attack while taking off in the aircraft at Carrabassett Valley Airport in Maine and was killed instantly along with his passenger, local businessman Dick Ayotte. He was 45 years old.
Jud's sons contribute to the Sugarloaf Community, with Jud's grandson performing onstage at The Rack on Sunday afternoons. mp3

Sunday, 5 June 2016

In memory of one of the true all-time great legends: R.I.P. Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. a.k.a. Muhammad Ali (January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016).
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, he grew up with a sister and four brothers, including Nathaniel Clay. He was named for his father, Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr., who himself was named in honour of the 19th-century Republican politician and staunch abolitionist, Cassius Marcellus Clay, also from the state of Kentucky. Clay's paternal grandparents were John Clay and Sallie Anne Clay; Clay's sister Eva claimed that Sallie was a native of Madagascar. He was a descendant of pre-civil war era American slaves in the American South, and was predominantly of African descent, with Irish and English heritage. His father painted billboards and signs, and his mother, Odessa O'Grady Clay, was a household domestic. Although Cassius Sr. was a Methodist, he allowed Odessa to bring up both Cassius and his younger brother Rudolph "Rudy" Clay (later renamed Rahman Ali) as Baptists. He grew up in racial segregation with his mother recalling one occasion where he was denied a drink of water at a store, "they wouldn't give him one because of his colour. That really affected him."
Beginning his amateur boxing debut at 12 years of age, Ali eventually made his professional debut on October 29, 1960, winning a six-round decision over Tunney Hunsaker. From then until the end of 1963, Clay amassed a record of 19–0 with 15 wins by knockout. He defeated boxers including Tony Esperti, Jim Robinson, Donnie Fleeman, Alonzo Johnson, George Logan, Willi Besmanoff, Lamar Clark, Doug Jones and Henry Cooper. Clay also beat his former trainer and veteran boxer Archie Moore in a 1962 match. Generally considered as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time by boxing commentators and historians, Ring Magazine, a prominent boxing magazine, named him number 1 in a 1998 ranking of greatest heavyweights from all eras. The Associated Press also voted Ali the No. 1 heavyweight of the 20th century in 1999.
In August 1963 Ali would release his album of spoken-word on Columbia Records titled I Am the Greatest – the title track was also released as a single with Clay singing his cover of the Ben E. King song "Stand By Me", here for you to download in its original mono mix format (Columbia 4-43007). Although "Stand By Me" made several CD compilations in mono as well as stereo, the B-side is only available in stereo.
I Am the Greatest was released six months before he won the world heavyweight championship, announced his conversion to Islam, and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. The album helped establish Ali's reputation as an eloquently poetic "trash talker".
Ali regularly taunted and baited his opponents—including Liston, Frazier, and Foreman—before the fight and often during the bout itself. Ali's pre-fight theatrics were almost always highly entertaining, and his words were sometimes cutting, and were largely designed to promote the fight. His antics often targeted a particular psychological trigger or vulnerability in his opponent that would provoke a reaction and cause the opponent to lose focus. He said Frazier was "too dumb to be champion", that he would whip Liston "like his Daddy did", that Terrell was an "Uncle Tom" and that Patterson was a "rabbit." In speaking of how Ali stoked Liston's anger and overconfidence before their first fight, one writer commented that "the most brilliant fight strategy in boxing history was devised by a teenager who had graduated 376 in a class of 391."
In the mid-70’s, British recording artist Johnny Wakelin wrote and sang “Black Superman” (see Post #83) and “In Zaire”, two hit songs of which he dedicated to Ali but Ali himself loathed.
On June 2, 2016, Ali was hospitalized in Scottsdale with a respiratory illness. Though his condition was initially described as "fair", his condition worsened and he died the following day aged 74. His death was attributed to septic shock.
Fun fact: On January 19, 1981, in Los Angeles, Ali once talked a man down from jumping off a ninth-floor ledge, an event that made national news.
Thanks Garry for finding this special piece for the Blog. mp3