Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Born in Hollywood, California, Alan Earle O’Day was the only child of Earle and Jeannette O'Day, who both worked at the Pasadena Star-News. He stated that he remembered creating melodies on a xylophone at the age of six. By the fifth grade, his favourite artist was Spike Jones, and he was serenading his class on the ukulele. At Coachella Valley Union High School, after participating in one band called "The Imperials," he started his own rock'n'roll band, "The Shoves," with heavy influences from Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, and Fats Domino. A third band, "The Renés" played Latin and Mexican standards mixed with rock and roll tunes and gave him the opportunity to write his own songs.
In 1961, he found work via a friend from high school, Arch Hall, Jr., whose father, Arch Hall, Sr., was an independent movie producer. The senior Hall wrote and produced films that starred the junior Hall, and O'Day helped out with the sound, in 1962, acting as music editor on the film Eegah and musical director on Wild Guitar, sound recorder on 1963's The Sadist, and sound mixer on the 1964 What's Up Front! The work led to Arch Jr. and O'Day putting together a four-piece band (called "The Archers") and playing in clubs on the Sunset Strip such as Whiskey A Go Go and Pandora's Box.
Around 1965, O'Day was in the band "Alan & Bob & Denny," a show group that did pop songs and some comedy. They played nightclubs in the Pasadena & Hollywood area, and were on The Ed Sullivan Show on November 14, 1965, as the backup band for singer/actress/comedian Virginia O'Brien.
In 1969, he signed with E. H. Morris Music, followed by Warner Brothers Music in 1971, showing off his song-writing skills starting with "The Drum," which was a hit single for Bobby Sherman. In 1974, three more of his songs did well: "Train of Thought," recorded by Cher, "Rock And Roll Heaven," recorded by The Righteous Brothers, and "Angie Baby," recorded by Helen Reddy.
O'Day would then pursue his solo career and release his first solo album, Caress Me Pretty Music in 1973. The album was not a major commercial success and he temporarily put his recording career on hiatus.
Then, in 1977, Warner Bros. Records formed a label for their composers who also performed. O'Day was the first artist signed, and the first release was "Undercover Angel". The song, which he described as a "nocturnal novelette," was in February 1977. Within a few months it had become #1 in the country, and has sold approximately two million copies. It was also a hit in Australia, reaching #9 on the Australian Singles Chart. "Undercover Angel" also landed O'Day in an exclusive club as one of only a handful of writers/performers to pen a #1 hit for themselves and a #1 for another artist. A follow-up single, "Started Out Dancing, Ended Up Making Love" stalled at #73, marking O'Day's second and last appearance on the US charts. Both songs appear on his 1977 album Appetizers, available on CD and iTunes.
Three years later, in March 1980, a song called "Skinny Girls" reached #11 on the Australian Singles Chart, spawning from the Oh Johnny! album, here for you to download (Pacific PC 4301). Thanks to Garry for finding me this – he claimed it took him a long time to get the LP from eBay and he’d only ever seen it once. Only time I found it made CD reissue was in 2010, again, only for Japan.
Sadly, O'Day died on May 17, 2013 (4 years ago on this day), after battling brain cancer for six months. FLAC

Friday, 12 May 2017

Heart first found success in Canada and later in the United States and worldwide. Over the group's four-decade history, they had three primary line-ups, with the constant centre of the group since 1973, being sisters Ann Wilson (lead singer) and Nancy Wilson (guitarist). They rose to fame in the mid-1970s with music influenced by hard rock and heavy metal, as well as folk music. Their popularity declined in the early 1980s, but the band enjoyed a comeback starting in 1985 and experienced even greater success with album-oriented rock hits and hard-rock ballads into the 1990s. And with latest albums such as Jupiters Darling (2004), Red Velvet Car (2010), Fanatic (2012), and Beautiful Broken (2016), Heart made a return to its hard rock and acoustic folk roots. That was until they hit another slump later that year, which we will get into a bit later on.
To date, Heart has sold over 35 million records worldwide, had twenty Top 40 singles, seven Top 10 albums and four Grammy nominations. They achieved Top 10 albums on the Billboard charts in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2010s, with chart singles in each decade. This span of over four decades gives them the longest span of Top 10 albums by a female fronted band. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.
And we take a trip back to years ’75 and ’76, where the group played numerous shows around their new home in Vancouver, and recorded a demo tape with the assistance of producer Mike Flicker and session-guitarist and keyboard player, Howard Leese. Flicker produced the band's first five albums. This team recorded the debut album, Dreamboat Annie, at Can-Base Studios in Vancouver (later known as Mushroom Studios). Mike Derosier eventually joined Heart as full-time drummer.
Some of the same Canadian investors who had backed the studio also backed a separate company Mushroom Records, which was managed by Shelly Siegel. Drummers Duris Maxwell, Dave Wilson, Kat Hendrikse, Michael Derosier, and bassist Brian Newcombe were among those who also played on the sessions for the album. The album was picked up by Siegel and sold 30,000 copies in Canada in its first few months.
On February 14, 1976, Siegel would then release the album in the US, where it was hoisted by two hit singles, "Magic Man" (available here for download, in edited form: Interfusion K-6602) and "Crazy On You". The songs reached numbers nine and thirty-five respectively on the Billboard Hot 100, and the album reached number seven in the Billboard 200. It eventually sold over one million copies.
In 1977, Mushroom ran a full-page advertisement in Rolling Stone magazine showing the bare-shouldered Wilson sisters (as on the Dreamboat Annie album cover) with the suggestive caption, "It was only our first time!". When a reporter suggested, backstage after a live appearance, that the sisters were sex partners, the infuriated Ann returned to her hotel room and began writing the lyrics to "Barracuda". Heart broke its contract with Mushroom and signed a contract with CBS subsidiary Portrait Records, resulting in a prolonged legal battle with Siegel. Mushroom released the partly completed Magazine in early 1977, just before Portrait released Little Queen. Both sides attempted to prevent the other from releasing any Heart music. A Seattle court forced Mushroom to recall the album so that Heart could remix tracks and add new vocals, and the album was re-released in 1978. It peaked at No. 17 in the US, generating the single "Heartless", which reached No. 24 in the chart, and eventually achieved platinum status.
Little Queen, with the hit "Barracuda" (US No. 11, 1977), became Heart's second million-seller. Ann and Nancy appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone on July 28, 1977 (issue No. 244). Heart performed at the first Texxas Jam on July 4 weekend in 1978 in Dallas, Texas, at the Cotton Bowl in front of 100,000 people, along with Aerosmith, Van Halen, Ted Nugent, Journey, Frank Marino, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Head East and Walter Egan.
In late 1978, the double-platinum Dog and Butterfly peaked at 17 on the Billboard 200 and produced top 30 hits with its title song and "Straight On", which hit number 15. In 1979 the Wilson-Fisher liaisons ended. Roger Fisher was voted out of the band by the other members and Mike also departed within a month. Nancy Wilson and longtime guitarist Howard Leese filled in the guitar void, and childhood friend Sue Ennis helped with song collaborations.
Heart would then release Bebe le Strange in 1980, making it the band's third consecutive Top Ten album. It peaked at number five, and yielded the Top 40 hit "Even It Up". The band embarked on a 77-city tour to promote the album. By the end of the year, the band scored their highest charted single at the time; a version of the ballad "Tell It Like It Is", which peaked at number eight. In November 1980, the double album Greatest Hits/Live was released and reached number twelve on the US chart, eventually achieving double platinum status. The two-disc set featured studio versions of most of Heart's singles to date, plus a couple of new studio tracks and six live tracks, amongst which were versions of "Unchained Melody", Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" and The Beatles' "I'm Down". But with a total of only two hit singles in 1980 (five singles were actually released) and a hiatus of almost two years to their next studio album, sales following this greatest hits package were weaker than previous efforts.
Their next album Private Audition (1982) was the first not produced by Mike Flicker. Initially the band turned to Jimmy Iovine, one of the leading producers of the time, who suggested that the material lacked potential hits, but eventually the Wilson sisters produced the album themselves. The track "Perfect Stranger" foreshadowed the power ballads that would dominate the band's mid-1980s sound. At the end of recording Derosier and Fossen were fired from the band. They were replaced by Denny Carmassi on drums and Mark Andes on bass for Passionworks (1983), while at the record company's insistence the band turned to established producer Keith Olsen. Both Private Audition and Passionworks had relatively poor sales, failing to reach gold status. Despite the albums' poor sales, the single "How Can I Refuse" was a success reaching number one on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart. In 1984 Ann Wilson recorded a duet, with Mike Reno of hard rock band Loverboy, the pop ballad "Almost Paradise", which was featured on the soundtrack of the movie Footloose. The song reached number seven on the US pop chart, and strongly influenced the band to use other songwriters and to change their sound. Nancy Wilson made cameo appearances in the films Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) and The Wild Life (1984), both written by journalist, screenwriter and director Cameron Crowe, whom she would marry in June 1986.
The band moved to Capitol Records and their first album for their new label was simply titled Heart (1985). The move to Capitol coincided with a glam metal makeover that included minimizing the acoustic and folk sounds characteristic of their early work. The album reached number one, sold five million copies and launched four Top-10 hits: "What About Love" (No. 10, 1985), "Never" (No. 4, 1985), the chart-topping "These Dreams" (1986) and "Nothin' at All" (No. 10, 1986). A fifth single, "If Looks Could Kill" also charted, giving the band five hit singles from the same album for the first time. The rest is history.
However, in latest news, an April 2017 article in Rolling Stone reported that although the sisters remain on amicable terms, they had not spoken to one another since their 2016 tour ended, and only sporadically contact one another through text messaging. The pair's relationship was strained due to an incident with Ann's husband Dean Wetter, who was arrested for allegedly assaulting Nancy's 16-year-old twin sons after the boys had left the door to his RV open, on the morning of August 27, 2016. The alleged incident took place during a Heart performance at the White River Amphitheatre in Auburn, Washington the previous night.
Although the band played the remaining 2016 tour dates that were already booked, the Wilson sisters only spoke to one another through third parties for the remainder of the tour. Following the end of the tour in October 2016, the sisters opted to tour with their own side project bands.
In January 2017, Nancy formed a new band, Roadcase Royale, with singer Liv Warfield and Heart members Ben Smith (drummer), Dan Rothchild (bass), and Chris Joyner (keyboards). Later that month, Ann announced a solo tour, which includes Heart guitarist Craig Bartock along with other different musicians. As for the future for Heart, Ann announced them as being on hiatus, although both sisters claim the band has not permanently disbanded.
Thanks to Don for contributing this single. FLAC

Monday, 17 April 2017

UPDATE: New replacement for Post #35...
This single took a LONG time to get right, but now I’ve finally got it, thanks to Guy for retrieving this long lost nugget.
Active from years 1969 to 1974, UK group Blue Mink had six Top 20 hit singles in the UK Singles Chart, and released five studio-based albums.
Roger Coulam (keyboards) formed the band in the autumn of 1969, with Madeline Bell (vocalist), Roger Cook (vocalist), Alan Parker (guitarist), Herbie Flowers (bassist), and Barry Morgan (drummer). Most of the songs were written by Cook and Roger Greenaway.
Flowers, Morgan and Parker all worked with Coulam at London's Morgan Studios. The four of them recorded several backing tracks, with which Coulam approached Bell and Greenaway (who had been half of David and Jonathan), as vocalists. Greenaway declined, but put forward Cook (the other half of David and Jonathan).
The band's debut single, "Melting Pot", written by Cook and Greenaway, was recorded with this line-up and released on 31 October 1969, with the instrumental B-side "Blue Mink" (penned by Alan Parker). Interesting to note that the Australian release here to download is Mono (Philips BF-462), while other releases are Stereo.
That being said, there’s something that every compiler overlooked – the flipside of "Melting Pot", never saw album, compilation, CD or even iTunes! And that’s a bit strange considering they had many greatest-hit compilations... I’m guessing it was due to the confusion of the B-side being the same title as their group name.
Their debut album (ALSO of the same name) was released early in 1970, at the same time as the second single, "Good Morning Freedom", which reached No. 10 in the chart. The track did not feature on the first release of the LP, but was added to subsequent pressings. FLAC

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Hello, everyone... Guitarzan is back! Happy New Year to all! :)
Before we get started, I’d like to announce that new changes will be made to the Jungle. For example; from this new post onward I will be including a “FLAC” download link right at the end of the notes, but the header will still remain as the same “MP3@320” format.
Now, I must admit, this whole “FLAC-vs.-MP3” argument had caused me some anguish for quite some time. I could not understand why it became such a big deal. Someone even remarked that MP3 is an outdated technology and should be taken down. I couldn’t disagree more. For years, I had always collected and listened to my music in MP3. It was all I knew. Overtime, I had people recommend me and try to convince me to listen to music in FLAC, and only FLAC. But the way I see it, it all comes down to personal choice and personal listening habits... so, why not have both?
For those who don’t know what FLAC is, it stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec, which, like MP3, is an audio compression format that holds the true quality of the compressed audio, whereas MP3 even at its highest bit-rate (320), doesn’t. However, MP3 is widely supported and the most compatible on any portable device. Also, FLAC file size is up to 5 times bigger than MP3, therefore making less room for hard drive space. And if you are someone who, like me, believes in quantity over quality, personally, I’d go the “MP3@320” option. For all you purists and audiophiles, the choice for FLAC is now available. Although I am still hazy on hearing the differences between the 2 formats, I have seen various screenshots of audio spectrograms showing the significant data and file sizes which became very clear to me (see example here).
Okay, rant over... now, getting back to the heart of the issue.
First off, I just want to say, how many big names have we lost in just this year alone? Last year was a shocker, but this year’s turned into an even bigger travesty.
In Australia, we lost cricket legend Max Walker at 68, radio presenters Ken Sparkes at 76 and Bob Francis at 77, New Zealand music legend Ray Columbus at 74, Daddy Cool bass guitarist Wayne Duncan at 72, Carol Lloyd of Railroad Gin at 68, and more recently, New Zealand/Australian comedian, writer and satirist, John Clarke, also at 68.
For overseas; singer/songwriters John D. Loudermilk at 83, Bobby Vee at 73, Leonard Cohen at 82, Leon Russell at 74, George Michael at 53, Peter Sarstedt at 75 and Bobby Freeman at 76, Hungarian-American actress Zsa Zsa Gabor at 99, Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt (one of my idols) at 68, American actresses Carrie Fisher at 60 including her mother Debbie Reynolds the next day at 84, singer/songwriter/guitarist Chuck Berry (another one of my idols) at 90, American comedian Don Rickles also at 90, and now... this time, J. Geils at 71.
So, here to download is my tribute to one of the all-time greatest musicians, known for his top 10 hits in Australia, “Centrefold” and “Freeze Frame”. But here contained in this hard-to-get, out-of-print album (EMI America ST-240240) is the overlooked “Concealed Weapons”, a minor hit in Australia at #67, faring only slightly better in the US at #63.
R.I.P. John Warren "J." Geils Jr. (February 20, 1946 – April 11, 2017). FLAC

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
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 was one of the first songs that Adams and Vallance wrote together and was based on a rag-time piano riff that Vallance had written. The writing took place during February 1978 and the song was recorded at Pinewood Studios by Geoff Turner. It was originally released as a pop song, but was taken by his record company and remixed, and is even more disco-oriented than its original mix. Although the single had some minor radio success, respected remixer John Luongo was recruited to make it sound like a proper disco track ready for release in the United States. It made the Canadian RPM chart in March 1979 and the song went to number 22 on the disco chart.
Much to Adams’ disappointment, Luongo chose to increase the tempo of the song, but there was no time-compression technology at that time so this increased the pitch of Adams' vocals. Adams has only performed it live on a handful of occasions. Despite it being a single, neither "Let Me Take You Dancing" (except for the 12" disco mix) nor its B-Side, "Don't Turn Me Away", has appeared on an official CD release, and never has been available for purchase online. As of 2016, Web Sheriff, which Bryan Adams is a client of, actively blocks any attempts to upload this song digitally, especially on YouTube. Rumour also has it that if Bryan himself ever sees a copy of this single again, he'd break it in half!
So, here in this download I have included both the 7” (A&M K7602) and 12” (A&M Disco SP-12014) singles... and included as a bonus in the 7” is the original correct speed version, which I personally think is how it should have stayed. Thanks Dwizz for the help.
Hopefully someday Bryan will relent and finally release this digitally because it truthfully is not as bad as a lot of people think or say it is. I just think it’s sad artists feel they need to keep their past efforts hidden away, no matter how loathsome they claim it to be... oh, and did I mention that the B-side ("Don't Turn Me Away") rocks? Well, I did now, so there. ;) mp3

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