Monday, February 28, 2011

Poor Richard - Place Of The Sun (us 1978, private press)

Poor Richard - Place of The Sun LP (us 1978, private press)

01. Time 3:02
02. The Gulls 3:46
03. The Ax Of Good-By 3:50
04. One, Two, Three, Four 1:59
05. As I Walk 2:53
06. Funky Honky 3:15
07. Series 12:00
08. Finish 1:05

Rare Michigan private press psychedelic folk LP out of Kalamazoo. This is not the usual bland SSW folk you get when something is described as psychedelic folk. Instrumentation includes mellotron, moog (played by Charlie Wicks, aka CEO of ProCo Sound, the creators of the RAT distortion), cello, fife, drums, guitar, and bass. Recorded at Uncle Dirty's Sound Machine Studios and released under Kazoo Records. Boogie Records, which was a local record store at the time, also helped with the release of this LP. The track "As I Walk" has recently been included on Numero Group's "Wayfaring Strangers: Lonesome Heroes" compilation.
 ~ Posted by M.
For a limited issue, private pressing 1978's "Place of the Sun" has picked up some big league attention including appearing in Hans Pokora's 4001 Record Collectors Dreams and Patrick Lundborg's Acid Archives (where Aaron Milenski provided the only substantial review I've ever come across, though I don't love the album nearly as much as he does). I stumbled across this LP a couple of years ago and have to admit it didn't exactly knock my socks off - a little to folkish for my tastes, though Poor Richard (aka Richard Smyrnios) clearly had quite a bit of talent.  As a result it sat around in a big 'undecided' stack of albums that I was hesitant to get rid of.   And then I noticed that a Poor Richard track ('As I Walk') was included on a 2009 compilation entitled "Wayfaring Strangers: Lonesome Heroes" (The Numero Group catalog number NUM028CD).  That was enough for me to pull the album out and give it another spin.  While I didn't experience a complete conversion, I will admit that I missed some of the album's charms the first time around.
Namesake Smyrnios is an interesting story, though not exactly the all American success story.  He was born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Dropping out of high school he enlisted in the Air Force and eventually found himself stationed in Vietnam at Khe Sahn during the peak of fighting for the Marine outpost.  Suffering pneumonia, he was evacuated and sent home to recuperate.  Discharged from the service he availed himself to his veterans benefits, enrolling in college where he started writing music and playing music for fun and spare cash. Graduating he turned 'professional' playing local clubs and restaurants. With help from his sister Angi, friends, and backing from a local record store (Boogie Records), in 1978 Smyrnios recorded his debut "Place Of the Sun".  Produced by Bryce 'Uncle Dirty' Robertson (great name there guy), the album was released on the small, local Kazoo label.  Credited to Poor Richard (I'm guessing it was a reflection of his financial status at the time), the line up included Smyrnios' sister Angi on backing vocals, Robertson on lead guitar and mellotron, and Charley Wicks on Moog. 
Musically the majority of the album had a distinctive folky sound to it which occasionally recalled something you might have heard at a Catholic folk mass (The Gulls'' and 'Finish).  The results weren't bad, but that certainly limited its overall appeal to psych and rock fans.  On the other hand the nine tracks were quirky enough to capture the attention of anyone into real people releases, and the atypical 'Funky Honky' showed that Smyrnios and company could handle a conventional rock song.  By the way, the liner notes didn't provide any writing credits, but I'm guessing all nine compositions were Smyrnios originals.
- 'Time' opened the album with a surprisingly engaging slice of jazzy-pop.  Smyrnios didn't have the world's greatest voice and while a wonderful concept, the utopian spoken word segment gave the song an extremely dated feel.  Still, the track had a bouncy melody and some great acoustic guitar.  Shame it faded out just at the track really started to roll.   rating: *** stars
- Opening up with breaking waves sound effects and a couple of painful moans, the acoustic ballad 'The Gulls' was one of those sensitive singer/songwriter tracks that send some folks into fits of ecstasy. Unfortunately, to my ears it came off as dull and plodding.  I will admit that Richard's voice sounded much stronger on this one and with his sister, the pair turned in some nice harmony work.  rating: ** stars
- So, had Donovan had been born and raised in Michigan I'm guessing he might have sounded something like 'The Ax Of Good-By'.  Musically this one was a major curiosity.  Opening up as an acoustic ballad, about halfway through the track the arrangement opened up into a full band arrangement that was quite good, complete with America-styled harmonies.  Ironically, once again, just as the song was starting to gain some momentum it was faded out.   rating: *** stars
- As mentioned above, 'One Two Three Four' sounded like something you might have heard at a Saturday afternoon Catholic folk mass.  With its fragile vocal arrangement and some nice acoustic guitar, the song was actually quite pretty.   rating: *** stars
- 'As I Walk' was the track included on the "Wayfaring Strangers" compilation.  Nice that Smyrnios got some attention out of the project, but you have to wonder why they selected this pedestrian acoustic folk number.  The song wasn't bad (though sister Angi sounded kind of shrill on this one), rather lacked anything to distinguish it from the thousands of folk acts plowing away out there.     rating: ** stars
- 'Funky Honky' was an atypical rocker, sporting a full, electric band arrangement.  While the title wouldn't be considered particularly politically correct in this day and age, powered by some nice lead guitar, the track actually rocked out with considerable conviction.  Once again it was a shame the song faded out so early.     rating: **** stars
- Clocking in at over thirteen minutes, 'Series' started out sounding like a kids sing-along, before morphing into a more conventional slice of singer/songwriter folk.  Backed by some nice acoustic guitar, Nola Douglas' cello, and Robertson's mellotron, this segment wasn't particularly original, but served as a nice intro to Smyrnios' 'big statement' ('still the killing goes on').  After meandering for a couple of minutes the song ended with a weird Western feel that included a bunch of whooping and hollering and the album's best electric guitar solo.  Truly strange, but parts of this one again recalled something out of a Catholic folk mass.    rating: ** stars
- 'Finish' was nothing more than a brief reprise of 'The Gulls'.    rating: ** stars
The album attracted minimal attention, though Smyrnios was reportedly offered a major label deal which he passed on.  He's apparently recorded some material with the group Sonora, but I've never seen or heard any of it.
 ~ by RDTEN1 (RYM).

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bridge - Bridge (Can 1971)

Bridge [CAN] - Bridge (1971)

* Francis Webster (Guitar),
* John Webster (bass),
* Tony Lecallion (drums).

01. I had It But I Lost It (Sing-a-long) 2:33
02. It’s My Life (Slow Groove Rock) 3:07
03. Ain’t My Day (Country) 3:18
04. Simple Blues Form (Happy Blues) 3:18
05. Running Away (Country) 2:28
06. Brand New Day (Jazz Shuffle) 4:48
07. You’re My Girl (Ego Trip) 9:45
08. Born To The Country (Country) 4:12
09. Barnyard (Blues Shuffle Inst.) 3:56

Bridge answer the question, for anyone who wishes to know, what happened to the Canadian band David after their lone record on Sound Canada in the late 60s.
Guitarist Francis Webster, bassist John Webster, and drummer Tony Lecallion from David make up Bridge who recorded this ultra obscure and rare record at the same Sound Canada studios in 1971.
Next to each song is a brief description of the musical genre of each ranging from "Ego Trip" to "Country" to "jazz shuffle." What this album is differs drastically from what you'd expect from David.
The best way to describe Bridge's album would be "Sweetheart Of The Rodeo" on tons of acid!
There is no fuzz guitar, but a clean westcoast shimmering tone on all tracks, bizarre vocal effects on the tripped out "It's My Life" and plenty of weirdness present for the whole album.
The tracks that are labeled "Country" all have a strange bent to them despite being early back-to-the-roots country rock influenced by Graham Parsons and "real" country artists like Hank Williams. The long "Ego Trip" version of Little Richard's "You're My Girl" is great fun and the only good version I've heard of one of his songs. There is something here very enjoyable for anyone looking for a bizarre twisted record of fun music, especially "Brand New Day" with echoes of Spirit and a bit of Freeborne. Very rare and a good one.
 ~ Ben Blake Mitchner (Acid Archives).

It's pretty nice rare album released on Vintage Records and re-released by Erebus Records on cd.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Furekåben - Furekåben, 2nd lp (Den 1971 rare psych folk)

Furekåben - Furekåben, 2nd lp (Den 1971 rare psych folk)

Formed: 1968, Denmark
Disbanded: 1972 

* Hans Vinding (guitar, vocals),
* Thorbjørn Thomsen (guitar, vocals),
* Mikkel Bayer (cello),
* Søren Barfoed (flute, 1968-69),
* Vivi Jo Heede (vocals),
* Jens Thorning Hansen (guitar, 1969-72),
* Anthony Barnett (flute, percussion, 1969-72),
* Emmerik Warburg (flute, 1969-72),
* Steen Claesson (violin, guitar, 1971-72)

Related Artists: Hyldemor, Burnin Red Ivanhoe.

Also Known As: Furekaaben
Genres: Psychedelic Folk

A1. Den gule filthatmand   8:55
A2. Kom lad os dulme vores nerver lidt   13:45
B1. Lædersexdress   19:55

From hippie collective formed around guitarist and singer Hans Vinding. Furekaaben came from Denmark, famous for also releasing the legendary Moses LP! Drifting HEAD music. Exotic trippy dreamy textures with tabla, zither, Indian flutes, acoustic guitar, cello, etc. A real acid-psychedelic jewel out of the Scandinavian psych scene. The real deal for fans of Wooden Wand & The Vanishing Voice, No Neck Blues Band, Surburned Hand, the Black Velvet Fuckere collective and Tower Recordings.
 ~ By evermoreblues.
As the great mail order catalog writer Paul Major once wrote, listening to Furekaaben is like "peeking through the bushes at an ancient mystic religious ceremony." That encapsulates the sound of both of these Christiana albums better than I could hope to achieve. I suppose the original Berlin commune group Amon Duul (sans II) is a guidepost, but Furekaaben are far more exotic, and rather than pound mercilessly on whatever percussive instruments are lying around, they choose a far more melodic route - though not in any kind of traditional sense. I also can hear the New York utopian group Children of One as a possible comparison. The first album managed a release on the Danish cult label Spectator. The second is an extremely rare private pressing, that I somehow managed to own for a number of years. If the psych scene existed in the year 723, this is probably how it would've sounded. Ancient roots stuff here folks.
 ~ By Ashratom (RYM).
A genuine rarity, only released in 1971 as a follow-up to their “Prinsessevaerelset” album but way rarer since it was released in an edition of 100 copies. Music wise, it takes the basic ingredients of their first recording towards the next level of ecstatic orgasms. This self-intitled disc that came housed in a plain hardcover brown sleeve is a masterpiece of experimental acid folk jams. The music is completely stoned, propelled out of collective improvisation, almost throbbing along as some secret ceremonial procession. Again the music is essentially free form acid folk and its psychic maze reverberates off equal amounts of folk, free jazz, ethnic smash’n’grabs and a doze of avant-garde elements incorporating cello, oriental flutes, sanza, zither, gong, cymbal, bells, tabla, guitars, and lots of percussion instruments.
This is a music you have to undergo while sipping orange juice and wearing velvet underwear, at night with a head full of acid, with your nuts on fire and dancing to the beat of these thundering low-fidelity outbursts. Panoramic and kaleidoscopic at the same time, ending somewhere else while joined with pale riders galloping towards its blasted end-zone. Deliriously addictive. A must. Price: 400 Euro
 ~ Internet source.

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Gabriel Bondage - Angel Dust (us 1975)

Gabriel Bondage - Angel Dust (us 1975, Prog Rock Folksy)

Formed:  Chicago, IL, United States
* Rex Bundy (Guild f412 Guitar, Lead Vocals,Gong, Drums, Piano, Effects),
* Tony Antinarelli (Drums),
* Bill Wisimiewski (Lead & Backing vocals, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet),
* Lacrence "Larry" J. Biernacki - (Acoustic and Electic Guitars,Mandolin,Vocals),
* Tony Stram (Fender Stereo Bass, Vocals, Keyboards, Programming)
* Conrad Green (Moog,Mellotron,Electic Guitar),
* Ken Sajdak (Acoustic and Electic Piano,Harpscord,Hammond Organ),
* Ron Schwartz (Piano, Synthesizer, Hammond Organ, Programming),
* Zaido Cruz (Background Vocals).

Genres: Progressive Rock

01. Babylon 6:07
02. First Stone In A Pyramid 2:26
03. You And The Wind 3:51
04. Take My Eyes 3:12
05. Ladies And Gentlemen 4:24
06. Bondage 8:17
07. Island 4:04
08. Sing Me A Song 3:28

This is Dharma Records D-804. Gabriel Bondage formed in 1973 is a Chicago area band, comes out of Morton Grove Illinois. They are considered progressive rock but real hard to put a sound to their music. They sometimes have a sort of heavy metal sound,then a folk rock sound, flutes, acoustic guitar, they have a spacey organ and keyboard mix vocals echoing. It is a very interesting album and does leave you wanting to hear more. I am pretty sure the band only put out two albums this one called Angel Dust in 1975 and one after this.
 ~ by MENEGON, Luiz Carlos.
I've known about this band and album since I snagged a copy of this in a collector's bin about 20 years ago. I also had their blue vinyl second LP "Another Trip To Earth" at one time but I can't recall what that one sounded like. I'm really surprised that this album isn't better known; there is a dearth of information about this album and group on the net (aside from a decent review of both albums at Pretty good laid back symphonic prog. Can be very spacey at times, especially the opening track "Babylon". Nice flute, horn, piano, acoustic guitars, soft harmonized choral vocals. "Ladies and Gentlemen" is a great laid back acoustic guitar track with nice vocal washes. The 8 minute "Bondage" has some Canterbury moments bordering on RIO, but that's not the main sense of the album. Overall, this is a really GREAT slice of sadly overlooked mid 70's US prog.
 ~ by tallen14218 (RYM).

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Optic Nerve - Lotta Nerve (us 1994)

The Optic Nerve - Lotta Nerve (us 1994, Get Hip GH 1015CD)

* Bobby Belfiore (guitar, bass, vocals)
* Tony Matura (guitar, vocals)
* Orin Portnoy (bass)
* Tom Ward (bass)
* Frank Manlin (drums, 12-string guitar)
* Greg Clark (drums)
* Ken Anderson (drums)

01. Ain't That a Man   2:38
02. Mayfair  (Tony Matura)  2:51
03. Happy Ever After   2:38
04. Take Me   2:24
05. Leaving Yesterday Behind (Robert Belfiore, Elan Portnoy)   2:56 06. Samy Way Too   2:35 (Tony Matura)
07. Kiss Her Goodbye   3:08
08. What's She Tryin' to Do   1:57
09. What's Been Missin'   2:36
10. Like to Get to Know Her   2:47
11. She's a Drag   2:32
12. I See the Turth (Robert Belfiore, Elan Portnoy)   4:26
13. The Girl With the Beautiful Eyes (Tony Matura)   3:00

All songs written by Robert Belfiore, except as noted:
* Bobby Belfiore (guitar, bass, vocals)
* Tony Matura (guitar, vocals)
* Orin Portnoy (bass; 1-4, 10)
* Tom Ward (bass; 12-13)
* Frank Manlin (drums, 12-string guitar; 1-4,10)
* Greg Clark (drums; 8-9, 11)
* Ken Anderson (drums; 5-6,12-13)

Produced by Dave Amels (1-11)
Produced by Al Houghton, Dave Amels (12-13)

Although born from the '80s New York garage scene, the Optic Nerve had nothing whatsoever in common with the movement other than their single-minded idealism to act as if the '80s and the synthesized music that surrounded them was not happening. Rather than using the blaring fuzztones and screaming the "put down" anthems of the garage rock revival, they took the jangling motifs of the Byrds, the Beatles, and a hint of the mid-'60s protest singers to create a sound that, if spawned in 1965, would have brought them success. In the mid-'80s however, '60s-styled folk-rock was not a huge seller -- even with fans of the neo-garage scene.
Acts like the Fuzztones, the Cynics, and the Lyres may have achieved cult underground status, releasing a number of records between them and touring across Europe, but the Optic Nerve only released two singles during their brief existence and rarely played outside of Brooklyn. Bobby Belfiore (main songwriter and singer) formed the nucleus of the band in 1985.
Over their two-year tenure, a number of musicians went in and out of their ranks -- including members of garage bands the Fuzztones and Gravedigger V. However, lead guitarist and harmony vocalist Tony Matura was a mainstay, and the combination of his and Belfiore's sweet harmonies and folk-rock jangling gave the Optic Nerve their distinct quality.
In 1993 and 1994, both Screaming Apple and Get Hip released an album, each consisting of Optic Nerve demos recorded throughout the mid- to late '80s. Every song deserved to be released at the time of recording, but in an era when garage revival and paisley pop were so popular, the Optic Nerve's country-tinged folk-rock was out of sync with both movements and caused little attention. Thankfully,
these albums have gained some belated exposure. In 1999, they re-formed for a performance at Cavestomp in New York.
 ~ Jon "Mojo" Mills, Rovi
Read more:
Formed around singer songwriter Robert Belfiore and lead guitarist Tony Matura, this New York group (not to be confused with the more recent Aussie group of the same name) explored the folk-rock side of the mid-80s garage revival, taking in the sounds of the Byrds and their jangle-rock L.A. contemporaries. This collection includes both of their singles on Cryptovision (1986's "Ain't That a Man" b/w "Mayfair" "Happy Every After" and 1987's "Leaving Yesterday Behind" b/w "Kiss Her Goodbye"), along with eight more demos that deserve to have found their way out at the time. The group's home page features additional tunes and lists a 2006 release on Cryptovision that doesn't seem to be available anywhere.
 ~ by Soapy.
The jangle of the Byrds early records lived on through New York City's the Optic Nerve in the mid-'80s. Get Hip Recordings has compiled their existing 45s with several unreleased tracks to make up Lotta Nerve, A blistering 13 songs that evoke a number of trippy psychedelic folk-rock bands that emerged from London and California during the late '60s. Listening to the crisp Rickenbacker 12-string guitars and frail harmonies it is difficult to believe this music isn't actually from 20 years earlier, but the Optic Nerve's sense of authenticity belies the fact that their chronological contemporaries were mid-'80s icons like Madonna and Culture Club.
Lotta Nerve is a refreshing follow-up to the debut of the Rolling Stones' brash swagger and a logical precursor to the Stone Roses' swirling guitar rock.
 ~ Zac Johnson.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tamburlaine - Rebirth (New Zealand 1973)

Tamburlaine - Rebirth (New Zealand 1973, Tartar SLC-118)
(Mega Rare New Zealand Folk-Psychedelic 1973)

* DENNIS LEONG gtr, vcls A
* SIMON MORRIS bs, vcls A B
* STEVE ROBINSON gtr, vcls A B
* ROB WINCH gtr, vcls  B

- 1 SAY NO MORE (Tartar SLC-105) 1972 R3
- 2 REBIRTH (Tartar SLC-118) 1973 R2

- 1 The Raven And The Nightingale/Lady Wakes Up (PS) (Tartar TR 001) 1972
- 2 The Reaper/Up Against The Wall (PS) (Tartar TR 004) 1972
- 3 Sunny Side/Lady Wakes Up (PS) (Tartar TR 006) 1973
An electric / acoustic folk band from Wellington whose albums are now very rare.
 ~ (CF)

01. New World
02. Maybe It's True
03. All In The Way
04. Love Song In G Minor
05. Sleeper Awake
06. Some Other Day
07. Sunny Side
08. Rebirth

The 1973 album by this New Zealand group was very much a folk-rocky relic of the late hippie era.
The briskly strummed guitars, ebullient vocal harmonies, and relentlessly sunny lyrical glow of some cuts are like those of guys who’ve taken Traffic‘s “You Can All Join In” as their manifesto. Because it’s all done without a pinch of irony, it’ll drive those with a limited taste for feel-good rock up the wall and out the door. If you do enjoy gung ho folk-rock with a can-do rural flavor, though, it’s well executed, but derivative. There are echoes of not only Traffic at their most pastoral, but also Crosby, Stills & Nash‘s harmonizing on songs like “Wooden Ships,” as well as (less expectedly) some of the cartwheeling constructions of Yes — a band that did have some folk-rock influences, though those haven’t been widely acknowledged. Medieval melodic influences also pop up, as do, perhaps, the very lightest shades of the folkiest moments
of the late-’60s Beatles.
 ~ AMG.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tamburlaine - Say No More (New Zealand 1972)

Tamburlaine - Say No More (New Zealand 1972)
(Tartar SLC-105 LP)
(Mega Rare New Zealand Folk-Psychedelic 1972)

* DENNIS LEONG gtr, vcls A
* SIMON MORRIS bs, vcls A B
* STEVE ROBINSON gtr, vcls A B
* ROB WINCH gtr, vcls  B

- 1 SAY NO MORE (Tartar SLC-105) 1972 R3
- 2 REBIRTH (Tartar SLC-118) 1973 R2
- 1 The Raven And The Nightingale/Lady Wakes Up (PS) (Tartar TR 001) 1972
- 2 The Reaper/Up Against The Wall (PS) (Tartar TR 004) 1972
- 3 Sunny Side/Lady Wakes Up (PS) (Tartar TR 006) 1973
An electric / acoustic folk band from Wellington whose albums are now very rare.
 ~ (CF)

01. Pass A Piece Of Paper
02. Lady Wakes Up
03. The Raven And The Nightmare
04. Do For The Others
05. Saffaron Lady
06. Some Other Day
07. Rainy City Memorirs
08. Kangaroo Song
09. The Flame Of Thoriman

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