Saturday, 26 March 2016

"Mike Harrison/Smokestack Lightning/Rainbow Rider" by MIKE HARRISON [of SPOOKY TOOTH] (2016 Beat Goes On 2CD Reissue (BGO) - Andrew Thompson Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...





"...Turning Over..."

Lead Vocalist with England's rockers Spooky Tooth for their first four albums between 1968 and 1970 – Mike Harrison's three solo LPs in the Seventies for Island and Goodear Records have been ignored for decades. Well on the strength of what's presented on this superb 2CD reissue/remaster that's a bit of a boo-boo on the part of us 70ts Rock Music junkies. Across three albums there are clunkers for sure and even mediocrity in places – but that's offset by the properly fab good stuff. Here are the ghostly dental details...

UK released Friday 1 April 2016 (8 April 2016 in the USA) – "Mike Harrison/Smokestack Lightning/Rainbow Rider" by MIKE HARRISON [of Spooky Tooth] on Beat Goes On BGOCD 1224 (Barcode 5017261212245) features Remasters of 3LPs onto 2CDs and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (69:14 minutes):
1. Mother Nature
2. Call It A Day
3. Damian
4. Pain
5. Wait Until Morning [Side 2]
6. Lonely People
7. Hard Headed Woman
8. Here Comes The Queen
Tracks 1 to 8 are his debut solo album (after Spooky Tooth) "Mike Harrison" – released October 1971 in the UK on Island ILPS 9170 and in the USA on Island SMAS-9313 (with the band Junkyard Angel)

9. Tears [aka "Tears (Behind My Eyes)"]
10. Paid My Dues
11. What A Price
12. Wanna Be Free
13. Turning Over [Side 2]
14. Smokestack Lightning
Tracks 9 to 14 are his 2nd solo album "Smokestack Lightning" – released October 1972 in the UK on Island Records ILPS 9209 and in the USA on Island SW-9321

Disc 2 (37:07 minutes):
1. Maverick Woman Blues
2. You And Me
3. I'll Keep It With Mine
4. Like A Road (Leading Home)
5. We Can Work It Out
6. Okay Lay Lady Lay [Side 2]
7. Easy
8. Somewhere Over The Rainbow
9. Friend
Tracks 1 to 9 are his 3rd solo album "Rainbow Rider" – released August 1975 in the UK on Goodear Records EAR 7002 and in the USA on Island Records ILPS 9359

As always with BGO - the outer card-slipcase gives the release a classy feel – the 16-page booklet with new NEIL DANIELS liner notes features full album credits, some photos and a potted history on Spooky Tooth and Harrison's solo work with references to previous interviews. But the big news is new 2016 ANDREW THOMPSON Remasters that sound great – big and meaty without over-trebling it. The 2nd and 3rd albums in particular have superb audio - and in the case of the mighty "Smokestack Lightning" track itself – the Remaster really elevates proceedings a whole bunch...

The self-titled self-produced 1971 debut album "Mike Harrison" was made with local Carlisle band JUNKYARD ANGELS (credited on the rear of the cover and not on the label) – Ian Herbert on Lead & Acoustic Guitars, Keyboards and Backing Vocals, Frank Kenyon on Lead and Acoustic Guitars and Backing Vocals, Peter Batey on Bass and Percussion and Kevin Iverson on Drums, Percussion and Backing Vocals. Mike Harrison does Lead Vocals, Piano, Harmonica and Organ - while Arthur Belcher does the Tenor Saxophone solo on "Hard Headed Woman" (also later co-wrote "Friend" on the "Rainbow Rider" LP in 1975 with Harrison).

Rare even in the mid Seventies – British copies of "Mike Harrison" came in a nice looking Island Records gatefold sleeve (repro'd in the booklet) but have always been scarce. As I recall Repertoire did a CD Remaster in 2011 (which I haven't heard) and outside of that – the album's been off-radar for decades. It opens with a mellow acoustic tune called "Mother Tune" penned by Bassist Peter Batey. Its short at 2:05 minutes and its languid high-string guitars deliberately emphasis a Soul feel rather than the heavy raunch of Spooky Tooth (Nice organ work too). It’s followed by "Call It A Day" which Harrison co-wrote with Batey, Herbert and Iverson. It feels like Part 2 of "Mother Tune" but at 6:27 minutes cleverly and unexpectedly fades about four minutes in into a heavenly Acapella vocal chorus that lasts until the end of the song. It's a weird but wonderful Prog Beach Boys moment. Co-written with Lead Guitarist Ian Herbert - "Damian" tries real hard – good lead vocals with clever backing patterns – but it still feels like it misses some kind of mark. Penned by Herbert, Iverson and Kenyon – "Pain" is like Jess Roden's and Robbie Blunt's Bronco – another Island Records band. "Pain" is melodic Guitar-Rock and ends Side 1 on a high note.

There is hiss on "Wait Until The Morning" opens Side 2 on another mellow piano-Rock tune. "...I'll miss you and I hope it keeps you warm..." he sings - sounding not unlike a mellow Steve Marriott (again clever vocal layers as it fades out). "Lonely People" continues the mellow Rock vibe – another pretty contribution by Bassist Peter Batey where Harrison sounds as his most Soulful. At last the album goes into coolsville – his 6:37 minute cover of "Hard Headed Woman" – originally on Cat Stevens' 1970 LP "Tea For The Tillerman". Harrison Funkifies the originally plaintive melody – then a brilliantly clever rhythm change at 2:39 minutes suddenly turns it into Heavy Guitar/Saxophone instrumental groove that wails and rocks like Free until its close. I made an edit on iTunes from 02:39 to 06:37 minutes and its fabulous stuff. The album ends on "Here Comes The Queen" – a co-write with his Spooky Tooth cohort Luther Grosvenor (who later became Aerial Bender with Mott The Hoople). Harrison gives it some great Harmonica licks as the catchy Rock tune shuffles along. Grosvenor put out his own version of "Here Comes The Queen" as a UK 45 on Bronze WIP 6109 with "Heavy Day" on the B-side in September 1971.

Relocating to the States to Muscle Shoals - for his 2nd album Harrison chose to open Side 1 with two Jimmy Stevens compositions - "Paid My Dues" and "Tears (Behind My Eyes)" (which Harrison simply calls "Tears"). They were originally released by the British keyboardist Stevens on his "Don't Freak Me Out" debut album on Atlantic Records K 40414 in 1972 (produced by Maurice Gibb of The Bee Gees). Both are slinky slow bluesy type tunes but Harrison makes a crucial mistake in letting Producer Chris Blackwell (of Island Records) allow Harry Robinson to arrange and put strings onto both. The songs are utterly ruined by it – reduced to saccharine and no amount of reassessment makes the listens any better. It's a shame because both had real potential. Things finally start to cook when Harrison offers us a truly great cover of "What A Price" – a No. 7 R 'n' B hit for Fats Domino on Imperial 5723 way back in January 1961. Across its slinky 5:52 minutes – the Dan Penn-style keyboards, the Duane Allman wah-wah guitars and Clarence Clemons Saxophone are all allowed to breathe - as are his guttural vocals. "What A Price" feels like Frankie Miller firing on all sixes – Rock meets Soulful white boys R 'n' B – and should have been the album's opening salvo. The remaster too is wonderfully expressive. We're then offered Joe Tex's "I Wanna Be Free" – a hard-hitting social statement Tex put out Stateside on Dial Records 3016 back in 1963. "...All I get is a pat on my back...I wanna be free..." – it's a song about a worried father trying to feed his children and earn a decent crust without being dropped on from a height by the man.

The first of the "Smokestack Lightning" album's real highlights comes in the shape of the only original on there – "Turning Over" – a fantastic piano/guitar groover Harrison co-wrote with his Spooky Tooth cohort Luther Grosvenor. This is where the Muscle Shoals players shine (and on the next track too) – Beckett and Clayton laying down a fabulous Allen Toussaint rhythm on piano and organ while the slink is sporadically interrupted by funky guitar chops from Pete Carr. By the time the beautifully complimentary brass sneaks in at 3:29 minutes – you’re done – it’s a 6:32 minute winner (and the remaster rocks too). But then I'm stung with my real poison – a truly stunning and lengthy cover version of the Howlin' Wolf’s signature song "Smokestack Lightning" (Chester Burnett's original 45 was 1956 on Chess 1618). At 12:30 minutes long and taking up almost all of Side 2 – it's been accused of being six minutes too long. Absolute knob. I love this rocking blasting sucker to death. The session players get to let rip in a way that would be the envy of a great Stones session. Barry Beckett and Clayton Ivey play the keys, Pete Carr, Jimmy Johnson and Wayne Perkins get to tear up the guitars while a posse of five bring in the brass. Harrison's growl finally sounds real and connected – and the re-emergence of that most famous of riffs two or three times throughout the song make for a rocking winner. Genius...

Pure supposition here – but If Harrison had lined up "What A Price", "Wanna Be Free", "Turning Over" and "Smokestack Lightning" as Side 1 and recorded an equally quality Side 2 in the same vein (covers and originals) – we would have been looking at one hell of an album – an Eddie Hinton Soul/R&B-type forgotten masterpiece. "Smokestack Lightning" has always seemed short to me as an album and is definitely docked a star by those two ruined Stevens covers on Side 1 – but don't get me wrong - the rest of it for my money is infinitely better than its rather weedy predecessor. I've always thought of the album as a bit of an unsung hero frankly...

"Rainbow Rider" saw him signing to Goodear Records – a label distributed by Pye and CBS with a very varied roster - Chris Stainton's Tundra, Carol Grimes, Viola Wills, The Grease Band, The Rats and his own Spooky Tooth. The album even had a different cover in the USA - pictured on Page 5 of the booklet beneath the British sleeve. Sessionmen for the album included Micky Jones on Guitar (ex The Bystanders, The Attack and Man), Morgan Fisher on Keyboards who would later join the British Lions and Norbert Putnam on Bass from Area Code 615. Del Newman arranged the strings and The Memphis Horns provided brass accompaniment. Kirk Lorange plays slide guitar on the Beatles cover "We Can Work It Out". Harrison sings and plays harmonica.

Goodear tried two 45s in the UK – "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" b/w "Easy" on Goodear EAR 603 in May 1975 and "We Can Work It Out" b/w "Maverick Woman Blues" on Goodear EAR 611 in August 1975 – neither did any business. The album opens with "Maverick Woman Blues" – a Don Nix cover version that was released as a single in Germany on Goodear BF 18355 with "You And Me" on the B-side (a Troy Seals and Will Jennings composition). Nix would later record his version of "Maverick Woman Blues" on his "Skyrider" LP on Cream Records CR 1011 in 1979. "Maverick Woman Blues" opens with grungy guitars and Harrison's trademark 'rawk' vocals – its ZZ Top meets Bad Company meets Foghat – a wicked and gritty boogie number. Things switch into a Funky Rock mode with "You And Me" written by Troy Seals with lyricist Will Jennings. Brother to Jim Seals (of Seals and Crofts) and Dan Seals (of England Dan and John Ford Coley) – Troy Seals would record the song as "You And Me, Me And You" on his own self-titled debut LP "Troy Seals" on Columbia KC 34271 in 1976. Will Jennings would later go on to do huge collaborative lyric projects with Steve Winwood on his solo LPs "Arc Of A Diver" (1981) and "Talking Back To The Night" (1982). Time for Harrison to go all balladeer and for track 3 we get a cover of Bob Dylan's "I'll Keep It With Mine" – a non-album song the Bobster originally gave to Judy Collins way back in 1965 which she released as a stand-alone 45 on Elektra Records. Harrison completely changes the whimsy upbeat vibe of the Collins version and makes it a more Soulful Rock ballad – a slow bruising beat backed up with great vocals and organ playing. Of all the truly great artists of our time - Dylan is surely the most overdone when it comes to covers – but Mike Harrison's take on "I'll Keep It With Mine" is like a quality Joe Cocker interpretation – different yet wonderfully complimentary.

Penned by the dynamic songwriting duo of Southern boys Don Nix and Dan Penn - "Like A Road (Leading Home)" was initially given to Albert King in 1971 to end his "Lovejoy" album on Stax Records. Harrison gives his cover a slow Southern Soul feel with brass and strings – it's a good version even if his vocals feel at times strained and ever so slightly off-key. At 3:27 minutes – his mandolin Rock-Funk cover of The Beatles "We Can Work It Out" was an obvious but not very successful single. There's interesting synth stuff going on in the 'try to see it my way' centre passage for sure - but it just feels dated and ill-chosen. Things improve immeasurably with "Okay Lay Lady Lay" – 6:35 minutes of wickedly groovy voicebox boogie – another co-write with fellow Spooky Tooth band member Luther Grosvenor. The '20th Century Choir' provide girly vocals to counterpoint Harrison's strangulated Eddie Hinton vocals. "Easy" is a lush ballad that just about gets away with the heavy-on-the-sauce strings – but after all that preceding Southern Boogie funk sounds out of place (its written by Mike Harrison with Aitkin and Brown – two names that elude me). Quite what Harrison or Goodear were thinking when they recorded an iffy version (complete with syrup strings) of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" – the Edgar Harburg and Harold Arlen classic from "The Wizard Of Oz" – is anybody's guess! But that they tried it as a leadoff 45 is unbelievably dumb (best left in the hands of capable interpreters like Nilsson). The side is just about salvaged by the smoochy finisher "Friend" co-written by Mike Harrison with Tenor Saxophonist Arthur Belcher (he puts in the solo on "Hard Headed Woman" on "Mike Harrison"). It's a nice vocal but hardly a great tune (nice bass and keyboards on the remaster).

So there you have it. Re-listening to the three albums in a row and it quickly becomes obvious why each failed to make any real impact on release – they lacked cohesion and needed stronger material too. But despite their patchy nature - as a junkie for Classic 70ts Rock - the good stuff is more than worth the price of admission. Once again well done to Beat Goes On (BGO) for another quality and timely reissue...

This review is part of my SOUNDS GOOD Music Book Series. One of those titles is CLASSIC 1970s ROCK - an E-Book with over 260 entries and 2450 e-Pages - purchase on Amazon and search any artist or song (click the link below). Huge amounts of info taken directly from the discs (no cut and paste crap). 


Friday, 11 March 2016

"Depend On Me: The Early Albums" by THE MIRACLES (2009 Hip-O Select 2CD Set - Ellen Fitten Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...


This Review Along With 100s Of Others Is Available in my
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SOUL, FUNK and JAZZ FUSION - Exception CD Remasters  
Just Click Below To Purchase for £3.95
Thousands of E-Pages - All Details and In-Depth Reviews From Discs 
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"…Everybody's Got To Pay Some Dues…" 

You can’t accuse Hip-O Select of scrimping on this one - 5 albums across 2CDs, loads of non-album single sides and even Previously Unreleased. The presentation is lovely and the remasters absolutely top notch. There’s a huge amount on here so let’s get to those three-minute Soul Serenades straight away…

Released January 2009 in the USA on Hip-O Select B0012855-02 (Barcode 602527073071) – "Depend On Me: The Early Albums" by THE MIRACLES fans out as follows:

Disc 1 (79:04 minutes):
1. Who’s Lovin’ You
2. (You Can) Depend On Me
3. A Heart Like Mine
4. Shop Around
5. Won’t You Take Me Back
6. Cause I Love You
7. Your Love
8. After All
9. Way Over There
10. Money (That’s What I Need)
11. Don’t Leave Me
Tracks 1 to 11 are their debut LP "Hi, We're The Miracles" – released June 1961 in the USA on Tamla 220 and July 1963 in the UK on Oriole PS 40044

12. That’s The Way I Feel
13. Everybody’s Got To Pay Some Dues
14. Mama
15. Ain’t It Baby
16. Determination
17. You Never Miss A Good Thing
18. Embraceable You
19. The Only One I Love
20. Broken Hearted
21. I Can’t Believe
Tracks 12 to 21 are their 2nd LP “Cookin’ With The Miracles” – released November 1961 in the USA on Tamla 223 (No UK release)

BONUS TRACKS – NON-LP SINGLES:
22. Mighty Good Lovin’ – B-side of “Broken Hearted”, a USA 7” single released June 1961 on Tamla 54044
23. The Feeling is So Fine – A-side of a USA 7” single released September 1959 on Tamla 54028 but withdrawn
24. Shop Around (Second Regional A.K.A. “Slow” Version) – Second Pressing of a USA 45 on Tamla 54034 released September 1960
25. I’ll Try Something New – A-side of a USA 7” single released April 1962 on Tamla 54059
26. What’s So Good About Good Bye – A-side of a USA 7” single released December 1961 on Tamla 54053
27. He Don’t Care About Me – Recorded Late 1961
28. A Love That Can Never Be – Recording Details Unknown
29. I’ve Been Good To You – B-side of “What’s So Good About Good Bye” – see 26 – tracks 25 to 29, see also 1 to 5 on Disc 2

Disc 2 (74:44 minutes):
1. Speak Low
2. On The Street Where You Live
3. If Your Mother Only Knew
4. I’ve Got You Under My Skin
5. This Swear, I Promise
Tracks 25 to 29 on Disc 1, Tracks 1 to 5 on Disc 2 are their 3rd album “I’ll Try Something New” – released July 1962 in the USA on Tamla 230 (No UK release)
6. You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me
7. I’ve Been Good To You
8. Such Is Love, Such Is Life
9. I Can’t Take A Hint
10. Won’t You Take Me Back
11. A Love She Can Count On
12. Whatever Makes You Happy
13. Heartbreak Road
14. Happy Landing
15. Your Love
Tracks 6 to 15 are their 4th album "The Fabulous Miracles" – released May 1963 in the USA on Tamla 238 and November 1964 in the UK on Stateside SL 10099

16. Mighty Good Lovin’ (Live)
17. A Love She Can Count On (Live)
18. Happy Landing (Live)
19. I’ve Been Good To You (Live)
20. What’s So Good About Good Bye (Live)
21. You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me (Live)
22. Way Over There (Live)
Tracks 16 to 22 is their 5th album “Recorded Live On Stage” – released May 1963 in the USA on Tamla 241 and October 1963 in the UK on Tamla Motown TML 10055 (Mono) and STML 10055 (Stereo). 16 to 18 were recorded live at the Regal Theater, Chicago and 19 to 22 at The Apollo in New York.

23. Shop Around (First Regional Version) – A-side, 1st pressing, issued as a 7” single in the USA on Tamla 54034 in September 1960
24. The Only One I Love (Single Version) – B-side of “Ain’t It Baby”, A USA 7” single released March 1961 on Tamla 54036

The card digipak folds out into four-leaves and is very tastefully done in a sort of sepia feel – a bit of a trademark in Hip-O Select presentation. The 24-page booklet is gorgeous with detailed liner notes from STU HACKEL (profiled The Miracles many times before), black and white and colour publicity photos and indepth track-by-track annotation. But the absolute bomb is a foldout concertina of the colour album sleeves – it’s kept in the first flap and on the rear of each ‘detachable’ card is the back sleeve artwork – American Album covers that most fans simply never see. You get "Hi We're The Miracles" (June 1961), "Cookin' With The Miracles" (Nov 1961), "I'll Try Something New" (July 1962), "The Fabulous Miracles" (May 1963) and "Recorded Live On Stage" (May 1963). It’s a really nice touch and the ‘colour’ is beautiful.

Better still is the ELLEN FITTON remasters from first generation tapes. She’s been involved in huge swathes of Motown reissues for both Universal and especially Hip-O Select (she did all 13 of the award-winning “Singles” book sets. These are mostly MONO recordings not exactly put down in audiophile conditions – so her work here with the tapes is superb.

Musically these are early days – most of it is more Vocal Group than Sixties Soul. That nonchalant slow-paced Vocal Group vibe permeates “Who’s Lovin’ You”, “A Heart Like Mine” and “What’s So Good About Good Bye”. There are shades of the Marvelettes in “Ain’t It Baby” and heaps of Echo on “I’ll Try Something New” giving it a feel of Summer Nights at the Drive-In. The stand alone single “Mighty Good Lovin’” is a great dancer and the pleader “You Never Miss A Good Thing” has huge sound (and strings). It doesn’t say who the female vocalist on the rather excellent “He Don’t Care About Me” is (probably Claudette – Smokey’s wife) or the male lead on “A Love That Can Never Be” – but both are nice additions as is the mid-tempo B-side “I’ve Been Good To Soul”.

Despite its lovely presentation – there’s stuff on here that’s awful like their cheesy cover of “On The Street Where You Live” or Frankie’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”. Things improve immeasurably with Smokey’s wicked “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me” – and easy to hear why it was an R&B Number 1. A nice bopper is “I Can Take A Hint” and the bluesy “Won’t You Take Me Back” even has a Joe Turner piano R&B feel. I find most of the live album unlistenable – crude recordings – but at least “Happy Landing” has some life in it. “The Only One I Love” was transferred from a mint 45 and noise-reduction technology used to dampen the crackle – and it sounds great.

Musically – I find the earliest Motown hard work – and these are no different. But if you’re a fan – the great sound, presentation and rarity value is going to be a huge draw…

PS: this 'limited edition' set is now deleted and commands heavy price tags in some quarters. (No pun intended) shop around - it can be bought for a lot less...

This review is part of my SOUNDS GOOD Music Book Series. One of those titles is SOUL, FUNK and JAZZ FUSION - Exceptional CD Remasters - an E-Book with over 245 entries and 2100 e-Pages - purchase on Amazon and search any artist or song (click the link below). Huge amounts of info taken directly from the discs (no cut and paste crap). 


"The Elektra Years: 1978-1987" by THE CARS (2016 Rhino/Warner Brothers/Elektra 6CD Mini Box Set - Ted Jensen/Ric Ocasek Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...




"...A Fine Line Between Us..." 

CARS fans have had a bit of scrappy-do ride when it comes to CD Remasters of their Boston heroes. The "Just What I Needed" 2CD Anthology from Rhino in 1995 did a fabulous job as did those expensive but oh so nice efforts with "Shake It Up" from Mobile Fidelity in 2010 (see Review) and the Japanese Remaster of "Heartbeat City" in 2012. But those are deleted and gathering cost while the 5CD "Original Album Series" Mini Box Set from 2010 carries varying audio across all five titles (as it seems to do for all of those WEA box sets). Someone has obviously thought it about time that the entire 6-album, 60-track catalogue of THE CARS gets an Audio facelift – and in March 2016 - here comes My Best Friend's Girl...

Having said all that - I've been looking forward to this little beast for some time – and if I'm truthful I'd advise fans to holster those audio-expectations because to my ears this box set is a strange hybrid of good and bad Remastered Sound. The first three albums sound average - even overly loud - while at the same time being strangely deadpan and disjointed ("The Cars", "Candy-O" and "Panorama") – but the last three are shining like never before – jewels that will thrill fans to the core of their beings ("Shake It Up", "Heartbeat City" and "Door To Door"). Could just be my ageing lugs – anyway to the details...

UK and Europe released Friday, 11 March 2016 – "The Elektra Years: 1978-1987" by THE CARS on Rhino/Warner Brothers/Elektra 081227947439 (Barcode 081227947439) is a 6CD Clamshell Box Set featuring their first six studio albums Remastered by TED JENSEN (overseen by band founder RIC OCASEK) and plays outs as follows:

Disc 1 "The Cars" (35:10 minutes):
1. Good Times Roll
2. My Best Friend's Girl
3. Just What I Needed
4. I'm In Touch With Your World
5. Don't Cha Stop
6. You're All I've Got Tonight [Side 1]
7. Bye Bye Love
8. Moving In Stereo
9. All Mixed Up
Tracks 1 to 9 are their debut album "The Cars" – released June 1978 in the USA on Elektra 6E-135 and August 1978 in the UK on Elektra K 52088. It peaked at No. 18 and 29 on the US and UK LP charts.

Disc 2 "Candy-O" (36:31 minutes):
1. Let's Go
2. Since I Held You
3. It's All I Can Do
4. Double Life
5. Shoo Be Doo
6. Candy-O
7. Night Spots [Side 2]
8. You Can Hold On Too Long
9. Lust For Kicks
10. Got A Lot On My Head
11. Dangerous Type
Tracks 1 to 11 are their 2nd studio album "Candy-O" – released June 1979 in the USA on Elektra 5E-507 and in the UK on Elektra K 52148. It peaked at No. 3 and 30 on the USA and UK LP charts.

Disc 3 "Panorama" (40:32 minutes):
1. Panorama
2. Touch And Go
3. Gimme Some Slack
4. Don't Tell Me No
5. Getting Through
6. Misfit Kid [Side 2]
7. Down Boys
8. You Wear Those Eyes
9. Running To You
10. Up And Down
Tracks 1 to 10 are their 3rd studio album "Panorama" – released August 1980 in the USA on Elektra 5E-514 and in the UK on Elektra 52240. It peaked at No. 5 in the USA but didn’t chart in the UK.

Disc 4 "Shake It Up" (40:43 minutes):
1. Since You're Gone
2. Shake It Up
3. I'm Not The One
4. Victim Of Love
5. Cruiser
6. A Dream Away [Side 2]
7. This Could Be Love
8. Think It Over
9. Maybe Baby
Tracks 1 to 9 are their 4th studio album "Shake It Up" – released November 1981 in the USA on Elektra 5E-567 and in the UK on Elektra K 52330. It peaked at No. 9 in the USA but didn’t chart in the UK.

Disc 5 "Heartbeat City" (38:38 minutes):
1. Hello Again
2. Looking For Love
3. Magic
4. Drive
5. Stranger Eyes
6. You Might Think [Side 2]
7. It's Not The Night
8. Why Can't I Have You
9. I Refuse
10. Heartbeat City
Tracks 1 to 10 are their 5th studio album "Heartbeat City" – released March 1984 in the USA on Elektra 60296-1 and in the UK on Elektra 960 296-1. It peaked at No. 3 and 25 in the USA and UK LP charts.

Disc 6 "Door To Door" (45:54 minutes):
1. Leave Or Stay
2. You Are My Girl
3. Double Trouble
4. Fine Line
5. Everything You Say
6. Ta Ta Wayo Wayo
7. Strap Me In [Side 2]
8. Coming Up You
9. Wound Up On You
10. Go Away
11. Door To Door
Tracks 1 to 11 are their 6th studio album "Door To Door" – released September 1987 in the USA on Elektra 9 60747-1 and in the UK on Elektra EKT 42. It peaked at No. 26 and 72 in the US and UK LP charts.

The glossy clamshell box set is pretty to look at and tactile too. Fans will know that each original Cars vinyl album came with a 'inner sleeve' ("Heartbeat City" also boasted a gatefold sleeve) - so Rhino have reproduced each as a double-sided single-sheet inlay which is placed inside the 5" card repro sleeves all of which are based on the American LP artwork. You will of course need a strong set of retinas and perhaps a large telescope to actually read the lyrics contained therein – but at least they're on those inserts – albeit in miniscule form. The only and obvious difference is that Ocasek has had the "Heartbeat City" gatefold sleeve changed into his preferred 'white border' sleeve which to my eyes in infinitely prettier and more distinctive. A few might moan about tapering with history – but I think most will dig it (its pictured on the rear of the box).  

There's no booklet (mores the shame) but there is a single-page inlay with track lists and reissue credits (JOHN HUGHES and MIKE ENGSTROM are Project Supervisors). This time the detached inlay has been placed 'inside' the box instead of being attached to the outside and thereby going to crumpled mush once you get the shrinkwrap off (common sense has prevailed). But the big news is brand new TED JENSEN Remasters for all six albums and 60 tracks carried out at Sterling Sound in New York and supervised by bandleader and principal songwriter – RIC OCASEK. As I've said already – I'm finding them a very mixed bag for the first three albums – and I know the remaining three were recorded better – but man do they shine on this box compared to the first three. The "Shake It Up" album is a revelation and I’ve always felt the hidden gem in their catalogue after the disappointing "Panorama". Both "Heartbeat City" and "Door To Door" sound glorious too. Let's go through the albums...

The first thing you notice as you play "Good Times Roll" from their storming "The Cars" debut album is the raised hiss level at the beginning of the track that seems to persist throughout the album. It's like someone has left the treble open at full throttle and to hell with the results. There was a subtly in the handling of "Just What I Needed" and "Moving In Stereo" in previous remasters that seems to have been abandoned for full transparency – and I'm not so sure if its been such a good idea. Others may disagree. But then you get to "You're All I've Got Tonight" and the overlooked finisher "All Mixed Up" and the Audio is fab – full of presence and oomph.

Both 1979's "Candy-O" and 1980's "Panorama" represented a lull for me in The Cars catalogue and I'll admit I haven't played either in decades. So re-hearing those forgotten album tracks like the wonderfully melodic "It's All I Can Do" and the choppy rock of "Night Spots" come as more than a pleasant surprise. There's hiss on the 'can I touch you' of "Dangerous Type" but its certainly punchier when that clever synth break kicks in. The single "Touch And Go" is probably the track most people know off "Panorama" - but I'd forgotten about the Tom Petty boogie of "Getting Through" and the sheer hookiness of "Misfit Kid". And then there's the city-at-night eeriness of "You Wear Those Eyes" where Ocasek sounds like the male version of Martha Davies from The Motels. There's noticeable muscle in the grungy guitars of "Running To You" but the other instruments still seem lost in a 'too busy' mix.

Cars fans will know that only 4 of the 9 tracks from "Shake It Up" made the 1995 "Just What I Needed" 2CD Anthology – so how cool is it to have this whole record in spiffing remastered audio here (at a reasonable cost). All songs are CARS originals except "This Could Be Love" which is written by Greg Hawkes. My favourite track has always been "A Dream Away" - the song’s sweeping 'liquid' feel swimming out of my speakers – what a winner. The punch out of "I’m Not The One" is fabulous – when the guitar slides in about 25 seconds in - it's so clear. Some tracks are weak ("Cruiser" and "Maybe Baby" are hardly great) - but there are others on here that I can't live without like the frantic "Think It Over" and the Side 1 opener "Since You’re Gone" both sounding hot, hot, hot. The guitar solo on "Shake It Up" too is a masterpiece of brevity and precision and sounds brill...

Their career would reach an artistic and commercial peak with the superb "Heartbeat City" album from 1984 – resplendent with monster hits like "You Might Think", "Magic" and the magisterial "Drive" (few will forget its impact at Live Aid - moving millions to donate). In fact it felt like 1984 was dominated by this most 'Summer' of albums – perfect radio fodder with Pop-Rock tunes like "It's Not The Night" and "Why Can't I Have You". But for me the title track has always been my crave. "Heartbeat City" has that genius Cars combo of elements - a wicked Icehouse/Roxy Music synth groove that gets its teeth into you and just builds and builds on those melodious soundscapes...

The "Door To Door" album in 1987 probably took too long to arrive - following a crowd-pleasing "Greatest Hits" set in 1986 - and compared to "Heartbeat City" seemed strangely lacking. But that doesn't mean it didn't have its moments. For years I've wanted the pretty Icehouse soulfulness of "Fine Line" in decent sound – and here it is (lyrics from it title this review). The wild dancing guitars and piano of "Ta Ta Wayo Wayo" leap out of speakers with real power (my LP version always sounded crap) and the single "Strap Me In" sounds amazing – big swirling soundscape – grungy guitars – a proper Cars blaster.

To sum up – it's good to have their catalogue celebrated like this – and on CD – at a reasonable price. But I'm still going to have get used to those Remasters on the first three albums. "...Heartbeat City's on the loose..." - Ocasek sings on that swirling tune. Indeed it is...

"Eyewitness/Modern Times/Casa Loco" by STEVE KHAN (2016 Beat Goes On 2CD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...




"...Blue Shadow..."

April 2015 saw Jazz-Fusion virtuoso Guitarist STEVE KHAN have his first three Solo albums from the late Seventies on Columbia's Tappan Zee Records reissued by Beat Goes On of the UK in proper style. 

Just shy of a year later BGO now follow that splurge with another 2CD set – this time reissuing Khan's desirable and long-deleted albums from 1981, 1982 and 1984 on Island's Fusion/Avant Garde label 'Antilles' and Sire's 'Passport Records'. 

The three Antilles/Passport albums (the second was initially a Japan-only 'live' set) have been off the musical radar for decades on both vinyl and CD – so Jazz-Funk fans like me have yet more cause to celebrate. Here are the fret-bending details...

UK released 4 March 2016 (1 April 2016 in the USA) – "Eyewitness/Modern Times/Casa Loco" by STEVE KHAN on Beat Goes On BGOCD 1228 (Barcode 5017261212283) features 3LPs on 2CDs and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (61:51 minutes):
1. Where's Mumphrey?
2. Dr. Slump
3. Auxiliary Police
4. Guy Lafleur [Side 2]
5. Eyewitness
Tracks 1 to 5 are his fifth studio album "Eyewitness" – released November 1981 in the USA and December 1983 in the UK (both) on Antilles AN 1018

6. Blades (For Wayne Gretzky)
7. The Blue Shadow (For Folon)
Tracks 6 and 7 are Side 1 of his sixth album – the LIVE SET "Modern Times" – initially only released 1982 in Japan on Trio Records AW-25016 but then reissued in the USA and Europe in 1985 on Passport Records PJ 88001 – first time on CD

Disc 2 (67:04 minutes):
1. Penguin Village
2. Modern Times
Tracks 1 and 2 are Side 2 of his sixth album - the LIVE SET "Modern Times" – initially only released August 1982 in Japan on Trio Records AW-25016 but then reissued in the USA and Europe in 1985 on Passport Records PJ 88001 – first time on CD in 2016

3. The Breakaway
4. Casa Loco
5. Penetration
6. Some Sharks [Side 2]
7. Uncle Roy
8. The Suitcase
Tracks 3 to 8 are seventh album "Casa Loco" – released 1984 in the USA on Antilles Records AN-2010 and in Europe on Antilles/Island 206 516

The packed 20-page booklet repro's all artwork and track-by-track musician credits along with in-depth liner notes from noted Musicologist MATT PHILLIPS (writer, musician and founder of the Sounds Of Surprise Jazz Music website). Along with a couple of choice snaps of Khan - there are new black and white photos of his key players Jordan, Jackson and Badrena - while the text includes new interviews with Khan about the making of the albums. The outer card wrap that now accompanies all BGO CD releases gives the whole shebang a classy feel and there's new 2016 remasters by ANDREW THOMPSON that let all that musical expertise shine through. Both CDs sound stupendously good with "Modern Times" first time on CD and "Casa Loco" not touched since the very early days of the medium in 1984. His band for all three records was – STEVE KHAN – All Guitars, ANTHONY JACKSON – Bass Guitar and Contrabass, STEVE JORDAN – Drums with MANOLO BADRENA on Percussion and Vocals.

Brought to Columbia Records by the Blood, Sweat & Tears Drummer Bobby Colomby and Keyboard Wizard Bob James (James Produced and provided the liner notes for his debut album) – Californian Khan quickly proved his sessionman mettle with his debut "Tightrope" followed by "The Blue Man" (both 1978) and then "Arrows" in 1979. After a brief stint with Arista in 1980 for the "Evidence" LP – we pick up here in 1981 for "Eyewitness" on Antilles Records.

All songs are Jazz Fusion instrumentals firmly in the groove of Funky – stuff like the sexily slinky 7:28 of "Where's Mumphrey?" and the bedroom-loving 8:25 of "Dr. Slump" feels like George Benson, George Duke and Narada Michael Walden got together and decidedly to get well – funky. His stunning feel and playing on "Dr. Slump" alone is worth the price of admission (don't let the corny name put you off). It sounds like the love child of John Mayer meets Robin Trower (Trower circa "In City Dreams" and "Caravan To Midnight") – one long Soulful smooch solo that would reduce even the most resilient of ladies to the lurve quivers. It's properly fabulous stuff and the remaster truly gorgeous. The trio on Side 2 of "Auxiliary Police", "Guy Lafleur" and "Eyewitness" also allow the drumming and percussion of both Jordan and Badrena to shine – completing what is probably his most perfect album in the genre. Sweet as...

I've never heard the live set "Modern Times" album before so its expertly rendered Fusion is new to me. All four tracks are in excess of ten minutes and some over twelve. My fave is the tight-as-a-politician's tax returns Drum/Bass Funk of "The Blue Shadow" which walks a tightrope between George Duke and Phil Upchurch - where Anthony Jackson slaps his Contrabass while Steve Jordan hammers those skins. Soon they're joined by Khan in what is an almost Zappa number. Recorded at "The Pit Inn" in Tokyo in Japan on the 3rd and 4th of May 1982 – the whole album was recorded using the CBS/Sony Studio Remote Unit - and man does it tell. Stunning stuff...

After the Fusion highs of one and two - the 3rd album "Casa Loco" from 1984 doesn't open promisingly – “The Breakaway” clearly hoping for some kind of crossover hit. It abandons the cool breeze feel of "Eyewitness" and goes instead for treated sound effects that sounded funky and contemporary at the time but unfortunately now sound dreadfully dated. Things improve immeasurably on the 12:37 minute title track. Originally mastered by the legendary engineer Greg Calbi (Supertramp, Paul Simon) – the audio on this sucker is awesome and also features rare vocals from Badrena as he ad-libs howls to the South American soundscapes. Written by Steve Leonard – "Penetration" tries hard but just gets lost in some ill-advised horrible rock riffage. "Some Sharks" again has vocals in Latin but ends up feeling like badly focused Santana. "Uncle Roy" swings in a Stewart Copeland Police kind of way while the finisher "The Suitcase" again feels like a scrappy Fusion-Rock tune that doesn’t know how to be one...

Even if the third album kinda lets the side down somewhat - overall this is another winner from BGO in their on-going reissues of forgotten Jazz Fusion albums that deserve a second-go-round (see my review for their first Steve Khan release "Tightrope/The BlueMan/Arrows"). Those first two albums alone are worth every penny and big-time welcome additions to the format. And fans will love the classy presentation and top-quality audio too. Out of the shadows and into the light. Nicely done indeed...

This review is part of my SOUNDS GOOD Music Book Series. One of those titles is SOUL, FUNK and JAZZ FUSION - Exceptional CD Remasters - an E-Book with over 245 entries and 2100 e-Pages - purchase on Amazon and search any artist or song (click the link below). Huge amounts of info taken directly from the discs (no cut and paste crap). 


Thursday, 10 March 2016

"Time Hasn’t Changed Us: The Complete CBS Recordings 1967-1971" by THE LOVE AFFAIR and STEVE ELLIS (2015 RPM Records 3CD Mini Box Set) - A Review by Mark Barry...


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"...Good Times..." 

Wow - what an incredible haul! You get two albums, the A&B-sides of at least seven non-album 7" singles, three Previously Unreleased BBC Sessions, 16 recently discovered outtakes from the Steve Ellis Solo period (Disc 3), the title track from Acetate (Disc 2) and even two uber-rare Italian language 45s. 67-tracks across 3CDs. There’s a mountain of good musical stuff to get through here – so let me get to the Modtastic details right away...

UK released June 2015 (July 2015 in the USA) – "Time Hasn't Changed Us: The Complete CBS Recordings 1967-1971" by THE LOVE AFFAIR and STEVE ELLIS on RPM Records RPMBXM 526 (Barcode 5013929552609) breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 – THE LOVE AFFAIR (77:09 minutes):
1. Everlasting Love – December 1967 UK 7" single on CBS Records 3125, A
2. Gone Are The Songs Of Yesterday - December 1967 UK 7" single on CBS Records 3125, B
3. Rainbow Valley – April 1968 UK 7" single on CBS Records 3366, A
4. Someone Like Me - April 1968 UK 7" single on CBS Records 3366, B
5. A Day Without Love – August 1968 UK 7" single on CBS Records 3674, A
6. I'm Happy - August 1968 UK 7" single on CBS Records 3674, B
7. Hush
8. 60 Minutes (Of Your Love)
9. Could I Be Dreaming
10. First Cut Is The Deepest
11. So Sorry
12. Once Upon A Season
13. Tobacco Road
14. The Tree
15. Handbags And Gladrags
16. Build On Love
17. Please Stay
18. Tale Of Two Bitters
19. One Road – February 1968 UK 7" single on CBS Records 3994, A
20. Let Me Know - – February 1968 UK 7" single on CBS Records 3994, B
21. Bringing On Back The Good Times – July 1969 UK 7" single on CBS Records 4300, A
22. Another Day - July 1969 UK 7" single on CBS Records 4300, B
23. Io Senza Te (Rainbow Valley) - Italian 7" single

The first of their two albums - "The Everlasting Love Affair" was released in December 1968 in the UK on CBS Records 63416 (Mono) and S 63416 (Stereo). The 15-track Stereo LP can be sequenced from CD1 using the following tracks.

Side 1:
1. Everlasting Love [1]
2. Hush [7]
3. 60 Minutes (Of Your Love) [8]
4. Could I Be Dreaming [9]
5. First Cut Is The Deepest [10]
6. So Sorry [11]
7. Once Upon A Season [12]
8. Rainbow Valley [3]
Side 2:
1. A Day Without Love [5]
2. Tobacco Road [13]
3. The Tree [14]
4. Handbags & Gladrags [15]
5. Build On Love [16]
6. Please Stay [17]
7. Tale Of Two Bitters [18]

Disc 2 – THE LOVE AFFAIR (79:41 minutes):
1. Baby I Know – October 1969 UK 7" single on CBS Records 4631, A
2. Accept Me For What I Am - October 1969 UK 7" single on CBS Records 4631, B
3. Time Hasn't Changed Us
4. Un Giorno Senza Amore (A Day Without Love) – 1969 Italian 7" Single on CBS Records 4007, A [English Language Version on the B]
5. All Along The Watchtower (BBC's "Colour Me Pop" Show, 2 August 1969) – PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
6. A Day In The Life (BBC's "Colour Me Pop" Show, 2 August 1969) - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
7. Walk On Gilded Splinters (BBC Session, Dave Lee Travis Show 10 Nov 1969) - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
8. Lincoln County – February 1970 UK 7" single on CBS 4780, A
9. Sea Of Tranquillity - February 1970 UK 7" single on CBS 4780, B
10. Speak Of Peace, Sing Of Joy – May 1970 UK 7” single on CBS Records 5017, A
11. Bring My Whole World Tumbling Down - May 1970 UK 7" single on CBS Records 5017, B
12. New Day
13. Walking Down The Road
14. Gee's Whizz
15. Gypsy
16. Goodbye Brother, Farewell Friend
17. Hurt By Love
18. Bad Girl
19. Nine To Five
20. Thank You Bean

The second of their two albums – "New Day" (credited to just L.A.) was released in 1970 in the UK on CBS Records S 64109 (Stereo only) and can be sequenced from CD 2 using the following tracks:

Side 1:
1. New Day [12]
2. Walking Down The Road [13]
3. Gee's Whizz [14]
4. Gypsy [15]
5. Goodbye Brother, Farewell Friend [16]
Side 2:
1. Hurt By Love [17]
2. Bad Girl [18]
3. Nine To Five [19]
4. Thank You Bean [20]
5. Speak Of Peace, Sing Of Joy [10]

Disc 3 – STEVE ELLIS (77:11 minutes):
1. Loot – May 1970 UK 7" single on CBS Records 4992, A
2. More More More - May 1970 UK 7" single on CBS Records 4992, B
3. Evie – September 1970 UK 7" single on CBS Records S 5199, A
4. Fat Crow - September 1970 UK 7" single on CBS Records S 5199, B
5. Take Your Love – March 1971 UK 7" single on CBS 7037, A
6. Jingle Jangle Jasmine - March 1971 UK 7" single on CBS 7037, B
7. Have You Seen My Baby – August 1971 UK 7” single on CBS S 7411, A
8. Goody Goody Dancing Shoes - August 1971 UK 7" single on CBS S 7411, B
9. Good Time Livin'
10. Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart
11. It's A Man's Man's Man's World
12. Bread And Wine
13. Lean On Me
14. Rainy Night In Georgia
15. Holly Holy
16. Charley Patton Rides The Delta
17. I Don't Know Why
18. Gimme Shelter
19. Pisces Apple Lady
20. Way Up On A Hill
21. I Got A Feelin'
22. Can't Stop Worrying, Can't Stop Lovin'
23. Take Me To The Pilot
24. Sympathy

Tracks 1 and 2 also featured on the Keith Mansfield Original Soundtrack LP "Loot" released 1970 in the UK on CBS Records 70073 on which Keith Ellis sang. Tracks 9 to 24 first appeared in 2003 on the CD "Rolling With The '69 Crew: Steve Ellis The Lost Masters" on Talking Elephant.

It comes in a card slipcase rather like a smaller version of the "Original Album Series" 5CD sets on WEA with 3 card sleeve inserts and a nice 16-page booklet. JOHN REED does the liner notes and his expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm for all things Mod comes shining through. It details the early incarnation of the band as The Soul Survivors, then becoming teenage heartthrobs as The Love Affair, Steve Ellis' involvement in the "Loot" Soundtrack of 1970 – on to the formation of Ellis in the early seventies with Zoot Money (I’ve reviewed both "Riding On The Crest Of A Slump" and "Why Not?") and beyond. You get a rare poster for The Small Faces in the Royal Albert Hall in December 1967 with Cat Stevens and The Soul Survivors as some of the support acts. There are memorabilia photos, UK demos of CBS singles, sheet music and Steve Ellis solo stuff. Their debut single "Everlasting Love" famously hit the Number 1 spot on the UK charts (after a little helpful hype by their publicity agent) in February 1968 having grown steadily in popularity since its release in December 1967.

The first thing that clobbers you as you play the six singles that open Disc 1 is the amazing audio. Remastered by SIMON MURPHY at Another Planet Music – the sonic kick in the goolies this CD packs is truly fantastic. You then notice the quality of the tunes – Soulful Mod outings one moment followed by Small Faces grunge the next. Phillip Goodhand-Tate wrote "Gone Are The Songs Of Yesterday" and the brilliant "A Day Without Love" (which The Sex Pistols rehearsed in 1976 – The Love Affair's attitude to the press was dismissive – that rebel attitude may have drawn the Punk Rockers to the tune).

The debut album "The Everlasting Love Affair" has a very 'Small Faces' feel to it – like a transition album between their Decca Pop and heavier Immediate Label period. It helps of course that Ellis sounds a tad like Steve Marriott and on occasion goes all Humble Pie wild when he rocks out on his axe. Sessionmen Herbie Flowers played Bass, Clem Cattini hit the Drums and Keith Mansfield did the band's trademark arrangements. They tackle Deep Purple's hooky yet heavy "Hush" (wicked guitar), do a Soulful brassy take on Cat Stevens' masterpiece "The First Cut Is The Deepest" (P.P. Arnold made it a hit on Immediate Records) and offer up a radically re-worked "Tobacco Road" (originally by The Nashville Teens) where they sound almost like an embryonic Sabbath. Mike d'Abo's gorgeous "Handbags And Gladrags" gets a very Small Faces madrigal arrangement complete with clavinet. DJM Records artist Phillip Goodhand-Tate supplied two - the bouncy "Build On Love" and one of the record's lighter highlights - "One Road" which feels like The Hollies on a roll. Soul is not very far beneath the Mod surface – Isaac Hayes and David Porter's "60 Minutes Of Your Time" was originally a Homer Banks B-side in 1966 on Minit Records – but The Love Affair's version here is more akin to the revved up Mod interpretation Simon Dupree & The Big Sound did in 1967 on Parlophone. Amidst the flurry of covers - Steve Ellis and Keyboardist Morgan Fisher put up several superb originals – the Monkees/Association feel to "Could I Be Dreaming", a rocking winner in "The Tree" and a Mother Brown knees-up alcohol bar song "Tale Of Two Bitters" where they sound dangerously close to cod Small Faces but in a bad way and definitely without their genuine and effortless charm.

The second LP "New Day" (simply credited to L.A.) is almost three years away from the debut and with Ellis gone towards a Solo career – it's a Progressive Rock album from 1970 and not a Pop/Mod-Soul effort of the Sixties. Not that the period's singles reflected this. There seemed to be two bands at this point battling for musical supremacy. The opening single on CD 2 is "Baby I Know" - a genuine Pop blast with that earlier brassy sound of theirs – but again the B-side is an entirely different band and beast – coming on like Hard Rock is their real crave. The audio takes a dip for the title track which you suspect is dubbed off a rare Acetate while the 'Colour Me Pop' BBC tracks consist of an awful version of "All Along The Watchtower" and a Procol Harum sounding organ instrumental of the Sgt. Peppers closer "A Day In The Life" (can't make my mind up if this is genius or a curio). "...Now all you Top Of The Pops groovers around the world – here's another set of good sounds from Love Affair..." is announced before the band launch into a rather cool version of Dr. John's moocher "Walk On Gilded Splinters" – definitely the best of three Unreleased BBC Sessions.

It's back to Pop/Soul business with "Lincoln County" where Gus Eadon (ex The Elastic Band) takes over the Lead Vocals. The B-side – "Sea Of Tranquillity" feels like early Argent. We even get a little deep with the lengthy "Speak Of Peace, Sing of Joy" where the band tries to say something of substance (it's actually a strong track which they mimed on an early Top Of The Pops appearance). I like Eadon's guttural growl – pleasingly similar to John Baldry on his two Warner Brothers albums "It Ain't Easy" (1971, reissued by Rhino on CD - see review) and "Everything Stops For Tea" (1972). "Gee's Whizz" is a brilliant and interesting instrumental – the flute makes it feel Jethro Tull – the keyboards like ELP on a Rock 'n' Roll tip – while the superb drum solo is John Bonham on Zeppelin II's "Moby Dick".

Disc 3 is dedicated to Steve Ellis - 8 single sides and 16 tracks from the aborted solo album (all 16 are from the 20-track stash discovered in 2013 and issued as the 2CD compilation "Rolling With The '69 Crew: Steve Ellis The Lost Masters" on Talking Elephant). It's the Steve Ellis solo material that never surfaced after he left Love Affair (Gus Eadon took over Lead Vocals and songwriting too). Highlights include the beautifully recorded "Good Time Livin'" where it sounds like Steve Marriott doing a Soul Album instead of hammering down on riffage. He does a tasty take on the James Brown classic "It's A Man's Man's Man's World" with cool Mansfield strings and brass arrangements. Philip Goodhand-Tate provides "Lean On Me" while Ellis trumps up with his own New Orleans blaster "Charley Patton Rides The Delta". I can't resist a cover of "Gimme Shelter" – that Rolling Stones 1969 masterpiece that lends itself to just about everyone. Here Ellis gives it a Merry Clayton Funk-Rock vibe and is surely one of the highlights on CD3. And his cover of Dave Mason's "Can't Stop Worryin' Can't Stop Lovin'" is superbly musical too - like good Terry Reid (and that's the best compliment)...

It’s not all genius for sure and you can literally feel the missed chances as the singles try desperately to ape that first Motownesque magic of "Everlasting Love" – but what came next when they found their musical feet is brilliant in places. And that unreleased Solo stuff is a revelation and finally links the two LPs and their wildly differing styles.

A fantastic reissue and well done to all at RPM (and John Reed) for their hutzpah in getting "Time Hasn't Changed Us" out there in such style. As the singer says...it’s just a kiss away...and I like that...

SOME OF MY E-BOOKS FOR SALE on AMAZON (All Updated to 2018)

1960s and 1970s MUSIC ON CD - Volume 2 of 3 - EXCEPTIONAL REMASTERS

1975 to 1979 Exceptional CD Remasters

OVERLOOKED ALBUMS 1955 to 1979 - EXCEPTIONAL CD REMASTERS FOR 400 FORGOTTEN LPS...

BLUES, VOCAL GROUPS, RHYTHM & BLUES and ROCK & ROLL on CD - EXCEPTIONAL REMASTERS

GROOVIEST SOUNDS AROUND! 1960s MUSIC ON CD (All-Genres) - April 2019 Update

1960s and 1970s MUSIC ON CD - Volume 3 of 3 - EXCEPTIONAL CD REMASTERS

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT 1970 - BEST CD REMASTERS

CLASSIC ROCK & POP 1970 to 1974 - EXCEPTIONAL CD REMASTERS

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT 1971 - BEST CD REMASTERS

1960s and 1970s MUSIC ON CD Volume 1 of 3 - EXCEPTIONAL REMASTERS

CLASSIC PROG ROCK, PSYCH and Other Genres Thereabouts - Exceptional CD Remasters...

MY BROKEN HEART (75 Days In The NHS) - Poem of Poems

INDEX - Entries and Artist Posts in Alphabetical Order