Sunday, June 15, 2008

THE WILDWEEDS - Greatest Hits... & More!

NRBQ rule, that's out of question.
Big Al Anderson was in a band called the Wildweeds first, whose material may appeal to any NRBQ fan, that's out of question too.
You can find a short bio here. Myself, I dig the first and second version of the Wildweeds just the same. I can't recommend their 1970 self titled album enough.

This Lp was released in the late 80s and again in 1991, and features some rare singles and demos. My belief is that this was a grey area release, but even Mr. R.Unterberger talks about it, so:

A fine collection that presents most of the songs that appeared on their four Cadet singles (including "No Good to Cry"), some unreleased cuts, a live track, and demos that they used to get their Vanguard deal. Even by the standards of obscure latter-day '60s reissues, this LP (probably issued in the 1980s) is hard to find. It's certainly worth picking up if you find it, or worth buying the material if it shows up on some future, more widely available compilation.

In fact, such compilation finally did see the light of day, first in Japan in 2001, and then in the U.S. a year later, featuring a couple more songs (two more versions of No Good To Cry). You can listen to generous samples and buy it here.

However, some of the stuff featured on that rare Lp wasn't used in the compilation after all, and they are needed for completists like you & me (am I correct?), so here they are.

Excuse Me Baby
No Good To Cry (Live at Windsor High School with the Al Lepak Big Band)

John King's Fair

Fantasy Child

There You Go (Johnny Cash)


Monday, April 7, 2008


Now tell me...would you take this guy seriously?

Well, you'd better do.

This record must look like a joke at first sight, but as soon as you drop the needle you realize this is another little treasure. Pop, rock, bubblegum, even an hilarious country track... but the word here is Pepper! Pepperisms can be found everywhere here, starting from Hello Hello and ending with its reprise, Goodbye Goodbye -what else? Tongue in cheek all the time, yes, so what, this is fun, and the melodic quality of the songs and the arrangements is fantastic.

The man wasted no bars. Many songs do not even reach the 3-minute tag.

In fact, it's like barely more than 2 minutes of pop bliss every time and you're left begging for more.

It seems this was the baby of a guy called Michael Chain -no musician credits on the record- so maybe he played all instruments, who knows. Very cool but somewhat strange concept-like album, with comic strips too, featuring the adventures of our hero Pinkiny Canandy. Beautiful gatefold sleeve, lyrics included.

A record you can easily play on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Someday... trust me!

We would like to say so long and thank you all for clapping for us
But we'd have to stretch the song by adding on another chorus.

Very glad to be here

Happy that we came

Here's hoping that you feel the same.

Now, this is one criminally forgotten record that deserves a prompt CD reissue -I'm just salivating at the thought of having access to bonus tracks too...
Rev-Ola people (or anyone)... what are you waiting for???
The Lp I found years ago wasn't in perfect condition, you know!

The songs:




All selections composed by Michael Chain
Produced by Mike Post

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Three Hour Tour

One of my favorite non-sixties bands ever.
This is their most welcome third release.
Check them out, you won't be sorry!!

Ten new songs from Darren Cooper's Three Hour Tour. Coop's joined by Adam Schmitt (bass) and Brad Steakley (drums) and the recordings feature guest appearances by John Richardson and Velvet Crush duo Paul Chastain and Ric Menck. A milestone event for fans of Power Pop, Three Hour Tour is back with their first album in over a decade! Brand new tunes from former Choo Choo Train/Stupid Cupids/Artificial Limbs guitarist Darren Cooper's Three Hour Tour, the long-awaited follow-up to his 90s output on Parasol Records. Darren is joined by an allstar cast for this batch of Power Pop in maximum melodic mode, for fans of Beatles, Badfinger, Raspberries, Velvet Crush, and The Posies!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

DON COOPER - What You Feel Is How You Grow (1972)

This is the fourth and last Don Cooper album (at least for Roulette).
It's the first one I got, and it's my favorite of the four. I picked it up at a record fair just because the cover, and specially the back cover looked so good

the song titles sounded so good

and... SHE was there on the backing vocals... (main reason at first sight)!

If you liked the other two albums I posted, you'll love this one even better.
Oh Neebob!

All songs by Don Cooper except for Singing the Blues and Step Away.
Produced by Tom Dawes.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

PHILLIPS / MacLEOD - Le Partie Du Cocktail! (1979)

Here's a very fine and elegant harmony-laden record that you will dig a lot if you like yer pop with Beach Boys trademark constructions and wonderful, surprising chords progressions all over the place (but not only that: Wings, 70s FM pop à la Boston, Queen guitars...). I honestly don't know much about these guys other than they are from the U.S. and apparently released a second, self-titled album one year later. (What...? That you have this second album...? Oh, please leave a message...!)

At any rate, this is one melodic gem of a record to be enjoyed big time.

(the photo on the back cover is originally blurred, so you know)

The songs:

City Of Lights

Take Me To The High Ground

Come With Me

Easy Street

Takin' It Easy

What Am I Gonna Do

Gone Are The Dreams


Viva Alessa

Lost In The Storm

Written and performed by Robert Phillips and Sean MacLeod.

Produced by Tony Peluso.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

DON COOPER - s/t + Bless The Children (1970)

After a long, unintentioned break, VT is back to present you the two first records by obscure folk-pop singer Don Cooper.

Here's the AMG review:

Don Cooper was a promising folk-style singer/songwriter who enjoyed some modest success -- mostly on-stage -- during the early '70s. Coming up as he did amid the singer/songwriter boom of the era -- dominated by the likes of James Taylor, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, and Loudon Wainwright III -- he got lost in the shuffle, perhaps because he was signed to a label (Roulette) that was positioned badly, in terms of image and distribution, to break an artist working in his particular genre. Born in the mid-'40s, he grew up in various locales, his father's work taking the family to numerous towns across the country throughout his childhood. Cooper began playing the ukulele (which was a big instrument among kids in the 1950s) in elementary school and was drawn to country music as he grew older. In high school during the early '60s, he played in various bands, with a repertory heavy on the work of James Brown, Buddy Holly, and the Beach Boys, all done country-style.

The transforming moment of his life came when he first heard The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, the 1963 album that established Dylan as a major songwriter and artist. By that time, Cooper was playing a regular gig at a local coffeehouse and began mixing his music and Dylan's songs. By the end of the '60s, at just about the same time that James Taylor and Joni Mitchell were poised to emerge as major artists, Cooper found interest in his work from three different labels, and ended up going with Roulette Records, a company that was primarily associated with jazz (Count Basie, et al.) and pop/rock (Tommy James & the Shondells, et al.), founded and run by a totally disreputable figure named Morris Levy. In early 1970, just weeks after signing a contract, his self-titled debut album was released. Cooper proved himself strong singer, with a rich and powerful voice, and also a serious and dauntingly talented songwriter on this and on his subsequent three Roulette albums, which he produced himself. He was good enough to rate support spots on-stage with the likes of Blood, Sweat & Tears (in their peak years) and Chicago at major venues, including Carnegie Hall. He was, thus, able to reach thousands of people at a time at some of his bigger support gigs.

What he wasn't getting, however, were major record sales -- not that Roulette was putting much into marketing his albums, either. Put simply, he was probably the right artist at the wrong label. Apart from its unique jazz roster of the late '50s and early '60s (a point when Levy, with deep pockets and personally being a big jazz enthusiast, was able to pick up a lot of artists being dropped or overlooked by the major labels), Roulette's big strength had always been at breaking big singles, mostly by virtue of Levy's mob connections and his "unique" access to the jukebox business. But the music industry was different by the 1970s, and on top of that, Don Cooper wasn't aiming at listeners who did much with jukeboxes -- he was recording songs that were going to get placed in or played on a lot of them (at least, not outside of a few college-town pizzarias). In short, he wasn't Tommy James and wasn't writing "Mony Mony," much less recording it. On Reprise or Columbia, he'd have had a good shot, but Roulette wasn't really the place for an artist like him, anymore than it would have been for Leonard Cohen or Livingston Taylor.

At some point both parties took a look at the contract that linked them together and recognized a losing proposition for both sides. Cooper was obligated to deliver ten LPs to Roulette, a daunting number for any artist, and Roulette could see little profit in continuing to record him much past 1972 and his fourth album. The two parties went their separate ways in the mid-'70s, and Cooper's four LPs were consigned by the thousands to the cut-out bins. For his part, Cooper eventually gave up the life of a touring and performing artist, in favor of making records of children's songs, a goal that came to fruition in that peculiar niche market -- which drew upon his folk and popular music backgrounds equally -- during the 1990s, with help from Random House. In 2005, Europe's Delay Records released a 15-song compilation CD of Cooper's work under license from EMI (which owns the Roulette library for Europe), entitled Howlin' at the Moon. The singing is great and even the production is worth hearing. ~ Bruce Eder

Don Cooper - s/t:

Big Sur Mountain Air

Captain Spangle's Crystal Song

Wither Thee Girl

Tina's Magic

Hey Little Flower

Cotton Candy Dreams

Home Again

Alice (Song For)

Easily Said

Flying Free

Miss Georgia

Hold Some Tears - Hey Mom

All songs composed by Don Cooper

Produced by Hutch Davie

Don Cooper - Bless The Children:

Mad George

Sad-Eyed Queen Of The Mountains

Tell Me About Her
(J. Slezinger)
Willy Jean

Bless The Children

Something In The Way She Moves
(James Taylor)
Tin Cans And Alleyways
(K. Shephard)
Only A Dream

Rapid Rainbow Times

A New Gun


All songs composed by Don Cooper unless noted otherwise.
Produced by Don Cooper.

Bass: Terry Plumeri

2nd Guitar: Elliott Randall

Lead Fiddle: Bobby Notkoff

The third and fourth albums may end up appearing here as well. So stick around!

Friday, January 11, 2008

DAVID WERNER - Live (1979)

Well, here's the final installment of David Werner goodies!

This Live record is actually half a Live record only. Side A includes 5 songs off an L.A. show from 1979 and, oddly, side B only adds a weird but fun non-music collage made up from excerpts of several Boston's WBCN programs. I'm guessing David participates or even talks in these radio snippets, but I'm not sure. Any clue you may have will be very much appreciated! The record ends with Too Late To Try from his self titled album.

The wonderful quality of his performance leaves you wanting for more, indeed.

I can even hear a guy in the audience requesting Cold Shivers. I guess he possibly did it later, but it never made it on this record. Sigh.