* Home of the Hippies*
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content

Shiloh Noone

1 2 3 5

Writing On The Wall

Writing On The Wall, a thunderous Scottish powerhouse released their debut Power Of The Picts in 1969 on Middle Earth Records. This rough and ready group all former members of The Jury consisted of gravel vox Linnie Paterson, lead axe Willy Finlayson, bassist Jake Scott, drummer Jimmy Hush and the core of the warriors, hammond tornado Bill Scott.These cats exploded onto the scene with the axe slashing single “Child On A Crossing” / “Lucifer’s Corpus” which scorched the earth for their ensuing Power Of The Picts. This was one mighty album thundering with the opener “It Came On A Sunday” (check out harmonies) and the sledgehammer “Lady Bird”. Incredible guitar breaks shatter “Mrs Cooper’s Pie” while the band let it all hang out on” Aries” the mystery number.

You have to hear Willy’s guitar tone and the Arthur Brown vox of Linnie Paterson to appreciate this group. Play it loud and proud and you will understand why they called these highlander’s Scotland The Brave. Prog entries like the Holst opening “Shadow Of Man” with tenements of the Nice or the South African Hawk, shudder with reverb through their soulful riffs that fill the entirety of this Gothic master.

In the same energy as Alamo, Kathargo or live Badger the rolling retro hammond and savage guitar is wonderfully infectious, heaps ahead of groups like Rare Earth or Pacific Gas & Electric. Willy Finlayson left in 1969 being replaced by ex Embers / Three’s A Crowd Robert Smith. In 1973 Writing On The Wall followed up with two singles “Man Of Renown” and the folk rocking “Buffalo” and then broke up. Linnie Paterson joined Beggars Opera while Willy the fierce axeman featured with Meal Ticket, Bees Make Honey and sessions with Manfred Mann’s 1980 Chance.

Added: March 2nd 2008
Reviewer: Shiloh Noone | See all reviews by Shiloh Noone
Category: Music
Location: South Africa
Related Link: Seekers Guide To The Rhythm Of Yesteryear

Wizards Of Kansas

Truly The Wizards From Kansas are America’s finest horseman to gallop the spirited clouds of the Cherokee.The Wizards started their journey as Pig Newton launching their 1968 debut album Still In Kansas that pushed out a wah wah sapped version of Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” and the speckled “Exchange Of Clouds”. Wizards From Kansas blew Bill Graham’s mind during their enduring gifted sets at the Fillmore East in the summer of 1970. These convincing live performances gave the group a recording break which put out their self titled masterpiece.

The lineup now slightly changed has John Paul Coffin playing some of the most exact lead breaks ever to slit the Stars & Stripes particularly on the galloping “Ride With The Witches” where the vox command of Robert Joseph Menadier and his fortified bass takes full charge and authority.The obvious strength of the group was ex Little Boy Blues drummer Marc Evan Caplan who rolls with an incredibly deliberate shuttle, often in jazz restrain. The songsmith behind the Wizards was twelve- string guitarist Robert Manson Crain who wrote six tracks while guitarist Harold Earl Pierce often helped out on vox when Caplan took percussion.

The Wizards were in the same esoteric drift as Clear Light or Emitt Rhodes without Coffin’s fiery breaks.The acoustic tranquility is crystalline as it flows through “Misty Mountainside” and even more meditated upon is the spaced version of Bill Wheeler’s “High Flying Bird” far more voluptuous than We Five or Judy Henske. A stimulating edge spits through Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “Codine” influenced by the Quicksilver jam session with Blood Sweat & Butterfield Mark Naftalin on keyboards.

Added: June 29th 2007
Reviewer: shiloh Noone | See all reviews by shiloh Noone
Category: Music
Location: Kansas
Score:
Related Link: Seekers Guide To The Rhythm Of Yesteryear

The Flock

Our story starts one evening in 1965 in the Aragon Ballroom, Chicago where crowds had gathered to see the battle of the bands.The finalists were the New Colony Six and a group from England called the Robin Hoods. Fred Glickstein approached the Robin Hoods and asked them where they got their name from and they said they had a choice between the Robin Hoods or the Flock. Glickstein immediately phoned fellow group member Rick Canoff and expelled the joyful news that they had found a new name for the group that was then operating as the Exclusives. The Flock added violinist Jerry Goodman and blew the minds of the audience at their debut performance at the Kinetic Playground (Theatre). The feathered gathering comprised of Tom Webb (sax, flute, vocals & lyricist), Jerry Smith (bass & vocals), Frank Posa (trumpet & posaphone), Ron Karpman (drums & vocals), Jerry Goodman (violin, guitar & vocals), Fred Glickstein (Hammond organ, vocals, guitar & lyricist), John Gerber (sax, flute & banjo) and Rick Canoff (vocals, sax & lyricist).

The group’s official West Coast debut blasted off at the Whisky A Go-Go, Los Angeles on 9 July 1969 evolving into major festivals alongside Hendrix, Zeppelin, Grateful Dead and The Who. Their fusion of jazz, gospel, rock, country, and progressive blues gave them an exclusive hallmark as one of the top five exponents of this style worldwide.The boys continually moved between the continent and the States, renowned for creative jamming and free form improvisation. John Mayall once quoted ’best band that he had seen in America.’ The Flock was exhilarating as a live experience normally opening with the thunderous “Clown” which explodes into a fusion of brass and urgent vocal. Jerry’s violin slashes like a sabre decapitating the “Clown” with changing momentum that eases into a slowed down avant-garde rhythm with acute brush snare drumming by Ron Karpman. Fine examples of this interplay can be sourced on “I Am The Tall Tree”, “Introduction” and the brilliantly harmonised “Lollipops and Rainbows”. The group was also capable of breaking into stagnating blues such as the fifteen-minute delta fusion entitled “Truth”, which encompasses some of the finest blues vocal that rustled the sixties.

Fred Glickstein could splinter the shit out of Jerry’s violin as they continually venture deeper and deeper into the abyss avant-garde jazz. Imaginative compositions such as the five-minute “Lighthouse” from the Dinosaur Swamp offerings, although complex maintains a forceful rock overflow never losing sight of the afflicting brass fusion. Rick Canoff (like Heckstall-Smith) waddles his saxophone through the rhythms of Jerry’s winding sabra, changing tempo without warning. It is this style of fusion that Jerry embraced more aggressively in his next association the Mahavishnu Orchestra. The Flock was diverse, often trickling into an acoustic stream of majestic harmony with the continual translucent Goodman violin, ambiently shrouding the rhythms. Described as an embryo that continuously wields its energy at various given points the Flock could be devastatingly lavish and overindulgent, yet quieten from the storm to a gentle breeze. Improvised jamming spiralled out of “Afrika” and “Atlantians Trucking Home” until Jerry continued to spin with Dixie Dreggs.

Added: October 16th 2007
Reviewer: SHiloh Noone | See all reviews by SHiloh Noone
Category: Music
Location: South Africa
Score:
Related Link: Seekers Guide To The Rhythm Of Yesteryear

Sitar to Psychedelia

Paisley Pop was immortalised by the words ‘Bamboo Butterflies twice their normal size, flying around in my mind’. (“Purple Shades” by Trogg Reg Presley) England would leave the Mersey beat and embrace the unknown zones of creativity thanks to Ravi Shankar’s introduction of Indian sitar into the western world of sub-culture. Most notably George Harrison of the Beatles with his regular excursions into India brought forth Rubber Soul’s exotic “Norwegian wood” that popularised the sitar to greater appreciation. Strangely it was not Ravi that introduced George to the wonderment of sitar, but Byrd traveler David Crosby shortly after Shawn Phillips had shown him the basic steps.This obscure fact stemmed in 1965 when the Beatles toured the US and visited Ravi at ‘World Pacific Studios’ where the Byrds had permanent residency. It was also here that McGuinn’s Rickenbacker jingle jangle influenced Harrison’s “If I Needed Someone”.
The roots of Sitar blended into rock started Nov 1964, when Brian Auger engineered the first recording of “Heart full of Soul” by the Yardbirds. An authentic Indian sitar player was brought into the studio, including a tabla player could not get the 4/4 time signatures right. Due to the fact that the Yardbirds were a road group and the original could not be played to live audience, Jeff Beck stood in and used his fuzz machine with a tone blender that created a similar and extremely effective sound. The discerning difference between sitar and some of the more elaborate Framus offbeat tuning was sometimes difficult to discern, namely Kinks Ray Davies’ 1965 single (#10) “See My Friends”,  which made use of a droned cheap acoustic Framus guitar. Joe South used sitar on his hippie theme “Games People Play” while Big Jim Sullivan, guitarist for the Wildcats studied Indian music under Ustad Vilayat Khan. The folk segment of the UK ,John Renbourn and Davey Graham were both capable sitar players. Renbourn’s sitar features prominently with Pentangle’s Basket of Light on “House Carpenter”, “Once I Had a Sweetheart” and Woody Guthrie’s rural “Buffalo Skinners”. Then there was Magna Carta’s Davey Johnstone who added it to “The Bridge at Knaresborough Town” while The Strawbs’ “From The Witchwood” had everybody fooled with it’s Eastern pluck, deviously played by Dave Cousins on a dulcimer and enhanced by picking banjo. The Byrds utilised sitar on their trippy Eight Miles High while Richie Havens applied this cumbersome instrument to the twang of Joan Baez’ Dylan repertoire “Love Minus Zero” / “North Country Blues” and “Love is Just a Four Letter Word”.
Beach Boy Brian Wilson strongly influenced by Spector’s ‘Wall of Sound’ introduced sitar into his conceptual Pet Sounds. The Rascals entered flowerpower with full saffron and bead adornment tainting their underrated See album with spotted tablas and sitar on “Stop And Think”. Even the conservatives played the incense game, namely B.J. Thomas on Mark James’ “Hooked on a Feeling”  and Donovan with Shaun Phillips on sitar (full version of “Sunshine Superman”) The Grassroots now separated from the talents of Sloan & Barri pounded into the charts with the evangelical “Glory Bound” (Price / Walsh), a windswept anthem swaddled in sitar. Even Lee Dorsey joined the intrigue while the Boxtops added it to “Cry Like A Baby”. The Move silted the awesome “Lightning Never Strikes Twice” with Sitar that blasted from the B- side of the bass pumping “Brontosaurus”. The Doors also created a haunting sitar atmosphere with “The End” soaked in the Nam forests of Apocalypse Now. Many of us will not forget Canned Heat’s sitar intro “On The Road Again”. His majesty, Prince Jones, gave the Stones powerful inroads into the hippie culture with “Paint it Black” and “Mother’s Little Helper”, while Traffic sitar obsessive Dave Mason gave the band it’s first two singles, “Paper Sun” and “Hole in my Shoe”. Indian sitar could be sourced in Kaleidoscope and Chris Farlowe’s rendition of Jon Hendricks’ jazz standard “Moanin” and “What Have I Been Doing?” (1967).

Added: August 31st 2008
Reviewer: shiloh noone | See all reviews by shiloh noone
Category: Music
Location: South Africa
Score:
Related Link: Seekers Guide To The Rhythm Of Yesteryear

Shawn Phillips

Shawn Phillips is one of those legends that had been swept up in mystery, disappeared under the cloak of the sixties, or stripped of acknowledgement due to dirty management and contracts. Such is the case with the twelve-string acoustic genius, Shawn Phillips, one time flat partner with Tim Hardin, who played the Indian sitar for Donovan on “Sunshine Superman” and exquisite “Three Kingfishers”. At the age of twenty Shawn moved to London and became known as a prolific writer, musician, and vocalist. Not only did he tutor Joni Mitchell at a very young age, but also this Texas born folk musician was a regular at the Bleecker / McDougal folk clubs of the early sixties. Shawn’s vox had reached cathedral level and Andrew Lloyd Webber handpicked the minstrel to lend his god-gifted voice to the controversial Jesus Christ Superstar, but Shawn opted for an Italian sabbatical and was displaced by Ian Gillian of Deep Purple.

The poetry of this troubadour is much to be admired and his many years of solace in Italy brought forth some of the most inspiring love ballads to appropriate the early seventies. It’s a hidden secret fact that he actually featured on the Sgt. Pepper’s album (“Lovely Rita”) as a backup vocalist for the Beatles. Shawn’s first song he wrote “Death Train” reflected the legends of past folklore, a scenario that would enhance his dimensional future. The early albums I’m A Loner and Impressions were set in the woody confines of his Greenwich roots with deliberate versions of Hamilton Camp’s “Pride Of Man” and Coltrane’s “My Favourite Things” first heard from the We Five. Shawn also wrote the Hans Christian Anderson child rhyming “Little Tin Soldier” which came to light with the noble Donovan plus co -penning the jazzy “Season of the Witch”. Shawn’s sitar is mystically seasoned on “Sunny South Kensington” and the full version of “Sunshine Superman”.

George Harrison received his first sitar lessons from Shawn. Shawn appeared as a folk singer in the 1965 film Run With the Wind and worked extensively with Steve Winwood, Mick Weaver and Chris Woods during his A&M contract. The 1972 German film The Pied Piper and Franco Zeffirelli’s Brother Sun, Sister Moon also featured Shawns’ twelve- string behind Donovan’s tender vox. Well, at least one aspiring musician recognised his ability, that being Zoot Money (Big Roll Band). In fact, Zoot covered one of Shawn’s classics “Look at You Now” which came to surface on a live album, while further afield Shawn played and sang on Wynder K Frog’s third album Into The Fire. Mr Phillips nobly applied most of the crystal twelve strings behind Donovan’s eclectic “Summer Day Reflection Song”.

To describe the music of Shawn Phillips one would have to be somewhat cautious and the best description to portray his eclectic style would be progressive folk. Quite honestly his vocal and guitar ability would have made him easy prey for the likes of Genesis, the ultimate replacement for twelve-string guitarist, Anthony Phillips( Kindred spirit, surname with twelve-string virtuosi). Quartermass pianist, Peter Robinson, immaculately manipulated most of the keyboard work on Shawn’s compositions. With eighteen prestigious albums under his belt Shawn can look back to his early days with a sense of satisfaction. A worthy introspection of Contribution with the stellar “L Ballade” and understated support from Mick Weaver and Eric Clapton showed promise of greater things to come. Collaboration, (1973) Faces, (1974) and the 1971 Second Contribution brings eternal joy. Shawn’s genteel approach was magnificently enhanced by the string arrangements of Paul Buckmaster.

Shawn Phillips’ epic 1972 Second Contribution released some of the finest acoustic and high vocal soprano of the time. The album is a spiritual manifestation of harmonics fused with Gregorian tones and layers of twelve-string guitar. The angelic “Ballad of Casey Deiss” will long be remembered for the harmonic soprano and heightened level to which Shawn could reach. Shawn was a brilliant songwriter who fused electric and acoustic, creating a spectrum of colours. Not only could he perform live with no overdubs, but also the mastery of his twelve-string came forth as intricately as the finesse of Da Vince. Shawn’s “She was waiting for her mother at the station in Torino, and you know I love you baby but it’s getting too heavy to Laugh”, evokes a Christ like atonement, as it shivers through one’s being, poignant splendour, and his ultimate magna opus.

The 1973 Faces, an apt description of the varied styles that travelled through the album, is very much an about turn for Shawn Phillips. The session recruitment was an all-star employment comprising of America’s shadow bass man Leland Sklar, Sneaky Pete on the steel guitar and Joe Sample on the piano. Flute was normally blown by Johnny Almond, John Mayall’s Turning Point star. Shawn picks up the sitar on the isolated “Chorale”, which paints stellar moments, reflective of his nature and spiritual state. The ultimate octave is delivered on his exquisite 13min introspection “Parisian Plight 11”. “The Plight” was enhanced by Juicy Lucy steel guitarist Glen Campbell, Traffic roadster Steve Winwood, and Keef Hartley’s primal wind force Henry Lowther & Chris Mercer. In hindsight the album has many faces each with its own expression.

Shawn’s 1974 Furthermore release has ex Big Three / Quartermass bassist John Gustafson ploughing into the progressive intro “January First”. It is here that you realize that Shawn was far from folk, but more in the jazzy confines of intricate Progressive Rock. As if to pacify the mayhem Shawn paints his brushes through the tranquil “Starbright” with Peter Robinson etching the canvass with his rippling keyboards while ex Blue Mink Anne Odell bends the mellotron on this choral stargazer. Shawn once told me on a 10min radio interview that Furthermore was his absolute assault and creation. The album also boasts the ethereal cello of Paul Buckmaster, a master arranger of note. This album has dimension beyond the shifting sands of Camel or Caravan such as the spacey “Cape’ Barras” airlifting Shawn’s yodel vox.

Shawn recruited phase axe innovator Caleb Quaye for the guitar inquisitions that sprouted out of “Ninety Two Years” and “Talking In The Garden”.Perhaps the most moistening deliverance saddles the infectious “Breakthrough”, a master in it’s own reflection. Each of Shawn’s albums has a dazzling gem that often blinds the listener, namely Collaborations that gave us the stirring “Moonshine” and “Spring Wind” while Furthermore, shimmered through “Talking in the Garden”, and then there was Bright White and the underrated Rumpelstiltskin Resolve. Get them all before it’s too late.

Added: April 19th 2008
Reviewer: shiloh noone | See all reviews by shiloh noone
Category: Music
Location: South Africa
Score:
Related Link: Seekers Guide To The Rhythm Of Yesteryear

Sharon Tandy – Five Day Rain

South African Sharon Tandy had already paid her dues with Fleur De Lys that included future King Crimson bassist Gordon Haskell. Five Day Rain’s first drizzle started with In Crowd keyboardist Graham Maitland who originated from Scots Of St. James, headed by ex Vikings Allen Gorrie. Graham’s initial plan was to form a keyboard Prog band front lined by the sultry Sharon after watching her exhilarating live performances. Around 1966 Scots Of St. James evolved into Hopscotch and put out’ two singles “Look At The Lights” and “Long Black Veil” resulting in a name change to Forever More.

Graham then formed Iron Prophet comprising ex Rabble / Trak / Child Rick Sharpe and ex Skull bassist Clive Sheperd & Dick Hawks that evolved into Five Day Rain. The recordings included guitarist John Holbrook, drummer Kim Hayworth and the harmonies of America (“Horse With No Name”). In addition to feature on the album was musicians Brian Carroll and Demon Lyon Shaw from the group Factory who had previously challenged the charts with “Try A Little Sunshine”, Fairport’s “Mr Lacey” and Family’s “Second Generation Woman”. The Five Day Rain project was a superb slab of Prog way past any Vinegar Joe / Dada fusion, hitting dead center straight from the opening “Marie’s A Woman” with Sharon’s crystal vox permeating the searing lead guitar and surging Hammond. Graham would also wade through a soulful version of Dylan’s “Too Much of Nothing”, not included on the album. Tender harmonies sweep through the dramatic “Leave It at That” until the seasons break through on the dimensional piano centered “Don’t Be Misled”.

Holebrooke attacks splendidly on “Rough Cut Marmalade”, a master battle between Hammond and guitar, plus ravishing breaks on “Sea Song” and “Fallout”. Five Day Rain were truly beautiful people stamped emphatically on Sharon’s awesome “Goodyear”, the vox phased “Reason Why”and dynamic “Fall Out”. Sharpe, Shepherd & Maitland then formed the short-lived Studd Pump which disintegrated leaving Sharpe to join Streak. Graham joined Glencoe alongside ex Living Daylights Stewart Francis, ex Forever More Mick Travis and Greatest Show / Fuzzy Duck veteran Norman Watt Roy.

Added: August 2nd 2009
Reviewer: shiloh noone | See all reviews by shiloh noone
Category: Music
Location: South Africa
Score:
Related Link: Seekers Guide To The Rhythm Of Yesteryear

Rodriguez – The Second Coming

Not even the tears in heaven could wash away the injustice bestowed upon the Mexican spirit of a street poet called Sixto Rodriguez. With two brilliant albums Cold Fact and Coming From Reality – unfortunately only reaching the ears of the southern hemisphere (Australia / South Africa) – Rodriguez became a scapegoat for the skulduggery of double-minded record officials. What should have been an American legend became a rich folks’ hoax. The earthy style of beat poet Rodriguez would crucify your mind at every note. His testimony has been fraudulently labelled as dead / burnt alive / or overdosed. Around the turn of the millennium, thanks to the determination and faith of a small group of determined South Africans – Brian Currin, Craig Bartholomew, & Steve Siegerman (Sugar), Rodriguez was rediscovered and raised to life.

The first strike by Detroit born Rodriguez was twelve tracks released as Cold Fact in1969, which literally froze before release. The Fact’s psyche fuzzed “Sugarman” (On Prentis) remains his most sizzling application with its chilling vibrato that slams like a diesel machine. Beyond the vibrating “Sugarman”, the Rodriguez Holy Trinity carries the cross through the blues shuffling “Inner City Blues”, “Janis” ( For Joplin) and the bass rolling “I Wonder”- remembered; for it’s sexually subconscious – ‘I wonder how many times you’ve had sex’. The undaunted Rodriguez recorded Comin’ From Reality, which in essence was a finer set of compositions, even though less confronting. The album cracked open with the rhythmic “Climb Up On My Music” with Battered Ornaments Chris Spedding stabbing profusely at the vocal tradeoffs, his most triumphant ambush. Definitive traits of Tim Hardin flutter through the hazy “It Started Out Nice” which could have travelled straight out of a Woodstock field. Sixto’s riveting street poetry had a course confrontation that cries from the gutter, leaving its echo in the sodden sewers of NYC.

This was Dylan with the cap off, and its earthy beat poetry would leak into the alleys and side streets literally unnoticed. Steve Rowland & his Family Dogg included “Janis” and “I Wonder” into their obscure sets. Of note the children street harmonies were the youthful pangs of a future group called Dawn- “Tie A Yellow Round The Ole Oak Tree”. Too many production cooks resulted in an inconsistent repertoire shifting between string arrangements, folk and staggering psyche. “Heikki’s Suburbia Bus Tour”, a tale of hippies on a quest for a friend, (like Owsley ‘s Further) returns to the raw driven poetry that Sixto was recognised for. Over and above clear lack of production Sixto still draws from the Fact through the “Sandrevan Lullabye” and “Cause”. (Those fucking strings!) Unbeknown to most his debut surfed through the Australasian belt creating cult “Sugarman” status in every state. The sugar even reached South African shores sweetening the pockets of greedy record mogul’s. The local release of Comin’ From Reality was now relabelled After The Fact to entice fresh converts.

The man’s cult status and drug reference on his epic “Sugar Man” only now find fortitude amongst the grunge dissidents of the nineties. Sixto Diaz Rodriguez was found working as a labourer on a construction site, oblivious of the fact that he was actually famous. His loyal gravedigger’s promptly arranged a revival tour in Southern Africa … after having to buy him a guitar for the tour.

Added: October 8th 2008
Reviewer: shiloh noone | See all reviews by shiloh noone
Category: Music
Location: South Africa
Score:
Related Link: Seekers Guide To The Rhythm Of Yesteryear

Nick Garrie Busker and Bohemian Poet

Only recently unearthed was songwriter Nick Garrie who delivered his poetry spaced The Nightmare Of J.B. Stanislas (1969) exploring his bohemian French liaisons.The album is a Godlocked interlude of poetic excursions, namely the epic  title track, the fluent “Can I Stay With You” and infectious “Ink Pot Eyes” for a Russian actress are art decor magnifique that wash splendidly. In the same dripping ink regalia as Peter Sarstedt, Garrie is the hippie busker that you may be lucky enough to encounter the way I did on a winters morning in Portobello Road. Nick’s psychedelic debut “Queen Of Spades” in 1968 quickly resigned to the angelic “Cambridge Town”, not quite Dylan’s “Oxford Town” but closer to Pentangle’s Cruel Sister songbook. Admired by poets like Leonard Cohen whom he supported on numerous occasions has recently surfaced to great appeal in France and Spain.

Nick’s “Suitcase Man” featured ex Sweet Thursday / Cat Stevens guitarist Alun Davies , the album, peaking at #1 in Spain. Garrie’s “Love In My Eyes” co-written with Francis Lai backed by a Parisian String Quartet spread its seduction as far as Japan, but this was not the esoteric “Evening” or acoustic solace that caressed the intrinsic “Deeper Tones Of Blue”, a ballad that blew its Spring breezes through the rolling hills of the Basque. Garrie is a household name in Catalonia North of Spain thanks to the artistic endevours of a Radio show called ‘Trilogy Rock’ as they evangelize the Magna Carta styled “Seashore”. Nick the bohemian traveler that lingered through the bustling accordion street cafes’ of Serge Gainsberg (“Can I Stay With You”) is the candle we all trying to light or perhaps just that “Little Bird”  trying to fly across the sky, a blessed flight I’m sure

Added: March 27th 2011
Reviewer: shiloh noone | See all reviews by shiloh noone
Category: Music
Score:
Related Link: Seekers Guide To The Rhythm Of Yesteryear

Love – Dreamscape

Most of the finest seminal sixties bands emerged from Sunset Strip LA such as the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and The Doors, but none so poignant and influential as LA band Love, headed by Arthur Lee. Arthur Lee’s roots started in Memphis with his local Booker T influenced Lags, with Arthur on rhythm and vocals churning out groove ridden instrumentals like “The Ninth Wave” and “Rumble-Still- Skins”. Arthur Lee’s debut recording “Luci Baines”/ “Soul Food” was put out when he was still operating as the American Four, backed by Lags guitarist Johnny Echols and bassist John Fleckenstein. During Lee’s 1964 ‘Grass Roots’ phase (Name taken from Malcolm X quote -(Grass Roots being people in the streets doing something for themselves), he penned his debut  “My Diary” written for Rosa Lee Brooks. These early ‘Grass Root’ sessions which included “Midnight Sun” featured the first recordings of a young Jimi Hendrix while jamming in a studio. Shortly afterwards ex Sons of Adam drummer Michael Stuart joined the short-lived Grass Roots while Fleckenstein departed, later to join the Standells. (Also included was recently departed Byrds roadie Bryan Maclean)

Inevitable ‘Dunhill’ pressure forced Arthur to give up their name due to P.F. Sloan & Steve Barri owning the rights. Sloan’s Grassroots had already cleaned the charts with “Midnight Confessions” and “Lets Live for Today” and ‘Dunhill’ wasn’t going to take a chance on Lee’s esoteric ambitions. The latter stages included bassist Ken Forssi who had played for the Surfaris during their “Wipe Out” period, drummer Alban Pfisterer who played on “Seven And Seven Is”, guitarist John Echols and flautist/saxophonist Tjay Cantrelli. Love were a combination of flower-children and their first album (folk/rock) sold a 150 000 copies. (Jim Morrison was obsessed with Love citing them as masters of the esoteric mansion and wilfully hoping to join their level of status) With Arthur often quoting Miles Davis’ Sketches of Spain to being his primal influence with its surreal vibrations, Love were the coolest band on the Strip, quote Peter Fonda‘It was an awesome sight to see Johnny Echols wielding the double neck Gibson and steering the group into worlds beyond the tangible format’. Their late night sessions at Bido Lito’s were out of this world. The group’s 1966 eponymous debut churned out a devastating jazz version of Burt Bacharach’s “My Little Red Book” previously read by Manfred Mann in the soundtrack What’s New Pussy Cat.

Arthur was bent on mission and the first was to send a message to a friend/ group member Don Conka about his cocaine habits. The message was in dirge demeanor and harshly smacked on “Signed D.C.” or even more reckoning when performed live. “Signed D.C.” with a borrowed riff from Josh White’s “St. James Infirmary” is undoubtedly the most terrifying anti- drug song ever applied to wax. Meanwhile Arthur also launched an epic, one of the longest tracks in rock (20min ‘Revelation’) which featured on the De Capo. Paul Rothchild handled production having dealt with lengthy excavations, namely “The End” (Doors) and “East-West” (Paul Butterfield Blues Band).”Revelation” could quite easily have been one of the first songs to express twin lead guitar. De Capo now belted out the speedy rhythms of ex Sons of Adam drummer Michael Stuart. and saxophonist / flautist John Barberis backing ‘Snoopy’ Pfisterer’s harpsichord. Shimmering time signatures cross through the sensational “Que Vida”, “She Comes In Colours” (Originally “By The Clothes She Wears”) and “The Castle”, spearheading Lee’s tunneling vox. The paisley times were upon them and Maclean was the conduit spawning the Tolkien flavoured “Softly to Me” and later “Orange Skies”. The blues ballads weren’t always a drugged “Signing” but far more charismatic in the harp blowing “A  Message To Pretty”. De Capo gave Love their only #40,  the mindblowing “Seven And Seven Is”.

The climax of Arthur Lee’s erratic genius was the surrealistic Forever Changes (1968)  considered to be America’s answer to Sgt. Pepper’s. The urgency of this dimensional masterpiece was strengthened by the fact that Arthur truly believed he was about to die. At the age of 26 these were his last words and testament, nothing else mattered.

Forever Changes had a flexible breathing space unlike Sgt. Pepper’s that expressed an audible individualism and tension. The fundamental character of Forever Changes is the expansive orchestration coupled with acoustic and electric fusion.The horns of the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra are strongly emphasized during the entirety of the album. The album expressed complex changes augmented by maraschino brass and outstanding production. Much of the recording was done at Leon Russell’s home studio. Melodic sounds are carried beyond human ear on “Andmoreagain”, while strong classical influence from Prokofiev feature on “Old Man”, Maclean’s Elder counselling. The genius of Arthur Lee, although highly overlooked during the chemical pressure held a steady grip on the band but have finally found fortitude and acceptance after fifteen years of ignorant dismissal. Lee’s flamenco influence is clearly reflected on the opening “Alone again Or”, while the Tijuana brass influence had much to do with production master Bruce Botnick who was also working with Herb Alpert. “A House is Not a Motel” is the tour de force with its tapestry of sensual breath. Lee makes use of the reference to a tale of a Vietnam veteran who claims blood mixed with mud turns grey.

The Forever Changes effect had a major influence on the neo-psychedelic bands of the eighties and still regarded as one of the most influential albums to come out of the flowerpower explosion. In fact, explode it did as various members of  left due to excessive drug use. Love was the coolest group on the strip but now the kingdom was slipping. Much of this happened during the sessions of Forever Changes and although not mentioned, the talents of bassist Carole Kaye, guitarist Billy Strange and drummer Hal Blaine were used. Producer Bruce Botnick was responsible for pulling in the Phil Spector Wrecking Crew who recorded “Andmoreagain” and the Neil Young produced “The Daily Planet” strongly evangelised by Hal Blaine’s cross drumming. Neil also assisted Arthur on his average 1969 Four Sail where Arthur does a superb take on Paul Simon’s “Richard Cory” processed as “Robert Montgomery”.Four Sail’s brightest breeze was the superb “August” that again charged electrically with Donnelan’s flowery speed. The changing rhythms of “Your Mind And We Belong Together” with it’s sizzling lead solos gyrate and energise in all the right places.

Let us not lose sight of the fact that Bryan Maclean, a bourgeois child in the making could exonerate some of the most persuasive rhythms when it came to complex guitar work. Strengthened by the surf guitar energy of Ken Forssi, these sunset strip hippies were no slouch on the guitar. It was only during the ailing days of acid that their urgency and brightness dimmed, epitomised in “Listen to my Song” (Forever Changes Sessions ). Arthur then proceeded to record a full album with Hendrix, but it was never released due to legal problems. In one moment Arthur was the gentle breeze and without warning a defiant storm angry and trembling. After a successful UK tour with guitarist Donnollan and ex Skyliners drummer George Suranovitch who was replaced by ex Measles / Arthur Brown Drachen Theaker, Love put out various lost sessions as Out There , also featuring ex Noony Rickett bassist Frank Fayad & Gary Rowles. (replaced nimble fingered Donnellan) Out of the lost sessions “The Everlasting First” blazed furiously with the fretwork of Jimi Hendrix. The Dylan pollen found easy discourse in the savouring “Gather Round” and “Bummer in the Summer” while slant jazz rhythms groove out of “Nice to be”.

The finest Lee rivers were far from a False Start, namely “Willow Willow” and “I Still Wonder”, complete with Irish dexterity from the nimble future Morning guitarist Jay Donnollan.Arthur also recorded Black Beauty on ‘Buffalo’ raging with the psychedelic “Stay Away”, superb “I’m Good & Evil (Do What I Do)” and a cover of the Rooftops’ “Walk Right In”, but sadly the album was shelved. Arthur re-assembled Love with a group called Band Aid initially intended for Steve Winwood and Hendrix.  A solo album in 1981, where he recruited Shuggie Otis, seemed to express a return to the Forever expression. The album sold well and Arthur seemed to finally stabilise his lifestyle and vision. Described by the brotherhood of fellow musicians as more of a gangster than an emblem of flowerpower, Lee continued to tour extensively in the UK and Holland. Lee’s private collection of firearms would be his final undoing. He was sentenced to a 12-year prison term for threatening behaviour and although the firearm was never recovered, the colour of his skin seemed reason enough to incarcerate him.

Arthur deserves a place alongside Lennon / Brian Wilson/ Hendrix & Syd Barrett. Thank the stars the carriers are still there “She Comes In Colours” (Hooters) “Alone Again Or” (The Damned) “Stephanie knows who” (The Move) “7 and 7 is” (Billy Bragg/Alice Cooper) and Baby Lemonaide , their primal reflection. Groups to claim influence are Urge Overkill, Siouxie & the Banshees and Robert Plant who mentioned it at the induction of Zeppelin into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Added: December 21st 2010
Reviewer: shiloh Noone | See all reviews by shiloh Noone
Category: Music
Score:
Related Link: Seekers Guide To The Rhythm Of Yesteryear

Leonard Cohen at the Master’s feet

Leonard Cohen took his verse into music and stilled the world with his bleak melancholic. The euphoric “So Long Marianne”, “Sisters Of Mercy” and chilling “Who By Fire” continue to shiver through the lonely strains of a man’s heart. Tim Hardin sang his austere “Bird On The Wire”, (about birds on a telegraph wire in Hydra ) while the nineties gave us a superior version of Leonard’s “Hallelujah” through the octave gifted Jeff Buckley (son of Tim).

For those that can’t cry anymore Leonard took the pain and pierced it into our being so we could feel…. Leonard was the poet that caught the tears of Jesus and then washed the world, even more he was the waterbearer kneeling before the messiah as he carried the cross.

Leonard started out in a messianic Jewish family of Polish ancestry stemming from the highly acclaimed Koanim. Leonard’s first group The Buckskin Boys was a country endevour till the intellect of Mc Gill University pressed his first poetry book. Leonard’s swansong poetry book The Spice -Box Of Earth elevated him into the Canadian circles of poetry acceptance while his sexual Beautiful Losers and sarcastic innuendo Flowers For Hitler shocked Canadian reviewers. Cohen’s passion for Joni Mitchell at Newport in 67 resulted in Joni penning “The Gallery” and “That Song of Midway” for Leonard (Clouds) She speaks of Leonard as ‘You stood out like a Ruby in a Blackman’s Ear’. Leonard’s first live performance broke half way through the brittle “Suzanne”and stage fright sent him running into the wings. Judy led him back on stage and sang the ballad though with him. Leonard’s debut “Suzanne” dedicated not to his artist wife Suzanne Elrod, but to Suzanne Verdaal wife of Quebec sculptor Armand Vaillancourt came to light with Judy Collins.

“Suzanne” pre-emted Cohen’s’ gothic Songs Of Leonard Cohen (1967) backed by ex Floggs Chris Darrow / & Kaleidoscope (Suzanne really made tea out of orange peels) The first global illumination of the shadowy Songs of Leonard Cohen was in 1971 when M*A*S*H man Robert Altman use some of the songs for his soundtrack McCabe & Mrs. Miller. More definitively Leonard’s 1969 tour de force poetry songbook Songs From A Room was the peak illumination of poetry passion as it wheeled through the political waters of “The Partisan”, (French Resistance song by Anna Marly & Emmanuel d’Asier) or the working class tribute “A Bunch Of Lonesome Hero’s.” (back of the cover sat Marianne Jenson on the island of Hydra) Later Leonard would take the refrain of “A Bunch Of Lonesome Hero’s” and pay full tribute to Jenson with “So Long Marianne”.

Songs From A Room also conceived the daunting “Story Of Isaac” which blues guitarist Roy Buchanan covered superbly assisted by violinist Charlie Daniels.Leonard clearly saw himself as a leftist rebel with romantic virtues portrayed in the picture of him sporting a Che’ Guevara beard and military weariness. Having lived through the Cuban tensions of 1961 Leonard aligned himself with Fidel Castro plying through “Field Of Commander Cohen”, another political sapphire that illuminated his militant New Skin For Old Ceremony (answer to Buckley’s “No Man Can Find The War”).

Leonard felt passionately for the struggling partisan allowing another New Skin political Zeitgeist, the rousing “There Is A War” to open Gary Oldman’s soundtrack The Backwoods. New Skin also unravelled the aching “Take This Longing”, an unsung chalice of anointing oil. Leonard’s obsession with the underdog remained consistent from his ode to “The Partisan” or his “The Old Revolution” written from the point of a defeated loyalist.

The album also conceived Leonard’s #2 “Chelsea Hotel” which speaks of late night seance with Janis Joplin. Janis was apparently looking for Kris Kristofferson but didn’t care once wrapped in the loins of Leonard’s lament. Leonard’s Jewish heritage is deeply rooted in the lyrics of “Who By Fire”, a reflection of the Rosh Hashanah liturgical poem written by Unetaneh Tokef in the 11th century. Further Jewish flight into “Hallelujah” describes David’s attempt to please the Lord or more accurately sooth King Saul’s demonic oppression. Leonard the true loyalist toured Israel during the Yom Kippur war and often with Jennifer Warnes who restored Leonard’s US popularity with her tribute Famous Blue Raincoat. Jennifer’s stirring rendition of “First We Take Manhattan”, an anti-drug attack similar to the addict alleys of “Wir Kinderen Vom Banhof Zoo”, which Bowie enhanced through Christiane F. Jennifer also wades into the meditative strains of a sexual “Joan Of Arc”, a song that strokes the sensual illusions of Martin Scorsese’ The Last Temptation of Christ or Velvet Underground’s Nico.

The Nico conquest came during Leonard’s Songs Of Love And Hate which Nick Cave is still trying to emulate. Leonard was everywhere sharing a cognac with General Ariel Sharon and summing up his Middle Eastern Sabbatical with “Lover Lover Lover” for the wives / soldiers of Arab and Jew alike after been demoralised by the dead and wounded. Leonard’s 1984 Various Positions featured the understated “Hallelujah” a soaring hymn for Jeff Buckley. Leonard’s 1987 I’m Your Man marked a change in his music as it lauded itself in Nanni Moretti’s film Caro Diaro in 1993 with Moretti himself deciding to ride his Vespa along the streets of Rome to the sound of “I’m Your Man”. The Grunge generation got hooked line and tattoo to Leonard through Natural Born Killers ( “Waiting For The Miracle”) years after its original release. Leonard adopted a Buddhist lifestyle in the ensuing wartorn Arabic years of 2001. In Dec 2008 Cohen’s “Hallelujah” was embarrassingly discovered through American Idol, Jason Castro and now the world discovers Jeff Buckley’s angelic version some 14 years after Jeff released it on his riveting Grace. A few days later, Mr Cohen was inducted into the American ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’ in recognition of his status -“highest and most influential echelon of songwriters”.

(Sadly like Carlos Santana it needed a hedonist embrace to enter the secluded door of poetic prognosis)

Mr Cohen was introduced by his old ‘Warhol Factory’ associate Lou Reed. January 13, 2008, Leonard Cohen announced a long-anticipated concert tour that froze Glastonbury with it’s intrinsic solace and then reached into the well and retrieved a gospel styled “Hallelujah” with Neil Larsen on the soulful Hammond. The London performance reached liquid actualisation on “Who by Fire” with Javier Mas reaching into the realm of a Grecian muse with his Banduria. This was later released on CD/ DVD bringing tears to members of Pink Floyd in the front row while I sat in distant shadows wondering ‘Is This What You Wanted’ ?

Added: September 16th 2009
Reviewer: shiloh noone | See all reviews by shiloh noone
Category: Music
Location: South Africa
Score:
Related Link: Seekers Guide To The Rhythm Of Yesteryear

1 2 3 5