Friday, 26 August 2011

"If The Jasmine Don’t Get You…The Bay Breeze Will" by VINCE MARTIN (2006 Rev-Ola CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"…Heading South Without You…" 

Now here's an obscure album that genuinely shouldn't be.

Originally released June 1969 on Capitol Records ST-231 in the USA - Vince Martin's debut 'solo' album saw little chart action but has subsequently garnished a reputation as a lost Folk-Rock gem. Martin had previously fronted a duet LP with the equally legendary Fred Neil way back in 1965 on Elektra Records called "Tear Down The Walls" (see separate review) – but its his "...Jasmine..." platter that deserves the rediscovery. And Rev-Ola think so too. Here are the windy details...

UK and Europe released January 2006 – "If The Jasmine Don't Get You...The Bay Breeze Will" by VINCE MARTIN on Rev-ola CR REV 139 (Barcode 5013929443921) is a straightforward transfer of his rare late 60ts Capitol Records LP and plays out as follows (40:01 minutes):

1. Snow Shadows
2. I Can't Escape From You
3. Summerwind
4. Danville Girl
5. Yonder Comes The Sun [Side 2]
6. Jasmine (If The Jasmine Don't Get You…The Bay Breeze Will)

As you can see the album had only 6-tracks - one of which is the 13-minute centerpiece - the epic "Jasmine (If The Jasmine Don't Get You...The Bay Breeze Will)”. It’s a sort of trippy Tim Buckley acoustic-guitar workout that’s properly fabulous. The California hippy lyrics about "...jasmine blossoms..." and the "...southeast winds blowing off the islands..." may seem a tad dated now - but you'll forgive them as the stunning playing works its 'unplugged' magic on your senses.

Produced by Nick Venet in Nashville – the roster of session players includes Kenneth Buttrey, Fred F Carter, Lloyd Green Murray, M Harman Jnr., Charles R McCoy, Norbert Putnam, Henry P Strzelecki and John Buck Wilkin. Eagle-eye collectors will notice that Buttrey, McCoy and Strzelecki all played on Dylan's double-album masterpiece "Blonde On Blonde" in 1966 - with Buttrey and McCoy returning for 1968's "John Wesley Harding". Classy players illuminating chilled circumstances...

The other tracks like "Snow Shadows" (lyrics above), "Danville Girl" and especially "Summerwind" are gorgeous Sixties Folk-Rock ballads - love songs that are sort of Van Morrison circa "Astral Weeks" and "Moondance" meets Tim Hardin circa "1" and "2" meets Tim Buckley circa "Starsailor". It's impressive stuff all round…and the cover version of Hank Williams’ “I Can’t Escape You” is cool too.

The three-way foldout liner notes (penned by BOUDWIJN De KADT) give a brief history of the album and Martin's very sporadic recording history and picture the rare US 45 of "Cindy, Oh Cindy" on Glory Records, the artwork for the "Tear Down The Walls" LP (with Fred Neil) and even repro's a trade advert for the LP. As he's a bit of a 'secret' really (like Neil) – any info on the man and his life is welcome news.

But (apart from the lovely music) the other real reason for buying this CD reissue is the stunning sound quality. NICK ROBBINS and JOE FOSTER at Sound Mastering Studios in London have done the Remastering. These are two hugely experienced Audio Engineers (lots of work for Ace and Edsel Records) and names I've praised before. The remastering on this CD is exceptional – beautifully clear, warm and just a joy to listen to. It makes such a difference to the listen - gorgeous stuff.

If your appetite is whetted by this then make a beeline for the following - Vince Martin also did a duet album of US Folk in 1964 with the legendary FRED NEIL called "Tear Down The Walls" on Elektra EKS-7248 - it's available on one of those superb Rhino 'twofer' CD reissues. It's coupled with Fred Neil's equally revered and magnificent "Bleecker & MacDougal" album from 1965 (Elektra EKS-7293) and is online in many places for less than a fiver. It's one of those CDs that is worth ten times that amount - and it's a road to genuine musical discovery too...

To sum up - a superb reissue that seems to have slipped through the net. Take a chance on this - I think you'll be glad you did...

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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