Sunday, December 30, 2007

HEART - s/t (1969 & 1972)

Of all the many Hearts to be found in the history of pop music, this band may be one of the most obscure ones. Hailing from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Heart released their first self-titled album as a foursome in 1969. Psych-pop with soul leanings. Really good stuff. I have been unable to find information about these guys other than that Carl Silva had been a member of the garage-rock band Lindy & The Lavells, whose material was reissued by Big Beat in 2006. I don't have this cd, so I don't know if the liners shed a little light on Heart, but the description I read here has put this cd on top of my purchase priorities for next year.

Heart - s/t (1969)

Give Me A Happy Day
Tell Her I Love Her
My Girl
All My Reasons
La La
I Love You
Hurry Up Peace, It's Time

Carl Silva - drums, harmonica, vocal
Bob Barron - bass
Danny Burnett - guitar
Arnold Bodmer - piano

Production and sound - John Wagner
Brass and strings arrangements - Roger Janotta

Well, fast-forward to 1972 and we find that the heart has been broken in two. Oh, that happens so very often. They're now a duo, and they release another self-titled album. I honestly ignore if they released anything else in the two years in between, so if any of you know, please enlighten me!

This second album is more pop-oriented. The opening track reveals that they were listening closely to Macca's C Moon or similar stuff (good!). Please bear with me if you hear some clicks and pops here and there. Warped old vinyl, you know.

Interestingly, Sing A Song Of Love sounds like one of the best songs Michael Brown of the Left Banke never wrote for The Beckies (years before that wonderful album!). And interestingly, it's the only song not penned by any of the members of the band. Whoever you are, Mr. David Goodnow, thanks for this gem!

Heart - s/t (1972)

I Want You
Just Thought I'd Let You Know
Country Smile
Oola Lucy
I Said It With A Laugh
Sing A Song Of Love
Amaze Me
Goin' Down
And Then There's
Set Me Free

Bob Barron - Bass, guitar, slide guitar, vocals
Carl Silva - Drums, lead vocal, keyboard, guitar, mouth harp

Producers - John Wagner - Leon Danielle

So well, two hearts are better than one, as they say.

Happy new year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

THE ROAD - Cognition (1971)

Cognition is the act or process of knowing; awareness and judgement.

Well, the cover pretty much tells you what you're going to get here. How to describe it... psych rock, prog-rock, prog-pop...? Anyhow, if you dig in, you definitely need to be in a cosmic mood today.

In fact, this is a request from a good friend. So here it is, Johnny!
A Kama Sutra 2-record set* with lots of twists and turns in a prog-rock atmosphere that never abandons a pop and melody sense nevertheless. Very listenable.

So, take off your t-shirt, lower the lights, free your mind and take control of the galaxy and beyond!

Imagine yourself, feelin' as high!

* Also on Ampex 8-track Cartridge & Cassette Stereo Tapes

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

MICHAEL FENNELLY - Lane Changer (1974)

Yep, that ugly promo sticker. I know. Well, I tried to peel it off. You can see the results. Come to think of it, it has been stuck there for... what? 33 years. OMG...

Anyways... but who is this guy above (and below)?

Mr. Bryan Thomas from AMG says:

Michael Fennelly was born in 1949, in New Jersey, but moved to L.A. where he became involved in California's pop/protest movement. By 1967, Fennelly had secured a publishing deal with songwriter/producer Curt Boetcher's Mee Moo Music and became a member of Boettcher's studio-based collective of musicians, including the two main groups, Sagittarius, and the Millennium. Fennelly -- one of five singer/guitarist/songwriters in the latter group, who were actually intended to be a proper live act -- provided fabulous falsetto vocals in addition to co-writing much of the group's material, often with guitarist/vocalist Joey Stec, another member of the Sagittarius/Millennium collective. In 1969, Fennelly was looking to form a group of his own to showcase his lead vocal talents and songwriting, when met the members of a band called Stonehenge, a blues-oriented group who were being scouted by Elektra's David Anderle, a friend of their manager's. The band -- with Fennelly now taking over lead vocals and songwriting duties -- changed their name to Crabby Appleton and signed to Elektra Records. Their first album, Crabby Appleton, was produced by Don Gallucci (from Don & the Good Times) and released in 1970. It enjoyed reasonable success with a catchy Top 40 hit, "Go Back," which peaked at number 36 in July 1970 after five weeks on the charts. Crabby Appleton's second album, Rotten to the Core, was released in October 1971. Despite complimentary reviews, the group's two albums proved ultimately unsuccessful and the band broke up. Fennelly later traveled to England, where he began focusing on a solo career, recording two solo albums. The first, Lane Changer, was recorded in London with the support of ex-Zombies bassist/producer Chris White and Rod Argent on synthesizer (Actually, I gotta step up here... This is not correct 100%. The only synth sound I can identify is on Touch My Soul -a very gentle background- and in Watch Yerself's crazy solo interplays. So there.)

A second solo album, Strangers Bed, was recorded in L.A., produced by Denny Bruce and engineered by Keith Olsen
(yes, I've got to have this somewhere...) (incidentally, Fennelly's album was Olsen's last as a engineer -- he was, at the same time, producing Fleetwood Mac's first album with two new members, Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks). Released by Mercury in 1975, Stranger's Bed failed to chart. Fennelly is still involved in the music business, and continues working with Joey Stec.

All songs by M. Fennelly. Cockroach, Haymarket, Hard Core and Mee Moo Music BMI.

Lane Changer
Touch My Soul
Won't You Please Do That
Over My Dead Body
Dark Night
Easy To Love
Shine A Light
Bad Times
Watch Yerself
Give Me Your Money

All guitars, pyrotechnics and vocals by M. Fennelly with noted exceptions.

Also, very fine musicians playing in some of the songs:
Drums: Robert Henrit, Henry Spinetti and others.
Bass: Jim Rodford, Dave Wintour.

On Touch My Soul: Background vocals by Rod Argent, Russ Ballard and Mystery Singer.
On Dark Night: Rod Argent plays the mellotron.
Produced by Chris White (of the Zombies)

From the back cover:

Lane Changer is Michael Fennelly's first solo album.
Lane Changer doesn't have to apply to him. It's one of the eleven songs here and not necessarily the best. The words sound good together. Lane Changer.
In the late sixties he was part of the notorious Millenium. In the early seventies he was the leader of Crabby Appleton, writing and singing
Go Back and everything else the group recorded.

The changes continue on Lane Changer. Searing blitz rock to comfortably complex ballads to acoustic love songs.


Saturday, December 8, 2007

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

GLADSTONE - Lookin' For A Smile (1973)

I basically picked this up because I noticed they were covering Tony Hazzard's Got To Be You, Got Be Me. Hey, if they chose to use a Tony Hazzard song (everybody bow down, please), they got to be good, or at least nice. And yes, they are good and nice, and you'll dig them if you like yer pop with acoustic guitars, harmonies not unlike The Eagles and a very pleasant country feel.

After all, as they sing unashamedly, all they want is to share a song and ease your mind for a while. And that is a good thing in my book!

They released two albums as far as I know. This is their second one.

Incidentally, I discovered I had their first s/t album aka ...From Down Home In Tyler, Texas U.S.A. (1972) from someone via slsk long ago (sorry, I can't remember who it was, but thanks!), so why not re-up it for you guys, so you can have both of them? What's this... a bonus?? You bet! A 2on1 kind of a post! Whooohoo!

-right link corrected! - but you did like the LJ57 anyway, didn't you?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

DAVID WERNER - Imagination Quota (1975)

As promised, here's more Werner!
This was his second album, and while some say it's not as good, I say this ain't no slouch!
Sure, you could do without that sax sometimes, but this is a very fine record. My favorite song is Cold Shivers.
If you liked Whizz Kid, you'll like this one as well.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Bubblegum music!! Yes, I like it so much. It's the naked truth.
And this record is a gem. Arguably, one of the best bubblegum records ever. Period.
And, to my knowledge, never reissued (except for Sha-La Love You). Why?? Such a shame... and if you ever find a copy, they'll ask you for $200 or more.
(damn, my wife just saw me typing this and she wants me to sell it now.... NO, NEVER!!!)

Played by a bunch of chimps (well, the correct description is A.P.E.'s*), namely:

Lance Link - Guitar
Mata Hairi - Tambourine
Sweetwater Gibbons - Piano (you gotta love his style, btw)
Bananas Marmoset - Drums & Percusion

Extremely catchy, extremely fun, extremely good!!

From the original 1970-72 US TV series Lancelot Link Secret Chimp Hour. Surely familiar for guys in the US. And I bet they played many more songs than the ones on the Lp. Anyone? Sigh.

Anyhow, see for yourselves how groovy they were!

(thanks Creeto!)

Most of the songs come from the courtesy of writer-singer-producer Steve Hoffman, with Steve Barri producing (hey, Sha-la Love You is an allegedly early demo for the Grass Roots!).

The lyrics may be a bit sexist sometimes, but hey, enjoy the music, have fun. I often play this record when I have to do the dishes late at night.... works wonders!

The chimps list a running order on the back of the Lp, but then they play as they wish when the needle hits the wax and do this one instead. It's a blast!

Sha-La Love You
Wild Dreams (Jelly Beans)
Kissin' Doll
Magic Feeling
Rollin' In The Clover
Yummy Love
Blind Date
Evolution Revolution

* Agents To Prevent Evil


Sunday, November 25, 2007

THE ROULETTES - s/t (1981)

Here's something I posted at the powerpoplovers blog a year ago or so. Maybe YOU missed it.

Well, here's a very obscure and good record. The Roulettes! The Adam Faith related band, I hear? No, not really. In fact, I've had a bad bad time trying to find information about these guys. It seemed they never existed! And why did they choose this name? Who knows... Well, let's go for a description of the music instead. You're in for beautiful genuine American power pop with a lot Phil Seymour influences, catchy and melodic songs, the word tonight in good measure (ahh, that's a good thing!)... and all the songs but one (track 8... shhhhh) are really worth it. Hey, I hear some Rubinoos sound in many of the songs too. Yes, I can really picture them playing many of the songs of this album. Shouldn't this be enough to grab this platter quick? I say yes! Come On! You're not likely to find this little treasure easily or good-priced, that's for sure.

The band:
Bart Bishop - Lead vocal, guitar, Vox organ, autoharp

Tom McMeekan - Lead guitar, backup vocal

Jim Lowry - Bass

Jeff Holman - Drums

Only Heaven Knows Hold Me Baby Don't Go Love Is Like A Telescope This Ain't The Way Come On Dynamite Livin's Lovin' You Turn Look Away Dream About Me

Friday, November 23, 2007

Ben Kweller

This guy is a friggin' genius. I can't stop playing his latest, eponymus album, and it's been like that for months now. And every time I listen I discover something new, some little wonderful trick he inserts here and there in each of his fantastic tunes. He plays and sings everything, and every song is a winner. I liked his previous records a lot too, they're all magnificent, but he has outdone himself in this one. From the Spectoresque pounding sounds of Run, you know this is going to be a terrific record. And he doesn't disappoint. I made mp3s for my car and for my portable player, and this is something I keep listening to regularly, almost daily. Puts a smile on my face, all the time. The songs have hooks all over the place, and the arrangements surprise you all the time. Beautiful, outstanding, 10 out of 10, big time.
Ben, you rule!

In the unlikely event you don't have this, go buy it. You won't be disapointed. He is so good, that I am going to buy the vinyl version this weekend.

Oh, more vinyl treasures soon!

Monday, November 19, 2007

STILLROCK - st (1969)

Stillrock -according to the Lp- or Still Rock, depending on the scarce sources found in cyberspace, was a short-lived group whose only effort -most probably from 1969 even though some argue 1971- featured a very pleasant collection of tunes. You can hear double and three-part harmonies and singing, along with clever influences of the Everlys, the Beatles -btw, The Reach Of My Memory is, how to describe it... Freeasabirdian thirty years in advance? Oh, and a lot of Hollies (a lot), all within the boundaries of a beautiful Southern rock flavor. CSN&Y anyone? You get steel guitar parts, a couple of ballads with violins in the background, nice countrified mid tempos where you can even smell the grass, a correct rendition of Isaac Hayes' soulful When Something Is Wrong With My Baby, and even a shy attempt at light psych.

Well, it's still rock'n'roll to me...

Produced by Don Nix. That was enough for me to buy the LP with no previous listen (OK, the cover looked cool as well).

The LP cover insists on a "featuring Don Preston" tag and ignores the other fine musicians of the band. This seems to have pretty much been a Don-Don affair, but come on, you gotta give the other guys some well-deserved credit too:

Bobby Cochran (Guitars & Vocals)
Casey Van Beek (Bass & Vocals)
Bob Young (Drums & Vocals)
Don Preston ( Guitars & Vocals) -who appears through the courtesy of Mrs. Preston-

01 So Hard to Say Goodbye (Nix, Preston)
02 The Reach of My Memory (Preston)
03 Mighty Time (Nix)
04 Rolling in My Dreams (Nix)
05 Hiway Fever (Preston)
06 Waiting for the Door to Open (Preston)
07 Wedding Parade (Nix)
08 I Can Remember (Preston)
09 Lost City Child (Preston, Nix)
10 When Something Is Wrong With My Baby (Hayes, Porter)
11 She Was a Long Time Ago (Preston)

Friday, November 16, 2007


Awww, next year for sure!!
Any lucky goer out there?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

DAVID WERNER - Whizz Kid (1974)

Let's see, Mr. Werner has a myspace page (your music is great, Mr. Werner!!), and he uses the description found in the allmusic guide about this record, so I think it 's right to reproduce it here too:

David Werner's name doesn't roll off the tongue: he hasn't released an album since 1979, and only the most avid rock snob will have heard them -- because they're not in print anymore. Whizz Kid is a typically earnest debut that seemingly draws on its artist's record collection: Bowie and Mott the Hoople influences are present, and a little glam, too. (The original back cover shot of a heavily lipsticked Werner is priceless; he also calls his publishing company Sassy Brat Music!)

Here's the evidence, Your Honor!

Werner takes a more measured tack than his flashier brethren, though Mark Doyle's and Max Kendrick's guitars can pounce and snarl with the best of them. Songs alternate between mid-tempo rockers and plaintive ballads like "The Lady in Waiting" and "It's Too Sad," which offers encouragement to a lonely person ("but you're no one's clown/'cause they're the ones that have to grow"). "One More Wild Guitar" opens the album decisively, casting its rocker-versus-fogeyish-parents lyric as a coming-of-age story -- a theme he further develops on "The Death of Me Yet" and the title track ("everything I try to say somehow comes out crazy"). The musicianship isn't flashy, but it's first-rate throughout (especially Doyle and Kendrick, who carry most of the load). Werner addresses his inner life on the winsome "Love Is Tragic" and "A Sleepless Night," in which a rebuffed lover plays for more time. As if to ensure he's not playing things too straight, Werner trots out another Bowie-esque touch -- "Plan 9," a one-minute, free-associative spoken-word piece. The public may not have known how to read him, but David Werner was a distinctive artist, which may have worked against him. His style's definitely an acquired taste, but you'll never forget it once you hear it. ~ Ralph Heibutzki, All Music Guide

All I can add is that you'll probably going to love this gem as soon as you listen to it. Not an acquired taste at all; pure greatness!

Produced by Bruce Somerfeld / David Werner.

Carefully and lovingly transferred to 320Kpbs for your enjoyment.

Now when I was a young boy
you know I swore when I grew old
that I'd never get enough of
all that crazy rock and roll.

A few previous rips of mine

Just in case you missed them the first time around, I thought I'd direct you to some previous vinyl rips of mine originally posted in the now sadly defunct Powerpoplovers blog. They can be found in the fine PVAc to 44.1 kHz blog now. The Key album doesn't count, since it was reissued by Rev-Ola a few months later. What can I say... I think you'll love them!

The Nines

While I'm working on the next vinyl treasure, let me tell you that The Nines are back! If you don't know this band, run don't walk and buy your copy of this great album. They wear a lot of healthy influences on their sleeves: Beatles, Queen, Left Banke, Kinks, cool disco... you name it! One of the best bands out there right now! Listen to samples here. The first song on this album is so Queenish, it's insane (good)!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


OK, so I wanted to start this blog with a bang, only to find that this mighty fine and obscure Lp was reissued in Japan last month. Ouuuchhh! It's a very limited reissue, so you'd better hurry (mine's on its way already). At any rate, since there are no samples on the Japanese website, let me give you the first two songs. Hope you like what you hear. Their music could be described as harmony pop this side of Aztec Two-Step or poppier Tir Na Nog, with early Gerry Rafferty asking for his money back in the meantime, really! Truth be said, they touch more bases than those ones, and that's what makes this record very special. Not boring at all!
On the back of the Lp you can read they were in a band called Harlan County long ago, so if it was long ago in 1972 already, go figure how long must have been now!

Gary Sulsh and Stu Leathwoon are the names who invite you to sample the delights of their menu as the cover of the Lp reads, and these are the fine tracks:

Side 1

01 Harlan Fair (yes, the album is called Harlan Fare and the song Harlan Fair)
02 Man Of Many Faces
03 Hey Man
04 Rainbow Coloured Morning
05 Lemon City
06 Sweet White Dove

Side 2

01 Long Long Line
02 Darlin' Jill
03 My Daddy Was A Movie Star
04 Good Lady Fair
05 Peek-A-Boo
06 Country Fever

All songs composed by Sulsh/Leathwood with some help by Barrie Guard.

Arranged & Produced By Barry Guard. - A Carnaby Recording.