Thursday, 30 June 2016

"Tim Rose/Through Rose Colored Glasses" by TIM ROSE (1997 Beat Goes On '2LPs on 1CD' Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...You Done Me Wrong..."

Tim Rose's November 1967 self-titled debut album "Tim Rose" did bugger all business chart-wise - but cast a huge shadow then and ever since.

Propelled by his gritty strangulated 'I gargle gravel for breakfast' vocals - (he sounds like the love child of John Kay from Steppenwolf and David Clayton-Thomas from Blood, Sweat & Tears) - the pre-LP 7" single "Hey Joe (You Shot Your Woman Down)" from June 1966 clocked up covers by Love, The Byrds and of course most famously by Jimi Hendrix - the song practically launching his career. "Morning Dew" (written by Canadian Folk singer Bonnie Dobson) from February 1967 would be covered by artists as diverse as Lee Hazelwood and England's Nazareth - but again was made famous by Jeff Beck's supergroup for the "Truth" LP which featured the then relatively unknown Rod Stewart on Vocals.

More shadows came from the single released the same month as the album - November 1967 for "Come Away, Melinda" - an Anti-Vietnam War anthem written by Fred Hellerman of The Weavers with Francis Minkoff. In a very Phil Spector-sounding production - Rose caresses the song at first - but a minute or so into it and he starts to let rip with the rage of a generation done wrong (it was a rendition that tapped into the national zeitgeist). In fact Rose and his music is like this - slightly angry - slightly macho - engaged yet still cool and aloof - like a man with a grudge against the world and its two-timing daughter. 

Hell even Australia's Nick Cave has name-checked him as an influence and covered the 'Hey Joe' sounding murder song "Long Time Man" on his 1986 LP with The Bad Seeds "Your Funeral...My Trial" And yet despite all this peripheral activity and chart action for other people (as well as positive reviews) - "Tim Rose" steadfastly refused to ignite as a seller. Which brings us to this rather cool 'twofer' CD reissue. Here are the 'shot my woman down' details...

UK released November 1997 - "Tim Rose/Through Rose Colored Glasses" by TIM ROSE on Beat Goes On BGOCD 378 (Barcode 5017261203786) offers 2LPs Remastered onto 1CD and plays out as follows (72:48 minutes):

1. I Got A Loneliness
2. I'm Gonna Be Strong
3. I Gotta Do Things My Way
4. Fare Thee Well
5. Eat, Drink And Be Merry (For Tomorrow You'll Cry)
6. Hey Joe (You Shot Your Woman Down) [Side 2]
7. Morning Dew
8. Where Was I?
9. You're Slipping Away From Me
10. Long Time Man
11. Come Away, Melinda
12. King Lonely The Blue
Tracks 1 to 12 are his debut LP "Tim Rose" - released November 1967 in the USA on Columbia CL 2777 (Mono) and Columbia CS 9577 (Stereo) and February 1968 in the UK on CBS Records S BPG 63168 (Mono) and CBS Records S BPG 63168 (Stereo) - the STEREO Mix is used for this CD. Produced by DAVID RUBINSON - it failed to chart in either country.

13. The Days Back When
14. Roanoke
15. Hello Sunshine
16. When I Was A Young Man
17. What'cha Gonna Do
18. Maman
19. Let There Be Love [Side 2]
20. Baby Do You Turn Me On?
21. Apple Truck Swamper
22. Angela
23. You'd Laugh
24. You Ain't My Girl No More
Tracks 13 to 24 are his 2nd studio album "Through Rose Colored Glasses" - released July 1969 in the USA on Columbia CS 9772 (Stereo) and in the UK on CBS Records S CBS 63636. Produced by JACK TRACY - it didn't chart in either country.

There's no card slipcase and the 8-page inlay has informative liner notes from noted writer JOHN TOBLER and Musician Credits for the "Tim Rose" LP but none for the follow-up (it came with no credits and no one seems to know who played on what?). There are no mastering/transfer credits - but the Audio is amazing – clear as bell and very powerful. Always a bit of a Phil Spector-ish belter - songs on the "Tim Rose" LP swoop up with huge brass and string flourishes then mellow down into Spanish Acoustic guitar plucks - and back again. This BGO CD sounds brill – a really clean and well-transferred set of albums. Engineered by Sy Mitchell and Jerry Hochman - the seconds sound even better (although the music leaves summit to be desired).

The 12-track debut features the 10-sides of five 45s Rose put out prior to the album - so much of the material was known to Radio. Six are Tim Rose originals - "I Got A Loneliness", "Fare Thee Well", "You're Slipping Away From Me" and "Long Time Man" with "I Gotta Do Things My Way" a co-write between Rose and the Bassist Richard Hussan. Written by the songwriting duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil - the cover "I'm Gonna Be Strong" was a hit for Gene Pitney in 1965 while "Morning Dew" is by Bonnie Dobson (despite Rose' duo songwriting credit which would cause legal consternation for decades to follow). The legendary Doc Pomus co-wrote "King Lonely The Blue" with Bobby Andriani and it was issued by the Bitter End Singers in August 1965 on Emerald 72469 (called The Emeralds in the UK) - while "Eat, Drink And Be Merry..." is written by Celia and Sandra Ferguson and made a Country hit by Porter Wagoner. I don't know who 'N. Martin' is – the writer of  "Where Was I?" - but it's a gorgeous song and the audio on it is fabulous.

The 2nd album comes in for serious stick and after the eclectic and creative high of the debut - it's easy to hear why. Although most are Rose originals and songs like "Roanoke" is very Blood, Sweat & Tears circa the 2nd album - his cover of "Maman" is a big mistake. Penned by Edward Thomas and Martin Charnin in 1967 - it's a spoken poem said by the character 'The Young Soldier' in the musical "Mata Hari". Rose has rattling drums like a death march behind his strained vocals but instead of sounding contemporary or hip - it's sounds dated and preachy even. His cover of The Bee Gees "Let There Be Love" just doesn't suit him while convenience rhymes in lyrics like "...Angela called me last night...she wanted me to hold her tight...we made love for hours...then went walking in the flowers..." are just plum awful. Better is his quirky and even commercial cover of "You'd Laugh" - a song put out by French crooner Gilbert Becaud in 1965 called "Je T'aime (You'd Laugh)". It’s about a man pinning to touch a woman he worships but he’s terrified of her response – and Rose milks its angst as he rasps out the pain –very 60ts but also very cool. Along with "When I Was A Young Man" and the decidedly Tom Waits odd/violent "Apple Truck Swamper" (written by William Henderson) - they just about salvage the album from total reviewer savagery.

Very much a disc of two halves - a genius and exciting debut album "Tim Rose" - followed by a strange damp squid two years later - "Through Rose Colored Glasses". Yet despite the let down of LP Number Two – there's that amazing and influential debut which in 2016 still sounds so 'out there' still.

I've always thought Tim Rose to be impossibly special and just a little acid-dingbat in the cranial area. But I like my heroes that way – nuts - but in a good way...

"Eli And The Thirteenth Confession" by LAURA NYRO (2002 Columbia/Legacy 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...A Little Magic...A Little Kindness..."

A rare beauty and typically gone too soon. Laura Nyro's 2nd album - the wonderfully named "Eli And The Thirteenth Confession" scraped a No. 181 position on the US LP charts in August 1968 months after its March release (it was an improvement on the the total non-chart placement of her 1966 set "More Than A New Discovery"). And in truth I know people who can't bear her busy arrangements and that voice you either love or loathe. Yet you have to say that Columbia have done her memory and musical legacy proud with this elegant and beautiful sounding CD reissue. Here are the testimonials unveiled...

UK released August 2002 - "Eli And The Thirteenth Confession" by LAURA NYRO on Columbia/Legacy 508068 2 (Barcode 5099750806821) is an 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster with three Previously Unreleased Bonus Tracks and plays out as follows (52:23 minutes):

Side 1: Part 1
1. Luckie
2. Lu
3. Sweet Blindness
4. Poverty Train
5. Lonely Women
6. Eli's Comin'

Side 2: Part 2
7. Timer
8. Stoned Soul Picnic
9. Emmie
10. Woman's Blues
11. Once It Was Alright Now (Farmer Joe)
12. December Boudoir
13. The Confession
Tracks 1 to 13 are her 2nd studio album "Eli And The Thirteenth Confession" - released March 1968 in the USA on Columbia CS 9626 (Stereo) and August 1968 in the UK on CBS Records S 63346 (Stereo). Produced by CHARLIE CALELLO and LAURA NYRO - all songs written by Laura Nyro.

BONUS TRACKS (all Previously Unreleased):
14. Lu (Demo recorded 29 Nov 1967)
15. Stoned Soul Picnic (Demo recorded 29 Nov 1967)
16. Emmie (Demo recorded 29 Nov 1967)

The CD Reissue is Produced by AL QUAGLIERI - the 12-page booklet features affectionate and informative liner notes (with a rear sleeve note from singer Phoebe Snow) - a photo of her at the piano with Miles Davis - lyrics to the songs and recording dates - a photo beneath the see-through tray and the usual reissue credits. It feels classy right from the off...

The last time the album has a CD transfer was in May 1997 on Columbia 487240 2 – an album-only reissue. But this new 'Expanded Edition' on their Legacy imprint from 2002 comes with a fresh remaster involving two very experienced Audio Engineers - MARK WILDER and SETH FOSTER. A pretty ballad like "Emmie" and "Lonely Women" have quite passages and the tape hiss is evident in places ("Poverty Train" too) - but nothing too much to detract. In fact re-listening to stuff like the brass arrangements on "Woman's Blues" is a stunning experience - the remaster is beautiful - as is the music (you can 'so' hear where Blood, Sweat & Tears got their musical signatures from).

Although she couldn't seem to get arrested with regard to sales of her own records - her songwriting prowess soon got noticed. Laura Nyro was one of those songsmiths where her odd melodies and tunes had a Soulfulness that others hooked into and could bring out – even make better. The 5th Dimension famously picked up on two songs – "Stoned Soul Picnic" and "Sweet Blindness". Their cover of "Stoned Soul Picnic" hit the US singles charts in June 1968 on Soul City 766 and crashed the top ten - eventually settling at an impressive No. 3. They followed this success in October 1968 with their cover of Nyro's irrepressible and busy bopper "Sweet Blindness" on Soul City 768 (lyrics from it title this review). It peaked at No. 13. Later the following year those great interpreters Three Dog Night took "Eli's Coming" to a No. 10 slot on Dunhill/ABC 4215 in November 1969. Obscurities - Linda Hoyle of the British Jazz Fusion ensemble Affinity issued "Eli's Coming" as a British 45 on the Prog label Vertigo 6059 018 in 1970 - while Ronnie Dyson's debut September 1970 album "(If You Let Me Make Love To You Then) Why Can't I Touch You" on Columbia Records featured a cover of the mellow vibes tune "Emmie" - probably one of the loveliest songs on the “Eli...” album.

Album highlights include the staggering hurt in "Lonely Women" where " one hurries home to..." these aching ladies - the fuzzed-up guitars in the brilliant and political "Poverty Train" and the piano/brass chug-and-stop of "Once It Was Alright (Farmer Joe)" - a song that starts out rocking but goes off into soaring vocals and different rhythm tangents. There's hiss on the beautiful "December's Boudoir" but its quickly forgotten as those gorgeous strings and plucked harp notes swirl around your speakers. Her vocals on this song are 'so' soulful. It ends on "Confession" - more vocal pyrotechnics and frantic arrangements that sound like no one else. In fact the whole album is like that...

But the big prize for fans is the three beautifully recorded demos - all recorded 29 November 1967 and Previously Unreleased. They feature Laura on piano with doubled vocals - and that's it. They sound and feel utterly amazing - and I'd push the boat out by saying that I prefer this 'piano and voices' version of "Stoned Soul Picnic" version to the finished result. "Emmie" has always been a ballad hidden in the bowls of the album. Here it's even more intimate with just her on Piano producing something that's Todd Rundgren/Tori Amos beautiful (if you know what I mean). Wow - what a find...

On the song "Time And Love" from her next album "New York Tendaberry" (September 1969) - Laura Nyro would sing "...nothing cures like time and love..."

Laura Nyro passed in 1997 aged only 47 from Ovarian Cancer. She was impossibly special and her music is a musical cure waiting to be discovered again and again...

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

"Dusty In Memphis" by DUSTY SPRINGFIELD (2002 Mercury 'Expanded & Remastered' CD) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...The Soul Of A Woman..."

Few albums that arrive in your listening booth/man-lair are more endowed with legend than Dusty Springfield's 1969 Soulful Rock masterpiece - "Dusty In Memphis". But its reissue history both on VINYL and CD has been fraught with poor pressings and rumours of knackered mastertapes laden with voluminous amounts of hiss.

At last - this UK and Europe 2002 Mercury CD reissue comes clean (so to speak) with a Full Page of explanation from the hugely experienced Universal Audio Engineer GARY MOORE. Page 21 tells us that this is his third time mastering the album - chronicling what had to be done before (in discussion with Dusty) to get the best audio for this CD release.

Legendarily 'hissy' (and to the extreme on some tracks) - Moore has used the STEREO Master Tapes for "Dusty In Memphis" with original tapes supplied by Rhino/Atlantic in the USA for the MONO Single Mixes. After transfer – he’s put them through a SADIE 4 24-Bit/96K Mastering Computer and has applied CEDAR No Noise as well as T.C. ELECTRON FINALIZER - all of it routed through a YAMAHA Digital Mixing Desk. The sonic result is the best we’ve had so far. Instead of walls of noise - I'm getting a relatively silent but still coherent musical picture - albeit compromised in places because of the Noise Reduction. For sure you miss the ‘air’ around the instruments and the natural feel that gives – but I’d stress this – the results are superlative compared to say Rhino’s Dan Hersch Remaster from 1999 where he elected to leave what’s on there alone. I’d had that CD for years now and to my ears despite the integrity of the transfer - its unlistenable in some places. Not so here...

And Mercury’s disc also comes with a healthy eight bonus tracks – the A&B-sides of four US and UK 7" single-sides in MONO (mixed down from the Stereo tapes). Let's get to the details of the Preacher Man (and Woman)...

UK released 30 September 2002 (7 October 2002 in the USA) - "Dusty In Memphis" by DUSTY SPRINGFIELD On Mercury 063 297-2 (Barcode 044006329727) is a 'Remastered and Expanded' CD Edition with 8 Bonus 7" Single Mixes and plays out as follows (56:56 minutes):

1. Just A Little Lovin'
2. So Much Love
3. Son Of A Preacher Man
4. I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore
5. Don't Forget About Me
6. Breakfast In Bed
7. Just One Smile [Side 2]
8. The Windmills Of Your Mind
9. In The Land Of Make Believe
10. No Easy Way Down
11. I Can't Make It Alone
Tracks 1 to 11 are the album "Dusty In Memphis" - released 17 January 1969 in the USA on Atlantic SD 8124 and 18 April 1969 in the UK on Phillips SBL 7889. Produced by ARIF MARDIN and TOM DOWD - it peaked at No. 99 on the US LP charts but failed to chart in the UK.

BONUS TRACKS (All Mono 7" Single Mixes):
12. Son Of A Preacher Man (Mono)
13. Just A Little Lovin' (Mono)
Tracks 12 and 13 are the A&B-sides of the US 7" single released 8 November 1968 (prior to the LP) on Atlantic 2580 (peaked at No. 10).
UK release was 29 November 1968 on Philips BF 1730 (peaked at No. 9) with the B-side credited as "Just A Little Lovin' (Early In The Morning)"

14. Don't Forget About Me (Mono)
15. Breakfast In Bed (Mono)
Tracks 14 and 15 are the A&B-sides of a US 7" single released 7 February 1969 (after the album) on Atlantic 2606 (peaked at No. 64) - no UK issue.

16. I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore (Mono)
17. The Windmills Of Your Minds (Mono)
Tracks 16 and 17 are the A&B-sides of a US 7" single released 1 April 1969 on Atlantic 2623, which peaked at No. 105. However with the song "The Windmills Of Your Minds" (sung by Noel Harrison and featured in the Steve McQueen/Fay Dunaway film "The Thomas Crown Affair") having been nominated for an Academy Award (and won) - Phillips USA flipped Dusty's version and it became a No. 31 hit on the back of that publicity - no UK issue.

18. In The Land Of Make Believe (Mono)
19. So Much Love (Mono)
Tracks 18 and 19 are the A&B-sides of the fourth and final 7" single from the album - released 5 September 1969 in the USA on Atlantic 2673 (peaked at No. 113) - no UK issue.

Although this reissue hasn't got the genuinely pretty US artwork used by Rhino in their 1999 CD version (this version pops for the dull UK artwork from Philips) - the 28-page booklet is more than substantial - it's beautiful. Festooned with memorabilia photos, 7" singles, rare picture sleeves from all over the World (Europe and Japan), sheet music, colour period snaps of a dapper looking Dusty, press clippings and reviews etc. There are four essays – one from Atlantic's JERRY WEXLER (co-produced the album), 'two' more reminiscence-pieces from the album's legendary duo of Producers ARIF MARDIN and TOM DOWD - and all of it topped with a 'Foreword' from musician and uber-fan ELVIS COSTELLO. Stanley Booth's original LP Liner Notes are reproduced too and there's that note from Audio Engineer GARY MOORE on the transfers and the reasons for all that hiss. Even the all powerful "Son Of A Preacher Man" (the song most closely associated with the LP) gets a full page repro - the UK 45 on Phillips BF 1730 complete with its label bag. As I say - it's comprehensive and crammed full of Dusty goodies.

Proceedings open with a Barry Mann/Cynthia Weill tune - the upbeat and early-in-the-morning sunshine of "Just A Little Lovin'" - a song that sounds more Bacharach and David that Mann and Weill (but in a good way). I had the 1999 Rhino CD and it was hissy - here the song is prevalent and not the tapes (Nice job done). "So Much Love" is the first of four Carole King/Jerry Goffin songs - the other three being "Don't Forget About Me", "No Easy Way Down" and "I Can't Make It Alone".  By the time the Funk-Soul-Rock of "Son Of A Preacher Man" arrives you also begin to notice one of the album’s subtle secret weapons – the Backing Vocals of The Sweet Inspirations (headed up by Whitney's mum Cissy Houston). They lift the stunning "Preacher Man" and add an accusing spoken line to the hurting Randy Newman song "I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore" when they mimic Dusty's lyrics "...he wasn't thinking of her today!" They come in at the end of the song too adding Soul class to an already winning melody. The pen of Randy Newman also provided “Just One Smile” while Michel LeGrand wrote the “Thomas Crown Affair” song and general hippy anthem – “The Windmills Of Your Mind”.

It's amazing to hear how 'clean' the transfer of "Breakfast In Bed" is - a wickedly groovy song written by Southern Soul Boy heroes Donnie Fritts and Eddie Hinton. The same applies to the Acoustic Guitar beginning of "Just One Smile" - another Randy Newman beauty. Although it's deemed a classic by some "The Windmills Of Your Mind" has always felt ever so slightly cheesy to me. Better is the fabulous keyboard Soul of "No Easy Way Down" - as lovely a song as she's ever sung. It swoops and swoons and genuinely carries you along with it - The Sweet Inspirations adding tasty touches as the brass and strings sing. The 7" single mixes are very cool fan pleasures and in Mono give a more defined punch in places.

Although "Dusty In Memphis" is considered by so many to be a Pop masterpiece – on listening to its entirety in 2016 – I hear a 'Soul' record – deep, luxurious and sexy after all these years.

"Don't Forget About Me" - Dusty Springfield begs on the Gerry Goffin/Carole King pleader. 
On the strength of this album alone...that's not likely any time soon...

"From The Knees Of My Heart: The Chrysalis Years 1978-1981" by IAN HUNTER (2012 EMI/Chrysalis 4CD Peter Mew Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"…Standing In My Light…"

Looking at the playing times below on this incredible haul through Ian Hunter’s stay at Chrysalis Records (with guests like Mick Ronson, Todd Rundgren and Roger Powell of Utopia, Mick Jones and Topper Headon of The Clash with Roy Bittan and Max Weinberg of Bruce Springsteen's E-Street Band) there’s a lot to get through - so here are the big-rimmed glasses…

UK released 22 October 2012 - "From The Knees Of My Heart: The Chrysalis Years 1978-1981" by IAN HUNTER on EMI/Chrysalis 5099923270121 (Barcode (5099923270121) is a 4CD set of remasters and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (77:06 minutes):
1. Just Another Night
2. Wild East
3. Cleveland Rocks
4. Ships
5. When The Daylight Comes
6. Life After Death
7. Standin' In My Light
8. Bastard
9. The Outsider
Tracks 1 to 9 are the album "You're Never Alone With A Schizophrenic" - released April 1979 in the UK and USA on Chrysalis CHR 1214. Produced by MICK RONSON and IAN HUNTER – it peaked at No. 49 in the UK and No. 35 in the USA on the LP charts.

BONUS TRACKS ("Schizophrenic" Outtakes):
10. Don't Let Go (Demo Version)
11. The Other Side Of Life (Outtake)
12. Ships (Early Version) - was a download only track
13. When The Daylight Comes (Early Version)
14. Just Another Night (Version No. 3)
15. The Outsider (Early Version)
16. Alibi
Tracks 10 and 11 first appeared on the 2009 on the '30th Anniversary Special Edition' 2CD reissue of "You're Never Alone..."
Tracks 14, 15 and 16 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

Disc 2 (79:37 minutes):
1. FBI
2. Once Bitten Twice Shy
3. Angeline
4. Laugh At Me
5. All The Way From Memphis
6. I Wish I Was Your Mother
7. Irene Wilde
8. Just Another Night
9. Cleveland Rocks
10. Standin’ In My Light
11. Bastard
12. Walkin' With A Mountain/Rock And Roll Queen
13. All The Young Dudes
14. Slaughter On 10th Avenue
Tracks 1 to 14 are the 2LP live set "Ian Hunter Live/Welcome To The Club" - released April 1980 in the UK on Chrysalis CJT 6 and in the USA on Chrysalis CHR2 1269. Produced by MICK RONSON and IAN HUNTER – it peaked at No. 61 in the UK and No. 69 in the USA LP charts.
NOTES: see also Tracks 11, 13 and 14 on Disc 4 with regards to the "Welcome To The Club" live double.

15. One Of The Boys
16. The Golden Age Of Rock 'n' Roll
NOTES: Tracks 15 and 16 were BONUS TRACKS on the 1994 CD reissue

Disc 3 (77:09 minutes):
1. Central Park 'N' West
2. Lisa Likes Rock 'n' Roll
3. I Need Your Love
4. Old Records Never Die
5. Noises
6. Rain [Side 2]
7. Gun Control
8. Theatre Of The Absurd
9. Leave Me Alone
10. Keep On Burning
Tracks 1 to 10 are the album “Short Back N' Sides” - released August 1981 in the UK and USA on Chrysalis CHR 1326. Produced by MICK JONES (of The Clash) and IAN HUNTER – it peaked at No. 79 in the UK and No. 62 in the USA on the LP charts.

11. Na Na Na
12. I Believe In You
13. Listen To The Eight Track
14. You Stepped Into My Dreams
15. Venus In The Bathtub
16. Detroit (Take 1)
17. China (Rough Mix with Ronson Vocal)
NOTES: Tracks 11 to 15 were BONUS TRACKS on the 1994 CD reissue
Tracks 16 and 17 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

Disc 4 (78:13 minutes):
1. Once Bitten Twice Shy (Live)
2. Gun Control (Live)
3. Central Park 'N' West (Live)
4. Medley: All The Way From Memphis/Honky Tonk Women (Live)
5. I Need Your Love (Live)
6. Noises (Live)
7. Just Another Night (Live)
8. Cleveland Rocks (Live)
9. Irene Wilde (Live)
10. Medley: All The Young Dudes (includes excerpts from Honaloochie Boogie, Roll Away The Stone and Ships)
Tracks 1 to 10 are "Ian Hunter Rocks" recorded live at Dr. Pepper Festival, New York in September 1981. It was originally released on Video in 1983 and is presented here for the first time as PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED on CD

11. Sons And Daughters (Live)
12. We Gotta Get Out Of Here (Alternate Version)
13. Silver Needles (Live)
14. Man O' War (Live)
NOTES: Tracks 11, 13 and 14 are from the original "Welcome To The Club" Live Set
Track 12 is a rare version from the 1980 2LP retrospective "Shades Of Ian Hunter" (included on the 1988 American CD reissue)

The 16-page booklet is info packed with liner notes by CAMPBELL DEVINE - track-by-track comments from Ian Hunter himself and recording details/musician credits for each set. There are some live photos, 7” picture sleeves from varying areas, small shots of the album covers. It’s hardly knicker-wetting – typical of these sets (what they could get away with). But as ever the big news is with the sound.

The remasters have been carried by long-time Abbey Road associate and engineer PETER MEW who has handled hundreds of these reissues – and his touch here is typically superb. The tracks rock with real power – but when they need to be subtle and sensitive (like the beautiful piano Demo of "Don't Let Go") – he allows them to breathe without over-trebling everything.

"Schizophrenic" has to be a fan-favourite for many – "Ships", "Just Another Night" and "Cleveland Rocks" were all lifted as singles – all of them with a joyful old-time Rock 'n' Roll. "Life After Death" has always weirded me out with its echoed eerie vocal and "Bastard" is a blindingly good bit of riffage that turns up in his live set even now. But my poison is the stunning yet ever so slightly bitter ballad "Standin' In My Light" - an epic synth driven piece that impresses bit time. The "You're Never Alone..." LP ends on the six-minute piano-ballad "The Outsider" - a confessional about life, music and all points in between - our Ian sounding world-weary and near breaking as he sings "...looking for water...there's sweat everywhere...I ain't tasted coffee for days..." And Mick Ronson tears up the guitar in the final minutes while Roy Bittan of Springsteen’s E-Street Band plinks away on the old Joanna...

The two live sets feature a fantastic mix of Mott and Solo stuff with the Mott Medley on the "Ian Hunter Rocks" video only set rocking like a monster. Fantastic stuff… Still rocking but relevant – Hunter joined forces with Mick Jones and Topper Headon of The Clash (roping in Ellen Foley and Todd Rundgren and Roger Powell of Utopia too) for the hugely enjoyable "Short Back N' Sides" LP. His lament for Lennon (an old hero blown away) on "Old Records Never Die" always moved me more than a hundred other tributes. "Noises" could be Bowie and was a brilliant departure for him.

But away from the rockers the track that sent me the most was the Side 2 opener “Rain” which is magical – a warbling rhythm courtesy of The Clash anchors touching reminiscing lyrics about his lost mates in Northampton back in the 60ts. I bought the album off the shelves when I was visiting New York and I played it into the floor. Still gets me after over 30 years. "Gun Control" may as well be a Clash outtake (and in 2016 – 36 years after the event – is more bloodily relevant than ever) and the sheer pop of “Leave Me Alone” is kind of cool and shocking at one and the same time. But it ends on a typically huge Hunter ballad that lingers and won’t leave – "Keep On Burning".

I’m kind of shocked at how good the Bonus Tracks are – especially the new stuff. Mick Ronson and Weinberg fans won’t believe their luck with 'Version 3' of "Just Another Night" rocking like a proper monster - Ronson adding that magic guitar touch and Max whacking those drums like only he can. Although it’s easy to see why the all-over-the-place "Alibi" was left off everything. “Detroit” on Disc 3 is a bit of a mess too - but "China" with Ronson on Lead Vocals is lovely and will thrill fans. And the beautiful piano outtake “Don’t Let Go” is in my mind better than some of the tracks that were eventually picked for “You’re Never Alone...” – mournful, real and uncluttered too.

I’ve reviewed 2 of the Robin Trower sets, Ten Years After and Barclay James Harvest in these superb EMI anthologies. This is right up there with the best of them. As Alan Freed would say (sampled by Hunter on "Cleveland Rocks") - King of the Moondoggers!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

"No Other" by GENE CLARK (2003 Warners 'Remastered & Expanded' CD Edition) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"...Time Can Only Heal Its Scars..." 

Missouri's Harold Eugene Clark has already had a huge career prior to his 6th album "No Other" - originally unleashed on a disinterested world in December 1974.

Stints as a young man with Bluegrass & Folk singers The New Christy Minstrels, co-founding The Byrds with Roger McGuinn and David Crosby (he famously penned "I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better" and co-wrote the classic "Eight Miles High"), a solo album in 1967 with Country act The Gosdin Brothers, two Country-Rock LPs with Dillard and Clark in 1968 and 1969 on A&M Records all of which led finally toward two solo albums - 1971's "Gene Clark" (aka “White Light”) and 1972's "Roadmaster". Influential and well received all of them but none ever bothered the American Top 100. The problem with his 6th album "No Other" is that it’s probably his best record - a masterpiece many say - and the public missed out big time (it barely scraped No. 144 on the American LP charts).

Which brings us to this lovely 2003 Warners 'Expanded Edition' CD - a musical winner if ever there was one. Here are the Silver Phials...

UK released August 2003 - "No Other" by GENE CLARK on (WSM) Warner Strategic Marketing 8122 73701-2 (Barcode 081227370121) is an 'Remastered & Expanded Edition' CD offering the full 8-track 1974 album with seven Previously Unreleased Bonus Tracks. It plays out as follows (74:54 minutes):

1. Life's Greatest Fool
2. Silver Raven
3. No Other
4. Strength Of Strings
5. From A Silver Phial
6. Some Misunderstanding
7. The True One
8. Lady Of The North 
Tracks 1 to 8 are his 6th studio album "No Other" - released December 1974 in the USA on Asylum 7E-1016 and February 1975 in the UK on Asylum SYL 9020. 

Produced by THOMAS JEFFERSON KAYE - all songs by Gene Clark except "Lady Of The North" co-written with Doug Dillard (of Dillard and Clark and The Flying Burrito Brothers) and "Train Leaves Here This Morning" in the Bonus Tracks - co-write with Bernie Leadon of The Eagles (this song is on their 1972 "Eagles" debut album also on Asylum Records).

BONUS TRACKS (All Previously Unreleased):
9. Train Leaves Here This Morning
10. Life’s Greatest Fool (Alternate Version)
11. Silver Raven (Alternate Version)
12. No Other (Alternate Version)
13. From A Silver Phial (Alternate Version)
14. Some Misunderstanding (Alternate Version)
15. Lady Of The North (Alternate Version)

GENE CLARK - Guitar and Vocals on all songs
JERRY McGEE - Guitar on all songs 
DANNY KOOTCH - Guitar on "From A Silver Phial"
JESSE ED DAVIS - Guitar on "Life's Greatest Fool", "Silver Raven" and "From A Silver Phial"
STEVE BRUTON - Guitar on "Life's Greatest Fool" and "Some Misunderstanding"
BUZZY FEITEN - Guitar on "Strength Of Strings" and "Some Misunderstanding"
CHILL HILLMAN - Mandolin on "From A Silver Phial"
MICHAEL UTLEY - Keyboards on all songs
CRAIG DOERGE - Keyboards on "Strength Of Strings" and "Lady Of The North"
RICHARD GREENE - Violin on "Strength Of Strings", "Some Misunderstanding" and "Lady Of The North"
TED MACHELL - Cello on "Lady Of The North"
BILL CUOMO - Rheem Organ on "Some Misunderstanding" 
LEE SKLAR - Bass on all songs
RUSS KUNKEL - Drums on all songs except BUTCH TRUCKS on "The True One" and "No Other"
JOE LALA - Percussion on "No Other", "Life's Greatest Fool", "From A Silver Phial" and "The True One

RONNIE BARRON, CINDY BULLENS and CLAUDIA LENNEAR - Backing Vocals on "Life's Greatest Fool" and "Silver Raven"
VENETTA FIELDS, CLYDIE KING, SHIRLEY MATTHEWS and CARLENA WILLIAMS - Backing Vocals on "Life's Greatest Fool" and "Some Misunderstanding"
TIMOTHY B. SCHMIT (of The Eagles) - Backing Vocals on "Silver Raven", "No Other", "Strength Of Strings" and "From A Silver Phial"

Produced for release by RICK CONRAD - the 12-page booklet has new liner notes from JOHNNY ROGAN – Author of the acclaimed 1998 Byrds Biography "Timeless Flight Revisited". You also get lyrics to all the album songs – musician and recording credits – reissue details – a photo of Clark in his denim shirt and a rare 7" single European picture sleeve for "Life's Greatest Fool". They've even repro'd the photo that came with the rare insert which accompanied original vinyl LPs (I've only ever seen a few of these in my four decades of collecting). And of course there's those six 'Alternate Versions' of eight album tracks and the new demo for "Train Leaves Here This Morning" - a very musical collaboration with Bernie Leadon of the original Eagles line up.

But the big news is a fabulous new Digiprep Remasters involving names associated with wads of quality CD reissues - ANDREW SANDOVAL (Kinks and Small Faces) and Rhino's long-standing Audio Engineer DAN HERSCH. This CD is a joy to listen too – all that classy instrumentation and that backing group talent brought to the fore. Great stuff...

It opens on a Country-Rock winner - "Life's Greatest Fool". Asylum UK threw out "Life's Greatest Fool" with the stunning "From A Silver Phial" on the flip-side as a lead off 45 in Blighty (Asylum AYM 540) where the album didn't arrive until early 1975 - but it didn't raise a ripple. It's very Eagles melody and jaunt complete with Jesse Ed Davis guitar solo may have been the wrong choice (the B-side was better). "Silver Raven" is beautiful - acoustic guitars softly caressing his vocals. It's bolstered up by the presence of the warm backing vocals of future Eagles man Timothy B. Schmidt and the gorgeous Claudia Lennear rumoured to have "Brown Sugar" by The Rolling Stones written about her. Things slow to a plinking keyboard intro for the title song "No Other" which then goes all Prog but it a very cool way.

Both "Strength Of Strings" and "From A Silver Phial" show the reach of his melodies with the sung-chants passages of "Strength Of Strings" (Jesse Ed Davis on slide) reminding me of David Crosby's "Song With No Words (Trees With No Leaves)" from his brilliant 1971 album "If I Could Only Remember My Name". While that's fab - I've always flipped for "From A Silver Phial" (Lyrics from it tile this review) - a properly gorgeous song with lyrics of longing like "...not to be a victim...falling in the darkened rain..." Timothy B. Schmidt once again adds that beautiful backing vocal as the piano, organ and guitar swirl. We enter into epic territory with the seven and half minute "Some Misunderstanding" - a badly timed lover's tiff that has escalated into something that must be put right - if only our Gene knew how. "The True One" is probably the most chipper of songs on the album and the most overtly Country. It ends on a lovely co-write with his old mucker Doug Dillard - "Lady Of The North".

One of the huge prizes on here is surely "Train Leaving Here This Morning" - a song that dates back to 1969's "The Fantastic Expedition Of Dillard & Clark" LP on A&M Records. But it became more celebrated as one of the undiscovered gems on the Eagles 1972 debut. What we get here is five-minutes of keyboards and guitars that isn't far off the Eagles take - what a find! The six 'Alternate Versions' have been described as 'Demo' versions but they're far more accomplished and filled out. The Dobro is accentuated on "Life's Greatest Fool" while the wall of Acoustic Guitars take a more prominent front stage for "Silver Raven". But my faves are "From A Silver Phial" and "Lady Of The North" - both beautiful - stripped back of those vocals with the piano and acoustics to the front. I'm amazed at how good they are...

Why did the album Gene Clark's "No Other" fail with such obvious quality on board? At that time - I recall late 1974 and early 1975 moving into bigger and more grandiose musical productions - LPs as event - LPs as concepts - the artwork padded out with two booklets and two posters. Or maybe this kind of tunesmith was ever so slightly corny for the time. Who bloody knows...

Whatever way you look at it - this 'Remastered & Expanded' CD reissue is currently less than six smackers from most online retailers. Now there's one crime I'll take any day of the week...

"Gee Whizz" by CARLA THOMAS (2012 Japan/Europe WEA CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...The Masquerade Is Over..."

Part of the massive Japanese CD reissue campaign 'Atlantic 1000: R&B Best Collection' Series of CD reissues (see my online list - in excess of 250 titles) - this "Gee Whizz" CD by CARLA THOMAS is cheap at under six quid (the original 1961 American vinyl LPs are rare)

Originally released 7 November 2012 in Japan on Warner Brothers WPCR-25670 - this 'Euro' reissue oddly re-uses the Japanese packaging - but is a European pressed disc on WEA 8122-79704-3 (Barcode 081227970437) using the 2012 Japanese Remaster.

The '1000' in the title refers to their price code - each features a budget price tag of 952 Yen which (depending on exchange rates) is roughly $9 to $11 for US customers, £5.50 to £7.50 for UK buyers and 8 to 9.20 Euros for Europeans (with P&P added on of course). As of 2016 - roughly speaking they weigh in at about £10 sterling (or less) per title INCLUDING post - which is the cheapest I've seen quality Japanese CDs ever go for. Those reissued in Europe (like this one) often for half that.

And what's really enticing is that all issues feature 2012 and 2013 Digital Remastering (DSD) with many titles reissued that were long out of print (and due sonic upgrades) – or new to CD entirely. They come in standard jewel cases (NOT mini repro sleeves – nor SHMs) with an inner booklet containing the lyrics and description etc and an outer Obi strip. The CD label design will usually mimic the original release too.

1. Gee Whiz, Look At His Eyes
2. Dance With Me
3. A Lovely way To Spend An Evening
4. Your Love
5. Fools Fall In Love
6. To The Aisle
7. The Masquerade Is Over
8. A Love Of My Own
9. Promises
10. It Ain't Me
11. For You
12. The Love We Shared
Tracks 1 to 12 are the album "Gee Whizz" – released 1961 in the USA on Atlantic 8057 (Mono) and Atlantic SD 8057 (Stereo) – the STEREO mix is used for this CD (Tracks 1, 9 and 11 in Mono).

The 12-page booklet reproduces the front and rear artwork of the 1961 LP and has English lyrics to all the songs – some liner notes from 2012 in Japanese and little else. The Audio is great – really clear and punchy.

I wish I could say this is a long lost Soul gem – but the music is dreadfully twee in places – especially for a 60ts Soul LP on Atlantic Records. Corny versions of The Drifters "Dance With Me" and "Fools Fall in Love" are drowned in 'bop' backing singers and overdone syrupy strings. The three Mono cuts turn out to be 7" single versions of "Gee Whizz, Look At His Eyes", "Promises" and "For You" (the rest of the album is Stereo). The incessant crooner strings infect most of the songs - with the ballads "The Love We Shared" and "The Masquerade Is Over" coming out best of a bad bunch.

Cheap, sounds great and nice presentation - but you wish it could be decent Soul instead of teen angst dressed in ribbons and bows...




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INDEX - Entries and Artist Posts in Alphabetical Order