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.